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.
EDITOR's NOTE: This first article features a NAASCA family member, Sean Wyman, who volunteers with us to be a NAASCA contact for survivors who are police officers, veterans and victims of PTSD. The original source (link below) includes a wonderful video with lots of footage of Sean at work and with and his family. Way to go Sean !!!
Tallahassee Police officer helping others to move forward from abuse
(VIDEO on site)
by Julie Montanaro
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Police officers often show up on the worst day of your life. They did for Sean Wyman too.
The Tallahassee Police officer says he was beaten as a child, thrust into foster care and had been running from those memories ever since.
Now, he's stopped running and he's hoping his story can help others turn their fear into fuel for a new life.
"I've been a police officer for over 18 years and I've known I wanted to be a police officer since I was 14,15 years old," Wyman said. "A lot of people unfortunately look at the uniform and look at the badge, but they don't look at the human being behind it.
"That's unfortunate because there's a lot of great people out here that serve and do this job and have been through rough times," he continued.
Wyman is not just a TPD officer but a former Army Ranger. He's a happily married father of two living out his lifelong dream.
"You want to live a normal life but at the same time, you're hiding something so...you're always wondering, what if somebody finds out all these things that happened to me," Wyman said.
Wyman says as a child, he was regularly beaten.
"I got hit with everything you could imagine. Anything within reach was fair play," Wyman said.
He repeatedly ran away from home.
"I got beaten to the point that I couldn't move for an entire week and when that happened, I got so angry and so fed up with all the beatings I actually thought about killing my stepfather," Wyman recalled.
That was the moment that forever changed Wyman's life. He ran away again, a ten year old surviving on the streets of Washington, D.C. On day three, a police officer found him sleeping in a hotel lobby.
"He was the one who called my mom that day and said, 'Hey, great news we found your son' and of course, that was the day my mom said he can't come home anymore...and started my life into foster care and group homes," he said.
That's where Wyman spent the next eight years, from the age of 10 to 18.
Wyman says it took him nearly 30 years to come to grips with what happened.
"In the early '80's it wasn't called abuse, excessive discipline maybe," Wyman said as he shared his story with social workers at a recent conference on Trauma Informed Care.
"Anxiety, yes. Fight or flight, absolutely," he continued.
Wyman is now sharing his experiences in hopes of inspiring others to change the trajectory of their lives.
"I want the biggest message to be, 'Don't give up,' Wyman said afterward.
Special education teacher Bronwyn McCreary was in the audience that day.
"When I heard his message, I was like 'Wow, there's stuff I could actually do,'" McCreary said.
She has since invited Wyman to talk to her students at Heritage Trails about overcoming trauma. Some of them have experienced it too.
"It's just motivational to see somebody come out the other side, own their story. Not to hide it, but to own it and share it in a way that brings hope and healing," McCreary said.
"If I was ever going to be who I was truly meant to be, I needed to let go. I needed to deal with my past and face it and then truly let go of it so I could move forward from my life," Wyman said.
Wyman recently wrote a book about his experiences and the steps he took to change his life. "Let Go: The Movement" encourages other abuse survivors to take stock and take action.
"No matter what you're going through, I understand it may seem impossible, but with the right movement anything is possible," Wyman said. "It starts with a mindset shift. Focus on what you can control. Your past is your past."
Police won't immediately release Las Vegas shooting records
The development came after the Nevada Supreme Court rejected a bid by police to delay the release of records
by Ken Ritter
LAS VEGAS — Police in Las Vegas said Friday they won't immediately release records that include officer body camera videos, 911 recordings, evidence logs and interview reports about the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
A meeting was planned Monday, nearly seven months after the shooting, to determine how and when documents and electronic records will be distributed, said Carla Alston, the top spokeswoman to Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo.
The development came after the Nevada Supreme Court rejected a bid by police to delay the release of records about the Oct. 1 shooting that killed 58 people and injured hundreds in an outdoor concert crowd on the Las Vegas Strip.
Five of seven justices upheld a February ruling by a state court judge in Las Vegas who said the records are public and should be released — after redaction of identifiable information including names, Social Security numbers and portions of videos in which people could be easily recognized.
Two justices said they would have preferred to hear arguments in the open-records case.
Clark County District Court Judge Richard Scotti also ruled in March that police can recoup from media some costs of producing paper and electronic records.
Scotti noted that police said there are almost 750 hours of body camera recordings from the incident, and volumes of 911 audio recordings.
Reporters have sought to learn what police and the FBI discovered about the shooter, Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old high-stakes video poker player who killed himself before police reached him.
Police and the FBI have said they believe Paddock acted alone but have not disclosed his motive.
Media attorneys argued the documents also could shed light on the response by public agencies, emergency workers and hotel officials while gunfire rained for more than 10 minutes from 32nd-story windows of the Mandalay Bay resort.
Eight media organizations including The Associated Press and the Las Vegas Review-Journal sought police records including dash-cam footage, closed-circuit television video, evidence logs, dispatch information, interview reports and police purchase orders and no-bid contracts related to the investigation.
Department lawyers argued that the investigation was not complete, that it would be time-consuming and costly to quickly comply with the public records requests, and that the materials could disclose investigative techniques.
Congressional Black Caucus to Host Twitter Town Hall on Community Policing and Police Accountability
by Monique Judge
On Tuesday, May 8, the Congressional Black Caucus will be hosting a Twitter town hall focused on community policing and police accountability, during which members will be responding to questions and comments from constituents, celebrities, activists and advocates alike.
In the wake of the recent police shootings of Diante Yarber , Saheed Vassell and Stephon Clark —shooting deaths that, at least at the outset, appear to be sanctioned by the state—people are looking for answers and solutions to the pervasive problem of police violence against black people.
This is a good opportunity to voice your concerns and have them heard. CBC Chairman Cedric Richmond (D-La.) and other members of the caucus will take over the CBC's official Twitter account for a full eight hours May 8, beginning at 9 a.m. and ending at 5 p.m. ET.
To ask a question or make a comment, simply use the hashtag #CBCDemandsJustice or @ the CBC's Twitter account.
Here are some sample tweets:
When will police be held accountable, @OfficialCBC? #CBCDemandsJustice
#StephonClark should still be alive #CBCDemandsJustice
What kind of federal legislation can be put in place to ensure police are held accountable @OfficialCBC?
Tweeting in any of those formats will make sure your tweet is seen, but using the hashtag in all tweets relevant to the town hall is best.
So be sure to take part in the town hall on Tuesday, May 8, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET.
WSPD: A Matter of Trust
The Winston-Salem Police Department has become a leader in community-oriented policing-and other cities are taking note.
by Jodi Stephenson Sarver
It doesn't require a detective's badge to uncover Winston-Salem Police Chief Catrina Thompson's commitment to forming relationships through community policing. The High 5 Friday program she initiated in area elementary schools last year, where officers line up to greet students as they arrive at school and give each one a high five on their way to class, is a great example of officers being at the forefront of building relationships with the community they serve.
“Community policing is working in partnership with citizens to provide law-enforcement services,” Thompson explains. “We can't arrest our way out of situations. There are 559 sworn officers in the department, but they're serving 242,000 citizens. It's important for officers to work with nonprofits, faith-based organizations, businesses, visitors, and more to reduce crime and build public safety and trust.”
The Winston-Salem Police Department, which is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, has been engaged in community policing for decades, and it's evident with the resource officers in local schools, the downtown bike patrol, the department's active use of social media, its public meetings and events, and the recently opened police substations off North Point Boulevard, Waughtown Street, and Somerset Drive (right off Stratford Road west of Hanes Mall).
Since Thompson became chief last year, she has attended two national conferences about building community trust and legitimacy and met police chiefs from across the country. She was surprised to learn that Winston-Salem is a leader in community policing nationally, and larger cities are beginning to emulate WSPD practices and procedures.
“It makes me proud that I'm part of this agency and community for that reason. When the Dallas police chief says her department is going to use our programs, it makes me believe we're doing things right,” Thompson says. “Do we have room for improvement? Yes, but I feel good that Winston-Salem is where it is.”
