February, 2017 - Week 1
Federal Court Rules Against Public.Resource.Org, Says Public Safety Laws Can Be Locked Behind Paywalls
by Mitch Stoltz
Everyone should be able to read the law, discuss it, and share it with others, without having to pay a toll or sign a contract. Seems obvious, right? Unfortunately, a federal district court has said otherwise, ruling that private organizations can use copyright to control access to huge portions of our state and federal laws. The court ordered Public.Resource.org to stop providing public access to these key legal rules.
Public.Resource.org has one mission: to improve public access to government documents, including our laws. To fulfill that mission, it acquires and posts online a wide variety of public documents including regulations that have become law through “incorporation by reference,” meaning that they are initially created through private standards organizations and later incorporated into federal law. Those regulations are often difficult to access because they aren't published in the federal code, but they are vitally important. For example, they include the rules that govern the safety of buildings and consumer products, promote energy efficiency, and control the design of standardized tests for students and employees.
The industry associations that develop these rules insist that they have copyrights in them – even after they become binding regulations. Six of those associations sued Public Resource for copyright infringement. According to their complaint, sharing the law means breaking the law.
EFF, along with co-counsel at Fenwick & West, Durie Tangri, and attorney David Halperin stepped up to defend Public Resource in court. Unfortunately, we didn't win this round; the district court has granted summary judgment motions in favor of the standards organizations, ruling that they can claim copyright in the regulations, and ordered Public Resource not to post them online. The district court's decision runs contrary to decisions in other parts of the country, and raises serious constitutional issues. We don't see how the decision can be reconciled with the due process right to know the law, nor our First Amendment right to share it.
The district court's decision suggests that laws can be copyrighted and put behind paywalls as long as they were first written down by someone outside of government. Of course, lobbyists and trade groups write bills and draft regulations that get passed by Congress, or federal agencies, with scarcely a word changed. The ruling against Public Resource suggests that every one of those lobbyists and other private interests “owns” a piece of the law and can control who accesses it, and how, and at what price. Will private parties be able to make parts of the law inaccessible, in an attempt to boost sales of other publications? Three of the plaintiffs against Public.Resource.Org have already tried to do this with the 1999 Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing, which is a part of both state and federal regulations.
We're disappointed by this misguided ruling, but the case is far from over. Public Resource continues to make important government documents from many nations available on its website, and to push those governments to allow everyone to read and speak the law. And EFF will continue to stand beside Public Resource in its mission to make the law available to all.
State warns 1,000 people after social security numbers taken from public safety HQ
by Kyle Hopkins
ANCHORAGE (KTUU) -- A woman who worked at the state Public Safety Department and trooper headquarters in Anchorage is accused of taking paperwork with the social security numbers of more than 1,000 people in an ongoing theft investigation.
Marie Kimberly Ramos, 22, faces felony theft and burglary charges after police say her boyfriend used her access card Dec. 26 to illegally enter the Public Safety offices on Tudor Road, break a door and steal cash, according to charges filed in state court. On Wednesday afternoon, the state mailed letters to about 1,020 people warning that investigators also had found Ramos in the possession of paperwork containing their personal information.
“We encourage you to take precautions to guard against the misuse of your information that could result in identity theft,” wrote John Roberts, director of the Statewide Services division.
Roberts said there is no indication that Ramos used the paperwork and personal data to commit identity theft or related crimes.
“We think that part of it, she was just hiding work, hiding undone work,” Roberts said.
The personal information belonged to people who had applied for state background checks through the Public Safety Department. One of Ramos's duties was to mail information to applicants informing them of the results of the background checks.
Ramos and boyfriend Jeremiah Ranem, 32, are accused of illegally accessing the public safety building multiple times. Ramos began working for the state in late 2013, earning about $37,320 a year, according to state records.
A hearing in the case is scheduled for Feb. 10 in Anchorage.
Roberts said the alleged theft has prompted the Statewide Services Division, which oversees the background checks as well as concealed carry permit processing and licensing of security guards, to consider internal audits of cash handling and other measures aimed.
At the time of the Dec. 26 break in, an investigation into missing money at the Public Safety headquarters was already underway, Roberts said.
Lawmakers consider expanding Ill. immigrant protections
One proposal would limit cooperation and communication between local police and immigration authorities
by Sophia Tareen
CHICAGO — Illinois legislators are proposing to boost immigrant protections statewide in response to President Donald Trump's executive orders on immigration, a move advocates say would essentially give the state "sanctuary" status.
One proposal says schools, medical facilities and places of worship don't have to give access to federal immigration authorities or local law enforcement working on their behalf. Another proposal would limit cooperation and communication between local police and immigration authorities.
"If there was ever a moment for things to move, it is now when we're seeing immigrant communities under unprecedented attacks," said Mony Ruiz-Velasco, a leader of a suburban Chicago immigrant organizing group called PASO.
The legislation's chances of passage are uncertain. Backers of Trump's moves say he is just fulfilling promises he made during the campaign, and warn that "sanctuary" cities and states risk losing their federal funding.
Ruiz-Velasco and others said the goal is to extend so-called sanctuary protections already on the books in Chicago and Cook County, where police aren't allowed to ask about citizenship status and don't cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
Reaction has been divided to a series of immigration-related executive orders signed in Trump's first days as president, including one designed to allow local law enforcement to investigate, apprehend or detain immigrants living in the country without legal permission. Some states, like Texas, have moved to reinforce Trump's orders, while lawmakers in California are advancing a statewide sanctuary proposal.
Illinois already has some of the nation's most immigrant-friendly laws. Advocates are pushing sanctuary ordinances in suburbs like Oak Park. The state's largest immigrant advocacy group, the Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights, is pushing city officials to make Chicago's rules stronger.
Democratic lawmakers say the two statewide proposals are just the beginning of what they want to do. But the extent of any opposition isn't known.
While Democrats control the Illinois House and Senate, it's not clear where Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner stands. He said that there are "serious concerns" about another Trump executive order suspending the nation's refugee program, and urged resolution "through the courts." When asked about sanctuary cities and states, he said in a statement that it's "not a state issue" and he supports "comprehensive immigration reform."
Other Republicans are opposed.
Rep. John Cabello, a Republican from Machesney Park, noted that any entities adopting sanctuary status risk losing federal funding. Trump has threatened to strip federal money from sanctuary states.
"We're kind of playing a dangerous game," Cabello said of Illinois' plans, adding that Trump is simply following through on campaign promises. "He is doing absolutely everything he said he was going to do."
Democratic Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch of Hillside, who sponsored the schools bill, said his bill would offer peace of mind for immigrants in schools, churches or hospitals.
His plan would bar federal immigration agents from those sites, with few exceptions, such as obtaining a court-issued warrant. It'd also prohibit employees from asking about immigration status and require training on immigration issues.
"The day after the November election, I received calls that teaching and learning did not go on at my local school," he said. "Students were crying and worried about whether immigration officials were going to come into a school and teachers were predominantly counselors that day."
Of Illinois' nearly 13 million residents, close to 1.8 million are foreign born, according to Census data. The Pew Research Center estimates roughly 450,000 are living in Illinois illegally.
Democratic Rep. Lisa Hernandez of Cicero is drafting a separate bill that'd limit interaction between local authorities and immigration agencies. It would discourage information sharing and allow local police to decline requests from immigration officials to keep defendants in custody while they await deportation.
She said it would provide safeguards against Trump's orders.
"Either we submit to his request that we are going to go his way or we push back," Hernandez said.
Turkey: Police detain 445 Islamic State group suspects
by the BBC
Turkish police have detained 445 people suspected of links to the Islamic State group, state media say.
Co-ordinated early morning raids were carried out in 18 provinces, Andalou News Agency reported, quoting anonymous security sources.
Most of those held are foreigners, among them 60 people taken into custody in the capital, Ankara, it said.
IS claimed responsibility for the New Year shooting attack on an Istanbul nightclub which left 39 people dead.
Last month police arrested an Uzbek national, Abdulkadir Masharipov, suspected of mounting the assault on revellers at the Reina nightclub.
In Sunday's operations, nine suspects who are alleged to have been planning a terrorist attack were held in the Aegean province of Izmir, Andalou reported.
Many of the suspects were detained in provinces bordering Syria - 150 in southeastern Sanliurfa and 47 in the city of Gaziantep.
A total of 18 people - 14 of them foreigners, including 10 minors - were detained in and around Istanbul, after operations at 20 addresses in the city.
The Turkish military has been battling IS inside northern Syria while seeking to push back ethnic Kurds in the region too.
A fierce struggle for control of the town of al-Bab has been under way since December, four months after Turkey launched its incursion across the border.
The country has suffered a string of attacks blamed on IS in the past two years, but also been accused of failing to do enough to stop militants crossing its borders and establishing a presence in its own cities.
Reported IS attacks in Turkey
20 August 2016: Bomb attack on wedding party in Gaziantep kills at least 30 people, in an attack claimed by IS
28 June 2016: A gun and bomb attack on Ataturk airport in Istanbul kills 41 people, blamed on IS militants
19 March 2016: Suicide bomb kills four people in shopping street in Istanbul. IS blamed
12 January 2016: 12 Germans killed by IS bomber in tourist area of Istanbul
10 October 2015: More than 100 killed at peace rally outside railway station in Ankara; blamed on IS
20 July 2015: 34 people killed in bombing in Suruc, near Syrian border; IS blamed
Community Policing returns to some Hutchinson neighborhoods
by John Green
Officer Darrell Tossie's new assignment has him grinning.
“People have been telling me they haven't seen me smile this much since I've been here,” said Tossie, a Hutchinson Police officer for 14 years.
The 25-year police veteran is one of three patrol officers recently designated as Community Resource Officers and assigned to a new Community Policing detail.
Ukrainian immigrant and 3-year Patrol Officer Anna Ruzhanovska and military veteran and 11-year Patrolman Stephen Schaffer are also on the team.
They don't have an office yet and are still working on finalizing operating policies, but the three have started the new assignment they, their bosses and a number of community leaders feel has the potential for significant impact on Hutchinson.
Ruzhanovska, 32, is assigned to a portion of the Southwest Bricktown neighborhood, a large area surrounding Avenue A elementary, while Schaffer, 46, will work in the Lincoln School neighborhood.
Tossie will assist the other two officers, “but also be available to go to different areas of town if someone has an issue they need help with,” said Hutchinson Police Chief Dick Heitschmidt.
The Hutchinson Police Department first implemented Community Policing, including an officer in the Lincoln School area, in the late 1990s. It discontinued the effort, however, and put those officers back on patrol around the year 2000 when a federal grant that supported the program ran out.
“The philosophy of community policing never left the department,” Heitschmidt said. “Basically, citizens are our customers and we've got to pay attention to what they want; to respond to and try to help them resolve as many problems as we can.”
The department made the decision last year to recreate the program and fund it through the departmental budget starting in 2017, in order to ensure its permanency.
“It's just the time is right to get back into that effort,” Heitschmidt said. “The (Hutchinson City) council and the city manager support the idea of trying to do this and were able to come up with the money to fund it.”
The potential benefits of community policing are many, though ultimately they hope the program will help reduce crime and build trust between the public and police, said Capt. Troy Hoover, who has been deeply involved in resurrecting the program.
“We'll be able to work together to solve problems,” Hoover said. “It doesn't have to be crime-related. It could be any problem, perhaps a streetlight out, speeding issues in the neighborhood or an abandoned home. The officers are there to help get solutions to problems in the community. They have access to other departments within the city that can address probably 90 percent of the needs in the community.”
Thus the Community Resource Officer title.
They discovered from the original effort in the ‘90s that residents in the Lincoln school neighborhood, for example, were not reporting crimes “because they didn't think it's a big deal or that we don't care,” Heitschmidt said.
“We need to get back in there to show we do care and that we're here to help,” he said. “We may not be the ones, ultimately, to solve the problems, but we can help find who is and get them engaged, to find the right people to go to, to do things the right way.”
Consequently, one of the things they are focusing on early, Heitschmidt said, is getting the officers trained in how to respond to issues that are more social and refer cases to appropriate places.
They've spent hours in meeting with other agencies within Reno County that offer assistance to people in need, whether financial assistance, family related issues like domestic violence or homelessness, Ruzhanovska said. That has also included non-profits, schools and churches.
“There's drug addictions, domestic violence, all kind of agencies out there,” Hoover said. “What we hope to achieve is that the officers will begin to bridge the gap or educate the public these places exist, to bring us closer to the community but also help other agencies as well.”
The officers, and department, are still working to identify and set specific goals, in order to measure how the program is working.
“A lot of will be intangible,” Hoover said. “A lot of it will be the perception of the community and whether or not it's worthwhile. I think it is going to be. I'm very optimistic it's going to be well received and appreciated.”
A large part of his optimism, he said, comes from the officers selected to implement the program.
“We've got three really good, enthusiastic officers that really wanted to do this, and to do it for the right reasons,” he said.
Officer Schaffer, 46, who had a background in radio in Texas and Oklahoma before serving 16 years in the Army, came to Hutchinson specifically for a job on the police department. He has been here 11 years.
“I'm very passionate about the community,” Schaffer said. “A lot of officers are. Hutchinson is where I live and where I work and I want to make it a better place, not just for me, but for everyone.”
“I love community policing because it enables us to get out into the community and make contacts,” Schaffer said. “That's my goal, and to make people aware of some of hidden resources they may not know about, to help people help themselves.”
A native of central Florida, Tossie came to Kansas to play football at Sterling College. After graduation, he worked as manager of a fitness center in Wichita, then security at Wesley Hospital, which piqued his interest in law enforcement. He started at the Wichita PD and worked there nine years before moving to Rice County – so his children could attend a smaller school – where he worked in the sheriff's office while also coaching football at Sterling College.
Though he started at the Hutchinson Police Department in 2002, Tossie, 52, was a Community Policing Officer in Wichita for two years in the early 1990s. Like Hutchinson, Wichita cut the program because of funding, but recently resurrected it, he said.
