| NEWS of the Day - August 7, 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 the L.A. Times
Sikh temple shooting: Gunman had been on investigators' radar
WASHINGTON -- Federal investigators had “looked at” Sikh temple gunman Wade Michael Page more than once because of his associations with right-wing extremists and the possibility that he was providing funding to a domestic terrorist group, but law enforcement officials at the time determined there was not enough evidence of a crime to open an investigation, a senior U.S. law enforcement official said.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, would not say Monday which law enforcement agency had considered investigating Page, or when.
Before his rampage Sunday at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., that left him and six others dead and three critically wounded, Page was known to civil rights groups as a member of two racist skinhead bands – End Apathy and Definite Hate. He was also believed to have been a low-level member of a national white supremacist group called the Hammerskins.
Racist skinhead bands and record labels have been known by law enforcement to raise money for extremist groups in the U.S.
Both the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center had tracked Page for several years. The nonprofit organizations collect publicly available information on hate groups from Web forums, pamphlets and other sources.
But the FBI is prohibited under federal law from collecting information on U.S. citizens not suspected of committing a crime. In order to open a domestic terrorism investigation, FBI agents must believe a suspect has threatened violence, has broken federal law and is trying to advance a political or social agenda.
This sets the bar high for opening a domestic terrorism case before someone has made a specific threat of violence or committed a crime.
The mayor of Oak Creek told CNN on Sunday that he was unaware of any signs that Page had been casing the temple in advance of the shooting.
“This happens a lot where somebody will come to your attention and you do a preliminary investigation of the guy's activities and nothing pans out,” said Bob Blitzer, a retired FBI agent who was the domestic counterterrorism chief for the FBI from 1996 to 1998. Blitzer led the investigation into Timothy J. McVeigh after the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, which killed 168 people, including 19 children.
“Some private groups collect a lot of information, but they can," Blitzer said. "Law enforcement can't.”
From Google News
Gunman exhorted other white supremacists to act
by By SCOTT BAUER and TODD RICHMOND
OAK CREEK, Wis. (AP) — Wade Michael Page played in white supremacist heavy metal bands and posted frequent comments on Internet forums for skinheads, repeatedly exhorting members to act more decisively to support their cause.
"If you are wanting to meet people, get involved and become active," he wrote last year. "Stop hiding behind the computer or making excuses."
A day after Page strode into a Sikh temple with a 9mm handgun and multiple magazines of ammunition, authorities were trying to determine if the 40-year-old Army veteran was taking his own advice when he opened fire on total strangers in a house of worship.
Detectives cautioned they might never know for sure. But the picture of Page that began to develop Monday — found in dark corners of the Internet, in records from a dodgy Army career and throughout a life lived on the margins — suggested he was a white supremacist who wanted to see his beliefs advanced with action.
Page, who was shot to death by police, described himself as a member of the "Hammerskins Nation," a skinhead group rooted in Texas that has branches in Australia and Canada, according to the SITE Monitoring Service, a Maryland-based private intelligence firm that searches the Internet for extremist activity.
Between March 2010 and the middle of this year, Page posted 250 messages on one skinhead site and appeared eager to recruit others. In March 2011, he advertised for a "family friendly" barbecue in North Carolina, imploring others to attend.
In November, Page challenged a poster who indicated he would leave the United States if Herman Cain was elected president.
"Stand and fight, don't run," he implored.
In an April message, Page said: "Passive submission is indirect support to the oppressors. Stand up for yourself and live the 14 words," a reference to a common white supremacists mantra.
The bald, heavily tattooed bassist trained in psychological warfare before he was demoted and discharged more than a decade ago. After leaving the military, he became active in the obscure underworld of white supremacist music, playing in bands with names such as Definite Hate and End Apathy.
Still, Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards cautioned Monday that investigators might never know for certain what motivated the attack on the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in suburban Milwaukee. So far, no hate-filled manifesto has emerged, nor any angry blog or ranting Facebook entries.
"We have a lot of information to decipher, to put it all together before we can positively tell you what that motive is — if we can determine that," Edwards said.
Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit civil rights organization in Montgomery, Ala., described Page as a "frustrated neo-Nazi" whose bands' sinister-sounding names seemed to "reflect what he went out and actually did."
Their lyrics talked about genocide against Jews and other minorities.
