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"  

March, 2018 - Week 1
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.


Governor orders investigation of response to Florida shooting

by Kelly McCleary

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Sunday ordered an investigation into the response to the deadly shooting two weeks ago at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School "for there to be full accountability."

Scott directed the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to "immediately investigate the law enforcement response," according to a statement, amid growing criticism of how the Broward County Sheriff's Office handled the shooting in Parkland on February 14.

In a statement, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said his department "will fully cooperate" with the probe, "as we believe in full transparency and accountability."

Florida Speaker of the House Richard Corcoran and dozens of lawmakers have called on Scott to suspend Israel for "incompetence and dereliction of duty." Scott didn't say in his statement that he would suspend Israel, but said he will continue to review the matter. The governor said he has spoken to Corcoran regularly since the shooting, "and like me he wants the families to have answers and for there to be full accountability."

"That's what the victims and their families deserve," the governor said in the statement.

Earlier Sunday, Israel said he will not step down. Florida state representative Bill Hager wrote a letter to Scott the day before, asking the governor to remove Israel from his post for his deputies' "incomprehensible inaction" during the massacre, according to Hager's office.

An investigation "by Sheriff Israel will do nothing to bring back the 17 victims," that confessed shooter Nikolas Cruz killed, Hager wrote.

"The Sheriff was or should have been aware of the threat Cruz presented to his community and chose to ignore it," Hager wrote, referring to a long history of warnings and tips to the sheriff's office over the past decade, including ones suggesting Cruz had fire arms and was planning a school shooting.

In his letter, Hager, a Republican, cited Florida statute 112.52, which he says gives Scott "removal authority for neglect of duty and incompetence."

Israel dismissed Hager's accusations, telling CNN's Jake Tapper, "Of course I won't resign."

"It was a shameful letter. It was politically-motivated. I never met that man. He doesn't know anything about me. And the letter was full of misinformation," Israel said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."

Hager's call for Israel's removal came after the armed school resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Deputy Scot Peterson, resigned Thursday following his suspension amid accusations he did nothing to stop the massacre.

Read the transcript of the interview with Sheriff Israel

Israel says Peterson never went into building where the shooter was firing at students, instead taking a position outside.

In a letter of response to the governor, Israel said he was proud of the work that many of his deputies and other agencies did the day of the shooting and that he was appalled by Hager's "need to engage in disingenuous political grandstanding, perhaps in the hope he will garner some headlines, at the expense of the truth."

He also said that Hager's letter "was riddled with factual errors, unsupported gossip, and falsehoods."

Hager was among 73 Republican lawmakers who, along with Corcoran, asked the governor to suspend Israel.

"The failures of Sheriff Israel and his deputies during and after the horrific shooting ... and their failures to intervene regarding Nikolas Jacob Cruz in the years, months, and days leading up to that shooting, are unacceptable and unforgivable," Corcoran wrote.

"Sheriff Israel failed to maintain a culture of alertness, vigilance, and thoroughness amongst his deputies. ... As a result of Sheriff Israel's failures. students and teachers died." the letter said.

Deputy suspended

Israel made the decision to suspend Peterson -- who was armed and in uniform at the time of the shooting -- after interviewing the deputy and reviewing footage and witness statements, he said.

"What I saw was a deputy arrive at the west side of building 12, take up a position," Israel said of the video. "And he never went in."

Israel told reporters Peterson should have "[w]ent in. Addressed the killer. Killed the killer." Instead, the deputy waited outside for about four minutes.

During that time, Israel said, Peterson got on his radio and took a position where he could see the western entry of the building.

Other deputies may have also been outside school

Israel says his department is also looking into reports that at least three other Broward Sheriff's deputies didn't enter the school building during shooting.

Sources tell CNN the Coral Springs officers arrived at the scene and were surprised to find the three deputies behind their vehicles with their pistols drawn. None of them had gone into the school.

Israel says his department will investigate the Coral Springs officers' claims, but insists that "during this horrific attack, while this killer was inside the school, there was only one law enforcement person, period. And that was our former deputy Scot Peterson."

Israel says his department's investigation so far indicates the Coral Springs officers didn't arrive until about four minutes after Cruz had left the campus.

"At this point, we have no reason to believe anyone acted incorrectly or correctly. That's what an investigation is. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion, but nobody is entitled to their own set of facts," Israel says. "At this point, one deputy was remiss...and he's now no longer with this agency."

A report on what Coral Springs officers observed is expected next week. Sources caution that surveillance video is currently being reviewed and official accounts could ultimately differ from recollections of officers on the scene.

Sgt. Carla Kmiotek, public information officer for the Coral Springs Police Department, would not comment on the reports. "The Coral Springs Police Department will speak on behalf of our officers and their response in that incident," she said. " We will not speak on behalf of Broward Sheriff's deputies and their response to the incident."

"Our police department has continued to work alongside the Broward Sheriff's Office to assist in any investigation pertaining to this incident," the department said later in a statement. "The Coral Springs Police Department has a tremendous working relationship with the men and women of the Broward Sheriff's Office, and while we are being transparent through this investigation, everyone should respect the process."

