August, 2016 - Week 4
A Global Problem
Human trafficking is one of the most heinous crimes that ICE investigates. In its worst manifestation, human trafficking is akin to modern-day slavery. Victims pay to be illegally transported into the United States only to find themselves in the thrall of traffickers. They are forced into prostitution, involuntary labor and other forms of servitude to repay debts – often incurred during entry into the United States. In certain cases, the victims are mere children. They find themselves surrounded by an unfamiliar culture and language without identification documents, fearing for their lives and the lives of their families.
ICE is serious about ending human trafficking.
ICE relies on tips from the public to dismantle these organizations. ICE encourages you to keep your eyes and ears open to suspicious activity. Trafficking victims are often hidden in plain sight, voiceless and scared.
If you notice suspicious activity in your community, call ICE’s Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or report tips online.
Trafficking in Persons
Trafficking in Persons is defined as:
Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or
The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery.
Human trafficking indicators include:
Does the victim possess identification and travel documents? If not, who has control of these documents?
Did the victim travel to a destination country for a specific job or purpose and is victim engaged in different employment than expected?
Is victim forced to perform sexual acts as part of employment?
Is the victim a juvenile engaged in commercial sex?
Does the victim owe money to an employer or does the employer hold wages?
Did the employer instruct the victim on what to say to law enforcement or immigration officials?
Can the victim freely leave employment or the situation?
Are there guards at work/harboring site or video cameras to monitor and ensure no one escapes?
Does the victim have freedom of movement? Can they freely contact family and friends? Can they socialize or attend religious services?
Support for Victims
ICE recognizes that severe consequences of human trafficking continue even after the perpetrators have been arrested and held accountable. ICE’s Victim Assistance Program helps coordinate services to help human trafficking victims, such as crisis intervention, counseling and emotional support.
For more information, call 1-866-872-4973
Officer Safety and Wellness (OSW) Group
Understanding Firearms Assaults against Law Enforcement Officers in the United States
Abstract: This publication attempts to answer important questions regarding firearm assaults against law enforcement officers. Initially prepared as a framework for discussion in the 2014 Officer Safety and Wellness (OSW) Group roundtable dedicated to identifying best practices for reducing firearm assaults and ambushes, this publication reviews the group's findings on law enforcement policies, procedures, training, and agency characteristics that can reduce officer deaths and injuries. It is divided into three sections: the meeting's findings and recommendations, a review of 50 years of literature written about situational factors that could lead to assaults, and data identified through a current study.
NOTE: The Officer Safety and Wellness (OSW) Group is comprised of the Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).
Here are the 4 Reccomendations from the OSW Report (download the full 60 page report in PDF format here):
As an initial step, we encourage broader use of the Peace Officer Safety Institute's Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) and the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) data to regularly and routinely identify high-crime and high-risk environments at the city and county levels. These two national datasets, which can be easily merged (even given the observed weaknesses discussed later), can routinely inform policy and funding decisions and should be more effectively integrated into federal research agendas, resource allocation decisions, and program design. The COPS Office merges a range of crime and other data sources to inform its programmatic and funding decisions, such as in selections for the COPS Hiring Program grant. We would encourage ongoing emphasis of datadriven funding decisions that rely on a broad range of data sources.
For example, in the interest of increased officer and citizen safety, funding agencies might consider funding cities and counties based on both high crime rates and high-risk scores associated with use of firearms against officers. Combining federal data sources to drive program and funding decisions offers a data-driven, scientifically sound approach to federal resource allocation. Further, using this kind of funding model could increase participation in LEOKA for some agencies and could potentially set the stage for the national development of other useful policing and crime data sources.
A growing number of officer ambushes has been reported in recent years, and these reports have raised substantial concerns about officer safety, body armor, situational awareness training, and other factors. Despite the heightened current concerns, reducing and preventing officer ambushes is a particularly difficult challenge. However, there are two concrete steps that we can take to minimize the likelihood of ambushes.
First, the dissemination of useful and actionable intelligence is paramount. Officers who are stopping cars on a highway, conducting stop-and-frisks, walking the beat, or investigating suspects all need to be fully informed with as much information as possible in a timely manner. There is no evidence that this is not currently occurring, but many of the law enforcement leaders recognized this as an important step toward reducing ambushes.
Second, situational awareness, vigilance, and reality-based training are critical to officer safety and may help reduce officer ambushes. As an initial step, identification, evaluation, and expansion of best practices within current training academies and curricula are important.
The LEOKA data helped us identify high-risk calls for service and scenarios that should be prioritized in officer safety training, policy and procedure development, and organizational priorities. In short,
(1) foot pursuits,
(2) domestic violence calls,
(3) responding to burglaries (or robberies) in progress,
(4) handling mentally ill or emotionally disturbed individuals,
(5) serving arrest warrants on violent offenders, and
(6) responding to calls where shots have been fired or firearms are on scene are all high-risk events. These events directly contribute to officer assaults and casualties each year.
Our survey results suggest wide variation in organizational policies and practices and in recruit and officer training that is specifically focused on preparing and responding to these high-risk calls for service. Regardless of the variation, some commonly accepted safety practices might be necessary and nationally encouraged.
As examples and building from our OSW group conversations, national model policies and practices for these six high-risk scenarios should be developed and disseminated, perhaps by the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, or the National Sheriffs’ Association. Within the six scenarios, certain safety practices might need to be considered mandatory:
Responding alone to any of the high-risk events likely places an officer at unnecessary risk for lethal violence.
Ongoing communication while responding to high-risk calls seems warranted.
Fully defining the extent (or limits) of officer discretion while responding to high-risk events merits full and careful consideration.
Effective safety training should be identified and expanded around each of the highrisk areas, and such training should be mandatory within and after training academies. Again, identification, evaluation, and expansion of best practices within current training academies and curriculums is important.
Wearing adequate and approved body armor should be mandatory every time any officer responds to high-risk events.
Finally, some of these events (e.g., domestic violence calls, responding to mentally ill or emotionally disturbed individuals, serving warrants) might need to be restricted to certain highly trained sworn specialists within the agency. These matters should be carefully deliberated by law enforcement leaders.
Focusing attention on officer deaths associated with firearms is important. However, it is equally important to focus attention on the broader category of firearms assaults and on shots actually fired at officers in general, whether those shots miss, hit and injure, or hit and kill an officer. Every shot fired at an officer is potentially lethal, so it would be a mistake to focus too much attention only on the small number of shots that result in an officer’s death.
As a reminder, there were 1,926 law enforcement agencies that reported at least one firearms assault against an officer during the five-year time frame examined here. More specifically, there were 1,014 firearms assaults that resulted in injuries to officers, 10,149 firearms assaults against officers that did not result in injuries, and 148 deaths attributable to firearms use against officers from 2007 to 2011 among the 1,926 agencies.
More of our research and policy attention should focus on the 10,149 firearms assaults against officers, particularly when shots are actually fired, and these events should be explored more carefully and systematically. We need to understand where, why, and under what conditions those shots were fired and to take active steps to reduce the frequency of those conditions while also seeking to reduce the number of officer deaths. Accomplishing these worthwhile goals may involve more careful exploration of variations in local firearms laws, the extent of legal and illegal access to firearms, and improved methods of identifying suspects who may be carrying illegal firearms (Jacobellis 2007; Gallagher n.d.).
Center for Disease Control
What can CDC data tell us about first responder suicide?
Accurate data, specific to first responders, is critical in understanding and preventing suicide
by Ann Marie Farina
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a review of suicide rates by occupational group on July 1, 2016  . The report is based on data obtained from the National Violent Death Reporting System, one of the databases the CDC uses to track suicides.
The CDC researchers used the Standard Occupational Classification system to categorize people into occupations. The Standard Occupational Classification system uses primary and secondary classification groups to classify occupations. EMTs and paramedics are members of group 29, Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations. Firefighters and police officers are members of group 33, Protective Service Occupations.
While initially hopeful that this review would improve the information available about the suicide rate in first responders, it has some limitations that prevent any conclusions from being made about first responder suicide.
SOC group limitations
Standard Occupational Classification groups are broad designations with multiple sub-classifications in each category. First responders do not have their own category, and are split into two categories with multiple other professions.
For example, group 29 also includes physicians, pharmacy technicians and traditional Chinese herbalists. While group 33 also includes animal control workers, crossing guards and playground monitors. This means that the suicide rate for Standard Occupational Classification groups 29 and 33 include people from a number of other professions and do not accurately represent the suicide rates of first responders.
A person's Standard Occupational Classification grouping was also based on their listed profession on their death certificate or other official record. Since people can only be assigned to one group it is likely that a large percentage of volunteer first responders were not classified as members of groups 29 and 33, further skewing the numbers.
The 17 states included in the review reported 12,312 total suicides or about one-third of the total number of suicides in 2012  . Of the 12,312 individuals, a total of 450 were classified into group 29 and 295 into group 33. Given how broad these groups we have no way of knowing what percentage of each group were first responders or if the percentage of first responders included had a statistically significant impact on the suicide rate for the overall group.
What we can learn
Unfortunately for first responder suicide prevention, not much can be ascertained from the report. Some groups, such as the legal professions group, are more homogenous, and thus the information provides an accurate idea of the suicide rate within that field. The CDC plans on releasing another review using the 2014 data from 32 states.
The importance of numbers
An accurate idea of the suicide rate among first responders is an important step towards understanding the problem and lowering the rate. The data can also help us track suicide clusters or identify other patterns that might exist. Having an accurate idea of the suicide rate is also vital to knowing if interventions and education aimed at reducing the suicide rate are successful in subsequent years.
While the CDC does collect suicide data via the National Violent Death Reporting System, first responder suicides are not tracked by the government in the same way line of duty deaths are. If you know of a first responder suicide you can make a confidential report to either the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance or The Code Green Campaign.
by Eric Aguiar
Imagine being in a profession where you must make split second decisions that have the potential of causing injury or death to yourself or others.
Rather than being able to devote your total attention to the rapidly evolving incident your mind is consumed by the consciousness that the world is judging your every move.
Imagine this scenario if you can.
You are dispatched to a call where a male subject weighing approximately 200 pounds is walking up and down the block looking into vehicles. He is wearing a shirt saying, “The only good cop is a dead cop.” You get out of your cruiser and ask the subject what they are doing. The subject ignores your question. You then start to give him verbal commands: come here, tell me who you are and let me see your identification. He ignores your question and commands as if unfazed. He stares at you with hate in his eyes as his nostrils flare and his shoulders cock back.
Your knowledge, training, experience and situational awareness are telling you to go hands on right away and subdue the suspect, before things escalate as your knowledge, training, experience and situational awareness are telling that they will.
But you become paralyzed with the thought of judgement. Because what the camera shows is the suspect “doing nothing and harmless.”
What the camera doesn't perceive is the subtle body posturing and change in energy that is felt by only those present as he is deciding to assault you with that knife in his pocket. Even without a knife a person of that size could probably inflict devastating injury upon you.
He starts walking your direction and as you prepare for what every fiber of your being is telling you is about to be a fight for your life your brain starts having thoughts that tend to paralyze action.
Will the public try to crucify you for your actions? Will your leadership back you up? Will you get in trouble? Do I do my job and risk losing it?
You are basing your course of action off of something that no camera will pick up. The totality of circumstances.
Will the media put the footage of what you did in an unfavorable light like they always do? Will the entire untrained world tantalize the management of your department yelling fire him/her.
You see in the above example the writing on the shirt helped paint a picture that the public could potentially feel comfortable standing behind.
But most times the hateful intent of the suspect won't be so easy to identify. It will be found in a much more complex and layered dimension of behavior, context and conduct.
