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The police broke my house by mistake, wouldn't pay to fix

In the spring of 2009, the police attempted to break into my house.


Photo by The Spider Hill on Flickr. (Not the author's house.)

The previous resident of our home was arrested a few days earlier in a traffic stop. Her son successfully fled on foot, dropping a gun as he did so. When police asked her where her son lived, she gave the police our address telling them that he lived there with some of his friends.

As he was wanted on a warrant, and known to traffic in guns, the police were eager to search the home figuring that they would find a stash of illegal guns. Since the suspect had lived there up until 2007, they found several references to our home's address that seemed to confirm her story.

On the evening of May 14, 2009, about 40 Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers showed up at our house and attempted to execute the warrant they secured for the suspect. When no one answered the door, they proceeded to attempt to break down our back gate. After 45 minutes with a battering ram, drill and a crow bar they succeeded in damaging our security gate we installed before moving in, the door frame and parts of the house's exterior near the door, but they had not gotten in. They were in the process of getting a ladder so that they could break in through the second story window when my wife arrived.

After determining what was going on and showing the officers her ID, my wife was able to convince them to stop trying to break in. She coaxed them into showing her the search warrant and then allowed them inside. They briefly searched the house and admitted that they had made a mistake. They gave her some forms about how to be reimbursed for the damage, apologized and left.

We weren't angry. Police work is often time-sensitive and the impression they gave was that they were eager to catch some bad guyswhich we support. They made an effort to avoid mistakes, but still mistakes will be made when one is in a hurry. No one was hurt and we expected to made whole.

Unfortunately, we had to pay to repair the damage first, and then ask to be reimbursed. To replace the door and the frame cost several thousand dollars, which we were able to pull out of our savings. But fixing damage to the exterior of the house would require removing much of the wall and the windows, and would have set us back over $10,000. We couldn't afford to float DC a loan to fix this and we were concerned that we might get stuck with the bill. Since the damage was only cosmetic we decided not to repair the exterior.

We had the repairs done over the course of the summer and fall, submitted the paperwork in November of 2009 and received a reply in January of 2010. We were advised that while the District intends to compensate residents for damages for which it is liable, it was not liable for damages in our case because the search warrant was valid.

However, DC MPD General Order 309 states, "In those instances where a forcible entry occurs as a result of misinformation, misinterpretation of information, or erroneous judgment, the Department will provide an explanation to the owner/occupant, and will repair the damage as soon as possible."

We started a dialogue with the city's Office of Risk Management (ORM) which makes the decision in these types of claims. They informed us that they have to follow the decision of the MPD, which said the claim should not be paid. When we contacted our District MPD, they said it was for the ORM to decidethough the police have their own ORM which the city's ORM accused of stonewalling.

Feeling like both sides were trying to blame the other, we asked if we could have a meeting with both agencies together. MPD declined, saying that, "The matter has been properly addressed by both agencies, DC and MPD's ORM... Although the MPD ORM does not decide whether to award or deny a claim, we do support and stand by the DC ORM's ruling that your claim is denied." I called MPD's ORM and was told, somewhat rudely, that my claim was denied, and "how hard is that to understand." After that my calls and emails to the MPD's ORM went unreturned.

Left with seemingly no other recourse, we filed suit against the District.

Property damage complaints related to police investigations are not new: the Police Complaints Board investigated them in 2005, finding that officers occasionally failed to inform people why their houses were being searched and left without arranging for repairs or informing the owners how to have repairs reimbursed. We learned from that report that MPD is supposed to immediately contact the on-call Facilities Management staff member to make necessary repairs when it appears MPD is responsible for repairs. This was not done for us.

We were not eager to go to court and were concerned that the District would win for reasons of sovereign immunity. So I made a last ditch effort and wrote letters to then-Mayor Fenty and Chief Cathy Lanier [My wife joked that I might as well write Barack Obama too, as much as that it likely to work]. I cited the general order that calls for the city to repair damage in cases like this.

I was impressed when Chief Lanier wrote me the next morning to inform me that she would get involved. By the following day, a representative of the MPD's ORM told me that, "in light of the recent development," my claim would be paid. By recent development I assumed he meant getting chewed out by the Chief of Police.

