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Ohio governor's website among government sites apparently hacked on Sunday
by Adam Ferrise
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Ohio governor's website was apparently hacked on Sunday, along with the state's prison system's website.
The official website for Ohio Gov. John Kasich showed the same message from the hacker on its homepage as did the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections' website.
Several other state government websites were also apparently hacked, including the websites for: Ohio First Lady Karen Kasich, the Office of Workforce Transformation, the Casino Control Commission, Medicaid, the Office of Health Transformation, the state Inspector General, the Office of Facilities and Construction Commission and LeanOhio.
A message the hacking group, Team System Dz, left on both sites reads:
"Anti: Govt all word
You will be held accountable Trump, you and all your people for every drop of blood flowing in Muslim countries.
I love the Islamic state"
Those websites were taken offline on Sunday, shortly after the messages were discovered.
ODRC spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said in a statement that her agency is aware of the hack.
"We are aware of the situation and we are working aggressively to correct the situation," Smith's statement says. "A thorough investigation will be conducted to determine how this occurred and how it can be prevented in the future."
A spokeswoman for Kasich also did not immediately return messages.
Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel posted a statement on his Facebook page regarding the hack.
"Wake up freedom-loving Americans. Radical Islam infiltrating the heartland," Mandel's statement says.
Team System Dz has claimed responsibility for hacking other governmental websites, including the Richland County Sheriff in Wisconsin and the Aberdeen City Council in Scotland, according to news reports.
They also appeared to have hacked the Brookhaven, Long Island website on Sunday, according to the New York Post. The same message appears on that website as of Sunday afternoon.
Waterville police program aimed at recovery part of shift to commumnity policing
Chief Joseph Massey said the department can't 'arrest our way out of this issue'
by Madeline St. Amour
Kyle Schmitz, a 20-year-old senior at Thomas College, has always known he wanted to work in law enforcement and help people.
As an intern at the Waterville Police Department this summer, he works on a program aimed at reducing the demand for drugs. The work has solidified Schmitz's decision to enter law enforcement, he said.
On his first day Schmitz was trained in the Operation HOPE program, which stands for Operation Heroin Opiate Prevention Effort.
The HOPE program is a partnership between the department and the Police Assisted Addiction Recovery Initiative, or PAARI, to connect those addicted to opioid drugs with residential treatment facilities.
The Waterville department started the program in response to the growing drug epidemic in the state. In 2016, overdose deaths in Maine jumped 40 percent, claiming the lives of 378 people. Most of the overdoses were caused by opioid drugs like heroin and its potent counterpart fentanyl.
Operation HOPE offers a second chance to addicts who are ready to take the steps toward recovery. Anyone can walk into the Waterville station for the program and go through the intake process, which aims to lead them through detox and to the ultimate goal: a long-term treatment facility.
Chief Joseph Massey said he's happy the department can offer the program. He has a close family member who is addicted to opiates, but one day he hopes to see them walk through the door.
“We're not going to arrest our way out of this issue,” Massey said.
July 15 will mark six months since the inception of HOPE. So far, the program has seen 18 people and helped 14, nine of whom have entered long-term treatment.
For the program to work, the most important thing it needs is community support. It has four volunteer “angels” who help the department find placements for those who walk through the door. It's also received more than $10,000 in donations since January.
“I see a ton of support in this community, and I don't see this waning in the future,” said Deputy Chief Bill Bonney. “We're going to do everything we can to solve the problem in our little community, and if everybody in their little communities” did the same, the chief said we may see some progress in the epidemic.
Laurie Brown, one of the volunteers for the program, has worked with two people so far and referred another two, she said.
She was called in on Memorial Day, which she had off, to help get someone into a facility. She ended up working from 2:30 p.m. until 8 p.m., she said.
The man was there with his parents and “had hit rock bottom.”
“He didn't like the person he was becoming anymore,” Brown said. “Sometimes they have to hit that rock bottom, so you have nowhere to go but up.”
Brown found him a place out of state finally after calling a half-dozen Maine programs that were either too full or too expensive.
“Just the look in his eyes made it all worth it,” she said. “I mean, there were tears. I'm glad I was the one who took the call.”
The parents were also grateful, she said. This experience hit home for her, as Brown has a son who is in recovery for addiction and doing well.
“I can relate to the parents,” she said. “I think it kind of puts them at ease.”
So far, everyone she's worked with is doing well, which makes the work worth it. She plans to continue volunteering for as long as she can, she said.
While people are afraid of the stereotype, Brown said, “It's part of reality,” and she hopes more parents speak out and ask for help.
“It's a disease,” she said, and people from all walks of life fall into it.
When volunteers aren't available, Schmitz, the intern, has been doing much of the front-end work for the program, talking with those who come in and determining if they're an appropriate fit. He runs a background check and begins calling treatment centers around the country.
The experience has been “eye-opening,” Schmitz said.
The last person he helped had overdosed on drugs twice over the previous few weeks. He told Schmitz that he knew if he didn't get help, he would die.
“You see these people come in, and they are really at their absolute bottom,” Schmitz said, “and you are their last hope.”
An instructor in the criminal justice department at Thomas said the college tries to teach the curriculum from a social justice perspective.
“It's really the way criminal justice has moved in the past 20 years,” Steve Dyer said. “Project HOPE is a perfect example” because it focuses on trying to help everyone in the community.
The college's criminal justice program has an optional drug addiction and crime class that covers Suboxone and other methods of weening people off drugs, as well as the effects of drugs, Dyer said, but teachers try to include the issue in most of the courses.
“Drug abuse is one of the leading causes of most crime,” he said, so it's also discussed in introduction courses and criminal law classes.
Similarly, drug issues are brought up in a number of lessons at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, Director John B. Rogers said.
The basic program, which runs 720 hours and has graduated 58 officers the past two years, spends about 55 hours on drug and alcohol issues, not including the 35 hours of criminal law investigation that includes a drug chapter, he said.
The academy also runs mandatory online training that police statewide are required to complete, Rogers said, and in 2017 the classes are focused on drug-related issues.
One is a two-hour class on addiction recognition, which will help officers decipher what kind of drug is influencing a person, as well as teach officers about the resources they have to get people help and into rehabilitation.
Another class is for roadside drug impairment recognition.
“It's a problem, addiction,” Rogers said, so they are trying to address it from both a community policing and enforcement perspective.
Officer Linda Smedberg, one of three officers assigned to work on HOPE, also said the program has been an “eye-opener” for her.
Smedberg graduated from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in 2000 and has been with the Waterville Police Department for four years, but she started to understand what addicts go through while listening to people open up and tell their stories in the HOPE program.
Several people have said they had nowhere else to go, Smedberg said. They would say to her they knew “if I don't get help, they're going to find me dead.”
She's also has gotten a better look at the physical toll that detoxing takes on the body.
“You don't understand it until you see it,” she said.
Sheriff Joe on trial over immigration actions
Joe Arpaio is charged with criminal contempt-of-court for prolonging his immigration patrols 17 months after a judge ordered them stopped
by Jacques Billeaud
PHOENIX — The immigration rhetoric and crackdowns pushed by President Donald Trump have a familiar ring in Arizona, where former Sheriff Joe Arpaio once used similar tactics to become a national figure.
Now, Arpaio is going on trial on a criminal charge stemming from those immigration enforcement actions.
The eight-day trial that begins Monday in federal court in Phoenix will determine whether the 85-year-old retired lawman is guilty of misdemeanor contempt of court for disobeying a judge's order to stop traffic patrols that targeted immigrants. The judge later found his officers racially profiling Latinos.
Arpaio's legal troubles played a major role in voters turning him out of office in November after a campaign in which he appeared alongside Trump at several rallies in Arizona.
The former six-term sheriff of metro Phoenix has acknowledged defying the judge's 2011 order in a racial profiling lawsuit by prolonging the patrols for months. But he insists it was not intentional. To win a conviction, prosecutors must prove he violated the order on purpose.
If convicted, Arpaio could face up to six months in jail, though lawyers who have followed his case doubt that a man of his age would be put behind bars.
For nine of his 24 years in office, Arpaio did the sort of local immigration enforcement that Trump has advocated. To build his highly touted deportation force, Trump is reviving a long-standing program that deputizes local officers to enforce federal immigration law.
Unlike other local police leaders who left immigration enforcement to U.S. authorities, Arpaio made hundreds of arrests in traffic patrols that sought out immigrants and business raids in which his officers targeted immigrants who used fraudulent IDs to get jobs.
His immigration powers were eventually stripped away by the courts and federal government, culminating with the 2013 ruling that Arpaio's officers profiled Latinos.
Arpaio's defense centers around what his attorneys said were weaknesses in the court order that failed to acknowledge times when deputies would detain immigrants and later hand them over to federal authorities.
Jack Wilenchik, an Arpaio attorney, said the former sheriff is charged with a crime for cooperating with U.S. immigration officials, which the Trump administration now encourages.
"This is really just a fight about immigration law and what it means," Wilenchik said. "And Arpaio is trying to do what a good cop does, which is to enforce the law."
His critics hope the case will bring a long-awaited comeuppance for the lawman who led crackdowns that divided immigrant families and escaped accountability.
The judge concluded that Arpaio ignored the order because he believed his immigration enforcement efforts would help his 2012 campaign. The TV interviews, news releases and tough talk about America's border woes that Arpaio used over the years to boost his popularity are now being used against him in court.
The sheriff's office issued a news release a week after the judge told it to stop the patrols saying it would continue to enforce immigration laws. Arpaio also gave a March 2012 TV interview in which he said his office was still detaining immigrants who were in the country illegally.
The retired lawman lost a request to prohibit prosecutors from mentioning comments he made about immigration during his last three campaigns.
It's not known whether Arpaio will testify in his defense.
North Carolina Last State to Raise the Age for Adult Court for Juveniles
by John Holland
More than five years of lobbying, arm twisting and a fair dose of shaming finally paid off. North Carolina voted Monday to end its status as the only state in the country that still automatically charges 16-year-olds as adults, no matter the crime.
The state legislature added the sweeping juvenile justice reform to a vote on the final state budget, rather than as a standalone bill. In the end it didn't matter because supporters got virtually everything they were hoping for, and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle joined forces to make the changes.
“This is long overdue, but this is good for the state and especially good for our youth who deserve a fair chance in life,” said North Carolina Rep. Duane Hall, a Democrat, who led unsuccessful efforts to raise the age in 2013 and 2015. “As someone who has defended these kids in the courtroom, I know how important this bill is for their future, and for our state.”
No one is going to benefit from the new law for quite some time, as the changes won't go into effect until 2019. That gives the state time to prepare for what some skeptics of the legislation expect to be an influx of new juvenile cases, and for the state to build a new juvenile detention facility.
Hall and other supporters have spent years trying to increase the age, without much success. But this year was different because of two new factors, one external, one internal.
First, New York voted to overhaul its juvenile justice system in April, raising the age of adult responsibility for crimes to 18. That left North Carolina as the only state still automatically charging 16-year-olds in adult court. That created a sense of urgency, according to supporters.
More importantly, Mark Martin, chief justice of North Carolina's Supreme Court, pushed hard for passage of the bill.
"Now, I hate to be the bearer of bad news," Martin said during a May press conference, according to Politifact. "But North Carolina now stands alone.”
Hall, in an April interview with JJIE after the New York vote, called North Carolina's status “another dubious list for us to be last on.”
The crux of the argument by Martin, Hall and others focused on the data showing that only 3 percent of the crimes that result in convictions for 16- and 17-year-olds in North Carolina would have even made it to adult court in other states.
The final vote gave supporters of the measure most of what they wanted, but not all. Under the final version of the bill, all misdemeanors and many felonies will be sent automatically to juvenile court. But Class G felonies are still heading to state court, the only aspect of Hall's original bill that was not passed.
Under North Carolina law, Class G felonies include arson, burglary, possession of a firearm by a felon and some drug sales crimes, according to summaries of North Carolina statutes.
The passage received nearly universal support, and was noticeable for the bipartisan work of the state legislature. Hall said Republican Rep. Chuck McGrady was instrumental in getting the raise the age bill linked to the final budget, and said both parties worked closely throughout.
The bill was also strongly supported by the state's chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.
“We applaud legislators on both sides of the aisle for uniting behind this commonsense effort to do what's right for the safety and future of North Carolina's young people,” ACLU counsel Susanna Birdsong said in a press release Monday afternoon. “North Carolina's century-old policy of sending 16- and 17-year-olds to adult jails and branding them with lifelong criminal records has been a blight on our state and done nothing to make our communities safer.”
