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

January 2019 - Week 4
Terri Lanahan
Many thanks to NAASCA's Terri Lanahan, Butte, Montana,
for her research into the news that appears on
the LACP & NAASCA web sites.


Community policing on an international scale

Torrington police officer visits Iraq, Romania

by Crystal R. Albers

TORRINGTON -- There's no denying Torrington resident Larry Curtis has a sense of adventure. It's what drew him to Wyoming in the first place, and eventually led the Torrington Police Department patrol officer to Canada, Iraq, and most recently, Romania, to share knowledge and experience about community policing with people from around the world.

Curtis grew up about 20 miles west of Chicago in Lombard, Ill.

“I wanted to come out west,” he said. “I knew some folks out here, and they said, ‘Come on out.' I thought it would be interesting.”

In 1980, Curtis made the trek to Wyoming, and soon after met his wife, Mary. A few years later, he was embarking on a career he'd never considered.

“In 1983, I joined the police department,” he said. “It was kind of funny to join the police department – I grew up across the street from the police station … I knew all the police officers, I had no fascination with it … then I moved out to Torrington and met a fellow who had a background in law enforcement and would go on to teach criminal justice at Eastern Wyoming College – Glenn Schleve – and he encouraged me to join.”

The encounter would result in a successful livelihood spanning several decades – and still continuing to this day. Curtis obtained a bachelor's degree in justice studies from Chadron State College, along with completing some graduate hours in counseling. He also graduated from the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy in 1984 and the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy in 1999.

After retiring from the police department in 2004 as a detective lieutenant, Curtis went to Iraq for two years as a police advisor. He returned and began teaching criminal justice at EWC, in addition to rejoining the police force part-time.

“During that time, I met Dr. David Banville (at EWC),” Curtis said. “Part of his education was spent teaching in Romania, and he and I swapped stories about teaching in other cultures … he wondered if I would be interested in going to Romania to visit schools and police departments and said he had contacts in Romania that would help me do that … I just thought it was an outstanding idea.”

Some of Curtis' enthusiasm for travel stemmed from a class he took at Chadron State.

“There was a class (called) Comparative Criminal Justice Systems,” he said. “This particular instructor, Dr. George Watson, taught that and just made it a really interesting class. It made me want to visit other countries and cultures to see how their policing systems operate.”

Way up north

Before Iraq and Romania, Curtis headed north to Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1991 to tour the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Academy, visit the Provincial Prison, meet with judges and attorneys in the court system and ride with city police officers.

“The experience opened my eyes to a different perspective on policing,” he said. “In particular, police officers in Canada are known as working for the Police Service. Which I thought was an important distinction from American police who work in departments or agencies. These experiences motivated me to want to, at some point in my career, immerse myself in another country and culture for an extended period of time – a year or more.”

A war zone

The opportunity to travel came following 9/11 during the war in Iraq.

“The State Department was looking for American police officers to mentor and train Iraqi police officers,” Curtis said. “I thought, now is my chance to not only spend an extensive amount of time in another country and culture, but it involved my skills as a police officer along with the added element that I would be operating in a war zone. What's not to like? So I resigned my position with the TPD and arrived in Baghdad in March of 2004. I spent two years there. I asked to be assigned in the Basra region because it was in the Southeast Multinational Military District.”

In the book, “Roadside Bombs and Democracy: An American Police Officer in Iraq” author Ron Little details the time he spent with Curtis in the war zone.

“We were told to train and mentor but were given no specific goals or guidelines. Realistically, we were to ‘wing it.' We were promised we would get everything needed to function: our own office trailer, living quarters, internet, toilet, and shower facilities. We were promised more officers, but nothing ever materialized … Larry and I ended up depending on the Brits out of necessity; we had one vehicle and only two of us, so we couldn't go anywhere on our own and could only travel with military.”


Ten years later, Curtis headed to Romania to discuss community policing at a conference, returning again in October of last year to offer his thoughts on community interventions for school safety. Each visit, he spent a week interacting with residents, answering questions about American policing, and discovering how the Romanian criminal justice system is organized.

“I thought the ideas were well received,” Curtis said of his first trip to Romania. “These ideas included:

1. Identifying problems that impact the quality of life in a community;

2. Understanding that not all community problems can be solved through enforcement;

3. Developing partnerships within the community to mitigate or solve the problems;

4. Focusing police efforts on crime prevention and enforcement strategies will improve and maintain a healthy and positive relationship between the police and the public they serve.

Along with speaking at the conference I visited area schools and met with groups of students and teachers. This included grade school through high school. It was a great experience. The children had many questions about American life, which were fun to answer and talk about. They also had the chance to practice their English language skills.”

Curtis added he also found the experience helpful because he was starting a position with the TPD and the Goshen County School District as a fulltime school resource officer in the fall of 2016.

“My second visit to Pitesti, Romania in October 2018 also lasted a week and again included a conference presentation, visits to schools and meeting with police officers/ gendarmerie (military officers with civil jurisdiction) at the Arges County Inspectorate Office,” he said. “Participants at the conference included educators, administrators, gendarmerie and a commander from the local National Police office.

As I listened to questions and comments during the meeting, I realized that the problems of school safety, violence and social problems brought into schools from the community were not issues limited just to the USA. It was very interesting to see how another culture proactively was trying to manage these problems in their schools. My meeting with local gendarmerie was just as eye opening.

