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

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


August, 2016 - Week 1



Fatal Police Shooting Highlights Inconsistent Body Cam Usage

by Amanda Lee Myers

The critical moment when a gunman opened fire on two San Diego police officers, killing one, may never be seen. The surviving officer only activated his camera after the wounded shooter was running away.

San Diego is among departments with policies calling for officers to turn on cameras before initiating contact with a citizen in most cases. But like other departments, compliance is less than perfect.

The result is inconsistent use of an increasingly common tool meant to give investigators and an often-skeptical public a fuller picture of police actions.

"The main motive of body cameras is to provide openness and transparency, and build trust in the police," said Samuel Walker, a retired criminal justice professor at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

"If officers are not turning cameras on, well, you're not going to build trust," he said. "You're going to reinforce the cynicism that already exists."

He pointed to a study that showed across-the-board low compliance rates of officers in one high-crime Phoenix neighborhood between April 2013 and May 2014, the most recent information available. Officers only recorded 6.5 percent of traffic stops even though the department's policy required cameras to be activated "as soon as it is safe and practical," according to the study, conducted by Arizona State University's Center for Violence Prevention and Community Safety.

The biggest part of the problem, Walker said, is a lack of discipline.

Chicago, Dallas, Denver, New Orleans, New York, Oakland and San Diego are among the cities that don't specify penalties when officers fail to record, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University's School of Law.

The American Civil Liberties Union has studied the issue and said clear policies are vital, along with punishment for failure to comply.

"Departments can't look the other way when officers fail to activate body cameras in critical incidents, or they become useless for accountability," said Peter Bibring, a senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Southern California.

San Diego police have been criticized for failing to record a number of high-profile shootings. That prompted the department to revise its policy to stipulate that officers must turn on their cameras before most types of contact with citizens, but violations have continued.

Last week, the two San Diego gang unit officers on nighttime patrol pulled up next to a pedestrian on a darkened residential street, and the man almost immediately opened fire, police said. The suspect, Jesse Gomez, shot Wade Irwin as he got out of the patrol car and then fired through the open door and fatally wounded Irwin's partner, Jonathan De Guzman, according to police.

Irwin fired back and started manually recording after the shooting, but police haven't said what was captured.

The cameras are on before an officer hits record, and have a recall function to get video from shortly before an officer starts recording. That function allows 30 seconds to be retrieved, without audio.

It's unclear if Irwin activated that feature.

Both Irwin and Gomez were seriously wounded and remain hospitalized.

Victor Torres, a leading civil rights attorney in San Diego, said the department's policy makes it clear both officers should have been recording before approaching Gomez.

Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman has commended Irwin's actions, including activating his body camera when he did, as heroic.

The Alameda County Sheriff's Department changed its body-camera policy following a highly publicized incident last November where two deputies were caught on surveillance video using their batons to beat a car theft suspect in the middle of a street in San Francisco's Mission District.

Eleven officers in all responded and 10 failed to turn on their body cameras. The one who did activate his did so by accident.

Three officers were placed on leave, including two who are charged with assault under color of authority.

No one was disciplined for failing to turn on their cameras because the department's policy at the time encouraged, but did not require, their use, said Sgt. Ray Kelly, an agency spokesman. The agency now requires deputies to use the cameras in most circumstances and lays out the discipline for failure to comply.

The department hasn't had a problem with compliance since, Kelly said.

Some departments are tapping new technology to take the human factor out of body cameras. Los Angeles will be among a handful of departments nationwide to deploy cameras made by Scottsdale, Arizona-based Taser International that begin automatically recording once signaled, such as when a patrol car's siren is turned on or when a shotgun is taken out of its mount

"I believe by the end of three years these things will be built into a badge," said Steve Soboroff, vice president of the civilian oversight board of the Los Angeles Police Department. "These cameras now, they're like the old 10-pound cellphones."

Kelly said his department also is looking at the new technology.

"The body camera is really new to law enforcement," he said. "There are a lot of privacy concerns and body cameras don't always accurately depict what an officer is seeing. But they are a great tool and they are the future. And they're here to stay."



Washington D.C.

Newly released US drone policy explains how targets can be chosen

by Kevin Bohn

The Obama administration has released a previously secret 18-page policy guidance document that lays out how potential drone targets may be chosen and approved and the President's role in the decision-making process.

The policy document, known as the President Policy Guidance, or PPG, says counterterrorism operations, including lethal action against designated terrorist targets, "shall be discriminating and precise as reasonably possible" and says "direct action" against "high value targets" "will be taken only when there is near certainty that the individual being targeted is, in fact, the lawful target and located at the place where the action will occur."

After the administration decided in 2013 to release more information about its counterterrorism operations, it released a general fact sheet laying out some of the objectives for such operations.

This newly released policy document, however, lays out in more detail the procedures for getting approval, who may be targeted and what guidelines must be followed.

A plan to go after terrorism targets must undergo a legal review by the agency that will conduct the operation, and then it goes to the members of the National Security Council before being presented to the President for his decision.

Among the guidelines, such information as the counterterrorism objective, duration of time for which the authority remains in force, the legal basis and the strike assets that may be employed must be included. Conditions must include a near certainty that the high value target or other lawful terror target is present and near certainty that non-combatants will not be injured or killed.

However, when dealing with lethal action against a previously designated high value target, a different procedure can be followed. If the target is a US citizen or someone living in the US, or if there is not unanimous agreement among the President's key national security officials regarding the nomination of the target, it will be submitted to the President for a decision.

However, the head of the nominating agency themselves can approve lethal action against a proposed individual if all of the major national security officials unanimously agree it should be undertaken, but the President has to be apprised of the decision.

"When the use of lethal action is deemed necessary, departments and agencies of the United States government must employ all reasonably available resources to ascertain the identity of the target so that action can taken," the policy states. It adds that for it to be approved, the plan must show "the individual's activities pose a continuing, imminent threat to US persons."

The policy calls for an annual review of individuals whom the US government has authorized for possible lethal action "to evaluate whether the intelligence continues to support a determination that the individuals (word redacted) qualify for lethal action."

The policy states that when the US is considering "potential direction against a US person" additional questions must be submitted to the Justice Department for review and "it must conduct a legal analysis to ensure that such action" is lawful and constitutional.

If there are differences of opinion about an operation between top-ranking members of the National Security Council, the PPG states, "The President will adjudicate any disagreement."

ACLU lawsuit prompted disclosure

The release comes as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union and how the Obama administration has said it was to be more transparent regarding these types of operations.

"We welcome the release of these documents, and particularly the release of the Presidential Policy Guidance that has supplied the policy framework for the drone campaign since May 2013," ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer said in a statement. He added, "The PPG should have been released three years ago, but its release now will inform an ongoing debate about the lawfulness and wisdom of the government's counterterrorism policies. The release of the PPG and related documents is also a timely reminder of the breadth of the powers that will soon be in the hands of another president."

National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said the policy outlines "the highest standard we can set" when it comes to using lethal force against a suspected terrorist target.

"Our counterterrorism actions are effective and legal, and their legitimacy is best demonstrated by making public more information about these actions as well as setting clear standards for other nations to follow," Price said.

Besides outlining the policies for drone strikes, this document also lays out what criteria needs to be followed for an operation to capture a terror suspect, such as whether it would further US strategy, the implications for broader regional and political interests of the US, whether the capture would interfere with any intelligence collection and the long-term disposition options for the person.

"In no event will additional detainees be brought to the detention facilities at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base," it says.

As part of its effort to include more transparency, the administration estimated last month that between 64 and 116 civilians died during the years 2009-2015 from US drone strikes outside of Iraq and Afghanistan. In the same time span, the administration said between 2,372 and 2,581 militants had been killed by drones.




Community policing remains priority for leaders

by Caleb Bedillion

TUPELO – It's a decades-old approach to law enforcement emphasizing cooperation and partnership. And it's good for Tupelo.

Ask around the city, and that seems a consensus view. Community activists, elected officials and law enforcement all voice support for what's commonly called community-oriented policing.

But is the Tupelo Police Department already conducting community-oriented policing? And if so, is it enough?

These are pressing questions in a city unsettled by a deadly encounter between a black man and a white police officer.

Antwun “Ronnie” Shumpert was shot and killed by Tupelo police officer Tyler Cook following a June 18 traffic step that led to a chase and altercation.

After Shumpert's death, some local ministers and community leaders have gathered together saying the Shumpert shooting is a symptom of a police department with a history of racial profiling, excessive force and other abuses.

As a reform measure, the Coalition of Concerned Pastors and Leaders has in several press statements demanded community-oriented policing in Tupelo.

“I know for a fact the city could do more to develop relationships between police and citizens, good harmonious friendly relations,” said Coalition spokesman James Hull some weeks ago.

However, TPD leadership says the department is deeply informed by the philosophy of community-oriented policing, or “C.O.P.” as those leaders call it.

“The police are heavily involved in our C.O.P. program,” said Police Chief Bart Aguirre, who first started with TPD as a patrol officer in the 1980s and has led the department since late 2013. “We are so dedicated to it already.”

Mayor Jason Shelton, who appointed Aguirre as police chief, echoed these remarks.

“It has been difficult to understand what is being requested of the police department that's not already being done,” said Shelton in response to the Coalitions' demand for community police.

Speaking last week, Hull said Tupelo police do seem to have some community policing efforts in place already.

But he believes those efforts must become more extensive, involve more officers and be supported by better communication.

“We have come to recognize that the city has made a good faith effort to implement community-oriented policing services,” Hull said. “But more must be done to expand the programs.”

He noted many officers are doing good work but believes more could be done by leadership to foster a widespread culture of better community relations.

Aguirre expressed pride in his department's efforts at community outreach, but said he's always willing to consider new things.

“I am very pleased with our programs, but it's always open for improvement, and we strive to make better the programs we have,” said the chief.

‘Energy, creativity, understanding'

What exactly is community-oriented policing?

Hull has made use of material published by the U.S. Department of Justice, an agency that has been a key advocate of community policing.

According to DOJ, community policing involves community members as active allies and partners with law enforcement.

Such partnerships require “the energy, creativity, understanding, and patience of all involved.”

Other DOJ material emphasizes that community policing is proactive and attempts to address the “immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues.”

‘To work together'

The first efforts to implement community-oriented policing in Tupelo began in the early and mid-1990s.

Since then, police officials and elected leaders say the department's community involvement has evolved somewhat in the city.

Early on, for example, bike patrols were seen as a way to get cops out of their cars and into communities where they could interact with citizens.

However, Tupelo is not urban enough to allow sustained patrolling on a bike, said Captain Charles McDougald, who was at one time a member of Tupelo's bike patrol.

McDougald believes bicycles are more effective during festivals and other special events.

Aguirre said the department currently has about five or six bicycles in storage and has not actively used them much recent years.

Hull urges that the bike patrol be reactivated, and Aquirre said he will consider that idea.

“We're going to have to revisit it, look at it, and reevaluate it,” the chief said of bike patrol.

A more enduring initiative and one widely praised as a success is the Police Athletic League.

PAL is a non-profit organization staffed by volunteers from the police and fire departments. PAL uses athletics to build relationships between police officers and community youth.

Tupelo is the only city in Mississippi with a PAL chapter.

Major Anthony Hill, who is TPD's highest ranking black officer, was named the 2016 national male volunteer of the year at this summer's PAL conference.

“He really loves those kids,” Aguirre said of Hill.

Ward 4 Councilwoman Nettie Davis, one of two sitting black city council members, also praised PAL.

“I think that has really enhanced the relationship between the community and the police,” she said.

Hull also agreed that PAL is a good example of community policing.

A TPD officer for 22 years, Hill said he has seen PAL and other community initiatives achieve great success.

“It actually allows residents and police officers to work together in solving quality of life issues,” said Hill as he described community policing in Tupelo. “In some neighborhoods we have seen a reduction in crime up to 75 or 80 percent.”

‘We just need to add to it'

Davis believes the Tupelo Police Department has made great strides at the implementation of a community-oriented policing philosophy. This was particularly pronounced, she said, during the tenure of Deputy Police Chief Robert Hall.

In 2006, Hall was demoted for freeing a drunk driver who hit a child. In 2007, he pleaded guilty to charges in connection with the incident and resigned from the department. Prior to the guilty plea, members of the black community protested TPD's decision to demote Hall, who is black. They claimed the decision was racially biased.

Since Hall's departure, community policing efforts have continued, Davis said. She's not sure, however, that the department's recent leadership has prioritized community policing to the extent that had been done previously.

Ward 7 Councilman Willie Jennings is the Tupelo City Council's other black member at present. He offered a similar opinion as Davis.

He believes community policing was essential in efforts to stem crime in the Haven Acres neighborhood.

“We already have community policing,” Jennings said. “We just need to add to it.”

‘Effective communication'

The Coalition has offered several suggestions for the expansion of community policing services.

For example, pastors and other community leaders could partner with patrol officers and help introduce those officers to residents.

Another suggestion has been that interested police officers lead a Bible study class or preach a sermon at local churches.

Pastors could also have the opportunity to ride in patrol cars with officers while on shift.

Aguirre noted there's already a ride-along program. Anyone can apply to ride with an officer during his or her shift.

Applicants must pass a background check and explain why they want to participate in the ride along.

As to the idea of various partnerships between clergy and police officers, Aguirre said he's open to the idea and willing to work with any local churches.

The department does have a “Pastors on Patrol” program that allows clergy to receive training classes in law enforcement in order to serve as community partners. Aguirre was able to name only a few pastors that have participated in the program.

Hull acknowledged TPD does have a ride-along program, but said he did not know about it before he began recent talks with city leaders. He does not think such programs are very effective unless the wider community knows about them.

He feels many of the department's efforts at community policing may suffer from a lack of exposure.

“I think part of the disconnect is effective communication,” Hull said.

Speaking to this issue of community involvement, Shelton emphasized the need for grassroots, citizen-led initiatives.

He did, though, agree that more public exposure is needed.

“The opportunities to interact with the police department are there extensively already,” Shelton said. “We perhaps have to do more to educate our citizens that these opportunities exist. But for anyone that wants to develop a relationship with the police, those opportunities are there.”




Petaluma community policing touted in time of national tensions

by Eric Gneckow

After 18 years in law enforcement, Petaluma Police Department Officer Rob Hawkins said he recently experienced a first as the nation was reeling from the July 7 shooting deaths of several uniformed officers in Dallas, Texas, ten days before a similar event in Baton Rouge, La.

“My wife, she worried,” said Hawkins, recalling a recent morning in the wake of the shootings. His 14-year-old son chimed in, too: “‘Dad, be careful.'”

It was the first time Hawkins, 46, heard his family express those concerns. He then went to the police station, his workplace of 16 years, and saw how Petaluma itself saw fit to respond.

“It really affected everybody. But what we saw after that – people brought us flowers, kids baked us cookies,” he said, “I'm in Starbucks, and people buy me coffee.”

In the aftermath of recent high-profile shootings of police officers, as well as officer-involved shootings that have increased tensions between police and minority communities on the national level, Hawkins and others cited the support of everyday Petalumans as evidence that the department has been successful in its efforts to forge beneficial connections in the community of approximately 60,000 people.

It's a moment that puts a spotlight on a community policing strategy known as Petaluma Policing, which assigns officers to regular patrols in one of 15 geographic districts and involves a series of regular meetings and collaborative initiatives between the public and law enforcement.

Several described the community policing strategy as an extension of a culture that has long existed for Petaluma law enforcement. Yet it is one that also seeks to formalize and optimize those efforts at a time of limited resources, when Petaluma officers have an average of nine minutes per hour to freely work their beats.

“A reduction in staffing, typically, does not benefit you in improving community policing. It's time and labor intensive – to be able to peel staff off to work on community issues, it takes away from calls for service,” said Police Chief Patrick Williams. “From the status quo piece, we challenged that. Doing less with less in this time of our history of policing is a failed strategy.”

Created shortly after the arrival of Williams in 2012, the Petaluma Policing strategy subdivided the city's four police beats into smaller geographic assignments. Two officers assigned long-term to each of those areas are expected to forge relationships there and beyond, compared to historic models where community relations would often fall to a separate team, Williams said.

For Hawkins, his slice of the city involves a broad swath fanning out from the police station on Petaluma Boulevard to encompass the winding residential areas on the city's southern edge. It's an area that he said faces many of the same issues as the rest of modern-day Petaluma, including homelessness, traffic crimes and thefts.