Are we saying no to body cameras? Not necessarily.
Nobody minds the world watching but I don't know anybody that could function optimally if they felt that every move that they made was being scrutinized.
Keep in mind that those split second decisions of what to do and say not only holds the officer's life in the balance but the life and safety of all involved is tethered as well.
The public is pressuring police departments to force their officers to wear body cams.
Will cameras really change anything for the better like the public and certain interest groups are proposing?
The thing is when judging police action the underlying questions will always remain the same with or without a camera:
- Did the officer/s have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to justify the non consensual interaction?
- Did the officer/s in the context of the totality of circumstances have a justifiable reason for the actions taken
- Did the officer/s act in a reasonable manner?
- Would other officers have taken the same or similar actions in the incident in question?
The public says: “if the officer isn't doing anything wrong why are they worried?”
Wrong and right is subjective and only defined after the totality of circumstances are understood.
A very intelligent police instructor brought a very good point up regarding body cams.
He said (paraphrase) in a traffic stop conducted in a low light setting will we judge the officer on what they saw and experienced or on what a one dimensional emotionless piece of technology depicts through a digital lense viewing things from the perspective of flawless 20/20 vision?
This instructor said (paraphrase) that they are not against body cams they just aren't sure that the technology is there yet.
Certain elements of the public have said that carrying cameras should be mandated. If that is the case those commissioned to interpret the footage must have mandated specialized training as well.
The public must realize that the camera footage doesn't always tell a story or paint a picture many times it merely shows an event from whatever angle it was taken. Often times the scenery can be misleading to what is actually going on.
That is why movies have dialogue.
A picture may be worth a thousand words but it's not until we understand the actions, words and emotions of the actors in the context of the background that we can begin to understand the totality of the circumstances.
So much more needs to ironed out before we can mandate all sworn personnel in the country to just simply wear judgement cams.
There is nothing simple about this proposition.
Is the public legitimately interested in having a better picture of what happens on each call for service or are we simply trying as usual to micromanage and scrutinize the officer in the performance of their duty which few take the time to understand?
As mentioned in a previous article: Two to tango the public doesn't realize that they have an equal responsibility in everything that they ask.
Asking for the officer to carry a camera to give you (the public) a window into what the officer sees requires you to study things such as: police science, behavioral science, crime trends, tactics and other such subject areas.
That is the only way that you can truly understand what the officers saw.
Seeing what happened is only a quarter of the picture sometimes. Even more if you don't understand what you are seeing or what to look for.
What it felt like actually being there. What the officer felt as the driver reached under their seat, in this day in time where officers are being killed, injured and receiving death threats.
What the officer feels when the driver keeps trying to get out of their car despite numerous verbal commands to do otherwise.
These are all things that the camera won't pick up and are a critical part of determining the justifiability of police action.
Are we saying no to body cams? Is the technology there yet?
Officer Eric Aguiar, LLB has a passion for fairness and seeks to assist in the personal, professional, and spiritual growth for LEOs and to better the community/police relationship.
Traumatized, Locked Up, LA Girls Starting to Get More Help
by Xin Li and Phillomina Wong
LOS ANGELES — Moriah, then 14, woke up to burns on her body one night along with physical evidence that she had been raped. She had been invited to a party the night before by someone she considered a friend.
She eventually came to realize that she had almost been looped into a human trafficking scheme. This event, among many other traumatic events, affected Moriah mentally, physically and emotionally.
“I just felt neglected,”Moriah said of her childhood.
When she was growing up her father was in and out of prison, and she turned to other kids in her neighborhood for comfort. She says she felt like she had no protection and felt lost. While she was never officially in a gang, she did hang around friends who were gang members when growing up in Fullerton, California. Many of those neighborhood friends had problems of their own.
With them Moriah started using drugs and soon struggled with addiction, she said. In high school she got hooked on methamphetamines. On one occasion, when she and her friend were trying to come up with money for drugs, they decided to steal a car.
Two days later, she was arrested for grand theft auto and spent eight months in a juvenile corrections facility. After getting out,Moriah was determined to turn her life around, but soon she started using again. She became friends with gang members and started stealing cars again for drug money. When she was 17, she was sentenced to Los Padrinos and then Camp Scott.
Girls like Moriah who experience high degrees of trauma are statistically more likely to act out than kids with fewer childhood traumas. As a result, they are also far more likely to wind up in the juvenile justice system, according to a growing body of research.
When girls come in contact with the justice system, however, new reports show it is usually for acts that present little or no threat to public safety, and for behavior that's largely a reaction to “abuse, violence and deprivation.”
Yet, while girls are disproportionately pulled into the system, new juvenile justice reforms rarely focus on the specific needs of troubled girls or on the underlying reasons they landed in the justice system in the first place.
For example, when Moriah recalls her experience at Camp Scott, what stands out to her the most from the group counseling sessions she was encouraged to attend was how many girls in the camp revealed they had been sexually abused, or were in camp for being sexually trafficked, or both.
“I thought it was really crazy,” she said. The sex-trafficked teenagers “were basically brainwashed by people who these girls thought were their boyfriends.”
Issue of trauma in juvenile justice system
The number of girls in the U.S. juvenile justice system has been rising steadily in the last decade. Trauma is now increasingly being recognized as a driving factor for pushing girls into the system.
According to a study by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN), youth in the juvenile justice system have been exposed to significantly higher rates of traumatic childhood events than youth with no contact with the justice system, with rates of trauma exposure ranging from 70 to 96 percent.
The NCTSN study also shows that girls in the justice system have experienced even higher rates of victimization than their male peers.
Nationally, more than one-third of girls in the system have a history of sexual abuse, according to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Similarly, a 2014 study of 64,329 kids involved in the justice system in Florida found that 31 percent of the girls surveyed reported having been sexually abused, 41 percent reported physical abuse and 84 percent reported family violence as opposed to 7 percent, 26 percent, and 81 percent for boys in those same categories.
There are no definitive statistics showing the degree to which girls in the juvenile justice system in Los Angeles have experienced high degrees of trauma.
But a unique program called the Girls Health Screen, which has been running as a pilot program in one of LA's juvenile probation camps for girls, reports that one-third of the girls tested report such “urgent health needs” as a recent history of sexual assault, a chronic sense of hopelessness and recent suicidal thoughts and actions.
The Los Angeles County Probation system as a whole has made some effort to include trauma-informed programs in its juvenile camps — both the boys' camps, and the two facilities catering solely to girls. Probation officials hope that a brand-new boys camp facility due to open next year, Camp Kilpatrick, will provide a model of therapeutic and rehabilitative programing.
However, a prominent report released last year by the National Women's Law Center suggests that, both nationally and locally, the mental and emotional health concerns specific to females are largely ignored by juvenile justice systems — including LA's system. And girls suffer as a consequence.
Still, the LA-based Girls Health Screen is one promising new program that many local advocates hope will make a difference in outcomes for the county's justice-involved girls.
The value of screening
The Girls Health Screen (GHS) is a gender-responsive medical health screen that assesses the physical and emotional health needs of girls entering juvenile justice facilities. It was developed by the Girls Health and Justice Institute and its founder Leslie Acoca.
The GHS, given on a laptop, requires girls in camp to respond to 117 questions that cover multiple areas of their lives. According to Acoca, the GHS is designed to be non-intimidating. The questions are worded simply, and require only Yes/No answers. Even the look of the test, which includes inviting graphics, is designed to prevent an institutional appearance. Because of the test's design and the way it is administered, said Acoca, girls feel able to share their experiences privately, without feeling that they are being judged. Even the act of simply taking the GHS has its own therapeutic effect, she said.
Since 2012, Acoca said, approximately 400 girls at Camp Scudder, the second of LA County Probation's two camps for girls, have been given the health screen. But the GHS has yet to move beyond the pilot stage in LA, due to bureaucratic roadblocks and lack of funding, she said. All that is due to change this year thanks to a much-needed $20,000 cash infusion that LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl has managed to shake free from the county's probation department.
“We are hoping the $20,000 will allow the program to roll out in all the juvenile halls in LA,” said Kuehl, who is one of the program's strong supporters. The idea, she said, is that the information will connect girls to programs and health services they need while in camp or in juvenile hall, and that the information, while private, will also follow those same girls as they return to their communities, so that they can also be connected to needed programs when they come out of lock-up.
“The ETA for the Girls Health Screen to be ready to screen every incarcerated girl in LA is June/July of 2016,” Acoca said.
Girls and Gangs: Camp to community
When Moriah was at Camp Scott, she said there were a number of programs that helped her work through her emotional issues, including writing workshops and counseling groups. One of the programs she said influenced her the most was run by an organization called Girls and Gangs.
“I just loved the support,” Moriah said. “The impression [the Girls and Gangs staff] gave me was that they genuinely cared.”
Girls and Gangs provides rehabilitation and transition services for girls who become involved in the juvenile justice system. Their model, which operates under the nonprofit umbrella of the Youth Policy Institute, focuses on pairing girls with mentors starting from their stay at the probation camps all the way through re-entry into their community. According to the Girls and Gang staff, matching each girl with a caring adult makes the program effective and positive for young women transitioning from camp to home.
Moriah was paired with mentor Vanessa Gutierrez while she was still in camp. Then, after Moriah left Camp Scott, she explained, Gutierrez helped her with getting clothes and generally provided support.
“I just got so much support from her and she did so much for me. I didn't really know why,” Moriah said.
According to Ana Aguirre, program director of Youth Policy Institute's YouthSource & Education Department, Girls and Gangs works because it encourages girls to share their painful experiences in a safe place where they don't feel judged.
“They want to be heard. They want to express how they feel,” Aguirre said. “They're carrying a lot of weight,” yet they often don't understand the emotional weight they carry. “They might not understand that it's trauma” they are dealing with, “but we're able to identify that this was a traumatic experience that has shaped who [they] are.”
The next step in helping the girls heal, Aguirre said, is to ask them, “How can we use this to make you grow and make you stronger?”
Belinda Walker, who serves on the board for Girls and Gangs, said boys in the juvenile justice system have a high degree of trauma too.
Yet, in her observations about the nature of girls' trauma, Walker echoed what Moriah and Acoca had described. “If you were to drop into any girls' probation camp,” she said, “you would find that 70 to 90 percent of those girls have been sexually abused in their early adolescent years by trusted adults. In the conversations I have had with probation officers, they've said that every girl [they work with] has experienced some form of trauma or abuse. It can be emotional, physical or sexual.”
The broader view
Discussions surrounding trauma and trauma-informed practices are relatively recent, according to Dr. Marleen Wong, the associate dean for field education at the School of Social Work at the University of Southern California, and a nationally known expert in the field of psychological trauma and recovery.
All service sectors have begun looking at this issue of trauma and how to factor it into their services, she said.
“You can look at the national scene and see the Department of Labor talking about traumatized environments. How do you create a trauma-informed workplace? U.S. Department of Education is talking about trauma-informed schools,” Wong said. “Health and Human Services is talking about trauma-informed services. This is how our research is coming into its own, forming the foundation and the basis for thinking about ways to change the way we provide health and human services.”
A landmark legal settlement for which Wong served as the subject matter expert is helping to precipitate one of the most significant changes to how schools treat trauma.
In May 2014, a class-action lawsuit was filed against the Compton Unified School District by Public Counsel, a pro bono law firm, and Irell & Manella LLP. The suit was filed on behalf of five students and three teachers, charging that the school system had not properly educated students who have experienced repeated trauma and violence. Their argument was based on research showing that exposure to trauma and repeated violence harm a child's abilities to learn and function in school properly.
“All of the studies show that the kids with PTSD can't concentrate because they have flashbacks, they think constantly about their safety, they never feel safe, they're always anxious,” Wong said. “It's generalized anxiety, even when they're not in a dangerous situation.”