The topics they wanted to discuss included ‘hate-speech' and radicalization and polarization as it relates to terrorism problems. One bit of common ground we laughed about was media treatment of police – that is one day the story is how officers are great heroes rescuing someone, while the next day police are viewed as the villains for arresting the wrong person.”

The core of these trips is engaging with the public to understand what issues are important to them, what problems there are, and to help solve those problems with community members, Curtis explained.

“I believe the visits were well received,” he said. “The folks that invited me were very gracious, and the conference participants were quite engaged. The school children were very enthusiastic during our meetings. The police officers I met with were very professional and as curious about American policing as I was about Romanian criminal justice and its development since their independence after the break up of the Soviet Union.

“One difference between my first visit there and my second was, on some of the school visits, two officers of the gendarmerie joined me … and their participation made all the difference,” he continued. “They brought with them some of their police equipment and the children loved it. It was fun having two local police and an American police officer working together to engage with the school children.”

While no longer teaching at EWC, Curtis is back to full-time at the TPD. He has also served as a DARE instructor for approximately 25 years. He said his experience in other countries enriches his career and interactions here.

“It's quite interesting, and I enjoy it. When I go into classrooms … I can give students and folks a new perspective they might not otherwise get,” he said. “For me personally, I was interested in immersion in another culture, but it also allowed me to talk to others about policing and engage in education in the schools. Engaging with children at our local schools and college is a first-rate experience, and it helps me as much as it helps them.”

Ever the adventurer, Curtis said discussions are already underway regarding another trip to Romania.

“I use my vacation time to do this, I pay for it myself – I really enjoy (this) sort of thing,” he said. “I can't thank Loredana Sima (Trainor/Educational Projects Organizer for ‘Save the Children' NGO, Arges County, Romania) enough for inviting me and organizing these trips, conferences and school visits. Seeing how other people and cultures and communities solve problems and work together with the police and each other, it just – it helps me.

I think being a police officer is about more than just writing tickets, if you want a career you need to be able to (engage with the public) … experiencing other policing and other cultures has made me a better police officer and a better person, as well.”



Walled Lake Police Department will use $10,000 Segway for community policing efforts

by Mark Cavitt

The Walled Lake Police Department is the first Oakland County law enforcement agency to own a Segway. 

Walled Lake City Council recently approved a proposal, submitted by City Manager Dennis Whitt and Police Chief Paul Shakinas, to purchase a Segway Police Patroller valued at $10,000. 

The vehicle will be used to patrol city events, parks, downtown, and the Michigan Airline Trail, which is an abandoned railway being redeveloped into a pedestrian-friendly trail. 

The battery-operated Segway, purchased with federal dollars, will be modified with StreetSmart police-specific features, including a siren and flashing red and blue lights. 

"Spending $10,000 wasn't something we took lightly," said Shakinas. "We made sure that we had enough federal asset forfeiture funds available, so that not tax dollars would not be spent. It will be a great way to patrol our parks, events, and the downtown area. It provides for us a great opportunity to do some community policing."

Walled Lake Police Chief Paul Shakinas checking out a Segway at Great Lakes Segway, 239 E. Walled Lake Drive, in Walled Lake, on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019. The Walled Lake Police Department recently purchased a $10,000 Segway I2 SE Police Patroller to be used for community policing, the first such law enforcement agency in Oakland County to do so.

Segway specifics

  • Lithium batteries that provide range of up to 24 miles

  • Charges via any standard wall outlet

  • Weight: 105 pounds

  • Top speed: 12.5 mph

  • Carrying capacity: 280 pounds

As a member of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force Program, the Walled Lake Police Department receives federal asset forfeiture dollars, which are collected by the DEA following the sale of seized assets. The money can only be used by local law enforcement member agencies for capital improvements.

A Segway at Great Lakes Segway, 239 E. Walled Lake Drive, in Walled Lake, on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019. The Walled Lake Police Department recently purchased a $10,000 Segway I2 SE Police Patroller to be used for community policing, the first such law enforcement agency in Oakland County to do so.

The vehicle was bought from Walled Lake-based Great Lakes Segway, which will offer the department training through various safety courses. 

John Smith, owner of Great Lakes Segway, has partnered with 10 other police agencies, including Franklin, Sterling Heights, Port Huron and Grand Rapids, in the past, but said it's great to help out his hometown police department. 

"We are excited to partner with our local community," said Smith. "We want to help the (Walled Lake Police Department) with event and trail management and we are happy to provide a solution for them. We have received great feedback from police agencies that have used them in the past. They see the value in using Segways because it saves officers time on foot."



New Richmond Heights chief adding more community policing, communication with residents

by Jeff Piorkowski

RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Ohio -- After a couple of months of getting acclimated to his new job, Richmond Heights Police Chief Thomas Wetzel is bringing a few changes to the department.

Those changes include modern things, such as the use of social media and video to try and recruit new officers and keep the public abreast of what police are doing in the city, as well as a tried and true method of serving residents,  community policing.

On Dec. 26, the Richmond Heights Police Department's Facebook page became activated and has so far garnered more than 800 likes.

"A lot of the younger officers like it, actually all of the officers like it. They're excited about it, and the mayor (David Roche) thought it was a good idea," Wetzel said. "We put up a video on the Facebook page of two of our officers rescuing a deer that was trapped under a tarp in (a resident's backyard) pool. It's kind of cute. It's gotten more than 16,700 views."

The video was also picked up by local radio and television news.