Yet each day is different, and on hour three of a 13-hour shift, Hawkins was knocking on a front door off Natalie Court to confront a resident accused of illegally using a nearby dumpster. It didn't take long to write off the allegation, but the conversation continued as many others would in Petaluma, shifting to topics like housing prices, new development and the commercial expansion of the nearby Clover Stornetta facility.

“I'm low key. I don't talk ‘like a cop.' It helps break down that shield,” Hawkins said of his approach, chatting while typing out a short report on the laptop mounted in his patrol car. “We're all human.”

He theorized that ties between Petaluma police and residents became stronger after the kidnapping and murder of 12-year-old Polly Klaas in 1993, which spurred a massive community response in collaboration with law enforcement.

Today, as many as 70 people volunteer for the Petaluma Police Department, performing duties like community education and code enforcement, said Lt. Ken Savano. A first-ever volunteer coordinator joined in June 2015.

The department also runs a community academy program and a junior police camp, he said, and holds town hall-style meetings across the city in the spring and fall.

Petaluma police held their first Spanish-language town hall meeting in March 2015, and Savano said the department now also offers its community academy in both English and Spanish. The department has also worked to recruit more bilingual officers, which today represent roughly 15 to 20 percent of the force, he said.

Those efforts have helped forge greater relationships with law enforcement for Spanish-speaking undocumented residents in Petaluma, said Abraham Solar, the pastoral director at St. Vincent de Paul Church and a Latino community leader who has worked to facilitate multiple Spanish-language town hall meetings with police.

“That lowers fear barriers, or stereotyping barriers, on both sides,” he said.

Residents identifying as Hispanic or Latino represent around 30 percent of the Petaluma's total population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's latest estimate from 2014. The data does not specify primary language.

Petaluma Mayor David Glass lauded the police department's efforts to make inroads in the city's Spanish-speaking community. He said the actions were at a premium after regional tensions rose in the wake of a the fatal shooting by a Sonoma County Sheriff's Office deputy of 13-year-old Andy Lopez in Santa Rosa, who was carrying a BB gun made to look like a high-powered assault-style rifle.

Glass said he's joined police on evening patrol during the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the night after Butter and Egg Days, after being told they are the two hardest nights for local law enforcement.

“The job is tremendously difficult, and the way they handle themselves on the job, they should be complimented for it,” he said.

Once budgeted for 78 officers, the Petaluma police department now has 62 funded positions and a handful of grant-supported roles as a consequence of recession-induced cutbacks.

Amid that staffing crunch, Williams said he was quick to enact the Petaluma Policing strategy, which he acknowledged was seen at first by some staff as an additional burden at a time when fewer resources were available. Yet the work has appeared to pay off in Petaluma, where Williams said he frequently hears from residents who cite positive experiences in various town hall meetings.

Still, he noted that the dangerous nature of law enforcement meant that police must balance safety with service, a message he has reiterated to staff after the recent shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge.

“We've got to stay tactically and situationally aware of what's going on around us, but we have to be able to differentiate, and still deliver service through our service model,” he said.

Hawkins, who also has a brother in the California Highway Patrol, said he was most concerned of the impact that the recent shootings could have on younger officers at the start of their careers. But after nearly two decades in law enforcement, he said he's come to see how the community dynamic between officers and residents in Petaluma is not a trivial benefit.

“We're lucky to have a community that supports us,” he said. “We're in the community as well.”



New York

NYPD arms cops on the beat to combat rampaging shooters

The mass shootings in Orlando, Dallas and elsewhere have prompted the nation's largest PD to accelerate a $7.5M program to distribute heavy-duty body armor

by Tom Hays

NEW YORK — At a time when the New York Police Department is encouraging beat cops to be more approachable to law-abiding citizens, it's also equipping them to do combat with rampaging shooters.

The mass shootings in Orlando, Dallas and elsewhere have prompted the nation's largest police department to accelerate a $7.5 million program to distribute heavy-duty body armor to uniformed patrol officers who might have to respond.

Some 20,000 helmets are set to be distributed by the end of the year. And the department's 3,000 patrol cars will begin carrying pairs of heavy-duty vests that officers will put on if dispatched to a report of an active shooter.

Simultaneously, the city's new police commissioner is championing a neighborhood policing program aimed at bridging the divide between police and minorities.

Here's a closer look at the arming of NYPD officers and some of its implications:


The hardware

Currently, NYPD patrol officers wear bulletproof vests thin enough to fit under their dark blue uniforms. The vests are capable of stopping a handgun round but not automatic rifle fire. The new vests provide that extra protection, with ballistic panels on the front and back that fit over the uniform.

The tougher helmets are comparable to one depicted in a photo distributed by Orlando police following the massacre at a gay nightclub in June. There was a large pockmark on it caused by the killer's gunfire — evidence, the department said, that the helmet probably saved a SWAT officer's life.

NYPD patrol officers are armed with 9 mm semi-automatic handguns with 15-round clips. Some have Tasers stored in their cars, but there are no long guns in the mix.

By comparison, the NYPD's counterterrorism officers and others with the Emergency Service Unit — the NYPD's equivalent of SWAT officers — have semi-automatic assault weapons, typically M4 rifles, to go along with their sidearms.


The expectations

The new gear reinforces an approach adopted by the NYPD and some other departments around the country that calls on first-responding officers to confront shooters immediately, rather than establish a perimeter and wait for specially trained tactical units to arrive. In addition, the NYPD is giving officers special training on how to deal with multiple shooters.

The response comes amid concerns from civil libertarians and others that ordinary beat cops are becoming too militarized. But police officials see the measures as necessary to protect their officers and save civilian lives in deadly encounters that unfold quickly and demand a swift response.

Career NYPD commander James O'Neill, who next month will replace outgoing Police Commissioner William Bratton, was blunt about the expectations.

"That's just the reality of it," he said. "If something happens in Brooklyn, midtown, up in the Bronx, it's going to be the sector cops who roll up first. And we have an expectation that they're going to go to the danger. They're going to go to the fight."


Will it make a difference?

Police union officials in New York, Los Angeles and elsewhere have been complaining for months that they need more training and equipment for their redefined role. Even with the NYPD announcement about the new helmets and vests, Patrick Lynch, president of the powerful Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, is still complaining.

The helmets and vests are fine, Lynch said, but without long guns at the ready "the officers and the public they are sworn to protect will remain in great danger."

That position is open to debate. In a letter to the Daily News, a retired coordinator of the department's Tactical Training Unit, Daniel Modell, wrote that long guns would make sense in departments where officers patrol alone in cars in areas where the response time of SWAT units can be lengthy. But officers in New York, he said, usually work in pairs and can get armored support promptly.

Besides, NYPD patrol officers "have what these killers invariably lack: heart," Modell wrote. "That and a 9 mm more than suffices."




Miss. PD adds 'All Lives Matter' decals to patrol cars

They decided to add the phrase to the cars after the deadly ambush attacks on police

by PoliceOne Staff

EDWARDS, Miss. — After deadly ambushes on police in Dallas and Baton Rouge, police in a Mississippi town have decided to add “All Lives Matter” decals to their patrol cars.

Police Chief Torrence Mayfield and the town's mayor spent the money themselves to purchase the decals, Mayfield told WNCN.

“‘Blue Lives Matter' is not going to be welcomed by everyone and neither is ‘Black Lives Matter'”, Mayfield told WLBT.

“You are not going to be able to please everyone, but 100 percent of my officers completely agreed, the Mayor agreed and everyone has absolutely loved it,” said Mayfield.

"I'm an African-American myself. And I'm a police officer. I share both sides of the story, but my life is no greater than anyone else," Mayfield told WGNO.



From the FBI

Victimized by a Cyber Scammer?

Don't Forget to File a Complaint with the IC3

Today, the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is embarking on a campaign to increase awareness of the IC3 as a reliable and convenient reporting mechanism to submit information on suspected Internet-facilitated criminal activity to the FBI. As part of the campaign, digital billboards featuring the IC3's contact information are being placed within the territories of a number of Bureau field offices around the country.

While the number of complaints being reported to the IC3 did increase in 2015 from the previous year, anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that there are many other instances of actual or suspected online frauds that are not being reported, perhaps because victims didn't know about the IC3, were embarrassed that they fell victim to a scammer, or thought filing a complaint wouldn't make a difference. But the bottom line is, the more complaints we receive, the more effective we can be in helping law enforcement gain a more accurate picture of the extent and nature of Internet-facilitated crimes—and in raising public awareness of these crimes.

The FBI field offices taking part in the billboard campaign include Albany, Buffalo, Kansas City, Knoxville, New Orleans, New York City, Phoenix, Oklahoma City, Salt Lake City, and San Diego. They were selected because they house multi-agency cyber task forces that participate in an IC3 initiative called Operation Wellspring. This initiative connects state and local law enforcement with federal cyber resources and helps them build their own cyber investigative capabilities, which is important because not all Internet fraud schemes rise to the level necessary to prosecute them federally. We hope to expand Operation Wellspring to other FBI offices in the future.

Through the Wellspring initiative, IC3 personnel—using the complaint database and their analytical capabilities—create intelligence packages focused on particular geographic regions. These packages can highlight trends, identify individuals and criminal enterprises based on commonalities in complaints, link different methods of operations back to the same organization, and detect various layers of criminal activities. The packages also contain results of preliminary investigative research performed by IC3 analysts, including criminal records checks.

Once complete, these intelligence packages go to the appropriate FBI cyber task force and are then handed off to state and local task force members trained to investigate these kinds of crimes.

Beyond Operation Wellspring, the IC3:

•  Forms alliances with industry representatives (online retailers, financial institutions, Internet service providers, etc.) that have increased the flow of the IC3's most valuable commodity—information.

•  Makes its complaint database available to all sworn law enforcement (and FBI personnel) through the Bureau's secure Law Enforcement Enterprise Portal. Accessing the database, users can get information on victims and financial losses within their particular area of jurisdiction to help build cases. Authorized users can also run a variety of statistical reports for themselves and can contact the IC3 for additional analytical assistance.

•  Publishes an annual report highlighting the numbers and common types of complaints, along with emerging trends. The most recent 2015 Internet Crime Report described the three major fraud types reported to the IC3 last year—business e-mail compromise, e-mail account compromise, and ransomware.

•  Produces periodic public service announcements to alert consumers about the latest and/or emerging cyber crimes and provide tips on how to recognize them. Recent announcements covered tech support scams, stolen identity refund fraud, and the continuing threat from business e-mail compromise schemes.

Explains IC3 Unit Chief Donna Gregory, “IC3 is often the first piece of the investigative puzzle. We receive victim complaints and then analyze, aggregate, and exploit those complaints to provide law enforcement with comprehensive reports that can be used to open new investigations or enhance existing ones.”

So if you or someone you know may have been victimized by a cyber fraudster, please submit a complaint to the IC3. And for additional information on filing a complaint, please review the IC3's Frequently Asked Questions page.



Dept of Justice

Press Release

Former L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca Indicted by Federal Grand Jury on Three Counts

LOS ANGELES – A federal grand jury today indicted former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca on federal charges alleging that he conspired to obstruct justice, obstructed justice, and lied to the federal government. The case against Baca is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and is one in a series of cases resulting from an investigation into corruption and civil rights abuses at county jail facilities in downtown Los Angeles. As a result of the investigation, 20 current or former members of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department were convicted of federal charges.

Baca, 74, of San Marino, California, was charged today in a three-count superseding indictment, with one count of conspiracy to obstruct a federal grand jury investigation, one count of obstruction of justice, and one count of making false statements.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

The conspiracy charge carries a maximum term of five years in prison, the obstruction of justice carries a maximum term of 10 years in prison and the charge of making a false statement carries a maximum term of five years in prison. If convicted on all counts, the total maximum Baca faces is 20 years in federal prison.

Baca is expected to be arraigned on the superseding indictment at a later date in United States District Court in Los Angeles. The investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Brandon Fox, Chief of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section; Assistant United States Attorney Lizabeth A. Rhodes, Chief of the General Crimes Section; and Assistant United States Attorney Eddie A. Jauregui of the General Crimes Section.

Tracy Webb, Director of External Affairs
United States Attorney's Office – Central District of California



New York City

(Video on site)

Incoming Police Commissioner James O'Neill to Expand Community Policing Program

by Lori Chung

So what will the NYPD look like under James O'Neill? The incoming commissioner tipped his hand at a National Night Out Event in Astoria. NY1's Lori Chung has details.

In one of their first official acts as outgoing and incoming police commissioners respectively, both Bill Bratton and James O'Neill joined Mayor Bill de Blasio to announce the expansion of program that will make officers a bigger part of the communities they serve.

"The essence of it is we're going to have the same cops in the same sectors every day and it's an important thing for the cops to do," O'Neill said.

"When people know the name of their officer they feel that their immediate neighborhood," the mayor said.

Those are features of the Neighborhood Coordination Officers program, which puts cops in specific communities to identify and respond to problems.

Community policing was praised at the national night out event in Astoria Park, and officials say O'Neill will take farther when he takes over as top cop.

"He and soon to be Chief of Department Gomez will ensure a seamless continuation of what we've been engaged in these last several years," said outgoing NYPD Commissioner Bratton.

The idea resonated at this annual event designed to bring police and communities together where families got face-time with officers from the 114th precinct. Events were held in all five boroughs.

"I think it's also going to lower the racial profiling because they will get to know us as well," said one Astoria resident.

"We need the community to receive the police and police need to see that everyone's not a criminal also," said another.

As the police work to forge bonds here with residents big and small, there's hope that this new era of leadership at the NYPD will lead to more trust and respect for and from police.

"The overall majority of these officers are here to help us and that's what I think and that's why I think it's a very good thing what they're doing today," said one Astoria resident.

The Neighborhood Coordination Officers program will be in 51 percent of commands in October — just a few weeks after O'Neill steps into his new position.



Austin, Texas

Report: More civilians, APD officers needed to build community policing

by Robert Maxwell

AUSTIN (KXAN) – The Austin Police Department needs to clarify its philosophy when it comes to practicing proactive or community policing, a new consultant's report recommends. The final Matrix Consulting Group report makes 61 specific recommendations to accomplish that strategy including putting more officers on the front line and adding more civilian staff to deal with low priority and non-emergency calls.

The report also recommends shrinking the number of District Representative officers in each of the four regions and replacing them with 12 civilian Community Services Officers (CSO), which would free up a dozen District Representative officers to return to patrol duties.

Additionally, the report also calls for the department to create positions for 66 officers and eight corporals beyond what has already been authorized, and to add an average 17 new officer positions over the next four years. Finally, the report calls for adding four officers to the Motorcycle Unit.

Limited uncommitted time

Among the key findings, patrol officers have limited opportunities to be more proactive and engage community members. In fact, during any given shift an officer has only 17-19 percent uncommitted time between calls to actually ‘meet and greet' community members, such as store keepers and residents. Typically, for community policing to be effective, the report's authors suggest so-called ‘proactivity' levels need to be closer to 35 to 45 percent

In a letter dated Wednesday to the Austin City Council, Assistant City Manager Ray Arellano writes, “full implementation of Matrix' recommendations would require significant investment.” Currently, the city has taken a phased approach to increasing staffing at APD in FY 2017. Included in the City Manager's proposed FY 2017 budget are 12 new sworn positions and 21 new civilian positions to transition existing sworn employees back to patrol activities. This proposal takes into consideration time for APD to develop performance targets and metrics in collaboration with the community and mitigates the budget impact of implementing the Matrix recommendations.

The authors of the report will appear at an Aug. 17 council budget workshop to answer questions.

KXAN News reported APD is in a hiring frenzy to aggressively reduce an officer vacancy rate that hit more than 170 recently. Recently detectives have been asked to work patrol duties to make the up gaps in shifts.




Wasserman Schultz returns to public eye at community policing event

by Dan Sweeney

After keeping out of the public eye since her resignation as chair of the Democratic National Committee on July 24, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, chose to step back into the spotlight at a town hall event at the Faith Center, a nondenominational African-American church in Sunrise.

Thursday's town hall, billed as "Hope and Healing: A Community Conversation," was meant to bring law enforcement and the black community together.

As the emcee read the names of the 18 people onstage — including politicians, police and pastors — only U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Delray Beach, and the Faith Center's own pastor, Henry Fernandez, drew louder applause than the congresswoman.

It was a far cry from the opening day of the Democratic National Convention, when Wasserman Schultz was greeted by a chorus of boos at a breakfast for the Florida delegation. Not long thereafter, she announced she would not gavel in the convention and disappeared from any public role.

The booing came as a result of the computer hack in which DNC emails that were leaked online showed DNC staffers speaking derisively of Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign. To Sanders' supporters, still bitter over the Vermont senator's defeat, the emails only confirmed long-held suspicions that the DNC, under Wasserman Schultz, unfairly favored the campaign of Hillary Clinton.

