LACP - NEWS of the Week
on some LACP issues of interest
NEWS of the Week
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following group of articles is but a small percentage of the info available to the community policing and neighborhood activist. It is by no means meant to cover every possible issue of interest, nor is it meant to convey any particular point of view. We present this simply as a convenience to our readership.
MJ Goyings
Many thanks to our very own "MJ" Goyings, a resident of Ohio, for her daily research that provides us with the news related material that appears on the LACP & NAASCA web sites.


March, 2017 - Week 5



St Petersburg metro explosions kill ten - media

by the BBC

The Tass and Interfax agencies reported the blasts hit the Sennaya Ploschad and nearby Tekhnologichesky Institut stations in the centre of the city.

Images posted on social media showed a carriage in Sennaya station with its doors blown out with casualties nearby.

President Vladimir Putin, who is in the city, said all causes, including terrorism, were being investigated.

Interfax reported that at least 20 people had been injured, and that one of the blasts involved a device filled with shrapnel.

Tekhnologichesky Institut serves metro lines one and two, with the first hall opening in 1955, followed by the second in 1961.

Sennaya Ploschad - the next station along metro line two - opened two years later, in 1963.



Officer Betty Shelby breaks silence on Terence Crutcher shooting

Was the fatal shooting of Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man, a wrongful death -- influenced by race -- or the outcome of Crutcher's actions? Bill Whitaker reports

by Bill Whitaker

(Video on site)

The following is a script from “Shots Fired,” which aired on April 2, 2017. Bill Whitaker is the correspondent. Marc Lieberman and Michael Kaplan, producers.

Last September in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a brief encounter between a black man, Terence Crutcher, and a white police officer, Betty Shelby, ended with Terence Crutcher's death. He was shot by Officer Shelby who goes on trial in May for manslaughter. She faces four years to life in prison. The shooting was caught on videotape and inflamed the debate about race and policing that's been roiling the nation since Ferguson. It's very likely you have seen video of similar police shootings before. But it's very rare to hear from the officer who pulled the trigger before a jury does.

Tonight, Betty Shelby tells us why she shot and killed an unarmed black man and why she says almost any police officer in her situation would have done the same.

Bill Whitaker: You remember pulling the trigger?

Betty Shelby: I do. It's like slow motion of me bringing my gun up, my finger coming in and then letting off. And he stopped and then he just slowly fell to the ground.

The shooting took place at dusk on this two-lane road in North Tulsa, in a predominantly African-American area. Police cameras captured the climax of the encounter between 42-year-old police officer Betty Shelby and 40-year-old Terence Crutcher. That's Crutcher in the white shirt, walking with his hands up. Shelby, a 10-year veteran of law enforcement, is right behind him with her gun drawn. Just two minutes after they came face-to-face on this road, Shelby fired her gun.

It's hard to see the actual shot on videotape but, from the chopper, you can see Crutcher fall to the ground from the shot to his side.

Betty Shelby: Shots fired!

Police dispatch: Adam 331 we have shots fired, we have one suspect down.

Bill Whitaker: So tell me what I'm not seeing in the video. Up until the time of the shooting, it does appear that he's got his hands in the air?

Betty Shelby: He does have his hands in the air.

But Shelby says the video doesn't tell the whole story. It all started 10 minutes earlier. She was on her way to a domestic-violence call when she says she saw a man she later would learn was Terence Crutcher standing in the road. She noticed his size, about 6 feet, 240 pounds, and his demeanor.

Betty Shelby: His hands are just dropped beside him. His chin is resting on his chest. And he's standing there motionless. And I thought, “Hmmm. I wonder if he's on PCP.”

Bill Whitaker: Why did that cross your mind first?

Betty Shelby: Because it was an odd behavior. Zombie-like, I-- I-- it's the best I can-

Bill Whitaker: Zombie-like?

Betty Shelby: Zombie-like.

Bill Whitaker: Did you consider him a threat at that time?

Betty Shelby: No. Not at that time.

So Shelby drove past him and continued on to her call.

About 500 feet beyond where she first saw Crutcher, she came upon an abandoned SUV here in the middle of the road. She didn't activate her dashboard camera because she thought this was just a broken-down vehicle. But when she got out of her patrol car, she noticed the motor of the SUV was running.

Betty Shelby: I work in a high-crime area where every day, we get calls of shots fired. I don't think this is just an abandoned vehicle. So I walk on up to the driver's side. I glance in. I don't see anyone. And I notice the windows are down.

Bill Whitaker: Did you see any weapons?

Betty Shelby: I wasn't looking for any. I was glancing to see if there was someone hurt.

Then she says she noticed the man she had seen just moments before walking toward her and the abandoned vehicle.

Betty Shelby: And I say, “Hey, man, is this your vehicle?” And he mumbles something. And I can't understand him. And he starts putting his hands in his pocket. I say, “Hey, man, take your hands outta your pockets. I'm trying to find out is this your vehicle?” And when I tell him to take his hands out of his pockets, he just immediately puts ‘em in the air.

Bill Whitaker: So what's going through your mind?

Betty Shelby: Well, what's goin' through my mind is what I've experienced before. I've encountered people putting their hands in their pockets, and I find a loaded gun in their pocket.

None of the early encounter was recorded on video but Shelby says her training taught her that people on PCP could turn violent and she says Crutcher kept reaching into his pocket.

Betty Shelby: That's when I get on the radio and say I've got a subject that's not showing me his hands. And it was at that point that I drew my weapon in a ready position. It would just be a motion like this if you need to.

Bill Whitaker: Was he being belligerent?

Betty Shelby: No.

Bill Whitaker: Was he showing any aggression?

Betty Shelby: No.

Bill Whitaker: Is it possible that you saw him as more dangerous because he was a large black man?

Betty Shelby: No. What I based everything on was his actions, his behaviors. Race had nothing to do with my decision making.

Shelby says Crutcher kept ignoring her commands, kept walking toward the SUV even though she had drawn her gun, and had ordered him to get on his knees.

Betty Shelby: And he's not doing it. I'm hollering at him, “Stop. Stop now. And he has now put his hands back up in the air. And he's looking at his vehicle, back at me.”

Bill Whitaker: And you're thinking?

Betty Shelby: I'm thinking he's calculating how he can get to his vehicle to get whatever weapon it is that he's going to get because he didn't find it in his pocket.

Tyler Turnbough: I was literally a quarter mile away, so I got in the car and drove to the scene quickly.

Officer Tyler Turnbough responded to Officer Shelby's radio call. His siren was on so his dashboard camera was running. The ground-level video of the shooting was recorded from his car.

Bill Whitaker: So what'd you see when you got there?

Tyler Turnbough: The first thing I saw when I got there was Mr. Crutcher walking away with his hands up, Betty has him at gunpoint, and I got out of the car and I can hear her giving him commands. “Stop. Get on the ground. Don't go back to your car.”

Natsound: Alright Betty Jo, where you at?

At the same time, a police helicopter swooped in with two officers on board: A pilot and a spotter who, that day, happened to be Officer Betty Shelby's husband.

Natsound: He's got his hands up there for her now.

David Shelby says he could see his wife had a weapon drawn. The pilot saw something else .

Natsound: That looks like a bad dude too.

Bill Whitaker: Did you think he looked like a “bad dude”?

David Shelby: What I-- what I saw was, an individual that was being noncompliant and apparently and obviously refusing to obey the commands of the officer.

As Officer Turnbough ran to assist, he saw that Betty Shelby had drawn her gun. So he grabbed his Taser.

Tyler Turnbough: If the roles had been reversed and she had her Taser out, then I would've had my gun out.

Bill Whitaker: Did you assess the situation as being dangerous?

Tyler Turnbough: Yes. It made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. I don't know what this guy's doing. Why is he-- why is he walking away from her? What are his intentions? Why doesn't he just stop?

Bill Whitaker: So, we see his arms are up and you're behind him?

Betty Shelby: Yes.

We asked Betty Shelby to look at the video and show us what she saw before the fatal shot.

Betty Shelby: I'm feeling that his intent is to do me harm and I keep thinking, “Don't do this. Please don't do this. Don't make this happen.” And then right there he's looking back at me. That's what we call “targeting.” So he's getting my position, my last-known location to retrieve and then shoot.

Bill Whitaker: You think he's sizing up the situation to see where you are, how close, if he were to grab a weapon, he would know exactly where to turn to shoot? That's what you're thinking?

Betty Shelby: That-- yes.

It's unclear what happened in the final moments of Crutcher's life. Officers Shelby and Turnbough were in front of the dashboard camera and the helicopter was too far away. But Betty Shelby says, what's hard to see on the video tape, is what she saw. She says Crutcher dropped his arms and reached into the car.

Betty Shelby: His shoulders drop, his arm drops, and he's reaching in. And it's fast. Just that would tell any officer that that man's going for a weapon.

Bill Whitaker: You see this on the video?

Betty Shelby: Yes.

Bill Whitaker: That's what you say is Mr. Crutcher reaching into the car?

Betty Shelby: Yes. I say with a louder, more intense voice, “Stop. Stop! Stop!” and he didn't. And that's when I took aim.

Natsound: Betty Shelby: Shots Fired!

Tiffany Crutcher: I don't know what Officer Shelby was thinking when she pulled that trigger.

Tiffany Crutcher is Terence Crutcher's twin sister. She says the tape shows her brother was not being aggressive, not being threatening.

Bill Whitaker: There is a frame that seems to show that his hands were lowered. And that's what she says alarmed her and made her fear for her life.

Tiffany Crutcher: Of course, she's saying everything that she's supposed to say to defend herself. What we saw on that video is what my dad always taught us to do if we were pulled over by a police officer. Put your hands in the air and put your hands on the car. And my brother did what my father taught us.

Bill Whitaker: Was this a case of “Hands up, don't shoot”?

Tiffany Crutcher: Absolutely. It absolutely was.

But Officer Shelby says it was a case of a noncompliant subject who she perceived was threatening her life. That's why she says she pulled the trigger. Officer Turnbough says he saw the same threat and fired his Taser at the same moment. It was the first time Betty Shelby had discharged her gun in the line of duty.

Bill Whitaker: If things had worked out differently, he would go before a judge, have his day in court.

Betty Shelby: Yes.

Bill Whitaker: But as it turns out, you're judge, jury, and executioner on the spot.

Betty Shelby: No. I saw a threat and I used the force I felt necessary to stop a threat.

Bill Whitaker: Do you think, “I could shoot him in the leg, I could shoot him in the foot”? Is there nothing else you could've done?

Betty Shelby: No. And I'm not trained to shoot someone in the foot. We don't train to be cowboys and to be like what they show on the movies.

Terence Crutcher lay bleeding in the street for about two minutes before officers moved in to check him for weapons and administer first aid. He was pronounced dead at the hospital. A vial of PCP was found in the driver's side-door pocket. But police found no weapons on his body or in his car.

Bill Whitaker: Do you have any regrets about this?

Betty Shelby: I have sorrow that this happened that this man lost his life but he caused the situation to occur. So in the end, he caused his own.

Bill Whitaker: He caused his death?

Betty Shelby: Yes.

Bill Whitaker: Officer Shelby says that your brother's actions caused his own death. What do you say to that?

Tiffany Crutcher: My brother's dead because she didn't pause. And because she didn't pause, my family, we've had to pause. We've had to stop. We've had to lay down every single night with tears in our eyes. There was absolutely no justification whatsoever, with all the backup, for Officer Shelby to pull that trigger. No justification whatsoever.

Betty Shelby: If I wait to find out if he had a gun or not, I could very well be dead. There's something that we always say. “I'd rather be tried by 12 than carried by six.”

Bill Whitaker: But as it turned out, he did not have a gun.

Betty Shelby: No, he did not.

Bill Whitaker: And because of your action, a man is dead.

Betty Shelby: Yes.

Bill Whitaker: How do you come to terms with that?

Betty Shelby: It's very difficult.

Bill Whitaker: Still?

Betty Shelby: Yes. I never wanted to be in that spot. His actions dictated my actions.

Bill Whitaker: You can take your time.

Betty Shelby: I never wanted to kill anyone.

Betty Shelby says she acted out of fear for her life. But many in Tulsa's black community say her fears were unfounded and influenced by race. That part of the story when we come back.

After Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby shot and killed Terence Crutcher on a two-lane road last September, video of the incident ricocheted around the country. It's unsettling and, at the moment the shot is fired, it's unclear. Where some may see a threatening and noncompliant subject, others may see a nonaggressive man shot with his hands up. How 12 jurors see it when the trial begins in May will determine Betty Shelby's fate. Black Tulsans tell us they'll be watching. It's a tale they say they have seen too many times before.

Bill Whitaker: There are people in black communities all across the United States who think that white officers overreact when it comes to dealing with black men in general, and they view this through that lens. What do you say to those folks?

Betty Shelby: My incident is not a racist incident. I am not racist. Race had no factor in what happened.

Ray Owens: Race had everything to do with her pulling the trigger that day.

Ray Owens has been pastor of Metropolitan Baptist Church -- Tulsa's largest predominantly black congregation -- for 11 years. Pastor Owens saw police bias in the video and heard it in the words of the pilot.

Pilot: That looks like a bad dude, too.

Ray Owens: I think the statement represents the same bias against African-American males that caused Betty Shelby to pull the trigger.

Bill Whitaker: What do you mean?

Ray Owens: Betty Shelby very likely viewed Terence Crutcher as a “bad dude.” Is she a racist? Does she, you know, have some ill will toward black people? I doubt it. But if she is like so many people in our nation, she assumes too quickly that a black male, especially out on the streets at night, is a threat and not a citizen. Is a suspect and not—a decent human being.

Bill Whitaker: You don't think a white citizen of Tulsa would have been treated the same way?

Ray Owens: I don't think that a young white male would be dead today.

These are the final moments of Terence Crutcher's life. You can see him here, walking. His hands are up. Officer Shelby says she thought he was walking back to his car to retrieve a gun. When he got to the driver's side window, she says he reached in and she fired. It turned out Crutcher did not have a weapon.

Tiffany Crutcher: Nobody went to check on him. He laid there. They let him lay there like an animal.

Terence Crutcher's twin sister, Tiffany, says her brother's death fits a tragic narrative of police shooting unarmed black men.

Tiffany Crutcher: I saw Trayvon Martin. I saw Mike Brown. I saw Philando Castile. You know, I saw Tamir Rice. But never in a thousand years would my family, would we have thought that we would be on their side of it. And my brother now, according to social media, is another hashtag.

Bill Whitaker: Who was he?

Tiffany Crutcher: He would be deemed in our household the gentle giant. Terence was laid back, calm, cool. Gospel music was his love.

His family says Terence was a devoted father of four young children, but they admit he struggled with drug use. He spent four years in prison for selling five grams of crack cocaine. Officer Shelby didn't know any of this when she encountered him on that road, but she says she did suspect he was on drugs. His autopsy showed he had PCP in his system.

