BY JIM KENT
FREELANCE WRITER & RADIO PRODUCER
Blame my Irish-German heritage. Give a nod to those long, disciplined years of Catholic school. Credit my time in the Marine Corps that led to a security career in the Fortune 500 corporate world. Likely it s all 4, along with my mother s influence and the family of women I was raised in each of whom were seriously hard workers. You see, I ve got this mindset about doing the job you re paid to do, performing it to the best of your ability, living up to expectations no matter who s watching you and following through on your responsibilities regardless of who you encounter while doing so – or what their position is.
But lately ( lately being the last 20 years or so) finding individuals who fit the bill is becoming more and more difficult no matter where you go or what the job. Call it poor training. Call it distracted supervision in their youth. Call it a national case of apathy, combined with an overwhelming sense of futility and disillusionment over one s purpose in life and their role in the big picture . Except on the Pine Ridge Reservation where one young man takes his job and the responsibilities that come with it and they re substantial very seriously. I say this not in jest, but with admiration truly.
I was at the Suanne Big Crow Center recently covering a conference hosted by South Dakota s U.S. Attorney. Since the story would run in print as well as air on national radio photos were a must. Yet there are few images worse than those taken at a conference any conference.
So, where, I asked myself can I find images outside the conference related to what s taking place here? Of course – the Oglala Sioux Tribe s Justice Center for the People, where the U.S. Attorney had just announced he d be opening an office. When the meeting broke I drove to Big Bat s Convenience Store, turned left toward Nebraska, then made another left at the sign pointing toward the tribe s courts, police department and jail. I paused to take a photo of it. Passing by the jail I found a space near the entrance to the building for the police department and courts and where the U.S. Attorney s new home would soon be. Directly in front of the lobby was a brick wall with the words Oyate Ki Woope Ogna Tipi printed on it. There was a flag pole at each end. Both poles were bare.
I hopped out of my car and began taking photos. One from this direction and one from that. One close. One far. One zoom. One not. And another just in case. Okay I m done. Thinking I d better double-check the exact translation of that Lakota phrase on the wall (which I figured meant Justice Center for the People ) I approached the building only to find a young Lakota man wearing a shirt with a badge printed on it security – heading my way. And he was very concerned because I was taking photos and No One is allowed to take photos of the building. I explained who I was and what I was doing and that I just needed a photo for the story. And that I d just met with The U.S. Attorney and it was his office that was going to be here. A bit nervous, he insisted. It..it doesn t matter. You still can t take pictures, No one s allowed to take pictures. Not even for the U.S. Attorney? Nope…. Well, you need to get permission. From who? Probably the police chief. Okay. Where s he? Well, his office is here. But I don t know if he s in. Well, can we see? Can I come in? Yeah but I have to scan you. Okay. Scan me.
He scanned me with a handheld metal detector then directed me to the receptionist down there… by the opening. She ll give you directions. Actually, she gave me permission since no one was around at lunch hour. The security guard was busy signing-in and scanning other visitors as I left the building, so I didn t have a chance to tell him Job well done .
As I walked to my car I recalled my time as a corporate security director and thought how nice it was to see someone doing their job these days, undeterred by credentials or big names like The U.S. Attorney. Now if his superiors could just get some flags up on those poles they d have a building that looks as professional as their security guard. Jim Kent is a freelance writer and radio producer who lives in Hot Springs. He is a contributing columnist to the Lakota Country Times and former editor of The New Lakota Times. He can be heard on National Public Radio and National Native News Radio. Jim can be reached at
Maritime Security: Dakuku debunks reports on piracy, says fast intervention vessels, helicopters will help
Maritime Security: Dakuku debunks reports on piracy, says fast intervention vessels, helicopters will help
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside has again assured Nigerians and the international maritime community that the Federal Government is leaving no stone unturned in tackling the menace of piracy and other illicit crimes on the nation s territorial waterways.
This he said was demonstrated by the Federal Government s recent approval for the procurement of three (3) helicopters and twelve (12) fast intervention vessels to ensure coastal and aerial surveillance and patrol of the Nigerian maritime environment by the Nigerian Navy and NIMASA.
Speaking in Lagos recently, Dr. Dakuku added that while acknowledging the fact that piracy is a global problem which is not peculiar to one continent or country, the need for a concerted and coordinated approach in tackling the menace cannot be overstated . He equally debunked recent reports that piracy was on the increase in the Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea, noting that it is sad that some section of the media are manipulating statistics to the contrary. The truth he pointed out is that the reverse is the case as piracy has been reduced to the barest minimum.
Accordingly, he noted that inter agency and regional cooperation through bilateral agreements among others, as well as effective maritime domain awareness and strong maritime legislation to criminalise and punish piracy is fundamental in addressing the challenges.
Speaking further, Dr. Dakuku said in recognition of the aforementioned, the governments of the West and Central African Countries including Nigeria at the regional level, subscribed to the Continental Maritime Charter on maritime security, safety and development in Africa, in Lome, Togo on the 15th of October, 2016, to strengthen inter-Agency and transnational coordination and cooperation among member countries in the area of maritime domain awareness, fight against all forms of maritime crimes, prevention and control of pollution of the seas and to promote economic growth of the continent of Africa.
