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

September, 2017 - Week 3
MJ Goyings
Many thanks to our very own "MJ" Goyings, a resident of Ohio,
for her daily research that provides us with the news related material that appears on the LACP & NAASCA web sites.


Protests resume after 80 arrests in St. Louis unrest

by Jim Salter and Summer Ballentine

A racially mixed crowd of demonstrators locked arms and marched quietly through downtown St. Louis Monday morning to protest the acquittal of a white former police officer in the killing of a black suspect, following another night of unrest and more than 80 arrests.

The latest action follows three days of peaceful protests and three nights of violence in the city that has been rocked since Friday, when a judge announced he found Jason Stockley not guilty in the 2011 death of Anthony Lamar Smith.

Hundreds of riot police mobilized downtown late Sunday, arresting more than 80 people and seizing weapons amid reports of property damage and vandalism. The arrests came after demonstrators ignored orders to disperse, police said.

"I'm proud to tell you the city of St. Louis is safe and the police owned tonight," Interim Police Chief Lawrence O'Toole said at a news conference early Monday.

Earlier Sunday, more than 1,000 people had gathered at police headquarters then marched without trouble through downtown St. Louis, the posh Central West End, and the trendy Delmar Loop area of nearby University City. Protesters also marched through two shopping malls in a wealthy area of St. Louis County.

By nightfall, most had gone home. The 100 or so people who remained grew increasingly agitated as they marched back toward downtown. Along the way, they knocked over planters, broke windows at a few shops and hotels, and scattered plastic chairs at an outdoor venue.

According to police, the demonstrators then sprayed bottles with an unknown substance on officers.

One officer suffered a leg injury and was taken to a hospital. His condition wasn't known.

Soon afterward, buses brought in additional officers in riot gear, and police scoured downtown deep into the night, making arrests and seizing at least five weapons, according to O'Toole. Later, officers in riot gear gathered alongside a city boulevard chanting "whose street, our street" — a common refrain used by the protesters — after clearing the street of demonstrators and onlookers.

"We're in control. This is our city and we're going to protect it," O'Toole said.

Mayor Lyda Krewson said at the same Monday news conference that "the days have been calm and the nights have been destructive" and that "destruction cannot be tolerated."

Early Monday, more than 150 protesters marched arm-in-arm, some carrying signs, to City Hall. Police turned traffic away as the marchers blocked a busy St. Louis street during the rush hour crush.

The recent St. Louis protests follow a pattern seen since the August 2014 killing of Michael Brown in nearby Ferguson : The majority of demonstrators, though angry, are law-abiding. But as the night wears on, a subsection emerges, a different crowd more willing to confront police, sometimes to the point of clashes.

Protest organizer Anthony Bell said he understands why some act out: While change can come through peaceful protests, such as those led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., years of oppression has caused some to turn violent.

"I do not say the (violent) demonstrators are wrong, but I believe peaceful demonstrations are the best," Bell said.

State Rep. Bruce Franks, a Democrat who has participated in the peaceful protests, said those behind the violence "are not protesters."

The late night unrest since the verdict was issued has led to destruction across the St. Louis area. It was after nightfall Friday that people shattered a window at the home of Mayor Lynda Krewson, smashed about two dozen windows and threw trash cans and rocks at police in University City on Saturday, and knocked out windows downtown on Sunday.

Many protesters believe police provoked demonstrators by showing up in riot gear and armored vehicles; police said they had no choice but to protect themselves once protesters started throwing things at them.

Stockley shot Smith after high-speed chase as officers tried to arrest Smith and his partner in a suspected drug deal.

Stockley, 36, testified he felt endangered because he saw Smith holding a silver revolver when Smith backed his car toward the officers and sped away.

Prosecutors said Stockley planted a gun in Smith's car after the shooting. The officer's DNA was on the weapon but Smith's wasn't. Dashcam video from Stockley's cruiser recorded him saying he was "going to kill this (expletive)." Less than a minute later, he shot Smith five times.

Stockley's lawyer dismissed the comment as "human emotions" during a dangerous pursuit. St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson, who said prosecutors didn't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Stockley murdered Smith, said the statement could be ambiguous.

Stockley left the police department and moved to Houston three years ago.



Louisiana Police Say Execution-Style Killings Of Two Black Men Likely Racially Motivated

A 23-year-old white man is suspected of gunning down the two black men on separate nights last week

by Brianna Sacks

Police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, say the ambush-style killings of two black men, who were gunned down on two separate nights last week, were likely racially motivated, and that 23-year-old white man has been identified as a person of interest.

Kenneth Gleason was arrested on drug charges, but was released from the East Baton Rouge Parish Jail late Sunday night on a $3,500 bond. Witness accounts and extensive questioning led authorities to identify Gleason as a person of interest in the shootings, but police did not immediately have enough hard evidence to arrest him as a suspect in those crimes, Baton Rouge Police Department Sgt. L'Jean McKneely told BuzzFeed News Sunday. He emphasized that the investigation is still ongoing.

On two separate occasions last week, a white man in a dark red car targeted, ambushed, and killed two black men in predominantly black neighborhoods, McKneely said. In both slayings, witnesses told police that a man fired shots from his vehicle, then got out and approached the men as they lay on the ground, stood over them and fired multiple times. The suspect was wearing dark clothes, possibly a tactical vest, and carrying a handgun.

Both men were found in the street and died at the scene. Shell casings connected the two apparently random attacks, McKneely explained.

"The way these shootings happened points to the fact they were racially motivated killings: A white male shooting and standing over two black men, completely unrelated," he said. "But we are still looking at other motives and the investigation is ongoing."

The first incident occurred around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday night, when 59-year-old Bruce Cofield, a homeless man who locals reportedly referred to as "Mr. Bruce," was shot and killed in the 3400 block of Florida Street in Baton Rouge.

"The man didn't bother anyone, not to get shot like that," Markia Johnson told The Advocate , adding that she heard about 12 gunshots—six, a pause, and then six more. "It's senseless."

Two nights later, and about five miles away, Donald Smart was gunned down as he walked to his overnight shift at Louie's Cafe, where the 49-year-old had worked as a dishwasher for 20 years. He was found lying in the roadway at around 11:00 p.m., a half mile from the diner.

Smart, who was married with three children, was remembered as a motivating, "whistle while you work," hard-working employee who loved to share stories and make people smile, The Advocate reported. He worked five days a week from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. and consistently showed up to the busy, 24-hour diner in a spotless white T-shirt and white Nike tennis shoes, co-workers told the paper.

“What Donald means to me as a person and Louie's as an institution is not quantifiable — it's not measurable,” said Fred Simonson, the diner's general manager, who broke down in tears describing Smart.

"This isn't just a murder victim, this isn't, like, just some dude," Simonson told the Advocate. We're not all perfect but, damn it, if this guy wasn't close. ... I will love that man until they day I die."

Neither Cofield or Smart had any prior relationship with Gleason, McKneely said.

After putting out a description of the car, officers pulled Gleason over and questioned him extensively for several hours. Based on that interview and other circumstantial evidence, McKneely said detectives issued a search warrant for his home and on Saturday found marijuana and human growth hormones, according to a police report obtained by the Advocate.

Gleason did not have any valid prescriptions for the drugs and was charged with possession of Schedule I drugs and possession with intent to distribute Schedule III drugs. Public records show the home is owned by Gleason's parents. It's about 10 miles from the shootings.

McKneely stressed that Gleason is not officially listed as a suspect in the killings and they are actively exploring other possible leads.

Surprised neighbors and family members described the 23-year-old as a "good" and "clean-cut American kid" who "had no problems with any person," the Associated Press reported.

“He said he never liked guns. That's why he wanted to get into archery,” Gleason's cousin, 33-year-old Barton Sing, told the AP. “He's the last person I'd think to do something like this.”



Police Chief Ken Burton Talks About Racial Profiling, Community Policing And Why He's So Frustrated

by Katherine Reed and Columbia Missourian

Each year, with the release of traffic stop data by the Missouri Attorney General's Office, the problem of racial profiling comes into sharper focus — and validates the suspicions of people who say they've been pulled over because of the color of their skin. Community groups like the NAACP and the newer Race Matters, Friends, have asked Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton to, first, acknowledge the problem and then take steps to solve it.

Not so fast, Burton has said in response to part one. His response — frustrating to some people — has been: "We need more, better data." But at the same time, the chief has taken steps he believes should reduce racial profiling, if, indeed, it's a problem among Columbia cops.

Here's what the numbers in the 2015 and 2016 reports showed: In 2015, black drivers were stopped 3,348 times, and that represented a rate 3.6 times higher than the rate at which white drivers were pulled over. In 2016, black drivers were stopped 3,691 times — a rate 3.9 times higher than the rate at which white drivers were pulled over.

The problem with the data, Burton has said repeatedly, is that it doesn't go deep enough. He cites evidence from his own mini-study of the 15 cops who had the greatest racial disparity in their traffic stops last year: In each case, he says, there's a good reason for the disparity. Maybe geographical location in the city. Or the officer's specific assignment.

What the data don't reveal is racism by Columbia cops, he says.

That's the sticking point for Race Matters, Friends, who have said that a police chief who can't acknowledge what is plain to see has no business in the job and no business asking the community to support funding for more cops.

Without more funding, though, expanding the department's community police efforts is impossible, Burton says.

But don't call it an "impasse," the chief pleads. The department and the community are just seeing the same problem through different lenses. And there's hope. But what needs to take place is a quieter, kinder conversation that recognizes that everyone has the same goal: to make Columbia a better place for everyone to live.



New juvenile engagement coordinator to bridge gap between youth and KCK police

by Charlie Keegan

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Elaine Moore wants the story of every Kansas City, Kansas, child to have a happy ending. Moore, a police officer newly tasked with connecting police to the city's youth, believes that begins by establishing a healthy relationship between youth and the police department.

Chief Terry Zeigler thought she'd be the perfect fit for the department's new juvenile engagement coordinator position.

“It's me and the kids; I'm about the kids in the community,” said Moore in an interview at Banneker Elementary School.

Moore read stories to students in a second grade classroom Wednesday. Her message for the day was to illustrate how actions control outcomes for the students.

“Respect is a huge thing,” she explained. “For most of the people that have issues, it's because they feel someone disrespected them.”

The mayor of Kansas City, Kansas, held a forum over the summer. Youth in the community told him they feel a gap between them and the police department. The chief of police created Moore's engagement coordinator position to build that relationship. The chief wants her to promote the existing programs the department gears toward children, evaluate their effectiveness and develop new programs.

“You want the kids to trust you,” Moore said.

She works in the department's community policing division. For most of her career, that meant visiting schools and events around the city. With the new juvenile engagement coordinator title, she'll continue to work in community policing, but her focus will be on empowering and connecting with children.

Moore hopes giving juveniles a familiar face in the police department will guide children down a crime-free path.

“I can get them steered toward education instead of hanging on the streets, or gun violence, or fighting,” Moore explained.

The department announced the new position at the beginning of the month. After a few weeks, teachers and school staff said they have noticed a difference.

“[The students] love to know that they are cared about. Not just by us, but by everyone in their community,” said Sarah Ross, a counselor at Banneker Elementary School.


US considers shooting down NK missiles that don't pose a direct threat

by Barbara Starr

As tensions continue to ratchet up with North Korea, CNN has learned that the US is considering shooting down a North Korean ballistic missile even if it does not directly threaten the US or its allies.

Speaking to reporters Monday, Defense Secretary James Mattis said North Korea is "intentionally doing provocations that seem to press against the envelope for just how far can they push without going over some kind of a line in their minds that would make them vulnerable."

An official directly familiar with options planning within the Trump administration told CNN the question that now needs to be answered is whether North Korea's missile program has progressed to the level of being such an inherent threat that the Pentagon would recommend targeting a missile even if its trajectory did not indicate it would hit the US or its allies. The official declined to speak on the record because of the sensitivity of the issue.

While US officials have long said the military maintains a full range of options for dealing with North Korea, the notion of shooting down a missile has largely centered on conducting an operation if the missile were to directly threaten the US or its allies. There has been particular concern since Kim Jong Un recently threatened the US territory of Guam.

The idea of shooting down a missile even if it is not a direct threat is not new. But with two recently launched North Korean missiles flying over northern Japan, the potential for having to consider a shoot-down without a direct threat remains very real, according to one senior defense official.

Members of the administration have repeatedly emphasized that a range of military options are on the table and Mattis said that the US possess military options that would not put Seoul at risk of a North Korean counterattack with the potential to kill tens of thousands of civilians.

Asked at an off-camera briefing at the Pentagon if there are military options that would not put Seoul at "grave risk?" He answered: "Yes there are, but I will not go into details."

Mattis would not clarify if the options he was referring to are kinetic- meaning strikes using conventional weapons.

The Pentagon is looking at potential covert cyberattack options. But other non-kinetic options could include a show of force in the air or on land in the region or increasing the US military presence in the area by deploying more ships or troops.

He did confirm that he had discussed the option of putting tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea, an idea rejected by South Korea's President last week. Several Pentagon officials say Mattis was not signaling that tactical nuclear weapons are likely to be placed in South Korea.

And the situation remains tense with Mattis stating: "I believe that there is always the potential for miscalculation by the DPRK leader."


'A big joke': Only imperfect U.S. defences can save Canada from North Korean missiles

by Josh K. Elliott

If North Korea launched a dozen nuclear weapons at North America the U.S. missile defences probably would not be able to stop them all, and they wouldn't be required to defend Canada, either.

Canada currently has no means of defending against an incoming intercontinental ballistic missile, and no formal guarantee that the United States would use its missile defences on Canada's behalf. In fact, Canada declined to work with the United States on its missile defence program in 2005, and has not reversed course under subsequent Liberal and Conservative governments. And with North Korea now claiming it can strike a target anywhere in the continental U.S., Canada is technically defenceless against such an attack.

“It's a big joke,” said Christian Leuprecht, a political science professor at the Royal Military College of Canada and senior fellow at the Macdonald Laurier Institute. “Canada is too vulnerable in not buying into ballistic missile defence,” he told

Leuprecht points out that the U.S. and Canada have an information-sharing agreement in place through their participation in the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD. However, that agreement does not include a specific plan for dealing with a missile headed toward Canada.

In other words, Canadian military personnel at NORAD might be able to spot an incoming missile, but the decision to try and shoot that missile down rests entirely with the Americans.

NORAD's Canadian deputy commander, Lt.-Gen Pierre St-Amand, echoed that sentiment in September, saying that under the current policy the U.S. would not come to Canada's defence.

“It's not that Canada is a target, but the danger is… if those missiles are coming over the pole, they may be aimed at Chicago but they wind up in Toronto,” Colin Robertson, vice president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, said on CTV News Channel Sept. 14.

But arms control expert and UBC political science professor Allen Sens says the direct threat to Canada is a “red herring,” because the Americans would likely shoot down an incoming missile anyway.

“When a missile is in its flightpath, it's difficult to determine exactly where it's going to land,” Sens, of the University of British Columbia, told Sens also cast doubt on the notion that the U.S. would back off with its missile defences once it learned that the weapon was headed for Canada.

“The Americans don't want a missile to hit Canada because the Americans could be impacted,” he said.

The North Korean threat has renewed debate in Ottawa over whether Canada should participate in the U.S. missile defence program. Canada's recently-released defence policy does not specifically address missile defence, although it does acknowledge the dangers of North Korea's burgeoning arsenal.

“The number of countries with access to ballistic missile technology, including some with the potential to reach North America or target Canadian and allied deployed forces, has increased and is expected to grow and become more sophisticated,” the policy says.

Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan has said the missile defence issue will be revisited as part of efforts to modernize NORAD.

“We're going to have a much more thorough discussion with the U.S. on this,” Sajjan told CTV's Question Period in June.

Those who oppose missile defence argue that it can be a cause for escalation, prompting rival countries to build more nukes so they can maintain the ability to overwhelm American defences. Essentially, greater defences call for greater offensive capabilities.

With the political debate only just ramping up, Leuprecht says it's unclear what it would cost for Canada to buy into missile defence. “Technologically, no additional material would be required,” he said.

However, it is possible that the U.S. would ask Canada to pay for it, Leuprecht said.

And as many experts have pointed out, the primary U.S. missile defence system simply can't guarantee protection with its success rate of just 55 per cent in controlled tests.

How the U.S. missile defence system works

Although it's often characterized as a “shield,” the United States isn't actually protected by some kind of sci-fi force field. Instead, it relies on missiles intended to intercept and destroy incoming intercontinental ballistic missiles before they detonate over a populated area.

The flight of an incoming missile is broken down into three stages.