In addition, the Facebook page contains items such as video from the recent robbery at the Gas & Go gas station, 456 Richmond Road, old photos of police officers who formerly worked in the city, useful information, and current police activities.

One featured item on the Facebook page is a three-minute video recently completed that serves as a recruitment tool for new officers. The video, made by Kirtland videographer Stephanie Scott, tells of how the department is striving to be the "gold standard for professional American policing."

It shows officers interacting with residents, shop owners and school children, and helps promote Wetzel's desire to increase community policing in the town in which he was raised.

"Community policing is working as a team with those we're serving," said Wetzel, who teaches community policing at Lakeland Community College. "We need the help of those we serve.

"(The department) had been doing some community policing, but I wanted to do more."

Community policing involves actions such as making marketing videos, officers doing bike patrols, working with residents to harden homes against burglaries, educational outreach, emergency notifications of things such as road closures, requesting help from the community to solve crimes, showing a police department's history, and making sure officer-friendly stories are made known.

"The Facebook page gives us a chance to show officers with residents interacting in a positive way," Wetzel said. "A lot of community policing is getting out of our cars and interacting with the people we serve. It builds trust."

Wetzel, 53, became chief after former chief of 25 years Gene Rowe, 70, retired on Nov. 2. Wetzel came back to his native city after serving 31 years with the Beachwood Police Department. From 1985-87, he was a police and fire dispatcher in Richmond Heights.

The RHPD now has 23 officers, but a new hire will be made in the spring due to an impending retirement. A part-time officer has just been hired and will begin work Jan. 28.

Wetzel said the department is now looking for candidates for part-time police  work. He said that, ideally, a part-time officer, if successful on the civil service exam, can later be hired when there is an opening as a full-time officer.

"We're also looking for auxiliary officers," Wetzel said. "They serve on a volunteer basis and work 12 hours a month. Auxiliaries are very helpful to police.

"We currently have 12 auxiliary officers and we'd like to get three more people who desire to serve the public in a volunteer fashion."

Richmond Heights will be offering a civil service entry level police officer test on March 2. For information, call 216-486-1234.



(pod-cast inside)

Intersection - Community Policing, Former CPD Chief Ken Burton, and the Way Forward for CoMo


Community Policing has been an important issue in Columbia recently, driving discussions around fair and equitable policing and sparking controversy over its handling by Columbia's former city manager and police chief.

On Intersection, a roundtable of stakeholders came together to discuss the philosophy of community policing, how it influenced the tenure - and departure - of former Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton, and how the city of Columbia can move forward with fair and effective policing strategies.

Guests on this episode of Intersection include:

  • Traci Wilson-Kleekamp, the president of the organization Race Matters, Friends

  • Lynn Maloney, a board member for Race Matters, Friends

  • Fourth Ward Columbia City Councilmember Ian Thomas
Listen to Audio ... 28:27

Check out this timeline of the tenure of former Police Chief Ken Burton created by KBIA producers and featured in this roundtable discussion.

And you can see this 2017 Q&A with Ken Burton by Columbia Missourian editor Katherine Reed, also mentioned in the discussion.


Washington State

YPD turning to community policing

by Trisha McCauley

YAKIMA, Wash. - The Yakima Police Department says they are changing up the way they police the streets.

YPD said they are moving to community policing to reconnect with the people of Yakima.

Police said that includes transparency and community engagement by asking people their perspective of crime in their part of town.

They also want to become more involved with neighborhoods by being a part of block watches or school meetings.

YPD Interim Chief Gary Jones said they have officers work beats in different parts of town so they can focus on the crime and people in a specific area.

"One the officer knows that area intimately and two the people that live or work or recreate there know the officers that are patrolling that area," Jones said. "Hopefully we can build that relationship and lower some barriers."

Yakima police said they hope to change over to community policing in February.



CPD community policing report now ‘dead on arrival'

by Pat Pratt

A report on the Columbia Police Department's transition to community-oriented policing is now “dead,” officials have confirmed.

The report, written by Sgt. Robert Fox, was expected to be presented in revised form in December after city leaders rejected its initial draft.

Since that time City Manager Mike Matthes has resigned, as has police Chief Ken Burton. In a Thursday campaign appearance, Mayor Brian Treece said Matthes and Burton had stonewalled the effort to implement a February council resolution to adopt a community-oriented model, which at its simplest is defined as deterrence of crime through officer relationships with communities they serve.

Fox, the appointed project manager for the transition to the new model at the direction of city officials, was to present a report on how the change might take place.

However, Fox presented a proposal that reflected little input from the community despite a series of meetings he hosted for that purpose. It asked for 60 new officers, stated that the largest catalyst of violent crime was marijuana use by young black men and blamed the media for negative perceptions of police.

The council requested a rewrite.

The second iteration of the report was to be presented by December's end, but according to multiple city sources that plan has now been scrapped. Treece on Wednesday provided an update summarizing the status of the report.

“It's dead,” Treece said. “It's dead on arrival. The interim city manager said it required so much editing that it would be impossible to incorporate by council and others. He believes the interim police chief needs to take the lead on picking the report up and moving it toward the council's wishes.”

Of city council members, only Fourth Ward Councilman Ian Thomas responded to requests for comment. Thomas reiterated the mayor's position, saying the report lacked substance and that newly-appointed officials should be given a role in the process.

