| NEWS of the Day - February 9, 2012
|on some issues of interest to the community policing and neighborhood activist across the country
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following group of articles from local newspapers and other sources constitutes but a small percentage of the information available to the community policing and neighborhood activist public. It is by no means meant to cover every possible issue of interest, nor is it meant to convey any particular point of view ...
We present this simply as a convenience to our readership ...
From Los Angeles Times
White supremacists revive dream of a homeland in Northwest
Kevin Harpham's attempted bombing of a Martin Luther King parade in Spokane, Wash., reflects the foothold white supremacy has in the region.
by Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times
February 9, 2012
Reporting from Spokane, Wash.
Three sanitation workers found it along the route of a Martin Luther King Jr. Day march: a nest of wires in a backpack.
The homemade bomb was equipped with an unusual remote-controlled trigger and stuffed with more than 100 heavy fishing weights coated in rat poison. The Spokane County bomb squad disarmed it hours before the route would have been flooded with marchers last year.
If the device had detonated and the weights had torn into the intended victims, the poison would have prevented their blood from coagulating, all but ensuring their deaths, lab analysts concluded.
The intense manhunt that ensued led authorities to a remote cabin in the pine-shrouded hills north of Spokane. In it lived Kevin W. Harpham, an Army veteran who had posted venomously for years on a white supremacist website, the Vanguard News Network.
"Those who say you can't win a war by bombing have never tried," he wrote. "I can't wait till the day I snap."
At the conclusion of a hurried, tense investigation, Harpham pleaded guilty to attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and a hate crime and was sentenced in December to 32 years in prison.
A decade after the dissolution of the Aryan Nations compound in northern Idaho and the arrest of the Montana Freemen, white supremacists, far-right militias and radical patriots have revived their dream of a homeland in the Northwest.
In 2010, residents in several parts of Idaho woke to find Easter eggs tossed on their lawns — courtesy of the not-dead-yet Aryan Nations. The eggs contained jelly beans and solicitations to "take back our country and make it great, clean, decent and beautiful once again."
In October, a federal jury convicted Spokane-area resident Wayde Kurt of firearms violations in a case prosecutors said stemmed from Kurt's membership in the white supremacist group Vanguard Kindred.
In a sentencing memorandum, federal prosecutors said Kurt discussed with an FBI informant a plan for what he called an act of terrorism "of the worst kind," comparable to the Oklahoma City federal building bombing, that "would mean a death sentence if he is caught."
"The defendant stated that he needed to make sure that everyone is fed up with [President] Obama," the memo says.
Meanwhile, prominent white nationalists, radical constitutionalists and other apostles of the far right have established beachheads in northwestern Montana. They include April Gaede, who is appealing to white "refugees" to establish a Pioneer Little Europe; Karl Gharst, a former member of the Aryan Nations who has been screening Holocaust denial films at the local library; and Ronald Davenport, a Washington man who was convicted in November of filing more than $20 billion in false liens against government officials seeking to collect $250,000 in unpaid taxes.
Conservative preacher and radio host Chuck Baldwin, the 2008 presidential candidate of the Constitution Party, moved to Montana from Florida in 2010 to help establish an "American redoubt" for "liberty-loving brethren," and is now running as a Republican for lieutenant governor.
"We know there's a fight coming. We know there is a line being drawn in the sand, and we want to be in the right place. The good ground is right here in Montana," Baldwin told supporters last year.
In a recent report, the Southern Poverty Law Center said "a new round of antigovernment stirrings" was evident in northwestern Montana, especially around Kalispell.
"We're seeing a real resurgence of the idea once again of retreating to the Pacific Northwest, the last best place, as they say," said Mark Potok, a senior fellow with the civil rights group.
The new arrivals have not made overt threats of violence. Many have said they came to establish a quiet line of defense against rising crime in cities to the south. Yet Travis McAdam, executive director of the Montana Human Rights Network, said the militant right posed a different kind of challenge.
Instead of doing most of their proselytizing online, as they have in the past, he said, the groups are now sponsoring public meetings, bringing in guest speakers such as David Irving, an internationally known writer who challenges the Holocaust, and Paul Fromm, a well-known Canadian white supremacist.
"The idea that they just want to move here and be left alone — we've seen in the last 21/2 years that that's not what these folks are about. They're about pushing their agenda, trying to recruit people if they can," McAdam said. "It's definitely about establishing a presence and saying basically, 'We're here.' "
In the case of Baldwin, he added, "They're engaging mainstream political institutions and trying to accumulate power."
