Make this the open line: With heavily armored cops; a band trip flimflam, and Fayetteville whiz kids in the news | Arkansas Blog

Monday, June 9, 2014

Make this the open line: With heavily armored cops; a band trip flimflam, and Fayetteville whiz kids in the news

Posted By on Mon, Jun 9, 2014 at 4:55 PM

SPRINGDALE'S MEAN STREETS: SWAT unit and armored vehicle in film noir recruiting video.
  • SPRINGDALE'S MEAN STREETS: SWAT unit and armored vehicle in film noir recruiting video.
No, let's make this the open line. And close out with the propensity of city cops to acquire military-style gear (see the over-the-top combat-style Springdale police recruiting video, which got a shout in the New York Times today); an indictment in the case of a Fort Smith band swindled on a trip to Hawaii, and some good news about a national championship from Fayetteville — no, not in sports.

* COMBAT READY COPS: The New York Times today reported on the national trend of police forces buying surplus military equipment, such as mine resistant ambush protected vehicles, or MRAPs. Grenade launchers and other gear are popular, too. Once in hand, some cops itch to use them, such as masked, heavily armed Louisiana cops who invaded a nightclub on a liquor inspection. Arkansas, which has obtained four MRAPS, more then some states but fewer than others, also drew this mention:

The ubiquity of SWAT teams has changed not only the way officers look, but also the way departments view themselves. Recruiting videos feature clips of officers storming into homes with smoke grenades and firing automatic weapons. In Springdale, Ark., a police recruiting video is dominated by SWAT clips, including officers throwing a flash grenade into a house and creeping through a field in camouflage.

Not exactly community policing. Here's that dramatically edited and scored Springdale video.

* BAND SWINDLE: The U.S. attorney in Fort Smith announced that Calliope Rocky Saaga, 40, of Saratoga Springs, Utah, made an initial appearance n federal court today on charges that he stole $272,500 from the Southside High band by taking money for a band trip to Hawaii in 2012, but failed to deliver on the trip. The trip was canceled and the band lost the money, which Saaga allegedly spent on himself. He faces similar charges in Missouri over a $360,000 swindle of a Springfield band.

* NATIONAL CHAMPS: That picture below is of the Woodland Jr. HIgh Quiz Bowl team from Fayetteville, which won first place in the Junior Nationals Academic Championship in Chicago. Match that, Jeff Long. Team members include tournament MVP Ryan Kim, Jacob Huneycutt, Jacob Partridge, Ibby Ogden, Aubin Payne, Steven Du, Kyle Mayer, David Vega, and Sophie Harris. The team is coached by Lindsey Asbury and Richard Campbell.

click to enlarge wjhquizphoto.png

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