July, 2016 - Week 4
3rd Chicago Cop Relieved of Powers Over Man Shot in Back
by The Associated Press
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson on Saturday relieved a third officer of his police powers in the death of a suspect after autopsy results showed the 18-year-old died of a gunshot wound to the back.
Johnson's move came hours after the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office ruled Paul O'Neal's death a homicide.
In a statement, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Superintendent Johnson spent hours reviewing video evidence with other officials following the release of the autopsy report.
Although a formal investigation is still ongoing, "Johnson has pledged that CPD will conduct a thorough and fact based administrative review," Guglielmi said.
Two other officers were relieved of their powers on Friday.
O'Neal, from Chicago, was shot Thursday night during a stolen vehicle investigation in the city's South Shore neighborhood.
Authorities have said officers stopped a Jaguar convertible that had been reported stolen. Police said officers opened fire after the driver, identified as O'Neal, put the car in drive and sideswiped a squad car and a parked vehicle. He was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
O'Neal was black; police have not provided any identifying information about the officers who were involved.
The handling of officer-involved shootings in Chicago has come under intense scrutiny since the release last November of a video that shows a white officer fatally shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times. That shooting, and the initial statements by a union spokesman about McDonald lunging at police that turned out to contradict what was on the video, raised serious questions about what the public was being told about police shootings.
Investigators from Chicago's Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates police misconduct cases and officer-involved shootings, arrived at the scene Thursday and obtained footage from cameras that the officers were wearing or were mounted on their squad cars. IPRA spokeswoman Mia Sissac said the footage would be posted online within 60 days, per city policy.
Carbondale Human Relations commissioner applauds PD's community policing efforts
by Nefeteria Brewster
CARBONDALE — Recent violence nationwide among law enforcement officers and some civilians has shifted focus for Carbondale's Human Relations Commission.
Since its creation in 2003, the Human Relations Commission has encouraged equal rights within the community.
Commissioner Karriem Shariati said the HRC has focused on studying and instituting educational programs to promote equal rights. But the recent racial and police violence in places such as Baton Rouge, Louisiana, shifted the focus, Shariati said.
“So much of our energy has been spent on police-community relations but the charter and ambitions of the Human Relations Commission is so much more far-reaching in my mind. But it doesn't seem that the perennial problems are anything but perennial and they do keep coming back,” he said.
Making note of the effort from Carbondale Police during downtown protests against police violence on July 8, 10 and 13, and a viral Facebook video of a local officer playing with children, Shariati said the idea of community policing has been a proactive step for resolving a variety of issues.
"I am really encouraged as I see members of the Carbondale Police Department actually taking a proactive attitude towards this idea of community policing," he said.
Shariati said he hopes neighboring communities exercise similar initiatives.
"This stuff (is) happening everywhere but to see it happening in Carbondale makes you aware that it is not an isolated incident, and some of the things that are happening in major cities like Mount Vernon are happening here," he said.
Muskogee police practice community policing
by Burt Mummolo
MUSKOGEE, Okla. (KTUL) — For many communities policing simply looks like a patrol car driving by. But in Muskogee, policing looks like a basketball game.
"I love seeing these guys come out here," said 16 year-old JD Mayes.
It's called Night Hoops, and it's one of the ways that Muskogee PD has embraced community policing.
"We are turning into more of a proactive police department versus a reactive police department," said officer Jeremy Garcia. He was one of six officers the department sent to Los Angeles to study their practice of community policing.
"I think that the gist of it is to try to suppress a problem or even a problem of crime or anything before it becomes a bigger issue than it needs to be," he said.
Back at the MLK Center...
"The cops here are really nice to us," said one teen.
Friday's event included giveaways of $1,000 in T-shirts and $750 of sports equipment.
"When they come out here it's not, we don't feel alarmed or anything. So we feel comfortable when they're around," said Mayes.
Is there fear from police? "No, the cops they just want to make sure nothing happens here, wants all the kids to be safe, and wants us to have a good time, just don't get in trouble," said one teenage girl.
Scoring points towards a more adhesive community, through simple interaction on a basketball court.
"I feel that people are way more trusting than they were two years ago," said Garcia.
DOJ to review fatal Ariz. police shooting of woman armed with scissors
The Civil Rights Division will review the local investigation into the March 27 shooting death of Loreal Tsingine
by The Associated Press
PHOENIX — The U.S. Justice Department announced this week it will investigate the fatal shooting of a Navajo woman by an Arizona police officer.
The Civil Rights Division will review the local investigation into the March 27 shooting death of Loreal Tsingine, Justice Department spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle said Friday. He declined to comment further.
Tribal officials and activists have been urging federal officials to look into the treatment of American Indians in towns that border the Navajo Nation.
Navajo Nation representatives were not immediately available to comment Saturday.
The protests come amid a wave of demonstrations and racial tensions throughout the U.S. over fatal police shootings of black men as well as deadly attacks on law enforcement officers.
Andrew Curley, an activist with The Red Nation who has organized several protests over the Winslow shooting, called the federal investigation "welcoming news."
"Again, it's unclear the dimensions of the investigation. Whether or not that includes looking into Austin Shipley's conduct and determining whether or not he's criminally liable for the killing of Loreal Tsingine, that's something we're hoping still comes out of the investigation," Curley said.
Maricopa County prosecutors announced last week that Officer Austin Shipley would not be charged. According to Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, his office found no evidence of criminal conduct.
Shipley was responding to a shoplifting at a convenience store when he shot 27-year-old Tsingine on a nearby sidewalk.
The video from his body camera showed that the encounter with Tsingine lasted less than 30 seconds.
Shipley is seen on the video trying to restrain Tsingine, and she falls to the ground.
Tsingine gets up, and the video shows her walking quickly back toward Shipley with the pair of scissors in her left hand, pointed down.
She apparently yells at Shipley as he raises his gun and opens fire.
It's unclear from the video what Tsingine and Shipley said to each other during the confrontation because the video of the events just before the shooting and the shooting itself had no audio, city attorney Ellen Van Riper said.
In a summary of the encounter, the Arizona Department of Public Safety said its investigation concluded that Tsingine refused commands from Shipley for her to stop resisting, get on the ground and drop the scissors.
Witnesses confirmed that Shipley issued the commands, the department said. The full investigative report is expected to be released next week by Winslow officials.
Documents previously released by Winslow officials show that two officers who trained Shipley had serious concerns about his work and that one of them recommended he should not serve the city as an officer.
Tsingine had a lengthy arrest record, including an incident last year when she allegedly tried to grab an officer's gun as he tried to arrest her.
Her relatives have filed a $10.5 million notice of claim against the city, saying Shipley violated Tsingine's civil rights and that Winslow was negligent in "hiring, training, retaining, controlling and supervising" Shipley.
The wrongful-death claim filed this month is a precursor to a lawsuit and seeks $2 million for Tsingine's husband and $8.5 million for her 8-year-old daughter.
Shipley is on paid administrative leave while the Mesa Police Department conducts an internal affairs investigation.
From the FBI
Countering the Cyber Threat -- New U.S. Cyber Security Policy Solidifies FBI as Key Cyber Leader
Earlier this year, the Obama Administration—in recognition of the growing cyber threat from criminals, terrorists, and others who wish to do us harm—released its Cybersecurity National Action Plan.
One aspect of this multi-layered plan was a specific focus on improving cyber incident response. Because the victim of cyber incidents is often a private sector entity, it's crucial that the private sector understands how the U.S. government will respond and coordinate in the event of a cyber incident impacting their networks, operations, or business.
So today, the Administration released Presidential Policy Directive-41 on U.S. Cyber Incident Coordination Policy, which sets forth principles that will govern the federal government's response to cyber incidents and designates certain federal agencies to take the lead in three different response areas—threat response, asset response, and intelligence support. Those agencies are:
The Department of Justice, acting through the FBI and the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force (NCIJTF), will be taking the lead on threat response activities.
The Department of Homeland Security, acting through the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, will be lead agency for asset response activities.
And the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, through its Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center, will be lead agency for intelligence support and related activities.
As the lead for threat response, the FBI will play a key role in the event of a significant cyber incident, communicating with field-level coordinators on the ground to coordinate an effective, multi-agency response to the incident. Threat response activities include conducting appropriate law enforcement and national security investigative activity, like collecting evidence and gathering intelligence; mitigating the immediate threat; identifying disruption activities; and facilitating information sharing and operational coordination with asset response personnel.
Additionally, according to the PPD, the FBI will also take part in the Cyber Unified Coordination Group, an entity to be formed in the event of a significant cyber incident that will also include asset response coordinators and, as appropriate, other federal agencies; local, state, and tribal governments; non-governmental organizations; the private sector; and international counterparts. This mechanism will take collaboration among all responding agencies to an even higher level.
The principles raised in PPD-41 that will guide the federal government's response to cyber incidents closely align with the FBI's values and priorities already in place when dealing with cyber incidents. The Bureau already believes that:
Prevention and management of cyber incidents is a shared responsibility among the government, private sector, and individuals.
All incidents should be approached through a united federal government strategy that best uses the skills, authorities, and resources of each agency.
The response will be based on an assessment of the risks posed to U.S. security, safety, and prosperity, and will focus on enabling the restoration and recovery of the affected entity.
And the government will respect the privacy, civil liberties, and the business needs of victims of cyber incidents.
According to FBI Assistant Director James Trainor, Cyber Division, “PPD-41 codifies the essential role that the FBI plays in cyber incident response, recognizing its unique expertise, resources, and capabilities. And as the Bureau continues evolving to keep pace with the cyber threat, the authorities contained in PPD-41 will allow us to help shape the nation's strategy for addressing nationally-significant cyber incidents.”
“This new policy,” said Trainor, “will also enhance the continuing efforts of the FBI—in conjunction with its partners—to protect the American public, businesses, organizations, and the economy and security of our nation from the wide range of cyber actors who threaten us.”
Identifying the Vulnerabilities
Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate Marks 10 Years
If you can imagine a disaster involving explosives or the release of nuclear, biological, chemical, or radioactive material, there's a pretty good chance a group of subject-matter experts within the FBI has built an elaborate scenario around it and tested how well emergency responders face up to it.
It's one of the main jobs of the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Directorate — to imagine worst-case scenarios and then devise ways to prevent and prepare for them. The Directorate was created 10 years ago this month, on July 26, 2006. John Perren, who has served as the WMD Directorate's assistant director since 2012 and was instrumental in its creation, said his team's job is to find gaps and vulnerabilities in the system and work to fix them.
“Countermeasures is the capital P-for-Prevention in the WMD Directorate,” said Perren, who retires this month after nearly 30 years as an FBI agent. “That's where we sit down with academia, we sit down with the private sector, we sit down with the scientific community, and we describe to them what we view as the threat. Then together we decide: What are the gaps, what are the vulnerabilities, and how do we mitigate them?”
Given the nature of his job, Perren is often asked what his biggest worries are. “What keeps me up at night is not what I know. It's what I don't know,” he has said in speeches, in testimony, and in briefings to members of Congress.
The FBI has long had a role in preventing and investigating weapons of mass destruction. In 2005, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller recognized the need to elevate WMD matters with a focus on a more cohesive and coordinated approach. The The WMD Directorate was officially established a year later. And Mueller tapped Dr. Vajid Majidi, the Department of Justice's chief science advisor, to serve as assistant director.
“The Directorate integrates and links all the necessary intelligence, scientific, and operational components to detect and disrupt the acquisition of WMD capabilities and technologies for use against the U.S. homeland by terrorists and other adversaries,” Mueller said in testimony before Congress just six months after the WMD Directorate's formation.
The Directorate has three sections (see below): countermeasures, investigations and operations, and intelligence. In its first five years, the Directorate established itself as a central hub for WMD subject-matter expertise. Over the past five years, Perren said, it has assumed a more operational posture, investigating hundreds of cases, providing scenario training for emergency responders, and establishing contacts and relationships in the communities where the FBI operates.
“We are intelligence driven,” Perren said of today's WMD Directorate. “We have analysts embedded within different cells, but we also have tactical analysts with our operators in our investigations unit. We've done great things when it comes to investigations. We've been very proactive. We have undercover platforms. We have intelligence platforms. We work on the Dark Web. We work in all areas of the world.”
Defining Weapons of Mass Destruction
WMDs are defined as materials, weapons, or devices that are intended to cause or capable of causing death or serious bodily injury to a significant number of people through the release, dissemination, or impact of toxic or poisonous chemicals or precursors, a disease organism, or radiation or radioactivity, to include, but not limited to, biological devices, chemical devices, improvised nuclear devices, radiological dispersion devices, or radiological exposure devices.
