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"  

April, 2018 - Week 2
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.


Poem: The Meaning Behind the Badge

Take a walk in the shoes of a Georgia sheriff's deputy and dispatcher as she describes what it means to "wear the badge"

by Rebecca "Punchy" Thomason

The Meaning Behind the Badge

We work in a job most people wouldn't do.

The blood running through our veins isn't red but blue.

Many hours of training through blood, sweat and tears.

The patrol car is our home a majority of the year.

Some don't understand the split decisions we at times must make.

Whether it's a life we must save or a life we must take.

Just look through our eyes and take a walk in our shoes.

Then you'll know THE MEANING BEHIND THE BADGE we hold so true.

It means we will depend on our dispatchers to be our lifeline and sometimes our ears.

It means we will help calm you down through your sorrows and tears.

It means we will run into the bushes or give chase through the trees.

It means we will push through the exhaustion and the pain crippling our knees.

It means we will comfort your loved ones and rescue the injured from wrecks.

It means we will breathe for a child who is struggling to take a breath.

It means we will stand there for hours and listen to those who just need to talk.

It means we will search in any type of weather for those who are lost.

It means we have seen the good and we have seen the evil too.

It means we have laughed…and yes, even cried with you.

It means we are brothers and sisters forever bonded by a Thin Blue Line.

It means I am HONORED to face the unknown…to save a life at the risk of losing mine.



Baltimore Commissioner Teams With Parishioners To Promote Community Policing

by Jonathan McCall

BALTIMORE (WJZ) Baltimore's top cop took to the streets in an effort to engage the community, as he calls for more community policing.

Commissioner Darryl De Souza has made community policing a priority, while a group of men are hoping to bridge the gap between police and the public.

With nearly a dozens murders in just the first week of April, Baltimore police continue to try and find solutions to tackling growing crime.

“I'm very much concerned about April. Too many at the beginning of the month,” De Sousa said.

A West Baltimore community is now striking up the chance to close the gap between the department and the community.

“We have a new direction. We have challenges. Everybody knows that Baltimore City has challenges and we want to start off on the right foot,” said Michael Seay of Mt. Pisgus CME Church.

With every step, men at Mount Pisgus CME Church are hoping to reclaim and rebuild their village.

“I honestly believe that it does take a village, and the question is; did the village ever leave?” De Souza said.

“It's going to take part with the ministerial staff and parishioners throughout the city. It's going to take charge with the police department,” Seay said.

With relations often strained between the public and police, De Souza said more efforts like this and more men to step up, could help make the difference.

“They need somebody to talk to when they're thinking about doing something they shouldn't be or thinking about something that's going to get them in trouble,” De Sousa added.

So far, 66 homicides have been reported in Baltimore.



'True community policing' Mansfield PD's law enforcement strategy highlighted

by Emily Mills

MANSFIELD — Local law enforcement and community leaders highlighted the Mansfield Police Department's focus on community and collaboration during a public hearing Monday night as part of the department's reaccreditation process.

MPD is seeking a recertification from the Commission of Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, or CALEA.

The accreditation program requires agencies to comply with 189 standards in four basic areas: policy and procedures, administration, operations and support services.

MPD has been accredited since 2006. This is Mansfield's fourth accreditation process.

A team of CALEA assessors arrived Sunday for the process and oversaw Monday's hearing: Phillip Kasten, chief of the Hartford Police Department in Vermont, and Glen Allen, chief of the State Capitol Police in Raleigh, North Carolina.

"Our responsibility as assessors for the commission is to revisit the agency and verify that it has remained in compliance since it was last accredited," Kasten said.

Shelby Police Captain David Mack said the Shelby Police Department is starting the accreditation process, inspired by Mansfield.

"I've done a lot around this state, been a lot of places, and you won't see the collaboration you see in Richland County, and I think that has a lot to do with the leadership of the Mansfield Police Department," Mack said. "They kind of pioneered the whole thing."

Ontario Police Chief Tommy Hill highlighted the county police chiefs' weekly meetings, which allow them to maintain open lines of communication.

"In the 20 years that I've been a police officer here in the area, I haven't seen this type of teamwork and cooperation in all those years," he said.

Hill said Mansfield was instrumental in helping the Ontario Police Department become accredited in November 2016.

"Our ability to do that was largely based on the help that Mansfield Police Department gave us," he said. "Them being the first accredited agency in Richland County, we've relied on them for literally everything that we've done."

Richland County Sheriff Steve Sheldon, who worked for MPD for 25 years before becoming sheriff, also said he appreciates the collaboration among the county's law enforcement agencies, especially from Mansfield.

"They help all of us," said Sheldon, who said the county's law enforcement agencies are currently working on school resource officers.

