IMMIGRATION: Path to citizenship won't be easy
by Gina Martinez
WASHINGTON -- The path to citizenship outlined in the Senate immigration bill for the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants is a long, expensive and complicated journey.
Earning citizenship will take more than a decade, cost thousands of dollars, and require applicants - half of whom live in poverty and many of whom don't speak English - to comply with a daunting list of regulations.
Even as opponents decry the path as "amnesty,'' immigrant advocates are concerned that the burdensome process may make citizenship nearly unachievable for millions who qualify.
"We have grave concerns about whether low-income immigrants will be able to afford the fees, fines, and tax liability that they would be required to pay" the National Immigration Law Center wrote in an analysis of the measure.
More than 900,000 undocumented immigrants live in Los Angeles County according to a survey by the Public Policy Institute of California. There is no way to be certain how many of them would make it through the process, let alone qualify, to obtain citizenship.
The Senate's bipartisan "Gang of Eight" introduced a reform bill last month that aims to improve the immigration system by increasing border security, and providing the opportunity of citizenship to undocumented immigrants.
Among the flash points as it works its way through Congress is the level of difficulty in providing citizenship.
While the bill's prospects for passage are strong in the Senate, some Republicans have warned that the path will need to become even tougher for it to win approval in the House.
"The Gang of Eight's bill is aggressive and outrageous amnesty,'' said Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa when the bill was introduced. "It is instant legalization of all illegal immigrants in the United States.''
The bill provides for "legal status'' for immigrants who pay a $500 penalty, back taxes and a yet-to-be determined filing fee. All applicants must have been in the country continuously for the past 18 months, and not been convicted of a felony or three misdemeanors.
But the path to citizenship contains many more twists and turns.
The shortest path is for those brought to the country as children. Known as "Dreamers,'' those enrolled in school who have lived in the U.S. since they were 16, maintained a presence here for at least five years and are younger than 31 years old will be able to receive a green card - the first step toward citizenship - after five years.
Most immigrants, however, will have to wait at least a decade before receiving a green card, and several more to become a citizen.
And as a compromise with those who wish to make border security a priority, the process won't begin until the Department of Homeland Security is able to certify the U.S. borders are "secure.''
"It's certainly not a bill that we would have written ourselves,'' said Laura Vazquez, a legislative analyst at the National Council of La Raza, who nevertheless said it "makes significant improvements to our broken immigration system. "
"We are concerned about the cost and the fees and we are watching very carefully to ensure that nothing gets added on to what's already in the legislation that will make it even more difficult for people to go through the legalization process,'' Vazquez said.
Once the borders are deemed secure, undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. before December 31, 2011 will be able to apply for "Registered Provisional Status."
In addition to the $500 penalty, applicants must submit to a background check including a biometric analysis, fingerprinting, and a thorough medical exam, to ensure they are healthy and up-to-date with their vaccinations.
This process involves travelling to a designated application support center, which requires the undocumented immigrant to have reliable transportation and available hours for the obligatory meetings.
As "provisional'' immigrants, the law prohibits them from receiving federal benefits until five years after they receive a green card.
"This is a low-wage workforce that already struggles to survive and provide for their families,'' said Tanya Broder, a senior staff attorney for the National Immigration Legal Center.
Broder said the temporary status "will help stabilize their income and should improve their ability to contribute to the community. But the fines, fees, penalties and employment requirement may be difficult for them to meet."
Six years into their wait, the immigrants must reapply for the status, paying another $500 penalty and prove they have been steadily employed. After 10 years, they may apply for a green card, and join "legal immigrants'' who have applied for citizenship, a process that typically takes several years.
The process for applying for each step requires a meticulous understanding of the immigration process and a high level of English proficiency. Most cannot afford to hire immigration attorneys.
Vazquez voiced optimism that millions will be able to comply. She noted that the Senate Judiciary Committee just adopted an amendment proposed by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, which would allow applicants to pay their penalties and back taxes in installments.
"The ultimate goal of the legislation we believe is to get as many people to move from undocumented status into a path to citizenship,'' Vazquez said. "That has to be met by having a process that is real and accessible."
Confidential report lists U.S. weapons system designs compromised by Chinese cyberspies
by Ellen Nakashima
Designs for many of the nation's most sensitive advanced weapons systems have been compromised by Chinese hackers, according to a report prepared for the Pentagon and to officials from government and the defense industry.
