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.


May, 2016 - Week 3


Afghan Intelligence Says U.S. Drone Killed Taliban in Pakistan

by Mujib Mashal

KABUL, Afghanistan — The leader of the Taliban in Afghanistan, Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, was killed by an American drone strike, the Afghan intelligence agency said on Sunday.

Some Taliban commanders vehemently denied that Mullah Mansour was present in the area of the strike, which occurred on Saturday near the Afghan border in the Pakistani province of Baluchistan, but a statement from the intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security, was unambiguous.

“Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, the leader of the Taliban group, was killed around 3:45 p.m. yesterday as a result of an airstrike in Dalbandin area of Baluchistan Province in Pakistan,” the statement said. “He had been under close surveillance for a while, until his vehicle was struck and destroyed on the main road in the Dalbandin area.”

The United States did not offer confirmation of its own.

“We are confident, but at this point we do not have indisputable facts that he is dead,” said Brig. Gen. Charles H. Cleveland, a spokesman for American forces in Afghanistan, said on Sunday.

Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking on Sunday in Naypyidaw, the capital of Myanmar, where he was visiting the nation's new civilian government, was the first senior official to talk about the targeted attack. He repeatedly referred to Mr. Mansour in the past tense.

Asked if Pakistan had been kept in the dark about the operation until it was complete — which is what happened with the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011 — Mr. Kerry said he would not say “when we communicated.” But he indicated that he had talked with Nawaz Sharif, the Pakistani prime minister, on Sunday morning, after the strike was announced.

“We have long said that Mansour posed an imminent threat to us and to Afghan civilians,” he said. “This action sends a clear message to the world that we will continue to work with our Afghan partners.”

Mr. Kerry suggested that the attack would not derail peace talks, because he said Mr. Mansour had been opposed to any such negotiations. “He was directly opposed to the peace process,” he said.

Mullah Mansour's death could add to the Taliban's leadership difficulties less than a year after the death of their founding leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, was revealed.

The news could also be a boost to the struggling government of President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan, as the Obama administration has finally carried out what the United States had been reluctant to for 15 years: a strike against the Afghan Taliban in their sanctuaries in Pakistan.

Although the United States has repeatedly targeted leaders of Al Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban in the tribal areas, this is the first time a senior Afghan Taliban leader has apparently been struck on Pakistani soil.

Mullah Hameedi, a top Taliban military commander in southern Afghanistan who confirmed a strike in the border area but denied that Mullah Mansour was there, said: “We are going to persuade Mullah Mansour to publish his audio record to confirm he is alive.”

The strike, carried out by several unmanned aircraft operated by United States Special Operations forces, was authorized by President Obama, American officials said.

Mullah Mansour rose to the Taliban leadership after the death of Mullah Omar in 2013 was revealed last summer. A former aviation minister lacking battlefield expertise, he ascended through the ranks of the insurgents gradually but was seem as a crucial figure in the Taliban's regrouping after an initial defeat following the American-led invasion in 2001. Once he rose to the movement's No. 2 position, he began a cunning campaign of sidelining rivals and creating a monopoly over resources and decision making.

After a very public leadership confirmation last summer in front of large gatherings of Taliban in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan, Mullah Mansour had limited his movements, Afghan officials said. While the reason given to his subordinates was security — he narrowly missed an attempt on his life, attributed to dissidents within the Taliban ranks, in December — keeping the leader at a distance from the commanders followed a pattern that became routine under Mullah Omar.

At the same time, Mullah Mansour's deputies, including Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is largely running battlefield operations, have continued to move freely in Pakistan.

Even as the Taliban operating inside Afghanistan remained a formidable and violent force, Mullah Mansour had difficulties uniting his ranks. He brutally quashed breakaway groups and sought to buy the support of other skeptical commanders, all while maintaining a publicity campaign that portrayed him atop a united command.



Washington D. C.

Secret Service Shoots Armed Man Near White House

by Emma Bowman

The Secret Service says one of its officers shot a man carrying a gun after he refused to drop his weapon, just outside the White House on Friday afternoon.

The FBI, among other law enforcement agencies who continue to investigate the incident, say there's no known connection to terrorism right now.

From the Associated Press:

The armed man approached the checkpoint on E Street shortly after 3 p.m., and ignored repeated orders from the officer to drop his gun, according to a statement from David Iacovetti, a Secret Service deputy assistant director.

The officer fired one shot at the man and the gun was recovered at the scene, Iacovetti said. The man was transported in critical condition to a nearby hospital, an emergency medical services spokesman said.

"No one within or associated with the White House was injured, and everyone in the White House is safe and accounted for," an unnamed White House official said in an email, according to Reuters.

Still, the White House was placed on an hour-long lockdown, where Vice President Joe Biden was reported as secure. President Obama was away playing golf at Andrews Air Force Base, adds the AP. First Lady Michelle Obama's office would not say whether she or the Obama daughters were at the White House at the time.

The incident follows a string of lapses by the Secret Service and calls for changes within the agency to bolster security by hiring more personnel, improving training and boosting leadership, as we've reported. In September 2014, a knife-wielding man scaled the fence on the north lawn and made it past the front door of the White House before being apprehended.

This time, says the AP, "the gunman never made it inside the White House complex, and no one else was injured, the Secret Service said."

The FBI, the Secret Service, D.C. police and U.S. Park Police, who all continue to investigate motive, say in a joint email statement, there's "no known nexus to terrorism."



Fighting Back: An Austin neighborhood pays for its own community policing

by Lindsay Liepman

One neighborhood is paying the price for safety. More than $10,000.

"People have a right to be safe and feel safe," said neighbor Mike Levy.

The Highland Park West Balcones Area Neighborhood pays an off-duty Travis County Constable $60 per hour to protect their kids from speeding cars. But what about the neighborhoods in Austin that can't afford it?

"The neighborhood goes back to the late 1940s, early 50s," said Pieter Sybesma, president of the Highland Park West Balcones Area Neighborhood Association.

From its highest point on Mount Bonnell, the neighborhood has a view of the city that attracts tourists and locals to climb the seemingly never ending staircase to the top.

But the post-war era plots below are battling a modern day dilemma. "There was just an increase in danger and we knew we had to do something," said Levy.

Levy is on the Austin Public Safety commission but has also lived in the neighborhood since 1983. "It's not just doing traffic enforcement. It's patrolling. Being visible. Talking to people," said Levy.

Lt. Jeff Parker works for the Travis County Constable's Office, Precinct 2 and has been hired by the neighborhood association in his off-duty hours to patrol.

Since January, Lt. Parker made 150 traffic stops. 70 percent is cut-through traffic from drivers who do not live in the neighborhood.