Richard Schuller, accreditation manager for the Richland County Sheriff's Office, and Jon Sigler, accreditation manager and detective with the Ontario Police Department, both said they appreciate the collaborative nature of law enforcement in Richland County.

Schuller said Mansfield leads the community in responding to the opiate epidemic through the Opiate Response Team, a group made up of law enforcement and social service members who respond after someone overdoses to offer treatment options and resources.

Kasten called the Opiate Response Team an "impressive group of folks."

NAMI Richland County executive director Mary Kay Pierce said she appreciates how supportive Mansfield is of the organization's Crisis Intervention Team training to teach law enforcement how to interact with people in crisis.

NAMI started CIT training in collaboration with MPD in 2004, with the police department cotraining with NAMI twice a year. She called the department "a great collaborator."

"They're concerned about the citizens here in our community," she said. "If we have issues with our families, I feel comfortable calling and getting help to get our loved ones safely to the hospital and avoid any jail time whenever possible, and they work out any issues we have."

Pierce said NAMI just completed its 21st CIT class and estimated 95 percent of Mansfield's active officers are CIT-trained.

"It's open collaboration," she said. "It's true community policing."

Richland County commissioners Darrell Banks and Marilyn John, Mansfield City Council clerk Stephanie Zader, Zone 1 Neighorhood Watch leader Richard Bernardy and community representative Doc Stumbo voiced their support of the police department, sharing stories of their interactions with Mansfield officers.

Mansfield human resources director Dave Remy and Mansfield City Council third-ward representative Jon Van Harlingen also voiced their support for Mansfield becoming reaccredited.

We ACT co-founders Angel Ross-Taylor and Brigitte Coles shared how they've worked with MPD since the community service organization was founded in 2015.

Highlights included a shoe giveaway in which MPD bought 200 pairs of shoes, Safe Summer Fridays, Bike-A-Palooza and the Spread the Light campaign, including "Coffee with a Cop."

"We get to see our police as normal human beings," Ross-Taylor said.

Coles said the agency wants to help change any misconceptions in the public about police.

"In our minds, we're like you do so much for us," she said of MPD. "This is the least that we could do."

Kasten said both the effectiveness of the department's community policing strategy and the community support for the police department are clear.

"Policing is a community process, and we could not do it alone. It takes everyone," he said. "And very clearly, everybody that has been here and spoken about that tonight has shared that, and that's certainly the thing, one of the things that we have seen in the 24 hours...that we've already been here. That is a shared philosophy."

Several members of MPD's leadership attended Monday's hearing, including Chief Ken Coontz, Assistant Chief Keith Porch and Captain Shari Robertson, who is the department's accreditation program manager.

The assessors will review online stored proofs of compliance in the department's software system, interview employees and visit MPD offices.

The accreditation certification is good for four years, and the police department is required to submit annual reports showing they're complying with the standards.

Written comments about MPD's ability to comply with the accreditation standards can be sent to:

Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement, Inc. (CALEA)

13575 Heathcote Boulevard, Suite 320

Gainesville, Virginia 20155

Residents can also contact the commission via phone at 703-352-4225 or email at , with "Mansfield Ohio Division of Police" in the subject line.



School shooting: Teachers in Pennsylvania get 16in bats after Florida

by the BBC

A Pennsylvanian school district has given its teachers baseball bats in the fight against school shooters.

All 500 teachers of Millcreek School District near Erie got a 16in (41cm) bat in the wake of the Parkland, Florida high school attack in February.

Though the bats are largely symbolic, Superintendent William Hall said, they are there as a "last resort".

"Unfortunately, we're in a day and age where one might need to use them to protect ourselves and our kids."

The superintendent said the aim was to have a "consistent tool" for every teacher in every classroom.

In March, another Pennsylvanian school district armed its teachers with buckets of rocks as a response to any potential shooter.

How does it work?

Teachers received the bats after a training day on how to respond to shooters. They will be locked up in classrooms.

Mr Hall said this was part of the district's shooting response plan , known by the acronym Trojan.

This stands for Threat assessment, Run, Obstruct and barricade, Join forces, Attack, and Never give up.

An online survey also asked whether teachers in the district should be armed if the state passed laws allowing it.

"It was about 70% to 30% that people would favour that," Mr Hall said, "but we're not really actively planning that right now."

Millcreek Education Association president Jon Cacchione said this was a tool if teachers had "nothing else".

"Part of the formula now is to fight back, and so I think the bats that were provided for the staff were symbolic of that."

The baseball bats reportedly cost the school district $1,800 (£1,270).



