Ongoing Computer Problems Prevent Virginia Residents From Obtaining Or Renewing Drivers Licenses And ID Cards

August 31, 2010

VIRGINIA – Drivers are growing frustrated with no end in sight for the computer fiasco at Virginia’s Department of Motor Vehicles. Thousands of people haven’t been able to get a license, since a computer outage began last Wednesday. The agency now says it won’t be back online Wednesday and could be out for the rest of the week.

At the Tysons Corner DMV it’s unusually quiet. Normally almost every seat is full but since the outage no one can get a driver’s license or permit and identification card.

“I said you’re not going to believe this,” said Nick Filbert, an 18-year-old who went back to get a new permit.

Filbert got his permit just a month ago and lost it. He needs a new one not just to drive but for work.

“I don’t think I can get paid until I have that. Because they have to verify my information and all that,” said the teen.

Ironically, he says the first time around there was an outage too. The DMV says a nationwide computer system used by the agency went down on August 9th and was unrelated to this one.

About 6500 people statewide get their licenses in person each day, between renewals, identification cards, permits and drivers licenses. That’s 39,000 people since the problem started, nearly enough to fill Nationals Park.

“Everyday I come here, they say system is down we cannot help you,” said Mehrdad Adibpour. He’s helping his brother who just moved her from Iran. Adibpour’s brother can take the test but will have to come back for a license.

“I have to take him everywhere,” Adibpour said. “He needs a car and a license to go to school,” Adibpour said.

The malfunction in the government data storage system has been repaired but the DMV’s large and complicated database must still be verified.

“The DMV will not be able to process drivers licenses or ID’s on Wednesday September 1. So yes, the outage continues,” said Melanie Stokes, spokesperson for Virginia’s DMV.

Governor Bob McDonnell (R-VA) has called for an independent investigation into the massive failure and whether the state’s computer contractor, Northrop Grumman, should reimburse the state for lost business and productivity.

Initially the outage affected 30 state agencies. As of Tuesday, the DMV, the state’s department of taxation and the board of elections remain out. It’s prevented people from filing tax returns or making payments, but the agency says it will not assess penalties or interest for those late because of the computer problems.

The voter registration database is also unavailable at the Board of Elections because of the computer problems too. State officials say Northrop will be hit with a financial penalty of at least $100,000 and possibly more.

The DMV is urging people who are eligible to renew their license online. Drivers will be able to print out a 30-day temporary license until the new license arrives in the mail. The online system is still working, because it doesn’t require a new picture. The problem at the DMV is the cameras can’t take new picture and save them in the system. In Virginia, people can renew online as long as they didn’t do it last time.

Those whose license expired during the outage will have to go to a DMV office and provide proof of citizenship or legal residency.

The problem has created a backlog of thousands who need their license renewed. Clearing that backlog will take time. Today Virginia State Police told troopers not to write tickets for drivers with an expired license between August 25, 2010 and September 30, 2010. The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police also advised local law enforcement to do the same.

Once the system is fixed, all those people could create a crush at the DMV.

“If we do reach capacity, we anticipate some customers will have to wait outside,” said Stokes, which could be a problem in the extreme heat.

DMV is planning to put officers at its service centers to help with crowd control. It’s also sending additional staff and part time workers, so the centers will have extra manpower to handle the volume of people.

Taraneh Rafati plans to be first in line. She moved her from Israel, passed the driver’s test but left empty handed because of the computer problem. “I want to beat the crowd. So I will come early, quite early,’ said Rafati.

The DMV doesn’t know when the system will be fully restored. Wednesday is already out and Thursday and Friday are no guarantee.

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Dogs Kill Mobile Alabama Police Department’s Mini Ponies – Tax Dollars Funding Tiny Ponies???

August 31, 2010

MOBILE, ALAMABA – Two miniature ponies owned by the Mobile Police Department were mauled and killed by dogs, police said today.

Around 1:50 a.m. Tuesday morning, an officer on patrol heard dogs yelping and found at least six dogs attacking the ponies, Woggie and Little Joe, at the department’s stable at 1251 Virginia Street, according to spokesman Christopher Levy.

The ponies were taken to a veterinarian’s office, where they later died, Levy said. Police caught three of the dogs, and set traps to catch the others.

