Posts belonging to Category Virginia State Police



Does the state of Virginia think you’re a terrorist?

Below you’ll find some pages of a PDF document that was prepared by Trooper John R. Wright of the Virginia State Police and distributed by the Virginia Department of Human Resource Management on their website for “Safety Day” in 2004 (you can view the full report/presentation here [PDF]). UPDATE: The state of Virginia has removed the PDF from their web server; thankfully I downloaded the whole thing to my computer. You can view the original here [PDF]).

I’ll admit up front that my brother (shameless plug: check out his two hate-blogs, On The Right and Orange, VA Independence Day Tea Party) found the information on some nut conspiracy theorist website after a link to the nut’s post was mentioned on Twitter. Now, I’m not one to provide any type of support for nut conspiracy theorists — and I’ve been know to ridicule them on this very blog — but the stuff that the Virginia State Police considers to be a threat is a joke (click for the full-size version):

Note that in the first image (page 22 in the original PDF) that civil disobedience is now considered “low key terrorism”. So, what does that make Martin Luther King Jr.? What about Rosa Parks? What about all those antiwar protesters during the ’60s, ’70s, and even today? I don’t agree with those antiwar protesters nowadays but I don’t consider them having a die-in to be “low key terrorism”.

Note that on the second image (p. 41 in the original PDF) that single issue groups are considered “extremist groups” by the author. Does that apply to someone in the National Rifle Association, or conversely, in the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence? Or maybe the American Life League versus NARAL? Are they both “single issue” “extremist groups”?

And then you get to the “anti-government groups issues” page (p. 49 in original PDF) where they note such things as gun rights, constitutional issues, and tax protesters as points of concern. While this particular report was written in 2004, does the Virginia State Police still consider these issues that warrant their attention? Do they have any concerns about the current tea party tax protesters? I recall that the state of Maryland got caught surveilling antiwar groups for no reason, is the Virginia State Police doing the same thing to tea party tax protesters? And even more insulting is that they include an image of the First Navy Jack — which the United States Navy still uses to this day — on a page regarding “anti-government groups”. Are they keeping an eye out for United States Navy veterans that might have one of those flags in their possession?

And then on the next image (p. 52 in PDF), they characterize “single issue extremists” and “anti-abortion activists” as “hate groups”. Are they keeping a track of what the folks at American Life League are doing or what? They consider them “hate groups” because anti-abortion groups have a desire to bring an end to abortion legally through the legislative and judicial system?

And then on the next image you have the State Police telling government employees to be on the lookout for “unusual requests for information”. Am I going to have a visit by a State Trooper if I send in a FOIA request to the state government asking how much government money goes to Planned Parenthood (remember those anti-abortion activists are “hate groups”!)?

This just goes to show the geniuses that were in control of the Virginia State Police back when Mark Warner was Governor. The same folks that consider this report to be accurate and helpful to employees of the state government are the same people responsible for negotiating that STARS contract for example. Is the Trooper that was responsible for this oh-so-helpful report still employed by the state? If he is, what does that tell you about Tim Kaine and his management and leadership of the state?

How bad is the Virginia Statewide Agencies Radio System (STARS) project?

It’s so unreliable that troopers are relying on their personal cell phones to communicate according to Richmond Times-Dispatch:

The head of a Virginia State Police advocacy group says the new statewide communications system being developed for the state police and 20 other state agencies is so unreliable that many troopers use their personal cell phones to communicate.

Ken Bumgarner, president of the Virginia State Police Association, said yesterday that the association, consisting of about 2,100 troopers and retired troopers, has been made aware of numerous problems with the system.[1]

I’m sure it’s a great boon to Trooper morale when they don’t know if anyone will hear them when they key their radio to call for backup or to request other assistance.

Here’s another thing to think about: What happens when the cellular phone system goes down or becomes overloaded because of a natural disaster or terrorist attack? How does the state planning on dispatching units and coordinating activities if the main users of the system (the Virginia State Police) rely on their personal cell phones for communications?

