October, 2015 - Week 4
FEMA suggest purchase of flood insurance because of El Nino
by Drew Hangman
El Nino's strongest conditions in almost 20 years have already begun in the Pacific Ocean & the chances of heavy storms during this winter are increasing which is why federal emergency officials started urging Californians to protect themselves with flood insurance even if they aren't living near any rivers or creeks.
Roy Wright, the deputy associate administration from the Federal Emergency Management Agency of Washington, D.C. said that everyone needs to take this threat seriously. This is one of the most important times to get flood insurance.
Since 1978, 37% of every flood insurance claim in California has been made during just a couple of winters the 1982-83 one & the 1997-98 one. Both these times were the last couple of times when El Nino conditions like those of this year occurred. Pounding rainfall led to flooding, mudslides & various other damage all across the state.
Property owners who were staying in the high hazard areas on the flood map which FEMA published are supposed to purchase flood insurance if they want to get a mortgage loan. But since there are many people who are renting & people who have already cleared their mortgages living in these areas, around just 30-50% of the people in the high hazard areas throughout the country actually have flood insurance.
Most regular homeowner's insurance covers damage from a tree falling through the roof or storms but they don't cover damage caused by flood waters.
FEMA officials and insurance experts say that people who don't live in the areas which are prone to floods may still be at risk in heavy, sustained storms. This usually happens whenever storm drains back up & flood neighborhoods or when water runs down hills.
In recent months, there have been a number of flash floods & heavy rains which serve as reminders of the rising water risk. Just last week, flash flooding caused 200 cars & trucks to get trapped in mudslides as deep as 6 feet in Los Angeles County.
Just last month, twenty people died during flash floods near the Utah-Arizona border. This included thirteen children & one sheriff's deputy.
Unlike other types of insurance which are purchased from private insurance providers, flood insurance gets funding from the federal government because of a law enacted in 1968 after a lot of private companies stopped offering policies after huge losses.
Experts also said that homeowners need to check their roofs for any leaks, caulk any drafty windows & doors & trim the dead trees near buildings.
Alleged school shooting plot foiled in Virginia
by Andreas Preuss
Police in Virginia said they've stopped a planned school shooting attack.
Authorities in Spotsylvania County announced at a news conference Saturday that two Riverbend High School students were being held at a juvenile detention center, charged with conspiracy to commit murder. Police did not release their names.
"Their plot was to phone in a bomb threat and then shoot people as they came out," County Commonwealth Attorney Bill Neely said.
Police said plans started to unfold two weeks ago, when a School Resource Officer arrested and initially charged a 17-year-old male student for threatening violence over the internet.
An investigation then uncovered a 15-year-old boy who was linked to the planned attack, according to officials. Spotsylvania Sheriff spokesman Capt. Jeffery Pearce told CNN that the students had access to the weapons they said they would use in the incident.
Police say no other suspects are believed to be involved.
"We stopped them cold," Capt. Pearce said.
The plot's timing was not revealed but police said there was no immediate threat.
Inside Mark Zuckerberg's new school: Private, but free
Mark Zuckerberg has poured over $1 billion into education. What's behind 'The Primary School,' which will provide free education and healthcare to all students?
by Olivia Lowenberg
Can the Harvard-educated founder of Facebook reinvent public education?
In 2010, Mark Zuckerberg donated $100 million to transform the public school system in Newark, NJ, but he was stymied by laws preventing significant changes to teacher contracts.
But Mr. Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan are still hoping to make inroads into educational inequity. They are creating "The Primary School," which will provide both free education and free healthcare for low-income students in the Palo Alto area.
"Health and education are closely connected," wrote Zuckerberg in a Facebook post about the school. "When children aren't healthy, they can't learn as easily. Many kids and teachers across the country deal with the consequences of poor health in classrooms every day."
He added, "In addition to early childhood and K-12 education, The Primary School will also provide prenatal support for families and on-site healthcare for children. By bringing healthcare and education together in one place, the goal is to support families and help children from underserved communities reach their full potential."
The school is not a charter school, according to its website, but is "a private, non-profit school" that will partner with the Ravenswood Family Health Center, a nearby health clinic, to provide free healthcare services for students and their families.
When The Primary School opens in August 2016, it will offer parent-and-child classes for babies and toddlers and full-day pre-K classes for 3- and 4-year-olds. The school plans to add a grade level each year, slowly growing into a birth through 12th grade free, private school.
Dr. Chan, who is the CEO of The Primary School as well as a practicing pediatrician, was first inspired to ameliorate the challenges of poverty while she was an undergraduate at Harvard, where she tutored children in inner-city Boston. She has also taught 4th and 5th grade science.
"After the first year," she told The San Jose Mercury News, "it became evident I could do all I wanted, but there were much bigger problems that were preventing these kids from succeeding in school."
Funding for The Primary School will come from the foundation that Zuckerberg and Chan co-founded, Startup:Education, which chiefly provides grants to underserved schools and communities in the Bay Area. The foundation has given away more than $1 billion in grants and other gifts for education since 2010.
Chan did not tell the Mercury News how much she and her husband are contributing to The Primary School, but when it is fully built, it will serve 50 students in 14 grades (pre-K through 12) plus the families of their 700 students.
Stockton Has Candid Conversation On Community Policing
by CBS News
STOCKTON (CBS13) – Candid conversations took place in Stockton Saturday addressing three main topics: culture, race relations and crime.
The talks, held at Quail Lakes Baptist Church, were all in effort to build safer streets and a stronger relationship between the police department and the community.
It was a different kind of sermon.
“Everyone seems to have put their thinking caps on today, came out speaking with honesty,” said Stockton Councilmember Dan Wright.
The community advisory board for the Stockton Police Department led discussions on race and culture and how the community can come together and work hand in hand with officers to reduce crime.
“We started with how do we decrease conflict in the community to how do we build a community outside the level of police officers,” said Lt. Ivan Rose with the Stockton Police Department.
Throughout the morning, the conversations were raw as people shared stories about their experiences.
Organizers said this level of outreach is important.
“We have a lot of people here today, but there could be more,” Rose said.
It was the first of several community forums expected to be held in Stockton this year.
Backed by moms and money, gun-safety group expands its clout
Everytown for Gun Safety and its subsidiary, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, have helped push six states since 2013 to adopt more background checks on gun sales.
by Ryan J. Foley
A gun-control organization backed by billionaire Michael Bloomberg that enlists mothers to speak out against gun violence is racking up some modest victories around the U.S., employing the state-by-state strategy used so effectively to fight drunken driving and expand gay rights.
Everytown for Gun Safety and its subsidiary, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, have helped push six states since 2013 to adopt more background checks on gun sales – what they consider the single most important measure to prevent shootings. They have also helped thwart legislation in several states that would make it easier to obtain firearms and carry them in more places such as schools.
The mighty National Rifle Association still has the upper hand in many places in the U.S. But Everytown, which aspires to become the NRA's counterweight, has certain advantages over prior gun-control campaigns, namely more money, strategic support from the former mayor of New York, and a well-organized network of activist moms whose numbers are growing in reaction to recent mass shootings.
“We merged the head and the heart,” said Everytown president John Feinblatt, who was a top mayoral aide to Bloomberg. “We have the smartest lawyers in the country working on this issue, but we also have people who will do anything to make sure their families are protected.”
Everytown grew out of the merger last year of the Bloomberg-backed Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action, which was formed by public relations executive Shannon Watts after the 2012 killing of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
After Congress rejected a move to expand background checks following the Sandy Hook tragedy, activists turned their attention to statehouses, seeking what they say are modest, commonsense laws.
Bloomberg last year pledged $50 million to support Everytown and other gun violence prevention efforts. The nonprofit organization claims more than 75,000 donors and says 3.4 million people have expressed support for its cause by signing up for its email list, including hundreds of shooting survivors and victims' loved ones.
In its most recent tax filing, Everytown reported $36 million in spending in 2013, or about 10 times as much as the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a prominent gun-control group that has little presence in states. The 5 million-member NRA spent $290 million that year, including $27 million on its lobbying arm.
The NRA remains a potent force in states. Gun rights supporters have successfully pushed for legislation to allow concealed weapons in more public places and to loosen permit and license requirements that they say undermine the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
A new law in Maine, for example, allows legal gun owners to carry concealed handguns without a permit, wiping out a mandatory permit system that had been in effect for nearly a century. It was a defeat for Everytown, which ran television, radio and digital ads across the state against the bill.
Texas lawmakers gave the gun lobby its best session in 20 years, passing bills to allow those with permits to carry guns in plain sight and to carry concealed weapons on college campuses. Yet even there, lobbying from gun-control supporters helped obtain a significant concession that will allow university administrators to carve out gun-free zones.
Bloomberg's financial backing has caught the attention of the NRA.
“That is our biggest concern here – the amount of money he has and is committing to this,” said Catherine Mortensen, a spokeswoman for the NRA Institute for Legislative Action.
Still, she said that Everytown is no match for the NRA when it comes to mobilizing for or against legislation, and added that the gun-control organization's claims of success are overstated. She depicted Everytown as a shallow front for Bloomberg's agenda.
The two sides are expected to continue tangling in the coming election year over bills, ballot measures and state legislative races.
Just this week, Everytown said it would spend $700,000 to support the Democratic candidate for a state legislative seat in Virginia, where a gunman killed 32 at Virginia Tech in 2007 and another fatally shot a TV reporter and cameraman during a live broadcast in August. That race in the November election could decide which party controls the state Senate.
Gun control has also become an issue in the presidential race, with Hillary Rodham Clinton pledging to take on the NRA.
Supporters say the tragic mass shootings since Sandy Hook – from South Carolina to Oregon – have galvanized their efforts. Since then, Everytown has tallied more than 150 instances in which guns were fired at schools or on college campuses.
“There is such passion about this because people realize that if they don't act, it could happen to them,” said Watts, who formed Moms Demand Action hours after Sandy Hook. “We have become the Mothers Against Drunk Driving for gun safety in a very short amount of time.”
Everytown's goals include background checks on all firearm purchases, including those at gun shows and over the Internet; laws preventing domestic abusers from possessing guns, legislation it has helped pass in several states; and safe gun storage programs to protect children from deadly accidents.
Oregon recently became the latest state to extend criminal background checks to private gun sales after Everytown helped elect two more Democrats to the Senate last year. The organization also helped gather enough signatures to put such a measure on the 2016 ballot in Nevada and is pushing for a similar vote in Maine.
In North Carolina, Everytown recently helped defeat a measure that would have eliminated a requirement for handgun buyers to obtain permits from sheriffs. Everytown volunteer Kim Yaman called that a sign of progress, noting that activists failed to stop a law in 2013 that expanded the number of places where people could carry concealed weapons.
“We learned so much from our failure in 2013 and made so many relationships within the GOP. We've got the Democrats, but it was the GOP that saved the day for us,” she said.
Yaman told lawmakers the story of how she and her two children, then 10 and 4, locked themselves in a conference room to survive a 1991 mass shooting at the University of Iowa when she was an adult student. The gunman shot one of Yaman's friends in the face, leaving her a quadriplegic.
“People tend to listen to moms for lots of reasons,” said North Carolina Rep. Duane Hall, a Democrat. Like other lawmakers, he wore an orange tie to show solidarity when hundreds of moms in orange – the favorite color of a girl killed in Chicago – packed the Capitol earlier this year during debate on the gun bill.
In Michigan, Republican Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed a bill in January that would have changed the requirements for obtaining concealed weapons permits. Everytown had flooded his office with phone calls warning the measure would endanger victims of domestic abuse and stalking. The NRA had dismissed those claims as nonsense from “out-of-state, anti-gun elitists.”
In Iowa, Everytown lobbied against a plan to eliminate a state law requiring handgun buyers to apply for permits from sheriffs.
“They did a good job of taking facts and skewing them to make it sound egregious,” said state Rep. Matt Windschitl, a Republican whose plan died in the Senate.
Feds shutter highly sophisticated smuggling tunnel south of San Diego
SAN DIEGO – Federal agents with the San Diego Tunnel Task Force and Mexican authorities Wednesday night shut down one of the longest and most sophisticated smuggling tunnels ever discovered along the U.S.-Mexico border, seizing 12 tons of marijuana and arresting 22 suspects.
The just completed tunnel extends the length of approximately eight footballs fields, from a warehouse in Tijuana to a building in San Diego's Otay Mesa industrial park. The reinforced passageway features lighting, ventilation equipment and a rail cart transportation system.
Wednesday's enforcement actions stem from a six-month undercover probe conducted by the San Diego Tunnel Task Force, spearheaded by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
“Agents on the HSI-led Tunnel Task force in San Diego have once again dismantled a sophisticated cross-border tunnel that was about to become fully operational,” said Dave Shaw, special agent in charge of HSI San Diego. “As this investigation makes clear, we're focused on ensuring border security and combating the cartels' increasingly brazen and dangerous underground smuggling strategy.”
“We see a super tunnel open for business once every year or so,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. “Just when they think they're ready to move, we put it out of business. We continue to make good on our promise to relentlessly pursue and shutdown any tunnel as soon as it opens.”
Upon entering the Otay Mesa warehouse that concealed the tunnel's U.S. entrance, investigators discovered a large room cluttered with boxes, tile and carpet remnants. From the entry point, the tunnel's shaft plunged more than 30 feet, with no mechanism for ascending or descending into the corridor.
On the U.S. side, investigators recovered two tons of marijuana and made six arrests. Two of the defendants - Isaias Enriquez-Acosta, 53, of Tijuana, Mexico, and Isidro Silva-Acosta, 27, also of Tijuana - are being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of California. Both are charged in federal complaints with unlawful conspiracy to import a controlled substance and conspiracy to use border tunnels. The remaining four suspects, who were detained by the San Diego County Sheriff's Office, face state charges.
In addition to the arrests in the U.S., authorities in Mexico detained 16 individuals and seized an additional 10 tons of marijuana.