“Speaking for myself, Sgt. Fox's and City Manager (Mike) Matthes' report, which was supposed to be a plan, contained very little of value in terms of moving Columbia Police Department forward on community-oriented policing,” Thomas said. “After the initial document was presented and discussed, I was not in favor of making revisions to it and would almost certainly have voted against accepting a revised version.”

Thomas, however, pointed out that even with the report taking a new direction, the transition is not likely to be an easy one. There is an apparent reluctance by some in the department to embrace a new and much different operational model, one focused more on cooperation than control.

Columbia police officers have voiced opposition to the department's Community Outreach Unit, a specialized unit already employing the principles of community-oriented policing. The unit has been lauded as a success in reducing crime and building bridges in the community, but some officers don't see it as true policing, Burton told a citizens review panel in November. Officers also expressed disdain for the unit in a 2016 survey.

“What will happen now, I hope, is that we will appoint a new city manager with understanding/experience in community policing, and she or he will appoint a new police chief with understanding and experience in community policing,” Thomas said. “It will still be a difficult transition, because CPD has an institutional culture that is resistant to this change, and so the council and the community will need to support the new chief in these efforts.”

Acting City Manager John Glascock's office on Thursday said in the wake of the resignation of Burton and Matthes, council members felt it best to “pause” the process until those positions are filled.

On behalf of Glascock, spokesman Brian Adkisson said the city is “still deeply committed” to the transition and that Glascock has asked applicants for the interim chief position to provide information on how they would address the transition and racial disparities as seen in years of traffic stop reports, as well as unifying police personnel.

“It is important that when these two positions are filled those individuals are able to provide input to the report to ensure its goals and recommendations are closely aligned with the Council's resolution on community policing and the needs of the community,” Adkisson said. “Once the interim police chief is appointed the expectation is that they lead by example and unite the CPD staff to achieve common goals and objectives and take steps toward building foundation aspects of citywide community policing.”

The interim chief will take over for acting Chief Jill Schlude, who has been leading the department since Burton was placed on administrative leave Dec. 20 and his resignation a week later. It is not clear when a new interim chief will be appointed. Glascock has been interim manager since the resignation of Matthes in November.



Oakland County deputies build close relationship with Pontiac residents through community policing

Local 4 Defenders ride along with Oakland County Sheriff's Office

by Karen Drew

PONTIAC, Mich. - Community policing takes persistence, time and constant communication, but when it's done right, experts say it makes communities safer.

Since the Oakland County Sheriff's Office took over police duties in Pontiac about seven years ago, crime has been down 30 percent. Sheriff Michael Bouchard credits good police work and the addition of community policing.

Deputies Michelle Francisco and Gill Garrett sorted through and organized donated school uniforms and gave them to Pontiac school children as a surprise. They're part of the Oakland County Sheriff's Community Police Program in Pontiac.

The Local 4 Defenders followed the deputies to Whitman Elementary School, where they hand out food to the students on Fridays. Many of the children go home for the weekend to bare shelves and unhealthy food choices, according to police.

Deputies take time to talk to the students and have fun with them in the lunchroom. It's part of relationship building in the community.

Francisco noticed a child was upset and took the time to calm her down. The student trusted her because of a bond they have built.

"I have a relationship built with her and, like, immediately she smiled," Francisco said. "I knew exactly what to do to flip that around, and it really is rewarding."

It's a big change from where things were years ago, deputies said.

"A lot of them would say, 'My mom is in your jail,' or, 'My uncle is in your jail,' and those kinds of things make them anxious around law enforcement," Bouchard said. "Now they come up and give high fives, talk about their report cards to the deputies."

Building the relationships helps fight crime because people are more willing to come forward with information and tips. That's why deputies help collect and distribute coats for the needy and help people turn to services and programs that will assist them instead of turning to a life of crime.

Deputies said the relationships need to start at a young age, so they make stops at schools such as Herrington Elementary to read to third-grade students.

Community policing also makes it easier to find out about business owners' concerns about crime, safety, traffic and whatever else might be on their minds.

"I love it when my customers or my clients come in," said Jermaine Branner, of Max Out Fitness. "They feel safe. They love the relationship."



'Community policing' led Boston police to door of Victor Peña, man charged in kidnapping of Olivia Ambrose

by Jacqueline Tempera

Boston Police searched homes, football fields, and dumpsters looking for Olivia Ambrose until a tip led them to Victor Peña's apartment door on Walford Way in Charlestown Tuesday afternoon.

When police knocked on the 38-year-old Peña's door, he opened it. There, police say Ambrose “standing” beside Peña, Boston Police Commissioner William Gross said at a press conference on Tuesday night.

“We made entry into that apartment she was observed standing inside the apartment near the suspect. We eventually separated them,” Gross said, calling the city-wide search a collaborative effort.

Ambrose, who lives in Jamaica Plain, had been missing since about 11 p.m. Saturday, after she left Hennessy's bar in Boston where she was out with friends.

On surveillance videos captured on Congress Street Peña was “physically guiding and holding on to” Ambrose as they made their way from Downtown Boston to the Charlestown housing project where he lives. Another man - who police are still looking to identify - was with them in the train station. It is not clear if he is a suspect or a witness, Gross said.

Transit police, housing police, and Boston police worked together to chase down leads and ultimately find Ambrose.

Peña faces a kidnapping charge and is expected to be arraigned Wednesday. Gross noted that police still need to interview Ambrose and additional charges could be coming.

Police are still working to “ascertain” whether Peña has a criminal record.

“The entire village showed up today," Gross said.



