| NEWS of the Day - August 9, 2012
|on some issues of interest to the community policing and neighborhood activist across the country
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following group of articles from local newspapers and other sources constitutes but a small percentage of the information available to the community policing and neighborhood activist public. It is by no means meant to cover every possible issue of interest, nor is it meant to convey any particular point of view ...
We present this simply as a convenience to our readership ...
From the L.A. Times
UCI professor searched for explosives, weapons online, D.A. says
A UC Irvine professor charged with a series of arson fires and accused of plotting to kill 200 students at his son's high school had searched the Web for the same homemade explosives used in the Oklahoma bombing, a prosecutor revealed Wednesday.
Rainer Reinscheid also had access to a gun his wife owned and had hunted on the Internet for other weaponry, prosecutors said.
Upset over his son's suicide, Reinscheid, 48, had already conducted dozens of searches on his home computer for the elements of home explosives after sending a series of threatening emails and setting several fires, prosecutors allege.
"He searched for ammonia fertilizer," said Deputy Dist. Atty. Andrew Katz, referring to ammonium nitrate, a key element of the bomb that Timothy McVeigh used to blow up the Oklahoma City's Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 1995, killing 168 people.
Katz said the fires along with the search showed "he moved beyond ideas to action."
Katz said the professor also searched for weapons and investigators are still examining whether he made any purchases. But Katz added, "His wife had a gun and he had access to it."
Prosecutors said Reinscheid posed a real threat to the students at University High School, the campus his son attended.
The professor's lawyer has insisted that he never acted upon any of the thoughts he wrote in the emails.
In April, the professor sent two emails to his wife and another to himself threatening to kill the assistant principal of University High School, shoot hundreds of students and burn the school to the ground in a “firestorm that destroys every single building.”
The emails, which were filed in court last week by prosecutors, show Reinscheid wrote that he wanted to kill school administrators, sexually assault two female staff members and kill himself in the same spot his 14-year-old son, Claas Stubbe, committed suicide in March.
"I need a a gun, many guns, and then I have the ride of my life," Reinscheid wrote in one email to himself. "I will give myself a wonderful ending and be with Claas very soon. I like this plan, finally a good idea."
Claas commited suicide in March after getting in trouble at school.
Prosecutors and acquaintances say Reinscheid was furious at University High School for how it handled his son's death, which happened after the student was disciplined for what school district officials called a "fairly minor" matter involving a theft from a student store.
From the L.A. Daily News
Push on again for illegal immigrants to get driver's licenses
by Anthony Carpio
PANORAMA CITY - Natividad Carrera recalled an event in 2004 when a group of undocumented immigrants celebrated at a local Department of Motor Vehicles after they heard they would soon be able to apply for a driver's license.
"When do you ever see a group of people celebrating in front of a DMV?" said Carrera, spokesman for the Southern California Immigration Coalition.
But that celebration turned out to be premature. Then-Sen. Gil Cedillo's bill to provide licenses for the undocumented was signed into law, but then repealed before it ever took effect.
Now an assemblyman who is termed out this year, Cedillo, D-L.A., is pressing his eighth and presumably final attempt at turning the bill into law.
Carrera, along with members of SCIC and Hermandad Mexicana, an organization that helps immigrants integrate in the U.S., are looking to help Cedillo by holding community forums in the Southland, as well as Northern California.
"We feel this is an issue of safety and dignity for the community," Carrera said during a news conference Wednesday morning.
SCIC is planning six community forums around Southern California, with the first to be held Thursday at the Hermandad Mexicana office in Van Nuys, from 6-8 p.m.
About six forums also will be held in Northern California.
"Only with an organized community will we be able to achieve what we need to get a proper driver's license bill passed," Carrera said.
There are three states in the nation that allow undocumented immigrants access to some type of driver's license. New Mexico and Washington offers licenses, while Utah has a certificate that enables them to drive.
Undocumented immigrants had been allowed to apply for and test for a California driver's license until 1993, when Senate Bill 976 took that privilege away.
Republicans and other conservative groups have consistently fought its restoration, arguing that those who are in the United States illegally should not be rewarded for breaking U.S. immigration law.
Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, doesn't want to see driver's licenses in the hands of undocumented immigrants.
