NEWS of the Week - May, 2014 - week 1
on some LACP issues of interest


NEWS of the Week

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following group of articles from local newspapers and other sources constitutes but a small percentage of the information available to the community policing and neighborhood activist public. It is by no means meant to cover every possible issue of interest, nor is it meant to convey any particular point of view. We present this simply as a convenience to our readership.


May, 2014 - Week 1



When is it legal to record police?


PANAMA CITY — A local man has filed a civil lawsuit in federal court alleging the Bay County Sheriff's Office and two deputies violated his constitutional rights when they arrested him for wiretapping after he recorded a traffic stop.

Derrick Bacon filed suit in February against Bay County and the Sheriff's Office, as well as Sheriff Frank McKeithen, deputy Chad Vidrine and deputy Ryan Robbins.

Vidrine and Robbins detained Bacon after a November 2012 traffic hearing on suspicion of violating Florida wiretapping law. Two months earlier, Bacon claimed during the hearing, he had created an audio recording of his interaction with Vidrine during a traffic stop.

When Bacon said he'd made a recording, Vidrine and Robbins stopped him outside the hearing to ask about it, according to BCSO records. Bacon said he made the recording and asserted that the U.S. Attorney General said it was legal to record police working in public with or without their knowledge.

It would have been legal if Bacon had pointed a video camera at Vidrine during the traffic stop — Vidrine would've been able to safely assume he was being recorded whether Bacon told him or not, said Sheriff's Office Maj. Tommy Ford. There's no need to seek a deputy's consent when the phone is in his face, he said.

“Our guys are clear on that,” Ford said.

Take away the video component of the recording, though, and it's illegal, Ford said. Because it was an audio recording and Bacon didn't first inform Vidrine, it was a violation of the law, Ford said.

“It doesn't come up a lot, but it is against the law,” Ford said.

And it's a felony. Whether that seems appropriate is irrelevant to an officer, Ford said. Officers enforce laws, they don't make them.

“We don't make the classification of the crime and we don't make things illegal,” Ford said.

Ford said deputies don't receive training specifically geared toward helping them navigate this issue, but it does come up during periodic legal training.

“We're not untrained in this issue,” he said.

Who is trained?

When and where is it legal for citizens to record police?

Chief Assistant Public Defender Doug White said any answer to that question should come with the following caveat: “It depends.”

The law applies differently depending on a number of variables, and it's difficult for an average Joe to know whether they're violating state law, White said.

So difficult is the law to understand that White and Greg Wilson, felony chief for the State Attorney's Office, had different opinions on whether Bacon's recording was legal. Wilson did agree with White that the law is “extremely complicated.”

The state wiretapping statute used to charge Bacon is interpreted on a case-by-case basis, and the determination of a recording's legality is based on whether someone has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Wilson said it wasn't illegal for Bacon to record Vidrine because of the specific circumstances: Vidrine, an agent of government, initiated contact with a private citizen in the confines of a personal automobile on a public roadway and therefore had no reasonable expectation of privacy.

That phrase — reasonable expectation of privacy — is crucial to understanding when a citizen is within his or her rights to record police or anyone else, Wilson said.

White, however, said Bacon's recording was illegal, but if he had informed Vidrine that he was recording the traffic stop, he would've been within his rights whether Vidrine consented to the recording or not.

Think of it like those disclaimers corporate help lines play before a caller reaches an operator warning that calls can be recorded, Wilson said. The caller gives consent to the recording merely by staying on the line.

A person can violate the law by recording someone without knowledge or consent, White said. Someone who publishes such a recording also is committing a felony even if they didn't create the recording, White said.

‘What's it worth to you?'

So what's the average citizen or cop supposed to do with a complicated law — enacted way before the advent of the iPhone — which, if violated, carries a potential five-year prison term as a penalty?

Anyone with a smartphone should ask themselves a question before they record, Wilson suggested: “What's it worth to you?”

The stakes are high. Someone recording might be completely within their rights, so they wouldn't pay legal fees if they subsequently were charged with wiretapping, Wilson said.

So record at your own risk, citizens.

Ford said he believes Robbins and Vidrine acted in good faith and enforced a rarely enforced law. He noted that anyone can file a suit; the court process will determine what's true and what's not.

Outside the courtroom where Bacon tried unsuccessfully to get out of the ticket Vidirine gave him in September, Robbinsordered Vidrine to take Bacon into custody and seize the phone he used to make the recording, according to BCSO records.

Bacon, who could not be reached for comment, was handcuffed and put into a patrol car, where investigators recorded his statements.

He eventually was released rather than booked into the jail, which Ford said they could've done, and the case was sent to prosecutors for a determination on whether to charge Bacon with a felony. In the meantime, investigators sought and obtained from Judge Timothy Welch a warrant to search the contents of Bacon's phone for the recording.

Prosecutors declined to charge Bacon because the search of the phone didn't turn up the recording, according to a letter from the State Attorney's Office. Except in special cases, a prosecutor must have evidence independent of a suspect's admission to prove a crime, the letter says.

Bacon's lawsuit says the BCSO never notified him that he would not be charged, and his phone was not returned until June 2013, when he hired an attorney and filed a complaint.

The lawsuit claims his reputation was damaged by the felony arrest, that he had to buy a new cellphone while his old phone was in BCSO's custody, and he “rationally and objectively feared Defendants would hunt him down and again falsely arrest him.”

He's suing for suppression of protected speech, false arrest, illegal search and seizure, denial of due process, malicious prosecution, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. His suit seeks unspecified damages.




New legislative efforts improve public safety

by J.B. Van Hollen Attorney General

One of my roles as Attorney General is to work with the legislature on behalf of Wisconsin's law enforcement, prosecutors and crime victims. The 2013-2014 Regular Session adjourned in April, and many bills that the Department of Justice (DOJ) drafted or supported with your help were passed by the legislature and recently signed into law by the Governor. Here is a sampling:

Act 223 was drafted by the DOJ to provide the department a statutory mechanism to provide courts and law enforcement agencies access to orders not to possess a firearm resulting from certain mental health proceedings. As many of you brought to my attention, prior law did not allow courts to access mental health orders when considering the return of firearms to restraining order subjects at the termination of those restraining orders; nor did prior law allow law enforcement to access mental health orders when dealing with subjects in possession of firearms.