But at the Faith Center, Wasserman Schultz's work in bringing together law enforcement and the black community meant a warm crowd.

Almost two years ago, Wasserman Schultz and Hastings put together the Task Force on Law Enforcement and Community Relations in an effort to improve the relationship between police and the black community in Broward County in the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and the subsequent unrest in that city.

"The tensions that have exploded in many communities around the country were really simmering just under the surface here," Wasserman Schultz said. "Since then, we have had our police and community relations task force meeting with young people in high schools across [Broward County]."

She recalled the first such meeting, at Dillard High School, when a girl "stood up and said that in her community when there was danger, when something was wrong, her and her friends' instinct was to run from the police, not toward the police. And that has stayed with me for all these months because nowhere in any community should young people or anyone feel like they should have to flee from the police."

When asked why she decided to make her first appearance since the Democratic National Convention at this event, Wasserman Schultz responded, "This event has been scheduled for weeks."

But Wasserman Schultz's presence at the event did not appear to be.

Faith Center spokesman Don Wiggins said the congresswoman was a late addition to the event. Broward Mayor Marty Kiar said that "my staff just told me" Wasserman Schultz would be there.

"We were always going to be there," a Wasserman Schultz spokesman said.



Green Bay, Wisconsin

GBPD Community Policing Unit welcomes new officer

The Green Bay Police Department introduced the newest community police officers Thursday night.

Officers Eric Allen, Shelly Wicklund, and Andrew Lentz all bring at least a decade of law enforcement experience to the unit. 

They're filling positions that were left open by recent retirements. They say they're ready to get to work.  

"I couldn't pick a better spot to work," officer Lentz says, "I'm thrilled to be part of the Tank Neighborhood, thats where I grew up, I was born and raised there. I have roots there, family, and friends, so I look forward to going back down there and serving them and continuign those relationships."

They're expected to start with the community police unit on August 14th.



NE Pennsylvania / NW New Jersey

(Video news report)

Cumru TWP Police Chief emphasizes community policing

from wfmz

rob vaughn: tensions may be high between police officers and community members in parts of the nation... but tonight a police chief in berks county is taking steps to improve this department's relationship with the public.

wendy davis: cumru township's new chief is giving people an inside look at policing... wfmz's jim vasil is live at police headquarters with the story... jim.

jim vasil: rob, wendy, the chief has been on the job for about two and a half months now, and things are different since his badge went from reading to cumru township. tonight the community got a chance to meet him and learn about what 'policing' means to him.

chief madison winchester: "this is my first step in cumru township is getting to know the public and them getting to know me."

reporter: a few dozen people in cumru township got a glimpse of the world through the eyes of a police officer-- and through the eyes of their new chief.

chief madison winchester: "if we provide that transparency in policing, i think that's going to really jettison us into policing the way we should be policing."

reporter cumru: police chief madison winchester has been on the job for almost 2 months. he brought the community together for this meet-and-greet. he says his move from reading to a smaller department allows him to focus on different things--

chief madison winchester: "slowing down and really getting to know the public is something that i have to really focus in on."

reporter: of course, not ?everything has been slow since he started. a shooting left a man wounded in the 23 hundred block of new holland road in june. so far, no arrests have been made.

chief madison winchester: "it's a very active investigation and we're still pursuing very real leads."

reporter: now, with the community's eyes and ears, winchester says he wants to tackle his biggest challenge so far: community policing.

chief madison winchester: "recognizing i have the time now to get out there, interact with the public, to slow down a little bit."

jim vasil: winchester also got to hear from neighbors about speeding problems in the township. he said because of the township's hills, speed can be an issue. he says it's a problem his department needs to address. live in cumru township, jim vasil, 69 news.



Nevada Public Radio

(Video on site)

Metro Undersheriff On Crime, Community Policing In Valley

by Rachel Christiansen

It's been almost a month since a gunman opened fire on a group of police officers in Dallas, Texas, killing five officers and injuring nine others. 

Just a few weeks later, a Missouri man ambushed and killed three law officers and wounded three others in Baton Rouge. 

This all in the wake of the shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of police officers, igniting racial tensions in the country once again. 

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police sheriff Joe Lombardo implored Las Vegas to stand up and say “not in our city” at a meeting with community leaders. 

Nonetheless, the department instituted doubled-up patrols after the shootings, as a precautionary measure. 

Undersheriff Kevin McMahill, the second-in-command at the department, joins KNPR to talk about these tensions and others in the Las Vegas valley. 


This is, sadly, not the first time we've had these conversations with you on our show. But we have to ask – when things like this happen, what is going on in your officer's minds – are they scared?

We have to remember that police officers are human beings. When you have these incidents where police officers are specifically targeted and these are mass casualty deaths. I would say yeah say that fear is part of the normal emotion that an officer feels.

But I also think there is a steady resolve that develops and a very clear understanding about what our role is within a particular community. And how it is that we as an organization… police here in Las Vegas.

What is that role? And how has that changed over the years?

You see the old logos on the sides of police cars about protecting and serving and that certainly that is a key component of what law enforcement does.

Probably, the most substantive change I can put my finger on now is I believe that the police are responsible and deal with the failures of every other system in government. Homelessness is a police issue. Addiction is a police issue. Fatherless families is a police issue. The list goes on and on.

Besides that, we also have to recognize that since we are dealing with so many of those failures that we as a police department have a role in many of those systems… We have to take part in programs like Hope for Prisoners, where I have officers assigned as mentors to returning offenders. Those programs have wild successes. But 26 years ago, when I became a cop, we would have never thought about participating in a variety ways with things other than what we always deemed to be law and order.

After Dallas, there were stories that upheld Metro as an example of a department that knows how to de-escalate that knows how to do good policing. When you get this kind of recognition how do you go about maintaining that record and improving it?

The first thing you do is you don't believe your own press. If you allow that narrative to be written by others, you're never really going to change what needs to be changed to change culture. Changing the culture of a very large organization is a very difficult thing to do.

We needed some prodding and some assistance from the Department of Justice in some of the comprehensive reform effort that we underwent. What many people don't recognize is of the 73 recommendations that we were provided with and worked with DOJ on we had already been underway with 35 of those recommendations.

We have to continue – no matter what the media says – to take that critical look at ourselves and find ways we can be more effective at reducing the numbers of officer-involved shootings, being more effective of building those relationships in our community - with every single corner of our community.

The Daily Show

There has been a group formed, called Blue Lives Matter. It's angered many of the Black Lives Matter supporters, who say it's only widening the gap of community-police relations. It was started in 2014, and one of its national spokespeople is Randy Sutton, a former Metro lieutenant from Las Vegas. What do you think about this group?

I think it is a good group. I also think it gives a voice to law enforcement where often times we have been voiceless as a group.

Let's be candid about it. If all we have is a certain focus on a particular minority group, what are we as police? We have to look at Asian lives, Hispanic lives, black lives, LGBTQ lives. It doesn't matter where you come from… we have a role and responsibility to apply our efforts equally across the board.

A lot of people are going to say that that doesn't really get to the heart of what black lives matter is and stands for and there is absolutely a concern about the number of officer-involved shootings, involving police officers. And in my opinion, the biggest issue is the unarmed African-American male that has been shot.

I believe in the very core of who I am… I've been at the scene of a shooting where a young black man is laying there dead or shot and gravely wounded. I can tell you this, aside from all of the protestors, aside from all of the rhetoric that was there, there has always been one group where black lives really mattered and that is to the police. And I can show you that time after time after time.

It didn't matter who did show. It didn't matter who didn't show. Our investigators, our officers were always there working diligently to collect evidence, to interview witnesses, to find suspects and the prosecute people and bring a sense of justice and closure to those families.

But that goes against the experience of many black people, who have over most of the 20 th Century and part of the 21 st Century, felt harassed by the police, felt afraid of the police, felt victimized by the police. What do you say to them?

I agree with them. There are dozens and dozens of examples of that disparate treatment… You have to acknowledge there is a problem. So, let's be honest – there has been a problem. But also what you don't hear in that narrative, is the thousands of other people that are very satisfied with their interaction with the police.  

This week, two police officers were cleared in the shooting death of a 24-year-old man, who lunged toward them with a metal wrench and a screwdriver. The body camera was important in this.

When you say cleared, you're saying cleared criminally. There is still a number of processes with any officer-involved shooting after the district attorney as chosen not to file a criminal charge. We have a use-of-force board that those officers will also appear in front of. That use-of-force board is consisted of four voting citizens and three commissioned officers that vote. Our citizen voting members on the use-of-use board outnumber the commissioned officers on use-of-force board. I don't think you'll find that anywhere else in the country. That use-of-force board as well as the tactical review board looks at the policy, procedure, training and leadership of that entire incident to include from the moment that the call came in to all the way through to the conclusion of that event.

That has not happened yet in the particular case that you're referring to. It will happen. That is exactly what occurs throughout every one of those shootings.

Question 1 includes a background check initiative for gun ownership. The NRA is against it. Sixteen elected sheriffs in Nevada oppose it. Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, however, has elected to remain neutral. Do you agree with his decision to remain silent? 

I just don't believe that the wording of that particular initiative allows us to be successful in effort that we're trying to accomplish.

The wording on that particular initiative is, I think, particularly confusing. What are we trying to do? Are we trying to close the loophole of who can buy private party to private party are we trying to close the loophole at gun shows?

There are a number of things that aren't addressed in how we would implement those throughout those processes. We don't think that the way that the bill is currently worded is good for Clark County.

The valley has seen a little over 100 homicides this year. Most of them have been shootings. Do you think that having background checks would help that?

No. I don't. I have to be candid with you. Our shootings aren't occurring because we have great citizens that are involved in these types of things. These are people who are out there committing a number of crimes and using more often than not stolen firearms, firearms with obliterated serial numbers, firearms that they trade in the drug world. These are not legal firearms being used in the murder of 101 people for the most part.

There are some but I don't think, personally, that background checks are going to have an significant impact on that. What it will do, hopefully, in some version of it, is to keep firearms out of the hands of individuals that shouldn't have them. But the vast majority of people that are getting firearms in their hands that shouldn't have them aren't going through a background process.

Guests:  Kevin McMahill , undersheriff, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department 



Inside Islamic State: how it built a global network of killers

Isis has special intelligence unit in charge of exporting terror to Europe, documents show

by Rukmini Callimachi

Believing he was answering a holy call, Harry Sarfo left his home in the working class city of Bremen last year and drove for four straight days to reach the territory controlled by the Islamic State terrorist group in Syria.

He barely had time to settle in before members of Islamic State's secret service, wearing masks over their faces, came to inform him and his German friend that they no longer wanted Europeans to come to Syria. Where they were really needed was back home, to help carry out the group's plan of waging terrorism across the globe.

“He was speaking openly about the situation, saying that they have loads of people living in European countries and waiting for commands to attack the European people,” Sarfo recounted this week in an interview with the New York Times conducted in English inside the maximum-security prison near Bremen. “And that was before the Brussels attacks, before the Paris attacks.”

The masked man explained that, although the group was well set up in some European countries, it needed more attackers in Germany and Britain, in particular.

“They said, ‘Would you mind to go back to Germany, because that's what we need at the moment,'” Sarfo recalled. “And they always said they wanted to have something that is occurring in the same time: They want to have loads of attacks at the same time in England and Germany and France. ”

The operatives belonged to an intelligence unit of Islamic State known in Arabic as the Emni, which has become a combination of an internal police force and an external operations branch, dedicated to exporting terror abroad, according to thousands of pages of French, Belgian, German and Austrian intelligence and interrogation documents obtained by the New York Times .

Islamic State's attacks in Paris on November 13th brought global attention to the group's external terrorism network, which began sending fighters abroad two years ago. Now, Sarfo's account, along with those of other captured recruits, has further pulled back the curtain on the group's machinery for projecting violence beyond its borders.

Believing he was answering a holy call, Harry Sarfo left his home in the working class city of Bremen last year and drove for four straight days to reach the territory controlled by the Islamic State terrorist group in Syria.

He barely had time to settle in before members of Islamic State's secret service, wearing masks over their faces, came to inform him and his German friend that they no longer wanted Europeans to come to Syria. Where they were really needed was back home, to help carry out the group's plan of waging terrorism across the globe.

“He was speaking openly about the situation, saying that they have loads of people living in European countries and waiting for commands to attack the European people,” Sarfo recounted this week in an interview with the New York Times conducted in English inside the maximum-security prison near Bremen. “And that was before the Brussels attacks, before the Paris attacks.”

The masked man explained that, although the group was well set up in some European countries, it needed more attackers in Germany and Britain, in particular.

“They said, ‘Would you mind to go back to Germany, because that's what we need at the moment,'” Sarfo recalled. “And they always said they wanted to have something that is occurring in the same time: They want to have loads of attacks at the same time in England and Germany and France. ”

The operatives belonged to an intelligence unit of Islamic State known in Arabic as the Emni, which has become a combination of an internal police force and an external operations branch, dedicated to exporting terror abroad, according to thousands of pages of French, Belgian, German and Austrian intelligence and interrogation documents obtained by the New York Times.

Islamic State's attacks in Paris on November 13th brought global attention to the group's external terrorism network, which began sending fighters abroad two years ago. Now, Sarfo's account, along with those of other captured recruits, has further pulled back the curtain on the group's machinery for projecting violence beyond its borders.

What they describe is a multilevel secret service under the overall command of Islamic State's most senior Syrian operative, spokesman and propaganda chief, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani. Below him is a tier of lieutenants empowered to plan attacks in different regions of the world, including a “secret service for European affairs”, a “secret service for Asian affairs” and a “secret service for Arab affairs”, according to Sarfo.

Discrete units

Reinforcing the idea that the Emni is a core part of Islamic State's operations, the interviews and documents indicate that the unit has carte blanche to recruit and reroute operatives from all parts of the organisation – from new arrivals to seasoned battlefield fighters, and from the group's special forces and its elite commando units.

Taken together, the interrogation records show that operatives are selected by nationality and grouped by language into small, discrete units whose members sometimes only meet one another on the eve of their departure abroad.

And through the co-ordinating role played by al-Adnani, terror planning has gone hand-in-hand with the group's extensive propaganda operations – including, Sarfo claimed, monthly meetings in which al-Adnani chose which grisly videos to promote based on battlefield events.

Based on the accounts of operatives arrested so far, the Emni has become the crucial cog in the group's terrorism machinery, and its trainees led the Paris attacks and built the suitcase bombs used in a Brussels airport terminal and subway station. Investigation records show that its foot soldiers have also been sent to Austria, Germany, Spain, Lebanon, Tunisia, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia.

With European officials stretched by a string of assaults by seemingly unconnected attackers who pledged allegiance to Islamic State, also known as Isis or Isil, Sarfo suggested that there may be more of a link than the authorities yet know. He said he was told that undercover operatives in Europe used new converts as go-betweens, or “clean men,” who help link up people interested in carrying out attacks with operatives who can pass on instructions on everything from how to make a suicide vest to how to credit their violence to Islamic State.

The group has sent “hundreds of operatives” back to the European Union, with “hundreds more in Turkey alone”, according to a senior US intelligence official and a senior US defence official, both of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence.

Sarfo, who was recently moved out of solitary confinement at his German prison because he is no longer considered violent, agrees with that assessment. “Many of them have returned,” he said. “Hundreds, definitely.”

The first port of call for new arrivals to Islamic State is a network of dormitories in Syria, just across the border from Turkey. There, recruits are interviewed and inventoried. Sarfo checked all the necessary boxes, and on the third day after his arrival, the members of the Emni came to ask for him. He wanted to fight in Syria and Iraq, but the masked operatives explained that they had a vexing problem.

“They told me that there aren't many people in Germany who are willing to do the job,” Sarfo said soon after his arrest last year, according to the transcript of his interrogation by German officials, which runs to more than 500 pages. “They said they had some in the beginning. But one after another, you could say, they chickened out, because they got scared – cold feet. Same in England.”

By contrast, the group had more than enough volunteers for France. “My friend asked them about France,” Sarfo said. “And they started laughing. But really serious laughing, with tears in their eyes. They said, ‘Don't worry about France.' ‘Mafi mushkilah' – in Arabic, it means ‘no problem.'”

That conversation took place in April 2015, seven months before the co-ordinated killings in Paris in November, the worst terrorist attack in Europe in over a decade.

Exporting terror

While some details of Sarfo's account cannot be verified, his statements track with what other recruits related in their interrogations. And both prison officials and the German intelligence agents who debriefed Sarfo after his arrest said they found him credible.

