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.
Death toll from Missouri duck boat accident climbs to 17
Officials says 14 people survived after a duck boat packed with tourists capsized and sank in high winds
by Margaret Stafford,
BRANSON, Mo. — Divers found four more bodies Friday in a Missouri lake where a duck boat packed with tourists capsized and sank in high winds, bringing the death toll to 17 in the country-and-western town of Branson, authorities said.
Investigators blamed stormy weather for the accident Thursday evening on Table Rock Lake. Winds at the time were blowing as hard as 65 mph (105 kph), according to the National Weather Service.
Fourteen people survived, including seven who were injured when the boat went down, state police said.
Named for their ability to travel on land and in water, duck boats have been involved in other serious accidents in the past, including the deaths of more than 40 people since 1999.
Five college students were killed in 2015 in Seattle when a duck boat collided with a bus. Thirteen people died in 1999 when a boat sank near Hot Springs, Arkansas.
"Duck boats are death traps," said Andrew Duffy, an attorney whose law firm Philadelphia law firm handled litigation related to two fatal duck boat accidents there. "They're not fit for water or land because they are half car and half boat."
Safety advocates have sought improvements and complained that too many agencies regulate the boats with varying safety requirements.
The boats were originally designed for the military, specifically to transport troops and supplies in World War II. They were later modified for use as sightseeing vehicles.
Passengers on a nearby boat described the chaos as the winds picked up and the water turned rough.
"Debris was flying everywhere," Allison Lester said in an interview Friday with ABC's "Good Morning America."
A severe thunderstorm warning had been issued for Branson at 6:32 p.m. Thursday, about 40 minutes before the boat tipped over.
Lester's boyfriend, Trent Behr, said they saw a woman in the water and helped to pull her into the boat. He said he was about to start CPR when an EMT arrived and took over.
The driver of the Ride the Ducks boat died, but the captain survived, Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said.
Divers located the vessel, which came to rest on its wheels on the lakebed, and authorities planned to recover it later Friday.
The boat sank in 40 feet (12 meters) of water and then rolled on its wheels into a deeper area with 80 feet (25 meters) of water. Investigators had no information about whether passengers were wearing life jackets or whether they were stowed onboard, the sheriff said.
The names of the dead were not immediately released.
A spokeswoman for Cox Medical Center Branson said four adults and three children arrived at the hospital shortly after the accident. Two adults were in critical condition, and the others were treated for minor injuries, Brandei Clifton said.
An off-duty deputy working security for the boat company helped rescue people after the boat turned over, the sheriff said. Dive teams from several law enforcement agencies assisted in the effort.
Suzanne Smagala with Ripley Entertainment, which owns Ride the Ducks in Branson, said the company was assisting authorities. She said this was the ride's only accident in more than 40 years of operation.
Thirteen bodies had been recovered by early Friday morning.
In the hours after the accident, the lake was calm. But another round of thunderstorms passed within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of the area Friday morning, and more storms were forecast for later in the day, some severe, weather service meteorologist Jason Schaumann warned.
Weather can change rapidly in this part of the country, moving from sunshine and calm to dangerous storms within minutes, Schaumann said.
"Tornado warnings get a lot of publicity, and severe thunderstorm warnings should be taken very seriously too, particularly if you are in a vulnerable area like a lake or campground," he said.
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board were expected to arrive on the scene later Friday morning.
President Donald Trump tweeted his condolences, extending his sympathies to the families and friends of those involved.
Branson, about 200 miles (320 kilometers) southeast of Kansas City, is a country-themed tourist mecca built on a reputation for patriotic and religious-themed shows in numerous theaters.
Table Rock Lake, east of Branson, was created in the late 1950s when the Corps of Army Engineers built a dam across the White River to provide hydroelectric power to the Ozarks.
Prevention, Intervention Better Than Incarceration, Book Says
by Elizabeth Santiago
“Terrence was 16 when he and three other teens attempted to rob a barbeque restaurant in Jacksonville, Florida. Though they left with no money and no one was injured, Terrence was sentenced to die in prison for his involvement in that crime.” — Cara H. Drinan, “The War on Kids”
“The War on Kids” by Cara H. Drinan shines a light on the reality of juvenile sentence practices in America. Drinan, a law professor at Catholic University of America's Columbus School of Law, shares her passion for kids involved in the juvenile justice system by putting their stories front and center. While humanizing their experiences, she also educates her readers on the challenges of the current system, and adds insight and further considerations to the momentum for juvenile justice reform.
The book begins by providing an historical view of the juvenile justice system. The system was first designed to be sensitive to the needs of young people who committed crimes. Young offenders were given sentences that addressed the factors that caused them to commit crimes and were sentenced according to their ability to rehabilitate. In the 1990s and 2000s, tougher laws on crime caused the U.S. system to move away from the idea that kids can be rehabilitated. Young offenders are now being treated as adults in many cases and given sentences that are more appropriate for adult offenders.
Drinan lays out the key predictors of whether a young person will commit a crime later: poverty, race (due to racial profiling and systemic bias), whether a child has an incarcerated parent and whether a child has experienced or witnessed violence in their home or community. These predictors are clear and can be used to support intervention and prevention when identified. In our current system, a juvenile offender's background circumstances are often not allowed for consideration. Because of tougher laws for both adults and kids, many young offenders are transferred to adult criminal court and subjected to harsh sentencing such as life without parole, even if they committed nonviolent crimes.
The war on kids disproportionally affects the poor, the uneducated and the vulnerable. There are four factors exacerbating this. Many states still continue to treat age-appropriate misconduct in school as the basis for criminal charges (this has also been referred to as the school-to-prison pipeline), which negatively affects black and Hispanic children more than other children, based on data Drinan shares in the book.
Once in the system, these children are easily moved from juvenile to adult criminal court. Once they are in adult court, they often go without effective representations and often face adult sentencing. And if that weren't enough, there is currently no evidence that putting kids in prison is helping in any way. In fact, studies show that incarceration itself tends to increase the likelihood of future criminal behavior.
Reform and responsibility
While there is so much bleakness discussed and shared in the book, there is also hope. Drinan shares a blueprint for reform and acknowledges the great work reformers are currently doing. The blueprint includes putting juveniles back in juvenile courts versus adult courts, providing age-appropriate sentencing and, what I thought was the most important point, arguing against incarceration and for rehabilitation. Some states, like Missouri, have already shifted away from long-term incarceration of youth toward small centers that emphasize routine, therapy and relationship building for detained youth.
It's important to note that the author does not absolve youth of the responsibility of their actions. Once a crime is committed, there needs to be acknowledgement of that crime. But, there is a lot we can do to intervene before crime happens if we pay attention to the factors in a child's life that predict criminal activity later.
For example, from my lens as a mentoring professional, t here has been a significant movement in the mentoring field over the last several decades to provide intentional mentoring relationships to youth who have experienced the disruption, stress and trauma associated with having a parent incarcerated and absent from the home. Mentoring is also a widely used prevention and intervention strategy for supporting youth who are involved in the criminal justice system. Often these programs emphasize mentoring relationships for youth who are early in their engagement in the juvenile justice system ? after an initial arrest or in lieu of sentencing for a minor crime.
While interventions like the ones I mentioned can help, there does need to be continued reform and movement toward large-scale change. Drinan writes, “If we take seriously the claim that states have instituted a war on kids in the last half century, and if we intend to generate lasting juvenile justice reform, there is only one path forward. We must launch a war for kids.”
Elizabeth Santiago is the chief program officer at MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership. MENTOR runs the National Mentoring Resource Center funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Securing the Big Game: Emerging Technologies for Event Security
by Scott Dunn, Senior Director, Business Development Solutions & Services, Axis Communications, Inc.
Usually, major sporting events occur without incident—and that's no accident. Security for these events tends to involve long-range planning by a wide array of agencies working together to provide the safest possible environment for players, coaches, fans, and others who are at (or near) the big game.
It certainly helps that the majority of cities that host these events have some practice securing games throughout the course of a regular season. However, nothing can quite match the intensity and security needs of a championship game, so even those cities that are used to dealing with large sporting events face significant and different challenges with safety and security for these national or international events. The main reason for these additional challenges is that these high-profile events present prime targets for those with less-than-honorable intentions, but they also bring with them a high potential for smaller-scale incidents such as fights, people entering the field of play, theft, and more. This makes the job of securing big-time sporting events difficult, to say the least.
For regular season games or annual events, law enforcement is almost always involved in safety and security planning year-round, to the point where it almost becomes routine. Situations become anything but routine when things change, whether it be the size and scope of an event or a new event altogether. For example, sometimes there are two large sporting events scheduled in the same city on the same day. While this may be good for fans and spectators, it can be incredibly challenging for law enforcement, who must deal with a temporary event and environment on top of the crowds and security needs of a regular game. For example, if one of the two events is a marathon, then the increased traffic in and around the city must be diverted away from the marathon course, and a large number of people should be stationed along the course or moving from one event to the other.
These types of situations involve necessary deployments to secure an event that doesn't happen all the time or may take place across an expanded area. At some events, public areas are converted to fan experience areas, introducing a need for security technology in a place where it hasn't been needed for regular season games. And while the technology itself is impressive, it has to be deployed in a way that provides law enforcement with eyes and ears on the scene to provide situational awareness above and beyond what is required for other games or events.
Because of these factors, planning for prominent special events must begin well in advance of the date, and law enforcement must play a crucial role very early on in the process. A chief consideration is the use of technology to augment human resources to make law enforcement more efficient and effective in dealing with potential problems.
At the core of securing high-profile sporting events are data, which come from many sources including surveillance cameras, video analytics technologies, 911 call centers, officers on patrol, tips from the general public, and more. In the most ideal situations and highly integrated systems, all of these data from multiple streams are aggregated into real-time information about what's happening in the sporting arena and surrounding areas.
However, capturing, analyzing, and sharing these data to develop actionable intelligence can be problematic in today's technological environment, as multiple parties are often using a variety of systems that might not be compatible with one another.
There has been a lot of discussion lately about the notion of smart or safe cities of the future and what exactly that means. Some movement has been made on this front, but there is still much work to be done to ensure seamless interconnectivity, communication, and data sharing among systems and technologies. For example, in the near future, there will be high-tech solutions like advanced video surveillance with video from multiple sources—venues, traffic cameras, and more—that will be fed directly into first responder vehicles and a fully integrated security operations center to provide situational awareness.
Smart city technology is in many ways accelerating at a rapid pace, but, to some extent, it's also still in its infancy. The vision of the future where law enforcement has eyes on everything requires all of these devices to communicate with each other, which is often not the case today. Large security operations centers must also all be integrated and interconnected.
While many cities and venues are making great strides with regard to advanced integrated technology, it is still possible to find some CRT or analog monitors being used in the security operations center of a sporting venue. This is hardly cutting-edge technology, but unfortunately, it's still out there in the field. This situation is similar to the one in casinos 15 to 20 years ago, where it was common for security staff to be responsible for changing video tapes in old CCTV systems. That market has come a long way since then, so there is definitely hope that smart city technology will follow suit.
