Friday, July 25, 2014

High Adventure

Adventure Rope Course at the top of The Notch
Hard to tell who had more fun, the 20 children taking part in the Amherst & UMass Police Adventure Academy or the half dozen officers who acted as counselors.

The one week program is a joint effort of the two public safety departments who share the same town, but have decidedly different beats.

The summer camp combined the cerebral aspects of police work with outdoor activities designed to promote teamwork and camaraderie.

But most of all it got police officers out of their uniforms and into a fun environment to interact with our children, fostering something you can't put a price on:  trust. 

UMPD officer Brian Kellogg (orange shirt) and APD officer Bill Laramee (grey hat) recover Kira 

Graduation Day:  Round of applause for the children and counselors


keithw said...

Haven't been up the notch in years. Last time I did, the fire tower was still up...what a view. Running up the white trail in summer, walking down the orange trail through the horse caves in fall, getting lost on the blue trail in winter.

Sigh.....good old days.

Anonymous said...

I firmly believe that the officers involved in this will have accomplished more of why they "wear the uniform" than they ever will actually wearing it.

The pity is that the people who would most benefit from seeing the officers as they actually are & want to be -- the UMass students -- can't and won't ever be able to do so.

If the college kids got to see tha the cops are basically decent human beings there wouldn't be anywhere as many problems as there are in this town. But they never will be able to see the cops as such, and...

Anonymous said...

UMass students do not want to see cops as people or neighbors as people for that matter.

They want to leave home, come to Amherst and act like animals. They believe it to be a place where they can run wild, getting drunk beyond comprehension, destroying property, and creating havoc. The University does not teach them to control themselves because there is no place on campus to socialize with alcohol.

Anonymous said...

Why not a ropes course for college kids!

Anonymous said...

"Why not a ropes course for college kids"

Because the college kids would end up smoking the ropes.

keithw said...

You would think the nimby's wouldn't want umass students up on the notch, seeing as they have permeated every other area of the town. I can see nimby's retreating up there like Daniel Shays & crew.

keithw said...


Dr. Ed said...

"Because the college kids would end up smoking the ropes."

You are both asinine and ignorant.

Not only are there college kids who would respect the fact that someone was doing something nice for them, not only are most college kids respectful of the property of others, these are sworn police officers who are on duty -- and hence, notwithstanding your ignorance of rope fibers, this wouldn't happen.

And as to your ignorance, let's start with rope hemp -- much as the turkey you buy in the supermarket is quite different from a wild turkey, the high-THC pot plant of today is quite different from even the circa-1960's *pot* plant, let alone species of hemp used for rope.

It is like the alcohol in cold medicines and other things -- it is there, but there isn't very much of it -- and I doubt any 21st Century pothead would derive much pleasure from smoking hemp rope...

Above and beyond this, hemp really hasn't been used much for rope in over a half century because the synthetics (plastics) are so much superior. Not just cheaper, not just easier to manufacture into rope, but also better.

Better in all ways -- you literally can engineer a rope to have the desired amount of stretch, to hold knots well or not, to have all kinds of qualities for whatever you want to do with it.

The synthetics have the added advantage of not rotting & decomposing the way natural fibers do -- that is why the heads of lobster traps no longer have to be dipped in tar the way they were in my grandfather's era. You don't have to worry about a synthetic rope being damaged by being wet (rotting) the way you do one made of natural fibers.

Synthetics such as Polypropylene are hard round fibers that the "roots" of marine life can not penetrate -- while barnacles, mussels and seaweed can penetrate the gaps between the fibers, they neither are able to penetrate the fibers themselves nor decompose them for their nutrient value -- the marine growth doesn't weaken the rope the same way.

A lot of ropes are actually combinations of ropes that are made of multiple things, and often continuous strands of them,hundreds of feet long.

Natural fibers such as hemp & sisal are only the length of the plant's leaf and have to be first "laid" and then spun into rope in much the way that cotton & wool must be spun into thread or yarn. Each end of each fiber in the rope is a shear point in the rope, which is exacerbated by it also being a wear point.

