NEWS of the Day - December 11, 2012
on some LACP issues of interest

NEWS of the Day - December 11, 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 ...


Partial list of taxes and fees in health overhaul

The Associated Press

Starting in 2014, President Barack Obama's health care law will expand coverage to some 30 million uninsured people. At the same time, insurers will no longer be allowed to turn away those in poor health and virtually every American will be required to have health insurance, through an employer, a government program, or by buying their own.

For the vast majority of people, the health care law won't mean sending more money to the IRS. But the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans will take the biggest hit, starting next year.

And roughly 20 million people eventually will benefit from tax credits that start in 2014 to help them pay insurance premiums.

A look at some of the major taxes and fees, estimated to total nearly $700 billion over 10 years.

- Upper-income households

Starting Jan. 1, individuals making more than $200,000 per year, and couples making more than $250,000 will face a 0.9 percent Medicare tax increase on wages above those threshold amounts.

They'll also face an additional 3.8 percent tax on investment income. Together these are the biggest tax increase in the health care law.

- Employer penalties

Starting in 2014, companies with 50 or more employees that do not offer coverage will face penalties if at least one of their employees receives government-subsidized coverage. The penalty is $2,000 per employee, but a company's first 30 workers don't count toward the total.

- Health care industries

Insurers, drug companies and medical device manufacturers face new fees and taxes.

Companies that make medical equipment sold chiefly through doctors and hospitals, such as pacemakers, artificial hips and coronary stents, will pay a 2.3 percent excise tax on their sales, expected to total $1.7 billion in its first year, 2013. They're trying to get it repealed.

The insurance industry faces an annual fee that starts at $8 billion in its first year, 2014.

Pharmaceutical companies that make or import brand-name drugs are already paying fees that totaled $2.5 billion in 2011, their first year.

- People who don't get health insurance

Nearly 6 million people who don't get health insurance will face tax penalties starting in 2014. The fines will raise $6.9 billion in 2016. Average penalty in that year: about $1,200.

- Indoor tanning devotees

The 10 percent sales tax on indoor tanning sessions took effect in 2010. It's expected to raise $1.5 billion over 10 years.

The 28 million people who visit tanning booths and beds each year - most of them women under 30, according to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology- are already paying.

Tanning salons were singled out because of strong medical evidence that exposure to ultraviolet lights increases the risk of skin cancer.




Fla. Ex-Cop Set for Execution in 1986 Killing of 9

A former Florida police officer was scheduled to be executed Tuesday for the murder of nine people in a 1986 rampage over three months.

The execution by lethal injection of 56-year-old Manuel Pardo was set for 6 p.m. at Florida State Prison in Starke. A federal judge denied Pardo's request for a stay Monday.

Officials said most of Pardo's victims were involved with drugs. Pardo contended that he was doing the world a favor by killing them in 1986.

"I am a soldier, I accomplished my mission and I humbly ask you to give me the glory of ending my life and not send me to spend the rest of my days in state prison," Pardo told jurors at his 1988 trial.

Pardo's attorneys are trying to block his execution, arguing in federal appeals that he is mentally ill, something his trial attorney believed more than two decades ago.

Pardo was dubbed the "Death Row Romeo" after he corresponded with dozens of women and persuaded many to send him money.

Regino Musa, the brother of one of Pardo's victims, said it's difficult to grasp that the execution will finally happen. He and his elderly mother plan to attend.

"It's about time. It's been so long, you just want to get it over with," said Musa, whose sister, Sara Musa, was killed by Pardo. "I still have nightmares and I don't have words to describe it. I can't believe that it's happening."

Pardo, a former Boy Scout and Navy veteran, began his law enforcement career in the 1970s with the Florida Highway Patrol, graduating at the top of his class at the academy. But he was fired from that agency in 1979 for falsifying traffic tickets. He was soon hired by the police department in Sweetwater, a small city in Miami-Dade County.

In 1981, Pardo was one of four Sweetwater officers charged with brutality, but the cases were dismissed.

He was fired four years later after he flew to the Bahamas to testify at the trial of a Sweetwater colleague who was accused of drug smuggling. Pardo lied, telling the court they were international undercover agents.

Then over a 92-day period in early 1986, Pardo committed a series of robberies, killing six men and three women. He took photos of the victims and recounted some details in his diary, which was found along with newspaper clippings about the murders. Pardo was linked to the killings after using credit cards stolen from the victims.




Gary, IUN to offer community police classes

by Lori Caldwell

GARY--If you're a fan of police shows that reveal the inner workings of law enforcement, then the Gary and Indiana University Northwest police have just the thing for you.

Beginning next month, both departments will offer 10-week classes in all aspects of police work.

Topics include crime scene processing, K-9 units, criminal investigations and how various divisions within the departments operate.

While those who attend get a close look at behind-the-scenes police work, police benefit as well.

“Citizen participation is the key to crime reduction,” Gary Chief Wade Ingram said at a news conference Monday morning.

IUN police Chief Patricia Nowak said a primary goal of the session is to “strengthen the relationship between residents and police.”

Classes will be held at two locations: Tuesdays from 6 to 9 p.m. at IUN and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon at the Public Safety Facility. About 20 people will be allowed to register for one of the locations. There is no cost to attend, but anyone interested must submit an application, agree to a background check and complete an interview with police officials.

IUN Chancellor William Lowe, who studied police history, said the concept of community policing dates back 200 years.