And for almost $340,000,000 the state of Virginia has been hoodwinked into purchasing a system that’s over budget — by over $10,000,000 already — and almost a year behind schedule and the main users of the system (State Troopers) don’t even think the system is reliable. They’re the ones whose lives count on the system working or not and they don’t trust it!

This is just one example of the failures in management and leadership by Warner–Kaine. They’re leaving their employees, which have the most dangerous jobs in the state government,  with inadequate equipment and nothing has been done to fix these problems even after the Auditor of Public Accounts has had to do two different audits on this project.

When will these problems be fixed and how much will it cost?

  1. Tyler Whitley. “Communications system for troopers, others is criticized.” Richmond Times-Dispatch. 19 Jun. 2009: <http://www.timesdispatch.com/rtd/news/state_regional/state_regional_govtpolitics/article/STAR19_20090618-222804/274738/>. []

Will Creigh Deeds continue to follow the failed Warner-Kaine lead on the Virginia STARS project?

The Virginia STARS (Statewide Agencies Radio System) is an ongoing project that’s supposed to provide a digital, interoperable radio system for the Virginia State Police and other state agencies. The system is also supposed to provide for instance interoperability with local agencies. The contract for this project was awarded back in June 2004 and was supposed to be completely operational by September 2009 according to the original timetable.[1]

But, as everything the government does (regardless of whether it’s the federal, state, or local government doing it), the project is behind schedule and over budget. And the General Assembly is starting to get fed up with the whole thing according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Virginia’s new Statewide Agencies Radio System is over budget and behind schedule, in part because of poor planning, the House Appropriations Committee was told today.

The system is to bring new computers and radios to State Police cars and allow them to communicate easily with other public safety agencies.

Exasperated members of the budget committee sharply questioned Col. W. Steven Flaherty, the superintendent of State Police, about the report by a state auditor.

“What the heck are you all doing and how can we trust you?“ asked Del. R. Steven Landes, R-Augusta.

The project is expected to cost about $350 million. It was originally scheduled to be finished at the end of this year, but will need another year of work beyond that deadline, officials said.

Among the problems found by the auditor was that the project management team could not determine whether the work was on budget. It also found insufficient review of a consultant’s invoices before payment.

Flaherty said the deficiencies have been corrected and that some were exaggerated.[2]

Of course: ‘They’re just lying. Everything is a-okay here and we’re completely on budget! In fact, we’re under budget!’ *Snort*.

This is a project that’s currently over $10,000,000 over budget.[3][4] This is a program that should have been completely operational by September 2009.[1] Now, it’s almost a whole year behind in implementation.[5] According to the original project time table, all but one of the seven Virginia State Police divisions should be using the system currently, but as it stands now, only two are.[1][5]

This is a colossal failure of management and leadership by both Mark Warner and Tim Kaine. And Creigh Deeds says he wants to follow in footsteps of the Warner-Kaine style of governance? If so, this whole state is in for more of a Charlie-Foxtrot if he gets elected.

  1. “Frequently Asked Questions About STARS.” <http://www.vsp.state.va.us/downloads/STARSContract/STARS_FAQ.htm>. [] [] []
  2. Tyler Whitley. “Auditor critical of work on state public safety radio system.” Richmond Times-Dispatch. 16 June 2009: <http://www.timesdispatch.com/rtd/news/state_regional/article/STAR17_20090616-135201/274164/>. []
  3. Department of the State Police. “Notice of Award.” 14 July 2004: <http://www.vsp.state.va.us/downloads/stars_files/Notice%20of%20Award%20Posting.tif>. []
  4. “Modification #25 to Contract Number 2001-035 Between the Commonwealth of Virginia and Motorola, Inc.” 25 Nov. 2008: <http://www.vsp.state.va.us/downloads/stars_files/Contract%20Mod%2025%20v6%2011-20-08.pdf>. []
  5. Department of State Police. “Re: Extended Implementation Justification.” 20 Oct. 2008: <http://tinyurl.com/m2h9bd>. [] []

Are the Virginia State Police (VSP) extremely gullible or what?

