November, 2016 - Week 3
Local think tank hosts community-policing forum
by Deidre Williams
The City of Buffalo has made some strides in community policing, but there's plenty more work to be done to improve police-community relations, according to a study by the Partnership for the Public Good.
The report – Collaboration, Communication and Community-Building: A New Model of Policing for 21 st Century Buffalo – praises city leaders for certain initiatives like the collaboration with Buffalo Peacemakers, but it also offers more than 30 recommendations for local reforms. Instead of 11 officers being responsible for community policing, for instance, the report calls for all police officers to do a minimum amount of community policing each week, doing foot or bike patrols, attending community meetings, mentoring youth and otherwise engaging residents.
The study will be presented at 5:30 p.m. Monday at a community forum on policing in Buffalo at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 724 Delaware Ave. The forum – which is free and open to the public – will include a discussion of the report as well as ways to learn more about efforts to improve community-police.
Community policing contributes to crime decrease in Fort Myers neighborhood
by WINK News
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Dunbar residents have noticed a positive change within the community since Fort Myers Police Chief Derrick Diggs took office in August.
A crime mapping website showed a nine percent decrease in violent crime from 90 days prior to Chief Diggs starting to 90 days after.
One Dunbar resident who wished to remain anonymous said she see Dunbar steadily improving.
“You can walk down the street and have no problem,” she said.
Eric Walker, another Dunbar resident and advocate for the community, said he's pleased with the community's progress.
“Fort Myers needs Fort Myers and it's just going to take all of us to want peace in our community, to want better,” Walker said.
Fort Myers police installed cameras in the area and are engaging in more community outreach since Chief Diggs took office.
“I've seen them stop and talk to some of the young guys in the community, so that's a plus right there,” Walker said.
While assaults are still the most common violent crime in the community, there is an estimated 13 percent overall decrease in crime since Chief Diggs took office.
A year into the job, Lynchburg's police chief sharpens focus on community policing
by Sherese A. Gore
The flashing lights appeared soon after Raul Diaz pulled the car out of his parent's driveway in south Florida.
It wasn't the first time the teen, a son of Cuban immigrants, had been stopped by the police. But this time, Diaz knew he hadn't done anything wrong.
As he reached for his registration in the glove compartment, a pair of hands reached through the open car window. Diaz was pulled him out of the car — his feet dangling in the air — before being thrown to the ground, patted down and hauled against the side of the car. The incredulous teen asked what was going on as the officer screamed for him to shut up.
Diaz's passenger, his pretty girlfriend — now wife — was horrified.
The officer looked inside the car and winked at her.
“‘The only reason I don't take this punk to jail is because of you,'” Diaz recalls the officer saying.
There was no explanation as to what Diaz did wrong. Before the officer walked away, he warned Diaz that if he saw him again, he would not be as easy on the teen the next time.
Diaz, now 50, credits such incidents for giving him a perspective others might not have and have shaped his approach to policing.
As Diaz marks his first year as Lynchburg's top cop, there is evidence of that approach beginning to play out in the Hill City.
He has put in place or expanded on several initiatives by the Lynchburg Police Department that involve getting officers more in touch with the neighborhoods and the people on their beats. He also has worked to step up minority recruitment in a department in which the vast majority of officers are white men.
“I think he came in with the community at heart, with the desire to know the community and be a support to the community,” said the Rev. James Camm, pastor of Living Word Ministries, who is part of a faith-based collaboration with the police department. “I've noticed him in areas that other police chiefs would not go in. He wants to understand this community.”
Community building was an early goal expressed by Diaz, who was sworn in as Lynchburg's chief on Nov. 18, 2015. He replaced Parks Snead, a 30-plus year veteran of the Lynchburg Police Department.
Earlier this year, Diaz implemented the Community Action Team, a group of four officers and a sergeant who specialize in outreach efforts such as a recent “coffee with community” at the Diamond Hill Center. The team strives to develop contacts in the community, such as with organizations like churches and neighborhood groups, that can assist the department in addressing problems, Diaz said.
He said the goal is to one day expand the Community Action Team to 10 officers and two sergeants.
“It's really important we have open dialogue and be transparent with the community we serve,” Diaz said. “If we make this community a safe environment for people who want to live, work and play, then this community will thrive and the more this community thrives, the better we will continue to be.”
Gerald Cheatham, president of the Lynchburg branch of the NAACP, recalled Diaz speaking early on of his commitment to community policing, a philosophy in which officers go out into the city's neighborhoods, becoming more familiar with residents and building trust.
Cheatham sat on a community panel that helped to interview what was at the time three finalists seeking to serve as the city's next police chief. The panel provided its input to then-city manager Kimball Payne, who made the final decision.
Cheatham said the panel thought Diaz could bring some different perspectives on how to deal with Lynchburg's gang problems.
“He has definitely held true to community policing and the initiatives he has put forth are indicative of that,” Cheatham said. “He has made himself available to the community.”
An early focus made by Diaz was the challenge of minority recruitment in his police department. In September, 90 percent, or 157 of the 174 sworn officers, are white; about 7 percent, or 13 officers, are black. LDP also has three Hispanic officers and one Asian officer.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city's racial breakdown is 66 percent white, 28 percent black, 3 percent Hispanic and 3 percent Asian.
Lt. Tony Crews, a 23-year veteran of the department, now serves as the lead recruiter.
“We really need to have a workforce that really mirrors the community in which we serve,” said Crews, who is black.
Crews said Diaz is building on a growing emphasis on qualified minority recruitment at the Lynchburg Police Department, challenging his officers to “look outside the box.”
One such method is through cultivating relationships with high schools students interested in law enforcement, Crews said.
The Community Action Team also can be used as a minority recruitment tool. Crews said officers speak or make contacts with churches and other organizations, he likes to ask CAT members how the department can get its message across to that group.
“We have more credibility when a relationship is started instead of we're just asking for more minorities,” Crews said.
According to Crews, the department has doubled its budget for recruiting.
It has two full-time personnel and training officers and the city has just hired a full-time public safety recruiter who will assist in recruitment efforts for the fire and police departments and for emergency services.
Under Diaz's leadership, the department's two fulltime personnel and training officers are now supplemented on an as-needed basis by an additional group of officers who have been trained in recruiting.
“Obviously we have more work to do,” Diaz said. “We work with groups in the community to try to get us more applicants to try to come in and work with us, and I think we've been successful to some degree.”
In the coming year, Diaz said he would like to continue the department's community “bridge building” efforts.
Two such initiatives began prior to Diaz's arrival.
About 21 churches are involved in a collaboration between faith-based groups and the police department. Diaz has embraced the collaboration, said Camm, the pastor of Living Word Ministries.
During Snead's tenure, the department began a community policing advisory group that meets monthly and consists of representatives from organizations that include local churches, businesses and nonprofits.
The group has been in existence since 2015 and is an effort to provide information to the community “about what we do, how we do, and why we do it,” said the group's coordinator, Major Todd Swisher.
The department, in turn, can gain feedback on how it can do things better, Swisher said.
The community policing advisory group is not a citizen review board, a form of community oversight of police officers.
While no one has approached him about the need for a citizen review board, if that is something the community desires, “we can sit down and have a conversation,” Diaz said.
A goal for the coming year is to reconfigure the department's beat map. Currently, the city is divided into eight beats; the goal is to increase that number to 10. More compact beats will help a police officer know a community and the people within it.
Also in the months ahead, the department is set to complete the issuance of body-worn cameras to all sworn officers, and to train each officer in fair and impartial policing.
Currently, approximately eight police officers are equipped with a body-worn camera while a larger number of officers have been trained in fair and impartial policing, a six- to eight-hour course that focuses on implicit, or unconscious, biases that may influence decision making.
The department's goal is to have each officer trained in fair and impartial policing and be equipped with a camera by September 2017.
While cameras are a good tool that have been welcomed by city leadership, police officers and the community at large, they are not a panacea, Diaz said.
The better way to handle legitimacy is by building relationships within the community, Diaz said.
“They know they can trust and believe when I say, without a video or with a video, I say, ‘the officer did x, y, and z, and what the officer did was justified.' If that community believes me, because they know me and they trust me and I'm transparent and I'm legitimate, then that goes a lot further then just simply a video.”
Diaz came to Lynchburg after serving 26 years with the Fort Lauderdale Police Department.
Growing up, he admits he wasn't the best kid. He got into trouble, and while he was never arrested he had seen the back of a police car a few times.
“It didn't help the matter that when I was stopped, or I dealt with the officers, I wasn't nice. I was a punk, and I acted like a punk and that didn't help things,” he said.
At other times, he attributes being stopped as a result of being a certain age and ethnicity in an area that was populated by gangs and the sale of narcotics.
One lesson the driveway incident taught Diaz is that each person looks at the same type of circumstances through different lenses.
A person can believe he or she is being inappropriately stopped or having his or her rights infringed upon, while the officer can believe he is making the stop for a true violation and is within the confines of the law.
“What we have to do is try to get both sides to see it from the same lens, because if the officers are coming from, ‘I'm lawfully doing it,' and the person that I'm stopping recognizes that's what's being done to them is being done to them because it's a legitimate violation of the law, then the response will be different as opposed to, ‘I'm stopping you because I'm poor, or you're stopping me because I look different, or you're stopping me because of my ethnicity.'
“If they feel the reasons they're being stopped are legitimate, then they're perspective will change,” Diaz said. “That doesn't mean they will be sunshine and lollipops, you're still not happy about it but you realize that this guy is doing what he's doing because it's legitimate.”
University of Baltimore hosts community-police relations forum
by Adam Yosim
BALTIMORE (WBFF) -- Several dozen people gathered at the University of Baltimore Saturday morning for a forum on community policing.
The forum titled, “Exploring The Dynamics Between Police And Communities Of Color: Where Do We Go From Here?” highlighted viewpoints from police, prosecutors and the community.
Elizabeth Embry, a former city prosecutor who ran for mayor of Baltimore in the April primary, addressed, among other issues, independent prosecutors handling cases involving police-involved deaths.
"You can't take politics out of any form of government in our country," said Embry. "It's - I guess - a question ultimately for the voters and for their elected representatives in the General Assembly to decide what is the right method of accountability within that framework."
Marion Gray-Hopkins, whose 19-year-old son, Gary, was shot to death by a Prince Georges County police officer 16 years ago, said law enforcement accountability needs to change.
"Unfortunately what we've seen in Dallas unfortunately what we've seen in Louisiana can continue if we don't pull together as a people to say what can we do so that we can make sure there is transparency that we can make sure there is accountability because if we don't we're headed for disaster," said Gray-Hopkins.
The audience also heard the fears that the state's immigrant population faces in reporting crimes within their communities.
Lydia Walther-Rodriguez, a lead community organizer in Baltimore for the immigrant advocacy group CASA de Maryland, told the story of a teenage boy who was assaulted by several other students.
"When he went to go report that the officer asked him how he crossed the border," said Walther-Rodriguez.
"Our community is standing forward," she said. "Our community is taking action. Our community is also going to Annapolis. They're also testifying because we know we have to continue to fight and we know we have to continue to fight with our brothers and sisters."
Deputy U.S. marshal, fugitive killed in Georgia shootout
by The Associated Press
A fugitive accused of attempting to murder police officers fatally shot a deputy U.S. marshal trying to arrest him Friday in southeast Georgia, where other law officers returned fire and killed the suspect, federal authorities said.
The U.S. Marshals Service said 53-year-old Patrick Carothers, deputy commander of the agency's Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force, died after being shot twice as a team of officers tried to serve a warrant at a mobile home in rural Long County.
The slain suspect was identified as Dontrell Montese Carter. He was wanted in Sumter County, South Carolina, on charges of attempted murder of police officers, domestic violence and illegally discharging a weapon during an incident in September, the Marshals Service said in a news release.
The agency said Carothers and his team had tracked Carter to a mobile home just outside Ludowici, about 55 miles southeast of Savannah. Carothers was shot as they were entering the home.
Law officers returned fire and shot Carter multiple times, the Marshals Service said. Both men were taken to area hospitals, where they were pronounced dead.
"The fugitive who killed Deputy Commander Carothers was extremely dangerous, wanted for trying to kill law enforcement officers and deliberately evading authorities," David Harlow, deputy director of the Marshals Service, said in a statement. "Pat is a hero and our thoughts and prayers are with his wife and five children."
Carothers served 26 years with the Marshals Service and had been deputy commander of the fugitive task force for more than a year.
Video Captures Police Officer Punching Woman in the Face
by Catherine Thorbecke
(Video on site)
A video posted to Facebook captures an Arizona police officer punching a woman in the face while attempting to arrest her.
The video shows a woman repeatedly saying she did not do anything wrong and asking if there is a warrant for her arrest.
