| NEWS of the Day - August 2, 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
Psychiatrist's warning about Holmes ignored when he dropped out
The psychiatrist who was treating Colorado movie massacre suspect James Holmes warned a University of Colorado threat-assessment team that he could be a danger, but no action was taken because he soon dropped out of school, the Denver Post reported.
Dr. Lynne Fenton, who has been identified in court documents as Holmes' psychiatrist, told the Behavioral Evaluation and Threat Assessment (BETA) team in June she was concerned about Holmes' behavior, the newspaper reported. On July 20, Holmes, a grad student at the school's neuroscience program, allegedly killed 12 and injured 58 when he opened fire at a midnight showing of the Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Colo.
The information was first reported late Wednesday by Denver's KMGH-TV, 7News. The station, citing unnamed sources, reported that CU-Denver officials did not contact Aurora police before the July 20 massacre.
FoxNews.com first reported that Holmes mailed a chilling notebook to Fenton in which he detailed his plans, but the psychiatrist never received the package. It is not clear what disturbing signs in Holmes she saw that prompted her to warn the school.
"I believe, until it's been demonstrated otherwise, that our people did what they should have done," said University Chancellor Don Elliman.
Fenton helped establish the BETA team, which sought to "determine when student action moves from an academic concern only to a broader campus concern," according to minutes from the meeting.
"Generally, if you believe the threat is imminent, call campus police. If you think it's best to involve the BETA team, contact Lynne Fenton," the minutes say.
Fenton no longer is a BETA team leader but remains an adviser to the program, CU officials said.
Calif. professor's e-mail reveals shooting plot
by Gillian Flaccus
SANTA ANA, Calif. – Rainer Reinscheid was into his second bottle of wine when he wrote a chilling e-mail titled, "a good plan," detailing violent revenge on the people he blamed for his teen son's suicide.
This booking photo shows Rainer Reinscheid, 48, a professor at the University of California, Irvine, who was arrested July 24 and charged with numerous felony arson charges.
His son hanged himself after being disciplined at high school in March, sending the University of California, Irvine, professor into a downward spiral that authorities said led to setting fires and venting his anger in graphic e-mails describing plans for a mass murder, sexual assaults and his own death.
Reinscheid fantasized about buying a dozen machine guns, killing 200 University High School students, raping a school counselor and killing the assistant principal who disciplined his 14-year-old son, Claas Stubbe.
"I will make him cry and beg, but I will not give him a chance, just like he did to Claas," Reinscheid wrote. "I will make him die, slowly, surely. Next I will set fire to Uni High and try to burn down as much as I can, there should be nothing left that gives them a reason to continue their miserable school."
Reinscheid never acted on his most violent musings and police have no evidence he was preparing for a shooting, but prosecutors charged him with a series of small arsons that targeted the high school, the assistant principal's home and the park where Claas hanged himself.
Five fires erupted between July 1 and July 19, and police caught Reinscheid as he tried to start a sixth one July 24, Irvine police Lt. Julia Engen said.
While investigating the fires, police discovered three e-mails Reinscheid sent to his wife and himself in April from his university account. Copies of the messages were filed in court by prosecutors to have him held without bail. He's due in court for arraignment Aug. 8.
In the e-mails, the distraught father asks his wife to forgive him for many disappointments but asks her to understand that he "had to go this way" after detailing plans to kill the vice principal and destroy the school in a firestorm.
"You would have done the same if it was your child that you failed," he wrote to her April 26.
Claas was Reinscheid's son from a first marriage. He has a stepdaughter and son from his second marriage.
He asked his wife to tell their son, "Daddy was so sad when Claas passed away, he was just eaten away by his sadness and stopped breathing."
Two nights later, while on medication to stay awake and "legally drunk" while downing a second bottle of wine, Reinscheid wrote to himself about how he had fantasized about having sex with every young girl he saw on campus that day.
Then he discussed his "dreams" of mass murder at the high school, including explicit details of how he planned to make a teacher get naked in front of students and stab herself with a red pencil before he shot her in the head.
"I will give myself a wonderful ending and be with Claas very soon," he wrote. "I like this plan, finally a good idea."
Reinscheid, a professor of pharmaceutical sciences who also holds German citizenship, has not been charged with anything related to the content of the e-mails because they were private communications, said Farrah Emami, an Orange County district attorney's spokeswoman.
Defense attorney Ron Cordova did not return multiple calls for comment. He told the judge in court Tuesday that he didn't want his client to "suffer from a media circus."
Bruce Blumberg, a pharmaceutical colleague at UC Irvine, said Reinscheid was angry over the investigation into his son's suicide and was considering legal action against the school district.
"This is all a tragedy," said Blumberg. "A boy is dead and he shouldn't be and his father is doing allegedly crazy things that he shouldn't be doing. It's all a crazy situation."
The son killed himself March 14 after being ordered to pick up trash for stealing from the student store.
After the suicide, rumors circulated around school that the teen had been bullied, but police and the school district say they found no such evidence.
