January, 2017 - Week 3
Community Policing Pioneer Speaks
by Stephen Montoya
A man who pioneered “Community Policing” during the civil rights movement and was the first African-American to achieve several firsts for his race had a message for Rio Rancho on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Dr. Lee P. Brown was invited by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of New Mexico to speak at the Rio Rancho High School cafeteria about his life in law enforcement and his continued support of King's legacy.
Brown has a distinguished career, becoming the first African-American to receive a bachelor's degree in criminology, and serving as commissioner of police in Atlanta and the mayor of Houston.
Along with these accolades, President Bill Clinton appointed Brown as his director of the White House Office of Drug Control Policy, a position Brown held for three years until returning to Houston to teach at Rice University.
Brown said he has come a long way from his humble beginnings as a son of sharecroppers in Wewoka, Okla.
“My mother and father slept in the house, and me and my five brothers slept in an old army tent, we had the ground as our floor,” Brown said. “We would pump our own water and cook our food in an old wood stove.”
Brown said as so-called “sharecroppers,” his family worked on the crops everyday but nothing was shared with them when they were finished.
“We chopped and picked cotton, we picked grapes, we picked up potatoes,” Brown said. “I am thankful for one thing though … I am thankful that mother would save her hard-earned dollars so we could go to school.”
Education is the key to success for changing one's station in life, especially when some are born poor and black, he said.
“My mother's idea of a good education was a high school diploma because she only went as far as second grade,” Brown said. “I owe all of my success to Dr. Martin Luther King, because the man stressed that change comes from education.”
Brown juggled his collegiate studies with his other passion for law enforcement, he said.
“I started my police career in the San Jose Police Department in 1960,” Brown said. “Up to this point in my life I was not a fan of run-ins with the police, because they were never good.”
According to Brown, he was only the second African-American given a job in that department. The chief told Brown there would never be any more than two black police officers in this department at one time.
“Indeed that was the case for many years,” Brown said. “I would respond to someone's call and show up in a police car and a police uniform and they would ask for a real cop.
“I thought I was a real cop – I knew I looked pretty good,” he said, laughing at the memory.
Many years later, Brown said he was sitting in the front office in New York City as a police commissioner when he suddenly reflected on his early law enforcement career.
“I leaned back, put my feet on the same desk that was used by J. Edgar Hoover, looked out of the window at the Empire State Building, and I said to myself, ‘I have 30,000 police officers working under me. Maybe now I am a real cop.' ”
When Brown was appointed to Clinton's cabinet, he called his mother to tell her the news, he said.
“She said, ‘You mean tell me you're going to be working in the White House?' ” Brown said. “I said, ‘Yes ma'am,' and she said, ‘Boy, you've come a mighty long ways, from the outhouse to the White House.' ”
Today, racial relations are on high alert – for the second time in his life – between the police and many black men, he said.
“Based on my many years of experience, I sincerely feel there is a better way to police our cities than what we've done in the past,” Brown said. “I am not suggesting that all police officers are bad; that is not the case. What I am saying is that those few officers where the bad happens do not deserve our support.”
Brown explained that “Community Policing” is the best way to handle high-crime areas. “Community Policing,” he said, is not a program that can be funded and taken away, but a mentality that the police can use to take action in the troubled communities that need their attention.
This initiative is comprised of foot-patrolling a specific police beat or area, caring for those in need, and being aware of the trouble areas and having a high profile there, he said.
Quinton Fletcher, facility chaplain for Bernalillo County's Metropolitan Detention Center, said he knew of Brown from his reputation as the mayor of Houston.
“I think this is a privilege to be able to honor Martin Luther King Jr. with this man's words,” Fletcher said.
A Nashville native, Fletcher said King was always an inspiration for him both personally, and spiritually.
“Dr. Brown, in essence, is keeping that inspiration alive by living his testimony and leading by example,” Fletcher said. “He certainly is an inspiration to me, growing up as an African-American male in the South.”
Fletcher said King would be proud of the progress America has made in regard to race relations thus far, but there are still issues that would concern him immensely.
“I believe he would be happy that many of the immediate obstacles that were in his way are gone; however, there is still work to be done and with all of the challenges that we face, the struggle is still alive.”
Sandoval County District 1 Commissioner James Dominguez, in attendance for the talk, said King literally changed the world we live in and the longevity of Dr. Brown's career testifies to that fact.
“Dr. Brown is a remarkable man with great leadership abilities,” Dominguez said. “He puts power into what kind of people we are in this world and how we need to move forward.”
Communication is the key to continued success but, more importantly, people need to find out how to get things done now, he said.
“Our world is … very corrupted and (Dr. Brown) has done a lot of speeches on what we can do to become a better people,” Dominguez concluded.
Community policing commission starts tackling topics from trust to officer safety
Each of several working groups will study a topic related to Tulsa's needs
by Jarrel Wade
The Tulsa Commission on Community Policing on Friday began tackling specific areas of focus taken from the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing.
The report, the product of a panel commissioned by former President Barack Obama, is a guide for communities to move toward a modern approach to policing, involving more community interaction outside of individual incidents.
Tulsa's commission broke into working groups Friday to discuss, explore and later report to the rest of the commission what they found in the report's recommendations.
“Today is just to start the conversation,” Mayor G.T. Bynum said.
He said the plan is to have each of the groups study a topic and how it relates to Tulsa before making a presentation to the whole commission in a couple of weeks.
Bynum participated in a group focusing on training and education, led by Tulsa Police Deputy Chief Eric Dalgleish.
Dalgleish gave an overview of how Tulsa approaches training new officers and how that has changed in recent years.
He said the training program has shifted dramatically in the past 20 years to one that is geared to helping recruits succeed, as opposed to a program that included a lot of hazing.
“They have gone completely away from that model,” Dalgleish said.
Another modern concept of policing involves how officers approach a situation where they want to calm a person down. Old training focused on methods to de-escalate the subject, he said.
“We can't de-escalate an individual,” Dalgleish said. “We can de-escalate ourselves and create an environment where they will de-escalate themselves.”
Police Chief Chuck Jordan led a group discussion on building trust and legitimacy — referring to improving the legitimacy of any given officer as an authority in the community.
Jordan said one of his goals is to make all officers a more-informed and better resource for all the services the city provides — not just as a first responder to incidents.
“We are the contact of government that people see every day,” he said.
Jordan said residents typically interact with police officers more often than any other city position, including councilors.
Beyond officers becoming that “clearinghouse” contact for all the city's services, Jordan said a major hurdle is actually giving officers enough time to interact with residents on that level. Typically, officers work incident to incident, meaning they aren't able to interact with residents in a non-emergency fashion.
Jordan said he wants his officers to have more time in their day-to-day activities to be available to residents so that trust and legitimacy can grow.
“The reality is people call us when something's gone bad,” Jordan said. “It's really hard to hate somebody you know. It's really hard to not trust someone you know.”
San Jose: Scholars, city leaders, 49ers unite to tackle police-race issues
by Robert Salonga
SAN JOSE — On a day marked by massive protest marches across the country, an array of city officials, police commanders, community leaders and scholars converged in a quiet corner of East San Jose to begin a lengthy campaign to thaw relations between police and the city's most disenfranchised residents.
“We can be a model for the nation here,” said Emmett Carson, president of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. “There are things to fix, and there are things to build on.”
The “Community Trust in Policing” forum Saturday at the Mexican Heritage Plaza featured thought leaders like Harry Edwards, the renowned sociologist and civil-rights activist who heads the nascent Institute for the Study of Sport, Society, and Social Change at San Jose State University.
Also on hand were Jed York, CEO of the San Francisco 49ers, San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia, 49ers wide receiver Torrey Smith, and a host of seasoned community advocates. The 49ers funded the forum through a donation to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
Part of the genesis of the forum, which kicks off an 18-month outreach effort by the city's Office of the Independent Police Auditor, was born from the national firestorm from 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's controversial decision not to stand for the national anthem before football games in protest of police violence.
That led to York donating $1 million, which was divided between the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and the San Francisco Foundation with the express aim of improving police-community relations.
“You don't have to agree with the things that Colin did, or that Colin said, but we have to recognize there are racial and economic inequality issues that we need to address, however these conversations started,” York said Saturday. “This is the beginning of a lot of work that needs to be done.”
Walter Katz, the city's independent police auditor, said the outreach effort will entail increasing neighborhood awareness of his office's oversight role as well as analyzing demographic data about police interactions on the street. Relatedly, a report is expected next month offering further examination of racial disparities in street detentions — both with pedestrian and traffic stops — that don't yield arrests.
“We have seen strained trust between police and communities of color, especially young people,” Katz said.
“There are big gaps in trust,” agreed Jesus Ruiz, a community organizer for People Acting in Community Together — one of the city's most prominent civil-rights groups — who spoke as a panelist Saturday. “There's a lot of parts that need to come together to fix this relationship.”
A major component of establishing credibility, Ruiz said, involves officers not only protecting citizens from criminals but also from other officers who might abuse their authority.
“We need them to stand up against their own people in order for us to feel comfortable around them,” he said.
Police Chief Garcia has worked to be on the forefront of progressive policing policies, including many recommended by the Task Force on 21st Century Policing . To date, the San Jose Police Department has instituted training designed to seek out and mitigate implicit bias, improve officer response to mental-health crises, and rolled out body-worn cameras in the summer.
Any resistance to that culture shift could stifle a fruitful police career in San Jose, Garcia said.
“If you want to get promoted in this department, you better know it, and you better live it,” he said. “True community policing saves lives, both of our residents and our officers.”
But Garcia said he is also sensitive to how his officers have been broadly vilified amid a national atmosphere of increased police scrutiny — sparked by the police killings of unarmed black men in several infamous encounters across the country.
Many other law-enforcement agencies lamented what they thought were lackluster gestures of support for police during the Kaepernick controversy, to the point where the police union for the Santa Clara Police Department threatened to boycott working 49ers games at Levi's Stadium. Garcia said he and his officers “will need to see more” from the organization in showing what he called “mutual respect” to secure their trust.
For his part, York on Saturday offered some of the diplomacy on the issue that those same police agencies contended was lacking.
“I respect their job, and I know it's a very difficult job,” York said. “Most of the police officers I know are wonderful people and they do so many great things in their communities. We need to make sure that's a big part of the conversation. We also need to figure out how to make those relationships better.”
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said there's no time to waste.
“We know this is a challenge for every big city in the country,” he said. “We live in a nation at a very divisive moment. There are few issues so divisive right now as issues of policing and race.”
Police arrest 217 in D.C. as protests turn violent
Six police officers were reported injured
by Lindsey Wise and Tim Johnson
WASHINGTON — Enraged bands of black-clad protesters smashed windows and clashed with riot police Friday in a rolling series of demonstrations that disrupted Donald Trump's inaugural festivities.
The number of arrests mounted during the day, and hit 217 by early evening. Six police officers were reported injured.
Some of the protesters came prepared for violence, carrying hammers and crowbars and wearing gas masks. Some carried flags with the circle-A symbol for the anarchist movement, which has carried out sporadic violent protests in Western countries in recent decades.
They smashed huge glass windows at branches of Starbucks, McDonald's, Au Bon Pain and at a Crowne Plaza Hotel in an area along Northwest 12th and 13th streets in downtown Washington.
Interim D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said police believed the violence was planned in advance and not spontaneous.
“We have significant damage in a number of blocks in our city,” Newsham said, adding that 400 to 500 protesters took part in the violence.
Police responded with tear gas and flash grenades, whose thunder reverberated just five blocks north of the inaugural parade route. Police temporarily restored calm before the parade, only to see it flare again afterward, forcing police to guide contingents of Trump supporters to inaugural balls amid lingering tear gas in the air.
White nationalist Richard Spencer, who made headlines when he gave a Nazi salute to Trump at a gathering after the Nov. 8 election, was struck in the face by a protester as he was giving a video interview at roughly 2:30 p.m.
“You hate black people!” another protester yelled.
“I don't hate black people,” Spencer said, in pain, holding his hand to his face.
A few minutes later, another protester ran up and spat in Spencer's face. Spencer was then whisked into a car, which drove off.
Newsham said three of the six injured police suffered head injuries from flying objects, which he said included stones and bricks. None of the injuries were life-threatening, he added.
“We will not allow the destruction and vandalism of our neighborhoods,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said in an early evening news conference.
At one point in the afternoon, as the inaugural parade was well underway, clouds of inky smoke and bright flames poured from the vandalized stretch limo near the intersection of 13th and K Streets, close to the offices of The Washington Post.
Among those present at the protests was Jill Stein, the losing Green Party presidential candidate, who said some Americans were angry over Trump's policies and his nominations of super wealthy people to his Cabinet.
“This swamp that he was supposed to drain is overflowing now. It's like the corporations no longer need lobbyists because they've been directly empowered to raid the cookie jar,” Stein said.
Another protester, Patrick McGuire, a 37-year-old from Baltimore, appeared overwhelmed by teargas.
“You just want to crawl up into a ball and wait for it to be over,” McGuire said. “You just need someone to come behind you and put their hand on your back and tell you it's all going to be OK.”
Earlier in the day, the scenes were all peaceful. After some initial shoving, riot police separated protesters from visitors making their way through the blue-ticket gates close to the Capitol, at First and D streets Northwest. The clump of protesters, though, squeezed the flow of visitors to a trickle, and police worked to divert some ticket holders to a nearby entrance.
About 200 protesters banged drums and chanted, “Si, se puede,” “Shut it down” and “We reject the president-elect!” One sign, in Arabic, read, “Freedom.”
Occasionally, chants of “U-S-A!” were returned by inauguration celebrants.
“I've heard multiple things like, people in Iraq aren't human beings,” said Erica Ewing, who said she was protesting on behalf of Witness Against Torture, an advocacy group. “We're here to witness that they are human beings, too.”
Ewing, 20, who said she worked for a nonprofit group in Cleveland, said she'd come to the capital with a message: “We are telling Trump now that he must shut down Guantanamo and say that the U.S. will not partake in torture.”
The Obama administration on Thursday transferred four prisoners to the custody of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, leaving 41 war-on-terror captives still in the naval facility in Cuba. Trump has promised to keep the Guantanamo prison open and “load it up” with more suspected terrorists. Nearly 800 men have passed through its cells.
Ewing said her group also had protested the Obama administration in past years, “telling him to keep his promise to close Guantanamo.”