Levy said the dogs had killed at least eight cats at the stable in recent months, and officers who worked there regularly tried to keep the dogs away from the stable.

Police believe that someone owns the dogs, but the owners, who could face criminal charges, had not yet been traced.

“These dogs have been running around for a long time,” Levy said. “It’s unacceptable that absolutely no effort was made to keep up these dogs.”

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Veteran Muscatine Iowa Police Officer, School Resource Officer, And Drug Task Force Member Scott Burk Arrested, Suspended, And Fired For Dealing Cocaine

August 31, 2010

MUSCATINE, IOWA — City officials late this morning fired Muscatine police officer Scott Burk, who remains in custody at the Muscatine County Jail, after initially suspending him with pay.

Burk, 47, was arrested about 3:30 p.m. Saturday at 3016 Lucas St. and charged with having 1.5 ounces of cocaine. His bond has been set at $25,000, according a spokesman at the jail. The spokesman said Burk would have to post $2,500 in order to be released.

Burk — a Muscatine police officer for 14 years who last year was paid $62,456, according to city records — was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, which is a class C felony. He also was charged with a drug-tax stamp violation, which is a class D felony.

If convicted, he could receive maximum sentences of up to 10 years and a $50,000 fine and up to five years and a $7,500 fine on the respective charges.

Details about the investigation, which is being conducted by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, were not immediately available.

“These situations are always sad and extremely difficult to deal with, but the reality is that they do happen from time to time. Police officers are human beings and are not immune from suffering the same shortcomings as everyone else,” Muscatine Police Chief Gary Coderoni said this morning in a statement.

“Public trust is difficult to obtain, and easy to lose, which is why we collaborate with an outside agency to make sure that the investigation is conducted fairly and impartially.“

Since November, Burk had been assigned to the overnight shift of the police department’s patrol division, working from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. Previously, he had been the department’s resource officer at Muscatine High School from 2004-08. From November 2008 until his reassignment last year, Burk had been an officer on the Muscatine County Drug Task Force.

The task force is comprised of two detectives from both the Muscatine Police Department and Muscatine County Sheriff’s Office, a secretary provided by the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement and state narcotics agents as needed.

In July, the office of state Auditor David Vaudt released a report that said at least $8,810 in cash and money orders held by the task force during a five-year period could not be accounted for after an audit was requested by the state DCI.

Officials have not linked Burk to the missing funds, and no charges were filed at the time because there was insufficient evidence, according to a spokeswoman for the DCI.

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US Offers Spy Satellites For Misuse By Local Law Enforcement Agencies

August 31, 2010


Video Catches Tory New York Police Beating Student – Police Charge Man Who Recorded Incident For Drinking And Failing To “Disperse” From His Own Property

August 31, 2010

TROY, NEW YORK – A disturbance on 15th Street early Sunday ended with what eyewitnesses called the beating of a Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute student by police — an incident now making the rounds on the video website YouTube.

The fuzzy video purports to depict an altercation between Troy police officers and Luis M. Lluberes, 21, who was subsequently arrested for disorderly conduct, harassment and resisting arrest. Police reports indicate Lluberes was among a group of men in a fight that police were attempting to break up around midnight when Lluberes allegedly pushed Officer Brandon Cipperly with two hands, triggering an altercation with police that ended with his arrest.

The incident was witnessed by members of an RPI fraternity who claim they saw an officer strike Lluberes in the head repeatedly with a baton.

Police Chief John Tedesco said accusations of brutality are baseless and noted the poor quality of the video, which he said he reviewed along with all related police reports.

“I can’t make out anything in the video. I can’t even tell that they’re Troy police officers,” he said. “At this point, we are standing behind the actions of the officers.”

No complaint has been filed with the department, and while Tedesco said he is personally looking into the incident, no official investigation is under way.

Lluberes, a native of Guilford, Conn., who resides at 22 Detroit Ave., declined to discuss the specifics of what happened on the night on question.

“At this time I feel I can’t make comments regarding what happened Saturday night. I am very upset about the whole ordeal and hope that what happened that night does not get skewed as more people start hearing the story,” he wrote in response to an inquiry made through the social networking site Facebook.

He said he would be seeking legal advice and is embarrassed about the whole ordeal.

“I am trying my hardest to keep this event low-key so that the outcome is a fair and just one,” Lluberes wrote.