Since the rise of Islamic State over two years ago, intelligence agencies have been collecting nuggets on the Emni. Originally, the unit was tasked with policing Islamic State's members, including conducting interrogations and ferreting out spies, according to interrogation records and analysts. But French members arrested in 2014 and 2015 explained that the Emni had taken on a new portfolio: projecting terror abroad.

“It's the Emni that ensures the internal security inside Dawla” – the Arabic word for state – “and oversees external security by sending abroad people they recruited, or else sending individuals to carry out violent acts, like what happened in Tunisia inside the museum in Tunis, or else the aborted plot in Belgium,” said Nicolas Moreau (32) a French citizen who was arrested last year after leaving Islamic State in Syria, according to his statement to France's domestic intelligence agency.

Moreau explained that he had run a restaurant in Raqqa, Syria, the de facto capital of the group's territory, where he had served meals to key members of the Emni – including Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the on-the-ground commander of the Paris attacks, who was killed in a standoff with the police days later.

Other interrogations, as well as Sarfo's account, have led investigators to conclude that the Emni also trained and dispatched the gunman who opened fire on a beach in Sousse, Tunisia, in June, and the man who prepared the Brussels airport bombs.

Records from French, Austrian and Belgian intelligence agencies show that at least 28 operatives recruited by the Emni succeeded in deploying to countries outside of Islamic State's core territory, mounting both successful attacks and plots that were foiled. Officials say that dozens of other operatives have slipped through and formed sleeper cells.

In his own interactions with the Emni, Sarfo realised that they were preparing a global portfolio of terrorists and looking to fill holes in their international network, he said. In his briefings with the German authorities, and again in the interview this week, Sarfo raised the possibility that some of the recent attackers in Europe who pledged allegiance to Islamic State's leader during their assaults might have a more direct link to the group than officials believe.

North America

Sarfo explained that the Emni keeps many of its operatives underground in Europe. They act as nodes that can remotely activate potential suicide attackers who have been drawn in by propaganda. Linking them are what Sarfo called “clean men”, new converts to Islam with no established ties to radical groups.

“These people are not in direct contact with these guys who are doing the attacks, because they know if these people start talking, they will get caught,” he said of the underground operatives. The intelligence documents and Sarfo agree that Islamic State has made the most of its recruits' nationalities by sending them back to plot attacks at home. Yet one important region where the Emni is not thought to have succeeded in sending trained attackers is North America, Sarfo said, recalling what the members of the branch told him.

Though dozens of Americans have become members of Islamic State, and some have been recruited into the external operations wing, “they know it's hard for them to get Americans into America” once they have travelled to Syria, he said.

“For America and Canada, it's much easier for them to get them over the social network, because they say the Americans are dumb – they have open gun policies,” he said. “They say we can radicalise them easily, and if they have no prior record, they can buy guns, so we don't need to have no contact man who has to provide guns for them.”

During his time in Syria, Sarfo was contacted by other German fighters who wanted him to be an actor in a propaganda film aimed at German speakers. They drove to Palmyra, and Sarfo was told to hold the group's black flag and to walk again and again in front of the camera as they filmed repeated takes. Syrian captives were forced to kneel, and the other German fighters shot them, showing an interest only in the cinematic effect.

One turned to Sarfo immediately after killing a victim and asked: “How did I look like? Did I look good, the way I executed?”

Sarfo said he had started doubting his allegiance to Isis during his training, after seeing how cruelly they treated those who could not keep up. Making the propaganda video provided his final disillusionment when he saw how many times they recorded each scene in the five-minute film. Back in Germany, when he had been inspired by similar videos, he had always assumed they were real, not staged.

He began plotting his escape, which took weeks and involved sprinting and crawling in a field of mud before crossing into Turkey. He was arrested at Bremen Airport, where he landed on July 20th, 2015, and he voluntarily confessed. He is now serving a three-year term on terrorism charges.



Washington D.C.

DC Metro Transit police officer charged with aiding ISIS

by Matthew Dean

A Washington, D.C., Metro Transit police officer who was a convert to Islam and once dressed up as Jihadi John for Halloween was charged on Wednesday with attempting to provide material support to ISIS -- the first time a law enforcement officer has been charged with an ISIS-related crime.

Virginia resident Nicholas Young, 36, who had served with the department since 2003, was arrested Wednesday morning by FBI agents at Metro Transit Police headquarters in Washington, DC.

The lanky, slim-built 36 year old was dressed in a prison issue white t-shirt and dark pants and sported long hair as he made his initial appearance in court Wednesday afternoon. No attorney was present.

Young spoke only to request a public defender be appointed to represent him.

He will be held in Alexandria until his detention hearing, which is set for Friday at 2 p.m. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and a lifetime of supervised release.

Authorities allege in a criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday that Young attempted to send money to ISIS through mobile-based gift cards using an unnamed messaging service the terror group utilizes for recruiting purposes.

The $245 digital transaction, which was actually sent to an undercover FBI agent in July, was redeemed by the agency.

Despite Wednesday's arrest, the U.S. Attorney's Office said there was never any threat to the public or a plot by Young to target the public transit system he was hired to protect.

Young had been under FBI investigation since 2010, when the Metro Transit Police Department alerted the feds to suspicions over the former police officer. During the investigation, the FBI kept extremely close tabs on Young through the use of undercover agents and confidential informants, a source told Fox News.

Investigators also interviewed Young several times during the course of the investigation.

Court documents paint the story of an individual with ties to suspicious individuals and with terrorist aspirations abroad.

The criminal complaint connects Young to two convicted Washington, DC-area terrorists, Zachary Chesser and Amine El Khalifi.

Chesser was sentenced in federal court in 2011 to 25 years in prison for aiding Al Qaeda affiliate Al Shabaab. He is also known for threatening the creators of South Park for the show's depiction of the prophet Mohamed. Khalifi was arrested in 2012 for attempting to detonate an explosive vest in the U.S. Capitol Building and was eventually sentenced to 30 years in prison for his crimes.

Court documents show federal investigators also questioned Young about trips he had taken to Libya in 2011. Young told FBI agents he traveled twice to the North African nation to assist rebels attempting to overthrow the regime of then-dictator Muammar Qaddafi.

A baggage search by Customs and Border Protection on one of Young's outbound trips revealed he had traveled with body armor, a Kevlar helmet, and “several other military-style items,” according to the criminal complaint.

Young is also alleged to have maintained a large cache of firearms, including numerous rifles and handguns at his home.

His alleged terrorist leanings were thrown further into the spotlight in 2015 when he admitted to interviewers at the Metro Transit Police Department that he dressed up as Jihadi John for Halloween in 2014. According to the criminal complaint, as part of his costume “Young stuffed an orange jumpsuit with paper to portray a headless hostage, and he carried that around with him throughout the party.”

During that same interview, Young admitted to having previously dressed up as a Nazi and to collecting Nazi memorabilia as well as possessing a tattoo of a German eagle on his neck.

"Since I received my first briefing on this matter, [Metro Transit Police] Chief [Ronald] Pavlik and I have worked hand-in-glove with the FBI in the interest of public safety and to ensure that this individual would be brought to justice," Metro General Manager/CEO Paul Wiedefeld said in a statement.

Young's employment with the metro police was "terminated" Wednesday, according to a memo sent to metro staffers.



New York

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton announces retirement date, praises city's cops in 7-minute video

by John Annese

(Video on site)

His farewell message to the NYPD is a YouTube love letter to the city's cops.

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton lavished praise on the city's police force in a seven-minute video Tuesday, as he announced his retirement date — Sept. 16.

"I've been in the business for 45 years and I've never seen a time with so much controversy, with so many challenges, for our profession, for your profession," he said. "More than ever, New York City and its people, more than ever America and its people, need you — they need the cops."

Bratton, whose law enforcement career spans 45 decades, will take a job with the international consulting firm Teneo Holdings.

He served as commissioner under Rudy Giuliani in 1994, keeping the post for 27 months before the mayor forced him out.

Mayor de Blasio brought him back in 2014, and he served during a sometimes tumultuous 31 months that included citywide protests sparked by the 2014 police chokehold death of Eric Garner on Staten Island on July 17, 2014. Police Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were executed several months later by a gunman intent on killing cops as retribution for Garner's death.

Both he and the mayor have insisted the retirement had nothing to do with an ongoing federal corruption probe of the NYPD or recent calls for his resignation by Black Lives Matter protesters.

Bratton's successor, Chief of Dept. James O'Neill, stood by his side during the video.

"I love being a cop. I love wearing a uniform. I love working with the community. I love every job that I've had," O'Neill said. "And it's important for you to know that fully support what you do."



Hack the vote: Could cyberattackers disrupt the election?

The US government is concerned your choices this fall could be hijacked

by Laura Hautala

Stealing votes with software. It may have been a plot in the political thriller TV show "Scandal," but that doesn't mean it couldn't happen in real life, too. In fact, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Wednesday that it's a major concern.

In light of the hacking attacks on the Democratic National Committee and another fundraising organization for the Democrats, the US government should ask whether to treat elections as "critical infrastructure," Johnson said at a breakfast in Washington, DC sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor.

That official designation often refers to physical infrastructure, like the power grid and dams. But elections are critical to democracy, Johnson said, which could justify adding elections to the US government's list of 16 critical infrastructure sectors. "There's a vital national interest in our election process," he told reporters at the event.

What good will it do?

Not everyone is sure that adding a new label to elections goes far enough to protect the democratic process. Vishal Gupta, CEO of cybersecurity firm Seclore, said the government has to put its money where its mouth is and the computer systems involved in voting.

"By simply changing the designation of these systems without laying out a clear and concise plan for bolstering defenses, very little is accomplished from an information security perspective," Gupta said in an email.

The Department of Homeland Security declined to comment further on how it might protect elections.

The department works with county and state officials to help keep critical infrastructure safe -- and secure elections are part of that mission, a Homeland Security official said. Its role also includes recommending the best practices for keeping voting systems safe and helping respond to any security incidents that arise, the official added.

Is a hack plausible?

About 2,400 miles west of Washington, DC, where Johnson made his announcement, Black Hat is taking place. It's a massive meeting of cybersecurity experts in Las Vegas, and researchers are demonstrating how any number of things can be hacked.

That includes next-generation ATMs, which read the more-secure EMV chips that will appear on more US debit cards as we approach 2017. It also includes connected cars, like the Jeep that researchers Chris Valasek and Charlie Miller have found new ways to hack this year.

So the view from Black Hat suggests it's possible. If you build it, they will hack.

What would a hack look like?

Dmitri Alperovitch, CEO of cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, knows a little bit about the threats facing US elections. CrowdStrike said in June that hackers affiliated with two Russian government agencies breached the Democratic National Committee's computer systems and accessed sensitive information.That claim has since been disputed, and someone claiming to be a solo Romanian hacker allegedly leaked sensitive emails and information from DNC systems. Alperovitch stands by his company's findings.

When it comes to hackers changing elections, Alperovitch thinks the most vulnerable point in the election system isn't electronic voting machines. Rather, it's whatever computer any given voting precinct uses to send election results off to the county or state level.

"Those are just regular PCs," he said from a suite at the Mandalay Bay resort in Las Vegas. "God knows what's protecting those."

Still, Alperovitch says electronic voting isn't safe either. (He's in good company. Cybersecurity specialist Bruce Schneier has written for years about how vulnerable such systems are.)

Alperovitch said hanging chads, a problem that made some paper ballots difficult to read in the 2000 presidential election, are easier to deal with than potentially hacked voting machines.

But the worst thing that could happen? That would be if the election appears to go off without a hitch, but the next day a hacker claims to have changed votes in a crucial precinct or county. That could damage voters' trust in the result.

"All they need to do is sow doubt," he said.



New York

Black Volunteer Firefighter's Home Engulfed in Flames, 2 days after Receiving Racist, Threatening Note

Kenneth Walker, the only black firefighter in North Tonawanda, N.Y. received a letter in his mailbox on Monday, saying that 'N--gers are not allowed to be firefighters.'

by Breanna Edwards

A North Tonawanda, N.Y. volunteer firefighter who was threatened by a racist letter found in his mailbox on Monday, lost everything in a fire at his home on Wednesday morning, WGRZ reports.

Kenneth Walker and his family are safe, however two cats died in the fire damage, and the family has lost all their possessions.

According to the report, it is not immediately clear how the fire started.

“I'm just shocked,” Kathy Carr, a local business owner told the station. “The people in North Tonawanda would never do something like this so I'll find this interesting to see who the suspect is. I hope they prosecute to the full extent of the law.”

Tensions were already high after Walker, a volunteer firefighter in the city, received a hateful and threatening letter in his mailbox on Monday, KHOU reports.

“N–gers are not allowed to be firefighters. No one wants you in this city,” the note read.

It then went on to threaten Walker, the city's only black firefighter, to resign from his position or “you will regret it.”

The 28-year-old was disturbed by the incident.

“It shocked me,” Walker said. “I didn't think that type of thing went on nowadays.”

Walker was home with his wife and two young children at the time that the letter was note, which was not in an envelope, was left in the mailbox.

KHOU reported that the FBI was looking into the case, having received a copy of the note that was left at the residence.

Walker said that in his two years of being a volunteer firefighter he has never had any issues with his colleagues or the public.

According to the report, the department gave Walker the option to stop responding to calls if he did not feel safe, but he agreed to continue working as a volunteer.

“There's no room for anything like this. I want this taken to the fullest extent and whatever level they want this taken to, I want it taken to,” Fire Chief Joseph Sikora told the news station.

“I'm here to help people,” Walker told KHOU earlier this week. “That's what I do and it's sad that that person (who sent the note) can't deal with that.”

At the time, Walker admit that he was scared because of his family, but he said he was not going to be intimidated by the incident.

“I'm not going to change my habits of what I've been doing. I'm still going to be helpful in the community. I'm going to go on calls and hopefully this is just an isolated incident and if it turns out to be more, I'm sure that and confident that the North Tonawanda police department will handle it,” he said.

Sikora told the Buffalo News that Walker was a “good guy, a good worker.”

“This is something I never thought I would have to deal with as a fire chief and it really has got me upset. I couldn't apologize enough. We'll help him any way we can,” Sikora added. “I'm appalled by it. It's totally unacceptable.”

Even the mayor got involved in the issue prior to the fire, opening the Common Council meeting on Tuesday night by addressing the note.

“Needless to say we are appalled by this situation as it does not represent what the City of North Tonawanda stands for,” Mayor Arthur Pappas said, according to the Buffalo News. “I as mayor and the Common Council will not tolerate this type of behavior in our community. Any threats against our police, fire or other personnel are taken very seriously, as it is for all of our citizens.”




Phoenix police say 'serial street shooter' now connected to 9 shootings

by Artemis Moshtaghian and Madison Park

Phoenix police say that a serial shooter has struck for the ninth time.

The Phoenix Police Department have connected a spate of mysterious shootings that have killed seven people and wounded two, to a suspect they call the "Serial Street Shooter."

Authorities revealed on Wednesday the latest case they believe is connected to the suspect.

On the evening of July 11, a suspect shot at a vehicle in a residential area of Phoenix. Two people, a 21-year-old man and a 4-year-old boy, who had been sitting inside the car were not injured.

Police found physical evidence and a lot of similarities between the latest shooting and the previous eight, said Phoenix Police spokesman Sgt. Jonathan Howard. Like the previous shootings, there was "no apparent motive, no pre-incident contact."

"There are a lot of things that struck investigators as resembling the serial shooter's scheme," Howard said.

Police revealed this information a month after the shooting, because "it took awhile for investigators to connect the evidence and witness information to draw the conclusion that this incident was linked to the serial shooter," he said.

Authorities also increased the reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect to $50,000 after the FBI added an additional $20,000.

Last month, authorities released a composite sketch of the suspect, who was described as a lanky Hispanic male under 5 feet, 10 inches tall. Witnesses have described him as a light-skinned Latino or white man in his 20s.

Based on witness statements, investigators say that "the suspect has access to multiple vehicles, but the two best described are a white Cadillac or Lincoln type vehicle and a black late 90's or early 2000's 5 Series BMW."

The shootings have been concentrated in the low-income neighborhood of Maryvale, with many of the victims shot while standing outside their homes, police said.

Police say the suspect shoots his victims at night with a semi-automatic handgun.

The shootings began March 17, when a 16-year-old boy was shot and wounded while walking on the street at 11:30 p.m., according to police.

A 21-year-old man was shot and wounded the next night.

Two people were killed in April. Five people were killed in June.