There were 199 violations cited. Among them, a speeder was stopped on April 14th and it turned into a drug bust. Marijuana, cocaine, drug paraphernalia, a gun, two knives, baggies and a digital scale were all found.

All of this happening at peak traffic times, before and after school.

"The bottom line is enforcement. You can adopt all the ordinances you want but unless someone is there to enforce it, it's almost for naught," said Sybesma.

Sybesma says the fact that people are willing to donate for the cause, speaks volumes for it.

But the cost is climbing. There were more than 100 hours of patrol last year and already 61 hours this year. The cost tops out at $10,320.

"Why shouldn't all neighborhoods have community policing? It's important," said Levy.

The city paid $200,000 for a study on community policing by independent firm Matrix Consulting. It includes an online survey that ends on Friday, May 20. So far, 1433 surveys have been completed.

You can complete the survey in English: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HM9DTJW

Spanish: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PT6FLDV

and Vietnamese: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/6R6HX86

It asks questions about police response time and availability in your neighborhood. The final study is expected to be submitted to city council in June. It will be used by Austin Police during the budget process. Providing community policing is a priority for APD Chief Art Acevedo.

"The community really is our greatest strength and our greatest force multiplier," said Chief Acevedo in an interview with KEYE TV.



North Carolina

Attorney General Loretta Lynch coming to NC to praise its police practices

This is the second phase of Lynch's national Community Policing Tour

by Greg Barnes

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch is scheduled to spend much of Tuesday in Fayetteville to recognize the work the Fayetteville Police Department has done to improve community relations and bolster its policies and oversight.

"It's just a tremendous honor for us to host her," said John Bruce, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Bruce will accompany Lynch on her visit to the city.

This is the second phase of Lynch's national Community Policing Tour, which is part of President Obama's Task Force on 21st Century Policing initiative. Lynch started this phase in February in Miami Dade County, Florida. She also has visited Portland, Oregon, and Indianapolis and plans to visit Phoenix and Los Angeles in the coming months.

"I look forward to meeting with law enforcement officers, local leaders and residents in the weeks and months ahead to discuss how we can ensure that every American benefits from neighborhoods that are supportive, safe and strong," Lynch said in a news release.

Lynch is scheduled to appear at 9 a.m. at Terry Sanford High School to meet with the Fayetteville Youth Advisory Council; followed by a tour of the Police Information Center at 10:30 a.m.; a collaborative reform roundtable at Fayetteville State University at 2:30 p.m.; and a news conference at FSU at 4 p.m.

Bruce praised improvements made in the Fayetteville Police Department since Harold Medlock became its police chief in 2013.

The department has been a leader in introducing new technologies, including surveillance and body cameras and a real-time information center. It continues to take a hard look at policies involving deadly use of force and other strategies to improve community trust, especially in high-crime neighborhoods. Last year, it became among the first police departments in North Carolina to equip officers with Naloxone, a drug used to reverse prescription painkiller and heroin overdoses.

"Without question," Bruce said, "the Police Department has really made a lot of progress under Chief Medlock's leadership."

Medlock said some of those changes include how police interact with the public, the modification of use-of-force procedures and better transparency, including a comprehensive data portal for public use.

"I believe we have made some pretty remarkable changes in a relatively short amount of time that has created transparency, a sense of collaboration, a sense of trust," he said.

Medlock became Fayetteville's police chief in 2013, largely on the merits of his community policing work while an assistant chief and an officer in Charlotte.

In the years preceding his arrival, Fayetteville was embroiled in a controversy over police consent searches of vehicles. Traffic statistics showed black drivers were being stopped by police three times more often than whites.

In 2012, the City Council prohibited police from searching vehicles unless they had written consent from the driver. A year later, Medlock stepped in with a mandate to build community trust.

Medlock responded by ordering his officers to stop motorists for only the most serious driving infractions, those that can cause injury or death. Vehicle stops have fallen dramatically since then, and the rate of blacks being stopped is nearing the rate for white drivers.

While the issue has brought Fayetteville police national attention, Bruce said it was an unusual request by Medlock that really put the city on Lynch's radar.

While Ferguson, Missouri, and other cities facing racial turmoil were ordered to undergo a Department of Justice review, Medlock requested one on his own.

The complete review was made public in December. Although the department is far from perfect - the review listed 49 problem areas and made 79 recommendations for improvement - Bruce said it underscored the type of collaborative effort Lynch wants to see between the Justice Department and local police.

Bruce said Lynch is coming to Fayetteville "because of their great work on the collaborative reform process," and because "she thinks that Fayetteville should be praised for policy and oversight."

Medlock has spoken twice before the President's 21st Century Task Force on Community Policing, in Cincinnati and at the White House. Mayor Nat Robertson and two Fayetteville residents accompanied him on the White House trip.

Next up, being part of Lynch's community policing tour.

"It is a great thing for the city and for the Police Department to be recognized for trying to do the right things, to try to implement some strategies that will keep our city safe and our officers safe and our citizens safe," Medlock said.




Black Lives Matter group criticizes LAPD for arrests during commission meetings

Disruptions have become common at the board's weekly meetings

by Kate Mather

LOS ANGELES — Angry over arrests at recent public meetings, a group of Black Lives Matter activists gathered outside the Los Angeles Police Department's downtown headquarters Tuesday morning, saying the arrests would not deter their calls for police reform.

About two dozen activists — most wearing signs asking, "Are you going to arrest me too?" — blasted the arrests at Police Commission meetings, accusing the board of infringing upon their free-speech rights and unfairly targeting them for criticizing the LAPD.

"They are setting this city up to be sued," said Nana Gyamfi, an attorney representing local Black Lives Matter organizers. "We ask and we demand that these false arrests stop."

Disruptions have become common at the board's weekly meetings, where activists have spent months criticizing how police use force and calling for the firing of Chief Charlie Beck. The meetings are frequently interrupted when activists chant the names of people killed by Los Angeles police officers. Some people in the audience have aimed personal attacks at the police commissioners, sometimes using racial slurs.

Last fall, the Police Commission implemented a set of rules for attendees, allowing the removal of people who repeatedly disrupt the meetings. The goal, the rules state, was to “establish an appropriate level of safety and efficiency” at the meetings.

The rules warned that attendees who resisted being removed from the meeting room could be subject to arrest.

A handful of activists was removed from the room during Tuesday's meeting for disrupting the proceedings, but the LAPD said no arrests were made.

At least seven people have been arrested during commission meetings since November, either on suspicion of resisting an officer, battery on an officer or refusing to disperse, according to a review of LAPD records.

Last week, Melina Abdullah — a Cal State Los Angeles professor and prominent member of the local Black Lives Matter movement — was removed from the meeting after speaking past her allocated time. Officers then arrested her on suspicion of resisting a peace officer.