The WMD Directorate
The Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate (WMDD) exists to ensure the FBI and partners are prepared to anticipate, mitigate, disrupt, or respond to WMD threats. With the continued evolution of the WMD threat and the possibility of an overseas origin or nexus, the Directorate advances WMD prevention activities by supporting international WMD capacity building, developing plans and policies at strategic and operational levels, and developing partnerships, training, and outreach endeavors. By improving WMD security on a global level, the WMDD protects U.S. interests abroad and keeps WMD threats outside our borders. Today, the Directorate has three sections:
Countermeasures: The WMDD conducts prevention and outreach activities through FBI agents who serve as WMD coordinators in each of the FBI's 56 field offices and in select overseas regional offices. Through these representatives, the Directorate heightens awareness of WMD threats, develops liaison relationships to mitigate these threats, and uses those relationships to identify evolving WMD threats. These liaison relationships are particularly critical in keeping the FBI abreast of new WMD threats and potential security vulnerabilities associated with technological advances. Tripwires are one example of a specialized, coordinated type of outreach where the FBI develops a network of experts—in law enforcement, public health, and industry, for instance—to assist if a threat emerges.
Investigations and Operations: The WMDD investigates violations of WMD-related statutes and is responsible for coordinating, planning, training, and leading the FBI's response to the use or threatened use of WMD threats and incidents as a means of terrorism. The Investigations and Operations Section (IOS) within the WMDD is composed of six units that provide strategic management and oversight of the FBI's WMD program. The IOS is also responsible for operational response planning and coordination in support of field investigations and the mitigation of WMD threats and incidents. The IOS fields three regional WMD assistant legal attachés who address WMD and counterproliferation situations by providing training at host government's request and ensuring a timely response for assistance to legal attachés and WMD events if pertinent.
Intelligence: The WMDD is staffed with a cadre of analysts who develop relevant, timely, actionable intelligence to identify, understand, and articulate WMD threats and vulnerabilities. The Directorate's intelligence analysts provide WMD subject-matter expertise and apply it to advise investigations and the U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) regarding international and domestic terrorism, criminal/lone actors, critical infrastructure, and counterproliferation. WMDD analysts are involved in all aspects of the WMDD mission by providing strategic, domain, collection, and tactical analysis to WMD investigations and responses to WMD critical incidents. WMDD analysts collaborate with their counterparts in the FBI's Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Laboratory Divisions. They serve on working groups providing subject-matter expertise with our intelligence community, other government agency, law enforcement, and private sector partners. Over the years WMDD analysts have provided briefings on various WMD topics to the FBI Director, Office of the Director National Intelligence, National Security Council, National Intelligence Council, U.S. congressional committees, our private sector partners, and many others.
SDPD gang officer killed, another wounded; suspect arrested
by Fox 5
SAN DIEGO — A San Diego Police officer was killed and another wounded late Thursday after they came under fire in the Southcrest neighborhood, Chief Shelley Zimmerman said.
The chief, speaking at 3 a.m. outside Scripps Mercy Hospital, said the two officers, both members of the department's gang unit, reported that they were making a stop shortly before 11 p.m. Almost immediately afterward, they called for assistance. Other officers in the area arrived quickly and found that both officers had been shot, Zimmerman said.
One of the officers suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the the upper body, Zimmerman said. He was rushed to the hospital in a squad car. Doctors were unable to save him, she said.
The other officer was underwent surgery and is expected to survive, according to the chief.
Police swarmed the area around the 3800 block of Boston Avenue searching for the shooter or shooters. About 12:30 a.m., police confirmed on Twitter that they had one suspect in custody and were searching for more.
Zimmerman described the suspect as an “Hispanic male adult.” She said he was found in a ravine near the 1500 block of South 38th Street. He had been shot while being taken into custody and was being treated for his wounds at a hospital, the chief said. Police did not know if any other suspects were involved and were continuing to search the area, Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman said the names of the officers would not be released until all family members had been notified. She said the officer who died was married and had two children. The wounded officer's wife was with him at the hospital, she said.
Police expected to release additional information later in the morning, Zimmerman said.
This developing story will be updated as more information becomes available.
McDonald's employee fired after denying Texas officer service
by NBC News
BRENHAM, Texas (KPRC) – An off-duty Texas police officer was refused service at a McDonald's this week for being a police officer.
The officer was served after other employees stepped in and the employee who refused to serve him was fired immediately.
Police Chief Craig Goodman said the incident happened at the McDonald's at 500 Hwy 290 West in front of HEB.
“Her son is in custody for a serious offense and she just doesn't have a pleasant view or a positive view of law enforcement,” Chief Goodman said about the employee.
“The actions of that one employee do not reflect the beliefs or opinions of management, the owners, or the McDonald's company as a whole. We would like to thank the owners of McDonald's for their continued support and for seeing that this issue has been resolved,” Chief Goodman says.
Community policing is often a term thrown about by city officials following a tragic confrontation between law officers and the public. The concept is offered sometimes as a pledge to increase positive relations between police and community.
However, it is actually a philosophy that is worthy of implementation before tragedies occur.
And the concept is again catching on with local, state and federal officials.
In May, as part of a six-city tour, U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch visited the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department roll call and met with officers assigned to crime-ridden neighborhoods. More violent crimes are reported on Indianapolis' east side; that's where a majority of grant money goes from the federal Community Oriented Policing Services office through the local Project Safe Neighborhood project,
The COPS Office promotes community policing nationwide. Since 1995, COPS has placed over $14 billion in communities, including grants awarded to more than 13,000 state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring and redeployment of approximately 127,000 officers. However, some of the grants are only applicable for a few years, which often hampers a department in committing to finding its own resources.
In part, implementation of the program in Indianapolis involved the establishment of beat patrols in neighborhoods essentially increasing patrols in one-square-mile blocks in certain parts of the city. Police are encouraged to park their patrol cars and walk through neighborhoods to meet residents.
Time will tell how this works but the concept invites residents to get to know their local police on the neighborhood beats.
Studies have shown community policing increases residents' satisfaction with police, reduces residents' fears over crime and promotes business-friendly environments. Research is ongoing to determine any effect community policing has in reducing crime rates.
But Anderson police may be noticing a positive impact.
For example, Anderson Police Department Officer Brett Webb recently set up games and served food to 80 young people with special needs at a life skills dance. He is assigned to the department's Community Policing division and works to build relationships with the community.
It has paid off. He helped solve the robbery of a Pizza Hut restaurant because of the relationships he developed through a multi-housing program.
Anderson Police Chief Tony Watters should be credited for stepping up the community policing philosophy.
Community policing may not stop shootings involving police and members of the public — the cases we so often read about nowadays. But community policing can go a long way in promoting good relations between a community and its police force.
To read more about Anderson Police Department efforts to partner with the community, visit heraldbulletin.com and search for "community policing."
New Chambersburg police chief emphasizes community policing
by Jennifer Fitch
CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Ron Camacho became chief of the Chambersburg Police Department within days of the fatal shooting of five police officers in Dallas.
The timing allowed Camacho to see how his new community would react during a time of heightened rhetoric across the country — and he was impressed.
"It has been very positive, tremendously positive. For me, it's been a positive experience coming in and experiencing this love," he said, noting community members have written notes and dropped off snacks for officers.
Camacho, 46, most recently worked as a lieutenant with the Old Dominion University Police Department in Norfolk, Va., but his career, particularly his time employed by a State Department contractor, took him all over the world.
Having seen how police in Mexico changed their tactics after an ambush attack there, he said he hopes the platoon-style patrols don't become commonplace in the United States.
He said armed officers would do security sweeps so that their co-workers could walk into a convenience store to buy a soft drink.
The Chambersburg Borough Council hired Camacho on June 27 to take over its 33-member department after the resignation of former Chief David Arnold.
Camacho wants to play a leadership role in fostering strong community relations, including using his command of the Spanish language to reach out to the 16 percent of borough residents who identified themselves as Hispanic or Latino in the 2010 Census.
Camacho put out an offer to talk to businesses about security measures and active-shooter situations, and he is looking forward to meeting residents of the Meadow Creek development at Tuesday's National Night Out event.
The community-policing model is important, Camacho said.
"Every officer here will, at some time, be involved in a community event," he said.
Breaking down barriers: Brattleboro forum looks at community policing
Forum brings locals together following national tragedies
by Chris Mays
BRATTLEBORO >> Spurred on by the deaths of black men by police forces throughout the country in recent years and the ambush of police officers in Texas and Louisiana, local community members are looking at improving race relations.
"It really does start with yourself. You can come here and listen to every single thing everyone has to say but if you take absolutely nothing from it, you won't pass it to anybody else," Isiaha Greene said at a forum on community policing, Wednesday evening at the Robert H. Gibson River Garden. "I'm 19 years old. I'm a young black male. I don't fear the cops or anything. But I have a little brother back there. I kind of fear for his life when it comes to police."
The forum was organized after a conversation between community organizer Patrina Lingard and Jose Moldando, who served on the New York City Police Department before coming to Vermont and becoming an intern in the office of the Windham County State's Attorneys.
"I was having a hard time understanding what was going on in the country," said Lingard, forum moderator.
She asked the panelists and forum attendees what could be done to break down the barriers between groups within the community.
Conversations need to happen "to see what we can do to help one another," said Moldando, who described a disconnect between officers commuting to East New York from Long Island. Having witnessed "a lot of shootings" and plenty of crime, he is now attending Vermont Law School. He said he is "looking forward to making a difference in that capacity."
Brattleboro Police Chief Mike Fitzgerald returned to town after serving in the Marine Corps for just over 20 years.
"I couldn't think of a better place to go home and bring my family," he said before adding that "What we're seeing in the national news and the media does affect us. We need to have this conversation because knowledge is power."
Sheila Linton is one of the founders of the Root Social Justice Center and a leader of the Blacks Lives Matter Vermont movement. She called her experiences with police "mostly negative" but said she wanted to be part of the solution.
Fitzgerald explained that his department has "a very large area" to patrol, 32 square miles, and not every neighborhood could be assigned an officer.
"We have to prioritize," he said. "When I first started, we didn't do a lot of the quality of life issues we do."
Sometimes, an officer can be waiting with a person for hours or a couple days for a hospital bed to open up. This is necessary because the person is not too safe to others, Fitzgerald said.
The department has a mental health worker whose salary is paid for by Health Care & Rehabilitation Services to assist with certain situations and provide early intervention in others.
"It's a statewide problem," said Vermont State Police Sgt. Andy Todd.
Dan Davis, former state's attorney and state trooper who runs his own legal practice now, received a round of applause from the crowd after speaking to his preference for treatment over imprisonment in some cases.
"It is a crime the way that the state of Vermont treats people with mental health issues," he said.
A cultural change rather than new policing tactics is needed, according to Fitzgerald. He said he has encouraged his officers to go into neighborhoods and "hold functions that are non-adversarial." Officers might be asked to walk around downtown or shoot hoops with kids.
"In the past, you only went into certain areas when arresting certain people," he said. "You can't arrest yourself out of the problem. You have to find the root of the problem."
Ken Williams, interim dean at SIT Graduate Institute, wondered how biases factor into police interactions. Originally from the Caribbean, he admitted he has looked down on black people born in the United States.
Officers, Fitzgerald said, "have a lot of discretion when they issue a ticket or not" and an unconscious bias may be present. New data on race available through the department is looked at as a way to address the bias and root it out.
"It stares you right in the face," Fitzgerald said of the data.
The Reformer submitted a request for public information early Thursday afternoon.
An implicit bias exists for police officers, Todd said. State police data from 2010 to 2015 indicated results that "were not what we wanted to see," he added.
State police out of the Brattleboro barracks issued citations to 40.7 percent of the 18,503 white people stopped during the study period and troopers from the Rockingham barracks cited 30 percent of the 21,401 white people stopped. The Brattleboro barracks cited 41.7 percent of the 1,460 non-white drivers stopped and the Rockingham barracks cited 37.8 percent of the 1,319 non-white drivers stopped.
Altogether, the state police cited 37.2 percent of the 265,899 white people stopped and 44.4 percent of the 13,061 non-whites stopped. Brattleboro had the lowest disparity between the stops of white and non-white people.
Other areas saw much higher figures for stops involving non-white people: Williston cited 34.3 percent of the 23,568 white people stopped and 44.7 percent of the 13,061 non-whites, Middlesex cited 44.8 percent of the 26,642 whites stopped and 55.9 percent of the 1,647 non-whites, Bradford issued citations for 45.7 percent of the 20,013 whites stopped and 61.8 percent of the 753 nonwhites, and Royaltan cited 25.9 percent of the 24,159 whites stopped and 36.7 percent of the 1,596 nonwhites.
