March, 2017 - Week 2
Diversification of public safety agencies a real possibility
Community resources are just waiting to be asked to lend their support
by Dr. Martin Alan Greenberg
On Monday, the city of Schenectady will have its very own full-time affirmative action officer.
Ron Gardner is being hired to help increase the number of women and minorities who work for the city.
Gardner has indicated that municipalities across the country have struggled to diversify public safety departments such as police and fire.
City Mayor Gary McCarthy has added that public safety jobs are often high profile, well-paid positions, but they include educational and physical requisites, and require a certain score on a civil service test, but it's a process that's well worth it for those who spend multiple years preparing.
This hiring initiative by the city of Schenectady is especially noteworthy since in mid-October 2016, U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced a $132,319 grant for the Albany Police Department to support its Youth Police Initiative (YPI), as well as expand it to three other police departments across upstate New York, including the city of Schenectady.
Albany Police Department's YPI has been in existence since 2014. The other two cities are Troy and Syracuse.
At the time of the announcement, Schenectady's new police chief, Eric S. Clifford, exclaimed that he was "excited to have the Schenectady Police Department participate in the youth police initiative [because] building stronger relationships within the community, especially between youths in the community and the police, are of the highest priority. ... As we expand our community policing efforts and our PAL program, and focus on youth initiatives, together we will see relationships evolve to where dignity, respect, and trust is shared by all.”
The YPI-funded programs are being undertaken in response to recommendations put forward by the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing.
Probably, the best known type of YPI program is "Law Enforcement Exploring."
It is a career orientation and experience program for young people contemplating a career in the field of criminal justice.
Its mission is to offer young adults, ages 14-21, a hands-on awareness of the criminal justice system through training and practical experiences.
Law Enforcement Explorer posts are sponsored by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies throughout the country.
They are endorsed by numerous professional organizations, such as the International Chiefs of Police Association (IACP) and the National Sheriffs Association (NSA).
Law Enforcement exploring is a well-established and highly respected program that has served as a platform from which countless young adults have launched a successful career with local, county, state and federal public safety agencies.
My recent book, American Volunteer Police, devotes two chapters to the organization and types of existing youth oriented police initiatives. The complete book can be downloaded without cost at: https://selfdefensefund.com/wpcontent/uploads/Volunteer.pdf
The Albany County Sheriff's Office has had a "Law Enforcement Deputy Explorer" program for a number of years.
Deputy Explorers assist regular deputy sheriffs by performing nonhazardous duties such as report writing, bicycle licensing, public fingerprinting, assist in "Operation Child Safe," crowd assistance at parades and civic events, anti-crime campaigns, search missions, and statistical computations.
The deputy explorers usually work at the sheriff s station closest to their homes and may engage in special assignments, such as parades, air shows, conferences, and expositions.
The deputy explorers are non-compensated but completely insured while in training and on duty. New members are expected to furnish their own uniforms and equipment upon acceptance into the program.
The establishment of a Law Enforcement Explorer Post is an ideal way to help young people, especially women and minorities, prepare for a career in public safety
Thus far, the city of Schenectady has done a fine job in establishing its police/youth basketball league that meets for one month every summer and plays at Jerry Burrell Park, which is located in the heart of one of the city's crime-prone areas.
The league has been highlighted as a success in terms of community-police engagement and was recognized by the City Council with a ceremonial resolution.
However, in 2016, according to Police Chief Clifford, the 146-member Schenectady Police Department is still struggling to gain minorities. It now has seven black, four Hispanic and seven women officers.
Two of these officers have achieved superior officer ranks.
These numbers can be increased, and the most effective way is to create a new year-round Law Enforcement Explorer Program.
Community resources, such as the Schenectady County Community College's Criminal Justice and the county's Zone 5 Police Academy, are just waiting to be asked to lend their support.
Martin Alan Greenberg is a retired SUNY Ulster professor of criminal justice and the author of a number of books dealing with volunteers in public safety. He is currently the director of research and education for the New York State Association of Auxiliary Police, Inc.
Community policing lowers Klamath Falls crime in 2016
by The Associated Press
KLAMATH FALLS -- A community policing initiative in Klamath Falls has been deemed a success, as the city has reported a seven-year low in crime statistics.
The Herald and News reported Sunday that city data show a 7.4 percent reduction in crime in 2016, compared with the previous year.
Police Chief Dave Henslee said the Police Department has focused on using enforcement based on community feedback and current crime trends.
Efforts have included analyzing criminal activity, encouraging officers to interact more with residents and local businesses, and patrolling in areas with specific enforcement goals.
According to the crime report, the biggest downward trend was in assaults, robberies, rapes and homicides.
Klamath Falls did see an 8 percent increase in society crimes, which include drug and DUII offenses.
How to fight guns and gangs in Chicago
Sending in the Feds would be counterproductive
by The Economist
“I AM sick of President Trump denigrating Chicago,” said Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York, during a trip to the Windy City on March 3rd, lamenting Mr Trump's “particularly painful stereotyping” of the place. In January Mr Trump tweeted that he would “send in the Feds!” if the city did not fix the horrible “carnage” of gun violence. In his recent speech to a joint session of Congress, Mr Trump said it was not acceptable that more than 4,000 people were shot in Chicago last year.
With 764 murders in 2016, more people were killed in Chicago, America's third-largest city, than in its biggest city, New York (334), and its second-biggest, Los Angeles (294), combined (see chart). Three children were killed in four days in February. Sending in the Feds, whatever it means, may sound appealing, but it would be unlikely to help. Though Mr Trump said that “very top police” in Chicago had told him that the city's crime problem could be stopped in a week with tougher tactics, there is no single explanation for the rise in violent crime. Nor is there any quick fix. Many of the reasons frequently discussed, such as splintered gangs, an influx of guns from states surrounding Illinois, the demolition of public housing, concentrated poverty or even the weather, are things that have been around for years.
One thing is certain, says John Pfaff at Fordham University in New York: sending in the National Guard, as Mr Trump seemed to suggest, would send the wrong signal and would probably worsen the already sour relations between the police and black Chicagoans. Deploying troops—when local police are unable to contain unrest and the mayor of a city appeals to the governor, who oversees the state National Guard—should be a last resort.
Some things have changed, though. Gangs are using high-powered rifles that can tear through cars and even bulletproof vests. And the Chicago Police Department (CPD) made over 80% fewer street stops in January 2016 than it did in November 2015. The officers' retreat was related to a public outcry after the release of video footage in November 2015 showing the execution-style killing of a black teenager by a white policeman. The furore resulted in the firing of the then-police chief, Garry McCarthy, as well as an investigation of CPD practices by the Department of Justice. A few months after that steep reduction in street stops, gun violence raced up.
This coincided with a sharp decline in the clearance rate for gun crimes in 2016. Last year 26% of murders resulted in an arrest, down from 36% in 2015, and arrests for shootings fell to 5% from 7%. Many assume the fall is related to black Chicagoans' lack of trust in police officers, which in turn stems the flow of information needed to solve a crime. It meant that more than three-quarters of last year's murderers walked free. That may have encouraged revenge killings, as the likelihood of getting caught was so low.
A long-running stand-off between the governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, and the state legislature, which has resulted in the disruption or end of many social programmes for Chicago's poorest residents, is also a factor. Since March 2015 the funding of CeaseFire, which employs former felons and others with insight into local crime as community messengers to prevent violence, has been cut to almost nothing. The one district on the South Side where CeaseFire was not slashed was the only one that saw a drop in shootings. Spokesmen for the programme, known in other cities as “Cure Violence”, claim that if it were fully funded, murders in Chicago could be reduced to fewer than 350 a year; possibly even fewer than 200.
If that sounds self-serving, consider New York's experience. After bolstering its police force, the Big Apple had success with community policing, which involves officers getting to know not just the criminals on their beat but also the business-owners, teachers and local families, in order to build trust. In Chicago, the vast majority of shootings and murders happen in four or five poor black or Latino neighbourhoods where unemployment is high, schools dreadful and urban blight omnipresent. In January almost half of the city's 51 murders occurred in Englewood on the South Side and Harrison and Austin on the West Side. This lopsided number contains a hopeful sign: a concentrated problem is easier to tackle than one that is diffuse. Nor is Chicago fated to suffer: six days passed last week without a murder, the first time that has happened for four years.
Police need more eyes and ears Community policing programs strengthened by volunteers
by Chris Bolster
They are the eyes and ears for the police. Community policing offices play an integral role as a hub for community-based crime prevention offering programs like Citizens on Patrol (COPs), Block Watch and Speed Watch.
“We're a link between the community and the police,” said Shirley Goodburn who has volunteered in the Powell River community policing office for the past seven years. “A lot of people walk by the office and don't know what we do.” Goodburn is happy to answer any questions the public may have and if she does not have an answer readily available, she knows where to find it.
The office is directly linked to Powell River RCMP and located in Powell River Town Centre Mall, which provides the space rent-free. Inside the office there are helpful resources including information about home security, business crime prevention, auto crime prevention, personal safety, fraud information and bicycle safety.
“I believe strongly in volunteering in the community,” said Mary Jean deWitt. “You have to give something back.”
Volunteers in the office are engaged with the community at various functions throughout the year and attend training sessions so they are knowledgable about community resources.
“A lady came in one time,” said Goodburn. “Her teenager was using drugs and she didn't want to get the police involved but she wanted to get help for him, so I was able to give that advice to her. It's very rewarding to be able to help people.”
Volunteers are required to maintain confidentiality and do not give the police detailed reports about questions or concerns that are raised. There are approximately 50 offices operating in communities around the province from Burnaby to Burns Lake. Powell River's started in October 2001 in response to rising incidents of home break-ins and vandalism.
COPs is a program supported through community policing. It is designed to reduce property crime by monitoring areas in the community where residents have requested more patrolling and where history shows crimes are likely to happen. Volunteers are paired up, given a combination cell phone/radio monitoring equipment and patrol in their own unmarked vehicles looking for any criminal activity or reporting crimes in progress. Patrols are usually carried out on Friday and Saturday nights as well as special events such as New Year's Eve, Halloween and Seafair.
“We do a lot of patrols and they're all the way from the [Saltery Bay] ferry terminal to the other end,” said Tim Samograd, Powell River's COPs program chair. Samograd is also involved with the Speed Watch program.
Speed Watch is a program designed to remind drivers about how fast they're driving, especially in school and park zones.
Samograd spends a few hours each week sitting in his parked car monitoring drivers' speed. In front of his car is a tripod with a radar device attached to it and an LED board that lights up with a car's speed as it drives by. A retired deputy sheriff, Samograd tracks the speeds on his tally sheet. At the end of the month he files a report with ICBC (Insurance Corporation of British Columbia) on how many cars are passing by and how many are speeding.
In addition to COPs and monitoring speeding, volunteers also help identify cars that have been left unlocked in the mall's parking lot, remind people to secure their valuables and on occasion help ICBC look for stolen vehicles by entering licence plate numbers. Recently, a bicycle engraving program has been undertaken to mark bikes to help in their recovery. Every first Saturday of the month volunteers engrave bikes.
The success of each community policing initiative is due to dedicated volunteers. “A lot of the members are retired or semi-retired, so we have a lot of time on our hands,” said Samograd. “We do this to make the community better. The less crime, the easier it'll be for people here.”
Powell River's community policing program currently has 36 volunteers, but it is looking to increase that number. “Our numbers are down a bit,” said deWitt. “It's a great group of people.”
When the program began more than 10 years ago there were over 100 volunteers. “We're looking to appeal to a new group of people,” she said.
Samograd estimates the number of volunteers needs to be back up to over 100 to be able to run regular weekend patrols.
At a minimum, volunteers are asked to spend four hours per month with the program, but often volunteers spend many more hours.
Constable Chris Bakker, with the Powell River RCMP detachment, is the community policing liaison officer. He said the COPs program has been a success. “We were looking for a young male who was thought to be suicidal,” said Bakker. “We had two cars out looking for him and we sent his description to the COPs as well. It was the COPs that found him. Everything turned out good. We got him the necessary help. It's just nice to have those extra cars on the road, especially for something like that.”
Readers who are interested in volunteering can find application forms at the community policing office. To be eligible, volunteers must be between the ages of 19 to 80 years old, be of good character and able to pass an RCMP background check. Volunteers are expected to attend training and meetings as required. The community policing office can be called at 604.485.8567.
Boston Police To Extend Pilot Body Camera Program
by Boston CBS
BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Police Department is extending its pilot body camera program.
Mayor Marty Walsh and Police Commissioner William Evans announced Sunday they made an agreement with the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association to add six more months to the program.
Up to 100 patrol officers will be outfitted with body cams while on duty.
The pilot program began last September.
Officials want to make sure they have sufficient information for an effective study of the program, according to a news release.
Mayor Walsh expressed his approval of the extension and appreciation for the police department in the release.
“This extension is a positive development and I look forward to continuing to build on the success of this pilot program. We are fortunate to have one of the best police forces in the country and our officers work hand in hand with the community to make all neighborhoods safer. I thank Commissioner Evans and the BPPA for their continued willingness to work together on this initiative,” Mayor Walsh said.
Commissioner Evans said the extension will allow officers to wear the cameras during all seasons of the year and in a variety of situations.
“I am pleased that the pilot program will be continuing through what tends to be our busiest months of the year. Extending through the summer will give us the opportunity to keep the body worn cameras out in the community and will provide additional data to assist with the assessment of the program. I would like to thank Mayor Walsh, the union leadership of the BPPA and the officers who are participating in this pilot program for their continued commitment to exploring this new policing tool,” Commissioner Evans said in the release.
Police officers, lab technicians handle fentanyl with care
Police Chief Ken Pate said officers have "stopped using field tests for heroin stamp bags because we don't know what really is in it"
by Chuck Biedka
TARENTUM, Pa. — Police and drug lab technicians in the Alle-Kiski Valley are trying to make sure they aren't accidentally among the victims of fentanyl-type drugs, because merely touching some of drugs with bare hands can be fatal.
Allegheny County Medical Examiner Karl Williams said the arrival of the illegal fentanyl compounds was “life changing” for medical examiners and lab staff.
“We are now keeping Narcan in the lab, and they wear protective clothing,” he said.
The powder often is so fine that particles can be absorbed into humans through the skin pores.
Officers have “stopped using field tests for heroin stamp bags because we don't know what really is in it,” said Upper Burrell police Chief Ken Pate, president of the Westmoreland County Police Chiefs Association. “Fentanyl often looks like heroin.”
Last summer, the DEA issued a warning to police. State police also added a safety component in police officer annual procedure updates.
Field tests have been an important part of presenting basic evidence at preliminary hearings, where a district judge decides whether there is enough evidence to hold charges for trial court.
“Now, officers are testifying about their experience to identify drugs and how the suspected illegal drugs were found,” Pate said.
“Our officers in the county are not routinely using field tests ... — the Narcotics Field Test Kits (NIK) tests, where you put the suspected drug in a vial and it turns color — because of the danger,” Pate said.
World Faces Largest Humanitarian Crisis Since 1945, U.N. Official Says
by Miles Parks
The world is facing its greatest humanitarian crisis since 1945, says the United Nations humanitarian coordinator, Stephen O'Brien.
O'Brien told the U.N. Security Council on Friday that more than 20 million people across four countries in Africa and the Middle East are at risk of starvation and famine.
"We stand at a critical point in our history," he said. "Without collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death."
He called the crisis the largest in the history of the U.N., which was founded in 1945, and was specific in his request to the council: "$4.4 billion by July" to combat extreme hunger in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia, and northeast Nigeria.
"All four countries have one thing in common. Conflict," he said. "This means that we, you, have the possibility to prevent and end further misery and suffering... It is all preventable. It is possible to avert this crisis, to avert these famines — to avert these looming human catastrophes."
In Yemen alone, he said the number of people who don't know where their next meal will come from, has increased by 3 million since January.
NPR has reported extensively on the famine problem in the region, most recently last week, when Somalia's prime minister said 110 people died of hunger in a single region over a two-day period. He guessed that more than 6 million people in his country, or just about half the population, are faced with a food shortage because of a deepening drought.
In South Sudan, two counties are in a "phase five" famine situation, according to a determination rating system our Goats and Soda team looked into last month. That's the worst possible rating, and it means at least two out of every 10,000 people are dying of hunger there every day. Overall, 42 percent of the population in South Sudan is estimated to be food insecure.
The country has been entrenched in civil war since December 2013.
"The situation is worse than it has ever been. The famine in South Sudan is man-made," O'Brien said Friday. "Parties to the conflict are parties to the famine – as are those not intervening to make the violence stop."
And in Nigeria, the fallout from fighting with extremist terror group Boko Haram has left pockets of the country decimated, as NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reported last month.
"Northeastern Nigeria will probably get worse because the lean food and farming season is coming up between June and August," she said.
"When I was in Nigeria I saw it for myself: pin-thin children being taken care of because there isn't the food to feed them."
Seattle synagogue vandalized with Holocaust denial graffiti
by CNN Wire
SEATTLE — A synagogue in Seattle has become the latest to fall victim to recent anti-Semitic vandalism.
