postheadericon State Senator Tochtrop refuses to endorse Judy Solano, leaves office with head held high

Judy Solano and her husband Manny will be attempting to re-join the Adams Family in November.  Voter beware!

Judy Solano and her husband Manny will be attempting to re-join the Adams Family in November. Voter beware!

Colorado State Senator Lois Tochtrop is preparing to ride off into the sunset after a distinguished career in the legislature.  Ever the maverick, Tochtrop said that she will not be endorsing the Democrat chosen to run for her soon-to-be-vacant seat, Judy Solano.

The fight for Senate District 24 is going to be one of the most contentious in the coming election.  The race pits Thornton City Councilmember Beth Martinez Humenik against former State Representative Judy Solano.

Martinez Humenik has served seven years on council but done little to distinguish herself (beyond lengthy, boring commentary at council meetings).  I am a Thornton resident and also reside in her ward and I can say from firsthand experience, her time in office has been disappointing.

[Hate email from Republican Party faithful begins arriving in my inbox in 5….4….3….2….1….]

Solano, well, so much could be, has been and will be said about the far left old guard representative from Adams County.  She is deeply entrenched with the Adams Family, best friend to unions and special interests, always willing to ignore the best interest of those who elected her and arguably the farthest left elected official ever in the county (and that says a lot!).

Tochtrop’s assessment of the two candidates is likely not all that different from mine.  By choosing not to endorse Solano, with one last act Tochtrop showcased her independent streak and delivered a massive slap down of the Adams County Democrats.

Adams County residents deserve a state senator that will represent them, not walk lock-step with whatever party the person is from.  Solano is not that person.

To Solano and Martinez Humenik I would paraphrase some words from an infamous vice presidential debate: “I know Lois Tochtrop.  Tochtrop is a friend of mine.  You’re no Lois Tochtrop.”

Since 1998, Tochtrop has been a voice of reason in the State House and then the State Senate.  A true champion of the people, she fought tooth and nail for what was right, even when it meant bucking her own party.

She repudiated leftists that sought to turn Colorado into a nanny state and battled the extreme right when they tried to reach too far the other way.  Her eye was always on what was best for her constituents, no matter the political cost, and for that reason, she has garnered praise – and disdain – from both sides of the aisle.

I for one have more respect for Lois Tochtrop than for any other elected official in the state.  We did not agree on every issue but the way she represented the people was worthy of admiration.

It is for those reasons that I bucked my own party (and took a lot of heat for it in the process) and wholeheartedly endorsed her for reelection in 2010.  At that time I said she was “a woman of unquestionable integrity.”  She was then, she is now.

Adams County, Colorado and this nation would be far, far better places if there were more elected officials like her.

 

postheadericon Epic fail: Gun grabbers’ latest effort portrays women as weak, helpless; makes case for gun ownership

What's a woman to do when an ex-husband tries to harm her and take her child?  Gun grabbers think screaming and calling 9-11 is the answer. (YouTube / Everytown for Gun Safety)

What’s a woman to do when an ex-husband tries to harm her and take her child? Gun grabbers think screaming and calling 9-11 is the answer. (YouTube / Everytown for Gun Safety)

It is a horrific scenario for a woman at home with only her young child.  The ex-husband beats on the door and bursts inside trying to take the kid.

What is a woman to do?

Apparently call 9-11 and hope that the police somehow transport themselves to her house in seconds to save her and her child.

At least that is what Michael Bloomberg’s gun grabbing “Everytown for Gun Safety” thinks they should do.  Their latest ad – watch below – uses such a frightening situation to push for more gun legislation.

Despite their efforts, the group’s latest ad makes a strong case for gun ownership and vividly portrays how when properly wielded, lives could be saved.

The woman tells the 9-11 operator that there is a restraining order against the man.  Yet clearly, the law and the piece of paper are helpless to save the woman.

If the restraining order isn’t going to keep the man away, what good will another gun law do?  Is someone that disregards one law going to abide by another?  Not likely.

The anti-gun video highlights exactly how citizens can protect themselves and their loved ones.  Had this fictional woman sought training and obtained a firearm, she could have saved herself and her child.