Report: More civilians, APD officers needed to build community policing

by Robert Maxwell

AUSTIN (KXAN) – The Austin Police Department needs to clarify its philosophy when it comes to practicing proactive or community policing, a new consultant's report recommends. The final Matrix Consulting Group report makes 61 specific recommendations to accomplish that strategy including putting more officers on the front line and adding more civilian staff to deal with low priority and non-emergency calls.

The report also recommends shrinking the number of District Representative officers in each of the four regions and replacing them with 12 civilian Community Services Officers (CSO), which would free up a dozen District Representative officers to return to patrol duties.

Additionally, the report also calls for the department to create positions for 66 officers and eight corporals beyond what has already been authorized, and to add an average 17 new officer positions over the next four years. Finally, the report calls for adding four officers to the Motorcycle Unit.

Limited uncommitted time

Among the key findings, patrol officers have limited opportunities to be more proactive and engage community members. In fact, during any given shift an officer has only 17-19 percent uncommitted time between calls to actually ‘meet and greet' community members, such as store keepers and residents. Typically, for community policing to be effective, the report's authors suggest so-called ‘proactivity' levels need to be closer to 35 to 45 percent

In a letter dated Wednesday to the Austin City Council, Assistant City Manager Ray Arellano writes, “full implementation of Matrix' recommendations would require significant investment.” Currently, the city has taken a phased approach to increasing staffing at APD in FY 2017. Included in the City Manager's proposed FY 2017 budget are 12 new sworn positions and 21 new civilian positions to transition existing sworn employees back to patrol activities. This proposal takes into consideration time for APD to develop performance targets and metrics in collaboration with the community and mitigates the budget impact of implementing the Matrix recommendations.

The authors of the report will appear at an Aug. 17 council budget workshop to answer questions.

KXAN News reported APD is in a hiring frenzy to aggressively reduce an officer vacancy rate that hit more than 170 recently. Recently detectives have been asked to work patrol duties to make the up gaps in shifts.




San Diego's History With Community-Oriented Policing

by Maureen Cavanaugh, Pat Finn

With the murder of San Diego police Officer Jonathan DeGuzman last week, the city confronts the question of relations between its officers and residents.

When Leon Williams became the first African-American member of the San Diego City Council in 1969, he championed the idea of community policing. Williams said he felt the city and its police department disrespected and excluded people of color.

The up-and-down history of community-oriented policing in San Diego began during William's tenure. The concept got a big boost in the late 1980s when the San Diego Police Department started encouraging officers to partner with community members to identify neighborhood problems that might cause crime later. In the late 1990s, crime reached new lows, and many touted the success of community policing.

But community policing is both resource-heavy and time-consuming, and soon the concept would be in trouble — in San Diego and across the nation.

In 2003, the city's pension crisis meant frozen salaries, which meant officers leaving in droves, which in turn meant scaling back community-resource officers in order to get basic police patrols covered.

The year 2014 was rife with serious misconduct allegations in the department, and police Chief William Lansdowne asked the U.S. Department of Justice to audit the department.

Many of the Justice Department's recommendations focused on how the police department could forge better community relationships. When police Chief Shelley Zimmerman took over that same year, she made community policing a priority for every officer.

Today, there is no national consensus that community policing deters crime. But the police department believes it goes a long way to foster trust and respect.

Leon Williams and Lyndsay Winkley, a reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune, discuss the history of community policing in San Diego on Midday Edition on Wednesday.




Day of Dialogue – Community Policing

by Charlene Muhammad

Community stakeholders and Los Angeles Police Department officers held discussions on recent events involving law enforcement and officer-involved-shootings.

Their frank, near two-hour round table talks occurred during the Empowerment Congress' Days of Dialogue on the Future of Policing at the Expo Park Constituent Service Center on July 23.

Everyone was considered equal, meaning all were able to voice their opinions about the future of policing irrespective of titles or positions.

Participants included concerned residents, grassroots activists, leaders of nonprofit organizations, businesses, religious institutions, and law enforcement.

“Welcome to a neutral space for conversation. It is essentially a tried and true methodology experiment essentially that causes us to stay the course,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

He said a dialogue is not a protest, a town hall, nor a panel, but by definition, a space where people are obliged to listen to each other. Ground rules define the nature of participants' engagement, he noted.

“I make the claim that there is a space, there is a place for dialogue amidst all of what is going on in our communities here in Los Angeles and across the nation,” Ridley-Thomas said.

He founded the Empowerment Congress in 1992 to create a distinctive and deliberate national model of civic engagement built on the core principles of participatory democracy, reciprocal accountability, and intentional civility.

Ridley-Thomas does not argue that dialogues are superior to any other form of expression, but he asserted dialogue is essential. For the 20 plus years he, his staff, and constituents have engaged in the effort, he has yet to witness an unsuccessful dialogue, he said.

“Typically people leave the spaces, these places, these conversations, having been benefited either being able to learn someone else's view, blow off a little steam, refine their argument, learn more effectively what is flawed in someone else's reasoning, or flawed in my own reasoning. These are provocative opportunities to introspect and to communicate,” he added.

The Days of Dialogue, which arise typically out of controversy and conflict, began in 1995, and participants hail from diverse communities within L.A. County's Second District, said Avis Ridley-Thomas, co-director of the Institute for Non-Violence in Los Angeles and Days of Dialogue.

Before she laid out the ground rules and discussion guides, Avis Ridley-Thomas thanked participants for sacrificing their Saturday morning to grapple with the issues.

“The first Days of Dialogue on race relations in 95 started because we needed an opportunity to interact in a constructive way, so who would have known that here, now, in 2016, we would still be trying to just get our folks out and interact as a first step,” she told the Sentinel .

“Whatever else you have to do, you've got to do, but just getting us to sit down and grapple with these very difficult issues is so important for our community,” Avis Ridley-Thomas said.

The frank encounters at 12 dialogue tables were monitored by one facilitator each to help ensure the dialogues stayed on track. The conversations focused on community policing, racial profiling, police accountability, and militarization of police.

During report backs, citizens spoke openly about their table's talks and conclusions.

One man shared his unique background as an ex-gang member and an ex-offender, who has been arrested over 20 times. He has been out of trouble for over 20 years, as well, he said.

He has attended the Days of Dialogue three times, because he feels they are important, he said.

“I could easily hide in the shadows I walked the streets I don't have ex-convict on my forehead but I find it important for people to see all angles of this problem,” he said.

“I commend the LAPD officers who are taking part in this, but the thing that I do not like about this set up is that the criminal justice system is much bigger than this. You guys are just one cog in the wheel,” the ex-gang member now gang intervention worker stated.

“I would like to see Department of Corrections involved, the Sheriff Department, judges, public defenders, you've got parole officers, you've got probation officers … There's a real big issue,” he continued.

One young woman said she appreciated officers being in the circles, because that made the dialogues more authentic. She expressed to the officer in her dialogue circle that she feels he gets all of his understanding about her community through the news, which is highly problematic.

Another table's representative said their sentiment was it is really important for cops and citizens to see each other as people. People need to see cops as members of the community and cops should see members of the community as people and not criminals, the spokesperson stated.

Rashad Sharif, senior lead officer, is approaching 27 years with LAPD. He told the Sentinel he enjoys the days of dialogue because it gives community members a chance to interact and speak with law enforcement. In turn it gives law enforcement a chance to hear what they have to say.

“Otherwise, we only get what the media portrays either in print or on TV, so now, we actually get to hear from the people who live in the community,” Sharif stated.

The most interesting thing that I did find was how some of the participant viewed the police is that we're not as compassionate,” Sharif said.

For instance, a few incidents, such as the Alton Sterling shooting in Baton Rouge, La. occurred where community members felt the police basically did not care, he said.

“It's just good to get a different perspective of what other people think, because we as cops we talk around each other, and we know we all may share the same opinion, but here, we're out with people that actually don't share our opinion, so it keeps us in check and balance like, wow! That's what they really think. Maybe we need to do a better job,” Sharif stated.

One table had both a training officer and retired Sheriff deputy at their table, both working on evolution, the table spokesperson said. The take away for him was the tension between police/law enforcement procedures and the question of unpredictability on part of the community.

People want to know what is justifiable when it comes to excessive force, what is procedure, and how is law enforcement addressing people's need for conversations about what those procedures should be, he said.

Another spokesperson turned the tables. Law enforcement wants the community to engage and if they see something, say something, the young lady noted. Well, the community wants the same respect, too in the police department, she said. “If you see something that your fellow officers are doing that does not comply with the authority of the badge or whatever, pull them aside. Say something, and it starts at home,” she said.



US Attorney General starts forums to address police-community relations

A series of forums are intended to improve communication between police and the community

by Mike Householder

DETROIT — Recent tragedies involving police and blacks have "awakened a pain" in people that crosses all boundaries, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Wednesday at the first of what she says will be a series of forums to improve communication between police and the community.

"We're here to work," she said at a gathering of residents and law enforcement at Wayne State University in Detroit. "We have asked people to come, to focus on the issues and to come with solutions that we can lift up, that we can implement, that we can carry to other jurisdictions so that we can actually begin to make a difference."

The event comes weeks after deadly attacks on police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which followed fatal shootings of black men by officers in Baton Rouge and Minnesota that sparked protests.

Lynch on Tuesday participated in a National Night Out event with Detroit police.

Detroit police Chief James Craig was among those who applauded Lynch's effort to bring all sides together. He lamented the number of officers killed in the line of duty.

"We have got to talk to each other," Craig said. "We've got to work with each other."

The Rev. Wendell Anthony, president of the Detroit NAACP, called for police to be held accountable as well.

"One of the things that folks need to see is police being arrested and going to jail and doing time," he said. "That's basic. Police officers who do wrong things need to go to jail and need to do time. That's accountability."

Lynch acknowledged in prepared remarks that the task won't be easy and that setbacks will happen.

"Even so, I am here in Detroit because I know that progress is possible — and because I firmly believe that in the face of recent tragedies, we must not give in to cynicism or despair. Rather, we must redouble our efforts build on the progress we've made."



Washington D.C.

In D.C. region, Night Out builds bonds between police, communities they serve

by Victoria St. Martin and Hamil R. Harris

A siren wailed.

On so many streets on so many nights during this tumultuous year, District residents have painted signs and raised their voices in protest.

On Tuesday night, the streets were filled just the same, but the mood was a little different. It was National Night Out, and in the District — as well as across the country — residents got together with police to reinforce relationships.

“I want people to remember that the relationship we have between the community and the police here is not something we do once a year,” D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said as she watched a few neighborhood children take turns peeking inside a helicopter. “It takes every day and every interaction to build that trust. The once-a-year event is a chance to celebrate that, but the real work is every day.”

This year, that message of working together took on an even deeper resonance after the shootings of black men in Minnesota, Louisiana and elsewhere, as well as the killing of police officers in two-high profile episodes over the past several weeks.

“A lot of the stuff that I've seen on TV lately has been going on for years, since I was a little girl,” said 47-year-old Cynthia Garrett, of Northeast Washington. Garrett, an African American, said she didn't have a dance at her South Carolina high school because the “white kids did not want to have prom with us.”

“Young people think that when they see a police officer it's something negative, but every police officer is not crooked,” she added. “There's some good ones out here — and for the community to come out here, I just love it.”

It's the fear of police that Sgt. Johnnie Walter was working to erase with his 4-year-old bloodhound, Sam.

“We're not the enemy,” said Walter, who let children pet Sam's droopy ears and even droopier mouth. “In today's society, people think we're the enemy, and we're not. We're here to help people.”

The night was filled with performances, rock climbing and snow cones. But the best part? Nine-year-old Kai McFadgion said it was the oath she took.

“We had to promise that we would keep our families safe, do our homework and do good in school,” she said, sporting a silver junior officer badge. “It's was really good. I like the police officers and the cars.”

Observances were held in other parts of the D.C. metropolitan area.

The FBI, the Maryland State Police and officers from a host of local police departments converged on a football field in New Carrollton, Md., for National Night Out activities that were underway long before the sun went down.

“The police are the first line of defense against crime, and we are having this event to show that we are here for you ,” said New Carrollton Police Chief David Rice.

In addition police and city officials at Beckett Field, there were community leaders including Jacque Chevalier, who said that “it is important for the police do this in the community to show that they have a human side.”

“I greeted all my police officers here in New Carrollton and told them thank you,” said Chevalier, whose sentiments were echoed by New Carrollton Mayor Andy Hanko. “We just wanted to thank our police officers for protecting our businesses, residents and our entire community.”




"National Night Out" aims to strengthen "National Night Out" aims to strengthen

by Maria Hechnaova

Tucson, AZ -- Thousands of communities across the United States, including Tucson and Marana, celebrated National Night Out Tuesday evening.

More than a thousand people showed up at Grijalva Park on the south side in the Midvale Park neighborhood, to connect with police and other first responders.

The event aims to give neighbors and law enforcement the opportunity to meet face-to-face in a positive way and build a partnership to keep the area safer.

The Tucson Police Department, Pima County Sheriff's Department, and Tucson Fire Department were there with their marked units to strengthen an ongoing community-police partnership.

Paul Romero lives in the area and thinks National Night Out is a great idea, especially for the kids. He believes exposing them early to law enforcement is a positive thing.

“The way they're opening up the police truck, they're letting them inside, they're letting the kids know, don't be afraid of the cops. It's safe,” said Romero.

He also took the opportunity to tell police at the event that he'd like to see them in the evening patrol his street more.

Midvale Park Neighborhood Association president Joseph Miller helped organize the event that also featured food and music.

“Community policing really takes an effort from everybody,” he said.

However, he explained the real work doesn't happen in one evening.

“If you do your homework, you get a good grade on your test,” said Miller. "So this is like doing your homework. When you work day by day by day on issues. Then when the issues happen You already have a plan. You already know what you're going to do.”

Marana Police held a similar event celebrating National Night Out at Crossroads at Silverbell Park.




Mesa PD releases its report card on community policing

by Jill Galus

MESA, AZ (KPHO/KTVK) -- The Mesa Police Department released findings Tuesday from an internal investigation into how its officers are doing their jobs and whether they're living up to recommendations from the president's task force.

Police Chief John Meza said it was a six-month-long investigation. It amounts to basically a report card evaluating what the department is doing well and where they can improve.

It all started when the president's report was published last year that was assembled as a collaborative effort from leaders across the country.

The report contained 151 recommendations for police departments across the country on how to operate in today's world when scrutiny it at all-time high.

To compile different perspectives, Meza said they interviewed people in the community, not just within the department.

The chief presented this response report to the White House three weeks ago and was told, "this is the most comprehensive response in the country."

One of the policies says officers should consider "public perception" before using deadly force.

When asked if the chief agrees with that, here's how he responded.

"It's a comprehensive decision," Meza said. "It's hard to say it's just public perception. I think every officer that uses force or is involved in a shooting thinks about everything. They think about who's around in the environment, what is the backdrop, what's the suspect doing.

He said it's a lot more comprehensive than just one specific thing.

(Full report on site)




Lawmakers propose legal protection for public safety workers

by Rich Van Wyk

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - An unprovoked attack on an Indianapolis police officer's car, home and family has lawmakers lining up to support tougher protections for officers. They want off-duty lawmen to have the same legal protections they receive when they're working.

Felons who attack police typically get additional prison time. But if the officer is off-duty, Indiana law sees them as a civilian, there's no extra punishment.

Indiana Sen. Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis), wants legislation giving public safety workers that extra protection 24/7.

"I think it is so very important, I believe to send a message to our police force that we have their backs," he said.

Last month, investigators say 26-year-old March Ratney shot up an IMPD officer's car and home while the family was inside.

They suspect Ratney targeted the IMPD patrolman for arresting him eight years ago. Ratney, a convicted felon, is charged with an unlawful possession of a firearm. The actual attack prompted a charge of criminal recklessness, a low-level felony crime with a prison term of 1-6 years.

Merritt had a crowd of lawmakers, lawmen and other supporters with him when he announced the proposal.

"Just think about a police officer dropping his or her child off at school," he explained, "that could be at risk. We can't have that."

Police cars, parked at officers' homes, once seen as deterrents to crime, signs of safety, and security are now regarded as potential targets. IMPD Assistant Chief Randy Taylor as listened to the concerns of numerous officers.

"I know a number of them have changed the way they've done things. They put their cars in garages, and I get that. Times have changed," Taylor said.

Merritt doesn't yet know the severity of the proposed penalties, or how the law can distinguish between what's personal and what's police-related.

Imagine someone who gets in a shoving match with a stranger over a loose dog, a girl in a bar, or a tough call in a rough basketball game, and suddenly finds out they are fighting with a cop.

