Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

September 18, 2008


Host: Ted Simons

VCAT


  • DPS Deputy Director Penny Gillette discusses the latest updates on the Violent Criminal Apprehension Team.
Guests:
  • Chief David Denlinger - D.P.S. Criminal Investigations Division
  • James Carville - Democratic pundit
  • Mary Matalin - Republican pundit
Category: Law

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
>>> Tonight on "horizon," D.P.S. updates us on the progress of the violent criminal apprehension team, or vcat. Political antagonists James Carville and Mary Matalin mix it up on presidential politics, and the world's largest super collider has an Arizona connection. Next on "Horizon."

Ted Simons:
>>> "Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the friends of eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Ted Simons:
>>> Good evening and thanks for joining us tonight on "Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. Arizona's jobless rate was up again in august. The Arizona department of commerce reports that the unemployment rate was 5.6\% last month. That's up half a percentage point from July. Although the jobless rate was up, government added over 36,000 jobs, mostly in education, as school started up again. The health sector added 4,600 jobs. Also adding jobs, leisure and hospitality and financial services. But that was not enough to offset job losses. Sectors such as construction and manufacturing dropped jobs.

Ted Simons:
>>> Vcat is an acronym for violent criminal apprehension team. It was formed after Governor Janet Napolitano ordered d.p.s. to form a multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional plan to identify and arrest people with outstanding felony warrants. D.P.S. was given $1.2 million to accomplish this task. That money was diverted from funds originally headed to the Maricopa county sheriff's office. Sheriff Joe Arpaio stated publicly that he believed the loss of funds was due to reaction of his controversial immigration sweeps. Nevertheless, since vcat was formed in May, 315 felony fugitives have been arrested. According to the D.P.S. web site, as of last month, there were about 58,000 fugitive warrants statewide. Also, late last month, the partners in vcat were announced. Joining me now to talk about that and progress in the effort, D.P.S. criminal investigations division Chief David Denlinger.

Ted Simons:
>> Good to have you on the show.

David Denlinger:
>> Thank you, Ted.

Ted Simons:
>> give us, again, a broad definition of what VCAT is.



David Denlinger:
>> Vcat is actually a partnership concept, coalition of law enforcement agencies statewide that are banding together to identify and capture fugitives. As you hear, there is 58,000 statewide, part of the effort is to prioritize those fugitives and find out who is victimizing those communities across the state, combining resources, take off the fugitives that commit the most crime and produce the most victims in the community.

Ted Simons:
>> You mentioned a statewide team. Give us some of the agencies involved.

David Denlinger:
>> agencies including the flagstaff police department, pima county sheriff's department in the south, police agencies across the valley, Maricopa adult probation is one of our partners. 24 agencies have announced to become partners in this effort, but potentially every criminal justice agency in the state is a partner, because as information goes to any community, that agency becomes a partner as we cooperate to arrest the fugitive.

Ted Simons:
>> Some are more of a partner than others. Looking at the sheriff's office in Maricopa County, why are we not seeing them as a full partner in this effort?

David Denlinger:
>> We invited every agency in the state, 24 stepped forward at the time of the press conference. Every agency is a partner as we go into the community --

Ted Simons:
>> A full partnership here from the sheriff's office in Maricopa County, that would help quite a bit, would it not?

David Denlinger:
>> Certainly as we develop information in the county, we will share that with the Maricopa county sheriff's department.

Ted Simons:
>> More of a partnership wouldn't hurt, I would think, more of a cooperation, I should say.

David Denlinger:
>> We do share resources and other aspects, like drug enforcement, fugitive enforcement, we certainly will seek to share resources there as well.

Ted Simons:
>> would you like to see more cooperation?



David Denlinger:
>> we get along well in the drug enforcement and fugitive enforcement, again, we will share information and get out there and catch the bad guys.

Ted Simons:
>> okay. Vcat focuses entirely on outstanding felony warrants, nothing else?

David Denlinger:
>> That's correct.

Ted Simons:
>> okay. The arrests, the folks that you are looking for have been arrested for what, when you find them, they're arrested for what?

David Denlinger:
>> A wide variety of warrants, sex offenders, burglars, armed robbers, drive-by shooters. There are only so many police officers in the state, we prioritize in the different communities what the offenses are and that is what we try to take off, the violent offenders, repeat offenders. There is a number of those offenses that we see. Also, you see figures where we have arrested some approximately 300 people, but close to 400 felony warrants cleared, and that is because many of these offenders have more than one outstanding warrant also.