Act 214 is the product of efforts between the DOJ and the Law Enforcement Standards Board to update and improve many of the professional standards governing law enforcement employment and to enable the Board to be more responsive to needed training improvements in the future. Act 214 also amends the DNA at Arrest law so that agencies submit samples to the DOJ upon collection rather than storing and securing samples until courts determine the samples can be analyzed.

Acts 194, 198, and 200 address Wisconsin's heroin problem. Act 194 offers immunity from prosecution for the possession of a controlled substance to someone who brings to a health care facility, or summons assistance for, a person suffering from an overdose. Act 198 updates criminal and regulatory law concerning prescription drugs and controlled substances to encourage and facilitate local drug disposal programs. Act 200 authorizes certain first responders, EMTs, law enforcement, and fire fighters to administer Narcan or another opioid antagonist to a person suffering from an opioid-related overdose.

Act 362 represents the DOJ's latest efforts to address human trafficking and other sensitive crimes. Some key provisions include: broadening the definition of “commercial sex act”; allowing evidence of similar acts to be admitted in pending trafficking and child sex crime cases; expanding the types of property subject to seizure and forfeiture, and streamlining forfeiture proceedings, in trafficking and child sex crime cases; and encouraging deferred prosecutions and special dispositions for those charged with or convicted of prostitution as a result of being a victim of trafficking.

Act 264 modifies the current Crime Alert Network to ensure that law enforcement reports of missing adults with mental disabilities or dementia are disseminated to persons engaged in broadcasting or outdoor advertising.

I'm proud of the DOJ's efforts and thank those in criminal justice and public safety who work with us and with legislators to make Wisconsin a safer place to live. For more information on the recently concluded legislative session or to share your thoughts, concerns or ideas about the state of the law, please contact my office at 608-266-1221.




Preying on the elderly: As the population ages, cases of abuse rise

by Trace Christenson

It's about following the money in elder abuse cases.

While there are reports of physical abuse of older people in Calhoun County, experts agree most crimes against the elderly are financial.

The majority perpetrated by family and friends.

“The financial is the most prevalent,” said Calhoun County Prosecutor David Gilbert. “The majority of our cases have been financial. We have even seen cases of grandkids threatening their grandparents to give them money.”

Elder abuse is a growing problem as the population ages in the county, state and nation, officials said. Yet much of it is cloistered inside homes and done by family members. And often, the law protects those taking the money.

“The prediction is that only one in seven cases is even reported,” said Karla Fales, chief executive director of the Region 3B Area Agency on Aging. “That makes it very huge.”

Statistics are difficult to compile because the laws rarely define crimes as elder abuse.

“There is no law against elder abuse,” said Gilbert. “Most crimes are not based on age or what happens as you are older. We can't really track it. We track some of it but most of the time we don't charge because victims are vulnerable adults.”

Crimes against older people range from theft, assault, rape and fraud, he said, but financial are the most prevalent.

Michigan does compile laws when victims are considered vulnerable adults, but that can be for anyone 18 or older who is physically or mentally incapacitated.

Across Michigan charges involving vulnerable adults climbed from 16,540 in 2009, to 25,796 in 2012 to 33,710 in 2013, according to Michigan State Police Trooper Kristi Angelo.

“Vulnerable adult abuse includes elders but also includes others,” Angelo said. “But it is a growing problem because we are living longer and there is increased reporting due to increasing older population and more awareness.”

The U.S. Department of Justice reports abuse of people at least 65-years-old can be physical, sexual, emotional or psychological, financial or material exploitation, neglect, or abandonment.

And while older people are certainly victims of violent crime, people 65 and older in Michigan had the lowest annual rate of personal violence — 204.5 violent victimizations per 100,000 people in that age group.

“Physical abuse is out there, it exists,” Fales said, explaining that it can and does happen in private homes and in nursing homes and other institutions.

Those are usually investigated by police and Adult Protective Services, Fales said.

But those are difficult to track, said Nora Geiger of the prosecutor's Victims' Services Office.

“We have not seen a lot of abuse, physical abuse of elderly,” she said. “Those often would come through as assault and battery.”

“Some older abuse has to do with physical abuse and some with neglect and sometimes it is by the people who are taking care of their parents,” she said.

The abuse can lead older people to seek help at SAFE Place, a Battle Creek shelter for victims of domestic violence.

Jennifer Fopma said the shelter has a grant to provide shelter to the elderly.

“We have always served domestic violence victims regardless of their age,” she said. “A shelter is a place of last resort and it's not a huge percentage, but we do serve them here.”

Fopma said SAFE Place provided shelter to 172 people over the age of 50 in the last 18 months.

So while physical and emotional abuse exist, local officials said taking money is the most pervasive crime against the elderly.

“We are seeing a lot of the financial crimes,” said Angelo, the Michigan State Police trooper. “And it is done by family members.”

“It is typically family members and the capacity for anyone to respond is limited particularly afterwards,” Fales said.

She said older people who become limited physically or mentally add relatives to their bank accounts or give them power of attorney.

“We had a case of a granddaughter who took $8,000 from her grandmother's account. It is exploitation and a form of abuse but legally her name was on the account. It was legal but it was slimy. It may be unethical but it was legal,” Fales said.

She said the abuser can be a child or spouse or caregiver.

“The stress of the economy and the families moving back in together,” Fales said. “We saw a lot more as the economy went down and people had more needs and more stress in their lives.

“And some people are just unpleasant and don't know how to treat their elders,” Fales said. “We don't do a great job of treating each other well no matter what age we are. Kindness seems to be a lost characteristic.

“Vulnerability increases with age as older people need assistance and their judgment is affected,” she said. “And seniors are trusting and they were raised to think the best of people.”

She said women are most often victims, perhaps because they live longer than men and many become dependent on others.

They become frail or begin to suffer dementia and have to have assistance.

“I need someone to take me to the bank,” Fales said, as an example.

Both Fales and Gilbert said they often see family members begin to take money from parents and justifying it as an advance on their inheritance. In some of those cases older adults justify it because they still think they should help their children.

“I tell them you did work your entire life for your kids to have a better life but now you need to take care of your own needs,” Fales said.

“They are taking the assets of the elderly,” Gilbert said. “They justify it by saying they have to do something to protect our inheritance. They miss the point that this is the person who earned that money and you don't have a right to unless they choose to give it to you.”

Fales said some some losses are by strangers preying on the elderly with scams involving medicare, claims of foreign lottery winnings or long-term financial investments.

Some of the sales are done in nursing homes or adult foster care institutions.

“It doesn't make sense to sell a 30-year annuity to someone who is 75 years old,” Fales said.

