LACP - NEWS of the Week
on some LACP issues of interest

NEWS of the Week

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


December, 2015 - Week 4


European cities warned of possible terror attack, say Vienna police

by Sima Shelbayah

An unnamed "friendly" intelligence service has warned several European cities of possible terror attacks, according to a statement released Saturday by police in Vienna, Austria.

The attacks would involve explosives or guns and occur sometime between Christmas and New Year's Eve, according to the statement, which did not name the cities that have been warned.

The warning did include the names of several possible attackers the Vienna police have investigated without finding "concrete further results."

"Overall, this is a lead, which stipulates a higher than general abstract state of danger," the Vienna police said.

In response to the terror threat warning, Vienna and other police in Europe have heightened the security alert by increasing police observation and surveillance at public venues, especially at key events and high-traffic areas.

9th suspect in Paris terrorist attacks arrested in Belgium

Among the precautions, police will initiate more thorough security checks, ensure quick readiness in case of an emergency, and increase vigilance in terms of empty suitcases and bags, Vienna police said in the statement.

French National Police refused to comment on the warnings when contacted by CNN, but did say that more than 48,000 police officers are dedicated to security at sensitive sites during the school holidays from December 19 through January 4, and France plans to recruit 2,000 new police officers next month.

A Belgian prosecutor who serves as a government spokesman on terrorism issues also refused to comment when contacted by CNN.

CNN received no immediate responses to requests for comment from officials of European cities.




Lawsuits seek to abolish country's bail bond system

by Paul Elias

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Crystal Patterson didn't have the cash or assets to post $150,000 bail and get out of jail after her arrest for assault in October.

So Patterson, 39, promised to pay a bail bonds company $15,000 plus interest to put up the $150,000 bail for her, allowing to go home and care for her invalid grandmother.The day after her release, the district attorney decided not to pursue charges. But Patterson still owes the bail bonds company. Criminal justice reformers and lawyers at a nonprofit Washington, D.C., legal clinic say that is unconstitutionally unfair.

The lawyers have filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of Patterson, Rianna Buffin and other jail inmates who argue that San Francisco and California's bail system unconstitutionally treats poor and wealthy suspects differently.

Wealthy suspects can put up their houses or other valuable assets - or simply write a check - to post bail and stay out of jail until their cases are resolved. Poorer suspects aren't so lucky. Many remain behind bars or pay nonrefundable fees to bail bonds companies.

San Francisco public defender Chesa Boudin says some of his clients who can't afford to post bail plead guilty to minor charges for crimes they didn't commit so they can leave jail.

Boudin represented Buffin, 19, after her arrest for grand theft in October. Buffin couldn't afford to post the $30,000 bail or pay a bond company a $3,000 fee and so contemplated pleading guilty in exchange for a quick release from jail even though she says her only crime was being with the "wrong people at the wrong place at the wrong time."

Fortunately, the district attorney declined to charge Buffin and she was released after being held for three days.

"My family was worried," said Ruffin, who lost her $10.50 an hour baggage handler job at the Oakland International Airport after her arrest.

The lawsuit filed by the Equal Justice Under Law in San Francisco federal court in October seeks to abolish the cash bail system in the city, state - and the country. It's the ninth lawsuit the center has filed in seven states.

"The bail system in most states is a two-tiered system," said center founder Phil Telfeyan. "One for the wealthy and one for everyone else."

The center has settled four lawsuits, convincing smaller jails in states in the South to do away with cash bail requirements for most charges.

Telfeyan said a win in California could add momentum to the center's goal to rid the country of the cash bail system, which the lawyers say is used by most county jails in all 50 states. The federal system usually allows non-violent suspects free without bail pending trial and denies bail to serious and violent suspects.

"The country watches what happens in California," said Telfeyan, a former Department of Justice attorney who founded the Washington organization in 2013 with a partner and the first-ever grant from the Harvard Law School Public Service Venture Fund in 2013.

Telfeyan said it's not his goal to put out of business the classic neon-advertising bail bonding industry, but conceded the business model would become obsolete if he convinces courts that the cash bail system is unconstitutional.

The industry didn't acknowledge Telfeyan's first lawsuits filed earlier this year.

But on Monday, lawyers for the California Bail Agents Association filed court papers seeking to formally oppose the San Francisco lawsuit. The association argues that government lawyers for San Francisco and the state are offering only "tepid" opposition to the California lawsuit.

San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi argues that most jail inmates are awaiting resolution of minor, non-violent crimes and that letting them free while awaiting court hearings will save the city millions of dollars. Mirkarimi said non-violent suspects can be monitored electronically and with frequent visits from law enforcement officials to ensure they don't flee the area and attend all their court hearings.

In January, Telfeyan and his colleagues from Equal Justice Under Law will ask a judge to temporarily suspend San Francisco's cash bail system until the lawsuit is resolved. Telfeyan said a victory in San Francisco and the elimination of cash bail in the city will most likely lead to the abolition of cash bail in all of the state's 58 counties.

Maggie Kreins, who is president of bail agents group, the says the longtime system of putting up money or an insurance-backed bail bond is better at getting people to show up in court and it saves the public costs of monitoring defendants or hunting down bail jumpers.

Kreins said that California's "bail schedule" could be reformed to lower bail amounts for minor crimes, but that scrapping the system completely would be a mistake.

"What is the incentive to go to court if you don't lose anything for failing to appear?" Kreins said.




Texas gears up for new open-carry handgun law

by The Wall Street Journal

DALLAS – The owners of Gringo's Mexican Kitchen are old hands at confronting the typical challenges of a burgeoning restaurant business—hiring, competition, even developing a “gluten guide.” But recently the Tex-Mex chain has been facing an unusual dilemma: whether to allow customers to openly display their guns while munching fajitas.

Come Jan. 1, licensed firearms owners in Texas will be able to openly carry a handgun in most places. A law signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott earlier this year will make Texas the most populous state in the U.S. to allow the practice, known as “open carry.”

Existing Texas law requires licensed gun owners to conceal their handguns so they aren't in plain view. The new law will allow them to carry handguns openly, in belt or shoulder holsters.

But private businesses and other establishments have the right to ban open carry under the law, and many have been wrestling with how to proceed.

“We're primarily a family environment in terms of our restaurant. And so we decided it's probably best not to allow open carry,” said Al Flores, counsel for Gringo's, which has 14 restaurants, mainly in the Houston area and surrounding counties. “We just felt that knowing our customers, allowing someone to walk in openly carrying a weapon, it would make them feel a little uncomfortable.”

Flores said the restaurant chain will post signs in English and Spanish, warning customers about the prohibition. A concealed gun would still be permitted at Gringo's.

Others have taken a different tack. First Baptist Church of Arlington, near Dallas, which typically sees some 2,500 worshipers each Sunday, will allow open carry.

Senior Pastor Dennis Wiles said the church came to its decision after discussing the matter with its legal team—in addition to congregants, including police officers who already carry concealed guns.

“We decided it was best to allow responsible people to do this if they choose,” Mr. Wiles said. “We will probably assess the situation in a couple of months to see how it goes. When it comes to a church, I don't think we're going to see that much difference.”



New York

Poll: Mass shootings, attacks weighed heavily on Americans in 2015

by The Associated Press

NEW YORK — Mass shootings and attacks weighed heavily on the minds of Americans in 2015, according to a poll that found most believe this year was worse for the world than last year. A look at the key findings of The Associated Press-Times Square Alliance poll.

Preoccupied by mass shootings

Americans say the most important events of 2015 were a string of mass shootings, including the attacks in San Bernardino, Calif., and Paris, plus Islamic State group atrocities.

Fifty-seven percent of those polled say this year was worse than the last year for the world as a whole, up from the 38 percent asked that question a year ago. Only 10 percent believe 2015 was a better year than 2014, while 32 percent think there wasn't much difference.

Americans also are much less likely than they were a year ago to believe that the current year was better for the United States — only 17 percent compared with 30 percent a year ago. Thirty-seven percent think this year was worse for the country than last year, while 44 percent don't think there was much difference.

On a personal level, fewer than a third (29 percent) believe 2015 was better for them than 2014, while 21 percent feel it was worse, compared with 15 percent in 2014.

Interviewed separately from the poll, Jason Pruitt, a 43-year-old corporate pilot from the Detroit area, said security concerns were a factor in deciding whether to take his wife and daughter along on a Christmas trip to New York.

"We were thinking about not coming this year, because of everything that's going on," Pruitt said. But they went ahead "because when you change your life, the terrorists win."

Three events share the top spot

Of those polled, 68 percent listed mass shootings in the U.S. as very or extremely important news events this year, including the one in San Bernardino that heightened fears of domestic terrorism, plus shootings in Charleston, S.C.; Roseburg, Ore.; and Chattanooga, Tenn.

Close behind, at 64 percent, were the Paris attacks that ushered in 2015, targeting Charlie Hebdo and the Jewish market, then the Bataclan concert hall and other city sites in November.

And third, at 63 percent, came the Islamic State group's various far-flung atrocities.

Other issues

Domestically, 44 percent of those polled rate as extremely or very important the deaths of blacks in encounters with police that sparked "Black Lives Matter" protests in Baltimore and Chicago.

Another 44 percent rate the deal reached to curtail Iran's nuclear program as important, and nearly as many (42 percent) Europe's migrant crisis.

Only 40 percent said the presidential race was important to them, with the Paris Climate Change Conference right behind (at 38 percent), followed by the Supreme Court's legalization of gay marriage (36 percent) and the Cuban-U.S. thaw (30 percent).

Ringing in the new year

Most Americans plan to celebrate New Year's Eve either at home (48 percent) or at the home of a friend or family member (20 percent). Nine percent plan to be at a bar, restaurant or organized event, while just under a quarter (22 percent) don't plan to celebrate at all.

A majority of Americans (56 percent) will watch the New Year's Eve events in Times Square, and 95 percent of those will see it on TV.

Those findings were similar to those of the past two years.

Year in pop culture

No single pop culture event of 2015 stands out, with fewer than four in 10 Americans rating any as memorable.

The eagerly awaited "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" was memorable only to 37 percent of those polled, and forgettable to 34 percent.

Bill Cosby's legal woes were memorable to 36 percent; forgettable to 33 percent.

Bruce Jenner becoming Caitlyn Jenner, with a highly orchestrated publicity campaign, was forgettable to 52 percent, and Taylor Swift's world tour to 55 percent.


The AP-Times Square Alliance Poll of 1,020 adults was conducted online Dec. 11-13, using a sample drawn from GfK's probability-based KnowledgePanel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The poll is a cooperative effort between AP and the organizers of the Times Square New Year's Eve Celebration, the Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment. The Alliance is a nonprofit group that seeks to promote Times Square, and Countdown Entertainment represents the owners of One Times Square and the New Year's Eve Ball Drop.

Respondents were first selected randomly using phone or mail survey methods, and later interviewed online. People selected for KnowledgePanel who didn't otherwise have access to the Internet were provided access at no cost to them.




Chicago police video hindered by errors, omissions

The department had policies on the use and maintenance of its dashcam since 2006, but has not followed those rules

by Steve Schmadeke and David Heinzmann and Dan Hinkel

CHICAGO — After her teenage son died in a police-chase crash, Jondalyn Fields' lawyers asked the Chicago Police Department for the videos from their cars and along the route to try to find out what happened.

While her lawsuit dragged on for six years, the city finally made a startling claim: Some of the videos it had long denied existed had been erased or recorded over.

"The city didn't care — they were just, 'Go away, go away, go away,' " said Fields, who last month won a $2.75 million verdict against the city from a Cook County jury.

Video surveillance is now omnipresent, but cases such as the death of Fields' son, Keith MacNeice Jr., and the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald show the proliferation of cameras doesn't assure that the public, let alone the alleged victims' families, will have access to complete recordings.

Time and again, lawyers suing over alleged police misconduct have found that the Police Department failed to produce crucial video or audio from the storage system the city spent millions of dollars to implement.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration fought for much of a year to prevent the release of the disturbing video showing Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting McDonald 16 times. The video contradicted the department's claims that McDonald, 17, was moving toward police, menacing them with a knife, before he was shot. Its release has sparked weeks of protest, calls for the resignations of Emanuel and State's Attorney Anita Alvarez and the launching of a Justice Department investigation of the Police Department.

