NEWS of the Day - December 18, 2012
on some LACP issues of interest

NEWS of the Day - December 18, 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 ...


LAPD officers to stop daily at local schools to boost security

by Barbara Jones

The LAPD will have officers stop daily at Los Angeles Unified's 600 elementary and middle schools - and any charter or private school that requests a visit - as part of the beefed-up student security measures sparked by the Connecticut school shooting, officials said Monday.

The deployment of uniformed and plainclothes officers - which Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck called a "significant, significant task" - will complement the armed school district police already stationed daily at every LAUSD high school.

"A barrier has been broken in our culture, and that barrier is the safety of our youngest residents," Beck said at a Monday press conference. "It's all of our jobs, to make sure that we resurrect that barrier and that our children are safe."

With the flags flying at half-staff in memory of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims, city and district officials came together to discuss steps they are taking to avert a tragedy like the one that claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults.

Although winter break for students began Monday, administrators at Los Angeles Unified started reviewing the safety plans and procedures for all 1,000 campuses, including the public's access to the schools. An initial check found that fewer than 10 campuses lack a perimeter fence, he said.

Los Angeles Unified and the LAPD also sent a contingent of officers to Connecticut to offer help and see what lessons they could learn from the tragedy.

In addition, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced the city will hold its annual gun buyback program on Dec. 26, five months earlier than usual. Anyone who turns in a firearm will receive a Ralphs gift card of $100 for a handgun and $200 for an automatic weapon - no questions asked.

"It's time to say no to senseless violence in our neighborhoods," said Villaraigosa, noting that some 800 guns have been surrendered during previous buyback campaigns.

Beck also said that "alert patrol officers" had arrested Kyle Bangayan, 24, on suspicion of posting violent threats against local schools on Facebook. Bangayan, an engineering student at Cal Poly Pomona, was being held on $500,000 bail.

Bangayan was arrested on Sunday at his parents' home in Hollywood, where authorities recovered nine firearms, including rifles, handguns and a shotgun.

Late Monday, prosecutors announced they would not file charges against Bangayan. While he had referenced the massacre in Connecticut, he apparently made no specific threat against a school or person.

Much of the press conference was spent reassuring parents about the efforts being made to protect their children from harm.

Beginning Jan. 7, when LAUSD's winter break ends, officers from the LAPD - along with Los Angeles County and the other municipalities served by the nation's second-largest school district - will be on every campus every day.

"Over the past few days, I've received numerous phone calls and emails from parents inquiring about student safety," said LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy. "I have reassured them we are dedicated to the security of their children. We are mindful of the lessons we've learned from this tragedy."

Beck said the beefed-up police presence will continue as long as deemed necessary, and that the LAPD has ample resources to handle the additional patrols. Charter schools, which enroll about 120,000 students, and private schools can request visits from law enforcement.

"This is a message to anybody who sees this coverage," Beck said. "If you try to stake your claim to infamy, the LAPD and the school police will deal with you in a way that is appropriate."

Los Angeles Unified officials are studying the feasibility and cost of expanding the district's police force so that armed officers could patrol the K-8 campuses as they now do the district's high schools. That would require roughly tripling the size of the department, which currently has 350 officers and an annual budget of about $52 million.

The district has 300 psychiatric social workers on staff to not only help students shaken by the Newton, Conn., tragedy but to help identify and support those with emotional issues that could potentially create a threat.

"The role of any school staff - in addition to education - is the safety of students, including social and emotional issues," said Aillaeth Tom, the district's coordinator for crisis counseling and intervention services.

Neighboring school districts and charter schools are also reviewing their safety procedures and beefing up security measures.

Yvonne Chan, founder of the Vaughn Next Century Learning Center, a cluster of charter campuses in Pacoima, said her staff spent Monday conducting lockdown and emergency drills. Told of Beck's offer of a police presence, Chan said she can't wait to sign up.

Ivy Academia charter has set up on-site counseling and scheduled LAPD to provide "incident response" training for administrators and staff.

The Burbank Police Department has beefed up its patrols of every campus, while principals ensure that security procedures are in place and that they're available to students.

Beck and Deasy each underscored the importance of reporting suspicions about unusual or suspicious behavior.

"If you see something, say something," Beck said. "We'll do the heavy lifting. All of us have to watch out for each other."



New York

School districts should hire community police officers for protection, says Feiner

GREENBURGH – The federal government should provide funding for school districts that wish to hire school resource officers – police officers assigned to the districts, Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner said Monday. His suggestion that he is communicating to the area's congressional delegation, comes in the wake of the Newtown, CT school shootings that left 20 small children and six adults in the school dead.