The near-disaster involving the backpack bomb at the King Day march in Spokane evoked comparisons to Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, another below-the-radar radical, and Buford O. Furrow Jr., a former guard at the Aryan Nations compound in Idaho who drove to Los Angeles from Washington state in 1999 and opened fire at a Jewish community center in Granada Hills, wounding five, then killed a Filipino American postal worker in Chatsworth.
Harpham "was what we feared most, the prototypical lone wolf extremist who didn't foreshadow the event in any way," the FBI's lead agent in Spokane, Frank Harrill, said in an interview. "There had been nothing that would signal that he would conduct some vicious attempt like this."
The rush to identify a suspect — complete with an elaborate arrest plan involving a SWAT team disguised as road workers — reflected the fear that whoever was responsible might detonate a bomb somewhere else.
"We all felt, although the timeline was uncertain, that this could be a race against a second device in some venue somewhere ... so it was all hands on deck," Harrill said. "One of the big concerns was that the geographic origin of the perpetrator was unknown.... We didn't even know if it was an individual" or a group.
The first victory came when the bomb squad disarmed the device while keeping most of its components intact.
FBI bomb technician Leland McEuen, who had dismantled improvised explosive devices in Iraq, recognized it as a pipe bomb with a triggering device — a remote car starter — similar to those used against U.S. forces in the Middle East.
The bomb was wrapped in two T-shirts, traced by FBI Case Agents Ryan Butler and Joe Cleary to a Relay for Life fundraiser and an after-school production of "Treasure Island" in Stevens County, the forested valley that stretches north of Spokane toward the Canadian border.
Zeroing in from there, FBI Special Agent Craig Noyes found that an unusually large number of fishing weights identical to those found in the bomb had been sold the previous November at a Wal-Mart in Colville, Wash. The weights had been purchased with a debit card belonging to Harpham, a 37-year-old electrician who lived on a 10-acre plot outside Colville.
A quick check revealed that Harpham had served with an artillery unit at what is now Joint Base Lewis-McChord in western Washington. A DNA sample from his Army records matched a sample found on the backpack's handle.
Within hours of coming up with Harpham's name, FBI analysts had matched him to a man posting under the pseudonym "Joe Snuffy" more than 1,000 times since 2004 on the Vanguard website.
"The older I get, [the] less I have to live for, and the less I have to live for, the less the laws of this country will be able to influence my actions," he wrote in one of the postings, which frequently ranted about African Americans and Jews.
"It was clear from those postings that ...we were dealing with an individual who was extraordinarily racist and potentially violent," Harrill said. "He was talking about caching food, fortifying structures, obtaining high-capacity assault weapons. And while those things are not of themselves illegal, if you juxtapose them with the placement of an extremely lethal destructive device, it presents really a nightmare scenario in terms of an ultimate resolution."
One thing FBI supervisors knew: They did not want to try to arrest Harpham at his cabin — not after the disastrous 1992 siege of the Idaho cabin of white separatist Randy Weaver. That assault killed Weaver's wife and 14-year-old son.
Instead, FBI agents learned that Harpham was looking to buy a car, and devised a plan to grab him when he emerged from his cabin.
On March 9 — 51 days after the attempted bombing and 22 days after agents had identified him as their suspect — Harpham drove down the narrow mountain road from his cabin to a small bridge at the bottom. Awaiting him there were the FBI's hostage rescue team and an FBI SWAT team from Seattle, disguised as road workers.
A man dressed as a flagger signaled Harpham to proceed onto the bridge. A van on the other side blocked his exit. A backhoe bucket slammed down onto the rear of Harpham's car.
A dozen FBI agents in camouflage leaped out of the van with assault rifles, shouting at Harpham to put his hands in the air. He did so — but he had questions of his own. "How long have you known about me?" Harpham asked. When he didn't get an answer, he muttered one of his own: "About two months."
During his sentencing in December, Harpham argued that his intention had been merely to shatter the glass of a nearby medical building and cause general alarm as a form of protest.
"Just these kinds of social concepts — unity, multiculturalism. It was no different than a Christian person out there protesting gay marriage," Harpham said. "Just making a statement that people are out there who do not agree with these ideas."
Harpham's father, Cecil "Bill" Harpham, said his son was "a real good kid" who fell in with skinheads in the Army.
