NEWS of the Day - July 27, 2012
on some LACP issues of interest

NEWS of the Day - July 27, 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 Google News

Colorado shooting: Police pleaded for ambulances

July 27, 2012 (DENVER) -- As the horror unfolded for police first on the scene of the Colorado theater massacre, the officers repeatedly sent out urgent pleas for more ambulances even as a two-man crew and their rig were idling just a few miles away.

Radio traffic from last Friday's shooting in Aurora, Colo., showed emergency personnel struggling to grasp both the scope of the tragedy and mobilize a response.

While some ambulances were quickly called to duty, it took dispatchers more than 20 minutes into the crisis to ask the Cunningham Fire Protection District and other nearby agencies to provide aid at the multiplex in suburban Denver.

By the time the Cunningham crew arrived, it was more than a half hour after authorities got first word that a gunman opened fire at a packed midnight showing of the new Batman film "The Dark Knight Rises," killing 12 people and injuring dozens of others.

The ambulance delays came during crucial minutes for the injured victims, though it's not clear whether a faster response would have saved more lives.

Officials have declined so far to release call records of the response, and the Aurora Fire Department declined to discuss the handling of ambulances from that night.

Experienced emergency responders say no response will ever be perfect. Residents in the Denver area are well aware of the turmoil that comes with mass tragedies, as police were criticized in 1999 for waiting outside Columbine High School instead of immediately pursuing two gunmen who went on a killing rampage inside.

"You always find things that you can improve the next time," said Robert Finn, a retired police and fire chief from the Dallas area who added that officials will usually conduct a post-incident analysis after big tragedies.

On the police radio transmissions, officers said they lacked sufficient medical support for about 30 minutes after the 911 calls came flooding in around 12:39 a.m. and that medical teams didn't report getting inside the theater for about 24 minutes. It wasn't clear whether police efforts to secure the multiplex contributed to the delay in getting medical teams inside.

Dispatchers began their response by quickly sending one ambulance to the scene, followed by another about three and a half minutes into the response. A third ambulance soon followed.

Over the next several minutes, first responders reported on the extent of the casualties, calling in the numbers of wounded in their areas: One said three were shot in one location. Another said someone was shot twice in the back. A third asked that rescue personnel go into the theater to help "multiple victims."

About nine minutes in, one officer in an urgent voice declared bluntly: "I need as many ambulances as we can." Four had been dispatched at that time, according to one person on the scanner traffic.

An officer said he was going to take a victim in his car.

Eleven minutes in, a first responder again barks: "Dispatch, get me some ambulances!" A coordinator replied that Rural/Metro -- the private ambulance provider for the area that also declined comment on the response -- was sending all available units in Aurora.

The Cunningham unit, however, had not been called and sat idle for 10 more minutes. The department operates separately from Aurora officials but coordinates with them on a near-daily basis.

District Fire Chief Jerry Rhodes said one of his units on duty that night had no idea about the turmoil unfolding a few miles away, in part, because they were likely sleeping due to the 24-hour-long shifts they typically staff.

Rhodes said the district's crew, including one paramedic and one emergency medical technician, received the plea for help at 1 a.m. -- about 21 minutes after officers first began rushing to the scene.

Denver Health Paramedics, which had two ambulances on the eastern side of Denver that is closest to Aurora, got its call to provide support three minutes after Cunningham. One of the units was eight minutes away.

West Metro Fire Rescue also got a similar call to send medical support -- 15 minutes after the Cunningham request.

Medical teams that were first to arrive appeared to deal with the wounded as they came upon them, which meant first handling the moviegoers who made it outside. That left other severely wounded patients inside the facility.

While fire officials in Aurora declined to comment about how they responded, Deputy Chief Chris Henderson told reporters after a brief memorial service Wednesday night that the firefighters did an incredible job.

"The lives that were saved that night. That's the comfort you take from this," Henderson said.

Scot Phelps, an experienced paramedic who works at an emergency management academy in New York, said it was clear that the lack of ambulance transport was a problem in Aurora. He said that could be due in large part to the structure of modern emergency systems, which he said are poorly funded, leaving few ambulances readily available.

Before the aid call went out to the other agencies, officers repeatedly implored dispatchers for more medical support and bemoaned the resources they had at their disposal. At one point, they also asked for an accounting of what resources were on the way.

"To be honest with you, sir, I don't know an exact count of ambulances," one person said. They added that two more ambulances were getting dispatched then.