Temple De Hirsch Sinai was spray-painted with graffiti calling the Holocaust “fake history,” Rabbi Daniel Weiner said.
Weiner told CNN affiliate KOMO, “It was just horrifically disturbing graffiti that kind of encompassed all classic anti-Semitic tropes of Holocaust denial and of Jewish affinity for money.”
The vandals replaced each S in the message with dollar signs.
According to a statement from Seattle police, an off-duty officer discovered the message Friday morning on the wall of the temple's old sanctuary and contacted staff.
US Rep. Pramila Jayapal, who represents Washington's 7th District, which includes Seattle, strongly denounced the vandalism.
Gov. Jay Inslee also condemned it, saying in a statement, “It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to condemn any and all acts of hate and intolerance.”
A suspicious package also was found near the temple Friday, but police said later on Twitter that it turned out to be a book donation.
Rise in anti-Semitic attacks
The graffiti is the latest in a wave of anti-Semitic vandalism and threats made to Jewish institutions all over the country.
Earlier in the day, staff at a Jewish community center (JCC) in Las Vegas received “suspicious communications,” according to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, prompting them to evacuate the area and investigate. Police reported the property safe a short time later.
In Tucson, Arizona, police were investigating the second threat in two weeks sent to a JCC. Sgt. Pete Dugan, a spokesman for the police department, said a bomb threat was received via email.
A Jewish community center typically provides a place for both Jews and non-Jews to participate together in social and recreational activities.
Since January, Jewish institutions have received 148 bomb threats, according to the Anti-Defamation League, which is keeping an up-to-date map of the incidents on its website. It says that the threats have come in six waves since the beginning of the year.
“This is the first time in the 60-plus years of our organization we have had a bomb threat called in. And now we've had three bomb threats this year,” said a Jewish community center CEO who wished to remain anonymous, fearing copycats would target his center. “It's alarming.”
Jewish cemeteries have also seen a rise in vandalism. Last month, tombstones in Jewish cemeteries in Philadelphia and St. Louis were found toppled.
Rabbi: Hate won't define us
In a post on the Temple De Hirsch Sinai's Facebook page, Weiner said the temple had taken steps to ensure the safety of the community, including increased security.
“And as we take all of these precautions, we are also adamant in our conviction that we will not allow the toxicity of intolerance and growing climate of hate to define who we are, how we live, and what our nation can be,” Weiner wrote.
“We take courage from the upcoming celebration of Purim and its story in the Book of Esther, as our people triumphed over the evil plans of those who seek to diminish and destroy us, and as we stand shoulder to shoulder with all who are vulnerable and in need, placing our faith in God to inspire us to perfect a broken world.”
Vault 7: CIA Hacking Tools Revealed WikiLeaks
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is the Press Release portion of a rather long detailed article from WikiLeaks that may help explain the next couple articles presented below. I offer it for that reason. The full article includes sections on Analysis, Examples and Frequently Asked Questions. You can access it throught the link below.
Today, Tuesday 7 March 2017, WikiLeaks begins its new series of leaks on the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Code-named "Vault 7" by WikiLeaks, it is the largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency.
The first full part of the series, "Year Zero", comprises 8,761 documents and files from an isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virgina. It follows an introductory disclosure last month of CIA targeting French political parties and candidates in the lead up to the 2012 presidential election.
Recently, the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized "zero day" exploits, malware remote control systems and associated documentation. This extraordinary collection, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA. The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.
"Year Zero" introduces the scope and direction of the CIA's global covert hacking program, its malware arsenal and dozens of "zero day" weaponized exploits against a wide range of U.S. and European company products, include Apple's iPhone, Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones.
Since 2001 the CIA has gained political and budgetary preeminence over the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). The CIA found itself building not just its now infamous drone fleet, but a very different type of covert, globe-spanning force — its own substantial fleet of hackers. The agency's hacking division freed it from having to disclose its often controversial operations to the NSA (its primary bureaucratic rival) in order to draw on the NSA's hacking capacities.
By the end of 2016, the CIA's hacking division, which formally falls under the agency's Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI), had over 5000 registered users and had produced more than a thousand hacking systems, trojans, viruses, and other "weaponized" malware. Such is the scale of the CIA's undertaking that by 2016, its hackers had utilized more code than that used to run Facebook. The CIA had created, in effect, its "own NSA" with even less accountability and without publicly answering the question as to whether such a massive budgetary spend on duplicating the capacities of a rival agency could be justified.
In a statement to WikiLeaks the source details policy questions that they say urgently need to be debated in public, including whether the CIA's hacking capabilities exceed its mandated powers and the problem of public oversight of the agency. The source wishes to initiate a public debate about the security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons.
Once a single cyber 'weapon' is 'loose' it can spread around the world in seconds, to be used by rival states, cyber mafia and teenage hackers alike.
Julian Assange, WikiLeaks editor stated that "There is an extreme proliferation risk in the development of cyber 'weapons'. Comparisons can be drawn between the uncontrolled proliferation of such 'weapons', which results from the inability to contain them combined with their high market value, and the global arms trade. But the significance of "Year Zero" goes well beyond the choice between cyberwar and cyberpeace. The disclosure is also exceptional from a political, legal and forensic perspective."
Wikileaks has carefully reviewed the "Year Zero" disclosure and published substantive CIA documentation while avoiding the distribution of 'armed' cyberweapons until a consensus emerges on the technical and political nature of the CIA's program and how such 'weapons' should analyzed, disarmed and published.
Wikileaks has also decided to redact and anonymise some identifying information in "Year Zero" for in depth analysis. These redactions include ten of thousands of CIA targets and attack machines throughout Latin America, Europe and the United States. While we are aware of the imperfect results of any approach chosen, we remain committed to our publishing model and note that the quantity of published pages in "Vault 7" part one (“Year Zero”) already eclipses the total number of pages published over the first three years of the Edward Snowden NSA leaks.
Read the full article here: https://wikileaks.org/ciav7p1
Treason is in the air
by Bill O'Reilly
We now know that somebody either leaked or hacked into CIA files that explained how U.S. intelligence is tracking enemies of the nation.
WikiLeaks, again, says it has released almost 9,000 documents from the CIA Center for Cyber Intelligence.
A Wall Street Journal editorial put it this way:
"The losses from this exposure are incalculable. These tools represent millions of dollars investment and man-hours. Many will now be rendered moot as terrorists or foreign agents abandon traceable habits."
So again, ISIS, Al Qaeda, other killers now know how the USA is tracking them.
Therefore the leaks are a treasonous act.
According to the Reuters news agency, the CIA breach happened during the Obama administration.
"The Factor" has learned that some of the computer systems used by the agency are more than 40 years old, easily hacked into, easy targets of theft.
We have also been told that bids are out to high-tech companies to upgrade the computer facilities of our intelligence agencies.
That will cost tens of billions but is absolutely necessary in this very dangerous world.
But no matter how sophisticated the hardware gets, we still have people committing treason inside the government.
We reported on that Tuesday night.
Since taking office, President Trump has been bedeviled by leaks, with classified information being fed to the anti-Trump press among them.
So now we have a growing catastrophe. Obviously the CIA and other intelligence agencies cannot protect their secrets.
And so far only a few individuals have been charged with violating national security.
In 2013, then-Private Bradley Manning was convicted of six Espionage Act violations plus theft and computer fraud for giving stuff to WikiLeaks.
Just before he left office, President Obama commuted Manning's 35 year sentence, allowing him to leave prison on May 17th after seven years.
Many objected to the leniency shown Manning.
Talking Points believes that leakers of classified documents are actively committing treason.
And it's apparent that the federal government does not have a handle on how to apprehend these traitors, much less stop the espionage.
America is the most sophisticated country in the world, but we cannot protect the private conversations of our leader, our intel secrets, and our counter-terrorism measures. We can't protect them! Obviously, a dangerous situation.
President Trump should order the FBI to aggressively investigate all leaks and hacks, assigning that a top priority.
Wednesday Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee requested a meeting with FBI Director Comey on the hacking and leaks.
Mr. Comey should do that as quickly as possible and it should be televised.
Americans need to know if this situation is completely out of control or what.
Anything you post can and will be used against you
Sure, the CIA can hack your TV, but public posts on Facebook could really hurt you
by Mike Elgan
Everybody's freaking out over the Wikileaks revelations that the Central Intelligence Agency can hack Apple and Android smartphones, major PC operating systems -- and even TV sets.
The news is causing ripples in international relations and got companies like Google and Apple to patch holes and issue fixes.
It's also creating unnecessary panic. Wikileaks' characterization of the documents was alarmist and misleading. The press picked up on the alarmism and spread further misinformation.
Many in the public believe that the CIA has some new and hitherto unimaginable ability to hack anything. In reality, the Wikileaks documents reveal what we should have already assumed: The CIA collects knowledge about and tools for hacking things.
The Wikileaks/CIA stories simply remind us that anything with a camera, microphone or IP address could theoretically be hacked.
The question is, will the CIA hack you?
I believe the chances that the CIA (or any other hacker) will watch or listen to you, personally, through your smartphone, PC, TV or IP camera are extremely low. It's probably never going to happen. And if it does, it's unlikely that you'll be affected in any way.
Yes, take precautions. Use encrypted communication. Don't click on links emailed from strangers. Cover your laptop camera with tape like Mark Zuckerberg does.
But anxiety and action shouldn't be based only on what could happen in theory as much as what's likely to happen in practice -- and how much it will affect you.
Some people are afraid of sharks. While the prospect of being eaten by a giant fish is vivid and terrifying, it's also unlikely, old chum. In fact, the drive to the beach is far more dangerous than the swim once you get there.
Likewise, avoid getting hacked. But more important, start taking action on the bigger risk: The stuff publicly posted on social sites.
Anything you post can and will be used against you
Politico reported in December that the U.S. government started asking some foreign visitors to provide Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube accounts, so they can be checked for signs of terrorist connections. It was a pretty gentle request, providing such information is only for those on the visa waiver program, and optional.
In recent months, however, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials have begun checking the social media accounts of some U.S. citizens who are also Muslim at the point of entry, rather than as part of the paperwork.
These checks on social media could reveal what travelers have posted publicly. But the government wants the private stuff, too.
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said in an interview this week that the Trump administration wants travelers from certain countries to provide lists of websites they've visited and their online passwords. He wants U.S. Customs "to get on those websites to see what they're looking at."
U.S. Customs is proposing to add all Chinese visitors to the list of people asked to disclose their social media profiles.
Current policy is based on the religion or nationality of travelers and is mostly superficial and voluntary. But the trend is clear: The U.S. government is rapidly expanding the invasiveness of social media checks in order to figure out who is trustworthy -- and who is not.
Other nations are likely to follow the U.S.'s lead, but would search social media based on their own national criteria. Your business trip to Turkey may involve searches that look for support of Kurdish independence. Your vacation to China may involve searching your social accounts for trade secrets to steal. Your weekend in Cuba may end before it begins if Cuban customs agents find a three-year-old tweet shaming hipsters for wearing Che Guevara T-shirts.
Social media scrutiny increasingly affects spheres of life beyond travel.
Between 35% and 50% of college admissions officers now check the social media accounts of applicants as part of their selection process.
Some insurance companies are reportedly checking social media to find out if customers live risky lifestyles, raising the cost of premiums for those who do. Some are even denying claims based on social posts.
A CareerBuilder survey last year found that 60% of employers look at the social media posts of prospective employees before choosing which candidate to hire. That number jumped to more than 75% for IT companies, according to the survey.
More than 40% of HR managers routinely check the social media accounts of current employees, and a quarter of them have found something that led to action ranging from reprimands to terminations.
In the past year, CEOs have become the target of intense scrutiny of social posts, according to Ken Springer, a former FBI agent and current president of Corporate Resolutions, a company that performs such checks on behalf of clients.
The bar for acceptable posts by CEOs is high: The CEO of a company called Taylor Gourmet posted a picture of himself with President Trump, which caused a "social media backlash" against the company, according to a report in Bloomberg BNA.
All this checking of social media comes with risks. But today's risks are nothing compared with what's coming.
Social media posts reveal more than you think
Your social media posts are a theoretical open book into your state of mind, opinions, religion, personality and social connections.
One example in the news: Facebook is testing the use of artificial intelligence (A.I.) tools to analyze posts and determine whether people are feeling suicidal. Flagged users are reported to the community operations team for possible intervention.
That's an extreme case where a company is rightly public about its analysis of user mindset based on social media posts. But the ability for social posts to detect mood is demonstrated by a site called We Feel, which aggregates the mood of everybody on Twitter to track the global collective mood.
The analysis of social posts to find out what kind of person you are, how you think, what you believe and how big a "risk" you are to various organizations is about to become big business.
Here's what's going to happen.
'Social media profile' will take on a dark new meaning
In the near future, social media and A.I. will enable any organization to rank people based on trustworthiness.
A Chinese government program called the Social Credit System, which is currently in "beta," seeks to rank everyone in the country.
The Chinese government is compiling data on all citizens based on their legal or criminal records, their financial activity and their activity on social networks. All this data is to be collected, compiled and crunched, resulting in a "social credit score" for each citizen. The score will determine rights, privileges and acceptability in various realms.
Though the program is still in its infancy, the government has already banned some 6.7 million people from flying or even taking high-speed trains because they haven't paid their debts on time, according to a report in The Financial Times .
The social media aspect of this is especially alarming. For example, posting pro-government posts and comments on social media is expected to raise one's score. Posting anything about Tibet or the Dalai Lama is supposed to lower it.
A planning document quoted by The Wall Street Journal summarizes the purpose of the Social Credit System: to "allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step."
Data-driven government control of the population is the Chinese way.
The American way is based on freedom, which in this case means corporations may be free to use social media to decide who they trust.
Software applications are being developed that can identify any person's social media accounts, download every post they've ever made public, and "profile" those people categorically based on comparative analysis.
The ability to use data to categorize people is magnified enormously by the rise in artificial intelligence.
To oversimplify the inevitable process: Everything known about you (say, your name, location, age, gender, your family and friends and other information) will be fed into A.I. systems that will scan the social web to find all your profiles. The systems will then copy every post, photo or comment you've ever posted. The A.I. will recognize patterns, interpret the photos and parse the comments.
The output of these systems will be a profile or dossier on you, and it will advise users about whether to deny your request for a visa, turn down your loan application, avoid hiring you, reject your insurance claims, rebuff your business partnership proposals and more.
In other words, A.I. will use data on social networks to rank people based on how much they can be trusted.
The worst part is that this trust-judging process happens invisibly behind the scenes. When you don't get that job or loan, you'll never know why.
Yes, the CIA can hack your TV. But it probably won't.
The bigger risk is social media. Because anything you post can and will be used against you.
Cop Who Tried To Keep Driver From Filming Reignites Debate Over Police Privacy
Should officers be expected to compromise some privacy for more transparency?
by Andy Campbell
A police department in Wilmington, North Carolina, is backtracking after one of its officers was captured on video telling a citizen ? falsely ? that he couldn't record their interaction.
It's a sobering incident that raises broader questions about how much privacy a police officer can expect amid the delicate balancing act of transparency, officer safety and investigation integrity.
On Feb. 26, that balance was thrown off when Wilmington Police Sgt. Kenneth Becker told citizen Jesse Bright that a new state law prohibited him from recording police. Such a law doesn't exist, and Bright questioned the officer about which law he was referring to. Bright expected he would know if one existed; he's an attorney.
Bright, who was working his side job as an Uber driver at the time, told the officer that he was “scared” and wanted to keep “recording in case anything happens.”
Eventually, officers searched his car after telling him that their K-9 unit detected drugs, but they found nothing, Bright told news station WECT. They let him go, and Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous released a statement Wednesday saying that an investigation had been launched and acknowledging that citizens have a right to shoot video of officers:
Taking photographs and videos of people that are in plain sight including the police is your legal right. As a matter of fact we invite citizens to do so when they believe it is necessary. We believe that public videos help to protect the police as well as our citizens and provide critical information during police and citizen interaction.
If Bright's footage hadn't been released, we would never have seen that the officer either lied about his rights or propagated a gross misunderstanding of the law.
“It's extremely disturbing that a police officer would give false information like that and try to prohibit a person from exercising their right to film police,” Mike Meno, spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, told The Huffington Post. “This is an incident where the driver happened to be an attorney. He knew the law. What would have happened if someone who didn't know the law was being told this falsehood?”
It's hard to say. Meno told HuffPost that his office has heard this kind of story “with some regularity,” but this is the first time they've had access to tangible evidence of such an interaction.
It's also unclear which law Becker was interpreting, if any.
House Bill 972, which took effect in October, makes footage from dashboard and police-worn body cameras effectively private in North Carolina, barring almost anyone who isn't featured in the video from viewing it without a court order. It also allows law enforcement agencies to withhold video if it would “harm the reputation or jeopardize the safety of a person.”