"Yes, it is difficult. It's a challenge," Merritt admitted. "These heroes we have in public safety, they play such a role, we will iron it out. We will make common sense."

The planned bill is intended to include all the state's public safety workers, local police, Indiana state troopers, conservation officers, firemen, and emergency medical workers.



New York

Bratton's Replacement Is a Community Policing Veteran

by Janet Babin and Tracie Hunte

Long time New York City Police Department veteran James O'Neill, known as Jimmy, will be New York City's next police commissioner. He's expected to take over the position when Police Commissioner Bill Bratton officially steps down in September.

"Jimmy O'Neill burns with a passion to keep making things betters, to keep finding the next innovation," said Mayor Bill de Blasio at a press conference Tuesday.

O'Neill, 58, started out as a transit cop in 1983. He moved up the ranks in the department, from sergeant, to lieutenant, and eventually, chief of department.

In that role, his primary focus has been community relations and neighborhood policing. He says police officers should be kept in one neighborhood, with the goal of freeing them up to interact with the community instead of just answering calls and keeping officers at desks all day.

"The neighborhood policing program...would be better for the cops and far better for the community if they know who was actually out there protecting and serving them every day," said O'Neill.

The Brooklyn native's career rebounded dramatically after a fall from grace eight years ago.

The Wall Street Journal reported last month that O'Neill was transferred out of a department he had headed in 2008, after it was discovered his officers had handed out drugs to informants, instead of paying them in cash. After the incident, O'Neill reportedly went to Bratton and asked for advice. The commissioner told him to stay on. Then, in 2014, Bratton promoted O'Neill to become part of his executive staff.

The new commissioner is also expected to continue to follow the so called "broken windows" policing strategy Bratton has long championed. Its basic tenant is the belief that aggressively tackling low-level offenses will prevent more serious crime.

But many activist groups, like Campaign Zero, believe the policy has led to over-policing, and has contributed to a rise in police violence against individuals involved in minor offenses.

Protesters gathered Monday in City Hall Park, before the announcement, demanded Bratton's ouster and called for an end to police violence against city residents.

"We want to see an end to the policy of broken windows policing," said Nabil Hassein with Millions March NYC, who helped organize the City Hall Park protest. "There's absolutely no evidence that this policy does anything to keep any community safe."

O'Neill will be expected to mend ties between the police and communities of color that have frayed in recent months, with the killing of Eric Garner and other outbreaks of violence.

But the "broken windows" policy continues to have staunch defenders.

"Broken windows is [when you] do something about minor problems. It doesn't say arrest people and it has never advocated for arresting people," said George Kelling, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, who is considered the architect of the broken windows theory.

When told that many anti-police activists abhor the strategy he devised, Kelling said it is misunderstood. He firmly believes that residents still perceive minor crimes, like prostitution and drug dealing, as ruining their quality of life, especially in big cities.

"There would be an uproar if police were to abandon those neighborhoods, if they were de-policed and abandoned as they were before [Commissioner] Bill Bratton," said Kelling.

Carlos Gomez, the department's current Chief of Housing, will be the new Chief of Department.




Mother of suspect who shot at Pa. police blames Black Lives Matter

District attorney said Tuesday there was no indication the shooting was racially motivated, but one suspect told officers he was targeting police

by Kristen De Groot

LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — The mother of one of two central Pennsylvania teenagers charged with shooting at police officers last week contends the Black Lives Matter movement is to blame for his actions.

Lancaster County's district attorney said Tuesday there was no indication the shooting early Friday was racially motivated, but one suspect told officers he was targeting police.

"We as a society need to take a look at what's going on in our country," District Attorney Craig Stedman said. "There's a lot of rhetoric demonizing police. It creates greater a chance to have individuals emboldened to take violent actions out on police."

Officers in the borough of Columbia were responding to a report of gunshots near a cemetery just before 3:30 a.m. Friday when their own vehicles came under fire. No officers were injured.

Marquell Rentas, 17, and Trenton Nace, 18, were arrested for the shooting and remain jailed Tuesday on $2 million bail. The two, who are cousins, face charges including attempted homicide of a law enforcement officer. No attorney information was listed in online court documents.

Rentas told officers during his arrest "I was shooting at you," and then cursed at police, authorities alleged in court documents.

Over the weekend, Rentas' mother issued a statement blaming the Black Lives Matter movement for inspiring the teens' actions.

"They are in jail for doing what Black Lives Matters wanted them to do: shoot at cops," she wrote in a statement given to a number of news organizations. "The truth is that these are two punk kids following the orders of an irresponsible organization and now they're gonna pay for it."

Nace's father, Roberto Rentas, made a similar statement to WHTM-TV.

Kevin Ressler, a pastor and co-organizer of a Black Lives Matter chapter in Lancaster, said the group rejects using violence to solve societal problems. He said Rentas' mother reached out to him Monday night on Facebook and they had a two-hour long conversation online. He said he hopes to meet with her — and her son and nephew — to better understand how to communicate Black Lives Matter's message to those who most need it: young African-American men.

"Hopefully we can take this near-tragic circumstance and try to figure out what positive can come from it," he said.



Strategic Leadership Challenges Confronting Black Lives Matters Movement

by Clarence B. Jones

The Black Lives Matter Movement has an historic opportunity for unique 21st Century strategic community and political leadership. How they apply and exercise such leadership could potentially make it one of THE most important engines for meaningful social, economic and political justice for decades to come.

They recently released a comprehensive Platform Statement of their Movement. 60 orgs under BLMM came together to list 6 demands summarized in their statement. The Introduction of their Platform Statement says:

Black humanity and dignity requires Black political will and power. Despite constant exploitation and perpetual oppression, Black people have bravely and brilliantly been the driving force pushing the U.S. towards the ideals it articulates but has never achieved. In recent years we have taken to the streets, launched massive campaigns, and impacted elections, but our elected leaders have failed to address the legitimate demands of our Movement. We can no longer wait.

In response to the sustained and increasingly visible violence against Black communities in the U.S. and globally, a collective of more than 50 organizations representing thousands of Black people from across the country have come together with renewed energy and purpose to articulate a common vision and agenda. We are a collective that centers and is rooted in Black communities, but we recognize we have a shared struggle with all oppressed people; collective liberation will be a product of all of our work.

We believe in elevating the experiences and leadership of the most marginalized Black people, including but not limited to those who are women, queer, trans, femmes, gender nonconforming, Muslim, formerly and currently incarcerated, cash poor and working class, differently-abled, undocumented, and immigrant. We are intentional about amplifying the particular experience of state and gendered violence that Black queer, trans, gender nonconforming, women and intersex people face. There can be no liberation for all Black people if we do not center and fight for those who have been marginalized. It is our hope that by working together to create and amplify a shared agenda, we can continue to move towards a world in which the full humanity and dignity of all people is recognized.

While this platform is focused on domestic policies, we know that patriarchy, exploitative capitalism, militarism, and white supremacy know no borders. We stand in solidarity with our international family against the ravages of global capitalism and anti-Black racism, human-made climate change, war, and exploitation. We also stand with descendants of African people all over the world in an ongoing call and struggle for reparations for the historic and continuing harms of colonialism and slavery. We also recognize and honor the rights and struggle of our Indigenous family for land and self-determination.

We have created this platform to articulate and support the ambitions and work of Black people. We also seek to intervene in the current political climate and assert a clear vision, particularly for those who claim to be our allies, of the world we want them to help us create. We reject false solutions and believe we can achieve a complete transformation of the current systems, which place profit over people and make it impossible for many of us to breathe.

Together, we demand an end to the wars against Black people. We demand that the government repair the harms that have been done to Black communities in the form of reparations and targeted long-term investments. We also demand a defunding of the systems and institutions that criminalize and cage us. This document articulates our vision of a fundamentally different world. However, we recognize the need to include policies that address the immediate suffering of Black people. These policies, while less transformational, are necessary to address the current material conditions of our people and will better equip us to win the world we demand and deserve.

We recognize that not all of our collective needs and visions can be translated into policy, but we understand that policy change is one of many tactics necessary to move us towards the world we envision. We have come together now because we believe it is time to forge a new covenant. We are dreamers and doers and this platform is meant to articulate some of our vision. The links throughout the document provide the stepping-stones and roadmaps of how to get there. The policy briefs also elevate the brave and transformative work our people are already engaged in, and build on some of the best thinking in our history of struggle. This agenda continues the legacy of our ancestors who pushed for reparations, Black self-determination and community control; and also propels new iterations of movements such as efforts for reproductive justice, holistic healing and reconciliation, and ending violence against Black cis, queer, and trans people.

Elders of the 20th century civil rights, peace and and labor union movements should commend and support our grandchildren leaders and participants in today's Black Lives Matter movement. In response to the successive use of lethal force by the police against Black members of their communities, they have simply said to the police and to the greater non-Black communities “Enough is enough! We will not sit or stand by quietly and go silently into the night while police continue to kill us!”

The nationwide community response to the Black Lives Matter Movement is based on a broader-based and more inclusive and collective type leadership qualitatively different from the one or few persons' charismatic leadership paradigm that characterized our earlier “Civil Rights Movement.”

This is not say our leadership was “less effective,” in the 1960s in achieving, for example, the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act or the Voting Rights Act of 1965. We are simply saying that it is important for today's elders to recognize that the Black Lives Matters Movement maybe be able to achieve in the exercise of its new form of leadership an agenda that appears to be beyond what we were able to achieve.

It is instructive to note that Instead of the most exclusively male religious and civil rights leadership that characterized our Civil Rights Movement Today's Black Lives Matters Movement consist of young Black LGBTQ and straight persons meeting and initiating protests based on a collective, rather than individual exercises of leadership.

Extreme care and caution, therefore, should be the watchwords of earlier civil rights leaders who seek to join, advise, and speak directly or indirectly for or about the current Black Lives Matters Movement. Otherwise, notwithstanding the best of intentions, such words or actions appear “paternalistic,” “dated,” “opportunistic,” or worst, shamelessly “self-serving.”

Because of powerful recently released Platform of the BLMM and mindful of the cautionary observation in the preceding paragraph, we want to comment about one of the major potential pitfalls we see and hear regarding certain actions and protests of the Black Lives Matters Movement.

We are referring to the strategy of the BLMM and some of its leaders or spokespersons to “internationalize” or the publicly tie and associate the Movement with the struggle of the Palestinians against continued Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands. We believe this issue, no matter how independently important it is issue is, on the merits, raises the bar for building a coalition of support beyond the capacity of the movement to sustain an otherwise great potential for widespread domestic support for its recently announced Platform Agenda.

Yes, we are aware that it was a hall mark of our early civil rights movement to express support for the anti-colonist movements for Independence Movements extant in various countries on the Continent of Africa in the last century. We repeatedly commented and publicly protested the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela by the South African government and condemned its racist Apartheid. Individual civil rights leaders would often join the picket lines around the South African Mission to the UN or the Embassy in Washington, DC.

We support the BLMM and its Platform Agenda because we believe they are and can be THE most current effective movement for mobilizing the largest and widest cross-section of people of goodwill in our nation to restrain and stop the police from shooting Black men as their first option in seeking to effect an arrest.

Consequently, we believe it is appropriate to ask how, politically and strategically is building such a coalition of support of BLLM's demand for police accountability of shooting black men in our respective communities enhanced or achieved by asking such potential supporters to also condemn Israel's continued occupation of Palestinian lands?

Yes, I am mindful of Dr. King's often quoted statements that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” and our “inescapable network of mutuality”. These cogent and relevant observations comprised much of his strategic and moral vision underlying our efforts to end racial segregation in the United States in the 20th Century.

“The fierce urgency of now”, however, is to get our nation to immediately demand that the police to stop killing Black men NOW, TODAY! Consequently, it is necessary for as many persons of goodwill to join us in this demand; again, TODAY not tomorrow.

We also agree that Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands must end ASAP. However, our analysis of the dispute convinces us that this cannot, and will not happen, unless it occurs on a negotiated basis between Israel and the Palestinian leadership. While we would like it to occur today or tomorrow, it will not. Why? Because, among other things, with due respect to the protests on various college campuses, today in United States, there is not currently a majority coalition of support for immediately ending such occupation.

Efforts to immediately end police brutality against Blacks in communities across our nation should not be dependent upon or tied to the issue of ending Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands. We say this because we believe it is essential that a coalition be developed and mobilized domestically across our nation to stop police from shooting Black people, NOW! Today!

We respectfully suggest that it is or would be, politically a strategic mistake for the Black Lives Matter Movement to make such an effort dependent upon how many of those same potential supporters are prepared to see Israel immediately end its occupation of Palestinian lands.

Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands is unlikely to occur except on a negotiated basis with Palestinian leaders. This should be encouraged and done ASAP.

In the “best of all possible worlds” it should occur today or tomorrow, however, it will not. Why? Because among other political realities, a broad based coalition of support for ending such occupation immediately, currently does not exist within the United States sufficient to force either a Republican or Democratic Presidential Administration to force Israel to do so.

Accordingly, while the Black Lives Matters Movement may want to encourage the end of Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands, we respectfully suggest that they should not make this a central or major issue in their current struggle for Police accountability for the repeated and successive shootings Blacks across America.

A useful case study of the growth of the political and legal successes of the LGBTQ, Environmental, and other Movements has been written by David Coe in his recent book “ENGINES OF LIBERTY-The Power of Citizen Activists To Make Constitutional Law”. We highly recommend his book.

Although, not easy and often painstakingly difficult there is often an unavoidable challenge to the political leadership of an important movement to determine what are its most strategic priorities at any given point in the development of their movement and the companion actions required and “pitfalls” to avoid.

Such a moment now.




Police kill armed woman in apartment; boy, 5, hurt

by Matthew Diebel

A suburban-Baltimore woman who posted social media video of a 5-year-old boy talking during an hours-long standoff with police was shot dead by officers on Monday, according to news reports. The boy, believed to be her son, was injured, but is expected to survive.

The Baltimore County Police Department said in a news release quoted by The Associated Press that Korryn Gaines, 23, that pointed a gun at police serving arrest warrants at her Randallstown apartment was then shot and killed by officers. The police said they could not immediately determine whether the boy was shot by Gaines or the officers.

According to Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson, three officers went to Gaines' apartment at about 9:20 a.m. to serve arrest warrants on her and a man. Gaines was wanted for failing to appear in court on traffic charges dating from a stop in March "and numerous other traffic offences," according to Johnson.

A few minutes later, an officer got a key from the landlord and opened the apartment after no one responded to repeated knocks, the AP reported. The officer saw Gaines sitting on the floor, pointing a long gun at him, police said. The officers retreated to the hallway, and a man ran from the apartment with a 1-year-old boy, authorities said. That man was arrested.

For the next several hours, according to NBC News, officers attempted to negotiate with Gaines, who repeatedly pointed her gun at officers and made threatening remarks, police spokeswoman Elise Armacost said.

During this time, Gaines apparently made video of her and the boy talking about the standoff. The video was placed on social media.

At about 3 p.m., the police said, Gaines pointed the gun directly at an officer, saying, “If you don't leave, I'm going to kill you.” That's when an officer shot at the woman, police said, according to the AP, and Gaines fired two shots.

Gaines was hit several times and pronounced dead at the scene. No officers were hurt. The 5-year-old was taken to a hospital for injuries that weren't life threatening. Police have not released the relationship between Gaines and the child. However, Gaines' uncle Jermaine Barnett told the Baltimore Sun that the child was Gaines' son.

Online court records quoted by the AP say Gaines was black. The department did not give the races of the officers involved, who were placed on routine administrative leave.

"We are of course extremely upset at an event like this," Armacost said at press conference. "We do not like to be in a position of having to use lethal force, but this was a situation where our officers exercised patience for hours and hours."

She added: "We are very relieved the child was not seriously injured."

Authorities told the Sun that they did not yet know whether any of the officers involved in the shooting were wearing body cameras. The department, according to the paper, began phasing in its body camera program last month, but only some officers have received the devices.

Another uncle, Jerome Barnett, 44, told the Sun that Gaines "was feisty, but she was smart and she was respectful."

"My niece is a good person; I never knew her to be a rowdy person," he said.



Washington D.C.

US veteran homelessness slashed in half: What's behind the decline?

In the past six years, the number of unsheltered veterans has been slashed by more than half, according to a report released Monday by the Obama administration.

by Aiden Quigley

The struggles of America's veterans, disproportionally affected by homelessness, have long been documented. However, a coordinated effort on the part of federal, state, and local governments, as well as veteran advocacy groups has started to make a significant dent in the problem of veteran homelessness.