L.A. County Puts Thousands of Kids on 'Voluntary' Probation for Merely Struggling With School
by Sara Krevoy
LOS ANGELES — Marbella Munoz was a foster child for most of her life. As is true for many foster children bounced through multiple placements, she was frequently forced to change schools. Despite the repeated changes, Munoz said she managed to keep up her grades. When she was 17, school administrators told her she had been referred to a program called “school-based supervision.” The “supervision” was not provided by a school guidance counselor or a teacher but by a juvenile probation officer.
Munoz didn't understand. “Although I was an ‘A' student, I was referred to a probation officer at my high school who told me I would have to be on their caseload because I was changing schools too much,” Munoz said.
The girl explained to the officer that the transfers were outside her control. “But I was told I had no option,” she said.
Upset that she was on what appeared to be juvenile probation, although she'd done nothing against the law, Munoz at first refused to report to her assigned deputy probation officer. Then she dropped out of high school altogether. (She now attends the Youth Justice Coalition's FREE L.A. High School.)
Munoz' story comes from a new report, titled “WIC 236: ‘Pre-Probation' Supervision of Youth of Color With No Prior Court or Probation Involvement,” that examines and analyzes a controversial youth crime prevention strategy run by the Los Angeles County Probation Department, the nation's largest juvenile probation system.
The program, known unofficially as “voluntary probation,” assigns children 10 to 17 considered by the county to be “at risk” to a professional probation officer, with their parent or guardian's permission.
Like Munoz, the kids referred to voluntary probation have broken no laws and have no history of court or probation system contact.
The report — authored by Patricia Soung, senior staff attorney for the Children's Defense Fund-California; Kim McGill, organizer for the Youth Justice Coalition; Josh Green, staff attorney of the Urban Peace Institute, and Bikila Ochoa, policy director for the Anti-Recidivism Coalition — echoes concerns expressed by youth advocates and, more recently, by LA County's probation commissioners at several meetings this year.
So, should the LA County Probation Department be putting kids who have never been in the justice system into a program that resembles court-ordered probation, without the court order?
This report suggests the answer is a resounding NO.
Jocelyn Mateo, Munoz's classmate at her alternative high school, had also been referred to a probation officer although as far as she knew she'd done nothing wrong.
“On my first day in the tenth grade at my new continuation school,” Mateo said, “I was pulled out of class and brought to the probation officer's (PO) office.” Mateo was frightened that something had happened to her family “because there was no other reason I should be seeing a PO,” she said. She had never been arrested, never gone to court. “I asked the PO what had happened, and he told me that my name was on some list, so I had to see him. I asked him why my name was on the list and he refused to tell me.”
When she got home that afternoon, Mateo told her mother about her disturbing encounter. “My mom knew nothing about the PO and didn't understand why I had to see one,” she said. “It made me feel like I had been labeled a monster child, a future criminal. I felt like the school, the PO, was just waiting for me to mess up. I felt like I was being set up for failure.”
Within days, Mateo, like Munoz, dropped out of school.
The pool of Los Angeles County youngsters who wind up in voluntary probation are called “236 youth,” in reference to the LA Welfare and Institutions (WIC) Code 236, which permits contact by county probation departments with at-risk youth, despite the lack of a court order.
LA County Probation defines at-risk youth primarily as those who live in 85 communities that are labeled the “most crime-affected” neighborhoods. A youth is also defined as at risk if he or she demonstrates two or more problems in the following areas: “family dysfunction (problems of parental monitoring of child behavior or high conflict between youth and parent), school problems (truancy, misbehavior or poor academic performance), and delinquent behavior (gang involvement, substance abuse or involvement in fights),” according to the report.
Once youth are labeled at risk, they can be referred to probation for non-court-ordered supervision, as long as they have no prior probation involvement, and as long as they participate voluntarily.
But, as the cases of Marbella Munoz and Jocelyn Mateo suggest, “voluntary participation” may be very loosely defined.
According to internal LA County Probation documents, the purpose of the program, which is in 103 LA County high schools, and 38 middle schools, is to provide services “designed to prevent at risk youth from becoming involved in juvenile delinquency and having law enforcement contact.”
Which kids are sent to voluntary probation, why?
Contrary to the document's stated reasons for intervention, more than 85 percent of youth in the program were not referred because of traditional warning signs such as aggressive behavior or a history of discipline problems, the report found. Instead, it was due to school-related issues such as low motivation in classwork, poor attendance, a drop in grades or a related behavior issue having to do with school or school performance. This is concerning, the five authors noted, considering statistics that show 87 percent of youth in LA County's juvenile justice system have a learning disability.
Only 5 percent of kids were referred for more risky behaviors such as substance abuse, problems with anger or parental conflicts.
In 2016, none of the 236 youth were referred to school-based supervision for gang involvement or fighting, although 18.3 percent of the services reportedly offered to them were labeled gang intervention, the report shows.
Moreover, students who are referred are disproportionately minority youth. In 2015, according to the report, 13.1 percent of LA high school students in voluntary probation were black — nearly twice the 7.4 percent of black kids in LA County as a whole. The ratios were similar when looking at middle school students.
Interestingly, the overall numbers of young people under formal supervision of the LA County Probation Department have taken a steep dive in the last 10 years. Yet, as of fiscal year 2013/2014, for the first time youth on voluntary probation outnumbered those mandated to be on probation. By FY 2015/2016, the number of at-risk youth in voluntary probation was more than double that of those formally on probation, at 4,752 and 1,990 respectively.
Considering the steady decline in juvenile crime, along with increased evidence that therapeutic and community-based programs are far more effective than programs that involve law enforcement, it is difficult not to ask why the number of youth who are unofficially supervised by the largest probation department in the nation is increasing.
This system is one of a long list of problems that LA County Probation Chief Terri McDonald inherited in January from the previous administration and is now feeling increasing pressure to fix.
McDonald and her second-in-command for juveniles, Chief Deputy Probation Officer Sheila Mitchell, said at a March meeting with the LA Probation Commission that the program was under review in the hopes of improving its work with at-risk youth.
Bulk of funding goes to salaries, benefits
California's legislature began setting aside millions of dollars a year for youth struggling with delinquency under the state Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act (JJCPA), passed in 2000.
The approximately $31 million that LA County receives yearly from JJCPA is specifically designated for local programs aimed at keeping kids who have tangled with the juvenile justice system from returning, and to help kids at risk of winding up in the system from entering it in the first place.
But when it comes to what LA County has spent of those millions on WIC 236 kids, the report found the largest chunk is not being allocated for juvenile programing that has been proven to produce measurably positive outcomes for at-risk youth. The biggest slice of the pie — 90 percent — helped pay salaries and benefits for the county's school-based juvenile probation officers from 2012 through 2015. During that same time, only 1.2 to 1.8 percent of the money earmarked for voluntary probation went to community-based organizations, which have proven methods of helping kids in concrete ways with their challenges.
Under the regulations governing the fund, only about .5 percent of the JJCPA dollars is supposed to be spent on administrative costs such as salaries for probation personnel.
Similarly uneven spending percentages held true for fiscal year 2012/2013 and 2013/2014.
In dollars and cents, this meant that $6,986,194 was spent on probation salaries for FY 2014/2015 and only $134,329 was left over to actually provide services to kids.
Probation had a different set of calculations in a spring 2017 report, which computed the overall cost of probation services for WIC 236 youth as $11,192,960 for 7,560 youth, which meant a cost per kid per annum of $1,480.55. Out of that per capita dollar figure, the cost for staff alone was about $1,017 per year — or 69 percent of the whole.
Whichever system of calculations one uses, it is clear that the lion's share of the money budgeted to help kids on voluntary probation is not going to programming for the kids themselves, but to pay the officers to whom they are assigned.
What do kids on voluntary probation receive?
So what do the kids on voluntary probation get for the money spent on them?
LA County's Probation Commission, an advisory body that officially monitors the probation department, asked for answers to that question at their March 9 meeting.
Probation department representatives gave the commissioners a report that covered the broad strokes of how the program works, but not which program providers work with the 236 students, or specifically what services those kids are getting.
The biggest category of services listed in both the WIC 236 report and county-generated reports is “tutoring.”
In a 2016 snapshot report, 30.8 percent of the voluntary probation kids were getting tutoring, which the report's authors saw as a red flag. “Typically,” they wrote, “probation officers have neither the training nor expertise ... to effectively work with youth struggling with academic or behavioral issues.”
Their next conclusion was even harsher: “[Probation's] expansion into youth development and education work also reflects a broad dismissal, and perhaps even distrust of, people specially trained to do that work.”
The report noted studies like a 2009 20-year study by University of Montreal and University of Genoa researchers, and a 2014 University of California, Irvine dissertation, among several others, suggesting that juvenile probation, and even lighter-weight contact with the juvenile justice system, leads to much higher odds that a kid will have another brush with the law than there is for similarly situated kids with similar behavior, who have no system involvement.
How does county know if program is working?
Near the end of the WIC 236 report, the authors ask some pressing questions: Does this program work? Does it benefit the kids involved? What kind of outcomes are measured to determine if this method of voluntary probation has a positive effect on the kids involved?
Diwaine Smith, another youth quoted in the report, had a bleak perspective.
Smith is now a community leader with the Youth Justice Coalition, and a co-founder of Long Beach's Men Making a Change program. But in high school he was on formal probation, which he said gave him an informed perspective on the kids on nonformal probation.
He described a “police bungalow” on his high school campus that also contained the school's probation office.
“Since I was on formal probation, every day during my 45-minute lunch break, I had to walk to the police building, sign my name on a sign-in sheet and leave,” Smith said. “Some days I saw my probation officer as I signed my name, some days I saw a police officer instead. We didn't talk. I just signed my name and left.”
During those daily trips to the police building, Smith said he noticed students there “who had never been in trouble before, who weren't on probation.” When he asked what the non-in-trouble kids were doing in the police bungalow, he was told they too had to check in and sign their names.
“Making these kids report to the police office sent a wrong message to them, and to the rest of the students who saw them go there every day,” Smith said. “It sent a message that they could go to jail.” It would have been better, he concluded, “to have them see teachers or therapists who knew them, could maybe see changes in their behavior and do more to help them.”
On the data-driven side of the question, the RAND Corporation has been assessing outcomes for the program since approximately 2001. But according to the report, with a few exceptions, all RAND does is measure any improvement or backsliding in what is known in the world of the Board of State and Community Corrections as the “Big 6” outcomes, namely 1) arrest rate; 2) incarceration rate; 3) probation violation rate; 4) probation completion rate; 5) restitution completion rate, and; 6) community service completion rate.
Since, by definition, the 236 kids haven't been arrested, incarcerated, put on formal probation and/or been sentenced to do community service or to pay restitution, this kind of measurement is “inapplicable,” the report states.
And in addition to being “meaningless data points,” the report's authors write, “they also reveal a criminalizing frame for youth who have had no system contact and who have almost entirely been referred for school-based needs.”
At the same time, other more relevant measurements of progress, such as “improved educational attainment, increased pro-social skills, improved relationships and connection to positive peers, family and community,” are simply not collected.
Probation spokesperson Kerri Webb said the evaluation side of the equation will soon be changing. “We've contracted with RDA [Resource Development Associates] to evaluate all of our JJCPA-funded programs, and 236 is funded in part with those funds,” she said. “They will report findings to us.” Webb also said the department is “evaluating the entire program and that also includes salaries.”
Cyn Yamashiro, the directing attorney for the Independent Juvenile Defender Office of Los Angeles County, and also a member of the probation commission, said that, in the last few months, the voluntary probation program has raised a lot of concerns among the commissioners.
“I don't think that anyone could make a coherent argument,” he said, “that if some competent adult out in the field learns that a kid is engaging in risky behavior, if there are resources available, the adult should connect that kid or his family with any resources that can help him navigate whatever challenges he's facing. There's no disputing that.”
The question, according to Yamashiro, is “whether or not the [probation] department is the entity that should be doing it. In a landscape of scarce resources, is it the most fiscally effective policy,” or humanly effective, “for probation — which is law enforcement — to be engaging in that type of outreach.
“In my opinion,” he said, “the answer is no to both questions.
“All the data shows that interaction with the juvenile justice can be counterproductive, and that the longer that they're involved the harder it is to get them out.”
When compared to “other kinds of interventions in the community that don't involve law enforcement,” the programs without law enforcement are more effective, he said.
