NEWS of the Day - March 31, 2013
on some LACP issues of interest

NEWS of the Day - March 31, 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 ...


Eastern Yuma Community Policing Detail

Yuma, Arizona - Yuma, Arizona - As part of a renewed commitment to Community Oriented Policing, the Yuma Police Department's Crime Suppression Unit will conduct a bike patrol detail, during afternoon and evening hours, in the City's eastern residential and business areas, on Wednesday April 3, 2013 through Saturday April 6, 2013. These areas will include all housing subdivisions within the City limits, east of Avenue 6 E.

The police department encourages residents to interact and speak with these officers about any concerns they may have in their neighborhoods.

In addition to normal business hours, there will be officers at the Yuma Police Department Substation, located at 6390 E. 26 th Street, on Thursday April 4 and Friday April 5 from 6pm to 8pm. We invite residents and business owners in our eastern communities to stop by during these times and speak with officers about any concerns or questions they may have.

This community detail will mark the first deployment of our rejuvenated bike patrol program, and will be the first of many community specific details to come.




Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse said stepped-up policing efforts will focus on gang-choked building

by Stephanie Barry

HOLYOKE — Residents of South Holyoke will see stepped-up policing measures following a La Familia street gang raid early Friday that targeted nearly a dozen residents of a four-story tenement at 556 Bridge St., according to Mayor Alex J. Morse.

A phalanx of federal, state and local law enforcement agents descended on the apartment complex and surrounding area at dawn, arresting several members of the gang including its alleged leader, Francisco Diaz, 34, of that address.

An FBI agent said in an affidavit that Diaz had established the apartment building as a gang stronghold and distribution center for heroin and cocaine across the city. In addition to Diaz, several of his inner circle and drug runners were arrested in the sweep by the Western Massachusetts Gang Task Force, according to court records.

"We took people off the streets who are not going to be back on the streets for a very long time, and that's a good thing," Morse said. "It'll keep our crime rates down in the spring and summer, so the timing of it was good. It's not the end of the drug problem in Holyoke, but it's a step in the right direction."

Morse said the city's Mobile Community Policing Unit will be staked out in the area over the weekend and police will have a greater presence there in the aftermath – both with car, foot and bike patrols.

The building is a block away from Morgan Elementary School.

Morse said city officials also are considering placing the building in receivership to oust the owners. The building is owned by Windsor Realty, according to city records. State records list the principals of the company as Lucjan J. and Xiaoping Hronowski of Bedford.

"The landlord is not being responsible," Morse said. "We'll look at any code violations. We'd like the landlord to be more selective, and the ensure the people who are on the leases are actually the ones living there."

Morse has established three community policing stations, including one near the site in South Holyoke. He has said the city will not "arrest its way out" of the drug and crime problem that has particularly plagued that neighborhood.

He and Police Chief James M. Neiswanger also have stressed more police involvement at community events in order to improve relations with residents. Several monthly events take place at Morgan Street school, Morse said.

"The new police chief and I are big proponents of community policing. Part of the challenge is residents are afraid to talk to police. We want to change that," Morse said.



From the Department of Justice

In Gideon's Footsteps: The Ongoing Pursuit of Equal Justice for All

by Tracy Russo

Fifty years ago, this week, the Supreme Court issued its landmark decision in Gideon v. Wainwright - a decisioin that would forever change the criminal justice system of the United States.

In June of 1961, Clarence Earl Gideon was charged with breaking and entering with the intention of petty theft at the Bay Harbor Pool Room in Panama City, Florida. Unable to afford representation, Gideon petitioned the State of Florida for appointed counsel, but his request was denied. He was forced to provide his own defense and Gideon was found guilty. He appealed to the Florida Supreme Court. Denied, but undeterred, he wrote – in pencil and on prison stationary – another petition, this time to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In June of 1962, the Supreme Court granted Gideon's petition. The following year on March, 18 1963, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Gideon's favor. The Supreme Court's decision affirmed that every defendant charged with a serious crime has the constitutional right to counsel, re gardless of his or her financial resources. The case marked a momentous step in the United States' pursuit of equality in the justice system.

