LACP - Daily Digest
on some LA Community Policing issues of interest

LACP Daily Digest

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following group of articles from local newspapers and other sources constitutes but a small percentage of the information available to the community policing and neighborhood activist public. It is by no means meant to cover every possible issue of interest, nor is it meant to convey any particular point of view. We present this simply as a convenience to our readership

Today's LACP news:

March 26, 2017



Police: At least 15 shot, 1 fatally, at Cincinnati nightclub

Shooting happened inside Cameo, police say

by WLWT 5

CINCINNATI — At least 15 people were shot -- one fatally -- at a Cincinnati nightclub early Sunday.

The shooting was reported just after 1 a.m. at Cameo Night Club on Kellogg Avenue in Cincinnati's East End.

At least one person is still at large, Cincinnati police said.

Officials said that one person was killed, and at least 14 others were injured. Some of the victims were taken to area hospitals via ambulance, and others arrived via their own conveyance, police said.

Assistant Police Chief Paul Neudigate said that several of the victims have life-threatening injuries.

“We are in the middle of a very horrific situation that occurred at the nightclub with multiple victims,” Neudigate said. “It's going to be a long night for our homicide units to investigate.”

Neudigate said that police do not suspect that this was an act of terror.

Neudigate added that hundreds of people were inside of the nightclub at the time of the shooting, and called it a “chaotic crime scene.” Police initially said multiple shooters fired shots inside of the nightclub. However, Neudigate has said there is "only one reported shooter at this time."

“Many of them fled, unfortunately. Many of the witnesses fled, but everyone that we can identify is being interviewed,” he said.

One witness told WLWT News 5 that he heard the club's DJ call for security about 10 minutes before the shooting.

Surveillance cameras were inside the club at the time of the shooting, police said.

Of eight victims taken to University of Cincinnati Medical Center, police said one person is in critical condition, three people are in serious condition and four people are in stable condition.

Two people were treated and released from Bethesda North Hospital, and two more are at Christ Hospital in stable condition. One person was treated and released at Mercy Anderson and another was treated and released at Mercy West.

Neudigate added that Sunday morning's shooting was one of the largest shooting cases that he has worked in his 27-plus years with the department.

Cameo nightclub has had several issues in the past, authorities said. The club allows admission to anyone over the age of 18.

“We are aware of it. It has had some challenges in the past,” Neudigate said.

There were two shootings at the nightclub in 2015: one on New Year's Day, when someone was shot in the foot, and another in September, when a shooting victim was found in the parking lot.

Police have not said whether anyone is in custody, and the investigation is ongoing. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is helping Cincinnati police with this investigation.

Cincinnati restaurateur Jeff Ruby is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the shooting death, he tweeted Sunday.

WLWT has a crew on the scene and will update this story as new information is released.



US police officer calls tax scammer

by James Gorman

(Video on site)

A US police officer has recorded a phone exchange with a fake tax revenue agent in a bid to educate the public about scammers.

Officer Kyle Roder posted the video of the conversation to the Eau Claire Police Department's Facebook page on March 22 showing him calling back a number after he received a voicemail on his phone from someone claiming to be from the IRS.

The message was urgent and insisted if he did not resolve the matter immediately he would be arrested.

Officer Roder called the number while a colleague filmed. He managed to keep a straight face as he calmly discussed his impending arrest with the scammer.

"Hello, is this the IRS? It said to call this number, you said I had committed a fraud or something?” Roder asked before the man asked for his address.

"But you said you're going to issue a warrant for me and come to my house. If you don't have my address, how are you going to do that?"

The scammer told the officer he had a fiduciary responsibility to pay back money owed over the phone because his local office wouldn't have the paperwork.

When the officer asked for the man's name he replied "James Maxwell".

After a brief exchange he asked for the name again but this time the scammer replied "James Johnson".

Fake tax agents have overtaken identity thieves to become American's most prolific scammers.



Here are some ways the Tulsa Police Department wants to better interact with you and your neighbors

by Corey Jones

The Tulsa Commission on Community Policing outlines numerous ways among its 77 recommendations for how the Police Department should continue or enhance outreach to better engage residents.

