Monday, August 9, 2010

DETECTIVE DIATRIBE: Local columnist confirms police/biker email

COLUMBIA, 8/8/10  (Beat Byte) --  A mass email last week warning that local residents be on guard for thefts, violence, and biker-gang hooliganism leading up to the National Bikers Roundup did come from a "Columbia police department detective," Columbia Missourian columnist David Rosman explains in an August 6 column that was not published in the Missourian.
Reported here in an August 3 Beat Byte, the email -- which contained sensitive, unauthorized information -- is reprinted below.  The officer is presently under investigation, Rosman reports. 
"Yes, it was a Columbia police officer who wrote the email, but it was on his own time, unauthorized and 'ill-conceived,'" Columbia Police Department public information officer Jessie Haden told Mr. Rosman.  "She told me that this was an otherwise non-story until the email went viral in the University of Missouri listserv," explained Rosman, who also criticized the Columbia Heart Beat for not confirming the email author's identity. 
"If [Columbia Heart Beat editor Mike] Martin had only picked up the telephone and called public information officer Jessie Haden of the Columbia Police Department.  But she told me that she received no call from Martin," Rosman (right) wrote. 
The emailing police officer is "under investigation," Haden told Rosman.  "Important and sensitive information" appeared in the police officer's email "that the CPD would not have authorized for release." 
She also qualified the email warning.  "Very few" National Biker Roundup participants are "the hardened bikers that the email purported," Haden explained. 

POLICE EMAIL TEXT:  Mass warning reprint
Text of email referenced in above article.
Sent: Tuesday, July 27, 2010 12:14 PM
Subject: FYI: First Week of August. 8/2-8/6
I received this email from a friend of mine – he is a detective with the Columbia Police Dept – so trust in his advice…..
Two big events coming up in Columbia you need to be aware of and plan for accordingly.
During the first week of August the students start returning to peaceful Columbia and traffic starts getting congested.  The kids and their parents hit the stores and it takes forever to get through the lines, through traffic, through Columbia.
Simultaneously on Tuesday of next week the National Biker Round-up starts and runs through Saturday with everybody hopefully leaving on Sunday if they haven't already.  The estimated crowd expected at the Boone County Fairgrounds is at last count 30,000.  Hotels have been booked for a 50 mile radius for this event. 
AT THE LEAST WITH THE STUDENT'S RETURN AND THE BIKERS IN TOWN IT WILL BE LIKE HOME TIGER FOOTBALL GAME DAY FOR A WEEK.  In the past these events have resulted in a 7 mile traffic back-up waiting to get in the gates.  I-70 traffic will be effected heavily on Tuesday and maybe beyond that.
The Sin City Desiples (their spelling-I am close, I may be wrong on how they have it wrong) have booked every room in Moberly and will also occupy local campgrounds in that area--for example.
The local visitors bureau is promoting this as a family event.  The definition of a "family event" is, of course, the crucial component.  Didn't Manson call his group "the family?"  Many of the Motorcyle "clubs" coming to the event have been getting along for nearly a year--up until the last two weeks.  There has been some violence between several different factions.  Let's hope they leave the violence in their respective home towns.
If you drive near the motorcycle "clubs" be sure to give them plenty of room.  They like to think of themselves as the biggest baddest thing on the road and it is just good  to let them think that.  You, as a decent tax-paying honest job working citizen, like to have nice things and move about without a hassle.  They, with little to lose but their reputation, won't hesitate to launch a handful of ball bearings at your windshield if they think you are driving too close to their group.  (Yes.  Disregard the fact your SUV weighs 4500 pounds and them and their bike weigh less than 1000 pounds.)
Although this may be a family event, it is believed to be a mandatory ride for many established biker gangs.  There will be the largest group of hardened bikers in town en mass which have ever been in Columbia.  The last location for this event experienced many motorcycle thefts--well over 100.  If I had a motorcycle I would leave it locked the first week of August.
My advice is to stock up on groceries, gas, prescriptions, and anything you might need prior to the students and the bikers descending on Columbia.  This coming week and the following weekend would be good times to have friends over and barbecue at each other's houses for your entertainment.  And to basically stay out of Columbia and off the main roadways.  The groups do plan day trips which will basically be mass rides with tons of riders.
If you want to get out in the middle of it because you hear nothing bad has ever happened with this group, then I encourage you to do better research.
See you on the other side
POLICE REP:  Heart Beat wrong for not confirming detective identity
COLUMBIA, 8/8/10  (Beat Byte) --  Concerned about the content and context of an email warning sent from a Columbia Police detective, CPD public information officer Jessie Haden (left) asked this writer why she hadn't been contacted to confirm the detective's identity before an August 3 Heart Beat story, WARNING:  "Police detective" email sounds bike rally alarm
"You never asked me about the source of the e-mail," Haden wrote me. 
"The individual who forwarded the email -- a credible person -- stood by the account that it was from a Columbia police department detective," I explained.  "But this individual wouldn't reveal the name of the source, a personal friend.   I felt it best to leave it there, duly noting that 'Attempts to confirm the identity of the emailing Paul Revere were unsuccessful' and using qualifiers like 'purportedly' and 'alleged.'  I did believe that it originated from a CPD detective." 
"You're right about [the email's] origin," Haden said.  "I'm just saying, if your source won't confirm, please feel free to check with me on these things;  I may not know, but I may," she explained.  "I actually do in this case and could have filled you in.  Clarifying all that kind of makes it a non-story." 
Haden makes a number of valid points.  But absent primary source confirmation, "only very rarely would I go to a secondary source not directly involved" (in this case, Officer Haden), I explained. 
Haden did not release the identity of the CPD detective who sent the email nor did I request it.   Given the new information, the story does seem larger, however.

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