March, 2014 - Week 3
Malaysia: More images show possible jet debris in Indian Ocean
PERTH, Australia -- France on Sunday provided Malaysia with satellite images of objects that could be from a passenger jet that went missing more than two weeks ago, the latest word of such images that officials are hoping will help solve one of the world's great aviation mysteries.
A statement from Malaysia's Ministry of Transport said Malaysia received the images from "French authorities showing potential objects in the vicinity of the southern corridor." That is thought to be close to areas of the Indian Ocean where Australia and China provided satellite images of objects that could be debris from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which went missing March 8 with 239 people on board.
Air and sea searches since Thursday in a remote area of the southern Indian Ocean to determine whether the objects were from the missing jet have been unsuccessful.
More planes were joining the search Sunday after China released a satellite image showing a large object floating in the search zone. The image in the Chinese satellite was taken around noon Tuesday. The image location was about 75 miles south of where an Australian satellite viewed two objects two days earlier. The larger object was about as long as the one the Chinese satellite detected.
CBS News correspondent Holly Williams reported from Perth, Australia that the Chinese government also said a smaller object roughly 40 feet in length was also seen.
The desolate area in the Indian Ocean is about 1,550 miles southwest of Perth, Australia, where three days of searching for similar images from another satellite that emerged earlier in the week have produced no results.
"CBS This Morning" contributor Michio Kaku, a physics professor at the City University of New York, said this week that the area is "quite turbulent, and even a gentle current of 5 miles an hour could carry debris of hundreds of miles across."
The Malaysian statement said the new images had been sent to Australia, which is coordinating the search about 1,550 miles southwest of Perth, but officials there could not immediately confirm they had received them. It gave no other information on the images.
Andrea Hayward-Maher, a spokeswoman for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, confirmed that Australia had received the images, but had no further details.
The images could be another clue in the growing mystery over Flight 370, with the search moving from seas off Vietnam when the plane first went missing to areas now not far from the Antarctica, where planes and a ship were scrambling Sunday looking for a pallet and other debris to determine whether the objects were from the missing jet.
The pallet was spotted by a search plane Saturday, but has not been closely examined. Wooden pallets are commonly used in shipping, but can also be used in cargo containers carried on planes.
Mike Barton, chief of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority's rescue coordination center, told reporters in Canberra, Australia, that the wooden pallet was spotted by a search aircraft on Saturday, and that it was surrounded by several other objects, including what appeared to be strapping belts of different colors.
A New Zealand P3 Orion military plane was then sent to find it but failed, he said.
"So, we've gone back to that area again today to try and re-find it," Barton said. An Australian navy ship was also involved in the search.
AMSA said the aircraft that spotted the pallet was unable to take photos of it.
"We went to some of the expert airlines and the use of wooden pallets is quite common in the industry," Barton said. "They're usually packed into another container, which is loaded in the belly of the aircraft. ... It's a possible lead, but we will need to be very certain that this is a pallet because pallets are used in the shipping industry as well."
Sam Cardwell, a spokesman for AMSA, said the maritime agency had requested a cargo manifest from Malaysia Airlines, but he was unsure whether it had been received as of Sunday night.
Malaysia Airlines asked The Associated Press to submit questions via email for comment on whether Flight 370 had wooden pallets aboard when it disappeared. There was no immediate response.
When Brazilian searchers in 2009 were looking for debris from Air France Flight 447 after it mysteriously plunged into the Atlantic Ocean, the first thing they found was a wooden pallet. The military first reported that the pallet came from the Air France flight, but then said six hours later that the plane had not been carrying any wooden pallets.
Eight search planes departed from a military base near the southwestern Australian city of Perth on Sunday, but like other searches since Thursday, they have not produced any results.
John Young, manager of AMSA's emergency response division, said Sunday's search used mostly human eyes.
"Today is really a visual search again, and visual searches take some time. They can be difficult," he said.
The southern Indian Ocean is thought to be a potential area to find the jet because Malaysian authorities have said pings sent by the Boeing 777-200 for several hours after it disappeared indicated that the plane ended up in one of two huge arcs: a northern corridor stretching from Malaysia to Central Asia, or a southern corridor that stretches toward Antarctica.
Malaysian authorities have not ruled out any possible explanation for what happened to the jet, but have said the evidence so far suggests it was deliberately turned back across Malaysia to the Strait of Malacca, with its communications systems disabled. They are unsure what happened next.
Police are considering the possibilities of hijacking, sabotage, terrorism or issues related to the mental health of the pilots or anyone else on board.
Malaysia asked the U.S. for undersea surveillance equipment to help in the search, said Rear Adm. John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel promised to assess the availability of the technology and its usefulness in the search, Kirby said. The Pentagon says it has spent $2.5 million to operate ships and aircraft in the search and has budgeted another $1.5 million for the efforts.
Georgetown University student accused of ricin possession
by CNN Staff
Washington -- A Georgetown University student was charged on Friday with possessing ricin after admitting he made the poison in his campus dorm room, a court document showed.
Daniel Harry Milzman, 19, appeared in federal court, where a judge ordered him held pending a hearing next week.
Milzman was arrested by the FBI and charged with possessing a biological toxin, according to an FBI affidavit.
That submission said he learned how to make ricin on his iPhone and then bought ingredients at retail stores.
Ricin is a deadly toxin derived from castor beans that has no known antidote.
On Monday, Milzman allegedly showed a bag that he claimed to contain ricin to his dorm adviser, who notified school authorities. They in turn called police, the filing states.
Preliminary lab tests confirmed the substance was ricin, it said.
Milzman allegedly produced the substance a month earlier in his room, placed it in plastic bags sealed with hockey tape and stored it in his room, according to the document.
The amount produced possibly could have been enough to kill someone had it been inhaled or injected, the affidavit said.
Milzman is due back in court on Tuesday
His attorney, Danny Onorato, declined comment when contacted by CNN on Friday evening.
Georgetown said in a statement on Wednesday that tests on McCarthy Hall for the presence of biological agents were negative, and there had been no reports of anyone being exposed to ricin.
The university on Friday said the undergraduate student will not be permitted to return to campus at this time.
"The possession or manufacturing of illegal substances are issues we take very seriously and are violations of the university's student code of conduct," said media relations director Rachel Pugh in a statement.
Volunteer patrol groups gather in Colleyville to discuss ideas
by Dustin L. Dangli
COLLEYVILLE — There is no volunteer patrol group that helps keep an eye on Ellis County's 952 square miles.
That task falls on the shoulders of 35 patrol units, said Deputy Ken Hatcher, community relations and crime prevention officer with Ellis County Sheriff's Office.
Having a volunteer patrol group would be an asset to the county south of Dallas, which is why Hatcher and a partner were in Colleyville Saturday, attending a regional gathering of law enforcement officers and volunteers.
Volunteers are the defnition of community policing, Colleyville Police Chief Mike Holder said.
“We can't do it by ourselves,” he said.
Hosted by police departments and volunteers from Colleyville and Frisco, representatives from 28 organizations, including Southlake and Keller and from as far away as Greenville and McKinney, gathered to network and trade ideas on how to better serve their communities.
Usually called Citizens on Patrol or Volunteers in Police Service, participants are required to undergo training before hitting the streets to be the eyes and ears of their communities.
Holder deemed Saturday's meeting a success, saying he had run out of fingers counting the requests his volunteers had made about improving the program.
Southlake COP member Steve McNair said ideas included the possibility of monitoring illegal use of handicapped parking and making calls for outstanding warrants.
He said the volunteer group is hoping to expand its scope to keep its 33 members involved.
“There's a wide variety of things we can do,” he said.
Frisco COP member Steve Kair said it was great to get “the boots on the street” together.
He said while some groups like his had uniforms, and others just T-shirts, “the common denominator is that we all want to help.”
From the Department of Justice
Attorney General Eric Holder Delivers Remarks at J.O. Wilson Elementary School to Announce Findings from Expansive Survey of Student Discipline Practices at America's Public Schools
Thank you, Secretary [Arne] Duncan, for that introduction – and for your outstanding leadership of the Department of Education. It's a pleasure to join you and Assistant Secretary [Catherine] Lhamon here at J.O. Wilson Elementary School – as we discuss the challenges facing America's young people, and the essential steps that today's public servants and policymakers must take in order to secure equal opportunities for the leaders of tomorrow. I also want to recognize Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels, and our team from the Civil Right Division's Educational Opportunities Section, who work tirelessly to combat discrimination in education.
As the Secretary indicated, we come together this morning at a moment of great challenge – but also great opportunity. The 2011-2012 Civil Rights Data Collection shines a light on many of the obstacles we face in creating constructive, equitable, and supportive learning environments for all of our students. For the first time in more than a decade, the CRDC paints a comprehensive picture by drawing on information from every public school in the nation. And this data shows us that we have a long way to go to ensure that every child has access to the kind of programs offered here at J.O. Wilson. A great deal remains to be done to address the deficit of experience among educators who teach many of our students of color. And some of the racial disparities in the administration of school discipline that are well-documented among older students actually begin as early as preschool.
For instance, African American students made up just under one in five preschoolers enrolled during the 2011-2012 school year. But they accounted for nearly half of all preschool students who faced more than one out-of-school suspension. Nationally, students of color were subjected to suspensions and expulsions at a rate three times higher than that of their white peers. They were far more likely to face referral to law enforcement or even arrest. And although this shocking breakdown reflects a disproportionate impact of school discipline on students of color the divide isn't purely racial. According to the CRDC, fully three quarters of students who faced disciplinary physical restraint were classified as students with disabilities.
This is astonishing. It's unacceptable. And it's important to bear in mind, as we begin today's discussion, that – as Secretary Duncan noted – these are not abstract statistics. This isn't a projection, a snapshot, or a rough estimate. The CRDC covers actual, documented disparities in school discipline policies and practices across the country. So every data point represents a life impacted, a future potentially diverted or derailed, and a young man or woman who was placed at increased likelihood of becoming involved with the criminal justice system.
Now, effective school discipline will always be a necessity. Schools must support children as they learn expectations about behavior and conduct. But a routine school discipline infraction should land a student in a principal's office – not in a police precinct. That's why the two of us traveled to Baltimore in January to announce a sweeping new set of guidelines aimed at reducing our overreliance on zero-tolerance discipline policies that transform some schools from doorways of opportunity into gateways to the criminal justice system. It's why we're working, through our Supportive School Discipline Initiative, to disrupt this so-called “school-to-prison pipeline.” And it's why this Administration as a whole – led by the Departments of Justice and Education – is committed to doing everything we can to ensure that, as President Obama said in December, “every striving, hardworking, optimistic kid in America has the same incredible chance that this country gave [each of us]” – both in the classroom and far beyond.