The Department of Justice was pleased to host a commemorative event for the 50 th Anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright . Attorney General Eric Holder spoke passionately about the legacy of Gideon. He was then joined by former Vice President Walter Mondale and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan for a panel discussion on the topic.

Attorney General Eric Holder paid homage to the landmark decision and recogned its continued impact, as he noted the event served as a reminder of the work that remains unfinished:

“…Despite half a century of progress – even today, in 2013, far too many Americans struggle to gain access to the legal assistance they need. And far too many children and adults routinely enter our juvenile and criminal justice systems with little understanding of the rights to which they're entitled, the charges against them, or the potential sentences they may face.”

The Justice Department is taking action to reduce these instances of inaccessible—or inadequate—legal representation for the citizens most in need. In fact, Attorney General Holder announced on at the event that the department will offer $1.8 million to the cause of strengthening America's public defense system. This comes in addition to the ongoing efforts of the Access to Justice Initiative, established by Attorney General Holder in 2010 to assure that quality legal representation is accessible to even the most vulnerable citizens, and other government and independent organizations with which the Justice Department is coordinating.

Both Attorney General Holder and Acting Senior Counselor for the Access to Justice Initiative Deborah Leff have cautioned on the unfortunate consequences that sequestration, which cut more than $1.6 billion from the Justice Department's budget, will have on the work to advance Gideon's cause. Nevertheless, in her speech to the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy Convening, Acting Senior Counselor Leff said:

“…Despite the strains that we are going through and the cutbacks we are making, the Department of Justice is continuing its support for indigent-defense projects, because fulfilling Gideon's legacy and ensuring the constitutional right to counsel are central to our mission.”

The anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright should inspire all American citizens to reflect upon the significance of a justice system that grants each defendant the right to quality counsel, regardless of their financial circumstances.

In closing remarks, Attorney General Holder said:

“In the end, this may be the single most important legacy of Gideon: that it serves as a reminder of the obligation entrusted to every legal professional – not merely to serve clients or win cases, but to do justice. It stands as a testament to the fact that the structures and mechanisms of our legal system, far from being etched in stone, remain works in progress. And it's a powerful example of how – in this great country – even the humblest hands can help to bend the arc of history just a little further toward justice.”

For more information about the department's efforts to ensure effective legal assistance for all persons charged with crimes visit justice.gov/atj/gideon .



From the FBI

Orange County Woman Sentenced to Five Years in Federal Prison for Providing Material Support to Terrorists by Sending Money to Pakistan to be Used in Attacks Against U.S. Forces Overseas

SANTA ANA, CA—A Turkish citizen who resides in Orange County was sentenced this morning to five years in federal prison after admitting she provided material support to terrorists by wiring money to Pakistan to help fund attacks against American military personnel.

Oytun Ayse Mihalik, 40, of La Palma, a lawful permanent resident of the United States, was sentenced by United States District Judge Josephine Staton Tucker. Mihalik pleaded guilty on August 10, 2012, to one count of providing material support to terrorists. When she pleaded guilty, she specifically admitted that she provided money to an individual in Pakistan with the intention that the money would be used to prepare for and carry out attacks against United States military personnel and other persons overseas. Using the alias Cindy Palmer, Mihalik sent a total of $2,050 in three wire transfers to the person in Pakistan over the course of three weeks at the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011.

“International terrorists require a steady pipeline of money to maintain and support their operations,” said United States Attorney André Birotte, Jr. “The defendant in this case knowingly and deliberately made wire transfers to fund terrorist operations overseas, where contributions like these could have a significant and devastating impact on American interests.”

Mihalik's “support for terrorism was knowing and intentional—not the product of undue influence or misguided good intentions and not aberrant conduct,” federal prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo. “In fact, as [Mihalik] herself told the FBI shortly after her arrest, she believed [the person in Pakistan] was a member of the Taliban and al Qaeda, and she knew he was using the money for mujahadin operations against American military forces in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region.”

