NEWS of the Day - July 24, 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 ...

New York

$12K Reward in 1991 'Baby Hope' Case

More than two decades after the body of a young girl was found inside a cooler, the New York Police Department is seeking help identifying the victim dubbed "Baby Hope."

On Tuesday, the 22nd anniversary of the discovery, police offered a $12,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest and conviction in the unsolved crime.

Officers put up posters and handed out fliers with sketches of how the victim might have looked.

The cooler was found in Washington Heights, on an embankment off the Henry Hudson Parkway.

The girl was believed to be between 3 and 5 years old. Tests showed she was malnourished and had been sexually abused.

DNA testing has yielded no matches with databases of convicted felons or active missing person cases.



New Jersey

Rockaway Borough Police to treat community to National Night Out


Face painting, inflatables, and a dunk tank are all part of a fun family night out, but when activities like a DWI golf cart obstacle are added, one knows it is not just any night, but National Night Out in Rockaway Borough.

The 12th annual event takes place this year on Tuesday, Aug. 6, 6-9 p.m., at Fireman's Field on Beach Street. Rockaway Borough Police Officer Bill Weischedel coordinates the event.

He said, "National Night Out defines what Rockaway Borough is all about. Our community's relationship between the residents and Police Department continues to grow every year. We are a small community but when we work together we can accomplish anything. Events like this educate our residents from all ages and promote a great awareness for the safety of our community. Each year we continue to attract new people and see more people getting involved."

National Night Out was started by the National Association of Town Watch in 1984, dubbed as "America's Night Out Against Crime." According to the association's website, National Night Out was "an effort to promote involvement in crime prevention activities, police-community partnerships, neighborhood camaraderie and send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

NATW's National Night Out program culminates annually, on the first Tuesday of August." In Rockaway Borough, Weischedel likes to implement something new each year to keep the event both educational and entertaining. Two years ago, professional wrestling was introduced and, according to Weischedel, "It was a huge success." Then, there are the event mainstays, such as the helicopter landing, which Weischedel described as "truly breathtaking."

He added, "Being up close when the helicopter lands in front of you can be something that will last a lifetime to children." Weischedel said, "The event for me is a way to give back to the community. I start preparing for the event in April and it takes over four months of work to get it all done. Each year I remember different things about the event that make it more memorable to me. I've had children of all ages thanking me for the National Night Out and that's what it's all about. Seeing the smiles on their faces makes all that hard work pay off. This year we are expecting a bigger turnout as more people from all over are getting involved."

The borough's National Night Out is important to the entire police force with 100 percent involvement by the department.

Sgt. Conrad Pepperman offered that the event "exemplifies community policing at its finest. It gives citizens and the police a way to interact on a social level. The better rapport you have with your citizens the more crimes you will solve. They are your eyes and ears of your neighborhood."

Anyone who is interested in volunteering or getting involved with the event can call Officer Bill Weischedel of the Rockaway Borough Police Department at 973-627-1314 or visit their Facebook page for more information.




Team community policing unit debuts in Downtown Toledo

by Christine Long

TOLEDO, Ohio - The safety of the people who live and work in Downtown Toledo is the focus of a new, unique patrol team.

13 ABC's Christine Long went on a ride-a-long with the unit which hit the streets this week for the first time.

This is the blending of two law enforcement agencies. One Toledo Police officer and one Lucas County Sheriff's deputy are working together in one vehicle to patrol the downtown business district.

Their goal is to cut crime downtown.

Wednesday marks Day Number Three for this freshly painted squad car and its new team.

"It's not all the time about arresting. It's all about helping," says TPD Officer Tony Duncan.

Duncan and Lucas County Sheriff's Deputy Kurtis Whitman wear different uniforms, but there is no competition.

"We are both very excited to be working together," says Whitman. "It's something that's unprecedented. Something that's never been done before. We just want to make everyone proud."

Together, the two now patrol the Downtown Toledo area by car and on foot. They work Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

"This is really, truly a big deal today," says Toledo Mayor Mike Bell.

The mayor and Lucas County Commissioners formally unveiled the downtown community policing team on Wednesday. It was formed in response to complaints from businesses.

The owner of Brooks Insurance, which is located on Madison Street across the street from the library, says his employees don't feel safe.

"They see criminal elements. We've had car break-ins," says Dennis Johnson, the owner of Brooks Insurance.

Officer Duncan and Deputy Whitman walked around the library talking to folks on Wednesday. They want to get to know everyone in the downtown area on a first name basis.

"We are giving our officers business cards with their cell phone numbers on it," says Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp. "If businesses need to talk to the officers, they no longer have to call 9-1-1."

"It's not going to solve or eliminate the problem, but it'll be a help in managing the problem," says Johnson.

"Most people want to see this community and downtown area thrive," says Duncan. "And that's what it's all about. That's what we're here to do. To make a comeback alive and feel safe downtown."



A Love Affair With Violence

by Nanette Burton Mongelluzzo

“Human beings are like parts of a body, created from the same essence. When one part is hurt and in pain, the others cannot remain in peace and be quiet. If the misery of others leaves you indifferent and with no feelings of sorrow, you should not be called a human being.” ~ Sa'adi, thirteenth century Persian poet.

