LACP - NEWS of the Week
on some LACP issues of interest
NEWS of the Week
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following group of articles is but a small percentage of the info available to the community policing and neighborhood activist. It is by no means meant to cover every possible issue of interest, nor is it meant to convey any particular point of view. We present this simply as a convenience to our readership.
"News of the Week"  

June, 2017 - Week 4
MJ Goyings
Many thanks to our very own "MJ" Goyings, a resident of Ohio, for her daily research that provides us with the news related material that appears on the LACP & NAASCA web sites.

United Kingdom

Finsbury Park attack: Police treating London mosque assault as terrotism

by Sarah Tilotta, Angela Dewan, Laura Goehler and Steve George

A man died and ten people were injured after a van was rammed into a crowd of worshipers near a mosque in north London, in what police are treating as a terrorist attack.

Eyewitnesses reported chaotic scenes as the incident unfolded just after midnight, when worshipers had finished evening Ramadan prayers.

A 48-year-old man was wrestled to the ground by members of the public and then arrested at the scene on suspicion of attempted murder, London's Metropolitan police said.

"This is being treated as a terrorist attack and the Counter-Terrorism Command is investigating," said Neil Basu, senior national coordinator for terrorism at the Met. All the victims were Muslim, he said.

The van rammed into the worshipers on Seven Sisters Road, a busy thoroughfare in Finsbury Park, north London, near a Muslim community center and a mosque.

Basu confirmed witness accounts that the man found dead at the scene was already receiving first aid when the attack happened, adding it was unclear whether he died as a result of the attack. Eight other people were taken to hospital, two of whom were seriously injured, he said. Two people were treated at the scene.

Muslim Welfare House CEO Toufik Kacimi said the attacker shouted "I did my bit, you deserve it." An imam prevented people from taking revenge on the man, he said.

Police believed that the attacker acted alone, despite earlier reports from witnesses, who had said they saw two other people flee the scene.

Prime Minister Theresa May will chair an emergency meeting on Monday morning. "All my thoughts are with the victims, their families and the emergency services on the scene," she said.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan called the incident a "horrific terror attack." "We don't yet know the full details, but this was clearly a deliberate attack on innocent Londoners, many of whom were finishing prayers during the holy month of Ramadan," Khan said.

The assault comes on the heels of another attack at London Bridge, in which three men rammed a van into pedestrians and went on a stabbing spree at nearby bars and restaurants, killing eight people. Monday's attack is the third in London since March involving a vehicle as a weapon against pedestrians.

Emotions are high in the UK in the wake of a series of deadly terrorist attacks and a fire at a London apartment building that killed dozens. Basu said it was a "challenging" time for London and that the emergency services were stretched.

What happened

Witnesses told CNN they saw a van driving at high speed along Seven Sisters Road after worshipers had attended late-night prayers at the Finsbury Park Mosque.

Abdikadir Warfa said the van turned into an alleyway and hit a number of people before coming to a stop. Images from the scene show a white van wedged against a traffic barrier at the dead end of a street.

"I saw a man, he was underneath the van," Warfa said, who described how his friends tried to lift the van to free him.

He said as he attended the injured, others grappled with the driver as he tried to run away.

Ratib Al-Sulaman was sitting two minutes away when the incident occurred.

"Some big van ... crushing the people in the mosque. So we just run straight away, I see police, ambulance, people lying on the floor, and a van as well," said Sulaman.

Both Warfa and Sulaman said there were three people originally in the van, and that two had run away. Police say they are investigating these reports but believe that only one person carried out the attack.

Saeed Hashi described how he fought with the driver, and how he and two others held him to the ground for 10 minutes as they waited for police to arrive.

"He punched me in the head," Hashi said, showing his bruises.

Mohammed Abdul said: "I saw something that was horrendous, something we should not see the in the 21st Century, something we should not see in the last 10 days of Ramadan."

Police have not named the man arrested, but the van bears the logo and phone number for Pontyclun Van Hire in south Wales. CNN spoke to a man at the company, who said he was the owner but declined to give his name. He said police had instructed him not to speak to the media.

Warnings of anti-Islamic attacks

A statement released by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) condemned what it described as a "terror attack."

"During the night, ordinary British citizens were set upon while they were going about their lives, completing their night worship. My prayers are with the victims and their families," read the statement.

Tell MAMA, an anti-Islamophobia group, had visited Muslim Welfare House on Friday last week to inform the community about the need to report anti-Muslim hate incidents and to consider their safety during Ramadan.

"Ramadan is a time when Muslims are more visible and when there are larger congregations who attend late at night to pray after opening their fasts. Mosque safety needs to be stepped up and this includes entry and exit points," it said in a statement.

Finsbury Park, in the London Borough of Islington, is a bustling, diverse area of north London with a strong Muslim community.

On May 22, a suicide attack killed 22 people and injured nearly 60 after an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. The attacker was motivated by Islamist extremism, police said.

The London Bridge attack was on June 3. That attack also appeared inspired by Islamist extremism.

The head of Tell MAMA, Fiyaz Mughal, warned of reprisal attacks against Muslims following major Islamist terrorist incidents.

"We saw that very clearly after Manchester, a very high peak. We saw that clearly after London Bridge," he said.


Google outlines 4 steps to tackle terrorist-related content on YouTube

by Arjun Kharpal

Google has outlined four steps it's taking to fight the spread of extremist material on its YouTube video service.

Kent Walker, general counsel at Google, said Sunday the U.S. technology giant is "committed to being part of the solution" to tackling online extremist content.

"Terrorism is an attack on open societies, and addressing the threat posed by violence and hate is a critical challenge for us all," Walker wrote in a blog post .

"There should be no place for terrorist content on our services."

The four new steps are:

•  Putting more engineering resource into developing further artificial intelligence software that can be trained to identify and remove extremist content.

•  Expanding the number of independent experts in YouTube's Trusted Flagger program. Google will add 50 expert non-government organizations to the 63 organizations that are already part of the program, and support them with additional grants. Google said Trusted Flagger reports are accurate over 90 percent of the time.

•  Taking a tougher stance against videos that do not clearly violate YouTube's rules. For example, a video that has inflammatory religious or supremacist content will appear behind a warning, will not be monetized, recommended or even eligible for users to make comments on. The aim is to make these videos have less engagement so they are harder to find.

•  YouTube is working with Jigsaw – a company behind "The Redirect Method" – which uses ad targeting to send potential ISIS recruits to anti-terrorist videos, which could change their mind about joining extremist organizations. Google said that in previous trials of this system, potential recruits have clicked through on the ads at an "unusually high rate" and watched over half a million minutes of video content that "debunks terrorist recruiting messages."

The latest measures build upon Google's previous efforts to fight extremist content on its platform amid a broader criticism of internet companies from politicians.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May urged technology companies to do more to tackle online extremism following the Manchester Arena bombing last month. May, alongside French President Emmanuel Macron, even said they would look at proposals to fine internet companies that fail to take down such content.

Google admitted that the problem of fighting terrorist content online is tough, but said it is committed to doing more.

"Extremists and terrorists seek to attack and erode not just our security, but also our values; the very things that make our societies open and free. We must not let them," Walker said.

"Together, we can build lasting solutions that address the threats to our security and our freedoms. It is a sweeping and complex challenge. We are committed to playing our part."



Colorado Campaign Wants To Ban Sale Of Smartphones For Children Below 13 Years Old

by Allan Adamson

A grassroots effort in Colorado seeks to ban retailers from selling smartphones for use by children below 13 years old. The campaign aims to stop young kids from spending too much time on these devices.

No Sale Of Smartphones For Use By Kids Below 13 Years Of Age

The ban would require phone retailers to ask their customers how old the primary user of the smartphone is. The retailers who sell phones intended for children younger than 13 could face a fine of $500 after warning.

"Retailers must verbally inquire about the age of the intended primary owner of the smartphone prior to the sale, document the response, and file a monthly report to the Department of Revenue," the proposal states .