There’s a text message that has been going around that says there will be several people shoot at a Wal-Mart as part of a gang initiation. From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Virginia State Police are advising people to pay no attention to a text message that claims there will be a gang initiation at Wal-Mart stores sometime this week that may involve a shooting or other criminal activity.

Police say the message is a hoax.

This claim that the message is a hoax, which it probably is, seems to conflict with a general advisory that was sent to all Virginia State Police units in the Culpeper Division (which includes Spotsylvania, Stafford, Culpeper, Fauquier counties, as well as the city of Fredericksburg) the other night via their radio system. According to the dispatcher, a teen reported a text message that had been forwarded to her which contained the information to a sheriff’s office in Texas. VSP apparently thought it was legitimate enough to broadcast to all those units in the Culpeper Division (and possibly broadcasted across the whole state as well) the other night.

A simple Google search would have revealed a Snopes.com page which shows that this hoax/urban myth has been going around since 2005 in various forms.

Hydroponics grow house raided in Lake Land’Or.

On May 4, 2008 the Caroline Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Investigators assisted the Virginia State Police with the seizure of a Major Marijuana Grow house located in Caroline County. During the late hours of the night the two agencies executed a search warrant at 201 Marday Drive, Ruther Glen, VA. (Located in Lake Land’ Or) The search revealed approximately $50,000.00 worth of hydroponics marijuana (“Hydro”) inside the home. Investigator located a grow area in a hidden room with a false door in the basement of the home. The grow area was setup up with water purification systems, ventilation, humidifiers, and special lighting for optimum growth. The system was operated with timers to control lighting and the watering of the plants. The home was armed with a video surveillance system with cameras and alarms on all entry points of the home. Investigators arrested Michael E. Park 27, of Fairfax as the only operator of the Grow Operation. The home was owned by Park’s girlfriend and was used strictly for the growing of Marijuana. Park was held without bond and is awaiting trial, according to Sergeant A. W. Lambert.

Sheriff Tony Lippa said, “This is yet another successful operation thanks to those citizens of Caroline County who continue to support their Sheriff’s Office by providing helpful information and assistance. If any citizen would like to provide information to the Sheriff’s Office regarding illegal activity they can the Sheriff’s Office tip line at (804) 633-1133. Callers may remain anonymous if they wish.”

Why was this POS released on bail?

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Man whose truck hit trooper is arrested again:

An Abingdon man who was charged with drunken driving after his pickup struck a state trooper Friday night in Smyth County was arrested again yesterday morning, on charges of intoxication in public and possession of drugs, state police said.

Barry Dean Marshall II was a passenger in a car that was pulled over at 2:17 a.m. by a Chilhowie police officer.

[…]

The officer saw the vehicle along northbound Interstate 81 at the 36-mile marker, according to the arrest warrant. Chilhowie is a Smyth County town about 30 miles northeast of Bristol.

Chilhowie police arrested Traci Tashona Peake, 21, on a charge of driving under the influence.

As part of the same incident, Smyth deputies assisting in the stop arrested Marshall, 32. He was charged with public intoxication and possession of drugs with the intent to manufacture or sell, according to the arrest warrant.

Marshall had been charged Friday night with driving under the influence after a pickup he was driving struck trooper K.S. Chapman on I-81, a few miles from where Marshall was arrested yesterday, Conroy said.

Chapman, who has been with the state police for five years, was listed Saturday in critical condition at Bristol Regional Medical Center. State police and hospital officials declined yesterday to release an update on his condition.

Conroy said Chapman’s family requested that his medical record remain private but he said he believes Chapman’s condition has not worsened.


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