Building Local Trust
The U.S. Department of Justice, recognizing the strength of Winston-Salem's community policing initiatives, invited Thompson to participate in two roundtable discussions held recently in Washington, D.C., and Birmingham, Alabama. In addition, Winston-Salem was one of six cities chosen recently to pilot a training program conducted by the Department of Justice on strengthening community partnerships with police.
“That's when I started to realize how far ahead of other cities Winston-Salem is,” Thompson explains. “But to us, this is the only way we know how to do law enforcement.”
As interest from other agencies grew, Thompson worked with the city's communications department to develop a booklet outlying all of the community policing initiatives that WSPD has in place, many of which predate the national call to improve police-community relations as outlined by the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing, which issued its final report in May 2015. Many of the department's trust-building and community-engagement initiatives were initiated by officers addressing needs that they saw in the community. These initiatives include:
• Trust Talks: Since 2011, WSPD and the city's Human Relations Commission have held periodic talks to promote open conversation between officers and members of the community.
• W-S Police Foundation: This nonprofit, founded in 2015, helps generate the resources to support community outreach that the department otherwise could't afford, such as the new Sweet Reads truck that will deliver ice cream and books to children.
• Meeting with Community Stakeholders: WSPD representatives routinely attend faith-based, cultural, and community forums throughout the city.
• Coffee With a Cop & Tea Time: The department's Community Resources Unit organizes Coffee With a Cop monthly to give citizens and officers the opportunity to mingle over a cup of coffee. Tea Time is held quarterly and is similar, but only female officers are present to allow women to speak openly to them.
• Lunch & Learns: By request, Winston-Salem police officers speak to groups, including those at high schools.
• Various giveaways: This includes the Downtown Bike Patrol's Blanket, Hat, and Glove Giveaway each October and several programs that collect gifts for children during the holiday season (among them: Shop With a Cop, Pack the Patrol Car, and Fill the Fire Truck).
Thompson believes that the department's efforts to build trust over time helped the city avoid the mass protests and demonstrations that made national headlines in places like Cleveland, North Charleston, S.C., and Ferguson, Missouri, after black citizens were killed by officers. When Travis Page, a black man, died in WSPD custody after a foot pursuit in 2015, the department created a website with information about the case, including the officers' body camera footage and the district attorney's report on the case.
Another turbulent event happened last month when a white WSPD officer shot and killed a black man who refused to comply with the officer's repeated commands during a traffic stop. Although plenty of citizens are concerned about this incident, the WSPD has been involved in press conferences and community meetings to provide as much information as allowed, Weaver says.
“These efforts, which were initiated by the local NAACP and the Ministers' Conference of Winston-Salem & Vicinity, have ensured that civil disorder and riots have not occurred up to this point,” he says, adding, “we value our relationship with both of these community organizations.”
Thompson notes that national hot-button incidents always hit home, and that local officers are mindful of the impact. “We make sure employees know to do their job and be sensitive to what's happening.”
Part of good community relations consists of assuring citizens that officers are following guidelines. The WSPD has a system of checks and balances in place including:
Daily oversight of the department by city officials to ensure transparency.
A monthly public safety news conference.
Body-worn cameras (WSPD was an early adopter of cameras).
Citizen's Police Review Board, a third-party resource that citizens can use to appeal if they aren't satisfied with police personnel.
CrimeMapping.com, which is an online mapping site that records crimes and allows citizens to register for crime alerts in a specific area of the city.
Police 2 Citizen: A web portal that lets citizens view police records, search incidents, get crash reports, and submit a report.
The most important thing, Thompson says, is to learn from experience of others and be transparent and open. “The nature of the job is that we may have to draw our weapons, but we need to do so only when it's absolutely necessary to protect the lives and safety of ourselves and others.”
A Holistic Approach
Assistant Chief Wilson Weaver, who's entering his 34th year of service, echoes Thompson's belief that communication is the key to police-community relations. This is especially true, he says, when it comes to policing local neighborhoods.
“Relying on crime statistics alone for police work won't paint an accurate picture of a neighborhood,” Weaver says. “Residents need to have a say-so in what's happening in their community. That's why we focus on exchanging contact information and engaging in good conversations to get to know each other before something negative happens.”
He uses an example of neighbors calling the police to report teenagers hanging out on the street and being loud. Officers will respond to the calls, but WSPD will also talk to the teenagers to build relationships, then contact area nonprofits to learn about evening programs for the teens or work with the city to coordinate longer hours at a local recreation center. “The goal is to make life better for all people in the community,” he says.
As a young girl growing up in Detroit, Thompson remembers many adults giving her positive affirmation of her abilities or being there to listen when she was struggling. It's why she is doubly committed to our city's youth, especially in light of the national focus on gun violence in schools.
“Our school resource officers are doing great work in our schools daily,” she says. “They do their best to be encouraging and helpful while also building trust among the students. We want to advance education for students so they can grow up to be successful citizens and do positive things, and in turn, reduce the likelihood of engaging in criminal acts like joining gangs.”
The Winston-Salem Police Foundation (WSPF) also plays a big role in strengthening the relationship between police and youth. By researching other police foundations across the country, the WSPF board of directors found that in a few other cities the police department had implemented a community police ice cream truck.
“That was something we thought could work here,” says Justin Gomez, who serves on the WSPF board of directors. “Scott Sewell (board president) was also aware of the strategic focus within the Winston-Salem community on increasing early education reading proficiency and came up with the idea of the combo ice cream/reading truck.”
They named the effort “Sweet Reads” and quickly went to work, raising $125,000 to purchase and refurbish a truck. The idea is a simple one that could have a major impact: Police will pilot the truck to local neighborhoods and give out ice cream and books. They'll also read to the kids and chat with them. The public unveiling of the Operation Sweet Reads truck will be June 21 at Benton Convention Center. The event begins at 10 a.m. and is free to attend.
Thompson applauds the effort, noting that the truck isn't just about ice cream. “We know that ice cream alone doesn't have an impact,” she says. “The impact is from the positive relationships that develop when kids interact with us while we're not performing a law-enforcement activity.”
It all goes back to strengthening the bond and building trust between officers and the citizens they serve—whether that means sharing a cup of coffee or a cone of ice cream.
“That's what community and relationship-building is all about,” Thompson says. “Sharing an experience together, talking through our differences, and then finding a way to work them out.”
The City Trying 'Trauma Training' for Citizens-and cops
Newark tries to restore trust with a novel program.
by Simone Weichselbaum
Easing the deep and long-held mistrust between law enforcement and communities of color has no easy fix. But in Newark, N.J., police have embarked on an experiment that they hope will calm tensions by immersing both cops and residents in uncomfortable truths about slavery and Jim Crow, coupled with lessons on epigenetics and trauma.
The Newark Police Department has mandated that each of its approximately 1,110 officers participate in three days of training alongside city residents, swapping stories and ideas more commonly heard on a therapist's couch or college classroom, not in a precinct house.
As of April, the training — believed to be the first of its kind in the nation — has included 117 officers and 163 members of the public, who sit at cafeteria-style tables to share tales of personal trauma. The lessons go on to include an animated film about slavery, a debate about whether a police badge symbolizes oppression, lectures about various forms of trauma, and talks about why police tend to avoid talking about their struggles with stress and mental health.
“Police have to put themselves in the residents' shoes, the residents have to put themselves in the police shoes,” said Newark Police Director Anthony Ambrose, who has greenlit 13 training sessions since 2016.
About 10 percent of the police force has sat through the training, with more classes slated during the next few months, Ambrose said. City officials signed off on the program in 2015 after being approached by Brooklyn-based nonprofit Equal Justice USA, which developed the “From Trauma to Trust: Police/Community Collaborative Training" curriculum and is not charging the city.
“It was something that was needed,” Ambrose said. “Public trust was in the gutter.”