Among more than two dozen major weapons systems whose designs were breached were programs critical to U.S. missile defenses and combat aircraft and ships, according to a previously undisclosed section of a confidential report prepared for Pentagon leaders by the Defense Science Board.
Obama's decision to shift drone strikes from the CIA to the military has been tried before.
Experts warn that the electronic intrusions gave China access to advanced technology that could accelerate the development of its weapons systems and weaken the U.S. military advantage in a future conflict.
The Defense Science Board, a senior advisory group made up of government and civilian experts, did not accuse the Chinese of stealing the designs. But senior military and industry officials with knowledge of the breaches said the vast majority were part of a widening Chinese campaign of espionage against U.S. defense contractors and government agencies.
The significance and extent of the targets help explain why the Obama administration has escalated its warnings to the Chinese government to stop what Washington sees as rampant cybertheft.
In January, the advisory panel warned in the public version of its report that the Pentagon is unprepared to counter a full-scale cyber-conflict. The list of compromised weapons designs is contained in a confidential version, and it was provided to The Washington Post.
Some of the weapons form the backbone of the Pentagon's regional missile defense for Asia, Europe and the Persian Gulf. The designs included those for the advanced Patriot missile system, known as PAC-3; an Army system for shooting down ballistic missiles, known as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD; and the Navy's Aegis ballistic-missile defense system.
Also identified in the report are vital combat aircraft and ships, including the F/A-18 fighter jet, the V-22 Osprey, the Black Hawk helicopter and the Navy's new Littoral Combat Ship, which is designed to patrol waters close to shore.
Also on the list is the most expensive weapons system ever built — the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which is on track to cost about $1.4 trillion. The 2007 hack of that project was reported previously.
China, which is pursuing a comprehensive long-term strategy to modernize its military, is investing in ways to overcome the U.S. military advantage — and cyber-espionage is seen as a key tool in that effort, the Pentagon noted this month in a report to Congress on China. For the first time, the Pentagon specifically named the Chinese government and military as the culprit behind intrusions into government and other computer systems.
As the threat from Chinese cyber-espionage has grown, the administration has become more public with its concerns. In a speech in March, Thomas Donilon, the national security adviser to President Obama, urged China to control its cyber-activity. In its public criticism, the administration has avoided identifying the specific targets of hacking.
But U.S. officials said several examples were raised privately with senior Chinese government representatives in a four-hour meeting a year ago. The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a closed meeting, said senior U.S. defense and diplomatic officials presented the Chinese with case studies detailing the evidence of major intrusions into U.S. companies, including defense contractors.
In addition, a recent classified National Intelligence Estimate on economic cyber-espionage concluded that China was by far the most active country in stealing intellectual property from U.S. companies.
McCain's visit and E.U. move add to pressure on Obama administration's go-slow policy on Syria.
Obama's decision to shift drone strikes from the CIA to the military has been tried before.
The Chinese government insists that it does not conduct cyber-espionage on U.S. agencies or companies, and government spokesmen often complain that Beijing is a victim of U.S. cyberattacks.
Obama is expected to raise the issue when he meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping next month in California.
A spokesman for the Pentagon declined to discuss the list from the science board's report. But the spokesman, who was not authorized to speak on the record, said in an e-mail, “The Department of Defense has growing concerns about the global threat to economic and national security from persistent cyber-intrusions aimed at the theft of intellectual property, trade secrets and commercial data, which threatens the competitive edge of U.S. businesses like those in the Defense Industrial Base.”
The confidential list of compromised weapons system designs and technologies represents the clearest look at what the Chinese are suspected of targeting. When the list was read to independent defense experts, they said they were shocked by the extent of the cyber-espionage and the potential for compromising U.S. defenses.
“That's staggering,” said Mark Stokes, executive director of the Project 2049 Institute, a think tank that focuses on Asia security issues. “These are all very critical weapons systems, critical to our national security. When I hear this in totality, it's breathtaking.”
