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

February, 2018 - Week 4
MJ Goyings
Many thanks to our very own "MJ" Goyings, a resident of Ohio,
for her daily research that provides us with the news related material that appears on the LACP & NAASCA web sites.


Cops Can't Solve Mental Health, Poverty, Guns, Drugs-That's Our Job

by Jim Schutze

Two things — something that happened in my neighborhood last week and the school slaughter in Parkland, Florida — have conspired to reignite a line of thought plaguing me on and off over the last year or so. I'm thinking about the principle of community policing.

I used to believe in it. I'm not so sure I do anymore.

There is no comparison or parallel between the neighborhood incident and what happened in Parkland. The thing here was merely an alert on the online neighborhood bulletin board warning about a deranged man who had come to a neighbor's front door and tried unsuccessfully to get the neighbor to let him in. Police arrived, detained the man briefly and then let him go, to the consternation of my neighbor.

The only link is an assumption of mental illness. President Donald Trump tweeted about the Parkland child-murderer: “So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior.”

Had Trump lived in my neighborhood last week before the Parkland murders occurred, had the Parkland child-murderer come to his door and tried to get him to let him in while acting weird, had the police come and detained the soon-to-be Parkland child-murderer, the police would have let that guy go, too.

He didn't get in. It's not against the law to ask to be let in. It's not against the law to act weird. But there's another much larger principle at work here. It's not within the mission or capacity of armed police to solve the country's totally unresolved mental health problems.

So what does that have to do with so-called community policing? Everything, I'm afraid, and it's why I may not even believe in it anymore. But first, let's do a quick backstory.

When I was a young reporter in Detroit a very long time ago, the concepts that are now bundled as community policing were not quite on the horizon yet. What we had then was white policing.

A series of violent urban uprisings in American cities in the last quarter of the 20th century exposed the reality that most big-city police forces were way more white than the populace of the cities. The unspoken mission of the police was to protect the white folks from the black folks. Police often operated outside the rule of law and without political legitimacy. The consequence was riots.

Policing split into two distinct schools after that. New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and his police commissioner, Bernard Kerik, who later went to prison, earned fame and plaudits for an aggressive zero-tolerance policy known popularly as stop-and-frisk.

Police departments like Dallas went 180 degrees the other way. Under chiefs like David Kunkle, the Dallas Police Department searched for cadets called to the profession by a desire to serve and protect. Under Kunkle, rank-and-file patrol officers were encouraged to build relationships in the neighborhoods. Often when those efforts were successful, law-abiding neighbors became invaluable sources of intelligence for police.

There was also a kind of cultural and hierarchical aspect of community policing that seemed to put the horse properly before the cart: The police work for the community. The community should be in charge of the police. Community policing felt like the proper order of things.

But that brings us to today, to the weird guy trying to get my neighbor to let him in the front door, and, yes, to the child-murderer in Florida. In all of these years, we have done nothing effective to provide the kind of expensive, universal, all-encompassing social safety net that would have to be in place in order to catch, hold and help people who have mental problems.

While overall crime rates have fallen in recent years, we have done nothing to solve other effects of concentrated poverty and racial segregation. Meanwhile, we're doing everything we can to make sure everybody is well armed. And for all of these issues, our go-to solution is the same. Let the cops handle it.

On July 11, 2016, four days after the July 7 gun murders of five police officers in downtown Dallas, David Brown, then Dallas's police chief, gave a speech in which he bemoaned a reflexive desire to rely on the police to solve problems way above their pay-grade.

“Not enough mental health funding,” Brown said, “let the cop handle it. Not enough drug addiction funding, let's give it to the cops. Here in Dallas, we have a loose dog problem. Let's have the cops chase loose dogs.

“Schools fail, give it to the cops. Seventy percent of the African-American community is being raised by single women, let's give it to the cops to solve as well.

“That's too much to ask. Policing was never meant to solve all those problems. I just ask other parts of our democracy along with the free press to help us.”

Before he gave that speech and before the July 7 police murders downtown, Brown and I had a personal conversation in which we talked about community policing. Brown had inherited the department from Kunkle. He was, he said, a staunch advocate of the same principles of community policing.

But he told me something else as well. He was a lifelong Dallas cop. He had come back from college in the early 1980s, a half-year before graduating, to join the police force because he wanted to save his neighborhood from the depredations of Jamaican drug gangs. He is a cop's cop. He told me what a cop knows about community policing.

Brown told me he knew that every time a recent police academy graduate gets into the patrol car with the veteran officer who is to be his on-the-street trainer, the trainer sticks a finger on his or her chest and tells the rookie to forget all that crap from the academy about community policing.

The main concern of the veteran officer, Brown told me, is going home in one piece that night. And what does that mean for the cop? The first thing it means is that she or he must have 360-degree vision, telepathic radar and eyes in the back of the head every time the officer rolls up on a scene.

On Feb. 10, two police officers in Westerville, Ohio, were shot and killed the moment they walked into an apartment in answer to a potential domestic disturbance call. The man who killed them was an ex-con legally barred from buying a firearm. He had persuaded somebody else to buy it for him.

So you tell me. If you or I were a police officer, would we be rolling into every scene calling everyone sir and ma'am and thinking first about solving their mental and emotional problems? Not me. I'd be too scared. Every time I got out of the car, I would want everybody on the scene to worry that if they winked at me wrong I'd shoot them.

I believe most police officers do way better than that. They're much better at it than I would be — better able to keep their cool and treat people decently when possible. That's why they're doing it and I'm not.

But we're still left with this larger societal problem of thinking that the police, wearing badges, armed with guns and carrying handcuffs, are going to go out there, as Brown said, and take care of all the societal problems that we have failed so utterly to take care of as a society.

The cops can't do it. They shouldn't try, and they're not going to try. They're going to try to go home in one piece at night and not wind up dead or crippled. And frankly, that's not always going to be a pretty picture, as you or I may find out one night if we ever get on their really bad side.

I would never offer excuses for bad, oppressive, racist or unjust policing. The kind of policing I saw as a young reporter in Detroit — white policing — was a slow-fused nightmare that only drove hatred and the potential for explosion deeper into the heart of the community. Everything that Kunkle achieved here and that Brown continued to support has made this a stronger, better place to live.

But policing, even at its very best, is cleanup duty. Big, basic problems and shortcomings in the society have to be addressed with big, basic solutions, not cleanup.

Already a certain line is emerging on the Florida murders, suggesting that the cops ignored red flags. No, the community ignored red flags. The community should have figured out long ago that there was no broad, effective safety net in place for mentally troubled people and that bad things are going to continue to occur as long as that is true.

Horrors like Parkland won't be fixed or prevented by keeping people with mental illness from buying guns. The answer is to keep mentally ill people from going without compassionate, effective treatment, from being lost and on their own. The answer is to provide serious and effective social and health services for people with mental illness.

We need drug treatment, racial integration, better public schools, economic opportunity, true social justice. We're stupid if we think we can solve these problems by sending the cops out there to fix them for us with something called community policing.

Look, if community policing is only meant to be a step up from white policing, if that's all we're trying to achieve, then great. All for it. But if community policing is counting on the cops to take care of our social messes for us, then that's just seriously and morally wrong-headed. And guess what else? Ain't gonna happen.



Community policing resolution approved despite lingering criticism

by Kennedy Simone

Some Columbia residents weren't as optimistic as the City Council about a resolution to support community-oriented policing at a council meeting Monday night.

The council unanimously voted to pass the resolution, which directs City Manager Mike Matthes to design a community-oriented policing program and transition plan for the Columbia Police Department.

But some Columbia residents expressed their concerns before the vote. Traci Wilson-Kleekamp, president of Race Matters, Friends criticized conversations that focus on the logistics of the program rather than leadership.

“It feels like every time we talk about community policing, there's a little bit of a distraction, this thing about staffing and money,” Wilson-Kleekamp said. “The issue is to transform your leadership to get different outcomes ... to ameliorate the disparities because of the historical neglect of people of color and poor communities. My challenge to you is to focus on how do we transform the leadership.”

