Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Election Reflection

Having cast and mailed in my voter ballot I've taken the opportunity to sit back and just reflect over this very unprecedented campaign.

My thoughts on the subject is that if any American, right from the start runs a presidential campaign whose initial platform is one of hate, does not want to win.

When he calls a group of people criminals and rapists, and then over a year continually bombards us with it, only brings to life the covert racists lying in the underbelly of America.

It doesn't take a whole lot of research to find that people of ALL nationalities commit crimes. One would think that putting all of America's crimes on one race of people is about as racists as one can get.

But not Donald Trump. He took it to a new low by openly espousing that a prominent judge can't be fair because of his Hispanic heritage. What did Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan call it? "The textbook definition of a racist". But Ryan still supported Trump.

Not stopping there, Trump actually accused just about every race of people on the planet, other than his own of human short comings, a quality most thought only the now extinct German Nazi Party possessed.

We learned way back that most Americans have a keen sense of equality. In '64, when blacks were just coming out of the Jim Crow era and making an attempt to assimilate into the American culture many racist whites felt that although public assistance helped poor whites, helping blacks was too much of a hand out.

Programs like Affirmative Action were vehemently fought against by then presidential candidate Barry Goldwater who in his nomination speech said, "I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!”

Reagan's "A Time of Choosing" speech meant to propel Barry Goldwater into the White House became a presidential landslide for LBJ.

(can you say backfire?)

Apparently Trump learned nothing from politics of the 60's. With her faults, Hillary is the experienced nominee while most of what Trump says are some of the dumbest and divisive things an American nominee can say.

In essence one candidate is presidential, the other is Donald Trump.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Trainwreck Trump

The Trump Trainwreck Trump says they're liars. There was no inappropriate touching. Only circumstantial to virtually no physical evidence. So why step forward after 30 years claiming, "I was a victim of Donald Trump's groping?" After all, it's he said/she said in both Bill Cosby's case and Donald Trump's case.

But there are 2 courts. One is the court of law. If they're gonna investigate, investigations 101 teaches us to interview everyone involved except the subject of the investigation. Then investigate the who, what, when, where and then how and why. Armed with that, call the subject of the investigation in as more women come forward.

Then we'll see how they fair in the other court, the court of public opinion.

Monday, September 19, 2016


Fighting street gang violence involves problem solving. As in any battle, it is crucial that we muster the human resolve to succeed. In law enforcement many departments use a 4 phase process called the S.A.R.A. model.

The word SARA is an acronym for (Scan, Analyze, Respond, and Assess) and has been used in fighting crime with great success and tenacity by police departments nationwide. The following is an example of how this works beginning with Phase One.


Let’s say that there are reports of criminal activity occurring daily at a nearby park. During Phase One, the scanning phase of S.A.R.A we make a crime analysis check which reveals that area gangs are conducting criminal activities there.

The crime checks include reports to police, assaults and gang-related activities. A bad place for park goers, but a haven for gangs.

With the scanning phase complete, the next challenge is for officers to gain a better prospective on exactly what is occurring at the park. This brings us to Phase Two.


From setting up surveillance to looking at crime reports, there are several ways to analyze. For this particular scenario it’s best we use house-to-house survey campaigns.

By talking to the grassroots citizens who use the park and the residents living around it, many facts about the park can be revealed. Surveys are the only way to find those people who were inconvenienced and many more who were unreported crime victims.

Sample questions specifically might be:

Do you visit the park?

When using the park, do you feel safe?

Do you think problems exist in the park?

What are the major problems in the park?

Have you or anyone you know been a victim in the park? And the most important.

How can the park be improved?

Now with a sufficient number of people surveyed and the answers analyzed we can now provide for S.A.R.A.’s Phase Three.


Having scanned and analyzed the problems we can now make our recommendations. Here’s a sample of some that are typical:

Paint over all graffiti

Install more lighting

Post signs prohibiting criminal acts. And most important.

Increase in police presence with a positive interaction with the citizens. High police visibility being the design.

The plan is set to make the park a positive, safe place again and making way for the opportunity to move on to the final Phase Four.


With the implementation of these combined recommendations we can evaluate and hopefully discover an anti-gang atmosphere emerging. If not, the plan may require some additional tweaking like ramping up enforcement and visibility.