As officers removed Abdullah from the room, dozens of activists stood and chanted at the commission, raising fists and cellphones in the air.

“Black lives, they matter here!” the group shouted.



From the FBI

Director Comey Honors Law Enforcement Officers in National Police Week Message

As thousands of law enforcement officers from around the country and across the globe begin to gather in Washington, D.C. in anticipation of National Police Week—which officially begins Sunday, May 15—FBI Director James Comey released a video message to personally express his gratitude for the brave men and women who have given their lives in the line of duty.

“These tragedies remind us that our safety and our freedoms, which we hold so dear, are purchased at great cost,” said Comey in his message. “The memories of these heroes inspire us to do all that we can to ensure that our fellow officers, deputies, troopers, and agents return home safely at the end of their shifts.”

In his message, the Director also acknowledged law enforcement officers who are still wearing the badge today. He recognized the pressures faced while working in communities, but also stressed the importance of outreach and relationship building.

“All of us in law enforcement have to continue to reach out to the communities we serve so that folks can understand better the difficult and often frightening work that we do to keep them safe,” said Comey. “At the same time, we have to continue to listen to their concerns and work with them to build and improve the relationships that are at the center of our success.”



From the Department of Homeland Security

Secretary Johnson Announces New DHS Mission Statement

I am pleased and proud to release to the public today our new mission statement for the Department of Homeland Security:

“With honor and integrity, we will safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values.”

This statement is intended to reflect the views and the values of our employees, and to be in their voice, not mine. Almost 3,000 of our people answered my call for ideas for our mission statement, and we received many thoughtful answers. Across all components, the three words most often invoked in the submissions were “honor,” “integrity,” and “safeguard.” These words are contained in the statement. The word “values” was included to reference, among other things, our missions to preserve and promote this Nation's immigrant heritage and humanitarian spirit, as well as the freedoms and civil liberties we must balance and preserve in the pursuit of our security mission. We wanted to limit the statement to one sentence.

In the development of this statement, I was pleased to consult all three former Secretaries of Homeland Security.

This statement is intended for all our components and all our approximately 226,000 personnel across the entire Department. My hope is that our people will see it as the capstone of our Unity of Effort initiative, and our unifying mission statement for now and long after I am Secretary of Homeland Security.




Youngstown police to get $30K for community policing

The total grant of $400,000 is being awarded through the Office of Criminal Justice Services

by WKBN Staff

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Youngstown Police Department is among 20 law enforcement agencies that will receive up to $30,000 for community policing programs.

The total grant of $400,000 is being awarded through the Office of Criminal Justice Services.

The money is earmarked for initiatives to improve relationships between communities and law enforcement agencies. Examples of programs awarded include: community-policing initiatives; training; juvenile-mentoring programs; education and awareness tools; and evidence-based policing strategies.

“Ohio is becoming a national leader in its efforts to build stronger relationships between police and communities, and the interest we received in these new grants is proof of the willingness of law enforcement to reach out to the communities they serve,” said John Born, ODPS Director and Co-Chair of the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board.

The Youngstown Police Department recently held their annual awards ceremony where Mayor John McNally and Police Chief Robin Lees commended officers for their role in making the city's community policing program a success. Lees said when he took the helm of the department in 2014 that the program was one of his priorities.

All agencies receiving grants have agreed to become certified through the Ohio Collaborative Law Enforcement Agency Certification through the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board.



New York

NYPD adds community policing approach to Bedford-Stuyvesant

by Jay Dow

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT, Brooklyn – Deborah Crump can remember a time when joining the Sumner Houses Tenant patrol was a point of pride.

But these days - it's a chance she says many are not willing to take.

“I think more programs - programs that's been missing from this community for a long time. Programs for the youth, such as the after school programs. A lot of stuff has been missing, a lot of stuff has been taken out of the community, and we need more stuff so our young people don't have a lot of idle time,” said Crump.

Several NYPD Officers gathered in front of the New York City Housing development Monday afternoon handing out flyers offering a reward for illegal handguns.

But starting next month, this reactive presence will be supported with a proactive approach.

Neighborhood Coordination Officers - or NCO'S will be permanently assigned to various areas here in Bed-Stuy, in neighborhoods across the city.

After two recent shootings here at the Sumner Houses, fellow resident Rosalyn says the new plan to beef up community policing is certainly a step in the right direction.

“Lately there have been a lot of shootings and things going that make you feel not too comfortable being out," said Rosalyn, who also lives in the Sumner Houses.

The ultimate challenge - engaging with at risk youth who are in danger of heading down the wrong path.

An NYPD spokesperson tells PIX11: “Neighborhood Coordination Officers will have more "off radio" time to interact with the local community, including the many young residents of the 79th Precinct.”





Public Safety First – Safe Streets and Safe Neighborhoods Mean a Safe Pasadena

"We must prioritize our limited resources to ensure all neighborhoods are safe."

by VICTOR M. GORDO, Pasadena City Council, Councilmember, District 5

Every New Year's Day we welcome the world to Pasadena, and the world catches a glimpse of Pasadena as a cultural destination, center for education, and a great place to eat, work, play, and live. As football and roses fill the air, our commitment to a great quality of life is displayed for all to see, a significant part of which is ensuring that every street and playground in this City is safe and enjoyable. At the April 18, 2016, City Council meeting, I questioned whether Pasadena has strayed from this commitment, and proposed that we must realign the focus of our public safety discussions to prioritize the safety of every neighborhood in the City.

I posed this question because there were a staggering 80 shootings in our City's neighborhoods and parks in 2015. This compares with an unacceptable 38 shootings in 2011 and 43 shootings in 2014. Already this year, as of April 20, 2016, Pasadena experienced 28 shootings.

Over the same period, the number of police officers patrolling our City has dipped to a level that is inconsistent with Pasadena's commitment to keep all neighborhoods safe. While enforcement alone does not ensure the safety of a community, it is an important component to keeping our streets safe. In 2010, Pasadena budgeted for 274 officers, in 2011, our budgeted officers dipped to 251, and our 2016 budget allocated 239 officers to keep us safe—with only 216 currently on the force.

To some, these are just numbers. But our neighbors and I can tell you they are much more than that. For example, when the police department was fully staffed there were two Neighborhood Action Teams (NAT) consisting of five officers and one sergeant. Our NAT officers were on bikes and on foot, on the ground in our neighborhoods which allowed them to develop relationships and partner with neighbors to effectively address issues before problems got out of hand. NAT teams also were effective at addressing persistent problems, such as nuisance properties. With the staffing cuts, we lost our NAT teams. Our Special Enforcement Section, the Police Department's muscle against the worst of the bad actors, dwindled from twenty-three (23) experienced officers to fewer than ten (10). This loss of officers also has meant fewer resources to investigate crime and monitor critical issues in our neighborhoods.