"They more or less brainwashed my son into thinking that this hate group is going to better America, that they're getting stronger every day and a bunch of stuff like that," he said. He sighed. "Oh, I cried an awful lot. But he brought this on himself. I told him not to mess with those skinheads. Stay away from 'em. But he wouldn't do it."
Islamic terrorism: It's not what many think, new report suggests
Islamic terrorists didn't kill anybody in the United States last year.
There were plots here and there, whose stories were contorted by idiosyncrasy rather than stereotype. ... The feds arrested a man they said wanted to bomb the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon with a remote-controlled model airplane. There was the would-be fashion model who worked at a 5th Avenue Saks and was accused of wanting to wipe out a Manhattan synagogue. And who could forget the (as friends described him) pot-smoking, whiskey-slurping, key-losing used-car salesman accused of conspiring with Iran to hire Mexican drug cartels in an assassination attempt on the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States?
Yet there would be no second 9/11 in the United States in 2011, nor any Islamic terrorist killings of any kind, according to a report reeleased Wednesday by the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security.
There were roughly 14,000 murders in the U.S. last year, according to the report, but the 20 American Muslims indicted in suspected terrorist plots — out of the 2 million Muslims in the United States — were not responsible for any of them.
“The scale of home-grown Muslim American terrorism in 2011 does not appear to have corroborated the warnings issued by government officials early in the year,” noted the report's author, Charles Kurzman, a sociologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Last February, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano took to the bully pulpit in Washington to announce, “In some ways, the threat facing us is at its most heightened state since" the Sept. 11 attacks, as The Times reported.
The federal government's security apparatus has ballooned since 9/11 — the Department of Homeland Security, which was created after the attacks, now has more than 230,000 employees — largely to combat a specter of Islamic terrorism whose face in the United States has changed over the last decade. "The terrorist threat facing our country has evolved significantly," Napolitano said in her remarks.
Kurzman's figures show the Al Qaeda model, in which transnational groups of foreign-trained and foreign-funded extremists cross borders to commit high-profile attacks, has largely been outpaced by a sloppier and less successful run of home-bred freelance terrorists inspired by YouTube and Internet message boards, if inspired by foreign influence at all.
“Very few of the cases of Islamic terrorism in the United States have had any connection with Al Qaeda or its affiliates,” Kurzman said of the last few years of data, speaking in a phone interview with The Times. The data amount to 33 deaths in 12 domestic Islamic terrorism attacks since 9/11, including the 2002 Beltway sniper attacks.
“The fear and concerns that many have had in the days and months after 9/11 about sleeper cells and trained killers waiting to strike has not materialized in the decade since then. … Most of the cases involve fringe individuals or small groups who are not connected with foreign terrorist organizations or with other plots in the United States," Kurzman said.
Life has also changed for many international groups traditionally identified by the U.S. government as major proponents of terrorism. Al Qaeda has seen its leadership decimated by the death of Osama bin Laden and its effectiveness crippled as the U.S. continues its aggressive use of clandestine raids and drone strikes. And the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah has flirted with adopting nonviolence tactics, as has the Palestinian group Hamas, inspired by the "Arab Spring's" example.
As Kurzman's report notes, Islamic extremism continues to exist in the United States, though he said in an interview that the numbers were too small to make many generalizations about the cases compiled in his report. “Some of the folks on these lists are frankly bizarre in their beliefs even within revolutionary Islamic circles,” he said.
Not included in Kurzman's report are instances of non-Islamic terrorist plots in America, which, by one interest group's reckoning, outnumber Islamic plots 2 to 1.
A January report by the Muslim Public Affairs Council counted 119 violent plots against people by non-Muslim Americans versus 52 plots by American and foreign Muslims since 9/11. The council also identified eight non-Muslims who had or tried to get biological, chemical or radiological weapons.
Ideological violence in the United States has never been the exclusive domain of Islamists. In November, the FBI arrested four Georgia men in their 60s and 70s accused of a bioterrorist plot based on “saving the Constitution." Further, radical environmentalist and animal rights groups have caused uncounted millions of dollars in damage in ecoterrorism over the years.
And then there's Jared Lee Loughner, a non-Muslim charged with perpetrating perhaps 2011's greatest act of domestic horror during the attempted killing of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. His ideology was originally misconstrued as conservative before analysts realized it was too obscure and incoherent to be called much of anything at all and, as The Times reported yesterday, he is still not yet considered fit for trial.