According to the study, 5.1 percent of black drivers were searched during stops by the state police. Four percent of Hispanic or Latino drivers, 3.9 percent of native Americans and 0.8 percent of Asians were searched. For whites, the figure was 1.1 percent.
In this department, the Brattleboro barracks had the highest disparity. Out of the 18,503 white drivers stopped, 1.5 percent were searched. Of the 1,385 non-whites stopped, 6.3 percent were searched.
Rockingham was a close second in the highest disparity. Out of 21,401 white drivers stopped, 1.4 percent were searched. And 5.4 percent of the 1,317 non-white drivers stopped were searched.
Davis said both police agencies were "making major strides" in fighting racism.
"I think data collection is key," said Donna Macomber, who serves as executive director of the Women's Freedom Center. "I think partly why we're here (at the forum) is the lethality is undeniable, like the lethality of what happens when people in positions of power are not able to move beyond bias and assess the situation accurately. I think what we have never gotten to — not in this community, but anywhere in this country — is how do we really undo racism?"
White people need to stand up with colored people and "make it seem like it was not just another incident that happened," said Williams.
"We need to begin to engage and understand people's pain," he said.
Williams said people do not see that they are acting in ways that can hurt other people. Examining perceptions and behavior, he added, is important.
Linton also encouraged white people to reach out to community members of color.
"Talk to them about what's going on. Talk to them about their experiences. And acknowledge, that not all people of color are going to have the same experiences," she said. "We live a white supremacist culture. That's where we need to start. Those who identify as being white, you have to learn how to understand your own white privilege and how that plays out."
"We live in a racist society that's against the poor," said Mikaela Simms, a Brattleboro resident who works for Spark Teacher Education Institute.
"In my opinion, we're teaching our kids to be racists. If you want to stop racism, stop teaching your kids to be racists," Orlando Alverez, investigator for the Department of Children and Families, said and was met with loud applause. "The race system started when the white settlers arrived on this continent and did what they did to the Native Americans. You're looking at 500 years of history that, in my opinion, this country has never fully discussed."
When starting his law enforcement career, he was given several tools: a radio, handcuffs and a gun. Each one represents a different way of handling a situation.
"If you can't talk your way out of a situation as a police officer, expect to fight. They taught me that if you're going to pull your firearm and discharge it that it's only because your life was in danger or somebody else's life was in danger. There are some times you use it. Other times, you use your wits or hands," Alverez said. "When I started I had an officer tell me, when you interact with people on the streets, remember that person's relatives and friends are going to be a jury when you're on trial. The second one is, when you're patrolling somebody's neighborhood, look around at the homes and recognize that the people who live in those homes are taxpaying citizens regardless of what they look like. They're paying you to protect their neighborhood."
Brooks Memorial Library Director Starr LaTronica invited forum attendees to keep the conversation going next Wednesday night at the library's meeting room.
Ferndale Mayor and Police Chief Announce New Community Policing Model
by City of Ferndale Mayor David Coulter and Chief of Police Tim Collins
Ferndale, MI – What role does law enforcement play in our community?
It's a question being asked at the local and national level, by residents and municipalities alike. A 2015 national Gallup poll shows that confidence in law enforcement is at a twenty-two-year low, with only 52% of Americans expressing confidence in the police.
The reason behind this dip in trust is multi faceted. Citizens are hearing more about law enforcement nationally and less at the local level. When policing makes national headlines, it's often in response to tragedies like the ones we've www.m1realty.netexperienced in recent months rather than the good work they do every day. Meanwhile, citizens are engaging less with the police departments in their own communities; when people feel “in the dark” about how law enforcement agencies and officers work, it's easy to see how confidence can wane.
The City of Ferndale is ready to change that.
At a recent City Council meeting, we elected to support an innovative new community-oriented policing model proposed by the Ferndale Police Department. Born from President Obama's Task Force on 21st Century Policing, the model goes back to basics and focuses on the most important aspect of why we do what we do: our community.
A community-oriented police department is made up of guardians—men and women trained to create strong, healthy, tight-knit communities. It's about people: talking to people, building communications, establishing trust. It's about officers becoming welcome and familiar faces. It's about providing everyone—residents, visitors, business owners, and passersby—with the same treatment and respect. It's about educating citizens so they can safety look out for one another. It's about protection, not violence or enforcement.
Much of what our police department does already embraces this model, which we're proud of. Moving forward, we'll be working to build on these practices, http://schmidtlawservices.com/ensuring that Ferndale remains at the heart of our decision-making. That means making some changes that directly reflect our community's needs and values. As part of this process, we:
~ Have created a new community engagement officer position, filled by Sgt. Baron Brown, a twenty-one-year veteran of the Ferndale Police Department. His new role will see him talking with residents, answering questions, meeting with local leaders, and generally working to build trust and transparency between our police department and the community it serves.
~ Are developing a plan for communication and community involvement: We're bringing back our Citizens Police Academy, an opportunity for residents to learn about law enforcement policies and practices. This sets the stage for neighbors to share and educate one another, empowers citizens to start block clubs and neighborhood watch programs, and stops the spread of rumors and misinformation.
~ Are ramping up our community outreach: We're committed to reaching all segments of our
community, from seniors in need of personal safety tips to youth who have grown up with a
distrust of law enforcement.
~ Created and are seeing successes with the collaborative Early College program, which
provides opportunity and encouragement for underrepresented youth to seek careers in law enforcement.
These are simply the first steps in what will be a years-long move toward an entirely new style of policing. As a city, we are committed to this model completely from the top down—we, your Mayor and Chief of Police, the City Manager's Office, City Council, and the officers working day and night to serve this community we all love. In fact, walking through the halls of the Ferndale Police Department, it is clear that change is already in the air: office doors are open, the atmosphere is professional yet friendly. Our captain—who holds a position we recently reinvested in after five years vacant—has a sign in his office that reads, “Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you.”
As we work to strengthen our role in the community, we invite our citizens to do the same by reaching out and getting involved. Get to know your neighbors. Look out for one another. When you see Ferndale officers out and about, say hi. If you have questions or concerns, reach out us on
staff and City Council.
We are excited to be a part of the change that ushers in the next phase of law enforcement in Ferndale—not policing to our community, but working with it.
MSU criminologist investigates public safety consolidation
by Mark Kuykendall and Jeremy Wilson
In the first comprehensive work of its kind, a Michigan State University criminologist has completed a study on the implementation and outcomes of public safety consolidation – the merging of a city's police and fire departments.
In the study, released recently in a report by the U.S. Department of Justice, professor of criminal justice Jeremy Wilson details that while public safety consolidation can work well for some communities, it isn't the best solution for others.
“If there is one overarching lesson in our case studies, it is that consolidation of police and fire agencies is not a one-size-fits-all solution,” Wilson said. “Communities must very carefully assess for themselves if it is right for them.”
Across the United States, more than 130 communities provide consolidated police and fire services. The study examined public safety departments in states ranging from Texas to Michigan, and California to South Carolina. Michigan has the most consolidated departments of any state, with 61, which includes the communities of Meridian Township, East Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo.
Wilson hopes that this research will assist communities that are considering consolidation as an option, often as a result of budget constraints in struggling economies. He said that the knowledge gained from the study is a tool to use in exploring solutions to the contentious and sensitive issues surrounding public safety services in communities strained for resources.
“We're not advocating for consolidation, we're objectively examining its short- and long-term advantages and disadvantages,” Wilson said. “In some communities, consolidation has worked well, leading to increased efficiency and enhanced service provision, but in others it hasn't.”
The study found that consolidation efforts generally encountered more difficulties in the larger and more diverse communities sampled. Some communities deconsolidated after encountering leadership issues or a lack of full community support, and others discovered that it simply didn't meet their needs.
Still other communities achieved success with consolidation, in some cases surpassing firefighting standards and earning better insurance ratings than most U.S. communities. The models and methods of implementing consolidation differed as much as the outcomes these communities experienced.
“We've found that there are as many potential ways to consolidate public safety agencies as there are communities attempting to consolidate them,” Wilson said.
The work is one part of a portfolio of consolidation research in the Program on Police Consolidation and Shared Services at MSU's School of Criminal Justice, and was funded through the Justice Department's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS Office.
Wilson's co-researchers are Alexander Weiss and Clifford Grammich.
At vigil, Biden tries to comfort relatives of slain Baton Rouge officers
The gunman's bullets that killed three law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge also targeted the country and "touched the soul of the entire nation," Vice President Joe Biden said
by Michael Kunzelman
BATON ROUGE, La. — The gunman's bullets that killed three law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge also targeted the country and "touched the soul of the entire nation," Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday at a memorial service for the fallen officers.
"We need to heal," said Biden, who was joined at a Baton Rouge church by Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, the officers' widows and hundreds of others.
Biden spoke directly to the three officers' relatives from the stage. He promised them that a day will come when the memory of their loved ones will "bring a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye."
"They were defined by their courage," he said. "It matters who they were, and it matters who we are as a country."
Baton Rouge police officers Matthew Gerald, 41, and Montrell Jackson, 32, and sheriff's deputy Brad Garafola, 45, were shot and killed by Gavin Long, an Army veteran from Kansas City, Missouri, outside a convenience store on July 17.
Authorities say the gunman was targeting police officers.
"When that assassin's bullet targeted our heroes — and he was an assassin — he not only targeted them, he targeted the city. He targeted his country, and it touched the soul of the entire nation," Biden said.
Long, 29, also wounded three other officers before a SWAT officer gunned him down. Long killed the officers less than two weeks after protests erupted in Baton Rouge over the death of Alton Sterling, a 29-year-old black man who was shot and killed during a scuffle with two white police officers. The killing was captured on cellphone video and circulated widely on the internet.
Biden said he heard that Sterling's aunt embraced the father of one of the slain officers during a chance encounter after the shooting. He said they prayed together because "loss is loss is loss."
Lynch said it can feel as if the world is "broken beyond repair" after tragedies like the deadly shootout in Baton Rouge. But she said the gathering shows the community is united by "collective heartache" and a "common humanity."
"We are not alone," she said. "The pain that we feel is shared by everyone, as is our hope in the future that has always been this nation's guiding star."
Lynch is scheduled to remain in Baton Rouge through Friday afternoon to meet with local police officials and other first responders. The Justice Department is investigating Sterling's death. The two officers involved in his July 5 shooting were placed on administrative leave
Rosie Hernandez, whose nephew who is a Baton Rouge police officer, attended the service with her husband. She said she is confident that the ceremony will help unite a community that has been grappling with racial tensions.
"Out of this tragedy, the hope is that we will become a closer community," she said.
Sheriff's Deputy Nicholas Tullier was critically wounded and has remained in a hospital since the shooting.
Jackson, a corporal, was a 10-year veteran of the Baton Rouge Police Department. He was married and had a 4-month-old son. Days before he was shot to death, Jackson posted a message on Facebook about the difficulties of being both a black man and a police officer in the tumultuous aftermath of Sterling's shooting.
"Please don't let hate infect your heart. This city MUST and WILL get better," wrote Jackson, whose funeral was Monday.
His widow, Trenisha Jackson, smiled broadly as she encouraged audience members to stand up, raise their right hands and repeat these words after her: "I will not let hate infect my heart."
Garafola, whose funeral was Saturday, is survived by a wife and four children: sons ages 21 and 12, and daughters ages 15 and 7.
His widow, Tonja Garafola, recalled trying to find her husband on the morning of the shooting and described how her heart sank when he didn't answer her call. She found out he had been shot about an hour later.
"Since then, our children have slept in our bed just so they can feel ... the presence of their dad," she said.
Gerald was a former Marine and Army veteran who served three tours in Iraq before joining the police force nine months ago. His wife, Dechia Gerald — now a widow with two young daughters — called him "my blue-eyed rock" in a written tribute she read aloud Thursday.
"My heart is heavy, but the admiration and pride I feel gives me the strength I need to carry on," she said.
NYPD upgrades protective equipment after Texas, La. ambush killings
The NYPD ordered about $7.5M worth of new vests and helmets
by Alison Fox
NEW YORK CITY — The NYPD ordered about $7.5 million worth of new bulletproof vests and helmets, an effort that follows two high-profile shootings targeting officers in Texas and Louisiana, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Monday.
The department ordered 20,000 helmets and 6,000 vests, which will be worn in an active-shooter situation on top of the bulletproof vests officers already wear under their uniforms.
“These vests would provide significant additional front and rear coverage for our officers,” Bratton said, speaking in front of the 84th Precinct in Brooklyn — the same precinct where Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were based. Both officers were shot and killed while sitting in their patrol car in Brooklyn in 2014 by a gunman who apparently wanted revenge on cops for the deaths of Eric Garner in Staten Island and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
“The helmets are very similar to those that are worn by U.S. soldiers in combat.”
