| NEWS of the Week
|on some issues of interest to the community policing and neighborhood activist across the country
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following group of articles from local newspapers and other sources constitutes but a small percentage of the information available to the community policing and neighborhood activist public. It is by no means meant to cover every possible issue of interest, nor is it meant to convey any particular point of view ...
We present this simply as a convenience to our readership ...
NOTE: To see full stories either click on the Daily links or on the URL provided below each article.
Sept 9, 2012
Ex-prosecutor claims O.J. Simpson attorney tampered with glove
Nearly 17 years after O.J. Simpson walked away from his murder trial a free man, a prosecutor at the center of the case has alleged that the lead defense lawyer tampered with a crucial piece of evidence.
Former Los Angeles deputy district attorney Christopher Darden on Thursday accused Simpson defense lawyer, the late Johnnie Cochran, of "manipulating" one of the infamous gloves that the prosecution said linked Simpson to the grisly double murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.
After Simpson struggled to fit the gloves on his hands -- in one of the defining moments of the racially charged trial that captivated the nation -- Cochran famously admonished the jury, "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit."
On Thursday, during a panel discussion about the trial at Pace Law School in New York City, Darden, a member of the prosecution team, declared: "I think Johnnie tore the lining. There were some additional tears in the lining so that O.J.'s fingers couldn't go all the way up into the glove."
Veterans rely on patchwork safety net during hard financial times
For many of the hundreds of thousands of veterans awaiting a decision from the Department of Veterans Affairs on disability and pension claims, the agency's backlog can lead to a period of financial hardship during the transition back to civilian life.
Ron and Karen Sanquist experienced this first-hand when Ron, a National Guardsman who had been deployed to Iraq in 2009 and Afghanistan in 2006, was released from active duty.
While cobbling together work in construction and at a call center both of which severely reduced his National Guard pay Ron filed a claim for post-traumatic stress disorder that resulted from his combat experience during his deployments. The disability benefit would have helped the Sanquists afford their $3,000 in rent and monthly bills, but the backlog of claims meant the family would have to wait months for a decision.
Ron lost his position at the call center after requesting leave to fulfill his National Guard duties. Bills then began to pile up as the family of five missed rent, utility and insurance payments, among other expenses. The situation worsened in May when Ron, 39, was diagnosed with a heart murmur for which he'd need emergency surgery, guaranteeing that he'd be out of work and unable to job hunt for several weeks.
Desperate not to fall further behind, Karen turned to the patchwork safety net for veterans and their families experiencing financial hardship, an occurrence that happens more frequently than the public realizes, according to those who assist veterans and service members during hard times.
Sept 8, 2012
From Google News
Hearsay bothers last juror to find Drew Peterson guilty
JOLIET, Ill. The final juror to agree to convict Drew Peterson of murder in the death of his ex-wife says he "barely slept" one night during the proceedings because the same nagging questions kept popping into his head.
Even after joining fellow members of the panel by casting the last vote for guilty, Ron Supalo remains troubled by the prosecution's reliance on hearsay, statements not based on a witness' direct knowledge.
Peterson, the former suburban Chicago police officer, faces a maximum 60-year prison term after his first-degree murder conviction in the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. It was the first case in Illinois history to permit the use of hearsay evidence, based on a 2008 state law specifically tailored to Peterson's case.
"I needed time to think it through," Supalo, a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, said in a telephone interview Friday evening.
Supalo said he believes the hearsay law might be unconstitutional, but he eventually realized his duty as a juror was only to assess the evidence, not the laws.
Huntsville couple delivers Meals on Wheels to needy people for more than three decades
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- Want to make Doris and Clyde Barclay laugh?
Tell them you are "too old" to do something.
The couple -- Doris just turned 85 and Clyde will be 95 Wednesday -- have been delivering Meals on Wheels more than 30 years once or twice a month to people in need.
"Most are younger than dad and many are younger than mom," said their older of two sons, John Barclay. Doris said she and Clyde enjoy meeting the people they deliver meals to, mostly in Johnson Towers.
"We try to talk to them a little and we always take them a newspaper," said Doris. In addition to their Meals on Wheels ministry, Doris still serves as a volunteer for the American Red Cross and was a volunteer election official for 30 years.
They have been active members at Trinity United Methodist Church since its founding in 1956. Doris served on the altar guild and worked in the nursery's toddler room for 50 years.