'School shooter in the making': Missed opportunities

Israel is also under fire for what appear to be several missed opportunities to intervene before Cruz opened fire.

The Broward County Sheriff's Office says it received 23 calls related to Cruz or his brother in the past decade.

Two deputies have been placed on restricted duty pending an internal investigation on how they addressed the warnings, Israel says. Two calls in particular are under review: one from February 5, 2016, and another from November 30 of last year.

In the 2016 call, officers received information from a neighbor's son that Cruz planned to "shoot up" an unknown school. There was a picture of a "juvenile with guns" on Instagram, according to police records.

In that case, a deputy responded and determined Cruz had knives and a BB gun. The information was forwarded to a school resource officer, police records show.

In the report three months before the shooting, a caller warned that Cruz was collecting guns and knives and wanted to join the Army. The person who called in that November 2017 tip said Cruz was suicidal and could be a "school shooter in the making," according to police records.

The report said that officers at the time did not write a report on the tip. Cruz was no longer living at the listed Parkland address and lived in Lake Worth, Florida, according to police records. The deputy referred the caller to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.

Israel acknowledges there "needed to be a report" on the call, "And that's what we're looking into. That a report needed to be completed, it needed to be forwarded to our Homeland Security or violent crimes unit and they would've followed up on it."

When asked about the 23 calls regarding Cruz, Israel tells CNN, "On sixteen of those cases, our deputies did everything right."

"I can only take responsibility for what I knew about. I exercised my due diligence. I've given amazing leadership to this agency," Israel says.

Cruz was distraught over mother's death

Weeks after Cruz's mother died in November, he reportedly called 911 to describe a tumultuous encounter with a family that had recently taken him in.

In a call obtained by CNN affiliate WPTV, the caller, identified by the West Palm Beach station as Cruz, talks about a blowup. The man, whose voice is unsteady, says he doesn't know where he is calling from because he is new to the area.

The call was placed shortly after Cruz and his younger brother moved in with the Deschamps family in Palm Beach County.

On November 28, Rocxanne Deschamps, who took them in, called 911 saying that Cruz was distraught and violent after losing a photo of his mother, according to the Palm Beach County deputy's report and dispatcher notes. She told authorities that Cruz was confronted by her son, Rock, and ran from the home, saying he "was going to get his gun and come back," records show.

Cruz placed a 911 call after he left, WPTV reported.

"The thing is, I lost my mother a couple days ago, so, like, I'm dealing with a bunch of things right now," Cruz said, according to the TV station.

Cruz lived with the Deschamps family briefly, then moved out.

'It was really scary'

Stoneman Douglas students returned to the campus on Sunday afternoon for an open house, in preparation for the scheduled resumption of classes on Wednesday.

Students would be able to talk with administrators there about measures to improve security, Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said. Students were also scheduled to receive new schedules, Runcie said, noting school officials are "getting creative" to rearrange classrooms since the building where the shooting occurred will remain closed.

School officials will work with students who don't want to return to Stoneman Douglas and arrange for them to transfer schools.

Runcie says officials will be accommodating and take measures like adding counselors and service dogs in classrooms. Stress reduction exercises like massage and yoga will also be available.

"All that matters is hearts and minds," Runcie said.

Stoneman Douglas junior Marcel Olivera, 18, wore a t-shirt with the words "MSDStrong" emblazoned in capital letters.

"I felt happy to be back, to be around everybody that was there, to know that everybody was safe. ... It was uplifting," he said. "I didn't feel sad."

"It was really scary. I didn't know how I was going to feel when I went in and I saw the fence around the freshman building ... and all the windows were covered," sophomore Tanzil Phillip told CNN.

He said students met in the theater room, "and we just gave each other hugs"

"I'm just happy. A lot of friends decided to show up because without them I wouldn't have been able to do it," he said.



Fla. program allows school staff to become 'special deputies' so they can carry at work

Officials said volunteers in the program will undergo rigorous training that's more intense than what deputies experience

by PoliceOne Staff

BABSON PARK, Fla. — A school in a Florida will join a program that allows staff to become “special deputies” so they can carry firearms at work.

WTVT reports that Webber International University announced a partnership with the Polk County Sheriff's Department to expand the Sentinel Program. The voluntary program will allow school staff to be armed at school.

Under current Florida law, only law enforcement members can carry on school property. The program will get around that by making staffers “special deputies.”

"We're gonna send the message to those people that you're not coming onto a campus being the only person on the campus with a firearm," Sheriff Grady Judd said. "Gun control is clearly in place on school campuses in the state of Florida. How did that work last week in Broward County?"

The Polk County Sheriff's office said volunteers will undergo rigorous training that's more intense than what deputies experience.

"Everyone just has to ask themselves that question: My babies, your babies, are in that classroom and that active shooter is coming down the hallway with that thousand-yard stare and that gun in their hand. Do you want somebody to step out and stop him? Or do you want him to go into that classroom and slaughter your babies?" Judd added. "That's where we are with that issue today."



Suspicious letter sickens 11 at Va. military base

by Jack Pointer

WASHINGTON — The Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the FBI are investigating a suspicious letter received at Joint Base Myer–Henderson Hall in Arlington, Virginia on Tuesday.