“The FBI is committed to the prevention of terrorist attacks targeting the United States,” said Bill Lewis, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI's Los Angeles Field Office. “Through the partnerships of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, we will continue to hold accountable those who support terrorist causes by financing operations that target Americans and her interests.”

Mihalik has been in federal custody since she was arrested on August 27, 2011, as she was preparing to board a flight to her native Turkey with a one-way ticket. As part of this case, Mihalik agreed that the United States can take away her immigration status and that she will be removed from the United States to Turkey after serving her prison sentence.

“While the sum of money involved in this case may not seem substantial, there's no doubt the funds this defendant sent overseas would have covered the cost of an attack on U.S. soldiers,” said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge for HSI Los Angeles. “Money is the mother's milk of terrorism, and we will move aggressively against those who provide financial support to groups and individuals bent on harming the U.S. and its allies.”

The case against Mihalik was investigated by the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force. The JTTF includes special agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations, as well as investigators with the Orange County Sheriff's Department.



From the Department of Homeland Security

FEMA and Emergency Management: Looking Back, Moving Forward and Changing Outcomes

by W. Craig Fugate -- FEMA Administrator

As part of the effort to recognize the DHS ten year anniversary, I recently sat down with my colleagues to discuss some of the recent milestones at FEMA and the agency's priorities moving forward. Some of the examples we talk about are from recent events, including Hurricane Sandy.

The team at FEMA has taken some big, forward steps in the last few years that have changed outcomes for those impacted by disasters, but we must continue to improve if FEMA and DHS are going to meet future threats. With that, here are some of the questions and my responses:

Q: How has FEMA changed in the last few years? What are a few of the milestones that mark those changes?

The biggest change is shifting focus first and foremost on the threats we face as a nation, not on a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction basis.

The national Urban Search and Rescue teams are one example. These are the best of the best. They are the most capable and best equipped search and rescue units in the country – some of these teams went to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. But these teams can be expensive. Traditionally, they were seen as a resource for their local jurisdiction. Yet, very few communities were able to afford these teams and at the end of the day, the country wasn't going to have enough teams to significantly raise its ability to respond to large-scale events. We were piecing together resources and capabilities to prepare community-by-community and hoping that it all added up to a more prepared nation.

Think about it. Lots of grant money has been given to state and local governments to build capabilities, but what did they get for it? In the case of Urban Search and Rescue, there were some jurisdictions that had fully equipped teams, but other communities that weren't as capable to respond.

That's because we were providing funding through grants aimed at a community-by-community approach, so some ended up being left out. Now, DHS and FEMA have shifted the focus of the search and rescue teams to act as a national resource that can be used in any emergency in any jurisdiction where local and state resources are overwhelmed. We've also funded more teams to create a second tier of search and rescue capabilities. This creates more shared resources at the national level while maintaining the capability at the local community level.

Q: Are there other examples that show this shift?

Under the direction of Secretary Napolitano, our grant programs have changed in the last few years to reflect this national approach as well. Now grant programs recognize things like Emergency Management Assistance Compacts that allow states to share capabilities and resources in the event of an emergency. No community can prepare independently for all catastrophic risks, so emphasizing shared resources is critical to building capacity on a national scale.

So it's starting with questions like: What threats do we face as a nation ? What are the scenarios that require additional federal resources, and how can we build our capabilities there? By answering these questions, we can prioritize what we're going to fund at the federal level and drive unity of effort towards a nation that's better prepared. We're looking at scenarios of national consequence, not just the jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction approach we tended to follow in the past.



FEMA and Emergency Management: Looking Back, Moving Forward and Changing Outcomes (Part Two)

by W. Craig Fugate -- FEMA Administrator

As part of the effort to recognize the DHS ten year anniversary, I recently sat down with my colleagues to discuss some of the recent milestones at FEMA and the agency's priorities moving forward. Some of the examples we talk about are from recent events, including Hurricane Sandy. This is the second in a two-part series, and you can read more questions and answers in Part One.