I also posed this question because, even as the shootings have increased, our City public safety discussions have focused almost singularly around the issue of police oversight and a possible police auditor. While I support transparency, accountability, and trust, and agree that these issues must be a part of the public safety discussion, I also ask should police oversight receive priority as the sole and primary issue at a time when we are experiencing such an increase in violence and shootings?

While some have accused me of “derailing” efforts to implement an Independent Police Auditor (IPA), I ask them why I am wrong for posing the question about prioritizing the safety and security of our City residents and doing all we can to stop the violence. Given the lack of resources and increase in violence noted above, I urge us all to look at the facts that the consultants and proponents of an IPA seem to ignore. First, in calendar year 2015, fifty-two (52) complaints alleging misconduct by Pasadena police officers were initiated and processed by the Department. Twenty-six (26) of those complaints resulted from traffic accidents involving police officers. Pasadena Police Department policy dictates that all traffic accidents involving a police officer must result in a complaint investigation of the officer involved. The remaining twenty-six (26) complaints involved alleged officer misconduct. Of the twenty six (26) complaints involving alleged officer misconduct, as of January 1, 2016 nineteen (19) complaints had been investigated by Police Chief Phil Sanchez who has determined that eighteen (18) of the nineteen (19) complaints had merit and were sustained against the officer. A sustained complaint typically results in the issuance of training or discipline and the record of either is entered in the officer's personnel file. As of Jan 1, 2016 this left seven (7) complaint investigations to be completed. This is evidence of a Police Department and Police Chief that take seriously resident complaints, ensures they are investigated, and sustains complaints when warranted. Based upon these statistics, I question whether there is a basis for the City to spend up to five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) a year on an IPA instead of policing when we are experiencing a rash of shootings? As a Councilperson and as a resident in our community, I challenge anyone to dispute the validity of the questions I am posing in our City's public safety discussion.

As I have raised these questions on behalf of my family, neighbors and constituents, I recommend that our resources must instead prioritize the rise in crime experienced in our parks and neighborhoods over the last two years. I have hosted too many community meetings this past year and have heard first-hand the anxiety and instability caused by the rise in violence. Parents have shared their concern about the safety of their family; a 6 year old child asked what we are going to do to keep his park safe. I have heard our neighbors question the resources we as a City are putting forth to address the rise in violence. Having heard these voices, I simply will not discuss the subject of public safety which is solely focused on police oversight. So, I propose that we act on these concerns by working together in a comprehensive approach.

We all should be engaged in the upcoming City Council budget discussions to ensure that the City's priority in the next budget is–Public Safety First!– with a comprehensive plan that includes: 1) staffing the police department at a level closer to 260 officers, including return of the NAT teams and a fully staffed Special Enforcement Section—the retention of experienced officers must be a priority ; 2) staffing parks with Park Rangers/Specialists; 3) ensuring our parks and community centers are properly staffed to provide educational, entertaining and healthy activities; and 4) ensuring our community reintegration programs are properly resourced to support our realignment population. These are just a few ideas to include in the discussion; I look forward to hearing more from my colleagues and our neighborhoods.

With regard to police oversight, I recommend that the City Council receive quarterly public safety reports from the Police Department. The reports should include information related to the number of personnel complaints initiated against Police Department personnel, type of complaint, and the disposition of the complaint. We need not, nor can we, discuss the name of the complainant or of the officer. This reporting will provide transparency and an opportunity for all to hear first-hand how the Police Department receives and processes' resident complaints without the need to spend up to five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000). Based upon the facts developed in this approach, our City Council can better determine if another form of police oversight is warranted.

As we address these important points, our community should begin addressing the broad brush vilification of police officers that has taken root across the nation. We should recognize the community voices that point to policing issues that should be addressed. At the same time, I urge us to recognize that the great majority of our officers are well-trained professionals dedicated to protecting us and simply looking forward to going home safe to their own families every day.

Pasadena is a great City. Let's redouble our efforts to ensure that it shines every day of the year, not just on New Year's Day when roses and football fill the air. The safety and reputation of our City depend on it.




Ariz. sheriff faces prospect of more court oversight

Sheriff Joe Arpaio was found to be in civil contempt of court for violating court orders

by Jacques Billeaud

PHOENIX — As he seeks a seventh term in office, the sheriff of metro Phoenix faces the prospect of greater oversight of his agency from a judge who ruled that the lawman has disobeyed his orders in a racial profiling case.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio was found to be in civil contempt of court for violating court orders, such as letting his officers conduct immigration patrols 18 months after the judge barred them. The decision brings Arpaio one step closer to a possible criminal contempt case that could expose him to fines and even jail time.

The sheriff was put under court supervision after the judge ruled nearly three years ago that Arpaio's officers had profiled Latinos. In response, the judge imposed an overhaul on the agency, including giving officers training on how to conduct constitutional traffic stops.

U.S. District Judge Murray Snow is now considering whether to invalidate several internal investigations into alleged wrongdoing and mismanagement by sheriff's employees and get an independent investigator to re-examine the allegations.

The contempt ruling on Friday said Arpaio deliberately misstated facts last year when he denied in court that he had conducted an investigation of the judge.

It offered a bruising critique of Arpaio's efforts to conduct his internal investigations, saying disciplinary actions are sometimes decided by employees who are biased and have conflicts of interest in deciding such matters.

None of Arpaio's managers were disciplined for failing to carry out the judge's 2011 order to stop the sheriff's immigration patrols.

In another instance, the judge found Arpaio's office conducted an inadequate internal investigation into the failure of managers to properly supervise a problematic sheriff's deputy. The deputy's theft arrest and subsequent suicide led to allegations that officers had pocketed personal items seized from people during traffic stops and busts.

"Nobody was held accountability for the misconduct that occurred in those investigations," said Cecillia Wang, one of the attorneys who pressed the profiling case against Arpaio. "It's definitely critical that people be held accountable."

Arpaio's office had no immediate comment Sunday on the prospect of some internal investigations being voided. The agency reiterated its earlier public statement on the contempt decision that said it was reviewing the decision, disagreed with some of the findings and would work to comply with the judge's orders.

A May 31 hearing has been scheduled to discuss ways to remedy Arpaio's contempt violations.

County officials also are scheduled to tentatively approve $13 million in spending in the coming year for the profiling case. Taxpayers have already spent $41 million in the case over the last eight years.