The video was filmed by Nicholas Nigro, an RPI student and a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon. At the conclusion of the 94-second video, a police officer approaches the camera and appears to close a door on Nigro, who protests and says he is standing inside his own house.

“Get in your house. Goodbye,” the officer can be heard saying.

Nigro, 25, was subsequently arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and possessing an open container, which are both violations that resulted in a ticket being issued. Tedesco said the disorderly conduct count was for “failure to disperse” as ordered by an officer.

Dillon Mysliwiec, a member of Nigro’s fraternity, said the officers were beating Lluberes with their batons — including several strikes to the back of the head — and left a trail of blood on the sidewalk they later washed up.

Lluberes, however, declined medical treatment once taken to the Troy police station, according to reports filed by the officers on the scene.

Sgt. Terry Buchanan, the police department’s spokes-man, said procedure calls for using a baton to achieve “the minimum force necessary to affect an arrest” or to protect the safety of officers or bystanders.

Officers are required to file separate reports when force is used, Tedesco said, and upon review of those reports he concluded that the officers acted appropriately in dealing with a person he said was intoxicated and violent.

“The officer appropriately defended himself,” Tedesco said.

He said it took at least three officers to subdue Lluberes, who he said “put up quite a fight” and attempted to take a baton from an officer. He would not name the officers involved, but the arrest report for Lluberes indicates the arrest was made by officers Cipperly, Charles Castle, William Fitch and Justin Ashe.

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Veteran Bloomington Illinois Serial Rapist Police Officer Sgt. Jeff Pelo Sentenced To 400 Years in Prison

August 30, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, ILLINOIS – It was nothing short of a nightmare — a man obsessively tracking women,
sneaking into their homes, assaulting them, and forcing them to perform
a bizarre “cleansing” ritual that washed away any hint of evidence from
their bodies.

Bloomington, Ill., Police Detective Clay Wheeler spent two years pursuing the first serial rapist in his town’s memory.

“I’ve seen more brutal things, more violent things, but some of the
things that happened and what he would say and tell these girls as he’s
assaulting them, and I mean, I get chills. It just disgusts me,” he
said.

Rapist’s Victims Awakened by Masked Intruder

The rapist’s first victim was then 25-year-old Kristi Mills, who awoke to a masked intruder standing in her doorway in April 2003.

“I was in shock, absolute shock. I looked at the door and saw the light
there, and something just didn’t seem right. And that’s when I saw him,”
she said. “The next thing I remember is he was on top of me in the
bed.”

Mills said the intruder told her he was there to burglarize her, and
that he didn’t want to hurt her, but if she made noise, he would shoot
her.

Wearing a ski mask and gloves, he seemed oddly calm and methodical as he
bound her with zip ties and duct tape, she said. Then he slipped a
pillowcase over her head and sexually assaulted Mills for 45 minutes.

“He seemed very assertive when he talked and not like somebody who’s,
you know, panicking. He seemed like he knew what he was doing,” Mills
said.

Still blindfolded, he forced her into the bathroom where she heard water
running. “I started to panic and I thought he was going to shoot me in
the bathtub,” she said. “Just over a month from my 26th birthday, and I
was going to die.”

Mills was forced to take a long bath and told to wash carefully, while
her rapist calmly walked about her apartment cleaning up after himself.

Then he was gone, taking with him all the evidence, including the bed sheets.

She was so upset and scared that when she got out of the bathtub,
removed the pillowcase, and ripped the tape from off her eyes, she
actually tore out chunks of hair. Though she said she wanted to run and
hide, she decided to call 911 and report it.

Rapist Left Next Victim Shaking in Tub

Two years later, the rapist found his fourth victim, 28-year-old
restaurant manager Sarah Kalmes-Gliege, who also awoke to someone coming
into her room in the middle of the night. She was just six weeks away
from her wedding.

“It was gun to my head, knife to my throat,” said Kalmes-Gliege.

He made it clear he had been stalking her, and he threatened her loved
ones. “He knew everything about me,” she said. “What my sister looks
like to what car my [finance] drove, my work schedule. He knew where I
worked out. Pretty much everything.”

The intruder sexually assaulted and attacked Kalmes-Gliege for almost
three hours. As with Mills, he was careful. He bound her hands and
covered her head with a pillowcase.