“I like helping people,” Tossie said. “It's frustrating being on patrol, going on a call and putting a Band-Aid on a problem. You don't get to finish it, to actually solve the problem. With community policing, you don't have to go from the next call, to the next call, to the next call. You get to see things all the way through.”
Ruzhanovska, 32, who is known in the department and on the street as Officer Anna, moved to the U.S. with her father when she was 16 and she lived in the Detroit area until coming to Kansas to go to school.
“She's a hard worker,” Hoover said. “She's the type of person that doesn't need someone to motivate her. She has all kinds of self-motivation and a lot of new innovative ideas she brought out during the interview process. She was really interested in the position and showed a lot of passion.”
Something extremely important to Tossie and Ruzhanovska is the ability to build trust through community policing.
“Lately we've seen a lot of almost pure hate toward police,” Tossie said. “A lot of that is because departments pulled community policing when grants ran out. It's important even in Hutchinson for us to be in neighborhoods and help build some of that trust back.”
“There are a lot of stereotypes, going both ways,” said Ruzhanovska. “Most of us got into law enforcement for the right reasons. It's not a job that will make you rich, financially, but it is a very rewarding job. We want to make this a better and safer place, for the community and the police.”
She already does a lot of public service work in schools and does not see the same stereotypes among young children, Ruzhanovska said. She recognizes, however, it will take time to break barriers down with the adult population, especially among those who have had less than positive contact with police.
That was clear as they started walking neighborhoods and knocking on doors that often went unanswered even though the residents were obviously home, Ruzhanovska said.
Many living in the Avenue A neighborhood are Hispanic, she noted, which may be another reason they are not opening their doors to the police. Besides fear, language may also be a barrier. She speaks five languages, though Spanish is not one of them. She expects, over time, to pick some up.
The officers hope to eventually work in “soft uniforms” such as polos with a department logo, and drive unmarked cars.
“I am an immigrant,” Ruzhanovska said. “I know where they are coming from. I know what it's like to move to another country and start from scratch, to have to find resources, to have to get to school with no driver's license, no English skills, no family that you know. It is a big deal. A lot of people need help. I've been around a lot of situations and cultures and backgrounds. It makes me more understanding and acceptable on the street when it comes to helping people out.”
While she hopes community members will express their needs and define goals for the new program, Ruzhanovska is already working on setting up a program to establish new Neighborhood Watch areas.
“I'll be concentrating on a block by block system, getting neighbors to know each other and to tell them the different sources and preventive measures they can take,” she said. “The key is, if you don't know your neighbor, how do you know what's going on in your community?”
“Eventually I think we will see a reduction in crime and call volume,” Schaffer said. “Most likely because people are going to realize some of these things they can fix themselves. If your neighbor's dog is barking, if you know who your neighbor is, you can talk to them and say ‘hey, do something about the dog please, I'm trying to sleep.' If they don't respond then call us and we'll deal with it.”
Just getting people out from behind their social media could have a significant impact, Schaffer speculated.
“We haven't really gotten into the neighborhood problems yet,” Tossie said. “I have expectations that we're going to be really busy once we get into it. It is amazing how much people, once they start trusting you, how much they will tell you. It's going to be instantly busy here pretty soon.
“I want to thank whoever decided to give us these positions,” he said. “I thank them for doing this. The community needs it. It's a good thing.”
Meet and Greet
Hutchinson Community Resource Officer
“Meet and Greet”
SW Bricktown Neighborhood Center
Inside Avenue A Elementary, 111 S. Madison
5:30 to 7 p.m., Feb. 23, with presentation at 6 p.m.
Free food and cake provided
Englewood breakfast bridges gap between cops, community
by Philip DeVencentis
ENGLEWOOD — Building stronger relations between residents and the city's police force was the goal of a gathering at a downtown bagel shop on Saturday, the first in a series of breakfasts officials are planning in light of a recent spate of gun violence.
The "Breakfast with your Police Officers" event at Manhattan Bagel on W. Palisade Avenue was hailed a success by Mayor Frank Huttle III, who said public safety is among his top priorities.
"It's all about community policing," the mayor said. "It's about friendship, and it's about being a neighborhood. This is who we are."
Saturday's gathering, attended by at least a dozen police officers, was held days after a town hall-style meeting where public safety issues also were discussed at Rock Creek Terrace, an apartment complex, off Broad Avenue.
The gathering, which was promoted via automated phone calls, as well as on the police department's Facebook page, was very informal, and the mood was sociable.
Surrounded by officers, Huttle joked with the crowd of patrons eating breakfast he would "call the police" if they were too noisy.
But, the reason for their attendance was not a laughing matter — the "community-policing" events have come amid a recognized need by local and Bergen County law enforcement to stem an uptick in gun-related incidents.
Between April 2015 and last month, authorities say, there were 31 shootings in Englewood.
In October, the results of a sting by police, the county prosecutor and the county sheriff were announced: Operation Safe City netted 21 arrests, and seven firearms were confiscated. Two more arrests were made on Thursday, according to the prosecutor.
Police Chief Lawrence Suffern applauded the arrests, but he said they are part of a much larger crime-prevention effort that starts with events like Saturday's breakfast.
"This allows us an opportunity to get to know people in the community, and for them to get to know us," the chief said, adding the department has hired 15 new officers since he took it over in 2014. It is composed of 84 total officers. "We want to hear their concerns."
Patrolman George Coleman, a veteran officer of 30 years, said the breakfast also offered a "nice change" of pace for he and his colleagues.
"I think this makes us seem more approachable," Coleman said. About officers' relationship with residents, he added, "It doesn't have to be 'us' and 'them' — it's 'we.' "
Barbara Stubbs, a Knickerbocker Road resident, said she came for that reason alone: "Because I wanted to get acquainted with our police officers," she said. "We're losing touch with law enforcement."
And, according to Robert Saunders, of Grand Avenue, "We're all in this together. It's our town."
However, some residents came to the breakfast with specific concerns. Kenneth Turner, a Shepard Avenue resident, said he wants peace of mind when his daughter comes home from work at 3 a.m.
"It's scary," Turner said. "I worry about her when she comes home."
Horace Ragbir, of Hamilton Avenue, said officers should patrol during the night in certain "dark pockets" of the city's Fourth Ward, where he owns an auto repair shop.
"I come from a little island," said Ragbir, a native of Trinidad. "I expect better here than where I came from." About the breakfast, he added, "This is a good start."
Suffern said the breakfasts may be held on a quarterly basis. The mayor said he wants to reinstate the department's anti-crime, rapid-response squad, which was disbanded in 2008, and implement a special law enforcement officer program — known as auxiliary police — to supplement the work of sworn officers.
Have a crime tip?
Be a confidential informant for Crime Stoppers. The nonprofit helps police solve crimes in Bergenfield, Englewood, Hackensack and Teaneck. Call 1-844-466-6789.
De Blasio 'very concerned' about NYPD suicides
Mayor Bill de Blasio was "very concerned" that two cops on Staten Island died by suicide in a span of two weeks
by Anna Sanders
NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio was "very concerned" that two cops on Staten Island committed suicide in a span of two weeks last month.
"I'm very concerned," de Blasio said at an unrelated event on Friday. "The folks who protect us and serve us go through tons of stress, some that you can see and some that you can't even see because it's deep inside them, and we have to support them."
Officer Yong Yun of Annadale died on Jan. 17 of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Officer Ralph Conde also died of an apparent suicide in his Great Kills home just 13 days later, on Jan. 30.
De Blasio said the city is trying to increase access to mental health services through NYC Well. Free and confidential support is available by calling 1-888-NYC-WELL, texting WELL to 65173 or going online at nyc.gov/nycwell.
"I know NYPD does a lot to try and provide for anyone who's facing a mental health challenge or a job related stress," the mayor said.
"The tragic thing when you look at those stories, is there are no signs," de Blasio said. "I can only imagine how much pain their families are in because there were no warning signs."
The mayor said that the city and NYPD need to do more to make mental health services available to police and other first responders.
"The thing we have to focus on is relieving the stress that our first responders go through, and so many other people who serve us go through, by constantly making available to them if they need counseling, if they need mental health services, demystifying, destigmatizing and making it readily available," de Blasio said. "I think PD has come a long way in doing that, I think we have to keep doing it even more."
Growing number of women leading US police departments
Experts found women officers tend to use wits over brawn to deescalate potentially violent situations and help their departments shift the focus to nonviolent techniques
by Michael Balsamo
LOS ANGELES — When Anne Kirkpatrick took the helm at the scandal-ridden Oakland Police Department, she inherited an agency that the city's mayor likened to a frat house.
The veteran police officer knew she inevitably would be asked what it's like to combat the culture as one of a growing number of women heading police departments, many struggling to repair their public image.
"What I will tell you is that I am leader," she said at a news conference announcing her appointment, listing qualities Oakland wanted in its police chief.
"Those character traits are not gender-based. Those are leadership-based," Kirkpatrick said.
Female police officers tend to use wits over brawn to deescalate potentially violent situations, experts say, and as departments shift their focus to nonviolent techniques, it's natural they would tap more women as leaders.
"A lot of police chiefs say women had a profound impact on the culture of policing," said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, a Washington-based think tank. "They bring their own set of skills to a traditionally male-dominated culture, and that is very helpful."
Still, the number of women leading police departments pales in comparison to their male counterparts. Of the nation's 50 largest police departments, only five are led by women. A 2013 survey conducted by the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives found just 169 women leading the more than 1,500 police departments, sheriff's offices and other law enforcement agencies across the U.S. that responded.
"It's very pleasant to see some of these female chiefs across the country," said Dawn Layman, the group's president and a major in the Lenexa, Kansas, Police Department. Still, she says, there's much work to do.
"There are still a lot of agencies that you see there are no females in even supervisory or command-level positions," Layman said.
But as major cities continue to promote women to their top cop posts, Layman believes others will follow suit.
"I think females just bring something different to the table," she said. "The goal is to diversify the table. We don't want a cookie-cutter. We learn more, we bring more to the table when it is diverse."
Decades ago, female officers faced a much different atmosphere — there were public protests over them, men refused to ride with them, and many were forced to file lawsuits to ascend the ranks. While the protests have long subsided and the culture has changed within police departments, women still represent only a fraction of the country's police officers.
"If you go back, policing for a long time was predominantly male and predominantly white," said Wexler, of the police think tank. "Over the years, we've seen a tremendous increase in diversity and a tremendous increase of women officers."
He added research shows female officers tend to use communication to help diffuse potentially volatile situations, a technique many police departments are now shifting their focus toward.
"For women officers, this tends to come to them naturally," Wexler said. "I think departments who have had a lot of experience hiring women recognize how invaluable they are in diffusing contentious situations."
The first generation of female chiefs was in smaller police forces, including several university police departments, said Dorothy Moses Schulz, a professor emeritus at John Jay College of Criminal Justice of New York. In the past few years, she said, there appeared to be an uptick in women rising to the top of larger departments. The public expects many of them to be able to reform departments with poor public images just because they're women, she said.
"They are supposed to be the healers. It's a terrible burden," said Schulz, whose work includes two books on women in policing. "I don't think that's based on any solid research; I think that's based on a feeling that it is going to set a different tone."
Schulz added more female officers are applying for upper-level jobs today than years ago, and they have a better chance of being selected.
"Mayors don't have to feel like they are going out on a limb. Even if it is not common, it's common enough you're not risking your reputation," she said.
Court: NJ police with warrant can view private Twitter messages
According to Prosecutor Camila Garces, the court's ruling "ensures that the state can access electronic footprints when conducting a criminal investigation"
by The Associated Press
TRENTON, N.J. — A New Jersey appeals court has ruled that law enforcement agencies can view private messages and tweets from private accounts on Twitter if they get a warrant.
The three-judge panel on Thursday ruled in favor of Essex County prosecutors who attempted to access video posts from two Twitter profiles.
The case turned on what type of warrant is needed: a communications data warrant or a wiretapping warrant, which is needed for electronic communications in transit and has tougher legal requirements.
Essex County officials argued they were trying to access audio that had already been transmitted as opposed to live transmissions. The court agreed, ruling that law enforcement could use a data warrant.
According to Assistant Essex County Prosecutor Camila Garces, the court's ruling "ensures that the state can access electronic footprints when conducting a criminal investigation."
Defense attorney Lawrence Lustberg said that investigators should only have a right to see private message if they get a wiretap because they happen in real time.
"The court's holding that seizing a tweet is not akin to a wiretap — with all of the protections that accompany wiretaps — fails to account for the reality of modern communication," Lustberg said.
A spokesman for Twitter declined to comment on the ruling but pointed to the company's guidelines for releasing users' private information.
Twitter says that it requires a court order to disclose private information to authorities, that it alerts users about these disclosures when it is legally allowed to, that it stores some data for a limited period of time, and that it publishes annual transparency reports listing all such requests from law enforcement agencies.
Police launch terror probe after machete attack on soldiers at Louvre
by The Local
French police raided a building in central Paris on Friday as part of the probe into a thwarted attack by a machete-wielding
man at the Louvre, a source in the inquiry said.
Investigators entered a building near the Champs-Elysees avenue, the source said, after the assault in which the attacker was shot and wounded by a soldier patrolling outside the museum.
The machete-wielding man yelled "Allahu Akbar" ("God is greatest") as he attacked security forces, police said.
Hundreds of tourists were confined to secure areas of the world-famous art gallery in central Paris after the attacker was shot five times around 10:00 (1100 GMT) in a public area inside the complex.
Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve called the attack "terrorist in nature."
It sparked fresh jitters, but also anger, in a country still reeling from a string of terror attacks over the last two years and under a state of emergency since November 2015.
The economy, immigration and security are major issues for voters ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections which has been forecast to confirm the country's shift right after five years of Socialist rule.
The image below apparently taken by a Chinese Tour guide appears to show the moment after the attacker has been neutralized by the soldiers.
President François Hollande called it "a savage assault" and reaffirmed the state's determination to fight terrorism.
