Thursday, April 19, 2012

Citizen's Police Academy Part 4b and 5

As promised the last bit of last week’s class and I will combine it with this week. I still have not received the presentation I was promised, so I fired up the ol' memory for it and here we go.

So the gangs of our area are as follows; Black Gangster Disciples, Brown Pride Surenos 13 and a few other local gangs to boot. Most of the issues with our gangs relates to tagging territory. With the Surenos gang the number 13 is the thirteenth letter in the alphabet (M). This pays homage to the Mexican Mafia to whom many Surenos gangs owe their founding to. Some of the gangs in our area are a little confused as to what color they are supposed to be tagging with. We have some "crypt" gangs tagging in red and "Blood" gangs tagging in blue. Officer J attributes this to wanna be's trying to impress their peers.

The main point of his briefing was to address the tagging going on. He stated that the more we reported tagging and the quicker the city can get the graffiti covered the better off the whole town is. The only troubling issue I noted from this is that Ogden Utah gangs are slowly migrating up here because of that cities law regarding two gang members withing 5 feet of each other (felony). Ogden Trece is a different gang entirely and because of Ogden's new meeting rules they are slowly migrating up here to Idaho.

This week’s meeting was on DUI and accident investigation. We had some of the same officers from traffic show up and show us some of their most violent crashes, including one of a mother who was not wearing her seatbelt. She was partially ejected from her van and was decapitated from the top of her teeth on up. Her baby, that was in a child seat, made it out without a scratch. More crashes were viewed after that one but it had left its mark with the class. There was another about a pair of 17 year old kids doing fish tails in dirt. One had a seatbelt and the other didn't. The one who did not was ejected, had a car roll on top of her and was dragged a few feet.

After a break we went into the DUI part of the class. Officer M went into the standardized DUI test which consists with Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, Walk-and-Turn and the One-Leg Stand.

Horizontal gaze nystagmus is an involuntary jerking movement of the eyeball that occurs naturally as an individual's eye gazes to the side. Normally, nystagmus (jerking movement) occurs when the eyes are rotated at high peripheral angles. When an individual is impaired by the effects of alcohol, this jerking is exaggerated and can occur at lesser angles. Additionally, an individual Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving Under the Influence (DUI) will have greater difficulty tracking a moving object. As the test is administered, law enforcement personnel look for three indicators of impairment. The indicators are: If the eye cannot follow a moving object smoothly.
If jerking is distinctly noticeable when the eye is looking as far to the side as it can (maximum deviation).If the jerking begins when the eye is within 45 degrees of center. The officer tests each eye. If, between both eyes, four or more of the indicators are observed, research indicates that approximately 77 percent of suspects will likely have a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .10 or higher.

The rest are pretty standard tests that we are all familiar with. The other point that the officers mentioned was that drug interactions with alcohol. Even if someone blows a .3 they could still be impaired with drugs. The last part of the class they busted out the "drunk goggles". These things gave me a headache and I could only wear them for a short time. They basically simulated the effect of alcohol which the distortion and the shifting perception of the lenses is supposed to simulate. Like I said I could only keep mine on for a few minutes before I needed to take them off.

I have a ride along  scheduled for next Thursday from 6pm to 10pm so hopefully next week should be a busy posting week for me.


  1. excellent summary of the class as usual, mmasse! i am very much enjoying these updates so thank you for taking the time to write them! i continue to thank God for the fact that we don't have too many cities with gangs in them in canada - of course we have the usual Hell's Angels (the bad ones AND the good ones) and Rock Machine...and a few of the more famous ones from the US...but they just aren't as commonplace up here as they are in the cities down there.

    i can't wait to hear about your ride-along.

    your friend,

    1. Part of me wants an exciting ride but for the sake of others I hope it is a boring one. Thanks kymber!