Perhaps the cornerstone of such engagement is to establish “civilian oversight of law enforcement” via community advisory panels within each of the Police Department's three patrol divisions. The report also recommends regularly scheduling public forums, which would allow many more citizens to “interact with police and help influence programs and policy.”

Other concrete engagement initiatives include:

• A condensed eight-hour citizens academy designed to introduce community members to police operations.

• A community policing calendar of town hall meetings and any other police events of public interest.

• The addition of a separate question and complaint line for Spanish speakers.

Police Chief Chuck Jordan said in an interview last week that “every cop wants to have a better relationship with their community,” so there is excitement to use the report as a road map to guide the department through the next several years.

“Community engagement is probably one of those areas we need to improve the most,” Jordan said. He wasn't referencing public relations with that statement. He was referring to beat cops developing relationships with people.

He said his officers are “still running from call to call” during 80 percent of their shifts, which doesn't lend itself to proactive policing. That percentage is expected to decrease as about 160 officers are added to the force in the next few years, funded through the Vision Tulsa sales tax.

“We do what we can while engaged in those calls,” Jordan said. “But that's not the same as an officer stopping to talk to someone watering their lawn or walking into a business and saying, ‘Hey, how's it going?'?”

Jordan said that within the next three months his department will begin forming a community advisory board and community action groups.

The advisory board will work with Jordan and his command staff, holding a “50,000-foot view” of overall impacts on the community that also go beyond policing.

”How can we assist the rest of the community in business development and education?” Jordan asked.

Each of the three action groups will be assigned to a patrol division — Gilcrease, Riverside or Mingo Valley — and will be involved in shorter-term problems, such as a rash of crime or traffic issues in a neighborhood.

The department's current Citizens Police Academy is a 12-week course, which Jordan called “very successful.” However, a few hours once a week for three months might be too much of a commitment for some people to make.

Creating a condensed curriculum that fits into eight hours in a single day will let more people quickly learn the high points of police operations, from automobile wrecks to tactics to use of force, Jordan said. He said he would like to have a one-day program in place within six months.

“Everyone I've seen go through it comes out with a different perspective on police,” Jordan said of the existing Citizens Police Academy.

Establishing a distinct line of communication for Spanish-language users is a goal that Jordan said might be accomplished within a 12-month range. He said some monetary and technological hangups must be hurdled first.

People who currently call Internal Affairs can leave a message and receive a response within 24 hours, Jordan said.

Moises Echeverria, president and CEO of the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice, lauded the “comprehensive way” the committee evaluated community policing initiatives, specifically with regard to technology and outreach.

“I especially appreciated youth engagement and the wellness of officers,” he said.

However, Echeverria is disappointed that hate crimes and protected status for LGBTQ people aren't addressed. He said he appreciates the recommendations to continue the emphasis on unbiased policing, to maintain search and seizure procedures for the LGBTQ community and to add LGBTQ interactions into basic academy curriculum.

But Echeverria explained that another recommendation centers on working to encourage local, state and federal legislative bodies “to update public record laws.”

He said he would like to see Tulsa police advocate in favor of status protection for gender identity and sexuality at higher levels of government.

“I think that it would behoove the Police Department to advocate for those protections to the LGBTQ community,” Echeverria said, noting that the recent verbal attacks and gunshots fired at the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center in Tulsa weren't considered hate crimes.



Clermont police make effort to improve community relations through program

by Millard Ives

CLERMONT – Police in Clermont will be taking on an additional duty — delivering pizza.

The Clermont Police Department is teaming up with Flippers Pizzeria in an effort to bridge the gap between them and the community.

Officers will deliver some of the business's carry-out orders as part of a plan to have more positive interactions with the residents they are delivering the pizzas to.

Chief Charles Broadway said the deliveries will allow them to spread crime prevention tips and just chat with residents.

Officer David Colon, of the agency's community policing and problem solving units, said it's a great way to get through recent times in which law enforcement has been shown in a negative light.