One soldier was "lightly injured" and has been taken to hospital, while the knifeman is in a serious condition but is still alive, security forces said. He was undergoing an emergency operation at Georges Pompidou hospital.
"I think this was an attack by an individual who obviously intended to cause harm," Paris police chief Michel Cadot said, saying the fact that the man shouted "Allahu Akbar" suggested a "terrorist nature" to the assault.
Two backpacks carried by the assailant were checked by bomb disposal specialists at the scene and were found not to contain explosives.
On Friday afternoon police raided a central Paris apartment building in an operation linked to the attack. Reports in French media suggested the attacker was a 29-year-old Egyptian man, recently arrived in France, however this has not been confirmed officially.
The incident sparked fresh jitters in a country still reeling from a string of terror attacks over the last two years and under a state of emergency since November 2015.
'Sad and shocking'
Thousands of troops have been deployed to guard the capital, with groups of soldiers with automatic rifles a regular sight inside the Louvre and around its sculpture-filled gardens.
Hector Clark, a Londoner on a four-day trip to Paris, was locked inside the Louvre along with other tourists.
"It was intense and everyone was scared at first because the situation was unclear but people settled down after we heard from the head of security that it was safe," he told The Local.
"We got evacuated to the top floor, everything was calm and well handled, we have been up here for an hour or so but we are being allowed to leave now
"The situation was stable. We were allowed out in small groups. We were just grateful to leave."
British tourist Gillian Simms, who was visiting Paris with her daughters, told AFP: "It's so sad and shocking... we can't let them win, it's horrible,"
The huge former royal palace in the heart of the city is home to the Mona Lisa and other renowned works of art but also a shopping area and numerous exhibition spaces.
"The people who were in the museum -- there were about 250 of them -- were held at a distance and confined in secure areas of the Louvre," city police chief Michel Cadot told reporters outside.
A second man whose behaviour was "suspicious" has been arrested, Cadot said, without giving further details.
Soldiers and armed police have patrolled tourist attractions and other sensitive areas like shopping centres ever since the Charlie Hebdo and Jewish Kosher store attacks of January 2015.
12:26 - Attacker in a critical condition
The latest reports in the French media say the attacker is in a critical condition and is undergoing an operation. He was hit by at least one of the five bullets fired by the soldier.
12:12 - How tight is security at the Louvre?
While the fact the machete attacker was successfully halted in his tracks by the soldiers suggests the government's security operation "Sentinelle", put in place since the Charlie Hebdo attack is functioning well.
But Hector Clark a tourist from London who was caught up in the panic, was not convinced by security levels at the Louvre museum.
"We made a point about the lack security of the Louvre when we came in so hopefully, for the museum's sake, they tighten it in future," he told The Local.
12:06 - Investigation launched
The Paris prosecutor has opened an investigation into "attempted assassination linked to terrorist enterprise".
11:53 - Area around Louvre has been secured, says Mayor Anne Hidago
Anne Hidalgo has been speaking live on French TV who confirmed the area around the Louvre has been secured and visitors to the museum were being evacuated.
11:50 - "We are just grateful to leave" says tourist
Hector Clark, a Londoner on a four-day trip to Paris, was locked inside the Louvre along with other tourists
"It was intense and everyone was scared at first because the situation was unclear but people settled down after we heard from the head of security that it was safe," he told The Local.
"We got evacuated to the top floor, everything was calm and well handled, we have been up here for an hour or so but we are being allowed to leave now
"The situation is stable. We are allowed out in small groups.We are now just grateful to leave."
11:45 - Statement from the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior
PM Bernard Cazeneuve and Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux have issued a joint statement in which they praise "the coolness and professionalism of the soldiers and police officers who were able to immediately neutralize the armed attacker in order to protect all staff and visitors present."
The ministers "wished a speedy recovery to the wounded soldier and reminded us that the mobilization of all the security forces is to protect our fellow citizens and those who frequent our country."
11:43 - Police confirm no explosives found in rucksacks worn by attacker
11:28 - Woman also arrested at the scene
The Ministry of the Interior have also confirmed a woman was arrested at the scene, but they say it is not clear what role, if any, she had in the attack. The ministry says we have to be "cautious" at this stage about suggesting she was involved.
11:21 - French PM describes it as an attack of a "terrorist nature"
Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the attack was "clearly of a terrorist nature".
11:18 - Attacker wounded in stomach and taken to hospital
Latest reports from French police say the attacker was wounded in the stomach rather the legs as first reported. He has been taken to the Georges Pompidou hospital.
11:15 - Tourists locked in rooms at Louvre for safety
we've all been locked inside the louvre there are hundreds of police vans outside pic.twitter.com/KQVPrFSPi3
— maya (@mayaffff) February 3, 2017
11:05 - Police confirm attacker yelled "Allahu Akbar"
Police chief Michel Cadot has just held a press conference in which he confirmed the attacker was armed with several machetes and was carrying a rucksack, rather than suitcases as earlier reported.
Cadot said no explosives had been found on the attacker but that he shouted threats as well as "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest, in Arabic).
Report: Reports say the soldier opened fire on the knifeman after he attacked him at the Louvre Carrousel shopping centre on Friday morning.
BFM TV reported that the man tried to enter the shopping centre with two briefcases. Reports say that when he was refused entry he pulled out two machetes and attacked the soldier as he shouted "Allah Akbar". The soldier responded by opening fire.
According to reports the attacker was shot in the legs and seriously injured. The soldier was reportedly left with an injury to his arm.
A security cordon has been set up and the underground Louvre Carrousel shopping centre has been evacuated. The latest reports say no explosives were found in the man's two suitcases and the bomb squad was on the scene.
Reports on Twitter said tourists at the museum were being moved into rooms to keep them safe. The Louvre itself has declined to comment on the situation.
Images on Twitter also appeared to show worried visitors outside the world famous museum.
"Something is going down at The #Louvre 30 National Police vehicles with guns drawn," said one tweeter.
"The sirens went off and the emergency escape doors lifted from the ground. Four armed guards then sprinted around the grounds outside of the pyramid entrance looking for something."
In the video, an alarm can be heard in the background. A worried passerby can be heard saying: "I wonder if it's a training exercise".
While there is no confirmation yet there incident was linked to terrorism Paris and the rest of France is on high alert after a series of attacks in recent years, notably in Paris in November 2015 and Nice on July 14th last year.
Since the Charlie Hebdo terror attacks of January 2015 French soldiers have been patrolling the streets around sensitive sites such as tourist areas and shopping centres as part of Operation Sentinelle.
There have been a number of attacks against both soldiers and police, who Isis have called on jihadists to specifically target the armed forces and police.
Explosive device detonated inside Pasadena Cheesecake Factory; police seek suspect; no injuries
by Hailey Branson-Potts
Authorities are searching for a man who allegedly detonated a homemade explosive device inside a crowded restaurant in Old Town Pasadena and ran away on Thursday night.
The device created heavy smoke when it went off at the Cheesecake Factory on West Colorado Boulevard, but no injuries were reported, the Pasadena Police Department said in a statement.
Pasadena police and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department bomb squad responded to a report of an explosion at the restaurant just after 6 p.m.
Witnesses described the suspect as about 6 feet tall, with a thin build and heavy beard, according to police. He was wearing all black clothing and a black beanie.
The man opened the door and tossed the device inside before running from the scene, witnesses told KABC-TV.
Federal authorities were notified “out of an abundance of caution,” police said.
Lourdes Arocho, an FBI spokeswoman, said local authorities were handling the investigation.
Anyone with information is urged to call the Pasadena police at (626) 744-4241.
Orange County homeless deaths hit all-time high
by Jordan Graham
The deaths are so common they're routine.
Sean, 47, drank himself to death on a bus stop bench in Anaheim.
Bruce, 63, collapsed and died on a freeway off ramp from heart disease and an untreated seizure disorder.
Zachary, 28, overdosed on heroin in a Santa Ana alley.
And Nicholas, 29, hung himself with a shoe string on a dirt embankment in Fullerton.
Last year, more than 200 homeless men, women and children lost their lives to drugs, alcohol, mental illness, violence and, in many cases, years of neglect and hard living on the streets, according to reports from the Orange County Coroner's Office reviewed by the Register.
It was the deadliest year on record for homeless people in Orange County.
It was also part of a grisly trend. The death totals for homeless people in the county have jumped in each of the past six years, doubling over the last half decade.
In all, 1,305 homeless people have died in Orange County over the past 12 years, about half coming since 2013.
When viewed en masse, experts say, the numbers tell the story of how increased street homelessness, a scourge of opiate addiction, and failures in the public health system have combined to turn an already difficult existence into something more lethal. Many add that at least some homeless deaths locally could have been prevented with better resources.
Homeless deaths, year-by-year
Each represents one of the 1,305 people who died homeless in Orange County between 2005 and 2016. Use the checkboxes to see information about specific age ranges and genders.
(Graphs on site)
The screams ring out nearly every night.
“Does anybody have an (anti-overdose) kit ?” said Cristina Beltran, 26, as she re-enacted the desperate cries she has heard during her time camping out at the Plaza of the Flags in the Santa Ana Civic Center, where homeless people have congregated. She remembers constantly hearing people call out for the life-saving, overdose-reversing drug Naloxone.
Beltran, who has been homeless three years and who occasionally uses opiates, said two of her friends have died from drug use in the past two years – one right in front of her.
Drug addiction is at the root of many of last year's fatalities. Some say a shortage of services to help homeless people end their addictions is partially to blame.
Technically, the 42 overdose deaths reported for 2016 is less than the 2015 tally of 58 deaths. But there are 35 toxicology reports from last year still to be resolved by the county coroner. When those cases are final, it's likely that the number of homeless overdose deaths in 2016 will be an all-time high.
Susan Price, who coordinates the county's services for the homeless population, said there has been a noticeable shift in the composition of Southern California's homeless over the past two years.
In addition to the perceived growth of the county's homeless community – an increase Price expects to see confirmed when the results of last week's point-in-time homeless count are released – she says the population is younger and more drug addicted than before.
“Something is different in our communities in the last two years, and it aligns with this enhanced substance abuse population,” Price said.
Price blamed the change on a national heroin epidemic coupled with California's Prop. 47 prison reform measure, which has reduced sentences on nonviolent drug crimes. She said that law, which passed in 2014, unintentionally increased the number of addicts out on the streets. And while the measure promised to fund programs to help people stay out of prison, the state has yet to distribute any of that money and has said it won't do so until sometime this spring.
Despite the grim body count, the number of homeless deaths was reduced last year because of a program aimed at keeping addicts alive.
A program run by the Solace Foundation pushed hard to make sure the homeless have access to Naloxone, a drug that can reverse the effects of an opiate overdose. In all, the nonprofit says Naloxone -- which is now often carried by county first responders and some police agencies -- reversed 420 potentially overdoses last year.
Still, Solace founder Aimee Dunkle chastised county officials for not fully funding efforts to circulate the life-saving drug even wider.
She said there were weeks last year when she had no Naloxone to distribute, and other weeks when her supply was limited, shortages that almost certainly led to some preventable deaths.
Beltran said when a Naloxone kit isn't on hand people often try a street remedy -- packing ice around an overdosing addict's genitals -- in an effort to shock the person back into consciousness. It rarely works.
“Despite appeals to the Board of Supervisors and the OC Health Care Agency we were provided with no funding, or assistance of any kind,” Dunkle said.
“Additionally, we have very limited access to medication-assisted (detox) treatment for our homeless clients who are reliant on county services... There are waitlists for these services in Orange County.”
Dunkle's program is geared only toward keeping addicts alive until they can seek real, rehabilitative help. Unfortunately, Price said, it's not easy for homeless addicts to get the medical detox many need.
And when addicts don't get well, others sometimes suffer.
Three infants were among the homeless people who died in the county last year, matching the number of infant homeless deaths recorded during the previous 11 years. All three were younger than 1 year old, and two were found to have died from their mother's drug use.
One boy was stillborn after he overdosed on methamphetamine while still in the womb. The other, born prematurely, died at one month after his brain hemorrhaged.
Find by name
Type to find a person who died homeless in Orange County between 2005 and 2016...on site.
Slow deaths on the street
Over the past two decades Heather Smith has seen her life shift from Fountain Valley soccer mom to a woman living alone on the street. Now, still on the streets, she's fighting cancer.
Sitting in a motel room she rented for a night across the street from her tent in Orange's growing riverbed encampment, Smith, 41, told the story of how a car accident in her early 20s sent her down a path she never imagined.
After the crash, she says, back pain drove her to pill addiction. Eventually, her husband left and, by 2008, she says, she was homeless. Within her first year on the street, she said she was gang raped by five men. To numb the pain, she says, she took more drugs. To pay for her addiction, she became a sex worker.
Smith says that she's given up that work and no longer uses drugs. But three years ago, when she was still an active addict, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. She didn't seek treatment and her disease has progressed to stage 3 lymphatic cancer.
“I don't want to go through chemo out here,” Smith said. “People in chemo die from complications, pneumonia. You're signing your death warrant out here.
“If I find permanent housing, then yeah,” she added. “But you have to come up with the first and last month's rent. It's hard enough to get $10 a day to eat. So $1,000? Legally?”
Smith's predicament is emblematic of another large sector of the homeless population for whom the struggle for shelter, and day-to-day chaos, make it difficult to get the medical or mental-health treatment they need.
Instead, many choose to self medicate with drugs, ignoring long-term health issues while dying slowly on the street.
Last year, at least 75 local homeless people died of natural causes, according to county records. But how natural were those deaths? For the past decade, the average age of death for people who die on local streets has been about 50. Life expectancy in the general population, nationally, is about 79.
And when many of the natural causes are closely inspected, they often hint at ties to long-term homelessness or drug abuse, including frequent deaths from cirrhosis, fatty liver, heart failure, sepsis and pneumonia.
In an effort to address health problems before they become chronic issues, the Orange County Health Care Agency frequently sends public nurses to areas where the homeless congregate. There, nurses attempt to examine people and link them with full-time physicians, psychiatrists and other county health programs.