Feiner said SROs are assigned to schools to provide full police services including maintaining order on the school campus and to reduce the fear of crime in the community. They also can work with students who are victims of bullying, educate the community about everything from parking and traffic concerns to criminal offenses, he said.

“One of the core components of community policing is to build partnerships and relationships for the purpose of creating safe school environments,” Feiner said. “On an individual basis, the SRO can improve the relationship between youth and police one child at a time.”

The supervisor said in a crisis situation the SRO would have the ability to community with school administrators and police officials and understand the needs of both entities.

Feiner also called for an end to gun shows being allowed in Westchester County facilities. County Executive Robert Astorino said there is no signed contact for the Sportsmen Firearm and Knife Show at the County Center in 2013, and while it has been a popular show, “at this time as the country grieves the loss of life in Newtown, a contact renewal is not appropriate.”



The health risk of having a gun in the home

by Susan Perry

Having a gun in your home significantly increases your risk of death — and that of your spouse and children.

And it doesn't matter how the guns are stored or what type or how many guns you own.

If you have a gun, everybody in your home is more likely than your non-gun-owning neighbors and their families to die in a gun-related accident, suicide or homicide.

Furthermore, there is no credible evidence that having a gun in your house reduces your risk of being a victim of a crime. Nor does it reduce your risk of being injured during a home break-in.

The health risks of owning a gun are so established and scientifically non-controvertible that the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement in 2000 recommending that pediatricians urge parents to remove all guns from their homes.

Notice that the recommendation doesn't call for parents to simply lock up their guns. It stresses that the weapons need to be taken out of the house.

Study after study has been conducted on the health risks associated with guns in the home. One of the latest was a meta-review published in 2011 by David Hemenway , director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center . He examined all the scientific literature to date on the health risks and benefits of gun ownership.

What he found was sobering, to say the least.

Accidental deaths

To begin with, having a gun in the home is a risk factor for serious accidental injury and death. As Hemenway points out, death certificate data indicate that 680 Americans were killed accidentally with guns each year between 2003 and 2007. Half those victims were under the age of 25.

Children aged 5 to 14 in the United States are 11 times more likely to die from an accidental gunshot wound than children in other developed countries.

Nonfatal gun injuries occur at the average rate of 20 a day in the United States — and that doesn't include pellet-gun injuries (which average 45 day) or injuries that don't involve a bullet wound (like powder burns and recoil injuries).

“One study of nonfatal accidental shootings found that the majority were self- inflicted, most involved handguns, and more than one third of the injuries required hospitalization,” writes Hemenway. “Injuries often occurred during fairly routine gun handling — cleaning a gun, loading and unloading, target shooting, and so on.”


An average of 46 Americans committed suicide with guns each day between 2003 and 2007. In fact, more Americans killed themselves with guns during those years than with all other methods combined.

Gun owners and their families are not more suicidal than non-gun-owners, research shows. No are they more likely to have a history of depression or other mental health problems.

But they — and their families — are at significantly increased risk of successfully taking their lives with a gun. The reason: Guns are more lethal than other methods.

One study found, reports Hemenway, that “in states with more guns, there were more suicides (because there were more firearm suicides), even after controlling for the percentage of the state's population with serious mental illness, alcohol dependence or abuse, illicit substance dependence or abuse, and the percentage unemployed, living below the poverty level, and in urban areas.”

But “there was no association between gun prevalence and a state's nonfirearm suicide rate,” he adds.


Two-thirds of all murders between 2003 and 2007 involved guns. The average number of Americans shot and killed daily during those years was 33. Of those, one was a child (0 to 14 years), five were teenagers (15 to 19 years) and seven were young adults (20 to 24 years), on average.

Children in the U.S. get murdered with guns at a rate that is 13 times higher than that of other developed nations. For our young people aged 15 to 24, the rate is 43 times higher.

“The presence of a gun makes quarrels, disputes, assaults, and robberies more deadly. Many murders are committed in a moment of rage,” writes Hemenway.

“For example, a large percentage of homicides — and especially homicides in the home — occur during altercations over matters such as love, money, and domestic problems, involving acquaintances, neighbors, lovers, and family members; often the assailant or victim has been drinking. Only a small minority of homicides appear to be the carefully planned acts of individuals with a single-minded intention to kill. Most gun killings are indistinguishable from nonfatal gun shootings; it is just a question of the caliber of the gun, whether a vital organ is hit, and how much time passes before medical treatment arrives.”


The possible health benefits of gun ownership are twofold: deterring crime and stopping crimes in progress. But there are no credible studies, says Hemenway, that higher levels of gun ownership actually do these things.