“The majority of the assault was spent just humiliating and demeaning
and terrorizing me. I mean, it wasn’t at all about anything to do with
sex. Just devastation is what, how I felt.”

Before leaving, as he had with Mills and his other victims, the attacker
forced Kalmes-Gliege into the bathroom for a long soak to wash away the
evidence.

“All I could think about was, ‘I can’t have someone call my family, my
fiancé, my parents, my siblings and tell them that I have been killed
six weeks before I get married,'” she said.

He left her alone, shaking in her tub and waiting hours until sunrise to flee.

Although she considered telling no one, she thought, “If I don’t tell
the police, this person is going to rape yet another person.” So she
called the cops.

Even through her trauma, Kalmes-Gliege had memorized details of her
attacker, from his gait to the haunting eyes behind his mask.

“He had a very distinct way of walking,” she said. “Kind of cumbersome.
He had very distinct bright blue eyes. I knew I would be able to pick
them out as soon as I saw that person.”

Mills also remembered his eyes. “When you’re staring into those eyes and
that’s the only thing you can see and the only thing you can focus on,
they stick with you.”

Police Hunt for Model Citizen

Detective Wheeler and his partner Matthew Dick realized this was a
special kind of rapist; he was a stalker, a man seemingly obsessed with
his victims who gathered intimate details about them.

“He’s actually engaging in conversation rather than just the quick act
of violence,” Dick said. The victims described how he would talk almost
lovingly to them, as if he was their boyfriend, before getting angry
and violent.

And he knew how to cover his tracks. “It was very obvious to us that
this was a sophisticated criminal and knew what he was doing,” Dick
said.

When the police turned to the FBI for help, they were told the rapist might be a seemingly model citizen.

“The one thing they did tell us that I’ll never forget is that this
would be some guy that everybody works with. They’ll say, ‘Naw. He
couldn’t do that. He wouldn’t do that,’ you know. And it’d be somebody
that would be maybe a respected member of the community,” Wheeler said.

The police had no prime suspect, until he stalked then 29-year-old
Jonelle Galuska. She said she knew she was being watched, so when she
was awoken one night by her startled dog, she immediately called the
police.

At 1 a.m., Bloomington police officer Dave Zeamer arrived to find a man
standing against the house, and in the glare of his flashlight, saw a
man turn and walk away.

“I yell, ‘Police. Stop, police!'” Zeamer said.

To his shock, he knew the man who turned around. It was one of his own … fellow Bloomington police officer Jeff Pelo, his former supervisor.

Pelo was a 17-year veteran of the Bloomington police, a former policeman of the year and married father of three.

“You got that relief of, ‘Oh, it’s Pelo.’ But then you are like, ‘Wait a
minute, it’s Pelo. What’s he doing out here?'” Zeamer said.

Once a trusted cop, now Pelo was a suspected serial rapist. “As soon as
I heard that Jeff Pelo was stopped outside that house, that connection
had been drawn in my mind,” said Dick.

Mounting Evidence Points to Police Sergeant

Mounting evidence revealed how Pelo may have used his police training and access to commit the crimes and cover his tracks.

Detectives found that Pelo’s police computer had been used to run
license plate searches on three of the victims. Pelo claimed that
someone else must have been using his computer terminal.

“Victims described how [the rapist] would pull some of the items around
from his belt. You know, the gloves that they described were consistent
with what police officers or security officers commonly wear,” Wheeler
remembered. It made sense that the rapist might be a cop, he said.

During a tense interrogation, Pelo denied “prowling” around Galuska’s
home and said he was only looking at the nearby lake. He was
house-hunting, he said, rubbing his head and eyebrows nervously.

Then, a search of Pelo’s home turned up a jacket and a ski mask made of
fibers that matched the kind found on the duct tape used to bind Mills.

“Fiber evidence was what I think was the most important,” Dick said.
“About the only actual physical evidence to tie Jeff Pelo to these
crimes.”

The victims were brought in to see if they could identify him, first
through a voice line-up. “The third victim, when she heard his voice,
she literally curled up into the fetal position and pulled herself into
the wall of the interview room,” Dick said.

“If you spend two hours listening to that person threatening, degrade
you, it doesn’t take very much to recognize it,” said Kalmes-Gliege.