The team at FEMA has taken some big, forward steps in the last few years that have changed outcomes for those impacted by disasters, but we must continue to improve if FEMA and DHS are going to meet future threats. With that, here are some of the questions and my responses:

Q: How does building capacity on a national level translate to the planning that happens in emergency management or to the response efforts after a disaster?

Shifting the mindset towards scenarios of national consequence goes hand-in-hand with our focus on planning for those threats that are bigger than what we can already do.

You can't change the disaster based on what your capabilities to respond are, so we've put an emphasis on threats of national significance. These are events (like a terrorist attack with an improvised nuclear device, earthquakes, or multiple hurricanes) that would not only overwhelm the resources of a state, but multiple states. Planning and executing at this level requires creative problem solving – it doesn't allow you to simply scale up your programs and assistance effectively based on how you used to do it.

The response to Hurricane Sandy was one example. Before Sandy struck, FEMA had existing plans for how to set up disaster recovery centers (DRCs), places where those impacted by the storm can register for assistance and discuss assistance options with staff from FEMA and the state. We found that our current way of getting out assistance was not scalable for a population-dense area like New York and New Jersey – so now we're redesigning that process (and our disaster recovery centers) from the ground up. We're looking at how we can get assistance to a large number of people with sparse communication as quickly as possible, while minimizing the number of times those individuals need to contact FEMA.

We sent FEMA staff with internet-capable tablets out into the hardest hit areas. We brought the registration process and “the DRC” to disaster survivors – registering them for assistance at FEMA's mobile webpage on tablets while talking through various assistance options at the federal, state, and local levels.

Those kinds of changes show the progress FEMA has made over the last several years. It's getting away from the trap of designing small systems that work in environments we're comfortable with and shifting the focus towards preparing for national threats and building capabilities that can respond to events that have a national consequence.

And speaking of Hurricane Sandy, it's worth noting the role the DHS Surge Capacity Workforce played in FEMA's response. By calling on several thousand employees from other DHS components, we were able to fill out our response effort at the federal level. It's about more than just the sheer number of staff that came with the surge. When I say “fill out”, the DHS surge allowed FEMA to add capabilities, which is always more important than just adding numbers to the role. FEMA will definitely utilize the DHS surge in future large-scale disasters because of the benefits we saw after Hurricane Sandy.

Q: What are a few of your priorities moving forward?

Moving ahead, we need to do more to reduce the nation's overall cost and vulnerability to disasters. Just preparing, responding, and rebuilding isn't going to do it, there needs to be a focus on resiliency. We can't continue to afford the losses of disasters and go through the painful rebuilding and recovery process.

Part of the solution is effectively transferring risk. The federal government, and thus, taxpayers nationwide, shouldn't be taking on financial risk at a greater rate for those communities that face the consistent threat of a disaster or emergency of national consequence. The benefits that taxpayers receive (through taxes, jobs, economic stimulus, etc.) should be directly proportional to the risk they are bearing.

Better management of how and where we build, smarter building codes, and land use management are a few things that can reduce the risk of disasters having a high impact, which is a start. But we may need to look at mitigation differently.

As an example, one term that's frequently used in risk management is the “100-year event”, or an event that has a one percent chance of occurring in any given year. These are supposed to be rare occurrences, but how many of these “100 year events” have we had in the last few years alone? Does that term still accurately capture what the vulnerabilities are, or should a new standard be used?

We should be planning and looking at risk not just for the 100-year events, but also adapting to the changing circumstances around that risk. There's a lot of debate about climate change, but I'm more concerned with climate adaptation and ensuring we are adapting at a greater rate than our exposure to risk is increasing.

And there are certainly improvements that FEMA can make as an organization. Continuing to focus on affecting change at the national level, while still keeping a focus on positive outcomes for individuals and families impacted by disasters – that's what I'm going to keep pushing for.