The experts said the cybertheft creates three major problems. First, access to advanced U.S. designs gives China an immediate operational edge that could be exploited in a conflict. Second, it accelerates China's acquisition of advanced military technology and saves billions in development costs. And third, the U.S. designs can be used to benefit China's own defense industry. There are long-standing suspicions that China's theft of designs for the F-35 fighter allowed Beijing to develop its version much faster.
“You've seen significant improvements in Chinese military capabilities through their willingness to spend, their acquisitions of advanced Russian weapons, and from their cyber-espionage campaign,” said James A. Lewis, a cyber-policy expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Ten years ago, I used to call the PLA [People's Liberation Army] the world's largest open-air military museum. I can't say that now.”
The public version of the science board report noted that such cyber-espionage and cyber-sabotage could impose “severe consequences for U.S. forces engaged in combat.” Those consequences could include severed communication links critical to the operation of U.S. forces. Data corruption could misdirect U.S. operations. Weapons could fail to operate as intended. Planes, satellites or drones could crash, the report said.
In other words, Stokes said, “if they have a better sense of a THAAD design or PAC-3 design, then that increases the potential of their ballistic missiles being able to penetrate our or our allies' missile defenses.”
Winslow T. Wheeler, director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Project on Government Oversight, made a similar point. “If they got into the combat systems, it enables them to understand it to be able to jam it or otherwise disable it,” he said. “If they've got into the basic algorithms for the missile and how they behave, somebody better get out a clean piece of paper and start to design all over again.”
McCain's visit and E.U. move add to pressure on Obama administration's go-slow policy on Syria. Obama's decision to shift drone strikes from the CIA to the military has been tried before.
The list did not describe the extent or timing of the penetrations. Nor did it say whether the theft occurred through the computer networks of the U.S. government, defense contractors or subcontractors.
Privately, U.S. officials say that senior Pentagon officials are frustrated by the scale of cybertheft from defense contractors, who routinely handle sensitive classified data. The officials said concerns have been expressed by Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., the vice chairman, as well as Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency.
“In many cases, they don't know they've been hacked until the FBI comes knocking on their door,” said a senior military official who was not authorized to speak on the record. “This is billions of dollars of combat advantage for China. They've just saved themselves 25 years of research and development. It's nuts.”
In an attempt to combat the problem, the Pentagon launched a pilot program two years ago to help the defense industry shore up its computer defenses, allowing the companies to use classified threat data from the National Security Agency to screen their networks for malware. The Chinese began to focus on subcontractors, and now the government is in the process of expanding the sharing of threat data to more defense contractors and other industries.
An effort to change defense contracting rules to require companies to secure their networks or risk losing Pentagon business stalled last year. But the 2013 Defense Authorization Act has a provision that requires defense contractors holding classified clearances to report intrusions into their networks and allow access to government investigators to analyze the breach.
The systems on the science board's list are built by a variety of top defense contractors, including Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman. None of the companies would comment about whether their systems have been breached.
But Northrop Grumman spokesman Randy Belote acknowledged the company “is experiencing greater numbers of attempts to penetrate its computer networks” and said the firm is “vigilant” about protecting its networks.
A Lockheed Martin official said the firm is “spending more time helping deal with attacks on the supply chain” of partners, subcontractors and suppliers than dealing with attacks directly against the company. “For now, our defenses are strong enough to counter the threat, and many attackers know that, so they go after suppliers. But of course they are always trying to develop new ways to attack.”
The Defense Science Board report also listed broad technologies that have been compromised, such as drone video systems, nanotechnology, tactical data links and electronic warfare systems — all areas where the Pentagon and Chinese military are investing heavily.
“Put all that together — the design compromises and the technology theft — and it's pretty significant,” Stokes said.
Citing Danger, Schumer Calls for Scrapping New Screening Plan for Statue of Liberty
by ALAN FEUER
Senator Charles E. Schumer called on the National Park Service on Monday to scrap what he called a dangerous new security plan for the Statue of Liberty, saying that it could leave visitors to the tourist attraction vulnerable to a terrorist attack.
For nearly two years now, the New York Police Department has opposed the Park Service's plan to screen visitors to the statue at central points on Liberty and Ellis Islands, which were badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy and are scheduled to reopen on July 4. In early 2011, Ken Salazar, then the secretary of the interior, intended to announce the change, but he held off because of stiff objections from the police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly.