Barbara Lyons, 79, and her son, Jeff Lyons, 55, came from Illinois to join the protests. Neither was an Obama voter — they don't believe change can come through voting without more street activism first — but their opposition to Trump runs deep and covers all the big issues: race relations, immigration, jobs, the environment.
“He brought me into it,” Barbara Lyons said of her son. “I am one of the privileged, and I have to fight for everyone else.”
Jeff Lyons hesitated to call the protests “a start;” he said protesters should be ready to play the long game in reversing the forces that had brought Trump to power:
“It's going to take years and a growing movement to turn around.”
Greg Byrne, 69, a pig farmer from West Virginia, said he'd come to protest because he was concerned about the future of his children and grandchildren.
Byrne liked Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination, but he said he wasn't sure any president could do all that needed to be done.
Trump, though, he said, is particularly ill equipped.
“I think Trump's constituency is going to be sorely disappointed. I think that there are so many issues with regard to foreign policy, with regard to health care, where Trump specifically has completely turned around so many times in terms of what in fact he intends to do,” Byrne said. “We have foreign diplomats and foreign governments that are at their wits' end trying to figure out just who and what they're dealing with.”
Trump is an expert at spin, Byrne said.
“I think it almost doesn't matter” if the Russians helped Trump get elected, he said. “I think the magnitude of the problems facing not only this country but the world are so much larger than an issue of did the Russians pay, did he really do that in Russia.”
Cleveland submits new police crisis intervention policy
Officers with specialized training will be able to refer anyone having a mental health or substance abuse crisis to a hospital or treatment facility rather than arrest them
by Mark Gillispie
CLEVELAND — City police officers with specialized training will be able to refer anyone having a mental health or substance abuse crisis to a hospital or treatment facility rather than arrest them for minor crimes, according to federal court documents filed late Thursday.
The crisis intervention policy was formulated as part of a court-ordered agreement to reform Cleveland's police department and was submitted to U.S. District Court Judge Solomon Oliver Jr.
Oliver is overseeing the 2015 agreement between Cleveland and the U.S. Department of Justice, which concluded that officers had shown a pattern and practice of using excessive force on people, including the mentally ill.
The new policy aims to improve the safety of officers and those in crisis and to reduce the need for involvement with the criminal justice system, the court filing said.
The city has been working with the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board of Cuyahoga County, court officials and mental health and addiction specialists to create the new policy required by the agreement, called a consent decree.
William Denihan, head of the ADAMHS Board, said the new policy is going to make "a huge difference" in how police treat the mentally ill.
"And that's because of the total collaboration that police have demonstrated through this process," Denihan said.
Officers in the 1,500 member department are expected to receive additional training this year about how to deal with people in crisis. Some officers will undergo 40 hours of training to be certified as specialists, allowing them to use discretion in deciding whether someone in crisis should get treatment instead of being arrested.
The policy calls for people suspected of committing felonies or crimes like domestic violence but in some type of crisis to be transported to a secure mental health facility before being arrested.
About 3,000 police departments in the U.S. have similar policies, the court filing said.
The policy calls on officers to be patient and to try calming people with de-escalation techniques while using a minimum amount of force. The policy forbids officers from placing handcuffed people on their abdomens to avoid the possibility of positional asphyxiation.
Two Cleveland police officers are subjects of a criminal investigation being conducted by the Ohio attorney general's office in the November 2014 death of 37-year-old Tanisha Anderson. Her family called police for help after Anderson, who had a history of mental illness, became disoriented and went outside on a cold day wearing just a nightgown.
A lawsuit filed by family members said Anderson lost consciousness after officers slammed her to the ground. The Cuyahoga County Medical examiner said Anderson couldn't breathe after being placed on her abdomen.
Man charged in fatal shooting of Wis. sheriff's deputy
A suspect is charged with killing a western Wisconsin sheriff's deputy in October and endangering the safety of several other officers as they were arresting him
by Cara Lombardo
MADISON, Wis. — A suspect is charged with killing a western Wisconsin sheriff's deputy in October and endangering the safety of several other officers as they were arresting him.
According to the criminal complaint filed Friday, Doug Nitek fatally shot Rusk County Sheriff's Deputy Dan Glaze the night of Oct. 29 after Glaze drove his squad car near Nitek's vehicle to investigate why the vehicle was parked in the middle of a field in the Town of Willard. Glaze died of a gunshot wound to the head after a bullet struck his windshield.
The complaint also alleges Nitek, 44, fired a rifle toward an armored vehicle and could have killed a deputy and harmed other officials inside the vehicle. A robot was used to search his house before he surrendered. Officers then searched the trailer where he was living and found fresh bullet holes in the back. Inside the trailer they found a police scanner, methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia and a marijuana cigarette.
The 31-count complaint includes one charge of first-degree intentional homicide, two counts of attempted first-degree intentional homicide and 17 counts of recklessly endangering safety while armed with a dangerous weapon. Nitek, who is being held in Dodge Correctional Institution, does not have a defense lawyer listed yet.
Charges against Nitek date back to the 1990s with the more recent crimes of recklessly endangering safety, criminal damage to property and resisting arrest filed in nearby Sawyer County in July, according to court records. More than a dozen convictions include disorderly conduct, fleeing from officers, fourth-degree sexual assault and numerous drunken driving counts.
Glaze had worked with the sheriff's office for 1½ years and previously worked for six years with the Hayward Police Department.
Propane tank explodes after thrown under Boston patrol car
Police Commish WIlliam Evans said the incident was a "deliberate act"
by PoliceOne Staff
BOSTON — Police told CBS Boston that someone walked by a patrol car and threw a propane tank underneath the cruiser on Friday.
According to the news station, an officer was able to move the vehicle before the tank exploded.
Police Commissioner William Evans said the incident was a “deliberate act.”
“Clearly someone set this deliberately to blow up one of our cruisers,” Evans said. “Thank god we were able to get anyone out of the way and pull the cruiser out before it did explode.”
No one was injured.
FBI and the Boston bomb squad are investigating. No arrests have been made.
From the Department of Homeland Security
John F. Kelly Sworn In As Fifth Secretary of Homeland Security
WASHINGTON – Today, retired Marine Corps General John F. Kelly was officially sworn in as the fifth Secretary of Homeland Security. Secretary Kelly took the oath this evening after the Senate voted to confirm him. As Secretary of Homeland Security, Kelly now leads the third largest federal department in the United States that includes the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the United States Secret Service.
“I am honored and humbled to take on this responsibility to serve alongside the magnificent men and women of the Department of Homeland Security,” said Secretary Kelly, “and, I look forward to protecting our nation, its citizens, and preserving our liberty and upholding the rule of law as I continue my service to this great country. I ask for your patience and prayers as I take on this tremendous task together with you, and my only plea is that together we focus our loyalty on the Constitution that we all have sworn to preserve and protect and the nation we love.”
Prior to joining DHS, Secretary Kelly served in the United States Marine Corps for 45 years closing his career as the commander of the United States Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) in 2016. Secretary Kelly has held senior command positions in Iraq and as the Senior Military Assistant to two Secretaries of Defense.
Person of interest named in fatal shooting of Westwego officer, woman
by Johnathan Bullington
Authorities have named a person of interest in the fatal shooting Friday (Jan. 20) of an off-duty Westwego police officer and a woman.
Sylvester Holt is wanted for questioning according to JPSO Col. John Fortunato.
Authorities were actively searching the area of the shooting for Holt, and the intersection of Barataria and Ames (map) remained closed as of 9:30 a.m. The SWAT team and at least two helicopters are involved in the search.
The shooting happened on the street in front of Visitation of Our Lady School. Jefferson Parish Public School District said it has additional security at all of its schools in the area.
"Should parents have trouble getting their students to the affected schools, tardiness will be excused," the school district said in a release.
JPSO said the shooting came after domestic dispute between the woman, whose name has not been released, and another person.
Officer Michael Louviere became involved when he saw the silver car crash and he stopped to assist, according to the Westwego Police Department. The woman was driving the car, authorities said, and they believe the gunman followed her.
According to the Westwego Police Department spokesman, Louviere worked the night shift and was heading home when he witnessed the crash at Ames and Barataria. He got out of his vehicle and asked if anyone need assistance, the spokesman said.
At some point, Louviere was shot in the back of the head. It's unclear when the woman was shot.
According to the spokesman, Louviere had been with the Westwego Police Department for 1.5 years and was a member of the special response team. He also was a Marine. He was married and had two children.
Louviere was rushed to West Jeff General Hospital, where he died, a spokesman for the police department said. His wife was at the hospital with him, the Westwego spokesman said.
Michiganders asked to weigh in on community policing
by Fox News
ACROSS MICHIGAN– The Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) is asking for your opinion and views on law enforcement in your community.
The commission is asking you to fill out an online survey that only takes five minutes as a way for them to better address community policing.
The report will offer a set of recommendations to advance the quality of policy and community relationships across the state.
To complete the survey, click here. You will be asked to provide a zip code upon entry.
MCOLES is a state commission that consists of 19 commissioners who represent law enforcement, prosecution, defense, labor, and the public.
Community Policing Topic of Conversation Between Local Police Chief and House Speaker
by SNJ Today
CAMDEN, N.J. -- Community policing has become a focus for law enforcement all across South Jersey, including Camden County where policing in Camden caught federal attention.
Earlier this week, House Speaker Paul Ryan met with the Police Executive Research Forum, or PERF, which included leading law enforcement personnel from all across the country along with Camden County Police Chief Scott Thomson. The meeting focused on topics that Camden is all too familiar with and the goal is to use the city's policing as an example for the rest of the country.
“If your police force is properly using force out on the streets and you're doing so in a just and equitable manner, it's going to give you a better relationship with the community, and that's something that we've been really focusing in and building the trust...” said Chief Thomson. “ ...part of the conversation with Speaker Ryan, was really, and how to develop this, and that's what we're seeing in a lot of troubled communities across this country.”
According to the police chief, one of the “hot button” issues that was brought up at Monday's meeting in Ryan's home state of Wisconsin was de-escalation training, something that Camden happened to be a pilot program for. Specifically, how local officers calm down a situation involving people armed with no firearm, but instead a knife or blunt object.
“ Just because we can use our weapon doesn't always mean that we should use our weapon. And by us doing what we have done, it's resulted in a better outcome for the officers and the people that we've been dealing with,” said Chief Thomson.
As the PERF plans to continue meeting with law enforcement officials from across the globe to improve policies and procedures, locally Chief Thomson said they will continue to work on bonding within their community.
“ It's nice when you have the President and the Speaker and the Attorney General saying nice things about your organization, but really what matters most are the people that we're dealing with every day and we've been able to make progress with that," Chief Thomson.
Protection and collateral damage: use of force and community-police relationships
by Kris Martins
For Shannon Arthur, interacting with the police means exercising respect and caution. That's how she, the daughter and niece of New York law enforcement officials, was raised. But interacting with officers is not without fear.
“My uncle and my dad have always told me that by the end of the day, you are black despite the fact that you are a daughter of law enforcement,” Arthur, senior in political science, said. “You're still black, and that means nothing.”
Ever since the high-profile shootings of young black men in several U.S. cities last summer, she's been more cautious. But she's particularly concerned with the well-being of her siblings, specifically her 16- and 18-year-old brothers and her 22-year-old sister.
“My biggest fear is that my brother or my sister fits a description of something and they don't make it home, and it's because of a police officer,” she said.
The fear comes to mind because of a police encounter Arthur had when she first transferred to Auburn in 2013. An officer pulled her over, saying she “fit the description” of someone officials were looking for.
“I don't know whose description I fit because I'm just a black girl leaving Walmart with my groceries going back to the Connection where I used to live,” she said. “So that automatically makes you be on caution.”
She told the officer she didn't fit the description of anyone and requested to know what “fit the description” actually meant before asking for his badge number. During the encounter, Arthur remembers the officer was aggressive.
If the same scenario resurfaced today, however, she said wouldn't confront the officer because she's even more cautious, but she noted that it's important to know your rights during an officer encounter. She and her family know to always be prepared to record the interaction, something she feels is unfortunately “policing the police.”
Though Arthur believes instances like that shouldn't happen, she understands officers are trying to stay alive in an unpredictable field.
“If I'm giving you a reason to be aggressive — like I'm yelling at you, I'm cursing you out — yeah, I can totally see you being aggressive back,” she said. “But if I'm just like, ‘Why are you pulling me over?' It's my right to know why you're pulling me over.”
Since then she hasn't had any similar confrontations with local police, though she knows others who have felt unjustly pulled over or unnecessarily treated aggressively.
At the end of the day, for her, it's about self-preservation.
“Honestly, our goal is to make it home,” Arthur said.
The community and the police should work together to help one another, she said, with police transparency also playing a major role in establishing trust.
“I don't want to live in fear,” Arthur said. “I don't. Especially from someone who's supposed to protect me.”
Response to resistance
Last year, several officer-involved shootings in the U.S. sparked outrage from citizens within those cities and others around the nation. In response, many communities, including Auburn, made efforts to pinpoint the reasons for and potential solutions to tensions in their own backyard.
Lee County, in which Auburn resides, has had some of its own officer-involved shootings, one of which has recently sparked its own concerns about the way Auburn officers use force. However, police also explain how they train for different scenarios and how they're often forced to make decisions in a matter of seconds.
Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones believes the key to professional law enforcement is training and education.
“There's no way we can train for everything, but we certainly can train to develop techniques that would best apply, in a general sense, to situations that are presented to us that would give us a baseline to work from — in regard to reacting to our circumstance — that would hopefully result in a resolution without harm to anyone,” Jones said. “That's our No. 1 concern.”
The primary goal of the office, Jones said, is to resolve issues verbally rather than physically.
“Our absolute last resort — and that's what we train — is using force,” he said.
Before a deputy sheriff can respond to calls and be on patrol at the sheriff's office, they must complete a two- to three-month field-training officer program, in which they are assigned to a veteran deputy sheriff to learn the county and procedures of the office.
Alabama officers must also complete a 13-week, 520-hour minimum-standards academy training before being certified as a sworn officer.
To maintain their certification, municipal officers in Alabama must then complete at least 12 hours of training each year.
Beyond the basic standards are more specific types of training, such as mental health training, handgun trainings and firearms simulators.