Ian Hanigan, a district spokesman, said Reinscheid was angry with school administrators because they informed the teen's stepsister of his death at the school, with no family members present, after failing to reach anyone on her emergency contact list. The school had no other complaints from Reinscheid after his son's death and the professor hadn't threatened any school administrators.
Blumberg's wife, Dejoie, remains close friends with Claas' mother, Doerte Stubbe. She said Claas seemed affected by his parents' divorce and split time between Reinscheid and his mother, who has multiple sclerosis.
After the boy's death, Stubbe told her Reinscheid said he was writing "goodbye letters" to everyone.
"At that point she said that she just didn't care and I figured it was him grieving, venting and that sort of thing. There was no threat," Dejoie Blumberg said. "I figured he was very, very and extremely depressed — as any parent would be."
Longtime friend Olivier Civelli, chairman of the pharmacology department, said Reinscheid was devastated by his son's suicide but tried to keep it quiet at work. He showed no signs of the deep anger evident in the e-mails.
"Rainer is not a violent person. Rainer never had a gun, I can tell you that," said Civelli, who picked up Reinscheid's car after his arrest last week. "I think that maybe he was doing that to vent his anger, he was telling (it) to someone who was close — his wife."
That's an argument Reinscheid's defense would likely use if the case goes to trial — and perhaps an argument that could keep the e-mails away from a jury entirely, said Jacqueline Goodman, a criminal defense attorney.
His attorney will likely argue that Reinscheid never intended to act on his writings, and was simply expressing his anguish.
"You have to take into account the context in which these writings come. He's so emotionally distressed and now he's under the comingled influence of psychotropic drugs and alcohol and he's writing these things — not acting on them — just writing them down," Goodman said. "He's clearly not in his right mind. It's like writing in a diary."
When police searched Reinscheid's car, they found a red folder containing a newly signed will and also discovered a power of attorney document on his computer that gave his wife control over his finances and children, according to a police report obtained by The Associated Press.
Reinscheid has been at UC Irvine for about a dozen years and rode his bike to work every day from his house on campus. His research included studying molecular pharmacology and psychiatric disorders, including studies of schizophrenia, stress, emotional behavior and sleep, according to the school's website.
He had requested a leave of absence from UCI, according to a police report.
Maryland man accused of mass shooting plot charged with misdemeanor
The Crofton man taken into custody last week by authorities -- who found him to be heavily armed and said he might have been planning a Colorado-style mass shooting -- was charged Wednesday with one count of misdemeanor telephone misuse.
Authorities said Neil Prescott, 28, called himself "a joker" and threatened to shoot up his workplace. But Maryland prosecutors on Wednesday announced a single misdemeanor charge. Prince George's County State's Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said Prescott is facing a maximum sentence of three years behind bars and a $500 fine.
Prescott will be served an arrest warrant after he is released from the hospital. On Friday, he had surrendered to authorities and was taken to Anne Arundel Medical Center for a mental-health evaluation, and officials said Prescott has been voluntarily committed to the hospital.
Alsobrooks said that there is no law in Maryland that makes it illegal to make a generalized threat over the phone. The section of Maryland Code that Prescott is accused of violating comes closest, she said.
"I believe that this is insufficient, especially in light of Mr. Prescott's alleged threatening statements," Alsobrooks said. "He ought to be facing felony charges."
When authorities searched Prescott's home on Friday, they found many guns. Alsobrooks said that they have determined that Prescott legally owned them.
Prescott will not able to recover his guns or purchase new ones while his case is pending or if he is convicted, Alsobrooks said.
No federal charges have been filed against Prescott, and a U.S. Attorney's Office spokeswoman said she could not comment Wednesday about whether federal charges will be filed.
Last week, Prince George's County police were informed of threats that Crofton made over the phone to a supervisor at Pitney Bowes, a software and mailing equipment supplier.
"I am a joker, I'm gonna load my guns and blow everybody up," Prescott said. According to a court document, this comment was a reference to the recent shooting at the movie theater in Aurora, Colo.
Twelve people were killed and 58 wounded when a gunman opened fire in an Aurora theater during a midnight screening of the "The Dark Knight Rises." The suspect in that incident died his hair orange-red and reportedly told officers that he was "The Joker."
A Pitney Bowes spokeswoman said in a statement Friday that Prescott "was an employee of a subcontractor to Pitney Bowes. He has not been on any Pitney Bowes property in more than four months."
Oakland police chief addresses critiques, reshuffles officers
by Matthew Artz
OAKLAND -- Faced with rising crime and a shrinking force, Oakland's embattled police department is speeding ahead with a plan to scale back its community policing program to free up more officers to fight violent crime.
The department on Saturday began reassigning problem-solving community police officers to crime reduction teams enabling the department to put more resources in higher-crime parts of the city.
Chief Howard Jordan announced the reassignment at a Wednesday news conference during which he was asked about the recent flurry of criticism besieging the department.
Over the past six weeks Oakland police have been stung by critical reports of its crime lab, radio system, and handling of the first Occupy protest.