"You cannot arrest me until I know that I have a warrant," the woman says, while two Flagstaff police officers continue with the arrest.
Suddenly, one of the officers punches the woman in the face, while her acquaintance shoots the video. Someone is heard on the tape calling her "Marissa," saying, "Hey, you can't hit a girl like that."
After a few seconds, the woman starts crying and the officer continues with the arrest.
"You're going to get tased," he is heard saying. "Get on the ground."
The video of the incident has been shared on Facebook 78,000 times so far.
The Flagstaff Police Department said in a statement that on Wednesday evening it "became aware of a Facebook video post of a Flagstaff Police Officer involved in the arrest of an adult female earlier this afternoon."
The department identified Officer Jeff Bonar as the arresting officer and said he has been placed on administrative leave while the incident is under investigation.
The Flagstaff Chief of Police Kevin Treadway said at a news conference Thursday that the video "clearly depicts" Officer Bonar striking the woman "in the face with his fist."
"I am as concerned about what is depicted in the video as I know many others are," Treadway added.
Treadway said they have launched an internal affairs investigation and have also asked the Northern Arizona University Police Department to conduct an independent investigation into the incident.
"So often in cases like these there is a rush to judgment and a call to immediate action," Treadway said, but added that they owe the whole community a "full and complete" investigation.
Bonar had been with the department for just under three years, he said.
According to Sgt. Cory Runge of the Flagstaff Police Department, Bonar had recognized the woman, "as previously having a warrant, which he believed was still valid." He approached her for this reason, he said, and "attempted to detain her while he verified whether the warrant was valid or not."
Treadway said that Bonar filed a report on the incident as well. "In that police report the officer does indicate that he was kicked and that he was knee-ed in the groin prior to the strike occurring," Treadway said.
ABC News attempted to reach Bonar for comment.
The woman who was punched during the attempted arrest has been identified as Marissa Morris. She was released after police confirmed her previous warrants had been cleared. The Flagstaff Police Department has not yet responded to ABC News' request for further comment.
UIS Holds Community Policing Panel
by Brendan Cullerton
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WRSP) — U.I.S. community policing student Jovan Ding said he doesn't want to base his opinions of police interaction solely on social media and news reports.
"For me I need to see that in person. To talk to them about what's going on, what we should do better our community, or to talk to the officials about what's going on," Ding said. "So I need that direct conversation, and I think they need that conversation to see what's really going on."
So him and dozens of U.I.S students went to the classes first ever panel open to the entire school.
"It's really important for the community to start engaging in these conversations, especially with all of the civil rights movements going on right now," student Amanda Mullin said.
Professor Tim Gleason said he wanted students to learn a valuable lesson.
"Respect," Gleason said. "And respect is a two-way street. It's how you should act during a law enforcement encounter, and it's how law enforcement should treat a citizen when there is a contact. I think it's a great message. And I want to share it with more than just 23 students."
There were current and retired law enforcement leaders with state, Chicago, Springfield and Champaign police.
They wanted to teach, but also challenge students to join the force and change it from the inside.
"Every cop is not a bad guy, and that the law enforcement career, is a prestigious career," NOBLE's Odie Carpenter said. "Depending on how you go into any job, you make it what it is."
Deputy Chicago Police Chief Kieth Calloway made it very clear to students that Chicago P.D., state police and Springfield Police are all hiring right now. and all departments are looking for minority recruits so police departments can better reflect their communities.
Ward 2 uses Neighborhood Watch to strengthen community policing
by Helen Lyons
In the living room of Bernadette McAuliffe, two police officers in full body armor with guns on their hips sat in antique rocking chairs, nibbling on mini grocery-store cupcakes and laughing at their hostess's jokes.
It was the third Thursday of the month, which meant that it was time for Ward 2 neighbors to get together with local police for their Neighborhood Watch meeting.
“It's people watching out for each other and each other's homes,” explained city councilmember and Ward 2 resident, Robert Croslin. “The most important thing is that neighbors look out for neighbors.”
But this Neighborhood Watch group is about more than just crime prevention.
As a bowl of popcorn and a plate of cookies was passed around, the latest community news was discussed, and plans for a block party began to take shape.
“It's always a potluck,” said Emily Strab, who heads Ward 2's Watch. “It's just very social. The Hyattsville Police Department has been partnering with us, and we all just get to know each other. If we see something suspicious, we feel like we can call them because we know who they are.”
There are 27,174 registered Neighborhood Watch groups nationwide, according to a spokesperson from the National Sheriffs Association (NSA), with three registered groups in the Hyattsville area.
John Thompson, deputy executive director and COO of the NSA, called Neighborhood Watch groups the “eyes and ears of the law.”
“They're more in tune to their community,” said Thompson. “They're more alert, they report crimes. If you're a burglar and you want to commit a crime, and one neighborhood has a Neighborhood Watch and one doesn't, which one are you going to go for?”
In an effort to modernize and enhance this form of community policing, which began in the United States in the 1960s, the National Neighborhood Watch Program recently released a mobile app allowing users to submit anonymous reports about “drugs, marijuana, and other crime concerns, suspicious activities and community disorder.”
The app also provides educational training videos for Neighborhood Watch volunteers and assistance with assembling and maintaining an active Watch group, which many believe can lower crime in an area.
“[Neighborhood Watch] definitely works,” Thompson said. “We know that.”
Residents of other Hyattsville wards are considering starting their own Neighborhood Watch groups, using Ward 2's as a model.
“It's the oldest and most prestigious watch in Hyattsville,” said Councilmember Joseph Solomon (Ward 5).
Yet in the McAuliffe's tranquil, charming home on a quiet, tree-lined street, there was no air of pretension — just good food and good company.
Chief of Police Douglas Holland handed out fliers for an upcoming police fundraiser, and neighbors munched on snacks while listening to the latest crime report for their block and proposing solutions for dealing with vacant homes.
The relationship between residents and law enforcement was informal, relaxed, friendly — exactly what Neighborhood Watch is designed to achieve.
“Whatever we can do as a city to make things easier for them,” said Strab, “that's what our job is.”
If you're a Hyattsville resident, you can contact your city councilmember to determine if a Neighborhood Watch exists in your ward, or visit www.nnw.org for assistance in starting one.
Experts: Video evidence isn't cut and dried in fatal police shootings
Video gives prosecutors the ability to bring stronger cases and gives jurors a glimpse into what happened
by Amy Forliti
MINNEAPOLIS — When Philando Castile was shot by a Minnesota police officer, his girlfriend broadcast his final moments live on Facebook. But experts say the footage from a squad car camera was probably a bigger factor in prosecutors' decision to charge the officer with manslaughter.
And that footage, which has not been made public, is still no guarantee that Jeronimo Yanez will be convicted, as other police shootings have shown.
"There have been cases that had video that resulted in either an acquittal or a hung jury, so sometimes the video may raise more questions," said Philip Stinson, a criminologist at Bowling Green State University who tracks fatal police shootings. "It's very hard to convict in these cases."
Since the beginning of 2005, a total of 78 officers in the U.S. have been charged with murder or manslaughter. Of that number, about a third of the defendants were convicted — 14 by juries and 13 through guilty pleas, Stinson said.
Of the 18 police officers charged with murder or manslaughter last year, at least 11 cases involved video evidence, he said.
Some of those cases are still pending, including the one against Chicago officer Jason Van Dyke, who was charged last year with first-degree murder in the 2014 killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. Van Dyke was charged the same day the city, under judge's orders, released dashcam video that showed he shot the teen 16 times.
Video does not always lead to a conviction. The trial of Ray Tensing, who was charged with murder in the 2015 death of Sam Dubose near the University of Cincinnati campus, ended with a deadlocked jury and a mistrial, despite video from Tensing's body camera.
In the Minnesota case, Yanez was charged Wednesday with second-degree manslaughter, which carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence, and other counts. Prosecutors say he shot the 32-year-old elementary school cafeteria worker seven times in July after Castile told him he was armed and had a license to carry.
Prosecutors concluded that the situation did not call for deadly force. They said the charges were based on evidence that included squad car video and conflicting statements from Yanez.
Yanez turned himself in Thursday, was processed and released. He is expected to make his first court appearance Friday. One of his attorneys, Earl Gray, said he had not read the charges but "we weren't hired to plead guilty. We were hired to go to trial." Another defense attorney, Tom Kelly, has previously said Yanez reacted to the presence of a gun.
Some of the video shot by Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, could be relevant because it might provide context or back up witness statements, said Jeff Cramer, a former federal prosecutor and managing director of the Berkeley Research Group in Chicago.
But Cramer predicted the dashcam video will be more revealing.
"Video does give prosecutors the ability to bring stronger cases, and it gives jurors the ability to see what happened," Cramer said.
Based on information that's been publicly released about the case, Cramer said, it seems Yanez would be hard-pressed to articulate a reason for drawing his weapon and firing. He noted that Yanez gave different statements on the night of the shooting than he did to investigators later.
"The officer didn't wake up that day saying, "I'm going to kill somebody,'" Cramer said. "This is just a tragic incident ... but this one could have been avoidable. I'm not sure what else Philando Castile could have done."
Lee Berlin, a criminal defense attorney in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and a former state prosecutor, said the video provides important context for the jury, and the combination of video with witness testimony is powerful. Still, he said, these cases are tough.
"I would much rather defend this case than prosecute it," he said, adding that the video streamed by Reynolds showed an officer who was clearly distraught but maintained a position of authority.
"It all comes down to what that officer saw at a particular time" and whether "a reasonable officer" would have done the same thing, Berlin said. He said a defense attorney would need only to plant a reasonable doubt with jurors and to show that Yanez was afraid.
The multiple shots fired by Yanez show the "real palpable fear and concern he must've had," according to Berlin.
That said, when Castile told Yanez he had a permit to carry a weapon, that should have been a signal that Castile was not a felon, Berlin added. But if Castile made any move that was not authorized by Yanez, it would be tough to find fault with Yanez's actions.
"I have no idea," Berlin said, "what he actually saw in those brief moments."
Man accused of killing 2 Iowa officers had called police 'heroes'
Days before the ambush, the suspect sent a note to a PD apologizing for prior run-ins, saying his "dark days" were over and police are "absolute heroes"
by Ryan J. Foley
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Days before he allegedly killed two Iowa police officers, Scott Michael Greene sent a note to one of their departments apologizing for prior run-ins, saying his "dark days" were over and praising police as "absolute heroes."
In an online compliment form addressed to the "many officers" of the Urbandale Police Department, the unemployed 46-year-old father wrote Oct. 29: "I love you folks."
"I love the fact that you will give your life for my daughter and myself. You guys are absolute heroes and I mean that from the bottom of my heart," Greene wrote in the note from his Gmail account. "I'm so proud to have you guys around. I respect each and every one of you with all my heart. I really do."
Four days after the laudatory email, authorities say Greene shot and killed first-year Urbandale police officer Justin Martin, 24, and Des Moines Police Sgt. Anthony Beminio, 38. The ambush-style attacks took place about two miles apart within minutes of each other as both officers were sitting in their patrol cars. Greene is in jail awaiting trial on two counts of first-degree murder, which would put him in prison for life if convicted.
The Associated Press exclusively obtained the document and dozens of others about Greene on Thursday from the Urbandale Community School District under the open records law. The district had initially refused to release them at the urging of Urbandale police, arguing they were part of a police report and confidential. The district reversed course after the AP argued that exemption did not apply to school records.
The records reveal that for two weeks before the shootings, Greene was enraged by the district's decision to bar him for security reasons from district activities. The district acted after Greene had waved a large Confederate flag in front of black spectators at a high school football game Oct. 14. He told the district he targeted those spectators with the flag because he was upset they did not stand for the national anthem.
Greene warned school officials in a rambling email Oct. 26 that he wasn't violent but that "you messed with the wrong guy." He said the ban was a violation of his civil rights and promised legal action to restore the right to watch his daughter perform on the high school cheerleading team and in other extracurricular activities.
"I will fight you guys like a pit bull who's been fed gunpowder," he wrote to the principal and superintendent.
After the flag incident, police escorted Greene out of the game and temporarily banned him from school property. He later posted video of the incident on YouTube. One of the black parents who was targeted told the principal in an email that he expected additional security measures to prevent future harassment, saying many fans were on edge given the racial unrest going on nationwide.
"The last thing I want is for anything 'newsworthy' to occur and take focus away from the sporting event," the parent wrote Oct. 17.
District officials asked Greene not to attend the following week's game at a neighboring school district, but he showed up anyway. At that game, district activities director William Watson wrote in an email that Greene asked the school to lift the ban, citing "his desire when he was on his deathbed to state that he had been to all of his kids' events."
High school principal Brian Coppess told Watson that he believed Greene was "really enjoying all the attention" and remained a threat.
