| 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.
Oct 14, 2012
Al Qaeda leader urges holy war over Prophet film
CAIRO – The leader of Al Qaeda is encouraging Muslims to wage holy war against the United States and Israel in response to a film that insulted Islam's Prophet Muhammad.
Ayman al-Zawahri, in an audio message released by Al Qaeda's media arm As-Sahab early Saturday, claimed Washington allowed the film's production under the pretext of freedom of expression, but added that “this freedom did not prevent them from torturing Muslim prisoners.”
The crudely-produced amateur film, "Innocence of Muslims," which was posted to YouTube and other online forums, was made by an Egyptian-born American citizen. The video sparked violence in the Middle East, including in Egypt and Libya, where Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others were killed on Sept. 11 during an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. Dozens more have also been killed in violence related to the film.
In Saturday's audio recording, Al-Zawahri praised "honest and zealous" demonstrators who breached the U.S Embassy in Cairo and attackers who stormed the U.S. "embassy" in Benghazi.
Los Angeles mayor wants ID card for immigrants
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Immigrants would get access to banking services in Los Angeles under a proposal by the mayor that would create an official city photo identification card that could also be used as a prepaid ATM card for their private bank account.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says his plan is similar to programs in San Francisco and Oakland, where ID cards are issued to anyone who can prove residency, regardless of immigration status, the Los Angeles Times reported (http://lat.ms/Pte3vK).
"It will be an official ID," Villaraigosa told the newspaper. "It will be as strong an effort as San Francisco's."
An estimated 4.3 million immigrants live in LA.
Supporters say helping immigrants open bank accounts could reduce crime because fewer people would have to carry cash. An official city ID would also make it easier for many residents to obtain city services and identify themselves to law enforcement officials, they argue.
Oct 13, 2012
From the White House
Celebrating the Power of Girls
The White House is proud to join the world community in marking the first-ever International Day of the Girl and has released a statement which can be found here. Every year, on October 11, countries around the world will honor the importance of empowering girls so that they can reach their full potential.
Yesterday Secretary Clinton, along with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, spoke to a group of about 200 Girl Scouts at the State Department about raising the status of girls around the world. Secretary Clinton announced new US Government and private sector initiatives to prevent child marriage and promote girls education.
You can read and watch Secretary Clinton's remarks in Honor of International Day of the Girl here.
The Obama Administration has taken a number of steps to promote the rights and opportunities for girls at home and abroad. You can learn more about some of the Obama Administration's work to support girls inside.
From the Department of Homeland Security
America's Law Enforcement Officers: Keeping Us Safe Online
What would you do if you receive a suspicious email from a friend that only included a link? Would you click on it? The email may be an attempt by an individual or group to solicit personal information or cause harm to our computers. This type of attack is referred to as “phishing.” Cybercriminals may send an email that appears to be from a friend or valid organization. The email may entice us to click a link that may look legitimate but is actually an attempt to collect our personal information or expose us to a website with malicious code.
These types of attacks are one example of the many complex cyber threats we face every time we go online regardless of whether we are at home, at work, or on the go. The spectrum of crime in today's cyber landscape is limitless: threats, some more serious and sophisticated than others, can have wide-ranging effects on the individual, community, organizational, and national level.
Law enforcement plays an instrumental role in advancing the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) cybersecurity mission to proactively fight Internet-related crime and to empower citizens with resources and tools needed to protect against growing cyber threats. To combat cyber crime, DHS leverages the skills and resources of the U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States Coast Guard, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection – working in cooperation with the Department of Justice, especially the Federal Bureau of Investigation – to investigate and prosecute cyber criminals. In fiscal year 2011, the U.S. Secret Service arrested over 1,239 suspects for cyber crime in investigations that prevented over $1.6 billion in fraud loss.
Report Suspicious Activity
What You Need To Know
Prompt and detailed reporting of suspicious activities can help prevent violent crimes or terrorist attacks. If you see suspicious activity, please report it to your local police department. Local law enforcement officers can respond quickly. Once they assess the situation, they can obtain additional support.
Start Here: Citizens should always call local law enforcement. If you see something suspicious, please call local law enforcement. If there is a life threatening emergency, please call 911.