As we speak, the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division is collaborating with school districts and states to ensure that they're meeting their obligations under federal civil rights laws. Six decades after Brown v. Board of Education, we're working tirelessly – in hundreds of individual cases – to dismantle racial segregation wherever it's found. We're fighting to make sure that students with disabilities are appropriately accommodated, not denied school admission, and provided with the same opportunities to communicate, to learn, and to grow as every one of their peers. We're vigorously enforcing laws that require school districts to support English Language Learners so they can overcome language barriers and meaningfully participate in school. And we're striving to reduce abusive behavior against and among students of every age and grade level – by working to protect them from threats, derogatory language, physical violence, and other forms of discriminatory harassment and bullying.
Going forward, our efforts to promote school safety and effective discipline will be guided and informed by the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative – which is managed by the National Institute of Justice, and will allocate $75 million in funding for large-scale research into the causes of school violence, the most effective ways to address it, and the steps we can take to create a comprehensive, data-driven school safety model that can be tailored to individual needs.
This important new initiative will complement work that's already underway through the Department's landmark Defending Childhood Initiative and the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention – which are rallying federal leaders, state officials, educators, private organizations, and community groups to better understand, address, and prevent young people's exposure to violence. Across the country, these and other broad-based programs are showing tremendous promise in improving our response to this pernicious phenomenon. And thanks to the innovative, Administration-wide “My Brother's Keeper” initiative that President Obama announced last month, we're poised to rally a broader coalition to do even more.
It's no exaggeration to say that America's future will be defined, and our progress determined, by the doors we open and the support we offer to our nation's young people. From bolstering early childhood education to promoting youth literacy; from increasing mentorship to reducing juvenile violence; from extending access to social services to expanding employment opportunities – I'm convinced that, so long as we work together, we'll be able to empower millions of students to pursue their dreams, to achieve their full potential, and to forge the better, brighter futures they deserve.
Now, I recognize – as you do – that achieving these goals will not be easy, and progress will not take hold overnight. But with the continued dedication of this Administration and its partners; with the engagement of advocates across the country; and with the passion of young people like the students here at J.O. Wilson – I am confident in where this work will take us. I thank you all, once again, for the opportunity to be here today. And I look forward to all that we will accomplish together.
From the FBI
Help Us Find a Killer
American Contractor Murdered in Iraq in 2009
American contractor James Kitterman was last seen alive on the evening of May 21, 2009, in Baghdad, Iraq. His body was found the next day inside his vehicle, and his killer or killers are still at large.
Although nearly five years have passed since Kitterman's death, the FBI investigation continues. Today we are announcing a reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest, and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the murder.
“We have put a lot of effort into this case,” said Special Agent Marc Hess, who is leading the investigation from our Washington Field Office. “We have interviewed more than 100 potential witnesses in Iraq, Afghanistan, the U.S., and the Philippines—but despite our efforts, we need the public's help.”
A poster seeking information has been placed on our website and is available in Arabic and Tagalog in addition to English. Anyone with information about the case is encouraged to contact their local FBI office or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate, or to submit a tip online. All tips can remain anonymous.
Kitterman, who was 60 at the time of his death, owned a private construction company and was contracted by the U.S. government to build a helipad at the U.S. Consulate in Baghdad. The work was taking place inside the Green Zone—the roughly four-square-mile area housing U.S. military personnel and their international coalition partners located in central Baghdad. Kitterman lived and worked inside the Green Zone, which was considered a secure area for Americans and had security provided by locally recruited guards.
Complicating the investigation is that possible witnesses—as well as suspects—are scattered around the world. During that time period, contractors came to work in Iraq from many countries. Kitterman's now-defunct company, Peregrine Eyes, recruited its employees from various countries, although the majority of the workers were from the U.S. and the Philippines.
Hess, who has been working the Kitterman case since 2010, has coordinated with the FBI's legal attaché offices to help enlist the support of our international law enforcement colleagues. He believes the $20,000 reward may help bring more people forward, particularly in Iraq.
“Although the international aspect of this case has made it difficult,” Hess added, “what's important is what is always important in investigations—that people who have information need to come forward and do the right thing.”
Since the murder, Hess has been in regular contact with Kitterman's brother. “The family isn't giving up on finding his killer,” Hess said, “and neither is the FBI.” He added that Kitterman was well liked and respected in the international contracting community, “and his employees all said he treated them like family.”
Help us locate those responsible for James Kitterman's murder. “He deserves justice,” Hess noted, “and his killer or killers deserve to be caught and held accountable.”
From the Department of Homeland Security
Secretary Johnson Addresses the International Association of Fire Fighters
Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson spoke at the International Association of Fire Fighters's (IAFF) Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. earlier this week. During his remarks, the Secretary highlighted the critical partnership between DHS and first responders – fire fighters and emergency medical personnel – across the nation in accomplishing a wide range of homeland security missions.
Secretary Johnson discussed DHS's ongoing commitment to working with the IAFF to provide critical support for fire departments and fire houses across the nation through the Department's grant programs. This support comes through the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grants that help fire departments maintain or increase front-line staffing and the Assistance to Firefighters Grants which help fire fighters and first responders obtain the equipment, protective gear, vehicles, training, and other resources needed to protect communities against fire and fire-related hazards. DHS will award more than $600 million in fire fighter grants this year.
Fire fighters are often the first ones on the scene of an incident. Whether it is a terrorist attack like the Boston Marathon bombing or a major storm like Hurricane Sandy, fire fighters understand the importance of prevention and mitigation, and planning and collaboration, ahead of disasters and emergencies.
DHS is proud to support these important partners - IAFF, fire departments, and fire fighters across the nation- as they work to keep our communities safe and secure.
Cyber security bill clears Kentucky Senate
FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Kentucky Senate passed a bill backed by State Auditor Adam Edelen on Friday to improve security of personal data on government computers.
House Bill 5 requires state and local government agencies to notify people within 35 days if their personal information is stolen or mishandled on a government computer system.
It also creates incentives for public agencies to beef up security against hackers and data breaches.
HB 5 cleared the GOP-controlled Senate without opposition and now returns to the Democratic-led House, where lawmakers will consider the Senate's revisions. Those changes altered the timeframe for some notifications.
“The process wasn't pretty, but bipartisan agreement was reached on one of the top public protection issues of the digital age,” Edelen said in a statement Friday.
According to the auditor's office, some Kentucky agencies have faced attacks from hackers or unintentionally released sensitive information in recent years.
In one instance in 2012, the state finance cabinet accidentally posted Social Security numbers and other information on its website, officials have said.
“At minimum, government should take steps to increase security and tell you if your information is compromised,” Edelen said.
Lights, Sirens, Safety: A Public Safety Expo
Erie Promotions and Expos, Inc. is excited to announce the new Lights, Sirens, Safety: A Public Safety Expo, sponsored by Erie Insurance, to be held April 11-13 at the Bayfront Convention Center.
Admission is free to the public on Saturday (10am-6pm) and Sunday (11am-5pm).
All ages are invited to take part in public seminars, interactive demos, equipment exhibits, safety product vendors, a recruiting fair,and much more.
Friday and part of Saturday will featured a professional networking and training for law enforcement officers, fire fighters, first responders, and those serving the emergency management sector.
Registrations are now being accepted for the Fire/EMS Track on Friday, April 11, and part of Saturday, April 12.
All regional fire fighters, first responders, and emergency management personnel are invited to participate in this day and a half of training and networking that will help professionals better serve their communities.
Registration is free, and must be completed online athttp://www.eriepublicsafety.com.
Local and regional experts with a great deal of experience in the emergency management sector will present a wide variety of relevant topics to fire and EMS professionals.
Seminar speakers include Allen Clark(Emergency Management Director of the Crawford County Emergency Management Agency), Harry Latta (EMT-P at EmergyCare), Norman Auvil (Special Deployment and Response Office at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency), Bill McClincy (Executive Director of EMMCO West, Inc.), Michelle Eaton (Northwest PA K-9 Search & Rescue), Lisa Simonian (Clinical Forensic Director at UPMC Hamot), and Scott Sherry (Regional Manager for Emergency Disaster Preparedness at the Hospital & Health
Association of PA).
These experts will present information including resource networking, K-9 and urban search and rescue tactics, and community disaster preparedness.
Several sessions qualify for continuing education for all Department of Health certified Emergency Medical Services Personnel.
All participants in Friday's training sessions will also be invited to a networking reception following the conclusion of seminars at 5pm.
The professional training and networking on Friday and Saturday is free for the Fire/EMS Track, and will take place from 8am-7pm on Friday, April 11, and from 9am-12pm on Saturday, April 12. Local Fire/EMS organizations are also encouraged to participate in the public portion of the expo on Saturday and Sunday, particularly at the recruiting fair.
For more information on the Public Safety Expo, please visit http://www.eriepublicsafety.com or contact Erie
Promotions at 814-790-5079 or Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.
Hawaii cops: We need to keep law that lets us have sex with prostitutes
by Cheryl K. Chumley
Police officers in Honolulu have taken their lobby mantra to lawmakers, insisting that the ability to have sex with prostitutes in undercover operations is a necessary evil that lets them do their jobs.
Their arguments come as Hawaiian legislators are mulling whether or not to drop an exemption for police from state prostitution laws, The Associated Press reported. But police say don't: We have to be able to catch lawbreakers in the actual act.
Critics of the exemption say it leads to further victimization of those in the sex trade, some of whom are only there because they've been forced. And among those critics is Derek Marsh, an official who trains police in California on human trafficking issues — and who finds it most curious that Hawaiian cops insist they need the provision but won't say how many times they use it.
“It doesn't help your case, and at worst, you further traumatize someone,” Mr. Marsh said in the AP report. “Do you think he or she is going to trust a cop again?”
Police in Hawaii say they have provisions in place to ensure that officers only turn to the exemption in last-ditch cases.
New Jersey teen sneaks to top of 1 World Trade Center, police say
by Chris Boyette
A 16-year-old boy from New Jersey was arrested after allegedly trespassing at 1 World Trade Center, bypassing security and making his way to the 104th floor of the nation's tallest building, police said Thursday.
Authorities said Justin Casquejo early Sunday allegedly climbed through a 1-foot opening in a fence surrounding the still-under-construction skyscraper, past "do not enter" and "no trespassing" signs and, apparently undetected, got to the scaffolding around the building and started climbing.
According to the criminal complaint, Casquejo told police, "I walked around the construction site and figured out how to access the Freedom Tower rooftop. I found a way up through the scaffolding, climbed onto the sixth floor, and took the elevator up to the 88th floor. I then took the staircase up to 104th floor."
On the 104th floor, Casquejo encountered an "inattentive" security guard -- a contractor from a security company -- and was able to get past him, according to Joe Pentangelo, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the trade center site. The guard has since been fired, he said.
From there, Casquejo told police, he went to the rooftop and climbed a ladder out to the spire of the 1,776-foot building.
Around 6 a.m. Sunday, Port Authority police arrested Casquejo on the property, according to Pentangelo.
One World Trade Center is rising in the shadows of the original World Trade Center, where the iconic twin towers were felled by two hijacked airplanes on September 11, 2001, in the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil.
The criminal complaint said the teen "knowingly entered and remained unlawfully in a building and upon real property which was fenced and otherwise enclosed in a manner designed to exclude intruders; the defendant knowingly entered and remained unlawfully in and upon premises."