Violence is a collective experience. If one suffers we all suffer. If enough violence permeates culture, society, families, and institutions the populace will become numb. Once this happens violence is free to metastasize.I did a brief review of this weeks top news stories. It was hard to find a piece of journalism where violence was not a part of the story. I reviewed the Zimmerman case, the North Korean ship with the missile on board and captain attempting to take his own life, Snowden's asylum in Russia, Russia's massive war games, a man crashing into a motel, the Michael Dunn murder case, the infamous Zeta's drug cartel in Mexico, the military sexual assault bill, the Invisible War regarding military sexual assault, online sextortion of teens, Neo Nazi arrests, doctor arrested on four slayings, death and violence in Egypt, Jodi Arias and the death penalty in Arizona, the Yarnell, Arizona killer fire, 255 suspected child predators are snared, and the body of a missing Los Angeles girl is found in a trash can. I was exhausted and not feeling much joy.

I hardly made a dent in related stories and horror.

Violence appears to sell and people make money from telling us all the awful things that are happening locally, nationally, and internationally. Almost every story contained actual or implied violence.

We then wonder why children, teens, young adults, and adults join in with seemingly random acts of violence. After all, it is everywhere.

I am a believer that it is hard to maintain a balance when surrounded by negativity. I don't turn on the news unless I feel I have to for work purposes. I avoid scanning the Internet news unless I feel I need to. I hear enough horror for eight hours a day working as a psychotherapist.

Is money from violent media the reason we appear to have a love affair with violence? Or is it something else?

If we weren't hearing about violence, murder, rape, shootings, suicide, hate crimes, drug cartel beheadings, and all that stuff what would journalists be writing about? There is something shocking about all the horror that takes place every minute of the day. But why do we want to hear about it?

I have some theories.

Theory #1 Violence sells. As long as there is money to be made many do not care about long term consequences or collateral damage.

Theory#2 Survivor guilt. As long as it didn't happen to you or a loved one you can rest easily knowing you were spared horror this time, but you may feel guilty that you were spared. Your guilt may unconsciously cause you to seek out more stories that produce more fear and more of that feeling that you survived.

Theory #3 Addiction. Fear is addictive. Horror is stimulating. It kick starts fear and the drugs we already have in our body will respond if we are stimulated with enough bad stuff. People can become addicted to violence. This doesn't mean they like it, just like the alcoholic or drug addict does like doing drugs or alcohol. People often don't know how to stop. They can't initially imagine life without one of their vices.

Theory #4 Repetition Compulsion. Anyone who has any history of violence will be drawn back to the scene of the crime. We are vicarious observers of bad things partly because we know or have known someone who has experienced bad things.

Theory #5 Trance. Violence can place a person in a trance. There is something unsettling and disturbing about violence. It has a numbing effect. This too is related to #3, addiction.

Theory #6 Preparedness. Violence is instructional. Surviving violent acts is also instructional. If we watch people in violent situations and hear about what they did to survive or how they perished we learn something about survival. Just like training for being a better downhill skier you can watch videos of expert skiers and just by the nature of watching will improve your technique. The brain absorbs the information about the correct way to hold your arms, hips, and legs and teaches you by changing what you have done to something new. The same appears to hold true with violence and perhaps learning how to survive.

Theory #7 Mixed messages. We have become confused. We receive many mixed messages about violence. It is not OK to shoot someone, but it is OK to execute someone. It is not OK to hit someone, yet children are disciplined by being hit. It is illegal to steal, yet studies have shown that people believe it is OK to steal from the workplace. It is against the law to sexual violate or assault someone, yet this happens all the time during dating scenarios and in unhealthy marriages. It also happens in the military, in prisons, on college campuses, and at parties where men and women are drugged and then raped.

Theory #8 Violence keeps many institutions alive and well. Some institutions rely on violence. I don't intend to confuse, but here we go.

Sports are a form a violence when considering team sports such as football, often soccer, and from time-to-time baseball. Crowds of people allow themselves to become violent watching spectator sports.

School sporting events are quite violent.

Violence is present in schools, in sport programs, in our disregard for those who are mentally ill, and the disregard for poverty and economic struggles.

Theory #9 Compassion Fatigue. People are worn out extending empathy in the direction of all those who are suffering. After a while it is hard to keep standing up and rallying for the defense of others. Compassion can wear you out and who helps the compassionate?

Who profits from violence? Many industries would not exist if violence were not present. We know that more than 18 million Americans suffer from alcohol problems. More than 5 million suffer from drug related problems. Drug and alcohol abuse impacts the number of violent crimes, traffic deaths, domestic and child abuse cases, and self-inflicted injuries in the United States, yet no one is proposing we take alcohol off the market. Of course not, there is huge money in alcohol and all of the secondary industries related to its production and distribution.

Violence has become a part of our emotional and societal landscape. It will become more so, because the underlying reasons for keeping violence are not being addressed and changed. All change requires loss and loss requires letting go. I would like to imagine enough people would be willing to let go of the way it has been in favor of something new and less anchored in structural, cultural, and direct violence.

Be well and take care,

Nanette Burton Mongelluzzo, PhD