New technologies are being added all the time, which can further complicate things. Securing these events by having eyes on everything means monitoring not only the ground in and around the event venue, but also the air above the event and surrounding areas. Every new technology and device used to secure an event adds to the growing list of devices deployed to secure the event, which must be able to communicate with each other and with security operations centers.
The main challenges for law enforcement during large events are communicating and sharing information with stadium security and other stakeholders in a seamless way. There are usually many entities involved in high-profile sporting events, including local and federal agencies. All of these organizations must be able to communicate throughout the venue, the city, and even the state. However, that can be a challenge given the multitude of varying technologies these groups use.
Making this happen depends largely upon the municipality and the venue's capability. For example, a city might have wide-scale video systems in place that are monitored in partnership by both public and private entities. In these locations, private businesses could easily share and provide law enforcement with access to video. In other cities, businesses may be able to install surveillance cameras and have them monitored by the city or law enforcement. Both public-private partnership models can help deter crime.
Obviously, the more law enforcement has the ability to access those systems, the better off the security situation will be, particularly with regard to large events. When law enforcement is able to tie systems in together and make sure officers can communicate with each other, this leads to faster response times, improved communication, and better overall safety and security. Therefore, forging public-private technology partnerships for sharing video and other information is an excellent way to improve security for these events.
That said, a wide range of mismatched systems is deployed in cities. What's in use for a sporting venue may be very different from what a hospital, school, or municipal building might have in place. This will be a big challenge moving forward, but it is likely that more cities will start working to deploy similar technologies across these various entities to improve information sharing, communication, and situational awareness. Just think how much easier it would be for law enforcement if locations across the entire city all used similar systems that could integrate and share information with each other. Many security technology companies are now offering solutions toward making that future a reality today.
The problem with aligning all these technologies is that there aren't single stakeholders in cities. There are a lot of different entities that must work together. As such, cost becomes a factor, as do installed legacy systems, as well as the argument that one size can't possibly fit all. Those elements must be addressed by technology providers in order to bridge those gaps and make cities and public venues safer.
In the meantime, the real challenge is going to be getting everyone on the same page. Technology can be wonderful and can help accomplish even the most difficult goals, but it does have limitations, and it's true that not all technology will work in all places. Nonetheless, there have been numerous examples of various entities and agencies working together to successfully secure high-profile events. It can be difficult when threats are evolving and each entity uses different communication technologies, but it's possible. Mobile technology has in many ways alleviated some of these concerns, but there is still much work to be done.
A primary technology that is used to deliver security for high-profile events is video surveillance. In some cases, hundreds of video cameras are positioned around multiple public venues throughout the city to monitor crowds, as well as in restricted and other sensitive areas. This video is typically fed into a security operations center, most likely situated in an undisclosed location somewhat near to the event venue, and ideally, law enforcement officers would be in that center as part of the monitoring team.
To some extent, law enforcement might look to video surveillance cameras and systems as a deterrent for many potential incidents. After all, if people know they're being monitored or recorded by a camera, they tend to moderate their behavior and refrain from doing the things they shouldn't. Just the presence of a camera can have that effect sometimes, and with audio capability, cameras are now able to use horns, sirens, and even live or recorded voices to prod people to leave areas where they shouldn't be or stop doing things they shouldn't be doing.
Despite the possible deterrence factor, the main goal of video systems is to provide situational awareness. As seen in Philadelphia following the Eagles' 2018 Super Bowl victory, the large crowds of people who gathered in the streets were likely unaware that there were cameras positioned throughout the city. In situations like this, it becomes more about response times and situational awareness.
A smart camera or sensor deployed in a particular location can provide early warning that something may be about to happen in that area. It can also provide the situational awareness needed for law enforcement to respond quickly and appropriately. When a notification is received, officers can be dispatched to get to the location before an incident occurs or, at minimum, get there early enough to prevent it from becoming a major issue. With any crowd control situation, it's best for everyone if a potentially dangerous situation can be diffused or contained before it gets completely out of control and requires a larger police presence to even attempt to contain any damage.
After an incident, video can provide excellent forensic information that allows law enforcement to go back and identify people or situations that could be educational. You could look at traffic patterns, for instance, to see where there might be bottlenecks before or after a game, then deploy officers to help mitigate those situations. By tying into traffic systems, this information and awareness can be provided in real time to address challenges as they are occurring rather than waiting to evaluate video to be better prepared for the next time—which, in the case of a major championship game, might not ever occur again, as many of them occur in a different city each time (e.g., Super Bowl, World Cup, World Series).
Identifying and Securing the Perimeter
One of the most challenging tasks for law enforcement may be to examine, identify, and secure what becomes an ever-expanding perimeter for large-scale events.
The first and most important question is: what, exactly is the perimeter? In many cases, this is not so cut-and-dry, particularly if a venue is nestled within a residential neighborhood. Consider a stadium in the middle of a city that is surrounded by residences, shops, restaurants, and other public and private buildings. The challenge of expanding the perimeter around the stadium lies in the impact it has on the larger community. Those who live and work in the surrounding environs are likely used to the increased security that each game day brings. However, heightening security for a high-profile game or other event might involve restricting traffic within a larger radius, which could create an inconvenience or burden for these individuals. Collaboration with venue security and communication with the public are key to achieving this goal. Smart traffic technology with capabilities such as incident detection could alert law enforcement to further investigate a particular area of interest or to work with transportation teams to more quickly respond and clear the way faster to avoid increasing congestion and related incidents.
Surveillance cameras are now equipped with technologies that allow them to be those eyes and ears for law enforcement in ways that just a few short years ago were only concepts.
Cooperation and Partnerships
In the absence of smart city–type technology, the biggest factor for securing events is cooperation. The first step in developing any security plan is to follow along the line of public-private partnerships and interagency communication to talk with each other about the biggest threats for a particular event or situation.
For starters, where is the venue located, in the middle of a city or somewhere more isolated? Each type of location presents its own risks and challenges. When in doubt, call in someone who has the qualifications and experience to analyze the situation and suggest solutions. Groups like the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) can provide information or education and refer stakeholders to individuals who can help law enforcement and other involved parities determine what technologies they have to work with at present, compared to what they could acquire to improve situational awareness through communication and mitigate some of these potential threats. These would be aligned with what a city's vision is for law enforcement, including what steps could be taken in public-private partnership to work together in the budget process and in the technology installation.
Historically, law enforcement has tended to have more influence in the area surrounding a venue or event than within the facility itself. However, there has been a trend lately of working more closely with security teams when it comes to communication systems for inside the venue because if something happens at an event, there's always law enforcement on site to handle situations.
When it comes to actually planning out and selecting the technologies to be deployed, another positive trend is more cooperation because city-wide systems are coming into play. So while law enforcement 10 to 15 years ago had very little to do with security technologies deployed inside a facility, today there's more cooperation between public and private entities with the common goal of securing sporting facilities and other public venues. Having the technology for law enforcement to support big public venue events is challenging, but, in many ways, public and private entities are now working collectively to get the most out of the resources they each have available.
Beyond Physical Security
It's no longer simply a matter of physical security for these events. There's also a logical component, with social media playing a big part in that arena. Those with experience securing high-profile events are using technology to mine information that's publicly available on social media for troublesome keywords and any indications of potential threats.
This information mining is becoming an important step in event safety and security. Information found on social media, online forums, and other websites can provide excellent insight into potential behavior and intentions of event attendees, particularly for high-profile events. Computer analytics solutions have evolved to a point where these technologies are readily available and relatively easy to deploy, so they should be deployed in conjunction with video cameras, access control, and other physical security solutions.
It's no secret that threats exist on a daily basis, which are simply magnified around high-profile sporting and other events, putting enormous pressure on law enforcement and private security teams. The main keys to securing these events are conducting risk assessments, identifying potential threats, mitigating those threats, and generating actionable situational intelligence for faster response.
The day is coming when smart city technology will be more reality than concept, but for the majority of situations, that day is still off in the future. In the meantime, by deploying the right mix of advanced technology and best practices for cooperation and public-private partnerships between various stakeholders, law enforcement can help ensure that the trend of safety and security at high-profile sporting events will continue well into the future.
Scott Dunn is the senior director of Business Development, Solutions and Services for Axis Communications, Inc. He is responsible for Axis' long-term strategy regarding in-house developed solutions including access control, hosted video, and future products and leads the company's Smart-Safe City initiative. Currently, he serves on the Security Industry Association Board of Directors and Advisory Council for NCS4.
Strengthening the Bond of Guardians
by U.S. Department of the Army, Office of the Provost Marshal General, Antiterrorism Division
Law enforcement leaders across the world represent a critical element in the sustained security of their respective communities. In the United States, this has been true since the initial European colonization of North America in the 17th century. In fact, in Jamestown, Virginia, and Plymouth, Massachusetts, Captains John Smith and Miles Standish, respectively, were assigned the essential role of police chief from the very beginning. What is sometimes lost in the role of police chief in those times is that Smith and Standish were also military leaders responsible for the defense of their communities. In their dual roles as police and military chiefs, one might say they were the antiterrorism officers of that time, protecting the community from all criminal threats—domestic and foreign. In spite of today's seemingly greater complexity, the simplicity of that defense concept is not lost and serves as a reminder of the shared responsibilities of police and military leaders forged long ago.
U.S. Army's Role in Combating Terrorism
In the 17th and 18th centuries, as the U.S. population exploded and legislation increased, it became necessary to draw clearer distinctions between the roles of law enforcement and the military. However, that did not change the essential principle of sharing information and lessons expressed from the very beginning. A recent Army Antiterrorism Strategic Plan advises that “awareness and vigilance is our most certain defense.” Of course, that important awareness comes from partnerships among like-minded and mission-oriented organizations like civilian law enforcement and military security professionals. For example, most U.S. Army installation antiterrorism working groups include representatives from local law enforcement agencies. Even more critically, Army law enforcement personnel use the same eGuardian system for sharing information that most civilian U.S. law enforcement agencies use. Moreover, the Joint Terrorism Task Forces at the state level frequently include a military liaison and the information, by design, is shared with appropriate local, state, and federal entities, including all branches of the military. One might make the point that links between law enforcement and military, although more complex, are as formidable as they were in John Smith's time.
According to the U.S. Army's posture statement, counterterrorism—which many civilian law enforcement officers also engage in—is a key role for the military:
The United States Army is the most formidable ground combat force on earth. America's Army has convincingly demonstrated its competence and effectiveness in diverse missions overseas and in the homeland. Today, these missions include: fighting terrorists around the world; training Afghan and Iraqi Army forces; peacekeeping in the Sinai Peninsula and Kosovo; missile defense in the Persian Gulf; security assistance in Africa and South America; deterrence in Europe, the Republic of Korea, and Kuwait; rapid deployment global contingency forces; and response forces for the homeland.
