Community policing comes to Assumption
Former Framington Chief Takes Over
by Scott J. Croteau
WORCESTER — Assumption College's new director of public safety, Steven B. Carl, believes a college campus is the perfect place to maximize the community policing strategies he used during his years as the Framingham police chief.
Mr. Carl, who took over the post recently from Robert A. Murphy, retired from his role as chief in the large town to take the new job at Assumption College. During his decades of policing, Mr. Carl embraced the proactive approach of community policing, but unlike college campuses, local police find themselves sometimes overwhelmed by 911 calls.
"In this environment (college campus) it is like a petri dish for community policing," Mr. Carl said. "You can really experiment and develop some great programs to protect the campus or enhance the quality of life on campus."
During his tenure in Framingham, Mr. Carl wrote grants to enhance community policing in the town. He found preventing crime rewarding, and felt the policing technique was well-received in town.
Having a transparent and engaged department is a priority for the 54-year-old Hopkinton resident. As a married father of two sons in college, Mr. Carl knows parents want a valuable education for their children, but also a safe campus.
"It is much more of a protective role," he said. "You are protecting the students, the faculty and staff and the college's reputation. It is critical to maintain the reputation and a safe environment."
Calling the campus a transient community because new students come in every year, Mr. Carl said it is important for his officers to interact and work closely with student and residential life staff members. It is important to engage the students to inform them about the campus police's services and for police to understand the students' needs.
"We want to be proactive. We want to prevent problems," Mr. Carl said.
Mr. Carl left Framingham, where he served as chief from 2001 until this year, and took over his new position Oct. 2. There are no decorations on the walls in his office. He hasn't had the time. Instead, there are many books and folders containing college campus regulations and rules.
The new public safety director sees similarities between Framingham and Assumption. Both have a diverse community and some type of governing body — the selectmen for Framingham and administration for Assumption. Mr. Carl considers the different sections of the campus as neighborhoods.
He left a department that had 120 sworn officers and now oversees a department with 18 sworn officers and five guards. There are roughly 2,000 undergraduate and 500 graduate students on the college campus.
"This is a community, and every community has their own unique needs," he said.
Assumption police handle issues similar to any college campus. Some students are away from home for the first time.
"They are exploring their maturity and they are testing their immaturity in a residential environment," Mr. Carl said.
Sometimes roommates or students don't get along. Sometimes a student is caught with alcohol. Mr. Carl said it is important for students to be accountable for their actions, but he believes campus police also have to use discretion.
Sometimes candidates for police officer jobs in Framingham would have a minor arrest on their record, such as possession of alcohol by a minor. The charge hindered the candidates' ability to get a job, he said.
Some cases can be handled by college administration and not in the courts, Mr. Carl said.
"There is accountability, but it does not always have to involve the courts, ruining a student's future on something where discretion can be used," he said.
Mr. Carl obtained a bachelor's degree in sociology from Framingham State College in 1983 and a master's degree in criminal justice administration from Westfield State College in 1994.
Mr. Carl knows the area colleges have a collective group of public safety and police departments that work together to discuss issues and train together. After the April 16, 2007, shootings at Virginia Tech, area college safety officials met at Clark University to discuss active shooter training with Worcester's police SWAT team. Training on such events continues regularly.
As Mr. Carl sat back in his chair, he didn't have any regrets about leaving a department he served for 30 years. His new role is not a retirement, it is a whole new quest, he said.
"The time was right. I was looking for a new challenge," he said. "This is just a tremendous opportunity for me personally and professionally. It is the next chapter in my career."
Madison Police and Fire Commission urged to review deadly force policy and to look outside department for new chief
Nathan and Amelia Royko Maurer have, by their own admission, hounded the Madison Police Department in the 11 months since Officer Stephen Heimsness shot and killed their friend and roommate Paul Heenan on Nov. 9, 2012.
Yet at public input session on Monday about the topic of a new police chief , the couple was conspicuously silent, legally barred from communicating with the five members of the Madison Board of Police and Fire Commissioners because of their complaint against Heimsness with the board.