2nd family may have perished in same California county as Hart clan, police say

by Gregg Re

Just weeks after the Hart family perished in a fatal plunge from an ocean overlook along the Pacific Coast Highway in Northern California, rescuers are searching for another family feared to have driven into water in the same county.

Authorities said that a vehicle, which witnesses identified as possibly a Honda Pilot SUV, vanished after falling into the rain-swollen Eel River in Mendocino County around 1 p.m. Friday.

That's the same area where a family of four that vanished during a road trip from Portland, Ore., to their home in Santa Clarita, Calif., is last known to have been, the San Jose Police Department told the Associated Press.

A relative of the Thottapilly family who had been expecting them in San Jose on Friday reported them missing Sunday. Police identified their vehicle as a maroon or burgundy 2016 Honda Pilot with license plates 7MMX138.

Mendocino County sheriff's Lt. Shannon Barney told the Press-Democrat of Santa Rosa that officials will launch a search of the south fork of the Eel River once water levels drop and the flow slows.

The lost vehicle was reportedly southbound on Highway 101, pulled into a turnout and went over the side and into the river.

A "missing" poster shared by friends and family on Facebook identified the Thottapilly family members as 42-year-old Sandeep, 38-year-old Soumya, 12-year-old Siddhanty and 9-year-old Saachi.

The poster said their last known location was the "Klamath-Redwood National Park area."

The Klamath River and a string of state and federal redwood parks lie along Highway 101 to the north of where the vehicle was seeing falling into the Eel River. A powerful storm late last week dropped 2 to 5 inches of rain in the region.

Farther south along the Mendocino County coast, authorities continue to look for members of the Hart family, missing since an SUV made a deadly and possibly intentional plunge off a towering ocean bluff along the Pacific Coast Highway last month.

Sarah and Jennifer Hart and their six adopted children were believed to be in the SUV at the time. Five bodies were found March 26 near Mendocino, a few days after Washington state authorities began investigating the Harts for possible child neglect, but three of their children were not immediately recovered from the scene along the shoreline.

A body was pulled out of the surf Saturday but was not immediately identified.



'Cop Rocks' Program Encourage Positive Relationship With Police Officers

by Jeff Todd

ARVADA, Colo. (CBS4)Arvada police are hoping a new program will create positive interactions between officers and children in the community.

“We washed the rocks. We painted the rocks and we're mini want-to-be Picassos putting all these rocks together,” said Nancy Mayer, President of the Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association. “Arvada has like 50 parks, so there were quite a few volunteers who took these rocks and put them in parks.”

More than 60 rocks are now “hidden in plain sight” at parks around the city. The idea is for families to search for rocks, take a picture, then re-hide them in the park.

Many rocks are painted with officers, badges, or shields on them. A few are painted black with a blue line.

The Arvada Police Department is offering prizes if those rocks are found.

“Watching the families and the kids come in and meet the police officers and spread kindness around the community. It's a good way to get the kids out and have some fun,” said Natalie Blackie who helped start the program

Daphne Martonosi found a rock, and after posting it to Facebook, she got a prize.

“We went back there, and I was looking around for my rock and I found it,” she said.

“It's a good experience for her to come down to the police station and get to see the kind of police officers. It was an awesome experience. It was really neat for her to be able to do this,” said Daphne's dad, Attila Martonosi.

Police say communities with closer relationships with police have lower crime rates. They're hoping the Cop Rocks Program can help build relationships.



MSP seeking volunteers for faith-based community policing initiative

by News 10 WILX

BRIGHTON, MI (WILX) -- The Michigan State Police is looking for volunteers to join its CAUTION initiative, which stands for Community Action United Team in Our Neighborhood. CAUTION is a partnership between the MSP and clergy and faith group members of all faiths that works to increase trust and communication between law enforcement and residents.

The MSP created CAUTION in 2012 at the Flint Post. Since that time, the program has expanded to include faith leaders in Saginaw, Inkster, Muskegon Heights and Benton Harbor, with a total of 103 trained volunteers currently participating in the program. Due to the program's success, CAUTION is expanding statewide in 2018 to each of MSP's 30 posts.

CAUTION members meet regularly with post personnel to encourage dialog and information-sharing. THey can also be activated to respond alongside law enforcement at crime scenes to ease tensions and provide emotional support to residents. CAUTION members will partner with MSP members at civic events and diversionary events that seek to deter future criminal behavior in their communities.

The MSP provides various training to CAUTION volunteers, some which includes courses in critical incident defusing/debriefing, security in places of worship, responding with law enforcement in a crisis,
avoiding caregiver burnout and clergy's role at a critical incident scene. There is also an annual statewide CAUTION conference.

Interested individuals in Livingston and Washtenaw counties can contact Community Service Trooper (CST) Olivia Sivy to learn more (810)227-1051.