In a 2010 interview, Page told a white supremacist website that he became active in white-power music in 2000, when he left his native Colorado and started the band End Apathy in 2005 in Nashville, N.C.
Across several states, fragments of Page's life emerged Monday in public records and interviews.
He joined the military in Milwaukee in 1992 and was a repairman for the Hawk missile system before switching jobs to become an Army psychological operations specialist in a battalion at Fort Bragg, N.C.
In "psy-ops," Page would have trained to host public meetings between locals and American forces, use leaflet campaigns in a conflict zone or use loudspeakers to communicate with enemy soldiers.
He never deployed overseas in that role, Army spokesman George Wright said.
Page was demoted in June 1998 for getting drunk on duty and going AWOL, two defense officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release information about the gunman.
Page also received extra duty and was fined. The defense officials said they had no other details about the incident, such as how long Page was gone or whether he turned himself in. He was discharged later that same year.
Page bought a brick ranch house outside Fayetteville, N.C., in 2007 with help from a Veterans Affairs mortgage. But on Monday the home was boarded up with knee-high weeds in the yard. A notice taped to the front indicated the home was in foreclosure and had been sold to a bank in January.
Before buying the home, Page lived with Army soldier Darren Shearlock, his wife and young children in a doublewide trailer in a rural community near Fort Bragg, records show.
Shearlock, dressed in his military fatigues, declined to comment about Page or the shooting when approached Monday by The Associated Press.
Page's former stepmother said she was devastated to learn of the bloodshed.
"He was a precious little boy, and that's what my mind keeps going back to," said Laura Page, of Denver, who was divorced from Page's father around 2001.
In Wisconsin, Page responded to a recent online ad seeking a roommate in Cudahy, a small city outside Milwaukee.
He rented a room in Kurt Weins' house in June, telling Weins he had recently broken up with his girlfriend and needed a place to stay.
Weins said Page stayed in that room all the time, declining invitations to watch TV with him. Page explained that he wanted to bring some belongings out of storage, so he rented an apartment several weeks later in a duplex owned by Weins across the street.
"We talked, but it was really about nothing," Weins said. "He seemed pretty calm. He didn't seem like the type to raise his voice."
After the FBI searched the apartment in the duplex, Weins returned and found only a computer desk, chair and an inflatable mattress.
Suburban Milwaukee police had no contact with Page before Sunday, and his record gave no indication he was capable of such intense violence.
The FBI was leading the investigation because the shooting was considered domestic terrorism. The agency said it had no reason to believe anyone other than Page was involved.
Page entered the temple as several dozen people prepared for Sunday services. He opened fire without saying a word.
The president of the temple died defending the house of worship he founded.
Satwant Singh Kaleka, 65, managed to find a simple butter knife in the temple and attempted to stab the gunman before being shot twice, his son said Monday.
Amardeep Singh Kaleka said FBI agents hugged him, shook his hand and told him his father was a hero.
"Whatever time he spent in that struggle gave the women time to get cover" in the kitchen, Kaleka said.
With their turbans and long beards, Sikhs are often mistaken for Muslims or Arabs, and have inadvertently become targets of anti-Muslim bias in the United States.
Federal officials said the gun used in the attack had been legally purchased. Page had been licensed to own weapons since at least 2008, when he paid $5 each for five pistol-purchase permits in North Carolina.
The six dead ranged in age from 39 to 84 years old. Three people were critically wounded, including a police officer.
Online records show Page had a brief criminal history in other states, including pleading guilty to misdemeanor criminal mischief after a 1994 arrest in El Paso, Texas, for getting drunk and kicking holes in the wall of a bar. He received six months' probation.
Page also pleaded guilty to driving under the influence in Colorado in 1999 but never completed a sentence that included alcohol treatment, records show.
He was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving again in 2010 in North Carolina after running his car off the side of a highway. The case was dropped a year later for lack of evidence, according to court records.
Police to Hold First-Ever National Night Out Event
The event, celebrated across the country, is aimed at community policing and crime prevention in neighborhoods.
by Christina Paciolla
In an effort to boost residents' involvement in community policing, the Cinnaminson Police Department is holding its first National Night Out today.
Held on this date across the country, National Night Out is a crime and drug prevention event that promotes neighborhood spirit.
Public Safety Director Michael P. King brought up the idea to the department whose officers are helping plan the event.