(video on site)

Harrisburg Police, school district announce community policing partnership


HARRISBURG, Pa. - An influx of gang activity and traumatic experiences are some of the reasons the Harrisburg School District and city police department have formed a community policing partnership.

"We want to make sure that those kids have an opportunity to learn like every other child in every other school district," said Harrisburg Police Commissioner Thomas Carter. "Across this state, across this country."

All members of the police department, but specifically the community policing division will have an open door policy with the schools. It will allow officers to stop by whenever they can.

"We are not here to arrest any kids," said Carter. "We are here to be a resource, a positive role model, to be positive help for the students we have at these schools."

The officers will work to help the needs of the principals and teachers, but also build friendships with the students to change the way police are viewed.

"This means that the police department is not just seen as law enforcement but are seen as everyday people who just want to help our students," said Dr. Sybil Knight-Burney, Harrisburg School District Superintendent. "So when people see a police car outside of a school, they are not alarmed but they are changing the atmosphere."

Officers plan to bring in K9's to meet students, have lunch or visit classes, things to show the students they care.

"You'll see more officers at football and basketball games, again working in a positive way to engage students and create positive relationships," said Blake Lynch, Harrisburg Police Department Community Policing Division Coordinator. "Not just talking about policing but talking about the Eagles game coming up on Sunday, talking about great things going on."

Officers are also hoping this partnership will lead to more students becoming interested in careers with law enforcement, and will use some of the time with the students to talk about those opportunities.



A blueprint for 21st century policing


Fueled by numerous high-profile incidents of violence by police officers, American policing has become a topic of both concern and controversy in recent years.

Much of the public debate has encouraged better policing. Thanks to the work of outside activists and internal reformers, many police departments are taking a hard look at policing in this country and the ways that it has disadvantaged black Americans in particular. This is a healthy development. It should continue.

After all, American policing does not begin with a clean slate. There is a long history of racially-biased policing, and there are good reasons why many black and Latino communities view police with skepticism.  

In our polarized climate, many Americans have gone beyond skepticism and have begun to see the police as actually contributing to crime and violence in cities. This is a recipe for danger. No one wins when communities view police as an occupying army, or worse, as agents of destruction.

A recent report from the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine reviewed what the evidence actually says about current American policing practices, and in particular the move away from simply responding to calls for help after crime has occurred. The central takeaway from the report is that proactive policing can be part of the solution to crime in America. At the same time, the report suggests that police have to work more effectively and more creatively to achieve both crime control and community legitimacy.

Proactive policing encompasses a wide array of policing strategies. In the public debate, it is often associated with aggressive interventions such as stop, question and frisk, or “zero tolerance” policing. While some departments have embraced these ideas, many more have sought to focus policing on high-crime streets (hot spots policing), or high-rate violent offenders (focused deterrence policing), or on improving ties between the police and the community (community policing).

Do these strategies reduce crime? According to the National Academies report, many of them do.  Focusing police on crime hot spots, or targeting very high-rate violent crime offenders, shows particularly strong evidence of effectiveness. Solid evidence also is found for police using data to identify the underlying causes of crime problems. These findings amount to a powerful endorsement of the idea that the police can actually prevent crime.

The news is not all good, however. The report finds that aggressive programs that rely on police stops, especially of minority and young individuals, do lead to negative evaluations of the police among those stopped, and even negative health outcomes. The report acknowledges that an unintended consequence of targeted policing programs that focus on specific crime hot spots or high-rate offenders may be to contribute to racial disparities within the criminal justice system.

In general, policing must be viewed, by the public and by the police, as an effort to help communities that are disproportionately affected by crime, not as an excuse for stigmatizing or labeling. This is one of the goals that many community policing programs seek to achieve.  Happily, the National Academies report documents that community policing does in fact improve relationships between the police and the community.

Where do we go from here? There are three clear policy implications from the National Academies report:

It would be wrong to abandon proactive policing programs. Many American communities are plagued by crime and violence. It would be a mistake not to take advantage of proactive approaches that have been documented to make a difference on the ground.

Police must recognize that community support is crucial to good policing. Given this reality, police departments should seek to limit their intrusion into the daily life of residents as much as possible. Police departments should be surgical in their approach, narrowly targeting proactive strategies to small groups of chronic offenders and specific street corners that are magnets for crime, rather than blanketing whole precincts or neighborhoods with a one-size-fits-all approach.

Crime-fighting strategies must be paired with community engagement and fairness. Local residents and nonprofit organizations must be included in the process of identifying local problems and formulating responses. Police should treat the public, including suspects and arrestees, with dignity and respect and an absence of bias.

The transformation of American policing won't happen overnight. The United States has more than 17,000 independent police agencies. There undoubtedly is a need for more research, more discussion and more innovation. But thanks to the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine we have identified the first three steps towards effective, democratic policing in the 21st century: a commitment to proactive strategies, the surgical use of tactics, and active community collaboration rooted in treating people fairly.

David Weisburd is a distinguished professor at George Mason University and served as chair of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Proactive Policing.

Greg Berman is director of the Center for Court Innovation and co-author of “Start Here: A Roadmap to Reducing Mass Incarceration” (The New Press). Follow him on Twitter @GregBerman50


New Mexico

AGROGUARD is policing hotline for New Mexico's agriculture industry

Report suspicious activity; callers can remain anonymous

by Billy Armendariz

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – If you suspect suspicious activity within the agriculture community, such as ongoing pecan or cattle theft, the New Mexico Department of Agriculture's office of bio-security urges you to call the Agricultural Reporting Hotline at 1-800-525-2782 or 575-646-9191.