When he was taken into custody, Casquejo had a camera and a phone, Pentangelo said. Warrants have been secured, and the contents of those devices are being checked to establish a motive for Casquejo's alleged trespassing. The investigation continues as authorities review whether Casquejo went anywhere else on the property.
"We take security and these types of infractions very seriously and will prosecute violators," Joe Dunne, chief security officer for the Port Authority, said in a statement. "We continue to reassess our security posture at the site and are constantly working to make this site as secure as possible."
Attempts to reach Casquejo were unsuccessful, but his Twitter page has many photos of himself in various high-altitude locations -- hanging from a crane, standing on a rooftop -- and talks about Parkour, a free-running type exercise that includes obstacle courses, running, climbing and jumping.
According to the Manhattan district attorney's office, Casquejo was released without bail after being arraigned on one count of criminal trespass in the third degree, a misdemeanor punished by up to three months in jail, and one count of trespass, a violation punishable by up to 15 days in jail.
Pamela Griffith, Casquejo's attorney, declined to comment.
One World Trade Center is the United States' tallest building, beating out Chicago's Willis Tower in November.
Upon completion, which is expected this year, the skyscraper is expected to rank as the world's third-tallest building, after the Burj Khalifa in Dubai and the Makkah Royal Clock Tower in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
New community policing team having immediate impact
by Jessica Heffner
DAYTON — A specialized grassroots policing team is having success attacking crime one tip at a time.
The Dayton Police Department's east patrol division initialized the Community Problem Response Team, or CPRT, to tackle issues that impact the community's overall well-being, but “take more than 20 minutes to solve,” said Sgt. Matt Beavers, supervisor of the new team.
“They were trying to figure out ways to get a group of officers who could handle the neighborhood problems,” Beavers said. “And we don't just want to solve their problems, but to help them solve some of their problems on their own.”
Comprised of six full-time officers plus Beavers, CPRT responds to every call, from nuisance complaints to drug activity.
During an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the team in action Thursday, officers apprehended 32-year-old Jamie Grachek, wanted on complicity to murder charges out of Riverside from the 2013 robbery and killing of her husband, 45-year-old John T. Grachek. They also made arrests on two felony warrants.
The arrests can be attributed to good police work and citizens' tips, Beavers said.
But it's more than just crime fighting. The team participates in community events, sharing information on what's happening in individual neighborhoods and listening to concerns. The key to success, Beavers said, is getting citizens involved in the program, encouraging them to call in complaints and work with the neighbors to solve problems.
“We need their help in identifying people, calling stuff in, working with us to clean up their neighborhoods,” he said.
The team's already had success since getting their start in November. Most notably, CPRT made more than 30 drug-related arrests along North Smithville Road in the past month, which can be directly attributed to citizen tips and complaints. To date, the team has responded to 2,424 calls and made 649 arrests.
After a rash of vacant house arsons, officers went door-to-door talking to neighbors to share information and gather suspect descriptions. While no arrests were made, the fires have stopped, and resident and local businesswoman Jan Lepore-Jentleson said she believes that directly a result of police work.
“A lot of people felt a lot better when the arsons stopped,” she said. “I think there's a growing feeling of improved safety in our community because of the new team.”
To contact CPRT with an issue, call (937) 222-7867.
It's Called Community Policing Not Hug A Thug
by Brittney Cobb
Earlier this month, a 14-year-old Venzel Richardson was shot to death on the South Side of Chicago. After the shooting one of the commanding officers in the district asked for a list of all gang leaders in the surrounding area. After receiving that list he visited their homes requesting they stop the shootings.
While other news outlets have referred to this strategy as “Hug a Thug, officers are stating that this is an intervention. This intervention consists of officers who visit gang members, referred to as custom notifications, to persuade them to stop the violence while providing positive resources. They give contacts for jobs, social services referrals, and they also try to speak to family members too as well as encouraging the gang members to stay out of trouble.
According to the National Gang Center,
From 2007 through 2011, a sizeable majority (more than 80 percent) of respondents provided data on gang-related homicides in their jurisdictions.
Highly populated areas accounted for the vast majority of gang homicides: nearly 70 percent occurred in cities with populations over 100,000, and 19 percent occurred in suburban counties in 2011.
The number of gang-related homicides increased approximately 10 percent from 2009 to 2010 and then declined slightly (2 percent) from 2010 to 2011 in cities with populations over 100,000.
In a typical year in the so-called “gang capitals” of Chicago and Los Angeles, around half of all homicides are gang-related; these two cities alone accounted for approximately one in five gang homicides recorded in the NYGS from 2010 to 2011.
I believe that this intervention could work because community policing is a widely held best practice model. However, since 911, police departments have moved away from the community policing model which allocates funding to preventive programs in favor of militarization. As a result of increased funding from Homeland Security, police departments started purchasing tanks, armored cars, and more firepower while decreasing funding to community policing prevention programs. According to the Community Policing Dispatch website by the US Department of Justice, community policing should be one prong of a two-prong approach acting as counter balance to enforcement.
Rather than responding to crime only after it occurs, community policing encourages agencies to work proactively develop solutions to the immediate underlying conditions contributing to public safety problems. Rather than addressing root causes, police and their partners should focus on factors that are within their reach, such as limiting criminal opportunities and access to victims, increasing guardianship, and associating risk with unwanted behavior. Read More
As a result of the increase militarization of police departments, police officers have a great deal of trust to gain within these communities, but community policing and events such as National Night Out can help to begin the process. The reputation of law enforcement officers have left many communities in fear of the public servants who are tasked with protecting them for various reasons such as racial profiling, police corruption, and unlawful shootings.
I believe police departments should be expanding their community policing models and hiring social workers to work in those Agencies to help design prevention programs based on their community practice expertise. After officers are able to regain the trust of not just gang members, but the community at large, I am convinced this model can make a different in their lives. They may also be able to help facilitate the formation of support groups that could bring in other former gang members as mentors within the communities.
Whatever critics may think, it appears to be working.
Countryside Police Department first in Cook County to utilize Overdose Prevention Program
by KRISTIN PEDICINI
COUNTRYSIDE – The Countryside Police Department was recently approved to implement a new Overdose Prevention Program in the community.
The program – a partnership between the department and the Chicago Recovery Alliance – allows officers to be equipped with Naloxone, an antidote for prescription opiate and heroin overdoses.
Countryside will be the first department in Cook County to utilize the program, according to Chief of Police Joe Ford.
Bringing the program to town allows Countryside to "stay on the cutting edge," Ford said.
Ford said he'd rather institute the program and hope to never use it, rather than not having it available when needed.
"We really don't have a major addiction problem in the community," Ford said. "But all it takes is one and this drug is becoming more prevalent."
Ford added that studies have shown emergency room visits for heroin and opiate overdoses are on the rise.
Over the next coming months, officers will be trained to learn how to properly administer Naloxone. Once the training is complete, the antidote kits will be attached to the Automated External Defibrillator units, which are used on ambulance calls, Ford said.
The Overdose Prevention Program also allows parents and siblings of addicts to be trained to use the antidote.
"It'll certainly mean something to the families dealing with addiction [to] know the police department is there for them," Ford said.
The main idea in the police department is to bring community policing to another level, according to Ford. He said the police are public servants who are there to help.
"[The program] is not because we have a problem," Ford said. "It's because we want to be out ahead of any problem and be prepared for anything."
Detroit police chief assigns neighborhood patrols 'you can reach out and touch'
by Joe Guillen
Detroit police chief James Craig rolled out a community policing program today that assigns officers to specific neighborhoods to improve the relationship between residents and police officers.
Craig introduced the 38 neighborhood police officers at today's city council meeting. Each will be responsible for addressing quality of life issues and connecting with the neighborhood to which they are assigned.
“You will now have someone you can reach out and touch,” Craig told the council. “Going forward, you will find this as a tool that will help you respond effectively to your constituents.”
The community policing effort is based on the Los Angeles police department's senior lead officer program, Craig said. Craig also used it in Cincinnati, where he was chief before coming to Detroit.
Councilman James Tate said he is excited about the new neighborhood police officers.
“It gives the residents an opportunity to have a direct connection to the officers who are not assigned to calls for service, who are not assigned to various enforcement actions,” Tate said. “The police department is an extension of the community and this just folds into that concept.”
The neighborhood officers still have about a week of training left and will be working in neighborhoods shortly, police spokesman Sgt. Michael Woody said.
Ex-al-Qaida spokesman recounts 9/11 aftermath
NEW YORK — Osama bin Laden's hours in a dark Afghanistan cave the evening of the Sept. 11 attacks were brought to light when his son-in-law testified in his own defense at his terrorism trial, portraying the al-Qaida leader as worried and apprehensive as he contemplated how America would respond.
The son-in-law, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, said the al-Qaida leader asked him hours after the attacks what he thought would happen next.
"Politically, I said, America, if it was proven that you were the one who did this, will not settle until it accomplishes two things: To kill you and topple the state of the Taliban," Abu Ghaith said he told him.
Bin Laden responded: "You're being too pessimistic," Abu Ghaith recalled in a discussion that he said went late into the night.
He said bin Laden had sent a messenger to pick him up earlier on Sept. 11 from a house in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he had watched the news unfold on television. He said bin Laden told him: "We are the ones who did it."
He said he had met bin Laden only six or seven times previously before he was brought to the cave in a rough mountainous area.
The surprise testimony Wednesday by Abu Ghaith seemed to soften the image of the one-time Kuwaiti teacher and preacher known for fiery anti-American rhetoric on widely circulated post-attack videos until a prosecutor took his turn, eliciting damaging admissions from the 48-year-old defendant before showing a videotape on which Abu Ghaith spoke that included a hijacked plane slamming into a World Trade Center tower.
Questioned by defense lawyer Stanley Cohen and later by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Ferrara, the bearded Abu Ghaith testified bin Laden seemed worried that night.
The next morning, Abu Ghaith said, he saw bin Laden with an al-Qaida military leader, Abu Hafs al-Masri, and current al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri at breakfast, and bin Laden invited him to join them.
He said bin laden told him: "Now, after these events, ... it's a no-brainer to predict what is going to happen. What you expected may actually happen. And I want to deliver a message to the world. And Dr. Ayman also wants to deliver a message. I want you to deliver that message."
Within two hours, the four men were posing in front of a rocky backdrop as Abu Ghaith spoke using what he said were "bullet points" provided by bin Laden that mixed verses from the Quran with justification for the terror attacks.
It was a position that would bring the onetime imam infamy as well as a place in the inner circle of the world's most wanted terrorists and eventually to federal court in Manhattan, where he was brought after his capture last year in Jordan.
Abu Ghaith was the final witness in his trial on charges he conspired to kill Americans and aid al-Qaida as a spokesman for the terrorist group. Closing arguments were scheduled for Monday.