Even with its release, though, there were shortcomings. The department made video public from five of the police cars at the McDonald shooting, but the audio did not work on any of them, a remarkable failure given the marketing emphasis the camera maker, Coban Technologies, devotes to the performance and reliability of its audio.

The Police Department has had a written policy on the use and maintenance of its dashboard camera video system since November 2006, but it largely has not followed those rules, especially when it comes to maintaining working microphones to capture audio.

Coban officials, including the vice president who signed the company's $12 million contract with the city, declined to speak to the Tribune about their system. David Hinojosa, vice president of sales, cited the pending federal investigation of the McDonald shooting for the company's stance.

But in promotional videos posted online, the company highlights the audio capabilities of its TopCam G2 system — the portable, battery-powered microphones that Chicago police officers wear clipped to their bodies. Through testimonials from several company officials and law enforcement officials among Coban's clients throughout the country, the company touts the audio as one of the system's main selling points, largely because of the record it creates for police to rely on in court.

Police officers and other law enforcement sources who talked to the Tribune on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly said the microphones routinely don't operate because of negligence by the department. The mics are lost or broken, or the batteries wear out or are removed, the officers said. But the inoperable ones are rarely replaced or fixed, they said.

So far this year, only three of the 22 police shooting or excessive force cases referred to the Cook County State's Attorney's Office for possible prosecution had been captured on dash-cam videos, yet none had functioning audio, said Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for the office.

Testifying under oath during a 2014 deposition in an excessive force lawsuit, a Harrison District sergeant, Jeffrey Truhlar, said that 70 to 80 percent of the in-car video systems in that high-crime district are not working on any given day, according a partial transcript of the deposition.

A Police Department spokesman acknowledged this week that the vast majority of microphones don't work.

"Currently, 80 percent of cameras don't record audio due to technical or human error and in some cases intentional destruction to microphones," said the spokesman, Anthony Guglielmi.

Whatever the reasons for the equipment failure, the department's rules on how officers and supervisors are expected to use the system are fairly simple.

When damage or operability issues are discovered, the officer who discovers the problem must "verbally notify the member's supervisor of the damage or malfunction," the policy states.

If the equipment has been damaged, the officer must "submit a To-From-Subject report documenting the damage, to the unit commanding officer, before the end of the member's regularly scheduled tour of duty."

Since assuming command of the department early this month in the fallout over the McDonald shooting video, interim police Superintendent John Escalante vowed that officers who fail to follow procedures for maintaining the video system will face disciplinary action.

Guglielmi was unable to provide any records showing if any officers had been disciplined for damaging equipment before the McDonald fallout, and the department declined to make police leaders available to answer questions on that point.

Police cameras accomplish little if they're not maintained and accompanied by strong policies and a culture of accountability, experts said. Even body cameras — coming soon to more Chicago officers as part of a pilot program — depend on police flicking on the devices in time to film encounters with civilians.

"Like everything else with a police department, if there's no supervision, if there's no enforcement … then there's no added benefit in terms of accountability," said Michael White, a criminal justice professor at Arizona State University who wrote a federal report on body cameras.

The MacNeice case raises questions not only about the city's willingness to preserve and share video but also its commitment to disciplining officers.

Fields' attorneys said the pursuing officer, Ivan Ramos, was not disciplined even though he allegedly violated departmental rules by continuing a high-speed pursuit of the car driven by MacNeice's friend, Angel Burgos, over a traffic violation. Ramos also failed to alert dispatch about the chase until 10 minutes after it started, they said.

Trial testimony revealed the Police Department's traffic review board didn't even investigate the crash in the 500 block of North Sacramento Boulevard because Ramos' supervisor didn't check off boxes on a form to indicate that someone had been killed, Fields' attorneys said.

Crucial video from two Chicago police cameras along the pursuit route — including one just blocks from the crash site — were not preserved despite a judge's order. The city eventually acknowledged it didn't even look for one of the videos.

"They said, 'We forgot to do that.' They really didn't even have an excuse," said Jon Loevy, one of Fields' attorneys.

Fields' attorneys also found a city document saying 16 minutes of video had been preserved from a police camera just blocks from the fatal crash. But the city's Law Department argued it was a typo — that the author had simply forgotten to add "not" before the word "preserved."

No footage from that camera was ever produced.

"You shouldn't be able to lose all the videotapes, and nobody asks any questions," Loevy said. "Even after this jury verdict, nothing's going to happen. There's going to be no mechanism at the Police Department to say, 'Gee, what went wrong here? Why did all this video get destroyed?' Nobody's going to ask any questions ... and nobody's going to get in trouble."



Obama urges compassion in Christmas message

by Jordan Fabian

President Obama urged Americans to follow Jesus Christ's example of charity and compassion in his annual Christmas greeting.

"Today, like millions of Americans and Christians around the world, our family celebrates the birth of Jesus and the values He lived in his own life," Obama said. "Treating one another with love and compassion. Caring for those on society's margins: the sick and the hungry, the poor and the persecuted, the stranger in need of shelter — or simply an act of kindness."

Obama's holiday message appeared to be aimed at a public on edge after terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif.

The president has tried to counter inflammatory rhetoric from Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, pleading with Americans not to give into Islamophobia and remain open to welcoming refugees fleeing the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

"That's the spirit that binds us together — not just as Christians, but as Americans of all faiths," the president said. "It's what the holidays are about: coming together as one American family to celebrate our blessings and the values we hold dear."

In the spirit of Christmas, the president and first lady Michelle Obama called on Americans to honor the sacrifice of military service members by giving back to them and their communities.

"During this season, we also honor all who defend those values in our country's uniform. Every day, the brave men and women of our military serve to keep us safe — and so do their families," the president said.

"Let's also take time to pay tribute to those who have given our country so much," added the first lady.

The Obamas are spending their annual Christmas vacation in the president's home state of Hawaii.




At least 3 prisoners released in error committed new crimes

by Rachel LaCorte

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — At least three Washington state prisoners released early because of a computer error committed crimes during the time they should have been behind bars, state officials said Thursday.

During a conference call with reporters, officials from the Department of Corrections said the three are among 27 others who have been released since June and potentially need to be arrested and returned to prison because of an error the agency made on calculating sentences.

Officials could not say whether those prisoners have yet been re-arrested. They also didn't release specific information on the new crimes, saying they were working to confirm the information.

Earlier this week, Gov. Jay Inslee said that he ordered immediate steps to correct software-coding error that has led to as many as 3,200 offenders being wrongly released early since 2002.

Five prisoners released in error since June have already been re-incarcerated. Another 3,000 who are still incarcerated also had inaccurate release dates. Officials have said most of the errors were 100 days or less. In some cases, inmates were released just a few days early, but at least one person who is still incarcerated had a release date that was off by about 600 days.

"We're casting a wide net and doing extensive reviews of each case," Corrections Secretary Dan Pacholke said Thursday.

Pacholke said that once they have all of the information they need, they will prioritize expediting the arrests of those who committed new crimes. He noted that on average, about 10.5 percent of inmates who are released from prison commit a crime within the first year of their release.

"This group will probably be comparable to that overall statistic," he said.

The mistake came following a July 2002 state Supreme Court ruling that required the Department of Corrections to apply good-behavior credits earned in county jail to state prison sentences. However, the programming fix ended up giving prisoners with sentencing enhancements too much so-called good time credit.

Sentencing enhancements include additional time given for certain crimes, like those using firearms or those committed near schools. Under state law, prisoners who get extra time for sentencing enhancements cannot have that time reduced for good behavior.

•  Based on another Supreme Court ruling that credits time out to the sentence of prisoners who have been mistakenly released early, most of the affected offenders won't have to go back to prison.

•  The Department of Corrections was first alerted to the error in December 2012, when a victim's family learned of a prisoner's imminent release. The family did its own calculations and found he was being credited with too much time.

•  However, even though the agency consulted with attorneys regarding the error the same month and scheduled a fix for the program, it was repeatedly delayed and ultimately, never done. Pacholke said he didn't learn of the error until last week, and the governor says he didn't learn of the issue until that same time, when corrections' officials notified his staff.

Inslee has told corrections officials to stop releasing prisoners affected by the glitch until a hand calculation is done to ensure the offender is being released on the correct date. A broad fix to the software problem is expected to be in place by early January.

Two retired federal prosecutors have been brought in to conduct an independent investigation to determine why the error occurred and went unfixed for more than 13 years.




#1 Community Policing Tool Used by Fort Lauderdale Police

One of the many goals of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department is to help the youth of our community. Frank Adderley, Fort Lauderdale Police Chief

The Fort Lauderdale Police Department and the Reality Check Program partner to help families and connect with the community.

by Chief Frank Adderley

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA, -- The Fort Lauderdale Police Department to give out 10,000 Reality Check video gift cards to help young people and connect with the community.

"One of the many goals of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department is to help the youth of our community."
Frank Adderley, Fort Lauderdale Police Chief

The Fort Lauderdale Police department and the Reality Check Program partnered to educate parents and help teens.

Helping a parent's son or daughter is the single best thing a police agency can do to gain community support. The Fort Lauderdale Police department takes the lead with educating parents and helping teens.

The FLPD purchased 10,000 Reality Check video Gift cards to give out to the community.

The Reality Check Program video gift card is the nationally recognized Reality Check Program (normally $35) on a gift card with a specific code. The user can access the program on a computer, Ipad, Iphone or any other device.

The Reality Check Program has four parts:

1. Choice Making

2. What Prison Is Really like

3. What You Will Lose

4. Avoiding And Dissolving Bad Associations.

A few ways the Reality Check video gift card works and the benefits.

1. An officer who catches a kid, say breaking an abandon house window can give the parent the RC video gift card and say, "This is compliments of the Fort Lauderdale Police department. We caught your son in a minor infraction which could lead to more serious trouble, we're here to help". After watching the video the individual might "get it" and realize that the choices he makes today can affect the rest of his life.

2. By possibly changing the way the individual thinks we save possible future victims.

3. The program fosters a great community relationship between the police and the citizens. Many communities have an "us against them" mentality. By helping citizens (i.e. parent with a wayward kid) the citizens will be more willing to help the police solve crimes. The next time a major crime happens the citizens are more inclined to get involved.

4. Most police officers join the force to help people. Giving an officer a tool to help people and open a positive dialogue makes it possible to connect with the community in a positive way. The RC video gift card increases moral and has long term benefits for the officer.

Larry Lawton - Ex-con / Honorary Police Officer / Recognized on the floor of the U.S. Congress. Larry Lawton is the first ex-con in the United States to be sworn in as an honorary police officer and first ex-con recognized on the floor of the United States Congress for his work with helping young people.

Larry Lawton is an author, motivational speaker, TV analyst and program developer who regularly appears on national TV - ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, FOX, MSNBC and various other networks.

For more information, interviews or learn about the Reality Check video gift card program, email: info@RealityCheckProgram.com or call 844-922-4800.


Larry Lawton
Reality Check Program



Washington D.C.

US postpones payments to police in asset forfeiture program

The move comes after Congress recently took $1.2B from the department's asset forfeiture fund

by The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department says it's postponing payments to local law enforcement agencies who participate in the federal asset forfeiture program.

The move comes after Congress recently took $1.2 billion from the department's asset forfeiture fund as part of budget maneuvering.

Under the program, the Justice Department lets local law enforcement share proceeds of seized assets from investigations in which they participated.

The Justice Department says it's not suspending or shutting down the program — just that it doesn't have the money to pay police departments right now.

A letter to local law enforcement agencies this week says the Justice Department could "resume its sharing on some or all of the deferred payments if there are sufficient funds in the budget."




Man shot by Pa. state police had 3 rifles with him

The suspect didn't comply with the state troopers' commands to drop his weapons and stop walking

by Joseph Kohut

HONESDALE, Pa. — A 21-year-old man shot and killed by state police Monday carried a rifle in his arms and had two other rifles slung across his shoulders when he turned to face three state troopers who responded to his Canaan Twp. home, authorities said.