In the end we were reimbursed in full, about 5 months after making our claim, but there are three key ways this frustrating and time-consuming debacle could have been avoided.

DC needs better electronic record-keeping. Before the warrant execution, we sent back dozens of pieces of official mail, including checks intended for the previous residents, to the District. And there were at least four places in DC records where the sale, ownership and new residents of the home were documented. If the MPD is going to rely on these records as the basis for a search warrant, they should work to link them so that when changes to the recorder of deeds records are made, for example, a flag goes up in other records.

Ideally the system could be searchable so that they could search for an address and get a time-ordered listing set of records pertaining to that address. Had that existed, they could see that the person they were looking for had lived there, but that all the newest records related to a new set of owners. The information they needed was in their possession, but their system couldn't easily access it.

When property is damaged in this way, MPD needs to follow policy and offer to make repairs immediately. I'm not sure we would have taken them up on it as we preferred to use our own contractor, but not everyone is able to front the money. I have visions of people living with a broken down door for months, and that's not acceptable.

MPD should be proactive and let residents know if they're going to reimburse them for damage, and for which damage, within a very short time after an incident (i.e. a week) instead of only after the repairs are made. We were left to guess as to which damage would be covered and which would not, and to worry that none of it would be covered. A slow, mysterious bureaucratic process is not a productive way to handle these kinds of situations.

David Cranor is an operations engineer. A former Peace Corps Volunteer and former Texan (where he wrote for the Daily Texan), he's lived in the DC area since 1997. David is a cycling advocate who serves on the Bicycle Advisory Committee for DC.  

Comments

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Where can I buy that rear gate!!!!!

Glad to hear that you got reimbursed. At some point the local govt needs to recognize who it works for - it doesnt work for itself. It works for the community. And when it blows it, instead of making things worse, then need to make good to the community for which they stand.

by bArlington on Aug 17, 2011 3:39 pm • linkreport

As a law enforcement officer, I can say we would love to have an electronic records keeping system you describe in point one. However, extreme privacy-rights groups fight tooth and nail against the exact infomation sharing you are advocating for. the current morass of regulations and restrctions make it extremely difficult and sometimes impossible for different agencies to share information with out subpoenas or court orders. As you pointed out the police had several references to your address for the subject and the warrant was deemed valid. Who do you propose should validate your theoretical electronic database. Ultimately a Judge signed the warrant that lead to police knocking down your door.

by Lawman on Aug 17, 2011 3:45 pm • linkreport

Ultimately a Judge signed the warrant that lead to police knocking down your door.

Based almost entirely on incorrect testimony from the police. One thing the police requested to look for in the warrant was records of who owns the house. But anyone can get that information from the recorder of deeds website. The officer we talked to at the house didn't know that.

The information I'm talking about is already public, so privacy rights groups shouldn't complain.

by David C on Aug 17, 2011 3:50 pm • linkreport

Ditto to David's comment here.

We've had a similar problem with the fact that information is not central or shared, though it was more of a pain to someone else. Shortly after purchasing our house, we got a ticket for construction debris in the backyard left overnight one day while remodeling. Problem was they wrote the ticket to the name they had on the deed, which was the previous owner. God bless him, he went back and forth to DC courts and agencies trying to show that he didn't own the house at the time and doesn't today. He had a copy of the HUD-1 and every known paper to prove that he sold the house before the ticket. Judge looked at one of them and said it wasn't conclusive. Ha! Someone else ended up throwing it out for him, thankfully, but it was a pain for him. Centralized, up-to-date record keeping could've prevented it.

Glad you got yours sorted out, David.

by Steve D on Aug 17, 2011 4:03 pm • linkreport

The information I'm talking about is already public, so privacy rights groups shouldn't complain.

Except they do complain when you start trying to link databases from different government agencies together.

Also, looking up the house on the recorder of deeds website isn't going to tell you who lives in the house, right? What if they're renters?