Certainly, the bill doesn't apply to Bright's case because it doesn't involve police footage, and we don't know whether the officer was trying to repurpose that law to fit his narrative. But that incident and H.B. 972 exemplify why states are having such a hard time nailing down any law pertaining to police interaction and video, as they try to keep both officers and the public happy.
At the end of the day, officers don't want to be demonized without due process over a recording that may not present the whole picture; the public, meanwhile, has seen far too many videos that contradict police statements, so for them transparency and the speedy release of evidence are paramount.
Exempting video from public record “poses a perception issue about accountability,” Tod Burke, a professor of criminal justice at Radford University and a former Maryland police officer, told HuffPost.
“In a day and age where citizens are requesting additional transparency from police, it seems to go counter to that request,” he said. “However, there's also an officer safety issue that's involved. You don't want the recording of an incident to jeopardize the officer's safety, their family's safety or their investigative ability.”
Many of the laws created thus far have leaned heavily in favor of officer privacy. Several jurisdictions have passed legislation requiring officers to wear body cameras, only to exempt that footage from open records laws. North Carolina's law has been criticized for following suit and effectively barring public access. Meanwhile, a bill that had some movement in the Virginia General Assembly would have made releasing the name of an officer involved in a police-shooting investigation a misdemeanor ? though it was withdrawn last month by its sponsor.
Critics are wary of any legislation that blocks access to public documents. But those laws are often grounded in legitimate concerns for officers, Burke said. He noted that officers sometimes face threats of violence and property damage after a video is released, before and regardless of whether any wrongdoing is established.
The laws are a mess. But the silver lining, as Burke and ACLU officials note and as has been said before, is that there's a national discourse in the first place and real attempts to make legislation that works for everyone.
“There are always going to be unanswered issues, and nothing should be cut in cement,” Burke said. “But we need to have something in place, and we need to revisit it ... we hold ? and should hold ? police officers to a higher standard, but they're in the job to enforce the laws, not to be abused.”
Just to reiterate: You can record your interactions with police. While there are no uniform federal rules on recording police specifically and federal appeals courts in some areas of the country haven't ruled on the matter, you do have the right to film in a public space. In general, that includes filming police, unless you're actively hindering an investigation.
L.A. officials to ICE: Stop calling yourselves police
by Catherine E. Shoichet
It's a detail that stands out in photos of recent immigration roundups across the country: federal agents wearing clothing that labels them as "police."
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say it's an accurate word for them to use, and it can mean the difference between life and death in volatile situations.
But elected officials in Los Angeles say they want the practice to stop. When ICE officers call themselves "police," they claim, it's misleading and endangers public safety.
How long has this been happening? What's the debate? And why is it coming up now?
It isn't new for ICE officers and agents to refer to themselves as police.
Photos of operations dating back years show them wearing jackets and vests with that label, usually in large letters that read, "POLICE ICE."
Sarah Rodriguez, an ICE spokeswoman, says ICE agents may sometimes verbally identify themselves as police when they're going into a situation.
"It is the universally recognized term for law enforcement and our personnel routinely interact with individuals from around the world," she said. "In the often dangerous law enforcement arena, being able to immediately identify yourself as law enforcement may be a life-or-death issue."
This approach has drawn renewed criticism from activists and some officials amid heightened publicity about immigration crackdowns since President Donald Trump took office.
Several Los Angeles leaders are asking immigration officials to put a stop to the practice, calling it "corrosive." They argue it undercuts years of police efforts to build trust in immigrant communities and will make witnesses and victims less likely to come forward when crimes are committed.
"Especially in these turbulent and uncertain times, we urge that ICE agents operating in Los Angeles immediately stop representing that they are 'police' officers," the city's mayor, attorney and City Council president wrote in a letter last month.
The elected officials said they sent the letter after seeing a Los Angeles Times report about the practice. That article's headline: "It's legal for an immigration agent to pretend to be a police officer outside someone's door. But should it be?"
Rodriguez, the ICE spokeswoman, says the term "police" is accurate and there's nothing misleading about using it.
"It's clear that we are a law enforcement agency," she said. "We have police authority."
A Los Angeles police spokesman declined to comment. Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer told CNN this week that the issue remains a significant concern.
"Irrespective of whether it's lawful to do that, that begs the question of whether it's ethical to do it or whether it's appropriate policy to do it. It begs the question of whether ICE doing so endangers public safety, which it does," he said. "ICE misidentifying itself as police officers in my city makes Los Angeles less safe for everyone."
He pointed to a recent example that drew widespread attention: a video of ICE agents -- wearing jackets that say only "police" -- arresting a father who was dropping off his kids at a Los Angeles school.
"That, too, sends a chilling message to our immigrant communities," he said.
The presence of the word "police" on ICE jackets and vests also has drawn criticism from lawmakers. Led by US Rep. Mike Thompson, D- California, dozens of Democratic congressmen signed a letter last month asking Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to take action.
"Local law enforcement in our Congressional districts have expressed serious concerns that this practice causes confusion and undermines their officers' efforts to build trust in our immigrant communities," the letter said. "We respectfully urge you to direct ICE to remove the word 'Police' from all ICE gear."
The bigger picture
This dispute is just one of the ways some local and federal authorities are sparring over immigration.
The larger battlefront on the horizon: debate over so-called sanctuary cities.
It's a broad term describing local governments that have enacted policies limiting their cooperation with federal immigration enforcement. Their goal: to protect undocumented immigrants who are not otherwise engaged in criminal activity from being detained or deported.
In Los Angeles, for example, police have a policy of not stopping people solely to find out their immigration status. It's been in place since 1979.
In an interview last month with CNN affiliate KABC, Police Chief Charlie Beck said he wanted to reassure the city's undocumented residents that the policy isn't changing.
"Your status has nothing to do with your contact with Los Angeles Police Department," Beck said. "We will not give you to ICE. We will not refer you to ICE."
Those who support sanctuary policies say they build trust with local law enforcement and keep communities safer. ICE has said such policies inhibit their ability to enforce laws.
This much is clear: The fight's not over.
Trump signed an executive order in January pledging to block sanctuary jurisdictions from receiving federal grant money. Leaders of sanctuary cities across the country have vowed not to back down.
Legal experts say it's likely the two sides will face off in court.
From the Department of Homeland Security
Statement by Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly on Alleged Hate-Inspired Attacks
Over the past few weeks, our country has seen an unacceptable and disturbing rise in the number of apparent hate-inspired attacks and harassment against individuals and communities. I strongly condemn any violent acts to perpetuate fear and intimidation not only against individuals, but entire communities. I pledge the full support of the Department of Homeland Security to assist local, state, and federal investigations into these incidents.
In response to these attacks, I have directed the Department of Homeland Security's Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties to work with impacted communities. We will heighten our outreach and support to groups affected by these incidents to enhance public safety. The Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties will hold Incident Communication Coordination Team calls with impacted communities. The DHS Office of International Engagement will also continue to work with foreign governments whose nationals have been affected by these violent acts.
The United States has a history of welcoming and accepting individuals regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or national origin. Freedom of religion is a cherished American value, guaranteed by the United States Constitution. DHS is committed to protecting all people's right to that essential freedom.
From the FBI
FBI Director Addresses Cyber Security Gathering
Varied Group of Cyber Experts Exchange Ideas
This morning, Director James Comey delivered a keynote address at the inaugural Boston Conference on Cyber Security, touching on the current cyber threat landscape, what the FBI is doing to stay ahead of the threat, and the importance of strong private sector partnerships.
The conference, a partnership between the FBI and Boston College's Cybersecurity Policy and Governance master's degree program, also features additional expert speakers and panelists who will be covering such areas as emerging technologies, operations and enforcement, along with real-life cyber and national security experiences focusing on risk, compliance, policy, threat trends, preparedness, and defensive strategies.
Cyber threats, said Comey, are “too fast, too big, and too widespread for any of us to address them alone.”
During his remarks, Comey discussed the “stack of bad actors” committing cyber crimes, including nation-states, multinational cyber syndicates, insiders, hacktivists, and—currently to a lesser degree—terrorists (“they have not yet turned to using the Internet as a tool of destruction,” he explained, “in a way that logic tells us certainly will come in the future.”)
And what are these bad actors after? According to Comey, they're after information, access, and advantage. He further explained, “And we're not only worried about loss of data, but corruption of that data and lack of access to our own information.”
The public and private sector can help deter this behavior, said Comey, by reducing vulnerabilities, reducing the threat by holding accountable those who are responsible, and mitigating the damage.
The FBI Director also laid out the Bureau's five-part strategy to address cyber intrusions:
Focusing ourselves better inside the FBI in terms of how we operate and who we hire;
Shrinking the world by clarifying investigative “lanes in the road” here at home and enhancing cooperation abroad;
Imposing costs on this kind of behavior by locking cyber criminals up and/or calling them out through incidents and sanctions;
Enhancing the “digital literacy” of state and local partners through training, equipment, and task forces to make them more effective; and
Working to improve collaboration with private sector entities, the primary targets of cyber intrusions but the majority of whom, according to Comey, don't turn to law enforcement when they're breached.
Comey also spoke about the impact of the advent of “ubiquitous strong encryption” on the work of law enforcement and urged the audience to “continue to engage in what is a very complicated and difficult subject.” This so-called Going Dark issue is a growing challenge to public safety and national security that has eroded law enforcement's ability to obtain electronic information and evidence with a court order or warrant.
Residents learn about community policing
by Michael Maresh
Several residents Wednesday and Thursday were walked through the theory of community policing by city staff and the Palestine Police Department at the Palestine Civic Center.
Palestine Police Lt. Gabe Green told the 30 to 40 members of the public in attendance that they play an important role in community policing before doing an exercise on problem solving.
Community partnerships and working toward common goals were discussed.
Green pointed out that to eliminate certain crimes, the root of the problem has to be identified before it can be eradicated.
“You have to look at the root problem,” he said. “You have to fix the root problem.”
If the root remains, the problem will probably resurface, he said.
For example, when a young person shoplifts or uses spray paint when vandalizing property, Green said the cause of these actions plays an important role in decreasing this type of activity.
In these cases, children might be committing these acts because students do not have anything else to do.
Giving them something constructive to do or having activities to do in their free time is one type of community policing, he said.
“We have to make (activities available),” Green said.
On Thursday, City Manager Mike Alexander spoke about all the great things Austin, his place of residence, is accomplishing, which, he said, Palestine could also do to make it a great city, too.
“They are working for the betterment of the community,” he said. “There is no reason Palestine cannot do the same.”
Residents studied the theory model, which included facets like finding the problem, how to correct it and an assessment.
Green lead the class on a discussion about abandoned homes in other communities that cities turned into community centers.
One problem in the city Green pointed out were buildings going into disrepair, because their owners do not live close by and do not upkeep their properties.
“We are finding ways to work together to find solutions for the problems,” he said. “This is about getting rid of apathy, taking ownership and caring for your city.”
Police Chief Tom Manger Talks Race Diversity and Community-policing with Montgomery College President
by Mitti Hicks
Inspired by the dialogue in the community, Montgomery College President Dr. DeRionne Pollard joined Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger for a conversation about race, diversity and community policing.
This discussion is a part of Dr. Pollard's 2017 presidential dialogue series titled, “Civility in Action: Dialogues Across Difference.”
“I think there's a hunger in our community, post election, where people want to sit down and have conversations,” Pollard said. “A community college is for that purpose.”
Immigration, LGBTQ rights and the call for police reform following the recent shootings of African American males in Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri were some topics of discussion.
Using her own experience, Pollard discussed the reality of having “the talk” with her 10-year-old African-American son. The talk which Pollard describes as a rite of passage for many African-American and Latino parents, is the conversation they have with their children on how to interact with law enforcement.
“As a police officer that breaks my heart,” Manger said. “In recent weeks, I've had an African-American woman say ‘the biggest worry I have is when my son goes out on the road and gets stopped by a police officer.'”
Manger went on to discuss how there are many things parents should be worried about but he doesn't want fearing police officers to be one of them. In order to do that, Manger continued, depends on both the police and community building trust with each other through partnerships and education.
The next dialogue in Dr. Pollard's series will host former Congresswoman Connie Morella on March 30. The event will talk place at Theatre Arts Arena on Montgomery College Rockville Campus.
The conversation begins at 7 p.m.
Community policing at forefront of Schenectady panel
About 50 attend
by Brett Samuels
Schenectady's Civilian Police Review Board can be the best-kept secret in town, board members and advocates said Thursday night.
The review board, police department and city leaders attempted to chip away at that reputation with a panel discussion meant to educate the public on what the body does and how it functions within the community and the police department. Attendees and panelists spoke about the importance of community policing, as well as the composition of the review board and how it could better reflect the city.
About 50 people attended the Thursday night forum, which was held in the Parsons Memorial Church of God in Christ at the corner of State and Catherine streets.
Panelists included review board chairman Richard Homenick, Police Chief Eric Clifford, board member Randy McGough and board advocate the Rev. Phil Grigsby, who is the executive director of the Schenectady Inner City Ministry.
When a complaint is filed, whether it be about excessive force, harassment or another violation of procedure, it is investigated by the Police Department's Office of Professional Standards. That unit submits its findings to Clifford, who then determines appropriate disciplinary action.
Once the case is done, it's sent to the review board, which will comb through the facts and evidence of the complaint before voting on whether it was handled properly or if it warrants further action.
From October 2014 through March 8, the board reviewed 100 cases, totaling 159 complaints. Ninety-five were procedure complaints, 42 were discourtesy complaints and 22 dealt with excessive force.
On Thursday night, attendees raised suggestions about how the board could better reflect and serve the community.
Rockie Mann, a Schenectady resident, recalled to the audience about getting pulled over by police. Though he is a business owner with no prior violations, Mann, who is black, said he was nervous about the interaction as the officer approached his car.
He was let off with a warning for not using his turn signal and had no issues, but he said many African Americans experience the same anxiety when dealing with law enforcement.
He suggested adding a younger person of color to the board to better represent that perspective in future complaints.
“If we're going to represent the community, that's the first thing that ran through my mind,” he said.
Another attendee added that it's important for young people to see police officers out in the neighborhood, and for the community to be intentional about engaging with younger residents.
“It's very important that our first interaction with an officer isn't in a time of crisis,” he said.
A few audience members questioned whether certain codes limit who can participate on the board.
For example, the Rev. Horace Sanders pointed to a rule that states review board members must be city members. He said if non-city residents can serve as city police officers, those living outside of Schenectady should be able to serve on the board.
One man suggested residents might have trouble trusting the review board if it's receiving complaints from the police department and doesn't have an independent investigator or subpoena power.
He proposed the City Council might review the code to look at those limitations moving forward.
The panel briefly discussed the possibility of hiring an independent investigator for the review board, a position that hasn't been funded for several years.
Homenick and Grigsby have expressed interest in talking about securing funding for the role, but Clifford has said that job is already being done by members of the police department, and that he is holding those officers accountable.
Homenick said hearing from residents is valuable, and can help improve the board's operations.
“Like any board or service to a community it's a work in progress,” Homenick said. “It shouldn't be just static. And that's a big part of what we're doing here tonight.”
Personalized policing aims to forge community partnerships
by Luke Moretti
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Someone calls 911 to report a serious crime.
Patrol units respond quickly.
While that's a necessary approach to public safety, Buffalo police are pushing to be more proactive.
That's where community policing comes in.
It's a philosophy that allows officers to engage with the public and develop relationships.
Officer Armonde Badger, one of about a dozen community police officers in the city, is working to make connections, and hitting little problems head-on before they become a bigger headache.
Does Badger, who's known to many as “Moe,” think he's making a difference?
“I hope so. I hope so. I'm trying my best,” said Badger, who been a community police officer for about a month.
The community police officer needs to be a bit of a social mechanic.
“When I get a call from 311 or get a call from my captain to go see about a situation, I'm actually able to kind of do my own little investigation. What really happened? This is the domino effect of this,” said Badger, who been a Buffalo police officer for about two years.
It's been a deadly start to the year in Buffalo with more than a dozen homicides, and while police can't predict where and when crime will happen, they can certainly attempt to establish partnerships in crime-ridden neighborhoods.
“We want to empower the community to help share in the responsibility of keeping the community safe. We know that we can't do it alone,” said Captain Steve Nichols, who oversees Buffalo's community policing program.
Nichols says it's a way of developing trust through partnerships between police and the community they serve.
“So that when we do confront them or have to be involved in a 911 call for example, we've already met each other. It drops a lot of the tension down,” Nichols said.
“We want people to realize we're human beings. We go home every night. We don't go back to the station. They don't plug us in the closet and recharge our battery, and put us back out on the street the next day,” he added.
Badger recalls a close call involving a violent fight in which shots were fired. As he and other officers tried to diffuse things, a young man came at one of the officers with a knife.
“I drew my gun and I pleaded with the young man. ‘Please put down the knife. Put down the knife. You take another step' He was getting closer and closer. I'm going to have to fire my firearm,” Badger remembered.
“I saw in his eyes he was as scared as I was,” he added.
Badger says fortunately the young man dropped the knife. But he knows the situation could have ended tragically.
“I grabbed him, you know. ‘What are you doing?' And he was just out of it. I found out that he was a 14 year old kid at that time.”