Third Ward Councilman Karl Skala said that although he agreed with Wilson-Kleekamp, the costs of the program cannot be ignored.

“The costs are somewhat secondary, but the costs are real as well,” he said. “If you're talking about 120 officers, that's probably never gonna happen in my lifetime.”

The vote to pass the resolution followed City Manager Mike Matthes' selection of Sgt. Robert Fox to lead the community-oriented policing effort. Matthes made the announcement in an email Saturday.

While Fox's selection comes with a 5 percent salary increase, there was no word on whether other officers will receive salary increases as well.

Other residents called for accountability in how community policing is implemented.

“I expect to see a schedule of accountable check-ins bi-monthly for every work stream,” resident Rachel Taylor said. “I expect the city to treat this project with the respect it deserves.”

First Ward Councilman Clyde Ruffin acknowledged the criticism raised by the attendees and noted that the current resolution could be revised down the road.

“It is a living document,” he said. “It is not written in stone.”

As stated in the resolution, Matthes is required to present a completed plan for the community policing program to the council by Aug. 31.

In addition to voting on the resolution, the council also voted unanimously to approve a $420,000 plan to replace water distribution infrastructure along Bryant and Switzler streets. With this approval, the city will begin to finalize the proposed plan.

The repairs are expected to last four to six months and to take place during the summer construction period. They will replace roughly 1,700 feet of aging water mains and surrounding piping and replace and add new fire hydrants.

The council also agreed to move forward with the process of specifically prohibiting unsupervised animal tethering. The city has had trouble enforcing current ordinances and getting successful prosecutions.

Director of Health and Human Services Stephanie Browning recommended using additional language to clarify that “unsupervised” tethering is prohibited. This would allow officers to clearly see when an animal is tethered unlawfully, she said.


Cop killings up so far in 2018

Most cop-killers have previous criminal records, according to FBI statistics

Two Westerville police officers killed last weekend and another slain Tuesday in Chicago brought to 12 the number of cops gunned down in the line of duty this year, marking a dramatic increase in such tragedies compared to this time in previous years.

The last such incident locally was New Year's Day 2011, when Clark County Sheriff's Office deputy Suzanne Hopper was shot and killed at the Enon Beach campground. Since then, eight Ohio peace officers have had their watch ended by a deadly bullet.

“I hope it heightens the alert of everyone to pay attention more of your surroundings,” said Dayton Fraternal Order of Police president Rick Oakley, a detective with Dayton police.

“I put it out to my guys all the time. If you're not on something and you hear your brother or sister out there on a traffic call, go back them up. If you're not doing anything, just go there and sit and make sure that there's an extra set of eyes to make sure nothing's going on.”

While every situation is unique, the deadly theme that played out in Westerville has been repeated over and over again: police responding to a domestic disturbance faced someone whose criminal history should have kept him from having a gun.

Westerville officers Eric Joering, 39, and Anthony Morelli, 54, were gunned down in the Columbus suburb Feb. 10, allegedly by 30-year-old Quentin Smith, after responding to a 911 hang-up call.

A second 911 call came from Smith's wife Candace from the bushes outside her house.

“Please help,” she pleaded, telling the dispatcher her daughter was still in the home. “He shot the police officers.”

Westerville police had responded to domestic disputes at the Smith's home several times before. In November, Candace told them that her husband threatened to kill her, their daughter and himself, and she asked about a protection order.

‘You factor in the worst'

Domestic violence calls for police are both numerous and unpredictable.

Dayton police responded to 4,448 domestic violence calls last year and 5,356 the year before, for a two-year total of 9,804 — or more than 13 per day.

Sgt. Ted Jackson, the supervisor at the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office regional training center, said departmental policy dictates a two-officer response to domestic violence and 911 hang-up calls because of the potential for a volatile situation.

“You don't necessarily know what you're getting yourself into,” Jackson said. “You factor in the worst. You do a risk-management situation where you expect the worst and hope for the best.”

Violence in such instances can erupt in an instance. In Kirkersville, Ohio, last May, a man with a protection order against him went to his girlfriend's work and killed her, her co-worker and Kirkersville Police Chief Eric DiSario before turning a gun on himself. The shooter, Thomas Hartless, had a history of violence, including an assault conviction in the 1990s and serving eight months of a two-year prison sentence for abducting another girlfriend in 2009.

The only other Ohio police officer killed last year resulted from an incident similar to what confronted the two Westerville police officers. Girard Officer Justin Leo and his partner responded to a 911 call from a woman who said her boyfriend was drunk, had guns and was scaring her kids. The man, Jason Marble, allegedly shot Leo dead before getting killed by the return fire from Leo's partner.

Training for deadly situations

A Chicago police commander Tuesday became the 12th law enforcement officer killed on duty this year when he was reportedly gunned down by a repeat felon while pursuing a suspect downtown.

During the same time period in 2017, four officers were killed in violent incidents, according to the FBI, which tracks shootings of police.

The FBI says 46 law enforcement officers were killed by criminals last year and 66 in 2016.

An annual report for 2017 isn't out yet, but 17 of the deaths in 2016 came from an ambush and 13 while responding to a disturbance call.

“Ever since I started my career in 1978 we were well schooled on when you do a domestic violence call you are walking into a potential deadly situation,” said Pete Willis, training coordinator for the Sinclair Police Academy. “There's a lot of emotions involved. People tend to become very protective of their home.”

The academy teaches the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy curriculum, which includes 12 hours of training in handling domestic violence. The training manual spells out the risk: “Domestic violence calls clearly pose a lethal risk to officers. If suspects are willing to kill their partner or family member, they would have no qualms killing a stranger (i.e., the responding officer).”

Willis has come under fire more than once during his 25 years with the Dayton police force.

“At the time you react with training,” he said. “After it's all said and done, the adrenaline surge will kick you hard and you'll shake for a little bit.”

Armor ‘not an end all be all'

Jackson, a 22-year vet who has had various roles that have placed him in dangerous situations, said loss of life can happen even when well-equipped officers undergo extensive training.

National statistics bear that out. Of the 62 police officers who died in shootings in 2016, 51 were wearing body armor.

While body armor can save a life, it's “not an end-all, be-all,” Jackson said. “It covers primary body parts … you have weaponry and munitions out there that can defeat it or you can succumb to injuries out and around the ballistic vest.”

Hopper was killed while wearing a bulletproof vest, as was a Sandusky officer killed two months after her. The bullet that killed a Cincinnati officer in 2015 came just centimeters from hitting his vest. A Columbus SWAT team officer was shot in the head in 2016 while in the turret of an armored vehicle.

Common themes

Most cop-killers have previous criminal records, according to FBI statistics. In 2016, 35 of the people who killed police officers had a prior arrest for a violent crime – including four for murder – and 22 had a prior weapons violation.

Quentin Smith, the suspect in the Westerville shootings, always carried a gun, his wife told authorities, even though he was prohibited from having a firearm after spending four years in prison for felony burglary and misdemeanor domestic violence charges in 2009.

Gerald Lawson of Warrensville Heights was charged in federal court last week with providing Smith with the weapon he allegedly used to shoot the two Westerville officers.

“An undisclosed witness told investigators Smith provided Lawson money for the firearm and an extra $100 to compensate Lawson — who knew Smith had been convicted of a felony — for buying the gun for him,” a U.S. Department of Justice release says.

The Kirkersville shooter had more than 60 guns at his home, though his felony conviction barred him from purchasing, owning or carrying a firearm. His father told investigators he obtained most of his firearms from gun shows, where unlicensed dealers aren't required to conduct background checks.

The shotgun Michael Ferryman used to kill Hopper at the Enon Beach campground was bought by his girlfriend, who was later sentenced to five years in state prison for providing him with the weapon. Multiple guns were found in his trailer, though Ferryman was prohibited from owning a gun because of his prior criminal history.

Hopper, a mother of two, was responding to a report of gunfire at the campground when Ferryman shot her at close range with the shotgun. When backup arrived, shots were exchanged and an officer, Jeremy Blum, was wounded. Ferryman was found dead in the trailer.

Stronger penalties sought

Keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people is a timeless struggle for law enforcement.