Despite the Bloomberg scenario, the woman does not have to be helpless.  No woman needs to be helpless.

Yes, guns should be kept out of the hands of domestic abusers, however that is not the real point behind Everytown.  Their goal is the complete and total elimination of private gun ownership in the United States.

Unable to accomplish that in one fell swoop, they chip away at the Second Amendment piece by piece.  It would appear they are perfectly willing to use women as pawns in their game.

A far better model for women to follow would be in a dramatic but amusing ad by Glock featuring the Gunny.  Watch it below the gun grabber ad.

postheadericon No real winners in outcome of Ventura versus Kyle

The case pitting Chris Kyle and Jesse Ventura against each other had no real winners.

The case pitting Chris Kyle and Jesse Ventura against each other had no real winners.

Like many veterans, I was watching with great interest the court case that pitted former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura against famed Navy SEAL Chris Kyle’s estate.  Ventura won the case yesterday but in my opinion, both men’s images came out as the losers.

It is a pretty tough call on how to evaluate the entire situation – it is sad that it came to the court at all.

I lean a bit more sympathetically toward Ventura than most. By most accounts, the story Kyle told was not true; or at least did not happen as it came to be known.

I suspect it was much as Ventura said in an interview on CBS this morning (below) – it was a sea story that became “truth.” The unassuming Kyle, probably not prepared for the bright spotlight and fame that followed the release of his book, American Sniper, let the story take on a life of its own.

I cringe at the implication that Ventura was going after a war hero’s widow. While it is tragic that Kyle was not here to defend himself through the entire court battle, the lawsuit was filed before Kyle died.

Did Ventura really suffer $1.8 million worth of economic losses and loss of credibility? Not likely as I can’t imagine an old WWE wrestler / retired politician / two-bit actor is worth much.

One thing in the interview does stand out… While Ventura claims in this interview to be a SEAL, he was not. That is a fact. He was a member of UDT but did not complete SEAL training. By trying to say he is a SEAL, Ventura diminishes himself.

Ventura did serve his country admirably, albeit not in combat.

Kyle is nothing short of a true American hero and I salute him and cry for the loss of a great man.

The whole episode though is unfortunate as neither man comes out looking particularly good.

postheadericon Adams County Republican voters: ‘We need more ethical government so choose our guy who is the same as the last’

While storms were brewing in the sky, local Republican voters made a poor choice, hurting the citizens of the county in the process. (Tony's Takes)

While storms were brewing in the sky, local Republican voters made a poor choice, hurting the citizens of the county in the process. (Tony’s Takes)

It seems that lately I have a penchant for making members of my own party as mad at me as those on the left so why stop now?  In the wake of last night’s primary election it has become abundantly clear why the Adams County GOP struggles to gain ground.  At the local level, Republican voters are our own worst enemy.

Case in point, the race for Adams County Sheriff.

Adams County citizens have had it with the current occupant of the office. The scandals, questionable ethics, lack of leadership, zero accountability, and policies that put citizens at risk (i.e. the jail) have caused very real harm to the county.

So what did the majority of Adams County Republican voters do last night?

You chose a candidate who is the hand-picked successor of the same sheriff you dislike so strongly; someone who has outright promised to continue the very same failed and harmful policies.

You did so apparently only because the new guy ran around yelling ‘conservative’ at every opportunity despite having never shown any interest in conservative politics until it was politically expedient to do so. The majority of you cast your ballots for this guy that has more question marks surrounding him than the Riddler.

We are the party of principles (at least we used to be) and yet you throw yours away when it comes time to go to the ballot box. Reprehensible and sad.

The guy you chose probably has a good chance to win in November, if only because his opponent is the only other one out there with even more issues.

However, while you can turn a blind eye, plug your nose, and vote for questionable candidates, I cannot and will not. In fact I will actively work to point out those I have serious doubts about whether they have an R or a D after their name.

Don’t like it? Get your own website.  I’ll stand on the right side.  I will not ‘unite’ behind a false front nor stand silently by.