Nashua PD awarded $52,000 grant to continue community policing
The local police department has been awarded a $52,000 grant to continue important community policing initiatives in the city, according to authorities.
NASHUA The local police department has been awarded a $52,000 grant to continue important community policing initiatives in the city, according to authorities.
On Thursday, the aldermanic Human Affairs Committee accepted and appropriated a 2012 Justice Assistance Grant in the amount of $52,083 from the U.S. Department of Justice.
We are going to try to stretch out the funds, said Officer Jeff Connors of the Nashua Police Department, explaining it will be used for many programs.
The grant will allow the department's Citizen Police Academy to continue. Since its inception more than two decades ago, more than 900 residents have graduated from the academy.
The money will also allow the department to continue offering Rape, Aggression and Defense (RAD) classes for women, and provide extra detectives to perform additional sex offender compliance checks, according to Connors.
Norwich police seek feedback from public
Norwich, Conn. The Norwich Police Department is asking city residents and business owners to critique its performance.
For the second year, the department is conducting a community policing survey. The results will help authorities generate targeted enforcement policies to try to reduce crime in historically troublesome areas.
The information provided by the survey will give our officers an opportunity to design programs based on the needs of respondents, and provides feedback necessary to ensure we are making an impact, Police Chief Louis J. Fusaro Sr. said.
The survey can be taken online at www.surveymonkey.com/s/norwichcommunitypolicing or can be completed at several locations around Norwich. including Otis Library and City Hall. It's also available at www.norwichct.org, the city's official website.
The survey asks users to rank areas where they perceive crime to be highest, how safe workers and residents feel in the city and whether the person responding to the survey belongs to a neighborhood watch group.
From the White House
Coming Together to Remember September 11th
WASHINGTON, DCIn this week's address, President Obama marked the eleventh anniversary of the September 11th attacks by remembering the innocent lives lost, and honoring the first responders and men and women in uniform who have served and sacrificed to keep our country safe. In the difficult years following the attacks, the United States has come back stronger as a nation, decimated the leadership of al-Qaeda, ensured that Osama bin Laden will never attack America again, and strengthened our alliances across the world. Looking forward, we will continue to demonstrate that the legacy of 9/11 is that no adversary or act of terrorism can change who we are as Americans, and that we will always come together to preserve and protect the country we love.
Remarks of President Barack Obama
This week, we mark the eleventh anniversary of the September 11th attacks. It's a time to remember the nearly 3,000 innocent men, women and children we lost, and the families they left behind. It's a chance to honor the courage of the first responders who risked their lives on that day, and every day since. And it's an opportunity to give thanks for our men and women in uniform who have served and sacrificed, sometimes far from home, to keep our country safe.
This anniversary is about them. It's also a time to reflect on just how far we've come as a nation these past eleven years.
Sept 7, 2012
From the L.A. Daily News
Jury convicts Drew Peterson in third wife's death
JOLIET, Ill. - Drew Peterson, the swaggering former suburban Chicago police officer who generated a media storm after his much-younger fourth wife vanished in 2007, was convicted Thursday of murdering his third wife in a case based mainly on secondhand hearsay statements from the two women.
Peterson, 58, sat stoically looking straight ahead and did not react as the verdict was read. Several of his third wife's relatives gasped before hugging each other as they cried quietly in the courtroom.
Illinois has no death penalty, and Peterson now faces a maximum 60-year prison term when sentenced in Kathleen Savio's death on Nov. 26.
The trial was the first of its kind in Illinois history, with prosecutors building their case largely on hearsay thanks to a new law, dubbed "Drew's Law," tailored to Peterson's case. That hearsay, prosecutors had said, would let his third and fourth wives "speak from their graves" through family and friends to convict Peterson.
Hearsay is any information reported by a witness that is not based on the witness' direct knowledge. Its use at the trial could also be grounds for an appeal from Peterson.
Remains ID'd as Calif. teen missing since 1968
SAN BERNARDINO - Fourteen-year-old Elizabeth Ernstein was walking home from school when she vanished on March 19, 1968.
Law enforcement and volunteers searched for the girl for months but came up empty-handed, and the mystery of her widely reported disappearance endured for more than four decades.
This year, a renewed investigation by cold case detectives determined through DNA that human remains found the year after the disappearance and buried unidentified in a county cemetery were actually those of Elizabeth, the San Bernardino County sheriff's coroner division said in a statement.