Fewer than a third of offenders in Ohio charged with weapons offenses were convicted, according to a 2012 study by an Ohio State University professor, and many of the gun charges were dismissed during judicial proceedings.

In response to the study, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's Violent Crimes with Guns Advisory Task Group recommended stronger penalties for repeat offenders.

There are currently 1,187 people in state prison in Ohio for charges that include illegally having a weapon.

Toby Hoover, director of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, said the data underscores the need for universal background checks for gun sales. Currently, private owners and sellers are not required to conduct background checks, though they are forbidden from selling to someone they know is prohibited from having a gun.

“The first thing you can do is make sure every single gun sale — whether it's at a store, gun show or between two people — has a background check,” she said.

Joe Eaton, southwest Ohio spokesman for the Buckeye Firearms Association, said weapons charges are often used as a chip in plea bargains.

He supports strong penalties for people who violate laws against providing weapons to convicted felons, and said the firearms industry backs public awareness campaigns like “Don't lie for the other guy,” a national campaign to prevent the type of “straw man” purchases that allowed Smith to get his gun.

“The people who are committing this deception need to realize there are severe penalties,” he said.

‘We have to be constantly vigilant'

Last week, just as they do whenever someone in blue is killed, a procession of police officers from around the state came to Westerville to pay tribute to officers Eric Joering and Anthony Morelli.

Jackson said the entire law enforcement community grieves for fallen officers. “This is a community, a sisterhood and a brotherhood,” he said.

But something else happens, too, when an officer is killed, he said: a search for answers.

“It's a sad situation, but it's also a learning and training situation,” Jackson said. “We have to be constantly vigilant of our environments and the situation can change very quickly. Complacency is no place for law enforcement.”



State investigated after Fla. school shooting suspect cut himself

Florida's child welfare agency investigated the suspect in a school shooting that killed 17 people after he cut himself in an online video but found him stable

by Jason Dearen, Allen Breed and Tamara Lush

PARKLAND, Fla. — Florida's child welfare agency investigated the suspect in a school shooting that killed 17 people after he cut himself in an online video but found him stable, according to state records.

The Sun-Sentinel reported that Florida's Department of Children and Families investigated when Nikolas Cruz posted a video on the social media network Snapchat showing him cutting his arms in 2016.

The agency was called to investigate. Cruz, then 18, was listed as an "alleged victim" of medical neglect and inadequate supervision; his adoptive mother, then-68-year-old Lynda Cruz, the "alleged perpetrator."

"Mr. Cruz was on Snapchat cutting both of his arms," the Florida DCF abuse hotline was told in August 2016, the paper reported. "Mr. Cruz has fresh cuts on both his arms. Mr. Cruz stated he plans to go out and buy a gun. It is unknown what he is buying the gun for."

According to the paper, DCF's investigation was completed that Nov. 12. The agency concluded that Cruz had not been mistreated by his mother, was receiving adequate care from a mental health counselor and was attending school.

"Henderson came out and assessed the (victim and) found him to be stable enough not to be hospitalized," the DCF report said.

Cruz had been diagnosed with autism, a neurological disorder that often leads to social awkwardness and isolation, and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.

The documents provide further evidence that Cruz was a troubled teen before being charged with 17 counts of murder in the Wednesday attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

On Friday, President Donald Trump visited Broward Health North Hospital, where he saw two victims and praised the doctors and nurses for their "incredible" job. With first lady Melania Trump, he also paid his respects to law enforcement officials in Fort Lauderdale, telling officers he hoped they were "getting the credit" they deserved.

Asked if he'd talked with victims, Trump added: "I did, indeed, and it's very sad something like that could happen."

Trump is spending the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) from the shooting scene.

Also Friday, an activist and teacher who wants gun control laws was removed from a Miami-area GOP fundraiser after confronting House Speaker Paul Ryan about this week's mass shooting.

The Miami Herald reports that Maria Thorne, a Key Biscayne fifth-grade teacher, said she and a friend dropped in on the fundraiser at the Ritz Hotel after she noticed motorcade traffic clogging up her commute home.

Thorne said she shook Ryan's hand and introduced herself but added, "You're here celebrating the death of 17 children."

She said Ryan told her he "didn't want to talk politics" or argue. When Thorne tried to continue, security escorted her out as she chanted "No more guns!"

The National Republican Congressional Committee lists a 2018 Winter Meeting in Key Biscayne this weekend. Ryan's spokesperson confirmed to the Herald that he attended it.

More funerals were scheduled Saturday. As families buried their dead, authorities questioned whether they could have prevented the attack

The FBI said it received a tip last month that Cruz had a "desire to kill" and access to guns and could be plotting an attack, but agents failed to investigate. The governor called for the FBI director to resign.

A person close to Cruz called the FBI's tip line on Jan. 5 and provided information about Cruz's weapons and his erratic behavior, including his disturbing social media posts. The caller was concerned that Cruz could attack a school.

In a statement, the agency acknowledged that the tip should have been shared with the FBI's Miami office and investigated, but it was not. The startling admission came as the agency was already facing criticism for its treatment of a tip about a YouTube comment posted last year. The comment posted by a "Nikolas Cruz" said, "Im going to be a professional school shooter."

The FBI investigated the remark but did not determine who made it.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the shooting that killed 17 people Wednesday was a "tragic consequence" of the FBI's missteps and ordered a review of the Justice Department's processes. He said it's now clear that the nation's premier law enforcement agency missed warning signs.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said his office had received more than 20 calls about Cruz in the past few years.


How police can justify a drone acquisition to the public

Helping your community understand how unmanned aerial systems can improve public safety is key to overcoming public resistance

by Tim Dees

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are cheap enough that almost any law enforcement agency can afford one. Gaining the community's approval for the purchase is a little harder.

Drones, or UAS (the current in-vogue terminology) are ubiquitous. Their size varies between a large insect and a medium military airplane, although most of the models used in public safety will be man-portable inside a Pelican™ case.

They usually run on rechargeable batteries, with an endurance of less than 30 minutes. Pilots are trained and licensed in a few weeks, for a few thousand dollars.

Peter DeLisa is a former law enforcement officer who operates an aviation business, including training UAS pilots and preparing them for certification.

“I saw drone training as a natural merging of my expertise,” said DeLisa, who cited instances where UAS have been helpful in locating lost children and seniors who had wandered from their homes.

Another business useful to public safety operations is CRG Plans , operated by a retired New Jersey State Police officer. The company develops layered photographic maps that show interior floor plans (among other things) superimposed onto aerial photographs. “The maps are then overlaid with a grid, so that officers can be directed to grid coordinates, rather than to something like ‘Loading Dock 2,' when they are unfamiliar with the layout of the building,” DeLisa said.

The literary reference may be dated now, but some critics of public safety UAS cite a fear of “1984” style surveillance by police. In Orwell's dystopian novel (written in 1948), the Thought Police used helicopters to spy into citizens' windows, looking for seditious behavior. An aircraft with only a few minutes of available loiter time isn't going to be especially useful for this, even if the police were inclined to do it. People should probably be more concerned about the data their smartphones and fitness bracelets are collecting about them .

Educating the public about how drones can assist police operations

While UAS in law enforcement applications are often compared to helicopters, there is a world of difference between the two. A helicopter is a multi-million-dollar purchase, costs hundreds of dollars an hour to operate, and requires at least one commercial pilot with years of expensive training. They have much more capability, as they can carry a lot more gear and travel hundreds of miles (beyond visual line of sight), where the payload on a UAS is typically limited to a few pounds and cannot be operated beyond the pilot's visual line of sight.

While UAS aren't meant to replace helicopters, these limitations don't undercut the utility of a police UAS . There are many law enforcement situations where just being able to see the situation from a high vantage point is huge.

UAS have been used to help locate lost children and seniors who have wondered from their homes. Crime scenes and accident investigation sites are another area where UAS are useful. A UAS can map a crime scene much faster and probably more accurately than a human on the ground can. The UAS may reveal evidence that is invisible to those on the ground because of terrain features or other obstructions. The UAS may also be able to fly in weather conditions that would ground conventional aircraft.

