NEWS of the Day - May 22, 2013
on some LACP issues of interest

NEWS of the Day
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 ...

FBI suspect fatally shot; possible Boston link

WESH-TV says the victim and a friend were questioned about bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

by Douglas Stanglin

An FBI agent shot and killed an Orlando man early Wednesday who had been questioned for several hours about his alleged ties to Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the victim's friend told local media.

FBI officials have confirmed that a man died while one of its agents was "conducting official duties," the Orlando Sentinel reports, but would not elaborate.

The Sentinel and WESH-TV identified the victim as 27-year-old Ibragim Todashev.

The television station quotes Khusn Taramiv, a friend of the victim, as saying both of them had been questioned for almost three hours Tuesday about the Boston bombing case.

Taramiv said his friend knew Boston bombings suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev because they were both mixed martial-arts fighters, WESH and The Sentinel report.

Taramiv told WESH that Todashev, who is an ethnic Chechen like Tsarnaev, had once lived in Boston and was a casual friend of the Boston bombing suspect. He said Todashev and Tsarnaev had spoken by phone or Skype for about five minutes about a week before the April 15 Boston bombings.

Tsarnaev, 26, died in a shootout with police three days after the Boston attack, which killed three people. His 19-year-old brother, Dzhokhar, has been charged in connection with the bombings and is being held at a prison medical center outside Boston.

WESH-TV quotes Taramiv as saying that the FBI, after a long interview with him and Todashev on Tuesday, said they needed his friend for a a couple of more hours.

"They told me they're going to bring him back," Taramiv told WESH-TV. "They never brought him back. He felt inside he was going to get shot."

The shooting occurred at a condominium in Orlando, but details were not immediately available.

WESH-TV said Todashev had been arrested earlier this month on charges of aggravated battery.




Modesto police chief makes lieutenants responsible for city quadrants

by Erin Tracy

MODESTO -- Modesto Police Chief Galen Carroll has implemented a plan he said will make the department more accountable and strengthen the connection between officers and the people they protect.

He spoke about the plan Tuesday afternoon before the Modesto Rotary Club during a luncheon at the DoubleTree Hotel.

•  Much like the way his former department in Long Beach is organized, Carroll last week assigned a lieutenant, or area commander, to each quadrant of the city.

•  Those lieutenants, who in the past spent much of their time in the office, will be out on the streets more, using crime data to target hot spots and address spikes in particular types of crime. Sergeants in each quadrant will work more closely with the public by attending at least part of every Neighborhood Watch meeting to hear concerns directly from the people living in those areas.

•  Before, lieutenants were in charge of the whole city, so no one person was accountable to address the problems in a particular area.

•  "When everyone is responsible, no one truly is responsible," Carroll said. "If there is a problem in one area, (commanders) don't have to be the loudest, squeakiest wheel for the whole city; they have to be the loudest, squeakiest wheel for that particular area."

•  In the north part of the city, McHenry Avenue separates the east and the west, with Scenic Drive and Needham Street being the southern borders. To the south, Highway 99 divides the west and the south.

The boundaries are not new for patrol officers; the biggest difference, Carroll said, is that lieutenants will direct officers and resources to affect those areas under their command and be accountable for crime, quality of life, community policing and outreach in those areas.

Within the quadrants, officers soon will have access to software that compiles data from dispatched calls and uses an algorithm that predicts where crimes will occur.

The department has the predictive policing software now, and it will be operational in a few months, Carroll said.

About the same time, Carroll plans to deploy the department's new police abatement vehicle — an armored truck that will be equipped with a license plate reader and cameras and parked in problem neighborhoods.

The truck was Ceres Police Department's old SWAT truck; Ceres donated it at no cost to Modesto.

"We will park it in front of nuisance properties where there is drug dealing and gang members," Carroll said.

It will not only act as a visual deterrent, but the license plate readers — which can record up to 1,000 plates in a minute — will keep track of who is coming and going. If there is a shooting on the street or burglaries in the neighborhood, evidence will be captured and recorded.

Area commanders as well as captains have been assigned police departments to visit around the state to learn what they are doing differently and decide whether the practice could work in Modesto.

So far, commanders have visited Long Beach and Irvine, and visits are scheduled in San Jose, Sacramento and Citrus Heights.

Mayor Garrad Marsh has floated the idea of putting a public safety tax on the November ballot, but has provided few details. Because of that, Carroll said he doesn't have a plan for what that money could provide, but knows in general what he would do with more officers. He would beef up patrol to combat gang violence and add more motorcycle officers for traffic enforcement.

"Criminals drive cars, too, and they don't like being pulled over," he said.



Community Leaders Say Gun Violence In The East Bay Is A Public Health Crisis (Analysis)

An Assembly hearing focusing on rising gun violence in the East Bay instead evolved into a string of community and faith-based leaders clamoring for answers over how to heal what they say is the root cause of violence in places like Oakland: socio-economic despair.

Oakland Assemblyman Rob Bonta, chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Gun Violence in the East Bay brought three panels of local officials, youth counselors and pastors together Friday to discuss the continuing rise even in crime less than 24 hours after the city suffered two more homicides Thursday night. Thirty-seven homicides have occurred in Oakland this year.

Even as an ambitious package of gun control bills sponsored by Bonta, Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner and State Sen. Loni Hancock wind through the Legislature, most panelists instead chose to focus on ideas that will foster hope, rather than the need to pick up a firearm and shoot.

Olis Simmons, a community organizer with Oakland's Youth UpRising says gang activity — the often mentioned cause of gun violence — is not the issue. “It's a clique issue,” she says, resulting from staggering unemployment in Oakland, especially in the black and Latino community, and fear. “They carry guns not because they're a predator, but because they're desperate to feel safe.”

“This is a public health crisis,” said Pastor Zack Carey of Oakland's True Vine Ministries. “They're shooting each other because there's no jobs.”

Richmond's charismatic director of Neighborhood Safety DeVone Boggan said he has heard many of the same solutions over the past two decades to no avail. The impetus should be on helping the youth make better decisions to avoid conflicts when they invariably occur on the streets, he said. “Help us to understand what is required to motivate you to put your gun down,” Boggan said. “When you truly want to live, you make better decisions.”

Salinas Police Chief Kelly McMillin, whose rapidly growing Central Valley city, like Oakland, has both high rates of crime along with a large minority population, says community policing has helped foster trust between residents and law enforcement, and forced those in need take advantage of various local social programs. You can't rely on troubled residents to seek out the programs on their own, he says. Instead, his officers take the programs to their front door.

He also his instructs officers to immerse themselves in the community while eschewing zero tolerance strategies to create safe neighborhoods. When events necessitate the use of police force, McMillin says, the community is far more understanding if there is perception law enforcement had already done everything they could in the past. However, he says, “Some people are just too dangerous and need to be locked up.” McMillin realizes his strategy is also costly. “It is expensive. It's a question of resources,” he said, “but it absolutely works.”

Many at Friday's hearing agree the rise in gun violence would be better framed as a public health crisis. Dr. Randi Smith, a surgeon-in-training at Oakland's Highland Hospital, says the vast majority of patients she sees in the emergency room are predominately black and Latinos consistently delivered from the same streets in Oakland. They are also repeat customers, she says.

Citing a national statistics, Smith says 44 percent of young blacks who experience a gunshot wound will likely receive another in the next five years. It is not uncommon, Smith says, for doctors treating patients for single-entry bullet wounds at Highland to notice previous gunshot wounds on x-rays. Sadly, Smith says, “There's a revolving door of gun violence.”