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

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


November, 2016 - Week 1


South Carolina

Man accused of kidnapping S.C. woman confesses to 2003 murders, sheriff says

by CBS News

SPARTANBURG CO., S.C. The man accused of kidnapping Kala Brown and her boyfriend Charles Carver is also responsible for another major unsolved case from 2003, according to Sheriff Chuck Wright, CBS affiliate WSPA reports.

Todd Kohlhepp admitted to murdering the four victims from the 2003 Superbike case, Wright said.

Kala Brown was found on Todd Kohlhepp's property, chained in a storage container.

Charles Carver's body was found in shallow grave on the property.

Kohlhepp was brought back to his property on Saturday, where he showed deputies 2 more graves, Wright said.

When Todd Kohlhepp was 15 and facing charges he raped a neighbor after forcing her into his home at gunpoint and tying her up, his father told court officials the only emotion the teen was capable of showing was anger, and a neighbor called him a “devil on a chain.”

Fifteen years after he was released from prison for that crime, Spartanburg County deputies were brought to his property by the last known cellphone signals of two missing people. On Thursday, they found Brown chained in a container for two months. She told investigators that Kohlhepp shot and killed her boyfriend in front of her.

Late Saturday, Sheriff Chuck Wright identified the body found on the site a day earlier as her boyfriend, 32-year-old Charles Carver.

“They're obviously heartbroken,” he said after talking to Carver's family. “It's terrible. I do think this helps with a little bit of closure. .. We prayed for God to show us, and He did.”

Carver died of multiple gunshot wounds. An anthropologist is helping determine how long Carver was buried, said Coroner Rusty Clevenger. He declined to say how many times Carver had been shot.

Kohlhepp is charged with kidnapping Brown. Authorities say more charges are coming.

It was an abrupt, but perhaps not unexpected turn for a man who spent his 20s in prison but after his release managed to get a private pilot license, build a real estate firm with more than a dozen agents and buy nearly 100 acres of land and erect a fence around it said to have cost $80,000. On that land, dozens of officers continued to search Saturday for any additional bodies after Brown told investigators Kohlhepp claimed to have killed at least four others.

Kohlhepp, handcuffed and wearing an orange jumpsuit, could be seen on the property Saturday with deputies. He was there for less than an hour, The Greenville News reported. Wright would not confirm Kohlhepp was brought to the site.

As a teen, Kohlhepp was cold and callous. He went to his 14-year-old rape victim's house after talking to her parents and making sure they wouldn't be home. He was smart, angry and felt the world owed him something, his chief probation officer wrote in court papers in Arizona in 1987.

Kohlhepp remains behind bars. The 45-year-old had to register as a sex offender after his release from prison in Arizona.

But that didn't stop him from becoming an apparently successful real estate agent. Kohlhepp followed the rules and admitted he had a felony conviction when he applied for his real estate license in 2006. But his letter explaining the charge was full of lies. He said he argued with his girlfriend, police were called, he had a gun and was caught up in a crackdown on gun violence.

Police said Kohlhepp had a crush on the 14-year-old girl, who was friendly, but not romantic toward him. After raping her, he said he would kill her 6-year-old and 3-year-old siblings that she was babysitting if she called the police. His first question to officers when he was arrested was how long he was going to have to spend in prison, according to court papers.

In the South Carolina case, the couple disappeared about Aug. 31 when Brown went to do some cleaning on the suspect's nearly 100-acre property near Woodruff. Her boyfriend accompanied her, said Daniel Herren, a friend who sat with the woman in her hospital room after she was rescued Thursday.

Kohlhepp has a house about 9 miles away in Moore, where neighbor Ron Owen said Kohlhepp was very private, but when they did talk across the fence, he was a “big bragger.”

Kohlhepp liked to talk about the money he made day trading online, for example, and about his two BMWs. He recently told Owen, 76, that he'd paid $80,000 to put the chain-link fence around his property where the woman was found.

“We didn't see any signs whatsoever that this was going on,” Owen said. “My first reaction's a baseball bat, but I know I'm not to take that in my own hands. God will deal with him.”

But even as his father felt he couldn't be helped, and as the neighbor recounted how Kohlhepp laughed when her son cried as he rolled him down the street locked in a dog carrier, court records show Kohlhepp's still had one supporter in 1987 - his mother.

She wrote a letter asking the judge to send Kohlhepp to his grandparents instead of prison.

“He even walked the girl home,” she wrote. “Does that sound like a dangerous criminal?”




‘A vile and disgusting act': Officer accused of giving fecal sandwich to homeless man is fired

by Cleve R. Wootson Jr.

The act disgusted officers in San Antonio so much that they reported one of their own to internal affairs.

On bike patrol one night in May, Officer Matthew Luckhurst placed feces between two pieces of bread, city officials said. He slipped the “fecal sandwich” into a Styrofoam container, and placed it next to a sleeping homeless man.

Then he bragged about the act to another officer.

Officers reported Luckhurst in July, which launched an unsuccessful search for the homeless man as well as an internal investigation.

It ended last week, when Luckhurst was officially fired by the city of San Antonio. But his actions had already cast a pall on a city that has become a national model for navigating the tricky relationship between the city's tax base and its homeless.

Police and city leaders rushed to say Luckhurst's act was a bad decision by a former officer that doesn't reflect the rest of the 2,300-member department.

“This was a vile and disgusting act that violates our guiding principles of ‘treating all with integrity, compassion, fairness and respect,' ” Police Chief William McManus said in a statement to NBC-affiliate WCSH. “The fact that his fellow officers were so disgusted with his actions that they reported him to internal affairs demonstrates that this type of behavior will never be tolerated.”

In a statement, Mayor Ivy Taylor told the station: “Firing this officer was the right thing to do. His actions were a betrayal of every value we have in our community, and he is not representative of our great police force.”

Luckhurst's attorney told The Washington Post that the officer never gave a fecal sandwich to a homeless person — he just joked about doing it.

“There's no eyewitness to that and there's no body camera footage,” Ben Sifuentes told The Post. “This guy made a joke to fellow officers and the story got repeated over and over again and [the chief is] taking the story as truth when, in fact officers will often tell jokes to relieve the stress of having to deal with the most undesirable people.

“Just because [Chief] William McManus says something happened doesn't mean it's true.”

City Council member Shirley Gonzales said she heard about the incident last week, as the police department moved to finalize Luckhurst's termination.

She knew the news could make an already tense homeless situation worse.

Gonzales's district includes Haven for Hope, a facility where homeless people and families receive shelter and services near San Antonio's downtown. The collection of faith-based groups, volunteers and social service organizations tries to help the homeless get homes, jobs and medical treatment.

According to a city report on homelessness, the number of homeless people in San Antonio has decreased 12 percent since Haven for Hope opened in 2010, although there's been a recent uptick.

The city has struggled with a ballooning population at a section of the shelter called Prospects Courtyard. The courtyard offers some protection from the elements, as well as showers, bathrooms and a place to wash clothes. But the homeless who gather there aren't connected to the suite of services Haven for Hope provides. Some don't want it, Gonzales said, because the services come with strings, like substance abuse treatment.

Still, Prospects Courtyard works as it was intended — as a safe and centralized gathering spot for the homeless in San Antonio.

It works too well, in fact. Originally meant to shelter 300 people, as many as 900 gather there nightly, Gonzales said.

Luckhurst was one of 66 bike patrol officers who patrol downtown and surrounding areas. Officers on bikes are more approachable and can see more detail in an urban area, but they also can get to trouble spots quickly.

The officers who patrol Prospects Courtyard have to constantly balance the needs of the homeless with the grumblings of the overwhelmed community around them, Gonzales said.

“It's a very big strain on the community of people who live around it and I live in that community,” Gonzales told The Post. “These homeless people also get preyed upon because they're vulnerable. Our law enforcement is very present in the area. They have a difficult job of enforcing the law, and also have to deal with a population that's very vulnerable and can also be not stable.

“Then we hear about something like this and it's very deflating.”

But Luckhurst's attorney said San Antonio's bigger problem is that it's using the police department to combat an array of issues that officers simply aren't qualified to handle.

“Instead of using appropriate social services, they're using the police,” Sifuentes said. “Why are you using a law enforcement weapon to solve a social-service issue? And when the law enforcement allegedly does something that they don't like, then they blame law enforcement.”



Illegal immigrants surging to US-Mexico border in race against Election Day

by William La Jeunesse

Americans aren't the only ones motivated by Tuesday's election. The presidential race has immigrants from around the world racing to the U.S.-Mexican border, as the cartels exploit a powerful narrative: get into the U.S. while you still can.

“Smugglers are telling them that they need to come across now while there's a chance,” said Art Del Cueto, a Border Patrol agent in Tucson, Ariz., whose views were echoed by another agent in Texas.

“People think if one candidate wins, certain things will happen, like a giant wall being built and then they can never get through,” said Chris Cabrera, an agent in the Rio Grande Valley. “Another faction believes that if the other candidate wins, they'll get amnesty if they're here by a certain date.”

Those two competing narratives – triggered by the rhetoric of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, respectively -- are driving immigration numbers the Border Patrol hasn't seen in years in some sectors.

“We are overwhelmed,” said a veteran agent in McAllen, Texas. “We are seeing 800 to 1,000 apprehensions every night.”

In fiscal 2016, the Border Patrol apprehended 117,200 immigrants from Central America, almost one-third of all apprehensions border-wide -- and 5,000 more than during the so-called surge of 2014. The agency also apprehended 5,000 Haitians, up from just 700 last year. The number of immigrants claiming to be from Africa and Asia also is up.

"There are always going to be push and pull factors that influence an individual's decision to make that trek," said Tucson Border Patrol Sector Chief Paul Beeson.

The poverty and violence plaguing many of these countries helps push immigrants north, Beeson said. Pull factors include available and good-paying jobs in the U.S. and immigration policy that provides work permits and freedom for immigrants while the courts adjudicate their ‘asylum' claim.

“When you stop somebody, you ask their name and the first thing they tell you is – ‘I'm here for asylum, I can't go home because they'll kill me.' … When it takes a good five or six minutes just to get their name out of them, they have a rehearsed story,” said Cabrera. “Once they get those papers saying they can pass through our checkpoint, we'll never see them again.”

Del Cueto said the agents are “not getting any backing” from D.C. and “we need to start enforcing every single immigration law we have on the books.”

Del Cueto and Cabrera belong to the National Border Patrol Council, which represents the Border Patrol's 18,000 field agents who are prohibited from talking openly to the media.

While Central American immigrants have posed the biggest resource challenge for Texas, they say a surge of Haitians are pouring into ports of entry in California and Arizona.

Last year, the U.S. saw a 500 percent increase of Haitians admitted to the U.S., double that in San Diego where right now 2,000 are waiting outside the port in San Ysidro. According to Homeland Security sources, another 2,000 are in Mexicali and several hundred are in San Luis, just south of Yuma where Del Cueto says immigrants are sleeping in a church parking lot. Further east in Nogales, Mexico, 150 are waiting to cross into the U.S. They are camped next to the border fence, waiting for Customs and Border Protection officers to process them as refugees.

Some had jewelry and one woman had an iPad. The men surrounded the women, who huddled around a pile of boxes containing water and food.

“We've been in Nogales 20 days,” said one middle-aged man in a striped shirt in broken English. “We need help crossing the border.”

He said each immigrant paid a $4,000 to $6,000 smuggling fee. Once here, he said the Mexican government had given each a number based on their arrival.

“We are seeing an uptick in the number of Haitians that are looking for an immigration benefit,” said Beeson, who admits the surge is taking agents off the front lines.

Following the earthquake several years ago, Haitians were allowed to immigrate and stay in the U.S. under a program known as 'Temporary Protected Status.' Earlier this year, the U.S. ended that protection, leaving some Haitians in the pipeline traveling through Mexico, where according to officials there, roughly 8,000 are on their way to the border.

While Trump and Clinton have very different visions of immigration reform and border security, Stratfor's Scott Stewart doesn't see the border threat changing until conditions do south of the border.

“There's really no easy answer to it because there are just deeper issues,” said Stewart, from the defense and security think tank. “You have pervasive corruption where you see all levels of government are involved in, you know, drug dealing and other criminal activity. … So these things all tie together and make it a very difficult place for people to live and survive and because of that it's very understandable why people would want to migrate from those conditions up to the United States.”




Community policing, social media shine spotlight on crime

by Sue Botos

Despite a recent perceived increase, police report the city crime rate has remained low over the past five years. The difference is the increasing role of community policing and social media which can assist law enforcement, but also reflect a distorted picture of incidents.

“Social media can be a great friend and a huge enemy. We're going to set that aside and give you factual information. Data is everything. Data is our best friend,” Rocky River police Chief Kelly Stillman recently told an audience of about 80 during a forum at Rocky River Memorial Hall. The purpose of the gathering, sponsored by the city Democratic Club, was to update residents on crime and to discuss crime prevention.
Also on the panel were RRPD public information officer Lt. George Lichman, Jeff Captretto, special agent in charge, Westshore Enforcement Bureau Narcotics Task Force, and Detective John Morgan of the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office.

“We haven't had a huge increase in crime. We've had a combination of a lot of things that may make it appear that way, but there's always been crime here since the day I started,” said Lichman, an 18-year veteran of the RRPD.

Lichman continued that then, “Things were kept quiet.”

“There was no Facebook Community of Rocky River page where if one person witnessed something, they could get on that page and then 5,000 other people knew about it. That didn't exist then,” he added.

While the police department has its own Facebook page and Twitter account, Lichman noted, “We don't share as much as the Community of Rocky River page does, but we do let people know when there is a threat to public safety or a major incident that people need to be aware of.”

Nixle and Ready Notify are used as online communication tools by police, but Lichman said Stillman “has taken community policing and public relations very seriously.”
Lichman noted the communications officer's position was created to clearly communicate with the public and media. The department has also reached out to the community through the Citizen Police Academy, which gives residents and those involved with the community an up-close look at officers' work.

Police have become a presence in the city public schools with the Cops On Patrol in Schools (COPS) program, where an officer does a daily walk-through of each building, and with the placement of a Student Resource Officer (SRO) at the high school.

“This has been extremely valuable, getting these kids to recognize police and to feel comfortable talking with them. It has opened doors to communication with school officials and beyond, much more so than I would have thought,” said Lichman of the school programs.

The recently rolled out bicycle patrol has also been instrumental in breaking down barriers between officers and the community. “Taking that steel and glass cage away, which is our patrol car, and being out with the public … has been a fabulous opportunity for us,” said Lichman. Additionally, he reported the bicycle officers have caught individuals rifling through cars at night, able to quietly approach on the bikes.

Moving on to crime statistics, Lichman divided the data into two categories: crimes, which reflected incidents filed in the Rocky River Municipal court between 2011 and 2015, and calls for service, which cover everything an officer does as recorded by dispatch.

The statistics showed crimes, which Lichman said included only violent and property for this presentation, totaled 432 for 2015. The most reported was 623 in 2013. That year also had the highest totals for the most common crimes, drug abuse (293) and theft (623). Those numbers for 2015 were 177 and 95, respectively.

“We were motivated to look this up because of the Community of Rocky River (Facebook) page,” said Lichman, referring to lengthy, sometimes heated, discussions about police on that site.

“We know some of these crimes are much more bold. The heroin epidemic has made people more bold in the crimes they commit. Unfortunately some things, despite our best efforts, we just will not be able to prevent,” stated Lichman.

Police have been successful in solving crimes, said Lichman, but the community needs to help. “The number one crime prevention (measure) is to lock your doors. There were 13-14 cars rifled through Thursday night and not one of them was locked.”

NOTE: The Rocky River Citizen Police Academy Alumni Assoc. will present Coffee With a Cop on Nov. 13 at Erie Isle Coffee, 19300 Detroit Ave. from 9:30-11 a.m. RRPD officers will be on hand to answer residents' questions.




Residents pack house for community policing forum

by Ruthannn Carr

A packed house of Fluvanna residents listened and asked questions Tuesday (Oct. 25) at a community policing forum at the Fluvanna Community Center in Fork Union.

Commonwealth's Attorney Jeff Haislip and Sheriff Eric Hess presented Fluvanna County's response to the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing. In its final report issued in May 2015, the task force recommended communities guide policing strategies along six pillars:

•  Building trust and legitimacy;

•  Policy and oversight;

•  Technology and social media;

•  Community policing and crime reduction;

•  Training and education; and

•  Officer wellness and safety.

Taylor Cairns covers Fluvanna County for CBS 19 news and acted as moderator for the evening.

Hess' opening statement he talked about how unique a community Fluvanna is and how lucky he feels to be the sheriff. “For the record, everyone is treated with dignity and respect,” Hess said. “We strive to be neutral and transparent and have trustworthy motives.”

Haislip reflected the same attitude, saying he wants citizens to be treated fairly.“Don't get me wrong, I want to win every case,” Haislip said. “But I get just as much satisfaction from having case facts change and dropping charges as I do taking it to trial and winning. I want to play fair.”

Cairns urged attendees who had questions to write them on provided index cards. Several questions regarded the general topic of being afraid of police.

Hess talked about being at Camp Friendship and having a camper ask, “What can I do to keep from being shot?” He told the camper the same thing he told the group: Have trust and respect for the officers.