U.S. Army installations like Fort Hood; standalone facilities such as recruiting stations; and operational units, including Reserve and National Guard embedded within local communities, demonstrate both the diversity of the Army and its integration with local communities. As such, the U.S. Army's presence within these communities involves continuous interaction with local, county, state, federal, and international law enforcement agencies. The Army and police also share a common mission in the prevention of terrorism. The Army is fighting terrorists around the globe and partnering with host nation and U.S. law enforcement to protect communities and restrict the spread of terrorism. The complexity of threats and the overwhelming need for cooperation among the U.S. Army, local civilian, interagency, and host nation law enforcement communities is a reality in today's environment to effectively counter terrorist activities. These relationships are vital to protecting all communities throughout the world. Increasing partnerships and collaboration between the U.S. Army and law enforcement is a critical part of the Army's antiterrorism strategy and how it organizes for success.
One of the U.S. Army's premier capabilities to understand and track the threat of terrorism is the Army Threat Integration Center (ARTIC). The ARTIC serves as a 24/7 joint law enforcement and intelligence fusion center, responsible for global threat information sharing focused on both internal and external threats to the Army. Operated by the Office of the Provost Marshal General, the ARTIC directly supports current and future operations from an all-threats and all-hazards perspective. The ARTIC integrates, analyzes, and disseminates all-source threat information for commanders, law enforcement, and force protection officials at all levels. This threat information enhances the Army's operational capabilities and provides shared situational awareness, effective risk-based decisions, and the protection of Army personnel, assets, and information worldwide. Perhaps most important, the ARTIC connects and coordinates regularly with both the intelligence and law enforcement communities at all levels, and is connected to sister services through the U.S. Department of Defense Global Watch and the Pentagon's Combined Intelligence Center, as well as collaborating with non-U.S. entities such as INTERPOL and the Canadian Transport Security Authority. Fiscal year 2017, the ARTIC generated more than 300 terrorist threat reports to support Army senior leaders and subordinate commands; more than 150 suspicious activity and situational awareness products of force protection interest in support of multi-service and law enforcement partners; and processed reports of non-imminent threats that affected more than 2,200 soldiers, Army civilians, contractors, retirees, dependents, and family members. The ARTIC is linked directly to the Homeland Security Information Network, a shared system used by U.S. federal law enforcement and local law enforcement partners and agencies that enables communication with 78 fusion centers.
Looking Ahead: Improved Information Sharing
For a longer view of future threats and necessary preparations, the U.S. Army periodically updates the Army Antiterrorism Strategic Plan, which, for many years, has expressed the Army's vision for preventing terrorist attacks. The most recent strategic plan, titled Closing the Ring , appropriately includes objectives to improve fusion of information and intelligence. These objectives could not be met unless the requisite formal and informal links with civilian law enforcement supported these efforts. There are numerous examples where alert citizens and active policing have thwarted potential terrorist attacks. These examples include the 2011 arrest in Killeen, Texas, of Naser Jason Abdo, who planned to attack soldiers at a restaurant outside Fort Hood, and the 2016 arrest of Lionel Williams, who favored “hard targets” such as military or police in an alleged plan to conduct a San Bernardino–style attack. In a more recent example, police in Ithaca, New York, foiled a potential attack in March 2018 thanks to a report from a Walmart employee. Although the prospective terrorist target is unclear, it is worth noting that multiple Army recruiting stations, Army ROTC detachments, National Guard armories, and Army Corps of Engineers projects are within a few miles of where the arrest took place. Sharing information of this kind could have long-term implications for protection and partnerships across a broad local area.
There are numerous examples where alert citizens and active policing have thwarted potential terrorist attacks.
A recent major initiative and long-term investment for the U.S. Army is the development and fielding of the Joint Analytic Real-time Virtual Information Sharing System (JARVISS). JARVISS is a threat common operating picture designed to support the antiterrorism and force protection community, the law enforcement community, criminal analysts, emergency management personnel, and operations centers. The system uses advanced analytic algorithms and commercial analysts to provide users with threat information originating from more than 80,000 open sources, including social media, news media, local municipality services, commercial business, and government sources. Threat information is geolocated, providing the user with the distance to the closest Army assets. JARVISS is cloud based, making it accessible from anywhere in the world through fixed-line or mobile applications.
Law enforcement users in JARVISS will be able to view installation and off-post crime data overlaid on an installation map, with detailed geospatial data outlining building footprints and other points of interest. This information can be displayed in a number of ways, including pin mapping and hot spot mapping for the installation as a whole or by patrol zone. JARVISS will also enable users to automatically generate crime reports that display crime data over a specified period or provide detailed information on specific offenses. The functions within JARVISS are designed to save time for military police and criminal investigators and standardize reporting across the Army. While investigating the recent package bombings in Austin and San Antonio, Texas, the ARTIC and Army Operations Center were able to leverage JARVISS to provide updates to leadership and threat advisories to the field. As JARVISS continues to be embedded in Army operations worldwide, the value of enhanced information sharing across the Department of Defense and the U.S. government, and back and forth with local and host nation law enforcement, is extremely promising.
The U.S. Army's antiterrorism community is constantly seeking ways to improve, and the principal guide that drives improvement is a strategy reflecting the long-term objectives of the organization. Some objectives of the Closing the Ring strategy address subject areas that may overlap with many police organizational strategies. Topics such as how to address threats posed by small unmanned aircraft systems and improving detection and defenses against insider threats have spawned the sharing of best practices and lessons learned. The same can be said about addressing terrorist attacks. In fact, the Army has gathered critical information from civilian law enforcement case studies of the Mumbai swarm attack in 2008, the Washington Navy Yard insider attack in 2013, and the Las Vegas mass shooting in 2017. Moreover, the Army's largest push toward increased public awareness of the terrorist threat originated in 2009, with a campaign called iWATCH Army, closely coordinated with and developed in conjunction with the Los Angeles, California, Police Department's iWATCH initiative. However, it is not only the large metropolitan police forces that Army organizations share intelligence with. Today, the potential for terrorist attacks requires that Army and civilian law enforcement agencies become learning organizations at all levels. The variety and lethality of terrorist attacks intuitively require effective adjustments to the shared protective posture. As Closing the Ring proposes, “the adaptive nature of terrorism requires a decentralized but coordinated and collective effort in preventing attacks.” Part of the solution is in analyzing and sharing lessons learned.
Today, the potential for terrorist attacks requires that Army and civilian law enforcement agencies become learning organizations at all levels.
At the most recent Annual Army Worldwide Antiterrorism Training Seminar, a gathering of more than 350 antiterrorism professionals, presentations from the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Department of Homeland Security; National Counterterrorism Center; INTERPOL; and the New York City, Las Vegas, and Amtrak police departments reinforced the importance of education and the significance of partnerships between civilian law enforcement and the Army antiterrorism community. Importantly, police representatives from Israel, Canada, and France reminded the attendees that the threat is worldwide and so the partnerships also must be. In 2010, a U.S. State Department counterterrorism official commented that “addressing the challenge of terrorism over the long term demands multilateral cooperation; capacity building; and considered efforts to counter violent extremism by all levels of society and government.” Partnership is indispensable to success in achieving the long-term goal of preventing terrorist attacks.
The Annual Army Worldwide Antiterrorism Training Seminar was created 18 years ago for the purposes of improving information sharing and seeking unity of effort in the prevention of terrorist activities. The seminar focuses on the development of training that benefits the shared counterterrorism community by increasing the understanding of the threats and current operational issues and by providing insights to improve protection efforts. Improving communication with local, state, and federal organizations, as well as international partners, is also an objective. More than 15 separate focus groups provided ample opportunity for deep dives into current and emerging challenges faced by the U.S. Army and its partners.
Over the past 10 years, the Army's Antiterrorism Division has embraced the value of a guiding strategy to focus priorities and resources, as well as the importance of expanding partnerships and community outreach. Outcomes from the 2018 antiterrorism seminar reinforced these tenets and identified the current near-term priorities for the Army: integration across the security enterprise, threat information sharing, counter-unmanned aircraft systems, cyber awareness, community awareness with increased emphasis on school security, and the need to continuously evolve doctrine and training to remain a step ahead of the terrorist threat. In addition, the fielding of JARVISS demonstrates the commitment to information sharing and understanding of the threat across all environments. The publication of a quarterly newsletter, The Sentry , helps to keep the entire U.S. antiterrorism community of interest informed. 6
Encouraging sustained and expanded relationships between the U.S. Army and local, county, state, federal, and international law enforcement partners is as vital today as it was in colonial times and will undoubtedly remain a critical aspect of success for the future. Baseball player Yogi Berra once supposedly opined, “You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you're going, because you might not get there.” Yogi's homespun wisdom serves to remind all those involved in public safety to focus on the vision of preventing terrorist attacks. The counterterrorism community knows where it is going—to “get there” requires partnership between civilian law enforcement and military antiterrorism officers at all levels.
Axon Accelerate highlight: How Chief Kathleen O'Toole is working to improve police transparency, trust and accountability overseas
Axon Accelerate symposium speaker shares the best practices and innovations transforming policing in Ireland, and what agencies back home could learn from those lessons
While technology has brought the world closer together, it has not, and never will, replace the value of face-to-face communications. That's why attending professional events is critical for the exchange of best practices and lessons learned, as well as candid discussions about the real-world challenges impacting policing today.
This year's Axon Accelerate symposium offered just that by connecting public safety professionals from around the world. Through a combination of hands-on training, provocative panel discussions and exclusive networking opportunities, police chiefs, LE trainers, PIOs, line officers and prosecutors left the event equipped with the information they need about new technologies and evolving practices transforming the police profession on a near-daily basis. For a preview, listen to Axon's pre-show podcasts with some of the presenters.
In May 2017, former Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole was named chair of the Commission of the Future of Policing in Ireland, an independent body tasked with reviewing the structure, culture and leadership of An Garda Síochána – Ireland's National Police and Security Service – in the wake of several scandals.
O'Toole will discuss her experiences during her session titled “Transparency, Trust and Accountability: International Perspective – Ireland” at the Axon Accelerate Symposium, June 5-6 in Scottsdale, Arizona.
A MODEL FOR DEMOCRATIC POLICING
For O'Toole, being nominated to serve on the commission was a little like déjà vu. Nearly 20 years previously she served on the Independent Commission on Policing in Northern Ireland, also known as the Patten Commission, which was established in June 1998 with the goal of creating a new framework for policing as part of the historic Northern Ireland peace process. The Patten Commission's report in September 1999 laid out a framework of 175 recommendations to transform law enforcement in Northern Ireland, with police accountability and transparency at the center of recommended reforms.
Fast forward to 2018 and a similar transformation is on the cards for police in the Republic of Ireland. “Issues which have arisen – many historic, some contemporary – mean the time is right for a fundamental examination of all aspects of policing in this state. This is an opportunity to stand back and examine how we are to be policed as we approach the centenary of the establishment of An Garda Síochána. At the same time the crucial work of day-to-day policing and oversight continues,” noted Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald.
O'Toole, who served as the chief inspector for An Garda Síochána from 2006-2012, believes the work of the Commission serves as a model for democratic policing. In the statement she gave during the first meeting of the Commission in May 2017, she told the Irish people: “To the community, this is YOUR commission. More importantly this is YOUR police service. A community's trust, respect, engagement and support of its police are, without question, essential to modern, effective and ethical policing.”
The commission's final report – which will offer the Irish government proposals for the future of policing in Ireland – is due out in September.