Then there are the political -- and occasionally violent -- protests; a case in point is the small-scale anarchist street violence that some say has arisen in Oakland as part of the Occupy protests there. Few would call this terrorism, but just what definition of domestic “terrorism” is Kurzman using, anyway?
“I don't get into this,” he admitted on the phone.
Kurzman just takes the reports of Islamic terrorism as he finds them and as they're submitted to him, he said, which he admitted leads to him making a lot of “judgment calls as to whether they involve terrorism.”
It's more inclusive than not, Kurzman said. Trying to define non-Islamic terrorism, he said, is opening “a can of worms.”
From Google News
911 Response Probed in Powell Killings
by MIKE BAKER and GENE JOHNSON
(TACOMA, Wash.) — Emergency call logs show that nearly eight minutes elapsed between when a social worker called 911 to report that Josh Powell's children were in danger and when sheriff's deputies were dispatched. By the time officers were on their way, the home was exploding in a gas-fueled inferno, with Powell and his two young boys inside.
The priority of the dispatch Sunday was "routine" instead of "emergency," which cost several minutes of response time, and when the deputies arrived 14 minutes later, there was nothing they could do. (See a Timeline of the Powell Family's Tragic Two Years.)
The Associated Press obtained the logs Wednesday night under a public records request.
Recently released audio recordings of the 911 calls raised questions about how the dispatch center handled the social worker's call regarding Powell, who was a person of interest in the disappearance of his wife two years ago.
The worker detailed how Powell had locked her out of his house during what was supposed to be a supervised visit with his sons, that she could smell gas, and that she feared for their lives.
Minutes later, Powell torched the home, killing himself and the boys.
The recordings showed that the man who took the 911 call engaged in nearly seven minutes of questioning that ended with him saying he didn't know how long it would be before deputies could arrive. "We have to respond to emergency life-threatening situations first," he said.
"I see two problems: The delay in the dispatch, and they dispatch it as a routine call," Pierce County Sheriff's Detective Ed Troyer said Wednesday night. "Had our guy been going priority, and had they dispatched it in the first three minutes, we probably could have shaved 10 minutes off our response — but there's no way we get there in time."
The logs show that the social worker called 911 from her cellphone at 12:08 p.m., but it took her until two minutes into the call to find the address of the house. Three minutes after that, the man who took her call transferred the information to a dispatcher, who alerted two deputies about 2 1/2 minutes later, at 12:16.
But at precisely that time, calls began pouring in to report explosions at the house about 35 miles south of Seattle — apparently from the fire blowing out windows.
The first deputy arrived at 12:30 to find the home engulfed in flames.
Troyer said the sheriff's office was disappointed that the initial call-taker left the impression that help wasn't immediately on the way.
"Are we unhappy with the etiquette and the manner? Yes," Troyer said.
He said he hoped the call center will ensure the same mistakes don't happen again.
Recordings of the 911 call show it took more than three minutes for the operator to understand that the social worker was there to supervise a child custody visit — a factor that contributed to the dispatch delay.
The agency that runs the call center, Law Enforcement Support Agency, said it would review the handling of the case and start a disciplinary investigation if necessary. A spokeswoman, Kris Dessen, said it was too soon to say if the response took longer than it should have.
Powell's wife, Susan, vanished in Utah two years ago. Josh Powell has long been a person of interest in the case but maintained at the time that he had taken his boys — then 2 and 4 — on a midnight camping trip in freezing temperatures when she disappeared from their home.
On Sunday, the social worker drove 5-year-old Braden and 7-year-old Charlie from their grandparents' home to their father's house outside Puyallup. Josh Powell lost custody of the boys last fall, after his father, with whom they then lived, was arrested in a child pornography and voyeurism investigation.
When they arrived at the house for the regular visit, the boys ran inside the house, and Powell slammed the door in the social worker's face.
She called her supervisor and 911, reaching the call center in Tacoma, about 10 miles away from Powell's house.
She quickly laid out the situation:
"Something really weird has happened. The kids went into the house and the parent — the biological parent — whose name is Josh Powell will not let me in the door. What should I do? ...
"I could hear one of the kids crying, and he still wouldn't let me in."
Pierce County, the second largest in the state and home to about 800,000 people, has an enhanced 911 system that is designed to give police an approximate location of a cellphone caller. It wasn't immediately clear if the call center used that feature to locate the social worker.