The teen disappeared a block from home in Mentone, then a small community at the foot of the San Bernardino Mountains, about 70 miles east of Los Angeles.
The remains found in 1969 were in a shallow grave near Wrightwood, a town 6,000 feet up in the San Gabriel Mountains, about 35 miles west of Mentone.
In May of this year, the statement said, the coroner's division received "additional information" suggesting the possibility that the teen's remains had been recovered but not identified. The nature of that information was not disclosed.
From Google News
Peterson case shifts to appeal, missing 4th wife
JOLIET, Ill. (AP) She loomed over Drew Peterson's murder trial, though her disappearance and the suspicion that the former Illinois police officer killed her was never mentioned in front of the jury.
But since jurors found Peterson guilty Thursday of first-degree murder in the 2004 death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, could now take center stage.
"We are going to aggressively review that case with an eye towards potentially charging it," Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow told reporters outside the Joliet courthouse shortly after jurors convicted Drew Peterson of killing Savio.
While Peterson faces up to 60 years in prison, the legal issues surrounding the accusations against him may be far from resolved. In addition to the separate Stacy Peterson case, his attorneys have vowed to appeal Thursday's conviction based on the unprecedented amount of secondhand hearsay evidence entered at trial. One of them vowed to take the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Peterson, 58, was only charged in Savio's death after Stacy Peterson vanished in 2007. She is presumed dead, though her body has never been found. Her husband is a suspect in her disappearance but has never been charged in the case.
Subject of explosives hoax later arrested in Texas
PHILADELPHIA (AP) A man flying home to Texas to celebrate his 29th birthday instead spent the day as the unwitting victim of a midair explosives hoax that forced the plane's return to Philadelphia. The man was escorted off the aircraft at gunpoint, then cleared of any link to explosives.
Later Thursday, he ended up getting arrested on outstanding warrants when the plane reached Dallas
Authorities determined the initial scare was a hoax after searching the US Airways jet and questioning the man, who did nothing wrong and was the victim of "a pretty nasty trick," Philadelphia police Chief Inspector Joseph Sullivan said. Police said they were acting on a tip they received Thursday morning.
Officials didn't name the man, but Philadelphia resident Christopher Shell identified himself in a phone call with The Associated Press as the passenger removed from the plane. He declined further comment.
Hours later, however, Shell ran into legal trouble when he was arrested on outstanding warrants after arriving at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, airport spokesman David Magana said. Magana said the warrants are from North Texas law enforcement agencies but declined further comment.
U.S. to designate Haqqani network as terrorist group: State Department
VLADIVOSTOCK, Russia (Reuters) - The United States will designate the Pakistan-based Haqqani network, accused of some high-profile attacks, as a terrorist group, the U.S. State Department said on Friday.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has signed a report to Congress saying the network met criteria for a terrorist designation, the department said.
New YPD officers could help attack community crime
We usually think of stimulus money as involving efforts to boost the economy but it looks like the Yuma Police Department will benefit from a different kind of stimulus grant.
The Yuma City Council gave the go-ahead earlier this week for YPD to proceed with its efforts to obtain a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services Hiring Program.
This federal program provides a major contribution to local police departments to hire additional officers who are to be used in community police efforts and community crime prevention programs. A portion of the cost of the new officers must come from the communities themselves in the form of matching funds.
In the case of Yuma, eight officers would be hired as part of a two-year grant.
Bradenton police honored for community policing efforts
Sept 6, 2012
BRADENTON -- The Bradenton Police Department has been recognized by the International Association of Chiefs of Police for its community policing efforts.
The organization announced Bradenton made it to the final round in its population category for the worldwide 2012 IACP/Cisco Systems Community Police Award.
Bradenton Police Chief Michael Radzilowski noted the success of Neighborhood Liaison Communication Project as a main reason for the recognition.
"The citizens expressed that their efforts were effective in reducing crime, thereby reducing fear, and increasing the feeling of safety, ownership and teamwork alongside members of the Bradenton Police Department," he said in a news release. "This collaborative effort has saved the Bradenton Police Department 6,000 man hours, and $200,000 in taxpayer monies."
Since fostering the program and relationship between the agency and residents, Radzilowski said businesses and home sales have increased by 17 percent and 41 percent, respectively. During that time, crime has dropped 28.8 per cent, he said.