Derek DeGroat didn't comply with the state troopers' commands to drop his weapons and stop walking, said Wayne County District Attorney Janine Edwards at a Wednesday press conference. The state troopers yelled the command more than 10 times.

“He refused,” Ms. Edwards said in prepared remarks. “Over and over they yelled to him to stop walking. He continued to refuse.”

More details on the deadly incident emerged Wednesday during the press conference at the county courthouse in Honesdale. However, the names of the three state troopers who shot Mr. DeGroat were not released. The three have not been interviewed by investigators and won't be interviewed until 72 hours after the incident, which is state police protocol, authorities said.

“They've been debriefed on what to expect physically and psychologically ... to put them in the best possible position to move the investigation forward,” said state police Capt. Christopher Paris, commander of Troop R, which oversees the barracks in Honesdale, among others in the region.

Several state troopers who were at the scene but not involved in the shooting were interviewed, Ms. Edwards said.

State police responded to 9 Volunteer Way on Monday after a 10:36 p.m. call to 911 placed by Mr. DeGroat's sister, Breanna DeGroat. Ms. DeGroat said her brother had a gun and threatened to kill himself.

The call disconnected. A state police dispatcher reconnected the call and spoke with Mr. DeGroat's mother, Sheila DeGroat. She reiterated what her daughter said and the phone moved to Mr. DeGroat's girlfriend, Lindsey Erk.

Ms. Erk told the dispatcher her boyfriend armed himself with three guns and said “if you call 911 I'm going to shoot them,” implying the police, Ms. Edwards said.

Ms. Erk later told investigators she and her boyfriend had been at a party that night and Mr. DeGroat gets mean when he drinks. They argued throughout the night. He armed himself with a rifle when they arrived at the home on Volunteer Way.

Ms. Erk tried to take the gun from him and she cut her hand. When sirens were heard, Mr. DeGroat emerged from the home armed with three rifles, a machete and a hatchet, she told investigators. Ms. Erk went to a neighbor's driveway and hid with Mr. DeGroat's mother behind a parked vehicle.

State police vehicles arrived at the home. They flooded the area with light and watched as an armed Mr. DeGroat walked from a tree in the lawn toward the house, Ms. Edwards said.

The state troopers shouted at him to stop. He moved the rifle around the front of his body.

Gun in hand, he turned and faced the three state troopers. The three opened fire.

“Mr. DeGroat fell to the ground,” Ms. Edwards said.

The state troopers approached him, began CPR, applied pressure to his wounds and spoke with him until an ambulance arrived. County Coroner Edward Howell pronounced the 21-year-old dead at 11:53 p.m.

“I intend to do a thorough and professional investigation in this matter,” Ms. Edwards said.

It's unknown how many times state police shot Mr. DeGroat or if the rifles he carried were loaded. The three state troopers involved in the shooting are on paid administrative leave, which is standard protocol.

“We're working very diligently,” Capt. Paris said. “Many of us up here have not slept and there are many others who have not slept very much over the last 36 hours. ... We want to bring this investigation to a close and wer'e doing everything we can to do that.”



Washington D.C.

U.S. plans to deport some immigrant families who crossed southern border

by CBS News

WASHINGTON -- The Department of Homeland Security is planning a large-scale effort to detain and deport hundreds of immigrant families who have illegally crossed the southern border of the U.S. since the start of 2014, sources confirmed to CBS News.

The plan was first reported by the Washington Post, which cited people familiar with the operation as saying it could begin as soon as early January, though final DHS approval was still pending.

The raids would be carried out by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and target adults and children already ordered to leave the U.S. by an immigration judge, the newspaper said.

Sources confirmed the information contained in the Post article to CBS News correspondent Jeff Pegues.

A DHS spokesperson said in a statement to CBS News that the deportations would be consistent with Homeland Security Jeh Johnson's emphasis on "individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security."

"As Secretary Johnson has consistently said, our border is not open to illegal immigration, and if individuals come here illegally, do not qualify for asylum or other relief, and have final orders of removal, they will be sent back consistent with our laws and our values," the spokesperson said.

ICE deported more than 235,000 people between October 2014 and September 2015, the DHS spokesperson said. The Associated Press reported Tuesday that it was the fewest since 2006. Over the same period, more than 337,000 people were arrested trying to cross the border illegally.

The questions of what to do with the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally and how to enforce immigration laws have been major topics in the 2016 presidential race. Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton has pledged to be "less harsh and aggressive" than President Obama, while Republican Donald Trump has pledged to deport millions of people in the country illegally and build a wall along the Mexican border to stop future illegal immigration.

The action also comes at a time when the U.S. is at odds over how to respond to a migrant crisis in Europe and the Middle East. More than 1 million refugees and migrants from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan fled their countries to the European union this year, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said earlier this week. Another almost 3,700 died or went missing during their journeys.

Secretary of State John Kerry announced in September that the U.S. would increase the number of refugees it lets into the country, raising the total to 100,000 by the year 2017. However, citing security concerns, more than 30 governors have said they won't receive migrants from Syria, and Trump has called for a ban on Muslims entering the U.S.

This would be the first large-scale effort to deport families who have fled violence in Central America, the newspaper said. More than 100,000 families with both adults and children have made the journey across the southwest border of the U.S. since the start of last year, the Post reported.

The border crossings spiked in the summer of 2014, with thousands of children crossing into the country unaccompanied.

In response, Mexico launched what it called the Southern Border Program to increase security along its border with Guatemala. Human rights groups and migrants' advocates said in November that the program had yielded a 73 percent increase in detentions in its first year.

The study found that about 168,000 migrants were detained in Mexico from July 2014 to June of this year, up from some 97,000 during the previous 12-month period, and activists said the crackdown has been accompanied by rising crimes and abuses against migrants -- including by security forces.

A study published in November by the Pew Research Center said more Mexicans were leaving the U.S. than migrating into the country, marking a reversal of one of the most significant immigration trends in U.S. history.




US Embassy Issues Christmas Alert for Westerners in Sanlitun

by Michael Webster

This just in: the US Embassy in Beijing has warned Westerners planning revelry in Sanlitun this Christmas that a "possible threat" has been received.

The warning went out via email this morning as was posted to the embassy's website here at about 11.10am.

The warning states: “The US Embassy has received information of possible threats against Westerners in the Sanlitun area of Beijing, on or around Christmas Day. US citizens are urged to exercise heightened vigilance."

Images circulating on social media apparently demonstrate that the Chinese authorities are taking the threat seriously. A picture taken at Taikoo Li showed armed guards in front of Uniqlo, which was the scene of a grisly saber attack earlier this year.

Several Sanlitun restaurants that have been planning special Christmas and Christmas Eve dinners for months have already reported multiple cancellations. One restaurateur whose venue is right outside one of the Diplomatic Residence Compounds in the area, said he spotted the unusual sight of military police with real guns patrolling the area with what looks like bomb-sniffing dogs.

Chinese netizens are already reacting to the news on Weibo. "I just got out of a meeting where my boss said that it would be best if we didn't go for a big group dinner in Sanlitun," said one user. "First I thought it was a joke, then I saw the news from the US Embassy. I guess I'd better take heed there's lots of foreigners there, and an attack by ISIS really could be a possibility."

The full text of the US Embassy's warning is below:

"The US Embassy has received information of possible threats against Westerners in the Sanlitun area of Beijing, on or around Christmas Day. US citizens are urged to exercise heightened vigilance. The US Embassy has issued the same guidance to US government personnel.

The State Department's Worldwide Travel Alert message remains in effect.

Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.

Contact the US Embassy in Beijing, located at 55 An Jia Lou Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing, by phone at (+86 10) 8531 4000, Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm, or by email at BeijingACS@state.gov. For AFTER HOURS EMERGENCIES, call 8531 3000 to speak to the operator.

Call 1 888 407 4747 toll-free in the United States or Canada or 1 202 501 4444 from other countries, from 8am to 5pm Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except federal holidays)."

Meanwhile, a walk-through of Sanlitun at 2.30pm Thursday afternoon revealed nothing out of the ordinary, the only difference being a heightened security presence at Taikoo Li closely monitoring a visit from Santa Claus. A crowd or mostly Chinese shoppers were on hand taking pictures with old Saint Nick. Foreigners didnt seem to be taking any special precautions either, with plenty spotted walking through the neighborhood.

A good portion of the embassy district north of Sanlitun is closed to vehicular traffic, though pedestrians and bikers were being allowed through unimpeded. The area closed to traffic contains or is bordered by the German Embassy, the Saudi Arabian Embassy, popular shopping spots such as Jenny Lou's and April Gourmet, as well as many popular restaurants. All of the businesses were open as usual.

If an ominous warning hasn't convinced you to stay away from Sanlitun this Christmas then maybe the horrendous traffic as of 4pm on Christmas Eve will. The back-up is partly due to the fact that the roads around the embassies have been blocked off (with no sign of that changing any time soon) and people are already heading in to Sanlitun for their arranged festive gatherings. Don't expect things to change until way into the evening.

The Beijinger has reached out to multiple venues in the Sanlitun area to determine whether they are changing any of their Christmas plans. Currently we have not heard of any closures or alterations in reaction to the warning.

In the meantime, be careful out there.




Ill., Mo. licenses, IDs no longer considered federally compliant

by ABC7

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Missouri residents soon will not be able to use their state driver's licenses as identification to get into most federal facilities, making it one of at least five states to lose a federal exemption from complying with national proof-of-identity requirements.

A letter from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to Missouri, obtained on Wednesday by The Associated Press, informs the state that its exemption from federal Real ID requirements will come to an end Jan. 10.

That means Missouri driver's licenses cannot be accepted as ID at military bases and most other federal facilities. It also could eventually mean that Missouri driver's licenses won't be accepted as identification for commercial airplane flights.

Illinois is in the same boat, according to Illinois Secretary of State's office spokesman David Druker, who said state officials learned late Tuesday that Homeland Security had denied an extension for compliance with federal requirements.

The 2005 Real ID act imposes tougher requirements for proof of legal U.S. residency in order for state driver's licenses to be valid for federal purposes. The law was passed in response to national security concerns after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The Homeland Security Department previously declared Minnesota to be non-compliant, and it sent letters in October to New Mexico and Washington indicating that their exemptions also would end Jan. 10.

States originally were supposed to comply with the Real ID requirements by the end of 2009. Federal authorities have repeatedly delayed implementation to give time for states to change their driver's license procedures and make the necessary technological improvements.

At one point, about half the state legislatures had passed measures opposing the implementation of the Real ID Act. Some state lawmakers raised concerns that it amounted to an invasion of privacy and a backdoor attempt to create a standardized national ID card. Some of those states, including Missouri and Minnesota, still have laws specifically prohibiting them from complying.

But the patience of federal authorities appears to be coming to an end, and more states could lose their exemptions. Homeland Security also has been reviewing whether to grant a compliance exemption beyond Jan. 10 to Alaska, California, New Jersey and South Carolina. Nineteen others states recently received an extension of their compliance exemptions, most running until Oct. 16.

The Homeland Security Department has said it plans to announce soon whether it will begin enforcing the Real ID requirements for airplane travel. The department has said that it will provide at least 120-day advance notice before barring people from flights who have driver's licenses from states that are noncompliant or lack a waiver.

"As we continue the phased in enforcement of the REAL ID Act, the consequences of continued noncompliance will grow with each milestone," the department said in its letter to Missouri.



TSA Body Scan? Just Say 'No', Leading Expert Says

by Lisa Brownlee

Passengers required by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to submit to a body scan can legally refuse, according to Marc Rotenberg, President of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC).

EPIC v. The Department of Homeland Security (in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, 2012) is the prevailing case establishing the law on the constitutionality of TSA security screening practices involving AIT (short for Advanced Imaging Technology) body scans and alternative pat-down procedures. Rotenberg was lead counsel on the case.

Legal right to refuse scan

Specifically, Rotenberg stated in writing that “passengers have a legal right to refuse the AIT scan. The agency action is contrary to the earlier representations before the D.C. Circuit and to the holding in EPIC v DHS .”