"With our visit, the families will be able to see a couple of police officers come to their door and after a short greeting, hand them a crime prevention flyer and wish them a good dinner as a family ... ," Colon said.

The program, Hero Deliveries, is slated to kick off in a couple weeks.

Broadway said the idea was Flippers' and they hope to make about 10 deliveries in some months.

"We are hoping to build a rapport with the residents," Broadway said.

The chief added they already have a similar relationship with Little Caesars Pizza, where the restaurant would deliver food alongside officers.

Broadway said Hero Deliveries stems directly from former President Barack Obama's Task Force on 21st Century Policing that came after a tumultuous 2014 with several high-profile incidents involving deaths of unarmed black men. The Task Force called for, among a number of things, an aim to improve community relations.

It is not clear what would happen if Clermont police, while on deliveries, surprise residents who are engaging in illegal activity. But Broadway said they aren't going to homes looking to make arrests.

"We aren't asking to go inside, unless they invite us in," Broadway said.


New Jersey

Denville Police dealing officer trading cards

by Michael Izzo

The Denville Police Department is taking a new approach with community outreach, issuing trading cards for each officer and encouraging kids to collect them all.

Denville Rotary officers first approached Denville Chief Christopher Wagner about the police trading cards idea last fall and began collaborating on the idea. Officers have since submitted their biographies for the cards and Jody Johnson of Glide by JJ took photos for the cards.

“This was actually a project I wanted to do many years ago, but I didn't have the funding at the time. And it also can be a difficult thing to get police officers fired up about,” Wagner said. “But when the Rotary came to me with this community relations project idea, I thought it was great considering how the topic of community policing is affecting our nation. We're very fortunate to have overwhelming support from the community, but there's nothing wrong with strengthening that support.”

Wagner said he liked the idea of the trading cards because it allows kids to meet officers at an early age.

“It's good for our officers to interact with our young kids,” Wagner said. “With this, kids from Denville will be able to stop a police officer while driving, or walk into the station to get a card. And officers will have to interact with them, shaking their hands and having a conversation with parents at the very least. It's a great opportunity for everyone to meet one another.”

Each police officer will be issued 1,000 trading cards and Denville students in kindergarten through eighth grade are tasked with collecting all 31. All cards will feature the officers' photo, badge number, and biography.

A kickoff event is planned on May 16 at Gardner Field during National Police Week, which runs May 14 through 20. Wagner said he has several activities planned for the kickoff event at police headquarters, located next to Gardner Field, including tours and an equipment demonstration.

“The trading card program is designed to promote a long lasting, positive relationship between our local police officers and the youth of our community,” the Denville Rotary said in a press release announcing the program. “The primary goal of the trading card program is to help our children understand that police officers are friendly, approachable and are always ready to be of help when needed.”

All children who participate in the event will receive a “Thin Blue Line” wristband. Prizes will be awarded to the first three students in each elementary school and the middle school to complete a full set of 31 cards.

The first place prizes will be bicycles from Cycle Craft in Parsippany. Second place will be an Amazon Kindle Fire, and third place will be a tour of the police station and lunch with Chief Wagner. First place prizes will be awarded at the Junior Police Academy graduation ceremony on July 14.

Wagner expects it will take a little time to collect all 31, as only the officer can issue their own card and not all of them will be on duty during the May 16 event.

“Some cards will be harder to get than others,” Wagner said. “My card will probably be harder because I'm not out and about as much as other officers. But people can come to headquarters and I'll be happy to walk out and meet them to give them a card.”

The program is still accepting sponsors and anyone interested in sponsoring an officer's card should call Rotary officers Mary Radisch at 973-476-1639 or Betsy Roberts at 973-945-9799 for details.


New Hampshire

NH leads effort to view overdoses as crime scenes

The training teaches police how to gather evidence such as cell phone records that could be traced back to the dealer and how to safely handle fentanyl

by Kathleen Ronayne

CONCORD, N.H. — A New Hampshire training program that teaches police officers and prosecutors how to treat drug overdoses as crime scenes is emerging as a model for other states grappling with the opioid crisis.