"I think something we need to be prepared for is that if Scott does end up missing an event, we have increased security at that event in preparation for whatever he might try," Coppess wrote Oct. 24. He said additional administrators should also be on hand "because there's no way of knowing what he might try next."
Later that day, Urbandale superintendent Steve Bass sent Greene a letter notifying him he had banned him under school board policy from attending district events for 90 school days — through March 9, 2017.
Noting that one parent complained that the flag incident was "racial hatred," Bass told Greene his actions were demeaning to spectators and interfered with the event. He warned Greene would be removed or prosecuted for trespassing if he didn't comply with the ban.
While Greene opposed the ban in calls, emails and meetings with school officials, he struck a different tone in his Oct. 29 compliment to Urbandale police. He said that he was sorry for causing disruption but that he was trying to exercise his free speech rights in the flag incident.
"I was sticking up for you men and women in blue," he wrote. "I could not stand anymore to see people sit during the anthem ... They are not protesting anything except for their hatred towards police."
He said that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder but that he has gotten it "worked out lately so you're not gonna hear much of me anymore."
"I respect each and every one of you with all my heart," he wrote. "I apologize that I ran my mouth and shown such disrespect at times but my dark days are over. I've been treated. I've been healed."
Fla. man launches 'First Responders Lives Matter' charity
The charity will raise money to buy safety equipment for first responders and help support their families when they're injured or killed
by Laura Layden
NAPLES, Fla. — Ron Ziemba's attention has gone from transportation to transformation.
Ziemba, the founder of American Comfort Limousines in Naples, has taken a step back from the day-to-day operations of his transportation business to start and run a charity he hopes will transform lives. The new nonprofit is called "First Responders Lives Matter."
Moved by the recent rash of violence against law enforcement officers around the country, Ziemba felt a call to help. His charity will raise money to purchase more safety equipment for emergency workers and to help support their families when they're injured or killed.
"I just got fed up with all these people being targeted," Ziemba said.
He recalled the story in October about two police officers who were killed in California. One officer, a 35-year veteran, planned to retire soon. The other, a young mother, had recently returned to the force after maternity leave. They were shot as they tried to resolve a family dispute.
"Somebody has to step up — and see what we can do to help these people," Ziemba said.
His charity will focus on first responders in three counties: Collier, Lee and Charlotte. Ziemba wants to expand the effort through chapters across Florida and the U.S.
"I'm trying to help," he said. "Everyone talks the game, but no one is playing the game."
Part of the nonprofit's mission is to teach school age children about the importance of first responders and why they deserve respect. About 10 percent of the charity's donations will go toward that effort, with 40 percent of the money steered toward the purchase of new equipment — and the rest going directly to workers and their families for immediate needs such as paying medical bills or funeral expenses.
When he was a little kid growing up in Chicago, Ziemba said, police officers walked the neighborhood and firefighters let children slide down the pole at their station. Kids admired these emergency workers and appreciated them, which is not often the case today, he said.
Ziemba has invested more than $10,000 to get his charity started.
"I'm not expecting a return," he said. "I'm not taking any payroll."
He once had three convenience stores in Illinois, and it made him appreciate first responders even more. "Any owner can have a problem in business, and they are there for us," Ziemba said.
The charity has attracted a few sponsors — and there are hopes of getting many more. "I just need to get the word out," Ziemba said.
Sponsors receive vehicle stickers to show their support for first responders. Annual sponsorships start at $50 for individuals and at $250 for businesses. Donations can also be made in smaller amounts for those who don't want to become sponsors.
The first fundraiser, a Poker Run, is slated for Saturday. Registration begins at 9 a.m. at the Naples Harley-Davidson off Pine Ridge Road, near Interstate 75. The cost to participate is $15 for drivers and $5 for passengers.
There will be five stops on the poker run, starting at Gators Crossroads at the corner of U.S. 41 East and San Marco Road and ending back at the Harley-Davidson dealership. At each stop, competitors will get a poker card. Whoever has the best hand at the end of the run gets the grand prize, which will depend on the number of riders.
Besides the prize for the winning poker hand, there will be several raffle drawings. Prizes include $500 in cash and dinner for two at Coopers Hawk in North Naples. A 50-50 drawing is planned for 2 p.m., with half the money going to the winning ticket holder and the rest to the charity.
First Responders Lives Matter is registered as a nonprofit with the state's Division of Corporations. It's still awaiting federal approval of its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. "Our validation will be soon," Ziemba said.
He hopes to have more than 100 bikers and others sign up for the Poker Run. Ziemba's goal is to raise $20,000 from the event.
Lauren Smith, a stay-at-home mom in East Naples who has known the Ziemba family for more than four years, said the charity resonated with her immediately and that's why she joined its board of directors.
Her husband is a high school teacher and football coach at Naples High, so they're around law enforcement officers often, and they've developed close relationships with them.
"When a police officer acts upon a dangerous situation, there is such negativity. ... It seems like they aren't supported as much as they are judged or questioned," Smith said. "We wanted to support them."
Initial corporate sponsors include Forge Engineering and Exploritech in Naples.
Alycia Seevers, an administrator at Forge, which donated $3,000, said giving money to the cause was a "no-brainer" for her company.
"This really hit home," she said. "We employ former police officers within our organization. Not only is this just supporting the families of the first responders injured on the job, but supporting people that are close to us."
Va. 10-year-old says no to birthday presents, buys K-9 vest instead
Alexis Mattingly raised $2,500 in less than a month through donations and bake and craft sales
by PoliceOne Staff
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Six unprotected K-9s now have ballistic vests and one of those vests was purchased thanks to a generous 10-year-old.
Alexis Mattingly donated her birthday money to the Virginia Beach Police Department to make sure every K-9 in the department was protected, WTVR reported.
“Dogs are awesome and I just wanted to help,” she told the news station.
Instead of asking for presents for her birthday, Mattingly asked for donations to help purchase a ballistic vest. She said she was following the lead of others who donated after the death of Norfolk Police K-9 Krijger.
According to the news station, she raised $2,500 in less than a month through donations and bake and craft sales.
“It just proves no matter how old you are or how young you are, if you want to do something then just do it,” Alexis' mother, Holly Mattingly said. “It speaks volumes for society as well.”
Sgt. Chris Tull said the donations from Alexis and others couldn't have come at a better time.
“These have been tough times for police officers in general,” Sergeant Tull said. “There's been a lot of negativity that's come out, so to see the community step forward and provide this support, really is heartening.”
Homelessness In The U.S. Was Down Slightly Over The Past Year
by Pam Fessler
Homelessness in the U.S. declined over the past year. Even so, there were large increases in several cities, including Los Angeles and Seattle.
Overall, almost 550,000 individuals were homeless on a single night earlier this year, according to a new report by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. (This report will be available online after 10:30 a.m. ET) That's a 3 percent decline from 2015, and continues a downward trend in homelessness over the past few years. The numbers are based on a count conducted in January by communities across the country.
There were also declines in almost every homeless category, including veterans, families and the chronically homeless.
But some areas bucked the trend. Washington, D.C., saw a 14.4 percent increase in homelessness, over 1,000 more people, and there were an additional 2,680 homeless people in Los Angeles County, an increase of 6.5 percent. The Dallas and Seattle areas also had big increases, 21.3 and 6.0 percent, respectively.
All these cities have seen housing costs soar in recent years.
"There's no doubt that the lack of affordable housing is the big driver in our homeless numbers," says Norm Suchar, who directs HUD's homeless assistance programs.
Still, he notes that there was a 2.4 percent decline in New York City's homeless population this year, despite a housing crunch. He says that was due in part to a massive push there to address veterans' homelessness.
Suchar notes another "less bright spot" in the numbers — a 2 percent increase in unsheltered individuals, those actually living outside. That population has been declining in recent years, but Suchar says several cities on the West Coast, especially LA, saw big increases. About one in three homeless people lives outside. The rest are in shelters or transitional housing.
But overall, HUD and communities around the country are happy with the progress that's been made in recent years. They credit a broad, bipartisan effort to reduce homelessness. Homeless veterans especially have benefited in recent years from an investment of billions of dollars in federal funds to move them into permanent supportive housing, and veterans' homelessness dropped 17 percent this past year.
Still, there were more than 39,000 homeless vets in January, despite an Obama administration vow to eliminate veterans' homelessness by the end of last year.
There were also more than 194,000 people in homeless families in January, a 6 percent drop from the year before. The number of homeless unaccompanied youth also appeared to drop — to 35,686 — although HUD says it's not clear how accurate those numbers are for this difficult-to-count group.
"We have a pretty good understanding of what the solutions to homelessness are," says Suchar, adding that money invested in moving people into permanent housing has had a huge impact. Still, some advocates complain that the department has drained funding from transitional housing, which some feel can help homeless individuals get back on their feet by providing temporary support.
The numbers also don't reflect the growing number of families in the U.S. who pay more than half of their incomes on rent or who are doubled up with family and friends. Both of these are seen as signs that someone could become homeless soon.
Spotlight on community policing: The benefits of social media
by Patrick Clancy
An officer changed a tire for a Texas woman stuck on the side of the road. A deputy in Michigan found a missing dog, and brought him back to the station to care for him personally until the owners were located. An off-duty officer from Colorado purchased food and clothing for a woman and child in need, out of pocket.
These instances demonstrate the essence of the law enforcement profession. We are taught to protect and serve, in whatever form that may take. We are inspired to give back in order to create a more cohesive community. The many acts of kindness performed by officers deserve to be recognized and praised, however they generally do not make news headlines. But this is a situation law enforcement officials are starting to change personally through technology, and in particular, social media. Social media is one of the most effective ways to spotlight these community policing stories and promote transparency and trust within the community.
Social media. Who's using it?
Ten years ago, just 7 percent of the U.S. population used one or more social media platforms. Now, 76 percent of Americans who have access to the Internet utilize social media sites. In addition to the sheer number of people using social, there's also an emerging trend where an increasing number are seeking out news information via social media. A 2016 Pew Research Center study found the majority of U.S. adults (62 percent) get their news from social media, with 18 percent responding that they do so often.
In the law enforcement sphere, activity on social media is not a new phenomenon, but more law enforcement officials are considering it now more than ever before. According to the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) 2015 Social Media Survey Results, 73.9 percent of responding agencies not currently using social media were considering adopting it. Internet connectivity and mobile technology are more accessible than ever, and the vast majority of social media apps such as Facebook and Instagram are free and can be easily downloaded.
The number of officers who feel comfortable using social media has also risen sharply with the rapid advancement of technology. In 2014, according to the report “Social Media Use in Law Enforcement” by Lexis Nexis, “Three quarters of law enforcement professionals [were listed as] very comfortable using social media, showing a seven percent increase over 2012 despite a decrease in availability of formal training.” Twenty-five percent of law enforcement professionals used it daily in 2014, compared with 16 percent in 2012. There are also a number of tools available to assist officers in learning more about getting involved, including the IACP Center for Social Media.
Communicating with the community
One of the most impactful applications of social media is its use to connect with the community directly, by communicating news and showcasing the day-to-day activities of officers. Social media can help departments dispel the mystery and apprehension that too often surrounds police by increasing transparency. Local residents can view law enforcement activities from anywhere at a click of a button, staying up to date on important events and, better yet, truly realizing what it means to wear the badge. It means putting the community first, attending local events, visiting schools, going above and beyond even when off-duty. This aspect of a career in law enforcement can often be better depicted via photos, which are ideal for social media sites like Instagram.
Departments can control their own message on social media and be their own advocate—an important benefit given that more and more people are getting their news from social sites. Additionally, social media as a communications tool has been proven to work very well, as noted in a recent report which found that of those surveyed by IACP in 2015, “83.5 percent of agencies state that social media has improved police-community relations in their jurisdiction.”
Tell your story
It's exciting to see more departments actively using social as a way to effectively communicate with the communities they serve, leading to the rise of popular hashtags and campaigns like #LESM and #BehindTheBadge. In similar form is the LoJack #PASS (Protect and Serve Stories) campaign. It is designed to recognize members of law enforcement whose small, thoughtful good deeds are impacting and improving the communities they serve and protect. Whether law enforcement professionals are buying meals for the homeless, volunteering at a local charity fundraiser, or helping to fulfill a wish for a special olympian who wanted to be a sheriff for a day, #PASS seeks to highlight these positive stories, helping to garner the recognition they deserve.
Working together as a police family
Social media isn't just a way to interact with local officers who protect and serve—it's also proven helpful in communicating with different departments across state lines.
A recent story comes from the West Melbourne Police Department in Florida, about a little boy with spina bifida named Matthew.