He elaborated that “the last minute announcement by the TSA is troubling and appears contrary to the agency's previous representations about the program and to the decision of the D.C. Circuit in EPIC v. DHS . In that case the DHS represented that the body scanner program was optional and that passenger could always elect to opt for a pat-down. The D.C. Circuit, relying on the government's representation, concluded that there was therefore no Fourth Amendment violation, because as Judge (Douglas H.) Ginsburg explained for the court,

‘More telling, any passenger may opt-out of AIT screening in favor of a pat-down, which allows him to decide which of the two options for detecting a concealed, nonmetallic weapon or explosive is least invasive.'”

Background: the new procedures

On Friday, without notice, the Transportation Security Authority (TSA) implemented new procedures for airport security screening. TSA had been, until Friday, using a screening procedure that consisted of either an AIT body scan or a pat-down scan, at the passenger's option . The legality (that is, constitutionality) of the security procedure encompassing a passenger's option to choose an AIT scan or a pat-down scan was affirmed by the D.C. Court of Appeals in 2012, in the EPIC v DHS case mentioned above.

TSA's new policy says it may direct mandatory screening

What is different in the new security procedures is that TSA made the body scans mandatory for some people. In its “Privacy Impact Assessment Update” released last Friday, TSA announced it was changing its operating protocol “regarding the ability of individuals to opt opt-out [sic] of AIT screening in favor of physical screening.”

TSA's new policy states that passengers “may generally decline AIT screening in favor of physical screening, TSA may direct mandatory AIT screening for some passengers as warranted by security considerations in order to safeguard transportation security. “

Jennifer Ellison and Marc Pilcher, attorneys in the TSA Office of Chief Counsel writing in “Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) Deployment: Legal Challenges and Responses” emphasized the legal importance of pat-downs being a screening option.

The article specifically addresses the legality of the AIT body scans as enunciated by Judge Ginsburg in EPIC v. DHS . In discussing the legality of the AIT body scan program, TSA counsel wrote:

“Another consideration is whether passengers are afforded a choice in being screened. . . .the introduction of AIT–and the concomitant right to opt for the alternative of a pat-down–affords greater choice [than the prior scanning procedures], as it allows a passenger “to decide which of the two options for detecting a concealed, nonmetallic weapon or explosive is least invasive.”

TSA's own counsel has thus emphasized the importance of the pat-down option. Stated differently, TSA's counsel has enunciated the importance of the non mandatory nature of the AIT body scan to the legality of TSA's screening procedures.

Contrary to TSA's statement in its new policy, TSA may not legally direct mandatory AIT screening for any passengers. Not according to EPIC, and not according to TSA's own lawyers. EPIC v. DHS requires as a condition of a finding of constitutionality of the TSA screening procedures the ability of passengers to opt for pat-downs in lieu of AIT screening.




Expert discusses terrorism threat, ‘community policing' in Palm Beach

by Andres David Lopez

What happens in Syria affects Palm Beach, said Matthew Levitt, director of the Washington Institute's Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence.

“It's no longer the case that if something happens somewhere in the Middle East we are far away and we are safe,” he said. “What is happening in Syria has completely changed the nature of the terrorist threat here.”

Levitt, who has worked as deputy assistant secretary for intelligence and analysis at the U.S. Department of the Treasury and as a counterterrorism intelligence analyst for the FBI, spoke Tuesday at The Colony during a breakfast sponsored by The Palm Beach Police Foundation and First Republic Bank.

“Palm Beach has a very high profile community,” Levitt said. “So they've long had to be prepared to be proactive and very engaged in community policing.

”Levitt commended the Palm Beach Police Department for seeking updates from the South Florida Joint Terrorism Task Force and from the FBI's Southeast Florida Fusion Center.

“The most potent tool against this type of terrorism that we're seeing is community policing,” he said.

When outside agencies visit Palm Beach County they are often surprised by how well local police departments work together, said Kirk Blouin, director of public safety.

“We just want to get things done,” Blouin said. “We want to keep the community safe and we want to accomplish things.”

Levitt is listed as an expert in the areas of Lebanon, Palestine and terrorism. The New York Times recently published his analysis of the Islamic State terrorist group's finances. He reminded the breakfast attendees Tuesday that the majority of the world's Muslims value peace.

Levitt said civil war in Syria has drawn losers and criminals who use the fight against President Bashar al-Assad to justify extortion and violence. Technology has also made recruitment easier for the Islamic State, he said.

“So long as Assad remains in power — and that is what Russia and Iran and Hezbollah are seeking, to keep Assad in power — the Sunni [Muslim] world is going to continue to be very, very angry,” Levitt said, “because Assad has butchered many, many times more people than the Islamic State.”

In describing how local citizens successfully combat terrorism, Levitt recalled the attempted Times Square bombing in New York in 2010. A hot dog vendor noticed smoke coming from a car and alerted authorities.

“See something, say something,” he said. “You have an incredible police department here, you have unbelievable resources here. But do not be afraid, because we're the United States of America and that's not who we are.”




Peoria manager: Big crime drop with police strategy

by Carl Swenson

Residents judge the quality of their city by how safe they feel in their neighborhood.

It's also a primary identifier on a homebuyer's checklist.

Peoria is one of the Valley's fastest-growing cities and that's not a surprise, because more people are discovering what Peoria has to offer: low crime, outstanding recreation and low cost for quality services.

The low crime we enjoy is not happenstance. Peoria Police Chief Roy Minter is one of the best in his field in crime prevention and reduction, and he is dedicated to making sure our residents feel safe in their homes, on the street and out enjoying our amenities.

The dedicated men and women of our Police Department are out in force every hour of every day and night, working to make sure you are safe.

How to prevent crime

The strategies the city employs include community policing and data driven deployment. Chief Minter is a national leader in these types of crime prevention methods, which include increased active police presence in the community and a network of community, business and neighborhood watch leaders working together to solve community issues.

A highly recognized part of this program is called United Community Action Network (UCAN). Numerous cities from across the nation come to Peoria to learn about and model this policing strategy in their own community.

What crime data shows

Research and time has shown this policing strategy works to prevent crime before it happens and decrease response time when it does.

Peoria's crime rate has dropped 28 percent since 2011.

We have also seen a reduction in service calls,and Peoria now has the second-lowest level of dispatched calls in the Valley.

Our total crime rate is lower than most Valley cities. And Peoria boasts the Valley's lowest property-crime rate. Even when Peoria is compared nationwide to 30 comparable cities, we have one of the lowest property and violent crime rates.

Those are impressive statistics to any outside policing expert.

Peoria honored for best practices

Our department consistently wins awards for this strategy, putting Peoria among the very best of the nation in policing and level of service delivered to residents. Recently, the Police Department was awarded the rare achievement of Gold Standard for Best Practices in Police Work by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. Peoria is only one of two police departments in Arizona with the distinction.

Police presence in the community is a large component of the community policing program. Peoria Police Department continues to analyze and adjust our staffing levels as our city continues to grow. Over the last six months we have added four more patrol officers.

Our recruitment levels are high as officers want to come work here, and we continue to attract officers from other cities, including Phoenix, Tucson and Glendale.

We continuously measure our policing performance, review our crime statistics and response times and evaluate how we can do even better. But we also constantly seek input from residents. To us, statistics and analytics don't mean anything unless our residents feel safe in their homes at night. In the latest survey, 83 percent of residents said they feel safe in their community.

I encourage residents to join this collaborative effort and contact the city and let us know what you think.

Mayor Cathy Carlat and the City Council are highly committed to making sure our officers have what they need, including the latest technology to keep them safe. We believe it's the city's job to maintain quality of life for residents, and the Peoria Police Department is one of the finest in the nation. Our residents benefit from the best in public safety and tireless efforts to make Peoria the best it can be.



How can we stop America's deadly epidemic of loneliness?

by Michael Bader,DMH

We are all so much together, but we are all dying of loneliness. — Albert Schweitzer

Loneliness is a political issue—at least, it should be. Loneliness and isolation are killing us. Lest you think this is metaphoric, the statistics are chilling. In a study funded by the National Science Foundation and reported in the American Sociological Review, researchers from Duke University and the University of Arizona conducted 1,500 face-to-face interviews with a random sample of American adults and found that one quarter of the respondents admitted that they had no one with whom they could talk about their personal troubles or successes. If you excluded family members, this number increased to a little over 50%.

More than half of Americans have no one with whom they share their troubles and joys. Studies of elderly people only underline this pattern more dramatically. Loneliness is not some soft existential problem of the “worried well.” Research about the health effects of social isolation concludes that those older adults without adequate social interaction were twice as likely to die prematurely. The increased mortality risk is comparable to that from smoking. Loneliness is about twice as dangerous as obesity.

Interestingly, it doesn't seem to matter if the person feels lonely fr loneliness to have a harmful effect. While the subjective experience of loneliness increases the risk of death by 26%, it is also true that if people don't feel lonely, but are objectively isolated, their mortality still increases.

Several recent studies have furthered our awareness of the pathologies caused by the breakdown of connection and community. According to a recent report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, white, uneducated, middle- and working-class adults between the ages of 45 and 54 are now dying at higher rates than ever before, deaths involving suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, and liver disease. The stresses of economic stagnation, along with the increased availability of prescription painkillers seem to be two factors behind his increase. The authors also suggest that hopelessness and the helplessness of social isolation—the breakdown of a sense of meaning and purpose—were common threads in the people at increased risk. As Johann Hari documents in his book, Chasing the Scream, it is emotional trauma and social disconnectedness—rather than the compellingly addictive power or “hook” of certain substances themselves—that offer the best explanations of the causes of addiction today.

Veterans are a special group at risk. Joseph Bobrow, in his new book, Waking Up From War, details how broken communities at home, and the fragmentation of caregiving institutions, continually fail returning veterans afflicted by PTSD. Safe and supportive communities of meaning, on the other hand—such as those provided by Bobrow's group, the Coming Home Project offer the best treatment for vets, their families and even their caregivers. Isolation and self-blame are too often the experience of these damaged warriors as they return home seeking help for the psychic, as well as the the physical injuries of war.

Psychotherapists have long known that abandonment and neglect inflict every bit as much trauma on a developing child as more overt and violent forms of abuse. The absence of a secure attachment leads to disabling feelings of insecurity and self-hatred. Connection is a vital nutrient fuelling human development.

Researchers and theorists have pointed to many factors that could be causing this depressing trend. The decline of social and community organizations, along with volunteerism, the increasingly long work days and commutes, the growth of two-career and single parent families, the privatizing effects of television, the decline in direct personal conversations caused by social media and the Internet, are all possible contributors to the increased social isolation so frequently cited by researchers. And lurking behind all of these phenomena are competitive individualism and the myth of meritocracy that appear so central in a culture like ours dominated by the ethos of the capitalist marketplace. The American ideal of individualism creates a dog-eat-dog world view that causes a toxic brew of social isolation and loneliness and is greatly worsened by the self-doubt and depressive self-criticism caused by the meritocratic notion that one's station in life reflects one's intrinsic value.

So, isolation and loneliness are on the rise, and are making people sick, addicted and left to fester alone in miseries caused by economic stagnation and anxiety at home and in conflicts abroad. What are we doing about it? Enlightened thinkers and activists in the non-profit philanthropic and social welfare worlds are doing a lot to practically treat the damage that isolation causes. Programs for veterans, like Bobrow's, and 12-step groups that offer the healing power of community are cases in point.

But treating symptoms is not enough. We need to find ways to speak to the heart of what has become a raging epidemic of loneliness in our culture. In the face of such an epidemic, I would argue that political progressives have to figure out how to talk about it publically and address it politically, even as we find better ways of healing the symptoms it produces.

Supporting the expansion of labor unions has to be one vital plank in any such platform seeking to counteract the atomization of social life. Unions have historically demonstrated their power to provide experiences of solidarity and to speak to communal interests, yet union membership has steadily declined over the last 50 years, a trend fostered by the loss of jobs overseas as well as the overt anti-union agenda of conservative groups and powerful corporate interests. Still, a revitalized union movement would be a huge step in addressing the problems of loneliness and isolation.