Community Policing Is Paying Off In Columbus
The Columbus Police Department's focus on community policing is paying off.
According to police officials, officer-initiated activity has surpassed calls for service for the first time in the memorable history of the police department. As of August 31, officers initiated 19,129 contacts with citizens this year as compared to 10,729 in 2011. Calls for service during that same time amounted to 18,230 in 2012 as compared to 18,434 in 2011.
The increase in officer-initiated activity is based upon a number of factors. A re-organization of CPD early in the year resulted in less administrative positions and more officers in enforcement roles. A culture of accountability and consistency has resonated throughout the department beginning in the Chief's Office and working its way down. Responding to the needs of the community and focusing on a "quality versus quantity" approach has resulted in solid police work taking criminals off the streets.
As an example, this past Friday Officer John Searle observed a traffic violation near 8th and Werner. When he tried to stop the vehicle, a pursuit ensued which eventually ended with the arrest of the driver for a felony warrant and the discovery of methamphetamine lab components in the vehicle.
Chief Jason Maddix stated, "The numbers tell the story, but the untold part is that we have a police department of dedicated officers who work hard and truly care about the community they serve. I couldn't be more proud of their efforts. Our criminal arrests have actually decreased by approximately 8 percent this year as compared to last year. Our proactive policing model is serving as a deterrent to potential criminals. Over the long term, this should help reduce the community's crime rate."
Senior citizen safety focus of Lowell police group meeting
LOWELL | The Lowell Police Department's September Community Policing Program will focus on senior citizen safety.
Keeping the Elderly Safe in the 21st Century will be presented from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 17 at the Lowell Health Center, 710 Michigan Ave.
Officer Aaron Crawford will cover financial fraud, identity theft, telemarketing scams and physical abuse. There will be a PowerPoint presentation and handouts.
All senior citizens within the facility, their families and the general public are invited to attend.
Crawford said caretakers, healthcare professionals and those holding power of attorney are encouraged to attend. For more information, call Crawford at (219) 696-0411, ext. 118, or by email at email@example.com .
From the Department of Homeland Security
National Preparedness Month: Pledge to Prepare
If a disaster strikes, how will you and your family be ready? During the month of September, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Ready.gov teams are focusing on planning and preparing for disasters during National Preparedness Month .
This month, DHS is asking you to Pledge to Prepare. Visit ready.gov/prepare to see simple steps you can take, such as keeping an emergency kit in your office and at home and keeping copies of important family documents in a safe place.
Being prepared means having a plan . Whether you are at home, at work or on-the-go, it's important to create a plan in case of an emergency. Planning ahead will ensure that you and your family will know what to do and have the supplies you need to be safe wherever you are. In your home? Think ahead with your Family Emergency Plan . At work or school? Ensure you and your family are informed about hazards in your surrounding area and know the best ways to contact one another if you are separated during a disaster.
Sept 5, 2012
From the L.A. Daily News
Report: 17M Americans short of food last year
WASHINGTON - The number of poor Americans who repeatedly ran short of food shot up by 800,000 in 2011 to nearly 17 million compared with 2010, the U.S. government said on Wednesday.
The Department of Agriculture said in a report that about 5.5 percent of Americans, or nearly 17 million, suffered "very low food security" last year, meaning they had to skip meals or not eat for a day because of a lack of money to buy food. That is a rise of 800,000 over the prior year, it said.
The food-security report was released one day after the government said that a record 46.7 million Americans were enrolled for food stamps in June, up by 173,000 in May.
High unemployment and slow growth since the deep 2008-2009 recession has driven enrollment in food stamps, the major U.S. anti-hunger program, to record levels.
This year is likely to be even more problematic for hunger prevention because jobless benefits are running out for tens of thousands of long-term unemployed workers, said Jim Weil, head of the anti-hunger group Food Research and Action Center.
`Show me your papers' law upheld in Arizona
PHOENIX - A federal judge ruled Wednesday that Arizona authorities can enforce the most contentious section of the state's immigration law, which critics have dubbed the "show me your papers" provision.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton clears the way for police to carry out the 2010 law's requirement that officers, while enforcing other laws, question the immigration status of those they suspect are in the country illegally.
The requirement has been at the center of a two-year legal battle that culminated in a U.S. Supreme Court decision in June upholding the requirement.