Editor’s note: Just to head off the inevitable comments about ‘sore loser’ or ‘sour grapes’ (and the nasty phone calls and emails I am sure to receive from the party faithful and officers)…

This posting is anything but simply ‘sour grapes.’ It is a statement as to the sad state of affairs in our county and the failure of local Republican Party voters to provide credible candidates that can steward in a return to good governance of the people.

We are greatly outnumbered and only by providing real, ethical alternatives to the failed leadership now in Brighton can we give residents what they are demanding: a county we are proud to live in.

It just makes me sick to my stomach to see what you have wrought.

Don’t miss a rant!  Be sure to like Tony’s Rants on Facebook and follow on Twitter.  As always, if you have a news tip, you can contact me here – confidentiality assured.

postheadericon Debunked: Gun grab group’s claim of 74 school shootings since Sandy Hook proven false

Map of

Map of “school shootings” as defined by Michael Bloomberg’s ‘Everytown’ gun grabbing group.

Michael Bloomberg’s gun grab group “Everytown” released data it claims is evidence of 74 school shootings since the deadly December 2012 Sandy Hook tragedy.  While the claim was parroted by the mainstream media, one journalist has shown Everytown has once again mislead and lied in its attempt to take away our Second Amendment rights.

The list released by Everytown is indeed heart-wrenching to look at.  No one disputes that school shoots are a tragedy and there are issues that need to be addressed (mental health being the primary one).

Charles Johnson, a journalist and writer, started sorting through the list Everytown published.  He spent hours yesterday on Twitter publishing his analysis, one by one. See below for embeds of his stream.

What he found is that the group was far off base in its classification of what constitutes a “school shooting.”  Events that occurred after hours, accidental shootings, suicides, gang activity and even a shooting in self-defense somehow meet the group’s definition.

In the fine print of their report the group says, “Incidents were classified as school shootings when a firearm was discharged inside a school building or on school or campus grounds.”

Really?  How does that criteria meet any reasonable definition of “school shooting”?  Of course they don’t outwardly tell the public that their definition is bogus and the mainstream media fails to inform its viewers and readers.

Everytown is new a gun-grabbing group brought together by the unification of Bloomberg’s “Mayors against Illegal Guns” and Shannon Watts’ “Mothers Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.”

While they publically claim to simply want sensible gun control measures, the fact of the matter is their true agenda is the complete and total disarming of United States citizens.  They will stop at nothing to achieve their agenda, even if it means lying and misleading a gullible public.

There is more to this story – Click here to read it »

postheadericon Adams County Sheriff candidate appears to break campaign finance law

Money woes, personal and political, are dogging Chaz Tedesco, candidate for Adams County Commissioner.

Campaign finance filings with the Colorado Secretary of State for the Committee To Elect Norbert “Larry” Medina show contributions from businesses, a violation of state law.

Adams County political candidates seem to break the law in some way, shape or form in just about every election.  This go around it seems Democrat candidate for sheriff, Norbert “Larry” Medina, has been illegally accepting corporate contributions including ones from a ‘gentlemen’s club’.

Campaign finance filings with the Colorado Secretary of State for the Committee To Elect Norbert “Larry” Medina show a healthy $12,573.00 in contributions. The vast majority of those however are listed as coming from corporate entities, something in clear violation of Colorado campaign finance law.

The state’s laws clearly prohibit candidates and candidate committees from accepting contributions from corporations and LLCs.

One would think that someone that wants to be the county’s top law enforcement official would know the law.  Clearly Medina does not.

His filings show he has accepted $9,420.00 from corporations or LLCs.  This means that 75% of the funds he has raised are illegal.

These improper contributions ranged from $50.00 from mom and pop shops up to thousands of dollars donated by one area car dealer.

Also interesting is the $1,000.00 his campaign accepted from The Players Club, an area strip club.  It is a bit odd to see someone running for the top law enforcement position in the county accept contributions from this type of business.

Medina’s questionable campaign finance accounting isn’t unusual among candidates in Adams County.

A few months ago it was revealed that one of his potential opponents in November, Mike McIntosh, was funneling campaign contributions from his family through a shadowy donor committee.  That group has used the money to launch an inflammatory, misleading attack against another opponent.