She sees older people who send money they can't afford to spend to charities because “they it makes them feel value and worth. And banks are limited in what they can do about withdrawals because it is their money.”

The county Probate Court also sees the problem of elder abuse, said Judge Mike Jaconette.

“There clearly is a problem,” he said, “but I have the other end of the story, putting in place protections for people.”

Frequently, Jaconette said, family members are after the assets.

“We see a child spending the parents' money and do things because there seems to be a sense of entitlement and that it's going to be my money,” he said. “That may be true but it's not your money yet.”

He said the court can assign a guardian if the person is having trouble making decisions that affect them or a conservator to protect the estate and assets of the person.

“We are trying to limit the abuser's access,” the judge said. “The conservator would take control of the person's assets so the (abuser) doesn't have a target.”

“Our best case scenario is when family or loved ones can perceive there is a problem and take advantage before the person is taken advantage of,” Jaconette said. “If we catch it after that we are reacting to what has already happened and seeking to protect them from something even worse.”

Jaconette said the cases can be difficult when an elderly person must rely on a caregiver or when it's a family member.

He said the problem is compounded when taking action against the abuser might mean the victim must move to protect themselves.

“More often than not they love their abuser and sometimes you are talking about a change in placement and they don't want to leave home,” the judge said. “It is their home and they don't want to leave home.”

While there is some protection for elderly people from police and the courts, Fales said the best way to stop the abuse of older people is education and for friends and family to watch for signs of exploitation.

“Affinity fraud is common,” she said. “I befriend you and provide services and then I take advantage of you. It could be a neighbor doing chores and then starts to borrow money. We have even had them move in and it can be small like getting $50 a week or sometimes they buy them a car.”

She said older people sometimes complain the abuser might be the only person who shows them attention.

Fales said the goal of her agency and a group called the Calhoun County Elder Abuse Prevention Coalition is to educate elderly about scams and exploitation and encourage others to report when older people might be victims.

She said agencies like the the Area Agency on Aging can help determine if seniors are victims, learn legal rights and options, make a safety plan and help securing legal remedies.

Geiger, from the prosecutor's victims unit, agrees education can prevent elder abuse.

“Education is the best way to solve it,” she said, “by teaching family and the elderly what to watch for and way they can protect themselves. The older generations are trusting so education is the biggest thing. If its fishy it probably is not right.”




Indy public safety chief: Police alone can't solve crime issue

by Troy Riggs

When I was growing up in a low-income area of my hometown, I remember the many challenges my family faced. In each instance my dad would convene the family around the kitchen table and we would have a discussion about whatever challenge we faced. My parents always insisted on speaking truthfully and all points of views were treated with respect during those family meetings.

Recently, I found myself reflecting on those times and thinking about some of the issues we face today as a community. Knowing our city has a great deal of civic pride and a history of working together, much like a family, I thought it appropriate to urge our community to engage in conversations much like a family meeting.

If we think of Indianapolis as a family, then we can recognize we have some members with substantial needs. One-hundred-twenty-five Indianapolis residents were murdered in 2013, while at least 110 individuals died as a result using heroin. Sadly, 168 of our neighbors took their own lives in 2013 and we know of nearly 100 others that tried but failed.

While total shootings, fatal and non-fatal, were down by 5 percent in 2013, we still need to do more to deal with the complexities that lead to violence and a lack of respect for human life.

A great majority of those who have been killed, and those who have pulled the trigger, have committed past crimes against people and have previous drug charges. In 2012, 70 percent of all homicide victims and suspects had crimes against persons in their past. That percentage climbed to 75 percent in 2013 and is currently over 80 percent in 2014.

These statistics have been used by some to diminish the seriousness of the issue, but we cannot allow this to happen. Any loss of life in our community is a tragedy.

I was recently asked what I thought was the greatest threat to our community and nation. My answer: apathy.

Apathy is the greatest threat to our city's future quality of life and economic viability. We cannot be apathetic about murder, about educational opportunities for our young citizens, about good jobs to support families or about the quality of life in any area of our city.

Going forward, we need to speak as one and treat every death as tragedy, every assault as if it were against our own family member and be personally offended when anyone dares commit a crime in Indianapolis.

Under Chief Hite's leadership and through the dedicated work of the IMPD officers and civilian personnel, great strides have been made in utilizing data-based policing that has led to a higher clearance rate for homicides, a larger volume of narcotics being taken off the streets and a “no-tolerance” approach to those who harm citizens, neighborhoods and our community.

But, this aggressive policing comes at a cost. We lost one officer while he was saving the life of a domestic violence victim. Six others were shot while working in our great city and 25 more have been fired upon by aggressors during the last 18 months.

While your police department continues to do its good work, it is not enough. Law enforcement alone cannot solve the issues that have developed in our country over the last few decades. It takes collaboration of many citizens, groups and elected officials.

That is why Mayor Greg Ballard, Chief Rick Hite and I have called for community conversations to discuss tough topics such as violent juvenile crime, truancy, re-entry, the challenges facing single mothers and the much-needed summer jobs for our youth. It is why Mayor Ballard introduced his “Your Life Matters” initiative this year.

The challenges are great, but I am optimistic. Many have called and said they want to be a part of the solution. Others have answered the call to volunteer and provide resources to community programs that help young people make better decisions, help single mothers get assistance and assist those who re-enter our community after prison. Community action is needed to reduce crime, reduce fear of crime and to enhance the quality of life of all our citizens.

To the community, I sincerely appreciate the support, prayers and engagement you have delivered. We need to continue to have respectful, actionable conversations, share our thoughts and collectively deal with the social issues that face our great city.

I truly believe the public safety is everyone's responsibility.

Riggs is public safety director for Indianapolis.



From the Department of Homeland Security

"If You See Something, Say Something™" Campaign

About the Campaign

The nationwide "If You See Something, Say Something™" public awareness campaign - is a simple and effective program to raise public awareness of indicators of terrorism and terrorism-related crime, and to emphasize the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the proper local law enforcement authorities. The campaign was originally used by New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which has licensed the use of the slogan to DHS for anti-terrorism and anti-terrorism crime related efforts.

Homeland Security Begins with Hometown Security

If you see something suspicious taking place then report that behavior or activity to local law enforcement or in the case of emergency call 9-1-1. Factors such as race, ethnicity, national origin, or religious affiliation alone are not suspicious. For that reason, the public should report only suspicious behavior and situations (e.g., an unattended backpack in a public place or someone trying to break into a restricted area) rather than beliefs, thoughts, ideas, expressions, associations, or speech unrelated to terrorism or other criminal activity. Only reports that document behavior reasonably indicative of criminal activity related to terrorism will be shared with federal partners.