"It keeps them under the radar and harder to identify," he said.
Mehlman added that undocumented immigrants don't have an incentive to spend money on insurance and the government shouldn't make it easier for them to live in the U.S.
In February, Cedillo introduced two placeholder measures to the Legislature and he has until December before he leaves office.
"It's a fact of life that people have to drive in California," Carrera said. "There shouldn't be any connection between someone's ability to drive and whether or not they're documented."
While Cedillo pushes for this bill to pass, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Terry Green is to hold a non-jury trial to hear two lawsuits challenging the Los Angeles Police Department's recently changed policy on impounding cars driven by unlicensed drivers.
Chief Charle Beck's Special Order 7 allows unlicensed drivers to avoid a 30-day impound, as long as they have proper identification, vehicle registration, proof of insurance and a clean driving record.
"If immigrants get licenses, it will totally supercede that issue," Carrera said.
From Google News
Report faults handling of bomb at federal building
DETROIT – A new report criticizes the handling of an explosive device found outside a Detroit federal building and kept inside for three weeks before authorities were alerted.
The Detroit News (http://bit.ly/OMataW) said Wednesday that the report by the U.S. Homeland Security Department also faults the training, hiring practices and oversight of security guards at the McNamara Federal Building. That's where a tool bag with explosive components was left on Feb. 26, 2011, and not identified until March 18.
The report says the device didn't explode but represented a serious safety risk. It says three guards were fired, a fourth resigned and five others were suspended for their involvement.
Homeland Security Undersecretary Rand Beers writes that the department has since issued standardized national guidance on how to deal with unattended suspicious packages.
New York, Microsoft Unveil Joint Crime-Tracking System
by Chris Dolmetsch and Henry Goldman - Aug 8, 2012
New York police will be able to search for criminal suspects with cameras and license-plate readers through a new system developed in partnership with Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), the city said.
The New York Police Department worked with Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft, the world's biggest software maker, to develop the Domain Awareness System, which aggregates and analyzes information from cameras, license-plate readers, sensors and law enforcement databases, according to a statement today from Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office.
“The system is a transformative tool because it was created by police officers for police officers,” NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly said in the statement.
The system was unveiled by Bloomberg and Kelly at the headquarters of the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative a few blocks south of Wall Street, where personnel from the NYPD and its partners examine feeds from surveillance cameras, alerts from license-plate readers and reports from 911 calls.
There are about 3,000 closed-circuit television cameras connected to the Domain Awareness System, most of which are located in lower and midtown Manhattan, along with 2,600 radiation detectors carried by officers on patrol and several hundred license-plate readers mounted on police cars and deployed at bridges, tunnels and streets, Bloomberg said.
The system allows investigators to instantly see information including arrest records, 911 calls associated with a suspect and related crimes occurring in a particular area, according to the statement. It also allows investigators to map crimes to reveal patterns and track where a car associated with a suspect is located and has been in the past.
It also helps in counterterrorism efforts, such as allowing the NYPD to examine video feeds to determine who left a suspicious package at a location or help assess whether a radiation detector was set off naturally, by a weapon or by a harmless isotope used in medical treatments.
Under the agreement, the city will receive 30 percent of gross revenue on future sales of the system, which cost about $30 million to $40 million to develop, said Jessica Tisch, director of policy and planning for the NYPD's counterterrorism bureau.
“We realized we had the opportunity to create a powerful and coordinated domain awareness system to help us combat both terrorism and conventional crime,” Kelly said at a press conference. “Not just dealing with the matters in financial system, but citywide by coordinating our alert systems with vast amounts of data. The system allows us to connect the dots by instantly tapping into the details of crime records, 911 calls, license plate readers, videotape footage and more.”
Bloomberg said that selling the system to other cities may allow New York to “recoup all of our expenses over a period of time and maybe even make a few bucks.”
Tisch showed how the system worked to alert officers to a 911 report of a suspicious package -- a box with Jack Daniel's whiskey markings found outside a Union Square theater a few days ago -- and allow them to call up cameras within 500 feet to determine when the package was left and by whom. The package turned out to be trash that had blown away from another location.
“The idea is to get the information out into the field as quickly as possible,” Tisch said.