“When I ride by that street I see him all the time. He's very respectful and understands we can't tolerate that. But I think he appreciated the second chance that he got,” Badger explained.
Buffalo police brass are confident that community policing will establish better relations and throttle back skepticism felt by some in the community.
The police department is in the process of partnering with religious leaders from across the city.
Steve Nichols says that's one way of advancing the mission, which he views as a natural fit.
“We know that people trust the clergy, and we also realize that the clergy are centers of influence in their community. People from that area generally go to those churches, big or small,” Nichols said.
Pastor James Giles of Back to Basics Outreach Ministries serves as the coordinator for Buffalo Peacemakers, which works in concert with law enforcement to reduce crime and enhance public safety.
“We don't have those kind of tensions that are existing in other areas like an inordinate number of traffic stops, an inordinate number of stop and frisks. So the tension is not high,” Giles said.
Giles says partnerships aimed at problem solving between police and the community create a humanizing effect.
“Then when they see them later on, some of them recognize them by face. You're going to be less aggressive. It's going to be less confrontational when it's like that,” he said.
As part of the community policing effort, officers are being asked to volunteer for the “Bigs in Blue” mentoring program in conjunction with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie County.
Nichols says there are many other programs in the works.
“We're working with United Way and the Board of Education, and a number of other groups to try and find a solution to chronic absenteeism,” he said.
Another example of outreach involves a basketball tournament set for March 18 and 19 involving first responders and youth from across the city.
According to Moe Badger, “March Stop the Madness” will coincide with the first and second rounds of the NCAA's March Madness tournament.
“Our objective is to get the kids off the street. Give them something positive to do while they're out of school,” Badger said.
Chicago superintendent pushes tougher sentences for gun crimes
The proposal would increase the sentencing guidelines for judges deciding punishment for repeat gun felons
by Monique Garcia and Jeremy Gorner
CHICAGO — State senators and Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson on Thursday will try to jump-start long-stalled legislation to impose stiffer sentences for those convicted of gun crimes.
The proposal would increase the sentencing guidelines for judges deciding punishment for repeat gun felons. Instead of a range of three to 14 years, judges would hand out sentences in the range of seven to 14 years, according to the legislation. If a judge wanted to depart from that guideline, he or she would have to explain why.
It's a different approach at the Capitol, where previous efforts have fizzled. In 2013, for example, lawmakers failed in a high-profile attempt to raise the mandatory minimum sentence for first-time illegal gun possession offenders from one year to three years. Opponents, led by the legislature's Black Caucus, raised concerns about increased incarceration they said would hit minorities hardest, suggesting rehabilitation and jobs programs were needed instead.
Since then, there's been a surge in Chicago street violence that's now in its second year. President Donald Trump has publicly pressured the city to act. And three children recently were killed in the span of a few days.
Johnson, who for months has been calling for lawmakers to take action, is scheduled to testify in favor of the bill at a Senate hearing Thursday. Last year, the city had its highest number of homicides in 20 years, and a Johnson spokesman called that "a reprehensible mark on the city that we never want to re-live."
"And he's going to ask the legislature for the tools so that cities like Chicago can hold repeat offenders accountable," Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. "And it's not just a Chicago issue. This isn't an attack against legal gun owners. This is an attack against repeat convicted felons that use guns to destroy communities."
To address the Black Caucus' concerns, sponsors say the new measure would give judges the discretion to impose a lesser sentence depending on various factors such as the age and mental capacity of an offender, whether the offender was coerced or cooperated with law enforcement in prosecuting another felon.
Proponents say giving judges such an option is designed to target gang members who take advantage of gun laws with deadly consequences, while leaving flexibility for those who aren't violent criminals but made a poor decision.
"Let's be honest, the bad guys out there shooting at other gang members, they know what they can get away with and what they can't get away with," said Sen. Tony Munoz, a former Chicago police officer who is sponsoring the legislation. "This is not for a first-time person who decided to carry a gun today because 'someone threatened to kill me and my mom when I came home from shopping.' This is totally different."
The measure also excludes truth-in-sentencing requirements that violent offenders serve most of their sentence before they can be released, a decision co-sponsoring Sen. Kwame Raoul said is designed to "leave room" for offenders to shave time off through rehabilitation programs in prison.
"Given that I've historically opposed other versions of this, I think it was important that the superintendent and I work together and we came to an agreement on a more narrow approach," said Raoul, D-Chicago.
The legislation also incorporates numerous ideas that came about during meetings of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's criminal justice task force, charged with finding ways to reduce the prison population.
That includes an expansion of programs that makes it easier for first-time, nonviolent offenders to scrub their record after completing probation.
Other changes include relaxing the size of "drug free" zones from 1,000 to 500 feet, and requiring prosecutors to prove a connection between a drug crime and the protected area, such as a school, before that can be factored into toughening a sentence. In addition, the measure would remove public housing from being labeled as a protected area in an effort to reduce the impact that law has on poor and minority communities.
While those changes may help win support of some Republicans who back the governor's efforts to cut down on those incarcerated in state prisons, Raoul said the move would allow for the release of nonviolent offenders to make way for those who pose a threat to public safety, such as felons who commit gun crimes.
As for whether tougher penalties will help deter crime and lessen the violence plaguing city streets, Raoul said it's worth a try to get criminals off the street and hopefully put them on a better path.
"Whether or not there will be an absolutely strong correlation between presumed enhanced sentences and general deterrence from gun violence, I don't know that," Raoul said. "But what I can say is that to the extent you get any amount of guns off the street, even if it saves one or two lives, it's a policy that's well worth it."
Ark. considers banning videos showing officers killed
A newly elected Arkansas legislator wants to prevent families from suffering
by Kelly P. Kissel
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Nearly six years after Arkansas police Officer Jonathan Schmidt was shot to death while pleading for his life, a dashcam video of his final moments still circulates on the internet — sometimes landing in the social media feeds of his family members.
"It's a very sacred thing," the officer's widow, Andrea Schmidt, said Wednesday. "It's not just a cop getting killed. This is a human being. This is my husband. This is a father."
Now a newly elected Arkansas legislator, a former deputy prosecutor who used the tape to help put Schmidt's killer on death row, wants to prevent other families from suffering. The first bill he introduced since joining the House would prevent the broad release of material showing officers dying in the line of duty.
"It's just a video of a murder. There's no general interest in that," said Rep. Jimmy Gazaway, a Republican from Paragould, whose measure could get a final floor vote Thursday in the Senate. He said continued interest in a tape of the shooting is "something that just violates our sensibilities."
Gazaway was a prosecutor when the Trumann Police Department distributed the 20-minute recording. The video typically shows up in the family's social media feeds around April 12, the day of the shooting.
"It's so horrifying to see it happen," the officer's father, Donald Schmidt, said. "I wish to God I had never watched it."
Under the bill, which passed the House on a 94-0 vote Monday, video showing a law enforcement officer's death would be released only if a court decides the public interest outweighs the desire for government secrecy.
"Every year, this recirculates. It's just a constant slap in the face," Trumann Police Chief Chad Henson said last month before Gazaway's bill came up before the House Judiciary Committee.
Algorithms are likely at fault: In Schmitt's case, if his name or the name of the Trumann Police Department pops up in a news story, someone might "like" it as a form of a tribute. As the story grows more popular online, various apps will seek other, similar items and try to link them. Eventually, that can lead to the police dashcam video Henson and prosecutors released at a news conference in 2012.
Prosecutor Scott Ellington said police and the lawyers who pressed the capital case against Jerry Lard didn't believe there was any way to keep the video out of the public's hands, especially after it was shown in open court. Faced with numerous records requests, they decided to distribute the tape at a news conference and urged the media to exercise restraint in broadcasting it.
"We didn't necessarily want to give it up, but we felt we had to give it up," Ellington said.
The bill is one of many being considered this session that would restrict Arkansas' Freedom of Information Act. Open records advocates oppose Gazaway's bill but understand it is an emotional issue and likely to pass.
Under Gazaway's bill, if there's a public interest a judge can let it be shown in a public setting, though not for broad release.
Henson said the video remains a government document and that the public has a right to see it, but perhaps not to spread it widely.
"I've never been told, 'Thank you for releasing that video,'" Henson said.
Henson said the tape is more appropriately used for law enforcement training. He said the traffic stop that led to Schmidt's death became "too busy" for the officer — and that there were things Schmidt should have done differently after realizing a felon was in the back seat.
The dead officer's relatives say prosecutors and police notify them when the case comes up in the news so they can prepare to keep the video away from his three children and other young family members.
"This hurts our family so deeply," Donald Schmidt said. "You don't want the children to see it. You don't want it made public."
Alaska governor proposes bill aimed at bolstering public safety
Communities that lack their own police forces would be allowed to contract services from the Alaska State Troopers
by Becky Bohrer
JUNEAU, Alaska — Alaska communities that lack their own police forces would be allowed to contract for service from the Alaska State Troopers under legislation proposed by Gov. Bill Walker.
The bill would allow the state Department of Public Safety to enter into agreements with federal, tribal or local government agencies or with nonprofit regional corporations to provide services at agreed-upon times and locations.
It lets the department charge "reasonable fees" to cover costs.
Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan says Alaska State Troopers have been approached about contracting services. He says the bill would provide authority to enter those contracts and hire troopers. He says this will promote public safety.
Monegan says the department won't diminish staffing levels for village public safety officers or rural troopers to fill any positions for contracted services.
Customs, Border Patrol train pound puppies to work at airports
Their purpose is to flag illegal plants, produce, food and pests being brought in by travelers that could spread disease or harm American crops and livestock
by Diane C. Lade
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Not long ago, Tess and Baymon were homeless cast-offs without much of a future.
Today, they are respected federal specialists stationed at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and tasked with protecting our nation as agriculture detection canines.
The dogs, which sometimes work at Palm Beach International Airport too, can hunt down potentially dangerous contraband faster and more accurately than their two-legged partners. They never complain and are dedicated to their jobs.
Tess and Baymon are part of the Beagle Brigade, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection unit staffed by 118 dog-and-handler teams nationwide. Their purpose is to flag illegal plants, produce, food and pests being brought in by travelers that could spread disease or harm American crops and livestock. Almost every one of these hard-working, highly trained hounds came from an animal shelter or rescue group, or was donated by a family or breeder.
“They are getting a second chance at life,” said Cassandre Boeri, Tess' customs agriculture specialist canine handler. “Tess is why I want to come to work every day … The passengers love her.”
Miami International Airport — where official Beagle Brigade posters feature a spokesdog warning travelers about produce, animal and plant restrictions — has 10 agriculture detection dogs. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood customs officials hope to add a third dog this year and occasionally send Baymon or Tess to Palm Beach International, which doesn't have its own in-house team.
Getting a rough start in life apparently doesn't slow down these pups. In fiscal year 2016, the Beagle Brigade prompted 162,000 seizures of illegal and potentially dangerous food, pests and animal products nationwide, according to federal statistics. Dogs at South Florida's airports and seaports scored 8,000 of those hits.
For the dogs, “it's not work. It's like playing hide-and-seek,” said Alberto Gonzalez, the customs agriculture specialist who is Baymon's handler.
Exotic fruits are Tess and Baymon's usual finds, as they sniff more than 2,000 pieces of luggage coming off international flights during their daily six-hour shifts. They find other edibles, too — including goat, iguana, ants and crickets.
Public relations also is part of their job description. Like their handlers, Baymon and Tess wear uniforms. Baymon has a full, bright-colored vest with the phrase “Protecting America's Agriculture,” while the more petite Tess sports a simple black harness labeled “Customs.”
They have business cards that their handlers distribute to passengers. Their official portraits are on one side and personal profiles on the other, with tidbits like “favorite odor”and “best trick.”
Tess' pet peeve: “Passengers whistling at me.”
Baymon's main dislike? “Don't touch me when I'm working.”
The Fort Lauderdale dogs, both about 5 years old today, were discovered by the National Detector Dog Training Center in Newnan, Ga., run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The center trains and supplies canines for 24 agencies, including customs here and abroad, to detect everything from a specific beetle's dung to citrus canker to rhino horn.
The center checks out 300 to 500 potential recruits a year, all beagles or labrador retrievers, director Michael Smith said.
The recruits “must be spot-on in all our criteria,” Smith said. That means they must have no fear of escalators or sliding glass doors, and be 10 months to 3 years old, social, focused and healthy. Of course, they must be willing to work very, very hard for treats.
About 75 make the cut and of those, 55 to 65 complete six months of rigorous training. The ones that flunk out are adopted out of the center. “We send no dogs back to shelters,” Smith said.
Finally, it's matchmaking time. Potential handlers identified by their customs offices go to the center and — in speed-dating style — are paired with the canine graduates they click with. Then the pairs must undergo another one to three months of center training as a couple before the dog-handler team is ready for action.
The labradors go to port warehouses. The beagles report to airports, where they patrol the areas where passengers deplaning from international flights clear customs and claim their luggage.
Boeri keeps a copy of a pet-finding website page where, two years ago, an Alabama animal shelter had listed Tess for adoption. The post said she was about 3 years old, “sweet and good with kids,” but that she barked a lot and was possibly not housebroken.
“In the two years I had her, she's never gone to the bathroom inside,” Boeri said. “She's a smart little girl.”
Baymon had been bred to be a show dog. “But there was too much red on his nose or something,” said Baymon's handler, Gonzalez.
That same nose was perfect for this job, though. When it comes to a knowing nose, beagles definitely stand out, said Carnell Green, field canine enforcement trainer at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport.
The compact breed has 220 scent receptors, more than most breeds and about the same as much larger dogs like German shepherds. Customs officials say their beagles have a 90 percent success rate and the ability to recognize almost 50 different smells.
Green also works with airport dogs trained to detect narcotics and currency, which typically are larger breeds often used for police work, like shepherds and Belgian malinois. Almost none of these dogs are rescues and come from professional breeders, he said, and are trained at different centers than agriculture dogs.
In the mid-1980s, the federal customs agency started substituting beagles for dogs like German shepherds for agriculture detection work.
One reason: Some travelers may find police-type canines frightening and fear being bitten, Green said. It's also hard for these larger dogs to move through crowded areas like baggage claims.
There's also the adorable factor. “People say, ‘Oh look! He's sitting, he's so cute!' People then are a lot more cooperative when you ask them to see their luggage,” said Green, who has a small pawprint tattooed on his right hand.
At the airport on a recent Wednesday, Tess and Baymon doggedly sniffed their way through stacks of luggage at a baggage carousel. As they looked on, some passengers were surprised to learn detection beagles start off as pound puppies.
“That's fantastic,” said Debbie Ozier, 51, a St. Louis-area resident returning from a trip to the Turks and Caicos islands who fosters dogs for rescue groups. She watched as Baymon took a second whiff of a nearby woman's satchel, suddenly sat down and patiently waited for Gonzalez to make the next move.
“Show me,” Gonzalez said quietly. Baymon, intent but calm, put its paw on her bag. The woman, when politely questioned, opened and showed she had tea and herbs. Both were legal.
“He just has a … cuteness!” Ozier said, as Baymon trotted off.
Dept of Justice
Inland Empire Man Arrested on Federal Charges of Producing Child Pornography after Allegedly Enticing Boy to Take Explicit Pictures
RIVERSIDE, California – A resident of the Inland Empire city of Eastvale was arrested this morning by federal authorities on charges of producing child pornography after allegedly using Snapchat to contact a 13-year-old boy in Illinois and enticing him to send a sexually explicit video.
Francisco Javier Soledad, 24, was arrested by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Soledad is expected to make his initial appearance later this afternoon in United States District Court.
According to a criminal complaint filed yesterday in United States District Court, Soledad assumed the persona of a young person – first a 13-year-old boy, and then an adult woman – to convince the victim to send an explicit video. When the victim then blocked Soledad on Snapchat, Soledad allegedly threatened to publish the video on a social media platform unless the victim sent additional videos.
After the victims’ parents contacted law enforcement, HSI special agents conducted a search of Soledad’s residence. During an interview with authorities, Soledad admitted sending threatening communications to the victim, and he admitted victimizing other children in a similar fashion, according to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint. After a review of Soledad’s digital devices, HSI agents uncovered evidence of five additional victims between the ages of 12 and 15 living in Illinois, Texas, Georgia, Tennessee and California. In each instance, Soledad had coerced the children to produce sexually explicit images and videos.
“As this case dramatically demonstrates, child pornography is not a victimless crime,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “This crime has unimaginable and devastating impacts on young victims, and the market for these images only encourages additional exploitation.”
A search of Soledad’s digital devices revealed more than 5,000 images and videos of suspected child pornography. The majority of the child pornography images appear to have been self-produced by the depicted victims. Law enforcement has not yet identified all of the victimized children.
