| NEWS of the Week
|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 ...
NOTE: To see full stories either click on the Daily links or on the URL provided below each article.
June 17, 2012
A tribute to fathers
Remember when you were little and your father seemed so big and powerful? Dad seemed to have all the answers, could fix anything, worked so hard yet was always full of fun. He seemed always ready to teach great things; to ride a bike, play ball, fish, ski, build, teach some basic car maintenance skills ~ how to change a tire and the oil, and sometimes dad would teach about the work he did.
Children commonly believe that it is dad's best part of the day, as it is for them, when they greet him at the door after a long days work. All these views are due in part, to the perspective of our little selves and partially due to the image we hold of our dads. Children look up to their dads, often viewing them as heros.
Fathers have an incredible influence on their children. As a counselor and parent educator, I have witnessed and been educated on the importance of father involvement. A fathers' physical, emotional and spiritual engagement has a direct impact on a child's development and the events they encounter throughout their lives. It used to be believed that a father's primary role was to be the “bread winner” in the family, while mom raised the children. The role is different today. A greater challenge presents itself to fathers. They have to find a way to transition from work to family, ready to be available, because they understand their involvement does in fact help their children ~ manage stress better, build their confidence levels, improve academic skills and enhance overall development. “When daughters have a close and warm relationship with their dad their sense of competence-especially in math skills, and a secure sense of femininity is fostered” (www.montana.edu).
June 16, 2012
From the Washington Times
Obama grants legal status to young illegal immigrants
The Obama administration said Friday it will stop deporting most illegal immigrant students and young adults in a campaign-year move that escalates the immigration debate to the fore.
For years the administration had said it didn't have the authority to make such a move, saying it couldn't decide to stop deporting wide categories of people on its own without approval from Congress.
But on Friday President Obama says administration now interprets the law to give it the discretion.
“Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security is taking steps to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people,” Mr. Obama said in an appearance in the White House Rose Garden. “Over the next few months, eligible individuals who do not present a risk to national security or public safety will be able to request temporary relief from deportation proceedings and apply for work authorization.”
From Google News
Waynesboro Crime Down Thanks To Community Policing
Waynesboro, GA -- One local city is relying on its citizens to combat crime and say the effort has paid off.
Waynesboro Police Department Chief Alonzo Williams says crime has dropped significantly in several areas thanks to community policing.
Waynesboro Police say they want to reduce the number of drug deals in the city because it's contributing to armed robberies and thefts, but they say...in the past year, the three different police programs aimed at getting citizens involved, has helped crime go down in more than one area.
Cops aren't the only ones cruising the streets of Waynesboro to combat crime. Citizens are also sharing the responsibility to keep the streets safe.
“It takes from the officers just doing random patrols, and allows them to focus on doing the things they need to do, which frees them so definitely a plus,” said Romeo Striker.
June 15, 2012
From the Washington Times
Catch and release for low-priority illegals proposed
Border agency's secret draft policy includes ‘prosecutorial discretion'
U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the agency charged with guarding the U.S. borders, has written a secret draft policy that would let its agents catch and release low-priority illegal immigrants rather than bring them in for processing and prosecution.
The policy, which has not been signed off on, would be the latest move by the Obama administration to set new priorities for the nation's immigration services, and would bring CBP in line with other Homeland Security Department agencies that already use such “prosecutorial discretion.”
The policy was detailed in an internal memo obtained by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith and reviewed by The Washington Times, which confirmed the document.
According to the memo, the draft policy “provides circumstances when to pursue enforcement actions … and includes detailed discussion of several factors CBP personnel should consider when exercising discretion.”
British authorities unveil plan for mass electronic surveillance
LONDON — British authorities on Thursday unveiled an ambitious plan to log details about every email, phone call and text message in the U.K.
And in a sharply worded editorial, the nation's top law enforcement official accused those worried about the surveillance program of being either criminals or conspiracy theorists.
Officials insist they're not after content. They promise not to read emails or eavesdrop on phone calls without a warrant.
But the surveillance proposed in the government's 118-page draft bill would provide British authorities a remarkably rich picture of their citizens' day-to-day lives.
Home Office Secretary Theresa May said in an editorial published ahead of the bill's unveiling that only evildoers should be frightened.