A hazardous materials team was dispatched after the letter containing an unknown substance sickened 11 and sent three to the hospital. The three have since been released from the hospital.

The letter was received at around 3:30 p.m. on the Marine Corps side of the base, according to a news release from Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.

“Several Marines are receiving medical care as a result of this incident,” said a Pentagon statement Tuesday evening, before their release.

Symptoms among those affected included nosebleeds and burning hands, according to sources familiar with the situation.

“Personnel in the affected building took immediate preventative measures by evacuating the building,” the Pentagon said. “Base officials … are coordinating with local hazmat teams and FBI.”

The Arlington facility is headquarters to service personnel working throughout the D.C. region.


Study: US inequality persists 50 years after landmark report

by Russell Contreras

The new report blames U.S. policymakers and elected officials, saying they're not doing enough to heed the warning on deepening poverty and inequality that was highlighted by the Kerner Commission five decades ago and it lists areas where the country has seen "a lack of or reversal of progress."

"Racial and ethnic inequality is growing worse. We're resegregating our housing and schools again," former Democratic U.S. Sen. Fred Harris of Oklahoma, a co-editor of the new report and the last surviving member of the original Kerner Commission created by President Lyndon Johnson in 1967. "There are far more people who are poor now than was true 50 years ago. Inequality of income is worse."

The new study titled "Healing Our Divided Society: Investing in America Fifty Years After the Kerner Report" says the percentage of people living in deep poverty — less than half of the federal poverty level — has increased since 1975. About 46 percent of people living in poverty in 2016 were classified as living in deep poverty — 16 percentage points higher than in 1975.

And although there has been progress for Hispanic homeownership since the Kerner Commission issued its report, the homeownership gap has widened for African-Americans, the new study found. Three decades after the Fair Housing Act of 1968 passed, black homeownership rose by almost 6 percentage points. But those gains were wiped out from 2000 to 2015 when black homeownership fell 6 percentage points, the report said.

The report blames the black homeownership declines on the disproportionate effect that the subprime mortgage lending crisis had on African-American families.

In addition, gains to end school segregation were reversed because of a lack of court oversight and housing discrimination, the new report said. The court oversight allowed school districts to move away from desegregation plans and housing discrimination forced black and Latino families to move into largely minority neighborhoods.

In 1988, for example, about 44 percent of black students went to majority-white schools nationally. Only 20 percent of black students do so today, the report said.

The result of these gaps means that people of color and those struggling with poverty are confined to poor areas with inadequate housing, underfunded schools and law enforcement that views those residents with suspicion, the report said.

Those facts are bad for the whole country, and communities have a moral responsibility to address them now, said Harris, who now lives in the village of Corrales near Albuquerque.

The new report calls on the federal government and states to push for more spending on early childhood education and a $15 national minimum wage by 2024. It also demands more regulatory oversight over lenders to prevent predatory lending, community policing that works with nonprofits in minority neighborhoods and more job training programs in an era of automation and emerging technologies.

"We have to have a massive outcry against the state of our public policies," said the Rev. William J. Barber II, a Goldsboro, North Carolina pastor who is leading a multi-ethnic "Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival" next month in multiple states. "Systemic racism is something we don't talk about. Systemic poverty is something we don't talk about. We need to now."

The late President Johnson formed the original 11-member Kerner Commission as Detroit was engulfed in a raging race riot in 1967. Five days of violence over racial tensions and police violence left 33 blacks and 10 whites dead, and more than 1,400 buildings burned. More than 7,000 people were arrested.

That summer, more than 150 cases of civil unrest erupted across the United States. Harris and other commission members toured riot-torn cities and interviewed black and Latino residents and white police officers.

The commission recommended that the federal government spend billions to attack structural racism in housing, education and employment. But Johnson, angry that the commission members did not praise his anti-poverty programs, shelved the report and refused to meet with members.

Alan Curtis, president of the Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation and co-editor of the new report, said this study's attention to systemic racism should be less startling to the nation given the extensive research that now calls the country's discriminatory housing and criminal justice systems into question.

Unlike the 1968 findings, the new report includes input from African-Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and women who are scholars and offer their own recommendations.

"The average American thinks we progressed a lot," said Kevin Washburn, University of New Mexico law professor and citizen of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma who shared his observations for the report. "But there are still some places where Native people live primitive lives. They don't have access to things such as good water, electricity and plumbing."

Like the 1968 report, the new study also criticizes media organizations for their coverage of communities of color, saying they need to diversify and hire more black and Latino journalists.

News companies could become desensitized to inequality if they lack diverse newsrooms, and they might not view the issue as urgent or newsworthy, said journalist Gary Younge, who contributed to the report.

"It turns out that sometimes 'dog bites man' really is the story," Younge said. "And we keep missing it."



Jackson Township boy intended to carry out school shooting before killing self, police say

by Evan MacDonald

JACKSON TOWNSHIP, Ohio - A 7 th grade student developed an eight-step plan for carrying out a school shooting before he fatally shot himself last week at a Jackson Township middle school, police said.