When reporting suspicious activity, it is helpful to give the most accurate description possible, including:
- Brief description of the activity
- Date, time and location of the activity
- Physical identifiers of anyone you observed
- Descriptions of vehicles
- Information about where people involved in suspicious activities may have gone
- Your name and contact information (optional)
NTAS Alerts via Twitter http://www.dhs.gov/how-do-i/check-national-terrorism-advisory-system-ntas
Oct 12, 2012
Mexico cartels flood U.S. with cheap meth created in 'superlabs'
ST. LOUIS - Mexican drug cartels are quietly filling the void in the nation's drug market created by the long effort to crack down on American-made methamphetamine, flooding U.S. cities with exceptionally cheap, extraordinarily potent meth from factory-like "superlabs."
Although Mexican meth is not new to the U.S. drug trade, it now accounts for as much as 80 percent of the meth sold here, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. And it is as much as 90 percent pure, a level that offers users a faster, more intense and longer-lasting high.
"These are sophisticated, high-tech operations in Mexico that are operating with extreme precision," said Jim Shroba, a DEA agent in St. Louis. "They're moving it out the door as fast as they can manufacture it."
The cartels are expanding into the U.S. meth market just as they did with heroin: developing an inexpensive, highly addictive form of the drug and sending it through the same pipeline already used to funnel marijuana and cocaine, authorities said.
Seizures of meth along the Southwest border have more than quadrupled during the last several years. DEA records reviewed by The Associated Press show that the amount of seized meth jumped from slightly more than 4,000 pounds in 2007 to more than 16,000 pounds in 2011.
Panetta Warns of Threat of Cyberattack on U.S.
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta warned Thursday that the United States was facing the possibility of a “cyber-Pearl Harbor” and was increasingly vulnerable to foreign computer hackers who could dismantle the nation's power grid, transportation system, financial networks and government, report Elisabeth Bumiller and Thom Shanker in Friday's New York Times.
In a speech at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum on the Hudson River in New York, Mr. Panetta painted a dire picture of how such an attack on the United States might unfold. He said he was reacting to increasing aggressiveness and technological advances by the nation's adversaries, which officials identified as China, Russia, Iran and militant groups.
“An aggressor nation or extremist group could gain control of critical switches and derail passenger trains, or trains loaded with lethal chemicals,” Mr. Panetta said. “They could contaminate the water supply in major cities, or shut down the power grid across large parts of the country.”
Defense officials said Mr. Panetta was responding to a recent wave of cyberattacks on large American financial institutions. He also cited an attack in August on the state oil company Saudi Aramco, which infected and made useless more than 30,000 computers.
Brigantine police start children's ID kit program
Brigantine Police Chief John Stone has introduced a new program to complement the department's already effective community policing initiative. The department has printed up a child's identification kit for parents.
Chief Stone, in a recent interview, reflected back on a time when one of his own children went missing for a minute on the Boardwalk. “All of sudden we noticed one of the girls missing,” he said. “My heart was racing as I ran back to the last store we had been in.”
Fortunately, the girl was sitting in a store waiting for her parent. However, the anxiety that Stone experienced is an example of the emotional paralysis that parents go through when one of their children go missing.
“Parents melt down when there is a missing child. They don't know what to do and can't think clearly. It is an emotional time,” Stone said. “By having this kit at home in a safe place, the parent can give it to the officer investigating and it will help us put out correct information quickly,” he continued. “Time is of the essence when you have a missing child.”
Having the ID document will save time in building a profile of the child, meaning precious hours can be devoted to search and rescue efforts rather than gathering information.
Oct 11, 2012
Community policing to get boost, Mayor Emanuel vows
Mayor Rahm Emanuel pledged Wednesday to breathe new life into the city's stagnant community-policing program, drawing approval from aldermen.
Emanuel said 50 community-policing employees will be moved from police headquarters to districts where they will join about 70 other employees in the program.
Their performance will come under the scrutiny of the department's CompStat evaluation system, just like that of other officers, the mayor said during a Sun-Times Editorial Board meeting after delivering his budget address.
The Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy was a key part of the department's crime-fighting efforts under former police Supt. Terry Hillard in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but the program faltered in recent years.
“I was very disappointed in the last year of Mayor Daley's term when they eliminated community-policing positions in the police districts,” said Ald. Joe Moore (49th).
Moore said he was happy to learn district commanders will fashion their own community-policing initiatives.
