August 17, 2014

So…Where Is It?

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 4:16 pm

1424 E. Sherman-sized

At its June 17, 2014, regularly scheduled meeting, the Coeur d’Alene City Council approved a five year lease (see item 10 on the Consent Calendar) for space at 1424 E. Sherman Avenue in Coeur d’Alene.  The space is to be a police substation.  We first reported on this proposal in our May 31 OpenCdA post entitled Coeur d’Alene Proposes (Another) Police Substation.  Also approved was a five-year contract for fiberoptic service to that substation.

The online packet for the June 17 Council meeting included a draft of the relevant agreements including lease (see packet pages 35-55/118).  According to the lease for the office space, the lease was to commence on July 1, 2014.

On August 15, 2014, we did a drive-by of the address and saw no signage anywhere indicating that the police substation which the City began renting on July 1 was open for business.  The existing all-tenants signage (visible in the lower right corner of the photo) makes no mention of the police department, and the proposed 4′ x 8′ police department sign has not been installed. There’s nothing to indicate that it is a police substation that is open for business to the public.

So when is the highly-touted Coeur d’Alene Police Department substation at 1424 E. Sherman Avenue going to be open to fight crime in the big city?

August 15, 2014

In Dribs and Drabs…

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , , — Bill @ 10:22 am

Investigations-FactsAnd from today’s Coeur d’Alene Press story headlined No recording of Arfee shooting, we learn that the Coeur d’Alene police officer who shot and killed Arfee the dog inside a lawfully parked van on July 9 had not activated his body-worn camera when he handled a suspicious vehicle call in downtown Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

The skewspaper article said, “Coeur d’Alene Police Sgt. Christie Wood confirmed that the camera worn by the officer was not recording at the time. [...] ‘I really can’t (comment) because that would go right to the heart of the personnel matter,’ Wood said.”

So contrary to the earlier and repeated assurances from Mayor Steve Widmyer and acting Police Chief Ron Clark that the results of the investigation would be released only after review by the City and by an impartial third party, we now have the police department’s public information officer giving out information from inside the investigation. (more…)

August 13, 2014

Investigation? Or Public Relations?

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , — Bill @ 2:40 pm

Investigations-FactsToday’s Coeur d’Alene Press skewspaper story concerning the Arfee saga is headlined Arfee inquiry nearly done.

The article included two photos, both claiming to show Coeur d’Alene Police Department Lieutenant Turner making measurements on Craig Jones’ van in which his dog, Arfee, was shot by a Coeur d’Alene Police Department officer.

OpenCdA urges our readers to  read today’s newspaper article and carefully examine the photos.

From our perspective, the article and photos raises the question:  Is the City of Coeur d’Alene diligently investigating the Arfee shooting or is it engaging in theatrical public relations?  (more…)

August 4, 2014

Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 4:30 pm


The infection of two American medical aid workers in Liberia with the ebola virus has attracted considerable attention, in part because the two workers have been treated with an experimental drug not yet approved by the FDA for use on humans.

The ebola virus is one of the group of viral hemorrhagic fevers according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The current ebola outbreak in west Africa is now the largest in recorded history.  Here is a Q&A about the outbreak.


August 1, 2014

Wait for the Report — Please

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , , — Bill @ 9:04 am

Investigations-FactsAgain today the Coeur d’Alene Press skewspaper has run letters to its editor from citizens who believe the Coeur d’Alene police officer who shot Arfee the dog on July 9 should be disarmed.

OpenCdA has put up several posts about the incident.

As we’ve said before, we believe it is imperative that the officer not be prematurely judged.   That is more than just trying to be fair to the officer.   Shooting and killing Arfee the dog has certainly pointed out some very serious issues that the Police Department should be studying and addressing. (more…)

July 28, 2014

Mary Souza’s Newsletter: Who Is In Charge? — July 27, 2014

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 6:43 am

Souza Newsletter 07-27-14 pix

Mary Souza’s Newsletter

July 27, 2014

Who Is In Charge? (more…)

July 26, 2014

Deception By Omission

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , , — Bill @ 11:05 am

WriteToldMore and more it appears to OpenCdA that  the Coeur d’Alene Press newspaper is intentionally withholding important information about the shooting of Arfee the dog by a Coeur d’Alene police officer.

A line from The Spokesman-Review article dated July 25, 2014, and headlined Coeur d’Alene officers must view videos on encountering dogs reads, “Wood said the officer’s body camera was not in use during the confrontation with the dog.”  Wood is Sergeant Christie Wood, the Coeur d’Alene Police Department’s public information officer.

The Spokesman-Review’s article was picked up by the Associated Press and reported in the online Idaho Statesman, a Boise newspaper, in this article dated July 25, 2014, and headlined N. Idaho police to get training on dog encounters.   The Statesman’s article reads, “Sgt. Christie Wood, police spokeswoman, said the officer’s body camera wasn’t on at the time.”

Going back through the Coeur d’Alene Press online stories about the dog’s shooting, OpenCdA has been unable to find any Press reporting of that very newsworthy piece of information.

Why did The Spokesman-Review and the Idaho Statesman report the information but our own local newspaper,  the Coeur d’Alene Press, did not?  It was an important and very newsworthy revelation by the Coeur d’Alene Police Department’s public information officer, and it should have been reported in the local newspaper story.  Why wasn’t this reported?  What else is the Press willing to hide from its readers?

We also question why the Police Department released this piece of information now.  It is clearly a product of the internal investigation, and the City has assured its citizens that the results of the investigation will be made public after it has been reviewed by City managers and a third party.   Who authorized the release of the information attributed to Sergeant Wood?