Investigators found documents on Keith Simons' cellphone that revealed the 13-year-old boy had an "admiration" for the Columbine High School shooters and intended to carry out a similar attack before he shot himself Feb. 21 in a Jackson Memorial Middle School bathroom, township police Chief Mark Brink said Thursday during a news conference.

"The documents show that Simons intended to conduct a school shooting and harm other individuals," Brink said.

The boy concealed a .22-caliber long gun under his clothes during a bus ride to the middle school, and surveillance video shows him walking out of the bathroom with the gun in his hands, police said. At least five students were nearby, and it's unclear why Simons then turned around, walked back into the bathroom and shot himself, Brink said.

"I don't think that we'll ever have an answer for that," Brink said.

Simons took the gun from his mother's house, Brink said last week. He also had approximately 80 rounds of ammunition and several bottle rockets, batteries, and an aerosol can in his backpack in an apparent attempt to construct an explosive, Brink said.

Explosive experts determined the materials could not have been combined to make a bomb, Brink said.

Simons died the next day at Akron Children's Hospital. The Summit County Medical Examiner's Office said Thursday that it ruled his death a suicide.

Investigators discovered an eight-step plan for a shooting that Simons documented on his cellphone from Feb. 14 to Feb. 20, Brink said. The notes revealed Simons intended to die carrying out an attack, Brink said.

"I'll look in to those little britches [sic] eyes before I kill them there's now I'll have followers because I'm so awesome I know someone will follow me just like I followed Eric Harris and Dylan [Klebold] me and them want close to the same thing, It's going to be fun," Simons wrote in a Feb. 17 note that named the Columbine shooters.

The next day, Simons wrote that he was "going to die doing it, I hate those people . . . I'd hurt and destroy something bigger but my schools an easy target."

Simons added Feb. 19 that he had been considering an attack "for a few weeks and thought about it a few months."

Brink said investigators have not uncovered anything, aside from the notes on the cellphone, that would indicate Simons was planning an attack. The boy was not very active on social media, Brink said.

There is no indication anyone else was involved with Simons' plan, Brink said.

Investigators also have not uncovered any evidence that would suggest Simons had issues at home or school. Teachers described him as a good student, Brink said.

Investigators collected security video to develop a timeline for the boy's movements the day of the shooting.

Video showed Simons leave his house at 7:10 a.m. and walk with a noticeable limp to a bus stop. The boy concealed the gun under his clothes when he got onto a bus headed to the middle school, police said.

Simons arrived at the school at 7:44 a.m. and immediately proceeded to a bathroom. He walked out of the bathroom several minutes later carrying the gun in his hands, police said.

Four students were in the hallway but did not see the gun, Brink said.

Simons turned around and walked back into the bathroom. He passed another student who saw the gun, and that student immediately went to tell an adult, Brink said.

Staff members went to the bathroom to confront Simons but found him wounded on the bathroom floor at 7:50 a.m. They yelled for someone to call 911, police said.

The shooting set off panic among students, staff members and parents who spent hours trying to pick up students from the middle school.

Jackson Local Schools Superintendent Chris DiLoreto did not attend the news conference but released a brief statement asking parents to monitor their kids' social media accounts and secure their firearms.

Brink echoed those sentiments during the news conference.

"I believe this is a strong community. We have good people in this community. We need to come together like we've never come together before," Brink said. "One thing that we absolutely need: We need parents to become parents. We need them to lock up their guns. We need them to check their kids' social media, see what they're up to, see what their plans are. And I'm not talking specific to this case, but all the other cases in Stark County with our young people."

The Jackson Township Police Department will have two officers at the high school, two officers at the middle school and one officer at each of the district's elementary school for the remainder of the school year as a precaution, Brink said.

Stark County Sheriff George Maier is also leading a newly-formed safety committee that will review school security, Brink said.



Student suspected of killing his parents on campus arrested

by CBS News

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. -- A 19-year-old student suspected of killing his parents at a Central Michigan University dormitory before running from campus was apprehended early Saturday following an intensive daylong search that included more than 100 police officers, some heavily armed in camouflage uniforms, authorities said. James Eric Davis Jr. was arrested without incident after an individual spotted him on a train passing through the north end of campus shortly after midnight, according to a release posted on Central Michigan's Emergency Communication website.

CMU President George E. Ross thanked the campus, surrounding community and law enforcement personnel "who came together to keep each other safe and apprehend the suspect," according to the university police website.

Friday's shooting at Campbell Hall happened on a day when parents were arriving to pick up students for the beginning of a week-long spring break.

The university identified the two dead as Davis' mother Diva Davis and father James Davis Sr., a part-time police officer in the Chicago suburb of Bellwood. Davis Sr. was an Iraq war veteran and friends say the suspect's mother was a breast cancer survivor, CBS News' DeMarco Morgan reports.

The shooting occurred around 8:30 a.m. at a residence hall at Central Michigan, which is about 70 miles north of Lansing.

Following the shooting, police released a photo of Davis and urged the public to call 911 if they saw him, but also warned that he shouldn't be confronted. Hours after a campus lockdown, police started a "slow, methodical removal" of staff and students who were ordered to take shelter in campus buildings, Lt. Larry Klaus said, adding that he "should be considered armed and dangerous."