“We want to make sure everybody is aware of what's going on in their neighborhood,” said Officer Michael Czarzasty.
Czarzasty has been at the forefront of Cinnaminson's community policing efforts the past few years, serving as head of the DARE program and the junior police academy.
This year's theme for National Night Out in Cinnaminson is safety. Township police officers and local businesses will be on hand to give out safety advice.
“We want to talk to [the residents],” Czarzasty said. “It's to make people more away of what's going on in their community. And hopefully get to know people in the area.”
Representatives from CLC Locksmiths will be there to show residents their new products such as safes and door locks. Finishline Auto Salon will have vehicle security and safety items. The police will have information on WeTip, a program implemented that allows callers to remain anonymous and give police tips.
Czarzasty said there will be a community policing table set up to show residents what programs are already in place in the township.
Other vendors include Whistlers Inn, Jug Handle Inn and Mart Pretzel who will be providing food. A shaved ice will truck will be there also. Other businesses involved will be Target, Haines Farm and Garden, Networks Plus and more.
The event is also family-oriented and face painting and an inflatable obstacle course and slide will be set up for kids. Raffles, giveaways and music are also scheduled. Chuck, Cinnaminson Police's K-9, and his handler, Officer Tim Obuchowski, will give a demonstration.
The Cinnaminson Fire Department will also be there and child safety seat inspections will be conducted.
Last year, more than 15,000 communities nationwide participated in National Night Out, the 29th annual event.
Director King said he wants this to turn into a yearly event.
“Cinnaminson Police plan to be a part of this national event for many years to come,” King said in a recent release.
After this year, King and Czarzasty said they want to be out in the neighborhoods.
“There are some neighbors who secure themselves,” Czarzasty said. “Some people have no idea what is going on in Cinnaminson. The more knowledge you can give a person to prevent crime, the better.”
National Night Out will be held from 4 to 8 p.m., today. The event will be held behind the police station in the parking lot that connects the station, the municipal building in the library.
Niles police academy takes citizens behind the badge
by TRACY GRUEN
NILES — The 14th annual Niles Citizens Police Academy, a program giving residents an opportunity to get an inside peek at Niles Police Department and what its officers experience, kicks off another 11-week program on Sept. 6.
“It's a way for the community to learn about how the police department operates,” said Sgt. Robert Tornabene of the program.
Participants have an opportunity to go on ride-alongs with police officers, visit the firing range, see how evidence in collected and learn about community policing, procedures used in traffic stops, DUI and traffic enforcement, gang awareness and more.
Tornabene said participants usually state that the class exceeded their expectations.
“I love to see the moment in the class when the participants have the light bulb go off in their head and their opinion of the police changes,” shared Sgt. Ronald Brandt in an e-mail to the Niles Herald-Spectator.
Brandt said often the only view of police that people have is based on the portrayal of officers on television, in movies and in other media forms.
“Unless they personally know a police officer there is a large misunderstanding of why we do what we do and how we do it,” said Brandt, who has been involved with the Citizens Police Academy for 10 years. “I always feel it is a great learning experience of where your tax dollars are going.”
“It's the flagship for our volunteer program,” added Tornabene. He said that the police department has found many of its volunteers for other programs from the pool of those who participate in the Citizens Police Academy.
Brandt said that a good percentage of the participants in the Citizens Police Academy want to volunteer in other capacities at the police department because they built good relationships in the class and believe in the department and their programs.
“Usually at the end of the class the participants can't believe how fast it went and don't want it to end,” Brandt said.
Tornabene explained that each year the academy gets new instructors, some of whom volunteer. It is his belief that the Citizens Police Academy is a very valuable program in the community.
“They come away with a much better appreciation of what the officers do,” Tornabene said of the participants.
According to Niles Police Officer Tony Scipione the Citizens Police Academy “provides a wonderful experience for Police Department personnel to become involved in a positive fashion with the community in which we serve. The academy allows for one-on-one interaction between public servants and concerned community residents.”
The academy will meet for 11 Thursdays from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Niles Police Department, 7000 W. Touhy Ave. It is open to Niles residents and employees of Niles businesses.
To apply for the academy or for more information visit www.vniles.com and click on the Citizens Police Academy link under “News & Events” or contact Tornabene at (847) 588-6500.