The testimony was a rare gambit by the defense, a last-ditch effort to counter a mountain of evidence against Abu Ghaith, including an alleged confession and the video showing him sitting beside Bin Laden on Sept. 12, 2001, and another in which he warned Americans that "the storm of airplanes will not abate." The defense has never disputed that Abu Ghaith associated with bin Laden after 9/11, but it contends he was recruited as a religious teacher and orator, and had no role in plotting more attacks.
On cross examination, though, Abu Ghaith admitted that he sent his pregnant wife, six daughters and a son to Kuwait while he went to Afghanistan on Sept. 7, 2001, after hearing inside and outside al-Qaida training camps that something big was going to happen soon.
Ferrera mocked Abu Ghaith's statement that he stayed and helped bin Laden for two weeks after Sept. 11 because the conditions in Afghanistan were tense and he had no way to travel.
"You are telling this jury that you made a speech in which you called on people to terrorize the infidels because you didn't have a personal car?" he said, drawing from one juror a smile and a nod to a fellow juror.
"I don't understand the question," Abu Ghaith responded.
Testifying through an Arabic interpreter, the Kuwaiti-born defendant seemed relaxed, wearing a blue shirt, open at the collar, beneath a charcoal-colored jacket.
He testified he first met bin Laden when the al-Qaida leader, who was living in Kandahar, Afghanistan, summoned him in June 2001 after hearing he was a preacher from Kuwait. He took bin Laden's daughter as an additional wife years after 9/11.
The defendant said that videos he made warning of more attacks on Americans were based on "quotes and points by Sheik Osama." He testified his videotaped sermons were religious in nature, and meant to encourage Muslims to fight oppression.
Abu Ghaith said he wasn't involved in recruiting aspiring terrorists and denied allegations he had prior knowledge of the Sept. 11 attacks or the failed shoe-bomb airline attack by Richard Reid in December 2001.
"My intention was to deliver a message, a message I believed in," he said. "I was hoping the United States would say, 'Let's sit down and talk and solve these problems,' but America was going on and doing what I expected them to do."
His lawyers said they were hopeful that another part of Abu Ghaith's testimony, that he had met self-professed Sept. 11 architect Khalid Sheik Mohammed, would cause the federal judge overseeing the trial to reconsider his decision to exclude Mohammed from testifying via videotape from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Ferrera zeroed in on Abu Ghaith's testimony that he accepted an invitation to meet with bin Laden on Sept. 11 because the al-Qaida leader was a sheik who deserved respect, along with his admission that he was aware bin Laden's organization was behind earlier terrorist attacks against Americans abroad.
"Despite knowing that he was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans," the prosecutor asked, "you met with him to be polite?"
Officials find more than 100 people in Houston house in suspected human smuggling operation
Houston police say authorities have found more than 100 people presumed to be in the U.S. illegally in a suspected stash house.
Police tell the Houston Chronicle (http://bit.ly/1gHODWt) the discovery was made Wednesday morning. Five men suspected of running the operation were detained at the scene in southeast Houston.
Authorities say the investigation started when a Houston family called police to report a woman and her children missing. They said a planned coyote drop of the mother and children did not happen. Investigators then were led to the house and set up surveillance.
Officers found 94 men and 15 women inside.
The house is in an industrial area with a number of fabricating and machining warehouses nearby.
Houston police say U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is taking over the investigation.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig: 'We will institutionalize community policing' in Detroit
by Gus Burns
DETROIT, MI -- Armed with Internet-equipped tablets and smart phones, Detroit neighborhood police officers are taking a new approach to patrols throughout the city.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig and his captains at Tuesday's City Council meeting announced nearly 36 newly promoted neighborhood police officers.
"You hear a lot of police department talk about community policing, neighborhood policing, but it has no real teeth in it," Craig said. "This is a model that I've been intimately involved in for all of my 37-year career starting in Los Angeles and it really is an effective and efficient way to build bridges in communities."
Although officers on foot beats and mini-stations are "wonderful," they take too many resources, said Craig.
Detroit's model will "focus primarily" on quality-of-life issues, such as problematic businesses in a section of town, and look at linking the residents with its officers by harnessing technology.
Three to four officers will be designated from each of the city's 12 precincts, as well as one officer appointed to each of the city's casinos.
The Skillman Foundation is issuing the department a $75,000 grant to purchase Internet-equipped tablets and smart phones.
Craig said this will allow the officers to act as a roving office. It will allow them to keep up on crime trends, file reports and follow social media from the field.
"The tablet is a more cost-effective way to have their mobile office," Craig said, "and again, no cost to taxpayers."
The city will pay for new equipment and maintenance after the one-year grant expires.
The department plans to issue maps and contact information, email addresses and cell phone numbers, within next 10 days, said Detroit Police Sgt. Michael Woody.
Information will be released on the city's website.
Neighborhood Police Officer Elaine Frinkley discussed an upcoming initiative in her 12th Precinct. The officer reached out to gas station and business owners with whom she is planning a meeting on Thursday at noon to discuss the problems they are experiencing and what both parties can do to minimize illegal activity.
The neighborhood policing unit, while operating as a liaison to the public, will also be the gateway for City Council members to address policing concerns in their districts.
"We will institutionalize neighborhood policing in the city of Detroit to a level that had not ever been seen here,"said Craig. When it's fully functioning, stand by."
Plan unveiled for community policing
There's an episode of “The Andy Griffith Show” where an overprivileged 19-year-old rips through Mayberry in his convertible, sideswiping a local's vegetable truck causing the produce to spill onto the road.
Sheriff Andy Taylor, with his bumbling deputy Barney Fife by his side, track down the spoiled teen and question him about the hit and run. Following a bribe and threat from the boy, Andy decides to take him into custody until the judge can see him on Monday.
While waiting for the judge, Andy takes the boy fishing with him. The sheriff even has the scofflaw over for Sunday dinner. It's during those instances where Andy imparts his values into the prisoner, who, by the end of the episode, takes responsibility for his actions.
According to Police Chief Ed Mello, officers have two functions: law enforcement and community policing. Andy Taylor was a pro at the latter. While nobody should expect Mello to take a prisoner out of a cell and to the local fishing hole, he has this week unveiled a strategic plan for his department to improve community policing in Jamestown.
Community policing is a philosophy that supports the systematic use of partnerships and problemsolving techniques to proactively address public safety issues such as crime, social disorder and fear of crime, says the U.S. Department of Justice.
Law enforcement is stopping a resident who is speeding and issuing a ticket. Community policing is preparing residents for what to expect if they were to be stopped.
“We need to better develop partnerships with community members,” Mello said. “Some departments pigeonhole it. They assign certain officers. With our plan, it will infuse a philosophy departmentwide. Everybody on the force is responsible.”
Mello's initiative will include regular face-to-face interactions with community organizations, local businesses and schoolchildren. He also expects his officers to be more visible downtown and during community events.
“If the Jamestown band is playing at the PAC, the officer on duty should stop by and say hello,” he said. “Make that personal connection.”
To that end, the department has increased online presence using Facebook and Twitter, and it has also added bios for each officer on its homepage.
Mello's plan includes community training. Sgt. Joel Pinocci will lead a citizens police academy, a six-week course for about 20 residents. The academy will acquaint community members with the duties of their local officers.
“It'll allow residents to meet more individually and get a feel for what we do,” Mello said.
Sgt. Karen Catlow will once again instruct a rape defense course, a highly successful program she taught last year. The department had to turn women away because the course was full.
Another major initiative began 18 months ago, but now Mello is formalizing the plan. His liaison program matches officers with community groups such as the schools, chamber, recreation center and taxpayers association.
Sgt. Keith Woodbine, for example, is paired with the Jamestown Shore Association. He is expected to sit in during its meetings.
“Let's say, for example, they have a concern with a proposed aqua farm,” Mello said. “It's not a police issue, but it gets officers into the community. They report back to me, and I'll see if anything can be done.”
Another example, he says, is if residents at Pemberton Apartments aren't aware of a parking ban. “With an officer dealing with the Housing Authority, they now have someone to reach out to.”
Mello also wants officers to be more informed. When the electronic radar sign was installed near the speed zone on North Road, officers were bombarded with questions. Does it take photos? Will police send me a speeding ticket?
“I don't want residents getting confusing responses from officers,” he said. “If they're hearing questions on the street, I want them to come back to me so I can provide them with data and answers. So the next time officers are asked, they're prepared.”
As for the schools, Mello would like a complete overhaul. He wants the kids to smile when they see officers. When he was police chief of Westerly, Mello says officers had a great relationship with the schools. He wants to improve the bond in Jamestown.
“When I arrived in town, it was a little upsetting,” he said. “There wasn't the same connection. In Westerly, I was going to math week. I was going to reading week.”
Mello says officers even became substitute parents for some children during career day.
“It's an ever-revolving relationship,” he said. “It's a great opportunity, and the kids are the perfect age for us to make a connection.”
To create that bond, Mello wants officers to read to kids at the library. The department will continue participating with Project
Northland to sway teens away from alcohol. He also wants officers to participate in class projects, such as a fingerprint analysis course a science class did last year.
Other initiatives to the strategic plan:
• Supplying residents with car seats. The department gives away free car seats and can install them properly. Mello says it's not safe to swap child safety seats between cars;
• Driver education. Officers instruct one course for each session in town, something other communities don't take advantage of;
• Alcohol awareness. Officers will conduct training with local restaurants on how to deal with intoxicated customers;
• Vacant house checks. Officers will check on homes when the owners are away on vacation;
• Traffic stop pamphlet. The leaflet is supposed to reduce anxiety during traffic stops. It will answer FAQ. Can they search my car? Why do I have to keep my hands on the wheel? Should the officers tell me their name?
• The department will train officers to specialize in domestic violence, Internet crimes and parking enforcement;
• The department will develop a policy so officers can effectively deal with families who have experienced a tragic event;
• A leadership council. The department will set up a 10-member council, made up of students and members of organizations like the chamber and senior center.
• Expand the call reassurance program. The department will call an elderly person daily, for example, and if the resident doesn't hit the right prompt, an officer is dispatched to the scene.
• Continue to distribute free anonymous drug tests, as well as offer the drop-off box in the station for prescription pills.
From prisoner to neighbor, new matrix could enhance public safety
by Morgan Wilkins and Debbie Dujanovic
SALT LAKE CITY — After a parolee was accused of murdering Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Cory Wride during a traffic stop in February, the KSL investigators began digging into what's being done to keep the public safe and improve oversight of Utah's 13,000 parolees and probationers who live in our communities.
From door to door and house to house, agents who keep Utah's convicted criminals in check allowed KSL investigators an inside look.
“We have to wear so many different hats doing this job,” said agent James Clegg, “going from making sure public safety is in place to making sure that we're trying to help some of those people rehabilitate themselves.”
Adult Probation and Parole is charged with keeping tabs on offenders who have been given the green light by a judge or the parole board to finish out their sentences living in our communities. One-fourth of those are parolees, some of whom have committed very violent crimes.
Clegg watches over 63 offenders, and he's seen many successes, like one probationer who told Clegg, “I was attending church; I told you I'm mostly involved in the church all the time nowadays.”