Ted Simons:
>> This is something, again, for folks who hear this say this sounds like something that local law enforcement at different agencies and levels should be taking care of themselves. Why is vcat necessary?

David Denlinger:
>> Local law enforcement only has so many resources, and offenders don't stay in that same jurisdiction. Criminals travel all over across jurisdictional boundaries. Be that globe between the agencies, use our resources to harness that power, work with the agencies across the state, state, local, county agencies.

Ted Simons:
>> How were the fugitives sought before? How were they sought before? When you were looking for them, was it just one individual agency kind of working on their own?

David Denlinger:
>> Very likely, or many individuals are under the radar screen and not being actively looked for at all. Police agencies constantly going on calls, reacting for things, and there may not be time for hunting fugitives.

Ted Simons:
>> How effective has the program been. How many folks have been caught, and if you are seeing a trend upward on the numbers?
David Denlinger:
>> Currently, as you reported also, approximately 300 arrests, close to 400 warrants cleared, and the d.p.s. Concept, we have a core vcat group in phoenix of detectives, analysts that research the warrants and go out and catch them. The figures you are seeing so far simply are partnerships that we have done primarily in the Maricopa County area. Those are figures on warrants in Maricopa County d.p.s., our partners have done at this point. We are getting ready to develop priorities across the other 14 counties in the state and seek the partnerships in those agencies and go out. Those numbers should actually multiply astronomically --

Ted Simons:
>> is there a concept that you would like to see improved, or moving faster than it is right now?

David Denlinger:
>> We had to build the core group to begin with. Some of the infrastructure, the recent press conference, our web site, toll free number, because that is the next partnership we need to expand on is with the public. Far more people in the public out there than law enforcement, and as they become aware of somebody that may be a fugitive, certainly our numbers can increase even more with that partnership.

Ted Simons:
>> if this is called a team and not a task force, why is that?

David Denlinger:
>> That's correct. Task forces exist to multiply numbers for certain -- certain effort. But there is budget constraints, police agencies only have so many people. You can get overwhelmed by task force requests. We're not asking agencies to contribute to a task force because they only have so many resources. What we're asking to do is simply share our resources together as we have information in their community without taking any resources from them, and so that is multiplying this partnership across the state to do that without taking any resources away from everybody.

Ted Simons:
>> All right. Very good. Thank you for joining us. We appreciate it.

David Denlinger:
>> Thank you for the opportunity.

Ted Simons:
>>> Perhaps no two people have more epitomized the style and conflict of the modern American political pundit than married antagonists James Carville and Mary Matalin. Democrat James Carville helped Bill Clinton become president and is a best-selling political author. Mary Matalin was most recently a counselor to vice president Dick Cheney. The two were in the valley recently for the phoenix forum luncheon hosted by the greater phoenix chamber of commerce. These interviews were conducted before the conventions and before the selections for vice president. Also, they insisted they not be interviewed together. What follows are excerpts from the two interviews.

Interviewer:
>> What would you say about the Bush legacy, the last eight years?

James Carville:
>> well, I guess you try to think of something about the country that was better today than it was eight years ago -- um, kind of hard. I can think of a lot of things that are worse.

Mary Matalin:
>> great minds, great pundits have said this is about Barack -- it is specifically about choice, the contrasts between world views, policies, characters, the way they go about doing government service is different and he should point that out.

James Carville:
>> Economy almost also performs better under democrats than republicans. Do you really want the next four to look like the last eight? I think that is key to what obama has today.

Mary Matalin:
>> Some people, like Barack Obama's people, their strategy is to say this is bush three. We just discussed how john has never been a typical republican. He is nobody's guy. He is his own guy. To the extent that conservatives and republican have -- incentives for small business, wealth creation, investment, energy that fuels the economy, those are conservative republican positions, not bush positions, and john has taken a big leap here in energy, which is both a security and economic issue. Those aren't bushes -- you can't attribute everything that is happening on every issue to be a bush policy. John has his own turf here.

James Carville:
>> You can turn policies around. The stunning thing that happened in the 90s, productivity went up, and incomes went up. When George Bush became president, the policies that he instituted, and the economy, productivity continued to rise, incomes went flat, if anything down a little bit. So, the idea here is what can we do to have the kinds of policies that help income growth for all Americans, because we haven't experienced that, and, of course now we're in a recession, and that would be something -- encouraging speculation, encouraging easy credit, they weren't encouraging the types of things that really build jobs and build incomes and I think that is what they have to change.