Bratton said the need to order the new equipment came after a police-involved shooting in East Williamsburg July 17 where cops shot and killed a 42-year-old man in an exchange of gunfire after the man threatened several people with a handgun.
Shortly after, Bratton said he put together the costs and called Mayor Bill de Blasio. A day later the department placed the order.
“That reinforced based on what we had already been looking at in terms of what had happened in Dallas and Baton Rouge, the decision to move forward with the quick acquisition,” Bratton said, adding: “We'll probably be making additional purchases farther down the line for the rest of our police officers. But the manufacturer can only make so many.”
Bratton said the Critical Response Command, Emergency Services Unit, and Strategic Response Group already have these vests as well as similar helmets.
The department expects to start receiving the new equipment by September, about $5 million of which is covered by the NYPD's budget and another $2.5 million from the Office of Management and Budget.
The use of the new equipment will be worked into the active shooter training and refresher training the department runs, Bratton said.
The department has also focused on updating its technology — like rolling out smartphones to all officers — as well as focusing on officer safety by expanding bullet-resistant doors to department vehicles, and updating the masks that protect officers from a contaminated environment, including carbon monoxide.
“All of these are part of the equation of keeping communities safe and officers safe,” de Blasio said. “It all adds up to a capacity that's unsurpassed in this nation. We will keep making those investments, and my message to all the members of the NYPD and especially to their families: that we value the safety of our officers and we will put the resources in play to keep our officers safe.”
Police rally as mayor says Black Lives Matter banner stays
About 50 police officers and their supporters upset about a Black Lives Matter banner that has been hanging outside City Hall for a year rallied on Thursday
by Philip Marcelo
SOMERVILLE, Mass. — About 50 police officers and their supporters upset about a Black Lives Matter banner that has been hanging outside City Hall for a year rallied on Thursday to try to pressure the mayor to remove it.
The primarily white opponents of the banner broke into chants of "All lives matter!" and "Take it down!" Many held signs saying "Cops lives matter" and "Support your local police."
Harold MacGilvray, president of a coalition representing 1,500 officers in 26 communities, said a public building like Somerville's City Hall is "no place" for political slogans to be displayed.
The mayor of Somerville, a largely white and historically working-class Boston suburb, had earlier in the day promised not to remove the banner despite complaints from officers across the state.
Mayor Joe Curtatone, a white Democrat, said it's "OK to disagree" and the only way to resolve the impasse is through an "open dialogue" about race.
"That sign is not coming down," he insisted while standing in front of City Hall flanked by the police chief and two deputy chiefs.
The Somerville Police Employees Association was among the unions represented at the opposition rally Thursday evening outside City Hall. Its president, Michael McGrath, said his officers support the "core goal" of the Black Lives Matter movement but believe the banner sends an "exclusionary message" and had become "offensive" to them after this summer's fatal attacks on police in Dallas and in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
"The banner implies that Somerville police officers are somehow responsible for racially motivated decision-making against minorities," he said.
As the police rally was breaking up, some Black Lives Matter supporters held signs saying "All lives can't matter until black lives matter" or thanking the mayor for his stand.
City resident Roy Pardi, who's white, said some people who don't understand what Black Lives Matter means.
"Black Lives Matter doesn't stand for harming police, and it doesn't stand for other people's rights not being considered," he said. "It's just right now we're focusing on black lives. It's pretty basic."
But Jay Colbert, a white local firefighter standing nearby, was unconvinced and said activists were inciting people to take up arms against police.
"Someone hijacked that movement," he said, "and now it's almost synonymous with killing cops."
Curtatone, the son of Italian immigrants and the mayor since 2004, has argued that standing up for minority residents and supporting police aren't "competing interests." He noted the city has hung a banner at police headquarters honoring the officers slain in Dallas and Baton Rouge.
When asked whether he thought it was appropriate to place the Black Lives Matter banner on a government building, he replied: "No one can sit out this conversation. Where this is happening is in cities. This is the grassroots level."
Curtatone hung the 4-foot-by-12-foot banner over City Hall's main entrance in August 2015 at the request of a local Black Lives Matter chapter. He said then it was meant to recognize that "structural racism" exists in society and stressed it wasn't a criticism of his police department.
The police banner hangs over the police headquarters entrance and says, "In honor and remembrance," with an image of the Dallas Police Department badge and a black band across it.
Last week, the city police union called on the mayor to replace the City Hall banner, which says "#BlackLivesMatter," with one that states "All Lives Matter," a phrase some civil rights activists complain diminishes their concerns about the killings of black men and boys at the hands of police.
In response, police Chief David Fallon, who supports keeping the banner over City Hall, chided the union for getting involved in the debate.
Curtatone said opposition to the banner wasn't shared by all police officers. He also said he's "proud" of the response from residents, community leaders, faith-based leaders and activists, and he rejected the notion officers would face reprisals if they attended the opposition rally.
Somerville is a city of more than 80,000 residents that borders Boston and Cambridge and is home to most of Tufts University's campus. It is about 74 percent white, 11 percent Latino, 9 percent Asian and 7 percent black, according to 2010 U.S. Census data.
Shooting deaths of law enforcement spike in 2016, report reveals
by The Associated Press
NEW YORK – Shooting deaths of law enforcement officers spiked 78 percent in the first half of 2016 compared to last year, including an alarming increase in ambush-style assaults like the ones that killed eight officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, according to a report released Wednesday.
However, data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund shows that firearms-related deaths of officers in the line of duty are still lower than they were during previous decades like the 1970s.
Thirty-two officers died in firearms-related incidents so far this year including 14 that were ambush-style attacks, according to the report. During the same period last year, 18 officers were shot and killed in the line of duty including three that were considered ambush attacks.
"That's a very alarming, shocking increase in the number of officers who are being literally assassinated because of the uniform they wear and the job that they do," said Craig W. Floyd, who heads the organization.
The organization usually releases a mid-year report tracking incidents for the first six months but decided to extend the period due to the July attacks in Dallas and Baton Rouge against police officers. So the report goes from the beginning of January to July 20 and compares it to the same period last year. On their website, the organization also keeps a running tally of officers who died in the line of duty. Those figures through July 26 show that 33 officers have been shot and killed so far this year.
The report comes at a time of heightened tension between communities across the country and police officers. Two police officers and one sheriff's deputy were shot and killed during an ambush on July 17 in Baton Rouge by a black gunman who was later killed by responding officers. In Dallas, a black gunman opened fire on police during a July 7 protest against recent police shootings of black suspects; the gunman killed five officers before being killed by authorities.
A total of 67 officers have died in the line of duty so far in 2016, according to the report. That figure also includes officers who died in traffic accidents, fatal falls or airplane crashes.
Texas leads the nation in the number of law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty with 14 deaths so far this year, including the five recent slayings in Dallas. Louisiana, where three officers were shot and killed in Baton Rouge, ranked second with a total of seven officers who died in the line of duty.
Despite the recent high-profile shootings of police, the average number of officers shot and killed on the job is significantly lower than in previous decades. Floyd said during the 1970s, there was an average of 127 officers shot and killed yearly; during the last ten years through 2015, the average number shot and killed is 52. He cited the reduction in violent crime in recent decades and said officers have benefited from the widespread introduction of body armor and improved trauma care if they do get shot.
But he noted a worrying increase in recent years in anti-police and anti-government sentiment.
Officer's Trial Exposes Fault Lines Over Police Shootings
by Ben Finley
It's a familiar story: an unarmed black male killed at the hands of a white law enforcement officer. But it didn't take place in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis, or any of the other cities most recently at the center of discussions about police use of force and race.
William Chapman II died last year in Portsmouth, Virginia, a majority-black city of 100,000 that while not in the spotlight, has been deeply ensconced in such discussions.
For many black leaders there, former Officer Stephen Rankin's rare trial on first-degree murder charges, scheduled to start with jury selection Wednesday, will be nothing less than a referendum on a criminal justice system they say often fails to hold police accountable.
"The criminal justice system is hell-bent on favoring those in law enforcement," said James Boyd, president of Portsmouth's NAACP chapter. "We see these violent injustices happening time and again without any sense of accountability. This trial has implications for every citizen, but specifically for every black American in this country."
Rankin's attorneys argue that Chapman's shooting was justified, and should not be judged in the context of other pending cases elsewhere in the country.
"The factual scenario is so totally different than what has happened in Baton Rouge and Minneapolis and with Michael Brown (in Ferguson, Missouri)," attorney James Broccoletti said. "I don't think it would matter if this individual were black, red, purple or orange. It was the conduct of the person that generated the response."
Rankin shot Chapman, 18, after responding to a shoplifting call outside a Wal-Mart last year. Witnesses say a struggle ensued. Unlike in Baton Rouge and Minneapolis, however, no witness cellphone video is available to shed any light on the circumstances. In Rankin's case, the only footage is an incomplete video from his stun gun that doesn't show the actual shooting. Rankin was fired by Portsmouth's city manager after his indictment.
Chapman's death marked the second time Rankin killed someone while on duty. He was cleared of any wrongdoing from the first shooting in 2011. In that case, he fired 11 times at a white burglary suspect he said charged at him with his hands reaching into his waistband.
In court documents, prosecutors allege Rankin killed Chapman "willfully, deliberately and with premeditation." Chapman's body was delivered to the medical examiner with handcuffs still bound behind his back, according to news reports at the time.
But some witnesses said Chapman was combative; one said he knocked away Rankin's stun gun, according to the reports.
Sallie Chapman, the teen's mother, told The Associated Press he did not have a confrontational nature.
"Please look past his badge," she said of Rankin. "Please look past his uniform. And convict this man of murder."
The trial is scheduled at a time of intense scrutiny over police officers' use of force, and both the prosecution and defense expressed concerns about how to maintain an impartial jury. Despite those concerns, a judge ruled Tuesday that the trial would proceed.
Rankin's attorneys said demonstrations in favor of the officer's conviction are planned and that jurors could be influenced by them as they enter the courthouse. At the same time, Portsmouth's prosecutor has told the judge that a heavy presence of uniformed officers supporting Rankin could have a "chilling effect" on the jury. In addition to following numerous incidents of black men dying in police custody, the trial comes in the wake of recent fatal attacks on officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
On-duty officers kill suspects about 1,000 times a year, according to Philip Stinson, a criminal justice professor at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. But only 74 have been charged since 2005, 18 of them in 2015 alone, he said. Stinson said it will be years before he can say if the increase last year is a statistical anomaly or a trend buoyed by witness cellphone videos.
Of those officers arrested, 31 were charged with murder and several, including Rankin, with first-degree murder, he said. Thus far, 24 of the cases against officers have ended in convictions and 24 have not. The rest are pending.
"Juries are very reluctant to convict an officer because they all recognize that policing is difficult and violent," Stinson said.
The Virginian-Pilot newspaper recently reported that 37 people have died from shootings by police in the Hampton Roads region since 2010, 25 of them black. Two of the shootings led to criminal charges against the officers, one of whom is Rankin.
Recent protests over shootings by police in Louisiana and Minnesota shut down a major highway in Portsmouth, and a white city councilman responded by calling the demonstrators "thugs" on social media. That same night, however, an image of a black highway protester hugging a white police officer went viral, easing some of the tension. The councilman apologized the following day.
JaPharii Jones, a local black activist from nearby Hampton, Virginia, said the hug was "an awesome" moment. But he said a guilty verdict in the Rankin trial would be far more impactful in a region where he said "you can sneeze and you can get shot" by police.
Ed Schardein, a retired captain from Portsmouth, said the charges against Rankin do not reflect the department or the nation's officers.
Schardein said Portsmouth's force is well-trained and professional. And because of a relatively high crime rate, he said the officers are used to handling high-stress situations without prematurely drawing their guns.
"Conviction or no conviction, I would hope that it's based on the facts, and not the perception that there is an issue among policing," Schardein said.
What happens when a white officer shoots a black man, but no one releases a video
by Jaweed Kaleem
When a white officer launched seven bullets into a black man outside a housing project here early this month, there were chants of “black lives matter” in the streets, accusations of racism, and demands for an investigation and answers.
But unlike other police-involved deaths of black men across the country, the fatal shooting of Jai “Jerry” Williams on July 2 had no viral video. And instead of dividing a community between those who accept the police version of events and those who question it, Williams' death has united residents in grief while opening wounds about race in this liberal Southern enclave.
In Asheville, a majority-white city of 88,000 whose tourism board has touted it as a place where Americans can live life “any way you like it,” news of the shooting has gradually made its way through the community after being overshadowed by national events, shocking white residents into soul-searching and an identity crisis.