Outgoing Attorney General Joe Foster launched the training last summer so that officers could learn how to trace bad batches of drugs to the source, with the goal of charging dealers — particularly large suppliers — who cause overdoses with "death resulting," a previously little-used charge that carries up to life in prison.

That training now serves as a blueprint for other attorneys general nationwide. The National Association of Attorneys General brought several New Hampshire officials to Washington in early March to draft training materials for wider use, and Foster himself has become a go-to person on the issue. He has spoken about New Hampshire's approach at a conference in Rhode Island, and Alabama officials have asked for more information. In Florida, Attorney General Pam Bondi says she frequently talks to Foster for ideas on fighting the drug crisis.

"The New Hampshire program just absolutely, in my mind, was the catalyst or the cha-ching moment of, 'Hey, this would be a wonderful training to take nationally," said Mark Neil, counsel for the National Association of Attorneys General's training division.

Officials from Ohio, Massachusetts and Florida have also been involved in drafting the national training materials, but Neil said New Hampshire has driven the process.

New Hampshire is one of many states, including Ohio, Maine, West Virginia and New Jersey, where authorities are filing homicide, involuntary manslaughter or related charges against dealers. They argue that overdose deaths should be treated as crimes leading to stiff sentences, and can serve as a deterrent to others.

Officials say New Hampshire stands out because its training was the first that brought local, state and federal officers and prosecutors together to share information and to make sure everyone is approaching overdose scenes in the same way — as a crime scene rather than an accidental death. The training teaches police how to gather evidence such as cell phone records that could be traced back to the dealer and how to safely handle fentanyl, the potent drug now responsible for the majority of New Hampshire's overdoses.

"Before this was happening, officers would walk into a scene where an individual had passed away and it was dealt with as almost a matter of routine," said Ben Agati, a senior assistant attorney general in New Hampshire. "It wasn't seen as an opening or an opportunity to investigate the end of the drug distribution network."

But critics say this tough new approach doesn't work.

"We've tried to arrest and prosecute our way out of drug problems before to no avail," said Mark Sisti, a criminal defense attorney who has represented several people facing "death resulting" charges. "We're not getting drug overdose death prosecutions against the big guys; we're getting them against the small guys."

Others argue that resources could be better spent on getting people help instead of prosecuting lower level dealers, such as someone who is using drugs themselves and shares with a boyfriend or girlfriend.

Law enforcement officials admit it may be too soon to know whether the approach is effective and they didn't provide data on what amount of drugs has been taken off the streets. Since the training, New Hampshire's justice department has charged 11 people with "death resulting," up from just one the year before. Local departments have sent the AG's office 114 cases for more investigation, and county attorneys also pursue death resulting charges on their own.

For Foster, who pushed the training, prosecution is just one piece of tackling New Hampshire's addiction crisis. But he said people who knowingly cause deaths must face some culpability.

"I'm told by law enforcement that there's chatter about the fact that if you cause a death you may well be looking at some significant jail time, so hopefully there'll be some deterrence," Foster said.



Vehicle attacks: easy success for IS, challenge for police

This simple but effective method has been laid out repeatedly and in detail in IS propaganda material which continues to circulate online

by Dominique Soguel

BASEL, Switzerland — In the battlefields of Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State group became infamous for its spectacular variations on explosive vehicles. For attacks in the West, it has advocated the use of the same tool but suggested a simpler method, encouraging its followers to use regular vehicles to achieve bloodshed.

Experts say that vehicle attacks — whether IS-inspired or coordinated — present a unique challenge for law enforcement officials as they are nearly impossible to predict and easy to pull off. They require no advanced training, no specialized materials. Almost anyone can own or rent a vehicle.

Some feel that these low-tech, lone wolf operations can have the same psychological impact as larger, more sensational attacks. Four people were killed in London on Wednesday with this tactic in what was the worst attack on British soil since the transport network bombings on July 7, 2005.

Charlie Winter, a senior research fellow at the London-based International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence, says what makes such attacks so frightening is the relatively low barriers to entry. The method was embraced by al-Qaida before being revitalized by IS.