Klaus said video at the dorm suggested that Davis had fled on foot after the shooting. He was wearing a hoodie but had been shedding certain clothes while on the run.

"This has been a tragic day. ... The hurting will go on for a while," Ross said.

The search focused on Mount Pleasant neighborhoods near campus. SWAT teams looked for Davis by foot while helicopters searched for any signs of him by air. Officers in camouflage knocked on doors and checked possible hiding places, such as yards and porches. In the surrounding community, students and staff in the Mount Pleasant school district were told not to leave nine buildings.

Klaus said Davis was taken to a hospital Thursday night by campus police because of a drug-related health problem, possibly an overdose.

The Davis family is from Plainfield, Illinois, about 38 miles southwest of Chicago. Davis Jr. graduated from Central High School in 2016, said Tom Hernandez, a spokesman for Plainfield School District 202.

Bellwood Police Chief Jiminez Allen released a statement Friday night praising Davis Sr.'s work.

Davis' "contributions to our community positively impacted everyone he served and served with," Allen said.

The shooting occurred on the last day of classes before a weeklong break. Parents who were trying to pick up students were told instead to go to a local hotel where staff would assist them while the manhunt was ongoing.

A student, Tyler Whipple, was driving through campus when his route was blocked by police cars at the scene of the killings. He had to catch a flight to Florida.

"These roads are kind of spooky right now," Whipple said.

The school posted an alert Friday morning on social media about shots being fired at Campbell Hall. An automated phone message was sent to students.

Halie Byron, 20, said she locked herself in her off-campus house, about a 10-minute walk from the dorm. She had planned to run errands before traveling home to southeastern Michigan.

"It's scary thinking about how easy a shooter can come into a college campus anywhere -- a classroom, a library. There's so much easy access," Byron said.

Students who said they know Davis said they are in shock, CBS News' DeMarco Morgan reports. "He was normal and he was funny, so, I never would've guessed," one person said.



Law enforcement aiming for stronger community policing in schools

by Sean Baute

FRANKLIN, Ky. (WBKO) -- Law enforcement agencies in Simpson County are among those coming together during a stronger community policing effort in local schools.

Simpson County Sheriff Jere Dee Hopson has ordered his deputies to spend more time at the schools, in an effort not only make schools safer but also make them feel safer.

"All the emergency personnel made the agreement that starting immediately we could probably all go by the schools more and spend more time there," he said, "so I ordered, at the sheriff's office for all my deputies, especially on day shift to stop by the schools when they can. "

The Sheriff's Department isn't alone in this effort. The Franklin Police Department is also joining in.

"The jail's even sending some people up," added Hopson. "They have a few officers that have kids in school, and the more we can be there the better off we think we are, and it doesn't cost the citizens anything extra."

As threats have inundated Kentucky school systems, it's important for law enforcement to be familiar their local schools.

"That gives officers a chance not only to get to know the schools in case there is an emergency to respond but also to [get to] know a lot of the students, because you have conversations while you're there and it lets the children see the officers as more than just a policeman," said Hopson. "They enjoy getting to know people; they enjoy get to be seen."

Sheriff Hopson also explained that this isn't completely unfamiliar for Simpson County.

"Our officers have always made an attempt to be around the schools but usually it was more of a driving-by capacity," he said.

Sheriff Hopson says this initiative is what community policing comes down to.

"Getting to know the kids, getting to know the citizens making them feel more comfortable, is what we're all about," he finished.



Sheriff: Ind. deputy shot during pursuit will not survive

Authorities said Deputy Jacob Pickett was on life support for donation of his organs

by the Associated Press

LEBANON, Ind. — A central Indiana sheriff's deputy who was shot in the head while chasing three suspects won't survive and was on life support for donation of his organs, authorities said Friday.

Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen said Deputy Jacob Pickett, a 30-year-old father of two young boys, was on life support at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis and his "life is being sustained so that he can continue to serve and help others."

"We have lost a canine officer, a deputy, a friend, a warrior and a brother," Nielsen said during an emotional news conference at the hospital. "We are family. We are grieving."

Police said Pickett, who is married and joined the department about three years ago, was shot in the head at about 9:30 a.m. Friday as he rounded a corner with his police dog as they helped chase three men on foot in the city of Lebanon, which is about 20 miles northwest of Indianapolis.

The three men were later captured following the pursuit, which led to a lockdown of local schools, government offices and a library in Lebanon while officers in body armor scoured the area for the suspects.

State Police Superintendent Doug Carter said investigators believe 21-year-old Anthony Baumgardt shot Pickett. He said Baumgardt was shot by officers and was at the same hospital as Pickett with non-life-threatening injuries. He will be jailed as soon as he's discharged.

Carter said Friday's chase began after police officers serving an arrest warrant for a woman noticed 28-year-old John D. Baldwin Jr., who also had an outstanding warrant for his arrest.

Officers ordered Baldwin to stop, but he got into a car with his 55-year-old father, John Baldwin Sr., and Baumgardt and they fled the scene, Carter said.

Officers pursued that car as it fled through the city's streets, and Pickett and other officers joined the chase. Pickett was shot after the car stopped and the occupants fled on foot.