Mo. county 911 dispatchers to view school cameras in emergencies

Marion County 911 and the Hannibal public school district are teaming up to access any of the security cameras in operation throughout the school district

by Eric Dundon

HANNIBAL, Mo. — If an act of violence were to occur at Hannibal High School, in the very near future responding emergency personnel will have real-time intelligence with which to work thanks to a partnership being developed between Marion County 911 and the Hannibal public school district.

The partnership will enable Marion County 911 dispatchers to access any of the security cameras in operation throughout the school district.

"If we have an emergency situation it is imperative to have the ability to provide real-time, accurate intelligence to first responders, law enforcement, fire or any other agency on the scene," said Rich Stilley, business manager for the Hannibal school district.

Stilley says 911 personnel are well suited to be utilized in such situations.

"Having someone off campus providing the real-time intelligence to law enforcement in a professional, calm manner will expedite controlling the situation," said Stilley. "These professionals are trained to deal with emergency situations like these, and our staff will be able to get out of harm's way, evacuate the building and get to safety."

Marion County 911 will not be logged in to school district camera feeds on a regular basis.

"911 will not be monitoring the cameras on a daily or consistent basis. However, they will have access to our cameras in an emergency situation," said Stilley, adding that all district cameras will be available to 911 personnel.

The Hannibal public school district is not the only area school district interested in forging such a partnership, according to Mike Hall, director of Marion County 911.

"We have been approached by several school districts that we serve and are willing to partner with them in this manner, but we don't have all the details, procedural and technical, worked out yet," he said.

Before the cameras can be accessed by 911 some technical hurdles have had to be overcome.

"Because this is a remote in software we had to be very cognizant of firewalls, cybersecurity, some liability concerns and the protocol of how and when access would be granted," said Stilley.

The cost associated with providing this service will be minimal.

"We have been able to roll the access into a new program that we purchased that improves inventory, work-order systems and computer upgrades," explained Stilley.

According to Stilley, this is not a recent development.

"We had our initial conversation about a year ago at a Homeland Security meeting in Macon," he said.

Like other security and safety measures that have been implemented throughout the Hannibal school district in recent years, Stilley hopes it will never have to be utilized.

"We are very excited to roll this out. I want to reiterate how much the Hannibal school district appreciates the collaboration of all of our safety partners," he said. "While I pray that we never have to enact this protocol, I am pleased to have this additional safety measure in place."



Boy, 16, dies after being crushed by minivan seat in school parking lot despite 2 calls to 911

by Madeline Fish

Ohio authorities are investigating how a student was crushed to death in the back of a minivan at a school parking lot despite calling 911 two times with his exact location.

The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office is launching an investigation into the death of 16-year-old Kyle Plush, whose body was discovered by his father six hours after he called 911 begging for help and giving dispatchers the correct description of the minivan and his location.

According to audio recordings, Plush called 911 at least twice Tuesday afternoon while he was trapped in the 2002 Honda Odyssey minivan outside Seven Hills School. The third-row seat flipped and had him pinned inside.

“I'm going to die here,” the sophomore told the dispatcher during his first 911 call, which was placed shortly after 3 p.m. Tuesday. “I probably don't have much time left. Tell my mom I love her if I die.”

The dispatcher can be heard asking for his location several times but it was unclear whether Plush heard the operator's questions, according to police.

Meanwhile, Cincinnati police and a Hamilton County deputy sheriff responded to the area but couldn't locate Plush. The dispatcher attempted to call Plush's phone but there was no answer.

During his second 911 call, at 3:35 p.m., Plush explained to another dispatcher that “this is not a joke.”

"I am trapped inside my gold Honda Odyssey van in the parking lot of the Seven Hills. ... Send officers immediately. I'm almost dead.”

According to Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac, the information about the make and model of the vehicle was not relayed to the responding officers because the “dispatcher did not communicate with the caller.”

During the recordings, responding officers can be heard saying they had checked vehicles in the area but could not see anyone inside and eventually left the scene. An officer even suggested it could be a prank caller.

Six hours later, a family member found the minivan with the teenager's body inside.

The Hamilton County coroner ruled the death as a case of accidental asphyxia due to chest compression, determining that there had been no foul play.

“Something has gone terribly wrong,” Isaac said at a Thursday news conference. “We need to find out why.”

According to Isaac, the dispatcher who answered the second call was placed on administrative leave and an investigation into how the death happened -- looking at human and mechanical elements -- has been launched.



LA wins injunction against Trump's Department of Justice over community policing grant, saying it 'won't be bullied'

by Elizabeth Chou

A federal judge Thursday barred the U.S. Justice Department from giving priority status for multimillion-dollar community grants to police departments that cooperate with immigration officials.

