Phase 3 – Research/Resource Availability
Assigned: Institution Based Corrections
For the past 11 months, the Virtual Police Department has applied a variety of investigative resources and strategies and is prepared to bring a number of criminal charges against the members of the Very Bad Bike Club. These started out as investigations of individual calls-for-service, complaints and criminal investigations. They merged into a collective effort as the pattern of activities and participants began to form. Based on the investigations, the department believes it has probable cause to arrest and charge nearly every one of the 63 VBBC members for conspiracy to manufacture illegal drugs, conspiracy to sell illegal drugs, and participation in a criminal enterprise. Additionally, numerous individual VBBC members can be charged with combinations of individual criminal violations, including possession of illegal drugs, illegal possession of firearms, robbery, attempted robbery, aggravated assault, and attempted murder. Despite the confidence the Chief of the VPD has in these cases, no information has been conveyed to the Office of the District Attorney nor has there been any involvement with the Grand Jury. As far as the Chief of the Police is concerned, this is the chance to destroy the VBBC once and for all.
The VBBC has plagued Virtual for over a decade. Efforts to stop criminal activity by members of the VBBC have been made almost exclusively by the police department, with little or no support from the rest of the Virtual criminal justice system. In the past, most criminal charges brought to the Virtual prosecutor’s office by police detectives have resulted in outright dismissal for lack of probable cause or plea-bargained agreements that reduce potential felony charges to misdemeanors with payable fines. There have been however, two prior instances of massive arrests of VBBC members. Approximately 7 years ago, raids resulted in the confiscation of drugs and weapons and the ultimate conviction of 12 VBBC members. Six of these members are on parole and still reside in Virtual; two others are currently in the county detention center awaiting trial for new criminal charges and four others are confined to the State prison near Virtual. A similar sweep three years ago produced nearly identical results. These sweeps appear to have been ineffective. In short, the VBBC has a network of members in jail, in prison, on parole in the community and free on the street. The current police investigation has affirmed that all of these VBBC members are in near constant communications with each other.
Robert “Buddy” Pole is the “president” of the VBBC. While currently on parole for manufacturing methamphetamine, Buddy Pole continues to orchestrate the criminal enterprise that is VBBC. Provisions of his parole agreement that prohibit association with known criminals have gone unenforced. Robert Pole, Jr, (a.k.a. “Little Buddy” or “Bud Lite”) is currently in the Virtual Detention Center awaiting trial for carrying a concealed weapon. He seems to be in no hurry to make the affordable bail. Jail officials believe he is trying to organize a drug network within the jail. Two Detention Center correctional officers were recently disciplined for attempting to smuggle cell phones into the lock-up. It is believed they were destined for Little Buddy’s use. The youngest member of the Pole family is Patricia (a.k.a. “Tripper”). A chronic truant and troublemaker in school, Tripper was suspected of providing marijuana to her junior high school classmates and has continued the practice in high school. At age 19 and legally an adult, she is just about to complete her senior year of high school. Tripper’s collections of miscreant friends, most of whom are VBBC members or “wannabes”, congregate regularly around the Virtual Mall and commercial centers. Her boyfriend, John Henry Maxwell applied for a job as a Dunbar Security Force officer but was rejected because of his record.
In order to rid the city of Virtual of this criminal gang, Virtual Police Department Chief Clayton Moore called upon his criminal justice partners:
- The head of the Virtual Police Department VBBC task force, Captain Jay Silverheels
- The chief criminal prosecutor from the Office of the District Attorney, Raymond Burr
- The Security Chief of the state correctional facility, Major Allen Irongates
- The District Supervisor for the state department of parole, Martha Street
- The Operations Director of the Virtual Security Force, James Dunbar
The Virtual Security Force, a private security company hired by the Virtual Commercial Merchants Association to provide security personnel, equipment, etc. to supplement the resources of the Virtual Police Department in designated business and commercial areas of the city. VSF personnel hold special police commissions, have arrest authority on the property of their clients and may or may not be armed depending on their assignment and qualifications.
At their initial meeting, Chief Moore made it clear to these partners that they had a single goal, to end the reign of terror emanating from the VBBC and victimizing Virtual’s citizens. Clearly if there was any hope of success, each criminal justice partner has to do their part for the collective good of all. The Chief’s remarks were met with wholesale agreement. It was decided the Virtual Criminal Justice Alliance would attack the VBBC on two levels (1) the pursuit of the current police investigations and prosecutions, and (2) a strategic plan to work collaboratively to reduce crime in Virtual. When the initial meeting adjourned, Chief Moore had designated Captain Siverheels as his delegate. He was not sure, however, that every agency representative in the room felt his level of commitment or truly understood the consequences of failure. He was also curious as to what resources each “partner” was willing to bring to this operation and what would be held back.
Major Irongate has her own issues with VBBC. Their presence in the state prison has settled down what had previously been a powder keg of gang-related unrest. VBBC has become the dominate force in the prison. John “Jacky” Pole has been able to get the warring national/international gang members in the prison to suspend their violence and focus on drug-related profits. With tensions simmering just below the surface, Irongate knows the self-serving truce may be short lived. Major Irongate was also asked to represent the Virtual Detention Center. This facility holds arrestees awaiting a bail hearing, denied bail prior to trial or in transitional housing from the state prison to attend court. The jail also holds offenders serving short sentences for convictions on misdemeanor charges. Nearly all of the prison’s inmate population came through the Detention Center and may return there to be available for court appearances. Major Irongate is convinced that these “traveling” inmates are being used as “mules” for drugs and contraband cell phones.
Of the persons assembled by Chief Moore, only Dunbar represents a commercial, profit-driven agency. Simply put, these profits are the difference between the costs for the security provided and the fees Dunbar charges. Dunbar is eager to demonstrate a successful partnership with VPD and the Virtual Commercial Merchants’ Association as a stepping-stone to contracts with larger jurisdictions. In any case, Dunbar’s primary motivation is to make money.
Raymond Burr would applaud Chief Moore’s plan if he could, but as a pragmatist, he feels that this is a waste of time. He understands, if no one else at the table does, that plea bargaining is to only way the criminal justice system can do business. He has also warned the chief before that his detectives need additional training on establishing probable cause, proper interrogation procedures, appropriate charging, etc. If the VPD could get its act together he would love to prosecute a good solid case against the VBBC, but prosecuting a “looser” case will not solve the problem or help his own political ambitions.