Friday, October 17, 2008

Easy button

Capt. Joe Wright used the phrase yesterday to describe this phenomenon. It's one I have blogged about on a few prior occasions. This example is from Tuesday. Our Information Technology manager, Mr. Clair Lindquist, brought it to my attention Thursday morning. The summary comments field, "LAID ON FLOOR, WOULD NOT PARTICIPATE IN THERAPY SESSION," must have caused him to do a double take and read the full report. The key players are a 7 year old girl, a private counselor, a private medical transportation provider, and a caseworker in the Children & Families division of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. They pressed the easy button, but it didn't function quite the way they were hoping (click on the report to enlarge the image .)


In order to protect identities, I had to edit this report a little more aggressively than normal. There are 422 Lincoln police employees, though (many of whom read this blog) who can attest that this edited version is faithful to the original.

In summary, the solution to a 7 year old who won't participate in her therapy session, when the transport company doesn't want to come back: call the cops. That's the best a couple professionals could come up with.

This is not about workload: it's about ethics, the appropriate use of police authority, and the compassionate care of patients and clients with dignity. I commend Officer Matt Tangen for diplomatically suggesting an alternative, and declining to participate in an improper use of the coercive powers of the police. In addition, I thank the worker at the foster care company who simply drove over and picked the child up. A familiar caregiver sounds a lot better to me than the plastic back seat of a patrol car.

Before I wrote this post, I described this case and discussed the general issue with a group of University of Nebraska students in Dr. Susan Jacob's Criminal Justice Ethics class, CJ 406, where I was a guest Thursday afternoon. They felt that this is an issue the general public needs to be more informed about, and suggested that I redact any identifying information from specific cases. This is not the first time I've asked for ethical advice from university students in the past, and it's proven to be valuable..

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'd probably be giving the hairiest eyeball to the HHS caseworker, for suggesting that the therapist call LPD in the first place.

JIM J said...

The same university students who walk against the walk light?
Drink in excess and cause a huge amount of resources of us tax paying people. The bars make a huge profit and the rest of us pay. Ask any of the 422 police employees you point out. I part company here. This is not a good source of brain or wisdom from college kids who have little if any life experience. This one gets a D- when most of the work you do is B and A+. Im disappointed in you today. Have you been drinking?

Anonymous said...

UNO School of Criminology and Criminal Justice has plenty of classes.
By the looks UNL can live high on the hog with the revenue it gets from the curriculum in this department alone.
With the economy the way it is those that are indigent will suffer with the choice to attend expensive education like UNL. The well to do will not hurt at all and Mommy and Daddy can foot the bill for spoiled Junior. Do I sound sour?
Perhaps you can find a better word as highly agitated would be an understatement.
When Obama the messiah is elected all will change?

Anonymous said...

Chief-
As a Foster Parent I can tell you it's wrong to assume the case worker that picked up the girl was a "familiar caregiver" since some of the workers change literally monthly and you sometimes never see them.

The state of Nebraska should be embarrassed by the transport company they hired, the therapist they hired and most of all for the HHS worker that they either contracted with or hired. I'm disgusted.

Anonymous said...

Words found in Chief:

3 letter words
hie fie ice ich chi hic?????????????

4 letter words
fice chef

5 letter words
fiche chief

Tom Casady said...

jimj-

You're buying into the "animal house" stereotype of college students. First of all, many (probably most) of those bar flies are NOT college students. Second, the majority of the college students can neither afford to live that "girls gone wild" lifestyle nor care to do so. Many of those college students are people like...many of my officers: working full time, grabbing credit hours towards a degree. It's refreshing to work thorough ethical issues with students, because after they discuss it and process the alternatives, they generally reach the same conclusions as I do.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure it is more of a fresh perspective getting the point of view from civilians who don't get dispatched to houses where the parents are too ignorant to discipline their child or just want to be the child's friend so they expect the police to raise the child for them.

I expect one would get this fresh perspective from the diverse backgrounds and ages of college students more than one would from a bunch of crusty old cynical cops.

Plus the Chief can continue to just pass us in the hallway and not talk to us.