Mary Matalin:
>> Change doesn't mean change to anything, it means improvement. One of the horrible drags on the economy, is the burgeoning government that deflects the life out of the economy --
James Carville:
>> Bush cuts -- the second place you could start is you could give the middle class some kind of tax relief in the process. The third thing to do if you could stop not having as big a deficit as you had where I will constantly -- other people gobbling up our debt like crazy, you could start investing in infrastructure and bring jobs, all kinds of things you can do.

Mary Matalin:
>> The thing you always love about John McCain is you always know where he stands. The job with Dick Cheney, Dick Cheney's job was to be the go-to guy on the hill. When he was with you, you had no -- we like -- we knew where he stood. He was a straight talker. He has been embraced in the larger, as we can see from the convention and all of the numbers moving and his gains or Barack's losses to be precise are republicans coming home to McCain.

James Carville:
>> If senator McCain is elected he will be dealing with a Democratic congress, his options, as we say, will be rather limited. I think that we will certainly, given every indication that he wants to keep in place Bush's economic policies which certainly haven't been particularly helpful. He seems to be willing to go to war over Georgia, although i don't think that would be terribly wise. I think we would see more troops on more deployments, and see more of the same economic policies. He might be a little better on environmental stuff. Shown some flexibility in that area. I like Senator McCain. He is an affable guy, but he -- i would say his options would be limited because he is dealing with a Democratic congress. He will fight to keep Bush's economic policies in place, and he will be aggressive in the use of American troops overseas.

Mary Matalin:
>> He has been clear -- he was on the exit strategy for Iraq, victory from the very beginning when it wasn't popular. He was right on that, ahead of the curb on putin, and Georgia -- and we're seeing in the polls now that this priority of issues is slipping back to national security. The economy is still a concern, but less of a concern, national security is rising. The greater experience than anybody in either of the parties at this point, and talk about that. He also has got -- by being seen as aggressive and serious and practical on energy, he really is -- has a good policy on energy now.

James Carville:
>> Not too long ago I read a story where someone had gone to a rural community in the united states and they asked these people would you vote for Barack Obama, and they said no, I don't think I could ever vote for a non-Christian. Do you think Barack Obama has an image issue with a lot of rural Americans who may not realize the truth? I think the -- I think the convention helped somewhat. You know, you're always going to have that kind of stuff out there. I would be curious to know how many people have voted for a democrat anyway, but this information, you know, people in the United States have a right to be misinformed -- if they didn't --

Ted Simons:
>>> apparently the world's largest and newest super collider, which was switched on last week, malfunctioned shortly afterward. The problem wasn't reported until today. However, after replacing a 30-ton transformer, the Swiss collider resumed activity. There were fears the world would be sucked into a mini black hole when the collider was turned on, although there is no evidence of that, despite the cardinals having a winning season so far. Scientists at the University of Arizona joined in the rejoicing when the collider was switched on. Scientists there built an instrument in the collider called "atlas." it will be used to search for origin of mass, extra dimensions of space, microscopic black holes, and dark matter. Earlier I spoke with u of a physics professor John Rutherford, who worked on the atlas. I asked him about the collider and the atlas.

John Rutherford:
>> This is a very large experiment to look at the smallest possible things that we can imagine. The large collider acts like a powerful microscope, perhaps the fact there are ten more powerful than any other built so far. We haven't actually fully turned it on, although there was a bit of an experiment to see how parts of it would work just last week. Still we have a few more steps to go before it is actually ready. Hopefully in the next couple of months.

Ted Simons:
>> And this, of course, involves the large collider, what exactly is this collider, where is it, what does it do, and how big is it?

John Rutherford:
>> The collider is an accelerator, it accelerates protons, a proton is a nucleus of a hydrogen atom, and it accelerates to extremely high speeds around a ring in a tunnel underground. The tunnel circumference, that is the distance to walk around it is 27 kilometers, that is about 17 miles. So, it is an awfully long walk around this tunnel. The tunnel is underground about 300 feet on average, and it is below the countryside just outside of Geneva Switzerland at the cern laboratory, high energy physics, elementary particle physics laboratory that has been around since the mid 50s. They built a series of accelerators of which this is the latest and greatest.