Prompted by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Park Service had for more than a decade conducted airport-style security checks at tented pavilions in Battery Park or in Liberty State Park in Jersey City before passengers boarded ferryboats to the statue. The people who run Battery Park, the Battery Conservancy, wanted the pavilion removed because it was unsightly and clogged the park with tourists.
The Park Service tried to find a nearby alternative, considering Pier A, then a Coast Guard building, but could not reach a deal and so decided to move the screening to Ellis and Liberty Islands.
Senator Schumer, appearing at a news conference near the ferry terminals in Battery Park, said that the decision to screen passengers after they had reached Liberty Island, instead of before they boarded the ferries, created the potential for terror attacks to occur onboard the boats or even at the base of the statue itself. “Imagine if airline passengers were not screened before they boarded a plane, but instead were screened after they landed,” he said. “It makes no sense. The Park Service is making a serious mistake here and we're asking them to change it.”
Mr. Schumer was joined at the news conference by Mr. Kelly, who said that he had written a personal letter to Sally Jewell, the secretary of the interior. Mr. Kelly said that his department and the Park Service, an agency of the Interior Department, had been discussing the new proposal for weeks but had been unable to reconcile their differences.
Max Young, a spokesman for Mr. Schumer, said that the Park Service wanted to consolidate its security efforts into a single checkpoint on Liberty Island because it would facilitate visits and save money.
Michael Litterst, a spokesman for the Park Service, said, “Safety has been and will continue to be our No. 1 priority, and we are committed to implementing a plan that does not compromise the safety of our visitors or the security of these landmarks.”
Mr. Schumer and Mr. Kelly said that any additional costs incurred by returning to the former screening process could be paid for by a slight increase in the charge for visiting the statue. “My watchword on all terror issues is that you can't be too careful,” Mr. Schumer said. “Now the Park Service is not showing that level of carefulness.”
Boulder police chief to lay out five-year plan for community law enforcement
Plan could require more officers, more funding
by Joe Rubino
Boulder police Chief Mark Beckner will go before the City Council on Tuesday evening to lay out his vision for meeting the community's evolving expectations for law enforcement, a plan that could require more officers and more funding over the next five years.
As part of an update of his department's master plan, Beckner is expected to outline proposals to hire additional officers and staff, refine Boulder's "community policing" approach and establish a funding plan for things such as replacing vehicles and technology, as well as renovating the city's Public Safety Building.
The hour-long study-session presentation is intended to give councilmembers a chance to recommend revisions to the plan before it comes back before the City Council for a public hearing in July in hopes that a final version will be ready for review and approval in August.
The plan is conceptual in nature, and the actual price tag won't emerge until the city's budget process gets under way later this year.
Beckner said the meeting is important as a way of helping the department determine what Boulder police service will be expected to look like in the near future.
"Do we want to continue to operate the way have been? Do we want to make some changes?" he asked. "I think that is the most important question."
Beckner last went before the City Council on April 30 to deliver an update on police staffing levels. He noted at that meeting that calls for service had steadily increased while personnel levels remained stagnant.
The chief said his takeaway from that meeting was that the City Council supports maintaining the high level of police services his department provides, and that additional staff should be brought on to make sure that happens.
"We're looking to slowly add some staffing over five years to try to meet the demands of the community," Beckner said. "We're not really making a numerical recommendation, we are just talking generally."
According to a city staff memo, calls for Boulder police service rose by 3.9 percent from 2011 to 2012 and the trend is expected to continue this year. The memo also mentions changing community expectations for police service, noting the Boulder Police Department "faces demands to manage public spaces like the municipal campus, the Boulder Creek Path and the streets of University Hill because of behaviors and lifestyle choices that may violate social norms and which negatively impact the quality of life but do not result in dangerous criminal activity."
With high demands for service, Beckner and other department leaders also want to look at refining the city's "community policing" approach as part of the master plan update. The approach means doing more than responding to calls for service, including working with community members to find long-term fixes to recurring problems.
"One of those things we want to do is revisit (the question of), 'What does community policing mean in the city of Boulder and how do we fulfill that vision?'" Beckner said.
He said the plan is to form focus groups comprised of department and community members this fall to take a deeper look at the community policing approach.
The master plan update also will establish guidelines for the department's efforts to improve environmental sustainability, increase preparedness for potential natural disasters and strengthen the department's economic vitality.
