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.


June, 2016 - Week 1



Bridging community, police communication gap important, Danville deputy chief says


Danville Police Department officials met with members of the African-American community to talk about violent crime and community policing Friday evening in North Danville.

About 40-50 residents attended the public meeting held at New Birth Worship Center on North Main Street to provide a chance for the police department to hear what they have to say about the Street Crimes Unit and their concerns.

Deputy Chief Dean Hairston told attendees it was important for department members to get into the community and talk to citizens.

“We ride up and down the street, we interact, but for some reason, we're separated,” Hairston said of the relationship between residents and the police.

“We need to listen and answer questions and develop some lines of communication,” he added.

The city's re-activated Street Crimes Unit is “like a guided missile,” with officers looking for people who commit crimes and taking action, Hairston said. The department previously scaled back the unit in 2014 following tapering violent crime in the city and concerns over harsh treatment after high-profile police shootings of unarmed black men in other cities.

Chief Philip Broadfoot announced re-activation of the unit following a recent increase in violent crime in Danville.

Hairston said each year, Danville sees a spike in violent crime, police address it and it goes down, only to rise again with a new generation of young people hitting a certain age. Society asks people to conform to what the laws say, “sometimes there's conflict in that,” Hairston said.

There has been an uptick in property crimes and violent offenses in the city, but violent crime in Danville and across the nation are on the decline long-term, Hairston said.

“Just because there's a spike doesn't mean things are falling apart,” Hairston said.

A citizen at the meeting asked what happens to police officers whose arrests result in an innocent person going to jail. Police officers are subject to the same penalties as anyone else if evidence shows they are found guilty of criminal acts, he said. There are options in civil court in cases in which officers are suspected of wrongdoing, he added.

Another resident asked how to mend relationships between police officers and citizens who feel they've been treated unfairly by law enforcement.

“The best way to do that is to start talking,” Hairston said.

The worst violent-crime situations are when kids are fighting and the parents do not handle the situation properly, leading to an escalation, Hairston said.

However, the African-American community faces health issues, as well, including diabetes and the need for better nutrition and pre-natal care, Hairston said.

Homicides have two victims, Hairston said — the person killed and the perpetrator who goes to jail. Those acts hurt everyone in the community, the whole human race, he said.

“We've got to start valuing life for everybody,” Hairston said.

The person killed could have made great contributions to society, including curing cancer, he said.

Communities based on religion and education have lower rates of violence and crime, Hairston said.

One problem is people live in communities where they don't know their neighbors, he said.

Police Capt. Tommy Merricks said unit members have been through crisis intervention training and work to try to diffuse potentially violent situations. However, sometimes they escalate and arrests must be made, Merricks said.

“It's a delicate balance,” Merricks said.

Video cameras help provide evidence and keep officers in check, Merricks said.

Apostle Joseph Wooden, pastor at New Birth Worship Center, asked how to address young men who have been taught to see police officers as bad guys.

Hairston said parents are teaching their kids to be scared of police officers.

“We have to break down those stereotypes,” Hairston said.

One problem is most community members don't see police officers unless something bad happens, which creates a negative association, Hairston said.

During an interview before the meeting, Wooden said he is always trying to do something to help the community, which is why he wanted to have the meeting at his church.




Wellfleet's summer officers get an introduction to community policing

by Marilyn Miller

WELLFLEET — What a difference two and a half years has meant to the Citizens for Community Policing.

The group, which was conceived by Kristen Shantz and Dennis Cunningham at their kitchen table, was formed to improve the quality of interactions between police officers and townspeople and to address problems that resulted in part because the officers and the residents didn't really know each other.

Town officials and members of the group now make sure that the summer officers hired to supplement the town's force each year are familiar faces about town.

Last Friday, for the second year running, Citizens for Community Policing welcomed eight seasonal officers, five of them returning for the summer, three of them new this year. All were in the midst of orientation week, and Police Lt. Mike Hurley arranged for members of the citizens group to take officers to their favorite spots around town.

“There has been a big change in community policing in the last two and a half years,” said Ray Squire after Friday's meeting. “Our group is very pleased there has been more outreach, more coming together, more communication of trust and of all good things.”

Changes occurred partly because Wellfleet Police Chief Ron Fisette now requires all of his officers to stop by eight businesses, introduce themselves and ask the owners to give them a call if they need help. Another reason is that Officer George Spirito volunteered to be the police liaison to the senior center. He goes to lunches and coffee there and puts on special programs, said Suzanne Grout Thomas, director of community services. She added that Spirito has done a great job reaching out to the senior community. Fisette, Lt. Hurley and Detective Geraldine LaPence also attend chamber of commerce After Hours events to mingle with its members.

“We think this is all a part of community policing and that it is very important, and that it has been well received by the community,” Squire said.

On Friday, citizens group members drove summer officers to the Wellfleet Sea Salt processing plant; to Walter Baron's Old Wharf boat shop; to Dan Silverman's Pine Point Cabinetry shop; to the Gestalt International Study Center; to Ellen LeBow's art studio; and even to the Wellfleet Shellfish Company's shellfish processing plant in Eastham. After the visits, Officer Desmond Keogh said in his Irish brogue that he really lucked out — he got to ride along in Harry Terkanian's two-seater sports car.

After soup, sandwiches and salads paid for by the Wellfleet Police Association, group members gathered around to present Terkanian, the town's outgoing administrator, with a plaque in honor of his “commitment to community policing.”

The new summer officers include Desmond J. Keogh, born in Ireland, who ran his own construction company in Boston for 20 years before relocating to the Cape with his wife in 2004. He graduated last July from the Plymouth Reserve Police Academy. Leathan Doig, a graduate of the Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School, was a full-time dispatcher for the Falmouth Police Dept. but will work in Wellfleet as a community service officer; Kyle Kochanowicz, a 2012 graduate of Nauset Regional High School, has lived in Brewster all his life.

Returning officers include Nicholas Daley, Scott Higgins, Nathan Hale, Marc Spigel, and Brian Dufresne.

Terkanian told the officers that he was introduced to Wellfleet in 1969 by the woman who would become his wife. He majored in mathematics in college, he said, and the only jobs he could get would have been with a big defense contractor, or with an insurance agency. He went to work for the Wellfleet police as a summer officer instead.

“Back then, what we did was largely respond to fender-benders, we stopped people with taillights out, checked Main Street to see that the doors were locked and assisted with rescue calls,” said Terkanian. “Since then, I've come to realize that policing has changed dramatically and the police department is the default social agency. The resources are not there, so it falls to you folks.”




Report: Half of Ind. police don't report hate crimes data to FBI

281 of Indiana's 535 police agencies, or 52 percent, were among more than 2K agencies that didn't file hate crime reports

by The Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — More than half of Indiana's police agencies failed to file hate crime reports with the FBI between 2009 and 2014, a trend advocates say is troubling and one reason why state lawmakers need to change the state's standing as one of five states without a hate crime law.

An analysis by The Associated Press found that 281 of Indiana's 535 police agencies, or 52 percent, were among more than 2,700 agencies in the U.S. that didn't file hate crime reports in that six-year span. The no-response rate for Indiana is three times the national no-response average of 17 percent — and the third-highest percentage in the U.S. of police departments that didn't file the voluntary reports, behind only Louisiana and Mississippi.

Chris Paulsen, the campaign manager for the gay rights group Freedom Indiana, said crimes against LGBT residents, as well as people targeted because of their religion, ethnicity and other bias factors, go unreported every year in Indiana.

"I'm not surprised they're not reporting because what would they report?" Paulsen said of the AP's findings. "There are all kinds of hate crimes that go unreported because there's no mechanism for reporting them."

Legislation that would have created an Indiana hate-crime designation allowing for tougher sentences by taking into account a victim's race, religion, gender identity and other factors was approved this year by the Indiana Senate, but the House took no action on that bill.

The other states without hate crime protections are Arkansas, Georgia, South Carolina and Wyoming.

Indiana's current lack of such protections shouldn't be a hindrance to police investigations into suspected hate crimes, said Rob Wiley, the president of the Indiana Association of Chiefs of Police and police chief in the northeastern Indiana city of Kendallville.

"If those factors are evident, they're going to be included in an investigation," he said.

But Wiley said there could be some confusion among departments about what to report to the FBI, including whether they should file data even if they had no hate crimes to report in a given year.

All of the 281 agencies that did not file hate crime reports are in relatively small communities. Among the largest is Zionsville, an affluent suburb of about 25,000 northwest of Indianapolis that has one of the nation's lowest crime rates for communities of its size.

Zionsville Police Chief Robert Knox said his department regularly reports crime data to the FBI, but it didn't file hate crime data because it didn't have any over those years.

"We'll absolutely file the paperwork to let the FBI know if that happens. But at this point we've just had none reported to us," he said.

Indiana law includes a bias crime provision that directs state police to collect data on such crimes and publish an annual report. But the numbers in those reports fluctuate significantly from year to year because some police departments don't consistently pass on their data, said David Sklar, government relations director for the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council.

He said those pushing for a statewide hate crime law want an updated definition of what law enforcement should be tracking and a requirement that all Indiana police agencies report data to the FBI.

"Nobody is holding the law enforcement agencies accountable if that data does not come forward," Sklar said.