The good news, according to Yamashiro, is that “the powers that be are recognizing this. [Chief] McDonald and [Chief Deputy Probation Officer] Mitchell are both smart people. They understand the issue, and after hearing their responses at our meeting, I have the feeling they intend to move this in the right direction.”
Is there implicit bias in community policing? Forum tackles subject
by Rose Velazquez
The Maryland Municipal League Summer Conference session on community policing challenges opened with a PowerPoint slide featuring five photos of individuals of varying genders and races.
Along the side of the slide was a list of five descriptors: Navy SEAL, Nobel Prize recipient, street person, soldier and wanted murder.
Director of 21st Century Learning & Consulting and retired FBI special agent Michael "Bret" Hood, the presenter, asked attendees to take a few minutes to guess which face matched which label.
As Hood went around the room, audience members offered justifications for how they made their matches, listing a variety of factors that affected their answers, such as the hairstyle and posture of those pictured.
Hood used the exercise to illustrate the judgments people make when they first see someone and open up a dialogue about how those judgments can affect policing.
The activity allowed him to shift to the subject at the heart of the session, implicit bias. He explained that explicit biases are the biases people are aware of, while implicit biases are subconscious.
Hood discussed how these biases come to be using a psychological distinction explored in the book "Thinking Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize winning behavioral economist.
Kahneman distinguishes between a system one brain, which Hood described as the reactionary brain, and a system two brain, or rational thinking brain. Bias comes from those immediate reactions which generally dominate people's thoughts, Hood said.
"We think we are in system two," he said, "but in reality, system one is telling us what to do."
Hood was joined by Salisbury Police Chief Barbara Duncan, who said bias is an issue that has been present in policing for as long as she can remember, but police have only recently started talking about implicit bias.
She said Salisbury's police academy has just started training on implicit bias, with two sessions already completed. Although teaching law enforcement about the difference between explicit and implicit biases is still new, Duncan said progress is being made.
Duncan emphasized that the fundamental goal of community policing is building trust. As part of Salisbury's community policing model, she said there are conversations on race taking place.
"We're not looking to solve the world's problems, certainly, by any stretch of the imagination, but we're just looking to listen first to understand and then provide space where these discussions can take place," Duncan said.
When talking about racism and bias, Duncan emphasized that without a safe space where people feel comfortable sharing, it is impossible to gain any ground.
One of the practices Salisbury police have implemented to combat accusations and ensure transparency and accountability in order to build trust is the use of body cameras.
Although she said it was a difficult change for officers because it made them feel like big brother was watching and judging them, it ultimately proved to be effective.
"We had an accusation made to one of our council members about an arrest that was made and the entire event was captured on the body-worn camera, which was phenomenal, completely eviscerated any argument whatsoever," she said.
Rather than serving as a method for officers to be judged internally, Duncan said body cameras have allowed Salisbury police to more smoothly review officer safety, navigate civil litigation and implement new training processes.
Maryland Municipal League executive director Scott Hancock said this year's conference is the largest the organization has hosted thus far.
In addition to community policing, the annual four-day event, which kicked off in Ocean City on Sunday, features sessions about a variety of topics, including ethics, municipal budgeting and the basics of risk management.
Hancock said Maryland Municipal League conference topics encompass issues that affect all municipalities, no matter their size, with community policing challenges being a topic that people are paying particular attention to and recognizing that they need to be knowledgeable about.
"This is the largest gathering of city and town leaders in Maryland every year," Hancock said. "It's where people need to be if they want to be knowledgeable and bring information back to govern better."
Police chief addresses Shreveport's rising violent crime
by Lex Talamo
Shreveport's police chief and mayor rolled out their current strategies for attacking high homicide and violent crime rates at a press conference on Monday
On the heels of a dramatic increase in violent crimes from last year, Shreveport Police Chief Alan Crump and Mayor Ollie Tyler said their staff are taking an “aggressive” approach to reducing crime.
Those strategies include increased collaboration with the community and local, state and federal law enforcement partners, as well as seeking approval for an additional $150,000 for neighborhood patrolling and monthly public crime briefings.
But those gathered for the conference pointed to multiple, recent incidents of lives lost to violent crime and a single message: it's not enough.
Tyler, whose remarks opened the press conference, agreed.
“Any time we have one act of senseless violence, it is too much,” she said. “We recognize that crime is here in Shreveport. We have a sense of urgency in combating crime, and we are going to be doing more and more.”
Violent crime and the police shortage
City data showed a dramatic increase in certain violent crimes since last year, including a 138 percent increase in homicides, a 21 percent increase in forcible rapes and more than 130 percent increases in both business armed robberies and business burglaries.
Crump said at the Monday press conference that the Shreveport Police Department, to date, has responded to more than 100,000 calls for service and made more than 5,000 arrests.
The initiative “Operation Shots Fired,” started in February, led to 45 felony arrests, 37 misdemeanor arrests and the seizure of 12 illegally possessed firearms within one month, according to press packet information.
But city leaders emphasized crime is not at an all-time high – particularly with the most egregious Part 1 crimes, defined by the FBI as murder and non-negligent homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, larceny-theft and arson.
Shreveport saw 12,566 Part 1 crimes last year, compared to more than 22,000 reported Part 1 crimes in 1993, its peak year.
“Over the last ten years and relative to Part 1 crimes, Shreveport's crime rate was lower than any other ten year period over the last 40 years,” the city wrote in a press release. “However, crime by any number is only relevant to one's reality and feeling of being safe.”
Crump said the police department intends to target high crime areas with increased police presence and is working toward building the resources to do so.
The police department added 20 newly graduated officers to its ranks in June, Crump said. He added that the department is starting a new academy program, from which it hopes to recruit an additional 40 officers, as well as a “lateral transfer” program.
Lateral transfer programs allow officers already certified in Louisiana to join the police department after going through abbreviated training – rather than a full academy program.
Crump emphasized that quality of officers – not quantity alone – is critical to reducing violent crime.
“I know we are going through a time of unrest, but we want to get men and women of quality who are willing to step up,” Crump said. “It's more than just getting a body and putting them in a cruiser.”
In response, media asked about recent incidents, including four shootings in 12 hours. Other recent violent attacks included a woman assaulted at knife point last week in the downtown area.
Tyler emphasized that criminals are being brought to justice for crimes committed within city limits.
“We are already out there,” she said, adding, “We are ramping up our efforts.”
Tyler said her office is planning monthly briefings, to be sent out in the form of press releases. The city council adopted a resolution in early June that asked for the Caddo Parish Sheriff Office's help in increased patrolling efforts.
Tyler said she also will introduce a resolution this week asking council approval for an additional $150,000 for overtime patrolling effort.
“Those dollars are in the budget,” Tyler said. “We stand united against crime in this city. We're well aware of the shootings, and it is so critical that we continue to engage with law enforcement.”
Those funds are in addition to $3.5 million allocated in 2016 and $1 million provided in 2017 for the purchase of new police units, according to the press packet.
Issues and initiatives
The Shreveport Police Department is exploring or implementing 12 initiatives to reduce crime in the city. They include broad operations focusing “on everything from curfew violations to open air drug sales to gunshots being fired” as well as continuing to work with the FBI's Northwest Louisiana Violent Crimes Task Force.
The initiatives also include prevention efforts, including “Operation Restore,” a 12-week, all-district attempt to reduce neighborhood blight.
“We understand there is a direct correlation between blight and crime in our neighborhoods,” Crump said.
The "broken windows" theory of 1982 posited in part that the appearance of crime in a neighborhood – such as a broken window – leads to more, and more serious, crimes.
Crump said the department also is involved in several operations involving federal partners, which he didn't discuss in detail, citing officer safety. The department also is working with the Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office, Crime Stoppers and clergy.
“This has to be a community effort. We are working night and day,” Crump said.
Bobby Edwards, a retired engineer who also actively works with youth through his church, asked about what the police are doing to address crime caused by youth learning tough lessons on the streets. In particular, Edwards asked about curfew.
Crump said the city has a 10 p.m. curfew for weekdays but was aware of certain “clubs” where youth can pay to get in after hours, which he said his officers are investigating.
In an interview later, Edwards said the solution involves demanding concrete action from city leaders and holding youth accountable for their actions. The church, he said, also needs to be integrally involved.
“Everyone wants to talk about it but not be an advocate for getting kids off the street,” he said. “We need to take the kids off the street as much as we can, and the church has to be one of the biggest factors in addressing crime in our city.”
Members of the public also raised the issue of retaliation on the streets should citizens who report be identified as “snitches.”
Crump said that concerned citizens can call several numbers and that Crime Stoppers, in particular, has never released the identity or personal information of any callers to date.
“We do have ways available if you do want to be a good citizen,” he said. “We are collectively concerned about the welfare of our city.”
Officers will continue community policing efforts as well, including daily beat stops in communities, interactions with youth at summer camps and a presence at neighborhood meetings, Crump said.
Community volunteers, who will undergo screening and training, also will be recruited to boost the number of reserve and auxiliary officers to patrol areas with certified SPD officers, according to the press packet.
The department and community policing bureau also will continue partnerships - including with the Caddo sheriff's re-entry program, which pairs offenders with needed resources, Crump said.
Crump wrote in a press packet statement that the strategies he outlined are “only the beginning” of an effort to keep the Shreveport community safe.
“A more comprehensive plan of action is being developed to address overall criminal activity to ensure a safe environment for all citizens of our city,” he said. “New and modified strategies will be implemented as criminal trends change or evolve. With a renewed focus and intensity, we can and will do better.”
Community engagement and police recognition
Jimmy Lynch, a retired police officer and Air Force veteran who attended the press conference, said he'd “heard it all before.”
“We took the time to come to this. Nothing. I'm hearing the same things,” said Lynch, who lives with his wife, Beverly Lynch, in Shreveport. “These thugs are in our neighborhoods. If there's no vision, the people perish.”
Beverly Lynch said an increased sense of community in neighborhoods could counter what citizens see as too few cops. But that sense of community, she said, also has been on the decline.
“There's more of a divide in the community now,” she said. “We did not have this here when I was growing up. Then, it was a village. Now, you have to pay attention to who is coming up to you.”
Jimmy Lynch cited a need for increased recognition for the good done by police officers. He mentioned speakers at the recent Rho Omega “Let the Good Times Roll” festival would have been a prime opportunity.
“They had an audience and a pulpit, and they didn't mention the rising crime or the first responders on the scene to at least let them know they are appreciated,” he said.
Other law enforcement agencies present at the conference to show their support included representatives from the Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office, the Louisiana State Police, the Louisiana Department of Correction's probation and parole division, the U.S. Marshal's Office, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Shreveport Marshal's Office and the Department of Homeland Security's investigations division.
Want to report?
Call Caddo Parish Crime Stoppers at (318) 673-7373 or visist www.lockemup.org.
Major cyber attack disrupts businesses around world
by Eric Auchard, Jack Stubbs and Alessandra Prentice
A cyber attack wreaked havoc around the globe on Wednesday, crippling thousands of computers, disrupting operations at ports from Mumbai to Los Angeles and halting production at a chocolate factory in Australia.
The virus is believed to have first taken hold on Tuesday in Ukraine where it silently infected computers after users downloaded a popular tax accounting package or visited a local news site, national police and international cyber experts said.
The malicious code locked machines and demanded victims post a ransom worth $300 in bitcoins or lose their data entirely.
More than 30 victims paid up but security experts are questioning whether extortion was the goal, given the relatively small sum demanded, or whether the hackers were driven by destructive motives rather than financial gain.
Ukraine, the epicenter of the cyber strike, has repeatedly accused Russia of orchestrating attacks on its computer systems and critical power infrastructure since its powerful neighbor annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea in 2014.
The Kremlin, which has consistently rejected the accusations, said on Wednesday it had no information about the origin of the global cyber attack, which also struck Russian companies such as oil giant Rosneft (ROSN.MM) and a steelmaker.
ESET, a Slovakian company that sells products to shield computers from viruses, said 80 percent of the infections detected among its global customer base were in Ukraine, with Italy second hardest hit with about 10 percent.
The aim of the latest attack appears to be disruption rather than ransom, said Brian Lord, former deputy director of intelligence and cyber operations at Britain's GCHQ and now managing director at private security firm PGI Cyber.
"My sense is this starts to look like a state operating through a proxy ... as a kind of experiment to see what happens," Lord told Reuters on Wednesday.
