May 2017 - Week 1
People of color want more community policing, Wisconsin police poll finds
by Lisa Speckhard
The role of police in communities of color is a hotly contested question nationwide, and Madison has had its fair share of debate. So it may come as a surprise that according to a recent poll from the Wisconsin Professional Police Association, people of color would prefer increased policing in their neighborhoods.
“Some advocates say the minority members don't want law enforcement in their neighborhoods,” said Jim Palmer, executive director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association on a recent episode of “Capital City Sunday.” “It's of particular interest to us that the minority members are the ones who want more policing, not less.”
But people of color want a specific type of law enforcement, Palmer said: community policing.
This is the fifth year the association has conducted the poll, which also found high favorability ratings of local law enforcement and strong opposition to concealed carry in schools.
The poll found that 58 percent of Wisconsinites want the same level of community policing, while 37 percent want more community policing. But after breaking down the data by race, it was clear that people of color have a stronger preference for increased community policing, Palmer said.
“Minorities, clearly they don't just want more boots on the ground, they want more policing, and they've told us what kind of policing they want. And that's something we should be sensitive to,” Palmer said.
“I would say I have specifically heard the same thing from people of color for the last 10 years,” said Michael Johnson, CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County, who did not appear on the segment. “Community policing strategies are best practices.”
He described a partnership between the community and local law enforcement, referencing his 15-point plan to reduce violence in Chicago as an example. He said preventing crimes was only possible “if police and the community are working collaboratively together.”
“Police officers still need to do their job, but why not hire people from the community to work with the police on community policing strategies?” Johnson said. "Our community is so diverse that some would say more police and some would say we need more community policing. I believe we need a hybrid of both."
The poll also found that 84 percent of Wisconsinites believe a well-funded police force improves their quality of life. Looking at approval ratings, 84 percent also said that they approve or strongly approve of how the local police force handles its job.
Palmer said that favorability ratings were high, but "less high amongst non-whites."
The poll also created a test pitting perception versus reality, asking Wisconsinites to name how many people shot in officer-involved shootings in 2016 were armed.
Forty-three percent of respondents said most were armed, and 39 percent said some were armed. In reality, 100 percent were armed.
Neumann said that while that may be the case for 2016, there are several examples of individuals — like Paul Heenan and Tony Robinson — who were unarmed and fatally wounded in previous years.
“There have been incidents we can point to because they've certainly garnered some media attention,” Palmer said.
Palmer said that Tony Robinson's death was the only “technically unarmed officer-involved shooting that occurred that year.”
“In that case, Mr. Robinson wasn't armed, but in our view, still very dangerous,” Palmer said.
Officer-involved shootings continue to rise in Wisconsin. So far in 2017, there have been 14 officer-involved shootings. At this point in 2016, there were 10.
“We're actually up pretty significantly,” Palmer said.
Many of those were not in large urban areas, but locations like Wausau, Eau Claire or La Crosse. There have been no officer-involved shootings in Milwaukee this year, which Palmer said is unusual. He called the locations of the shootings “pretty extraordinary.”
Boston won't turn its police officers into ICE agents
by Martin J. Walsh and Jeffrey L. Brown
RECENT DEBATES OVER immigration enforcement have focused on the role of local police in the community. This issue is not new for Boston. We've been working on it for years. We've found that when it comes to public safety, building trust is more effective than stoking fear. Consider one day last fall. We were walking down Warren Street with other city officials, pastors, and police officers. We spoke with families at the Roxbury YMCA; we stopped by Little Scobie Playground; and we visited with seniors at Rockland Street Elderly Housing. Our group kept growing, as more and more neighbors joined us along the way.
When we circled back to the Warren Gardens Housing Co-Op, we saw a large group of kids running toward us. They surrounded Bill Evans, commissioner of the Boston Police Department, competing for high-fives. It was a wonderful thing to see. This was group of kids from a neighborhood that has seen a lot of violence in its long history. They recognized their police commissioner right away. And they were so excited to greet him that they almost knocked him over. That's a good sign.
This trust doesn't happen by accident. It's earned. It's the result of years of teamwork between members of the community, City Hall, faith leaders, the police, and local activists. Over the last three years alone, we've brought violent crime down by 9 percent and property crime down by 16 percent in the City of Boston. And just as important: We've driven down crime while making 25 percent fewer arrests since 2014.
How is that possible? Reducing crime starts with lifting communities up. It's all about using our resources to invest in education, housing, and employment. And it's about building a culture of trust between the community and the police.
That's what happened when clergy, social workers, and police worked together to reduce the homicide rate in the “Boston Miracle” of the 1990s. That was our goal when we invited homicide survivors into City Hall on the first day of the new administration in 2014. That was our goal when we created the Office of Public Safety, which operates with a philosophy of lifting people up, not locking people up.
All these things have helped community members and police officers to get to know one another — and work together to make our neighborhoods safer, healthier, and more prosperous. That is the definition of effective community policing. And major crime rates are the lowest they've been in a decade.
The new administration in Washington has a different philosophy on law enforcement. It wants our police officers to detain community members based on suspected immigration status, even if they have not been charged with a crime. This is not their job, and it never has been. It would take them away from more effective community policing work that has proven so successful. And it would erode the trust we have worked so hard to establish over many years in Boston.
Representatives of the administration have even claimed that if a city doesn't force its police to round up immigrants, then it must not care about stopping crime. This argument is seriously misguided — and it's simply untrue. Our police need residents to trust them. Only then do people feel safe enough to come forward, report crimes, and help with investigations. The administration essentially wants to turn local police into Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. This approach would do little to prevent terror attacks, and it would actually make our communities less safe. Cities all over the country, in both blue states and red states, know this to be true.
The data back us up. Earlier this year, Thomas Wong, a professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego, analyzed counties from an ICE data set. He found that large metropolitan areas ICE identifies as “sanctuary cities” had fewer crimes per capita than nonsanctuary cities. What's more, they had higher median income, less poverty, and higher employment rates. Studies have also shown that immigrants commit fewer crimes than people who were born in the United States.
It's much easier for police to investigate crimes when residents feel safe talking to them. And when families stay together, it's possible for people to pursue education, find employment, and contribute to our economy.
Victims of domestic violence illustrate just how destructive the opposite approach can be. Too many people (women and children in particular) are afraid that if they call the police for help, they or a family member could be detained or deported based on immigration status. So they continue to suffer in silence.
In Boston, we will not turn our local police officers into ICE agents. We know that protecting our most vulnerable residents makes our city safer. And our city has a long history of doing just that. That day last fall in Roxbury, when the kids ran to greet Commissioner Evans, we were taking part in one of the Twelfth Baptist Church's weekly peace walks. They started back in the early '90s, after homicides skyrocketed in Boston. We've embraced the peace walk and all it represents once again — bringing it to more communities that have suffered from gang violence, such as in East Boston last year.
We are far from perfect. But the data, and, more important, our neighbors tell us that we are moving in the right direction. In Boston, we will not undo all this good work. When we walk together, we listen better. We understand each other more completely. Every step we take makes that culture of trust stronger. And that's how we build peace. We won't turn back now.
Martin J. Walsh is the Mayor of Boston. The Rev. Jeffrey L. Brown is associate pastor at the Twelfth Baptist Church in Roxbury.
Pa. school considers body cameras for officers
Superintendent Alan Johnson said the body cameras "would provide for greater accountability for everyone involved" including officers, staff and students
by The Associated Press
NORTH BRADDOCK, Pa. — A suburban Pittsburgh school district is considering requiring school resource officers and security guards to wear body cameras while inside schools.
Officials at the Woodland Hills School District sad it still needs to secure funding and get input from the municipal police departments that contract officers to work in the schools.
Superintendent Alan Johnson said Friday the body cameras "would provide for greater accountability for everyone involved" including officers, staff and students. He said he doesn't believe any other Pennsylvania schools use such cameras with police officers.
County prosecutors have been investigating allegations that a police officer assigned to a district school knocked out the tooth of a 14-year-old student during an arrest. An attorney representing the student has alleged other altercations involving officials at the school.
Philippines says bomb sparked by feud but IS claims attack
by The Associated Press
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine police say a bomb explosion that killed two people in a Muslim community in Manila was sparked by a personal feud, but the Islamic State group says its fighters were responsible.
Police say a package being delivered by a man exploded late Saturday in downtown Manila's Quiapo district, killing him and another man receiving the package at a Shiite center. Police say four others were wounded.
Authorities say another explosive went off more than two hours later near the scene of the first explosion and wounded two policemen deployed to help secure the area and investigate the bombing.
The IS group claimed its fighters killed "five Shiites" in a bombing in Manila.
Police Shoot and Kill Teen in Parking Lot of San Diego High School
The teenager pulled a BB air gun from his waistband and pointed it at San Diego Police Department officers who responded by firing their weapons at him
by Monica Garske, Ramon Galindo and Liberty Zabala
Officers shot and killed a teenager in the parking lot of his high school in San Diego Saturday morning after the teen called police to check on him and then allegedly pulled out a BB gun and pointed it at the officers.
According to San Diego Police Department (SDPD) Acting Homicide Capt. Mike Holden, the 15-year-old boy called police asking officers to conduct a welfare check on a minor -- himself -- near Torrey Pines High School (TPHS) in Carmel Valley just before 3:30 a.m.
"[In] our preliminary investigation, we believe that the subject that was shot is the person who actually called to check the welfare [of the minor]. We believe that he actually called and spoke about himself in the third person," Holden explained. "It was a very general 'check the welfare' call."
"It was a phone call that 'there's a male juvenile in front of the school, it appears someone should check on him,'" Holden added.
The SDPD said the caller stated that the juvenile had no weapons.
Two officers -- including an officer specifically trained to deal with juveniles -- were the first to arrive at the parking lot at the front entrance of the school. There, they spotted the teenager standing in the lot.
Holden said that as the officers got out of their patrol car, the teenager pulled a gun out of his waistband "and pointed it directly at one of the officers."
Both officers drew their service weapons while repeatedly ordering the teenager to drop his weapon. Holden said the teen refused to drop the weapon and, instead, "continued to point the handgun at the one officer and then began walking towards the same officer."
Again, the officers told the teen to drop his weapon.
Holden said the officers feared for their safety and fired their guns at the teen, striking him "a number of times."
The teen was critically wounded and taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla where he died a short time later. The officers, a 28-year veteran and 4-year veteran of the police department, were not hurt.
"Everyone's in shock and everyone's surprised," Torrey Pines junior Hayder Alamar told NBC 7. "Right when I woke up I got a lot of text messages from my friends saying 'did you hear about the shooting at the school?' And at first I didn't believe it."
Investigators have now determined that the weapon held by the teen was a semi-automatic BB air pistol, Holden said in a press release Saturday afternoon. The BB gun was recovered by police at the scene.
The investigation is ongoing. Per protocol, SDPD's Homicide Unit investigates any and all officer-involved shootings in San Diego County.
Holden said the teenager killed by the police lived in the neighborhood. His family has been notified of his death, police said. His name will not be released by police, since hi's a minor.
"I'm really scared if it's someone I know or a friend or a classmate or anything." Alamar added.
Torrey Pines High School is part of the San Dieguito Union High School District (SDUHSD). Just before 11 a.m., SDUHSD Superintendent Eric Dill sent an email to parents altering them of the incident and confirming the teen killed by police was a student at Torrey Pines High School.
"I am saddened to report that the 15-year-old boy who was killed was a student at our school. Law enforcement has not released the name of the young man, but our hearts go out to the student, his family, and his friends. The details of the situation are still unfolding, but whatever they are, this event is very traumatic for our students, staff, families, and community."
Dill said a crisis response team will be at TPHS on Monday to help provide support for students, staff and parents as needed.
“If you need to talk to someone about this or just need a place to go to mourn and process this tragedy, counseling services will be available at all of our schools on Monday for anyone who feels they need it,” Dill added.
He said the SDUHSD believes “in communicating openly with our school community about incidents that occur on or near our school campuses.”
Holden said the officers involved in the teenager's shooting were wearing department-issued body-worn cameras, so footage of the shooting exists. Those videos were impounded as evidence in the investigation.
Just one day earlier, San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis held a news conference to relesase videos of three prior shootings in San Diego involving local police officers and deputies.
Dumanis said the DA's office was releasing the videos Friday in those prior incidents per the protocol reached with law enforcement agencies. She has held similar news conferences in the past to reveal new details about other law enforcement-involved shootings in San Diego.