On Monday, a federal monitor questioned the department's willingness to comply with court-ordered reforms that later this year could result in a federal takeover of the department. And Wednesday, the City Auditor released a report finding that police misspent nearly $2 million over five years on technology systems it never used or rarely used.
Jordan said Wednesday that he was concerned all the bad news was hurting staff morale, but otherwise remained upbeat about the department's future.
"These are all problems that can be fixed," he said, adding that the department expected to quickly find a solution for the city's year-old $18 million radio system that has repeatedly failed.
Jordan said that although major crimes are up about 20 percent this year, the crime rate has dropped in recent months, and the homicide rate would be 10 percent lower than last year if not for the shootings at Oikos University.
Police are getting more tips and community cooperation in solving crimes in recent months, he said. "That is a big turning point for this department."
Jordan refused to comment on the possible federal takeover of the department or the revelation this week that photos of Mayor Jean Quan and U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson, who is African-American and overseeing department reforms, were posted on a bulletin board in police headquarters and defaced in way that Internal Affairs found to be racist.
Wednesday's news conference was called to respond to the city auditor's report that faulted the department for not performing due diligence before purchasing technology systems and for not adequately managing or tracking the systems after buying them.
Jordan challenged several of the auditor's findings, but accepted that the department had to do a better job with its technology systems.
He said a recently hired consultant and a soon-to-be-hired technology officer should help the department make progress.
"I don't take (the report) lightly," Jordan said. "We did not set out to squander $2 million. My job is to make sure it doesn't happen again."
Jordan told the City Council's Public Safety Committee last month that he planned to reassign several of the problem-solving officers, but said the move wouldn't happen until after he unveiled his plan to the City Council in September.
Since then, the chief has been meeting with council members to go over the reassignment plan that would create new crime reduction teams and explain why it needed to begin immediately, council members said.
Jordan's plan, which is being phased in over several months, calls for placing a single problem-solving officer in each one of the city's 35 police beats, rather than the much smaller 57 community policing beats -- providing up to 22 officers for the crime reduction teams.
The plan deprives some neighborhoods of a dedicated officer to meet with community leaders and address their concerns, but it provides the department with the flexibility to concentrate officers anywhere in the city plagued by violent crime.
A similar plan, initiated last year by then-Chief Anthony Batts faced opposition in the Hills, where several residents said the city was violating the 2004 voter-approved ballot measure that funds the problem-solving officers.
That measure anticipated Oakland's police force would number more than 800 officers, as it did just over two years ago. But the force is now down to 643 officers, leaving many council members feeling as if they have little choice but to scale back community policing.
"I know he's going to catch some flak from some of the folks," Councilmember Larry Reid said. "But he has to do what he has to do to reduce the level of violence on the streets because it's getting insane in Oakland."
Indian Rocks Beach considers hiring community deputy
by BRIAN GOFF
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH – The city of Indian Rocks Beach could soon be introducing a new community policing deputy if the city commission decides the $89,000 price tag is worth it.
A community policing deputy is different than a regular patrol deputy in that he or she will have time to get involved in community activities and will have time to find out specific needs and complaints and deal with them.
In recent months some residents have complained to the commission about the way they are treated by regular patrol deputies. To some, the introduction of a community policing deputy will help solve those issues. Commissioner Phil Hanna believes as much. He said time is a factor with the deputies trying to do regular patrol work.
“They are out there keeping us safe and making sure we are getting adequate police protection. But we desperately need a community officer too, someone who will bring another type of police work to our city,” he said.
The job of the community policing deputy will be more than that, according to Mayor R.B. Johnson.
“We've had some issues from time to time and this type of officer could help with those issues,” he said. “A community officer would have a good knowledge and depth about the city, its quirks and neighborhood patterns. The regular patrol officers have their duties; the community officer would have more time to focus.”
The city of Seminole has had a community policing deputy for several years and the administration is pleased with it.
Harry Kyne, the director of administration in Seminole, says the position is a valuable one.
“It is very much working out,” he said. “The officer coordinates Neighborhood Watch groups, he rides his bike around our commercial neighborhood and visits store owners and hears about their needs. He also is very active in special events and is always there when something extra is going on in town. And if extra help is needed he is able to get other community officers from nearby communities to come and help.”
It is that aspect of community policing that interests Mayor Johnson.
“The officer can patrol on foot or ride a bike, and can be very flexible,” he said. “That part has always been attractive to me.”
There is also a practical side of having a community policing deputy in the city. It will add a full time deputy to the community. City Manager Chuck Coward sees it as an added bonus to everyday policing.
“It will mean that we will have two full-time deputies on duty during the daytime hours, seven days a week now,” he said. “Right now we have two deputies patrolling the town on the evening shift and two more on the all night shift. But during the daytime there are two days when we've only got one deputy on duty. The community policing officer will mean we'll have full coverage 24/7 all year round.”
Coward says the officer has been described as the missing link between straight patrol work and community activities.