While the malware seemed to be a variant of past campaigns, derived from code known as Eternal Blue believed to have been developed by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), experts said it was not as virulent as last month's WannaCry attack.
They said Tuesday's virus could leap from computer to computer once unleashed within an organization but, unlike WannaCry, it could not randomly trawl the internet for its next victims, limiting its scope to infect.
The introduction of security patches in the wake of the May attack that crippled hundreds of thousands of computers also helped curb the latest malware, though its rapid spread underlined concerns that some businesses have still failed to secure their networks from increasingly aggressive hackers.
After WannaCry, governments, security firms and industrial groups advised businesses and consumers to make sure all their computers were updated with Microsoft (MSFT.O) security patches.
Austria's government-backed Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) said "a small number" of international firms appeared to be affected, with tens of thousands of computers taken down.
A number of the international firms hit have operations in Ukraine, and the virus is believed to have spread within global corporate networks after gaining traction within the country.
Shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk (MAERSKb.CO), which handles one in seven containers shipped worldwide, has a logistics unit in Ukraine.
Other large firms affected, such as French construction materials company Saint Gobain (SGOB.PA) and Mondelez International Inc (MDLZ.O), which owns chocolate brand Cadbury, also have operations in the country.
Maersk was one of the first global firms to be taken down by the cyber attack and its operations at major ports such as Mumbai in India, Rotterdam in the Netherlands and Los Angeles on the U.S. west coast were disrupted.
The company said on Wednesday it was unable to process new orders and its 76 terminals around the world were becoming increasingly congested.
Other companies to succumb included BNP Paribas Real Estate (BNPP.PA), a part of the French bank that provides property and investment management services.
"The international cyber attack hit our non-bank subsidiary, Real Estate. The necessary measures have been taken to rapidly contain the attack," the bank said on Wednesday.
Production at the Cadbury factory on the Australian island state of Tasmania ground to a halt late on Tuesday after computer systems went down.
Russia's Rosneft, one of the world's biggest crude producers by volume, said on Tuesday its systems had suffered "serious consequences" but oil production had not been affected because it switched to backup systems.
Lakewood PD unit at the forefront of community policing
Sector liaison unit focuses on crime prevention through public outreach
by Joe Vaccarelli
Dutch Smith spends his workdays differently than a lot of other agents with the Lakewood Police Department.
Rather than going on patrol or responding to calls about crime, Smith and the other agents in the department's sector liaison unit work on community outreach and crime prevention. Last week Smith walked through a senior living complex and looked at the security of the doors, made sure landscaping didn't obstruct views and checked for adequate lighting, inside and out.
“They call me the light cop,” Smith said.
The sector liaison unit is at the forefront of the department's ongoing community policing effort that brings officers together with residents and business owners.
The five-agent group was started in the early 2000s under then-Chief Ron Burns and the agents are split between northern and southern neighborhoods. The agents have all been on the force for several years and are assigned to the unit for five years.
“We get our faces out there a lot. People get to know us and it develops a very healthy and strong relationship,” Smith said.
Agents regularly meet with business owners, attend community events such as HOA meetings and City Council ward meetings, and work with Neighborhood Watch groups. They also work with the city's homeless population and try to help neighbors resolve disputes.
“They're probably in the forefront of our community policing efforts,” Lakewood Police Chief Dan McCasky said.
The agents help residents and business owners use environmental design in their efforts to prevent crime, examining a building's layout, landscaping and lighting. Smith and other agents even shared ways that could boost residents' safety during the design of the CityScape at Belmar senior apartment complex. Buildings that have been inspected and are in compliance with safe design principles can earn a Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design certificate.
“If you can start thinking about crime prevention from a design perspective, you tend to have an advantage. It's a lot easier to design a feature into a building rather than adjusting a feature afterward,” agent Chad Martinez said.
Martinez believes it's important to take a proactive approach to policing rather than waiting to react to crime. His unit's actions, such as taking part in National Night Out, are a big part of the department's effort's to build trust within Lakewood and raise crime awareness.
“The issue any agency has is engagement with the community. Not that many people join the police department Facebook page,” Martinez said. “We're not celebrities, we're not cool people to follow on Twitter, so the battle always becomes ‘How do we get that information out? How do we get people to care about safety and security?'”
Community policing in Lakewood has been at the forefront of McCasky's efforts to lead the department, continuing what former Chief Kevin Paletta did before him. Mayor Adam Paul has praised the department and the unit for being a positive presence in the city.
“It's a great unit and what it does is it allows our police agents to really get into the neighborhoods and build relationships, which is important in policing,” Paul said.
McCasky hopes to add another officer to the unit and will ask for money to do so in next year's budget.
“It's a great unit. They are really high energy, highly motivated,” McCasky said. “They are invaluable to us, we couldn't do the things we do without them.”
L.A. campaign to eliminate traffic deaths raises concerns over policing, gentrification
by Meghan McCarty Carino
The city of Los Angeles' ambitious program to reverse a rising trend of traffic deaths and eliminate road fatalities by 2025 is having unintended consequences in communities sensitive to increased traffic enforcement and mistrustful of street improvements seen as signs of gentrification.
Los Angeles embraced an international initiative to cut traffic fatalities started in Sweden called Vision Zero as it tries to grapple with traffic crash fatalities that have risen by 43 percent between 2015 and 2016.
With an average 6.27 traffic deaths per 100,000 residents each eyar, L.A. has the highest traffic death rate of any major city in the country. Last year, 260 people died in L.A. street crashes, about 30 fewer than died in homicides in the city in 2016.
Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for children between 2 and 14 in L.A. and kill cyclists and pedestrians at a disproportionately high rate. Despite being involved in only 14 percent of collisions, walkers and bikers make up half of those killed.
While the toll from traffic deaths cuts across all sectors of society, many of the most dangerous streets in the city are concentrated in low-income communities of color like South L.A., home to 16 of the 40 most dangerous corridors identified by the city Department of Transportation.
Local resident James Harris lives near the intersection of Manchester and Western Avenues, two of the most dangerous corridors in L.A, according to the city. He needs no convincing that traffic safety initiatives like Vision Zero are needed.
"It's an issue. People are dying, people are getting hurt, their lives are never the same. This is another tool to address the violence in our community," said Harris.
Hardly a week goes by that he doesn't see a horrible crash in his neighborhood, he said.
He has a running bet with his neighbors: "That this weekend who can guess the closest number to the cars that's gonna get crashed on those corridors. Somebody always wins because the number is never zero."
IMPACT ON SOUTH L.A.
So far this year, 13 people have died in traffic crashes in South L.A. City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson's district.
"Black lives matter, right? I think they matter in a lot of ways," said Harris-Dawson, who has championed the Vision Zero effort.
"I don't want to be here three years from now still getting emails that people are getting killed at the same spot. It's unacceptable to me, and I think it's unacceptable to the community," he said.
During recent budget negotiations, Harris-Dawson pushed for more funding for the program that aims to save lives. The council eventually agreed to allocate about $27 million to Vision Zero-related projects, a nine-fold increase over the previous year's funding, but still less than the $80 million that the Department of Transportation said is needed to meet the program's stated goal of reducing traffic deaths by 20 percent this year.
In early June, Harris-Dawson led one of several community open houses held in South L.A. to highlight Vision Zero projects in the area. He invited community members to offer their feedback on proposed safety measures like longer pedestrian signals and curb bulb-outs that force cars to make wider, slower turns.
Harris-Dawson acknowledged there are obstacles to getting buy-in from his constituents. Historically, city planning efforts — building the freeways, for example — have not been kind to neighborhoods like South L.A., and improvements like bike lanes are sometimes viewed suspiciously as the first signs of gentrification.
MORE TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT RAISING CONCERNS
One major component of the plan is proving especially controversial: increased policing of traffic violations. There is concern that this part of the Vision Zero plan could do more harm than good in neighborhoods like South L.A.
The city is spending an extra $1.5 million to beef up traffic policing on the most dangerous streets, which are concentrated in low-income communities of color.
"For black people, for people in color, if you're undocumented – there is this feeling of when you get pulled over how that can escalate quickly," said Tamika Butler, the director of the Los Angeles County Bike Coalition.
Her organization is working with the city through the Vision Zero Alliance, a coalition of community groups providing guidance and feedback on implementing the safety program.
Butler has argued that an emphasis on traffic stops will sow more fear and distrust of law enforcement in neighborhoods where relations are already strained.
"That might have a lot to do with the fact that I'm a black person who continues to see people on TV who look like me who have been shot by cops," she said.
Lt. Dave Ferry with the Los Angeles Police Department said if giving tickets is needed to save lives, his department will do that.
"We're not gonna pick and choose where we do lifesaving measures like traffic enforcement," he said. The department adheres to a no-bias policing policy and racial profiling is against state and federal law, he added.
But Butler wants to see L.A. go further in addressing community concerns by following the lead of cities like Portland. That city's Vision Zero plans prioritize street redesign and education rather than increased traffic enforcement because of concerns over racial profiling.
In San Francisco, police are directed to focus on the five most dangerous driving behaviors, like running red lights. The department generates monthly reports to monitor the percentage of citations given out for those infractions.
Lt. Ferry said LAPD currently does not have the capacity to do similar tracking in a timely manner because citations are not digitized in real time. However, the department has applied for a state grant that would make such monitoring possible.
Some cities are also using automated speed cameras and alternatives to hefty traffic fines, like education programs or income-based fees, to ease the burden on people with lesser means.
"A small fine for folks in low-income communities is the difference between being able to feed their kids, being able to pay rent," said Butler.
South L.A. resident Harris sees an opportunity in Vision Zero for his community and law enforcement to come together, despite the challenges.
"To get people to agree with the police over here is like pulling a tooth from a 800-pound gorilla," he said. "This just happens to be one of the ones where we on the same page."
One change Harris would like to see is LAPD placing as much emphasis on community policing as traffic enforcement. And, most of all, he wants to see action soon.
"We have so many problems here in South Los Angeles and we always have to be watchdogs on any place where we get a opportunity to reduce violence. We have to jump on it," he said.
Crime in Detroit neighborhoods: Where are the police?
by Lester Graham
Detroit's reputation as a high crime city has not gone away, but its crime rate is down substantially. It's been falling since the 1980s. But there are areas of the city that are not as safe as others.
Detroit Neighborhood Police Officer (NPO) DeAndre Gaines at the Department's Fifth Precinct picked me up for a ride-along in his patrol car. We headed to the MorningSide neighborhood on the city's east side.
This year I've been spending a fair amount of time in MorningSide. Some of the business owners and residents there have complained about the crime rate in their neighborhood. Gaines shakes his head.
“MorningSide is still a good area. You know, everywhere in the city you're going to have your pockets of crime. You know, that's everywhere. But, I wouldn't say MorningSide is no different than any of the other areas in the city of Detroit,” Gaines said as we turned onto East Warren Avenue, one of the business strips in the neighborhood.
The crime rate numbers for the neighborhood by itself were not made available. However, the Detroit Police Department provided crime stats for all the precincts and the number of crimes in the Fifth Precinct were comparatively average. Five of the twelve precincts had lower numbers of crime. However, those raw numbers are deceiving.
The population is different in each precinct. When you calculate the number of crimes per 10,000 residents, the Fifth Precinct has the second highest crime rate among the precincts. Only the Third Precinct, which stretches from New Center to Mexicantown, had a higher crime rate.
But, crime is down across the city. Last year, for the entire city of Detroit, the murder rate did increase slightly, but the rate of other violent crimes continued to decline, including in the Fifth Precinct.
As we drove around the residential parts of the neighborhood, Officer Gaines spotted someone he knew. We stopped to talk to retired Fire Department Captain David Brown in his front yard. I told him what his neighbors had been telling me, that they don't see police officers in the neighborhood very often.
“That's true,” Brown said. I nodded to NPO Gaines and said, “You're talking to one right now.”
Brown laughed and said, “Yeah, I'm talking to one. You see one on occasion, but there's not enough of them.”
Brown thinks too often the police are tied up answering 9-1-1 calls and emergencies to patrol the residential streets as much as he'd like to see.
We also stopped by Zena Knight's house. She's the block captain. She thinks crime is up in MorningSide, but she does not think it's because police aren't around enough.
“It's getting worse. It's about them not respecting the police. A lady just got killed at the corner house last Saturday. I can't give you an answer to what is really causing the problem right now, but it's not for the like of them,” she said with a heavy sigh.
She was looking right at Gaines as she spoke. She made it clear that she thinks he's one of the good guys.
The City of Detroit does seem to be at the right level of officers on the street.