Allison said...

I am one of the "spoiled" students at that university class and am wondering why the real story in the blog was ignored so you could bash college students. Two professionals with many years of education and training in how to deal with children of this exact nature decided the best way to deal with this child was to call the cops to resolve the situation. But if you must know, I pay taxes too. My parents don't pay for my school, I have a good scholarship and I pay the rest. The last time I consumed alcohol was July 15th and it was one glass of wine. I do however walk against lights if no one is coming.

Chief - thanks for coming to talk to us yesterday. Love the blog, I stayed up until early this morning reading some old ones.

Anonymous said...

jim j...have you been drinking? The college kids and several others DID get the point of the blog. You missed the point.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday a mom was observed in the lobby at LPD, trying to find her way to the courtrooms as she was late for her arraignment on her ticket for a disturbance related offense. Her volume was up and she had brought a young child (4?) with her to court. While she was getting directions, he went running and yelling down the hall (in a very appropriate kid like manner) to which she yelled, "Knock it off! We're in a police department and I can just leave you here!" before stomping off with him running behind her. Somebody mentioned maybe they should tell her that actually, that's only at a hospital. Can't help but think some kids just don't get a fair shot from the very beginning.

Anonymous said...

It appears to me that Jim J was making the point that the Chief is old enough to be a grand parent to the college kids he gets advice from. I did not miss that part. That is in the blog too.
A question of wisdom and age, kind of like "those damn kids" mentality.

I see far more college age drinkers in the bar on weekends. Do they go to college? That is another question.

Anonymous said...

HHS/CPS regularly holds cases until just before 5pm and then dumps them on the police because it's after hours. It's practically policy.

A Nony Moose said...

Old enough to be a grandparent of a college kid? Maybe if the kid is Doogie Howser or ages as quickly as a canine!

Tom Casady said...

A Nony Moose-

Thanks for defending me! I'm 55, not 75.

Anonymous said...

Thursday afternoon: College Class

Tuesday: St. Petersburg

Last Thursday: College Class

Last Month: Cop convention at the Cornhusker

Chief, I'm amazed how you have time to do all this and give the city a full 40 hours! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I got of work last night and decided to take Ost. home. 12:15 a.m. at 14th and Ost. here's 4 cruisers parked in the middle of the street. Don't you think this is dangerous, Casady? Besides how ridiculous it looks. Besides why in the hell are all these cops wasting time in the same location. If there's a problem they'll be called. Don't they have something more constructive to do? Like scrape all the gum off the sidewalks while their standing around trying to look tuff? Talk about government waste. There it is in downtown Lincoln, every weekend.

Anonymous said...

to 949, maybe you should say hello first!

Anonymous said...

The gum-kid poster back, and is using the same shtick they did 13 months ago.

As a civilian, I think that the cruisers sitting in the street are a great pre-emptive force display to discourage disruptive and potentially violent activity that is not unknown at bar break. People are much less likely to throw down after they exit the bar, if they see a couple of cruisers right there in front of them. Throwing a couple of drunk punches and running away becomes throwing a couple of drunk punches and then being arrested for assault, so they sulk off and go home.

I'd like to see twice the cruisers and officers at bar break, partly because it would drive the gum kid into a frothing rage, but LPD doesn't have an unlimited budget.

Anonymous said...

By the way, in case grumblers like the gum kid don't think drunken downtown assaults are a problem, there have been 48 assault incidents within just 500 feet of 14th & O in the last 90 days. Go do a CVC map and you'll see little fists all up and down O St.

Tom Casady said...

11:07-

I knew I had read that before, but darned if I can figure out how you were able to find it--I couldn't.

Anonymous said...

I did a search for "gum", then took the link in the last paragraph (the one with "rocket surgeon" in it), then did a crtl-f for "gum" and there it was. I remembered it too, because the 11:20 anon post was mine. 13 months and no new material; gum kid is like a has-been comic that still keeps flogging "take my wife...please" 60 years after their debut.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be nice if they could close down all those downtown bars so the cops didn't have to babysit a bunch of drunks?

