NEWS of the Day - Oct 23, 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 ...


Dead Boston Marathon bombing suspect tied to 2011 killings

by The Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) — Slain Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was named as a participant in an earlier triple homicide by a man who was subsequently shot to death while being questioned by authorities, according to a filing made by federal prosecutors in the case against his brother, surviving bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

According to the filing made Monday, Ibragim Todashev told investigators Tamerlan Tsarnaev participated in a triple slaying in Waltham on Sept. 11, 2011.

In that case, three men were found in an apartment with their necks slit and their bodies reportedly covered with marijuana. One of the victims was a boxer and friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

Todashev, a 27-year-old mixed martial arts fighter, was fatally shot at his Orlando home during a meeting with an FBI agent and two Massachusetts state troopers in May, authorities said. He had turned violent while being question, according to authorities.

The filing is prosecutors' attempt to block Dzhokhar Tsarnaev from getting certain information from authorities, including investigative documents associated with the Waltham slayings.

“The government has already disclosed to Tsarnaev that, according to Todashev, Tamerlan Tsarnaev participated in the Waltham triple homicide,” prosecutors wrote.

According to prosecutors, the ongoing investigation into the 2011 slayings is reason not to allow Dzhokhar Tsarnaev access to the documents he's seeking.

“Any benefit to Tsarnaev of knowing more about the precise ‘nature and extent' of his brother's involvement does not outweigh the potential harm of exposing details of an ongoing investigation into an extremely serious crime, especially at this stage of the proceeding,” prosecutors wrote.

Prosecutors also said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is not entitled to the information because his brother's criminal history will be relevant, if at all, only at a possible future sentencing hearing.

A phone message left for a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office was not immediately returned Tuesday night. A message left for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's federal public defender was also not immediately returned.

Authorities allege that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 20, and 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, ethnic Chechens from Russia, planned and carried out the twin bombings near the finish of the marathon on April 15. Three people were killed and more than 260 were injured.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev faces 30 federal charges, including using a weapon of mass destruction and 16 other charges that carry the possibility of the death penalty.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev died in a gunbattle with police as authorities closed in on the brothers several days after the bombings.




SPD chief announces new neighborhood policing plans

by Jacob Jones

Continuing efforts to develop stronger police ties to Spokane neighborhoods, Police Chief Frank Straub announced Monday a new decentralized community policing structure that moves captains and detectives out into three specific geographic "police service areas."

Straub has previously discussed shifting the SPD to a precinct-based enforcement model that embeds supervisors and investigators in localized patrol districts. With the opening of a downtown substation earlier this year, Straub made his first steps in that direction. He recently assigned Capt. Judith Carl to oversee that station full-time.

In a news conference Monday, Straub announced his plans to assign two other captains to northern and southern policing areas. Detectives and Neighborhood Conditions Officers will also receive assignments to those regularly work those areas.

"This gives us the ability to be there and to really address crime issues, to address community issues and to really insert ourselves and become engaged," Straub says. "We need to be engaged at the grassroots level."

Neighborhood-level captains, detectives and officers will, for now, work out of local COPS shops, partnering with existing Neighborhood Conditions Officers and volunteers to monitor community concerns. Captains will be accountable to the neighborhoods and residents they serve.

"That police captain, in essence, will become a mini-police chief for the north, for the downtown and the south," Straub says. "So as you have issues, you don't have to go find Frank Straub, you can go and find your police captain, who has authority to coordinate resources from the whole department."

Straub indicated Capt. Keith Cummings, who now oversees Patrol operations, would take over the northern district, which encompasses neighborhoods north of the Spokane River. Cummings will oversee four NCOs and two detectives, split evenly between northwest and northeast neighborhoods.

Capt. David Richards, who now heads Patrol administration, will oversee the southern district, covering the South Hill and other neighborhoods. He will likely work out of the 29th Avenue COPS shop with two NCOs and a detective.

The new neighborhood assignments represent at least the second major department restructuring in the past year. The "police service areas" also reflect the CompStat policing model Straub has introduced in hopes of holding commanders accountable for crime trends and making more strategic patrol decisions.

Decentralizing the department has been a consistent goal since Straub took over the SPD last fall. He has made a number of significant operational changes and command staff replacements during his first year.

For now, Straub says working out of the COPS shops provides some initial flexibility for officers to start working more closely with the community without rushing to purchase new buildings. The chief says he hopes to work toward establishing physical locations for the precinct facilities by 2015. He says getting officers out into the community is a first step.

"We're moving resources out into the neighborhoods, getting a feel for where we could theoretically locate, probably in 2015, physical precincts," he says, later adding, "We're going to do this in stages. We're going to test the waters."

Straub says the new effort replicates a similar Community Policing Division at the Tacoma Police Department. That program also assigns officers to specific geographic neighborhoods throughout the city.

Mayor David Condon echoed the importance of having police officers engaged at the neighborhood level. He praised the results of the downtown police substation. Both Condon and Straub reinforced that the department would need the additional officers included in the mayor's proposed budget to implement a successful precinct system.

"We've talked a lot about community policing," he says. "We've continued to go down that path."