And one other nice thing about the synthetics -- you can melt/burn the end and the rope won't unravel. The same quality would also make it rather impossible to "smoke" it....

But as you blindly hate UM students, I doubt you'd ever let yourself be confused with the facts....

Dr. Ed said...

I forget which town it was, but (like Amherst) the municipal police were having problems with the college kids -- so the next fall, the police department decided to welcome the incoming freshmen with a pig roast.

Free food. As the police (and hence town) was doing it, it meant that all health codes and such were being met -- that it was safe to eat. And it showed that the cops had a sense of humor, that they human beings and not storm troopers looking for trouble with the college kids.

If the police did a ropes course for the UM students, AND if they both publicized it and continued to do it on a scheduled basis, you'd start seeing a lot of girls showing up.

Why? The girls want to meet people (particularly boys) and they don't want to get raped. If the police are sponsoring this, it means that there will be lots of cops there and hence they will be safe. Likewise that the police know what they are doing and will tie the knots properly and all the rest -- that she won't fall to her death or anything of that sort.

It very quickly will become known that the girls are going to these events, and at that point the boys will go too -- because they want to meet the girls.

This does two things for the police -- first, a lot of the kids who go to the riots are really only there to meet people -- they are social events, in many ways the only social events on campus.

Second, it is made clear that if the cops have to deal with a riot, that week's rope course has to be cancelled -- and it does because the officers need to sleep. So you have this on Sunday afternoons and it becomes an incentive to discourage rioting...

keithw said...

Speaking of ignorance, Wild Turkey and potency: most folks don't know the difference between 80 proof and 101 and I find THAT asinine.

Anonymous said...

... the cops are basically decent human beings...

Camila Carpio et al feel differently. Camila is of course the young adult who started the online petition to deny the white ARHS student Dylan the right to attend his graduation ceremonies. Camila believes members of the APD and other departments are criminals who "pin" crimes on innocent black people. Camila worked together with Vira Douangmany and Amilcar Shabazz to demand Justice for convicted cocaine dealer Ayyub Abdul-Alim. Now, she is asking for our help in harassing the Amherst cops around the arrest of Yeshaq Warren, who is accused of two incidents of assault with a knife against an elderly resident, who has certainly positively identified him. (Yeshaq Warren is the man who has been charged with several crimes in Amherst in the past, including physical assault on a pregnant woman.) Here is her online plea:

Urgent Solidarity Calls Needed Now!
Tuesday July 22, 10:56 pm

At approximately 9:51pm Yeshaq Warren was approached by three police officers on bridge street in Northampton, MA. He was immediately transported to Amherst Police Department. We believe...

[Camila says 'We believe'... who is 'we'?]

...officers are attempting to pin him with an incident that happened earlier today in Amherst, despite several witnesses coming forward to say that he was in Northampton and then Springfield.

He is currently being held on $1,000 bail and is being charged with assault with a knife. Officers intend to move him to the Northampton County House of Corrections.

If you are able, please call the Amherst Police Department to demand answers as to why this innocent man is being held. We also need court support tomorrow at Belchertown court at 8:30 am.

Please call in and say the following:

Amherst PD

Hello, I am calling to learn why Yeshaq Warren is being held and why he was transported without contacting his lawyer.
Witnesses can testify that he was not in Amherst all day so it is impossible that he involved in any altercation.

If you are a member of the media or any organization state this as it may be helpful.

Dr. Ed said...

There is a point here -- and I state it as something that I ran into as the adviser of a student organization at UMass, a frantic phone call from a student who wasn't even identifying the correct police department that had made the arrest.

I needed to know, immediately what the hell was going on -- for a bunch of reasons I couldn't explain but which were very legitimate -- and the last thing the UMPD wanted that night was a phone call from Jack Wilson (and heaven knows who else) when they hadn't even made the arrest in the first place.

Yes, initially the Amherst Police had arrested a UM student for something which had happened earlier that night, on campus, and in front of at least a dozen UMPD officers -- and the UMPD had not arrested him, but now the APD had.