DHS is working to expand “If You See Something, Say Something ™” throughout the country by partnering with a variety of entities including: transportation systems, universities, states, cities, sports leagues and local law enforcement. If you're interested in getting your group involved please contact 202-282-8010.

Report Suspicious Activity to Local Law Enforcement or Call 9-1-1.

Learn More

Our Campaign Partnerships

Public Service Announcements

Raising Public Awareness

In July 2010, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), at Secretary Janet Napolitano's direction, launched a national "If You See Something, Say Something™" campaign – a simple and effective program to raise public awareness of indicators of terrorism and terrorism-related crime, and to emphasize the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the proper state and local law enforcement authorities. The "If You See Something, Say Something™" campaign - originally implemented by New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority and now licensed to DHS for a nationwide campaign - is a simple and effective program to engage the public and key frontline employees to identify and report indicators of terrorism and terrorism-related crime to the proper transportation and law enforcement authorities.

The Department launches the "If You See Something, Say Something™" campaign in conjunction with the Department of Justice's Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative - an administration effort to train state and local law enforcement to recognize behaviors and indicators related to terrorism and terrorism-related crime; standardize how those observations are documented and analyzed; and ensure the sharing of those reports with the Federal Bureau of Investigation-led Joint Terrorism Task Forces for further investigation and Fusion Centers for analysis.

Protecting Privacy, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

A critical element of the DHS mission is ensuring that the civil rights and civil liberties of persons are not diminished by our security efforts, activities, and programs. Consequently, the "If You See Something, Say Something™" campaign respects civil rights or civil liberties by emphasizing behavior, rather than appearance, in identifying suspicious activity.

Factors such as race, ethnicity, national origin, or religious affiliation alone are not suspicious. For that reason, the public should report only suspicious behavior and situations (e.g., an unattended backpack in a public place or someone trying to break into a restricted area) rather than beliefs, thoughts, ideas, expressions, associations, or speech unrelated to terrorism or other criminal activity. Only reports that document behavior reasonably indicative of criminal activity related to terrorism will be shared with federal partners.

Strengthening Hometown Security

Both the "If You See Something, Say Something™" campaign and the NSI underscore the concept that homeland security begins with hometown security. An alert public plays a critical role in keeping our nation safe. Strengthening hometown security involves creating partnerships across numerous states as well as the private sector.

Recent expansions of the "If You See Something, Say Something™" campaign include partnerships with numerous sports teams and leagues, transportation agencies, private sector partners, states, cities and universities. DHS also has Public Service Announcements which have been distributed to television and radio stations across the country. The campaign will continue to be expanded in the coming weeks and months.



New Mexico

Police shootings: Albuquerque council meets


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Security officials escorted some people from an Albuquerque City Council meeting amid new rules designed to avoid the sort of angry confrontation that broke out earlier this week over a spate of deadly police shootings.

The special meeting started quietly Thursday with the council president spelling out the rules for the night. Those included no signs, props or any other campaign material.

The Albuquerque Police Department has been under scrutiny over 39 police shootings in the city since 2010, prompting a harsh report earlier this year from the U.S. Justice Department that highlighted excessive use of force. Protests this week followed a weekend shooting that killed an armed man after a SWAT standoff.

Public comment was also limited to the legislation the council was prepared to consider, including measures near the bottom of the agenda that would affect the hiring of the police chief.

"If we don't have order tonight, I will clear the room. Please be respectful," Council President Ken Sanchez said.

Several people decided to take a stand by turning their backs to the council members and refusing to speak during their turns at the podium. Before being escorted out of the chambers by security, they raised their fists, prompting supporters in the crowd to do the same.

Some citations were issued Thursday night for criminal trespassing but it was immediately clear how many. Those who received the citations will not be allowed to return to City Council for 90 days.

Sanchez and Councilor Rey Garduno said that was not an intention of the rules and they would look into the matter.

On Monday, demonstrators took over the regularly scheduled council meeting, chanting for the ouster of the police chief, shouting at council members and causing so much disruption that the panel's president adjourned the meeting.

Protesters also tried to serve a "people's arrest warrant" on Police Chief Gorden Eden.

Activist Andres Valdez called Monday's protest a "coup d'etat" that was needed because councilors had refused to listen to citizen complaints about the police.

The latest protest also highlighted the dilemma facing Albuquerque police. Eden was hired just three months ago to bring reform to the troubled department, which recently implemented changes such as lapel-mounted cameras on officers to lead to more transparency about police actions.

But video of recent shootings, especially one in March involving a knife-wielding homeless camper, only inflamed tensions once the footage went viral. And police insist that the suspect in the weekend shooting was a threat because he was armed and putting his family and others in danger.

Deputy Chief Eric Garcia stressed that officers patiently negotiated with suspect Armand Martin and attempted to de-escalate the situation but had no other choice when he exited his home with handguns.

On Monday, protesters called for a citizen's arrest of Eden, charging him with "harboring fugitives from justice at the Albuquerque Police Department" and for "crimes against humanity" in connection with recent police shootings. The police chief quickly left the meeting after the citizens' arrest was announced, and no protesters tried to apprehend him. Had anyone touched him, authorities said they could have faced charges of battery on a police officer.

A state attorney general's office spokesman said it was likely illegal for citizens to arrest a police chief.

The debate over whether the police chief should be elected or approved by the council is expected to stretch over the coming months. The council did not take any final action Thursday, but Sanchez said some version of the proposal will likely come before voters this fall.



Scientists hope 9/11 DNA tests will unravel remaining unidentified bone fragments

•  Families of more than 1,000 victims from 9/11 may finally get closure

  Scientists sift through vacuum-sealed pouches filled with bone fragments

•  At least 1,115 victims from the September 11 attacks still remain unidentified

•  Pouches will be moved to new World Trade Center and kept in repository

by Belinda Robinson

Grieving families who were unable to identify the remains of their loved ones who died in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, may finally be able to lay them to rest with the help of DNA.

Scientists in New York are carrying out painstaking work on the last known fragments of people who died in the World Trade Center- hoping to use DNA to be identify those who remain missing.

Each day a dedicated team of forensic scientists sift through thousands of vacuum-sealed plastic pouches filled with bits of bone rest in a Manhattan laboratory.