Anyone with information about Soledad – or his Snapchat handle, “linkinparkrocks” – is encouraged to call HSI’s toll-free tip line 1-866-2DHS-ICE or 1-866-234-7423
“Tragically, cases like this are part of a growing trend where children are being enticed, tricked, and coerced online by adults to produce sexually explicit material of themselves,” said Edward Owens, deputy special agent in charge for HSI Los Angeles. “The decision by the victim’s parents to quickly alert law enforcement may have saved an untold number of other children from falling prey, but the key to combatting online sexual predation is for children and adults alike to learn how to stay safe in cyberspace. As we tell participants in HSI’s Project iGuardian internet safety training, ‘we all need to think before we click.’”
A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
If he is convicted of the charge of producing child pornography, Soledad would face a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in federal prison and he could be sentenced to as much as 30 years.
This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Teresa K.B. Beecham.
FROM: Thom Mrozek, Spokesperson/Public Affairs Officer
United States Attorney’s Office, Central District of California (Los Angeles)
Having Police on Foot Patrols Benefits Communities, Experts Say
by Jarrett Skorup
LANSING – Trust between law enforcement and the communities they police seems to be strained. But why is this happening and what can be done about it?
This topic was the focus of a recent talk in Lansing where law enforcement and criminal justice experts talked about foot patrol policing and how it has helped engage communities. The panelists were Frank Straub, a 30-year law enforcement veteran who served as the police chief of Spokane, Washington, and is now a researcher with the Police Foundation, and Jeff Hadley, who leads the force in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
The Police Foundation has studied law enforcement agencies nationwide for more than 40 years, seeking to help departments have better police practices. It has helped forces in Orlando and San Bernardino improve their practices after recent terrorist attacks occurred in those cities. Over the past year, the Charles Koch Foundation has asked it to study foot patrol policing in five cities across America, including Kalamazoo, to understand if the practice improves law enforcement.
Foot patrol, or community policing, has officers more engaged on the ground and has seen a resurgence in recent years. While it is manpower-intensive, both speakers at the forum agreed it benefits police and communities tremendously.
Straub said it is important to understand three problems facing law enforcement right now: the increase of crime in some cities, the violence against law enforcement officials and issues related to immigration.
“We are at, I think, a critical stage in American policing,” Straub said. “We have in some of our urban areas — Chicago, Baltimore, Indianapolis — with pretty horrific crime rates. ... We're trying to figure out how to stop the bloodshed, particularly in those high-crime, low-poverty areas. We are also seeing pretty horrific instances of attacks against police. Dallas and New York. This has caused a fissure between law enforcement and communities.”
He believes having more boots on the ground leads to better relationships with community members and a decrease in crime.
“It allows police to establish baseline relationships with the people they serve,” Straub said. “By establishing those, it gives police departments the ability to do their jobs more effectively. ... If we know someone, we're more likely to do business with them.”
Foot patrols allow for more dialogue with citizens and lets police hear the challenges people are facing in their communities.
Hadley, who oversees a department in West Michigan that is embracing more foot patrol policing, agreed. While some officers resisted at first, those attitudes turned around in a few months.
“We found it lead to greater job and community satisfaction,” Hadley said. “[And our officers realized] these people out here support us. They like us. I like them.”
He said the enhanced community engagement has meant people in the community get to know his officers and the police get to know the community. This has led to more tips from informants and a better focus on key priorities. Hadley hopes that police work within the community, rather than directed at citizens, eventually becomes natural.
“What I want out of [foot patrols], outside of the trustful relationship, is that this becomes second nature for our officers,” Hadley said. “That officers think naturally, I have to get out of my car and engage with my community. When that becomes more organic, where I don't have to [enforce it] ... that's when cultures change. So when problems happen, you can get through them in a constructive way. If you don't have those relationships, what happens? You're on CNN and [everyone is talking about it].”
The speakers were asked about how law enforcement has changed and how foot patrols compare to the “broken windows theory” of policing, where officers focus on small issues in hoping that doing so prevents major crime problems.
Straub said that broken windows policing was a good idea and was initially about problem-solving and foot patrol policing. The idea was that if officers knew their communities well, they could work with them to solve the small problems, which led to a more connected neighborhood.
“Unfortunately, this morphed into a zero tolerance policy which has caused a lot of problems,” he said.
Both panelists weighed in on the issue of problematic police incidents around the nation and what to do about bad law enforcement officers.
“I told my officers, [citizens] pay our salaries and give us the authority to do our jobs,” Straub said. “We have the ability to detain someone, take their freedom, and even take a life if we are in danger. Nobody else in American life has that responsibility.”
Straub says he worries that terminology like the “war on drugs,” “war on crime,” and “war on terrorism” has led some police to see themselves as involved in a more literal war.
“We have in departments small groups of individuals that believe, ‘We're the police and you're going to conform because I told you to conform.' In my perspective, that's 100 percent wrong,” he said. “But there is a fissure in American policing right now … between the ‘warrior mentality' and the ‘guardian mentality.'”
Hadley said police unions and state laws can be an obstacle to reform.
“One aspect ... misunderstood on officer discipline, is labor and collective bargaining agreements,” Hadley said. “That's their due process. ... Chiefs might want to take on rogue officers or those they think shouldn't be part of the organization. … [But] officers have due process rights and they can file a grievance and it goes to arbitration. ... It varies state to state [but] we sometimes joke among police chiefs, it takes an act of Congress to fire an officer.”
Both speakers believed departments need to do more to get police on the ground and integrated into the community. The practice is labor intensive and can often mean more work, but the short- and long-term payoff is worth it.
“We are getting more calls, but that's OK,” Hadley said. “If they are calling us, they are trusting us.”
Chicago tries to learn from New York crime fighting success
Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson visited New York to learn how it has achieved success in fighting crime
by Don Babwin and Colleen Long
CHICAGO — Even before President Donald Trump tweeted a threat to send "in the Feds" to curb Chicago's gun violence, he was saying on the campaign trail that there was a simple solution to the bloodshed: police should get tougher. Chicago should follow the lead of New York City, Trump's administration has said, and crack down on even the smallest offenses.
It turns out Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson visited the New York Police Department weeks before the Trump administration advice. But what he gleaned from a city that has achieved long term success in fighting crime was more nuanced than a Trump-inspired police crackdown.
Johnson came home with ideas aimed at increasing community trust by using technology to get Chicago police officers out of their squad cars, and putting new cadets in neighborhoods to walk the streets and talk to locals.
"We are only as strong as the faith the community has in us," Johnson said.
Gaining that community trust will be a tall order in a city suffering from a toxic brew of rising violent crime in some of its poorest neighborhoods along with anger at police after the release in 2015 of a video showing a white police officer shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times.
That lack of faith has had grave consequences in Chicago where many people living in high-crime neighborhoods are reluctant to help police solve them. While the number of homicides surged to the highest in nearly two decades last year at 762, the percentage of those murders solved by police fell ten points to 26 percent, according to a University of Chicago Crime Lab study. In New York, police solve about 70 percent of homicides.
"We need them (witnesses) to come forward and give us the information so we can put these bad guys in jail," Johnson said.
In one example of Chicago's dilemma, the police department is struggling to draft a new policy on the use of force. An October proposal prompted concern from the police union that the restrictions were so tight officers would put themselves in danger to comply. A new draft released Tuesday would give police more latitude in deciding when to fire their weapons, which pleased the police union but prompted concern from community activists about excessive force.
All this is a sharp contrast with New York, where the NYPD during the 1990s turned to the "broken windows" policing strategy of cracking down on minor offenses championed by then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani. That policy helped drive the number of homicides down in one decade from more than 2,200 a year to fewer than 700.
Since then, the number of homicides in New York has continued to decline. In January the police department announced that there had been a near record low 335 homicide in 2016 — less than half the tally in Chicago, which has less than half the population. And New York has done this with a lighter policing touch.
The NYPD has been making a targeted effort to repair damaged relationships with minority communities. Use of the "stop-and-frisk" tactic that disproportionally affected black and Hispanic men has plummeted in the past three years. Low-level possession of marijuana is now considered a ticketable offense, and overall arrests dropped 20 percent in 2016 from the year before.
Since his visit to New York, Johnson has begun applying what he learned about community policing with some encouraging results.
In New York, the department started giving officers smartphones that are equipped with policing apps linked to federal and state databases. Statistics show the officers are relying on those phones more and more.
In Chicago, those phones are part of a strategy that includes sensors installed around neighborhoods that alert officers immediately where and when a gun is fired and a computer system that takes information about arrests, 911 calls, gang activity and other data and predicts where violent crime might occur.
That gives officers instant access to information both when they are in their squad cars and out on the street. This is significant because there has been a growing concern that as officers become more dependent on technology, they are more reluctant to get out of their squad cars.
"You are never going to get the community to like you or trust you if all you did was race by at 30 mph and get out of your cars only to jack somebody up," said Jim Bueermann, president of the Police Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based research organization. "It is absolutely important to get them (officers) out of their cars."
In two of Chicago's most violent police districts where the technology was introduced last month, the number of shootings dropped dramatically compared to February 2016 — 60 percent in one and 40 percent in the other.
Johnson was also impressed with how rookie officers in New York are assigned to more experienced mentors around the city. Trainees are pulled from the academy to spend a week at a precinct house, in a patrol car and then walk the beat over a nine-week period. The goal is to get those officers into the community to meet people and learn how to interact with them.
"Police officers are giving their cellphone numbers and email addresses to residents so that they can have a constant dialogue," New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said after a speech in Chicago on March 3. "Arrest is the last resort, not the first one," he said.
Johnson liked that strategy so much that he will begin putting cadets from the training academy into communities this year. When they return to the academy, the hope is that the cadets will be better versed on the neighborhoods and their residents.
Wash. Senate passes bill making crimes against police a hate crime
It's currently a felony to threaten, damage property, or physically injure a person because of race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender, disability or sexual orientation
by The Associated Press
OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Senate has passed a measure that would make crimes and threats against police officers a hate crime.
Senate Bill 5280 passed the chamber on a 35-14 vote and now heads to the House, where a companion bill did not receive a hearing there.
Under current law, it's a felony to threaten, damage the property of, or physically injure a person because of race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender, disability or sexual orientation.
Lawmakers who voted against the measure said they were voting against the measure because of concerns of watering down the hate crime statutes.
Police receive 'community comfort' K-9
Police said when they are faced with a tense or trying situation – especially one involving children – people are more likely to open up and relax with a K-9 around
by The Daily Gazette
STERLING, Ill. – Officer Brinkley reporting for duty.
The votes are in and the Sterling Police Department's officer in charge of warmth and fuzziness has a new name and a new home: Brinkley moved into her new digs at the SPD on Monday, and it didn't take long for her to melt the hearts of the men and women in blue.
The canine cop is the department's new community comfort dog – and true to her job title, the community helped name her.
Votes were taken through last week, via the City Hall's Facebook page, to narrow down a name. The three choices were Brinkley, Henley or Scarlet. Like Lacey, her pooch peer at the Rock Falls Police Department, Brinkley will attend special events and work with community youth and abuse victims.
When police are faced with a tense or trying situation – especially one involving children – people are more likely to open up and relax, which can make an officer's job much easier and enhance community relations, Mayor Skip Lee said.
Brinkley will partner up with officer Nicole Diehl, who will be dog's primary caretaker. There's no word yet on who will drive the squad car when they go out on assignment, but it's a pretty safe bet that Brinkley's license won't buy her much credibility behind the wheel.
Hope amidst the riots: How a cop, activist's hug sparked a movement
It was the hug seen ‘round the world – a moment of peace following two days of unrest in Charlotte
by Cole Zercoe
In a year dominated by a narrative of how strained police-community relations had become, one of the most iconic images of 2016 was a symbol of hope: Amidst a fog of tear gas and smoke in a city on fire, a white police officer outfitted in riot gear stepped off the line and embraced a young black activist.
It was the hug seen ‘round the world — a moment of peace following two days of unrest over the fatal officer-involved shooting of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina. After months marred by tragedy on both sides, the embrace Ken Nwadike and Officer Chris Frunzi shared was a powerful sign that the damage to the relationship between police and the public was not irrevocable.
‘Anarchy and chaos'
The horrors of the Charlotte riots were unlike anything Frunzi had seen in his eight years as a law enforcement officer. Twelve-hour shifts over multiple nights were soundtracked by helicopters buzzing overhead, fireworks exploding, glass shattering, full-throated chants calling for violence against police and non-stop radio chatter. Frunzi carried many of his colleagues off the line after they were pelted with rocks, bottles and any other objects agitators could get their hands on. On the first night, Frunzi went down twice. The most severe of those attacks, a shot to the groin with what he described as a “railroad rock,” left him in nausea-inducing pain. He would later undergo four weeks of physical therapy as a result of his injuries. As he endured the hostile crowd, Frunzi found himself escorting bystanders, who had locked or barricaded themselves in shops, to safety.
“I've never seen that before in the United States of America,” Frunzi said. “That people are afraid to leave a business because they don't know what's going to happen. We were all tired and hurting. Our skin was burning from all the chemical munitions we'd used. It was just so stressful getting hit with all that stuff and the constant yelling and screaming — just anarchy and chaos. It was scary as hell. You can't see everyone in the crowd; you can't tell if somebody has a gun pointed at you. You can't tell if somebody is getting ready to shoot at you. You stand there and you just hope that everything's going to work out.”
Eye of the storm
Nwadike entered the streets of downtown Charlotte on the second day of riots just as protesters were running away — a demonstrator had been shot in the head. A false rumor that he had been shot by police quickly spread among protesters. Amid the crowd's shouts of “this means war,” Nwadike knew he needed to do everything in his power to de-escalate a scene that was spiraling out of control.
Over the course of the night, Nwadike stepped into volatile situations where he felt his calming presence was needed, often acting as a liaison between officers and protesters to get communication going when neither side was talking to the other.
Negotiating in such a pressure cooker was no small task, and breaking a protester out of their “zone of rage” took many different forms. Sometimes, it was as simple as reminding someone that they had kids they needed to return home to. In other instances, it required physically restraining someone until they cooled off. At one point, Nwadike stopped a crowd of protesters who had ripped out a concrete parking bumper and were planning to drop it on a line of officers below a highway overpass.
“It can be scary at times. Obviously there are protesters that show up with the intent to be destructive — not the majority — but there are some that show up with the intent of causing a ruckus,” Nwadike said. “Standing in the middle is not a safe place to be when bricks are flying and gunshots are going off. The police are trained for those things and they have gear that can protect them if something goes bad; I'm just out there as me. But I know that if I'm not out there trying to bring peace to those situations … I've seen in many cases where it could have gone terribly wrong if I wasn't there to talk sense into someone.”
With a camera in tow, Nwadike has served as the voice of reason in a number of emotionally-charged situations between police and the public. He traveled to Dallas in a show of support for law enforcement after the ambush attack that killed five officers. He was also on the front lines keeping the peace during the Women's March in D.C. following the inauguration of President Donald Trump.
“I felt like there's something that we're missing here in the middle of all of this, and it's people seeing each other as human beings again on both sides,” Nwadike said. “So I set out to really try to change the hearts and minds and attitudes that people have towards one another. Being on the front lines of protest is a great stage to be able to broadcast that message to the world: Hey, we're better than this, why are we shouting at one another?”
His work as the “Free Hugs Project” began shortly after the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013. A life-long runner who took up the sport as a way to overcome his childhood of living in homeless shelters, Nwadike watched in horror as those who participated in an activity he loved so much were maimed or killed in a devastating act of terror.
“I felt helpless; I needed to do something about the violence and hatred that was going on in the world,” Nwadike said.
The following year, Nwadike traveled to Boston to participate in the marathon. After he missed qualifying by just 23 seconds, he stayed at the event in a show of solidarity, cheered on participants, and handed out “Free Hugs” t-shirts. Video of his work quickly went viral, and his activism grew from there.
“It started out [in Boston] just to spread love; to be an example of love in the face of adversity, in the midst of chaos,” he said. “That mission has changed now because of the social climate we're in — there are so many protests and riots and social injustice. People are shooting back at police officers now. All of the things that are going on; I just want it all to stop.”
The hug seen ‘round the world
By the time Nwadike traveled to Charlotte, he was already a viral star. Frunzi, as it turned out, was familiar with his work. As he stopped for a breather late into the second night of protests, he spotted Nwadike in a “Free Hugs” t-shirt. He recognized it from a video he had seen of Nwadike's work in Dallas.
“I yelled out, ‘Hey man, where's my free hug at?' He turned and almost had this puzzled look on his face,” Frunzi said. “It kind of caught him off guard. He came over, gave me a hug, and I thanked him for keeping the peace and told him that I had seen the work he had done. Some of the other officers couldn't believe it.”
That moment was the lift Frunzi and his fellow officers needed after two exhausting nights in downtown Charlotte. The next morning, Frunzi woke up to a flood of missed calls and texts — he had no idea Nwadike had been filming.
“In all that chaos, destruction and violence, he captured a moment that was just amazing — that meant so much to me, my fellow officers, everybody,” Frunzi said. “I come to work every day hoping that I change at least one person's life for the better. Because of that video, we touched millions of people and showed them that there can be unity between the police and community.”