Progressives should make alleviating loneliness an important and explicit part of everything they say and every program they propose. We know from focus groups, pollsters, psychologists like Drew Westen, and linguists like George Lakoff that people process information in non-rational ways. Telling people the objective truth about the political and economic causes of income disparities, economic stagnation, and the collapse of the American Dream of middle-class mobility and security is no guarantee that people will believe you if you fail to take account of a range of emotional biases, fears and motivations that regularly defeat or discount such rational explanations.

The pain of loneliness and the need to belong are two such emotions. One of our mottos should be that “we stand against loneliness and isolation.” I think progressives should talk about these feelings and make this point directly and explicitly. Loneliness is a public health issue and everyone has experienced some form of it. Progressives need to be creative in enumerating these forms and showing how our proposals address them. For example, perhaps we talk about latchkey children left alone because both parents have to work in this stagnant economy, elderly parents left alone in underfunded nursing homes, or tired commuters sitting one to a car stuck in traffic because we lack an adequate mass transit system. Maybe we frame the crisis of global warming in terms of protecting the sanctity of a natural world that we share and that provides for all of us. And maybe we talk about the harm that some forms of social media inflict on people unable to enjoy the developmental and emotional fruits of touch and direct personal conversation.

The right speaks to loneliness all the time. It's about time the left did too. Consider conservative critiques of the “culture of dependency on Washington” heard so often on various campaign trails. The story right-wing ideologues try to sell is that others are being taken care of while each of us is left to fend for ourselves. “They” get taken care of and we're left out in the cold struggling to make it by ourselves. The unconscious message is that we are cut off from each other, disconnected, trapped and unprotected in our own lonely lives.

The right also continually evokes and addresses the epidemic of loneliness and isolation with its us-vs.-them jingoism around immigration and the so-called war on terrorism. In this case, we are invited to belong to a group, an “us”—say, white hardworking straight Christian Americans—that is defined in opposition to a “them”—immigrants, welfare recipients, Muslims etc. This view of the world may be irrational and corrupt, but it resonates with many people because it implicitly addresses their loneliness and need to belong.

There were two responses to the World Trade Center attacks, each of which touched this nerve. The first was a call to defend ourselves from “them.” The second was to help each other mourn and heal. Collective defense or mutual aid. Both were and are tendencies in the American psyche. Our national leaders chose the first. My point is that progressives need to find ways of evoking and connecting with the second.

As journalist Rebecca Solnit has documented, people come together in times of tragedy, disaster or extreme stress. Their longings for community and purpose are freed up. Fortunately, progressive political organizations and leaders already have ideals of community every bit as compelling as the paranoid views of conservative ideologues and we need to make them into banner headlines in our communications strategies. The Occupy movement, despite its weaknesses, showed that such ideals can attract large numbers of people.

A nurse once told me about a bargaining campaign her union launched that, instead of emphasizing issues of wages and job security, featured a publicity campaign emphasizing the care nurses deliver. The campaign had slogans like, “They're the first people to take care of our children in the emergency room and our parents in the nursing home. They take care of us; shouldn't we take care of them?” The campaign wasn't only politically successful, but engaged the nurse in her union to a greater degree. The campaign talked about caring and community, about mutuality and reciprocity—values that are to loneliness what antibiotics are to a bacterial infection.

In 2012, Bruce Springsteen wrote and recorded a song called “We Take Care of Our Own.” It's about the American promise—not yet fulfilled—of caring for one another. Progressives need to wake up and commit themselves to fulfilling that promise.




More Than 3,000 Washington Prisoners Mistakenly Freed Early

by Rachel La Corte

An error by Washington state's Department of Corrections that resulted in wrongly calculated sentences for about 3 percent of the prison population led to the early release of more than 3,000 prisoners in the state since 2002.

At a news conference Tuesday announcing the error, Gov. Jay Inslee said he has ordered immediate steps to correct the longstanding computer glitch.

"Frankly, it is maddening," Inslee said.

Authorities say a July 2002 state Supreme Court ruling required the Corrections Department to apply good-behavior credits earned in county jail to state prison sentences. However, the programming fix ended up giving prisoners with sentencing enhancements too much so-called good time credit.

Sentencing enhancements include additional time given for certain crimes, like those using firearms or those committed near schools. Under state law, prisoners who get extra time for sentencing enhancements cannot have that time reduced for good behavior.

An analysis showed as many as 3,200 offenders were released early, and another 3,100 who are still incarcerated had inaccurate release dates.

Inslee's general counsel, Nicholas Brown, said most of the errors were 100 days or less. In some cases, inmates were released just a few days early, but at least one person who is still incarcerated had a release date that was off by about 600 days.

When asked if any of the prisoners who were released early committed additional crimes, Brown said, "We don't have the answer to that."

Based on a prior Supreme Court ruling, most of the affected offenders won't have to go back to prison. But officials have identified at least seven prisoners who were freed but haven't reached their corrected release date yet, and they will need to return to prison. Five of them have already been re-incarcerated.

The Department of Corrections was first alerted to the error in December 2012, when a victim's family learned of a prisoner's imminent release. The family did its own calculations and found he was being credited with too much time.

A timeline provided by the governor's office shows the agency consulted with attorneys regarding the error the same month and scheduled a fix for the program. However, the coding fix was repeatedly delayed, and the governor says he didn't learn of the issue until last week, when corrections' officials notified his staff.

"For reasons we still don't yet fully understand, that fix never happened," Brown said. Corrections Department Secretary Dan Pacholke, who took over as head of the agency in October and just learned of the error last week, also said he couldn't yet explain what happened.

"How that did not rise up in the agency to the highest levels is not clear to me," he said.

Republican state Sen. Mike Padden said the Law and Justice Committee he chairs will convene hearings on the early releases when the Legislature returns to the Capitol in early January.

"We will see what we can find out about this and whether any of these individuals have committed crimes and what crimes they committed when they should have been in prison," Padden said.

Brown said officials don't yet have a complete list of prisoners affected. The Corrections Department and governor's office have not released the names of those inmates who have been sent back to prison, or the name of the family who alerted the agency to the problem.

Inslee told corrections officials to stop releasing prisoners affected by the glitch until a hand calculation is done to ensure the offender is being released on the correct date. A broad fix to the software problem is expected to be in place by early January.

The governor said two retired federal prosecutors will conduct an independent investigation to figure out why it has taken so long to correct the problem.

"I have a lot of questions about how and why this happened, and I understand that members of the public will have those same questions," Inslee said.

Pacholke said he welcomed the external investigation.

"The agency should be held accountable for this breach," he said.



Washington D.C.

U.S. Discloses Drop in Deportations

In 2015 budget year, Homeland Security Department deported fewest immigrants since 2006

by The Associated Press

WASHINGTON—The Obama administration formally disclosed Tuesday that in the 2015 budget year, the U.S. deported the fewest immigrants since 2006.

The Homeland Security Department oversaw the deportation of about 235,413 people between October 2014 and September 2015. Over the same period, 337,117 people were arrested trying to cross the border illegally.

DHS has previously said the drop in deportations overseen by ICE is largely due to the decline in arrests at the border. Border arrests dropped about 30 percent from 2014 to 2015. The 2015 border arrests included roughly 79,800 people traveling as families and children traveling alone, mostly from Central America.

The overall total of deportations generally does not include Mexicans caught at the border and quickly returned home by the Border Patrol.

“Last year's removal numbers reflect this department's increased focus on prioritizing convicted criminals and threats to public safety, border security and national security,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement.

Roughly 136,700 convicted criminals were deported in the 2015 budget year. The share of criminal immigrants deported rose slightly from about 56 percent to roughly 59 percent from 2014 to 2015.

Mr. Obama's immigration policies have been alternately criticized as too harsh and too weak.

Immigrant advocates derisively dubbed the president the “Deporter-In-Chief” after ICE removed a record of more than 409,000 immigrants in 2012.

Meanwhile, Republicans have decried his policies as “back-door amnesty.”

The questions of what to do with the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally and how to enforce immigration laws have been major topics in the 2016 presidential race. Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton has pledged to be “less harsh and aggressive” than Mr. Obama, while Republican Donald Trump has pledged to deport millions of people in the country illegally and build a wall along the Mexican border to stop future illegal immigration.




Justice Dept. Releases Progress Report On Efforts To Improve Philly Police Training On Use Of Deadly Force & Community Policing

by Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Justice Department, tracking the progress of Philadelphia police training on the use of deadly force and community policing, is releasing a six-month progress report.

The Philadelphia Police Department was given 91-recommendations last March to address officer involved shootings and use of deadly force incidents, 24 percent are complete or nearly there, with another 66 percent of the recommendations in progress.

As for the remaining 10 percent with no reported movement, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, who is spending his last days at the helm, before retiring, says they deal specifically with investigating Philadelphia police officer involved shootings.

He recommends assigning Pennsylvania State Police to those tasks.

“It has nothing to do with our being capable of doing it; but the perception is that it's bias, because it is internal.”

Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS, at the request of Ramsey, analyzed use of force incidents in Philadelphia between 2007-2013, revealing that the PPD averaged about 50 officer-involved shootings a year.

COPS is at the one-third mark in the implementation phase of instituting reforms in the PPD. It is expected to be completed in early 2017.

The Justice Department's Ron Davis says the efforts in Philadelphia serve as a national model.

“I get calls from mayors, U.S. attorneys, and from the chiefs, as they're dealing with a lot the challenges.”

The reform initiative is being shared with 16,000 police agencies across the country, most of which have 50 sworn officers or fewer.

Davis says sharing their experiences and the findings will help departments all over the country when crisis breaks out, like in Ferguson, Cleveland, Chicago and neighborhoods in Philadelphia.




Ore. police scout for more female officers

Attracting women to law enforcement has become a timely concern

by Carli Brosseau

PORTLAND, Ore. — Janie Schutz didn't get her first-choice job after graduating the police academy No. 1 in her class.

It was 1994, and the sheriff who oversaw the miles of rural North Carolina she dreamed of patrolling "didn't put women on the road," she said. "I think he just didn't feel women could do it."

Schutz is now chief of Oregon's Forest Grove Police Department. But the share of women working as law enforcement officers, especially in rural areas, hasn't changed much over the two decades she rose through the ranks.

Attracting women to law enforcement has become a timely concern as police departments across the country face a backlash over deaths at the hands of their officers. Women are less likely to use excessive force and less likely to engage in high-risk pursuits, research from the National Center for Women and Policing has shown.

"There's fewer complaints and less in civil liability," said former Portland Police Chief Penny Harrington, the center's founder.

Yet after quick growth in the '70s and '80s, the share of women in U.S. law enforcement hit a plateau at just above 10 percent and barely budged from 1996 through 2014, federal data show. Some researchers and police administrators have begun to wonder whether it's a sign that the pool of women interested in the profession has been tapped out.

"It's simply possible that we have found a saturation point," said AnnMarie Cordner, a professor of criminal justice at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. "Just because the population is 50 percent women doesn't mean that 50 percent are interested in law enforcement."

But departments under court order to diversify their ranks have managed to dramatically increase the share of female officers by changing their recruitment strategies. Harrington helped Los Angeles Police Department hire dramatically more women when the Department of Justice intervened following Rodney King's beating.

Researchers have found women perform as well as men when it comes to patrol productivity, agency commitment and the frequency with which force is used. And some female crime victims feel more comfortable speaking with female officer, especially in sexual assault or domestic violence cases.

Low representation of women in law enforcement is not inevitable, Harrington said. "It a lack of will on the part of politicians."

Tiny numbers

Forest Grove defies the norm in a state with a spotty record of increasing the ranks of female officers in recent years.

Oregon stood out when Portland hired Lola Baldwin as a detective in 1908. But Schutz is still one of only five female chiefs in Oregon, according to an Oregonian/OregonLive analysis of data compiled by the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training. The information was current as of June.

Forest Grove was one of only a handful of Oregon agencies with a sworn workforce that was more than 20 percent female. [See the full list of departments.] With 24 officers on payroll, it was also the largest with a female chief.

Statewide, only 9 percent of Oregon's sworn officers were women. Federal data show a nationwide average of about 12 percent.

A sheriff today would probably provoke more outrage after declaring he "didn't put women on the road," as the North Carolina sheriff told Schutz. But, in fact, many sheriffs in Oregon today don't.

