June 2017 - Week 2
Community Policing Safe Place To Talk Race
by Shafiq R. Fulcher
Since the controversial shooting of Michael Brown on August 9, 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri , a national debate on police, race, social status and ethnicity has become the new norm of America. Unlike the initial criminal justice reform debates that were fueled by over one hundred days of continual public protest that eventually erupted into riots and looting in Ferguson, the continued wave of unrest still emanating from Urban America has begun to spark calls for aggressive legislative reforms for improving police initial contact with citizens from multi-ethic communities. In addition, court-enforceable consent decrees have been issued by the Department of Justice to institute police reforms in departments that have found themselves lacking a fortified Urban Portfolio after a catastrophic incident between police and multi-ethic communities.
Change Comes From the Top
The first step to improving police community relations is for law enforcement agency administrators, law enforcement executives and command staff to take responsibility to effectively and properly educate their officers and agents about why segments of the population distrust police and other law enforcement officials. Furthermore, law enforcement agencies cannot become obsessed with trying to critique the legitimacy of social movements such as Black Lives Matters, which has become its own lightening rod among police and law enforcement culture. As a 21 year police veteran and now police commander, in the past three years I have sat down with Police Executive Research Forum officials, Federal Bureau of Investigation officials, Justice Department officials, Mayors, Congressmen, Senators, National Fraternal Order of Police leaders, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, and others who all are struggling to draft solutions that would attempt to calm the current racial climate between police and communities of color. Most all of, the dialogues have concluded that at this current stage of police and race relations many more challenges exist than initially thought.
Often, many law enforcement administrators will act on their first respondent's instincts and feverishly search for a quick fix solution to “make it all go away.” Other immediate strategies often have included taking a closer look at minority hiring of candidates and the swift promotion of minority officers (for positions that were historically held by non-minority officers) as a neutralizer to community unrest. The most impulsive reaction by departments is often to implement training on cultural sensitivity and bias reduction. Though all of these actions could potentially yield results, it is imperative that present day and especially future law enforcement agency administrators and command staff weigh their urgency to commit to a continued process of change and agency improvement. The most consistent and historical approach used nationwide has been a police department's ability to maintain an open dialogue with clergy leaders in the African American churches. This by far will always be an effective fail-safe tool in building and protecting ongoing relationships with the Black community. However, in our current day not all Black people are Christian and not all Black people attend church. Therefore, departments must expand their partnership circle to include Muslims Imams, Nation of Islam Ministers, Black Lives Matter representatives, and representatives from LGBTQ organizations.
Many police officers and community members agree that the time to talk about race relations, social status, religion, and gender orientation has been long overdue. The challenge in addressing race relations in America between the urban community and the police has always been about creating a “safe space to talk race.” Law enforcement agency administrators, law enforcement executives and command staff create innovative post incident command cultural preparedness strategies backed by training and new policies that protect their department's “Urban Portfolio” of police and community relationships from being destroyed by local and national catastrophic incidents between police and the urban community.
….The shooting of unarmed, Walter Scott on April 4, 2015, in North Charleston, South Carolina, following a daytime traffic stop for a non-functioning brake light. Scott, a black man, was fatally shot eight times in the back by a white North Charleston police officer. In addition, the shooting of Walter Scott may go down as being one of the most provocative incidents that threatens the stability of American law enforcement and its ability to effectively police black Americans.
After such an incident, l law enforcement agency administrators, law enforcement executives and command staff should mobilize community leaders, clergy, activists, select elected officials, youth representatives, and local media to have intimate dialogue about the incident behind closed doors in efforts to preserve the achievements gained through their previous positive police social interactions. In most times of crisis, each department should have one or two community negotiators. These should not be confused with hostage negotiators. Community negotiators are the few officers or command staff that have such a great rapport with the particular community in crisis. Moreover, these select group of officers would likely be more than comfortable in engaging in heated discussions needed for the purpose of racial and cultural de-escalation.
Such community crisis engagement tactics and approaches unofficially exist in many departments and law enforcement agencies. However, they are not a part of the agency's strategic plan and may not exist within their training divisions. Here is where the hardcore conversation begins. It is imperative that law enforcement agency administrators, law enforcement executives and command staff develop biannual in-service “Tabletop” training programs specifically directed at improving community engagement, and developing a skillset for racial and cultural de-escalation. In addition, new recruits and cadets must enter their academy training with an elaborate community engagement curriculum that will prepare them to be their departments' front-line community negotiators equipped with skillsets in racial and cultural de-escalation and social program outreach. Workshops and curriculums for these skills must greatly exceed Peace Officers Standards and Training Council (POST) standards and should take on an innovative “out of the box approach.”
When asked about the best scientific approach? The response is often, “find the best practice.” From the current state of police and urban relations nationwide, previous alleged best practices regarding effective community policing have not improved the historically poor relationship between police and the urban community particularly when engaging Black, Hispanic and Latino males. Most POST standards only require new recruits and cadets to do four to eight hours of social programming over six months of training. Many police and law enforcement agencies grossly lack diversity within their academy classes, training staff, command staff and executive leadership. This further exacerbates stereotyping and biases of race, culture, social status, gender and religion due to the department's culture of a direct lack of knowledge. This creates the “us against them syndrome” in law enforcement.
Moving an agency towards effective police social interactions begins with the agency's commitment to “do better by its communities of color.” Mission statements must be reviewed and modified. Training instructors and command staff must be reflective of both the community that the department serve and the content of the material being represented. Community partners and urban leaders cannot be called only during a crisis. Every police department and law enforcement agency in America should a strategic plan no less than five years in duration. The strategic plan should address challenges, community engagement, policy updates, operational standards, promotion, inclusion, diversity, wages, and non-arrest proactive policing methods. In addition, a purposeful and intellectual discussion must be developed and expanded to include meaningful discussion with the American Muslim community, grassroots social movements, and the LGBTQ communities. In order to effectively embark upon that journey and be successful, police departments and law enforcement agencies will need to train their officers and agents to be their own first responders in addressing issues on race, social status, religion, ethnicity, and gender within the communities they are sworn to protect and now challenged to serve.
Chilling video shows rescue of missing woman "chained like a dog"
by CBS News
(Video on site)
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- After hearing a woman's screams inside a large metal container, investigators sawed and pried open the bin, rescuing the woman who had been chained inside for about two months by a serial killer, according to new videos released by prosecutors.
The videos also show Todd Kohlhepp, in cold and emotionless detail, confessing to killing seven people in South Carolina. He pleaded guilty two weeks ago to avoid the death penalty and was sentenced to life in prison. On Friday, prosecutors released several videos, dozens of pictures and hundreds of pages of evidence against him.
In the rescue video, once the container was opened after the 10-minute operation, officers walked in carefully with their hands on their guns and found a clothed Kala Brown, sitting on the floor with a chain around her neck stretching to the wall.
CBS affiliate WSPA-TV is expected to exclusively report next week on the case files surrounding Kohlhepp.
"Do you know where your buddy is?" an officer said.
"Charlie? He shot him," she said quietly.
"Todd Kohlhepp shot Charlie Carver three times in the chest, wrapped him in a blue tarp, put him in the bucket of the tractor, locked me down here. I've never seen him again. He says he's dead and buried. He says there are several bodies dead and buried out here," she said.
Investigators found three bodies on the rural Spartanburg County property. They had gone to the land on Nov. 3 to look for Brown and her boyfriend, 32-year-old Charles Carver. The couple had been missing for two months, and Brown's cellphone indicated she might have been in the area when she vanished.
Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright says deputies heard the 30-year-old woman banging on the walls of the container as they served a search warrant in 2016.
"It was pretty emotional, to say the least," Wright told reporters at the time. "When she was found, she was chained like a dog -- she had a chain around her neck. It's only by God's grace we found that little girl alive."
The woman and her boyfriend were last heard from in late August 2016, WSPA reports. The missing case gained national attention after suspicious posts appeared on Carver's Facebook page that his family suspected were posted by someone else. The page was later taken down.
Kohlhepp also pleaded guilty to raping Brown. The Associated Press typically doesn't identify victims of sexual assault, but Brown has spoken publicly about her traumatic experience, appearing on Dr. Phil's television show in February.
Authorities say on the way to the hospital, Brown told them about how Kohlhepp confessed to killing a married couple before she was captured, and about killing four people at a Spartanburg County motorcycle shop -- murders that were unsolved for 13 years.
After authorities let Kohlhepp talk to his mother and promised to give her money from his accounts, he confessed in several other videos released by prosecutors.
Kohlhepp bragged in one video about wearing gloves when loading his gun to assure no fingerprints were on the casings. He also told authorities he pulled the gun apart and threw the components into different trash bins, putting the barrel into a bag of used kitty litter.
Even though it had been 13 years, Kohlhepp detailed each shot he fired at the Superbike shop, including final shots to the forehead of 30-year-old Scott Ponder; 52-year-old Beverly Guy; 30-year-old Brian Lucas; and 26-year-old Chris Sherbert.
"That was one big building. I cleared that building in under 30 seconds," Kohlhepp said. "I'm sorry, but you guys would have been proud."
The investigators asked if anyone begged for their lives or said anything to him.
"I don't remember any of that. I will tell you that once I engaged, I was engaged. It was almost like a video game. It's not a game -- you've been there, sir, you know what I am talking about," Kohlhepp said.
Kohlhepp also killed 29-year-old Johnny Coxie and 26-year-old Meagan Leigh McCraw-Coxie in December 2015. They, like Carver and Brown, were lured to Kohlhepp's land after he promised them work.
Kohlhepp killed Coxie immediately and tried to keep McCraw-Coxie locked away, but he said he killed her after several days because she tried to burn the container after he gave her cigarettes.
"She wanted Little Caesar's pizza. I hate that (expletive). It gives me heartburn," Kohlhepp said. "Dr. Pepper, cinnamon rolls and freaking Newports. If you go down to that building, you'll find an unused package of Newports that I bought for her."
Kohlhepp denied killing anyone else. He did say he shot a man in Arizona when he was 14, but could give few details. Authorities have not charged him with any additional crimes in other states.
Kohlhepp moved to South Carolina in 2001 after 14 years in prison for a kidnapping in Arizona. Authorities there said the then 15-year-old Kohlhepp forced a 14-year-old neighbor back to his home at gunpoint, tied her up and raped her.
Virginia man intended to kill police officers when he hit them in D.C., prosecutors said
by Lynh Bui
The Virginia man who plowed through one of the District's busiest nightlife districts Thursday night intentionally aimed his white pickup truck at police with the intent to kill and had made anti-police statements the day before, according to prosecutors and court records.
A judge ordered Brandon Figures-Mormon, 22, of Disputanta, Va., held without the possibility of release during his first appearance in D.C. Superior Court on Saturday after the alleged attack in Adams Morgan injured two police officers and a city worker.
Prosecutors said he advocated killing law enforcement, and in the past told someone “all police need to die.”
“He made an affirmative choice to run down the police officers,” Assistant U.S. Attorney John B. Timmer said in court on Saturday.
Public defender Jacqueline Cadman said Figures-Morman was intoxicated during the collision and the government had no evidence that he meant to kill. He had smoked some concentrated marijuana at a club before the collision, charging documents state.
“What we don't have is any intent on his part to hit these individuals,” said Cadman, who argued he should be released on his own recognizance. “There is absolutely no intent here.”
Figures-Mormon has been charged with assault with intent to kill, illegal possession of a firearm, reckless driving and other related charges in the incident that left two police officers hospitalized and one city worker injured. One of the police officers has since been released from the hospital, D.C. police said Saturday. The other remains in critical but stable condition.
Officers along the stretch of bars, clubs and restaurants along 18th Street near Belmont Road were directing traffic backed up behind a stopped Metrobus at around 9 p.m. on Thursday, with Figures-Mormon and a passenger among the line of cars in a Dodge Ram, police said. Figures-Morman then veered out of the queue, sped up the median and barreled toward two uniformed officers, according to police and court documents. Witnesses reported the truck struck the officers and continued on to hit a uniformed D.C. Department of Transportation employee, charging documents state.
“The witnesses also reported that the truck did not stop after hitting the third victim...and instead continued driving through a red stop light down the street until crashing into a sanitation truck.
Three officers on the city's nightlife detail were hurt in the chaos. Officer Alen Bukvic was in critical but stable condition. He is expect to remain in the hospital for at least another week, according to court records. Officer Richard R. Duranne suffered a fractured nose, sprained right ankle and burns and was released from the hospital after one day. And City Transportation Department officer Pamela Ann Johnson was injured but treated at a hospital and released the same day.
After taking Figures-Mormon into custody, investigators found a military-style weapon they described as the Romanian version of the AK-47 in the truck's backseat, police said.
Figures-Morman borrowed the Dodge Ram from a man who had been with him that day for a firearms expo in Chantilly, Va., court documents state. The owner of the truck said he placed the rifle under the back seat of the pickup because he couldn't keep it in their hotel room.
Investigators said that about two and a half years ago, Figures-Morman “began making negative comments about police officers to the effect of “all police need to die” and advocating killing police officers on Snapchat as recently as Wednesday, charging documents state.