“It's an old idea that has become very current,” he said. “Police and community get to know each other very well.”

Nowak noted that about one-fourth of Gary's residents live in the Glen Park neighborhood that surround the campus.

“We are very concerned about their issues,” she said.

Applications are available at the Public Safety Facility, 555 Polk St., and Indiana University Northwest. Classes are open to anyone who lives or works in Gary. The deadline to apply is Dec. 28. Classes begin at 6 p.m. Jan. 15 at IUN and at 9 a.m. Jan. 19 at the Public Safety Facility. For more information, call 980-6501.




Kalamazoo Public Safety faces 'learning curve internally' as it tries to meet neighborhood expectations

by Emily Monacelli

KALAMAZOO, MI -- Kalamazoo neighborhoods already have seen some changes in their level of community policing. As the city's Department of Public Safety realigns along with other city departments, KDPS Chief Jeff Hadley said he and others are working to minimize the impact neighborhoods.

Overall, once the city's realignment is completed , 28 fewer officers will be policing Kalamazoo. A total of 64 public safety employees took the city's early retirement proposed last October as a way to erase a $6-million budget deficit. "I'm hoping that our thinking behind some of the changes and the moves within the organization that (residents are) going to see as minimal impact as possible, but I think a lot remains to be seen," Hadley said. Hadley said about a year into the realignment, the changes still have to play themselves out. He said department officials have to over-communicate in their relationships with neighborhoods to listen to concerns.

"We have to keep those lines of communication open," Hadley said. "We have to listen and deal with some of those dynamics as it goes along." In August 2011, Public Safety reduced the its community-policing unit to eight officers from 14, and moved those six officers back into regular shift staffing.

Eight community-policing officers are left: four in core neighborhoods of Edison, Eastside, Vine and Northside. Other neighborhoods, including Oakwood, Milwood Arcadia and Stuart, have lieutenants as contacts to address their concerns. "What we had done when we reduced the CPO unit, we had tasked our shift lieutenants with being the conduit between those neighborhoods that did not have a dedicated CPO and the department," Hadley said. He concedes there have been communication breakdowns. "From the time of people leaving and new people coming in and other changes in the organization I think some of the communication broke down for a time," Hadley said.

Those issues have largely been smoothed out, though, and lieutenants assigned to keep watch over neighborhoods know the expectations, the chief said.

But with fewer officers, the department won't be able to do everything it used to do. It will have to focus on what's important to the residents and the community and make sure its resources are centered around those needs, he said.

Hadley noted that the city continues to see a reduction in crime.

"We're hoping that by the end of the year we'll be under 4,000 Part 1 crimes," Hadley said, referring to the category for more serious offenses. "I say that very tentatively and very cautiously."

That reduction in crime, he said, speaks to good policing and hard work by the men and women of KSPS, but also to a community working to pay attention to its youth and get them engaged in activities leading them away from criminal behavior.

Ken Horton, president of the Milwood Neighborhood's community watch program, said that while he thinks Hadley is doing a "marvelous job" managing the Department of Public Safety, he remains concerned how the transition will affect his neighborhood.

"When you just dump that many guys and gals at one time, it's bound to reflect on the neighborhoods," Horton said.

Horton said Hadley is a good communicator and keeps the neighborhood posted on developments, as have the department's command officers.

"Our response time up here in Milwood has been excellent, but there's just been something missing since we lost our community policing officer," Horton said.

"It's always been and always will be a communication thing," Horton said. "They have to have good communication with the neighborhoods. I know they're trying, but I think it's going to fall by the wayside with 28 officers going."

Tammy Taylor, executive director of the Edison Neighborhood Association, said she worries about the neighborhood's community-policing officer more than anything.

"We're still getting used to figuring out who to go to for what," Taylor said. "Our issues are being addressed so I can't complain, but I know my community policing officer is ... run ragged. He's an incredible officer, but I don't know how much longer he'll keep up."

Taylor's statistics show Part 1 crimes decreased 12 percent from 2010 to 2011 in Edison, and so far have this year have decreased 16 percent from last year.

Edison is Kalamazoo's largest neighborhood by population, with close to 10,000 residents.

"Public Safety and the city of Kalamazoo as a whole keeps reassuring us that things are going to be the same and in some cases they're going to be better," Taylor said. "At this time, I don't have any complaints because we're making do. And they're making do, too."

Pat Taylor, executive director of the Eastside neighborhood, said residents there have noticed that Public Safety has been patrolling "trouble spots" residents identified during the summer.

Mattie Jordan-Woods, executive director of the Northside Association of Community for Development, said residents need to give Hadley and KDPS a chance to show how they will keep neighborhoods.

"We understand that they're staggering the retirements, but clearly the chief has a plan and I think that the community should wait and let him say, 'OK, this is where I'm at,'" Jordan-Woods said.

Residents should know they can reach out to his department if they have concerns, Hadley said.

"We have systems set up, we have people they can call and talk to if they have an issue," he said. "They should expect that we listen, that we care. What I think that may be unreasonable is that we get instantaneous response, instantaneous access, that nothing's going to change. I think that's unreasonable in this environment."

That's not only because the department is operating with fewer people, but also because titles and job duties are changing.

"We're going through a learning curve internally to make sure that one, the new supervisors understand the expectations of the organization, that they understand the expectations of the community, that they're able to provide the expectations of the community," Hadley said. "And it takes time."