Even with better databases they probably would have been able to gather enough stuff to convince a judge that the guy lived there, based on what the mother said and any other info about the address they may have been able to dig up. Mistakes happen. The real problem is that MPD improperly denied and then ignored your request, until you had to contact the Chief in order to get something done. As others said, the police work for us.

by MLD on Aug 17, 2011 4:04 pm • linkreport

DC, I cosign. Where can I find that rear gate? Talking about attempting to knock down the walls of jericho!

Before you even posted your response to the officer, I wondered why didn't they simply pull the info from the recorder of deeds. It's rather simple to do.

But you and your wife seems to have been much more mild-mannered about it all than I would have been. You broke into my house and caused college tuition style damage? And the most you could initially say is "oops?"

Yeah I think I would have been hopping john mad.

by HogWash on Aug 17, 2011 4:18 pm • linkreport

Also, looking up the house on the recorder of deeds website isn't going to tell you who lives in the house, right? What if they're renters?

It will tell you if the house is receiving the homestead deduction, if it is, then the person who owns the house lives in it.

by m on Aug 17, 2011 4:18 pm • linkreport

While this must have been a frustrating experience, your story is a testament to Lanier's leadership at MPD. It also seems like you showed patience but persistence and it all worked out in the end. I hope your suggestions are taken to heart by MPD since you've seen the system fail and been forced to find other solutions.

by MJ on Aug 17, 2011 4:24 pm • linkreport

Reading how Chief Lanier became personally involved in your situation made me even more supportive of her. I know there is tension between MPD management and the rank-and-file officers on the street. But her responsiveness and the personal attention she gives the residents of the District of Columbia is second-to-none. I was never a big fan of Chief Ramsey ... Chief Lanier has made huge improvements in moving MPD forward and closer to the community.

by H Street NE on Aug 17, 2011 4:37 pm • linkreport

Yeah, like I said, we weren't really angry about the break-in. Maybe Lawman is right and there is no way to avoid these kinds of situations. I can live with that. [Though we might have been annoyed had they got in and torn our house apart looking for guns and drugs. Our dog was definitely annoyed - if hiding under the bed for a few hours is any indication]. But I suspect there is a better way to handle information and one that could help law enforcement do it's job better - more time making arrests and less time digging through files.

The funny thing is I didn't want the bars when we moved in, but I was sure glad we had them in the end. We are sitting pretty when the zombie apocalypse happens.

I was also surprised they couldn't get in. There is some special tool that removes the bars, and you can't just buy one, you have to be like a locksmith or something to get one. I was surprised the police didn't have one of those. Would have made things easier.

by David C on Aug 17, 2011 4:42 pm • linkreport

You should still sue them.

by TGEoA on Aug 17, 2011 4:51 pm • linkreport

These types of information-sharing systems for cities already exist, and have been proven highly effective. The first models were aimed particularly at police departments so they could use data to deploy patrols, etc. This was known as Compstat in New York. Baltimore (and some other cities) have expanded that to include all city services. I think Baltimore calls their program Citistat. (http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2007/04/citistat.html)

It's time-intensive. Most programs require heads of departments to attend weekly meetings. But the results have been absolutely phenomenal. It'd be nice if our seat of government could also be a model of government. Maybe someday...

by elle on Aug 17, 2011 5:27 pm • linkreport

"It will tell you if the house is receiving the homestead deduction, if it is, then the person who owns the house lives in it."

Yeah.....because no one who owns a house rents it out without telling the DC Govt. to make sure their assessments are 100% accurate. And even if they do live there, they could be renting out rooms or just letting their thuggy friends crash there. The misinformation for the warrant was not the fault of the police, but of the family memeber that gave the bad address. But the police and DC Govt. should have handled the reimbursment better.

by DRR on Aug 17, 2011 6:07 pm • linkreport

If the mother hadn't lied to the police, this problem wouldn't have happened. I hope that she was charged with making a false statement to police and that the city is trying to collect from her for the cost of repairs.

by Rob on Aug 17, 2011 6:23 pm • linkreport

I'm curious as to whether insurance would have covered this. Let their lawyers deal with the MPD....

by GinChevyChase on Aug 17, 2011 6:57 pm • linkreport

This is pretty common. Read Radley Balko's blog theagitator.com which does a good job documenting such abuses. e.g. Wrong door raid on man in Baltimore, trashes his house, then the code inspector sues him for having a broken door in his yard. A mayor in PG county had his dogs killed.

