NEWS of the Day - December 24, 2012
on some LACP issues of interest

NEWS of the Day - December 24, 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 ...


New Zealand

Basics essential in community policing


Building relationships with the community and focusing on preventing crime is paying off for police.

Glen Innes neighbourhood policing team has been operating for just over a year now.

Sergeant Harry Henderson leads the team and says statistics show that aside from domestic violence, the crime rate in the area has dropped significantly.

"A lot of people were scared to come into the town centre before because of drunken behaviour," Constable Scott Burrows says. "There was an existing liquor ban but it was blatantly ignored."

Within a couple of weeks of police enforcing the ban, the number of people drinking on the street dropped significantly, Mr Burrows says. Underage drinking has also become less of a problem.

Liquor stores are helping police to foster a community that uses alcohol responsibly, Mr Henderson says. Seven stores have signed an agreement to close at 10pm. The stores issue trespass orders to anyone caught supplying alcohol to underage youths.

The burglary rate has also dropped.

"There is a direct link between drugs and property offending. The closing down of tinnie houses has greatly assisted with reducing property crime," Mr Henderson says.

The team will hold a Kids Safety Day in Point England Reserve on March 16. The focus will be bicycle and water safety as well as preventing injuries around the home.

Next year the team plans to focus on reducing domestic violence as well as provide activities for young people by setting up community gardens on vacant land and a fitness trail in a local reserve.

The new Tamaki Community Patrols group has been working with constable Alfred Faireka and already has around 35 members.

Sergeant Matt Knowsley is in charge of the community constables in the eastern area and says his team has focused on setting up officers to liaise with each community patrol.

The team was established in July and is based in Newmarket. Its members hold community constable portfolios but also work together on specific issues.

The last five months have been about forming an identity as a team and building relationships with the community, Mr Knowsley says.

It has made great progress assisting neighbourhood support networks and in setting up community patrols in Onehunga and Ellerslie as well as helping an established patrol group in Epsom.

"It's about neighbours looking after neighbours. Through the co-ordinators we are able to provide a personalised point of contact. A police officer is assigned to each group and we assist with such things as training and vetting of members."

The team also hopes to build closer links with members of Orakei Marae and assist with the Mai Whanau programme.

Setting up a community patrol group for Orakei is under discussion and groups in Newmarket and Mission Bay are in the process of being formed.

The concept of prevention is common sense, Mr Knowsley says.

"I view what we do as ‘the old new'. The focus is on knowing what has always worked. We are supporting residents to own their streets."

Mr Henderson agrees that back to basics policing is the way forward.

"Our neighbourhood policing team is highly successful. The statistics shows it does work. It's not a new idea, it's just about turning back the clock."




Homicides plummet in Richmond, once considered among the most dangerous cities in U.S.

by Robert Rogers

RICHMOND -- As Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose grapple with rising homicide totals and fears that their police departments are ill-equipped to stem the tide, a different reality has taken shape in this city once labeled among the most dangerous in the nation.

Eighteen people have been killed in Richmond this year, down from 45 three years ago and about half as many as the yearly average over the past decade. Many credit the turnaround to a confluence of law enforcement and community efforts since a summer of bloodshed in 2005 that led to calls for the city to declare a state of emergency.

While strained resources in police departments and social services have hampered public safety efforts in other Bay Area cities, Richmond has bulked up its police force from 150 sworn officers in 2006 to 190 today, implemented modern community-policing models and funded a novel violence-prevention office.

The results can be seen all over Richmond's craggy streets. Parks once prowled by drug pushers and gun toters now bustle with kids. Violent tracts, where gunfire and sirens once ushered in the Tent City peace movement, now host dog walkers and cyclists.

The total crime rate is down about 20 percent since 2006. The last time the city finished a year with homicide numbers this low was 2001.

"Richmond is doing a lot of things right, and that's helping them buck a trend," said Barry Krisberg, research and policy director at the Earl

Warren Institute at UC Berkeley School of Law. "Years ago, Richmond committed itself to an evidence-based, comprehensive strategy to reduce violence, and we're seeing the payoff."

With 103,000 people, Richmond still has a higher per-capita homicide rate than cities like San Francisco or San Jose, but the days of making "most dangerous in the country" lists -- Richmond was in the top 10 as recently as 2007 -- seem like a distant memory.