Opponents then asked Bolton to block the requirement, arguing that it would lead to systematic racial profiling and unreasonably long detentions of Latinos if it's enforced.
Lawyers for Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer urged the judge to let the requirement go into effect, saying the law's opponents were merely speculating in their racial profiling claims, that police have received training to avoid discriminatory practices and that officers must have "reasonable suspicion" that a person is in the country illegally to trigger the requirement.
From Google News
More Cleveland bomb plotters plead guilty
One defendant remains, and he's undergoing psychological evaluations
Three more people accused of trying to blow up a bridge over the Cuyahoga Valley National Park pleaded guilty this afternoon in federal court. WKSU's M.L. Schultze has more on the abandonment of a defense that was expected to be built around claims of government entrapment.
Two 20-year-olds Brandon Baxter of Lakewood and Connor Stevens of Berea along with 26-year-old Douglas Wright of Indianapolis each pleaded guilty to three charges: conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, attempted use of weapons of mass destruction and malicious use of an explosive device to destroy property used in interstate commerce
Those were the same charges 35-year-old Anthony Hayne of Cleveland pleaded guilty to in July.
U.S. Attorney Steven Dettlebach says all four of them were self-proclaimed if poorly organized anarchists who considered a number of targets in Northeast Ohio before settling on planting remote-controlled explosives at the base of the Route 82 bridge over the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Despite Crime Wave, 50 Chicago Police Sent to Dem Convention
Only days after Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel asked for federal agents and U.S. Marshals to help combat the city's wave of violence, about 50 Chicago police officers have arrived in Charlotte to work perimeter security details for a week at the Democratic National Convention.
The Chicago officers, in their distinctive uniforms and checkerboard-brimmed hats, said they had been instructed not to talk with reporters about their out-of-town assignment.
A Charlotte police department spokesperson confirmed that "roughly 50 officers from Chicago" were on duty at the convention.
"These are officers on their days off and were specially trained as mobile field force officers for the recent NATO summit in Chicago," said a spokesperson for the Chicago police department, Melissa Stratton.
Monday morning some of the Chicago officers were stationed near security screening posts where delegates enter the Charlotte Convention Center.
Sept 4, 2012
From the White House
Visiting the White House, "Anytime, Anywhere, and on Any Device"
Today, we're excited to announce some big changes to the way you connect with the White House. More Americans rely on tablets and smart phones for news and information than ever before and we've certainly seen these trends reflected at WhiteHouse.gov. Over the past two years the number of mobile visits to the site has tripled, reaching 15.17% of total traffic. In order to meet this growing demand, we've relaunched the entire White House mobile program, making it even easier to see what's going on at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
First, we revamped the mobile version of WhiteHouse.gov, giving it a new look and making more than 99% of the site available to mobile users. We've also released new versions of the White House apps for the iPhone and Android, rebuilding them from the ground up and adding several new features. For the first time, these apps are also fully compatible with the iPad and Android tablets.
ICE teams with federal agencies to train computer forensic investigators
For the past 14 years, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been responsible for training ICE officers and special agents to become computer forensic investigators.
ICE teaches the class in conjunction with the U.S. Secret Service and the Internal Revenue Service.
Each year, two, six-week classes are offered at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Charleston, S.C. The class is comprised of 24 students eight from each agency. Next year will be the 14th consecutive year of the program.
After each session, instructors get together to figure out what tweaks need to be made for the next class. Keeping the sessions as up-to-date as possible is a key priority.
"It's ever changing," said Computer Forensic Unit's Matthew Swenson. "Each year, we try and take into account and implement things that are relevant."
Sept 3, 2012
From Google News
Forceful arrests could harm LAPD effort to bolster community relations
LOS ANGELES A spate of incidents in which Los Angeles police officers are under investigation for use of excessive force is threatening to erode the Police Department's hard-won efforts over several years to bolster community relations.
Video in recent weeks has captured officers punching a handcuffed suspect and slamming a restrained woman to the ground. In the third case, a woman stopped breathing in the back of a police car and later died.
The incidents come after years of reforms by the LAPD to improve its officers' conduct.
The efforts, undertaken under a federal court order, have yielded results: The city's crime rate is the lowest in four decades, and police are getting praise from communities, including minorities and gays, that had historically complained about mistreatment.
The recent incidents remain in the early investigative stages and none of the officers involved have been charged.