John D. Baldwin Jr. got back into the car and drove away before being arrested along nearby Interstate 65, police said. His father later surrendered to police.

Nielsen said Pickett is the first officer with the Boone County Sheriff's Office killed in the line of duty since 1935, when Sheriff John Pepper was killed while on duty.


New York

Coney Island Teens Take First Steps Into Anti-violence Movement

by Kyle S. Mackie

NEW YORK — Instead of hanging out, 35 Coney Island teenagers spent their midwinter vacation last week learning to cope with everyday trauma and avoid dating violence.

The second annual Anti-Violence Academy for teenagers and young adults was organized by the Coney Island Anti-Violence Collaborative (CIAVC), whose primary mission is ending gun violence in the Brooklyn neighborhood. It started less than a week after a 19-year-old gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

“We'll definitely address the [Florida] shooting because it's a national epidemic,” said CIAVC Executive Director Keisha Boatswain on the first day of the three-day session. “We want our young people to feel empowered and use this unfortunate tragedy as a catalyst for change here in Coney Island.”

Coney Island is the birthplace of the amusement park. But beyond the beach and the boardwalk, there's a tight-knit community where many residents feel geographically and politically isolated from the rest of New York City. The median household income here is $31,371, compared to $55,191 across New York City, according to U.S. Census figures. The neighborhood also has a legacy of gun violence that still traumatizes some residents even though the number of shootings has gone down in recent years.

“I'm scared to go outside at night, to know that people are violent and hurt other people,” said Toni, 12, an academy participant.

Shooting incidents in the 60th Precinct, where Coney Island is located, have dropped by 67 percent over the last two years, according to New York Police Department data. There has been one shooting so far in 2018 and there were two in 2017. The goal of the academy was to ensure that that trend continues.

There's hope among the younger generation. Toni's sister Alexis, 14, added, “If we come together as a community, violence can stop. Our community can get better if we all just stick together.”

The academy was held in a meeting space at MCU Park , the stadium that's home to the Brooklyn Cyclones minor league baseball team. If they hadn't attended the academy, Toni and Alexis said, they probably would have been home watching TV.

“I commend them,” said Dale Anderson, an academy volunteer who has attended CIAVC's Anti-Violence Academy for adults. “This academy will do so much more for them than just staying in the house. It'll open their eyes and their minds to a different way of thinking, to a different way of seeing society, to a different way of seeing life.”

A major part of the training focused on helping the 13- to 19-year-old participants recognize the triggers, trauma or PTSD they face in their daily lives, said Boatswain, the CIAVC executive director.

“Young people in New York City face traumas every day when they enter a school building and they're met with members of the New York Police Department,” Boatswain said. “They go through metal detectors, many of them disrobe, take their belts off. That in itself is a traumatic experience.”

In 2016, a joint investigation by WNYC and ProPublica found that black and Hispanic New York City high school students were nearly three times more likely to have to walk through a metal detector each morning than their white peers. Almost half of all black high school students across the city had to go through metal detectors compared to just 14 percent of white students, according to another WNYC analysis in 2015.

Nearly all the academy attendees were people of color, which is reflective of Coney Island's west end.

Carlo, 15, acknowledged some of the issues that have historically challenged urban communities of color, including drug abuse and domestic violence.

“If we can break those cycles we can do great things for the world,” he said. “Every black community has the potential to be something great.”

The first session of the academy addressed teen dating violence, showing students what an abusive relationship looks like and what rights they should have in a healthy relationship.

“We preach assertive communication,” said peer educator Lei Brutus from the Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence . “When they know it and practice it a lot then they'll be able to resolve conflict without getting physical.”

Several participants said they worry about the role social media plays in fueling violent conflicts.

“People have problems over social media and then it escalates out to where violence can happen out in the street,” said Neiman, 16. She said she decided to attend so she can learn what to do if she gets caught up in a violent situation someday.

For others, the stipend of about $20 per day they get for attending the full program was a bigger motivator to attend.

Anderson said he doesn't expect every teenager who attended last week to understand everything they discussed right away. “Maybe next month, next year, who knows when, it'll hit them,” he said. That's when he hopes they will become community leaders for change in their own right.

“I'm part of the anti-violence movement right now because I did the adult academy,” Anderson said. “This trauma class right here changed my whole mind.”

As part of the trauma workshop, facilitator Clifton Hall asked participants to line up on two sides of the room and step into the center whenever he listed something they had experienced. Several stepped forward when he asked if anyone had lost someone they knew to gun violence or knew someone who had been injured in a shooting. Nearly all stepped forward when he asked who lived where they could be stopped by a gang member at any time. After that, he walked them through recognizing and controlling their responses to those situations, and introduced them to available trauma services.

Neiman said these lessons can really make a difference to people her age. “Once you learn this stuff you'll be more aware of how to fix things and try to help make a better place,” she said.

Derick Latif Scott is the program director for Operation H.O.O.D. (Helping Our Own Develop). Funded by the New York City Council Anti-Gun Violence Initiative, it tackles gun violence as a public health crisis. Scott agreed with Anderson that education and individual actions are the key to changing the mindset of gun violence.