According to FBI statistics, Detroit actually has more than the average number of cops for its population. In 2015, in larger cities in the Midwest, for every 10,000 people the average was 29 officers. Detroit had 33 officers.
Gaines says they are there in the neighborhoods.
“We are patrolling the area at least, at least five days a week, various hours depending on where the complaints take us. We also do what we call ‘Safe Passage' which is assisting the children getting to school safe. I do that along with NPO (Eric) Scott. So, we're out there morning and evening making sure this community is safe,” Gaines said.
And that's just the NPOs, the community policing face of the police force. Other patrol officers are also working 24/7.
It seems reasonable that even though the city has a good number of police, with its crime rate generally among the top five in the nation, the police are just busy, too busy to do those slow rolls through the residential areas of the neighborhood that the residents like to see.
City considers '3 strikes, you're out' policy on overdose responses
by PoliceOne Staff
MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — A proposal has been made in an Ohio city to combat the growing number of overdose calls.
WLWT reported that Middletown is considering a “three strikes, you're out” policy for those being revived with naloxone by first responders.
City councilman Dan Picard proposed that after the first two overdose revivals, a person must perform community service that equals the amount of money spent on the response. If the community service hasn't been completed before the third strike, a dispatch would not be made.
"If the dispatcher determines that the person who's overdosed is someone who's been part of the program for two previous overdoses and has not completed the community service and has not cooperated in the program, then we wouldn't dispatch,” Picard said.
The fire department is accepting donations and applying for grants to pay for naloxone until legal advisers can look at the proposed policy.
Church hands out opioid reversal drug at family festival
Parish operations manager Jeremy Bouer said providing the kits was the right thing to do because people need to be equipped to save lives when someone overdoses
by the Associated Press
CINCINNATI — Some people have questioned an Ohio church's decision to hand out the opioid reversal drug naloxone at a family festival.
WLWT-TV reports Holy Family Catholic Church in Cincinnati's East Price Hill neighborhood partnered with the Ohio attorney general's office to distribute nearly 70 overdose kits last weekend.
Parish operations manager Jeremy Bouer said providing the kits was the right thing to do because people need to be equipped to save lives when someone overdoses.
Not everyone agrees. One woman at the festival said it was an inappropriate setting and sends the wrong message to drug users. Another woman said the church should help those in need.
Naloxone has become widely available in recent years as the opioid epidemic has taken root in Ohio, killing thousands of people.
DHS officials announce enhanced security measures for all flights to U.S. but won't expand laptop ban
by Lori Aratani
U.S. officials on Wednesday announced enhanced security and screening measures for all commercial flights to the United States but backed away from a proposal to expand a ban on laptops and other electronic devices — unless airlines and airports refuse to comply with the new rules.
Since March, passengers on flights to the United States from certain primarily Muslim-majority countries have been prohibited from bringing electronic devices larger than a cellphone on board with them. But those restrictions could be lifted if the affected airlines and airports adopt the new security protocols, officials said.
Department of Homeland Security officials said airlines and airports will be responsible for implementing the changes and communicating new procedures to the traveling public. Officials declined to offer specifics about the changes, citing security concerns, but said they could include enhanced screening of laptops and smartphones and increased security protocols around aircraft and in passenger areas.
The hope is that the new requirements will not result in longer wait times at security checkpoints or be prohibitively costly for airlines and airports to implement.
In a briefing with reporters, senior DHS officials said the requirements will “raise the baseline” on aviation security worldwide. The directives are focused on preventing terrorists from circumventing aviation security.
“It is time that we raise the global baseline of aviation security,” Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly said. “We cannot play international whack-a-mole with each new threat.”
Despite talk of expanding a ban on laptops and other large electronic devices that was put into place in March, senior DHS officials said Kelly ultimately concluded that the threats could be handled without an expansion of the ban.
“The good news is we found a way to raise the bar worldwide, but at the same time not inconvenience the traveling public,” said Kelly, who announced the new measures at a security conference at the Center for a New American Security.
DHS officials said they have been in “constant contact with our interagency, industry and foreign partners to address evolving threats” and had a shared goal of putting measures in place that would pose a minimum of disruption to the traveling public.
However, airlines and airports that do not comply with the new requirements could face repercussions, including a full ban on all personal electronics on board flights, even in cargo; fines and possible loss of their permission to fly to the United States.
Officials, however, said they expect the vast majority of airlines and airports to comply with the rules. Flights within the United States will not be affected, in part because airports here already use many of the enhanced security measures that are being called for.
DHS officials indicated they have been in touch with airlines and countries covered by the current ban and that “all of those countries had expressed an eagerness to comply so that those restrictions could be lifted.”
“We are standing ready to go in and inspect how they adhere to the new security restrictions,” the official said. “It is up to the carriers how quickly they want to move.”
It is not clear when the new measures will be put into place, but DHS officials said travelers might start to see changes as early as this summer. Not all the measures will be visible to the public, they said, though travelers might notice more bomb-sniffing dogs, more thorough screening of their carry-on bags and swabbing of devices for traces of explosives.
Wednesday's announcement comes after months of debate over whether the United States should expand the ban on laptops and other electronic devices that it put into place in March for travelers from 10 airports in mostly Middle Eastern countries.
The ban was prompted by growing concerns that terrorists could conceal bombs in laptops and other similar devices.
In May, U.S. officials suggested the ban might be expanded to include direct flights to the United States from Europe. Later that month, in an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Kelly suggested he might go even further and extend the ban to all international flights in and out of the United States.
European officials raised concerns about potential new restrictions and sought more information about the threats that prompted talk of an expansion. European Union officials characterized a meeting last month in Brussels with top U.S. Homeland Security officials as productive but also urged officials to consider other ways to address the potential threat.
Industry groups in the United States and abroad said they were concerned about the economic implications of expanding the ban as well as the impact it could have on worker productivity.
In May, the head of the International Air Transport Association, which represents more than 270 international carriers, expressed serious concerns about the ban and urged leaders to consider other enhanced screening methods as an alternative.
Expanding the ban could cost $1.1 billion a year in lost productivity, travel time and “passenger well-being,” Alexandre de Juniac, director general and chief executive of the group, which represents 265 airlines, wrote in a letter to Kelly and Violeta Bulc, the E.U.'s top transportation official.
In all, 280 airports in 105 countries will be required to meet the heightened security standards, DHS officials said. Roughly 325,000 daily passengers on 2,100 flights could be affected.
DHS officials said one visible change could be the expansion of Customs and Border Protection's Preclearance program, which is in place at airports in six countries: Aruba, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, Ireland and the United Arab Emirates. Under the program, CBP officers screen international passengers traveling to the United States before they arrive.
Still, the announcement was welcome news for international carriers.
“Keeping our passengers and crew safe and secure is our top priority,” said de Juniac. “Today's actions raise the bar on security. The aggressive implementation timeline will, however, be challenging. Meeting it will require a continued team effort of government and industry stakeholders. In particular, airlines and airports will need to be supported by host states during the phase-in of the new requirements.”
Over half of hate crimes in U.S. go unreported, report says
by Sadie Gurman and Russell Contreras
WASHINGTON — Most victims of hate crimes don't report them to police, according to a new study that advocates say reinforces their fears that the Trump administration's tough rhetoric and policies will make more people afraid to come forward.
More than half the 250,000 hate crimes that took place each year between 2004 and 2015 went unreported to law enforcement for a variety of reasons, according to a special report on the issue from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Hate crimes were most often not reported because they were handled some other way, the report said. But people also did not come forward because they didn't feel it was important or that police would help, according to the report.
“I think this report shows the kind of fear that is going on in our communities,” said Patricia Montes, executive director of the Boston-based immigrant advocacy group Centro Presente. She and other advocates are concerned that Latino immigrants, in particular, may be reluctant to call police to report a hate crime for fear of being deported, particularly since the Trump administration is ramping up immigration enforcement across the country.
“Donald Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric also will prevent more immigrants from reporting crimes to police,” Montes said.
The report comes as the Justice Department officials gathered with advocacy groups and experts on Thursday to discuss hate crimes, including ways to better document them. Officials have long lamented a lack of solid data on the problem.
But Attorney General Jeff Sessions told the group his department remains committed to investigating and prosecuting such offenses as part of his larger priority of helping cities fight violence.
“Hate crimes are violent crimes,” Sessions told the group. “No person should have to fear being violently attacked because of who they are, what they believe or how they worship.”
The report released Thursday is based on a survey of households and is one of several studies that aim to quantify hate crimes.
It cites racial bias as the top motivation, representing more than 48 percent of the cases between 2011 and 2015. Hate crimes motivated by ethnicity accounted for about 35 percent of those cases, and sexual orientation represented about 22 percent. Almost all of those surveyed said they felt they were experiencing a hate crime because of something the perpetrator said.
Hispanics were victimized at the highest rate, followed by blacks.
The new survey shows the limits of hate crime reporting, said Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, California State University.
“Many victims don't report hate crimes because of personal and institutional reasons,” Levin said. While some victims' distrust of police keeps them from coming forward, Levin said, some LGBT victims may opt not to report a hate crime for fear of losing a job or being outed to family.
Members of the Muslim community are reluctant to come forward for fear of retaliation and because police don't always classify their experiences as hate crimes, said Ibrahim Hooper, of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
That's because law enforcement officials still grappled with what constitutes a hate crime.
Levin said many large cities are claiming they had no hate crimes — calling into question the reliability of federal hate crimes data that are based on voluntary submissions from police departments. “We have Columbus, Ohio, reporting more hate crimes than the state of Florida,” he said.
Eric Treene, the Justice Department's special counsel for religious discrimination, told a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in May that incomplete numbers stymie officials' ability to fully understand the problem.
But he said the department is committed to prosecuting hate crimes, even as critics have blamed the Trump administration's tough rhetoric and policies for a spike in such offenses. Civil rights groups said investigating and prosecuting hate crimes alone would be insufficient.
The Trump administration must show “through action and its megaphone, its full and unflagging commitment to preventing hate-based violence and harassment that hurts our communities and destroys the fabric of our nation,” said Vanita Gupta, former head of the Civil Rights Division and president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
'Donut Boy' is on a mission to thank every cop in America
Tyler Carach's program, "I donut need a reason to thank a cop," has become a national phenomenon
by Dough Wyllie
Tyler Carach, 9, has an ambitious and astonishing goal – he wants to say “thank you” to every law enforcement officer in America.
His program is called “I donut need a reason to thank a cop” and it's become a national phenomenon.
Tyler's mission began on August 1, 2016, when he and his mother walked into a local corner store. Tyler noticed four deputies with the Escambia County Sheriff's Office eating lunch in the back and he said, “A cop's favorite drink is coffee and their favorite food is donuts, right?”
He then asked his mom, Sheena, if he could use his own money to buy them some donuts. He selected four packs of mini donuts and took them to the officers, who were overjoyed. Tyler shook their hands and thanked them for their service.
“When we left, Tyler asked me why the cops were so happy about the donuts, and I explained that officers were having a hard time right now and they were under attack,” Sheena said. “We talked about how some people do not understand that you can never judge a whole basket of apples by a few bad ones and I explained how that related to all ‘groups' in life. Tyler looked at me very seriously and stated, ‘Okay, I am going to buy donuts for every cop in America and tell them all thank you.' I was speechless.”
From a simple gesture to a national campaign
So far Tyler has delivered more than 6,000 donuts to LEOs, with a goal of delivering 10,000 more this summer. He has nine events in his local area in the Florida Panhandle, then will attend 30 different events during a six-week road trip to Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Delaware.
“I like to thank cops,” Tyler told PoliceOne. “I'm getting ready to go on a road trip and thank a lot of cops. I'm going to thank them with donuts.”
Tyler's first large-scale event was held for 420 ECSO deputies. His second event was at the Flomaton Police Department in Alabama. He has since visited police departments in Oregon, Illinois, Georgia, Virginia and Washington D.C.
Word about “Donut Boy” has got around. A radio program called The Liz and Reilly Show flew the pair out to Oregon to donate donuts provided by Bizzy Jeans Donuts – a popular local favorite – to multiple departments.
“By the time we returned to Florida from Oregon,” Sheena said, “we had received a message from Inside Edition and they did a piece on Tyler and his trip to Oregon.”
In November 2016, Tyler turned nine and when Sheena asked him what he wanted for his birthday, he asked to spend the day thanking more cops.