"Back (in the mid-2000s), the violence had taken over," said Otheree Christian, president of the Iron Triangle Neighborhood Council. "Now, people are hopeful and empowered."

The historic lows in Richmond contrast with recent spikes in San Jose, where the homicide total this year is more than double the figure from 2010, and San Francisco, which has also seen a big jump in 2012. Oakland is once again well above 100 slayings for the year.

Some trace Richmond's new dawn to a summer night in 2005. Reeling from eight homicides and a fusillade of shootings in the days before, hundreds packed the Richmond City Council chamber to demand action. Many pleaded for the National Guard.

That didn't happen, but over the next few years, clergy and grass-roots groups rallied, and the city freed up millions of dollars for crime-prevention initiatives and police funding.

A devotee to modern community policing -- he says his greatest asset is "relationships" with the community -- police Chief Chris Magnus has remade the department from one that emphasized aggressive crime-suppression teams to one keyed on resident involvement and preventive action. Magnus has deployed technologies like gunshot-detection systems and surveillance cameras, and has made Compstat, a process of data mapping and analysis, crucial to resource-deployment strategies.

The efforts go beyond policing, though. The city's influential network of African-American clergy and neighborhood activists have gone door to door by streetlight in the toughest neighborhoods. And the Office of Neighborhood Safety, the only one of its kind in the region, employs agents who build relationships with more than 50 young men and teens, identified through criminal records and other data as potential violent offenders. The program includes educational, counseling and job-placement support in exchange for ceasing criminal activity.

"People can't believe that this city has set aside money and resources to reach out to young people involved in gun violence in a way other than through law enforcement," said Office of Neighborhood Safety Director Devone Boggan.

Still, some of Richmond's gains may stem from uncontrollable factors and even luck.

"You want to be cautious when pinning the tail on the causes for declines in Richmond homicides," said UC Berkeley criminologist Franklin Zimring. "They are doing community-based policing, but they are also doing intensive policing, with a lot of cops on the streets."

Veteran Richmond officers warn that street crime can ramp up any moment. Historically, a small group of prolific shooters have launched brief, intense sprees, sparking bloodshed that pushes crime statistics sky-high. They cite the 45 homicides in 2009 as the most recent aberration. That year, police say, a group of teens with assault weapons mounted with laser sights, dubbed "The Beam Team," unleashed a rampage.

The city saw its record for homicides, 61, in 1991, just four years removed from the 17 killings in 1987, the lowest total since 1980.

Time will tell whether this is another calm between storms or a permanent shift in the city's long-standing crime woes. But, for now, it appears Richmond's decadelong war on crime has paid big dividends.

"We have come a long way, and it all started with those efforts of clergy and dedicated anti-violence voices that demanded action as far back as 2003," said the Rev. Andre Shumake, one of the city's leading anti-violence voices. "We demanded policy shifts and investments in intervention and prevention. ... When I see the ministers that worked with us, I smile and say, 'Look at the fruits of our labors.'"




Sailors give back to the community through reserve police service


Seabees at Naval Construction Battalion Center, Gulfport and 20th Seabee Readiness Group have found a way to give back to the community through volunteer service in the Gulfport Police Department Reserves.

Reserve police officers attend a four-month Reserve Academy, training for four hours on weekday evenings and eight hours on Saturdays, and working alongside full-time police officers at community events. They receive no pay for their service.

Each person has their own reasons for volunteering. Some may be following in the footsteps of family and friends, such as Petty Officer 3rd Class Brenden Sharp, 20th SRG, and Petty Officer 1st Class Rodolfo Gallardo III, NCBC Security Department, while some are working toward a professional goal. One thing they all have in common, however, is the desire to serve the community through law enforcement.

"I've always had an interest in criminal justice, and when I get out of the military, I want to do something in forensics, so I figured this was a good way to give back to the community and to do something that is in my interest," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Jessica Martin, who is a corpsman at the Naval Branch Health Clinic.

"I feel as if I still have a lot to give back," said Petty Officer 1st Class Karsteen Kristensen, who is a retired Seabee.

George Chaix, the Gulfport Police Department Support Bureau deputy commander, said the military members serving as reserve officers really add value to the police force, and the Navy core values of honor, courage and commitment easily translate to policing.