State Police spokesman Capt. David Bursten said the agency adopted an online submission system this year to "improve the quality of the data as well as submission rates" from police departments. Other changes have allowed for better tracking of departments that aren't submitting bias crime reports, but the impact of those changes won't be known until early 2017, he said.




UCLA shooting renews concerns about classrooms with no locks

The same issue arose during other recent deadly attacks, including one at Virginia Tech in 2007

by The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — When an active shooter alert spread across the UCLA campus Wednesday, some students found themselves in a frightening predicament: They were told to go into lockdown but couldn't lock their classroom doors.

Images of students piling tables, chairs and printers against doors on social media sparked alarm and raised questions — yet it was hardly the first time students at a university or school were unable to lock their doors during a shooting.

The same issue arose during other recent deadly attacks, including one at Virginia Tech in 2007 where students barricaded themselves inside rooms and at Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in 2012 where teachers did the same.

Some schools have installed locks in recent years following attacks, but experts say wider adoption has been hindered by the cost to retrofit doors and local fire codes that require doors to open in one motion during emergencies.

Yet once an active shooter is in a building, most security experts agree getting into a locked room is one of the most effective deterrents against getting injured or shot.

"How many deaths would it have taken for us to address this issue more seriously?" said Jesus Villahermosa, president of Crisis Reality Training, noting that an assailant, knowing police are on the way, usually won't bother trying to access a locked room.

The former deputy sheriff said UCLA was fortunate in that shooter Mainak Sarkar targeted professor William Klug and then committed suicide. If he'd gone on a rampage, he might have easily found students unable to defend themselves.

The university said Friday it was "assessing safety measures" across the campus and will make appropriate changes.

It's unknown exactly how many school and university classrooms don't have doors that can lock from the inside. Villahermosa said the issue is more prevalent on college campuses than K-12 schools.

There are a variety of reasons why a school may not have classroom locks.

Older buildings constructed at a time when classrooms typically contained just desks and a chalkboard — and not the expensive technology many have today — frequently did not include them.

Fire safety regulations for rooms with 50 or more students typically require that doors swing outward and be opened in one motion, meaning a bolt that has to be turned first would be a violation.

Others worry locking doors from the inside in itself could pose a threat. If an attacker walked inside and locked the door, students would be trapped. And the cost of installing new doors and locks can stretch into the millions.

Even when there is a lock, the shooter has often been a student with access to the classroom or building.

"We should be spending more time on prevention than door locks," said Dewey Cornell, a forensic clinical psychologist at the University of Virginia.

The National Fire Protection Association's life safety code adopted in 38 states does not prohibit putting locks on doors, division manager Robert Solomon said. But there are certain types of locks schools must install.

Solomon said the types of locks found in many hotel rooms are an effective example. The door can be bolted from the inside but it opens in one motion when the handle is turned. Locks like those can cost up to $500 to install.

The price rises when the entire door has to be replaced, he said.

"Schools usually don't have a lot of extra capital money sitting around," he said. "But it's something that they're thinking about now."

After previous shootings, some universities have enacted some measures.

Lawmakers in Oregon recently approved $6 million for improvements at Umpqua Community College, including installing additional locks. In 2015, a 26-year-old man shot and killed nine people at the school.

This year, the University of Connecticut announced it was installing new locks on classroom doors. Purdue University, where a student killed one person in a classroom shooting in 2014, has installed locks for all classrooms, a spokeswoman said.

Students and faculty complained about not being able to look doors in both the Purdue and Umpqua shootings.

California State University Fullerton has also started installation of classroom locks.

"If we're asking students and our faculty to shelter in place," CSU Fullerton Police Department Capt. John Brockie said, "we feel that it's important to give them the tools to effectively do that."



From the Department of Justice

Justice Department and Dutch Authorities Announce Simultaneous Enforcement Actions Against International Mass-Mailing Fraud Schemes Targeting the Elderly

Thousands of U.S. Victims Defrauded Out of Over $18 Million Annually

The United States filed a civil complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York against an individual and two Dutch companies that allegedly engaged in multiple international mail fraud schemes that have defrauded elderly and vulnerable U.S. victims out of tens of millions of dollars, the Department of Justice announced. The Department sought a temporary restraining order, which was entered by the court yesterday, as well as preliminary and permanent injunctions to prevent the defendants from further victimizing U.S. consumers.

According to the complaint, U.S. residents received fraudulent direct mail solicitations that falsely claimed that the individual recipient had won, or would soon win cash or valuable prizes or otherwise come into great fortune. Victims sent payments through the U.S. and international mail systems to defendants Trends Service in Kommunikatie B.V. (Trends) and Kommunikatie Service Buitenland B.V. (KSB), both in Utrecht, Netherlands, and both owned and operated by defendant Erik Dekker, 54, of Langbroek, Netherlands.

At the same time that the Justice Department took this law enforcement action, Dutch law enforcement agents executed search warrants on the business address used by both companies and on Dekker's home address. The Dutch authorities also took control of the Dutch P.O. boxes used by the defendants to receive victim funds. The coordinated U.S. and Dutch enforcement actions seek to immediately stop the use of Dutch P.O. boxes to receive payments from fraud victims and to immediately stop the defendants from continuing to victimize the elderly. Learn more about the actions taken by Dutch authorities at: https://www.om.nl/actueel/nieuwsberichten/@94702/fiod-and-us-doj/

“Schemes targeting elderly victims are increasingly international in scope, but geographic distance will not prevent us from seeking justice and holding bad actors accountable,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department's Civil Division. “Dutch authorities have done a great service to U.S. residents and elderly victims worldwide by addressing fraud facilitated within their borders. The Justice Department will continue to work with our international law enforcement partners to put a stop to fraud schemes that exploit vulnerable Americans.”

“As alleged in the complaint, defendants act as the clearinghouses for multiple international mail fraud schemes, taking money from thousands of elderly and vulnerable victims not only in this district but also throughout the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Robert L. Capers for the Eastern District of New York. “Together with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and our international partner, the Fiscal Intelligence and Investigation Division of the Netherlands, we will track down, and stop, the schemes wherever they lead.”

“No one should ever be told they must pay a fee, or make a worthless purchase, to collect a prize,” said Inspector in Charge Regina L. Faulkerson of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service's Criminal Investigation Group. “When that happens, it's fraud - plain and simple - and Postal Inspectors work to keep those falsehoods out of the U.S. mail.”

The complaint filed June 1 in U.S. federal court in the Eastern District of New York alleges that, since at least 2012, Trends, KSB and Dekker have used P.O. boxes in the Netherlands to receive payments from various predatory mass-mailing fraud schemes. Solicitations are mailed from locations around the globe to residents in the United States. The solicitations purport to be personalized to each individual recipient, even though they are form letters mailed to hundreds of thousands of potential victims. Some solicitations instruct recipients to pay a processing fee in order to receive lottery winnings or other prizes; other solicitations urge recipients to purchase goods or services based on false promises that they will guarantee future lottery wins.

As alleged in the complaint, victims responded to the solicitations by completing a form and submitting a payment, usually around $15 to $55, via U.S. mail. The solicitations contain pre-addressed envelopes in which victims send payments. The envelopes are addressed to P.O. boxes in the Netherlands. Trends and KSB operate more than 50 of these P.O. boxes. Like other so-called “caging services,” Trends and KSB open the payment envelopes, remove the contents, enter payment and other personal information from the victims into a database and handle victim payments. The U.S. government estimates that U.S. victims mail more than $18 million annually to the defendants' P.O. boxes.

The government is seeking an injunction under the Anti-Fraud Injunction Statute immediately shutting down the defendants' role in the fraudulent schemes in order to protect U.S. victims from further harm. The injunctions sought by the United States would enjoin the defendants from using the U.S. mail or causing the U.S. mail to be used, to distribute the fraudulent solicitations or to collect victim payments, and from selling lists of American victims who have responded to the solicitations. If granted, a permanent injunction would allow the U.S. Postal Service to intercept mail heading to the defendants, and return that mail—along with any money being sent to the defendants—to U.S. victims.

U.S. District Court Judge I. Leo Glasser for the Eastern District of New York set a hearing on the preliminary injunction on July 18 at 10 a.m.

The Justice Department's case is being handled by Trial Attorney Kerala Thie Cowart of the Civil Division's Consumer Protection Branch, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Vagelatos of the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of New York and Postal Inspector Joseph R. Bizzarro of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

The claims made in the complaints are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.

A copy of the complaint, case # 16-CV-2770, can be found here: https://www.justice.gov/opa/file/863501/download.

More information on fraud against the elderly is available here: https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice/.

Additional information about the Consumer Protection Branch and its enforcement efforts may be found at http://www.justice.gov/civil/consumer-protection-branch.




MPD: Community Policing A Must To Reduce Memphis Crime

by Mike Matthews

Memphis police interim director Mike Rallings said this summer is the time when he will push for more of an emphasis in community policing.

It is a term that is often used when talking about police work.

Rallings said the city of Memphis is made for community policing.

Memphis is people.

If this place is going to make it, if there is going to be a future for an old hot city sagging on the bluff, it is a future that will include its people.