The first stage is called the boost phase, during which the enemy ICBM takes off from its launch site, shedding its boosters one at a time as their fuel is expended. The missile is particularly vulnerable at this stage, as it spends about four minutes to work itself up to a speed of about 24,000 kilometres per hour. This is the best time to shoot it down, but since these launches usually occur in enemy territory and without warning, it can be difficult to detect it and respond to it in time, Leuprecht says.

Next comes the midcourse phase, which can last up to 20 minutes. During this phase the missile starts coasting up toward the peak of its arc (approximately 1,000 kilometres up).This is when the warhead might also release decoys to confuse any attempt to intercept the real nuke.

The missile's final descent toward its target is known as the terminal phase, and usually only lasts about two minutes.

The U.S. missile defence system, perhaps best described as trying to stop an enemy bullet by shooting it with another bullet, uses short- and medium-range missiles. Each of these defensive missiles is a single-booster rocket used to deploy a “kill vehicle,” which manoeuvres itself into a collision course with incoming warheads so it can destroy them on impact.

The system uses radar posts and satellite imagery to constantly update the kill vehicle's trajectory, despite its travelling at supersonic speeds.

Most of the Americans' missile defences are geared toward intercepting missiles in the midcourse or terminal phases, with various weapons systems providing overlapping coverage to defend the North American coast and America's Asian allies.

The Ground-based Midcourse Defence (GMD) system based in Alaska and California offers long-range intercept capability during the midcourse and terminal phases, while sea-based Aegis missiles and land-based PAC-3 missiles provide back-up defence during the terminal phase.

The Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system is also designed to take out incoming missiles in the terminal phase, although it's geared more toward short- and medium-range attacks against Japan, Guam or South Korea.

Leuprecht says this overlapping system might be quite effective at taking down a single incoming missile, because it can make numerous attempts at intercepting an ICBM before it strikes. But if North Korea were to launch a dozen missiles, for instance, there would be no way to ensure they were all shot down.

“The North Koreans are working on the ability to overwhelm those missile defence shields,” he said.

Poking holes in the U.S. defence 'shield'

The Americans currently have THAAD defences deployed in South Korea and Guam, Aegis missiles on their destroyers in the Pacific, and at least 36 GMD missiles ready to launch from bases in Alaska and California.

However, defence experts don't agree about the effectiveness of the American missile defence system. Some say the testing process is not scientifically sound, while others stand by the official results released by the U.S. military.

The Americans' cutting-edge THAAD system is considered the best element of their arsenal, with a perfect 15-15 testing record. However, those trials were conducted under controlled non-combat conditions, and are geared toward shooting down shorter-range missiles that might strike at North Korea's neighbours.

The U.S. Ground-Based Midcourse Defence system has only taken out 10 of 18 targets in tests since 1999 – a result that leaves much to be desired, especially when imagining a nuclear weapon on the end of an incoming ICBM.

The Pentagon acknowledged this shortcoming in a 2016 report , which concluded that the GMD system “demonstrated a limited capability to defend the U.S. homeland from small numbers of simple intermediate-range or intercontinental ballistic missile threats launched from North Korea or Iran.”

According to the report, the GMD failed its tests for a variety of reasons, while radar availability was also found to be an issue with its effectiveness. “The reliability and availability of the (ground-based interceptors) are low,” the Pentagon said.

Leuprecht says the U.S. system leaves something to be desired, but that's intentional. He says it must be able to defend against North Korea or Iran, but not against nuclear superpowers such as China or Russia, because peace with those nations is partially built on the awareness that both sides could destroy each other in a nuclear conflict.

“The system can defend against North Korea, but the system can't defend against the Russians,” Leuprecht said. “It's mutually assured destruction.”

He added that North Korea is working on the ability to overwhelm the U.S. missile defence shield with sheer numbers, but it remains a long way off from that goal.

However, North Korea's more immediate neighbours in Japan and South Korea are not so safe.

Leuprecht says the North is already fully capable of annihilating the South Korean capital of Seoul, regardless of whether or not it uses nuclear weapons. The North has been perfecting its short- and medium-range missiles for years, and could easily overwhelm the THAAD system in South Korea with those weapons.

“That would mean 10 million dead in the first hour of a conflict,” Leuprecht said.

That threat has existed on the Korean peninsula for years, but what Kim Jong Un really wants is to extend the threat to include North America.

He adds that, if North Korea ever did strike at North America, NATO's member nations would all be drawn into the conflict. “They know,” he said. “If there's a missile that flies toward North America, it's going to be ‘all in.'”



Q&A: Police Chief Ken Burton talks about racial profiling, community policing and why he's so frustrated

by Katherine Reed

Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton speaks to media about the state of policing in June 2016.

Each year, with the release of traffic stop data by the Missouri Attorney General's Office, the problem of racial profiling comes into sharper focus — and validates the suspicions of people who say they've been pulled over because of the color of their skin. Community groups like the NAACP and the newer Race Matters, Friends, have asked Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton to, first, acknowledge the problem and then take steps to solve it.

Not so fast, Burton has said in response to part one. His response — frustrating to some people — has been: “We need more, better data.” But at the same time, the chief has taken steps he believes should reduce racial profiling, if, indeed, it's a problem among Columbia cops.

Here's what the numbers in the 2015 and 2016 reports showed: In 2015, black drivers were stopped 3,348 times, and that represented a rate 3.6 times higher than the rate at which white drivers were pulled over. In 2016, black drivers were stopped 3,691 times — a rate 3.9 times higher than the rate at which white drivers were pulled over.

The problem with the data, Burton has said repeatedly, is that it doesn't go deep enough. He cites evidence from his own mini-study of the 15 cops who had the greatest racial disparity in their traffic stops last year: In each case, he says, there's a good reason for the disparity. Maybe geographical location in the city. Or the officer's specific assignment.

What the data don't reveal is racism by Columbia cops, he says.

That's the sticking point for Race Matters, Friends, who have said that a police chief who can't acknowledge what is plain to see has no business in the job and no business asking the community to support funding for more cops.

Without more funding, though, expanding the department's community police efforts is impossible, Burton says.

But don't call it an “impasse,” the chief pleads. The department and the community are just seeing the same problem through different lenses. And there's hope. But what needs to take place is a quieter, kinder conversation that recognizes that everyone has the same goal: to make Columbia a better place for everyone to live.

Burton talked to the Missourian last week about the non-impasse, the data, why he needs to analyze it more thoughtfully and why he's so frustrated with the direction the conversation has taken. (The conversation has been edited to tighten the focus on racial profiling and community policing.)

Brian Richenberger and Jeremiah Hunter, assistant chiefs of the Columbia Police Department, and Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton take questions from Race Matters, Friends about community policing in October 2016.

Q: What is your perception of the traffic stop data, and why do you have reservations about it?

A: When I start to talk to folks like Race Matters, Friends and those folks, when I say that I don't believe the numbers support what they're saying, they start yelling. They are not hearing what I am about to say. I have never once said that racial profiling doesn't exist in policing, never once. And the reason I don't say that is because I don't know what's in a person's heart. I could very well have a number of officers on the department or none of the officers on the department that are engaging in things based on race and they don't even realize it. So, it would be implicit bias. I think that it's also a possibility that you have an openly racist officer out there that at least is openly racist to his friends and family and then is using that to influence their decision making. But in order to prove that you have to know what's in that person's heart.

When this first happened, we started talking about it. I told my crime analysts to take the top 15 officers that have a disparity index in traffic stops. I don't want to hear names yet. I want you to analyze them, I want you to tell me when they were working, where they were working, give me all the details.

So very quickly it jumped off the page at us, especially with No. 1 because this particular officer had made 12 traffic stops and they were all black males and they were all in the same area of town. As we got to looking at it a little bit further … the officer in question was working an overtime assignment in an area of the city where we had been experiencing shootings with black males shooting at black males. So, he was put out there on overtime to saturate — we call them saturation patrols — and they were put out there for the specific purpose of trying to identify who's doing the shooting. So, he made 12 traffic stops, they were all 12 black males. It turned out he was a sergeant, so he generally doesn't make traffic stops that often. He did it on the overtime assignment. So, here's all these good reasons why this happened when you look at it. We also looked at the geography. When you look at the geography of the city and you look at the activity, if you had a way to look at the time-lapse map of the city, you would see as the day goes on during the day we have calls all over the map. The later it gets at night — particularly after 10 p.m. — those calls come toward the center of the city. So where do all the cops go? Toward the center of the city because that's where the calls are occurring. So, if you look at it based on a time and date where the activity is occurring, it's where most people are up, which is in the central part of the city downtown. My argument against the (Attorney General's) numbers is that they don't go far enough. If you want us to do a deep analysis of this, give us the resources and I'm talking about our state legislature. I contracted with a university professor back in Texas that took my data for my departments and then went in to it and did the deeper analysis and guess what, nobody said I was racially profiling. Nobody said our department was racially profiling.

What are the additional factors that you would have to look at in the data when you say ‘go deeper‘?

When you look at the data that we do collect we get the age, sex, and race, and that is whatever the person tells us. If you can't tell, then they're white. It's just very basic information, what the violation was for and actually some information that I do not think is needed. We go into a lot of detail looking for information on what we actually did with the stop. Why does that matter? If we make the stop for an equipment violation or if we make the stop for a moving violation, does it matter if we write the person a ticket or not? No, it doesn't. But it requires us to gather that data, and to me that's not relevant. Why we made the initial stop is what's relevant. Now you could go in and make the argument and say, what if you're actually giving tickets to one group over the other? That's a real possibility. But if you're talking about from a racial profiling standpoint, all you need is why you're making a stop. One of the things that you'll find also is that the level of poverty in the African-American community is much higher percentage wise in Columbia than the poverty level for Caucasians or other races. And you got to look at the way police officers look at the law. If you're driving down the street and you have a taillight out, and you get stopped for that taillight — first, you're going to notice the taillight and you're going to get it fixed. Somebody that's in poverty might not have the money to get it fixed. So, you're African American, you get stopped, it's a taillight which in the overall scheme of things is pretty trivial. What else are you going to think? He stopped me because I'm black, not because I had a taillight out. I completely get it from that perspective, why people would feel that way. But, if the traffic violation exists, we have to give the officer the benefit of the doubt that that's why he stopped the person.

Add that to my almost 40 years of police experience … I was a traffic ticket-writing machine. I worked traffic enforcement for many years. … Did I know the race of the driver before I stopped them? You're stopping at night sometimes and you don't see until you get up to the window if it's a male or female or who's in the car. It's next to impossible to try it in traffic, if you're driving around the city, to identify the race of the people. A very small percentage of the time, you'll be able to do it.

So if that's true then let's give the officers the benefit of the doubt, which a lot of people don't want to do because of their own personal experiences and beliefs, I get it. But if those violations are in existence — that taillight is out, that license plate is out, that registration is expired, that inspection sticker is expired, that's the reason the person is being stopped and it does not prove profiling. Even if the person behind the wheel happens to be black or Hispanic or Asian or whatever. So I think the biggest problem here is that we're not just talking past each other, we're looking at this through two different lenses. And I find it very difficult for me to accuse somebody of being a racist or racially profiling when I can't show you it's happening. I have no issue, if I have an officer that I think is racially profiling I'll correct it. But those numbers do not prove it.

They really want you to say the words.

They want me to say the words, and when I don't, they don't want me to have an opinion that's different from their own. I have a right to my opinion. Mine happens to be different from theirs. I respect theirs, I think they should respect mine. And realize there's two different lenses here that we're looking through. I'm the police chief, I'm looking at it from a lens of having to satisfy all stakeholders. How far would I go if I said, “Yup, we got a racist department, every one of my cops is out there racially profiling.” I'd have a mutiny. Especially, how the hell do you know? How do you know that? You're accusing me of being a racist, you're accusing me of making stops based on race alone. Were you in the car with me? I'm looking for proof of it. When I ask my analysts to look for that and we go through that data, I'm looking for a reason to say we have a problem here.

Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton sits at his desk surrounded by work and memorabilia in April 2016.

Tell me about the data you gathered one more time. You looked at the 15 officers that had the highest disparity index. And in every single one of those cases, were there factors that were confounding factors? Some other reason?

Yes. The area of the city where they worked. And there is something else that a lot of people don't realize. Our cops do not have a lot of time to make discretionary traffic stops. Unless we put them on a special assignment out there, they are going from call to call to call. So if somebody calls us and says there's a suspicious person on my street and it's an African-American male, why would we look for a white man? We are going to look for what they said is suspicious. So you're going to go in there and see that you find 90 percent of our calls we're going to base it on the race of the person that's described to us.

The public is racially profiling?

I don't believe that. I don't think it's even that. I think it's gone back even years before that. I think it's gone back to the '90s. When we had gangs coming out of Chicago and we had gangs coming out of California, they were all coming to Texas, and I supervised the gang unit. I know damn well they were profiling. Three young black men standing on the corner was a gang. Even if they were just standing there. And if it's in your neighborhood, you called saying I have gang members on my street. So the police respond. How do you think the kids respond to us? “I'm not a gang member.” But we're being told that this is a gang member. You're in this neighborhood and this person says you're acting suspicious. Well, what's suspicious? Standing on the corner?

The people that have stopped and listened to me and stopped and talked to me. One of them is (NAACP President) Mary Ratliff. And if you get an opportunity, I'd go and talk to her. I took a pretty good beating for reaching out to her when I first came here. 'Cause I said I want this lady to be my friend for no other reason so that we can sit down and talk about things. And she'll tell you today that she does not agree with everything I say, and I don't agree with everything she says. But we have been able to establish a dialogue where she can go and she goes “I don't think that's right,” and I can say, “Well, I don't think that's right,” and here's why and we can have a discussion — and it's a civil discussion — and at the end of the night, we're still friends. And the reason for that is because she wants I think what's best for the community. I don't think she has any hidden agendas. I think she's just wanting things to be better. Which is exactly what I want. So we have the same goals. And when people will give you the time and you can sit down and they talk with you and let you explain where you're coming from…

You know I have not denied that (racial profiling) is possible. I don't believe it's happening, and I don't see evidence of it happening without delving much deeper into the data that we have, which I simply don't have the resources to do. So when our hand is forced, I'll tell Jerry to drop everything else that he's doing. The crime that's going on that you're trying to analyze in the city. Drop all that and let's work on this and see if we can come up with something. And the problem is that I believe we have the vast majority of our officers going out there and doing the best job they know how, and they're not using racism as a basis. And as I said before, is it possible that we have some closet racists out there? Yeah. And I think those are the ones that we need to ferret out of the organization. But in order to do that, we're going to have to have proof, and just saying that those numbers prove it and screaming about it isn't going to change anything.

From left, Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton sits in a pew alongside City Manager Mike Matthes and Mayor Brian Treece on Aug. 22 at the NAACP forum in Second Baptist Church's sanctuary.

I want to go back to what you said about Mary Ratliff and how you feel that you both have the same goals…

I've learned so much from her. Because we were talking one night and she's actually used this because I used it. We were talking one night and we were talking and I said “What do you expect Mary? It's 2 o'clock in the morning, and an officer sees four kids in a car. They've got their headlights off, and they're driving down the street. (The officer is) naturally going to think there's trouble, and he's going to investigate why these kids are out at 2 o'clock in the morning.” She says, “Well, stop right there.” She says, “Do you know why four boys are in the car at the same time?” I said no, and she said “probably because only one can afford a car.” And that was an epiphany for me. Because I said I never looked at it that way. It makes absolute sense because I remember hauling around the boys that I ran around with in high school that didn't have a car.

You feel that you share an agenda of wanting the community be better?

Yes. Right.

But you don't feel that way about Race Matters, Friends?

I feel like their agendas are different, and let me tell you something: As a group, I have talked to individuals that are in that group that I thought was very productive. I thought, OK, why would these four or five middle-aged white women be in this room and be so passionate? When you start talking to them, you find out that one of them adopted two African-American children. Talked to another one and she happens to be married to an African-American man. And I start saying, OK, now I get it. But didn't get it until I sat down and learned about them.

White people generally have a stake in resolving racism in our society, whether or not they have a black husband or have adopted black children. Racism is a white person problem. Isn't it?

I completely agree. And what a lot of people don't know about me is that I have been a victim of racism. I'm Hispanic. I can tell you the thousands of times I was called a wetback. I can tell you the times when I was working in an environment with cops that were using that terminology. And I would stop them and say, “You know I'm Hispanic, right?” My mother is Mexican.

You look white. So there is a bit of a difference.