Tiffany Crutcher: Maybe he needed some help. Yes, he needed some help. But he ended up with a fatal gunshot wound to the chest. I've had people tweet and say, “Your brother deserved to die. Your brother, you know, is a thug. Your brother should've complied or he would still be alive.” You know, “Why didn't he do what the officer asked him to do?”

Bill Whitaker: What do you say to that question that he should've complied?

Tiffany Crutcher: You know, why did she want him to comply? I'm-- I-- I'm still curious. What crime was he committing? Why were you on the scene?

Bill Whitaker: She noticed a car in the middle of the road.

Tiffany Crutcher: So she wasn't called to the scene because Terence was committing a crime, she just noticed a car in the middle of the road, and the outcome was my brother was murdered. Wow.

Tulsa leaders feared many citizens would have the same reaction. Dewey Bartlett was mayor at the time. He remembers the call he got from Police Chief Chuck Jordan.

Dewey Bartlett: He said that there was a shooting and it could've been one of those situations where they had their hands in the air.

Bill Whitaker: This is the police chief talking to you shortly after getting to the scene?

Dewey Bartlett: Yes. At that point I went, “Oh boy, this is not good.”

Bill Whitaker: Were you concerned that this might trigger civil unrest?

Dewey Bartlett: Oh sure, sure. Because we'd seen it before several times, when this type of-- of event happens, when it's captured on video.

Four days after the Crutcher shooting…

Natsound: He's not going to do anything to you guys.

Police in Charlotte shot a black man. That city erupted.

Igniting fears in Tulsa that this same thing could happen. So, the mayor and police chief called Pastor Owens and other religious and community leaders together to show them the video and to help brace the city for the storm they feared was coming.

Bill Whitaker: What was the mood in the room? What was the reaction to the video--

Dewey Bartlett: When it showed the gentleman shot and falling down there was an audible.

Bill Whitaker: A gasp.

Dewey Bartlett: Absolutely. It was. It was very difficult to watch.

Ray Owens: The gasp actually filled the room. We couldn't believe it.

Bill Whitaker: Was your reaction the general reaction of the people in the room?

Ray Owens: Oh, very much so. We were all really angry.

The video added to already tense relations between Tulsa police and the black community.

Natsound: Hands up! Don't shoot!

Ray Owens: There's a strong current of an us or them mentality.

Bill Whitaker: Really?

Ray Owens: I do hear that, especially from young men, African-American men, who will still tell me, “I'm afraid when a police officer-- comes up behind me or drives-- behind me.” That's a problem.

A long-standing problem in Tulsa. In 1921, this city saw the worst racial violence in American history. It started when an armed white mob gathered to lynch a black man accused of assaulting a white woman. As many as 300 black Tulsans were killed, and an estimated 10,000 left homeless. Time has not healed all wounds. The mayor told us he thought the best response to the Crutcher shooting was complete transparency. The police chief rushed to release the video to the public. He also released Betty Shelby's name.

Chief Chuck Jordan: I want to assure our community and I want to assure all of you, and people across the nation who are going to be looking at this, we will achieve justice. Period.

And they asked black pastors to appeal for peace.

Rodney Goss: I think I reserve the right to be angry and upset at being a black man in an untimely time as this.

More than 1,000 people of all races came to a vigil at Metropolitan Baptist Church.

Ray Owens: It was our attempt to give people a place to say, “I'm mad. I'm hurting. I'm tired of this. No more.” And that was the same sentiment that I think was in the minds and hearts of the people who were breaking glass windows in Charlotte. They were saying, “I'm mad.”

In Tulsa, there were no broken windows – no violence at all. Six days after the shooting, District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler filed charges against Betty Shelby. He accused her of overreacting when she shot Terence Crutcher. But the charges were filed before the police investigation of the shooting was complete.

Natsound: I've never been so scared.

The lead detective told us he would have found Shelby's actions justified. Shelby was placed on unpaid leave. When her name was made public, she says she felt as if the whole town had turned on her.

Natsound: And we're telling them to fire Betty! Fire Betty! Fire Betty!

Officer Shelby believes she was sacrificed to keep the peace in Tulsa.

Betty Shelby: My situation was no different than-- I don't know whether I should say this-- than a lynch mob coming after me. And I had those very threats. So much that--

Bill Whitaker: You've been threatened?

Betty Shelby: Yes.

Bill Whitaker: Death threats?

Betty Shelby: Yes. I had to leave my home. I had to grab up my family, and leave, and go to a safe place.

Betty Shelby told us she became a police officer to help people and she wants to get back to the job she loves.

Natsound: You gonna go after some bad guys?

While she awaits trial, she finds comfort playing with her grandson. She faces four years to life for the killing of Terence Crutcher. Betty Shelby's husband, Officer David Shelby, recorded the video from the air.

Natsound: Shots Fired!

However you perceive this video, it's an American tragedy.

David Shelby: To some extent, I think, well, there were two victims that day. I think Terence Crutcher and Betty Shelby.

Bill Whitaker: And Betty's a victim of what?

David Shelby: The social and political climate in our country right now, it's almost like there is a war on police. And I think that that's what's happened to Betty.

Tiffany Crutcher: We need our men and women in blue. But at the end of the day, they're not warriors. They're supposed to be our guardians.

Bill Whitaker: She believes there was a rush to judgment?

Tiffany Crutcher: The video showed everything. It doesn't have a political affiliation, it's not red, it's not blue. It's not black, it's not white. It is what it is. And what we saw was my brother with his hands up. And he was Tased and shot simultaneously.

Bill Whitaker: Officer Shelby was charged with manslaughter. Are you satisfied with those charges?

Tiffany Crutcher: I am. I don't believe she woke up that morning and said, “I'm gonna go and kill Terence Crutcher.” I believe that she choked and she pulled the trigger and she killed him.

Bill Whitaker: Overreacted?

Tiffany Crutcher: Absolutely.

Bill Whitaker: Was Terence Crutcher's an avoidable death?

Betty Shelby: Yes.

Bill Whitaker: Did this have to play out the way it did?

Betty Shelby: No.

Bill Whitaker: What would've changed things?

Betty Shelby: If he would've complied. If he would have communicated with me, if he would've just done as I asked him to do we would not be here. You and I would never have met and no one would ever know my name.



Lawmakers push bill to keep many 911 calls secret in Iowa

The bill would declare that audio, video and transcripts of 911 calls involving injured victims of crimes or accidents are confidential and exempt from open records laws

by Ryan J. Foley and Barbara Rodriguez

DES MOINES, Iowa — A bill moving swiftly through the Iowa Legislature would eliminate the public's right to access 911 calls involving emergencies in which people are injured, sealing off key information about authorities' first response to shootings and other incidents.

The bill would declare that audio, video and transcripts of 911 calls involving injured victims of crimes or accidents are confidential medical records and exempt from the Iowa open records law. In addition, any calls involving juveniles under the age of 18 would automatically be confidential.

The House passed the measure unanimously this month, and a Senate committee passed it Thursday with some Democratic opposition. A final vote could happen as early as next week.

Rep. Dean Fisher, a Montour Republican, said it was crafted in response to last year's release to The Associated Press of 911 calls that helped expose an unusual string of gun mishaps in Tama County. Two teenage girls were unintentionally shot and killed and a third teen and her mother were injured in a one-year span in the county of only 20,000 residents.

The calls revealed that one father had accidentally shot and killed his daughter — a fact that the police had never made public. The audio of another call showed that a fast emergency response by authorities helped save the life of an injured 14-year-old girl who was accidentally shot by her brother.

County officials said they were at a loss on how to improve gun safety after what they called an unprecedented string of tragedies, which didn't result in criminal charges against anyone. Instead, at least one county official pushed to limit information about such cases going forward statewide.

Emergency management coordinator Mindy Benson, who had released the calls in response to the AP's open records request, complained to Fisher that she felt the release invaded the privacy of the families and sought a change in the law, Fisher said on the House floor.

"These grieving families simply wanted their privacy," he said.

Two of the three families affected, however, had agreed to speak to AP in the hopes of raising awareness about gun safety.

Randy Evans, director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council, said the Tama County cases are "spot-on" to show why such information is in the public interest. He said he can understand why lawmakers are concerned about medical privacy but it appears they haven't considered the "unintended consequences" of closing off access to 911 recordings involving injuries.

"This bill would hamper the public's efforts to hold government officials or private citizens accountable for their actions," he said.

Fisher said Thursday that privacy should outweigh the public's right to know and that 911 calls should be treated with the same confidentiality as patients' medical records. He noted that doctors can't publicly discuss medical conditions, asking: "Just because it's a 911 call, why is that different?"

Fisher noted that public records custodians could choose which, if any, of the calls to release at their discretion under the open records law — a power they rarely use. The bill also would allow parents to obtain 911 calls involving their children.

Although members of both parties praised the bill's confidentiality provisions regarding minors, the measure also would block the public's ability to assess how law enforcement officials respond to emergencies involving children.

Fayette County recently released 911 calls related to the death of a 4-year-old boy who shot himself last summer in Elgin. The calls revealed that it took many minutes for an ambulance to arrive — a delay that Sheriff Marty Fisher acknowledged was caused by the closure of a key road that added five miles to its route.

Margaret Johnson, interim executive director of the Iowa Public Information Board, which is responsible for interpreting the open records law, said the board hasn't taken a position. She said her biggest concern is ensuring that any new exemption is "real clear" so it can be easily carried out.



Kan. boy who patrols neighborhood gets K-9 partner

K-9 Ruby patiently rides behind Officer Oliver on his motorcycle as they "police" the neighborhood

by Lisa Gutierrex

(Video on site)

LEAWOOD, Kan. — People around the world are falling in love with 5-year-old Oliver Davis all over again because the little boy who wants to be a policeman has a new partner.

Her name is Ruby, a soft-haired Wheaton terrier who recently joined the Davis household in Overland Park.

Oliver calls the 5-month-old puppy his “police dog.”

Oliver became a viral star last year when his mom, Brandi Davis, began chronicling her son's visits to local nursing homes — dressed in full kid-police regalia — on Facebook. The Kansas City Star caught up with Oliver in November.

His popularity brought a call from “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” right before Christmas. They interviewed Oliver via Skype.

“They said he did really well,” his mom said. “It was a really long time for him to sit, like an hour.”

Over the holidays Oliver's friends in the Leawood Police Department gave him police-themed gifts, including official stickers for his kiddie motorcycle “so he could be just like them,” Brandi Davis said.

Soon after, Oliver got to meet the mayor of Leawood when he was honored during a banquet. He rode his little motorcycle to the stage.

A few weeks ago, the family's dog, a 15-year-old Yorkie named Lilly, died of kidney cancer. Because Oliver and his two older sisters had never had a puppy, their parents bought one.

Within the first week of Ruby's arrival, Oliver announced: “This is my police dog.”

So his mom hit the internet again to search for a police costume for Ruby, then signed her up for obedience classes.

Oliver thinks of it as a police academy. “He thinks she's his little partner,” Davis said.

Together they “police” the neighborhood, Ruby patiently riding behind Oliver on his motorcycle.

“She is very crazy and so is he,” Davis says with a laugh. “That's why I think they get along. She is constantly going, so he walks her. We take constant walks to wear her out.”

Last month Davis posted a video of the new partnership on her Facebook page that caught national attention once again.

Inside Edition featured the budding partnership. Recently, The Dodo, a website for stories and videos about animals, posted a video about Oliver and Ruby. Media inquiries from around the world began flooding Davis' email box.

“Someone wrote to me, ‘Oh he's all over England. I love it,'” she said.

Never once has Oliver faltered in his admiration for police.

As evidence, take what happened two weeks ago.

Davis saw a small fire burning in a neighbor's backyard and called 911.

After firefighters put out the fire they gave Oliver — on the scene in his ever-present blue police uniform — a ride in the firetruck and let him help roll up the hoses.

Did we change your mind, they asked him? Do you want to be a fireman?

“No,” said Oliver. “I still think policemen are cooler.”



Some Compare New TSA Pat-Down Techniques to 'Legal Groping'

by Christopher Elliott

When Barbara Leary went through the full-body scanner at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport recently, her hip replacements set off the alarm. She was directed to another line, where she underwent a physical search by a Transportation Security Administration agent.

“She went over every part of my body,” says Leary, a retired librarian from Westford, Mass. “It took more than five minutes. Not fun.”

On March 2, the TSA quietly introduced a new pat-down procedure that consolidates the agency's five protocols for passenger searches into one standardized method. Now that it's been in use for several weeks, passengers like Leary are coming forward with accounts of being frisked, and some of them are troubling.

“This standardized pat-down procedure continues to utilize enhanced security measures implemented several months ago, and does not involve any different areas of the body than were screened in the previous standard pat-down procedure,” says Mike England, a TSA spokesman. (The agency does not comment on the specifics of any passenger's individual screening experience.)

So what, exactly, is the TSA doing differently? It's difficult to quantify, and security concerns prevent the agency from providing specifics. The number of air travelers who receive pat-downs is fairly low. Only those who have opted out of using full-body scanners or whose belongings have set off the X-ray machine are required to undergo the pat-downs. Travelers may also be frisked at random, as part of the agency's “unpredictable” security measures.

TSA agents receive formal training for pat-downs. To conduct a search at an airport, agents must demonstrate proficiency in performing the procedure. Yet for all the talk of uniformity, the pat-downs can vary widely, according to people who have been subjected to them at security screening areas.

Melissa Hibbert-Brumfield, a makeup artist from Los Angeles, recently flew from Los Angeles International Airport to Atlanta. In the screening area, Hibbert-Brumfield says, the scanner detected an anomaly in her carry-on bag and asked her to step aside for a more thorough search.

After rummaging through her bag and finding nothing, a female agent told her she had to conduct a “higher level” pat-down. “She told me that she would be using the back of her hand in certain areas of my body,” Hibbert-Brumfield says.

Even so, the pat-down was far more invasive than Hibbert-Brumfield expected. “It felt like legal groping,” she says. “I was furious.”

Carolyn Paddock also recently received a pat-down when she flew from New York to Atlanta, and reports a far different experience. Paddock always opts out of the full-body scanner, so she's used to receiving the pat-downs.

“The agent performed the new pat-down very professionally, proficiently and communicated everything that she was going to do in advance,” says Paddock, an executive coach based in New York. “My experience was better than usual.”

The new pat-down was developed in response to a Department of Homeland Security Office Inspector General assessment conducted last year, which found widespread failures in the TSA's technology, procedures and agent performance. In response, the TSA pledged to improve its manual screening protocol, among other measures.