Among the many proposed strategies outlined in the staff memo is the establishment of a strategic funding plan for maintenance and replacement of department assets, including vehicles, upgrades to facilities and the provision of new technology to stay current in areas such as forensics and communication.
Becker noted that space is tight at the city's Public Safety Building on 33rd Street, and that it is important to set up a financial strategy to provide for expansion there.
Boulder Mayor Matt Appelbaum referenced the department's technology needs when talking about important points of the master plan update.
"We have been frankly somewhat behind the curve when it comes to technology," he said. "But it is expensive and we need to find funding for that. Those types of expenditures, which are often one-time expenditures, can free up people."
He said that following the chief's update to City Council in April, he feels there is support for hiring more officers, and city officials should begin figuring out how to pay for them and prioritize their service. He said things likely will become much clearer as the 2014 budget process gets underway later this year.
He said he is looking forward to hearing more from Beckner on his views regarding the future of the department.
"The chief is extremely well respected by council and we take these reports and his recommendations seriously," he said.
IMPD seeks help from social service agencies to address roots of crime
by John Tuohy
Facing officer shortages, a surge in homicides and unrelenting youth violence, Indianapolis police are turning toward community organizations more than ever to reduce crime by zeroing in on its root causes.
Seeking help with keeping tabs on the mentally ill, learning how to talk to teens and finding meals for poor families, IMPD is recruiting outside help to reduce the burden on its depleted ranks.
The strategy is intended to free up officers for their core mission — responding to emergencies and arresting people — and delegating tangential matters to the professionals trained to handle them.
Officers are being trained to arrive on calls equipped with contacts for community, church, philanthropic and government agencies to which they can refer residents in crisis or professionals they can call on the spot.
Public Safety Director Troy Riggs calls it a “holistic” approach that goes beyond locking people up and aims to ease economic and social stresses that land people in jail.
“Police cannot do by themselves all that needs to be done to address the causes for crime in our community,” Riggs said. “We cannot arrest our way out of the problem. We need true community partners. The factors are more nuanced and complex than any one police department is capable of handling.”
Some of the programs were launched under previous Director Frank Straub when Police Chief Rick Hite served as deputy director for community affairs. They included such things as sending street-wise outreach workers to shooting scenes to tamp down the chance of retaliatory shootings and a program to closely monitor domestic violence victims and their abusers and refer them to counseling.
Riggs and Hite are courting even more assistance from all segments of the city. They've visited churches, food pantries, women's shelters and prisoner work release programs to see how they can complement the Public Safety Department.
And they are re-establishing what could become the control tower for all the partnerships: an Indianapolis Public Safety Foundation.
The foundation will raise money to pay for programs or equipment not covered by Public Safety's stagnant $203 million operating budget.
That could include training courses, youth athletic leagues and assistance officers.
Riggs said the foundation could raise about $250,000 the first year.
The effort is a significant expansion of the most common community-based policing tools: foot patrols, neighborhood watch groups and youth activities at local churches.
Law enforcement experts said the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department might be shaping a model for the future in an era in which departments across the country are facing severe budget cuts and officer shortages.
“Given the economic situation that many cities are in, we could see more of outreach like this,” said Gary Cordner, a professor of criminal justice at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania and a former police chief in Maryland. “Police departments, as they have moved into community policing, have moved away from the, ‘Try to do it all yourself approach.'
“Administrators are constantly scratching their heads, saying, ‘How can we do it better?' ” he said. “This is one approach.”
Riggs, who has been on the job more than six months, is borrowing some of the ideas from previous successes in Louisville, Ky., and Corpus Christi, Texas.
In Kentucky, he helped start a police foundation in 2005 that offers financial support for officers and their families who experience tragedies; pays for a mentoring partnership with the Boy Scouts; and pays for a drug awareness program in Louisville schools.
In Texas, as assistant city manager, Riggs stressed community partnerships and city agency cohesion, targeting entire neighborhoods for cleanup and rebuilding.
It wouldn't be the first time Indianapolis police explored policing innovations.
It was one of the first departments to put radios in police cars, the first to assign women to cars and the first to use portable breath tests to catch drunken drivers.