I know. But I'm Mexican. But the look on the officer's face though is priceless. And do you think that those comments hurt any less because I look white? My mother is 4-foot-11, little Hispanic lady and she lives in Chicago and she's 86 years old. I remember when I was growing up in grade school and we spoke what we used to call Spanglish. Because all my cousins and everybody spoke Spanish and English. I was bilingual. My aunts, my uncles, my mom, everybody said speak English when you go to school, you are going to have to speak English. And so guess what, I know very little Spanish now.

With Race Matters, Friends, you started to develop some understanding of their passion for this goal. But are you talking to each other anymore?

No. It's devolved into a situation where there's more yelling on one side and I don't get yelled at well. I'll sit and talk with you all day long if you'll be reasonable with me. But simply calling me a racist and saying I'm mistaken just because my opinion is different … What's the point?

So what do you think the way out of this is?

I think that the way out is to continue to work with the groups that are reasonable and that are open to discussion. We didn't develop this problem overnight, it's not going to be solved overnight. And some people that believe that we can solve it if the police chief said, “OK, we're all racists” that's not a solution either. Because I don't believe that. So I'm not going to do that. Now, you give me good solid evidence, something other than some numbers, and I collect it and you say that proves racial profiling. It just doesn't, it doesn't go far enough. So we've been talking to an (MU) professor who is trying to help us with the numbers and do a deeper analysis.

Who's the professor?

I don't know if he wants his name out there. I think he'd like to do a little study on his own and maybe publish something.

Police Chief Ken Burton talks to a community member at an eat and greet with the Columbia Police Department and the community in April 2012, at Second Baptist Church Annex.

What about Don Love (of Empower Missouri)?

Don is one of the most level-headed guys. I can talk with him all day long. Now we don't agree 100 percent. He believes that there's got to be something here. These numbers, they got to prove it. He believes like me I think that you have to delve deeper into the data because he's done it on his own. For what he has access too. So, I think we are on a good start working with the NAACP and of course Race Matters, Friends, who was a sponsor of the forums. And we're going to do that again on Sept. 27, where we are going to have another get-together. But I think what I really want to see come out of it is people just calm down and recognize that this is a community problem, it's not a police problem. It's a community problem, and there is a lot of understanding that a lot of different groups can come away with if they'll listen. I think that's why we called it a “Listening Tour” because we didn't want to give a lot of input at the last meeting because we were there to listen and hear what people say. And you know I've heard the stories. Most citizens in the U.S. only come in contact with a police officer once every five years, on average, whether it's a traffic stop, or whatever it is. How you perceive you are treated by that police officer is how you will look at all other police officers until you have another encounter. So if it doesn't go well, then you are going think that all police officers are like the ones you encountered.

Is that research? Or is that your impression?

This is the world according to Ken Burton. This is why I always thought it was so important to treat everyone you come in contact with like it's your father, your mother, your brother, your sister. And the cops get so tired of hearing about it. It might be the smelliest old drunk you've ever encountered. But if you say, if that were my dad, how would I want the police officer to come in contact with my dad? And then treat that person accordingly. What you're going to do is you're going to recognize that person's humanity first. And recognize that there's probably been a lot of life events that got them to this stage in life. And it's not up to us to judge, its up to us to do whatever we can to help this person. And helping, maybe actually taking them into custody for something, that may be how we're helping. But we do it in a manner that we would want our relatives to be treated. I ask that of my police officers.

And do we happen to slip up? Yeah. I'll tell you a good example right now. Some officers go out to a call, there is a Caucasian lady living next door to a black man. And the black man is complaining because the Caucasian lady is turning her cats loose outside, and they are walking all over his car that he just had detailed. But during the call, the white lady started using just vile expletives relating to her neighbor. Everything you could think of. The N-word is bad enough, she made a way to make it even worse. And she kept repeating it and kept repeating it, till finally the officer says to the lady, “You are acting like a racist,” and that ticked her off. Called her on being a racist. Told her to go back in the house and stop talking like a racist. So, she files a complaint on the officer. Saying that he called her racist. And I sustained the complaint (editor's note: Burton found that the complaint was justified). Guess why? Not because he wasn't right, it was the way he did it. He had a million different ways to tell this lady to shut up. And how I would've done it is, “Ma'am, there is no reason for language like that and I'm not going to listen to it. That's disrespectful, and I'm not listening to it.” Instead he called her a racist. Which you know he could have done in a million different ways. So it's not that he didn't recognize that this lady was a racist. But calling her one is not what we want our police officers to do.

Is he white?

Yeah. And he has other ways of correcting it, and that's all we're trying to tell him. And he's got some members of his chain of command that are up in arms because it was sustained because she was a racist. Watch the video! Listen to what she says! And my response is, I completely agree with you. What she said was racist. But we as police officers wearing this uniform cannot call people racist. We handle it with courtesy, dignity and respect. “Ma'am, I'm not going to listen to that, if you want to talk to me I'm willing to listen to you, but I'm not listening to that.”

What are the disciplinary consequences for him?

Verbal warning. It's a training thing that just says, hey, you could've done better. But those are the kind of things we deal with every day. And you know, the police officers get tired of reading that they're racist.

Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton said the department is reviewing its SWAT policies during a news conference in May 2010, at the Daniel Boone City Building. The news conference, which also featured then-Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid, was held to address concerns stemming from an online video that showed SWAT officers shooting two dogs while executing a search warrant earlier that year.

What about the implicit bias problem? I get where you are coming from about why you won't call it racial profiling because you're dissatisfied with the lack of nuance in the data. Would you acknowledge that there's implicit bias? In white people and white officers in the police department?

I think in every single person that works here, there is implicit bias that you bring to work. Yes, we all do, we're human beings.

How are you addressing implicit bias in the department?

Again you have to know what's in somebody's heart. If it's implicit, the person doesn't even know they're doing it.

So what's the harm in assuming that it's there and addressing it?

We do. We have actually had implicit bias training. We brought them here. We brought some instructors here and they came and they talked about recognizing your own bias that you bring.

Was that a one-time thing?

We have done it only one time, but we intend to do it again. But it's expensive because you have to do 165 people. First of all, it's expensive to get it in the classroom and then it's expensive to get the person to come back. We also applied for a grant through the COPS office and we got a grant. We were one of I think eight agencies that the Department of Justice came in and taught us and all of our supervisors about procedural justice. Procedural justice sounds like a big complicated term for something that is really very simple. And it's that recognizing a person's humanity first, and how you do that as a police officer when you approach someone on the street. The first thing is this is another human being I'm dealing with. I don't want to bring in the fact that I had a fight with my wife before work today to the table. And recognizing that this is a person's humanity you are dealing with teaches officers techniques to do that. But, the critiques that say that the numbers mean racial profiling are not satisfied with that training. It's not training that they believe in.

There is so much data out there, some of it good some of it bad, that can push you in one direction or another, and it frustrates me that we take this one little piece and we make a conclusion that the entire police department is racially profiling based on that small number.

I think it's being looked at in the context of what's happened for decades in this country. Especially for young black men getting killed for no reason. The perception of the data is that it proves racial profiling. It's within the context of evidence that there is racial profiling going on in America, and it often ends with people dying. And I think this is why there is so much emotion in this subject.

Then why aren't we as worried when we look at our crime data and you look at the fact that we have had seven or eight homicides this year? Go and look at the race and the age of the victims. And when we do arrest a suspect, look at the race and age of the suspect. I think there have been eight, seven were African-American. Where is the anger about that? We have young black men out there every night shooting each other, killing each other, and we're upset about the fact that the cops stopped me for a taillight and I happen to be black. That just pisses me off. Because those are things right there that can actually help the police.


If I had parents that said: “You are not going to engage in that activity.” Here is the other piece of the struggle that I also understand. We have, in the African-American community, a lot of one-parent families. I get it. And they're working three jobs to raise three kids. I get it. But I've seen successful parents and the things that they do, and I've seen unsuccessful parents. Societally, we have gotten to the point where if a teacher or police officer or somebody gets your kid and says, “Your kid was doing this, your kid was doing that,” they get attacked. Instead of them saying, “Why were you doing that? You need to go up there and get in the house, I'll be there to talk to you in a minute. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.” Which is what my dad would've done, and then my butt would've been in the ringer. Instead, we have parents that want to defend the activity. “My son's not a gang member.” Have you looked at his Facebook page? Have you seen him with the gun, and the money and what looks like cocaine on his bed? Because we have. If he's not a gang member, he sure as hell is acting like one. We have got to quit denying that our kids mess up sometimes. Kids do make mistakes, they're kids. But we need the help of parents to say, “You know what? My son is not going be out there being one of those statistics.” Either from the side of going to prison because he shoots somebody or going to his grave because somebody's shooting at him. It's senseless — the things these kids are shooting at each other for are senseless. Where is the anger over that?

I think there is anger over that. It seems like a shift to focus the conversation on black-on-black crime.

But I don't hear anybody saying anything about it I guess is my point.

You mean here in Columbia?


You don't hear people anywhere saying it's a problem?

No. In fact, there was a video of the police chief being interviewed by the media and somebody was complaining about one of the cops. They were focusing on this police-related shooting that looked like it was a legitimate shooting. But nobody was upset about the 5-year-old girl that got killed in her house from a stray bullet. And he kind of went off on this reporter about it. I appreciate where you're coming from when you say shift, I'm not saying shift, I'm saying share. It's a societal problem. That's a societal problem by itself. We all have a responsibility to make changes. We cannot do it without community support.

People want to talk about community policing and they do not know what it is. I've sat and talked with some members of Race Matters, Friends. Again, we are looking at it through a different lens. They want to be able to tell the police that you won't make stops of black people after 10 p.m. for taillight violations. Well, that's a violation of state law. We can't give up that right because we use that as an investigative tool to help prevent crimes and to help solve crimes. But that's what they want to be able to do. To them, that is what community policing is. Telling the police how to police. From the community policing perspective, where I come from is learning about the issues that are going on in your neighborhood and your neighborhood where you live and what's of concern to you and what do you want me to prioritize as a police officer working in your area.

Every neighborhood's different. You go down to Thornbrook, and you ask people, “When is the last time you saw a police officer in your neighborhood?” “I don't think I've ever seen one.” But if one did happen to show up down there, they'd all be outside. There are neighborhoods in our city that if they don't see the police, it's an indicator of a problem. Community policing is identifying what each one of those neighborhoods wants. If I go to East Campus, you know what they are going to tell me, “I want the college kids to quit shooting fireworks at 2 a.m.” There is a completely different set of problems there. On my end of the street, on my end of Broadway where I live, my wife raises hell about the traffic. That is high on her list. East Campus is not experiencing that. Community policing is taking the time to work with those citizens to find out what's of concern to them. It's not about changing laws or nullifying laws that you don't like. The laws are still there.

From left, Columbia Public Director Stacey Button, Public Works Director David Nichols, Police Chief Ken Burton, Civic Relations Officer Toni Messina and Columbia resident Michael Thornton talk during a barbecue at St. Luke United Methodist Church in June 2016. The barbecue was held before a community meeting, during which Button, Glascock, Burton and Messina spoke to the audience.

Race Matters, Friends has said we want to be able to tell police how we want to be policed. You're saying, we want the community to tell (police) what they need. Those are very similar.

No, they're very dissimilar. I want to know what kind of problems you're experiencing. I've got a set of laws right here, Missouri Statutes, they're all in there. The taillight is in there, the theft from people is in there, the robberies are in there. Those are legal definitions of all the crimes you can commit in Missouri. If you don't like these, you need to go to your legislature.

You have said marijuana possession is a fairly low priority for the police department. You could say it's a fairly low priority to be pulling over cars that have a burnt-out taillight.

It is. It is a low priority. But if you're in a neighborhood where crime issues are occurring. Officers are taught to use that taillight as a reason to stop people for investigative reasons. You have got to go back and think about … This is absolutely crazy and it drives me nuts, but we had some prosecutors apparently that said if you have probable cause, try to get consent to search anyway. If I have probable cause I'm searching your car. Why the hell would I need to go get consent? “Well, it's a stronger case if they tell you that you can search their car.” No, it's not. In fact, it's weaker. But that's what we were teaching cops here for years. You said you had probable cause, you smelled marijuana coming out of the car. So you had the ability to search that vehicle. Why didn't you ask for consent? “Well, the prosecutor likes when we do that.” I don't like it when we do that. You either have probable cause or you don't.

I think we are well on our way of getting this taken care of because if we don't, if this doesn't work, we are not going to do consent searches without a supervisor's approval. That had better work.

What do you think so far?

The numbers are showing that (the consent-to-search form) is helping.

Is it being used? Because Race Matters, Friends are saying it's not being used.


(Race Matters, Friends President) Traci Wilson-Kleekamp* was riding with an officer. And the officer said he didn't use them because he didn't do consent searches. She interpreted that to mean that they were not being used. She was doing a ride-along. The officer said he doesn't do consent searches and he doesn't need to because he says he either has probable cause or he doesn't. Which is my philosophy. I'd hate to take a tool like consent searches away from our officers.

We've come across another problem that I'm trying to solve. We have this archaic records management system that we've had for so long. And for decades, whoever wanted to could go in there as long as you had access to the records management system. I could go in there and put comments in there about Katherine Reed. So, if I smell marijuana in the car and I talk to you and I come to the conclusion that you might be a drug dealer even though you're not arrested.

Katherine Reed is a possible drug dealer. Now I made that opinion based on the fact that I thought I smelled pot in your car. And you have an attitude of a possible drug dealer. Now fast forward 10 years, brand new cop goes in there, stops Katherine Reed for a traffic violation. Goes in and looks at your history. Possible drug dealer. Now he wants to search your car. So he goes up and says, “Can I search your car?” and you go, “Hell no, you're not searching my car.” And it deteriorates and he either can search your car or he can't, or you come down here to internal affairs and say, “Why the hell does he want to search my car?” And we go and we look and it says that you were a possible drug dealer, 10 years ago, and the information can't be verified. But, for decades we taught officers it was OK.

City Manager Mike Matthes, left, and Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton enter a conference room on March 6, 2012, at the Daniel Boone City Building.

What is the way forward for this because it does feel like community policing is something that a lot of people in Columbia like the sound of, partly because of the success of the unit that is already out there.

Not just the unit that's already out there but the downtown unit … It's working, it works, and when we do it, it works. People get to know the community, and the community gets to know the officers, and the officers learn what it is people are concerned about in their neighborhood.

But you have a very active local group saying, we're not going to support more money for more cops for community policing…

Until we do community policing, and the problem is we can't do it until we get more cops because we don't have enough. There's an ideal formula that I've touted since I got here — that a patrol officer should be able to use one-third of their time on call, one-third of time to the administrative duties related to that call and one-third discretionary time.

That would be the time you spend walking around and talking to people.

So, when you have to answer the calls, you have to do the administrative duties related to those calls, you have to do the paper work. So what suffers when you don't have enough cops, the discretionary time. So, it probably does not surprise you that the community outreach unit is not very popular in the department. Not because the officers do not want to do community policing. They want to do the same thing those cops are doing.

They're a little jealous?

Yes. They have time and I don't. Not only that, but it's six more officers that are out there not answering calls than there were before, and now I'm having to pick up their slack.

From left, Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton, Sergeant Michael Hestir and Fire Captain Brian Tilman cool off in front of four solar-powered fans provided by Columbia Water and Light during a barbecue at St. Luke United Methodist Church in June 2016.

How many officers are you down now?

I think it was 11 or 12 the other day. We just graduated five from the academy and we've got seven in the academy and I think there are 11 more vacancies.

Cops per thousand citizens isn't something you just pull out of the sky. If you want your police officers to be able to engage in those kinds of activities that the community loves, you have to give them the time to do it, and that's why the (community outreach unit) is so popular. Help these citizens in these communities, have their cell phone number! They can call it day or night. And they know when the officer is working and the other officer is working and when they're off and all that stuff and I'm not going to bother them on their day off with this kind of stuff. Citizens are out there saying that.

Do you know if crime has gone down in that area?

Yes, it has.

I'm still hearing an impasse (in the discussions over racial profiling and community policing). I really think you are a little stuck.

Please don't characterize it as an impasse. I don't see it as an impasse, please go back and look at it through us looking at it from different lenses. It's not necessarily an impasse. I understand a lot more about what Race Matters, Friends say than they give me credit for. And I have made a concerted effort from other people's perspective why they feel the way they do. And that was my comment to you a minute ago. I get it. You're stopped four times for that taillight, that can't be it. It has to be because I am African-American. So I get it. And the cop … if it's the same cop, we have an issue. But if it's four different cops, how can you blame four different cops? You're having to put together this conspiracy that they are all working to stop you because you're African-American. And that to me is counter intuitive. You have four different officers seeing the same violation, that means that there's a violation. Now, we can debate this kind of stuff. What I told the guys on the consent searches, I said, we're going to ask people and we are going to make sure they understand. … I said I want a form that someone could sign that lets people know they have the right to say no for consent searches, and it's going to be simple. I don't want people walking away scratching their heads saying what in the world is on that form. So, it needs to be simple so people can understand.