Before the pat-downs were standardized, agents used risk-based assessment to determine what type to use, according to Andrew Nicholson, a regional security director for International SOS, a medical and travel security services company. “The universal pat-down procedure is reportedly more comprehensive than previous screening tactics that varied in invasiveness,” Nicholson says.

There's no certain way of avoiding pat-downs when you fly domestically. Even air travelers with pre-check status, the agency's “trusted” travelers, may be subject to a frisk. But having a pre-check designation on your boarding pass, or being willing to pass through the full-body scanner, will lessen your chances.

Like Paddock, I always opt out of the scanners, so I'm forced to undergo pat-downs. But on a recent flight from New York to Orlando, a TSA agent also flagged my 14-year-old son, Aren, for a physical search.

His pat-down was much more comprehensive than ones I've received in the past, with the agent swiping his hands up and down Aren's legs and arms. It was also considerably more forceful. At one point, the agent's leg technique pushed my son backward so hard that he nearly lost his balance.

At the end of the luggage carousel, a group of women watched in dismay as my son was examined from head to toe. He never flinched, but after we cleared security, he asked, “Dad, did they really have to do that?”



Cops about town: Dothan Chief emphasizes community policing

by Lance Griffin

Dr. Jeff Gwynne strolls around the makeshift classroom in the bottom floor of the Dothan Police Department. He grasps his powerpoint remote control while surveying the 12-15 officers sitting at long tables around the room.

He leans on one of the tables, pauses, then tries to begin a two-month conversation.

“Who are you?” Gwynne asked, not expecting to get a response from the most rhetorical of all questions.

“Really, who are you?” he asked again. “This is essential to being a good police officer. If you don't know who you are then you will never really know who other people are and if you don't know who they are, how can you do what you are supposed to do?”

Still, no response. Gwynne urged the officers to grab some paper and take notes.

Gwynne served as a Dothan police officer in the early 1960s before moving north to Chicago, where he served as a beat cop during some of the most tumultuous times in the city's history.

“I knew the people and they knew me,” said Gwynne, whose Chicago accent has softened some after retiring and coming back to Dothan. “We talked to each other. Then, we decided to put officers in cars and have them drive around because we thought it would be quicker and we segregated the police from the community.”

Gwynne's point is simple: We have lost the ability to talk to each other. If that premise is true, then the community has lost the ability to talk to the police and vice versa. If that is true, then policing has devolved from preventing crime and protecting communities to simply locking up criminals when they break the law.

Talking, Gwynne said, is integral to good policing.

That means having uncomfortable conversations.

Gwynne dropped this statement during the middle of the first class:

“Is there racial bias in the community? If you believe racial bias exists in the community, then guess what? Then there is racial bias in the police department, because you are part of the community.

“We have to have the intestinal fortitude to stand up and ask questions and have the tough conversations,” Gwynne said.

What followed was eight weeks of frank exchanges between officers of different races, socioeconomic backgrounds, tastes and preferences.

Gwynne and Dothan Police Sgt. Scott Owens taught the eight-week class designed to further the Dothan Police Department's Community Policing initiative. Officers met each Thursday from 11 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. The most recent class dealt specifically with understanding different cultures within the community. The Dothan Eagle was present for most of the classes.

Gwynne teaches leadership classes to police departments throughout south Alabama as part of the Alabama Law Enforcement Command and Staff College, a collaborative partnership with Auburn University-Montgomery, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and various police departments in the state. The City of Dothan joined the partnership last year and contributed $30,000 to the effort.

Dothan's Community Policing initiative has been pushed by Chief Steve Parrish. Over the past few years, the department has participated in a handful of initiatives designed to enhance the department's availability to the community, including its partnership with Dothan City Schools to develop the Police Officer Training Corps, which exposes high school juniors and seniors to police career opportunities and follows up after graduation through the city's Hire Dothan initiative.

Other activities such as the annual National Night Out and regular “Coffee With a Cop” events throughout the city are designed to promote community interaction.

Parrish, however, said the department's image within the community is influenced most by one-on-one, day-to-day interaction with residents.

“You don't build upon trust that's already there and you don't have a better respect in the community without proving your intentions are good. You have to work at that and it has to be worked from both sides,” Parrish said.

What is community policing?

There are many definitions of community policing. It is essentially encouraging the department and its officers to develop relationships with residents within the community they police, both on a micro and macro level. It is popping into a local business and asking the owner if he or she has had any issues at the business lately, or has noticed any suspicious activity nearby. It is walking up to the single mom hanging clothes or taking the garbage out at a government housing complex and having a normal conversation. It is a myriad of different ways police can leave a positive impression on residents so that those residents are inclined to contact the officer when they believe a crime has occurred or is occurring.

“We have to have the trust of the community,” Owens said during a recent class.

It isn't meant to solve social ills. Community policing won't solve unemployment or broken families, but advocates believe it will make an officer's job easier and communities safer.

Why now?

Parrish said developing a positive interaction with the community has never been more important.

Parrish said policing has been shaped by three seminal moments during his 33-year career. The first was March 3, 1991, when video of Los Angeles police officers beating motorist Rodney King was made public.

“The idea of community policing was around then,” Parrish said. “But, it was just a side note.”

The second date was Sept. 11, 2001, which Parrish said changed the focus from a war on drugs to a war on terrorism.

The third date was Aug. 9, 2014, when a police-involved shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, resulted in the death of a local resident, sparking riots and leading police departments everywhere to examine its relationship – or lack thereof – with the community it serves.

“That day and the reaction to the circumstances redefined what law enforcement had to do in regard to community policing,” Parrish said. “Regardless of what your opinion would be of the events that transpired in Ferguson and in the aftermath, suffice to say it brought law enforcement into a negative light throughout the country.

“The question then becomes, what are you going to do about it?”

Obstacles to effective community policing

Things taught in a classroom do not always translate to the real world. This may be especially true for police officers.

The idea of a police officer strolling through the community, having friendly chit-chat with residents throughout the day and gathering important intelligence sounds great in the sterile atmosphere of a classroom. How can it be effectively practiced when officers spend entire shifts responding to one call after another? How can an officer take enough time to have genuine interaction when a mountain of paperwork has to be done? How can you leave positive impressions with people when you are responsible for putting their family members in jail? How can you be in the right frame of mind to make positive impressions when you've worked back-to-back horrific calls and know you won't even be able to hug your daughter when you get home until you've taken a shower?

Owens said many obstacles will always be there for police officers.

“We are not talking about walking a beat one day and all of a sudden, everything is perfect,” Owens said. “All we are trying to do is just take the opportunities we have to make a positive impression. We don't need to fear being a change agent when it comes to improving relations in the community, whether that crosses cultural or racial boundaries.”

Gwynne told the class a story about how policing was done when he was a child in the 1940s. One day Gwynne tried to sneak his friends into the movies without paying by holding the door open to a rear entrance that led to a back alley. He was caught red-handed by a Chicago police officer, who decided to mete out justice with a whack across the backside and a stern lecture.

That led to cackles from the officers who tried to predict how quickly a lawsuit would be filed if it happened today.

“It is a different time, this I know,” Gwynne said.

Obstacles to effective community policing can exist when the department doesn't accurately reflect the racial makeup of the community. Dothan has a black population of around 30 percent. Only about 10 percent of the department's sworn officers are black.

Parrish said the department aggressively seeks minority candidates, but few make the final cut.

During one police recruitment period between Nov. 2 and Nov. 30, 2015, 117 people applied. Ten did not meet initial minimum requirements; 28 did not provide a copy of their high school diploma by the designated deadline; and 62 did not show up or pass the required physical fitness test. That left 17 qualified applicants: 11 white males, four white females, one black male and one Hispanic male.

A second recruitment period between July 1 and July 31, 2016, yielded similar results. Of the 143 applicants, 14 did not meet minimum requirements; 37 did not provide a high school diploma; 52 did not schedule the required physical fitness test; 10 did not pass the physical fitness test. That left 30 qualified applicants: 22 white males, one white female, six black males and one black female.

Improving the image

Generally, the officers in the leadership class believe the Dothan Police Department does things the right way and that the image of the department has been affected by inflated publicity of fake news.

They don't claim everyone always hits the right note. They acknowledge bad apples will always exist, but angrily reject any notion the whole barrel is contaminated. It is offensive to many officers who put themselves in harm's way on a daily basis to be accused of being part of a conspiracy to harm the members they protect. They believe inaccurate media reports make their job much more difficult than it has to be.

On one hand, they want people to know about the time they changed a woman's tire in the rain or the time they stopped a mom who owed hundreds of dollars in fines, only to let her go after deciding she had just enough money to keep her children fed. They want people to know about the numerous times they saved children from harm by wading into dangerous domestic situations. They want people to know about the time they got a man to his sick relative in time to say his goodbyes before the relative died.

On the other hand, they believe the police "attaboys" will only serve to increase the volume of those who believe they have been victimized by police.

Gwynne said the spotlight on police has never been brighter.

“You can all do it right,” Gwynne told the class. “You only need one moron.”

A community survey is underway to gauge residents' attitudes toward police. Parrish plans to use it as a tool to help guide community policing initiatives.

“We know we will have setbacks. We don't think we will ever reach a point to where we think we have arrived in this area. This is something, I hope, that will always be a priority,” Parrish said.



Vinton Police Department releases survey to assess policing efforts


VINTON (WSLS 10) Vinton Police Department is looking for feedback from the town.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe recently awarded the department the “Policing In the 21st Century,” Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG). The grant will be used to promote outreach and education, community engagement and crime prevention, including community policing.

“As the department beings its grant funded community policing initiatives, it is important to establish a baseline of community satisfaction for the services we provide,” said Chief Tom Foster. “Additionally, it is extremely important that we understand what community issues are most important to our citizens and visitors, and not just look at ‘call for service' data when making our assessments.”

The survey is designed by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. It looks at the department's level of community involvement, community safety, perception of procedural justice, overall performance and the level of contact and satisfaction.

The survey is available through June 1, 2017 and a second survey to look at summer policing is scheduled for late October 2017.

The survey is anonymous. To access the survey click here.


South Carolina

SC first responders could get certified to take a gun on campus

Lawmakers said first responders should be able to defend themselves in an active-shooting scenario and "possibly assist in taking somebody down"

by Seanna Adcox

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A proposal to allow a first responder to take a gun onto a school campus during an emergency is advancing in the Legislature six months after a volunteer firefighter stopped a deadly rampage at a South Carolina elementary school.

The bill up for debate Tuesday on the House floor would allow a firefighter or paramedic who has a concealed weapon permit to get certified as a "school first responder" by taking a one-week course through the state's Criminal Justice Academy.

First responders should be able to defend themselves in an active-shooting scenario and "possibly assist in taking somebody down," said Rep. Phil Lowe, R-Florence, the bill's main sponsor.

"We're putting them in harm's way," he said. "If we're going to ask these people to run into the front lines, it's no different than a medic in the Army. He's got a sidearm."

On Sept. 28, a 14-year-old boy shot and killed his father, then drove to Townville Elementary School in Anderson County and opened fire at first-graders out for recess, fatally shooting a 6-year-old and injuring a classmate and teacher.

It was a 30-year veteran of the Townville Volunteer Fire Department who tackled the teen.

Jamie Brock and Fire Chief Billy McAdams had arrived before officers could respond to the dispatch. McAdams, a paramedic, went inside to tend to those shot. Brock found and tackled the shooter — and kept him down until deputies arrested him.

The sheriff's office has confirmed that Brock had a handgun, though it's unclear if he even took it out of its holster, and no one is suggesting charging someone widely hailed as a hero.

Rep. Mike Pitts, R-Laurens, has said the situation demonstrates the absurdity of state law and the need to change it.

The retired police officer says it's logical that firefighters would be first on the scene. In rural counties, small towns often rely on sheriff's offices for law enforcement, and a deputy may not be close by.

But the state's "Safe Schools Act" allows only law enforcement to carry a weapon — whether a gun, knife, pipe or "blackjack" baton — on the property of K-12 schools. It says people with concealed weapon permits must keep their gun locked inside their vehicle while on campus. Violating the law is a felony punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and five years in prison.

The bill Pitts is co-sponsoring directs the Law Enforcement Training Council to create the one-week course. To avoid an expense for the state, it makes people seeking the certification responsible for the training's cost, estimated at $600 per person.



Chicago police to saturate neighborhood where 7 killed

Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said the gun violence in a neighborhood that left seven dead in a 12-hour period was mostly due to gang conflict

by the Associated Press

CHICAGO — The gun violence in one South Side Chicago neighborhood that left seven dead in a 12-hour period was mostly due to gang conflict, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Friday.

On Thursday afternoon, four people were fatally shot in or near a restaurant after a man approached and opened fire. Two men were found dead from bullet wounds inside the restaurant. A third person was found unresponsive outside the restaurant. A fourth man who sustained gunshot wounds was found unresponsive a block away.

Two people were killed late Thursday when a vehicle pulled alongside a van in the city's South Shore neighborhood. A man and woman were shot, police said, and the van crashed into a pole.

"I'm angry and sick," Johnson said during a news conference. "You have my promise that CPD will utilize the full weight of our resources to go after the individuals responsible for yesterday's incidents."

Johnson said investigators have determined most of the victims were targeted and had known gang affiliations. He added the woman's killing wasn't gang related.

Johnson said there will be a heavy and aggressive police presence in the South Shore neighborhood until the perpetrators of Thursday's violence are in custody. He added coordinated police operations will target the people who are driving the violence in the neighborhood and where retaliatory violence may occur.

"You lose count of the shootings after a while," Kyra Carr, who lives a few blocks away and said she heard the gunfire, told the Chicago Sun-Times. "But seven bodies in a day. Crazy. Something is wrong."

The Cook County medical examiner's office identified three of the victims as brothers Raheem and Dillon Jackson, ages 19 and 20 respectively, and 28-year-old Emmanuel Stokes. The identity of the fourth victim was withheld pending notification of family.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the Jacksons' grandmother, Georgia Jackson, 72, said the two had gone to the restaurant to get food and to see their mother, who works there. She said their mother called her about the shooting.

"She only said one at first but when I got here they said they found the other," Georgia Jackson said.

Also on Thursday, about a mile from the restaurant, the body of 26-year-old Patrice L. Calvin was discovered in a home. The medical examiner's office says Calvin, who was four months pregnant, suffered a gunshot wound to the head.

Johnson said the woman likely knew her killer, and her death wasn't gang related.

No arrests have been reported by police.



La. officer sentenced to 40 years in boy's shooting death

Derrick Stafford was convicted in the November 2015 shooting that killed Jeremy Mardis and critically wounded his father after a pursuit

by the Associated Press

MARKSVILLE, La. — A Louisiana law enforcement officer was sentenced Friday to 40 years in prison a week after a jury convicted him of manslaughter in the shooting death of a 6-year-old boy with autism.