July 25, 2014

What We Left Out …

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , — Bill @ 7:16 am

ALARCONOpenCdA left out something very relevant from yesterday’s post reporting the conviction of former Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon and his wife on charges of voter fraud and perjury.  Thanks to alert reader and commenter Susie Snedaker for bringing the omission to our attention in her comment yesterday.

We agree with Susie:  The Los Angeles Times editorial posted online on July 23, 2014, and titled Alarcon prosecution sends the right message to other politicians, DAs is well worth reading.  Carefully.

The Times editorial board clearly gets it.  As they said in their editorial, “…, residency is in most cases a pretty good proxy for engagement with and knowledge of a district, and there is value in having a member of a community represent that community in government.”

We also completely agree with the Times editorial observation that, “The L.A. County district attorney’s office seems to be the only prosecutor in the state willing to bring these types of public integrity cases, and that’s a shame.”  Yes, it is a shame that is not limited to prosecutors in California.

But the Times editorial board saved its strongest point for last.  “The residency requirement is not a technicality; it’s a core tenet of our democratic system enshrined in the law. No politician should gain an advantage by lying, and no prosecutor should ignore evidence of voter fraud.”  To that we would add that no prosecutor and no judge is worthy of their position or the public’s trust and confidence if they ignore evidence of voter fraud and perjury.

Thankfully the Los Angeles County District Attorney, his Deputy DAs, and his Public Integrity Division take their sworn duties seriously.  We wish they would come visit Idaho.  Maybe some of that would rub off on prosecutors and judges here.

July 24, 2014

Guilty — Of the Crime That Doesn’t Exist…

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , — Bill @ 8:31 am

ALARCONFormer Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon and his wife were convicted of voter fraud and perjury in Los Angeles Superior Court Wednesday.  Alarcon and his wife had lied about where he actually lived so he would be eligible to run for a particular Los Angeles City Council seat.  He and his wife both lied under oath in furtherance of his illegal candidacy.

Alarcon is not the first California official to be convicted of voter fraud in recent history.   In January 2014 State Senator Roderick Wright was convicted of voter fraud and perjury for lying about his residence so he could run for the state senate.

Fortunately for the citizens of Los Angeles County, they have a Prosecuting Attorney who takes public corruption seriously enough to have a Public Integrity Division in his office.   Here is more but somewhat dated information about the Division and a sampling of cases it has prosecuted.

There are many people who deny the existence of voter fraud.   It’s fair to say that many of the deniers are those who choose to engage in fraud as candidates or encourage it as lazy or incompetent county clerks and  secretaries of state as well as politically-directed prosecutors and state attorneys general.

As the State of California and Los Angeles County in particular have shown, they pursue voter fraud rather than deny it exists.

July 21, 2014

Don’t Start Construction Yet…

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , — Bill @ 9:23 am

gallowsJudging from the comments we’re hearing and reading, it sounds as if a lot of people in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and surrounding communities are starting to build a virtual gallows to end the professional career of the Coeur d’Alene police officer who shot Arfee the dog in the parking lot next to Java on Sherman on July 9 in  downtown Coeur d’Alene.

OpenCdA thinks calling for the officer’s dismissal is premature.

As we pointed out in our July 11, 2014, post entitled Careless Composition or Intentional Deception?, there was a very substantial amount of evidence available at the scene and associated with the incident.  That evidence, properly identified, collected, and preserved, would have given a much clearer and more complete picture of not only what happened but why it happened.

But now we learn from the Sunday, July 21 Coeur d’Alene Press article headlined ‘Critical incident’ protocol not followed in dog shooting that some of the perishable contemporaneous evidence was not collected.  Thus the “complete and thorough” internal investigation promised by acting Police Chief Ron Clark is a factual impossibility.

Rather than answering questions, Sunday’s Press article raises others.

The discretionary decision to invoke or not invoke the critical incident protocol was made by whom?  That is not a decision made by the officer who fired the shot.  Who in the Department had the authority to make that decision, and who actually made it on July 9?  At what time on July 9 was the decision made?  It had to have been made very quickly, probably within minutes of the shooting, so the necessary steps could be taken to identify and protect the scene and the evidence associated with it — or abandon the scene quickly as apparently happened in this incident.

Sunday’s Press article extensively quoted John Parmann, Idaho Peace Officer Standards and Training’s Region 1 Training Coordinator.  According to the article, Parmann said, “Credibility is important in this whole thing.   I don’t know what happened out there. I’m relying on a very thorough and objective investigation to find out what happened.”  He also said, “If corrections need to be made in procedures, that will be done.  It’s a learning opportunity for everyone, the public, agency heads and the people who train the officers and supervise the officers. Everybody has the opportunity to learn from this.”

Well, maybe.  There can’t and won’t be a “very thorough and objective investigation to find out what happened” because someone (certainly not the officer who fired the shot) determined there would not be one.  Oh, there will be an investigation, but it will not be thorough –  it can’t be now.  The Coeur d’Alene Police Department abandoned the incident scene before much of the evidence could be identified and preserved.   That was not the fault of the officer who fired the shot.

OpenCdA understands the public’s anger and frustration.

But we conclude by restating what we said in our July 11 OpenCdA post:  The officer who fired the shot did not act in a vacuum.  The action he took on July 9 was a function of the training and supervision he had received up to the moment he pulled the trigger.  To the extent his actions were provably contrary to that training and supervision and departmental policies and practices, he was culpable.  However, to the extent his actions were a function of incomplete and conflicting training and supervision as well as unclear or imprecise policies and practices, his culpability is shared equally by several above him including his field supervisor and watch commander, the department’s training officer, the department’s command staff, the chief, the Mayor and City Council, and the Idaho Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training.


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