In October 2015, U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald ruled that students who experience traumatic events while growing up in poor, turbulent neighborhoods could be considered disabled. (However, this does not mean any exposure to trauma can guarantee a child will have a disability and be afforded the protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act.)
The settlement sought mandatory trauma-informed training for teachers, adequate mental health and counseling services, and classes teaching students how to cope with anxiety and their emotions.
According to Wong, looking at how trauma affects children is a way to address why some schools may have huge dropout rates and how those rates factor into the school-to-prison pipeline.
“It's time for us to step up in the right way,” Wong said.
On Nov. 3, 2015, the National Crittenton Foundation published a toolkit to help identify children's exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).
Crittenton's mission is to help girls and young women affected by violence and adversity become stronger, healthier and more engaged. The foundation has published a series of studies and reports relating to girls and trauma (the most recent in September 2015).
They find that girls and young women in the justice system have disproportionately high ACE scores, but are often marginalized and overlooked by that same system. The consensus is that young girls should not be given the same treatment as boys if they are to successfully heal from emotionally toxic experiences of their childhood and adolescence, according to Crittenton.
As for the Girls Health Screen, once Leslie Acoca gets the GHS to all the girls entering LA County's juvenile facilities, she intends to take it nationwide.
Supervisor Kuehl said she is very aware that LA's juvenile facilities are not doing all that is needed for girls.
“One of the interesting things I heard from women who I've spoken to who'd been released from prison, who had also been in juvenile camps, and then had offended again as adults,” Kuehl said, “there were much better programs in prison for women than they ever had in camps, so they felt like they had a better chance to turn their lives around in prison. That really told me that we're not seeing a lot of what is possible to really help our girls.”
Accoca went still further. “It's impossible to do trauma care if you don't know what trauma a girl has experienced,” she said. “With the level of injury we see with incarcerated girls, both emotional and physical, it is immoral to do anything less than identify those injuries so we can address them.”
Nevertheless, for Moriah, getting some of the proper care and guidance she needed through Girls and Gangs and her own mentor has helped her move forward. She is currently working full time and has plans to go back to school. She is also an ambassador to the Road to Success Academy at Camp Scott.
“A lot of girls got the same extended hand, but I grabbed it,” Moriah said. “You could have all the same things but if you're not ready, it's not going to happen.”
Moriah has come to realize that admitting the effects of trauma is not easy. Now that she has taken her own concrete steps into a better future, Moriah's advice to girls is this: “Never quit on yourself. Your past does not define you.”
This story is part of a series by reporters from the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism. The series is part of a collaboration between the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange and WitnessLA.
Teaching Officers about Stress Management
by Leischen Stelter , editor of In Public Safety
When Vincent Van Ness started his law enforcement career 26 years ago, there was almost no mention of the high levels of prolonged stress he would experience. “When I started, they devoted about two hours in the police academy curriculum to stress management,” he said. “After that, it was expected that you were a grown-up and a big boy and if you couldn't handle it, you should do something else. Thank heavens we're smarter than that now.”
Van Ness spent 25 years working for the same sheriff's office in central Florida. He is currently a lieutenant serving as the operational manager for the department's aviation section, but has done a little bit of everything throughout his career. “I've done patrol work, investigations and special DUI enforcement, and I've spent several years as a plain clothes officer involved in surveillance and fugitive apprehension,” he said. The most difficult position he held was with the casualty benefits team, where he was tasked with making plans and arranging services for families of officers killed in the line of duty.
“I've personally known about 12 police officers who have been killed in the line of duty and I can think of just as many who have taken their own lives,” he said. “Some suicides were the result of bad decisions, but for the most part they stemmed from workplace stress and an inability to deal with it.”
Earlier in his career, the agency did not have critical incident stress protocol to help officers address trauma. “If you were involved in a shooting or a bad call, administrators might give you a few days off and throw a six-pack at you,” he said. “We ended up with a lot of psychologically damaged ‘walking wounded' officers from using that approach.”
Today, most agencies require officers to take automatic time off and attend mandatory counseling sessions. During these sessions, officers are often taught about what emotions they may experience, what symptoms are normal and at what point they need to seek further assistance.
But officers still need more. They need in-depth education about stress and what techniques to use to manage stress.
Countermeasures and Techniques for Stress Management
In addition to being a full-time officer, Van Ness is also a faculty member in the criminal justice program at American Military University. One of the undergraduate courses he teaches is CMRJ202: Stress Management in Law Enforcement. This course addresses specific stress factors in law enforcement and teaches students about techniques and countermeasures to reduce stress.
Many agencies have started devoting more in-service training to stress management, but it still only amounts to a few hours a year on the topic. “The fact that AMU offers this course and gives officers eight weeks to learn about stress and how to manage it, is pretty remarkable,” said Van Ness. “Even in a criminal justice academic program, it's not a topic that many universities devote an entire course to.”
AMU's course starts by discussing the chemical components of stress and what happens when the brain is under stress. Students learn specific causes of stress in police work, including schedule changes related to shift work, administrative problems, involvement in a use-of-force incident, response to a traumatic event, or even personal finances and family problems.
After identifying what can cause stress, students learn about some of the countermeasures to alleviate or manage it. For example, learning proper breathing techniques can help combat stress in the short term. Students also learn about the importance of talking to someone about their stress, and leading a healthy lifestyle by eating properly and exercising regularly.
Van Ness said that one of the simplest things officers can do is acknowledge that they have a stressful job. “You're not going to make it 25 years without acknowledging your stress. Otherwise, it'll make you crazy. Acknowledge your stress and then learn how to deal with it in a healthy way,” he said.
During the course, Van Ness puts his years of experience to work and shares with students some of the stress management strategies that have worked for him. Eating well and getting exercise has helped him through a lot of tough times, he said. He also learned the importance of talking to his significant other about the reality of being a law enforcement family. “Being an officer is really stressful on families and you both have to be on the same page and know what you're getting into,” he said.
Money is also a huge source of stress for officers. “I tell students they have to live within their means and not to let themselves get saddled with debt. The fact is, most officers don't make a lot of money. It's taken me 25 years to be a middle-class person. I paid for things in cash and drove junky cars for a long time. You have to be diligent about keeping your financial house in order,” he said.
He also recommends that officers recognize when they need a vacation. “So many officers carry 400 or 500 hours of vacation time on the books. It's no wonder they're stressed out. Learn to give yourself a break,” he recommended.
While being a police officer is an extremely stressful career, it is also very rewarding. Officers must learn about the stressors they can expect to experience, acknowledge stress when it happens and know how to deal with it in a healthy way.
See full story: http://www.policeone.com/health-fitness/articles/213681006-Teaching-officers-about-stress-management/
The Latest: Flood Grants Available for Small Businesses.
by The Associated Press
The Latest on Louisiana flooding (all times local):
Business and economic development groups from across south Louisiana have teamed up to launch the Louisiana Small Business Rebirth Fund, which aims to give grants to companies hurt by the historic flood.
Ansley Zehnder, a spokeswoman for the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, said in a news release the fund will give grants of between $1,000 to $10,000 to small businesses.
While the exact scope of the damage from the flooding that started Aug. 12 is still being determined, the chamber said there are an estimated 12,000 small businesses located in areas that took on floodwater.
To be eligible for the funding, a business must be located in the 20 parishes included in the federal disaster declaration, have 50 or fewer employees and have been in business on Aug. 10.
Baton Rouge's flooded first responders will be allowed to live on city-parish land in housing provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The East Baton Rouge Metro Council says firefighters and police officers whose homes were made uninhabitable by the floods that devastated the region will be allowed to live in temporary housing under an agreement approved Wednesday.
Law enforcement and political leaders have repeatedly praised first responders for rescuing flood victims across the parish while many firefighters and police officers knew their own houses were flooded and they and their families could not go back home.
City-parish Chief Administrative Officer William Daniel tells The Advocate (http://bit.ly/2biP4dA) the first responders will be at the top of the list for the housing.
Daniel said leaders are not sure yet where the housing for first responders will be placed
Louisiana's largest health insurer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, has relaxed some restrictions to ensure that customers affected by the recent flooding can get health care, medicine and medical supplies.
The company said in a news release Blue Cross is expanding its more extensive Preferred Care PPO network to provide in-network coverage to its HMO Louisiana and Community Blue members living in areas affected by the flood. The company also will allow early refills and the replacement of some medical supplies to help members in the aftermath.
The company said HMO Louisiana and Community Blue members may use the larger Blue Cross Preferred Care PPO network for care if they have relocated outside of their plan's service area or if their regular doctor's office or clinic has been damaged.
All acute hospitals in the affected areas are fully operational and able to treat patients.
Mobile homes will fill front yards across southern Louisiana again, just as they did after Hurricane Katrina.
FEMA is bringing in the temporary housing for thousands of people displaced by catastrophic flooding. Only these houses will be on blocks and strapped down, not on wheels like the travel trailers of a decade ago.
Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the disaster housing plans Wednesday. But he described a "shelter at home" program as the more desirable option.
Homeowners will be able to receive grants up to $15,000 aimed at making houses habitable quickly so people can live inside while doing more extensive repairs. Registration for that program begins Monday.
Those grants can only help homeowners with less catastrophic damage. For those with more severe destruction, they'll have access to mobile homes.
Minnesota bridge collapse survivor charged with using settlement funds to help ISIS
by Meg Wagner
A Minnesota man who survived the harrowing Minneapolis bridge collapse as a schoolboy now faces terror charges for helping ISIS, traveling to Syria just weeks after he collected a hefty $91,000 settlement for the traumatic 2007 disaster.
Mohamed Amiin Ali Roble, 20, was charged Wednesday with providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization. Federal officials believe Roble, who is allegedly still in Syria, spent thousands of dollars on aid for ISIS.
Just weeks before his 11 th birthday in 2007, Roble was in a devastating bridge collapse that killed 13 people. He was riding in a school bus traveling on I-35W when it plummeted about 30 feet into the Mississippi River.
Roble was among 145 people injured in the rush hour catastrophe.
Court documents filed Wednesday show Roble received three court settlements when he turned 18 that totaled $91,654. That money included a $65,431 payment from the state's settlement fund.
Just weeks after his August 2014 payout, Roble flew to China for a nine-month study program, officials said. He took two trips to Istanbul during his time aboard: A day-long excursion in November and a second visit in December.
He never returned to China after that second trip, officials said.
In Turkey, Roble periodically crossed into Syria, where he allegedly worked with the Islamic State, officials said.
"We received information that Mr. Roble ended up in Syria with his uncle, Abdi Nur," FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force Officer Joel Pajak testified.
He would return to Turkey to withdraw cash to help the terrorists, officials said. Over the course of three months, he made about 45 withdrawals totaling $47,000.
"This large sum is consistent with previously mentioned CHS reports that Roble was financially supporting himself and other members of ISIL, including by purchasing vehicles to be used by members of ISIL," the affidavit said. The "CHS" was a confidential informant working for the government.
Nur is among 10 men charged in the case and is believed to have joined the Islamic State group. Nine others have been convicted on terror charges in Minnesota.
Prosecutors say the men were part of a group of friends in Minnesota's Somali community who recruited and inspired each other to join the Islamic State group. The FBI has said that roughly a dozen young men have left Minnesota to join militant groups in Syria in recent years.
Pa. cop in serious condition after being run down by hit-and-run driver
by John Luciew
It began as a routine traffic stop early this morning in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia. But the Philadelphia police sergeant making the stop was struck by a hit-and-run driver and thrown 15 feet, the impact knocking him out of his shoes.