“[Mental health is] something we work very hard to ensure that our people have as much knowledge about those type of situations as possible so that they know that just because it appears somebody is being noncompliant or someone's not cooperating, it doesn't necessarily mean that they're intentionally engaging in that action,” Jones said. “It may be the case that they are suffering from a diagnosed condition that … would lend itself that the person is simply not able to communicate for some reason or another.”
William Mathews, Auburn Police Division assistant chief, said in Septmeber that APD officers recently completed a mental health training that described different scenarios officers may face, how to assess the situation and provided information from mental health professionals on how to deal with those instances.
Mental health has been a resurfacing topic for the APD after police shot and killed Melissa Boarts, who had mental health issues, in April.
Though a Macon County grand jury ruled the shooting justified, the Boarts family has filed a lawsuit against the city for wrongful death and assault and battery.
The Boarts family has repeatedly expressed concern about the way the APD may respond to University students who have mental health issues.
The city will not comment on specifics of the cases because of the lawsuit.
Court documents revealed that the officer who shot Boarts was equipped with a folding lock-blade knife aside from his handgun. Other officers at the scene also had different tools, such as pepper spray, batons and lock-blade knives.
Deciding what tool on the belt to use, Mathews said, is called “response to resistance.”
“When officers go through their training,” Mathews said. “They're taught that you can use the level of force that is necessary to stop the threat, and so the response to resistance is a continuum of force that can be as low as the officer presence and identifying yourself as a law enforcement authority all the way up to deadly force.”
However, he noted that the division doesn't teach its officers to associate a particular scenario with a certain amount of force for fear of boxing the officer into a formulaic mindset in an unpredictable job.
“What we try to teach them is you use the least amount of force necessary to control the situation, control the threat,” Mathews said.
At the sheriff's office, Jones said, deputies are taught to make verbal communication their first effort in a confrontation and make their gun the last resort. Some have also completed communications courses, which teach them how to assess body language and analyze someone's word choice.
“They work with that to try to verbally mitigate, or deescalate, the situation to the point where compliance comes without any physical action,” Jones said, adding that noncompliance played a role in many of the high-profile officer-involved shootings in the U.S. last year.
The officers must look at each case individually because there is no formula for responding, Jones said. But today, he believes people are much quicker to rely on guns in tense situations.
“Now I'm not saying they shouldn't protect themselves … but I think it seems like it's just an overall sense of urgency to respond with the maximum amount of force to any threat that's presented and not really assessing a situation before they make that decision,” he said.
One way the two agencies try to prepare officers to respond to unpredictable situations is through a firearms simulator.
“It puts them in an environment where we can kind of control it but also gives the officer that experience to feel that surge of stress and try to work through it and still maintain that control and hopefully making good decision-making processes all the way through it,” Mathews said.
The result of those decisions is something APD officers think about often. Mathews said they are sometimes concerned with their level of force being criticized in hindsight.
“We really don't have the luxury of time when we're deciding whether or not to use force in most cases,” Mathews said.
People now are also more apprehensive about becoming officers because of the recent criticism of the job, Mathews said.
Reflecting on the unrest in some areas of the county because of the high-profile shootings, Jones said the sheriff's office strives to have open dialogue with all members of the community, which he believes is the key to preventing similar issues from arising in the county. To him, many of those problems stemmed from a lack of effective communication.
Community and communication
Jade Kinney, Auburn graduate student, organized “Together We Can,” an event Nov. 17 to bring local law enforcement and community members together in response to the national shootings over the summer.
Leaders and officers from the Opelika Police Department, Auburn Police Division and Lee County Sheriff's Office attended the event along with community members, students and faculty.
“We don't really understand each other, so sometimes things can happen within our community … that may happen out of incomprehension or miscommunication,” Kinney said. “I felt like this was a time to get a better understanding of one another.”
That gap in understanding is due, in part, to the minority community's and police's preconceived perceptions of one another, she said. As an African-American woman, Kinney said it's important to her that the voices of the community are heard.
“I think sometimes (the perceptions) can be skewed, and I feel like this is a time where we can kind of reject those biases, so to speak,” she added.
Jones, who attended the event, said the sheriff's office's public service duty extends beyond enforcing the law and providing public safety.
“It's living in this community. It's interacting with people and understanding our differences and embracing them,” Jones said.
At a table with a couple of Lee County sheriffs and other attendees sat joyce gillie gossom, a consultant who completed the University's diversity climate assessment last spring.
“(The event is) one more piece to breaking down seeing each other only as ‘other' and only as categories and only in their boxes,” gossom said. “Any time, to me, you start referring to someone else as a category, you've dehumanized them and you've taken their humanity out of the equation, and now they're no longer like you.”
What distinguishes people from one another, to her, are invisible differences such as how someone was raised — something people will never understand about one another if they continue to place each another into categories.
The Climate Study for Inclusion, Equity and Diversity, gossom said, determined that people believe Auburn University is a family in which not everyone feels included.
“And everyone agrees that not everyone is included as part of that family,” she added. “And everyone wants to do something about it, and no one really knows what or how to go about doing it.”
The assessment presented 17 initial recommendations to begin to improve campus diversity and inclusion over time.
Overcoming difficult times and situations come with unity and collaboration, said APD Chief Paul Register, who spoke at event.
“I think that what we'd like more than anything is for our community to know who we are and to be here for you while you're here at Auburn University or living in the city or visiting,” he said.
Register also encouraged attendees to talk with members of the police department if they ever feel they had a bad experience with an officer.
“We feel like you're our children and our family,” he said, addressing University students. “So we want to be here for you always."
Smashed windows, chaotic confrontation near inauguration
Police in riot gear used pepper spray from large canisters and cordoned off the protesters
by Jessica Gresko
WASHINGTON — Police deployed pepper spray in a chaotic confrontation blocks from Donald Trump's inauguration Friday as protesters registered their rage against the new president.
Spirited demonstrations unfolded peacefully at various security checkpoints near the Capitol as police helped ticket-holders get through to the inaugural ceremony. Signs read, "Resist Trump Climate Justice Now," ''Let Freedom Ring," ''Free Palestine."
But at one point, police gave chase to a group of about 100 protesters who smashed the windows of downtown businesses as they denounced capitalism and Trump. Police in riot gear used pepper spray from large canisters and eventually cordoned off the protesters.
The demonstrators shouted, "Hands up, don't shoot," echoing a slogan adopted at protests after police shot Michael Brown to death in 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri.
The confrontation happened about an hour before Trump was sworn in at the Capitol.
Closer to that scene, lines for ticket-holders entering two gates stretched for blocks at one point as protesters clogged entrances.
Earlier, the DisruptJ20 coalition, named after the date of the inauguration, had promised that people participating in its actions in Washington would attempt to shut down the celebrations, risking arrest when necessary.
Trump supporter Brett Ecker said the protesters were frustrating but weren't going to put a damper on his day.
"They're just here to stir up trouble," said the 36-year-old public school teacher. "It upsets me a little bit that people choose to do this, but yet again it's one of the things I love about this country."
At one checkpoint, protesters wore orange jumpsuits with black hoods over their faces to represent prisoners in U.S. detention at Guantanamo Bay. Eleanor Goldfield, who helped organize the Disrupt J20 protest, said protesters wanted to show Trump and his "misguided, misinformed or just plain dangerous" supporters that they won't be silent.
Black Lives Matter and feminist groups also made their voices heard.
Most Trump supporters walking to the inauguration past Union Station ignored protesters outside the train station, but not Doug Rahm, who engaged in a lengthy and sometimes profane yelling match with them.
"Get a job," said Rahm, a Bikers for Trump member from Philadelphia. "Stop crying snowflakes, Trump won."
Outside the International Spy Museum, protesters in Russian hats ridiculed Trump's praise of President Vladimir Putin, marching with signs calling Trump "Putin's Puppet" and "Kremlin employee of the month."
More demonstrations were planned for later in the day. The "Festival of Resistance" march ran about 1.5 miles to McPherson Square, a park about three blocks from the White House, where a rally featuring the filmmaker and liberal activist Michael Moore was planned.
Along the inaugural parade route, the ANSWER Coalition anti-war group planned demonstrations at two locations.
Protesters and supporters of Trump clashed Thursday evening outside a pro-Trump event in Washington. Police used chemical spray on some protesters in an effort to control the unruly crowd. Hundreds gathered outside the National Press Club in downtown Washington, where the "DeploraBall" was being held. The name is a play on a campaign remark by Hillary Clinton, who once referred to many of Trump's supporters as a "basket of deplorables."
The demonstrations won't end when Trump takes up residence in the White House. A massive Women's March on Washington is planned for Saturday. Christopher Geldart, the District of Columbia's homeland security director, has said 1,800 buses have registered to park in the city Saturday, which could mean nearly 100,000 people coming in just by bus.
Prosecutors: Fla. airport shooter visited 'Jihadi chat rooms'
Accused airport shooter Esteban Santiago told investigators after his arrest that he communicated with Islamic State terrorists or sympathizers in "jihadi chat rooms"
by Paula McMahon
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Accused airport shooter Esteban Santiago told investigators after his arrest that he communicated with Islamic State terrorists or sympathizers in "jihadi chat rooms" before he killed five people in Fort Lauderdale, authorities said in court Tuesday.
Whether that's true is not clear. Prosecutors and agents are still combing through electronic devices Santiago may have used, looking for evidence to show whether he was radicalized and whether he actually visited those terrorist chat rooms and websites, law enforcement sources said.
Santiago's statements to investigators were revealed during a court hearing Tuesday in federal court in Fort Lauderdale.
Also during the hearing:
_Federal prosecutors said Santiago, 26, practiced firing his weapon at a gun range in Alaska in the months before the Jan. 6 attack at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
_Agents testified that the semi-automatic handgun Santiago used in the attack was the same weapon the Anchorage police department returned to him in December, after his stay in a psychiatric hospital.
_Santiago was not prescribed psychiatric drugs when leaving the hospital, despite his earlier complaints that the government was controlling his mind and he was hearing voices.
Santiago, who has not yet been formally charged, faces allegations that he fatally shot five people and injured six others on Jan. 6 at the Terminal 2 baggage claim area of the airport. If convicted of the most serious allegations, he could face the death penalty or life in federal prison.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Lurana Snow ruled that Santiago will remain jailed while the case is pending, after deciding that he might flee from justice and is a danger to the community.
"Much of the danger to the community (he presents) is on camera," the judge said. "He's facing either the death penalty or life if prison so he has no incentive to appear" in court if released.
Santiago is due back in court Jan. 30. He is on suicide watch, in solitary confinement, at the Broward County main jail.
Santiago barely spoke publicly in court Tuesday, just answering "yes" and "no" when the judge asked him a series of questions about whether he agreed with a request from the prosecution and defense to delay his next court appearance.
He wore a red maximum-security inmate jumpsuit and was handcuffed, shackled and surrounded by deputy U.S. marshals and courtroom security officers. He spoke in a low, inaudible voice to his lawyers, Robert Berube and Eric Cohen, who work for the Federal Public Defender's Office.
"Mr. Santiago is prepared to remain in custody," Berube told the judge.
After emptying two magazines of ammunition and "methodically" shooting people by aiming at their heads, Santiago dropped his gun, lay on the ground and made no attempt to escape before Broward sheriff's deputies arrested him, prosecutor Ricardo Del Toro said in court.
"During the interview, the defendant admitted that he planned the attack," Del Toro said. "He has admitted to all of the facts with respect to the terrible and tragic events of Jan. 6."
"At various points ... he said he carried out the attack because of government mind control. But he later said he did so because of ISIL ... after participating in jihadi chat rooms," Del Toro said, using an acronym for the Islamic State.
Santiago was first interviewed by FBI agents and sheriff's detectives in a law enforcement office in the airport in the hours after the rampage, prosecutors said. Later that night, he was brought to FBI headquarters in Miramar and questioned more.
Investigators said he spoke with them for a total of about six hours. The first few hours were audio recorded, and all but about 10 minutes of his interview at the FBI office was recorded on video, FBI Agent Michael Ferlazzo testified.
Santiago was born in New Jersey, grew up in Puerto Rico and served in the Iraq War before moving to Alaska. He also traveled to the United Kingdom in 2012, prosecutors said in court.
This past November, Santiago went to the FBI office in Anchorage and told agents the government was controlling his mind and he was being pushed to watch terrorist propaganda, prosecutors said.
Authorities said he asked for help on Nov. 6 and said he did not want to harm himself or anyone else.
Anchorage police confiscated Santiago's gun, and he voluntarily agreed to go to a psychiatric hospital for treatment, though agents said there may have been some court order or proceeding before he agreed to treatment.
The agents testified that they believe Santiago spent about one day in Providence Alaska Medical Center and was transferred to Alaska Psychiatric Institute, where he spent about five days and was released Nov. 14 after he was "deemed to be stable."
He was not prescribed psychiatric drugs while hospitalized or upon his release, just anti-anxiety medication and melatonin, an herbal supplement people use to help them sleep, agents said.
FBI agents met with Santiago again and interviewed him Nov. 30, when he went back to the Anchorage police department to try to pick up his gun, Ferlazzo testified under questioning by defense lawyer Berube.
No information has been released about that meeting, other than the FBI and Anchorage police saying Santiago left that day without his gun. Anchorage police eventually returned the gun to him Dec. 8, they said.
Agents testified that Santiago's gun was legally purchased and was legally licensed, as far as they know, in Alaska.
Prosecutor Del Toro told the judge that the five people killed were between ages 57 and 84, and the six people who suffered gunshot wounds were between ages 40 and 70.
Investigators said they have video footage from about 20 cameras that recorded Santiago or aspects of the mass shooting at the airport. Santiago does not appear on footage from all of those cameras, but agents said they captured most of his movements in the airport.
There is no video of him on the sidewalk outside the baggage claim area, they testified, though agents wrote in court records that he briefly walked outside during the shootings.
If prosecutors formally decide to seek the death penalty for Santiago, that would slow down the case, experts said. U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer and his advisers would have to make an initial decision, which would reviewed by a U.S. Department of Justice panel, before a final decision by the U.S. attorney general.
If Santiago wants to plead guilty, and is found legally competent to do so, that could take the death penalty off the table, legal experts said, though prosecutors could still insist on going to trial. The defense has not asked for Santiago to undergo a psychiatric evaluation or legal competency testing, according to court records, but that it is likely to be ordered.
Baltimore police cut ECD use after policy changes
Baltimore police officials say the department cut its use of ECDs nearly in half in 2016
by The Associated Press
BALTIMORE — Baltimore police officials say the department cut its use of stun guns nearly in half in 2016.