Newark's police department has been under federal oversight , called a consent decree, since March 2016 after a Department of Justice investigation found officers used excessive force during arrests while rarely facing discipline for citizen complaints. Officers were also criticized for stealing from suspects and unfairly detaining people who had mouthed off to law enforcement.
The city is undergoing court-ordered changes, including rewriting policies and revamping training. The trauma class, however, is not part of the federal reform prescription. A Jan. 15 progress report showed Newark police officials have missed several deadlines for building other required training on bias-free and community policing.
“As I've said to the community and to police leadership: ‘If you guys want to undertake training that you think is useful to the men in blue, that's fine, but that doesn't mean that it will satisfy the requirements of the consent decree, and it doesn't mean the consent decree requirements are going to be relaxed either,'” said Newark's federal monitor, Peter C. Harvey. “The goal is to work in a collaborative manner so we all get to the same goal. Everybody wants better policing.”
Ambrose noted that 2017 saw a 20 percent drop in complaints against police compared with 2016. The progress report, however, cast some doubt on those numbers, saying the department's record-keeping is outdated and unreliable. Ambrose contends that complaints against officers are being properly tracked.
The city's two police unions say they are supportive of the trauma training.
“It has to start somewhere,” said Paul Boxer, a psychology professor and director of the Center on Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice at Rutgers University-Newark. “I am interested to see what kind of impact it will have,” Boxer said.
Other departments nationwide have tried unconventional police training. Baltimore has taught officers about Plato, for example, and cops in Dallas have studied the benefits of mindfulness. The trauma training, however, is not based in research, giving pause to some experts.
“It's a significant use of resources, and it's selling the community a kind of model of reform that's based on a kind of wish-casting rather than concrete evidence that this is going to make a difference,” said Alex Vitale, sociology professor and coordinator of the Policing and Social Justice Project at Brooklyn College.
Equal Justice USA said its agenda stretches beyond the training, incorporating more social workers into police work and offering support services to cops. “We don't want individuals in a bad system. We want individuals who are behaving well and systems that hold them accountable,” said Fatimah Loren Muhammad, the director of Equal Justice USA's Trauma Advocacy Initiative, who has led the police trainings.
Graduates of the 15-hour trauma-training had mixed reactions to the experience. Will Brown, a 40-year-old pastor at Shekinah Glory Christian Church in Newark, said he told organizers not to use the word “trauma” if they wanted young men to participate.
“They don't feel like they've gone through traumatic experiences, because it was regular life,” Brown said. “You have to rename it, so it doesn't hit as hard.”
Officers said they appreciated the opportunity to explain the difficulties of the job to attentive residents but remarked that the training seemed biased against them.
“I had a problem that it was said that this uniform I wear represents oppression,” said Officer Edwin Padilla, 51 and a 22-year department veteran.
Still, Padilla said, he has incorporated lessons from the training on his daily patrol beat in the city's 2nd Precinct. It “helped me realize how much hate, how much trauma, so many feelings, so many different variables that we come into contact with every single day, how they affect people, how they affect me as an officer.”
Richmond Police hope to strengthen community outreach with beat walks
by Gretchen Ross
RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) - The rise in car thefts and other crimes in Richmond's East End have police officers stepping out of their patrol cars and onto the street to spend more time getting to know the community.
Officers patrolling the Church Hill area are adopting the new approach known as community policing, in order to build relationships and reduce crime in the neighborhood.
8News followed Richmond Police in Church Hill to experience the beat walks that officers take in the community.
Lieutenant Ken Roane and Officer Jon Michael Rosada prepare for a normal workday in Richmond, but today, demonstrating community policing, they leave their patrol car on 25th street.
"I'm doing great how are you, sir?" Lt. Roane asked a man walking on the street.
The man replies "I'm doing fine" and Lt. Roane offers him a business card.
The officers walk around the streets and speak to local leaders and business owners.
"I'll see if I can get my community care unit involved as well," said Lt. Roane, speaking to a local business owner. The business owner says "awesome" as he smiles at Lt. Roane.
The officers realize that driving a patrol car limits their ability to directly interact with the community.
"People who I've driven by for years in a police car...um, their tone changes as soon as I get out of the car. They realize okay, you're a person you're having around having a conversation," said Officer Rosada.
Richmond Police have had trouble with a recent rise in car thefts, with the department reporting a 50 percent increase in car break-ins from last year.
Firstly, officers want locals to lock their doors.
"90 percent of those vehicle thefts have no damage to the car. So it's not forced entry. They are being left unlocked. Keys in gloveboxes, things like that. So they're extremely easy targets. We just have to have a little bit more responsibility because your car is not your house," explained Officer Rosado.
Richmond Police insist that there's only so much walking the streets can do and that locals should also pick up the phone to report crimes.
"We need the community to call us. We don't have to come to your house. Nobody has to know it's you. We can have 100% anonymous calls basically saying this is happening here I want to bring it to you guys attention," said Officer Rosado.
Richmond Police are also spending more time walking in the City's public housing units, focusing on relationship building efforts with the youth in the area.
Officials: suspects illegally using Pa. 911 frequencies
"Individuals have used Cambria County radio frequency to transmit false information while posing as police officers"
by Patrick Buchnowski
EBENSBURG, Pa. — Cambria County authorities are searching for those responsible for tampering with the county's radio frequencies used by 911, EMS, police and Cambria County Prison.
"Unauthorized individuals have used Cambria County radio frequency to transmit false information to authorities while posing as police officers and corrections officers," District Attorney Kelly Callihan said in a statement.
"These actions are criminal and potentially place the safety of our first responders and the public in jeopardy," she said.
Robbin Melnyk, Department of Emergency Services deputy director and 911 coordinator, said there were 35 bogus transmissions on Thursday and Friday.
In some cases, the individuals used the police radio frequency to transmit information.
In one case, car 855 requested a radio check.
"We said 'You're loud and clear,' " Melnyk said. "Then the real 855 called and said that wasn't him."
Fire and EMS and police have multiple radio frequencies, she said. The county prison has one.
"It's really becoming alarming," Melnyk said. "What is this person trying to do?"
Chief Deputy District Attorney Scott Lilly said fraudulent 911 calls put people at risk.
"Lives are in danger because police are diverted based on false information," he said. "County detectives are diligently investigating."
The FCC is also investigating, Melnyk said.
A reward of up to $2,000 is being offered for information leading to an arrest.
The county is in the process of upgrading the 911 radio system.
"We are in the process of developing a new radio system with the technology to prevent this from happening," Melnyk said. "Until that system is put into place this could happen again."
Anyone with information is asked to call the Cambria County non-emergency number at 814-472-2100.
10 misconceptions about domestic violence calls
Police officers can develop tunnel vision on domestic violence calls that can lead to serious injury or death for both the victim and the officer
by Lt. Dan Marcou
Some of the most intense moments in any police officer's career occur during domestic violence calls . It is important to remember that by responding to these calls with extreme caution and choosing to investigate them thoroughly, police officers engage in proactive homicide prevention.
To help you in this effort, here are some common misconceptions about domestic violence that can create dangerous tunnel vision for officers during their response to and investigation of domestic violence cases.
1. Domestic violence only happens to poor people.
Fact: Domestic violence cuts across economic lines and occurs in homes across the economic spectrum. For example, the singer Rihanna was beaten by her singer boyfriend Chris Brown (both millionaire entertainers) while they traveled in a car to an award ceremony where Rihanna was about to be honored.
2. Alcohol is the real instigator of domestic violence.
Fact: It is true that alcohol is involved in many violent domestic calls police officers are called to. However, most abusers intimidate, control and physically abuse their victims regardless of whether the abuser is drunk or sober.
3. Domestic violence victims must like “it” since they seem drawn to abusers.
Fact: Abusers have an ability to wear a mask that hides their nature from friends, family and sometimes even themselves. Victims are drawn in by the charm of these individuals then captured by the terror when they discover their Prince or Princess Charming has a dark side. The truth is victims are not drawn to abusers. Abusers are drawn to people who will make good victims.