The sergeant, who wasn't immediately identified, was listed in serious condition due to injuries to his neck, right shoulder, elbow and knee from the hit-and-run, 6ABC in Philly reports.
The 1 a.m. incident occurred as the sergeant and another officer were conducting the traffic stop with the emergency lights of their police vehicle ablaze.
The suspect vehicle was a 2008 Toyota Rav-4, which witnesses say was traveling south on Main Street, hit the officer, damaged a patrol car, and then fled the scene, 6ABC reports.
Responding officers stopped the fleeing suspect vehicle about a mile away from where the hit-and run happened, 6ABC reports.
The 21-year-old driver, who police say displayed signs of being under the influence, was taken into custody, 6ABC writes.
Officer, FBI Agent Who Killed Boston Terror Suspect Justified: DA
Usaamah Rahim, 26, of Boston's Roslindale neighborhood was shot and killed on June 2, 2015
by Kaitlin Flanigan , Marc Fortier and Tom Winter
The Boston police officer and FBI agent who shot and killed a man suspected in a terror plot last year have been found justified in using deadly force and no charges will be filed.
Usaamah Rahim, 26, of Boston's Roslindale neighborhood was shot and killed on June 2, 2015 by members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force after allegedly lunging at investigators with a knife when they approached him and about recorded phone conversations.
"The evidence proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Rahim was armed with a large, military-style knife and posed the threat of death or serious bodily injury to the task force officers," Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said at a Wednesday afternoon media briefing. "Their use of deadly force was a lawful exercise of self defense and defense of others."
Rahim allegedly plotted with two others to behead conservative blogger Pamela Geller, who organized a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Texas. They abandoned that plot in favor of one where they attacked police officers.
The FBI said they confronted Rahim because he had bought knives and talked of an imminent attack on "boys in blue."
"There is no question that members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force had probable cause to arrest Mr. Rahim," Conley said. "Knowing what they know and knowing what they now know about his plans for that day, they had the duty to stop him before he could act."
The two other men - Nicholas Rovinski of Warwick, Rhode Island, and David Wright of Everett, Massachusetts - were indicted on conspiracy and terrorism charges in connection with the alleged plot and are being held without bail. They are scheduled to face trial sometime next year.
Conley said he met with Rahim's family earlier Wednesday to inform them he would not be seeking criminal charges against the officers. He also released his office's 770-page investigative file to the family.
The district attorney also met with members of the local Islamic community on Wednesday, and said he made it clear that Rahim was being investigated "for his actions, not for his faith."
Rahim's family held their own press conference later Wednesday afternoon, saying they still have concerns about the shooting despite the district attorney's report, feeling that more could have been done to de-escalate the situation.
Family spokesman Ronald Sullivan said Rahim "was the subject of an illegal arrest," and cited comments by Congressman Stephen Lynch and Boston Police Commissioner William Evans after the shooting that implied that police were under orders not to let him go.
"This illegal arrest was the first call in a series of events that led to Usaamah's untimely death," he said.
He also connected Rahim's death "to the many tragic police-involved shootings of other African-American men around this country," saying it was not an isolated event.
Police body cameras and the community
by Martin J. Walsh and William Evans
Training began this week for the officers participating in the Boston Police Department's body-worn camera pilot program. Starting in September, 100 officers will be equipped with cameras for use in their daily work. We're pleased to note that the pilot is proceeding along the timeline laid out when we funded and formulated it earlier this year.
It's important to understand, as well, that the pilot is the result of an extensive and ongoing community conversation. When disturbing incidents from around the country came to light beginning in 2014, we immediately began meeting with community members, race and justice experts, and police officers, to discuss concerns that this kind of incident could happen in Boston. Body cameras have been a significant part of that conversation.
To be an effective tool, however, they must be implemented as part of a wider and deeper movement in community policing. No single technology can be a solution by itself.
That's why all our public safety work has been focused on building trust with the community, de-escalating conflict, and moving increased opportunity to the heart of crime prevention. On the first day of the administration we met with survivors of homicide to make their voices part of the solution to violent crime. We then appointed the most diverse police leadership team in Boston's history. We used a gun buyback program to foster a movement to get illegal guns out of our neighborhoods. We increased training in unconscious bias, de-escalation, and youth outreach at our Police Academy. Our officers have made an unprecedented commitment to youth outreach, from daily interactions to dozens of new programs. We created groundbreaking job training programs to give real second chances to court-involved young adults. We formed a Social Justice Task Force bringing together community, faith, and public safety leaders. By May 2015, Boston was recognized by the White House as one of a handful of cities “making real progress” in 21st-century policing.
This is the context in which the conversation on body cameras moved forward. In City Council hearings and in meetings across Boston, continuing through earlier this month in Mattapan, we engaged in dialogue. We also listened to our police officers about their concerns, including the impact cameras could have on the daily interactions they use to build trust. We heard the entire community, and we responded with a real commitment.
In our first budget submission in April, we proposed significant funding for a body camera initiative, funding that the City Council approved, and which allowed us to proceed with the current pilot. Importantly, we designed the pilot by studying how other cities have implemented body cameras, to see what was working and where challenges were arising. We want to understand exactly how the cameras can contribute to public safety for all. Our own pilot will further advance this body of knowledge, when we study its impact with experts, community members, and officers.
Ultimately, we want to be sure any new investment in public safety supports the transformative progress we have made in community policing. As our officers embrace the role of guardians, rather than warriors, we are becoming a safer city. Both violent crime and property crime are down this year, for the third year in a row. Meanwhile, arrests dropped 15 percent last year and are down another 10 percent this year. We are making our city safer not by locking people up, but by lifting people up.
We look forward to learning more about the role body cameras can play in advancing this progress. In the meantime, we will continue to build trust with the people we serve every day.
Martin J. Walsh is the mayor of Boston. William Evans is the commissioner of the Boston Police Department.
Self-inflicted shot killed suspect in La. police gunfire
According to the corner, Bernie Porche suffered two "survivable" gunshot wounds, but a third, fatal gunshot to the head appears to be self-inflicted
by Kevin McGill
NEW ORLEANS — A car theft suspect who died after exchanging gunfire with police Sunday apparently killed himself after being wounded, the New Orleans coroner said Tuesday.
Bernie Porche, 37, suffered two "survivable" gunshot wounds, according to an emailed news release from the coroner, Dr. Jeffrey Rouse. A third, fatal gunshot to the head appears to be self-inflicted, the release said.
Rouse said the preliminary finding of suicide was based on a Tuesday autopsy observed by representatives of the FBI, the city's independent police monitor and the monitor tracking police compliance with federal court-ordered reforms.
The observers also reviewed dashcam video showing Porche firing at police, police returning fire and Porche falling, Rouse said. Porche is then seen moving his arm and "another shot occurs."
On Monday, police Chief Michael Harrison said the shooting happened after a stolen car crashed while being pursued by a state trooper. Three men got out and opened fire at the trooper as they fled. Another trooper chased a suspect into an alley, Harrison said, where the suspect shot the trooper in the elbow. Law enforcement officers tracked down the suspect, who opened fire and died after being struck when multiple officers returned fire, Harrison said.
Police spokesman Tyler Gamble said Tuesday that two city police officers, both white, fired at Porche, a black man. It remained unclear whose bullets struck him.
Rouse said Porche had three gunshot wounds. One passed through both legs, and another started in his back and ended in his left arm. "Neither of these wounds traversed major blood vessels and were potentially survivable," the release said.
The wound to the head "showed evidence of soot deposition on the skin with searing around the edges and soot on the underlying bone. This pattern occurs when a bullet is fired with a muzzle in contact with skin."
Dashcam video, which has not yet been released publicly, was reviewed before the autopsy, the release said.
"On this video, Mr. Porche fired a weapon at officers as he ran," Rouse's news release said. "Officers return fire from a distance, and Mr. Porche falls to the ground. Then the shooting ceases. After a brief period of being motionless, Mr. Porche then moves his arm, and another shot occurs in close proximity to his head, while officers remain at a distance."
Deaf driver's shooting death by trooper under investigation
State agents are investigating how a deaf driver with a history of minor offenses ended up dead after leading a trooper on a 10-mile chase
by Jeffrey Collins and Martha Waggoner
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The North Carolina Highway Patrol is urging people not to jump to conclusions as state agents investigate how a deaf driver with a history of minor offenses ended up dead after leading a trooper on a 10-mile chase.
The family of Daniel Kevin Harris said he was unarmed and suggested the sequence of events last week was a tragic misunderstanding — the type the state's training manual warns troopers to avoid when dealing with the hearing impaired.
The investigation into the shooting is ongoing, Secretary Frank Perry of the state Department of Public Safety said in a news release.
"Let us all refrain from making assumptions or drawing conclusions prior to the internal and independent reviews" by the patrol, the State Bureau of Investigation and the district attorney, said Perry, whose agency oversees the Highway Patrol.
Authorities haven't said why Trooper Jermaine Saunders fired, and a review of public records shows a few traffic charges against Harris from other states, including damaging his employer's vehicle with his own car after he was fired last year, according to a Denver police report.
Last Thursday's incident started when Harris did not pull over as Saunders turned on his blue lights on Interstate 485 near Charlotte about 6:15 p.m. and ended after Harris drove down several miles of surface streets to his home. The trooper was trying to pull him over for speeding.
North Carolina's Basic Law Enforcement Training manual has a section that deals with interacting with deaf drivers. "Keep your eyes on the person's hands," it reads. "Deaf people have been stopped by an officer and then shot and killed because the deaf person made a quick move for a pen and pad in his or her coat pocket or glove compartment. These unfortunate incidents can be prevented by mutual awareness which overcomes the lack of communication."
The victim's family said Harris likely didn't understand the officer's commands.
Harris' family said they want to make sure the incident is investigated thoroughly and also want the state to make changes so officers will immediately know they are dealing with a hearing-impaired driver.
Authorities have released little information about the investigation, including any possible body camera or dashboard camera footage or whether a gun was found near Harris. Saunders has been placed on administrative leave. A spokeswoman for the SBI didn't respond Tuesday to questions, including whether authorities have interviewed Saunders yet.
Harris' family is raising money for his funeral and will put any extra money toward educating police officers on interacting with hard-of-hearing people and calling for a computerized system to alert officers they are dealing with a deaf driver, according to the family's posting on YouCaring.com.
"You don't see deafness the way that you see the difference in race. We need to change the system," Harris' brother Sam said to reporters using sign language and an interpreter after a Monday night vigil.
Sam Harris is deaf, and so are his brother's parents and other family members. They signed with each other as an Associated Press reporter knocked on their door Tuesday.
Sam Harris didn't want to talk Tuesday but wrote a note leaving an email address for an interpreter, who said no interviews could be conducted that day.
A review by The Associated Press shows Harris had been charged with traffic offenses and other misdemeanors in three states.
In 2015, Denver police were called to Shafer Commercial Seating after Harris was fired. Officials at the chair and tabletop manufacturer said Harris "got very mad and stormed out" after being fired, hitting an employer's vehicle with his own car causing light damage, according to a police report.
A warrant was issued, but never served, but it wasn't clear why. No one answered the phone at Shafer Commercial Seating after hours Tuesday.
Also in Denver, Harris had traffic stops in 2015 and 2008. The five misdemeanor charges filed in 2008 included obstructing a peace officer; all those charges were dropped. It's unclear what happened with the 2015 charge.
He was arrested twice in Florida in 2010 — once for petit theft and once for speeding. A charge of resisting an officer was dropped. That year he pleaded no-contest to petit theft and guilty to speeding.
And in December of that same year, he pleaded guilty to interfering with or resisting police in Watertown, Connecticut.