Ted Simons:
>> is this similar to what Arizona was looking at doing ten, 15, some odd years ago?

John Rutherford:
>> Yes, it is. The United States had proposed a super-conducting, super collider. Arizona was in the final competition of, i think it was five states, but we lost out to texas, and so the site for the super conductor, super collider was just south of Dallas. They started construction, but the project was killed by congress over tight budget conditions.

Ted Simons:
>> The cern project, i guess you guys started it up, they started it up last week. What happened there when it was started? Did the initial experiments go well?
John Rutherford:
>> Yes. What they did was -- well, the collider shoots protons clockwise around the ring and other protons counterclockwise around the ring and they're timed just so that they collide in the middle of the detector, called the atlas detector. What they did last week was not collide protons because that requires several more steps before everything is working properly. They simply sent protons one way around the ring, and then later in the day protons around the other direction. To get the protons to collide in a tiny, tiny little volume in the center of the detector requires more tuning and they will do that over the next few weeks to months.

Ted Simons:
>> You think another couple of months before we finally get collision?

John Rutherford:
>> Yes. That's correct. But however, last week, and still ongoing now, they're still circulating protons as they learn to tune them better. We did turn on the atlas detector, and we saw collisions not of one proton with another, but collisions with the protons with residual gas in the vacuum pipe, and also they would flip in little targets to see where the beam was at various places around the ring, and we could see spray off those targets. That was a nice test to see that the -- see that the detector is working, although it is not physics, it is not science, but at least we're checking out the detector to see what is working and what is not. There is an awful lot of thing to make work and it will take a long time before it is working perfectly.

Ted Simons:
>> When you get to physics and you get to science, how will these experiments, how will the atlas, how will all of this help explain something like black holes?

John Rutherford:
>> We're not sure that it will have anything to say about black holes. That is a very speculative possibility. What the accelerator was really built for was -- let me put this in -- as a sound byte so to speak. It is to find the higgs boson. But one can say it more broadly also. We're really trying to understand why particles have masses and how we make sense of the masses that the elementary particles have. That is the real goal that we think we can reasonably achieve with this accelerator. However, there is an awful lot more that we anticipate could happen, ranging from the very likely to the very speculative, and the mini or micro black holes are way out there on the edge of the very speculative.

Ted Simons:
>> Some are calling this the big bang machine, is that accurate?

John Rutherford:
>> In a way. It requires a little explanation. It will recreate some of the conditions shortly after the big bang, approximately a millionth of a millionth of a second after the big bang. We will create collisions that were happening at that time shortly after the big bang.

Ted Simons:
>> and the atlas will collect data, and correct me if i am wrong, we're talking hundreds of thousands of c.d.'s worth of data every second?

John Rutherford:
>> Oh, let's see. No, I think that's every year.

Ted Simons:
>> Every year, okay. All right.

John Rutherford:
>> Yes. It's something like 15 petabytes, for the computer experts they know what a gigabyte and probably know what a terabyte is, so that is a thousand terabytes.

Ted Simons:
>> okay. I will take your word for that. How long before we get tangible results from the atlas from the collider?

John Rutherford:
>> Oh, I would guess that to get a really new, exciting result is going to take at least a year. And that would not be the higgs either. It is very likely that the higgs will take three or four years to find, if we find it. If we don't find it, that's also very exciting because it will mean the present theory, which we -- which has been proven over and over again in many calculations, we can make calculations with this theory and they agree very well with the experiments. So, if we don't find the higgs, it means there is something terribly wrong with this terribly successful theory, and that would be a tremendous surprise, and would very likely lead to some better understanding of nature that we apparently wouldn't have if there is no higgs.

Ted Simons:
>> All right. Very good. Very exciting stuff. Congratulations so far on what seems to be a successful experiment with the atlas. John Rutherford, thank you for joining us on "horizon."

John Rutherford:
>> You're quite welcome.

Ted Simons:
>>> Tomorrow on "horizon," the town of Guadalupe will be policed by the sheriff's office, for now. The latest on the fight against the employer sanctions law and a look at Arizona's economy, that's Friday on "journalists' roundtable."




Ted Simons:
>> reminder at azpbs.org you can find links to "Horizon" and archived copies of previous shows including this one as soon as it becomes a previous show. Thank you for joining us. That's it for now. I'm Ted Simons. You have a great evening.

Ted Simons:
>>> "Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the Friends of Eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

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