The campaign is led by Tim Farnum, a board certified anesthesiologist, who has said that children change once they get a cellphone.

"They go from being outgoing, energetic, interested in the world and happy, to reclusive, they want to spend all their time in their room, they lose interest in outside activities." Farnum said adding that toddlers may even experience speech and language difficulties as a result of constantly looking at screens.

"Eventually kids are going to get phones and join the world, and I think we all know that, but little children, there's just no good that comes from that."

Farnum said that his campaign was inspired after he watched his own kids struggle with the impact of always having a device in their hands.

About 300,000 voters' signatures are needed so the proposal would make the 2018 ballot but as early as now, the idea already faces challenges. Democratic state Sen. John Kefalas, for instance, said that he understands the reasoning behind the proposal but noted that it would overstep the role of the government.

"I think it should remain a family matter," Kefalas said . "Ultimately, this comes down to parents ... making sure their kids are not putting themselves at risk."

Risks Posed By Touchscreen Devices To Children

Farnum's concerns, though, is not unfounded. Several studies have already shown the dangers of kids' use of devices.

A research published in March showed that more than three hours of regular screen use can pose a range of health risks including the onset of diabetes in young children.

In a 2016 study, researchers found that parents who hand over mobile devices such as smartphones and iPads to children who are having tantrums could inflict developmental damages to their children. Too much use of devices in young children can interfere in the development of skills that children need to possess. Instead of developing coping mechanisms, problem solving skills, and empathy, which can be acquired through interactions with other people, children with devices are glued to the screens.

In another study, which involved children between 6 and 36 months who are exposed to touchscreen devices, researchers found that frequent touchscreen use can impact the sleeping patterns of these children. Researchers of another research found that use of tablets and smartphones in bed can double the risk of poor sleep in children.


Washington D.C.

Another Noose Found Near D.C. Museums, Police Say

The noose was discovered hanging from a lamp post outside the National Gallery of Art.

by Hayley Miller

A noose was discovered hanging from a lamp post outside the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., marking the third such incident on the National Mall in recent weeks.

The noose was found Saturday around 3 p.m., U.S. Park Police Sgt. Anna Rose told HuffPost. Authorities are continuing to investigate how the object got there.

Two other nooses were discovered near museums on the National Mall last month. On May 31, tourists visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture found one lying on the floor while walking through an exhibit on segregation. Less than a week earlier, a security guard found a noose hanging from a tree at Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

The noose is widely regarded as a hate symbol, stemming from the Jim Crow era of mob lynching. According to the Anti-Defamation League , “the hangman's noose has come to be one of the most powerful visual symbols directed against African-Americans, comparable in the emotions that it evokes to that of the swastika for Jews.”

A spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police Department said there have been several reports of nooses around the nation's capital in the last couple months.

Another noose was discovered at a construction site in southeast D.C. earlier this month. Students found bananas hanging in nooses on American University's campus in early May and a noose was discovered in a fraternity house at the University of Maryland in April.

“[The MPD] has reached out to offer support to the various establishments where these offenses have occurred,” according to a statement released by the MPD. “The department will not tolerate illegal behaviors in our city. We encourage anyone with information to contact us at 202-727-9099 .”



Pregnant Mother Shot Dead By Cops Whom She Called For Help

by Safia Samee Ali

A pregnant mother in Seattle was shot and killed by two Seattle cops — whom she herself called for help, authorities said Monday.

The officers were dispatched to the woman's apartment complex in Northeast Seattle shortly before 10 a.m PT Sunday (1 p.m. ET) after she reported a break-in at her home, officials said in a statement .

The woman was identified as Charleena Lyles, 30, by family members, according to NBC Seattle affiliate KING .

When police arrived at the apartment, where her three young children were present, the woman began talking about the burglary calmly but then allegedly suddenly came at officers with a knife yelling "you ready? Motherf---s," according to an audio recording of the incident released by the Seattle Police Department.

"Get back! Get back!" the officers responded before opening fire on Lyles, while at least one child can be heard crying in the background.

"The officers immediately performed first aid while the Seattle Fire Department responded, but the fire department declared the woman deceased once they arrived,” according to a police statement . "There were several children inside the apartment at the time of the shooting, but they were not injured."

Family members say Lyles was three months pregnant, and long struggled with mental illness, according to the Seattle Times .

She was “tiny” and had "mental health problems," Lyles' sister Monika Williams told the Seattle Times.

“Why couldn't they have Tased her? They could have taken her down. I could have taken her down,” she told the newspaper, noting that Lyles' children witnessed her shooting.

In the audio recording, the officers are heard talking about Lyles as someone who has said "weird statements" and has a "safety caution."

Williams said she believes race was a factor in the officer's decision. Lyles was black and the two officers were white, according to authorities.

Seattle Police Detective Mark Jamieson said Lyles had a recent “encounter” with police, who have been called to her apartment several times before — a history that warranted the dispatch of two officers rather than one.

“Although this was a typical burglary report, two officers were required due to information pertaining to this address that presented an increased risk to officers," Jamieson said in a statement.

One of the officers was an 11-year veteran while the other was "newer" he said.

Both have been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation, he said.

The apartment complex where Lyles was living with her children is for "formerly homeless individuals and families" and operated by Solid Ground, a non-profit which combats poverty in the Seattle area, said Mike Buchman, a spokesman for the organization.

Buchman said the complex "has never had a police shooting" and the incident "far outstrips anything" they've ever seen.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray called the incident a "tragedy for all involved" and vowed there would be a full investigation into the matter in a statement .

"Our historic police reforms, from de-escalation training to civilian-monitored force review, are in place to address such crises," he said. "The quality and integrity of the investigation will be reviewed by the federal monitoring team supervising our consent decree. We will work collectively with our consent decree partners and the Community Police Commission to ensure transparency throughout this process and offer support where needed,” he said.

The Seattle Police Department had a long history of using excessive force against people with mental illness and substance abuse problems, prompting a Department of Justice investigation which resulted in a "consent decree" in 2012 — meaning the federal government would oversee some of their policies and practices.

"The investigation found that SPD officers escalate situations, and use unnecessary or excessive force, when arresting individuals for minor offenses. This trend is pronounced in encounters with persons with mental illnesses or those under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This is problematic because SPD estimates that 70 percent of use of force encounters involve these populations,” according to the DOJ report.

But a federal monitor overseeing the court-ordered reforms found the department made significant strides in training and conduct since the consent decree five years ago, according to a report released in April.

“Overall use of force has gone down even as officer injuries have not gone up and crime, by most measures, has not increased. At the same time, the force that SPD officers do use is, by and large, reasonable, necessary, proportional, and consistent with the Department's use of force policy, “ the report said.

But community activists say they are not convinced.

"What police are touting as improvements, we rebuke," said Gerald Hankerson, president of the NAACP of Seattle-King County. "If you ask the black community, things are just as bad today as they were before the consent decree so what it the point of even having one," he said.

"How is it possible that a woman who called the police for help ended up dead?" he said.

Others added that the police department still has a long way to go.

"It is clear that the ‘historic reforms' within the Seattle police department, a department with a long record of racially discriminatory violence, have fallen far short of what was needed to keep Lyles and her family safe, " said Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, a Seattle resident and the executive director of the nonprofit group MomsRising, in a statement.

Several community members and family came together at a vigil honoring Lyles on Sunday night. Loved ones brought photos and flowers in her memory.

Williams set up a GoFundMe page , which has already garnered over $30,000 as of Monday afternoon, to raise money for Lyles' children who are now left without a mother.

“Please help us come together to support her children and family during this tragedy,” she said on the page with includes the hashtags #SAYHERNAME and #LEENABOOMATTERS.



LAPD suspends cadet programs at 2 stations

The suspensions are in effect pending the outcome of the investigation of three cadets who allegedly stole cruisers and equipment and led police on a pursuit

by Richard Winton

LOS ANGELES — In a widening investigation of the Los Angeles Police Department's cadet program, Chief Charlie Beck on Sunday announced he has suspended training for cadets at the 77th Street Division and Pacific Division, where three cadets arrested on suspicion of stealing police cruisers were based.