There's no evidence Figures-Morman made any anti-police statements right before striking the officers and the sentiments he allegedly made more than two years ago, said Cadman, the defense lawyer.
Judge Kimberley Knowles said at Saturday's court hearing that there was evidence — including Metrobus video and several witness statements — that Figures-Morman “directly aimed” at the officers and had ample opportunity to stop his car before hitting others but kept charging ahead.
“He is a danger to the community,” Knowles said before ordering him to appear in court again on June 20.
In 2014, Figures-Morman was convicted of assault, a count reduced from an initial charge of assaulting a police officer.
Figures-Morman was discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2012 after a year of service. Military authorities said the “character of his service was incongruent with Marine Corps' expectations and standards.”
Use-of-force expert: Cop who fatally shot Philando Castile justified in shooting
A use-of-force expert said his tests found Philando Castile could have pulled the weapon in a fraction of a second
by Steve Karnowski
ST. PAUL, Minn. — A use-of-force expert testified Friday that a Minnesota police officer was justified in the fatal shooting of a black motorist moments after the man told him he was carrying a gun, and said his tests found the motorist could have pulled the weapon in a fraction of a second.
Emanuel Kapelsohn was the second such expert in two days called by attorneys for Officer Jeronimo Yanez. He's charged with manslaughter for shooting Philando Castile during a traffic stop last July that drew widespread attention because Castile's girlfriend streamed the aftermath on Facebook.
Prosecutors say Yanez's actions were unreasonable. Castile, a 32-year-old cafeteria worker, had a permit for the weapon and prosecutors have sought to portray him as being cooperative when he volunteered to Yanez early during the stop, "Sir, I have to tell you, I do have a firearm on me." Yanez's attorneys say the St. Anthony police officer made a reasonable split-second decision in the presence of a gun and fearing for his life.
Yanez, who is Latino, was expected to take the stand later Friday. The defense's case is expected to stretch into next week.
A key issue in the trial is what Yanez saw before he fired seven shots into Castile's car. Squad-car video recorded him telling a supervisor afterward that he didn't know where Castile's gun was, but also that he told Castile to take his hand off it. Yanez's partner testified that Yanez told him later he saw the gun. Witnesses have testified that the gun was in a pocket of Castile's shorts when paramedics removed him from his vehicle.
Kapelsohn says if Yanez believed he saw a gun, he was justified to shoot.
"He's trained to do so. He's justified in doing so. He'd be remiss in not doing so," Kapelsohn said.
Prosecutors have sought to show Yanez could have taken lesser steps, such as asking to see Castile's hands or asking where the gun was. After Castile told the officer he had the gun, Yanez told Castile, "OK, don't reach for it then," and, "Don't pull it out" — a response Kapelsohn described as "moderate."
Kapelsohn, a firearms instructor to police for 37 years, said the situation escalated when Castile reached for something. His girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, who was a passenger in the car, has said he was reaching for his wallet or seat belt.
On squad-car video, Castile can be heard saying, "I'm not pulling it out," as Yanez opened fire. Castile's last words were, "I wasn't reaching for it."
Kapelsohn said tests he conducted showed it would take less than three-tenths of a second to draw a gun like Castile's from a holster in the pocket of shorts like Castile was wearing. Kapelsohn said that's faster than an officer could react.
Prosecutor Jeff Paulsen, on cross-examination, asserted that "the ultimate question" in the case was whether Yanez saw a gun. Kapelsohn disagreed, saying the central question to him was whether Yanez "reasonably believed that Castile was pulling out a firearm."
Paulsen also displayed autopsy photos that showed a graze wound to Castile's trigger finger. Paulsen noted the absence of a bullet hole in Castile's shorts or bullet damage to his gun — evidence, the prosecutor said, that showed he wasn't reaching for the gun when shot.
Kapelsohn said it was possible Castile didn't have his hand in or near his pocket at that point.
ICE Newark arrests 113 criminal targets in 5-day enforcement surge
NEWARK — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Newark Field Office arrested 113 criminal targets during an operation Jun. 5-9, as part of the agency's ongoing public safety and national security efforts. The operation was supported by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's New Jersey Field Office, the New Jersey State Parole Office, and ICE Homeland Security Investigations.
All of the targets in this operation were criminal in nature. 93% of those that were arrested were convicted criminals and 87% of them had prior felony convictions.
“The continued results of our Fugitive Operations officers and their law enforcement partners underscore ICE's ongoing and steady commitment to public safety,” said John Tsoukaris, field office director of ERO Newark. “As part of this operation, we continue focus on the arrest of individuals who are criminal and are a threat to public safety and national security. Because of the tireless efforts of these professional officers, there are 113 fewer criminals in our communities,” he added.
“U.S. Customs and Border Protection is extremely proud to have assisted in this operation,” said Leon Hayward, Acting Director New York Field Office. “It is through collaborative efforts, such as the one leading to today's arrests, that law enforcement agencies can combat illegal acts and apprehend criminals who pose a threat to the Homeland.”
“The State Parole Board is pleased to have been able to take part in this very successful fugitive operation. Cooperative efforts with other state and federal agencies serve as a force multiplier resulting in a significant public safety benefit. We are proud of the efforts of our parole officers and all that took part in the operation.” said James T. Plousis, chairman of the NJ State Parole Board.
The individuals arrested throughout New Jersey were nationals of Bangladesh, Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ghana, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Iraq, Ireland, Jamaica, Jordan, Korea, Latvia, Liberia, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Peru, Poland, Slovakia, Trinidad and Uruguay.
These individuals range from age 18 to 74 years old and all were previously convicted of a variety of offenses. Some of the convictions included sexual assault on a minor, child abuse, possession of narcotics, distribution of narcotics, robbery, trespassing, damage to property, DUI, crimes against person, fraud, sex offense against a child/fondling, threaten to kill, sexual exploitation of a minor, domestic violence, battery, theft of us government property, possession of a weapon, illegal use of credit cards, burglary, larceny, aggravated assault and illegal reentry.
Among those arrested during this operation include:
A Iraqi citizen convicted of possession of narcotics
A Honduran citizen wanted by Honduras for the offense of double Homicide
A Latvian citizen convicted of heroin sale
A El Salvador citizen convicted of sexual exploitation of a minor
A Ecuadorian citizen convicted of sexual exploitation of a minor
A Jordanian citizen convicted of synthetic narcotic possession
A Dominican citizen convicted of cocaine sale
A Bangladesh citizen convicted of aggravated assault with a weapon
In fiscal year 2016, ICE conducted 240,255 removals nationwide. Over ninety percent of individuals removed from the interior of the United States had previously been convicted of a criminal offense.
ICE is focused on smart, effective immigration enforcement that targets serious criminal aliens who present the greatest risk to the security of our communities, such as those charged with or convicted of homicide, rape, robbery, kidnapping, major drug offenses and threats to national security.
ERO Newark works closely with federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to enforce federal immigration laws as part of its homeland security mission.
Providence mayor signs Community-Police Relations Act, a ‘national model for community policing'
by Jennifer Bogdan
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Mayor Jorge Elorza has signed the Providence Community-Police Relations Act, a comprehensive ordinance outlining how police should interact with the community.
Elorza called the ordinance, which had been under discussion in the city for four years, the “most comprehensive community-police relations law in the country” and “a national model for community policing.”
“With so much tension in the air in cities throughout the country, Providence is being proactive in collecting data and in adopting policies promoting transparency, accountability and strong community relations,” Elorza said in a statement.
“While this is an important step, I know that high-quality, community policing is not achieved through legislation alone but through continued commitment of every member of the team. I know that our work is never done and we will to continue to engage stakeholders, the community, educators and our public safety officials, to improve our community police relations in every neighborhood in Providence,” Elorza said.
Ocean View Police Department pedals community policing
by Maria Counts
Those who have been out and about in Ocean View this past week may have spotted something they may have never seen before — an Ocean View police officer on a bicycle.
On June 1, the Ocean View Police Department began its bike-patrol program, headed by Officer AnnMarie Dalton.
“I approached [Chief Ken McLaughlin] about possibly starting a bike patrol, because I thought it would be nice to really get out and do more community policing, rather than just sit inside the vehicle,” said Dalton, “Especially with some of the bigger developments, people are out there with their kids, barbecuing, stuff like that.”
Through two grants, from the Delaware Criminal Justice Council and Sussex County Council, the department was able to purchase two Police Trek bikes for the department's use.
“We actually had a bike patrol way back when, but we were always so shorthanded that the bikes weren't getting used, because, for the most part, we only had one officer. We didn't have overtime money back in the day,” said McLaughlin.
“We saw a need in the community to enhance some of our community policing programs. As we get busier, we have less time to talk to people, and we want to make sure we don't lose the relationships, those ties to the community that we've quite frankly worked really hard to build.”
The bike patrol will occur at various times throughout the day and week, depending on who would like to patrol. McLaughlin said the department will be using other grants the department has received to pay for the overtime pay of the bike patrol officers. The patrol will not have a set schedule, and officers will not be out biking in inclement weather.
“You come in for a couple hours and get out there on the bike,” said Dalton.
Due to response times being lengthened by pedaling on a bicycle, officers working bike patrol will not be scheduled to work alone. The bike patrol officer will also advise the Sussex County emergency operations center (SusCom) of their varied patrols so, if need be, they can call other officers to assist on an incident.
The equipment the officer wears will be the same — including their tactical vests and body cameras. They will have a reflective “police” banner on their vests so they are more visible and will be wearing protective helmets.
“[It's the bike] most police officers and paramedics use,” Dalton said of the purchase. “We have a little bag on the back that we keep medical supplies in and a traffic vest, just in case. We are equipped with red and blue lights, which is pretty neat. So, if we wanted to pull someone over, we actually could.”
Dalton said she hopes to be able to do some traffic enforcement on the bike as well, noting they are stealthier, so there is the potential to work on some of the speed violations and stop-sign violations in town.
“Especially in the summer, there's a lot of people around. I may be able to stop a bicyclist riding on the wrong side of the road easier than a car would, too.”
Currently, three officers in the department have bike-police certifications, with the option available to the other officers.
“Other officers will get certified in the future. It's not going to be mandatory for everybody. But we've got two or three other officers who are interested in it, so we'll get them certified as soon as we can,” said McLaughlin.
Dalton, who worked as a seasonal bike cop in Bethany Beach before joining the OVPD, was certified through the International Police Mountain Bike Association.
“That's a certification Chief wants everyone to have, for liability purposes, too. It teaches you how to use the bike, riding it, the components of the bike, so if it breaks you have an idea of what's going on. Then you go for a ride to make sure you're physically fit to do it. If you're in an altercation, they teach you how to use your bike as a barrier. It goes through a lot of stuff.”
McLaughlin said that, while other officers have voiced interest in becoming certified, he doesn't foresee the department purchasing more bikes, as it is an overtime patrol.
Dalton said the patrol is a great way to patrol the Assawoman Canal area, John West Park and some of the town's other areas.
“When we host community events or if there are events in the area, we'll probably be out there on the bikes.”
“We're going to be out there, trying to stay as visible as we can in the community. If everything goes right, do more talking and less riding. The goal is for them to stop by John West Park, for example, get off the bike and interact with the community,” added McLaughlin.
The bike patrol will also be at the department's annual bicycle safety checkpoint, scheduled for Thursday, June 29, from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. in the Taylor Bank parking lot. Hogs for Heroes recently donated $300 to the department to help it purchase bicycle light kits for the checkpoint. Since the program's start in 2006, the department has installed more than 750 lights.
Dalton said a number of local agencies have bike patrols, including the Dagsboro Police Department.
“I hope more agencies do get it, just to get out there and be seen. You're more approachable on a bike than you are in a car. The car can be intimidating, especially if you have your windows rolled up. If you see someone on a bike, you can at least call out to them and say, ‘Hey, what's going on?' With the car, people don't know how to approach the vehicle.”
She said she's excited for the community to be able to interact with the officers in a different way.
“I think community policing goes a long way. You have a positive attitude toward the people who you are, obviously, supposed to be protecting. And when push comes to shove and you're in a jam, those people will be there for you. Chief has seen that happen in the past.”
“Combating crime isn't just a job for the police — it's for everybody. We believe that we're all one big team that's working together to keep the community safe,” McLaughlin said. “You can pick up any magazine or any law-enforcement periodical and you'll see, ‘community policing, community policing, community policing.' Places like Baltimore, Chicago, Wilmington, are hiring experts to come in and say, ‘You have to get back to community policing, because it is important. You have to be able to interact with the community. You have to have relationships with the community in order to be effective.'
“I tell our folks all the time, community policing is our bread and butter. It's what we do. I think we've been successful at it and, in return, we've fostered outstanding relationships with our residents, our visitors and our business community. It works very well for us.”
Dalton said she is excited to have helped start this endeavor at the department and is looking forward to interacting with more citizens in the community.
“I love it. It's nice. It's a good change of pace. You're, one, exercising — which in this profession you need to be physically fit — and you're doing your job at the same time,” she said. “If you see me out there or any of us out there, stop us and say hi. Be sure to wave, and we'll wave back. That's the whole point.”
New Mesa police chief: 'Building trust and legitimacy in the community is paramount to me'
by Garrett Mitchell
Mesa's new top cop is delivering a message of sincerity, openness and understanding as he enters his new role as police chief.