“We can say ‘We all need to [do something]' but once we say that we're all looking for the first person to make that step,” said Scott. “So say ‘I need to do something.'”

At least one participant is acting on Scott's advice. Amirspear, 14, said he's a musician with a local following. He felt if he attended then many of his peers would follow his lead.

“The youth itself just has so much talent,” he said of Coney Island. “... It's not just the boardwalk.”


Washington D.C.

CDC: Overdose deaths decline in 14 states

Data suggests the tide of opioid overdoses is starting to turn in a number of states, driving an overall reduction in overdose deaths

by Rachel Alexander

WASHINGTON — Drug overdose deaths fell last year in 14 states including Washington, according to preliminary data released this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The numbers suggest the tide of opioid overdoses is starting to turn in a number of states, mostly in the western United States, driving an overall reduction in overdose deaths.

In Washington, the CDC recorded 1,018 fatal overdoses in the 12-month period ending July 2017. Of those, 640 involved opioids, including 289 involving heroin.

That's a 13.5 percent decrease in all overdose deaths, and a 16.6 percent decrease in opioid overdose deaths from the year prior.

Overdose deaths also fell 11.2 percent in Alaska, 2.9 percent in California, 3.7 percent in Oregon and 8.7 percent in Montana, while rising 7.8 percent in Idaho.

Midwestern and eastern states that have been hit hardest by opioid overdose deaths continued to see rises, according to the CDC data.

The 2017 numbers are likely smaller than final totals will be, since data for some deaths is still pending.

The Washington Department of Health has not formally released 2016 or 2017 overdose death data, but preliminary 2016 numbers suggest similar drops.

Though the number of total opioid overdoses has fluctuated since 2006, the number of Washingtonians dying from heroin has been steadily rising, from 53 in 2006 to 313 in 2015, according to the department. But in 2016, that number fell to 287.

Caleb Banta-Green, the primary researcher with the University of Washington's Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, said there's not enough data yet to speculate about a cause in the drop.

But Washington has expanded the number of people receiving treatment for opioid addiction significantly, according to data from the Washington Health Care Authority.

Among Medicaid clients, the number has more than tripled from 2013 to 2016, when 15,259 Washingtonians enrolled in a medication-assisted treatment program.

Statewide efforts have also distributed overdose kits with naloxone, a potentially lifesaving drug, to care providers and people at risk for overdose.

Banta-Green said the rate of high school students using prescription opioids to get high has declined since 2006. In a 2006 survey, about 10 percent of 10th graders said they had used the drugs in the past month. That's down to 4.4 percent now.

He said the high number of overdose deaths over the past 15 years could also mean the problem is slowing down because many of the people abusing opioids have already died.

"Part of the problem may be burning itself out in a tragic way," he said.


New Mexico

NM first responders train for active shooter incidents

Farmington police, firefighters and paramedics from San Juan Regional Medical Center conducted joint training under their new multi-agency policy

by Joshua Kellogg

FARMINGTON, N.M. — Blanks fired by a shotgun could be heard echoing through an empty hangar Wednesday at the Four Corners Regional Airport in Farmington as first responders participated in their annual active shooter training.

In recent years, the focus of the training has moved beyond police eliminating the threat to ensuring firefighters and paramedics have a quick response to those injured, even as a shooter could still be active at the scene.

Wednesday was the first of three days in the coming weeks for Farmington police, firefighters and paramedics from San Juan Regional Medical Center to conduct joint training, according to Farmington police Capt. Kyle Dowdy.

Dowdy said the training has been in development for months and was not in response to last week's school shooting in Parkland, Flordia.

The participants attended a briefing by Farmington police at their building on Municipal Drive before heading to the training at the airport.

In the last 18 to 24 months, the agencies have devised a new multiagency policy and revisions to the policy regarding active shooters, according to Acting Fire Chief David Burke. Police Chief Steve Hebbe said the integration of emergency medical services and firefighters into the training has been a priority.

"We've created a better partnership there I think will serve the community well if we ever had any tragedy that we had to respond to," Hebbe said.

Dowdy described an active shooter as a suspect who continues to fire a weapon when police arrive on the scene.

During the training, the participants run through three scenarios, including an active shooter inside a school and a workplace.

Police made entry to the hangar in an effort to neutralize the suspect. As officers swept the structure and assessed the injured, a team of paramedics and firefighters guarded by officers was escorted into the building.

"They are going into these building knowing full well that the shooter is still on the loose," Dowdy said. "Any time, he could double back to the area."

Paramedics and firefighters tried to retrieve the mock victims and extract them to a casualty collection point. At that location, fire and medics tended to them and made decisions about what would happen next, Dowdy said.

"We need to get them into the hands of the medical experts as quickly as possible," Dowdy said.

Burke echoed the statement, stating that is the biggest factor in saving lives.

"That's been the underlying factor of us working together," Burke said. "The quicker we can get the injured out of the scenario into definitive care, the greater the survivability and lesser the ongoing injuries are."

Each training session gives those participants something new to learn about the tactics deployed by police, authorities say. New technical terms, movement components or staging techniques picked up during training could lead the agencies to update their policies.