In addition to repeatedly telling me that they hadn't arrested him, the UMPD told me enough that I could figure out the rest. I've never been arrested, believe it or not, it's not the sort of thing someone like me is likely to know much about, and I'm from another state anyway -- where specific protocols and procedures are different.

Those of you who are parents, think of what you would want (and expect) from a police department in a distant state that had just arrested your son or daughter, it's around midnight so there aren't a whole lot of other people you can ask, and you just want to know (a) what the hell was going on and (b) what you need to do to ensure your son/daughter didn't fall through the cracks.

Maybe permission of the prisoner is required, but there needs to be a policy of telling people whom you have in your lockup and why. That's basic!

There needs to be a policy of clearly telling people who believe the arrest was unjustified where and when they can bring that matter to the appropriate person -- when the arraignment is and where.

The Amherst Police either do not have a policy of providing this information, or they just refused to provide it in this instance --- and this is something completely different from saying that the cops are wrong.

As an aside, if this is the Warren family that resides in Misty Meadows -- Larry, you might want to do a little digging into property ownership records of residences and you will instantly know exactly what I am hinting here -- and that's an issue too...

Dr. Ed said...

"why he was transported without contacting his lawyer."

Do they have to? This is why I really think the APD needs to have a "your rights when arrested" brochure (if they don't) and why they need to not play it so close to the vest on this stuff.

And Larry, "Elderly Woman" -- this incident occur at 33 Kellogg by any chance?

Anonymous said...

Gazette's coverage of the incident:

First paragraph: "Being threatened with a knife downtown two days in a row by an assailant who also stomped on his foot left the 80-year-old victim physically uninjured but petrified.

Caption under photo: William Lovett, 80, of Amherst, describes the situation when he was stabbed Tuesday afternoon by a stranger in front of the Bangs COMMUNITY Center in Amherst Wednesday, July 23, 2014.

Which was it, venerable Gazette? Was he "threatened with a knife" but left "physically uninjured", or was he "stabbed by a stranger"?

The Gazette can't even write information that doesn't contradict itself in a single article. What a joke.

Dr. Ed said...

Which was it, venerable Gazette? Was he "threatened with a knife" but left "physically uninjured", or was he "stabbed by a stranger"?

Sloppy writing but as one of the definitions of "stab" is "a thrust of a pointed weapon" it is theoretically possible to be "stabbed" but not "injured" because you jumped out of the way. Kinda like how someone can "throw a punch" but not necessarily hit someone -- the difference between the crime of Assault and the crime of Battery.

But only $1000 bail for this???

Dr. Ed said...

"Now, she is asking for our help in harassing the Amherst cops around the arrest of Yeshaq Warren, who is accused of two incidents of assault with a knife against an elderly resident,..."

Hence two incidents, only one which involved a physical injury?

"...who has certainly positively identified him."


It should be "positively identified him with certainty" -- you want the "with certainty" modifying (further defining) the "positively identified" and not the other way around.

Think of it this way -- the key word is "identified" with "positively identified" being a more narrower category and then "with certainty" (a prepositional phrase) narrowing it even more.

Anonymous said...

Gazette article also said, "Lovett was threatened first on Monday afternoon outside of CVS Pharmacy at 76 North Pleasant St. and then again Tuesday morning as he was leaving the Senior Center, in the Bangs Center.

Sitting Wednesday in the entry lounge of the center at 70 Boltwood Walk, Lovett said he thinks the confrontations were related to his disagreements with a relative of the suspect, who lives near Lovett in an apartment complex downtown"

Dr. Ed wrote above, "As an aside, if this is the Warren family that resides in Misty Meadows -- Larry, you might want to do a little digging into property ownership records of residences and you will instantly know exactly what I am hinting here -- and that's an issue too..."

How do these puzzle pieces fit together?

Anonymous said...

"stabbed" means something was penetrated; "stabbed at" might mean penetration didn't occur.

The Gazette said he was "stabbed".

Anonymous said...

It should be "positively identified him with certainty" -- you want the "with certainty" modifying (further defining) the "positively identified" and not the other way around.

Actually professor I meant that the victim "of course" or "most definitely" went through the process of positively identifying the perpetrator.