Both Johnson and Coward feel the upcoming budget can handle the extra $89,000 the community officer would cost. Johnson says it is worth the investment to see if it will work in Indian Rocks Beach.
“It isn't as though we're signing on for 10 years with no way out,” he said. “We can try it for a year and assess it and if the job gets done and everybody is happy then we can find a way to make it work.”
Hanna put his own definition on the community policing concept.
“I call the regular patrol deputies the sharp-edgers,” he said. “They don't have time to be touchy-feely when they are dealing with day to day investigations. The community officer will be the soft-edge person. We all need some tender care from time to time.”
Teaneck to join cities nationwide for 'America's Night Out Against Crime'
The Teaneck Police Department is hosting this year's Teaneck's National Night Out Tuesday, Aug. 7, according to Chief Robert A. Wilson and the Community Policing Squad of the Teaneck Police Department.
Teaneck Police encourages everyone to come out and join their neighbors in partaking in this crime and drug prevention event. National Night Out involves more than 15,325 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases around the world. In all over 37.1 million people are expected to participate in this year's 29th Annual National Night Out.
National Night Out is designed to:
1. Heighten crime and drug prevention awareness;
2. Generate support for, and participation in, local anticrime efforts;
3. Strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and
4. Send a message to criminals letting them know neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.
From 5 to 9 p.m. on Aug. 7, residents throughout Teaneck and across the nation are asked to spend the evening outside with neighbors and police. This "town-wide block party" will take place in Teaneck's Milton Votee Park and will include displays and presentations from the Teaneck Police Department, various other county, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, fire trucks, ambulances, representatives from all branches of the military as well as various other organizations and community groups and much more. Some of the highlights of the evening include a planned landing of a military drug eradication unit helicopter, an Army rock climbing wall, jump houses and train ride for the kids, face painting, give-a-ways, music, food, and fun for the whole family.
For more information, call the Community Policing Squad at 201-837-8759.
Anaheim Mayor Calls for Healing After Police Shootings
Last week in Anaheim was one of protests, anger and dissension as the city dealt with a sudden spike in police-related shootings.
This week, said Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait, is one of healing and reconciliation.
“We've just been reacting this past week,” Tait told Fox News Los Angeles. “It all caught us off guard.”
The shooting of an unarmed Latino man, Manuel Diaz, 25, last week sparked days of demonstrations, culminating in violent protests in the streets of Anaheim. Protesters were angry over a rise in police-related shootings, nearly all of them fatal and involving Latino men.
Police say they are responding to a rise in violence stemming from growing number of violent gangs making their way into the city.
Tait met Tuesday with members of the community at the site of Diaz's shooting. He said before the meeting that he wanted to listen to what residents had to say and start rebuilding Anaheim into a unified community.
"Today we have a broken community," Councilwoman Lorri Galloway told KTLA. "Today we have healing that has to start now. And that's why we're here."
Seven police shootings this year – five of them fatal – have shattered the image of a city best known for being the home of Disneyland. Two back-to-back shootings – the day after Diaz was shot officers opened fire on Joel Acevedo, killing him – escalated tensions in the community.
Mayor Tait said he met with the city's business leaders – including the president of Disneyland and the chairman of the Anaheim Angels – so they could take a leadership role in healing the community.
“I think they could do a lot. They are successful businesses,” the mayor told Fox LA. “In those neighborhoods, we need to bring hope. And I think it could make a difference in the community.”
Community members, who have called for the state Attorney General's Office to probe the shootings, say simply talk alone doesn't bring results.
Gabriel San Roman, a contributing writer to OC Weekly and an Anaheim resident, said the mayor had attended a community forum during a prior police-involved shooting, of Martin Angel Hernandez, and tensions continued to escalate.
“He should have sensed the rising tensions then and acted upon them,” he said.
San Roman said it's unclear what role the mayor will play in actually healing the city.
“Is the Anaheim Police Department going to continue to consume an overwhelming majority of the city's budget? Will there be a prioritization of building communities over policing them? Will he back the call for the creation of a civilian police review board with enforceable authorities?” San Roman asked. “These are the kinds of questions residents are going to have to keep in mind in holding not only Mayor Tait, but all elected officials, accountable.
From the Department of Justice
Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West Speaks at the COPS Community Policing Conference
Bethesda, Md. ~ Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Thank you Barney and thank you everyone for taking part in this event. I want to begin by bringing to you greetings from Attorney General Eric Holder. The Attorney General – along with the Department of Justice as a whole – applauds you and your efforts to not only promote, but actively advance, the practice of policing.
I appreciate the various agencies and backgrounds here today – from counterparts within the federal government, to chiefs and sheriffs and their rank and file, plus practitioners, analysts and researchers from numerous institutions and organizations. It's that collaborative effort that will drive what Barney mentioned earlier – an evolution of policing.
And I am extremely honored to be presenting the L. Anthony Sutin Civic Imagination Award today. To honor an individual's accomplishments by recognizing the most impactful endeavors and community policing success is a noble gesture. I am humbled to be a part of such a thoughtful ceremony.