As part of AGROGUARD, a community policing program designed to protect the agriculture industry, the Agricultural Reporting Hotline allows anyone to report suspicious activity anonymously.

Once reported, the alert is immediately sent as a message to the NMDA bio-security department as well as the New Mexico Livestock Board for review. The appropriate department or organization is then appointed to manage the situation.

The Agricultural Reporting Hotline is not a replacement for 9-1-1 and should only be used to report non-immediate concerns within the agriculture community. If an emergency crime is suspected, contact local law enforcement immediately.

For more information, contact NMDA Office of Bio-security Director Kelly Hamilton at or 575-646-7243.



(video on site)

Massive backlog of untested rape kits is 'a public safety issue' that may be letting offenders slip away, experts warn

North Carolina has between 14,000 and 15,000 untested rape kits.

by Alexandra Svokos

The discovery of the body of Hania Noelia Aguilar, a 13-year-old girl who was raped and murdered after being kidnapped outside her home, broke hearts in the small community of Lumberton, North Carolina, last fall.

But the discovery that the man suspected of killing her was linked to another rape and could have been detained at least a year earlier generated a whole different emotion: anger.

"It is absolutely tragic and makes me sad and a little bit crazy that this girl was killed, and if the case had been investigated properly, chances are she would be alive today," North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein told ABC News.

Last week, the Robeson County Sheriff's Office fired an investigator after an internal probe found that Aguilar's suspected killer could have been detained before she was abducted -- DNA evidence from a rape kit linked the suspect to a 2016 rape case, giving the sheriff's office probable cause to seek a search warrant.

The rape kit evidence linked to Aguilar's suspected murderer was collected in 2016 and tested in 2017, but ultimately -- for publicly unknown reasons -- law enforcement did not follow up on it.

"If he had been linked in 2016, we'd be having a very different conversation," Monika Johnson Hostler, executive director of the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault, told ABC News.

'Years and years' of waiting

The fact that the 2016 rape kit had been tested at all is remarkable, critics say. Between 14,000 to 15,000 other rape kits in North Carolina are waiting their turn in a massive backlog that's been piling up for years, leaving potential repeat offenders like Aguilar's alleged killer free to find their next target.

"Every single sexual assault kit that is untested represents a human being who went through an awful trauma, and they as a human being deserve to have their case investigated fully," Stein said.

Testing rape kits can both help get justice for a survivor and stop a person from committing sexual assault or further offenses, according to Ilse Knecht, director of policy and advocacy at the Joyful Heart Foundation, a national organization tackling sexual assault. Because of that, a rape kit backlog "is a public safety issue," she said.

"These are preventable crimes in many ways," Knecht told ABC News. "We have the technology, we have the science, to take these very, very dangerous people off the streets, and it hasn't been used."

North Carolina has the highest known number of untested kits of any state, according to data collected by End the Backlog, a Joyful Heart Foundation initiative. Knecht estimates it will take "years and years" to test them all. The next highest state is California with 13,615 untested kits -- and four times as many people.

Addressing the backlog

North Carolina has been taking steps to eliminate its backlog.

Last March, a North Carolina Department of Justice report found over 15,000 rape kits remained untested at the end of 2017.

In October, North Carolina received a $2 million grant from the Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, about half of which will be used to train law enforcement in victim-centered and trauma-informed investigations.

About $1 million -- the highest amount allowed under the grant agreement -- will be used to outsource rape kit testing to private labs (which is faster than public labs). However, that amount of money can only test about 1,400 kits -- around 10 percent of the backlog.

Still, it is "kind of a pilot for us to see exactly how this process is going to go for us," Hostler said.

The grant is also going towards implementing a tracking system, putting a barcode on each kit so the state knows the number and location of kits. Survivors will have access to track their kits, so they'll know its status and "where to apply the pressure," Stein said.

Identifying serial offenders and cracking cold cases

When a rape kit is tested, DNA information is submitted to the Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS, to see if there is a match to a person with a past offense and to identify serial offenders.

So far, Stein told ABC News, about 10 percent of tested kits link to someone on the CODIS list. Stein expects that percentage to increase the more testing is done as the database will grow.

And there have been significant results in the state, even before the grant was obtained. In Fayetteville, after a kit was tested, police charged a suspect in June over a 1989 rape case that had gone cold, ABC affiliate WTVD reported.

In Greenville, where police committed to testing their backlog, of the 21 cases uploaded into CODIS, two offenders were identified as serial rapists, reported CBS affiliate WNCT.

Law enforcement has had "a growing recognition that this is something where we need to change the way it's been done in the past [and put] a greater emphasis, a greater prioritization on addressing these crimes," Stein said.

'The funding didn't show up'

But more funding is needed to get through the rest of the backlog.

Last year, state lawmakers showed "bipartisan support, but the funding didn't show up," Hostler told ABC News.

"Funding's always far more difficult than verbal support, so I'm hoping that the verbal support will turn into more funding this year," she added.

Stein told ABC News he will be appealing for funding to the state legislature again when it is back in session in early February after they did not give it last year.

He said he will announce a proposal including a request for funding to outsource kit testing as well as "to establish a state protocol that says any time you collect a sexual assault kit and the victim reports it to law enforcement, as a matter of protocol, you just send it to the state crime lab. Don't hold it on your shelves, don't wait. Just send it to us so that we can analyze it and see if this sample hits on the CODIS database."