4. Victims provoke beatings as “they know how to push buttons.”
Fact: Most domestic violence victims spend their lives walking on eggshells trying not to do anything to set off their abuser. This is especially the case when they sense that tension is building within the abuser. In one case, the family knew when it was going to be a bad night by the way the abuser slammed the car door upon returning home. On these occasions, even the family dog would run and hide behind the couch for the duration of the evening.
5. Battered victims can just leave.
Fact: The deaths attributed to domestic violence are often a result of the victim attempting to leave . Victims are told by their abuser, “If you ever try to leave and take my kids from me, I will kill you.” These abusers control so many aspects of the victim's life, that victims are almost tethered to these master manipulators – emotionally, financially and, in extreme cases, physically – requiring many unsuccessful attempts before a victim can break free, if ever.
6. Battered victims are uneducated and have few job skills.
Fact: Some victims are indeed unemployed and hold minimum wage jobs, with no high school diploma, but others have PhDs. There are victims and abusers within all professions, sadly even within law enforcement.
7. Only women are victims of domestic violence.
Fact: Every person in a violent household is impacted to some degree by what they see, hear and feel, because they know at any given moment they too may become the target of this unreasonable rage. Their fears are not unreasonable. It is not so uncommon for officers to arrive at scenes where the entire family is killed by an offender.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics indicate that not only do one out of three women consider themselves survivors of “relationship violence,” but also one out of four men in this country report themselves to be victims of such violence. Clearly in most violent domestic calls the man is the abuser, but there are cases of abusive females, as well.
This misconception also ignores the many police officers who have become victims responding to domestic violence calls.
8. Boys who witness domestic abuse are destined to be abusers.
Fact: Every person shapes their own destiny and the decisions they make. It is not uncommon for children of abusers to deliberately choose to strive to create a safe environment for their own children. Some of us have even become police officers, using our hard-earned personal insights to better protect the victims we serve.
9. The person injured is probably the victim.
Fact: Going into an investigation it is important to realize that defense wounds are often inflicted by a victim on an attacker. These can range in severity from superficial scratches to a fatal wound. No call poses more opportunities to mistakenly arrest the victim rather than the perpetrator than domestic violence calls.
10. Police officers can't make a difference.
Fact: The way you respond and investigate a domestic violence call can make the difference between life or death to a family, or even you and your fellow officers. Practice the three Cs during a domestic violence investigation:
Cautious on the approach, during the investigation, throughout the contact, the follow-through and follow-up.
Complete and thorough, during your investigation.
Caring throughout the contact. This will impact positively, not only the victim, but any children who are watching. Your caring demeanor or the appearance or the absence of it, will be noticed and remembered by them for the rest of their lives.
Police officers not only find themselves in the peacekeeper role in these cases, but they are often the lead investigating officer in a position to arrest a dangerous repeat felony offender, thus serving to prevent future violence.
By being cautious, complete and caring you will save lives. Here is one last fact: In doing so the life you save may be your own.
Police and the Community: Social Media, Community Policing and Crime Prevention
by Mary Helt Gavin
Though occasionally a post will alert police officers here to criminal activity, social media have limited uses for most members of the Evanston Police Department. “We use Facebook and Twitter as a way to interact with the public – to give information about traffic and community events and programs and to communicate public safety concerns – and promote positive interactions,” said Officer Enjoli Daley of the Department's Community Strategies Division.
Officer Daley was one of six panelists at the police town hall meeting, held on April 26 at the Civic Center. Commander Joe Dugan, Investigations; Sergeant Michael Endre, Patrol; Detective Tom Giese, Investigations; Detective Steve Klopack, Neighborhood Enforcement Team; Detective Chris Tortorello, Intelligence Unit were the others on the panel to discuss social media, community policing and crime prevention.
Diversity Consultant Gilo Kwesi Logan, who facilitates the police town hall meetings, read questions from the audience, which included those present at the Civic Center and those watching the stream on Facebook.
“Social media are used to commit crimes, flaunt crimes, stop crimes, report crimes and catch criminals,” said Det. Tortorello. “We try to stay on top of current trends. …It's important to know what's out there.”
Social media are evolving, as are the criminals who use them. “There are emerging groups, emerging conflicts – young kids, take on new names, new terminology. A lot of ‘showing' will go on social media,” said Sgt. Endre.
Tips to the department alert officers to check out videos posted on social media sites.
“They post pictures of themselves with guns or doing drugs– even though they know we are on social media,” said Det. Tortorello. “You can put out there: ‘This is who we are. We don't like them. We're not afraid of them.'”
“It's amazing the way they taunt each other on social media,” said Cmdr. Dugan. “It sparks a lot of fighting and a lot of violence.”
The police do not monitor social media sites continually, so concerned residents call 911 to report an immediate or emergent situation, the officers said. A second number is the non-emergency police number, 847-866-5000. Text-a-tip cell phone reporting is valuable but not immediate, as the processing causes some delay.
But Evanston Police do not rely wholly on social media, said Sgt. Endre. “We are data-driven, narrative-driven. We prefer information direct from the community.”
Det. Geise said, “Social media is a tool. A lot of action is intelligence-based. … Social media can't be the be-all and end-all. We get good information from the community.
Sgt. Endre added, “Our deployment is based on local information,” said
Det. Klopak said, “When we're patrolling an area that has been a problem or is a problem, people will tell us … Stop us if you see something. He added, “With gangs and narcotics, we don't want to divulge too much.”
The Police Department uses social media for information about its activities. Immediate information, such as traffic snarls or special ops, will be posted on Twitter, while community events like Coffee with a Cop, can be found on the Department's Facebook page.
Those who do not use social media but still wish to be informed about police matters can sign up for alerts on the police department's web page at cityofevanton.org/police, said Cmdr. Dugan. Facebook and Twitter can be accessed even by those who are not members, said Det. Tortorello.
“Community engagement is the cornerstone of police work,” said Det. Tortorello
The 11 members of the Evanston Police Department's Community Policing unit attend ward meetings, visit community centers, participate department outreach efforts such as the Citizens Police Academy (for adults to learn about the Police Department), the Officer and Gentlemen Academy and Police Explorers (for high school students to learn about a career in law enforcement).
“Anyone in the [Community Policing] unit is expected to be out in the community,” Officer Daley said.
The Police Department offers tours and ride-alongs, and Community Policing officers participate in Evanston Township High School's annual Black Student summits.
A police car is no longer the sole method of transportation, as police try to get closer to the community. “We use bikes, ATVs and T3s [similar to a Segway], said Det. Tortorello.
Information from the community is valuable, the officers said.
“When we're patrolling an area that has been a problem or is a problem, people will tell us,” said Det. Klopak.
To the question “Do you think crimes are prevented if police are near – on a bike or on foot rather than a car?” Detective Tortorello said, “It's case-by-case.”
“This is a topic debated on academic levels. We like the community interaction,” said Sgt. Endre.
Det. Klopak said, “The call determines what mode [of transportation] to use – car, bike, etc.”
“Do laws ever prevent crime?” Dr. Logan read.
“Nothing written on paper is going to stop crime,” said Det. Klopak. “If there was a legislature that could stop crime completely, I'd be out of a job, but it would be a great thing.”
Sgt. Endre said, “Laws put people on notice. You may not agree with the law, but some people will follow it.” .
“The way we do crime prevention is to say, “Lock your house; lock up your stuff,” said Officer Daley. “The people are going to take your stuff if you don't lock it. People are going to break into your house if you don't lock it.”
Another question dealt with calling 911 vs. 311
Det. Geise said, “Call 911 for all emergencies and serious crimes in progress. If you see a situation that, if you were in it, you'd want the police there, call 911. Call 311 for loose dogs, graffiti, etc. Or call the non-emergency police number, 847-866-5000.”
This was the third and final police town hall meeting. “We have to keep partnerships strong and remember we're all in this together,” Dr. Logan said. “It's a partnership with the police and the community. They have the same goal: to live in a safe community, to create a safe community and to make a better community for all.”
Det. Geise said, “We thrive on community energy to make Evanston safe.”