On Saturday, the 7,930 pouches are due to be moved in a solemn procession from the city medical examiner's office to the new trade center site.

They will be kept in a bedrock repository 70 feet underground in the new September 11 Memorial Museum that opens May 21.

The museum will charge $24 for entrance but the remains will not be a part of the exhibit.

The move will mean that families who have effectively been living in limbo since their loved-ones were killed on that fateful day will have somewhere that they can go to be with the remains.

The remains will be accessible only to families of the dead and to the forensic scientists who are still trying to match the bone slivers to DNA from the more than 1,000 victims who never came home and have never been identified.

However, while the bereaved families have long endorsed the ongoing identification process, some have protested against this weekend's move of the remains.

They fear that the museum site could be prone to flooding after witnessing the aftermath of Super storm Sandy which swept through lower Manhattan in 2012, flooding buildings and causing widespread water damage.

Rosemary Cain, a mother who lost her firefighter son at the World Trade Center pleaded at a protest on Thursday: 'Don't put them [the remains] in the basement.'

'Give them respect so 3,000 souls can rest in peace,' she said.

However, Mark Desire, who oversees the four-member World Trade Center team in the city's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, is keen to stress that the remains will be treated with the utmost respect.

'Our commitment to return the remains to the families is as great today as it was in 2001,' he said.

Over 2,753 people were reported missing at the World Trade Center after it was attacked on a sunny September morning in downtown Manhattan.

Of those victims, 1,115 victims - at least 41 percent - have not been identified through a DNA match to items provided by families — toothbrushes, combs, clothing or swabs from relatives.

But technological advances in DNA testing has given the families renewed hope as the process of identification has become far easier than it was a decade ago.

Families want to be able to formally find their lost loved ones by using the unique genetic code gleaned from the bits of bone.

It is, in fact, the only hope for families waiting for anything tangible to officially confirm what they already know: their loved one died.

In some cases, scientists have gone back to the same bone fragment 10 or 15 times, using new technology to attempt to extract DNA diminished by fire, sunlight, bacteria and even the jet fuel that poured through the towers.

Four new identifications were made this past year.

By December, the latest technology will have been applied to every remnant in the medical examiner's possession, exhausting the available methods, for now.

Beyond this year, families who still have not been given any hope of finding their family members, will face uncertainty about how long and at what cost the forensic team will keep working to identify these last 9/11 remains.

The team's annual budget is $230,000, plus costs for follow-up work by other scientists and staff.

However, Charles Strozier, founding director of the Center on Terrorism at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said that work must continue 'because our relationship to the September 11 disaster hinges on being able to identify and pay respects to those who died.'

He said: 'The World Trade Center attack was more cruel than death usually is, because some people were simply incinerated and those remains went into the air.'

For Mr Desire and those like him who work on the remains, it's not just a grim scientific task — it's personal.

He said that Ms Cain's missing firefirghting son was under the still-standing towers minutes after the two hijacked planes hit them, having rushed down with the then-chief medical examiner, Dr. Charles Hirsch. As the towers toppled, the men were struck and bloodied by falling glass and debris.

Mr Desire sees it as his duty on behalf of his country to find them.

He said: It's a service and an honor, working on something that has transformed American history.'



From the Department of Justice

Attorney General Holder Delivers Remarks on Guidance for School Districts to Ensure Equal Access for All Children to Public Schools, Regardless of Immigration Status

Good morning – and thank you all for joining us for today's call. It is a privilege to speak with you about such an important issue, and it's a particular pleasure to do so alongside my good friend Secretary Duncan, who has been an innovative and a steadfast leader, throughout his career, in ensuring access to education for everyone in this country.

Three decades ago, the Supreme Court issued a historic ruling – in the case of Plyler v. Doe – that legislation denying children an education based on immigration status “does not comport with fundamental conceptions of justice.”

Building on crucial constitutional principles like the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment – and reflecting the values of critical laws like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – the landmark Plyler decision has driven national efforts to ensure access to public education for every child in America – regardless not only of race, color, and national origin, but also of the immigration status of a child or that child's parents.

In 2011, the Departments of Justice and Education issued guidance designed to help schools understand their responsibilities under Plyler and federal civil rights law more generally. In the three years since, we have worked with scores of school districts to ensure that they are fulfilling their obligations under both constitutional and federal law.

Yet we have continued to hear troubling reports of actions – being taken by school districts around the country – that have a chilling effect on student enrollment, raising barriers for undocumented children and children from immigrant families who seek to receive the public education to which they are entitled.

Such actions and policies not only harm innocent children, they also markedly weaken our nation – as the Court recognized in Plyler – by leaving young people unprepared and ill-equipped to succeed and contribute to what is, in many cases, the only home they have ever known.

Now, our experience has generally shown that school districts are eager to make their enrollment processes consistent with the law – and to maintain welcoming environments for all students.

Public school districts have an obligation to enroll students regardless of immigration status and without discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin. The Justice Department will do everything it can to make sure schools meet this obligation. We will vigilantly enforce the law to ensure the schoolhouse door remains open to all.

We know that educators, more than anyone, understand just how much every school day counts in the life of a young person. And that's why we are issuing newly-updated guidance today – to address the issues we have seen since the release of our last guidance and to provide districts with additional tools and practical information they can use to meet their federal obligations – so that no child is denied his or her basic right to public education.

For example, our new guidance emphasizes the need for flexibility in accepting documents from parents to prove a child's age and to show that a child resides within a school's attendance area. It provides specific examples of the types of documents that many schools have accepted. And it reminds schools that they may not require certain documents – such as a parent's state-issued driver's license – where such a requirement would prevent a student from enrolling because of his or her parent's immigration status.

Especially as we approach the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education, in which Chief Justice Earl Warren called education “a right which must be made available to all on equal terms,” it is imperative that we do everything in our power to end policies or practices that deny this right to those who are constitutionally entitled to it.

I hope – and expect – that this new guidance will aid in our effort to do just that.

I want to thank the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division – and my friend Secretary Duncan and his colleagues, once again – for their exemplary work on this issue. The Justice Department looks forward to continuing to work with the Department of Education, its partners, and leaders at the state level to provide education and opportunity for all.



States should use a single drug for executions, criminal justice experts say

by Sari Horwitz

States should use only one drug to carry out death sentences, and it should be a single anesthetic or barbiturate that the U.S. government has approved for executions, according to a new report by a bipartisan panel of criminal justice experts that will be released Wednesday.