The San Diego Tunnel Task Force began investigating suspicious activity at the Otay Mesa warehouse six months ago. Authorities made the decision to proceed with the takedown after determining the tunnel had been completed. Defendant Silva was taken into custody at the tunnel site, while defendant Enriquez-Acosta was arrested at a nearby hotel.
Wednesday's passageway is the 10th large-scale drug smuggling tunnel discovered in the San Diego area since 2006. In the last five years, federal authorities have detected more than 80 cross-border smuggling tunnels, most of them in California and Arizona.
Students offered reassurance after Nashville campus shooting
by Travis Loller and Erik Schelzig
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — University officials and police are reassuring jittery students that they are doing everything they can to keep Tennessee State University students safe as they continue to look for the person who shot and killed a 19-year-old man during an on-campus fight.
Two female students wounded in the shooting were released from Vanderbilt University Medical Center on Friday. A third female student was grazed but not hospitalized after the shooting, which happened in an outdoor courtyard on the Nashville campus during an argument over a dice game around 10:50 p.m. Thursday, Metro Nashville Police Spokesman Don Aaron said. Police have not released the students' names.
Cameron Selmon, 19, of Memphis, was killed in the shooting. He was not a student at the school, Aaron said.
The shooting comes just over a week after three people were wounded by gunfire at an off-campus party across the street from the university. As a temporary measure, Nashville police officers will patrol the campus on foot at night.
Speaking at a Friday afternoon news conference, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry and TSU President Glenda Baskin Glover said they believe the TSU campus is safe.
Glover said the campus has spent $1 million in the past year to hire new police and security officers and improve fencing and lighting on the urban campus.
The North Nashville neighborhood where TSU is located has largely been left out of the city's recent development boom. Mayor Barry, who took office in September, said she wants to change that by investing in and revitalizing the neighborhood.
"Tennessee State University and the community that surrounds it is an incredibly important part of the fabric of our city,” she said.
Police continued to search for clues as to the shooter's identity Friday. Several students used their phones to record the fight. Police said they have obtained some video, but they encouraged other students who scattered when the shooting began to come forward with further recordings and information.
"The person who fired those shots put innocent persons in extreme danger,” Aaron said.
A neighbor of Selmon's family in Memphis said residents were saddened and shocked by his death. She said she had known him since he was a young boy.
“He had good parents — good, loving parents,” Harriett Freeman said by telephone. “He was always very respectful, saying, ‘Yes, ma'am' and ‘No, ma'am.' ... My heart goes out to his family.”
F.B.I. Chief Links Scrutiny of Police With Rise in Violent Crime
by MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT and MATT APUZZO
CHICAGO — The F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, said on Friday that the additional scrutiny and criticism of police officers in the wake of highly publicized episodes of police brutality may have led to an increase in violent crime in some cities as officers have become less aggressive.
With his remarks, Mr. Comey lent the prestige of the F.B.I., the nation's most prominent law enforcement agency, to a theory that is far from settled: that the increased attention on the police has made officers less aggressive and emboldened criminals. But he acknowledged that there is so far no data to back up his assertion and that it may be just one of many factors that are contributing to the rise in crime, like cheaper drugs and an increase in criminals who are being released from prison.
“I don't know whether that explains it entirely, but I do have a strong sense that some part of the explanation is a chill wind that has blown through American law enforcement over the last year,” Mr. Comey said in a speech at the University of Chicago Law School.
Mr. Comey's remarks caught officials by surprise at the Justice Department, where his views are not shared at the top levels. Holding the police accountable for civil rights violations has been a top priority at the department in recent years, and some senior officials do not believe that scrutiny of police officers has led to an increase in crime. While the department had no immediate comment on Friday, several officials privately fumed at Mr. Comey's suggestion.
Among the nation's law enforcement officials, there is sharp disagreement over whether there is any credence to the so-called Ferguson effect, which refers to the protests that erupted in the summer of 2014 in Ferguson, Mo., over a police shooting.
In Oakland, Calif., for example, homicides are on the rise after two years of decline. But shootings are down, and the overall crime rate is about the same, said Oakland's police chief, Sean Whent. “Our officers are very, very sensitive to the climate right now, but I haven't seen any evidence to say our officers aren't doing their jobs,” Chief Whent said.
In Washington, homicides are also up, but violent crime and crime over all are down, said Lt. Sean Conboy, a police spokesman. “Trying to correlate it to a Ferguson effect, I don't believe is appropriate,” Lieutenant Conboy said.
After civil rights leaders and the Justice Department accused the Seattle Police Department of discriminatory policing and excessive force, the number of officer-instigated stops declined and crime ticked upward, said Kathleen O'Toole, the police chief.
Chief O'Toole said it was up to police leaders to insist on reversing that trend. The critiques made the department better, she said. Crime is down this year, and her city has hosted police officials from places such as Baltimore wanting to understand why.
“There's never been as much scrutiny on police officers as there is now,” Chief O'Toole said. “We should embrace it.”
But Mr. Comey said that he had been told by many police leaders that officers who would normally stop to question suspicious people are opting to stay in their patrol cars for fear of having their encounters become worldwide video sensations. That hesitancy has led to missed opportunities to apprehend suspects, he said, and has decreased the police presence on the streets of the country's most violent cities.
“I've been told by a senior police leader who urged his force to remember that their political leadership has no tolerance for a viral video,” Mr. Comey said, adding that many leaders and officers whom he had spoken to said they were afraid to address the issue publicly.
“Lives are saved when those potential killers are confronted by a police officer, a strong police presence and actual, honest-to-goodness, up-close ‘What are you guys doing on this corner at 1 o'clock in the morning' policing,” Mr. Comey said. “We need to be careful it doesn't drift away from us in the age of viral videos, or there will be profound consequences.”
But investigations by the Justice Department have given weight to the loudest criticisms of police behavior in Ferguson and elsewhere. Those inquiries have found that many officers unfairly singled out African-Americans for stops and arrests, and too often used force that was unjustified. Videos of deadly encounters with the police in cities such as Cleveland, New York and North Charleston, S.C., have fueled that criticism.
More than his predecessors, Mr. Comey has used his position as one of the nation's top law enforcement officials to bring attention to issues that state and local police departments are confronting. It is not clear what impact he will be able to have on the issue. He said that the remedies to the problem were not clear, and that law enforcement authorities needed to have better data about crime and shootings involving police officers.
Mr. Comey, who was in Chicago for the annual conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, plans to address the issue with law enforcement leaders.
In February, Mr. Comey delivered an unusually candid speech at Georgetown University about the difficult relationship between the police and African-Americans. Some officers, he said, scrutinize minorities more closely using a mental shortcut that “becomes almost irresistible and maybe even rational by some lights” because black men are arrested at much higher rates than white men.
Mr. Comey said that without more reliable data, the task of identifying trends and remedies to fix them is far more challenging. He said state and local law enforcement officials were increasingly open to providing the F.B.I. with better data so it can more accurately chart trends.
“ ‘Data' is a dry word, but we need better data,” Mr. Comey said. “And people tend to tune out when you start to talk about it, but it's important, because it gives us the full picture of what's happening.”
Akron officer sees growth on horizon for community policing movement
by Marilyn Miller
The practice of immersing officers in the neighborhoods they're responsible for protecting isn't a new idea, but it has gathered renewed interest.
Akron police officer Lloyd Ford, said he's a big fan of what's known as community policing, and he calls it the future for all police departments.
The 30-year veteran recently spoke at a community forum at the First Congregational Church of Akron at 292 E. Market St.
Cities across the country are embracing community policing as a way to build goodwill in an era of high-profile, police-involved shootings.
“It's about accountability, respect and a show of empathy for people,” Ford said. “If you are in the public eye, make yourself available to people; listen to people. If you're out in the community riding around for eight hours and not interacting with somebody, then you aren't doing your job,” he said. “You need to be out of your car in between calls, talking with people. You need to find out who the players are. I think it can be done.”
Ford is an example of how the program has worked for so many years, but under different names or police units — from working foot patrol security at Springhill Apartments and Edgewood Homes to high school patrol and working with the You and the Law program since 2005.
“It's taking programs like those and — with the help of others — making them grow,” he said.
Major Paul Calvaruso said whether they're labeled community policing or something else, such programs have been around for 150 years.
“Its applications may have varied over the years, but the philosophy has remained relatively consistent,” Calvaruso said. “It boils down to officers and citizens working together to make the community safer.”
He said typically it involves an effort to have the same officer work the same area on a day-today basis in order to gain familiarity with the citizens and demographics of that area.
Akron has park-and-walk details, some bicycle patrols and a community relations department.
Frank Williams, president of the Williams Challenge Man2Man fatherhood initiative, said he has known Ford for many years and considers him one of the leaders of the community.
“When you talk about police officers, 99 percent of the police officers are good — and the one percent that's bad makes it bad for everyone,” he said.
“When you don't have good direction in your life, you're going to misbehave. So you need a mentor like Officer Ford to give right directions to help save some black kids.”
Ford said community policing is about solving problems in a different way.
He talked about an after-hours house in Akron that was hard to shut down. He said he stopped a man getting ready to go into the house and told him he heard the place was going to get raided that night.
“A few minutes later, you could see people clearing out of the place because that person made a call to the inside and warned everybody,” he said.
Ford said having a presence and a familiar face is especially important in the black community.
“The black community is tired of what they see on television about another cop shooting a black man. They may be justifiable shootings, but all they know is that a black man is being killed and that's where that education part comes in.”
He likened a community to a shaken-up bottle of soda pop.
“This is the community and this is how they feel right now. They don't know what we're doing as police officers or why we do what we do,” he said. “They don't understand that sometimes I might have to get into a fight with a suspect. They don't understand that sometimes I might have to [Taser] someone. They don't understand the use of force by police officers and what rules we have to follow.”
Nanci Self, who heads the Nazareth Housing Development Corporation, attended the gathering. She said she agreed with Ford that putting officers on the community streets helps to solve bigger problems.
“I thought his example of shaking that soda with all that pressure built up inside showed that any community could blow up at any time,” she said. “I think Akron's been very blessed not to have a huge problem. He is so right on how we need to interact with each other.”
Ford said people talk about a citizens review board, but people need to be educated on the use of force by officers. He encouraged people to do ride-alongs with police to get a sense of what they deal with on calls.
“Good cops matter, too,” he said.
“I tell the new black police officers that they are the new leaders, the new wave — because in our community, you are considered a leader and they look up to you and respect you. But you have to understand them and respect them, too,” Ford said. “It's a trust factor; people won't trust you if they don't know you.
“There are officers who investigate serious crimes every day, but it's because of their relationships in the community that they ever come up with suspects,” he said.
Ford said it's a circle of trust. He talks to all his detective friends to make sure he knows about things going on in his precinct, and tries to find out what's happening in the community. He takes back information to the police department and shares information with the community.
“So are police officers peacemakers or warriors? I think we are a little bit of both. I think we have to find a balance.
How to Build Trust in Policing
by Susan Shah and Jim Burch
Following recent deadly police-citizen encounters, such as those in Ferguson, Charleston, New York City, Baltimore, and elsewhere, trust in the police has plummeted. Gallup recently reported that confidence in the police has reached a 22-year low and is much lower among blacks, who have borne the brunt of both crime and overly aggressive policing. This is an urgent matter of public safety, because in communities that feel estranged, citizens are less likely to work in collaboration with the police, reporting crimes, or acting as witnesses. And research and practice tell us that people are more likely to obey the law when they believe in the legitimacy of police authority. For these reasons, restoring this trust is at the core of the various recent prescriptions for police reform.
In the 1980s, a few large police departments sought to establish healthy relationships with those they serve through community policing, such as the Community Patrol Officer Program (CPOP), developed in New York with advice from the Vera Institute. Under CPOP, officers were assigned to a beat and charged with getting to know neighborhood residents and merchants, and working with them to identify and resolve conditions that bred crime. The program was successful: community patrol officers integrated activities such as attending community meetings and organizing block associations into their crime-fighting responsibilities, and received fewer civilian complaints than other officers.
Yet the concept has never fully taken root. In part, this is because around the same time that CPOP and other community policing programs were piloted, police agencies started intensively measuring success based on crime statistics and trends in specific neighborhoods or precincts. They developed a management system — Compstat — around this. Compstat (the term is derived from “Compare Statistics”) is now central to police management decisions regarding who, what, where, and when to police. Compstat has been adopted by both large and small police agencies across the U.S.; its beauty is that it can be customized to an agency's priorities and resources. In many police departments — where Compstat meetings occur every week or two and bring together police executives, precinct commanders, and crime analysts — crime statistics are regarded as the best indicator of police success. Precinct commanders who are unable to keep crime numbers low are often under scrutiny and pressure to drive down their numbers. We manage what we measure.
How can the policing profession hold itself accountable for building and nurturing the trust of its communities? The solution requires integrating the community back into policing, from philosophy to management and operations. But this must go beyond training, citizen oversight, body cameras, and other important reforms. Police managers need a new Compstat that focuses on more than crime stats and crime reduction.
The next frontier for police reform is enhancing Compstat so that it responds to the goals of community policing. This is possible. Research shows that Compstat can be modified to align with community policing goals so that it achieves public safety in the way that the community wants and needs. By integrating data from community satisfaction surveys into a Compstat system, precinct commanders can get a real sense of their communities' public safety priorities and trust in law enforcement, and compare it with data on neighborhood crime patterns. If a neighborhood has both a low rate of reported crime and a low level of citizen satisfaction, commanders may deduce that the crime stats are not reflecting reality on the ground so much as a reluctance to report.
And there are indeed signs of a growing national appetite for a Compstat expansion. Leading criminal justice researchers Cynthia Lum and Daniel Nagin note the need for law enforcement to “create and install systems that monitor citizen reactions to the police and routinely report results back to the public” in their Blueprint for Reinvention. The Chicago Police Department is working with Dennis Rosenbaum at the University of Illinois at Chicago to mail a police-community interaction survey to every person who was stopped for traffic violations or was a victim of a crime excluding sexual assault.
