Culture Change and Digital Technology: The NYPD under Commissioner William Bratton, 2014-2016

An insightful look into police use of digital technology – Big thanks to Susan Crawford for allowing me to be a part of it!

Culture Change and Digital Technology: The NYPD under Commissioner William Bratton, 2014-2016

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Letter: Recent editorial cartoon fuels divisive agenda

You lost all credibility in choosing to publish the editorial cartoon on Sunday, Nov. 8. Pushing the black lives matter vitriol only serves to further an agenda of racial divide on which people like Singer make their living. The cartoon not only suggests, wrongly, that the police target blacks, but that the officers who keep our communities safe are not themselves a diverse group of all backgrounds. In fact, so is the group of officers who have been killed while serving the neighborhoods that need every hand they can get to curb violence: largely neighborhoods of color.

The cartoonist and others would do well to take a post in these very communities where there are pervasive problems with crime and violence. Where black lives seem not to matter to other black lives. How cute that you include a graphic that lists a handful of alleged victims of police brutality and deaths in police custody which race-baiters have used to create a picture of a police-led war on minority communities. The upsetting reality is that the names of young minority lives lost at the hands of members of their very own neighborhoods and the names of police officers murdered by people of all colors are far too many for me to list with any chance of seeing this letter published. You should be ashamed.

Paul Grattan Jr.

Letter as published in the Times Herald Record, November 14, 2015

Letter: Recent editorial cartoon fuels divisive agenda

A thought on the nobility of policing

We are rightly critical of journalists and members of the public who misrepresent the work that we do as police officers.

Do we not therefore owe it to ourselves to be equally critical of fellow police officers who, by their actions, misrepresent the work we do?

Internal integrity is just as important as controlling misinformation. 

Coincidence?

Sometimes you come across the damnedest coincidence.  Today while riding the train I ran into a young lady who, several years ago while at college, had a frightening accident.  While biking down a steep hill, she rounded a curve and crashed head-on into a man riding a golf cart up the same side of the road.  That’s right, a guy in a golf cart.  She went flying, landed on her head, and was knocked unconscious.  She suffered a large cut to her head and lost most of her front teeth – in addition to sustaining a concussion (I’m not exactly sure what that is, but think it’s like an accident-hangover).  Her teeth were replaced with some sort of implant/veneer things.  They look fine.  Anyway, when she returned to her college campus she had trouble getting around from building to building – something to do with the post-surgery head pain that became worse as she walked.  So what did the school do to help her?  They gave her a golf cart.

That’s awesome.  There’s nothing else to the story – it’s just funny. No?  I think so.

How many Silver Alerts does a man need?

Don’t let previous blog posts or commentary about the in-laws fool you, I love old folks just as much as the next guy.  They’re like cute, lovable, excessively wrinkly babies – except they need a special lift to get into bed.

And just like kids, they wander.  I don’t mind looking for them either.  But every time I drive through New Jersey I see the same damn Silver Alert for this missing old fart.  How many times do we have to look for the same gray 1993 Pontiac before someone just hides the keys from this coffin-dodger?  I mean c’mon – it seems like each time they wrangle him and bring him back home he just jumps in his car again and heads for the Jersey Turnpike.  Stop putting out the all-points bulletin. The man likes to step out – who are we to stop him?

They have Amber Alerts for kids – no argument here.  But creepy men in vans are not scooping up geezers from playgrounds.  So can we please do without the state-wide manhunt?  I should think if this old bag made it to the century mark without incident that we could probably look the other way on his midnight joyrides.  If you must restrict him, just disconnect the battery to his car –  at least you’d find him napping with his head on the horn in the comfort of his own garage rather than in a Denny’s parking lot in Delaware.

I’ll tell you right now – if I see this guy out and about I’m pulling up next to him, rolling down the window, and shouting “rock on you old blue-hair you!”  I think four generations on God’s green earth earns you the right to take to the highway without looking back.

Glitter allergy

When contemplating fatherhood (read: when your wife tells you she’s pregnant), you expect certain hurdles. You hear things like “good luck getting any sleep” and “if I ever see another dirty diaper again…” These things are hardly surprising, but there are some things that sneak up on you.  They’re not in any book, and most parents don’t seem to put them on the priority list when griping about their own offspring.  So here’s one: the damn glitter is enough to drive you nuts.  I’m not kidding – it actually bothers me, and enough to write about it on an otherwise fine Saturday evening.

When it comes to parenting, most of the basics are summed up in any normal conversation with a parent or a what-to-expect-when-you’re-expecting book.  For example, it wasn’t a total surprise when, after bathing my oldest daughter and getting her all dry and laying out her jammies she stops, smiles, and proceeds to piss a stream clear across the room.  You go into it thinking you’re fairly well prepared for all the crazy things that children bring on.

Not glitter though.

Maybe it’s just my compulsiveness.  It’s bad enough I’m forced to have other people in my house – like the wife, kids, and water treatment system maintenance guy.  Not to mention they touch things and move stuff and even use the bathroom (not so much the water treatment fella – he comes and goes).

Little known fact: glitter is permanent.  It’s like the Sharpie marker of the confetti family.  You can barely see it – in fact I’m pretty sure it’s microscopic – I think the only thing you see is the reflection off of it.  Forget about sweeping it up – it laughs at brooms as it slithers its way through the bristles to remain where your little rug rat put it.  And any single bit of glitter (a glit?) that does get caught in the broom long enough to make its way toward the dust pan just slides right underneath it.  So go ahead and put your finger on the glit – think you can pick it up?  Nope.  Doesn’t stick.  Now lick your finger and try it.  I’m serious, you know that’s the next thing you want to try – go ahead – do it.  Still doesn’t work. Glitter only sticks to stuff you don’t want it to.  It’s in it’s DNA.

Try the vacuum you say?  You’re so silly.  You may as well play the dust pan game.  The vacuum wind at the heart of the vacuum suctioning process is not nearly enough to catch glitter and bring it along for the ride.  Glitter is immune to high wind speeds.  And don’t forget the microscopicity (new word) of glitter like I said – if the vacuum does catch it, it will just go through the filter and be shot across the room and land on the already glittery sofa.

I’m sure it’s impossible to ban the stuff too.  First of all, kids will be kids – and glitter is part of the program.  Secondly, it’s everywhere.  Forget about kids for a second – you buy an anniversary card for the missus and there’s glitter in there.  Hallmark has a piece of the action, so it’s not going anywhere.

So this rant really isn’t about solving this problem, it’s about petitioning to add glitter to the list of things-to-expect-when-you’re-expecting.  Give everyone a fair heads-up, that’s all I’m asking for.