Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Heartbreaking Farewell

This photo packs an emotional wallop.  It shows police officers lined up outside the Saint Francis Veterinary Center in southern New Jersey last Friday to give a ceremonial hero's farewell to a retired K-9 dog.  The dog, named Judge, was put down due to unbearable medical complications.

K-9 Judge was an officer with the West Deptford Police Department, where he served for more than seven years.  During that time he was deployed over 280 times in situations such as drug detection, tracking, and apprehension of suspects.  He is credited with contributing to the arrest of 152 suspects for criminal offenses, as well as for countless numbers of positive interactions with children and adult members of the community.

Corporal Michael Franks, the dog’s partner and handler, was quoted as saying "Though Judge was extremely lethargic and could barely walk the days before the ceremony, he was able to bite onto his favorite protective decoy arm sleeve used in training and carry it into the hospital."

Franks and Judge's vet made the decision to lay Judge to rest because he was suffering so much due to complications stemming from Cushings Disease, which he developed last year.

According to the Saint Francis Veterinary Center, the tribute to K-9 Judge included at least 70 officers from departments across South Jersey, as well as civilian well-wishers and the Veterinary Center staff.

Here at the Badge Company of New Jersey we are animal lovers.  Man’s Best Friend is no idle cliche.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Out of His Pocket, III

It has happened again!

This is the third story of this type we have shared in recent months.  The first was about an officer in Michigan who, instead of writing a ticket for a child not secured in a car seat, bought the young mother a car seat with his own funds.  The second was about an officer in Alabama who, instead of arresting a woman who was attempting to steal eggs for her young children, bought the eggs for her.

Now this.

In London, Kentucky, last month, a police officer did not arrest a suspected shoplifter.  Instead, the officer reached in to his own pocket and paid for what the shoplifter was trying to steal.

On January 17, Officer Justin Roby was called to the Kroger store after an employee stopped a man who was shoplifting.  The suspect was a single father who had fallen on hard times, according to Roby.  The man was caught stealing baby formula for his six-month-old son, who was with him at the time.

The store's loss prevention officer told Roby he did not want to press charges, and Roby not only agreed, he then bought some formula for the man.

Three similar stories reaching us in a relatively brief span.  Which means that it is likely happening even more often than we know.  Each time, each officer reaching in to his own pocket to help someone.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

A Killer Tells the Truth

Accused cop-killer Luis Enrique Monroy Bracamontes appeared in a Sacramento, California, courtroom this week for what was supposed to be a brief and routine case status conference.  But instead of sitting quietly at the defense table, Bracamontes stunned those in attendance by declaring, "I'm guilty. I killed those cops. I want the execution. I'm guilty."

Actually, his exact words vary depending on which news outlet is reporting them, but the meaning is unambiguous.

The circumstances under which Bracamontes made his outburst mean that it is not a formal plea, so all it does is complicate matters.  The case was already complicated by Bracamontes' status as a twice-deported illegal with a long criminal history who was back in the US illegally at the time of the killings. 

At least one legal expert has offered the opinion that the remarks have now turned everyone in the courtroom into potential prosecution witnesses and also may have strengthened the expected defense effort to have the case moved out of Sacramento. Unless Bracamontes is successful at entering a formal plea of guilty -- something his attorneys are not yet prepared to allow him to do -- a lengthy trial is likely.

The prosecution is reportedly seeking the death penalty, which in this instance reminded us of a comment made by the mayor of a small New Jersey city many years ago, when an unrepentant thug was arrested for a killing.  “We’ll spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a trial and prison,” this mayor said.  “But a piece of rope is only eight dollars.”

Sketch courtesy of KCRA

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Top-Selling Police Car Is...

Now that the Ford Crown Victoria has gone off to retirement, what is the most popular new police vehicle?  Is it the Dodge Charger Pursuit?  The police-only Chevy Caprice?  Or Ford’s own Taurus-based Interceptor Sedan?

It’s none of the above.  The general public has switched to SUVs in large numbers, and now police agencies are following suit.  Dodge offers a Durango for police use, and the Chevy Tahoe is performing law enforcement duties, but Ford’s Explorer-based “Police Interceptor Utility” is today the country’s top-selling patrol vehicle.

Ford hopes to maintain that sales lead when a redesigned version, to be based on the 2016 Explorer that was introduced at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November, comes to market.

We’ll admit, we were skeptical that patrol officers would embrace Ford’s replacement for the highly-regarded Crown Vic, and we expected the top seller to become one of the other manufacturer’s rear-drive sedans.  And if an SUV were to rise to the top of the heap, we would have guessed that it would be the body-on-frame Tahoe, not the unibody Explorer.

Among the users of the Police Interceptor Utility is the California Highway Patrol, nationally known since the days of Broderick Crawford’s big Buick sedan.  Times are ever changing – even if the color scheme has not.