Derrick Stafford, 33, was convicted in the November 2015 shooting that killed Jeremy Mardis and critically wounded his father after a 2-mile (3-kilometer) car chase in Marksville.

Ruth Wisher, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Jeff Landry's office, said Stafford was sentenced to 40 years for manslaughter and 15 years for attempted manslaughter. He will serve the sentences concurrently.

Stafford had faced a maximum of 60 years in prison when state District Judge William Bennett sentenced him.

Video from a police officer's body camera shows the boy's father, Christopher Few, had his hands raised inside his vehicle while Stafford and a second deputy city marshal collectively fired 18 shots at the vehicle.

Stafford and Norris Greenhouse Jr., the other deputy who fired his weapon that night, were arrested less than a week after the shooting. Greenhouse, 25, awaits a separate trial on murder charges later this year.

The Advocate reported that Stafford turned to look at Few during Friday's hearing and apologized for the shooting.

"I have kids, man," said Stafford, who was shackled in court and wearing an orange jail jumpsuit.

But Stafford insisted that Few posed a threat and maintained he fired his weapon to stop it.

Stafford testified at trial that he didn't know the boy was in the car when he fired and didn't see his father's hands in the air.

But he said he shot at the car because he feared Few was going to back up and hit Greenhouse with his vehicle. Stafford said Greenhouse stumbled and fell to the ground as he tried to back away from Few's car.

Two other officers at the scene - a third deputy city marshal and a Marksville police officer - didn't fire their weapons that night. Prosecutors said the officers weren't in any danger and shot at the car from a safe distance.

Stafford and Greenhouse are black. Few is white, and so was his son.

Defense attorneys accused investigators of rushing to judgment. One of Stafford's attorneys questioned whether investigators would have acted more deliberately if the officers had been white.

Stafford's aunt, Bertha Andrews, denounced the jury's verdict outside the courtroom on Friday, calling it a "lynching" and claiming race was a factor in the case.

"If it had been two white men who killed that little baby, it would've been justifiable homicide. If it had been a black baby, it would've been justifiable homicide," Andrews told reporters.

Stafford's attorneys tried to pin the blame for the deadly confrontation on Few. They accused the 26-year-old father of leading the four officers on a dangerous, high-speed chase and ramming into Greenhouse's vehicle before the gunfire erupted.

But prosecutors said none of the father's actions that night can justify the deadly response. Marksville Police Lt. Kenneth Parnell, whose body camera captured the shooting, testified that he didn't fire at the car because he didn't fear for his life.

Few testified that he never heard any warnings before two officers fired. He said he learned of his son's death when he regained consciousness at a hospital six days after the shooting, on the day of Jeremy's funeral.

Stafford, a Marksville police lieutenant, and Greenhouse, a former Marksville police officer, were moonlighting as deputies for the city marshal on the night of the shooting.

Greenhouse, whose father is a longtime prosecutor in Marksville, resigned from the Marksville Police Department in 2014.


From the FBI

CJIS Division Observes a Milestone

Collecting and Sharing Criminal Justice Information for 25 Years

Twenty-five years ago, the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division—the focal point and central repository for all the criminal justice information services within the Bureau—was created.

To understand the significance of the CJIS Division, however, you first have to understand how the FBI's role as the keeper of the nation's criminal justice information evolved.

•  Around 1920, there was a push by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and others to merge the nation's two major criminal identification records—the federal one at Leavenworth prison and the IACP's own set held in Chicago—and make them available to all of law enforcement. Congress provided the funding, and in 1924, the Bureau of Investigation (as the FBI was called at the time) established its Identification Division, which began accepting fingerprints and other criminal identification records and also provided crucial identification services for law enforcement across the country and for our own investigations.

•  The IACP also saw a need to collect crime statistics nationally that would enable authorities to understand trends and better focus resources. In 1929, the IACP adopted a system to classify, report, and collect crime statistics. But it then recommended that the Bureau—with its experience in centralizing criminal records—take the lead in the effort. Congress agreed, and the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program was born.

•  Fast forward a few years, and in 1967, as computer technology began to make inroads, the FBI launched the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). The NCIC was created to give our law enforcement partners quick access to a computerized index of documented criminal justice information whenever and wherever they needed it.

Over time, various FBI entities continued to develop and implement additional criminal justice information systems, but the problem was that these systems were being developed independently of each other. There had to be a way to coordinate and integrate these systems to ensure that we were providing the criminal justice community with the best products and best service possible.

And there was a way. In February 1992, in a memo proposing the creation of a Criminal Justice Information Services Division, a Bureau executive wrote: “The FBI has an opportunity to significantly improve the level of information services provided to the criminal justice community. An all-inclusive CJIS will ensure the needs of our users are met and exceeded well into the 21st century, and the technology advancements gained through the creation of CJIS will ensure that the FBI remains in the forefront of criminal justice information systems worldwide.”

The establishment of this new office—which was, in effect, a one-stop shop for criminal justice information—was quickly approved by the FBI Director.

The CJIS Division initially included the fingerprint identification services from the Identification Division, the UCR Program from the Information Management Division, and the NCIC program from the Technical Services Division. Over the past 25 years, CJIS has successfully overseen the creation of additional criminal justice services to assist our partners. For example:

•  The National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, launched in 1998, made it possible to determine whether a prospective gun buyer is eligible to buy firearms and explosives.

•  In 1999, the Bureau's fingerprint identification process was automated by the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System, or IAFIS . And since then, we've expanded our focus on fingerprint records from local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement to include those gathered in various counterterrorism operations the U.S. has engaged in worldwide.

•  Also in 1999, the National Crime Information Center was upgraded with more capabilities and additional information files.

•  In 2007, the Bureau's Biometric Center of Excellence was established to explore and advance the use of new and enhanced biometric tools, technologies, and capabilities for law enforcement and intelligence personnel.

•  In 2010, the National Data Exchange (N-DEx) System —providing criminal justice agencies with an online tool for sharing, searching, linking, and analyzing information across jurisdictional boundaries—was launched nationwide.

•  In 2013, Law Enforcement Online (LEO)—a secure network launched in 1995 that gave law enforcement around the country access to sensitive but unclassified information—transitioned into the Law Enforcement Enterprise Portal, or LEEP, a much broader electronic gateway providing law enforcement, intelligence, and criminal justice entities with centralized access to more information, strengthening case development and enhancing information sharing.

•  In 2014, the Bureau announced the full operational capability of the Next Generation Identification (NGI) System, developed to expand the Bureau's biometric identification capabilities and to replace IAFIS.

So what about the next 25 years? There are already plans afoot to enhance services provided by CJIS, including the next iteration of the NCIC, additional capabilities for the NGI system, the development of a national use-of-force data collection, and the expanding and deepening of UCR crime data.

But all of this, according to CJIS Acting Assistant Director Andrew Castor, is being done in consultation with our law enforcement partners. “We continue to be committed to providing the best possible tools to fight crime and terrorism across our nation and around the globe,” he explains, “but we recognize we can only accomplish our mission by collaborating with and meeting the needs of the agencies we serve.”



Attorney General Jeff Sessions Delivers Remarks on Efforts to Combat Violent Crime in St. Louis

Good morning, everyone. Thank you, Carrie [Costantin, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri], for the kind introduction. It's also good to have with us your outstanding new attorney general in Missouri, Josh Hawley and your new secretary of state, Jay Ashcroft.

I want to welcome the many law enforcement leaders from the St. Louis area who have joined us today. Thank you for everything you and your people do to protect your communities I look forward to meeting with you.

All of us who work in law enforcement want to keep people safe. Plain and simple. That is the heart of our jobs; it is what drives us every day. For many of you and your staffs, you take the extra step of putting your lives on line with every traffic stop, search warrant, and arrest. We are all disturbed to learn that violent crime is on the rise in American cities. We are even more discouraged to learn that this is happening amid an unprecedented epidemic of heroin and opioid abuse. In some places, like here in St. Louis, these two crises are closely connected.

That is what I want to talk about with you today.

First, we should remember some context. In the past four decades, our nation has won great victories against crime. Overall, crime rates remain near historic lows. Murder rates are half of what they were in 1980. We have driven the violent crime rate down to almost half of what it was at its peak. The good people of St. Louis have seen this progress firsthand: In 2013, the violent crime rate here was less than half of what it was at its highest point 20 years before.

But today, we see warning signs that this progress is now at risk.

The latest FBI data tell us that from 2014 to 2015, the violent crime rate in the U.S. increased by more than 3 percent – the largest one-year increase since 1991. The murder rate increased 10 percent – the largest increase since 1968.

If this was just a one-year spike, we might not worry too much. But the preliminary data for the first half of 2016 confirmed these trends. The number of violent crimes was more than 5 percent higher than the same period in 2015. The number of murders was also up 5 percent.

What's happening in St. Louis mirrors this trend. In 2015, violent crime here rose more than 8 percent, and the murder rate was the highest in two decades – almost 19 percent higher than the year before, and an astounding 67 percent higher than just three years before. And the preliminary data for 2016 show that violent crime continues to rise in St. Louis.

These numbers should trouble all of us. Behind all the data are real people whose safety and lives are at stake – like the good people whose stories I will hear later today. Each victim of this recent spike in violent crime is someone's parent, child or friend. And every loss of a life to guns or drugs is a tragedy we must work to prevent.

My fear is that this surge in violent crime in St. Louis, and throughout America, is not a “blip,” but the start of a dangerous new trend. This increase risks losing the hard-won gains that have made our country a safer and more prosperous place; gains that were made on the backs of the brave men and women in uniform.

While we can hope for the best, hope is not a strategy. When crime rates move in the wrong direction, they can move fast.

We know this, because some of us have lived it. In the early 1960s, crime rates began to rise in our country. By 1973, crime rates in almost every category had doubled over their levels just a decade before. As the '70s went on, levels of crime and violence that we once deemed unacceptably high became the “new normal” in America.

I lived through that dark time in our history. I dealt with its consequences every day as a prosecutor.

And I can assure you: We do not want to go back to those days. We must act decisively at all levels – federal, state and local – to reverse this rise in violent crime and ensure public safety. The good news is that we did it before, and cut violent crime almost in half. If we do this right, we can stop this rise in its tracks.

Last month, President Trump gave us clear direction. He issued three executive orders directing the federal government to reduce crime and restore public safety. This is a high priority for him. This task is also a top priority of the Department of Justice, and we are excited and energized to tackle it. I'd like to talk briefly about how we are doing that.

First, we're making sure the federal government focuses our resources and efforts on this surge in violent crime.

Last month, I announced the formation of a Department of Justice Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety. It includes crime reduction experts from throughout our Department, including the heads of the FBI, ATF, DEA and the U.S. Marshals Service.

The task force is evaluating everything we are doing at the federal level. It has a variety of subcommittees that are already hard at work. I have asked for their initial recommendations by July 27th, but I will continue to act on their recommendations as they become available.

Second: We need to use every lawful tool we have to get the most violent offenders off our streets.

Earlier this month, I sent a memo to all our federal prosecutors, urging them to work closely with their federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to target the most violent offenders in their districts. There are not that many people capable of murder. The more of them we put in jail, the fewer murders we will have.

It is only through collaborative efforts between federal, state and local law enforcement that we can effectively identify and remove the most dangerous criminals from the streets. The U.S. attorney's office here has given us a great example of this type of partnership. Over the past two years, Carrie and the team have doubled the number of federal prosecutions of gun cases.

Working together, we will determine which venue – federal or state – would best be suited to remove these criminals from our communities, and ensure they are held fully accountable for their crimes.

While the job of a prosecutor is to enforce the law, we also recognize that prevention efforts and re-entry programs for offenders play a key part in an effective strategy to reduce violent crime. The department's task force is also looking at how we can best support good local efforts on these fronts wherever possible.

Third: To turn back this rising tide of violent crime, we need to confront America's heroin and opioid crisis – and dismantle the transnational cartels that bring drugs and violence into our neighborhoods.

Our nation is in the throes of an epidemic of heroin and opioid abuse. According to the CDC, heroin-related overdose deaths have more than quadrupled since 2010. On average, about 140 Americans now die each day from a drug overdose. That means every three weeks, we lose as many American lives to overdoses as we lost in the 9/11 attacks.

Unfortunately, the people of St. Louis know this problem all too well. Last year, 256 people in this city died from an opioid overdose. That is almost double the total from the previous year – and more than the number of murders during that time.

What makes this crisis an epidemic is that it knows no zip code. Its victims are white and black and brown; they are in the city, the suburbs and the country; and they are rich, poor and everything in between.

And the victims aren't just addicts and users. Here in St. Louis and in other American cities, transnational drug cartels are working with street gangs to traffic heroin that is both cheaper and stronger than ever. As the market for this heroin expands, these gangs fight for territory and new customers – and innocent people are caught in the crossfire.

Those people include Clara Walker, a grandmother of eight who lived here in St. Louis. A little over three years ago, just after Christmas, she was in her home when she heard gunfire. She thought it was coming from a TV show. But outside her house, a gang enforcer was shooting to protect his gang's drug-dealing turf. Two of the bullets hit Mrs. Walker and killed her.

We know that drugs and crime go together. One factor in the fall of murder rates was a decline in drug use. To save lives and stop the new wave of violence connected with this heroin epidemic, we must fight the scourge of drugs in our country.

There are three main ways to do this: criminal enforcement, treatment programs and prevention.

We need criminal enforcement to stop the transnational cartels that smuggle drugs across our borders, and the thugs and gangs who use violence and extortion to move their product.

Treatment programs are also vital. But treatment often comes too late to save people from addiction or death – especially with powerful drugs like heroin.

Let me share an example. Last month, the St. Louis newspaper ran a story on the heroin crisis here. It featured a young woman named Ashley. She has used heroin off and on for a decade – even though it has meant losing her three children to state custody. Ashley told the reporter that she wished she had never started using. She said: “I just wanted to try it.” She called that decision, quote: the “dumbest thing ever.”

If our nation was sending a stronger message never to use drugs, how different might Ashley's life be – or the lives of so many others like her? What if someone had told them that “trying it” just once is all it takes to start down the road of addiction?

My point is that while enforcement and treatment programs are crucial, they aren't enough. We need to focus on the third way we can fight drug use: preventing people like Ashley from ever trying drugs in the first place.

Educating people and telling them the terrible truth about drugs and addiction can result in better choices. We can reduce the use of drugs, save lives, and turn back the surge in crime that inevitably follows in the wake of increased drug abuse. It will not be easy; there is no quick cure, and this effort will take years. But we can and will do it.

Finally: The federal government alone cannot meet the challenge of violent crime and drugs – so we need to protect and support our brave men and women in state, local and tribal law enforcement. About 85 percent of all law enforcement officers in our nation are state and local. These are the men and women on the front lines.