On the whole, veteran homelessness has decreased 47 percent since 2010 and the number of unsheltered veterans has been slashed by more than half, according to a report released Monday by the Obama administration.

"The most recent point-in-time count report really reflects the progress that is being made in addressing what has been unfortunately a real fixture in our community's landscape for unfortunately years and years and years." Thomas O'Toole, the director of the US Department of Veteran Affairs' National Center on Homelessness among Veterans, tells The Christian Science Monitor. "Really to be able to see the ongoing progress that's being made, I think speaks to good policy and good implementation of that policy."

Speaking at the Disabled American Veterans annual meeting Monday in Atlanta, President Obama called the nation's commitment a "sacred covenant." "I don't use those words lightly. It's sacred because there is no more solemn request than to ask someone to risk their life, to be ready to give their life on our behalf," he said.

A promising blueprint

The current strategy on homeless vets takes a multi-faceted approach. It not only bolsters transitional and permanent housing options but also provides additional services, such as mental health care, addiction services, and chronic disease management, with the aim of arming newly housed veterans with the tools and support to avoid falling back into homelessness.

"This is really looking at not just managing homelessness but moving homeless veterans into permanent housing and keeping them in that permanent housing with case management and case support," Mr. O'Toole says. "That represents, I think, a significant change."

A linchpin in the current strategy is the HUD-VASH voucher program for rental assistance for veterans, which has seen bipartisan support in Congress.

At the local level, communities have emphasized housing-first and rapid re-housing policies to address the number of homeless veterans. Housing-first policies place veterans immediately into permanent housing instead of transitional housing or shelter, and eliminate previous barriers and requirements for being eligible for housing.

This a gradual shift in strategies for fighting homelessness, Matt Leslie, the director of housing development for veterans in Virginia's Department of Veterans Services tells the Monitor.

"Oftentimes, housing was kind of earned. So you'd step your way through places: You'd do well in an emergency shelter, then you'd work your way to transitional, then you'd work your way into housing," Mr. Leslie says. "But that was leaving some of the really vulnerable people with potential mental illness, substance abuse, they'd just get left out.... My belief is a housing plan should be started on Day 1."

This had led to the implementation of housing-first policy, which takes away some of the barriers to obtaining housing. Increasingly, policymakers and advocacy organizations point to permanent housing as stabilizing factor that enables the formerly homeless to start to address other issues.

The government is also focusing on prevention by providing short-term support and relief to provide services necessary to keep veterans from becoming homeless.

"It's really that collection of interventions and a huge commitment from our leadership and from Congress to support those changes that really defines and describes the successes we've had," O'Toole says. "I think it's exciting because it really proves that something can be done for something that has not always been considered fixable."

The Obama administration had aimed to end veteran homelessness by 2015, with its 2010 Opening Doors program. The government has spent $16 billion on the program with mixed results, as The Washington Times reported.

The amount spent has been criticized by some, including Rep. Jeff Miller (R) of Florida and chairman of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee. Representative Miller told the Times he believed "VA increases in spending on homeless initiatives are growing every year and far outpacing reductions in veteran homelessness," which "calls into question the efficacy of VA's efforts."

Successful states

However, the effort has led the government to certify that two states – Connecticut and Virginia – and a number of cities have functionally ended veteran homelessness, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness.

"It's really that we're making veteran homelessness, rare, brief, and nonrecurring," Leslie says.

The program led to increased communication between local, state, and federal agencies, which helps veterans get the right resources for them, Leslie says.

As of June 2016, Virginia has housed 2,188 homeless veterans since October 2014, Leslie says. The state now houses veterans in an average of 90 days.

In Connecticut, a concentrated effort to improve communication among the different entities involved and an increase use of data has contributed to its gains, Lisa Tepper Bates, the executive director of the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness (CCEH), tells the Monitor.

"The biggest piece is getting daily communication between the mainstream homeless world and veteran-specific resources," she says. "We're really working together as one team ... instead of working in two different silos."

For example, when a veteran checks into a shelter in Connecticut, VA homeless providers receive an alert from a state-wide database. This allows veterans more access to the resources available to them.

In 2015, permanent housing was secured for 766 veterans in Connecticut, and a point-in-time check of veterans in emergency shelters identified only 45, a 44 percent decrease since 2015, according to CCEH.

What's next?

Despite the progress made, Leslie says a continued effort is necessary to continue to identify veterans who become homeless.

"Housing is very fluid," he says. "We have individuals who, for a range of reasons, fall into homelessness."

A continued dedication is necessary to keep making progress, O'Toole says.

"The successes identified underscore also the importance of how this work needs to be continued," he says. "There will continue to be people at the risk for homelessness, and the infrastructure and the services are things we see as needing to continue in order to be able to maintain these gains."




‘Then the crying stopped': Man walks into pond with 3-month-old, drowning him as others watch

by Travis M. Andrews

Like James Stewart in Hitchcock's “Rear Window,” Robert Amstadt watched the atrocity from his Milwaukee apartment in horror.

It was “the most evil thing I've ever seen,” he later told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Amstadt had heard the telltale signs of a domestic disturbance — voices rising in heated, passionate argument — around 8:45 p.m. Saturday night. It was like any other fight between lovers, until he heard a woman scream, “Give me back my baby.”

Curious, he rushed to the window only to find his view obscured by a patch of trees lining the large pond that residents of both complexes enjoyed. Before Amstadt turned away, a man carrying an infant walked out from between the trees and continued down an asphalt path toward the water.

A cluster of people followed the man in a bewildering parade, yelling, “Don't go in the water.”

“It was a hornet's nest of people moving around … crying and screaming,” Amstadt told the Journal Sentinel.

Still, he didn't call the police — he just watched until something strange happened.

One of the crowd members stepped forward and grabbed the bawling baby's arm. The man with the infant yanked it back and began bee-lining directly to the pond. Amstadt called 911.

The man holding the baby reached the water's edge while Amstadt was on the phone.

“He just walked into the water with the baby,” Amstadt told the emergency dispatcher.

The 6-foot-tall, 200-pound man “didn't try to hold the baby up” but kept it firmly underwater as the water rose to his chest.

“That baby cried all the way out into the water,” Amstadt said. “Then the crying stopped.”

It might have seemed almost like a baptism if the crowd members hadn't been screaming, “He's drowning the baby.”

With the baby firmly underwater and out of sight, someone finally sprang into action.

Joey Griffin, a member of the throng of onlookers, splashed into the water.

“Without thinking — I just ran into the water,” Griffin told WITI. “I yelled at him, ‘Where's the baby? Where's the baby?' ”

He noticed its tiny, limp body floating some feet from the man.

“I grabbed it. I tried to swim away with it,” Griffin said. “He lunged at me and took the baby again and swam further, deeper.”

By the time police and the Milwaukee Fire Department arrived at the pond, the man was no longer holding him. Some of the responders dove into the water, and found the baby's body. Others arrested the man, who was still standing in the water.

Firefighters attempted to revive the child to no avail. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The baby's name was Sean A. Flowers III.

He was born on April 18.

He died on July 30.

The man they arrested was Sean A. Flowers Jr., the baby's father, police announced Monday. Police say he drowned the baby after getting in a fight with the child's mother, according to WISN.

Flowers Jr. is being held on a $150,000 bail at the Milwaukee County Jail, according to the jail's website. The Journal Sentinel reported, “Police have referred the case to prosecutors, who are expected to consider possible homicide charges this week.”

“We all lost. We all lost this one,” Griffin said. “No matter what you do, no matter how hard you try, sometimes you just lose. No matter how hard you try. You just wish you could've did more.”

Neighbors are still in shock. Some have made a small memorial for the child, which includes balloons and stuffed animals laid gingerly at the water's edge.

“It made me sad, it made me cry, that a man would actually do that to his own child, his own baby,” Keira Hulbert, a neighbor, told WTMJ.

This was not Flowers's first run-in with the law.

In 2012, Flowers and the boy's mother, 26, who remains unnamed, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft for stealing the purse of a Marquette University student. Flowers violated the probation he received and ended up serving prison time, according to court records obtained by the Journal Sentinel .

Then, the woman became pregnant with the couple's first child — a girl. She wrote to the court, requesting an early release for Flowers so he could be present for the child's birth in August 2014.

It's unclear if he received the early release, but he did dispute his paternity of his daughter until DNA testing showed that he was the biological father. At a hearing in February 2015, he conceded, and he and the woman were granted joint custody.

The judge ordered Flowers to pay $20 weekly child support.

Several months later, the woman filed for a restraining order against Flowers after alleging he kicked down her door and threatened her and had previously punched her repeatedly.

After all of that, Flowers wrote to a judge asking for his criminal record to be expunged, citing his difficulty finding work and providing for his family, but he was denied.

Flowers was recently ordered to pay a higher child support — $62.50 per week — which was set to begin on Monday.




Foundation formed to support Madison-area community policing events

by Karen Rivedal

As Madison police continue efforts to build trust and strengthen relationships with the citizens they serve, a new nonprofit started by one of the city's pioneers of community policing hopes to offer a powerful assist.

The Madison Community Policing Foundation, created this spring by five retired Madison police officers led by former South Side Capt. Joe Balles, will support community policing events designed to build positive ties and increased understanding between police and residents.

“The whole idea behind community policing is officers working in partnership with the community in whatever way, shape or form that takes,” Balles said. “It could mean doing a bingo afternoon with a group of retirees and then having a discussion with them about ways to protect themselves from financial fraud. It's really unlimited.”

Programs receiving foundation support must be organized by current officers, including initiatives for youth, minorities and neighborhood issues throughout the city, said Balles, who retired in January after 32 years.

Early on, at age 28, Balles was one of the city's first six neighborhood officers, engaged in street-level outreach and problem-solving with people of color, lower-income people and other South Side residents. Those populations continue to represent some of the communities that the department is challenged to serve, in an atmosphere of distrust fed locally and nationally in recent years in part by fatal police shootings, controversial arrests and continuing debate over appropriate levels of police use of force.

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•  Balles said he had those issues and tensions in mind when he contemplated creating the foundation, with fellow department retirees Shari Walter Twing, Jean Papalia, Pia Kinney James and Pete Schmidt, now all directors on its board.

•  “Respect for the rule of law and policing has been the backbone of our democracy for over 200 years,” he said. “As increasingly diverse as our community has become, it's really important we grow and come together.

•  “I want to be there to help this current generation of officers in learning how to build community,” Balles added. “What's really cool is that we still are recruiting some of the best and brightest to be Madison police officers.”

So far, the foundation's support has included providing travel money to help youth in the department's Police Explorers Post attend a national conference and a $2,500 check to help the department offer a series of free outdoor movie nights in May. Police agencies outside Madison also can apply for money.

“It's really just networking, at a very grassroots level,” Balles said. “We're going out fundraising on behalf of the officers and these projects and helping with the projects.”




AG Mark Herring announces new community policing initiative


Attorney General Mark Herring is launching a new online program that helps teens understand their rights while interacting with law enforcement. The program is intended to be taught specifically by law enforcement officers in Virginia schools.

Thousands of school resource officers, administrators and security are gearing up for the next school year.
Here in Virginia, they'll now have another tool to be able to strengthen their relationships with the students in their schools.

“I think we have a great opportunity to reach a lot of people,” Attorney General Mark Herring says.

Master Police Officer for the Hampton Police department Kenneth Wiggins is coming up on his 5th year as school resource officer at Phoebus High School. He already teaches the Virginia Rules program, a law based, educational program to help young people learn the law and ways to stay safe.

“This will just connect another piece of Virginia Rules to where we are going to try to get the kids to understand more of what we do and why we do it and help them understand,” Wiggins says.

This is an interactive program. It will involve instructors teaching students about their rights and responsibilities during different interactions with law enforcement as well as allowing students to do some role playing scenarios.

“Kids don't know what they don't know,” Attorney General Mark Herring says. “This is a way to help teach them and bring parents, law enforcement and kids together to talk about these issues and better understand each other.”

The launch of “Give It, Get It: Trust and Respect between Teens and Law enforcement” is the latest module in Attorney General Herring's Virginia Rules program.

More than 1,500 law enforcement officers, school resource officers and community leaders are certified instructors. More than 45,000 Virginia students participated in the program in 2016.

“We don't want a young person to make a comment or take an action that can escalate the situation, we want the opposite,” Attorney General Mark Herring says. “We want to try to make sure the young people know what their rights and responsibilities are.”

The new program comes at a time where recent events across the country have once again highlighted police and community relations. Officer Wiggins hopes this new program, will prevent any officer-involved tragedies here in Virginia.

“It will allow us to explain to the students why we do some of the things we do then they can understand and it'll make encounters with police a little better,” Wiggins says.

The new program will be available online starting August 19th.




Attorney Gen. visits Detroit to talk community policing

by George Hunter

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch is scheduled to come to Detroit this week to discuss how to improve the relationship between police and the community.

Lynch plans to speak Tuesday at an event hosted by the 6th and 8th Precincts, one of several parties being held at police precincts citywide to commemorate the 33rd annual National Night Out, a program that aims to strengthen ties between police and citizens.

On Wednesday, Lynch is set to kick off at Wayne State University the first in a series of nationwide Justice Forums on police-community relations. After the forum, Lynch and U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade of the Eastern District of Michigan will answer media questions, Department of Justice spokesman Kevin Lewis said.

“After the deaths of ... Michael Brown (who was killed last year by a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer), and others, there was a national conversation about policing,” Lewis said. “President Obama established the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing to identify best practices to promote effective policing while building public trust.”

Lewis said Lynch toured several police departments nationwide to see which cities had strong ties to the community, and which didn't, before the findings of the 21st Century Policing report was released in May.

“Now, this is the next phase,” Lewis said. “The attorney general's position is that a lot of the answers are in the community. By coming to Detroit she wants to find out what police have learned, and what recommendations they have moving forward to continue those relationships with the community.

“We chose to launch the series of Justice Forums in Detroit because they're a good example of strong police-community relations. They have a lot of great answers. Someone (from the Department of Justice) will also go to Flint and other areas near Detroit,” Lewis said.

Cmdr. Aric Tosqui of the 6th Precinct said he looks forward to Lynch's visit.

“I'm happy she can come to Detroit, and that residents in the 6th and 8th Precincts will have an opportunity to interact with her,” Tosqui said.

The National Night Out event is scheduled from 5-8 p.m. at Fitzpatrick Play Field, across the street from the precincts at 11450 Warwick. Other scheduled events include train rides for children and a petting zoo. Lynch is scheduled to speak at 6:20 p.m.

The Justice Forum is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at Wayne State University's McGregor Memorial Conference Center, 495 Gilmour Mall.




Taking Back the Community: Police chiefs talk about crime and solutions

by Jason Marks

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - Local police departments are working really hard on community policing, which means getting officers more involved in the areas they protect.

"We will never rest until crime is dropping,” said Newport News Police Chief Richard Myers. “You never in my business declare victory."

Myers took over the department in 2014. His first mission was to get his officers more involved in the community.

"I think as an organization we are making some progress connecting a little bit,” Myers added. “We are getting officers out of their cars and talking to people."

Myers says the department is on the right track, but there are obstacles.

"Everybody wants the same thing,” Myers said. “They want to feel safe in their neighborhood. They want a quality of life and they want their kids to go to school without being hassled."

The chief says he hates to see any homicides, but when they happen, he knows he needs the public's help to solve them.

"Look, I get it,” Myers added. “If we aren't trusted by the community and if we don't have trust, folks in the community they aren't going to call us or not going to come up. They are fearful, but we are working hard to overcome and earn their trust."

"The biggest part of it is listening to the community and understanding what their needs are," said Norfolk Police Chief Mike Goldsmith.

Goldsmith has been at the helm since 2012. He too has stressed his officers must get to know the community.

"As law enforcement officials we have a real tendency to want to deliver a cure that may not be what the community wants,” Goldsmith added. “Engaging on these sessions we can listen to the community, listen what their concerns are and we get a lot better at our job.”

Goldsmith says that will ultimately cut down crime.

“Absolutely,” Goldsmith added. “That's a much more efficient model than us having to come in with some possibly, some pretty heavy-handed tactics trying to make it go away."

Norfolk's Police Chief says he believes his department is doing okay, but knows there is always more to do.

“This is a long-term solution,” Goldsmith said. “This is not something that you can do overnight so this is the grind of police work and community policing. This is something we have to do on a constant basis."



Dept of Justice


California Man Sentenced to 70 Years in Federal Prison for Traveling to Cambodia to Engage In Illicit Sex with Young Girls

LOS ANGELES – A California man who was found guilty at trial of traveling to Cambodia to have illicit sexual conduct with young girls was sentenced today to 70 years in federal prison and $40,000 restitution to a victim.