But many of the nine speakers picked up where the Royko Maurers left off: concerned with officers' use of deadly force and the department's ability to foster goodwill in the community with the departure of Chief Noble Wray on Sep. 27.
"A year ago, I wouldn't have been here," said Madison resident Heidi Kramer. "Over the last year, my confidence and trust [in my police force] is deeply shaken."
The department has taken the most flak for the death of Heenan, who was shot after he drunkenly tried entering a neighbor's house. But the fatal shootings of Brent Brozek, a mentally ill former cab driver, on May 17, and Charles Carll, who police were told was suicidal following a domestic disturbance, on Aug. 17, have also alarmed community members.
Former MPD Captain Cheri Maples , who was in the running for police chief in 2004, said that the three deaths have created an "unacceptable" threshold for the use of force in the eyes of the community.
"I can't think of anything that brings down the trust of a community more than fear that the police will be using deadly force in situations that don't call for it," she said.
Speakers offered reasons for why the board should look for a new chief within the department, as they did when selecting Wray in 2004, or outside of it, as when Richard Williams and David Couper were selected.
Madison resident Rosemary Lee, for example, said that a chief who came from the ranks would be better attuned to the challenges of the department. But Gregory Gelembiuk said that a newcomer would be better suited to innovate.
Couper was mentioned fondly by numerous participants, as was the service of former Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs -- who was suggested as a possible candidate by Gregory Phillips, a retired law enforcement officer who spoke.
Couper, who attended the meeting, served as police chief from 1973 to 1993. An advocate of community policing and non-violent conflict resolution, he said the next chief should shake things up.
"To appoint a chief of police ... committed to keeping things the way they are would take this department backwards," Couper said.
According to commission president George Kamperschroer, the board will review any internal interest in the position before deciding to widen the search.
The Royko Maurers would like to see a candidate from outside the department's leadership -- either from the ranks of patrol officers or from a force outside of Madison.
The couple is holding a police chief discussion of their own on Oct. 16 from 7-9 p.m. at First Congregational Church , 1609 University Ave. The panel will include Maples, UW-Madison Law School professor and policing expert Michael Scott and state Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison).
They hope to dive deeper into the use of deadly force and whether law enforcement should investigate its own members when such force is used. They also plan to cover other community law enforcement issues.
The actions of the police officers who used deadly force were cleared by the department in the shootings of Brozek and Carll . Heimsness, who was cleared by the police and Dane County District Ismael Ozanne's office, resigned from the police force, effective Nov. 23.
Dane County Judge John Albert issued an injunction Sept. 10 on the complaint filed by the Royko Maurers against Heimsness until after Heimsness leaves the force. The officer still faces a federal civil rights suit filed by Heenan's estate.
Public Safety team trains to help large animals in peril
by DeDe Biles
Horses abound in Aiken while cattle, emus and other large animals also live in the area. Sometimes these hefty creatures get into trouble, and the Aiken Department of Public Safety wants to be ready to respond.
“Accidents do happen,” said Sgt. Daymon Spann. “Last year, we had a horse that got away and ran into a minivan, leaving the polo field. He ended up in the woods, and he had a broken shoulder.”
Spann was among the members of the Department of Public Safety that attended a large animal emergency rescue training session on Tuesday at the Carolina Equine Clinic on Powderhouse Road.
The instructor, Rebecca Gimenez, spent the early part of the afternoon teaching her students how to put on, restrain, and move a horse on a rescue glide, which works like a stretcher. She also supervised as department personnel turned a horse trailer on its side to simulate a traffic accident and learned how to deal with an equine victim.
“Horses are like psychiatric patients,” Gimenez said, “because, basically, they don't like to be strapped and restrained, but we do it for our safety as well as their safety.”
Gimenez is the president of Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue, which is based in Macon, Ga. She has a doctorate in animal physiology.
“There is a ton of equipment here, and I'm trying to make sure they are familiar with it and know its capabilities,” Gimenez said.
The Department of Public Safety has combined its Large Animal Rescue Team and its Technical Rescue Team, which assists humans “who get stuck where they're not supposed to be,” Spann said. Because of that move, he explained, there were a number of Public Safety employees who needed to learn how to work with big beasts in peril.