Let me also acknowledge the men and women who work with sincerity and diligence to coordinate the programs designed to make your efforts easier. Thank you to the staff at COPS for your efforts in coordinating this event. And thank you to officials from our component agencies also in attendance.
Now, I know that you all know that combating crime in America -- be it gang violence on the street or financial fraud in corporate boardrooms -- is a top priority for this Department of Justice and this Administration. Attorney General Holder often says that fighting violence in our cities and building a fair and effective justice system – a system that keeps citizens safe and maintains its legitimacy in the eyes of everyone it serves – has never been more difficult, nor more urgent, than right now.
So we have been broad and aggressive in our efforts – everything from recapturing billions of taxpayers' dollars lost to fraud, waste, and abuse through successful civil litigation to establishing sexual assault response teams within tribal nations to better respond to intolerable levels of violence against women to helping law enforcement agencies increase their community policing capacity through the COPS Hiring Program, which this year targets hiring veterans coming home from their tour of duty. Through the Attorney General's comprehensive Anti-Violence Strategy, led by our Nation's U.S. Attorneys, we've focused on reducing and preventing crime by implementing a “three-legged stool” strategy of enforcement, prevention, and reentry.
And we've made great strides in no small measure because of the key partnerships we've been able to forge with you: dedicated law enforcement professionals, public servants at the local, state and federal levels.
But while we have accomplished much together, we still have much work to do.
One of the major challenges we still face as a Nation involves the very future of our Nation: Our young people and the violence they suffer, perpetrate or witness every day. Homicide is the second leading cause of death among young people -- the first if you're an African-American or Latino youth. And before this day is out, we'll lose another 14 of our kids to violence.
A majority of children – over 60 percent, regardless of race – are exposed to some form of violence, crime, or abuse. That ranges from brief encounters as witnesses, to serious violent episodes, to being direct victims themselves. And too often that violence has a deep, destructive and debilitating impact on the ability of our kids to learn, to form relationships of trust, to excel and succeed.
Facing this challenge, we've learned that by emphasizing multidisciplinary partnerships, evidence-based and data-driven strategies, and balanced, holistic approaches, we can empower communities to curb violence and promote the health, safety and development of our young people.
I know many of you are working directly with us at the Justice Department on a number of initiatives, including the Attorney General's Defending Childhood Initiative and the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention. Just last week, I had the opportunity to visit one of our National Forum cities, Boston, where I witnessed firsthand the positive impact of interagency collaborations on both local and federal levels. I met with some pretty impressive young people who are engaging their peers by educating them about avoiding teen dating violence and promoting healthy relationships.
What's working in Boston and in other cities around the country confronting the difficult issue of violence prevention is the recognition that it takes all of us, from various disciplines – law enforcement, public health, education, business and the faith community – it takes all of us to break out of our everyday silos and build partnerships that will help us leverage limited resources and achieve problem-solving synergies we could never realize while working separately.
And it's in the spirit of partnerships and problem-solving that I am honored to announce the recipients of the L. Anthony Sutin Civic Imagination Award.
This award is named in memory of Tony Sutin, who served as founder and Deputy Director of COPS from its creation in 1994 until 1996, and subsequently held various other positions at the Department of Justice and in academics.
The award recognizes those law enforcement professionals who are going above and beyond to demonstrate that taking bad guys off the street, while essential, is not sufficient in and of itself. The best law enforcement -- the most effective crime prevention -- comes when officers work within a community; with its neighbors, its businesses and schools; when officers build better relationships with stakeholders and when they recognize and tackle issues before they become bigger problems.
And the award also recognizes community members who exhibit the courage to step up and partner with law enforcement officials, and who assume responsibility for the well-being of their communities.
This year we recognize one officer and one community member: Retired Chief of Police from High Point, North Carolina, James Fealy and President of the High Point Community Against Violence, Gretta Bush. This team of two is primarily responsible for developing one of the most recognized, most notable policing initiatives in recent history.
In 2003, then-Chief of Police Fealy met with David Kennedy, a professor with the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, to discuss his theory for shutting down drug markets. Soon after that discussion, Chief Fealy took a chance and formed a collaboration to implement the strategy.
Together with Gretta Bush, they implemented what would become known as the High Point Drug Market Intervention Strategy, a community-police partnership focused on deterrent strategy to address violent crime and drug dealing.
The strategy effectively collapsed overt drug markets and dramatically reduced violent crime associated with those markets. The Drug Market Intervention strategy has also been credited with building police-community trust, promoting racial reconciliation, and facilitating community transformation.
High Point has experienced a 34 percent reduction in violent crime since 2003. Within certain neighborhoods, violent crime fell by as much as 57 percent. These numbers have been sustained for over 7 years now. Recently, High Point reported just three homicides in a year for a population of roughly 104,000 citizens. Chief Fealy retired earlier this year, after the partnership he formed closed five drug markets in High Point.