The National Association of the Deaf works with law enforcement agencies to improve existing training manuals but doesn't have one of its own, CEO Howard Rosenblum said in an email.
The NAD supports intensive training for law enforcement officers on dealing with people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing and says some officers should be trained to communicate in American Sign Language.
Harris was white, and authorities haven't revealed Saunders' race.
Lawmakers block Calif. body cam legislation
The bill would have blocked the public release of recordings depicting the deaths of officers unless authorized by their families
by Alexei Koseff
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California legislative session will end without any action on the contentious issue of access to body camera footage and other police records after a final surviving measure was held in committee Tuesday.
Assembly Bill 2611, which would have blocked the public release of recordings depicting the deaths of officers unless authorized by their families, was pulled from consideration by its author before a vote in the Assembly Judiciary Committee.
“It's disappointing that a very modest bill that would simply deal with the video or audio of a peace officer being murdered wasn't able to pass this year,” Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Campbell, said in a statement. “Those that claim they are committed to transparency but stood in its way in this case, should join with us because I plan on bringing this bill back next year and the year after that until it gets passed.”
AB 2611 was one of a handful of measures introduced this year concerning the release of law enforcement records, with a particular focus on the footage from body cameras that are proliferating across the state.
Reflecting a national debate over police use of force, advocacy groups pushing for more accountability and law enforcement unions seeking privacy protections for officers brought proposals to the Capitol. Bills to open investigative records on police shootings, set a timeline for the release of body camera footage depicting alleged misconduct, and allow officers to file an injunction against the release of footage were previously defeated.
Though it initially passed the Assembly unanimously in May, AB 2611 encountered increasing obstacles in the Senate as opponents such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the California Newspaper Publishers Association stepped up their lobbying efforts. The bill narrowly passed the Senate last week, where many members rose to speak against a policy creating less transparency in law enforcement rather than more, and had returned to the Assembly for concurrence on some amendments.
LAPD creates program for families of people killed by police
The program's goal is to open communication with relatives of those who are killed by police or died while in custody
by Kate Mather
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Police Department will create a novel program to reach out to the families of people killed during encounters with officers and help them navigate the often-complicated aftermath of such incidents, officials announced Tuesday.
Details about the so-called Family Liaison Program are still being worked out, however the president of the civilian board that oversees the LAPD said the goal was to better communicate with relatives of those who are killed by police or died while in the LAPD's custody.
Police Commission President Matt Johnson noted that relatives of people fatally shot by LAPD officers often attend the commission's weekly meetings looking for answers about such deaths or demanding to see video showing what happened. But they also come seeking documents, such as death certificates or police reports, so they can bury their loved ones or alleviate costs through insurance companies.
"If you hear some of the complaints of family members, of course some of it is that -- they want to see the video. But a lot of it is, 'I can't bury my child' because they don't have a death certificate," Johnson said. "This will give them a specific point of contact."
Johnson cautioned that the LAPD would still not be able to share certain information with the families because of the confidential nature of the investigations into such incidents. The LAPD, for example, does not generally make video of shootings by police officers public. But Johnson said a formal liaison could explain how the deaths are investigated and reviewed and the role of the district attorney's office as well as work with the coroner's office to help families get more information.
"These deaths, no matter what the circumstances, are tragic for the deceased's loved ones, friends and community," he said at Tuesday's meeting. "I believe that there is more we can and should do."
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said he was unaware of similar programs in the U.S., but said department officials had looked into comparable efforts made by police in Britain. The chief and other police commissioners said they supported the idea.
Eugene O'Donnell, a former New York police officer and lecturer at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said this was the first such program he had heard of. Too often, he said, police departments "play defense and keep people at bay," contributing to an adversarial relationship between agencies and these families.
"Hopefully the LAPD can blaze a trail here," O'Donnell said.
Although LAPD officials have reached out to families after deadly police encounters -- after a recent shooting at a Watts housing project, for example, an officer approached the slain man's father and explained the investigation that would follow -- those efforts are often done informally.
The liaison program would formalize the process, designating a specific person within the LAPD to talk to the families of those killed.
The LAPD's investigations into police shootings or other serious uses of force usually take several months to complete before the Police Commission reviews each case to determine whether officers followed department rules. Relatives of those killed often express frustration with those timelines.
Beck, who recently met with Johnson and discussed the idea, said the liaison could help "bridge the gap" with families and explain what goes into each investigation -- in other words, "why things take as long as they take."
"Is that going to alleviate their pain? No," the chief said. "Is that going to help them get through this better? I think yes."
Beck said that although deadly encounters with police may occur after some type of assault against officers, "we shouldn't hold that against the family."
"As I believe to my core, even though the acts of an individual involved directly with the police may have been criminal, that doesn't mean the family isn't grieving," Beck said. "That doesn't mean they don't need information. That doesn't mean that the process shouldn't be explained to them."
Beck said the LAPD would work with the Police Commission to identify the right person within the department for the job.
Like police departments across the country, the LAPD has drawn more scrutiny in recent years over shootings involving officers, part of the ongoing national conversation about how officers use force. Police Commission meetings have become emotionally charged in recent months, particularly after a shooting.
On-duty LAPD officers have shot 17 people this year, according to data compiled by The Times. Fourteen of those people were killed.
Last year, on-duty LAPD officers shot 36 people, 21 of whom were killed.
Those shootings again came into focus at Tuesday's commission meeting, as dozens of activists chanted the names of people killed by police this year. They also mentioned Wakiesha Wilson, a woman who died in an LAPD jail cell this year in what coroner's officials have described as a suicide.
The group ignored Johnson's repeated requests to stop disrupting the meeting and the commissioners left the room. A lieutenant asked the group to leave as they continued to shout the names.
"These are somebody's babies," Melina Abdullah, an organizer with the Black Lives Matter movement, told the crowd. "If we don't stand up for our babies, that is criminal."
The commissioners briefly came back, only to recess into closed session a few minutes later.
Police ultimately declared an unlawful assembly, and the activists moved from the meeting room outside the LAPD's downtown headquarters. A crowd of about 75 people briefly faced off with a line of officers, then circled in front of the building, chanting the names and calling for Beck's firing.
No arrests were made, police said.
When the Police Commission resumed its meeting -- and the new liaison program was announced -- only LAPD officials and reporters were in the room.
At least 1 reported dead, 14 wounded in attack on American University of Afghanistan
by Fox News
At least one student died and 14 other people were hurt Wednesday after a "complex" gun and bomb attack at American University of Afghanistan in western Kabul, police and the head of the city's hospitals reported, as the military worked for hours to free students and staff inside.
Security forces were conducting a clearing operation to track down the "terrorists," police spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said, as teachers and hundreds of students took cover in classrooms and safe rooms. Sediqqi said it was not clear if there were one or two attackers.
A car bomb had exploded outside a school for the blind next door before at least one attacker fired at the university campus from that school building, a police officer at the scene told The New York Times.
The U.S. military was assisting Afghan forces who responded to the attack, U.S. Army Colonel Michael T. Lawhorn told Fox News. "These advisors are not taking a combat role, but advising their Afghan counterparts."
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. The Taliban have been fighting to overthrow the Kabul government for 15 years, and regard foreign civilians as legitimate targets.
Associated Press photographer Massoud Hossaini said he was in a classroom with 15 students when he heard an explosion on the southern flank of the campus. "I went to the window to see what was going on, and I saw a person in normal clothes outside. He shot at me and shattered the glass," Hossaini said, adding that he fell on the glass and cut his hands. He also tweeted: "Help we are stuck inside AUAF and shooting flollowed by Explo this maybe my last tweets"
The students then barricaded themselves into the classroom, pushing chairs and desks against the door, and staying on the floor. Hossaini and about nine students managed to escape from the campus through a northern emergency gate. "As we were running I saw someone lying on the ground face down, they looked like they had been shot in the back," he said.
Witnesses and a U.S.-based school administrator told Fox News the gunfire had stopped but security teams were still sweeping the area. Ambulances raced victims to a nearby hospital. Local media reported fires continuted to burn on campus.
The university's president, Mark English, tells The Associated Press, "we are trying to assess the situation."
Student Ahmad Mukhtar told the BBC he climbed a 20-foot wall to escape the attack. Another student told AFP over the phone, "We are stuck inside and very afraid."
Hossaini and students with him took refuge in a house near the campus.
The university was established in 2006 to offer liberal arts courses modeled on the U.S. system. It claims as many as 1,700 students are enrolled there, 40 percent of whom are women.
Two of its professors were kidnapped at gunpoint in Kabul on August 7. The professors were identified as Kevin King, an American, and Timothy Weeks from Australia. Men in military uniforms reportedly abducted them as they traveled between the campus and their home in Kabul. The professors' whereabouts are unclear.
A black homeowner called 911 to report a carjacking. He wound up getting shot by police.
by Lindsey Bever
An Indianapolis homeowner who called police to report an attempted armed robbery at his house was apparently mistaken for the suspect and shot in the stomach by a responding officer, authorities said.
Carl Williams, a 48-year-old black man, called 911 early Tuesday morning and told the emergency dispatcher that an armed man tried to assault his wife outside their home, then stole her car keys and drove away in her car, according to a statement from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
When two officers arrived at the property on the city's east side, the homeowner, who was also armed and apparently prepared to confront the carjacker, emerged from his home, a law enforcement official told ABC affiliate RTV6.
Apparently confusing him for the suspect, Christopher Mills, a white, nine-year veteran of the force, then shot Williams in the stomach, police said.
Williams was taken to a nearby hospital. Police said Wednesday morning that he was in serious but stable condition and was expected to survive.
“This is a tragic incident involving a homeowner attempting to protect his family and IMPD officers trying to do the same thing,” Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Assistant Chief Randal Taylor said during a news conference. “Of course our thoughts and prayers are certainly with the homeowner.”
In 911 audio released by police, the homeowner was heard telling a dispatcher that a man — armed with a rifle and wearing a red shirt and a hat — had tried to assault the caller's wife. A woman sobbed in the background, and the caller repeatedly told the woman, “Calm down, baby; calm down.”
He told the dispatcher that the attacker stole the couple's Nissan Sentra and that there was only one way out of the housing complex. Seconds later, he shouted, “Oh wait, is that him? Is that him?” — then they were disconnected.
Police also released heavily edited audio of the call between a police dispatcher and the officers who were responding to the scene.
In 911 audio released by police, the homeowner was heard telling a dispatcher that a man — armed with a rifle and wearing a red shirt and a hat — had tried to assault the caller's wife. A woman sobbed in the background, and the caller repeatedly told the woman, “Calm down, baby; calm down.”
He told the dispatcher that the attacker stole the couple's Nissan Sentra and that there was only one way out of the housing complex. Seconds later, he shouted, “Oh wait, is that him? Is that him?” — then they were disconnected.
Police also released heavily edited audio of the call between a police dispatcher and the officers who were responding to the scene.
“The complainant just shouted into the phone, ‘Is that him?' and the line went dead,” the dispatcher said. “We're going to try to get him back.”
At Tuesday's news conference, Taylor said that when the officers pulled up, they saw a Nissan parked in the driveway with the lights on, so they took cover and ran the license plates, according to the Indianapolis Star. Police said in a statement that the “officers sought cover in an attempt to approach in a covert manner to investigate the vehicle.”
Taylor said that before the officers finished investigating, the garage door opened and the homeowner walked out with a gun. Police said Mills, one of the responding officers, shot Williams once in the stomach.
Moments later, an officer was heard radioing in, “Shots fired, shots fired!” A man in the background cried out in apparent pain.