It is unclear, at this point, if and when the body camera video of the shooting of this teenager at TPHS will be released.
TPHS is located at 3710 Del Mar Heights Rd. and serves students in grades nine through 12.
As the morning unfolded, investigators remained at the school gathering evidence. Although school was not in session, many students began filing onto campus hours after the shooting to take their SATs.
One mother, who did not want to go on camera, told NBC 7 it is unsettling to know a 15-year-old was shot and killed in the campus parking lot.
Another mother picking up her son after he took the SATs at the high school on Saturday said that her family lives in the neighborhood, so the deadly shooting of the teen hits very close to home.
The mother wondered why officers had to fatally wound the teen and why they didn't use some other less lethal weapon. The mother also said the school district should have moved the testing center to a different school.
No further details were immediately available. Check back for updates on this developing story.
Police helping to revitalize neighborhoods
SHEBOYGAN - Sheboygan Police Officer Andy Kundinger was flagged down by someone in an alleyway earlier this year.
Not for a crime in process. There was no emergency to report. The flagger, a man who'd lived all his life on Sheboygan's south side, just wanted to share some gossip and shoot the breeze. Kundinger obliged.
The gentleman was someone the officer had gotten to know fairly well during his roughly one-year stint as a beat cop on the city's south side. In fact, he's gotten to know a few of the denizens in the neighborhood where he's become a conspicuously familiar face. He's held bratwurst cookouts, read with children in parks and forged relationships with neighbors — some who in the past would just as soon have avoided a Man in Blue as talked with one.
The man in the alley had lived in the same house his whole life and had seen the surrounding neighborhood change. When he invited Kundinger into his home earlier this year, he wanted to talk about an abandoned property nearby — a bit of blight he hoped the city could deal with — and he knew he could bend Kundinger's ear.
“We talked about some other issues within the neighborhood,” the officer recalled of the impromptu conversation. “Whether it's possible drug dealing at a specific house, or just kind of funny stories about what's going on in the neighborhood.”
Kundinger's hyperlocal police work in a section of the city's south side hasn't come about by accident. Police in the past identified the area between Indiana and Broadway avenues as needing some special attention, and in early 2016 assigned Kundinger to zero in on that part of town. He's now the department's South Side Neighborhood Beat Officer, a title he's said has given him rare opportunities to develop relationships that might have been harder to foster had his role kept him more geographically spread out.
But his experience isn't unusual among police ranks in Sheboygan, where law enforcement leaders for years have been pushing for more community-interacting efforts. Most parts of town now have small teams of specially designated officers covering those areas. And a few places on the north and south sides have newly installed beat officers who routinely patrol specific places the city has said have needed some extra attention.
Kundinger has for more than a year covered extensively the King Park, Flats, Franklin Park and Indiana Corridor neighborhoods on the city's near south side. A colleague has more recently begun watching over a few parts of the city's north side, including the Near North, Kinney Park, End Park and Gateway neighborhoods.
And beginning next year, an extra officer will be roaming Sheboygan Area School District hallways, too.
The idea, broadly understood, is to get police interacting more with residents. Doing so puts those officers on more familiar ground with locals, making it more likely those residents will feel comfortable bringing issues to the police department's attention.
The efforts seem to be bearing fruit. Police Chief Chris Domagalski earlier this year reported burglaries and thefts in 2016 were at their lowest numbers in more than three decades, and other types of crime were well below their five-year average.
Earlier this year, the chief said crime in Sheboygan is down about 52 percent since 2007.
“Burglaries are from about 430 in 2007 to 119 I believe last year,” he said. “Reported thefts were over 1,700. We had, I don't know the number exactly, like 909 last year. We've seen drastic reductions.”
Domagalski said his officers deserve credit for some of those achievements, but noted increased cooperation from local residents has also helped reduce crime locally.
That cooperation, though, has a lot to do with community policing tactics Domagalski has helped to champion since coming into the police department's leadership role about seven years ago. Local officials credit Domagalski's leadership and efforts by his officers to increase their public presence in neighborhoods with helping curtail crime and raising neighborhoods' profiles.
Far from taking just a watchdog status, officers have been adopting relationship-building roles. Sheboygan officers last June went fishing with kids in a first-of-its-kind “Cops and Bobbers” event. And police occasionally host “Brat with a Cop” programs aimed at fostering discussions between law enforcement and residents.
“The problem is the way that policing has evolved over the last 30 years,” Domagalski said, noting problems in neighborhoods “that build up over months are expected to be solved in 30 seconds with a phone call” to police.
“That's not possible,” he explained. “Everything isn't an emergency. We've created this (beat officer) program to try to defer some calls so that they're not responded to as emergencies but to give the officers the time to identify problems and work through them with people.
“We can't solve everything ourselves,” the chief said. “We need the public to be involved and tell us what's going on, be active in helping to solve the problems.”
Police have long held special roles in Sheboygan schools, too, and they still do.
When she was a student at North High School, Officer Rebecca Rupnick said police in the building were known as “liaison” officers. Now, Rupnick is the school resource officer — the newer term bestowed on badge-wearing hall-wanderers — at her alma mater.
In her days as a student, liaison officers handled things like fights, truancy and smoking on school grounds, she said. Officers in the same role today might take care of similar sorts of things, but their duties have expanded.
“I think we handle a lot more serious cases,” Rupnick said.
Officers in schools now are mentors. They're educators, tension de-escalators and coaches. Essentially, they're experts in building relationships — all in an effort to avoid making arrests.
The Sheboygan Area School District this year has four school resource officers — sometimes simply called SROs — spread around its buildings. There's one in each of the two major high schools, North and South, and two more who juggle a few assignments across the district's several middle schools and Tower Academy. The officers also work in various elementary schools when necessary.
Beginning next fall, the district is adding another school resource officer to its roster, a move that's aimed at giving each middle school its own dedicated officer.
Rupnick and other school officers say theirs, like neighborhood beat officers', is a job aimed mainly at building relationships. Trust built between SROs and students can be the difference in defusing tense situations that might otherwise grow more volatile in officers' absence.
“There's certain ones that … you'll have that personal connection with,” said Officer Dana Fischer, whose SRO beat currently spans Urban Middle School and Tower Academy. “You'll want to check in with them, see how they're doing, making sure they're good because they respect your opinion.”
“We're finding that students will trust the SROs, and they disclose to them issues that may not only be going on at the school but going on at their homes,” said Capt. Kurt Brasser, who heads the police department's criminal investigations division. “That's really a conduit for us to get into the homes to see what resources are really needed there.”
School officers say theirs isn't necessarily a disciplinary job. Keeping order in hallways and classrooms, not to mention enforcing school rules, is the school's job. But security is on the SROs' minds, and they've taken steps in recent years, particularly following the shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut, to help standardize security across the district.
Besides keeping the schools safe, officers also take on educational and other activity-involved jobs. They occasionally teach in classrooms and sometimes participate in school-related programs, events and field trips.
“I get dressed up for homecoming and prom,” Rupnick said. “The kids get a kick out of seeing me in a dress and my hair all done.”
Additionally, city officials say efforts to raise police officers' profiles in certain neighborhoods has been a hallmark of Domagalski's tenure as chief at the department.
“There's a much more stressed focus on being in the community and being a positive attribute to that community,” said Sheboygan County District Attorney Joel Urmanski, who spent roughly the past decade as an assistant in the DA's office before taking over as the county's top prosecutor earlier this year.
Urmanski said there had already been efforts to introduce community policing tactics in Sheboygan before Domagalski was sworn in as the department's chief in 2010. Officers before then might have stopped by local banks to help demonstrate an armed robbery. And they helped lead a “Citizens Academy” program, a sort of modified police academy experience aimed at introducing locals to officers' work.
But efforts to get more officers zeroing in on specific neighborhoods has taken on a more significant emphasis under Domagalski, Urmanski observed.
“I think Chief Domagalski has initiated a great thing with the community policing,” Jim Bohren, an alderman on the common council, said recently. “Over the years I've had a chance to go on a couple ridealongs with a couple of the officers in the neighborhood.”
Bohren said he's lived here since the early 1970s. While not “knocking” on previous policing efforts, he said more recent initiatives to strategically place officers in certain neighborhoods and build relationships with neighbors “was a great move forward in police and community relations.”
“I think we've seen the effect of it in better communications with citizens and the police department,” he said.
“I've been here 23 years, and I've seen a great deal of improvement in the neighborhood policing,” said John Belanger, another alderman on the city's council. Clarifying, he added: “Not improvement of neighborhood policing, but the improvement of the effectiveness as a result of neighborhood policing.”
Belanger said he's gotten to know an officer who specializes in covering his far north-side neighborhood. Domagalski's efforts have kept already-strong neighborhoods that way, he said, while helping to lift up parts of town that have struggled historically with crime.
The effort has been in some ways driven by data and hard numbers. Domagalski said police have targeted neighborhoods that have shown categorically that they need officers' extra attention.
The department reviews economic and crime statistics to help pinpoint places that lack what Domagalski calls “social cohesion.” Officers' jobs, he said, is to dig into those places and help rebuild communities from within.
“I don't necessarily know that it's specific crimes that are in these areas,” Kundinger said of what the department is looking for in identifying trouble spots — like, say, drug or heroin hotspots. “It's just more of a call volume.”
While the initiative may be backed by numbers, officers describe their community-building tactics as something more esoteric: a program built on social ties that are tough to measure any way but anecdotally.
Kundinger said he tries to maintain a first-name relationship with people he meets. “I don't think I need a title,” he said. “I'm Andy.” And he looks for ways to use the relationships he's built over the years to make new ones.
That's happened with at least one woman he's encountered on his beat — somebody “who doesn't necessarily hold a high trust of law enforcement.” He knew the woman's daughter, though, from his time as a school resource offer at South High. Once he connected with the girl in her neighborhood, the mother began opening up to him. Now, he stops by the home every few weeks just to chat.
“I think it just goes to show that a position like this does make a difference,” Kundinger said. “It really shows the public, I think that we do care about these areas of the city, and we're not just there to enforce laws. We're there to help people and come up with ways to make their quality of living better.”
Kan. enhances penalties for crimes against police officers
The law enhances penalties for non-drug felonies against police if the officer is on duty or if the perpetrator knows the victim is an officer
by The Associated Press
TOPEKA, Kan. — Republican Gov. Sam Brownback signed laws Friday increasing the penalties for attacking a law enforcement officer and requiring some police interrogations to be recorded.
Lawmakers in the House and Senate worked this week to pass the tougher penalties bill so that Brownback could sign it Friday in honor of Kansas Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Day. The House passed the bill 115-9 Tuesday. The Senate passed it 38-0 Wednesday.
The law enhances penalties for non-drug felonies against police officers if the officer is on duty or if the perpetrator knows the victim is a police officer. The measure also lowers sentences for some drug crimes.
Some lawmakers wanted the bill to include a broader hate crimes penalty. Brownback said it would be unlikely as the legislative session nears its end.
The videotaped interrogation measure had the backing of Floyd Bledsoe, who spent nearly 16 years in prison for a killing that his brother later admitted to committing. The law mandates recorded interrogations of suspects arrested for homicide or a felony sex offense.
Bledsoe was sentenced to life in prison for the 1999 killing of Zetta Camille Arfmann. He was released in 2015 after a DNA test and suicide notes indicated that his brother, Tom Bledsoe, killed Arfmann.
Tom Bledsoe originally admitted to the crime but later recanted his confessions, which were not recorded. The blame then was pinned on Floyd Bledsoe, who told a legislative committee last year that he might not have been convicted if jurors would've been able to hear his brother confess and hear him maintaining his innocence. Some of Bledsoe's interrogations were recorded and others were not.
Police commission has 25 suggestions for the LAPD
by KPCC Staff
(Full segment available on site)
After the L.A. Riots in 1992, the LAPD faced calls for massive, systemic change. The department enacted a series of reforms — and the changes have continued. On Tuesday, the L.A. police commission unanimously approved 25 new recommendations for the LAPD.
KPCC's Frank Stoltze joined A Martinez to break down the wide-ranging recommendations. They include:
changes in how the department guards against possible racial bias
strategies to strengthen community policing
an evaluation of the department's discipline system
Matt Johnson, president of the police commission, offered this perspective.
"It's important to understand that this was the third in a series of reports and recommendations that flowed from those reports, all of which are interconnected.
So, the first report we did looked at our department and our history and really to analyze whether we were remaining true to the reform efforts that began 20 years ago.