The move is part of a “top-to-bottom” review of the citywide cadet program following revelations that besides the theft of three cruisers, the cadets may have also stolen other police equipment and posed as sworn officers. The suspensions are in effect pending the outcome of the investigation, officials said.

Two of the accused cadets were assigned to the 77th Street Division and the third to the Pacific Division, said Josh Rubenstein, LAPD public information director.

The teens, ages 15, 16 and 17, were not identified because they are minors. They were booked in connection with the theft of the cruisers and other LAPD property, Beck said. He added that all three were involved in the vehicle thefts but that it was not immediately clear which of them may have been involved in taking the other equipment.

Department officials said the three cadets led officers on car chases through the streets of South L.A. on Wednesday in a pair of stolen police cruisers. The car chases ended in separate crashes.

The thefts and chases sparked an investigation that revealed some of the cadets may have also stolen a bulletproof vest, two stun guns and two police radios, Beck told reporters last week.

Since the arrests, the cadet program has come under intense scrutiny. The captains in both divisions will now meet one on one with every cadet “regarding the severity and seriousness of the recent incidents” along with the need to maintain ethics, the LAPD said in a statement last week. Police officials will also meet with the parents of cadets in those divisions.

Investigators are trying to determine if other cadets were directly involved in the unauthorized use of LAPD patrol cars or knew of the thefts of the vehicles and other equipment.

Currently, about 2,300 teens ages 13 to 20 are enrolled in cadet programs. The programs operate at each of the LAPD's 21 geographic stations. Only programs at the 77th Street Division and Pacific Division are suspended, officials said.

According to police sources, the cadets involved in the vehicle thefts made themselves unauthorized police uniforms and had driven at least one of the stolen patrol cars more than 1,000 miles.

Investigators are trying to determine what the teens were doing with the vehicles as well as where they went. Police said one of the cars went missing in late May. Detectives want to figure out whether the vehicle was stolen once or repeatedly taken and returned without detection, which would raise even greater concerns about how the LAPD tracks its cars.

Detectives are checking various cameras that read license plates around the Los Angeles area to see if the cruisers might have been logged and want to know when and where the cars were gassed up, according to multiple police sources who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss details about the ongoing investigation.

Sources said police had checked the odometers of the cars and discovered that at least one had been driven a significant distance since it was last used for official business.

Beck said the cadets may have been impersonating officers while driving the stolen cruisers, and he asked anyone living in Central and South Los Angeles or Inglewood who might have information to contact police.

The cadets were able to steal the cruisers in part because one of them used a sergeant's identity to check out vehicles using a computer, the chief said.

In a statement Sunday, the department said it will inspect all cadet work areas for sensitive materials and unauthorized computer access. The LAPD has already begun a physical inventory of vehicles and equipment after the episode revealed lax oversight at the stations.

Sources told the Los Angeles Times that investigators also plan to examine the recovered stun guns. Data can be downloaded from the Tasers to show whether the devices were fired and if so, for how long. LAPD officials often look at such data when evaluating whether officers were justified in using force against someone.

Police, the sources said, already know the teens made several stops for gas, including at least one visit to a city-owned pump at City Hall East.

The department became aware that two LAPD cruisers had gone missing around 5 p.m. Wednesday, resulting in an investigation that Beck said “almost immediately” focused on a 16-year-old female cadet assigned to the 77th Street Division after officials found video of the teen fueling the car at a city gas pump. About 9:30 p.m., two stolen cruisers were spotted near the 77th Street station.

A chase began after the drivers ignored officers' commands to pull over, Beck said. The stolen cars separated at some point, resulting in two chases that both ended in wrecks.

One cadet taken into custody was wearing a spare bulletproof vest used for training purposes, the chief said. A third car had also been taken by the cadets, but it was quickly located near the 77th Street station, Beck said.

The department said Beck plans to address all cadets during a formal inspection in coming days.



Car rams police vehicle on famed Paris avenue; attacker dies

Officials said the man's motives weren't immediately clear

by Elaine Ganley and Lori Hinnant

PARIS — A man on the radar of French authorities was killed Monday after ramming a car carrying explosives into a police vehicle in the capital's Champs-Elysees shopping district, prompting a fiery blast, officials said. France's anti-terrorism prosecutor opened an investigation.

No police officers or passers-by were hurt, the Paris police department said. It is unclear why the attacker drove into police, though officials said the incident was apparently deliberate.

Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said the man was killed after an attempted attack on a police convoy, saying that shows the threat is still very high in the country and justifies a state of emergency in place since 2015. He said he will present a bill Wednesday at a Cabinet meeting to extend the state of emergency from July 15, its current expiration date, until Nov. 1.

He says the current situation in France shows a new security law "is needed" and the measure would "maintain a high security level."

Two police officials told The Associated Press that a handgun was found on the driver, who they said was badly burned after the vehicle exploded. They identified the man as a 31-year-old man from the Paris suburb of Argenteuil who had an "S'' file, meaning he was flagged for links to extremism.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to reveal details of the incident, the second this year on the city's most famous avenue, which is popular with tourists from around the world.

An attacker defending the Islamic State group fatally shot a police officer on the Champs-Elysees in April, days before a presidential election, prompting an extensive security operation.

On Monday, police cordoned off a broad swath of the Champs-Elysees after the latest incident, warning people to avoid the area.

Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said the incident was apparently deliberate.

Police "pulled an individual out of the vehicle who had struck the car in front (of the convoy, “ Brandet told reporters. "Large numbers of police converged on the scene, firefighters to extinguish the fire."

A man could be seen lying on his stomach on the ground immediately after the incident, wearing a white shirt and dark shorts.

Hours later, access to the avenue remained blocked, while bomb squads combed the area.

Eric Favereau, a journalist for Liberation newspaper who was driving a scooter behind the gendarmes, said he saw a car blocking the convoy's path, then an implosion in the vehicle. Favereau wrote that the gendarmes smashed open the windows of the car while it was in flames and dragged out its occupant. Other gendarmes used fire extinguishers to put out the flames. The account didn't say what happened to the occupant of the car afterward.

Visitors to a nearby Auguste Rodin exhibit were confined inside the Grand Palais exhibit hall for an hour after the incident.

Victoria Boucher and daughter Chrystel came in from the suburb of Cergy-Pontoise for a Paris visit and weren't afraid to go to the famed avenue.

"We were better off inside than outside," Chrystel said. But both agreed as the mother said, "unfortunately we now are used to this."

"The show must go on," the daughter said in English. "They won't win."



LA County sheriff deploys Narcan to reverse overdoses

In April, the Santa Clarita Valley saw a spike in overdoses resulting in one death. Within a 72-hour timespan, there were eight overdoses

by Susan Abram

LOS ANGELES — Hoping to stem a national wave of opioid- and heroin-related deaths, the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department announced Thursday that deputies from across the region will be equipped with a potentially life-saving nasal spray.

Deputies from the Santa Clarita, La Crescenta and East Los Angeles sheriffs stations along with the parks and community college bureaus will be equipped with 1,200 doses of a nasal spray known on the market as Narcan.

The spray reverses the effects of overdoses related to pain killers, heroin and most recently a synthetic version of fentanyl, a drug that's up to 100 times stronger than morphine. The pilot program begins on Monday.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said while the number of fatal overdoses related to such drugs remain low across the region, he and others noted that the epidemic will likely head West from the East Coast, where such deaths is deemed an epidemic. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that an average of 161 people died across the nation of drug related overdoses in 2015.

“We wanted to be able to get in front of this so we're not waiting for the epidemic to hit and struggling to catch up with it,” McDonnell said during a news conference at downtown's Hall of Justice. “I feel like we're already seeing cases, but we're on the front end to be ready for what may be coming our way. We're hopeful we don't see what other states have seen, but the reality is more than likely we will start to see this.”