“The process first involved consulting with the public, as engagement and consultation are at the core of our work. We've accepted written submissions, online feedback, conducted public meetings in all corners of Ireland and met with officers out in the field in every region and division,” O'Toole told PoliceOne. “For the most part, the Irish National Police Service has lots of community support. The situation in Ireland is pretty unique, as most people there know their local guard.”
The principles of democratic policing are the same wherever you go, says O'Toole, with communities – whether in Ireland or the United States – demanding that cops be more visible on the streets, that law enforcement address both crime prevention and quality of life issues, and that police departments be transparent and accountable.
“Here in the U.S., police departments are struggling to gain community trust and support. You need to engage with people face to face and be as transparent as possible when doing business,” said O'Toole.
Building community trust, regardless of which side of the Atlantic you are on, is a process that involves a lot of hard work.
“We were able to quantify this process in Seattle over a period of time. In the post-Ferguson era, a lot of departments were struggling and we had a series of demonstrations, but over the course of a few years, we saw double digit improvements in community trust,” said O'Toole. “We really worked to be a part of the community rather than apart from the community. If we had an officer-involved shooting, within 24 hours we tried to get out the 911 recordings and any available audio or video. This definitely worked to our advantage and I think the vast majority of community members and police officers really appreciated that.”
The Commission of the Future of Policing in Ireland received 317 written submissions from organizations and individuals including An Garda Síochána, policing bodies, political parties, human rights organizations, victims' rights organizations, community organizations and policing fora, Joint Policing Committees, serving and retired Garda personnel, Garda representative associations, academics and political representatives.
Submissions were sought on key themes, with some covering more than one theme. The list below classifies the number of submissions referencing each theme:
- Governance, oversight and accountability: 27 submissions
- Leadership and structures: 48 submissions
- Role of policing: 163 submissions
- Technology and digital innovation: 34 submissions
- Recruitment, training and professional development: 82 submissions
“It is important to consider carefully the perspectives of police officers and the people they serve. Those living and working on the front lines in our communities have the best perspectives on the challenges they face and usually have valuable suggestions for addressing those challenges. Authentic engagement also builds trust and legitimacy,” said O'Toole.
HARNESSING THE TRANSFORMATIVE POWER OF TECHNOLOGY
One of the biggest challenges facing the police service in Ireland is the lack of technology infrastructure that we see driving modern policing practices around the globe.
“I attribute that mostly to the economic downturn in 2008 and 2009 where a freeze on spending brought all innovation plans to a halt. Funding is finally available again to address technology deficiencies,” said O'Toole. “We need to look at all the technology in policing right now and see how that could apply in the Irish environment. There is very little mobility; some places in the country don't even have broadband and some stations don't even have computer terminals.”
Utilizing technology to help improve the delivery of service to the community has been a key component of O'Toole's police leadership strategy throughout her career. In the early 1990s, she worked for a short period in the private sector where she was immersed in a world being transformed by technology.
“I was fascinated by this and it made me realize the value of technology. I have always said technology is a tool not a driver,” said O'Toole. “You don't go out and buy the latest and greatest tech for the heck of it; you get your business practices sorted out and then determine how tech can help your business. I came back into policing with a greater appreciation for how we could use technology to provide improved efficiency and effectiveness in the public safety business.”
O'Toole set out to use technology in the mid-1990s when serving as Secretary of Public Safety in Massachusetts to harness resources across 20 public safety agencies. She helped create a hub for criminal justice information with the goal of an integrated voice/data technology system for all of the state and local public safety agencies in the Commonwealth.
“When reflecting on what we did during that time, I realize there are some states that still haven't even contemplated that yet,” said O'Toole. “Everywhere I go people are saying they want their cops more visible and for police to spend more time in the field, but in order to do that we are going to have to put mobile devices into officers' hands and leverage as many technologies as we can.”
While she acknowledges that communities are also worried about privacy and other civil liberty issues around tech like machine learning and artificial intelligence , she says that police leaders must figure out ways to strike a balance between public safety and privacy concerns in order to fully utilize the real-time information and data technology we can deliver to cops on patrol.
“I learned a long time ago that you need tech-savvy people sitting at the management table so they can develop solutions to enhance the way we do our business. I have also said it makes no sense to automate a bad business practice; you need to look at the business practices first and then come up with the technology solutions,” said O'Toole.
What this means in practical terms is identifying the policing strategies you want to deploy in your communities, and then using technology to help accomplish your goals.
“When I arrived in Seattle, I asked all the precinct commanders how we were doing on crime. Their answer: “Good, we think.” They weren't tracking crime data or other data related to calls for service, so we immediately we put together a comp stat model we called SeaStat . Police also do a lot of work that goes beyond law enforcement, but we don't always quantify it or inform our community as to what we are doing,” said O'Toole. “We need to do a better job of telling our story.
“For example, we started to track all of the encounters we had with people experiencing serious mental health issues , determining that in one year, the Seattle Police Department had nearly 10,000 very significant encounters with people in mental health crisis. We knew we needed to find a way to quantify this and work more effectively in this area, so we developed an app that we populated with a lot of data around individuals encountered on a regular basis. We included contact details for their mental health, service providers, doctors and family members. In addition, crisis intervention counselors and social workers helped us develop hints for the officers responding to these individuals on how best to de-escalate. Using technology, we were able to come up with more creative solutions to solve problems rather than just react to crises when they occur.”
While such solutions may be easily within the reach of large departments, many smaller agencies in the U.S. face technology infrastructure deficits similar to those in Ireland. O'Toole's advice is for those smaller departments to look across the public safety spectrum and beyond to see if pooling resources is viable.
WHAT'S ON THE HORIZON FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT?
While the public pushes for increased police transparency and accountability, and the relentless advancement of technology continues to impact LE, one of the biggest transformations ahead for both the U.S. and other countries revolves around the ability of leaders to engage in a multi-disciplinary approach to law enforcement.
“People watch television and think policing is all about gunfights and car chases, but law enforcement is only one aspect of policing,” said O'Toole. “Police spend considerable time providing a service. Some of the biggest challenges we are currently facing are at the intersection of public health and public safety. We are responding to people with serious addiction issues, mental health issues and chronic homelessness; sometimes people fall into all of these categories. We need to work more closely with social services and health services to develop multi-disciplinary solutions to these issues.”
At the same time, the technology that is advancing the practice of policing is also aiding and abetting criminals, requires a collaborative approach to stop the onslaught of cybercrime .
“Crime and criminal networks have become more sophisticated. We will have to work across local, state, national and international lines to address cyber threats, as well as international and homegrown terrorism,” said O'Toole. “While the average person is more concerned about the quality of life in their neighborhood than they are about terrorist activity, we have to address all of these areas at a time when there is a lot of skepticism about policing and a lack of trust in certain communities. I can't recall a time in my career when the challenges were so significant.”
The answer, O'Toole says, is to take a collaborative, all-hands-on-deck approach to address the complicated issues facing communities: “We figured out how to do predictive policing and crime mapping – focusing on prolific offenders and high-crime neighborhoods – now we really need to build capacity in the area of cybercrimes and harnessing the resources available in social services and public health.”
To hear more about the solutions to these challenges register now to attend Axon Accelerate. Kathy is scheduled to present “Transparency, Trust and Accountability: International Perspective – Ireland” on June 6. Other sessions focused on police transparency include “ Transparency with Our Communities: The Implications around Body-Worn Camera Footage Releases,” “Transparency vs Privacy: When and How to Release Body-Worn Camera Footage” and “ After the Crisis: Using Body Cameras to Establish Trust and Transparency with Your Community.” Click here to register.
Why gang violence should be treated as a public health issue
Law enforcement leadership, corrections leadership and policymakers need to reevaluate their strategy for implementing gang prevention programs
by Robert Brzenchek
Last month, one person was killed and 22 were injured in a probable dispute between rival gang members. The shooting occurred in the early morning hours of a popular all-night arts festival in Trenton, New Jersey, leaving the city in a state of shock on Father's Day. What I find most significant about the incident was the statement made by Trenton's Mayor Eric Jackson: “All shootings, whether larger or small, are a crisis. This isn't just a random act of violence. This is a public health issue."
Public health issues affect the safety of entire communities and the level of violence that gangs pose to themselves and society is cause for great concern. While there has been a decline in overall crime rates in the last several years, gang violence is alarmingly on the rise. It is estimated that gang-related homicides typically account for 13 percent of all homicides annually.
Law enforcement leadership, corrections leadership and policymakers need to reevaluate their strategy for implementing gang prevention programs. Gang violence sits at the intersection of criminal justice and public health, and addressing the issue requires an integrated, holistic approach.
INTRODUCING EPIDEMIOLOGICAL CRIMINOLOGY
Some criminal justice and public health leaders are seeking to develop theoretical and methodological linkages between the two fields to effectively address challenges posed by gangs. Such efforts have resulted in the term epidemiological criminology, which is intended to provide a framework to help these disciplines integrate.
There is a terminology and taxonomical challenge in combining the two terms: Epidemiology typically refers to the incidence, distribution, and control of disease in a population; Criminology is the study of crime and delinquency as a social phenomenon. Although they may seem unrelated, if you look at methods of disease control to help prevent social issues that lead to crime, you have a working model for dealing with criminal behavior.
When applied to gang violence, epidemiological criminology can provide more focused prevention strategies by identifying at-risk populations for joining gangs. With law enforcement already tracking crime patterns with technologies such as ArcGIS, why not cross-utilize those crime patterns to measure public health and provide a continuity of care for neighborhoods that struggle with gang violence?
Combating gang violence requires a holistic approach that looks at driving factors, the impact on the criminal justice system, and prevention methods to protect society. It is an inter-disciplinary process and both criminal justice and public health stakeholders must continue to create common terminology, conduct research (e.g., on recidivism rates), form thematic analysis on gang trends, and begin to build a body of quantitative and qualitative research.
IMPLEMENTING EVIDENCE-BASED STRATEGIES
Good research paves the way for successful crime prevention strategies and, ultimately, for safer communities. Data tells us what is working and what is not. For example, high recidivism rates across the board show us that the corrections system, which focuses on punishment over treatment, is not working. Among those most likely to fall into the cycle of recidivism are gang members. How can we improve reentry strategies, reduce recidivism, and prevent overall gang violence?
Prior research in the last two decades on subculture theory has provided an influential information tool to raise awareness regarding the need for gang violence prevention reform. Subculture theory holds that delinquency is largely the result of status-linked deprivation of opportunity. The response of juvenile delinquency programs has been to attempt to open channels of upward mobility for adolescents trapped in urban poverty, but more research needs to be done.
This is still no clear consensus on which strategies of prevention are most effective; evidence is limited and information is, at best, circumspect on best practices to follow. Thus, law enforcement and corrections leadership face difficulties implementing and sustaining gang violence prevention.
To be successful, we must place a high priority on collaboration and coordinate resources among police, corrections, courts, and social service entities. This will help identify effective prevention strategies and build a body of knowledge to guide future policies and programs. Sajeva believes that, “For leaders to overcome the many barriers associated with acquiring knowledge is to make followers aware of and develop the urge to transform the notion “information is power” to “information sharing is power.”