The second report looked at other departments around the country to make sure that we were utilizing and employing best practices from departments around the country.
This report looked at the national best practices that were established by President Obama's task force in 21st century policing and the police executive research forums guiding principles on use of force.
All of these things really were meant to work together and keep building in the same direction to making sure that the LAPD was the best department it could be."
What is the department doing well?
"We have the most effective and robust civilian oversight of any department in the country. Our process for investigating and evaluating serious use of force incidents. The way we published that, a few weeks ago we released our 2016 use of force report... it's really unique in the country. There's no other department that provides such a detailed breakdown of their department's use of force. It's a 400-page document.
How we train on de-escalation. We're really ahead of the rest of the country in terms of the amount of resources and time that we put into that. And also, in community policing, that's an area that we do some things really well. But it is a challenge for our department...because we don't have as many officers per citizen as many other cities do. Also, geographically our city covers a very wide expanse. Much larger than say Chicago, for example, which has five times as many officers per square mile as we do. "
How is it falling short?
"We think as a department we can do a much better job of training our officers and putting in procedures in place when it's safe after an event is over to actually render aid to that person in those critical moments...
Community policing. We do some things really well. Our CSP program, community safety partnership program, where we have officers embedded in a number of the housing project is incredibly successful. We're just now expanding that, for the first time to a community that's not a housing project in Harvard park. I'm very hopeful that that will work well and hopefully we can expand that to other areas."
L.A. County considers another path on homelessness: prevention
by Doug Smith
The calls on the hotline reflected life at its messiest:
A single mom who left her boyfriend and was living in a motel. An out-of-stater who came for a job that fizzled. A low-income family with medical bills and a three-day eviction notice.
The callers had one thing in common. They were not homeless — yet.
When they reached the referral line at L.A. Family Housing in North Hollywood, the pained response once would have been, “If you wake up in your car tomorrow, call back,” said Kris Freed, vice president of programs at the non-profit agency.
That's because traditional services for homeless people — shelters, housing assistance and case management — have one fundamental requirement: that the recipient is verifiably homeless.
Now, a new and largely unproven approach is emerging as a major element of Los Angeles County's homeless initiative. Those drafting plans for the Measure H sales tax funds approved by voters in March have proposed spending more than $40 million over the next three years to prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place.
Those deemed eligible for prevention funds could receive cash assistance to pay for rent, security deposits or moving expenses. They could also receive other forms of help, such as legal aid.
The prevention strategy was tested in a pilot program last year and continues on a limited basis with a county grant from the Department of Public Social Services. Based on those tests, county officials estimate a prevention program would spend about $12,000 on each family served and $7,857 on each individual, including staff costs.
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority initially asked for more than $100 million in prevention funds over the first three years from Measure H.
That request was pared last week by 60% as county officials recalibrated their initial requests for Measure H money.
“Since prevention is a relatively new endeavor for us — both here in the county and across the nation — we feel it's smart to start smaller, learn what works and build on our successes as we move forward,” said Phil Ansell, director of the county's Homeless Initiative.
Despite the cuts, Ansell didn't back off the county's long-stated goal of keeping 30,000 people from becoming homeless. Prevention services are included in several other strategies, and funds can be added in the future as the program proves itself, he said.
At any level, they represent a pioneering strategy to seal the pipeline into homelessness as other programs focus on helping others out of it. Officials acknowledge that they still have a lot to learn about a strategy that is too new to have proven results.
Peter Lynn, executive director of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, conceded that the agency has “almost no experience with prevention; it's not a tool we have utilized well or thoroughly.”
The questions surrounding prevention are many: Who should be eligible? How long should they be helped? What about those who repeatedly fall into crisis?
The toughest problem is figuring out who needs help, Ansell said. Most people who lose permanent housing through eviction or some other reason never become homeless, he said.
Two hypothetical candidates for prevention aid might seem equally at risk, “but then one becomes homeless and one doesn't,” Ansell said.
The $2-million pilot program has provided some data on its cost and effectiveness.
Through March, the program assisted 413 people, said Joshua Hall, Family System Integration Manager at the homeless authority. In all, they received about $840,000 in rental assistance and $500,000 in other forms of assistance including deposits, fees, hotel vouchers and case management.
Success is hard to measure. Hall said 185 still receive assistance. Of the 228 who have exited the program, nearly 80% obtained permanent housing. The remainder either went into crisis housing programs or resolved their own problems, he said.
The long odyssey of Nycole Castellanos and her family illustrates how prevention works and also what makes it challenging. Castellanos, her husband and two children ended up in a winter shelter in Santa Clarita after he lost his job.
The winter shelter referred them to L.A. Family Housing, which used funds designated for homeless people to get them stabilized. They stayed in a motel for a month and then found an apartment.
“They helped us with the first month and several months after,” Castellanos said.
Then a dispute with their landlord caused them to leave. They ended up in a motel again, paying their own rent but unable to afford the upfront fees for a new apartment.
Because they had a home this time, even though it was a motel, they weren't eligible for what is called rapid re-housing assistance, which is meant for homeless people.
Prevention funds paid their first month's rent, security deposit and a portion of the next two months for the apartment in North Hollywood where they now live.
“It was really hard for me,” Castellanos said of the whole experience. “My kid, he sat at a homeless shelter one time for Christmas. It was humbling.”
The family's multiple moves reflect the housing instability considered the key indicator of families who can be helped by prevention, said Alynn Gausvik, intake and assessment manager at the North Hollywood homeless services agency.
“It's people who are on the edge,” Gausvik said. “They're facing instability. They aren't sure where to turn.”
Gausvik, who recently earned a master's degree in social work, said growing research suggests that prevention pays off when the right families are targeted.
“It's usually cheaper to help someone stay in an apartment than to get them a new apartment,” she said. “Better than leave, bump around with crisis housing, get an eviction on their record.”
County homeless officials consider prevention crucial to their plans because the thousands of people continually falling into homelessness tend to nullify any success in finding homes for those already homeless.
Based on surveys taken as part of the 2016 count, the homeless authority estimates that more than 150,000 “episodes” of homelessness occur each year, including those who become homeless more than once during the year.
The initial prevention strategy included in the county's Measure H spending plan projected assistance to about 700 families each year and to 2,200 individuals in the first year, growing to 5,500 by the third.
“The balance between the role of prevention versus the role of getting families and adults who are currently homeless out of homelessness is one of the core issues of this group.” Ansell told the Measure H citizen planning panel at a recent meeting.
Members of the group had a lot of questions.
“I'm sitting here with some anxiety,” said Reba Stevens, a formerly homeless woman sitting on the panel as one of its “lived experience” representatives. “I feel it's important that we are provided with data that actually shows the outcomes. What has worked? What hasn't worked?”
Chicago shooting prompts push to better arm police officers
Four aldermen are pushing to get as many officers trained in using high-powered guns as quickly as possible to protect themselves from gang members
by Don Babwin
CHICAGO — The shooting of two plainclothes officers with a high-powered rifle this week was a chilling reminder of something Chicago police have long said: They are outgunned by the city's gangs.
Now, four aldermen who are all former Chicago police officers are pushing to get as many officers trained in using high-powered long guns as quickly as possible to protect themselves from gang members who are favoring these weapons more and more.
"We are now seeing a big push on the street of gang members carrying semi-automatic weapons and high-powered assault rifles and using them in the commission of crimes, shooting police officers and one another as well," Alderman Christopher Taliaferro said.
This is particularly true, police say, in the Back of the Yards neighborhood on the city's South Side, where the two officers were shot and wounded Tuesday. Occupants in two vehicles opened fire on the officers who were sitting in an unmarked vehicle. No arrests have been made.
"We have been investigating increased sightings or use of AR-15s, or assault rifles, in the conflict between two rival gangs in that area," police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.
One officer was shot in the arm and hip and the other in the back. They have been released from the hospital.
They were conducting a follow-up investigation to a previous incident and were wearing civilian clothes with vests bearing police badges.
More than a dozen bullets were recovered from the scene of Tuesday's shooting.
The aldermen say Chicago officers are now allowed to carry semi-automatic long guns if they are trained and certified, but there aren't enough instructors.
"My brother is a Chicago police officer, he was trained (to use these weapons) in the Marines and it still took him 2 ½ years to get certified," Alderman Anthony Napolitano said. "His partner did two tours of duty in Iraq, he was a colonel, and he's been waiting at least a year to get certified."
Under the plan that Taliaferro, Napolitano, Edward Burke and Willie Cochran expect to pitch to the rest of the City Council soon, the city would authorize money to hire retired Chicago police officers or retired federal agents who are certified to give the necessary training.
Napolitano said it is unclear how much money the effort will take. He said he believes there may be close to 1,000 officers who have put in for the training and are just waiting for their turn.
But he suspects there are many more who have not done so because the wait is so long.
"I guarantee you that if we do this, the number (of officers who put in for training and certification) will double if not triple," he said.
Community Policing Can Mean Dialog Instead of Rioting
In broad strokes, community policing suggests the best way to cool down a hot neighborhood is by building lines of communication between citizens and cops.
by Adam Stone
In Menlo Park, Calif., the Bel Air neighborhood wasn't a place you'd want to take your kids.
“We had murders, shootings. Drive-bys were common. The area was rife with gangs, drugs and guns,” said Police Commander Dave Bertini. Conventional policing wasn't working. “We responded to calls, tried to make as many arrests as possible. We executed dozens and dozens of search warrants to try to break up these gangs. That didn't solve it.”
The department pivoted toward community policing. Cops got out of their cars and started walking the beat. Line officers sat in on town hall meetings. The department opened a new substation where residents are welcome to drop in and get to know the officers. There hasn't been a gang-related shooting since 2013 and violent crime is down by half. “Residents walk their dogs at night, they go out,” Bertini said. “The fear that used to be palpable no longer exists.”
In broad strokes, community policing suggests the best way to cool down a hot neighborhood is by building lines of communication between citizens and cops. Get cops out of their cars. Invite community input. Build trust so that citizens and police feel like they are on the same team.
The federal government has been backing this play. Since 1995, the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services has invested more than $12 billion to encourage community policing nationwide, with about half those funds going to smaller cities, towns and counties. Police are buying in: The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports about 70 percent of local police departments include community policing in their mission statement. That includes nine out of 10 departments serving populations of 25,000 or more.
In August 2016, Mayor Bill de Blasio expanded New York City's neighborhood policing program. “In times like these, we have a responsibility to provide our nation with a model for respectful and compassionate neighborhood policing,” he said. “If we want to keep all New Yorkers safe, policing must be of, and for, and by the people.”
The International Association of Chiefs of Police hails community policing in glowing terms. “No single factor has been more crucial to reducing crime levels than the partnership between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. In order for law enforcement to be truly effective, police agencies cannot operate alone; they must have the active support and assistance of citizens and communities,” the association declares.
Community policing has its detractors. The civil rights activist group ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) alleges that the practice leads to “the vast overpolicing of communities” especially among poorer neighborhoods where resources would be better spent on nutrition and jobs programs. For the majority in law enforcement, however, community policing increasingly seems like a means to safeguard communities while also easing the tensions that put officers at risk.
A different approach
Sarasota, Fla., made a big push for community policing when Bernadette DiPino came aboard as chief in 2012. DiPino describes it as a philosophy, a way of thinking that's integrated into every aspect of the department's work.
At the same time, community policing came to Sarasota in some very tangible ways, starting with an effort to curb activity at a prostitution hotspot. The state Legislature wanted to take a law-and-order approach — it was planning to fine Johns $5,000, while the women involved risked being branded as felons after three arrests. But the chief put a different idea on the table.
Now when officers believe a woman is soliciting, they come to her aid. “We help connect people to resources and programs, to get them the help they need, whether it is for drug problems, alcohol abuse, mental health issues, economic problems,” DiPino said. “Most of these women are battered and we can connect them with those kinds of resources, as well as with resources around human trafficking, so they are no longer in the life.”
A citizens' police academy meets twice a year, giving locals the chance to ride along, shoot firearms and experience the city firsthand from the officer's point of view. “It helps people understand what we do, and it's also helpful for the police officer,” DiPino said. “We tend to think that everybody in the community is a bad guy, since that is who we deal with, and this exposes them to more and different kinds of people throughout the community.”
An occasional “coffee with the cops” brings citizens in to chat with officers informally at the local doughnut shop or coffee bar. “It creates a casual, social way for police and citizens to engage in conversation. There's no specific agenda. It is very non-threatening,” she said.