Narcan is easy to use and is low risk, McDonnell said, adding that it requires no medical training for deputies.

“Use of Narcan will not cure the addiction epidemic in this county, but using Narcan gives a person an opportunity to make a different life choice,” McDonnell said.

In April, the Santa Clarita Valley saw a spike of overdoses resulting in one death. Within a 72-hour time span, there were eight such overdoses. One person was arrested for heroin possession. The drug contained traces of fentanyl and investigators believed it came from the San Fernando Valley. An investigation that involved four different narcotic operations between May 2 and May 25 resulted in six arrests. At least 20 ounces of heroin, $10,000 in cash and two cars found with hidden traps to conceal the heroin were confiscated, McDonnell said. One pack of heroin was laced with fentanyl, he added.

“I know we're not going to arrest our way out of this problem,” McDonnell said. “We need to approach this differently. We must examine what is driving the addictions and equip ourselves with knowledge. We must also gather the means necessary to insulate Los Angeles County from the opioid and heroin-related devastation that we've seen in other parts of the country.”

The deaths affect all members of a family, McDonnell added, even those who are in law enforcement.

Holding back tears during the news conference, Los Angeles Sheriff's Commander Judy Gerhardt told reporters her 23 year old nephew Maxwell “Macky” Baker, who was studying to work in the medical profession, died of a heroin overdose in December, just a few months after he was prescribed pain killers for an injury he sustained in a car accident.

“I stand before you today with mixed emotions,' she said during the news conference. “On one hand I'm so excited with what we're doing and the progress we're making with this project, because I know we're going to save lives. On the other hand I'm devastated, because I'm the face of what opioid addition does to a family.”

Gerhardt and her daughter, who also works at the Sheriff's Department, helped work on the Narcan pilot program.

“We can't bring Macky back, but his death doesn't have to be in vain,” Gerhardt said. “The message I want to send, on behalf of my nephew is to ask we look at addiction differently. We need to remove the stigma associated with addiction, so that people who are suffering can seek treatment.”

With another grant obtained through a network with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, at least 5,000 more doses will be purchased so that more field deputies will have the medicine, said acting deputy director Dr. John Connolly, with the health department's, Substance Abuse Prevention and Control Program.

“While we haven't seen the same rates of addiction and overdose here, we know that in the last decade overdoses are increases,” he said. “We know too many people (who) have died. The good news is these tragedies have sparked action.”



Georgia inmates' quick thinking saves passed-out officer

by Fox 5 Atlanta

It's an officer's job to protect and service, but that doesn't mean they are invincible. On a hot Georgia day, A Polk County Officer passed out while providing security on a job site.

That's when six inmates took action and helped saved the officer's life. According to the Polk County Sheriff's Office, the inmates called 9-1-1 on the officer's work phone and requested EMS to the scene. They also took off his outer vest to help cool him off.

The sheriff's office expressed their gratitude to the inmates in a heartfelt message. They referenced the two Georgia escaped inmates who were captured last week after killing their Correctional Officers.

As we watched the horrific man hunt this week of the two inmates that killed two Correctional Officers and were captured last night we all know that Monday could have ended differently for our Officer.

The inmates are being treated to homemade lunch and desserts prepared by the officer's family.



FirstNet, AT&T advance nationwide broadband network for public safety

by FirstNet

RESTON, Va. — FirstNet and AT&T are taking an important step to deliver the first nationwide high-speed data and voice network for America's first responders. Today, the two will provide U.S. states and territories with individual State Plans to enable the rapid deployment of this first-of-its-kind FirstNet network. The network buildout proposed in the State Plans will create thousands of new jobs nationwide and drive investments across the states and territories.

Delivery of the State Plans comes 3 months ahead of schedule. This marks a major milestone in the deployment of the FirstNet network. The network will modernize public safety communications and provide first responders with technologies to help them save lives and protect communities.

With this step, we're ready to deliver the first nationwide network for public safety, by public safety," said FirstNet CEO Mike Poth. "This network will drive innovation, security and interoperability for public safety across the country. It's what EMS, fire and law enforcement spent years fighting for and need right now."

Since 2013, FirstNet has worked hand-in-hand with the states, territories, localities, federal authorities and the public safety community to make sure the network is specifically built for their needs. Developed with this input, the customized plans outline the coverage, features and mission-critical capabilities FirstNet, together with its partner, AT&T, will bring to first responders and other public safety personnel.

When we announced our public-private partnership in March, we committed to begin building this unprecedented network and technology ecosystem for public safety later this year,” said Chris Sambar, senior vice president, AT&T – FirstNet. “Later begins now. States, territories and public safety have expressed their desire to move quickly. That's what we're helping to enable today.”

The State Plans will be released today via an online portal. States and territories can spend up to 45 days to review the plans. The states and territories will also have the opportunity to exchange feedback with FirstNet before an official 90-day clock starts for each state or territory governor to make an “opt-in/opt-out” decision on its State Plan.

A governor's decision to opt-in will open the door for FirstNet and AT&T to immediately begin delivering services to that state or territory's public safety community. It's a decision that will also drive infrastructure investments and job creation.

As governors opt-in, FirstNet and AT&T will kick-off the network build process. It's a decision that will:

•  Transfer the financial, operational and technical risks of building, maintaining and upgrading the FirstNet network in the state or territory to AT&T for the next 25 years.

•  Launch key network features that public safety has fought for, like quality of service and priority access to voice and data across the existing nationwide AT&T LTE network.

•  Provide preemption over the AT&T LTE network – expected by year-end. This means fire, police and EMS will have dedicated access to the network when they need it.

•  Deliver feature-rich services at competitive rates for first responders.

Public safety spent years advocating for a nationwide broadband network for first responders following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Major public safety organizations continue to voice their strong support for the FirstNet network today. The FirstNet State Plan comes fully funded and will require no additional financial resources from the states to deploy or operate the network.

“Joining the FirstNet network is one of the most economical and technologically advanced decisions a leader can make for the safety of its residents and first responders – as well as for the safety and security of the country,” said former Pennsylvania Governor and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. “The network will help transform how the nation's fire, law enforcement and EMS personnel communicate. First responders will be able to coordinate and respond more quickly and effectively during emergencies and everyday situations.”

The need to save lives in the field is a reality for all of our first responders across all of our communities,” said Ed Davis, former Boston police commissioner. “Public safety can't serve our communities without coordinated communications capabilities. The mission to deliver this is at the core of the network that FirstNet and AT&T are bringing forward.”

For more information on the FirstNet network, please visit and . For more about the State Plans and value the network will bring to public safety, please visit .



Radio Volunteers a Key Component of Public Safety

Agencies at the local and state level recognize the importance of the ham opertors.

by Yakima Herald-Republic

Police, fire and medical personnel immediately come to mind when the citizenry thinks of emergency responders, and for good reason. They are highly trained, highly skilled professionals who put their lives on the line in times of natural or human-caused disasters. For government agencies, an essential link consists of dispatch crews that garner information and quickly get the word out about trouble spots. That critical function gets a huge assist from a group of volunteers who perform a key role on the airwaves.

In Yakima County, the Amateur Radio Emergency Service consists of a team of 20 ham radio operators who are very much in the loop during times of emergencies. In mountainous areas where steep terrain renders cellphone service precarious, the ham operators are able to communicate with search and rescue crews that are scouring the area for missing hikers, skiers or snowmobilers.

Agencies at the local and state level recognize the importance of the ham operators, who locally have been headed by Jo Whitney for the past quarter-century or so. Yakima County Sheriff Brian Winter, an amateur radio operator, coordinates with the group, and some operators are part of the sheriff's Search and Rescue Team. The team also works with the Yakima Valley Office of Emergency Management and has a radio room at the county Emergency Operations Center in Union Gap. Both Yakima hospitals have amateur radio stations.