Protect Your Personal Information This Tax Season

by Bobbie Stempfley -- Acting Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications

It's that time of the year again when many Americans prepare to file their tax returns. With risk of tax-related identity theft, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is taking a wide variety of steps to combat identity theft and refund fraud, protect taxpayers and assist victims of identity theft. There are also steps taxpayers can take to protect themselves.

When it comes to your taxes, identity theft often starts outside of the tax administration system. Cyber criminals are constantly on the prowl for Social Security Numbers and other personal information they can exploit for fraudulent purposes. Identity thieves may use a taxpayer's identity to fraudulently file a tax return and claim a refund. The legitimate taxpayer may be unaware that anything has happened until they file their return later in the filing season, and it is discovered that two returns have been filed using the same Social Security Number.

When you file your taxes this year, follow these tips from the IRS and Department of Homeland Security's Stop.Think.Connect. campaign to help safeguard your personal information:

•  Don't give out your personal information unless it is a trusted entity . The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages, or social media to request personal or financial information.

•  Look out for phony messages purporting to be from the IRS and don't fall victim to tax scams . Exercise caution when opening suspicious email attachments and do not click on unsolicited Web links in email messages. Pay special attention to offers that sound too good to be true such as “guaranteed refunds.” Scammers who are trying to gain access to financial information may use the IRS name or logo in email messages and sites in order to steal identities and assets. Ensure you have typed www.IRS.gov into your Web browser to be certain you have the authentic IRS site.

•  Report phishing attempts. All unsolicited emails claiming to be from either the IRS or any other IRS-related components such as the Office of Professional Responsibility or Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) should be reported to phishing@irs.gov. See www.IRS.gov/phishing for details.

•  Back up your data and store your electronic tax files securely . Last year, nearly 100 million taxpayers opted for the safest, fastest and easiest way to submit their individual tax returns — IRS e-file. While preparing your tax return for electronic filing, make sure to use a strong password to protect the data file. Once your return has been e-filed, burn the file to a CD, DVD or flash drive and remove the personal information from your hard drive. Store the portable device in a secure place, such as a lock box or safe. If you are working with an accountant, ask them what measures they take to protect your information.

•  Check privacy policies . Be careful with the information you share online. To learn how to identify a secure website, visit the Federal Trade Commission.

To ensure cybersecurity for our entire society, each of us must play our part. It only takes a single infected computer to potentially infect thousands and perhaps millions of others. Everyone should make basic cybersecurity practices as reflexive as putting on a seatbelt. These basic measures can improve both our individual and our collective safety online.

To learn more about how to protect your information during tax season, visit www.irs.gov/identitytheft. For more cyber resources and tips, please visit www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect.



Successful Maritime Deployment Demonstrates an Expanded Capability to Detect Radiological and Nuclear Materials

by Huban Gowadia -- Acting Director of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office

Yesterday, DHS' Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) and U.S. Coast Guard Sector New York coordinated with law enforcement and other first responders from New York and New Jersey, to deploy nuclear detection equipment and personnel on the local waterways in the New York City-Newark metropolitan area. The purpose of this deployment was to screen vessels for potential illicit radiological and nuclear materials, train detection boat crews, as well as to test equipment and detection capabilities, as part of DNDO's Securing the Cities (STC) Program.

State, local and tribal law enforcement and first responders are important partners in strengthening the Global Nuclear Detection Architecture (GNDA). The STC program is designed to enhance the nation's ability to detect and prevent a radiological or nuclear attack in cities facing the highest risk.

As part of the STC program, the New York City-Newark region conducts close to 50 such maritime deployments annually, which enables first responders to test and enhance their capabilities to detect and interdict radiological and nuclear material outside of regulatory control.

This operation provided an opportunity for DNDO to observe and take away many best practices and lessons learned, to further develop and strengthen the GNDA. We are committed to working together with our regional partners to conduct training and exercises to further enhance law enforcement and first responder organizations' efforts to identify, prevent and respond to potential nuclear or radiological threats.