Cops on the beat are required to be out of their cars for an hour a day. “They can go into businesses, they can be walking around,” DiPino said. “We ask them to get out and engage with the community as best they can.”
The net result of all these efforts? The department doesn't claim that crime is down, but the tenor of the situation has changed. Instead of calling to complain about how police behave, neighbors these days are far more likely to complain about noise or other local problems. In fact, last year internal complaints about cops exceeded external complaints. “That's what I want as chief,” DiPino said. “I want my people inside to recognize what could potentially be wrong and handle it internally, rather than hearing about it from the community.”
Ways to reconnect
The Tucson, Ariz., Police Department has implemented various aspects of community policing for years, but when Police Chief Chris Magnus arrived from Richmond, Calif., in 2016, he turned up the heat. “He has challenged us to think of ways to reconnect with the community that we have not done in the past,” said Assistant Chief Kevin Hall.
This meant the Midtown Division would take a fresh look at its relations with the large community of resettled Central African refugees. “When the chief asked us to re-engage with communities where we are maybe on the fringe, that department started a program where every Saturday morning the officers would go out with donated books, lay a blanket on the ground and read to the kids,” Hall said.
It took a couple of months to build a following, but soon there were dozens of kids coming out to these impromptu events. Officers also have scheduled times when they drop by the local Boys and Girls Club to engage the kids in homework, sports and crafts.
The change in mood is tangible. “It used to be when parents saw a patrol car at the club house they called the director to find out what was wrong,” Hall said. “Now they come over to take pictures with ‘our officers.' The hope is that, for the kids, this feeling and this relationship will carry forward into their adult lives.”
Community policing extends not just to young people but also to the adults, for example through a “business watch” modeled after a neighborhood watch program. “We have foot patrol officers speaking to each and every business, handing out their card and their cellphone numbers, explaining to the business owners that we are all in this together, that we need to look out for each other,” Hall said.
While these kinds of activities are easy enough to describe, they are not always so simple to implement. The community typically has been responsive to the department's overtures, but it can be challenging sometimes to get police officers on board with these practices.
“There's a culture shift from just responding to the next call versus stopping on the way and actually getting out of your car and chatting with people,” Hall said. When officers do have trouble making the mental shift, it's most often the community feedback that helps bring them around.
“The community has responded very positively to this. People write letters, they call in, they praise our officers at public forums for engaging and being active,” Hall said. “The other officers see that, and that has been the No. 1 motivator for a lot of officers to gravitate toward this model.”
Getting that officer buy-in is critical to the success of any community policing effort, said Jack Rinchich, president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. “It's pretty simple, but it has to be a genuine approach. If it is perfunctory, people know. They will frown upon your efforts if you try to manufacture something that isn't real,” he said.
In Menlo Park, one way the department drives that sense of authentic engagement is by encouraging police officers to help set the agenda. When department leaders sought to pick up the pace on community policing, they turned to the line officers to ask how it might best be accomplished.
“When we had all our gang murders and shootouts with the police, it was the officers who said we should be more active in community meetings,” Bertini said. “It was the officers who asked for a new substation that was more inviting, that would be a place where people could feel that they could come in and feel welcome.”
Officers have implemented a range of other hands-on efforts to build bridges. If there's a block party going on, an officer will likely drop by. One officer started a wrestling team for kids in a disadvantaged neighborhood. When there was a rash of local burglaries, cops on the beat took part in a town hall meeting to strategize potential solutions. A Chief's Advisory Board invites input from neighborhood and business representatives.
“We want our frontline-level officers involved in these things, not just us on the command staff,” Bertini said.
Even with all these efforts in the works, people still complain about racial profiling here; for some, the badge still engenders a level of distrust. “It is too simplistic to say that community policing makes that go away, but what it does do is it gives us the conduit to talk about it openly and honestly so that it doesn't boil over into rioting and people shooting at cops,” Bertini said. “If these open lines of communication exist, we can use those lines to address those issues. Maybe not everybody will be happy at the end, but at least we are airing things.”
But community policing is about more than just talking. Proponents say it can yield tangible outcomes, especially if it is tied to data. For departments to shift toward community policing without straining already-overburdened resources, leaders need to shape these efforts based on facts on the ground.
“Where is the problem occurring? When does it occur? You need to accurately know what is going on in your community,” said David Dial, who after a 45-year career in law enforcement became director of the Criminal Justice program at Aurora University in Illinois in 2012.
To conserve resources and still engage a broad swatch of the community, “you need to get some data,” he said. Solid information will help departments target their efforts, while ensuring those efforts are grounded in reality. “If the issue is about trust and respect, the community is not going to talk to you if they think you don't know what is going on.”
It's equally important to ground the effort in the practical. Some departments have been disappointed in the outcomes of community policing efforts that amount to little more than an instruction to “get out and walk around.” To be effective, these efforts need to be more concrete, Dial said.
“Give people goals and objectives,” he said. “Maybe the task is to identify one problem on your beat and over the next six months try to fix that problem.”
Tangible goals and measurable outcomes are keys to success. DiPino incorporates community policing wins into her department's awards and recognitions and — key to the effort — she makes it a part of every officer's evaluation. “If they want to get promoted, they need to buy into this,” she said.
Local author puts focus on community policing
by Russ Lay
Since Bobby Kipper retired from law enforcement and relocated to the Outer Banks, he's been a busy man.
Gang violence and bullying are two areas where he exerts a lot of energy on a national level.
Now he's working to challenge what he sees as a police culture focused too heavily on its punitive powers, the “gotcha” aspect of law enforcement.
Kipper and E. Scott Geller, alumni distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech and a senior partner of Safety Performance Solutions, have just released a new book dedicated to changing the way law enforcement officers interact with the citizens.
Actively Caring for People Policing was released in early 2017 and marks the fourth co-authored book for Kipper.
In an interview with the Voice, Kipper related how, in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech school shootings in 2007, his daughter related to him a program called Actively Caring for People that her psychology professor, Dr. E. Scott Keller, had launched.
Keller sent thousands of his students out into the Blacksburg, Va. community to recognize, reward and document the positive behaviors they witnessed among ordinary citizens.
The reward could be something as small as a verbal acknowledgment communicated to the good actor when such behavior is observed.
Kipper, who worked as a police officer for 26 years, then served four years directing an anti-gang program for Virginia's attorney general, had co-authored a book in 2012 on gang violence and is also the executive director of the National Center for the Prevention of Community Violence.
Kipper thought Keller's Actively Caring for People program could be brought into police work and help balance the equation needed to solve the problems of violence in our communities.
The initial contact blossomed into a collaboration and a new book.
A quote from the press release issued by the publisher of Kipper and Geller's new book summarizes the rationale for a different approach to community policing:
“The negative, reactive face of law enforcement is highlighted in a society where police culture is typically defined as a system ruled by punishment and detainment. Geller and Kipper challenge this image with a positive proactive approach to policing. Rather than through primarily punitive means, crime should be quelled by growing a society where residents rely on and look after one another.”
Kipper's 2012 book, co-authored with nationally recognized public affairs consultant Bud Ramey, No Colors: 100 Ways to Stop Gangs from Taking Away our Communities was a best-seller in its field and landed Kipper an interview with Geraldo Rivera and consulting gigs with state governments and the White House.
The NCPCV is also focused on bullying, and last year, the Dare County campus of College of The Albemarle was one of three localities to host the American premiere of Bully Fighters , a critically acclaimed Canadian movie on the ramifications of bullying on the lives and well-being of teenagers.
During our interview, Kipper cited one example of why he believes relations between police officers and citizens can become strained and how a new approach to policing ties in with his work with gangs and other forms of violence.
“In Virginia, out of 16 to 18 weeks of police academy training, 12 hours are dedicated to the positive interaction between the police and citizens—building community relationships,” Kipper said.
In North Carolina, there are only eight mandated hours in the 16-week Basic Law Enforcement Training, required for all police officers before they can work in the state.
New York dedicates only two hours in the community relations field, according to Kipper.
Kipper and Geller, who use the acronym AC4P to represent the Actively Caring for People program, recommend three full days (24 hours) of training as the absolute minimum of new officer training time that should be dedicated to community policing.
“In trying to bring back active community policing, it has to start with early, up-front training. Community policing is a ‘philosophy' according to one definition we use, but what's missing is the action steps between philosophy and actually putting it into practice in the community.”
Kipper believes that community policing practices were making progress prior to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, when Americans became more concerned with security at all levels, not just those related to foreign or domestic terrorism.
Since then, police training has become more military in nature.
“When the entire training curriculum is composed of defensive tactics, firearms, law enforcement and arrests, and let me be very clear, all of those are important, but when that is the entirety of the training, you aren't going to get a police department that knows the culture or the people in the neighborhoods they work. And if you don't know both of those attributes, how can you know what good things these people are doing?” he notes.
Kipper continues, “You can't have it both ways — conducting only paramilitary training and expecting police and the communities to get along.”
AC4P emphasizes immediate recognition of good behavior, both between cops and the communities in their beats, and within the department.
For example, in Coolidge, AZ police officers give wristbands to people they observe practicing AC4P behaviors in real time. They also encourage the recipient to pay the wristband forward to someone they observe practicing the same precepts.
Internally, supervisors are encouraged to provide immediate and positive feedback to officers whose actions improve community relations and exemplify AC4P principles.
Thus far, six police departments, including Norfolk, Va. have adopted the program as a mandatory part of their training and daily routine, and the Florida Police Chief's Association has adopted AC4P as a recommended community policing process.
Actively Caring for People Policing weighs in at less than 100 pages and can easily be read in one or two sittings.
While designed primarily as a book to be used in training, — with suggested discussion questions, group activities and blanks lines for adding ideas, thoughts, or responses to questions and the usual scattering of acronyms and training mnemonics — Kipper believes the book should be read by a larger audience besides police professionals and training instructors.
“I would recommend elected officials, community leaders, and even ‘Joe Citizen' read the book, if only to open their minds to other possibilities when it comes to policing techniques and building bridges between the police and the community,” Kipper said.
He feels everyone is in a position to influence how community policing is implemented.
3 in custody, other sought after 2 Chicago cops shot
The officers were sitting in an unmarked car when two other vehicles pulled up and opened fire
by Rosemary Regina Sobol, Tony Briscoe, Jeremy Gorner and Elvia Malagon
CHICAGO — Two on-duty Chicago police officers have been shot in the Back of the Yards neighborhood Tuesday night on the city's South Side.
It happened about 9 p.m. in the 4300 block of South Ashland Avenue.
Speaking to reporters outside Stroger Hospital, police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said that the officers were sitting in an unmarked car when two other vehicles pulled up and their occupants opened fire at the officers. Those officers were able to return fire, but it doesn't appear they hit anyone.
Johnson said police are talking to three people of interest in the shooting investigation.
"It's just another example of how dangerous this job is," said Johnson. "And I think people take it for granted that when police officers come to work every day, they put their lives on the line every single day they get in their car."
One officer was shot in the back and the other was shot in the arm and hip, during “an encounter,'' according to police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. They were in serious, but stable condition, according to Guglielmi.
Both Deering District tactical team officers were taken to Stroger Hospital, where their injuries are not thought to be life-threatening, police said.
A “manhunt'' is underway, Guglielmi said.
"We should not be here at 11 o'clock at night thanking the Lord above that these officers survived," said Ald. Raymond Lopez, whose 15th Ward covers Back of the Yards. "It is incomprehensible that this continues in our city, in our state, in our country."
Johnson said police have recovered "multiple weapons that may have been involved" in the shooting. He said the officers were "conducting a follow-up investigation to a previous incident" when they were shot.
"Listen, if they will fire at police officers like that, they they have no thought process in terms of firing at other citizens of this great city," Johnson said of the suspects. "So, we are going to get them."
The attack occurred after the officers saw someone inside a silver van shooting at another vehicle, according to preliminary information from police.
A vehicle believed to have been used by the offenders was found near 37th street and Racine Avenue and either a rifle or shotgun was also recovered near the scene, according to a source citing preliminary information.
Officers blocked off 38th Street between Morgan Street and Racine Avenue, which is less than two miles from where the shooting took place. Officers escorted a truck that was towed a silver minivan from the industrial street.
In February, the Chicago Tribune in a front-page article highlighted the gun violence in this part of the Back of the Yards neighborhood. The newspaper reported that more than 30 shootings believed to have been tied to semi-automatic rifles occurred there and in neighboring Brighton Park during a recent nine-month period.
At least 46 people were shot in those attacks, 13 fatally.