Hundreds of Ashevillians, familiar with loud protests over causes like gay rights, fracking and war, have taken to the streets to block downtown intersections and hold vigils.
In a place whose liberal population prides itself on racial understanding, national trauma and local violence have collided.
White churches that were pioneers in fighting for same-sex marriage are hosting Sunday dialogues on racism, inviting black pastors they've never met to join. At the downtown organic store, white employees recently agreed to put up a “Black Lives Matter” sign. Massage therapists and yoga instructors are offering healing sessions for people traumatized by bloody viral videos and news coverage.
At the same time, residents are unearthing long-simmering racial tensions in a city where many didn't realize they existed.
“It's somewhat of a startling revelation,” said Esther Manheimer, mayor of the city that's home to the University of North Carolina at Asheville. “We all walk in our bubbles and assume everybody is experiencing life the way I am experiencing life.”
Now, she said, the community is going through a “necessary disruption.”
Like many Southern cities, Asheville, nestled amid the Blue Ridge Mountains, grew from the labor of slaves, who worked on its extravagant 19th century plantations and helped build downtown. The city once had a thriving black business district that declined amid development in the 20th century as new highways were built over black centers.
The black community, largely poor and concentrated in housing projects and segregated neighborhoods, has lost more than a tenth of its members since 2000, and stands at around 13% of the city population.
African Americans have long complained about mistreatment at the hands of police, including after an officer was cleared of charges in 2014 for the deadly shooting of a 19-year-old black man after a foot chase. But the recent death has brought crowds — and some white allies — unlike before.
“People are tired of what they are seeing in this country,” said DeLores Venable, a 37-year-old healthcare worker and Black Lives Matter activist who has led local protests asking police to release records into Williams' shooting.
“I'm fifth-generation from here. It's always been racist,” said Venable, who had known Williams and said he was “nothing like they make him out to be. He was always joking, the one to cheer you up. Everything that they say happened is completely out of character.”
“White people are just waking up,” added Johaunna Cromer, another Black Lives Matter activist who knew Williams. “More of them need to.”
Williams' shooting bears little resemblance to the recent deaths of black men that have captivated the nation, except in one sense: Nearly every detail has been disputed.
According to police, officers responded to a call about shots fired at a public housing complex southwest of downtown and went on a three-mile car chase of a suspect, ending at another housing project. Officers said they saw Williams, 35, struggling with a woman who was trying to get out of the car they had been chasing. Then, they said, he ran the car onto a curb and displayed an AR-15 rifle.
The white officer who shot Williams is on administrative leave, and the State Bureau of Investigation is collecting evidence.
Family members and witnesses deny much of the story, challenging the account of who was in the car and whether Williams threatened to use a gun or even had one.
Police say that the officer was not wearing a body camera, and that there was no dash-cam installed in the patrol car. The police introduced an already-scheduled body camera program just days after the shooting. No bystander videos have been released.
The local controversy, paired with the graphic videos that catapulted the shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile into social media prominence, have emboldened some white residents here to not only seek answers but explore their own attitudes toward race.
“How do we proceed, as a city and a country?” asked Janet Quick, 70, who was spurred this month to go to her first meeting of the Asheville chapter of Showing Up For Racial Justice, a national network of white activists that was founded in response to police shootings of black Americans.
The retired clinical psychologist and lifelong member of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People had never marched in a Black Lives Matter protest, but now is looking for one to join. As the daughter of an FBI agent, she's also wary of being quick to judge law enforcement.
Showing Up for Racial Justice meets in the muggy backroom of Firestorm, a cafe-bookstore whose regular events include an animal rights reading group and meetings of a “queer women's book club.” It often gets around five attendees for a weekly discussion group on race that it has held since shortly after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014. At a recent meeting, an overflow crowd of 30 people joined to strategize and air their views.
“I feel like I took a red pill from ‘The Matrix.' I can't go back,” said Kriya Lendzion, a 45-year-old school counselor who moved to the city nine years ago from Orlando after being attracted by Ashville's high rankings for safety and the popularity of its holistic wellness community.
“It's taken me so long to understand that all of the things this city prides itself in, they don't include black people,” said Lendzion, a white woman whose 18-year-old son is biracial and identifies as black.
“We're this progressive, white, hippie town, and everyone says, ‘No, we're not racist,'” said Rae Nebula, a 32-year-old performance artist and hairstylist. “I'm thirsty for a way to wake more people up. It's our job to make people uncomfortable, because this is how people of color feel all the time.”
Mic Collins, one of the founders of the group, chimed in, calling the moment a “test for this for community.”
“I hold the tension of being unsure about what happened [to Williams],” said Collins, 28. “But at the same time, we all know what happened because it's happening around the country.”
Statistically speaking, the group's sentiments on race are unusual among white Americans. A Pew Research Center survey released last month showed stark contrasts in how white and black Americans see race. Forty-six percent of whites said race relations were generally good, while 61% of blacks said they were generally bad. About 4 in 10 blacks said they doubted the country would ever reach a point where they would be treated equally to whites. Nearly 4 in 10 whites said that had already happened.
On a recent Tuesday evening, 10 days after Williams' shooting had ignited protests and self-examination, activists, clergy and community members gathered downtown to pay tribute to his life and that of the two black men and five police officers who had died in the previous week in Louisiana, Minnesota and Texas.
At the Block off Biltmore, a vegan bar and restaurant housed in the same building as the Young Men's Institute, a historic black cultural center, dozens came together to celebrate what would have been Williams' 36th birthday. A DJ played old-school soul, Williams' favorite music, and 50 Cent, as William's' mother, aunts and cousin stood at microphones to demand answers about their loved one's death before cutting a vegan chocolate-blueberry cake. It was festive yet somber, as attendees drank margaritas and ate sauteed kale over rice with cornbread.
“I'm still waiting on the truth. I still haven't seen his body. I'm still waiting on the autopsy report. We have no funeral plans yet,” said Williams' mother, Najiyyah Avery, as she held Poopdy, the ragged teddy bear her son had kept since childhood. “No city, county, government official has reached out.” Her eyes lit up when she talked about her son, who was a packer at an alcohol distribution company, and had dreams of writing novels and making rap CDs. Most attendees at the party were black.
Two blocks away at Pack Square Park, a mostly white crowd of around 150 gathered with the mayor, police chief and clergy to offer prayers after the shooting, and the for the dead across the U.S. this month. Within eyesight of the crowd was the Vance monument, a historic 50-foot obelisk named after a former governor, U.S. congressman and slave owner that's been the site of controversy among black residents over the years.
"I can't imagine the grief this family is experiencing right now," said Mayor Manheimer, who is white. "Once we have an encounter between a person and a police officer that ends in tragedy, we as a community have failed that individual and we have failed that officer."
The two events were organized independently, and Avery said it was a “slap in the face” to have city officials put together a tribute to her son without her permission and without inviting her.
As the vigil, organized by an interfaith coalition, closed, Manheimer walked down the street to the birthday party for Williams, mingling with guests and waiting in line to meet the Williams family.
The family was surprised, and put off. Their pain and the city's divide was long from being healed, they said.
Through a representative, they told they mayor they didn't want to talk to her on their son's birthday, and asked her to go home.
Police chief wants to increase department's 'positive footprint' in the community
by Phillip Sean Curran
Police Chief Nicholas K. Sutter said Monday that law enforcement is dealing with a “crisis” that will require the Princeton Police Department to have more “positive contacts” or interactions with the public apart from the regular enforcement the department does daily.
“I see us increasing our ... positive footprint in the community almost on an individual basis,” he told Mayor Liz Lempert and the Princeton Council at their meeting. He said positive encounters with people are “equally important” as when officers enforce the law.
Chief Sutter finds himself and law enforcement more broadly working in a tense environment amid high-profile police shootings of black men and the murders and shootings of police officers in Dallas, Texas, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
His comments come before a scheduled community conversation — planned for Wednesday at John Witherspoon Middle School — for the public to be able to discuss those issues, an event that he plans to attend. They also come two weeks after some council members expressed concern about racial disparities in police arrests and called for police to stop doing random license plate checks of motor vehicles.
For nearly 20 minutes before council, Chief Sutter stressed the value of police having positive dealings with the community.
“There's got to be a fabric within the department of increasing those positive contacts,” he said. “We've done it already, we've been pushing toward this for quite some time.”
He said those interactions happen constantly within Princeton, although with little fanfare. He said he thinks it would help if more attention was focused on them, and cited the need for the department, internally, to be able to track when officers have those positive encounters.
Town officials have talked of the department strengthening relations with the public through community policing. A new patrol plan of the central business district, for example, involves police introducing themselves to merchants and residents, sharing their business cards and being a point of contact.
“Community policing is not a program or a fad or, again, a program to be done by a segment of the Police Department,” he said. “It should be the fabric of the philosophy of the Police Department, which I feel that it is.”
Mayor Lempert, addressing reporters at her press conference earlier in the day, said the department has had “always” had a focus on community policing. Yet in terms of what things police might do differently, she said police would “not necessarily” stop random license plate checks. She also backed continued enforcement of speeding, something residents have ranked as their priority.
“We all spend different amounts of our ... time on different activities. So it's really going to be where people's resources are being allocated and what they're being asked to do,” she said.
“We want more police one-on-one interactions,” Council President Lance Liverman said at the same press conference.
One Princeton official said on a condition of anonymity this week that the town is not de-emphasizing the traditional role of police enforcing the law, but rather wants officers to engage more in community relations.
In his remarks, Chief Sutter recalled how, as child, he experienced both ends of dealing with police. He remembered being scared in the back seat of his father's car when police pulled them over. On the other hand, he cited how his house was burglarized and an officer spent two hours helping him with his geometry homework.Yet in some ways, Chief Sutter sees police dealing with perceptions people have about law enforcement.
“A lot of the things we're dealing with are real and a lot of perceptions, perceptions of the police, perceptions of the community, perceptions from both sides,” he said.
“I can appear before groups and speak to groups and profess all these things and tell people what we're doing. And I found that people aren't going to believe it until they experience it for themselves, some people — some people especially that don't have trust of the police or perceive us to be unjust or the system to be unjust.”
NYPD bee squad ready for sting operations on urban swarms
There are two official department beekeepers who don protective gear and head to the scene when buzzing swarms of the insects glom onto buildings
by Verena Dobnik
NEW YORK — Daniel Higgins is one cop who knows a thing or two about sting operations.
Although the New York Police Department detective's main job is working in a counterterrorism unit, he is also one of two official department beekeepers who dons protective gear and heads to the scene when buzzing swarms of the insects glom onto buildings, streetlights or other pieces of the urban landscape.
The NYPD bee brigade responds to dozens of calls each spring and summer, including some recently where officers used vacuums to remove grotesque, wiggling masses of tens of thousands of bees from a lamppost near Grand Central Terminal, the awning of a restaurant and even a chained bicycle near Times Square.
Last month, the 911 alert that appeared on their handheld electronic device read: "Investigate possible crime: vicious animal." That led to a swarm that had attached itself to a brick wall in Brooklyn.
"You try to get there as quickly as you can to corral them because you don't want the bees to fall on the public. Even a wind gust can knock them down," Higgins said.
About 20,000 bees were once plucked from a Park Avenue bush.
As unlikely as it may seem in a city considered a concrete jungle, New York has plenty of bees drawn to greenery that produces pollen, including flowers, plants, trees — even landscaped rooftops.
Since 2010, when the city legalized beekeeping, the New York honeybee population has soared from just a few dozen illegal hives. Most of the buzzing inhabitants live in about 300 government-registered hives in gardens, backyards and rooftops including an elegant Waldorf Astoria hotel terrace, according to the city's Health Department. Hundreds more thrive in surrounding suburbs.
City officials welcome the bees — except when hives become overcrowded and about half the bees leave to form swarms that last a few days while an egg-laying queen and her "scouts" search for a new home. To startled city residents, the phenomenon can have a horror-film quality.
"They'll come in with a loud buzz, like a school of fish, and then they cluster up," Higgins said.
Wearing a protective suit, gloves and a meshed veil, Higgins and fellow NYPD beekeeper, Officer Darren Mays, suck up the huddled creatures with a vacuum linked to plastic buckets.
"We don't kill the honeybees. We don't spray them. We don't destroy them. We relocate them," Higgins said.
First the bees go into cardboard boxes with vents that are taped shut. Then they're donated to beekeepers so they can replenish their hives as bees die off, according to Higgins.
The detective, who has been on the bee beat for two years, said he and his father also privately keep more than 50,000 bees in Hastings-on-Hudson, a village in Westchester County north of the city. The honey goes to family and friends.