It doesn't stop at the county level. Last year, a number of state agencies used radio teams for communications during the massive Cascadia Rising earthquake and tsunami drill. State emergency officials have recommended that local agencies establish a “habitual relationship” with the teams.

Fortunately, disasters are few and far between, but the operators still get plenty of work. Earlier this month, they were situated along the course of the Round Mountain Half-Marathon footrace, which includes a grueling four-mile uphill — and corresponding downhill — as part of the 13.1-mile course. They also help keep track of the hundreds of runners strewn along the course of the the Yakima River Canyon Marathon, in another locale where terrain makes cellphones unreliable. Next month, they will be on hand for the Grey Rock 50-kilometer trail race — again, a mountainous challenge where the operators are an essential part of safety preparations. Many other events have benefited from their presence over the decades.

The county's Amateur Radio Emergency Service is there for the public not only in times of calamity, it also to enable events that enhance the quality of life for the Yakima Valley. They may be seen — and heard — by only a few, but their presence adds a measure of safety for everybody in Yakima County.



Suspect shot after explosion at Brussels train station

by The Associated Press

BRUSSELS — Soldiers shot a suspect in the heart of Brussels after a small explosion Tuesday night at a busy train station continued a week of extremist attacks in the capitals of Europe.

A bomb squad performed a controlled explosion of a bomb belt the suspect had at the Central Station and was checking to see if there more hazards, VTM network reported. Authorities set up a wide perimeter around the station, located near the city's famed Grand Place square.

It appeared no one else was injured besides the suspect and the damage from the explosion was limited, Brussels prosecutor's office spokeswoman Ine Van Wymersch told VRT. It was not clear if the suspect survived.

National newspaper La Libre Belgique quoted the prosecutor's office as saying the suspect was wearing a backpack and an explosive belt. The information could not be immediately confirmed. Photos posted on social media showed a small fire in the station.

Brussels police said via Twitter that there was "an incident with an individual at the station. The situation is under control." They asked the public to follow police instructions.

The Central Station is one of the busiest in the nation and soldiers could be seen patrolling there after the explosion. It was evacuated along with the Belgian capital's Grand Place, a major tourist site about 200 meters (656 feet) away.

Belgium has been on high alert since suicide bombers killed 32 people on the Brussels subway and at an airport in March 2016.

There have been incidents involving extremists in Paris and London in recent days, including the attack by a van driver who tried to run down worshippers outside a London mosque.



Police: Calif. officer intentionally struck by car during traffic stop

The officer was conscious and breathing when he was transported

by PoliceOne Staff

OCEANSIDE, Calif. — Police are searching for a second suspect after an officer was intentionally hit by a car.

The officer, a veteran with over 25 years experience, pulled over a vehicle for a minor traffic violation Monday when another driver intentionally struck him, Police Spokesman Tom Bussey told the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Witness Toni Lessard told NBC San Diego that the officer was unconscious, but came to and was awake and breathing when he was transported to the hospital. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, he later underwent surgery. No other details were available.

The driver and passenger in the vehicle that struck the officer fled and abandoned their car shortly after. Witnesses helped police take one suspect into custody. It's unclear if the detained suspect was the driver or the passenger.

Authorities are still searching for the second suspect. Police said he is a black man last seen wearing a white T-shirt, black shorts and flip flops.

Bussey said the crash is being investigated as attempted murder.



4 more Los Angeles police cadets arrested in scandal

Seven cadets between the ages of 14 and 20 have been arrested since last week

by Michael Balsamo

LOS ANGELES — Four more police cadets have been arrested in a widening probe that started last week after three police cruisers, stun guns and radios were stolen, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said Tuesday.

The teenagers, who were in a program for those who may want to become officers, created homemade uniforms made to resemble actual Los Angeles police uniforms and went out on patrol in the stolen vehicles, Beck said. The teens pulled over at least one driver, but they didn't try to make an arrest or issue a summons, the chief said.

Seven cadets between the ages of 14 and 20 have been arrested since last week.

The cadets, who perform volunteer work at police stations and go through an academy to learn about the criminal justice system, used a vacationing sergeant's name to access the police department's automated inventory system and sign out the cars, two police stun guns and two police radios, Beck said. They drove the three cars out of a police station parking lot, and the cadets had one of the vehicles for at least two weeks, the chief said.

While driving around in the marked police vehicles, the cadets impersonated officers and pulled over at least one driver, though detectives haven't found any evidence they tried to issue any summonses, handcuffed the driver or used any force during the encounter, Beck said. Investigators are looking into the possibility they had conducted more traffic stops.

Three of the teenage cadets were taken into custody last Wednesday after leading officers on wild pursuits around the city in two of the stolen police vehicles that both ended in crashes. The four other cadets are accused of riding along with their friends in the stolen cars, Beck said.

Beck ordered a thorough review of policies for managing inventory and has temporarily suspended the cadet program in two police divisions. The program has about 2,300 cadets in 21 separate police divisions.



Michigan Airport Stabbing: Officer Attacked in Possible Terror Incident

by Tom Winter, Andrew Blankstein, Kalhan Rosenblatt and Phil McCausland

An officer for Bishop International Airport in Flint, Michigan, was stabbed Wednesday in what local, state and federal law enforcement authorities were investigating as a terrorist act.

According to witnesses, 52-year-old Canadian Amor Ftouhi, who first entered the United States June 16, allegedly shouted "Allahu akbar" and blamed the United States for deaths in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan before stabbing Lieutenant Jeff Neville with a large knife.

Multiple senior law enforcement officials with direct knowledge of the investigation told NBC News that the suspect was not in any FBI databases prior to the incident, unlike the majority of suspects in the last several U.S. terror attacks.

The FBI is leading the investigation in coordination with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Michigan State Police and other partners in Flint and Canada.

The stabbing happened outside of the TSA area, meaning the suspect did not get through security with a knife, four senior law enforcement officers told NBC News.

Ftouhi ambled around the airport before the attack, spending some time in an airport restaurant before heading to a bathroom where he deposited his bags, according to David Gelios, FBI special agent in charge of the Detroit Division. Ftouhi then brought out the knife.

Officials said that they believe the attack was an isolated incident and that there is "no specific, credible" threat to the Flint community.

Ftouhi faces a charge of violence at an international airport, which carries a 20-year sentence. The number of charges could grow, Gelios said.

Ftouhi has been talkative and cooperative with investigators Gelios said.

"He has a hatred for the United States and a number of others that that motivated him to come to the airport today," Gelios said.

Neville, a father of two who has worked at the airport since approximately 2000, is a member of the airport's Department of Public Safety and a retired Genesee County Sheriff's Department lieutenant.

The airport public safety officer took Ftouhi to the ground by himself and continued to fight him until the suspect was handcuffed, according to Bishop International Airport Director of Public Safety Christopher Miller.

"Lieutenant Neville is in satisfactory condition," Miller said at an evening press conference. "He's doing fine residing in a local hospital right now. He's resting comfortably."

Michigan State Police initially tweeted that the officer was in critical condition. Just after 1 p.m., officials confirmed Neville was out of surgery and was upgraded to stable condition.

“I spoke with his family up at the hospital, and he had completed surgery," Genesee County Commissioner Mark Young told NBC News. "He was still in recovery when I left the hospital.”

Young — whose 35-year friendship with Neville began when the two worked at the Genesee Sheriff's Office — said while everyone is relieved the officer is alright, the situation is still tragic.

“I'd say we are feeling relieved that he's in stable condition. This is something that police officers across the country — this is the Damocles that sits over every officer when they go out every day," Young said.

Neville had a successful career at the sheriff's office, Young said, earning several awards before climbing the ranks with the airport police.

“[Neville is] probably one of the nicest individuals you'd ever meet. He's always quick to help and try to help people who have problems," Young said. "I literally don't know anyone more like that then him.”

Authorities said the FBI was leading the investigation and tweeted that the airport had been closed after the stabbing.

It has since re-opened, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Bishop International's Facebook page posted that travelers inside the airport had been safely evacuated.

