Category Archives: Police

Federal Lawsuit filed against Mt. Juliet’s Red Light Camera Company

Story from website www.thenewspaper.com:

“Arizona: Racketeering Suit Filed Against Speed Cameras
Politicians, judges and speed camera employees in Tempe, Arizona face a federal RICO lawsuit.”

“A motorist is using federal anti-racketeering statutes to go after the red light camera and speed camera program in Tempe, Arizona. Dan Gutenkauf filed his complaint last week in the US District Court for the District of Arizona and happened to land the same judge, Frederick J Martone, who presided over the recent American Traffic Solutions (ATS) vs. Redflex case which is currently under appeal. The suit names Redflex employees, police officials, politicians and judges as defendants.”

click through to read the full text of the article. . .

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Why Mt. Juliet still doesn’t need any more police officers

The City Manager and the Police Chief continue to beat the drum for hiring more police officers. In a story in the Tennessean’s Wilson A.M. section on 9/23/2009 they tried their best to build support for increasing the Mt. Juliet Police Department.

“We are the smallest state per capita police department,” Robertson said. “We don’t have enough police officers.” “A city the size of Mt. Juliet should ahve 70-75 officers,” Robertson said.

Those statements are laughable and only make sense if you believe that the crime rate in Mt. Juliet is the same as inner city Nashville, the Lebanon public housing projects, or Detroit. (You can review comparative crime stats and analysis here).

The truth is, of course, that it’s not. In fact, the same Wilson AM story reported that crime in Mt. Juliet is down by 12 percent from the previous year. If Mt. Juliet’s crime rate is decreasing, how can it be true at the same time that the Police Department is too small?

Robertson and Chief Garrett point to an increase of 67% in “calls for service,” but even this, by itself doesn’t prove the need for more officers. If an eight hour shift of officers handled 10 calls a shift last year, and now they’re handling 16 calls a shift, then calls for service are up 67%. But that doesn’t mean you have to hire new officers. They still might not be at capacity.

If Mt. Juliet did have 70-75 officers (that would be about 67% more than the 43 they have now) they might write a lot more tickets for city court, but there’s very little prospect that the 32 new officers would make much difference in the already low crime rate in Mt. Juliet, which, despite the population growth and the opening of new retail centers, has been going down.

First rule of sociology: Every organization or department wants to grow. And police officers (like firemen or building inspectors) always want you to hire more police officers. Ocassionally they’re right. But they can hardly be expected to be objective about it.

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Mt. Juliet City Judge resigned via email over the weekend

Story up on The Tennessean website.

There have been a series of disputes between the police department, the City Commission, and the City Judge.

Recently, Judge Grauberger had dismissed citations issued to realtors for violating the new sign ordinance. Apparently the sign ordinance says violators must be given 10 days notice before a citation can be issued. The codes department was unable to show that they had provided 10 days notice, so the judge dismissed the citations.

Might or might not be related to the Judge’s resignation.

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Why Mt. Juliet does not need additional police officers

mj-policeThere have been several newspaper stories over the past few months and a recent editorial in the Mt. Juliet News referred to the “fact” that “the department is woefully undermanned when compared to a nationally recognized recommended average of manpower. ”

Problem is, there is no nationally recommended average of manpower.

And comparing the ratio of officers to population in Lebanon and Mt. Juliet is misleading in the extreme.

It assumes that there is some “one size fits all” easy formula to determine the size of a local police force.

There isn’t. And for a very simple, and logical reason. Local communities vary quite widely. The number of police officers per 1,000 population in New York City will be vastly different than the number of police officers per 1,000 population in Brentwood, Tennessee. And neither of them will be wrong.

It takes a bit more research to make sense of the numbers, but not all that much.

Thankfully, for the past eight years the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has been compiling crime statistics for every city and county in Tennessee. And it’s available online here: http://www.tbi.state.tn.us/divisions/isd_csu_sac.htm

There’s also an online statistical center where you can retrieve the data in a variety of interesting ways: http://www.tncrimeonline.com/.

To evaluate a local community’s need for police officers, the first and most important statistic is the crime rate.

According to the TBI, there were 618,998 crimes reported in 2008 in the state of Tennessee. With a population of 6.15 million, the crime rate for the state is 100.54 crimes per 1,000 population. It’s even more interesting if one examines the data for local jurisdictions. You can look at the full report by clicking here: 2008 Crime rate.pdf

The crime rate in Memphis is 191.49, or almost twice the state average.

In Nashville, it’s 148.05, or about 50% above the state average.

Lebanon’s rate is 143.43 crimes per 1,000 pop – almost the same as Nashville.

LaVergne’s rate is 81.03 or about 20% below the state average.

Wilson County’s rate is 77.58.

Brentwood’s rate is 28.38.

Why in the world would anyone assume that Brentwood should have the same number of police officers per 1,000 pop as Memphis? Memphis’ crime rate is more than 6 times higher than Brentwood’s.

And Mt. Juliet?

Mt. Juliet’s crime rate is 65.98 crimes per 1,000 pop. That’s less than half the crime rate in Lebanon. Logically, if both cities have populations of 25,000 Lebanon will need twice the police officers as Mt. Juliet. Which is about the size ratio of the two departments.

Mt. Juliet is NOT “woefully undermanned.” Mt. Juliet does NOT need to add any police officers.

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