They even give homeless people bus passes and help them obtain state ID cards so they continue medical treatment.
But all too often, that initial contact is where the county's help stops, said Paul Leon, a former county public health nurse who now helps the homeless as president of the nonprofit Illumination Foundation.
Leon said the county refers homeless people to doctors, hospitals and nonprofit programs, but often doesn't follow up to ensure they make it there. And for people who are disproportionately drug addicted, have mental-health issues, or who simply decide to ignore long-term health problems, that lack of follow-up can mean they never get treated.
Eve Garrow, homelessness policy analyst for the American Civil Liberties Union's Orange County office, said 33 of the county's 34 cities have anti-camping ordinances that criminalize the act of sleeping in public spaces. This, she said, pushes homeless people to remote locations, far from medical care, leaving them “exposed to the elements and at an increased risk for death.”
Julia Cross, a recuperative-care nurse with the Illumination Foundation, said that lack of stable health care often drives homeless people to hospital emergency rooms. Those visits, she said, typically don't address the underlying issues that lead to long-term health problems.
Cross told a story of a man who cut his leg on a bike gear and was not provided treatment at local hospitals despite the fact that the wound had become infested with maggots.
“He went to three different hospitals, three days in a row, and all three sent him out and did nothing,” Cross said. “They said, ‘You need to go see your doctor.'
“We have world-class health care here,” she added. “But there are barriers.”
Gaps in service
Harley Thompson doesn't know how long he's been homeless. The 78-year-old with Alzheimer's disease can barely remember where he was last week.
But despite that, staff members at the recently-opened Orange County “Courtyard” homeless shelter in Santa Ana say Thompson was dropped there without warning on a Friday night in January, holding nothing but his hospital discharge papers, by a taxicab that sped off afterward.
These covert, hospital-initiated taxi drop-offs are commonplace at the shelter, where all manner of homeless patients – from a wheelchair-bound woman to a suicidal man – have recently been left with minimal or no information about how to care for them.
That disconnect is common in Orange County, where gaps in services and poor communication between health-care providers can neglect homeless people's longstanding health problems.
That can be especially dangerous for people with mental illness.
At least 13 homeless people committed suicide in Orange County last year. Methods ranged from leaping off a bridge, to jumping in front of a train, to a man taping a bag over his head, to a middle-aged woman lighting herself on fire in a Buena Park motel room.
Suicide has been the fourth leading mode of death among Orange County's homeless over the past 12 years, accounting for 109 fatalities. And the 34 homeless people who killed themselves over the last two years are the county's highest total during any such stretch in that period.
That surge comes during a time when the county is spending more than ever on mental health services.
This year, the county's mental-health budget is $367 million – a 14 percent increase from last fiscal year. That money goes to the county's more than 200 mental health programs and services, supporting a robust system that includes scores of counseling programs, substance-abuse treatments, inpatient and outpatient psychiatric care, the operation of 496 housing units for the mentally-ill and hotlines to link people with those providers.
But the system still has gaps.
Most notably, the county has by some estimates only 7 percent of the crisis-stabilization beds it needs for people suffering sudden psychiatric episodes. Those patients who can't get beds wind up flooding hospital emergency rooms, where they sometimes are held without treatment.
Orange County also has only one small recuperative care facility – which gives mentally-ill patients shelter for up to two weeks while doctors balance their medications – leaving hospitals mostly to discharge people to the street. And even when hospitals send ill homeless people to a shelter, they don't alert the shelter's staff or communicate how to care for that individual, according to county staff.
“There's no warm hand-off between agencies,” Leon said. “There are just too many places where there are gaps in service.”
Glenn Raup, executive director for emergency and behavioral health services at St. Joseph's hospital in Orange, agreed that there aren't enough residential recovery facilities to which local hospitals can discharge the homeless. But he also noted homeless people frequently decline follow-up treatment, even when it's available, in favor of pursuing short-term goals of searching for shelter or remaining with their friends.
Leon commended the county's action last year in securing a $3.1 million state grant to open its first emergency centers for psych patients in several decades . Those facilities should ease the burden on hospitals while providing treatment to people in crisis. But Leon said at a recent meeting with the county, staff still couldn't answer a simple follow-up: Where do we send patients after their short-term care ends?
The county's point person on homelessness, Price, said she's talking with representatives from local hospitals to improve patient hand-offs. Soon, she said, the county will participate in a “whole person care” state pilot program to improve coordination between social services and health-care providers for the homeless. A soon-to-open county homeless shelter in Anaheim should help that process.
Ultimately, Price, like most homeless advocates, thinks the solution lies in more housing: more low-income apartments countywide and more specialized apartments linked with services for the homeless and mentally ill.
Asked if Orange County has the money to do everything it needs to help the homeless and prevent their deaths, Price paused for a moment.
“Yes,” she said.
But it's a complex problem.
“There's 2,200 different stories of how people became homeless,” Price said. “And the causes of death are emblematic of that.”
Mosque warned feds about suspect in killing of Denver transit officer
by The Associated Press
DENVER – A Muslim man accused of killing a transit officer in Denver had previously been investigated after members of mosques in Texas and Colorado contacted authorities about his behavior.
Investigators interviewed Joshua Cummings, 37, in December after members of a Denver-area mosque reported concerns about him to federal authorities, a law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official wasn't authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation. Before the Denver report, members of the Texas mosque from which Cummings was removed reported concerning behavior to the FBI, the official said.
Cummings is suspected of walking up behind guard Scott Von Lanken on a downtown corner Tuesday night as he spoke to two women, putting a gun to his neck and shooting him. Cummings is being held without bond on suspicion of murder and hasn't been charged yet. He is scheduled to make his first court appearance Friday morning. It's not clear if he has a lawyer yet.
A lawyer for a Denver mosque said Thursday that the mosque notified authorities about Cummings in December but did not want to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter. The mosque wrote an email on Dec. 24 to federal officials about alarming statements Cummings made, said attorney Qusair Mohamedbhai.
Mohamedbhai released a redacted version of the email, sent to a Department of Homeland Security address, in which a leader reported that a man identifying himself only as "Joshua" and as a convert to Islam made worrisome statements during a Dec. 24 lunch and at an earlier event, including that he said it was OK to fight to establish the rule of Islam here.
"He seems pretty advanced in his path of radicalization," the leader wrote.
At an open house earlier in December, Joshua publicly rebuked a speaker "as being soft" on Shariah law, the letter said.
"After talking to him for some time, he agreed to meet with some Imams to clarify his thoughts," the person wrote. "I am hoping to arrange a meeting of one of the stronger/more knowledgeable Imams with him to see if he can be mellowed a bit. But I doubt it would help. He is not listening to reason."
The writer attached photos and a video of the man.
Mohamedbhai said the report highlighted an ongoing working relationship between law enforcement and the region's Muslim community. Federal law enforcement, he said, "took this alert very seriously" but did not know what actions were taken after the report.
The FBI declined to comment and the Department of Homeland Security didn't respond to a request for comment.
Denver police have not revealed a possible motive for the shooting or commented on how his alleged radicalization may have played a role in the shooting. Officials have said they were looking into whether Von Lanken, who was armed and wearing a dark blue uniform similar to those worn by police, could have been targeted because he was a member of law enforcement.
Cummings, an Army veteran who served from 1997 to 2002, had social media posts that included both messages hostile to and supportive of law enforcement. Last July, he tweeted that an Arizona police officer accused of brutality should be put to death for treason, but he published a post in September 2015 in support of police and the military in response to the murder of a police officer in his home.
The manager of a motel in the Denver suburb of Englewood where Cummings had stayed recently and also part of last year said Cummings was "always a positive guy" who volunteered to pay the rent for any tenants strapped for cash. Gary Kim said Cummings told him he was Muslim during long talks at the front desk or the small lobby at the Holiday Motel, recalling that Cummings did not want to give any negative connotations to the faith.
"He would say everyone should have a right to practice their religion as long as that religion isn't imputing on someone else's life," Kim said.
State computer glitch potentially exposed information of 1.87M Michiganders
by Emily Lawler
LANSING, MI -- Personal information of some people who work in Michigan was vulnerable to unauthorized access for four months, the Michigan Department of Technology Management and Budget revealed on Friday.
In October 2016, a software update to the Michigan Data Automated System (MiDAS) system used by the state's Unemployment Insurance Agency allowed employers and human resources professionals to access names and social security numbers they were not authorized to view. The state identified the problem on Jan. 30 and fixed it on Jan. 31, 2017.
There were 31 payroll service providers who had access to the system, according to Unemployment Insurance Agency spokesman Dave Murray. Anybody working for a company that uses one of those payroll service providers may have had their personal information exposed.
The Michigan State Police Cyber Command Center is conducting an investigation to determine how many were exposed to a release of information. As many as 1.87 million Michiganders could be affected.
"Data security is a top priority for the state of Michigan," said DTMB Director and State CIO David Behen. "We will work with our third party vendors and our state team to review our processes and procedures to avoid incidents like this in the future."
According to the DTMB, there is no indication that the potentially exposed information was used for malicious purposes. Rather, it appears the information was accidentally viewed by employers accessing the system.
Here's what the department is recommending those who may have been exposed to do:
Monitor financial account statements and immediately report any suspicious or unusual activity to financial institutions.
Request a free credit report at www.AnnualCreditReport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228. Consumers are entitled by law to one free credit report per year from each of the three major credit bureaus - Equifax(r), Experian(r) and TransUnion(r) - for a total of three reports every year. Contact information for the credit bureaus can be found on the Federal Trade Commission website, www.ftc.gov.
Take steps to monitor their personally identifiable information and report any suspected instances of identity theft to their local law enforcement.
MiDAS is the same system that has been in the news recently for automatically determining that some people collecting unemployment had committed fraud. From Oct. 2013 through Aug. 2015 system would flag a discrepancy and send a message to an internal unemployment system claimants seldom used. When they didn't respond, the system would automatically find they had committed fraud and issue a 400 percent fine.
The Unemployment Insurance Agency is actively working to make amends, establishing a hotline for those affected and agreeing in a lawsuit settlement to how it uses the computer system in relation to fraud.
The state is hosting a press call with further details. MLive will update this story.
Policing Under Pressure
by Sue Lincoln
Law enforcement in Louisiana's two largest cities is under pressure – in New Orleans, it's pressure from the top down, while in Baton Rouge it's coming from the bottom up.
State Attorney General Jeff Landry has gone on the warpath against crime in New Orleans.
“If we are to bring an end to the smear of crime, fraud and corruption that affects quality of life, our law enforcement officers and agencies must work together,” he said last fall, when announcing he would deploy some of his office's investigators to assist with arrests.
Landry is also running a Twitter hashtag campaign to #MakeNewOrleansSafeAgain. And just this week he made a public offer to get the Trump administration to lift a federal consent decree which stops NOPD cops from asking about immigration status.
“It basically prohibits our law enforcement agents from taking potentially dangerous criminals off of our streets,” Landry maintains.
Meanwhile, in the capital city, Together Baton Rouge – a cross-cultural interfaith advocacy group -- released a study this week. It shows drug possession enforcement is disproportionately higher in poorer black neighborhoods.
“There's not evidence of intentional, willful discrimination,” said Together Baton Rouge executive director Broderick Bagert. “But this is institutional.”
The group has been working on a community policing agenda, and several TBR members have been serving on the new mayor's citizen advisory committees.
“Our overall goal is to elevate community policing – ot just as a concept, but as an integral part of the fabric of our police department,” Mayor Sharon Weston Broome said Thursday, as she announced changes to official policing policy.
The new rules include requiring cops to minimize use of force, as well as requiring officers to intervene to prevent a fellow officer from using excessive force and to report any excessive use of force they observe from a fellow officer.
“Today is about policy changes that are very important for our community, as we work to close the gap between law enforcement and the citizens of our community.”
Baton Rouge is still awaiting the U.S. Justice Department report on last summer's shooting of Alton Sterling, whose death prompted protests and later led to the killings of two Baton Rouge officers and one sheriff's deputy.
Texas Senate panel OKs 'sanctuary city' bill
The bill would withhold state money from local jurisdictions that don't hand over immigrants already in custody
by The Associated Press
AUSTIN, Texas — A Texas Senate panel on Friday approved a so-called sanctuary cities bill that would withhold state money from local jurisdictions that don't hand over immigrants already in custody for possible deportation.
The Senate's state affairs committee passed the measure after more than 16 hours of often emotional testimony marked by outbursts and protests from spectators.
The bill moves to the full Senate for a vote expected next week.
Hundreds of people registered to testify before the panel Thursday, and the hearing was disrupted repeatedly, prompting security to remove several people. Committee Chairwoman Joan Huffman warned that the chamber would be closed if the outbursts continued.
The term "sanctuary cities" has no legal definition, but Gov. Greg Abbott has promoted the legislation as a move to crackdown on criminal suspects who are in the country illegally.
Individual sheriffs and police chiefs — particularly those in heavily Democratic areas of the state — have long opposed enforcing federal immigration law. Abbott has already ordered $1.5 million withheld from the Travis County sheriff who has said the jails in the state capital, Austin, would no longer honor most federal immigration detainers. That money supports projects such as family violence education and a special court for veterans. Abbott has warned that more money could be cut.
Opponents of the measure also contend immigrant communities wouldn't cooperate with law enforcement for fear of deportation.
Sen. Eddie Lucio, one of only two Democrats on the state affairs committee, said he has "moral" objections to the bill.
"(This) undermines trust between police and immigrant communities. We risk further endangering women and children who fall prey to violence and extortion such as human trafficking," Lucio said Thursday.
But the author of the bill, Republican state Sen. Charles Perry, said local authorities must enforce the law.
"This is not a deportation bill, this is a rule-of-law bill," Perry said. "We have almost a culture of contempt for federal immigration law."