While she was still looking for the address, she said, "But I think I need help right away."
The dispatcher proceeded to question her repeatedly about who she was and her role.
"Who is there to exercise the visitation?" he asked.
"I am," she said. "The visit is with Josh Powell. And he's the husband of ..."
"And who's supervising?" he asked.
"So you supervise and you're doing the visit? You supervise yourself?" he asked.
After getting it straight, the dispatcher told her someone would come, though he wasn't sure when.
Moments later, the house erupted in flames.
Josh Powell's sister, Alina Powell, called 911 about five minutes later to say she received emails from her brother explaining what to do with his property and saying he couldn't live without his sons.
Alina Powell told a dispatcher she feared her brother was going to do something because of pressure he faced after his wife's disappearance.
"I'm terrified to drive over there," she said, sobbing. "I'm not afraid of him. He's never hurt me. I'm afraid of seeing something I don't want to see."
Cheverly police credit partnerships in crime reduction
by Natalie McGill
February 8, 2012
The Cheverly Police Department is crediting a combination of residents with watchful eyes and partnerships with Prince George's County police for a decrease in crime since 2010 and to levels almost as low as in 1989.
Ann Barsi, who has lived in Cheverly for 13 years, said the town police's partnership with residents, such as through the Cheverly Watch Radio Program, has made the difference. The community policing initiative gives radios to residents to report crime in real time to Cheverly police officers.
“Everybody in town has talked about how this is something unique to Cheverly and that's become another arm of our police department that's really helping, and that's where we're getting that decrease in crime,” she said. “It's an extra sets of eyes that's saying, ‘Hey, something fishy is going on here. Come look.' ”
The biggest drops, from 2010 to 2011, came in burglaries and robberies, with a 67 percent decrease in robberies from 21 to seven and a 35 percent drop in burglaries from 67 to 43, said Cheverly Police Chief Buddy Robshaw, who started the radio program in September 2008. That year ended ended with 55 burglaries and 24 robberies. There were 267 criminal incidents total last year, compared with 263 in 1989, Robshaw said.
Radios cost the department $250 each and come from the police line item of the town's budget, said Robshaw and Cheverly town administrator David Warrington. The overall town police budget is about $1.4 million, Warrington said. Robshaw does not release the identities of program participants because their contact information is confidential, but said there are 50 radios in use.
Many residents work at night so most incidents get called in during the daytime hours, he said. The actual number of people using the radios could be at least 80 because there are married couples who share radio usage, Robshaw said.
Robshaw said his department's work with the county police's District 3, which covers areas such as Landover and Capitol Heights, helped close out at least three burglary rings in April, June and September that accounted for more than four dozen town burglaries.
Most offenders were men in their mid-20s who came from nearby areas such as Kentland and Palmer Park and were linked to other county break-ins, Robshaw said.
“They were almost all adults,” Robshaw said. “Very rarely do we get a juvenile committing burglary. Most of them are adults nowadays. I thought that was a little unusual.”
According to the 2010 census there are 6,173 Cheverly residents, and there are 14 full-time town police officers in Cheverly, not including Robshaw, he said. The town is mostly single-family homes but includes the Cheverly Station Apartments. Overall, Cheverly police arrested 499 people last year compared with 511 in 2010, Robshaw said.
In cities with similar populations to Cheverly, such as Glenarden, which has about 6,000 residents, there was a slight increase in burglaries from 35 in 2010 to 38 in last year. But Glenarden still only had a little more than half of the burglaries Cheverly had in 2010.
Glenarden Police Chief Phil O'Donnell said every town has its own unique issues but noted Cheverly “is in the heart of Route 50” and closer to the D.C. line, which could give criminals easier access in and out of town.
However, municipal partnerships with the county police are common when it comes to spikes in crimes such as breaking and entering. Glenarden worked with Prince George's police to solve 18 burglaries in June 2011, O'Donnell said. There are 11 full-time Glenarden police officers including O'Donnell.
“When you're having a real rash of serious crime, you really have to depend on the county to help us because you know a lot of times people will commit a crime in Glenarden, and then they'll go across the street and do the same thing in Landover or Largo,” O'Donnell said.
Other drops in Cheverly crime include 32 assaults last year compared with 38 in 2010, and 46 acts of vandalism last year compared with 62 in 2010.