HOW LEADERS CAN TAKE A HOLISTIC APPROACH
The first objective of gang violence prevention is to recognize it. Community leaders in various regions of the United States often employ misleading language to refer to gangs. They've been called neighborhood groups, juvenile delinquents, social clubs, and a number of other terms to underplay a real and looming threat. Whatever the reason – be it political or to ensure tourism remains robust – it is a true disservice to the community when authorities do not recognize the presence of gangs.
Community leaders must also recognize that the reason street gangs exist is because of the continued marginalization of disenfranchised groups in society. In most cases, these gangs are undeniably linked to crime and preventing gang violence requires rectifying the social imbalance. The key to this is for criminologists, policymakers, and criminal justice practitioners to treat gang violence as both a criminal justice and public health issue, which requires consciously embracing a holistic approach.
In my book, “The Gang Life: Laugh Now, Cry Later,” I examine the criminal gangster mindset and offer gang violence prevention strategies, using real-world examples to demonstrate a holistic approach toward combating this societal problem. Policymakers can contact my company, All Source International Security, to discuss strategies and connect with front line responders who interact with gangs for a greater common operating picture to make informed decisions.
About the Author: Robert M. Brzenchek is the chief executive officer of All Source International, LLC, a security consultancy company based in Philadelphia. He earned a master's degree in intelligence studies from American Military University and is currently a PhD candidate at Capella University with a proposed dissertation focused on gangs. He was a police officer for six years, where he performed suppression and intervention techniques with various gangs ranging from MS-13, Bloods, Crips, and Latin Kings. In the private sector since 2005, he has worked with DHS, DOD, large corporations, ports and public utilities on security matters, risk management, policy, and technologies. He is a nationally certified instructor with the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training (IADLEST). To contact him, email IPSauthor@apus.edu. For more articles featuring insight from industry experts, subscribe to In Public Safety's bi-monthly newsletter.
Digital Edition: Officer Safety on the Road
In this free guide, we explore how combining tech with proactive, progressive training can make real inroads into reducing the number of cops injured on our roadways
Getting into a squad car may be the most dangerous thing a cop does during a shift. With multiple distractions from MDTs and cell phones, police officers (especially those in one-man cars) face increased risks of being involved in a motor vehicle collision.
This digital edition focuses on how combining tech with proactive, progressive training can make real inroads into reducing the number of cops injured on our roadways.
Download this PoliceOne Digital Edition, sponsored by Pursuit Response to learn about:
- How telematics can improve driver performance and help reduce the possibility of vehicle collisions
- The need for strategic assessment of the impact of autonomous vehicles on law enforcement
- How agencies can maintain adequate levels of training for the one activity cops do more than any other while on duty – driving
- Lessons learned about cops' close calls on the roads from LEO Near Miss, a non-punitive, anonymous reporting system
Enter your information below (on the PoliceOne web site) to download the guide in either downloadable PDF or digital flipbook format.
Sanctuary jurisdictions cry “coercion” in legal battle over public safety funds
by Jennifer G. Hickey
Political leaders from sanctuary jurisdictions frequently boast about “resisting” the Trump administration, obstructing immigration law enforcement efforts and opening their arms to illegal immigrants. Unhappy with the consequences of their blatant disregard for federal law, six states and New York City are suing the administration for, they say, trying to “coerce” them into compliance.
On Wednesday, Connecticut, New Jersey, Washington, Massachusetts, Virginia and New York joined in a multi-state lawsuit filed in a Manhattan federal court arguing that the Justice Department is blackmailing them by forcing them to choose between complying with conditions placed on federal funds awarded through the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program or to forgo the funds.
They want to endanger public safety and get their public safety funds too.
The roots of the legal battle date back to July 2017 when the DOJ sent a notice to all recipients of the Byrne grants making clear they must “comply with federal law, allow federal immigration access to detention facilities,” and provide advanced notification before releasing an illegal alien in order to receive the grants.
On multiple occasions, DOJ has cautioned sanctuary jurisdictions about the consequences of continuing to obstruct law enforcement authorities in arresting and detaining illegal immigrants. With no options left, DOJ began withholding the distribution of funds to the states in violation.
In some other similar lawsuits, individual judges have entered temporary orders releasing the funds to local governments. Currently, DOJ is not releasing a combined $25 million from the Byrne JAG program.
Lourdes Rosado from the Civil Rights Bureau New York attorney general's office, who is representing the states, argued that withholding funding to states providing “sanctuary” to illegal immigrants is an “unlawful” attempt “to force States and localities to forsake their own policy judgments and aid in federal civil immigration enforcement.”
The assertion that federal law enforcement was preventing localities from protecting their residents was a common theme among the sanctuary officials.
“This is a political attack on New Yorkers, at the expense of our public safety – and it is unlawful. So we will see the Trump administration in court,” insisted New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood in a video statement.
In a written statement, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo brazenly claimed the Trump administration was placing “New Yorkers' public safety at risk to impose its abhorrent and un-American immigration policies.”
“President Trump and Attorney General (Jeff) Sessions are assuming power they don't have and literally putting lives at risk,” said Gov. Dannel Malloy (D-Conn.) said in a statement.
DOJ spokesman Devin O'Mallery reminded the sanctuary states that they are the ones endangering lives. By ignoring statutes promoting cooperation between local jurisdictions and federal immigration authorities, “political leaders deliberately choose to protect criminal aliens in their custody and to make their communities less safe,” he said.
The best counterargument to the open border lunacy is being made by ICE agents.
Since the beginning of FY2018, 66 percent of ICE arrests were convicted criminals and of the remaining individuals not convicted of a crime, approximately 23 percent have either been charged with a crime, are immigration fugitives, or have been removed from the United States and illegally re-entered.
In the sanctuary state of New Jersey, ICE announced on July 16 the arrest of 37 illegal immigrants. Of those detained, 16 had been previously released by the Middlesex County Jail, which refused to honor the ICE detainer and 78 percent of all the illegal aliens had prior criminal convictions or pending criminal charges.
So, who makes the best “public safety” advocate – the officials who protect those fugitives or the ones who remove them from our communities?
Editorial: Public safety
There are a lot of things that make us shake our heads, but when we see people taking actions that are against their best interests, we really wonder what they are thinking. We found ourselves in that state of mind when we heard of the removal and theft of traffic cones from government road project sites. The problem is so bad that the Ministry of Public Works has made a public appeal for people to stop from removing them from where they have been placed.
Any right thinking person can see the craziness of this situation. How can anyone think that it is a good idea, even for selfish, personal gain, to remove safety markers? One drive down Friar's Hill Road at night and you will immediately see the extremely important role that the safety cones play. Not that anyone should need a demonstration to understand their importance. They are placed around large gaping holes in the roadway for the obvious reason that they are dangerous.
Beyond that, the cones cost us money. All of us! There are no safety cone trees that bear varieties of brightly coloured cones in anyone's backyard. The government reaches into the limited taxpayer funded coffers to buy safety cones for everyone's protection; just to have some pinhead thief decide that the cones deployed around the safety hazard are his or hers to take. Forget the danger. Forget the possible loss of life. Forget the cost. In their minds, their selfish needs are more important. What kind of mentality is that to adopt as a way of life?
This reminds us of the thieves that raid the solar powered street lamps to acquire the batteries that power the lights at night. Who does that? Like the safety cones, the streetlights are there for reasons of safety. They are there to light the roadway to assist drivers and pedestrians. (That last sentence is for the uneducated thieves who believe that public safety plays second fiddle to their desires for a few ‘free' batteries.)
We really do empathise with the Ministry because we are sure that most people have driven by the hazardous work areas on places like Friar's Hill Road and given a sigh of relief thinking, at least they put out some cones to mark the spot. Now, imagine if you are not familiar with the road works and are driving home in the dark and the gigantic holes have no markings? It is a recipe for disaster.
God forbid that anyone gets hurt from this foolishness (our family friendly format prohibits us from using the language we would like to use). We know that if anyone were caught for stealing, after the fact, we would see a river of tears and hear all about how they didn't mean it and they didn't know the consequences of their actions. How could anyone not know the potential consequences? Rubbish!
Sorry, if this has turned into a bit of a rant, but we are of the opinion that there should be harsh penalties for those who interfere with public safety. Whether it is cones or batteries for streetlights, there should be stiff penalties for anyone caught stealing the items or in possession of these items.
So, we will like to join the Ministry in its appeal for people to stop messing with the safety cones. And to the thieves and mischief-makers, we would like to ask that you to take just a moment to reflect on your actions. They are selfish, and they are a danger to the wider community. Beyond that glossy generalisation, someone could get seriously hurt or worse, end up dead. That will leave a family to mourn, and with Antigua being as small as it is, that family could be yours. So, next time you are thinking of picking up a few safety cones or pilfering a battery from a lamppost, remember that the person you may actually end up hurting could be a friend or loved one. As selfish as you are, could your conscious handle that?
Former public safety secretary to consult with scandal-plagued State Police
by Matt Rocheleau and Danny McDonald -- Boston GLOBE
Kathleen M. O'Toole, a trailblazing former Boston police commissioner known as a specialist in reforming police agencies from Seattle to Ireland, will serve as a consultant to the beleaguered Massachusetts State Police, the agency announced Wednesday.
O'Toole will be a “strategic resource” to State Police Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin and her command staff, assisting in the recruitment of qualified, diverse job candidates and the development and training of current personnel, according to a department statement.
The move follows several pledges of reforms earlier this spring from Gilpin and Governor Charlie Baker, and it comes amid a criminal investigation into a trooper overtime scandal as well as other disclosures of misconduct and mismanagement across the ranks of the 2,200-member police force.
Get Fast Forward in your inbox: Forget yesterday's news. Get what you need today in this early-morning email. Sign Up
O'Toole, a former State Police lieutenant colonel and state public safety executive, will serve on a pro bono basis. She told the Globe she plans to focus on helping the state's largest law enforcement agency regroup.
“The good, hard-working people in the organization need to see some light at the end of the tunnel so they can move forward,” O'Toole said in an interview. “I always say, no one despises bad cops as much as good cops. And they need to see there's a future. That will be my focus.”
O'Toole said she's had preliminary talks with State Police leaders about her role, adding that she doesn't know much about the recent scandals plaguing the department beyond what's been reported in the media.
O'Toole said she offered to help Gilpin when the two first met this spring at a forum at Harvard University. The department was facing public backlash at the time over fraud allegations and other problems. Shortly thereafter, Gilpin reached out to O'Toole to take her up on the offer of assistance.
“Former commissioner O'Toole possesses a wealth of knowledge about, and experience in, leading and bringing positive change to major police agencies, and my command staff and I look forward to her input and ideas about law enforcement to help improve the department,” Gilpin said Wednesday in a statement.
The president of the Massachusetts State Police union said bringing O'Toole on board should help restore confidence to a department that sorely needs it.
“She is a respected leader and she doesn't make [foolish] decisions,” said Dana Pullman. “She takes all sides into consideration. From a union perspective, she has been nothing but a voice of reason.”