“When an officer asks for your driver's license and insurance, compliance is the best way to respond,” he said. In the same manner, Hess said he reminds his officers that their job is to protect and serve. He encourages officers to be visible and take part in the community, reasoning that people are more likely to trust someone they know.

If a person feels they've been treated unfairly, they can file a formal complaint, Hess said. The office will review the situation and let the person know the outcome of the investigation. People can also call the department to talk to someone informally. In neither case will the person be targeted for the complaint. In the case of an officer-involved shooting, Hess said an outside agency would conduct the investigation.

When asked about Columbia, Hess said officers being a visible, engaged part of the community plays a big part.“Columbia has its issues just like other areas of Fluvanna County,” he said. “I tell my officers if you stop someone, treat that person like you would want someone to treat your mom or son or daughter.”

Hess said his office doesn't have a “warrior mentality.” “We're here to support. We don't need helmets and fully automatic weapons,” he said. “We're a small rural community.”

Hess said officers undergo a minimum of 40 hours of training every two years. Much of that training involves cultural sensitivity and how to de-escalate situations. Hess praised the Board of Supervisors for funding the new radio system, computer aided dispatch (CAD) system and body cameras. Once the radio system is in place, all officers will have contact with the office and each other no matter where in the county. It's not like that now.

The CAD system will catalogue calls in a much more user friendly way, Hess said. Statistics will be much more readily available.

After doing a beta test with the body cameras, Hess said they saw how hard it will be to implement. Storing footage and making it available to the Commonwealth's Attorney's office is just one problem to solve. Haislip said if three officers show up at a call, he has to watch the body camera footage from each officer which can add up to six hours.

“I just can't say I don't have time to do it,” he said, adding, “I learned one thing during the beta test: You've got to be on your Ps and Qs because it's all being recorded.”

The cameras, as well as dash cameras for every cruiser, will be operational soon, Hess said. Dash cameras will come on automatically when an officer goes over a certain speed and when the officer turns on the blue lights. Haislip and Hess said they would follow normal evidence rules when it comes to releasing footage from the cameras.

Haislip said, “We can't release anything to the public that could affect a person having a fair trial.”

Hess said you have to be patient to make sure the investigation follows the rules. “If you want it done right, it'll never be quick,” he said.

Someone asked why one person charged with a crime may stay in jail one day while others stay much longer.

Haislip said most often how long a person stays in jail while their case is being adjudicated depends on how much a risk the person is and what punishment the person is facing if convicted.

“We try to limit the amount of time they spend in jail. I know how valuable freedom is,” Haislip said.

Asked how Lake Monticello police and the sheriff's department work together, Hess said his department handles the investigation of all felonies.
The sheriff's department has a Memorandum of Agreement with Lake Monticello just as it does with all surrounding counties.

When asked about stop and frisk, both said it rarely comes up in Fluvanna.

Haislip said he's available at all hours to take a call from an officer about getting a search warrant. “We're very sensitive to people's rights,” Haislip said. “I'd rather take that call at 2 a.m. then step on someone's rights.”

In questions regarding health and safety, Hess said officers are trained in how to deal with someone who may be suffering from a mental illness.
When it comes to his officers, he tells them what his first supervisor told him: Find a hobby.

“I encourage everyone to have something to do outside of law enforcement,” he said. “It's the only way to survive a 25- to 30-year career in law enforcement.”

Another attendee asked about the use of deadly force.“For a police officer it isn't any different than an ordinary citizen – it's the same standard: Only use it to protect our life or the life of another citizen,” Hess said.

In the end, you can't compare Fluvanna to any other place, Haislip said. “We're a strange little melting pot,” he said. “We're so different than any other county around us. We don't seem to have the same problems. I credit the people in Fluvanna. It must be something in the water.”




Mo. group helps fallen officers' families

The organization is helping 81 families of first responders, including the families of fallen St. Louis Officer Blake Snyder and wounded Ballwin Officer Michael Flamion

by Nassum Benchaabane

ST. LOUIS — The family of a St. Francois County deputy sheriff is the sixth this year to get assistance from BackStoppers.

Paul Clark, 55, died July 4 from injuries he suffered when his patrol car was struck by a vehicle fleeing a traffic stop in October 2015. He suffered a broken back that required multiple surgeries.

BackStoppers is helping Clark's wife and two adult children. The non-profit provides financial support to the spouses and dependent children of first responders who suffer a catastrophic injury or die in the line of duty in parts of Missouri and Illinois.

The organization is now helping 81 families of first responders, including the families of fallen St. Louis County police Officer Blake Snyder and wounded Ballwin Officer Michael Flamion.

“We recognize the tremendous sacrifices public servants make every day when they go to work,” Ron Battelle, executive director of BackStoppers, said in a press release. “We understand the burdens placed on surviving spouses and children when tragedies occur and believe our community has an obligation to care for the loved ones of those who have died in the line of duty.”

Clark served in the St. Francois County Sheriff's department for 13 years. Before that he served in the Park Hills Police Department for five years.

He will be honored at Backstoppers' largest annual fundraiser, the Budweiser Guns 'N Hoses boxing event Nov. 23 at the Scottrade Center. The event pits firefighters against police officers in the boxing ring and garners between $200,000 and $300,000 for the group.



From the FBI

A Primer on DarkNet Marketplaces

What They are and What Law Enforcement is Doing to Combat Them

Last week, the FBI joined a number of other U.S. law enforcement agencies in Operation Hyperion, a successful international action aimed at disrupting the operations and infrastructure of illicit DarkNet marketplaces.

The initiative was the brainchild of the Five Eyes Law Enforcement Group (FELEG), an international coalition of law enforcement agencies from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States who share criminal intelligence and collaborate on operations to combat transnational crime. FELEG has a number of working groups that concentrate on specific criminal or functional areas, and one of those groups—the Cyber Crime Working Group—focuses on identifying the sophisticated perpetrators operating key criminal services in the cyber underground marketplace.

But what are these underground marketplaces, and what exactly is the DarkNet? To understand both, you first have to have a basic understanding of the entire Internet.

•  First, there's what's known as the Clear Web, or Surface Web, which contains content for the general public that is indexed by traditional search engines (like websites for news, e-commerce, marketing, collaboration, and social networking). The FBI's own public website is part of the Clear Web.

•  But there is a vast amount of web content out there on the Internet, and much of it is not indexed by traditional search engines—that part of the web is known as the Deep Web. Its content is still available to the general public, but it's harder to find unless you have the exact URL. Examples of Deep Web content are websites and forums that require log-ins, websites that don't allow for indexing or aren't linked to anything, and databases.

•  And finally, there's the DarkNet, which is a subset of the Deep Web. DarkNet content is not indexed and consists of overlaying networks that use the public Internet but require unique software, configuration, or authorization to access. And this access is predominately designed to hide the identity of the user.

There is some criminal activity—like fraud schemes—that takes place on the Clear Web and on the Deep Web. And there are some legitimate uses—and users—of the DarkNet. But because of the anonymity it offers, many criminals and criminal groups gravitate toward the DarkNet, often doing business through online marketplaces set up for nefarious purposes.

What's available for sale through illicit DarkNet marketplaces? Typically, products and services involve child sexual exploitation; drugs; guns; chemical, biological, and radiological materials and knowledge; stolen goods; counterfeit goods; and computer hacking tools. Payment for these goods and services is usually through virtual currency like bitcoin, also designed to be anonymous.

On illicit DarkNet marketplaces—just like on legitimate online marketplaces on the Clear Web—buyers can also provide feedback on products and services, communicate through internal messaging, and take part in website forums. The difference, of course, is that the feedback, internal messaging, and forums on DarkNet marketplaces focus on topics like the quality of child pornography images, the potency of a particular poison, or the speed at which a cache of guns is mailed to its buyer.

Shown is a screenshot of a listing taken from the website of an illicit DarkNet marketplace featuring the various categories of illegal merchandise that buyers can browse through.

In its investigative efforts against DarkNet marketplaces, the FBI—much like in our other criminal priorities—focuses its resources not on individual criminals but on the most egregious criminal organizations and activities.

Illicit DarkNet marketplaces, by their very nature, are difficult to penetrate. But not impossible. The Bureau, with its partners, uses all available investigative techniques to target buyers, sellers, marketplace administrators, and the technical infrastructure of the marketplaces themselves. And we have had success doing it.

For example, in November 2014, federal law enforcement took action against more than 400 hidden service DarkNet addresses, including dozens of illicit marketplace websites operating on what is known as the Onion Router, or Tor, network, which was designed to make it practically impossible to physically locate the computers hosting or accessing websites on the network. One of the most prolific websites taken down as a result of those investigative activities was Silk Road 2.0—and the website's operator was arrested and charged.

Successes like this are vital. Yes, they allow us to dismantle illicit websites and go after those responsible for them. But they also enable us to develop actionable intelligence on other websites, criminals, and criminal organizations. And the knowledge we gain from these investigations helps us create more sophisticated investigative tools to shine a brighter light into criminal activity on the DarkNet.

More on Operation Hyperion

During Operation Hyperion, FBI agents made contact with more than 150 individuals around the country suspected of purchasing illicit items from various DarkNet marketplaces. Some of these individuals confessed to ordering a range of illegal drugs and controlled substances online, including heroin, cocaine, morphine, and ketamine.



New York

Sources: U.S. intel warning of possible al Qaeda attacks in U.S. Monday

by CBS News

NEW YORK -- CBS News has learned about a potential terror threat for the day before the election.

Sources told CBS News senior investigative producer Pat Milton that U.S. intelligence has alerted joint terrorism task forces that al Qaeda could be planning attacks in three states for Monday.

It is believed New York, Texas and Virginia are all possible targets, though no specific locations are mentioned.

U.S. authorities are taking the threat seriously, though the sources stress the intelligence is still being assessed and its credibility hasn't been confirmed. Counterterrorism officials were alerted to the threat out of abundance of caution.

“While we do not comment on intelligence matters, we will say the counterterrorism and homeland security communities remain vigilant and well-postured to defend against attacks here in the United States,” a U.S. intelligence official told CBS News. “The FBI and DHS, working with our federal, state and local counterparts, share and assess intelligence on a daily basis and will continue to work closely with law enforcement and intelligence community partners to identify and disrupt any potential threat to public safety.

“As we have long said, in this environment, homegrown violent extremists could strike with little or no notice. Our concern that violent extremists could be inspired to conduct attacks inside the U.S. have not diminished.

“The public should expect to continue to observe an increased law enforcement and security presence across communities in public places. Our law enforcement community also continues to take action against those who attempt to engage in activities that could put Americans at risk. There are more than 100 Joint Terrorism Task Forces at work across the country in partnership with state and local law enforcement to prevent attacks in the homeland.”

The New York Police Department said it was working with intelligence agencies and the Joint Terrorism Task Force, according to the Reuters news agency.

Intelligence about potential threats always increases during holiday seasons and when big events are approaching.

As Election Day nears, federal law enforcement is planning for several worst-case scenarios.

Earlier this week, an alert warned local police of “polling places” being seen as “attractive targets” for “lone wolf”-type attacks by individuals motivated by violent extremist ideologies, sovereign citizen or other extremist activity.




Renewed Sex Stings: Community Policing?

by Paul Bass

Face got into the pick-up truck. The driver ordered a “half and half.” They agreed on a price; Face doesn't remember if it was $50 or $60. He shifted into gear. Then they heard a siren.

An open can of beer, a pack of Newports, a couple of nips sat between them on the front seat.

Face (pictured above) would remember noticing that the liquid in the can didn't smell like beer. She would remember the driver getting “hyped” as the cops pulled the truck over.

And she would remember what he said: “You're not police, are you?”

“You are,” she responded. “Stop playing.”

The driver stopped the car in the New England Linen parking lot on Derby Avenue. Officers came to arrest Face. And the john — indeed, an undercover police officer — sped away.

It was around 7 o'clock on the night of Oct. 25. Face — that's her nickname (“Everybody tells me I'm pretty, so they call me ‘Face'”) — had just begun a shift selling sex on Derby Avenue near the Boulevard in the West River neighborhood. She had just turned 39 years old. For most of those years, she said, she has struggled with crack addiction and, on and off, sold her body to pay for it.

Until Oct. 25, she said, police had never arrested her for prostitution. Now she was caught up in a sting. Acting on complaints from weary neighbors, the New Haven police department's Narcotics and Criminal Intelligence squads sent decoys like Face's fake john into Dwight/West River and Fair Haven to get solicited by prostitutes. The night ended with arrests of 14 women, 13 on prostitution charges, one on drug charges.

They ranged in age from 27 to 56 years old. Many of their faces looked old and worn and damaged when the cops took their mug shots. Then the state saw those faces prominently displayed on the TV news.

The cops said they had a good reason to do that. Neighbors were fed up with seeing, and their kids seeing, sex acts or used condoms, in alleys or on the street.

“It's a quality of life issue,” said Assistant Chief Archie Generoso, who oversees the divisions that undertook the operation. The department, he said, wanted “to show the community we're making some kind of an effort. And try to get [the prostitutes] some kind of services.”

Released, like the other arrestees, back to the streets, Face saw her face on the TV news, which also placed all the arrestees' desperate mug shots on their websites. WTNH created a gallery with full-sized versions.

“I felt bad,” she said. “Embarrassed.” But not necessarily enough, she said, to kick her habit. She said she doesn't believe the arrests will keep prostitutes off drugs or off the streets.

Some researchers and other police departments raise similar doubts. So did Mayor Toni Harp when asked this week about the sting: “The real question is: How do we get to the root of it? Is this not another way that society victimizes poor women who really have no other way to make it?”

Community Policing

Stings aren't new in New Haven. But for a while, New Haven stopped doing them.

Back in the 1990s, the city launched community policing under a plan Harp (then a city alderwoman) helped draw up. Police officials decided that locking up street prostitutes didn't address the root of the situation. It didn't stop low-level offenders or users with related drug and other health problems, the same way that focusing on corner dime-bag slingers removed the visibility of a problem temporarily, but didn't stem it long-term. It just clogged the criminal justice system with society's most vulnerable people, who then had new barriers to overcome in straightening out their lives.

The police then worked with an advocacy group called Streets Inc., which distributed condoms to prostitutes and helped them get drug treatment, housing or other needed help. One top-ranking cop would visit prostitutes off-duty to urge them to enter treatment programs. Meanwhile, a citizens group in the Edgewood neighborhood started a “john of the week” campaign, publicizing the names and photos of suburban johns who came to their area to buy sex. That cut down on the problem.

Most of the cops involved in the alternative 1990s approach have long left the department. The stings eventually returned. The police no longer work with any advocacy groups for prostitutes; Generoso said he doesn't know of any in town. (It does work with outside groups to combat sex trafficking.) The Oct. 25 sting occurred at the request of the district managers of the Fair Haven and Dwight/West River neighborhoods, under the direction of the new head of New Haven's detective division, Lt. Herb Johnson.

During her weekly “Mayor Monday” appearance on WNHH radio, Mayor Harp suggested that cops replicate a part of their “Project Longevity” strategy with drug dealers: Hold a “call-in.”

“Everybody knows who the prostitutes are. You call them in. Before you arrest them, you say, ‘Look , we know this is what you're doing. We want you to stop it.' You provide the services they might need. You say, ‘If you don't, if you're not willing to give up your john,'” then the police will arrest them.

“It's really a form of slavery if you think about it,” she said of prostitution.

Some other cities have already embraced the call-in idea. Seattle calls it the “Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion” (LEAD) program. Working with other agencies, cops bring in low-level prostitutes and instead of arresting them, offer them help finding “housing, health care, job training, drug treatment, and mental health support.”

Sweeps like New Haven's don't reduce the level of prostitution in a community or steer prostitutes to meaningful help, according to Johns Hopkins School of Health Professor Susan Gail Sherman, who has studied the subject in depth with both cops and sex workers. She's currently working with Baltimore's police department to bring a version of LEAD to that city.

“Shaming never works with anyone for anything,” Sherman said. “It doesn't address root causes…. You can't arrest yourself out of the problem.”

Foundations have helped fund the Seattle program to see how the approach works out. Studies so far have shown the program leading to a 58-60 percent drop in recidivism (subsequent arrests) within six months; saving the taxpayers thousands of dollars per participant; helping prostitutes find housing and other jobs; and improving the prostitutes' lives as well as their interactions with law enforcement.

In a press release about the New Haven sweep, Johnson stated that the cops want to help the women, not just arrest them: “We are hopeful that those arrested will avail themselves of social services available through the courts. We don't want to keep arresting the same people.” In an interview, Assistant Chief Generoso said the same while acknowledging the challenges in an interview: “After we arrest them we try to offer them services. We try to get them out of the life.” In the Oct. 25 sweep, he said, none of the arrestees took up the offer.

Hard-Knock Life

Face said she received no such offer when the police arrested her on Oct. 25. She's said she's not sure if she would have taken up such an offer or not.

She has tried treatment programs before, she said. She gets frustrated and leaves. She has quit crack on her own several times, then returned when “I got depressed,” she said.

Face grew up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, N.Y. People on the street introduced her to marijuana by the time she was 9, she said. She started running away at 11: “I was abused,” she said. By 11, she said, she was smoking crack. Child-protection authorities placed her in foster homes; she would run away because, she said, “I didn't like the way they treated me.” By 13, she said, she was living permanently on the streets.

And, by 15, prostituting herself to support her habit. She had six children along the way, she said, and lost them all.