80-year-old man accused of punching cop at Elizabeth Smart event
An 80-year-old man is accused of punching a police officer who stopped him from approaching kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart with a knife
by The Associated Press
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — An 80-year-old man is accused of punching a police officer who stopped him from approaching kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart with a knife at a book-signing event in Indiana.
Smart — who was 14 in 2002 when she was snatched from her bedroom in Salt Lake City and held for nine months — had been speaking about overcoming adversity at Indiana State University on Wednesday when the incident occurred.
ISU Police Chief Joseph Newport said Claude Hudson had been sitting in the front row during Smart's presentation and was later spotted fiddling with a 3-inch pocket knife, using it to open a tea bag wrapping and "just acting so peculiar,"
Hudson then concealed the knife and started to walk up a line of about 100 people who were waiting to meet Smart and have books signed, Newport said. An officer stepped between Hudson and Smart, and the suspect hit the officer twice in his midsection, Newport said.
Hudson, of Terre Haute, Indiana, pleaded not guilty to a battery charge Wednesday.
Smart issued a statement through her representative Thursday, saying she "is grateful for law enforcement and Indiana State University's quick response and that the event and her work continued undeterred."
The police chief said Hudson is a frequent visitor to Indiana State University and that investigators have found no connection between Hudson and Smart.
A judge set Hudson's bond at $25,000 bond and ordered a mental health evaluation. Hudson's trial is scheduled for May 9. He is currently on parole for a burglary conviction.
Hudson's public defender hasn't responded to a request for comment. There was no answer at a phone listed for Hudson in Terre Haute.
Delaware State Police: Inmates have 4 hostages after 1 freed
by Randall Chase
SMYRNA, Del. —Inmates at a Delaware prison took five corrections department workers hostage Wednesday, a move the inmates told a local newspaper was due to concerns about their treatment and the leadership of the United States.
The hostage situation drew dozens of officers and law enforcement vehicles to the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna and prompted a statewide lockdown of all prisons. One hostage was released Wednesday afternoon, but four remained in custody and negotiations were ongoing as the evening stretched on, authorities said.
A preliminary investigation suggests the incident began around 10:30 a.m. when a correctional officer inside Building C, which houses over 100 inmates, radioed for immediate assistance, Delaware State Police spokesman Sgt. Richard Bratz said at a news conference. Other officers responded to help, and five Department of Corrections employees were taken hostage.
Later, inmates reached out to The News Journal in Wilmington in two phone calls to explain their actions and make demands. Prisoners funneled the calls to the paper with the help of one inmate's fiancee and another person's mother. The mother told the paper her son was among the hostages.
In that call, an inmate said their reasons "for doing what we're doing" included "Donald Trump. Everything that he did. All the things that he's doing now. We know that the institution is going to change for the worse."
That caller said education for prisoners was the inmates' priority. They also said they want effective rehabilitation for all prisoners and information about how money is allocated to prisons.
Bratz did not address the phone calls during the news conference or give details about negotiations, which he said were ongoing. He did not take questions.
"We are doing everything we can to ensure the safety of everyone involved and using all of our available resources," he said.
The inmates released one hostage around 2:40 p.m., and that person was taken by ambulance to a hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, Bratz said. Authorities don't know whether anyone else has been injured, he said.
Bratz did not say how much of the prison, which houses about 2,500 inmates, was involved in the incident. But Bruce Rogers, counsel for the Correctional Officers Association of Delaware, told The Associated Press Building C was under the inmates' control.
Rogers described the hostages as four guards and one counselor. He said he'd been briefed on the situation by the union president, who was talking to officials at the scene.
Video from above the prison Wednesday afternoon showed uniformed officers gathered in two groups along fences near an entrance to the prison. Later, video showed several people surrounding a stretcher and running as they pushed it across the compound. People could be seen standing near a set of doors with an empty stretcher and wheelchair.
A Corrections Department spokeswoman said firefighters were called to the scene after reports of smoke and were being held on standby.
According to the department's website, the prison is Delaware's largest correctional facility for men. It houses minimum, medium, and maximum security inmates, and also houses Kent County detainees awaiting trial. It was the site of the state's death row and where executions were carried out. The prison opened in 1971.
In 2004, an inmate raped a counselor and took her hostage for nearly seven hours at the Smyrna prison, according to an Associated Press report at the time. A department sharpshooter later shot and killed 45-year-old Scott Miller, according to the report, ending the standoff.
Suspect Shot & Killed After Driving Over Arlington Officer
by Vanessa Brown
ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – A female police officer from Arlington is in serious condition after being run over by a car late Wednesday night, and the suspect was shot and killed by another officer. The incident started at about 11:30 p.m. near the intersection of Spring Lake Drive and Fielder Road.
According to police, the female officer pulled over a car with three adults and a small child inside. She then discovered that the driver had a felony warrant out of Dallas County, and called for backup to assist with making an arrest. A total of three officers approached the vehicle together.
However, the driver put his car into reverse, running over the female officer and hitting her patrol car in the process. He then started to drive away, running over the officer a second time. One of the backup officers opened the car's rear passenger door and fired shots in an attempt to get the driver to stop.
The suspect was hit by the gunfire and pronounced dead at the hospital.
“The shooting itself happened inside the vehicle. It's believed the officer was in the vehicle,” explained Lt. Christopher Cook of the Arlington Police Department. Details about the encounter are still being investigated. “As far as was his whole body in the vehicle — half in, half out — I'm not sure.”
The suspect was identified Thursday morning as 23-year-old Tavis Crane of Arlington. He was wanted for probation violation, and also had misdemeanor warrants out of Grand Prairie. “For whatever reason,” Cook added, “the suspect made the decision he was not going to go back to jail.”
Nobody else from inside of the car was arrested or injured. Authorities said that they are cooperating with the investigation.
The injured officer, a 14-year veteran of the force, was taken to JPS Hospital in Fort Worth with several broken bones. She will survive and is said to be in “good spirits.” Meanwhile, the backup officer who fired shots is now on administrative leave while the investigation continues. The names of the officers have not been released.
The policing of Seattle police: Mayor and council unveil reform package
by Joel Connelly
The long march for Seattle police reform, overseen by a U.S. Justice Department monitor, reached high camp on Wednesday as Mayor Ed Murray and eight City Council members unveiled a three-legged program to police the police.
Its keystone are creation of an Office of Inspector General to review policies and practices, the Community Police Commission made permanent and more powers and independence to the Seattle Police Department's Office of Professional Accountability.
"This package has the potential to truly change the culture of our police department and significantly increase community trust and confidence in our officers," said Councilman Tim Burgess, a former cop and reform voice while chairing the council's public safety committee.
The council must enact the legislation, likely with eight members aboard. It may first have to listen to an anti-police speech by limelight-loving City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant.
Mayor Murray noted that the package is the outgrowth of a consent decree, which was in turn prompted when 34 community groups called on the U.S. Department of Justice to probe the SPD.
They asked Justice to investigate whether the SPD was violating civil rights by using unnecessary and excessive force, and needed training to deal with race-tinged confrontations with members of the public.
The probe won backing from then-U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan and Tom Perez, head of the civil rights division at Justice. Perez was later secretary of Labor and is now running to chair the Democratic National Committee.
"This is an historic and critical juncture as the legislation reflects the strongest and most transparent police accountability structure we have ever had," said Murray, "and helps on our path to make lasting institutional change that builds trust between the police and communities they serve."
In his state-of-the-city speeches, Murray has repeatedly argued that racism is a major problem facing Seattle, and put great emphasis on police training and recruitment of a force that looks like the city's population.
The process has received periodic pushback from the Seattle Police Officers' Guild.
It has, however, enjoyed steadfast support from U.S. District Judge James Robart, overseer of the 2012 federal consent decree requiring the SPD to deal with excessive force and biased policing.
The nuts and bolts of the reform package:
-- The Office of Inspector General will be fully independent, external of the police department. It will have jurisdiction over all SPD policies, procedures and operations. It will acquire subpoena power to compel cooperation with investigations.
-- The SPD's much-criticized Office of Professional Accountability will become fully independent, its leadership to be named by the mayor. A civilian staff will supervise a mix of civilian and sworn investigators. It will have subpoena power.
-- The Community Police Commission, initially created by then-Mayor Mike McGinn, will become a permanent community-led body that reviews SPD policies that impact the public trust. It will review hiring and play a major role in police engagement with the community.
The top positions, on all three fronts, will have the power of the purse.
The inspector general, the OPA director and the Community Police Commission executive director will have budget and program control over operations, work plans and the hiring of staff.
The legislation expressly prohibits interference with, or retaliation against, the staffs of the newly empowered agencies.
Burgess, serving his last year on the council, reflected:
"Since the early 1990s, city government has attempted multiple police reform efforts, but we have never had such a comprehensive and sweeping legislative package as we are releasing today."
Can James O'Neill change the NYPD with neighborhood policing?
by Mark Chiusano
NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill is often described as a cop's cop.
It's easy to see why. In his remarks at a City and State conference on Wednesday — which were straightforward, delivered mostly without looking at his notes — he mentioned the best time to “catch bad guys” who are on the run: 5 a.m., knocking on their doors.
He talked about ascending the ranks during his long career, starting with patrolling the subway in the 1980s, changing cars every three stops in an attempt to establish a presence throughout the train.
The cop's cop reputation seems to have brought O'Neill some goodwill from the rank and file, but it has also shaped his view of community-police interactions. He's not an ideologue like his predecessor, William Bratton, the controversial and iconic figure who spent most of his career on the political side of policing. He speaks of the people he met on the beat when he was a patrol officer; or when he conducted community meetings as a precinct commander.
In one of those meetings, he recalled Wednesday, a Bronx pastor told him policing was “done to us and not with us.”
“If they're not satisfied with the way we're doing business,” O'Neill said, “then we need to change.”
That's the idea behind “neighborhood policing,” the rejuggling of police priorities and strategies credited to O'Neill; the strategy calls for some police officers to focus on small sections of precincts, getting to know local problems in a community rather than robotically answering 911 calls.
The idea is to change the way people interact with and think of police officers. They would know you better, you would know them better.
“Neighborhood coordination officers” assigned to the community distribute business cards with their contact information. They focus on community affairs, while “sector officers” get to know a particular area and devote a third of their time to community outreach.
Something like this was tried in the 1990s, before falling victim to a lack of funding and changing priorities.
Is it working?
The NYPD is developing a survey system to judge community attitudes and O'Neill said Wednesday that “anecdotally, we're doing well.” That's likely true among people like clergy, local community leaders and business owners who attend police-community meetings or already have established connections with their precincts' police.
But does it change police interactions with the types of people who feel the brunt of police attention in a data- and quality-of-life crime focused department — often young men of color?
That's hard to do with a continued focus on quality-of-life crime disproportionately targeted at those young men.
O'Neill says that neighborhood policing is “primarily a crime fighting model, make no doubt about it.” Such comments seem mostly intended to reassure the rank and file cops of whom O'Neill was recently one that the new philosophy isn't an activist win won't move the department too far in the social work direction.
The commissioner is in a tricky place in the current political atmosphere. He struggles with the same problems other big city police leaders do — keeping the perception of crime down, guarding against terrorism. His first full day in his new role was the Chelsea bombing in September.
But he's also straddling a fine line in a post-Ferguson era. After a recent incident in which an officer shot and killed a naked, mentally ill woman wielding a bat, O'Neill said the department had “failed” the woman. That drew political accolades, but angered the union that represents rank and file cops. To keep faith with the reformers, he returns again and again to neighborhood policing.
Will O'Neill change the culture of the NYPD?
If you listen to Mayor Bill de Blasio, neighborhood policing was the reason members of the city's rank and file union got an extra boost in their back-pay contracts this week compared to the other police unions. A union representative said cops are being asked to do more.
Are they? Currently, the program has been rolled out in about half the city's precincts. In the places where it is rolled out, there are between nine and 11 “neighborhood coordination officers” and their supervisor. There can also be a few cars of the “sector officers” at any time varying by tour time. That's somewhere in the neighborhood of a couple dozen. Precincts overall staffing varies, but a large one like the 75th in East New York has upwards of 400 officers.
Whether this program turns out to have radical effects remains to be seen.
More radical change may be on the way thanks to that new contract — the union agreed to drop a lawsuit opposing the much delayed rollout of body cameras, which are now scheduled to be on every rank-and-file officer by 2019. Plenty of questions on that front remain: How will the cameras change police behavior? What rules will be enacted concerning privacy concerns?
All of those and more will face O'Neill, the career officer now making decisions for the cop on the beat.
Denver transit security officer killed by suspect on terror watch list
Police said the suspect ambushed Officer Scott Von Lanken from behind
by PoliceOne Staff
DENVER — A contract transit security officer is dead after a suspect approached him from behind and shot him in the neck.
Police told The Denver Channel that suspect Joshua Cumming, 37, fatally shot Officer Scott Von Lanken, 56, at Union Station Tuesday night.
An investigation found two witnesses were talking to Von Lanken when Cummings attacked. Denver Police Commander Barb Archer told The Denver Post the witnesses heard Cummings say “something to the effect of, ‘Do as I tell you,' and then he shot the officer.”
According to an RTD news release, Von Lanken died on his way to the hospital. Von Lanken was a contract RTD security officer through Allied Universal. He was armed, but did not have official arresting powers.
The Denver Post reported Cummings was arrested within 20 minutes near the crime scene. He is currently being held for investigation of first-degree murder. Police recovered a gun from the suspect.
Cummings has an out-of-state criminal history and is on the federal terror watch list. Further information regarding why he is on the list was not available.
Authorities sent out a warning to officers after the shooting asking them to be vigilant because they don't know the motive behind the shooting, the Associated Press reported.
Detectives said, as far as they know, the shooting was unprovoked. They are currently investigating if Cummings shot Von Lanken for a personal reason.
Von Lanken is survived by his wife and twin daughters.