The obligation is on the police to ensure that they have a valid warrant. The fact that you had moved in, changed the locks etc suggests that their information was seriously out of date. Yet they assert that it is "a valid warrant,"
and assert that they don't have to pay. They should be ashamed of even protesting.

I also would question their blanket policy of not paying even IF it is a valid warrant. The police have a right to search and seize evidence, and to take necessary measures to enter and protect themselves. The fourth amendment does not give them an unlimited right. In too many cases, the police trash the house, kill the dog, and deny compensation or review.

by SJE on Aug 17, 2011 7:07 pm • linkreport

From experience, I know OTR's property tax database information is not accurate. They don't update it regularly and there can be a lag of several weeks or months for property transfers.

And it's Homestead Deduction information isn't accurate at all, especially since many (thousands?) of people rent out their properties without notifying OTR.

That must be one hell of a gate you've got. If I were MPD, I'd be rather ashamed that after 45 minutes' worth of work, my cops were unable to get into a house.

by Fritz on Aug 17, 2011 7:08 pm • linkreport

Yep. Nothing here makes Lanier or the MPD look good:

1. 45 minutes to open a gate? Do you think the suspect might have been altered if inside?

2. Relying on the mother of a random drug felon to know what the truth is?

3. Obviously the Chief knows that such abuse is regular enough that she has someone monitor her email for these problems

You're quite right though -- you would probably have not recovered in law. And that is the biggest problem.

I'd suggest a law that penalized judges for signing such warrants. All damages come out of the judges paycheck. Any putative damages can come out of the prosecutors.

When did all happen? 5 months after the claim (november)? So around April?

by charlie on Aug 17, 2011 7:17 pm • linkreport

I agree with GinChevyChase. I would have filed an insurance claim and let them battle it out.

by Adam L on Aug 17, 2011 8:02 pm • linkreport

Charlie: the judge and prosecutors have absolute immunity unless there is clear criminal intent (e.g. bribery for an outcome) The police have qualified immunity, which makes it very difficult to sue them too. To overcome immunity you need some very clear deviation from the norm.

The problem is that the system presumes that the various arms of law enforcement and justice act with the best intentions and professionalism, unless proven otherwise. The system does not account for the professional benefits that can accrue to judges who are overly deferential to police, to prosecutors whos promotions are linked to convictions, and to police who are rewarded for arrests.
Thus, there is a lot of incentive to cut corners.

When a citizen is harmed by the actions of the state, it is VERY difficult to get redress. Usually, it takes an egregious case, a high profile citizen, or video footage. Rarely does the compensation etc come from the same police, prosecutors etc.

The incentives are all wrong.

I'm not sure that the solution is to end immunity. A cop must make a decision, and sometimes it will be the wrong one, and he shouldnt be punished for that. However, there should be more public oversight, and a lower amount of deference given to the actions of the state.

by SJE on Aug 17, 2011 8:03 pm • linkreport

Adam L, Gin: what if the insurance decided to raise your rates, or deny you coverage, instead of going after the MPD? I am pretty sure that NO court would compensate you for a raised premium.

by SJE on Aug 17, 2011 8:06 pm • linkreport

More to the point: if the State can damage your property, their should be a simple and effective means to obtain redress. It should not even require the courts: all that does is raise the costs for both parties.

by SJE on Aug 17, 2011 8:07 pm • linkreport

@SJE; I'm not arguing sovereign immunity; what I was proposing was a new law that would put those penalties into play.

Yes, in a perfect world without transaction costs, some sort of agencies handles claims like this would work. But luckily it is rare -- not like workers comp or disability.

A better answer is to punish the bad actors. I agree police always have to deal with danger, which is why you penalize the judges and prosecutors that sign off on bad warrants.