Her mother Elvira, meanwhile, moved to New Haven, where her sister lived, in 2000 to help her other kids escape the gang life. In 2004, she received word from friends in Brooklyn that Face's life was in crisis. She traveled to Brooklyn and convinced Face to move to New Haven.

At times Face was able to start going straight, she said, but she inevitably got depressed and returned to drugs and the street life.

She talked about that during an interview this week outside an apartment where she had temporarily crashed. Dressed in a pink hoodie, torn jeans and sandals, she spoke softly, her head down, sometimes shaking.

She doesn't have a pimp or any regular clients, she said. Asked how it feels to continually have sex with strangers for money, she responded, “just numb.” (The state judicial database shows that she pleaded guilty in 2015 to a misdemeanor charge of failure to appear in court.)

Face learned years ago, she said, that she had a brain tumor. She said she doesn't know whether or not it's malignant; she has chosen not to see a doctor again to find out.

Why not?

“I don't want anybody to touch me,” she said.

Don't people touch her all the time?

“In my head. I don't let them open my head.”

Next Moves

Assistant Chief Generoso said that he has heard about programs like Seattle's. He said “we remain open” to the idea. The conversation prompted Generoso to take a new look at alternatives. He said he intends to “reinvestigate trying to reach out again to” community groups that might want to work with the cops.

In the short term, he said, New Haven is planning to conduct “reverse stings” soon on johns rather than on the prostitutes. “They're fueling the problem to begin with with their money. And they're people we can actually affect. They can choose not to come in [to neighborhoods] and do that. These girls, they're supporting drug habits. If we affect the johns to not coming into the city, can affect them more by exposing them, putting their photos up there.”

Whether those johns' photos will appear on TV is an open question. The police department didn't originally send out the photos of the women arrested on Oct. 25; they did so later because of requests from TV stations, which are entitled to them under the Freedom of Information Act. By contrast, said police spokesman Officer David Hartman, “I've never had a press person ask me for a picture of a john.”

Meanwhile, Face said she doesn't know if she'll return to the streets. She's worried for now about having a place to live.

Face has lived on and off at shelters in New Haven. Her mother Elvira said Face can't stay with her.

“I disagree with her,” Elvira said in an interview. “I think she's doing [drugs] by choice. She stopped before.”

“I only use drugs,” Face put in, “when I'm depressed and stressed out.” She didn't look happy or calm when she said it.




New civilian panel will oversee LASD

The LA County Board of Supervisors created a new sheriff's civilian oversight commission aimed at restoring trust after years of scandal over abuses in county jails

By Adam Elmahrek

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday created a new sheriff's civilian oversight commission and appointed its nine members, moves aimed at restoring trust in a department racked by years of scandal over abuses in county jails.

Commissioners will review and make policy recommendations, act as a liaison between residents and the sheriff and obtain feedback on use-of-force incidents, according to the ordinance creating the body. It will also investigate “systemic Sheriff-related issues or complaints affecting the community” through an office of inspector general.

Under a memorandum of agreement with the Sheriff's Department, Inspector General Max Huntsman has access to personnel records and documents from pending investigations. However, he and his staff aren't allowed to take copies of those documents, and they can view them only on the premises of the Sheriff's Department. Huntsman said the department has so far allowed him all the access he's required.

Brian Williams, the commission's executive director, said the commission's work will focus mainly on the Sheriff Department's policies. It will not be involved in disciplinary actions against officers, he said. Among the issues the commission can review are inspector general's reports, such as a recent one in which the watchdog found that violence within jails is rising, he said.

At a morning news conference before the Board of Supervisors meeting, county leaders declared that they were making history. Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said that “in its own way,” the formation of the commission was “unprecedented.” And Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said it was “no small thing to regularly revisit the notion of restoring public trust.”

Activists have long clamored for independent civilian oversight of the Sheriff's Department. They offered mixed reactions to the creation of the commission, offering praise for having a civilian oversight body of any kind but also criticizing its lack of subpoena and disciplinary powers.

They also denounced a decision not to include Black Lives Matter activist Patrisse Cullors on the commission while appointing law enforcement representatives. Her exclusion “raises serious concerns about whether this commission will protect incarcerated Brown and Black people, which is what Patrisse and the community urgently fought for,” Mark-Anthony Johnson, director of wellness at Dignity and Power Now, said in a news release.

Each member of the commission, which is supposed to meet once a month, is appointed by the supervisors, raising questions among critics about the body's independence. This first group of commissioners will serve either a one-, two- or three-year term, and commissioners appointed afterward will serve three-year terms. Commissioners are allowed two “full consecutive” terms each.

The appointed commissioners include former Deputy Dist. Atty. Leal Rubin; Loyola Law School Associate Professor Priscilla Ocen; Rabbi Heather Miller; Sean Kennedy, executive director of Loyola Law School's Center for Juvenile Law and Policy and a former federal public defender; former U.S. Atty. and DEA Administrator Robert Bonner; former Sheriff's Lt. JP Harris; Patti Giggans, executive director of Peace Over Violence; Southern Saint Paul Church Senior Pastor Xavier Thompson; and Hernan Vera, former president and CEO of Public Counsel.

Huntsman described them as a group of people who are “experts in not being ignored.”

As the vote to create the commission was about to commence, Kuehl walked over to the commissioners seated in the audience and thanked them. She also offered a warning.

“You don't know what you're getting yourselves into,” she told them.



from Dept of Homeland Security

Cyber Attack on 9-1-1 System Leads to Quick Arrest

An 18-year-old was arrested last week after carrying out a cyberattack on the Maricopa County 9-1-1 system. The man posted a link in Twitter which supposedly directed people to a site called “Meet Desai.” However, when people clicked the link it would continually call 9-1-1 and not let the caller hang up. Law enforcement found him quickly using the GPS on his phone, arrested him in class, and confiscated his electronics.

The accused said he was on the trail of bugs and viruses that he could change and manipulate. Once he manipulated this one, he set it to call 1+911. He claims he created this to basically make a name for himself in the programming and hacker world, and with the hopes Apple would pay him for finding bugs. He said during questioning the bug was meant to be “funny” and claims its release was accidental. He now faces three felony counts of computer tampering.

The volume of calls could have shut down the 9-1-1 system but didn't and Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Cyber Crimes Division was able to shut down the application, ending the threat. For now. With a subsection of hackers potentially looking for bugs, programs, and viruses they can either alter or “piggyback” other applications or programs on to, it is anyone's guess what the next one will look like. Hopefully this particular bug has been patched by now.

In the meantime, this incident serves as yet another reason to work on your agency's response plan for cyberattacks. Here are some related resources, and remember to always report an attack.

Best Practices Checklist for Denial of Service Attacks Against 9-1-1 Centers;
Law Enforcement Cyber Center;
Stop. Think. Connect. Law Enforcement Resources;
Cyber Training for Law Enforcement Call to Action;
• National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies training catalog (keyword search: law enforcement).




Grant expands Fitchburg's community-policing effort

by Elizabeth Dobbins

FITCHBURG -- Collaboration between officials and community organizations helped secure a $250,000 federal grant for the Fitchburg Police Department, Chief Ernest Martineau announced at a press conference Monday.

He hopes that collaboration creates another -- a stronger partnership between police, residents and businesses in downtown Fitchburg.

"This grant is going to allow us to foster a new type of mentality downtown," he said.

Martineau, Mayor Stephen DiNatale, U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas and community leaders gathered in the police station Monday to discuss the town receiving the Community Oriented Policing Service, or COPS, grant from the Department of Justice.

The grant will create two officer positions to serve in the new Community Engagement unit.

The grant will create two officer positions to serve in the new Community Engagement unit.

We need to work with our community, and we have to foster that kind or relationship. This grant is going to allow me to do that."

Tsongas, who worked with the department during the application process, said she also sees the expansion of community policing as a way to respond to the opioid crisis. Officers who are accessible to the community can work to prevent drug use, and serve as a connection for those looking for treatment, she said.

"Funding is very important to assist communities with the work that needs to be done," she said.

The grant will fund the two officers for three years starting in January. Fitchburg is required to fund the positions for one additional year following the expiration of the grant.

If the department can secure funding, Martineau hopes to continue the positions beyond the grant. The officers will be selected from the existing force.

Including the positions created by the grant, the Police Department will have 78 people on the force starting in January -- three more than a year ago. Martineau said Mayor DiNatale included provisions for another new officer in the city's most recent budget.

"When I ran for mayor," DiNatale said at the press conference, "I indicated to voters that I would work to have a safer and more appealing city. To discourage criminal activity, we need to increase our public-safety force and have greater police visibility."

The grant application was written by Kristi Fritscher, the Police Department's crime analyst, and was one of 184 to receive funding from a pool of 4,000 applicants.

Community groups, such as Elm Street Congregational and ReImagine North of Main, also sent letters of support for the application.

Tricia Pistone, associate director of Montachusett Opportunity Council and director of the ReImagine project, said the grant will work toward the same goal as ReImagine -- improving life for Fitchburg residents.

"It should be underscored that these funds go to support community engagement and outreach to under-served populations," she said. "Nationally, the community-policing goal is to promote public safety while enhancing the quality of life in our neighborhoods."



York, Pennsylvania


Return of community police unit is good news

It's no secret that the relationship between the York City police and the members of the community it serves has not always been cordial.

There's nothing unusual about that.

Sadly, it seems to be a part of our national urban fabric.

Just recently, when an African-American York High football player was shot and killed, the city police were faced with an “aggressive” crowd of more than 50 people, who started screaming at patrol officers at the crime scene. Fortunately, the situation didn't boil over into something truly tragic and no arrests were made.

It was, however, emblematic of the tensions that often exist between the city police and the city's minority residents.

Recently, however, the city took a significant step to try to mend that relationship by opening a community police center at the former Gus' Bar at 594-596 W. Princess St.

This is good news in a few important ways.

It takes a former nuisance bar — a place that was often a cauldron of criminal activity — and turns it into a place where the city police and city residents can interact on a more personal level.

Hopefully, some desperately-needed bonds of trust will be forged.

In addition, the police presence at the outpost should help to keep the criminal element off balance in the violence-plagued west end. The new unit won't be staffed 24-7, but the mere knowledge that the center is now up and running with three officers and a sergeant should deter some who may be contemplating wrongdoing.

Nothing new: The neighborhood police centers are nothing new in York. In fact, neighborhood outposts were in the area for a long period of time until police staffing issues this past January unfortunately diminished those divisions.

Now, the staffing problems have been resolved and there's a new post up and running on Princess Street, and a new unit is planned in the near future for the south end.

The centers are expected to reduce crime.

York City Police Chief Wes Kahley said the number of police calls in the area went down 44 percent the last time the west end had a community police center, including a 47 percent reduction in shootings. He also said violence spiked in the area when the outpost wasn't manned.

There's no doubt that community-policing outposts work.

Bill Faron, the president of the Salem Square Community Association, may have put it best when he said: “This is really a community coming together.”

Step in right direction: There's also no doubt that the city police department needs more of this kind of outreach.

A little while back, we chastised Kahley for not addressing hundreds of folks who marched to his department's headquarters in early July. The folks had no specific issues with his officers, but they were protesting the recent shooting deaths of black men in Louisiana, Minnesota and elsewhere across the nation.

We called it a missed opportunity to build bridges between the city police and the city residents.

Well, now we need to credit Kahley and Mayor Kim Bracey for re-opening one of the community-policing centers.

It's definitely a step in the right direction.

Hopefully there will be more to come.




Austin Police Consider Community Reforms

After a year spent making headlines APD prioritizes policing equity

by ChaseHoffberger

Close observers of local police data won't be surprised by the findings of the brief published last month by the Center for Policing Equity titled "The Science of Policing Equity: Measuring Fairness in the Austin Police Department." Most of the findings already appeared in March's annual report published by the Office of the Police Monitor, and in OPM reports published in the few years before that. In sum, according to data provided by APD, officers in 2015 pulled over, searched the cars of, or arrested black drivers at a rate disproportionate to that race's demographical representation within the city. And in 2014, officers applied use of force (or its departmental classification, response to resistance) on black residents at a higher rate than they did other races.

Figures fluctuate a great deal month to month, but according to the CPE, blacks are involved in APD instances of use of force roughly three times as often as whites and Hispanics, despite blacks being the least represented of the three races inside the city.

The CPE's brief applies an advanced analysis to both data sets, creating an Officer Discretionary Index (an algebraic equation looking at the proportion of officer-initiated stops of individuals grouped by race compared to citizen-initiated stops of those same racial groups) and a Use-of-Force Severity Rate (a weighted analysis of use-of-force that places more "severity" value on, say, Taser use than weaponless use of hands or feet to pressure points) to show increasing disparities applied to each racial group. Check out the report in full (www.policingequity.org) to see those figures.

The brief's five authors – who hail from the Urban Institute, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and New York University – noted that several limitations can be applied to the study's findings. The group concurred with the opinion of Police Mon­it­or Margo Frasier that APD's provided traffic data in particular is imperfect. While the department documents instances in which pedestrians and drivers were stopped but not cited or arrested, APD does not publish that data for public consumption. Both the CPE and OPM have urged APD to begin making that data public, a system APD plans to put in place no later than Jan. 1, according to the department's office of public information.

The group wrote that the use-of-force data revealed a "more consistent picture of disparity."

"Even when controlling for neighborhood levels of crime, education, homeownership, income, youth, and unemployment, racial disparities in both use and severity of force remained. ... While crime, poverty, and other factors contributed to these disparities, controlling for these factors did not eliminate disproportionate use of force in communities with higher percentages of Hispanics and blacks.

"Still, these discrepancies are not direct evidence of racial prejudice. Rather, they suggest that police-level and/or relationship-level explanations of use-of-force incidents are also implicated. In other words, we advise APD to focus on police-level and relationship-level concerns to reduce racially disparate use of force."

Those two levels of CPE's concerns seem to mirror concerns shared by Acevedo and his executive staff. APD received a number of commendations from the CPE, particularly with regard to efforts the department is already taking to improve interactions with detained drivers. Effective Jan. 2017, it notes, APD will begin issuing citations with instructions on how to file complaints on the back. CPE also praised the department for its efforts to get a body camera system in place (though that effort has been held up, in part because of a lawsuit filed by Utility Associates, the Atlanta-based company that lost out on the city's bid for a contract). The brief's authors wrote that APD's leadership on issues of data transparency "signals a willingness to receive criticism and reform in line with the shared values of police and communities," something Acevedo reiterated that week in a Q&A with The Guardian . "We're committed to the concept of procedural justice," Acevedo said. "We're also sophisticated enough to realize that as much as we are always pursuing excellence, that we are an imperfect organization, as is the human condition."

Acevedo also told The Guardian his cops "will not be surprised by the fact that we're participating in this." That's held true, both with union leaders and off-the-record conversations with the rank-and-file. Indeed, APD's partnership with the CPE could be seen as part of a larger departmental effort to face its certain failures.

Audits and Investigations

Six weeks ago, Austin's Office of the City Auditor published an audit of APD that looked at the way the department handles complaints, both internal (officer to officer) and external (from civilians, through the OPM). The audit was conducted as part of the office's FY 2016 strategic audit plan, but became a part of that plan in response to a request from Acevedo, "as well as [a] local and national focus on interactions between police officers and members of the public." There had been 1,200 complaints filed between Oct. 2013 and Dec. 31, 2015, 60% of which (roughly 720) were filed by members of the general public. The audit notes that "a majority of complaints from officers resulted in discipline" – including suspension, training, or written or oral reprimand – whereas "less than 5%" of the 720 citizen-logged complaints ever amounted to official discipline.

In sum, City Auditor Corrie Stokes and staff concluded five different findings with regard to the department's complaint process. The actual process is not easily accessible, the OCA determined; because of that, people may be discouraged from filing. There is not a public record of investigations into potential policy violations, thereby limiting the ability to monitor and report on policy investigations. APD policy makes it difficult to ensure that all complaints are handled with any consistency. Those same policies, auditors found, make it difficult for PM Frasier to provide effective oversight. Finally, the office found that "data reliability issues with the complaint database" make it difficult to analyze complaints of local officers. Stokes and her staff issued seven different recommendations to APD – most notably that Acevedo remind staff of requirements with regard to logging complaints, and that the department revise the complaint classification process "to better allow for analysis and reporting."

APD concurred in large part with the OCA's recommendations, responding in a letter from Manley dated Sept. 27 that it would comply with six of the seven recommendations – the only one the chief rejected concerned the audit's recommendations that he "implement a process to document justifications for discipline."

Two weeks ago, Acevedo went before City Council's Audit & Finance Committee to clarify his intent with regard to the suggestions. He said that the department has changed its policies with respect to complaint logging: "failure to handle a complaint the way that it's required by policy" will result in a suspension lasting at least 15 days on first offense; any second found violations will earn the officer an indefinite suspension. Acevedo also said that the department has changed its video retention standard from 45 days to 181 days, one day longer than the current duration for the statute of limitations for disciplining an officer for a specific incident. One seat to his right, Frasier added that her office will begin working more closely with Internal Affairs on external complaints: Whereas external complaints used to get passed from the OPM to IA for IA's investigators to conclude whether the complaint was founded or unfounded, those investigators will now be tasked with communicating with the OPM early in the investigatory process if they believe that they will find no violation of departmental policy in the allegation brought before them.