“Matthew's story touched my heart personally,” said Kathy Wilson, Sr. Administrative Assistant to the Chief of Police. “His grandmother responded to a [West Melbourne PD] Facebook post with, ‘My grandson wants to be a police officer so bad I don't have the heart to tell him that it's not possible. Here is my reason why. He has spina bifida and is in a wheelchair. Will be for all his life. That doesn't stop him from wanting to be a police officer.' I knew immediately I wanted to do something for him and that's how this story begins.”
Wilson and the West Melbourne PD contacted hundreds of law enforcement agencies all over the country through social media and email, sharing Matthews's story and finding small ways to bring joy to his life. Social media was an essential tool in communicating with agencies across state lines effectively and quickly.
“I made it a personal crusade to contact as many police departments as I could to see if they would send Matthew a police patch or some other police memorabilia from their departments. The response was overwhelming. Patches, Challenge Coins, letters, cards, certificates, and other goodies started arriving at his home almost immediately. At last count, more than 100 agencies have responded with special deliveries for Matthew. The tremendous outpouring of support is not surprising, given the profession and ‘family' I belong to,” Wilson said.
Acts of kindness like this aren't hard to come by; in fact we see them every day. Hashtags like #PASS are one more way to continue to highlight them and give the recognition that is truly deserved.
Patrick Clancy is the vice president of law enforcement for LoJack Corporation and founder of the #PASS (Protect And Serve Stories) campaign. Patrick previously served as a sergeant with the Medfield (Mass.) Police Department.
RPD asking for community policing feedback after reorganization
Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - The Rochester Police Department is asking the public to evaluate how the new police reorganization has worked since starting in April 2015.
In April 2015, patrols shifted from a two sections - east and west side - to five sections that centered around neighborhoods.
The idea behind the reorganization was to maintain and exceed current levels of service, do more community policing, connect officers to smaller neighborhood beats, and maintain long-term financial stability.
A short survey has been created for the communities which RPD serves and can be found here. The survey will be available through November 30th 2016.
An official review will also be conducted by the City of Rochester and Rochester Police Department.
If you do not have access to the internet and would like to participate, please visit your local library to complete the survey.
For people without access to the Internet, all Rochester-area libraries will have paper copies of the survey.
North county police chiefs promote community policing
by Bill DiPaolo
North county police chiefs said at a forum Wednesday their departments are increasingly working together with the public, community groups, schools and other municipal agencies to reduce crime.
“We are serving more than our own communities. We are reaching out regionally to youth groups, the Urban League of Palm Beach County, clergy and other organizations,” said Palm Beach Gardens Police Chief Stephen Stepp at the forum held at the Palm Beach Gardens Marriott that drew about 180 people.
The police chiefs each spoke for several minutes. They then took questions at the event sponsored by The Palm Beach Post Ideabar and West Palm Beach-based Sisca Construction.
Reaching out to the community does not have to involve complicated procedures and large amounts of personnel, said Juno Beach Police Chief Brian Smith.
Several years ago, the town started “Coffee with a Cop,” a monthly Monday morning event at the Juno Beach Town Center where residents gather with police officers over coffee and doughnuts. Other departments are now holding the events.
“It sounds silly. But the program has really helped us get a pulse of what is going on in the town. Police have to be proactive,” said Smith.
Communicating with the public — whether it be through meetings or public events like sports or free movies — builds public trust, said Jupiter Police Chief Frank Kitzerow.
“You have to stay engaged with the community and the media. Police departments have to adapt, just like a business,” he said.
Police can't wait for a crisis to begin to build better community relations, said Riviera Beach Police Chief Clarence Williams III.
“Both sides have contributed to the fracture. Both sides need to work together so we can start to heal,” Williams said.
Another tool is police working with code enforcement, town planners and developers about the design of new projects before construction begins, said Stepp.
“We talk with them about the location of the stairwells and the design of the parking garages. We're a growth community and all that is very important,” said Stepp.
Video of Iowa coffee shop confrontation offers reminders about de-escalation
Dealing with a belligerent subject who is passively resisting is a simple problem, but in no way easy
by Doug Wyllie
An Iowa woman's attempt to spark a confrontation with police officers inside a coffee shop is an important reminder about de-escalation and the inevitability that such encounters will be video recorded for social media distribution.
During nearly eight minutes of “live streaming” on Facebook, the woman verbally assaulted officers who were called to a restaurant whose owners complained that she had been causing a disturbance. Iowa police — indeed, cops across the country — were squarely in the middle of mourning the ambush deaths of Des Moines Police Sergeant Tony Beminio and Urbandale Police Officer Justin Martin in separate but related ambush attacks.
Here vitriol was reprehensible. Her disdain for first responders was vividly displayed. The woman said at one point, “We got the popo wearing the black thing on her badge. I guess she's sorry a coupla cops go whacked in Des Moines.”
However, despite all manner of provocation, the responding officers did not take the bait. They were patient and professional and the incident ended peacefully. Check out the video, and then proceed to my key takeaways below.
Key takeaways for law enforcement moving forward
This incident starkly demonstrates a handful of very simple principles. Before we delve into those, we must acknowledge the difference between simple and easy.
Dealing with a belligerent subject who is passively resisting is a simple problem, but in no way easy. Simply, officers must use verbal skills (like Verbal Judo, CIT, and other training) to gain compliance without having to escalate to some level of force. This is anything but easy and the responding officers in Iowa handled the matter with aplomb.
“Maam, I'm going to ask you to step outside for me,” one officer said. “I don't want to go hands-on with you, so I'm going to request that you exit the premises.”
“Why don't you go die laughing,” the woman replied.
Eventually, the woman was escorted from the premises without further incident, and those officers did a tremendous job to resolve the situation. They did not allow the woman to escalate the situation. They used their verbal skills and showed an extraordinary ability to remain calmly detached.
In viewing this video, I am reminded how the “Five Universal Truths” — first articulated by the late Dr. George Thompson, founder of the Verbal Judo Institute — can help officers successfully interact with belligerent subjects. Consider the following:
1. All people want to be treated with dignity and respect.
2. All people want to be asked rather than told to do something.
3. All people want to be told why they are being asked to do something.
4. All people want to be given options rather than threats.
5. All people want a second chance.
Even if these tactics ultimately prove to be ineffective and you have to go hands-on with a resistive subject, it will be clear that you were the good guy when the cell phone video inevitably surfaces after a confrontation.
In watching the video I was also reminded of two acronyms — QTIP and ATM — which can be keys to de-escalation:
• QTIP: Cops must “Quit Taking It Personally” when a subject attempts to create confrontation.
• ATM: Cops can successfully use the “Ask, Tell, Make” method to resolve situations.
In the Iowa video we saw officers use many of the above principles. Clearly they were well trained in CIT or some other verbal de-escalation techniques. Training in Verbal Judo remains available nationwide, and many departments have benefited greatly from it. Whatever type of training you pursue, it is an investment that pays dividends when officers encounter a person like we saw in that Iowa coffee shop.
Officer shooting probe gives Alaska police break in 5 cases
by Mark Thiessen
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The horrific shooting of an Anchorage police officer has led to an unexpected break in a series of outdoor deaths that have gone unsolved for months and left people uneasy to use the city's extensive trail system.
Ballistics tests matched the gun to two double homicides and a single killing last summer that helped set off fears a serial killer was roaming the Anchorage trails, picking off one or two people at a time.
But the chance discovery — linking the weapon used in the wounding of an officer with five unsolved murders — doesn't mean the suspect killed in the police shooting committed the earlier murders or even had possession of the gun in July and August when five people were shot down in public places.
“What I'd be looking at is to see what the evidence is and which way that points us,” Anchorage District Attorney Clint Campion said. “I think the firearm is a significant lead in that direction, and there's other investigation that need to be done.”
The gun wasn't registered to James Dale Ritchie, Anchorage police spokeswoman Jennifer Castro said.
“We still have to determine who the suspect actually was in these cases. We've connected the weapon in these cases but still have work to do on the suspect(s),” Castro wrote in an email.
Alaska's largest city had 28 homicides this year, one short of the 1995 total, which was the deadliest in recent years. But it was the rash of nine unsolved homicides of people killed while in public places that set the city on edge, especially last summer when the weather was nice. It didn't help that police didn't release much information about the killings.
The link to five of those murders started unlikely enough when a man skipped out on a cab fare about 4:40 a.m. Saturday in downtown Anchorage, according to police accounts released Tuesday.
The cabbie called police, and Officer Arn Salao, a five-year patrol veteran with the Anchorage police department, responded. He saw Ritchie walking on a downtown street, and asked him to stop. Ritchie ignored him, so Salao pulled his cruiser over.
Ritchie turned toward the officer, pulled a Colt Python .357 revolver and started shooting repeatedly. Salao either jumped or fell from his cruiser, but he drew his weapon and started firing. Another officer, Sgt. Marc Patzke, a nine-year department veteran, arrived at the same time and both shot at Ritchie, who was killed.
In the three days since, police uncovered the unsettling news: the revolver used by Ritchie to strike Salao at least four times in the lower body was already known to Anchorage police.
Ballistics matched it to the July 3 deaths of Jason Netter and Brianna Foisy on a bike path near downtown Anchorage, the July 29 murder of Treyveonkindell Thompson on an isolated street and the Aug. 28 deaths of Bryant De Husson and Kevin Turner at Valley of the Moon Park in downtown Anchorage.
Police don't have a motive or much information about Ritchie.
Police Lt. John McKinnon has asked members of the public to provide any information they can about him.
“He hadn't been on our radar for a while in Anchorage, so that's part of what they're trying to determine is, where he's been, who he'd lived with, what other contacts he had,” Campion said. “He hasn't had any real police contact in the last decade in Alaska.”
Campion said the five homicide cases remain open because the link to the gun provides investigative leads that need to be pursued. He said Anchorage police would be working with various agencies in the state in the investigation.
McKinnon said the gun didn't match the deaths of two other people at Point Woronzof, a popular coastal park.
Police Chief Chris Tolley said at the Tuesday news conference that the actions of Salao and Patzke in returning fire at Ritchie were heroic and “made sure that this individual will not hurt any one of you or any one of the citizens of Anchorage. I'm so very, very proud of them.”
Salao was hit at struck at least four times, with bullets fracturing bones, ripping apart muscles and going through the intestine and lodging in his liver, Tolley said.
He underwent seven hours of surgery on Saturday. Tolley said the officer is recuperating at an Anchorage hospital, and he has been moved out of the intensive care unit.
“The officer is a fighter,” Tolley said.
Latest Hate Crime Statistics Released
Annual Report Sheds Light on Serious Issue
Earlier this year, a Florida man pled guilty to threatening to firebomb two mosques. A Virginia man was charged with assaulting a gay victim. And an Iowa man was convicted of stomping on and kicking the head of an African-American victim.
Hate crimes like these can have a devastating impact upon the communities where they occur, which is one of the reasons why the investigation of hate crimes that fall under federal jurisdiction is the number one priority under the FBI's civil rights program.
But in addition to its investigative work, the FBI gathers and publishes—through its Uniform Crime Reporting Program—hate crime statistics from law enforcement agencies across the country to help provide an accurate accounting of the problem, by state and nationally. And today, the Bureau released its latest Hate Crime Statistics report—this one containing data for 2015—that includes information detailing the offenses, victims, offenders, and locations of hate crimes. The 2015 collection marks the 25th anniversary of the Bureau's work to compile data about bias-motivated crimes, which began in 1990.
This year's report, which contains data from 14,997 law enforcement agencies, reveals 5,850 criminal incidents and 6,885 related offenses that were motivated by bias against race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, and gender identity.
Additional findings in Hate Crime Statistics, 2015 include the following:
There were 5,818 single-bias incidents involving 7,121 victims. Of those victims, 59.2 percent were targeted because of a race/ethnicity/ancestry bias; 19.7 percent because of a religious bias; 17.7 percent because of a sexual orientation bias; 1.7 percent because of a gender identity bias; 1.2 percent because of a disability bias; and 0.4 percent because of a gender bias.
There were an additional 32 multiple-bias incidents that involved another 52 victims.
Of the 4,482 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against persons, intimidation accounted for 41.3 percent of those offenses, while 37.8 percent involved simple assault and 19.7 percent involved aggravated assault.
There were 2,338 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against property, and the majority of those (72.6 percent) were acts of destruction/damage/vandalism.
During 2015, most reported hate crime incidents (31.5 percent) happened in or near residences or homes.
Of the 5,493 known offenders, 48.4 percent were white, 24.3 percent were black or African-American, and race was unknown for 16.2 percent of the offenders. The rest were of various other races.
New to the 2015 Hate Crime Statistics report is the inclusion of seven additional religious anti-bias categories (anti-Buddhist, anti-Eastern Orthodox, anti-Hindu, anti-Jehovah's Witness, anti-Mormon, anti-other Christian, and anti-Sikh), as well as an anti-Arab bias motivation.