From the Department of Justice

Roadmap to Reentry

Each year, more than 600,000 citizens return to neighborhoods across America after serving time in federal and state prisons. By issuing this Roadmap to Reentry and working vigorously to enhance federal reentry practices, the Department of Justice reaffirms its view that each and every one of the individuals committed to custody at BOP presents us with an opportunity to turn around a life, avoid a future victim, repair a family, and support a community. All of these individuals deserve the federal government's best efforts to help them start anew when they return home.

The Roadmap to Reentry identifies five evidence-based principles guiding federal efforts to improve the correctional practices and programs that govern the lives of those who will reenter society after incarceration. The Department of Justice takes the view that “reentry begins on Day One.” And, just as important, our involvement does not end at the prison gates. As such, these corrections principles span the cycle of custody and beyond: from intake, to incarceration, through to release. The principles are as follows:

•  Principle I: Upon incarceration, every inmate should be provided an individualized reentry plan tailored to his or her risk of recidivism and programmatic needs.

•  Principle II: While incarcerated, each inmate should be provided education, employment training, life skills, substance abuse, mental health, and other programs that target their criminogenic needs and maximize their likelihood of success upon release.

•  Principle III: While incarcerated, each inmate should be provided the resources and opportunity to build and maintain family relationships, strengthening the support system available to them upon release.

•  Principle IV: During transition back to the community, halfway houses and supervised release programs should ensure individualized continuity of care for returning citizens.

•  Principle V: Before leaving custody, every person should be provided comprehensive reentry-related information and access to resources necessary to succeed in the community.

Read the full version of the Roadmap to Reentry: Reducing Recidivism Through Reentry Reforms at the Federal Bureau of Prisons

Download the PDF | Infographic (PDF)



From ICE

ICE honors fallen law enforcement officers ahead of National Police Week 2016

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) leaders, personnel and invited guests paid solemn tribute to their fallen comrades May 12 in a ceremony at ICE headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The ICE Valor Memorial and Wreath Laying Ceremony is an annual event in conjunction with National Police Week, and serves to honor those employees who have lost their lives in pursuit of ICE's mission.

ICE Director Sarah R. Saldaña underscored the importance of stopping to reflect on those who have made the ultimate sacrifice during her opening remarks at the ceremony.

“We gather to honor our fallen and to provide comfort to their families,” she said. “Their service is so large that it cannot ever be repaid.”

She also described the ICE mission as “difficult, dangerous, and often thankless work,” and emphasized the courage and dedication of those called upon to perform it.

DHS Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas offered his personal reflections of growing up in another country, at a time when those who wore the badge were not always dedicated to the ideals of law enforcement. He offered that it was not until much later, after his family had migrated to the United States, that he saw firsthand how law enforcement is supposed to work. This awakening instilled within him a sense of respect, which ultimately led to his management position within DHS.

The ICE Color Guard started the service with a presentation of the colors. Jeremy Malloy, a staff assistant with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), performed a memorable rendition of the national anthem, having also done so the day before at the ICE Directors Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Chaplain Glenn Torres led the invocation, asking those in attendance to always remember the courage and self-sacrifice of those being honored.

Following their remarks, ICE volunteers conducted a roll call for the fallen. Participants placed a rose for each of the fallen officers beneath the ceremonial wreath, which would later be placed at the ICE Memorial Wall at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Beginning with legacy U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, 50 special agents have given their lives in dedication to service. The most recent fallen law enforcement officer was ICE's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent Jeremy S. McGuire in January 2016, who died in the line of duty in Miami, Florida, in January. His name will be added to the ICE Memorial Wall at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.



From the FBI

Countering Terrorism -- Inside the Mufid Elfgeeh Investigation

A New York man was recently sentenced to more than 22 years in prison for attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)—and an FBI investigation revealed that he was dangerously close to shifting from support to violent jihad on U.S. soil.

Described as one of the first ISIL recruiters ever apprehended, 32-year-old Mufid Elfgeeh was arrested in Rochester in May 2014, just weeks after ISIL had been officially designated a terrorist organization.

Born in Northern Yemen, where he was introduced to radical Muslim teaching at an early age, Elfgeeh moved to Brooklyn, New York as a teenager to be with his father and later relocated to Rochester, where he ran a small pizza shop.

He became increasingly outspoken about his radical religious beliefs—so much so that he was asked to leave three different Rochester mosques, according to FBI agents who investigated the case out of the Bureau's Buffalo Division. In late 2013, a concerned individual in the community—and a trusted FBI source—alerted members of the Rochester Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) about Elfgeeh's actions.

Elfgeeh actively recruited and attempted to send two individuals to Syria to fight on behalf of ISIL. He sent anti-American ISIL propaganda videos to one of the individuals and paid for his passport. He provided guidance about traveling to Syria, along with an overseas contact to coordinate the trip. Fortunately, both individuals were cooperating with the investigation. Elfgeeh also sent $600 to a third man in Yemen to travel to Syria to fight for ISIL.

In addition, he used social media to declare his support for violent jihad and ISIL, and encouraged others to do the same. Unbeknownst to Elfgeeh, though, JTTF investigators were monitoring his every move.

During the 18-month investigation, Elfgeeh started to see himself as more than a facilitator and began discussing targeting U.S. servicemen. “Killing U.S. veterans was justified in his mind,” said an FBI agent assigned to the investigation. “He had stated, ‘we kill them as they kill us.' ” Later, Elfgeeh approached an individual he believed was a fellow jihadist—who was cooperating with the FBI—and wanted to buy weapons.

“He had debts and little money,” said the FBI agent, “but he came up with a $1,000 to buy two handguns and two silencers, money that should have gone to paying his next month's restaurant bills. At that point,” the agent added, “the investigation changed—from a guy who was providing financial support and attempting to recruit people, to someone who was planning an attack. In our minds he was in the final stages of an operation. Nobody gets two guns with silencers for personal protection.”

JTTF investigators arranged for the gun purchase—real handguns that were rendered safe so they could not be fired. When Elfgeeh took possession of the weapons, he was arrested. “We knew we had to get him off the street,” the agent said.

Elfgeeh was indicted on a variety of charges stemming from his terrorist activities, and in December 2015 he pleaded guilty to his role in providing support to ISIL. In March 2016, he was sentenced to 270 months in prison.

The FBI agent who supervised the investigation credits local, state, and federal JTTF partners with their tireless efforts in bringing Elfgeeh to justice and making sure he was not able to hurt anyone. “Everyone in the community recognized that he was a threat to public safety,” he said.



From the Department of Homeland Security

EMS Strong: Called to Care

This week is National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week, and those of us in the Department of Homeland Security are proud to recognize the EMS responders across the country who serve on the front lines of emergency healthcare. These men and women have chosen to answer the call of a career that demands passion, purpose, and heart. Each plays a critical role in our nation's health security.