Police said at the time this was the only area of the city where rifles styled after AR-15s and AK-47s were regularly used, a menacing new development in the gang fights.
It's unclear how many of the high-powered rifles were used in the shootings, but police suspected they were being passed around by members of four Hispanic gangs in the Deering police district, which covers Back of the Yards and Brighton Park.
Two of the gangs — La Raza near 47th and Loomis streets and the Almighty Saints near 45th and Wood streets — have been fighting for decades. But the conflict has expanded to the Satan Disciples and Gangster Two-Sixes in neighboring Brighton Park, where violence is less frequent.
Multiple Chicago police vehicles sped to 43rd Street and Ashland Avenue after the shooting.
As an ambulance was seen leaving the scene, a number of officers directed traffic several blocks away from the center of the investigation, due east of an archway that read "Stockyard Industrial Park," where a fire truck and another Chicago Fire Department vehicle were parked.
As police officers cordoned off the crime scene with a large line of yellow tape spanning a block's length and a smaller red ribbon in a strip mall parking lot, passersby like Thomas Murdock gawked from a distance.
Murdock, 51, of Little Village, was enjoying a coffee when he heard the gunfire nearby and saw paramedics tending to two officers, at least one of whom was on a stretcher.
"It was like whack-whack-whack. Big guns. Next thing I know I find out police got shot," Murdock said. "The Dunkin' Donuts lady was like 'What the (expletive) are they shooting for?' My mind was like: 'Holy s--- ! I hope they don't run in.'''
Minutes later, a fast-moving procession of police vehicles activated their lights and sirens and drove southbound.
At least 11 evidence markers were on 43rd Street just north of the strip mall in the industrial area.
As of about 10:30 p.m. Mayor Rahm Emanuel could be seen briefly outside Stroger Hospital.
In a statement, police said their investigation remains "open and ongoing,'' and asked that anyone with information should contact Cook County Crime Stoppers, 1-800-535-STOP (7867). Information may also be emailed to CPDTIP.com.
Baltimore homicide detectives to begin investigating drug overdoses
A task force of five detectives will operate out of the homicide unit, responding when possible to fatal and nonfatal overdoses
by Justin Fenton
BALTIMORE — For the first time, Baltimore police have begun investigating overdoses in an effort to trace drugs back to dealers, joining a wave of Maryland law enforcement agencies showing up at 911 calls previously left to medics.
A task force of five detectives will operate out of the homicide unit, responding when possible to fatal and nonfatal overdoses. More than 1,000 patrol officers also are being trained to respond to overdose scenes by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.
"I think everyone would agree that we can't keep up this rate of overdoses," Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said in an interview. "We're going to build some cases hopefully that will result in some criminal charges against people putting this poison out on the street."
The effort has been in the works for more than a year in partnership with the Baltimore state's attorney's office and with guidance from local DEA agents, who have been working with smaller agencies statewide to collect and share information about drug dealing resulting in overdoses.
"We want it known that we're going to go after and look to prosecute those individuals we can tie to overdoses," said Don Hibbert, the special agent in charge of the DEA's Baltimore field office.
Baltimore Assistant State's Attorney Gerald Collins, who is chief of the major investigations unit, said he believes there's a "wide range" of ways his office can bring cases related to the police investigations. But he said charging a dealer with a customer's death "can be very challenging."
In Baltimore, police hope the new investigative efforts can quickly remove from the street a dealer circulating a "bad batch" causing a rash of overdoses.
"We might be able to connect that quicker, that we need to focus on this person because he's killing people," said police spokesman T.J. Smith.
Others warn of unintended consequences from increased police intervention in drug overdoses.
Rachel Bergstein, a researcher at the Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health, studied the implementation of Maryland's 2015 "Good Samaritan" law for the Baltimore Health Department, and found that many overdose bystanders refrained from or delayed calling 911 due to fear of arrest. The law protects people experiencing an overdose or assisting someone who is overdosing from arrest.
The Drug Policy Alliance also said treating overdoses as homicides will not curb overdoses. Instead, the alliance said, such enforcement often targets other users who sell drugs to support their habit, chipping away at the supply when the demand remains rampant.
"Thirty years of drug criminalization has overflowed our prisons and devastated our black and brown communities, but has reduced neither the drug trade nor consumption," Bergstein told legislators during testimony during the General Assembly session against the bill that targeted the drug dealers. "Addiction and overdose rates are only climbing higher."
Baltimore Health Commissioner Leana Wen said her office has been "working on the implementation so that it best assists with the objectives of the Police Department while also ensuring that it moves forward our public health goal of saving lives and encouraging people to seek treatment."
Neill Franklin, executive director of the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, said the new initiative was "unwise" and destined to fail.
"It's going to create more problems, as it relates to dealing with this issue of getting people into treatment, removing the stigma," Franklin said. "It's an emotional response, not one based on science, on things proven to work."
The increased efforts to prosecute dealers come at a time when the state, through the Justice Reinvestment Act, has been trying to reduce sentencing guidelines for drug offenses and steer users toward treatment instead of incarceration.
Officials stress that they want to go after dealers, not users, and say they've learned lessons from past efforts to crack down on drugs.
"While treatment and prevention are extraordinarily important, we can't stem the flow of these increased opioid deaths without also taking a good hard look at enforcement," Christopher Shank, Hogan's deputy chief of staff, said in Annapolis earlier this year.
Anne Arundel County police have been sending two officers and a supervisor to every scene of a confirmed or suspected overdose. Officers hand out information on resources for drug addicts but also try to trace the drugs.
"If the person is coherent, we try to encourage cooperation, try to identify where and from whom the victim obtained the narcotic," said police spokesman Marc Limansky.
When an overdose is fatal, police establish a crime scene: They set up a perimeter, take photographs, collect fingerprints — "whatever we can get to ultimately lead us" to the supplier, Limansky said.
With overdoses spiking around the state, the DEA's Hibbert said, Baltimore continues to be a hub of activity. Investigations have traced overdoses in outlying jurisdictions to drugs sold in the city.
There are few examples of local prosecutors being able to charge dealers with selling drugs that resulted in overdoses. Prosecutors say such cases are complex, with problems including being able to show a dealer knew the risks or knew what cocktail of drugs they were selling.
Anne Arundel County State's Attorney Wes Adams said proving an overdose is a homicide is a "very difficult task," in part because the drugs are willingly ingested, with overdose an accepted risk.
"If it was easy, I can promise you all 23 state's attorneys would be knocking down cases as quick as we could," he said.
In Harford, investigators recently promoted an investigation into overdoses that helped identify a major drug trafficking organization operating out of northeastern Baltimore County. Working together, local and federal authorities say they linked 15 fatal and 48 nonfatal overdoses to the organization.
Two dealers went on to be charged in federal court in the deaths of two customers. One of them, Lamar Kaintuck of Baltimore, was charged with deaths in Bel Air and Calvert County.
Investigators used phone and Facebook messages to connect Kaintuck to the 2015 death of Calvert County resident Jordan Roche, who had returned from a heroin recovery house in North Carolina when he was found dead from a fatal injection of heroin, court records show. Kaintuck pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of heroin, and was sentenced to seven years in federal prison.
Harford investigators looking into overdoses also began developing a case against a Baltimore man named Antonio Shropshire, which led to his indictment along with several others, including Baltimore police Officer Momodu Gondo. It was that investigation that led to charges against Gondo and six other police officers on racketeering conspiracy charges in February. Shropshire and Gondo have pleaded not guilty.
Harford County Sheriff's Capt. Lee Dunbar said investigators can seek federal charges in cases where drug distribution leads to someone's death, and their investigations have led to five such cases.
"On the state side, we can charge reckless endangerment or manslaughter, but it's an uphill battle to do it," Dunbar said. "I can count on one hand how many times it's been successful."
In Queen Anne's County, when a 27-year-old woman died from an overdose at a Subway sandwich shop last fall, police there used information from her phone to trace the drugs to a 20-year-old woman and her 58-year-old dealer. Both were charged with manslaughter and drug counts.
The woman ultimately pleaded guilty to drug possession and received a sentence of four years, with all but 40 days suspended, while the dealer pleaded guilty to a drug distribution charge and received 16 years.
Years earlier, authorities in Queen Anne's likely would not have attempted to trace the drugs, said Deputy State's Attorney Christine Rickard.
"I think a lot of jurisdictions are realizing, there has to be a higher price for dealing a death sentence to people who are addicts," said Rickard.
Announcing Quiet Warrior 2017: Help us celebrate the everyday police hero
In partnership with 5.11 Tactical, PoliceOne seeks to recognize officers whose day-after-day dedication transforms their communities.
by PoliceOne Staff
Last year, we introduced the Quiet Warrior program, a collaboration between PoliceOne and 5.11 Tactical, aimed at spotlighting some of the unrecognized contributions of law enforcement officers across the country. The response was overwhelmingly positive and we received nearly 100 entries sharing their take on the Quiet Warrior mentality, including some truly inspired responses such as Officer Richard Walker:
“Being a quiet warrior is much greater than simply being a good police officer. It encompasses being a good role model, Father, Husband and friend. It's about being genuine in all aspects of life; caring and respectful of others, not because it part of the uniform, but because that's who you are at the core of everything you do.”
Or Officer Mike Jobes:
“Being there when others flee, helping the ones that society "throws away", living an exemplary life as an example for those who have no role models, loving the poor side of town and its people, never giving up, never backing down and going home and being a husband and father ....and looking forward to doing it again tomorrow.”
These stories highlight the kind of humble dedication not just to the job but to fellow officers and the community at large that easily goes unnoticed by the general public. Willem Driessen, VP Global Marketing of 5.11 Tactical reflected on the program's success “We owe great gratitude to those that protect us and our freedom, so we feel spreading the word on positive actions of men and women that put their lives on the line as a first responder is our duty. And we are proud to be a part of the Quiet Warrior Program. ”
Because of the positive response we got last year, we've opened the program for another year. It's more important than ever to highlight the amazing things law enforcement officers are doing for their communities around the country. We've collected a few of these great stories here.
Why the Quiet Warrior program matters in 2017
This is a tough time to be a police officer. The public's perception of the relationship between police and citizens has been strained in recent years. For various reasons from the unrest in recent years to the 24/7 media cycle, stories of “cops behaving badly” have crowded the spotlight on the national stage. But that's a very small part of the story. By highlighting the officers going beyond the call of duty every day to make their towns and cities better and safer, we're helping to amend that narrative and to produce a dialogue that better captures what it means to be a police officer in America.
The best response to the preponderance of negative stories about police in the media is to share stories that capture the best of law enforcement. The Quiet Warrior program seeks to do just that.
About Quiet Warrior
The Quiet Warrior program will highlight the one trait inherent in all law enforcers. More than just doing a good job, they strive to do good. We want to capture those stories and share them with our audience.
We'll profile some of the best Quiet Warriors from all walks of life and ranks in law enforcement. We'll also look at what defines a Quiet Warrior and why it's so important to not just to the fiber of law enforcement and it's continued success, but also why the Quiet Warrior philosophy should be encouraged in every department.
Add your Quiet Warrior Story
We want you to share your Quiet Warrior stories. Together, we'll put eyes on the absolute best that law enforcement has to offer.
Community policing is not the answer
by Yulise Waters
The angst that flushed through me after learning of Jordan Edwards' shooting death by a Balch Springs officer's rifle Saturday night settled into resignation as I thought about my son, age 10. I still have to let him go out the door. We can't keep him in the house sheltered from it all.
Another as-yet-unexplainable death of a black boy has black parents throughout the Dallas area wondering how to keep their children from being added to the growing list: Tamir Rice of Cleveland, Laquan McDonald of Chicago, Michael Brown of Ferguson, Mo. Let's not forget the child murder that inaugurated this tragic season: Travyon Martin, not murdered by a cop but a wannabe. Add to that countless black men and women caught at the wrong end of a policeman's weapon and good judgment.
As our city searches for answers and justice while mourning the Mesquite High School freshman, the impulse to throw up our hands and vow never to trust the police is a mighty impulse. But shifting the policing paradigm from occupation to protection of our most precious assets, our children, can't happen without our voices, tenacity, energy, experience and intellect.
Often the solutions don't stand up to the challenge, further entangling an already complex situation. And events like the deadly ambush of five Dallas officers last summer weaken dialogue with a police force that must watch its own officers' backs while watching ours.