The Baltimore Sun reports that the department reported 181 stun gun incidents in 2016, a 46 percent decline from the record high of 347 the agency recorded in 2015.
Commissioner Kevin Davis enacted a new policy in July that required officers to use stun guns only when suspects display "active aggression" and not simply failing to follow orders.
Justice Department investigators had criticized the department for using stun guns on noncompliant people who did not display any force against officers.
The federal government began investigating the police department's practices following the April 2015 death of Freddie Gray, a black man who was fatally injured while in police custody.
2 N.J. centers among dozens of Jewish facilities targeted by bomb threats
by Craig McCarthy and Marisa Iati
Bomb threats were called into two New Jersey Jewish centers Wednesday amidst a second wave of hoaxes targeting American Jewish facilities nationwide, sparking a federal probe into the robocalls.
Twenty-seven Jewish Community Centers, across 17 states, received similar phone calls Wednesday morning, which disrupted activities as police checked the facilities for explosives, the JCC Association of North America said in a release.
The two local threats were called into centers in Union and Middlesex counties just after 9 a.m.
An unknown number of people were forced from the Edison center on Oak Tree Road, which is shared with the local YCMA for exercise programs and daycare, Edison police Lt. Robert Dudash said in a release.
In Scotch Plains, the staff of the Jewish Community Center of Central New Jersey called police after the phone call came in and got its members out of the building on Martine Avenue.
No explosives were found at either location following a two-hour sweep by county canine units and local law enforcement.
"We thank our community for your cooperation and please know that we remain vigilant and committed to keeping our center safe and secure," an email sent to members of the Scotch Plains center said.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department are looking into the second round of threats at Jewish centers this month, Reuters reported.
On Jan. 9, more than a dozen centers were the targets of similar robocalls, including Kaplen Jewish Community Center in Tenafly, that sparked ecacuations. No explosives were found in the earlier wave of incidents, officials said.
Community policing initiative coming to the 122nd Precinct
by Paul Liotta
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- A citywide effort to improve the relationship between the NYPD and the communities it serves is coming to the 122nd Precinct, Deputy Inspector Ebony Washington announced at Wednesday night's community council meeting.
No specific start date was given, but a town hall meeting will be held in February to better introduce it to communities, said Washington, commanding officer of the 122nd Precinct.
The program brings neighborhood coordinating officers to the precincts. These officers are expected to become focal points of the community, dealing with people's day-to-day complaints.
Each of the officers was handpicked by Washington and has previous experience in the precinct, he said.
The program already exists in the 120th Precinct, where it has been a success with people in the community, Washington said.
In addition to the announcement of the new initiative, Washington also said people should be aware of ATM skimmers in the area, because the NYPD had noticed an increase in duplicate bank cards being used.
One attendee at the meeting said his wife had fallen victim to the practice, and that duplicates of her card had been used as far away as Missouri and Virginia.
New Haven Police Utilize WhatsApp As Community Policing Tool
by Justin Schecker
New Haven resident Greta Seashore recalls an evening when two teens appeared to be following her as she pulled her car into the garage.
“I was a little concerned by that obviously,” she told NBC Connecticut. “I could of called 911, but in our neighborhood we have our neighborhood app that gets us straight to Sgt. “Wojo.”
Sgt. John Wolcheski became the New Haven Police district manager for the Beaver Hills neighborhood ten months ago.
“You want to get it on this, because it gives you an opportunity to see what's going on in the neighborhood,” he said, recalling what his predecessor Sgt. Shafiq Abdussabur told him.
Wolcheski said between three and four hundred residents are part of the Beaver Hills WhatsApp chat group.
WhatsApp users can join groups and send unlimited mobile messages, pictures and videos on their phones. Consider this use of the app a 21st century edition of a neighborhood crime watch.
“This gives residents a direct line or the ability to have direct access to their neighborhood officer,” he said.
Last year there was a rash of car break-ins in a neighborhood near Ellsworth Ave. Sgt. Wolcheski credits communication on the WhatsApp group for catching the crook who was responsible for many of them.
“One resident saw a car break in and called the police department and then went on the chat and started giving updates on locations,” he explained.
Seashore's friend Nan Bartow said the WhatsApp group helped police crack down on drug dealing and prostitution near her home.
“We were able to say real time, this is happening, come out,” Bartow said.
Wolcheski said he hopes other NHPD district managers get on board with bringing this new community policing tool to their neighborhoods. He added residents should still call 911 first during serious emergencies.
“I never had the kind of relationship with the police that we do through the WhatsApp because the district manager watches all the time and he will send somebody out immediately, if needed,” Bartow said.
Portsmouth police chief, detective launch 'Radio Five-O' show
by Elizabeth Dinan
PORTSMOUTH - Police Chief David Mara and detective Rochelle Navelski launched a new local radio program Wednesday, talking about everything from community policing and drug enforcement, to recent arrests in the news.
Launched on EDGE streaming radio, "Portsmouth Radio Five-O" kicked off with the Hawaii Five-O theme song and was hosted by Megan Brady. Mara opened by saying police departments have to let the community know what they're doing and keep them involved. Doing that, he said, can avoid problems, gain people's trust and make citizens aware that it's "their police department."
Mara said community outreach will continue and he introduced Navelski as typical of all local officers who "care about the community, they're involved in the community and they take that extra step." He said he keeps a folder of emails he receives from citizens and the majority are positive and to commend officers for their responses. Because most of the officers don't highlight those efforts, the chief said, he wouldn't know about them if not for the citizen emails.
Navelski told listeners about new community policing initiatives, including a recent field trip with senior citizens to view holiday lights, the Cops and Kids program at city schools and a revival of the police trading cards program. She said she's conducting active shooter training for local businesses, a summer basketball league and "PPD TV" on the local public television station. She said there are plans for a community meeting, community advisory board and a women's safety clinic.
Mara launched the Cops and Kids program five years ago in Manchester, where he was previously chief, then brought it to Portsmouth schools last June. The event allowed students to meet with with police officers, K-9s, police horses and climb inside a SWAT vehicle. He said the goal of the program is to provide positive police experiences for young people and said it will continue and expand this spring.
"It's a good interaction," he said. "If we can do this from kindergarten to fifth grade, once a year for six years, you have kids having positive interactions with police."
The police chief said he's also going to continue a program to combat the opioid problem with a panel involving the community, as well as federal and state experts. What has to be expanded, he said, is drug abuse education for local students.
"We want to really get involved in teaching the kids," he said. "We, the community and not just the police, could get the biggest bang for our buck and really be effective, by talking to kids at an earlier age."
Mara also advised parents to be vigilant, in the wake of the discovery of a THC-laced lollipop at the high school. And he explained that often police can't talk about all the details about newsworthy investigations to respect the rights of the accused.
Listen to Wednesday's complete "Portsmouth Radio Five-O" show at edgeradioarchives.com/audio/011817portsmouthradio50.mp3 . Listen to EDGE Radio 24-7 at edgeradio.com.
Community rallies around Pensacola police chief
by Emma Kennedy
Pastor C. Marcel Davis had for years seen dealers peddling dope in front of his church. He'd seen loitering and other petty crimes routinely.
He then saw Pensacola Police Chief David Alexander III make a concerted effort to improve the neighborhood not just through increased patrols, but community policing.
The pastor of Adoration for A New Beginning on West Government Street has since seen such a turnaround in behavior not just at the property but in the whole area, that he has remained outspoken about the impact the chief has had on the city.
Davis is one of an estimated dozen residents who fronted the Pensacola City Council last week to voice concerns about a line in Alexander's contract that would prohibit him from working beyond May.
Alexander signed on to the city's Deferred Retirement Option Program in 2012, which reaches the maximum four-year participation limit on May 14. His contract states that he shouldn't expect any form of employment following that date.
“I don't understand why you wouldn't want to have this guy as a representative of your city,” he said. "This guy should be the poster boy for the growth of Pensacola, of how Pensacola operates.”
Davis said since Alexander's involvement in the neighborhood, which spans back to his time in lower ranks, the streets have been “cleaned up.”
An area where Belmont and DeVilliers streets intersect was a hang-out area for a large African-American population, Davis said. People would hang out at restaurants in the area or on the streets, but it became dangerous and known for frequent shootings up until the PPD focus several years ago.
“When you look at that area, it's diverse now, people are having a good time, but it took someone with law authority to come in and work with people and make things happen,” Davis said.
For Victor Smith, who grew up in that neighborhood and still works in the area, it's like night and day particularly as it relates to economic development.
The "us versus them" mentality that had been prominent in the area for decades is slowly dissipating in favor of a diversification effort.
"One of the things I've been vocal about is having more communication between the citizens and not just the police department but with all first responders," Smith said.
"(The PPD) talks to the citizens about how we can partner together, and we want to see more of that."
Smith said there have been town hall-type meetings in the past where officers can meet with residents to discuss any issues they may have, and it's something he hopes to continue in 2017.
"When we see both sides of the table taking part then we see a common ground," he said.
"When there's something that goes on in the community and the citizens have an uproar, we can go forward together and not just be us versus them."
Cindy Martin also attended last week's city council meeting in support of the chief.
Martin first came in contact with Alexander in 2012, when her 18-year-old son, Matthew Cox, was shot during a robbery.
Martin said in the years that have followed, Alexander has become a figure for community policing, and a liaison between residents and law enforcement.
He spoke directly with her during the investigation into her son's death, and personally attended a candlelight vigil in his honor.
“Nobody understands why (Alexander's employment is in question), and they say, ‘well, he signed a contract,' but contracts are negotiated and renegotiated all the time,” she said. “They are our first responders, they should come first.”
Martin is part of a group of about seven community members who are vocal in their support of Alexander continuing as the city's chief.
She said the group will attend every city council meeting until May to have a presence, and all members of the group will wear blue shirts bearing slogans in support of continuing Alexander's contract.
“He has his ear to the ground in the challenged areas,” Martin said.
“It just shows he has a passion and he's always trying to help. I can't see why anybody would ever consider trying to get rid of one of the best leaders we've had. He's a great asset to our community.”
Martin said outside of Alexander as a person, she believes the city should be trying to retain its most seasoned officers.
“If we're losing all of our good quality officers with experience, we're going to end up with a lot of recruits who need training when we could be keeping the ones who are already there and are wanting to stay,” she said.
“Why fix something that doesn't need fixing?”
Want to Reform Policing in Your City? Here's How
by Samuel Walker
In the protests against unjustified police shootings in the two and a half years since Ferguson, many critics of the police have charged that the police are “out of control.” Others accuse the police of being “a law unto themselves.”
It is indeed true that a lot of police conduct is lawless: unjustified shootings, uses of excessive force, and racial profiling in stops, frisks, and arrests. In these practices, officers not only violate the law but the policies of their own departments.
It is not exactly true, however, that the police are “out of control.”
The melancholy fact of American policing is that the 18,000 police and sheriff's departments in this country are fully under control—control by duly elected mayors, city councils and county boards.
The problem is that the police are controlled and directed by elected public officials who are not committed to respectful, bias-free and constitutional policing.
In short, the problem of policing is a problem of democracy.
The long-term solution to our police problems lies in electing officials who are committed to professional, respectful and constitutional policing—and are informed about what needs to be done to get there.
As Donald Trump takes office tomorrow, after campaigning on a “law and order” agenda that has largely ignored this essential point, it's never been more important to focus on the need to link police reform with our democratic values.
The misuse of the police reaches deep into American history.
In the nineteenth century, local political leaders saw police departments as a source of graft and jobs for their supporters. They took no interest in officer brutality, discrimination, or inefficiency. In the southeast, the problem was even worse. The police were an integral part of the racial caste system, with an explicit mission of maintaining first slavery and, after the Civil War, the system of de jure racial segregation.
In recent decades, in order to placate the general public, city officials have focused on aggressive crime-fighting, usually in the form of saturation patrol, aggressive stops and frisks and similar programs. But we now know that such programs not only don't reduce crime but also alienate community residents, especially in African-American communities.
Fearful of alienating the police, and police unions in particular, our elected officials have been unwilling to address the failure of departments to control excessive force, unjustified shootings and discriminatory stop-and-frisk practices.
Basically, they are afraid of criticisms by police and others that they are “handcuffing” crime-fighting efforts. And the problem is compounded by the fact that few elected officials understand the police policies and practices that allow officer misconduct to continue.
To bring about comprehensive and lasting police reform, we must reinvigorate the democratic process. That's only possible if Americans elect mayors and city council members who are committed to to making their police departments professional, respectful and lawful – and knowledgeable about how to get there.
How do we accomplish this?
If the problem is that our public officials are not well-informed about the details of police work and police reform, then we have to make them informed.
Community activists need to think long-term. And they must begin now to cultivate people who might run for city council or mayor at some point in the future. Reaching them is not that great a problem. They can be found in the networks of civic groups that exist in every city. Activists need to reach out to the members of neighborhood groups, the faith community, the legal community, the business community, and others.
The message to them should be: “We can make this a great city, with one of the best police departments in the country.”
Framing the issue in terms of creating a great city has powerful bi-partisan appeal. And it also appeals to the budget-consciousness of prospective candidates.
When we reduce police misconduct, we also stop having to spend millions of dollars a year in civil suits—an expense that burdens New York City, Chicago, Baltimore and many other cities. That money can be better spent on after-school programs which will help reduce crime.
Stopping headline-making shooting incidents not only saves lives but it also ends the national news stories that make people and businesses wonder if that is a city where they want to live and work.
The key part of this process is to reach potential candidates for local office before they ever run for any office; so that when they do run, they are already on-board with a police reform program. And should they be elected, they take office with a concrete agenda and a network of supporters on the issue.
How does all this begin? Existing community groups and networks are a solid foundation for such a process. But those groups should be encouraged to develop a clearly focused plan for improving the police.
Today, there are many accessible sources to help develop such a plan. And in many cases, such ideas already have the strong support of established police groups, particularly the Police Executive Research Forum, which has issued a series of path-breaking reports on controlling police use of force, de-escalation, and improving police training. President Obama's Task Force on 21 st Century Policing, released last year to wide support among police executives, offers another blueprint.
A short, written plan would provide examples of the most important reforms today: de-escalation, procedural justice, stricter accountability on officer use of force. And in each case, the plan will describe in plain English how it will reduce misconduct and lead to more professional policing—and perhaps just as importantly, apply these ideas to the specific local jurisdictions where community groups are operating.