In the area of inter-agency cooperation, it is expedient to mention that NIMASA recently renewed its Memorandum of Understanding with the Nigerian Navy to strengthen collaboration between NIMASA and the Navy to enhance the safety and security of navigation in our waters as, well as leverage on the use of the Federal Government s Falcon Eye Satellite systems domiciled with the Nigerian Navy including NIMASA s Global Maritime Distress and Safety Systems to respond to distress calls within Nigerian waters in order to prevent and adequately respond to threats within the Nigerian maritime environment , the DG stated.
In order to bolster the aforementioned efforts of the Agency to ensure a virile maritime sector through a robust legislative framework to criminalise and punish piracy and other maritime crimes committed in our waters to serve as a deterrent to offenders; Nigeria has prepared a draft Anti-Piracy Bill to give effect to the relevant provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982 and the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts at Sea, 1988 and it s Protocol of 2005 to punish and deter piracy and other maritime crimes.
The Director, Legal Services of NIMASA Mr. Abdulsalam Suleiman also speaking, noted that the Agency is presently working with the Federal Ministry of Justice to finalise the Bill and has the assurances of the National Assembly of the expeditious passage of the Bill into law within the shortest possible time to strengthen the Country s Anti-piracy crusade.
According to Suleiman It is pertinent to draw attention to the fact that some of the interventions highlighted above are already yielding positive results and have been duly noted by the international community. Worthy of mention, is the just concluded Legal Committee meeting (LEG 104) of the IMO held in London from the 26th to 28th April 2017, where the issue of piracy around the globe was discussed and the Gulf of Guinea and Nigeria were not mentioned as one of the high risk areas . This lends credence to the fact that Nigeria through its maritime law enforcement agencies are working assiduously in confronting maritime insecurity challenges in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea.
Recall that as part of efforts by the Federal Government of Nigeria in demonstrating its commitment to fighting piracy and other maritime crimes, the sum of $186, 000, 000. 00 was recently approved for maritime security infrastructure
By TODD RICHMOND
MADISON, Wis. (AP) Republican legislators have developed a plan to sell a landmark prison in northeastern Wisconsin and open a new facility they say will save money, improve safety and open land for redevelopment. Rep. Dave Steffen and Sen. Frank Lasee have introduced a bill that calls for selling the 120-year-old Green Bay Correctional Institution and building a new facility in Brown County or an adjacent county. A private entity would build and own the new prison, allowing the home county and other jurisdictions to collect property taxes on it. The Department of Corrections would operate it through a lease agreement with an option to purchase. The Assembly s prison committee will hold a public hearing on the measure Tuesday.
Steffen, of Green Bay, and Lasee, of De Pere, wrote in a memo seeking co-sponsors that Green Bay Correctional is over capacity and needs extensive repairs and updates, leading to safety concerns. Decommissioning the prison also would free up the land it stands on for redevelopment.
The bottom line is that none of the challenges facing our state s prison system are addressed by doing nothing, the lawmakers wrote in the memo. In fact, the longer we wait, the more difficult and expensive our remaining options become. The prison sits on the Fox River in Allouez, a Green Bay suburb. It originated in a brick bicycle factory in 1897 as a reformatory for men. It s now a 29-acre maximum security facility with an imposing perimeter wall and guard towers. The original stone-clad reformatory still stands, though, and the institution is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The prison employs about 360 people. It held 1,098 prisoners as of May 5, well over its 749-inmate capacity, according to the DOC s website. The prison cost $37.1 million to run last year, the state s second-costliest after Waupun, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau. The bill doesn t set an asking price for the prison or allocate money for leasing a new facility, instead directing the Department of Administration to solicit bids. A DOA estimate attached to the bill said building a 1,300-inmate maximum prison could cost as much as $309 million; purchasing the building would likely requiring bonding, creating an undetermined amount of interest. Steffen and Lasee s projections, however, show the state will spend about $628 million over the next decade to operate and make repairs to Green Bay Correctional. A new prison would cost an estimated $474.5 million to lease and maintain over that span, based on data from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the last two state budgets, a 2009 consultant study of the state prison system and adjustments for future inflation.
Gov. Scott Walker s 2017-19 capital budget includes $22.2 million for cell block improvements at Green Bay. Steffen said the bill would the state that money immediately since there d be no point in making the repairs with a new facility in the future.
It will cost more to repair this facility to build a new one, Steffen said in a telephone interview. Let s be thinking long-term. (The Green Bay prison) isn t a beautiful old library people can go visit. Very few will miss it. Jim Rafter, president of the Allouez village board, said he supports the proposal. He called selling the prison a huge opportunity to redevelop that land and turn it into a taxable property. The prison s historical status could be a hurdle, but Rafter said the location s history could be incorporated into whatever materializes on the lot.
Right now it holds a bunch of cells that could be turned into retail, office space, apartments or a hotel or a mixture thereof, Rafter said. I don t see how anyone loses by doing this. We could do really do something cool with that spot. Spokespeople for legislative leaders and Walker didn t return messages.