A healthy dialogue
Despite the challenge of presenting his message in environments of heightened emotion often tied to complex issues like racial disparity and police use of force, Nwadike says the vast majority of those he speaks to are receptive, even if they initially cast him off as “just the free hugs guy.”
“It's not just free hugs anymore — it's full-blown activism and social justice work and really trying to get people to humanize both sides — for both sides to be able to communicate to one another,” Nwadike said. “ Violence solves nothing. If an issue comes about that you want to discuss with your police department, set a meeting. Let's talk about it. You can meet with politicians — write letters to Congress and city council people. That's the way of really creating change."
He said his activism has taken on a new life recently with the rise of Black Lives Matter and other activist groups. While he doesn't have anything against those groups, he thinks there's a component of love that is missing in the protests.
“In trying to find justice for someone you want police to know is a human being, you can't forget that the very officers that you're talking to are human beings as well. That uniform doesn't make an officer a robot. There's still a person behind it,” Nwadike said.
It's that message — of love for one another, positive dialogue and building strong relationships on both sides — that Frunzi shares each day he spends on patrol, whether through connecting with kids on his beat or developing outreach events like a community barbeque. His hope is that this will encourage people to see officers in a new light and be more proactive in voicing their concerns to law enforcement before tragedy strikes.
“It's always a tragedy — including for the police — when a life is lost, whether it's taken by the police or it's taken by another citizen,” Frunzi said. “The best thing that can happen after a shooting is the community coming together. If you want to come together, the police will come together with you.”
Changing the world, one hug at a time
Since the video went viral, Nwadike and Frunzi have remained close friends. They've been working together to spread their message through speaking engagements and community-based projects. They're currently shopping around a TV show that's aimed at showing the positive side of law enforcement.
“I feel like the way that police are being portrayed in the media right now is hurting their image,” Nwadike said. “One of the longest running police shows on TV is 'Cops.' But when you watch it, all you're seeing is the officers kicking in doors and making arrests. You never see these cops constantly going in and doing good work in the community. A lot of people would say ‘controversy sells.' These days, there's enough controversy happening in real life. I think we're at a point where people want to see the good stuff now.”
Frunzi has also set up a Facebook page that he intends to use as a way to put a positive face to policing and reach out to people across the nation.
“No matter what the color of your skin is, the color of your clothes, the color of your uniform, we all have the same color blood. And at the end of the day, we have to realize that — we're all related in some way and we have the same genetic makeup. If we don't stand together, we're gonna end up as a nation falling apart. And I don't want that to happen,” Frunzi said.
Nwadike hopes that his work as the Free Hugs Project will continue to serve as a model for what can be accomplished when the police and the public see each other, human-to-human.
“Even though it can seem like these days, with the media, that there's a lot of aggression coming from the underserved communities, it's not the majority of people from those communities that view police officers as bad,” Nwadike said. “The dialogue that I have with a lot of people from those communities … they have the utmost respect for police officers. It's a tough time to be a cop — know that other people like myself are going to rise up to try to keep peace in these situations.”
Open dialogue key to continuing to build trust
Continued efforts to better connect Tupeloans with the officers that protect and serve this community took another step forward this week.
Tupelo Police Department and city of Tupelo officials hosted a public forum Monday evening titled “All-America Conversation,” described as a continuation of promises made to keep city business open and transparent to all residents.
During the forum, Shelton, Police Chief Bart Aguirre and other leaders of the Tupelo Police Department answered written questions submitted by citizens attending the forum, as reported by the Daily Journal's Caleb Bedillion.
Issues of oversight, transparency and policing practices were posed from a fairly sparse crowd of the general public.
These issues came into the spotlight last year following the shooting death of a local man by a TPD officer in June 2016.
In the weeks and months following the shooting, multiple groups called for substantial change at the department leading to conversations regarding the expansion of community policing programs and even a police advisory board, among other things.
A police advisory board composed of local citizens remains under discussion at the city level, although officials have determined that the board won't have subpoena power. That's a wise and logical decision that we have supported in the past. That board's energy to reach fair conclusions, as we've stated, needs to be based on trust, respect, integrity and community good will.
Body cameras came up during another question. Aguirre explained the department has body cameras, though they are not yet in use. He reported that writing a policy governing the use of such cameras was recently completed and that officers are being trained in the use of cameras.
The topic of community policing initiatives was also brought up with questions being asked about crime prevention strategies and outreach efforts like the Police Athletic League.
Ultimately, these open conversations by Tupelo police with residents can go a long way to helping build trust within the community.
But these conversations need to be followed with action by both police officials and residents alike.
A successful partnership between the two can't be achieved by just one side pulling all the weight.
We encourage police officials to continue with the community policing efforts that have received national recognition in the past and also explore even more ways to engage with various segments of the community.
Residents need to do their part by offering feedback to police and city leaders on the things they want to see in their community and participate as often as possible in the various programs that help build cooperation.
By working together on the things that will result in a unified community, Tupelo – as a whole – will ultimately benefit.
Baltimore police move 46 officers to patrol
The Baltimore Police Department has disbanded its primary plainclothes enforcement unit, sending 46 officers to patrol
by Justin Fenton
BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Police Department has disbanded its primary plainclothes enforcement unit, sending 46 officers to patrol in the continued fallout from the federal racketeering indictment of a high-profile gun squad.
Officials made the change Tuesday evening. A copy of a personnel order obtained by The Baltimore Sun showed that three lieutenants, seven sergeants and 36 officers are being distributed throughout the patrol ranks. Police spokesman T.J. Smith confirmed the reassignments.
Last week, federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment charging members of another unit, the Gun Trace Task Force, with being part of a racketeering conspiracy. The officers are charged with robbing and extorting citizens, filing false affidavits and police reports, and applying for fraudulent overtime pay. All of the officers have pleaded not guilty.
Police Commissioner Kevin Davis promised changes in the department in the aftermath, saying there would be "a lot of reviews, a lot of investigations and a lot of audits" with regard to overtime pay and other areas.
"That scandal, and that's exactly what it was, has ramifications, and it has ramifications for policies, procedures, protocols. It has ramifications for people who were in leadership positions as well," Davis said Thursday.
On Monday, Davis demoted Chief Sean Miller, who oversaw the intelligence section. Miller fell from a top commander to a lieutenant assigned to the Southern District.
The officers reassigned Tuesday fell under an intelligence section that also includes federal task force officers, the vice squad, undercover units, the Regional Auto Theft Task Force, and the Warrant Apprehension Task Force.
Smith said those units remain intact, and said the disbanded unit represents 20 percent of the overall section.
Gene Ryan, president of the agency's Fraternal Order of Police lodge, said the change was sudden but may be in the best interests of the department. Officials have been struggling with a shortage in patrol in recent years.
"We've always been advocating to put more people in cars to beef up patrol properly," Ryan said.
Ryan, who said he was not informed of the move by Davis, said he recommended to Mayor Catherine Pugh's transition team that most officers should be moved into patrol, with a few units such as homicide and the citywide robbery unit remaining.
"It's definitely a culture change. Maybe it's time for a culture change," Ryan said. "Maybe we need a different way of looking at things and fighting the current crime patterns we have. Maybe we need to take a different approach to get crime under control."
WikiLeaks publishes 1000s of what they say are CIA documents
WikiLeaks said in a lengthy statement that the CIA had "recently" lost control of a massive arsenal of CIA hacking tools as well as associated documentation
by Ralph Satter
PARIS — WikiLeaks on Tuesday published thousands of documents purportedly taken from the Central Intelligence Agency's Center for Cyber Intelligence, a dramatic release that appears to provide an eye-opening look at the intimate details of America's cyberespionage toolkit.
The dump could not immediately be authenticated by The Associated Press and the CIA declined comment, but WikiLeaks has a long track record of releasing top secret government documents. Experts who've started to sift through the material said it appeared legitimate — and that the release was almost certain to shake the CIA.
"There's no question that there's a fire drill going on right now," said Jake Williams, a security expert with Augusta, Georgia-based Rendition Infosec. "It wouldn't surprise me that there are people changing careers — and ending careers — as we speak."
If it did prove legitimate, the dump would represent yet another catastrophic breach for the U.S. intelligence community at the hands of WikiLeaks and its allies, which have repeatedly humbled Washington with the mass release of classified material, including hundreds of thousands of documents from the State Department and the Pentagon.
WikiLeaks, which had been dropping cryptic hints about the release for a month, said in a lengthy statement that the CIA had "recently" lost control of a massive arsenal of CIA hacking tools as well as associated documentation. The radical transparency organization said that "the archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner" and that one of them "provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive."
Jonathan Liu, a spokesman for the CIA, said: "We do not comment on the authenticity or content of purported intelligence documents."
Williams, who has experience dealing with government hackers, said that the voluminous files' extensive references to operation security meant they were almost certainly government-backed.
"I can't fathom anyone fabricated that amount of operational security concern," he said. "It rings true to me."
"The only people who are having that conversation are people who are engaging in nation-state-level hacking," he said.
NC police suspend vehicle checkpoints amid immigration fears
Checkpoints are under some scrutiny after a checkpoint was set up near a local school that has a 22 percent Hispanic enrollment
by Mark Schultz
DURHAM, N.C. — The Durham Police Department has suspended motor-vehicle checkpoints in response to growing immigration fears, Chief C.J. Davis announced Monday.
“DPD remains committed to addressing the concerns and expectations of all community members and therefore, last week suspended department-initiated traffic checkpoints,” Davis said in a statement. “This was done to dispel fears that have currently arisen and to further encourage sustainable relationships with the diverse community we serve.”
The department will continue to participate in multi-agency highway safety campaigns, such as Booze It & Lose It and Click It or Ticket, Davis said.
Checkpoints are under some scrutiny after a Durham County Sheriff's Office traffic checkpoint Feb. 20 near the School for Creative Studies, which has a 22 percent Hispanic enrollment.
The Sheriff's Office says it was responding to speeding complaints and that the checkpoint was 2.4 miles from the school. But El Centro Hispano (The Hispanic Center) and some school officials criticized the action, saying it happened on a Monday afternoon when parents may have been picking up their children.
“Considering that Immigration and Customs Enforcement have deported individuals for infractions as minor as license violations, this means that your officers' actions are directly threatening the livelihoods of people who are residing and working in our community,” Brian Callaway, the coordinator of energy and sustainability at Durham Public Schools, wrote in an open letter to local law enforcement and school leaders.
The Sheriff's Office stood by its practice Monday.
“The Sheriff's Office is not suspending its law enforcement operational checkpoints,” spokeswoman Tamara Gibbs said, adding, “This goes without saying, but we want to reiterate that we do not conduct checkpoints in search of undocumented residents.”
In an interview sheriff's Maj. Paul Martin agreed.
“These comments about ICE, they're totally ridiculous,” he said. “I get calls almost every day about traffic. People want us to do something to prevent possible accidents. ... We're trying to help people in these communities.”
The Feb. 20 checkpoint was one of four the Durham County Sheriff's Office held that day that led to a total of 14 verbal or written warnings and eight citations, Gibbs said.
It might not have occurred in neighboring counties, however.
In Orange County, the sheriff's office and the Carrboro, Chapel Hill and Hillsborough police departments agreed after hearing concerns last summer not to hold checkpoints near schools when parents are dropping off and picking up children, Chief Deputy Jamie Sykes of the Sheriff's Office said in an email.
In an interview, Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison would not rule out holding a checkpoint near a school, but said, “I don't know of one since I've been here.” Harrison has been sheriff since 2002.
The Durham Police Department, meanwhile, held 17 checkpoints in January, spokeswoman Kammie Michael said in an email.
The number did not differentiate between motor-vehicle and other types of checkpoints such as informational checkpoints that do not require presenting license and registration.
"When planned and executed appropriately, these operations are very effective," Davis said. “However, in recent weeks there has been national and local concern regarding the role of local law enforcement officers in federal immigration enforcement. There has also been misinformation regarding the intent and purpose of DPD's routine checkpoints, which have not been used for immigration enforcement.”
Motor vehicle checkpoints are controversial, Jeffrey Welty, an expert in criminal law and procedure, wrote in a 2010 UNC School of Government bulletin.
In North Carolina, state law allows motor vehicle checkpoints to detect impaired driving and other motor vehicle violations. Motor-vehicle checkpoints may not be used for general crime control, he wrote.
State law requires checkpoints be placed randomly or where “statistically indicated,” which Welty interpreted as meaning the law enforcement agency has reason to believe an area has “more problems than other locations ‘with unlicensed or unregistered drivers,' impaired drivers or motor-vehicle violations in general.”
Raul Pinto, an immigration attorney at the N.C. Justice Center, said that has not kept some law enforcement agencies in North Carolina from setting up motor-vehicle checkpoints in majority-minority communities, like outside an apartment complex or mobile home park.
“I don't think any court has defined what ‘statistically indicated' means,” he said.
License and registration
What happens when drivers can't produce their license and registration?
Officers have some discretion. People who can't comply typically get a verbal or written warning – say, if the officer believes they have a license, just not with them – or a citation (ticket).
“By law the deputy can bring the driver without a license before a magistrate, but the agency tries to avoid that by asking for other forms of ID,” Gibbs said.
One form being used in Orange and Durham counties is the Faith ID, an unofficial alternative ID promoted by Durham-based El Centro Hispano after the state stopped accepting the matricula consular, a Mexican ID card that the FBI said was subject to fraud and forgery.
El Centro has enrolled about 1,800 people in the Faith ID program, which requires proof of identification and address, said director Pilar Rocha-Goldberg.
Even when drivers can't comply, checkpoints rarely lead to immigration problems.
The exception can occur when an officer arrests someone upon evidence of a crime or on a warrant.
Once a person is booked and fingerprinted, a set of prints is sent to the State Bureau of Investigation.
If the person is wanted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the system flags the fingerprints and a technician sends a notice of arrest to ICE, which can ask the jail to detain the person.
If no detainer is issued, the person may leave the jail on bond or upon a magistrate or judge's order.
If a detainer is received, the person will remain in jail until his or her case is adjudicated, Gibbs said.
Once all charges are adjudicated, the arresting agency notifies ICE, which has a 48 hour deadline in which to take custody, after which the detainee is released, she said.
Jewish school in Chicago evacuated after bomb threat
The Chicago threat comes as the Anti-Defamation League and several Jewish community centers across the country are reporting a new round of bomb threats
by The Associated Press
CHICAGO — Authorities say students were evacuated from a Jewish grade school in Chicago after someone called in a bomb threat.
Police shut down several streets surrounding the Chicago Jewish Day School on the city's north side after the threat was reported Tuesday morning.
Police say school staff decided to evacuate the students and responding officers helped students from the building. Search dogs were brought to the scene. The school's website says it has more than 200 students from junior kindergarten to eighth grade.
The Chicago threat comes as the New York-based Anti-Defamation League and several Jewish community centers across the country are reporting a new round of bomb threats. Federal officials have been investigating more than 120 bomb threats called in to Jewish organizations in three dozen states since Jan. 9.
Miss. moves to ban immigrant sanctuary policies
The bill says cities, state agencies and public colleges can't prevent employees from asking someone's immigration status
by Sarah Smith
JACKSON, Miss. — The Mississippi House advanced a bill to ban immigration sanctuary policies.
Senate Bill 2710 says cities, state agencies and public colleges can't prevent employees from asking someone's immigration status. These public agencies also can't give legal status to people who entered the country without permission, such as by issuing an ID card.
The bill passed the House Tuesday and will return to the Senate.
"Here in Mississippi there have been efforts to create sanctuary cities, sanctuary policies and sanctuary campuses," said House Judiciary B Committee Chairman Andy Gipson, R-Braxton.
The bill would override Mississippi's only sanctuary policy: a 2010 Jackson ordinance that prevents police officers from asking about immigration status. An effort to make the University of Mississippi into a sanctuary campus failed last year.
Rep. Steve Holland, D-Plantersville, wasn't convinced.
"How long did the committee lay up at night worrying about something that's not a problem in Mississippi?" he wanted to know.
Rep. Jarvis Dortch, D-Raymond, pointed out that the bill has no mechanisms for enforcement.
"What does it do other than say you want to be mean to immigrants?" he said.
Later, Rep. Joey Hood, R-Ackerman, said that public officials who break the law could be subject to contempt of court.
Republican Gov. Phil Bryant, who focused on what he saw as the harms of illegal immigration earlier in his career, said during a Monday interview on Fox News that he supports a crackdown by President Donald Trump and actions by state lawmakers. Bryant said he wants to comb state and local jails for people without legal status.
"If they have committed those crimes, we want them to pay their responsibility, their duty to serve their sentence in the state of Mississippi and have them deported," Bryant said. "We are going to pass a law that says you can't have sanctuary cities in Mississippi, so that you can't hide these individuals from immigration and customs."
In 2014, Mississippi had about 25,000 immigrants who had entered the country without permission, the Pew Research Center estimates. As a share of total population, Mississippi's overall foreign-born population is among the smallest in the nation.
Kim Jong Un's Strategy is Working
March 8, 2017
from CNN's Fareed Zakaria and the Global Public Square
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un likely learned an important lesson from dictators like Saddam Hussein and Moammar Gadhafi who gave up their weapons programs, writes Peter Apps for Reuters, namely that they paid a high price for those decisions.