The survey is part of a new RespectStat system that will be integrated into existing Compstat meetings. The power of the Compstat model is also being used by the New York Police Department (the originators of Compstat) to identify problem officers. And earlier this month, the Vera Institute of Justice and the Police Foundation launched a new initiative to develop, test, and implement a national “Compstat 2.0” model for law enforcement agencies aiming to integrate community concerns with more traditional Compstat metrics.
At a time where community trust in police is low in many parts of the country, updating Compstat is critical as we help cultivate, rebuild, and sustain community trust.
Susan Shah is Chief of Staff at the Vera Institute of Justice. Jim Burch is Vice President, Strategic Initiatives at the Police Foundation. They are co-directors of the new initiative Compstat 2.0.
Federal judge holds first hearing on progress of Ore. police reforms
The judge questioned the city's 48-hour rule that allows officers who have used deadly force to wait two days to be interviewed
by Maxine Bernstein
PORTLAND, Ore. — U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon said he's not interested in micro-managing a negotiated settlement between Portland and federal justice officials on police reforms. He also hopes that he won't be called on to have to enforce any of its provisions.
Yet he said he wants to remain familiar with the bureau's progress on the remedies to its policies, training and oversight, should he need to step in at some point.
"If I am ever called upon to exercise those powers,'' Simon said, " I want to be aware of what's going on.''
That's how the federal judge opened a three-hour hearing in his packed courtroom on how the Police Bureau's reforms have proceeded. The settlement followed a 2012 federal investigation that found Portland police used excessive force against people with mental illness.
Throughout statements from federal prosecutors, city attorneys and community members, the judge asked questions about the bureau's controversial 48-hour rule that allows officers who have used deadly force to wait two days until they're interviewed by an investigator. He questioned if the city's $500,000 share to support a new psychiatric emergency center in Portland is enough. And, he pressed the city for a timeline on when police will be equipped with body cameras, even though cameras are not required under the settlement.
Federal justice officials announced they've got a meeting Thursday with city attorneys to question where the city is on writing protocol that would allow officers involved in use of force to give immediate on-scene interviews to detectives.
U.S. Department of Justice civil rights attorney Jonas Geissler said the Police Bureau can't assume that every time officers use deadly force they could be incriminating themselves if they're forced to give a statement on what occurred. Otherwise, , he said, departments would "create an artificial obstacle'' to obtaining crucial information.
"Our meeting tomorrow is us asking the city, 'What's up? Have you any revised protocols? If not, where are the barriers?'' Assistant U.S. Attorney Adrian Brown said.
City-hired compliance officer Dennis Rosenbaum, a criminology professor from the University of Illinois, told the judge that his team has urged the city to abolish the 48-hour rule, saying it conflicts with national best practices. He said studies have showed that officers who have had an immediate interview or provide notes soon after an incident recall those events even more clearly in a second interview, compared to officers who wait for a later interview. Of course, if an officer is physically exhausted, injured or impaired, a later interview would be warranted, he said.
The Portland Police Commanding Officers' Association has ratified an agreement to abolish the 48-hour rule, which awaits City Council approval, Police Chief Larry O'Dea confirmed.
But the rank-and-file officers, sergeants and detectives who make up the Portland Police Association - and are the ones largely affected by the rule - have a separate bargaining agreement that won't expire until the end of June 2017, association attorney Anil Karia said.
"The PPA's No. 1 goal is to have full and fair investigations and have officers afforded due process,'' he said. He contends that the officers involved in five shootings this year gave voluntary interviews to investigators, but federal justice officials said they weren't immediate statements. In two cases, while voluntary, statements were made after two or more days, Geissler said.
Karia, though, did say he expects future bargaining negotiations with the city regarding officers' voluntary and compelled statements.
Brown also told the court that the bureau has a ways to go in improving officer response to people in mental health crisis. She said dispatchers aren't trained to assess which mental health-related calls they should be dispatching specially-trained crisis intervention officers to, and these officers make up only 17 percent of the patrol force.
"There's still room to grow,'' she said. "The current model is still not completely consistent with the Memphis model.''
Under the Memphis model, a volunteer team of specially trained crisis intervention officers are dispatched to all mental-health related calls. In Portland, dispatchers have been sending the bureau's Enhanced Crisis Intervention Team officers to a limited number of mental health calls, and only recently began including suicide-related calls to their responses.
Geissler noted that Portland police use of force has gone down since the federal investigation began. Deputy City Attorney Ellen Osoinach reported that .25 percent of Portland police calls involve use of force, and that police use force in 2.4 percent of arrests.
"This case is most fundamentally a case about force,'' Geissler said. "We should not lose the focus of this fundamental constitutional basis of the case.''
But he urged the bureau's force inspector to be more critical. "The inspector frankly needs to be more candid,'' Geissler said.
Justice officials have met with city officials and other parties to critique police oversight, and expects the city to make "broader reform to the accountability system.''
"The city remains committed to achieving a trust relationship with the community,'' City Attorney Tracy Reeve said. "We acknowledge much more work remains to be done.''
Osoinach said the 48-hour rule has become a "buzz word'' in the community. While she said the rule doesn't hamper the city from requiring officers who use force to give immediate statements, she said the city doesn't agree with the federal justice position, noting that many "complex legal and policy issues'' are involved. The city also needs to consider input from the district attorney's office.
Yet Osoinach said she understands the community's concerns. "It creates a perception that there's unfairness and the investigations aren't being conducted fairly. We certainly want to address that perception,'' she said.
Judge Simon interrupted. "You make an excellent point there,'' he said. "The appearance, or the perception of fairness is oftentimes just as important as the actuality of fairness. If we had a judicial system that is really fair but is not perceived to be fair, we can't accomplish our objectives. The same is true for the Portland police.''
Rosenbaum reported on problems with the bureau's new data system that has made it impossible to access reports on 19,000 cases over six months this year. Simon said he hopes that problem is fixed by next year.
The Rev. T. Allen Bethel, of the Albina Ministerial Alliance's Coalition for Justice and Police Reform, said the Police Bureau has failed to hold officers accountable in the case of Thai Gurule, who was acquitted of resisting arrest after he was Tased by police. A state judge said police didn't have a right to stop him, and used excessive force.
"It is instances like this that continue to erode the community's trust in the city of Portland and the Portland Police Bureau,'' Bethel said.
Bud Feuless, speaking on behalf of the Community Oversight Advisory Board, also urged the bureau to respond to the judge's concerns raised on the Gurule case. "We watched that case and think about that case regularly...and the fear that the next time that young man might not survive that interaction,'' Feuless said.
Osoinach signaled that the city has been in talks about reforming the police discipline and oversight system. "It is time to take a more holistic look at the discipline system and to see where we might make changes to it,'' she said.
Brown cautioned that the systematic changes sought in the settlement agreement will take years to be adopted. Two national consultants, a retired police chief Charlie Reynolds, and are serving as advisers and will continue to counsel the bureau on remedies needed, Brown reported.
The next annual hearing before Judge Simon will be Oct. 25, 2016.
The judge reminded the crowd that he plays a limited role, yet is present to serve as the arbiter if anyone is concerned the city is not complying with the agreement.
"I hope it will never come to pass..,'' Simon said, "but if you need me to do something that's consistent with the settlement agreement, you know where to find me.''
Mitchell police academy deals with building searches, child abuse
by Jake Shama
Child abuse cases are among the worst duties of a police investigator.
That was the message from Patrol Sgt. Joel Reinesch, who taught a recent lesson at the weekly Mitchell Police Academy, which is put on by the Department of Public Safety.
"Child abuse is not a fun topic," Reinesch said.
Participants of the class were asked to look at images from actual child abuse cases and decide whether it was abuse and asked to determine the tool used to create various bruises, burns and other marks.
Throughout the course, the instructors have made it clear that it's not easy to be a police officer. Officers must deal with difficult situations, and it's important they are prepared for anything they may encounter.
Reinesch said more than 2 million children are abused nationally, most under the age of 3, and many are abused multiple times before law enforcement is notified.
"Very rarely does this get caught and figured out the first time around," Reinesch said.
Reinesch said officers must look for physical signs, such as burns and bruises, but also must observe behavior, like an aversion to adult contact, poor hygiene and behavior that is more or less mature than the child's true age.
According to Reinesch, stress, a lack of parenting knowledge, chemical dependency issues and laziness are some causes that may lead to child abuse. Additionally, up to 90 percent of abusive or neglectful parents were victims.
"Almost to the letter, adults who sexually abuse children were sexually abused themselves," Reinesch said. "It's the cycle. You can almost write it down as gospel."
The next week of the academy class, the participants were thrown into the thick of a stressful situation. The class spent a couple hours training on building searches and emergency response unit procedures using scenarios and practice weapons utilized by Mitchell police officers.
Class members were given scenarios in which they needed to decide whether or not to use lethal force. Patrol Sgt. Terry Reyelts and Detective Sgt. Dean Knippling, who taught the course, said participants performed well in situations that included searching a room before chasing a suspect through a door, holding fire when presented with a mentally ill person and deciding to shoot from a side angle in a hostage situation.
In each case, the instructors gave the "bad guys" specific instructions to test the others' tactics.
"A lot of training that we have replicates the worst scenario possible," Reyelts said.
Throughout the night, Reyelts and Knippling gave instructions on how to improve tactics and respond to new situations.
"If you are in a fair fight, your tactics (stink)," Reyelts said. "The only unfair fight is one you lose."
Reyelts also said officers don't leave a situation until it has been cleared. The instructors used "the Kimball incident" as an example, in which Donald London allegedly fired upon law enforcement officers, injuring a Highway Patrol sergeant. Knippling also said this incident was the last time the Mitchell Police Division's armored vehicle was deployed.
"We're not going to leave until the objective is completed. If you are going into a situation, you are going in to win."
The Citizen's Academy class will meet three more times. The course concludes on Nov. 10.
L.A. can audit controversial DWP nonprofits, appeals court rules
by Jack Dolan
hree-judge appeals panel has upheld the city's right to freely inspect the financial records of a controversial pair of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power nonprofit trusts, which have received more than $40 million in ratepayer money.
For more than two years, union leaders who co-administer the nonprofits with managers from the city-owned utility, have fought a bitter legal and political battle to keep the records secret.
As a compromise while the legal case was running its course, the union allowed City Controller Ron Galperin limited access to five years of spending records.
Galperin's auditors found the nonprofits had paid millions to vendors without competitive bids, overpaid top managers and let them charge more than $660,000 to publicly financed credit cards for things such as steak dinners and trips to Las Vegas, Hawaii and New Orleans.
On Thursday, a panel from the 2nd District Court of Appeals in Los Angeles, ruled that the controller has the right to perform annual audits of the nonprofits.
Officer's Killing Feeds Fears of More Violence at East Harlem Housing Project
by Nicholas Casey
Building 400 at the East River Houses is nondescript. No names are on the buzzers near the front door.
The building was known, however, for being a repeat stop for police officers who arrested Tyrone Howard multiple times there on drug charges before Tuesday night, when, the authorities say, he shot and killed Officer Randolph Holder in East Harlem.
Mr. Howard's neighbors include a pastor and an older couple who said they had never met the 30-year-old suspect. But the fatal shooting is stoking fears among residents in this public housing complex that more violence could be on the way, as rival gangs vie for turf and for control over drug deals that take place on East Harlem's streets.
Just as poverty has not diminished in this string of housing projects along the water, crime has not gone down either, despite Manhattan's wider trends of fewer homicides. Floodlights illuminate the streets at night, and stations of the New York Police Department's housing unit dot the buildings. Despite the police presence, residents say the gunfire exchanged between rival gangs, the so-called crews who draw their turf lines between the buildings, is getting nearer and more frequent.
“Drama season has started here,” said Billy Mojica, a 20-year resident of the East River complex, at 105th Street and First Avenue. He has witnessed some fierce conflicts in those two decades and fears the recent gang activity more than in the past: There is no clear leader among the crews who could break up the fighting, he said.
This year, there have been 11 killings in the three precincts that include the housing developments that Officer Holder patrolled, just one more than last year at this point. But more of those killings have come from inside the housing developments, police statistics show: seven this year compared with four last year at this time.
On the bench outside, a stay-at-home mother named Evelyn discussed the recent shooting with a group of her neighbors. The woman, who declined to give her last name, fearing the recent violence, said the son of one of her friends had been shot and killed on a nearby street this year as he was going out to dinner.
“How do you go outside after something like that?” she asked.
The police said on Wednesday that Mr. Howard was a “very major” drug dealer in the East River Houses. He had recently dropped out of a diversion program meant to keep offenders out of crowded jails and was on the run. He was believed to have shot a 28-year-old man on Sept. 1.
A family member provided few other clues on Wednesday about Mr. Howard. “I have nothing to say about him,” said Fantashia Howard, a 38-year-old relative of Mr. Howard, before hanging up the telephone.
Outside the building where the police say Mr. Howard lived, small groups of residents milled about in the alleyways between the buildings. The grass was overgrown in the brick complex, and a small playground sat empty.
Lex Rodriguez, who works at a pharmacy in Brooklyn, moved to the East River Houses eight months ago to be closer to his wife's Manhattan workplace. But after the recent shooting, he says he does not know if he should stay. “I'm starting to have second thoughts about coming here in the first place,” he said.
While crime in the East River Houses and neighboring complexes troubled him, Mr. Rodriguez said he was equally unnerved by police officers in East Harlem, who he said were too eager to draw their weapons to resolve problems they encountered. He said he felt Officer Holder's killing was unjust, but he worried that shootouts between the police and the crews would take innocent lives.
“I'm not sure if we're safer with or without the police,” Mr. Rodriguez said. “They like to shoot.”
Down the street at a corner bodega, two old-timers chatted next to a stack of tabloid newspapers whose covers displayed a large image of Officer Holder.
One of them, Dahu Allah, lamented that his 29-year-old son had had a brief run with the local gangs when he was younger, but he said his son had since gotten out of trouble. Mr. Allah complained of the usual problems affecting East Harlem youths: lack of employment, and not enough time spent in school.