Beyond Dallas, police-community relations keep taking hits. Tulsa Officer Betty Shelby, who shot and killed a 40-year-old black man with his hands up, claims she's the victim. Shelby clearly doesn't get it, but she's not wholly wrong. She is a victim of the systematic, structural racism embedded in our country that influences our perceptions and, therefore, our realities.
I cringe at calls for community policing to treat the senseless loss of black and brown lives and insurmountable distrust of officers. Instances of police-civilian violence nationally have prompted police to re-emphasize community-oriented policing models to address deteriorated or nonexistent partnerships between police and minority residents. But spending time with community members does not partnership make.
While police agencies are keen on this model, implementation lacks one very important ingredient: repairing breach of trust. Without honest, authentic human engagement and acknowledgment of past failures, community policing treats symptoms rather than root causes by prioritizing relationship over partnership and damage control over reconciliation.
The collaborative police partnerships often fail to acknowledge the great trust divide. From the community's perspective, lackluster response to 911 calls, frequent stops of vehicles and people for real or perceived disorderly behavior, enforcement of draconian drug laws that disproportionately affect ethnic minorities, and shootings by police that rarely result in reprimand or criminal charges all support the distrust. As we have witnessed across the country, community distrust of police erodes the legitimacy of the institution itself.
Likewise, people must understand what it is like for the officers to wake up in the morning and leave their families, not knowing if they will return. Each day, police gird themselves with bulletproof vests, Tasers, handguns and handcuffs and get into their company vehicles equipped with cameras, computers, dispatch radios, rifles and transport cages for backseat travel. Simply getting dressed for work is a reminder of their mortality.
And police need to understand the courage it takes to wake up in urban communities that are unofficial hosts of the byproducts of big business waste; food deserts saturated with violence, drug abuse, prostitution, substandard housing, homelessness and joblessness. In these communities, the very environment creates constant psychological and physiological stressors. Encounters with officers often feel less like protection and more like a police state.
Dallas' motto is: "Together we do it better." But we aren't. I am reminded of Martin Luther King's fourth book, Where Do We Go From Here? Chaos or Community? We in Dallas must answer this question. Will we retreat to our opposing corners and build of walls of justification for our actions, and reason away their consequences? Or will we have the difficult conversations about systemic, structural racism in our community?
Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber said Monday, "If there's something to be learned here, we can all learn it together and move forward together and find solutions how to fix what the problem is."
I couldn't agree more. But first, we must bury Jordan.
Yulise Waters is a community prosecutor in the Dallas City Attorney's office and co-founder and lead planner of the Second Chance Community Improvement Program Court.
Burke County Sheriff's Office talks community policing
by Derrikia Young
Waynesboro, GA (WJBF) – The Burke County Sheriff's Office is putting deputies in neighborhoods, with a community policing initiative.
Improvement in Burke County by starting community policing is what Sheriff Alfonzo Williams had in mind.
“The two most important things when businesses and families look to move to any community is– schools and crime,” said Chief Lewis Blanchard of Burke County.
Chief Blanchard tells NewChannel 6 there has been a decrease in violent crime by 95%, compared to last year. This way communities could feel safe again.
“We feel it's very important, cause we have a lot of people come in from the outside areas that disrupt the neighbors peaceful living that they've strived for,” said Brent Meeks – Executive Director of Regional Housing Authority in Burke County.
While also striving to create a bond...
“You know, letting them know we're not out here just to arrest people… those are all a part of community policing, but there is a lot of other aspects as well,” said Chief Lewis Blanchard of Burke County.
“It's important for us and it's important for them, that we have that bond together as a community and Sheriff's Office,” said, Lt. Tommie Walker of the Burke County Sheriff's Office.
Deputies decided by simply stepping out into the community, that would help many people step up and become comfortable talking to anyone at the Sheriff's Department.
“We are there, we are real people also, and whatever need that they have, we are going to try to do all that we can,” said, Lt. Tommie Walker of the Burke County Sheriff's Office.
“At the end of the day, our goal is to foster an appreciation for law enforcement, solve problems, and take care of law-abiding citizens of the community.
The Burke County Sheriffs Office will host an event called “Let's Talk About It”.
This event will give residents the opportunity to talk with law enforcement about crime and anything else involving what needs to be done in the community.
June 6, 2017: Sardis (Girard/Alexander)
Time: 4pm until 6pm
Location: Sardis Annex (Old Sardis School) 1209 West Ellison Bridge Rd.
Police panel calls for more LAPD reforms to address racial bias, discipline and community policing
by Kate Mather
Los Angeles police commissioners approved a wide-ranging set of recommendations on Tuesday that called on the LAPD to improve how it guards against possible racial bias by officers, strengthen community policing and evaluate the department's discipline system.
The recommendations, 25 in all, are part of the civilian panel's broader push to further reform the LAPD, which has included significant adjustments to how officers are trained and when they are allowed to use force. In voting for the latest changes, commissioners expanded their focus to other areas, including how the department disciplines and deploys officers.
“We need to keep looking for ways to continue to make this department the best it can be,” said Matt Johnson, the panel's president. “We need to continue engaging meaningfully with questions about community trust, race and use of force. I believe that these reports and recommendations provide a path forward to doing just that.”
The changes stemmed from a 49-page analysis by Inspector General Alex Bustamante, whose office compared the LAPD's practices with two national reports that have drawn significant attention within policing: one from then- President Obama's task force on 21st century policing and another from the Police Executive Research Forum, a Washington, D.C.-based think-tank.
Police Chief Charlie Beck, a longtime member of PERF, noted that the LAPD has helped develop some of the national guidelines.
“The Los Angeles Police Department, I think, is a very reform-minded department. Do we always achieve that in practice? Well, no. Nobody's perfect,” he told reporters. “But we certainly strive for it.”
Steve Gordon, a director of the union that represents the LAPD's rank-and-file, said he was glad the board required the LAPD to meet with the union when implementing the changes. Officers can bring important perspectives when figuring out how to adjust policing practices, he said.
“If anybody has an idea on how we as an organization can do police work better, we are all ears,” Gordon said. “We want to hear what these are, but we want to be at the table.”
Overall, Bustamante's report gave the LAPD high marks, noting that the department had implemented many of the policing principles outlined by the two national studies. The presidential task force, for instance, cited the LAPD's community policing efforts and civilian oversight as examples other agencies could draw upon. Beck testified before that panel in 2015 as it was crafting its recommendations.
But there were other areas where the LAPD could improve, Bustamante wrote.
The LAPD should resume publishing the data it collects on stops and arrests officers make, the report said, while also ensuring that the information is reviewed for potential evidence of bias or other mistreatment by officers. Although the LAPD has tried to analyze data about stops and searches in the past, Bustamante's office said it was not aware of any process currently in place that allowed it to do so now.
To mitigate potential bias by officers, the LAPD last month launched department-wide training in March focused on “implicit bias” — subconscious bias people may not know they have.
In the wake of long-running complaints among officers that discipline is inconsistently doled out, the report said, the LAPD should conduct an in-depth evaluation to look for ways to improve officers' faith in that process. “Discipline will never be popular,” the report added, but the department could do more to ensure officers feel they've been treated fairly and that the system is neutral.
The report also called on the LAPD to review its deployment strategies, which have been a hot-button issue among officers in recent months. The police union frequently complains that there are too few cops on the streets, forcing them to rush from call to call.
The report cited concerns from officers that the emphasis by department brass on “producing results” — such as making arrests or taking guns off the streets — deters officers from spending time interacting with residents. The report recommended that the LAPD find ways to better measure and promote “activities associated with community policing.” The inspector general called for the deployment review to examine whether officers had enough time to stop to talk with residents and build relationships.
One of the most significant changes came in the recommendation that officers, when it is safe to do so, provide basic aid to someone they might have used force against, including people shot by police. The LAPD has drawn criticism over some police shootings in recent years, after video showed some officers standing near the person shot, waiting for paramedics to arrive.
The commission unanimously adopted the recommendations, directing the department to make the changes.
Roy L. Austin Jr., a D.C.-based attorney and former Obama administration official who worked closely with the policing task force, said the inspector general's report provided a “thoughtful and comprehensive” review of the LAPD's practices. Austin said that after the task force made its recommendations, he had hoped agencies would conduct evaluations such as this.
The report “gives LAPD credit for where it's getting it right and specifically notes places where LAPD could do better,” he said. “There is not a law enforcement agency in the country that could not benefit from going through this process.”
Police chief 'cautiously optimistic' after nearly 12% drop in Salisbury crime
by David Whisenant
SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) -- Crime in Salisbury is down by a significant number, according to Salisbury Police Chief Jerry Stokes.
“We appear to have around an 11% decline in reported crime," Chief Stokes said. "We're not going to take credit for that, it's been a community effort, the community needs to take credit for that.”
According to numbers presented to the Salisbury City Council on Tuesday night, there has been an overall drop of 11.6% in crime in Salisbury during the first quarter of 2017 compared to the first quarter of 2016.
“These numbers overall are showing a very positive direction," Chief Stokes added.
Total calls to police for service are down as well, according to the chief.
In the first quarter of 2016 there 12,491 calls for service, compared to 10,892 in the first quarter of 2017. That's a decrease of 12.8%
Stokes credits the community for working the police department to bring about some of the change that he says the city is beginning to see after a violent 2016.
“There's much more attention by the community," Stokes said. "There's more focus by parents on what their kids are involved in and trying to keep them away from gangs, I suspect it not to be just one thing, it's probably like a lot of things, many things are coming together to potentially contribute to this decline that we're seeing and hopefully will continue in the next quarter. Police in the community, and the city and the community, are really starting to work together and really starting to focus on crime prevention and addressing crime problems and root issues of crime, be it gang involvement and trying to keep kids out of gangs, trying to give a better direction to people, finding job programs and what have you, so I think there has really been a shift to try and again move the community in a different direction.”
The City of Salisbury recently completed a series of community action planning sessions that were designed to "improve public safety and its relationship with citizens, provide opportunities for children, improve community relations, and improve workforce development."
Hundreds of citizens and city officials attended those sessions.
In addition, Al Heggins and partners also created a series of community conversations called "Stop The Violence Summits" in which residents discussed ideas for reducing crime.
"We feel its time for our community members, elected officials along with government staff members, educators, health care professionals and our youth. It's time for us to have a collaborative problem solving process and that's what we did here today," said organizer Al Heggins at the time.
Chief Stokes did point out that not all of the numbers went in a positive direction.
“Some things have bumped up a bit, we're seeing more theft, more theft crime reported in this quarter than it was in the 2016 first quarter, that primarily is shoplifting so that's an issue that we certainly need to help the merchants address and see if there's something we can do to help them with that," Stokes said. "Other things that are a little concerning are weapons offenses, which is kind of a broad category. It's everything from felony possession of a gun, even the crime of shooting into a dwelling falls within that category.”
Weapons offense increased from 14 in 2016 to 34 in 2017 for the first quarter.
Stokes, on the job for just under a year now, also sounded a cautiously optimistic note about the influence of gangs on crime in Salisbury.
“There have been a few significant arrests made out there that contribute to that," Stokes said. "We are going to see some real contributions from our federal partners. We've seen a lot up to this point, but they really have committed quite a few additional resources that we will see here going into the summer. I don't know that there's been a big change, but maybe their grip that they've had on the criminal element, maybe that's loosening a bit and they're losing their effectiveness. Again, they're a criminal organization and if they lose their effectiveness we should see crime go down."
Chief Stokes is hopeful that other changes, such as filling a majority of the 14 open positions at the police department, will continue to keep the crime trend heading down.
The City of Salisbury and Rowan County also signed an agreement in December to allow off duty Rowan County deputies to work in Salisbury in an effort to increase manpower.
“I think it really just shows that the community and the police are really moving in a very good direction. We are very optimistic that this will continue in this direction and that we will continue to work together with the community seeing these very positive movements," Stokes added.
Community policing and a realignment of "beats" for officers is the next step for Chief Stokes and the department.
“We're finally at a point of making some decisions about those beat sizes," Stokes added. "Community policing, it's definition is at its root, officers who are assigned manageable area on a consistent basis, in other words, the same officer working the same area, a smaller area, having both the authority, autonomy, and responsibility for doing problem solving. It's not walking a beat and it's not those community engagement things, community policing is problem solving. We are right there, ready to go with this beat system, kind of realigning where the officers work and hopefully moving, they've already, again with our community policing, given them that autonomy and responsibility for problem solving in those areas, we're just going to make their responsible areas a little smaller so it will be more manageable, so I think that will really push us forward in our community policing efforts when we are able to do that.”