And the parents and guardians of the city's children have to steer them in the right direction.

"Everybody has to exhibit some self control," Rallings said.

Rallings is a product of Memphis. He knows the streets. Knows the people.

As interim director, he told Mayor Jim Strickland that he would not just be a seat warmer. That he had plans to fight crime and make Memphis a better place.

"I just left the justice department two weeks ago. And we sat and had a conversation about what is community policing because they started it," Rallings said.

You do not need a college education to figure out what community policing is. Every cop knows the neighborhoods he or she patrols.

They also know the people.

They know who is having problems, who has been sick, and who is dancing on the line between law abiding and law breaking.

"Community policing is outreach to the community. Getting officers involved where they know the individuals they police. Where they establish relationships. So I'm all about relationships," Rallings said.

It is tough to do when a police department is shorthanded and Memphis is shorthanded by more than 400 officers.

There are 30 recruits currently trying to be cops.

And just a few days ago, the department started a program that has nott been used in years, Public Service Technicians or PSTs.

They work accidents, freeing officers up for crime work.

"We just graduated a clergy academy a couple of weeks ago. We started our PST class Monday," Rallings said.

It is clear according to the director that yes, more police will help. But everybody has to get involved. Community policing means just that.




IMPD holds community policing event near recent shooting scene


INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Police officers took to the streets of Indianapolis again to meet the members of the community they serve.

It's part of an initiative called “community policing” which launched last month. On Thursday morning, officers walked in the area of 29th Street and Martin Luther King Junior Street. That's close to where a shooting took place Wednesday on Eugene Street.

Authorities say they want to let people know the department is looking after them.

“Our hope is to give them the comfort to know that they can come to us as well as use other resources like crime stoppers and share information because it's really necessary that we have that relationship. That partnership is huge.”

Police also said they are implementing new strategies to combat crime in the city.




Community policing brings officers and citizens together

by Nicole Duplessis

FORT FAIRFIELD - Fort Fairfield, a passion for community. The police cars don't have this decal on them just for looks. Police Chief Shawn Newell says it represents what policing in Fort Fairfield is all about.

"Community policing is very important because it brings the police department and the public together and affords us the opportunity to get out and meet our citizens and know what's going on and be able to get those citizens involved in the efforts of the police department," said Newell.

From visiting the schools, stopping at businesses or having different programs such as Coffee with a Cop or Beards and Badges, Newell says it all helps maintain a positive relationship with the community.

"It affords us the opportunity to get to know our up and coming citizens and it also allows them the opportunity to see that we're not scary people. We're not vicious monsters out there on the street, we're actually human beings just like everybody else trying to protect them and protect the community," said Newell.

With protecting the community in mind, Newell says they will be adding a new national program to the community this August called National Night Out. It will be held at the Riverside Pavilion in Fort Fairfield, and will give community members the opportunity to be proactive against crime.

"There will be games, food and drink, non-alcoholic beverages of course, and different programs that we're going to talk about. It's just to bring the whole community together so we can get this program going, start different community watch groups and just make Fort Fairfield an even safer place than it already is," said Newell.

National Night Out will take place on August 7th.





Transparency and community policing can be done right

Utah County attitudes, as a whole, toward policing agencies are not what one would call hostile — unlike some areas of the country.

The valley is a patriotic one, generally respectful of authority, and values law-abiding neighbors. Perhaps it's part of the notorious bubble. Your guess is as good as ours.

However, despite the lack of extreme attitudes several police departments are still committed to educating and developing positive relationships with the citizens they serve — typically through citizen academies (though we learned school resource officers are crucial to that effort among kids).

Pleasant Grove and Provo are just a couple cities that conduct this free course. As the Daily Herald is located in Provo, we decided to take up the Provo Police Department's offer and went through its seven-week Citizens Academy — totaling at least 24.5 hours of instruction and interaction.

Like most people, we were fascinated and enamored by the K9s. The city has two used for drug search and one utilized as a bomb dog. The investment in these animals and their operators is astounding. The only thing more astounding is the results they produce.

Cute animals aside, throughout discussions on the responsibilities of school resource officers and the city's prosecution and judicial process to victim services and use of force, we admit we completed the course with an altered perspective.

Provo's (apparently award-winning) ability to reach out to its residents young and old seems to have spread to its police department — and it's centered significantly among its community resource officers.

Not only were we impressed with the way so many officers of different divisions conducted their work, the transparency we observed and the way they interacted with local residents set quite a high bar.

No agency is perfect, and each day presents a new set of potential problems (or solutions). Because each city and county's force is comprised of human beings, we expect all will make some mistakes — Provo, too — though through proper training, hopefully they are minor ones. We also duly note that a city's population and resources obviously affect the size and abilities of its police force.

However, the example we witnessed from Provo suggests there are attitudes that can be adopted and standards of excellence employed in Utah County regardless of the headcount or lack of resources in a police department. It's ultimately up to residents and their elected officials to hold their cities accountable to that standard.

If you're not acquainted with your local police department or how they operate, we strongly urge you look into their community programs and enroll in classes where available. As your local law enforcement, you deserve to know their patrol tactics, resources available through victim services and the procedures surrounding use of force.




City leaders unveil public safety plan

Multi-pronged effort aims to engage fathers, faith community and police


MILWAUKEE —Fighting Milwaukee's crime is going to require an all hands on deck approach, city leaders say

Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton and a majority of the city's aldermen on Thursday said combating the rising number of carjackings and shootings will take the work of police and the engagement of the faith community and civic leaders.

"We're going to make a call out to 500 fathers to participate in their communities this summer," Hamilton said at an afternoon press conference from City Hall.

Alderman Khalif Rainey will head up that Milwaukee Fatherhood Initiative, which aims to recruit hundreds of fathers and father-figures to help bring a sense of community to neighborhoods.

Additional efforts include night walks, an "adopt a block" program and other neighborhood events to build rapport between police and residents. Alderman Bob Donovan, who heads the council's public safety committee, announced a series of special meetings of the committee. Each meeting will focus on a specific area related to law enforcement and criminal justice.

"I hope these meetings will prove to be a valuable opportunity to foster collaboration between law enforcement and government agencies, while at the same time providing citizens with some insight into the public safety process," Donovan said in a statement.

It was noted that the anti-violence plan came from city leaders and not from police, but Hamilton said that was in no way meant to imply a lack of support for Chief Ed Flynn or Mayor Tom Barrett.

"The police need help," said Alderman Russell Stamper. "And we are here to help the police."

Flynn afterward said he welcomed any efforts to improve public safety.

"Nobody leads more task forces or has more people involved with the ATF, DEA and the FBI than the Milwaukee Police Department," he said. "Any interest the aldermen have in those initiatives, and any desires they have to reinforce or enhance them, [we're] happy to have them aboard."

Barrett agreed, saying he took no offense to the leaders' public move.



Washington D.C.

DOJ releases police reform progress report, recruits 15 agencies for next phase

15 agencies will be assessed and will help create guiding materials for other U.S. police forces

by PoliceOne

WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) have announced a new program that tasks 15 agencies to help implement the recommendations of the President's Task Force on 21 st Century Policing into police departments nationwide.

In what COPS and the DOJ are calling the ‘Advancing 21st Century Policing Initiative', the 15 agencies will be assessed on their ability to implement the report's 59 recommendations and will help create guiding materials for other U.S. police forces.

In addition, COPS and the DOJ have released a one-year progress report that details how the reform recommendations have been implemented thus far, ranging from improvements to how use of force data is tracked to how individual agencies have responded to the reform efforts. Take a look at the full report, on the site.




Data analysis no substitute for community policing by Esther J. Cepeda

CHICAGO – It's hot in my city, and expectations are that the rate of violent crimes, especially shootings and murders, will go up along with the mercury.

Following a parallel track are the rising concerns of residents alarmed not only by the danger of falling prey to criminals but at being targeted by the city's new algorithm-based policing strategy.

Eddie Johnson, superintendent of the beleaguered Chicago Police Department, recently announced that the force will be leaning ever more heavily on a computer-generated hot list of people likely to be involved in shootings based on their arrests, prior involvement in gun violence, affiliations with gang members and other variables.

Chicagoans have reason to be wary about such a list. In April, a police-accountability task force determined that the department's own data “gives validity to the widely held belief the police have no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color. Stopped without justification, verbally and physically abused, and in some instances arrested, and then detained without counsel – that is what we heard about over and over again.”

But before we decide the plan is a bust, we need some background on what a data-driven policing strategy could be, in a best-case scenario. For that, I reached out to Ronal Serpas, current chairman of the advocacy group Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration, and a former police chief.

“When we started these programs in New Orleans and in Nashville in the mid-2000s, we were successful in figuring out the people we needed to spend attention on,” Serpas said. “Through the data analysis, we were able to identify a very small number of people – through their behavior, observations, arrest records – and present the individuals with opportunities to do the right thing or let them know that if they were involved in crime, they would be very likely to be convicted.

“The community should be informed about what's in that data and in the algorithm that triggers an intervention,” said Serpas. “Sure, there are some small items of information that should be kept back for purposes of effective police work. But pretty much everything should be open: the names of significant suspects, the names of victims, numbers of arrests, convictions and exclusions – because if you've been arrested and found innocent, obviously, that shouldn't be held against you. And, yes, if you want to know if you're on the list, sure, you ought to be told, if you're asking.”