Who was to blame for the violence?
“It's self-inflicted,” he said.
Top Cops And Prosecutors Form Alliance To Battle Crime And Prison Crowding
New group backs bipartisan proposals to ease drug sentencing, solitary confinement.
by Simone Weichselbaum
Leaders of the nation's major police departments announced on Wednesday that they have joined forces with current and former federal, state and local prosecutors in an alliance to reduce crime as well as the country's swollen prison population.
The group, which calls itself Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration, grew out of a meeting in Chicago a year ago and has come to include the elite of America's policing fraternity, whose policies, from community policing to the Broken Windows strategies in New York and elsewhere, helped to reshape law enforcement across the country.
The Chicago meeting included that city's police superintendent, Garry McCarthy, former Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas of New Orleans, Chief Edward Flynn of Milwaukee, Chief Dean Esserman of New Haven and scholars from Yale University and John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.
“There was a sense in the room that people thought police chiefs were not in support of reducing mass incarceration,” Serpas said. “It caught everybody by surprise how candidly and vehemently the chiefs were talking about how we would like to get behind a program that would be looking more holistically at arrest procedures and incarceration.” Their goals coincide with those of President Barack Obama, who has said he will spend the final year of his presidency working to address mass incarceration and criminal justice reform. The president said in his weekly radio address that he plans a series of events during the next two weeks to bring attention to these issues.
Serpas and McCarthy, who now co-chair the new group, said they began to reach out to their contacts in prosecutors' offices, floating around the thought that a unified mix of the criminal justice careerists could influence state and federal law.
“We don't want everybody in jail. We want the right people in jail. It is a small component of the community that creates the vast majority of the violence,” McCarthy said in an interview. “Not one of us is saying that narcotics is O.K. But there is a difference between putting a gun in somebody's face and saying ‘give me your money.' And getting caught with ten bags of heroin because you have a problem. They are two totally different crimes. And the priorities have to be reflected in the laws.”
The new law-enforcement alliance has about 120 members, many of whom lead, or formerly led, police departments and prosecutors' offices across all 50 states. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance is a member, so is New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and former Virginia Attorney General Mark Earley. The group also includes Commissioner William Bratton of New York City, Chief Kathleen O'Toole of Seattle and Dan Satterberg, the King County prosecutor whose jurisdiction includes Seattle.
“We really have a powerful group of people,” said Serpas, who like several of his policing counterparts in the group, has earned higher education credentials (he has a doctorate) and has commanded several law enforcement agencies outside his hometown. (Serpas is now a criminology professor at Loyola University New Orleans and has served as Nashville's police chief and the chief of the Washington State Patrol).
“We want to influence legislation but most importantly we want to influence public consumption of information about this topic,” said Serpas. He, McCarthy, and the group's other members will detail their ambitions during a Wednesday afternoon luncheon in Washington, D.C. The Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law is advising the group.
“We don't know where this is going to go,” said McCarthy, a gruff veteran of the New York Police Department who has also headed the Newark Police Department. “But it's something that needs to happen.”
The group has attracted at least one skeptic: Jonathan Smith, a former Department of Justice official. Until April, when he left the agency, Smith had investigated the New Orleans Police Department and others that had been cited for unconstitutional behavior. Smith noted allegations of police abuse in the departments where the group's leaders work.
“Chicago and New Orleans are not the places you look to for where police have undertaken progressive strategies to avoid incarcerating low level offenders.” Smith said. (The New Orleans Police Department has been operating under a federal oversight since 2012. Serpas headed the force from 2010 to 2014).
McCarthy brushed off the criticism and said that Chicago police have decreased their number of arrests by 20,000 in two years and have seen a 68 percent decrease in police-involved shootings.
“If that is not progressive, then I don't know what is,” McCarthy said.
Among the new law-enforcement group's initial actions will be support of a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill that working its way through the U.S. Senate. The proposed legislation includes provisions to reduce some mandatory minimum sentences for federal drug crimes and scale back the use of solitary confinement for juveniles housed in federal prison.
Walter Holton, a former U.S. Attorney in North Carolina who served under President Bill Clinton and is now a defense lawyer, explained that he signed on to join the McCarthy-Serpas effort because he believes that “we can reduce crime and protect the public safety and reduce these outrageous incarceration rates.”
“Federal prosecutorial resources are being depleted and federal investigatory resources are being depleted because we have to give money to the prisons,” he said. “Something has to give.”
Black Lives Matter's disruptive tactics test LA authorities
Black Lives Matter activists continue to hold smaller but decidedly aggressive protests targeting top police officials
by Kate Mather, Peter Jamison and Angel Jennings
LOS ANGELES — A year ago, protests over police treatment of African-Americans drew hundreds to the streets of Los Angeles, where marchers blocked traffic and made their way onto the city's busy freeways.
Today, the big crowds have faded. But a cadre of activists under the Black Lives Matter banner have kept the movement alive in the city with smaller but decidedly aggressive protests targeting top L.A. police officials and the mayor.
The disruptive tactics pose a political challenge for city leaders who are still struggling to effectively engage the activists about issues that have prompted heated debate across the country.
Protesters have camped outside police headquarters and regularly disrupted the city Police Commission's weekly meetings, turning normally dry public hearings into hours-long confrontations that frequently devolve into officers clearing demonstrators from the room.
The group has also set its sights on Mayor Eric Garcetti. A summer protest outside his Los Angeles home turned into an embarrassing episode, captured on video and spread on the Internet, when he left through a back gate for a trip to Washington, D.C.
On Monday, about 50 of the group's supporters confronted the mayor at a town hall meeting in South Los Angeles, forcing Garcetti to make a hasty retreat to his car, surrounded by police and shouting audience members.
Local activists said they're doing what it takes to keep issues such as police reform and better representation for black Angelenos in front of the public.
“Our lives are on the line,” said Melina Abdullah, a California State University, Los Angeles professor and organizer for Black Lives Matter. “We cannot live in a city that has such disregard for black life.”
But others questioned the group's approach, saying it could alienate Angelenos — including other African-Americans — who are otherwise sympathetic to the issues they are raising.
The pastor of the church where the meeting was held said he was “disturbed and disappointed in Black Lives Matter” for its actions. “We certainly understand the rage because of the challenges in South L.A.,” Rev. Kelvin Sauls said. “But amidst that, we do not want to violate our own integrity.”
Monday's chaotic town hall was the latest chapter in the often-tense political and legal dance between Black Lives Matter and city officials.
Earlier this year, the city attorney's office sought a restraining order on behalf of Garcetti and Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck against two protesters who crashed a private meeting between the pair. A judge later denied the request.
This summer, the Police Commission considered imposing new rules intended to curb interruptions during weekly meetings. The proposal drew harsh criticism from civil libertarians who charged the panel was infringing on free speech rights. The board later dropped the contentious language in approving a new set of rules.
After Monday's clash, city leaders took great pains to support the rights of the protesters and the thrust of their message.
Garcetti, speaking to reporters Tuesday morning, pointedly declined to criticize the protesters' conduct the night before.
“As mayor, that's part of the job. Sometimes people scream. Sometimes people shout,” he said. “Any person who talks about their frustrations … you know, those are real problems with jobs, with housing, with policing. But I just keep doing the work.”
City Council President Herb Wesson, the city's highest-ranking black elected official, defended Garcetti, saying the mayor “handled himself as well as could be expected” at the town hall. But he said the activists have a legitimate perspective and deserve attention.
“We have a community, or individuals from the community, that are in pain, angry and frustrated with some things,” Wesson said. “I know a lot of those people. They're just great people and they need an opportunity to express themselves.”
Police commissioners also weighed in Tuesday. The panel's president, Matt Johnson, who attended the town hall, said he was disappointed that it was “cut short because a few people had a different agenda.”
“What's too bad is the message is important, but the messengers have lost trust and credibility by their actions,” said Steve Soboroff, the board's vice president.
Others who attended the town hall shared Soboroff's view, saying the issues the activists were trying to raise were overshadowed by their actions.
“I didn't know it was going to be a Black Lives Matter meeting,” said Jackie Hawthorne, who's lived in South L.A. for four decades. Hawthorne said she didn't know much about the movement, but didn't get a chance to learn more about the group because of the way the meeting unraveled.
“I am so angry,” she said, shaking her head as a police helicopter circled above. She turned to a group of protesters walking out of the parking lot.
“Go home,” she said. “Go away.”
The phrase “Black Lives Matter” became widely popular after protests erupted in Ferguson, Mo., in August 2014 when a white police officer shot Michael Brown, an unarmed, black 18-year-old. “Black Lives Matter” became a rallying cry during protests over police killings of black men around the country, including the Ezell Ford shooting in L.A. But it is a highly decentralized movement whose message spreads through social media.
The Los Angeles branch has enveloped other anti-police groups, creating a small but vocal group of activists who routinely criticize the Los Angeles Police Department for shootings by officers. Abdullah says the organization is an alliance with no single leader or spokesperson. She estimates the group's supporters in L.A. run into the hundreds.
The group didn't arrive at Monday's meeting intending to shut it down, she said. But Garcetti began touting his own accomplishments as mayor, she said, rather than giving community members adequate time to voice their concerns.
Abdullah and other protesters have outlined a series of demands to Garcetti and the police commissioners, most prominently that they fire Beck for his handling of the LAPD and recent police shootings. They've also called for a series of mayoral town hall meetings with more public give and take, as well as increased input on appointments to city commissions.
Despite the criticism, Abdullah said, the local movement has had an impact. She said the group continues to diversify, bringing in new activists of different ages and social backgrounds. Most importantly, she said, city officials know they are there.
“We just want to make it known that we are watching,” she said. “We're always going to be present and we're always going to speak out for the community.”
St. Louis police step up patrols after spate of church fires
Investigators are trying to determine whether the arsonist or suspects are targeting religion, race or both
by The Associated Press
ST. LOUIS — St. Louis police are stepping up patrols and trying to develop profiles of possible suspects in a spate of fires that have damaged six churches in largely black neighborhoods during the past two weeks, the city's police chief said.
Sam Dotson also told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Tuesday that the churches damaged during the suspicious fires Oct. 8 through Oct. 18 vary denominationally and are within a few miles of each other.
Four are on St. Louis' north side, and two are in nearby Jennings.
Dotson's comments came the same day the reward for information leading to an arrest doubled to $4,000.
Five of the churches are predominantly black, and one is racially mixed. In each case, the front doors were set on fire, leaving damage that ranged from virtually nothing at one church to the near destruction of another.
St. Louis and federal authorities, including the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, are investigating, trying to determine whether the arsonist or suspects are targeting religion, race or both. St. Louis Fire Capt. Garon Mosby has said the possibility that the fires could be hate crimes — for religious or racial reasons — "is part of the dynamic" of the investigation.
The area is still reeling from the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown last year by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson and a grand jury's subsequent decision not to charge Wilson. Brown, who was black, was unarmed when he was shot by Wilson, who is white, in a case that spawned the national "Black Lives Matter" movement scrutinizing police treatment of minorities.
The Associated Press left messages seeking comment from St. Louis police Wednesday.
Four-Year-Old Fatally Shot in Head in Albuquerque Road Rage Incident: Police
by Phil Helsel
A 4-year-old girl was shot in the head and killed during a road rage incident in Albuquerque on Tuesday, police said.
"This should have never happened. This is a complete disrespect of human life," Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden told reporters after the deadly gunfire on Interstate 40.
Police said the gunfire occurred in the westbound lanes of I-40 at around 3 p.m. local time (5 p.m. E.T.), NBC station KOB reported.
Albuquerque Police Department spokesman Officer Simon Drobik told the station that a Bernalillo County sheriff's deputy discovered the shooting after pulling over to assist a car stopped on I-40. The girl's mother and father were in the car, but no one else was hurt, police said.
"The dad explained there was some type of road rage incident. A car pulled up beside them and started firing rounds into the car," Drobik told KOB.
Eden said the road rage incident involved cars cutting each other off on the interstate, and that witnesses so far have given different information as to a description of the other vehicle that may have been involved.
"We have absolutely no suspect information at this time," Eden said. "We are in desperate need of information to help us resolve the conflicting information we're getting right now," he said.
The interstate was busy at the time the shooting occurred, Eden said. "We know that people had to have been witnesses," he said.
"To me, this is one of those crimes which is unexplainable. There is no way to explain your way out of this," Eden said. "It's 100 percent preventable. It did not have to happen, and we need to rise up as a community and say 'enough is enough.'"
NYPD Officer Randolph Holder dies after being shot in the head by gunman in East Harlem
by Kerry Burke, Rocco Parascandola, Joseph Stepansky, Denis Slattery
An NYPD housing officer was killed Tuesday night, shot in the head by a trigger-happy perp during a chase and gunfight on a pedestrian overpass above the FDR Drive in East Harlem, police said.
Officer Randolph Holder, 33, was shot in the forehead by the callous gunman, who had stolen a bike and was being pursued by cops along the promenade hugging the East River around 8:30 p.m., Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said. The brave officer died at 10:22 p.m. at Harlem Hospital.
A suspect, shot in the legs, was arrested.
Holder, who emigrated from Guyana, was a third-generation police officer, following in his father and grandfather's footsteps in the line of duty, Bratton said during a somber press conference at the hospital.
The unmarried immigrant joined the NYPD in July 2010 and worked in Police Service Area 5, wearing Shield No. 13340 as he patrolled the public housing projects of East Harlem.
“I think all of us will tell you this is the hardest thing that we do,” Bratton said. “That we mourn one of our own. I've been doing this for 45 years. It doesn't get easier. It never gets easier and it should never get easier.”
Holder was the fourth NYPD officer killed in the line of duty in the past 11 months.
Police responded to reports of gunshots around 8:30 p.m. near First Ave. and 102nd St.
Witnesses told cops several men fled over the pedestrian walkway that crosses the FDR Drive and then continued onto the footpath that runs alongside the highway.