It's a gentler task than Higgins' day job, manning the high-tech surveillance system that helps the department keep watch over key parts of the city.
The police department's role in removing bees isn't without controversy.
Michael Hegedus, president of the Brooklyn Beekeepers Club, said he'd prefer if the city left the job of fetching the bees to private collectors who could harvest the swarms to supplement their own hives. A package of 10,000 bees is worth up to $120.
That's "money hanging off a tree" that could go to beekeepers who barely cover their costs, Hegedus said.
"In a normal situation, police would tell people to call their local beekeeper and everybody (would get) a little piece of the action," he said.
Scientists consider the insects a biological treasure, warning that their diminishing worldwide population could eventually spell disaster for humans; bees are essential for pollinating crops that sustain humans.
In the United States, commercial beekeepers lost 44 percent of their honeybee colonies from April 2015 to April 2016, according to the Bee Informed Partnership, a Maryland-based research group.
St. Louis police add ice cream truck as outreach tool
Police Chief Sam Dotson calls it "Operation Polar Cops"
by Jim Salter
ST. LOUIS — St. Louis police have a question to ask as they take their new truck into neighborhoods: One scoop or two?
Police Chief Sam Dotson calls it "Operation Polar Cops," a truck that will give away ice cream treats at various events at parks, community centers and schools, part of an effort to improve community relations. Police say the goal is to provide a "fun environment for citizens to have positive interactions with our officers." The truck, retrofitted to look like a typical ice cream truck but dressed in police blue, was unveiled Tuesday.
"Operation Polar Cops is a unique tool to reach our youngest citizens," Dotson said. "The goal of this project is simple. It's about introducing our officers as positive role models in a fun environment."
St. Louis police, like many other police departments in the U.S., are trying to soften the often tense relationship with the community it serves. Police in St. Louis have frequently been the subject of protests following fatal shootings of suspects, especially in the two years since Michael Brown's death in nearby Ferguson.
Brown, 18, who was black and unarmed, was fatally shot by white Ferguson officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, 2014. A grand jury and the U.S. Department of Justice declined to prosecute Wilson, who resigned from the force in November 2014. But the shooting led to months of protest in Ferguson, St. Louis and elsewhere, raising awareness about concerns in the black community about treatment by police.
Earlier this month, police in Wichita, Kansas, hosted a cookout to promote dialogue between law enforcement and the Black Lives Matter movement. Nearly 2,000 people attended, an event deemed so successful that Police Chief Gordon Ramsay was invited to the White House to discuss community policing.
Dotson said the St. Louis program was inspired by a similar outreach by Boston police, Operation Hoodsie Cup, which began in 2010.
The ice cream truck was purchased by the St. Louis Police Foundation. Prairie Farms Dairy and the grocery chain Schnucks donated more than 6,000 treats.
Japan knife attack: At least 19 dead
by Euan McKirdy and Emanuella Grinberg
At least 19 people were killed and 26 injured in a stabbing spree at a facility for disabled people west of Tokyo, making it one of Japan's deadliest mass killings since World War II. Nine men and 10 women, ranging in age from 18 to 70, were killed in the attack.
Officer Satomi Kurihara of the Sagamihara Fire Department confirmed the death toll at the Tsukui Yamayurien facility in Sagamihara, a residential area approximately 40 kilometers (25 miles) west of the capital.
Satoshi Uematsu, a 26-year-old who worked at the facility until February, broke in through a window about 2 a.m. Tuesday (1 p.m. ET Monday), Kanagawa Prefecture officials said at a news conference.
Police said they received a call from an employee of the facility reporting the attack, according to state broadcaster NHK.
About 3 a.m., Uematsu turned himself in at the Sagamihara police station, carrying a bloodstained knife and cloth, officials said.
He had been working there since 2012, Motoko Rich, the New York Times' Tokyo bureau chief, told CNN. It is unclear what he did there, nor if he resigned or was fired from his job at the home.
He had trained to be a teacher and former colleagues said he was personable and good with children. Neighbors were shocked to hear of his involvement in the incident.
While the motivation for the attack remains unknown, Rich reported that the suspect had taken a letter to the Japanese legislature outlining a society in which euthanasia of the disabled was accepted.
The suspect handed a letter to staff at the official residence of Tadanori Oshima, the Chairman of the Lower House in Japan's parliament in February, the House's secretarial office has confirmed, but CNN has not been able to independently verify the contents of this letter.
Of the 26 injured, 13 are "severely" hurt, according to a local fire official. Ten suffered moderate injuries and the remaining three minor injuries. They are being treated in a number of local hospitals.
In a brief press conference, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga confirmed that there was no terror link with ISIS.
He added that the government would analyze information from the city government and the police department, and that the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare would ensure this kind of incident does not happen again.
The 7.5-acre site in the bucolic mountain town is home to 149 residents, ranging in age from teenagers to those in their 70s, according to the Kanagawa prefectural website. It can house a total of 160 people. Just under a third of those living at the facility are elderly.
A total of 222 people work at the facility, but only nine -- one of whom was a security guard -- were on the premises when the incident occurred.
The incident sent shock waves through Japan, where mass killings are rare. Because gun ownership is highly restricted, mass stabbings and poisonings are more common, CNN's Paula Hancocks said.
In June 2001, eight children were killed when a former janitor entered an Ikeda elementary school in Osaka and began stabbing students at random.
In June 2008, a man ran over a group of people with his truck and then stabbed 18, killing seven, in Tokyo's famous Akihabara gaming district.
The biggest loss of life in Japan's recent history was in 1982, when 24 people died after a Japan Air Lines pilot crashed a flight into Tokyo Bay.
The last time Sagamihara made global headlines was in 2012 when Naoko Kikuchi, a member of the Japanese doomsday cult responsible for the 1995 nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway, was arrested there. The attack killed 13 people and injured more than 5,500 people.
The cult, Aum Shinrikyo, was responsible for another sarin gas attack the previous year that killed seven people and sickened some 200 more.
Priest murdered, hostages taken during Mass at French church
by The Associated Press
PARIS – Two attackers slit the throat of an 84-year-old priest and critically injured at least one other person early Tuesday in a church near the Normandy city of Rouen before being shot and killed by police, a French security official said.
The priest, identified by Sky News as Jacques Hamel, was dead at the scene, and another person, possibly a nun, was clinging to life, Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said.
The killing Tuesday inside the church, in the small northwestern town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, "is obviously a drama for the Catholic community, for the Christian community," Brandet told reporters.
The identities and motive of the attackers were unclear, according to the security official, who was not authorized to be publicly named. Police said the pair entered through the back door of the church and took the priest, two nuns and two parishioners hostage during morning Mass.
Police responded and later confirmed that the attackers had been "neutralized," Sky News reported. Three hostages were rescued in good condition, while another was taken away on a stretcher, according to reports.
French President Francois Hollande and Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve were heading to the northwestern town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray where the hostage-taking took place, Brandet said.
Brandet, speaking later on BFM TV, said the RAID special intervention force was searching the church and its perimeter for possible explosives. Terrorism investigators have been summoned, he said.
France is currently on high alert after an attack in Nice on Bastille Day — July 14 — that killed 84 people and a string of deadly attacks last year claimed by the Islamic State group that killed 147 victims.
France is also under a state of emergency and has extra police presence in the wake of the Nice attack in which a man barreled his truck down the city's famed Promenade des Anglais, mowing down holiday crowds.
Suicide car bombs kills 13 near UN office in Somalia
by The Associated Press
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Two suicide bombers detonated explosives-laden cars on Tuesday outside the U.N. Mine Action Service offices and a Somali army checkpoint in Mogadishu, killing 13 people, including seven U.N. guards, Somali police officials said.
The two blasts took place near the African Union base, Somali police chief Gen. Mohamed Sheikh Hassan said at a press conference.
Somalia's Islamic extremist rebels, al-Shabab, claimed responsibility for the bombings, according to the group's Andalus radio station.
Unlike previous attacks by al-Shabab, which is linked to al-Qaida, gunmen did not accompany the suicide bomber, said police Capt. Mohamed Hussein. The first suicide car bomber tried to speed through the barrier at the U.N. office but guards shot at the car, he said. A second suicide blast targeted a checkpoint manned by Somali security forces near the African Union base in Mogadishu, said Hussein. Casualties there remain unclear.
Al-Shabab is waging an insurgency against Somalia's weak U.N.-backed government with the goal of establishing an Islamic emirate in Somalia, ruled by a strict form of Islam.
Earlier this month, eight soldiers were killed when an al-Shabab suicide car bomber targeted a Somalia military training camp and attackers then entered the base on foot.
More than 22,000 troops and police serve in the African Union force, which also includes troops from Burundi, Djibouti, Kenya, Sierra Leone and Ethiopia.
Al-Shabab opposes the presence of foreign troops in Somalia and has launched attacks in countries that have contributed to the AU force.
Although al-Shabab was ousted from the Somali capital, Mogadishu, in 2011, it continues to wage a deadly guerrilla campaign that includes suicide bombings.
IMPD officer shot during traffic stop; suspect has died
by Michael Anthony Adams and Sara Salinas
An Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer was shot, a second was injured and a suspect was killed during a traffic stop and police chase Monday night.
The officer, who has been with the department a little more than a year, was shot in the "lower extremities," IMPD Chief Troy Riggs said, and is expected to make a full recovery. He was taken to IU Health Methodist Hospital, where about a dozen IMPD squad cars could be seen around 8 p.m.
Riggs visited the hospital to speak with other police who gathered to show their support for their fellow officer.
The second officer had "very minor injuries" which didn't appear to be the result of gunfire, Riggs said. An unidentified suspect is dead.
The incident began around 6:45 p.m. on Georgetown Road near 71st Street, where an IMPD officer saw someone he suspected of criminal conduct, Riggs said. A passenger left the car, fled and was later taken into custody.
Meanwhile, the car's driver sped off, leading police on lengthy chase. The driver started shooting during the chase, Riggs said. Police believe he used a handgun.
An employee at a Marathon gas station at that intersection said he saw police officers repeatedly ask a man to exit the car. When the man did not, he said, police broke the car's driver side window.
At that point, the employee said, the man fired from inside the car and sped off.
Police said the pursuit continued south on Georgetown Road. Less than a block south of the gas station, the officer was shot and injured while inside his car, police said. The officer drove off the road, down a small bank and into a residential neighborhood, coming to a stop on Oakwood Trail. The squad car had at least two bullet holes on the driver's side, police said.
Kishna Glass, whose house backs up to Oakwood Trail, said she saw the officer leave his vehicle and sit on the ground. She approached the officer and asked him if he was OK, she said, and he responded that he was “just shot a little bit.”
Glass said the officer told her he was shot in the foot.
A second police car also was struck, police said, and came to a stop on Georgetown Road near Covered Bridge Road. Police blocked traffic on Georgetown Road between Oakwood Trail and Covered Bridge Road for at least two hours on Monday night, marking bullets with evidence tags.
The police chase ended on the east side in the 2700 block of Newton Avenue, near the intersection with Rural Street, where a gunfight erupted between the suspect and officers.
"I saw about four or five cops come running back this way," said Jeff Tackett, 58, whose house is near the alley where the shootout occurred. "They got behind the squad cars, and all I heard was bah-bah-bah-bah-bam."
The shooting follows recent ambush-style attacks against police in Dallas, where five officers died, and Baton Rouge, La., where three died.
The most recent shooting of an IMPD officer occurred July 16. Officers were responding to a report of a suicidal man sitting in a car and pointing a gun at his head. An officer used a Taser on the man, the gun went off and a bullet struck an officer in the leg. The officer was taken to the hospital in good condition.
Days before, a man was accused of firing more than a dozen shots at an IMPD officer's squad car and home while the officer, his wife and their child were inside. No one was injured.
The dangers faced by police officers were highlighted earlier this month in a letter to law enforcement from President Barack Obama, and last week at the Republican National Convention.
The nation has witnessed 32 firearms-related deaths among law enforcement, a 68 percent increase from the same time period in 2015.
"It's a stark reminder of what our officers are up against here," said Rick Snyder, president of the Indianapolis chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, during a Monday night news conference. “They know the threats that they're facing. Our officers are just as vigilant as they have been."
Gov. Mike Pence released a statement Monday night, reading in part: “Once again violence has found a member of our law enforcement community, this time in Indianapolis. Tonight's incident is yet another reminder of the risks our law enforcement officers face every day and how important it is that we stand with those who stand on the thin blue line.”