"It makes for a very effective unsophisticated high impact, very frightening form of an operation," he said. "You don't need to know someone who can make you a bomb or buy you a gun in order to carry out an attack. It's a very difficult thing to fight against. There is no quick fix."

British authorities on Thursday identified Khalid Masood as the man who mowed down pedestrians with an SUV and stabbed a policeman to death outside Parliament. The British national wasn't on a terrorism watch list although he was once investigated for extremism. IS claimed the attack.

Rita Katz, director of the SITE Intelligence group, says it is almost impossible for law enforcement agencies to stop IS-inspired attacks, especially vehicular-style ones like the one in London. Since 2014, this simple but effective method has been laid out repeatedly and in detail in IS propaganda material which continues to circulate online.

"It's not a style of attack that you can monitor by increasing security and intel on who has weapons or other attention-grabbing variables," Katz told The Associated Press. "Every car suddenly turns into a possible weapon, so it's really very difficult to stop."

Vehicle attacks, like knife attacks, are aggressively promoted by IS and its online supporters. In its November issue of its online magazine Rumiyah, IS extolled the virtues of the car as a weapon of attack and offered guidance to its followers, suggesting the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade as a possible target.

"Vehicles are like knives, as they are extremely easy to acquire," points out the online magazine issue. "But unlike knives, which if found in one's possession can be a cause for suspicion, vehicles arouse absolutely no doubts due to their widespread use throughout the world. "

Two weeks later, an Ohio State University student rammed his car into a group of pedestrians on campus and then got out and started stabbing people with a butcher knife before being gunned down by a police officer. IS claimed the attack, which left 11 people wounded.

The devastating potential of such violence was dramatically illustrated last summer in the French beach town of Nice when a cargo truck took to the crowds celebrating Bastille Day in an attack that left 86 people dead and hundreds of others wounded. A truck was also used in last year's Christmas market attack in Berlin that killed 12 people, including the driver of the truck that was commandeered.

In the London attack on Wednesday, the weapon of choice was an SUV. Katz sees the similarities between these attacks as evidence that IS propaganda is taking hold and that more needs to be done to counter it. Winter says that the impact of propaganda is overplayed and a copycat effect is also a factor.

Omar Ashour says these attacks are gaining traction precisely because authorities have their defenses up. The IS leadership began urging attacks on the West after the U.S-led coalition launched airstrikes on the group. The message then evolved to spell out the best ways to use a knife or inflict the most damage possible with a car.

IS may provide "very detailed tactical information that helps the attackers to create more damage but there is a ceiling to that. They could not do as much damage as firearms or bombs would do. The capacity to execute largish, more complex operations is extremely limited," says Ashour, a lecturer in security studies at the University of Exeter.

Anne Giudicelli, director of the security risk consultancy firm Terrorisc, says that such attacks are becoming a signature approach for IS in Europe. While not much more can be done to boost security on the ground, more can be done to fight the spread of IS ideology online, and cooperation between European countries confronting this threat can be tightened.

"At the level of strict security, the maximum is done," she told the AP. "The authorities are confronted to the fact that all the outward signs, what we call indicators, the criteria for surveillance, are today very volatile because individuals adapt, they know what will get them detected."



Dallas raised more than $500K for mentoring program that pairs cops, kids

"This is all about one-on-one relationships ... with the most vulnerable demographic within our community"

by Tasha Tsiaperas

DALLAS — Dallas police officials hope 300 of its officers will act as mentors in the Bigs in Blue program, a branch of the one-on-one mentoring organization Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

The effort was announced Thursday at Dallas Police Headquarters, and the Bigs in Blue program received $550,000 in grant funds and donations from Dallas residents, including $500,000 raised at the Crystal Charity Ball.

The mentoring organization has also partnered with law enforcement agencies in Chicago, Houston, Austin, Los Angeles and New York City through the Bigs in Blue program.