“There was an argument between two or three people. All of a sudden there were shots, you could hear the shells kick back as they hit the cement. I had my whole family on the floor,” said witness Doris Ayala, 62, who lives at the Urban American River Crossing apartment complex at 102nd St. and FDR Drive.
“I thought they were going to shoot outside of my window. There was a gun on the sidewalk outside my building,” said the shocked woman, who reported hearing about 10 shots.
One of the men stole a bicycle and fled north along the footpath.
Holder and another cop encountered the fleeing suspect on another pedestrian overpass, near 120th St., and exchanged gunfire.
“There were six or seven shots, they were exchanging fire,” said John Lucero, 19, who could see the shooting from his apartment window. “There were three of them, one police officer and two other men. Cops were pointing at a body. It was a police officer. He was just lying there.”
The mortally wounded Holder crumpled to the ground as the ruthless suspect ditched the bike and ran north along the promenade. The fiend was finally apprehended at 124th St.
He suffered gunshot wounds to his legs and was taken to New York-Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell.
Rescuers rushed the critically injured cop to Harlem Hospital.
Three other suspects were taken into custody around 111th St. and were being questioned early Wednesday.
At least two guns were recovered, police said.
Mayor de Blasio was seen rushing out of a dinner for the Gracie Mansion Conservancy, an invitation-only fund-raiser to celebrate the grand reopening of the mayoral residence after recent repairs.
“We're all in mourning tonight. This whole city is in mourning,” Mayor de Blasio said. “We're mourning a man that gave his life as a guardian for all of us.
“We are humbled by Officer Randolph Holder's example of service and courage and sacrifice. Our hearts are heavy. We offer our thoughts and our prayers to his family who are experiencing unimaginable pain as we saw earlier when we gathered with them,” the mayor said.
Traffic on the FDR Drive was at a standstill for hours as police investigated the shooting.
Dozens of people were seen exiting taxis and walking toward First and Second Aves. in search of other means of transportation.
Witnesses watched as emergency crews cut the guardrail separating the northbound and southbound lanes near 116th St. to allow cars to turn around and exit the clogged roadway around 11:30 p.m.
At Harlem Hospital, hundreds of police officers held vigil, hoping for the best before they received the grim news of their fallen colleague.
“New York City police officers everyday go out and carry themselves on the street like superheroes on the street," Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said. “But the reality is, when we're attacked, we bleed. When we bleed, we die. And when we die, we cry.”
The slain office's father was on hand at the hospital. In his moment of grief, he offered his son's fellow officers comfort.
“When in his time of grief, he sought to comfort the officers of PSA 5. He was strong enough and brave enough to go in and address them as they tried to comfort him. He in fact was comforting them,” a teary-eyed Bratton said.
“I can understand his son and the bravery his son exhibited tonight, rushing toward danger and giving his life for the citizens of New York City.”
At least 100 NYPD officers were seen leaving the hospital around 11:30 p.m.
Three other NYPD officers have been shot and killed while on the job in the last 12 months.
On Dec. 20, officers Wenjian Liu, 32, and Rafael Ramos, 40, were ambushed and assassinated by a gun-toting madman in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
Officer Brian Moore, 25, was working with an anti-crime unit and patrolling in an unmarked police car with his partner Erik Jansen on May 9 near 212th St. and 104th Ave. in Queens when he was gunned down and killed.
Community Policing Advocates Call for More Transparency and Trust
by Caren Chesler
Some policies meant to crack down on low-level crime can make neighborhood residents feel as if they're under siege
In the wake of police shootings in Ferguson, Cleveland, Baltimore, and New York City, there have been renewed calls in many New Jersey cities for improving community policing, in which officers get out of their squad cars and familiarize themselves with members of the community.
But is that enough? Some say no.
Udi Ofer, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, says for community policing to work, at least in New Jersey, there needs to be statewide policies regarding transparency and accountability. It's not enough to say body cameras are being distributed. The public should have access to what's filmed with those cameras, and right now they don't -- not even the victim of a crime that was recorded.
For the time being, however, state law-enforcement officials like Attorney General John Hoffman, who has legal authority over all police departments, have been reluctant to push increased disclosure.
“What we have found is that Attorney General Hoffman has not been supportive of some of the aggressive policy measures we would like, for example, like releasing the names of police officers involved in shootings,” Ofer said at a community policing panel that was part of last week's NJ Spotlight on Cities conference held in Newark.
When an officer is involved in a shooting in New York City or Philadelphia, for instance, the departments will release the officer's name within the first day or two. In New Jersey, that's not the case. A 14-year old man was shot 18 times recently in Trenton, and seven of the bullets hit him; law enforcement at the state and local level refused to release the names of the officers involved.
“The reality is, we are living in a time when there is a crisis of confidence in police/community relations, and rightfully so. We are in a situation where for many years, police departments have acted with little accountability and little transparency,” he said.
Closing the rift
Criminal justice experts say part of the rift between police and the communities they oversee is a legacy from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, where neighborhoods were policed rather than the police and a community working together to achieve public safety.
Case in point, the so-called broken-windows theory of policing, in which the police started cracking down on petty crime, and minorities started feeling the brunt of selective enforcement and stop-and-frisk policies. They were arrested for loitering and smoking or possessing a small amount of marijuana, while white people largely weren't. The result is that the community feels not as if it is being protected but as if it's under siege.
Camden County Police Chief J. Scott Thomson offers another example, Los Angeles -- where there used to be helicopters flying overhead as part of the police presence in certain areas. It doesn't help that a lot of departments are receiving old military equipment from the federal government and recruitment videos often show officers kicking in doors and repelling down walls like a SWAT team.
“To me, if we're talking about a culture change, then the last thing I want a local police officer to think is that he or she is part of the military. That is propagating the occupier mentality,” Ofer said.
Most departments will say that they already engage in community policing. Todd Clear, a criminal justice professor at Rutgers University in Newark, says there was a survey done about 20 years ago, in which departments were asked about their approach to policing, and 75 percent pointed to community policing.
“I can tell you it's not true,” Clear said.
For community policing to truly work, there's a mindset a department must undergo from the leadership to the street level, that the people in uniform are not at odds with the communities they oversee but rather are engaged with them, Clear explained.
And departments cannot allow their only interactions with the public to be in moments of crisis, when the 911 call for service is made, or when police are called in to instill order, Clear said. Departments must create opportunities when officers can interact with people in the community and get to know those people as human beings, and people get to know the police officers as well, he said.
“Otherwise, the critical incidents and moments of enforcement become the lens through which we end up viewing and defining each other,” he said.
Myth and reality
The truth is, while television and recent news reports would have people believe that officers are quick to shoot and ask questions later, the fact is, most officers spend their entire careers never withdrawing their weapon from their holster, Clear said.
“It's way more than the majority,” Clear said. “It is actually a rare occurrence over an entire career. So one of the things we have to do when we train police, when we recruit them, when we talk about it as a profession, is to say, it's not a gun profession. It's a people profession.”
Thomson says community policing reached buzzword status in the nineties, in part because there were tens of millions of dollars in grants to departments that had it. But he believes some departments, such as his, aren't just talking the talk. He tells his officers to think of themselves not as Special Forces in the military but more like a member of the Peace Corps.
“When you go into challenged neighborhoods, they don't need law enforcement. They need community builders, conveners and facilitators,” he said. “If we go into our most challenged areas and the sole objective is reducing crime, you may statistically achieve that, but it will not be sustainable if it's not inclusive of the community.”
He said his department went into the Whitman Park section of Camden, a neighborhood that led in shootings and murders each year, and with help from the federal government, they routed a drug gang that had laid siege to that part of town.
“We removed them, and the community was ecstatic,” he said. “We put officers on walking beats, people started going outside their homes for the first time in 10 to 15 years. We were making great progress,” he said.
And then the power vacuum they created by removing the drug gang resulted in three shootings in one weekend that summer, and immediately, the community retracted. They went back into their homes, Thomson said. Some in the department wanted to get out in front of the problem by increasing the police presence there and cracking down on all levels of crime. But this time, they tried something else, he said. They took $10,000 out of the forfeiture account and hired some ice cream trucks to sit on several corners in the neighborhood, playing music and serving ice cream. Before long, people began to come out again, he said.
“It saved money. And it didn't revictimize the people who live in that neighborhood. So the person working two jobs to make ends meet isn't pulled over because we're doing heavy enforcement,” he said. “There was an ideology shift on how to address problems, and how to do it in a meaningful way and be sustainable.”
Change brings change in attitudes
But Thomson's department is unique. His old 190-man unit, the Camden Police Department, was disbanded in 2012, and a new county department was created, with 155 of his old officers. The new force is less obstinate and more open to change, he said. He tried to make changes in his old department in his first six months, like telling officers to get out of their squad cars, and he was hit with eight lawsuits and 100 grievances.
Lakeesha Eure of the Newark Anti-Violence Coalition believes that police officers should actually live in the community they represent. Their presence might reduce crime on that street, and when crimes are committed, the officers are likely to know the perpetrators and their families and could potentially get them help.
“Once officers move away, the connection becomes different. The approach becomes different. They're no longer connected to the community,” Eure said.
Eure said her organization now has a relationship with the Newark Police Department. Two days during the summer, they hold meet-and-greet type “community engagement walks,” where residents could meet the police director, the police chief, and the deputy chief, so that people could voice their opinions and grievances.
“They know when they go to internal affairs, those things are not going to be heard. Or they're afraid of retaliation,” Eure said.
NC chief: ‘Kill a cop' graffiti is a hate crime
A mural was defaced outside the new police station
by PoliceOne Staff
GARNER, N.C. — The Garner chief of police said the new anti-cop graffiti on their department headquarters must be interpreted as a threat to his officers, WRAL reported.
The phrase “kill a cop, save a child” was found sprayed on several buildings, including a mural on the Garner Police Department's new police station.
"It's absolutely a hate crime. It's targeting police officers," Chief Brandon Zuidema told WRAL. "This is an individual or individuals, cowards if you will, acting under the anonymity they have to share an awful and disgusting message.”
The mural artist, Vincent Wood, discovered the vandalism over the piece he has been finishing on Oct. 16 as he arrived for work.
Zuidema told the publication that estimated repair expenses are at least $2,000 and almost 50 hours of additional work for Woods. The department has started a GoFundMe page to avoid using taxpayer money.
The new building has around-the-clock security and fences, but because it is not complete, surveillance cameras had not been installed yet.
The department is offering a reward of $5,000 for information leading to arrest.
White House threatens to veto 'sanctuary cities' bill
The bill would punish jurisdictions that prohibit the collection of immigration information or don't cooperate
by Mary Clare Jalonick
WASHINGTON — The White House is threatening to veto Senate legislation cracking down on "sanctuary cities" that shield residents from federal immigration authorities.
The Senate is holding a procedural vote on the legislation Tuesday. The bill by Louisiana Sen. David Vitter would punish jurisdictions that prohibit the collection of immigration information or don't cooperate with federal requests, blocking them from receiving certain grants and funds.
Republicans have pushed the bill since the July 1 shooting of Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco. The man charged in the killing was in the country illegally despite a long criminal record and multiple prior deportations. The man, Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez, had been released by San Francisco authorities despite a request from federal immigration authorities to keep him detained.
"Rather than reward cities, we must start enforcing our current immigration laws and strengthen our borders to keep Americans here safe at home," Vitter said.
Angry Democrats accused Republicans of aligning themselves with Donald Trump and his anti-immigrant views.
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said the bill would threaten cities' ability to police and compared it to Republican presidential candidate Trump's comments earlier this year that some immigrants in the country illegally are "criminals" and "rapists."
"This vile legislation might as well be called 'The Donald Trump Act,'" Reid said.
San Francisco and hundreds of other jurisdictions nationally have adopted policies of disregarding federal immigration requests, or "detainers," which advocates say can unfairly target innocent immigrants and hurt relations between immigrant communities and law enforcement authorities.
The House passed legislation similar to Vitter's bill this summer, which the White House also threatened to veto. In its veto threat of the Senate legislation, the White House said the bill could lead to mistrust between the federal government and local governments.
The Obama administration has said that the best way to get at the problem is comprehensive immigration overhaul, something House Republicans have blocked for years.
Minn. community mourns another public servant killed in the line of duty
From all accounts, Aitkin County Sheriff's Deputy Steven M. Sandberg was one of the 'good-hearted'
by The Star Tribune
MINNEAPOLIS — There are numerous reasons why some law enforcement agencies are having trouble recruiting new officers.
A story in Sunday's Star Tribune described the struggle in Anoka County, where there were 294 applicants for deputy positions in 2015, down from 522 in 2010. Anoka County Sheriff James Stuart blames the decline, in part, on increased scrutiny of police conduct in the wake of highly publicized incidents, such as the death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by a white police officer last year in Ferguson, Mo.
“My concern is as we look forward and we see this — for lack of a better term — war being waged on our protectors, the good-hearted people are not going to want to take on the job anymore,” Stuart told a reporter.
From all accounts, Aitkin County Sheriff's Deputy Steven M. Sandberg was one of the “good-hearted” who answered the call to protect and serve. On Sunday, he lost his life doing exactly that. Sandberg, who joined the department in 1991, was shot and killed in a struggle with a suspect he was monitoring at St. Cloud Hospital.
Race wasn't a factor in Sandberg's death: The suspect, Danny Leroy Hammond, was white. But we can add Sandberg to the growing list of law enforcement officers whose on-duty deaths reinforce the inherent dangers in public safety work. His death likely will give pause to anyone considering a career in public safety in Minnesota. Sadly, we all know he won't be the last sheriff's deputy or police officer killed in the line of duty.
Sandberg, 60, leaves behind a wife and daughter and the community he proudly served for more than 20 years. Dozens of police vehicles escorted the hearse carrying his body from St. Cloud to the Ramsey County medical examiner's office in St. Paul on Sunday afternoon.
It was a fitting tribute for a man who died trying to fulfill the mission of his department — “safeguarding the lives and property of the citizens and visitors to all 1,828 square miles of Aitkin County.”