Sheena said, “I must say we pulled off the most epic birthday ever – ‘Birthday with the Blue.' Our friends at Krispy Kreme contributed 2,004 donuts and 700 cups of coffee, and I handmade 500 cupcakes. Tyler had written a tribute song for police, which we debuted at the event. His smiles and laughs were priceless. And the officers' faces even more priceless.”
The Steve Harvey Show invited Tyler to share his program on national television. During his TV debut, Tyler received a check for $5,000 from Boxed.com. During their trip to Chicago for that television appearance, they visited with the fine men and women of the Chicago Police Department.
Tyler's story includes being awarded the National George Washington Honor Medal from The Freedoms Foundation and a National Youth Activist Award in Social Justice. He has been a guest speaker at the Georgia Chief of Police Conference. Recently he was a guest speaker at the C.O.P.S. gathering during National Police Week, where he thanked the families of the fallen for their sacrifices.
It is a total team effort
How does Tyler – remember, this is a nine-year-old boy – and his family afford to buy all of those donuts? It begins with Tyler earning money at home by doing chores around his family's farm, but the rest comes from the kindness of strangers.
For example, when Tyler and Sheena were in Oregon, it just so happened that they were staying at the same hotel as the PBR riders – professional bull riding – and they met Chad Berger, the gentleman who owns all the bulls for PBR.
“He was asking Tyler about his cape, and Tyler told him what he was doing. He said, ‘You know what, little man? I just love what you're doing and love what you stand for. I'm going to buy the donuts for your next event.' He pulled out a hundred dollar bill and gave it to Tyler, and Tyler funded his next event out of that money,” Sheena said.
Both Krispy Kreme and Dunkin' Donuts have supported a number of events with donated donuts. Recently, Sheena and Tyler have been in close contact with a company called ALTAI, which has offered to donate a portion of sales from a specific line of boots to Tyler's program. Anyone who wishes to contribute to the program can purchase directly from the ALTAI online shop.
A young man on a mission
“In the near future, Tyler hopes to find an attorney to help him turn his program into a 501c3. He also hopes to meet our new president to thank him for backing our men and women in blue. He would like to address the nation and thank all of the cops and he said the president may be able to let him do that, or Ellen!” Sheena said.
“Tyler may be a little guy, but he has a heart the size of an ocean and it is filled with passion for our men and women in blue,” Sheena said. “One thing Tyler has always said is that he wants to inspire other people to like cops like he does and maybe even want to be one because of shortages there are in police departments right now.”
One of the hallmarks of good parenting is instilling in children the belief that the most important thing in life is to serve others. Clearly Sheena and her husband have done an amazing job bringing up their three kids. While Tyler's passion is cops, his sister Naudia volunteers to help underprivileged disabled children and his brother Zach's chosen cause is protecting animals.
“I was a law enforcement officer for a little while, so I know what they go through every day,” Sheena said. “It's been incredible for me to watch my child accomplish his dream of thanking these officers and knowing what it means to them to hear that. Because they could be having the worst day in the world and then we walk up to them and say thank you. It reminds them why they do this job.”
Tyler is truly a remarkable young man. He wants to one day serve and protect as a police officer. For now, he's content to simply thank police officers – as many of them as possible, one donut at a time.
Follow Tyler on Instagram and Facebook.
Chicago police, federal officials to announce gun violence 'strike force' on eve of July 4th weekend
by Mark Berman
The Chicago police and federal authorities will announce Friday an effort aimed at cracking down on gun crimes in the violence-plagued city.
Officials say this effort will combine police officers, state troopers, federal agents and state and federal prosecutors to target illegal guns and repeat gun offenders, which authorities in Chicago have long pointed to as causes of the city's bloodshed. The announcement Friday comes at the beginning of the July 4 holiday weekend, typically among the deadliest periods in Chicago, which in recent years has struggled with surging levels of gun violence.
On Friday morning, hours before the announcement, President Trump issued a statement on Twitter saying that the violence has “reached such epidemic proportions that I am sending in Federal help.”
Chicago had 762 homicides last year, more than the combined gun-related death toll in New York and Los Angeles, the only two larger American cities, and the number of shootings has remained high this year.
Trump has repeatedly pointed to the bloodshed in Chicago, weighing in during the campaign and since taking office. In January, Trump tweeted that he would “send in the feds,” which prompted some uncertainty in Chicago, where considerable federal resources were already on the ground and regularly collaborating with police.
“We always have been here,” David Coulson, a spokesman for the Chicago field division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said at the time. “We work very closely with the Chicago Police Department.”
Trump's past comments on the city have been critical of the local police and other local officials, including his January suggestion that the violence is “very easily fixable” and that local authorities were “not doing the job.”
His remarks have drawn some pointed responses from the local police. After he mentioned Chicago's violence in February, Eddie Johnson — the city's police superintendent — said he hoped the Trump administration would “finally respond” to local requests for more help. Last year, after then-candidate Trump suggested the violence in Chicago could be stopped in days, Johnson said police would welcome whatever “magic bullet” Trump had.
Local officials, in response to Trump's earlier comments, have said they had asked his administration for more help tracking illegal guns and for more federal gun prosecutions.
On Friday afternoon, local and federal authorities will announce what they are calling the “Chicago Crime Gun Strike Force,” which they say will focus specifically on people who repeatedly commit gun crimes as well as targeting illegal guns in the city.
“More than just a new strategy or tactic, we are foundationally changing the way we fight crime in Chicago,” Johnson said in a statement. “This new strike force will significantly help our police officers stem the flow of illegal guns and create a culture of accountability for the small subset of individuals and gangs who disproportionally drive violence in our city.”
Johnson said that the ultimate goal is to make Chicago safer by combining “tech-based nerve centers” in the city tracking gunshots and crimes with harsher penalties and prosecutions for people accused of gun crimes and homicides. The Chicago Police Department's Organized Crime Bureau and the ATF's Chicago Field Office will work with the team, as will prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney's Office as well as the state's attorney's office.
It was not immediately clear whether the announcement Friday will come with additional federal agents or a reorganization of existing resources. The Justice Department had previously said that more than 20 additional ATF agents were sent to Chicago, and a spokesman said the department was also considering reallocating prosecutors to the city.
Earlier this month, the Justice Department announced plans to send more federal resources to 12 cities to help combat violence. Chicago was not among the cities in that group, which officials said would be expanded later this year.
San Antonio police officer shot in the head dies
by Crimesider Staff
SAN ANTONIO -- A San Antonio officer who was shot in the head while investigating vehicle break-ins Thursday has died, according to the San Antonio Police Department.
Officer Miguel Moreno died at 11:11 a.m. Friday, according to a department news release. Earlier Friday, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said during a news conference Moreno was "not expected to survive." His partner Julio Cavazos was also shot. Cavazos underwent surgery and is expected to recover from his wounds.
Chief McManus said the gunman died in the shootout. He said the suspect attempted to flee, was shot in the buttocks, and suffered a head wound that may have been self-inflicted.
McManus said the officers were nine-year department veterans. They were patrolling the area investigating vehicle break-ins when they came across a car that appeared to have been broken into. They noticed two men nearby and got out of their patrol car in an attempt to make contact with them.
One of the suspects walked towards the cruiser, McManus said, but the other immediately opened fire. Moreno was struck in the head and fell to the ground and the suspect continued to fire, McManus said. Cavazos was shot in the upper torso area, but managed to pull Moreno out of the line of fire and return fire, striking the suspect in the buttocks.
McManus said the second man was unaware that his companion would pull a weapon and is cooperating with investigators. He was wanted on unrelated warrants, McManus said.
Investigators couldn't immediately identify the deceased suspect. McManus said he didn't know the identity of the other man. It appeared the two didn't know each other, "at least not well," McManus said.
Moreno was in his 30s, and Cavazos is also in his 30s, McManus said.
"I'm at a loss for words to describe what a tragedy this is," McManus said earlier Friday.
McManus said the officers were gunned down for no apparent reason other than they wanted to talk to the man.
"When you have someone who has no respect for their own life, what kind of respect can they have for anyone else's life?" McManus said. "Which may answer the question, 'Why would he have done something like that?' I don't know."
Cop Shooting Death Cases Raise Quesiton: When Is Fear Reasonable?
by Martin Kaste
It's rare for a law enforcement officer to be convicted of homicide for shooting someone while on duty. According to a new NPR data analysis, 2,400 people have been killed this way in the last two and a half years; the vast majority of those cases were found to be justified, but NPR found 20 officers who faced charges. Of those, six have been convicted or pleaded guilty.
Many Americans have come to believe that the convictions are too rare. The acquittal earlier this month of Jeronimo Yanez in the shooting death of Philando Castile in Minnesota sparked protests, and an angry outburst on Facebook Live by Castile's mother, Valerie Castile.
"I don't know where they got the m************ jurors from, but that was some
straight-up b*******!" she said, and mocked the defense's assertion that Yanez had been in fear of his life.
"You shouldn't be no police officer if you're going to handle yourself in that manner," Castile said.
When is fear reasonable?
During the trial, Yanez testified that he thought he was going to die, because he thought Philando Castile wasn't obeying his instructions, reaching for something in the car when Yanez told him not to.
He also said he had "strong suspicions" that Castile was one of two black robbery suspects he'd been looking out for.
"I think the question here is, when is fear reasonable," asks Ngozi Ndulue, senior director of criminal justice programs at the NAACP.
In cases involving police officers, juries are usually given instructions that refer to a 1989 Supreme Court ruling called Graham v. Connor , which says you can't judge a cop with "20/20 hindsight." In the Yanez case, for instance, the jurors were told that police officers are often forced to make split-second decisions — and those decisions should be evaluated based only on what the cop knew at that moment.
But Ndulue says those instructions can be used to excuse bias.
"There is more fear of African-Americans, and in particular African-American men, that is not justified, that's just based on who they are," Ndulue says. "So in these cases, a fear and an unreasonable fear can end up being someone's death sentence."
Ndulue says the current legal standard of Graham v. Connor make it "almost impossible" to convict a police officer.
Things are shifting
One prosecutor on a recent case that ended in acquittal told NPR that Graham v. Connor has "taken on a life of its own," allowing police too much leeway to perceive situations as more threatening than they really are.
But other experts say they don't blame Graham v. Connor for the low conviction rate. Geoffrey Alpert is a professor at the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of South Carolina. He's had extensive experience following criminal prosecutions of police, both before and after Graham v. Connor set the "objective reasonableness" standard for judging lethal force. He says it's always been hard to convict cops.
"It's a social issue, not a legal issue," he says. "Jurors don't want to put cops in jail for making mistakes while they're doing their jobs."
In his experience, he says jurors are more open to civil penalties — cash payouts to the victims' families — than punishing police with jail time.
Still, some lawyers believe the ground is shifting in these cases. Andy Savage represents Michael Slager, the North Charleston, S.C., police officer who was caught on tape shooting to death a fleeing Walter Scott in 2015; he believes officers' defense teams face a greater challenge.
"The default position used to be, let's say 15, 20, 25 years ago, that the suspect must have done something that initiated the lethal force," he says. "Now, the default position is 'why did that police officer use lethal force?' And if it's a racial disparity between the officer and a suspect, it's even getting a closer look," he says.
Last year's trial of Michael Slager ended in a hung jury, and Savage believes that was in part because prosecutors "over-charged" him.
"Nine of the jurors contacted us," Savage says. "They thought there was an excessive use of force that did not amount to murder," he says. A few more jurors were willing to vote for manslaughter. He thinks the prosecution overplayed its hand.
"I think this case was one where there was a reaction," he says. "The solicitor, the district attorney... they're supposed to do what the law requires, not what the mob of public opinion requires."
Nevertheless, in May, Slager ended up making a deal with prosecutors to plead guilty to violating Scott's civil rights, and he awaits sentencing later this summer.
Jeffrey Noble is a retired deputy police chief who's worked as a consultant and expert witness on several prosecutions of police officers, including that of Yanez. He thinks prosecutors are gradually building expertise in these cases.
"This whole idea of prosecuting police officers is new. It's not new in the sense of the law, the law has always allowed for it, and it's happened from time to time, but the extent it's happening now [is new.]" Noble says. As prosecutors learn which strategies work, he says "there probably will be more convictions."