Glenarden had a drop in assaults from 40 in 2010 to 33 last year. Glenarden does not keep vandalism statistics.
MPD Seeks Help From Community
Maui Police Department officials discuss concerns in the Kihei District … drugs are the “number one issue in the community.”
The Maui Police Department (MPD) wants you--but it's not quite what you may think.
Meeting with approximately 25 Kihei residents, MPD Chief Gary Yabuta and his officers stressed that with limited resources and a high volume of calls, citizen participation is needed to ensure that those resources are targeted in the best manner possible.
Yabuta also told attendees that he has created a special assignment unit of three officers for use " when we are overloaded and need more officers on the streets." Officers in this unit are placed on special assignment to address specific concerns.
Among those concerns are park and beach patrols, and speed limit and other traffic enforcement based on community input.
According to Yabuta, the Kihei District, which is staffed with a total of 54 officers and civilian employees combined, receives 2,000 calls for service per month. The Kihei District--Ma'alaea, Kihei, Maui Meadows, Wailea and Makena--is geographically subdivided into five beats.
The Lahaina District receives 1,900 calls per month on average. In contrast, Wailuku gets 5,000 calls per month, making it the busiest police district in the state.
Deputy Chief of Police Clayton Tom, Kihei District Commander Capt. Tivoli Faaumu and officers with responsibilities in the areas of community policing, criminal investigations, visitor-oriented policing, bicycle patrols, special patrols, vice and juvenile crime prevention also spoke at the meeting.
Faaumu referred to the police as "the boots on the ground to maintain peace in the community."
"Our job is to meet with the community and see how we can solve problems together, Faaumu said."
Faaumu told those assembled that drugs are the "number one issue in the community."
According to statistics he presented, there were 58 drug-related incidents documented in the last three months of 2011, including 37 for marijuana, four for crystal methamphetamine, two for cocaine and one for heroin.
Among other community concerns reported to the police and documented for the meeting was drunk and disorderly behavior at the parks.
From Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2011, there were 162 incidents at parks and beaches in the Kihei District. Arrests included 17 for disorderly conduct, 15 for harassment and 13 for drug and liquor offenses.
Another community concern outlined by the police is traffic in South Maui, including speeding. Several members of the audience agreed that this is a problem in South Maui, including the safety of pedestrians when drivers do not stop for them as required by the law.
One member of the audience, who declined to give his name, said crossing South Kihei Road is dangerous, and that when some drivers see a pedestrian, they actually speed up.
Faaumu reported that there had been 659 traffic stops in the district between October and December 2011, with 1,492 citations issued.
"Traffic enforcement is not just on major highways, but also on neighborhood streets and by schools," Faaumu said, pointing out that on Kanani Road during the same October-December period, there were 62 traffic stops and 386 citations issued.
Several residents raised the issue of noise from loud mufflers or oversized wheels. The issue of loud "boom box" music being played at county parks was also raised.
But the announcement that MPD conducted a special operation on traffic infractions for six days last month in Wailuku regarding vehicles with loud mufflers, illegal tints and other infractions, issuing 386 citations, did not satisfy the Kihei audience.
When Chief Yabuta asked attendees if they wanted a similar effort in South Maui, almost every hand went up.
The chief also took the opportunity to confirm that Kihei will get its first police bicycle patrol this year in order to increase police presence in parks and beaches. The goal is to increase visibility and enable more contact within the community.
Issues of cell phone use, homeless individuals gathering near the beach at St. Theresa Church and the evacuation of residents from low-lying areas due to flooding were also raised.
Faaumu said that most of the homeless who gather for meals each day at St. Theresa on Lipoa Street and South Kihei Road are people who had been affected by the economy, with only 1 to 2 percent at most causing trouble.
He said the department is working with condominium complexes to learn their evacuation plans and studying how to increase opportunities for traffic to exit South Maui more rapidly than in the past.
When it came to cell phones, Victor Ramos, assistant chief of the Uniform Services Bureau, said, "We have issued hundreds of citations. We hope that everybody will be responsible when they drive, but unfortunately, that is not always the case. Hopefully, eventually the mindset will take hold."
To contact the MPD in a non-emergency situation and/or Maui Police Chief Gary Yabuta, call 244-6300. For an emergency, call 911. The Kihei District patrol can be reached by calling 875-8190.