The ruling was a win for the city of Los Angeles, which sued last October over the federal government's new scoring system for a grant that the city has used for its Summer Night Lights and Fall Friday Nights programs. Those programs offer evening activities at parks as a deterrence against youth involvement in gangs. The city was awarded the grant, known as the COPS Hiring Program, in 2012 and 2016.

The lawsuit, filed by L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer, contended that the scoring system created an uneven playing field, and in the future would continue to give preferential treatment to cities that submit the certification, and disadvantage applicants that don't.

“This is yet another dagger in the heart of the administration's efforts to use federal funds as a weapon to make local jurisdictions complicit in its civil immigration enforcement policies,” Feuer said during a City Hall news conference Thursday.

The ruling will apply “nationwide” and prevent the Justice Department from employing the preferential scoring process in future application cycles, according to Feuer.

Feuer said that while the Justice Department can still appeal, he is “confident” in the city's standing in the case.

The Justice Department did not immediately comment on the ruling, though U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions has said that cities that don't help enforce immigration law are endangering public safety.

The federal COPS Hiring Program awards more than $98 million to police department across the U.S. to hire more officers for community policing.

In the 2017 grant application cycle, the Department of Justice included a scoring category that awarded points to cities that certify that they will provide at least 48 hours notice of release time of immigrants in custody, and give federal immigration officials access into detention facilities to ask immigrants, or those thought to be immigrants, about their immigration status. The city of Los Angeles did not submit this certification.

During this past application round, the city applied for a $3.125 million to hire officers for a “community safety partnership program” that serves at-risk youth and build relationships with members of the community at public housing developments. The city did not receive the grant, but the Department of Justice said Los Angeles would not have been awarded it even if it had submitted the certification to obtain the additional points.

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Manuel Real, of the United States District Court Central District of California, said the conditions would “upset the constitutional balance” by forcing police to participate in immigration enforcement.

Los Angeles Police Department officials say that in order to keep Los Angeles safe, it needs the trust of its immigrant communities.

“This is a big victory,” said LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, who joined Feuer and Mayor Eric Garcetti at the news conference. Despite the Trump Administration's threat of withholding federal funds to the city, the police department has held fast to “philosophies” around immigration issues “that have been in place for decades,” he said.

The legal victory shows “we won't be bullied, and we can't be bought,” he said.

Beck said COPS grant funding can potentially pay for as many as 50 police officers. “That's a considerable amount of cops,” he said.

Many cities across the country have implemented sanctuary city laws as a way to focus on local crime, rather than detaining people suspected of being in the country illegally.

Garcetti said that he will listen to his own police officers, over any advice by a “politician.”

“Quit politicizing public safety,” he said, directing his comment at the Trump Administration.

Beck and other city officials said the aim of their legal challenge was not to obtain the grant funding, but to ensure that the scoring system will no longer be used in the future.

“This is your money that is coming back to you to make your communities safer,” he said.


New York

NYPD's neighborhood policing model to be tested on subways in Brooklyn, Bronx

by Alison Fox and Vincent Barone

The NYPD is moving its neighborhood policing model underground and testing the program in two different transit districts, officials said on Thursday, but experts wonder if the program will be as effective on subways as officials say it is in communities.

The Neighborhood Coordination Officers program, which the NYPD first started rolling out in 2015, is aimed at giving officers more discretion and allowing people to become more familiar with officers in their area. The pilot will roll out in Transit District 30, which covers a large swath of Brooklyn, and Transit District 12, which covers several stations along the 2, 5 and 6 trains in the Bronx.

“It just gets you that familiarity with a cop,” said the NYPD's Chief of Department Terence Monahan, speaking at the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center station. “It's that commuter who gets on at that same station every single day ... starting to see the same faces. And when there's an issue, there's someone you could reach out to. You have your cop to reach out to.”

While police officials have long touted the ability for officers to use discretion as a cornerstone of neighborhood policing, advocates have criticized the department's treatment of issues like fare evasion, arguing that it tends to target poorer, African-American communities. A report last year by the Community Service Society of New York found that across Brooklyn's 157 subway stations, 66 percent of those arrested for turnstile jumping in 2016 were black and 87 percent were men.

A total of 11,265 people have been arrested for jumping the turnstile so far this year through April 8, and another 2,687 have been issued a summons for the offense. That's down nearly 44 percent from the same time period last year for arrests and 55.8 percent for summonses (when 17,046 people were arrested for fare evasion and 6,073 were issued a summons) according to the NYPD's data.

“People have to pay to get on the subways. We don't want people getting on for free, it's a quality-of-life issue,” Monahan said. “Neighborhood policing is allowing our officers to be innovative, use their initiative and use their discretion to keep people safe.”