From Google News
Geraldo Rivera: Stop, Frisk, but Don't Bully
“Just as I came out of the subway at 116th Street and Lexington Avenue, I saw my son being frisked by these two cops,” the mom of a 21-year old, college bound, black high school student recounted her own deeply emotional experience with New York's controversial Stop-and-Frisk program.
“I ran over yelling, ‘keep your hands off my boy!' I almost got myself arrested.”
Happily, her encounter ended happily. No contraband was found on her son and apologies were exchanged all around.
A counselor for disabled children, she was one of three hard-working, African-American mothers who happened to be at a dinner at my New York apartment. So I seized the opportunity for an impromptu focus group on the issue that dominates local news in the Big Apple these days: what to do about Mayor Michael Bloomberg's controversial program that last year saw 684,330 people stopped by NYPD cops, even though they were committing no obvious crime.
87% of the people stopped were black or Latino, although they represent just 52% of city population. The stops are highly intrusive. Yet while supposedly based on the cop's reasonable suspicion that “criminal activity is afoot,” the stops are also of questionable effectiveness. Just 10% result in either an arrest or a summons. Weapons are found in only one in every 1,000 stops.
From Google News
New Phoenix police chief outlines five core principles for community
The new police chief of Phoenix has five things he wants his police department and citizens to adopt in order to make Phoenix a better place to live.
Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia was welcomed by approximately 75 community members at the Alwun House Arts and Cultural Center on Thursday where he discussed his commitment to his community-based plan: policing with a purpose.
Policing with a purpose, Garcia said, is a plan that involves five principles: Nurture and protect democracy, give justice to everybody, exhibit a spirit of service to everyone, show fundamental fairness and protect people from harm.
“I want my police officers to clearly understand it and adopt it, and I want the citizens to clearly adopt it,” Garcia said. “These five principles are the biggest thing, and that's what I want the community to understand.”
June 14, 2012
A Flag Day History of the Stars and Stripes
The American flag has gone through many changes since it was adopted 235 years ago by the Second Continental Congress. As the adoption of the Stars and Stripes is commemorated this Thursday on Flag Day, find out more about Old Glory's mysterious origins and its rise to iconic prominence.
When the American Revolutionary War broke out in 1775, the colonists didn't yet unite under a single flag. Instead, they fought mainly under unit or regimental flags, according to Marc Leepson, author of the book “Flag: An American Biography.” One flag of the time featured a picture of a coiled rattlesnake with the slogan “Don't Tread on Me,” while another showed a pine tree with the words “An Appeal to Heaven.” “There really wasn't anything that was stars and stripes, red, white and blue,” said Mike Buss, a flag expert with the American Legion veterans' organization. In June 1775, the Second Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, created a united colonial fighting force known as the Continental Army. Some historians claim that George Washington, the army's commander-in-chief, ordered that a flag called the Continental Colors be raised the following New Year's Day during a siege of British-occupied Boston. But David Martucci, past president of the North American Vexillological Association, the world's largest group dedicated to the study of flags, believes Washington likely raised a British Union Jack instead. The Continental Colors, which contained 13 alternating red and white stripes with a Union Jack in the upper left-hand corner, was only used by the navy and perhaps at forts, according to Martucci. “It was sort of a compromise between the radicals who wanted to see a separate nation and the people who were more conciliatory and wanted to see some accommodation with the crown,” he said.
From the Washington Times
Panetta fears ‘another Pearl Harbor' in cyberattack
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta warned Wednesday that a cyberattack on the United States could cause “another Pearl Harbor” by blacking out private and government electric power grids and throwing the nation into a panic.
“I think the more this technology develops, the more the will to potentially use it is going to take place,” he testified before the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on defense. “I think there's a high risk.”
Mr. Panetta said U.S. private and public sectors are targets of hundreds of thousands of attacks every day.
“I'm very concerned at the potential in [cyberwarfare] to be able to cripple our power grid, to be able to cripple our government systems, to be able to cripple our financial systems,” he said.
“It would virtually paralyze this country. And as far as I'm concerned, that represents the potential for another Pearl Harbor, as far as the kind of attack that we could be the target of, using [cyberwarfare].”
Arizona prepares to enforce strict immigration law
Arizona is already gearing up to enforce its strict immigration law as it anticipates a favorable ruling from the Supreme Court sometime this month, with Gov. Jan Brewer issuing an executive order this week telling police to bone up on the details of the law.