"The reserves bring a lot to the table, especially coming from the Navy. They have so much experience ... Vieques, Afghanistan, Iraq, detention facilities in Cuba. We learn as much from them as they learn from us. They are a very valuable asset," Chaix said.

"They don't leave that 'Can Do' attitude on base. They take it with them out there. They don't leave their core values on base.

When they come out these gates, they take their core values with them, and that really helps us out a lot."

Lt. Phillip Kincaid, the Gulfport Police Department reserve officer-in-charge, said there are eight military members of the 25 reserve officers serving in the Gulfport Police Department. He said he likes military members as reserve officers for their dependability, reliability and commitment to the job.

Being a part of the reserve force also is beneficial for the military members' command.

Gallardo said the experience has helped him build more leadership, character and professionalism that he can use on active duty. Sharp agreed.

"You learn how to have more confidence in yourself, you learn how to become a better leader and I am able to pass that on to a lot of the younger guys in my shop," said Sharp.

Martin said she has fun serving as a reserve officer and feels like there is a good camaraderie in the department. She said she encourages anyone who wants to serve the community and have fun doing it to join.




Joy to their world Ex-Haverhill cop makes Christmas dreams come true for needy

by O'Ryan Johnson

Cheri Gainer was laid off three years ago and then medical problems set in for herself and her youngest child. The 35-year-old single Haverhill mother of a young boy and girl knew Christmas that year would not be merry.

“Someone told me to call Officer Hardy,” Gainer said. “I just called and left a message at the police station. He wouldn't want to know about you, who you were, why you were calling, nothing like that. Just how old your kids are and you wouldn't hear anything.”

She, like dozens of others, left a voicemail for Haverhill police officer Ozzie Hardy — and hoped. Days later she got a knock on her door. It was Hardy.

“He delivered them to my house,” Gainer said. “Bags full of presents. Five or six each. Nice things. My son was going to start baseball and he got a baseball mitt. ... It's hard to put into words. With things going on in this country, you don't know there's people in this world that care as much as they do. He makes you realize that good people are still out there.”

Twenty five years ago, long before the phrase “community policing” was added to every department's mission statement, Hardy was assigned the juvenile beat in Haverhill. He saw what other cops had seen before. Poor kids. Lots of them. Kids wearing flimsy spring jackets in the dead of winter. Kids, like Gainer's, with no hope of a Christmas.

“I saw a lot of them in the winter. No gloves. No hats,” Hardy said. “I got together with three or four employees at City Hall, and we just threw a little party at the old police station. We had ice cream and cookies and a teeny Christmas tree. We had about 25 kids. We gave each kid some gloves and a couple of presents. The following year we had 100, then 250.”

And that's how “Ozzie's Kids,” as it has come to be called, was born. Now Hardy's giving list tops 800 and is always growing. He's developed a network of businesses and community groups to sponsor entire families. In September, he and his family start matching donors and children and hosting toy drives. The Haverhill?police station acts as the group's?unofficial call center.

“Over the years those of us who worked with Ozzie, you just get used to all these people calling after Thanksgiving,” said Deputy Chief Donald Thompson. “At one time or another, half the department has taken calls for him.”

Hardy, who retired last year, now has an Ozzie's Kids Facebook page.

“There's a lot of people who help out. Without everyone pitching in, all the businesses that pitch in, two or three schools that back me, we couldn't do it,” he said. “I just put it all together. I couldn't wrap a gift if you paid me.”

Gainer said this year, she received clothes and toys for her now 12-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter.

“I was crying,” she said. Hardy “peeked his head in and I said, ‘Thank you.' He said, ‘I'm just the middleman.' But he's not. He so much more than that. He made it happen.”




Ohio among top producers of Peace Corps volunteers

COLUMBUS, OHIO (AP) — Ohio ranked No. 10 among all states in producing Peace Corps volunteers this year with a total of 291 volunteers.

Peace Corps officials say Ohio produces 2.5 volunteers for every 100,000 state residents, and 3.6 percent of all volunteers come from Ohio.

Officials with the organization's Midwest regional office in Chicago say Ohio historically has produced a total of 6,875 volunteers who have served in 139 countries. More than 210,000 Americans have served in the organization since President John F. Kennedy established it in 1961.

A total of 8,073 volunteers now work with local communities in 76 countries in fields including agriculture, community economic development, education, environment and health.

The agency says it promotes world peace and friendship and a better understanding between Americans and people of other countries.