Ronald Gerard Boyajian, 55, who previously resided in Menlo Park and has spent time on the Palos Verdes peninsula, was sentenced this afternoon by United States District Judge Christina A. Snyder.

At today's hearing, Judge Snyder observed that “the conduct was extremely serious.” In imposing the maximum sentence, the court stated that it is “obvious that the reason for the sentence is for the protection of the public and to deter such behavior in the future.”       

Following a six-week trial earlier this year, Boyajian was found guilty of three child exploitation crimes – traveling to Cambodia with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a nine-year-old girl in Cambodia, and committing these offenses while being required to register as a sex offender under California law.

Boyajian was arrested by the Cambodian National Police (CNP) in February 2009, while he was on his 35th trip to Asia over a nine-year period.  Boyajian began traveling to Cambodia shortly after completing his parole following convictions on 22 counts of illegal sex with a minor and oral sex with a minor in 1995.

“Pedophiles will not escape punishment by crossing international borders to sexually assault children,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “After being convicted of sexually exploiting two children here in California, this defendant tried to evade justice by traveling to Cambodia to victimize even younger children.  As today's sentence demonstrates, however, if you travel anywhere in the world for sex with children, the U.S. Department of Justice will be tenacious in prosecuting you and pursuing justice for the young victims of this hideous crime.”

Four victims whom Boyajian had sexually assaulted testified against him at trial.  Each girl was between 8 and 11 years old when Boyajian purchased them from their mother and grandmothers to sexually abuse them. One victim, who was approximately 8 when Boyajian assaulted her, testified at trial that “he was abusive, he was cruel, he treated me like I wasn't even human.”

At a hearing last week, the four testifying victims appeared before Judge Snyder. The youngest victim, who is now approximately 16 years old, asked for a strong sentence: “I would like the court not to allow him to leave prison because there are possibly other children out there who could be harmed, just like it happened to me.”

Boyajian paid pimps and relatives from impoverished families to gain access to his victims, which he preferred to weigh less than 70 pounds.  While the attacks took place in the village of Svay Pak – a notorious destination for pedophiles from around the world, the victims were Vietnamese immigrants who lived in the poor community.  A CNP anti-human trafficking officer testified at trial that Svay Pak was well known as a place where foreigners went to have sexual contact with females, often young girls. Boyajian went to Svay Pak to have “unlimited access to young girls for sex,” prosecutors said in court.  

“Given the defendant's age, this prison term amounts to a life sentence and assures no more children will be fall prey to this serial pedophile,” said Joseph Macias, special agent in charge for HSI Los Angeles. “Successful prosecutions are crucial to combatting child sex tourism, but HSI is also focused on strategies to prevent such crimes from occurring, including Operation Angel Watch where HSI alerts foreign law enforcement when a convicted child predator is planning to travel to their country. Last fiscal year, HSI made over 2,100 notifications to more than 90 countries.”

According to a sentencing brief filed by prosecutors, Boyajian was convicted in 1995 of unlawful sex with two 16-year-old girls, making him “a repeat and dangerous sex offender against minors.”

Boyajian's sentencing follows lengthy sentences imposed on other sex tourists who were prosecuted in Los Angeles, including Michael Joseph Pepe, who was sentenced to 210 years in federal prison after being convicted of abusing seven victims in Cambodia, and Stanley Dan Reczko, who received a mandatory life-without-parole sentence for producing child pornography with a minor victim in the Philippines. 

The case against Boyajian is the result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations in Los Angeles and HSI's Attaché Offices in Bangkok, Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh, with the assistance of the United States Embassy in Phnom Penh.

The case against Boyajian was prosecuted by David M. Herzog and Vanessa Baehr-Jones of the Violent and Organized Crime Section.

FROM:  Tracy Webb, Director of External Affairs
United States Attorney's Office
Central District of California (Los Angeles)




Waco focuses on community policing; transparency key to efforts

by Kristin Hoppa

Local residents and law enforcement officials say tension between police and the communities they serve has for the most part not been seen in Waco.

“We haven't seen this in Waco, so I can't speak for Waco, but tensions around the country continue to be centered around the unwarranted killings of African-American, mostly men, but some women as well, by some police officers,” Waco NAACP President Peaches Henry said. “There seems to be no consequences in some of these killings, and I believe that that is where a lot of the tension is.”

In Waco, officers say a transparent approach and engagement with community members have kept tensions at bay.

“I think we do have a level of communication in Waco. It is not perfect, but what communication is?” community activist Louise Henderson said. “There are always going to be some things that could have been said differently or some misunderstandings, but at least people are talking, saying, ‘This is a problem and how can we all fix it before something explodes?' That is what makes our area different.”

Henderson organized a justice forum at Greater New Light Baptist Church last week to discuss recent news about police interaction and how to better resolve issues.

Civic leaders, community organizers and about 70 people met and asked panelists questions about local policing efforts and national tension.

Waco police Officer Chris Sharpless said he understands police mistrust but said relationships in Waco differ from the highly publicized divide between police and the public.

“I just love getting out, talking to kids and helping people,” said Sharpless, a nine-year Waco police veteran. “There are people who, when you come to their yard, they are not happy to see you at their home, but I'd say the vast majority of residents are receptive to police. So you have to be sensitive to the community's needs and let them know what you can do to help them.”

As it pushes for criminal justice reform, the Waco NAACP has a good relationship with the local police department — a relationship that started before recent national tragedies, Henry said in a letter posted to the group's website.

“Instead of demonizing law enforcement or Black Lives Matter, there needs to be a conversation about criminal justice reform in this country,” Henry wrote.

Henry outlines five demands, including an acknowledgement by law enforcement of bad actors in the ranks and a willingness to punish them to the extent of the law; a shift from militaristic to community policing in black neighborhoods; implementation of citizen review boards with subpoena power; use of body cameras; and passage of a federal anti-profiling law.

When listing the call for a shift to community policing, Henry notes interim Waco Police Chief Frank Gentsch served as an officer in East Waco for many years and knows many of the residents from that time.

Gentsch said many local residents are open to community interactions with police, and that officials, including police administrators, often visit community meetings and are proactive in addressing difficult issues.

“We try to be involved with not only enforcing the law but in providing solutions to our communities' problems,” Gentsch said. “Our goal is to be active and to be active in as many ways as we can to make Waco a better place to live, work and play, and I think . . . many of our area departments share that goal.”

He assumed leadership of the Waco Police Department after Chief Brent Stroman announced his retirement in June.

Gentsch said mistakes are made in every profession, but Waco police are quick to take action to correct errors.

The Waco Police Department's Professional Standards and Conduct Unit assigned 87 investigations in 2015.

The investigations resulted in 37 oral reprimands, 20 written reprimands and six suspensions without pay or indefinite suspensions, which amount to firings. The rest of the investigations resulted in no action against police personnel.

Smaller communities

Smaller communities outside Waco also have worked to be accessible to residents, Hewitt Police Chief Jim Devlin said.

“Community policing is the community and police department coming together to solve problems in the community,” Devlin said. “It entails a lot of stuff like community engagement and having a community that can have an open dialogue with law enforcement, and for us, I don't think it's just a police department definition. Community policing involves the entire city.”

Lorena Police Chief Tom Dickson said open conversation and being visible in the community is vital for smaller departments.

“There are about 10 percent of the population that is always going to disagree with you, no matter what, and there is 10 percent that is going to support you no matter what,” Dickson said. “Then there is 80 percent of people that generally support the police, but they want accountability in law enforcement. It is that percentage of people that we will show that police are here to support and protect them at all times, no matter what.”

The divide between police and citizens of color has deep roots in United States history, said Yost Zakhary, Woodway public safety director.

“I do understand that communities are hurting right now. I understand, particularly the African-American community,” Zakhary said. “There is a long history, even going back to the Emancipation Proclamation, of how they have been hurt.”

A 2015 Associated Press poll found that 81 percent of black Americans think police are too quick to use deadly force, compared to 33 percent of white Americans.

A third of black respondents said they trust police to work in the best interest of the community — less than half the percentage of white respondents, according to the poll.

Woodway Officer Chere Lawson said she routinely patrols in public places in an effort to make herself more visible. Residents often speak with her about community issues, Lawson said.

“As a police officer, it's just all about being able to talk to people, not feeling intimidated by officers, trying to have an impact and letting them know we are not out against them,” Lawson said. “I feel like I can make an impact, and if I can make one kid smile or make one person have a better day by just letting them know that I am here for them, it makes a big difference.”

Northeast Riverside Neighborhood Association President Jeanette Bell met with a handful of residents from the neighborhood about two weeks ago to discuss neighborhood concerns. Police accountability is important, and so is the respect between officers and residents, Bell said.

“We are never going to be perfect as citizens or perfect as police, but I do think there is a level of respect here. But we do need to work on growing it and making it better,” Bell said.




Building relationships through community policing

by Joshua Vaughn

The relationship between police and the communities they serve and protect has been in the forefront of national debate of late.

So, how can police, and the community, rebuild those ties or make sure they do not come undone?

“Community policing emphasizes that police need to have as good of a relationship as they can with the public,” Kutztown University professor emeritus Gary Cordner said. “They ought to police in such a way that they have a lot of interaction with the public, positive interaction as much as possible.

“The emphasis is on interaction, engagement, and where applicable, forming partnerships with community groups,” he added.

Prior to his career in academics Cordner was a police officer and eventually a police chief in Maryland. He said there are two main arguments for community policing.

“One is it is just the right thing to do,” Cordner said. “In a free country where we say it's government of the people, by the people, for the people, police are supposed to be there for the people. So, they ought to have as good of a relationship as they can, because it's the right thing to do.”


Cordner said community policing is a philosophy that involves having officers interact positively with the public. This can something as simple as officers patrolling neighborhoods on foot or bicycle, which allow for more personal contact than riding around in vehicle.

Cordner explained that doing things like increasing foot patrols, requiring interactions with the public and even having officers work a specific beat are meant to eliminate the feeling that communities are being policed by strangers.

“Community policing needs to be in police officer's heads,” Cordner said. “It needs to be a different way they think about doing their job. ... It doesn't mean you don't arrest people who commit serious crimes. It doesn't mean you don't write any traffic tickets anymore. But, it means you try to do all that in a manner that is as respectful and as fair and genuine and human as possible."

Hampden Township Police have added bike patrol officers with that interaction in mind. Chief Steve Junkin said his officers are required to interact with residents beyond making an arrest or taking a criminal complaint.

“They are looking for that suspicious person, but they also get a chance to meet people,” Junkin said of the bike patrol.

Cordner said that developing relationships with the public can also help police more effectively do their jobs.

“The better relationship police have with the public, the more likely when something happen, people will call the police, share information with the police, have confidence that police will use the information appropriately and also when something goes wrong ... more like the public will at least wait to hear (the police's) side of the story,” Cordner said.

That is a point Junkin highlighted as well, saying that when his officers are out interacting with the public, they hear residents' concerns, which allow them to better address what is going on in the community.

“That's where the real value is,” he said. “… It's being responsive to the community.”

One of the main concepts underlying community policing is the idea of legitimacy. As Yale University social psychologist Tom Tyler puts it, legitimacy is the ”belief that legal authorities have the right to dictate appropriate behavior.”

This means that society must view the authority police have as legitimate and not just legally allowable.

“In a free country, in a democracy, the police have to work hard to try to maintain their respect and support of the public, so the public sees them as acting legitimately,” Cordner said. “Not just acting legally, but as acting legitimately, as policing the community in the manner that the people wish to be policed.”


Legitimacy itself can be based heavily on how fairly a person feels they have been treated by those in authority.

Of note, whether or not the person received a favorable outcome from an interaction with the judicial only loosely correlated to a willingness to accept decision made by those in authority, where as being treated respectfully throughout process had a high correlation, according to the U.S. Department of Justice Programs.

A study of young men in New York City found that when controlling for all other indicators of criminal behavior, individuals who perceived prior interactions with police as unfair were twice as likely to go on to commit new crimes, according to the Department of Justice Programs.

A “legitimacy crisis” is one of the theories presented by criminologist Richard Rosenfeld to potentially explain why violent crimes appear to have risen quite drastically in several large cities in the United State in 2015.

Developing a relationship with the community and creating a view of legitimacy begins at a young age in Hampden Township, Junkin said.

He explained that his officers regularly go into local schools to sit down and eat with children and even play with them on the playground. All of this is done to invest now, so that as those children grow up, they will have trust in the police.

“If we develop those relationships in first or second grade, fourth or fifth grade. ... As they get older, hopefully they will call us,” he said.

Junkin said many of the local departments do a good job of developing relationship with the community. However, it can be difficult given the ever increasing responsibilities place on police and the constant budgetary concerns facing most government agencies.

“You don't just show up, do the thing and leave,” Junkin said. ”But, it's hard to stay and talk when you have pending calls or you have an investigation.”




San Diego police view footage in officer killing

The city's police chief said that she has yet to determine if the shooting was similar to recent targeted attacks on LE

by Elliot Spagat

SAN DIEGO — Investigators viewed body-camera footage to learn how one San Diego police officer was killed and another seriously injured in a gunbattle during a traffic stop. But the city's police chief said that she has yet to determine if the shooting was similar to targeted, premeditated attacks on police in other parts of the country.

Chief Shelley Zimmerman and Mayor Kevin Faulconer visited briefly with the wounded officer, 32-year-old Wade Irwin, at the hospital on Saturday morning, but investigators were still unable to interview him after surgery. Zimmerman reiterated that Irwin was expected to fully recover, and Faulconer said the nine-year veteran of the force "looked good, all things considered."

Zimmerman didn't say what the police body camera footage showed and declined to comment on other aspects of the investigation, saying lots of ballistics, forensics and other evidence had to be processed. She stopped short of tying the shooting to killings of officers this month in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which have put police departments on high alert across the country.

"Until more information becomes available, we're not going to tie it to anything else," Zimmerman said at a news conference at UC San Diego Medical Center, where Irwin is recovering. "I want to be clear. We're not making any correlation. We just don't know yet."

The officers, members of an anti-gang unit, were uniformed, wore bulletproof vests and drove a marked car. Zimmerman said Saturday that it was still unclear if they stopped for pedestrians or motorists in the blue-collar neighborhood of southeastern San Diego.

The mayor and police chief also visited Saturday with the wife and two children of Jonathan DeGuzman, 43, the officer who died in Thursday night's shooting after surviving a stabbing 13 years earlier while on duty. The 16-year veteran of the force had been stabbed in the right arm in 2003 after pulling over a driver for speeding, and he shot the aggressor in the hip after the man tried to stab him again.

Zimmerman, who worked with DeGuzman before she was elevated to chief in 2014, said she informed DeGuzman's wife 13 years ago that he survived the stabbing. DeGuzman received the department's purple heart for valor in that traffic stop.

"I was able to at that time tell his wife that he was going to be OK and, as I was driving over there that night, I knew I was going to have to make the notification that he was not going to be OK, he was not coming home, and nothing prepares you for that," Zimmerman said.

Jesse Gomez, 52, was arrested on suspicion of murder and attempted murder after he was found in a ravine almost immediately after the shooting, suffering from a wound to the chest. He is expected to survive.

Police have given no further information about Gomez or a man they describe as a second "potential suspect," Marcus Cassani, who was arrested Friday on an unrelated warrant after a massive search that included SWAT officers swarming around two San Diego houses. Police have yet to definitively link Cassani, 41, to Thursday's shooting, Zimmerman said Saturday.

An Anaheim, California, man who identified himself as Cassani's father on Saturday handed the phone to his daughter, who said it was ongoing investigation and that the family had nothing more to say. She didn't identify herself further and hung up.




Boy donates $2.2K from lemonade stand to Baton Rouge first responders

Donations to the East Baton Rouge First Responders fund have been high since the July 17 attack on police officers

by PoliceOne Staff

BATON ROUGE, La. — Benjamin Chiasson became one of the youngest and most unlikely donors to the Baton Rouge Area Foundation's First Responders Fund when he and his mother gave $2,200 to the charity this week.

The 30-year-old organization has seen a large influx of donations since July 17, when six Baton Rouge officers were attacked in the line of duty. Three officers were killed in the attack.

Upon hearing the news, Benjamin was inspired to action. He started a small lemonade stand, but no one predicted that the outcome would be so successful.

Even his mother expected he would raise a sum closer to $200 than $2,000.

“I just wanted to raise money for the officers,” Benjamin told WBRZ News. “This is one thing I decided to do.”