Current Adams County Commissioner Chaz Tedesco, no stranger to legal woes, found himself on the wrong side of campaign finance law two years ago.  Those errors resulted in heavy duty fines against him and his campaign.

Don’t miss a rant!  Be sure to like Tony’s Rants on Facebook and follow on Twitter.  As always, if you have a news tip, you can contact me here – confidentiality assured.

 

Committee To Elect Norbert "Larry" Medina campaign contributions

postheadericon Terrorists for traitor? Questions abound about trade for Bowe Bergdahl

President Barack Obama embraces Bob Bergdahl, father of Bowe Bergdahl, an apparent Army deserter for whom the president traded five terrorists for with the Taliban. (White House video screen capture)

President Barack Obama embraces Bob Bergdahl, father of Bowe Bergdahl, an apparent Army deserter for whom the president traded five terrorists for with the Taliban. (White House video screen capture)

On the surface the story of the repatriation of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from Taliban captivity seems like a good one.  Delving further however shows not only President Barack Obama’s violation of the law but also the very real likelihood that the U.S. is releasing five dangerous terrorists to recover a deserter.

By all accounts, Bowe Bergdahl simply laid down his arms in Afghanistan on June 30, 2009 and walked off into the desert.  Up until Saturday, he was the nation’s last POW of the war.

The military set off on a dogged effort to recover the soldier and save him from captivity.  As many as six soldiers were killed in various recovery efforts.

In 2010, the Pentagon came to the conclusion that Sergeant Bergdahl had walked away from his post and as such the military chose “not to exert extraordinary efforts to rescue him.”  Soldiers aware of the details of his apparent desertion were forced to sign non-disclosure agreements.

Fast forward to a few days ago when Obama appeared with the sergeant’s parents, Bob and Jani Bergdahl, hailing the release of the man.

In exchange, the U.S. agreed to release five high-value terrorists from Guantanamo Bay.  Among them are one that had direct links to Osama bin Laden, two responsible for mass killings of Shia Muslims, and two directly involved in attacks against U.S. and coalition forces.

The release of the prisoners was in clear violation of the law, something which this president and his administration have a habit of flouting.  Further, it is completely counter to U.S. policy of never negotiating with terrorists and will likely embolden these types of people to work that much harder to take captives.

Of course we have the reassurance that these five will be held in Qatar for at least one year.  Just ignore the fact that Qatar is a state sponsor of terrorism and is considered by the State Department to be the worst in the region in combatting terrorism.

Then of course we have to circle back to Bowe Bergdahl and his family.

“I am ashamed to be an american. And the title of US soldier is just the lie of fools.”

“I am sorry for everything. The horror that is america is disgusting.”

June 27, 2009 email from Bowe Bergdahl to his parents

Bob Bergdahl has been somewhat active on Twitter advocating for the release of terrorists held at Guantanamo.  Just this past week he sent out a tweet saying, “I am still working to free all Guantanamo prisoners.  God will replay the death of every Afghan child, ameen!”  He subsequently deleted that message.

As for Sergeant Bergdahl, his fellow soldiers appear to have nothing but contempt for him.

Josh Korder served with Bergdahl and told CNN today, “He’s, at best, a deserter an at worst, a traitor.”

The parents of Lt Darryn Andrews, killed in September 2009 while aiding the search for Bergdahl held the man in similar contempt.  Andy Andrews said, “I think people need to be aware that the guy was not a hero and American lives have been lost trying to save this deserter.

At the current time it is hard to find justification for the release of five known terrorists to recover a man who appears to have willingly left his post.

If he did indeed do as the Pentagon investigation showed, Sergeant Bergdahl should face charges under Article 85 of the Universal Code of Military Justice.  Should a jury find him guilty, the man should be incarcerated for a period of time and then given a dishonorable discharge.

Bergdahl certainly does not appear to be a hero and in fact should likely be held in contempt by all of those serving and those who have served.

postheadericon Deadly failure: VA lies and schemes have dangerous, disastrous consequences for vets

The United States owes its veterans a debt of gratitude, a debt which should be fulfilled before they leave us. (Tony's Takes)

The United States owes its veterans a debt of gratitude, a debt which should be fulfilled before they leave us. (Tony’s Takes)

Politicians of every stripe have stepped to the podium to claim their disgust with recent revelations that the Veterans Administration has failed at its most basic mission: Caring for those who have fought for this nation.  The truth of the matter is that as disgusting as this scandal is, it is nothing new and very few of those making speeches has any room to claim the high ground.