Community policing: It's budget time — which means it's citizens' opportunity to ask questions
Here are a few things you might ask.
by Stanley Harpstead
I want to thank Robert Simon for his coherent, experience-based, balanced contribution to the discussion of responsibility for community policing (“I'm a black cop. Here's how recent events and reactions look to me,” July 19). We need to remember that community policing is one of the largest operating policing is one of the largest operating expenditures in local city government, and August is when city staffs present proposed 2017 budgets to the elected officials in work sessions.
To quote President Dwight Eisenhower (Jan. 17, 1961): “Throughout America's adventure in free government, our basic purposes have been to keep the peace; to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity and integrity among people and among nations. To strive for less would be unworthy of a free and religious people. ... In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”
In our local governments, the police-industrial complex introduces the potential “unwarranted influence.”
Next month, and throughout the Truth in Taxation hearing process, it is imperative that the public communicate to the elected officials to help guide the process of community policing. Too often the conversation has been a one-way conversation based on fear and leading to a situation where the public safety budget is increased at a rate that far exceeds that of other departments or the rate of inflation.
It is time to begin asking your city's law enforcement administration questions that may help guide the budgeting and prioritization of community policing. Below are some suggestions, but be sure to ask about your own community needs.
• Does the proposed budget include funds sufficient to equip all officers with video cameras?
• How much money is dedicated for training in de-escalation technique as a share of total training?
• Does the law enforcement administration advocate “profiling,” and if so, are data being collected to ensure that the tool is used in an unbiased manner?
• What is the budget for liability insurance, and how much has been paid to settle claims?
• How much is budgeted for the purchase of “militarized” equipment?
• Are we budgeting for the use of community service officers (less costly, but usually unarmed and not permitted to make arrests)?
Be sure to show up and speak out about how you want your community to be policed. Too often these community departments run on “autopilot” and result in a disproportionately larger share of your property taxes.
And, finally, pay attention to the responses. It may influence how you vote in the November city elections.
Q&A With Distinguished Visiting Fellow Charles Ramsey: Community Policing and Black Lives Matter
by Jen A. Miller
Former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey has been called “maybe America's most universally respected police chief” by Governing Magazine. During his eight years helming the Philadelphia force, crime rates in the city dropped 40 percent. In 2014, he was tapped by President Obama to co-chair a President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing.
Retiring after eight years of service in Philadelphia, Ramsey joined Drexel in January as the inaugural Distinguished Visiting Fellow of the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation. In a conversation with DrexelNow, Ramsey says that the Black Lives Matter movement is raising questions to serious issues that need to be addressed — but that everyone needs to stop pointing fingers and start solving the real problems.
After the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in August 2014, and the riots that followed, President Obama selected you to co-chair his Task Force on 21st Century Policing to develop recommendations on better approaches to policing in American cities. What are some steps that you believe police forces should take to restore mutual trust?
Departments across the country are already implementing recommendations from the task force report. There's already been a move toward better training: For example, we're already seeing training around de-escalation as well as reality-based training scenarios that are created to really test an officer's judgment when it comes to dealing with violence How do you take a volatile situation and, through your words and actions, ratchet things down so the situation becomes manageable and you don't have to resort to higher levels of force?
We've also seen a focus on officer health and wellness. Officers are exposed to trauma. They see and are exposed to a lot of violence, sometimes on a daily basis. What impact does that have on them over time? What hyper-vigilance is created if there's a violent or dangerous area that you're assigned to patrol?
Major police organizations, including the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association, International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, have embraced the report and are working with departments to help them in terms of implementation of recommendations.
So there has been a lot done, but obviously a lot more needs to be done. This is not something that's going to be turned around overnight.
Q: Obama has been accused of starting “a war on cops” by appeasing Black Lives Matter protesters, whom some blame for inciting recent cop killings. Is it possible to walk the line between holding police accountable for misconduct without undermining their work or safety?
A: There is no war on police nor are cops at war with the community. President Obama is not responsible for any "war on cops."
The heated rhetoric you have coming out from politicians is not helpful — at all. That needs to stop. Somebody is looking to point a finger of blame. We need problem solvers, not finger pointers.
There's enough blame to go around: extreme poverty, dysfunctional education systems that lead to a lack of job opportunities and over-incarceration with no real safety net in place for people after they've served their time.
These issues didn't happen over the past eight years. These are problems and issues that have been around since I've been alive and before. That's just not helpful at all. That does not lead toward solutions.
One way of holding officers more accountable is to conduct independent investigations of complaints made against police. The majority of police officers do not engage in acts of misconduct and neither does the majority of community members. Oversight and accountability are needed to gain public trust.
Q: Are politicians doing enough to address friction points in our justice system and society, or are they, as Dallas police chief David Brown has said, asking too much of cops?
A: Are police asked to do too much? Yes. We fill the gaps. How does society deal with people suffering from mental illness because they were put on the street decades ago with no safety net? We give officers crisis emergency training and try to get them to help people suffering from mental illness. Problems in schools? Let's put more cops in schools.
Anything wrong with society: We're asked to fix it. We have to deal with domestic violence. We have to deal with just about everything imaginable. You have to question whether we should be first responders in some of those areas.
We're 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the most visible arm of any government and we're mobile. So we move around and we see things first. Cops see things on the street and there's no one else to call to tell them to respond. We have to deal with it.
And that's because of the breakdowns that have occurred over time. People say police need more training, they need more this, they need more that. It's almost as if there's not a societal ill in the world that police training won't fix. Where's everybody else?
Q: The involvement of technology — viral videos, dashboard cameras, citizen recordings and social media — in policing raises many complicated issues. The Task Force on 21st Century Policing did not issue an unqualified endorsement of police wearing body cams. Why not?
A: We were in agreement that body cameras are important, but we didn't want to spend a lot of time focusing on body cameras because technology is developing so fast. Today, it's body cameras. Tomorrow, it's something else. We kept it broad and kept it with the core issues, such as how we apply technology as police and stay within constitutional guidelines.
We need the right people at the table — including the ACLU and others — to sit down and talk about technology and its application in the hands of police. We should be able to leverage technology, but at the same time, we have to do so in a constitutional framework and not wait for bad incidents to occur. We need to lead forward and have this discussion up front.
But we are in 100-percent agreement that body cameras are good. They capture an entire incident from beginning to end. With viral videos, something has to capture your attention before you turn the camera on. You're in the middle of what took place. You're not seeing the entire story. I'm not saying that actions recorded were good, but you don't see the entire thing, and you need to see it, from start to finish.
Body cameras are on police from the time they step out of the car until it's over. That gives more information to make judgments based on facts and information instead of just partial facts from which people jump to conclusions.
Q: Is there anything that you wish Black Lives Matter protesters and law enforcement supporters understood better about each other?
A: You have to see things from different sides and different perspectives. You don't have to agree, but you need to understand it.
The Black Lives Matters movement has been labeled by some as being racist or as being part of the problem. They have a legitimate cause. I don't always agree with how that's being expressed and they have fringe elements like just about any other organization might have. But it doesn't mean they aren't highlighting a real problem that exists and we have to be able to find solutions to those problems.
That comes through thoughtful dialogue that leads to action that leads to change. Black Lives Matter has to be concerned not just with police officers and use of force. They have to be concerned about violence that occurs in black communities on a daily basis. If black lives really do matter, they matter no matter who may take that life. They should be equally concerned about violence that draws police into a community in the first place.
You can be concerned with those who may have died but you must also be concerned about the living. Those lives matter too. You get into issues with poverty, where people have to send their kids to a school they know is dysfunctional because they have no other options. Health care. Mental health care. People who are alive today — their lives matter, too, and they need to have things in place in order to be able to help them to meet the challenges of life. This can't be just focused on police. We have, on average, 13,000 murders a year and I'm not talking about death at the hands of police officers. Most of those killings are minorities killing minorities.
What about that reality? How do we change that dynamic? Black Lives Matter has an opportunity to do that. I hope they do that by expanding their reach. That's not saying police should not be held accountable.
Unfortunately, there are occasions where police need to resort to force or deadly force. But we do need to be mindful that it has to be a last resort.
Q: Dallas' open carry law created confusion during the sniper killings, when one lawful gun-carrying citizen was labeled a suspect. Open carry is also legal here in Philadelphia, though it is not permitted on Drexel's campus. Does open carry make policing harder?
A: It does. Not only that, but look at how it affects the average person. In today's environment, you see someone armed walking down the street who is not a police officer. I think that would make someone a little nervous. You don't know if this is a person who's going to commit a mass shooting or someone exercising his Second Amendment rights.
If you think for a minute that having everybody armed in these situations, whether it's in a nightclub in Orlando or a movie theater in Colorado, is going to make a situation safer… now you've got a bunch of citizens firing at one another. Who's the bad guy? Talk about the fog of war. How is that helpful, when you have innocent people getting shot by other innocent people because they got confused?
In Pennsylvania, you can get a permit to carry. You don't have to go through any type of training to demonstrate that you know how to use the weapon or understand the laws of deadly force. As long as you don't have criminal background, you can get a permit to carry.
I'm not anti-gun, but I think there has to be some common sense approach to safety and responsible gun ownership. Look at the Republican National Convention that just finished in Cleveland with open carry. People can walk around with guns. It's hypocrisy on the part of elected leaders. Just try walking into the Capitol or into any government building with a gun on your side. They need security. You couldn't get into the Convention Center in Cleveland. If guns rights mean that much to you, let's just open it up all the way. You're not going to see that. There's a double standard.
It's not just confusing the police in today's environment. Look at what just happened in France, in Brussels, in Orlando. It just goes on and on. People are on edge. And now you feel like you need to walk around with an AR15 — for what?
Can community policing neutralize outside threat?
by Therese Apel
In the wake of the ambush attacks on police in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Starkville Police Chief Frank Nichols had emotional words for his officers last week.
"I was convicted to send all my officers a letter from my heart, so I emailed them all that we're going through rough times, and we've got to keep the faith and continue to do what's right," he said. "We need to remember what our obligation we swore to tells us to do, and I ended that by telling them all that I love them and didn't want to see anything happen to them."
Now his officers are responding to calls in pairs, just to make sure they always have backup nearby.
Many Mississippi law enforcement agencies advocate community policing, and officers are encouraged to establish contact regularly with people on their beats. Jackson Police Chief Lee Vance said JPD has done that for years, which is why he believes the relationship between his department and his community will survive even the toughest storms.
Hinds County Sheriff Victor Mason had a conversation with his deputies after the shootings as well.
"What is eerie is I've said it before, there's going to be another one, the question is who and where," he said. "I had a meeting with my folks ... and told them to be careful, be mindful that it could happen. It's getting closer and closer to Mississippi."
Dallas. Baton Rouge. The eight slain officers and 10 others injured remind the nation's law enforcement community that there is no such thing as a "routine" call.
Vance, whose department fairly accurately reflects the demographic of his city, which is 80 percent black, said he has been working to establish bonds between the department and community for years. It wasn't until the last few weeks that he has actively worried about his officers.
"When you've got an individual who kills five police officers and he says that he was targeting white officers, you've got to start worrying about that being a component in this type of problem," he said. "Yes, I worry a little more about the white officers now because of that particular reason, but I worry about all my officers. Because here's what we found out: The guy in Baton Rouge ..., from some of the hate he was spewing, gave the impression he was going to be targeting white officers, but a black officer got killed, too. The rounds that are fired from these weapons are indiscriminate."
The growing animosity toward police on a national level is hurting morale, and it's not making it easier to recruit good officers, said Vicksburg Police Chief Walter Armstrong.
"If you had a pond filled with alligators, snakes and sharks, and you asked someone if they'd jump in there for $5 million, they'd ask if you're crazy," he said. "We're asking officers to go out there not with sharks, but with SKSs, AKs — assault rifles — for a fraction of what a lot of other people make. Law enforcement officers in Mississippi make an average of $30,000 a year to go out and deal with people who are armed more times than not, and for whatever reason they don't want to comply. And at the end of the day we're not just doing it to say we made an arrest, we're doing it for the love of our community."
While much of the national conversation focuses on the tension between the black community and the law enforcement community, Tchula Police Chief Kenneth Hampton said the threat can come from anyone.
"It's not just the black community, there are fools everywhere. There are a lot of people that have had and are now developing bad intention toward law enforcement, so we have to be aware of that," he said.
And because the shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge were ambushes, Hampton said he's taking extra precautions when previously "routine" calls come in. The other night, he said, it was a call of shots fired.
"I immediately called and asked if there's anyone else complaining about shots fired, did they hit a house, is anyone injured?" he said. "If it's just shots fired, I'm not just going to rush into it and end up getting shot."