Unfortunately, in recent years law enforcement as a whole has been unfairly maligned and blamed for the crimes and unacceptable deeds of a few bad actors. Amid this intense public scrutiny and criticism, morale has gone down, while the number of police officers killed in the line of duty has gone up.

This issue is especially sensitive here in the St. Louis area, after the events that took place in Ferguson nearly three years ago. Since then, Ferguson has become an emblem of the tense relationship between law enforcement and the communities we serve, especially minority communities.

We all have a lot of work to do to improve this situation – both law enforcement leaders and community leaders. And we must improve it; this is critical. St. Louis and its suburbs are one community, and they are in this together.

Certainly, we must continue to address police misconduct, and the Department of Justice will do its part. But we also can't lose sight of two things. First, the vast majority of men and women in law enforcement are good people, who have chosen to do tremendously hard and dangerous jobs because they want to protect us all. Also, it is proactive, up-close policing – when officers get out of their squad cars and interact with everyone on their beat – that builds trust, prevents violent crime and saves lives.

Unfortunately, many law enforcement leaders say this kind of policing has become more difficult. In some cities, arrests have fallen even as murder rates have surged.

This is a terrible place to be, because you and I know that tough and professional law enforcement can make a real difference. It can reduce crime and save lives. We have seen it happen in our country over the past four decades.

To turn back rising crime, we must rely heavily on all of you in state and local law enforcement to lead the way – and you must be confident in our steadfast support. This Department of Justice will use our money, research, and expertise to help you figure out what is happening and determine the best ways to fight crime. We will strengthen partnerships between federal, state and local officers. We will encourage the proactive policing that keeps our neighborhoods safe. And we will have the back of all honest and honorable law enforcement officers and prosecutors.

The recent surge in violent crime is real. The epidemic of heroin and opioid abuse is also real. We can't wish these problems away, or hope that things will get better on their own. Instead, we must act to ensure justice and safety for all Americans.

Fortunately, we know what we need to do. We must enforce our laws and remove dangerous criminals from the street. We must fight the scourge of drug abuse. And we must support the brave men and women of law enforcement, as they work day and night to protect us.

In this great task, I am proud to call each of you partners. Thank you for having me here in St. Louis today. I look forward to talking with you all and learning from you.


Public Safety

Citizen participation can cut inner city crime in half!

by Stephanie L. Mann, Crime and Violence Prevention Consultant

Gun violence devastates family health and safety! We've all heard about violence in Chicago, Baltimore, Ferguson and other cities. Many Americans want more gun control, while others want more police. These are Band-Aid approaches because they don't address root causes. Based on my 39 years as a crime and violence prevention specialist, here are my thoughts on how to make families, neighborhoods and cities safer.

Gun violence alone cost American taxpayers, $229 billion annually. We could cut that cost in half within ten years if we focused on community responsibility for crime.

Crime is committed by a small percentage of people. However, when criminal activities increase, police are forced to increase crime control and officers may become more aggressive. It is important to note, the national average is 2.5 police officers per 1000 citizens. In many communities, neighbors know each other and protect homes from burglars. They may not know all their neighbors or speak up about youthful bad behavior, which police cannot control. Without a healthy balance between citizen participation and police, citizens can become angry, feel powerless and blame police. Police have limitations and CANNOT protect us without involved citizens.

I started as a volunteer in my unincorporated community of 17,500 residents in 1969. We had a crime wave and NO local police department! Ten volunteers planned and implemented the “Neighborhood Responsibility Program.” We educated neighbors on how to stop burglaries and juvenile crime. Within 2 and a-half years, citizens reduced crime 48% with the help of 2 sergeant investigators hired from the county sheriff's department.

Nationally in the 1970's, crime was increasing at an alarming rate and our community received publicity and questions about how citizens, without a local police department, cut crime. I co-authored, “Alternative to Fear: Guidelines for safer neighborhoods.” The book helped launch the national police program, “Neighborhood Watch.” The book was written to empower citizen groups and funded by the California Youth Authority. However, we were concerned as it was distributed to police departments' throughout the US. Over the years, additional police were hired as crime increased and they promoted “Neighborhood Watch.” Crime declined but many citizens were passive about their responsibility to protect the neighborhood and kids on the block.

My co-author, Shirley Henke, worked for the Criminal Justice Planning Agency and formed the county citizens' crime prevention committee with volunteers from a number of cities. When the committee was organized, we received several grants that provided for a central office with 6 area citizen coordinators. Initially, the Police Chief's Association voted against us saying, “Citizens would become vigilantes.” They insisted the committee hire their hand picked retired police chief to work with our administrator. The second year the police chief was dropped. We had proven that citizens were responsible and cared about their neighborhoods.

For six years, we organized and trained 27 citywide volunteer committees throughout our county. We encouraged volunteer committees to be the change makers and bring neighborhoods together. Our office became a county resource center. As volunteers gained trust, they were able to expose “bad” cops while other officers told us which officers to avoid.

We held monthly meetings and annual award dinners with several hundred residents and police officers in attendance. As neighborhood leaders saw success, they became more evolved; and served on school and hospital boards.

In one city with 73,000 residents, a rapist was caught within five days because 43 neighborhood network leaders got accurate information from the police about the rapist and passed out flyers to neighbors. As responsible citizens took control of their neighborhoods, fear was reduced, trust grew and neighbors protected and controlled youthful behavior. Citizen participation increased city safety with less policing needed.

Some areas were bigger challenges! I've facilitated hundreds of meetings. Often citizens had to vent their anger before discussing neighborhood safety. It took 2 or 3 meetings before residents would listen. One officer showed up with a police protection car. I had to explain, that officers also felt threatened by citizens. Once anger was reduced, citizens and police developed working relationships.

Crime, violence and gangs emerge when young people don't have the support and supervision they need. Together neighbors put a check and balance on destructive juveniles and criminal activities before problems got out of control.

One day a lady came into our office. She was angry with police. They were not doing their job to stop the drug dealers in the park. She explained that the city counsel voted to put a fence around the park to keep the drug dealers out. We discussed police limitations and suggested she get her neighbors involved. Without being noticed, neighbors walked dogs, watered lawns and played cards as they took down descriptions and license numbers, which they turned over to police. Within 3 months, the drug dealers and customers were gone. Barbara and her neighbors went to city council to request the money for the fence be used for new swings and benches for the park. Their request was granted. Ten years later, Barbara Vigil became the mayor of San Pablo, CA. Isn't that the way politicians used to emerge, from the grassroots up?

The Americans excel at helping each other if they are encouraged and supported!

At a neighborhood meeting, the discussion turned from home security to seven and nine year old brothers who were vandalizing property, bullying and stealing out of garages. One man said, “I told that mother to get her kids under control” and she slammed the door in my face. Another neighbor said she called the police. The officer talked to the mother and scolded the boys but nothing changed. The group agreed the boys were headed down a self-destructive path if things didn't change. They decided to appoint two tactful neighbors to reach out and let the mother know they were not there to blame but to help. At first the mother was defensive! However, when the neighbors said they would help, she burst into tears and explained her husband had been incarcerated and the boys were angry. The neighbors reached out and took the boys on their family outings and included them in activities. Ten years later, I saw the mother again and asked about the boys. She said, “I couldn't have done it alone. My neighbors made a huge difference in their lives and now the oldest is in college and the younger one is doing well in high school.”

“We the people” are the tipping point for community change, not the police. The stumbling block is corruption in our cities that allow “leaders” to continue “business as usual.” We need to defuse anger and hire citizen coordinators that look like and speak the language of their communities. They can empower residents and create safer cities.

Talk to your city leaders about hiring and training citizen coordinators. Citizens can move beyond fear and social isolation as they “adopt their block.” Involved citizens restore hope, change attitudes and create peaceful cities. Remember…Police react to crime; citizen involvement can PREVENT CRIME and make neighborhoods safer, healthier places for families to grow and thrive!

For more information and Stephanie Mann's bio:



Hammond rolls out new community policing program

by Ed Bierschenk

HAMMOND — Police will be encouraged to have more informal interactions with citizens under a new community policing initiative.

The Voluntary Contact Protocol program is the latest effort by Police Chief John Doughty to encourage more social contact between police and residents. He spoke about encouraging more interaction between police and the public two years ago following a spate of negative publicity about police nationwide.

At that time, Doughty said officers were "being encouraged to attempt more out-of-the-car face time when possible during the course of their tour of duty."

Later that year, Hammond police also underwent two days of training focusing on how police could improve interactions with the public, although that dealt more with contacts made during regular enforcement duties.

The latest initiative, which will begin Saturday, again will focus on non-enforcement contacts between police and the community.

Under the program, officers will let people people know when they are working in the area and that they are available and approachable. During this time, officers can engage in a general conversation and ask about potential issues or problems.

To gauge the program's success, the contacts will be documented for administrative review.

Doughty said he was encouraged to start the new initiative by a recent interaction he had with a local business owner and what he heard at a community policing class out of state.

In the first incident, Doughty said he went into the Amtech Pro Audio store to talk about a problem he was having with his receiver. The person at the store was busy, but after a while the two started talking and soon built a rapport.

"Once I built a rapport, his whole demeanor changed," said Doughty, who said the man spent a lot of time chatting with him.

When he left, Doughty, who didn't reveal he was the chief, asked the man if he needed anything from the police. The man replied that he didn't, but appreciated being asked.

Today, police are more dispatch-driven and quicker response is required, Doughty noted. Walking the beat is not considered as efficient.

"I get why it changed, but it stopped that casual contact," Doughty said.

He hopes to increase that contact and have officers take time to make conversation with people around town.

"I told my guys you can build relationships one handshake at a time," he said.

Doughty also wants officers to take the time to explain to neighbors what they are doing when they visit a person's home, whether it be to serve a warrant or some other reason.

Doughty said building these relationships and trust can help in combating crime when residents become more comfortable telling police of suspicious activity in their neighborhoods.

"I have a bunch of great guys, and I hope they are going to embrace it," he said of the new initiative.


Washington D.C.

NFL players tell Congress to act on criminal justice reform, community policing

by Kelly Cohen

A group of current and former NFL players visited Congress Thursday to tell them — again — to act on criminal justice reform and community policing.

Led by Anquan Boldin, players Malcolm Jenkins, Johnson Bademosi and Donte Stallworth told a forum on Capitol Hill why the issues are still pressing.

"The community I come from wants and needs to know that they are being heard. We want to make sure that you, that those in position to bring positive change, understand the things that we as an African-American community are going through," Boldin said.

The communities "do not feel that we're being heard right now right now, especially when it comes to law enforcement and the way we are being policed. Our neighborhoods are feeling hurt, and they want to see change," he added.

The free agent wide receiver also told the story of the fatal police shooting of his cousin Corey Jones, who was killed in October 2015 after his car broke down while he was on his way home in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

"I wish I could tell you Corey's story was unique. I wish Corey hadn't died in the first place. As a matter of fact, I wish I wasn't here at all talking to you about him at all. But I am," an emotional Boldin testified.

Jones was killed by Officer Nouman Raja, who had pulled up alongside Jones' broken down car in an unmarked white van. Raja — whose trial is scheduled for October — was charged with one count of manslaughter by culpable negligence and one count of attempted first-degree murder with a firearm.

Jenkins added in his testimony that the current laws and policies continue to allow "for brutality and mistreatment to happen."

"There's our criminal justice system, and the long documented disparities in which it affects the African-American communities and communities of color far greater than anybody else," Jenkins said.

"If there is so much support […] then what is holding them back?" Jenkins asked of Congress passing criminal justice reform. "These are things that need to change."

Jenkins said that throughout the week they met with bipartisan lawmakers to discuss what it is they think can and should be done.

In November, Jenkins and Boldin were joined by other NFL players in meeting with Congress to discuss criminal justice reform and community policing. Both Jenkins and Boldin were also vocal and long-lasting in their support for former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who began kneeling during last season's preseason games during the national anthem as a means to protest police brutality and inequality.

Though Jenkins said they met with both Republicans and Democrats, there were no Republicans in attendance at Thursday's forum. In addition, there were no white members in attendance — only Reps. John Conyers (Michigan), Elijah Cummings (Maryland), Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas), Williams Lacy Clay (Missouri), Cedric Richmond (Louisiana) and Brenda Lawrence (Michigan).



Glendale Police: strengthening community ties

by Your West Valley

Glendale officers will soon offer satisfaction surveys to people they come in contact in an effort to strengthen ties with the community.

This and other items are being rolled out by the department as it comes into compliance with recommendations by the Task Force on 21st Century Policing. President Barack Obama in 2014 established the task force through executive order to enhance community policing and trust among law enforcement officers and the communities they serve, especially in light of police-involved incidents around the country.

“In Glendale we enjoy a very good relationship with our community,” Chief Rick St. John said at last week's council workshop. “The ultimate goal for Glendale Police is 100 percent compliance on everything put on the table by the task force.”

The task force created six pillars with recommendations and action items for each. The pillars are policy and oversight, technology and social media, community policing and crime reduction, training and education and officer wellness and safety.

The chief said the community needs to be involved in policing and there needs to be department transparency in how things are done.

The department will shortly provide the public with statistics on response to resistance or use of force out in the field.

The chief recommended the statistics be overlayed on a crime map of the city that is currently available for public view online.

“We want to be careful how we present that information to the community,” he said.

He said the public may be surprised to see the number of times a Taser is used out but when that information is tied to the crime that occurred there would be less surprise.

“We want to make sure while we are putting information out there we put enough relevant information with it so the public is not alarmed but rather informed,” the chief said.

Officers also will soon offer surveys through an app on tablets they carry.

“When an officer make contact in the field for various reasons they can offer the opportunity for people they are dealing with a survey on their general satisfactiion with Glendale police,”Chief St. John said, adding this would not include crime victims.

The surveys will be offered citywide at traffic stops, consensual contacts and other field contacts.

“Over time, it will tell us the areas of the city that are experiencing lower levels of trust,” the chief said. “It will help determine where we need some targeted activity to build trust.”

The survey data will be tied to the source of contact.

Councilwoman Joyce Clark was dubious, saying offering someone stopped for a possible violation a chance to comment about the department will likely yield a negative response and skew the community survey.

She also asked if the results of the surveys will be used to judge the performance of an individual officer, to which the chief said no. The purpose of the surveys is to find areas in the city where the department needs to build engagement and trust, he said.

The chief also said regardless of the nature of the contact and the outcome, it is still relevant how an officer interacted with someone in the community. He told the councilwoman that she would be surprised at how many positive calls he has received from drivers who just got a citation.

“They get a citation and the first action after leaving the contact is to call my office and say what a great job the officer did,” he said.

The survey will be quick, take five to 10 seconds to respond to two to four questions using a rating scale of 1 to 8, he said.