The critical element of this strategy was the collaboration between Chief Fealy and the community. Chief Fealy and Gretta Bush demonstrated exceptional community policing and leadership by not only bringing community members together to address these problems, but also by allowing residents to have a role in implementing a solution.
The Drug Market Intervention model required courage and trust by both the police department and the community, and consequently, it solidified the police-community partnership in High Point. This core community policing philosophy has been applied to other public safety programs and has since been replicated by numerous jurisdictions around the country.
Please join me in welcoming and congratulating the winners of the 2012 L. Anthony Sutin Civic Imagination Award, retired-Chief James Fealy and President of the High Point Community Against Violence, Gretta Bush.
Congratulations to each of you and thank you again Barney for inviting me to take part in this presentation. And thanks to you all for your service to your communities and to our Nation. It's been a privilege to be with you today.
Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole Speaks at the COPS Community Policing Conference
Bethesda, Md. ~ Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Thank you, Barney, for your kind words and for inviting me to join you today. I am personally grateful, and the Department is fortunate for the stewardship that you and Mary Lou provide over this critical constituency and set of issues. I applaud your consistent, diligent support for law enforcement. The resources you've made available – from grant programs and technical assistance, to educational publications and informational forums – evidences your commitment to offering dynamic and effective leadership in the field of policing.
I'd also like to thank each of you attending today. Public safety is a collaborative effort. The topics discussed here center around issues that have been brought to the Justice Department by those in the field, like you. We organize this conference to address these issues, with the goal of creating a productive dialogue and, together, determining next steps to implement to bring about necessary changes in policing and crime fighting.
Our main objective at the Department is collaboration. You will hear a great deal of discussion over the next two days about partnerships, and today I'd like to talk to you specifically about effective ways we can work together to address crime. As chiefs and sheriffs, officers and deputies, educators and researchers, you see firsthand the devastating impact crime can have not only on those who have been personally victimized, but also on their families and the communities around them.
I know that you also see firsthand the dream that can be lost by a child when her parent chooses a life in crime, or by a young person who decides to turn to crime, or by a former offender who makes the wrong choice and breaks the law again.
We realize that the protection of our communities, in so many ways, falls directly on your shoulders. But you are not in this alone. If there is one idea that you walk away from this conference with, I hope it will be that we at the Justice Department are your partners in this effort. Together, we will continue to take a comprehensive and collaborative approach to finding the solutions that are most effective in your communities. And in this budget climate, we are keenly aware of the need to make sure that we're coordinating our efforts to make public safety dollars go even further.
This coordinated approach to finding solutions involves more than just enforcement -- we must also direct our efforts to prevent the occurrence of crime in the first place, provide support through intervention programs, and provide individuals reentering our communities from jails and prisons with the tools they need to successfully turn away from crime. By balancing these four legs of the stool—enforcement, prevention, intervention and reentry— together we can attain our shared goal of finding cost effective ways to make our communities safer.
Community policing is and has always been an integral part of that strategy. Community policing focuses on problem-solving and partnering with the community to address all aspects of threats against public safety. This approach gets community stakeholders involved in the work of fighting crime, builds trust between officers and local residents, and ultimately improves public confidence in law enforcement's effectiveness and in the integrity of the criminal justice system.
And this is more than just a concept – this is law enforcement infrastructure that serves over 80 percent of the nation's public.
Over the last three years, funding through the COPS Office has helped add over 7,000 officers to the field. As Barney mentioned earlier, just a few weeks ago, the COPS Office delivered an additional $111 million to hire new officers and protect law enforcement jobs in jeopardy. Money talks and this is a significant statement about the Department's priorities given the current fiscal climate. We are particularly proud that 600 military veterans will be funded through this investment—an important step towards the President's goal of opening up more opportunities for our veterans. Law enforcement is an honored profession that demands many of the same attributes as military service – character, personal bravery, and a deep commitment to public service. By adding more veterans to our police departments, we not only look after those who have put their lives on the line to protect us, we enhance those shared, valiant qualities in the delivery of community policing around the country.
In addition, funding through the COPS Hiring Program will be used to save nearly 200 jobs in jeopardy of being cut due to local budget issues. The dramatic impact the economy has had on local policing has been discussed at length. Too many local departments are still dealing with budget shortfalls, resulting in changes to their service delivery. We are making every effort, Department-wide, to continue to find ways to assist you in this challenge.
And frankly we are fortunate that this is one of the few areas of bipartisan support these days. Recent appropriations activity in the House highlights bipartisan appreciation for the COPS Hiring Program by proposing nearly $200 million for 2013. With the Senate proposing close to $250 million and the Administration asking for approximately $300 million, resources permitting, we hope to be in a position to plan an even more robust hiring program next year.
In addition to our commitment to community policing strategies and providing much-needed resources for officers and training, the Department of Justice recognizes that more must be done to ensure crime prevention. I'd like to briefly discuss three of our efforts: one focused on reducing youth violence, another on better serving the innocent children found on crime scenes, and finally, our commitment to reducing recidivism at the state, local and federal level.