A promising local avenue for pursuing reform are the broadly representative Community Police Commissions which consent decrees have created in Seattle, Cleveland, and other cities. As constituted, these commissions have the authority to review existing police policies and initiate new ones. Activists in other cities could use them as models for a locally-created one in their communities.
This agenda for police reform is not an easy one.
It will take sustained work over the long haul. But in the end, it is our best hope for bringing police under the control of people committed to the best possible policing, and are well-informed about what that involves.
It will be difficult.
But who ever said that democracy was easy?
Samuel Walker is Professor Emeritus of Criminal Justice at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and the author of 14 books on policing, civil liberties and crime police.
Bystander aids wounded Idaho deputies after shooting
ER Nurse Marsha Hanna said she was more worried about helping the officers than her own safety
by PoliceOne Staff
BLANCHARD, Idaho — A Monday shooting that wounded two Bonner County sheriff's deputies and a suspect they were attempting to arrest could have been worse if a bystander didn't step in to render aid.
Deputies Michael Gagnon, 53, and Justin Penn, 30, were attempting to arrest suspect Adam Deacon Foster, 30, for a battery warrant when Foster opened fire, KHQ reported.
Marsha Hanna was nearby when she heard the gunshots and went to investigate.
"I was walking my horses up the mountain and heard gunshots and I just assumed it was someone doing target practice," Hanna said. "Got a little farther up the hill with them and came around a corner and an officer came out. He had been bleeding but he was telling me to get back."
Hanna, an ER nurse, told the news station she was more worried about getting the officers help than her own safety.
"God had a plan for me with having me there, I think,” she said. “But anybody would have helped. I'm just glad I had the training to do it."
Gagnon is currently listed in serious condition and Penn is in fair condition. Foster is in fair condition as well.
Philly cop creates portraits of officers killed on duty
Officer Jonny Castro turned his talent of sketching suspects into a way to honor his fallen brothers and sisters
by PoliceOne Staff
PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia Officer Jonny Castro usually sketches wanted suspects, but is now using his talents to honor his fallen brothers and sisters in blue.
Before joining the military and the police force, Castro developed his talent in art school, WTXF reported.
“There's an ongoing debate about police relationships' with communities and how we all interact- but one thing that tends to unite all of us, is when an officer is killed in the line of duty,” Castro said.
He became inspired after a job in the graphic arts department opened up.
Castro spends around eight hours on each portrait and gives them to the fallen officers' family.
“It's something the family has to remember them by,” he said. “Not just husbands and wives but maybe brothers and sisters, sons, daughters. They can each have a copy and hang it in their own place.”
Little Elm Police Officer Killed, Suspect Dead After Standoff
Officers were fired upon while responding to a call about an armed man, deputies said
by Frank Heinz
A Little Elm, Texas, police officer died after being shot while responding to a report of an armed man outside a house Tuesday afternoon, and the suspect was later confirmed dead after an hours-long standoff with police.
Little Elm Chief of Police Rodney Harrison said during a news conference Tuesday night that 48-year-old Det. Jerry Walker succumbed to his injuries hours after the shooting.
Officers were called to a home on the 1400 block of Turtle Cove Drive after residents reported seeing a man with a long gun at about 3 p.m., according to Lt. Orlando Hinojosa with the Denton County Sheriff's Office.
When officers arrived, they spotted a man in the back yard with a rifle. After the man began shouting at officers, they retreated.
Shortly before 4 p.m., the man ducked into the house and opened fire from a window, wounding Walker in the neck, according to police.
Officers were able to get a vehicle to Walker and rush him to another area, where he was picked up by an air ambulance. He was then flown to Denton Regional Medical Center, where he later died.
No other injuries were reported.
An elderly woman who was in the home with the suspected gunman was extracted by police through a first-floor window sometime late Tuesday.
Fire Chief Brian Roach said the suspect was found dead in the house near the intersection of West Eldorado Parkway and Lobo Lane at about 10:30 p.m. after a six-hour standoff. Roach didn't identify the suspect or give a cause of death. It is not known if the suspect had any further contact with police or the sheriff's department before he died.
Students from three Little Elm schools near the standoff were held on campus Tuesday afternoon and access to the neighborhood, which is located on a peninsula in northeast Lake Lewisville, was blocked off for hours Tuesday night. Students were eventually escorted off campus and allowed to leave with parents.
Police Chief Harrison said Walker joined the Little Elm Police Department in September 1998 and was the father of four children ranging in age from a few months old to 22 years old.
"He was a model officer and someone who will be missed by the department and the town of Little Elm," said Harrison.
A bagpiper played "Amazing Grace" as dozens of law enforcement officers from around North Texas saluted Walker's body as he was escorted from Denton Regional Medical Center.
Officials said the scene at the house where the standoff took place would remain active throughout the night, and additional updates are expected Wednesday morning.
Walker is the first Little Elm officer killed in the line of duty, the department said.
The Denton County Sheriff's Office and the Frisco Police Department are assisting in the investigation.
Wife of Orlando Gunman Is Charged Under Antiterrorism Laws
by ERIN MARIE DALY, RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA and ADAM GOLDMAN
OAKLAND, Calif. — She fired none of the shots, she was nowhere near the bloody scene, and none of the evidence made public so far hints that she shared her husband's violent jihadist ideology. Yet Noor Zahi Salman, the widow of the gunman who massacred revelers at an Orlando nightclub, stood before a federal judge on Tuesday as the only person charged in the attack.
In the early hours of June 12, Ms. Salman's husband, Omar Mateen, killed 49 people at Pulse, a gay nightclub, and wounded 53 others in one of the worst terrorist attacks on American soil. Before being fatally shot by the police, Mr. Mateen, a 29-year-old security guard, declared his allegiance to the Islamic State.
Though suspicion and scrutiny naturally fall on people close to someone who commits terrorism or mass murder, it is rare for a wife or a girlfriend to end up facing charges. But in a brief hearing in federal court in Oakland, a federal prosecutor, Roger Handberg, explained why the authorities considered Ms. Salman an exception.
“She knew he was going to conduct the attack,” Mr. Handberg said.
An indictment unsealed on Tuesday accused Ms. Salman, 30, of “aiding and abetting the attempted provision and provision of material support to a foreign terrorist organization,” a charge that can carry a sentence of life in prison. She was also charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly misleading police officers and federal agents, who interviewed her for 12 hours on the day of the shooting.
Ms. Salman went with her husband to buy ammunition, drove him to Orlando when he apparently scouted his target, and knew that he watched jihadist propaganda videos. Those could be innocent acts or indications of criminal culpability, depending on her own intent and what she knew of his.
Her fate could turn on evidence about her frame of mind, including how much she was controlled by her husband, who she has said abused her.
“We've seen the government trying to widen the definition of ‘material support,' and the increased visibility of women being involved in jihadist movements” makes it easier to imagine charging them with terrorism, said Nimmi Gowrinathan, a visiting professor at the City College of New York who studies women in violent situations around the world.
In an interview last fall with The New York Times, her only public statement since the attack, Ms. Salman said she had not known what her husband planned to do, a claim that her uncle, Al Salman, made repeatedly outside the courthouse on Tuesday.
Prosecutors, who plan to pursue the case in a federal court in Florida, gave little new information, leaving unclear what evidence they had or why seven months had passed before charges were filed. Ms. Salman, who was arrested on Monday and has a young son fathered by Mr. Mateen, has been living with relatives in Rodeo, Calif., northeast of San Francisco.
Visibly shaking in a mustard-yellow and gray jail uniform, Ms. Salman stood in court Tuesday and, in a barely audible voice, told Magistrate Judge Donna M. Ryu, who had to ask her to speak up, that she understood the charges against her. Only when she was led from the courtroom did she raise her head and let her eyes search the packed gallery. On Wednesday, the judge will consider whether to grant bail.
The married couple who fatally shot 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif., in 2015 provide the clearest case of a wife as accomplice, but examples remain rare.
A study of more than 100 terrorists in Western countries who acted alone or in pairs found that most of them were single. Sixty-four percent confided in someone about their plans, the authors found, but follow-up research showed that only 4 percent told a spouse, a girlfriend or a boyfriend.
The closest parallel to Ms. Salman may be Katherine Russell, the widow of one of the Boston Marathon bombers, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and the mother of his child. The bombs detonated at the race in 2013 were made in the home she and her husband shared, and testimony at the trial of the surviving bomber — Ms. Russell's brother-in-law, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev — indicated that her computer had been used for a search on the rewards that come to the widow of a martyr for Islam.
Ms. Russell talked to investigators but refused to testify before a grand jury without immunity from prosecution. Federal agents investigating the case were eager to bring charges against her, but prosecutors decided not to.
Ms. Salman and Mr. Mateen's former wife, Sitora Yusufiy, have both said that he beat them severely and tried to control every aspect of their lives. Citing that abuse, a lawyer for Ms. Salman, Linda Moreno, said recently that it was “misguided and wrong to prosecute her.”
Experts say that domestic violence is a common trait among mass killers and terrorists, and that close relatives are often among their victims. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was also accused of domestic violence by a previous girlfriend.
“Misogyny and extremism work together very often, so abuse is entrenched in these cases,” Dr. Gowrinathan, the City College professor, said. But, she added, sympathy for women as victims of abuse tends to evaporate in terrorism cases.
At the time of the Pulse shooting, Ms. Salman was at home in Fort Pierce, Fla., a two-hour drive from Orlando, but the indictment charged that she had been abetting her husband's plans since at least late April. Prosecutors say she knowingly misled the F.B.I. agents and Fort Pierce police officers who interviewed her.
The indictment also says the government wants her to forfeit more than $30,000, which may be connected to the jewelry she has said her husband lavished on her in the final days of his life.
In interviews last year, friends and acquaintances described Ms. Salman as a relatively naïve young woman, a doting mother who could have unwittingly witnessed the buildup to her husband's attack. The daughter of Palestinian immigrants, she struggled in high school, they said, but earned an associate degree at a community college before meeting Mr. Mateen, a son of Afghan immigrants, on an Arab dating website.
“I was unaware of everything,” Ms. Salman said in the Times interview last year. “I don't condone what he has done. I am very sorry for what has happened. He has hurt a lot of people.”
She said that she had known her husband was viewing jihadist videos, but that she had disapproved and forced him to turn them off so that their son would not see them. She said that the drive to Orlando had seemed innocent, and that the ammunition purchase was unremarkable for a security guard who practiced at a shooting range.
The F.B.I. questioned Mr. Mateen after he told co-workers in 2013 that he had ties to terrorist groups like Hezbollah, and again in 2014, when his name came up in another terrorism case. But agents never found evidence that he was plotting an attack. In the Times interview, Ms. Salman said she had thought that if her husband had been a danger, the F.B.I. would have arrested him.
City panel seeks to revitalize community policing
by Tanja Babich and Sarah Schulte
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Days after the U.S. Dept. of Justice released a scathing report on Chicago police conduct, an advisory panel on community policing met Tuesday to discuss solutions.
Despite the timing of the DOJ report, the advisory panel was first announced last October and Tuesday was the panel's first meeting. Its goal is to make Chicago the leader of community policing again.
Community policing was born in Chicago. Once a model for the country, community policing now struggles with a series "disconnected initiatives," according to last week's Department of Justice report. Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson hopes the advisory panel of experts will come up with solutions to revive community policing in Chicago.
"Our goal is make CPD the law enforcement model across the country and this is a huge piece of it," Johnson said.
Johnson said trust between the community and police is key to reducing and solving crimes. The panel includes national experts who insist community policing must be infused throughout the entire police department.
Among the national experts weighing in on this and future meetings is Tracey Meares, a Yale University law school professor who served on President Obama's task force on 21st century policing.
"The number one thing that we all need to understand is that the violence problem that Chicago is experiencing is also a function of the need for police reform," Meares said. "It has to be a way of doing business, not just a tactic."
With 764 people murdered in 2016, University of Chicago's Crime Lab says stronger community relations could improve things. On Tuesday, the crime lab released a new report about the huge spike in gun violence last year. It could not point to one specific reason why it was such a violent year. The report says weather patterns, access to guns, social and education spending all remained the same from 2015.
"One of the things that best fits the timing has to do with the number of street stops, but it's also important to note cities that experienced similar declines did not experience similar homicide rates in 2016," said Max Kapustin, University of Chicago Crime Lab.
The crime lab said shifting gang structures and social media could have played a role in the spike. However, there is no available data to measure.
The community policing advisory panel will meet several more times. It is expected to issue recommendations at the end of March.
Later Tuesday, Supt. Johnson met with a group of black youth activists. Youth for Black Lives said it plans to discuss several issues, including accountability for police brutality.
Johnson arrived at the meeting just a few minutes after its official starting time of 6 p.m. It was held Walter Payton College Prep on Chicago's Near North Side.
The students, who arranged regular meetings with Johnson after cancelling a protest over a police-involved shooting in the city's Mt. Greenwood neighborhood in November, said they want to see more done against police brutality. Johnson cautioned the group not to think every incident is an intentional act of violence.
Allentown police host community policing workshop
by Emma Wright
ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Allentown residents and police officers met Tuesday for a workshop on community policing.
The workshop was one of several events in the city to help people and police communicate better.
"It's so important to have open and honest communication so that we can start to mend that divide we are seeing across the country," said Chief Keith Morris of the Allentown Police Department.
"I feel like we have a good working relationship with the police," said Milagros Canales of Allentown.
Canales says she has seen steady improvement between police and community relationships in the city.
"The [crime] stats are down…the police are doing their job…now the residents need to do our job and speak up," Canales said.
Talk it out: Can police be guardians and warriors?
by Courtney Astolfi
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Modern police work entails much more than simply arresting criminals.
In addition to responding to and investigating crimes, police today are expected to engage with the community, deal with mental health crises and tend to people suffering from drug addiction.
Add to that the particular pressures of policing a densely-populated community of nearly 400,000, and Cleveland police have quite a lengthy to-do list.
Just how should urban police departments reconcile two key roles they serve in the community -- that of guardian, and that of warrior?
Investigators from the U.S. Department of Justice observed in a December 2014 report that people both inside and outside the department viewed Cleveland police as an "occupying force instead of a true partner and resource in the community it serves."