Councilwoman Lauren Tolmachoff noted there are certain populations in the community that are distrustful of police and do not have a good impression of them.

In those situations, the chief said the department will focus on more activities to build that trust.

The department also is putting into policies how to de-escalate an incident and gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer people search and seizure procedures.

“Past policies covered how we handled these things but they were not spelled out as the task force want,” the chief said.

When it comes to technology and social media, the department accomplished all of the task force's recommendations and action items.

The chief said every time the department looks at using new technology, it balances it out with the impact to the budget.

“If the balance doesn't work for the benefit of the community, we seriously thing about not using that technology,” he said.

The chief recommended the department use a third factor, culture. Today, people, including officers put their faces into computers and carry smart phones.

“We need to get out of that,” he said.

Now in looking at new technology, staff will see if it enhances communication with the community face-to-face or diminishes it, he added.

Councilwoman Clark asked if the department developed any strategy to allow more time for officers to cruise neighborhoods.

The chief said he encourages officers on patrol or responding to calls that are not urgent to get off arterial streets and drive through neighborhoods, roll down their windows and say hi.

He said he is working on filling vacancies and once that is done, he wants to break the current 16 beats into 32 smaller beats or some other number so that each patrol officer has responsibility of knowing their area.

“The small-beat mentality simply gives officers something they can control,” he said. “It's part of their DNA. We like to have control.”

Mayor Jerry Weiers said an officer who knows the people and circumstances in his beat is better able to defuse a situation quicker.

“If you stay in the same area for a length of time, you get to know people and they know you,” the chief said. “And if you are firm and fair, you get the respect of the community.”

The department also is meeting another goal of the task force, evolving to meet the needs of the community.

The department has partnered with Peoria Police in offering training to West Valley law enforcement agencies on how to deal with the mentally ill.

“We've seen a spike in the number of people who are diagnosed with mental illness,” Chief St. John said. “We are leading the charge on how to respond to issues in the community.”



'Autopilot' Tesla strikes Ariz. police motorcycle

This is the second incident involving an autonomous vehicle in a week

by PoliceOne Staff

PHOENIX — Just days after an autonomous Uber got into a wreck in Tempe, a Tesla Model X allegedly operating on autopilot struck a Phoenix police motorcycle.

According to, the officer was stopped at a light after exiting a freeway when the Tesla moved forward, causing the officer to hop off his motorcycle and get away from the danger. The car tapped the motorcycle from behind. No damage was reported to either vehicle.

Police said because the wreck was minor and no one was harmed, an investigation will not continue and no citations were issued.

“It was pretty much a tap,” Pfohl said. “It wasn't even a reportable collision. If it wasn't involving an officer, we would not have even investigated it.”

The driver of the Tesla told police that the car was in autopilot, but Sgt. Alan Pfohl told the publication that investigators could not confirm the claim.

Tesla's website states that autopilot mode is not intended to fully take over driving. The driver needs to remain engaged. Their website also says that drivers are back in control of their vehicles when they exit highways.



At Idea Session for Baton Rouge Police, One Expert Says Department '30 Years Behind' in Specific Area

Representatives from LSU and Baton Rouge Community College shared the latest research on implicit bias, promotion and recruitment, community policing, and mental health.

by Grace Tooheym

After months of meetings and debate, the Baton Rouge committee on police policies began to see their final recommendations coming together Tuesday evening as academics from local universities presented their ideas on ways to improve the Baton Rouge Police Department.

Representatives from LSU and Baton Rouge Community College shared the latest research on implicit bias, promotion and recruitment, community policing, and mental health. These proposals will be merged into a policy paper headed to the Metro Council for approval, said councilwoman Tara Wicker, a founder of the committee.

"We want to be successful in what we do," Wicker said. "The information that they're presenting is just phenomenal."

Committee co-founder Councilman Trae Welch, however, reminded the committee of the two sides of community policing.

"I'd just like us to remember the deputy that lost his life, that we recognize exactly what we're talking about and how it affects all of the community members, including the police officers," Welch said, referring to the March 18 death of Shawn Anderson while he was trying to question a rape suspect.

Chief Carl Dabadie Jr. said sometimes his officers feel they're being unfairly attacked by critics, but residents at Tuesday's meeting said they're often fearful of what might happen when they're pulled over by police.

Wicker said this dichotomy is the reason the committee's recommendations are so important.

Bridget Sonnier-Hillis, an assistant professor of psychology at BRCC, spoke about implicit bias on the part of law enforcement.

"It's about becoming aware of them, learning about them, and, more importantly, developing different policies for when they're more likely to be acted upon," Sonnier-Hillis said. "These protocols that are ways to outsmart these implicit biases."

She said these biases most likely emerge in fast-paced situations, often those police officers face.

She recommended a new training used by the federal government, something Dabadie said he is already working to bring to his department.

BRCC criminal justice professor Paul Guidry spoke about ideas for a citizen review board for internal affairs and a citizens academy, where civilians can learn what it's like to work in the police force.

Jared Llorens, director of the LSU Public Administration Institute, shared the problems BRPD faces in managing its officers.

"(BRPD) is about 30 years behind in the field of managing employees," Llorens said, while Dabadie nodded. State civil service laws govern how Dabadie and his department are hired, promoted or fired; any changes would have to come from the legislature, the chief said.

"You have a system where managers cannot manage," Llorens said. "You have to give them some type of discretion to do their job."

He also talked about the low starting salary for an officer, $32,000 a year, which he said will not attract the "best and brightest."

Also, Sonnier-Hillis discussed how police should be trained to deal with people who are mentally ill, and how officers should also be treated while they perform one of the hardest jobs.

She recommend a Crisis Intervention Team training, which Dabadie said they already implemented in part. Sonnier-Hillis suggested having a trained leader on every shift and making sure that person goes out on calls that deal with mental health.

Representatives from Southern University will later share their ideas on community policing and community engagement.

Wicker founded the committee at the end of 2016 with Welch in the aftermath of the fatal police shooting of Alton Sterling and the later ambush killing of three law enforcement officers and injuring of three others.

Dabadie was receptive to the ideas.

"A lot of the things they're talking about we already do," Dabadie said. "We're always open to be better; we're always open to improve the way that we do our jobs. … I'm not opposed to listening to what everyone has to say and incorporating what we can."



Iowa State police use Twitter like another tool on its belt

by Danielle Gehr

“Think twice, tweet once.”

A Post-it note containing only these words collects dust on the desk of Iowa State Police Department's Anthony Greiter, guiding him as he holds all the power when it comes to the department's Twitter account.

Since the ISU PD Twitter's launch, Greiter has added color and humor to build its following to more than 17,000. Tweets such as turning a foggy day into a vape joke have caught the attention of the Iowa State community as well as people all around the world.

“The vaping tweet reached 1.8 million people across the world,” Greiter said. “We had articles written about us across the world, and that's a great way to show that law enforcement in the U.S., in this time when there's a lot of tension between communities and police, can be real people.”

Social media is now another tool on an officer's tool belt as a way for departments to be part of their communities. The police department in Wyoming, Minnesota, which Greiter often pulls inspiration from, recently surpassed its town's population in followers.

Greiter has found that this humorous style works with this audience of mostly young college students who tend to “wake up and most know that it's going to be a good day.”

He joked that he often draws the line and then puts one toe over it because this edgy style is what has kept the department relevant.

“It is a tough balance because we're working with sensitive information and sensitive topics, but at some point if we don't lighten up and provide some comic relief, people will stop paying attention,” Greiter said.

Maintaining a Twitter that is light and fun has been a goal of Greiter's since pitching the Twitter account to the department.

He explained that if people genuinely enjoy the content that they are putting out on a regular basis, their audience will be attentive when there is an actual emergency or at least a possible threat.

He cited what he called “the medieval sock scare.”

A prop, which was simply Styrofoam in a sock, left by members of the Live Action Role Playing Club turned into a bomb scare.

Though the situation turned out to be harmless, the ISU PD reached roughly 100,000 people with its warning within the first 10 minutes that it was sent out. It was one of the first times it used social media for this type of situation.

Social media has its pros compared to ISU Alert, Greiter said. Most people don't get ISU Alert, limiting the number of people that it reaches.

Though Twitter is the department's daily contact with the community, Greiter incorporates face-to-face, more personal types of events for the department through his community outreach position.

“We are able to reach a much larger audience with social media, but there's still something to be said about the personal contact," Greiter said. "The coffee with a cop, the citizen's police academy and the opportunity for people to come in and ask us questions and have conversations."

Today, all police departments in the United States make community policing a priority. Though, Matthew Delisi, professor of sociology and coordinator of the criminal justice department, said that this has not only been the case.

Early on, being connected to the community was uniform for police departments across the country. This all changed once these practices led to corruption.

“Policing used to be very politicized and very closely connected to the communities," Delisi said. "That was good because there was a lot of strong relationships and a lot of rapport. It was bad in that it engendered corruption."

The response to the unethical behavior was to completely separate the police and the community. One method that Delisi spoke of was the implementation of cars.

Officers who used to walk around and engage with the community now drove in cars, communicating only with other officers through the radio.

Corruption was then replaced with another issue: estrangement.

“You had the police really only responding to calls for service and then they would react to whatever it was, and there were a lot of angst and problems in the mid-to-late 20th century,” Delisi said.

Realizing that the separation of police and community only caused problems, departments began practicing community policing again.

Delisi said that, when talking to police departments seeking to hire students, he found that they are looking for smart people who have people skills.

“That's what a lot of policing is. It's relationships, it's managing very different kinds of people,” Delisi said.

The ISU PD has already seen an improvement on already strong community relations since its Twitter reached popularity.

Greiter said that he has had officers come up to him and say that while they were arresting someone, the arrestee said, “Are you the one that runs Twitter? That's awesome. I love you guys.”

“Let me say this one more time. I arrested this kid and he said, ‘You guys are awesome.' To me, that's a win,” Greiter said.

Their Twitter showcases a clear understanding of internet culture, which is the main appeal to most of the younger audience and is something that Greiter did not decipher alone.

Ian Jamieson, a software engineering student at Iowa State, works alongside Greiter sometimes, enlightening him on what is trending and what will likely go viral.

When it comes to internet humor, Jamieson said Greiter caught on pretty quick.

“[Greiter] really enjoyed that humor and the connection he was making with students, which is something that is pretty hard to do as a police department, especially at a university police department."

After meeting Greiter while working at the orientation fair, Jamieson jokingly said that the department should hire him, to which Greiter replied, "Ok." What were already positive feelings toward police turned into even more respect over the months that he has worked at the department.

Jamieson enjoys the anonymity that comes with this job, as most people don't know of his role in it. When people find out that he is behind many of these ISU PD tweets that go viral, they are often surprised.

“It's always kind of exciting to see something you write be so popular," Jamieson said. "I think that's kind of rare and it's special to me because I know that it's making a difference maybe not in some drastic way, but I know that it's helping build that community."

Though he receives help from Jamieson, Greiter still has full control over the account, and he is grateful that the department has given him such free reign.

“I couldn't do any of this if I were representing a department that's full of terrible officers and I'm not. I'm representing a department that's full of officers that are very similar to me,” Greiter said. “While we're here to enforce the law, we can do it with a smile. We can do it in a friendly manner.”



Mo. lawmakers advance plan to ban red-light cameras

The proposal would ban cities from using red-light cameras and end programs already in place

by Summer Ballentine

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A proposal that received initial approval Wednesday in the Missouri House would ban cities from using red-light cameras and end programs already in place.

Such programs previously were dealt a setback when the Missouri Supreme Court found legal and constitutional issues with camera ordinances used for stoplights in St. Louis and the suburb of St. Peters and for speed-limit enforcement in the suburb of Moline Acres.

But judges in that ruling gave what some considered guidance on how to lawfully and constitutionally use the cameras.

Republican Rep. Bryan Spencer of Wentzville told colleagues during debate on the House floor that his bill would go farther and ensure none can be established. Places with programs already operating would have a year to cancel contracts.

During the House debate, he questioned whether the cameras improve public safety and argued that they sometimes are used as a way to generate revenue. He and other supporters said it should be up to police officers to decide whether to hand out tickets and that those facing violations have a right to face their accusers.

Republican Rep. Keith Frederick of Rolla said his wife once received a ticket from a red-light camera after making a rolling right turn while picking up their sick son to take him to the emergency room.

"A real-live, living, feeling human officer would never have done that," he said.

St. Louis Democratic Rep. Peter Merideth said it should be up to cities and counties whether to implement traffic-enforcement cameras, and he said traffic cameras help cut down on bias in policing because he said there's no opportunity for discrimination.

"That is an improvement for law enforcement, and it actually frees up officers to go do the tougher work of protecting folks against more dangerous crimes in their area," he said.

This is not the first time lawmakers have tried to weigh in on red-light cameras. Spencer in 2015 tried to put red-light cameras to a public vote, but the measure didn't advance once it reached the Senate.

Spencer's current measure needs another vote of approval in the House before it can move to the Senate.



A "Spring Cleaning" of Our State Prisons

by Eric Siddall

In January, we sent a Public Records Act (PRA) request to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR ) requesting:

  • All emails, correspondence, or texts between the governor's office and parole board members, staff, and attorneys regarding the implementation of Proposition 57, including discussion of any rules and regulations proposed from November 4, 2016, to the present;
  • All telephone logs, voicemail recordings, and notes between the governor's office and parole board members, staff, and attorneys regarding the implementation of Proposition 57
Rather than siding with transparency, the CDCR denied our request and refused to provide the documents. We requested these items because the governor made it clear during the Prop 57 campaign he would be active in helping to develop the regulations if the initiative passed. Given CDCR's dismal history in creating release programs and properly evaluating parolees for release, the public certainly deserves to know how these regulations were to be developed.That history includes a 2011 audit finding CDCR failed to properly implement the Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions (COMPAS) software program that that was to evaluate inmates likely to be successfully rehabilitated and integrated into public life upon parole. Similarly, an audit in 2008 found CCDR simply ignored state law in parole decisions, with supervisors often ordering the release of inmates without properly documenting the reasons and altering the reports of parole agents to justify those releases.

However, the regulations have been developed. They were released by CDCR this past week: Guidelines for revisions to sentences and credits. We had repeatedly blogged that violent inmates would be getting early releases thanks to Prop 57, a charge Governor Brown hotly disputed. Well, it turns out the new guidelines call for inmates serving sentences for violent crimes to receive a 5% increase in credits awarded for "good time behavior," meaning those inmates will be released earlier than they would have been before Prop 57.  

As we also pointed out, the list of crimes most people and common sense would consider "serious" and/or "violent" don't fall within the extremely narrow definition of Prop 57.  "The enhanced credits of one month per year for participating in "self-help" programs will now apply to crimes, such as assault with a deadly weapon, battery with serious bodily injury, arson of forest land causing physical injury and many others. In short, even more violent inmates released to the streets earlier. In addition, a CDCR's "emergency regulation" will classify as a "non-violent" offender an inmate currently in prison for a "violent" offense but who has completed serving time for that violent offense and is still serving time on other offenses.