Airport Director Craig Williams said that five flights were affected and did not takeoff. Flights were grounded until 4 p.m., though planes were able to land.

Witness Ken Brown told The Flint Journal that he was dropping off his daughter at the airport and saw the officer after he was stabbed. He said he saw a man detained by police and a knife on the ground.

"The cop was on his hands and knees bleeding from his neck," Brown said. "I said they need to get him a towel."

K-9 units were seen outside the airport after the stabbing as officers checked vehicles in the airport parking lot.

In a statement, Canada denounced the attack on Neville and said its law enforcement agencies were in touch with "their U.S. counterparts."

"Canada condemns this heinous and cowardly act. Our thoughts and sympathies are with the officer and his loved ones," a statement from the Canadian Embassy said.

The suspect was in custody, according to a press release from Flint City Hall, where security had been increased as a precaution. City Hall is approximately five miles away from the airport.

“Right now we are still awaiting more information about the situation at Bishop Airport this morning,” Mayor Karen Weaver said in a statement. “My thoughts and prayers are with all of our law enforcement officers who work to service and protect us each and every day."

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder sent his thoughts to Neville in a tweet.



L.A. police chief endorses 'santuary state' bill

Police Chief Charlie Beck for the first time offered his full support for a bill that would prohibit state and local LE agencies from carrying out immigration laws

by Jazmine Ulloa

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck for the first time offered his full support for a bill that would prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies from carrying out immigration laws, calling it an important proposal that protects the trust between his department and the neighborhoods it polices.

“This is not a soft-on-crime bill,” Beck said Monday at a Los Angeles news conference, with former U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León. “This is not an anti-law enforcement bill. This is a bill that displays courage. The courage of Californians, the courage of Angelenos to understand that when we stand together we are much more effective than when we stand apart.”

The endorsement is a boon for De León (D-Los Angeles), who authored Senate Bill 54 and has grappled with opposition from law enforcement groups over claims that it could weaken their ability to detain dangerous or repeat criminals. It came as Holder unveiled a letter to U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions arguing that the legislation “is constitutional and not preempted by federal law.”

Holder was temporarily hired by the Senate and Assembly to serve as outside counsel to offer advice on the state's legal strategy against the incoming administration. He and his firm, Covington & Burling, analyzed the legislation as part of that contract and concluded “states have the power over the health and safety of their residents and allocation of state resources.”

“California is doing the right thing,” Holder said of moving the bill through the Legislature. “This is something that needs to be done nationwide.”

Senate Bill 54 , the so-called sanctuary state bill, was sparked by the Trump administration's broadened deportation orders . It would prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies, including school police and security, from using resources to investigate, detain, report or arrest people for immigration enforcement.

To address some concerns from police chiefs and sheriffs, De León amended the legislation to allow local and state officers to participate in task forces — and work alongside federal immigration officers — as long as their main purpose is not immigration enforcement. Other changes have loosened communication restrictions between local law enforcement agencies and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials concerning violent felons.

The latest provisions also allow law enforcement officers to contact and transfer people to ICE, with a judicial warrant, if they encounter someone who was previously deported for a violent felony. And they permit law enforcement to transfer or detain a person at the request of ICE if a judge finds there is probable cause to do so.

The latter amendment drew Beck's approval. In the past, he has gone only so far as to say he agreed with the bill's “underlying tenets,” but that he wanted to ensure police could still go after dangerous criminals.

On Monday, the police chief said he worked closely with De León's office to ensure it addressed all law enforcement concerns, and that it struck a balance between public safety and preserving community trust. The legislation will allow officers to concentrate on violent criminals who are not in the country legally, he said, and if necessary, to use their illegal status to detain them.

He described the bill as a reflection of California's values, his own and those of the Los Angeles Police Department, which he said had honored the “ Special Order 40 .” The 1979 mandate prevents officers from approaching people solely to inquire about immigration status.

“We depend on our communities, particularly the immigrant communities, not only to keep them safe but to keep all of you safe,” Beck said. “Without that cooperation we all suffer.”

But as President Trump and Sessions have threatened to slash federal funding from so-called sanctuary cities, the state legislation has continued to stir Republican lawmakers and sheriffs. They argue its provisions could strain the state's finances and shield dangerous criminals.

The bill cleared its first hearing last week in the state Assembly, where Cory Salzillo, legislative director for the California State Sheriffs' Assn., argued the legislation still lacked clarity on task forces, and would prevent vital collaboration among sheriffs and ICE officials. By prohibiting federal immigration officers from interrogating immigrants in jails, he said, it would force them to go into communities, potentially leading to the detention of more people.

“ICE is going to do what ICE is going to do, and there will be collateral impact when ICE does that,” Salzillo said.

De León countered that sheriffs were elected officials who operated in a different culture, but he pledged to continue working with them.

In Los Angeles on Monday, he pointed to an order from a federal judge blocking the president's order to strip funds from municipal governments that refuse to cooperate fully with immigration agents.

“Still, our local law enforcement officers are under threat of being commandeered into the president's deportation forces,” De León said. “Senate Bill 54 will protect local police against a federal overreach that will have forced them to enforce immigration laws instead of carrying out the everyday duties that keep our communities safe.”



L.A. county cops shoot at attacking pit bull and instead kill teen, authorities say

by Katie Mettler

Amber Alcantar woke early Thursday morning to a knock at the door.

Before her stood a friend of her nephew, 17-year-old Armando Garcia-Muro. The young man was frantically searching for Garcia-Muro's mother, Alcantar told the Los Angeles Times. In his hands were bloody shoes.

“Obviously something was wrong,” Alcantar said.

What had just unfolded outside an apartment complex in Palmdale, Calif., would later be described by authorities as an “extremely, extremely unfortunate incident” and by his family as the tragic loss of an animal-loving teen. While trying to shoot a dog that had attacked an officer, deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office instead struck Garcia-Muro.

Their bullets ricocheted off the driveway, authorities said, and one hit the teen's chest. He later died at a hospital.

The sheriff's office released details of the incident in a statement and at a news conference, but did not identify the teen victim. The family of Garcia-Muro told local reporters his name and age.

“My nephew was trying to save the dog because the cops started shooting at the dog,” Alcantar, the teen's aunt, told CBS Los Angeles . “He put his life on the line for an animal that wasn't even his.”

According to the police account, deputies were called to an apartment in Palmdale, a city 60 miles north of Los Angeles, just before 4 a.m. Thursday to investigate a report of “loud music.” They approached the apartment in question and were “aggressively charged” by a 60 to 65-pound pit bull, authorities said. The dog bit one of the deputies on the knee.

At that time, a “male Hispanic juvenile” emerged from behind the apartment, restrained the dog and took him back to the rear of the complex. Deputies “retreated back onto the street for safety,” treated the injured officer and called paramedics.

As they waited for help to arrive, the dog returned and charged the deputies again, authorities said. Two officers shot at the dog from a distance of five to seven feet and it returned to a carport area behind the complex.

Deputies followed the dog to trap it and “prevent additional victims” but in the carport area, they found the young teen bleeding on the ground from “what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the chest.” Deputies provided medical attention until paramedics transported the boy to a local hospital, where he died.

“Preliminary investigation indicated the first six to eight feet where the shooting occurred with the pit bull, there was evidence of skip rounds on the driveway area,” the sheriff's department said in the statement. “Detectives believe when the juvenile came out from behind the building, which was approximately 40 feet away from where the shooting occurred with the dog, the juvenile may have been struck by one of the skip rounds.”

The deputy injured by the dog bite was also hit by a bullet fragment in his right leg, authorities said. He was taken to a hospital and is in stable condition. The dog was shot and survived but will be euthanized, authorities said.

At a news conference, Capt. Christopher Bergner told reporters five deputies were present at the time of the shooting but only two discharged their weapons, reported the Los Angeles Times. Six to eights shots were fired, Bergner said.