Just the beginning

But it's about more than just testing, Knecht said.

"You have the cases coming back that need to be investigated, they need to be prosecuted aggressively, and then all the victims in those cases need to be reengaged with the system that let them down," she said.

Stein echoed that from a justice perspective, rape kits and CODIS are "only as effective as we in law enforcement are at utilizing the information."

The Aguilar case put that reality front and center.

Before that case, Stein had been working on a letter that will go out to local law enforcement when a CODIS hit is found telling them the State Bureau of Investigation has offered to pursue investigations for any agency that doesn't have the resources to do so.

First, however, the kits need to be tested.

"If more people understand … the public safety threat, there would be a much larger chorus of voices saying, 'Test these kits now,'" Knecht said.



GCTC to build, open Public Safety Center training facility in Shawnee

by Elisabeth Slay

Shawnee — Gordon Cooper Technology Center (GCTC) is in the process of building a $5 million Public Safety Center and training facility on its campus in Shawnee.

According to GCTC Superintendent Marty Lewis, the Safety Center will offer training programs and services to various public safety workers.

“The facility will include space to train for new and current paramedics to serve in our region, have a high school program that takes high school students through an introduction to law enforcement along with exposure to firefighting, paramedics, and other career opportunities associated with the Public Safety Pathway, train for existing law enforcement and security employers in our region, train existing firefighters (paid and volunteer) and train for any other Public Safety areas,” Lewis said.

Construction on the building has already begun and it will be located on GCTC's main campus between the diesel training facility and the 45th Street.

Lewis explained the Safety Center will benefit Pottawatomie County and surrounding counties because future and current workers, such as law enforcement or volunteer firefighters, will receive top notch training.

“Quite simply, this facility and the training will allow many in our region to have access to a level of training that hasn't been feasible before within our region,” Lewis said.

The Safety Center will be more than 20,000 square feet, Lewis said, and will include: four classrooms, a paramedic training lab, a firearm simulation room, a driving simulation room, a workout space for law enforcement and firefighter training activities, a large meeting room, a fire training tower and additional water features for fire equipment.

The estimated cost for the Safety Center is $5 million and funds for the building and its features will be supplied by Building Fund proceeds.

“Through our strategic planning process, funds have been saved in the Building Fund over the course of the last few years, meaning no additional state, federal or local funds will be needed for this project,” Lewis said.

The superintendent explained for projects like this it's common for technology centers to use a “pay as you go” financing plan because it lessons costs.

Lewis said the choice to build the Safety Center was inspired by a myriad of people including internal staff, student interest surveys and external stakeholders.

“The school has historically provided continuing education training and resources for law enforcement and firefighters,” Lewis said. “Through partnerships with regional law enforcement, fire departments in the region and emergency medical services, we felt it was the right time to expand our options and opportunities in those areas.

Currently, construction of the Safety Center is scheduled to be complete in December.

“Gordon Cooper Technology Center has always attempted to meet the workforce needs in our region,” Lewis said. “This new public safety center will allow us to provide important training for the public safety professionals we count on each and every day in our communities.”



St. Paul's first public safety liaison to step down, citing tensions with mayor


In March, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter hired a vocal advocate of police reforms to draw up new strategies for engaging residents in addressing public safety concerns.

After nearly a year in the role, Jason Sole, the first director of St. Paul's Community-First Public Safety Initiative, will no longer be employed by the city as of Feb. 4.

Responding to an inquiry on Friday, the mayor's office declined to describe the situation as a termination or a forced resignation, though tensions have been apparent.

“The reasons for the separation are not public without (Sole's) written authorization,” said Liz Xiong, a spokeswoman for the mayor's office.

Earlier in the day, Sole — a former teen gang member who had turned his life around in the Twin Cities to become president of the Minneapolis NAACP — described his relationship with Carter as strained.

“I have not resigned,” Sole said at midday. “We're just in a weird place right now. We just have some stuff to work through.”

On Jan. 21, Sole sent the mayor a page-long letter saying he was “disillusioned with how this year has unfolded” and indicated he would not renew his contract past March 27, its scheduled end-date. His annual salary was $103,000.

“You can't name one initiative you've supported of mine,” Sole wrote.

Among his concerns, Sole said his community initiative was still awaiting funding while the mayor approved nine new police officers in the 2019 budget.

Sole also objected to Carter supporting a Ramsey County gun violence intervention initiative and a youth data sharing project, two efforts that Sole had criticized.

“You were upset that I didn't attend a recent meeting,” he wrote.

Sole noted in his letter that Carter had backed former U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison when Ellison's ex-girlfriend Karen Monahan accused the then-state attorney general candidate of abuse. Sole described Monahan as a friend.

“I was more ostracized after our conversation,” he said.

On the same day, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, Sole posted a 425-word declaration to his Facebook page criticizing political leaders who “instilled hope on the campaign trails but walk in mediocrity once they're seated.”

He also spoke about the limits of implicit bias training, which began for city employees under the administration of Mayor Chris Coleman and continued under Carter.

Said Sole, in his Facebook post: “I dream that people will realize that implicit bias training does not work for white supremacists.”

In an interview last month, Carter responded to a question about the delay in rolling out the Community-First Public Safety Initiative,  an effort that had roped in multiple city departments.