Ramon Batista, most recently an assistant chief at the Tucson Police Department, was announced last month as the successor to Chief John Meza, who retired in December. Assistant Chief Mike Dvorak had served as interim chief.
Batista said at an introductory news conference Thursday that he intends to continue to build on community-policing efforts instituted by his predecessors.
"We are going to continue to do the fine work that the men and women of Mesa have already been doing in engagement, transparency and relationship building that builds community," Batista said.
"We are going to do our very best in every interaction we have with you. We're human beings, and it's tough, and it's a dynamic environment, but that's the vision. That's the goal. ... We're going to always work (at) getting it right."
Challenges before new chief
Batista's new department faces budget constraints after the City Council voted on a tightened budget of $1.74 billion earlier this month. Public safety accounts for 62 percent of Mesa's annual operating funds.
"It's no secret that our public-safety departments are facing some challenges," Mesa Vice Mayor David Luna said. "We all know that, but we also know that we have a top-notch police department that is recognized nationwide for the service they provide our residents."
Luna said Batista is equipped to serve as the "captain of the ship" for Mesa police and ready to provide the city with innovative solutions.
"It takes someone with very special skill sets to be able to navigate the waters of a city our size, and we're confident, Chief, that you can do that," Luna said at Thursday's event.
In his old role in Tucson, Batista was responsible for the patrol and investigative bureau and oversaw the city's detectives, crime lab, evidence-processing and identification centers.
Tucson police released a statement after Batista took the Mesa job.
"Chief Batista is a well-respected, caring, and engaged member of our executive leadership group within the Tucson Police Department. We will miss working with him, but we know he will be a valuable member of the public safety team in Mesa," the statement said.
A focus on community relationships
In Mesa, Batista aims to implement a philosophy that emphasizes officer wellness, honesty, transparency and providing full, respectful service to the citizens whom officers protect.
He said his 31 years in the Tucson Police Department taught him that establishing strong relationships with the community is of the utmost importance.
Mesa police received increased scrutiny and criticism after three fatal police shootings in late 2015 and early 2016.
One former police officer was charged with second-degree murder in the January 2016 death of an unarmed Texas man and is now awaiting trial.
A department crisis-response team was created in February 2016.
Last month, the department courted controversy for its association with "anti-jihad" training conducted by an Arizona police association. Dvorak said it would be the last time this specific training would be held at the agency's training facility.
Batista said, "Building trust and legitimacy in the community is paramount to me. We will never be at a point where we think we don't have to (work) to that anymore. It's constant and ongoing, and we will always be working toward that end."
Batista said he is excited about the opportunity to lead the department, which has nearly 1,200 sworn and civilian employees.
"This is the type of family I want to be a part of, and I want to bring my family to be a part of it," Batista said. "It is a sincere honor to be chosen to lead the fine men and women of the Mesa Police Department and serve the Mesa community."
Community listening sessions: What will you say about policing?
by Amy Carpenter
In light of the recent traffic stop study and incidents involving young African-American males and the police, the City of Grand Rapids will hold a series of "Community Listening Sessions" to deepen engagement around the issue of policing. With up to $5 million on the table, what will you say?
The Grand Rapids City Commission is earmarking a possible $1 million a year for the next five years for "police and community relations." They are waiting on input from a series of “Community Listening meetings" to decide how to use those funds. The meetings, designed by City Commissioner Joe Jones, are meant to be part of an "ongoing, robust and authentic community outreach plan" according to the city website. During each meeting, the city will present the progress on the 12-Point Plan for Community and Police Relations, and a facilitator will engage the public in a community dialogue. The meetings will begin on Monday June 12, will wrap up on June 20, and will include a Spanish language meeting. (Full schedule here and in sidebar . )
What will you say? How do we as a community talk about big issues such as policing? And how do we hold the Commission accountable for including us in the budgeting process? As you consider your comments, here are edited excerpts from my letter to Mayor Bliss and my commissioners in preparation for these meetings.
Extend Lamberth Consulting contract
With the money the City Commission is setting aside for community and police relations, I believe the city should follow Lamberth Consulting's recommendations, including continuing the contract with Lamberth or another consultant who can assess racialized outcomes for traffic stops over the next few years.
As Russell Olmsted of the Community Police Relations Council said, “The Lamberth consultants' recommendations are one of the things the city hired them for. This was explained again and again at meetings last fall when the city introduced the consulting team and the methodology of the upcoming study.”
Olmsted continued, “The city hired Lamberth Consulting because it is one of the world leaders at this type of study and the systemic reforms needed to address issues around this study. Step one of the recommendations laid out by Lamberth Consulting was to now analyze the most recent data from 2016 to see if the reforms that have been put in place through the 12-point plan are working, then audit and release the data for the next few years to measure our progress.”
It seems clear we need continued data to see what's working, and the cost is reported to be a quarter of a million dollars, a fraction of what the city proposes to set aside.
Olmsted said this is important for a few reasons.
It rebuilds trust in the community through transparency of information. If we don't continue to investigate and collect data on this issue it will give the impression are leaders yet again looking the other way when shown facts about racial bias and systemic racialized outcomes in our city.
Information and data on this issue is the only way to form long term goals and plans. Not acting on or obtaining that data shows a lack of regard for using the evidence in forming a long-term strategy.
The benchmarking used in the study is only good for a limited time, especially in a city that is expanding like ours. “Acting sooner rather than later will actually save money because we won't have to pay for the benchmarking portion of the study to be done again.”
SAFE and Equity PAC recommendations
In light of the results of the Lamberth results, the Commission has not wanted to extend the contract, but has already decided to pay more attention to the SAFE task-force (Safe Alliances For Everyone) recommendations developed and delivered two years ago by a committee headed by Commissioner Senita Lenear. The recommendations include a restorative justice focus, neighborhood youth programs, targeting initiators of gang-related violence, and greater support for parents. Certainly much of the funding should go toward ensuring those are done well.
Though I do not want to see more police officers hired, we must make sure the ones who are hired are trauma-informed and have a real stake in the community. Implicit-bias testing, diversification of the workforce, and increased anti-racism training and de-escalation training for the force are all recommended by Equity PAC.
When looking at the bigger picture of systemic racism, though, many of these solutions barely scratch the surface. Policing is only one part of the hyper-segregated and white-driven culture of West Michigan that result in such poor outcomes for people of color in our city, including higher rates of incarceration and unemployment and lower rates of income and wealth-creation.
Racism and other bias often hide within the pro-business attitude of the Commission, a body that accepts money for the city from donors and developers who support candidates and oppressive policies against immigrants, people of color, folks with disabilities and mental illness and the LGBTQ community. If we want more equitable outcomes in policing and justice, we need to address the bigger picture.
Since there would be money left over after paying Lamberth, here are some ideas that might be worth discussing:
Social workers or community members trained in de-escalation could either ride with the police or be available in neighborhoods separately so that when a mental health crisis or a disagreement arises, people without weapons are on hand with a primary goal to de-escalate, mediate, and problem-solve. Denver and San Diego both have versions of these programs.
The Dispute Resolution Center and other restorative justice experts could help train the community in handling their own problems rather than calling in the law. (The SAFE recommendations mention restorative justice approaches as well.)
A fine-forgiveness program. Many folks end up with warrants and arrests because of small tickets and fines that accumulate to overwhelming numbers - I've talked to some who were jailed just as they started a job that would help them get out from under the fines.
The police force could be restructured so that the same police who patrol a community spend time getting to know the community, outside of their patrol cars. This is not the same as kids getting comfortable with police in uniforms -- it means the officers know who is in their community.
The SAFE task-force recommendations talk about social opportunities for youth. Support and funding for cooperative Black-owned businesses could also allow families and youth to be involved with enterprises that earn them money and capital as a way to provide positive social activities for youth.
As SAFE recommends, we need to Ban the Box (the question about felony convictions on job and rental applications).
Initiate neighborhood-driven gun reduction and recovery programs, along with judgment-free conversation on why people have guns and what problems they are trying to solve with those guns.
I look forward to hearing others' experiences and ideas at the upcoming meetings. We as a community will then need to hold our city leaders accountable for following through on meaningful solutions. If the community response continues to be anything like the crowds who have shown up at recent City Commission meetings, maybe we can hope to see real action and reduced harm to communities of color.
Some St. Louis residents cite mistrust, racial tension worries as city picks new police chief
by Ashley Lisenby
ST. LOUIS -- Some residents say they are skeptical of the city's plan to include community input in the selection of the next police chief.
The residents were among those who spoke Thursday at a panel discussion at Vashon High School on policing strategies, including accountability and retention.
Panelists included Richard Frank, the city's personnel director; John Chasnoff, co-chairman of Coalition Against Police Crimes and Repression; and Sgt. Heather Taylor, Ethical Society of Police president.
Mayor Lyda Krewson formed a 13-member citizen advisory board to help select a new chief after Sam Dotson retired on her first full day in office.
Dotson had led the city's department for more than four years before retiring. Krewson appointed Deputy Chief Lawrence O'Toole as interim chief.
Outside candidates are being considered for the department post for the first time in the city's history. Police union leaders say the selection should come from within the department.
One man called the process in place to select a new chief a “crapshoot,” questioning why the mayor would broaden the search for a chief when there are qualified candidates already on the force.
The city's minimum requirements for a candidate applying for the chief's post is a bachelor's degree and 10 years of experience. Those requirements could change, however, depending on public input, Frank said.
Much of the discussion turned to racial tension within the police department and community mistrust.
“This hire has to be someone who leads with integrity,” Taylor said.
Taylor said many on the force were concerned politics would cloud the decision on who would take the helm at the department.
But Frank assured the lengthy process that involves vetting from the committee and the public would weed out cronyism.
Other issues raised at the forum included the need for implementing community policing practices that target the root causes of crime and higher pay for city officers in light of a wage increase planned in the county.
Krewson, who attended the meeting, said the process to select a new chief is in the early stages and would likely take six to nine months to complete.
“We don't know if we'll hire someone from outside the city of St. Louis or someone from inside the city of St. Louis,” Krewson said in comments outside the meeting, adding “it's an open question.”
She said she was fine with the skepticism expressed at the discussion.
Krewson said “everybody will be considered,” regardless of race.
“The reason I came tonight was to listen,” she said.
She added later that, though there were many suggestions of how to correct some city policing problems, “there is not money in the current budget for that.”
“This is a 20, 25 million dollar problem we have here,” she said.
The citizen advisory board will hold its first public meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at 1520 Market Street.
With synthetic opioids on the rise, feds look to protect first responders
The current plan is to update training to make sure that first responders are aware of the risks posed by contact with fentanyl
by Erica Martinson
WASHINGTON — Some chemical agents used to process illicit drugs are so toxic that even non-users and emergency responders are at risk of an overdose, the Drug Enforcement Administration warned police departments across the United States this week.
In Alaska, where the governor has labeled heroin and opioid abuse an epidemic, police are heeding that advice.
The new dangers arise from the influx of fentanyl into the drug market, a synthetic opioid used to "cut" heroin and other opioids. Fentanyl is 30 to 50 times stronger than heroin, and has recently popped up across Alaska, particularly in a spate of recent overdoses.
In new guidance released this week, the DEA details the dangers police officers face from coming into contact with fentanyl, be it through undercover operations, processing evidence or coming to the aid of drug users. The new hazard for law enforcement and first responders is even a danger for four-legged officers; K-9 dogs could be killed on the job from contact with fentanyl.
Now Alaska's state troopers and health and human services workers are making plans to adjust trainings for officers, first responders and members of the general public who may come into contact with people who have overdosed on opioids or heroin that is laced with fentanyl.
"Something that looks like heroin could be pure fentanyl — assume the worst," said Chuck Rosenberg, acting head of the DEA.
In 28 years working in law enforcement, "this is the first time I can remember dealing with a substance that was capable of not only harming" the people who willingly inject it, but also "the public at large and first responders," said Capt. Michael Duxbury, who runs the Alaska State Troopers' statewide drug enforcement unit.
It could happen to anyone — you come across a car in a ditch and "all of the sudden they've gotten some of this powder on them," Duxbury said.
Fentanyl is so dangerous that just coming into contact with a small amount could send a police officer or other emergency responder into an overdose. It has happened across the country, harrowing stories of police officers accidentally touching a bit of powder and ending up in the hospital, just barely brought back from the brink of death.
"Just 2 milligrams — the equivalent of a few grains of table salt — an amount that can fit on the tip of your finger — can be lethal," said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein at an event in Virginia this week, announcing the DEA's new guidance for first responders.
Rosenstein described how an Ohio police officer recently "nearly died from exposure to an extremely potent opioid" he encountered during a traffic stop.
"The officer took precautions by putting on gloves and a mask for personal protection," Rosenstein said. "When the officer returned to the police station, another officer pointed out that he had powder on his shirt. Instinctively, he brushed off the powder while not wearing gloves. About an hour later, he collapsed. That officer had to be treated with four doses of naloxone. Luckily, he survived and is recovering."
Similar incidents have occurred in New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Maryland and elsewhere.