Acevedo's initial priority – the one about the need to "handle a complaint the way that it's required by policy" – saw its first case study in early October when the chief handed down suspensions to two supervisors of a Downtown officer, Cameron Caldwell, who was suspended over the summer for a March 17 incident in which he pepper-sprayed a 25-year-old black man who had already been arrested and was at the time detained in the back of a prisoner transport van, readying a trip to central booking. Caldwell's sergeant, Scott Stanfield, received a 30-day suspension and one-rank demotion to corporal/detective after an IA investigation concluded that he'd "failed to complete a thorough review" of Caldwell's use of force. His lieutenant, Allen Hicks, got docked 45 days and received a two-rank demotion (also to corporal/detective) after IA concluded that he, too, overlooked the initial review into Caldwell's pepper-spraying and in fact directed Stanfield not to complete a review of that incident. (Both Stanfield and Hicks were found to have improperly reviewed a number of other instances of use of force. IA found that Hicks often changed title codes on response to resistance incidents without "doing a thorough review of the information available to him," Acevedo wrote in his disciplinary memo.)

The city should see its second high-profile example soon, after IA concludes its investigation into the June 2015 arrest of Breaion King – the violent, widely derided (even by the union) traffic stop-turned-arrest of a black, 26-year-old elementary school teacher by seven-year veteran Bryan Richter. News of King's arrest didn't come to Acevedo's attention until this past July, when the Austin American-Statesman published a story based on the dashboard camera footage of King's unnecessary detainment. Despite the 180-day time frame having already passed, Acevedo opened an investigation into Richter's actions. (He also said he'd look at the police work of assisting officer Patrick Spradlin, who told King on her way to the Downtown jail that "so many people" are "afraid of" black people because of the race's "violent tendencies.") The results of Acevedo's investigation are as yet incomplete. One question that will likely get answered: How did news of Richter's use of force on King not make it to the attention of Acevedo and his executive staff until the incident went to the media? If all incidents of use of force get reviewed by the involved officer's chain of command, how come nobody thought to tell Acevedo or his top allies that something went wrong with Richter and King?

Austin Justice

If there's one good thing to come out of the King incident, it's that it got the police union and activists talking with each other. The three-and-a-half hour meeting of department and union heads, church leaders, and young black activists after the Statesman 's July release of video from King's arrest has since morphed into more of a regular, informal gathering, in which both sides of "community policing" have spent time explaining to the other why its representative bodies (cops and Austin's minorities) make certain decisions during detainments and interactions.

Those meetings should evolve into a more official city stakeholder roundtable sequence, still in development stages, the result of a directive Council Member Greg Casar attached to City Council's decision to authorize without funding 12 new sworn officer positions at the department. (That is, Council approved adding the 12 positions but did not allocate specific funding for the positions' salaries, benefits, or pensions. APD can fill the 12 positions, but must find the money to do so in its existing budget.) Casar wrote in a letter posted to the Coun­cil's online forum in September that he and his colleagues would like to see an earnest effort to incorporate "recommendations made" in two chapters of the community policing-conscious Matrix Report, released late this summer, and "community recommendations" relating to officer training, de-escalation, and principles of proportionate response made by the Austin Justice Coalition earlier this year. Those recommendations include efforts to modernize APD's policy manual, increase public participation in the union's meet-and-confer negotiations with the city, eliminate arrests for non-jailable traffic offenses, and move mental health first response out of APD, something activist groups, as well as the OPM's Citizen Review Panel, has championed in recent months.

The Austin Justice Coalition is fronted by Chas Moore, a charismatic young black activist who's gone from despising Acevedo to commending him as a city leader. The two met during a community forum following the July 2013 fatal shooting of Larry Jackson Jr., in which Moore says he told Acevedo that he could "burn in hell." (Acevedo's recollection is not too different.) The two later made amends, and have since met regularly to discuss race-related issues that pertain to local policing, particularly after the February officer-involved shooting of David Joseph.

"The policy talk started [then]," says Moore. "We looked at that incident as something that's problematic with [APD] training. It was a bad shooting, and that's on [the cop]. But we stepped back and looked at how it happened – started looking at APD training, their response to resistance training. There were some things they could change internally. There was David Joseph and then Breaion King. After that, they realized 'You know what, there are some things that we can change, so let's start working on that.'"

A full list of reforms the AJC are seeking runs in the sidebar to this story. Some read more concrete than others. Together, they serve as a community playbook for creating a more personable and accountable police force, with use-of-force edicts like "sanctity of all life should clearly guide APD's use of force" bumped up next to initiatives to improve force reporting data. The AJC has asked for public participation in meet-and-confer negotiations, a request the city and union have seen before and rebuked.

Ken Casaday, president of the Austin Police Association, said he's appreciated the effort to get union representatives together in meetings with local activists, but has been hesitant to endorse many of the initiatives the AJC has brought forward. "My concern with [citizens having more say in policy-making at the department] is that police chiefs have been policing for several years. There are assistant chiefs. Together, they make policy," he said. "That's why we hire police chiefs. These citizens wanting to have more input have no experience in law enforcement. In my opinion, the more power they get, the more they tend to get in the way of police work."

Moore remains hopeful a few changes could spring loose: "I think the union sees there need to be some changes. I think they recognize the issues. I understand they need to protect their guys. It's an interesting thing: They know the Breaion King thing was bad. I think they think the David Joseph shooting was bad, but they've got to protect their guy. But I've been surprised by the union. Over the past few months [of meetings], I've never heard [Casaday] and Chief agree more." (Though we should reiterate that not all is well in Coplandia, where just last week, after news of Stanfield's and Hicks' suspensions went public, Casaday told the Statesman : "The sooner [Acevedo] finds another job, the better off the department will be.")

AJC's initiatives aren't only about thwarting the power of unions and police contracts, however. Moore speaks to one idea specifically as a method of raising community awareness for the policing profession: diversion programs where people who get speeding tickets and other minor offenses aren't required to pay a ticket. Instead, they can do a ride-along with a patrolling officer. "So they have a better insight of what a cop's 9-to-5 looks like," says Moore.

Acevedo has shown a remarkable interest of late in connecting with black activists, particularly Moore, his AJC co-founder Fatima Mann, and Measure Austin founder Meme Styles. He had rave reviews for the young AJC leader. "Chas Moore ... describes community policing better than anybody in my 30-plus years [in law enforcement]," he told the Chronicle . "He said at a town hall, 'To me, community policing is, if I need the police officers at my house at 3 o'clock in the morning in a stressful, dynamic situation, that [can't be] the first time I've met that police officer.' Community policing is about the police officers knowing the people they protect, and the people they protect knowing the officers on the beat. When you're as lean as we are – and we know we're lean, because we've had several reports now showing that we're hundreds of cops short – you cannot build the time or provide the time to our officers to help build the kind of relationship that Chas Moore described."

Acevedo has been busy pushing for reforms beyond those discussed before the Audit & Finance Committee last Wednesday. In early October, he went before the state Senate's Committee on Criminal Justice to argue for an increase to the statute of limitations for disciplining an officer, an issue brought into effect when Acevedo learned of Richter's forceful arrest of King. State law chapter 143 requires chiefs to discipline offending officers within 180 days of the incident. Acevedo thinks that's appropriate for critical incidents, as he's both immediately aware of them when they happen and would like to provide closure for the community and associated families.

"But what happens when we uncover something that wasn't in a critical incident?" he asked during a conversation in October. "I believe it's in the best interest of the vast majority of police officers who are honorable professionals to have a greater opportunity to weed out bad apples. Outside of a critical incident, we should have an opportunity to act, and it should be extended from 180 days to one year."

Acevedo also enacted a new policy shortly after news of King's arrest went public: The "peer review" practice now stipulates that two commanders – an officer's assigned commander and, now, a second commander from within the department – must review all cases involving use of force. Those reviews must be finalized within 60 days of the incident occurring.

Negotiating Changes

Reforms like extending the disciplinary statute of limitations depend on change at the state Legislature. Most issues raised by AJC will require change at City Hall, where the Austin Police Association is slated to meet with city staff for meet-and-confer negotiations, the six-month collective bargaining period that should begin in January. The current collective bargaining agreement is set to expire Sept. 30, 2017.

Mayor Steve Adler has proposed that the city hold off on beginning collective bargaining with the three public safety unions (APA, the Austin Firefighters Association, and the Austin/Travis County EMS Employ­ee Association) until a new city manager is hired. Says Jason Stanford, the mayor's spokesman: "The next city manager is going to need to live with the contract, so they should have a say in negotiations." Whether or not a one-year hold is placed on the active CBAs is something that should get settled soon. The city needs to meet with representatives from all three unions on a few pressing matters each body has brought up. For police, that in particular includes disciplining issues and the drawn-out saga over body-worn cameras.

Casaday told the Chronicle that he's surprised the city is asking to push meet-and-confer back. "I know that there are some things they want," he said. "There are a lot of things that we want. But I believe that if the pay raise is right for next year that we'll take a good hard look [at extending]. But if Fire, EMS, and Police don't agree to it, we're just going to bargaining. This is not an 'Everybody do your own thing' thing. We'll meet sometime later in the year to sit down and try to hammer it out. The city has its issues. We have ours."




San Marcos holds town hall to address policing and race


SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — In order to have an open and frank dialogue about policing and race relations, the city of San Marcos along with Hispanic leaders are holding a community town hall Thursday evening.

“Trust and open dialogue is an essential element in the relationship between the police department and the community,” said San Marcos Police Chief Chase Stapp. “We hope these conversations will build upon our current foundation of mutual respect between our department and the community and highlight opportunities to enhance those relationships.”

The entire community is encouraged to join in on the conversation to discuss community policing, diversity and race relations. The panel includes Rev. Sam Montoya of Sinai Pentecostal Church; City employee and Director of the San Marcos Convention and Visitor Bureau, Rebecca Ybarra-Ramirez; and Police Chief Chase Stapp. The conversation will be moderated by Liz Castañeda of Texas State University.

The meeting will take place on Thursday, Nov. 3 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Cuauhtémoc Hall at 1100 Patton St.

The San Marcos Police Department is also working to organize a similar town hall meeting for the African-American community in the coming weeks.




2 Iowa police officers killed, manhunt on for suspect

by Jason Hanna and Max Blau

(CNN) Two Iowa police officers were found fatally shot in their squad vehicles at separate intersections in the Des Moines area early Wednesday, and police are urgently hunting for a man they've named as a suspect in the deaths.

"There is a clear and present danger to police officers right now," an emotional Des Moines police Sgt. Paul Parizek told reporters.

Police say they're looking for Scott Michael Greene, 46, of Urbandale, Iowa, in connection with the officers' deaths in Urbandale and Des Moines.

Police named Scott Michael Greene, 46, of Urbandale, as a suspect.

Police discovered the first officer around 1:05 a.m., when someone reported shots being fired. Responding officers found the body of an Urbandale police officer, still seated in his squad car, at an Urbandale intersection just northwest of Des Moines, Parizek said.

Twenty minutes later, as officers were responding to the Urbandale shooting, an officer found a Des Moines police officer shot at an intersection in Des Moines, about 2 miles southeast of the first scene.

That wounded officer -- who, like the Urbandale officer, was seated in his vehicle -- later died at a hospital, Parizek said.

"On the surface right now ... it doesn't look like there was any interaction between these officers and whoever the coward is that shot them while they sat in their cars," Parizek said, holding back tears.

"In all appearances it looks ... that these officers were ambushed," he added.

The officers' names weren't released.

'These guys were gunned down ... doing nothing wrong'

Leads and tips led detectives to name Greene as a suspect, Urbandale police Sgt. Chad Underwood said, without elaborating.

Investigators believe Greene has information that "could be vital to what happened this morning," Parizek said, adding that detectives "told us he's a suspect."

Greene was last known to be driving a blue 2011 Ford F-150 with Iowa license plate 780 YFR, police said. The truck has a silver-colored topper with a ladder rack, police said.

Greene is 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighs 180 pounds and has brown hair and green eyes, police said.

"Greene is believed to be armed and should be considered dangerous. If seen, please do not approach Greene, but call 911 and report his location," police said in a news release.

Parizek said "there is clearly danger if you're a police officer."

"These guys were gunned down sitting in their car, doing nothing wrong. So, there's definitely some danger out there. There's somebody out there shooting police officers. We hope we find him before anybody else gets hurt."

Highest number of officers shot dead since 2011

Wednesday's deaths bring to at least 51 the number of police officers fatally shot in the US and Puerto Rico in 2016. That's the highest one-year total since 2011, when 73 were shot dead, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

They also come just months after two high-profile deadly surprise attacks against police officers in Texas and Louisiana.

On July 7, a gunman shot and killed five police officers in Dallas during a protest of controversial police shootings of black men in other states. The Dallas shooter, who police subsequently killed, said he was upset with the other shootings, police said.

On July 17, gunman Gavin Long shot six law officers, killing three, in Baton Rogue, Louisiana, police say. A SWAT officer subsequently shot and killed Long.

Long apparently visited Dallas after the shootings there, posting a YouTube video July 10 in which he spoke of the protests, and a notion that victims of bullying need to resort to brute force.

The Baton Rouge and Dallas shootings came after the controversial shooting deaths of two black men by police officers, including that of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge on July 5 and Philando Castile in Minnesota a day later. The shootings spurred protests across the country.

Third Des Moines officer to die this year

The slain Des Moines officer is the third in that city to die in the line of duty this year. Two Des Moines officers -- Susan Farrell and Carlos Puente Morales -- were killed March 26 when their vehicle was hit head-on by a driver going the wrong way, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

"I don't even know where to begin, how bad this year is (for Des Moines police)," Parizek said, after a reporter asked him how officers can prepare to do their jobs amid another tragedy. "This is what we do. We come in, day in, day out. We go out there and we provide the same level of service regardless of what's going on in our personal or professional lives."

"We know we've got the best community. We saw that after Carlos and Susan were killed, and I certainly expect we're going to see the same thing coming," he said.

The Urbandale Police Department, a force of about 50 officers, said it believes this is the first officer it has lost in the line of duty.

"An attack on public safety officers is an attack on the public safety of all Iowans," said Ben Hammes, spokesman for Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad. "We call on Iowans to support our law enforcement officials in bringing this suspect to justice.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the police officers who were tragically killed in the line of duty as well as the officers who continue to put themselves in harm's way."



New York

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor: “Real-World Community Policing”

by Patrick J. Lynch (Op-Ed)

Mr. Lynch, the president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, claims that “harmful quotas” for arrests and stops are inhibiting “true community policing” in New York City. Yet for nearly the last three years, the New York Police Department has been discouraging stop-and-arrest activity for its own sake in favor of much more targeted enforcement.

Mr. Lynch likens our neighborhood-based policing model to past failed community policing efforts. No one is more aware of the pitfalls of those failed programs than I am, and the current efforts have been designed with those pitfalls specifically in mind.

We are not structuring “formalized” community policing activities with a “handful” of neighborhood coordination officers. We are engaging the entire patrol force in each precinct and sector, giving them the time, the latitude and the discretion to work at local crime-fighting and problem-solving.

Most important, we are not splitting the calls-for-service work from the community work or crime-fighting work. Generalist cops are doing it all.

Nor is the new model causing backlogs in calls for service. We cut specialty functions in the precincts to add more patrol cops and supplied, on average, 10 new cars to each precinct. The neighborhood policing precincts were able to achieve a 19 percent decline in response times in the first six months of this year.

The cops are doing fulfilling work, and the neighborhoods are receiving responsive police service. We are well on our way to transforming the N.Y.P.D. patrol model to one that connects better with communities and is more effective at fighting crime.

Police Commissioner, New York




Forward-thinking cities support public safety

by Dan Clem

Forward-thinking cities understand that public safety must be our priority for quality of life and job creation.

There are many places in our country that have adversarial relationships with their police department and I, for one, am glad that Salem is not one of those cities. The men and women who serve and protect us under Chief Jerry Moore's leadership are the pinnacle of their profession, but they're operating out of a dingy basement at City Hall.

Salem is beginning to thrive, but we cannot become complacent. Now is the time to invest in our effective Salem Police Department.

Many years have been spent planning for the kind of facility our officers and citizens deserve. Bond rates are favorable, a functional facility has been professionally planned, construction costs are in alignment with other recent construction of public safety facilities and sufficient property is available in a central city of Salem location.

The Salem Area Chamber of Commerce urges you to support Measure 24-399 on the grounds that:

•The current police facility is unsafe in the event of an earthquake. The new proposed police facility would meet all seismic standards and allow all public safety functions to remain operational in the event of an earthquake or other natural disaster.

•Due to size constraints, our current police facility and 911 call center do not meet current safety standards for our police officers, our staff and crime victims. The new proposed police facility would incorporate up-to-date safety features to keep our officers and staff safe at work and keep crime victims safe and separated from accused criminals.

•The new police facility authorized by Measure 24-399 will meet Salem's public safety needs for the next 40 years. Anything less than the current proposal in Measure 24-399 would be a band-aid solution that would require voters to approve yet another bond.

•We need to build a police facility that can consolidate key public safety functions into one seismically safe building that will make Salem's police operations more efficient. Moving all police operations into the new facility will save the city over a half million dollars per year in leasing and operating costs.

Due to expiring bond debt, the levy will cost Salem taxpayers far less than advertised. Although the measure authorizes a tax rate of 36 cents per thousand, expiring bond debt will reduce the net tax impact to around 24 cents per thousand, or roughly $4 per month on a home with an assessed value of $200,000 after the year 2023.

