Bans on pocketknives, golf clubs eased for U.S. passenger planes
by Jeff Plungis
WASHINGTON - The Transportation Security Administration will let people carry small pocketknives onto passenger planes for the first time since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, along with golf clubs, hockey sticks and plastic Wiffle Ball-style bats.
The agency will permit knives with retractable blades shorter than 6 centimeters (2.4 inches) and narrower than 1/2 inch at the widest point, TSA Administrator John Pistole said Tuesday at an aviation security conference in Brooklyn. The change, to conform with international rules, will take effect April 25.
Pistole, the former No. 2 official at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has stressed the use of intelligence and "risk- based" security during his tenure leading TSA. The agency is moving away from uniform procedures that apply to every passenger and toward efforts to perform background checks on passengers before they arrive at an airport.
Overseas passengers will no longer have to check the qualifying knives as they pass through the U.S. The agency will still prohibit some knives, including those with locking blades or molded handles, Pistole said. Box cutters, like those used by the Sept. 11 terrorists, and razor blades will still be banned. The agency will relax its prohibited-item list in other ways, Pistole said. Passengers will be allowed to carry on sticks used to play lacrosse, billiards and hockey, ski poles and as many as two golf clubs, he said. The agency is also carving out two exceptions to its ban on most baseball and softball bats. It will also allow souvenir, novelty baseball bats less than 24 inches long and will permit lightweight plastic bats even if they're more than 2 feet long.
The sporting goods have been deemed acceptable based on recommendations from a TSA working group that's trying to weed out commonly confiscated items that don't present a security threat, agency spokesman David Castelveter said.
"These are popular items we see regularly," Castelveter said. "They don't present a risk to transportation security."
3 convicted of bringing in military grade weapons to sell to Mexican cartels
by City News Service
LOS ANGELES - Three Philippine nationals were convicted today in federal court in Los Angeles of illegally bring military grade weapons into the United States to sell to Mexican drug dealers.
One of the three, Arjyl Revereza, 26, was a Philippine police officer who supplied the weapons to Sergio Syjuco, 26, and Cesar Ubaldo, 27, according to officials with the FBI and the Justice Department.
The defendants were charged in an indictment filed on Jan. 12, 2012.
According to the indictment, in November 2010, Ubaldo met with a prospective weapons buyer, who was actually an undercover FBI agent. Ubaldo introduced the undercover agent to Syjuco, who supplied the weapons. Revereza facilitated the movement of the illegal weapons through Philippine customs.
The weapons included a rocket propelled grenade launcher, a mortar launcher, an M203 single-shot grenade launcher and 12 Bushmaster machine guns, as well as explosives, including mortars and grenades.
They also imported the highest level military body armor.
The weapons came into the Long Beach port on June 7, 2011, where they were seized by the FBI, which had been tracking them all along.
The investigation involved agents and investigators from the FBI, the U.S. Secret Service and the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation, and the Justice Department's Criminal Division's Organized Crime and Gang Section.
The defendants are scheduled to be sentenced June.
Citizens Police Academy Taking Applications in Rosemount, Apple Valley
Application deadline is March 25 — classes begin in April.
by Liala Helal
The experience of watching a police drama on television can become somewhat of a reality for those who want to learn more about local police operations.
Applications are now open for the 2013 Citizens Police Academies by the Rosemount and Apple Valley Police Departments. Each city offers its own program.
According to the City of Rosemount website, the program aims to offer insight into modern-day policing in the local community, through classroom and hands-on training conducted by Rosemount police officers.
Training in Rosemount's Citizens Police Academy will cover topics including an overview of operations, a tour of the police facility, a review of patrol operations, driving under the influence arrest, narcotics presentation, investigations, crime scene processing, M.A.A.G. (SWAT) and firearms, use of force or self-defense, school-liaison duties, arrests, search and seizure issues, traffic stops, community policing and crime prevention, and the chaplain program.
At the completion of the program, citizens will be given the opportunity to ride along with an officer.
"It is our hope that each participant feels informed, has an understanding about the operations of the department and knows the person behind the badge," the Rosemount website states. "Through relationships and partnerships, the police and community provide a safer Rosemount."
In Rosemount, applications will be accepted until March. 25.
The Rosemount academy will meet on Mondays from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. starting April 1, 2013, and ending May 13, 2013. Most classes will meet at Rosemount City Hall. The academy is free and open to individuals who live or work in the City of Rosemount and are at least 18 years of age. All participants will be subject to a criminal background check.
In Apple Valley, the academy will run Tuesday evenings starting April 2, 2013 and ending Tuesday, May 28. The class will meet from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Apple Valley Municipal Center (7100 147th St. W.) and is open to anyone over the age of 18 who lives or works in Apple Valley.
Topics for Apple Valley nine-week course will include DWI enforcement, use of force, the judicial process, crime scene investigation, K9, the Dakota County Drug Task Force and many more.