As far as Alaska State Troopers know, there have been no overdoses in Alaska by people who unwittingly, accidentally ingested drugs, Duxbury said in an interview.
Currently, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services is leading trainings for troopers and others on how to use naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan, a nasal spray that acts as an antidote for people who have overdosed on opioids. The agency is also working to get overdose-reversal kits with Narcan in the hands of those who may be around people who overdose, not just medical and law enforcement professionals.
The current plan is to soon update training to make sure that first responders — both professional and man-on-the-street early intervenors — are aware of the risks posed by contact with fentanyl. "We have worked on a policy to deal with this problem and it should be finalized soon," Duxbury said.
"It has become increasingly more obvious we may need to save the lives of first responders," Duxbury said.
The troopers have also obtained several portable devices that can help police identify substances that they encounter in situations — without having to touch it and carry it elsewhere. The "TruNarc" instruments aren't cheap; they ring in at $23,000 each, Duxbury said.
The state troopers plan to distribute their four TruNarc machines to "hubs" where they can be of most use: Anchorage, Fairbanks, Palmer and perhaps Southeast Alaska, Duxbury said. The department is looking for ways to get a few more of the machines.
There are also trainings going on in public forums for people who could come into contact with users. Duxbury said he's planning on introducing Narcan to his Rotary club in the near future.
The new DEA guidance recommends expanded protections for first responders.
Kits shouldn't just include Narcan, but also gloves, masks, eye protection, paper coveralls and shoe covers, the DEA told police this week. Law enforcement shouldn't take samples or even touch powdered substances, the agency warned.
First responders will be trained on signs that fentanyl could be involved in an overdose, both in the patient's physical reactions and in items around in the area. They are advised to be aware of overdose clusters — like the recent spate of fentanyl-related deaths in Anchorage.
In Alaska, 41 deaths involved fentanyl or another synthetic opioid other than methadone, according to Alaska's Department of Health and Social Services.
While he didn't want to raise unnecessary alarms, Duxbury said he's worried about a new type of risk from fentanyl contamination: on planes. Given major use of planes for transportation in Alaska, it could just be a matter of time before someone unknowingly brings such a dangerous substance on a flight, he said. To that end, the police are hoping to develop a closer relationship with the Transportation Security Agency, which is in charge of travel security.
To find out where to get Narcan, check www.opioids.alaska.gov and www.heroin.alaska.gov.
Kabul: At least 80 dead, over 350 wounded in blast near Indian Embassy
Sushma Swaraj said the Indian Embassy staffers were safe.
At least 80 people were killed and around 350 were wounded on Wednesday after a massive explosion targeted an area in Kabul where several embassies, including the India's, are located, Reuters reported. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said the Embassy staff were safe. An Afghanistan public heath official said a majority of the victims were Afghan civilians and that no reports of foreign embassy staff being wounded or killed had emerged yet.
Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack. “The terrorists, even in the holy month of Ramadan, the month of goodness, blessing and prayer, are not stopping the killing of our innocent people,” Ghani said. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.
The Chinese and French embassies said their buildings were among those damaged, Reuters reported.
It was not immediately clear who or what was the target of the blast. The attack is believed to have been a car bomb near the German embassy, Basir Mujahid, Kabul police spokesperson said, according to Reuters.
The blast took place not too far from the presidential palace. Windows were reported to be shattered in shops and restaurants around the blast site. At least 30 vehicles were either destroyed or damaged in the blast, Najib Danish, deputy spokesperson at the Afghan Interior Ministry, told AP.
Several journalists located in Kabul had tweeted the pictures of the blast, including BBC's Kabul bureau manager, Karim Haidari, who said some of their staff were affected by the explosion.
“India stands with Afghanistan in fighting all types of terrorism,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted. “Forces supporting terrorism need to be defeated.”
Pakistan, too, denounced the perpetrator's actions.
US Missile Defense Successfully Shoots Down ICBM in First Live-Fire Test of Its Kind
by Mike Gruss
WASHINGTON — The Missile Defense Agency's ground-based defense system successfully intercepted an intercontinental ballistic missile during the first live-fire test of its kind Tuesday (May 30), the agency said.
The Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) is designed to intercept and destroy missiles during the midcourse of their trajectory through space. Tuesday's test was the first time the system had faced a live-fire ICBM-class test, MDA said in a press release.
The interceptor launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, and its "exo-atmospheric kill vehicle intercepted and destroyed the target in a direct collision," the release said. [The Most Destructive Space Weapons Concepts]
"The intercept of a complex, threat-representative ICBM target is an incredible accomplishment for the GMD system and a critical milestone for this program," MDA Director Vice Adm. Jim Syring said in a statement. "This system is vitally important to the defense of our homeland, and this test demonstrates that we have a capable, credible deterrent against a very real threat."
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Alabama), chairman of the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee, said the successful test will help deter U.S. adversaries.
"The dictator in North Korea surely understands that the United States will not allow itself or its allies to be subject to his threats," Rogers said. "We must do more to build on the success of today's test to truly keep Americans and their allies safe from the threat of ballistic missile attack."
The ICBM test target was launched from the Reagan Test Site on the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, according to MDA. The Sea-Based X-band radar in the Pacific tracked and targeted the launch, as did "multiple sensors," MDA said, which would most likely include the Air Force's main missile-warning satellite constellation, the Space-Based Infrared System.
The intercept is likely the last major test Syring will oversee before leaving MDA. Air Force Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves, former leader of the Air Force's Space and Missile Systems Center, will succeed him.
Cleveland Police Officer Who Shot Tamir Rice Is Fired
by Jacey Fortin and Jonah Engel Bromwich
The Cleveland police officer who fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice in 2014 as he held a pellet gun, setting off national protests, was fired Tuesday, officials said.
At a news conference, officials said that the officer, Timothy Loehmann, would be terminated immediately and that Frank Garmback, an officer who was driving the patrol car, would be suspended for 10 days beginning Wednesday. They also said Officer Garmback would be required to take an additional tactical training course.
The decision came after what Mayor Frank Jackson of Cleveland called an “exhaustive process” of investigation.
“This has been tough on our entire community, and definitely on the Rice family,” said Calvin Williams, the police chief. “When this happened in 2014, I made the comment that this is, of course, a tragedy, but it's even more tragic that it happened at the hands of a Cleveland police officer.”
While Officer Garmback was suspended for violations related to the shooting, like failing to report his arrival to a radio dispatcher, the administrative charges leveled against Officer Loehmann did not even mention the 2014 episode.
Officer Loehmann was instead fired for lying on his employment application in 2013, a violation that came to light only after officials began investigating the officers after Tamir's death. Still, the police chief noted that since the shooting, changes had been made in the way officers are trained.
Tamir's mother, Samaria Rice, said her family was relieved to hear of the firing but still considered it too little, too late. “Shame on the city of Cleveland for taking so long to render a decision like this,” she said in a phone interview. “Timothy Loehmann should have never been a police officer in the first place.”
She added that Officer Garmback should have been fired rather than suspended, “for pulling up so close to my son to create the danger” at the time of the shooting.
On Nov. 22, 2014, the officers were dispatched after Tamir was reported for playing with a pellet gun near a recreation center. Though the caller specified that the gun was “probably fake,” that information was not communicated to the responding officers. Video released after the episode showed that Officer Loehmann shot Tamir within two seconds of the patrol car pulling up beside the boy.
In 2015, a grand jury declined to bring criminal charges against any of the officers involved in the shooting, which inflamed national outrage over this and other prominent killings of young African-Americans by police officers.
In January, it was announced that the two officers along with a third officer, William Cunningham, would face administrative charges from the department. Those charges were brought after a special committee was created by the department to investigate Tamir's shooting. In March, an emergency dispatcher was suspended from work for eight days for violating protocol in her handling of the call.
Officer Cunningham, who was off duty, was at the scene because he was working a second job as security for the recreation center. In March, he received a two-day suspension because he had not been authorized to take on a second job.
Before joining the Cleveland police force, Officer Loehmann worked for a smaller police department, in Independence, Ohio, where supervisors recommended his termination, citing instances of insubordination, lying and an “inability to emotionally function.”
But Officer Loehmann was allowed to resign instead, and he did not mention this in a personal history statement when he applied to join the Cleveland force in 2013. He had not yet completed his six-month probationary period when he shot Tamir in 2014.
“There's no accounting to the public for who it is that failed to check Loehmann's application, to check his background, to do proper due diligence before entrusting this man with a badge and a gun,” Subodh Chandra, a lawyer for the Rice family, said at a news conference after the announcement.
“And the result of those failures, which remain unaccounted for, is that a child is dead.”
The Cleveland police have “learned a lot from this incident,” Chief Williams said, adding that “our use of deadly force went dramatically down here in the city of Cleveland since 2014.” He said that all front-line officers are now equipped with body cameras and that officer training has begun placing more emphasis on de-escalation and first aid.
Steve Loomis, president of the Cleveland police union, said he was “extremely disappointed” with the decision to fire Officer Loehmann and suspend Officer Garmback. “Evidence clearly shows that these gentlemen did not do anything illegal,” he said. “They did not do anything outside of our policy, outside of our training, and this is a politically motivated witch hunt.”
In recent years, police shootings resulting in the deaths of black men and boys, including Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. , in 2014, and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La., in 2016 — neither of which has resulted in criminal charges against the officers involved — have spurred protests across the country and increased public scrutiny of policing practices.
How a rare DNA match cracked open a cold case of two young women dumped on L.A. freeways
They were discarded near freeways, dumped in brush among the trash and leaves.
Michelle Lozano had disappeared Easter evening in 2011. Her body was discovered the next day. The 17-year-old was raped and strangled before being stuffed in a plastic container and left near the southbound 5 Freeway in Boyle Heights.
Nine months later, Bree'Anna Guzman, 22, was found along the Riverside Drive on-ramp to the 2 Freeway with blunt-force trauma to the head. Missing for a month, her body was so badly decomposed that her mother was kept from the scene.
The killings stirred up fear of a serial killer in Lincoln Heights — the northeast Los Angeles neighborhood where the two victims had lived, less than a mile apart. They had been strangers, but shared similar traits: long-haired Latinas with soft eyes and wide smiles.
In 2014, authorities announced that the homicides were linked by forensic evidence and two $50,000 rewards for information were offered to reinvigorate the cases. Three years passed. The families of the victims faded into that desperate population of those waiting for justice.
A break in the case
Last week, they were informed it had arrived.
Torrance resident Geovanni Borjas, 32, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of killing Lozano and Guzman, the Los Angeles Police Department said. Booking records listed his occupation as a “medical biller.”
Police Chief Charlie Beck said Tuesday that investigators were unable to match DNA from the victims' cases to state and national DNA databases. They then went through “exhaustive protocols” to request a familial DNA search, a controversial method that looks for partial matches that indicate the relative of a suspect.
About a month ago, a familial match led detectives to a man who had previously been arrested on suspicion of domestic violence assault. He appeared to be a close relative of the suspect in the 2011 killings. After ruling out other family members, investigators eventually began surveilling the man's son, Borjas.
When Borjas was seen spitting on the sidewalk, the opportunity for a DNA sample struck. What was collected turned out to be an exact match in Lozano's and Guzman's killings, police said.
Beck said he did not believe that Borjas' name had been mentioned in the murders until the DNA hit. Although no other related cases came up in state and national databases, the police chief said he hopes that anyone aware of Borjas' role in other crimes will come forward.
A rare DNA hit
This was the second successful case the agency has had with familial DNA, Beck said. The first was Lonnie Franklin Jr., known as the Grim Sleeper, who detectives believe killed at least 25 women and was sentenced to death last year.
Los Angeles Police Capt. William Hayes told The Times that Borjas was acquainted with Lozano and worked at an Eastside medical clinic that Guzman visited. Public records show that Borjas previously lived a few blocks from Lozano in Lincoln Heights.
In 2014, a judge granted Borjas' ex-girlfriend a domestic violence restraining order against him. The woman alleged in court documents that the 6-foot-1, 265-pound Borjas was physically abusive throughout their 2 ½ year relationship and that he broke her nose, choked her and pushed her down the stairs. She added that he would follow her and that she lived in fear.
The restraining order prohibits Borjas from coming within 100 yards of the woman, her home or workplace.
At his Tuesday arraignment, Borjas appeared in a blue button-down shirt and a neatly trimmed beard. He pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder, two counts of rape and one count of kidnapping. Because of the circumstances of the crimes, prosecutors said he is eligible for the death penalty.
Asking the court to set bail, defense attorney Aaron Spolin told the court that Borjas has a full-time job, a fiancee and is a father. However, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mark Hanasono rejected the request, citing the protection of the public.
Spolin would not offer further details about his client, and Borjas' family members who appeared in court declined to comment.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Beth Silverman, who also prosecuted Franklin, would only say that the case against Borjas was based on DNA.
Two families' long wait for answers
On Tuesday, family and friends of the victims listened with emotion to statements about the case from the police chief and Mayor Eric Garcetti at LAPD headquarters.
Family members of Lozano declined to comment.
The Guzman family, who said they had never seen Borjas before, expressed gratitude to the LAPD for its efforts.