In Extreme Community Policing, Cops Become the Neighbor
One of the most dangerous small cities in the country is paying officers to live where their relationship with residents is most broken.
by John Buntin
North Winnebago Street doesn't look like a high-crime area. The tidy homes in this Rockford, Ill., neighborhood are well cared for. Kids walk to and from nearby Welsh Elementary School. In May, the neighborhood turned out to welcome two new residents, Patrice Turner and her 17-year-old daughter, Paris. It was a beautiful spring day, with neighbors grilling hot dogs and a woman serving frozen treats to enthusiastic kids out of her ice cream truck. A group of girls were dancing to a hip-hop remix. It was like a scene out of Andy Griffith's Mayberry -- if Griffith had better dance moves.
This may have looked like an ordinary housewarming party, but it wasn't. Turner is a police officer. The house she is moving into on North Winnebago is, unlike neighboring homes, owned by the Rockford Housing Authority. The plan is for Turner and her daughter to live there -- rent free -- for two to five years. During that time, Turner will take the lead in coordinating the police department's response to violent crime in the neighborhood. She'll also attempt, as a friend and neighbor, to address the problems that give rise to crime.
It's a daunting challenge. Rockford, the state's third-largest city, is one of the nation's most violent. “We have low education attainment levels and we have high poverty,” says newly elected Mayor Tom McNamara. “It's a horrible combination.” He's planning to respond with initiatives targeting education and jobs. But Priority No. 1 is addressing violent crime.
A year ago, Rockford hired a new police chief, Daniel O'Shea, to lead that effort. He has moved quickly. He made peace with the police union and improved morale in the department. He also reached out to the county sheriff's department and to federal law enforcement agencies. Together, the Rockford police are hoping to disrupt violent street gangs and drug traffickers with traditional investigations and prosecutions. However, he's also focused on building trust and encouraging problem-solving. Having officers like Patrice Turner live in troubled neighborhoods is a first step toward building that trust.
Some of Turner's neighbors are skeptical. Dennis Carr and Tammy Berrios, who live around the corner, have seen violent crime firsthand. Earlier this year, Berrios witnessed a shooting in her front yard, and isn't ready to turn to her new neighbor for help. “We all mind our own business,” she says.
But whether it's Rockford or another city struggling with violent crime, policing has a trust problem. Distrust -- and the code of silence it can engender -- is a familiar problem in high-crime neighborhoods. After years of experimenting with such high-profile ideas as CompStat, quality-of-life policing and predictive policing, police departments are revisiting an old approach: community policing. Rockford hopes its plan to embed officers in neighborhoods, which is based on a program that took root in Elgin, Ill., in the 1990s, will mend the broken relationship between the police and communities.
Last year, the Urban Institute ran a carefully designed survey that focused on citizen perceptions of police and their willingness to engage with them. Respondents lived in high-crime, high-poverty neighborhoods in six cities -- Birmingham, Ala.; Fort Worth, Texas; Gary, Ind.; Minneapolis; Pittsburgh; and Stockton, Calif. What the survey found was sobering. More than half of the respondents thought the police were racially biased. Only a third believed the police “tried to do what was best for the people they were dealing with.” Fewer than a third agreed that police “always or almost always” followed the law.
Such beliefs have consequences. According to the FBI, homicide clearance rates -- that is, the rate at which murders are solved -- have fallen from 90 percent in the 1950s to just 60 percent today. In high-crime cities such as Chicago, the rate is only 30 percent. The perception that the police act arbitrarily and unfairly hinders cooperation on both sides. According to the Urban Institute survey, only 42 percent of respondents agreed that the police “were legitimate authorities.”
Yet despite these worrisome findings, the survey also contained some welcome news, says Nancy La Vigne, who directs the Urban Institute's Justice Policy Center and was the lead author on the report. Residents expressed a strong belief in enforcing the law, and 60 percent said they were willing to provide information to police. A solid 40 percent said they were willing to participate in neighborhood patrols.
How to explain this apparent dichotomy between residents' critical view of police practices and their openness to cooperation? Another survey question suggests one possible answer. Only 28 percent of surveyed people in the six cities agreed that their police department “prioritizes problems most important to community members and is responsive to community concerns.” What's missing, in short, is one of the key ingredients of community policing: a willingness to partner with neighborhoods and act on their priorities. “You can have individual officers who engage with community members, but that's not enough,” says La Vigne. Police departments “need to transform their culture to view residents in high-crime communities as crucial partners in problem-solving and crime control. That's the key to both reducing crime and enhancing the legitimacy of police in the eyes of residents.”
Thirty years ago, community policing was an idea that many police chiefs and academics expected would transform law enforcement. The movement, which included deploying police officers to walk neighborhood streets rather than ride in police cars, enjoyed some notable successes in crime reduction in the 1990s. But in the aughts, many departments shifted to other approaches. The financial crisis of 2007-2008, with its widespread cutbacks in police officer levels, further diminished community policing, which was dependent on having more cops on the beat.
Now violent crime is rising again in many cities. At the same time, videos of police shootings have reinforced suspicions of law enforcement. Techniques such as flooding crime “hot spots” with police officers no longer seem feasible. In response, police departments are returning to the past, in particular to variations on community policing.
That's just what is happening in Rockford, as well as in a handful of other Illinois cities, including Peoria. It's community policing taken to its logical extreme. Police officers don't just walk the beat or go to meetings in troubled neighborhoods. They move in. Officers get free housing and flexible schedules. In exchange, they commit to living in the neighborhood for up to five years.
These cities' programs are all modeled on an approach first developed in Elgin, a city of 110,000 residents an hour west of Chicago. The Resident Officer Program of Elgin (ROPE), implemented in 1991, is an example of old-fashioned community policing with newfound relevance. Police in Elgin believe they have learned some important truths. One is that the problems neighborhoods want to solve are sometimes different from the problems police focus on. Another is that helping a neighborhood address what it sees as its most pressing problems may be the best way to reduce serious crime and restore confidence in policing.
Jonathan Rustay is currently a ROPE officer in one of Elgin's mixed neighborhoods -- a place with an ethnically diverse group of lifelong residents, newer homeowners and renters. It's hard at first glance to see why this neighborhood needs a ROPE officer. The lawns are green, the hedges trimmed and the houses well maintained.
Two years into his stint as a ROPE officer, Rustay, who previously had been assigned to Elgin's gang unit, is still adjusting to the ROPE pace. “The challenge here is not like what it is with the gang unit, where there is always something to do,” he says. “Here you could be doing so many things -- talking to landlords, visiting the school -- and then there is nothing to do.”
For an officer accustomed to high-stakes action, the change can be disconcerting. It's also fueled suspicions among some police officers that community policing is not “real” policing. That's been a recurrent problem for these types of programs, says criminologist George Kelling. Many front-line officers see it as social work and resist it, he says.
Today, Kelling is best known as one of the originators of the “broken windows” theory of policing, which holds that addressing seemingly minor signs of disorder could reduce fears of crime and improve public safety. But in the late 1980s, Kelling was part of a working group of criminologists, policy analysts and police chiefs who developed the idea of community policing. It had three components. The first was that police needed to refocus on minor offenses, a belief that reflected the influence of broken windows. The second was that police needed to spend less time responding to crime and more time engaged in proactive problem-solving. The third idea was that police needed to develop closer, more effective partnerships with local communities.
Elgin's decision to launch ROPE came straight out of the community policing playbook. For the century following the Civil War, the city had thrived manufacturing watches. That period of prosperity provided the town with a scenic downtown and picturesque Victorian neighborhoods. By the 1970s, however, manufacturing was moving elsewhere and many of the grand houses became low-income apartment buildings. Then, in the mid-1980s, crack cocaine arrived. The violent crime rate spiked and just a decade later neighborhoods across the city were threatening to slip into lawlessness.
Charles Gruber, who was chief of police at the time, wanted to stabilize these areas by sending police officers in -- as residents. The city would buy and restore houses in pivotal neighborhoods and then offer them to officers rent free. Officers would have unusual freedom to set their schedules and focus on problem-solving. At first, many officers were skeptical of the program and dismissive of the work. But that skepticism has diminished. Not only has the crime rate stabilized, but, for the officers themselves, there grew a conviction that the work they were doing was essential to combating violent crime.
Adam Schuessler, a lieutenant with responsibility for Elgin's specialized units, was one of the early ROPE officers. For five years, he lived in the 300 block of Ann Street, in a predominantly black and Latino neighborhood. Much of his time was spent focusing on quality-of-life issues -- loitering on a street corner, public drinking. The wins were small but satisfying. Over time, as he built relationships, bigger wins came into focus: the valuable informant, say, or the kid who steered away from the neighborhood gang and stayed in school. There were also some harrowing moments. One evening, someone opened fire on the bedroom of Schuessler's house. The house of another ROPE officer was firebombed with a Molotov cocktail. Being shot at and firebombed undermined the idea that ROPE officers were not doing “real” policing. “We learned to start to look at those things as almost badges of honor,” says Schuessler. “You are doing your job if some people are upset.”
ROPE's success is also bolstered by the success of the officers who took part in the program. Today, Jeffrey Swoboda, who was one of the first ROPE officers, is Elgin's chief of police. His No. 2 and several other members of the command staff are ROPE alumni too. Not only have many in the command staff served as ROPE officers, but they have also come to see it as a great way to identify and develop talent. “It's a position that really builds great police officers,” says Schuessler.
Officers who went through the ROPE program see the program's longer-term benefits. The informants they developed during their ROPE service continue to be valuable. They also learned the types of things about neighborhoods that only residents know.
Rustay uses the occasional downtime to patrol the neighborhood and get to know the kids at the nearby school. One recent afternoon, that paid off when he spotted a young boy riding his scooter around the neighborhood when he should have been in class. Rustay stopped him to talk. “His grandfather passed away last week,” Rustay says. “It's just something that -- you know -- if he needs anything, if he needs to talk to anyone, I'm here.” Rustay adds that the boy doesn't normally live in this neighborhood, but he knows him because he's here during the summer visiting his grandparents and has been involved in some of Rustay's summer programs. That's exactly the kind of familiarity police chiefs and analysts who push problem-solving have in mind.
During the 1990s, the number of ROPE officers in Elgin rose to nine. Other cities expanded other forms of community policing programs and achieved impressive results. One was Chicago.
The Chicago Police Department made a significant effort to reorient the department toward community policing. Districts reemphasized beat patrols. Officers were trained in problem-solving techniques. District advisory councils were created. An early evaluation showed that districts that instituted community policing experienced more significant crime reductions than those that did not. In 2002, a team led by criminologist Wesley Skogan published an evaluation of Chicago's program and found that it was moderately effective at increasing community involvement with police. Black residents responded particularly well, registering more approval of the police and the direction of crime trends in their neighborhoods. In contrast, Latinos seemed largely untouched by the city's community policing program. Nevertheless, the tone of Skogan's report was upbeat: “Into the 2000s,” he wrote, “Chicagoans were optimistic about crime, which was down, and policing, which they saw improving on a steady basis.”
But community relations with the police didn't continue to improve. Instead, they withered in Chicago and elsewhere. One of the reasons for this was a diffusion of focus. Other approaches captured criminologists' and cities' attention. New York City's dramatic crime decline in the early 1990s inspired many cities to emulate its tactics of aggressive hot-spot policing and its focus on arrests and crime numbers rather than community relations. The 9/11 terrorist attacks also played a role, leading police departments to divert resources to antiterrorism. Then came the Great Recession. Cities across the country responded by slicing police budgets, typically by 5 to 8 percent. As a result, police departments across the country lost capacity. Because it is labor-intensive, community policing paid the price. “If you are really going to do community policing, you need to free up 40 to 50 percent of a cop's day,” says former Nashville and New Orleans Police Chief Ronal Serpas, who now teaches at Loyola University. Before the recession, that was difficult. After the recession and the budget cuts that followed, it became impossible.
The city of Elgin pulled back too. The recession forced it to slash the size of its ROPE program from nine officers to four. To make up some of the difference, it created a more traditional community policing program that assigned officers to beats in high-crime neighborhoods. Since the city's crime rate was falling, that made the decision to shrink the program easier. But neither the city nor the department ever considered phasing out the program altogether. The neighborhoods would have erupted,” says Chief Swoboda. “The ROPE officers belong to their neighborhoods. Sometimes it seems like they answer as much to them as they do to me.”
Take Heather Farrell, who has been a ROPE officer for the past four years. She lives on North Spring Street, a historically high-crime area. Farrell says that within a six-block area of her house, there is a lot of rental property and “a lot of people who don't like the police.”