In a Florida case, a fugitive tried to hide in a swamp. A thermal camera mounted on a UAS revealed the suspect's hidden location, as well as that of some other swamp-dwellers. The cops were able to tell him over a PA system, “Come to us, or four alligators are coming to you.” The suspect took the first option.

During a protest in Richmond, Virginia, an overhead UAS was flown to prevent any conflict between pedestrians and vehicles, and assisted the police to successfully direct motor officers to stop traffic before it got intermeshed with the protesters.

After the Santa Rosa (CA) wildfire, a UAS recorded this spectacular 360° high-resolution photo of the damage.

Charles Werner of the National Council on Public Safety UAS recounted a deployment by a California sheriff's office during the raid of a drug house: “Search warrants were issued and the UAS was flying overhead maintaining an overwatch when the deputies made entry, and could see all sides of the house. It saw and recorded people coming out of windows, drugs thrown into the bushes, and guns thrown onto the roof. The suspects were a block away and thought they were home free when units rolled up and arrested them.”

How to overcome public objections about police drones

Werner offered these tips to overcome public objections to the acquisition and deployment of a UAS:

•  Know what you are getting into, as a UAS program requires governance, policies/procedures, defining missions, selection of UAS and payloads, training/proficiency, maintenance and thorough documentation.

•  Engage your jurisdiction's administration and elected officials.

•  Be up front and open (transparent).

•  Provide success stories from other localities (there are plenty).

•  Plan to use the UAS for multiple public safety missions and with other public safety agencies.

•  Where possible, create a multi-discipline public safety UAS team.

•  Where possible, create a regional team of public safety from multiple jurisdictions.

•  Develop a clear policy as to when UAS will be used for surveillance and evidentiary purposes.

•  Provide the safeguards that will be in place to ensure personal privacy.

•  Explain recording policy and length of maintaining those video recordings.

•  Explain the extent to maintain training and safety protocols.

•  Consider involving the local ACLU in review of department UAS policies.

•  Ensure your pilots are certified and licensed under the appropriate FAA regulations .

Follow these guidelines, and your agency may have its own unmanned aircraft ready to help keep the community safe.



Maryland police officer shot and killed is second cop murdered in 12 hours

by Kathleen Joyce

A Maryland police Medal of Valor winner was shot and killed Wednesday while intervening in a domestic violence dispute, officials said, marking the second police officer killed in the U.S. in just a 12-hour span.

The suspected gunman in the Maryland incident was killed following the incident, which reportedly involved a chase.

Prince George's Police Department said 14-year veteran Corporal Mujahid A. Ramazziddin was the officer killed in the incident. He was assigned to the Special Operations Division.

NBC Washington reported the suspect shot at police from his car before officers were able to stop him. Officers shot and killed the suspect as he attempted to flee in a wooded area, the station reported. The suspect was not named but police said he had a history of domestic violence incidents.

Prince George's Police Department tweeted: "With broken hearts, we are announcing that one of our officers was shot and killed today. The brave officer was shot while stepping in to protect a woman threatened in a domestic situation. Please keep his family and our department in your prayers."

The Baltimore Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives tweeted it was on the scene to assist officers.

Thoughts and prayers from police stations around the U.S. flooded in following the announcement.

The death of the Maryland officer followed an early-morning murder in Alabama.

Justin Billa , a former Officer of the Month with the Mobile Police Department, was gunned down after a murder suspect barricaded himself in his Alabama home at around 12:30 a.m. The suspect, Robert Hollie, also died. It was not immediately clear if he was killed by officers or shot himself.

Earlier this month, the National Fraternal Order of Police 's President, Chuck Canterbury, condemned a shooting in Ohio that left two officers dead and called on the country to do something about the increasing number of officers killed.

“When will our nation wake up and face that the steady increase of attacks on law enforcement is making all of us less safe,” Canterbury said. “Enough is enough!”

Following the Maryland officer's death, at least 15 officers across the U.S. have died while on duty -- with 12 of those deaths caused by gunfire.



California school shooting plot foiled, assault rifles found

by Michael Balsamo

A security officer overheard a student threaten to open fire at his Southern California high school, allowing officials to thwart the plot just days after a deadly shooting in Florida , authorities said Wednesday.

The 17-year-old student at El Camino High School near the city of Whittier was arrested on suspicion of making criminal threats, and his adult brother was arrested on five weapons charges after two assault rifles, 90 high-capacity magazines and other handguns were found in their home.

A security officer on Friday heard the teen "say that he was going to shoot up the school sometime in the next three weeks," Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said at a news conference.

The school reported the teen, and deputies found an assault rifle at the home registered to his 28-year-old Army veteran brother and another that was not registered, which is a felony in California, McDonnell said.

The sheriff said the brother is facing charges of possession of an assault weapon and other violations and that the teen had an extensive disciplinary history at school.

School threats have been increasing in the area since a shooting last week at a Florida high school killed 17 people, McDonnell said, adding that "this should be a wake-up call for all of us."

School district security officer Marino Chavez told reporters that when he heard the threat, he asked the student about it, and the teen confirmed that he made it but was just kidding and didn't mean it. Chavez told the student he could not say such things at school.

Robert Jacobsen, general counsel for the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District, said the teen didn't like a teacher's rule banning headphones in class but declined to provide further details about him, citing privacy issues.

"They felt there was enough there that they should call law enforcement so they can investigate further," Jacobsen said. "In this day and age, we have to be proactive and make that report and go from there."

He said the safety of students and staff is the highest priority.

"Given shootings that happened in Florida, and we hear about quite a few of them, we're all looking to make sure we can prevent these concerns and find out what's going on," he said.

Superintendent Hasmik Danielian said in a statement that "we responded quickly and effectively when we first learned about the potentially dangerous threat that was made by the student."

"We will remain vigilant in our efforts to make sure that we are doing everything possible when it comes to safety and security for our entire school community," she said.


Washington D.C.

Trump says more must be done to protect children

President Donal Trump wants to show that he has been swayed by the school shooting in Florida and was willing to listen to proposals

by Catherine Lucey and Matthew Daly

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump planned to host students from the Florida high school reeling from a mass shooting Wednesday, as he seeks to show he is taking the highly charged issue of gun violence seriously.

The White House said students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School will come to the late afternoon "listening session," along with people from groups representing Sandy Hook and Columbine survivors. The goal is an "open discussion on how we can keep our students safe."

As the surviving students advocate for more action on guns, Trump wants to show that he has been swayed by the school shooting in Florida and was willing to listen to proposals. Still, Trump, a strong and vocal supporter of gun rights, has not endorsed more robust changes sought by gun control activists.

Television personality Geraldo Rivera dined with Trump at his private Palm Beach club over the weekend, describing him as "deeply affected" by his visit to see survivors. In an email, Rivera said he discussed the idea of raising the minimum age to purchase assault-type weapons with Trump.

"At our dinner at Mar-a-Lago I presented the Juvenile Assault Weapons Ban idea," said Rivera. "He took it under advisement, and further suggested strongly that he was going to act to strengthen background checks."

On Tuesday, Trump directed the Justice Department to move to ban devices like the rapid-fire bump stocks used in last year's Las Vegas massacre. It was a small sign of movement on the gun violence issue that has long tied Washington in knots.

"We must do more to protect our children," Trump said.

In a tweet Tuesday night, Trump indicated he wants to strengthen the background check system, but offered no specifics. Trump said: "Whether we are Republican or Democrat, we must now focus on strengthening Background Checks!"

Asked at a press briefing Tuesday if Trump was open to reinstating a ban on assault-type weapons, spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said White House officials "haven't closed the door on any front." She also said that the idea of raising the age limit to buy an AR-15 was "on the table for us to discuss."

Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat and leading advocate for tighter gun controls, said Trump's directive suggested the president was aware of fresh energy on the issue and called it a sign that "for the first time" politicians are "scared of the political consequences of inaction on guns."

A bipartisan legislative effort to ban bump stocks last year fizzled out. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives announced in December that it was reviewing whether weapons that use bump stocks should be considered illegal machine guns under federal law.