The question is what standard do you want to apply (malicious, bribery, etc). I'd say strict liability. In a situation like this, make the judge pay. If you have evidence of punitive conduct, make the prosecutors pay.

This is rare, and is reflective of a lazy justice system. Apply incentives to the actors and what then run around.

by charlie on Aug 17, 2011 8:15 pm • linkreport

This was a great article. I think it sums up how a national healthcare system will work... You won't get treatment until your elected representative or someone else in a powerful position gets involved.

by Jeff on Aug 17, 2011 9:04 pm • linkreport

Who is your councilmember? Did you try contacting him/her?

by Andy on Aug 17, 2011 9:21 pm • linkreport

charlie, I think Lanier reads her own email. That's what a recent story about her said.

Andy, I did contact my CM, Tommy Wells, and he helped as much as he could, but it didn't seem to change MPD's opinion at all.

by David C on Aug 17, 2011 9:41 pm • linkreport

Charlie: immunity means immunity. If you want to modify it, you have to determine when, and under what conditions. Personally, I would prefer to have (a) open records (b) requirements that all camera feeds be available to the defense and (c) citizen review boards. We cant fix a problem until we know how bad and pervasive it is (or is not).

by SJE on Aug 17, 2011 10:50 pm • linkreport

It's not even property damage: people die because of wrong door raids, both police officers and civilians.

Radley Balko is, yes, the authority on the subject:

http://www.slate.com/id/2139458/

A great many of these botched raids happen because of sloppy policework - failing to check records or to gather intelligence that might contradict an informant's convenient words.

by David R. on Aug 18, 2011 12:20 am • linkreport

Exactly, David R. The problem is unlikely to get better, however, until there is some accountability. Under the current system, any damage or death to civilians is usually written off as justified use of force, and anyone who kills a policeman, even if accidently or in justified belief that he is being robbed, is branded a cop killer. Getting an honest review of the situation is almost impossible.

by SJE on Aug 18, 2011 12:25 am • linkreport

@ Lawman: However, extreme privacy-rights groups fight tooth and nail against the exact infomation sharing you are advocating for.

This is just an excuse for not doing anything. In the Netherlands, the government has coupled all databases in the last decade under the argument that there is only one government, and it is inefficient to not link these databases. Massive amounts of fraud have been found thanks to the coupling. Tax fraud, welfare fraud, bank fraud, unemployment fraud, etc. The government - we the people - has a good right to know that a welfare applicant just bought a new shiny car in cash, while receiving unemployment on another address and income tax deferrals being made from yet another address...

And mind you, the Netherlands has a privacy authority that recently proposed fines of up to €25,000 for store owners who "publish" camera feeds of robberies. The argument? Protection of thieves. After all, they should be treated as innocent until proven guilty by a judge.

This is the country of IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter. It is terribly embarrassing that governments can't get their digital act together, especially when not just money, but also lives are on the line. Many people get killed in the war on drugs for protecting themselves in their own home from the police invading the "wrong" home.

by Jasper on Aug 18, 2011 7:05 am • linkreport

However, extreme privacy-rights groups fight tooth and nail against the exact infomation sharing you are advocating for.

Yes, it has nothing to do with sloppy police work. Let's blame the ACLU for kicking down the wrong door.

by aaa on Aug 18, 2011 8:13 am • linkreport

You are complaining about five months? Quit whining.

by Steve on Aug 18, 2011 9:12 am • linkreport

It does seem that the FOP and the ATU have quite a bit in common, doesn't it? It is never the union member's fault!

by Dave J on Aug 18, 2011 9:13 am • linkreport

I think Fletch summed it up the best:

"Oh thank god... the police."

by Andrew in DC on Aug 18, 2011 9:19 am • linkreport

"A slow, mysterious bureaucratic process is not a productive way to handle these kinds of situations."

It is if your goal is to avoid paying out money.

by Reformed Republican on Aug 18, 2011 10:21 am • linkreport

You're lucky they didn't make it all the way inside before you got home or they would have gunned down your dog too for good measure.

by Chris Rhodes on Aug 18, 2011 10:25 am • linkreport

@Jasper & aaa

You missed my initial statement completely "we would love to have an electronic records keeping system you describe in point one."