The 165-page study by the Constitution Project, a nonpartisan legal research organization, also recommends that states adopt lethal-injection protocols that are transparent, including providing information about the drugs used and the qualifications of the people administering them.

“Without substantial revisions — not only to lethal injection, but across the board — the administration of capital punishment in America is unjust, disproportionate and very likely unconstitutional,” Mark Earley, a member of the Constitution Project's death-penalty committee, said in a statement. Earley was the Republican attorney general of Virginia from 1998 to 2001, when the state carried out 36 executions.

The report, “Irreversible Error,” does not take a position on the use of the death penalty but instead makes 39 recommendations to courts and policymakers in states that choose to use it, with the goal of preventing errors in the administration of capital punishment.

The findings are being released a week after Oklahoma's bungled execution of convicted murderer Clayton Lockett, who was given an injection of a three-drug cocktail from undisclosed sources. Lockett struggled on the gurney before dying of an apparent heart attack after 43 minutes. Oklahoma, like some other states, uses unproven drug cocktails; states say they need to conceal the source of the drugs to protect their suppliers from legal action and harassment.

President Obama last week said that the United States continues to have “significant problems,” including racial bias, in the application of the death penalty. Obama asked Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to examine the issue and report to him.

In a statement, former Texas governor Mark White, co-chair of the Constitution Project's death-penalty committee, said the new report “provides a detailed road map” for the Justice Department to follow. The report was assembled by a panel that included former state attorneys general, governors, judges, police chiefs, corrections directors, victims' advocates and law enforcement officials.

Problems with lethal injections are only a small part of what troubles the administration of capital punishment in America, said White, a death-penalty supporter who oversaw 19 executions when he was governor.

“From the moment of arrest to the moment of death, the criminal justice system faces vexing challenges in carrying out the ultimate punishment,” White said in the statement.

The report recommends that Congress develop federal standards for accrediting forensic laboratories and that only examiners from labs that meet the accreditation standards be allowed to testify in capital cases. The report also said that forensics labs should operate independently of law enforcement to avoid bias in the processing of evidence.

More than 50 percent of the first 225 erroneous convictions overturned by DNA testing involved invalid or improper forensic science, according to the Innocence Project, an organization that uses DNA testing to exonerate people who were wrongly convicted.

The report recommends procedures and standards of proof that it suggests states should adopt in evaluating a defendant's claim of intellectual disability.

In 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court held that it is unconstitutional to execute a person with “mental retardation.” But the court largely left the details of implementing the decision to the states. Some states adopted definitions of intellectual disability that are at odds with clinical consensus and demand a burden of proof for establishing intellectual disability that is too stringent, according to the report.

More than 10 years after its initial ruling, the Supreme Court is examining the constitutionality of how some states determine whether or not a defendant is intellectually disabled. The court heard oral arguments in Hall v. Florida in February and is expected to rule before the end of the current term.

“We hope these recommendations will be embraced by officials from both parties in Washington and around the country,” Earley said in his statement. “There's nothing conservative about executing an innocent person, and leaders who support the death penalty bear the greatest responsibility in ensuring it is administered more fairly.”




Nigeria offers $300,000 reward for information on missing girls

Tribune wire reports

ABUJA — Nigerian police offered a 50 million naira ($300,000) reward on Wednesday to anyone who can give credible information leading to the rescue of more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by Islamist rebels.

Last month's mass kidnapping by militant group Boko Haram in the remote northeastern village of Chibok triggered an international outcry and protests in Nigeria, piling pressure on the government to get the girls back.

Fourteen suspected members of the Nigerian Islamist sect Boko Haram were arrested in neighboring Niger on Tuesday after an attack on an army patrol in the eastern region of Diffa, the regional governor said.

Diffa, some 1,400 km east of Niger's capital, Niamey, borders the Nigerian state of Borno, the center of Boko Haram's uprising. Tens of thousands of refugees have fled the fighting to the arid region, and local Niger officials have repeatedly voiced concerns over Boko Haram infiltration.

Yacouba Soumana Gaoh, the regional governor of Diffa, said the army had detained two Boko Haram suspects who had robbed a man at gunpoint early on Tuesday in the commune of Chetimari.

"The security forces then fell into an ambush laid by presumed members of Boko Haram. After fierce fighting, reinforcements were sent in but the attackers were able to cross over the border," he told state television.

The governor said three suspected militants were captured during the fighting, two of whom suffered gunshot wounds. There were no casualties among the army troops, but one of their vehicles was peppered with bullets, he said.

Nine other suspects were later arrested in the regional capital Diffa and the surrounding area, he said.

A military source, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters he was not aware of any link between the arrests and the kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls by Boko Haram in northern Nigeria last month. A further eight girls were kidnapped from a village by suspected Boko Haram gunmen on Tuesday.

The kidnappings by the Islamists, who say they are fighting for an Islamic state in Nigeria, have shocked a country long inured to the violence around the northeast and has outraged international opinion.

Officials in neighboring Chad and Cameroon have strongly denied that Boko Haram had taken the girls across the border into their countries.




US poised to join hunt for shadowy Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau

The U.S. put a price on the head of the ruthless leader of Nigeria's Boko Haram long before he masterminded the kidnappings of hundreds of schoolgirls, but American forces are now poised to help hunt the shadowy warlord said to have a photographic memory.

Abubakar Shekau, who drew international ire and scorn after vowing to sell young Christian girls "in the marketplace," could soon be the subject of a multi-national manhunt involving U.S. military and law enforcement agents. But the hunt for the leader of the Islamic terror group Boko Haram, which loosely means “Western education is forbidden,” will be complicated by Shekau's well-documented resourcefulness - and low profile.

"I enjoy killing anyone that God commands me to kill — the way I enjoy killing chickens and rams."

- Abubakar Shekau

Believed to be as young as 36 or as old as 45 — Shekau was Boko Haram's second in command until founder Mohammed Yusuf was killed in a 2009 crackdown. Shekau was initially thought to have also been killed during those attacks, but he later surfaced in a video claiming to be the terror group's new director.

The U.S. Department of State is offering a reward of up to $7 million for information leading to Shekau's location. In 2012, he was declared as a “specially designated global terrorist” for numerous bombings, including the August 2011 attack on the UN office complex in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, that killed 23 people and injured dozens more.