The Inspector General report released yesterday is maddening and infuriating to read.  Some of the key phrases one reads in it include:

  • “Gross mismanagement”
  • “Criminal misconduct”
  • “Systemic patient safety issues”
  • “Possible wrongful deaths”

All of those damning conclusions are voiced in the opening paragraph.  The opening paragraph!

Keep reading and you will find discussions of sexual harassment, bullying behavior, and the danger that veterans are ‘at risk of being forgotten or lost.’

Sickening would be a word to describe it and even more sickening is that this is but one review of the Phoenix HCS.  It is certain that a larger, virtually VA-wide failure is in the offing as the investigation continues.

Senators, Congressmen and the President of the United States have all voiced their determination to correct the issue.  Naturally most are doing it for political gain, others to try to limit political damage.

Don’t be fooled.  Whether they have an R or a D after their name, none can claim the high ground.  Almost all have failed.

As the IG report pointed out, since 2005 the office has been sounding the alarm about systemic failures of the VA.  The majority of those in power turned a deaf ear.

I watched President Barack Obama, speaking at West Point yesterday to our future military leaders.  He could not even bring himself to acknowledge the failures of the system these brave men and women are entering.  It is little wonder few of the Corp of Cadets cheered him.

There was Speaker of the House John Boehner blaming President Barack Obama.  Sit down, Mr. Speaker.

It was just in 2007 that the deplorable conditions at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center were revealed.  For years prior to that, patients were being neglected and living in third-world conditions.

Looking closer to home, the failure of the VA to construct a much-needed hospital here in Denver is a staple of the daily news.  Oh it is being built, but not without cost overruns, contractors not being paid and incessant delays.  In the meantime veterans are left waiting and suffering.

The VA is broken and that is nothing new.  Sub-standard care, interminable waits, second-rate facilities, and overly burdensome requirements are all hallmarks of the failed system and have been for a very long time.

Thornton Veterans Memorial Grace

By Grace they survived the battles overseas. At home, veterans should not have to fight yet another battle.

Few know this, but I hold the VA responsible for the death of my dad, an Air Force veteran.  Other than high blood pressure, my dad was a very healthy and very active 70-year-old.

While in Denver visiting family just before Christmas in 2010, he was having a hard time breathing.  He went to the Denver VA Medical Center and was admitted where they discovered a blood clot in his leg.  With a new round of drugs in his pocket they sent him on his way.

He died less than two months later, going to sleep and simply not waking up the next morning.

What did the VA miss during his hospital stay?  Did they give him an improper drug? Was the follow up care adequate?

Those are questions that have dogged me since that horrific day and ones which I will never have answers for.  Since then I have talked to many other families that have experienced similar tragedies, all possibly at the hands of the VA healthcare system.

I am a six-year veteran of the United States Navy having served during the Persian Gulf War era including a tour in the Gulf.  Despite a spotless service record and having served honorably, I was rejected for enrollment in the VA system two years ago.

Why?  The stated reason was my income was too high and as a result I was given the absolute lowest priority rating possible by the VA.

However, the VA’s own regulations clearly state that veterans who served in the Southwest Asia theatre of operations from 1990 to 1998 as I did would be given higher priority and enrolled.

In fact, veterans who served in the Gulf during that time are supposed to be given the same priority as Vietnam vets who served in theatre and those that served in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the dropping of the atomic bomb.

Some lazy, incompetent paper pusher at the eligibility center was apparently unable to properly read my DD214 and recognize when and where I had served.

To be sure, there are good people at the VA.  There are extraordinary doctors, nurses with heart, employees that care.

I don’t want to say they are the exception to the rule as that would be overly dramatic but there are clearly some deep-rooted issues within the organization and among its personnel.