Feds: Orlando mass shooter's wife knew 'he was going to commit the attack'
Prosecutors say not only did Noor Salman accompanying her husband on scouting trips, she watched him leave with a gun and a backpack full of ammo the night of the shooting
by Paul Elisa
OAKLAND, Calif. — A federal judge in California declined Wednesday to release the widow of the man who killed dozens of people at a Florida nightclub after prosecutors said she accompanied her husband on scouting trips for potential targets that included a Disney shopping complex.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Donna Ryu in Oakland said she wanted a psychiatric evaluation done of Noor Salman before deciding whether to release her from jail pending a trial on charges of supporting her husband's attack and then lying to investigators about it. Salmon, 31, has pleaded not guilty.
Federal authorities arrested Salman last month at her mother's home in suburban San Francisco, where Salman moved with her 4-year-old son after her husband Omar Mateen killed 49 people and wounded 53 others on June 12 at the Pulse nightclub.
Mateen pledged allegiance to several terror organizations during the attack before police shot and killed him.
Federal prosecutor Sara Sweeney divulged some details of the allegations for the first time while arguing against the release of Salman.
Sweeney said Mateen asked Salman whether attacking the Disney site would have a bigger impact than attacking a nightclub.
In addition to accompanying her husband on scouting trips, Salman watched him leave their apartment with a gun and a backpack full of ammunition on the night of the shooting, Sweeney said.
Authorities say Salman initially said she didn't know anything about the attack but later told investigators Mateen abused steroids, was "pumped up" on the night of the attack, and said "this is the one day" as he walked out the door, Sweeney said in court.
"I knew when he left he was going to commit the attack," Sweeney said Salman told investigators.
Sweeney also said the couple ran up $25,000 in credit card debt and spent $5,000 in cash in the days before the shooting. Among the purchases was an $8,000 diamond ring for Salman. In addition, Mateen and Salman made her the death beneficiary of his bank account.
Salman's attorney Charles Swift said outside court that Salman made those statements without a lawyer present during an 18-hour interrogation immediately after the attack.
He said he hasn't yet received a transcript or recording of Salman's interrogation to determine the context of her statements and accuracy of the allegations.
Swift also pointed out that Mateen was a security guard and left the couple's home hundreds of times with a gun and ammunition.
Swift argued that prosecutors were charging Salman with the crimes of her husband. Mateen physically abused Salman, he said, and never told her about his plans to carry out the killings.
It was the first time Salman's legal team heard details of the allegations as well.
"We frankly expected more," attorney Linda Moreno said outside court.
Salman's mother and uncle have pledged to put up their homes as collateral to secure her release from jail pending trial. Federal prosecutors are seeking to transfer Salman to Florida to face the charges that could bring a sentence of life in prison.
Washington D. C.
Ohio pastor claims Chicago gangs want to work with Trump to lower crime
Rev. Darrell Scott said "top gang thugs" in Chicago want to meet with Trump to reduce the city's gun violence
by Annie Sweeny and Jeremy Gorner
WASHINGTON — A Cleveland minister's surprise comment to President Donald Trump on Wednesday that he had heard from "top gang thugs" in Chicago who wanted to meet with him to reduce the city's gun violence was quickly ridiculed by anti-violence groups here as likely to fail and certainly out of touch with longtime gang dynamics.
The Rev. Darrell Scott, a strong Trump supporter, could not be reached to provide details on the "sit-down" he said he planned to hold in Chicago in a couple of weeks about "lowering the body count."
But those who have been doing anti-violence work in Chicago for years said the idea of an outsider coming to Chicago to untangle gang conflicts was suspect.
"The idea is great, but trusted insiders are really crucial because you need that understanding of what both sides are dealing with," said Charles Ransford, director of science and policy at Cure Violence, which has mediated gang conflicts for more than 15 years in Chicago.
Ransford and others said Scott's plan also seemed out of step with Chicago's gang structure, which long ago splintered into smaller neighborhood divisions that are offshoots of the once-larger, more organized super-gangs that had powerful leaders.
"Chicago no longer has the gang hierarchy it used to have," Ransford told the Tribune. "It's much more a block-by-block clique system. How can I say this? They would need to call a lot of people to the table to really be able to cover all the different cliques and gangs. There is not just a handful. There is a lot of them."
But Trump, who met in the White House with Scott and others for an African-American History Month event, embraced the minister's remarks.
"That's a great idea because Chicago is totally out of control," the president said of Scott meeting with Chicago gang leaders to reduce the violence.
Scott went on to say that the gang leaders in Chicago had committed "to lower that body count" in return for added social programs from the federal government.
"If they're not going to solve the problem — and what you're doing is the right thing — then we're going to solve the problem for them because we're going to have to do something about Chicago," the president said. "Because what's happening in Chicago should not be happening in this country."
"They want to work with this administration," Scott said of the Chicago gangs. "They believe in this administration. They didn't believe in the prior administration. They told me this out of their mouth. But they see hope with you."
"I love it," Trump said.
The comments marked the third time in the first two weeks of his presidency that Trump has singled out Chicago for its surging violence. Homicides exceeded 760 last year, the worst in two decades.
Even as Scott and Trump were discussing their own solutions at the Washington event, Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson was at the Englewood District station Wednesday morning for a news conference outlining part of the department's crime-fighting plans for 2017.
Johnson first addressed the disappointing crime statistics from January. Violence remains stubbornly high as the city recorded about the same amount of homicides and shootings in January as the year-earlier period.
Much of the violence remains centered in three police districts – Englewood on the South Side and Harrison and Austin on the West Side — where half of the 51 homicides took place in January.
While Trump's latest comments had not yet been made public, Johnson was asked about the president's repeated commentary about the city's violence woes.
Putting a positive spin on the issue, Johnson said he welcomed the president's attention to the problem.
"I like the fact that he recognizes Chicago has some challenges," he told reporters.
Johnson said he'd also welcome further federal help — more federal agents to work on gun cases that target repeat offenders and added financial support for crime-ridden neighborhoods that suffer from unemployment and economic opportunities.
"You have to give better jobs, better mental health, better education. Those are long-term solutions," Johnson said. "If I could write a blank check, I would ask for more funding and programs to give (offenders) an alternate path."
Scott, the Cleveland-area minister who served on the president's transition team, gained attention during the presidential campaign by saying on CNN that Trump had "bailed out the auto industry." He quickly realized his error and corrected himself.
According to New Spirit Revival Center's website, Scott is its co-founder and senior pastor since 1994. The church, in Cleveland Heights owns a gospel radio station and a record label that produces gospel music, according to the website.
All NYPD officers required to wear body cams by 2019
The union has reached a tentative deal to increase officers' salary and will require all patrol cops to wear body cameras by 2019
by Matthew Chayes
NEW YORK — The NYPD's largest police officer union has reached a $1.88 billion tentative deal with the de Blasio administration that increases the average rank-and-file officer's salary by 11.73 percent and requires all patrol cops to wear body cameras by 2019.
The average member of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association will get $12,235 in retroactive pay under the deal, which covers 2012 through July 31, 2017, de Blasio labor negotiators said Tuesday.
By the end of the contract, the average officer's salary will rise from $63,580 to $73,874, before overtime. That does not include a 2.25 percent bump starting March 15, a bonus the administration said is being given because the city is requiring officers to perform so-called neighborhood policing.
The higher salary will be offset by lower salaries for newly hired officers, the officials said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch announced the deal Tuesday at City Hall. The last contract expired in 2010, and the city won an arbitration for two years afterward.
If the contract is ratified, about 99 percent of the city's municipal workforce will be under negotiated contract — up from 0 percent when de Blasio took office in 2014.
The announcement represented a detente between the union and the de Blasio administration. The union had picketed the mayoral residence, Gracie Mansion, and his gym, the Park Slope YMCA, and other events, to protest the failure to strike a deal.
“There's always a natural tension between management and the union and labor. It's our job to make sure we're standing up for our members. Sometimes we do that by agreeing. Sometimes we disagree. Sometimes we shake hands. Sometimes we poke each other,” Lynch said.
De Blasio described the 2.25 percent bonus as a “differential” for doing neighborhood policing. The differential will go to all of the roughly 23,000 members of the PBA, including those who aren't tasked with neighborhood policing.
De Blasio hailed the deal as good for taxpayers and officers alike. “I think this is something that is healthy for the city of New York,” he said.
The issue of body cameras has come to the fore amid a national reckoning about policing and the communities officers serve. The city is under orders from a federal court to undertake a pilot program to outfit officers with cameras.
Under an understanding with the union, de Blasio said, rules such as when an officer must keep the camera on and how footage will be stored is to be hammered out later.
DOJ: Reforms in Baltimore will withstand presidential change
U.S. District Judge James Bredar said political winds change, but orders of the court do not
by The Associated Press
BALTIMORE — The U.S. Justice Department assured a federal judge Wednesday that a proposed agreement to reform Baltimore police practices will withstand the change in presidents.
Civil Rights Division lawyer Timothy Mygatt said the agreement with the city was negotiated cooperatively and outlines a proven process for achieving its goals.
"It endures over administrations. It endures across shifting political winds," he said. "It allows there to be surety for all parties involved that there's going to be consistency."
U.S. District Judge James Bredar said political winds change, but orders of the court do not.
"In this courtroom we don't operate on a four-year cycle," he said. "I know that's clear, but I wanted to say it."
Once the judge is satisfied that the agreement's sweeping reforms are fair, adequate and reasonable and enters the decree, it becomes court-enforceable.
Mayor Catherine Pugh told the judge she's confident Baltimore can afford to implement the reforms. She didn't provide dollar figures, but she told reporters later that she has put money in the city budget for implementation, expects a Ford Foundation grant and is seeking state funds.
"I'm really confident that we'll be able to get this done," she said. "I want to get this signed so we can move forward."
The judge has asked about any conflicts between the proposed agreement and the police union contract, and about timelines and compliance measurements under the decree.
Former Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake asked the Justice Department to launch its investigation to rebuild public trust after the 2015 death of Freddie Gray, a young black man injured in a police van.
Police kill man whose stabbing rampage injured 3 on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood
by Veronica Rocha, Matt Stevens and Richard Winton
Los Angeles police fatally shot a man in a Hollywood fast-food restaurant Tuesday, just moments after the man stabbed three others in an apparently unprovoked attack.
The assailant — described only as a man in his 30s — stabbed a bicyclist about 2 p.m. along the north side of Sunset Boulevard near Ivar Avenue, said Sgt. Frank Preciado, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department.
The attack occurred on a popular corridor along Sunset Boulevard, near the ArcLight Cinemas, Amoeba Music and the Los Angeles offices of CNN.
The assailant then ran down Sunset Boulevard and tried to get into a coffee shop, where employees held the door shut against him, Preciado said.
Next, the man continued eastbound and walked into a Jack in the Box, where he stabbed another man, Preciado said.
As the second victim fled the fast-food restaurant, police officers rushed inside. The man then knifed a third person.
Officers confronted the man and shot him an unknown number of times. Preciado said police also attempted to use a Taser.
The man died at the scene. Authorities did not release his name, and investigators were still trying to determine a motive for the attacks, Preciado said.
Video posted on social media from inside the restaurant showed a person calling for a belt or shoelace to be used as a tourniquet for a victim sitting in a chair with a pool of blood on the floor.
Moans could be heard. As an officer reports “shots fired,” another officer can be seen kneeling over a person face-down on the ground and holding the person's arm.
L.A. City Councilman Mitch O'Farrell, whose district includes Hollywood and East Hollywood, commended LAPD officers for their swift response.
“It saved lives,” O'Farrell said at a news conference Tuesday night.
Investigators were unsure if the assailant knew the three victims, or if they were otherwise connected in some way, police said.
For the inquiry into the shooting, authorities were planning to review surveillance video. Preciado said there was no footage from body-worn cameras to review.
All three victims were taken to hospitals with stab wounds. Two were initially listed in critical condition and were undergoing surgery late Tuesday, according to Josh Rubenstein, a spokesman for the LAPD. Both were considered medically stable.
The third man was expected to be released from the hospital Wednesday.
State grant to fund community policing efforts Salinas Valley
by Tommy Wright
Gonzales -- Four Salinas Valley cities teamed up recently in an effort to improve community policing in the area and it paid off as the state awarded an $850,000 grant to Gonzales, Soledad, Greenfield and King City.
The municipalities came together as the Four Cities United Initiative for the grant. According to Gonzales City Manager Rene Mendez, the communities first came together in 2010 for a California Gang Reduction, Intervention and Prevention grant.
“That's what brought us all together and since then we've received four grants and this is just the latest,” Mendez said, adding that Gonzales has been the lead agency on all but one of the grants.
According to Mendez, the four cities have been meeting monthly ever since to discuss issues that face the entire area.
“We have the same challenges,” Mendez said.
By lumping the cities together, instead of applying separately, Mendez said they became more competitive against larger cities in the grant process.
“Plus, it allows us to bring our police departments together,” Mendez said. “Everybody has skill sets in a particular area, so we're able to bring our chiefs together and different resources from the cities to partner up.”
The grant comes from the Board of State and Community Corrections and it will fund community citizen police academies, the Four Cities United Diversion Program, public safety/community score cards, crisis intervention training, cultural competency training and Spanish language education.
“This is an opportunity for us to expand some of the things we've already done in terms of community outreach,” said Soledad Police Chief Eric Sills.
Gonzales and Soledad will host a joint community police academy, as will Greenfield and King City. The main goals of the academies will be to facilitate community problem solving through partnerships, building strength, safety and security in the communities through education and enhancing the image and sense of place in the communities.
Applications are available at any of the four police departments and the academy is open to anyone 14 or older who lives in the cities or the surrounding areas and has no felony convictions as well as no misdemeanor convictions in the past year. Requirements can be waived by academy coordinators or the four police chiefs. Registration for the academies ends Feb. 24, with classes beginning March 6. The classroom presentations will last an hour to 90 minutes weekly for 13 weeks.
“Something on the lines of the community police academy gives citizens an opportunity to really see kind of first hand some of the situations we deal with as well as some of the types of training and things we're exposed to,” Sills said. “I think from their perspective it's going to be real eye opening.”
