Monday, August 04, 2008

Take your son to work day

Taking a child to work is not strange, but it might be if you work for the police department and your office is a crime scene. It would be even more out of the ordinary if you were the police chief of a large city.

Ken Rodriguez of the Express-News talks about it.

With lights from patrol cars and EMS units flashing, Police Chief Bill McManus arrived with his 6-year-old son and slipped under the crime scene tape. No one suggests the chief's son contaminated evidence, but officers expressed serious concern about the legal ramifications.

“How are we supposed to explain that at trial?” one officer asked.

Added a second officer: “If I were a savvy defense attorney I would certainly bring it up. ‘Chief, what were you doing with your son at the crime scene? Why were you allowing him to go into the inner perimeter?'”

The answer to the first question: McManus says he was off-duty with his son when paged about a fatality in an officer-involved chase. With his wife unavailable, McManus took his son to the scene.

The answer to the second: The chief says it was too hot to leave his son in the car, and too hot to leave him standing outside the tape.

I've always been a bit suspicious about McManus.

He was charged with reverse racial discrimination in Ohio (he lost that suit). He wants to tax our drinks. He wants unopened beer cans to count as opened ones.
McManus wants a "broken" six-pack in a driver's possession to be considered an open container. He said he'd like a state law that would allow officers to cite a driver if any of the six containers in a six-pack were not present.
And he proposes strange policies that actually seem to weaken an officer's ability to respond.
Officers should refrain from shooting at moving vehicles unless a person in the vehicle is immediately threatening the officer or another person with deadly force by means other than the vehicle itself.
Now, with this incident, I think I might be on to something when I question his judgment. Did he really need to be that close to the scene without waiting for someone to pick up his son first, especially since he said he was at the scene for only twenty minutes? What is anyone doing exposing a six-year-old kid to dead bodies and crime, especially a police chief?

Strange behavior.



Dave said...

I am generally a huge fan of this Chief and think overall, he has done a great job with the department, especially in cleaning out some of the entrenched good ol' boy network.

I'll accept his excuse, though lame, for taking the kid to the scene and inside the tape. This guy is nothing if not hands on. And in theory, though they have better training, there are random police officers and EMS folks inside the tape often enough that, as long as the kid didn't pick up a bloody knife or poke at the body, it probably isn't as bad as it may sound. Let's remember, before the crime scene tape is up, John Q. Public has been traipsing through the area.

I know that McManus is intent on lowering our staggering DUI problem. But when I read this: "McManus wants a "broken" six-pack in a driver's possession to be considered an open container. He said he'd like a state law that would allow officers to cite a driver if any of the six containers in a six-pack were not present." I got an almost Cibrianic glimpse of craziness. Heaven forbid your mother-in-law gives you the remaining three beers of a six pack that have been in her refrigerator since the last time you visited, or someone violated the little sign on the cooler door at Valero that says, don't break six-packs.

At this rate, an unopened quart of beer in a brown bag would be proof you are a Rapper and your car should be searched for remnants of Snoop Dog's baggie full of reefer!

I say give him a pass on this bringing the kid to work deal, but good God, let's watch this guy a little more closely.

Albatross said...

Good points, Dave. The kid probably didn't touch anything at the scene, but I still wouldn't bring my child to a crime scene unless he was old enough to choose his career and he wanted to go into law enforcement.

Overall I am a generous supporter of the military, the police, and fire fighters. These guys are doing dangerous jobs, and sometimes it is with little or no thanks for their efforts. I also have several friends who are in SAPD and couple who are sheriff's deputies. They have my respect.

But McManus is the big cheese. He hires and fires, and he sets policy. And I am always wary of a police chief that wants to crack down on crime in a broad fashion. A broken six pack counts as an "open container"? That's ham-fisted, and he wants that to be state law, not just a local ordinance.

I say keep an eye on him. And thank your local man in blue.

Kels said...

It's less a question of whether or not the 6 year old tampered with anything at the scene... and more a question of who exposes their child to something so horrific? Seriously... even as an adult that can generate years of emotional trauma (I know because about 3 years ago I was witness to a car accident where a little boy about 7 years old was hit by a car while riding his bike...he survived... trust me, that's the haunting part... to this day the entire scene can play in my head like I'm hitting the play button... the audio is as if I'm there again; I can STILL hear his shrill screams and see him flinging his arms all around as blood gushed from his forehead... and I definitely remember it all and get an uneasy feeling when I drive in that location)... I'm 27... this child is SIX YEARS OLD...

The outcome either way is scary... either he is emotionally traumatized by viewing such a thing... or he is so completely desensitized to such things that what could that do to his empathy/compassion... ability to NOT do something completely inhumane? What's to say that he may not end up thinking that's not uncommon... it doesn't bother him... and therefore he could at some point not have any qualms about killing someone himself (yes, a radical scenario...but I'm playing Devil's Advocate here...)

Either way, it makes you question the character of an individual that doesn't have any issues in exposing his 6 year old to this situation... Think of it this way... even shows like Lost, with the little violence it may contain OR SUGGEST has a TV rating tag of TV-14

Dave said...

Kels, I feel like I need to comment on your comment... First, let's all agree that in a perfect world, we don't expose our kids, our six year old kids, to horrific scenes of death, the results of violence or things of that nature.

Having agreed upon that, I suspect that both of us would probably want to avoid kids seeing dead dogs on the side of the road, gutted animals and all sorts of things. To give you an idea, not too many months ago, my wife and I were in D'Hanis or Hondo, I don't recall which, and we came upon a man field stripping (I don't even know if that is the correct terminology) a deer. A small child innocently played with a toy as the guts were being pulled aside. My wife and I nearly lost it! No, not out of fear for the child but simply because we are not hunters and simply aren't used to the process of getting food from the field to the table.

I'm sure the little kid won't grow up to be a serial killer of deer or people.

I also suspect that there have been millions of young kids exposed to horrific atrocities of past wars, and though I'm sure they have disturbing visions as result, they are able to adapt and move along.

I've seen dead people. It isn't pleasant, but you get over it. Kids get over it easier than adults.

It is one thing to expose children to gratuitous violence in the form of video games or TV entertainment (the News, or Lost!), but quite another to expose them to the reality of death, either an animal about to be eaten or the victim of an unexpected death. The sooner they learn that death in real life is permanent, the better they will adapt to the unrealistic fantasy of TV and movies. (And yes, I still agree that McManus shouldn't have taken his kid to the crime scene.)

Just my two cents...

Kels said...

Good point, Dave... and I know not all kids are equally affected by various things (you learn that REAL fast in a classroom)... which is why I pointed out I was playing Devil's Advocate with the extreme, radical example...

But yeah, my emphasis was that a parent shouldn't want their child exposed to such things (and this wasn't just a regular someone-died-in-their-sleep situation... it was a crime scene) unless they have to. And something tells me he could've found anyone to stand with his kid outside until he was finished at the actual crime scene... ya know? :)

I really meant to comment on the broken six-pack thing you mentioned, too... seriously??? I'm not totally knowledgable on McManus's ideas... but would they even bother administering a breath test in that situation or just take ya on in? Cause if so I would've been booked several times by now!