“All I wanted was to find somebody who hurt her,” said the victim's mother, Darlene Guzman. “And we're there. We're there. I'm so happy. I'm overwhelmed with happiness. I mean, we'll never get her back, but he's arrested. He's arrested, and he won't hurt anybody. I won't know why – I'll never know why – but we're that much closer to closure.”
Last week, she celebrated her daughter's birthday. Bree'Anna Guzman would have turned 28.
Her mother still remembers her saying she would return soon. That was on Dec. 26, 2011. Guzman said she wasn't feeling well and was going to head to the drugstore and do a quick meet-up with her boyfriend.
A month later, Guzman's body was found three miles away.
At the time, there was only speculation that the killing was related to Lozano's case.
A homeless person had notified police on April 25, 2011 about the body near State Street and Cesar Chavez Avenue.
Detectives concluded that Lozano had been wrapped in plastic bags and then shoved into a container. When the suspect dumped the container over a concrete barrier along the freeway, it cracked open, leaving Lozano's body among the brush.
In Chicago's Crisis of Violence, Some Signs of Hope
by Monica Davey
CHICAGO — After spiraling gun and gang violence brought Chicago more homicides than any other American city in 2016, officials took a more aggressive stance this year at the start of the period that is seen as the most violent season for the nation's third-largest city.
In preparation, the police held raids targeting gangs and illegal nightclubs, arresting hundreds of people and seizing almost 100 guns before the traditional spike in violence that begins on Memorial Day weekend. They put 1,300 extra officers on the streets. And they relied on new, real-time crime analysis to decide where to send officers in the most dangerous districts.
In the end, at least 46 people were shot and five of them were killed in homicides across the city between Friday evening and the end of a warm night of picnics and parties on Monday, police reports show. That amounted to a drop in violence from last year's holiday weekend, one some Chicagoans said they hoped might be a glimmer of a larger, lasting trend. When The New York Times fanned out across the city to track shootings over Memorial Day weekend in 2016, 64 people were shot and seven of them were fatally wounded.
“Considering that last year was horrific, I'm not sure exactly how much it says that it was better this year,” said the Rev. Ira Acree, who leads a church in a West Side neighborhood that has regularly been pummeled by gun violence. “But the numbers were down, and that is definitely worth something.”
Mr. Acree said he was grateful for the new police tactics. “Any type of preventive measure from the police — you've got to be willing to do it,” he said. “These are real lives we're talking about."
Among those lives affected over the weekend: A 15-year-old was shot in the back around 6:30 p.m. on Sunday on the city's West Side when a gray sedan drove up and someone inside started firing. A 20-year-old who had severe vision problems was shot in the head and killed after playing basketball at his favorite South Side park. And in the hours before dawn on Monday, two men riding along an expressway here were shot and wounded by gunfire from another vehicle — a pattern the police have seen rise in recent years along some of the city's busiest thoroughfares.
On Tuesday, Chicago Police officials said that while no level of violence was acceptable, they were pleased that shootings had declined. “I think we're trending down over all,” Kevin Navarro, the first deputy superintendent, said.
Beyond a single holiday weekend, some officials say they see modest signs of improvement in recent weeks. As of Tuesday, the city had seen 235 homicides in 2017, about a 4 percent decrease from the same period a year ago. The number of shootings in Chicago has dropped by more than 14 percent, though that remains well above the counts in the nation's two larger cities, Los Angeles and New York.
A decline in shootings is especially pronounced, officials say, in two of the city's most violence-prone districts, where special police centers were recently created as a way to use more predictive analytics, gunfire data and surveillance footage in real time to decide where to deploy officers. In one of those police districts — an area on the city's West Side with the largest concentration of shootings over the Memorial Day weekend in 2016 – no shootings were reported this holiday weekend.
On Tuesday, the police announced the opening of a third special center inside a South Side police station, revealing giant computer screens that map 911 calls, squad cars and predictions of where homicides are most likely to take place soon. Three more centers are due to open this summer.
Yet many here said it was far too early to declare the city's crisis of violence controlled. While somewhat lower than last year, the number of shootings over the weekend was still high. Shooting statistics can rise and fall abruptly, and some people wondered whether the city could afford to maintain higher police staffing levels beyond a long holiday weekend. Some praised the extra officers and the raids, but also questioned whether such tactics would worsen Chicago's long-strained relations between the Police Department and the community, particularly in mostly black and Latino neighborhoods.
“I'm a little torn,” said William Calloway, a community activist. “We have to find a way for them to be present but not excessive. You don't want it to feel like police are now occupying forces in neighborhoods.”
For those who lost loved ones over the weekend, no statistical trend really mattered. Jervon Morris, 20, was playing basketball in a South Side park not far from his house late Monday afternoon when shots rang out — again and again.
Mr. Morris, an avid basketball player who liked to draw N.B.A. logos despite being visually impaired, was struck in the head and killed. He had volunteered in that park since high school, and appeared to get caught in crossfire, said Rashawnda Rice, his sister. “I don't think he even knew how to make an enemy,” said Ms. Rice, who said she had heard the shots from inside their house and hoped they were firecrackers. “I guess his first instinct wasn't to get down on the ground, but to try to run home.”
As is almost always the case in Chicago, nearly all the shootings took place on the South or West Sides, not the city's wealthier and whiter downtown and North Side. Most of those shot were men, many of them in their 20s. Several of the shootings, including a suspected murder-suicide, were domestic disputes, the police said, rather than the sort of shootings that have plagued Chicago: gang shootings over disputes — and over previous gang shootings.
“Let's not throw a parade yet,” said the Rev. Michael Pfleger, a Roman Catholic priest who leads a South Side parish. “To say we're better than last year is good, but last year was disastrous, so it's not a great benchmark. This is one weekend.”
Father Pfleger and others said that policing alone would not stop the city's violence. Community leaders here called for more jobs in struggling neighborhoods, improved public education from a system that has wrestled with funding woes, and more low-income housing options in neighborhoods all around the city, not just in struggling ones.
“Is this a turnaround?” Father Pfleger said of the weekend shooting numbers. “I would be a little leery to say yet that this is a turning point. The turning point will be when we decide as a city that there won't be two Chicagos.”
Orleans Police Department honored for community policing work
The Orleans Police Department is proud to announce that it has been formally recognized for the Department's exceptional community policing work.
The New England Association of Chiefs of Police has awarded the Orleans Police Department first place (pop. under 15,000) in the “All New England Community Policing Award” program.
The department's policing philosophy places a strong emphasis on community policing and recognizes that strong community / police relations are essential in all successful police organizations.
The department has embraced both traditional and nontraditional policing methods that have proven to be exceptional approaches for cultivating healthy relationships between the police and the community we are sworn to serve.
A statement said their community policing approach is that we have developed organizational strategies with many community partners to promote problem solving and to address our various community issues.
Daytona police Chief Capri puts focus on relationships with children
by Katie Kustura
DAYTONA BEACH — Amber Horn watched her 4-year-old daughter burst into tears and run inside their family's residence.
Joy Jones was playing outside when she saw a police car rolling through the Gardens of Daytona apartments — it was the third time the sight of cops made Horn's daughter cry.
Horn, 28, said she didn't know why her daughter was scared — maybe someone in the low-income complex said Joy should be — but Horn knew she needed to do something, so she approached Officer Gnatee Doe with Joy and told him about her daughter's reaction to police.
Doe held the girl in one arm and pulled a bag of candy out of the trunk of his patrol car with the other and told her to take some.
Joy took just one piece of candy, but Horn knew her daughter got much more out of meeting Doe.
Being involved in the community, outside of responding to crimes, wasn't always the culture at the Daytona Beach Police Department. If officers wanted to do more than respond to 9-1-1 calls, it was typically on their own time.
Police Chief Craig Capri said he was involved with the community from the very start of his tenure as a cop, and now that he's at the helm, residents can expect even more from the agency and its officers.
Cops and kids
Sports have long been a way that law enforcement agencies have connected with their communities whether it's through an organized event or joining a pick-up game of basketball while on patrol.
Capri said when he first joined the department in 1990, he made it a point to jump in on a game of basketball with children in the neighborhoods he patrolled. He said his bosses would look at him like he was crazy and remind him that his job was to respond to calls.
“I would do it anyway, of course I wouldn't listen to them, because I saw the big picture,” Capri said.
Former Daytona Beach police chief and current Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood saw that picture, too, and made positive interactions part of the job.
Capri said the leadership before Chitwood, who served as chief from May 2006 to November 2016, talked a big game but that was about it.
“People can talk community policing, but unless you practice it and live it, it's not something you can just turn on and off, it's got to be a culture,” Capri said.
Creative events with a focus on children are part of that culture.
In April, more than 100 children and their families descended on department headquarters to paint, with cops, rocks to hide throughout the city. One officer even offered the young artists another canvass on which to express themselves in the form of his patrol car. A couple of weeks later, dozens of children joined officers for the inaugural Daytona 100, a 3-mile bicycle ride followed by food, games and dancing.
And on June 24 police will put fishing poles in kids' hands at the first fishing tournament at Lake Valor, in front of headquarters. In April the lake was stocked with about 1,400 catfish, shellcracker fish, brim and one big albino catfish.
“Whoever catches that one albino catfish, we're going to give a huge prize for that,” Capri said, not to mention the barbecue and other services that will be available.
Capri said with improved relationships he expects a decrease in crime, a trend seen in other parts of the country.
Yost Zakhary, public safety director in Woodway, Texas, and past president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, said during a summit on community-police relations that leaders in law enforcement know that “no single factor has been more crucial to reducing crime levels than the partnership between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve.”
“We know that in order to be truly effective, police agencies cannot operate alone; they must have the active support and assistance of citizens and communities,” Zakhary said.
In contrast though, some organizations such as the ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition, say communities should direct their resources and support toward other problems, like food security, housing and jobs, faced by poorer areas, where community policing efforts are often focused.
While other government entities and nonprofit organizations are in place in many cities to tackle those problems, officers often find people turning to them.
“We're kind of the face of the city, I think, at times, so we need to be even more ahead of the game,” Capri said.
Daytona Beach police in recent months launched a Facebook page and Twitter account to keep residents and the social media world aware of what they're doing. Most of the postings show positive policing efforts in the community, but the accounts also have been used to update residents on suspects police are looking for and results of investigations.
In a time where videos of violent police incidents go viral, Officer Doe said the move to promote the positive on social media was long overdue with hopes to change people's perspective on policing.
“We got to show them the other side of what exists,” Doe said. “I can't really fault somebody for being shown messages upon messages and then thinking a certain way if I'm not showing them anything positive.”
He said now Horn's daughter Joy has a new perspective. The video of Doe's and Joy's interaction posted April 22 had been viewed more than 89,000 times.
When he walks through a neighborhood, Doe said children ask him what happened, assuming the worst.
The perspective some children have of police is influenced by their parents or an adult who's had a negative experience with law enforcement, Deputy Chief Jakari Young said.
“We could be on our lunch break and we're in full uniform, and a little kid may be acting up and the parent will say ‘You see that police officer right there? If you don't knock it off, they're going to take you to jail,' ” Young said. He wishes parents wouldn't do that.
“We got a hard enough time on our own breaking down the barriers and getting out from underneath the stereotypes,” Young said. “We're not going to take any small kid to jail because they're acting up in a McDonald's.”
When Chitwood left to become sheriff, Young said some residents worried Daytona Beach police's relationship with the community might deteriorate. The deputy chief said that's not happening.
“When you look at what's happened across the country as far as civil unrest between minority communities and police, it starts with community policing, getting back out into the community, allowing them to see us, not when we're just there to make an arrest, but to see us as human beings,” Young said. “The community engagement is just as important, if not more than, the arrests.”
While there might not be an exacting measure for the effects of community policing, city leaders have told the chief they believe there is a payoff.
“If you don't have a strong, true-hearted relationship with the community, you're setting yourself up for failure,” Capri said. “I know what we do and it's been successful, and it's sincere.”
Amber Horn's daughter no longer runs away crying when she sees Doe or other police officers.
“We got a little bit of hope here,” Horn said. “Whenever I need them, they come through.”
Police department looks to strengthen community ties
by Darrell Jackson
As the Glendale Police department continues the transition with new leadership, it has a goal of improving community relations through increased communication.
“We enjoy a very good relationship with the community,” Police Chief Rick St. John said, during a recent workshop presentation. “The ultimate goal for our department is 100 percent compliance with everything we hear from the task force.”
The Task Force on 21st Century Policing was established by President Barack Obama in December 2014 through an executive order to enhance policing within communities after numerous police-involved events.
The final report recommended numerous items and actions related to law-enforcement and ways to improve community relations with police departments around the country.
The task force was created with six pillars under which all information was created, including building trust and legitimacy; policy and oversight; technology and social media; community policing and crime reduction; training and education; and officer wellness and safety.
Among the law enforcement items in the reports, the Glendale Police Department met 74 of the 81 items, with the biggest missteps coming in the building trust and legitimacy pillar. The department reached seven of the nine recommendations and 11 of 12 action items.
St. John said he was alarmed about missing three of the pillars.
The department scored perfect scores in technology and social media, community policing and crime reduction, and training and education.
St. John said some of the improvements he would like to see implemented are for the community to be involved more in policing and increased transparency throughout.
