Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Businesses Support Police Blue Shepherd Sting

I love it. Operations like this cost money, and Pensacola businesses stepped up to the plate, even though they could not be told what the operation was about. It makes all the difference in the world when a police force has the community support. From today’s Pensacola News Journal:

It takes a village to catch a predator
Written by
Jamie Page

When undercover law enforcement officers slammed accused child sex predators to the ground and arrested them, the police had plenty of backup.

That is, financial backing from at least four local businesses that sponsored the sting operation by providing food, water, paper products and Internet service.

It’s a novel concept, but a necessary one for a budget-intensive operation such as this one, said Pensacola Police Chief Chip Simmons.

“We have had to do what we could to maintain that undercover location, and to do that we had to make it have everything a normal house would have,” Simmons said.

“So, we contacted businesses and they agreed to donate things to the cause. It’s always good to know there are good people and businesses to chip in and help.”

For a month, law enforcement agencies rented a vacant northeast Pensacola home to use as the point of arrest for 25 men during the weeklong undercover Operation Blue Shepherd. Suspects were accused of using the Internet to set up sexual encounters with children.

The suspects came to meet the minors at the home.

“We had to make it look like a living, breathing home with toys, bicycles, mailbox and trash cans outside, and we had to have furniture inside to make the view from the roadway consistent with what an average home would have,” Simmons said.

Many of those things came from police-seized items or were contributed by officers or others for use in the sting.

But the police needed help with other things, such as food and supplies, which were provided by the Apple Market, Dillards, Pensacola Improv Event Center and Cox Communications.

Businesses were not told the nature of the sting, but simply that their contributions would go toward a Pensacola Police Department operation.

“I did not know what they were doing, I just had an officer come to me and ask if I would be willing to provide meals for several people for several days in a row, but I couldn’t talk about it, and I said fine,” said David Apple, owner of Apple Market in Pensacola.

“I just knew I was assisting the Police Department. And anything we can do to assist them, well, we are always eager to support our military and law enforcement any way we can.”

Apple had to sign a confidentiality agreement and could not talk about his catering, which he provided to officers at a rate that allowed him basically to break even.

Apple Market could not deliver the food. Officers would pick it up and take it to the location, which Apple also was not told about.

“The only complaint they had about the food was that everybody gained weight,” Apple said. “It was pretty enormously satisfying to know we helped feed those guys and they were so successful in what they set out to do.”

Representatives from Cox, Dillards and Pensacola Improv could not be reached for comment.

June 28, 2011 Posted by | Community, Crime, Financial Issues, Florida, Food, Law and Order, Living Conditions, Values | 4 Comments

Kuwait Tweeters to Face Trial

Kuwait makes AOL News: Huffington Post today, as two guys are arrested over Tweets offensive to royals:

Kuwait To Try Nasser Abul And Lawrence al-Rashidi Over Twitter Posts

KUWAIT (Reuters) – Kuwait will put on trial two citizens for criticizing Gulf Arab ruling families on social media site Twitter, a security official said on Monday.

Nasser Abul, a Kuwaiti Shi’ite Muslim, was arrested for posting criticisms of the Sunni Muslim ruling families in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, and Lawrence al-Rashidi posted defamatory comments of Kuwait’s emir, he said.

He said both would remain in detention for two more weeks before a hearing is scheduled, where they will likely face charges of harming the Gulf Arab state’s interests and defaming the country’s ruler after being arrested earlier in June.

Democracy activists have used social media such as Facebook and Twitter to debate, organize and share information in Bahrain, where the kingdom’s Sunni rulers crushed a protest movement in March led mostly by the country’s Shi’ite majority.

Bahrain called in troops from Sunni-led neighbors such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to enforce its crackdown. OPEC member Kuwait, which has a Shi’ite minority, sent naval forces.

Bahrain questioned a rights activist in April for publishing an image which appeared to show signs of torture on a man who died in detention during the unrest. It is not clear if the case will be brought to court.

Gulf Arab states, run by closely-allied ruling families, are trying to prevent protest movements that brought down Egyptian and Tunisian leaders earlier this year from taking off in their patch.

(Reporting by Eman Goma; editing by Mark Heinrich)

June 28, 2011 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Communication, Cultural, ExPat Life, Free Speech, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Political Issues | 2 Comments