In addition to Spanish language training for law enforcement, the grant will cover training in cultural tolerance, understanding and sensitivity for Oaxacan community members.
“There's the language barriers, but there's also the cultural awareness and how folks respond to authority,” Mendez said. “A lot of times those misunderstandings might lead to issues that if we understood each other better wouldn't be there, so I do think that was something that the chiefs were really committed to.”
Community-oriented policing efforts met with some skepticism
by Jeff Ferrell
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -- In the wake of recent violence in Shreveport, the city's police chief has pointed to community-oriented policing as one effective tool to curb crime.
But at least some members of the public are skeptical about whether it makes a lasting difference.
In all, there were 8 separate shootings from early Jan. 28 to late Jan. 29. Two were fatal. One claimed the life of a 15-year-old Southwood High student.
During a hastily called news conference late Monday afternoon, Police Chief Alan Crump addressed the media saying, "We try to put ourselves into the community as much as we can."
On the streets and in local barbershops near where the violence erupted over the weekend, people Jan. 31 had plenty to say about crime.
And there is one word overall that sums up their feelings about police efforts, including community-oriented policing: Skepticism.
At Sky's the Limit Barbershop, the haircut may cost you.
But the conversation is free and unfiltered, especially when talking about Shreveport's recent surge in violence.
Brother William X, the barber, said any solution must address how police are all too often historically perceived as the enemy, not a peacemaker or protector. "They are the aggressor. I mean, they have a history of that."
And customer Lajonathan O'Neal claimed he recently witnessed an alleged case of police brutality.
So when he hears of community-oriented policing where officers walk a neighborhood and interact with the public, he admits he's skeptical. "It ain't gonna do 'em no good to come on out here because we're not going to trust them."
O'Neal said that's largely because that adversarial relationship with police did not form overnight and will not be resolved with a few handshakes.
"Can't be bad for 40 years and act good for 4 days and consider yourself good."
Brother William X told us that curbing crime transcends police programs and boils down to conflict resolution, often with the help of community and religious leaders.
"Two people that are beefing with one another, they have a problem with one another, to sit down at a table outside of the police."
Others believe police can be part of a solution if they treat the public better on a more consistent basis.
Officers "... need more training and need to have more community meetings together, you know, to come to know each other and just training young guys to go out there to just harass people," said Lawrence A. Williams, another customer.
Crump also encouraged the public to re-engage in neighborhood watch efforts. And many of the people KSLA News 12 interviewed Jan. 31 support that idea as a way to fight back against crime.
Martinsburg police report drop in major crimes in 2016
by Herald Mail Media
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The Martinsburg Police Department on Tuesday reported a continued decrease in major crimes in 2016.
The results will be included in the department's 2016 annual report, which will be released next week.
The latest crime totals demonstrate a continued sharp and sustained downward trend in major crimes from the first three quarters of last year that was reported by the city in October, according to a police department news release.
“The men and women of the Martinsburg Police Department have been on a mission to knock down crime and make every neighborhood in our city a safer place to live and a better place to raise families. We are succeeding," Martinsburg Police Chief Maurice "Maury" Richards said in the release. "2016 saw our crime-fighting strategies and community partnerships really pay off.
"Crime has been reduced, our city is safer and the quality of life in our neighborhoods has improved. Our officers have done a great job,” he said.
Compared with 2015, last year's crime count in Martinsburg was dramatically reduced across the board in almost every category, including a dramatic drop in robberies and burglaries.
In 2016, there were 22 total robberies in Martinsburg compared with 40 in 2015, a reduction of 45 percent.
Burglary reports also plummeted. The department reported 228 burglaries in 2016 compared with 336 in 2015, a reduction of 32 percent.
Other categories of reported crimes also reveal steady reductions compared with 2015.
In 2016, sexual-assaults and -abuse cases declined 24 percent; total crimes involving weapons dropped 9 percent; assaults and batteries were down 7 percent; motor-vehicle thefts were reduced by 5 percent; and shoplifting reports were down 15 percent.
Faced with serious spikes in robberies and burglaries in 2015, the police department developed a wide-ranging action plan to address the challenge, according to the release.
“Last year, we could see that crime numbers were going in the wrong direction,” Deputy Police Chief George Swartwood said. “We focused on the problem, developed a plan and followed through. These new numbers are the result of the hard work and dedication of our officers. I couldn't be more proud of the men and women of MPD.”
Richards attributed his department's success to a comprehensive community-policing strategy that has included focused enforcement; better follow-up investigations; teamwork; positive police-community engagement through bicycle and foot patrols and problem solving; improved officer training; using technology; and new police-community partnerships.
“When the police and the community work together, it builds mutual trust," Richards said. "More Martinsburg residents are supporting their police and cooperating to help prevent and solve crimes. I think the numbers speak for themselves.”
Bill mandates Baltimore police report surveillance tactics
The bill would require the police commish to notify city officials about the development of new tactics and use of specific enforcement zones within 30 days of their use
by Carrie Snurr
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Maryland House Judiciary Committee heard arguments for and against a bill that would require the Police Commissioner of Baltimore City to notify the city council, mayor and delegation about the development of new tactics and use of specific enforcement zones within 30 days of their use.
The bill requires the police commissioner to submit a report explaining the potential establishment of "high crime" or "stop and frisk" zones in Baltimore and the use of surveillance devices or "innovative tactics," according to a state document.
Delegate Frank Conaway, D-Baltimore, the sponsor of the bill, said in an interview with Maryland's Capital News Service that it is in reference to a Department of Justice report that said the Baltimore Police Department was designating certain areas of the city as "high crime" or "stop and frisk" zones, which violated civil rights.
Conaway introduced several bills based on a January Baltimore City consent decree, which enforces reforms to the Baltimore Police Department, and a Department of Justice report. A federal judge still needs to sign off on the agreement before the requirements of the decree go into effect.
The Department of Justice opened an investigation into the Baltimore police in 2015 after the death of Freddie Gray, who suffered an injury while being transported in a police van and later died. Gray's death sparked protests and riots in the city.
Conaway testified that he believed the people living in zones designated as "high crime" should be informed of that designation.
Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger testified in opposition to a similar statewide bill that would also require all police departments in the state notify local officials of the use of new technologies -- it does not include "high crime zone" language.
He expressed concerns that the language of the bill was too vague and that the reports would be subject to public information requests, even if the notification was for an active investigation.
License plate readers and wiretap technology, which he said are used by police several times a day as forms of electronic surveillance, may be subjected to the statute, Schellenberger testified. He expressed concern that the reports could compromise active investigations.
The Baltimore consent decree includes language that requires the city police to notify the local government when it uses new technologies.
The state does not have power to appoint the Baltimore police commissioner nor is it responsible for funding police operations. However, the state can write laws to implement policy changes in the police department.
Conaway added that the Baltimore police used aircraft for aerial surveillance of the city without notifying Baltimore City officials.
In August 2016, it was revealed that the Baltimore Police Department authorized a private firm to use cameras mounted on a small plane for aerial surveillance of Baltimore City. The program began in early 2016, according to a state document.
The bill requires that once the Baltimore police begin using new technologies, such as drones or cell-site simulators, they notify the Baltimore City Council, mayor and state government delegation within 30 days.
Cell-site simulators are devices that act like cell-phone towers but allow police to track and collect information from nearby phones.
Then-Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the Baltimore City Council and state officials were not initially made aware of the program and were not notified until months after it began.
"They need to have some kind of transparency or accountability beyond themselves," Conaway told Maryland's Capital News Service.
Conaway said that he has gotten negative feedback from law enforcement officers who have told him that the requirement to update Baltimore officials on new technology used by the police is too broad. He added that the police only have to notify city officials when that technology is deployed, not when the city police acquire the technology.
Proponents of the program said that the cameras do not capture high resolution images and it is very hard to personally identify people. However, privacy advocates argue that the market for the technology would accelerate development of more high-resolution cameras.
Okla. sheriff seeking body cameras after fatal 2015 OIS
Part of the incident was captured on a camera mounted in a pair of a deputy's glasses, but it was his personal device
by Justin Juozapavisius
TULSA, Okla. — An Oklahoma sheriff's agency where an ex-reserve deputy fatally shot an unarmed black man in 2015 is applying for federal money to outfit 50 of its deputies with body-worn cameras, the sheriff said Tuesday.
If the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office is approved for its 50 percent match grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, the county would have to come up with roughly $50,000 of the equipment cost. The sheriff's office has 250 deputies.
With the deaths of about two-dozen black people following police encounters in the past several years, civil rights groups have called on law enforcement agencies to outfit officers with more body cameras and other technology to show transparency in their dealings with the public.
The Tulsa Police Department received about $600,000 from the DOJ in 2015 for body cameras and announced a plan in November to distribute the first 40 to officers who frequently interact with the public.
"It's a tool that will provide for better accountability," Sheriff Vic Regalado said Tuesday. "Body cameras are not the cure-all, but they are certainly a big step in alleviating a lot of those issues." If the agency receives the grant, Regalado said deputies will begin field-testing the equipment in the fall.
Two of the fatal shooting incidents happened in Tulsa. In September, a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black man. Officer Betty Jo Shelby has pleaded not guilty to first-degree manslaughter in the death of 40-year-old Terence Crutcher.
The shooting was captured on video from a police helicopter and a dashboard camera, but the images don't offer a clear view of when Shelby fired the single shot because she wasn't wearing a body camera.
In April 2015, ex-volunteer sheriff's deputy Robert Bates, who is white, fatally shot an unarmed Eric Harris in a city street. Part of the incident was captured on a camera mounted in a pair of a deputy's glasses, but it was his personal device.
The Harris shooting drew thousands of county residents to petition for a grand jury to investigate allegations that Bates was unqualified to serve as a deputy but was kept on the force because of his friendship with indicted ex-Sheriff Stanley Glanz. Bates was convicted of second-degree manslaughter and sentenced to four years in prison last year.
Regalado, who replaced Glanz after he retired in November, said the public fallout from the Harris shooting spurred the agency into seeking the technology.
"That was part of it," he said. "We certainly need to catch up and jump on board with that technology. It's a priority here."
Community activist Marq Lewis, a founder of We the People Oklahoma, the group that lobbied for a grand jury to investigate the sheriff's office in 2015, welcomed the potential investment as one way to heal "the divide in the community" after the Harris and Crutcher shootings.
"They have a lot of repairing to do," Lewis said Tuesday. "They have to repair the community by saying, 'trust us, I'm there for you.'
"But (the cameras have) to be backed by action and policies; it can't be a buzzword."
Baltimore police launch mobile app for submitting tips, receiving alerts
Through the app, residents will be able to make anonymous tips, and even engage in dialogue with an officer
by Kevin Rector
BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Police Department on Monday launched a mobile app that allows residents to submit crime tips, receive alerts and peruse other department data and information — calling it a "one stop shop" for city residents looking to engage with the department.
"We think that this will assist in both the crime fight and our interactions with everyday citizens," said Police Commissioner Kevin Davis. "Our goal is to make it easy and simplistic for people to connect."
Through the app, residents will be able to make anonymous tips, and even engage in dialogue with an officer. Davis said the app will be constantly monitored, and tips related to homicides or nonfatal shootings will be given priority.
He said tips to the department increased 174 percent in 2016 over 2015 after the launch of an anonymous text-to-tip line — 443-902-4824 — and he hopes the app will continue growing the amount of information the department receives from the community.
The app also provides access to the department's Facebook and Twitter pages, the state's court records page, city crime data, the department's website and other information.
The Police Department recently agreed with the U.S. Department of Justice to usher in sweeping reforms, including to its communications with the public. Officials did not link the launch of the app to the federal consent decree process, though they touted it using the catchphrase "Transparency at Your Fingertips."
The app, available for download on Apple and Android devices, was developed for the department by the company Mobile PD, which works with about 100 other agencies across the country and in Canada, officials said. The department paid the company $10,000 to develop the app and $20,000 for a two-year subscription to the software, said T.J. Smith, a police spokesman.
Smith cautioned that the app is not intended to replace 911, which residents should still call immediately if there is an emergency or a crime in progress.
After the first two years, the department will pay the company $15,000 a year. It will also pay $99 and $25 annually for the app to appear in the Apple and Android app stores, respectively, Smith said.
Davis said the administration of Mayor Catherine Pugh is fully behind the launch of the app and the drive toward greater transparency. He cited studies that have shown more Americans are getting more of their news from mobile phones.
Kushyar Kasraie, CEO of Mobile PD, said versions of the app are being used by police departments in Austin, St. Louis, Toronto and elsewhere. But Baltimore — which has the eighth-largest police department in the country — is "by far the largest police force in the country launching this application, and we believe this will spur many other law enforcement agencies to follow their lead."
He said the app is "all about improving transparency" and has led to positive results in other cities, including assisting in finding missing people and in solving major drug cases.
"I really look forward to seeing the same positive results here," he said.
Smith said the department would "continuously evaluate" how the app is working for the department.
Some users expressed concerns Monday about prompts in the Android app asking for access to their pictures, location and other data. Smith said such access is routinely requested by mobile apps to support their features, such as the one in the police department app that allows users to send police pictures within their phones.
Smith said there is "no monitoring going on by the department to anyone that downloads the app."
Woman calls Australian police over drug dealer's prices
She demanded police investigate the "outrageous" price hike
by PoliceOne Staff
NORTHERN TERRITORY, Australia — Australian police received a call Saturday that topped their unusual grievance list.
A woman called police because she was upset after her drug dealer increased the price of marijuana.
She demanded police investigate the “outrageous” price hike, the department wrote on Facebook.
“If you know a drug dealer who is ripping you off, give us a call, we'd love to help,” the department wrote.
When asked for more details, she hung up.