Opponents to this measure have no Plan B if this measure fails. Their misstated cost analysis doesn't make sense to architects or engineers.

This community has wisely supported measures for streets and bridges, our public schools, Chemeketa Community College, OSU Extension Service and several other needed public improvements and services. Let's invest in positive outcomes and keep Salem safe. We urge that you vote “yes” on Ballot Measure 24-399.

Dan Clem of Salem is the chief executive officer for the Salem Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Keep Salem Safe Committee. He can be reached at dan@salemchamber.org.




Detroit has 2nd-lowest Angels' Night arsons

There were 59 fires over the three-day period, up slightly from the record-low 52 in 2015

by Matt Helms

DETROIT — Detroit recorded its second-lowest number of arsons during the three-day Angels' Night period, city officials said Tuesday.

Detroit recorded 59 fires Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights, up a bit from the record low of 52 set in 2015. The numbers were so low that Mayor Mike Duggan said volunteers shifted gears for Halloween night and focused on providing candy to trick-or-treaters and haunted house activities, including a haunted bus created by the Detroit Police Department's 11th Precinct in a 1965 Detroit Department of Street Railways bus.

Duggan said he didn't see a single fire as he volunteered to patrol and visit sites across the city Monday night, although he did see some in 2015.

“We really felt we've broken the back” of the city's Halloween-time arson sprees that peaked in 1984 with more than 800 fires over what used to be called Devil's Night.

More than 6,000 people volunteered to patrol; an additional 220 helped with activities for kids. The city also removed 269 abandoned cars from the streets to help reduce vehicle fires, said Ray Solomon II, manager of the city's council District 2, who coordinated the citywide campaign.

Detroit Fire Commissioner Eric Jones said of the 59 fires, 22 were labeled suspicious, compared with 23 last year. Dwellings accounted for 39 of the fires, with 20 occupied. There also were five garage fires, nine trash fires and six vehicle fires. In addition, six of the fires were what Jones called “rekindles,” fires that were put out and then came back ablaze.

“It was a wonderful night, a very professional operation,” Jones said.

Jones said many firefighters bought candy with their own money to hand out at fire stations citywide.

Among the organizations helping out over Angels' Night was Detroit 300, a local community organization that helps fight crime. Its vice president, Imhotep Blue, said the group fanned out across the city to urge people to adopt vacant homes and keep an eye on them during Angels' Night and year-round.

“It's been years since we've seen so many children out trick-or-treating,” Blue said. “Everybody did a fantastic job."

Duggan said the decision to switch to focusing on children's activities was made earlier this year after 2015's low tally. Had the numbers spiked on Saturday or Sunday, the mayor said, the city would have reverted to more patrols. Officials said street patrols — with volunteers driving the streets in cars with yellow flashing lights on top — were reduced by about 50% on Halloween night.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said he welcomed the reduced number of fires and the community-based effort to keep the city safe.

“This is about focusing on the children,” Craig said. “Let's get away from what we had in 1984.”




Dallas police chief caught between reform and a hard place

Dallas Police Chief David Brown's tenure highlights the difficulty in changing law enforcement

by John Buntin

DALLAS — Dallas Police Chief David Brown rose to national attention on a hot night in July, after a sniper at a protest against police violence killed five officers and wounded nine more. In the aftermath of the shooting, Brown's no-nonsense presence, words of support and emphatic actions comforted his police department and the city of Dallas while also respecting the constitutional rights of the hundreds of people who had come out that evening to protest the police killing of an unarmed man in Minnesota the previous day.

Two months later, when Brown announced he would retire, he was hailed as a local hero, and not just for his masterful handling of the sniper shootings. As chief, Brown had embraced social media, using Facebook to release unprecedented amounts of information on officer-involved shootings. He also accelerated efforts to rethink one of the most basic tenets of policing -- how officers respond to incidents that involve the potential use of force. Brown's push toward reforms of the Dallas Police Department attracted praise from the likes of former New York Police Department Commissioner Bill Bratton, who had described Brown as a "consummate professional who represents some of the best progressive police leadership today."

Not everyone saw it that way. Many people believed that Brown's reforms, along with low salaries and extended hours for cops on the beat, had decimated morale on the force. Scores of officers had quit over the past year. The exodus was so great -- more than 40 officers resigned in the month of May -- that the department reportedly couldn't process the paperwork quickly enough, and cops were being told they had to wait to quit.

Worse, Brown's critics said, his reforms were curtailing cops' ability to do their job at a crucial time for the city: Homicides have nearly doubled in Dallas in the past two years. The Dallas Police Association, the city's major police union, had called on Brown to step down from his job, as had the local and national Fraternal Order of Police and the local chapter of the Black Police Association.

What Brown's career -- and his surprise resignation -- shows is that it's extremely difficult to get it right when it comes to police reform. Homicides in many cities are rising again. At the same time, a string of questionable and, in some cases, horrifying police shootings has made police reform a necessity. Brown's story is about how one police department facing a rising homicide rate has sought to change the way its officers use force. It's a story about real accomplishments, difficult tradeoffs and pushback from many sides. And as in so many American cities, it's a story that story begins with a shooting.

At 5 p.m. on July 24, 2012, dispatchers sent three officers to a house in the Dixon Circle neighborhood of south Dallas. A kidnapping had been reported. When they arrived, they heard yelling inside the house. They pushed in a window-mounted air conditioning unit to see into the house, where one of the officers spotted drugs and a gun on the kitchen table. He then saw four black males running out of the back of the house. One of them grabbed the gun.

The officers chased the suspects. When an officer wrestled one of the men, James Harper, to the ground and tried to cuff him, Harper struggled free. The officer says he then saw something in Harper's front pocket. Fearing it might be a gun, he shot Harper three times.

It wasn't a gun. Harper was unarmed.

It was a sweltering summer evening, the kind that brought everyone in Dixon Circle out from their stifling homes. Rumors spread that Harper had been shot in the back. The mood of the neighborhood turned angry. Police officers in riot gear began to deploy. Civic leaders and local clergy rushed to the scene. So did Chief Brown. At a press conference that evening, Brown explained the circumstances around the shooting and promised an independent grand jury investigation. By most accounts, Brown's presence and promises played a role in dispersing the crowd and maintaining calm in Dallas.

Three weeks later, Brown announced a sweeping overhaul of how the department would interact with the public. He pledged to enlist the assistance of the FBI's Civil Rights Office in officer-involved shootings and require more detailed information from officers' "resisting arrests reports." Brown said the department would develop a foot patrol policy to reduce the likelihood of dangerous chases. He promised to enhance Taser training and actively identify national best practices. Finally, the department did something it had never done before: It released a complete list of every officer-involved shooting in Dallas going back to 2002.

To say this represented a break with the past would be an understatement. "He took us to the creek and held us under water and made us drink," says Deputy Chief Jeff Cotner.

But those reforms were just beginning. During this same period, the department moved forward with perhaps its most ambitious initiative: an overhaul of the way officers respond to service calls. The usual approach of modern-day policing is command and control, in which police officers are trained to exercise immediate authority over an incident -- to issue orders and make sure those orders are obeyed. Brown wanted to move ahead with a different method known as de-escalation, which trains officers to use tools that can give them more time to assess the danger of a situation before taking action.

De-escalation may sound mundane. But what it amounts to in practice is nothing less than an attempt to change a century of police practice.

The best way to see de-escalation at work in Dallas is to visit the Lamar School, an old building half a mile away from Dallas police headquarters that's now used as a training facility. On the first floor of the school one morning in September, a startling scene unfolds.

"I want my money back. Give me my money back!" one man yells.

"What the f--, man," the other says, as the first man moves toward him, looking as threatening as he sounds.

Two police officers, alerted to the altercation, approach hurriedly, hands reaching toward their handguns. When the officers are about 12 feet from the two men, the man who wants his money spins toward them, a knife raised in his hand. Both officers yell at him to drop the knife.

When he doesn't, they open fire. The would-be assailant crumples to the ground.

"Whoa!" yells a bystander who has pulled out his cellphone to capture the scene.

The heated argument is, of course, staged. It's part of an effort to change the way officers respond to dangerous incidents. Law enforcement officers in Texas are required to complete 40 hours of training every two years. Beginning in the late 1990s, Dallas included a reality-based training program as part of its core in-service education curriculum. Three years ago, the department revamped reality-based training to incorporate two newer concepts: de-escalation and procedural justice.

The officers' response to the first scenario -- shooting the man with the knife -- was appropriate, says Sgt. Anthony Greer, one of the sergeants supervising the Lamar School training. When police undergo training, most talk about a 30-foot zone of safety. Within that zone, officers who face a potential assailant wielding a knife or other blunt weapon are justified in using force, including lethal force.

More recently, however, policing experts have begun to discourage departments from thinking about using the 30-foot rule to determine whether the use of force is reasonable. One of the goals of de-escalation training is to provide ways for officers to make a decision about how or even whether to enter this danger zone. The tools they can use are time, distance and, if necessary, cover to de-escalate a situation.

If officers can be given more time, says Greer, then they have more opportunities to make good decisions. Distance works too. "If the suspect is over there, hey, we don't necessarily need to approach them because the closer we get the more likely it is that some type of force may have to be used," he says. The third variable, taking cover, is another way to gain time to better assess the situation.

The next training exercise at Lamar School gives officers a chance to practice using these skills. This time, when the exercise goes "hot," two officers turn to face three men. The guy in the middle is a big man, holding a pipe. The men on each side of him are stepping back, but one has a gun tucked into his waistband. There's a large file cabinet to the right of one of the responding officers. The other officer ducks behind it and calls on the men to stand still. His partner points his Taser at the man with the gun -- a red laser dances across the man's chest -- but the officer doesn't pull the trigger. With the laser clearly visible, the other officer comes out from cover. The officers now seem to have the men's attention.

Exercise over. The first officer is praised for retreating and seeking cover. The second officer receives a thumbs up for pulling his Taser rather than his handgun. The trainer also gives the officers high marks for not instructing the man with the gun to put it down. His explanation: If you tell a man to put his gun down you are, in effect, telling him to reach for his gun. This approach about a gun in the possession of a potential shooter represents a notable break with the past.

In another exercise, two officers respond to a call about a suspicious man who appears to be casing a building. Well before they get close to the man, the officers call out a greeting and say why they're there. The man bristles. "I bought this building," he says. "I'm the landlord. I'm going to fix it up." The officers explain again that they got a call about suspicious activity and were concerned about it. The man calms down. A few minutes later, the officers are on their way.

The training sergeant praises the officers for explaining why they were questioning the man. That part of the encounter -- stopping to explain -- is a critical part of an approach to engagement known as procedural justice. It's rooted in research about people's encounters with the court system. That research found that satisfaction and compliance with a court proceeding depended not on the outcome (did they win or lose?) but on whether the process was explained and whether participants felt they had had their say. In recent years, police departments have sought to bring similar techniques to police work. "It used to be, 'Hey, I am the police. You are going to do what I tell you to do, and if you don't, I am going to ask you one more time and then I am going to make you do it,'" says Greer.

What the Dallas Police Department is teaching now is a dramatic break with past practice. The time/distance/cover approach allows police officers to dictate what they are going to do. "What we are looking for," Greer says, "is a peaceful solution to the situation. It's not necessarily, 'You do what I want you to do.'" Instead, "it's, 'I want this to end peacefully.' That's what we are emphasizing."

Brown's reforms achieved some significant successes. Over the past three years, officer-involved shootings in Dallas have fallen sharply -- from 10 in 2014 to five in 2015 to none in the first half of 2016. Complaints fell too, by more than 80 percent between 2005 and 2015.

Despite these successes, Brown was not a popular chief. Dallas' powerful police union, the Dallas Police Association, complained about Brown's management style -- part of the basis for their call for his resignation. The local Black Police Association echoed these complaints.

Brown's reforms also had unintended consequences. Telling officers to take greater care to prevent or defuse possible confrontations means officers will take more time. That, in turn, delays police response times in high-crime neighborhoods, which feeds the perception that police don't care about communities of color. Critics argue that Brown's initiatives, along with his unwillingness to press the city council for more officers, has contributed to the "de-policing" of the city.

"There has been a 'Ferguson effect'" in Dallas, says Deputy Chief Malik Aziz, referring to the 2014 killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. Aziz, who is chairman of the national Black Police Association, says that police officers in Dallas "don't patrol as aggressively as they once did. They don't tend to engage themselves in situations where they once did."

But Brown wasn't just villified by those who said his reforms went too far. He was also attacked by others who said he didn't do nearly enough. Brown attracted staunch criticism from a new generation of activists loosely affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement. One of the most outspoken groups has been Mothers Against Police Brutality. It's led by Collette Flanagan, whose 25-year-old son was shot and killed by police in 2013. She notes what she sees as a failure of reform: Since 2001, 60 unarmed men have been killed by Dallas police officers, yet not a single officer has been indicted.

For John Fullinwider, a leading Dallas figure in the ongoing protests about police brutality, Brown "has a reputation as a reformer. But this police department has not been reformed." He points to two fatal shootings in August -- one of a white kid who was acting in an aberrant way but was unarmed, the other of a Latino kid in a domestic dispute who had a knife and was shot when he didn't follow police orders to put it down.

Activists in Dallas want deeper policy changes. At the top of their list is a special independent prosecutor, appointed by the local U.S. attorney, to investigate fatal police shootings. They also want regular drug testing and psychological evaluations for officers, compensation for victims, body cameras for all officers, deadly force training approved and authorized by the U.S. Department of Justice, federal investigations of civil rights violations by police officers, and a federal database of problem officers.

Attorney Kim Cole, who works with the activist group Next Generation Action Network, sees Brown's reforms as little more than window dressing. Consider a recent decision by Brown to end the policy that allowed police officers involved in a fatal shooting to wait 72 hours before giving a statement to police investigators. Most saw this as another win for reform. Cole sees it in a different light -- as a way for police to avoid testifying at all. "As long as there is no accountability, there will never be any responsibility," says Cole. "The African-American community is being terrorized by law enforcement because we know there are times when we can't reach for our wallets without the risk of dying."

It would be easy to conclude that being attacked simultaneously for going too far on accountability and transparency and for not going far enough is a sign that you're actually doing something right. But Brown's struggles suggest another lesson as well: Police reform is hard. Often, it entails unintended consequences. De-escalation and relationship-building take time. That requires more resources. And in Dallas, as in most every other city, additional resources aren't easy to come by. During the recession of 2008, Dallas allowed its police force to shrink by attrition and retirement. That seemed like a reasonable decision when crime was falling. But in 2014, homicides started to rise, and that has continued. The department has attempted to compensate by moving officers from desks back onto the streets. But it's telling that in the aftermath of the July sniper shootings, Brown sought to use his new popularity for one thing: He asked the city to approve funding to hire 549 additional officers as quickly as possible.

The request stemmed in part from the effectiveness of having more officers to do basic police work. New York City's crime reduction "miracle" in the early 1990s was made possible by the roughly 6,000 new officers Mayor David Dinkins was able to hire through the state-supported "Safe Streets" program. The crime decline in Los Angeles in the mid-aughts likewise followed the hiring of hundreds of new police officers.

But Brown's request also reflected the additional hours his reforms require. He found few backers. Union officials argued that the city should focus instead on retaining existing officers by increasing pay. City council members questioned whether the city of Dallas could afford to spend more than it already does on public safety. Eventually, the city committed to increasing the size of the force by just 100 officers.

On Sept. 1, Brown, who had been with the force for 33 years and its chief for six, stunned Dallas by announcing via Twitter that he was retiring. He would do so without securing the additional officers he so clearly wanted for his department. "Chief Brown, we are sure going to miss you," Dallas regional Chamber of Commerce President Dale Petroskey told him and the crowd of civic and business leaders at a luncheon later that month. "Thanks for being a rock and a rock star. We needed you."

In fact, Dallas -- and other cities contending with rising homicides and protests against police brutality -- do need someone who can make the case that Brown, ultimately, could not. Reform is vital. But the real solution to the problem of police, paradoxically, may well be more police.




Chicago has deadliest weekend of the year

Superintendent Eddie Johnson repeated his call for a crackdown on repeat gun offenders after the deadliest weekend Chicago has seen so far

by Jeremy Gorner and Megan Crepeau

CHICAGO — A concerned police Superintendent Eddie Johnson repeated his call for a crackdown on repeat gun offenders after the past weekend marked the deadliest so far in what has been Chicago's most violent year in decades, according to police and data compiled by the Chicago Tribune.

Seventeen people were fatally shot in the city between Friday afternoon and early Monday, an extraordinary toll for this late in 2016 even in a year that is far outpacing last year in shootings and homicides. The victims included an eighth-grade honors student and twin 17-year-old boys.

In discussing the violence Monday after addressing the latest class of about 200 rookie cops to graduate from the police academy, Johnson turned to familiar themes.

"It was a tough weekend, but that just goes back to what I've been saying all the time," he told reporters. "Listen, until we start holding repeat gun offenders accountable for these crimes, we're going to keep seeing cycles of gun violence like this."

Johnson denied that the department was caught off guard by the mostly gang violence on the South and West sides while deploying hundreds of extra officers for crowd control outside Wrigley Field for the Cubs three World Series games over the weekend.