“The main reason people give for having a handgun in the home is protection, typically against stranger violence,” he writes. “However, it is important to recognize that the home is a relatively safe place, especially from strangers. For example, fewer than 30% of burglaries in the United States (2003-2007) occur when someone is at home. In the 7% of burglaries when violence does occur, the burglar is more likely to be an intimate (current or former) and also more likely to be a relative or known acquaintance than a stranger. Although people typically spend most of their time at home, only 5% of all the crimes of violence perpetrated by strangers occur at home.”

In fact, adds Hemenway, research shows that most self-defense use of guns is not socially desirable. He describes one study in which “criminal court judges from across the United States read the 35 descriptions of the reported self-defense firearm uses from 2 national surveys and found that, even if description of the event was accurate, in most of the cases, the self-defense gun use was probably illegal. Many were arguments that escalated into gun use.”

Real risks

“There are real and imaginary situations when it might be beneficial to have a gun in the home,” Hemenway concludes. “For example, in the Australian film Mad Max, where survivors of the apocalypse seem to have been predominantly psychopathic male bikers, having a loaded gun would seem to be very helpful for survival, and public health experts would probably advise people in that world to obtain guns.”

“However, for most contemporary Americans, the scientific studies suggest that the health risk of a gun in the home is greater than the benefit,” he adds. “There are no credible studies that indicate otherwise.”

Hemenway's review appeared in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine and can be read in full online.



Pomona man jailed, 9 weapons seized, after threats to schools on Facebook

by Jeff Wilson -- Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- A California man was arrested and nine guns, including rifles and a shotgun, were seized after threats were posted on Facebook against Los Angeles elementary schools, police said Monday.

Kyle Bangayan, 24, of Pomona was booked into the downtown jail Sunday for investigation of making criminal threats, police Cmdr. Andrew Smith said. He remained in jail with bail set at $500,000.

Police and FBI agents went to the east Hollywood home of Bangayan's father after a resident notified authorities about the threatening postings that referred to the deadly school shootings in Connecticut, Smith said.

"When we get information like this, we take it very seriously, even more so now in light of the Connecticut school shootings," Smith said.

On Friday, Adam Lanza, 20, shot and killed 20 children and six adults before killing himself at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.

The names of the Los Angeles schools and details about the threats were not immediately released.

Detectives and the FBI were still investigating.

The joint investigation has been turned over to Los Angeles police, and there won't be any federal charges, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.

When police and FBI agents arrived at the east Hollywood home, the suspect's father gave permission for a search, authorities said.

Nine weapons and ammunition were confiscated, including rifles, a shotgun and handguns, authorities said.

It's not yet known if the weapons belonged to the father or the suspect. No weapons were found at Bangayan's residence in Pomona.

The father's telephone number is unlisted. There is no listing for Kyle Bangayan in Pomona.

The home is in a working-class neighborhood about eight miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. Pomona is about 30 miles to the east.



Volunteers Hang Blue and Black Ribbons in Downtown Topeka to Honor Fallen Officers

With the rip of tearing fabric and the hiss of the iron, volunteers turned a downtown Topeka street corner into an assembly line Monday night.

There was just one goal: To honor the two Topeka Police officers killed.

Cpl. David Gogian and officer Jeff Atherly were shot and killed while investigating possible drug activity at a Topeka grocery store Sunday.

"We have a lot of friends on the police force. There isn't a lot we can do but show they are not alone and they are important," downtown business owner and volunteer Carol Briman said.

Less than an hour after hundreds of people attended a candlelight vigil at the Law Enforcement Center in downtown Topeka, volunteers began making and tying black and blue ribbons around light poles just steps away.

"They are part of our downtown and they protect us all the time," said Edie Smith of Downtown Topeka Inc.

The volunteers set up shop in a small sewing store on Kansas Avenue. Some volunteers ripped fabric apart for others who picked up the strips of blue and black and then ironed them together.

A single blue stripe stood out against a black background.

Volunteers said their goal was to create 80 ribbons Monday night to adorn the light poles along Kansas Avenue.

"They help us in our community and we felt we wanted to do something in their honor," said Sheri Poore of Downtown Topeka Inc.




Flint receives grant for community policing program

by Liz Gelardi

FLINT, MI (WNEM) - The city of Flint received a $742,520 grant to support its community policing program. The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation grant will support 10 patrol officers and one sergeant for the city's police department.

It will also help fund nine neighborhood safety officers and two program coordinators, who will focus on public safety concerns and blight issues. They will also work with neighborhood groups, such as Blue Badge and Lifeline, and other community organizations.

The money is especially helpful because it will allow Flint to maintain existing police services as the city transitions to funding from a public safety millage.

Emergency Financial Manager Ed Kurtz said he is grateful to the Moft Foundation for its commitment to Flint and the safety of area residents.

Mott support to the City of Flint for the community policing program has totaled $3.84 million since 2010.