Unfortunately, some of Chicago's local activists say they haven't seen anything like what Serpas describes.

Writing on the blog of The Black Star Project – a Chicago-based organization that strives to improve the quality of life by closing racial academic achievement gaps – founder and executive director Phillip Jackson railed:

“Chicago police officials claim to have a list of documented gang members. I want to see that list. How many young black men who have changed their lives for the better remain on that list? How long does a young black man's name stay on this list and what, besides death, are the criteria for getting off the gang-member list? Am I on that list?”

He told me, “We consider ourselves to be an important community organization, one that is connected with the community and wants to connect with the police. But we've extended many invitations to the police department and it doesn't happen. I don't know of any African-American-led organization that has been able to connect with the police on this issue.”

“You're talking to a man who understands the need and wants good policing,” Jackson continued. “But what the police superintendent and what people don't understand is that in the communities where the violence is the worst, people don't join gangs, the gangs claim people based on where they happen to live. To say the police are targeting people who have had contact with gang members is to say they are targeting all our children and all of us.”

The moral of this story: Maybe algorithms can make policing more effective. But if such programs are to work, meaningful community outreach must be prioritized over computing power.



Proposals for multibillion-dollar public safety broadband network Firstnet are in

by Mohana Ravindranath

The proposal deadline for a nationwide public safety broadband network has closed, and the system could start deploying as soon as next fall.

FirstNet had pushed the deadline for proposals from potential carriers twice, causing speculation that not enough qualified vendors were pursuing the multibillion­dollar, multidecade contract. But now that proposals are in, FirstNet could make an award as soon as November, according to the group.

FirstNet's eventual goal is for public safety agents to have a robust wireless connection ­­ spanning all 50 states and six territories ­­ on which they can use apps, devices and sensors that help them respond to emergencies.

FirstNet president TJ Kennedy told Nextgov last month the project could include a “public safety app store” from which agents can select and download the products that work for them.

“[Y]ou're going to see individual firefighters or paramedics come up with great ideas other departments are going to buy,” he said. ”It's going to create this really active public safety ecosystem.”

The winner of the contract would get at least $6.5 billion for the job, but also the right to monetize 20 mHz of spectrum, over the course of an up to 25­year performance period,.

States are expected to issue draft plans for adoption, and their decisions about whether to opt­in to FirstNet's Radio Access Network, by the spring of next year. Deployment could begin in the fall of 2017, Kennedy said.

Aside from assessing proposals, FirstNet still needs to develop the policy framework for the network and then prepare to partner with the awardee, according to a blog post published Tuesday by FirstNet CEO Mike Poth. Though the group is a public­private collaboration and an independent authority within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, it followed the traditional federal procurement process and therefore can't discuss the number of proposals or sources, Poth wrote.

The FirstNet project is a "good opportunity," AT&T's senior executive vice president for technology and operations, John Donovan, said at a conference hosted by Citi in Las Vegas last year.

"The timing of the spectrum, the position of the spectrum, the customer opportunity that comes with it ­­ it's a rare event," he said. "So we're going to pursue it aggressively."

Upgrading communication technology comes with its own challenges, DHS director of the Office of Emergency Communications, Ronald Hewitt, said at a recent conference about public safety broadband in Washington.

For instance, a new 911 system that would let citizens text law enforcement about incidents could lead to a breakdown of the network, especially if large numbers of people are texting about the same incident at the same time.

Hewitt said that his office was meeting with public safety officials so they could “understand the magnitude” of these challenges.




15 Texas officers on leave, accused of falsifying traffic stops

The alleged falsified stops were discovered when supervisors could not find accompanying dash cam video of the stops

by Ryan Osborne

ARLINGTON, Texas — Fifteen Arlington police officers are on leave after a Police Department audit revealed that over the last three months they had reported traffic stops that were never conducted, a department spokesman said Tuesday.

The officers, all assigned to the patrol division, were placed on paid leave Tuesday morning, said Lt. Christopher Cook, a police spokesman. Their names have not been released.

The audit, a periodic review conducted by supervisors, found that no motorists were contacted and no tickets were issued during the reported stops, Cook said.

“These allegations are serious and represent conduct that is not consistent with departmental expectations,” Police Chief Will Johnson said in a statement.

The accused officers reported on their in-car computers that they had made a traffic stop at a particular address but did not give any names, a source close to the investigation said. Some of the officers listed license plate numbers, the source said.

The alleged falsified stops were discovered when supervisors could not find accompanying dash cam video of the stops, the source said.

The accused officers were not interviewed by internal affairs before they were placed on leave, Cook said. The investigation could take up to two months.

Officers are required to report driver demographics, the reason for the traffic stop, whether an arrest occurred and whether a search was conducted during the stop, Cook said. That data are used to compile the department's annual racial-profiling report.

“At this point in our investigation, it would appear that the number of traffic stops in question would not compromise the department's annual report,” Cook said. “However, investigators are still assessing the full impact of the actions of the officers on the department.”

Cook declined to comment on whether the department knew why the officers would falsify traffic stops. He said traffic stop activity is one of many factors used to measure an officer's performance.

Traffic ticket quotas are illegal in Texas.

Randy Moore, an attorney with the Texas Municipal Patrolman's Association who is representing two of the accused officers, said Tuesday afternoon that he hadn't seen the full complaint against the officers. But he said Arlington, like most police departments, evaluates officers based on how their numbers compare with others on their shift.

“I'm not condoning falsifying or lying,” Moore said, “but it's hypocritical of department leadership to evaluate officers based on statistics and then investigate and charge them on complaints that are based on statistics.”

In 2014, state charges against eight Fort Worth police officers in a traffic citation scandal were dropped when allegations of a department ticket quota arose. An attorney for one of the officers alleged that Fort Worth officers were required to write four tickets an hour as part of a federal grant program.

J.P. Mason, president of the Arlington Police Association, declined to comment Tuesday, and the Arlington Municipal Patrolman's Association could not be reached for comment.

Arlington has about 625 sworn officers.



Improving police response time doesn't reduce crime, so why is it still important?

Agency administrators had been operating under the assumption that getting to the call quicker can increase arrest rates

by Dr. Chuch Russo

In the summer of 2015, the New York Police Department (NYPD) launched an initiative to distribute smartphones to its officers with the intention, among many things, of improving response time of calls for service. In April, the NYPD said it reduced response times to crimes in progress by one minute, thanks to this smartphone initiative.

As early as the 1900s, improving response time and the efficiency of policy deployment have been top priorities of law enforcement administrators throughout the United States. Starting with entire departments on bicycles in 1905, followed by fully motorized patrol forces in 1910 (Wrobleski & Hess, 2000), agency administrators have been attempting to improve delivery of service to their communities.

For most of the last 100 years, agency administrators had been operating under the assumption that getting to the call quicker can increase arrest rates. Research, however, has shown that this is not the case (Kansas City Police Department, 1977). Response times actually have little impact on arrest rates.

So why does response time still matter to agency administrators?

What the Research Shows

Research finds that 75 percent of serious crimes reported are a “discovery crime,” where the incident has already occurred and the crime is essentially over. Thus, only in approximately 25 percent of serious crimes reported could a rapid law enforcement response have a potential immediate positive impact (Wrobleski & Hess, 2000). In spite of this research, agency administrators continue to put resources into improving response time on the premise that it directly impacts arrest rates.

Administrators need to modify their reasons for continuing to try and improve police response rates. There are benefits to the public beyond actually arresting suspects.

Response Time Improves Public Satisfaction

Research has shown that general citizen perceptions of response time were strongly related to their overall satisfaction of police services. Indeed, response time was determined to be the strongest predictor of citizen satisfaction with police actions (International City/County Management Association, 1997; Spelman & Brown, 1984).

In addition, perceived individual officer actions (e.g. did the officer do what the citizen perceived should be done regarding that particular call?) were shown to have a strong impact on citizen ratings of police response. Earlier findings on citizen satisfaction demonstrated response time and officer action to be areas that police agencies can both influence and have the greatest impact on overall citizen perception of police service (Percy, 1980).

Faster Reporting of Crimes

As an outcome of improved citizen satisfaction, individuals are more likely to quickly report a crime to police. If the time delay is reduced between citizen discovery of a crime and citizen contacting police, police may improve the odds of a subsequent arrest and create positive citizen satisfaction with police services. If citizen satisfaction is enhanced, the likelihood of those citizens reporting future crime is also likely to improve. Thus, a decrease in citizen reporting delay occurs (International City/County Management Association, 1997; Spelman & Brown, 1984). This circular model, if true, once initiated may continue to spur steady improvements in law enforcement and community relations.

Citizens have overwhelmingly ranked responding to emergency calls for service as the number one priority of police services. In one such study, 56 percent ranked response time number one with another 23 percent ranking it either second or third in terms of importance. In total, 79 percent of residents ranked response time to all calls for service as the top three priorities of police agencies (International City/County Management Association, 1997).