In just a few short months if area residents begin coming back and using the park again then we’ve arrived successfully.

Youth gangs not only significantly affects their future but can cause community decay. It would be preferable to prevent this. By responding with environmental management using the S.A.R.A. model, a better life can be attained for a community; a testament to how fighting street gang violence involves problem solving.

Is the struggle to keep the park safe over? Not by a long shot; as long as there are gangs it will remain an ongoing battle. But it’s the good fight.

Johnny Russell, SDPD retired

Johnny Russell has had a 30 year career in law enforcement and is author of the gang/cops novel, First Blood, available at all online bookstores.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

I was a police officer for 30 years and have had people on traffic stops run from me. I've been on DUI field coordination tests and had subjects run, jump back into their car and flee. I've seen a lot and done a lot in my 30. I was a training officer for 15 years, the longest FTO ever on a major metropolitan police dept. Nothing I saw on the video warranted the officer removing his weapon from it's holster and frankly it left me with a blank stare wondering ... why? Was the officer wrong? No question, but murder in California requires one necessary element. Malice aforethought. Dunnow the law in Ohio, but short of self-defense the officer had no authority and now faces manslaughter at a minimum. I was a police officer working the hood mostly and was consistently faced day in and day out with non-compliance, it's part of the job. Unless you work Lilly white neighborhoods, as a cop you learn to deal with it otherwise you don't last 30 years.

Saturday, June 7, 2014



Officer  Archie Calvin Buggs was a native San Diegan having attended Gompers Middle School and Morse High School. After his 1966 graduation, Buggs joined the Army and did a tour of duty in Vietnam before receiving a hardship discharge to care for his ailing father. 

Officer Buggs joined the SDPD on October 18, 1974. After completing his academy training, he found himself patrolling the streets he grew up in. In Nov 1978 Jesus Cecena made a decision to take the life of Officer Archie Buggs and drew the life penalty card.  Let's tell Governor Jerry Brown to let him do it his time. Drop him an  email at with the following message:

Dear Governor Brown

I ask that you DENY PAROLE to Jesus Cecena, inmate C08487. This inmate's violent murder of San Diego Patrolman Archie Buggs in 1978 should preclude any consideration for parole." Thanks.

The Story of how I met Archie Buggs and what he meant to me.  

Many semesters ago, I suddenly heard a police siren. I pulled over and a San Diego Police Officer stopped behind me. He drove a white 1975 Ford Torino. The police car was all white with a bubblegum machine on top flashing red and blue. 

I faced straight ahead and peered into my rear view mirror. A black police officer of average height and weight got out. He was dressed in a tan uniform with a shiny breast badge and no patch insignias. He walked towards me.

“Driver’s license and registration please?”

“Sure officer, I do something wrong?” The officer opened his ticket book.

“You made a left turn in violation of the, ‘No left turn sign,’ see it there?” he asked. I turned to look and saw the sign plain as day.

 “I’m sorry officer, just last week I got a speeding ticket.

“Tickets hurt your record. You need to slow down and pay attention to the road signs,” said the officer. Those words sounded a lot like my mom.

“Sign here,” he said. Hell! He’s written me a ticket.

“Drive safely,” he said as he tore me off a copy, then he was gone.

As I just sat there brooding, I looked at the cite. The bold letters at the top read, “TRAFFIC WARNING.”  I breathed a sigh of relief then I looked at where the officer signed his name. It read, “A. Buggs.” I whispered to myself thank-you.

This was the very first time I had ever been stopped by a police officer that had listened and cut me some slack. I screwed up and should have gotten a ticket. But at least he listened, just as I would have had I been in his position. 

An officer that can do the job professionally and still treat people the way he would want to be treated, someone that would listen to people first?  Although I was talking about Officer Buggs, subconsciously I was also talking to the man in the mirror.

I’d always had an interest in Law Enforcement but because of Officer Buggs, it became stronger. I applied and started at the San Diego Police Reserve Academy.  One of the recruits in our academy class was George “Rex” Cason. 

He was in his late thirty’s to early forty’s and had retired from the military. On September 14, 1978 we finished the academy and became San Diego Police Reserve Officers.

