NEWS of the Day - March 26, 2013
on some LACP issues of interest

NEWS of the Day - March 26, 2013
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 ...


Teen Sentenced To 30 Months In Jail For Pointing Laser At Aircraft

A California man was sentenced on Monday after he was caught red handed last year pointing a laser at flying aircraft.

A 19-year-old man of North Hollywood will now serve 30 months in federal prison, the L.A. Times reports. Last March, Adam Gardenhire repeatedly shined the laser directly at a private and police aircraft.

Pilots attempting to land a passenger plane said they had vision problems because of the lasers. Gardenhire pleaded guilty in October to the charges of a felony count of aiming a laser beam at an aircraft.

Later, the man used the laser to bother a police helicopter that was responding to the first incident of the landing private jet. The pilot of the helicopter was not affected by the laser because he was wearing protective eye wear.

President Barack Obama signed the laser law in 2012; this is its second case. The law makes aiming a laser at an aircraft, or the flight path of an aircraft, a federal crime. Those who violate this measure can be fined or imprisoned for up to five years.




Chicago police put more feet on street

by Jeremy Gorner

Rookie Chicago police officers have started to patrol on foot on some of the city's most dangerous blocks in a move that Superintendent Garry McCarthy said reinforces the department's "return to community policing."

After six months in the Police Academy and 12 weeks of training in the field, 24 newly minted officers have worked nights for a little more than a week in what McCarthy called an "impact zone" within the South Side's Gresham District, in crime-ridden neighborhoods that include Chatham and Auburn Gresham.

As more classes graduate from the academy this year and complete the field training, officers will be added to 19 other zones throughout the city where gang violence is rampant, McCarthy said.

"Where officers are in the vehicle, they can get around quicker, but where they're on foot, they can really lock down a location," McCarthy said Monday during a news conference at the Morgan Park District police station on the Far South Side.

The same group of new officers will be assigned to one particular impact zone instead of bouncing around to others, the superintendent said.

"One of the philosophies ... that we've adopted is what I like to call a return to community policing," McCarthy said. "And in this case, it's the same officers in the same zones every single night."

The strategy comes after the department this month doubled to 400 the number of officers allowed to work on their days off in those 20 zones to try to reduce violence. Those 20 zones represent only about 3 percent of Chicago's geographical area but have accounted for some 20 percent of the city's violence over the last three years, according to the department.

After a dramatic rise in violence during the first quarter of 2012 in part because of unseasonably warm weather, homicides and shootings have dropped sharply by comparison this year. Through Sunday, Chicago had recorded 69 slayings, down almost 35 percent from 106 in the same year-earlier period, department statistics show. Shootings also have dropped, by about 30 percent.

McCarthy said he hopes the foot patrols will eventually allow the department to reduce the amount of money being paid out in overtime.

The Fraternal Order of Police, the union that represents rank-and-file police officers, said the rookie cops will be working on the same blocks as more experienced officers who will be riding in squad cars. But foot patrols can pose a safety risk, FOP President Michael Shields said.

"I'd much prefer to see officers in very violent areas in a police car just for officer safety purposes," he said. "You always have to worry about officers being disarmed or approached from behind and disarmed, and the next thing you know the officer has his gun stripped from him."

But criminologist Arthur Lurigio said he knows of no evidence that officers face a greater risk patrolling dangerous blocks on foot than when riding in a squad car. Echoing McCarthy's comments, Lurigio said foot patrols can strengthen a police department's relationship with the community.

"Officers on the beat can gain a better sense of emerging crime and other social problems in the neighborhood," said Lurigio, a professor of psychology and criminal justice at Loyola University Chicago. "Foot patrols also help police forge more favorable, cooperative and productive working relationships with law-abiding residents and business owners."

Ald. Howard Brookins, a past critic of McCarthy's strategies whose 21st Ward covers the Gresham District, said he believes the foot patrols will bring more meaningful interaction with residents.

"Foot patrol officers tend to know the community and the hot spots," Brookins said after McCarthy's news conference




New Haven Police Department introduces 40 new officers

by Jennifer Swift

NEW HAVEN — Chief Dean Esserman said the 40 uniformed officers ready to hit the streets were the fulfillment of a promise, and a return to community policing.

“My marching orders were clear. Bring violence down in this city and bring community policing back to every neighborhood in this city,” said Esserman, who has been chief since October. “What you see behind me is a promise this city has kept to the community.”

The officers have completed the police academy and are nearly finished with three months of field training. They will be deployed to walking beats by next week. The department will divide the additional officers, giving each of the 10 city districts four officers.

With officers starting soon, and 27 recruits currently in the academy, the Police Department employs 422 sworn officers. The city plans to add 40 officers after a recruitment drive in May/June, Mayor John DeStefano Jr. said Monday.

The increase in officers is a response to what residents want, DeStefano said.

“Folks have been clear with me, with the department, with their local legislators, the aldermen, that they want to see (officers) in the neighborhood,” he said.

Monday's press conference was the introduction of the new officers, and an opportunity for Esserman to thank the mayor and aldermen.

DeStefano said it was “fair to say” under his tenure the city had not focused as much on community policing in its effort to reduce violent crime, and instead focused on other tactics. Both he and Esserman said they were returning to that focus.

“We are not strangers in New Haven. We belong to the people of New Haven. We are part of New Haven and what you see is through the years ahead, we will be what we promised, a neighborhood-based, community- based (department), who have a personal relationship with the community,” Esserman said.

DeStefano said while there was a reduction in violent crime last year there was an increase in street crime, which he hopes will be alleviated by having a more visible force.

The increase in officers comes with the addition of 80 new firefighters in next year's budget. DeStefano said the new officers are included in next year's budget funds, and some of the funds are offset from overtime.

In attendance were the Board of Aldermen Public Safety Chairman Brian Wingate, and Ward 7 Alderman Doug Hausladen. Wingate called community policing an opportunity for residents to see “some true policing” and build relationships.

One of the new officers is Osvaldo Garcia, 30, of Waterbury.

“New Haven has a lot to offer, this is where I wanted to be,” he said.

“Because of the department itself, what it has to offer, it has a lot of opportunities to move up and around, and they have different unites within (the department).”

Garcia described the academy as “tough” but “exciting.” Walking beats help a police officer to build a relationship with the community and it also helps the community out, Garcia said.

Esserman said the decision to add four officers to each of the ten districts uniformly was because “every neighborhood needs to be treated the same.”

“People are concerned with what's going on in their block, in their neighborhood… community policing is for every neighborhood. There are different issues, different problems in different neighborhoods, but real issues, real problems in every neighborhood.”