The topic of the Aztec High School shooting on Dec. 7 when 17-year-old students Casey J. Marquez and Francisco "Paco" Fernandez were killed was brought up during the training. Dowdy believes the quick response from the Aztec Police Department is what prevented the tragic situation from becoming worse.

"They were there so quick, it helped the whole situation, and the killing stopped," Dowdy said.

That has prompted Farmington police to research and evaluate how to funnel resources to handle certain problems once a shooter is down. That includes reunification of students with parents, as well as informing officers about resources available to those affected by the incident.

Dowdy said future training exercises could involve scenarios inspired by the response to the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Flordia, on June 12, 2016, when 49 people died and dozens were injured.

During that shooting, Dowdy said first responders had to adjust as the situation changed from an active-shooter scenario to a hostage situation as the suspect barricaded himself and continued to fire while those injured remained inside.

It's been a goal to offer active-shooter training to people in the Four Corners region, Hebbe said.

Farmington police were giving training to private business owners on Dec. 7 when the Aztec High School shooting occurred.

Hebbe said Farmington police are deploying safety teams to schools, businesses and government agencies in the region to give people the tools to survive.

Both Dowdy and Hebbe gave credit to firefighters and paramedics for participating in the training and adjusting their policies to adapt to new scenarios.

"Not everyone across the country is interested in partnering up with police and going into still-hot zones to try and save people," Hebbe said. "They do here, and I'm proud of them."



Teachers Lining up for Concealed Carry Permits

by Law Enforcement Today

BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio — There is a renewed push to have teachers trained and armed with guns in schools. So in Ohio teachers are lining up for concealed carry permits. And there is at least one sheriff who likes it.

Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones is an advocate of this plan. In the spirit of public safety, he has offered to cover the cost for teachers to take a concealed carry class in Butler County, which is north of Cincinnati. After receiving 300 requests, Jones said the limit had been reached, reported NBC4I .

“You need back up, you need people in the schools,” Jones said in a CNN interview. “Officers aren't always the answer. You need somebody without a weapon, that can keep their weapon secured, trained.”

Although the plan is aimed at arming teachers, it doesn't necessarily mean they will be able to bring guns into their classrooms once they complete the training.

Under Ohio's concealed carry law, school employees must leave their firearms in their locked car when they are in a school safety zone, unless they have written permission from the school district.

So that begs the question, will the district authorize exemptions?

After last week's shooting in Parkland, Fla., calls to arm teachers and school personnel have intensified. Both President Trump and the National Rifle Association argued this week that enabling school officials to shoot back could save lives and deter potential homicidal individuals from mass murder.

Moreover, Trump has clarified that he believes only those “adept” at using firearms should be armed, not all teachers.

Teachers are already carrying concealed guns in a handful of states, including Ohio. Officials who support concealed carry for teachers say they're not just handing out weapons but also carefully considering who and how they should carry. Ohio has invested thousands in training, according to NPR .

In Ohio, any school board can give permission to carry a firearm into normally gun-free schools. Those decisions are often made behind closed doors because they're part of a district's confidential safety plan.

The Buckeye Firearms Foundation's Jim Irvine says it's not just teachers with guns, it's principals, nurses, and maintenance people. And he says, it's strictly voluntary.

“No one should ever be forced to carry a gun,” Irvine says. “It's something you have got to want to do because if you don't want to do it, you're not going to embrace it with the right mindset and the right attitude to do it properly.”

Keith Countryman, superintendent of Hicksville Schools in northwest Ohio, carries a concealed gun.

“The people I've chosen to carry,” he says, “I've instructed them . . . to never have the gun off their body for any reason nor have it shown for any reason unless it's needed in a threatening situation.”

Following the shooting in Parkland, Fla., Countryman met with his security team to consider arming more teachers who he says are not paid extra. They decided instead to consider other measures like adding more cameras outside the building.

“I'm not gonna just go around and just hand guns out. ‘Hey, go get your concealed carry and you can carry a gun here at school.' That's never gonna happen at our school.”

Outside Countryman's school in Defiance County is a warning sign that reads, “these individuals may use whatever force is necessary to protect our students and staff.” The superintendent says he's confident if something happened anywhere in the building, they'd be able to confront the intruder within seconds.

At one training session to teach best practices in the small town of Rittman, Ohio, more than a dozen teachers stood in a line poised with guns in hand, according to NPR.

They were there as part of the FASTER program funded by the Buckeye Firearms Foundation. The state is also kicking in $175,000 dollars over the next two years.

For the past five years, FASTER has trained more than 1,300 teachers and staff across 12 states. Chris Cerino is a former police officer and law enforcement trainer who prepares teachers and staff in case of an active shooter.

“We teach them about target and backstop,” Cerino says, “We give them good marksmanship skills. We talk to them about closing the distances and using cover. And we also talk to them about not shooting when they shouldn't or can't.”

The Department of Homeland Security advises people “Run. Hide. Fight.” when there's an active shooter. It's a method police departments use when training school employees, students, and increasingly, aspiring teachers.

Yet when it comes to the education field, the will to fight is found in smaller numbers. However, that number appears to be growing in the wake of mass murder on school campuses.