Further, prosecutors and victims will only have 30 days to contest the parole release of the "non-violent" inmates who have completed their base sentence.   The opposition must be in writing and there is no anticipation that parole board hearings with attendance by prosecutors or victims will be allowed. That, of course, is in sharp contrast to Governor Brown's promise during the campaign that he would work to address this lack of live participation by prosecutors or the victims. Further, while inmates will be given the right to request review of a hearing officer's parole decision, neither victims or prosecutors will be allowed that right. Finally, unlike parole grants for inmates serving life with parole terms, there will be no review of any parole board decision by the governor.

The CDCR changes in parole eligibility are set to take effect April 12, 2107, if state regulators give approval, with final approval set for October 2017 after consideration of public comment. However, inmates will begin accruing early release credits while the public review is ongoing.

As a result of these new rules, CDCR is expect to grant early release to at least 9,500 felons in the next four years, violent and serious offenders among them, with little opportunity for opposition by victims.  As Senator Scott Wilk pointed out recently, "through a host of 'reduce prison population at any cost' measures, our governor and the legislature have already partnered to release nearly 50,000 criminals from our jails and prisons."

The proposed new rules are yet another blow to victims of crime and the public. The only thing remaining is the inevitable spike in crime and subsequent denial by Prop 57 supporters that the early release of thousands of inmates led to that increase in crime.


Eric Siddall is Vice President of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys, the collective bargaining agent representing nearly 1,000 Deputy District Attorneys who work for the County of Los Angeles. To contact a Board member, click here.



At idea session for Baton Rouge police, one expert says department '30 years behind' in specific area

by Grace Toohey

After months of meetings and debate, the Baton Rouge committee on police policies began to see their final recommendations coming together Tuesday evening as academics from local universities presented their ideas on ways to improve the Baton Rouge Police Department.

Representatives from LSU and Baton Rouge Community College shared the latest research on implicit bias, promotion and recruitment, community policing, and mental health. These proposals will be merged into a policy paper headed to the Metro Council for approval, said councilwoman Tara Wicker, a founder of the committee.

"We want to be successful in what we do," Wicker said. "The information that they're presenting is just phenomenal."

Committee co-founder Councilman Trae Welch, however, reminded the committee of the two sides of community policing.

"I'd just like us to remember the deputy that lost his life, that we recognize exactly what we're talking about and how it affects all of the community members, including the police officers," Welch said, referring to the March 18 death of Shawn Anderson while he was trying to question a rape suspect.

After the July attack on Baton Rouge law enforcement that claimed the lives of two police of…

Chief Carl Dabadie Jr. said sometimes his officers feel they're being unfairly attacked by critics, but residents at Tuesday's meeting said they're often fearful of what might happen when they're pulled over by police.

Wicker said this dichotomy is the reason the committee's recommendations are so important.

Bridget Sonnier-Hillis, an assistant professor of psychology at BRCC, spoke about implicit bias on the part of law enforcement.

"It's about becoming aware of them, learning about them, and, more importantly, developing different policies for when they're more likely to be acted upon," Sonnier-Hillis said. "These protocols that are ways to outsmart these implicit biases."

She said these biases most likely emerge in fast-paced situations, often those police officers face.

She recommended a new training used by the federal government, something Dabadie said he is already working to bring to his department.

BRCC criminal justice professor Paul Guidry spoke about ideas for a citizen review board for internal affairs and a citizens academy, where civilians can learn what it's like to work in the police force.

Jared Llorens, director of the LSU Public Administration Institute, shared the problems BRPD faces in managing its officers.

"(BRPD) is about 30 years behind in the field of managing employees," Llorens said, while Dabadie nodded. State civil service laws govern how Dabadie and his department are hired, promoted or fired; any changes would have to come from the legislature, the chief said.

"You have a system where managers cannot manage," Llorens said. "You have to give them some type of discretion to do their job."

He also talked about the low starting salary for an officer, $32,000 a year, which he said will not attract the "best and brightest."

Also, Sonnier-Hillis discussed how police should be trained to deal with people who are mentally ill, and how officers should also be treated while they perform one of the hardest jobs.

She recommend a Crisis Intervention Team training, which Dabadie said they already implemented in part. Sonnier-Hillis suggested having a trained leader on every shift and making sure that person goes out on calls that deal with mental health.

Representatives from Southern University will later share their ideas on community policing and community engagement.

Wicker founded the committee at the end of 2016 with Welch in the aftermath of the fatal police shooting of Alton Sterling and the later ambush killing of three law enforcement officers and injuring of three others.

Dabadie was receptive to the ideas.

"A lot of the things they're talking about we already do," Dabadie said. "We're always open to be better; we're always open to improve the way that we do our jobs. … I'm not opposed to listening to what everyone has to say and incorporating what we can."


South Carolina

Advisory commission members learn about North Charleston Police Department

by Diane Knich

Members of North Charleston's Citizens' Advisory Commission on Community-Police Relations have a lot to learn, and they began their lessons Tuesday.

The group — believed to be the only one of its kind in the Lowcountry — is participating in a training series about how the North Charleston Police Department operates. It likely will take five or more training sessions before the group has the background it needs to do its job. The commission plans to meet bimonthly.

That job includes reviewing citizens' complaints against the department and its officers. Its work also includes: improving communication between the department and the city's communities; educating the public about how to bring issues to the police department; aiding in recruiting new officers; and making recommendations to the department about how to improve community policing.

The panel was formed partly as a response to the 2015 fatal shooting of Walter Scott by North Charleston officer Michael Slager. Some residents have questioned how effective it will be because it lacks subpoena powers.

Members learned Tuesday about the organizational structure of the department, its recruitment and training.

Sgt. Michael Cardaronella said there's a long process from recruitment to a trained officer on the street. Potential officers face extensive background checks, face-to-face interviews, reading comprehension and physical agility tests, a polygraph test, a psychological evaluation and a drug screening and medical exam. They also must attend a 12-week training program at the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy and work for at least nine weeks under the supervision of an experienced officer.

Commission member Daniel O'Neal asked that a training session be added on techniques that officers use during difficult situations with mentally ill residents. Department officials agreed to do that.

And member Denise Mosley asked about education requirements.

Deputy Chief David Cheatle said the department currently requires people to have a high school education, but applicants who have two- or four-year degrees get noticed. He said in the future, police officers likely will need at least a two-year degree. "In order for it to be a true profession one day, I think it's going to go that route. But we're not there yet."

North Charleston's 25-member commission was formed to provide a degree of civilian oversight over a police department. The city of Charleston's police department has sought to improve its community relations through its Illumination Project.


Washington D.C.

Secret Service examines suspicious package near White House

A Secret Service official says an explosive ordnance team was on the scene on Tuesday morning

by the Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Secret Service says they have taken a man into custody who was carrying a package near the White House after he made suspicious comments to an officer.

A Secret Service official says an explosive ordnance team was on the scene on Tuesday morning to examine the package about a block from the White House.

A security perimeter was established near the White House grounds, but Secret Service officials say all other West Wing activity is proceeding normally.

The investigation comes after two recent fence-jumping incidents at the White House. A California man was charged with jumping the fence while carrying two cans of Mace. And a woman from Washington state got tangled up in her shoelaces trying to jump the fence last week.


New York

NY mulls use of DNA familial matching

The draft policy says that before familial searching is done, local police have to certify that reasonable investigative efforts have been exhausted

by Anthony M. Destefano

NEW YORK — A state panel of DNA experts approved on Monday a draft policy allowing familial searching, a new and controversial form of genetic testing, as a way of helping police solve homicide, certain sex crimes and terrorism cases.

By a unanimous vote, the DNA subcommittee of the state Commission on Forensic Science approved a short policy statement calling for familial searching, also known as “FS,” as well as a set of regulations to govern the procedure in New York.

The subcommittee also recommended that the commission approve the policy, which garnered interest as a result of the killing of Howard Beach jogger Karina Vetrano last August. Police got DNA from Vetrano's body but couldn't get any matches with genetic profiles in the state DNA database.

The draft policy approved by the subcommittee said that before familial searching is done, the local police and prosecutors have to certify that reasonable investigative efforts had been exhausted or that emergency circumstances exist. It would also be used in investigations dealing with first-degree kidnapping and arson.

Interest increased in familial searching following a November 2016 story in Newsday which described familial searching and its potential use in the Vetrano investigation, which at that time seemed stalled. NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill and Queens District Attorney Richard Brown issued strong statements calling for changes in state procedures to allow familial testing.

“Today's action by the DNA Subcommittee of the NYS Commission on Forensic Science unanimously approving familial match DNA searches is an important step forward in identifying the guilty, excluding the innocent and bringing closure to the families of victims of unsolved homicides,” Brown said in a statement. “While the journey for justice for those families is not yet complete, this is an important milestone.”

The Vetrano family also support the testing, even though police, using more traditional investigative methods, were finally able to make an arrest in early February of a suspect in Karina's homicide.

Some civil libertarians have voiced concerns about privacy and the fact that the existing state DNA database has a disproportionately high number of profiles of people of color. Proponents said familial searching is race-neutral.


New York

James Jackson gets terrorism charge for racist slaying of Timothy Caughman in NYC

by Shayna Jacobs and Graham Rayman

The Baltimore man who admitted selecting a black man at random and stabbing him to death in Midtown was charged with murder as an act of terrorism Monday.

James Jackson, 28, emerged from a holding cell in tan jail fatigues with his pants tucked into white tube socks.

Portia Clark, who grew up with Jackson's victim Timothy Caughman, looked on with her husband Carl Nimmons.

“Tim Caughman did not deserve to die like that,” she said.

Cops say Jackson took a bus to New York from Baltimore on March 17 specifically to kill black people in a place where he thought the act would get greater media attention.

Jackson allegedly stabbed bottle-collector Caughman, 66, Monday at 36th St. and Ninth Ave., plunging a sword with an 18-inch blade into his chest.

In an exclusive interview with the Daily News Sunday, Jackson acknowledged committing the crime, and said he wanted to discourage white women from getting romantically involved with black men.

“I didn't know he was elderly,” told The News, adding he rather would have killed “a young thug” or “a successful older black man with blonds ... people you see in Midtown. These younger guys that put white girls on the wrong path.”

The former soldier, who served with the Army in Afghanistan, said he'd intended for the killing to be “a practice run” — the first step in a larger plan with many more casualties.

Jackson faces life in prison without parole if convicted of the charges filed by the Manhattan district attorney's office Monday. In addition to the terror charge, he faces illegal weapons possession charges.

He's due to be arraigned in Manhattan Supreme Court on April 13.

His lawyer Sam Talkin declined to comment.



Miami-Dade police officers shot in "ambush-style attack"

by CBS News

MIAMI -- The Miami-Dade Police Department said late Monday that two of its officers were shot and wounded in an “ambush-style attack.”

The shooting happened around 10 p.m. at an apartment complex, according to a witness who spoke to CBS Miami. The officers were potentially undercover and in plain clothes, reports CBS Miami.

Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez said at a news conference that the shooting occurred an apartment complex around 10 p.m.

CBS News correspondent Manuel Bojorquez reports the two officers were conducting surveillance inside an unmarked car when they were targeted, according to the police department.

“Today we had a very scary incident. Obviously, we have two of our officers that work in the homicide task force, part of the gang unit, conducting an investigation near the Annie Coleman apartments,” he said. “The end result of their operation was that they were apparently shot in an ambush-style attack.”

The officers were rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital in the back of a black pickup truck.

CBS Miami confirmed the two officers were in stable condition.

Police from multiple agencies set up a very large perimeter and SWAT was headed to the scene while fire rescue from Miami-Dade county and the city of Miami were assisting.

Bojorquez reports that police have yet to make any arrests, and Perez pleaded with the community for help in identifying the attackers.

“We need you now to step up to the plate, and if you know something, if you saw something, to say something,” Perez said. “These are the people that are causing havoc in our community and we're not gonna stop, this is not going to deter us from doing our jobs. This is going to ignite a bigger fire in us to protect our citizens.”

Police say it's unclear whether the suspects knew they were targeting police, but they are clearly dangerous and the area where the shooting happened is still being searched.

Authorities have not said how many people they are looking for at this time.

If you have any information that can help police, please contact Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS.



Maryland student plotted Columbine-style attack, police say

by CNN Wire

THURMONT, Maryland — Nichole Cevario's journal was not your typical high school diary.

Rather than writing about schoolwork or personal relationships, the 18-year-old allegedly detailed her plans for a Columbine-style mass shooting at her Maryland high school, according to law enforcement.

And officials are convinced those plans might have come to fruition if one of her parents hadn't told school officers about them, the Frederick County Sheriff's Office said on Monday.

Police searched her home and found a shotgun with ammunition as well as materials for making pipe bombs, including pipes, shrapnel, fireworks, magnesium tape, and fuse material, police said.

“There's no doubt in our minds that we averted disaster there,” Sheriff Charles Jenkins told reporters. “I've never seen anything like this, to be honest with you.”

Police removed Cevario from Catoctin High School without incident last Thursday, the sheriff's office said in a statement. No other individuals assisted in the planning, Jenkins said.

Cevario was taken to the hospital for evaluation and remains hospitalized, he said. Though she has not yet been arrested, a warrant for her arrest charges her with possession of explosive and incendiary material with an intent to create a destructive device. Both charges against Cevario carry a maximum sentence of up to 25 years in prison.

Cevario's diary showed that she had been gathering information about the school's emergency procedures and had even talked to a school resource officer about how they respond to shooting incidents, Jenkins said. She planned to execute the lone wolf attack on April 5, he added.

“Right now this investigation is very much focused on her diary and the detail in her diary that clearly planned out a mass shooting at her high school,” Jenkins said.

No weapons or explosive material ever made it to school grounds, he said.

Police said they could not be sure she would have had the “will” to carry out the attack, but said she planned to die on the date she identified in the journal.

“The fact that a young woman could have this in her mind, this way of thinking and planning out and carrying out an attack much like Columbine or Sandy Hook,” Jenkins said. “It shocks the conscience to see that someone at that age could be thinking like that.”



In a Cleveland neighborhood, there was community policing before it carried the name

When cops umpired kids' baseball games

by Leon Bibb

CLEVELAND - Across the country, there is much talk about the need for community policing. Certainly, police departments are pushing themselves to be more community-minded because relationships between citizens and police officers can sometimes be tenuous.

When I was a youngster in 1960s Cleveland, my boyhood friends and I often talked the cops into fun-filled moments of community policing although neither the cops nor we realized what we were actually doing.