Importance of Reporting Hate Crime Data
In 1990, Congress passed the Hate Crime Statistics Act, which required the attorney general to collect data “about crimes which manifest evidence of prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.” The attorney general delegated the responsibility to the Director of the FBI, who, in turn, assigned the task to the Bureau's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program.
Since then, additional categories have been added in an effort to improve the quality of the data collected. The more detailed we can be with the collection, the better all of law enforcement can detect trends and add necessary resources to combat these crimes.
But the FBI's annual Hate Crime Statistics report is only as good as the information it contains, and increased participation from law enforcement agencies will provide a more complete picture of hate crime in America. Recently, the International Association of Chiefs of Police—with the assistance of the Anti-Defamation League—issued a model policy for law enforcement agencies around the country on the investigation of hate crimes. The IACP also encouraged each agency to develop a standard for collecting, analyzing, and reporting incidents of hate crime—and, in particular, to submit monthly reports on all hate crime occurrences to the UCR Program.
According to FBI Director James Comey, “We need to do a better job of tracking and reporting hate crime to fully understand what is happening in our communities and how to stop it.”
Special Report: Community Policing
by Karen Edwards
MARSHALL, Tx.-- "We're in a very rough time for police agencies," said Marshall Police Chief Jesus Eddie Campa.
And, it's a fact felt across the country.
The attention focused on unarmed people of color seemingly targeted by law enforcement has created a rise in conversation about how police protect their communities.
It's an issue that hit close to home for many in the Arklatex after three officers were killed in Baton Rouge, following the police involved shooting death of Alton Sterling.
That, coming after five officers in Dallas, Texas were shot and killed.
The question now: how can neighborhoods and come together?
It's one the Chief Campa is working to answer.
"When I first got here, I was advised we had some external issues that we had to mend," Campa explained. "And that was the relationship that we had with the community and the preconceived notion that the community had of the police department."
Historically, the city of Marshall was a major hub of the Confederacy.
Decades later, desegregation and the discrimination of blacks left the city racially divided.
"It does have an extensive history of racial division. I mean, it does. You can't hide it," Campa said. "In order to have a successful law enforcement agency, you can't do it by yourself. So, you have to have the input of the community."
SWAT van turned ice cream truck It's just one of the ways the Marshall Police Department is working to get out into the community.
"We have the Cool Cops Ice Cream truck. It's more of an outreach for the younger kids...give them ice cream for the good deeds they do. Kind of like to show them that they can trust us at a young age," explained Marshall Officer Justin Mills.
"We have a "No Colors No Labels" initiative. I think a lot of people...maybe some departments might shy away from anything race related because people are scared of it. And, we're not scared of it. We just want to break down those barriers," said Kelly Colvin, Public Information Officer with Marshall Police.
Those initiatives go along with D.A.R.E. programs and Citizens Training academies, plus officers are expected to show up to community events.
But, are these efforts working?
"To make this personal, I was actually in Dallas the evening that they had that event. My brother and I were leaving downtown as law enforcement was just, you know...going to the scene....it brings things into perspective...reality," said Joseph Filippazzo.
Filippazzo, who owns of Pazaria by Pitetro's in downtown Marshall...says yes.
"I could really see a big difference, especially with the leadership from the chief...what he's doing in the community to be involved not only with businesses but with individuals and just bringing people together.
"Once you build this trust and relationship with the community, you can count on them to provide you information," explained Chief Campa. "Marshall was famous for having this saying of 'snitches end up in ditches.' In the last two years, we have really made a difference because you can see it with our crime rate going down. You can see it with the number of homicides going down. Our violent crime is down."
UPD works to enhance campus engagement, relationships through community policing
by Allie Kirkman
The University Police Department is working toward dispelling the myth about what policing is on campus and redefining what policing is at Ball State through engagement and community policing.
Community policing is a philosophy that promotes organizational strategies that support the systematic use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques to proactively address the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues such as crime, social disorder and fear of crime, according to The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
Community policing is more than just a philosophy to UPD Chief James Duckham. It's a passion, and one that he has been working toward since he came to Ball State in 2014 under former Chief Gene Burton.
“I came here with that concept of what I wanted to do,” Duckham said. “I just think it's so important, especially today."
Duckham wants to see police and students form a receptive community by engaging with one another.
In a presentation at the Board of Trustees Meeting on Sept. 9, Duckham reinforced the concept of community policing and described the initiative as a department-wide approach to intentional partnership development geared at problem solving, increasing meaningful engagement, service-oriented, compressive training and evaluating performance.
Community policing is all about the partnership between the law enforcement agency and the community they serve to develop solutions to problems and increase trust in police, according to COPS.
This starts at the top, Duckham said.
“Community policing starts at the top and works all the way down to the recruiting officers,” Duckham said. “It's a philosophy of engagement, service, getting to know the community and doing a lot of outreach in their spaces in a sense of not bringing them to the police department per se or not just going to historical places were you would expect cops to be. It's going into the residence halls, being in a dining facility ... it's where people would be comfortable getting to know the police officers in a nontraditional way.”
One common misconception the Duckham sees within other police departments is that they think community policing is just about placing one officer in an area or participating in one specific program.
“I cringe when I hear that because that's not community policing,” Duckham told the Daily News in a past interview.
“I struggle with departments that have a particular program, and they think that's community policing, so we have a lot of programs: Lunch with a Cop, flyer program to prevent burglary, the officer liaison program. … Those are great programs, but within themselves, [they are] not community policing,” Duckham said.
Community policing is a constant commitment.
“It's labor insensitive,” Duckham said. “When you think about Lunch with a Cop, that's an hour plus that an officer is engaged in that particular activity. So, there's a commitment of resources, but, from my perspective — and I think a lot of chiefs feel this way — it's just so important to do that. You need to commit these resources today.”
The goal this year with community policing is to continue to interact with students but with a multicultural approach in partnership with multiple organizations on campus, like the Multicultural Center.
“I think it's dealing with organizations and groups that have historically may not have had the greatest relationships with police departments,” Duckham said.
A 2014 Pew Research poll found that while most Americans hold a generally favorable view of their local police, blacks and Latinos have much less faith in their police forces than white Americans do.
Bridging the gap by reaching out to minority groups is a key part of community policing.
“I have spoken with the Spectrum executive board, students of color who may have come from communities where ... they weren't comfortable with the police departments,” Duckham said. “My goal, quite frankly, is for people to see how it works on campus and go home and expect it from the communities where they live and have those positive relationships that we have developed here go to where they live. For them to be saying to their friends, ‘Well, I'm pretty comfortable with the cops.' I am hopeful that is what is going to happen.”
University Police Department members participate in training on topics like cultural diversity, bias incidents, hate crimes and racial profiling in relations to the multicultural approach because “it's important that police understand the community's concerns and perspective on important topics, such as race relations."
While UPD has already seen successful rates in student interaction, as more than 170 students have participated in Lunch with a Cop this semester, Duckham encourages students and organizations on campus to continue reach out to the department.
“I just keep telling people to invite us to the fun stuff,” Duckham said. “I know we go and do the drug and alcohol stuff and beer goggles in the resident halls and the alcohol awareness week, but it's really cool to go to stuff where they make cookies or doing something that is not a traditional police type of thing. I think those are the way people really get to see us outside out the uniform."
Duckham brought up students reaching out to him and the department to be present at the Anti-Trump demonstration on Nov. 9. He said, though student might not realize it, this is a form of community policing.
“When student's leaders that are running those events call us and say ‘Hey we would like you and UPD to be at the event,' I think that really sends a message that we are accomplishing that goal of getting to our campus community, and our campus community is comfortable with us,” he said. “We don't want to be seen as just the police department, we want be seen as a part of the campus community.”
Alton seeks input on community policing plan
by Advantage News
ALTON — City officials are seeking residents' input for a new community policing strategic plan.
The plan's purpose is to build upon successes that will improve the quality of life for residents by creating a safer, more vibrant Alton.
To that end, the city has partnered with the University of Missouri to create a community survey. The survey can be accessed at surveymonkey.com/r/AltonCommunityPolicing, or a hard copy can be picked up at the Mayor's Office inside City Hall at 101 E. Third St. All responses must be submitted by Nov. 30.
The university will gather the responses and all responses shall be kept confidential with cumulative results summarized in an executive summary report. A community focus group, working with the Alton Police Department, will review the results of the survey and develop recommendations with an implementation road map.
“Public input is vital for the success, creation and implementation of a community policing strategic plan,” Mayor Brant Walker said. “By providing residents an opportunity to provide their ideas and concerns, we hope to create a plan that addresses the needs of Alton's residents and strengthens the relationship between the community and its police department.”
Survey Finds Less Favorable View of Police in LA's Minority Communities
by Patrick Healy
Equipped with a new survey on attitudes toward Los Angeles Police, the department's civilian oversight commission tackled the issue of combating bias in policing.
The survey found less favorable opinions of police in minority communities with historically strained relations.
"What this report and survey documents is a serious, a profound and serious disconnect between the Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles' African-American community," said Commissioner Cynthia McClain-Hill, at whose request the Commission devoted the entire agenda for Tuesday's meeting to the bias issue.
"Our perceptions are rooted in our experience," said Melina Abdullah, a professor at Cal State Los Angeles and organizer for the Black Lives Matter movement, which has challenged police use of force.
The survey was included in a 140 page "Report of the Los Angeles Police Department on the Prevention and Elimination of Biased Policing."
Department policy forbids racial profiling or bias, but officials said it can be difficult to prove whether that was what motivated misconduct.
Of 1,254 bias complaints initiated in the past four years, just two were sustained, only to be later overturned, though the officer was dismissed for making false statements, according to the report.
Comparing LAPD to ten police departments nationwide, the report found only three had sustained bias complaints -- two cases in Washington, D.C., and one each in San Diego and San Jose.
Apart from "explicit" bias, which is defined as carried out knowingly, growing attention has been focused on "implicit" -- or subconscious -- bias, which can affect decisions without the individual realizing, according to L. Song Richardson, a professor and senior associate dean of the law school at UC Irvine. Richardson delivered an oral report to the commission during Tuesday's meeting.
As part of training, LAPD has already instituted programs intended to help officers limit the effect of implicit bias, said psychologist Luann Pannell, the director of police training and education for the LAPD.
During public comment, several speakers objected to the term "bias" as too soft, and said the real issue is more accurately described as racial profiling.
The meeting went non-stop for four and a half hours, and unlike virtually all commission meetings the past two years, was not interrupted by protest demonstrations until the very end.
"Four and a half hours shows us more work needs to happen," said Pete White, executive director of the LA Community Action Network, also active in Black Lives Matter.
"It was a good first step," said Abdullah.
After the meeting, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck suggested some department critics should consider whether they are influenced by bias.
"If you have a natural bias against police...then you have to look at that. Because that's not an accurate bias, either," Beck said.
The union representing officers, the Los Angeles Police Protective League, expressed pride that 84 percent of the survey respondents overall believe officers conduct themselves in a "professional manner."
In a statement, the League called on the city to provide additional resources so that Community Policing can be expanded.
"The residents and police officers of Los Angeles deserve a Community Policing Reset, but that will require policymakers to roll up their sleeves and match their rhetoric with action," declared the statement.
San Diego revives citizen police advisory panel
by David Garrick
Seeking stronger ties between residents and police officers in the wake of recent turbulence, San Diego will revive a long-dormant community policing board and urge its members to set lofty goals
The Citizens Advisory Board on Police/Community Relations will focus on the idea that policing San Diego is a shared responsibility that suffers without robust collaboration between residents and police.
The board, which the City Council voted unanimously to revive on Tuesday, will focus on making residents aware of their rights and responsibilities when interacting with police.
It may also recommend policies designed to make law enforcement more sensitive, effective and responsive.
The board's role will be separate and distinct from the Citizens Review Board on Police Practices, which evaluates complaints from residents and reviews officer-involved shootings.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer said reviving the community policing board, which has been dormant since the late 1990s, will help unify San Diego.
"Behind the badge, our police officers are San Diegans just like the rest of us — but for some it can be hard to see that," Faulconer said. "It's so important to give San Diegans a new opportunity to work alongside the city and create a better understanding of how we need to keep our neighborhoods safe.”
Faulconer predicted the board would help reduce crime.
"This board will help encourage police and residents to find new ways to strengthen that relationship, come up with new ideas on how we prevent crime and, most importantly, make sure all San Diegans in all neighborhoods are not just safer but feel safe too," he said.
Revival of the board comes after multiple officer-involved shootings in San Diego and controversy over a delayed San Diego State study of racial profiling by the Police Department.