Privacy advocates such as the American Civil Liberties Union, which has asked police departments and agencies in 38 states to provide information on how they use license-plate readers, said the system may give the police information on innocent New Yorkers.
“We fully support the police using technology to combat crime and terrorism, but law-abiding New Yorkers should not end up in a police database every time they walk their dog, go to the doctor or drive around Manhattan,” Christopher Dunn, associate legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement.
The mayor pointed out that the private sector has used similar technology for a long time, and that many buildings already have security cameras posted inside and at entrances and exits. He also said facial recognition isn't being used in New York's system.
“The bad guys have everything that we do too and if you really want to worry about security and freedoms, that's the first thing,” Bloomberg said. “There's a lot of evidence that there are a lot of bad guys around the world that are devoting a lot more resources than we are to taking away our freedoms.”
The mayor is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.
Citizens Police Academy bridges gap between police, community
by LINDSEY VACULIN
Community members will have an opportunity to see what it takes to be a police officer during the Tomball Police Department's Tenth Annual Citizens Police Academy beginning Sept. 4.
“The academy is an avenue for citizens to be exposed to local law enforcement and be shown that our doors are always open to the community,” Sergeant Rebecca Carlisle said. “They are being taught by officers. It is a more personal experience. They see that we are not just a uniform.”
Carlisle, and 18-year veteran of the Tomball Police Department, has been involved since the beginning of the program and has ran it since 2008.
Community members 18 years of age or older who live, work, shop or attend school in the City of Tomball are invited to attend. The only thing required is an interest in law enforcement and willingness to support them.
“Once they complete the academy they are considered alumni and part of the TCPAAA,” she said. “They are then eligible to become a Volunteer In Policing (VIP). We have approximately 50 volunteers right now.”
Carlisle said the academy also allows officers to get to know the community in a different manner than through their normal duties.
The CPA was established to build on the relationship between the Citizens of Tomball and the Tomball Police Department by increasing awareness of safety and by giving citizens a better understanding of the issues and risks that shape the way officers' perform their duties.
The group is exposed to a lot of very diverse training. The CPA consists of eight classroom sessions covering subjects such as patrol tactics, investigations procedures, search and seizure, DWI enforcement, accident investigations, dispatch operations, and traumas in law enforcement.
“Every person that has gone through the academy has said that it has been a very rewarding thing and that they are glad they did it,” Carlisle said.
“My favorite part of the academy is the relationships that are built between the class and the officers,” she said. “Those become lasting friendships.”
Janet Barcelona, Tomball Police Department records clerk, was a participant in the 2004 class.
“It is everything I never knew about the police department,” Barcelona said. “I had never been associated with them before. It is very hands on and you really get to see what they do every day.”
Barcelona said she decided to attend the academy after seeing an article in the paper. She has been involved with the police department since then, first working as a volunteer before getting hired as the records clerk.
“Everyone loves it,” she said. “I always hear comments about people not know what they are going to do on Tuesday nights after the class is over.”
Barcelona said her favorite part of the class was learning about traffic stops.
“I would be scared to just walk up to a vehicle not know what was going on,” she said. “That isn't something I ever thought I would to.”
Kelly Hill, a participant in the 2008 class, is now a VIP member. She is currently working on a fleet maintenance data program for the department.
Carlisle said that thanks to the VIP program graduates of the program such as Hill help out with things around the department that would otherwise need to be handled by a paid employee.
“About 10 percent of our volunteers really give the time that would be considered a full-time employee,” she said. “We really appreciate them.”
Hill, whose favorite part of the academy was learning to shoot, said that it was nice to see what officers go through every day.
“To see the intensity and adrenaline,” she said. “It was cool to see the other side of what goes on.”
The 2012 class will be held on Tuesday evenings from 6-9 p.m. beginning Sept. 4 and will end with a graduation ceremony on Oct. 23. There is no charge for participation.
Applications may be obtained from the Tomball Police Department or downloaded at www.tomballpd.com from the Citizens Police Academy tab. The department is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Applications may be notarized at the Tomball Police Department at no charge. Class size is limited to between 20 and 25 to allow maximum time for each participant during the sessions.
For additional information, contact Sergeant Rebecca Carlisle, at (281) 290-1312, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Completed applications must be returned to the Tomball Police Department, no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 17.