With all the assaults in the downtown area you'd think the city council could close them down because of the costs to the city just in enforcement.

Anonymous said...

anonymous 1152
I sense a little cop envy from your post. Just what is it when a cop is "looking tuff".
Four cops sitting in the middle of O st near bar break is a prevention tactic. Their trying to prevent all the problems that are caused by all the college kids that are either over served or can't hold their liquor and then come out of the bar "looking tuff" wanting to fight. Either you are naive and never been downtown at bar break or you have been there too many times and been part of the problem and are upset the cops ruin your fun.
You know there are other cops in other parts of Lincoln doing other things. Not everyone of us is on O st. The cops are just trying to do their job and keep people safe.
Try walking in the shoes of an officer. Maybe educate yourself and go on a ridealong at bar break. Then you too can act tuff.

Anonymous said...

To 11:52 am,
The cops were there because it was fight night downtown. They were called there- I guess they could have tried to find parking in the parking garage, but I don't think the guy getting pummeled would appreciate the extra 2-4 minutes of thrashing while they try and find a parking spot.... Use your head.

Anonymous said...

Hey anonymous 1152
You said you drove by at 1215? Well you should have stuck around till 1:00am. That is bar break and the time when we all gather round, hold hands and sing "Season's in the sun". I guess we could incorporate some puddy knives in there and scrape some gum off the sidewalks just before we break into our "Grease lightning" song and dance on the hood of our cruiser. Then we always top off the night with a little footloose.
You want to see some cops acting tuff then come on down and watch our show. Ohh by the way, don't tell this to our command staff. They think were trying to prevent fights and other crimes from happening.

Anonymous said...

Pirate Gold Nugget Gum. A nutritious treasure trove for any young pirate! There are nuggets of fruit-flavored bubble gum in each 2-oz. bag. This bounty makes great birthday treats and goody bags. Fat-free.
IN-5/1212
Pirate Gold Nugget Gum
$14.99 Per Dozen

Email me for the link.
bbrk

Anonymous said...

That's Mr. Gum to you buddy.

JIM J said...

SE
B
108
DISTURBANCE OTHER
0959 10-14-2008
3200 BLOCK PIONEERS BLVD
A8-103336

LAID ON FLOOR, WOULD NOT PARTICIPATE IN THERAPY SESSION


LINCOLN BEHAVORIAL HLTH CLINIC
3201 #202 PIONEERS BLVD LINCOLN, NE

How did I do? I found all this "edited information" by one omission you had done. Want to know? Hint, I decoded the pic on the post. Now that is radio jargon. "decoded" phew

You can view more detailed information on my blog. Gee the stuff we dummies' can find out with out all the service desk hassles. And notice the spelling (BEHAVORIAL)from the County Assessors web site.

Tammy said...

I have to say, I never had a wish to be a police officer, but I'd certainly NOT want to be one today. The utter crap officers put up with would probably send me over the edge. I commend you all for keeping your cool in some pretty strange circumstances. If (supposed) trained professionals resort to this kind of thing, we really are in some big trouble.

Anonymous said...

Come on tuff guys, let them beat the crap out of each other, that's the only way they'll learn. They'll just catch up to each other some place else, where there's no cops and kick the crap out of each other. How many other cities have cops standing at the door when the bars close, watching the customers come out?
anon 7:30 Better yet, let's just outlaw bars in this redneck town. In fact let's outlaw alcohol.
Better not. What would all those Huskers fans drink?

Anonymous said...

Tammy, I hope you realize I was being sarcastic with the singing and dancing. The posters who like to slam what we do cracks me up and they think that we aren't doing anything even when we are standing there looking like were not doing anything. It's called officer presence and it works.

Anonymous said...

Yeah anon 5:30, let's let them beat the crap out of each other then spend all of our time working the assaults and going to court.

JIM J said...