The National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention (the Forum) -- launched two years ago at the direction of President Obama -- brings together a network of communities, federal agencies like the Departments of Justice and Education, corporate partners and non-profit groups, along with neighborhood and faith-based organizations and youth representatives, to share information and build local capacity to prevent and reduce youth violence. The efforts of these federal agencies maximize and leverage existing resources by sharing “what works” between federal, state and local partners.
The Forum creates a national conversation about youth and gang violence by increasing awareness and building local capacity to more effectively address the issue. We are creating a new model of federal and local collaboration, encouraging partners on all sides to change the way they do business by sharing common challenges and promising strategies - all leading to coordinated action. The Forum is currently active in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, Salinas, and San Jose, with plans to expand to additional cities soon. It also complements the Attorney General's Defending Childhood Initiative, a Department of Justice-wide effort designed to prevent and reduce the harm caused by children's exposure to violence.
The Attorney General also announced the launch of an online toolkit -- now available to the public -- that provides resources on how to gather and better utilize data on youth violence, identify community assets, develop measurable objectives, and create and implement your own plans.
We are also committed to better identifying and serving a vulnerable group whom we refer to as “Drug Endangered Children”. In response to the Administration's 2010 National Drug Control Strategy, the Department established the Federal Interagency Task Force on Drug Endangered Children (or “DEC”). I am privileged to chair this important task force, which benefits from active participation from multiple components within the Department of Justice, as well as the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Education, Homeland Security, Transportation, and Interior. The DEC Task Force is committed to identifying ways to better serve and protect drug endangered children by building partnerships on the federal, state, tribal, and local levels.
Why is this constituency a priority for us? Over 9 million children – almost 13% of the child population – live in households where a parent or other adult uses, manufactures, or distributes illicit drugs. In 81% of the reported cases of child abuse and neglect, substance abuse is rated as either the worst or second worst problem in the home. And a sad fact of which you are all likely well aware— Drug Endangered Children are almost 60% more likely to be arrested as juveniles. This is a prime opportunity for prevention. Earlier interventions with these kids is not only the right thing to do—but one of our best hopes of stopping the cycles of crime.
The COPS office has been a key partner in our effort to better identify and serve Drug Endangered Children. Funding through COPS has supported the development of a CoreDEC curriculum and enabled thousands of state, local and tribal law enforcement personnel to receive DEC training. Last year, in coordination with members of the DEC Task Force, COPS helped develop a resources CD for professionals, bringing together tools created and identified by its federal partners into one, easy to use and free toolkit—which includes first responder checklists and other valuable tools to better identify and serve these kids.
In addition to preventing crime by addressing youth violence and youth who are exposed to violence and crime, we know it is critical to reduce recidivism. A truly productive conversation regarding the evolution of policing has to include prisoner reentry and practices that reduce the number of persons who enter and re-enter the criminal justice system.
We need to hold accountable those who commit crimes – especially violent offenders and those who offend repeatedly – either through incarceration or through other effective sanctions. At the same time, we know that time spent behind bars adversely affects so many aspects of a former prisoner's life – from employment and education to housing opportunities. These things influence a person's chances of transitioning back into our communities to become a productive, law-abiding citizen, of remaining free from crime, and of becoming a taxpayer who can contribute to our revenue bases. It also impacts their families and communities who are depending on them to become law-abiding, productive citizens.
Providing former offenders with the skills and resources they need to successfully reenter society is absolutely critical if we have any hope of preventing former offenders from again engaging in criminal conduct that not only harms victims, but also the communities around them. And part of community policing is helping to make sure that these former offenders get the help and support they need to become productive members of the community, rather than a danger to the community.
Today, some 2.3 million people – or more than 1 in 100 American adults – are behind bars in the United States. At some point, 95 percent of these prisoners will be released, meaning some 700,000 people are coming out of our state and federal prisons every year. We know that two-thirds of all released state prisoners will be re-arrested within three years, and half will return to prison; and among released federal prisoners, 40% are re-arrested or have their supervision revoked within 3 years.
Aside from the very serious implications on public safety, recidivism impacts budgets at the federal, state, and local levels. Our Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that more than $74 billion is spent on federal, state, and local corrections annually. In fact, it is one of the most expensive items in any state budget. And with more than $6.5 billion spent on the Bureau of Prisons each year -- it takes up a substantial portion of the Department of Justice budget as well.
These numbers demonstrate that our focus on reentry is critical to not only addressing issues of public safety, but also to addressing issues of economic and budget safety.
We have much to be proud of in light of our successful efforts to prevent and respond to crime in our communities. The examples I've briefly touched on today demonstrate the effectiveness of the partnerships between the many organizations you represent and the Department of Justice in protecting people from crime. We need to be innovative and cost-effective in protecting victims of crime and making our communities safer. In light of our tough budgets and limited resources, we need to find ways to do these things smarter and that means doing them together. We've made a lot of progress – but we still have our work cut out for us. And as I look out among you, I know that this is a challenge we can take on and win. Through working together, we can make our communities safer in all the ways that matter.