In February, Boko Haram gunmen stormed a secondary school in northeast Nigeria, locked a boys' dormitory and set it on fire, killing those who tried to flee and burning the rest alive. The humanitarian group Open Doors International said the attack killed more than 40 young boys.

Shekau, according to a BBC profile, is known as a “fearless loner” with a photographic memory, a complex and often paradoxical man who is part intellectual, part terrorist. His nickname — Darul Tawheed — translates as a specialist in Tawheed, or the concept of monotheism in Islam.

“He hardly talks,” one journalist, Ahmed Salkida, told BBC. “He is fearless … He is one of those who believes that you can sacrifice anything for your belief.”

Shekau does not speak English, but is fluent in his native Kanuri, Hausa and Arabic languages. He reportedly does not even communicate directly with the group's soldiers.

“A lot of those calling themselves leaders in the group do not even have contact with him,” Salkida told BBC.

Shekau, according to those who study the group, is known for being particularly brutal.

“I enjoy killing anyone that God commands me to kill — the way I enjoy killing chickens and rams,” he said in a clip released in 2012 after an attack in Kano, Nigeria, that killed more than 180 people.

In addition to being the group's militant leader, Shekau also serves as its spiritual leader, Salkida said.

“He has a photographic memory and is well versed in theology,” he told BBC.

Shekau recently took credit for the kidnapping of more than 300 girls in an hour-long video that opens with Boko Haram fighters firing guns into the air and shouting Allahu Akbar!"

"I abducted your girls," he said. "By Allah, I will sell them in the marketplace," he said in the video.

Kidnapped girls have reportedly been forced to marry their abductors — who paid a nominal bride price of $12 — or taken to neighboring Cameroon and Chad. An intermediary has told Nigeria's government that the terror group is willing to negotiate ransoms for the girls, and that two have died from snakebites and several more are ill. More than 280 remain in captivity and 53 have escaped, according to Nigerian police.




Community Policing Program at Quail Ridge & Deer Run Crossing Apartments in Carthage


The Carthage Police Department is pleased to announce that it is undertaking its sixth Community Policing project. The department is partnering with the Quail Ridge & Deer Run Crossing Apartments to address complaints of drug activity and property crimes, as well as traffic issues. Officer Doug Dickey has been assigned to work with management and tenants alike to improve the safety and security of the area as well as reduce incidents of criminal activity. Along with patrolling the complex, Officer Dickey will meet with each resident to learn their concerns about criminal activity and take steps to address those concerns.

The Community Policing program has been very successful since it was first begun in 2011. In every project, calls for service were reduced by as much as 60%. Surveys of residents at the end of the projects showed their fear of crime dropped as much as 53%. With each six-month project, one or two officers are assigned full time in a designated area of town, patrolling and working with residents and businesses to reduce crime, make the neighborhoods safer, and foster a spirit of cooperation between citizens and their police department. Past projects have also included officers sponsoring Work Days in which volunteers help residents with property clean-up, clearing overgrown brush, and making repairs. In one spectacular case, officers ram-rodded a special project to replace for an elderly resident her home which had deteriorated to the point of being unsafe.

By citizens working in cooperation with the police and management, and by staying vigilant and reporting suspicious activity, Carthage PD intends to achieve its goal of making this area crime free.




Indy neighborhoods find new online option for personal, public safety

Nextdoor.com offers safe way to stay connected

by Rafael Sanchez

INDIANAPOLIS - Local residents have found a new way to meet neighbors, improve their personal safety and warn others of dangers around the neighborhood.

The private online community could save you money and also help protect your home.

When it comes to the latest happenings on her block, Katherine Kidd goes right to her computer.

Kidd lives in the Meridian-Kessler neighborhood. She and at least 60 other homeowners stay connected through the website Nextdoor.com.

"I feel doors are open that normally would not be opened. I think people watch out for more," Kidd said.

The free social media site is based on addresses and is neighborhood-specific. Users must use their real names.

It is a place where neighbors can describe strangers going door to door or make recommendations on who to hire.

"When you sign up, you have to be invited, and fill out profile as much as you want," Kidd said.

Near downtown, in the Herron-Morton area, Jeanne Chandler warned neighbors several weeks ago about potential safety issues.

"We keep each other appraised about petty crimes," Chandler said.

The website is a marketplace where people have no reason to fear the seller.

"It's not anonymous like Craigslist or Yahoo. You have to be a neighbor to sign up so you know who are you are dealing with," Chandler said.

More than 220 neighborhoods in and around Indianapolis have created their own Nextdoor communities.

Nextdoor officials said they have no plans to charge for their service.




Video captures spirit of community policing in Evanston

by Bob Seidenberg

(video on site)

The two kids were shooting baskets at one end of the Fleetwood-Jourdain gym one day when an officer walked in and asked if he could join them.

Evanston Police Officer Ron Blumenberg, whose imposing physique is more that of an NFL tight end, chatted with the players and patiently answered questions from the youngsters — What does it take to become a lawyer? asked one.

He grabbed a basketball and hoisted up a shot from beyond the foul line.

All net.

No sirens, no flashing lights.

“A lot of the time kids see police officers when something happens,” he explained. “For them to see us just laid back, laissez faire, just walking around, speaking to someone goes a long way to how they view the police department.''

The unscripted moment (including Blumenberg's swish) was caught in a video recently released by the city, highlighting the department's hands-on approach to reach community members.

Videographer Andre Shane was given access to the department's Problem Solving Team as they met with residents and talked about the department's community policing philosophy.

The department has used foot patrol officers for years in designated business and residential areas throughout the city as a way to develop stronger relations between officers and community members. Police Chief Richard Eddington inaugurated a new phase last year, assigning Problem Solving Team officers to each ward, hoping to streamline the communication process.

“We have to realize we're a community of neighborhoods,” Eddington said. “Each neighborhood has different needs and a way to break that down is by wards. We have the ultimate caretaker of that area – the alderman, working in conjunction with the police department to tailor the service that is needed.''

In the city's 5th Ward, where residents clamored for more grassroots involvement by police, the changes have made a difference, said Alderman Delores Holmes.

“I really love our problem solving team and foot patrol because it gives a much more human face to the community,” she said. “I like the fact that our residents get to know the officers and the officers get to know them, and it makes for a much better relationship.

“I call them for a lot of things,” Holmes said on the video.

Last summer, she asked Blumenberg to conduct a “well being check,” on a senior, “because I passed her house many times in the summer and I was worried about her.