LAPD's Special Order 40
Why Local Law Enforcement Should Not Be Immigration Agents
by Eric Siddall
A prosecutor's job is to seek justice for all people who are victims of crime, whatever their legal status in this country. To accomplish this goal, there needs to be cooperation from victims and witnesses, willing to both initially tell the police what they observed and then willing to testify in court. However, people will not cooperate when they believe there is a personal downside for aiding law enforcement. Sometimes it is because there is a threat of retaliation from a criminal or their associates. In the cases of those who are in the country in violation of immigration laws, it may be the fear of deportation.
In 1979, in recognition of this reality, LAPD adopted, Special Order 40, to "provide courteous and professional service to any person in Los Angeles while taking positive enforcement action against all individuals who commit criminal offenses, whether they are citizens, permanent legal residents or undocumented aliens.... Police services will be readily available to all persons, including the undocumented alien, to ensure a safe and tranquil environment."
This policy of not using local and state law enforcement to question people about immigration status is not about political correctness. It is about the effective administration of justice. There is no question that we should cooperate with the deportation of criminals once they have completed their sentence here in the United States. However, if undocumented residents feel they cannot go to the police without fear of deportation, then they will not report crime. This part of our community will become a natural target for criminal street gangs and human traffickers, confident that those they prey on will stay silent for fear that cooperation will be a quick ticket to deportation.
Those of us charged with enforcing the laws of California should be worried about the rhetoric that is now coming from Washington. The specter of using federal power to compel local law enforcement to act as agents of the federal government will hamper the ability to prosecute criminals and provide justice for crime victims. It is heartening to see that our state leaders, including Governor Brown, and local leaders, such as Mayor Garcetti, understand the need to stand against this misguided policy. They are defending a policy that has served California well for the past 38 years.
We will only be safe when all members of our community feel invested and know they can trust law enforcement. This is because cases are built on information gathered on the street. They are built upon witnesses reporting to officers. They are built upon gaining cooperation from people who have legitimate fear of gang retaliation. Cases are won and justice is served when a witness-because of trust and faith in law enforcement-steps into that witness box and, in probably one of the more courageous and selfless acts, explains to a jury what happened on the night a stranger was murder by a ruthless gang member.
Only if local law enforcement remains focused on our jobs-enforcing state and local laws-can we ensure we will have a community ready and willing to step forward and help us make, and prove our cases.
Eric Siddall is Vice President of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys, the collective bargaining agent representing nearly 1,000 Deputy District Attorneys who work for the County of Los Angeles. To contact a Board member, click here.
Nationally Recognized Officer Tommy Norman Comes to Long Beach with Advice for Fellow Cops
by Michaela Kwoka-Coleman
Event + reaction = outcome.
This was the formula reiterated at Saturday afternoon's “The Power Of Partnership Through Community Policing” event at the Packard, just north of downtown Long Beach, presented by Why'd You Stop Me (WYSM).
The sold-out event, attended by people from across the country, featured multimedia presentations and live roleplaying activities aimed at helping the community better understand police procedures and safety protocols.
WYSM, a nonprofit founded in 2014 by Long Beach Police Officer Jason Lehman, aims to strengthen the ties between the police and community, so that the two groups can better understand each other.
Lehman explained that the formula, “event + reaction = outcome,” is one of the most important things to remember when being stopped or questioned by a police officer. Essentially, no matter the event, a positive reaction yields a positive outcome; similarly, a negative reaction yields a negative outcome.
He also talked about how social media affects the perceptions the community and police have of each other.
Lehman and other WYSM board members emphasized that a short video on Facebook doesn't tell the whole story of a police encounter.
What happens before and after a seconds-long video clip usually gives more context to the situation, Lehman said. However, those crucial moments are rarely seen by the public.
Gregory Sanders, board vice president of WYSM and senior pastor of the Rock Christian Church, appealed to police officers to connect with the community, in order to better understand the people they're supposed to protect.
“We don't care that you have mace or a taser,” Sanders said. “What we care about, is that you can't not come on the job with bias.”
Lehman said that the bias both sides have of each other comes down to an unequal level of education regarding police and safety procedures. Through events such as WYSM, Lehman said he hopes to empower both sides of contact, potentially de-escalating future encounters.
Saturday's program also featured a special guest, Tommy Norman of the North Little Rock Police Department. Norman, who joined the police force in 1998, said that the most important part of being a police officer is building and maintaining relationships within the community.
Starting as a child, Norman said he always had a strong desire to serve others. After joining the police force, Norman took that desire and applied it to the community he served.
Whether it's attending activities at the local chapter of the Boys and Girls Club or visiting elderly community members, Norman knows the importance and value of having daily interactions with the community he serves.
“As a police officer I think it's really important that your badge have a heart beat, not an ego,” he said.
Thanks to his strong social media presence, Norman and his community policing has gained national recognition and has even been featured on CNN and the Today Show.
Together, Norman and Lehman have been expanding their social media presence under the hashtag #TwoBaldCops.
DC police: Cyberattack affected surveillance cams before inauguration
Hackers planted ransomware in 70 percent of the recording devices
by PoliceOne Staff
WASHINGTON — Police surveillance cameras stationed around D.C. were unable to record days before President Donald Trump's inauguration, authorities said Friday.
The Washington Post reported that the hackers targeted the surveillance system's storage devices with ransomware. The attack affected 123 of 187 video cameras, leaving them unable to record between Jan. 12 and Jan. 15.
On Jan. 12, police noticed that four of the sites weren't functioning correctly and reported it to authorities. After an investigation, they found more infected camera sites.
Archana Vemulapalli, D.C.'s Chief Technology Officer, told the publication that they are investigating the source of the hacking, but the cyberattack was confined to the police CCTV cameras. It did not extend deeper into the computer networks.
Vemulapalli said although the hack appeared to be an extortion effort, the city paid no ransom and no criminal investigations were affected.
A Secret Service official said the public's safety was never jeopardized.
Wash. lawmakers weigh police deadly force bills
Lawmakers want the language of the current law tweaked or removed altogether
by Alexis Myers
OLYMPIA, Wash. — Lawmakers in Washington state are weighing bills that would raise the bar on when an officer can use deadly force.
Current law shields officers from prosecution unless they acted with malice and without good faith. That could change with new legislation proposed in the House and the Senate this year.
The House Committee on Public Safety is scheduled to hear public testimony on two bills Tuesday related to recommendations from a task force created by Gov. Jay Inslee to reduce the number of violent interactions between law-enforcement and the public.
Democratic Rep. Cindy Ryu from Shoreline, the lead sponsor of House Bill 1529, said in an interview the most crucial part of this process will be to find a balance and to create a feasible budget for the recommendations.
Ryu estimates it will cost at least $60 million to implement the task force's recommendations, which include police training and data collection.
"It's not going to be a quick fix," she said. "We are going to have to spend a lot of time discussing the best ways to handle these situations, and meet somewhere in the middle."
The task force voted 14-10 to remove the phrases "malice" and "good faith" from the current law, which makes it difficult to charge an officer for wrongfully killing a person. Ryu said if nothing else the word "malice" should be removed from the law immediately.
Rep. Roger Goodman, who is the co-chair of the task force and also the sponsor of the second bill being discussed at the hearing, said some of the language should be tweaked and some should be removed altogether.
"That (malice) is too high of a bar, there is no state in the country that prevents prosecution for manslaughter," he said. "So that is language I would prefer to see removed."
However, Goodman said he believes prosecutors need "good faith" to prove to a jury that a crime was committed.
"You need to prove intent, and good faith is a reasonable standard," he said. "We would just want to articulate what good faith means ... We also need to protect law enforcement, not only through the language, but through generous support for their training and their other operations - it's a package deal."
Goodman's bill implements some of the task force's recommendations, including the collection of data when deadly force is used, funding for advanced training programs and grant proposals to obtain less lethal weapons for primary responding - all of which he hopes to combine with Ryu's plan down the line.
Advocacy groups including the Olympia Coalition to Reform Deadly Force — which formed as a result of the task force last year — want to eliminate the language and create better policing practices, while still protecting and respecting the work of law enforcement.
"We believe police officers should be held accountable for unlawful use of deadly force," said Leslie Cushman, co-founder of the group.
James McMahan, policy director for the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, said in an interview removing "good faith" from the current law is 100 percent nonnegotiable, but mentioned they are "open" to having a discussion about removing the word "malice" from the current state law.
"We fundamentally believe that any bill that attempts to eliminate good faith from the standard on police officer's use of deadly force is not a negotiable thing for us," McMahan said.
McMahan said the WASPC supports Goodman's bill and any measure aimed to reduce the number of violent interactions between law enforcement and the public. The "no brainer" part of this legislation he said is to create a statewide uniform standard to track and collect data relating deadly force.
Ill teen zaps Ohio cop with ECD to fulfill bucket-list wish
Alyssa Elkins had made her bucket list earlier in January, after her leukemia returned and she decided not to undergo further treatment
by The Associated Press
(Video on site)
NEWARK, Ohio — Police in central Ohio helped a teenage leukemia patient cross off a bucket-list item that was seriously shocking: She wanted to use a stun gun on someone.
Sixteen-year-old Alyssa Elkins got to do that Sunday. After a bit of training from Newark police, she zapped Sgt. Doug Bline — who'd been first among the police department employees who volunteered for the task — as a crowd of supporters watched. Bline winced and fell onto a mat, guided by spotters.
"It is unpleasant to say the least, but if for five seconds if it makes somebody's kind of dream come true, especially in her situation, I think it was well worth it," Bline said.
Alyssa described the experience as "awesome."
"I'm very grateful that people would put themselves out there to allow me to do that to them," she told WCMH-TV.
She had made her bucket list earlier in January, after her leukemia returned and she decided not to undergo further treatment, meaning she'd likely have just a few months to live. She added the stun-gun item to the list half-jokingly after recalling video of her uncle, Josh Barry, a state trooper, being hit with a Taser during his training, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
It happened to Barry again Sunday, as he gave Alyssa a second chance to use the stun gun.
"I'll do anything for my niece," he told the Dispatch.
Alyssa's parents say working to check things off of her bucket list helps turn the focus to things other than her illness. One of the items up next is a planned family trip to Disney World in February.
From the Department of Homeland Security
Statement from Secretary Kelly on the President's Appointment of Thomas D. Homan as Acting ICE Director
WASHINGTON – Today, the president appointed Mr. Thomas D. Homan acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Since 2013, Mr. Homan has served as the executive associate director of ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO). In this capacity, he led ICE's efforts to identify, arrest, detain, and remove illegal aliens, including those who present a danger to national security or are a risk to public safety, as well as those who enter the United States illegally or otherwise undermine the integrity of our immigration laws and our border control efforts.
Mr. Homan is a 33-year veteran of law enforcement and has nearly 30 years of immigration enforcement experience. He has served as a police officer in New York; a U.S. Border Patrol agent; a special agent with the former U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service; as well as supervisory special agent and deputy assistant director for investigations at ICE. In 1999, Mr. Homan became the assistant district director for investigations (ADDI) in San Antonio, Texas, and three years later transferred to the ADDI position in Dallas, Texas.
Upon the creation of ICE, Mr. Homan was named as the assistant agent in charge in Dallas. In March 2009, Mr. Homan accepted the position of assistant director for enforcement within ERO at ICE headquarters and was subsequently promoted to deputy executive associate director of ERO.
Mr. Homan holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and received the Presidential Rank Award in 2015 for his exemplary leadership and extensive accomplishments in the area of immigration enforcement.
I am confident that he will continue to serve as a strong, effective leader for the men and women of ICE. I look forward to working alongside him to ensure that we enforce our immigration laws in the interior of the United States consistent with the national interest.
From the FBI
Super Bowl Security
Behind the Scenes Look at Game Day Preparations
When tens of thousands of fans stream into NRG Stadium in Houston for the Super Bowl this Sunday, they will understandably be thinking more about the big game than the behind-the-scenes preparations that have gone into ensuring their safety—and that's just the way law enforcement officials want it to be.
The Super Bowl will put Houston squarely in the international spotlight, and the FBI and its local, state, and federal law enforcement partners have been working hard to make sure the game and the events leading up to it in Houston are without incident.
“We've been working for several years with our partners to make sure appropriate security is in place,” said Perrye Turner, special agent in charge of the FBI's Houston Division. “We're going to do everything in our power to make sure it's a safe event.”
“On the day of the big game, we will be here, but our presence may not necessarily be seen,” said Mark Webster, an FBI assistant special agent in charge in Houston who is coordinating the Bureau's Super Bowl security efforts. “We will have multiple elements in place onsite as well as offsite.”
Working with the Houston Police Department—which has the lead role in security planning—and other local, state, and federal agencies, the FBI's primary role is to provide intelligence about possible terror threats. But because the Super Bowl is a major national event, just about every aspect of the Bureau's expertise will be called into play.
“We are using all the elements within our office,” Webster said. From SWAT teams and cyber squads to intelligence analysts and surveillance specialists, FBI personnel will be on the ground at the stadium and will also be staffing command posts set up for the 10-day operational period that includes a variety of festivities leading up to the game on February 5.
At the Houston Emergency Center recently, where the main command post is located, specialists gathered from more than a dozen partner agencies.
“Today is called a rehearsal of concept,” said George Buenik, an executive assistant chief with the Houston Police Department responsible for Super Bowl security and police operations. “We invite everybody here to check the equipment, check the hookups, to see where they're going to be sitting, and to also meet some of the other folks that they're going to be working with. We have a great security plan in place,” Buenik said.
Matt Slinkard, an assistant chief with the Houston Police Department also involved with Super Bowl security preparations, noted that this will be the third Super Bowl the city has hosted, along with many other national-level events. “Our city and our counterparts both locally and federally are well prepared and well equipped to deal with these types of events.”
He added that even with all the law enforcement coordination, “the community has to be our eyes and ears. We cannot do it by ourselves. If you see something—if something doesn't seem right to you, it's probably not right to us either—say something about it.”
The FBI's Turner agreed. “We all have to work together to make this a safe event,” he said, expressing confidence that with the extensive planning and resources that have gone into Super Bowl security preparations, “people will be able to come to Houston, be safe, and have a great time cheering on their favorite football team.”