Cleveland police Chief Calvin Williams touched on this during a June 2015 news conference addressing Cleveland police reforms under a federal consent decree agreement it entered into with the Justice Department.
"Our officers have been trained to survive, to be prepared, to go out in our neighborhoods as if they are in the military. We want our officers to be safe and vigilant and able to protect our community and themselves. But we have changed that philosophy from being a warrior...to being a guardian," Williams said.
At times, the roles of guardian and warrior are at odds in a city with near-daily incidents of gun violence, and a homicide rate on the rise. Other times, they go hand-in-hand.
Police training often includes variations on battlefield tactics and a warrior mindset. The militarization of police has been heavily debated in recent years, specifically in the wake of the law enforcement response to protests of an August 2014 police-involved killing of an unarmed black man.
So, too, has the benefits of community policing. Proponents want to see a resurgence of the "friendly neighborhood beat cop" from days gone by.
Cleveland in particular hopes to take on some of the city's crime by instilling the values of community policing in its police force.
One example is the newly-minted NICE unit, a supplement to the city's gang unit in which one of the main priorities is "(getting) into the neighborhoods and (finding) out exactly what's going on," according to Deputy Chief Ed Tomba.
So how should city police departments strike a balance between the so-called warrior and guardian roles?
At what point does the warrior mindset chip away at public trust, which is crucial to solving crimes?
And at what point is community policing not enough to tackle those violent crimes?
How should officers implement both roles in their day-to-day activities?
Join us today from noon to 2 p.m. as we discuss the role of police in the big city. It will be a civil, constructive conversation that focuses on ways officers can both tackle crime and foster community engagement.
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Police academy: Brockton mayor pledges to resurrect citizens outreach program
As a way to make local citizens more comfortable with their police department, Mayor Bill Carpenter said on Sunday that he will resurrect the Brockton Citizens Police Academy. Carpenter made the announcement at the 21st annual Martin Luther King Luncheon at Messiah Baptist Church. Carpenter said the Citizens Police Academy program in Brockton has been dormant for about 10 years or longer.
by Marc Larocque - Enterprise Staff Writer
BROCKTON - Brockton citizens may feel more comfortable with police if they could see through the eyes of local law enforcement officers. And Brockton police may understand the concerns of local residents more if they could get to know them better.
For those reasons, Mayor Bill Carpenter said on Sunday that he will resurrect the Brockton Citizen's Police Academy. Carpenter made the announcement at the 21st annual Martin Luther King Luncheon at Messiah Baptist Church.
"Where these types of police citizen academies have been offered, what we find is that after participating in a citizens police academy, the general feedback is that people tend to have greater respect and less fear of the police department in their community," Carpenter said. "(It's) designed to give the community a clearer understanding of police work and a clearer understanding of the challenges, and the issues, that are faced by the police department. But it's also to continue that communication, to bridge that gap, so that the police can have a better understanding of what the community is thinking."
The Brockton Police Department will begin hosting Citizen's Police Academy courses starting in February, Carpenter said. The classes will be held once a week, lasting six to eight weeks altogether, Carpenter said. The Citizen's Police Academy would be offered two or three times each year, the mayor said.
Carpenter said the Citizen's Police Academy program in Brockton has been dormant for about 10 years or longer.
"I think as part of our growing commitment and expansion of community policing, this is another aspect of community policing," Carpenter said.
The Brockton mayor said sign-ups will be on a first come, first serve basis. But he offered a special invitation to Michael Walker, the pastor at Messiah Baptist Church, and other local clergy members, to participate in the first course in February.
"We'll save a seat for you," Carpenter said. "We need the clergy."
Carpenter also said the city is partnering with other groups, including the NAACP Brockton Branch and the Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers, to increase diversity at the Brockton Police Department. As a solution, Brockton is working on more outreach to local community members about taking the civil service exam and becoming a police officer. Carpenter said the next civil service exam for police is being held in March, but that the deadline to register is in February.
Carpenter said that the city has "made some great progress" toward increasing diversity among local police, with minorities making up 35 percent of the Brockton patrol force. But the mayor said that all but two of the Brockton Police Department's 36 supervising officers are white men.
"When you look at the Brockton Police Department, when we talk about diversity, if I had to give us a grade, it'd have to be incomplete," said Carpenter, noting how the city is known for its diversity. "Unfortunately, when we get to the supervising ranks, that diversity has not been reflected. ... So we've still got some work to do."
The Brockton Police Department could promote minority officers from within - and it has during the last year, promoting a Hispanic woman to sergeant. But Carpenter said the department needs additional minority officers to choose from.
"As we look at this challenge, and come at it from a number of different directions, I think that we agree that it's important ... that we have to expand and encourage more members of all the communities of the city to consider a career in law enforcement and to get more highly qualified applicants to take the exam, so we can have this more diverse pool of people to hire from," Carpenter said. "We're getting it done now, in terms of the patrol ranks, but if we're going to advance people up the ladder, we've got to keep getting good people in on the front end.
"I think that those are very concrete steps we can continue to make," Carpenter added. "But they'll only work if we can all embrace these goals and work on them together."
Police: Alleged cop killer Markeith Loyd captured
Loyd has been the focus of a weeklong manhunt since Master Sgt. Debra Clayton was killed in a Wal-Mart parking lot
by The Associated Press
ORLANDO, Fla. — A suspect in the fatal shooting of an Orlando police officer was captured Tuesday after a weeklong manhunt, authorities said.
The Orlando Police Department tweeted Tuesday night that 41-year-old Markeith Loyd was in custody, ending a manhunt that began with the Jan. 9 fatal shooting of Lt. Debra Clayton outside a Wal-Mart store.
Local television stations showed Loyd had a bloodied face when a half-dozen officers and deputies took him into police headquarters.
Orlando Police Chief John Mina tweeted, "Captured and wearing Lt. Debra Clayton's handcuffs."
Before Clayton's shooting, authorities had sought Loyd for questioning in the killing of his pregnant ex-girlfriend last month.
While at the store, Clayton was tipped off that Loyd was in the area. She approached him in the parking lot and he filed multiple shots at her. Clayton returned fire but didn't hit him. She was wearing body armor, but was hit multiple times, Orlando Police Chief John Mina said.
A deputy then spotted Loyd fleeing in a vehicle and pursued him into a nearby apartment complex, where the suspect fired again, striking the deputy's SUV twice but missing the deputy, the sheriff's office said.
Loyd then carjacked another vehicle and fled, abandoning the second vehicle nearby another apartment complex, which was the focus of the manhunt initially, the sheriff's office said.
A second law enforcement officer, Orange County Sheriff's Deputy First Class Norman Lewis, was killed in a motorcycle crash after joining the massive manhunt.
Hundreds of officers and deputies have been searching for Loyd, and a $100,000 reward was being offered for information that leads to his arrest.
The U.S. Marshals Service had added Loyd to its list of most wanted fugitives Tuesday and added $25,000 to the reward offer.
Clayton, 42, was a "committed" officer and "a hero" who gave her life to the community she loves, her chief said. She was married and had a college-aged son. She also grew up in the Orlando area, and enjoyed mentoring young people.
"She was always the first to step up and help kids," the chief said.
A 17-year veteran of the force, Clayton supervised a patrol division in the neighborhood where she was shot, and previously worked in investigations and as a school resource officer, Deputy Chief Orlando Rolon said.
"She made a point, even outside her working hours, to do things for youth and do things for the community," Rolon said.
Md. sergeant, pilot injured after laser pointed at helicopter
Pilot Todd Hyson and Sgt. Gregg Lantz were both transported to a hospital for treatment after sustaining eye injuries
by Emily Chappell
CARROLL COUNTY, Md. — A Sykesville man struck a Maryland State Police helicopter with a laser early Monday morning, state police said Monday.
Connor Grant Brown, 30, of the 1200 block on Canterbury Drive in Sykesville, has been charged with reckless endangerment, obstructing and hindering, and shining a laser pointer at an aircraft.
Police said the Trooper 3 helicopter was assisting the Carroll County Sheriff's Office with an investigation in the area of the 800 block of Klees Mill Road. Col. Larry Suther, of the Sheriff's Office, said deputies were looking for a man who had been stopped by Natural Resources Police for defacing something in a park. When the man ran, he ran without his shoes and law enforcement was concerned for his safety as the temperature dropped, Suther said.
While the helicopter was taking part in the investigation, its cockpit was struck by a green laser approximately eight times.
Pilot Todd Hyson and crew chief Sgt. Gregg Lantz were both transported to Frederick Memorial Hospital for treatment after sustaining eye injuries and were later released, police said.
Officials said shining lasers into cockpits temporarily blinds pilots, causes disorientation and could lead to crashes.
"Shining any kind of laser at a aircraft can have deadly consequences," said Elena Russo, spokeswoman for the Maryland State Police. "Our flight crews are out there serving and protecting our citizens, and to have something like this happen showed the consequences because two of the four people on board were affected."
The crew was forced to abort the mission in support of the Sheriff's Office investigation in an attempt to find the source of the laser beam, police said. They located the source on Canterbury Drive. A Carroll County sheriff's deputy responded.
According to police, a subsequent investigation revealed Brown had operated the device that struck the helicopter.
Brown was released on his own recognizance at 9:22 a.m. Monday, according to the Carroll County Central Booking Unit.
The National Business Aviation Association, an industry group, has cited laser strikes as a growing threat to air safety. In 2015, 6,000 laser strike incidents were reported to the Federal Aviation Administration, an increase of more than 2,000 from the previous year, according to the group.
Russo said the FBI and the FAA have been notified of the incident and federal charges are possible.
From the FBI
Seizing Crime Proceeds and Compensating Victims
Forfeiture as an Effective Law Enforcement Tool
Last fall, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Vermont held a press conference and issued a press release announcing that “the government and its public and private partners have completed an agreement to convert forfeited Rutland drug houses to safe, renovated houses.”
So what's the significance of that announcement? The legal forfeiture action it referred to grew out of a multi-agency law enforcement investigation into heroin and crack cocaine dealers who were operating out of various residences on the same street in Rutland, Vermont, spreading their poison throughout the community. Seven subjects were ultimately sentenced to federal prison terms. But beyond that, through the civil forfeiture process, the government was able to take possession of the very properties that were used in the commission of these crimes and facilitate their return to the Rutland community victimized by the criminals.
The FBI was one of the agencies involved in this investigation, which is just one example of how we use the federal forfeiture provisions. Forfeiture in general as a law enforcement tool allows us to accomplish a number of goals—from disrupting and dismantling criminal and terrorist organizations and punishing criminals to compensating victims and protecting communities.
What exactly is forfeiture? In a nutshell, it's the legal taking of property by the U.S. government because the property was either used in the facilitation of a federal crime or obtained through the illegal proceeds of a federal crime. The FBI, like other federal investigative agencies, began using forfeiture in earnest when Congress passed the Comprehensive Crime Control of 1984, which established the Department of Justice's Assets Forfeiture Fund to receive and lawfully manage the proceeds of federal forfeitures.
What sort of items can be seized for forfeiture? Just about anything of value—including cash, financial accounts, securities, businesses, real estate, jewelry, professional licenses, antiques, artwork, lottery winnings, vehicles of all kinds, high-end electronics, and weapons.
Many—though not all—federal crimes have forfeiture provisions, but just about every law the FBI is charged with enforcing has some forfeiture aspect—from organized crime activities, financial frauds, drug trafficking, and cyber crimes to public corruption, child pornography, human trafficking, and terrorism. In all Bureau cases, the burden of proof to demonstrate that the property in question is forfeitable under the applicable federal law rests with the government.
There are two different kinds of forfeiture—criminal and civil.
In general, criminal forfeiture is an action brought against individuals as part of a criminal prosecution. Their illegal assets can be seized or frozen by the government, and then after a conviction or guilty plea, a forfeiture order is meted out during the sentencing of the defendant(s).
Civil forfeiture, on the other hand, is brought against property rather than the actual wrongdoer—it's not dependent on a criminal prosecution, it's based on the strength of the evidence at hand, it's available whether the owner of the property is living or dead, and it allows us to obtain the assets of fugitives who have escaped the arm of the law or subjects who reside outside our borders.
There are two kinds of civil forfeiture: administrative forfeiture that generally involves property worth less than $500,000, and judicial forfeiture that can be of any value but generally involves property worth more than $500,000. But criminal and civil forfeiture aren't mutually exclusive. In some instances, the FBI—in conjunction with U.S. Attorney's Office—will run parallel criminal and civil forfeiture cases. There are several reasons for this. Parallel proceedings help us get the proceeds of a crime back to the victims more quickly. Also, if the case involves depreciating assets (like cars), we can civilly forfeit those assets faster than in the criminal proceeding, then liquidate the assets and get them back to the victim at a better return than if we had held the assets until the criminal case was completed. We also do parallel cases to ensure we can forfeit the assets civilly in case the defendant flees or dies before the forfeiture order is handed down.
Why use forfeiture at all? First of all, it deprives criminals of the illegal proceeds from their crimes. It helps dismantle criminal organizations and takes away the tools or instruments they use to commit their crimes, and also takes away the funds they use to operate. Forfeiture can also serve as a deterrent to others who might be considering criminal activities—is it worth the risk? And, it can compensate crime victims for the financial losses they suffered.
We've had a lot of success with forfeiture actions in terms of going after criminal enterprises, but our emphasis on compensating victims has paid off as well. In the past two fiscal years, FBI forfeitures—criminal and civil—have allowed the government to return more than $100 million to victims of crime following criminal restitution orders. And since fiscal year 2000, the Department of Justice as a whole has returned more than $4 billion in forfeited funds to crime victims.
Examples of Forfeiture in Action
Criminal and/or civil forfeiture actions are often a vital part of FBI cases. Here are a few examples:
In December 2016, a civil complaint filed in Washington, D.C.—seeking the forfeiture of multiple antiquities associated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)—alleged that ISIL markets and sells antiquities to finance its terror operations. More
In September 2016, a civil complaint was filed in New Jersey seeking the forfeiture of six dogs seized in connection with an interstate dog fighting ring. More
In April 2016, a civil forfeiture complaint was filed in New York seeking forfeiture of the proceeds of a $100 million international business e-mail fraud scheme from at least 20 accounts worldwide. The funds were allegedly stolen from an American company. More
In August 2015, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky announced that nearly half of the more than $1.1 million diverted and stolen from a variety of political campaigns, political action committees, and non-profit organizations has been recovered and returned to the victim organizations. These assets were forfeited as part of a parallel proceeding where some of the assets were forfeited through a civil administrative forfeiture process and the rest through criminal forfeiture. More
In January 2015, after the convictions of several Texas individuals for fraud-related crimes involving the receipt of federal funds, nearly $900,000 of forfeited funds went back to the school district victimized by the scheme. More
D.C. Braces for Tens of Thousands of Protesters During Trump's Inauguration Week
by Phil McCausland
Donald Trump's voice won't be the only one heard at this year's inauguration.