Spring 2013 Citizens' Police Academy accepting applications
The Palm Springs Police Department has scheduled the Spring of 2013 Citizens' Police Academy. The first Citizens' Police Academy met in 1993 and the program has been running continuously since then. The program meets one night per week for thirteen weeks. This Community Policing project has graduated hundreds of students from all sectors of the community - doctors, lawyers, retirees, students, homemakers, journalists, pilots, teachers, and many others. Attendees participate in discussions about Patrol Procedures, Traffic Investigation, K-9, SWAT, Community Policing, Narcotics, Crime Scene Investigation, Internal Affairs, and many other interesting topics. Attendees are invited to experience simulated live-fire exercises and participate in a ride-along with a Palm Springs Police Officer on patrol.
WHEN: Tuesday evenings, March 5th thru May 28th, 2013
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
WHERE: Palm Springs Police Department
Training Center 101-B
200 South Civic Drive
Palm Springs, CA 92262
To qualify for the Citizens' Police Academy, applicants must be at least 18 years old and have no felony convictions. There is no cost for this exciting and valuable learning experience.
To inquire about the program and/or to reserve your seat, contact Sergeant Kyle Stjerne via email at Kyle.Stjerne@palmspringsca.gov or contact Communications and Records Manager Dora Melanson at (760) 323-8109.
The applications are also available online at www.pspd.com under Community Policing, Citizens' Police Academy.
Cornelius police and residents work to tackle graffiti issue
by Andrea Castillo
A short tour beyond the main streets of Cornelius turns up numerous, easily spotted stains of black, red or blue spray paint. Some of the graffiti appears on otherwise unmarked fences; some is scrawled over layers of old street script.
Officer Dustin DeHaven, a graffiti expert with the Cornelius Police Department, said there are two kinds of graffiti: those done by taggers, street artists looking for notoriety, and those done by gang members. Most graffiti in Cornelius is gang-related.
"It's the newspaper of the street," DeHaven said. "So if something is going on between several gangs, if a situation flares up, there's a good chance you'll see more graffiti. It's trash talk with paint cans."
Now, police and residents are both working to tackle the problem.
For the last four years or so, Cornelius police have been recording graffiti instances in large binders. But complaints, which come in through an online form available on the city's website, by email and phone, haven't always made it to the right place.
Laura Christy, support specialist with the Police Department, has begun to streamline the records. Since Feb. 13, all code violations, including graffiti and other public health dangers, have gone through Christy. She enters the information into a database and refers the complaint to the correct person in the department.
"This way, we can track the complaint so none get forgotten about," Christy said.
Additionally, members of the Community Oriented Policing Citizen Advisory Board started a citizens patrol group in January to help police document graffiti and other code violations.
Trained citizens drive around town, photograph violations and write up police reports, which are forwarded to Christy. So far, they have recorded 23 instances of graffiti in the city.
The goal is to free up police time and tax dollars spent on the task, which can be done just as easily by civilians, said COPCAB board chairwoman Billie Crowder.
DeHaven said most of the gangs in Cornelius are Latino and became prevalent in the early 1990s after trickling up from California. It has been a couple years since the city last witnessed a gang-on-gang shooting, he said, but fights with other weapons are common and that violence could spread to bystanders.
"Gangs are going to be violent with each other, but my concern is when that bullet hits a house," DeHaven said.
Graffiti is one way gang members talk to each other and mark their territory, he said. If that conversation is quickly broken, violence could be less likely.
Owners or occupants of property in Cornelius are required to remove graffiti within seven days. Failure to do so could be punishable by a fine of up to $150.
City Manager Rob Drake said Cornelius residents ar e extremely interested in controlling graffiti. It looks ugly, he said, and is frightening to some.
"Graffiti can also be a weapon of fear," Drake said. "We don't want that. We want a community that feels good."
To report instances of graffiti, visit www.ci.cornelius.or.us and click on the "Report Graffiti Form" tab, or call 503-629-0111.
Alternative Spring Break students to do 7,900 hours of service
by Rachel Hatch
Illinois State students will once again spend their spring break volunteering with Alternative Spring Break, March 9 to 16.
The program is a student-run organization that work with the Leadership and Service Unit of the Dean of Students office. This year, there are a total of 36 student leaders that have met weekly since September. There will be 230 students taking part in Alternative Spring Break this year.
“These students are the ones that make this amazing and inspiring program happen. They will complete over 7,900 hours of community service hours during Alternative Spring Break. This is 1,000 more hours than last year,” said Ben Wright, the graduate advisor for Alternative Spring Break.
Students will volunteer in the following locations:
Greenville, South Carolina : Students will be aiding in the recovery of girls who are survivors of sexual abuse as well as animals of neglect. While in South Carolina, they will also be contributing to the cleanup and restoration of the Crossroads Group Home community.
Selma, Alabama : Students will work for the Freedom Foundation. They will be educated about Civil Rights history and the segregation that still plagues this town. Students will revitalize community centers and mentor the youth of the Selma community.
Argyle, Texas : Students will be assisting at Camp Summit, a residential or “sleep away” camp for children and adults with disabilities. Students will be helping the campers have a fulfilling experience, by serving the needs of the campers and engaging in activities throughout the week.
Birmingham, Alabama : Student will work with Junior Achievement to empower youth by teaching out life skills to those who are underprivileged in intercity schools.
Memphis, Tennessee : Students will be working with Living Lands & Waters to repair and restore the Mississippi River. They will do this through cleaning up debris near the river's edge and on barges.