Mrs. Brewer ordered that training materials produced to help police understand the law and its limits should be distributed throughout the state in preparation for a ruling.
The materials, created by a state board that sets standards for all law enforcement, include a DVD designed to help police understand the circumstances that would let them question someone about immigration status.
That power has been the most controversial part of the law, SB 1070, which Mrs. Brewer signed in 2010 but was largely halted by lower federal courts as an infringement on federal powers.
In her order, Mrs. Brewer said the materials need to “make clear that an individual's race, color or national origin alone cannot be grounds for reasonable suspicion to believe any law has been violated.”
June 13, 2012
From the Washington Times
Homicides spike in Chicago
Up 50% over ‘11; police to saturate areas under siege
CHICAGO | Maybe it is the splintering of established drug gangs that has young men grabbing the tools of their trade - handguns - to jockey for position? Or it is that rival gangs, once miles apart in different public housing complexes, suddenly finding themselves sharing the same street corner?
Whatever the reasons, Chicago has seen a spike in its homicide rate - with eight killed and at least 35 wounded in a spasm of gunfire last weekend alone - that has authorities scrambling to put more police on the street and some frightened residents retreating deep into their homes.
To be sure, the violence is nowhere near its historical peak of the early 1990s when Chicago recorded roughly 900 homicides per year. But from Jan. 1 through late May there were 203 homicides, an increase of more than 50 percent over the 134 during the same period in 2011.
And in some neighborhoods, just miles but a world away from the gleaming lake and lush parks of which the city is so proud, gunfire has produced the kind of death toll that would alarm entire cities.
Human-trafficking hotline calls show ‘groundswell of interest'
Human trafficking has been described by the Justice Department as “a big moneymaker for criminals and a scourge to society” and a group that seeks to help those caught in its grips says the number of callers to its national hotline identifying themselves as victims is increasing — and that's good.
“This is really significant,” said Sarah Jakiel , deputy director of the Washington-based Polaris Project . “It is such a hidden and isolated crime. … The message is getting out.”
The Polaris Project , the largest group focused on human trafficking in the United States, says its hotline calls from those who identified themselves as victims jumped by nearly 61 percent last year. The group describes the increase in a report to be released Tuesday as “encouraging,” given the covert nature of the crime and the historic reluctance of victims to come forward.
The number of calls from people identifying themselves victims shot up from 471 in 2010 to 756 in 2011, the report says. The total number of calls to the hotline also increased by 64 percent from 11,874 in 2010 to 19,427 in 2011. In addition to potential victims, the hotline receives calls from family members and friends as well community members and others.
June 12, 2012
From the L.A. Times
Irvine is safest U.S. city for eighth straight year, FBI says
Looking to avoid becoming a crime statistic? Move to Irvine.
In 2011, for the eighth year in a row, the Orange County city had the lowest violent crime rate of any U.S. city with a population larger than 100,000, the FBI said Monday.
Irvine -- population 214,872 -- reported only 120 violent crimes last year, the same number as the year before.
Among the crimes: two murders, 67 aggravated assaults, 11 rapes and 40 robberies. Random comparison: Similarly sized Modesto had more than 10 times the number of robberies.
“Eight straight years as the country's safest city is truly something to celebrate,” Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang said in a statement. “Public safety is a commitment we do not take lightly.”
The data were part of the FBI's annual Uniform Crime Report. Overall, reported violent crime in the United States declined 4% between 2010 and 2011, the FBI said.
From the L.A. Daily News
Mom charged with helping daughter and friends with anti-Semitic vandalism in San Fernando Valley
A 44-year-old Northridge woman is facing vandalism and other charges, accused of helping her daughter and friends smear human feces on a car and scrawl swastikas in syrup at the homes of two of the girls' former friends.
Catharine Whelpley was charged Monday with three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, two counts of vandalism, two counts of trespassing, and two counts of tampering with a vehicle, Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich said in a statement.
"The conduct alleged in this case is unacceptable in our society," Trutanich said. "The persons responsible for such conduct, including parents, will be held accountable for their actions."
The charges stem from events that occurred on April 3. Whelpley is accused of driving her 14-year-old daughter and her friends, ages 13 and 14, to a home in the San Fernando Valley in April. The home belonged to a former friend of Whelpley's daughter.