Tens of thousands of people are preparing to hit the streets of Washington D.C. during the 45th president's inaugural week. While some will march in support of the president or various causes, a growing number will be on hand to show their opposition to the newly elected president and his administration.
The National Park Service has provided 22 permits for First Amendment events that will take place over inauguration week on park service land that includes the National Mall and the White House. Each protest ranges in size from 50 people to 200,000, however, any protest less than 25 people does not require a permit.
"The permit applications we received this year are a considerable uptick," Mike Litterst, public affairs officer of the National Mall and Memorial Parks, said, adding that they typically have only provided about a half dozen for past inaugurations.
D.C.'s Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management has been preparing for the protests and the inauguration crowds since April. They're expecting 800,000 - 900,000 people to attend overall, which is significantly less than Obama's inauguration in 2009 that drew 1.8 million and forced the city into gridlock.
And the DHS will continue to examine hotel occupancy rates, buses and social media sites to try to gain a better understanding of the crowd's potential size as initial estimates could change.
Christopher Geldart, the director of the D.C. Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said that 3,200 police officers from across the country will be on the parade route to provide security. Obama's first inauguration had 2,500, and his second had 3,000. Inauguration security expenses are expected to exceed $100 million this year.
The largest protest is expected to come the day after Trump's inauguration. According to the permit they acquired for 200,000 demonstrators and the responses they've received via social media, the Women's March on Washington is predicted to draw hundreds of thousands of protesters in the nation's capital on Jan. 21, although there will be corresponding protests across the country.
"It's quite noteworthy. If they get those kinds of numbers, it will far exceed any previous inaugural protest," said Inaugural Historian Jim Bendat, author of "Democracy's Big Day: The Inauguration of Our President, 1789-2013."
Bendat noted that the women's march reflects a similar demonstration in the early 20th century. A day prior to the first inauguration of Woodrow Wilson, 5,000 to 8,000 suffragists got a parade permit and marched down Pennsylvania Avenue demanding the women's right to vote.
"If you think about it, that's a lot of people for that era given transportation difficulties," Bendat said.
Ben Becker, an activist helping to organize the ANSWER Coalition's two prominent protests along the inaugural parade route, said it is unsurprising that there is this much interest in demonstrations opposed to the incoming administration.
While he said his organization applied for permits a year ago and planned to protest no matter the victor, entire communities were energized to share their disapproval of Trump.
"Trump has triggered a wave of protest and outrage across the country," Becker said. "His election has itself become a point of protest for women, Muslim communities, for immigrants, for people who care about education, social security, Medicare — the list is almost limitless in terms of the people who feel threatened by what a Trump presidency would mean."
Like many protest organizations, ANSWER wanted to have a prominent position at the inauguration because, according to Becker, they wanted the world, international media and Trump himself to see their opposition.
But some protesters don't think being seen is enough.
DisruptJ20 is a new organization that started organizing six months ago in preparation of the inauguration. Curated by local D.C. activists, the group aims to use direct intervention to interrupt the inaugural process.
"The idea is to shut down access to the parade as much as possible and slowing it down to a crawl," said DisruptJ20 organizer Legba Carrefour. "Then there's the broader goal of shutting down the entire city around it and creating a sense of paralysis that creates a headline that says, 'Trump's inauguration creates chaos.'"
Interim D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said that the police were prepared for potential disruptions at the Inauguration and mentioned the size of the security presence, which will include 5,000 National Guardsman.
But groups like DisruptJ20 are aware of this and continue to run their "Action Camps" with names like "What's Race Got to Do With It? Things White Activists Need to Know" and "How to Talk to a Nazi: Protection and Preparation for a Fascist Society."
Their hope is that they can engage potential activists and teach them how to effectively protest during the inauguration and in the future.
"It's kind of a limp thing just walking in the street rather than taking direct action in what is exactly going on. Then again, we are still marching in the street with a permit," Carrefour explained, citing how effective civil disobedience was during the Civil Rights Movement. "We really embrace all tactics."
Boris Epshteyn, the director of communications for Trump's inaugural committee, has stated in multiple interviews that protesters are well within their rights to demonstrate as long as they follow the applicable laws, rules and regulations, but the largest group demonstrating in support of Trump have a slightly stricter view.
Bikers for Trump have a permit for 5,000 individuals, and, though the organization did not respond to calls for comment from NBC News, their president Chris Cox told Fox & Friends on Friday that they planned to put their bodies in the way of anti-Trump protesters.
"In the event we are needed, we certainly will form a wall of meat," Cox told the Fox News anchors about his organizations, which he said had grown as large as 200,000 members since it first formed 15 months ago.
"We'll be shoulder-to-shoulder with our brothers and toe-to-toe with anyone," he added.
Trump and his supporters have often dismissed demonstrations like the ones Carrefour and Becker are organizing, claiming that they are filled with professional protesters who are being paid to appear.
Both Carrefour and Becker roundly rejected this accusation, which was made throughout the campaign by Trump and others with no evidence.
Demonstrators protest outside of the Trump Hotel during a march in downtown Washington in opposition of President-elect Donald Trump, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) Jose Luis Magana / AP
"In my work as an activist, I have been accused of being funded by the following people: George Soros, George Michael, ancient aliens, the Catholic Church and ancient aliens who have since founded the Catholic Church," Carrefour said, noting that he and his fellow activists scrape by and would reject any kind of financial backing. "It's absurd and it's not true."
Becker's sentiment was similar.
"There are people who have given a lot of their lives to fight for the communities that have been consistently under attack whether it's under a democratic or republican administration," he said. "To deride or dismiss people who are fighting for a better world is the height of cynicism."
All anti-Trump protesters shared the belief that inauguration day would only be the beginning, as they trust that the incoming administration will continue to take a hostile tone toward minorities and various other stakeholders.
The goal is to start big and then take the organizing outside of Washington D.C. to smaller communities across the country.
"It's not a one day event," Becker said. "It's day one of a larger resistance."
Forever a mystery? MH370 search ends after nearly 3 years
by Kristen Gelineau
SYDNEY (AP) -- The nearly three-year search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 ended Tuesday, possibly forever — not because investigators have run out of leads, but because the countries involved in the expensive and vast deep-sea hunt have shown no appetite for opening another phase.
Late last year, as ships with high-tech search equipment covered the last strips of the 120,000-square kilometer (46,000-square mile) search zone, experts concluded they should have been searching a smaller area immediately to the north. But by then, $160 million had already been spent by Malaysia, Australia and China, who had agreed over the summer not to search elsewhere without pinpoint evidence.
The transport ministers of those countries reiterated that decision Tuesday in the joint communique issued by the Joint Agency Coordination Center in Australia that announced the search for Flight 370 — and the 239 people aboard the aircraft — had been suspended.
"Despite every effort using the best science available, cutting-edge technology, as well as modeling and advice from highly skilled professionals who are the best in their field, unfortunately, the search has not been able to locate the aircraft," said the agency, which helped lead the hunt for the Boeing 777 in remote waters west of Australia.
"Accordingly, the underwater search for MH370 has been suspended. The decision to suspend the underwater search has not been taken lightly nor without sadness."
Relatives of those lost on the plane, which vanished during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014, responded largely with outrage. A support group, Voice 370, issued a statement saying that extending the search is "an inescapable duty owed to the flying public."
Without understanding what happened to the plane, there's a "good chance that this could happen in the future," said K.S. Narendran, a member of the group.
But last year, Australia, Malaysia and China — which have each helped fund the search — agreed that the hunt would be suspended once the search zone was exhausted unless new evidence emerges that pinpoints the plane's specific location. More than after of those aboard the plane were Chinese.
Since no technology currently exists that can tell investigators exactly where the plane is, that means the most expensive, complex search in aviation history is over, barring a change of heart from the three countries.
There is the possibility that a private donor could offer to bankroll a new search, or that Malaysia will kick in fresh funds. But no one has stepped up yet, raising the bleak possibility that the world's greatest aviation mystery may never be solved.
For the families of the aircraft's 227 passengers and 12 crew members, that's a particularly bitter prospect given the recent acknowledgment by officials that they had been looking for the plane in the wrong place all along.
In December, the transport bureau announced that a review of the data used to estimate where the plane crashed, coupled with new information on ocean currents, strongly suggested that the plane hit the water in an area directly north of the search zone.
Officials investigating the plane's disappearance recommended that search crews head north to a new 25,000-square-kilometer (9,700-square-mile) area identified in a recent analysis as where the plane most likely crashed. But Australia's government rejected that recommendation, saying the results of the experts' analysis weren't precise enough to justify continuing the hunt.
"Whilst combined scientific studies have continued to refine areas of probability, to date no new information has been discovered to determine the specific location of the aircraft," the transport ministers of the three countries involved said in their statement Tuesday.
The lack of resolution has caused agony for family members of the flight's passengers, who have begged officials to continue the hunt for their loved ones.
"The whole series of events since the plane disappeared has been nothing but frustrating," said Grace Nathan, a Malaysian whose mother was on board Flight 370. "It continues to be frustrating and we just hope they will continue to search. ... They've already searched 120,000 square kilometers. What is another 25,000?"
Investigators have been stymied again and again in their efforts to find the aircraft. Hopes were repeatedly raised and smashed by false leads: Underwater signals wrongly thought to be emanating from the plane's black boxes. Possible debris fields that turned out to be sea trash. Oil slicks that contained no jet fuel. A large object detected on the seafloor that was just an old shipwreck.
In the absence of solid leads, investigators relied largely on an analysis of transmissions between the plane and a satellite to narrow down where in the world the jet ended up — a technique never previously used to find an aircraft.
Based on the transmissions, they narrowed down the possible crash zone to a vast arc of ocean slicing across the Southern Hemisphere. Even then, the search zone was enormous and located in one of the most remote patches of water on earth — 1,800 kilometers (1,100 miles) off Australia's west coast. Much of the seabed had never even been mapped.
For years, search crews painstakingly combed the search area in several ships, largely pinning their hopes on towfish, small vessels equipped with sonar that sent information back to the boats in real-time. The ships slowly dragged the towfish through the ocean just above the seabed, hoping the equipment would detect some trace of the plane. Unmanned submarines were used to examine areas of rougher terrain and objects of interest picked up by sonar that required a closer look.
The search zone shifted multiple times as investigators refined their analysis, all to no avail. Some began to question whether the plane had gone down in the Southern Hemisphere at all.
Then, in July 2015, came the first proof that the plane was indeed in the Indian Ocean: A wing flap from the aircraft was found on Reunion Island, east of Madagascar. Since then, more than 20 objects either confirmed or believed to be from the plane have washed ashore on beaches throughout the Indian Ocean. But while the debris proved the plane went down in the Indian Ocean, the location of the main underwater wreckage — and its crucial black box data recorders — remains stubbornly elusive.
If the plane is never found, the reasons for its disappearance and crash will probably never be known, though Malaysia has said the plane's erratic movements after takeoff were consistent with deliberate actions.
The sister of the pilot, Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, slammed authorities for ending the search without settling the mystery, saying her brother will not be absolved of suspicions he deliberately crashed the plane.
"How can they end the search like that? There will be finger-pointing again," Sakinab Shah said.
The transport ministers praised the efforts of the search crews and said the search had presented an "unprecedented challenge."
"Today's announcement is significant for our three countries, but more importantly for the family and friends of those on board the aircraft. We again take this opportunity to honor the memory of those who have lost their lives and acknowledge the enormous loss felt by their loved ones," the ministers wrote. "We remain hopeful that new information will come to light and that at some point in the future the aircraft will be located."
8 people injured by gunfire, one critically, during MLK day festivities in Miami
by Derek Hawkins
A Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration in Miami took a violent turn Monday when gunfire erupted at a crowded outdoor festival honoring the civil rights leader, injuring eight people, including five juveniles, authorities said.
Four teenage girls and a 30-year-old man were in the hospital in stable condition, and a 20-year-old man was in critical condition after suffering apparent gunshot wounds, police said. Two other victims — an 11-year-old and a 13-year-old — were grazed by bullets and treated on the scene, the Miami Herald reported.
Police said they recovered two firearms and took two people into custody for questioning but had not identified any suspects as of Tuesday night.
“This investigation continues to be very active,” the Miami-Dade Police Department said in a statement.
The shooting occurred at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park in northwest Miami at about 3:40 p.m., a couple hours after a parade honoring King had wrapped. The annual parade and festival at the park is intended for families — featuring food vendors and music — and typically draws thousands of people. It has been a staple of Miami's MLK Day celebrations since it started in the 1970s.
The park was lively but peaceful until the shots rang out, sending people scrambling for cover, witnesses said. Video posted by WSVN captured the burst of gunfire. In the 12-second clip, a man in sunglasses and a gray sweatshirt was seen filming as he strolled through the festival. An instant later, at least four shots were heard coming from behind him. People scream, and the shaky footage shows the filmer and others running through the park.
Another video posted by CNN shows three police officers carrying a young woman wearing white jeans and a striped tank top wailing in pain for treatment of what appeared to be an injury to her lower leg.
Terrell Dandy, who was in the park, said a stampede broke out in the park when the shots went off.
“It was good until you had these idiots out there shooting,” Dandy told the Herald. “It was just a bunch of commotion.”
Geral Frazier, a relative of one of the juveniles who was shot, said gunfire continued as one ambulance tried to pull away from the scene.
“They were still shooting, and the ambulance couldn't leave, ” Frazier told WSVN. “Everybody just running and screaming.”
Authorities swarmed the scene and evacuated the park, lining the area with tape and forcing vendors to pack up early. Police told the Herald that no officers were involved in the shooting.
Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez said it was “shameful” that violence had interrupted the Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations.
Tammy Meeks said she was attending the festival with her family when she heard the gunfire. She said her nieces, nephews and son were in the crowd when the shots rang out, but none were injured.