Several residents told WBTV that they perceive that Salisbury has a bigger issue with crime than surrounding communities, largely because of what they read and see in media reports. Chief Stokes admitted that a few moths ago, it did appear that Salisbury was having more of an issue with crime than communities of similar size, but he pointed out on Tuesday that criminals don't respect city limits.
“It was not unique," Stokes said. "Each community has their own challenges and things that they have to work on things will go up as far as, you know, violent crime might peak in one area and go down in another, it's a very fluid situation when you're talking about crime and how that occurs in a community, so there's lots of things that come to play in that and unfortunately it can happen anywhere and we do see it happen anywhere. It moves around. Criminals don't necessarily obey borders and they will go where they have opportunity. That's certainly the biggest part of that kind of crime triangle is opportunity and that's what we try to focus on is eliminating that opportunity.”
The department still faces a number of challenges, including filling the ranks and dealing with more than a dozen unsolved homicides that go back more than one year. One of those, the shooting death of seven-year-old A'yanna Allen as she slept in the bed with her grandmother, seemed to spur many in the community to demand action.
Shooting in Albany hours after Cuomo says troopers are on way
Neighborhoods plagued by gang violence targeted by Cuomo's initiative
by Emily Masters and Matthew Hamilton
ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo appeared at the city's main library Tuesday to announce the State Police will increase patrols in inner city neighborhoods most plagued by gun violence.
Three hours later and a dozen blocks away, the bloodshed claimed another victim.
Police said a 26-year-old man was shot in the thigh at 1:30 p.m. on First Street, between Quail and Ontario streets, in West Hill. He was rushed to Albany Medical Center Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, as city investigators photographed the blood-stained pavement.
Police could not say Tuesday afternoon whether the shooting was connected to the gang violence Cuomo appeared in Albany to discuss.
At the library, the governor called the ongoing heroin and opioid epidemic — the target of $7 million in recent state funding to the capital city — and gang violence a "twin scourge."
To enhance the fight, 10 troopers will join the city's 342 cops in patrolling crime-ridden neighborhoods, in an effort reminiscent of patrols under former Gov. George Pataki's Operation IMPACT.
State Police Capt. Robert Patnaude, who commands Troop G, said the troopers will be selected based on their urban patrol experience and familiarity with Albany. They could be rotated in and out of the assignment, meaning it may not always be the same 10 troopers patrolling Albany's streets.
The troopers will spend much of their time in inner city neighborhoods, which suffer Albany's highest rates of violent crime and also its heaviest levels of policing. These blocks are also home to many of the city's black and brown residents, with whom the Albany Police Department is trying to establish trusting relationships.
"We have been working with the Albany Police Department to change the culture of policing, and this would interfere with that work," said Alice Green, executive director of the Center for Law and Justice.
Troopers don't receive the same rigorous training in implicit bias, urban policing and procedural justice as Albany police, she said.
Green added that she fears Cuomo's program will fuel higher prosecution rates for people of color. Sweeping gang arrests made by federal, state and local agencies in 2006 and 2009 resulted in 33 young black men being sentenced to a total of almost 300 years in prison for nonviolent offenses, Green said.
"Community policing demands the community be involved in decisions on public safety," she said.
Both Patnuade and Acting Albany Police Chief Robert Sears said they don't think the troopers' presence will interrupt community policing efforts. "Part of our community policing is getting out there and getting active," Sears said.
The troopers will be embedded in the department's uniformed patrol unit and partnered with a city cop, Sears said. The program is meant to "free up resources," he said.
The troopers will not be involved in the city's community response unit, which investigates crimes involving drugs and guns, or enhanced supervision unit, which provides outreach to gang members. They may be used in undercover investigations.
Patnaude and Sears said they started planning the deployment Monday evening, and have not yet decided which blocks will be targeted for extra enforcement.
"Clearly they'll be going to areas where we're seeing our gun violence," Sears said. A recent Times Union analysis of shots fired cases showed these types of crime are concentrated in West Hill.
Patnaude said uniformed troopers will also be sent to Schenectady, though he didn't have an exact number.
Last week, Cuomo was on Long Island to discuss the State Police's role in battling MS-13, an international gang implicated in gruesome murders in Suffolk County.
The governor appeared in Rochester — where 60 percent of homicides are traced back to gangs — Tuesday afternoon to announce a program similar to the one he rolled out in Albany.
In the capital city, Cuomo also detailed two state-funded programs meant to stem the tide of gun violence: Albany Cure Violence, which employs formerly incarcerated caseworkers as mentors for teens at a higher risk for shooting someone or being shot, and the Gun Involved Violence Elimination initiative, which is entering its fourth year.
Police use GIVE funds to analyze data from crime-ridden neighborhoods and refocus resources; redesign vacant lots, dimly lit streets and traffic patterns believed to breed criminal activity; pay Cure Violence employees for their work; and enhance community policing initiatives.
But it's the increase in state troopers that is the most visible sign of action in a city that saw gunfire erupt 63 times last year, injuring 28 people and killing one man.
Yet, gun violence in the city as a whole is on the decline. Data show that reports of gunfire decreased 24 percent last year when compared with the most recent five-year average.
While State Police investigators are deeply involved in probing major crime in upstate cities, the force is primarily rural and troopers typically leave urban patrol duties to local police departments.
In recent years, however, the Cuomo administration has deployed more uniformed troopers in urban environments, with the most noteworthy expansion happening downstate.
Dozens of troopers regularly patrol New York City highways, bridges and landmarks, a presence the governor's office said is intended to help the city transition to cashless tolls and continue their counter-terrorism efforts.
"We direct our resources at problem areas, whether it's the cities or the suburbs or the rural areas," Patnaude said.
Crime down in Fitchburg
Chief credits emphasis on community policing
by Elizabeth Dobbins
FITCHBURG -- Calls for service may have been up in 2016, but arrests and reports of most serious crimes saw a decrease last year in the city, Fitchburg Police Chief Ernest Martineau told City Council Tuesday.
Martineau credits the shift shown in the 2016 Annual Report to an increased emphasis on community policing.
"I think all of that hard work and relationship building is really paying off," Martineau said. "Go to the call, handle the call, but take that time for positive interaction."
Last year, the police department received 59,137 calls for service, marking a 10 percent increase over 2015 and continuing the general upward trend in call numbers since at least 2011.
However, total arrests decreased 17 percent last year, dropping to 959.
"It's the first time we've ever been below 1,000 in Fitchburg," Martineau told city council.
He said this decrease shows officers are talking to residents, not just issuing citations.
"It's much more than arresting and writing citations," he said.
Crimes categorized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as some of the most serious dropped 8 percent from 2015 and 10 percent from the five year average. These crimes include murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft.
City-wide property crime dropped 20 percent in 2016, according to the report.
Burglaries saw one of the greatest shifts with a 40 percent decrease -- from 315 reported cases in 2015 to 190 in 2016.
Violent crimes saw a smaller downward shift at 8 percent. From 2015 reports of rape slightly increased and reports of robberies and aggravated assaults slightly decreased.
The number of unsolved robberies in the city last year exceeds the national average. Only 16 percent of robberies were cleared in 2016, close to half the national average, which is 29 percent.
While Fitchburg "still has issues," its a safe community, Martineau said.
Councilors praised the annual report, which was released at the City Council meeting Tuesday night.
"That's amazing," Ward 4 Councilor Michael Kushmerek said. "That's nothing short of spectacular."
Several councilors, including Ward 3 Councilor Joel Kaddy, praised the department's work on community engagement.
The department added two dedicated Community Engagement officers in 2016 and continued department-wide training emphasizing a community approach to policing, according to the report.
"The other night I saw a posting of your officers playing basketball in the streets (with children)," Kaddy said. "Every police officer can be a community police officer."
At-Large-Councilor Marcus DiNatale said the annual report could be used to market the city.
"This is big news," he said.
The report -- which also includes information on drug enforcement, car crashes, and officer training -- will be on the Police Department's website next week.
An in-depth article on the report will be published in the Sunday edition of the Sentinel & Enterprise.
Violence leads to arrests in US May Day marches
Demonstrators in Portland threw smoke bombs and Molotov cocktails at police
by Gillian Flaccus and Amy Taxin
(Videos on site)
PORTLAND, Ore. — May Day protests turned violent in the Pacific Northwest as demonstrators in Portland, Oregon, threw smoke bombs and Molotov cocktails at police while elsewhere thousands of people peacefully marched against President Donald Trump's immigration and labor policies.
From New England to the Midwest to the West Coast people chanted and picketed against Trump along with the traditional May Day labor rallies. Protesters flooded streets in Chicago. At the White House gates, they demanded "Donald Trump has got to go!"
In Portland, Oregon, police shut down a protest they said had become a riot and arrested more than two dozen people. Police in Olympia, Washington, said nine people were taken into custody after several officers were injured by thrown rocks and windows were broken at businesses in Washington's capital city.
In Seattle, five people were arrested during downtown protests and in Oakland, California, at least four were arrested after creating a human chain to block a county building where demonstrators demanded that county law enforcement refuse to collaborate with federal immigration agents.
"It is sad to see that now being an immigrant is equivalent to almost being a criminal," said Mary Quezada, a 58-year-old North Carolina woman who joined those marching on Washington.
She offered a pointed message to Trump: "Stop bullying immigrants."
The demonstrations on May Day, celebrated as International Workers' Day, follow similar actions worldwide in which protesters from the Philippines to Paris demanded better working conditions. But the widespread protests in the United States were aimed directly at the new Republican president, who has followed aggressive anti-immigrant rhetoric on the campaign trail with aggressive action in the White House.
Trump, in his first 100 days, has intensified immigration enforcement, including executive orders for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and a ban on travelers from six predominantly Muslim countries. The government has arrested thousands of immigrants in the country illegally and threatened to withhold funding from jurisdictions that limit cooperation between local and federal immigration authorities.
In Chicago, 28-year-old Brenda Burciaga was among thousands of people who marched through the streets to push back against the new administration.
"Everyone deserves dignity," said Burciaga, whose mother is set to be deported after living in the U.S. for about 20 years. "I hope at least they listen. We are hardworking people."
In Shemanski Park in Portland, Oregon, before the violence broke out hundreds of people, including some families with children, gathered and watched dancers in bright feathered headdresses perform to the beat of drums.
Friends Marian Drake and Martin Anderson watched from a nearby park bench as they held balloons supporting the International Workers Union.
"Things are so screwed up in this country. You've got a city right here that's full of homeless people and you've got a president ...whose budget is going to cut 40 percent to the EPA and end Meals on Wheels. We don't like those kinds of things," Anderson said.
Teachers working without contracts opened the day by picketing outside schools in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Activists in Phoenix petitioned state legislators to support immigrant families.
In a Los Angeles park, several thousand people waved American flags and signs reading "love not hate."
Selvin Martinez, an immigrant from Honduras with an American flag draped around his shoulders, took the day off from his job waxing casino floors to protest. "We hope to get to be respected as people, because we are not animals, we are human beings," said Martinez, who moved to Los Angeles 14 years ago fleeing violence in his country.
The White House did not respond to requests for a response to the May Day demonstrations.
Several protesters, like 39-year-old Mario Quintero, outed themselves as being in the country illegally to help make their point.
"I'm an undocumented immigrant, so I suffer in my own experience with my family," said Quintero at a Lansing, Michigan, rally. "That's why I am here, to support not only myself but my entire community."
In Miami, Alberto and Maribel Resendiz closed their juice bar, losing an estimated revenue of $3,000, to join a rally.
"This is the day where people can see how much we contribute," said Alberto Resendiz, who previously worked as a migrant worker in fields as far away as Michigan. "This country will crumble down without us."
He added, "We deserve a better treatment."
In Oakland at a later march, more than 1,000 people marched peacefully representing labor groups along with Mexican, Vietnamese, Chinese, Filipino and other immigrants.
While union members traditionally march on May 1 for workers' rights around the world, the day has become a rallying point for immigrants in the U.S. since massive demonstrations were held on the date in 2006 against a proposed immigration enforcement bill.
In recent years, immigrant rights protests shrank as groups diverged and shifted their focus on voter registration and lobbying.
Cleveland police union to file suit against toy gun makers
The lawsuit is seeking a redesign of the toy guns to make them look less realistic
by PoliceOne Staff
CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Patrolmen's Association is taking action against replica guns in a potential lawsuit against the manufacturers.
According to News5 Cleveland, the lawsuit is seeking a redesign of the toy guns to make them look less realistic. No financial damages are being sought.