David Jones, the president and CEO of the Community Service Society who serves as one of Mayor Bill de Blasio's appointees to the MTA's board, was hopeful that the effort would bring about better police-community relations because he is generally in favor of community policing. But he said he'd have to wait and see how the initiative plays out due to what he describes as the Transit Bureau's history of overly aggressive, broken-windows policing of turnstile jumping.

“Most of the work transit police are doing now is basically stopping fare evaders in poor communities and 90 percent of those fare evaders are people of color,” Jones said. “If this just exacerbates that, I'd be very concerned. If it's real community policing that focuses on violent crime and protecting women and others from assault — I'll be there cheering. I hope this is a step in the right direction but, because of the bureau's history, we have to be somewhat vigilant.”

Robert Gangi, the director of the Police Reform Organizing Project, who was a long-shot mayoral challenger of de Blasio's in 2017, said he didn't believe the effort would yield tangible results. He said riders have had to deal with police — occasionally ticketed or even arrested — for nonviolent Transit Bureau violations, like having feet up on subway seats or traveling between train cars.

“If what the mayor is after is to make more services and different kinds of help available to New Yorkers who ride the subways, then we should have more social workers in the subways,” Gangi said, “because they're more trained for and more talented at providing support services for people.”

Each transit district will have six NCO officers, each pair assigned to one of the three sectors in their district. And they will ride the trains within that sector. Transit Chief Edward Delatorre said there will also be four officers who patrol the sectors each shift to support the NCO's.

The officers will also be trained by the city's homeless outreach experts.

“The fact that there's going to be the same officers seeing the situation day in and day out ... they're also going to be able to help those outreach workers to know how to approach someone,” de Blasio said. “Remember, the goal is win the trust, get the person in off the street, keep them off the street.”

Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD detective sergeant and adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said he doesn't see transit's NCO program working the same as it has in precincts. But Giacalone, who thinks the neighborhood policing model is working, added riders may feel safer seeing the uniformed presence in the subways.

“I don't see it working the same way as an intelligence gathering tool. The community is, for lack of a better word, transient on the subway. People don't live there,” he said. “It frees up the transit cops to do what they do. Focus on the little issues so the transit cops can work riding the trains to prevent people from getting assaulted and people getting their phones stolen and the like.”

De Blasio, however, said he thinks the “very local focus” that worked in precincts will work in transit as well.

“If you see the same officer 10 times and you have something you're concerned about, I think you know New Yorkers are not going to be shy about it,” he said. “At first it sounds so far out of the box you might wonder, will it work? What I have seen happen is — the whole neighborhood policing notion — when people get familiar with each other ... it just starts a natural dialogue.”

The NYPD will also put up posters with the photos of that sector's officers and an email address to contact them.

Citywide, there are currently 63 precincts and nine housing districts participating in the NCO program. Police said all 12 transit districts are expected to have the program by the beginning of next year.


What we know about the U.S. airstrikes on Syria

by the Editors, USA TODAY

The U.S. led airstrikes in a coordinated attack with U.K. and French allies against the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, President Trump announced Friday night.

Here's what we know about the attack:

What happened?

Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said precision missile strikes targeted three areas of Syria: a scientific research center near Damascus, a chemical weapons storage facility west of Homs and a storage facility and command post near Homs. Dunford said there was some "activity" by Syrian surface-to-air missiles, but there were no reports of U.S. or allied casualties.

Raw video footage and images from Syria show missiles darting through the sky during the attack.


Friday night, President Trump said he ordered the missile strikes against the regime in a coordinated attack with U.K. and French allies. It was a predictable move , considering Trump made threats earlier in the week.

Why did the U.S. strike?

Trump said the strikes were intended to deter the use of chemical weapons like the attack on civilians in the Syrian town of Douma last week.

Syria has denied using chemical weapons but Friday night, the White House released what it said was "a significant body of information" that pointed to the use of chlorine gas — and possibly also the deadly nerve agent sarin. That evidence includes victim statements, images of barrel bomb fragments, and reliable reports of Syrian government helicopters in the area.

What are others saying about the attack?

Russian President Vladimir Putin called the airstrikes an “act of aggression” and a “destructive influence on the entire system of international relations." Syria's President Bashar Assad announced that his country would respond, while Russia's ambassador to Washington warned of unspecified "consequences."

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the attack "sends a clear message that the international community will not stand by and tolerate the use of chemical weapons."

What happens next?

It's hard to predict how any of the various forces in Syria will react . Opposition forces, including the Islamic State, might try to take advantage of a weakened Assad. Iran and Russia could step up their involvement in the country.