With citizens placing so much weight on response to calls for service, improving response time can improve citizen perceptions of the police. Improved citizen perception of the police can translate to a reduction in the time delay from the discovery of an incident to the reporting of an incident. The reduction of this time delay can lead to improved citizen satisfaction of police service that can lead to increased citizen–police cooperation. Increased citizen-police cooperation can lead to the increased arrest rates police administrators seek.

About the Author: Dr. Chuck Russo is the Program Director of Criminal Justice at American Military University (AMU). He began his career in law enforcement in 1987 in Central Florida and was involved in all areas of patrol, training, special operations and investigations before retiring from law enforcement in 2013. Dr. Russo continues to design and instruct courses, as well as act as a consultant for education, government and industry throughout the United States and the Middle East. His recent research and presentations focus on emerging technology and law enforcement applications, in addition to post-traumatic stress and online learning.



New York

Niagara Falls renews community policing effort

by Michael Mroziak Business owners in Niagara Falls could soon get a visit from the police. But the purpose of the officers' visit will be to say hello and find out more about any concerns for the neighborhood. Known as "Safe Shopping Days," police in the Cataract City will visit a selected business district, walk into establishments and strike up conversations in order to foster more understanding... and intelligence.

"While we're in the businesses, we make sure to talk to everyone that's in there," said Carlton Cain, Deputy Police Superintendent. "We make sure we deal with the workers. And what we do also is make sure we let everyone know that we're there, hopefully, to make the environment safer."

Visits are not announced in advance. The program was introduced in Niagara Falls about five years ago and it's one Cain encourages the public to interact with.

"It's a great program," Cain said. "Each year we get more and more information. With your help, the community will make the program bigger and better every year," Cain said.




'Trust Has Broken Down' Between Community And Police, Top Cop Says

by Ted Cox

RIVER NORTH — Police Supt. Eddie Johnson took a hard line on officer misconduct Tuesday in addressing the City Club after six people were killed and dozens of others were wounded in shootings over the Memorial Day weekend in Chicago.

"Quite frankly, trust has broken down between the community and police," Johnson said. He went on to add that his department needs to be "open and honest about mistakes made in the field" in order to restore that trust.

"Do guys overdo it sometimes or make mistakes? Of course it happens," he said.

Without admitting that a "code of silence" exists in the Department, Johnson nonetheless said, "I can tell you this: Any type of inappropriate behavior simply will not be tolerated."

According to Johnson, the Department is in the process of creating a whistleblower hotline or "something along those lines" to make it "easier to report misconduct." He promised a "severe penalty" for any officer who threatens or attempts to intimidate a colleague reporting misconduct.

"It's a new day for policing, and we won't tolerate abusive or unprofessional behavior," Johnson said.

Johnson added, however, that trust is a two-way street, and it benefits the officer as well as the community.

"The Police Department is only as strong as the trust the community has in it," he said. When placed in a difficult situation, he added, as cops are on a daily basis, "You don't want to be the next viral video." Johnson said, "I want police officers to hear a different voice in their ear saying, 'Use your best judgment, we trust you.' "

In marked contrast with the "broken windows" approach of prosecuting even minor offenses — sometimes advocated by his predecessor, former Supt. Garry McCarthy, who also attended the luncheon — Johnson said, "There's something to it, but I'm really a big believer in community policing."

Johnson blamed gang members and other known suspects with a tendency toward gunplay for the city's heightened pace of shootings and murders this year, saying 80 percent of the gun violence over the weekend was attributable to those suspects.

"We just have to do a better job of holding these repeat offenders accountable for the gun violence," Johnson said, calling for stiffened gun laws.

"We will never, ever arrest our way out" of the heightened shooting and murder statistics, he said, pointing out that many young adults in Chicago have known nothing but gang life.

"The violence in Chicago isn't just a police issue, it's a Chicago issue," Johnson said. "Parents need to be parents," and keep closer tabs on their children, including monitoring whether they're keeping guns in the home.

Johnson decried the "sick and perverted culture" that finds gang members sometimes taunting each other on social media and called for wide-ranging efforts to address crime at its origins.

In the Department, Johnson pointed to how all officers have now been trained in using Tasers, and bodycams are being used on all three shifts in the Shakespeare District and will be added next week in the Austin District.

Johnson added that he himself had taken to wearing a bodycam while on patrol and that he found it "interesting" in that it has the capacity to alter the behavior both of officers and those they interview. "It works both ways," he said.

Asked about whether the Department needs more officers, Johnson said he had to first make sure it's working at maximum efficiency before deciding whether more are necessary.

Johnson said the case of former Cmdr. Glenn Evans, now a lieutenant working out of Department Headquarters, was "still pending. I want to make sure we get it right," he added of the officer charged and found not guilty of sticking a gun down a suspect's throat.

At one point in being questioned by City Club members, Johnson was asked what the best part of his job is.

"That's a great question," he said. "I've never been asked what the best part is."

Johnson cited two top sources of satisfaction: when rank-and-file officers have trust in him and he's aware he's helping them, and when "I actually see that I'm making a difference in our communities."

Johnson was appointed Chicago's top cop in March by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, sidestepping three other finalists selected by the Police Board to replace McCarthy, and was confirmed by the City Council in April.

Johnson has also had to deal with allegations his fiancee benefited from cheating on a lieutenants exam, a topic that did not come up at the City Club Tuesday. Last week, he joined in celebrating retired former chief Eugene Williams, who is under investigation in that cheating probe.




Police departments begin to reward restraint tactics

Critics warn that the emphasis on de-escalation could lead officers to hesitate in life-threatening situations

by Errin Haines Whack

PHILADELPHIA — A few police agencies in the U.S. have begun rewarding officers for showing restraint in the line of duty, putting the tactic on par with bravery.

More than 40 Philadelphia officers have received awards since December for defusing conflicts without shooting, clubbing or otherwise using maximum force against anyone. The Los Angeles Police Department recently created a Preservation of Life award. And later this year, the U.S. Justice Department's new Community Policing Awards will recognize officers who prevent tense situations from spinning out of control.

The awards reflect a growing emphasis on "de-escalation" in police work, a trend driven in part by the deadly shootings of blacks in such places as Ferguson, Missouri; Cleveland; Chicago; and North Charleston, South Carolina. The killings have given rise to accusations of excessive force.

"An officer going home is of paramount importance to us, but everybody should have an opportunity to go home if that presents itself," Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said. "This is an effort to slow down situations for the sake of everybody concerned."

Advocates say that encouraging de-escalation as part of police culture can help establish trust with the public and that such tactics can be especially useful in handling suspects who may be mentally ill or on drugs.

But critics warn that the emphasis on de-escalation could lead officers to hesitate in life-threatening situations.

Philadelphia Officer Eric Tyler was recognized for using a stun gun instead of a firearm on a suspect who threatened to shoot Tyler's colleague in February. Tyler, who has never shot anyone in his 12-year career, said he considered using deadly force but made a split-second decision not to.

"I thought better of it, and our training took over," Tyler said. "With everything that's going on in policing, sometimes you have to think to de-escalate things. Somebody has to be a calming force."

The suspect turned out to be unarmed.

The Police Executive Research Forum, a law enforcement think tank, has found that officers receive significantly less training in de-escalation than in firearms or self-defense.

Increasingly, agencies are discussing and adopting de-escalation tactics, including slowing down confrontations and using distance and cover to defuse situations.

The establishment of Philadelphia's award was one of the recommendations issued by the Justice Department after it investigated a 2013 increase in shootings by the city's police.

Such awards are key to changing the mentality inside law enforcement, said Phillip Goff, director of the Center for Policing Equity, a think tank.

Ronald Davis, director of the Justice Department's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, said more local agencies should institute such an award: "It says that force should be a last resort and that we value this."

The idea has met resistance from critics in law enforcement who fear officers might second-guess themselves with tragic consequences. The Los Angeles police union called the award "a terrible idea."

"It suggests that officers must go above and beyond their normal activities to avoid harm; or put another way, that officers will be penalized for resorting to an appropriate, lawful use of force," the Los Angeles Police Protective League's Board of Directors said in a blog post in November.

"This award will prioritize the lives of suspected criminals over the lives of LAPD officers and goes against the core foundation of an officer's training."

Rich Roberts, spokesman for the International Union of Police Associations, said his organization supports de-escalation techniques, provided they don't interfere with an officer's ability to make split-second decisions if those efforts don't work.

Tyler said his de-escalation training hasn't made him hesitate on the streets.

"I was put in a situation where I thought using a Taser was better," he said. "If a different situation arises ... I won't second-guess myself, because I have to protect myself and my fellow citizens."



‘Public Safety Concern' For Protesting, Sues Government

“For the Obama administration to turn around and punish those who put their lives at risk to achieve this protection is without merit and wrong.” by The Mint Press News

An undocumented Chicago woman, who has been a fierce advocate for immigrant rights, was labeled a “public safety concern” by an immigration agency in the United States government. She now fears she may be deported because she engaged in acts of civil disobedience. In response, she filed a lawsuit.

Ireri Unzueta Carrasco immigrated from Mexico to the United States when she was six years-old. She was granted protection under President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in 2013. However, the government rejected the renewal of her DACA protection.