Wilmington fixes eye on crime-fighting model
HIGH POINT, N.C. -- Near the end of a two-day visit on Tuesday, this city's Jim Fealy had a police-chief-to-police-chief moment with Wilmington's Michael Szczerba.
"The bottom line is people in my community are safer, and that's all I care about," Fealy said. "I really believe this is the way policing should be done across the country."
Fealy was talking about the "focused deterrence" methods that his department has been using for about 15 years to wipe out violent open-air drug markets, cut violent gang crime and restore the community's faith in its police officers. Szczerba and eight others from Delaware had come to hear whether they could apply High Point's lessons to Wilmington's violent crime problem.
Szczerba said the strategy could indeed work in Wilmington.
"It's a process that isn't going to happen overnight, but we will be doing this," Szczerba said. "We won't end here."
Szczerba and Bill Montgomery, chief of staff to Mayor James M. Baker, said the High Point visit showed them that Wilmington already has many of the resources it needs to deploy the strategy. The methods combine traditional police work with community support and social services.
Wilmington had the nation's third-highest violent crime rate among similarly sized cities in 2009 and 2010. Szczerba said several police initiatives -- including an aggressive focus on repeat violent offenders and reorganization of the department's community policing unit -- helped bring down the number of shootings in the city by 37 percent last year, as well as other gains.
Szczerba and Montgomery said officials will start by organizing community groups into an effective voice to condemn the behavior of criminals. They'll also use several of the repeat offenders they've already arrested as examples for the lower-level criminals they want to target, Szczerba said.
Szczerba said police are already planning a "call-in" meeting next month. Such meetings enable police and the community to deliver their message to low-level offenders.
High Point officers explained the meetings in more detail.
Nearly all of the offenders are on probation, so their probation officers can require them to attend the meeting.
"It's not because we say 'pretty please,' " said High Point Lt. Col. Marty Sumner.
Each meeting, which police conduct about every few months, lasts about an hour. Community members start by explaining how the offenders' drug dealing and violence are affecting their families and communities.
Point made in video
Then, the offenders are shown an 11-minute video. In it, the narrator -- who looks like she could be one of the offenders' mothers or strict aunts -- tells them they now have to choose what's next for them: a prison cell, a coffin or the community.
The video profiles three real people who have been called in for a notification meeting. The first ignored the warning, was caught with a gun, and is now spending 15 years in a federal prison in West Virginia.
The second stayed in the drug lifestyle and was killed outside a crack house; the video shows him lying in a coffin and his toddler son visiting his grave.
The third person got his high school diploma and a job to support his family.
In the video, the two living subjects and the family of the third urge audience members to make their choice carefully to avoid being killed or sent to prison.
After the video, police and prosecutors make it clear the offenders must stop dealing drugs or face prosecution based on the evidence police have collected.
Walter Jones, a prosecutor for Guilford County, N.C., explains how he'll use every resource he has to press the judge for high bail and, if possible, turn the case over to federal prosecutors. Most call-in meetings involve fewer than two dozen offenders, so Jones tells them they won't get overlooked in the court system.
"We have thousands of cases and we can't bring our A game to every one, but we can do it for these few people," Jones said.
Few break the rules
Police said Monday that of the more than 1,000 people who received that second chance since 1997, only 10 percent to 12 percent had been caught breaking the rules.
Fealy said when one of those offenders is caught, the entire department pays attention, including the chief. That aggressive focus reinforces the message that police delivered at the call-in meeting.
"This is so important that when that bell rings, everybody is on the field," Fealy said.
Before High Point targeted an open-air drug market in the city's West End in 2004, Fealy apologized to residents there for the department's past failings.
"I wasn't apologizing for doing my job," Fealy said. "I was apologizing for not being successful. Even if you don't feel comfortable apologizing, you can at least acknowledge the fact that while we were doing our job, we weren't as successful as we thought we were, and we think we've figured out a way to do it better and we need your help."
Fealy also made a plug for David Kennedy, the criminal justice professor whose ideas led to High Point's success. Kennedy, now at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, has long hair, a beard and a tough message for police about the mistakes they've made in dealing with minority communities.
"David Kennedy and I have become personal friends, and I have incredible respect for him," Fealy told Szczerba. "But in talking to real cops, he'll turn them off in a heartbeat. You'll have to translate for him, but he's right."
More than 75 cities have used focused-deterrence methods, Fealy said, and he, Sumner and Capt. Larry Casterline said they would continue to help Wilmington police in the future.