It's unclear whether Williams matched the description of the carjacker, whether he confronted the officers or whether the officers told him to drop his weapon. Taylor and Maj. Richard Riddle said at the news conference that authorities were not yet certain whether the officer gave Williams any such orders, according to the Indianapolis Star. In the dispatch audio, no conversation can be heard between Williams and the officers.
More than 600 people have been shot and killed by members of law enforcement this year, according to a Washington Post database. Fatal police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota last month reignited nationwide outcry and calls for reform.
Since 2013, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has reported 61 police-involved shootings, 24 of them fatal. There have been four fatal police-involved shootings in Indianapolis this year, including one by a state law enforcement officer in IMPD's jurisdiction.
During that same period over the past four years, 16 officers have been shot in Indianapolis and two of them died, police said.
Taylor told reporters that the recent shooting was “a tragic event with a number of circumstances that collided all at once,” and he expressed his deepest sympathies to the wounded homeowner and his family.
Authorities said the officer who shot Williams has been placed on administrative leave pending both a criminal and separate, independent internal investigation. The other responding officer, who is also white, did not fire his weapon, police said.
“Our homeowner, the individual who was trying his best protect himself and his wife from any other harm, was shot mistakenly by our officers. This incident occurred within a few seconds, and those judgment calls are made within a few split seconds,” Riddle told reporters, according to the Indianapolis Star.
“She was victimized,” he said, “and, unfortunately, now her husband was victimized as well.”
Police Chiefs Hold Round Table To Kick Around Ideas On Community Policing
by Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Community activists, members of the clergy and police chiefs representing more than a half-dozen suburban police jurisdictions gathered at the Lower Merion Township Building to map a strategy for an upcoming summit.
The police chiefs, some in uniform, and some in civilian wear, talked about how to foster a better dialogue, especially with younger people who may be distrustful of officers, even during routine stops, according to Bensalem Police Chief Fred Harron.
“People don't learn that in driver's ed, what to do when you're encountered by the police.”
Upper Merion Chief Thomas Nolan says they have “role playing forums” involving his officers and young people.
“The cops actually play the role of the kids on the corner, and the kids play police officers, and everyone gets a different perspective.”
Radnor Police Superintendent William Colarulo admits to stealing an idea from the Philadelphia Police Department, where he was a former ranking Chief Inspector.
“Ministers ride along with police. It can have a calming effect not only on tense situations in neighborhoods, but it also gives the officer a chance to communicate with a minister, and perhaps deal with some issues that the officer may be facing.”
Organizer Andrew Howell, founder of the Race for Peace Committee, says the summit is designed to seek positive relations between officers and neighborhood folks in Philadelphia and its nearby suburbs.
Madison Police Department steps up community policing efforts
by Kate Jungers
On a 90 degree day on the Northside of Madison, Officer Alex Nieves Reyes and Officer David Dexheimer wave down cars passing a large apartment complex on the 1500 block of Trailsway. Drivers pull up to the curb with concerned expressions, expecting their day to be ruined with a speeding ticket or traffic violation.
While the drivers roll down their windows, Reyes leans in with a smile on her face and says, “You hungry? How about some hot dogs and lemonade?”
Dubbed “Guerrilla Grillers” by the Madison Police Department, police officers in the North District are setting up impromptu barbeque events to step up community policing efforts and create lasting relationships with members of the Northside neighborhoods.
Dexheimer and Reyes hosted their Guerrilla Grilling event in early August. In addition to manning the grill, they played with children and chatted with tenants in a nearby apartment complex.
Dexheimer is the North District's neighborhood resource officer, and he created Guerrilla Grilling as a way to allow community members to get to know their local police officers in a fun, casual setting. These types of community policing efforts aim to help community members feel comfortable with their presence.
“As a neighborhood resource officer, my job is to look for emerging problems and build relationships with community members, which is really effective policing. I love chatting with people, so something like this is excellent,” Dexheimer said.
According to Dexheimer and Reyes, Madison's North District faces issues that make community policing particularly important.
“There's a certain extent of homelessness, as well as people who are underemployed and unemployed. In my line [of work] I see a lot of single-headed households, having to deal with childcare, food, transportation issues and shelter,” Dexheimer said.
The Guerrilla Griller events are one of several community policing initiatives, including Fireside Five-Oh Living Room Conversations and Coffee with a Cop, Madison police have taken on the Northside and across the city.
”Events like this are beneficial to the neighborhood,” said Tom Burback, who attended the barbeque and has lived in the Northside for several years. “This is probably a neighborhood in particular that needs it,” he said.
The Wednesday evening grilling event was originally planned to last two hours and to be at two different locations, but the officers ran out of over 60 hot dogs and four gallons of lemonade within less than an hour and a half.
Omoregie Igiehon, a tenant of the apartment complex was happy to see this type of interaction between police officers and his neighbors.
“This is a great thing,” he said. “The police are here giving out free hot dogs and talking to us on a beautiful day. It's like saying, ‘Hey, we are your friends not enemies.'”
“No question is off limits,” Dexheimer said. “A lot of stuff we do is not pleasant, and we can take the criticism because we can always improve. We are open to scrutiny, and we need people looking at best practices and while it's difficult to go through this phase, it's needed and it's needed to continually look at what we do.”
GTPD Innovates to Bring Community Policing into the Digital Age
by Georgia Tech News Center
When Sir Robert Peel established the London Metropolitan Police Department more than 180 years ago, he could not have foreseen the advent of social media and its impact on policing.
Among his very forward thinking principles, though, was this foundational concept for community policing: “The police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.”
Back in the spring semester, the Georgia Tech Police Department (GTPD) set up a social media center in its headquarters building, equipping it with computers, monitors and large-screen visual displays to begin interacting with students and other members of the campus community.
GTPD has recognized the use of social media as a means to connect with the Tech community in a meaningful way. Many law enforcement agencies have embraced social media and recognize it as a way to inform their communities and improve the reputation of their departments; however, most law enforcement agencies are not capitalizing on all of the benefits of social media.
“There's no question that law enforcement needs to do a better job of connecting with the people whose lives they are working to protect,” said GTPD Chief Rob Connolly. “We believed that by initiating this center and hiring students to help us, we could make a real impact. We want to be completely transparent and let the campus and surrounding areas know that we are here for them.”
The GTPD social media center aims to not only increase outreach and engagement with the Georgia Tech community, but also promote safety by educating the public with tips, scan the various platforms and respond to concerns, improve emergency notifications, promote the efforts of the police department, provide early intervention and prevent threats of violence, self-harm and sexual assault.
In Peel's day, police officers and their communities were highly connected. Police officers walked the beat. They built relationships and worked closely with all facets of the community to identify concerns and jointly work toward solutions. That is the essence of community policing.
During the last century, a number of advances in technology have led to a gradual separation of the police from the community. The expanding role of automobiles replaced the era of friendly foot patrol. Advances in telecommunications resulted in rapid contact with police through the 911 system, resulting in an overwhelming number of calls for service.
Answering calls, regardless or the urgency, severely limited a broad police interaction with the community. The advent of the computer also contributed to a decrease in police contact with the community. As computers generated data on crime patterns and trends, police professionals developed the prevailing ideology that they knew best how to deal with crime and disorder, and community involvement was seen as less important. Despite the negative consequences of certain technological developments on police-community relations, technology can help the police enhance their relationships with the communities they serve.
Where else but the Georgia Institute of Technology would the police department be on the cutting edge of technology to make the campus community a safer environment for learning and research?
In a digital age where the use of smartphones, tablets and laptop computers is ever-present, technology is transforming our lives, making them better connected, quicker and safer. Nearly two-thirds of Americans (65 percent) use social networking sites. Social media is a powerful tool many law enforcement agencies can use to become more effective, preventative and trusted.
“Law enforcement agencies are beginning to see how useful social media can be as a tool to fight crime,” Connolly said. “We're not using it as a ‘Big Brother' kind of thing to see what's going on at parties. We're trying to make use of state-of-the-art technologies to keep our campus and surrounding community safe.”
The center is led by Officer Loran Crabtree. As the social media coordinator for GTPD, Crabtree has a team of students who work part-time responding to questions, providing input on what types of posts would connect with students most effectively, and addressing misinformation that filters onto social media platforms about incidents and police tactics.
“The students are absolutely essential to accomplishing our objectives,” Crabtree said. “They have really helped us engage with other students. They know what works and what doesn't, and it helps us to be more authentic when we're interacting on social media.”
GTPD maintains an official presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Yik Yak, YouTube, Periscope and reddit. The results have varied per platform, but this recent post on the anonymous, geo-fenced network Yik Yak is a typical response:
“TBH (to be honest) the only reason I have Yik Yak at this point is because I appreciate GTPD updates.”
In the spring, GTPD helped apprehend a bank robbery suspect who fled from Midtown on foot and hid behind a fraternity house. Rumors swirled on social media that GTPD was raiding the fraternity for illegal activity.
A student assistant from the social media center was dispatched to the scene, where she took a picture and posted an update indicating what was really happening at the fraternity. It brought a quick end to the speculation and set the record straight.
“That's a perfect example of how social media works,” Connolly said. “As time goes on, I believe we'll have more success stories as the campus joins in with what we're doing.”
This semester's student staff include Cameron Garcia, Haley Logan, Cody Schoenfuss, Awnish Choudhary, Tyler Bennett, Tyler Merriweather, Kareem Edwards and Pragya Saboo.
Portland's troubled community police advisory board to take 2-month hiatus
by Maxine Bernstein
Portland's embattled Community Oversight Advisory Board will be out of commission for two months, under an agreement reached between the city and the U.S. Department of Justice.
The city is expected to present a plan on how to reshape the board after the board's 60-day recess.
Federal justice officials "will not seek enforcement action'' against the city for the board's inaction, Assistant U.S. Attorney Adrian Brown wrote to Portland's city attorney in an Aug. 19 letter.
The board was formed as part of the settlement agreement the city reached with the Justice Department following a 2012 federal investigation that found Portland police used excessive force against people suffering from mental illness.
Board members have worked for more than a year evaluating police policies and training on use of force, police encounters with the mentally ill, and how to prevent bias-based policing. But their recommendations have fallen on deaf ears, having received few, if any, responses from either federal Justice officials, City Hall leaders, or the police chief. Several board members resigned out of frustration.
Earlier this month, six remaining board members urged federal justice officials to make a finding that the city is in violation of the settlement agreement for: failing to fill seven vacancies on the board, and for not ensuring the police chief and police commissioner met twice a year with board members as required. The board members also called for a court-ordered monitor to oversee required police reforms.
The board members made the requests in an Aug. 12 letter to the U.S. Department of Justice, the mayor and city commissioners.
According to city attorney Tracy Reeve, city officials now are talking with community "stakeholders'' on how to strengthen the board, and plan to propose amendments to the settlement agreement by Oct. 20. The stakeholders have not been identified.
"We do request that the city be afforded the opportunity to manage the outreach to stakeholders over the next 60 days to avoid any confusion in the community as to our respective roles,'' Reeve wrote to federal Justice officials in an email on Monday.
Mayor Charlie Hales, who serves as police commissioner, recently was criticized by the city auditor for not taking the lead on policy changes regarding police oversight and accountability.
In a prepared statement Tuesday, Hales said, "Community participation in the police reform process is essential for our Portland Police Bureau to be a productive, trusted community partner. We still have a great of work to building trust and legitimacy within the community. I remain committed to finding a community engagement structure and process that works for all Portlanders.''
J. Ashlee Albies, an attorney representing the Albina Ministerial Alliance's Coalition for Justice and Police Reform, said the coalition opposes any hiatus in board meetings. The coalition believes a recess will be viewed "as an abandonment of the community component of the settlement agreement,'' according to a statement by Albies.