An ombudsman for the Homeland Security Department and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) informed Carrasco in March that her case raises “public safety concerns” because she was arrested in May 2013 and charged with “civil disobedience, resisting arrest, obstruction of traffic, and reckless conduct.” USCIS also has records showing “she engaged in civil disobedience in October 2009, July 2010, August 2011, and September 2012.”

“It was determined deferred action wasn't appropriate in this case,” the USCIS ombudsman added. Carrasco sued.

“Civil disobedience is an act of love,” Carrasco declared. “I am one of hundreds of undocumented youth and adults who have shared their story and immigration status publicly, taking risks to defend the rights of our families and communities. If the Obama administration is willing to let USCIS deny my DACA renewal request, are others at risk of the same retaliation?”

Carrasco is 29 years-old and lives in Chicago. She completed high school and college in the U.S. She is an educator and a gardener. USCIS granted her DACA benefits from 2013 to 2015.

Essentially, DACA designated a group of young undocumented immigrants under 31 as of June 31, 2012, as low priorities so they would no longer fear deportation. That is, as long as their applications were consistently renewed under the Homeland Security Program.

Carrasco participated in a protest when Obama visited Chicago on May 31, 2013. Though she had volunteered when he ran for the U.S. Senate, she was disappointed by the record number of deportations under his administration, “including many people she knew,” according to the lawsuit [PDF].

She joined a group, which occupied Michigan Avenue. They sat down in a circle in the street and were arrested and charged for their civil disobedience. Charges were eventually dismissed.

At the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 2012, Carrasco joined others in a sit-in against deportations. It was part of the “No Papers, No Fear—Ride For Justice.” They entered an intersection and held signs with the word “undocumented.” Each person was arrested and charged with a “traffic ordinance violation for impeding traffic.” The charges against protesters were dropped.

Prior to that, on August 19, 2011, Carrasco attended a hearing in Chicago on federal immigration programs. The hearing asked “local law enforcement to use ‘detainers' to hold non-citizens while they were taken into immigration custody. Carrasco and others engaged in a “walk-out.” They left the hearing and sat down in the street. Each person was arrested and charged with obstructing traffic but were ultimately found not guilty because “they were not actually blocking traffic.”

Carrasco was also a part of a nationally organized action on July 20, 2010, to push for the passage of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. It is supposed to help undocumented youth obtain a path to U.S. citizenship. A group sat in graduation caps and gowns in the lobby of Congressional office buildings and held up a banner that said, “Undocumented and Unafraid, DREAM Act Now.”

The lawsuit indicates Carrasco was “no papered.” A U.S. attorney “declined to prosecute a criminal case against them.”

Only on one occasion did Carrasco encounter police when she was not protesting. In 2009, she was in New York City with friends. It was hot so they decided to spend the night outside in the park. Police issued Carrasco and her friends “court citations.” Charges were eventually dismissed.

The lawsuit seeks relief because it does not arise from a decision to deport Carrasco. There is no indication Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has such a plan to remove her from the country.

Additionally, the lawsuit argues the “proper legal standard” for “public safety concerns” was not applied. Nothing Carrasco did put a “large segment of the general population at risk.”

Homeland Security and USCIS first claimed the rejection was an “exercise of discretion.” When Carrasco pressed for information, it became clear it was for a “threat to public safety.” Her attorneys say this shows the rejection was not in “good faith” because it all relates to her participation in protests. In fact, the agencies have violated Carrasco's First Amendment rights by punishing her for “political statements and actions.”

There are 144 “civil rights, immigrants rights, workers' rights, and legal service providers” in the United States, which have requested Homeland Security reconsider its decision in Carrasco's case.

“DHS denied Ms. Unzueta Carrasco's DACA renewal application because of her participation in peaceful, nonviolent civil disobedience actions in support of immigrants' rights,” a letter addressed to Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson reads. “That DHS would consider such conduct a negative discretionary factor is shocking and goes against the values that the United States was built on, including the right to free speech and political participation protected by the U.S. Constitution.”

“Furthermore, the civil disobedience actions in which Ms. Unzueta Carrasco participated were crucial in creating the political space to deliver President Obama the largest and only immigration success of his administration. This denial sends a message that political expression in support of immigrants rights will not be tolerated – a disturbing message to send in this uncertain political time when immigrants bear the brunt of anti-immigrant and anti-refugee rhetoric.”

The organizations additionally ask Johnson to clarify that “peaceful civil disobedience as political expression” is constitutionally-protected and not a reason to label anyone a “public safety concern.”

Attorney Mony Ruiz-Velasco, director of Proyecto de Accion de los Suburbios del Oeste (PASO), represents Carrasco. She stated, “In the face of congressional inaction, persistent public demonstrations by immigrant communities have moved President Obama to implement DACA, which has been the largest and only immigration success of his administration.”

“For the Obama administration to turn around and punish those who put their lives at risk to achieve this protection is without merit and wrong.”




Public-safety forum warns residents about rise in phone, online scams affecting seniors and youth

by Sara Cardine

Pr otecting oneself from the scammers, thieves and bullies whose predatory patterns have only proliferated in the Digital Age seems daunting, but at a public forum on May 19 experts offered practical advice for building strong lines of defense online and at home.

Presented by the city of La Cañada Flintridge and its Public Safety Commission, the forum exposed residents to crime trends seen in the local community and discussed how criminals are using technology to aid them in particular in crimes against seniors and youth.

Speakers shared insight into how default cellphone settings that track a user's location and the innocent sharing of information about a person's whereabouts on social media can be seen and used by strangers.

One phone app, for example, lets a user see people who've logged in at a location near them and read posts they've written by simply holding out their device in that general direction.

"The biggest thing we can do is prevention — not giving out information about ourselves," said Deputy Eric Matejka with the Crescenta Valley Sheriff's Station, who focused his talk on the latest phone and Internet scams to hit the area.

He said fraudsters typically assume a false mantle of authority, representing themselves as police officers or agents with the FBI or IRS , to get people to send payments through prepaid debit cards, such as Green Dot or MoneyPak, to make an imminent threat go away.

Another trend on the rise in recent years involves actors pretending to be a family member in trouble who needs money right away. These people tend to elicit information in the course of their phone call, and then use it to further legitimize their scam ("Yes, Grandma, this is Katie. Please help me.")

Though the sheriff's deputy spoke at length on countless different schemes, scams and identity theft tactics, his advice boiled down to a few simple points.

"There's two things I want you guys to take away — hang up on these people, and (know) your home is your castle, so keep it safe," Matejka advised, adding that the IRS or Microsoft is highly unlikely to call with a demand for payment.

In a special segment on cyberbullying, sponsored by the city's Youth Council, speakers discussed the easy allure of making anonymous comments online or sending embarrassing photos or videos of friends or classmates to large groups of people with the click of a button.

Will Moffitt, chairman of the LCF Community Prevention Council, an advocacy and family resource group that aims to combat troubling youth trends, discussed how young people are often selected and "groomed" by adult predators into accepting inappropriate contact and behaviors.

"Technology is really hard to keep up with. It changes every single day and, more than the rest of us, our kids are usually at the forefront of it," Moffitt said. "The problem is kids, just like the rest of us, are preyed on through the Internet. We need to take time to protect our kids and ourselves."

While not every young person has been directly involved in cyberbullying, some studies indicate 100% of kids ages 12 to 17 have witnessed the act directly. Youth Council member and La Cañada High senior Mary Morley-Montes personally attested to that, sharing how she used an anonymous Q&A web platform in middle school where online shaming was common.

"I wasn't always the victim — I have been the bully," she confessed, urging her peers to stand up and speak out about such instances. "Once you post something on the Internet it's out there. And there's no way you can get it back."




2 dead, multiple wounded in Houston shooting rampage

Two cops were shot, at least three police vehicles were damaged by gunfire, and a police helicopter was shot at

by Michael Graczyk

HOUSTON — A man came into a Houston auto detail shop and began shooting, killing a man known to be a customer and putting a neighborhood on lockdown Sunday before being killed by a SWAT officer, police said.

Several people were shot and injured, including a man authorities initially described as another suspect because he was present and armed. Police said later Sunday they were investigating further whether he played any role.

Three others — two of them male and one female — were hospitalized with injuries police said were not believed to be life-threatening. Two officers who were shot were released from the hospital later Sunday.

Police, who said they have no indication yet of a motive, said they got their first call about the shootings around 10:15 a.m. The customer described as a man in his 50s had just driven in to the auto shop. Within a minute or two, authorities said, the gunman came in and started shooting. Others in the shop ran out to take cover nearby and call for help.

Neighbors described hearing many gunshots, and some of the victims taken to the hospital were shot while driving their vehicles. Police say they believe a fire at a gas station next door began when gunfire hit a pump. At least three police vehicles were damaged by gunfire, one of them struck 21 times, and a police helicopter was shot at with a "high-powered" weapon and was hit five times, authorities said.

Stephen Dittoe, 55, lives in the house right behind the shooting scene, separated by a fence and tall shrubbery at the end of cul-de-sac.

"I heard the first shot and I thought it was a transformer" exploding, he said. His wife, Ha, 41, said it went on too long for that and described the series of staccato sounds.

She took their two children, ages 6 and 7, into the bathroom, told them to eat breakfast in there, and called 911.

