Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Archive for the ‘Public Safety’ Category

Examine Portland Cases Cited By Organizers Of Olympia, Seattle Protests Against Police

by Matt Rosenberg April 9th, 2010

Our civil society holds together very well, all in all. But rarely are we more challenged to uphold it than when police genuinely abuse their authority, or are questionably charged with doing so, or are marked for death simply because of their chosen profession. Western Washington and the world were shocked when Seattle police officer Timothy Brenton was assassinated last Halloween by a man – allegedly Christopher Monfort – whose loathing for police and authority reached a disturbing crescendo in a Seattle courtroom last month. The shock after Brenton’s heinous slaying turned to horror when weeks later four Lakewood, Wash. officers sitting in a coffee shop were murdered in cold blood by grudge-bearing career criminal Maurice Clemmons. The King County Sherriff’s office has become concerned enough about antipathy toward law enforcement officers to call for development of better threat assessment tools. The tensions are not abating.

Following recent protests in Portland against police for fatal shootings of civilian suspects there, small groups in Olympia yesterday and Seattle today staged violent protests against what they allege is police brutality. But the message was off-kilter. Dominic Holden of The Stranger covered the Seattle rally and got a handout which lauded Monfort, now facing a possible death penalty for the slaying of Officer Brenton. The flyer stated in part:

Monfort talked about police violence getting out of control in this country, and the media doing nothing to stop it. He referred to similar consolidations of power and violence under the regimes of Stalin, Mussolini, and Hitler. It is no coincidence that sometimes people snap, and do whatever they can to fight back against the agents of this system. To win just a moment of justice, a moment of vengeance.

They are the bravest of us, the most honest. We don’t want them to be forgotten, but we also don’t want those who allow themselves to feel outrage at the cruelty of this system to always sacrifice themselves, alone. We recognize that there are millions of us who hate our bosses, who hate the police, who hate the politicians, and we’re ready to fight back.

Seattle Weekly also covered the protest and reported on another handbill being distributed which showed a police officer in rear profile as a bullet-riddled shooting range target.

All pathological enough. But what is not being reported in the recent stories on the Olympia and Seattle protests are the key details of the two fatal shootings by Portland Police which are cited by organizers of the coordinated West Coast protests as evidence of police brutality.

“Can City Apps Bring Transparent Data To Jersey City’s Citizens?”

by Administrator February 26th, 2010

By Ron Callari

Technological advances are affecting how citizens are interacting with their city governments, as transparency, efficiency and cost-savings become the guiding principles in municipalities today. As more and more cities open their data to the public, tech-savvy individuals and companies are creating APIs (application programming interfaces) to provide Web 2.0 solutions for a variety of city issues. How might this technological development help Jersey City’s citizens better access and understand their government, all while saving the city money?

In its simplest form, a City API or app can be a descriptive list of a set of functions that are included in a government database and address a specific problem. For example, in a city with a traffic-light problem, a resident might typically call the public works or transportation department. Those calls take time and cost money when addressed by staff members you reach by phone. But with an API, a city could permit its residents to upload photos or videos of specific traffic light issues, vote on which ones should be addressed with urgency and view progress updates over time, for free. This could be done from smartphones with stand-alone apps or directed to a specific website for public perusal.

Read full article <a href=”http://www.jerseycityindependent.com/2010/02/19/can-city-apps-provide-jersey-city-with-access-to-transparent-data/”>here</a>.