At the Office of Health Affairs (OHA), we are committed to strengthening the nation's EMS system. We do this by identifying EMS needs and potential solutions, such as drafting federal guidance to help community first responders save more lives in response to improvised explosive and active shooter events.

We are also creating resources to help the EMS community better recognize the medical indicators of human trafficking, in support of the DHS Blue Campaign .

For DHS EMS providers, we are collaborating with components to develop training and peer-support programs focused on managing stress and building emotional resiliency, and are working to enable cross-state recognition of EMS credentials.

Our veterinarians are creating a “first aid” medical care manual for working dogs, and a K9 EMS educational curriculum to support dog handlers' operational efforts.

This past year, I also presented the Chief Medical Officer, Life Saving Award to 34 DHS employees in recognition of their extraordinary actions that directly made the difference between life and potential death.

To all EMS providers who have been called to care, we salute you! Please take care of yourselves so that you can continue to take care of others.




The crisis of ineffective and occasionally murderous policing

by W. Kamau Bell

W. Kamau Bell is a critically acclaimed sociopolitical comedian, featured on Kamau Right Now! on KALW in San Francisco and CNN's "United Shades of America," airing Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

(CNN) On Wednesday a federal grand jury indicted former South Carolina police officer Michael Slager on charges of violating the civil rights of Walter Scott. Scott was a 50-year-old black man who had been pulled over in North Charleston by Slager for a broken tail light last April. Apparently at some point after Slager pulled Scott over, Scott ran.

The officer fired eight bullets at Scott, while the unarmed man ran away. Slager hit Scott in the back five times, killing him. To my mind, Scott probably ran because he was afraid of getting killed by a cop. Irony is nowhere near deep enough a word for this.

Ex-North Charleston officer indicted on federal charges in Walter Scott death

Let's be clear. Michael Slager is being charged with a federal crime, after already being charged with murder by the state of North Carolina. And without a doubt much of the reason for these charges is the fact that the incident is easily seen on cellphone video. Without that video Slager's initial story of fearing for his life because Scott had taken the officer's Taser would have certainly been believed. But we all know that video evidence of police killing (or assaulting) unarmed, non-threatening people rarely leads to those officers doing any significant prison time.

So while a part of me wanted to be happy that Slager was indicted, another part of me knows that indictments — even as rare as they are — often mean nothing. Which means I — and people who look like me — walk around generally feeling like we are just one seemingly innocuous exchange with a police officer away from ending up a hashtag.

All of this was going through my mind when I re-watched the latest episode of "United Shades of America." This episode focuses on policing in America, and not surprisingly, it was really not fun to make ... and even less fun to watch again. I'm a comedian, therefore this show is sorta, kinda supposed to be a comedy show. And while there are certainly funny moments in this episode — I'm especially proud of my joke comparing cops to mountain lions — the material is not funny at all.

'Racist McShootface' -- George Zimmerman gun auction draws trolls

When we taped the episode last year, it felt like America as a whole was in the middle of actually talking about the crisis of ineffective, oppressive and occasionally murderous policing in this country and how that kind of policing especially affects the black community. A year later we are still in the middle of that conversation. And this is a conversation that the nation has seemingly been having forever in various ways.

The only thing that makes it regularly front page news now is the advent of cellphone video. But I'm old enough to know that video evidence of police wrongdoing doesn't always make a difference. When video of the LAPD beating Rodney King into the ground was released, there was a feeling in the black community of "FINALLY! AMERICA WILL SEE WHAT WE'VE BEEN TELLING THEM FOR YEARS! THE POLICE ARE NOT TREATING US FAIRLY!"

OK, yes! The black people I knew said things much more explicit than, "The police are not treating us fairly," but I figured CNN wouldn't want me to quote the entire NWA song "F--- tha Police" in this article.

By the end of the episode, I just felt cold. "Protect and Serve?" is about policing in America. And we talk about it by spending time in Camden, New Jersey, a city of slightly under 80,000 residents just across a bridge from Philadelphia.

Camden is like a lot of American cities, in that the police force and the community do not have the best relationship. But unlike in a lot of American cities, the Camden police force is actually trying to do something about it. And in the wake of community actions against police brutality like #BlackLivesMatter, protests in Ferguson and Baltimore, and the hunger strike by my hometown's Frisco 5, I am happy to finally see a police department openly admit that they can do a much better job and to also hear them promise they will.

Law enforcement in Camden is turning back the clock to a style of policing that I've seen only in black and white movies. It's called community policing. The idea is that the cops walk the beat, get to know the residents and therefore (hopefully) feel connected to the community. It used to be that in this situation, police actually had to live in the community. And while many officers do live in Camden, many don't.

The idea behind community policing is that if the police force are members of the community — or at least spend lots of time in the community before the s--- hits the fan — that maybe a future officer Slager isn't just pulling over a random black guy. He's pulling over Walter, a guy he knows or is at least familiar with enough to know that he is a good guy who is maybe going through some rough times. And maybe Walter knows this fictional officer enough not to freak out and run from him. Seems like a crazy dream ... but a necessary dream to dream.

Many residents in Camden seem hopeful but tentative in fully turning their trust over to the cops. And on the other side, the cops seem equally tentative. By the end of the episode, I feel like I don't know if this is going to work. It's too soon. In the episode, I say it is a good start, but sitting here watching it a year later, I don't know what "a good start" even means.

Camden seems like it could be Ground Zero for changing the way police operate in black neighborhoods, but it also seems like Ground Zero in that there are blocks and blocks that look like they were set designed for the sequel to "Mad Max: Fury Road."

All that means is that it is critical that good things happen in Camden. There is a lot of civic pride in Camden. And, if anything, that is why I feel like Camden could return to being the healthy and thriving city that it once was. It is, however, going to take a ton of help to bring Camden back. And a lot of the help is going to have to come from the police department. I appreciate that, unlike most police departments, the Camden police understand that improving the relationship with the community starts with them.

My question in this episode is, "Are these the right cops?" When I walked the streets of Camden everyone felt tentative. The police were trying to connect with the residents, but I could tell that it was a directive from on high as opposed to a natural instinct. And many of the residents reacted the way you might react to a poisonous snake who says, "I promise. This time I won't bite you." "WHY SHOULD I BELIEVE YOU? AND WHY ARE YOU TALKING?" I understand that this is a process, but since lives are at stake I am nervous it won't move quickly enough.

I sincerely hope for Camden that these are the cops for the job, but after watching the episode again, I honestly don't know. If they are, we can use them in North Charleston; New York City; Ferguson; Oakland; Cleveland; Minneapolis; San Francisco; Los Angeles; Waller County, Texas; Beavercreek, Ohio ... and honestly, every city in this country.