About an hour after the shootings began, a SWAT officer killed the gunman, said Police spokesman John Cannon.

"If he hadn't taken that action that quickly, this likely would have been a lot worse than it was," Cannon said.

The county medical examiner may identify the gunman on Monday, Cannon said.

Houston Police Union President Ray Hunt says an officer who was hit several times in the chest was wearing both a metal breastplate and a bulletproof vest. The second officer was shot in the hand.

At the Dittoe house, Ha Dittoe said police came to the door about two hours later and asked if anyone in the house was being held captive, and if they could walk around the backyard.

The streets were still blocked off late Sunday afternoon with many police cars and fire trucks on the scene. A police SUV was seen with a shattered windshield and the back window broken out, and police said two patrol cars were riddled with bullets.




More Than 50 Shot Across Chicago Memorial Day Weekend

The uptick in violence comes on a typically bloody holiday weekend, during which the Chicago Police Department has deployed thousands of additional officers

by Susan Carlson

Chicago police beefed up patrols for Memorial Day after more than 50 people were shot during a violent first two days of the long holiday weekend.

By Monday morning, at least 52 people had been shot across the city since Friday night, including four who were killed.

Among the youngest shooting victims, 15-year-old girl who was fatally shot while riding in a car with a documented gang member on Lake Shore Drive.

First Deputy Superintendent John Escalante said the department's plan for Monday was to increase patrols in designated areas, including along Lake Shore Drive.

“As we've said before, it's about 1,500 people that are driving the violence,” Escalente said. “Those are the people we're trying to concentrate on.”

Chicago has been pulled into headlines nationwide this weekend as police struggle to curtail the city's growing reputation for violence. Escalante said he is confident the department can get things under control, but others are skeptical.

“The police cannot stop the killings in the Chicagoland area and it's not their fault,” community activist Tio Hardiman told NBC 5. “The community needs to organize in high numbers and work with these guys on street corners in an aggressive way.”

As the city wraps up the fifth month of 2016, the Chicago Tribune reports there have already been more than 1,400 shooting victims so far this year.

The numbers are staggering, and continue to climb with the dozens that have been wounded from Friday through Sunday evening, marking another bloody holiday weekend in Chicago.

Shootings across the city were as follows:


  • The first shooting of the holiday weekend occurred at 9:25 p.m. on Friday night. Police said an 18-year-old man was standing on a front porch in the 1200 block of W Grenshaw in the University Village neighborhood when a dark car drover by and someone inside fired shots. He sustained a gunshot wound to both legs, and was taken to Stroger Hospital in stable condition, authorities said.
  • A 25-year-old man was the first person killed over the weekend, when he was fatally shot at 10:55 p.m. in the Ashburn neighborhood. Later identified as Mark Lindsey by the Cook County Medical Examiner's office, he was sitting in a car parked in the 3700 block of W 75th Pl at 10:55 p.m. when an unknown offender approached on foot and fired shots, police said. He sustained multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and body, and was taken in critical condition to Advocate Christ Medical Centr, where he was pronounced dead.


  • Two people were shot at 1:10 a.m. in the South Deering neighborhood. A 50-year-old man was standing on the front porch of a home in the 9900 block of S Paxton when 2 men walked up and fired shots. The victim sustained a gunshot wound to the right forearm and refused medical attention at the scene. A 53-year-old woman was inside a bedroom in the home and was struck in the lower back. She was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in stable condition.
  • A 15-year-old girl was killed and a man in his twenties was injured in a shooting on Lake Shore Drive in Lincoln Park early Saturday. Veronica Lopez was a passenger in a car in the 2400 block of N Lake Shore Drive just before 1:30 a.m. when a black Nissan pulled alongside them and someone inside fired shots, police said. They took themselves to Presence Saint Joseph Hospital, but Lopez was later transferred to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead. The man, a documented gang member and convicted felon, was shot in the arm and suffered a graze wound to the head, according to police. He's listed in stable condition.
  • At 1:45 a.m., three men were standing outside in the 3300 block of W Walnut in the East Garfield Park neighborhood when someone in an unknown vehicle drove up and fired shots. A 26-year-old man was taken to Stroger hospital in stable condition with a gunshot wound to the leg, a 27-year-old man was taken to Stroger in stable condition with a gunshot wound to the thigh and a third man, 23, was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in guarded condition, meaning very critical, with a gunshot wound to the back.
  • At 2:35 a.m., a 17-year-old boy was standing outside in the 1200 block of S Independence in the North Lawndale neighborhood when the occupant of a black SUV fired shots, striking the victim. He was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in good condition with a gunshot wound to the knee, police said.
  • A 21-year-old man was driving in the 4300 block of N Kimball in Irving Park at 2:55 a.m., according to police, when someone fired shots. He sustained a gunshot wound to the clavicle and was taken in serious condition to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, according to police.
  • A 25-year-old man was standing outside in the 4600 block of S Honore in the Back of the Yards neighborhood at 3:13 a.m., according to police. An unknown offender fired shots, striking him in the leg, and he was taken to Stroger Hospital in stable condition, police said.
  • Around 4 a.m., a 24-year-old man was outside in a park in the 4600 block of W Jackson St in Austin when an unknown offender approached and fired shots, according to police. The victim, a documented gang member, was hit in the leg and taken to Stroger Hospital where he was listed in stable condition, according to police.
  • At 4:35 a.m., a 24-year-old man was walking in the 4300 block of W West End in the West Garfield Park neighborhood when two unknown offenders approached, produced a handgun, and opened fire, according to police. He suffered graze wounds to the arm and hand and was taken to Stroger in good condition, police said. According to authorities, he is a documented gang member.
  • The third fatal shooting of the weekend happened in a normally quiet area of the Portage Park neighborhood on the city's Northwest Side, police said. A 23-year-old man later identified by the Cook County Medical Examiner's office as Damien Cionzynski of Harwood Heights was one of two men who walked into a business at 5:15 a.m. in the 6300 block of W Montrose, according to police. The men got into an altercation, at which point one produced a weapon and shot Cionzynski in the head. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.
  • Two men were shot in a robbery in the East Garfield Park neighborhood on Saturday, according to police. At around 3:45 p.m., the victims, both 46, were walking in the 3900 block of W Erie when three unknown male offenders approached, fired shots and stole the victims' property before fleeing. One man was shot in the left leg, the other in the right ankle, according to police, and both were taken to Stroger Hospital in good condition.
  • A 24-year-old man was walking down the sidewalk in the 1400 block of W 99th St in the Longwood Manor neighborhood at 4:20 p.m., police said, when an unknown offender opened fire. Authorities said the victim, a documented gang member, sustained a gunshot wound to the leg and was taken in serious condition to Advocate Christ Medical Center. According to police, he was not cooperating with investigators, and a weapon was recovered from the scene of the shooting.
  • A 27-year-old man was fatally shot in the Fuller Park neighborhood on Saturday evening. Later identified as 27-year-old Garvin Whitmore by the Cook County Medical Examiner's office, he was in the driver's seat of a car in the 200 block of W Root when someone approached on foot and fired shots, striking him in the head. A 26-year-old woman in the vehicle with him then exited the vehicle and fired shots at the offenders. She was not injured but was taken into custody and charged with reckless discharge of a firearm and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon without a FOID card, both felonies, according to police. Whitmore was pronounced dead on the scene.
  • A 19-year-old man was walking in the 8300 block of S Dante in the Avalon Park neighborhood, according to police, when he heard shots and felt pain. Authorities said a dark colored vehicle drove by and an unknown offender inside opened fire, striking him in the buttocks. He was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in stable condition, according to police.
  • A 26-year-old woman was driving eastbound in the 3900 block of W Lexington in Lawndale at 8 p.m. when someone fired shots, striking her in the neck, police said. She continued to drive on Lexington, police said, before crashing her vehicle into a parked car. She was discovered unresponsive in her car and taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in critical condition.
  • Around 8:40 p.m., two men were in a car stopped at a red light in the 1600 block of W 47th St in the Back of the Yards neighborhood when another car pulled up from behind and passengers in that car opened fire. A 32-year-old man was shot in the right leg, and a 22-year-old man in the left leg, according to police. Both were taken in stable condition to Stroger Hospital and officials believe the incident may have been gang-related.
  • Around 9 p.m., a 23-year-old man was walking down the sidewalk in the 5100 block of W Chicago in Austin when a light-colored car drove by, and occupants opened fire, police said. He was struck in the upper right leg and taken to Mount Sinai in stable condition.
  • Three people were shot in a shooting around 9:40 p.m. in 2000 block of W 68th Pl in the West Englewood neighborhood, according to police. The first victim was a 48-year-old woman who was a passenger in a car heading south on Damen. Police said she was the unintended target, struck when occupants of two separate vehicles fired shots. She was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in stable condition with a graze wound to the neck. Two men standing on a front porch at that time were struck in the shooting. A 17-year-old boy sustained a gunshot wound to the right knee and a 23-year-old man was shot in the right foot. Both were listed in stable condition at Holy Cross Hospital.
  • At 10:15 p.m., a 17-year-old boy was standing on the sidewalk in the 1500 block of S Ridgeway in Lawndale when he heard shots and felt pain, police said. He was then dropped off at Mount Sinai Hospital in stable condition with a gunshot wound to the lower left leg, authorities said.
  • Just before midnight, two men were standing on the sidewalk in the 700 block of S Independence in West Garfield Park when they heard shots and felt pain, police said. A 28-year-old was hit in the left thigh, and a 29-year-old man in the left ankle. Both were taken to Mount Sinai in stable condition, according to police, and both are documented gang members.