“So we go through that sort of thing. I may call them and say ‘Can you do this? Can you do that?' Or they'll call me if there's an issue we need to know – so it's a back and forth all the time thing.

In the 10-minute video and off screen, police made clear the importance of a strong community policing program for police as well as the citizenry.

“Police work is multi-faceted,” explained Cmdr. Jay Parrott. “Community policing is a huge aspect of it because it connects the public to the police to finding out what's going on, what the root of the problem is.

“You can find out on a cursory level what the problems are, but you really need to get to the bottom of what the real problem is. By the public being close to the officer assigned to the area, that opens up the information.”

In community policing, when “we don't know of a problem, and nobody calls us, there is going to be a gap,” Officer Scott Sengenberger, a member of the PST, said on the video. “So our community policing really tries to fill that gap and get people to communicate with us.”

With community policing, “you can really think outside the box,” Blumenberg said. “With traditional policing, when you have an issue, you have an arrest. You write a report to solve the problem. With community policing, you kind of can take a step back and have a little more time to look at an issue, to really solve it long-term.”

Eddington stressed the resource side, committing more personnel in the move.

“If you look at where we've invested resources, it's significant to the community,” he said. “The Problem Solving Team, foot patrols, our additional [resources] at the high school, are all focused on issues the community has identified as important.”




Northampton Police Department honored with a community policing award


NORTHAMPTON — A police chiefs association representing six New England states is recognizing the Northampton Police Department for its implementation of a bevy of community policing programs that go far beyond “cops and robber stuff” to proactively deal with issues.

The New England Association of Police Chiefs selected the department for one of three community policing awards it handed out in 2013 in three categories divided by the size of a community. Northampton received first prize for a mid-size community of between 15,000 and 50,000 people, while Rindge, N.H. won for communities under 15,000 and Providence, R.I., was honored in a 50,000-plus cateogry.

“This is a recognition that goes beyond the things you read about in the newspaper, the typical cops and robber stuff,” Northampton Police Chief Russell P. Sienkiewicz told the City Council this week. “This is all the things that my people, your people do behind the scenes on a daily basis. It often goes unrecognized.”

Capt. Jody Kasper, who completed the 40-page application for the department, pushed to enter the contest as a way to recognize the breadth and quality of the department's policing efforts in the area of domestic violence, mental health diversion, traffic and pedestrian safety, school and juvenile partnershp and other general outreach programs designed to strenghten community partnerships.

Kasper said she's proud of the department for receiving the award.

“The reason that I was motivated to put us in for this award is because I really have a passion about our police department and the way that we interact with the community and the way that people interact with us,” Kasper said.

Kasper said the two main areas that likely set Northampton apart are its longtime work with domestic violence programs and mental health diversion.

The department publicly accepted the honor at a City Council meeting this week from Doug S. Johnston, vice president of the NEACOP and police chief of the Springfield, Vt. Police Department. Johnston said the mid-size category was very competitive, noting that the selection committee was impressed by the difference Northampton's police personnel are making in the community.

“It was a very difficult decision on the committee's part,” Johnston said.

Sienkiewicz said the award recognizes not only the department but the more than 30 public and private organizations that meet regularly with police to deal with issues in a proactive way. He thanked these civilian and sworn people for their efforts.

“We train them, we educate them and our mission and our goal is to take action in a way that helps citizens that doesn't often just result in a legal action as a police officer,” the chief said.



New York State

Springtime means a return to community policing

BEACON – Now that winter is behind us and the warmer weather appears to be here to stay, area city police departments are reviving their neighborhood policing efforts.

In some areas, they include walking patrols and bike patrols. In the City of Beacon, there will be officers on two-wheelers, Police Chief Douglas Solomon said.

“We have bikes in the house and officers that are already trained,” Solomon said.

Neighborhood policing is aimed at bringing the community and the department closer together in an effort to reduce crime in troubled neighborhoods.




Officer shortage hurts community policing

by Dan McKay

Albuquerque's police force – which as of last week had only 909 officers on the payroll – moved away from community policing over the past decade because of a shortage of officers, APD's new assistant chief says.

The topic came up in a recent City Council budget hearing, when Councilor Rey Garduño asked why he sees so few officers walking the beat.

Assistant Chief Robert Huntsman, hired out of retirement earlier this month, said that as staffing levels have declined it's become “harder to get officers on foot and bicycles. They're going from call to call. … We just can't support that kind of activity on a regular basis like we used to.”

The U.S. Department of Justice cited community policing as one of APD's “deficiencies” when it investigated the local police force and released findings earlier this month. The department said APD suffered from “incoherent implementation of community policing principles.”

The city has tried for years to improve its recruitment of officers and expand the force.

The city budget, for example, includes enough funding to pay for 1,100 officers, but it hasn't had that many in years. Why APD has had so much trouble filling its ranks is a matter of great debate. Low morale, financial incentives for early retirement and other factors are often cited.

Of the 909 officers on the payroll, Police Chief Gorden Eden told councilors in their budget meeting last week, less than half – 432 – are assigned to the field bureau that handles nearly every type of call for police service.

Several councilors questioned whether it made sense to continue budgeting for 1,100 officers when nowhere near that many are actually on the force. Mayor Richard Berry's administration has suggested authorizing funding for about 1,050 officers next year, but councilors expressed skepticism about reaching even that figure.

Eden insisted that the city has a “very good” chance of hiring that many. The goal is to start having three graduating classes of cadets each year rather than two, he said.

The department is “just doing a better job of recruiting,” he said. “I think the outlook is very good.”

Councilors have not yet proposed amendments to Berry's budget proposal, so it's unclear what level of staffing in the police department they will plan for. The next council budget hearing is scheduled for May 8, proposed amendments are scheduled for release May 15 and final adoption is expected May 19.

But budgeting more closely to actual staffing levels would free up millions of dollars. Last year, for example, APD underspent its personnel budget by $8.5 million – money that was spent instead on either police equipment or returned to the city's general fund.

There's no shortage of programs that could use the money.

City councilors suggested last week that they may want to set aside more money to carry out reforms that result from the U.S. Department of Justice investigation into APD. The department found that APD has a pattern and practice of violating people's rights through the use of excessive force.

Berry's budget sets aside $1 million to improve officer training.

Rob Perry, Albuquerque's chief administrative officer, acknowledged that probably won't be enough to carry out what the DOJ wants, but it “will be a good start,” he said.

Garduño said he “can't imagine $1 million being enough. … We don't really know what they're going to be asking for.”