Putin said Russia will call for an emergency meeting of the United Nations' Security Council.

Trump said the the U.S. was prepared to continue the attacks until the Syrian regime stops using chemical weapons.


Syria air strikes: Were they legal?

by Marc Weller

The justifications put forward by the US, UK and France for the air strikes in Syria have focused on the need to maintain the international prohibition against the use of chemical weapons, to degrade President Assad's chemical weapons arsenal and to deter further chemical attacks against civilians in Syria.

Prime Minister Theresa May argued that the UK has always stood up for the defence of global rules and standards in the national interest of the UK and of the organised international community as a whole.

Legally, this position returns the world to the era before the advent of the UN Charter. The Charter allows states to use force in self-defence and, arguably, for the protection of populations threatened by extermination at the hands of their own government. The use of force for broader purposes of maintaining international security is also possible. However, such action is subject to the requirement of a mandate from the UN Security Council.

This arrangement tries to balance the need of states to preserve their security in the face of an actual or imminent attack through self-defence when strictly necessary with the need to ensure that force cannot be used as a routine tool of international politics. Hence, international law since 1945 precludes military strikes in retaliation - to teach other states a lesson, as it were - or by way of reprisal. Reprisals are acts that are in principle unlawful, but they can be excused because they aim to force a state back into compliance with its international obligations.

Hence, in 1981 Israel was condemned by the UN Security Council when it attacked the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq. Israel had argued that it might contribute to the production of weapons of mass destruction in the future. A US attack against an alleged chemical weapons facility in Sudan in 1998 in response to US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania was also criticised.

In this instance, the three states mounting the air strikes have taken it upon themselves to force Syria into compliance with its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention. Syria joined the Convention in 2013 as part of the diplomatic settlement that followed the failure of the UK, and the US, to go through with threatened air attacks after gruesome chemical attacks in Eastern Ghouta. The Convention prohibits the production, possession and use of chemical weapons. No fewer than 192 states have signed.

Syria was also subjected to additional duties contained in mandatory Security Council resolution 2118, reinforcing these obligations and providing for the destruction of its chemical weapons stockpile. In an impressive example of international co-operation, also involving Russia, this was largely achieved a year later, by September 2014.

Russian veto

However, since then, there have been some 40 recorded instances of alleged chemical weapons use in Syria. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has the ability to dispatch fact-finding missions to determine whether such weapons have actually been used.

A special joint mechanism was set up by the OPCW and the Security Council with a mandate to assign responsibility for such uses. However, after the mechanism pointed the finger at the Assad government last year, Russia vetoed its renewal.

An attempt to establish a new mechanism empowered to determine responsibility for the latest use of chemical weapons in Douma failed this week, again due to a Russian veto in the Security Council. Russia's own proposed investigatory mechanism, which was opposed by the Western states and others, would have lacked that power.

The three states intervening in Syria now argue that there was no prospect of obtaining a mandate from the Council to confront chemical weapons use by Syria. In striking Syria, they claim to have fulfilled an international public order function of defending the credibility of the prohibition of the use of chemical weapons in general terms, and enforcing Syria's obligations in particular.

This argument is somewhat reminiscent of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, supposedly to enforce Baghdad's disarmament obligations imposed by the Security Council in the absence of clear Security Council authorisation. Moreover, in April of last year, President Trump launched 59 cruise missiles against the Syrian air-base at Shayrat. It was claimed that the installation had been involved in a chemical attack in the town of Khan Sheikhun, again to restrain further chemical weapons use.

The blockage in the Security Council on Syria opens up space for this kind of argument. The Chemical Weapons Convention provides for referral of grave instances such as the Douma attack to the Security Council for enforcement action. But the Council could not even agree on a mechanism to establish responsibility, not to speak of more decisive action to repress future uses of such weapons.

The claim of the three states involved to act instead of the Council, as the world's enforcement agent of a highly important international rule, is of course being resisted by some. Russia has already asserted that the attacks flagrantly violate the prohibition of the use of force. The UN secretary general has also emphasised the need to respect the primacy of the Security Council.

Humanitarian suffering

The arrogation of the functions of the Council by a group of states claiming to act in the common interest therefore reflects the reality of the present, little Cold War between Russia and the West. The breakdown of the consensus that facilitates the operation of collective security necessarily results in unilateral acts.

In addition to the general interest in maintaining the obligation to refrain from chemical weapons use, Mrs May also referred to the protection of civilians from further chemical attacks to alleviate further humanitarian suffering. This, in fact, is a stronger and more persuasive legal argument in favour of the strikes.