"This is so timely — it's obvious the people of San Diego really do want a closer relationship with our Police Department," said Councilwoman Marti Emerald, chair of a council committee that oversees public safety. "They want to feel as though we are all on the same path, all in the same room listening to each other. I think this is going to meet a real need.”
Brian Marvel, president of the labor union representing San Diego police officers, said he expects the board to foster more crucial two-way communication.
"Any time we can actively engage the public and actually teach them so they get a better understanding of what we do out on the streets and why we do the things that we do and what case laws there are, is always a plus," Marvel said. "Public engagement with the community and the police is huge."
Councilwoman Myrtle Cole vowed on Tuesday to secure significant funding for the revived board during budget deliberations next spring.
The mayor has agreed to quickly begin making appointments to the 15-member board, which must be confirmed by the council.
A policy approved Tuesday says the board must have at least one member from each of the city's nine council districts, one member from a police employee group, a human relations expert, a member familiar with youth issues and two members with backgrounds in either social services, corrections or probation.
All members will be volunteers, serve two-year terms and receive no pay.
Cole, an African American who publicly apologized last summer for controversial comments she made defending racial profiling, said she wants the revived board to be proactive.
"Given the critical issues facing our nation and our city, the role of this board is necessary to promote and encourage open communication and corroboration between the Police Department and the residents of the city, recognizing that policing the city of San Diego is a shared responsibility," Cole said.
The board was originally created in the 1980s in response to a police shooting, but it stopped meeting shortly after the Citizens Review Board on Police Practices was created in 1998.
Report: Cities boost policies to criminalize homelessness
The center says policies that criminalize homelessness harm communities because they create barriers to employment, housing and education
by Cathy Bussewitz
HONOLULU — A new report says cities nationwide are enacting more policies that criminalize homelessness.
The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty said Tuesday many cities have banned living in vehicles, camping in public areas and panhandling.
The center says policies that criminalize homelessness harm communities because they create barriers to employment, housing and education.
Honolulu is among a handful of cities named in the report's "hall of shame" for what the authors call bad policies. The report says Honolulu issued more than 16,000 warnings to people violating its sit-lie ban since it was enacted in Waikiki in 2014.
Honolulu officials say the ban is necessary so people can safely use public sidewalks and because tourists and residents complained.
Denver, Dallas and Puyallup, Washington, also were criticized for criminalizing policies.
Bystander fatally shoots suspect attacking Fla. deputy
The bystander had a CCW permit and told the suspect he'd shoot if he didn't stop beating the deputy
by PoliceOne Staff
ESTERO, Fla. — A bystander came to the rescue of a deputy who was under attack Monday.
According to WINK, Lee County Deputy First Class Dean Bardes was working a crash when he recognized a suspect and tried to pull him over. The suspect fled and Bardes pursued him at speeds of over 100 mph.
The driver exited his vehicle on an off-ramp and attacked Bardes, WZVN reported.
"He just kept beating him and beating him," witness Shanta Holditch said. She said after the deputy was pulled out of his patrol car, the suspect began "throwing him to the ground and punching him in all different directions."
A bystander passing by the scene, who had a CCW permit, exited his vehicle and told the armed suspect that if he didn't stop attacking the deputy, he would shoot him, WINK reported.
Holditch told WZVN the suspect "refused to get off the officer and the officer kept yelling, 'shoot him, shoot him, shoot him,' and then he shot him. I think approximately three shots were heard."
The suspect later died.
Deputy Bardes was rushed to the hospital. He was not shot and is expected to recover.
FBI: Hate crimes spike, most sharply against Muslims
by Azadeh Ansari
The latest FBI annual hate crime report shows a sharp spike in the number of hate crimes nationwide, with Muslims most often targeted.
In one year, anti-Muslim hate crimes in the United States rose 67%, from 154 incidents in 2014 to 257 in 2015, according to the latest numbers released in the bureau's Hate Crime Statistics report on Monday.
"That is the highest number since 2001, when the al Qaeda attacks on New York and elsewhere drove the number to its highest ever level, 481 hate crimes," according to Mark Potok with the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The FBI defines a hate crime as a "criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender's bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity."
Law enforcement agencies submit incident reports annually; the reports include information detailing the offenses, victims, offenders and locations of hate crimes.
The bureau's Uniform Crime Reporting Program data showed 5,850 hate crime incidents reported to police in 2015, a 6.8% increase from the 5,479 incidents reported in 2014.
The report recorded 5,818 "single-bias" incidents, incidents in which one or more offense types are motivated by the same bias. Of those, 59.2% were motivated by a racial, ethnic and/or ancestry bias; 19.7% by a religious bias; 17.7% by a sexual orientation bias; and 3.3% by a gender identity, disability or gender bias.
Hate crimes against minorities other than Muslims also increased, according to the report.
Anti-Jewish hate crimes rose 9%, anti-black hate crimes went up by almost 8%, and anti-LGBT hate crimes increased by nearly 5%, while anti-Latino hate crimes remained steady.
The FBI's annual report comes on the heels of a contentious political campaign fueled by hateful rhetoric that has ignited a backlash nationwide.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has tracked 892 hate groups operating in the United States. The civil rights organization has also cited 300 cases of hateful harassment or intimidation in the United States since Election Day.
As a candidate, President-elect Donald Trump was accused of fueling xenophobia and Islamophobia, using words some people have echoed as validation to carry out hateful crimes.
Trump tells supporters to 'stop it'
In his first televised sit-down interview since becoming President-elect, Trump told his supporters to stop harassing minorities.
"I am so saddened to hear that," Trump told CBS' Lesley Stahl on "60 Minutes," when she told him Latinos and Muslims were facing harassment. "And I say, 'Stop it.' If it -- if it helps, I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: 'Stop it.'"
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, said it found the FBI hate crime statistics alarming, and encouraged "the nation's leaders to repudiate growing Islamophobia" in a statement released Monday.
"We witnessed a sharp jump in anti-Muslim incidents nationwide last year, with that spike in Islamophobia continuing through 2016 and accelerating after the November 8 election," said CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw.
Preliminary data from CAIR indicates that 2016 is on track to be the second-worst year on record when it comes to mosque attacks. This year is barely trailing the record set last year: 78 mosques were attacked in 2015.
Congress passed the Hate Crime Statistics Act in 1990.
This year's report marks the FBI's 25th anniversary efforts to compile data about bias-motivated crimes.
Police Commission, LAPD, community to tackle a longstanding, thorny issue: racial profiling
by Kate Mather, Cindy Chang and James Queally
Like law enforcement agencies across the country, the Los Angeles Police Department has long wrestled with an issue that has frustrated both residents and police officials: allegations of racial profiling.
Accusations of biased policing are difficult to prove, as they hinge on what an officer is thinking when he or she stops someone. But the perception of profiling has frayed relationships between police and communities nationwide, including Los Angeles.
The LAPD usually receives a few hundred complaints of biased policing each year, largely from African Americans. None have been upheld, a number that has become more glaring in recent years as residents and police commissioners continue to voice their concerns.
On Tuesday, Los Angeles police commissioners are expected to hear from department brass, including their comments on a 143-page report, prepared for the meeting, which looks at how the LAPD and other agencies investigate allegations of biased policing and try to strengthen relationships with residents.
The meeting, held at City Hall instead of the LAPD's downtown headquarters in order to accommodate a larger audience, will also include presentations from community groups and remarks from the public.
It's unusual for the civilian Police Commission to focus on a single issue during one of its weekly meetings. One of the board's newest commissioners, Cynthia McClain-Hill, called for the meeting earlier this fall to take a deeper look at how the LAPD investigates allegations of biased policing, what incoming officers learn about bias during their time in the academy and how supervisors are trained to guard against it.
McClain-Hill, whose directive was unanimously backed by the rest of the commission, stressed that she did not believe most LAPD officers were inherently biased. The goal, she said, was to have a “robust discussion on the topic.”
LAPD brass have stressed that they take the allegations seriously, noting that the department tried to fire an officer a few years ago after investigators determined he stopped Latino drivers based on their ethnicity. However, a disciplinary panel found that officer not guilty of the biased policing allegations and fired him on a different charge.
The department report prepared for the meeting included the results of a 2,000-person survey conducted earlier this year to gauge public attitudes about crime, safety and policing in Los Angeles. The report acknowledged a “disparity of perceptions” among residents that was highlighted by the survey.
Less than half of the African Americans surveyed said they considered police honest and trustworthy, compared with roughly 74% of white residents, almost 71% of Latinos and about 67% of Asians.
Less than a third of African Americans agreed that LAPD officers used force only when absolutely necessary, according to the survey. Just over half of the total residents surveyed agreed.
Less than half of all residents — 49.7% — agreed that LAPD officers treated people of all races and ethnicities fairly. More than a third disagreed.
As a result of the findings, the report said, the LAPD is looking to expand ongoing efforts to improve public attitudes toward policing, focusing in part on improving relationships with black residents and others who live in South L.A.
The report acknowledged the LAPD's difficult history with some residents, noting “past civil rights abuses and discrimination” during an era in which police “did not treat the diverse communities it was obligated to serve in a fair, constitutional and non-discriminatory manner."
Since then, the report noted, the LAPD has implemented reforms to help diversify its ranks, reduce bias and reach out to the community.
“While the department has significantly improved over the past decades, there is much work to be done to maintain and improve the level of public trust that is so essential for policing,” the report said.
North Twin Cities multicultural policing group seeks to diversify
Multicultural policing group broadens its diversity focus beyond immigrants.
by Hannah Covington
Several times a week, Sheku Samba ventures into the social hubbub of a barbershop in Brooklyn Center to chat about life, love and — more often than not — the police.
Samba, originally from Sierra Leone, carries with him the mission of the Multicultural Advisory Committee he joined two years ago, which aims to build trust among communities of color and the police. And there's no better place for these chats, he said, than the barbershop.
"I try to talk about things from our meetings," Samba said, referring to the monthly gatherings he attends with local law enforcement as part of a program called the Joint Community Police Partnership.
Originally designed with new immigrants in mind, the program got its start in Brooklyn Center and Brooklyn Park, two of the most diverse cities in the state. It's here that police departments take pride in an 11-year track record of making inroads with residents of color through initiatives like the multicultural committees, receiving widespread recognition along the way.
But some say it's time for the richly diverse group to broaden its membership, especially among African-Americans.
When Graciela O'Gorman Smith, a Latina member of the Brooklyn Park committee, came to her first gathering in March, she spotted African immigrants, Hmong, Latino and white representatives but noticed an absence of African-Americans from the get-go.
"You always take a mental note of, 'Are the right people at the table? Is everybody's voice being included?,'?" O'Gorman Smith said.
In Brooklyn Park, members said they're now looking into how best to recruit underrepresented residents of color. Recent episodes of violence and the persistent tension between police and the black community lend their task urgency, they added. Their concern also helped inspire two public forums held this fall with police chiefs from both cities.
"When we started having these conversations, the group responded with how there's no nonimmigrant African-Americans at the table," said Brooklyn Park Police Chief Craig Enevoldsen. "We completely concurred. … We leaned on the group a few months ago and said, 'Help us recruit.'?"
The community policing initiative began in response to the dramatic demographic shifts that swept through Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center in the past few decades — fueled largely by an influx of immigrants and refugees.
With new residents, traffic-stop protocol and large house parties were among the biggest cultural disconnects, Enevoldsen said. The Multicultural Advisory Committee, members say, has provided a two-way learning conduit.
"We try to teach them about our cultures, too — like our impulse to get out of the car and approach them as a sign of respect," said Nigerian native and Brooklyn Park resident Ita Ekah.
Since the Joint Community Police Partnership (JCPP) began in 2005, the program has spread to four other cities, taking root in Bloomington, Hopkins, Richfield and St. Louis Park. The partnership program is a joint venture between participating cities and the county, with Hennepin County contributing roughly $700,000 a year, as well as a history of in-kind support from the Northwest Hennepin Human Services Council.
And there's a hope to keep expanding, said Monique Drier, who has worked as the community liaison in Brooklyn Center since the initiative began and now supervises the program.
Police and program organizers say the focus of the committees in each city has naturally evolved over the years, from their initial emphasis on building trust among new immigrants to other communities of color.
In Brooklyn Center, roughly a third of the 15- to 20-member group is now African-American, Drier said.
Participants like St. Louis native Alisa Brown said one barrier that keeps more members of her community from joining is the time commitment, from monthly meetings to community events.
But others, like Samba, said they suspect historical mistrust may be behind some residents' lack of interest — a mistrust that was on spirited display during Samba's Thursday visit to Handz-on Barber & Beauty in Brooklyn Center.
"Why would I join?" Chicago native Anthony Lewis asked Samba. "Every time I turn on the TV, the police have killed another black man, teenager or kid."