“(The teen) may have been struck by one of the skip rounds in what we're calling an extremely, extremely unfortunate incident,” Bergner said. “Our initial impression was didn't even see the individual coming around from the side of the building.”

The dog's owner, a woman, told the Los Angeles Times that the neighborhood kids use her home a local hangout to listen to music.

“They are all my friends,” the woman, who declined to give her name, told the LA Times. “They are good kids.”

The dog, she said, is a 3-year-old blue-nosed pit bull that was usually well-mannered when off its leash. She disputed authorities' claim that her dog attacked them.

“That's not my dog,” the woman told the LA Times. “That's not his personality.”

Garcia-Muro's mother, Roberta Alcantar, told the Times her son was the eldest of four siblings, loved dogs and wanted to go into the construction business. He would have been a senior at R. Rex Parris High School in Palmdale this fall.



Virginia man charged with passing top-secret documents to China

by Terence Cullen

A Virginia man is accused of sharing top secret information with a Chinese spy he claimed was a business partner.

Kevin Mallory was arrested Thursday, charged in Alexandria, Va. with espionage and making false statements to federal officials.

The former government employee made two trips to Shanghai this spring where he met with an intelligence agent posing as a think tank staffer, court documents allege.

He was planning a third trip this month, during which he was set to dump more documents, officials said.

Mallory made his first trip to Shanghai in March, going a second time in April.

When he was returning from the April trip, Mallory had $16,500 in his bags, which customs officials found.

Mallory, who initially didn't declare the large sum, told customs agents he was in China for a business venture that doubled as a father-son trip.

Between March and April he asked former colleagues to introduce him to an employee at a government agency, which isn't identified in court documents.

Mallory then met with the bureaucrat, whom he told that a Chinese contact had given him a secret communication device and trained in using it.

FBI agents showed up to their next scheduled meeting on May 24. Mallory volunteered to speak with them, the documents indicate.



LAPD officer arrested for alleged sex with cadet

Officer Robert Cain, a 10 year veteran, was the equipment room operator and was involved in checking out police cars and other items

by Robert Jablon

LOS ANGELES — Police Chief Charlie Beck on Thursday arrested a veteran Los Angeles police officer for allegedly having sex with a 15-year-old cadet who is suspected of joyriding in stolen patrol cars.

The chief personally handcuffed Officer Robert Cain at the 77th Street Division.

"I think it's important to send a message," the chief said at a news conference, saying Cain's actions were "despicable."

Cain, 31, was booked on suspicion of having unlawful sex with a minor. It was unclear if he had an attorney.

Cain, a 10-year veteran, was the 77th Street Division's equipment room operator and was involved in checking out police cars and other items, Beck said.

"It's believed that he had knowledge of and has been involved in the unlawful use of police equipment, including cars," Beck said.

Cain had no "significant history" of disciplinary actions or use-of-force complaints, the chief said.

The teen had been a cadet for three months. Text messages on her cellphone led investigators to Cain, Beck said.

So far, it doesn't appear that anybody else in the cadet program or other police officers knew of the relationship, which took place outside of the station, but the investigation continued, Beck said.

The cadet program is open to 14- to 21-year-olds and provides free training in police work, LAPD values and physical fitness. About 2,300 youths are enrolled. Cadets can perform limited duties such as traffic and crowd control at public events but they are not sworn police officers and have no official authority.

The program has been under scrutiny since cadets last week led officers on wild pursuits around the city in stolen police cars that ended with two crashing. Investigators said they used a vacationing sergeant's name to sign out the cars along with stun guns and radios.

Four other cadets — including the girl — were later arrested for allegedly riding along.

Beck has said some cadets made homemade police uniforms, impersonated police officers and made traffic stops but none of the drivers they pulled over were cited, handcuffed or had force used on them.

The stolen vehicles were taken from the 77th Street Division and the Central Division.

Beck suspended cadet programs at both divisions.

No other sworn officers or other cadets have been implicated in the cadet program scandal but an investigation continues and top detectives have been assigned, including some who worked on the infamous "Grim Sleeper" serial murder case, Beck said.

"Obviously this is not the Police Department that I want to lead," the chief said.

Allegations of sexual misconduct have turned into a full-blown scandal for the Oakland Police Department, located about 300 miles up the coast in the San Francisco Bay Area.

On Wednesday, a court-appointed investigator said city officials mishandled and downplayed allegations by a teenager that officers sexually abused her while she worked as an underage prostitute. Earlier this month, the city agreed to pay the teen nearly $1 million to settle her claims. She is pursuing similar cases against five other Bay Area law enforcement agencies.



"Community policing on steroids": Chesapeake officers turn to community service for a week

by Fadel Allassan


Beatrice Burns, 92, lives alone in Chesapeake – it's no wonder some of her neighbors were concerned when multiple police cars were parked outside her house Monday.

“All my neighbors were alarmed,” she said. “Some came up to the fence to shout if I was alright, I told them everything is OK.”

Burns has lived in her home for 38 years and it needed a number of minor repairs. Her husband, who was a carpenter, used to fix things up, but he died 25 years ago. Her two sons picked up the mantle after that, but one passed away and the other has cancer, so he can't help her out, either.

That's where the police come in.

As part of an annual Serve the City week, Chesapeake officers helped Burns by fixing door handles, broken gates, faulty plumbing and making other home repairs.

This week, 20 officers in the 2nd Precinct will team up with volunteers from the Chesapeake-based nonprofit Hearts of Compassion to provide home improvements at no cost to elderly, disabled or poor residents.

Churches got the project going by identifying 39 people in need. The repairs should be finished by today, an officer said.

More than 1,300 homes in 23 neighborhoods have benefitted, according to organizers.

It's the 10th year Chesapeake officers have participated. Sgt. Jason Banks is taking part in the home improvements for a fourth year. He said an initiative like this can mend tenuous relationships between some departments and neighborhoods, and can show people who are distrustful of law enforcement that officers “are people just like you.”

“It goes far beyond working on people's homes,” Banks said. “It puts a human aspect to law enforcement and shows we care about the community. It shows them a different side of us.”

Hearts of Compassion Executive Director Mel Howell characterized the officers' repair work as “community policing on steroids.”

Howell said that neighborhoods still have police presence with the officers working outside. And those officers are still on call. Getting to know community members is a bonus, he said.

Banks credits the initiative for improving his department's image among the community. People are more likely to call the police now because they see them as allies , not just an imposing force that just makes arrests and writes tickets, Banks said.

“Its easy to get tired and frustrated working out in the sun,” Banks said. “But we see how much it helps people and that keeps us going.”



Community Policing Could Be Lowering Crime Rates

by Christopher Brantley

NORTH PORT, Fla. (WWSB)--In recent years, crime rates have gone down across the Suncoast and some agencies are attributing the efforts toward community policing as one of the reasons for the decline.

Josh Taylor is the public information officer for the North Port Police Department. He also operates the social media pages for the agency.

"We've gotten to the point where if we have your photo and you're from around here we're going to recognize you," Taylor said.

That near promise is what authorities point to as being a huge crime deterrent. If you do something wrong, your face is likely to be spread out on social media.

"When it's somebody going, that's my neighbor, doesn't surprise me he would do something like this. That's when you go, wow, what a great tool," Taylor said.

Taylor started a wide-ranging social media campaign two years ago. Since then, social media followers have exploded. Today, they have over 18,000 Facebook followers.

That's believed to be a big factor in drawing crime down, violent crimes are down 8%. Non-violent crimes are down 4%, over the last three-year average.

"We've had more than 50 cases that we can immediately attribute to tips which have come in through social media," Taylor said.

Not to be outdone, the Sarasota Police Department is also very active online. Over 22,000 people follow the department on Facebook.

Genevieve Judge is the public information officer for the agency.

"Over the last four years we've seen a huge increase in our social media presence. We attribute that not only to our officers but also to our community," Judge said.

The department won't directly correlate a drop in crime with social media but crime has been down every year for the last five years. A 7% drop between 2015 and 2016.