"We had canceled days off as well as (required) 12-hour shifts over the entire weekend, so I'm confident that we had the resources out there" in the most dangerous neighborhoods, he said.

Up until now, Father's Day weekend had been the most violent with 59 people shot, 13 fatally. The same number of people were shot this past weekend, but more of the shootings were fatal, according to Tribune data.

The weekend toll also was deadlier than the three long summer holiday weekends when violence typically spikes because of the warm weather. Six people were fatally shot over the Memorial Day weekend, five over the Fourth of July weekend and 13 people over Labor Day weekend, according to Tribune data.

There have been at least 638 homicides so far this year, 217 more than this time last year, the data show. At least 3,662 people have been shot in the city, 1,106 more than during the same period last year.

This past weekend there were shootings in every area of the city but the Far North and Northwest sides, according to police. Of the 17 people who were killed, seven were younger than 20.

The youngest was 14-year-old Demarco Webster Jr., described by his grade school principal as one of her best students. Webster had planned to run for student council and try out for basketball, and he was being recruited for an NAACP leadership program.

Demarco was shot early Saturday while helping his father move out of a building in the 500 block of South Central Avenue, according to police and relatives.

A little more than 24 hours later, 17-year-old twins Edward and Edwin Bryant were killed in an apparent drive-by shooting in Old Town. Police responding to calls of shots fired found one of the boys lying on the sidewalk in the 400 block of West Evergreen Avenue and another around the corner in the 1300 block of North Hudson Avenue.

Both had been shot several times and were pronounced dead at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

"The two brothers, as far as we can tell, they didn't have any documented gang affiliation," said Johnson, who noted police recovered video of the shooting. "But the individuals they were with did."

A shooting late Friday killed Bryant Fields and Chiquita Ford, both 30. Fields had achieved some notoriety in March after he was shot while broadcasting video of himself live on Facebook.

He survived that attack and was with Ford in a car at a Back of the Yards gas station Friday when he was shot in the chest. Ford was shot in the side. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.





In wake of July 7 attack, community policing becomes more vital than ever

by James Hartley

On July 7, a man convinced that police were an evil authority purposely targeting innocent civilians took matters into his own hands.

During what was supposed to be a peaceful protest in Dallas against police conflict with minorities across the nation, he killed five police officers and injured other officers and civilians.

While this unforgivable act is only the fault of the man who fired the gun, we will eventually have to ask ourselves how he got to that point.

The villainous portrayal of police in media paired with the constant cries of hate from racist movements like Black Lives Matter have undoubtedly contributed to the stigma that led to the attack.

What kind of actions should we expect when a video of a mother telling her young children to resist police because they are racist goes viral or when politicians and media outlets declare officers guilty of murder before a body is even cold, much less before any investigation has happened?

Police who act rude, cold or hostile are only a minority, but they are enough to further perpetuate the negative stereotypes surrounding all police.

On the flipside, the portrayal of civilians in the media as people who are ungrateful, criminal or hateful toward police does nothing to make a community safer or a law enforcement officer more comfortable and relaxed in their job.

Most of the time, these perceptions don't lead to tragic events like the July 7 shooting.

Instead, they lead to distrust and an unwillingness from both sides to see the other as human.

They also make it more difficult to create a safe environment for both police and civilians.

When we dig into the causes of this stressed relationship between citizens and law enforcement, we'll find that the root is a lack of understanding and communication.

In order to combat the violence and hate, the need for strong relationships between the community and police is becoming increasingly vital.

The Eastfield Police Department is taking steps to increase positive perception in the community, from hosting a now-annual National Night Out party to a coffee sit-down with Chief Michael Horak to engaging students in simple conversations in the halls.

Officers take efforts to get to know the struggles students face and the safety concerns they may have.

Whether through personal conversations, panel discussions or town hall meetings, our Police Department does a lot to stay connected and build relationships.

Students have noticed this effort and joined in.

Outside of Eastfield, police are made the stars of viral videos where they show random acts of kindness.

Dallas police walk kids to and from school. Videos on social media show one police officer playing basketball with neighborhood children and another buying a financially struggling parent a car seat for their toddler.

In places like these, the police have taken the first steps.

At that point, the burden is on the community to reciprocate.

By building emotional connections, these police can have an influence on the choices children make as they grow up and the direction a neighborhood moves with its crime rates and financial prosperity.

Without these connections, community members and police are mistrusting and more likely to believe the negative stereotypes.

While profiling based off appearance has its legitimate uses, a lack of a relationship with the communities they protect can lead police to overuse profiling in unnecessary cases.

Community policing only works if both sides are willing to cooperate with each other, build trust and make sacrifices, just as any more personal relationship.

This relationship makes sense. After all, civilians and law enforcement share a goal of making communities safe. Civilians want to have safe neighborhoods.

Police want to keep communities safe by enforcing the law and stopping crimes through intervention and prevention whenever possible.

The cure for this culture of hate and misunderstandings is patience, an active effort to understand the other side and active listening.

Without patience, we jump to conclusions about the motives behind the other side's actions and will fail in all our attempts to build a strong relationship.

If we put in the work, communicate and build this relationship, perhaps the next tragedy can be prevented.



New York

Judge to OK deal over police surveillance if changes made

A judge said a deal to settle lawsuits accusing its police department of violating basic rights in Muslim communities after Sept. 11, 2001, can be approved with some changes

by Larry Neumeister

NEW YORK — A deal with the city to settle lawsuits accusing its police department of violating basic rights in Muslim communities after Sept. 11, 2001, can be approved with some changes, a judge said as he criticized the department for routinely disregarding guidelines instituted decades ago to settle a 45-year-old lawsuit.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Charles S. Haight Jr., signed on Friday in New Haven, Connecticut, and put in the public record on Monday, called for changes to language in the deal describing the authority and responsibility of an attorney who would be chosen to sit on a committee of police officials that discusses the status of investigations pertaining to political activities carried out by the department's intelligence bureau.

"The proposed role and powers of the civilian representative do not furnish sufficient protection from potential violations of the constitutional rights of those law-abiding Muslims and believers in Islam who live, move and have their being in this city," the judge wrote.

The judge recommended strengthening the independence and authority of the civilian representative by requiring the representative to report to the court quarterly and allowing him or her to "at any time communicate to the court comments or concerns arising out of his or her functioning in that position." The judge said the reports would be shared with lawyers for the city and plaintiffs in the lawsuits.

He also recommended that it be required that the mayor seek court approval before abolishing the position of the civilian representative after five years.

In his written decision, he cited a Department of Investigation inspector general's report concluding the New York Police Department eventually violated the so-called Handschu Guidelines in more than half the cases in which it opened investigations requiring compliance with them.

"Those failures suggest a systemic inclination on the part of the Intelligence Bureau to disregard the Guidelines' mandates," the judge wrote.

He said the tendency of the NYPD to repeatedly use generic, boilerplate text to seek permission to use an undercover officer or confidential informant created circumstances "more consistent with an NYPD accustomed to disregarding the Handschu Guidelines once an investigation or its continuance is authorized, rather than with a department dedicated to compliance with the Guidelines governing how the investigation is to be conducted."

The Handschu Guidelines took the name of the lead plaintiff, Barbara Handschu, in a 1971 lawsuit that challenged surveillance of war protesters in the 1960s and '70s. The 1980s consent decree established guidelines to be followed by police. Those guidelines were relaxed after Sept. 11 to help police fight terrorism.

The city's Law Department said it will explore ways to address the concerns raised by the judge.

"To the extent that the Court's decision is based in part on an Inspector General's report containing findings with which both the City and Class Plaintiffs' counsel variously disagree, we are disappointed that the settlement was not approved as the parties originally proposed," city law office spokesman Nick Paolucci said in a statement.

The American Civil Liberties Union welcomed the changes recommended by the judge, saying the NYPD had earlier refused to accept similar recommendations though it hoped the judge's ruling changes minds.



From ICE

Law enforcement agencies around the world collaborate on international Darknet marketplace enforcement operation

WASHINGTON – A globally coordinated law enforcement action against the buyers and sellers of illicit drugs and other illegal activities using Darknet global marketplaces was conducted Oct. 22 to 28.

“Operation Hyperion” was initiated by U.S. federal law enforcement, the Five Eyes Law Enforcement Group (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States) and members of Europol, the European Union's law enforcement agency, as the first step in developing a more unified global law enforcement response to the growing usage of the Darknet by individuals seeking to buy and sell illicit drugs and other illegal goods and services.

While illegal drugs continue to be the biggest item purchased and sold on Darknet marketplaces, law enforcement agencies around the world are also seeing counterfeit prescription drugs and other counterfeit items, dangerous and deadly synthetic drugs like Fentanyl, deadly toxins, fake and stolen identities, identity documents and stolen credit card data, as well as illegal services like computer hacking, murder for hire and money laundering.

Operation Hyperion resulted in a number of law enforcement leads on cases related to the buying and selling of illicit drugs and other goods on the Darknet. This operation will also help law enforcement agencies continue to combat the trafficking of illicit goods and services on the Darknet through the identification of new smuggling networks and trends.

Law enforcement agencies participating in the operation included: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), U.S. Secret Service (USSS), Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and various state and local entities.

International partners included Europol the United Kingdom's National Crime Agency; Australian Federal Police; New Zealand Police and New Zealand Customs Service; Canada's Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canada Post and Canada Border Services Agency; The Netherlands; French Customs National Intelligence and Investigations Directorate; Finnish Customs; Swedish Police Authority and Swedish Customs; Ireland's Garda National Drugs & Organised Crime Bureau; and Spain's Guardia Civil.

The operation was supported by CBP's National Targeting Center and coordinated by HSI's Cyber Division.



from ICE

ICE Dallas officers return Mexican man wanted for murder

DALLAS — A Mexican man, wanted in his home country for murder, was returned to Mexico Friday by officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in Dallas.

Arcenio Esparza-Perez, 40, was transported by bus to the U.S. Mexico border at Laredo, Texas, and transferred to Mexican authorities Oct. 28.

Esparza-Perez is wanted for allegedly using a firearm to commit a murder March 11, 2002, in Sinaloa, Mexico. Esparza-Perez and the deceased were seen in Esparza-Perez’s vehicle moments before shots were fired. Moments after those shots, the victim lay injured on the ground as Esparza-Perez fled the scene. An Interpol Red Notice had been issued for Esparza-Perez.

Esparza-Perez had been returned to Mexico after illegally entering the United States in 2002 in California, and in 2003 near Ajo, Arizona. On June 6, 2016, ERO was notified by Mexico’s Procuraduría General de la Republica that Esparza-Perez had an outstanding murder warrant issued by the First Judicial District of Badiraguato, Sinaloa, Mexico. ERO Dallas officers arrested Esparza-Perez at his Dallas residence the same day.

“Our ICE officers help improve overall public safety by removing criminal aliens to their countries of origin,” said Simona L. Flores, field office director of ERO Dallas. “Due to the continued cooperation between the United States and the Mexican governments, this criminal alien was safely returned to his home country where he will face justice.”

Since Oct. 1, 2009, ERO has removed more than 1,150 foreign fugitives from the United States who were sought in their native countries for serious crimes, including kidnapping, rape and murder. ERO works with the ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Office of International Operations, foreign consular offices in the United States, and Interpol to identify foreign fugitives illegally present in the United States. Members of the public who have information about foreign fugitives are urged to contact ICE by calling the ICE tip line at 1 (866) 347-2423 or internationally at 001-1802-872-6199. They can also file a tip online by completing ICE’s online tip form.

In fiscal year 2015, ICE conducted 235,413 removals nationwide. Ninety-one percent of individuals removed from the interior of the United States had previously been convicted of a criminal offense.

ICE is focused on smart, effective immigration enforcement that targets serious criminal aliens who present the greatest risk to the security of our communities, such as those charged with or convicted of homicide, rape, robbery, kidnapping, major drug offenses and threats to national security.




Hunt for Oklahoma fugitive ends in deadly shootout with police

by Holly Yan and Darran Simon

Michael Vance's savage week of killings, police shootings and boasting on Facebook ended in more violence when the fugitive was killed in a shootout, authorities said.

Vance, 38, had been on the run since October 23 -- the day he allegedly shot two Oklahoma officers and killed two relatives. After wounding the officers, Vance appeared on Facebook Live, bragging about his exploits and portending more violence to come.

His demise came Sunday, after Dewey County Sheriff Clay Sander pulled him over. That's when gunfire erupted.

A chaotic final day

Vance had been camping out in Hammon, Oklahoma, about 150 miles west of where his rampage began in Wellston. On Sunday, he managed to evade authorities hot on his trail by fleeing in a car.

Around 9:30 p.m., Dewey County Sheriff Clay Sander caught up with Vance and pulled him over. But Vance shot the sheriff in the left forearm and shoulder and escaped once again, U.S. Marshals Service spokesman Dave Turk said.

About 45 minutes later, an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper found Vance, and a second shootout ensued, Turk said. Vance was killed, ending an intense, week-long manhunt for the suspected killer and child abuser.

How the rampage unfolded

Sunday, October 23

Vance shot and wounded two Wellston police officers who were responding to a disturbance call, authorities said.

The wounded officers returned fire, striking Vance at least twice, the Lincoln County sheriff said. Vance managed to flee in a stolen patrol car.

While still in the stolen police car, Vance posted a video on Facebook.

"This is more intense than I thought it would be, to say the least," he said. "This truck is about dead ... I'm about to steal another car. Like right now."

Investigators believe Vance then shot a woman while trying to steal a Lincoln Town Car.

Authorities spotted a Lincoln Town Car at a house in Luther, just northeast of Oklahoma City. There, police found the bodies of Robert and Valerie Kay Wilkson -- later identified as relatives of Vance's. The Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office declined to specify their relation to Vance.

Both were stabbed, and Robert Wilkson was also shot. Based on the stab wounds, the killer apparently tried to behead Wilkson and dismember his wife.

Monday, October 24

Authorities executed a search warrant on the house and found a pink T-shirt believed to be the one Vance wore in his Facebook videos.

They also found two shell casings -- a kind typically fired from an AK-47. Police believe a weapon shown in one of Vance's Facebook videos was an AK-47.

Tuesday through Sunday, October 30

Vance continued eluding authorities. Oklahoma Highway Patrol warned that Vance had a "medical condition and may try to spread disease."

Authorities did not specify the disease, but Oklahoma County Sheriff's spokesman Mark Opgrande called it "a communicable disease that can be transmitted by blood."

"It's possible he may attempt to spread it to others if he is put in a situation where that would be possible," Opgrande said.

Sunday night

Sander, the Dewey County sheriff, pulled Vance over near Hammon, in the western part of the state. The sheriff was wounded in a shootout, and Vance escaped.

An Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper later spotted Vance, who was killed in a second shootout.

Child sex abuse allegations

Vance was incensed after he was arrested in July on accusations of child sexual assault, his uncle Tony Heavner told CNN affiliate KFOR . The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office said Vance had been recently released from jail.

In one of his Facebook Live posts, Vance thanked his sister for "believing in me."

"Everything that was said, it was all a setup," Vance said while on the run.

Heavner said he now thinks Vance may have begun planning his rampage weeks earlier since he asked relatives to help him get a gun.

"Members of the family actually (were) unknowingly helping him get all of the guns and all that stuff," Heavner told CNN affiliate KFOR last week.

But Heavner said he couldn't predict the violent events that followed. "This is a nightmare we can't wake up from," he said.



New York

How New York's capital avoided becoming 'a flaming city' after police killed a mentally ill, unarmed black man

by Harrison Jacobs

In 2015, a tragic police encounter nearly tore apart the city of Albany. Two white police officers on “firearms eradication” detail in the neighborhood of Arbor Hill confronted a black man on his way home from a corner store a little past midnight on April 2.

Despite the frigid weather, the officers found that the way he pulled his puffer-coat sleeves past his hands suspicious. After running his name through a database, the officers decided to conduct a pat-down search.

But each time the officers tried to touch the man he pulled his hands to his side. As they tried to handcuff him, he resisted.

When he ran, the officers gave chase. Only feet from the man's sister's house, where he lived, police struck him with a baton and repeatedly fired a Taser, which stunned him at least three times. Eventually, they tackled him to the ground and handcuffed him. Soon after, the man stopped breathing. Less than an hour later he was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

The man, 39-year-old Donald “Dontay” Ivy, was mentally ill and had a heart condition. Well known in the predominantly black neighborhood as quiet and mild-mannered, though occasionally odd, Ivy suffered from schizophrenia. Police have said it may have caused his atypical behavior during the encounter. As one law-enforcement official described to Albany's Times-Union, “Everything that could possibly go wrong, goes wrong here.”

The incident struck a stunning blow to the city. For decades before that, the public had viewed Albany police as “an occupying force,” in the words of police chief Brendan Cox. But over the previous six years, city hall and the police department had made public, forthright reforms toward more transparent, accountable, and accessible policing — in particular, to the communities of color, which make up nearly 30% of Albany's population.

Cox, who had been elevated to acting chief of police just days before Ivy's death, and Mayor Kathy Sheehan went to great lengths in interviews and public conferences to ask the public to hold judgment until an investigation had been conducted. They said if excessive force or wrongdoing was found, the department would take action.

“We've always tried to be transparent. We've always tried to make sure that we did the right thing, and that's what we're going to do here,” Cox said at a press conference the day after Ivy's death.