But Clegg has spent years digging deeper into the stories he hears from convicts, and on Wednesday he invited KSL cameras along as he visited several offenders.
“Can I come in real quick,” he said after knocking on one probationer's residence.
Clegg is trained to understand that every knock on a door invites potential risks to the agents and the community. To mitigate risks, agents travel in pairs.
“That person that got in trouble, you know they can resurface, they can turn into a real nightmare," he said. “We go in prepared. That's our policy.”
As agents look for violations, the public may be relieved to learn most of the time they find none. But sometimes they do spot trouble.
“Do you mind if I walk down there and kind of snoop around for a minute?” Clegg asked the probationer.
The agents comb through kitchens and bathrooms looking for possible violations of an offender's agreement. “Frequently, they have a no-alcohol clause and so we'll check fridges, we'll check cupboards, check freezers,” Clegg said.
At one home, the agents noticed a baseball bat by the front door, which prompted them to enhance their search of the home. “Dump all your stuff,” Clegg told the offender. His search uncovered an old drug kit, knives and prescription drugs, and suddenly the situation was not looking good.
Now Clegg had to make a decision: Should he put this probationer back behind bars or continue to work with her so she can stay in the community?
“What we try to do is sort out what's going on and deal with what's going on,” Clegg said.
For several decades, agents have used their own discretion to determine if an offender can continue down a road of rehabilitation outside of prison or if that person should be sent back behind bars. However, some said such discretion has allowed offenders too many chances.
And now KSL has learned agent discretion will become a much more formalized process in the near future as Adult Probation and Parole moves toward a computer matrix system.
Think of it as a report card that grades how a parolee or probationer is doing on the outside — do they have a job, a steady place to live, are they staying crime free? Once it's in place, the matrix will give agents options for how to deal with violators.
“We want to protect public safety, and that's first and foremost in every law enforcement agency, of course,” said Steve Gehrke, spokesman for the Utah Department of Corrections.
Gehrke said in the past three years, 2,400 warrants have been issued to send parolees back to prison. It's uncertain if that number will go up or down under the new matrix system.
“It kind of has to work in concert with the discretion of that agent as well because we can't just draw a hard fast line," Gehrke said. "There's specifics, there's context that goes into every single case, every single offender.”
Gehrke anticipates the matrix will be in development for several more months and it'll be a first of its kind in the country.
As we returned to the streets with agent Clegg, we learned that upon further investigation he won't send the probationer with the baseball bat by her front door back to prison. It turns out many of the concerning items he found inside the home belonged to a roommate. And with that, he's off to visit another offender in his ongoing efforts to keep the public safe.
Criminal Justice Day to focus on secondary victims
by Joanne Beck
BATAVIA — It was more than a dozen years ago when two people were killed in a drunk driving accident, but of the hundreds of cases that Larry Friedman has handled, it still stands out in his memory.
It was on Jan. 27, 2001. Donald Schulz of Attica was driving while intoxicated on Route 63 in Bethany when he crossed the center line and crashed head-on into a car driven by Bonnie Macleod of Avon. The accident killed a passenger in each of the two vehicles.
And Lonni Carroll, daughter of one of the victims, remains a clear symbol of how crime and tragic incidents affect so much more than the victims themselves.
“There are some people who probably don't think of themselves as victims but they're impacted by crime,” the Genesee County district attorney said. “Then there was Lonni, she came forward, making her feelings known. She was very involved in her mother's case.”
Carroll will serve on a panel for this year's Criminal Justice Day. The theme is how crime affects secondary victims and the ripple effects involved.
The event is to begin with a flag-raising ceremony at 8 a.m. April 7 at Genesee Community College, 1 College Rd. It includes a victim impact panel, keynote speaker Judge Eric Adams, three break-out sessions and closing remarks by Kit Miller of the M.K. Gandhi Institute of Nonviolence.
The drunk driving case had many elements that made it memorable, Friedman said. Schulz had no prior DWI arrests or a criminal history at all. He was a young kid who had partied with friends and then opted to go out for breakfast afterwards. He hit a curve, lost control of his vehicle and hit another car head-on, killing Patricia Arend and his own passenger, Ben Davis.
Other reminders are the buttons that Arend's family made with her dates of birth and death, along with the words “in loving memory.” It's a visual cue of one family's loss, Friedman said.
The panel includes Carroll, who will speak as a secondary victim of the accident; Sureda Drue, who will give her first-hand account of being a victim of domestic violence; Sue Klassen and her 14 years of experience working with trauma and restorative justice in courts, schools and the community; Brandi Post, whose mother was murdered in 1988; and James Termotto Sr. whose cousin's crime — fraudulent acquisition of funding for an art gallery — affected the otherwise good Termotto family name.
When one person is the victim of a crime — whether it's assault, drunk driving, murder or robbery — it doesn't just claim the life of that victim. “A lot of people” are drawn in, such as family members, friends, co-workers and community members, Friedman said. As Termotto plans to share, it can also affect friends and family of the perpetrator.
Committee member Pat Corona said that as a detective sergeant for the city police, he has seen how those near the victim get and stay involved. It happens from the initial investigation throughout the judicial process of a trial and, in Brandi Post's case, years afterward.
She was a child when her mother was killed in Batavia. Now, as an adult Post has pursued the issue by attending parole board hearings to make sure the perpetrator remains in jail.
“It takes over their life,” Corona said. “It's traumatic.”
Criminal Justice Day is part of Crime Victims Rights Week. Theresa Asmus of Restore Sexual Assault Survivors is on the planning committee and will be presenting a few of the other events.
One of her favorite programs is the Stewards of Children Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Training. It's one of the more rare times when advice is geared to adults about children's safety, she said, versus the typical advice given directly to children about stranger danger and healthy eating.
“It's most appropriate for the general community about what adults can do to prevent child sexual abuse,” she said. “This empowers adults to (ask questions of groups that deal with children). It gives adults the tools for how to prevent child sexual abuse.”
It was during a brainstorming session when the committee hit upon the theme of secondary victims, she said.
“We were looking at victims on the micro level, the person with crime perpetrated against them,” she said. “We talked about how a community is impacted when crime is committed in that community.”
The day has grown in participation, with GCC's Criminal Justice Club getting more involved, said Sue Gagne, executive director for Mental Health in Genesee County, the event host.
Gagne said that last year's attendees asked for this type of program. It seems to be a necesary message to carry out to all victims, she said.
“They need somebody to support them and to say we're here for you,” she said.
Deadline to register for Criminal Justice Day is April 1. It's $20 a person and $12 for seniors 60 and older and for students. People may choose one of three break-out sessions about self-soothing techniques, critical incident stress debriefing or safety tips from the pros.
The week also includes a human trafficking awareness night on April 8 at City Church Generation Center, a Stewards of Children Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Training April 9 at YWCA, an open house April 11 at the Justice for Children Advocacy Center, and a ceremonial walk and reception April 11 at the old county courhouse.
Event partners also include Catholic Charities, GCC, Genesee Justice, Genesee County District Attorney's Office, Genesee County Sheriff's Office and YWCA of Genesee County.
For more information, call (585) 344-2611.
Henderson police accepting applications for citizens academy
Henderson, NV (KTNV) -- Henderson residents wanting to learn more about law enforcement and public safety now have the chance to enroll in the Henderson Police Department Citizens' Academy.
The goal of the program is to give citizens a unique insight into the life and training of a Henderson police officer.
The Citizens' Academy will begin May 6 and meet on 13 consecutive Tuesdays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Main Police Station, located at 223 Lead Street.
The deadline to submit an application is Thursday, April 10. Classes fill quickly and are limited to 20 participants.
During the program, citizens experience a condensed version of the actual police training academy. Some of the topics covered are: Radio and communication training, community policing, use of force, gang enforcement, crime scene investigation, detention center procedures, criminal justice overview, domestic violence and criminalistics.
Applicants must live or work in the City of Henderson, be at least 18 years old, and have no felony, gross misdemeanor, or misdemeanor convictions. The Department holds three Citizens' Academies each year.
Applications are available at the Main Police Station at 223 Lead Street, the West Substation at 300 S. Green Valley Parkway and the North Substation at 225 E. Sunset Road. The application can also be found on the police department's website by clicking here.
For more information regarding the Citizens' Academy, please contact the Henderson Police Training Unit at (702) 267-4850.
Gun-happy Ga. lawmakers put public safety at risk
THE NATIONAL Rifle Association calls it “the most comprehensive pro-gun reform legislation in recent state history.” That's true, sad to say.
After the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012, gun-control advocates thought reasonable firearm restrictions might have a chance at enactment. They scored a notable victory in Colorado but mostly failed elsewhere and on the national level. Now the old political calculus seems to be back at work: The momentum is with those attempting to weaken the nation's already-lax gun laws. Nowhere is this more true than in Georgia, where the legislature is considering the NRA's “comprehensive” reforms, an embarrassment to anyone who claims to favor responsible gun ownership.
Georgia's House has endorsed a series of proposals premised on the dubious notion that the more often guns are in the hands of willing shooters, the better. The state Senate is considering a few measures of varying senselessness. Depending on the version, gun owners would be allowed to bring firearms into bars and government buildings; teachers and staff would be allowed to carry guns into schools, after some training; the penalty for bringing guns onto college campuses would be reduced to a small fine; and the state would be barred from keeping a database of gun owners with carry permits, to satisfy gun-rights conspiracists. In keeping with one of the latest trends in pro-gun lawmaking, another reform on the table would extend “stand your ground” protections to felons, who can't legally carry guns.
Stand-your-ground laws are dangerous. A Texas A&M University study last year found that states that adopted them, all within the past decade, see more homicides than do peer states. Some might not consider that a problem, particularly if many of those additional killings were based on shooters' reasonable fear of injury. We disagree. Centuries of legal practice has demanded that those in danger retreat, if it's safe to do so, before using deadly force. That discourages conflicts from escalating. The stand-your-ground model encourages confrontations to get out of hand, almost certainly resulting in unnecessary deaths. But instead of rolling back its stand-your-ground law, Georgia is poised to offer its protection even to people the government previously determined to be too risky to trust with legal firearms.
Georgia is not the only state with leaders who have failed the common-sense test on gun control. Politifact points out that many states already have lax gun restrictions, including several that don't require carry permits. But that's a mistake Georgia's leaders should be expected to avoid. So, too, should lawmakers in Ohio thinking of introducing stand-your-ground laws in their state. That would be a perverse legacy for Sandy Hook.
UMass Public Safety holds seminars regarding active shooters
How campus police have prepared in the event there is an active shooter on campus
University of Massachusetts Boston Public Safety Department will begin hosting "Active Shooter Awareness" seminars every month. The first seminar took place in February and was hosted by the Public Safety and Office of Emergency Preparedness.
The seminars are designed to teach students and faculty what an active shooter situation is, and how to prepare and react for one.
Acting Chief and Director of Public Safety Donald Baynard explained that an active shooter situation is when “an individual or individuals [are] actively killing or attempting to kill people in a confined or populated area.” He noted that “in most cases, an active shooter uses a firearm and there is no pattern or method to victim selection. Their primary purpose is to harm, injure, or kill as many people as possible.”