“These fake weapons put the community at risk, puts law enforcement at risk, something has to be done,” union attorney Henry Hilow said.
An increase in officer-involved shootings that involve toy guns has sparked legislation and bans on replicas. In the 1980s, Congress authorized a study that discovered nearly 250 use-of-force cases involved a suspect brandishing an imitation gun, the Associated Press reported. A 2016 Washington Post study found that 86 people fatally shot by police over a period of two years had an imitation gun.
The union is expected to file in the coming months.
Mich. PD gets its own ice cream truck
The ice cream truck is one part of an initiative to bridge the gap between the community and law enforcement
by Perry A. Farrell
OAK PARK, Mich. — When it's time to scream for ice cream in Oak Park, the police department will be around to help.
The Oak Park Department of Public Safety is getting its own ice cream truck, and uniformed police will be touring local neighborhoods and handing out 300 free ice cream sandwiches every week through the fall.
The ice cream truck also will be on hand with free ice cream for all holiday and special events, Koch said in a written statement.
“We are the only police ice cream truck in the state of Michigan,'' said Detective Robert Koch of the Oak Park Investigative Division, who added that the truck is being funded through donations by local businesses.
Its official unveiling is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Monday, May 22, at the police department.
The ice cream truck is one of part of an initiative by Oak Park to bridge the gap between the community and law enforcement.
The department also is launching the Oak Park Citizens Academy, in which citizens will take part in a four-week course – one day per week for three hours each day. The hands-on experience will include using a life-sized firearms training simulator.
Citizens will be put in “shoot-don't shoot” scenarios with a real firearm and secondary weapons. They will also learn how to dust for fingerprints, examine a crime scene, collect evidence like footwear impressions in the mud and learn the criminal justice process.
Koch said the academy will allow Oak Park residents to “peek behind the blue curtain, where they can see what we do, and how we do it. It also creates personal relationships between the citizens that attend and the officers conducting the Academy.''
For information, visit the department's website or call 248-691-7514
Because race relations between police and citizens, especially in communities with a predominantly white police force and an African-American citizenry is tense, Oak Park Public Safety Department is trying to “bridge the gap” between the police and the citizens of the community.
One killed, three wounded in attack on University of Texas at Austin campus, police say
by Susan Svrluga and Sarah Larimer
One person was killed and three others wounded during an attack on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin on Monday afternoon, authorities said.
Jennifer Herber, a spokeswoman for the Austin Police Department, said a suspect is in custody. The university canceled classes and scheduled events for the rest of the day.
At a news conference Monday afternoon, University of Texas Police Chief David Carter identified the suspect in custody as Kendrex J. White, who he said also appears to be a student at the university.
“It was described to us that the individual calmly walked around the plaza … and basically attacked these four unfortunate students,” Carter said.
“There are no words to describe my sense of loss,” Greg Fenves, the UT president, said in a message to the community. “Campus safety is our highest priority and we will investigate this tragic incident to the greatest extent possible.”
Fenves told reporters Monday that authorities did not think there was an ongoing threat to the campus, though the investigation remained ongoing.
“We ask that all our students call home,” he said. “Call your parents, to let them know that you are safe. We ask our faculty and staff to help each other, to reach out to family members, also.
“At this time of this awful tragedy, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, and the families of this incredibly senseless attack, which attacks the entire UT campus and UT family.”
About 1:49 p.m., Carter said, UTPD got a call about an individual who “actually attacked or assaulted somebody” near a gym. In less than two minutes, an officer was on the scene.
“The officer observed the individual walking away from an individual who was down on the ground,” Carter said. “He was armed with a large, Bowie-style hunting knife.”
The officer confronted the man, Carter said, drawing his weapon and ordering the man to the ground. Then the suspect was taken into custody.
“The officer discovered that unfortunately, in addition to that single individual who had been stabbed, within about a block, there were three additional victims, all male, all determined to be students, who were also stabbed,” Carter said.
Of the four victims, one died and the other three were getting medical treatment at a hospital, Carter said.
“At this particular time, we do not know,” Carter said, when asked whether there was any suggestion the victims were related in some way, or whether there was a motive for why they were chosen. “We have upward of 25 witnesses, so this investigation is going to take a little while.”
A spokesman for the university did not immediately respond to messages Monday afternoon.
On social media, police and university leaders sent alerts to the campus community.
The attack came three days after police said a former student wielding a machete and other blades attacked students at Transylvania University in Kentucky. One student was hospitalized in that attack.
The student newspaper at the University of Texas, the Daily Texan, posted photos from the scene on social media.
The top-ranked university, the state flagship school, has more than 51,000 students enrolled.
On Monday evening, police and university officials reassured the public.
Dallas shooting suspect found dead with 2nd body; paramedic shot
by CBS News
DALLAS -- A gunman opened fire on emergency responders treating a gunshot victim in a Dallas street on Monday, critically injuring a paramedic and prompting police to lock down the area until the suspect -- and another person -- were found dead in a local home, authorities said.
Police believe the shooting started as a dispute between the suspect and the gunshot victim, who were neighbors. A police officer who responded to the late-morning shooting in a largely residential area east of downtown was injured and treated at the scene.
The gunman fled before holing up in a house where investigators believe he fatally shot another person before killing himself. A police robot found the two bodies after authorities barricaded entrances to the community for several hours to allow officers to scour the neighborhood, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said during a news conference.
Interim Police Chief David Pughes said police were still interviewing neighbors and witnesses late Monday, but he said officers on the scene were told "it was just a simple dispute between two neighbors that escalated into a shooting."
Pughes said responding officers found the paramedic and the civilian injured, and "took fire from the suspect as they approached." A sergeant arrived as officers were still maintaining cover -- because the shooter was still at large -- and rushed in to pull the injured paramedic to safety.
"He went in alone and he pulled the paramedic out, placed him in his squad car and drove him to Baylor hospital," Pughes said. "We believe ... that as a result of those actions, that paramedic's life was saved."
The paramedic underwent surgery Monday and was in critical but stable condition at Baylor University Medical Center, according to the mayor. Rawlings didn't give details of the paramedic's injuries, but said "he is going to have to undergo extensive medical treatment to get him back up to par."
The neighbor who was shot also was in intensive care, the mayor said, though other details haven't been released.
No information was released about the second person found dead in the home, including whether the person knew the gunman or if either of them lived in the house.
Dozens of police vehicles swarmed the mostly residential area after the shooting was reported near a local Fire Training Academy. Several people from a nearby neighborhood and some relatives of people who live in the barricaded area gathered at a nearby gas station to await updates from police.
A 33-year-old woman waiting in the shade of a gas station across the street from a police barricade told The Associated Press that her mother lives in the neighborhood and saw SWAT teams arrive Monday.
Brenda Salazar said she was headed to the area to visit her mother when she heard about the shooting on the radio. She called her mother, who told her she didn't hear any shooting but "saw the SWAT guys and police setting up and going into the neighborhood."
Salazar said her mother was OK and was watching the news, "but this stuff happens here all the time."
The Dallas Police Association tweeted earlier Monday that officers responding to an active shooter were "pinned down" by gunfire.
"Please keep the injured EMT and his family in your thoughts and prayers," the Dallas Police Department tweeted.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott released a statement saying his prayers were going out to all of those affected.
FBI agents and officers with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also were in unmarked vehicles waiting at intersections in the neighborhood. Officials from the local fire department and parks department passed out water and Gatorade to officers blocking the roads.
Young LAPD cops work shaped by Rodney King riots
Many young LAPD officers have a child's memories of the riots, or no memories at all; yet these officers work in a department profoundly shaped by its missteps during that time
by Richard Winton and Cindy Chang
LOS ANGELES — Officer Nancy Rodriguez is far too young to have been on duty during the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
Her most vivid memory of that time is of a pink party dress.
She was 4 years old. She had recently worn the dress to her birthday party. It was at a dry cleaner near her home in South Los Angeles, and she never saw it again. Rioters set the business on fire.
Her parents kept her indoors, and she did not learn the extent of the devastation until years later.
“I couldn't believe I was very close to everything that happened. I didn't realize how crazy it was,” said Rodriguez, 29, shortly before going on patrol last week in the Los Angeles Police Department's Olympic division, which includes most of Koreatown.
A quarter-century after Los Angeles descended into chaos, many young LAPD officers have a child's memories of the riots, or no memories at all. Yet these officers work in a department profoundly shaped by its missteps during that time.
In 1992, the senior LAPD commanders of today were just starting to climb the leadership ladder — not high-ranking enough to make big decisions but experienced enough to be appalled by the department's inaction while the city went up in flames and looters ransacked stores. More than 60 people lost their lives over five days starting April 29.
At the time, young officers were trained in old-school, big-bad-cop ways — chokeholds, hogtying, arbitrary pat-downs, a wartime mentality. All that began to change after the riots and was further spurred by a federal consent decree.
The LAPD is undergoing a generational shift. Fewer rank-and-file officers remember the riots, and fewer have ever policed the old way. A 40-year-old police officer would have been 15 in 1992. Even some of today's station captains had not yet joined or were barely out of training.
A department that was 59 percent white in 1992 now roughly mirrors the city it serves. Nearly half of LAPD officers are Latino, 10 percent are black and 9 percent are Asian-American.
The lessons of history guide the way many things at the LAPD are done, even if the youngsters do not know the ins and outs of that history.
Use your mouth before your fists. Batons should be used sparingly. When possible, be friend, not foe. Do not let a street protest get out of hand — make arrests before it gets to that point.
The LAPD has been involved in several controversial fatal shootings in recent years, and its critics still complain of heavy-handed tactics. But it is a far different department from what it was 25 years ago.
“They learn from the people that have learned from 1992,” LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said of young officers. “A change in culture doesn't necessarily mean that the newest recipients of that change in culture understand how it got to where it is. They just know the change in culture.”
In an interview in his office last week, Beck directed an aide to retrieve a 700-page tome, Lou Cannon's “Official Negligence,” which the chief termed the “definitive book” about the riots.
That book and others about the riots are required reading for officers in line for promotion. All commanding officers have the books, Beck said.
The riots are not part of the official curriculum for the LAPD academy or other officer training. But instructors sometimes mention them to illustrate the stark contrast with current policing methods and to emphasize the importance of building community ties.
In October 1992, a special panel found that the LAPD's response to the riots “was marked by uncertainty, some confusion and an almost total lack of coordination.”
Beck was 39 at the time, a sergeant in the Internal Affairs Division. In an op-ed published in the Los Angeles Times on the 20th anniversary of the riots, Beck wrote that he had just returned home from a long shift and saw the scene at Florence and Normandie unfolding on TV.
Stunned by the lack of police officers on the scene, he got into his personal car and drove to the LAPD command post.
“I found myself among hundreds of fellow officers of all ranks, all of us waiting for orders,” Beck recalled. “Police cars in long rows sat empty, waiting for a mission. Knowing that the city was burning from arson fires yet sitting idle left me feeling numb.”
At a 4:30 p.m. roll call meeting at Olympic station Wednesday, six of the seven police officers were Latino. Three were women.
As he wrapped up the meeting, Sgt. Juan Powers noted to the young officers that Times reporters were present to speak with them about the riots.
“You guys don't have any experience with the L.A. riots, but it was my baptism under fire,” Powers said as the officers dispersed to their patrol cars.
Sgt. Kyle Douglas, who arrived at the roll call room after the meeting, said he was 10 years old during the riots and living in either North Hollywood or mid-Wilshire. He remembers watching the riots on TV and being shocked at the fires and the people who were breaking windows and throwing things around.
The riots and L.A.'s troubled racial history did not influence his decision to join the department, he said. But as an African American, he is happy to be a role model for young people.
“I realized that I can be a motivating factor for people in the community who say, ‘You know what? That guy looks like me. He is a sergeant. … Maybe I can do that one day. Maybe I can give back to my city and be a positive influence for my city,'” said Douglas, 35.
Douglas said he feels prepared if there is another riot. He has had extensive training in controlling crowds. And, he said, police officers try to stay in touch with community leaders to respond to concerns before anger boils over.
“We feel we are ready if something like that were to happen,” Douglas said. “But we have done so much to get ahead of that happening, to prevent it.”
Rodriguez, the young officer who lost her pink dress in the riots, said her impression of the LAPD was not shaped by the Rodney King beating or by the department's tragic inaction.
The officers she knew handed out stickers and baseball cards to the neighborhood kids and staffed the DARE drug prevention program at her school.
She became a police officer because of them, she said.