In 2013, when the use of force was expected after the Ghouta attack, the UK expressly invoked the doctrine of humanitarian intervention. A good argument has been made that states can act in cases of overwhelming humanitarian necessity that cannot be addressed by any other means to protect populations in danger of imminent destruction. The application of this doctrine is not restricted to uses of chemical weapons against civilian populations. However, given the uncontrollable and indiscriminate effect of chemical weapons, their use against civilians offers perhaps the clearest trigger for the application of this doctrine.

It could also be argued that the attacks aim to preserve the national security of the states involved in the attacks, by way of an extensive right to self-defence.

Every state may defend itself, under some circumstances even before an armed attack aimed at it has landed on its territory. But the attack must be imminent, leaving no choice of means and the response must be proportionate to the attack.

In the run-up to the Iraq war of 2003, there was the famous 45-minute claim concerning Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction. Laying the ground for an argument of anticipatory self-defence against a strike that might come in the future, the UK argued that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction might reach UK military bases in Cyprus with minimum warning.

But there was no evidence that Baghdad was contemplating such an attack and the argument was abandoned. Similarly, there is no suggestion in this instance that Syria was preparing to launch an attack against the US, UK or France.


From the Department of Homeland Security

Cyber Storm VI: Testing the Nation's Ability to Respond to a Cyber Incident

Cyber threats to government networks and other critical infrastructure are one of our Nation's most pressing security challenges. Consequences from attacks threaten the safety and security of the homeland, our economic competitiveness, and our way of life. With the majority of critical infrastructure owned and operated by the private sector, securing cyberspace is only possible through close collaboration, what we described as a “Collective Defense” model of shared responsibility.

Exercises are critical to testing this coordination, and more importantly, to building and maintaining strong relationships among the cyber incident response community. Carried out regularly, these exercises allow us to achieve solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing the homeland as well as raise the overall profile of cyber events and cyberattacks.

Cyber Storm VI was led by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and involved more than 1,000 members of the private industry, government and international partners who participated in a three-day distributed exercise that focused on the critical manufacturing and transportation sectors. The exercise evaluated and improved the capabilities of the cyber response community, informed preparedness and resilience planning efforts, and evaluated the effectiveness of the National Cyber Incident Response Plan in guiding response. Growth in this community of partners acknowledges the increasing value of information sharing and the benefits of exercising their organizations cyber response plans.

During the exercise, participants faced a simulated cyber crisis of national and international consequence that required them to use their training, policies, processes, and procedures for identifying and responding to a multi-sector cyberattack targeting critical infrastructure. The Cyber Storm VI scenario was an environment where no single organization was is in a position to stop or mitigate the impacts of the attack by itself. Thus, the scenario promoted cooperation and information sharing across the United States government, states, the private sector, and international partners.

The DHS National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) served as the focal point for federal response and coordination during the event. NCCIC is a 24x7 cyber situational awareness, incident response, and management center that is a national nexus of cyber and communications integration for the Federal Government, intelligence community, and law enforcement. The NCCIC is also designated as the federal interface for private sector information sharing, cross-sector coordination, and incident response.

A comprehensive after-action process will take place to discuss initial, high-level findings. An after-action conference will also be held to validate these findings and inform the development of an after action report. This information, along with the lessons from previous exercises and real-world incidents, is integral for strengthening the Nation's capacity to respond to a cyber incident. It also assists DHS in creating more challenging scenarios to test the security and resiliency of their partners in the years to come.

For more information about the Cyber Storm exercise series, and to view the final reports from Cyber Storms I-V, visit .


From the FBI

National Crime Victims' Rights Week

FBI Victim Specialists Support Victims in Crisis

When a terrorist strikes a community, a pedophile targets children online, or a fraudster victimizes an unsuspecting person or business, the FBI works to investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Yet the FBI's work doesn't stop there. One of the most important additional roles we play is assisting victims of federal crimes.

Whether providing emotional support to a child victim testifying in court or assisting with family travel logistics after a mass shooting, the FBI's victim assistance program, managed by our Victim Services Division, connects victims of federal crimes with the services they need during some of the most difficult moments of their lives.

“While our special agents are investigating, the victim specialists across the country are partnering with them to support the victim or the victim's family and to attend to their needs,” said Victim Services Division Assistant Director Kathryn Turman. “The victim specialists also ensure the lines of communication remain open with the investigative team.”

An important aspect of the victim assistance mission is the forensic child interviewing program, in which experts who are highly trained in child development conduct court-admissible interviews with child, adolescent, and young adult victims of crime. More than 9,000 child interviews have been conducted since the program was created, many of them involving human trafficking, sexual exploitation, or violent crime.

As the country marks National Crime Victims' Rights Week this week, the FBI's victim specialists are working every day—as they do all year long—to ensure victims and their families get access to the resources they need.