In the days and months that followed — as in many other cities where police-involved deaths have occurred — hundreds of angry protesters carried signs emblazoned with “Black Lives Matter” to city hall and demanded answers. They attended city council meetings to voice their disgust with the situation and held demonstrations in the middle of major thoroughfares to disrupt traffic.

But unlike in Baltimore weeks later, the city avoided becoming “a flaming city,” as Dannielle Hille, a prominent community organizer in Albany, told Business Insider, because of extensive efforts by police and community to repair a long-strained relationship.

“We could have easily been a Ferguson,” Hille said.

A contentious history

For many in Albany, Ivy's death was all too familiar. Allegations of widespread brutality and unfair treatment had strained the police department's relationship with the black community since the 1950s.

But in 1984 tensions exploded when police killed a mentally ill black man.

In responding to a disturbance call, police entered the apartment of Jessie Davis, where they say the 35-year-old came at them with a fork and knife. The items — confirmed in a photo released nearly a decade later — turned out to be a key case and a toy truck.

Protests erupted in the community and even among the police department. The city's police chief stepped down less than a year later.

The Davis shooting persuaded Alice Green, a prominent civil-rights activist, to join the frontlines in the battle to change Albany police. In 1985 she started Albany's Center for Law and Justice (CFLJ) to advocate for criminal-justice reform. After decades of criticizing the department, however, she found herself offering support in 2015 after the Donald Ivy incident.

The community was furious.

For many, the Ivy incident was proof that reforms had not reached the entire city. And while Green didn't absolve the police department, she urged everyone to wait out the investigation. She felt confident the department and Cox, in particular, would be transparent, thorough, and honest.

Many community leaders such as Green trusted Cox in the city's moment of strife because they had “witnessed” him and the department try to approach situations correctly and not just offer “lip service,” Carolyn McLaughlin, the president of the Common Council, the city's legislative body, told Business Insider.

But that didn't happen overnight.

'A complete philosophical change'

After Ivy's death, Cox created what he called an “open-door policy” with Ivy's family — whatever the police knew, Cox shared, even information he couldn't produce publicly so as not to interfere with ongoing investigations.

Whenever a family member had a question or wanted to talk, Cox or one of his staff made themselves available. As the investigations progressed, Cox updated Ivy's family with new developments and evidence as they were obtained. In fact, he released the names of the officers involved at the same time he released Ivy's.

“We didn't hold anything back. It was important to us that [the family] knew exactly what our investigation was showing and what information we had because they had just lost a loved one,” Cox told Business Insider.

That wasn't the case in Ferguson.

There, the police chief addressed media on the night of the death of Michael Brown but failed to provide much information on the circumstances of the shooting or answer questions from the public. Ferguson police waited six days to release the name of Officer Darren Wilson. At the same time, they released video footage indicating that Brown had been involved in a robbery before the encounter.

The move “inflamed tensions and actions” in Ferguson, according to a 2015 Department of Justice report. Some community members felt the police were trying to “develop an alternate explanation for the shooting,” the DOJ said.

By the time Cox became chief in 2015, the level of transparency shown after Ivy's death was protocol. But it would have been unheard of before 2009 when a “coup ” — as prominent Albany blogger Daniel Van Riper described it — shook up the tumultuous leadership at the department. The scenario left assistant chief of police Steven Krokoff as Albany's youngest police chief in a century. At 40 years old, he won popular support by proposing an overhaul of the department toward community policing.

Proposed more than two decades years ago, community policing seeks to improve public safety by encouraging officers to get to know the city's residents and hold regular town meetings to foster communication and trust. The Obama administration has touted the philosophy as the way forward for embattled police, but the feel-good idea faces criticism as meaning little more than putting a few officers on neighborhood beats.

Such condemnations were familiar to Krokoff and Cox when they decided to bring community policing to Albany. Both were hired during the early 1990s when John Dale, the city's first African-American chief, attempted to implement community policing to help reduce the historic mistrust of the police reignited by the Jessie Davis shooting. The effort failed after opposition from veteran officers and superficial commitment. The only real change, according to one officer at the time, was creating a single unit with little training or institutional support dedicated to policing Arbor Hill and South End, two predominantly black neighborhoods.

Krokoff knew that for community policing to succeed in Albany this time, “a complete philosophical change” was needed, according to Cox, not a policing strategy or PR tactic.

The engine of change

Aside from keeping Ivy's family updated, Cox led meetings all over the city, many hosted by an organization called the Albany Community Policing Advisory Committee (ACPAC), dreamed up by Krokoff back in 2009, to close, in his words, the “Grand Canyon”-sized gap with the community.

During those meetings, Cox encouraged residents to express their anger and voice concerns, according to Ray Moran, a lifelong Albany resident and a former vice-chair of ACPAC. While emotions were raw, what struck McLaughlin, the Common Council president, was that each side — the police and public — listened to what the other had to say.

ACPAC consists of more than 15 city residents, two police union reps, and Cox, who meet regularly to facilitate communication and troubleshoot recurring issues. On any given day, ACPAC members are on the street teaching people how to file complaints, attending neighborhood-association meetings, and engaging with the community in other ways.

Even before the public meetings, the police briefed the ACPAC and other community leaders on the incident and the investigation. The “very open and very accountable” briefings, according to Beverly Padgett — a founding member and two-time chair of the committee — helped dispel misinformation on social media. For example, some heard that Ivy had been left in the street by police for four hours, a disproven rumor that recalled how Michael Brown's body was treated in Ferguson.

“When tragedies occur, it's important to have relationships there. You have to build them ahead of time. You can't build them in the wake of a tragedy,” Cox said.

To understand how integral the ACPAC has become to the functioning of Albany, consider that the day after Ivy died, Padgett, a longtime police critic pre-Krokoff, held a meeting with Cox. She said the chief was “devastated” to see the hard work of the department and ACPAC come crashing down. After the controversial death of a minority at the hands of police, she was with Cox — not on the other side of an "us-versus-them" divide.

“I said to him, ‘It's a test. You'll pass it.' He looked at me. He didn't say anything. He just nodded his head,” Padgett told Business Insider.

At the start of 2010, Krokoff tasked the ACPAC with rewriting the department's strategic plan and mission statement from the ground up. To start, Krokoff identified 75 key residents, with an emphasis on those “without a voice,” he said. He met with each of them one on one to hear their thoughts.

Soon after, regular meetings with LGBTQ activists and residents led to an overhaul of the department's policies and procedures toward the transgender community. And then, a neighborhood engagement unit (NEU), made up of officers and sergeants who patrol regular beats by bicycle and on foot, was soon rolled out. Teams of the same officers patrolled the same neighborhoods day and night.

Aside from departmental changes, police began holding pop-up BBQs, kickball with neighborhood kids, town halls, and “coffee with a cop” events. Cox and other police staff began attending events held by neighborhood associations, activists, and community-development organizations.

In the three years before Krokoff, the city's Citizens' Police Review Board, a nine-person volunteer group that reviews issues of police misconduct, saw an average of 125 complaints a year. After the department's focus on community policing, complaints dropped to 103 a year from 2010 to 2012, and to 76 from 2012 to 2014.

While the department has made huge strides, Krokoff said, the credit for their success must go to people like Padgett and Green, who worked tirelessly with the community.

“ACPAC is not a part of community policing. ACPAC is community policing. If you don't have the people, you don't have community policing,” said Padgett.

'The vacuum of information'

In October 2015, a grand jury found no criminal wrongdoing on the part of officers in the Ivy case, and an investigation by Albany's district attorney, David Soares, found the same.

Afterward, Cox invited community leaders and ACPAC members to a meeting so that his department could present the entire case. During the two-hour meeting, Cox and his staff presented dash-cam videos, an autopsy report, and a “blow-by-blow” analysis of the event, much of which was later released to the public.

The police department learned its lesson about the importance of communication after 19-year-old Nah-Cream Moore was fatally shot by police in South End in 2011. Then-Chief Krokoff held a press conference a day later to answer questions and share what little information he had — namely the officers' identities and that Cream had pointed a handgun in an officer's direction during a struggle. More than 100 community members spoke angrily over him. Krokoff said he now realizes that if he had met with community leaders and provided information earlier, the anger might have been defused.

“It's the vacuum of information that fuels the flames,” Krokoff said.

Even though Cox released the names of the officers involved in Ivy's death immediately and held briefings to go over the investigation findings, some weren't satisfied. Moran wanted more answers but lauded Cox and the department's good-faith effort to explain.

And Celinda Okwuosa, Ivy's aunt, slammed the results of the investigation and called the policies that absolved the officers “ discriminatory.” Local activist groups such as Capital Area Against Mass Incarceration and Black Lives Matter: Upstate NY were also incensed.

And some, like councilman Mark Robinson, who lives in Arbor Hill, have said the Ivy incident shows that community policing has yet to reach communities of color.

"If there was community policing in place ... they would have known the history of [Dontay Ivy]," Robinson said at a rally days after the incident.

In March, the New York Civil Liberties Union declared that the initial stop of Ivy was "unconstitutional," and though Cox has rejected that characterization, the announcement confirmed suspicions that Albany police mishandled the situation.

Combatting the 'us-versus-them' mentality

After the grand jury's decision, rallies and protests — which had been held in the days after the incident — once again began in earnest.

Albany officers did not interfere and instead “stood on the sidelines” in case of trouble, according to Padgett, who has attended every Ivy-related rally so far. When protesters flooded major thoroughfares, Albany police closed down the street to make sure they had “the room” to voice their concerns, Cox said. And instead of wearing riot gear, NEU officers patrolled the protests on bicycles. As policy, Albany officers never attend protests in riot gear.

At a demonstration days after the incident, both Padgett and Moran served as “intermediaries” between demonstrators and officers, despite the fact that they too were protesting the incident.

The demonstration took over a major thoroughfare in Arbor Hill used by commuters for access onto the I-90 freeway. Seeing the logjam, Padgett asked the organizers if they could move the demonstration so that commuters could drive home.

To Cox's surprise, they agreed to march to another location. Moran then talked to demonstrators so that police would know where the were going and, in turn, demonstrators knew to expect police. The bicycle-mounted officers stopped traffic and guided the crowd of 200 people to their destination at city hall.

The event was not without bumps. While Moran felt police were supportive, he said his perception may be skewed because he knew the officers. Others may still have felt the police were an “authoritarian” presence.

In fact, at one point during the march, a demonstrator shouted that the police were going to charge the protesters. While that was a false cry, it showed Moran that some of the "us-versus-them" mentality persists.

While the police's handling of the rallies — which McLaughlin called “supportive” — may have helped to keep tensions from exploding, Padgett said the credit must go to the demonstrators, who channeled their frustration positively.

“The people don't want to riot. They want justice,” she said.

In January, protesters disrupted the mayor's State of the City speech, marching into city hall during the event, unfurling large banners that read “State of Denial” and “Justice for Dontay” and shouting and singing as Mayor Sheehan tried to speak. To both the demonstrators' and the police's credit, the protest happened without interference or arrests.

“It's a wound that is still very open for people,” McLaughlin said.

The next generation of reforms

A month after the Ivy incident, Cox instituted a new Taser policy that limited officers to using stun guns for only three short bursts during an encounter. (Officers stunned Ivy at least three times and as many as five.) While Cox denies the policy was a direct response to the incident, he did say the timetable was moved up.

The department also changed its dashboard-camera policy to require officers to turn on audio microphones during street encounters. And last month, after nearly a year of public hearings, online feedback, and committee meetings, the department began a pilot body-camera program for officers.

Those changes were just the beginning.

In December, Albany announced that it would be the third police department in the US to implement a Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program designed to lower the number of people who go through the criminal-justice system, specifically the addicted, homeless, and mentally ill. Instead of arresting, LEAD connects offending individuals with a case officer who works to figure out what he or she needs to stop living a life of crime, including housing, rehabilitation, healthcare, and employment.

In Seattle, the first city to implement LEAD, early reports indicate a 60% drop in recidivism among its target population. In Albany, Cox has instituted an extensive curriculum of training for officers on harm reduction, procedural justice, implicit bias, crisis intervention, and mental-health emergencies. Recruits now go through a department-specific community-policing academy.

“We need to be able to give a message to the people we serve that we are willing to try something different,” said Cox.

And while retraining officers, police partnered with instructors to educate residents on the concepts. Before the roll out of LEAD, for example, police held a series of town halls about the program and the department's adoption of a harm-reduction philosophy, which stipulates the best way to help drug users is to reduce the “negative consequences” associated with drug use, namely death, imprisonment, and disease.

In May and June, the city held a series of open “community conversations” that served as an abridged implicit-bias training for the public, which received considerable interest.

Hille, who has since become the chair of ACPAC, attended one of the May events and called them “a great start,” though she was skeptical two hours could undo attitudes developed over decades. The Rev. McKinley Johnson, a prominent religious leader in Albany, attended an implicit-bias training open to clergy members and described it as “excellent,” “fair,” and “data-driven.”

The hammer and the sound

Johnson, 79, has lived in Albany his entire life. To explain the changes happening in the community, the reverend relayed a parable. “If you hit a hammer onto a table, the hit would be down before you heard the sound. The sound comes later.” In other words, change takes a long time.

For Robert Worden, an associate professor of criminal justice at the SUNY University at Albany, who makes his living as a police-department watchdog, the changes have been stark.

The new initiatives, according to Worden, who has conducted considerable research on the success of police reform, have filtered through as much of the department as “one could reasonably expect” at this point, he said. And while he calls Albany “one of the most progressive departments in the country,” he called the reforms “fragile,” adding that community policing efforts in the 1990s crumbled in the face of crime spikes.

One of the department's harshest critics, Melanie Trimble, director of the NYCLU Capital Region office, has been impressed with Albany's “groundbreaking” reform efforts.

“If I am asked to point to a police department that is doing things right from a civil-liberties point of view, we usually turn to the Albany Police Department and look at what they are doing,” Trimble told Business Insider.

More important to the community than the name-brand reforms is the day-to-day relationship.

This summer, an annual basketball tournament in Arbor Hill was cancelled after fights, stabbings, and shootings erupted the previous three years. Organizers and passionate community members quickly arranged a series of conversations with Cox about how to keep the event going. For McLaughlin, that “partnership” says everything about the Albany Police Department's new direction.

After agreeing to compromises, including installing security gates and ending the tournament earlier in the night, the event was back on in August. Hundreds attended — without incident.



“Community Policing in Action” Photo Contest Closes Nov. 4

by Tammy Waitt

As part of National Community Policing Week, the COPS Office is kicking off the third annual Photo Contest entitled “Community Policing in Action.”

This contest is an opportunity to visually share your examples of community policing in action with other law enforcement and community stakeholders.

Twelve (12) winning photos will be selected to showcase on the COPS Office Twitter and Facebook pages as headers during the 2017 calendar year.

Winning agencies may be featured in an article in the COPS Office e-newsletter, the CP Dispatch, and a COPS Office issued press release.

Please note that both selected and non-selected photos may be archived and used in other COPS Office communications for Federal Government purposes in the future.

There is no cash award or other prize for this photo contest.

There is just one week remaining to submit your “Community Policing in Action"photo contest submission!

This year's contest closes next Friday, November 4 th.

All submissions must be emailed to tellcops@usdoj.gov no later than 8:00pm EDT.

Please visit www.cops.usdoj.gov/photocontest for detailed rules, terms and conditions, along with required release and consent forms.


The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) is the component of the U.S. Department of Justice responsible for advancing the practice of community policing by the nation's state, local, territorial, and tribal law enforcement agencies through information and grant resources.

Community policing begins with a commitment to building trust and mutual respect between police and communities. It is critical to public safety, ensuring that all stakeholders work together to address our nation's crime challenges.

When police and communities collaborate, they more effectively address underlying issues, change negative behavioral patterns, and allocate resources.

The COPS Office awards grants to hire community policing professionals, develop and test innovative policing strategies, and provide training and technical assistance to community members, local government leaders, and all levels of law enforcement.

Since 1994, the COPS Office has invested more than $14 billion to help advance community policing.




4 Calif. officers to be fired in wake of Bay Area sex scandal

Four more Bay Area police officers will be fired as a result of an investigation into allegations made by a woman who said she slept with dozens of law enforcement officers

by Javier Panzar

RICHMOND, Calif. — Four more Bay Area police officers will be fired as a result of an investigation into allegations made by a teenage sex-trafficking victim who said she slept with dozens of law enforcement officers.

Richmond City Manager Bill Lindsay on Sunday said the four officers will be fired after a city investigation found “documented misconduct” between the officers and the victim. Five other officers will be given official reprimands.

The Oakland Police Department and other Bay Area law enforcement agencies came under intense scrutiny in June after 19-year-old Jasmine Abuslin came forward earlier this year and said that she had sex with multiple officers, some while she was underage.

In addition to the firings in Richmond, four Oakland police officers were fired and seven others suspended without pay in September.

The allegations led Bay Area prosecutors to file multiple criminal charges against five different officers from other agencies, including three from the Oakland Police Department. Some of the charges included lewd conduct, engaging in prostitution, providing a minor with alcohol, failing to report child abuse and felony oral copulation with a minor.

One Oakland police officer, Brian Bunton, was charged with obstruction of justice; authorities accused him of leaking information about planned prostitution raids to the teenager in exchange for sex.

Richmond Mayor Tom Butt said in an email that he cannot disclose what type of misconduct led to termination of the four officers, but Sunday's disciplinary actions were harsher than what the city originally announced last month when the investigation concluded. At that point, the city had planned to fire only one officer.