Under the Obama administration, the ATF had concluded that bump stocks did not violate federal law. But the acting director of the ATF told lawmakers in December that the ATF and Justice Department would not have initiated the review if a ban "wasn't a possibility at the end."

The Justice Department had not made any announcement regarding its review when Trump on Tuesday signed a memorandum directing the agency to complete the review as soon as possible and propose a rule "banning all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns."

Reacting to Trump's memo, the department said in a statement that it "understands this is a priority for the president and has acted quickly to move through the rulemaking process. We look forward to the results of that process as soon as it is duly completed."

A day earlier, Trump sent another signal he had been swayed by the Parkland shooting and the dramatic calls for action in its aftermath. A White House statement said Trump was looking at a bill that would strengthen federal gun background checks. On Wednesday, he will host parents, teachers and students at the White House for a "listening session" that will include people impacted by mass shootings in Parkland, Columbine, Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut.

The president was moved by a visit Friday with Florida victims in the hospital and is trying to work on solutions, said a person familiar with his thinking who sought anonymity to discuss internal conversations.

Among the steps sought by gun control advocates: closing loopholes that permit loose private sales on the internet and at gun shows, banning assault-type weapons and passing laws to enable family members, guardians or police to ask judges to strip gun rights temporarily from people who show warning signs of violence.

The Parkland shooting also has prompted the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature to take a fresh look at gun control legislation, although so far GOP leaders are refusing to endorse calls to ban assault rifles. Still, the discussion of some types of gun control legislation is a dramatic turnaround for Florida, which has earned the nickname the "Gunshine State" for its gun policies.

The federal background check bill was developed in response to a mass shooting last November in which a gunman slaughtered more than two dozen people at a Texas church. It would penalize federal agencies that don't properly report required records and reward states that comply by providing them with federal grant preferences. The measure, which is pending in the Senate, was drafted after the Air Force acknowledged that it failed to report the Texas gunman's domestic violence conviction to the National Criminal Information Center database.

The GOP-controlled House paired the background checks bill with a measure making it easier for gun owners to legally carry concealed weapons across state lines. The concealed carry measure, a top priority of the National Rifle Association, would allow gun owners with a state-issued concealed-carry permit to carry a handgun in any state that allows concealed weapons.

Murphy said any attempt to combine background checks with concealed-carry provisions would significantly jeopardize the chances of passing bipartisan reform of the background checks system.



Ala. bill proposes to arm teachers after Fla. shooting

The proposal would allow teachers to carry concealed pistols in school if they undergo 40 hours of LE training with the Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission

by Mallory Moench

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — An Alabama lawmaker on Tuesday proposed legislation that would allow the state's teachers to carry guns in school following a deadly school shooting in Florida last week.

Rep. Will Ainsworth, a Republican from Guntersville, said parents, coaches and teachers in his district requested the safety measure after 17 people were fatally shot last week at a high school in Parkland, Florida.

Ainsworth's proposal would allow teachers to carry concealed pistols in school if they undergo 40 hours of law enforcement training with the Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission and submit to a mental health evaluation. Carrying a weapon would be voluntary.

Ainsworth, who is running for Alabama lieutenant governor, also proposed more state funding for school resource officers, who are police assigned as school security guards. But he pointed out that the officer at the Florida school that was targeted last week didn't have time to reach the suspect whose attack lasted mere minutes.

"If a gunman gets into a school, what do we do? Our students do not need to be sitting ducks. Our teachers do not need to be defending themselves with a no. 2 pencil," Ainsworth said at a news conference Tuesday morning at Guntersville Elementary School, where his three children attended. He was joined by law enforcement and school officials.

Ainsworth told The Associated Press that the two coaches who died protecting students at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida could have had a chance of taking down the shooter if they had been armed and trained.

Another Alabama representative, Democrat Christopher England from Tuscaloosa, told AP the bill was a terrible remedy, not a solution.

"We need to craft legislation that ensures people who don't need to access guns don't have them while not infringing upon people's Second Amendment rights," England said. "People are quick to say that they (shooters) were suffering from mental illness or anguish, but you never see any proposal to help with this problem. Our solution is to give a gun and say you're on your own."

Republican Gov. Kay Ivey, a former school teacher, said there could be more effective ways to address school shooting threats.

"In my personal opinion, teachers have got their hands full being teachers and instructors. I think there's some other way to provide protection," Ivey said Tuesday.

The nation's two largest teachers' organizations, The National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, have opposed arming teachers in school. Anne Leader, a former educator and a volunteer with the Alabama chapter of advocacy organization Moms Demand Action, spoke out against the bill.

"We know that when more guns are around, the likelihood of unintentional shooting goes up," Leader told Yahoo Lifestyle . "Low-grade incidents could escalate to a shooting. Things could get ugly. The psychological toll that it would take on teachers by putting this responsibility on them would be too much."

Teachers in one north Alabama county can already arm themselves while at school after a bill twice vetoed by the governor was made into law in 2013. Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow, a Republican who sponsored the bill, said the law was necessary because rural county schools couldn't afford security guards and the emergency response time could be up to 30 minutes.

Thirty-three lawmakers in the 105-member House of Representatives signed on as co-sponsors on Ainsworth's bill.



Ohio sheriff: Stop school fire drills, add armed personnel

In a video, the sheriff urged local schools to act now to improve school security

by Eric Schwartzberg

(Video on site)

BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio — Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones said Monday he will take steps to bolster local school safety by training those who work there.

Jones posted to social media that his office will offer free conceal-and-carry class to a limited number of teachers in Butler County. He also said training regarding on how to react during school shootings would be provided.

He said the details would be coming soon online and suggested that people could visit the Butler County Sheriff's Office Facebook page for more information for CCW for teachers.

Jones on Saturday said he has “been saying this for years” as he tweeted a Fox News story that Polk County, Fla. Sheriff Grady Judd said it would be a “game changer” to allow some hand-picked teachers to carry firearms in the classroom.

Jones, in a video posted Thursday, urged local schools to act now to improve school security in the wake of the mass shooting at a Parkland, Fla. high school on Wednesday.

He said local schools should stop doing fire drills and allow armed former police and military veterans into buildings to help protect students.



Fla. sheriff: Armed school officer never went inside to confront gunman

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School officer has resigned

by Brendan Farrington, Gary Fineout and Terry Spencer

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The armed officer on duty at the Florida school where a shooter killed 17 people never went inside to engage the gunman and has been placed under investigation, police announced Thursday.

The Valentine's Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School by a gunman armed with an AR-15 style assault rifle has reignited national debate over gun laws and school safety, including proposals by President Donald Trump and others to designate more people — including trained teachers — to carry arms on school grounds. Gun-control advocates, meanwhile, have redoubled their push to ban assault rifles.

The school resource officer at the high school took up a position viewing the western entrance of the building that was under attack for more than four minutes, but "he never went in," Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said at a Thursday news conference. The shooting lasted about six minutes.

The officer, Scot Peterson, was suspended without pay and placed under investigation, then chose to resign, Israel said. When asked what Peterson should have done, Israel said the deputy should have "went in, addressed the killer, killed the killer."

The sheriff said he was "devastated, sick to my stomach. There are no words. I mean these families lost their children. I've been to the funerals. I've been to the vigils. There are no words."

The suspect, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, has been jailed on 17 counts of murder and has admitted the attack. Defense attorneys, state records and people who knew him indicate that he displayed behavioral troubles for years. He owned a collection of weapons.

Politicians under pressure to tighten gun laws in response to the mass shooting floated various plans Thursday.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said a visit to Stoneman Douglas prompted him to change his stance on large capacity magazines. The Republican insisted he is willing to rethink his past opposition on gun proposals if there is information the policies would prevent mass shootings.

"If we are going to infringe on the Second Amendment, it has to be a policy that will work," Rubio said in an interview Thursday with The Associated Press.

State Sen. Bill Galvano, who is helping craft a bill in response to the shooting deaths, said an idea gaining traction is a program that would allow local sheriffs to deputize someone at a school to carry a gun on campus.

Galvano insisted the idea is not the same as arming teachers. He said the program would be optional and the deputized person would have to be trained by local law-enforcement agencies.