The VA failed me.  The VA failed Dad.  Now we know the VA has failed thousands – if not tens or hundreds of thousands – of our nation’s veterans.  It is absolutely infuriating.

Last night my wife and I were discussing this issue and I went into a raised voice rant as I often do when I am discussing something I am passionate about.  I was furious then and I am furious now.

It brings tears to my eyes to think about my shipmates, many who have it far, far worse than me.  We endured war only to have to suffer again at home.

When I see our military or veterans slighted, I oftentimes quote a passage from Rudyard Kipling:

“God and the Soldier, we adore,
In time of danger, not before.
The danger passed and all things righted,
God is forgotten and the Soldier slighted.”

Those words are sad.  Even sadder is that they are true in many cases.

Those who served deserve more; much more.  We stood up, took an oath and put our lives on the line for this great nation.  Now that nation is failing us.

On the net:

Video: Montel Williams rips on President Obama, Congress and the VA

postheadericon ADCO Sheriff responds to emergency system use; furor continues to grow

Emergency?  Perhaps Adams County Sheriff Doug Darr will start using his deputies to pull citizens over to inform them about community meetings. (Tony’s Rants)

Emergency? Perhaps Adams County Sheriff Doug Darr will start using his deputies to pull citizens over to inform them about community meetings. (Tony’s Rants)

The Adams County Sheriff’s office is saying they are doing nothing wrong by using the county’s emergency notification system for other purposes.  Their response is an attempt to quell citizen outrage following an investigation by CBS4 that uncovered the misuse of the system.

Throwing in the hashtag ‘mediainaccurate’, the department posted a response on Facebook saying using the system to notify citizens about community meetings is perfectly fine.  The fact that these calls and meetings started about the time Division Chief Mike McIntosh announced his campaign for sheriff is purely coincidental they say.

The response is interesting but not particularly accurate as the facts get in the way of the argument Sheriff Doug Darr tries to present.

I would say the appropriate hashtags would be #SheriffFullOfBS, #EndangeringTheCommunity or #PoliticalShenanigans.

As the original story from Brian Maass showed, and the write-up I did on the topic expanded on, the FirstCall is intended to be strictly used to notify citizens in the event of an emergency.

There is not one location online or on any document from the county that says otherwise.  All, without fail, explain the system is a public safety system.

Indeed, I have been provided a copy of the contract between ADCOM and FirstCall (below) and even it clearly states it is for emergency use.

“Annual service contract for emergency telephone notification system and services” the line item on the invoice reads.  An “Emergency Phone System Notification System Agreement” goes on to explain it is for a “phone emergency notification system.”

I don’t think anyone disputes that the community meetings are a great outreach program. They absolutely are. The question is whether or not the use of a system designed to notify residents of emergencies is proper.

“In an emergency situation where there’s a significant risk…”  Click for larger view.  (Adams County Office of Emergency Management)

“In an emergency situation where there’s a significant risk…” Click for larger view. (Adams County Office of Emergency Management)

Would it be okay for broadcasters to use the Emergency Alert System that we are all familiar with on radio and TV for advertisements?

Would it be okay for the President of the United States to use the new Wireless Emergency Alerts that cell phones receive for a political speech?

Would it be okay for the sheriff to have his deputies pull you over on the road, flashing lights and all, to notify you about these community meetings?

Those cases would be no different and are of course improper.

The bigger issue than the fact that the system is clearly not intended to be used as the sheriff is doing is the reality that improper use actually endangers citizens.  Repeated use of the system causes people to become desensitized to it and more likely to ignore calls, a dangerous outcome in a real emergency situation.

As the Denver Post penned in an editorial titled, “Crying wolf in Adams County,” as the county’s top law enforcement official, the sheriff should simply know better.

“We shudder to think what could happen if Adams residents ignored a serious notice after receiving one too many about an upcoming meeting,” the editors wrote.

As Maass’ story pointed out, not one law enforcement or public safety official believes this is a wise use of the system.  While attendance at community meetings may be boosted, in the long run it puts people at risk and that alone is clearly reason enough to discontinue this abuse of the system.

Don’t miss a rant!  Be sure to like Tony’s Rants on Facebook and follow on Twitter.  As always, if you have a news tip, you can contact me here – confidentiality assured.