And you remember, we got beat up for the “10 rules for dealing with the police” (information card) when they were saying you can't search my car. So, I think I've done what a lot of police chiefs wouldn't have done and pissed people off internally over the stance I've taken on things. But those are people's rights. You have the right to say no, you can't search my car. That's your right. And, by gosh, you ought to understand, you ought to know it, you ought to use it. And if the officer has probable cause, then that is where the chips fall. But if they don't, no you're not getting in my car. It's their right. … And the cops think it's putting them at an unfair advantage if (citizens) understand their rights. Well of course it is, because you're a cop. Two different lenses, two different lenses. What I'm trying to do, if you take nothing away from this rambling on, I'm trying to put the two lenses together and look through both of them and see where the differences are and what we can do to make things better.

You have spoken on how you think the new consent search policy is going to change the racial profiling disparity.

I'm hoping that it will.

Can you articulate why?

Because if you are stopping somebody for a minor traffic violation and that's all you have, regardless of the race of the person in the car, it will either do one of two things: We should be able to pick up on if you do ask for consent search, why are you doing it? And if you're only doing it with African-American drivers, why aren't you doing it for the white drivers? So that's where I think it will ferret itself out. But cops are not stupid. Contrary to popular belief, as a group they are a pretty smart group.

Think about it: If you're a police officer and there is a possibility that you are racially profiling and maybe you think, “Maybe I am.” Are you going to stop more African-American drivers, or are you going to stop more white drivers? What we are trying to get them to do (is think) about why am I stopping this person?

So you're saying it could be a consciousness-raising tool?

Absolutely, it could.

Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton addresses questions at a press conference on March 6, 2012, at the Daniel Boone City Building.

Race Matters, Friends has been expressing impatience, at this point. You can appreciate why people would feel impatient. Can you get beyond this at this point? I hear the frustration and impatience. Do you get that?

I do, and prior to Race Matters, Friends' existence, we went through the same thing with the NAACP. Mary and I would meet every year. And she would say, these numbers look like racial profiling. And I would tell her the same things. Mary, we are looking at it, I don't see it and here's why I don't see it. These numbers do not go far enough. And we'd go a month or so and you guys would talk about it in the media and then stop talking about it, and we'd wait until next year when the next report came out, and we would go through the same cycle again. I'm tired of it, too. I'm tired of it, too.

You would like a better understanding of it?

I would.

So what about this call for you to quit? Race Matters, Friends has been saying you can't acknowledge what is obvious to other people, which is that the department is racially profiling.

I am not going anywhere. Number one, I work for the city manager. As long as he wants me here, I'll be here. But, I really don't subscribe to those kind of responses. I could say the same thing. I disagree with you so you should quit, how about that? And that is not a reason to call for somebody to quit. It actually makes me lose patience and lose respect for people when they resort to those sorts of tactics. If I were the kind of guy that just told you to go to hell, okay, I get it. But, I've never been that way and don't intend to be that way. And I'm going retire when I'm 65, so I have about 30 months left.



DOJ switches gears, halts review of Milwaukee police

by Ashley Luthern

MILWAUKEE — A federal review of the Milwaukee Police Department has been halted with the retooling of a program once focused on improving trust between police and communities.

The move effectively ends the U.S. Department of Justice's collaborative reform initiative as it has existed since 2011. The program's focus has been shifted to providing training on active shooters, dismantling gangs and other criminal investigations.

Cities such as Milwaukee, which are currently under review, will be moved into the new version of the program, a department spokeswoman said Saturday.

As a result, those agencies will not get federal help to boost accountability or to implement reforms, as they would have under the old version of the program.

Instead, they will receive assistance with policing tactics to reduce crime.

As the collaborative reform process — requested by Chief Edward Flynn in the wake of a fatal police shooting — lingered in limbo with the change of the presidential administration, Milwaukee officials expected as much. They made that clear Thursday while discussing a draft of the federal review obtained and published by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in August.

"We have what we have, and what we have is the draft," Ald. Milele Coggs said at Thursday's meeting of the Common Council's Steering and Rules Committee.

She emphasized a focus on the draft's recommendations, "since for reasons that are beyond all of our control in this room, that final report will not be there."

Flynn confirmed there is no final version of the report when he appeared at the meeting.

Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton said a task force of community leaders will take up the recommendations in the draft report.

"We want to put that into the hands of some community leaders let them chew on it ... and then let's talk about what needs to be implemented and when and where and how," Hamilton said.

Flynn had requested the collaborative reform review in November 2015 amid public outcry after federal prosecutors declined to charge a now-fired officer in the on-duty fatal shooting of Dontre Hamilton in Red Arrow Park.

The collaborative reform initiative started out as a voluntary, nonadversarial process aimed at improving the community's trust in the Police Department.

A background document provided by the Justice Department suggests the program had evolved to include significant recommendations, which led to an "unintended consequence of a more adversarial relationship."

The changes to collaborative reform are in keeping with a memo issued by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in March. In it, he directed the Justice Department to review its programs to make sure they aligned with the goals of promoting “officer safety, officer morale, and public respect for their work.” Another goal was to ensure that public safety remains under “local control and local accountability,” according to the background document.

Even after the memo was released, teams within the Milwaukee Police Department continued working to gather information for the review despite little communication from the Justice Department, said Leslie Silletti, director of the Office of Management, Analysis and Planning.

At the beginning of summer, police officials considered how to move forward "in this gray space," she said at the meeting.

The Justice Department explicitly prohibited the Police Department from releasing any draft reports or other materials from the collaborative process. Flynn said he went to the city attorney's office to ask if there was a way to share broad recommendations with the Common Council and the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission.

He said he was told he could discuss those topics in closed sessions. That changed when the draft report was posted online by the Journal Sentinel.

Flynn also said he did not dispute many of the recommendations contained in the draft report. However, he maintained it was riddled with factual errors and lack of context.

Regarding recommendations about community policing, for example, Flynn acknowledged there is no written departmentwide strategy on the topic. He said he had made a decision to decentralize those efforts and base them within police districts. Still, he agreed there should be a written policy.

Another finding in the draft was that the department does not hold all members accountable for engaging in community policing.

"Well, it's true," Flynn said. "We have people that are specialists who do a lot of the problem-oriented policing ... but every single sector car that's running from job to job every night doesn't have the same level of training and expertise."

"We do training for everybody," he said. "We could do more."

Another recommendation: Having an independent community advisory board that meets regularly with the chief.

"I don't disagree with that," Flynn said.

The department has "pieces" of updates to the original draft report, which correct factual errors and provide more details on the department's ongoing efforts in those areas, Silletti said.

Ald. Nik Kovac and Hamilton, the council president, pressed Flynn to release that material.

"This issue of correcting factual errors is distracting from what should be a healthy subjective discussion about where to go," Kovac said.

Flynn again referenced the Justice Department's ban on releasing it.

"I'm going to deal with what is now in the public domain however it got there, but I'm not now going to unilaterally violate their directive," he said.


New York

NY police station has been shot at dozens of times since June

Police aren't sure when the gunfire occurred because no one was inside the building when the shootings happened

by the Associated Press

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — A police station in Syracuse has been hit by gunfire more than three dozen times since opening in June, but officials say no one has been injured.

The Post-Standard reports that about 40 bullet marks dot the shatterproof windows at the Syracuse Police Department substation at Skiddy Park on the city's west side.

The substation isn't staffed full time. Department spokesman Sgt. Richard Helterline says police aren't sure when the gunfire occurred because no one was inside the building when the shootings happened.

The substation opened in mid-June after several shootings in and around the park in 2016. At the time of the opening, there were already a handful of bullet marks.



Quiet Warrior: How a detective's mentorship changed a young boy's life

Since he signed up for the "Bigs in Blue" mentorship program, Detective Ryan Brady has witnessed first-hand the difference one cop can make

by Cole Zercoe

A few years ago in Roanoke, Virginia, a fourth grade teacher kicked off a discussion about police officers and their role in society by posing a question to the class.

“What do police do?”

“They shoot people, that's what they do,” a student responded.

Another student's hand shot up in the air: “My big brother's a police officer and he doesn't shoot anybody.”

The young boy, Robert, didn't have a brother in law enforcement – at least not in the traditional sense. His “big brother” was Ryan Brady, a detective he met through Big Brothers Big Sisters of America's “Bigs in Blue” mentorship program, which pairs law enforcement officers with children in at-risk communities.

Robert's defense of police officers that day was quite the contrast to his initial reaction to Brady and other Roanoke PD officers when they visited him and other students for the first time.

“The kids saw us walk in in uniform, and were almost scared,” Brady said. “They didn't want to talk to us, they were shy, they didn't hear very good things about the police beforehand. This may have been their first face-to-face contact with an officer outside of police responding to some type of issue in their neighborhood or even their home. When I met Robert, he didn't know how to open up or what to expect. So I think there were a lot of questions about how this would go.”


Brady, a six-year veteran LEO who currently serves as a city detective and on a federal task force for combating violent crime, was inspired to sign up to be a big brother a few years ago while he was still working as a street cop.

“I worked in a part of town that was riddled with crime and dilapidated,” Brady said.

The detective faced a challenge most cops encounter in rough neighborhoods: a community deeply concerned about the crime occurring around them, yet hesitant to reach out to the officers there to combat it. Whether that hesitation stemmed from fear of law enforcement or pressure from criminals to keep quiet, Brady struggled to connect with the community members in his beat.

“While you go on patrol and you feel like you're doing a great job and you're helping people, it felt a little bit lacking,” Brady said of his difficulty in truly connecting with the public. “You wanted to do more but you didn't really know how to do it.”

Brady saw Big Brothers Big Sisters as the solution to that problem. It was an opportunity to get to know the children in his city - and by extension, their families – at a deeper level than what an interaction on patrol would allow. Initially, Brady met with children from rotating schools in the area for about an hour each week – one of two mentorship programs the department is involved in through Big Brothers Big Sisters. Officers and other participants build relationships with the kids through activities like shooting hoops or helping them with their homework. From there, officers can choose to sign up for “Bigs in Blue,” the one-on-one mentorship program geared specifically toward cops.

It was in the group program that Brady first met Robert, who loved to draw and wanted to design footwear when he grew up. Their mutual appreciation for drawing was the first step in breaking down the walls and building a friendship. They spent their time drawing shoes and comparing designs.

As they got to know each other, Brady discovered Robert had some behavioral issues and trouble with his grades. He had a stable home life, but growing up in the same tough neighborhood that Brady patrolled was a struggle.

“There's a lot of violent crime, a lot of narcotics issues in that area,” Brady said. “It's a neighborhood where you see a lot of youth influenced by people who are older than them with criminal records that are trying to pull them into that lifestyle. It's a lot to be exposed to at a young age. I've had times where Robert's called me because they've [his family] heard gunshots one or two streets over. There are always sirens.”


Brady took Robert under his wing in a one-on-one mentorship. Like most young kids, Robert had a wide variety of hobbies and interests – from WWE to Yu-Gi-Oh.

“He can tell you every wrestler there is. “I don't keep up with it as much but I try to stay up to speed so I can have conversations with him,” Brady said, laughing.

Robert also had a knack for running. The two would often go out with a stopwatch and work on their times by doing sprints.

“He's a fast kid – and he knows that,” Brady said.

And when Robert started expressing interest in baseball, Brady talked to the local little league team and got him a free spot at their baseball camp. Robert didn't have any equipment, so Brady reached out to his PD for help.

“I wanted to make sure we got enough for Robert so when he showed up at camp he wasn't feeling like he didn't have anything,” Brady said. “The officers were great. They already give so much of their time through these community programs … to reach into their pockets and donate money or go pick up equipment from their homes and bring it in – in less than 24 hours Robert was decked out. He had a bag, bat, glove, hat, jersey, cleats – you name it, he had it. And he loved it.”

As Brady and Robert continued to develop their relationship, the boy's grades began to improve. He was having fewer behavioral problems at school, and when an issue did come up, he was quick to reach out to his big brother.

A particular problem area – reading – was solved through an incentive program Brady came up with in collaboration with a Big Brothers Big Sisters educational support specialist. They kept Robert active in reading during the summer while he wasn't in school – which, as any parent will tell you, is a gargantuan task.

“He got a nice little payday at the end of the summer and he's since developed a love of reading,” Brady said. “Big Brothers Big Sisters was able to get him a few of the first Harry Potter books. He's on the fifth one now – he's burning through those things on almost a weekly basis. That just goes to show you the teamwork between Big Brothers Big Sisters and the bigs can go a long ways.”


Brady sees the Bigs in Blue program as working on two levels. On the one hand, he's making an impact in a child's life – leading that person on a path to success despite difficult environmental circumstances. On the other hand, he's also planting the seeds for his “little” and other children in the community to view officers in a different way that what is often portrayed in the media.

“We've all seen this – whether it's an actual increase or whether it's just an increase in media coverage of it – this animosity towards police and this distrust of law enforcement,” Brady said. “The best way to go in and show these communities how trustworthy we are and the integrity behind what we do is to be a face in the community. With the kids in particular, you're planting a seed. And we won't be able to reap the benefits of what we're planting right now for a long time to come. But as these kids grow, they're already familiar with the police and they trust the police. They see you as a regular person. And as they get older, you gotta hope that will instill that piece of the puzzle that's maybe lacking right now with the distrust and the unfamiliarity with law enforcement.”

And although Brady says the true impact of his work is something that he won't be able to determine for many years to come, there's already evidence that his role as a mentor is making a difference. When Brady experienced a house fire last year, he lost his entire home and his beloved dog, Remington.

Brady hadn't realized how close Robert had gotten to the dog until the fire occurred. During their weekly visit, Robert was down and had had some behavioral issues earlier in the day. The pair went out to play basketball to work through what was bothering Robert.

“He was doing fine,” Brady said. “Then I turn around to chase the basketball and I turn back around and he was crying. So we went over and sat down and I asked him what was going on. He said, ‘I miss Remington.' “That was a big moment for us because he showed how invested he was in my life just like I try to be in his. It was a moment in our relationship where I said, ‘We're brothers for life now man, you're my family. You're one of my brothers just like I would call my blood brother a brother. You hurt like I hurt, you're gonna have good days and bad days and I'm gonna have good days and bad days and we gotta be here for each other.

After the fire, Robert's family went to their church and started raising money for Brady's recovery.

“You're looking at a neighborhood that doesn't necessarily look kindly at police officers,” Brady said. “I just thought it was a tremendous show of support for the officers that are working in their communities.”


Since he signed up for the program, Brady has witnessed first-hand the difference one cop can make in a community. When he meets up with Robert in the neighborhood he used to patrol, the kids who had previously been so scared or hesitant to speak with him now run up and give him high fives and hugs.

“I investigate violent crimes,” Brady said. “Being an officer, you see the worst of humanity sometimes. You're dealing with the worst five percent of the population ninety percent of the time, and it can really weigh on you. I didn't realize how much therapeutic value there would be in being with and seeing just how good people can be. It reminds you that these neighborhoods you're working – you're seeing the extreme negative things that are happening – you're coming in at the worst points of these people's lives. And having this opportunity to get to know Robert and his family and to come out in the community and go to his church and meet the other ninety-five percent of people – the good people – who you never really deal with much while you're out on the street, it's refreshing. And it reminds you of why you're out there doing what you're doing.”

For more information on how you or your department can get involved in Bigs in Blue, visit their website .


From the Department of Homeland Security

What to Expect When You Register for FEMA Disaster Assistance

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. If you live in one of the disaster-designated Florida counties and experienced property damage or loss directly caused by Hurricane Irma, register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for disaster assistance – even if you have insurance. This can be an important step to begin the process of recovery.

You may register for assistance the following ways:

•  At .

•  If you don't have Internet access, you can call 800-621-3362.

•  People who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY should call 800-462-7585.

•  For those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 800-621-3362.

•  These toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. (EST) seven days a week until further notice.

FEMA assistance for individuals may include grants for rent, temporary housing and home repairs to their primary residences, as well as funding for other serious disaster-related needs, such as medical, dental or funeral costs. If you have insurance, FEMA may still be able to assist with disaster-related expenses that were underinsured or not covered by your policy.

After you apply, a FEMA inspector will contact you to schedule an inspection. The inspection generally takes 30-40 minutes or less and consists of a general verification of your disaster-related losses and a review of ownership or residence records. There is no fee for the inspection.

When a FEMA housing inspector comes to visit your home, be sure they show you proper identification. All FEMA inspectors have prominent photo identification badges. If you suspect someone is posing as a FEMA housing inspector, call our toll-free Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 , or call local law enforcement officials.

Once the inspection process is complete, your situation will be reviewed by FEMA. You will receive a letter by email or physical mail, depending on your preference, which outlines the decision about your claim. For more information about the inspection process, and documentation you will need to provide the inspector, visit the FEMA Individual Assistance Inspection Process page.

Know that you may receive a visit from more than one inspector throughout the recovery process. In addition to FEMA housing inspectors, representatives from the U.S. Small Business Administration, state and local officials and inspectors for private insurance coverage also visit neighborhoods in affected areas.

For more recovery information visit FEMA's Hurricane Irma web page at .



Woman fakes seizure to avoid would-be mugger that handed her frightening note

by Evan Sernoffsky

Julie Dragland said her rule during a robbery is to hand over the goods and protect her safety.

But the quick-thinking, 32-year-old Oakland resident thought otherwise Saturday when a would-be mugger behind her on a BART train handed her a frightening note that said there were two guns pointed at her.

Instead of giving her wallet and phone to the crook, Dragland faked a seizure that attracted the attention of people on the train and sent her mugger scurrying for the nearest exit in San Francisco.

“When I read the note, I started freaking out,” she said Sunday. “I did not want to give up my stuff, but I had no idea who was behind me.”

Dragland posted a picture of the note on social media shortly after the confrontation ended. BART police said they're searching for a suspect and reviewing security camera footage from the train.

The episode happened as Dragland rode the Dublin-bound train through San Francisco from Daly City to the East Bay. Around 4:50 p.m., a person behind her handed her a note written in red ink on a torn sheet of lined paper.

“There are 2 guns pointed at you now,” the note read. “If you want to live hand back your wallet + phone NOW + do not turn around and be descreet. Do not turn around until after you have left civic center + you will live.”

At first she didn't know what to do. Dragland — who does public relations work for a San Francisco video game company — said she mouthed “help me” to a man standing nearby.

When he got off the train, she realized she would have to improvise.

“I probably looked very ridiculous,” she said. “I slumped sideways and started shaking and crying. I closed my eyes and increased the vigor so people would pay attention.”

A couple nearby came over and asked if she was OK, and Dragland handed them the note. She suspects the culprit got off at the next stop — Civic Center Station. She also thinks her robber was an older woman with a suitcase.

BART police confirmed as much in a log sheet that tracks crimes on its system.

“The victim was not sure who handed her the note, and did not see anyone with a weapon,” police wrote in a summary of the incident.

Officers checked the station but did not find a person matching the description.

Dragland told police she will not press charges if the person is located and said she wants the whole incident behind her.

But regardless of whether she participates in prosecuting the nefarious note-passer, BART officials said they are reviewing the security video on the train, hoping to get footage of a suspect.

Asked how she came up with the idea to fake a seizure, Dragland said, “I think it had something to do with watching a lot of ‘Law and Order.' I think I saw that in an episode. I was very impressed with myself.”



New Marina police chief learned importance of community policing after LA riots

by Tom Wright

Before she became the first Latina captain in the Los Angeles Police Department's 139-year history in 2008, Marina's new Police Chief Tina Nieto learned first hand about the importance of community policing during and after the 1992 riots in LA.

“I joined the LAPD when we weren't doing things right, we were more of an occupying force,” Nieto said. “That was the result of bad police practices. We had the riots in the city of Los Angeles and I was there, I was a police officer during the riots.”

Nieto, 54, started as Marina police chief Sept. 11 after spending 28 years with the Los Angeles Police Department. She said she's hoping to bring some of the lessons she learned in Southern California to the Marina Police Department.

“I was there during the rebuilding of the community, I was a commanding officer, and the priority was really about community involvement, listening to the community and working with the community to really create a place that's safe to work, live or play,” she said. “That's kind of ingrained in my DNA, just living through that history of that department.”

According to Nieto, Los Angeles hasn't faced the issues between its police and community in recent years that law enforcement agencies nationwide have faced in recent years because of the community building that took place beforehand.

“For me, it's really about establishing a lot of those one-on-one relationships with the formal leaders, the informal leaders and the influencers that are out in the community,” she said.

Mayor Bruce Delgado said he's met Nieto and he thinks she has a great attitude toward life and community.

“She's a people person, she's outgoing, maximally engaging with the city,” he said.

Delgado said Nieto plans on joining him and other community members in a volunteer litter clean-up along the bike path parallel to Lapis Road on Saturday.

“She's indicated that (we can) tell her what's going on and she'll be there, that kind of a hands-on person,” Delgado said.

The mayor said he was driving around the city with Nieto on Monday night when they learned somebody drove their Honda Civic into some soft sand near the airport and got stuck.

“She wanted to get out and dig them out and help them,” Delgado said.

Nieto replaces Interim Police Chief Roberto Filice and Chief Edmundo Rodriguez, who led the department for 10 years.

“I think she's going to fit with Marina well and everyone who meets her is going to like her and the more we get to know her I have the feeling we're going to like her even more,” Delgado said.

According to Delgado, Nieto had 280 sworn officers in her command and around 300,000 people in her command area. She served eight years in the U.S. Army Reserve, attaining the rank of captain, and has more than 28 years of teaching experience at the LAPD Academy and West Point Leadership Program.

Nieto said she's looking for a permanent home in Marina. She lived with her domestic partner, four dogs, an 89-year-old aunt and a 25-year-old nephew in Southern California. As much as she enjoyed serving the community in the area where she grew up and the experiences she could only get with a large police department, Nieto said she made the move because she was ready to retire from the Los Angeles Police Department. She wasn't ready, however, to leave law enforcement. Nieto had been doing command work for the past nine years and she said she enjoyed working with the communities she served. When she decided it was time to move on, she was looking to relocate to an area that had a real sense of community.

“I like that it's cooler here, I know that people laugh about that,” she said of the climate in Marina. “I don't like super-hot weather.”

Nieto said Marina and the Monterey Peninsula are beautiful, adding that she thinks it's an exciting time to join the city as Marina grows. She hopes to create programs in the community that will last for generations to come.

“I realize that I am the luckiest woman on earth getting this job here in a great community, so hopefully in my time with Marina I'm never going to forget that and if I do, the community needs to remind me,” she said.



SFPD committed to DOJ reforms despite changes under Sessions

by Evan Sernoffsky

The San Francisco Police Department said Tuesday it remains committed to the reforms recommended last year by the Department of Justice, despite Attorney General Jeff Sessions' recent announcement that his office will shift resources away from assisting local jurisdictions with community policing efforts.

“Our work is not done,” San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said in a statement. “The SFPD are determined to strengthen trust between law enforcement officers and the communities we serve.”

Sessions on Wednesday said his office would focus more on delivering resources to local law enforcement agencies that would help fight violent crime, rather than “expensive wide-ranging investigative assessments.”

The Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS, began reviewing the San Francisco Police Department following the 2015 killing of Mario Woods and other deadly police shootings. The federal report , released in October 2016, recommended 272 department-wide changes .

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee hired Chief Scott in December as part of an effort to implement the reforms . Former Chief Greg Suhr resigned amid intense public backlash, following several high-profile police killings of African Americans and Latinos.

The recommendations, which the Police Department characterized as a “road map” to building trust between officers and the public, included better tracking of use-of-force incidents, updating community policing efforts and being more transparent in its disciplinary process. The department said it had moved forward with 45 percent of the Department of Justice's recommendations before Sessions' announcement.

The report also said the Police Department should “strongly consider” giving officers electronic stun guns as an alternative to using deadly force. The city has been holding recent community forums to gather public input about whether to equip officers with stun guns. Scott and the police officers' union both support arming officers with stun guns.

“We are committed to working together with City Hall to pursue sensible reforms that protect the public and police officers,” Martin Halloran, president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association, said in a statement. “Tasers, which were included in the Department of Justice recommendations, are a key issue for police officers and we will keep advocating for them.”

San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi expressed concern over Sessions' move away from the police reform initiatives and called for the California attorney general to step in.

“The fact that the Department of Justice is jumping ship and abandoning its critical oversight of reform efforts is of grave concern,” Adachi said in a statement.


New York

A matter of trust

Forging a bond between the public and the police

by Mark Hare

Law enforcement agencies around the country have touted their community policing efforts for at least 30 years.

But does it work? Are cities any safer when police walk their beats, go to neighborhood meetings, empanel advisory boards, and help residents solve everyday problems – from barking dogs to abandoned homes or drivers speeding down residential streets?

None of those things does much to lower crime rates, says John Klofas, a criminal justice professor and the founder and director of the Center for Public Safety Initiatives at Rochester Institute of Technology. One reason is that a very high percentage of the most serious crimes is committed by a small number of persistent felons – who are very unlikely to be engaging officers outside the context of a 911 response.

But, Klofas says, when it's done right – and with a commitment from residents, political leaders, and the police force—community policing can improve often-strained relations between the police and citizens. Community policing, he says, can build trust between the police and citizens, and that's worth doing, he says.

The Center for Public Safety Initiatives, under Klofas's direction, performs local research on criminal justice, police, and public safety issues and works closely with its partner agencies, including the city and the Rochester Police Department.

When citizens and officers work together to solve problems in their neighborhood, he says, residents have a sense of empowerment and confidence that they can shape the future of their community.

Like most cities, Rochester has a range of programs that it fits under the umbrella of community policing. Following a controversial 2016 arrest on Hollenbeck Street that led to allegations of excessive police force, Mayor Lovely Warren called for 90 Days of Community Engagement – a series of community forums to assess citizen concerns about the Rochester Police Department. In the spring of 2017, the city released a report on the 90-Days process and listed a number of activities the RPD uses to engage citizens and build strong relationships. Among them:

• Project TIPS: Officers and citizens go door to door in neighborhoods to share information and collect residents' thoughts on neighborhood issues.

• Shakespeare from the Street: In conjunction with the Hillside Family of Agencies, at-risk children and officers develop a Shakespearean production as part of the RPD's efforts to build relationships with neighborhood youth.

• The Police Activities League: Youth and police engage in athletics, arts, recreational, and educational programming.

• Clergy on Patrol: Clergy and officers walk neighborhoods to interact with residents.

• PCIC (Police Citizen Interactive Committees): Section captains and officers meet monthly with neighborhood groups to review crime reports and patterns, quality of life issues, and problem locations.

These activities are fine as far as they go, Klofas says. But, he says, the RPD, like most departments, is structured to respond to 911 calls for service, not to make citizen engagement the top priority. In 2016, the RPD responded to 370,538 calls, down from 444,568 in 2012, but still a huge volume.

During 2016 and 2017, CPSI led a research project – Community Views on Criminal Justice – that used surveys and focus groups to assess citizen perception of police behavior. The groups represented a broad cross-section of the community, including youth, faith-based groups, neighborhood groups, police-citizen groups, reform advocates, homeless people, immigrants, and elected officials.

Not surprisingly, Klofas says, those who work closely with the police on a regular basis – outside the setting of a 911 response – had the most positive views of law enforcement. Those who had little personal contact often felt that their voices are not heard.

Referencing the 90 Days of Community Engagement community forums, one paper from the CPSI project recalls that one resident said he would like the "'us versus them' attitude removed and for officers to answer from the heart when asked a question, not to answer 'politically.'"

The challenge is to build stronger relations in those parts of the community where the police are seen only in their role as enforcers.

In response to police-community unrest and distrust nationwide, President Barack Obama established a Commission on 21st Century Policing, which issued a final report in May of 2015. Among its key recommendations was that departments give more time and attention to training and educating officers, at the academy and throughout their careers, in effectively engaging the community.

That's critical, Klofas says, if the police agencies and the communities they serve are to reap the benefits of community policing programs.

In a recent interview, Klofas discussed community policing efforts and Rochester's challenges. What follows is an edited transcript of that conversation.

City: How do you define community policing?

Klofas: The definition has changed over time. In the 80's, it was seen as a significant change in approach to law enforcement: employing strategies to engage the community in problem solving, sweeping changes in police-community relations. Now it's seen as more a set of principles that no one could possibly disagree with. You'll see it reflected in the president's commission – setting up advisory boards, walking beats where possible, procedural justice, which means treating each other with mutual respect.

In its original conception, it was presented as having a strong impact on crime. In general, the research has not shown a strong impact on crime, but has shown an impact on the strength of relations between police and community.

You would think improving relations would reduce crime.

You can make an argument that way. But the offending population, the population responsible for the most serious crimes, is a small percentage of the community as a whole and is a harder one to influence that way.

In neighborhoods where there are people who are pretty engaged, people will sometimes get the cell numbers of officers in the area, and bypass 911. And they come pretty quickly. In Maplewood, where I live, this made people feel connected to the police, but when you have a rash of burglaries, there's not much they can do.

We did about a year of focus groups on police-community relations [the Community Views on Criminal Justice project], and one conclusion was that there are people who love the police, there are people who hate the police, but the vast majority of people are somewhere in between, and their opinions are driven by the most recent experience they've had with the cops. So there are people who can swing in either direction.

How do you describe the state of community policing in Rochester?

They changed back to five sections. And the hubbub was that this is for better community relations. But they never trained anybody. The police departments that are serious about this have introduced the idea in the academy and trained people on it, have supervised people and done things to try to change the nature of the organization. But that hasn't happened here.

So you have people doing pretty much what they have always done in Rochester. And what they have always done has been very much driven by calls for service. Rochester has always been a calls-for-service police department, and cops spend most of their time running from call to call particularly in the evening.

One of the metrics they focus on is length of time in calls for service. And that is a work strategy that conflicts with the time it takes to do longer, more engaged work in the community.

A speedy response seems to be what police expect of themselves and what most people expect of the police: if there's a call, they're going to come right away. How do you break free of that with the existing resources you have?

Other places deliberatively give people time off the call list. The expectation is that there is a certain amount of time during the day when they would not be answering 911 calls unless there is a real emergency. Other places have specialized kinds of units that do community policing and are not typically responsible for responding to 911.

We have some version of those, because we have community police officers stationed at the mini-city halls. These designated community police officers are expected to engage the community differently. But there are not many of them. The bulk of everything the department does is driven by calls for service.

But there are reasons why 911 governs everything, because [response time] becomes the accountability measure for individual officers and the department as a whole. It's the structure of how departments measure themselves. And mayors' offices field all these calls about how the cops didn't show up, and in many cases, they drive people toward that 911 kind of focus.

What are some examples of community policing activities we might want to consider?

The CAPS program in Chicago [Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy] has been very favorably evaluated. It was widespread. They spent a lot more time in the community. People were assigned to community space.

Portland was using 911 to get police to go to neighborhoods to engage in community police work. They structured time for it where the computer would call an officer to report to a particular place – not for hours or days, but for minutes and half-hours. A lot of research on high crime districts [says] that relatively modest but repeated presence by the police is very effective. And at the end, the officer has to clear the call like you would with a 911 call, and so there's a record and they could assess time spent in the neighborhoods. The result was not so much an effect on crime, but an effect on police-community relations.

So in a city like Rochester, how do you move away from a calls-for-service mindset to improving relations between cops and citizens?

There's a Priority 1 call, which is serious, a "get there now" kind of call. Then there are less urgent kinds of calls – if you're calling to report your bike was stolen, for example. In some places, you do not respond quickly to non-priority calls and you use that time for other things.

Some departments make an effort to turn as much as they can over to non-sworn personnel – to do things that cops don't have to do. But the city budget says that the authorized force in Rochester is 728 sworn and 123 non-sworn. Is that normal?

There's no normal. When you look across departments, they tend to vary a lot in terms of number of cops for the population and the number of cops per crime.

We have a lot of cops. Oakland, for example, has the same number of cops and twice our population. When you start going west, the number of cops changes. And cops do different things in different places.

In Oakland, is there much less crime?

They have bigger crime problems than we have. I think it's budgetary constraints that have led to this kind of model. They had in mind a smaller right number to get the job done. As you move west, policing is totally different. They shoot a lot more people, too.

One thing you have to say is that we don't shoot very many people here. When you go into western city departments, it becomes more frequent.

There are a lot bigger distances in some places, like San Bernardino, so there's not the backup. Here, whenever there's a call of any significance, there's backup right there. When there are fewer cops in bigger spaces, you get much less backup.

So community policing doesn't directly reduce crime rates, but if effective community policing helps to build trust, does it help to solve crimes?

I think there does remain a strong belief that improved relationships between police and community will contribute to crime reduction. Of course, you can imagine how complicated that relationship is: complex communities, different crime problems.

Perhaps the most successful efforts have come under the topic of "problem oriented policing," which is generally seen as falling under the community policing umbrella. Problem oriented policing at its best involves police and community identifying problems together and working out solutions – interventions – together.

Is there any evidence that officers who spend some significant portion of their time helping people solve problems and getting to know the community are less likely to engage in the kinds of confrontations that wind up in the headlines?

This is the big question. As a specific and narrow research question there is evidence, but it is not strong and significant research on the subject has started only recently.

There is some data and some theory that argues in favor. It is generally now part of the discussion of what has become known as "procedural justice" – which refers to mutual respect during interaction between police and citizens.

Are there things we could try here to build better relationships?

I think the relationship between cops and the community here is kind of frozen in time in many ways. There's not much that goes on that is specifically designed to change those relationships because 911 is so prevalent.

There are these niches. School Resource Officers are a niche. The community police officers are kind of a niche. They don't represent the usual interactions between citizens and cops.

Should we be paying more attention to community policing?

Certainly President Obama's commission argued that there should be concrete strategies adopted to strengthen the relationships – community advisory boards, or some form of citizen review of police behavior, although they said there was not enough research to support any particular model at this point in time. They said community policing and community engagement are important.

It's a community issue. It's a democracy issue. Police engage with the community, and the ability of the community to in some ways affect the nature of policing and the interactions between citizen and police leads to a more open approach.

So it takes a real commitment at the highest levels, not just with the police chief, but with the mayor and City Council?

I think that's right. You need strong leadership to advocate for this stuff all the way up the chain. The chief alone can't do it. There has to be an established community interest. There's a philosophy that has to be adopted by the city as a whole, by its political structure. That's the big argument the president's commission makes.

Does having police visible and walking around in the community have an effect?

Yes, the presence has an effect, and the nature of the interaction has an effect. There's some research on that, although there's also some research that shows cops can be intimidating no matter how much they smile. Everybody knows when the lights go on behind you, it's an anxious moment.

So there is research that supports [doing] this stuff, but also research that says there are limits. Ultimately police are an authority in the situation.

Is there resistance among police offers to this kind of community engagement?

That's hard to say. 911 sets the tone for interaction. If you can escape 911, then you have something different. In our [focus] groups, a bunch of people knew who to call, and had the officer's cell number and knew him personally. They could have a conversation. Other people had no idea who to call, and everything would be done through 911, and everything would be a tenser relationship than the one between people who knew each other.

What we found in those discussions is that there were very different attitudes for people who knew the cop, had his cell number, interacted periodically with the cop, and people who had none of those. That's both a cause and consequence of these relationships.

So I'm not sure it's clear that cops don't want to engage in this. I think they do. And I think there's a fair amount of research that shows the inability to do that becomes a stressor at work. If all you're doing is running around and dealing with people in difficult circumstances, that's a wearing job.

Is there federal money available for community policing programs we might want to consider going after?

There are several places in the federal government that provide training. One is the National Technical Assistance Center, where a city can say: Here's a set of issues we've been having, and then NTAC can find some people to work with you on those issues over a long period of time. A lot of the federal stuff has focused on violent crime, but in the last five years or so, increasingly they've focused on police-community relations.

So the central question is, to the extent there's a lack of trust, how do you build it?

That's exactly right. And to some extent, it's trust for what? And it turns out, it's not trust for major reductions in crime. That doesn't seem to be there. It's trust for better relationships between the police and citizens. It's trust for feelings of safety. It's trust for respect that's going both ways.

Is that even worth doing? You do all these things but it doesn't really affect crime. Is building relationships a law enforcement thing?

I tend to think, as the president's commission does, it has great value in and of itself. The police department, in any community, tends to be the biggest expenditure of tax dollars. And the most frequent contact people have with government is contact with the police. So this is, in many ways, fundamental to the democratic process.

Whether people feel they are subject to an occupying force, or whether they feel their safety is something that emerges from a community effort that includes the police is a very different kind of thing.

I like the way you weave in the question of democracy.

I think that's the core of it.

It's one thing to say you want to have community policing to reduce crime, which may not happen, and another to say we need improved relations to give people a sense that they are empowered, that there are things they can do about their situation, that there are people they can talk to, that the police are there to protect them.

Yes. They can identify problems and be taken seriously.

What you're saying speaks to the trend over several years of dumping surplus military equipment on police departments. When you see these armored vehicles and police in camo, it sure feels like the cops see citizens as the enemy. And now the Trump administration says it will reverse President Obama's ban on the transfer of military equipment to civilian law enforcement agencies.

Ferguson put that stuff on the front page for everybody. And it's not just all of the equipment, it's all of the guys coming back from the military into the police. Because historically, the training for police has been totally different from the training for the military.

But now one of the consequences of all the wars we've been in is that a lot of people are coming back and joining police departments and bringing that training with them. And guys in the military, they point their gun at someone, right? That's the expected, accepted way of handling it. In a civilian police force, you're interacting with people, not doing that stuff.

So you've got this combination of things that have arguably made contributions to the nature of these relationships. And the fight against that is to democratize the police-citizen relationships and give people a sense of power over the situation in their neighborhood.



Judge: Ferguson slowly progressing on federally mandated reforms

by Rachel Lippman

Ferguson has made good progress in reforming its police department and municipal court, a federal judge said Tuesday, though it's far from over.

Ferguson's police and court have been operating under federal oversight for more than a year. The city has written new policies on things like use-of-force and recruiting new officers, but has missed deadlines to implement them.

“We need to keep doing this work,” U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry said during a regular update from city officials and the U.S. Department of Justice. “We are going to keep pushing this.”

Some of the new policies, such as those focused on community policing, still need to be reviewed by various citizen committees set up in the agreement between the federal government and Ferguson, according to Justice Department attorney Jude Volek.

But “core practices do look different,” he said, adding that Ferguson's police department has created new opportunities for police and community members to connect.

Volek said Ferguson hasn't quite reached where it needs to be when it comes to policies governing traffic stops and seizures.

Perry said she understood that the missed deadlines are causing frustration, but that she believes the city is working in good faith with the Justice Department and did not seem inclined to punish Ferguson for its missed deadlines.

Ferguson council member Ella Jones welcomed Perry's stance.

“When you consistently work on something and you're making progress, then you're moving closer to the deadlines. But to fine someone, or say that they're not doing a good job, is not the case here,” she said.

Next up is reviewing at least 10,000 old municipal court cases and deciding whether to keep prosecuting them.

The team assigned to monitor the agreement reviewed Ferguson's municipal court in August. The results of that audit are expected before the next review in front of Perry in December.



Mexicans dig through collapsed buildings as quake kills 217

A mix of neighborhood volunteers, police and firefighters used trained dogs and their bare hands to search through the ruins

by Christopher Sherman, Peter Orsi and Mark Stevenson

MEXICO CITY — Police, firefighters and ordinary Mexicans dug frantically through the rubble of collapsed schools, homes and apartment buildings early Wednesday, looking for survivors of Mexico's deadliest earthquake in decades as the number of confirmed fatalities stood at 217.

Adding poignancy and a touch of the surreal, Tuesday's magnitude-7.1 quake struck on the 32nd anniversary of the 1985 earthquake that killed thousands. Just hours earlier, people around Mexico had held earthquake drills to mark the date.

One of the most desperate rescue efforts was at a primary and secondary school in southern Mexico City, where a wing of the three-story building collapsed into a massive pancake of concrete slabs. Journalists saw rescuers pull at least two small bodies from the rubble, covered in sheets.

Volunteer rescue worker Dr. Pedro Serrano managed to crawl into the crevices of the tottering pile of rubble that had been Escuela Enrique Rebsamen. He made it into a classroom, but found all of its occupants dead.

"We saw some chairs and wooden tables. The next thing we saw was a leg, and then we started to move rubble and we found a girl and two adults — a woman and a man," he said.

"We can hear small noises, but we don't know if they're coming from above or below, from the walls above (crumbling), or someone below calling for help."

A mix of neighborhood volunteers, police and firefighters used trained dogs and their bare hands to search through the school's ruins. The crowd of anxious parents outside the gates shared reports that two families had received WhatsApp messages from girls trapped inside, but that could not be confirmed.

Rescuers brought in wooden beams to shore up the fallen concrete slabs so they wouldn't collapse further and crush whatever airspaces remained.

The federal Education Department reported late Tuesday that 25 bodies had been recovered from the school's wreckage, all but four of them children. It was not clear whether those deaths were included in the overall death toll of 217 reported by the federal civil defense agency. Pena Nieto had earlier reported 22 bodies found and said 30 children and eight adults were reported missing.

In a video message released late Tuesday, Pena Nieto urged people to be calm and said authorities were moving to provide help as 40 percent of Mexico City and 60 percent of nearby Morelos state were without power. But, he said, "the priority at this moment is to keep rescuing people who are still trapped and to give medical attention to the injured people."

People across central Mexico already had rallied to help their neighbors as dozens of buildings tumbled into mounds of broken concrete. Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said buildings fell at 44 sites in the capital alone as high-rises across the city swayed and twisted and hundreds of thousands of panicked people ran into the streets.

The huge volunteer effort included people from all walks of life in Mexico City, where social classes seldom mix. Doctors, dentists and lawyers lined up alongside with construction workers and street sweepers, handing buckets of debris or chunks of concrete hand-to-hand down the line.

Even Mexico City's normally raucous motorcycle clubs swung into action, using motorcades to open lanes for emergency vehicles on avenues crammed with cars largely immobilized by street closures and malfunctioning stoplights.

Dust-covered and exhausted from digging, 30-year-old Carlos Mendoza said two people were pulled alive from the ruins of a collapsed apartment building in the Roma Sur neighborhood during a three-hour period.

"When we saw this, we came to help," he said, gesturing at the destruction. "This is ugly, very ugly."

Blocks away, Alma Gonzalez was in her fourth-floor apartment when the quake collapsed the ground floor of her building, leaving her no way out. She was terrified until her neighbors mounted a ladder on their roof and helped her slide out a side window.

The official Twitter feed of civil defense agency head Luis Felipe Puente said 86 dead had been counted in Mexico City and 71 in Morelos state, which is just south of the capital. It said 43 were known dead in Puebla state, where the quake was centered. Twelve deaths were listed in the State of Mexico, which surrounds Mexico City on three sides, four in Guerrero state and one in Oaxaca.

At the site of a collapsed apartment building in Mexico City, rescuers worked atop a three-story pile of rubble, forming a human chain that passed pieces of rubble across four city blocks to a site where they were dumped.

Throughout the day, rescuers pulled dust-covered people, some barely conscious, some seriously injured, from about three dozen collapsed buildings. At one site, shopping carts commandeered from a nearby supermarket were used to carry water to the rescue site and take rubble away.

As night fell, huge flood lights lit up the recovery sites, but workers and volunteers begged for headlamps.

Where a six-story office building collapsed in Mexico City, sisters Cristina and Victoria Lopez Torres formed part of a human chain passing bottled water.

"I think it's human nature that drives everyone to come and help others," Cristina Lopez said.

"We are young. We didn't live through'85. But we know that it's important to come out into the streets to help," said her sister Victoria.

Ricardo Ibarra, 48, did live through the 1985 quake and said there hadn't been anything like it since.

Wearing a bright orange vest and carrying a backpack with a sleeping bag strapped to it, he said he and his friends just wanted to help.

"People are very sensitive because today was the 32nd anniversary of a tragedy," he said.

Buildings also collapsed in Morelos state, including the town hall and local church in Jojutla near the quake's epicenter. A dozen people died in Jojutla.

The town's Instituto Morelos secondary school partly collapsed, but school director Adelina Anzures said the earthquake drill held in the morning came in handy.

"I told them that it was not a game, that we should be prepared," Anzures said of the drill. When the quake came, she said, children and teachers rapidly filed out and nobody was hurt.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 7.1 quake hit at 1:14 p.m. (2:14 p.m. EDT) and was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

Much of Mexico City is built on former lakebed, and the soil can amplify the effects of earthquakes centered hundreds of miles away.

The quake appeared to be unrelated to the magnitude 8.1 temblor that hit Sept. 7 off Mexico's southern coast and also was felt strongly in the capital.

U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Paul Earle noted the epicenters of the two quakes were 400 miles (650 kilometers) apart and said most aftershocks are within (60 miles) 100 kilometers.


New York

Officials: Fentanyl bust largest in NYC history

The combined street value for the drugs was estimated at $32 million

NEW YORK — Two combined federal and local narcotics investigations in recent weeks netted the largest haul of the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl in New York City history, disrupting what officials said Monday were retail drug operations trafficking throughout the metropolitan area.

In raids conducted between Aug. 1 and Sept. 5, investigators seized more than 140 pounds of pure fentanyl, as well as 75 pounds of fentanyl mixed with heroin. Large amounts of heroin and cocaine were also seized in the raids.

Investigators with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, the NYPD Queens Narcotics squad and the office of city Special Narcotics prosecutor Bridget Brennan, took part in the raids.

“The sheer volume of fentanyl pouring into the city is shocking,” Brennan said in a statement. “It's not only killing a record number of people in New York City but the city is used as a hub of regional distribution for a lethal substance that is taking thousands of lives throughout the Northeast.”

The combined street value for the drugs was estimated at $32 million, officials said.

The raids of apartments in Kew Gardens on Aug. 1, and a Toyota Siena in the Bronx on Sept. 5 also turned up 12 pounds of pure heroin and 13 pounds of cocaine, said Kati Cornell, a spokeswoman for Brennan.

She said four suspects, including three men and one woman, all city residents, face first-degree drug trafficking charges as well as other offenses.

Cornell said the investigations were kept confidential until the completion of NYPD drug lab tests.

In a statement, NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill said the seizures were a “milestone” in the fight against fentanyl. The cases are being handled by the Manhattan, Queens and Bronx district attorneys offices.

In recent years fentanyl has become a public menace, its high potency contributing to half of the 1,374 accidental drug overdoses in New York City in 2016, up 47 percent from 2015, according to city health department statistics. The latest preliminary data from the department through March 31 showed the city on an overdose pace slightly above last year, with 334 deaths compared to 304 in same period of 2016.

In Suffolk and Nassau counties, the death toll death from opiod overdoses spiked to 524 in 2016, up from 493, the year before. There were 329 fatalities for Suffolk and 195 for Nassau in 2016, according to records.

Officials believe the fentanyl seized in the latest raids came from Mexico, where drug cartels are manufacturing the opioid with precursors obtained from China. The drugs had been premixed before the suspects acquired them, according to investigators.

The deadly combination of fentanyl and heroin is taking more lives in Queens this year than homicide, noted Queens District Attorney Richard Brown in a statement in connection with the latest arrests.


Hurricane Maria churns through Caribbean as ravaged Puerto Rico takes stock of an 'island destroyed'

by Samantha Schmidt and Sandhyta Somashekhar

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — After mauling Puerto Rico, Hurricane Maria delivered a weaker but still punishing blow Thursday to the Dominican Republic with winds near 115 mph and driving rains as the storm carved an arc of misery through the Caribbean.

Maria — now a Category 3 hurricane — was expected to gather some fresh strength over open water before taking aim at the Turks and Caicos Islands, which were battered earlier this month by Hurricane Irma on its deadly path toward Florida.

But Maria may spare the U.S. mainland. The current National Hurricane Center forecasts show it veering sharply to the north and spinning up the Atlantic in the corridor between Bermuda and the Atlantic seaboard. But Maria's ultimate path — either closer or farther from the U.S. coast — was still unclear and influenced by weather forces from the remnants of Hurricane Jose now off New England.

On Puerto Rico, the full extent of Maria's fury was still being tallied. But it was clear that the rebuilding process will be massive after the island's power grid and other services were effectively wiped away. Maria on Wednesday knocked out 100 percent of the island's electrical grid, toppled cellphone towers and left many towns cut off by landslides or floods of muddy torrents.

"Definitely Puerto Rico — when we can get outside — we will find our island destroyed," Abner Gómez, director of Puerto Rico's emergency management agency, told reporters Wednesday as the storm engulfed the entire island. "The information we have received is not encouraging. It's a system that has destroyed everything it has had in its path."

It was the first Category 4 storm to strike the island directly since 1932. The devastation, too, is something the island has not seen in generations.

"Months and months and months and months are going to pass before we can recover from this," Felix Delgado, the mayor of the northern coastal city of Catano, told the Associated Press.

First responders, including a fire-rescue team deployed from Fairfax, Va., had to ride out the storm for hours before emerging to help people late Wednesday. In the meantime, calls to emergency services went in vain. A family in the southern coastal town of Guayama, for example, reportedly pleaded for help as they were trapped in their home with rising water.

In Hato Rey, a San Juan business district, a woman sought assistance as she was experiencing labor pains. "Unfortunately, our staff cannot leave," Gómez said at the news conference. "They will be rescued later."

William "Brock" Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told The Washington Post that rescue and recovery operations are poised to help the U.S. territories — and had significant resources already deployed in the area as a result of Hurricane Irma, which hit the region just days ago.

"Right now we're in wait-and-see mode," Long said Wednesday afternoon. "We know that St. Croix took a tremendous hit, and we know obviously Puerto Rico took the brunt of the storm. Once the weather clears and the seas die down, we'll be in full operation."

Puerto Rico's governor, Ricardo Rosselló, ordered a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew to remain in place at least until Saturday. Late Wednesday, President Trump declared a "major disaster" in Puerto Rico and directed additional federal funds to help in the recovery, a White House statement said.

In a tweet address to Rosselló, Trump wrote Thursday that "we are with you and the people of Puerto Rico."

Maria was the most violent tropical cyclone to hit Puerto Rico in more than 80 years. It had raked St. Croix hours earlier, just two weeks after that island was the only major land mass in the U.S. Virgin Islands that was spared Hurricane Irma's wrath. Maria also produced flooding in St. Thomas, an island that Irma hit.

On the French island of Guadeloupe, officials blamed at least two deaths on Maria, and at least two people were missing after a ship went down near the tiny French island of Desirade. At least seven deaths have been reported on the devastated island of Dominica.

Del. Stacey Plaskett, who represents the U.S. Virgin Islands in Washington, said St. Croix had been a staging ground for relief efforts after Hurricane Irma devastated other parts of her district, before Maria's eye skimmed the edge of St. Croix on Tuesday night as a Category 5 storm with winds of 175 mph.

The damage has yet to be fully assessed, but in a sign of the possible devastation, Plaskett said the roof of the local racetrack blew into the runway of the airport, complicating relief efforts.

The last hurricane to make landfall in Puerto Rico was Georges in 1998. Just one Category 5 hurricane has hit Puerto Rico in recorded history, in 1928.

Puerto Rico's vulnerability to tropical cyclones has been driven home in the past two weeks as first Irma and then Maria have howled into the Caribbean. The back-to-back nature of the storms has had one minor upside: Some 3,200 federal government staffers, National Guardsmen and other emergency personnel already were in Puerto Rico when Maria approached.

Late Wednesday, Trump issued a message on Twitter naming the Puerto Rican governor, adding: "We are with you and the people of Puerto Rico. Stay safe! #PRStrong."

The federal recovery effort, Long said, will attempt to restore power to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands as quickly as possible but in a way that makes the grid less vulnerable to similar disruptions. The power grid, he said, "is a fragile system in both territories. It's going to be a long and frustrating process to get the power grid up."

In the San Juan district of Santurce, residents used machetes to cut branches from trees blocking the road. The sidewalks were rendered impassable by downed trees, metal roofing and power lines.

Anton Rosarios, 81, looked over what remained of the front of his wooden house, the walls of which had collapsed, exposing the interior. He said he was hoping that FEMA would show up: "They are the only ones who can help fix this neighborhood. God willing, they will be coming to help us soon."

The home of his neighbor, Vitin Rodriguez, 55, had lost its roof, and all of his belongings had been ruined by Maria. A tree had fallen and crushed his car, and he said he had no way to check on the status of family members.

Farther down the block, a small crowd gathered at an emergency shelter, as residents checked on friends and neighbors, some of whom had ridden out the storm playing dominoes.

"It's important to help, to give a life to people who don't have homes because of the storm," said Eudalia Sanata, 46, one of the four employees of the shelter. "Look, there are even a few dogs here. Dogs are part of the family, too, and no one wants to leave their family out in the rain."



Oklahoma City Police Fatally Shoot Deaf Man Despite Yells Of 'He Can't Hear You'

by James Doubek

Police in Oklahoma City fatally shot a deaf man Tuesday night who they say was advancing toward them with a metal pipe as witnesses yelled that the man was deaf and could not hear them.

It's the fifth officer-involved shooting in the city this year, according to the Oklahoma City Police Department.

Officers were responding to a hit-and-run accident around 8:15 p.m., Capt. Bo Mathews, the police department's public information officer, told reporters Wednesday. A witness of the accident told police a vehicle involved went to a nearby address.

Lt. Matthew Lindsey arrived at the address and encountered 35-year-old Magdiel Sanchez on the porch, who was holding in his right hand a 2-foot metal pipe with a leather loop. Lindsey called for backup and Sgt. Christopher Barnes arrived.

Police ordered Sanchez to drop the weapon and get on the ground, Mathews said. Both officers had weapons drawn — Lindsey had a Taser and Barnes a gun. Sanchez came off the porch and was walking toward Barnes.

"The witnesses also were yelling that this person, Mr. Sanchez, was deaf and could not hear. The officers didn't know this at the time," Mathews said.

Both officers fired their weapons at the same time when Sanchez was about 15 feet away from them; more than one shot was fired, the police captain said.

Emergency Medical Services Authority personnel pronounced Sanchez dead at the scene.

"In those situations, very volatile situations, when you have a weapon out, you can get what they call tunnel vision or you can really lock into just the person that has the weapon that'd be the threat against you," Mathews told reporters.

"I don't know exactly what the officers were thinking at that point, because I was not there. But they very well could not have heard, you know, everybody yelling, everybody yelling around them."

"We were screaming that he can't hear," witness Julio Rayos told The Oklahoman . Rayos told the paper that Sanchez had developmental disabilities and didn't talk.

"The guy does movements," Rayos told The Oklahoman . "He don't speak, he don't hear, mainly it is hand movements. That's how he communicates. I believe he was frustrated trying to tell them what was going on."

Neighbor Jolie Guebara told The Associated Press that Sanchez "always had a stick that he would walk around with, because there's a lot of stray dogs."

She heard five or six gunshots before seeing police outside, she told the AP. She lives two houses from where the shooting happened.

Barnes is being placed on paid administrative leave.

It's being investigated by the department's homicide unit as a criminal case, as all officer-involved shootings are, Mathews said. The investigators will provide their findings to the Oklahoma County District Attorney's office, who will decide if the shooting was justified. Then the police department's internal affairs will investigate.

Some of the department's officers wear body cameras, but neither of the two police at the scene were wearing them at the time.

Sanchez had "no criminal history that I could locate," Mathews said. The car involved in the hit-and-run was driven by Sanchez's father and Magdiel Sanchez was not in the car at the time.

The two officers are white and Sanchez was Hispanic, Mathews said.

Protests over police shootings, especially of black men, have been ongoing around the country since 2014. Sanchez is the 712th person to be shot and killed by police in the U.S. so far this year, according to a Washington Post database .

Just this past weekend, protests erupted in St. Louis over the acquittal of a white police officer who was charged with murder of a black man in 2011. They continued on Wednesday as protesters shut down a suburban St. Louis mall.

Law enforcement officers in Oklahoma have faced charges multiple times in recent years.

In May a jury acquitted the white former Tulsa police Officer Betty Jo Shelby, who shot and killed unarmed black motorist Terence Crutcher in 2016 while he was walking away with his hands up. That verdict sparked protests.

In 2016, a former volunteer reserve deputy in Tulsa was convicted of second-degree manslaughter after the 2015 shooting of an unarmed black man who was on the ground. He said he meant to use a Taser instead of a gun.

And a former police officer in Oklahoma City was convicted in early 2016 of multiple rapes and sexual assaults.



When Backing the Blue Backfires

by Chiraag Bains

In January 2012, Sheriff Doug Gillespie of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department sent a team to Washington, D.C. to ask the Justice Department for help. The LVMPD had been the subject of a five-part series published by the Las Vegas Review-Journal just months before. The paper's investigation covered 20 years of shootings by the department. It concluded that many of the incidents were avoidable and accused the LVMPD of being an “insular” agency that celebrated “a hard-charging police culture while often failing to learn from its mistakes.” Two weeks after the last piece ran, an LVMPD officer killed an unarmed, mentally ill, black veteran.

When the LVMPD team got to Washington, they met with the DOJ's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and the department enrolled in a new program called Collaborative Reform. Through the program, COPS studied the LVMPD's use of deadly force, training, and accountability structures and provided recommendations for change. The department committed to implementing the reforms. By the time COPS released a follow-up report two years later, police shootings were down, force investigations had become more rigorous and transparent, and officers had redoubled efforts to build trust in the community. Sheriff Gillespie said it was his proudest day in 34 years of policing.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced last week he is killing the DOJ's Collaborative Reform program as part of a “course correction” that better fits his priorities. As the LVMPD example illustrates, to do so is a mistake. It may align with the Trump administration's pro-cop rhetoric, but eliminating Collaborative Reform robs police departments and the communities they serve of a resource they actually want.

Maybe we should have seen this coming. During his confirmation hearings, Sessions testified that he believed DOJ lawsuits against police departments with patterns of abuse “undermine the respect for police officers.” He has described police misconduct as the province of a few bad actors and seems to dispute the existence of any systemic problems in law enforcement. And, in a March 31 memo , Sessions announced that he was reconsidering all of DOJ's police reform work, including Collaborative Reform.

Whether predictable or not, the move doesn't make any sense — at least not based on the justification provided. Sessions claims he eliminated Collaborative Reform “to respect local control,” but it is a voluntary program. Local jurisdictions have to request help. Further, COPS and participating departments agree to the scope of the engagement, and the recommendations are non-binding.

Sessions' rationale also ignores that Collaborative Reform was created in response to requests from law enforcement. DOJ developed it to be a less costly and more cooperative — but still independent — alternative to civil rights suits. This option, officials thought, would be appropriate for agencies that saw the need for change and that had the motivation to get there without a consent decree, a legal agreement overseen and enforced by a federal judge.

Eliminating Collaborative Reform leaves police departments that want to change, like the 16 that have signed up since its creation, in the lurch. Police officials in several cities have already expressed their bewilderment and disappointment with DOJ's sudden withdrawal of support. In North Charleston, South Carolina, where former officer Michael Slager awaits sentencing for the murder of Walter Scott, the vice-chair of the police advisory commission said they were “counting on” DOJ's Collaborative Reform recommendations and are now “sitting here twiddling our thumbs.”

This abandonment suggests that while the Sessions Justice Department might be trying to signal support for officers, in reality it is undermining them. There is, after all, nothing pro-cop about denying police departments holistic assistance when they've asked for it. That's anti -police.

And Sessions isn't just ending the program. He's replacing it with an emphasis on ‘90s-era tactics that alienated communities and drove our prison population through the roof. It has been reported that the COPS office is shifting its energies toward “proactive policing.” By that, one can only assume Sessions means broken windows policing — aggressive enforcement against minor offenses like loitering and turnstile-jumping in the hopes of preventing violent crime. He is on record supporting the approach, even though it has proved ineffective and has spawned unlawful practices like New York City's stop-and-frisk program.

It's also likely, going forward, that COPS will use its technical assistance and grant programs to pressure local departments to perform federal immigration enforcement duties. Sessions has already moved aggressively to strip funding from agencies that do not participate in Immigration and Customs Enforcement's efforts. Instead of getting help improving community trust, departments will be pushed to take action that, in their own estimation , will destroy it and make crime-fighting harder.

In the past, COPS has been criticized as undermining the theory of policing for which it is named. It has funneled billions into police departments for community policing, but that money was sometimes used for over-militarization and to pursue zero tolerance policing. Collaborative Reform was a recognition that the office could do much more to help departments reduce unnecessary force, avoid biased policing, and thereby foster mutual trust with their communities. And that with stronger relationships in the community, police would be better able to solve and prevent crimes.

Sessions is throwing all of that out the window. Communities and officers alike are worse off for it.

Chiraag Bains is a senior fellow at Harvard Law School's Criminal Justice Policy Program and a Leadership in Government Fellow at the Open Society Foundations. From 2010 to 2017, he prosecuted individual and systemic officer misconduct at the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.



St. Louis police have fatally shot 8 armed people this year-the highest number in a decade

by Christine Byers

ST. LOUIS -- Amid a sixth day of protest after a police officer was found not guilty of murder in a 2011 fatal shooting, family and friends of another man killed by police gathered outside City Hall on Wednesday.

On what would have been Isaiah "Vinny" Hammett's 22nd birthday, they served birthday cake and tried to draw attention to what they believe was his murder by police earlier this year.

Hammett was one of eight people St. Louis police have fatally shot so far this year — the highest number of fatal police shootings by city police in the past decade, with more than three months left in the year. There were five people killed by St. Louis police in all of 2016.

In addition to those killed, police have shot and wounded seven other people this year. The department did not have statistics available showing how many times their officers fired at someone but missed their target, nor could they provide numbers on how many times officers had been shot at or had guns pointed at them.

Police say all of those killed by officers were armed. One of them stabbed an officer before being fatally shot. The remaining seven pointed a gun at officers before they were killed, according to the police department.

And three of those, including Hammett, actually fired at officers before they were fatally shot, according to police.

But Hammett's family does not believe the police when they say he fired at officers with an AK-47 when they entered his grandfather's home to serve a search warrant.

Police response following Friday's announcement of a not-guilty verdict in the murder trial of former officer Jason Stockley in the 2011 shooting of Anthony Lamar Smith has not helped restore faith for Hammett's family in the police department's ability to independently investigate their son's death.

His mother, Gina Torres, wrote a letter to Mayor Lyda Krewson, citing examples of "out-of-control militarized attacks" during protests and noting that Interim Chief Lawrence O'Toole was also in charge of the SWAT team that killed her son.

"Can you understand, mother to mother, why I despair of ever seeing justice?" she wrote to the mayor. "Especially after the Stockley verdict?"

More crime, more police shootings?

The fact that police shootings are up is well known among the ranks, said Lt. Col. Rochelle Jones, who oversees the department's Force Investigation Unit. As a result, officers have been on heightened alert to remain tactically sound, wait for backup instead of approaching a potentially dangerous situation alone and undergoing training on how to better communicate in stressful situations.

Jones attributed the rise in police shootings to the rise in violent crime. She noted aggravated assaults in the city are up about 5.6 percent this year compared to last, and aggravated assaults with guns are up 16 percent.

In 2016, there were 188 homicides in St. Louis — the same amount as 2015, together the highest homicide tallies in decades. The city has been running slightly ahead of that pace this year.

“There is a rise in violence. Guns are easily accessible. We have open carry laws, and folks are out there carrying their guns,” Jones said. “What do you do when someone pulls a gun on you? You can't pull your Taser.”

Criminologist David Klinger, an expert on police shootings at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, also says the rising number of police shootings isn't surprising given the crime rate.

Simply put, the more violent a community becomes, the more chances police have of encountering armed criminals, he said.

"As crime rates go up and down, so do police shootings," he said.

But the Rev. Phillip Duvall, who has been active in lobbying city officials to prosecute Stockley and in the protests that have followed the verdict, says blaming the increase in police shootings on a rise in crime is a "cop out,"

"It's is like saying, 'We've got to be more violent to protect ourselves and we're more justified in killing you because you're out there with more weapons.' That's status quo, that's not leadership. That's eye for an eye.

"Community policing, if done effectively and correctly would lower crime," Duvall said.

Jones said the department does have a community engagement bureau to try and promote positive interactions with officers and citizens rather than only during a crisis.

“We can't do this alone,” she said. “We need to work with the community, not against the community.”

Duvall says activists also have heard police leaders say their job is getting more dangerous.

"The police say, 'We've got to be more cautious,' but this story tells me they're not being too cautious," Duvall said.



Las Vegas Police further limit use of neck holds

To use the restraint, an officer must be able to demonstrate that the subject had the intent to harm officers or others

by the Las Vegas Sun

LAS VEGAS — Metro Police announced Thursday they are further limiting the use of a neck restraint that has proven deadly for it and other law enforcement agencies in the past.

In an updated use of force policy , Metro says, the lateral vascular neck restraint is no longer categorized as a “low-level option” and is now classified as an “intermediate or deadly use of force.”

To use the restraint, an officer must be able to demonstrate that the subject had the intent to harm officers or others, officials said.

The use of neck holds came under scrutiny this year when an unarmed man died in May after a Metro officer placed him in a neck restraint.

The officer, Kenneth Lopera, 31, was charged with manslaughter in the death of Tashii S. Brown, whom the Clark County Coroner's Office said died of asphyxiation.

Brown's death spawned protests and calls for Las Vegas police to quit teaching officers the lateral vascular neck restraint.

Steve Grammas of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association has said Lopera did nothing criminal and was using a department-approved method to restrain Brown.

Metro has said the technique Lopera used was similar to the one officers are trained to perform but not allowed under department policy.

Metro is also updating its policy on firing at or from a moving vehicle and is deploying a new weapon to de-escalate violent situations, officials said.

Metro says it is now department policy that “officers will not discharge a firearm at/from a moving vehicle unless it is absolutely necessary to preserve human life.”

In addition, after finding that low-lethality beanbag rounds have been ineffective in some situations, Metro has deployed a new 40mm specialty impact weapon. It is an “intermediate force option” when fired from five yards or more and a deadly force weapon when discharged at closer range, officials said.



Jeff Sessions warns gang members: 'We will hunt you down'

Sessions told law enforcement officials in Boston that they cannot allow violent street gangs such as MS-13 to turn cities into war zones

by Alanna Durkin Richer

BOSTON — U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions warned gang members on Thursday that they will be hunted down and brought to justice so they can no longer terrorize communities.

Sessions told law enforcement officials in Boston that they cannot allow violent street gangs such as MS-13 to turn cities into war zones.

"We are coming for you," Sessions said during a speech at the federal courthouse. "We will hunt you down, we will find you and we will bring you to justice."

MS-13, or La Mara Salvatrucha, is believed to have been founded in Los Angeles in the 1980s by immigrants fleeing El Salvador's bloody civil war and has grown into one of the largest street gangs in the country, with more than 10,000 members, federal officials say.

The gang, whose motto is "kill, rape, control," is known for its use of gruesome tactics, including hacking and stabbing its victims with machetes. It has been tied to a wave of recent violence on Long Island, just east of New York City, and has been linked to brutal killings in other states.

Sessions applauded Massachusetts federal prosecutors' dedication to dismantling the gang, pointing to a massive roundup of its members in the state last year.

More than 50 members of the gang in and around Boston were indicted in January 2016 on federal racketeering charges, including murder, conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder.

Sessions, a Republican, said gangs are exploiting a program for unaccompanied minors found crossing the southern border by sending members over as "wolves in sheep clothing" and recruiting in communities.

Gregory Chen, director of government relations for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, called that assertion "truly baseless." The program aids children fleeing violence in their home countries, he said.

"He's trying to inflame public opinion against this highly vulnerable population," Chen said.

A few dozen protesters carrying signs with phrases such as #NotWelcome gathered outside the courthouse before Sessions' speech to condemn his views on immigration and law enforcement.

Sessions' visit to Boston included a briefing from local officials on MS-13 and a discussion with local police chiefs.


FEMA tweets wrong number, directs hurricane victims to sex hotline

by Joel Hulsey

Victims of this year's hurricane season looking for assistance were instead met with a much different message following a typo made by FEMA earlier this week.

The Miami Herald reports FEMA's Region 4 office tweeted the wrong number for roof repairs Wednesday, instead directing consumers to a phone sex hotline. The legitimate number, 1-888-ROOF-BLU , was instead mistaken for a 1-800 number, causing confusion among many of those affected.

"Welcome to America's hottest talk line. Guys, hot ladies are waiting to talk to you," the recording said in part, according to the Miami Herald . "Press '1' to connect, free, now."

The tweet has since been deleted.

#FL : If your roof was damaged due to Hurricane #Irma , Operation Blue Roof may be able to help: 1-888-ROOF-BLU or

— FEMA Region 4 (@femaregion4) September 20, 2017



New Haven cops take a walk in Newhallville for community policing

by Brian Zahn

Dominguez's objective Friday was twofold: to better acquaint herself with the community she serves in Newhallville and to ensure basketball domination.

New Haven Public Schools employees; Rep. Robyn Porter, D-New Haven; clergy; members of the community and nearly a dozen uniformed police officers walked about a mile on Friday afternoon, greeting the community sitting on their porches and walking around in the warm weather, making light conversation for an hour.

Dominguez introduced herself to a young adult man by asking about his interest in basketball. In last year's inaugural “Cops and Ballers” three-on-three basketball tournament, in which officers mix with civilians to play ball, Dominguez's team emerged victorious.

“I need to have a winning team this year, too,” she grinned. “We want a combination team, so it's not cops versus the community, but cops with the community.”

Daniel Hunt, a student support employee in NHPS, said he began planning the event with Police Chief Anthony Campbell about one year ago, when Campbell was serving as chief in an interim capacity.

“This is another way of community policing,” Hunt said of the walk. “We're seeing everybody coming together.”

Hunt said he didn't expect several uniformed police officers walking the streets in a group to upset people in the community.

“It's not all the time people are worried to see police,” he said.

Pastor Steven Cousins of Bethel AME Church said it's important for anybody to know the community they serve. He said he used to drive to his church from Hamden, and he had been unaware of a grocery store across the street until his wife highlighted it for him.

“Today the focus is on breaking down walls. You look at St. Louis, New York City, Ferguson or Baltimore, and that's our perception of officers,” he said. “You go against the stereotype when you talk to our officers.”

Porter said she supports community policing “if done properly.”

Porter, a resident of the area, said she thinks proper community policing is having officers who live in the area, and who see the community at Citywide Parent Team meetings and at the supermarket, but the next best thing is for police to “engage (the community) outside of their duties.”

“Do we have a new lieutenant now?” Brandi Marshall called from her home as she carried groceries inside.

Dominguez introduced herself, promising to do a good job. Marshall said she had seen so many district managers move in and out of the area in her five years of living on Winchester Street.

“Don't be one of those on the way out, who's not here to stay,” she told Dominguez. “Let's do this. (Newhallville) is getting better and it's continuing to get better.”

Marshall said she believes the neighborhood suffers from a bad reputation, but it's vibrant, with a mix of youth and older folks and students moving in. Having a steady, trusted police presence would help to improve people's perception of the neighborhood, she said.

Police officers knew some of the people they greeted during their walk because of their connections to the department. On Winchester Street, Assistant Chief Otoniel Reyes gave a bear hug to Malcolm Davis, who retired from the department — and others were discovered to have connections.

Shanae Cowan, 7, a student at Celentano, told officers of her love of science before letting it slip: her older sister is a detective in the department.

“It's pretty good,” Joyce Via, Cowan's aunt, said of the police walking the beat. “It lets people know they are here and looking out for them.”

In spite of the walk's positive intentions, there were a smattering of unspoken moments of awkwardness: around 3 p.m., officers debated through smiles whether a young girl on a school bus shouted an affirmation at them or an “FTP,” in department parlance. A woman in a Toyota parked on the side of Starr Street with five young children in the back seat darted her eyes around nervously as officers shuffled through.

Although the officers weren't looking to perform any specific duties, Dominguez slipped into a habit when she stopped traffic to let five young children with backpacks cross the street. Lt. Stephan Torquati waited for the children on the other side of the street, high fiving them as they walked past.

Joe Greene, a former detective who retired from the department in 2003, said he had trained most of the district managers present.

“It's good to see police getting out now,” he said, adding that community policing had been popular for some of the 29 years he worked for the department.



After nurse attest, Utah lawmakers to clarify blood draw law

Rep. Craig Hall said in a Twitter message that he doesn't have details yet on the legislation he's planning

by the Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah lawmakers say they're working on a law to clarify when police can draw blood without a driver's consent after a Salt Lake City police officer was caught on video dragging a nurse from a hospital and arresting her.

West Valley City Republican Rep. Craig Hall said in a Twitter message Thursday that he doesn't have details yet on the legislation he's planning.

Detective Jeff Payne arrested University of Utah nurse Alex Wubbels in July after she refused to allow Payne to draw blood from an unconscious patient without a warrant.

Wubbels' attorney Karra Porter told the Salt Lake Tribune that the law already makes it clear that the officer couldn't draw the blood.

Payne's attorney Greg Skordas says the patient had given implied consent to the blood draw because he had a commercial driver license.


From the Department of Homeland Security

President Donald J. Trump Approves Major Disaster Declaration for Puerto Rico

WASHINGTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that federal disaster assistance has been made available to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to supplement the Commonwealth and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by Hurricane Maria from September 17, 2017, and continuing.

The President's action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in the Aguas Buenas, Aibonito, Arecibo, Arroyo, Barceloneta, Barranquitas, Bayamón, Caguas , Canóvanas, Carolina, Cataño, Cayey, Ceiba, Ciales, Cidra, Coamo, Comerio, Corozal, Culebra, Dorado, Fajardo, Florida, Guayama, Guaynabo, Gurabo, Humacao, Jayuya, Juana Díaz, Juncos, Las Piedras, Loíza, Luquillo, Manati, Maunabo, Morovis, Naguabo, Naranjito, Orocovis, Patillas, Ponce, Rio Grande, Salinas, San Juan, San Lorenzo, Santa Isabel, Toa Baja, Toa Alta, Trujillo Alto, Utuado, Vega Alta, Vega Baja, Vieques, Villalba, and Yabucoa municipalities. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

Federal funding is also available to the Commonwealth and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work in all 78 municipalities in the Commonwealth.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures throughout the Commonwealth.

Alejandro De La Campa has been named as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area. De La Campa said additional designations may be made at a later date if warranted by the results of damage assessments.

Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area can begin applying for assistance by registering online at or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.

Follow FEMA online at , , , and . Also, follow Administrator Brock Long's activities at .

The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate all hazards.


President Donald J. Trump Approves Major Disaster Declaration for the U.S. Virgin Islands

WASHINGTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that federal disaster assistance has been made available to the territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands to supplement territory recovery efforts in the areas affected by Hurricane Maria from September 16, 2017, and continuing.

The President's action makes federal funding available to affected individuals on the island of St. Croix. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

Federal funding is available to the territory and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work in all the islands in the territory.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures throughout the territory.

William L. Vogel has been named as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area. Vogel said additional designations may be made at a later date if warranted by the results of damage assessments.

Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area can begin applying for assistance by registering online at or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.

Follow FEMA online at , , , and . Also, follow Administrator Brock Long's activities at .

The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate all hazards.


From the Department of Justice

Department of Justice Awards Nearly $59 Million to Combat Opiod Epidemic, Fund Drug Courts

The Department of Justice today announced $58.8 million to strengthen drug court programs and address the opioid epidemic nationwide.

In 2016, nearly 60,000 Americans lost their lives to drug overdoses, an increase from the 52,000 overdose deaths the year before. The majority of these deaths can be attributed to opioids, including illicit fentanyl and its analogues. The opioid epidemic, a public health crisis, is also a growing public safety crisis.

“Today, we are facing the deadliest drug crisis in American history,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “These trends are shocking and the numbers tell us a lot– but they aren't just numbers. They represent moms and dads, brothers and sisters, neighbors and friends. And make no mistake combatting this poison is a top priority for President Trump and his administration, and you can be sure that we are taking action to address it. Today, we are announcing that we will be awarding millions in federal grants to help law enforcement and public health agencies address prescription drug and opioid abuse. This is an urgent problem and we are making it a top priority.”

About $24 million in federal grants will be awarded to 50 cities, counties and public health departments to provide financial and technical assistance to state, local, and tribal governments to create comprehensive diversion and alternatives to incarceration programs for those impacted by the opioid epidemic. These funds, awarded under the Office of Justice Programs' Bureau of Justice Assistance's Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Program, also included funds from the Harold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. This program helps regulatory, law enforcement, and public health agencies address prescription drug and opioid misuse; reduce crime; and save lives.

An additional $3.1 million will be awarded by the National Institute of Justice for research and evaluation on drugs and crime. The research priorities are heroin and other opioids and synthetic drugs.

The department is also awarding more than $22.2 million to 53 jurisdictions to support the implementation and enhancement of adult drug courts and Veterans Treatment Courts, which serve as “one-stop-shops” to link veterans with services, benefits and program providers, including the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Service Organizations and volunteer veteran mentors.

Specific sites and funds awarded can be found online at: .

The department is also awarding more than $9.5 million under several Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention grant programs, including the Juvenile Drug Treatment Court Grant Program and the Family Drug Court Statewide System Reform Implementation Program. These programs helps jurisdictions build effective family drug treatment courts and ensure current juvenile drug treatment courts follow established guidelines .

Specific sites and funds awarded can be found online at: .

Finally, read more about the importance of these programs in a new blog by OJP Acting Assistant Attorney General Alan R. Hanson online at .

The Office of Justice Programs, headed by Acting Assistant Attorney General Alan R. Hanson, provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice and assist victims. OJP has six bureaus and offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking (SMART). More information about OJP and its components can be found at .


From the FBI

Idaho Drug Ring Dismantled

11 Sent to Prison for Dealing Methamphetamine

The opioid epidemic is battering American communities and rightfully commanding national attention. In certain areas of the country, however, the illicit drug of choice is methamphetamine, and that powerful stimulant is every bit as addictive—and devastating—as heroin, fentanyl, and prescription opiates.

In the southwestern corner of Idaho, in an area surrounding the city of Boise, “we're on the front end of the opioid epidemic,” said Special Agent Doug Hart. “We've seen increases in heroin use—it's coming our way—but meth is still king.”

In its wake, meth leaves a trail of crime and addiction that ultimately leads back to the dealers who supply the drug and reap substantial profits.

Early in 2015, Elizabeth Gaytan, a street-level dealer, sold meth on numerous occasions to undercover police officers working with the FBI-led Treasure Valley Metro Violent Crime Task Force. The task force, composed of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, is part of the FBI's nationwide Safe Streets Violent Crime Initiative (see sidebar).

Investigators later learned the identity of Gaytan's supplier—Stacy Duane Wilfong—a gang member who led a larger group that distributed drugs throughout the Treasure Valley. “That took us one more step up the ladder,” said Hart, who worked on the investigation from the FBI's office in Boise, part of the Bureau's Salt Lake City Division.

Gaytan and others involved in the meth trade in the Treasure Valley were associated with gang activity and “a lot of violence,” Hart said. “There had been shootings and stabbings and home invasions involving her residence, all related to the drug trade.”

A court-ordered wiretap of Wilfong's phone during the course of less than one month revealed hundreds of calls to co-conspirators related to the distribution of meth and other drugs, Hart said. “We were also able to determine who was supplying Wilfong. The investigation enabled us to go up three levels and take off the main suppliers.”

Members of the Treasure Valley Metro Violent Crime Task Force were aided in the investigation by the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a federal entity that supplies funding for law enforcement efforts to dismantle major drug trafficking organizations.

In December 2015, Wilfong, Gaytan, and nine others were indicted by a federal grand jury in Boise for conspiring to distribute controlled substances. “This group was responsible for dealing multiple pounds of meth,” Hart said.

In July 2017, Idaho resident John Matthew Caviness, Jr. was sentenced to four years in federal prison for his role in the meth ring. He was the last of 11 subjects to be sentenced in the case. Wilfong, the 40-year-old ringleader, was sentenced in October 2016 to more than 18 years behind bars. Gaytan received a prison sentence of more than eight years for her role in the conspiracy.

“We dismantled a violent group of individuals who distributed meth throughout the Treasure Valley,” Hart said. “But they were one group of many.” The veteran investigator, who has been working gang and drug investigation cases for more than two decades, noted that so-called “super labs” in Mexico can produce 50 pounds of meth a day, and the drug usually hits American streets uncut.

“When I started doing drug buys in 2008, we bought ounces and tested them at 9 percent and 11 percent purity,” he explained. “The purity is now essentially 100 percent, and availability has increased substantially. If we dismantle these groups and reduce supply, the price of meth should go up, but that's not happening,” he said. “That's the type of drug problem we are facing.”

The Fight Against Gangs and Drugs

The FBI established its Safe Streets Violent Crime Initiative 25 years ago. The goal was to enable FBI field offices across the country to address street gangs and drug-related violence through the creation of Bureau-sponsored task forces that focus on gangs, violent crime, and the apprehension of violent fugitives. The task forces are made up of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies who address violent crimes in their communities. Today there are 160 Violent Gang Safe Streets Task Forces nationwide staffed by nearly 850 FBI agents, more than 1,500 state and local law enforcement personnel, and nearly 100 other federal law enforcement agents.

The Treasure Valley Metro Violent Crime Task Force, established in 2005, is one of those 160 Safe Streets Task Forces, and has been “remarkably successful,” according to Special Agent Doug Hart. “It's one of the best things we've done in the Treasure Valley to combat gangs and drugs.”