Florida Senate President Joe Negron said both chambers are working on the legislation in response to the Parkland shootings. He said a final draft should be available "early next week at the latest."

What won't be considered is a ban on assault-style rifles.

That falls short of reform demanded by students who converged on Florida's Capitol to take their concerns to state lawmakers Wednesday. Outside the building, many protesters complained that lawmakers were not serious about gun control and said that in future elections they would oppose any legislator who accepts campaign contributions from the National Rifle Association.

A day after an emotional meeting with survivors and their families, Trump tweeted his strongest stance yet on gun control. He said he would endorse strengthening background checks, banning "bump stock" style devices and raising the minimum age to 21 for buying certain rifles.

At a conference of conservative activists Thursday near Washington, Vice President Mike Pence said the administration would make school safety "our top national priority" after the shooting at the school in Parkland, Florida.

Calling school shootings "evil in our time," Pence exhorted those in positions of authority "to find a way to come together with American solutions."

It was a markedly different tone than that deployed on stage minutes earlier by NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre, who delivered an unbowed defense of gun ownership and lashed out at Democrats — saying they are using the tragedy for "political gain."

"They hate the NRA. They hate the Second Amendment. They hate individual freedom," LaPierre said.

As the 50th anniversary of her father's assassination approaches, the daughter of civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said limiting gun access is long overdue. Speaking at The King Center in Atlanta, the Rev. Bernice King said tragedy "gives us an opportunity to lay aside for a moment our differences and really look at how we can come together as humanity and move forward with these injustices and these evils that continue to beset us."

The survivors of the shooting have vowed to continue their activism, including a "March for Our Lives" in Washington next month, which King says she'll attend.

At a funeral for slain football coach Aaron Feis, retired school groundskeeper Dave Tagliavia said he thinks the students mean what they say and won't back down.

"I think if changes are going to be made, these kids are going to do it. They've got fire in their eyes," he said.

Hundreds gathered in Parkland to remember Feis, 37, an assistant football coach and security guard gunned down while helping students to safety during the mass shooting

Joe LaGuardia, who attended high school with Feis at Stoneman Douglas, described him as "one of the greatest people I have ever known."

On Thursday, Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson gave Rubio credit for being the only Republican to attend a televised town hall Wednesday night held in the aftermath of the school shooting and criticized Republican Gov. Rick Scott for not showing up.

"I commended (Rubio) for being there. He had the guts to be there when Governor Scott did not," Nelson told a group of Democratic state senators.

Scott is likely to challenge Nelson as he seeks a fourth term in the Senate this November. Nelson questioned Scott's commitment to make meaningful change after the shooting.

Republican legislative leaders in Florida say they will consider legislation that will likely call for raising the age limit to purchase a rifle from 18 to 21 and increasing funding for mental health programs and school resource officers, the police assigned to specific schools. Legislators may also enact a waiting period for rifle purchases.



Tenn. sheriff's office wants ALICE training for schools

A school's response to an active shooter situation is to lock doors, hide in classrooms and wait for help, but that's not always the best way, deputies said

by Heather Mullinix

CROSSVILLE, Tenn. — In the spring of 1999, two high school students armed themselves with guns and explosives and stormed into their suburban Colorado high school and killed 13 people during a siege viewers around the country watched unfold on the news.

The Columbine High School shooting was the deadliest school shooting on record and the fifth-deadliest mass shooting in the United States since World War II.

Over the next several years, more locations would be added to that notorious list. Virginia Tech University. Sandy Hook Elementary. Chattanooga, TN. Charleston, SC. Las Vegas. Sutherland Springs, TX.

“One thing I would never have thought I would have to deal with when I was running for sheriff was how to deal with active shooters,” Cumberland County Sheriff Casey Cox told the Cumberland County Board of Education during its work session Saturday. “Today, we're looking at churches and we're looking at schools. Most of the people who commit these acts, they're just evil people.”

Members of the sheriff's department presented an abridged version of the ALICE civilian response to active shooter training the department has been offering across the county.

Captain Jerry Jackson said, “Every time we do this program, people ask if this is being taught in our schools.”

The typical school response to an active shooter situation is to lockdown the school, locking doors and hiding in classrooms and waiting for help to arrive. But that's not always the best way, deputies said.

“It's freeing up the thinking,” Jackson said. “If the threat's outside, lockdown the school. If the threat is inside, get out of the school.”

Investigator Bo Kollros said the “passive” response of a lockdown was being replaced by a “proactive” response taught in the ALICE training.

The average active shooting incident lasts about 12 minutes and the average law enforcement response time is five to six minutes from when they are notified.

The time between the start of the incident and law enforcement arrival is “your time,” Kollros told those present.

“What you do in that time can be the difference between someone living and dying and whether you live or die.”

ALICE training is meant to help civilians think about the different responses they can use in an active shooter situation. The acronym stands for:

Alert — let people know what is going on; don't use code words, but be clear about the danger.

Lockdown — Lock and barricade the door, close the blinds, and silence cell phones. Spread out inside the room and don't leave yourself trapped. Remain calm and control breathing to help prevent giving away your location and to be prepared to act should the shooter enter the room.

Inform — Contact 911 as soon as safely possible and give as much accurate information as possible.

Counter — Look for items that could be used as weapons if the shooter enters the room, such as chairs or fire extinguishers, that can be used to interrupt the skills necessary to shoot accurately. Shouting, throwing objects, and moving can distract an untrained shooter. Fight dirty, he said, because you're fighting for your life.

Evacuate — If a safe route is available to exit the building, use it. Leave personal property behind and don't run in large groups or stay together. When you reach safety, notify law enforcement or authorities where you are and what is happening.

“Which tactic you use will depend on the situation,” Kollros said.

Kollros played a recording of the librarian at Columbine High School calling 911 during the shooting. Shots could be heard outside. She had students inside the library with her and she can be heard telling them to stay down.

“The teachers did everything they were trained to do. The dispatcher did what she was trained to do,” Kollros said.

But an image of the floor plan showed an exit that could have been used before the two shooters entered the library.

“Every student in that library could have gotten out, could have survived, but they were going with lockdown,” he said. “Lockdown by itself is not a bad thing, but it can't be the only thing.”

All Cumberland County school principals have attended a brief session on the ALICE training, but it has not been fully implemented in trainings and drills for all school faculty, staff and students.

“We're hoping we can get this taught in the schools instead of the hunker-down method,” Cox told the board.

As it was a work session, the board could not take action on the request.


How police can prevent the next Parkland

Nearly every school attack has been preceded by many warning signs

by Richard Fairburn

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, has now joined the list of schools forever linked to school attack massacres. Sadly, this school shooting in Florida was COMPLETELY PREVENTABLE!

The police response to such events must be better, both left and right of “bang” when the first shot is fired. In the book “ Left of Bang ” by Jason A. Riley and Patrick Van Horne, we learn how the U.S. Marines have trained to better prepare their pre-attack awareness.

Left of Bang: We already know exactly how to stop these attacks.

Media pundits and politicians have been on TV non-stop since the Parkland shooting, crying that we need to figure out how to stop such events. Hell, we already know how to stop them. The evidence for my argument comes from the hundreds (maybe thousands) of student-planned attacks that have been prevented by local law enforcement agencies.

Nearly every school attack has been preceded by many warning signs. contributor Dan Marcou's list of 5 phases leading up to these attacks defines the process these shooters follow left of bang. One notable exception to this was the Sandy Hook Elementary School attack . The killer at Sandy Hook was possibly the most disturbed individual we've seen so far where his pre-event planning wasn't discovered until the follow-up investigation.

The recent event in Parkland was completely preventable. So many people knew this teenager posed a threat that two different tips were called in to the FBI .

The list of examples where the FBI has failed to connect the dots in both school and terrorist active shooter threats is long. I am not an FBI detractor, I have friends there and no organization is better at large-scale, complex investigations. But few FBI agents come from a local police background. They aren't cops, don't think like street cops and are not conditioned to do things in a hurry. Slow, thorough and deliberate describes FBI investigations. I believe that had those two tips been called into a local police or sheriff's agency, the massacre in Parkland would have been prevented.