  • A 37-year-old man was critically wounded in a shooting at 12:20 a.m. in Austin, according to police. He was standing in an alley in the 4700 block of W Erie when a male offender approached on foot and opened fire, according to police. He was taken to Stroger Hospital in critical condition with a gunshot wound to the chest and leg, police said.
  • At 1:05 a.m., two men were walking on the sidewalk in the 700 block of N Kedzie in East Garfield Park when they heard shots and felt pain. A 21-year-old man had a graze wound to the back and a 22-year-old man had a gunshot wound to the left hand, according to police. They drove to Norwegian American Hospital, where the younger man was transferred to Stroger. Both were listed in stable condition, authorities said, and the shooting may have been gang-related.
  • At 2 a.m., a 28-year-old man was shot in the 900 block of N Cambridge in the Near North Side neighborhood, police said. He was involved in a verbal dispute with another person when the offender pulled out a gun and shot the victim twice in the arm. He was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where his condition was unknown, according to police.
  • A 23-year-old man was sitting in the driver's seat of a parked car in the 9700 block of S Vincennes in the Washington Heights neighborhood when he was shot, police said. Authorities said a man exited another vehicle and approached on foot. They men exchanged words when the offender produced a handgun and opened fire, police said. The victim drove himself to St. Bernard Hospital in stable condition with a gunshot wound to the left thigh, police said.
  • Around 4:40 a.m., a 26-year-old woman was shot while driving in the 3900 block of W Wilcox in the East Garfield Park neighborhood, police said. Two men approached her car and opened fire, according to police, striking her in the back. She had other passengers in the car who were documented gang members and convicted felons, police said, but no one else was hit. She was dropped off at Loretto Hospital and transferred to Stroger in serious condition.
  • Just five minutes later, a 27-year-old man was standing on the sidewalk in the 5000 block of W West End Ave in Austin when he heard shots and felt pain, police said. He took himself to Stroger Hospital in stable condition with a gunshot wound to the right leg, according to police.
  • A 20-year-old man was shot around 12 p.m. in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood, according to police. He was standing outside in the 8500 block of S Ashland when he heard shots and felt pain. He took himself to Little Company of Mary Hospital where he was listed in stable condition with a gunshot wound to the arm.
  • A 24-year-old man was shot during an argument with someone he knows in the West Pullman neighborhood, police said. The incident occurred around 12:35 p.m. in the 11500 block of S Peoria, police said. He was taken in stable condition to Advocate Christ Medical Center with a gunshot wound to the right thigh.
  • At 4:40 p.m., a 23-year-old man was in the 1200 block of W 85th St in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood when he was shot in the right hip, police said. He was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center, in unknown condition, and authorities said he is a documented gang member.
  • Just before 6 p.m., a 29-year-old man was shot walking out of a store in the 11500 block of South Wentworth in the city's West Pullman neighborhood. He was shot in the shoulder and drove himself to be treated to MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island, police said.
  • At 10:45 p.m. a 25-year-old was shot in the left hand in the 3800 block of South Lake Park Avenue of the city's Oakland neighborhood, police said, before being taken to Cook County's Stroger Hospital to be treated.
  • At 11 p.m., two men were shot in the Lawndale neighborhood on the city's Southwest Side. Police said the men were walking in the 2100 block of South Harding when another man approached them and started firing. One of the men, a 35-year-old, was hit in the buttocks and the other, a 58-year-old, was shot in the right leg. Both were taken to Mount Sinai Hospital to be treated, police said.
  • A half hour later, a 21-year-old who police say was a documented gang member was shot in the leg in the 5900 block of South Princeton in Englewood. He showed up with the gunshot wound at St. Bernard Hospital, police said.


  • About 12:30 a.m., police said a 35-year-old was injured in a drive-by shooting in the Austin neighborhood. The man was standing on a porch in the 900 block of North Massasoit when a car drove past and fired shots, police said. He was hit in the leg and taken to Loyola University Medical Center to be treated, police said.
  • Around 1 a.m., a man was shot during an attempted robbery in the South Side's Park Manor neighborhood. Police say the 28-year-old was in the 400 block of East 74th Street when two men approached him and announced a robbery. When he tried to run away, he was shot in the back, police said. He was taken to Stroger Hospital to be treated.
  • At 1:30 a.m., two documented gang members were shot while walking in the Humboldt Park neighborhood on the city's West Side. The men, both 18, were in the 1300 block of North Pulaski when someone walked up and started shooting, police said. One was struck in the back and the other in the leg. Both were taken to Stroger Hospital, police said.
In 2015, 12 people were killed and another 43 were wounded in shootings over Memorial Day weekend.




Chicago to release videos from as many as 100 police shootings

Move is part of an effort to improve public trust in Chicago police

by Jeremy Gorner

CHICAGO — City officials in Chicago plan to release videos, reports and other materials next week from about 100 police incidents, including officer-involved shootings, as part of an effort to improve public trust in Chicago police, according to a memo obtained Friday by the Chicago Tribune.

The impending release of the materials comes after Mayor Rahm Emanuel's Police Accountability Task Force — formed as part of the fallout from the court-ordered release last November of the Laquan McDonald shooting video — recommended that videos of police-related incidents be made public within 60 days.

The materials from each incident are tentatively scheduled to be released Thursday, according to the memo issued by the city's Office of Emergency Management & Communications. The Independent Police Review Authority, the city agency that investigates allegations of excessive force against Chicago police officers, "will be responsible" for making the materials available through the task force's website, the memo said.

It's unclear exactly what incidents will be released to the public. An IPRA spokeswoman could not immediately be reached for comment.

The materials to be released include video and audio recordings of officer-involved shootings and Taser discharge events as well as "incidents of bodily harm to individuals while in police custody," the memo said.

The video and audio recordings could be from police dashboard cameras, body cameras and police or OEMC surveillance cameras, according to the memo, issued Thursday. Private surveillance video from homes or businesses obtained as part of investigations by the Chicago police and IPRA also could be released.

Various police reports may also be released, including arrest reports and "tactical response reports," which are filled out by officers whenever they use force during an arrest. Chicago police radio calls and OEMC dispatcher recordings may also be publicly released, the memo said.

Gerald A. Hollowell, OEMC's deputy director of 911 operations, announced the release of dozens of videos and other materials in a memo to police and fire dispatchers.

"Be advised: This pending initiative will impact employees on the operations floor directly as you will now all be subject to having your day-to-day job performance publicly available on the (task force) website for all to hear and scrutinize," he wrote.




2 dead, multiple wounded in Houston shooting rampage

Two cops were shot, at least three police vehicles were damaged by gunfire, and a police helicopter was shot at

by Michael Graczyk

HOUSTON — A man came into a Houston auto detail shop and began shooting, killing a man known to be a customer and putting a neighborhood on lockdown Sunday before being killed by a SWAT officer, police said.

Several people were shot and injured, including a man authorities initially described as another suspect because he was present and armed. Police said later Sunday they were investigating further whether he played any role.

Three others — two of them male and one female — were hospitalized with injuries police said were not believed to be life-threatening. Two officers who were shot were released from the hospital later Sunday.

Police, who said they have no indication yet of a motive, said they got their first call about the shootings around 10:15 a.m. The customer described as a man in his 50s had just driven in to the auto shop. Within a minute or two, authorities said, the gunman came in and started shooting. Others in the shop ran out to take cover nearby and call for help.

Neighbors described hearing many gunshots, and some of the victims taken to the hospital were shot while driving their vehicles. Police say they believe a fire at a gas station next door began when gunfire hit a pump. At least three police vehicles were damaged by gunfire, one of them struck 21 times, and a police helicopter was shot at with a "high-powered" weapon and was hit five times, authorities said.

Stephen Dittoe, 55, lives in the house right behind the shooting scene, separated by a fence and tall shrubbery at the end of cul-de-sac.

"I heard the first shot and I thought it was a transformer" exploding, he said. His wife, Ha, 41, said it went on too long for that and described the series of staccato sounds.

She took their two children, ages 6 and 7, into the bathroom, told them to eat breakfast in there, and called 911.

About an hour after the shootings began, a SWAT officer killed the gunman, said Police spokesman John Cannon.

"If he hadn't taken that action that quickly, this likely would have been a lot worse than it was," Cannon said.

The county medical examiner may identify the gunman on Monday, Cannon said.

Houston Police Union President Ray Hunt says an officer who was hit several times in the chest was wearing both a metal breastplate and a bulletproof vest. The second officer was shot in the hand.

At the Dittoe house, Ha Dittoe said police came to the door about two hours later and asked if anyone in the house was being held captive, and if they could walk around the backyard.

The streets were still blocked off late Sunday afternoon with many police cars and fire trucks on the scene. A police SUV was seen with a shattered windshield and the back window broken out, and police said two patrol cars were riddled with bullets.