“Basically, how we make a decision needs to be more transparent,” St. John said. “When it comes to the best interest of the community, we need to be much more transparent and that was one of the task force's main recommendations.”
As the department scored lowest in building trust and legitimacy, St. John pointed to the publication of crime statistics and the availability of those numbers to the public.
He recommended statistics be placed on a crime map of the city currently available for public view online and make access easier to find.
“We want to be careful how we present that information to the community,” St. John said. “It is up there now, but it is not easy to find and we need to make that more accessible for the public to find.”
He added that the public may be surprised to see the number of times a Taser has been used by officers, but the stats may not give the best information as to how it was tied to a crime. He also said the public would be less surprised about why they use such ways to subdue suspects.
“We want to make sure while we are putting information out there, we put enough relevant information with it, so the public is not alarmed, but rather informed,” St. John said.
He said additional improvements will be made through surveys on apps that citizens can use when an officer is called.
“When an officer makes contact in the field for various reasons, they can offer the opportunity for people they are dealing with (through) a survey on their general satisfaction with Glendale police,” St. John said.
The surveys will be offered citywide at traffic stops, consensual contacts and other field contacts.
“Over time, it will tell us the areas of the city that are experiencing lower levels of trust,” the chief said. “It will help determine where we need some targeted activity to build trust.”
Another main issue for the department, according to the task force, was the city's policies on how to de-escalate an incident with gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer people when it comes to search and seizure procedures.
“Past policies covered how we handled these things, but they were not spelled out as the task force wants,” St. John said.
He said the department is working on improving the image of officers with the public. It could be just stopping and talking to people, especially to improve the department's reputation.
“The small-beat mentality simply gives officers something they can control,” St. John said. “It's part of their DNA. We like to have control and we need to improve our visual look with the public.”
On police reform deal with feds, Chicago can learn from Cincinnati
by Curtis Black
Mayor Rahm Emanuel says his new police reform plan–for a memorandum of agreement with the Justice Department, to be executed with no judicial approval – would accomplish the same goals as a court-ordered consent decree that would include oversight by a federal judge.
As usual, a lot of people don't believe him. The former DOJ official who oversaw the investigation of the Chicago Police Department called Emanuel's proposal “woefully inadequate.”
“This is a nonstarter for anybody who's committed to real reform,” said Ed Yohnka of ACLU Illinois. “All the city is doing is proposing to sign a set of promises, with no effective enforcement mechanism.”
While the city hasn't released details about the proposed agreement, one source told the Chicago Sun-Times it would include an enforcement mechanism under which the Justice Department could take the city to court for noncompliance.
The problem is that under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Justice Department has made it clear that i t doesn't believe in federal oversight of local police departments. “We've seen that [the Justice Department] is not a real partner,” said Yohnka.
Over the past year and a half, we've also seen repeatedly that Emanuel and the police department will pursue reform only under pressure. Emanuel moved to replace the discredited Independent Police Review Authority only after a public outcry. CPD announced a new use-of-force policy while it was under federal investigation, then weakened the final policy after the investigation was concluded.
Emanuel's new plan – relying on Sessions' Justice Department for supervision – would effectively insulate him from any outside pressure.
There are better ways. While grassroots activists continue to press for direct community control of police, there's also a proven alternative within the realm of legal settlements that gives the community a direct voice in setting and implementing policy. That's the Cincinnati Collaborative Agreement, which ran from 2002 to 2008.
That agreement, executed and implemented with the very active involvement of a federal judge, resolved over a dozen individual lawsuits along with a class action lawsuit by the ACLU of Ohio and the Black United Front alleging discrimination and excessive force by the Cincinnati police. It ran concurrently with a memorandum of agreement with DOJ, also enforced by the judge.
The Collaborative Agreement gave a seat at the table, and the ability to go to court to seek enforcement, to a range of community groups. The groups were there when the reform plan was hammered out, and they had legal standing to intervene throughout the reform process.
The agreement transformed Cincinnati into a model for police reform, as well as a “sobering reminder of how difficult it can be to change entrenched systems,” according to The Atlantic magazine.
Things are still “far from perfect,” but “policing in Cincinnati has substantially improved,” Mike Brickman, senior policy director for the ACLU of Ohio, told me.
The Cincinnati settlement was unique in two respects. First, it directly involved community organizations. Second, it mandated a sweeping change in the department's policing strategy by ordering a wholesale shift to community policing focused on problem-solving.
That means officers are now held to account not for how many stops and arrests they make, but for how well they work with community residents. It also meant an end to “zero tolerance” practices, which led officers to view residents as potential criminals and led to lots of bad arrests.
“There are lots of different strategies that don't rely on arresting black people and feeding mass incarceration,” one civil rights attorney told the Atlantic.
And as arrest rates dropped dramatically, crime rates also came down, with incidents of violent crime falling from 4,137 in 2002 to 2,352 in 2014. As the Atlantic puts it, police learned that more arrests do not equate to increased public safety.
At the same time, over a 15-year period, police use-of-force incidents declined by 69 percent, and civilian injuries during interactions with police dropped by 56 percent.
Now, Brickner said, many Cincinnati officers are enthusiastic supporters of the problem-solving strategy. “They've seen how a collaborative approach can make their jobs easier,” he said.
Still, the process was very difficult, he said, and it took many years for reform to take hold. One key factor was the election of a new mayor who supported the reform process. “Leadership matters,” Brickner said.
Another factor in breaking down resistance was the supervision of District Court Judge Susan Dlott. Early on, there were complaints that police barred community observers from ride-alongs, refused to turn over data to the DOJ, and even kicked a member of the monitoring team out of police headquarters. After a weeks-long standoff, Dlott threatened the police chief with contempt of court, which would have meant throwing him in jail.
In Cincinnati, judicial pressure was crucial, and community pressure was institutionalized in the reform process. In Chicago, our mayor says we don't need all that – we should leave police reform up to Rahm Emanuel and Jeff Sessions. But we can do better than that.
At a media event Tuesday at the Garfield Green Line station in Garfield Park, a mostly black community on the South Side, Emanuel “ignored” a question about partnering with community groups, the Chicago Tribune reported. When a group of high school students got off a train and confronted him, chanting “16 shots and a coverup,” Emanuel “walked by the students and ignored them.”
But at some point, he's going to have to stop ignoring the community. Chicago is at long last ready for real reform. And if our high school students are any indication, we're no longer willing to be played for fools.
Renaissance in inner cities is still possible
by Joe D'Amore
The people of suburban cities that have high populations of minorities have been under pressure with public safety concerns for many years but in recent weeks, it appears conditions are reaching a fever pitch.
For example, Lawrence in particular has endured national headlines related to crime. In this environment, name-calling, politicizing and finger-pointing can dominate the public discourse.
However, constructive steps can be achieved. Often, this can only occur with open and honest dialogue. And solutions that can be developed successfully in Lawrence can be modeled to benefit numerous cities such as Gloucester, Salem, Lynn, Haverhill and Lowell.
There are key ideas recently generated by clear-thinking leaders, community activists and residents. If the discussions stay positive and thoughts are sensible, a composite sketch of compelling public policy can emerge and truly make our cities safer.
In the area of policing:
More bilingual police and enhancing a community policing model are a must. You have to have cops “walking the beat” and spending time in tough sections of cities. Community policing directed toward the homeless population is also critical.
There are sections of cities that are open-air markets for crimes such as drug dealing, human trafficking and all manner of illegal transactions. Many of these sections, unfortunately, are where men and women who are fighting their own addictions live or spend a great deal of time. Consistent, frequently rotating police presence in these sections is vital to curtail criminal activity.
Physical security measures:
There are many sections of cities that should have more lighting. Also in high-crime activity areas, surveillance cameras should be installed. Nightclubs and restaurants should be encouraged to bolster their own security measures with professional security.
It may be necessary to implement minimum requirements as part of the licensure process. Nightclubs and restaurant owners do not have the responsibility of fighting crime. However, they can become powerful allies in promoting safer public spaces. They should be included in conversations to come up with balanced and sensible solutions. What no city needs is to have armed guards and police details in every doorway of a public place where people are enjoying themselves. There are solutions possible with public-private partnerships.
Permanent and enhanced partnerships with all law enforcement agencies:
In Lawrence, Operation Blue Crush in the summer of 2016 netted over 300 arrests related to the drug trade. These type of campaigns that integrate federal, state, agency and local police are the key element to not only reducing crime but to lead cities to be safer.
But these efforts are fastened only as temporary initiatives. This has to change. Long-term and permanent arrangements with local police and outside law enforcement agencies deserves considerable attention. Concurrently, one key element to help this along is to drop — or forgo if being contemplated —sanctuary status in any form.
It is difficult to build and maintain adequate relationships with outside law enforcement agencies and seek their help when, selectively in certain investigations, they are excluded from collaborating. Distrust and dislocation increases in these situations.
Neighborhood and community development:
One of the key arguments regarding retention of sanctuary city status is that many people who are undocumented or related to immigrants may not be responsive to police in providing information and support to help solve crimes.
However, the downside to such status is the inability of the police to seek out and increase partnerships with federal law enforcement authorities that can help bolster security in the city. The way to offset the perceived benefits of sanctuary status is to replace it with grassroots neighborhood associations and neighborhood-watch groups. Combining this with the community policing provides incentive to improved relations with police leading to productive collaborations based on trust.
A united front:
Perhaps this is the most difficult actionable item that can be accomplished. When there is a crisis situation, there is a tendency to allow factionalism to dominate. To counter this, city councils should pass resolutions of support and votes of confidence for their police chiefs and their police departments.
The concept of “taking back our streets” is actionable. Standing united and working through the issues will lead to better conditions where the law-abiding residents and not criminals define the quality of life.
Orlando workplace shooter ID'd as 45-year-old veteran, sheriff says
Gunman John Neumann Jr. described as 'disgruntled employee'
by Daniel Dahm
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - A gunman fatally shot five of his former coworkers then killed himself during a mass shooting at Fiamma Inc., an Orange County business, Monday morning, according to sheriff's officials.
Seven people who work at Fiamma Inc., the RV accessory business where the shooting took place, survived the incident without any injuries. Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said the shootings happened at multiple locations in the Fiamma building and that 12 people were at the business during the incident.
Officials identified the shooter as John Robert Neumann Jr., 45, a former employee who was fired in April. The ex-worker came into the building armed with a gun and multiple hunting knives and fatally shot four men and a woman, then turned the gun on himself, Demings said. There is no indication that the knives were used.
“All indications from eyewitness testimony is that it appears that just before deputies entered to the scene itself, as an active shooter scene, that the subject likely killed himself or shot himself at that point," Demings said.
The five victims were identified as Robert Snyder, 69; Brenda Montanez-Crespo, 44; Kevin Clark, 53; Jeffrey Roberts, 57; and Kevin Lawson, 46. Read more about them here.
“In terms of his total motive for shooting the specific individuals involved, we have information that at least one of them he had a negative relationship with, but he was certainly singling out the individuals that he shot,” Demings said.
Demings said Neumann pointed his gun at a temp employee and told her to "get out of the business."
Neumann was also involved in a workplace incident in June 2014 in which he was accused of battering one of his coworkers.
The victim accused Neumann of punching him in the back of the head and knocking him to the ground, according to the 2014 incident report. A witness told deputies that he saw Neumann and the employee arguing but did not see a physical fight. Neumann has left the scene and was not interviewed by deputies.
Demings said no charges were filed in that case and that victim was not among those killed in Monday's shooting.
“He shot five innocent people this morning, then turned the gun on himself and shot himself," Demings said.
Demings described Neumann as a disgruntled employee, adding that the "tragic incident" is an example of workplace violence and there's no indication of any ties to terrorism. He said authorities believe Neumann was a "lone gunman."
"At this time, we have no indication that this subject is a member of any subversive type of any organization. We have no indication that this subject is a participant of any type of terrorist organization," Demings said.
Neumann has a minor criminal history that includes marijuana possession, a DUI and a misdemeanor battery charge, Demings said.
He lives alone in Maitland and has no family in the area.
“In situations like this, my experience tells me that this individual made a deliberate thought to do what he did today. He had a plan of action and he executed his plan today,” Demings said.
Neighbors identified the shooter to News 6 from a Facebook profile picture.
One neighbor, who would only give her first name, said she was shocked to hear that Neumann was the shooter. She said she knew he was recently fired, but he refused to tell her why.
"He seemed to be angry. He seemed like he complained a lot. He seemed like he had something wrong 'up here' that was bothering him," Elizabeth said.
First responders arrived within minutes
The shooting was reported at 8:03 a.m. at an industrial area on North Forsyth Road near Hanging Moss Road, northwest of Colonial Drive and State Road 417 in Orlando. Forsyth Road was closed during the investigation from University Boulevard to State Road 50 and reopened before 6 p.m.
First responders were dispatched to the active shooting situation at 8:05 a.m. and arrived two minutes later.
"I can tell you it was a coordinated effort along with the sheriff's office. As soon as the scene was cleared, less than three minutes later, the patients were being assessed. The initial four victims, along with the shooter, were declared to have injuries incompatible with life. The sixth person was assessed and moved off the scene en route to the hospital within just a few minutes and was given the best opportunity at survival because of the coordination between the Sheriff's Office and fire rescue," Orange County Fire Rescue Chief Otto Drozd said.