“Too close to home,” she told WSVN. “This is supposed to be Martin Luther King Day. This should be one of the one days out of the year where whether you're white, black, Hispanic — no matter what you are, we come together and just have fun and care for one another. And it's senseless that we can't just do that on one day of the year.”
Grandfather saves 3-year-old girl from would-be kidnapper in ‘tug-of-war,' police say
by Lindsey Bever
Authorities in Northern California said a grandfather pulled his 3-year-old granddaughter from a kidnapper's grip and saved the toddler from a troubling fate.
The grandfather, who was not identified by authorities, had taken his two grandchildren to play Saturday afternoon at a park in Auburn, Calif., not far from Sacramento, police said. Authorities said the three were at a duck pond when 28-year-old Lindsay Frasher approached the toddler and tried to take her from her grandfather.
The grandfather, who was right beside his granddaughter at the time, wrapped his arms around the 3-year-old girl and held onto her, police said.
“There was basically a tug-of-war over the granddaughter,” Sgt. Gary Hopping of the Auburn Police Department told The Washington Post.
Hopping said bystanders at the park near Auburn Ravine Road “jumped in” and helped the grandfather, then detained Frasher until police arrived.
Auburn police said later in a statement that officers arrived at the scene about 1:45 p.m. Saturday and after an investigation, determined that Frasher had “attempted to physically take the female child away from a family member.”
“Frasher was not known to the family or family members involved,” according to the statement from police. “Frasher was not believed to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the incident.”
Police said they did not know whether Frasher suffers from a mental illness.
Frasher was arrested and charged with kidnapping. Hopping said, “If you take somebody and move them — no matter how slight — it is kidnapping.”
Frasher is being held in county jail on $210,000 bail, according to booking records. It was not immediately clear whether she has an attorney.
But Hopping, the police sergeant, suggested that there was a silver lining to it all.
“What's important is that citizens got involved and helped the grandfather,” he said in an interview Monday. “To me, that's just invaluable.”
Mayor and police chief discuss 'partnership' with residents during community walk-through
by Tracey Smith
RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and Police Chief Alfred Durham walked through the city's Creighton Court neighborhood Monday evening, going door-to-door talking with local residents.
“This is about a partnership,” Mayor Levar Stoney told 8News. “Community policing is a lot more than just the police officers in their communities, but it's also our neighbors giving information back as well.”
Mayor Stoney said this is a part of his commitment to making sure every community is safe. He believes that by talking to members of the community you can get a feel for what's really needed to make improvements.
One neighbor said he was glad to see them going door-to-door.
“I think it's real good that they come out here, that they're concerned about the community about the violence,” neighbor McArthur Jeffries said. “I think it's real good and I think they need to come out here more often.”
Chief Durham and Mayor Stoney found that a big need in the community was after-school activities for children and teenagers.
Okla. cops use targeted approach to lower crime
Oklahoma City officers are pounding the pavement and knocking on some 9,000 doors to speak with residents about their issues
by Matt Dinger
OKLAHOMA CITY — Instead of just fielding complaints and responding to crimes in progress, Oklahoma City police officers in the Springlake division are pounding the pavement and knocking on some 9,000 doors to speak with residents about their issues with the northeast side.
The community policing approach is made possible by a $730,000 Safe Oklahoma grant from the state attorney general's office.
Kicking off Dec. 14, police already have knocked on more than a thousand doors in a 3.3-square-mile area targeted because of a high volume of violent crime.
"We want to identify by going door-to-door to find out from them, to get them involved in the community approach by saying, 'What's important to you? What can we do to work with you to make your neighborhood safer?' Once we get those things identified, then we put together either enforcement shifts, or we work with the city utilities or action center or other groups," said Maj. Don Martin, Springlake division commander.
"It solves a problem, but also builds a relationship that can be sustained for a long time."
The number one complaint so far has been about speeders and other traffic voilators, which is the most common issue nationwide. The second most common complaint is about random gunfire, a byproduct of gang activity that has been a mainstay of the area for years, Capt. Bill Patten said.
The hope is that giving direct voice to residents will help staunch crime in an area that has had more than 40 homicides and slews of rapes, robberies, and assaults over the past five years.
"We don't want that to be status quo. We don't want people to assume that's how life is, and it seems to be getting to that point," said Patten, a 25-year veteran who has worked more than 17 years in Springlake.
Patten is Springlake's executive officer, and second in command after Martin.
"Crime is a symptom of the problem. We want to make that area a climate where crime cannot sustain itself because the neighbors won't approve of it, we won't approve of it. It's just not a place to set up. We could send an IMPACT team in to hit the drug house, but we want to know why it was OK for that drug house to set up there. How did that happen?" Patten said.
"We don't want to do symptomatic policing. We want to go right to the problem."
And the problem is concentrated in an area with a jagged boundary that goes as far north as NE 50 and as south as NE 13. Lindsay Avenue is the westernmost street in the target area, which also juts out to NE Grand Boulevard in the southeast.
The boundary focuses on where violent crime is most concentrated, and cleaves through certain neighborhoods rather than being delineated by a grid.
On the first night out on the streets, officers were invited into a home where they shared a meal, prayed together and sat and talked for about two hours, Patten said.
"In Springlake, we've had families that have lived there for three, four, five generations. It's not multi-family housing. This is their home. It's been their home for a long time," Martin said.
"We can go out and send an enforcement shift, and he can go do X, Y, and Z, but X, Y, and Z may not even be on the radar for people who live in that neighborhood. The law enforcement perspective to solving a problem is dumping a massive amount of resources in an area to do enforcement.
"If you're trying to build a relationship, that's probably not the best thing you can do. You want to go in, you want to get them on your side, you want to talk to them, make them feel empowered to be part of the solution, and then, based upon what they say, send enforcement in," Martin said.
"We're going to direct our enforcement actions off of what the neighbors feel is important. We had one guy say he feels safer if the police moved out west, but everybody else wants more police in their neighborhood," Patten said.
If residents aren't home, officers leave behind "sorry we missed you" cards with a phone number and email address. They plan to knock on those doors again, but police want to provide multiple avenues of communication in case someone does not want to be seen talking to officers on a street with a high level of criminal or gang activity, Patten said.
Another provision of the grant will be the juvenile intervention program, which kicks off this month. Low-level, underage offenders will be recommended by the municipal court to go through a seven-week program that teaches leadership skills and alternatives to a career in crime.
The grant term is one year, but police can apply for an extension if the money has not all been spent.
"You want to solve crime, you create an environment where the citizenry and the people that live in that area say, 'That ain't going to fly here. You ain't coming in this area and doing that.' It's like water, it takes the path of least resistance. Criminals are the same way. You make an area where they don't want to go do it, they're going to go find someplace else to do it, and we hope that's the next state over," Martin said.
Officials: Unfilled border tunnels in Mexico a security risk
U.S. officials say Mexico's failure to fully seal up border tunnels poses a security risk and is an "open invitation" for Mexican cartels to dig new tunnels
by The Associated Press
SAN DIEGO — Mexico's inability to fully seal up border tunnels dug by drug smugglers poses a security risk and is an "open invitation" for cartels to carve out new tunnels, according to officials in the United States.
On the U.S. side, drug tunnels have been filled with concrete since 2007, after the Los Angeles Times reported that they were being left unfilled because of budget constraints within Customs and Border Protection.
Mexican authorities say they lack the money to completely fill the tunnels, some of which are outfitted with ventilation and rail systems to whisk contraband hundreds of yards under the border. Only the tunnel openings are sealed south of the border.
That allows traffickers to simply dig a new entry point to access the largely intact subterranean passageways leading to the U.S.
A smugglers' tunnel that had been shut down but left unfilled on the Mexican side was found to be back in operation in December, the Times reported Sunday. Traffickers have reactivated or tried to reactivate at least four other tunnels in recent years, most recently last month near Tijuana's airport.
"The biggest threat is that it's a huge open invitation for drug traffickers, and it's definitely going to be taken advantage of," said Michael Unzueta, a former special agent in charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in San Diego.
Since 2007, it has cost Customs and Border Protection $8.7 million to fill drug tunnels, according to a 2016 report by the Department of Homeland Security.
An estimated 20 large tunnels, constructed before and after 2007, are largely intact on the Mexican side, officials told the newspaper.
Searching for a cop killer, be ready for a deadly confrontation
It's possible that this subject's peaceful surrender won't happen
by Doug Wyllie
At the time of this writing, a manhunt is presently underway in Florida for the man who murdered Master Sergeant Debra Clayton of the Orlando Police Department.
In the aftermath of her murder, Clayton — a 17-year veteran of the force — is being remembered by her police peers as a hero who “gave her life to the community she loves.” OPD tweeted that Clayton: “always had a smile for kids and always took a moment to interact w/community.”
If the loss of Master Sergeant Clayton on Monday morning wasn't painful enough, Florida law enforcement soon suffered another tragedy. In the early hours of the manhunt, Orange County Sheriff's Office Deputy First Class Norman Lewis was killed when he was involved in a motorcycle crash while searching for Clayton's murderer.
The murder subject is 41-year-old Markeith Loyd, who has also been identified as the primary suspect in the murder of his pregnant ex-girlfriend in December of 2016. Loyd is considered to be armed and extremely dangerous. Authorities have publicly urged Loyd to turn himself in peacefully to prevent further loss of life.
It's possible that this subject's peaceful surrender won't happen. The unfortunate truth is that this thing may end with Loyd dying by a self-inflicted gunshot wound, or getting killed in a confrontation with police.
Loyd has murdered a law enforcement officer, carjacked a car in order to escape, and shot a number of rounds at other officers seeking to apprehend him — his gunfire hit a police SUV, but fortunately did not strike other officers.
Loyd has a long criminal history dating back nearly two decades. In 1998, he served over four years for battery on a law enforcement officer or firefighter and resisting arrest with violence, according to the Orlando Sentinel. He was convicted for conspiracy with intent to distribute cocaine in 1999, and while in jail in 2002, a corrections officer filed charges against him for battery — Loyd was found guilty of that charge.
What does this mean for police seeking to take this dangerous suspect into custody?
Simple: be ready for a deadly force encounter at all times. Be ready for standoff. Be ready for ambush. Be ready for anything. Your life — or the life of another — may depend on it.
Looking to recent history for guidance
I'm reminded of the weeklong manhunt for Christopher Dorner in California in February of 2013, and the statewide manhunt for Maurice Clemmons in Washington in November 2009.
In the Dorner case, the former LAPD officer who gone totally rogue and murdered four people — two of them cops — was discovered to be holed up in a cabin near Big Bear.
A standoff ensued, and after one of the walls of the cabin was torn down and chemical munitions deployed, it became abundantly clear that the murderer would not surrender. As the building burned to the ground above him, Dorner sat in the basement and fatally shot himself.
In the Clemmons case, the murderer who assassinated four police officers at the Forza Coffee Shop in Lakewood — and who himself was shot and wounded in that incident — decided to set a trap in which he planned to kill more cops.
Clemmons had not considered the skill and guile of Seattle Police Officer Ben Kelly, who was dialed-in and ready for anything when he came upon an abandoned vehicle at around 0245 hours. Kelly was in his squad car when he saw a man approaching him from his six o'clock. He exited his vehicle, recognized Clemmons, and shot the cop killer.
A hunted murderer, potentially getting help
This search may take just days, or it may go on for months. Dorner and Clemmons lasted about a week each. Even Eric Rudolph and Ted Kaczynski were eventually caught.
Here are five keys to successfully tracking and apprehending this cop-killing fugitive.
#1 Focus on known associates: There are myriad hiding places for a fugitive such as Markeith Loyd, but they are not limitless, nor are they impervious to law enforcement successfully bringing the cop-killer to justice.
Loyd has a number of known associates. Those individuals will be among the first who police approach. They must be treated as extremely dangerous and hostile to police.
Eric Frein — who ambushed a Pennsylvania trooper outside his barracks and was captured by US Marshals in the Pocono Mountains after a 48-day search — survived in the woods — entirely without help for more than a month and a half.
Unlike Frein, Loyd is a career criminal who has reportedly received help in his flight from police following the murder of his pregnant ex-girlfriend. It's unclear if he will receive assistance now, but officers must assume that he will indeed receive care and comfort of his criminal colleagues.
So, be ready not only for a deadly confrontation with the wanted suspect, but also with the people who choose to call Loyd an ally.
#2 Watch social media: Loyd was extremely revelatory on his social media pages leading up to the murder of his ex-girlfriend and their unborn child. It's entirely possible that Loyd will pop up in the virtual world. His ego may lead to his undoing.
On November 30, 2016, Loyd posted, “Goals!!!! To be on Americas most wanted.”
Aside from the fact that this television show is no longer on the air, Loyd may surface online. The state, local, and federal authorities searching for this man will surely be watching the virtual space as closely as the real world.
#3 Leverage the willingness of anonymous tipsters: The Orlando area Crimestoppers organization has pledged that any tip leading to the capture of Loyd will be kept totally anonymous. The reward for information leading to his arrest has been increased to $100,000.
That's a pretty significant chunk of change. Given the fact that Loyd is likely to stay close to areas with which he is familiar, there's at least a small possibility that someone will see him and be tempted by the payday.
#4 Utilize K-9 and airborne FLIR assets: Orlando is a massive city — spanning 110 square miles in central Florida. Further, the metropolitan area surrounding that city is a mix of suburban sprawl and rural Floridian plains and lowlands.
The probability of Loyd lying low in a swap is not high, but it cannot be ignored. The focus of the search thus far has been on apartment complexes near to where he was last seen, but law enforcement will also need to deploy resources such as K-9 search teams and airborne assets equipped with FLIR capabilities to an ever-increasing area.
Generally speaking, a person on foot (barring injury) can traverse about three miles of level ground per hour, and depending on the physical fitness of the individual, can tally between 24-26 miles of long march in a single day. The area of focus will necessarily expand as the days and weeks go by.
#5 Remember basic officer safety concepts: Officers searching for Loyd must watch for signs of ambush. Clemmons did his best to kill one more cop before going down in a hail of gunfire. Ben Kelly was prepared and did not allow that to happen.
Remember that there is strength in numbers. When possible, respond with ovewhelming numbers. This worked out well for police who came to find Dorner in that cabin at Big Bear.
Don't rush in. Whenever possible and/or practicable, wait for backup. Do your best to back up your fellow officers, even if no call for backup is made.
Watch your six.
Stay safe out there my brothers and sisters.
Oh yeah... and one more thing: shoot back first.