151 arrested in DEA-led investigation of synthetic drug rings
Rogue Chinese labs producing for US and global consumption; proceeds flow to Middle East countries
WASHINGTON — The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), along with other federal, state, and local law enforcement today concluded a 15-month, nationwide drug interdiction effort that resulted in 151 arrests in 16 states. The enforcement action, known as Project Synergy III, targeted the synthetic designer drug industry, including wholesalers, money launderers and other criminal facilitators. In addition to curbing the flow of synthetic drugs into the country, Project Synergy III continues to reveal the flow of millions of dollars in U.S. synthetic drug proceeds to countries of concern in the Middle East.
Total cash and assets seized (approximately)
Synthetic Cathinones seized
Treated plant material
Synthetic Cannabinoid Packs (filled)
“This poison ruins and takes too many lives; this is incredibly dangerous stuff,” said DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg. “Project Synergy III demonstrates our collective commitment to pursue those who produce and distribute this garbage to our children and I am grateful for the partnership of HSI and CBP on this operation.”
“The availability and illicit marketing of synthetic drugs creates the impression that they are safe and legal, when in fact they are neither,” said ICE Director Sarah R. Saldaña. “ICE is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to stop the flow of these highly dangerous drugs into our country. At the same time, we are equally concerned about getting the word out – especially to young people – about the dangers, and potentially deadly consequences, of using these substances.”
“With the alarming growth of these synthetic drugs, CBP's National Targeting Center, Laboratory and Scientific Services and Office of Field Operations bring expertise and innovative contributions to the U.S. government's effort to keep these dangerous narcotics off the streets,” said CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske. “CBP personnel continue to serve on the frontline, protecting the American public from designer drugs, a highly dangerous and deceptive group of psychoactive substances, specifically designed to skirt around existing drug laws.”
As in previous phases of Project Synergy, CBP's National Targeting Center played a significant role in the success of this operation. CBP was responsible for identifying and targeting high-risk express consignment shipments coming into the United States and suspected of containing synthetic drugs.
For the past several years, DEA has identified over 400 new designer drugs in the United States – the vast majority of which are manufactured in rogue labs in China and sold on the Internet and in retail outlets such as smoke shops, gas station convenience stores, and bodegas. Abuse of these psychoactive substances has resulted in ever-increasing numbers of overdose incidents and deaths.
Other related interdiction operations preceded this operation. Most recently in September, federal law enforcement teamed up with HSI, the New York City Police Department, and other law enforcement agencies to target nearly 90 bodegas in New York City who were selling designer synthetic drugs.
Communities, families, and individuals, across the country have experienced the scourge of designer synthetic drugs, which are often marketed as herbal incense, potpourri, bath salts, jewelry cleaner, or plant food. Synthetic cannabinoids represent the most significant class of designer synthetic drugs. According to the National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS), substances identified as synthetic cannabinoids by federal, state, and local forensic laboratories increased from 23 reports in 2009 to 32,784 reports in 2013; to 37,500 reports in 2014.
These dangerous drugs have caused significant abuse, addiction, overdoses, and emergency room visits. Those who have abused synthetic drugs have suffered vomiting, anxiety, agitation, irritability, seizures, hallucinations, tachycardia, elevated blood pressure, and loss of consciousness. They have caused significant organ damage as well as overdose deaths.
The contents and effects of synthetic drugs are unpredictable due to a constantly changing variety of chemicals used in manufacturing processes devoid of quality controls and government regulatory oversight.
From the FBI
In the Line of Duty
Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2014 Report Released
On May 29, 2014, a 42-year-old trooper with the New York State Police made a traffic stop on an interstate highway north of Binghamton. The veteran trooper parked behind the stopped car and approached the driver's side window. In that fleeting moment, a truck traveling in the same direction at about 90 miles per hour suddenly swerved, sideswiping the car and striking the trooper, killing him instantly. The truck's driver, a 60-year-old male with a criminal record, admitted after his capture that he intentionally veered to hit the trooper.
The chilling account of the unprovoked attack is just one of dozens of detailed narratives recounting the felonious deaths of law enforcement officers in the United States in 2014. The accounts are a central component of the latest Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) report, issued today, which shows that 96 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty last year—51 as a result of felonious acts and 45 in accidents. The annual report, released by the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, also shows that 48,315 officers were victims of line-of-duty assaults in 2014.
In addition to the narratives, the online-only report includes comprehensive data tables that provide a closer look at the incidents: officer profiles, circumstances, weapons, locations, and identified suspects.
The felonious deaths of the 51 officers—all males—occurred in 24 states and Puerto Rico. The figure represents a significant increase over the number that occurred in 2013, when 27 officers were killed, but is lower than the numbers from 2009 (56 officers) and 2005 (55 officers).
Among the report's findings:
The average age of the officers who were feloniously killed was 39, and they had served for an average of 13 years.
Offenders used firearms to kill 46 of the 51 victim officers: 33 were slain with handguns, 10 with rifles, and three with shotguns.
59 alleged assailants (54 of them males) were identified in connection with the line-of-duty deaths; 50 had prior criminal arrests.
39 of the officers feloniously killed with firearms were wearing body armor at the time of the incidents.
The largest percentage (30.8) of assaults on police officers occurred while they were responding to disturbance calls.
The LEOKA publication contains data on duly-sworn city, university/college, county, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement officers. The information in the report comes from various sources: the law enforcement agencies participating in the UCR Program, FBI field offices, and several non-profit organizations, such as the Concerns of Police Survivors and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
In addition to collecting details about the critical aspects of fatal confrontations and assaults, the FBI's LEOKA Program conducts extensive research on the data that eventually gets incorporated into officer safety awareness training the FBI provides for partner agencies.
- Full Report: Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2014
From the FBI
Race and Law Enforcement
Director Urges Closer Ties Between Police, Communities
FBI Director James Comey is continuing to urge police agencies and their constituents—particularly in communities of color—to take steps to better understand one another to help stem what he sees as a growing disconnect.
“I imagine two lines,” Comey said Thursday during a forum at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio that included local law enforcement, community leaders, prosecutors, and high school students. “One [line] is us in law enforcement and the other is the folks we serve and protect. And I think those two lines are arcing away from each other.”
The Director's remarks echoed a speech he delivered on the subject of race and law enforcement last February at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. The speech followed lethal police encounters that occurred the previous summer in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City—sparking protests and intense public debate—and the apparent retribution killings of two uniformed New York Police Department officers in December 2014.
At the time, Comey suggested his remarks were only the beginning of a broader and much-needed exchange on the subject. “These are only conversations in the true sense of that word if we are willing not only to talk but to listen, too.”
In the months since then, the Director has continued to talk on the subject and FBI field offices around the country have reached out to their own communities to further that conversation as well.
In Cleveland, where violent crime rates have risen dramatically this year, Director Comey joined Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams, Cuyahoga County Sheriff Clifford Pinkney, and more than 200 members of the local community to talk and to listen.
“I'm here because I think Cleveland is a place of great pain that is in a way illustrative of that crisis of those bending arcs,” Comey said.
It was in Cleveland that a 12-year-old African-American boy, Tamir Rice, was fatally shot by a police officer while holding a pellet gun in November 2014. The city is implementing a federal agreement following a Department of Justice determination last year that city police officers too often used excessive force and violated people's civil rights. A provision of the settlement is to better train officers in community engagement.
During the question-and-answer-style forum, moderated by FBI Cleveland Special Agent in Charge Stephen Anthony, the panelists agreed that a major step forward would be for police to get out of their cars and get better acquainted with people in their communities. But the hard work has to be shared, they said.
“For law enforcement to be successful—to make a better community—we need your help,” Sheriff Pinkney told attendees, including some 40 young students seated in the front rows. “We need your support, whether it's publicly or anonymously—we need you to be a part of this team.”
Comey said the answer to finding more common ground was “unscientific.”
“It's simply understanding that it's hard to hate up close,” Comey said. “We must see each other more clearly.”
In the audience, Ryan Hurley, a humanities teacher at St. Martin de Porres High School, listened with interest, alongside a dozen of his students.
“We're having this conversation in our classes, we're having this conversation in our school because it's important,” Hurley said following the event. “I think the big takeaway is that it's sort of a shared responsibility. And they're okay taking on that responsibility if they feel like they have trust in the people at the top.”
After the forum, Hurley asked students what they thought.
“Their first response was, ‘They seem a lot different here than they do on the news.'”
Cleveland Police Chief Williams was optimistic that things were beginning to change. His department, along with the FBI, recently held a “Safety in Your Sanctuary” program for about 40 local clergy members. Another recent community event focused on police use of force.
“I think that right now, this moment, we're at a point where we're going up,” Williams said. “I think we're at a point where people are actually coming together to really talk sensible solutions about things that are happening.”
The Director said Cleveland was an ideal location to continue the discussion of race and law enforcement. “This is a place of tremendous promise,” he said. “Given the quality of the leadership you have here and the folks here in this room, you actually have the best chance of arcing those lines back together and showing this country how it can be done.”
Questions linger after plainclothes cop fatally shoots church drummer
by CBS News
Police in Florida are investigating the deadly shooting of a Delray Beach city employee. Corey Jones had car trouble early Sunday morning and was waiting for assistance when he was approached by an unmarked squad car and shot by a plainclothes officer, reports CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller.
Family members say they knew something was wrong when Jones didn't show up for Sunday church services.
"Anything you need, Corey would be right there," said Jones's aunt, Dale Banks. "If you needed his shirt, he would give you his shirt. He would be cold just to keep you warm."
They say the 31 year-old had a rhythm all his own. He played drums at the Bible Church of God in Boynton Beach, where his grandfather serves as bishop. Jones is also the first cousin of San Francisco 49er receiver Anquan Boldin.
After he left a gig in Jupiter, Florida, Jones's SUV broke down on an Interstate 95 exit ramp. He called a band mate for help, and the band mate then called roadside assistance.
Police officer Nouman Raja arrived just after 3 a.m.
In a statement on Facebook, the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department said, "Nouman Raja, on duty in a plain clothes capacity, in an unmarked police vehicle, stopped to investigate what he believed to be an abandoned vehicle. As the officer exited his vehicle, he was suddenly confronted by an armed subject. As a result of the confrontation, the officer discharged his firearm, resulting in the death of the subject."
Thirty-eight-year-old Raja, who joined the force in April, was not wearing a body camera, and none of the department's squad cars are fitted with dashboard cameras.
Jones was a graduate of the University of Akron in Ohio and worked for the Delray Beach Housing Authority.
"It's a big blow, a big blow. It hurts man, it hurts so bad," said Jones's cousin, Sylvester "Tre" Banks III.
With no cameras and no witnesses, the family wants answers.
"He grew up on the drums over there. We taught him a few things about life and about being a gentleman. We really just need to get more information," said Jones's uncle, Kenneth Terry Banks.
Palm Beach Gardens police have not said what type of weapon Jones allegedly had. Relatives said they don't think he owned a gun.
Officer Raja has been placed on paid administrative leave, in keeping with following departmental policy.
Two EMS Workers Attacked, Stabbed With Box Cutter In Detroit; Suspect On The Loose
by CBS News
DETROIT – Officials say two paramedics are in serious condition after they were attacked and stabbed repeatedly while trying to help a woman on Detroit's west side.
The incident happened early Tuesday morning in the 3400 block of Third Street, in a neighborhood just east of the Lodge Freeway along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
“It was a horrific scene,” said Fire Commissioner Eric Jones. “It was a stabbing and a slashing.”
The paramedics had been called to the area to treat a woman with an ankle injury when a man who was with the woman became “agitated” and attacked.
“They were together on the sidewalk when EMS arrived,” Jones told reporters. “The male subject was upset at the assessment of the EMTs so as they were treating her — I can't get inside of his head, I don't know what he was agitated about, but he was upset for some reason — and at some point during the encounter, he produced this weapon.”
The suspect first went for the male paramedic, who has been working with the department for about two years. When the female paramedic, a 13-year department veteran, stepped in to help her partner, the suspect turned his attention to her. Both paramedics were stabbed and slashed repeatedly before making it back to their vehicle. The paramedics then drove themselves to Detroit Receiving Hospital where both remain in serious condition.
“It was a horrific scene. The scene inside of the rig is horrific. Their injuries are horrific,” Jones said, adding that both paramedics will have significant scarring. “Both of the EMTs are going to require some extensive surgeries. The injuries — they came to within inches of dying.”
The suspect took off running after the attack and is currently being sought by police. His description was not immediately released.
Jones said he plans to meet with Police Chief James Craig later Tuesday to discuss “de-escalation training” and defensive tactic training to prevent another attack like this from happening in the future.
“I understand the situation that the men and women of the Detroit Fire Department and the Detroit EMS are experiencing and I am working aggressively to get them the training and the equipment that they need,” he said. “They're working in some dangerous conditions… they're concerned. I mean, police officers are concerned, firefighters are concerned, EMTs are concerned. They're professionals but it is dangerous and they go into some very dangerous situations.”
Cops and community search for trust in Oakland's most violent neighborhoods
by Nailah Morgan
It was noon, and she had just stepped out of the shower. Jasmine Barnett, age 25, was drying her curls when she heard muffled voices arguing outside of her bathroom window. Like any curious neighbor, she inconspicuously glanced through her blinds using the windowsill as a safeguard. Barnett watched two young men with guns chase another man down the street. She couldn't keep her eyes off of the large weapons in the hands of such young people. It was a day of firsts for Barnett: the first time she'd seen a dangerous weapon in such close proximity, and the first time she'd witness a person get shot in the head.
“Everybody's outside wondering what happened, and I'm freaking out,” Barnett recalled. She knew she couldn't leave the house at 10:30 pm—but she'd never suspected that it would be dangerous to venture out during daylight.
Barnett said the police took awhile to arrive, and when they finally showed up, “witnesses” dispersed back into their homes. “No one had anything to say to those cops. I mean I don't blame them, because you are pretty much a target if you're seen talking to the cops,” said Barnett.