Nineteen of the state's 36 sheriff's offices had not a single female officer outside the jails, the analysis showed. The same is true for few dozen more small agencies scattered across the state.

Certainly, the past two decades have brought some important changes in law enforcement leadership and culture.

"Twenty years ago at a conference, I spoke to a chief that said he would love to hire a lady officer, but he was concerned that his male officers would sexually harass her," said Cordner, the Pennsylvania researcher. "He went so far as to say that the only way he could hire a lady officer is if he could find one who was so ugly no one would bother her."

Attitudes toward sexual harassment and discrimination have shifted, at least somewhat. Federal lawsuits have forced changes to police hiring, including modifications to physical tests with dubious job relevance.

Nonetheless, agencies seem to have hit a limit on female recruitment, prompting researchers like Cordner to question the reason for the plateau.

In 2011, Cordner surveyed female chiefs and officers in parts of the Philadelphia area with few women officers. An overwhelming majority said agencies hired so few women because few applied. A majority said women found other lines of work more attractive.

But in addition, 48 percent of chiefs and 69 percent of officers said they didn't think police agencies recruited women proactively. Nearly half of the female officers -- though not female chiefs -- found local police agencies "male-dominated and not very woman friendly."

It's not that the labor force lacks enough women, or enough women willing to do shift work, or enough women to do dangerous work, studies have found.

What matters more in attracting women: how a department is run.

Agencies committed to community policing, which emphasizes problem-solving and relationship-building, tend to have more female officers. So do police departments that require higher levels of education.

A new generation

The career of Whitney Black, the most recent female officer to join the Forest Grove Police Department, offers evidence of progress.

Black was in a master's degree program when she decided to become an officer four and half years ago. She wanted to solve concrete problems, not abstract ones, and she went to Forest Grove because it was a city small enough that she could come to know the people she serves.

Black gave no real thought to her gender and hasn't had much reason to think about it since.

"They don't call us matrons like they used to," she said. "I don't think I've encountered any negative behavior toward me because I'm a woman."

Black's ponytail made her a favorite for police academy trainers demonstrating the "hair takedown" technique for controlling suspects. But otherwise she wasn't treated differently from male recruits.

"They didn't sugarcoat anything because you're a female, which I think is important because we have to perform at the same level," she said. "If we didn't, it would be dangerous."

Black said some women may shy from the job because they lack confidence in projecting authority or worry about how officers spend their time, concerns bred by TV imagery.

"Not every call you go to is guns blazing and chaos," she said. "The majority of what we do out here is communication-based, just talking to people and solving problems."

The challenge ahead

Moving the needle dramatically on women in policing would require leaders to much more explicitly and aggressively recruit women, experts agree. It also would require a change in police culture.

Police agencies tend to draw heavily from the military and typically recruit at male-dominated events, such as sports games.

, the executive director of the Washington State Criminal Justice Commission, is among the prominent voices arguing that if Americans saw police officers less as warriors and more as guardians, police agencies could draw a different set of applicants.

Harrington also said a militarized image of police can work at odds with the recruitment of women. "After 9/11 happened, I actually had police chiefs tell me, 'We don't have to do that anymore. We're at war,'" she said.

It's possible to hit higher goals. A 2013 survey found that women comprise about 20 to 25 percent of police in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.

Some Oregon departments are trying to change. Gresham sent recruiters to the local tradeswomen's job fair last year. A Gresham captain sent handwritten letters to female athletes at Portland-area universities asking them to consider careers in law enforcement.

Portland runs ads in publications targeted at women. The bureau's website prominently displays images of female officers, and the agency altered its physical exam after noticing the test knocked out women disproportionately.

Addressing a potential recruit's concerns about family may be the most important step.

Black, the officer in Forest Grove, knows that her work will likely mean she won't be home for holidays and that she will miss some of her future child's ballgames.

On balance, though, she thinks the sacrifices are worth it. She can model the values of justice and public service. And she's seen examples of other women in law enforcement who made it work.

Her chief, Schutz, is a mother of six.

"It goes to show," Black said, "you can do this job and be a wife and do normal things."




Vegas hit-run suspect Lakeisha Holloway was lauded for turning life around

by Holly Yan and Tina Burnside

Before police said she intentionally drove onto a Las Vegas Strip sidewalk, killing one person and wounding 37 others, Lakeisha Holloway was publicly honored for turning her life around.

"Boy, have I come a long ways," Holloway said in a 2012 video by the Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center, which helps at-risk youth with education and career training.

"I was a scared little girl who knew that there was more to life outside of crime, drug addiction, lower income, alcoholism, being under educated -- all of which I grew up being familiar with."

Thanks to the non-profit, she went from homelessness to a job with the federal government and "living the grand life."

But now, the 24-year-old faces charges of murder, leaving the scene of an accident, and child abuse or neglect after allegedly plowing into dozens of pedestrians with her 3-year-old daughter inside her car.

What would cause a woman who showed so much hope to do something so savage, as police claim?

"She would not explain why she drove onto the sidewalk but remembered a body bouncing off of her windshield, breaking it," authorities said in her arrest report.

Homeless again

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said it's not clear what may have caused Holloway to "snap."

"We believe that she had some disassociation with the father of her child," the sheriff said,

He said investigators think Holloway had been in Las Vegas for about a week, homeless and living in her car.

"We don't know the percipient event that caused her to snap and/or whether it was planned previously," he said.

Holloway told authorities that before the crash, she had been trying to rest or sleep in her car with her daughter, but kept getting run off by security at the places wherever she stopped, according to her arrest repot.

She wound up on the Strip, "a place she did not want to be," the police statement read. Police said she told them she wasn't under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Witnesses said Holloway was driving down Las Vegas Boulevard before her car jumped onto the sidewalk and started striking pedestrians.

She allegedly drove the 1996 Oldsmobile sedan with Oregon plates onto the sidewalk at different spots. She careened onto the sidewalk at least three or four times, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Deputy Chief Brett Zimmerman said.

Holloway then left the scene and drove about a mile before driving onto the property of another hotel and contacting a security officer, asking that officer to call the police because she'd just hit several people, according to the arrest report.

Driver 'just kept mowing people down'

Antonio Nassar said people scrambled to stop the woman as she drove on the sidewalk.

"The car rolled right in front of me. By the time I looked over to the right, all you could see was (her) driving away, and people were bouncing off the front of the car," Nassar told CNN affiliate KLAS.

"She rode the sidewalk, she came to a stop at the Paris intersection, people are punching into the window. ... She accelerated again and just kept mowing people down."

Another witness, Sofie Kitteroed, told CNN that bystanders rushed to the scene to help bleeding victims.

The person killed in the crash was identified as 32-year-old Jessica Valenzuela, of Buckeye, Arizona.

Holloway's daughter was not injured.

Many questions unanswered

Authorities gave conflicting accounts on whether they are investigating the possibility of terrorism in the crash.

The sheriff said investigators will look into Holloway's background.

"In light of that, and not having those unknowns, we're not 100% ruling out the possibility of terrorism," Lombardo said.

But Zimmerman, the Las Vegas police deputy chief, said investigators have ruled out terrorism.

"This was not an act of terrorism," he said. "We are treating this as an intentional act."

A roller-coaster life

Portland OIC, the non-profit that honored Holloway with a C.A.R.E. Role Model Award in 2012, expressed shock over her arrest.

"She was such a great kid while she was a part of our program," one of the youth employment staff members said, according to a POIC statement.

In her 2012 video, Holloway said, she was homeless in high school and nearly failing all her classes.

But she graduated with a B+ average, went on to college and started working with the U.S. Forest Service.

"Today, I am not the same scared girl I used to be," she said in the video. "I'm a mature young woman who has broken many generational cycle(s) that those before me hadn't."




US Navy, Singapore Police Force promote community policing

by The Navy Region /Center Singapore

SINGAPORE – Navy Region Center Singapore (NRCS) co-hosted a town hall exposition with the Singapore Police Force (SPF) Dec. 15, 2015 to raise awareness regarding crime prevention as a community-wide responsibility.

More than 100 military service members, DoD civilians and family members attended the exposition that was held to assist the SPF in raising awareness of community policing programs and provide the allied military community of Sembawang, Singapore, with safety tips and procedures for crime prevention. The military community, here, is comprised of forces from the U.S., U.K., Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

During the exposition, Community Policing Unit (CPU) officials from the SPF provided a presentation on crime prevention and outlined various crime prevention techniques that are taught by the SPF in communities throughout Singapore. Topics included tips on preventing home invasions, home robberies, snatch theft, and cybercrime.

One such method to help prevent home invasions, home robberies and snatch thefts was implementing the use of a portable alarm. The portable alarm, dubbed a “shrill alarm,” was shown in several different configurations and rigged up on home windows and on purses. Once triggered, the loud sound alerts others to the location of the crime.

For NRCS leadership, the event is more than just learning about Singaporean crime prevention methods but also about fostering and strengthening the relationship between the allied military community in Sembawang and the Singapore Police Force.

“This is a great initiative that we and the Singapore Police Force have coordinated,” said Capt. Scott Murdock, commanding officer, NRCS. “We have built a great relationship with them and we will continue to do our best in maintaining and strengthening that.”

According to Muhammad Hashim, senior station inspector, Community Policing Unit, Singapore Police Force, this was a great opportunity to meet the residents of the Sembawang area and emphasize the importance of community policing practices and inform residents about emergency response procedures.

The Installation Auxiliary Police Force (IAPF) consists of warranted Singapore police officers and is the law enforcement for the military community at Sembawang. The IAPF provide services to include security patrols of military housing areas, entry and access security to a headquarters building and vehicle and walk-through entry control point security as well.

With Singapore's overall crime cases numbering 16,575 between January and June of 2015, according to an SPF mid-year crime brief news release, and among a population of nearly 5.5 million people, the opportunity for criminal activities against all Singaporean residents remains a potential threat.

With this, NRCS leaders will continue to work closely with the SPF in hosting future community outreach events such as these to help spread the word that crime prevention is a shared responsibility.




Cali. officers seek to build public trust through new program

The CORE program, or Community Outreach Resources & Enforcement, was launched Oct. 1

by Monica Vaughan

MARYSVILLE, Calif. — Officer Miguel Deleon expected to be chasing taillights for the remainder of his career with the Yuba-Sutter California Highway Patrol.

Instead, for the last two months, he has spent his work days introducing himself to school administrators in the foothills, letting children climb through his patrol vehicle, casing neighborhood traffic concerns and attending fall festivals and town hall meetings in south Sutter County.

He and Officer Greg Gomez are a new two-man community policing team focused on building community partnerships and safety solutions. They still respond, when nearby, to collisions and patrol service calls.

The CORE program, or Community Outreach Resources & Enforcement, was launched Oct. 1 by Capt. Shon Harris in an effort to enhance public trust with a proactive approach to public safety.

For example, Deleon and Gomez are coordinating with administrators at Linda Elementary School to create a traffic safety plan. The process requires them to watch patterns during high-traffic times and identify risks. Another project under the program umbrella is a mentoring program for teens interested in law enforcement.

No additional hires were made for the community policing effort. The two officers were pulled from patrol, Harris said.

The launch of the program comes at a time of enhanced community policing efforts nationwide in response to law enforcement agencies falling under intense public scrutiny after a series of high-profile shootings by officers.

Sacramento, for example, recently launched a new Community Police Commission to "bridge the gaps between law enforcement and the community."

Harris said Yuba-Sutter residents are generally trusting of law enforcement agencies, for which he is grateful.

"But we don't want to be foolish enough to think we live in a bubble," he said.

The Marysville Police Department, too, has increased community-outreach efforts, with the programs Coffee with a Cop and the launch of a Citizen's Police Academy. (Applications are now available at the department for the next free 10-week program that begins Jan. 20.)

Other agencies, such as the Sutter County Sheriff's Department, require deputies participate in a community policing effort, but their programs haven't expanded in recent years, Lt. Daniel Buttler said.

But the philosphy of community policing rests on the belief that citizens also have a responsibility to participate in the police process, according to the National Crime Prevention Council.

"It also rests on the belief that solutions to today's contemporary community problems demand freeing both community residents and law enforcement to explore creative ways to address neighborhood concerns beyond a narrow focus on individual crimes," the council said.