Three victims also picked Pelo out of a photo line-up, even though the
rapist had worn a mask during the attacks. But it was those clear blue
eyes both Kalmes-Gliege and Mills said they remembered so vividly.

Believing Pelo was the rapist, Dick and Wheeler said he had betrayed the badge they held dear.

“To go to the victims and have to tell them that ‘This was one of my own
that did this to you,'” Dick said. “It was pretty devastating.”

Family Stands By Pelo

Pelo’s family — his wife of 20 years, Rickie, and their three kids —
stood by him. Rickie Pelo said the police jumped to conclusions.

“He was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” she said. “He’s explained
to me. He’s never given me any reason not to believe him. So I do
believe him.”

Pelo’s home life was exemplary, according to his family. He seemed to be
a devoted family man who volunteered at his kids’ schools. He coached
his daughter’s softball team and was present at all sporting events.

Rickie Pelo describes her husband as being her kids’ biggest fan. “In
fact, my oldest daughter’s friends would always joke around. They knew
when her dad was in the audience because they could hear him,” she said.

At Pelo’s trial in May 2008, the most damaging testimony came from his victims.

“The women that were his victims, the women that survived his attacks,
were all women that were willing to stand up,” Mills said. “We took
control back. And I think that’s what really led to his downfall.”

After six weeks the jury returned a damning verdict: guilty on 35
counts of rape, kidnapping and stalking. He was sentenced to 440 years,
one of the longest sentences in Illinois history. Pelo is currently
appealing, asking a judge to overturn his conviction.

“I just felt it was important to have him be accountable to me, to my
family, to the public for the things that he did. I have no doubt that
the person sitting in jail right now, Mr. Pelo, is who is responsible
for every single one of these attacks,” said Kalmes-Gliege.

But Pelo’s family says the jury got it wrong. “I don’t think he did it,” Rickie Pelo said.

“There wasn’t DNA that said it was him. There wasn’t any hard proof to
say it was him, so I just don’t understand how so many people have come
to the conclusion that he’s a bad person,” said daughter Shayla Pelo.

Rickie said she tries to shut out the present, fondly remembering the
Jeff Pelo that she knew, the man she fell in love with when she was just
18.

“He had such a great sense of humor,” she said. “Such a loving, caring
heart. Actually, the first thing that I fell in love with are his eyes.
His eyes were just beautiful, and I could just lose myself in them.”

They’re the same eyes that will stare at four walls in a small cell for
the rest of his life, the eyes his victims say they cannot forget.

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Douchebag Baltimore Maryland Police Officer Salvatore Rivieri Finally Fired – Three Years After Videotaped Verbal And Physical Attack On A Child – Feels Blindsided :)

August 30, 2010

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – The Baltimore police officer fired three years after a rant toward a teenage skateboarder spoke out Saturday morning, saying he feels devastated and blindsided by the firing.

Officer Salvatore Rivieri, a 19-year veteran, is no longer with the department, officials said in confirming the dismissal.

A video posted on YouTube, apparently shot in the summer of 2007, shows Rivieri putting a youth, Eric Bush, into a headlock and pushing him to the ground. Bush was 14 at the time. The clip received millions of views on YouTube and was picked up by national news channels.

On Saturday morning’s Kendel Ehrlich Show on WBAL 1090 AM, Rivieri said of the 2007 confrontation the he warned the boy and his friends that skateboarding at the Inner Harbor is illegal.

Bush has said he did not hear an order that the officer gave him about skateboarding at the Inner Harbor. Rivieri repeatedly got upset at being called “dude” in the video.

“I’m not ‘man.’ I’m not ‘dude,’ I am Officer Rivieri,” he told the teen. “The sooner you learn that, the longer you are going to live in this world. Because you go around doing this kind of stuff and somebody is going to kill you.”

On Saturday, Rivieri said the video does not show him and Bush shaking hands after the confrontation.

Rivieri was suspended and sent back on the streets in November 2008. Earlier this month, the city police trial board dismissed the most serious charges against him but found him guilty of failure to submit a police report and recommended a six-day suspension without pay; however, days later, Police Commissioner Fred Bealefeld overruled that decision and fired him.

Rivieri is appealing the case. Bob Cherry, head of the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police, said Wednesday that the union is outraged by the firing. Cherry said the officers in the FOP have supported Rivieri’s actions.

The Police Department has declined comment citing a personnel matter.

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