Being Stopped by the Police
Dr. Logan posed two questions from the audience that were not related to the topics of the evening: “What should I do when stopped by the police?” and “What should I do when witnessing a citizen-police interaction?” The questions received basically the same response: “Do what the officer says; keep in mind that you do not know the circumstances around your or someone's being pulled over or stopped; and the camera is recording everything.”
“Acknowledge to the officer that you know you're being pulled over – flash your lights, pull over out of traffic and try to minimize traffic disruption,” said Det. Tortorello.
“Follow directions,” said Sgt. Endre. “You have very little information on why you're being stopped. Listen to his/her explanation. Remember they are wearing cameras. If you are uncertain or uncomfortable, ask that the officer call a supervisor.”
A person who observes citizen-police interaction and wants to get involved should understand, “we need some space to do our work,” said Sgt. Endre. “There are privacy concerns. During a stop is not the time to intervene. You could be putting yourself in jeopardy. You may not know the entire circumstance. … My advice would be ‘keep a good safe distance – 20-30 feet away.”
Det. Klopak added, “Know that you don't know why the person was stopped. We're recording the stop, the conversation that we're having. … We might be trying to diffuse a situation and make it calmer.”
Det. Geise said, “I often get ‘I'm concerned; is it safe?' Know that if we thought it was not safe, we would have evacuated the area if you were in danger you would not be around. … Know that the ultimate goal is to address the situation that needs to be addressed and go our separate ways. Let the police do their thing. Everything is being recorded.”
Sgt. Endre added, “Timing is everything, and this time is not during the interaction. When the interaction is clearly over, people go in opposite directions. The best way, best time is afterward, at the station.”
“At what point are the cameras on?” asked Dr. Logan. “What happens to what is recorded?
Cmdr. Dugan said, “Any time there is a call the cameras are on. The only time/exception is when we are helping the community … If you're a victim or a witness you can decline – if officers believe you. If there is an arrest or a use of force, this is a flagged event; the record is kept for two years then deleted. Otherwise, records are deleted after 60 days. This is governed by state laws.
“We turn off the camera at the end of the encounter. The cameras are then able to capture the police-citizen encounter. They can shut it down if talking to a supervisor.”
Bloomfield and Glen Ridge Community Police Officers Go Door to Door Introducing Themselves to Residents on Border Streets
by Tapinto Bloomfield Staff
BLOOMFIELD, NJ - The Bloomfield Police Department's Community Policing Unit teamed up with officers from the Glen Ridge Police Department to introduce themselves to residents who live on streets that border both towns.
Last week, the officers knocked on doors on Midland Avenue and Carteret Street and other nearby streets to kick off what they are calling the ‘Patch-2-Patch' outreach initiative.
“Bloomfield has a special relationship with our neighboring towns, and our Police Departments have always collaborated to help our communities, so I salute the Community Policing Unit and BPD leadership for organizing this great initiative,” said Mayor Michael Venezia. “In addition to operating community policing stations in town, our officers are always willing to speak with residents on the street to promote healthy community and police relationships, that have proven to reduce crime across the board.”
“Our Community Policing Unit, led by Lt. Naomi Zepeda, does a great job of citizen outreach, by organizing community events like our upcoming ‘Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs' event, and introducing new initiatives like ‘Patch-2-Patch.' Community policing works in Bloomfield, and we want residents who live on bordering streets to feel like they, too, can call our department and their concerns will be heard,” said Director of Public Safety Samuel DeMaio. “I would like to thank Lt. Zepeda for her great work, as well as Officer Aponte and Officer Calkin of the Community Policing Unit, and thank the Glen Ridge police officers and police leadership for making this collaborative initiative possible.”
During their outreach last week, the police officers described having fun and humorous encounters with residents, who were intrigued by the Community Policing Unit's various outreach programs. The Bloomfield and Glen Ridge police departments plan to conduct ‘Patch-2-Patch' outreach on a frequent basis throughout the spring and summer, until they knock on every door on all streets bordering Glen Ridge and Bloomfield.
Officer goes above and beyond for family of 8 in need
A California officer is being recognized for forever changing the lives of a family in need
by PoliceOne Staff
OAKLAND, Calif. — A California officer is being recognized for forever changing the lives of a family in need.
Oakland Officer Ira E. Anderson first met Nakenya Karim and her family nearly a year ago and has since developed a close relationship with them, KTVU reports . Anderson has spent time with the family and has even taken Karim's children on outings, including their first visit to the beach.
"Before Ira, I tell you there were a lot of things they saw negative about police officers," Karim said.
In August, the family of eight had to move out of their home due to high rent. The family also has been without a vehicle for six months.
"It takes a lot to take care of six kids. So everything we have goes into the children. I was trying to save up for another vehicle," Karim said.
Anderson stepped in and contacted Auto Plus Towing company to help the family out. Touched by the family's story, the company fixed a 2015 Dodge Caravan and gave it to the family free of cost.
"I grew up in the projects of San Francisco Hunters Point and I've seen both sides of the fence and any given moment you can be on the other side of the fence on the receiving end," Auto Plus Towing manager Donnie Robinson said.
Anderson said he was doing what he was taught growing up, and that helping the Karim family was his way of paying it forward.
"We just need to give each other the time of day. We're all human beings. We're all in the struggle, we can all help each other," Anderson said.
Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick praised the officer's act of kindness.
"This is true community policing. We need a community that loves their police and we need police that loves their community," Kirkpatrick said.
Auto Plus Towing said it's paying the entire bill for the vehicle including the registration.
ATF agent shot, critically injured in Chicago's South Side
by Greg Norman
An ATF agent is fighting for his life Friday after being critically injured in a shooting in Chicago during a joint assignment with the city's police force.
Residents near the Back of the Yards neighborhood said they heard a series of gunshots around 3:15 a.m. local time and the agent was later rushed to a nearby hospital.
“Officer hit, we need an escort to the hospital now!” an officer is heard saying in police scanner traffic in the moments after the shooting. “We need an ambulance as soon as possible. Find someone to meet us. He may be hit in the head.”
It was not immediately clear what the joint assignment's mission was and no one has been taken into custody, according to the Chicago Tribune .
A second officer was taken to a local hospital for observation but he was not hit by gunfire, police said.
In 2017, the ATF sent 20 agents to Chicago to coordinate with local authorities to combat the city's gun violence epidemic. The agents reportedly joined dozens already in the city, according to US News.
Before the announcement about the agent surge, President Trump took to Twitter, saying: "Crime and killings in Chicago have reached such epidemic proportions that I am sending in Federal help. 1714 shootings in Chicago this year!"
Criminals used a swarm of drones to surveil and disrupt an FBI hostage operation
Criminals are increasingly using drones in illegal activity and to spy on authority
by Thuy Ong
Criminals are increasingly using drones in illegal activity and as a way to counter surveil and disrupt the FBI and other law enforcement agents, according to a report by Defense One .
The publication cites one instance where an FBI hostage rescue team set up a raised observation post to monitor a situation. A so-called “swarm” of small drones appeared and assailed the FBI in a series of “high-speed low passes at the agents in the observation post to flush them.” That incident was shared by Joe Mazel, head of the agency's operational technology law unit at the AUVSI Xponential conference in Denver. Mazel said the FBI agents lost situational awareness. “We were then blind. It definitely presented some challenges.” Swarms of drones were also used to surveil the FBI agents and send video back to other gang members. Mazel declined to elaborate on where or when that incident took place, but said the suspects packed the drones in backpacks and brought them to the area, anticipating the arrival of the FBI.
The incidents illustrate how organized crime groups are increasingly using small consumer drones in support of their activities. Other notable uses include identifying witnesses by surveilling police departments to see who comes and goes from those facilities, and in support of robberies by observing gaps in security patrols and other vulnerabilities at target locations. Mazel also said that drones were being used in smuggling schemes in Australia to monitor port authority workers. The crime groups would force distractions like a false alarm if border guards get too close to a container that contains smuggled goods. Unauthorized drones have also been known to smuggle contraband into prisons .