O'Toole, a Pittsfield native, has deep ties to the state's law enforcement community. She joined the Boston Police Department in 1979 after graduating from Boston College. She joined the State Police and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the early 1990s. In 1994, then-Governor William Weld appointed her to head the state's public safety secretariat, which oversees several agencies including the State Police. She held the job until 1998.
O'Toole, who receives an annual pension of $75,000 for her state work, said she doesn't think that her law enforcement ties pose any conflicts.
“I'm a straight shooter,” O'Toole said. “I call them as I see them and I've done that throughout my career, and I've been separated from the [State Police] organization for so long I don't really know anyone there any more.”
In 2004, she was named the first female commissioner in the history of the Boston police.
After leaving that role in 2006, she served as chief inspector of the Gardia Síochána Inspectorate, “an oversight body responsible for bringing reforms and greater accountability to the 17,000-member Irish national police service,” according to the State Police.
She became Seattle's first female police chief in 2014 and retired from that role in December. O'Toole recently moved back to Massachusetts and worked as a consultant for police agencies in Chicago and Ireland.
O'Toole said she sees herself as “a trusted confidante” for Gilpin.
“I certainly don't claim to have all the answers, but I've seen similar situations elsewhere, so hopefully some of those lessons learned can apply here,” she said.
Wednesday's announcement comes after months of controversy at the agency. Three state troopers were arrested late last month and accused of pocketing thousands of dollars for overtime they didn't work, marking the first charges in a broadening federal probe into allegations of rampant fraud at the agency. One trooper pleaded guilty as part of a deal with prosecutors.
In May, the scandal-plagued Troop E unit was eliminated as part of an overhaul in response to allegations of false charges for overtime.
This week, a criminal case that triggered a different State Police scandal was resolved.
That problem, which involved the arrest report of a judge's daughter, resulted in Gilpin's predecessor and three members of the command staff retiring.
When O'Toole took the helm of the 1,400-officer Seattle agency in June 2014, it was grappling with federal scrutiny over its use-of-force practices and biased policing of minorities.
O'Toole instituted a series of changes during her tenure there, with former City Council member Tim Burgess telling the Seattle Times, “She modernized policing in Seattle and helped restore the public's confidence.”
“Under her leadership, the use of force by our officers declined dramatically,” he told the newspaper.
She's also led and served on committees and commissions to overhaul aspects of the Boston Fire Department, worked as a consultant to the US Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, and helped the Massachusetts Gaming Commission vet casino license applicants.
O'Toole's portfolio, as both an insider and outsider, will help, said Brenda Bond, an associate professor at Suffolk University who specializes in organizational change in law enforcement. Still, it won't be easy.
“I hope there is the will to invest in the long haul because this change won't happen overnight,” Bond said. “It will take a decade. It's hard to change institutions and people. But you've got to take your first step and go.”
(video on site)
Aiken Public Safety joins in on trendy lip-sync challenge
by Tripp Girardeau
The newest viral sensation to sweep the nation is the law enforcement "lip-sync challenge," and officers with the Aiken Department of Public Safety have thrown their hat into the ring.
The agency uploaded its lip-sync challenge video Thursday evening to the City of Aiken's Facebook page.
Officers lip sync to several snippet's of Disney songs, which includes "You've Got a Friend In Me" from "Toy Story"; "Let It Go" from "Frozen"; "The Bare Necessities" from "The Jungle Book"; "Be Our Guest" from "Beauty and the Beast"; and "Hakuna Matata" from "The Lion King."
The video features several officers, including Lt. Jake Mahoney, Officer Eleanor Hunter, Officer Dixie Busbee and Officer Marquis Davis. In the video the officers perform different scenarios while they sing and dance.
Hunter and Busbee can be seen standing on the firetruck's cherry picker lip-syncing to "Let it Go," while another scene shows an officer twirling around and setting a table while lip-syncing "Be Our Guest."
The video ends with a shot of all the officers dancing in front of a firetruck as the camera pans out in front of the new Aiken Public Safety headquarters being built at 843 Beaufort St. N.E. The final shot shows Aiken Public Safety Chief Charles Barranco standing in the cherry picker high in the air.
For the last month, law enforcement agencies across the country have been posting videos showing their staff lip-syncing and dancing to different songs.
Barranco said several officers wanted to participate in the challenge, and it was organized by Officer Cody Ellison.
"We wanted to come up with something that was community friendly and nothing that would offend anyone, so I came up with the initial idea to do the Disney songs," Ellison said. "We met, drafted it up and filmed it on (July16)."
Lt. Karl Odenthal, who did not appear in the video, said he "liked the Disney theme" and felt the video was big "morale booster" for all the officers involved.
Usually an agency is challenged by another agency, and while no one actually challenged Aiken Public Safety, they have challenged Aiken County Sheriff Michael Hunt.
As of Friday afternoon, the video had been viewed more than 50,000 times.
New Savannah Police Chief talks expectations, community policing
by Andrew Davis
News 3 talked via phone to new Savannah Police Chief Roy Minter from Peoria, Arizona.
"Its an honor for me to be selected to serve as the police chief so such a great city," said Minter.
"I always talk about the five things that people are looking for when they look at the law enforcement leader in their community. They want somebody who is a good communicator, they want someone who is accessible, they want somebody who is committed, they are looking for someone who is passionate, and they want someone who is responsive.And those are the qualities i've taken with me to each and every position i've had whether its been a police chief or not and i always pride myself on that.
"I think what I've been able to do, and had a lot of success in multiple agencies in implementing a really good strong community policing program or building off the foundation of a really good strong community policing program.
"Community policing is about one word, relationships. I tell that to our folks all the time, relationships, relationships, relationships. its about getting into the community and not just having a presence in that community but building a relationship so that you become part of that community."
"I haven't had to deal with the high level of violent crime that's going on in Savannah, but its very similar to the challenges that I faced in Aurora, Colorado, with some of the issues there and also when i was in Houston, We had a period where there was a lot of violent crime there. I'm very proud of the hard work that i'm hearing the men and women of the Savannah police department continue to do. The City Manager talked about the reduction in crime so far this year and it shows that they are committed to reducing crime and the fear of crime in communities and its my job as Chief that i go in there and we continue on that path."
"First and foremost goal is going to be reducing the crime and fear of crime in Savannah. that's the most important goal we can have, provide safe neighborhoods and communities to people. The second thing is to build and maintain relationships. I want to make sure we are building and maintaining those partnerships. And the third one is that we are operating the department with maximum efficiency. Making sure we make the best use of all our resources."
"The three things that officers will be looking for is good strong leadership. Good vision, a visionary, and they will be looking for someone who recognizes and shows them praise for what they do on a daily basis. There are days when this can be an easy job and there are days when this can be one of the most difficult positions in the world. I think its important for the men and women in this profession to know that they've got someone who is a strong leader and somebody who recognizes the hard work they do each and every day keeping communities safe."
Schember releases eight "priorities" in community policing review
In April, Erie Police Chief Dan Spizarny and community members launched the Strengthening Police and Community Partnership. It's a plan aimed at building better relationships between police and Erie residents.
by Matt Knoedle
In April, Erie Police Chief Dan Spizarny and community members launched the Strengthening Police and Community Partnership. It's a plan aimed at building better relationships between police and Erie residents.
At his weekly news conference, Thursday, Mayor Joe Schember revealed some of their findings.
“The first one is education, cultural awareness and sensitivity, generally,” Schember said. “We're not pointing the finger at any group. We're just saying generally in our community, we need more of that.”
That's one of just eight priorities the Schember administration wants to implement as soon as this year. They include the following:
- Education/cultural awareness/sensitivity
- Addressing racism/stereotypes
- Police Dept. representative of community
- Family structure/parental control
- Human & material resources/police
- Us vs. Them
The city will work with the Multicultural Community Resource Center and other agencies to build break down barriers with the city's growing refugee population. Last month, Erie News Now showed you police work with those groups, using translators and interpreters to help during emergencies.
“We want to build that bridge so we can all be on the same page,” said Fatima Alimohamed, a member of the SPCP Council.
But developing a plan of action is key. From that meeting, the SPCP has organized a council to turn those eight priorities into reality.
“It's only going to help in so many different ways, when people feel trusted and they can trust the police and the police can trust in the people,” said Stephanie Montgomery, a member of the SPCP Council.
Some of those solutions include activities that engage Erie's youth, such as the Police Athletic League (PAL); enhanced education between both parties; and assigning police to a neighborhood, so they can learn more about the residents and vice versa. That, Schember says, is a cornerstone of community policing.
“Members of (SPCP) Council are committed to attending these events and interacting with the officers, introducing them to residents, and trying to build those relationships,” he said.
Salute the Badge: Missoula officer making personal connections
by Connor McCauley
MISSOULA - Officer Randy Krastel had dreams of one day becoming a park ranger, but those dreams changed once he started attending the University of Montana.
Now he has been a member of the Missoula Police force for 14 years.
Recently, Krastel has taken on a new role for the department as a downtown business improvement district officer.
"This is a total change from what I was doing the first 14 years of patrol work. It's more community policing. I'm outdoors, out on the street wearing a high-visibility shirt so people see me," Krastel said. "I get a lot of 'thank you's', a lot more than I expected."
While Krastel hasn't been in his new role very long, he credits his personal connection to the people in downtown Missoula for the success he has had so far.
"And that's because they know me as Randy, they don't know me as Officer Krastel. They don't know me as a badge number," Krastel said. "They know me as Randy, so there's already a connection there of this person is also a human being. This person cares, and I believe that if I go talk to him about something very minor that I probably wouldn't have called 911 about, I get a chance to talk to a human being about it and we can sit down and I feel that the business owner or the homeless person or transient or just person on the street, I'm, hoping has a sense they can talk to me about anything."
He says his ability to talk with people from all walks of life, without passing judgement, is key to those personal connections.
“I'm really good with people. I like all of walks of life and so I don't judge in my personal life," Krastel said. "I don't judge, that was never me, so it's actually easy for me to talk to somebody who's 20 years old or talk to somebody whose 80 years old.”
Krastel is originally from Maryland, and while he says Missoula is a little different, he enjoys calling the Garden City home.
"It is a different place. It is different from where I grew up, very culturally-diverse from one side all the way to the other," Krastel said. "It took me a little while to get used to that too but I like it a lot."
Let's redefine community policing: It should not be a paramilitary force | Opinion
by Andrea McChristian,
Star-Ledger Guest Columnist
Fifty-one years ago today, the Newark Rebellion was sparked by police abuse of a black cab driver . At that time, the police force was overwhelmingly white in a city with a substantial black population. Newark residents took to the streets to protest law enforcement abuse and the oppressive conditions under which they had been forced to live.
Fifty-one years later, and on the second anniversary of the Newark Police Division Consent Decree , this story of policing is part of a broader national conversation.
In today's America, on any given day, there is another police-involved shooting. Another unarmed black person. Another failure to indict the officer responsible. The tragic shooting of black people, from city to city, has become our status quo.
In the face of this endless wave of violence, numerous solutions have been advanced to stem the tide. More policies and practices! Better training! Increased oversight! Transparent accountability!
But underlying this discussion are two threshold questions: Who polices? And what does it mean to police?
A constant refrain that I have heard time and time again in response to this second question is that "the police are a paramilitary force."