Oakland isn't the only place where law enforcement and certain segments of the community are alienated from one another. The divide between both parties has become more prominent around the nation as videos showing police officers shooting and violently arresting minorities continue to flood social media timelines and evening news segments. In May, President Barack Obama and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) released the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing report, which provides 59 recommendations and solutions to help American law enforcement agencies strengthen trust and collaboration with their communities.
According to task force co-chair Laurie Robinson, the report was initiated last November after a grand jury did not indict police officer Darren Wilson for the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. “The Ferguson grand jury came down just about 10 days before this task force was created,” said Robinson. “With the demonstrations and the unhappiness following that, the president felt that it was really important to try to identify what were good practices about how to build bridges between law enforcement and communities; that was the charge he gave us.”
The president gave the staff—which included Robinson's fellow co-chair Charles Ramsey, who is the commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department, and nine other appointed members—two months to organize hearings around the report's six pillars: Building trust; technology and social media; training and education; policy and oversight; community policing and crime reduction; officer wellness and safety. “Police chiefs around the nation are reviewing these recommendations and talking about what steps they're taking to change training and move ahead on adoption,” said Robinson.
Meanwhile, last month, US Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announced that 200 law enforcement agencies across the nation would be awarded $107 million through the COPS Office hiring program, creating approximately 866 community law enforcement positions. The grants are connected to the President's Task Force initiative to improve the nation's policing efforts. According to a recent COPS press release, all law enforcement agencies that applied for the grants “were asked to identify a specific crime and disorder problem area and how funding would be used to initiate or enhance their capacity to implement community policing approaches to that problem area.” Additional consideration was given to the 76 agencies that selected the category “Building Trust,” including the cities of Oakland and Berkeley, as well as Alameda County.
The task force's “Building Trust and Legitimacy” pillar holds that law enforcement officials should embrace a “guardian mindset,” which means that officers should be respectful and guard the city, rather than acting as “occupiers of the community,” said Robinson. The report states: “Building trust and nurturing legitimacy on both sides of the police/citizen divide is the foundational principle underlying the nature of relations between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve.” The report's authors conclude that people are more likely to obey the law when those enforcing it are perceived as acting in legitimate, “procedurally just ways.” In other words, citizens will only respect police if the respect is reciprocated.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) has been working with the COPS Office to obtain grants for community-oriented policing in the Bay Area for the past several years. In late September, Lee announced that $1.875 million would be granted to the Oakland Police Department (OPD), creating and preserving 15 community-policing law enforcement jobs. Lee hopes to create more opportunities for hiring Oakland natives as police officers, and to enhance community policing.
“As we work to build greater trust between law enforcement and the community, especially communities of color, community-oriented policing strategies have a proven track record,” Lee wrote in an email to Oakland North.. The grant “will provide greater connections between law enforcement and the community and help re-focus law enforcement efforts on the needs of the community.”
Margaret Dixon, a retired 25-year OPD veteran, believes that Oakland residents and the police will need to develop a deeper understanding of each other before they can build a solid relationship. She was born and raised in Oakland, and has spent most of her adult life constructing academic programs for the city's youth. Dixon recently established the Merritt Community College law enforcement pre-academy, which is a 13-week program that prepares students for rigorous police academies. Like Lee, she wants to create a diverse and effective police force with officers from Oakland that understand the people in the community. According to Dixon, only 7 percent of Oakland's law enforcement lives in Oakland, which has created a divide between both groups.
“My friends and family still live in Oakland. I have many conversations regarding their relationships with the police. A lot of feedback is negative and a lot of is positive,” said Dixon. “Many are rallying for it to get better. They want to see the community and the police work together. It's a lot of bad history and a lot of bad blood.”
According to Dixon, there is a long history of aggressive policing in numerous Oakland minority communities. She believes it stems from officers who come from different agencies and cities, who bring their own biases and have little experience operating in racially-diverse districts. “Officers who didn't grow up in the area, who bring their own taste to policing, and do not understand some of the needs of the community, may have contributed to some of the strange relationships that have developed between the police and Oakland,” said Dixon.
But, she added, negative perceptions of the police apply to all officers, no matter their ethnicity. Dixon says she's seen officers of all races abuse their badge. “I've seen black cops take it too far. I've seen white cops take it too far, and I've seen Latino cops take it too far,” she said. Nonetheless, she's encountered African American families who prefer to see an African American officer at their door, because there's a rooted understanding and connection between them. “Folks like to see folks that look like them,” she said. “If you're talking about a situation and it's culturally involved, that particular officer is going to have that dial in and that understanding.”
Cultural differences aren't the only issue the OPD must overcome. Residents who live in low-income Oakland neighborhoods, like Hayou Estrada, are also concerned about police responsiveness. “Police don't arrive for 40 minutes to an hour. When they do come, they shrug you off as if they're too busy to deal with your problem,” said Estrada.
According to Estrada, his neighborhood is overrun with prostitution, drug abuse, and violent crimes. “East Oakland is full of guns. You hear tons of gunshots during the month, from automatics to single shots,” said Estrada. And in Barnett's West Oakland neighborhood, she says, “shootings happen around here between 6 p.m. until 2 in the morning,” three to five times a month.
But according to OPD District 3 officer Lt. Henderson Jordan, who regularly works in West Oakland , community members do not understand that there are only 24 officers working from 6 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon, and if there is a serious incident, resources are drained quickly. “On a typical homicide scene, if you have multiple witnesses, you may utilize anywhere from eight to ten officers, minimally,” said Jordan. “If it's a large scene with multiple witnesses, you can use anywhere from ten to 16 officers.”
The OPD is currently understaffed. According to a recent report published by the City and County of San Francisco, Oakland holds a ratio of 176 officers to every 100,000 people. Though the FBI has advised Oakland to increase the city's total number of officers from 836 to 1,100, the city has had trouble retaining officers.
According to Lee, the new community policing positions will help to solve these problems. Community-oriented policing aims to embed cops throughout the community to combat crime. But Oakland's housing crunch has forced officers like Jordan to live in surrounding cities. “I lived in Oakland when I first joined the police department. I was here the first six years of my career,” said Jordan. “I moved out because my salary wouldn't allow me to afford a house here, so I moved away so I could buy my own home.”
Though Jordan doesn't live in Oakland, he says that he spends most of his time in the city working 12 to 14 hour shifts, four days a week. He feels that he and the OPD have a great relationship with the community, even though most of the department lives elsewhere. “The chief talked to us about transparency and the ability for community members to reach out to the police department by phone or email, no matter what the problem is,” said Jordan. “One positive thing we're doing is a citizens' police academy, where we have members of the community come and get training on case law and policy procedures from the police department.” The residents who attend the academy are urged to go back into their neighborhoods to fill the gaps between the community and the police department.
But Dixon says that the OPD isn't doing enough to effectively educate the public. “There is a lack of knowledge about how police officers should do their work,” said Dixon. “I personally think that the police should be framing things for the community; using the Internet, classes, etc. The OPD only has one citizen academy a year. We should be having multiple citizen academies. It doesn't make sense that there is only one per year.”
Yet she thinks community policing has value, and hopes that the new hires will develop long-term partnerships with residents, even if they didn't grow up in the neighborhoods they're policing. She'd like to see the day when police officers are getting out of their cars to play with children, having friendly conversations with residents, and visiting schools to engage with adolescents. “Police have to serve it to the community a different way,” she said. “It's been the same old way. We have to change things up because we are losing the battle here.”
Robinson believes it's about changing the culture of policing. She thinks that for too long, there have been day-to-day incidents in which police officers abused their power to mistreat people of color and those from low-income backgrounds . “Accessibility to cameras and cellphones has shed enormous light on these incidents and have opened the eyes of so many people,” she said.
Villanova University to transition Public Safety to armed Campus Police
by Mike J.
Alumni, Parents, and Friends of Villanova recently received an email from University President Fr. Peter Donohue announcing the decision to transition the existing Public Safety department into an armed University Police Force.
Read Fr. Peter's letter below with a set of FAQs below that.
Dear Villanova Community Members,
For the past two years, the University has been exploring whether Villanova's Public Safety Department should become a police department. After prayerful reflection and extensive discussion, I recommended, and the Board of Trustees approved, establishing a University police department that will be armed. This means Villanova's Public Safety Department will include a combination of security officers and police officers. The latter will have the same authority and undergo the same specialized training as those in public law enforcement.
Preparation for this change will begin immediately, and I anticipate that the first Villanova police officers will be in place by fall 2016. Upon completion, approximately 20 percent of the 75-member department will be police officers, which equates to two or three police officers per shift. This select group of officers will undergo extensive police academy training, and will carry firearms and other defensive equipment. All Public Safety personnel will receive conflict resolution, anti-bias and sensitivity training. I also am establishing an Oversight Committee that will report to Ken Valosky, Executive Vice President, to ensure that safeguards are in place and that appropriate policies and procedures are followed.
I understand that there is a wide range of opinions surrounding this topic, but the safety of our community is my top priority. We are extremely fortunate that Villanova has been a safe place, but we would be remiss not to consider what has been happening on college campuses across the country. These kinds of incidents threaten our safety—and peace of mind—making the need for enhanced campus protection essential.
Many in our community expressed to me how shaken they were two weeks ago with the threat to Philadelphia-area colleges and universities. My greatest fear is the loss of a member of our community, particularly as a result of violence on our campus. This decision simply comes down to protecting our community in a time when violent acts at educational institutions are on an alarming upward trend. That being said, I know that moving in this direction will not necessarily prevent senseless acts of violence, but it will make us more appropriately prepared to handle these type of situations.
This is a significant change for the University, and I did not make the decision lightly. I asked for input from our community through forums and surveys, and appointed a task force comprised of students, faculty, staff and administrators to explore this issue. The University also evaluated best security practices in higher education and hired an independent security consultant to assess the current public safety model. I thoughtfully reflected on the feedback, recommendations and information I received from these various sources, and concluded that creating a University police department is the best option for responding quickly to situations that threaten the safety of our community.
Our Public Safety Department does a wonderful job, yet members face significant challenges in responding to any type of emergency situation on campus. Simply put, as security officers, they can be hindered by traffic because they have no authority to provide an expedited response in an emergency situation. They also cannot communicate with responding police agencies to coordinate efforts and provide timely information, or protect themselves or community members in the event of an active shooter. Moving to a department that includes police officers eliminates these and other significant limitations.
It's unfortunate, but having University police officers has become standard practice these days. Nearly 70 percent of college and universities have police officers on their campuses, and 94 percent of those officers are armed. While our location on the Main Line is considered relatively safe, Villanova is highly visible, and we have not been without incident the past few years. These factors, coupled with three train stations on campus and our close proximity to a major highway, set Villanova apart from our local peers and require a higher level of campus security.
Like most universities, we value and embrace an open campus, and host hundreds of thousands of visitors a year. However, we must not overlook the significant responsibility that comes with it. To preserve these characteristics, we must learn from events—some incredibly tragic—that have occurred at schools all over the country and adjust accordingly. I am confident that we must change, as other colleges and universities have, and put our Public Safety Department in a better position to keep our campus community safe.
In the near future, more information will be shared about this change. During the transition, I ask for your cooperation as we strive to make Villanova a safer and more secure environment. As always, this decision was made in the interest of doing what I believe is best for our entire community.
Fr. Peter Donohue, OSA
FAQs for Villanova Public Safety decision
How was the Villanova community engaged in this decision?
This decision was reached after more than two years of review, assessment and discussion, which included input from a wide range of the Villanova community. Four community forums explored whether the Public Safety Department should transition to a police department, and a survey was sent to the Villanova community to better understand opinions surrounding the topic. President Donohue also appointed a task force—chaired by Barbara Wall, Vice President for Mission and Ministry, and comprised of students, faculty, staff and administrators—to explore this issue. The University evaluated best security practices in higher education and hired an independent security consultant to assess the current public safety model. The University's Board of Trustees also was highly engaged and well-informed during the entire process, having discussed the topic at four separate meetings.
What percentage of colleges and universities have a police department on campus?
Nearly 70 percent of colleges and universities have police officers on their campus, and 94 percent of those officers are authorized to use a firearm. Currently, 85 of the top 100 nationally ranked universities (by U.S. News and World Report) have an armed police force protecting their campus.
What are the limitations of the current Public Safety model?
The current Public Safety Department is made up of 75 employees who have a variety of responsibilities: patrol, investigations, parking enforcement, residence hall and building security, crime prevention, and special-event security. As part of their duties, Public Safety officers face inherent risks, and they must be appropriately prepared to respond quickly and effectively in an emergency situation. Currently, they do not have direct radio communication with local police departments, limiting communication during emergencies. They cannot use lights and sirens to quickly respond to emergencies, and they cannot stop, question or detain individuals without their full cooperation. They also cannot protect themselves or community members in an active-shooter or other dangerous situation, and do not have access to law enforcement databases that aid investigations. Moving to a Public Safety Department that includes police officers eliminates these important limitations.
What is the difference between a University police officer and security officer?
All University police officers will be required to undergo rigorous police academy training, which includes extensive physical and psychological screenings. Their responsibilities will include on-campus patrol, investigations and crime prevention. As police officers, they will have access to law enforcement databases and direct radio communication with local law enforcement. They will also be able to use lights and sirens to respond quickly to emergencies, and have the authority to stop, question and detain individuals. Only University police officers will carry firearms and other defensive equipment. University security officers will continue many of the current responsibilities of the Public Safety Department, including on-campus patrol; parking enforcement; and residence hall, building, gate and special-event security. During and after this transition, Villanova will continue to maintain a close working relationship with local law enforcement.
What is the defensive equipment that University police officers will carry in addition to firearms?
All police officers will undergo extensive police academy training, and will carry firearms and defensive equipment, including batons, handcuffs, bulletproof vests, pepper spray and body-worn cameras.
What is the extensive police academy training that police officers will have to undergo?