That sixth victim, Kevin Clark, died at Orlando Regional Medical Center.
Officials instructed anyone with friends or family members who work at Fiamma to call 407-679-0100 ex. 3087 for more information. A designated reunification location was set up at Full Sail University at the Live 1 building. The address is 3535 North Forsyth Road, Winter Park.
'My boss is dead,' witnesses describe chaos
Shelley Adams said her sister, Sheila McIntyre, of Orlando, was in the bathroom at Fiamma Inc. when she heard gunshots. Adams said her sister called her and kept repeating, "My boss is dead. My boss is dead."
Sheila McIntyre's husband, Mark McIntrye, told News 6 that she knew the gunman.
"She's very upset, but she's OK," he said.
Sheila McIntyre, who was not injured, and other witnesses were taken to a nearby fire academy, Adams said.
The Orange County business is the North American branch of Fiamma, an Italian company founded in 1945. Fiamma means flame in Italian. The company supplies parts for RVs and the awnings to dealerships and repair shops.
Fiamma Inc. president Carlo Pozzi leads the manufacturing company.
Demings, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and other local law enforcement officials were at the scene.
Alan Rodriguez, the owner of TST Auto Subaru on Forsyth Road, said he arrived for work just before 8 a.m. and saw people running from the business. He said one of them motioned to deputies that someone had a gun.
"(They were) just running in every direction," said Rodriguez, who added that he wasn't contacted by authorities after shooting.
Another business owner told News 6 that he closed his shop for the day due to concern for his employees' safety.
Violence in Orlando a week before Pulse 1-year mark
The shooting at Fiamma comes nearly one year after the mass shooting – the worst in recent U.S. history -- at Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12, 2016, that left 49 dead and more than 50 others injured.
The shooter, Omar Mateen, was killed in a gun battle with police.
The city is preparing for multiple events to honor the victims and remember the tragedy. Social media users commented on the timing so close to the one-year mark.
“I lost friends at Pulse and this shooting and world events brings back the pain,” one commenter said.
"Over the past year, the Orlando community has been challenged like never before," Gov. Rick Scott said in a statement.
Prior to Pulse, the most recent workplace mass shooting in Orlando occurred in November 2009 at the Gateway Center. Otis Beckford was killed and five others were injured in the incident, which was, at the time, Orlando's first mass shooting in 25 years.
The gunman, Jason Rodriguez, a disgruntled former employee at Reynolds, Smith and Hills, was arrested a couple hours after the shooting at his mother's apartment on Curry Ford Road.
Rodriguez, 40, had been fired two years earlier for poor performance.
Rodriguez was originally found guilty and sentenced to life in prison, but he was granted a new trial in August 2005 after a technicality was said to have confused jurors. At a hearing to determine the start date of a new trial, he accepted a deal, pleading no contest to second-degree murder and five counts of attempted first-degree murder.
Rodriguez died in prison on April 15, 2016.
The latest government statistics show that fatal workplace shootings like the one in Orlando on Monday have gone up in the United States.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics workplace homicides rose by 2 percent between 2014 and 2015 to 417 cases. Among those, fatal shootings rose more sharply, by 15 percent. That's the first increase in fatal workplace shootings since 2012.
Police seek grandma suspected in stabbings that killed baby
by the Associated Press
A Southern California woman who once was found not guilty by reason of insanity to the attempted murder of her own children is now suspected of stabbing her daughter and two granddaughters.
Colton police are looking for Nicole Darrington-Clark, 43, the suspect in Monday's attack that left her 1-year-old granddaughter dead and critically injured her daughter and 5-year-old granddaughter.
After the attack, Darrington-Clark fled the apartment she shared with the victims. Neighbors who responded to the mother's screaming pleas found the grisly scene and horribly wounded children in the apartment.
In 2005, she pleaded guilty to stabbing her 14-year-old son and throwing her 10-year-old daughter out of a moving minivan. Neither child was seriously injured.
But a judge found Darrington-Clark not guilty by reason of insanity and sent her to a mental hospital.
A longtime friend of Darrington-Clark told the Riverside Press-Enterprise she was released a few years ago.
"I Facetimed with her a few days ago, and I was worried about her," the friend, Cindy O'Neal, said. "I never thought she would do anything like this. I hope they do find her so she can't hurt anyone else or herself."
It wasn't immediately clear when or why she was released from the mental hospital and whether the daughter in the 2005 attack is the same one critically injured Monday. Police did not immediately reply to a message seeking answers to those questions.
Investigators do not know the motive for the attack, Colton police Cpl. Ray Mendez said Monday.
Neighbor Patty Williams told the Riverside Press-Enterprise the wounded woman had been "stabbed everywhere."
Another neighbor, Tim Hill, said she ran into his apartment seeking help after the attack. He said he ran upstairs to her apartment and saw the stabbed baby and found her sister in the closet, shaking.
Police decided they couldn't wait for paramedics and took the girl to the hospital, Hill said.
Darrington-Clark should be considered armed and dangerous and may be driving a black Hyundai Sonata, police said.
"I'm sad," Williams said. "I feel like my soul left my body because this is disgusting."
U.S. Supreme Court to rule on whether police should require warrants to obtain cellphone location data on suspects
Police officers for the first time could be required to obtain warrants to get data on the past locations of criminal suspects based on cellphone use under a major case on privacy rights in the digital age taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday.
The justices agreed to hear an appeal by a man convicted in a series of armed robberies in Ohio and Michigan with the help of past cellphone location data who contends that without a warrant from a court such data amounts to an unreasonable search and seizure under the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment.
Cellphone location records are becoming increasingly important to police in criminal investigations, with authorities routinely requesting and receiving this information from wireless providers.
Police helped establish that the man at the center of the case, Timothy Carpenter, was near the scene of the robberies at Radio Shack and T-Mobile stores by securing past “cell site location information” from his cellphone carrier that tracked which local cellphone towers relayed his calls.
The case reaches the high court amid growing scrutiny of the surveillance practices of U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies amid concern among lawmakers across the political spectrum about civil liberties and police evading warrant requirements.
The legal fight has raised questions about how much companies protect the privacy rights of their customers. The big four wireless carriers, Verizon Communications, AT&T, T-Mobile US and Sprint Corp, receive tens of thousands of requests a year from law enforcement for what is known as “cell site location information,” or CSLI. The requests are routinely granted.
The Supreme Court has twice in recent years ruled on major cases concerning how criminal law applies to new technology, on each occasion ruling against law enforcement. In 2012, the court held that a warrant is required to place a GPS tracking device on a vehicle. Two years later, the court said police need a warrant to search a cellphone that is seized during an arrest.
The information that law enforcement agencies can obtain from wireless carriers shows which local cellphone towers users connect to at the time they make calls. Police can use historical data to determine if a suspect was in the vicinity of a crime scene or real-time data to track a suspect.
Carpenter's bid to suppress the evidence failed and he was convicted of six robbery counts. On appeal, the Cincinnati, Ohio-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld his convictions, finding that no warrant was required for the cellphone information.
Civil liberties lawyers have said that police need “probable cause,” and therefore a warrant, in order to avoid constitutionally unreasonable searches.
“Because cellphone location records can reveal countless private details of our lives, police should only be able to access them by getting a warrant based on probable cause,” said Nathan Freed Wessler, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberty Union's Speech, Privacy and Technology Project who represents Carpenter.
“The time has come for the Supreme Court to make clear that the longstanding protections of the Fourth Amendment apply with undiminished force to these kinds of sensitive digital records,” Wessler added.
But, based on a provision of a 1986 federal law called the Stored Communications Act, the government said it does not need probable cause to obtain customer records. Instead, the government said, prosecutors must show only that there are “reasonable grounds” for the records and that they are “relevant and material” to an investigation.
The case will be heard and decided in the court's next term, which starts in October and ends in June 2018.
The Trump administration said in court papers the government has a “compelling interest” for acquiring the records without a warrant because the information is particularly useful at the early stage of a criminal investigation.
“Society has a strong interest in both promptly apprehending criminals and exonerating innocent suspects as early as possible during an investigation,” the administration said in a brief.
David LaBahn, president of the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, said warrants can be obtained quickly from judges but police may have problems getting the evidence needed to show probable cause.
“They may not be able to get over that legal hurdle, so the court couldn't issue the warrant,” LaBahn said.
Civil liberties groups assert that the 1986 law did not anticipate the way mobile devices now contain a wealth of data on each user.
Steve Vladeck, a national security and constitutional law professor at the University of Texas, said the case will have “enormous implications” over how much data the government can obtain from phone companies and other technology firms about their customers without a warrant.
“Courts and commentators have tried to figure out exactly when individuals will have a continuing expectation of privacy even in data they've voluntarily shared with a third party,” Vladeck said. “This case squarely raises that question.”
Las Vegas police officer charged in death of man put in chokehold
by Keith Allen
Las Vegas Metropolitan police officer Kenneth Lopera has been charged with involuntary manslaughter for his role in the Mother's Day death of Tashii Farmer, authorities said on Monday.
The charges stem from an early morning incident on May 14 when Farmer approached Lopera and his partner inside Las Vegas' Venetian Hotel at approximately 12:50 a.m to complain of people chasing him. Farmer then ran away into a restricted area of the property, police said.
As the altercation escalated, Lopera punched Farmer with a closed fist multiple times -- and used a "rear naked choke" on him to stop what he believed to be a carjacking in progress, police said.
The "rear naked choke" is not department approved. Lopera applied the unapproved technique on Farmer for more than a minute, according to a statement from the police department.
The choke hold is commonly used in mixed martial arts. It's applied from behind by wrapping an arm around an opponents head while using the other arm to lock the hold in place. In a successful hold, the aggressor's elbows are brought toward each other to apply lateral pressure to both sides of the neck, cutting off oxygen.
Farmer was also tased seven times. Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Undersheriff Kevin McMahill said at a press conference in May that the number of times Farmer was tased was not part of department protocol.
"The policy...states that once the suspect has been exposed to three cycles of the Taser or the electronic control device it shall be deemed ineffective unless exigent circumstances exist," McMahill said. "Officers are taught to transition to another tool."
After Farmer was handcuffed, medical personnel were called when it was determined that he wasn't breathing. Officers attempted to resuscitate him until paramedics arrived, police said.
Farmer was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead at approximately 1:39 a.m.
Charges were filed against Lopera on Monday after the Clark County Coroner's Office ruled Farmer's death as homicide due to asphyxiation related to police restraint. The coroner also ruled that contributing factors were an enlarged heart and methamphetamine intoxication. In addition to involuntary manslaughter, Lopera was also charged with oppression under the color of office.
Lopera was placed on paid administrative leave after the incident, but will now go on unpaid administrative leave because of the charges. He also faces an internal administrative investigation in addition to the criminal investigation, LVMPD says.
CNN affiliate KTNV reports that the Las Vegas Police Protective Association paid Lopera's bail and he was released from the Clark County Detention Center.
CNN has reached out to the Association for comment.
Farmer's mother, Trinita Farmer, had been wondering where her son was when the coroners came to her house and told her on Mother's Day that he had been killed, family attorney Andre Lagomarsino said several days after Farmer's death. He lived with his mother and was the father of two young children.
The family attorney also said Farmer was taking medication for depression at the time of his death, but it was unclear what the medication was and whether it impacted Farmer's behavior, which officers said was "erratic."
This Former Police Commander Says Cuts To Community Policing Make It Harder To Prevent Terror Attacks Like London Bridge
Retired senior officers told BuzzFeed News that Theresa May is "absolutely loathed" for her cuts to police budgets.
by Emily Dugan and Hannah Al-Othman
A former Metropolitan police commander, who led the team that unravelled the failed 21/7 bomb plot in London, says community policing cuts have made it harder to prevent terrorist attacks like London Bridge.
Bernie Gravett, who was divisional commander of Westminster police for the Met, told BuzzFeed News the community policing units essential in finding the bombers in July 2005 had been cut from teams of five to just a single constable.
He was one of several former senior police officers who spoke to BuzzFeed News about the devastating impact that budget cuts are having on forces' ability to prevent terrorism. One warned that forces are so depleted that if a Nice-style attack happened outside London it could take up to 20 minutes for police to respond.
Police budgets have been reduced by more than 20% since 2010 in England and Wales, according to Home Office figures.
The slashing of budgets has angered many in the police, with one retired detective sergeant telling BuzzFeed News that Theresa May was “absolutely loathed” by officers for the cuts she presided over as both home secretary and prime minister. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called for May to resign over the impact of police cuts.
After a speech in London on Monday, May was questioned several times by journalists about cuts to the police. She hit back at Corbyn, saying: “Safeguarding the security of our country takes leadership. That is why, since 2010, in the face of a growing threat, we have protected the budget for counterterrorism policing and increased the resources available to the security and intelligence agencies.
“It is why since 2015 – when Jeremy Corbyn's front bench was arguing for the police to be cut by a further 10% – we have not cut the police but protected their budget."