Instead of seeing New Jersey police departments as agencies that treat communities as enemy combatants in war, how do we instead build a relationship of trust between law enforcement and the communities it serves?
To that point, much has been made of the concept of community policing. According to the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, community policing is "a philosophy that promotes organizational strategies that support the systematic use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques to proactively address the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues such as crime, social disorder, and fear of crime."
Yet, to me, community policing is so much more. A true vision for community policing is one in which, far from being a paramilitary force, law enforcement joins together in partnership with the community; police officers are held accountable for their misconduct; and there is a recognition of the historic broken relationship between law enforcement and the community in building the way forward.
In short, effective community policing must bring together law enforcement and the community to problem solve and strengthen understanding. And it would stand to reason that ensuring law enforcement represents the community it serves would be of paramount interest in carrying out these goals.
New Jersey has significant work to do in this area. A 2015 Governing report found that New Jersey police departments are characterized by some of the greatest underrepresentation of people of color vis-a-vis communities served among the country's largest police departments. And a 2017 survey assessment of 1,050 Newark Police Division officers and 42 non-officers found that 37.9 precent identified as black in a city that is 50.2 percent black ; even more stark, 40 percent of those surveyed identified as white, while just 24.4 percent of Newark is white .
Importantly, the work to create a community policing model cannot be done until law enforcement agencies first grapple with the harsh reality that generational discord, trauma, and conflict have undermined the relationship between law enforcement and the community. Police must take a step back and listen to what the community wants and needs. What they need to police. Who they want to police. And why they should police.
But what could such a community policing model look like in practice?
First, law enforcement agencies should look to the community to put forth recommendations on potential recruits from their own neighborhoods. Since community members are the ones policed, they are in the ideal position to recommend which of their own members would do the job well. In addition to the selection of potential recruits, community members can also be asked their top priorities for policing in the neighborhood -- a dialogue that should ultimately frame policing strategy.
In this way, community members have ownership over the policing of their communities, increasing police legitimacy and community-police relations. Law enforcement agencies should also commit themselves to funding and implementing these community recommendations.
And second, to supplement these community proposals, law enforcement agencies must do more to increase community recruitment, including by developing positive relationships with local schools to identify students who exhibit the necessary skills to become effective and respected officers, strengthening mentoring opportunities between current officers from the local community and potential recruits, and providing comprehensive support and resources to prepare local applicants for the civil service exam and any other requirements.
With this, we can eventually reach a point where the police are unequivocally and uniformly not a paramilitary force policing the community. Instead, they will be the community.
Andrea McChristian is Associate Counsel at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice.
Building trust: Community policing requires shared humanity
by Alexis Allison
Bill Davis remembers the first white teacher he ever had. His name was Tim Woodward, a 20-something fifth-grade history teacher at an all-black school in Montgomery, Alabama. He wore wine-colored penny loafers.
It was the 1960s, and the non-black exemplars in Davis' childhood were Jesus and President John F. Kennedy, whose portraits hung next to that of Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in every home in his family's public housing community.
They, like Mr. Woodward, were the good ones. Davis learned to distrust other white people, especially police officers, from the black, college-educated Freedom Riders who were often guests in the Davis home.
Davis lost touch with Mr. Woodward, but he never forgot him or those loafers. He never forgot that Mr. Woodward didn't talk down to students, didn't punish them if they didn't understand — that he gave Davis a new, better impression of what it meant to be white.
When the internet era rolled around, Davis, now in his 60s, tried and failed to find Mr. Woodward. He wanted to tell him how much he meant to him.
“To put it simply, he made us feel included in his life,” Davis wrote in an email. “Not like he was trying to be black or accepted by us, but he welcomed us to learn of him.”
Years after that fifth-grade class, Davis, who is African-American, became a police officer in what he considers the most racist police department in the country: the Montgomery Police Department.
He worked alongside officers who helped arrest Rosa Parks. He learned to navigate environments where people with skin color like his and police officers defined justice differently.
Today, he serves as a member of Columbia's Citizens Police Review Board to bridge both worlds. He refuses to generalize.
Ten years ago, he bought his own pair of wine-colored penny loafers in honor of Mr. Woodward. It was only recently that Davis, a towering and regal presence, found his old teacher's obituary online. He sat down and wept.
If Mr. Woodward had taught Davis anything, it was that a small and consistent kindness — a recognition of a shared humanity — has the power to transcend years of distrust and misunderstanding.
The absence of trust and understanding has been evident at this summer's seven town halls on community policing. City budget shortages, racial disparities in traffic stop data, police conduct, low police officer morale, meeting fatigue, and many people feeling unheard have Columbia at an impasse that may only be overcome by a lesson from Mr. Woodward.
The ongoing conversation about policing in Columbia is, at its core, a conversation about what it means to be human and what it takes to recognize each other as such.
A long time coming
Community policing, which partners the police and community in pursuit of public safety, isn't new in Columbia or elsewhere.
Amid the civil rights fervor of the 1960s, President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered a nationwide study that called, in part, for improved police engagement with minority communities.
By 1991, the Missouri Department of Public Safety began awarding contracts for community policing, according to a 1994 evaluation of several community policing programs in Missouri.
Soon after, the Columbia Foot Patrol Program was implemented downtown. Using state-level grant money, the Police Department assigned an officer to develop relationships with business owners and citizens, reduce fear of crime and provide crime-prevention training.
“The business community's interest dovetailed well with a commitment of the Columbia Police to implement community policing in the city,” the report said.
In 1997, Norm Botsford was hired as police chief to implement a department-wide community policing philosophy, said John Clark, a local attorney with a certificate in community policing from Missouri Western State University.
Around that time, the department began offering a Youth Academy to teach kids about police work, according to the city's website. Within two years, Botsford quit after failing twice to acquire more funding for the department, Clark said.
Under new leadership, the Police Department in 2003 developed a ”Columbia-Oriented Policing” strategic plan, which mentions the need for “citizen empowerment,” “community partnership and involvement,” and “hiring for community-oriented problem-solving.”
By then, school resource officers had been placed in local high schools, and a horse-mounted unit for special community events was about to hit the streets. It was disbanded in 2015 due to staffing shortages.
In 2009, newly appointed Police Chief Ken Burton, who had co-authored a study on community policing from his time with the Arlington Police Department in Texas, designated a downtown unit of bike-riding cops as a demonstration of “geographic policing,” a tenet of community policing.
From the get-go, Burton, who's been criticized for not attending this summer's community policing meetings, told officers that they should all — rather than a single unit — practice community policing, according to the recent State of the Community Outreach Unit report. Burton came to the seventh and final community policing meeting Thursday.
Shortly after the geographic policing model was introduced, the Police Department assigned two officers to patrol Douglass Park, known for its high number of calls for service.
By early 2015, not long after the Mayor's Task Force on Community Violence released its final report, the department expanded the officers' boundaries and renamed the unit the Community Outreach Unit, according to the city's website . Within a year, the unit was working in three neighborhoods designated by the city's strategic plan. A fourth neighborhood was added in 2017.
Based on the early successes of the unit, the City Council passed a resolution in February directing City Manager Mike Matthes to design a department-wide community policing plan. To get public input on this next phase, the city organized seven town hall meetings that were led by Sgt. Robert Fox . Fox and Matthes said they plan to co-present a report on their findings to the council by Aug. 31.
The meetings took place in each of the city's six wards and drew 20 to 30 attendees each, with the exception of the first, which attracted about 50. City officials, journalists and police officers usually made up about half of the audience. Despite perennial concerns about racial disparities in the Police Department's traffic stop data, only a handful of black citizens participated, except for the last meeting.
What these conversations leave out, according to Clark and Traci Wilson-Kleekamp, president of local activist group Race Matters, Friends, is another history — one that uniquely, disproportionately burdens black Americans.
Lack of context, lack of trust
When Wilson-Kleekamp was 12 years old, her father was pulled over by an officer in California. She and her baby siblings were in the car, which didn't stop the officer from calling her dad “every foul name in the book.” Her dad stayed calm, but she was afraid he'd get shot.
“I remember being so terrified that I almost could not think. My whole body was shaking,” Wilson-Kleekamp said. “It was a very very scary experience. That moment has never left me.”
Now that she's an adult, Wilson-Kleekamp has had many more experiences, both good and bad, with police officers. More recently, her younger brother, who was terrified of police in high school, was pulled over by a cop.
“He treated me like a human being,” her brother told her. “He didn't ask me if I just got out of jail, he didn't ask me if I was related to such-and-such.”
Wilson-Kleekamp, who's pursuing a doctorate in education with an emphasis in social studies, said the problem lies not with those in uniform but with the historical underpinnings of policing.
“I don't think police are bad people,” Wilson-Kleekamp said. “I think policing as we see it and in practice is very antithetical to relationships.”
She points to Fox's emphasis on the Peelian Principles, a set of nine policing guidelines typically attributed to the British leader Sir Robert Peel in the 1800s.
The principles stress the idea of police as citizens in uniform: “The police are the public and the public are the police.” A department-wide return to these principles, Fox said during his presentations, would be a step toward a full embrace of community policing.
The problem with the Peelian Principles, Wilson-Kleekamp said, is that they ignore the unique history of enslaved African-Americans in the United States.
“We really leave out the role that police have played in slavery and social control,” she said. “They sort of leap-frog over this history and they're not able to connect (that history) to why people don't trust them.”
Clark, who studied the principles separately from Wilson-Kleekamp but arrived at a similar conclusion, believes the community and Police Department should create a strategic plan based on the Peelian Principles with what he calls a “proviso” that addresses America's specific history. He's written out a possible option and submitted it to the department:
“Implementation of these Peelian Principles in the United States must be informed at each stage by the conscious, intentional awareness of the effects on our communities of the 400+ year systematic, systemic, intentional oppression and brutal treatment of people of color in America — including Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, etc.”
For Wilson-Kleekamp, a sincere and vulnerable acknowledgement is in order. She said that Matthes' comment at the June 18 City Council meeting, in which he said that there is bias and everyone has bias, isn't enough. To say that everyone has bias is dismissive, she said.
“That's essentially what policing has done to people of color since the inception — which is, ‘We don't acknowledge how we've treated you, we don't acknowledge the outcomes of our policing, and we do not acknowledge your anger and resentment,” Wilson-Kleekamp said. “'We are entitled to treat you in the way that we want because we are law enforcement.'”
Wilson-Kleekamp submitted a records request last week to the city, asking for correspondence between Burton, Matthes, Fox and the outreach unit, so she can better understand Burton's role in the initiative.
At the core of her request is a desire to hold the leadership of the community policing initiative accountable, especially in light of the recent Missouri Quality Award feedback that gave city leaders what she calls a “D-”.
Her critique doesn't extend to the Community Outreach Unit, whose members demonstrate the kind of outreach that builds community, she said. They've been at the tables at this summer's public meetings, listening, asking questions and taking notes.
It takes a village — or at least a unit
When he was in elementary school, Sgt. Michael Hestir wrote an essay about how he wanted to be a “newspaper man” when he grew up. Specifically, he wanted to expose injustice.