Associate chief of US Customs and Border Protection Andrew Scharnweber told Defense One drones are also being deployed as scouts to spot their officers. “We have struggled with scouts, human scouts that come across the border. They're stationed on various mountaintops near the border and they would scout… to spot law enforcement and radio down to their counterparts to go around us. That activity has effectively been replaced by drones,” he said.
Defense One notes there is some recourse in battling criminal use of drones. Drone jamming equipment has been deployed by the US military in Syria and Iraq, though those techniques would likely not be appropriate for use in cities given the risk of interference with mobile phone and airplane signals. There are legal options, like requiring drones to broadcast their operator's identity, or to make “weaponized” consumer drones illegal. There are also anti-drone guns that jam all possible radio frequencies a drone can use to communicate with the operator, forcing it to land or return home. They remain illegal under FCC laws , though.
Government officials who spoke at the conference noted that the use of drones in criminal endeavors would likely get worse before it got better.
Police, medical personnel learn crisis skills
Not every call to the cops requires typical cop response, officers are told.
by Emily Mieure
Emergency responders and medical professionals gathered last week to work toward forming a local crisis intervention team to serve Teton County's needs.
A group of 20 officers, deputies, paramedics and nurses were certified after completing 40 hours of training by C.I.T. International, a nonprofit that teaches “safe and humane responses to those experiencing a mental health crisis.”
The training was broken up into categories focusing on everything from mood disorders, de-escalation and substance abuse to suicide, domestic violence and tactical considerations.
“Crisis intervention and its various different models are the up-and-coming training in law enforcement, just like in the '80s community policing was all the buzz,” said training coordinator Sgt. Andy Matuszewski. “This is kind of the direction we're going now.”
Matuszewski has been in law enforcement for 30 years, currently with the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office in Mississippi.
He developed a passion for crisis intervention through his work on the streets over the years.
“It's not just somebody who has a mental illness. It's not just somebody who has had a major issue in their life at some point,” he said. “It could be the person who's having a car crash and it's the most traumatic thing that's ever happened to them.”
Matuszewski now teaches officers and medical professionals how to properly deal with people who are experiencing one of the worst moments of their lives.
“It's critical,” he said. “Not just those events but dealing with the general populace at any given point in time.”
Attendees learned how to recognize a mental health crisis.
For example, behaviors of a schizophrenic can be similar to someone who is high on methamphetamine.
It's up to responders and health professionals to know the differences to determine the best treatment for a patient.
“The mental health portion of nursing is a challenge,” said Terri Conger, a nurse for St. John's Medical Center. “Mental health issues can mimic illegal street drugs. You have to have those assessment skills to dive in and ask more questions.”
A goal of the training is to teach officers, counselors and health providers how to work together.
“It was very eye-opening what these guys do every day,” said Cindy Terry, a critical care technician in the intensive care unit at St. John's Medical Center, talking about law enforcement. “My perception of their jobs was very wrong.”
During the domestic violence portion of training Thursday, officers were taught how to intervene in high-stress disputes.
Jackson police Sgt. Russ Ruschill encouraged his peers to refer victims of domestic violence to Community Safety Network, no matter how big or small the problem.
“Protection orders come at risk to the victim,” Ruschill said. “Does a protection order actually protect the victim? No, it just stacks charges on top of other charges. It's another consequence. Community Safety Network has immediate housing, transitional housing, and if they don't they will put someone up in a hotel.”
Sgt. Matuszewski reminded law enforcement attendees to “see the totality of the circumstances” and to remember that even though advocacy isn't their responsibility, it is a big part of long-term safety and healing for a victim of domestic violence. That could be the simple act of slipping a victim a Community Safety Network card before leaving the scene.
The Crisis Intervention Team training was a first for local emergency personnel.
Jackson Police Chief Todd Smith said it's been a goal for several years.
“Crisis intervention training gives officers the skills necessary to consider all the options before using force,” Smith said. “It's about slowing down a little bit and making sure we're considering everything to resolve the matter.”
The seminar was sponsored by the Prevention Management Organization of Wyoming and St. John's Episcopal Church.
“This training will undoubtedly be put to good use and will continue to guide our approach to dealing with critical incidents well into the future,” Smith said.
Police nationwide plead for end to 'paintball wars' inspired by videos
What started as an attempt to reduce gun violence has become anything but harmless
by Ivan Moreno
MILWAUKEE — Police across the country have responded to hundreds of paintball fights in recent weeks, a trend that authorities say began around the time an Atlanta rapper began posting YouTube videos encouraging people to trade real guns for paintball weapons.
But what started as an attempt to reduce gun violence has become anything but harmless. Police believe the phenomenon led to shooting deaths last month in Greensboro, North Carolina, and near Atlanta. The fast-moving paintballs have also injured bystanders caught in the crossfire and caused property damage in Milwaukee, Detroit and Atlanta.
"The message we want to put out is that while there's a movement to curb violence, this particular activity is a nuisance, and it causes significant damage. And we strongly believe this particular activity led to the death of a young man," said Capt. Nathaniel Davis of the Greensboro Police Department.
When officers responded to an April 20 report of a shooting, they found 19-year-old Zyquarius Shalom Quadre Bradley with gunshot wounds and paintball damage around his car. Police also found paintball guns and a mask. The investigation continues. No one has been arrested, Davis said.
A few weeks earlier, on April 1, a 3-year-old boy was killed in Dekalb County, Georgia, when a teenager shot a real gun at his attackers during a paintball fight. One of the bullets struck the boy, police said.
Greensboro police have responded to nearly 40 reports of paintball fights since the start of April.
The numbers are larger in bigger cities. Milwaukee police received at least 65 calls about paintball battles over the past week and arrested one person. Hours after Milwaukee officers held a news conference Monday to alert the public, a 32-year-old bicyclist was shot in the eye with a paintball.
During the news conference, police emphasized that paintballs can do serious damage on the streets because they travel up to 300 feet per second. At venues where people pay to play, participants shield themselves with face masks and other protective gear, including padded vests.
Police have not said conclusively what sparked the trend. But in Atlanta, one of the cities where paintball fights were first reported, the calls began near the end of March — around the same time that rapper 21 Savage began posting YouTube videos with the message "Guns Down, Paintballs Up," according to Sgt. John Chafee. In the videos, the rapper and his friends record themselves having "paintball wars" around the city.
"We do not consider this a game and have been taking it very seriously," Chafee said in an email. "There are venues suitable for playing appropriate paintball games. We will not tolerate this activity in public areas, and we stand ready to make arrests when needed."
Atlanta police could not immediately say how many people they have arrested or how many calls they have received about paintball battles. Before last month, incidents involving paintball guns were so rare they were not specifically tracked, police said.
21 Savage, whose real name is Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, did not respond to an email from The Associated Press.
In Detroit, police received 145 calls about paintball fights in just the past week. During one of those fights, a Detroit police captain's car was struck 11 times. One injured bystander is at risk of losing his eye, Detroit Police Chief James Craig said.
"It's under the guise of pick up paintball guns instead of real guns," Craig said. "That part is well-intentioned. But what's misguided is it's out in the public, and they're actually engaging in criminal activity when you talk about malicious destruction of property, when you talk about people who are being assaulted or injured."
Detroit police have arrested 10 people since last week and assembled a special unit to deal with the problem. Although there's been a slight decline in the number of calls in recent days, officers are still "taking a strong enforcement position," Craig said.
Paintball guns can also resemble real guns, making it difficult for police or someone else who is armed to tell the difference.
"So it really puts that person at tremendous risk," Craig said.
Teen arrested in ISIS-inspired plot to commit mass shooting at Texas mall
Matin Azizi-Yarand, 17, faces charges of making a terroristic threat and criminal solicitation of capital murder of a Texas peace officer
by Valerie Wigglesworth
DALLAS — A Plano West Senior High School student has been arrested on suspicion of plotting an ISIS-inspired mass shooting at Frisco's Stonebriar Centre mall, authorities announced Wednesday.