New contacts that wouldn't have otherwise been made have been created through the new program, and the officers are staying busy.

"Since the program has evolved, it's opened a lot of doors," Gomez said.

And that's what law enforcement officers want — open communication, especially when the success of investigations often hinges on the cooperation of civilian witnesses.



Counterterrorism Cops Try To Build Bridges With Muslim Communities

by Martin Kaste

The attack that killed 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif., earlier this month raised the alarm over so-called homegrown terrorism, attacks that aren't necessarily coordinated from overseas.

A few days after the massacre, FBI Director James Comey described the challenges of detecting those threats in a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"Critical to our finding those people who are radicalizing in their homes is tips from the community," Comey said. "We have worked very, very hard to develop good relationships in communities all across the country — especially in Muslim communities."

But the FBI is regarded by many American Muslims with suspicion, in part because of misgivings about a legacy of federal sting operations that are perceived by some as efforts to entrap Muslims into planning theoretical terrorist attacks.

Local law enforcement, on the other hand, says it is well-positioned to develop relationships with Muslim communities.

"It's no different than how we work with young people who want to join gangs," says Sheriff Rich Stanek of Hennepin County in Minnesota, where local law enforcement has been struggling with the question of how to dissuade the youth of recent Somali immigrants from becoming radicalized. "We want to know what's happening in the communities, and that's all based on trust. Local law enforcement has to trust them, and in order for that to happen, they have to be able to trust us."

This approach is often called countering violent extremism, or CVE, a philosophy built on the idea that law enforcement can help isolated communities such as recent immigrants to feel more invested in society and, as a result, make them more likely to detect threats such as self-radicalization.

"In a sense, it's an adaptation for counterradicalization purposes of good old-fashioned community policing methods," says Anders Strindberg of the Naval Postgraduate School's Center for Homeland Defense and Security. Local police are ideally situated to bring marginalized immigrant communities into the mainstream, he says — and make them more likely to report threats.

"I know this sounds kind of crunchy," he says, "but what you really need are communities that feel a level of trust and integration that allows them to reach out."

This philosophy is officially part of the federal government's anti-terrorism strategy, but Strindberg says it's been hampered by an internal struggle over whether the FBI or Homeland Security should take the lead and over what the role of local police should be. Strindberg says that debate has been "vitriolic" and has wasted valuable time.

There's been skepticism among Muslims. "If there is such a program — which I don't believe there is in the United States — it's an idea, it's a framework," says Salam Al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. Marayati says CVE suffers from being too vague about its goals. He wants to make sure these friendly, relationship-building cops don't start asking questions about religion or social customs. And, he says, people need to be clear about what should be reported to police and what shouldn't.

"I mean, if it's stockpiling ammunition in somebody's apartment and buying explosives, of course they should report that kind of behavior. But if it's just about how a person is dressed, or how a person is religious, then no," Marayati says.

While some local police have embraced the CVE concept with community engagement officers, Strindberg says those efforts are often hard to maintain, in part because they're hard to quantify.

"The problem with community policing is the metrics are terrible," he says. "The metrics are not about tangible achievements in the sense that a lot of bureaucracies want to have available to them, but rather it's about things that didn't happen."

Still, some cities are pressing forward with this approach. The Los Angeles Police Department's counterterrorism bureau has officers who are dedicated primarily to building relationships with what they call the city's "diaspora" communities. Shawn Alexander, one of those officers, makes a point of telling the people he works with that he's not focused on investigations — even though he's part of counterterrorism. He and his partner, Officer Ashley Jimenez, work in community engagement.

"We're totally separated from our investigators. The hunters and pursuers, we don't engage with them, they don't engage with us," he says. A practicing Muslim, Alexander says that when he visits a mosque or a madrassa in the LA area, he wants to make it clear that he's not there to spy.

"If we're there for information-gathering or investigation purposes or we're trying to get information on the community, it's kind of a slap in the face of the community," Alexander says. "It's like telling the community we're here because we think something is going to happen here. But that's not why we're there."

Does he believe this approach has prevented radicalization or violence? It's impossible to know, Alexander says, but he is convinced of the value of approaching these communities in the role of a public servant and not an investigator.




1 dead after driver plows into dozens of pedestrians on Vegas Strip

by Greg Toppe

Police say one person was killed and dozens more injured when a woman, apparently intentionally, drover her vehicle onto the sidewalk and plowed into pedestrians on Las Vegas' famous Strip late Sunday.

The female driver was taken into custody after the incident, which police say may have been intentional but was not an act of terrorism.

Few details about the woman were immediately known.

Lt. Peter Boffelli said the vehicle was in the northbound lanes of Las Vegas Boulevard near Bellagio Way when the driver went onto the sidewalk in front of the Paris Hotel & Casino, slamming into dozens of pedestrians.

According to Las Vegas Police Capt. Brett Zimmerman, the driver went onto the sidewalk and hit pedestrians at two different points. Zimmerman told NBC News she then drove the 1996 Oldsmobile to a hotel and left it in a parking space.

A three-year-old toddler who was in the car and was unharmed, as was the driver, Zimmerman told the Associated Press.

Lt. Dan McGrath said police were working to determine if the woman was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Six of the pedestrians are in critical condition, 26 others were injured and four people were "treated and released," Boffelli said.

Clark County Fire officials first received a call about the incident at 6:38 p.m. PT.

"This is a huge tragedy that has happened on our Strip," Boffelli said.



New Hampshire

Threat shuts Nashua schools

by Antonio Planas and Jack Encarnacao

NASHUA, N.H. — Schools in this city on the Massachusetts border were ordered closed today after “a detailed threat of violence to harm students and staff” was emailed to a principal, officials said, prompting an FBI investigation that comes amid heightened tensions after a similar threat shut down Los Angeles schools last week.

“It was a specific threat of violence that was directed towards the two high schools ... it was specific for a place and a time,” Nashua police Lt. Kerry Baxter told the Herald last night. “We are working with some other state and federal law enforcement partners to try and backtrack this and
determine the credibility of the threat.”

The threat, which police declined to specify, was emailed to a Nashua school principal who happened to be checking his work email yesterday, and police were soon notified, Baxter said. Officials declined to identify the principal, but said he was not a principal at one of Nashua's two high schools.

Asked if police know who sent the email, Baxter said, “We're looking into several different aspects of the incident.” She said the FBI is
assisting the investigation.

Nashua Superintendent Mark Conrad told the Herald last night it was a “difficult decision” to close all 17 schools with 11,400 students, but said the emailed threat specifically mentioned how “they would bring about violence on our students,” so he decided to err on the side of caution.

“They were very specific in saying it would occur tomorrow. They talked about how they would bring about violence on our students,” Conrad said. “And so, given that level of detail and the fact that working with our police department, we weren't able to say it was not a credible threat, we decided to err on the side of caution and close all of our schools.”

Emailed threats last week to Los Angeles and New York schools prompted LA to shut down for a day, holding some 640,000 students out of classes, while New York stayed open. Authorities said that email appeared to be a hoax and wasn't credible.

“I think that speaks to the difficulty of these decisions. ... Each district has to make its own decision. We make the best decision we can with all the information in front of us,” Conrad said.

Conrad said he expects the schools to reopen tomorrow.

“It's definitely a tightrope,” Baxter said. “We have to keep in mind the safety of everybody involved — students, teachers, other workers in the buildings. It's a tough decision to make. These seem to be going on throughout the country. They seem to be happening more frequently and they're very disruptive on many different levels.”

Gov. Maggie Hassan issued a statement last night saying state police and emergency management officials are working closely with Nashua police and the FBI.

“Public safety is any government's most important responsibility — especially at our schools — and we are closely monitoring the situation in Nashua,” Hassan said. “We will continue to monitor the situation and work together at the state, local and federal levels to investigate the threat and keep our communities safe.”




Can community policing efforts work in Madison?

by Melissa Behling

Last month, community members asked the police to find a better way to spend money than on body worn video cameras. They asked for money that would be spent on outfitting officers with cameras and on digital storage space to instead go towards building up communities of color.

Matthew Braunginn is the co-founder of the Young Gifted and Black Coalition, a group dedicated to ending state violence against low-income communities of color. He said cameras aren't the solution.

“We're going to be spending millions of dollars nationwide in giving police another tool in their large and ever-growing tool bag that we keep spending money on instead of addressing the root causes of crime and poverty,” Braunginn said.

The Madison Police Department has been working to mend relations with the community for several years now. It has several programs encapsulated in its Community Outreach department, under the leadership of Captain Kristen Roman.

These include programs like Amigos en Azul, where police officers work to dissolve cultural barriers and open lines of communication with the Latino community. Another is the mental health liaison program to help divert individuals with mental illnesses from the prison system and to connect these individuals with mental health resources.

The Madison Police Department also received a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to establish a Community Outreach and Resource Education team. The team will be formed in June 2016, with one sergeant and two officers hired onto the team immediately after graduating from the Academy. MPD also applied and received a second grant to add three more officers to the team in June 2017.

“This team was born out of wanting to reduce some of the disparities in terms of the disparate impact on communities of color,” Capt. Roman said. “We are looking to improve legitimacy in communities of color, improve trust and perceptions of fairness and procedural and restorative justice initiatives.”

But these programs have some unintentional drawbacks.

Issues with community policing

Braunginn says Madison Police Chief Mike Koval takes pride in community policing, but community members see this as over-policing black neighborhoods.

“They have these officers involved and active in talking to the black community, but you don't see this in white communities,” Braunginn said. “It's what you'd call a ‘velvet' glove way to police, instead of a baton. It's a less aggressive looking way to over-police neighborhoods.”

Braunginn said the federal government developed community policing in the 1970s to suppress social uprisings before they occurred.

“Even in this so-called ‘velvet glove' way, it's just another form of social control targeted at the black community to have better eyes and ears on what's going on and not to have such a brute way to squash social uprisings,” he said. “But the goal is still the same.”

In addition to distrust generated from over-policing in black neighborhoods, the racial disparities in incarceration rates indicate deeper systemic problems. African Americans make up 4.8 percent of the population in Dane County but account for 43 percent of its jail system.

Programs intended to decrease this arrest disparity, like implicit bias training, have been found to be largely ineffective, nationwide.

Leland Pan, Dane County Board supervisor for District 5, said the officer involved homicides of Paul Heenan in Nov. 2012 and Tony Robinson in March 2015 was a wake-up call for Madisonians.

“Madison sees itself as a very progressive city where, theoretically our police force is one that is less forceful or perhaps less punitive than other police forces,” Pan said. “We have this idea of our police force, and you can certainly make an argument that to a certain degree that is probably true compared to other police departments.”

Pan said the shooting of Paul Heenan and Tony Robinson meant that the “self-image might be a myth.”

“We have the same issues here that we have everywhere when it comes to police brutality and racial disparities. These are bigger issues than just the culture of our city or the political views of our community,” he said. “This is a systemic issue that this city faces alongside the rest of the country.”

What can be done?

With these officer-involved homicides fresh in the community's mind, this distrust is a large and complicated issue to address – especially when neither officer was charged.

But community leaders, like Braunginn, have offered solutions to solving the bitter feelings.

“What Young, Gifted and Black has been calling for is community control over the police,” he said.

Braunginn said this would look like a non-elected, rotating community board consisting of people who are most affected by police practices who would decide what policing would look like in their individual neighborhood.

“That doesn't really fix the problems of trust, but it fixes the power and that is really the biggest problem,” he said.

Braunginn then quoted Stokely Carmichael, the “Honorary Prime Minister” of the Black Panther Party: “If a white man wants to lynch me, that's his problem. If he's got the power to lynch me, that's my problem. Racism is not a question of attitude; it's a question of power.”




CHP team seeks to build public trust

by Monica Vaughan

Officer Miguel Deleon expected to be chasing taillights for the remainder of his career with the Yuba-Sutter California Highway Patrol.

Instead, for the last two months, he has spent his work days introducing himself to school administrators in the foothills, letting children climb through his patrol vehicle, casing neighborhood traffic concerns and attending fall festivals and town hall meetings in south Sutter County.