The Department of Public Safety developed these seminars with a mindset that they will eventually have all the students and faculty at UMass Boston be prepared in case an incident should happen on campus.
Chief Baynard explained that that the point of the seminar is not to scare people, but to “educate our community on an active shooter incident. We hope everyone who has attended our seminar to date has taken away some information to aid in their safety, the safety of others, and to develop a survival mindset."
In addition to educating the students and faculty, Public Safety also features live training demonstrations in which Public Safety responds to a staged scenario of a gunman somewhere on campus. This August, Public Safety will be holding another one of these training sessions.
Public Safety officers are trained to respond to a potential gunman in a variety of ways including being able to assemble into an Intermediate Action Team (IAT). Baynard described these teams as “two or more members who will respond to and eliminate the threat”. He noted that the tactics they are trained in are special; they are not to be "associated as SWAT methods or any other highly trained police personnel.”
Public Safety meets regularly with the Boston Police Department, Boston School Police, MBTA Transit Police, and Harbor Point Security. They also meet with members of the Massachusetts College Law Enforcement Agencies (MACLEA), Massachusetts State Police, and the FBI quarterly to go over data and new legal policies.
Students who are interested in attending one of the seminars are directed to visit http://univmassboston.gosignmeup.com. Questions regarding an Active Shooter situation should be sent to the Office of Emergency Management at A.McLaughlin@umb.edu or the office phone at 617-287-6821.
To Reduce Juvenile Recidivism at Rikers, New York City Bets on ABLE
by Ken Stier
NEW YORK — Jafar Abbas knows more than he'd like about recidivism – and its cruel costs. It robbed him of his youth, many prime years, too; more than a quarter century. It started out with skipping school and petty theft. That landed him in a reformatory school; later, a year in county jail. After a robbery gone bad he was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 25 years to life in an upstate prison. When he went in it was 1982 and he was 20; when he got out it was 2007 and he was 44.
Explaining how he squandered his youth does not come easily. Although he typically speaks with a natural, unstudied eloquence, he stumbles over unspoken remorse. But his regret now stokes a quietly desperate attempt to balance the scales in his life by trying to save poor teens of color, like he was, from getting sucked into a life of crime and punishment.
As a survivor of the road-better-not-taken, Jafar (born Buford Byrd, Jr.) is an invaluable front-line team member of a new program, Adolescent Behavioral Learning Experience (ABLE), which aims to straighten out New York City juvenile delinquents after their first serious encounter with the law and who find themselves locked up on Rikers Island. More than 175,000 arrests are processed annually at Rikers through the 10 separate jails located on the 413-acre island, just a short swim from runways at La Guardia Airport. “I don't want these young men to have to travel the same path that I travelled. I let them know that all my 20s, all my 30s and half my 40s was spent inside,” explains Abbas, now 51. Abbas was one of eight kids whose family life deteriorated markedly after his church-going parents split up. His mother was forced to work two jobs and he was looked after by an older sister.
He offers up his life story as a cautionary tale. “There are the things you do when you're 20: you graduate, you go to college, you meet a girl, you might have a baby, you go out on your own, get an apartment, a car, all this stuff,” he says. “I'm telling [them] that I didn't do that — that these years was basically lost. ... And if you continue on the [same] path that you're going to miss out on living. They need to know that if their thinking does not change then they're going to basically give up life.”
The ABLE program is aimed at helping more NYC youth avoid this all-too-common tragedy and to say it is an overdue effort is an understatement. Juvenile recidivism has long been stubbornly stuck around 50 percent — within three years roughly 70 percent of these kids are back in trouble. More than 95 percent are African-American and Latinos. Among first-time offenders some 80 percent will eventually be released, although that can take many months, if not a year or longer. If out on conditional release, even jumping a subway turnstile can land you back on Rikers, especially if you are too poor to post bail.
It might not be too cynical to say that Rikers has become, in effect, a kind a youth farm league for the “Big House” — as New York's extensive upstate prison archipelago is known among inmates, who currently number roughly 54,000, down from more than 66,000 in 2003. Other counties in the state hold more than 17,000 additional inmates. Reversing this appalling record — with its huge fiscal and incalculable social costs — should be uppermost in public regard of this undertaking. It is part of a larger effort known as the Young Men's Initiative (YMI), started by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2010 as he entered his third term, to “help at-risk young men build stronger futures for themselves and their families.” The city's more than a quarter-million young black and brown men are the intended beneficiaries, only about half of whom finish high school, with less than one in five ready for college, according to YMI and Department of Education statistics.
Instead, much of the press coverage has emphasized how ABLE is being financed — through a bank loan with enough unique pay-back features to be classified as that new novelty, often called a “social impact bond,” also known as a form of “pay-for-success” financing. The fact that it is the country's first SIB also makes it newsworthy, as does the involvement of lender Goldman Sachs (through its Urban Investment Group), whose controversial practices has made it a lightning rod for public antipathy for the finance sector's excesses. Christened the Vampire Squid by Rolling Stone magazine in the wake of the 2008 financial collapse, controversy continues to stalk the investment banking firm. However self-serving, or perhaps even seemingly oxymoronic, Goldman's involvement may be, it does still deserve credit for being the first, especially if this high-profile experiment succeeds and spurs replication. (There are already numerous subsequent efforts, many aimed at recidivism reduction.)
As it is, far from the paragon it is in many areas of social policy, New York City is still “eating its young.” Alone but for North Carolina, New York treats its 16- and 17-year-olds as adults. They are automatically channeled to the harsher adult court system. And for some crimes this applies to kids as young as 13. Roughly 4,000 teens are handled this way every year, but the self-inflicted damage to our kids is manifold.
Once on Rikers, aside from living in segregated quarters with mandatory education classes, these kids are not treated much differently. They spend more time in solitary confinement than adults, even though they are far less psychologically resilient than adults, according to Growing Up Locked Down, an ACLU/Human Rights Watch report that argues the state is violating its “special responsibilities not to treat young people in ways that can permanently harm their development and rehabilitation, regardless of their culpability.”
“There is a very strong research body that shows that prosecuting kids as adults has worse outcomes in terms of public safety and future recidivism — it increases future violence and recidivism — than kids tried in youth justice system,” notes Gabrielle Horowitz-Prisco, director of the Juvenile Justice Project at the Correctional Association of New York. “It's bad for public safety [and] it winds up costing taxpayers a lot of money because of the long term cost of young people being saddled with criminal records for the rest of their lives [complicating educational loans and future employment] — and New York is way behind the country in figuring this out.”
The new ABLE program arguably represents New York City's most serious effort to choke off the feeder system to the state prison system. The guts of the program, a form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), is hardly new, however. It emerged from drug rehabilitation work during the mid-1980s in the Tennessee correctional system and was codified and trademarked in 1988 as moral reconation therapy (MRT), which seeks to cultivate better decision-making. Since that time more than a million offenders (juveniles and adults, substances abusers and domestic abuse offenders too) have had MRT, according to its progenitors at Correctional Counseling Inc., which claims high success rates in a wide variety of settings, in correctional services in 47 states, and spreading internationally, all with almost no marketing. (The word reconation comes from the psychological terms conative and conation, which refer to the process of making deliberate, conscious moral decisions.)
The brand name reflects the emphasis laid on cultivating moral reasoning and instilling more responsibility. A guided 12-step process, enumerated in the basic textbook, “How to Escape Your Prison,” is worked through in daily 51-minute classes. The class is mandatory like the rest of the school day, and displaces a previously scheduled art class. One writing exercises asks students to reflect on six personal relationships they have harmed and how they can repair them, and when.
Students are provided writing paper, envelopes and stamps and are encouraged to write family members. “You're dealing with kids who may not even really know how to approach a big topic like apologizing to their mom, or somebody that they really hurt [and] really feel bad about. … You can start helping them find words to express what they want to express,” Abbas said, a third-grade drop-out who later earned a masters in Sing Sing prison. Reaching certain steps is rewarded with $25 gift certificates, sent back to their families. Other certificates can be brought to court to show judges and prosecutors while ABLE's service providers, the Osborne Association and Friends of the Island Academy, who do the actual work with the teens, familiarize the court with what progress these certificates signify.
Various community services are also required, including cleaning, making up class flashcards and writing letters to lonely seniors, explained Jafar, who confesses early skepticism. “Even those kids who act like they really don't want to do no work, or who don't even open a book, they listen to what's being said. They listen to the presentations; they listen to the testimonies and a seed has been planted. For the kids who put the additional work in, who do the exercises, you see the growth especially in relationship building,” says Abbas, who has worked there for about a year.
Another marked change is that the kids no longer jump up from their chairs to hurl obscenities out the classroom window to any passers-by. “I see a lot of kids thinking differently, the conversations they have with each other is different, it's not just fully about everything negative. You start to talk about stuff that's positive and that's something that you wasn't hearing too much when we first started this program,” Abbas says.
Even for kids facing prison time, MRT can help, he says. “If you have to go upstate, basically you want to go with as less time as you possibly can get,” he explains. “But in order to get [that] you have to man up, you have to basically not be going into the courtroom lying to your lawyer and to the district attorney and to the judge. You need to go in there, you need to basically be upfront and be truthful: ‘Yeah, I made a mistake, it was wrong.' You got to let them know that you are changing. And doing that right there: you go upstate responsible and you go upstate with a plan.”
The city's past neglect might suggest the ABLE program is well-positioned to harvest some low-hanging fruit, particularly given CCI's boast of recidivism reduction rates of 50 percent or more. That could be Goldman Sachs' calculation as well, besides the image burnishing from supporting such as sensible social good. After all, to be deemed successful, and for interest payments to begin, ABLE only has reduce recidivism by 10 percent. Terms of the contract also require that ABLE reaches three-quarters of teens expected to pass through Rikers over four years — about 9,240.
Another attraction is the easy to understand metrics involved, not very dissimilar to analyzing hotels. The program's performance is measured by its impact on “readmission bed days” (also called “future days in jail”) in Corrections custody during the two years after each young person is released. The central question for the independent evaluator of the program, the Vera Institute of Justice, will be this: “Did the implementation of ABLE lead to a reduction in readmission bed-days (RBDs) in DOC custody as outlined in the payment terms?” — notes a report from MRDC, the social policy research organization overseeing the program for the city, referred to as the intermediary. The report, “Financing Promising Evidence-based Programs: Early Lessons from New York City Social Impact Bond,” is the most comprehensive report to date on the project.
Answering this key question may be less straightforward than it might at first seem. To begin with, Vera will employ a “quasi-experimental evaluation approach,” according to the report, “in which a cohort of adolescents held in DOC custody at Rikers Island during calendar year 2013 is compared with a historical group that did not receive the program. The evaluation will assess RBDs for both groups at two points: after 12 months in the community following initial release and after 24 months in the community following initial release.”