But Gravett, who is now a policing consultant after retiring in 2011, said the cuts to police budgets “clearly have an impact on the ability to proactively police” and prevent terrorism.
He added: “You're having police forces completely restructured at a cost to community policing. Because the numbers are falling so much, they're having to restructure to keep officers on the front line. Neighbourhood police teams are the sufferer.
“A classic case is the terror attack at the weekend. Who's in the community and working with it to provide somebody who's collecting community intelligence?
“Someone responding to a 999 call, they don't have time to sit down with the public and have a cup of tea. They don't have time to talk to people on the streets.
“We're losing proper patrols and neighbourhood engagement and it's from that level of engagement where you collect information about problems within the community. Community policing used to be the bedrock of English policing and it's a model we've sold around the world, but that's the policing we're losing because of the cuts.”
Budget cuts have has a direct impact on the size of police forces around the country, with the number of officers in England and Wales shrinking from 144,000 in 2009 to 122,000 last year.
Police community support officers (PCSOs) have also been drastically reduced, going from 16,814 to 10,551 in the same period. In London, the fall in PCSOs has been even more dramatic, going from 4,607 to 1,487 under Theresa May, according to the PCS Union.
Gravett said that when he was chief inspector at Marylebone in the early 2000s, neighbourhood policing teams were so strong that officers manned a stand inside the Central London Mosque at every Friday prayers to build relationships. “They could listen to issues raised in the Muslim community. When I wanted to know what was going on in the mosque I would go to my neighbourhood policing team,” Gravett said.
Now community policing has been cut to almost nothing, he argues. “Every neighbourhood policing team at that time had a sergeant, two police constables, and three police community support officers and I had the ability to bolster teams if I wanted to. Now there'd be one constable, no sergeant, and no leadership."
Gravett said that PCSOs were a big part of intelligence gathering and building trust in the community.
“The bombers of 21/7, they were identified by one of my PCSOs. The entire team of bombers was identified by a PCSO who had dealt with a fight on Oxford Street between one of the bombers and a member of the Jewish community.
“When the Met published the photos of the four bombers fleeing the scene because their backpacks didn't go bang, he ID'd the one and then we looked at the intelligence and found the others.
“That PCSO role no longer exists, so it won't happen again. There's a clear case for you that community policing is the start of everything. It comes down to money and cuts.”
A Unison survey of almost 1,000 PCSOs in England and Wales last year found more than 57% had stopped performing core neighbourhood policing duties and been redeployed to work that kept them off the beat. More than three-quarters said their neighbourhood policing team has become less visible since they started working as a PCSO.
Gravett also warned that changes to training and recruitment would damage the police's ability to tackle serious terror incidents.
“Originally policemen got six months' training delivered by police officers – until about five years ago. What aspiring police officers do now is an online course by private trainers… You get a certificate and then you can apply to work. It varies from police force to police force but some then do 12 weeks' training and some 19 weeks.
“The reality is the quality is not the same as getting six months' intense training by police officers who've done the job before. Then you've got direct entry – don't even start me on that.
“There's no way on earth a direct-entry superintendent who's been working in private industry could've managed the incident this weekend or the one in Manchester. It takes 20 years of hard graft and learning to become a superintendent.
“It's not just numbers, it's the other changes that cuts have forced upon us. We've completely changed the way we recruit people that will impact on our operational capability in five to ten years' time."
The speed of response at London Bridge will not be sustainable, Gravett argues, because officers were on extra overtime in the wake of the Manchester attack.
“I'm exceedingly proud of the response that was managed in London this weekend,” he said. “From the 999 call to when the terrorists were shot was eight minutes. But that's not sustainable because the police who were on duty this weekend were on overtime. Since Manchester there's extra cops on the street to reassure the public. Police officers have been put on 12-hour shifts and overtime.”
He said London had been more protected from the cuts but that elsewhere in the country the picture is far worse. “We should have gone from 32,000 to 27,000 [officers] if London had implemented the cut, but Boris Johnson said ‘Not on my watch' – and Sadiq Khan has said the same.”
Khan, the mayor of London, warned back in January that if the government continued to underfund the police it would put Londoners at risk.
He said: “This year, I have done everything I can to protect police officer numbers – including making the very difficult decision to raise council tax. But if the government subjects London's police service to any further cuts, it will become near impossible to maintain the number of police on our streets.
“My message to the government today is clear: Londoners' safety will be put at risk if police funding is cut any further, and ministers must listen to our concerns.”
Chris Hobbs is a retired detective sergeant who served with the Met for 32 years, spending time in Special Branch and working on Operation Trident, a unit set up to tackle gun crime. He told BuzzFeed News that cuts to community policing were putting communities at risk of terror attacks.
"In terms of terrorism – and crime – what's happened is community policing is suffering hugely," he said. "Police are withdrawing from contact with the community.
"It is that contact with communities – particularly in areas where there is deprivation, in areas where there is jihadism – that is so important.
"Many police stations have been shut, and it's not just about front-counter services being taken away. What Theresa May is doing is basically taking police away from communities, and that's where we need them to be, especially when you're being faced with this sort of threat.
"If you're not in the community you're not getting the intelligence, the information that you should get. The fewer officers you have on the ground, the fewer officers there are to gather intelligence. There's not the intelligence flow there once was."
Hobbs said that he believes further police cuts will put the public at even greater risk of future terror attacks.
He said: "The government says police funding has been protected but that clearly isn't the case. The Met is looking at cuts of £400 million, Greater Manchester Police is talking about abandoning community policing altogether.
"It's going to be a disaster. It's almost as if what the government wants is to divorce the police from the public, that's what's happening. They're becoming more and more remote.
"Police will be seen as remote authority figures as they are in other countries, which isn't what British policing is all about."
Hobbs said that communities outside the cities are at even greater risk, as should an attack take place in a town or holiday resort, police could be 20 minutes away from the scene, with firearms officers possibly taking even longer. In London on Saturday, the attackers were contained within eight minutes of police receiving the first call.
"In other places in the country there will be a much slower response by armed police," he said. "In some areas armed officers are saying, 'There were two units to cover two counties last night.'
"Helicopters are being cut – last night there were only two helicopters to cover the whole of the UK. Astonishingly, explosive dogs have been cut back.
"There's huge concern as well that outside the major cities – in substantial towns and resorts – it could be 15 or 20 minutes before you get an unarmed officer there, never mind an armed officer.
"In the Isle of Wight armed officers double up as traffic officers, so they would have to go and unlock the cabinet, get their guns out.
"If we had a Nice-type truck attack imagine the carnage, they could be running amok and armed police could be 15 or 20 minutes away. We'd see a bigger death toll than we're seeing at the moment because armed police won't be there to put an end to it."
Hobbs said that police officers lay most of the blame on the shoulders of May, who presided over cuts both as home secretary and prime minister.
"Basically she's loathed by the police, absolutely loathed," he said. "It's hard to put into words the contempt police officers have for her. Officers I know have said if they die in service they don't want her anywhere near their funeral."
He added: "I think what's happened is that, before Manchester, police cuts weren't an election issue and it was quite frustrating for police officers, retired police officers, the police community.
"Then we had Manchester and all of a sudden people started asking questions about police cuts, police numbers – then it faded away again. Then we had this atrocity around London Bridge and people started asking questions again. It's only really tragedy that's made it an election issue."
Graham Wettone, a retired sergeant who spent the last part of his career working in the intelligence unit at Scotland Yard, said cuts had "100% definitely" prevented police from stopping terror attacks.
He told BuzzFeed News: "You can't cut the police resources budget without having an impact on the prevention, detection, and deterrence of terrorism.
"They are having to just react to these attacks; they haven't got the resources to prevent them. They are preventing some attacks, they are clearly. They prevented five or six since Westminster and that's fantastic, but you look at all those agencies – police, security services – they've had cuts and that must have an impact on their ability to deal with information that comes in."
Wettone said that while perpetrators of recent attacks have been known to police, officers do not have the resources available to act immediately on every tipoff they receive.
"You move up and down the known scale by volume of information and how it's checked and verified," he said. "Somebody needs to physically check that. If they've been known before, if they've come to notice before, if there's only been one or two reports that will sit at very, very low level.
"They get information in, but you need to corroborate it, you need somebody to do that. If you reduce the number of police it takes longer to corroborate it.
"If it's something tangible – if you've seen your neighbour with big bags, nails, with a hire van parked out, they'll make time for somebody to check that, but there's not the amount of people available to watch everybody 24/7."
Wettone added that while Manchester bomber Salman Abedi was known to police, officers can only work within the confines of the law.
"It's not an offence to leave Libya and fly to the UK," he said. "There wasn't enough to arrest him when he landed in the UK and imprison him. He hadn't actually committed anything he would be arrested for when he landed back in the UK."
Wettone said that cuts to community policing mean police are losing out on a valuable source of information, whereby neighbourhood officers can provide intelligence that may build up a more detailed picture of a suspect.
He said: "They might start to notice something suspicious, people might tell them things, they might visit places of worship. If that report from them matches up with others it will become more of interest."
On community policing, he said: "It's key to preventing terror, it has to be. It's the foundation for it because it's an integral part of getting people out there and identifying suspicious behaviour.
"People speak to people they know and trust. That's all being eroded because community policing is going out the window, because community policing is being cut.
"You don't have those officers out in the community getting this grassroots information about people being radicalised. They're not out and about, they're just reacting to crime that comes in.
"That's why community policing has been eroded – you need to look at the number of officers you've got and the priority must be emergency response policing. If you've got to choose between a police officer walking past your house once a day, or coming when you call 999 because someone's kicking the back door in, given the choice between the two you have to defer to emergency response policing because that's when people need you, but you're losing that grassroots intelligence."
Like Hobbs, Wettone was scathing about May's impact on policing. "She's had a catastrophic effect on policing and countering terror," he said. "She's going too far. She's affecting the level of impact police can have on serious crime and countering terror.
"She's got this wrong but she still won't admit she's got it wrong. What they have done is clearly not working and she doesn't seem capable of saying 'I will do more', and that's a concern for me.
"They're talking about extending control orders but that doesn't apply if they're running towards you with a knife, with a suicide vest, that isn't going to work.
"She has to listen to the people that actually know the business, and she's not – she's listening to government advisers and civil servants. They know what they need to be effective and they're not being given what they need, and that's why they're only partly effective."
Assistant Commissioner of the Met Police, Martin Hewitt said: "Neighbourhood policing is at the heart of our work and in maintaining strong links with our communities. I am delighted with the progress we have already made to increase the number of Dedicated Ward Officers across London."
A Conservative spokesperson said: "We are supporting the excellent work of the police by providing record funding for counterterror policing. We are providing £144 million over the next five years to increase armed policing, and providing an additional 1,900 officers across the three security agencies so that we can better respond to the threat we face from international terrorism, cyberattacks, and other global risks. And our record speaks for itself: Crime is down by a third since 2010.
"There's a clear choice at this election: Theresa May managing Brexit and delivering security for ordinary working families, or Jeremy Corbyn negotiating Brexit, Diane Abbott in charge of our national security, and John McDonnell in charge of our economy."
Chicago mayor defends proposed independent monitor of police
Mayor Rahm Emanuel says an independent set of eyes will help the city implement reforms discussed with the Justice Department
by the Associated Press
CHICAGO — Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says having an independent monitor oversee reforms of the city's police department is the next best thing to court oversight.
Emanuel said Monday he is not backing away from his January commitment to negotiate a court-enforced consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice. However, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions oppose consent decrees.
Emanuel says an independent set of eyes will help the city implement reforms discussed with the Justice Department.
The department in January issued a scathing report on civil rights abuses by Chicago's police over the years. An investigation began in 2015 after the release of dashcam video showing an officer shoot black teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times.
Metro Council holds listening session to address violence, police concerns
by Robert Bradford
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Nine Metro Council members held a listening session for their residents Monday night to address the city's murder rate and solutions to decrease the crime rate. For many people inside Cole's Place, it is the single most important issue.
"I'm not proud of my community. I'm not even proud of our city here," Neal Robertson said.
He was born and raised in Louisville. He wants the community conversation to be more than just full of dialogue and ideas. "I challenge any council member, I challenge the mayor, I challenge anybody that wants to come with me and live in Park Hill for 5 days," he told WHAS11.
Many also brought up the Metro Council's public spat with LMPD Chief Steve Conrad. Some were split on whether the council should be going after the chief. Others want more attention brought to policing, including a more hands-on approach.
"We need police to get out of their cars, to know the people in their community, to do true community policing," Rhonda Mathies said.
Robertson hopes even more people get involved. As passionate as he is about the place he calls home, he knows a town hall won't fix all of the problems, but it will hopefully be the start to turning around a city marred by deadly shootings.
The mayor released this statement, "I applaud the community for its open and mature dialogue tonight about public safety. As many people stated, crime is a multifaceted problem that needs many solutions -- mentors, community programs to engage youth, summer jobs for teens, reentry programs and further investment in smart policing. I also appreciate the common-sense conclusions from citizens who said there is no one or two simple solutions. Everyone plays a role in public safety -- from business to churches to elected leaders."
Several Metro Council members are stilling planning to move forward with a planned confidence/no confidence vote against chief Conrad. That is expected sometime before July.