Matin Azizi-Yarand, 17, faces charges of making a terroristic threat and criminal solicitation of capital murder of a Texas peace officer. He was taken into custody at school just before noon Tuesday and transferred Wednesday to the Collin County Detention Center, where he was being held on $3 million bail. If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison.
Authorities say Azizi-Yarand planned to carry out the attack in mid-May with other participants. He had sent more than $1,400 to others to buy weapons and tactical gear, they allege, and had written a "Message to America" explaining his reasons for the attack.
The teen discussed his plans online with FBI confidential sources and an undercover employee, mulling over attacks at a school and a Hindu temple before settling on Stonebriar Centre, according to a probable cause affidavit. He allegedly told the sources that he had learned the layout of the mall and had been observing patrons and security there.
During one conversation, he allegedly stated: "I'd actually like to make a cop surrender and drop his gun // Then douse him with gasoline and burn him // record it."
The case was investigated by Plano and Frisco police and the FBI. It will be prosecuted by the Collin County district attorney's office.
"We are fortunate that the brave men and women of local and federal law enforcement work around the clock to prevent acts of terrorism and mass shootings," District Attorney Greg Willis said in a news release. "I'd like to thank the FBI's North Texas Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Frisco and Plano police departments for their efforts in this case and their vigilance in protecting the citizens of Collin County."
Eric K. Jackson, special agent in charge of the FBI's Dallas office, said in a news release that the agency knew of no other threats related to the case.
"The American people can take comfort in knowing that we continue to work diligently to protect and defend the United States and to ensure the safety of the communities we serve," Jackson said.
The U.S. attorney's office for the Eastern District of Texas explained that the case would be prosecuted at the state level, not federal, because Azizi-Yarand is considered a juvenile under federal law but an adult in the Texas court system.
U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown said the seriousness of the plot merited ensuring the teen is prosecuted as an adult.
His office plans to appoint one of its attorneys to help prosecute the case in state court.
The attack was being planned to happen during Ramadan to limit the number of Muslim casualties, the teen allegedly told one of the sources. Ramadan is Islam's holiest month and includes prayers, fasting from dawn to dusk and nightly feasts. This year's observance begins May 15.
"The facts of this case, though alarming, serve as an example of the power of cooperation and the importance of each individual remaining vigilant in the spirit of 'see something-say something,'" Frisco Police Chief John Bruce said in a news release.
During an interview from jail with KDFW-TV (Channel 4), Azizi-Yarand said that he had never shot a gun before and did not plan to carry out an attack at the mall. He responded to several other questions with "no comment." Asked his thoughts about the charges, he said: "They seem a bit extreme, yeah."
Talk of hostages
The teen stated that his plan was to cause financial damage, "setting stores on fire // gasoline // match // we won't suffocate to death lol we can shoot open weapons," according to the affidavit.
There was also talk of taking hostages, authorities allege. "We can be even more careful if you'd like and take hostages and assess which ones we can kill letting go the elderly and the children," he reportedly messaged one of the sources.
Neighbors who live near Azizi-Yarand and his family were shocked at news of his arrest.
"It's absolutely crazy," said Michelle Prevette, 45, who lives next door. "We just moved in two weeks ago. That's what tripping me out."
Prevette, an Uber driver, said she had just come home from work about noon Tuesday when she saw agents in FBI vests removing evidence next door.
"This whole street was packed with their cars," Prevette said. "They were tight-lipped. They wouldn't say nothing."
Jessica Schlagal, 25, who lives nearby, said she knew little about the suspect. "He always kept to himself. I just seen him run out to his car at night," Schlagal said.
Neither neighbor had seen the family since Tuesday's raid, and no one answered the door Wednesday at the family's one-story red-brick home.
The family could not be reached for comment.
'He doesn't represent us'
Khalid Y. Hamideh, a spokesman for the Islamic Association of Collin County, said he had heard that Azizi-Yarand recently converted to Islam. He said the teen may have visited a mosque in Frisco or Plano, but he wasn't sure because the mosques have an open-door policy and don't require membership.
He said the acts of hate allegedly planned by the teen "have no place in any faith."
"He doesn't speak for us. He doesn't represent us," Hamideh said. "And he definitely doesn't speak for our children."
He emphasized that ISIS does not represent the Islamic faith.
"We will continue to reiterate that their actions and ideology have no basis in the teachings of Islam," he said in a news release. "Their actions and teachings represent extremism, hate and murder — all of which are antithetical to what Muslims believe and practice."
Incidents like this are devastating to the Muslim community, said a group of leaders who gathered at a Plano mosque with Hamideh on Wednesday to address the threats.
"We know all right-thinking Americans understand that Islam and its followers cannot be held responsible for the irrational acts of violence and hate by individuals who purport to act in its name," said Dr. Adeel Haq, president of the Islamic Center of Frisco.
A quiet teen
Several juniors at Plano West Senior High said they knew Azizi-Yarand as a quiet teen who kept to himself. They said the only time they had seen him excited was during their freshman year, when he talked about converting to Islam.
Two students said that it was well known at Jasper High School, where they had been sophomores together, that the teen had been shopping for a gun.
A third classmate, who asked that his name be withheld to protect his privacy, said Azizi-Yarand had approached him their sophomore year to ask how to get a gun. The classmate said he had told Azizi-Yarand that he wasn't going to help him.
"He looked sad, and he just walked off," the student said. "He had his head down."
Another classmate said his friends submitted a tip to school officials to tell them Azizi-Yarand had been asking about acquiring a gun. But that student didn't know if the teen had gotten in trouble as a result. He said he continued to see him in class.
A spokeswoman for Plano ISD said she didn't have information about the students' claims and declined to comment further, citing student privacy and the criminal investigation.
'The lone wolves'
The teen began communicating online in December 2017 with "an FBI confidential human source" about his desire to either "make hijrah [travel]" or to do a terrorist attack within the United States, according to the probable cause affidavit.
Azizi-Yarand's messages often referred to his contacts as akhi, Arabic for "my brother."
"Look at all the other lone wolves // What training did they have yet they simply killed the kuffar?" he wrote, using a derogatory Arabic term for disbelievers. "The brothers in Europe the brother in Spain the brother in New York? Had no limitary [sic] training // it's not about numbers it's about getting a message across to these taghut countries // it's dangerous tho akhi we have to be careful some have gotten arrested // so we good brother?"
After the confidential source replied "OK," Azizi-Yarand allegedly said he wanted to wait until he was 18 so he could buy a rifle himself.
"But I swear I want to achieve Allahs [Gods] pleasure and kill the kuffar," he said, according to the affidavit. "I've only been reading ISIS magazine guides for performing operations and making bombs."
He allegedly also told the source that he had learned about Islam and ISIS on the Internet.
In a Jan. 29 message, he said he had settled on a local attack. "The isis guy said // We should attack America ... Are you fine with killing some Americans," he wrote, according to the affidavit.
During the online conversation, the teen was asked whether he had a target. "Yeah, I've played some scenarios in my head akhi, lol I don't plan to go in blind," he allegedly said.
References to massacres
His messages include references to attacks in Paris, Las Vegas, New York and Parkland, Fla. At one point, he commented, "how hard can it be to spray down a big crowd of people," the affidavit states.
The teen also allegedly sent the source several types of ISIS propaganda. There were links to videos about life in the Islamic State and about being a martyr, as well as an image with the ISIS flag and a gun and the text "Jihad [Struggle/Fight] and the rifle alone. NO negotiations, NO conferences and NO dialogue," according to the affidavit.
Azizi-Yarand also allegedly sent a document written by Eric Harris, one of the teen killers in the 1999 Columbine High School shootings, that detailed how to build pipe bombs.
Conversations soon turned to gathering money to buy weapons and tactical gear. He sent the sources photos of the mall in Frisco as well as gear needed, authorities allege.
"Firstly is guns // then ammo and magazines // second is a decent plate carrier that holds a lot of magazines // if we have enough money you can get a bullet proof mask // I wear glasses so that won't work," he wrote in late March, according to the affidavit.