“The appropriate corrective actions are being taken to ensure that we do our part in Richmond to address the rash of improper conduct seen in police departments across the Bay Area,” Butt said in a statement.

Other heads rolled as news of the scandal broke this year: Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent resigned the same weekend Abuslin gave a televised interview detailing some allegations.

Following Whent's resignation, two acting police chiefs were appointed to head the department but were subsequently dismissed in the span of nine days. Ultimately, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf chose to placed the department under the authority of civilian City Administrator Sabrina Landreth.




Sheriff Joe pleads not guilty to criminal charge

Ariz. Sheriff Joe Arpaio has pleaded not guilty to a criminal contempt-of-court charge

by The Associated Press

PHOENIX — Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona has pleaded not guilty to a criminal contempt-of-court charge less than two weeks before he tries to win his seventh term.

The lawman of metro Phoenix opted to enter his plea in a court filing Friday instead of during a courtroom appearance. Arpaio was charged for defying a court order to stop his immigration patrols in a racial profiling case.

The sheriff prolonged the patrols for more than a year. A judge later determined Arpaio's officers profiled Latinos and said he believed Arpaio did it to benefit his 2012 campaign.

The sheriff has acknowledged the violation but insists it wasn't intentional.

He has been charged with a misdemeanor. If convicted, Arpaio could face up to six months in jail but wouldn't be barred from office.

Arpaio's trial is scheduled for Dec. 6. His lawyers also asked the court Friday for a 120-day continuance so they can prepare.



Coast Guard seizes sub filled with cocaine

Coast Guard crew members seized nearly 20 tons of cocaine off a submarine in international waters off the coast of Central and South America

by Carl Prine

SAN DIEGO — She'd been hunting the smugglers for the entire morning, a helicopter wheeling above her pilot house as she steered the cutter Waesche through choppy waves and into the face of near-gale winds.

And then U.S. Coast Guard Seaman Spencer Lewis, 25, saw in the green churn of the Pacific Ocean the cockpit and exhaust pipe of what counter-narcotics agents call a “self-propelled semi-submersible” vessel, the sneakiest way to ship large cargoes of contraband cocaine.

“You do things with a purpose and then you get to see the results of all your hard training come to fruition,” said Lewis, recalling the Sept. 6 seizure of a narco-sub carrying cocaine toward the United States.

The Waesche crew went to battle stations while boarding parties on small raid boats raced across the waves toward the narco-sub. Scrambling aboard, they found a hold eight feet deep stuffed with cocaine — and five suspected smugglers scuttling the vessel, the seawater gurgling in, according to the Coast Guard.

Pumping out the water, the Waesche team managed to unload 2.8 tons of cocaine — worth $73 million to narcotics wholesalers — before the boat sank. It was only a third of what officials estimate was in the hold.

It was the sixth sub seized by the Coast Guard during the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30.

Trucks and federal drug agents stood by the San Diego Naval Base pier early Thursday, waiting for the Waesche to transfer the 19.5 tons of cocaine seized during a narcotics interdiction patrol that stretched from California to the Caribbean.

The drugs taken in by the Waesche helped the Coast Guard confiscate a record 208 tons of cocaine on the high seas last year, a haul worth about $5.6 billion.

The Coast Guard estimates that it interdicts about 20 percent of all drugs flowing by boat toward the United States. Its cutters seize about one out of every four tons of cocaine departing from South America — about three times what law-enforcement agencies confiscate each year inside America and along its land borders, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The Coast Guard's 260 drug interdictions also set a record last year, spotlighting an operational tempo that has doubled since 2008.

For the record haul of cocaine last year, Coast Guard commanders credit better federal counter-narcotics intelligence, what they call a “surge” in personnel and the arrival of new high-tech cutters to replace vessels that were up to a half-century old.

Although the Coast Guard bears the primary duty of finding and confiscating narcotics shipments on the open seas, other agencies help out, including Navy warships and the pilot of the U.S. Customs Service plane that first spotted the sub on Sept. 6 and radioed its coordinates to the Waesche.

Interdicting at sea is a priority for America's counter-narcotics efforts because that's when the drug loads are the largest and at their highest purity.

It's also important to Washington's foreign policy because some governments in South and Central America vie for control of their countries with underworld syndicates flush with cash from America's addiction to narcotics.

“It's not just American citizens who suffer at the hands of these dangerous criminal networks,” Coast Guard Vice Adm. Fred Midgette said Thursday. “El Salvador is a critical trans-shipment point for South American cocaine and heroin for the United States. It also has the highest murder rate in the world.”

Midgette said the Coast Guard “is constantly rebalancing” its many missions, from protecting American ports from terrorists and fisheries from illegal exploitation, but a “risk-based” approach to the agency's counter-narcotics patrols makes its cutters a more ruthless enemy to smugglers.

Called the “Western Hemisphere Transit Zone,” the area that the Alameda-based Waesche patrols is vast — 6 million square miles, double the size of the continental United States.

Coast Guard officials said the eastern Pacific is where they seized 69 percent of the narcotics last year.

Cutters confiscated the rest in a southern slice of the Caribbean Sea that extends from Cuba to the Lesser Antilles, the string of islands running south and east from Puerto Rico to Venezuela.

The cartels that manufacture narcotics usually aren't trying to sail dope directly to the United States. Instead, their boats attempt to dodge Coast Guard patrols to beach along the long Mexican coast. From there, narcotics are hauled overland up the spine of Mexico to border smugglers who sneak the drugs into America.

Four men make up the typical crew piloting a “panga,” the small open boats favored by the smuggers, according to Coast Guard records.

The agency transferred 465 suspects seized at sea for prosecution in the United States last year. Smugglers face a 90 percent conviction rate, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

In a written statement to The San Diego Union-Tribune, Coast Guard officials said armed resistance to their patrols remains “extremely rare,” but that drug runners often attempt to ram American vessels or maneuver erratically to escape arrest.

Meanwhile, Coast Guard confiscations of marijuana fell for the third year in a row. The 24.5 tons seized by cutters last year was the agency's lowest tally since 2011.

The cutters also confiscated 44 lbs of heroin and 604 lbs of methamphetamines, showing that cocaine continues to comprise the bulk of narcotics smuggling over ocean routes.

“Our crew preserved valuable evidence and kept millions of dollars of cocaine off of America's streets,” said Capt. James Passarelli, commanding officer of the cutter Waesche.

“I'd certainly do it again in a heartbeat.”

The Waesche crew went to battle stations while boarding parties on small raid boats raced across the waves toward the narco-sub. Scrambling aboard, they found a hold eight feet deep stuffed with cocaine — and five suspected smugglers scuttling the vessel, the seawater gurgling in, according to the Coast Guard.

Pumping out the water, the Waesche team managed to unload 2.8 tons of cocaine — worth $73 million to narcotics wholesalers — before the boat sank. It was only a third of what officials estimate was in the hold.

It was the sixth sub seized by the Coast Guard during the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30.

Trucks and federal drug agents stood by the San Diego Naval Base pier early Thursday, waiting for the Waesche to transfer the 19.5 tons of cocaine seized during a narcotics interdiction patrol that stretched from California to the Caribbean.

The drugs taken in by the Waesche helped the Coast Guard confiscate a record 208 tons of cocaine on the high seas last year, a haul worth about $5.6 billion.

The Coast Guard estimates that it interdicts about 20 percent of all drugs flowing by boat toward the United States. Its cutters seize about one out of every four tons of cocaine departing from South America — about three times what law-enforcement agencies confiscate each year inside America and along its land borders, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The Coast Guard's 260 drug interdictions also set a record last year, spotlighting an operational tempo that has doubled since 2008.

For the record haul of cocaine last year, Coast Guard commanders credit better federal counter-narcotics intelligence, what they call a “surge” in personnel and the arrival of new high-tech cutters to replace vessels that were up to a half-century old.

Although the Coast Guard bears the primary duty of finding and confiscating narcotics shipments on the open seas, other agencies help out, including Navy warships and the pilot of the U.S. Customs Service plane that first spotted the sub on Sept. 6 and radioed its coordinates to the Waesche.

Interdicting at sea is a priority for America's counter-narcotics efforts because that's when the drug loads are the largest and at their highest purity.

It's also important to Washington's foreign policy because some governments in South and Central America vie for control of their countries with underworld syndicates flush with cash from America's addiction to narcotics.

“It's not just American citizens who suffer at the hands of these dangerous criminal networks,” Coast Guard Vice Adm. Fred Midgette said Thursday. “El Salvador is a critical trans-shipment point for South American cocaine and heroin for the United States. It also has the highest murder rate in the world.”

Midgette said the Coast Guard “is constantly rebalancing” its many missions, from protecting American ports from terrorists and fisheries from illegal exploitation, but a “risk-based” approach to the agency's counter-narcotics patrols makes its cutters a more ruthless enemy to smugglers.

Called the “Western Hemisphere Transit Zone,” the area that the Alameda-based Waesche patrols is vast — 6 million square miles, double the size of the continental United States.

Coast Guard officials said the eastern Pacific is where they seized 69 percent of the narcotics last year.

Cutters confiscated the rest in a southern slice of the Caribbean Sea that extends from Cuba to the Lesser Antilles, the string of islands running south and east from Puerto Rico to Venezuela.

The cartels that manufacture narcotics usually aren't trying to sail dope directly to the United States. Instead, their boats attempt to dodge Coast Guard patrols to beach along the long Mexican coast. From there, narcotics are hauled overland up the spine of Mexico to border smugglers who sneak the drugs into America.

Four men make up the typical crew piloting a “panga,” the small open boats favored by the smuggers, according to Coast Guard records.

The agency transferred 465 suspects seized at sea for prosecution in the United States last year. Smugglers face a 90 percent conviction rate, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

In a written statement to The San Diego Union-Tribune, Coast Guard officials said armed resistance to their patrols remains “extremely rare,” but that drug runners often attempt to ram American vessels or maneuver erratically to escape arrest.

Meanwhile, Coast Guard confiscations of marijuana fell for the third year in a row. The 24.5 tons seized by cutters last year was the agency's lowest tally since 2011.

The cutters also confiscated 44 lbs of heroin and 604 lbs of methamphetamines, showing that cocaine continues to comprise the bulk of narcotics smuggling over ocean routes.

“Our crew preserved valuable evidence and kept millions of dollars of cocaine off of America's streets,” said Capt. James Passarelli, commanding officer of the cutter Waesche.

“I'd certainly do it again in a heartbeat.”



San Bernadino

Terror Attack Put Californians Behind Sweeping Gun-Control Initiative


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) — In the aftermath of the 2015 San Bernardino terrorist attack which devastated the working-class Southern California community, Golden state lawmakers revitalized a longstanding gun-control debate.

Backed by public polling and overwhelming support in many of California's most populated districts, California Democrats responded quickly to the tragic mass shooting and proposed a barrage of new gun bills that were eventually inked by Gov. Jerry Brown.

While Brown approved more than a dozen of the Democrats' stringent measures, he vetoed several others saying it should be up to voters to decide the practicality of the new laws.

Despite already having the nation's strictest gun laws, California voters on Nov. 8 will have the chance to approve a sweeping measure that expands and builds on some of the Legislature's new laws.

Led by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and a host of California political heavyweights, Proposition 63 introduces background checks for ammunition purchases, outlaws magazines holding more than 10 rounds and makes the theft of a firearm a felony.

Newsom, a 2018 gubernatorial candidate, united with the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence to craft the broad measure addressing seven firearm-related issues. He's urging voters to join him in "taking on the National Rifle Association."

"I'll say this to the NRA. You can intimidate politicians, we've seen that. Hell, you've been effective. But you can't intimidate the public," Newsom proclaims in an advertisement.

The headline of Newsom's proposition is a mandate of background checks for ammunition purchases. Buyers would need to pay up to $50 for a permit and register with the state every four years in order to buy bullets, and pay a transaction fee for each purchase to fund the background check system.

Retailers selling more than 500 rounds per month would also have to register with the state, report missing ammunition within 48 hours and conduct background checks on their employees.

The proposition's ammunition clause is similar to a bill Brown signed in July, authored by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles. Rather than stash his bill and allow voters to decide on Proposition 63, de Leon pushed forward with Senate Bill 1235.

After Newsom's gun-control measure qualified, de Leon shrewdly amended his version to ensure that if both competing measures passed, SB 1235 would become law.

Newsom's camp called de Leon's move "sickeningly cynical" and accused the state senator of holding "petty personal grudges."

While two of the state's most powerful Democrats were squabbling, Newsom's measure continued to gain steam over the summer.

Former Facebook president Sean Parker donated to Proposition 63, and Barbra Streisand also declared support for the measure. U.S Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein are proponents of stricter gun laws as well.

Julie Leftwich, legal director at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, says Proposition 63 goes further than the recently approved bills and will help regulators track who is buying and selling bullets.

"Currently the state of California has no idea who is buying or selling ammunition. It's a huge loophole in our laws because obviously a gun can't hurt anyone unless it has ammunition; ammunition is the deadly component," Leftwich said in a phone interview.

Leftwich, who helped found the law center following a 1993 San Francisco mass shooting that killed eight, says passing the proposition acts as a backup for two laws passed by de Leon and state Sen. Loni Hancock. While legislators often repeal and amend state laws, overriding an approved ballot measure is a much more difficult undertaking.

"It's important to have those legislative policies baked into the initiative process so they can't be repealed by a subsequent Legislature," Leftwich said.

On the other side of the debate are California gun owners fed up with their Legislature's focus on firearms. Opponents claim Newsom's plan will criminalize gun owners by forcing them to turn in outlawed magazines, and cost taxpayers millions without reducing gun violence.

The Coalition for Civil Liberties warns of "house-to-house confiscation of private property" with regulators eager to seize magazines holding more than 10 rounds.

The coalition and the NRA did not respond to Courthouse News' interview requests.

"Take away our rights, take away our life," states a No on 63 campaign advertisement.

Leftwich debunked the home intrusion scenario, saying that owners of high-capacity magazines will have the opportunity to sell their property. Proposition 63 sunsets a 2000 grandfather clause that allowed owners to keep magazines holding more than 10 rounds when the state officially banned them.

"They have options. People can sell them if they want to or remove them from the state. The government isn't taking anything without compensation," Leftwich reiterated.

An Olympic medalist has joined the NRA and others in opposing Proposition 63, targeting Newsom in a recent testy Twitter exchange. Skeet shooter Kim Rhode took aim at Newsom in September, likening him to a "self-serving politician" and tweeted that she would be happy to "teach [Newsom] about the guns and ammo you don't trust me to own."

The gun-control critic has also appeared in No campaign ads, calling the proposition harsh and restrictive to law-abiding Californians. The six-time medalist opposes the proposition's restrictions on bringing ammunition from outside the state and mandatory ammunition background checks.

As funding for California's 17 statewide November ballot propositions has cleared $450 million — a state record - the donors for and against Proposition 63 have been relatively quiet.

Proponents have raised more than $5 million, with major donations from the California Democratic Party, Newsom and Parker. The opponents have raised $742,000, with the NRA contributing just $95,000.

With Congress routinely "strangled by the gun lobby," Leftwich hopes Californians will set an example for the rest of the nation and pass the sweeping gun-control initiative.

"Nationally, many gun laws are so weak that they don't even have the most fundamental policies, such as universal background checks," Leftwich said.

Voters in Nevada and Maine are set to vote on background checks for gun purchases on Nov. 8.

"They have a ways to go before they catch up to California, but we hope to provide a strong model for other states and the federal government someday hopefully," Leftwich added.



Los Angeles

L.A. County Sheriff Making Naughty List of Deputies

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has begun to compile a list of its own employees who’s past bad behavior could be problematic if those employees were called to testify about criminal investigations in court.

For the first time that list is expected to be forwarded to the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office so prosecutors can check to see if a deputy or detective could be challenged in court about past dishonesty, law breaking, or incidents considered to be, “acts of moral turpitude.”

“It’s the law and we have to follow the law,” explained L.A. County Assistant Sheriff Todd Rogers.

The so-called “Brady List” of problem employees, named for a 1970s U.S. Supreme Court decision, has until now been closely held by the employing law enforcement agency, and its contents have been further kept secret by California’s special police officer protection laws.

A state supreme court opinion published last year and a state attorney general’s office follow up opinion have changed that for every police and prosecutorial agency in the state, and the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department appears to be the first large law enforcement agency in Southern California preparing to disclose the names.

“The Sheriff is setting the bar very high for our organization especially when it comes to honesty and integrity, and he’s committed to transparency,” Rogers told KFI NEWS this week.

Deputies, detectives, sergeants, and lieutenants with records of discipline began receiving letters in recent weeks, warning them that a new review of their personnel files could lead to them losing their current assignments, due to the department’s concerns about their ability to be credible witnesses in court.

“I was stunned,” said one deputy assigned to a prestigious Sheriff’s department bureau who asked to remain anonymous.

L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said her office is still crafting its new policy for Brady material in light of the court ruling, and said she had not yet requested lists of names to be turned over by police agencies.

The union that represents Sheriff’s deputies, ALADS, said in a bulletin to members last week it was consulting with its attorneys to decide what to do.

“There is a dispute amongst local agencies, as to whether or not the Department’s current undertaking is either legal or wise,” the message said.

— Eric Leonard