"But what if the police here are trying to reach out?" Samba queried back.
"How can you ease tension," Lewis said, "when we're the ones being hunted? Why would I pet a wolf?"
Phillip Musa, who runs the barbershop, expressed optimism that trust can be rebuilt, pointing out that several officers frequent the shop.
"That's fairy-tale land," Lewis countered. "We live in reality."
After several hours of back-and-forth, Samba left undeterred, saying these are the kinds of conversations to keep having.
"The best way to recruit," Samba said, "is one-on-one interactions."
Raleigh officials and residents meet for ‘community conversation'
by David Grzybowski
RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — On Monday night, Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane held the first of two community conversations scheduled for this week.
Monday's meeting at the Marble Kids Museum focused on building relationships between city leaders, law enforcement and community members.
“This is an opportunity for us to define what Raleigh is going to be,” McFarlane said.
City and police officials gathered with the community for an open dialogue discussion about community relations and race.
Monday's meeting is the first of two this week as part of Raleigh's “Community Conversation” series. Attendees were placed in groups with local leaders and police officers to discuss race and policing conflicts.
“The city is ready to engage and have a conversation about race relations and community policing and trying to bridge the gap. I take it as a positive that at least they are ready to sit at the table and listen to what the community has to say,” said Wanda Hunter, a Raleigh resident.
Groups wrote down various issues in an hour-long open discussion talking about various issues of feelings, personal stories and brought ideas about how to move the community forward.
“I heard some things from other people that I hadn't thought of. The experiences that people had and that was one of the reasons why I came,” said Craig Brookins of Raleigh.
“Being able to talk to different police officers, people from different backgrounds and having an open dialogue I think really brought a lot to the table,” said Carly Jones.
“Now what we do with that from here on is what the question is,” Jones added.
The next meeting will be Wednesday from 6:30 p.m.to 8:30 p.m. at Anne Gordon Center for Active Adults at 1901 Spring Forest Road.
Gunman opens fire on San Jose officers; manhunt underway
The officers were not hit and did not return fire
by Aaron Kinney and Robert Salonga
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Police were searching Sunday night for a man who fired multiple gunshots at two officers on patrol near Luby and Ripley drives.
The officers were on foot shortly after 7:30 p.m. when they approached a group of men. The men ran off, but one one of them turned and fired “several rounds,” police said.
The officers were not hit and did not return fire, police said.
Officers have surrounded the area to find the man, whom police accused of attempted murder.
The suspect is described as a Hispanic man in his 20s, 6 feet tall, 160-180 pounds and clean shaven. Police said he was wearing a black and gray Pendleton over white T-shirt with dark pants.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call 911 or provide an anonymous tip at 408-947-7867.
The crime occurred the same day that Stanislaus County deputy sheriff Dennis Wallace was shot and killed at close range by a wanted felon in Hughson. The suspect, 36-year-old David Machado, not long afterward.
The Alameda County Sheriff's Office tweeted that Wallace was the ninth U.S. law enforcement officer killed since Nov. 2.
Bystanders aid officers under attack on SC highway
Bystanders, including a military veteran, stepped in after they saw two deputies being beaten with one of their own batons
by PoliceOne Staff
LADSON, S.C. — The suspect who beat two Charleston County Sheriff's deputies over the head with one of their own batons is dead after a struggle on a highway Sunday.
According to ABC4, Deputy Robert Bittner and Deputy Levi Reiter were responding to a call of a man walking barefoot in the road, blocking traffic.
Sheriff's Maj. Eric Watson told the station when the deputies approached the man, he grabbed one of their batons and began beating them on the head. One deputy deployed his TASER, but no shots were fired.
The news station reported the suspect was taken down with the help of six to 10 bystanders.
"We saw two officers being tackled...," Michael White, one of the bystanders who aided the officers, said. "About this time the guy was extremely combative, reaching for weapons and anything else. We all took the necessary measures to make sure the officers were safe."
White just returned from a four-year deployment and his wife, an EMT, helped treat one of the deputies, according to the station.
"She tried to patch one of the guys up. Unfortunately he was pretty badly gashed," White told ABC4. "When you see an officer help them, they help you in everyday situations. I'm not going to sit by and watch one of our fellow officers get harmed."
Both deputies have been released from the hospital and are recovering at home.
The suspect was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. According to the Post and Courier, the cause of death is unclear. It is not currently known if the TASER made contact with the suspect.
Police loosen standards for accepting recruits
Departments are relaxing age-old standards for accepting recruits, like education and prior drug use, to try to attract more people to their ranks
by Dave Collins and LIsa Maria Pane
HARTFORD, Conn. — Police departments are relaxing age-old standards for accepting recruits, from lowering educational requirements to forgiving some prior drug use, to try to attract more people to their ranks.
The changes are designed to deal with decreased interest in a job that offers low pay, rigorous physical demands and the possibility of getting killed on duty all while under intense public scrutiny. There's also the question of how to encourage more minorities to become police officers.
"We have a national crisis," said Eugene O'Donnell, a former New York City police officer and now a lecturer at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. "For the first time in my life, I would say I could never recommend the job. Who's going to put on a camera, go into urban America where people are going to critique every move you make? You're going to be demonized."
There's no national standard for becoming an officer; it's left up to each state to set requirements. In general, prior drug use or past brushes with the law, however minor, have been enough to bar someone from becoming an officer. On top of that are physical fitness standards that have long been academy graduation requirements. And even after graduation, recruits often face a background check that might include a credit-history review.
The physical requirements have impeded the hiring of women, while credit histories and education standards have stood in the way of some minorities. Amid the push to diversify, many police departments question whether those long-held, military-style standards are the best ways to attract officers able to relate to communities and defuse tensions.
Departments that are changing testing and other requirements that have been shown to disproportionately disqualify minority candidates were praised in a report released last month by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
People from minority communities are more likely to be disqualified by criminal background and credit checks, because members of those communities are more likely to have contact with the criminal justice system and have lower credit scores, the report says. Minorities also may have more trouble on written tests that don't accurately screen people for the skills needed for police jobs, it says.
A 2013 survey by the U.S. Department of Justice showed that about 12 percent of the nation's officers were black and 12 percent were Hispanic. The percentages were higher than three decades earlier, but minorities continue to be underrepresented in many communities, according to the department. About 13 percent of the U.S. population is black and about 18 percent is Hispanic, according to the census.
The new police diversity report called diversity the linchpin to building trust between law enforcement and communities.
"Hiring is particularly problematic in this environment we live in," said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum. "I've been in a room with a large group of police ... I've asked how many of you would like your son or daughter to be a police officer, and no one raises their hand."
Police officials say they have increased efforts to hire officers of color, including holding recruiting events in cities, targeting minority groups on social media, and visiting military bases and colleges.
The Connecticut State Police is among the agencies wrestling with diversity.
Blacks and Hispanics comprise about a third of trooper applicants and about a quarter of the state's population, but only 10 percent of the force — the base set three decades ago after the agency was sued. Since 2004, nearly 4,500 blacks and 4,200 Hispanics have applied to be Connecticut troopers, but only 28 African-Americans and 38 Hispanics have graduated from the academy, according to records obtained by The Associated Press. During that same period, 15,000 whites applied and 527 graduated from the academy.
State police officials say they have increased efforts to recruit minorities, but many don't make it through the hiring and testing process — including a background check, lie detector and physical agility tests, and a written exam designed to assess logical reasoning, reading ability, communication skills and other personal traits. Officials also cited stiff competition; many candidates end up taking jobs at other departments.
"They always state that they're going to make an honest effort in order to improve the numbers, but I don't see it happening," said Fred Abrams, a black retired Connecticut trooper who led the 1982 federal lawsuit that resulted in the department agreeing to hire more minorities. "No one holds them accountable."
While many departments won't hire someone who admits to having used marijuana within the previous three years, in Baltimore, where riots took place after a black man died after being transported in a police van, the commissioner is seeking to change the rules — calling it "the No. 1 disqualifier for police applicants."
"I don't want to hire altar boys to be police officers, necessarily," Police Commissioner Kevin Davis told The Baltimore Sun. "I want people of good character, of good moral character, but I want people who have lived a life just like everybody else — a life not unlike the lives of the people who they are going to be interacting with every day."
In Wichita, Kansas, Police Chief Gordon Ramsay is working to relax some standards, saying it will help officers relate better to people they encounter.
"People who have struggled in life ... can relate better to the people we deal with," Ramsay said. "My experience is they display more empathy."
In Arizona, the state's Peace Officer Standards and Training Board adopted new guidelines to allow for prior use of Adderall, often used to treat attention deficit disorder or as a study aid, if the use was not extensive.
Education requirements were changed in Louisville, Kentucky, where police recently set aside a requirement for at least 60 college credit hours after seeing a steady decline in applications. In the past fiscal year, applications for the force dropped to 1,081 from 1,867 the year before, said Sgt. Daniel Elliott, the agency's commander of recruitment and selection.
In just a month since it was scrapped, the agency received so many applications — 667 — that it had to stop accepting them to ensure it had time to properly review them, Elliot said.
Still, although the changes may encourage more people to sign up, some law enforcement experts worry it will lead to untrustworthy hires and cause more problems down the road.
"Lowering your standards is an absolute mistake. It's an absolute connection to misconduct, corruption and a degrading of the agency," said Jeff Hynes, a former Phoenix officer who is chairman for public safety sciences at Glendale Community College. "It is just a recipe for disaster."
from Department of Justice
Compton Man Sentenced to Over 13 Years in Federal Prison in Sex Trafficking Case Involving Sexual Assault of a Minor Girl
LOS ANGELES – A Compton man who admitted to sex trafficking a 15-year-old girl, subjecting her to a month of sexual abuse, and advertising the victim as a prostitute was sentenced today to 160 months in federal prison.
Darrius Marques Sutton, also known as “Biz,” 26, was sentenced by United States District Judge Terry J. Hatter Jr., who said he would have imposed a longer sentence had Sutton not been sentenced previously to more than four years in state prison on related pimping charges.
“This defendant’s conduct was horrific and warranted the lengthy sentence imposed by the court today,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “He repeatedly sexually assaulted children, and he filmed the assaults – at times laughing during the attacks. His callous behavior and willingness to sell the bodies of his young victims for his own financial gain is abhorrent and demonstrates a complete lack of respect for all women and girls.”
In the federal case, Sutton pleaded guilty in June to one count of sex trafficking of a child.
Over the course of month-long spree in 2011, Sutton “repeatedly engaged in violent sexual assaults on young women, and [he] appears to have taken delight in
subjecting his victims to inhumane and humiliating treatment while breaking them into his stable of prostitutes,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed with the court.
At today’s sentencing hearing, prosecutors said that, over a five-month period, Sutton had posted at least 60 advertisements for prostitution on Backpage.com, some of which offered minor victims.
“It is difficult to imagine sexual assaults more egregious than defendant’s. As defendant admits, he repeatedly raped…a 15-year-old girl, and recorded himself and others doing so – at times while she was unconscious, including on at least one occasion with a vodka bottle,” prosecutors wrote in court papers, which noted a video recorded by Sutton in which he violently punches a young woman in the face, apparently breaking her nose.
Sutton is one of four men who were indicted by a federal grand jury in August 2015. The federal case followed a state court prosecution of the men in which Sutton was convicted of conspiracy to pimp a minor. In the state case, Sutton was sentenced to 52 months in prison.
The three other men named in the indictment are:
• Darius Dajohn Burks, 28, of Los Angeles, who pleaded guilty earlier this year;
• Edwin Donnell Franklin, 29, of Bellflower, who pleaded guilty earlier this year; and
• Leprinceton Dewon Burks, also known as “Dapper P” and “Pete Williams,” 32, of Carson, who is scheduled to go on trial before Judge Hatter on March 28.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Innocence Lost Task Force and the Los Angeles Police Department Detective Support and Vice Division, Human Trafficking Unit.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David M. Herzog of the Violent and Organized Crime Section and Assistant United States Attorney Jennie L. Wang of the Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Section.
FROM: Wesley L. Hsu,
Executive Assistant United States Attorney
United States Attorney’s Office,
Central District of California (Los Angeles)
Calif. deputy sheriff fatally shot in point blank ‘execution.' Suspect in custody after manhunt.
by Samantha Schmidt
What began as a dispatch call about a suspicious van Sunday morning ended in the death of a California sheriff's deputy — a fatal shooting described by the county sheriff as an “execution.”
After a nearly two-hour manhunt across about 150 miles, the man suspected of shooting the deputy was arrested and taken into custody.
At about 8:30 a.m. that day, Deputy Sheriff Dennis Wallace, of the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department, called dispatch to report a suspicious van parked near a fishing access point, outside Hughson, Calif. When Wallace learned the vehicle was stolen, he asked for an extra deputy to assist.