In 1997, Indianapolis police implemented a Directed Patrol program to increase the number of police in high-crime areas; in 1996, it participated in a National Institute of Justice study on community policing; and it 1995, it participated in a study of high-volume traffic stops to reduce drug crimes.
Part of IMPD's partnering strategy is focusing in two key areas in which crime is a growing concern — among the mentally ill and teens.
In the past 10 years, IMPD has been sending officers to training so they can diffuse run-ins with the mentally ill. The goal of the Critical Incident Training is to reduce the risk that police shoot a mentally ill person or get shot.
Now, the department is experimenting with a proactive spin-off of that program.
IMPD and mental health workers are trying to get the mentally ill help before a problem spirals into a tragedy.
Linda Linn and Rebekah Bricker, crisis specialists for Midtown Community Mental Health, spend much of their workweek at the IMPD Southwest District, 551 N. King Ave. on the Westside.
There, they thumb through all the cases in which a person was taken into custody by police and sent to the hospital for psychological evaluation. The reason for such “immediate detentions,” as they are called, vary. Sometimes, the people are suicidal, other times they are acting violently, often they are just being irrational.
Linn and Bricker visit or call each person in the district who was temporarily detained.
“We try to get to what was bothering them, but more importantly find out if they are getting the services they need,” Linn said.
They might need medication, counseling for depression or substance abuse counseling. In fact, Linn said, about half the time, the people are not mentally ill but have some underlying problem that was exacerbated by drugs or alcohol.
“We want to get them help so a dangerous situation doesn't happen in the future, where they can hurt someone or themselves,” Bricker said.
On Wednesdays, the women go with two police officers to homeless camps around the city, examining the homeless and asking them what services they need. They try to assess their medical and mental health needs and refer the homeless to services. They try to visit three to six camps a week.
The women said that about 17 percent of the homeless tell them they need psychiatric medication, 18 percent say they need counseling for mental illness and 24 percent ask for substance abuse counseling.
Linn said the percentage who need substance counseling is probably about 60 percent and the number who need mental health counseling is probably much higher.
“We try to get them into treatment if they need it, but they have to ask for it,” said Margie Payne, chief executive officer of Midtown.
The Marion County Commission on Youth is working with IMPD to address teenage crime.
President John Brandon said that for several years the organization has run the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative, aimed at keeping youths out of the courts and jail.
IMPD earlier this year took steps to reduce the friction between officers and teens when 15 police officers were trained on how to improve communications with teenagers.
The JDAI has reduced the population at the Marion County Juvenile Detention Center from about 140 a day to 86 youths by, essentially, putting nonviolent teens on probation instead of sending them to detention.
Probationary teens are sent to churches, Boys and Girls Clubs and other community-based facilities to report in every day.
Brandon said private businesses and nonprofits can provide a big boost to police anti-crime efforts.
“They've got expertise the police don't,” he said. “A good working relationship with police will free them up to make arrests and not have to double as social service workers.”
Brandon predicts the communications training police receive will drive the arrest numbers down further.
Lisa Thurau, executive director for Strategies for Youth, in Massachusetts, said officers were told that the authoritative approach can backfire with teens, who are more likely to resist or stridently ignore or disobey instructions.
“We teach the officers that teenagers perceive stimulus differently because of the development stage of their brain and because of other factors like peer pressure,” Thurau said.
The goal is to reduce arrests caused by confrontations.
The wiser strategy, Thurau said, is the “charismatic approach.” Officers should let teens know they appreciate their situation, but the officers have a job to do, too.
“There is a bit of negotiation that goes into getting them to do what you want,” she said. “Instead of throwing them against the wall to frisk them for something minor, the officer might explain to them that they have to pat them down as part of the job.”
Hite and Riggs said they are exploring every corner of the city.
Betsy Whitmore, a spokeswoman for Second Helpings, a food pantry, said they have met with Riggs and other officials.
She said police have been informed about the pantry's mentoring program in which ex-offenders are taught cooking skills so they can make referrals.
“They are also aware now of what we do as far as feeding the hungry and know that if they come across people in need they can let us know when and where,” Whitmore said.
Ann Gregson, a spokeswoman for the Red Cross, said her agency, too, has been in contact with the Public Safety Department.
“It's a matter of delivery,” she said. “They are the eyes and ears in the community.”