The coalition, however, recognizes that the board's structure needs to be addressed, and recommended that a small work group be formed to consider changes. The work group would consist of representatives from the city, federal Justice Department, the police union, the coalition and a member of the current board, according to the coalition.
"These meetings were intended to take place parallel to the COAB meetings,'' Albies wrote in a statement.
The city will hold a public forum at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 12 at Maranatha Church, 4222 N.E. 12 th Ave., to seek community input on what changes should be considered. Public comments also can be emailed to the city at email@example.com.
A status hearing on the city's settlement agreement is scheduled before U.S. District Judge Michael H. Simon in late October.
FBI investigating whether Virginia stabbings were ISIS-inspired
by Fox News
Federal authorities are investigating a weekend stabbing in Virginia to see whether the attacker may have been trying to behead a victim and whether the attack was inspired by the Islamic State terror group.
Wasil Farooqui, 20, was charged with two counts of aggravated malicious wounding in the stabbing attack Saturday that left two people wounded.
The FBI confirmed to Fox News it is investigating the dual stabbing alongside the Roanoke County Police Department. A source familiar with the case also told Fox News the FBI is investigating the attack as a possible terrorism-related incident.
"The FBI is working with the Roanoke County Police Department following the incident that occurred on Saturday evening,” said Adam Lee, special agent in charge of the FBI's Richmond Division.
"While I cannot discuss details of the investigation at this time, I do want to reassure the community that we are working to determine the nature of the incident," Lee said.
According to ABC News, Farooqui had traveled to Turkey in the last year and may have tried to sneak into Syria to meet with ISIS militants.
Farooqui allegedly attacked a man and woman at an apartment complex in Roanoke, according to WDBJ-7. Both victims were seriously injured in the attack. Witnesses told authorities that Farooqi was yelling “Allah Akbar.”
Authorities believe that Farooqui may have been trying to behead the male victim, according to ABC News. Investigators said that there was no connection between Farooqui and the victims.
"The FBI is working with the Police Department following the incident that occurred on Saturday evening," Special Agent In Charge Adam Lee, head of the FBI's Richmond field office told ABC News in a statement. “While I cannot discuss details of the investigation at this time, I do want to reassure the community that we are working to determine the nature of the incident."
Farooqui was being held without bond at the Western Virginia Regional Jail.
AG: Ex-Milwaukee officers investigate fatal police shooting
Wisconsin's attorney general acknowledged Monday that former Milwaukee police officers, now working for the state Department of Justice, are investigating the fatal shooting of a black man by a Milwaukee officer that triggered two nights of violence
By GRETCHEN EHLKE
MILWAUKEE — Wisconsin's attorney general acknowledged Monday that former Milwaukee police officers, now working for the state Department of Justice, are investigating the fatal shooting of a black man by a Milwaukee officer that triggered two nights of violence.
Attorney General Brad Schimel said he doesn't see a conflict in using former Milwaukee officers in the investigation into the Aug. 13 shooting of Sylville K. Smith.
Smith, 23, was killed after what Milwaukee police said was a brief foot chase when he ran from a traffic stop. A few hours after Smith's death, a protest on the city's largely black north side erupted into violence that reignited the following night in the Sherman Park neighborhood.
“Milwaukee PD has about 2,000 sworn officers as I understand. The likelihood that there would be some relationship between a particular patrol officer, who's going to be much younger than an experienced detective... is small. And if there is any relationship at all, that officer, that investigator would not be permitted to have any role in the investigation,” Schimel said at a news conference in downtown Milwaukee.
He said the DOJ hires many retired officers to work for the Division of Criminal Investigation in the region that they have previously worked. An agency spokesman later said DCI has about 100 officers statewide; of 18 field agents in the Milwaukee office, eight once worked for the Milwaukee Police Department.
State Rep. David Bowen, who grew up in the Sherman Park neighborhood, questioned the use of former Milwaukee officers in the investigation and called for Schimel to turn the case over to the U.S. Department of Justice.
“People are crying out for transparency and crying out for accountability,” said Bowen, who represents a large portion of the city's north side.
Schimel said his investigators have interviewed all “critical witnesses” at least once, but the investigation into the fatal shooting of Smith is not yet complete. His office has been working closely with Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, who ultimately will decide whether any charges are warranted against the officer who shot Smith, he said.
The attorney general said there are two videos from body cameras worn by two of the three officers who were at the scene of the shooting that show similar vantage points, but that no video or still shots from the video will be released until Chisholm is done with the case. There is no surveillance video from the neighborhood, he said.
While the video is a component of the investigation, Schimel said it's just one piece among many sources of information.
“They give only a narrow and incomplete glimpse of the overall picture,” he said.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin has pressed Schimel's office to release the body camera video. Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn said the video clearly shows Smith was holding a handgun and turned toward the officer when he was shot.
The first 30 seconds of the video has no audio. That's because Milwaukee police body cameras are set up to continuously record a 30-second buffer of video only. When an officer double-clicks his camera, the device instantly stores the past 30 seconds of video and begins adding audio only at that instant.
Schimel said it happened quickly.
“It's not easy to see everything unless you slow it down” he said.
Smith's family has been cooperative in the investigation, Schimel said. The Wisconsin Department of Justice is investigating the shooting because state law requires individuals outside the police agency involved to examine fatal shootings by officers.
On Monday, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett eased curfew restrictions he had imposed on Aug. 15, saying they were no longer needed.
Smith's funeral will be held Friday at Christian Faith Fellowship Church in Milwaukee.
Upper Manhattan Precinct Among First to Deploy NYPD's New Community Policing Program
The Neighborhood Coordination Officer program has been around for a little more than a year. The police commissioner calls it the next generation of community policing. Criminal justice reporter Dean Meminger traveled to Upper Manhattan to find out how the program is doing and filed the following report.
by Dear Memunger
In Washington Heights, the Neighborhood Coordination Officers from the 34th precinct say they are constantly meeting residents and business owners.
"There's always a new drug, there's always a hot crime, there's always a club that is having problems, there's always a family that is having a dispute and we are in the front line for that," said NYPD Detective Thomas Troppmann.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton began the Neighborhood Coordination Officer or NCO program in May 2015, calling it the next generation of community policing. The 33rd and 34th precincts in Upper Manhattan were among the first to launch it. The goal is to work with members of the community in fighting crime and bridge the often-wide divide between cops and communities of color.
"We want to make it work for the future cops who are going to be NCOs. We want to break the ice with the community, make them feel like they have a relationship with the police department," said NYPD Officer Edwin Rodriguez.
And they feel it is working. On a recent walk along, two cops were well recognized on Broadway and 182nd Street. Some considering them the best cops on the beat.
Yvonne Stennett, a community advocate in Upper Manhattan, says she wants the program to work, but has concerns. Some of the initial NCOs already have moved on - a turnover, she says, that makes it hard keeping up with who your neighbor cop is. And, she adds, having just a few neighborhood cops in each precinct is not enough to ease tensions.
"So your NCO officer comes out and greets you or whatever, but the officers who comes behind them, if they are not coming with the same mentality, the same trust factor, the same all of that, you are defeating the purpose already," Stennett said.
The NCOs, though, say they are going to keep pushing.
"Develop a relationship, your kids are growing up now, they are going to be teenagers, they are going to be a part of the society in a in a few years. We want those kids to also have a relationship with the police department and see us as friends," Rodriguez said.
Researchers develop ECD that can monitor heart rate, rhythms
TASER weapons' probes were described as "functionally similar" to an EKG
by PoliceOne Staff
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have successfully tested a modified conducted electrical weapon capable of recording a subject's heart rate and rhythm while still delivering an incapacitating electrical charge.
TASER devices — the most popular brand of CEW — are widely used by law enforcement to disable criminals and threatening individuals without the use of a firearm. Though research has shown TASERs to be “stunningly safe” around 99.75 percent of the time, serious injuries and deaths have resulted from cardiac disruptions after the device's electrical charge. Cases of serious injury and death often include other risk factors, including drug use and pre-existing medical conditions.
Dr. Jason P. Stopyra, a researcher and assistant professor of emergency medicine with Wake Forest Baptist, set out to equip a TASER with a heart-monitoring device to read a target's heart rate and rhythm without compromising the weapon's stopping power.
It seems like a stretch, but he says that the basic components of a TASER are “functionally similar” to what is used to obtain an EKG. Researchers developed and tested a prototype and published their findings in the Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine.
The team modified standard law enforcement CEW cartridges to transmit EKG signals, and then combined a miniaturized EKG recorder with a standard-issue CEW. When tested on human volunteers, the team was able to use their modded CEWs to get readable EKG rhythms even while delivering an incapacitating shock.
The senior author of the study, William B. Bozeman, M.D., said that the fully-developed modified stun guns could alert law enforcement to “potential medical issues in real-time” and promote the “rapid treatment of individuals who may suffer a medical crisis while in custody.”
Researchers use data to predict officer misconduct
The new approach in data science is encountering deep suspicion from officers concerned about fairness and effectiveness
by Ted Gregory
CHICAGO — In two Chicago office buildings about eight blocks apart, a pair of University of Chicago research teams are analyzing big data to answer a thorny question that has become especially charged in recent months: Will a police officer have an adverse interaction with a citizen?
The team from the university's Crime Lab is in the first stages of working with the Chicago Police Department to build a predictive data program to improve the department's Early Intervention System, which is designed to determine if an officer is likely to engage in aggressive, improper conduct with a civilian.
The other team, part of U. of C.'s Center for Data Science & Public Policy, is expected to launch a data-driven pilot of an Early Intervention System with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department in North Carolina by the end of the summer. The center is working on similar efforts with the Los Angeles County sheriff's office and the Nashville and Knoxville police departments in Tennessee.
Data crunching has been used in policing since the late 1970s. But applying this level of big-data processing — similar to techniques that help determine email spam, a person's movie preferences or advertisements on a social media page — to predict police misconduct is new, experts say. In this foray, data scientists are encountering deep suspicion from officers concerned about the system's fairness and effectiveness. The new approach also raises the complex issue of what to do once the system predicts an officer is likely to misbehave.
The efforts come at a volatile time in Chicago and around the country. The Chicago Police Department is under a federal probe after last year's release of video showing an officer fatally shooting Laquan McDonald 16 times in October 2014. The release of another video earlier this month, from the scene of a July stolen car crash in which police fatally shot 18-year-old Paul O'Neal in the back, further roiled relations between the community and its police force.
Those incidents were followed by weekend rioting in Milwaukee after a police officer shot and killed a man who reportedly refused to drop his gun during a foot chase.
While the police misconduct application is one of the more controversial elements of this version of big-data processing, the researchers say their goal is broader.
“The thing we're finding is that using it (big data) to predict officer adverse incidents is just one use,” said Rayid Ghani, director of the Center for Data Science & Public Policy and previously chief data scientist for President Barack Obama's 2012 campaign. “Inside police departments, they are doing a lot of other things — performance management, other safety things, training. This is easily extensible to all those things.”
Jens Ludwig, director of the Crime Lab, added: “Ultimately the goal here is that you want to train and retain the very highest-quality police force that you can.”
Most departments, including Charlotte-Mecklenburg, use a threshold system to determine if an officer is likely to have an adverse interaction with a citizen and needs intervention. That system typically flags an officer if he or she has been involved in multiple worrisome incidents — citizen complaints, vehicle accidents, on-the-job chases and injuries, or uses of excessive force — in a short time period.
The problem with threshold systems is that they place an inordinately high and inaccurate number of officers in the at-risk categories, while letting other officers in need of intervention slip by undetected, experts say.
The advantage of data-driven analysis is that it can take mounds of law enforcement information and look for patterns that lead to misconduct and those that lead to exemplary performance, supporters say.