Plate carriers "are military-style apparel that contain a metal plate and can be worn as a type of bullet-proof vest," the affidavit says.
In one message to the undercover employee, Azizi-Yarand allegedly said, "I'm expecting each of us having 10 mags minimum // So for that you'd need 900 rounds."
Push to be in shape
On April 24, the affidavit says, he messaged that he had gotten contact lenses so his glasses wouldn't impede their operation.
There also allegedly was talk about getting in shape physically for the attack. The teen told his confidential source to "take note of increasing cardio // try going to the gym // increasing stamina // can't shoot out of breath and shaking // because remember we ain't shooting paper targets," the affidavit says.
In late March, the affidavit says, Azizi-Yarand sent a copy of a speech he had written to the undercover employee. It read in part: "before you call us evil people look your selves this is only revenge you have started this war with us it will never end. We target your people as revenge for ours who were slaughtered ... You can move to another country that is not fighting the muslims but of course you want your easy lives in America so we will cast terror into your hearts as Allah commanded us."
The undercover employee got a post office box, and the teen allegedly later mailed a prepaid credit card with $500 to the address. On April 13, the undercover employee sent photos of the items that the officer had claimed to have purchased with the card. The next day, authorities allege, the teen sent two envelopes to the post office box. One had $590 in cash, and the other had $400.
'Just run and gun'
On April 14, authorities allege, Azizi-Yarand met with one of the confidential sources at a hotel. When asked about the plan, the teen said that it was "not too in depth" and that they would "just run and gun," the affidavit states.
At the teen's suggestion, the pair then walked to Stonebriar, which was less than a mile from the hotel. Azizi-Yarand exchanged messages and photos with the undercover employee as the two were walking around the mall and talking.
In conducting surveillance, the teen allegedly told the undercover employee that the mall's security guards "don't even have guns lmao ... They just have some pepper spray." He also allegedly noted: "Movie theater stays open until 12 // And they have a restaurant that stays around later // It's biggest attraction in my city."
Several of Azizi-Yarand's conversations centered on killing a police officer, the affidavit says. His plot to shoot up the mall allegedly relied on the officer there on patrol being killed first.
"The way I have it envisioned is we first go in [probably not with the rifles] glock in waist holster or whatever determine wherever the cop is and then one stays which is the one who will kill him...," the affidavit states. Azizi-Yarand allegedly said he would be the one to kill the officer.
During an April 18 conversation with the undercover employee, the affidavit says, the teen sent a link to a video of a person shooting an AR-15 rifle. Part of his message allegedly stated: "My rifle needs to be pretty and cool looking // put an I love America sticky on the side."
Plano Police Chief Gregory W. Rushin said it's unfortunate that terrorism "has become a concern in our lives."
"This case exemplifies the wide reach terrorist groups have through social media and other means to radicalize others in communities across our country," he said in a news release. "But more importantly it demonstrates the high level of collaboration that exists between law enforcement agencies to prevent such plots from being carried out."
Police in major cities revise shooting policies in response to vehicle attacks
Police in D.C., New York City, Chicago and Las Vegas are loosening policies to allow officers to fire at moving vehicles to stop vehicular attacks
by PoliceOne Staff
WASHINGTON — Police in major metropolitan hubs are revising their use-of-force policies regarding shooting at moving vehicles in wake of recent attacks.
The Washington Post reports that police in Washington, New York City, Chicago and Las Vegas are loosening policies to allow officers to fire at moving vehicles to stop vehicular attacks. The revision comes in response to recent vehicular attacks, such as the one in Toronto that left 10 dead last month.
“We have to balance the threat to the community with the idea we don't want to use fatal force unless we absolutely have to,” D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said. “It's really important to make sure officers completely understand this is a special circumstance, a last resort, but one that may be necessary.”
Concerns in tactics remain, but authorities said that in extreme circumstances, trying to shoot the driver of a vehicular attack may be the only way to save lives. Many law enforcement officials and experts believe that new rules regarding shooting at moving vehicles should be tailored as narrowly as possible.
In September, Las Vegas revised its policies and now allows officers to shoot at moving vehicles if it's “absolutely necessary to preserve human life.” In New York City, officers can now shoot at moving vehicles only “to terminate a mass casualty terrorist event.”
Newsham said the new revisions in D.C. are meant for only large-scale “ramming attacks.” Under the department's UOF directive, ramming attacks are defined as one “in which a perpetrator deliberately rams, or attempts to ram, a motor vehicle at a crowd of people with the intent to inflict fatal injuries.”
The chief added that the rules still inform officers that, in most cases, vehicles alone can't be considered a weapon and that officers should “avoid tactics that could place them in a position where a vehicle could be used against them.”
Police nationwide have stressed that they have already taken steps to prevent ramming attacks at high-profile events. During President Donald Trump's inauguration, for example, concrete barriers were erected and large trucks were used as blockades.
J. Thomas Manger, president of the Major City Chiefs Association, said that if preventative measures fail, and an officer happens to be there during an attack, shooting at a moving vehicle may be “the only tactic that's available.” Manager added that police leaders “want to make sure we're not putting police officers at a disadvantage or restricting them from doing what needs to be done.”
Terre Haute police officer fatally shot; suspect killed after shootout
by the Associated Press
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) — An Indiana officer was killed Friday evening in an exchange of gunfire between police and a homicide suspect, who barricaded himself inside an apartment complex and later died from injuries sustained during the shootout, authorities said.
Terre Haute police spokesman Ryan Adamson said the police officer's investigation of a homicide led him the apartment complex on the city's south side. Authorities did not reveal when the homicide under investigation occurred.
Adamson said the suspect in that homicide opened fire when he was approached by four investigators, wounding the officer who was later pronounced dead at Terre Haute Regional Hospital. No additional information was immediately available on the male officer who was killed.
"It is another tragic loss for the Wabash Valley and the Terre Haute Police Department," Indiana State Police spokesman Joe Watts said in announcing the officer's death.
Terre Haute Police Chief John Plasse said the suspect was wounded in a shootout with officers from the city and other agencies, then barricaded himself inside the building. The wounded suspect was treated by medics who responded to the scene, but the suspect later died, Plasse said.
The suspect's identity wasn't immediately released.
During the standoff officials called the area dangerous and urged residents to avoid it. Watt said state police will conduct an investigation into the events leading up to the fatal shooting.
The death of the police officer is the first of officer with the Terre Haute Police Department since July 11, 2011. That is when Officer Brent D. Long was killed while serving an arrest warrant with a U.S. Marshal's Fugitive Task Force.
The 34-year-old Long worked for the department for six years.
Mich. police department reveals name of police cat
The PD said the police cat's official duties will include community policing, supervising the K9 unit, and of course, providing cuddles
by Aleanna Siacon
TROY, Mich. — Welcome to the Troy Police Pawfficer Badges.
After a tight Twitter poll run by the @TroyMI_Police account to name their incoming police cat , it was revealed that the newest member of their department will be called Pawfficer Badges.
Pawfficer Badges won with 40% of the vote, closely trailed by Pawfficer Donut, with 34%, but clawing out other options, Pawfficer Pawla at 18% and Pawfficer Katrina, with 8%.
According the the police department's Twitter announcement, the Pawfficer's official duties will include community policing, supervising the K9 unit, and of course, providing cuddles.
The Twitter poll was particularly apropos for naming the police cat.
After all, this story got its start when the department pledged to get a police cat if they could hit 10,000 Twitter followers — a social media milestone they accomplished in just eight days.
A kitten was then "booked" for the role of police cat after five felines were brought in by the Michigan Humane Society for an audition.
In a Twitter message to the Free Press, Sgt. Meghan Lehman shared the following statement:
"We love the name. The cat will officially start her duties on May 11. She will be officially appointed to her position by Judge Hartig and Judge McGinnis of 52-4 District Court (our local court). We thank everyone that has supported this initiative, and look forward to getting the cat involved in many community outreach projects in the future."