A few years ago, when I was in New York City working on a TV show, someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around and saw a police officer. I must have jumped a little, because the cop looked a little surprised and said, "I ... I just wanted to tell you that I like your show." I smiled quickly and said thank you, and the officer left. Meanwhile my heart was still doing a Lars Ulrich-style drum solo in my chest. A person nearby who saw the whole thing go down observed, "I think he wanted a picture, but he changed his mind."

Weirdly, I felt bad. I love taking pictures with people who like my work. I'm happy to do that easy thing for anybody; at least that's what I thought until that moment. Apparently, the officer saw a TV star, and I saw nothing but blue. In that moment, I forgot that I was even a comedian. I just knew I was a black man, and cops (especially ones from New York City) have reputations for taking more than black people's pictures. I felt myself tense up. I was preparing for the worst in that moment. Which seems crazy to me, but it's not, because plenty of black people have been killed at the hands of cops in situations not much different than that.



Washington D. C.

Obama to award Medal of Valor to 13 police officers

by Gregory Korte

WASHINGTON — President Obama will award the nation's highest honor for law enforcement to 13 police officers Monday, recognizing officers who put themselves in harm's way — one fatally — to protect citizens.

In a ceremony in the East Wing of the White House, Obama will present the Medal of Valor to officers who "have exhibited exceptional courage, regardless of personal safety, in the attempt to save or protect human life."

The Public Safety Officers Medal of Valor was established by President Clinton by executive order in 2000, and then officially recognized by Congress in 2001.

Those being awarded the medal are:

Officer Mario Gutierrez, Miami-Dade, Fla., for subduing a knife-wielding assailant who attempted to set off a massive gas explosion that could have resulted in multiple fatalities.

Patrolman Louis Cioci, Johnson City, N.Y., for pursuing and apprehending a gunman who had killed a fellow officer at a crowded hospital, thereby saving the lives of employees, patients, and visitors.

Officers Jason Salas and Robert Sparks and Captain Raymond Bottenfield, Santa Monica, Calif., for placing themselves in danger to save the lives of students and staff during a school shooting on the campus of Santa Monica College.

Major David Huff, Midwest City, Okla., for resolving a hostage situation,. saving the life of a two-year-old girl after negotiations deteriorated with a man holding the child captive at knife point.

Officer Donald Thompson, Los Angeles, Calif., for crossing two freeway dividers and enduring first- and second-degree burns while pulling an unconscious man to safety from a car moments before it became engulfed in flames.

Officer Coral Walker, Omaha, Neb., for single-handedly incapacitating a man who had killed and injured multiple victims on a shooting spree.

Officer Gregory Stevens, Garland, Tex., for exchanging gunfire at close range and subduing two heavily-armed assailants, thereby preventing a mass shooting.

Sergeant Robert Wilson III, Philadelphia, Pa., for drawing fire during an armed robbery, and suffering a fatal wound as he kept store employees and customers safe.

Officer Niel Johnson, North Miami, Fla., for pursuing a man who had shot a Miami police officer and two other innocent bystanders, withstanding fire from an assault weapon, and apprehending the assailant.

Special Agent Tyler Call, FBI, for helping to rescue a woman from her ex-husband, who was holding her at gunpoint.

Deputy Joey Tortorella, Niagara County, N.Y., for confronting and subduing a gunman who had shot and wounded his parents inside their home, and preventing him from threatening a nearby elementary school.



Washington D. C.

Once unthinkable in US, drug shoot-up rooms get serious look

One center in Sydney is funded by police-seized proceeds

by David Klepper

WASHINGTON — Across the United States, heroin users have died in alleys behind convenience stores, on city sidewalks and in the bathrooms of fast-food joints — because no one was around to save them when they overdosed.

An alarming 47,000 American overdose deaths in 2014 — 60 percent from heroin and related painkillers like fentanyl — has pushed elected leaders from coast to coast to consider what was once unthinkable: government-sanctioned sites where users can shoot up under the supervision of a doctor or nurse who can administer an antidote if necessary.

"Things are getting out of control. We have to find things we can do for people who are addicted now," said New York state Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, who is working on legislation to allow supervised injection sites that would also include space for treatment services. "The idea shouldn't be dismissed out of hand. I don't see anyone else coming up with anything new and innovative."

Critics of the war on drugs have long talked about the need for a new approach to addiction, but the idea of allowing supervised injection sites is now coming from state lawmakers in New York, Maryland and California, along with city officials in Seattle, San Francisco and Ithaca, New York, who note that syringe exchanges were once controversial but now operate in 33 states.

While such sites have operated for years in places such as Canada, the Netherlands and Australia, they face significant legal and political challenges in the U.S., including criticism that they are tantamount to waving a white flag at an epidemic that should be fought with prevention and treatment.

"It's a dangerous idea," said John Walters, drug czar under President George W. Bush. "It's advocated by people who seem to think that the way we should help sick people is by keeping them sick, but comfortably sick."

But proponents argue such sites are not so radical outside the U.S., pointing to examples where they offer not only a place to shoot up, but also health care, counseling and even treatment beds. In many cases, the users are there to shoot up heroin or dangerous opioids like fentanyl, though some take painkillers in pill form.

At Sydney's Medically Supervised Injecting Centre, more than 5,900 people have overdosed since it opened in 2001. No one has died. It's the same at Insite in Vancouver, British Columbia. About 20 overdoses happen there every week, but the facility, which is jointly operated by a local nonprofit and the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, has yet to record a death.

"A big fat zero," said Insite site coordinator Darwin Fisher.

Sydney's facility is tucked between a hostel and a Chinese restaurant in Kings Cross, the city's red-light district. Aside from the security guard posted just inside the front door, it looks like a typical health clinic.

At least two staffers, including a registered nurse, monitor the injection room. They are not allowed to administer drugs, though sterile needles are provided. If a patient overdoses, the nurse delivers the antidote Narcan, which quickly reverses the overdose.

After users get their fix, they head to a second room with a decidedly warmer feel. Colored Christmas lights hang from the ceiling; books and magazines line the shelves. Clients can relax with a cup of coffee or tea or talk to staff. Some stay for 15 minutes; others spend hours. They exit through a back door to protect their privacy.

The center opened on an 18-month trial basis following a sharp increase in heroin use in Sydney. The trial was repeatedly extended by government officials until 2010, when it was granted permanent status. It's run by the social services arm of the Uniting Church and is funded by police-seized proceeds of various crimes.

A clinic in Amsterdam — one of three injection sites in the Dutch capital — goes even further, distributing free heroin to long-term addicts as part of a government program created for hardened addicts who might otherwise commit a crime to pay for their fix.

About 80 users visit up to three times a day. Most are men, and the average age is 60. Many began using in the 1970s and 1980s.