Years later, Hestir was on the steps of the Columbia Public Library when a little black girl, maybe 8 or 9, approached him. “Stickers?” she asked, and held out her hand. He checked his pockets. Another child, and a woman holding a baby — the little girl's family, maybe — paused and watched, farther down the steps.
Hestir was out of stickers. He said he was sorry, there'd be more another time, and the family moved on.
The stickers in question, gold police badges with the words “junior officer” emblazoned on them, were purchased by the thousands, along with temporary tattoos, by the department for moments like that one. It's the sort of “non-law enforcement-related” activity that drew criticism from three officers who responded to Matthes' police morale survey in 2016.
But for the officers in the community outreach unit, it's not about stickers or barbecues or basketball — it's about the mental and relational shift that happens when a little black girl approaches a white, male police officer with trust, not fear.
It's not the type of wrong-righting Hestir expected when he imagined himself as a journalist. But it's pretty close.
For him, community policing is really about two things: protecting a neighbor who just wants to plant her garden, and addressing the drug dealer with a choice — go to jail, or get clean.
For the latter, Hestir will perform a mental calculus he developed long before supervising the outreach unit.
Hestir resists stereotyping and will consider context. If he recognizes the dealer from making rounds in his neighborhood, or playing baseball in Douglass Park, he'll also know him as a father with a sick kid whose work has been hard, and who's been meaning to fix that tail light.
Hestir's philosophy of relationship undergirds the unit he supervises; he knows community policing at its best is intensely personal, yet at the end of the day, still accountable to the law.
Amid these ruminations, his approach is courteous. He imagines that his mom and the dealer's mom are also at the scene. These are the qualities that got him “voluntold” to lead the Community Outreach Unit in 2015. He's obviously good with people, listens well and is quick to acknowledge if he's made a mistake.
He's become a kind of middle man between the police and the communities he serves. He answers to both, and that vulnerable position leaves him acutely, wearily aware that for community policing to work, it has to be grounded in resources.
Cost of relationship, luxury of time
When Officer Matt Rodriguez ends his work day in the North neighborhood, he has a short walk home. A member of the outreach unit since 2016, he's the first and only officer to live in the neighborhood he patrols. He moved there with his kids in October after the local homeowners' association agreed to pay his rent.
Rodriguez admits he couldn't do what he does if he didn't live in the neighborhood. Although he'd made progress in relationship-building before he moved in, the months since have yielded exceptional “dividends.”
Before he was on the outreach unit, Rodriguez was on patrol — going from “call to call to call.” It's easy to become robotic, he said, when there's no time to form relationships, follow up, or even take care of yourself.
Officer Maria Phelps said sometimes those officers can't even take a bathroom break.
Phelps is a member of the outreach unit, patrolling the newest neighborhood alongside Officer Tony Parker. They're the duo responsible for Xbox with a Cop, a community event in May that pitted officers against kids inside a mobile command center they'd turned into a gaming space.
Later, another police officer who attended the event pulled over a black man in front of his family's home. The traffic stop had several witnesses — the man's family was in the front yard. Soon, a little boy pushed through the crowd and hugged the officer, whom he'd competed against at the Xbox event.
Phelps and Parker said it took a lot of time and resources to plan that event. It took time for people in their neighborhood to even acknowledge them, much less smile or wave. But that's the thing about community policing, Phelps said. It requires slowing down, and that allows both officers and civilians to see each other as human.
And when it comes to the world of policing, time means money.
The Police Department gets more than 90 percent of its funding from the city's general fund, which largely relies on sales tax revenue, according to the city's most-recent Ten Year Financial Trend Manual.
In fiscal year 2017, the Police Department received more than $20.8 million. That's nearly a 20 percent increase in funding from 10 years ago, when the department received about $17.4 million.
The majority of those funds go toward officer pay and benefits, including pensions.
Although funding for the department has increased, it hasn't kept up with inflation or population growth. In 2008, Columbia's population was nearing 96,000 but jumped to almost 119,000 by 2017, according to the manual. The number of officers has only increased by 21 during that time, Deputy Chief Jill Schlude wrote in an email.
As the city has sprawled, officers have become stretched more thinly.
Fox, who was criticized at the June 18 council meeting for seeming “disinterested at best” in community policing, said he wakes up in the middle of the night thinking about these things.
He's tired, maybe, but not disinterested. He's happy to talk about the books he's reading — “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander and “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell, or “13th,” the documentary about mass incarceration he watched recently on Netflix. At the same time, he's fiercely protective of his officers, of whom he speaks in glowing terms.
“We find these gems in the community and then we expose them to trauma, horror, injury, pain, drama, domestic violence,” Fox said. “You can see officers wearing out.”
And an exhausted, beat-down, underpaid officer is more likely to say or do something wrong.
Fox thinks community policing might be the way forward, not just for the public but for the police, who on daily calls, experience someone's “worst day, worst hour.”
He said he believes the only way for officers to do more than survive, for the daily 911 calls to be addressed and for neighborhoods to get community policing, is for the department to hire more officers. This, along with raising salaries for police officers who haven't received a meaningful raise in 10 years, would be the first priority should voters agree, Fox said.
It would require an additional 52 officers to decrease the departments's number of calls for service per officer to the average call volume in other comparable cities, according to Fox.
Fox and Matthes meet twice a week formally to discuss his findings. They work three doors down from each other, so they're always talking, always sharing ideas. There will be more conversations now that the public meetings have finished. In the meantime, he's got a report to write.
Next step: building trust
At the June 18 City Council meeting, Matthes responded to criticism after the public comment period by saying that addressing concerns about the Police Department is a work in progress. About 10 citizens took issue, saying little meaningful work has been done, but Matthes disagreed.
He referenced the department's adoption of the bias-free policing policy, updated earlier this year. He noted that the consent to search policy, developed in 2016, has reduced disparities between blacks and whites. He's not alone in seeing progress.
Fourth Ward Councilman Ian Thomas said in a recent interview that even the imperfect public meetings represent a change from previous conversations between the city and its citizens. The city has taken the discussion into the wards, rather than staying siloed at City Hall. The city has also provided meals and child care, allowing police officers and community members to sit, eat, listen and talk — not the way things used to be done.
An even more positive voice is that of Chris Haynes, 52. When he was a student at Hickman High School, his break-dancing skills landed him on MTV, and he was a member of the school's drill team. But soon, the young black man from Mississippi got carried away with the night life — and the drugs that go with it. He became addicted and ended up in prison.
He's been clean for more than a decade and is now a substance abuse counselor at Burrell Behavioral Health. He showed up for three community policing meetings.
“I'm not against the cops. I knew I did my thing back in the day. I recognize that I have to be accountable for the part I played in my interaction with the cops,” he said. “I think we have to come together in order for this to work out.”
He learned about the power of relationship from former Columbia police officer Cathy Dodd.
He remembers her saying to him, “'What can we do to get you out of where you at?' She knew our names. She knew who we was,” Haynes said. “And she did her job. She will take you to jail. I have been taken to jail by her. However, she didn't treat me like I was less than.”
What made Dodd stand out was her professionalism. Haynes said he tries to adopt it in his counseling, and he thinks officers should do the same.
“There is a learning curve,” Haynes said. “That is not on the black person or the white person. That is on the professional.”
Fox pulled him over a few years ago. Haynes laughs when he tells the story — he was a counselor at that point, but he had his music blasting and Cadillac rims on his car. He was a driving stereotype, he said. Fox had cause to pull him over — the music was really loud — but later reached out to Haynes to attend the community policing meetings.
Haynes said he appreciates what Fox is trying to do, and he's ready to be a part of it.
“If I'm holding onto the past, I won't be able to develop a new future. If I can get past my bias, my stereotypical thoughts and just open up and say, ‘let's give this thing a chance,' that will make the difference on both sides,” Haynes said.
But one side isn't showing up, he said. Haynes wants to know why Columbia's black citizens haven't been coming to the meetings.
“We're doing all this complaining, where are we at? We're talking about this community and how we're treated — let's get together,” Haynes said. “It needs to be a conversation, and it needs to be all types.”
John Clark has made himself part of the conversation.
Clark is 75 now. He wears suspenders, carries an expanding file folder stuffed with research and keeps extra black pens in his pocket. He's run for mayor twice on a platform that advocated community policing even back in 2004. He's come to almost all this summer's meetings on community policing. He's a CPA, attorney, nature-lover and activist, and he often references films as examples of culture and society.
His confidence in the trust-building potential of community policing comes in part from a movie: the 2009 political thriller “Endgame,” based on the fall of apartheid in South Africa. In it, as racial intolerance boils over, secret talks between two warring parties build a trust that breaks the impasse.
“Trust is an outcome of people having a mutual relationship in which they feel connected in relatively equal way,” Clark said. He said that trust can grow in Columbia, if people take the time to sit and talk to one another.
One review he's read of the film puts it best: “Hollywood movies are about heroes and baddies, and this (movie) is about the real world, where nobody is a baddie or goodie,” Clark said, paraphrasing. “There are no heroes and villains. There are complex people in complex situations.”
The conversation about community policing will continue even after Matthes and Fox file their report at the end of August. In the meantime, Davis will wear his penny loafers, Fox will return to supervising a unit he hopes will have positive interactions with people, Rodriguez will walk home, and Haynes will teach his 11-year-old, biracial son that it's not about the color of your skin. It's about relationship. It's about trust. It's about the endgame.
(video on site)
When community policing makes its way to the (basketball) court
by Erica Zucco
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – An act of kindness in a Duke City neighborhood exemplified a small part of a comprehensive plan by the City of Albuquerque and the Albuquerque Police Department to increase community policing.
A KOB Eyewitness News 4 viewer called KOB to share something she saw in front of her home that she thought deserved a little attention. A young boy had been playing basketball by himself, and two APD officers spontaneously decided to join him.
Damaya Cantu planned to play basketball solo at Guadalupe Park near Broadway and Avenida Cesar Chavez.
“I thought I was going to just shoot a couple times and then go back,” Cantu said.
But when Sgt. Nick Wheeler and Officer David White rolled by, they decided to join in on the game.
“They were walking over here and I was like, 'Hmm,' I was like, 'I wonder what happened, am I in trouble?'” Cantu laughed. “But I'm fine, I didn't do anything!”
Wheeler said they were leaving a community meeting nearby when they saw Cantu shooting hoops alone and decided to join.
“We were trying to do alley-oops and assists and things like that and then we went back to our HORSE game,” Cantu said.
APD says while this was just an act of kindness – not a department-driven directive – new policies do prioritize quality time in neighborhoods.
“Bringing back mini-substations,” said APD Deputy Chief Harold Medina. “Bicycle patrols. Getting our officers out in the community so they get to know the community and our officers start creating individual bonds with the citizens of Albuquerque so they know who their beat officer is."
APD says it's forming partnerships with schools, businesses and churches to prevent crime and build relationships, like the one Wheeler and White formed with Cantu.
“Cops coming and hanging out with me—it's communication,” Cantu said.
APD says four recent city initiatives that could help with this kind of work include putting $1 million toward youth programs, implementing better coordination on mental health programs, hiring a new deputy director to address homelessness and beginning efforts to clean up needles in parks and public spaces.