But there are also a lot of people who depend on Farrell, who has two young sons and grew up in Elgin. At college, she majored in Spanish. Being bilingual is a helpful skill in a city where half the population is Latino. A number of Spanish speakers live in apartments across the street from Farrell. Next door to her is a Victorian house that has been restored by Krissy Palermo, who moved to Elgin from California eight years ago. Before she bought it, it had been a vacant crack house. Palermo says that having a police officer living next door makes her feel better about her investment. The neighborhood “is still a bit stressed,” she says, adding that whenever something happens, no matter what the hour, Officer Farrell is there. “If I tell her a car has been parked there for three days, she is on it,” says Palermo. “If I tell her I saw or heard something, it gets acted on. She follows through. She lets me know what she did.”
Farrell is also a good neighbor. She loans out her lawnmower, for instance -- a simple, yet friendly gesture that builds trust and greatly improves the appearance of the block. She also organizes frequent events and a regular block party.
Sociologists have a term for a neighborhood's ability to solve its own problems: “collective efficacy.” Research has shown that neighborhoods with high levels of efficacy have lower levels of crime. ROPE officers like Farrell are the building blocks of collective efficacy. “There is no issue we can't solve,” she says. “That is really our job as ROPE officers.”
Some problems are tough. Farrell says she understands that many of the young Latino men are wary of the police, and that in general others fear being deported. As a result, she hasn't gotten to know the residents of the apartments across the street as well as she knows the homeowners living on each side of her. But she does know that visits to the liquor store around the corner increase at the end of the work week and can lead to public drinking and other issues.
This kind of insight into the causes of crime is the most vivid difference between policing in Elgin and policing in Rockford. Ask an Elgin ROPE officer about the causes of crime in their neighborhood, and you typically get a fine-grained answer. In Rockford, in contrast, the causes of violent crime seem opaque, mysterious. The officers will tell you that much of the crime is committed by juveniles and that the crime wave started three or four years ago. Yet none of the officers seems to know why it had started or why it continues. (“Bad parenting” is the most common explanation.)
But Police Chief Daniel O'Shea -- who came to Rockford after 17 years in Elgin -- hopes that Rockford's new resident officer program will see the same success it has in Elgin. Over time, people who live in high-crime parts of town may come to see police not as an adversarial force, but as the neighbor who lives down the block.
Sacramento Residents Hoping Change On Horizon With Race Relations
by Angela Musallam
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — An effort to improve race relations in Sacramento may be showing progress, after two big announcements.
The Sacramento Police Department is getting its first black police chief, and one of the officers who shot and killed a mentally-ill black man last year could be losing his job.
“A lot of times I believe cops have the sentiment that African-American males are guilty until proven innocent,” said Lamonte Love.
Love is one of many who believes police don't protect and serve the African-American community.
“I think the first thought is, that's an enemy,” said Love.
Although Love comes from a family of law enforcement officers, he says his fear of the police is very much real. CBS13 asked Love if he thought the addition of a new black police chief and the recommendation to fire the officer who shot and killed Joseph Mann last year would help ease tensions among the African-American community.
“Until we really start getting justice for the public, for the African-American community, when things are clearly documented, just being fired is not sufficient,” replied love.
Sacramento's new police chief, Daniel Hahn, agrees the firing of a police officer isn't enough to bridge the gap.
“You don't start creating trust after some critical incident, you have had to have built that over time,” said Hahn
Chief Hahn is no stranger to the tensions between the African-American community and police; he grew up in Oak Park. The chief says the first step in building that community trust is community policing.
“It's not a unit, it's a way of doing business,” said Hahn.
That's top of mind for the chief; he says he also plans to ramp up staffing levels to make more police officers available to interact with the community.
“It gives them a voice; we are their police department,” Hahn added.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg also weighed in on the chief's new position, saying “he understands the communities he will be serving, I think it will increase confidence.”
The mayor also says Hahn will keep the police department transparent, another key to building and keeping trust in the community.
“That's the job, to always be fair and to take these situations right down the middle,” said Steinberg.
Hahn is expected to start his new position as Sacramento Police Chief sometime by the end of summer.
All Pittsburgh officers to have body cams next year
Currently, 147 of the department's approximately 900 officers wear cameras
by the Associated Press
Pittsburgh police could roll out hundreds more body cameras this year as part of plan to equip every officer by the end of next year.
Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich said Tuesday that the city has 150 more cameras ready to go as soon as officers are trained to use them. They plan to get 250 more in the fall.
Currently, 147 of the department's approximately 900 officers wear cameras.
Hissrich said they have been careful not to move too aggressively in deploying cameras, wary of running afoul of a state surveillance law. On Tuesday, the state Senate approved a bill that clarifies that officers can record video inside private homes.
The bill gives police broad discretion in releasing or withholding video.
L.A. SWAT officer shot as suspect livestreams shootout
by Michael Blasamo
LOS ANGELES — A homicide suspect livestreamed on Facebook as he traded gunfire with police, eventually shooting a Los Angeles SWAT officer before a police round struck him, a law enforcement official said.
The official was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Both the suspect and officer are expected to survive, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said Thursday.
The official said the video, which captured at least part of the encounter, showed the suspect shouting as he pointed a handgun at officers with gunshots ringing around him. At one point he yells that the officers are "about to kill me."
Police have not released the name of the wounded officer or the suspect.
The suspect was one of four people wanted in connection with a gang-related killing in late March, Beck said. The man led police officers from Los Angeles and Hawthorne on a brief chase in El Segundo, which ended with the shootout, the chief said.
The wounded SWAT officer was shot in the hip and is expected to make a full recovery, Beck said.
The suspect was taken to a hospital in serious condition and will be arrested in connection with the March killing and for investigation of attempted murder of a police officer, the chief said.
Beck visited the wounded officer at the hospital and said he was stable and his wife, a fellow LAPD officer, was at his bedside.
The Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents police officers, said the shooting is a "somber reminder that police work is inherently dangerous and deadly."
Ky. 'Blue Lives Matter' bill makes violence against cops a hate crime
Kentucky is the second state to adopt the classification for its first responders
by PoliceOne Staff
FRANKFORT, Ky. — The state of Kentucky now classifies violent acts against first responders as a hate crime.
NY Daily News reported that HB 14 protects law enforcement, firefighters and EMTs while on duty. The “Blue Lives Matter” bill says “offenses committed against an individual because of an individual's actual or perceived” first responder role will be treated as a hate crime.
The bill was signed into law in March and took effect Thursday. Protesters in Kentucky said the bill could be used against those fighting against police brutality.
Commonwealth Attorney Rob Sanders said the bill might have passed, but it won't change much in the long run.
“People get real excited — ‘This is a hate crime, this is hate crime.' But under Kentucky law, it doesn't really matter all that much if it is a hate crime, because it doesn't bring any more punishment to the case,” he said.
Sanders said the bill may not increase sentencing, but the judge will have more leniency when denying parole or bond.
Bill letting police use pill database goes to RI gov.
by the Associated Press
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A bill to allow law enforcement access to an electronic database of prescription painkillers is now awaiting approval from Gov. Gina Raimondo.
The proposal would give criminal investigators from state and local agencies access to a database used by health professionals to track prescribing patterns for various opioids, including Vicodin and OxyContin, stimulants and sedatives. Several other states have similar laws.
The attorney general's office pushed for the bill, saying it would allow law enforcement to investigate "pill mills and drug diversion."
But medical groups lobbied against it, saying it bill compromises patient confidentiality and that the database should be a tool for health care, not law enforcement.
Attorney General Peter Kilmartin says drug diversion is contributing to the opioid crisis, and the legislation will save lives.
From the Department of Homeland Security
DHS Announces Implementation Of Restriction Provisions
WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security, in coordination with the Departments of State and Justice, will begin the implementation of certain travel restriction provisions in the President's Executive Order: Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States at 8 pm EDT today.
Per the Executive Order and the associated June 14 Presidential Memorandum, the temporary suspension of entry applies, with limited exceptions, only to foreign nationals from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen, who are outside the United States as of June 26, who did not have a valid visa at 5 p.m. EST on January 27, and who do not have a valid visa as of 8 p.m. EDT on June 29.
For purposes of enforcement of Executive Order No. 13780, visas that have been issued by the Department of State prior to the effective date of the Executive Order -June 29 at 8 p.m. EDT- are to be considered as valid for travel and seeking entry into the United States unless revoked on a basis unrelated to EO 13780. Persons from the six countries presenting themselves for entry with a valid previously issued visa and who meet other universally applied entry requirements will be admitted.
The Department expects business as usual at our ports of entry upon implementation of the EO today. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers are trained and prepared to professionally process in accordance with the laws of the United States persons with valid visas who present themselves for entry. We expect no disruptions to service.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, in coordination with the Departments of State and Justice, has provided guidance to its workforce regarding the adjudication of refugee applications to ensure proper implementation of EO 13780 in light of the Supreme Court's order.
It remains true at all times that all individuals seeking entry to the United States remain subject to all laws governing entry into the U.S., including all rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act, and any other relevant statutory authority and all extant presidential orders and directives.
The Executive Order's Travel Restrictions do not apply to:
(a) Lawful permanent residents;
(b) Any foreign national admitted to or paroled into the United States on or after June 26, 2017;
(c) Non-Immigrant visa classifications: A-1, A-2, NATO 1 though NATO 6, C-2, C-3, G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4;
(d) Any foreign national who has been granted asylum, any refugee who has already been admitted to the United States, or any individual who has been granted withholding of removal or protection under the Convention Against Torture;
(e) Any foreign national who has a document other than a visa, valid on June 26, 2017 or issued on any date thereafter, that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission, such as an advance parole document;
(f) Aliens who present at the port of entry boarding foils, including YY or ZZ boarding foils, or transportation letters, including those documents issued to follow-to-join asylees.
(g) Any dual national of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen who is traveling on a passport issued by a country other than one of those six countries.
(h) Any national who has obtained a waiver pursuant to the terms of the EO or any individual covered by the portion of the injunction not stayed by the Supreme Court's decision, i.e., “foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”
(i) Any individual seeking admission as a refugee who, before 8 p.m. EDT on June 29, 2017, was formally scheduled for transit by the Department of State. After 8 p.m. EDT on June 29, 2017, if a first-time refugee is issued travel documents, those documents are evidence that the refugee has been cleared for travel and the EO will not apply.
For more information, see the frequently asked questions.
DHS Launches "My DHS Idea" Campaign
/redirect?url=https%3A%2F%2Fhomelandsecurity.ideascale.com%2FThe U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would like to hear from you about the homeland security issues that concern you and your community.
DHS is in the process of completing a major strategic review of the Department's programs and priorities, and will deliver its finished product – the 2018 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review – to Congress in December 2017. As part of the review, DHS is inviting members of the public to participate in the online "My DHS Idea" campaign.
These are some of the important missions staff of DHS perform every day:
Trade enforcement and facilitation;
Disaster preparedness and response; and
What homeland security issues do you care about? What areas should DHS prioritize? What are the most pressing risks facing your community and the Nation as a whole?
Using the IdeaScale platform, you can post your own ideas to address the homeland security challenges that are important to you and your community, comment on other people's ideas, and vote on the issues and approaches you think are the most important for DHS to consider. This interactive format allows everyone on the site to see the issues that are most important to other participants, and which ideas generate the most interest and support. The Department's Office of Policy staff will moderate and contribute to discussions on an occasional basis, incorporating key ideas into the strategy review process as appropriate.
You can find the link to the DHS IdeaScale site at https://homelandsecurity.ideascale.com.
From the Department of Justice
Attorney General Sessions Speaks with Families of Victims Killed by Illegal Aliens
Today Attorney General Jeff Sessions met with families who have lost loved ones because of crimes committed by illegal aliens. In the meeting they discussed the progress being made by the Trump Administration to strengthen laws protecting Americans from crimes committed by illegal aliens and, the need to keep working to ensure that federal immigration laws are enforced.
“It was a great honor for me to meet with these families, and I was impacted by their stories,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “The tragic burdens they carry remind us of the urgent need by the federal government to fully enforce our immigration laws and to secure the borders of this country. No Americans should experience what these families have suffered. I want to thank these strong moms, dads, siblings and widows for ensuring that their loved ones don't die in vain by using their voices to affect the real changes that we are implementing. I commit to them, and I commit to the American people that the Department of Justice will do everything in our power to ensure the safety of every American community.”
Attending the meeting with the Attorney General were Maureen Laquerre and Maureen Maloney of Massachusetts, Juan Piña and Sabine Durden of California, Steve Ronnebeck and Mary Ann Mendoza of Arizona and Laura Wilkerson of Texas.