Over the span of 10 minutes, officials mentioned multiple times the situation of a child who they could not evacuate from the theater and needed rescue. About 15 minutes in, one officer asked whether he had permission to take victims with his car.

"I have a whole bunch of people shot out here and no rescue," he said in a hurried tone. The response came immediately: "Yes, load them up, get them in cars and get them out of here."

At 18 and 20 minutes in, police coordinators repeated their calls for more medical assistance. At 27 minutes, an officer was still reporting that they were loading patients into the back of patrol cars. "Any ambos we could get would be nice," he said.

Thirty minutes into the chaos, an on-scene commander made a final, exasperated plea. He asked about Cunningham's resources and whether another private company in the area -- AMR.

"Anybody else that's in the area that we can contact?" he asked. "Maybe Cunningham? Somebody that we can get a hold of? AMR? Anybody?"

The response came back from a woman's voice that sounding equally worn. "We're working on finding additional transport rigs to assist us with transporting from the scene," she said.



New Jersey

Volunteers Sought for Community Policing Program

Volunteers must be at least 18-year-old an pass a background check.

The Newark Police Department is pleased to announce the formation of the R.A.V.E.N. (Ready & Active Volunteers Engaged in Newark) program.

Police Chief James Leal initiated this program as part of the department's commitment to the community and in response to our citizens' willingness to assist the police department as extra "eyes and ears" to help prevent and solve crime.

The goal of R.A.V.E.N. is to creat a strong, reliable group of volunteers who can augment and assist the police department in a variety of tasks designed to free up valuable time of sworn officers and non-sworn police staff, which will allow them to peform higher priority tasks.

In addition, the program provides services to the community otherwise not currently offered due to resource limitations.

R.A.V.E.N. volunteers will be given the opportunity to utilize their unique skills and experiences.

Some of the duties participants could perform include vacation home checks, extra patrols requested by a member of the community or determined by current crime trends, safety presentations and staffing of community event booths, administrative tasks, and traffic control.

Minimum qualifications include:

  • Live or work in the City of Newark
  • 18 years of age or older
  • Willingness to submit to and ability to pass a background check
  • Commitment to volunteer at least 10 hours per month

If you are interested in learning more about R.A.V.E.N., please contact: Tim Jones, special assistant of the Newark Police Department's Community Engagement Division at tim.jones@newark.org or call 510-578-4209.



New Jersey

Police reach out to mobile home park

by Deborah M. Marko

VINELAND — Police officers commended the Berryman's Branch mobile home community for being a safe neighborhood and urged the residents to get involved with law enforcement to help keep it that way.

The city's police department hosted its third in a series of community outreach meetings at the Pennsylvania Avenue complex Thursday. The goal of the gatherings is to forge relationships with the public and then work as partners in building safe communities.

Instead of reaching out to an officer when there is an emergency, Officer Joe Pagano said, the community policing unit is focused on being proactive. They are in the neighborhoods problem-solving with residents in an attempt to ward off any potential trouble.

“We need your help. We need your eyes. We need your ears,” Pagano told the crowd of more than 50 residents gathered in the community center. “Without your help, we can't do our job effectively.”

“Don't sit back, get to know your neighbors,” Pagano suggested. “Don't sit locked in your house.”

As usual, the traffic unit was one of the most sought-after services as residents hoped to crack down on speeders.

Although Berryman's Branch is a private community, Sgt. Peter D'Arrigo of the traffic unit said, officers do patrol the area. If there is a consistent problem, he urged residents to call the police and they will check into it.

For example, D'Arrigo said police were told about speeding on Elmer Road, between Main and Spring roads. They checked it out and arrested a driver going 85 mph.

Detective Ron DeMarchi noted the park hasn't had many major crimes. The police can help residents improve the safety of their homes, offering crime prevention tips like trimming bushes or telling them where locks are needed.

Resident Rita Dannenhofer suggested putting “Caution — Hidden Driveway” signs near the entrances to the park to help slow traffic.

“That's a good idea, I'll check into it with the engineering department,” said Mayor Robert Romano, who attended the meeting. “We should be able to do it.”

The tips were well-received by residents. A buffet of refreshments encouraged after-meeting mingling for the public to talk one-to-one with officers.

Resident Mary DuBois said she supports the police coming to Berryman's Branch for community gatherings.

Officers came about eight years ago to encourage neighbors to keep an eye on one another, she said.

DuBois said she was glad that message was reinforced Thursday, now that there are about 100 new homes in the park.

“It's something everyone needs to hear,” she said.