“At the heart of Kim's strategy is the belief that no one is willing to confront him. To secure his position, he must push forward with his weapons programs as quickly as possible, making North Korea unassailable by the time anyone changes their minds.”
But that leaves other countries in a bind, Apps suggests: “A man who would order the murder of his half-brother in a crowded airport, if South Korean intelligence is correct, seems unlikely to hesitate if he thought annihilating many more would secure his survival – or perhaps if he felt he had nothing left to lose.”
-- Fareed asks two former U.S. National Security Advisers what the Trump administration can do to ease the North Korean nuclear threat. “If sanctions haven't worked…Pressure on China hasn't worked…What do we do? Does the United States bomb North Korea or does it talk to it and try to set up some kind of negotiation?” Watch their responses.
-- Disaster in the making. Henry Sokolski, executive director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center in Virginia, emails Global Briefing that North Korea is a catalyst for a potential nuclear arms competition in Asia – one not destined to end well for anyone.
“Some Japanese officials are already mulling over the idea of developing long-range missiles for possible preemptive strikes against North Korea. And South Korea has been developing longer range missiles that can not only hit all of North Korea, but parts of China.
“Meanwhile, both Japan and China are planning to open up massive reprocessing plants that could make one to 2,000 nuclear weapons worth of plutonium a year, even though there is no economic justification for opening such plants -- they're enormous money losers.”
“And, of course, South Korea doesn't want to be left behind -- hawkish politicians there keep voicing a desire to develop an option to go nuclear. All this is a prescription for mischief and, if it's not arrested, will end in a vale of tears.”
America ' s Dangerous Silence?
“Russia has deployed a land-based cruise missile that violates the ‘spirit and intent' of an arms control treaty and poses a threat to NATO, Vice Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff General Paul Selva said on Wednesday,” Reuters reports.
Writing on the move in Foreign Policy, Jon Wolfsthal says that if the violations go unchallenged, then America's already nervous allies will increasingly question the U.S. commitment to their security. And “[i]f Russia cannot be convinced to return to compliance, it is hard to see how the New START strategic arms control treaty that effectively manages America's strategic nuclear competition can be extended or renegotiated when it expires in 2021.”
Russia and Iran's Costly Dilemma
Despite the apparent confidence of Moscow and Tehran over developments in Syria, the truth is that they have a real and costly dilemma on their hands, writes David Gardner in The Financial Times.
“The manpower shortages of a minority regime have made it dependent on Russia, Iran and powerful paramilitaries such as Lebanon's Hezbollah,” Gardner writes. “Damascus has had to subcontract local control to a mosaic of warlords and militias, private armies and racketeers -- all invested in the lucrative distortions of a war economy characterized by penury for the mass of Syrians, roughly half of whom have been uprooted. There is nothing stable about that.”
-- Where the warlords rule. The recent successes of Bashar al-Assad's army have only been possible because of significant assistance from Iran and Russia -- and from local Syrian militias, writes Fritz Schaap in Der Spiegel . “Now, these fighters are taking over control in many areas, committing murder, looting and harassing civilians. And nobody can stop them, not even Assad himself. Indeed, the militias are now more powerful than even the country's dictator and have become the real holders of power in Syria.”
from CNN's Fareed Zakaria and the Global Public Square team
AP Exclusive: For 1st time, Casey Anthony speaks about case
by Josh Replogle
Casey Anthony knows that much of the world believes she killed her 2-year-old daughter, despite her acquittal. But nearly nine years later, she insists she doesn't know how the last hours of Caylee's life unfolded.
"Caylee would be 12 right now. And would be a total badass," she told The Associated Press in one of a series of exclusive interviews.
But discussing Caylee's last moments, the 30-year-old Anthony spoke in halting, sober tones: "I'm still not even certain as I stand here today about what happened," she said.
"Based off what was in the media" — the story of a woman who could not account for a month in which her child was missing, whose defense involved an accidental drowning for which there was no eyewitness testimony — "I understand the reasons people feel about me. I understand why people have the opinions that they do."
This was the first time Anthony spoke to a news media outlet about her daughter's death or her years since the trial. Her responses were at turns revealing, bizarre and often contradictory, and they ultimately raised more questions than answers about the case that has captivated the nation.
It's been almost nine years since Caylee went missing, and six since the circus-like Orlando trial that ended in her mother's acquittal. The trial was carried live on cable networks and was the focus of daily commentaries by HLN's Nancy Grace , who called her "the most hated mom in America," and, derisively, "tot mom."
The child was supposedly last seen on June 16, 2008; she was first reported missing, by Casey Anthony's mother, on July 15. A day later, Casey Anthony was arrested on charges of child neglect. She told police that Caylee had disappeared with a baby sitter.
A utility worker working in a wooded area near the Anthony home on Dec. 11 found skeletal remains that were later determined to be Caylee's. Experts would testify that air samples indicated that decaying human remains had been present in Casey Anthony's trunk.
In the end, prosecutors proved Casey Anthony was a liar, but convinced the jury of little else. The government failed to establish how Caylee died, and they couldn't find her mother's DNA on the duct tape they said was used to suffocate her. After a trial of a month and a half, the jury took less than 11 hours to find Anthony not guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated manslaughter and aggravated child abuse.
She was convicted of four counts of lying to police (though two counts were later dropped), and served about three years in prison while awaiting trial.
She admits that she lied to police: about being employed at Universal Studios; about leaving Caylee with a baby-sitter; about telling two people, both of them imaginary, that Caylee was missing; about receiving a phone call from Caylee the day before she was reported missing.
"Even if I would've told them everything that I told to the psychologist, I hate to say this but I firmly believe I would have been in the same place. Because cops believe other cops. Cops tend to victimize the victims. I understand now ... I see why I was treated the way I was even had I been completely truthful."
At the trial, lead defense attorney Jose Baez suggested that the little girl drowned and that Casey's father, George Anthony, helped cover that up — and sexually abused his daughter. Her father has vehemently denied the accusations.
Asked about the drowning defense, Casey hesitated: "Everyone has their theories, I don't know. As I stand here today I can't tell you one way or another. The last time I saw my daughter I believed she was alive and was going to be OK, and that's what was told to me. "
Anthony lives in the South Florida home of Patrick McKenna, a private detective who was the lead investigator on her defense team. She also works for him, doing online social media searches and other investigative work. McKenna was also the lead investigator for OJ Simpson, when he was accused of killing his wife and acquitted; Anthony said she's become fascinated with the case, and there are "a lot of parallels" to her own circumstances.
An Associated Press reporter met Anthony as she protested against President Donald Trump at a Palm Beach rally.
It's unclear why Anthony agreed to speak to the AP. She later texted the reporter, asking that the AP not run the story. Among other things, she cited the bankruptcy case in which she has been embroiled since 2013: "During the course of my bankruptcy, the rights to my story were purchased by a third party company for $25k to protect my interests. Without written authorization from the controlling members of this company, I am prohibited from speaking publicly about my case at any time."
In addition, she said she had violated a confidentiality agreement with her employer, and remains under subpoena and subject to deposition in her bankruptcy case.
Yet she had participated in five on-the-record interviews over a one-week period, many of them audiotaped.
She still dreads the supermarket checkout line for fear she'll see photos of her daughter on the cover of tabloid papers. Her bedroom walls are decorated with photos of Caylee and she weeps when she shows off her daughter's colorful, finger-painted artwork.
Occasionally she goes out with friends to area bars. But news that she there spreads quickly; people whispering and snap photos, and she retreats to her newly purchased SUV so she can return home, alone.
Anthony speaks defiantly of her pariah status.
"I don't give a s--- about what anyone thinks about me, I never will," she said. "I'm OK with myself, I sleep pretty good at night."
Revised executive order bans travelers from six Muslim-majority countries from getting new visas
by Matt Zapotosky, David Nakamura and Abigal Hauslohner
President Trump signed a new travel ban Monday that administration officials said they hope will end legal challenges over the matter by imposing a 90-day ban on the issuance of new visas for citizens of six majority-Muslim nations.
In addition, the nation's refugee program will be suspended for 120 days, and the United States will not accept more than 50,000 refugees in a year, down from the 110,000 cap set by the Obama administration.
The new guidelines mark a dramatic departure from Trump's original ban, issued in January and immediately met by massive protests and then ordered frozen by the courts. The new ban lays out a far more specific national security basis for the order, blocks the issuance only of new visas, and names just six of the seven countries included in the first executive order, omitting Iraq.
[Read the full text of the revised executive order]
Trump signed the new ban out of public view, according to White House officials. The order will take effect March 16.
“This executive order responsibly provides a needed pause so we can carefully review how we scrutinize people coming here from these countries of concern,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in announcing that the order had been signed.
The order also details specific sets of people who would be able to apply for case-by-case waivers to the order, including those previously admitted to the United States for “a continuous period of work, study, or other long-term activity”; those with “significant business or professional obligations”; and those seeking to visit or live with family.
Trump's campaign, meanwhile, sent out an email asking people to sign a petition in support of the new order.
“As your President, I made a solemn promise to keep America safe,” the email signed by Trump said. “And I will NEVER stop fighting until we implement the policies you — and millions of Americans like you — voted for.”
Democrats and civil liberties groups said Monday that the new order was legally tainted in the same way as the first one: It was a thinly disguised Muslim ban. Trump, in his email, used the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” to describe his concern with the countries whose citizens would be blocked from acquiring visas.
That seems to portend more litigation — though how soon remains unclear. The attorney general of Washington state, Bob Ferguson, who successfully sued to have the first ban blocked, said he was still reviewing what to do.
The new order, Ferguson said, represented a “significant victory” for Washington state because the administration had “capitulated on numerous key provisions that we contested in court.” But he said state lawyers would need two or three days to see what action they would take in the court case.
“We're reviewing it carefully, and still have concerns with the new order,” Ferguson said.
The Justice Department argued in a court filing that even if the litigation were to move forward, it should do so at a slower pace, and with the new ban in place. The government noted that visa applicants typically have to wait months and asserted there was “no imminent harm” from the president's temporary suspension of the issuance of new visas to certain people.
That assertion, though, did little to assuage the concerns of Democrats and civil liberties groups, who said the new ban was just like the old.
Karen Tumlin, the legal director of the National Immigration Law Center, predicted that federal judges who ordered a restraining order on the earlier ban are likely to do so again, and that pending lawsuits filed by her organization and others will not need to be filed anew. “From our vantage point, that litigation lives on,” she said.
New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman (D), who joined the legal fight against the first ban, said, “While the White House may have made changes to the ban, the intent to discriminate against Muslims remains clear.”
Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrants' Rights Project, said, “The only way to actually fix the Muslim ban is not to have a Muslim ban. Instead, President Trump has recommitted himself to religious discrimination, and he can expect continued disapproval from both the courts and the people.”
The revised travel ban also came under quick fire from refugee advocates, who said it unfairly penalizes refugees without improving U.S. security.
“President Trump still seems to believe you can determine who's a terrorist by knowing which country a man, woman or child is from,” said Grace Meng, an immigration researcher with Human Rights Watch. “Putting this executive order into effect will only create a false sense of security that genuine steps are being taken to protect Americans from attack, while undermining the standing of the U.S. as a refuge for those at greatest risk.”
Officials from the State, Homeland Security and Justice departments defended the new order as a necessary measure to improve public safety. They said the countries named — Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Syria and Yemen — were either state sponsors of terrorism, or their territories were so compromised that they were effectively havens for terrorist groups. Iraq was omitted, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, because it is an “important ally in the fight to defeat ISIS” — the Islamic State militant organization — and Iraq's leaders had agreed to implement new, unspecified security measures.
The ban is among several measures the administration has introduced in the name of border security. Also Monday, Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly said he was “considering” separating undocumented immigrant parents from their children to deter people from trying to enter the country. Those people, he said, are often moved to the United States by a “terribly dangerous network” that originates in Central America.
Civil rights advocates said Monday that the new ban's sudden exclusion of Iraq, as well as the omission of other countries with active terrorist groups — such as Colombia, Venezuela, Pakistan and the Philippines — underscored the ban's arbitrariness as a national security measure.
The new order provides other exceptions not contained explicitly in previous versions: for travelers from those countries who are legal permanent residents of the United States, dual nationals who use a passport from another country, and those who have been granted asylum or refugee status. It removes an exception to the refugee ban for members of religious minority groups — which critics had pointed to as evidence the first ban was meant to discriminate against Muslims — and it no longer imposes an indefinite prohibition on travelers from Syria.
Anyone who holds a visa now should be able to get into the country without any problems, although those whose visas expire will have to reapply, officials said.
The order claims that since 2001, hundreds of people born abroad have been convicted of terrorism-related crimes in the United States. It cites two specific examples: Two Iraqi nationals who came to the United States as refugees in 2009, it says, were convicted of terrorism-related offenses, and in October 2014, a Somali native brought to the country as a child refugee was sentenced to 30 years in prison for plotting to detonate a bomb at a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in Oregon. That man became a naturalized U.S. citizen.
“We cannot risk the prospect of malevolent actors using our immigration system to take American lives,” Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly said.
The new ban also says that more than 300 people who entered the country as refugees were the subject of active counterterrorism investigations. U.S. officials declined to specify the countries of origin of those being investigated, their immigration status, or whether they had been charged with crimes.
Charles Kurzman, a sociology professor who studies violent extremism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said that since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, there have been no fatalities caused by Muslim extremists with family backgrounds in the six countries covered by the new ban. A Department of Homeland Security report assessing the terrorist threat posed by people from the seven countries covered by the president's original travel ban had cast doubt on the necessity of the executive order, concluding that citizenship was an “unreliable” threat indicator and that people from the affected countries had rarely been implicated in U.S.-based terrorism.
The Department of Homeland Security official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, criticized the report as being incomplete and not vetted with other agencies, and he said the administration should not be pressed by the judiciary to unveil sensitive national security details to justify the ban.
The order represents an attempt by the Trump administration to tighten security requirements for travelers from nations that officials said represent a terrorism threat. A more sweeping attempt in January provoked mass protests across the country as travelers en route to the United States were detained at airports after the surprise order was announced. The State Department had provisionally revoked tens of thousands of visas all at once.
Officials sought to dismiss the idea that there would be any confusion surrounding the implementation of the new order. They said they delayed implementation so the government could go through the appropriate legal processes and ensure that no government employee would face “legal jeopardy” for enforcing the order.
The revisions to the order will make it more defensible in court — limiting the number of people with standing to sue — but the changes might not allay all the concerns raised by judges across the country. The three-judge panel with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, for example, said that exempting green-card and current visa holders from the ban would not address the court's concern about U.S. citizens with an interest in noncitizens' travel.
The administration, too, will have to wrestle with comments by the president and top adviser Rudolph W. Giuliani that seemed to indicate the intent of the order was to ban Muslims from entering the United States, which could run afoul of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
On the campaign trail, Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” After the election, Giuliani, a former New York City mayor, said: “So when [Trump] first announced it, he said, ‘Muslim ban.' He called me up. He said, ‘Put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally.'?”
A federal judge in Virginia referenced those comments in ordering the ban frozen with respect to Virginia residents and institutions, calling it “unrebutted evidence” that Trump's directive might violate the First Amendment.
The case for saving community policing
by Mike Durant
I first put on a law enforcement uniform in 1984. It was one of the proudest days of my life.
For every day since then, I have been proud to call myself a peace officer. Policing, and raising my family together with my wife, are my life's work.
I have come face-to-face with the worst of humanity — but my commitment to law enforcement has never wavered. This resolve is supported by the knowledge I am not alone. I am part of a team of fellow law enforcement officers, public safety personnel, and four-legged friends (including my former canine partner, Fritz) who serve communities within California and across the United States. We work hard to make our communities better places to live.
Protecting our neighbors is our mission — and to some extent our work is selfish. The true burden of our professional commitments falls on our families who do not know when we leave in the morning if we will come home at night. That daily uncertainty has grown over the past several years.It pains me to see my profession under attack — sometimes literally, but more often through a war of words and over-generalizations.
Recent events have stirred up a hornets' nest of sadness and anger. Naturally, there is much emotion tied to incidents where someone, either an officer or a civilian, loses a life.
As in all occupations, law enforcement professionals may make mistakes. But because law enforcement is on the front lines of the economic and social changes gripping our nation, we recognize that our missteps can be more consequential and attract more attention than the mistakes of those who have chosen careers in which their job performance is not subject to public scrutiny.
We appreciate lawmakers who share our commitment to healing any breach between the police and the broader communities we serve. As with so many other issues affecting our nation and our communities, there are no easy answers. And although the problem is multifaceted, its perpetuation can be traced in part to insufficient resources.
The budgetary challenges facing states and localities since the start of the recession have strained the resources available to law enforcement. At the same time the responsibilities and burdens placed on police have increased dramatically.
Put simply: police are being asked to do more with less at a particularly tense time. In California, and across the country, as police are asked to do more, agency budgets are decreasing, leaving departments no choice but to send out fewer and fewer officers to cover larger and larger territories.