Contract between ADCOM and FirstCall for Emergency notification service

postheadericon What’s the emergency? Sheriff’s use of reverse 911 system called into question

“In an emergency situation, the Adams County Communications Center (ADCOM911) may send out an emergency notification…” Click for larger view.  (Adams County Report to the Community)

“In an emergency situation, the Adams County Communications Center (ADCOM911) may send out an emergency notification…” Click for larger view. (Adams County Report to the Community)

Reverse 911 is a critical, life-saving system meant to notify residents about emergency situations that threaten life and property.  In Adams County however, it appears politics may play a big role in how the sheriff uses the system.

CBS4 investigator Brian Maass reported last night that the Adams County Sheriff’s Office is using the emergency system to call citizens about community meetings.  The meetings feature Sheriff Doug Darr and the man he has hand-chosen as the one he would like to succeed him in 2014, Division Chief Mike McIntosh.

Adams County uses a system called FirstCall to notify citizens when an emergency situation arises.  Various county documents, websites and social media postings state the system is for ‘emergency notifications’ and tout that it is to be used for Amber Alerts, evacuations, HAZMAT situations, natural disasters, hostage situations, etc.

The county has said it was for “situations that may be harmful to life, health or property.” Even the website where citizens go to sign up for the service clearly states, “FirstCall will only be activated in an emergency situation where there is a risk of significant harm, an urgent threat….”

So why then is the sheriff using it for non-emergency purposes, something that is, as Maass reported, completely contrary to its stated purpose and out of line with practices used by other law enforcement agencies?

The improper use of the system began, perhaps not so coincidentally, in 2013 at the same time McIntosh announced his campaign to replace Darr.  Since then, it has been used 17 times for non-emergency relate purposes.

Darr kicks off these community meetings but McIntosh soon takes over and is in full campaign mode.

Division Chief Mike McIntosh appears to be benefiting from the improper use of the county’s emergency notification system. (Tony’s Rants)

Division Chief Mike McIntosh appears to be benefiting from the improper use of the county’s emergency notification system. (Tony’s Rants)

This is a pattern seen over the past 18 months with McIntosh, Darr’s hand-chosen successor, taking on a far more public role than what is normally seen.  Browsing the sheriff’s various social media outlets is telling.

There is McIntosh at the Flatrock Training Facility.  There is McIntosh at a community meeting. There is McIntosh at Operation Free Bird.  There is McIntosh at the Westminster Elks.  There is McIntosh presenting a grant to Rampart Search and Rescue.

Geez.  When does this guy have time to do his real job?  He gets more face time than the actual head of the sheriff’s office.

Setting aside the pretty obvious political connection, citizens should be concerned that something that is supposed to be used to protect citizens is being used for something frivolous.

In his report, Maass spoke not only to other area law enforcement agencies but also national experts on public safety.  Without exception, all said these types of systems should strictly be used for emergencies.

Vernon Herron, senior policy analyst with the Center for Health and Homeland Security at the University of Maryland, said, “Once you start to water it down with meeting notices it ceases to become what it is intended to be which is a tool to notify citizens of critical incidents and emergencies.”

“FirstCall will only be activated in an emergency situation where there is a risk of significant harm…” Click for larger view. (Adams County FirstCall signup website)

“FirstCall will only be activated in an emergency situation where there is a risk of significant harm…” Click for larger view. (Adams County FirstCall signup website)

Outgoing Sheriff Doug Darr apparently thinks he knows better than any other law enforcement officer or expert.  This is not unlike he prevents criminals from being housed in the jail and ignores pleas from citizens, officials and law enforcement officials to fix the issue.

McIntosh, as Darr’s right-hand man, appears to embrace Darr and his policies and in fact may be using sheriff’s office resources for political advantage.

He has not once offered a solution to the problems within the department or stated how he would change course from the failed and dangerous policies of the man currently in the top seat.  That is troubling.  If he has answers, we should hear them.

Don’t miss a rant!  Be sure to like Tony’s Rants on Facebook and follow on Twitter.  As always, if you have a news tip, you can contact me here – confidentiality assured.

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