"We would ideally like them to cut back their use," said Fleur Clarijs, a doctor at the facility.

But, she said, the main objective of the facility is to reduce risk to users — and their effects on the community.

In Vancouver's seedy Downtown Eastside neighborhood, Insite offers patients treatment services just up the stairs from where they shoot up. About a third of Insite's visitors request referral to a detox program, the clinic said.

A woman who gave her name as Rhea Jean spoke to The Associated Press after recently injecting herself there. She felt nauseous and ran outside to the curb to vomit. Her face covered with scabs, the longtime heroin user looks far older than her 33 years.

"It's a great place for active users in full-blown addiction. It links you up to other programs," said Jean, who herself hasn't sought treatment through Insite.

A 65-year-old man who gave his name only as James because he's in a 12-step program that requires anonymity said he has been using heroin since age 22. He was clean for 17 years before relapsing; he said he was sexually abused as a child and spent 23 years in prison.

He keeps returning to heroin, he said, because it provides release from his problems. Insite is the one place he can go and be treated if he reacts badly to the drug, he said.

"They saved my life three times," he said, adding that addiction shouldn't be demonized.

"There's a large section of society that still refuses to accept it as a disease," he said.

The three clinics visited by the AP initially faced opposition from politicians and members of the public but gradually won support, in part because of studies showing reductions in overdose deaths and open-air drug use in the surrounding community.

A 2010 survey of residents and businesses in Kings Cross, for instance, found strong support.

Insite was targeted for closure by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party. The case went to the Supreme Court of Canada, which in 2011 told the government to issue an exemption to the drug laws allowing Insite to operate.

"Insite saves lives," Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin wrote in the decision. "Its benefits have been proven. There has been no discernible negative impact on the public safety and health objectives of Canada during its eight years of operation."

Advocates in the U.S. have long discussed the potential benefits of injection sites — but they point to the tripling of heroin and opioid overdose deaths since 2000 as one reason why the suggestion is starting to get serious consideration.

The deaths of actors Philip Seymour Hoffman and Heath Ledger put celebrity faces on the risks of overdosing alone, and it was revealed recently that representatives for Prince sought help for his addiction to painkillers just a day before the musician was found dead.

In an effort to stay safe, some addicts are taking matters into their own hands. In Boston, after Massachusetts General Hospital equipped security guards with Narcan, the hospital began seeing an uptick in addicts shooting up in bathrooms and parking garages.

Elsewhere in the city, a nonprofit recently set aside a room where addicts can go after using drugs. The users can't inject there, but a nurse monitors those in the room and will intervene in case of overdose.

U.S. federal law effectively prohibits injection facilities, but supporters say that if a state or city were to authorize one, Washington officials could adopt a hands-off approach similar to the federal response to state medical marijuana programs.

Kevin Sabet, a former drug policy adviser to the Obama administration, put the chances of injection sites getting approval anytime soon at zero. He believes supporters want full legalization of all drugs and are exploiting the opioid crisis to advance their agenda.

California Assemblyman Tom Lackey, who served on the California Highway Patrol for 28 years, said he understands that supporters are looking for a new approach. But he has deep reservations about legislation in his state which would create clinics where users could use heroin, crack or other drugs.

"These facilities send a message that there is a safe use, and I don't think there is any safe use of heroin," he said.

In Maryland, state House of Delegates member Dan Morhaim is an emergency physician who himself has administered Narcan "many, many times." He sees his bill for supervised injection sites as just one of many creative approaches that will be needed to solve the heroin problem.

"It's not going to cure everyone," he said. "But moving people from more dangerous behavior to less dangerous behavior is progress."

Marianne Jauncey, medical director at Sydney's Medically Supervised Injecting Centre, said she would prefer better ways to help hardened addicts. Her facility will work to keep them alive until that happens.

"Given their histories," she said, "I think the least that we can do as a society is try."




State deals with trend of elderly abuse cases on the rise

by Michaelle Bond

Paralleling a national trend, nearly 800 cases of elder abuse were reported last year in the Philadelphia suburb of Chester County — a 35 percent jump over the previous year, the county said Friday.

Also Friday, the Pennsylvania Department of Aging published a draft of its State Plan on Aging, a strategic plan it develops every four years to address issues faced by Pennsylvanians age 60 and older. The state has the fourth-highest percentage of that age group in the country.

Among other things, the plan calls for improving data collection on abuse reports, expanding protective services for the elderly, and getting the word out about services available.

The department says more than 20,000 cases of elder abuse were reported in the fiscal year that ended June 30. Officials said that was an increase over the previous years; however, comparable figures weren't available.

County officials and advocates for the elderly nationwide argue that protective resources are wanting even though elder abuse is more common than child abuse.

The two populations “are equally vulnerable,” said Cindy Willison, a supervisor at the Chester County Department of Aging Services.

At least 1 in 10 people age 60 or older is the victim of some type of abuse, according to federal statistics, although research shows the abuse is underreported.

“If people knew about [elder abuse] and knew how prevalent it was, I think people would say, ‘How could you not have the resources?' ” Ms. Willison said.

Elder abuse includes neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and financial exploitation. Most of the perpetrators are family members of the victims, according to federal statistics.

The fact that reported cases of elder abuse outnumber those of child abuse or domestic violence “absolutely shocks people,” said Kathleen Quinn, executive director of the National Adult Protective Services Association.

The number of cases nationwide has been growing each year partly due to increased public awareness and a growing elderly population. By 2030, nearly 1 in 5 people in the United States will be 65 or older, according to census figures.

“I think the sheer numbers are hitting people in the face,” Ms. Quinn said.

This year, Congress doubled funding for the Elder Justice Act, which supports federal and state agencies' efforts to prevent and treat abuse, to $8 million. Advocates say they need more to adequately serve the estimated 5 million older Americans who are victims of abuse every year.

With more funding, the Chester County agency said, it could hire a forensic accountant to help investigate complex cases of financial exploitation, the most common form of elder abuse. Older Americans lose roughly $3 billion each year this way.

A national initiative — the first of its kind — is underway to collect data from each state to collect more detailed information about the numbers and types of elder abuse cases, available services, characteristics of the victims and perpetrators of abuse, and outcomes of cases. A report on the data from the National Adult Protective Services Data Reporting System is expected this time next year.

In releasing its draft report, the Department of Aging is asking for written feedback and plans to hold three public hearings this month, including one on Pittsburgh's South Side from 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday at the Allegheny County Area Agency on Aging office, 2100 Wharton St., second floor.

The state wants to know how it can best increase awareness of elder abuse and protect seniors, said Kirstin Snow, a department spokesman. The department will implement the plan Oct. 1.

May is Older Americans Month. June 15 marks World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, a call to action launched six years ago by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations.