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.
Former NYC police commissioner lays out plan to reduce Baltimore crime
by Howard Safir
In 1990, New York City had over 2,000 homicides; this year it will probably have under 280. That's an 86 percent reduction. Baltimore can do the same, but it requires smart strategies and political will.
Contrary to political spin and media reports, we did not reduce crime in New York because we indiscriminately stopped, questioned and frisked thousands of innocent people, or disregarded the Constitution. We reduced crime because we focused on guns, drugs, gangs and the relatively small number of people who commit the majority of crimes.
Our patrol and detectives were empowered, organized, equipped and held accountable to work with prosecutors to legally remove illegal guns from the street; to disrupt and dismantle narcotic distribution networks; to develop intelligence about and target gangs, and make it more difficult for them to recruit, extort and intimidate and terrorize neighborhoods.
It is possible for community policing and assertive crime initiatives to work side by side. It is possible to do stop, frisk and question (in moderation) constitutionally with well trained officers. It is possible and required to engage the community to trust their police department. When five police officers were tragically murdered in Dallas, former Police Chief David Brown made some very insightful and true observations. He said that the public and politicians often mistake the role of police. They are not social workers; their number one job is public safety, and they cannot solve all of society's ills. He was right on target. I believe that one of the most important civil rights is to be free from harm. I also believe that criminals and only criminals should be afraid of police.
To reduce crime on Baltimore, we need to do the following:
Increase resources: When you are in a war, you cannot be looking for budget cuts from those who protect you. Although Baltimore has an adequate number of officers per capita, the department needs funds for technology and overtime.
Improve technology: The future of policing is intelligence-led policing. Departments should have access to tools such as predictive policing software, computers and data terminals in vehicles, and well trained intelligence analysts on staff.
Focus on drugs and guns: Study after study has shown that 80 percent of crime in America has a nexus to drugs. We need a strategy that combines well trained special and centralized drug units (it is not the time to reduce special units) that target traffickers — not users. It will require intelligence, and, yes, assertive policing including some stop, question and frisk (done right and constitutionally). Criminals need to know that there is a high probability of arrest if they commit crimes. That only happens if we know who they are, and they know we are there. More guns are taken off the street or don't get to the street because criminals fear arrest.
Ensure accountability: It counts what you count! It is important to hold police commanders responsible for how they perform. The measure of success is critical. In private industry executives are held accountable for profit; in police work they should be held accountable for crime reduction — not arrests or seizures. Is that being done in the Baltimore P.D.?
Involve the community: No police department can be successful without the help of its community members. They are the eyes and ears of the department to help solve crimes. Officers must listen to responsible community leaders and get the community involved in keeping their neighborhoods safe.
If you look today on the side of every police vehicle in New York City, the words “Courtesy, Professionalism and Respect” are in bold letters. It is more than just a slogan. When we put that on our vehicles during my tenure, we did a lot more. We established a Citizens C.P.R. commission, made up of not just our supporters, but some of our most vocal opponents. They told us what they liked and disliked about our department. The number one complaint was not brutality, but discourtesy. We listened and trained every officer in the department in courtesy, professionalism and respect. Our civilian complaints went down each year thereafter, while we continued to reduce crime in record numbers.
We also set up a program called “Model Block.” We chose the worst crime ridden blocks in the city, and with the consent of the community we first arrested the drug traffickers, and then with the help of the community we had all the city services restore the neighborhood. We also posted officers on the block to ensure the criminals did not come back.
Baltimore is a beautiful city that is going through very difficult times. With thoughtful, assertive, goal-oriented policing it can really become Charm City. The Baltimore Police Department is full of good, dedicated officers. Leaders both within and outside the department must motivate and show them that out-of-control violence and crime can be controlled. We need to give them the tools and the backing and not cave to political correctness. Every life matters, and if something is not done — and done quickly — more innocent people will lose theirs.
De Blasio Kept Crime Down in First Term. His next Goal: Nicer Police.
by J. David Goodman and Al Baker
The grim campaign ads portended carnage to come: New York City, in the hands of a Democratic mayor, thrust back into the days of squeegee men, street prostitutes and 2,000 murders a year.
Yet four years after those predictions of the lawlessness that would take hold should Bill de Blasio win, he comes before voters on Tuesday with a record of keeping crime at bay. Murders stand at 242, on pace to be the lowest on record.
There is little doubt that Mr. de Blasio will win: No major Democrat rose to challenge him in the primary; his Republican opponent, Nicole Malliotakis, trails by more than 30 points in polls; and while many have criticized him, most voters in this heavily Democratic city appear ready to give him their support. Unlike 2013, it has been an election without municipal crises prompting calls for new leadership.
What it does have that 2013 did not is Mr. de Blasio's four-year mayoral record. And perhaps no issue presented bigger risks for Mr. de Blasio than policing. He came to office critical of past practices and promising reforms. In his first year, he found himself at odds with the Police Department's rank-and-file after the killing of two officers in 2014, which some blamed on his remarks.
As The Times reviewed Mr. de Blasio's record, on issues like early childhood education and housing , public safety emerged as the most delicate — and the one where his record, on crime reduction at least, has provided his clearest success.
Even opponents grant him a kind of grudging respect. The Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, the city's largest police union, declined to endorse the mayor for re-election, but, tellingly, it did not endorse any of his opponents, either.
Now, with violent crime on the rise in some of the country's largest cities and President Trump apparently encouraging police aggression , Mr. de Blasio is hoping to make his mark on public safety in New York City and beyond with a policing experiment on a massive scale — to make officers nicer.
Among the ways to see how the effort is working is to spend time with the officers who are trying to execute it, and the people in the city's neighborhoods with whom they are trying to connect. So far, the record has been mixed and mostly anecdotal.
Mr. de Blasio has promoted two prongs of this approach to local and national audiences: officers engaging in deeper outreach with residents and, at the same time, looking inward to the internal biases they maintain. The mayor is convinced that the crime numbers and a declining number of official citizen complaints about the police prove that the changes have already taken hold.
“We're bringing into this city neighborhood policing, real neighborhood policing, cops walking the beat again,” he said in a 2016 television interview in Philadelphia, with the stage of the Democratic National Convention behind him. “One thing that's crucially important is implicit bias training. Helping our police understand, like every human being, they have biases that we can overcome.”
On the ground, however, things look different than how they have been portrayed by the mayor. Officers do not walk a beat and are not expected to. Neighborhood meetings organized by newly trained “neighborhood coordination officers” are sparsely attended in many cases, and sometimes not attended at all. Firm metrics do not exist for measuring the new approach, which city officials call neighborhood policing and not community policing, which for some officers carries a stigma of laxity and past failure.
And despite Mr. de Blasio's promise nearly two years ago in his State of the City address to begin implicit bias training for officers that spring, and repeated invocations of the idea since then, the Police Department has yet to train a single officer. A $4.5 million contract for the training is still being completed.
“We have implicit bias training now as part of our curriculum,” the mayor said in July 2016 . Last month in a conversation with students at Columbia University, Mr. de Blasio conceded that it had still not yet begun . “We're starting implicit bias training soon,” he said.
A spokesman for Mr. de Blasio, Austin Finan, said the department tried to start the training internally before turning to outside help.
A New ‘Philosophy'
The slow beginnings contrasted with swift and sweeping changes that the Police Department has undertaken to carry out the new patrolling plan.
Fifty-one of the city's 77 precincts have been carved into new subsections where patrol officers spend all their time. Specialized units tasked with addressing crime, known as conditions teams, are being scuttled in favor of these groups of neighborhood-based officers. Arrests are not only declining, they are being played down by supervisors and chiefs. At crime-trend meetings in Police Headquarters, numbers are out; explanations of how community concerns are being addressed are in.
“For the commanders, they were worried,” said Chief of Patrol Terence A. Monahan, who oversees the effort, which he calls an overarching new “philosophy,” more than a single program. “It took a little pushing to get this going. But they saw the results.”
The Police Department added hundreds of counterterrorism officers under Mr. de Blasio, a priority at a time when Paris, London and last week, New York, have been targets of attacks involving trucks .
How much the drop this year can be attributed to the new approach is unknown. Citywide, the seven major felony crimes — murder, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, grand larceny and auto theft — tracked by the Federal Bureau of Investigation declined by nearly 6 percent.
An analysis of precinct-by-precinct crime data through Oct. 22 by The New York Times showed that those with the program — anywhere from a few months to more than two years — saw declines of nearly 7 percent; those without declined more slowly, a little over 4 percent. Yet at the same time, crime has increased in some of the first neighborhoods to get the program, including in parts of the northern Bronx and Washington Heights.
Even less certain is whether the new approach, meant as a lasting balm for minority neighborhoods rattled by decades of harsh policing tactics, will heal the rifts that reopened in 2014 with the police killing of Eric Garner on Staten Island and the national protests over similar killings of unarmed black men by officers in Baltimore, Ferguson, Mo., and elsewhere.
“That's sort of like the secret ingredient in McDonald's or something,” said Chuck Wexler, the executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, a national group. “The magic sauce, you know, ‘build trust,' like, if we could figure out how to do that it would be like the Manhattan Project. How do you build trust?”
Complaints by citizens, often proportional to police enforcement activity, are down from four years ago, as are stop-and-frisk encounters, summonses and arrests.
Chief Monahan said overall arrests were falling faster in precincts with the new program.
Meeting With Residents
That would not surprise Detective Edwin A. Rodriguez, a neighborhood-based officer. Part of his strategy for gaining trust in areas of Washington Heights is to let some crimes go unpunished. In one instance, he let a marijuana dealer go, and later that dealer helped with information on gangs.
“He's up there selling weed and stuff, a bunch of small stuff,” he said before heading out on patrol on a Friday last month. “And we're worried about violent stuff.”
Over the summer, a new phase of the plan began around the city: small neighborhood meetings, often with coffee and cupcakes, aimed at helping officers learn the crime concerns in their small patrol areas, known as sectors.
Local commanders are not present, as they would be at the traditional precinct community council meetings. The meetings are run by the neighborhood-based officers, not supervisors.
In the basement of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in the northern Bronx on a recent Thursday night, an officer brought pizzas. His colleagues wrote the concerns of residents on a white sketch pad.
A man stood to complain about drug use in a playground. Others spoke of unlicensed cabs and double-parked cars. But the officers perked up as a woman described a problem at a business.
“They put their drugs right there in the Chinese place, I can tell you that,” the woman said, one of 17 mostly older residents who came to the church. “I'm not trying to get my name involved,” she added.
“Let's talk after,” one officer, Detective Alejandro Colon, told her, before turning to the group. “This is what this program is all about.”
But not all meetings are as active. In more than a dozen visited by The Times over the last few months, several were sparsely attended, one in Harlem included no one from the area and another in Washington Heights, listed on the website for a June evening, did not take place.
“I was going to speak my mind,” said Orlando Ramos, 69, a retired doorman who was outside the designated location.
By contrast, more than 40 people at a meeting in Bedford-Stuyvesant told officers about problem spots, and officers explained, in an informal way, the challenges they face: the legal rules of stop-question-and-frisk; the limitations of stopping people from smoking marijuana in privately owned apartment buildings.
“It eased my mind because I realized that they're aware” of the problems in the area, Odessa Watson, 39, said of the officers.
Officer Patrick Malone, 32, who helped to lead the meeting, said he gave out the number for his city-issued cellphone and received calls from residents at all hours. “It's good information,” he said.
His sergeant, Shaun Brown, said that while some people wanted to see more officers on foot, “we're in the car 100 percent of the time.” Despite adding 1,300 officers to the Police Department , for counterterrorism and to facilitate the new neighborhood-based program, they would need far more to cover their area on foot, he said.
Few people under 40-years-old were at the meetings. At several, including one in the Bronx on Thursday, officers implored those who came to bring their younger relatives. Assistant Chief Rodney Harrison said that the department was looking to help neighborhood-based officers reach problematic young people by going “to them” in schools and community centers. They would entice the young people to show up, he said, by offering “some type of gift,” like a sporting goods gift card or movie tickets.
“It's a fluid philosophy,” said Chief Monahan. “This is all about trusting our cops.” He added that the department did not want officers to make arrests for the sake it.
Pragmatism on Patrols
That message has reached the street.
As Detective Rodriguez walked through a desolate corner of his Upper Manhattan sector this month, near an otherwise empty skateboard park, he and his partner, Detective Thomas W. Troppmann, came upon three men huddled under a footbridge. One had his shirt sleeve rolled up. Another appeared to be cooking heroin.
As the officers approached, the men quickly skirted away, leaving belongings behind.
In another era, the encounter might have ended with an arrest, or at least a formal police stop. But Detectives Rodriguez and Troppmann did not see a case to be made, or much point in locking up clearly drug-addicted men who later admitted they were struggling with heroin addiction.
“Hey, come get your jacket!” Detective Rodriguez called out to the men.
Two turned back, and the officers spoke to them about addiction services. The third, whom the officers suspected of being a dealer, kept walking.
The end of Policing?
by Isidoro Rodriguez
Policing in the United States is in the midst of transformative changes, partly spurred by the well-publicized officer-involved shootings around the country—but also as a consequence of generational change, as police ranks open up to a more diversified group of recruits and as departments modernize their training. But Alex Vitale, a professor of sociology and coordinator of the Policing and Social Justice Project at Brooklyn College, argues that little will happen unless police agencies rethink their roles in public safety.
In The End of Policing , Vitale offers a different framework for thinking about how law enforcement relates to the communities it serves. In a chat with TCR's Isidoro Rodriguez, he explains why the current policing model perpetuates racial bias, why he believes community policing is misconceived, and what he means by the provocative title he chose for his book.
The Crime Report: The title of your book will attract a lot of attention. But do you really think that policing needs to end?
Alex Vitale: The title has a kind of double meaning. On the one hand, it means should we look at a complete rethinking of policing. But, also, within that, what is the purpose of policing? What is it that we have asked police to do functionally?
The book is really about trying to lay out a process of interrogating our over-reliance on policing, and using evidence-informed alternatives to try and reduce that reliance. And behind that is the understanding that policing is inherently a problematic tool for cities to use to solve problems because it comes with a legacy of reproducing inequality, especially along the lines of race. Also, it relies on the tools of coercion, force, and punitiveness to solve problems; and that brings with it a lot of potential collateral consequences that we should be looking to avoid whenever possible.
TCR: The punitive aspect of policing is a key issue today. Departments across the country continue to face controversy as a result of their officers' often aggressive methods. As a result, many have implemented programs such as Crisis Intervention Training and placed new emphasis on de-escalation and conflict resolution. Are these the right ways to go?
AV: First of all, a lot of departments aren't making meaningful changes. They're not actively embracing significant new training regimes. My view is that, ultimately, training police to better do things that they shouldn't be doing in the first place is not the ultimate solution. If we could really dial back the things we ask police to do, then we could talk about what kind of training and protocols would be best for doing what's left. Police is the unit of government that we rely on to be able to use force.
It's a mistake to think that, somehow, we can just train police to be nice and friendly all the time. Rather than creating this idea that we can make the police nicer, we should really just reduce the number of things we ask them to do.
TCR: One of the main areas where police are taking on more responsibilities than many feel they should is policing the mentally ill. Should we take the responsibility for this population off the shoulders of police who often aren't even trained to deal with them?
AV: Absolutely. Instead of trying to fine-tune the police response, we need to just end the police response to most of these calls. And we can just look at the United Kingdom as an example of how to move in that direction. There, when someone in a family is having a mental health crisis and a family member calls for help, they call a phone number that's tied to the national health service. It has nothing to do with the police. A trained mental health nurse practitioner, or other trained mental health worker, responds to that call.
Now, if there is a concern, or an articulation of violence, than it may be necessary for some police backup. But that call is handled as a health crisis call. The UK police don't want to take those calls, are happy to have mental health professionals doing that work, and are angry that mental health services in the UK are being dialed back and more of the burden is falling on them . And, frankly, there are a lot of cops in the United States who think it's a mistake to send police on those calls. They don't want to do them;, they don't believe that what they're doing helps; and it's incredibly fraught.
TCR: Why is there such reticence on the part of American police forces to adopt international examples of successful alternative policing methods like those practiced in the UK?
AV: Because it has nothing to do with the police. This is not their decision to make. This is a decision that's been made by political leaders not to fund adequate community based mental health services due to a bipartisan consensus around the politics of austerity.
TCR: In the debate on how best to deal with the mentally ill, there's a strong push for diversion methods such as mental health courts. Do you see that as a successful step of reform?
AV: The courts are not always that successful in diverting people. Whether it's mental health courts, trafficking courts, or drug courts, they rarely provide the services that are often most needed in these situations: stable supportive housing and access to a stable income, whether it's through employment or government transfers.
They engage in a lot of therapeutic regimes, which may provide some aid in helping people stabilize, but don't totally do so in a way that avoids future interactions with these systems.
Instead, we see a lot of churning of people through these courts, through therapeutic regimes and, also, through emergency rooms, police lockups, and jails—often at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars a year per person. I think what we should be looking at is not pre-incarceration diversion, but pre-arrest diversion. Instead of limiting access to drug treatment to people that get arrested, why not have drug treatment on demand for anyone who needs it? Why not have actual adequate community based mental health services?
Then, if we have those services in place, and there are people who are still producing problems in the community, let's talk about how to address those individuals from a comprehensive standpoint. Instead, we make no services available, and then we criminalize people for engaging in antisocial behavior.
TCR: Another issue your book addresses is the militarization of the police, both in tactics and the supply of military-grade hardware, a reality memorialized by the protests in Ferguson. Please explain your perspective.
AV: Political violence is a political problem, and it needs to be solved in the political arena. But, too often, rather than addressing those political concerns, our political leaders hand it off to the police to deal with. That leaves, again, police in a no-win situation where they feel the need to use force to resolve what are ultimately political problems. The other thing is that militarization of policing is about a lot more than humvees and tactical vests. It's about a whole ethos that has become widespread in policing in the United States. About politicians telling police to wage a war on crime, a war on drugs, a war on terror, and a war on disorder and then giving them budgets to buy military equipment and create paramilitary units with training regimes that treat the public as enemies to be neutralized.
We have seen that ethos at work in some of the most horrible abuses of policing. So what is to be done? Quit telling the police they're at war with the public, scale down the kinds of thing that they're being asked to deal with, and then think about what kinds of tools, training, and technologies are best for accomplishing that. In my mind, that would result in a vast reduction in the use of militarized equipment and training.
TCR: In your book, you point out that poor and minority populations almost exclusively shoulder the burden of overpolicing. Why?
AV: We persist in a fantasy of color blindness that says the police response is merely a professional technocratic response to where the crime is, but ignore the ways in which our society has been structured along racialized lines and the ways in which poverty in the United States is growing and becoming more entrenched. This includes a lot of white rural communities that are suffering from opioids and other kinds of crime problems.
Our political leaders have chosen to define those communities as criminal rather than as communities that are in deep distress because of entrenched joblessness, discrimination, geographic isolation, etc. If they were to admit that the problems in those communities were the result of market failures, rather than individual moral failures, then they would have to intervene in markets in ways that those who put them in office don't want them to. To address the problems of inequality in any way other than policing is politically unacceptable in our current political environment.
TCR: As you write in your book, today's policing issues have deep historical roots—in some cases as far back as the 17th century. Does this history hold any lessons for policing today?
AV: Our popular culture, which is the main source of information that people have on policing, is suffused with the myth of police as neutral, professional crime fighters. In the book, I discuss things like Adam 12 , which was created in the wake of the Watts riots , as a tool that the Los Angeles Police Department was actively using to restore public confidence in police along really invented lines. That has become the way police are portrayed primarily in our popular culture. What we don't see, are the concrete ways in which the police reproduce enforced ghetto segregation, Jim Crow, and carry out the war on drugs and terror along racial lines.
TCR: In your book you describe the “hero narrative” that dominates police thinking about their role. Does that need to be addressed at the start of police training?
AV: Most young people that I know, who have wanted to go into law enforcement, are motivated by a very real and genuine desire to help their communities. They believe that policing is the way to do this. What they don't understand is the profound legacy of the structural impediments to using policing to truly solve community problems. So, police officers are often very frustrated in their jobs, because what they thought was going to be both exciting and helpful is bureaucratic and pointless. If you read memoirs from police officers, you often get “we spent years arresting people for drugs, and yet everyone in the community could get drugs any time they wanted them.” It's the utter pointlessness of the enforcement.
TCR: The motivation to help the community is behind many police departments' renewed drive for adapting community policing methods as a means of creating safer and more effective policing practices. Is this a step in the right direction?
AV: No. I think that community policing merely expands our reliance on police to deal with social problems that would be better handled in other ways. As long as the police are asked to wage simultaneous wars on drugs, terror, disorder, and crime, they cannot do this in a friendly and respectful way. And what the police consider to be the community excludes large portions of these neighborhoods and consigns them to being the enemy.
TCR: So much of your book emphasizes taking money out of criminal justice and putting it into viable progressive social programs. In your opinion, on a party level, is there any push for this kind of monetary change on either side of the fence?
AV: No. My hope is that the theatrical excesses of the Trump administration will create more political space to talk about the kinds of reforms and shifts in social spending that will actually make a difference. But I don't see too much of that in the works among existing big city politicians. New York City Council members have written me letters, some elected officials came to my book launch in New York, but we have yet to see a true political tendency.
Of course, there are community- based organizations all across the country making these same points. What we need to do is bring together those groups, critical academic researchers, and progressive political leaders, and turn this into a real political movement.
Secret Servcice arrest man near White House who wanted to kill 'all white police'
by Fox News
A man who was arrested Monday in Washington, D.C. allegedly traveled to the nation's capital to kill “all white police” at the White House.
Michael Arega, of Dallas, Texas, was arrested Monday afternoon after the Secret Service Protective Intelligence Division received an alert just before 3 p.m. from the Montgomery County Maryland Police Department to be on the lookout for Arega.
He reportedly traveled from Texas to kill “all white police” at the White House, according to a statement from the U.S. Secret Service.
Secret Service at the White House searched for Arega until he was arrested without incident around an hour later. He was found on the north side of Pennsylvania Avenue near Lafayette Park.
Arega was brought to the Metropolitan Police Department and is awaiting charges.
A Facebook profile that appears to be Arega's shows him “checked in” at the White House on Monday, and also includes posts with statements such as: “Now i am going to there to white House make sure kill All white POLICE !!,” “I remove the power of darkenes [sic] from USA in the powerful name of Jesus Christ !!,” and “Put Him on Jail Donald J Trump in Maighty Name of JESUS CHRRIST !!”
Arega, who was not armed with any weapons during his arrest, was charged with making felony threats.
North Charleston police seek help from DOJ, foundation in fighting violent crime, connecting with community
by Glenn Smith
North Charleston is seeking help from a national policing foundation and the Justice Department to drive down violent crime, strengthen ties with the community and build safer neighborhoods.
Police Chief Eddie Driggers outlined his request in a letter sent Monday to the head of the Justice Department's Officer of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), which spent more than a year reviewing the department at the city's request after a North Charleston officer fatally shot Walter Scott in 2015.
Driggers recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with DOJ officials after the agency pulled the plug on that review without issuing a much anticipated report.
Driggers now wants the D.C.-based Police Foundation to help the city craft a strategic plan to help the police department "in improving services, community involvement and relationships." The foundation is an independent nonprofit think tank that seeks to advance policing through innovation and science.
The process would start with a visit by foundation officials in December, Driggers said. The city would then submit a request to the COPS program for assistance in carrying out the plan that emerges.
"It is vital to our department and the citizens of North Charleston for our community to be involved, along with members of the police department, in this process," Driggers wrote.
The move comes in the midst of the city's worst year on record for homicides. To date, 34 killings have occurred in North Charleston in 2017, surpassing the former record tally of 32 in 2016, according to a Post and Courier database.
A spokeswoman for the COPS program said she was unable to discuss the city's request late Monday. Representatives from the Police Foundation could not immediately be reached for comment, though police indicated that officials from the nonprofit also attended the meeting Driggers had in Washington on Oct. 30.
Police spokesman Spencer Pryor said the department is hopeful that the two groups will agree to its request for help. No cost estimates for the endeavor are available, he said. Driggers declined further comment.
The city has struggled to find a path forward that balances public safety with civil rights concerns in the wake of Scott's shooting in April 2015. Scott, a black man, was shot during a confrontation with white patrolman Michael Slager that followed a traffic stop. Slager said he fired in self-defense when Scott grabbed his Taser. But an eyewitness video showed Slager shooting eight times as Scott ran away. Slager pleaded guilty earlier this year to a federal crime and is awaiting sentencing.
Minority residents had long complained about being targeted for minor traffic stops by officers, and Scott's shooting sparked calls for a sweeping civil rights investigation of the North Charleston Police Department.
Summey and Police Chief Eddie Driggers asked the Justice Department a year after the shooting for a less confrontational agreement. The COPS program agreed to review police policies and procedures and suggest changes.
Before the review could be completed and the report released, however, Attorney General Jeff Sessions essentially disbanded the COPS Collaborative Reform Initiative in September.
Agency officials said they no longer expected to do "wide-ranging assessments" of local police or complete ones they had already started. They have refused to release a draft report from the North Charleston review, leaving city officials without a road map to adopt reforms many in the community have demanded.
Keon Rhodan, chairman of North Charleston Citizens' Advisory Commission on Community-Police Relations, said the panel has not given up on its quest to obtain the draft COPS report and its broader outlines for change. But in the meantime, the city's decision to reach out to the Police Foundation for guidance makes sense, he said.
"We definitely have to keep moving forward and make some kind of progress," he said. "Anything that will be of assistance to the city of North Charleston would be welcome."
In his letter to COPS Acting Director Russell Washington, Driggers said police have already identified existing DOJ programs that could help. Among other things, the police department wants to:
Strengthen its ties with the community by obtaining training in fair and impartial policing for the entire department. North Charleston police also want additional training in other modern policing techniques, including crisis intervention methods.
Reduce violent crime through advanced homicide and crime scene investigation training for detectives. The city also wants the Rev. Jeffrey Brown, president of Rebuilding Every City Around Peace, to assess whether his program would be appropriate for North Charleston. Brown was an architect of a Boston initiative that is credited with driving down youth violence there by double digits.
Create safer neighborhoods by providing community policing training to the entire department, surveying the community on interactions with police and training in an approach that seeks to deter crime by changing environments to enhance the risk of detection and apprehension for offenders.
How police can work more effectively with protest groups
Setting the tone for collaboration-not conflict-will make your life much easier come protest day
by Rich Emberlin
What do glowing goldfish, bumblebees and chemical trails have in common? They have all ignited passionate protests in Dallas and, as a detective in the Dallas Police Department's Criminal Intelligence Unit , I had a front-row view.
My squad served as the primary liaison with activist groups and monitored all incidents of significant public disorder. High-profile groups like Black Lives Matter and the Dreamers received the most publicity, but protests occurred on every issue imaginable and individual motivations varied widely.
There were genuine advocates, professional paid protestors, lost souls searching to belong and random walk-ons who just wanted to get in on the action.
About seven years ago, I arrived at one of my first protests to find an angry mob planted in the front yard of a prominent Dallas politician. When we tried to get them to disperse, they yelled, “F—k you, police!”
I believe every law enforcement officer experiences the same reaction to those words that I did. Captain Doug Kowalski must have seen the thunder clouds brewing on my face as he intervened with words of caution: “Rich, they have a constitutional right to say that.”
He was right. It wasn't about my indignation; it was about the supreme law of the land. Most protestors know as much or more about the U.S. constitution than the average police officer. They keep a copy in their pocket, they know their rights and they've studied our limitations. I may not agree with their viewpoints or their methods, but I do support freedom of speech. Like all other police departments, Dallas PD has a duty to ensure everyone's safety, which includes foul-mouthed protestors hurling obscenities in our direction.
3 keys to working with protest groups
I found the following three steps highly effective when working with protestors:
Establish and cultivate solid relationships with the leadership of protest groups.
Keep the lines of communication open from pre-event to post-event.
Study their causes so you can anticipate potential issues from the opposition (counter-protestors).
Before the event, follow the pre-protest checklist below to help ensure a successful police response to the event:
Identify the protest leaders.
Identify potential counter-protestors and their leaders.
Attempt to meet with both sides separately and develop relationships with both.
Inform them of your police department's protest guidelines.
Make them aware of state laws and city ordinances.
Exchange contact information.
Encourage protestors to assemble in designated areas that do not violate city, state and police guidelines.
Set the tone for collaboration, not conflict
Our Fusion Center monitored social media sites daily for potential threats. If certain words such as protest , kill and police were flagged, this intelligence was intercepted and routed to my squad for further investigation. Once it hit my desk, I researched the group in question and acquired contact information for its leaders. My goal was always to start a relationship with the police department on a high note.
The initial call went something like this: “Good afternoon, I'm Detective Rich Emberlin with the Dallas Police Department. It looks like you have a protest coming up next week at the immigration office. We want to make sure your voices are heard, your rights are not infringed upon and your group stays safe, since there will likely be counter-protestors. I'd like to invite you to our office to review the details so we can do the best job of keeping you safe. Is there a convenient day and time you can come in?”
My calls were often met with stunned silence. It's important to understand that these relationships are built over multiple protests; they won't believe you the first time anyway. After working with me several times, the leaders understood I was genuinely trying to support freedom of speech while keeping people safe. In doing so, I set the tone for collaboration instead of conflict. It made everyone's lives easier.
When you invite protest leaders to the police department, you legitimize them. I invited four people from the Dreamers to our office in advance of a scheduled protest; they were young kids who were flattered that we actually cared. We discussed the day, time, location and number of expected protestors. The 10 percent rule applies in most protests. If they said 10,000 people were coming, 1,000 would show up. Not surprisingly, they usually picked high-traffic venues such as public parks or popular tourist spots. I've probably handed out hundreds of diagrams of Dealey Plaza and advised protest groups on how to avoid obstructing traffic. If they didn't have a location in mind, we always recommended areas that allowed us to have a response team nearby – just in case anything went wrong.
Be fully transparent when communicating with protestors
From the law enforcement side, we offered full transparency in these meetings. I presented paperwork containing our protest guidelines, city ordinances, state laws and federal laws.
We went over all the pertinent details:
Don't block roadways and sidewalks;
Don't violate noise ordinances by being too loud;
Apply for a permit 45 days in advance if you plan to construct a stage or use large-scale sound amplification systems in public places.
The objective of this discussion is to provide clear instruction on how the protestors can follow rules and abide by the law.
A proactive approach also anticipates the opposition. I called counter-protest leaders to feel them out and met with them separately. The Dreamers knew that opponents of illegal immigration were likely to show up. It made them feel better that the police would have a presence on site to keep them safe. Ironic though it sounds, groups such as Black Lives Matter were also happy to have us around during their protests for the same reason.
At the end of these meetings, we exchanged contact information and told the leaders to call if they needed anything. I have the cell phone numbers of numerous Black Lives Matters leaders, and they have mine. They knew they were free to call me anytime with questions, and they did. These types of relationships paid huge dividends on game day.
At the time when the Dreamers' protest took place, a Dallas city ordinance existed that prohibited carrying signs within 75 feet of a major freeway. I spotted a man with a sign who was standing too close, in violation of this rule. When I asked him to move further away, he became belligerent and got in my face. One of the leaders we met with the previous week came running over when she saw this. “It's okay, it's okay! This is Detective Emberlin, he's working with us. He told us last week that we couldn't be this close to the freeway.”
The protestor turned to me, apologized and extended his hand. The relationship I established with the Dreamers' leadership had a direct impact on my safety that day.
Protest day tips
On protest days, plainclothes officers from my squad would walk with and among protestors, basically to keep an eye on things. Uniformed officers and response teams were always nearby, but not necessarily visible. If you have a bunch of helmet-wearing, shield-carrying cops facing off against protestors, it introduces a new element that doesn't typically need to be there.
Of course, there's no one-size-fits-all approach and public perception should never supersede officer safety. For example, open and concealed carry of rifles is permitted in Texas. When you have a militant group such as the New Black Panther Party marching in Dealey Plaza carrying AR-15s, I fully believe our officers should also be carrying rifles. The balance of firepower is too skewed in favor of the protestors at that point, should any skirmishes break out. Policing strategies vary from protest to protest, and your department will have to make a judgment call. In most instances, we found it reasonable to keep the cavalry nearby.
Officers should be careful how they address protestors. You're always being filmed and recorded in this digital age, so there's a high probability you'll end up on social media sites. Protestors will try to engage you in conversation, convert you to their cause or goad you into a confrontation.
During protests, be mindful of the gap between freedom of speech and disturbing the peace. It's a delicate balance, but protestors cross the line when they break the law. This can range from noise ordinance violation and traffic obstruction to serious cases of unwanted physical contact and violence.
Pay close attention to splinter groups. These smaller factions are often unaffiliated with the official groups holding the protest, but they try to blend in and ride on their coat tails. For this reason, splinter groups are highly unpredictable and problematic. During multiple Black Lives Matter protests, the leadership would identify people they didn't recognize. Our detectives would make contact with the splinter groups and keep a close eye on them during the remainder of the protest.
It wasn't uncommon for protest leaders to shake my hand and thank me at the end of the day. We would typically end with a quick debrief. I informed them if they violated any guidelines and also pointed out the positive, acknowledging areas where they did a good job of following the rules. It didn't mean we were buddies, but we were not at each other's throats.
Police departments and protest groups have to work together. That will never change. The benefits to officer safety and public safety that result from non-combative, mutually cooperative relationships are invaluable. If I'm on a first-name basis with the protest leaders, and they feel comfortable providing me with information, it creates a safer environment for everyone involved.
It's important to remember that the current protest craze is not going away. Social media use – combined with anti-police rhetoric and general political and socioeconomic unrest – will continue to drive people to take to the streets. As police officers, we will continue to protect protestors' rights to freedom of speech – even when we're the ones they're protesting.
About the author
Rich Emberlin is a 30-year law enforcement veteran who served most notably with the Dallas Police Department's elite units, including Dallas SWAT, the Criminal Intelligence Unit and the Office of the Chief of Police. During his 15 years in SWAT, Rich participated in thousands of missions, including counter-terrorist operations, hostage rescues, barricaded suspect situations, and arrest and search warrant executions. As a detective in the Criminal Intelligence Unit, he was responsible for investigating protest groups and threats against government officials and police officers. Rich retired from the Dallas Police Department in 2016 and remains active in the industry as a law enforcement expert and instructor. He has appeared on shows including A&E Networks' Live PD and Dallas SWAT, the Outdoor Channel's Elite Tactical Unit and NRA-TV. Rich continues to serve his community as a reserve deputy for the Tarrant County Sheriff's Department.
Does de-escalation endanger police officers or save lives?
There is a dire need for peer-reviewed research in law enforcement that speaks to policy, practice, training and tactics around de-escalation
by David Blake
There has been significant discussion and some media reports regarding a recent research project by Brian Landers, a former police officer and current chair of a college criminal justice department.
Lander's graduate capstone, “ An Analysis of a Nation-Wide Use of Force De-Escalation Policy and the Impact on Officer Safety ,” takes aim at some of the Police Executive Research Forum's (PERF) de-escalation language in PERF's Guiding Principles on Use of Force report and its inclusion in law enforcement policy.
Landers' capstone project's stated purpose is to test the hypothesis that “…officer safety is increased when force de-escalation policies are in effect, and therefore officer deaths and injuries should be reduced.”
While the report's narrative indicates the hypothesis is disproven, some media reports and social media discussion boards have skewed the results to a finding that de-escalation policies increase officer injury and death. I do not believe either to be true based on the data or the method of evaluation.
I spoke with Landers, and it was evident he is concerned about the direction of use of force policy language – as we all should be. Don't misinterpret my critique of Landers study as being for or against de-escalation training. Various de-escalation techniques are important, but a policy or belief that “thou shalt de-escalate” every situation is also problematic. Regardless, it is important to know that Landers agreed that his research does not empirically prove de-escalation policies cause increased officer injuries and death. However, we both agree there is a need for future study and that innovative law enforcement agencies must take the lead in evidence-based policing.
Understanding research findings on de-escalation
To understand why Landers' project does not empirically prove de-escalation policy places officers in danger, let's first review Joel Shults' article on interpreting research findings . Placing some of Shults' comments in context, Landers' capstone project does not conduct the inferential statistical evaluation necessary to indicate correlation or causation .
A preferable manner to establish causation through experimental research is by gathering initial data (e.g., officer killed/injured), introducing a treatment (e.g., de-escalation policy) and then determining if a statistically significant change occurred.
Control variables (e.g., de-escalation techniques used or not) should be included to ensure the “treatment” caused the change, if it exists.
Landers' capstone project provides data on law enforcement officers injured and killed in several cities in the United States. A portion of the cities implemented de-escalation language at some point during the evaluation range.
Part of Landers' narrative presents descriptive data as frequencies (e.g., officers killed) that are shown before and after the policy change.
Questions we must ask include:
Were all the injuries related to suspect interaction?
Were de-escalation tactics used?
Were any changes significant?
We also want to know if crime rates, calls for service or proactive policing increased or decreased during the same time.
None of these questions are answered in Landers' capstone project. Answering them requires access to departmental data and intensive research. However, it is possible to restructure Landers' data in a more realistic way.
To do so, I averaged the total number of officers killed and injured (all years provided) for each department that implemented de-escalation policies and compared the average to the number killed/injured after de-escalation policies were in effect. If the de-escalation policy was implemented after mid-year (e.g., June or beyond), I only counted the following full years post-implementation.
Two points were immediately clear:
1. There is not a lot of pre/post data to compare;
2. Some data should be removed all together based on its relevance. For instance, the four Dallas PD officers killed by an active shooter are removed from my analysis as those deaths cannot be attributed to de-escalation policy in this context.
Let me be clear, there are significant limitations with this method and I am only using it to present a more reasonable evaluation of change pre/post de-escalation policy. The results of my analysis using Landers' data show agencies with de-escalation policy had decreases in officers injured and killed from pre-policy averages to post-policy yearly totals. However, control variables such as police proactivity, crime rates and de-escalation specific situations are not included, making this analysis severely limited. My results do not show that de-escalation policy is associated with the reduction in any way; it simply shows a trend that could be attributable to many things including de-escalation policy. It should be noted that trends in some of the agencies without de-escalation policy also showed significant reductions of officers injured and killed in the same time period (e.g., Chicago, Milwaukee and Tucson).
What is de-escalation?
Landers' project presents two important issues regarding de-escalation and associated language placed in policy:
1. The failure to define de-escalation or de-escalation training adequately.
Landers' research indicates de-escalation has two common themes: slow the incident down and reduce or avoid force. While this may be a good start, de-escalation training can consist of mental illness recognition, communication techniques, active listening, tactics (time/distance), resilience, or a combination of all the above. One cannot research de-escalation without defining its parameters and objectives to ensure they are present in the evaluation.
2. A need to determine the outcomes we expect from de-escalation techniques to measure them.
Landers' project indicates officer safety is an important measurable outcome and I agree. What about injuries to suspects or the necessity to arrest vs. mental health assistance? Do law enforcements agencies implementing de-escalation concepts know whether this meets objectives?
To that end, my own research attempting to answer this question resulted in finding a lack of empirical study on the effectiveness of de-escalation or associated platforms.
For instance, in their article “ Mental Illness, Police Use of Force, and Citizen Injury ,” Michael Rossler and William Terrill state empirical evidence of the benefit is limited regarding techniques such as verbal mediation to lower citizen resistance. Sema Taheri systematically reviewed the empirical evidence on crisis intervention training (Memphis Model) finding that, “CIT has no effect on outcomes of arrest, nor on officer use of force… these results raise some concern about the widespread implementation of CITs.”
Do other industries have evidence of the benefit of de-escalation practices and training?
The health care industry, especially psychiatric health, has been studying de-escalation techniques since the 1980s, seeing similar results to law enforcement. For instance, a study from the health care industry synthesized previous research on de-escalation training and determined there were a “lack of trials conducted under rigorous experimental conditions.” Another study on de-escalation training in psychiatric health care concluded the training had no effect. Lastly, a recent study stated , “While a number of theoretical models have been proposed, the lack of advances made in developing a robust evidence base for the efficacy of de-escalation is striking and must, at least in part, be credited to the lack of a clear conceptualization of the term.”
Knowing law enforcement as a former practitioner, I'm sure I've angered folks on both sides of the de-escalation topic – my former peers will certainly recognize the personality trait. However, this is intended to be an unbiased review of both sides of the debate. It's time to put emotion, social rhetoric, politics and opinion aside to make way for evidence-based policing.
Landers and I both share a concern for some of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) recommended policy language and training being implemented across the nation. My primary concern is the absence of peer-reviewed research on its effects (officer and public safety). This is not to be taken that I think all the PERF concepts in the report are unwise for implementation. I have been and always will be a proponent of slowing down, creating distance, gathering information and deploying resources when the subject's actions allow for it. However, there is a dire need for realistic, generalizable, peer-reviewed research in law enforcement that speaks to policy, practice, training and tactics in this regard.
The way we've always done it has been criticized as faulty thinking but I opine change without solid evidence is also faulty thinking. I ask law enforcement to take a proactive position in collecting data and collaborating with academia to conduct research.
Law enforcement agencies hold the keys to the internal statistics that can be used to answer questions regarding many contemporary issues. Academia holds the keys to making sure the research is valid and generalizable for implementation. A partnership between the two ensures the appropriate contextual variables are present and field testing and evaluation of new ideas is conducted properly. Only through such a partnership can evidence-based policing practices come to fruition.
Be safe. Be vigilant.
About the author
David Blake is a retired California Peace Officer and certified Ca-POST instructor in DT, Firearms, Force Options Simulator, and Reality Based Training. His experience includes SWAT, Force Option Unit, Field Training, Gangs/Narcotics, and Patrol. He is a certified Force Science Analyst© and teaches the Ca-POST certified courses entitled Force Encounters Analysis and Human Factors: Threat & Error Management for the California Training Institute. He also currently facilitates the Ca-POST Force Options Simulator training to tenured officers from multiple jurisdictions. Dave is an Expert Witness / Consultant in Human Performance & Use of Force.
Police nationwide work on tactics for far-right rallies
Agencies around the country are honing their responses, trying to balance free-speech rights with public safety and comparing notes to see which tactics work best
by Erik Schelzig and Michael Kunzelman
SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. — Snipers perched on rooftops. Police helicopters and drones hovered overhead. Officers in riot gear lined the streets. White nationalists and counterprotesters screamed at each other from fenced-off pens, but the tactics employed by law enforcement at the "White Lives Matter" rally last month in Tennessee might have prevented the kind of mayhem that had erupted at earlier rallies in other states.
Several weeks earlier, police in Richmond, Virginia, banned bats, bricks, flag poles and any other items that potentially could be used as weapons at a rally held by a Confederate heritage group. Police in Berkeley, California, employed similar tactics this year after a hands-off approach failed to prevent a series of violent clashes.
At the heart of the changes is a determination to prevent a repeat of the bloodshed resulting from a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August, when a woman was struck and killed by a car that plowed into a group of counterprotesters.
Since then, law enforcement agencies around the country are honing their responses to an increasing number of rallies held by far-right groups, trying to balance free-speech rights with public safety and comparing notes to see which tactics work best.
Preparing for a speech by white nationalist Richard Spencer on its campus last month, the University of Florida sent a contingent of police officers to Berkeley to learn from the city's experiences.
"We have to be the mediator (for) people's ability to have free speech. But ... what we took away from Berkeley was to act quickly if something violent arose," University of Florida police Chief Linda Stump-Kurnick.
Josh Bronson, training director for the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, began developing a new training program for campus police within days of the Charlottesville violence. One of Bronson's primary messages is that meeting with group leaders on opposing sides of the barricades — before the rallies even begin — can help police avoid violence.
"The more communication that occurs, the more positive the outcome," he said.
At the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, white nationalists and counterprotesters converged at an intersection that remained unblocked by barriers or police tape. Officers largely stood and watched as people threw punches, beat each other with clubs, set off smoke bombs and unleashed chemical spray.
The response led to reports that officials had given an explicit "stand-down" order not to intervene, something authorities have vehemently denied. Charlottesville police Chief Al Thomas said white nationalists didn't comply with a security plan that police had devised to keep them separated from counterprotesters. Virginia's governor and other officials defended the response, saying police had to show restraint because the crowd was heavily armed.
A consultant hired by the state to review the day's events, however, issued a preliminary report last month that said the city "placed minimal/no restrictions on the demonstrators." It also found that many recommendations the state made to the city ahead of the event "were not accepted."
The police response in Richmond, Virginia, was strikingly different about a month later, when an out-of-state Confederate heritage group announced plans for a rally there in September. Virginia allows residents to openly carry guns, but Richmond police banned other items that could be used as weapons, including bats, bricks and flag poles. The department also implemented parking restrictions and road closures and used public works trucks as barricades to keep vehicles out of pedestrian areas.
Police Chief Alfred Durham said authorities had learned from Charlottesville and would quickly step in to break up any violence.
"We will not allow things to get out of hand," Durham said before the rally, where seven people were arrested but nobody was injured.
The list of items banned from last month's rally in Shelbyville, Tennessee, included weapons, bottles, backpacks, purses, masks, sticks and poles. A new Tennessee law enacted this year at the behest of the National Rifle Association prohibits local governments from banning people with state-issued handgun carry permits from being armed at any site that does not screen with metal detectors. To comply with that law while trying to ensure public safety, officials herded white nationalists and counterprotesters through airport-like security checkpoints staffed by an officer with a handheld metal detector.
White nationalist blogger Brad Griffin, who helped organize the rally, said the measures delayed the event's start by more than an hour but probably prevented violence.
"I'm not going to complain," Griffin said. "I'd much rather have to deal with that than what we did in Charlottesville."
Only minor skirmishes were reported on the University of Florida's Gainesville campus when Spencer spoke there last month. But three of his supporters were arrested on attempted-murder charges after an off-campus shooting later that day.
Alex Vitale, a Brooklyn College sociology professor who has studied the policing of protests for two decades, said law enforcement authorities need a "flexible, mobile response" that allows officers to prevent or quickly end clashes on the outskirts of rally sites.
"Police need to have a presence in these groups as they're moving around," he said.
8 deadly forms of fentanyl
What each form of fentanyl means for the user and first responder
by PoliceOne Staff
Fentanyl was the subject of major scrutiny in the mid-2000s when it was linked to a slew of overdose deaths across the United States. Unfortunately, the crisis still continues today. The DEA reported a rise in fentanyl overdose deaths from 550 in 2013 to more than 2000 in 2014 and 2015.
The drug, which is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, is not detected in standard narcotic toxicology screens. It can also be hard to identify in the field, as fentanyl in its powder form is often cut with heroin and cocaine. For first responders, knowing the signs of a fentanyl overdose is imperative. As an opioid, fentanyl affects the part of the brain that controls breathing. Failure to recognize an overdose can lead to respiratory failure, respiratory arrest or death.
Five forms of fentanyl in medical applications
All five forms of prescribed fentanyl are used illegally. Because the patch is known to contain large doses of fentanyl even after a three-day use, users can extract the drug and ingest it in other forms.
In medical applications, patients hold a tablet or lozenge under their tongue or in their cheek. The drug is then absorbed through the mucous membrane. Oral sprays are absorbed in the same manner. When using the patch, patients absorb the drug through their skin. Depending on whether the drug is absorbed through the skin, the mouth, or injected, the half-life of fentanyl varies.
Three forms of illegal fentanyl
Spiked blotter paper
Usually, abusers of the drug get fentanyl from illegal manufacturers. Often, heroin abusers seek out fentanyl as a substitute to alleviate the side effects of heroin withdrawal. Heroin or cocaine users may also take fentanyl without knowing, as heroin or cocaine manufacturers will substitute fentanyl powder to reduce costs and increase potency. Illegal manufacturers may also use the powder to create tablets that are meant to mimic other opioids.
On the street, fentanyl lozenges are often referred to as ‘lollipops.' These fentanyl lollipops have been illegally obtained and are often found at the end of a small stick. Street names for fentanyl include Apache, China Girl, China White, Dance Fever, Friend, Goodfella, Jackpot, Murder 8, TNT, and Tango and Cash.
Recognizing the side effects of fentanyl
Common side effects of fentanyl include nausea, vomiting, itching, difficulty breathing, drowsiness, and unconsciousness. These side effects are also associated with heroin use. If heroin use is suspected, be on the lookout for signs that fentanyl may be involved. Patients may be unaware that they've taken fentanyl since the effects are very similar.
If a patient has used fentanyl via patch, it's important to note that the drug may take some time to reach its peak concentration. So, while a patient may present only mild side effects, you should still be alert to a potential overdose.
Signs of a fentanyl overdose
Fentanyl is an opioid, so the signs of a fentanyl overdose are like those of a heroin overdose. The user may have bluish nails or lips in addition to difficulty breathing, remaining conscious, or speaking. Unlike other opioids, fentanyl has relatively little effect on heart function.
Naloxone is used to reverse overdose symptoms for opioids. Fentanyl overdoses are no exception to this method. However, because fentanyl is so potent, overdosed patients often need multiple applications of Naloxone.
Dosage and half-life
For first responders, estimating even an approximate dosage is difficult. As mentioned, fentanyl is often laced with other drugs and will contain other impurities. However, knowing the dosages used in medical applications may provide a useful perspective.
Fentanyl lozenges, or ‘lollipops' come in six different doses measured in micrograms (mcg). Those are 200, 400, 600, 800, 1200, and 1600 mcg doses. The half-life of lozenges varies but can be up to 12 hours.
Fentanyl patches are applied for three days at a time, with three different doses measured in micrograms per hour (mcg/hr). Those are 25, 50 or 100 mcg/hr. Similar to lozenges, the half-life of patches varies but is generally around 17 hours.
Fentanyl taken via injection has a significantly lower half-life of around 3.7 hours . However, estimating dosage via injection from illegal means is very difficult.
It's worth noting that even in medical applications, fentanyl is only prescribed to patients who have taken opioids before. Fentanyl is so potent that patients need to have a tolerance of opioids for it to be safely prescribed.
Whether fentanyl has been used legally or illegally, first responders should always look for the signs of a potential overdose when a patient is unresponsive.
Two USC schools help develop LAPD training in community policing
Officers will learn techniques on how to deal with the homeless, mentally ill and domestic abuse survivors
by Matthew Kredell
The job of police officer has dramatically changed in the last two decades. Gone are the days of Dragnet and Adam-12 . Police today face the fallout from high rates of mental illness and increasing homelessness, and they've got to be on the lookout for human trafficking and domestic violence.
That's in part why the Los Angeles Police Department partnered with the USC Price School of Public Policy and the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work to train officers to deal with some of the biggest problems facing 21st-century society.
USC now offers a new certificate program that trains officers in community policing and boosts officers' understanding of vulnerable populations. Officers receive training in human relations skills and evidence-based techniques that will reduce the need for force.
The deans of USC's public policy and social work schools joined Luann Pannell, LAPD director of police training and education, to introduce the new Law Enforcement Advanced Development, or LEAD, program Oct. 23 at a press conference at LAPD headquarters in downtown Los Angeles.
“This is a unique opportunity to bring the academic expertise of the university together with the practical knowledge of the police itself,” said USC Price School Dean Jack H. Knott . “We take this as one of the most important programs that will define our police department in the 21st century, and we hope that it becomes a model that will be adopted across the country.”
Commitment to improving practice
There are already 40 officers enrolled in the yearlong pilot program, which began in June. This first cohort represents every division and rank of the LAPD, as well as diversity in levels and years on the force, with participants' professional experience ranging from two years to 30 years.
The officers are getting the instruction on their own time, so as not to take away from their sworn duties.
“We want to have the officer bring their practical monthly experience, whatever they're doing in the field, back to that classroom, to those discussions, and have heartfelt and deep interactions about what's working and what's not working,” Pannell said. “We realize that not everything has a quick solution, but through those interactions and cooperation, we certainly are challenging our officers to come up with different solutions to what they are facing every day on the streets.”
The program consists of monthly two-hour online classroom sessions in which instructors offer focused content that identifies meaningful skills that officers can immediately use on the job. Officers also participate in three to four all-day, group meetings tackling topics such as civil rights, extremism and conflict resolution, and human trafficking.
USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Works Dean Marilyn Flynn noted how the LEAD program is among the most innovative efforts nationwide to improve policing.
“Among the challenges we've identified with police officers are that persons who are homeless, in domestic violence situations or with severe medical illness often don't respond well to typical interventions by police,” Flynn said. “We're trying to deepen the understanding that officers bring to a situation so they can deescalate more successfully, so that they can more correctly interpret the actions of people.”
Officers work in groups on capstone projects focusing on an important issue in their community. Ideally, each project would result in a proposal to be shared with department leadership for potential implementation.
“The collaborative efforts among the officers and subject-matter experts have been very helpful because we begin to see different perspectives, not only on the officer side but with the leaders that come in and speak on these subjects,” said Johnny Gil, a 10-year LAPD veteran enrolled in LEAD.
USC Price Professor Erroll Southers , who helped develop the program over two years of meetings with representatives of the LAPD and social work experts from USC, said LEAD provides the tools, resources and skills to address important problems officers care about.
“It's unbelievable the level of interaction these officers have and want,” said Southers, who is the director of the Safe Communities Institute and homegrown violent extremism studies at USC Price. “We find that the two-hour sessions online in the evening seem to go by in a matter of minutes, and the one-day cohort seems to be an hour long because of how engaged they are in the classroom.”
Other agency heads have contacted USC about wanting to be involved in LEAD as it grows beyond this pilot program, Southers said, and he expects it to expand next year to other agencies in Los Angeles and — through an online component — across the country.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck calls allegations of fudging violent crime stats 'damn lies'
by Brenda Gazzar
Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck on Tuesday rebutted a captain's allegations that command staff intentionally under-reported violent crimes, calling them “outrageous” and “damn lies.”
Capt. Lillian Carranza, of LAPD's Van Nuys Division, has filed a claim against the city arguing that department command staffers have been intentionally under-reporting crime statistics since at least 2014 and that some offenders have been promoted to higher ranks in the department.
“These claims are a slap in the face to the many detectives and command officers who work so hard with a very difficult system to get crime stats as close to accurate as we possibly can,” Beck said at a news conference Tuesday.
The city, he said, is nationally recognized for its efforts to comply with the “outdated uniform crime reporting standards” developed by the FBI decades ago.
He noted he has 15 detectives who “all they do” is audit “to make sure we do the right thing.”
“Both the department and Inspector General,” which works for the civilian Police Commission, “have looked into similar claims as this and found no wrongdoing,” Beck said.
Carranza has sued the department and the chief argued “she has a history of instituting litigation when she believes she's not being promoted.” But he added that he would never retaliate against her.
Carranza recently filed a government claim against the city, which includes allegations that she was denied for a promotion following her complaints. Her attorney said he expects to file a lawsuit on her behalf in the coming days.
Meanwhile, the head of the civilian panel that oversees the Los Angeles Police Department has requested an update from its independent watchdog after a captain's allegations of intentional under-reporting of violent crimes by command staff.
Steve Soboroff, president of the Los Angeles Police Commission, said he has asked the Inspector General to update him regarding the “perception” of Carranza concerning the alleged under-reporting of violent crimes.
“Our goal is not to under-report or over-report anything,” Soboroff, one of five civilian commissioners, said Tuesday in a phone interview. “We want to do everything exactly right, and we make adjustments, and we have processes like the Inspector General, like the department, when individuals might think that something is wrong.”
Carranza wrote a letter to the Office of Inspector General in September of 2016 saying she was reaching out to him “as a last resort.”
“The manipulation of statistics has always been a concern, but blatantly ignoring the under reporting of violent crime has reached epidemic proportions,” she wrote in the email provided by her attorney.
Carranza, who said she conducted her own audits of statistics reported at several stations, noted that she repeatedly brought up the issue to the attention of the director of operations and, most recently the department's data integrity unit without result.
Soboroff noted that he was not cc'd on that email and did not know whether the Office of Inspector General responded.
In Carranza's claim, she argued that LAPD was under-reporting violent crime at certain stations by about 10 percent, but has so far declined to release her analysis.
Following a Los Angeles Times investigation, a 2015 audit by the OIG found that a “significant number” of crimes that were categorized as simple assaults from 2008-2014 were actually aggravated assaults and should have been included as part of the violent crime statistics that are submitted the FBI and disclosed to the public.
The Inspector General found that if the crimes had been classified correctly during those seven years, the rate of aggravated assaults reported to the FBI and the public would have been an average of 36 percent higher each year.
The OIG determined that the errors were due to “a combination of systemic issues, procedural deficiencies, department-wide misconceptions about what constitutes an aggravated assault, and in a small number of cases, individual officer error.”
In July of last year, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck updated the civilian commissioners on the efforts of the Data Integrity Unit. The unit was established in October of 2014 to ensure accurate reporting of crime data and the Department's adherence to the standards of the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program.
In his written report, Beck said the unit had updated all of the various training materials and guides as needed and conducts two to three training sessions every 28 days regarding the FBI standards. The unit also conducts inspections of the data.
“There has been detailed work and a report done by the Inspector General and a follow-up report by the chief of police,” Soboroff said. “The department has its own auditors, and we have the Inspector General. All have been working on this and other issues. We have a lot of faith in them.”
Educators see positive change in students through CPD community policing
by Sara Maslar-Donar
COLUMBIA, Mo. - This past summer, the Columbia Police Department Community Outreach Unit expanded its strategic neighborhood count from three to four.
Officers Maria Phelps and Tony Parker began working in the Sylvan Lane and Quail Drive area in north Columbia in July. There are now eight officers working four neighborhoods. Three are in east Columbia and the fourth is in central Columbia.
With the additional neighborhood came an additional school, Blue Ridge Elementary. Community Outreach officers work almost daily in schools in high-crime neighborhoods to strengthen relationships with the students.
"You build the biggest influence with people when they're young," Parker said.
Blue Ridge has one of the highest numbers of students on free and reduced lunch in the district, and Parker said that many of the students he's met lack role models in their lives.
"Everyone wants to show off their gold star but your father's in jail, and your mother's in jail too, who are you going to show that gold star to?" he said. "There's a lot of work to do and you can see that when you come to the schools."
It's an extreme example but not uncommon at Blue Ridge. Parker and Phelps have been visiting almost daily since August. Third-grade teacher Nicole Reed, who's been teaching in the district for six years, said when they first started, the children were nervous being around the officers.
"There was murmuring around the kids about who's in trouble," she said.
Blue Ridge Principal Kristen Palmer said it didn't take long for the students to warm up to the officers.
"Now when they come in, the kids have huge smiles on their faces," Palmer said. "They give them high fives,the kids are giving them lots of hugs."
The effort exposes a softer side to police, but it's not just about having fun. Parker said it goes deeper than that. Sometimes they're part of the disciplinary process: sitting down some students and talking them through the consequences of their actions.
"I can tell that it kind of takes it to a different level for kids and they realize this is a really serious conversation that they're having," said Palmer. "It would be great to see that carry over into the neighborhood and beyond the school walls."
Palmer said that as the students build relationships with the officers, they exhibit have good behavior for them because they don't want to let the officers down.
"When they see them they're standing up straighter, they're doing what they're supposed to be doing," she said. "If they walk into their class, they're going to make sure they're showing them that they're being good students and doing their work."
There's also the added impact of that role model that some students may be missing: one that can reinforce what their teacher says in a meaningful way.
"Sometimes the things the teacher says is just what the teachers says but even if you have one or two more adults that can say, 'it's important to do your work' or 'it's important to be kind to others,' it's just another voice in their heads directing them the right way," said Reed.
Consultant preaches new emphasis on 'intelligence-led policing'
by Arla Shephard Bull
Thirty years ago, law enforcement looked remarkably different.
“In 1987, when I started in law enforcement, we didn't have technology,” said Scot Thomasson, a former counterterrorism officer at the U.S. Department of State. “There were no cellphones, no pagers and our radios only worked sometimes. We had a lot of paperwork. Wite-Out was big.”
Thomasson, an award-winning federal officer who has worked with the Department of Justice's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, spoke with local agencies at the Mason County Sheriff's Office monthly breakfast, Oct. 27 at Little Creek Casino Resort in Shelton.
Sheriff Casey Salisbury wants Thomasson to return to Mason County in the future to train officers on the concept of intelligence-led policing.
“Intelligence-led policing is kind of a new catchphrase, but it's basically proactive versus reactive policing,” Thomasson said. “(Thirty years ago) because we didn't have technology, we had to sharpen our other skills in policing. We had to interview people and learn to read people.”
Thomasson, who now heads the consulting firm Thomasson Global Consultants for law enforcement agencies and security companies, wants younger officers to receive better training that teaches them to understand legal requirements like probable cause.
“What's actually happened in policing is … you have young officers sitting on their computers looking at Facebook and us (older) guys with the big smiles on our faces collecting our pensions,” he said. “You're not going out on the street, you're not gathering informants.”
Over the years, the law enforcement industry has had different definitions for intelligence-led policing and other strategies like community policing.
Some view community policing as a proactive approach to dealing with crime, with officers building relationships with community groups, according to an academic paper by Bertus R. Ferreira on the effectiveness of community policing.
Early proponents of intelligence-led policing in the 1990s have, however, called community policing a more reactive strategy that doesn't prioritize gathering intelligence.
Thomasson advocates for an intelligence-led policing strategy that encouraged officers to use all the tools at their disposal, including technology, face-to-face interactions and an understanding of the rules and regulations.
“Intelligence-led policing means something a little bit different to you depending on your generation,” he said. “Intelligence-led policing to me is technology, getting out and interviewing people, developing informants and understanding the rules, regulations and policies.”
Several years ago, Thomasson created a homicide investigation unit in the cities of Gary and Hammond, Indiana, to help increase the solve rate for those police departments.
He and his team increased the murder solve rate by 50 percent in six months, he said.
“We did that by linking murders, tracing firearms and other tools,” Thomasson said.
“Identify your targets, investigate, infiltrate and incarcerate … combine the tools we have to the technology we have to solve crimes.”
Thomasson also supports local law enforcement agencies gathering together outside of solving crimes at events like Mason County's monthly sheriff's breakfast.
“In law enforcement, we often get bound up in our boundaries,” he said. “Breakfasts like these, the opportunity to break bread, network and cross county lines, it's those type of connections that actually help law enforcement. It's amazing what kind of crime gets solved just by putting a face to a face.”
Pa. trooper 'extremely critical' after traffic stop shooting
A trooper clung to life Tuesday after he was shot three times during a gunfight with a motorist
by Michael Rubinkam
FOUNTAIN HILL, Pa. — A Pennsylvania State Police corporal clung to life Tuesday after he was shot three times during a gunfight with a motorist he'd tried to arrest for driving under the influence, authorities said.
The trooper underwent surgery and was in "extremely critical" but stable condition after a routine traffic stop escalated into a violent altercation on a highway in Plainfield Township, Northampton County, about 65 miles (104 kilometers) north of Philadelphia, said state police Capt. Richard D'Ambrosio.
He said he is "very hopeful" the trooper will survive.
"He's a warrior. He went through a heck of a fight out here along the side of the road. He has a will to live, and, God willing, he is going to pull through this," D'Ambrosio told reporters outside a hospital in Fountain Hill, where the trooper was flown for treatment.
The trooper works at the Belfast barracks. His name was not immediately released.
He had ticketed the motorist for speeding Tuesday morning and was about to pull away when the motorist flagged him down, wanting to discuss the citation and how he would pay it, authorities said.
The corporal began to suspect the motorist was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, called for backup and performed a sobriety test. The troopers then tried to arrest the motorist, who began resisting, D'Ambrosio said.
"The troopers were in a knock-down, drag-out fight along the side of the road with vehicles speeding by them, and it got very, very violent," said D'Ambrosio, who viewed video of the altercation.
At some point, the suspect broke free, ran to his car, retrieved a gun and began shooting, striking one of the troopers, he said. Both troopers returned fire, hitting the suspect several times.
The motorist fled in a blue Pontiac sedan and drove himself to Easton Hospital. He was later transferred to another hospital, where he underwent surgery.
The suspect's name was not released. Authorities planned to release more information on Wednesday.
State police gathered evidence from suspect's car, which was parked near the emergency room entrance of Easton Hospital and appeared to have its rear window shot out. It was later put on a flatbed and driven away.
Gov. Tom Wolf said in a statement that he and his wife were "praying for this trooper, the family and every member of the Pennsylvania State Police."
Va. officer in critical but stable condition after being shot by teen
The Portsmouth officer was shot multiple times by a 15-year-old suspect, who was later found with handcuffs on his wrist
by PoliceOne Staff
PORTSMOUTH, Va. — A Virginia police officer is in critical but stable condition after she was shot by a juvenile suspect Monday afternoon.
WVEC reports that the Portsmouth officer got out of surgery and is in stable condition after being shot multiple times. Police took the 15-year-old male suspect into custody a short time after the shooting.
Police said the officer encountered the teenager after he was reported to be a runaway. The officer was attempting to detain him when the suspect shot her. She was rushed to a local hospital.
The suspect was later found with the officer's handcuffs on his wrist.
Charges against the suspect are currently pending.
TSA agents routinely fail to spot threats, federal investigation finds
by Fox News
Undercover Homeland Security investigators trying to sneak mock knives, guns and explosives past TSA agents at airports reportedly were successful around third-quarters of the time, according to multiple reports of a classified briefing that was given to a House committee.
The undercover agents carrying the items slipped past security checkpoints more than 70 percent of the time, CBS News reported , while a source told ABC News that the figure was around 80 percent.
"I found that briefing disturbing," Rep. Michael McCaul, the Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said at a public hearing Wednesday. "We need to do more to confront the growing threats aimed at the aviation sector."
The Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General gave the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) eight classified recommendations to correct the vulnerabilities.
We take the OIG's findings very seriously and are implementing measures that will improve screening effectiveness at checkpoints,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in a statement. “We are focused on staying ahead of a dynamic threat to aviation with continued investment in the workforce, enhanced procedures, and new technologies.”
The TSA said it conducted tens of thousands of internal tests in 2016 and 2017, but did not disclose the results.
Pekoske also told the committee Wednesday about CT scanners, which provide three-dimensional images that make it easier for TSA agents to detect dangerous items in carry-on baggage. The scanners are currently being tested at checkpoint lanes in airports in Phoenix and Boston.
"To invest in the CT technology requires funding above what TSA currently has," Pekoske said during the public hearing Wednesday . He added that the system hasn't been implemented beyond checked bags in airports because the machines until recently have been too heavy and large to fit in checkpoint areas.
“New technology will also strengthen our ability to keep up with emerging threats,” said McCaul, R-Texas. “Taking down airplanes is a constant goal of terrorists, but how they go about trying is always changing.”
Undercover Homeland Security agents found in July that TSA workers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport failed 95 percent of security tests .
And in 2015, Homeland Security officials confirmed to Fox News that TSA screeners failed 67 out of 70 tests -- or 96 percent – at American airports.
Landrieu asks for money to stop terrorism, violent crime
by Duke Carter
NEW ORLEANS, LA. - The City of New Orleans is looking to make sure residents feel safe – especially after the deadly church shooting in Texas and Halloween truck attack in Halloween.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu sent a letter to U.S. Senator John Kennedy and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking for resources to support counterterrorism efforts and reduce violent crime.
The letter comes before Kennedy and Landrieu are to meet with Sessions to discuss how the Donald Trump administration can strengthen local police departments against crime.
Landrieu writes that local police departments do not have the funding, training or equipment to fully protect our country from terrorism. He adds that New Orleans needs more police officers on the streets with the tools to do both community policing and homeland security support.
Landrieu said Congress can help by expanding eligible uses of the Community Oriented Police Service Program. He wants Congress to reform homeland security grant programs to provide funding to local governments so leaders are better equipped to respond to acts of terrorism.
The mayor adds that Congress should establish a Presidential Crime and Justice Commission to identify trends in crime in cities and metropolitan areas. The commission would also review and evaluate all components of the criminal justice system and make recommendations.
Law Enforcement and Community Leaders to Host Solution-Seeking Bridge Forum with High School Students
Law Enforcement and Teens Learn how Living Together and Working Together Leads to Respect
by Kassidy McDonald
The Checkered Flag Run Foundation , NAACP Maricopa County Branch and Greater Phoenix Urban League will partner with event sponsor, AXON (formerly TASER), to host The Bridge Forum at South Mountain High School (5401 S. 7th St.) on Tuesday, Nov. 14th from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The invitation-only event will work with South Mountain High School's senior class and the Teen Court, a problem-solving court within the juvenile justice system, to seek solutions and best policing practices from top law enforcement professionals. Community leaders from district 8 and parents of both the Teen Court and South Mountain high school are also invited to participate in the forum.
“We have done several of these Bridge Forums in the past for stakeholders, and now we want to gear this event towards high schoolers to promote a better relationship between young adults and our law enforcement officials,” says founder of Checkered Flag Run Foundation, Alan “AP” Powell.
The Bridge Forum will host welcoming remarks from South Mountain High School Principal, Brian S. Guliford and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. The Mistress of Ceremonies for the event will be President of Maricopa County NAACP Branch, Dr. Ann Hart. The event will be moderated by CEO and President of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., who is the former Executive Director of the NAACP and National Director of the Million Man March. Chavis Jr. also served as the assistant to Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and co-founded the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network with music mogul, Russell Simmons.
The forum will feature law enforcement officials from across metropolitan Phoenix, who will lead interactive dialogue sessions to gauge different perspectives, attitudes and beliefs about community policing and police etiquette. Feedback from participants will be recorded and used by Arizona's police departments for additional research and curriculum training, and to better impact the community by using best policing practices.
Other notable speakers will include Checkered Flag Run Foundation Board Member, Dennis E. Prince; State of Arizona, and District 27 Representative, Reginald Bolding. Panelists will include Police Chief of Phoenix, Jeri Williams; Maricopa County Sheriff, Paul Penzone; Police Chief of Scottsdale, Alan G. Rodbell; and Police Chief of Peoria, Roy W. Minter. The President of Greater Phoenix Urban League, George Dean, will give closing remarks before opening up the floor for pre-selected questions and media interviews.
Media is invited to attend the Bridge Forum at South Mountain High School and will be selected for post-event interviews. For more information about The Bridge Forum, visit http://www.thebridgeforum.com .
About Checkered Flag Run Foundation
The Checkered Flag Run Foundation provides diverse educational programs that impact under-served students and veterans. They believe access to quality educational opportunities ensures the investment of every student and Veteran getting to cross the “finish line.”
Police: Man shoots 2 Ga. officers; later found dead
Both officers were in stable condition and their injuries were considered non-life-threatening
by the Associated Press
FOREST PARK, Ga. — Authorities say a man shot two police officers and was later found dead behind a home south of Atlanta.
Forest Park police Maj. Chris Matson told WSB-TV that Jacob Bailey's body was found behind a home in the city of Forest Park near where two police officers were shot Wednesday morning. Matson didn't say how Bailey died.
Forest Park police Sgt. Kelli Flanigan said both officers were in stable condition and their injuries were considered non-life-threatening.
Matson said Bailey got in a shootout with the officers when they tried to pull him over for reckless driving.
Ill. State Police begin 'Silver Search' training
Officers will be trained over dealing with Alzheimer's disease patients who wander away and need to be found
by the Associated Press
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois State Police officials have launched statewide training for officers in dealing with Alzheimer's disease patients who wander away and need to be found.
"Silver Search" training will continue for two years and involve 2,500 police officers and dispatchers. Informational cards will also be distributed to every officer.
State Police Director Leo Schmitz says the Silver Search curriculum includes warning signs to look for, communication skills and procedures for activating a Silver Search.
Research shows that 60 percent of those with Alzheimer's disease will wander at some point after their diagnosis.
An Endangered Missing Person Advisory alerts the public through highway signs and lottery terminals, the Silver Search website and social media.
A public awareness campaign will include radio and TV spots, billboards and social media announcements in English and Spanish.
Homeland Security bulletin warns of weaponized drones and threat to aviation
by Geneva Sands
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued an updated terror bulletin on Thursday highlighting the threat of weaponized drones, chemical attacks and the continued targeting of commercial aircraft.
"We continue to face one of the most challenging threat environments since 9/11, as foreign terrorist organizations exploit the internet to inspire, enable or direct individuals already here in the homeland to commit terrorist acts," reads the bulletin .
The National Terrorism Advisory System bulletin, which replaced the old color-coded system, is used to give the public and local law enforcement a summary about ongoing and potentially new terror threats.
"The current bulletin introduces unmanned aircraft systems as potential threats and highlights sustained concern regarding threats against commercial aviation and air cargo," said DHS acting press secretary Tyler Houlton in a statement.
There's been an "uptick in terrorist interest" in using unmanned aerial systems as weapons in the United States and other western countries, according to a senior DHS official.
These tactics have been used by terrorists on the battlefield, and the department wants to "guard against those tactics being exported to the west," said the official.
The official said that DHS wants to be "forward leaning" about seeing what terrorists are doing overseas and tactics they might adopt in the future.
Since the last bulletin, concerns about terrorist targeting aviation sector have grown, said the official.
"Terrorists continue to target commercial aviation and air cargo, including with concealed explosives," reads the updated bulletin.
DHS has been implementing wide-ranging security measures for all airports and airlines that fly directly to the U.S. In June, the administration announced "enhanced screening" of passengers and their electronic devices, as well as "seen and unseen" security around the aircraft and inside the airport.
Terrorists still see "aviation as the crown jewel target," said former DHS Secretary John Kelly, now the president's cheif of staff, at the time of the announcement.
The measures, which are being rolled out in phases, are aimed at detecting concealed explosives, insider threats and identifying suspicious passengers.
Current acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke has been urging countries to adopt these measures on all flights, not just those that are direct to the U.S., according to a DHS official.
The new bulletin also warns of the use of "poisons or toxins," which the DHS official says there has been increased chatter about in the terror realm.
The "big picture" is that the homeland security fight is shifting, said the senior DHS official. The department's response to the terror threat is adapting as ISIS is close to defeat in safe havens, but continues to have branches and affiliates around the world, according to DHS.
DHS is focused on the next phase of the fight, according to the senior DHS official.
How the military is making it hard to remember our wars
A veteran laments the deletion and disorganization of records from Iraq and Afghanistan.
by John Spencer
Maj. John Spencer is an Army infantryman and deputy director of the Modern War Institute at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y
I often wonder what people will say about the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan decades from now. What I will tell my children when they are able to understand the answers to questions about what happened “over there.” I am afraid I will forget. As every day passes, I struggle more and more to remember all the names of the soldiers in my platoon, the hard-to-pronounce places we fought, the day-to-day things we did during my two year-long combat tours in Iraq.
But what worries me most is that we, as a nation, will forget.
On Veterans Day we pay tribute to all American veterans, living and dead. We show our thanks in many ways. We attend Veterans Day parades, visit veterans hospitals or ask veterans about their service. But most important, we remember.
Even for those wars with no living veterans — whether the American Revolution or World War I — we can remember. We can access digital archives of battlefield maps. We can examine lists online of personnel who fought in each battle. We can read written orders from commanders, or personal diaries, journals and letters sent by soldiers to their loved ones.
Unfortunately, our recent conflicts will be difficult to remember this way. That is because for the first 10-plus years of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military lost or deleted a majority of its field records. And, although the military has since made a greater commitment to preserve records, an outdated archival system limits their usefulness.
It may seem counterintuitive that records and battle reports were saved more reliably before the digital age. But as a 2009 Army report found, “The increasing use of electronic records — easy to create and move but also difficult to organize and easy to erase — made the situation more complicated.”
In Iraq, in part because of concerns over transporting classified material, soldiers heading home were forced to turn in computer hard drives to be wiped clean and “reimaged.” My own computer held hundreds of reports written after returning from daily patrols. I would note every soldier that went on the patrol, summarize our every action, list every person we talked to and often include photos. I recorded details and filed away photos of the night in 2003 that an improvised explosive device wounded three of my soldiers so badly they needed to be evacuated back to the United States. I documented the night in 2008 that grenade was thrown at my soldiers, missed and killed a nearby Iraqi child.
My unit analyzed patterns in our digital data and used it to inform our operations. At the end of my rotations, I handed off files for a few specific projects to the relief units. But everything on my computer was deleted. Hand-written logs were similarly shredded and burned when we rotated out.
Army units' failure to keep field records attracted the attention of Congress after an investigation by ProPublica and the Seattle Times published in late 2012. Some of the most pressing concerns were about whether veterans could receive proper care with no records of their wartime experiences. Medical records in the military are well kept and rarely lost. But if a soldier who served in Iraq or Afghanistan needs to be assessed for service-related injuries or requires therapy for combat-related stress, there are often no records of the incidents that may have caused their injuries. There are often no documents to help a soldier remember and unpack what happened.
The lack of records also has operational consequences. An abundance of invaluable knowledge, often earned at great cost, wasn't available for new units that rotated into conflict zones on a yearly basis. Newly arrived troops typically would receive intelligence from army organizations about the area, enemy forces and local populations, but they were for the most part deprived of firsthand accounts from the soldiers that preceeded them. So American units that were sent to Mosul in 2014 weren't able to learn from the contextual lessons or ground tactical information collected by soldiers deployed to Mosul in 2004.
Military records have major public uses, too. Once declassified, primary source documents down to the soldier level help movie and documentary makers, historians, authors, teachers, students, and other interested citizens create the stories that shape our collective memories and narrative of a particular war. They are how we research the military service of relatives we've never met. My wartime memories are our wartime memories.
One of the many official solutions to the problem of lost records was a call in 2013 to all Army units to turn in any records that had not been deleted. But because servers and hard drives from 2003 to 2013 had been erased, much of that data was simply gone. The files sent in after the call, combined with what had been previously collected by Army historians, resulted in 150 terabytes of data now held by a small organization within the military responsible for cataloguing its history. That might sound like a lot of data, but individual Army units can produce 4 to 5 terabytes during a 12-month rotation. There have been hundreds of Army unit deployments in the past 15 years.
For those years when there are large gaps in the account of our military history, the Pentagon could enhance the official record with documentation from individual soldiers and embedded journalists. Many soldiers have personal journals, photos, emails and letters home they may be willing to share. And already in the public domain are reports and film footage from hundreds of war journalists — Sebastian Junger, Mike Boettcher and The Washington Post's David Ignatius prominent among them — who lived with military units for weeks and months at a time. Of course, reporters weren't allowed to publish classified information. And letters from soldiers to their families and friends may offer a somewhat different view of the wars than did the official reports that were lost. Still, those documents could prove useful.
For the years since 2013, the military faces a different problem: a massive amount of data that is largely unusable.
Military units have stopped ordering field records to be deleted. But in many cases, when soldiers end their deployments, their files are just left on the computers handed over to their replacements, who can choose to delete them or leave them untouched, along with years of past profiles.
And even when data is collected and stored more centrally, it often lacks metatags, keywords or descriptions from file creators, making it practically impossible to search, sort or analyze.
The military should update its record-keeping. It should be unlawful to ever delete another combat record. Daily combat records should be tagged, stored in a searchable cloud database and attached to individual soldiers' files — as their medical records are. That way soldiers could leave the service with complete histories of their combat experiences.
This is not a military issue. It is an American issue. Records and stories of the military and individual soldiers are an important part of how we remember. We should act before the “forever wars” become the forgotten wars.
Science Says These Police Tactics Reduce Crime
The verdict is in: a scientific review of different policing approaches
by Dina Fine Maron
When Bill de Blasio first ran for New York City mayor four years ago, ending “stop-and-frisk” police searches was a cornerstone of his campaign. Critics warned halting the practice would fuel crime. But this week de Blasio coasted into reelection against a backdrop of historically low crime rates.
The city of more than 8.5 million people has seen fewer than 300 murders so far in 2017. That puts its body count lower than much-smaller jurisdictions including Baltimore , a city of fewer than 620,000 people where 303 people have been murdered this year, and Chicago , where the number has risen above 580 in a population of 2.7 million.
So what factors can really help drive down crime? The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine said in a report released Thursday that certain “proactive” policies aimed at preventing crime before it happens—including stop and frisk—show mixed results. Yet it is not enough to simply identify what policies appear to reduce crime, a panel convened by the National Academies cautions in the report. Authorities must also consider the real-world risks of applying these approaches in ways that are racist, biased or illegal, they wrote.
Historically, policing has focused largely on responding to calls and investigating crimes. But in the past few decades there has been a shift toward preventing crime by routinely sending officers into communities and identifying potential problem areas. Not all police departments are using these strategies, notes David Weisburd, chair of the expert panel and director of the center for evidence-based crime policy at George Mason University. But it is becoming relatively common and is a big departure from the standard model, in which police mostly respond to crimes that already occurred, Weisburd says.
“For police chiefs who want to do something, increases in violent crime are often very localized and occur among specific people and on specific streets—and the evidence from the report is that when you focus on those, you can produce reductions in crime,” Weisburd says. “Hot-spotting,” for example—a practice in which police are disproportionately stationed in areas with higher crime rates—seems to help, and does not just displace crime into immediately surrounding areas, the committee says. And stop and frisk can be effective when it is highly focused on areas with high concentrations of crime or robberies, Weisburd adds. His committee also found that third-party policing—in which businesses or building owners partner with police or are pressured to work with them—can help. When police officers identify specific problems, try to understand them and make a tailored plan to solve them, it can reduce crime, too. Finally, focusing police resources on high-rate offenders (to either get them off the street or reduce crime) has good evidence behind it.
What Doesn't Work
The report also identified police strategies that do not seem to work. “Broken windows” policing, in which officers crack down on even small instances of disorder before they overwhelm a neighborhood, does not typically lead to less crime, the panel says. But it adds that if such efforts are much more nuanced—focused on a small number of high-crime streets—they can sometimes make a positive difference.
Another topic under the panel's scrutiny is community policing, which generally refers to police building relationships with local residents and involving them in their decision-making about problems. Politicians and others have pushed the concept hard, but the panel says it does not have strong evidence that community policing reduces crime. “If you can increase cooperation with the public, you would assume they report crime more often. But programs so far that encourage community policing—that use newsletters to involve the public, meet often with the public and spend a lot of time dealing with the public in a cooperative way—those projects, at least from the evidence we have now, don't seem to have crime prevention effects,” Weisburd says. There is evidence these programs improve community attitudes toward police, however. “So when police are thinking about what they are doing, they should think about it as a method to improve relationships with the public and perhaps combine different strategies together to reduce crime and improve community perceptions,” Weisburd adds.
“I wouldn't take [the panel's report] as torpedo below the waterline for the entire concept of community policing. I would say we need a longer study of what types of community engagement strategies work,” says Ames Grawert, a counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice, who was not involved with the report. “Our hunch is that, over a very long time, strategies focused on getting officers engaged in the communities they serve will pay off in a number of ways. But I don't expect to see significant changes in just a year or two.”
The report's findings are somewhat at odds with some of the conclusions from The President's Task Force on 21st-Century Policing, whose recommendations in 2015 included a strong push for procedural justice—which seeks to convince communities, through its interactions with them, that the police are neutral and exercise their authority in legitimate ways. Weisburd notes the task force promoted this approach, but his panel concluded there was not strong evidence to support it. “We found there isn't enough evidence to say if it has an effect on crime, and whether or not to say it has a strong effect on perceptions of legitimacy,” he says. “We aren't saying it doesn't have an effect, but we are saying that there isn't strong evidence.” With longer-term data, the Brennan Center's Grawert says, there may be more positive results.
The Jury Is Still Out
Most studies on police policies have focused on short-term evaluations, so the committee could not point to what will work over longer periods, Weisburd explains. It is also hard to know how well interventions applied across an entire jurisdiction will work in particular neighborhoods or if strategies that work well in one area will definitely work well in another. There is also very little social science data on how often proactive police tactics lead to illegal behavior, power abuses and differences in outcomes by race. “Right now,” Weisburd says, “we just don't have that evidence.
Advisory board member urges aggressive policing tactics
by Caleb Bedillion
TUPELO – At least one member of Tupelo's police advisory board wants to see law enforcement use harsher, more aggressive techniques, an approach he recommended during a meeting this week.
A panel of citizen volunteers appointed to their posts, the advisory board convened Wednesday for continued presentations and training in police procedure and policy.
The board was commissioned by the Tupelo City Council to foster increased communication and better working relations between the public and the police. Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton recommended the board's creation in response to outcry from some members of the community alleging a local history of profiling and excessive force in minority neighborhoods.
However, heavy-handed rhetoric surfaced during Wednesday's meeting, with tactical suggestions offered that fall afoul of Supreme Court case Tennessee v. Garner, a 1985 ruling that curtailed the use of lethal force during pursuit of a suspect.
Meeting with advisory board members at the North Mississippi Law Enforcement Training Center, Deputy Police Chief Allan Gilbert screened police car dashboard camera footage depicting incidents of gunfire between law enforcement and suspects.
None of the footage was from Tupelo, but from agencies across the country. At least one clip was from an encounter that left a law enforcement officer dead.
Another incident involved a vehicle pursuit. This clip prompted advisory board member Tom Hewitt to suggest that police take much more aggressive action to disable fleeing vehicles, even to the point of engaging such vehicles and pushing them off the road.
“What difference does it make? If he breaks the law, he's a law breaker,” Hewitt said. “Put him in the ditch.”
Hewitt then said officers should be quicker to use deadly force in response to non-compliant suspects who possess firearms.
Gilbert noted that officers must take into account many factors, including the safety of bystanders and passengers who may be in a fleeing vehicle.
“What if the car has a baby in a car seat, the car flips, and the baby is killed?” Gilbert said.
“That's the responsibility of the driver,” Hewitt said.
Ultimately, however, Hewitt's suggested course of action would in many cases, challenge rights protected by the U.S. Constitution, a fact police leadership highlighted Wednesday.
The Supreme Court has found that Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable seizure bars lethal action to stop a fleeing suspect unless probable cause exists to think the suspect may pose a threat of death or serious injury to the officer or others.
In an interview with the Daily Journal, Hewitt acknowledged his style may strike others as extreme.
“I guess I've got a harder look at it than most folks,” Hewitt said. “Part of it's my raising.”
However, he also lauded more cooperative community policing tactics that emphasize building relationships between officers and neighborhood residents.
“I love it if the policemen get out and get to know the people in the community and they find out they can work together,” Hewitt said.
Wednesday is not the first time Hewitt has raised suggestions. In one past meeting, he offered the idea that Tupelo's officers could be trained in the use of the bola, a throwing weapon made of ropes and weights typically used to capture animals.
The outspoken board member, who works in landscaping, was nominated to his post by Ward 6 Councilman Mike Bryan, but approved by a vote of the full City Council.
Bryan opposed the creation of the advisory board and voted against all nominees, including his own.
Though police leadership didn't endorse Hewitt's suggestions Wednesday, Gilbert did say that high-profile scrutiny of lethal shootings by police has created a climate in which officers are too hesitant to pull the trigger when it may be needed.
“Guys are so afraid to make that decision that they're dying,” Gilbert said.
The deputy chief also suggested the public knows too much about police operations.
“We have to be so open with the media,” Gilbert said. “The tricks of the trade are out.”
However, Mississippi has expansive exemptions to its public records laws for investigative documents, exemptions that are often cited to withhold documents related to high-profile crimes or incidents of public interest.
City officials also closed an advisory board meeting to the public and the media last month in order to screen body camera footage related to a complaint against a Tupelo police officer.
Public records exemptions do not cover policy and procedure documents, though some police departments in the state have unsuccessfully sought to shield these public records from examination. Across the country an array of good government and public transparency advocates have fought to ensure that state laws keep questions of public policy within the public eye.
Ky. man tell officer 'I have something for you,' jabs him with sword
Kenneth Smith, 41, allededly asked the officer if he wanted to die and told him, "I've got something for you" before jabbing him with a sword
by Mike Stunson
LEXINGTON, Ky. — A sword was the weapon of choice for a Louisville man who is charged with attacking a police officer Wednesday, according to court records.
An officer from Louisville Metro Police responded to a disturbance about 3 a.m., and when the officer knocked on the door, Kenneth Smith began yelling at him, according to the police report.
Smith, 41, allegedly asked the officer if he wanted to die and told him, “I've got something for you,” according to court records.
When the officer opened the door, Smith “jabbed” him with a 3-foot sword on the arm, according to the police report.
The officer ordered Smith to get on the ground, according to the report. Smith dropped the sword but refused to cooperate, and police then arrested him, according to the police report.
Smith's daughter told police that he had been yelling at their dog and drinking alcohol, according to court records.
Smith was charged with wanton endangerment of a police officer and terroristic threatening. He is in the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections.
NC air traffic controller accused of having weapon of mass destruction
by Nicole Chavez and Joe Sutton
A North Carolina air traffic controller was arrested Friday for allegedly having a weapon of mass destruction, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said.
Paul George Dandan, 30, a worker at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, was charged with acquiring, possessing and transporting a weapon of mass destruction, police said in a statement.
Last week, police received a 911 call that someone had a homemade explosive at a Charlotte home. When officers arrived, they found a homemade pipe bomb, authorities said.
Investigators said another man, 39-year-old Derrick Fells, built the bomb to "use it against a neighbor with whom he was involved in an ongoing dispute." But Fells changed his mind and gave Dandan the device, police said.
Both men were arrested Friday, but it's unclear how they knew each other.
Fells was charged with three counts of manufacturing a weapon of mass destruction and one count of possession of a weapon of mass destruction, police said.
Police did not say what Dandan's intentions were or whether he took the bomb to the airport.
The Federal Aviation Administration said Dandan's access to the airport "was terminated."
In a statement, the Charlotte Douglas International Airport said Dandan did not have access to any aircraft.
"The FAA employee only had access to the "offsite air traffic control tower and had no access to the restricted areas of the terminal or ramp," the statement said.
The FBI describes a weapon of mass destruction as any explosive, incendiary, or poisonous gas, including a bomb, grenade or rocket that has an explosive or incendiary charge of more than four ounces.
"Any weapons designed or intend to cause death or serious bodily injury through the release, dissemination, or impact of toxic or poisonous chemicals, or their precursors," the FBI says on its website.
Salinas police renewing focus on community relationships
by Joe Szydlowski
Salinas police say they are going to further emphasize establishing relationships with the neighborhoods they serve alongside traditional enforcement.
The department is still debriefing its officers on a new community policing philosophy, which encourages officers to spend time getting to know challenges faced by people encountered on their beats, said Adele Fresé, chief of the Salinas Police Department.
"This isn't a program. This is an approach to how we do business or how we will do business in the future," said Fresé, adding that it could include discussing crime and quality-of-life issues with someone after taking down a report, for example.
In addition to learning more about what a community faces, it would include talking about crime prevention measures, such as suggestions to make a window more difficult to access for a burglar, she said.
The officers will then report their findings to their supervisors, who coordinate with administrators to address problems, she said.
That's to make use of an already-limited set of resources, she said. Many officers are too busy responding to calls or taking reports because of short staffing, she said.
"We keep talking about (our resources being) so slim," she said. "If you're spending precious resources on responding to the same issue over and over... I'd rather look at finding solutions and prevention."
Salinas police currently have 155 out of 174 sworn positions filled, buttressed by public safety tax dollars. But 17 of those 155 are still in the training process, which can last up to 20 weeks in addition to the months-long application and police academy processes.
Generally, only about 1 or 2 percent of candidates make the cut, she said. Salinas' rough edges compound those problems, especially for newer officers, she said.
The Salinas Police Officer Association backs Fresé's community policing approach, said Gabriel Carvey, the organization's president.
"We could take thousands of reports and hundreds of people to jail... Are we just treating the symptoms of the underlying problem?" he said. "We'd rather treat the underlying problem, so the symptoms go away."
Officers already try to do this in small ways, such as finding lodging for a homeless family, but the workload for a normal shift of 11 officers makes it difficult on a larger scale, he said.
Additional officers can help. But the bigger shift needed is in the department's mindset to make time for that outreach after years of rushing from call-to-call, he said.
"That's why I think it could be successful. In microcosms it's already there, it's just there have not been enough resources," Carvey said. "It can happen."
Police have had more than 600 "ordered overtime shifts" so far this year in which officers are told to come into work on off days because of a lack of manpower, he said.
"The In-N-Out Burger on Kern Street, there are more people working there now than police on the street," he said, adding Salinas still has the same number of officers patrolling today as in 1974, despite population growth.
The changes come after a Department of Justice report analyzed Salinas and found a need for establishing trust between police and the citizenry, particularly after the four fatal officer-involved shootings of 2014, which sparked community protests against Salinas police.
That report found a need to remedy the divide between the community and police, said Jesus Valenzuela, communications manager for Building Healthy Communities in Salinas.
"Community members should be able to know who their police officer is," he said.
Focusing only on enforcement has many downsides and doesn't reduce crime near as well as prevention strategies, he said.
"Investing in our young people is what's going to ease the narrative of Salinas being a tough town," he said.
But for it to work, everyone must be open to reconsidering long-held perceptions and the police need to commit to the new approach, Valenzuela said.
Carvey said he's optimistic about that commitment — too often, a program is begun but begins to fall by the wayside. Fresé has brought in "not just leadership," but a plan to change the approach and a way to gauge its success, he said.
The administration is still fine-tuning the details and increasing staffing, and changing mindsets will take time, but Fresé says she's committed to it as well.
From the Department of Homeland Security
DHS Aims to Hire Hundreds of Veterans from Veterans Recruitment Event
WASHINGTON – Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced its intention to hire hundreds of veterans identified at a veterans jobs fair in August 2017.
DHS hosted a two-day, veterans-focused recruitment and hiring event titled “Continue Your Service to America.” The event included informational training sessions and exhibits to showcase the critical missions performed across the department. Participants had the opportunity to interview for a position, receive a tentative job offer and initiate the background screening process.
Approximately 2,500 candidates attended the event, with 620 interviewed on-site. There were also 381 candidates identified at the hiring event to move into the next phase of the law enforcement hiring processes at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). To date, DHS has extended tentative job offers to 207 veterans, and components will continue to use the certificates of eligibility and resumes of veterans identified through the August event to fill vacancies.
The Department also conducted a series of “DHS is Hiring Veterans” webinars in preparation for the hiring event that explained the Department's missions, described the types of positions available to veterans, provided information on the hiring process, and tips on building a federal resume. Over 5,000 veterans participated in the online sessions.
Veterans currently make up 27.6 percent of the Department's workforce. DHS continues to be a leader among federal agencies in employing veterans and has the highest percentage of veteran employees among large federal agencies for the second year in a row.
DHS is still actively recruiting for law enforcement and mission support positions. For more information on the hiring process, available jobs, and to find resources available to veterans, please visit www.dhs.gov/homeland-security-careers/veterans .