This greatly increases the dangers an officer faces and means less resources are available for effective community policing and partnership.
The U.S. Department of Justice's Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Program is an essential component of bridging that divided. Grants issued under the COPS Program are invaluable. They enable departments to hire officers needed to patrol the streets, develop and test innovative policing strategies and technology, and train and provide technical assistance to officers, other public safety personnel, and support staff.
The COPS Program is built upon the concept of community policing, a practice that is based on problem-solving, relationship-building, and trust, and has been highly successful in reducing crime on America's streets. However, with demands on local law enforcement increasing as resources shrink, local departments do not have the resources needed for community policing. That is where the COPS Program, by enabling departments across to country to put more cops on the streets – comes in.
News media has reported that the COPS Program is going on the chopping block, something I hope will never happen. I urge policymakers to support the communities they represent—the communities we serve—by maintain and expanding funding for the COPS Program, which provides police with the resources required to effectively and safely carry out their critical duties.
There will always be safer jobs for my children than putting on a uniform and a badge—and although I'd be honored if my children chose to follow me into law enforcement, given the concerns I've expressed here, I am not sure it is an occupation I would recommend today.
I remain hopeful, however, that lawmakers will come together to support police and other public safety officers to ensure that this career will be one that our young people will be proud to choose.
Mike Durant is a Senior Deputy Sheriff with Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department and the President of the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC). PORAC is a professional federation of local, state and federal public safety associations. Representing over 69,000 officers, PORAC is the largest public safety association in the nation.
Immigration enforcement must be consistent with community policing
by Michael C. Koval
Done the wrong way, federal immigration enforcement can undermine public safety.
At the Madison Police Department, we recognize our responsibility to work closely with all of our local, state and federal law enforcement partners. We have worked closely with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and our regional Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices to establish a strong partnership with clear enforcement priorities.
Those priorities should comprise apprehending people who commit serious crimes and endanger our local community, no matter their immigration status.
But to ensure public safety, our priorities should not include immigration status checks. All members of our community must have confidence in our police force, trust that the police will protect and defend them, and feel confident that they are not putting themselves in jeopardy by coming forward to report crimes and to cooperate with investigations.
Our police department has worked long and hard to achieve these objectives by building trust with our immigrant communities. To maintain both this trust and the safety of everyone in our community, we need federal immigration enforcement initiatives to respect local community policing principles.
The immigrant community has worked closely with us and has agreed with our enforcement priorities, as its members, too, do not want violent criminals, regardless of immigration status, in their community. We adopted a code of conduct and standard operating procedures with respect to immigration enforcement that have reassured everyone in our local community that we are first and foremost committed to community safety.
On the other hand, when federal immigration authorities enter a community and carry out enforcement actions, an incredible trust gap develops between our community and the police. When law enforcement broadly is associated with sweeps and arrests, local officers have to pick up the pieces and try to repair the damage.
New executive orders on immigration enforcement are resulting in palpable concern and fear in our immigrant community. Because of the trust and relationships that our department has established, we have been able to alleviate them — for now.
I need all members of my community to feel that they can call the police and report crimes, and to feel that they can serve as witnesses. When fear drives people into the shadows, criminal elements thrive, and that challenges our ability to preserve the safety of everyone in the community.
Enforcement of the nation's immigration laws rests primarily with the federal government. We do not and will not initiate contact, detain, arrest or investigate anyone solely for a suspected violation of immigration status laws.
We will continue to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operations only when serious crimes directly relating to public safety are involved.
That's the balance that maintains the trust and help of everyone in our community and allows us to use our scarce resources wisely. Most important, that balance helps us keep everyone in our community safe.
Criminals kick in $20M for community policing effort
by Shari Logan
The NYPD received a $20 million boost to its community-policing initiatives Monday, courtesy of foiled criminal activity in Queens.
The money is from asset forfeiture funds collected by the Queens District Attorney's Office. The DA's office is giving the dough to the department.
More than half the money will buy 264 new vehicles for precincts across Queens. Another $2.7 million will be used to purchase tablets for recruits and trainers.
The NYPD will also be buying automated external defibrillators, flashlights, training mats, license plate readers, and upgraded gun holsters, officials said.
“The principal use of the funds will be centered on enhancing [Police] Commissioner [James] O'Neill's community-based policing strategies in all 16 Queens County police precincts,” Queens DA Richard Brown said.
“In essence, it heralds the return of a familiar figure – the cop on the beat who knows the people and the community he or she serves.”
O'Neill added, “Our probationary officers working their way through this academy will gain much through this funding, much will also go towards improving relationships between cops and the community in all corridors of this great city.”
Chicago police ease restrictions on use of force in new draft policy
The new draft removes language mandating that officers must use only the least amount of force needed in any situation
by Dan Hinkel
CHICAGO — Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson has proposed new use of force rules that would ratchet back restrictions on officers he floated five months ago.
An earlier version of the draft policy released in October drew complaints from both rank-and-file officers and police reform advocates.
Some officers said the draft policy was too restrictive for cops making quick decisions under pressure, though reform advocates said it didn't spell out clearly enough when officers should and should not use force.
The new proposed policy is significantly shorter, and many of the modifications address complaints that the last policy was unrealistic or unfair to police; near the top of the new draft policy is a rhetorical nod to officer safety.
The new draft removes language mandating that officers must use only the least amount of force needed in any situation, though it still holds that force must be objectively reasonable, necessary and proportional. The new draft also strips out a requirement that cops use force only when no alternative appears to exist.
The draft also softens an earlier proposal that would have compelled police to use de-escalation techniques designed to help officers deal with tense confrontations. The new draft calls for de-escalation only "when it is safe and feasible."
The draft also forgoes language from the earlier version that laid out standards for treating the public professionally and with dignity.
With the release of the latest draft policy, the police and public will have 10 days to comment. Department brass plan to review the new feedback, make any changes deemed necessary and enact new rules.
The first draft policy was among the early changes pushed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel as he worked to move past the controversy sparked by video of a white officer shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times. The video's release in late 2015 stoked protests fueled by long-simmering anger over police abuse against African-Americans and Latinos.
When the first draft was released, the U.S. Department of Justice was investigating the department's practices, and Emanuel was pressing changes aimed at getting in front of any reforms the federal authorities would eventually suggest or seek to enforce through the courts.
When the Justice Department finished its report in January, it castigated officers for using force too aggressively and frequently against minorities. The department and disciplinary system, meanwhile, have failed to adequately train, supervise or punish officers for misconduct, the report found.
But Donald Trump's election as president led to Jeff Sessions' appointment as attorney general, giving him control over any federal investigations of local police departments. Sessions has sent signals he is unlikely to seek court enforcement of reforms in the Chicago Police Department, and the vacuum of federal pressure would leave Emanuel largely in control.
Emanuel has largely hewed to a pro-police message in recent weeks as he seeks to boost department morale and add about 1,000 officers to the force.
Emanuel is trying to tamp down surging violence on the South and West sides, which some blame on officers ratcheting back activity to avoid trouble.
Last year, the city had more than 760 slayings and 4,300 people shot, huge increases over 2015. That surge has continued this year, with homicide numbers as of last week nearly the same as last year.
Shoot a K-9? In Kentucky, you might not go to jail
Ernie was shot and wounded on-duty, but under current state law the accused can only be charged with a misdemeanor due to the K-9 being able to return to duty
by Adm Beam
FRANKFORT, Ky. — Daleon Rice shot Ernie twice, right in front of a police officer, but he'll never serve a day in prison for the crime.
That's because Ernie, a German Shepherd police dog, made a full recovery and returned to work. Under Kentucky law, assaulting a police dog is only a felony if the dog dies or can't resume his duties. Otherwise, it's a misdemeanor that often carries no jail time.
Rice ended up being sentenced to a 40-year prison sentence on other charges, but it irked Officer Mike Lusardi and Kenton County Commonwealth's Attorney Rob Sanders that Ernie's assault would not be punished. They lobbied the state legislature to change the law. A bill did not pass last year, but a new one sponsored by Republican Rep. Diane St. Onge has raced through the Kentucky legislature this year.
The state Senate is likely to give the bill final approval this month.
Kentucky is one of six states that consider it a misdemeanor to harm a police dog, according to the United States Police Canine Association. Twelve states make it a felony to harm or kill a police dog regardless of the circumstances, while the penalties in 23 states depend on how bad the dog was harmed.
"Most of the states are falling in line with protections human beings would have as well," Ferland said.
While police dogs have special bonds with their handlers, they also require a serious financial commitment from a police department. When you combine the cost of purchasing, caring for and training the dog, it ends up costing more than a police car, according to Lt. Col. Brian Steffen of the Covington Police Department.
Covington Police were unfamiliar with Kentucky's law until Ernie was shot.
"I didn't understand it. To me, he's a partner, he's a police officer," Lusardi said. "He's saved my life several times."
One of those times was in April 2015. Police were looking for Rice after he stabbed his mother in the head several times with a knife. Lusardi spotted Rice on a street in Covington and tried to arrest him. Ernie was there, too, and Lusardi released him to stop Rice from fleeing.
But when Rice turned around, he had a gun pointed at Lusardi. Rice fired, but Lusardi said he was distracted, mostly because Ernie was attacking him. The delay gave Lusardi time to take cover and return fire. Rice then shot Ernie twice, once in the front left leg and once in the back right leg. Yet Ernie only stopped fighting when Lusardi called him back.
"I knew he was hurt because I heard the big yelp, but he was still fighting through it. It was amazing," he said.
Lusardi rushed Ernie to a veterinarian, who performed surgery to remove the bullets. One bullet is still in Ernie's leg, resulting in a slight limp when he walks.
Ernie isn't the only police dog to be wounded on the job. In 2014, a Kenton County Sheriff's Dog named Santo was sent into a trailer to try and resolve an eight-hour standoff, according to Kenton County Sheriff Charles Korzenborn. The man stabbed the dog and choked the animal until it lost consciousness, resulting in another deputy entering the trailer to stop him.
"The dog woke up and the dog went back to work," Korzenborn said. "Between the two of them, they got him subdued."
The suspect in that case also received no jail time for the assault, but was later arrested on other charges, according to Sanders.
"It makes no sense that a criminal's punishment is determined by whether or not the victim returns to work," Sanders said.
From the Department of Justice
Attorney General Jeff Sessions Delivers Remarks on Revised Executive Order Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry
Good morning. One of the Justice Department's top priorities is to protect the United States from threats to our national security. Therefore, I want to discuss two points: first, the national security basis for this order, and second, our department's role in defending the lawful orders of the President.
First: As the President noted in his address to Congress, the majority of people convicted in our courts for terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from abroad. We also know that people seeking to support or commit terrorist attacks here will try to enter through our refugee program. In fact, today more than 300 people who came here as refugees are under FBI investigation for potential terrorism-related activities.
Like every nation, the United States has the right to control who enters our country, and to keep out those who would do us harm. This executive order protects the American people – as well as lawful permanent residents – by putting in place an enhanced screening and vetting process for visitors from six nations.
Three of these nations are state sponsors of terrorism. The other three have served as safe havens for terrorists – countries where the government has lost control of territory to terrorist groups like ISIL or Al Qaeda and its affiliates. This increases the risk that people admitted here from these countries may belong to terrorist groups, or may have been radicalized by them.
We cannot compromise our nation's security by allowing visitors entry when their own governments are unable or unwilling to provide the information we need to vet them responsibly – or when those governments actively support terrorism. This executive order provides a needed pause, so we can carefully review how we scrutinize people coming here from these countries of concern.
Second: The Department of Justice believes that this executive order, just as the first, is a lawful and proper exercise of presidential authority. This Department of Justice will defend and enforce lawful orders of the President consistent with core principles of our Constitution. The executive is empowered under the Constitution and by Congress to make national security judgments and to enforce our immigration policies in order to safeguard the American public.
Terrorism is clearly a danger for America and our people. The President gets briefings on these dangers and emerging threats on a regular basis. The federal investigative agencies, the intelligence community, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. military report to the President. Knowing the President would possess such extensive information, our founders wisely gave the executive branch the authority and duty to protect the nation. This executive order is a proper exercise of that power.
Now I will turn things over to Secretary [John] Kelly [of the Department of Homeland Security].
From the Department of Homeland Security
Statement by Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly on President's Executive Order Signed Today
“Fourteen years ago on March 1, 2003, DHS was established. We did so as a nation because we needed to rethink our approach to homeland security. Many will recall the conclusions we reached then; that we needed to overcome a “lack of imagination” with regard to the threats we faced, and, second, that we needed to overcome our collective inability to take the dots of intelligence and arrange them into a more comprehensive picture of the threats posed to America and our way of life.
“Though much has changed since then, both in the world and at DHS, it is clear that Americans are not invulnerable to terrorist threats, and that our enemies will exploit our freedoms and generosity to harm us.
“The Executive Order signed today by President Trump will make America safer, and address long-overdue concerns about the security of our immigration system. We must undertake a rigorous review of our visa and refugee vetting programs to increase our confidence in the entry decisions we make for visitors and immigrants to the United States. We cannot risk the prospect of malevolent actors using our immigration system to take American lives.
“The Executive Order signed today is prospective in nature—applying only to foreign nationals outside of the United States who do not have a valid visa. It is important to note that nothing in this executive order affects current lawful permanent residents or persons with current authorization to enter our country. If you have a current valid visa to travel, we welcome you. But unregulated, unvetted travel is not a universal privilege, especially when national security is at stake.
“The Department of Homeland Security has worked closely with the Department of Justice, the Department of State, and the White House to create an executive order that addresses our information concerns while protecting the homeland and our citizens.
“The men and women of the Department of Homeland Security—like their brothers and sisters throughout law enforcement—are decent Americans of character and conscience. They are no less so than the governors of our states and territories, of our senators and members of the congress, of our city mayors and advocacy groups. They are sworn to enforce the laws as passed by the U.S. Congress and would be in violation of the law—and their sworn oaths—if they did not do so. We will continue to work closely with our operating components and across government to implement and enforce it humanely, respectfully, and with professionalism.
“I want to thank the President for his leadership on this issue and his steadfast support of DHS' important law enforcement, security, and counterterrorism missions.”
Orange County man sentenced to 190 years in federal prison for traveling to the Philippines to molest young girls and film the abuse
SANTA ANA, Calif. – A onetime school teacher who traveled to the Philippines to engage in sex with two girls and produced videos of the abuse was ordered Monday to serve 190 years in federal prison.
Robert Ruben Ornelas, 66, of Santa Ana, who has a long history of abusing children, received the 2,280-month sentence from U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney. Ornelas was found guilty in November by a federal jury of seven counts – two counts of engaging in sexual conduct in a foreign place, three counts of producing child pornography, and two counts of possessing child pornography.
During Monday's hearing, Judge Carney said Ornelas molested children in a “cruel manner” and the defendant demonstrated a complete disregard for his victims' humanity.
The evidence presented during a six-day trial showed that Ornelas traveled to the Philippines on multiple occasions. He was convicted in relation to three specific trips – in 2006, 2008 and 2012 – where he sexually assaulted two girls who were as young as approximately eight. During all three trips, Ornelas took videos of the molestation and brought the images with him when he returned the U.S.
The two victims travelled to the United States to testify during the trial about the sexual assaults, and made statements at Monday's hearing. One of the victims said: “Why did I meet this person? He destroyed my dreams.”
“Today's sentence ensures life imprisonment for this predator whose history of abusing minors began a half-century ago,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “For seven years, this defendant repeatedly travelled to the Philippines, where he paid family members for sexual access to little girls who were living in poverty. The defendant claimed to be an attorney and promised to help the victims by funding their educations, but he brought trauma and anguish to their lives for which no amount of money could compensate.”
The investigation into Ornelas began in 2013 when federal authorities received a tip that he possessed a large quantity of child pornography. During the execution of a search warrant, investigators found images, videos, and information on Ornelas' computer and digital media.
In sentencing papers filed with the court, prosecutors pointed out that Ornelas' history of sexually abusing minors extended back to the 1960s.
The federal charges are the product of an investigation by the Orange County Child Exploitation Task Force, which includes special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the FBI, the Newport Beach Police Department, and the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
“This sentence should serve as a powerful deterrent to child predators who mistakenly believe the internet and a plane ticket will enable them to indulge their perverse desires with impunity,” said Joseph Macias, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Los Angeles. “HSI will continue to work closely with its law enforcement partners here in the U.S. and around the world to hold these dangerous sexual predators accountable for their actions. There can be no place for the abuse of foreign children by our citizens.”
“Defendant Ornelas took advantage of impoverished children in a foreign country, away from the scrutiny of the United States, where his past involved abusing children,” said Deirdre Fike, the assistant director in charge of the FBI's Los Angeles Field Office. “His young victims demonstrated tremendous bravery by traveling to a foreign country to testify about the crimes perpetrated against them, and we owe them a debt of gratitude for assisting the government in putting Ornelas away for the rest of his life.”
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sandy N. Leal and Anne C. Gannon of the Santa Ana Branch Office.