But it was community policing which revolved around neighborhood baseball games among us kids.

Throughout the country, police departments, city halls, and citizens groups are discussing concepts and ideas of to find positive lines of communication between cops and community. Community policing is a strategy or policy which focuses on police building ties and working closely with members of the community.

Decades ago, during some of our baseball games in the schoolyard across the street from where I lived, we boys would choose sides and play baseball. During the mornings, our scheduled baseball games under the Cleveland Baseball Federation would be supervised at the city's Gordon Park sandlot baseball diamonds.

But during the afternoon when we could put on pickup baseball games using a rubber ball instead of the regulation baseball, we would mark off the bases with chalk on the asphalt schoolyard. Often, Cleveland police officers would drive by, look through the fence surrounding the school yard, and then turn in their squad car. I can remember two police officers getting out of the car to take a break from their patrols.

They would always keep the car motor running and the police radio would continue its squawk to which the officers kept their ears attuned. We would talk them into spending a couple of innings with us.

"Can you umpire some for us," we boys would ask. The officers usually said they could. Sometimes they would offer advice on how to better play the game. The time with the police in our school yard also gave us boys a chance to sit on the fenders of their car or peer through the window at the radio.

We never ran away when the police officers turned into the schoolyard. Of course, we were never doing anything for which we thought we needed to run. After a few of these community policing baseball game sessions, we learned their badge numbers and the numbers on their cars. The cops learned our names. At the same time, we learned about their lives and their jobs. We were inquisitive kids who expressed interest in cops, and firefighters, and uniformed people whose lives were filled with action.

At the time when I was a boy not yet old enough to have a driver's license, I didn't give much thought to our relationship with the cops. It was just part of our lives. But in recent years, my mind has gone back to those years. They were idyllic in that those days are filled with positive memories of a good childhood in the city of Cleveland.

I have written much of the violence of today which peppers the old neighborhood in which I grew up. It saddens me there has been so much gunfire and death on Cleveland streets; even deaths of teenagers who should be playing sports of some kind as opposed to being involved in gangs. My job as a television newscaster almost daily involves my reports of shootings, fights, and other troubles involving teenagers and young adults.

In my childhood, had no gang. I did belong to a group of youth. We played baseball in the playground or on the city sandlots. We carried no guns. We carried baseball gloves.

Most differences we had could be settled by an umpire who had watched the play and called us safe or out at first, second, or third base. Whatever the call, in reality, we were all safe at home.

On our pickup games in the playground, it was the umpire who settled our baseball disputes. Sometimes, it was a Cleveland police officer.

I realize the cops of today run from one emergency to the next. Cars of black and white with the word "POLICE" written on their sides run through the streets, often with their blue roof lights blinking and their sirens crying. There are experts working to lessen the instances of crime. Those experts are better schooled than I on how to do that. I will leave the details to the experts of how to fight crime yet strengthen the relationships between police and citizens.

During these times, decades removed from the years of by childhood, government officials, citizens, and police are talking openly about the need for more community policing.

In Cleveland, the efforts are underway to make for better relations between police and the communities. I believe we are making inroads. During the 2016 Republican National Committee convention in Cleveland, strong community policing earned the entire nation's attention.

As one journalist from Boston had written, he came to Cleveland expecting a riot because of the tense situation in politics and the expected large numbers of protestors who would demonstrate against a variety of issues in the nation. Instead, he found something else. He wrote he had expected "a riot," Instead he found "a block part."

Much can be attributed to the way Cleveland police officers and the hundreds of others who were brought to Cleveland as security for the convention handled situations. Cleveland officers were able to easily handle the few disturbances by being open to the people who demonstrated, allowing them their Constitutional rights to do so.

Other communities have since been in touch with Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams about how he and his officers handled themselves in situations which could have gotten very tense while at the same time enforcing the law.

Community policing and how it is carried out can diffuse and otherwise troubling situation. But cops and citizens have to know each other. The cops in the neighborhood of my youth learned our names and we baseball-playing boys learned theirs. hat marked the beginning of a relationship which was fostered even more on an asphalt schoolyard baseball diamond outline in chalk.

Maybe if the neighborhood kids could grab a ball and a bat and hit a few pitches through a makeshift infield could be a beginning. Maybe if the cops could take notice and stop by to umpire an inning or two could help in the effort for better relations.

I like to think that might be a good idea or at least a good beginning.

Maybe the cops and the community need someone to do what baseball umpires do. Shout, "Play ball!"



Community Policing, Not Sanctuary, in Fairfax County

Resurgent gang activity also discussed at Public Safety Committee.

by Tim Peterson

"Fairfax County is not a sanctuary, but police officers aren't picking up anyone in the country illegally on behalf of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. That was a primary message from Fairfax County Police Department Chief Edwin Roessler to the Board of Supervisors Public Safety Committee on March 21 with regards to ICE activity in the county.

Committee chair Supervisor John Cook (R-Braddock) said the regional director for ICE was invited to attend and speak at the meeting, but declined.

Roessler spoke to the level of involvement his department has with ICE, mainly to say that officers do not participate in ICE administrative raids.

Once a prisoner — any prisoner — is handed off to the Sheriff's Office for processing, they're fingerprinted and checked into a national database, Roessler said. ICE has access to the prisoner database and it's up to them to respond to the Sheriff's Office for a detainer.

Roessler said that with regards to ICE raids taking place in Fairfax County, the expectation is that ICE gives FCPD some awareness of activity taking place in certain areas. ICE agents may not be dressed as law enforcement officers, Roessler said, and he wants to prevent situations where residents might see ICE conducting a raid and call police. “ICE knows that well,” Roessler said.

Chairman Sharon Bulova said in the interests of community policing, it's important to maintain a separation between the administrative work of ICE and and the work of FCPD.

The “trust of the community,” Bulova said, is important for people to “report crime, ask for help.”

That being said, Cook said Fairfax is “not a sanctuary county,” that FCPD will comply with and enforce federal law.

Deputy County Executive Dave Rohrer reiterated that anyone who is arrested in Fairfax County “will be treated the same,” but that the jurisdiction is “not a sanctuary … in our mind … in any way.”

Supervisor Pat Herrity asked if Roessler was aware of increased ICE activity over the last several months — coinciding with executive action by President Donald Trump calling for increased immigration enforcement.

Roessler said he hadn't been handed any data that showed ICE has been more active in Fairfax County. However both men agreed there is perception and fear in the community of increased ICE presence.

Roessler said he's received many emails from concerned residents, and that the department is out in the community trying to reassure people, “We want to protect you, not deport you.”

THERE HAVE BEEN SEVEN gang-related homicides around northern Virginia since the fall of 2016, one in Fairfax County, Roessler. Remains of a 15-year-old Gaithersburg, Md. girl were found in the 7100 block of Wimsatt Road in Springfield on Feb. 11. Ten arrests were made in that case.

The chief said there were no gang-related homicides in the county last year, and two in 2015.

Roessler and Jay Lanham, director of the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force, said they are seeing increased gang activity across the region.

The resurgence includes heavy recruitment in schools, as well as an uptick in gun, drug and sex trafficking, they said.

When asked by the supervisors if his department had everything they need to combat the problem, Roessler replied in the affirmative, but said “we need help from community members and parents.”

Lanham said that while gang communication and activity used to be primarily observed through graffiti, the expansive use of social media for gang communication and recruitment has made it much more difficult to keep up.

Supervisor Penny Gross (D-Mason) said that while the supervisors created a gang unit in 1998 and it “worked well for a long time,” the work being done has become “lackadaisical” and law enforcement needs to step up again.

Gross advertised a town meeting in Mason District to further discuss gang activity, police response and community effort to better engage youth and prevent them from taking up with gangs.

“We should be angry about this,” Gross said.

THE MEETING ON GANG ACTIVITY is scheduled for Wednesday, March 29, at 7 p.m., at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale.


Washington D.C.

Boldin to address forum on community-police relations

by Melissa Nann Burke

Free agent and former Detroit Lions wide receiver Anquan Boldin will take part in a congressional forum for lawmakers to hear from National Football League players about how to improve relationships between minority communities and the police.

Boldin, 36, is expected to speak Thursday about his experience dealing with police as a young athlete growing up in Florida, and how his outlook changed after the death of his cousin in a police-involved incident.

Last fall, Boldin helped organize a Capitol Hill meeting for five NFL players to discuss police relations and race issues with congressional lawmakers.

In January, he told the Associated Press that he would welcome and appreciate a chance to sit down with President Donald Trump to discuss concerns for minorities.

“We are in a period where this country is divided. I think anybody that says otherwise is fooling themselves,” Boldin told the AP.

“At this point in order for anything to be changed, you have to sit down and talk with President Trump. At this point the Republicans, they're in control of the House, they're in control of the Congress, so in order for anything or any change you have to meet with the powers that be and you have to sit down and explain exactly where you're coming from but also you have to be willing to listen. I think that's one of the things that's hindering us as a country now, nobody listens to each other no more.”

Boldin hopes to use his pro career to help raise awareness of the need to build bridges between police and communities such as his hometown in southern Florida, Pahokee. He has also played for the Arizona Cardinals, the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers.

The forum, set for 11 a.m. Thursday on Capitol Hill, will also feature Phillip Atiba Goff, president of the Center for Policing Equity, and Malcolm Jenkins, a safety for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Jenkins will discuss his recent trip to a prison in Pennsylvania, where he volunteered with inmates in a computer class and spoke to them about how they were preparing to transition into their lives outside prison.

The forum is organized by four House Democrats, including Rep. John Conyers Jr. of Detroit, the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee; Rep. Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform; and Rep. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Boldin was last year's Walter Payton Man of the Year, which the NFL awards to recognize a player's charity and positive impact in his community.


AG Jeff Sessions: Sanctuary cities must end

Sessions said the DOJ will require compliance with immigration laws in order for the cities to receive grants through the Office of Justice Programs

by the Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is continuing its tough talk against "sanctuary cities," which shelter people living in the country illegally by refusing to help the federal government enforce immigration laws.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he is "urging states and local jurisdictions to comply with these federal laws."

He says the Justice Department will require compliance with immigration laws in order for the cities to receive grants through the Office of Justice Programs. The Obama administration had a similar policy in place.

President Trump had said during the campaign that he would "defund" sanctuary cities by taking away their federal funding.

But legal precedent suggests that would have been difficult to do.

Sanctuary cities include New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, as well as many smaller municipalities.


From the FBI

The FBI in Israel

‘Long-Lasting Relationships' Key to Building Cases

The arrest last week of an individual in Israel suspected of sending threatening messages to Jewish organizations in the U.S. and several other countries provides a glimpse into one of the FBI's key roles overseas.

The FBI and Israel National Police worked jointly to locate and arrest the individual, according to an FBI statement issued March 23. The threatening calls over the last several months fostered fears about a rise in anti-Semitism in the United States. Investigating hate crimes is a top priority for the Bureau, which praised its law enforcement and intelligence partners: “The FBI commends the great work of the Israeli National Police in this investigation,” the statement said.

In this and other overseas cases, FBI investigations are greatly helped by having strong relationships already in place with host countries. In Israel, where terrorism is a perpetual threat and American citizens are frequently among those injured or killed in violence between Israelis and Palestinians, the FBI has a long history of working with the country's national police and intelligence agencies.

“It's immensely important that the FBI and other members of the U.S. intelligence community develop strong, long-lasting relationships with international partners in the intelligence arena and also in law enforcement,” said Cary Gleicher, the FBI's legal attaché in Israel. The FBI has more than 63 overseas offices, or legal attachés, and each relies heavily on its local counterpart to support FBI cases.

“The FBI's job overseas is, essentially, to work with the host country to collect evidence and intelligence against interests that may affect us in the homeland or may affect U.S. interests abroad,” said Gleicher, who has worked in FBI outposts in Austria, Cambodia, Singapore, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Gleicher, an agent since 1989 who opened the legal attaché office in Tel Aviv in 1996 and is on his third tour in Israel, said laying a foundation of cooperation—assisting foreign countries with cases that have a U.S. nexus while seeking their help with FBI cases—is the primary role of FBI agents stationed overseas. “Our job is to build and foster long-term relationships that allow FBI leadership, both at Headquarters and our field offices, to communicate with any host country intelligence and/or law enforcement executives at any time.”

In Israel—as elsewhere—the FBI works traditional criminal cases that have connections or subjects within a host country, such as cyber, financial, and organized crime investigations. Earlier this month, for example, an organized crime case that originated in 2011 in the FBI's Washington Field Office led to arrests and charges against 19 suspects in cities in Europe and Israel, as well as in the U.S. Also this month, the FBI added a Jordanian woman to its Most Wanted Terrorists list for her suspected role in a 2001 bombing in Jerusalem that killed 15 people, including two Americans, and injured 122 others, including four Americans.

‘We Have Strong Cooperation'

Rusty Rosenthal, an assistant legal attaché in Israel, said having relationships in place smooths and facilitates these types of complex investigations.

“We're able to hit the ground running, and we're that much further along whenever we need some kind of mutual assistance,” said Rosenthal, who has spent more than seven years in Israel on multiple tours, in addition to assignments in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and Yemen. “We've cultivated and maintained these relationships so that when something does come up—and it may be an emergency and it may be breaking very quickly—we know who to call and get access or the information we need to help advance our interests and also help them.”

Indeed, it's a mutually beneficial relationship, said Brig. Gen. Coresh Barnoor, a top investigator in the Israel National Police. “We have to join forces,” said Barnoor, who heads a unit at Lahav 433—the investigative arm of the department—that probes organized crime and financial crimes. “Working together, we can establish cases.”

Barnoor, a 15-year veteran of the Israel National Police, recalled the cooperation that followed a series of suicide bomb attacks early in his career where Americans were among the casualties. Investigators were able to work together to build a case that ultimately led to indictments in the U.S. against the perpetrators. “I think this was a very, very valuable case besides the investigation,” Barnoor said. “We established ties. That's why I say to my police officers, ‘Always establish relationships with your colleagues around the world. It's very, very important.'”

In the recent case of the threatening phone messages, the FBI had been working with Israeli intelligence on the investigation since last September, according to Gleicher, who said the FBI sent more than a dozen agents and technical specialists to Israel in the lead up to last week's arrest.

In addition to a presence at U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv, the FBI has an assistant legal attaché stationed at the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem. The position was established about five years ago to develop and foster a relationship with the Palestinian Authority.

“Our job is apolitical,” Gleicher said. “So, while we're assigned in a nation where the Arab-Israeli conflict is with us every day, it doesn't matter to us whether somebody's wearing a Jewish skullcap—a kippah—or a Palestinian is wearing a keffiyah, we look at everybody as human beings. And our job is to stop them from getting hurt and working closely with our host country intelligence and law enforcement partners to identify and prosecute the bad guys when something tragic happens.”