“We kept the Technical Rescue Team name, and the team has 20 members,” Spann said. “It's comprised of road officers like myself, driver operators who work in the fire division driving the fire engines, maintenance personnel and animal control people.”
The Department of Public Safety has a horse ambulance and a variety of other large animal rescue equipment, including a spacious trailer that serves as an equine ambulance, harnesses and a device that Spann called a “dolly” that can be used to help load an injured horse that is still able to stand into the ambulance.
For training purposes, the Department of Public Safety would like to acquire a life-size rescue horse mannequin, according to Spann.
“It has movable parts, and you can use it in a standing position, or it can be lying down,” he said. “We would love to be able to get one in the near future.”
Because there was no mannequin available for Tuesday's training session, a toy stuffed donkey was used to simulate the victim of a traffic accident involving a horse. When Tactical Rescue Team practiced using the rescue glide, some members of the squad pretended they were horses and allowed themselves to be restrained.
“We probably only get about five calls a year (involving the rescue of large animals), but we want to be ready,” Spann said. “We also would like for the public to know that we are here to help. In an emergency, they can call 911, and if they want to request us to be at an event, they can call Public Safety (803-642-7620).”
Members of the Tactical Rescue Team are scheduled to be on duty at the 22nd running of the Aiken Fall Steeplechase on Oct. 26 at Ford Conger Field.
Radio hams put passion to work for public safety communication in disasters
Starting last month, there is a new partnership between Rockdale County and the local chapter of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service.
ARES is a volunteer organization that works with local police, fire and rescue to relay vital messages in the event of an emergency.
Amateur radio operators can be traced back to World War II when they sent messages from the frontlines of battle. Present day ARES groups have been involved in rescue efforts during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks as well as the Boston Marathon bombings.
The Rockdale ARES organization has had a long standing relationship with the county, but over the last several years the group has not been directly involved with emergency planning.
Rockdale Fire Chief Dan Morgan, who is also the emergency management director for the county, said he's looking to change that.
“Under this new agreement we're looking to bring the local ARES group into what we're doing here at the fire department as well as with the sheriff's department and the hospital,” said Morgan. “That way when there is an emergency we don't have to try to put a plan together we will already have one in place.”
Over the next few months Chief Morgan will be working closely with Jeff Cawley, the Emergency Coordinator for Rockdale ARES, to set up outposts for the group at the 911 call center, hospital and police and fire departments.
This includes purchasing new equipment such as antennas and radios for the 911 center, which Chief Morgan says is part of his proposed budget for 2014.
Even though their name includes the word amateur, what ARES volunteers do is pretty sophisticated.
Using little more than a portable radio, amateur operators can send messages as far as England or Australia.
During an emergency event that would make traditional communication difficult, these devices can transmit information about needs for medical supplies, establish contact with other emergency personnel or help to reunite families.
Many ARES members got their start by working on radios or old television sets as a hobby. Despite being a volunteer organization, ARES does require that its members receive formal training and they must hold a federal FCC license to operate.
The Rockdale ARES group currently has six members who came together in the spring of this year. Since then they've hosted several meetings as well as attended a training exercise with 30 other emergency management teams from across the state at Stone Mountain Park.
On Oct. 5 Rockdale ARES will be having a Simulated Emergency Training to test out some of their new equipment and run drills on the county's mobile command vehicle.
Cawley says anyone interested in joining ARES should stop by or attend their monthly meeting held every second Thursday of the month., 7:30 p.m., at Rockdale Fire Station No. 8, 1164 Scott Street SE, Conyers.
“We're always looking for new and old hams,” said Cawley.
For now both Cawley and Chief Morgan said they look forward to getting to work.
“I hope we never have to use them and it's something that most people in the community will never even know about until we need it, but I'm glad they're here,” said Chief Morgan.
For more information, contact Cawley at email@example.com or stop by the next ARES meeting, Oct. 10, 7:30 p.m.1164 Scott Street SE, Conyers.