I am not blaming the ACLU, I am talking about very vocal fringe privacy rights groups that fight language in legislation aimed at precisely the information sharing being proposed here.

In preparing for a warrant it is incredible how much mis-information people will provide to various government sources. As Jasper stated about the Netherlands, if you cross all the information together you can root out masivie amounts of rampant fraud, waste, and abuse. The suggestion that the police rely on the recorder of deeds website when DC allows 30-90 for recordation is laughable, and enough has been said about what the homestead deduction indicates (how many US Congressmen own houses in DC and claim the homestead deduction).

The legal standard for a warrant is PROBABLE CAUSE. The people complianing the police did not do enough due dilligence here are the same people who complain that the police are not arresting the guy on the corner "selling drugs." (how do you know he is selling drugs, did you personally purchase drugs from him?)

As I said above, the arbiter in this situation is a Judge and there is a mechanism for the Judge's decisions to be subject to a review (albiet usually after the fact).

In this case as in all law enforcement agencies there is a redress policy for mistakes, unfortunately this instance the cliam hit every road block and ultimately Cheif Lanier did the correct thing.

What is ironic is the same people who will provide blatantly false information to government agencies, (and sorry Jasper we are not all one government - if that were the case, DC would have voting rights, home rule, and self determination) provide remarkably accurate information to IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter, on a purely voluntary basis, for all to see and for corporate america to collect and exploit.

by Lawman on Aug 18, 2011 10:31 am • linkreport

I'm surprised that they didn't arrest you for having a "reinforced" door.

by Robert on Aug 18, 2011 11:02 am • linkreport

Chris Rhodes, just before the incident there had been a dog shot by the police in our neighborhood. My wife said something about this when letting the police - about having a dog - and they pointed out that the guy who shot that other dog was there. So yeah, that could have happened.

Lawman, I get that you guys do the best you can with the tools you have. I'm just saying that I think it's possible to get you guys better tools.
As for a judge issuing a warrant, my impression is that that isn't much of a threshold to cross. You can't on the one hand complain that information is unreliable and then on the other say that a judge relied on it to give a warrant. That means that a judge relied on unreliable data. How much is that worth exactly? There is also the matter of the mail we returned. I suspect it just went into the trash, instead of someone doing the un-glamorous work of updating records. Pointing to the warrant as absolution is, pardon the pun, a cop out. It ignores the fact that the police themselves were the primary reason that the warrant was issued.

by David C on Aug 18, 2011 11:20 am • linkreport

"IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook"

let me know when they start carrying guns and kicking in doors based on a tip.

by D on Aug 18, 2011 11:25 am • linkreport

You should submit an edited version of this story to the Washington Post for their "Close to Home" section of Metro. I know Alpert has had some articles published in that section, so he probably has the contacts you need to get the story published. You'll be doing a public service to get this story more publicity so pressure can build for MPD to develop a more systemic solution to this problem.

by Falls Church on Aug 18, 2011 11:39 am • linkreport

It sounds to me like this could have been avoided by the police observing the home for several hours. I'm not a lawyer, but was raised by one, and I don't understand how several people testifying to one's address translates into probable cause of suspicion that the said individual is actually there or that "being known to traffic in guns" translates into probable cause to believe that weapons would be in one's house.

There is probably relevant information not conveyed in this article that might change my opinion. But regardless, it seems like the police could have surveilled the house for 8 to 12 hours, observed the author's wife entering the home, and asked her if there were criminal activity, the trafficing of guns, if she knew the previous day's suspect, et cetera.

It sounds like everybody jumped the gun. Maybe if the police had done some additional investigation before applying for a search warrant they could have avoided this. Maybe if the judge hadn't signed the search warrant, the police would have had to do more investigation, and would have avoided this.