"The public is very uncomfortable with all this. Nobody wants this type of trouble in their community," he said. "These officers go out and establish relationships with the public. If you wanted to have a riot in Jackson, go out in Precinct Three and take Mark Coleman off his beat," Hampton said, referring to the popular and respected patrolman. "Those folks would riot about that."
Armstrong attributes strong community programs to the fact that his department has not had an officer-involved shooting, nor has anyone had to discharge their service weapon on duty, in the seven years he's been chief.
But the feeling of uneasiness lies not in the communities, but in the unknown.
"They come in from outside," Armstrong said simply.
Gavin Long, the Baton Rouge shooter, was from Kansas City, Missouri. Micah Johnson, the shooter in Dallas, lived in a suburb of Dallas but was not a native of the area.
Mason said he is actively bothered wondering where the violence against officers will strike next.
"It's hard to live right now with all this stuff going on. It's hard to get through the day, because when I woke up this morning, I was thinking ‘OK, who's next? Who's it going to be?'" he said. "People are mad right now, but it's not fair for them to judge me by what happened in another area.”
Nichols, who served in Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom, said he's no stranger to violence, but he doesn't understand it these days.
"Anything violent bothers me, especially when it's acted out against a profession that I love so much," said Nichols. "I'm a veteran and the American flag, I'm really faithful to that, and I'm faithful to this country. You're allowed to carry a gun, but I just can't fathom why one American would want to kill another one. That blows my mind."
Policing is always dangerous, Vance said, but the uncertainty now in every call takes it to another level.
"I'm worried about all of my officers to be quite honest, very much worried," he said. "And not because of the relationships here in Jackson, Mississippi, because I think those are good, but because one of these nuts from someplace else might land here and decide to crack here.”
Michael Jordan "Can No Longer Stay Silent" on Police Shootings, Makes $2 Million Donation
by Rebecca Macatee
Being a public figure and a politician isn't necessarily one and the same.
There are plenty of entertainers and athletes who choose to use their platform to highlight particular issues or events of their choosing, but some celebrities try to keep their political views wholly separate from their public image.
For many years, Michael Jordan was criticized for not taking a more prominent stance on varying social issues. But now, given the rash of police shootings and troubled race relations in America, the 53-year-old NBA legend is speaking out.
In a lengthy statement to The Undefeated , Jordan explains why he "can no longer stay silent." He also reveals his reasoning for donating $1 million to the the International Association of Chiefs of Police's newly established Institute for Community-Police Relations and another $1 million to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
"As a proud American, a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence [Jordan's father James R. Jordan was murdered in 1993 on the side of a North Carolina highway], and a black man, I have been deeply troubled by the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement and angered by the cowardly and hateful targeting and killing of police officers," said Jordan. "I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well."
In Jordan's statement to The Undefeated, he explained he "was raised by parents who taught me to love and respect people regardless of their race or background, so I am saddened and frustrated by the divisive rhetoric and racial tensions that seem to be getting worse as of late."
"I know this country is better than that, and I can no longer stay silent," said Jordan. "We need to find solutions that ensure people of color receive fair and equal treatment AND that police officers–who put their lives on the line every day to protect us all–are respected and supported."
Jordan has "the greatest respect for [the] sacrifice and service" of the law enforcement officers he's encountered throughout his life and career, but he can "also recognize that for many people of color their experiences with law enforcement have been different than mine." For that reason, he explained, he's "decided to speak out in the hope that we can come together as Americans, and through peaceful dialogue and education, achieve constructive change."
He went on to tell The Undefeated how he hopes his donations will be put to work by each organization: "The Institute for Community-Police Relations' policy and oversight work is focused on building trust and promoting best practices in community policing. My donation to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the nation's oldest civil rights law organization, will support its ongoing work in support of reforms that will build trust and respect between communities and law enforcement. Although I know these contributions alone are not enough to solve the problem, I hope the resources will help both organizations make a positive difference."
A return investment: community policing puts character first
by Debbie Merlo
In 36 years, Police Chief Harvey Becker acknowledged his department has received “a lot of compliments over the course of years,” but, “The department as a whole has never received a bouquet of flowers,” he said.
The flowers were from a family in appreciation of GCPD and was one of many gestures the department has recently received.
Food, cards, letters “are still pouring in a week after the Dallas incidents,” said Becker and the assistant police chief Major John Grainger.
When Becker spoke at a recent city council meeting, the monthly report included the mention of an “outpouring of support” received since shootings in Dallas claimed the lives of five police officers.
Becker and Grainger expressed gratitude and said they're appreciative of all the support but isn't something they expect or why they do what they do.
“It all stands out but, I just thought that (the flowers) was special.”
As for an explanation or specifics on what makes GCPD work, Becker said he couldn't answer for other departments (and how they are run), but, Grainger pointed out they're accomplishing the same with different methods.
Both admitted seeing an increase in community support that have included acts of kindness, kind gestures of people seeking out the police to shake their hands and acknowledge them in a positive way.
Becker chalks it up to active community policing and putting character first -- something his department has been focused on “for years,” he said.
“If these guys didn't have character, they wouldn't be here,” Becker said. “Now we're reaping the benefits of those efforts.”
In addition, GCPD has had a crime analyst for about three years now to “map out crime,” Grainger said. “It (crime) doesn't just take us by surprise; we know where it's going on and our guys know where they need to be.”
Since June 1997, Becker explained that GCPD has also had an established, concentrated program to build trust-based relationships with foot, golf cart and bike patrols, house checks, property checks and an on-going presence in Goose Creek schools.
“We take community policing seriously,” Becker said. “It's not just a saying that rolls off the tips of our officer's tongues.”
Known as “building bridges of trust,” the effort is something that's been on-going in GCPD Becker explained.
It's an all-inclusive, organizational culture of service, according to Grainger. “When we interact with people, we're not occupiers of their community, we're part of their community. Our officers live here and are raising their families here.”
Earning trust within the community is a priority that, Grainger noted is a also a factor that keeps the community involved and willing to provide tips to assist GCPD.
“We've been doing that for 19 years,” Becker said. “It's a concentrated no-nonsense effort.”
It's also about having the right people (with character) who are part of that effort.
Getting hired and becoming a GCPD officer isn't a simple, easy endeavor.
“We have a methodical way of doing it,” Becker explained.
For instance, there are hoops. and, “you have to have character,” Becker re-emphasized.
“This is not an easy profession to break into,” Grainger said. “In Goose Creek, we're not unique in our demands; it's any agency that's doing a responsible job of hiring personnel that's going to make sure to set a minimal level of standards.”
Grainger, who has 23 years with GCPD, also explained that while state laws assist as far as academy requirements are concerned, “we far exceed their requirements in what we expect from personnel.”
Those expectations include formalized testing-a validated nationwide test— to determine if potential candidates meet a minimal level of knowledge; mathematics, reading comprehension, the ability to spell and the ability to write.
“If folks can pass that test that at least gives us the opportunity to look at them,” Grainger said.
Then there's a rigorous back round investigation; prior behavior, criminal activity, credit rating, a look at driving that includes a look at frequency of violations and proximity of violations to the current time -- all scrutinized before prospects are called for an interview.
“It's not an exact science but we do look at these things as part of the total picture,” Grainger said. “And after we've taken a look at all those things, then we interview the ones that rise to the top, the ones we feel that are the most advantageous to bring on and interview.”
If a job offer is made, there's a polygraph test to verify truthfulness, psychological exam, and medical exams to make sure someone is physically fit; who has a heart that can handle “the moments of excitement, and things like that,” Grainger said. “It's not an easy job to get.”
Grainger also said it's very expensive to hire and expensive to train a new officer. New hires are sent to the academy for three months, their salary paid, then, they're put in a police car with a training officer.”
Time spent on the job training takes another 12 weeks, Grainger said.
From there, officers aren't considered “an effective police officer for probably another year,” Grainger said. “You have to have experience; you have to have practical experience and you don't get it all in Columbia at the academy or in the car.”
“It's a long process to get an officer where we feel like they're returning on our investment,” Becker said. “The whole idea of it is to make sure they have character,”
The entire process can take anywhere up to two years.
“We don't leave any stone unturned; I can't give somebody a badge, gun and arrest authority if they don't have good character, ” Becker said.
For Becker, Grainger and GCPD, it's good character that builds trust and that's what gets the job done.
And getting the job done in this way is how Becker plans to keep it.
“We don't have to react to anything,” Becker said. “We'll continue to keep doing what we've been doing (because) that's what's paying the dividends.”
Police hold open dialogue to better community relations
by Tyler Carter
COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Police and community relations have gained a lot of national attention in the wake of recent shootings of black men across the country.
Monday night, Columbus police took steps to build stronger relationships with their communities and continue conversations between police and the public.
This community-police dialogue is just one of five town hall meetings the Columbus Division of Police plans to have with residents throughout the city. With police and community relationships gaining national attention, CPD officials want to address some worries for some people and their neighborhoods.
“Just a lack of communication, a lack of talk, a lack of dialogue and where the most time we see each other is 911's,” said Michel Coleman, lifelong north Columbus resident.
Coleman said the relationship between police and his neighborhood is almost non-existent and he would like to see that change.
“How do we get back to the community policing but also community access Where the community is involved and not fearful of one another,” he said.
Coleman isn't the only one that feels this way.
“We have to understand each other and part of that starts by just saying, ‘I'm going to come out here talk to the public',” says Kevin Lawson, a north Columbus resident.
Community dialogues like Monday's show just how important it is for neighborhoods and police to work together.
“We work very hard to get out to citizens,” said CPD Officer Larry Geis. “Right now as far as my area, we have great community support. We have a lot of great community people out there that is working hard to try and better their neighborhoods.”
Columbus police plan to hold these community forums until mid-November.
Public Safety Committee finishes series of meetings aimed at reducing crime
by Pete Zervakis
Milwaukee's Public Safety Committee on Monday held the final in a series of special meetings aimed at reducing crime across the city.
As in previous meetings, featuring visits from the police chief, the sheriff, and the district attorney, the line item on the agenda was discussion relating to crime, fear, and disorder in the city.
Representatives from the Milwaukee Health Department, which oversees the Office of Violence Prevention, said it's important to treat violence as a public health issue.
They credited such an approach with reducing juvenile crime in Minneapolis, Minnesota, by 40 percent in just two years.
One way the OVP is working to reduce violence in Milwaukee is through its Trauma Response Initiative, said Reggie Moore, Director of the Office of Violence Prevention.
Moore said that under the program, police officers responding to crime scenes take note of any children who are present. Health officials then follow up with those kids.
"When we talk about PTSD, even with soldiers, what young people are seeing and experiencing in their homes, in this community, it's critical that we deal with the psychological and mental health impacts of that if we're going to break the cycle of violence," Moore said.
"A lot of the young people who've been involved in carjackings, or other violent crimes in this community, they have experienced a significant level of trauma themselves," he said.
The Trauma Response Initiative is currently exclusive to Milwaukee Police District Seven, but Moore said the hope is to soon expand it to District Five.
Moore also spoke about the OVP's Safe Zones Initiative, which was launched last year and is currently operating in the Garden Homes and Franklin Heights neighborhoods.
He said the Safe Zones Initiative involves paid ambassadors -- there are currently 12 of them -- making contact with the residents in areas plagued by crime and helping to provide violence intervention/interruption and other wraparound health services there.
Health professionals from Milwaukee County, including Director of Health and Human Services Hector Colon, also presented to, and took questions from, committee members.
Colon said people with mental illness are often the victims of crimes. He said partnerships between the county and law enforcement, private hospitals, advocacy groups and policy makers have helped to provide better services to people with mental health issues living in Milwaukee County.
He said the county has invested roughly $20 million into crisis services, recovery services, peer run services, and providing stable housing. Colon said all of that is helping people struggling with mental illness, and credited such services with a 50% reduction of inpatient admissions, 34% reduction in emergency room detentions, and 24% reduction in emergency room visits at area hospitals.
Public Safety Committee Chairman Bob Donovan said the goal of the special meetings on crime was for the information gathered to help the committee eventually put forward
Brazil police arrest last suspect in Olympics terror case
The plot was announced by authorities on Thursday when 10 Brazilians were arrested in different states of Brazil
by The Associated Press
RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian police say they have arrested the last suspect who was sought in the case of a group that pledged allegiance to the Islamic State on social media and shared ideas about attacking the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
The Federal Police said in a statement late Sunday that the man was caught in the city of Comodoro, in the central west region of Brazil.
Police said he was taken to a federal prison but revealed no further details, citing security reasons.
The plot was announced by authorities on Thursday when 10 Brazilians were arrested in different states of Brazil. Another man turned himself in on Friday.
Officials say the suspects were IS sympathizers but they hadn't traveled to the group's stronghold in Syria or Iraq or received any training.