Chicago police in 1994 became one of the first departments in the country to start a pilot Early Intervention System using data analysis. The software program, called BrainMaker, was started partly in response to police union criticism that the existing human supervisors were too arbitrary and subjective.
It was abandoned less than two years later amid Fraternal Order of Police contentions that the system was too intrusive, unable to accurately assess the nuance of police work and would set up an officer for punishment even though he or she had not misbehaved.
Those concerns linger to this day.
In Charlotte-Mecklenburg, which has a nonunionized department that serves a steadily growing, diverse region of more than 1 million, some officers are nervous about sharing extensive personal information with researchers, said Capt. Stella Patterson, who leads the department's professional standards unit. Those fears have eased somewhat after department administrators showed the officers that the information was made anonymous before turning it over to researchers, she added.
Other concerns by experts who have studied law enforcement for decades resemble earlier issues: An officer who is flagged as being at high-risk for an adverse interaction could be stigmatized and damaged professionally — before he or she has misbehaved, experts said.
“There's just kind of a discomfort for anybody who's involved in criminal justice about singling out and punishing people without basis of anything that they've done, but based on attributes that they have,” said Locke Bowman, Northwestern University clinical law professor and one of the lawyers who successfully pushed for a special prosecutor in the McDonald shooting case.
Related to that is the question of what to do with the information suggesting an officer may be headed for an adverse interaction.
Finding effective interventions — such as additional training or counseling — is challenging, experts say. Those efforts are complicated by a lack of credible data on citizen complaints and what experts see as an inefficient process to adjudicate police officer discipline. Both are common problems in departments across the country, including CPD.
Advocates of the data-driven approach agree that its success depends on reliable and extensive data. The quality of data is improving and the capacity for processing that legitimate data is rapidly becoming more sophisticated, supporters say.
In addition, the U. of C.'s data science teams have visited Charlotte-Mecklenburg police several times, participating in ride-alongs and officer focus groups seeking their input on what factors may predict an officer having an adverse interaction. Blending that context with the higher quality data processing has made the newer system even more accurate, U. of C.'s analysts say.
“There's a lot of human intuition in it,” said Lauren Haynes, senior project manager at the Center for Data Science & Public Policy. She added that Charlotte-Mecklenburg officers who once were suspicious of the data program have welcomed the chance to share their perspective.
Early tests from modeling have yielded encouraging results. Compared with the Charlotte Police Department's existing threshold-based system, the Data Science & Public Policy system accurately flagged more officers who went on to have adverse interventions, Patterson said.
“That was an indication that we're going in the right direction,” she said. She emphasized that the proposed system “is not punitive in any fashion. They're early warnings that alert us.”
Researchers from the university last visited Charlotte-Mecklenburg in mid-July, and the department is making final tweaks to the model, Patterson said.
“And then we'll see if it works,” she said. “If it doesn't, we'll go back to the drawing board.”
Kansas City Police retools community-policing efforts
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The police chief in Kansas City, Missouri, says he's having all of his officers actively involved in the city's communities rather than just six designated officers.
KMBC-TV reports that Chief Daryl Forte wrote in an internal letter accidentally given to some community leaders that it's time to reform the 25-year-old program under which a handful of officers make key connections in the community.
Forte says he hopes the change reduces crime and the number of police calls by getting to what he calls the "root causes of some of these problems."
But some leaders of neighborhood associations, while hoping the change works, worry that police department turnover and burdened officers could cut into the time police spend in the communities.
Essexville Department of Public Safety receives Medical First Responder license
by Cole Waterman
ESSEXVILLE, MI — Essexville public safety officers are patrolling the streets with a new array of medical equipment to ensure they can render top-line aid to people in need.
The Essexville Department of Public Safety in mid August received its Medical First Responder license through the state. Previously, the department's fire rescue truck was needed to respond to a medical situation.
"We decided that, to have a better response for our community and citizens for any medical needs they may have, we licensed both of our primary (Chevrolet) Tahoes as full emergency response vehicles," said Director Michael Schartow. "We have a full complement of the medical gear."
The gear includes automatic external defibrillators, EpiPens, Narcan nasal injectors, splints, stethoscopes, dressings and oxygen tanks.
"We can deal with anything from a minor scrape to allergic reactions to bee stings or seafood allergies or an overdose," Schartow said.
The department started working on the project a few months ago, the director said. The gear was set aside and ready to go, with only the state license needed for the Tahoes to take to the roads.
The equipment cost close to $2,000, coming out of the city's fund, Schartow said. The licensing fee was waived, he added.
Narcan injectors cost about $35 apiece, whereas EpiPens run between $300 and $600 for a pair, Schartow said.
Narcan, or generically naloxone, is an opiate antagonist used to bring a person out of an opioid-related overdose. When a person is in the grips of an overdose, the first responder uses the Narcan atomizer to apply a mist into both of the victim's nostrils.
The department currently consists of seven full-time public safety officers and 12 firefighters. Each of the personnel is certified as a medical first responder or higher. New hires are sent through the training, Schartow added.
The director added the development has been met with approval from the local government.
"The city is very supportive of it," Schartow said. "The public, I think they just expect it from us. We've always shown up and provided basic first aid until our rescue truck could arrive. Now, we don't have to wait for somebody to come back and get that. I think it will drop our response time drastically and we'll be able to serve our community a lot better."
What you need to know about fentanyl
With opioid overdoses on the rise, knowing the facts and risks of fentanyl are crucial to EMS
by Carla K. Johnson
Prince died of an overdose of the powerful opioid fentanyl, according to autopsy results released in June. Among the questions investigators were reviewing was whether Prince had a prescription for painkillers before his death.
A person close to the investigation of Prince's death told The Associated Press on Sunday that pills found in Prince's home marked as acetaminophen-hydrocodone actually contained fentanyl, suggesting they were counterfeit pills obtained illegally. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.
Prescription opioid overdoses reached nearly 19,000 in 2014, the highest number on record. Total opioid overdoses surpassed 29,000 that year when combined with heroin, which some abusers switch to after becoming hooked on painkillers.
What is fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, 50 times more potent than heroin, that's responsible for a recent surge in overdose deaths in some parts of the country. It also has legitimate medical uses.
Doctors prescribe fentanyl for cancer patients with tolerance to other narcotics. It comes in skin patches, lozenges, nasal spray and tablets. Because of the risk of abuse, overdose and addiction, the Food and Drug Administration imposes tight restrictions on fentanyl; it is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance.
Some pharmaceutical fentanyl is illegally diverted to the black market. But most fentanyl used illicitly is manufactured in clandestine labs. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has tied fentanyl seizures to Mexican drug-trafficking groups. On the street, fentanyl is sold alone as powder, added to heroin or made into counterfeit OxyContin pills. Users don't always know when they're taking fentanyl, increasing the risk of fatal overdose.
The DEA issued a nationwide alert about fentanyl overdose in March 2015. More than 700 fentanyl-related overdose deaths were reported to the DEA in late 2013 and 2014. Since many coroners and state crime labs don't routinely test for fentanyl, the actual number of overdoses is probably much higher.
What is a lethal dose?
It's tricky with opioids like fentanyl. Anyone who takes prescription opioid painkillers for a long time builds up a tolerance to the drugs. A dose that could kill one person might provide medicinal pain relief to another.
Experts in medical toxicology say it's important to know how much opioid medication a person has been using before a death to know how to interpret post-mortem blood levels. Pill bottles and medical history may become crucial evidence.
Does pain and treatment lead to addiction?
Prince had a reputation for clean living, and some friends said they never saw any sign of drug use. But longtime friend and collaborator Sheila E. has told the AP that Prince had physical issues from performing, citing hip and knee problems that she said came from years of jumping off risers and stage speakers in heels.
Becoming tolerant to opioid painkillers may lead some patients to seek stronger drugs from their doctors. Some users — whether they start as recreational users or legitimate pain patients — become addicted, experiencing an inability to control how much they take, so they use much more than is prescribed or seek out drugs on the black market.
With good management, however, opioids can offer relief to people with only a small risk of addiction, according to a 2010 review of the available studies.
Drug overdoses up, but fatalities down in NH
Officials believe greater access to Narcan and a new good Samaritan law have saved lives
by Max Sullivan
HAMPTON, N.H. — Opioid-related fatalities are down in Hampton this year compared to 2015, and local officials believe public access to Narcan and the good Samaritan law enacted last year could be reasons for the decrease in deaths.
Opioid use, however, is up in Hampton, according to fire officials. Hampton Fire Chief Jameson Ayotte told selectmen this month that there were 31 calls for overdoses this year through July 31, 18 of which came in June and July. There were only 24 calls for overdoses in 2015 from January through July, he said.
Despite that increase, only one person has died of a suspected overdose in Hampton this year — Tara Eaton, 44, who died on L Street on April 9. There were five overdose deaths in Hampton by mid-July in 2015, the total for that year eventually reaching seven.
Hampton is one of several communities in New Hampshire impacted by what officials have called a statewide opioid “epidemic,” opioids including narcotics like heroin, oxycodone and fentanyl. Last year, 439 people died of opioid overdoses in the state.
Hampton EMS Officer Nate Denio said the availability of Narcan, a drug that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose, may have led to fewer fatalities in town. Narcan became available for members of the general public in late 2014.
Denio also said more people might be calling 911 sooner because of the good Samaritan law, which shields those reporting overdoses from being charged with drug possession. The law was passed last year and will sunset in three years. It is meant to help New Hampshire recover from the drug epidemic.
Hampton firefighter Matt Newton believes 911 calls are being made sooner by those present when an overdose occurs because of the law.
“I think people are starting to call a little bit sooner,” Newton said. “The last people they want to see is the cops, so I think they're propensity to call 911 might be a little less than normal people. But now that the law has changed things, I think that might have turned (hesitation to call) around a little bit.”
One former narcotic user now in recovery, Ryan Brown, 26, of Seabrook, said he stopped using heroin before the law went into effect last year. However, he said he probably would have been hesitant to call 911 if he were present when a friend overdosed while the two were using together.
“I would be nervous to call and pick up a charge,” said Brown, who graduated from Drug Court in Brentwood Monday. “I probably still would call but I would have had to think more about it.”
While Hampton is seeing a downtrend in fatalities, many communities statewide are experiencing the opposite. James Vara, the governor's advisor on addiction and behavioral health and commonly referred to as the “drug czar,” said officials are projecting fatalities to increase beyond the number from last year. He said he personally has not heard from community leaders in the state who believe the good Samaritan law has led to fewer deaths.
In the Tri-City Region, Wentworth-Douglas has had 80 patients brought by ambulance where Narcan was administered by first-responders before the patient arrived at the hospital, according to Dover Assistant Fire Chief Paul Haas. Less than five of those resulted in fatalities, he said.
In 2015, there were 97 of those cases the whole year, and three of those resulted in fatalities.
“There clearly is an increase this year,” said Haas. “We're at 80 and we're not even three quarters of the year.”
Some communities have noticed a downtrend in calls for heroin, though. In Exeter, Fire Chief Brian Comeau said his department has been responding to fewer overdose calls. Last year, he said it felt like the calls came every week, while only a handful a month have come in 2016.
If Narcan is a major reason for the decline in overdose fatalities in Hampton, Denio said it is still important for Narcan not to be treated as sole solution to the current drug problem. He is one of several officials who have said that addiction is a problem that manifests in an addict's life well before a 911 call is needed. He believes measures like education and treatment need to be viewed as greater solutions than Narcan.
“The warning we had was not to let Narcan make people complacent, that it wasn't the answer to the drug problem,” Denio said. “That's how I still feel.”