Imagine what could have happened if the author and his wife were home?

by Joe on Aug 18, 2011 12:06 pm • linkreport

Lawman: its not just "fringe privacy groups" that block complete sharing of information. The police and FOP are a larger block to complete and open records and review of SWAT raids. Look at NoVA.

by SJE on Aug 18, 2011 12:11 pm • linkreport

@ Lawman: (and sorry Jasper we are not all one government - if that were the case, DC would have voting rights, home rule, and self determination)

Yeah, that's a weird flaw in the US, that I understand the origin of, but not the result. On the Netherlands, it's easier because there is only one single government, that operates on a national, provincial and city-level.

@ D:let me know when they start carrying guns and kicking in doors based on a tip.

It's fine if you want to ridicule the computer and programming power of the US, I was merely pointing out that the US has the computer and programming capacity to this. For some reason, the US chooses not to make government more efficient. Assuming you are eligible to vote, this is your responsibility - in the end.

And all kiding aside, it is very embarrassing that law officials everywhere are not more tuned into social media. There is a whole lot of information to get there. Not necessarily admissible in court, but plenty of info to track people down.

by Jasper on Aug 18, 2011 1:16 pm • linkreport

Jasper, with respect, but the Netherland's population is 17 million, occupies a smaller land area than most U.S. states and, because of the necessity of keeping the North Sea out (as well as the Germans, at times), has a stronger national consensus on the role of government. Thus, it is technically and politically more feasible to create the sort of overall database you describe.

by SJE on Aug 18, 2011 5:38 pm • linkreport

Almost 3 years ago I had the police execute 2 search warrants on my apartment building for a tenant's son who never lived on the property and the police did major damage. The tenant had moved out and a new tenant suffered the search warrant and she in turn vacated costing me more more money and the MPD told me to get lost too. It took 18 months to get a partial reimbursement of funds for the sorry judge and sorry police who caused this havoc on me and everyday I wish the same kind of search warrant error could happen to teh judge or the cop who procured the 'thing' signed.

by SE Colored Landlord on Aug 18, 2011 6:05 pm • linkreport

@ SJE:the Netherland's population is 17 million

Which would make it the fifth largest state in the US, between FL and IL. For size, it'd be 42nd between WV and MD, although I don't know why geographical size would matter for an electronic database. Even if your argument would be true, then DC with it's small population and area would be an ideal candidate to start such a thing in the US. The entire city is ruled by democrats, so you can't argue that there is massive political division here.

Again, why can the Netherlands do it, while the US can not? Isn't the US the best country in the world? It's a matter of choice, not ability. The US has all the leading computer, software and internet companies [Al Gore invented the internet, remember?], the Netherlands does not. Even Philips does not make that many chips anymore (I think), and they could never program.

by Jasper on Aug 18, 2011 8:45 pm • linkreport

Oh, as for the Germans, they were never kept out. In WWI, the Netherlands were stayed neutral, granting asylum to der Kaiser after the war. They tried again in WWII, but Hilter needed to get around the Maginot Line. There was "fighting" for five days as the Germans rolled in, and sad surrender afterwards. The Dutch have never known how to fight. If they did, we'd be speaking Dutch now, and New York would still be Nieuw Amsterdam.

Economically, the Netherlands is de facto a state of Germany, largely because Rotterdam is the international harbor to and from the German Ruhr area. The Dutch economy moves in lockstep with the German economy, whatever politicians think, hope, say and do. Unemployment in the Netherlands is 5,3% now, in Germany 7%, the lowest since the unification.

I digress.

by Jasper on Aug 18, 2011 8:56 pm • linkreport

Ive had the police break down the door in rental units, and they usually get out of paying for them unless you sue them. Absent municipal exclusions, if they decide to break a door down, with or without warrant, they should be responsible for the cost of choosing to do so.

by bill on Feb 16, 2013 1:43 pm • linkreport

You should never help the police. Any time you can lawfully sue a police department, televise it, and even further sue for harassment and damages you should.

Police specialize in traffic citations and hardly solve crimes unless it happens to fall in their lap. 40 officers to raid a house because of 1 gun. Sounds like the city needs an audit on how funding and tax dollars are spent.

Glad I don't live there.

by American Citizen on Jul 4, 2014 7:56 am • linkreport

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Save my name and email address on this computer so I don't have to enter it next time, and so I don't have to answer the anti-spam map challenge question in the future.

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