Then there is the matter of cost savings. The program's primary aim is to improve the “lives of low-income and at-risk individuals and families,” but clearly the city hopes to do well by doing good, or better. In effect, these are conflated — cost savings are a proxy for this positive social impact. Teens not in trouble — not costing money by taking up a bed on Rikers — means they are out in their communities leading better lives.
Previous incarceration cost calculations suggest New York City's savings could be quite substantial, although getting a bead on reliable figures is difficult. The Vera Institute has calculated the annual cost in New York State at $60,076 per annum for each inmate. This is twice the national average but in New York City it is nearly three times that amount — $167,731 per inmate, according to the City's Independent Budget Office, which is about twice what the City's corrections department has calculated at $85,000 a year per inmate. The Mayor's Management Report put the average annual detention cost for one bed in secure detention in FY2009 to at $226,320
Whatever the actual cost, there are clearly substantial potential public savings, which the city will largely retain. City negotiators insisted that interest payments to Goldman be capped at $11.7 million, which effectively limits Goldman's potential upside to a net profit of $2.1 million. That would nearly double the $2.6 million the bank put at risk. That's based on the initial loan of $9.6 million, which enjoyed a back-stop guarantee of $7.1 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies, which it would pay Goldman if the program were to fail. For Goldman to earn the full amount possible — by reducing recidivism by 20 percent — would mean the City was, at the same time, realizing net savings of $20 million, according to the MDRC study.
Significant economies of scale should incentivize the city, which could save “approximately $4,600 per jail bed for reductions of less than 100 beds, but approximately $28,000 per jail bed for reductions of 100 beds or more.” This is because of the jail's many fixed costs, particularly staffing. When a whole housing unit can be closed, the Department of Corrections can lower its staffing needs “by reducing spending on overtime for uniformed staff,” according to the MDRC report. Overall, says David Butler, who is overseeing the program for MRDC, “the city is always doing very, very well here in terms of its net return on the investment compared to what it's paying out.”
So what are the prospects of ABLE achieving these goals? And does the fact that the recidivism rate has remained stubbornly high for years suggest it is an intractable challenge or simply ripe for improvement? “We obviously thought the latter otherwise we wouldn't have done it,” Butler says. “This is the first social impact bond and I don't think anybody wanted to pick something that was really innovative but had a high likelihood of not succeeding. I mean why would you want to do that when you're testing something there and this is the first time?”
Academic studies of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) offer grounds for optimism. One meta-analysis study of various types of CBT found unequivocal improvements in recidivism reduction, with a mean of 25 percent, some with more than 50 percent reduction. “Though generalization to routine practice cannot be assured, the consistency and magnitude of the effects found in the research to date leave little doubt that CBT is capable of producing significant reductions in the recidivism of even high-risk offenders under favorable conditions,” concluded a 2005 study by Nana Landenberger and Mark Lipsey, at Vanderbilt Institute for Public Policy Studies, which tried to identify factors ensuring effective treatment.
The report studied a number of name brand CBTs — in order of academic literature validation these included Reasoning and Rehabilitation (Ross and Fabiano 1985), Moral Reconation Therapy (Little and Robinson 1986), Aggression Replacement Training (Goldstein and Glick 1987), the Thinking for a Change curriculum (Bush et. al. 1997), and the Cognitive Interventions Program (NIC, 1996) — without endorsing any particular one. The “general CBT approach,” not any specific version, seems responsible for the overall positive effects, it noted. Most successful were those programs ensuring adequate training for CBT providers and implementation monitoring, along with low drop-out rates. More specifically it noted that the inclusion of “distinct anger control” and interpersonal problem solving components seemed to enhance positive results, while including “victim impact” (“activities aimed and getting offenders to consider the impact of their behavior on their victims”) and behavior modification (“behavioral contracts and/or reward and penalty schemes designed to reinforce appropriate behavior”) yielded less effective results.
Importantly, the study noted positive results achieved for juveniles as well as adults without regard for treatment settings, prisons or community-based settings, while on parole, probation or in some transitional aftercare. Particularly encouraging is that the effects of CBT were greater for offenders with higher risk of recidivism than those with lower risk. This may seem counter-intuitive, but adequate exposure to CBT can yield results five times greater than work with less high risk offenders. The contrary finding is consistent, the authors noted, with the principles of effective correctional treatment developed by D.A. Andrews, a Carleton University professor of psychology and criminology and criminal justice, and colleagues, developed in work that goes back to 1990.
“They argue,” noted Lipsey and Landenberger, “that the best results occur when higher-risk offenders receive more intensive services that target criminogenic needs (e.g., criminal thinking patterns) using cognitive behavioral and social learning approaches.” The distillation of this thinking by Andrews, and his main collaborator James Bonta — which brings back the ‘person' into criminology by focusing on individual differences and the importance of personal, interpersonal and community factors – is found in “The Psychology of Criminal Conduct,” now in its fifth edition as a Google book.
A more recent meta-analysis notes that the success rates have been high enough to earn “Evidence-Based Practice Status” from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the federal government agency advancing behavioral health.
Still, MDRC's Butler rejects the notion there is any easy picking at the Rikers Island experiment, in large part because the scale of what New York is trying — to reach thousands of kids, not just hundreds — has inherent complications. “I don't think it's a slam dunk by any means. I think it's promising but there is risk here frankly,” says Butler. “We're in the business of doing social policy research at MDRC — we've been doing it for a long, long time — and most of these interventions, when we evaluate them rigorously, even if they've been promising based on prior evidence, are not successful when you do them on a large scale. I mean that is the history of policy research in this business. So I think I'm not going to call this a very likely success and frankly it wouldn't surprise me all that much if it wasn't successful.”
That would seem to reinforce, perhaps inadvertently, the sound observation offered by Susan Gottesfeld, associate executive director of the Osborne Association that less incarceration is better. “If you have a kid who goes a whole year without somebody holding them, or kissing them, or saying good night or good morning or ‘How was your day?' — separated from love and nurturance, never mind connection to community, family, school and services — the tougher it is for them to recover or just the more barriers they face when they come out,” she says. “It is important to do really meaningful, proven work with kids when they are in detention or serving sentences but it is also very, very important to bolster opportunities for alternatives for them to shorten their stays or to avoid going to jail, in detention or incarceration altogether.”
The challenges are not deterring Abbas' mission, which involves a two and half a hour commute each way to and from his home near the Outer Bridge on Staten Island. Those daily journeys convey something of his dedication for these kids, who he likens to jewels in a treasure chest, a metaphor they can all relate to.
“I let them know that for our people, in our community, that you all are that treasure but that somehow you got stolen away and that I'm here to get you all back,” he says. “I try to get them to visualize their value, that they are important and that we need you to build yourself into young men so that you can come out and help us resolve some of the issues that exist in our community.”
He knows that like him, they rarely, if ever, heard anyone while they were growing up talk about their value to their communities' future. “But I make sure that I tell them and I always let them know that I'm speaking on behalf of the village, that the village needs you and the village wants you — and what [good] condition the village needs you to build yourself up to.”
9/11 mastermind defends bin Laden's son-in-law in court statement
by Evan Pérez and Shimon Prokupecz
Washington (CNN) -- The admitted mastermind of the 9/11 terror attacks has issued a rambling defense of Osama bin Laden's son-in-law, on trial in New York for allegedly being al Qaeda's propagandist in the wake of the attacks.
In a rare statement made public, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed said Sulaiman abu Ghaith -- an Islamic preacher whom the United States has charged with conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals and providing material support to terrorists -- is falsely accused of being involved in al Qaeda's military activities. Mohammed said abu Ahaith was more of a visiting celebrity who preached the Quran to al Qaeda recruits.
Mohammed's 14-page statement was in response to questions from abu Ghaith's attorney and was filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on Sunday night.
Abu Ghaith was captured last year after years of being among a group of alleged al Qaeda operatives sheltered in Iran. He was arrested in Turkey and deported to Kuwait via Jordan, which helped U.S. agents capture him.
The New York trial, blocks from the site of the former World Trade Center destroyed in the 9/11 attacks, has already featured testimony about previous al Qaeda operations, including the 2001 shoe bomb attempt, which U.S. authorities say abu Ghaith knew about beforehand.
Mohammed, the most senior al Qaeda leader in U.S. custody, used the statement to lecture the United States about its errors in supporting jihadists in their fight during the 1980s against the Soviet Union's forces in Afghanistan, realizing too late the level of training ongoing in mujahedeen camps.
"Uncle Sam destroyed his own country by his own hand with his stupid foreign policy," Mohammed said in his statement. Mohammed has taken full or partial credit for planning multiple operations beyond 9/11, from the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in East Africa to the post-9/11 shoe bombing and the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.
Abu Ghaith, Mohammed said, was a "pious man" and among many scholars drawn to Afghanistan when the Taliban took control of the country in the mid-1990s. He describes Afghanistan during those years as something of a paradise, with strict Islamic laws making the country safe from crime.
He said he doesn't recall meeting abu Ghaith and that, as a scholar and preacher, abu Ghaith wouldn't have known about military operations, in part because al Qaeda was careful to restrict access to such information. "He did not play any military role and to the best of my knowledge he did not receive any military training at any of the training camps for the mujahedeen in Afghanistan," Mohammed said.
"I personally never spoke with Sheikh Sulaiman abu Ghaith about the shoe bomb operation," he said, adding that U.S. claims about abu Ghaith's role of issuing public sermons and statements after 9/11 don't indicate involvement in planning al Qaeda attacks. "Those tasked with giving statements to the media do not necessarily know all the details of an operation and are sometimes even unaware of the very existence of the operation."
Mohammed also tried to undermine U.S. allegations that abu Ghaith took an oath of allegiance, or swore "bayat," to bin Laden. He said that swearing such an oath doesn't mean a person is to carry out an operation.
"To tell the truth, I do not even know if (abu Ghaith) personally swore bayat to (bin Laden) or not," he said.
Abu Ghaith's attorney said in his court filing that Mohammed's statement is a piece of important exculpatory evidence. He had requested Mohammed to testify via video, but U.S. restrictions and Mohammed's own refusal to personally testify prompted the written questions and response.
‘Coffee with a Cop' promotes police, community relations
by JOHN KOZIOL
WATERVILLE VALLEY — This tiny town nestled in the White Mountains is in the vanguard of a new community-policing tool that is sweeping the nation and is premised on the simple idea of “building partnerships one cup of coffee at a time.”
About three years ago, the Hawthorne, Calif., police department began working on its communication skills, recognizing that, in the overwhelming majority of situations, the exchanges between its officers and citizens occurred during emergencies when stress levels were high and the opportunities for pleasantries and less-urgent communication were low.
The police department hit upon “Coffee with a Cop,” inviting the public to have a free cup of coffee with officers at a neutral location, the first time at a McDonald's restaurant in a large, busy neighborhood.
The initiative was so successful that it was written about in a law-enforcement journal, where Waterville Valley Police Chief David Noyes read about it and immediately thought it would work well here.
“This is easy, we can do this,” Noyes said he remembered thinking, struck both by the humor — “it sounds kind of crazy,” he conceded — but more importantly by the potential of what “Coffee with a Cop” could do to improve the relationship between his agency and the public.