Rather than figuring out how to stop such events, we simply need to collect and analyze the hundreds of events U.S. police agencies have already prevented. That analysis will identify the investigative and intervention techniques common to the many success stories. It will give us a checklist of preventative actions and possibly identify specific changes that will (can) enhance the steps police can take. It will also identify any additional authority police agencies can be granted via legislation to further their effectiveness in preventing school shootings.

Some of the stopped events allow criminal charges, putting the planners in custody. Others are interrupted so early that agencies must utilize "emergency detention" authority, where the mental health system often finds the perpetrators not to be a significant threat and they are released. This aspect of the mental health system may be a huge beneficiary of our prevented-incident analysis, by getting laws passed which give the police more authority. After all, we see these incipient killers at their worst, when they cannot maintain their "mask" of normalcy. By the time mental health professionals get them, they have calmed down enough to again seem normal.

Right of Bang: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun.”

After the Sandy Hook shooting, the National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre said, “ The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun .”

Various media and liberal politicians predictably condemned and ridiculed the statement. Police officers know the statement was exactly on target, if you'll pardon the pun.

While most communities have School Resource Officers (SRO) in their schools, the positions are not adequately staffed, although their presence has helped prevent many incidents.

A couple of incidents have been minimized by SROs , right of Bang, but there are simply too few SROs for them to be reliable fight stoppers.

In the 20-officer agency I lead (city population just under 15,000), we have one SRO for the entire school district, who moves between all the schools throughout the day. With a uniquely marked patrol car, the students know when the SRO is in their school. Neither my budget, nor that of the school district, can afford more SROs.

After the Newtown shooting, I posted an article on suggesting a way to quickly put more good guys with guns in our schools . This plan could provide hundreds of thousands of volunteer “Minutemen” as armed protectors near every unsecured entrance at every school. I include armed and trained school personnel in my plan to bolster the defense even further.

We already know how to stop most of these massacres before they occur (left of Bang). My proposal provides a quick and inexpensive plan to provide many, many good guys with guns to serve as sheepdogs for the ones we can't prevent (right of Bang).

This is my two cents on how to reply to the public's righteous demand for law enforcement to “Do something!”



Pa. schools train for emergencies with 'Stop the Bleed' program

So far, the anti-bleeding kits are in about 345 school buildings where teachers and police have completed training in about 70 school districts

by Chuck Biedka

PITTSBURGH, Pa. — Long before Wednesday's mass school shooting in Florida, more and more Alle-Kiski Valley police and teachers were signing up for Stop the Bleed.

The national program prepares people to handle life-threatening bleeding before paramedics arrive.

"You are much more likely to encounter the need to control bleeding than someone who has cardiac arrest and needs CPR," said David Bertoty, a Stop the Bleed teacher and coordinator.

Untreated arterial bleeding can kill within 3 minutes.

"This is just as effective for someone who falls through a glass window and is bleeding as well as mass casualties like you see at a school shooting," said Bertoty, who is also clinical director of emergency and trauma services at UPMC Presbyterian hospital.

The roughly 90-minute class shows how and when to use tourniquets, when and how to pack wounds, and other ways to stop dangerous bleeding.

In addition to teaching people to handle severe bleeding, "our goal is to get a kit into every school building," he said. Many police officers and troopers are trained or have the training scheduled. Bertoty hopes other people get the training, too.

Anyone can sign up for the class and interested people can become trainers, too.

Bertoty said at least 20 lives were saved by bystanders in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon terrorist attack simply by helping to slow or stop bleeding from wounds.

Western Pa. schools

So far, the anti-bleeding kits are in about 345 school buildings where teachers and staffs have completed training in about 70 school districts in Western Pennsylvania, Bertoty said.

The Jeannette, Hempfield Area and North Allegheny school staffs are among those trained.

About 90 teachers received the training and tourniquet kits are in the district's buildings, said Jeannette substitute Superintendent Matt Jones.

At North Allegheny, the district's nurses are training hundreds of teachers.

"Anyone can learn the lifesaving steps of Stop the Bleed," said Bridgett Bilenski, certified school nurse at North Allegheny's Franklin Elementary and Marshall Middle schools.

Stop the Bleed is "an excellent way to educate the general public on how to help as a bystander in critical life-threatening situations, so that more lives can be potentially saved," she said.

The Hempfield Area staff participated in January, according to Superintendent Tammy Wolicki. A Forbes Hospital surgeon gave a group presentation and then participants formed small groups for hands-on practice, where they learned how to apply a tourniquet and pack a wound. Wolicki said in an email that the staff's feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

She said they feel prepared to respond to an emergency at school, home, a mall, and other locations.

UPMC and Copeland Regional Trauma Council staff are preparing teachers and police in the area from Altoona west to the Ohio line, said Bertoty, of North Huntington.

On Monday, Bertoty is scheduled to take the program to about 80 Leechburg High school teachers and staff.

Allegheny Health Network staff presented the class for Apollo-Ridge School District employees last October. About 100 teachers and staff received the training.

"There is a bleeding kit in every building," said John Skiba, the district's director of school safety and student services. "And principals also bought extra kits."

Police getting trained, too

Large numbers of police are getting the training, too.

Stop the Bleed was taught to about 900 Pittsburgh police officers last year, said Lt. Matt Lackner.

In addition, about 4,000 state troopers statewide are either in classes now or registered for them, said Capt. Steve Ignatz, who commands the troop based in Butler.

The Greensburg-based state police troop was the first in the state to schedule the training, said Capt. Tom Dubovi.

"We have one more session and we will have the entire troop completed," Dubovi said.

Bertoty said dozens of smaller police departments have also learned Stop the Bleed including officers in Apollo, Leechburg, Gilpin, Cranberry and the South Hills.

Lower Burrell police officers are scheduled to get the training March 22.

"We planned this quite some time ago — long before the latest school shooting," Chief Tim Weitzel said.


New York

Neighborhood Policing Coming to West Brooklyn

by Paul Stremple

WEST BROOKLYN – Councilmember Justin Brannan (D-44) announced yesterday that New York's neighborhood policing would start this year in West Brooklyn communities, covering the 62 nd and 68 th precincts.

The 68 th Precinct covers Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights, while the 62 nd Precinct covers Bath Beach and Bensonhurst. Additional officers will be assigned to the precincts for neighborhood policing starting in April and July, respectively.

“I am happy to see more resources and officers for the 68 and 62, but it's not about simply hiring or dispatching more officers, it's about using them in a smart way and producing positive results,” said Brannan in a statement. “Our neighborhoods will benefit from neighborhood policing and the return of the ‘cop on the corner.' People will become familiar with the officers serving their community every day, which goes a long way in building trust.

Community policing breaks precincts into sector and assigns pairs of Neighborhood Coordination Officers (NCOs) to each area. These officers are tasked with getting to know the area and its residents, serving as an on-the-ground liaison between the community and the NYPD. The same officers work in the same neighborhoods on the same shifts, increasing their familiarity with local residents and local problems, according to the NYPD.

Many Brooklyn residents may be familiar with seeing NCOs at Community Board and Community Council meetings, where they will give out their contact information—department issued email addresses and cell phone number—in order to be more readily available for a wider range of community concerns.

Another part of the neighborhood policing paradigm is neighborhood safety meetings, often referred to as Build the Block meetings. These give residents an additional opportunity to discuss their neighborhood's safety with NCOs. Find your local meeting with the NYPD's interactive map.

“This move to replace broken windows policing with neighborhood policing will simultaneously make our neighborhoods safer and build respect and trust between police and the communities they serve,” said Brannan.

According to the NYPD, neighborhood policing efforts will be active in every precinct citywide by 2019.



Fla. school deputies to add firepower after mass shooting

Sheriff Scott Israel said deputies assigned to school campuses will now be allowed to carry rifles on school grounds

by Charles Rabin and David Ovalle

MIAMI — While lawmakers and activists in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C., furiously debate gun control, deputies in Broward County will be adding firepower to deal with the threat of school shooters, effective immediately.

Broward's top cop on Wednesday said that deputies assigned to school campuses will now be allowed to carry rifles on school grounds.