He and Officer Greg Gomez are a new two-man community policing team focused on building community partnerships and safety solutions. They still respond, when nearby, to collisions and patrol service calls.

The CORE program, or Community Outreach Resources & Enforcement, was launched Oct. 1 by Capt. Shon Harris in an effort to enhance public trust with a proactive approach to public safety.

For example, Deleon and Gomez are coordinating with administrators at Linda Elementary School to create a traffic safety plan. The process requires them to watch patterns during high-traffic times and identify risks. Another project under the program umbrella is a mentoring program for teens interested in law enforcement.

No additional hires were made for the community policing effort. The two officers were pulled from patrol, Harris said.

The launch of the program comes at a time of enhanced community policing efforts nationwide in response to law enforcement agencies falling under intense public scrutiny after a series of high-profile shootings by officers.

Sacramento, for example, recently launched a new Community Police Commission to "bridge the gaps between law enforcement and the community."

Harris said Yuba-Sutter residents are generally trusting of law enforcement agencies, for which he is grateful.

"But we don't want to be foolish enough to think we live in a bubble," he said.

The Marysville Police Department, too, has increased community-outreach efforts, with the programs Coffee with a Cop and the launch of a Citizen's Police Academy. (Applications are now available at the department for the next free 10-week program that begins Jan. 20.)

Other agencies, such as the Sutter County Sheriff's Department, require deputies participate in a community policing effort, but their programs haven't expanded in recent years, Lt. Daniel Buttler said.

But the philosphy of community policing rests on the belief that citizens also have a responsibility to participate in the police process, according to the National Crime Prevention Council.

"It also rests on the belief that solutions to today's contemporary community problems demand freeing both community residents and law enforcement to explore creative ways to address neighborhood concerns beyond a narrow focus on individual crimes," the council said.

New contacts that wouldn't have otherwise been made have been created through the new program, and the officers are staying busy.

"Since the program has evolved, it's opened a lot of doors," Gomez said.

And that's what law enforcement officers want — open communication, especially when the success of investigations often hinges on the cooperation of civilian witnesses.




Philly cops honored for talking their way out of danger

The officer received awards for talking their way out of a tense, dangerous situation that could have ended in bloodshed

by David Gambacorta

PHILADELPHIA — The guy holding the butcher knife had a simple mantra that he kept repeating to the two Philadelphia Police officers in front of him: "If you don't shoot me, you're going to regret it."

This was back in August, on a steamy day on Warnock Street near Somerset in North Philly.

Officers Brian Nolan and Anthony Santulli kept their eyes on the unhinged man, while his relatives wailed in the background, begging the cops to help him, not hurt him.

So Nolan, 26, and Santulli, 24, started talking. Five minutes turned into 10. The guy gave up the knife, and the young cops took him to Temple University Hospital's Episcopal Campus for a mental-health evaluation.

For talking their way out of a tense, dangerous situation that could have ended in bloodshed, Nolan and Santulli received awards for "Tactical De-Escalation" during a merit ceremony yesterday at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 5's headquarters.

Scores of cops received awards for bravery, heroism and lifesaving acts. But Nolan and Santulli - who work in North Philly's 22nd District - were among 23 officers recognized by the Police Department for their de-escalation skills, marking the first time that such efforts were singled out for praise.

"I think in today's world it's very important," Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said after the ceremony ended.

"Police officers have been de-escalating situations for decades, but they've done so without any real recognition. So we're actually a little behind the curve."

Ramsey said the honored cops could have legally used deadly force to resolve the conflicts, all of which involved people who were armed with either handguns or knives - and, in some cases, were also mentally ill.

"If it's a person who needs mental-health treatment, they don't need a bullet," he said. "If they come at you and try to take your life, that's a different story. But if there's a way in which we can get it resolved and get them the help they need, it's better for everybody."

Nolan also received a valor award - named after the late Sgt. Robert Wilson III, who was gunned down in March by armed robbers in a North Philly GameStop - for apprehending a man who shot at him several times.

Officer William Barr was also among the cops who received de-escalation awards.

Barr, who works in the 25th District, showed up at the scene of a car accident in North Philly on a cold, rainy day in October, and encountered a knife-wielding man who darted into a nearby alley.

"He was emotionally distressed, and held the knife to his throat," said Barr, 35.

"I tried to be emotionally intelligent about it and build some sort of rapport with him. It just seemed like he needed a friend."

Barr stood in the rain for 40 minutes and steered the conversation to light topics, like late-night talk-show hosts. The man eventually calmed down, and gave up the blade he'd been clutching.

"I just wanted him to know I was a person," Barr said. "I had to convince him that I wasn't there to hurt him, that we could get through it together."




Ore. foot patrol engages youth, reduces crime

What if we were to treat people living on the street as stakeholders in the community as well?

by Sergeant Jim Quackenbush

PORTLAND, Ore. — Twenty-first century policing in the United States is experiencing a crisis of sorts – as overall crime rates continue to hover near their lowest levels in 50 years, society's fear of crime is through the roof. The average street cops' cognitive dissonance boils over as traditional law enforcement methods repeatedly prove ineffective when applied to present day community expectations regarding social disorder.

The shop merchants, the neighborhoods, and the corporate leaders want something done about the people on the street experiencing homelessness that ‘make them feel unsafe'. So they call the police. The cops do what they have been trained to do thus far; arrest, cite, or utilize other coercive power found on their legal tool belt. Until now.

The officers of the Portland Police Bureau's Foot Patrol came together with a common desire to try something new. Tired of banging their heads against the wall and pushing the revolving door of the criminal justice system, they decided to throw out the rule book and focus on relationship building.

What if we were to treat people living on the street as stakeholders in the community as well? What if we were to really get serious and truly, honestly interface with the social service providers? What if we got to know people on the street by first name, worked on consensus building, diplomacy, and buy-in to make the community a better place for everyone? What if we reserved our use of power for the true law breakers among the homeless population?

Against a tide of cynicism from their peers, the officers of the Foot Patrol applied this approach diligently for the summer months of 2014. Afterward there was an air of success. The relationship-building approach had resulted in a huge amount of support and accolades from all involved: the businesses, the residents, the social service providers, and the people experiencing homelessness themselves. The summer of 2014 in Portland, Oregon was regularly referred to as the “best summer ever” (as opposed to the “worst summer ever” of 2013), at least anecdotally.

That's all well and good, but what did the hard numbers show? Statistics were compared for the two areas the Foot Patrol focused on, and we discovered a significant overall decrease in crime of 20% and 23%, respectively. In addition, significant numbers of youth connected with services as a result of Foot Patrol officers working in collaboration with local providers like Janus, New Avenues for Youth, and Outside In. Officers were invigorated by the work, and felt pride in their accomplishments. Perhaps best of all, they knew they had truly “made a difference,” which is what all great officers dream of.

As police agencies nationwide struggle with dwindling personnel resources (and we are no exception), programs such as the Foot Patrol are common targets for elimination. They require significant staffing commitments, but the benefits are immeasurable. As we found in Portland, a survey of any neighborhood that has enjoyed the benefit of such an approach will glean overwhelmingly positive feedback. Regardless of what the future holds, as these officers move forward in their careers (and perhaps to other assignments), their basic attitude toward policing has forever been changed. The foundation of all we do, if we are to do it effectively, is in relationships.

Sergeant Jim Quackenbush has been serving the community with the Portland Police Bureau for 17 years, most recently as the Foot Patrol supervisor downtown. Throughout his career, Jim's primary focus has been on community engagement; working with neighborhood associations, businesses, social service partners, and a multitude of non-profit stakeholders.

The Foot Patrol, initially led by Lieutenant Ric DeLand, was recently recognized as White House Champions of Change for their partnership with youth service providers and their work to end youth homelessness.




Crime, and crime scenes, take toll on those hired to respond

by Craig Crosby

Crisis & Counseling Centers are now helping police prepare for that stress and helping them deal with it once it occurs through its Mental Health Resiliency Program, which provides law enforcement stress management and debriefing services in central Maine.

The program looks to help law enforcement officers cope with the stress of the job on two fronts: pre-incident stress management and post-incident debriefing.

The post-incident debriefing is available to first responders exposed to traumatic situations. The sessions help the responders “process events,” said Crisis & Counseling clinician Hannah Longley.

“The post-incident debriefings help officers and first responders process events after they have been involved in a particular incident, such as a suicide or traumatic death,” she said.


Kennebec County Interim Sheriff Ryan Reardon said agencies that responded to the Oakland shooting completed a debriefing that Reardon said was helpful. He said he has attended about four debriefings in the past five years.

“I can attest to the effectiveness of the program,” he said.

Reardon said the Maine Sheriffs' Association offered a stress management class last March. The daylong training drew about 350 officers.

“The culture has certainly changed in the last 20 years,” Reardon said. “Rather than suffer in silence, officers and deputies are encouraged to talk about it.”

Officers daily respond to traumatic situations involving child abuse, serious accidents, sexual assault, domestic violence and death.

“These incidents are frequent for them, and I think over time it manifests itself so the officers may have a hard time dealing emotionally,” said Joseph Massey, chief of the Waterville Police Department, which has received two Mental Health Resiliency Program debriefings.

The Augusta Police Department received its first debriefing in 2013 after a teenage suicide, a particularly stressful incident that contributed to one emergency dispatcher's resignation, recalled Deputy Chief Jared Mills. Crisis & Counseling clinicians lead group discussions and outlined the range of normal reactions to critical incidents.

“Officers have come away from debriefings thinking, ‘I may be quiet or I may not talk, but that's normal after an incident like this,'” Mills said.

The Waterville Police Department at one time relied on its Employee Assistance Program and local clergy to help officers overcome emotional trauma.

“But debriefing in a group setting allows people to feel more comfortable and realize they're not the only one,” Massey said. “People perceive police to be tough-skinned, but we're just like everyone else. It wears you down after a while.”

A 2008 study by the University of Buffalo found that 23 percent of male officers and 25 percent of female officers reported more suicidal thoughts than the general population, according to a Crisis & Counseling release. The same study showed that officers more than 40 years old had a higher risk of a coronary event over a 10-year period compared to national averages.

Crisis & Counseling pre-incident sessions are aimed at reducing those risks by helping officers better deal with their stress.

“We work with law enforcement agencies to provide a baseline and follow up to help officers address and monitor the emotional and psychological impacts of providing law enforcement services, including exposure to some of the most extreme human experiences,” said Crisis & Counseling's Chief Executive Officer Michael Mitchell, who helped design the program.

Longley said the program has been used informally for a couple of years but was recently formalized as a service. Law enforcement agencies contract for the pre-incident one-on-one counseling sessions, which clinicians recommend take place at least once per year. Crisis & Counseling spokeswoman Courtney Yeager said staff do an introductory group meeting, which costs $250, and follow-up individual sessions that cost $150 per person, per session.

“These costs reflect staff time, travel and follow-up,' Yeager said.


Crisis & Counseling provides the post-incident debriefings for free. Agencies seeking the service can contact Crisis & Counseling as needed. “We are working toward developing a contract for debriefing services in the future,” Yeager said.

Longley said she was unable to discuss specifics of the program or how it has helped officers who have gone through it, but she said the feedback has been positive. Longley said physical and emotional stress, not to mention “compassion fatigue,” can wear on officers.

“Officers are human. They have human experiences,” she said. “We are asking them to respond to situations our brains are trained to run from. They override that and run toward these events.”

Research shows that officers in rural areas face different stress than those who work in more urban settings, Longley said. For example, it can take an officer an hour or more to respond to a call in northern Somerset County. Officers sometimes even have to fill up their cruisers with gasoline while en route, Longley said.

Officers have to stay mentally alert the whole time, she said, and may even have the stress of knowing that someone is in danger while waiting for help to arrive.

“There are a lot of differences,” Longley said. “We're trying to encompass all of that. By helping people manage their stress appropriately, we are able to make sure that by the end of their careers they are healthy, happy and able to enjoy retirement.”

Longley said officers are unlikely to seek help for mental health concerns that arise from their careers, often due to stigma.

“But we're starting to see more awareness as research comes out about the impact of stress on physical health,” she said. “Officers are recognizing the connection between a healthy mind and a healthy body.”