Noyes' department is unique in New Hampshire because it is a “public safety” department whose six full-time and five part-time employees are trained and certified as police officers, firefighters and emergency-medical responders.
Now poised to hold its fourth “Coffee with a Cop” on Wednesday from 8:30 to 10 a.m. at the base lodge at the Waterville Valley Ski Resort, Noyes is an avowed believer.
Waterville Valley was among the first New Hampshire police departments to hold “Coffee with a Cop,” Noyes said, adding that its success was noticed by the program's founders at the Hawthorne Police Department, who contacted him last fall and asked Waterville Valley to hold a New England-wide forum.
That forum — which prompted another comic observation by Noyes — “Why do you need to train cops how to drink coffee?” — took place in November at the Silver Fox Inn and drew some 60 officers from around the region who learned that it's not just about the coffee, it's also about the conversation.
Now funded by a Department of Justice grant, “Coffee with a Cop” is active in more than 175 cities and towns in 36 states and growing. In the Granite State, Noyes said among the participating agencies are the Farmington and Lincoln police departments.
“There are really few opportunities to interface with the public,” said Noyes, adding that “Coffee with a Cop” events in Waterville Valley have been very well attended by both the public and members of the various law-enforcement agencies who work in the same geographical area — like county sheriffs and federal officers — but who otherwise might not have the chance to get to know each other.
During the sessions, there are no limits on the attendees' conversation.
“Anything, you name it, they can talk about it,” said Noyes, adding it is held in a friendly, non-threatening environment.
“The coffee's on us,” the chief said, and if someone would like to bring a child to a gathering, hot chocolate can also be provided.
“Coffee with a Cop” has gone down very smoothly in Waterville Valley, “it really has,” said Noyes. “I'm very pleased with how well it's been received.”
Police cultivating partnerships with the public
by Daniel J. Gross
Editor's note: Herald- Journal reporter Daniel J. Gross is participating in the Spartanburg Police Department's Spring 2014 Citizens Police Academy. This is the second story in a series aimed at chronicling his experiences and observations in the realm of local law enforcement.
Week two of the Citizens Police Academy was all about “partnerships.”
Police officers partnering with us, that is.
Spartanburg Police Department leaders stressed the importance of citizens being the “eyes and ears” of a community. It's a primary means for officers to exercise what is commonly known as community-oriented policing, they say.
The class gathered at City Hall once again Monday night and this time we all appeared a bit more attentive and just slightly more talkative as well.
What do you know? One prime example of how the officers expect everyday folks to be to help make the neighborhood a safer place.
The class was a bit lighter than it was the first night, which had about 25 registered participants ranging from high school students to senior citizens.
Maybe a few were under the weather or perhaps they are having second thoughts about the commitment.
Either way, as laid out in day one, if you miss three classes, there's a good chance you'll be cut from the program. I can see that. With one, two-hour class per week for 12 weeks, you're bound to miss out if a quarter of the program is skipped.
A few nuggets caught my attention during Col. Jennifer Kindall's presentation on the history of policing and remarks from newly-appointed Chief Alonzo Thompson, who had to miss week one.
“We stand in the gap between calm and chaos. That's our role so that you can sleep in the safety and comfort of your homes,” said Thompson, but adding that public safety is all of our responsibility.
Thompson asked how many of those participating in the academy were members of a neighborhood watch group.
Not a hand was raised as we all sat like statues.
“Well, we're going to talk about that,” he quipped.
Kindall, explaining how community policing first gained traction, said the first formal police presence in Spartanburg was through town marshals supported by the military in the mid-1800s.
In 1983, the city developed a “public safety” concept agency where police officers had dual roles as firefighters and carried fire suits in their police vehicles if they needed to quickly respond to a fire and switch responsibilities.
“It hindered the ability for officers to engage the public,” Kindall said.
Eventually, the department figured that the firefighter training and responding took time away from the officer's shift that could be spent doing more than just responding from crime to crime.
Community policing was developed and so officers now are on active patrol driving, biking and walking throughout their beats, keeping an eye out for suspicious activity, getting to know business owners and speaking to everyday residents, Kindall and Capt. Art Littlejohn explained.
We learned that currently the department has two officers assigned to downtown patrol, where they're tasked with solely walking and biking the downtown corridor of the city. There's even mention of expanding that number as time moves forward.
Officers, I learned, now use a problem-solving process called “SARA,” or Scanning, Analysis, Response and Assessment.
“It's a philosophy, not a program,” Littlejohn said.
25 youth graduate from first HSI-sponsored Law Enforcement Exploring post in nation
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A group of 25 young men and women graduated and received their Exploring law enforcement badges Saturday at the Tapia Theater in Old San Juan. This is the first cohort in the nation to graduate from a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)-sponsored Exploring post.
Explorers, their instructors and mentors, parents, HSI San Juan personnel and dignitaries attended a graduation ceremony at the historic Tapia Theater in San Juan March 8. The event marked another landmark achievement that substantiates HSI San Juan's commitment to partner with all segments of society for the professional growth and safety our children.
HSI San Juan Special Agent in Charge Angel M. Melendez emceed Saturday's ceremony and introduced Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz of San Juan, and HSI Assistant Director for Programs Traci Lembke, the keynote speaker for the event. Melendez, Cruz and Lembke commended the Explorers for completing the physically and academically challenging course and delivered remarks of encouragement and congratulations to the new explorers.
HSI San Juan's Law Enforcement Exploring Post 800 was established Sept. 11, 2013, under the statutes of the Boy Scouts of America and its Learning-for-Life program. Post 800 is composed of 25 young men and women ages 13 to 21, enrolled in an academic institution.
More than 20 HSI San Juan employees, mostly special agents, task force agents and contractors, served as adult leaders or advisors on a volunteer basis. This is the first HSI-sponsored Law Enforcement Exploring post in the nation. Its goal is to provide career orientation experiences, leadership opportunities and exposure to community service.
On Oct. 5, 2013, Post 800 commenced basic training, which consisted of approximately 16 sessions. During these sessions, the Explorers were exposed to an overview of Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) responsibilities centered on HSI's mission. Basic training sessions included physical training and general presentations on integrity, DHS history and components, human exploitation and immigration enforcement, child exploitation, financial investigations, illicit trade enforcement, HSI communications, surveillance operations and seaport and airport investigations, among others.
The Explorers trained in arrest techniques, self-defense tactics and handling and use of firearms. As part of this training, the Explorers conducted a simulated investigation in which they employed several of the techniques and procedures they learned during the training. The Explorers were also be exposed to the U.S. justice system where they learned about the U.S. Attorney's Office and concluded their mock investigation in a trial coordinated through U.S. magistrate judges.
The graduates of the first HSI-sponsored Law Exploring Post in the nation are:
The Explorers will now prepare for their participation in the 2014 National Law Enforcement Explorer Conference (NLEEC) to be held in July at Indiana University. Among other events, the NLEEC includes team competitions on arrest and search, bomb threat response, crime scene search, crime prevention, domestic crisis intervention, judgment pistol shooting (Shoot, don't Shoot), crisis negotiation, burglary in progress, traffic accident investigation, traffic stop, white collar crime, emergency field first aid and drill team as well as individual competitions on police physical performance test, air pistol competition, bike policing competition and a non-emergency vehicle operations course (NEVO).
ICE participates in second annual international anti-gang conference and training in Mexico City
MEXICO CITY — Leadership from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) are participating this week in the second annual International Anti-Gang Conference and Training in Mexico City. The weeklong training includes more than 300 participants from throughout the region including law enforcement officials from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, Costa Rica and Belize.
The training, taught by instructors from the United States, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, is designed to enhance the ability for law enforcement personnel to respond to and identify potential threats emanating from gang members and their associates who operate throughout the region.
"We are committed to working with our law enforcement counterparts in Mexico and throughout Central America to combat gangs operating in the region," said HSI Deputy Assistant Director Waldemar Rodriguez. "Keeping our communities safe is at the core of our joint efforts."
"This conference represents the advances we have made in our regional cooperation to combat gangs, a threat that knows no borders," U.S. Embassy Chargé Laura Dogu told the group. "The work we are doing together to combat street and prison gangs and disrupt their illicit activities is significant and will benefit the citizens in all of our nations."
The Anti-Gang Initiative, a program coordinated by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, provides training and capacity building for law enforcement officers to combat and prevent gang activities. Funded through the Merida Initiative, the Anti-Gang Initiative works in partnership with the government of Mexico and has expanded to include over 30 law enforcement agencies from throughout the region.
Through ICE's Office of International Affairs and the State Department, HSI has 67 attaché offices in 48 countries around the world. This presence includes an on-the-ground relationship-building effort of HSI special agents working closely with foreign law enforcement agencies, and through a robust network of specialized vetted units known as Transnational Criminal Investigative Units. Additionally, HSI brings personnel from host countries to the United States to train at the Department of Homeland Security Federal Law Enforcement Training Center at Glynco, Ga.
48 arrested in San Diego ICE operation targeting criminal aliens, immigration fugitives
SAN DIEGO – A total of 48 individuals, including 42 convicted criminal aliens, were taken into custody during a weeklong enforcement operation carried out by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in San Diego this week.
The five-day operation, which concluded Friday, was conducted by ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) as part of the agency's commitment to prioritize the removal of criminal aliens and egregious immigration violators.
Of the individuals taken into custody, 42 were criminal aliens whose conviction histories included child sex crimes, battery, kidnapping and possession of narcotics. The group also included eight immigration fugitives who had outstanding orders of deportation and 29 previously deported aliens.
Those arrested during the operation include:
Two previously deported brothers from Mexico who are convicted sex offenders. One was convicted in California of sexual battery and annoying or molesting children under age 18; the other was convicted of child molestation in Arizona. Both men are in custody at the Metropolitan Correctional Center pending prosecution by the U.S. Attorney's Office for felony re-entry.
A Chinese female who was convicted of kidnapping her husband for ransom in China and served 19 months in prison. She remains in ICE custody pending a hearing before an immigration judge.
"ERO is committed to making our communities safer by arresting and removing convicted criminal aliens," said Gregory J. Archambeault, field officer director for ERO San Diego. "With targeted enforcement operations, we focus our resources on the most egregious offenders, which has an immediate impact on public safety in San Diego-area communities."
The 44 men and four women arrested during the operation include foreign nationals from five countries – China, Guatemala, South Korea, Mexico Saudi Arabia. The arrests took place in Chula Vista, El Cajon, Encinitas, Escondido, National City, Oceanside, San Diego, San Marcos, San Ysidro and Vista.
This week's enforcement action was coordinated with ICE's National Fugitive Operations Program, which is responsible for investigating, locating, arresting and removing at-large criminal aliens and immigration fugitives – aliens who have ignored final orders of deportation handed down by federal immigration courts. ICE's Fugitive Operations Teams give top priority to cases involving aliens who pose a threat to national security and public safety, including members of transnational street gangs and child sex offenders.