McGinn Issues Executive Order Creating Community Police Commission, Launches Search to Fill It
The creation of a "Community Police Commission" was one of the mandated remedies for shaping up Seattle's maligned police force offered up under the city's agreement with the Department of Justice. And this morning Mayor Mike McGinn announced that, with input from the City Council, he's issued an executive order to officially launch just such a commission.
Now comes the task of filling this Community Police Commission with actual warm bodies.
Saying the Commission's role "is to support the development of reforms, the establishment of police priorities, and mechanisms to promote community confidence in the Seattle Police Department," in a written statement distributed to the media, this morning McGinn put a call out for applications. According to the Mayor's office, once it's filled out the commission "will include members from each precinct of the City, police officer unions, faith communities, minority, ethnic, and other community organizations, and student or youth organizations."
Applications to get in on the Community Police Commission action can be found online; the deadline to apply is Nov. 1.
From the FBI
Distressed Homeowner Initiative - Don't Let Mortgage Fraud Happen to You
Talk about going from bad to worse—more than 4,000 financially strapped homeowners recently lost at least $7 million to a California business that allegedly operated a loan modification scam. Last month, 11 representatives of that company were federally indicted, but by that time, many of the victims had already lost their homes.
Today, to help protect distressed homeowners around the country from a rising tide of fraud schemes—and to raise awareness about them—the FBI joined the Department of Justice, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in announcing the results of the Distressed Homeowner Initiative. This initiative was launched by the Bureau—co-chair of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force's Mortgage Fraud Working Group—in October 2011.
This initiative combines the resources of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and the efforts of regulatory agencies to target perpetrators both criminally and civilly. Over 200 companies have been shut down, and criminal charges were filed against 530 defendants. These cases involved losses of more than $1 billion from more than 73,000 victims across the country.
Said Associate Deputy Director Kevin Perkins, “In contrast with previous initiatives, where the fraud victims primarily were lenders, the focus here is on individual homeowners, many times at their most vulnerable point.”
Oct 10, 2012
Man arrested at LAX was wearing body armor, had suitcase full of weapons
LOS ANGELES - Why would a man flying from Japan to Boston need to wear a bulletproof vest and travel with a suitcase full of weapons, leg irons, a smoke grenade, a gas mask and a biohazard suit?
That's what federal investigators are trying to figure out despite a lack of cooperation from 28-year-old Yongda Huang Harris, who was arrested during a stopover at Los Angeles International Airport, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said Tuesday.
Harris, who was taken into custody at the airport Friday wearing the vest and flame-resistant pants, was not cooperating with federal officials attempting to interview him, according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an open investigation.
The official said Harris is not believed to be linked to a terrorist organization, but his motive has not been determined.
Harris has been charged with one count of transporting hazardous materials, an offense that carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. He made a brief court appearance Tuesday, but his arraignment was delayed until Friday and he was ordered held until then.
Harris is a U.S. citizen whose permanent residence is in Boston, though he recently started living and working in Japan, officials said. Attempts to reach Harris' family in Boston and his associates were unsuccessful.
Fewer Resources Devoted To Community Policing
Cmdr. Leo Schmitz, Englewood District, Chicago Police Department
Sudhir Venkatesh, professor, Columbia University (Audio on site)
In community policing, law enforcement emphasizes local citizen involvement as a way to deter and prevent crime. But as local budgets are slashed and police face layoffs in departments across the country, fewer and fewer resources are dedicated to it.
NEAL CONAN, HOST:
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Big budget cuts are forcing police departments across the country to make tough decisions. Camden, New Jersey, may eliminate its entire force and ask the county to police the city. Two years ago, 80 police officers and 21 cadets were laid off in Oakland. As a result, fewer and fewer resources are available for community policing, the law enforcement approach that put cops back on the corner 20 years ago and emphasized crime prevention through local citizen involvement.
In a recent piece in The New Republic, Sudhir Venkatesh pointed to an unlikely accomplice in the death of community policing: the federal government and its variety of joint task forces. It's shaping up to be the biggest challenge to liberal governance and local autonomy that we've seen in some time, he wrote.
We want to hear from those of you who work in law enforcement. What's changing for you? Give us a call, 800-989-8255. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also join the conversation on our website. That's at npr.org. Click on TALK OF THE NATION.