Still green I arrived for patrol one evening. I worked with my classmate George that night. It was about midshift, and we had just finished transporting two prisoners to jail. We got the call of an officer involved shooting and were reassigned.

Our duties were to patrol the area of 5800 to 8500 Skyline drive. Communications put out the description and advised that the suspects had just shot a police officer; they may still be in the area.

We looked for them and drove to the 7100 block of Skyline Drive.

“I gotta stop at the scene of this shooting, I wanna know what happened,” I said.

“We both wanna know, said George”

It was November 4, 1978. I stepped out of the driver’s side of the police car. George got out on the other. There was a chill in the night air. A fur like material lined the lapels of my tuffy jacket. I lifted them high to cover my ears. My hands were cold.  

I placed them deep inside my jacket pockets to keep them warm. The first officers at the scene had roped off the area with plastic tape bearing the words, “Police Lines Do Not Cross.” George and I lifted it above our heads and walked into the crime scene.

We stood there and saw Archie Buggs, my inspiration as he lie dead at the curb, shot six times. My hands fell. I wasn’t cold anymore. George’s eyes got misty.

“They told me he was shot to death making a traffic stop,” he said.

Buggs was wearing the same uniform we had on. I was slapped in the face with the realization that we were all brothers and sisters. As it has with so many of us, human frailty had its way. I looked at George, he and I wiped our eyes, it’s not easy watching a grown man cry, I looked away.

I was pissed, I was so damn mad I wanted to scream. Buggs was my motivation. I wanted to get to know him, perhaps work with him, be his friend. I wanted to, “be like Buggs.” George and I patrolled the area looking for his killers.

Another officer located the car that was used in the crime. The mother of the suspects owned the vehicle. Buggs’s two assailants were members of a street gang. Both of them were later taken into custody, found guilty and incarcerated. Archie had a huge funeral and was laid to rest.

What I did next I was compelled to do. I went back to the police academy and on July 30th 1980 I finished the 98th regular police academy.

Now thirty-four years after his death, and after thirty years of public service, my friend and colleague George has joined Archie and passed on to glory. I hope that during both our tours of duty we had occasion to inspire someone as Buggs did. 

It is also my sincere hope that Jesus Cecena (CDC # C-08487) one of his killers never gets to see the light of day again.

May Officer Archie Buggs forever rest in peace.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Oddly enough during my 30 year tenure as an officer in a major metropolitan city being called to quell numerous family disputes, I've found many parents dysfunction is allowing their offspring to curse them. 

Some even beat their parents, while mom and dad continue coddling and financing them.  Often times providing a roof to their kid's boy/girlfriends and whatever children might come from that union.

And if the child leaves, after a good sob story many times a kind hearted person will take them in and believe the child is being mistreated.

Phone message left for Liz Canning from Rachel at July 2, 2013 1:18pm, submitted to Morris County Court, which got the judge apparently so angry:
'Hi mom just to let you know you're a real f**king winner aren't you you think you're so cool and you think you caught me throwing up in the bathroom after eating an egg frittatta, yeah sorry that you have problems now and you need to harp on mine because i didn't and i actually took a s*** which i really just wanna s*** all over your face right now because it looks like that anyway, anyway i f***ing hate you and um I've written you off so don't talk to me, don't do anything I'm blocking you from just about everything, have a nice life, bye mom'

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Friday, January 17, 2014

The Haunting of Leigh Maxwell

I can't tell you how excited I was. My friend and mentor Esther Luttrell asked me to do a voice over.

It's not everyday one gets asked to perform by a producer of the off beat comedy LITHIUM SPRINGS who is also the author of several book titles including:

The fun children’s book SPEARFINGER.
The writer’s informative SCREENWRITER’S Q & A
The mystery novel INVITATION TO A MURDER
The highly therapeutic MURDER IN THE MOVIES
Two inspirational books DEAR DEAN … LOVE, MOM

Esther has been involved in many films and television productions, ie. Little House on the Prairie and LA Confidential, just to name a few. She was also production coordinator of the hit television series CHiPs.

Although I’d been writing a long time, Esther basically taught me how to write a screenplay. So there was no question as to whether I would graciously accept the opportunity to promote her novel. 

Find out more about Esther and see all of her titles at Or copy and paste,

Presenting a 44 sec. book trailer.