"More people are comfortable speaking to our officers and speaking up. The adage is see something, say something. It's a partnership between here at the police department and with our community," Judge said.

For both North Port and Sarasota Police, it's all about community policing. So, when social media hasn't worked--they've had to get creative. Just a few weeks ago, North Port authorities set up a bar-b-que outside a home they say had been a problem. Asst. Chief Mike Pelfrey says it had phenomenal results.

"That was amazing. Because the fact they set something up that couldn't be dismantled like that, the fact that they weren't just parked somewhere," Pelfrey said.

Neighbors complained for months about suspicious activity. The bar-b-que made clear to the homeowner they're being watched closely.

"We can't be in every place all the time. Those folks who live in the neighborhood know who's supposed to be in the house, when cars come and go. The hours of operation," Pelfrey said.

That boldness has also had another affect. In North Port, resisting arrest is also down. Of the 37,550 documented contacts police had during 2016, 51 resisted arrest.

"If somebody resists us, then we have to document what force we use to take them into custody," Pelfrey said.

That documentation shows a practice of deescalation. That could mean using their hands to subdue someone, as they did 39 times. Or using a taser as they did ten times. Only once in 2016 were they forced to release a K9 or use pepper spray.

"I had one that was a pressure point. It's very minor pressure point where I was able to gain control of the subject and place him in the back of the car," Pelfrey said.



Police Director: Crime challenge is a community challenge

by Michael Rallings

Memphis-In the 16 months since Mayor Jim Strickland appointed me police director -- first as interim, then with the permanent title -- I've spent plenty of time standing in pulpits, sitting behind folding tables at neighborhood meetings and shaking hands at community picnics.

It may not be what you imagine from the director of 2,000-plus workers and manager of more than a quarter of a billion-dollar annual budget. Yet it's as important as anything I do. Our city's crime challenge is a community challenge, one that can't be solved solely by my men and women wearing blue.

I can't say it more clearly: We need you to be involved.

We need you to heed the mayor's call to mentor a young person. For all that we do on our streets today, we need to positively affect our young people for tomorrow.

We need you to join your local Neighborhood Watch -- or create one, if it doesn't exist. You won't be on your own; we even give grants to help Neighborhood Watch groups work their plans.

We need you to let your City Council member know how important it is when Mayor Strickland and I come to them asking for resources. We need you to let your state lawmaker know how laws that promote the proliferation of guns cost lives.

We need you to call us when you see something out of place. Let's intervene in our friends and neighbors' lives before the worst happens.

We need you, because no matter how much we're doing at MPD, we can't do it alone.

And we are hard at work, rest assured. My men and women of MPD are truly our city's heroes.

We just need more of them. We need to restore our police staffing back toward the 2,452 commissioned officers we had in late 2011, which is also the year in which our violent crime level was the lowest in recent years.

Fortunately, we're working on a plan to rebuild MPD. Hand-in-hand with Mayor Strickland's administration, we're in the middle of a multi-faceted strategy to make sure we have about 2,300 commissioned officers by 2020.

The early results are promising. The largest recruit class in seven years is currently training at the academy. With another large class later this year, we're poised to increase police staffing for the first time in seven years.

While we're currently engaged in the type of community-oriented and data-driven policing that we all want, rebuilding our staffing will only allow us to do more and more. It'll allow us to continue to be more proactive, so that we're intervening in potential instances of crime before they even happen.

And as we work with the U.S. Department of Justice's Community Oriented Policing Services Office, which we asked a few months ago to come here and review our use of force policy and community policing efforts, we'll continue to build a MPD that is sensitive to our community and using the best policies in the nation.

Because the only way we'll effectively reduce violent crime is if we're all working together -- MPD with the community, and vice versa. It's what we need, and it's what we're working on every single day.

Michael Rallings is director of the Memphis Police Department.


New York

NYPD campaign focuses on good Samaritan law

The good Samaritan law allows people to call 911 to seek medical help for someone overdosing on drugs or alcohol without fear of being arrested

by Anthony M. Destefano

NEW YORK — With drug overdoses increasing this year at a faster pace than 2016, the NYPD and other city officials on Wednesday kicked off a public service campaign designed to encourage people who are overdosing to call 911 without fear of being arrested.

The campaign will include ads on mobile billboards, in subways, busses, ferry terminals and social media venues in an effort to let both drug users and those trying to help that the state's good Samaritan law protects them from being prosecuted in the event of an overdose.

“Right now we are seeing a significant number of our New Yorkers struggling with drug abuse who could use our help,” said NYPD First Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker at a Wednesday news conference announcing the program.

Because the Bronx and Staten Island have the most overdose deaths, the billboards will travel the streets in those boroughs, Tucker said.

The good Samaritan law allows people to call 911 to seek medical help for someone overdosing on drugs or alcohol without fear of being arrested. One exception to the protection is if the person is in possession of at least eight ounces of a controlled substance.

In 2016, the city recorded 1,374 overdose deaths, compared to about 980 in 2015. Of those deaths, 82 percent were attributed to opioid use, police said. So far this year, the city has recorded 432 such deaths compared to 359 in the same period a year ago, an increase of 20 percent, said Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce. Officials said the spike in deaths is attributed to the use of fentanyl to boost the effects of heroin.

“Call 911, alert the authorities if you see someone showing signs of an overdose,” Tucker said. “In doing so, you can save that person's life. We encourage you to do so and not worry about helping because you will be protected by our state's good Samaritan law.”

Tucker said the department and the FDNY have had success using the antidote naloxone to revive people who have overdosed.


From the FBI

2016 Internet Crime Report

IC3 Releases Annual Report Highlighting Trends in Internet Crimes

Giving someone access to your computer is like giving out a key to your front door. A computer can have your bank account information, family photos, and other private documents and data—information that fraudsters would like to steal. That's why tech support fraud has become a significant trend in online crime, according to the 2016 Internet Crime Report from the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

In tech support fraud cases, criminals convince unsuspecting victims to provide remote access to their computer by calling and posing as tech support personnel from a legitimate company. The criminal can then simply charge your credit card for a fake anti-virus product, or, in more sinister situations, they can steal your personal information or install malware. More than 10,000 incidents of tech support fraud were reported to the IC3 in 2016, with victims losing nearly $8 million. Though anyone can be a victim, older computer users are the most vulnerable targets.

"They'll trick you into letting them into your computer,” said IC3 Unit Chief Donna Gregory. “You open the door and allow them in. You may think you're just watching them install a program to get rid of a virus, but they are really doing a lot of damage behind the scenes.”

In addition to tech support fraud, the other major fraud categories last year were business e-mail compromise, ransomware, and extortion.

The IC3 receives complaints on a variety of Internet scams and crimes, and it has received more than 3.7 million complaints since it was created in 2000. In 2016, the IC3 received a total of 298,728 complaints with reported losses in excess of $1.3 billion. The IC3 uses the information from public complaints to refer cases to the appropriate law enforcement agencies and identify trends. The IC3's extensive database is also available to law enforcement. Internet users should report any Internet fraud to IC3, no matter the dollar amount. Additional data helps the FBI and law enforcement gain a more accurate picture of Internet crime.

The IC3 publishes the Internet Crime Report annually to increase public awareness of current trends in Internet crime. For this report, the IC3 has also created a separate state-by-state breakdown that allows users to select their state from a dropdown menu so they can review local trends in Internet crime. The top states for reported dollar amounts lost to Internet fraud in 2016 were California ($255 million), New York ($106 million), and Florida ($89 million).

Though Internet crime is a serious threat, there are ways to help keep yourself safe online. The IC3 recommends computer users update their anti-virus software and operating system. Additionally, the Internet is an especially important place to remember the old adage: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

“Be aware of what you are clicking on and also what you're posting on social media. Always lock down your social media accounts as much as possible,” Gregory said. “Try to use two factor authentication, and use safe passwords or things more difficult to guess. The tougher the password, the harder it is for someone to crack.”

For more information or to submit a complaint, visit .