The teenage trio threw toilet paper into the property's trees, then poured maple syrup on the front porch and smeared human feces on the homeowner's car.
L.A. city parks offer free summer lunches for kids
The Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks will serve free lunches to children at more than 100 locations during the summer.
The program is open to all children ages 1 through 18. There is no sign-up or qualification required. The goal is to ensure children receive at least one nutritious meal per day when school is not in session. The lunch program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Lunch service begins June 25 and ends Aug. 10. Serving times will vary. For information, call 818-546-2383 or visit www.laparks.org/foodprogram
From the Washington Times
FBI: Violent crime down for fifth straight year
WASHINGTON — The number of violent crimes reported to police across the country fell 4 percent last year when compared to 2010, the fifth straight year of declines.
The FBI also said Monday that the number of reported property crimes went down 0.8 percent, the ninth straight year-to-year decline. The bureau says murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault all went down in 2011.
Violent crime decreased in all four regions: 4.9 percent in the Midwest; 4.7 percent in the West; 4.5 percent in the South and 0.8 percent in the Northeast.
Motor vehicle theft dropped 3.3 percent, and larceny-theft decreased 0.9 percent. Burglary offenses increased 0.3 percent. The preliminary data is based on information the FBI gathered from 14,009 law enforcement agencies around the United States.
From Google News
Massachusetts town orders $20 fines for the minimum of cuss
Questions raised over free speech after Middleborough residents back fines for swearing in public
In Middleborough, Massachusetts, it is the residents' way or the highway when it comes to swearing. Photograph: Gary S. and Vivian Chapman/Getty
Residents in a town outside Boston have voted in favour of fining people who swear in public.
At a town meeting on Monday night, residents voted 183-50 to approve a proposal from the police chief to impose a $20 (£12) penalty on public profanity.
Officials insisted the proposal was not intended to censor casual or private conversations, but instead to crack down on loud, profanity-laden language used by teenagers and other young people in the city centre area and public parks.
"I'm really happy about it," Mimi Duphily, a store owner and former town selectwoman, said after the vote. "I'm sure there's going to be some fallout, but I think what we did was necessary."
June 11, 2012
From the L.A. Times
Commerce Secretary John Bryson found unconscious after hit-and-run crashes
U.S. Secretary of Commerce John Bryson was involved in two hit-and-run accidents in the San Gabriel Valley on Satruday before being found unconscious inside his Lexus vehicle by police, authorities said.
Bryson was treated at the scene by Los Angeles County firefighters. Authorities said drugs or alcohol do not appear to have played a role in the crash.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and San Gabriel Police Department said in a joint statement that Bryson was cooperative wad detectives. He was cited for felony hit and run but was not booked into jail because he had been admitted to the hospital. His condition was not known. "The investigation is in its preliminary stages," the statement said.
Bryson was driving a Lexus in the 400 block of South San Gabriel Boulevard shortly after 5 p.m. Saturday, when he allegedly rear-ended a Buick as it was waiting for a train to pass, according to the statement,
After briefly stopping to talk to the three men inside the Buick, Bryson left the location in the Lexus and then struck the Buick a second time, authorities said. The men followed Bryson's car and called 911 to ask for police assistance.
From the Washington Times
Safety measure lets cars talk to each other to avoid crashes
U.S. will launch real-world test of 3,000 vehicles
As a safety demonstration, it was a heart-stopper: A Ford Taurus was seconds away from cruising through an intersection when suddenly a row of red lights pulsed on the lower windshield and a warning blared that another car was approaching fast on the cross street.
Braking quickly, the driver stopped just as the second car, previously unseen behind a large parked truck, barreled through a red light and across the Ford's path.
The display at a recent transportation conference was a peek into the future of automotive safety: cars that talk to each other and warn drivers of impending collisions. Later this summer, the government is launching a yearlong, real-world test involving nearly 3,000 cars, trucks and buses using volunteer drivers in Ann Arbor, Mich.
The vehicles will be equipped to continuously communicate over wireless networks, exchanging information on location, direction and speed 10 times a second with other similarly equipped cars within about 1,000 feet. A computer analyzes the information and issues danger warnings to drivers, often before they can see the other vehicle.