All University police officers will have to undergo the same specialized training as those in public law enforcement. The standard police academy training is a 22-week program that includes more than 770 hours of instruction. Police academy training tests physical and emotional readiness, and provides instruction in crisis management, criminal investigation, patrol, first aid, defensive tactics, and laws and procedures. In addition, all Public Safety Department officers will participate in ongoing conflict resolution, anti-bias and sensitivity training. These trainings enhance cross-cultural understanding, help identify and eliminate bias, and provide guidance for promoting fair and impartial policing.
What is the timeline for implementation?
Preparation for this change will begin immediately, with the first Villanova police officers anticipated to be in place by fall 2016. Upon completion, approximately 20 percent of the 75-member Public Safety Department will be police officers (approximately 19 officers). The remainder of the department will continue as security officers. It is anticipated that two or three police officers will work with campus security officers during any given shift. The full timeline for this transition will be established through a detailed implementation plan, which the University will develop in coordination with a leading independent security consultant.
What is the role of the Oversight Committee?
The Oversight Committee will be comprised of an independent group of Villanova community members, who will report to Executive Vice President Ken Valosky. Members of the committee will include representatives from the faculty, administration and students, with the committee functioning similarly to the University's existing Academic Integrity Committee. The Oversight Committee will ensure that safeguards are in place and that appropriate policies and procedures are followed by the Public Safety Department.
The Oversight Committee will make recommendations to the Executive Vice President concerning the provision of police services to the University community; accept concerns raised by students, faculty and staff regarding the Public Safety Department's handling of complaints; and provide input on programs and initiatives aimed at improving campus safety. This partnership will help optimize police resources on campus by providing insight into the needs of our community and by monitoring campus police activity.
Public safety zones and helping crime-prone areas
by Pamela Escobar
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - - The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) continues to look at ways to keep the city safe. One idea is to label certain neighborhoods as public safety zones - meaning people who are repeatedly arrested and convicted of crimes within that zone would be banned from that zone for a period of time.
One neighborhood that CMPD is considering for the program is in the North Tryon division. West Sugar Creek Road and Reagan Drive have a reputation for crime, and those who aren't involved would like that to change. City Councilman Gregory Phipps said city lawyers say there are legal obstacles to writing an ordinance that restricts someone's freedom of movement.
"That is the concern and that's what our attorneys have briefed us on - that they sort of describe it as an uphill climb." councilman Greg Phipps said. "Really, unless it's crafted right and monitored correctly, the courts more or less have shed a dim eye on instituting these type of exclusionary free zones."
Phipps says the public safety zones haven't been implemented and city council is vetting the idea.
"We're looking to curb crime in those chronic areas where there's persistent problems," Phipps explained. "Certainly citizens are concerned about the activity that goes on there, and we're looking for tools that could be disposable, that CMPD to use in their daily routine."
North Tryon division officers are out in Phipps' district off of I-85 and Sugar Creek patrolling and receiving regular calls for service regarding drugs and prostitution.
"Police, they view it as a tool that they certainly would like to use, I have a habit of listening to the police in terms of giving them what they need to protect the city," Phipps said. "We wouldn't institute these exclusionary zones without the community being on board with it."
CMPD lawyer Mark Newbold has been speaking with city council.
"The concept of public safety zones is still in the discussion stage. We are currently reviewing several ordinances that other cities have implemented but there has been no decision as of yet to move forward," Newbold said.
Officers in the North Tryon division say they plan to work with city council and will look at a community petition. They've already had some success among the thirteen hotels along that corridor, who have implemented a collective ban agreement.
"If we catch someone at one of the properties or one of the properties in our presence, they're banned from all the hotels," said Lt. Dave Harris, "That's starting to give us a little power in the area."
Harris said the other businesses in the area, like th gas stations and the restaurants are looking to do something similar as well.
"We want to help the community especially the business owners that are cooperating and want things to be better," Harris said.
The second collective ban agreement among businesses is in the works and is likely to be in place much sooner than a public safety zone.
Boy, 6, fatally shoots toddler brother while playing ‘cops and robbers,' dad arrested
by Michael E. Miller
Michael Santiago needed a gun.
He was a former gang member who had snitched on his old crew and now feared for his life. So Santiago purchased a pistol on the street and kept it in the kitchen just in case.
Whether he needed to show his six-year-old son the weapon, however, is something that will likely haunt Santiago for the rest of his life.
On Saturday night, Santiago's security scheme went horribly wrong when his six-year-old son found the loaded gun. The boy, who has not been named by police, then began playing “cops and robbers” with his younger brother, 3-year-old Eian, when the gun suddenly went off.
The bullet struck Eian in the face, killing him.
The Chicago shooting is the latest in a seemingly incessant string of American kids being killed by guns, often shot by other kids. This summer, another toddler was fatally shot by her 7-year-old brother here in D.C. Earlier this month, an 11-year-old boy in Tennessee was charged with first-degree murder after shooting his 8-year-old neighbor with a shotgun after an argument over puppies.
In the most recent case, however, it is the father who had been charged with a crime. Santiago, 25, has been charged with felony child endangerment for allegedly showing his eldest son where he kept the unprotected pistol.
The terrible family tragedy was set into motion when Santiago bought the weapon that would tear his own family apart.
Santiago was once a member of the Spanish Cobras, the second largest Latino gang on Chicago's North Side, but he had gone straight by testifying against one of his former Cobra colleagues.
“In a videotape statement the defendant said he kept the gun for protection because he was a former gang member who snitched on a gang member in a murder trial,” prosecutor Joseph DiBella told a Cook County criminal courtroom on Sunday, according to the Chicago Tribune. Santiago bought a .32-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver from one of his Cobra connections.
But if Santiago was worried about protection, he was looking for threats in the wrong places.
“The gun was purchased off the street,” DiBella said. “It was kept loaded, and it was wrapped in pajama pants on top of the refrigerator.”
If that wasn't insecure enough, Santiago allegedly decided to show his eldest son the deadly weapon.
“About a week prior to the shooting, he showed his older son where he kept the gun,” DiBella told the court, according to the Tribune. “[Santiago] took the gun from on top of the refrigerator, unwrapped the pajama pants and explained to the 6-year-old that the gun was only to be used by adults.”
Apparently the boy didn't get the message.
On Saturday night at around 9 p.m., while Santiago was managing Papa Ray's Pizza restaurant and his wife was at the grocery store, the boy climbed up to the top of the refrigerator. He and his younger brother, Eian, were playing cops and robbers.
They needed a gun.
The boy pointed the pistol at his brother and pulled the trigger. The bullet struck Eian in the face as he was eating mac and cheese, according to the New York Daily News.
The boys' grandfather was the only adult at home to hear the shot. When the mother learned of the shooting, she called Santiago at work.
“He was in shock,” family friend George Rayyan told the Daily News. “He couldn't understand his wife, she was crying so much.”
Santiago thought the refrigerator was too tall for his children to reach the handgun, Rayyan said: “He said in his eyes, that was the best spot, on the back of the fridge, because the kids couldn't find it.”
“The gun shouldn't have been there,” he added, “but everyone makes mistakes.”
“Confused why god chose such a young innocent kid is all that's going through my head,” Rayyan wrote on a GoFundMe page he set up for the Santiagos after the shooting.
Police, however, have not been so forgiving: in the eyes of the law, it's Santiago, not the Lord our savior, who is at fault.
According to DiBella, the prosecutor, Santiago has confessed on camera to showing his six-year-old son the gun and where it was kept. Authorities have charged him with felony endangerment of a child. If convicted, he could spend between two and 10 years in prison.
On Sunday, Santiago wiped back tears as DiBella recounted the child-on-child shooting, according to the Tribune. The prosecutor asked for a $1 million bail, drawing gasps of disbelief from Santiago's family, the Tribune reported. But Judge James Brown took pity on Santiago after his attorney asked for a lower bond so the father could be with his grieving family.
“This is the ultimate tragedy,” Brown said, according to the Tribune. “And whether I said a $1 million bond or a lower bond, it's not going to bring back this child.
“I'm sure the defendant did not intend for this to happen, but it happened,” Brown added, before lowering the bail to $75,000. “And it's what happens when people have guns who shouldn't have guns. That's why we've had 2,300 people shot in Chicago so far this year.”
Brown wasn't the only person to connect the child's death to the broader issue of crime in Chicago.
The city, which has long battled gang violence, has seen a surge in shootings this year. Last month was the deadliest September in 13 years, with at least 60 homicides, according to the Tribune. Weekends with at least 50 people shot are becoming routine. And there have been 2,439 shootings in Chicago so far this year, nearly as many as the 2,587 all of last year, according to the Tribune's “Crime in Chicagoland" web site.
Santiago's wife, Angie Lasalle, said her husband felt compelled to buy the gun because of crime in their Humboldt Park neighborhood.
“WE LIVE IN A TERRIBLE NEIGHBORHOOD,” she wrote on Facebook. “ANY GREAT MAN N FATHER WOULD WNT TO PROTECT HIS FAM. WE CNT EVEN GO OUTSIDE WITHOUT SOME SHOOTN IT WAS AN ACCIDENT PLEASE NO ONE WANTED THIS TO HAPPEN.”
Yet, prosecutors weren't the only ones to blame Santiago for their son's death, and Lasalle defended her husband online.
“PLEASE LET MY FAMILY GRIEVE IN PEACE,” she wrote, while also encouraging people to donate money to the GoFundMe page. “LEAVE OUT ALL YOUR NEGATIVE N RUDE COMMENTS TO URSELF.”
“OmG NO ONE KNWS THE PAIN IM GOIN THRU,” Lasalle wrote on Sunday night. “I CNT BELIEVE HES GONE MY BEAUTIFUL BABY BOY!!!I CNT FEEL CNT EAT SLEEP OH MY SWEET BABY BOY I MISS U SOOOOO MUCH.”
Facebook photos show Lasalle and Santiago laughing and cuddling. One picture shows Lasalle smiling as she is surrounded by three of her children.
If there is any silver lining to the tragic story, it is that Eian's older brother apparently doesn't understand the full horror of what happened.
“He's OK,” the boy's grandfather, Hector Salgado, said of the six-year-old shooter. “He doesn't even remember.
“He doesn't know nothing about it,” Salgado told the Tribune. “He thinks his brother is in the hospital sick.”
Elementary school employee stops alleged kidnapping attempt
by ABC News
An observant elementary school employee in Antioch, California, is credited with stopping the alleged kidnapping of an 11-year-old while on her way to work.
On Friday, a Sutter Elementary School employee was on her way to work when she noticed a student, an 11-year-old girl, with a man in the front seat of a car, according to the Antioch Police Department.
Police said the man, later identified as 51-year-old Santiago Salazar, had followed the girl as she was walking to school and lured her over to his car.
The girl walked over to the car and Salazar opened the passenger door from inside, police said. Salazar then allegedly grabbed the girl by the wrist and pulled her inside, said police.
The elementary school employee was familiar with the girl, police said, and when she saw the two in the car, she knew that the man wasn't related to her. The employee then used her car to block the man in and called police.
Responding officers determined that Salazar "was not known to the victim," police said, and Salazar was arrested on a charge of kidnapping.
The girl was not injured, police told ABC News.
While the Antioch Police Department would only identify the woman who reported the kidnapping as "an employee of Sutter Elementary School," ABC station KGO-TV in San Francisco identified her as Sutter Elementary School teacher's aide Sandra Ferguson.
Ferguson told KGO-TV the 11-year-old had looked scared and she sensed something was wrong.
"I said, 'Sweetheart, is that your dad?' She said, 'No he's a friend.' I said, 'No, he's not your friend!'" Ferguson told KGO-TV. "I put my car in front of his and blocked him in. I told her, 'You get out of that truck right now!'"
School principal Debra Harrington told KGO-TV that Ferguson was "a guardian angel" by "preventing something terrible from happening."
City welcomes first community policing coordinator
by Andrew Rice
Megan Perry has always known she wanted to be a social worker, and her work for the state as a child protective assessment worker eventually led her to the Westbrook community – particularly the Brown Street neighborhood.
She was recently hired for a new position – and a first in Westbrook – as community policing coordinator for the neighborhood. In the coming weeks, Perry will be behind a desk at 192 Brown St., where residents can go with any concerns.
Perry, 29, moved to Topsham from Massachusetts just before high school and still lives in the Brunswick area. She was an assessment worker for seven years in both Kennebec and Cumberland counties, leading her to Westbrook.
The American Journal spoke with her this week about the Brown Street neighborhood, and some of the first things she'll be doing.
Q: How do you think your previous work in Westbrook will help you in your new role as policing coordinator?
A: Having done Child Protective in this town and neighborhood for years, I am familiar with the streets and location. I look forward to meeting as many neighbors as possible. I am a people person, always have been, always will be and this role allows me to have ongoing contact with neighbors, while providing an access point to Westbrook police and other resources to the neighborhood. That is what was the most compelling role of this position that convinced me to apply.
Q: Are you familiar with the Frenchtown neighborhood? How will you get to know the area?
A: As a new community policing coordinator, my hope is get to know my service area better is to walk around and introduce myself when I'm in the neighborhood. I intend to get to know the local businesses and hope to reach out to the landlords, as well. I am going to have an open-door policy for neighbors and community members when I am in the office. I will be available and accessible whenever needed, or just to say hi and talk.
Q: What will be some of the first few goals once you're set up in the office?
A: My first goal is to get to know residents and to be easily accessible in my new office. It is an amazing space I hope to make welcoming and a safe zone for neighbors directly in their neighborhood. Moving forward in this role, it will be a matter of assessing what the needs of the Frenchtown neighborhood are in order better to create what specific goals could and should be. Information and ideas from neighbors, businesses, and community members is vital to best knowing how to serve this community. Ultimately, my No. 1 goal for this new role is be a resource and support to the neighbors, businesses and landlords to meet needs by networking with various community organizations and agencies.
Q: Between your role and the new Opportunity Alliance hub, how will Frenchtown benefit in the long term?
A: The neighborhood will have two very centralized access points for help and support. It brings the resources directly to the neighbors and minimizes barriers to accessing support.