“Rifles from this point forward,” Broward Sheriff Scott Israel told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday afternoon, adding: “We need to be able to defeat any threat on campus.”

The announcement comes as authorities are reviewing the law-enforcement response to the worst school shooting in Florida history . Last week, former student Nikolas Cruz — armed with an AR-15 and extra ammunition — walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High and mowed down dozens of people, killing 17 and wounding 15 others.

Jailed and charged with murder, Cruz likely faces the death penalty if convicted.

After a six-minute rampage in the hallways of one of the school buildings, Cruz ditched his weapon and ammo and blended in with students fleeing the carnage. A Coral Springs patrol officer captured him a little more than an hour later, after Cruz stopped at a Wal-Mart and a McDonald's.

The Broward Sheriff's Office is reviewing whether deputies' response was adequate — including whether an armed officer assigned to the sprawling campus did enough. The deputy did not fire his weapon and his actions would be “scrutinized,” Israel said.

He also said BSO was reviewing whether the first officers on the scene rushed into the school, as they are trained to do when an active shooter is on the rampage. So far, police have not determined which officers from which agencies were first to enter Building 12, the scene of the violence. Israel did say BSO deputies “pulled people out, saved lives.”

Jeff Bell, the president of the Broward Sheriff's Office Deputies Association, said the union was satisfied with the response time of the cops who rushed to the scene. “Our guys could still hear the final barrage of gunfire as they arrived,” Bell said.

The shooter, however, slipped away before cops could find him in the chaos.

“Forty-five acres, just over 3,000 students and you're looking for one. Certainly makes it more difficult,” Bell said.

Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie confirmed Wednesday that he agreed with the proposal to have deputies wield rifles at schools. The officers are likely to be equipped with high capacity weapons similar to the AR-15.

The sheriff would not take questions on the announcement, leaving many details unclear. He did not say if campus deputies would be allowed to carry the weapons openly — or have to store them somewhere secure until a threat emerges.

He also did not say if BSO would be paying for the weapons.

For several years, the police union has been pushing BSO, unsuccessfully, to foot the bill for 5.56-caliber rifles for patrol officers, who are allowed to carry them now — but only if they pay for the weapons themselves. Deputies must be certified to carry rifles on duty and generally keep them in their patrol cars.

Bell said he was “100 percent on board” with Israel's announcement. “We have to be able to match firepower with firepower,” he said.



Kan. lawmakers advance law enforcement transparency bills

Kansas lawmakers advaned bills aimed at making officers' body camera footage more accessible and compiling data on the property seized by agencies

by John Hanna

TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas legislators who are pushing to make law enforcement more transparent focused Wednesday on advancing bills aimed at making officers' body camera footage more accessible and compiling data on the property seized by agencies.

The state House gave first-round approval to bills on each subject that had bipartisan support and represented a compromise between law enforcement groups and advocates of more aggressive measures. House members expected to take another, final vote on each Thursday to determine whether they pass and go to the Senate.

Legislative leaders in both parties have said making Kansas more open is a top priority this year. Several high-profile fatal shootings by officers over the past six months have highlighted inconsistent policies on how agencies handle footage, and some lawmakers have been interested in rewriting laws on property seizures following a critical 2016 state audit.

The body camera footage bill would require agencies to make it available to the subjects of the video or, in the case of a fatal shooting, to their families and attorneys, within 20 days of a request. The property-seizure bill would require the Kansas Bureau of Investigation to compile data on what gets seized and to monitor whether reports from law enforcement agencies are accurate.

Supporters of both bills acknowledged that they were looking for relatively easy legislative victories this year as a way of making progress on promoting openness.

"Kansas is a dark state," said state Rep. John Alcala, a Topeka Democrat who pushed a more aggressive bill on body camera footage and opening criminal investigation records. "This is one step forward to getting out of that, but we've still got a lot more steps to go."

In Alcala's hometown, two police officers fatally shot a 30-year-old man, Dominique White, outside of a park on Sept. 28, and the man's father was not able to view their body camera footage for almost three months, until he was legally declared the administrator of his son's estate. The bill would clarify that a parent of an adult and the family's attorney could view the footage.

The footage in White's death became public when the local district attorney played it during a news conference announcing that had concluded that the shooting was legally justified. In Olathe, footage from officers' August 23 shooting of an emotionally troubled 26-year-old woman with a gun became public in January after The Kansas City Star sued to obtain access to it.

Meanwhile, the property-seizure bill arose from a months-long study last year after lawmakers considered multiple proposals for limiting the ability of law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to seize property from criminal suspects. Some lawmakers still don't think it goes far enough because it would not prevent property from being seized unless someone is convicted of a crime.

But House Judiciary Committee Chairman Blaine Finch, an Ottawa Republican, called the two bills "good first steps" toward restoring public confidence in law enforcement and officers' work.

"I think our law enforcement officers by and large go out every day attempting to do the right thing and to be as transparent as they can be," Finch said.


Hacker Strikes 'Stalkerware' Companies, Stealing Alleged Texts and GPS Locations Of Customers

by Joseph Cox

A hacker has broken into two consumer spyware companies—firms which sell malware to everyday people, sometimes with the explicit intent of illegally spying on spouses or lovers—and provided a large cache of data to Motherboard. The data includes gigabytes of customer records, apparent business information, and alleged intercepted messages of some people targeted by the malware.

The news comes nearly a year after Motherboard reported the hacks of two other consumer spyware companies, FlexiSpy and Retina-X. Just last week , a hacker wiped Retina-X's servers—again. Multiple hackers are independently targeting this controversial industry.

“Spying on someone's private devices is bad in and of itself—privacy is a fundamental human right—but it also is a powerful tool that enables stalking, harassment, and domestic violence,” Eva Galperin, director of cybersecurity at activist organization the Electronic Frontier Foundation told Motherboard in a text message.

Both of the newly hacked companies, Mobistealth and Spy Master Pro, sell monitoring software for Android and iPhone devices. Once installed on a smartphone the attacker has physical access to, the malware can intercept Facebook chats and messages from a slew of other apps; track a target's GPS location, and in Mobistealth's case can even remotely switch on the device's microphone.

In all, the hacked data includes tens of thousands of customer accounts. Motherboard verified a number of the accounts by using the associated usernames to successfully request password resets, contacting people included in the data dump, and also engaging with customer support representatives to confirm that email addresses were linked to the spyware companies.

Administrators from neither company responded to multiple requests for comment.

The Spy Master Pro data includes a ream of alleged historical GPS locations for infected phones. Although it's difficult to understand the full context in which they were sent based on their content alone, the dump also contains thousands of apparent text messages, highlighting the visceral and personal moments of ordinary people malware like this can sweep up.

“If you want counseling we will do counseling and the first thing that we be [sic] brought up as your affairs,” one alleged intercepted text message reads.

“You cheated….smh….,” another says.

To be clear, customers can use the software to legally monitor their children or employees—some of the alleged text messages appear to be written by children talking about issues at school, and one Mobistealth customer said they trialled the software while thinking about providing their child with a phone. But both hacked companies have also marketed their tools to spy on spouses or partners, which could violate hacking and wiretapping laws.

“Are you too susceptible of your partner's behavior? Want to make sure if the person your [sic] love is loyal or not? Well, if yes, then phone monitoring software is all that you can look for at this time,” reads a Spy Master Pro blog post , published on Valentine's Day this year. Mobistealth has penned blog posts that exhort the benefits of spying on a spouse , and others that clearly state the practice can be illegal . When Motherboard posed as a potential customer last year, a Mobistealth support representative said a user could deploy the software to monitor their wife.

Journalistic investigations , court cases , and surveys of domestic abuse shelters have repeatedly found links between the consumer malware industry and cases of violence, stalking, and illegal spying. This sale of software that facilitates a meld of physical and digital abuse is one of the reasons the hacker says they targeted both companies.

“It's disgusting how easily accessible and user friendly such sites are, that they enable stalking and enable physical and emotional abuse on such high scales, and how hilariously vulnerable such sites are,” the anonymous hacker told Motherboard in an online chat.