“Within seconds, he was murdered,” Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson said in a televised news conference. “He was executed.”
A man had placed a gun directly to Wallace's head, firing two gunshots, Christianson said. When the backup deputy arrived, five minutes later, he found Wallace on the ground outside his marked patrol car. The deputy was transported to the hospital, where he died from his injuries.
The suspect had fled in the van and carjacked a white Kia sedan in the nearby city of Keyes. He was later identified as David Machado, 36, who was wanted on a felony warrant at the time.
Just after noon on Sunday, Machado was arrested after police said he tried to steal a purse from a woman at a convenience store in Lindsay, a town about 150 miles south of the fishing access point where Wallace was shot. The woman resisted and called the police. After being chased by police on foot, Machado surrendered.
Wallace, 53, was a 20-year veteran of the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department, Christianson said, and he was “well-known in the organization” for his work with the D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program, as well as early prevention and intervention programs. He had a “special relationship with young people,” Christianson said.
“Just like families who lose loved ones, we've lost someone special to us,” Christianson said.
“Deputy Dennis Wallace was my DARE officer growing up in Modesto. He is easily one of the influential reasons I became a Peace Officer. Thank you for everything you have done for the community and may you rest easy,” wrote one post.
Other letters noted Wallace's smart, witty nature, and commitment as both a teacher and law enforcement officer.
“Deputy Wallace, thank you for all your help getting me through the academy and for being a friend and brother. R.I.P. my brother. You helped make my law enforcement dream come true. Love you my friend.”
In a news conference, Christianson urged the community to “stand together with public safety and with law enforcement to stop what's happening in our nation.”
Wallace was the 56th law enforcement officer to be killed by gunfire this year in the United States, a 70 percent increase over last year, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
Police officer goes viral after he 'Jujus for Justice'
"My daughter challenged me, she said 'old people' could not do this dance."
by Wes Rapaport
(Video on site)
A police officer in Plainview, Texas is taking social media by storm after a video shows him dancing to a popular song.
Officer Chris Abalos is dancing to Juju On That Beat, a song that has shot to stardom. The video was recorded by a coworker at the Plainview Police Department. He said the video hatched from a challenge set by his 13-year-old daughter.
"My daughter challenged me, she said that her dad, 'old people' could not do this dance. So I learned the dance, and challenge accepted," Abalos explained. "I got good at it and then, next (thing) you know, we're doing the dance just playing around and they videotaped it."
The video has reached more than a quarter million Facebook users.
Abalos, who has been with the department for five years, said he was surprised by the attention.
"I thought it was going to be a joke within the police department and close friends and family, and I didn't realize it was going to be shared to this magnitude," he said.
"People view us as always serious, and they don't realize that we let loose just like everybody else. This is just us letting loose after a long day at work," he stated. "We're just like everybody else. Just want to have fun."
Plainview Police Chief Ken Coughlin said the video shows a lighter side of police work.
"Chris, he's a dancing fool I guess," said Coughlin with a smile.
"People like to see our officers in a different light sometimes. We're people too. We have families, we have kids, we interact with the community," he added. "So it's positive and I love to see things like that, you know, every time we try to show ourselves as something other than just the enforcement role."
Coughlin emphasized the idea of community policing, which is a concept the department has actively used. Coughlin and other officers participated in a dance-off with kids in Plainview at a "Cops and Kids" event in April. That event helped the city earn national recognition for work in the community.
"We have a great department, the guys are always out doing so many positive things in the community," Coughlin said.
"I've always been pro community policing because we are servants, public servants, and so, as such we need to serve the needs of our community, and that's having to have a relationship," he said.
Abalos, who trains new officers at the department, was named Plainview's 2015 Officer of the Year. He plans to graduate in May with a degree in Justice Administration from Wayland Baptist University.
"This semester is really kind of messing with me because I've got so much going on right now, but, I'm alright," Abalos explained.
Abalos hoped the new attention would shine a light on the positive work that police departments are doing locally, and nationally.
"We're human and we do have a funny side to us. That was me just letting loose and just doing what we do in the comfort of our own home with our children and with the community, with the kids out here on the streets. That's just the part that no one ever sees," he said.
Internal memos show Wis. police no longer free to 'call off' backup
The memo states officers shall wait for backup "before physically approaching any involved subject(s)," unless someone is in imminent danger
by Karen Rivedal
MADISON, Wis. — A new rule adopted last month that was framed as reminding Madison police officers to wait for their backup at crime scenes in fact represented a clear departure from then-current practice in the department, according to internal records obtained by the Wisconsin State Journal.
The procedural change — referred to as “significant” and an “important initiative” in a Sept. 30 email to command staff and sergeants by Madison Police Chief Mike Koval, who ordered it — took effect Oct. 3. In short, while officers previously had the option of rejecting backup, now they don't, in an effort to keep officers and the public safer.
Codified in two short paragraphs added to the department's rules for dispatching officers to calls for service, the new language tells officers they “shall not disregard backup” and, specifically, shall wait for backup “before physically approaching any involved subject(s),” unless someone at the scene is in imminent danger.
In practice, that means the first or primary officer sent to an incident can no longer unilaterally call off, or send back, other officers who have been dispatched to the same call, as the primary officer was free to do before.
The primary officer typically did that by telling dispatchers via squad radio, often while en route to the scene, that he or she could handle the incident alone, or that he or she would check it out alone and report back. Doing that now, absent an imminent danger, requires a supervisor's OK.
“You no longer have the discretion to say, ‘Call those other officers off. I can handle this,'” Koval said, in a video message he made for rank-and-file officers.
“The officers do NOT have the discretion to disregard backup any longer,” Koval said in the email to supervisors.
Now some six weeks into the change, Koval on Thursday said he believed officers were accepting the new approach. “I absolutely do,” he told the State Journal. “I think they get it.”
Safety over efficiency
The new approach also requires all officers dispatched to a scene to “arrive, stage, approach and assess the dangerousness of the situation together” before a decision can be made about anyone leaving the scene, Koval said in an Oct. 6 followup email to supervisors.
Koval's emails and the video were released to the State Journal in early November in response to a public records request.
Koval last month called the change “not a ‘new' protocol” but rather just a codified reflection of how officers “have been trained, for decades, in the interest of officer and community safety,” in emailed answers to questions from a State Journal reporter. He did not mention in those emails that officers had previously been allowed to call off their backup, despite that training. On Thursday, he said he didn't get into those details previously because he considered the new policy a “work in progress,” with minor changes to it still possible through next week.
In his Sept. 30 email to command staff, Koval noted that despite the police department's training emphasis on waiting for backup, “It has become painfully evident that this is not happening as much as I would like to see.”
“I am concerned,” Koval added in the email, “that our ‘business efficiency' is trumping and thereby potentially compromising officer/public safety.”
Koval said officers were calling off backup to try to work faster as calls for service in the city increase.
And he praised their work ethic in doing so but said it was posing an unacceptable risk, potentially to both officers and members of the public. Citing the July assassinations of police officers in Dallas and in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Koval said it would be safer for officers to employ more teamwork at scenes. Sending both primary and backup officers to “priority calls,” to which two or more officers are always dispatched, is a necessary approach in a city where officers routinely patrol one to a squad car, he said.
“So much has happened over the last three years,” Koval told officers in the video. “Anything and everything that could be calamitous has happened, especially during my tenure of office. And the one thing, God forbid, that I don't want is to have to pay a visit to anybody's family or friends with dire news of anybody being hurt or worse.”
Koval also said in the video that there had been management discussions after those July killings about assigning two officers per car, but no agreement was reached. Koval then developed the waiting-for-backup mandate as a necessary alternative, he said, and because it could help officers de-escalate conflicts, an outcome long sought by both police and critics of police.
“I want our officers kept safe(r), and the benefits of arriving at a call with more than one officer has certainly shown that with a greater ‘presence,' the necessity to go ‘hands on' in using force could be mitigated, at least to some extent,” Koval told command staff in the Sept. 30 email.
“Will that mean more calls stacking up?'” he added. “YES! But I am willing to take that issue on because it pales in comparison to officer and community safety.”
Koval also told department supervisors he was sending them the Sept. 30 email as an early “heads up,” so they could “begin to process and consider what this change will mean, fundamentally, in how we move forward.”
Further underscoring the importance of the changes, Koval sent spreadsheets to each of the department's five districts, which supervisors were to return by Oct. 17, certifying that each officer had received an electronic copy of the new language and had watched Koval's videotaped message, along with the date they had done so.
“I want this (change) to stand out,” Koval said.
Koval also told supervisors “the major points to bear in mind” about the policy were that:
“This procedural change will be significant and require us to slow down and be safe.”
“Primary and backup officers should stage” — meaning to meet up near the scene — “and approach together.”
“Primary and backup officers should handle the call together until it is resolved.”
“If another officer volunteers/assigns themselves to the call, the net effect should be the same as if two were dispatched: stay together until the call is resolved.”
Koval also exhorted his street sergeants to pay close attention to the new policy, calling them “the linchpin” to whether it “is given a fair chance to be evaluated.”
“If you are ambivalent and do not hold people accountable, this effort to slow things down and keep our officers safe(r) will not be fully realized,” Koval said.
5 reasons back-up calls don't guarantee safety
In defending against the “why didn't you call for backup” critique from friend and foe alike, there are a few things to consider — here are five for starters
by Chief Joel F. Shults
Calling for back up is always the first and safest thing to do, right?
Critics of police will often question why an officer didn't get additional assistance, as in Virginia where a trooper didn't call for help on a motorist assist that resulted in the motorist's death after fleeing into traffic.
Before asking (or answering) “why didn't you call for backup?” there are a few things to consider:
1. Two thirds of officers feloniously killed in the line of duty had other officers at the scene.
Citizens and police policy makers who fault officers for failing to call for backup might be interested in the data from several research studies that show that tragic results are not necessarily prevented by having multiple officers at a scene.
A review of the four most recent FBI LEOKA reports shows that an average of 66 percent of officers who were murdered while on duty were killed while other officers were present.
2. Research indicates a higher rate of subject resistance when there is more than one officer present.
The Phoenix use of force study found that one predictor of suspect resistance is the presence of additional officers at a scene. Whether the presence of additional officers emboldens police use of force, the additional numbers incite a suspect's panic, or some other dynamic is at work, is not clear.
Critics who will claim solo officers should have waited for help will also criticize a scene where “too many” officers were present. Every use-of-force study of which I am aware finds that the suspect's behavior is the key to whether force is used by police.
3. Increased use of back up can result in slower response times and fewer officers available at any one time to respond to 911 calls.
Some departments require or encourage a two-car response for officer safety. Beyond safety, officers increasingly just want an additional witness to counter complaints and questions about their behavior. This is arguably one of the costs of the public's apparent loss of trust in policing, along with a predicted increase in crime due to the decrease in police officers' discretionary proactive contacts. Either way, having a two-car requirement can slow response times.
4. Calling for back up and waiting for backup are two different things.
Having another officer on the way can become more of a psychological security blanket than a tactical move. If a call or contact can be delayed or stabilized until additional help arrives, a wise course of action is for the officers to stage first and determine an approach as a team. If an officer plows into the call before help arrives, the officer responding to assist will enter a hot zone without important available information.
A dependence on expecting back-up can be fatal if it is not a part of a plan. If I yell into the mic that I am out on a fight in progress and jump into the fray without waiting for acknowledgment, I might not know that my radio traffic was covered, garbled, or that I was in a dead zone. Radios and microphones can be hard to find because they have a tendency to fly off during a fight or pursuit if not firmly attached.
Charging into a call knowing you are the only officer available is tactically different than wading in thinking help is on the way.
5. A reflex response to use the radio before acting on the threat can delay an appropriate force response.
Trainers should be aware of whether they condition officers to grab for their shoulder mic before they take immediate action in a scenario. Precious seconds might be better used securing cover, tactical disengagement, or performing a close-quarters combat maneuver.
While backup will always be desirable, it isn't a panacea and our profession should be ready to defend against and inform critics who believe it is.
About the author
Joel Shults operates Street Smart Training and is the founder of the National Center for Police Advocacy. He is retired as Chief of Police in Colorado. Over his 30 year career in uniformed law enforcement and in criminal justice education Joel has served in a variety of roles: academy instructor, police chaplain, deputy coroner, investigator, community relations officer, college professor, and police chief, among others. Shults earned his doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Missouri, with a graduate degree in Public Services Administration and bachelors in Criminal Justice Administration from the University of Central Missouri. In addition to service with the US Army military police and CID, Shults has done observational studies with over fifty police agencies across the country. He has served on a number of advisory and advocacy boards including the Colorado POST curriculum committee as a subject matter expert.