Former LAPD Chief Predicts The Future Of Policing
Bill Bratton is the former chief of police in Boston, New York and Los Angeles. He helped introduce the system of predictive policing and calls it the next era of crime prevention and an evolution of community policing. Host Scott Simon speaks with Bratton, who's been tapped by the University of California Davis to lead the independent investigation of pepper spraying of student protesters by campus police.
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
Bill Bratton is the former chief of police in Los Angeles, as well as Boston and New York. He helped introduced the system of predictive policing, and calls it the next era of crime prevention, and an evolution of community policing. Chief Bratton's now chairman of Kroll, a risk consulting company, and he joins us on the phone this morning. Thanks very much for being with us, chief.
BILL BRATTON: It's good to be with you, as always.
SIMON: And what do you say to those who worry that predictive policing might have the effect of redlining certain neighborhoods as crime problems, and put them under what amounts to permanent armed patrol?
BRATTON: I just don't see that concern, being quite frank with you, that that should be a concern. We commonly do that in policing now. It's the whole concept of policing that we developed in the 1990s. The Constat(ph) system was basically identify where crimes occurring, when it's occurring, put your police in there, develop effective tactics to deal with your dealing with, and eliminate the problem. so, predictive policing is effectively just an amplification of that, allowing us to use a lot of the modern computer systems that have now been developed - the algorithms that are being developed. It is hot-spot policing, significantly enhanced by technology.
Oct 9, 2012
Use of force: Do you agree with the chiefs?
The Police Executive Research Forum recently held a 'summit' of law enforcement leaders to discuss current issues regarding use of force
“Some of the police officers coming on now don't have the same social skills as in the past. The new officers are comfortable with things like texting messages, but not so much with looking people in the eye and talking to them. These kinds of ‘little' things are important, because these skills can help you avoid resorting to high levels of force.”
That's Philadelphia police commissioner Charles Ramsey talking, sharing his thoughts with a “summit” of law enforcement leaders called together in Washington by the Police Executive Research Forum to discuss current issues regarding use of force.
More than 180 chiefs and other experts from academic researchers to city attorneys attended and many spoke their minds on the need and methods for de-escalating and minimizing use of force in police encounters. Last month, a 50-page summary of the day-long conference was posted online .
The lively discussion ranged from TASERs to tactics to mindset to training to disciplinary action — and more. Here are representative highlights of what these decision-makers said. See if you agree or disagree with their view of your world.
Oct 8, 2012
Secret observers find 'shocking' lapses in Newark airport security, report says
NEWARK — Screeners at Newark Liberty International Airport are properly executing standard pat-downs of passengers only 16.7 percent of the time and they identify and take appropriate action on prohibited items in only a quarter of all cases, according to a secret internal report.
The revelations are contained in a document, obtained by The Star-Ledger, titled "PACE Airport Evaluation" and dated June 8. It was compiled by an undercover team of Transportation Security Administration employees from other airports who were asked to observe screeners at work at Newark Liberty.
PACE is an acronym for Presence, Advisements, Communication and Execution, the four job performance headings that included a total of 47 individual procedures or skills observed by the visiting evaluation teams.
To some TSA watchdogs, such poor performance on standard procedures was startling coming a decade after the TSA was formed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
Thomas McDonnell, a Pace Law School professor and author of "The United States, International Law and the Struggle against Terrorism," said the findings are unacceptable.
Help APD, Participate in Community Policing Self-Assessment
The Atlanta Police Department wants our community input to make better decisions and choices when policing our communities
Our agency has chosen to participate in the Community Policing Self-Assessment Tool (CP-SAT), an online survey which collects information about our practice of community policing. I strongly encourage you to complete this assessment, which you may access by clicking the URL below. Through your participation in this assessment, our agency will be able to gather valuable data allowing us to enhance our community policing practices and identify community policing strengths and areas for improvement. The assessment is sponsored by the COPS Office and is administered by ICF International.
Your responses to this survey will be kept confidential. There are no individual identifiers in the data that the agency will receive, and the agency will not be able to link an individual's data to their email address. This is not a test, so there are no right or wrong answers. Please answer each question honestly. The assessment will take you approximately 15 minutes of your time.
Assessment URL: https://survey.icfsurveys.com/se.ashx?s=04BD76CC552D21AD
Agency Pass Code: GAAPD00-C1
Chief of Police
Atlanta Police Department