The Dallas officers who choose to volunteer will each be matched with one of the 1,000 kids on the waiting list in the local chapter. The pairing could help officers better understand minority and at-risk communities, said Pam Iorio, chief executive officer of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

"We cannot live in a country where there are strained relations and tensions between police and the communities they serve," she said.

Assistant Police Chief Paul Stokes said the program is an extension of the outreach the Dallas Police Department does with Dallas youth. The department hosts youth athletics programs and educational events that teach kids how to interact with cops.

"This is all about one-on-one relationships ... with the most vulnerable demographic within our community," Stokes said.

But, he said, the program will also teach the officers more about where the children come from.

"We need to learn from them. We need to grow with them," he said.


From the FBI

Seeking Special Agents with Diverse Backgrounds

Houston Recruiting Effort Part of National Campaign

When Special Agent Al Tribble joined the FBI 25 years ago, the organization wasn't exactly known for its recruiting efforts—especially when it came to hiring women and people of color.

Much has changed since then. Today, the FBI understands that to effectively protect the American people, its special agents must reflect the diverse communities they serve. That's why Tribble—who specializes in human trafficking and violent crimes against children investigations—participated in a recent recruiting event in Houston aimed at increasing diversity in the ranks of the FBI's special agent corps.

As a veteran investigator and an African-American, Tribble spoke to potential applicants about the satisfaction of being a special agent. “The variety of work that you find in the FBI is unlike corporate America or any other private entity,” he said. “There's so much you can do here, and you get to help people. When you take a victim of human trafficking and free her from her captors and reunite her with her family,” he explained, “there's no feeling that can beat that.”

The FBI's Diversity Agent Recruitment Program began in 2016 with an event in Washington, D.C., that attracted several hundred potential special agents from diverse backgrounds. The Houston event in January 2017 was attended by more than 200 people who heard from a panel of special agents about the varied paths that led them to the Bureau.

“I think a lot of people have in their mind what the FBI is and what the FBI does and what an FBI agent looks like,” said Special Agent Jenelle Janabajal, a presenter at the event, “and I think what we're trying to do is maybe change some of those ideas and let people know that the FBI might be different from what you think.”

Special Agent David Baker, who works with special agent job applicants in the Houston Division, put it another way: “It doesn't matter what walk of life you come from, what color you are, what race you are, what background you have,” he said, “there's a place for you in the FBI.”

“One of the things that make us very attractive as an organization is that our employees have such different backgrounds,” said Perrye K. Turner, special agent in charge of the Houston Division. Turner, who has served as one of the Bureau's national recruiters for nearly two decades, was instrumental in bringing the recent event to Houston. Such employee diversity means that “everybody brings something to the table,” he said. “That makes us stronger and more effective as an organization.”

The women, Latinos, Asians, and African-Americans in the audience heard from a variety of FBI agents about what it's like to do good for a living—to take violent criminals off the streets, to hold public officials accountable when they violate the public's trust, to thwart spies who would steal national secrets, and to stop terrorists. And after the official presentation, they were able to talk one-on-one with agents.

The event began with a video message from Director James Comey, who told the group that when he joined the Bureau in 2013, he inherited a special agent population that was 83 percent white. Comey made diversity one of the Bureau's core values and began to increase efforts at diversity hiring.

A career in the FBI is like no other, he said. “This in an incredible family where no matter what you look like—black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, whether you're a man or a woman, whether you're straight or gay—you feel welcome once you join this family.”

The statistics bear out that fact. The FBI's turnover rate among agents is less than 1 percent. “That's extraordinarily low,” Comey said, “and the reason it's so low is once people become part of this life and see what it's like to have as your mission protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution of the United States, nobody leaves.”

Comey cautioned that becoming a special agent is difficult. “We need people of integrity—non-negotiable. We need people of high intelligence—essential to be able to do the complicated work we do. And we need people of a certain physicality. If you're going to be a special agent in the FBI,” he said, “we're going to give you a gun on behalf of the United States of America, and you better be able to run, fight, and shoot.”

But if you possess those skills, he added, the FBI can be a career like no other. “So here is my challenge to you,” he said. “I dare you to take your ability and try to be a part of this organization.”