TO October 20, 2008 6:53 PM

Officer presence. Remember behind the uniform is a person, a human like you and me. So it is not the person standing. It is the uniform that is the presence. Some people in cities that have a travel lane for carpool only, use a Mannequin. I have one and it works good, talks little, and does not need to stop and use the toilet on long trips. The down side is that intimacy is lacking and I never get a hug. The drive through is a bit cheaper though. I even got stopeed in Omaha because of no seat belt on the dummy. I did get a "have a nice day" from the pants and shirt.

Anonymous said...

All bars are not created equal. For example, you never saw many drunken brawls in front of the Library Lounge. I always liked that relaxed, little watering hole.

Anonymous said...

Take a look at UNLPD incident 08004612. I'd own a bike like that, but I'd probably have a solid but cheap campus commuter bike to park at school.

08004612 Mon, 13 Oct 2008 13:24:00 CST Smith Hall LARCENY - STOLEN BIKE $2,220.00 $0.00 Active Bike and lock taken from bike rack by Smith Hall, $2,220 loss.

Anonymous said...

@jim j

'Some people in cities that have a travel lane for carpool only, use a Mannequin.....The down side is that intimacy is lacking and I never get a hug.'

A friend told me they sell 'Mannequins' at Dr. Johns that you can give a hug and show some intimacy to. They have a surprised look on their face in case you get stopped by OPD.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jim J
Your wrong. Officer presence is in our use of force and it includes the person and the uniform. I think if we just threw a uniform on the street or a mannequin in a uniform out on O st it wouldn't do much good. I would love to see the mannequinn break up a fight. Yes it is the uniform that people see that tells them if they start some idiotic behavior they will get in trouble. It's the person in the uniform that will act on that behvior. And just for your information, I was a college kid many years ago and I didn't go out to the bars. I studied my A$$ off and had responsibilies. A vast majority of college kids are responsible citizens. The ones at bar break are the ones that will probably not last long and either quit or fail out of school.
Oh and I highly doubt you got stopped just for a seat belt violation as well. Every cop fresh out of the academy knows we can't do that.

Tom Casady said...

11:36

I'm with you: all Shimano Dura-Ace road bike is for serious training, daily commuter for class. Same principal with your 2008 BMW M3 ragtop and your 1973 Dodge pickup (I wish.)

JIM J said...

Wow, talk about stretching the point. Never, never use the word
Mannequin in a paragraph about police. The point was that the uniform is the initial prevention (use of force?) and I assumed that readers would be smart enough to decipher the action would be taken by a person and not a Mannequin.
I posted the following.
"Officer presence. Remember behind the uniform is a person, a human like you and me. So it is not the person standing. It is the uniform that is the presence"

I guess the reader lost some sleep over the college part in a previous post. This shows why a verbatim deposition is never the same when it gets to court. The odds on favorite here is that this poster is a new recruit.

JIM J said...

To October 21, 2008 12:30 PM

You have a friend that hangs out at Dr Johns? Is that the place that sells all the sex stuff?
I personally never have gone to that store. If I need to hug a piece of cast plaster that looks like a human I have the Mannequin on my passenger seat. I was making the point that the Mannequin does not give hugs, and not that Police never do, or am I missing something? Also I did not have to blow it up with air, though I have plenty if I need to use it. It came inside a casket that my trash packing Uncle brought home from the dump many years ago. Up until this posting I never really thought of it as a presence. But, I guess, it could serve as a presence if a prowler would peek in the car late at night and see the NSP hat that it has on. Also I have redone the makeup and eye shadow and lip stick. I used red car paint. Some people I know use it as it lasts longer and will not smear. I am open to name suggestions for the Mannequin. This could get interesting. Please no pirate names.

Anonymous said...

Jim J's mannequin looks like she was a former Officer. The burnout is evident at first glance. Could she be used in the 13 and E area for a sting later? I could see the headline now. "Jon offers dummy money, while Officer looks on"
Great job posting the pic.

ARRRRG!!!! said...

I bet my mannequin could beat up Jim J's mannequin. The eyebrows wouldn't be as bushy.

I remember when Capt. Wilhelm used to have us park a blue and white on south 9th or 10th with a mannequin in the front seat in uniform to make people think it was a cop running RADAR.

Don't drink and drive.