Thank you for all you do to make that happen every day. Thank you for the essential role you play each of your communities. Thank you for your support for and partnership with the Department of Justice.
Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs Mary Lou Leary Speaks at the COPS Community Policing Conference
Bethesda, Md. ~ Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Thank you, Barney. I'm so very pleased to be here and honored to join the Deputy Attorney General.
I want to begin by thanking Barney and his staff for all they do. The COPS Office has been a vital partner of the Office of Justice Programs, and I appreciate that they've remained committed to working together to meet the needs of law enforcement. I'd also like to say that, as a former Deputy Director of the COPS Office, I understand the important contributions the office has made to policing over the years, and I'm so pleased to see that work continue under Barney's outstanding leadership. The COPS Office has made – and continues to make – a real difference.
Let me also commend all of you, our nation's law enforcement leaders and officers and our many other partners in public safety. Thanks to you and your counterparts across the country, our nation continues to see crime rates fall. Considering that you continue to face significant budget and staffing challenges, your success in keeping our communities safe is remarkable.
As you know, this year's conference focuses on evolution and change in the policing profession. This truly is a time of great change for law enforcement. Technology has become indispensable in preventing, responding to, investigating, and solving crimes. Data and research are informing public safety strategy like never before. And the scope of law enforcement responsibility has expanded greatly. The profession looks very different from the day when the COPS Office first opened its doors 18 years ago.
But while the landscape has changed, some of the challenges remain the same. Among the biggest challenges are the threats – often deadly – that law enforcement officers encounter on a daily basis.
The statistics on officers injured and killed in the line of duty are troubling and they're unacceptable. I believe – and this Department of Justice believes – that, just as you work hard to protect us, we have an obligation to do everything in our power to protect you. You'll note that this conference is devoting several sessions to the subject of officer safety, and you'll hear about the work we're doing.
We've been a partner with the COPS Office in the Department's Officer Safety and Wellness Working Group. And we're supporting an array of other programs designed to keep officers safe and healthy. OJP's VALOR Initiative has provided training to more than 5,200 law enforcement professionals to help them identify and prevent deadly encounters and improve survivability. We continue to administer the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Program and the Body Armor Safety Initiative, which are helping to save lives. Last year, we awarded more than $24 million to help nearly 5,000 jurisdictions purchase more than 188,000 protective vests. Of the 47 law enforcement and correctional officers whose lives were saved by bullet- and stab-resistant vests in 2011 and the first six months of this year, 24 were wearing vests purchased – in part – with federal funds.
We're also engaged in research to support officer safety and wellness, and OJP continues to provide substantial funding through our Byrne-JAG program to help law enforcement officers do their jobs safely and effectively. This year, we'll award more than $295 million to support local and state criminal justice efforts.
Through training, equipment, funding, and better information, the Office of Justice Programs – working hand in hand with the COPS Office – is working tirelessly to protect law enforcement officers who risk their health and safety day in and day out. We take that as a solemn responsibility, and one we are proud to fulfill.
We also want to make sure you have the support and the confidence of the citizens you protect. Barney has been a huge proponent of community involvement in crime prevention and reduction efforts and of strengthening relationships between law enforcement and the neighborhoods you serve. Key to that is earning the community's trust, and that hinges on ensuring law enforcement is doing its job fairly in the eyes of the public.
Staff from our Bureau of Justice Assistance and National Institute of Justice are working with the COPS Office to share ideas around issues of procedural justice and police legitimacy. COPS is now working with Professor Tom Tyler – a pioneer in this area – to develop and pilot test a training curriculum for supervisors on procedural justice. Working with the Police Executive Research Forum, we will then take the curriculum and use it as part of an effort to improve perceptions of the police in minority communities.
I know this issue of police legitimacy is a huge concern of police chiefs and sheriffs. I'm glad so many departments are looking at how they can strengthen their ties to communities, and I'm pleased the Department of Justice is helping advance the discussion and that the COPS Office has made it a topic for this conference.
The Office of Justice Programs is also working hard to get critical information out to you in a way that you can use it. One of our most important roles is to generate and disseminate knowledge that can be applied in the field.
Last year, we launched our “what works” database, CrimeSolutions.gov, which now has almost 220 evidence-based programs, each of them rated for effectiveness. The beauty of this database is that it was created with the front-line practitioner in mind. We're also piloting something called the OJP Diagnostic Center. This is a one-stop consultation service designed to help states, localities, and tribes identify and adapt evidence-based approaches. We hope to open this Center for general business in the fall.
Providing information, strengthening police-community relationships, and protecting officers – these are all ways the Office of Justice Programs is working to support law enforcement. I feel very fortunate to have a partner like Barney Melekian as we do this work, and I feel blessed that we have committed leaders like Eric Holder, Jim Cole, and Tony West, all of whom care deeply about these issues.
And I'm proud to have the opportunity to work with dedicated and hard-working professionals like all of you. In spite of the challenges you face, you have managed to make our communities safer and our justice system stronger. I am grateful for all you do, and I look forward to continuing our partnership.