“That's something that we very intentionally needed to spend a lot of time building the foundation for,” the mayor said. “We're really thinking of this as a shift from the tough-on-crime policies that have failed our country for so long, to a smart-on-crime focus.”

Late Friday afternoon, the mayor said in a statement, “I appreciate Jason Sole's service and wish him well. His contributions and feedback will continue to inform our Community-First Public Safety Strategies moving forward.”




Stepping up in public safety

New police, firefighters pinned; officers promoted

by Time Staff

Gloucester recognized its top cops and firefighters at ceremony Thursday that also welcomed new members to the Police and Fire departments.

More than 200 people were on hand in City Hall's Kyrouz Auditorium as the city commended public safety personnel for exemplary work and congratulated its newest public safety officials.

Among those recognized was interim police Chief John McCarthy, who is set to retire when the city names his replacement in the coming weeks. In a sometimes emotional speech, Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken thanked McCarthy for his 40 years of service on the city force.   

Gloucester Fire formally celebrated the promotion of Joseph Aiello to assistant chief, James Burke to captain, and Chad Mota to lieutenant.

Aiello, a firefighter for more than 32 years — all but five of them in his native Gloucester —was named assistant fire chief and emergency management director in late August, filling an empty position.

Sean Ellis, Nicholas Aiello, Nicholas Bazdanes and Lukas McRobb were sworn into the department as firefighters.

Gloucester natives McRobb and Nicholas Aeillo have the firefighting gene.

McRobb's father is fire Deputy Chief Andrew McRobb, and his grandfather retired as a captain from the department. McRobb was hired as a full-timer last February, and graduated from the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy in November.

Nicholas Aiello is the new assistant chief's nephew; his father Tom Aeillo retired as Gloucester deputy fire chief, and his father and uncle's cousin, Steve Aiello, is a deputy chief with the department.

Gloucester Police swore in as officers Alassandro D'Angelo, Dylan Morrissey, James Nicolosi and Andrew Silva.

Commendations were given to police officers who worked to catch a suspect in the November robbery of Gloucester's branch of the Institution for Savings, and to firefighter Jeff Romeo, who while off-duty, tried to rescue a pet from a house fire on Norseman Avenue in April, and provided comfort to the homeowners.



Winter X Games' success a matter of public safety

by Andre Salvail

With more than 100,000 revelers expected to fill the base of Buttermilk Mountain over the four days of Winter X Games, it takes much more than a village to ensure their public safety.

In the event's 17-year history in Aspen, Saturday typically corresponds with the biggest crowds. In addition to the regular lineup of athletic competition, including the Men's Big Air Final and the Women's Snowboard SuperPipe, two sold-out musical offerings will take place at the on-site, 8,000-person capacity concert venue today: Louis the Child at 5 p.m. and the Chainsmokers at 9:30 p.m.

An estimate of 30,000 spectators and concert-goers today would not be out of line with the Saturday attendance of recent years. That's based on estimates of Thursday-through-Sunday crowds that ESPN has provided in the past.

Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo's department is responsible for overseeing the event's safety. But the Winter X Games has grown to the point where his deputies can no longer manage it alone. An incident management team represented by numerous agencies across the Roaring Fork Valley is in charge of public safety inside and outside of the venue. ESPN also provides security guards that work alongside law enforcement within the confines of the site.

Pitkin County Sheriff's Deputy Alex Burchetta and Aspen Ambulance District Director Gabe Muething are the incident commanders. Their post is at Mountain Rescue Aspen's headquarters building near the Aspen Business Center. An operations trailer has been set up on Owl Creek Road near Buttermilk to assist with personnel arrivals and departures.

Agencies participating on this year's version of the incident management team include the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office, Aspen Police Department, Colorado State Patrol, Colorado Department of Transportation, Snowmass Village Police Department, Basalt Police Department, Aspen Ambulance District, Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District, Aspen Fire Protection District, Aspen Valley Hospital, Pitkin County government and the Roaring Fork Fire Rescue Authority.

DiSalvo said he's mainly on standby, assisting the team when needed with communications issues between the heads of various agencies. He said he's been conducting tours of the command post and the venue to show whomever is interested how the incident-management system works

“The main comment I receive is, ‘I can't believe how well you guys all work together,'” he said. “It's really an anomaly. One sheriff from another county said, ‘We couldn't work this closely with different municipalities. It'd be a pissing contest.'

“We all know that individually, we're too small to handle this incident, but together we can,” DiSalvo said.

Aside from the incident management team members and their personnel, other law enforcement agencies provide key assistance. For example, Denver's Regional Transportation District and the U.S. Marshal's Office have canine units at the venue. The Glenwood Springs Police Department and the Eagle County Sheriff's Office also are lending support, according to Tracy Trulove, public information officer for the incident management team.

In terms of what spectators and revelers can and cannot do, the ESPN Winter X Games is no Woodstock. The event is somewhat rule heavy. Attendees are searched either at the gate outside the venue or the Brush Creek Intercept Lot as they board an express bus to Buttermilk. Alcohol is expressly forbidden except in special areas. Drug use is taboo as well, despite Colorado's legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes.

Trulove provided a list of dos and don'ts that apply to on-site attendees. The list of “things you cannot bring to the X Games” includes: alcohol and other beverages, drugs, drug paraphernalia (including pipes and vaping pens), large bags, cigarettes and e-cigarettes, drones, coolers, folding chairs, laser lights, noisemakers, pets, “selfie” sticks and poles to hold flags and banners.

It's OK to bring small bags, sunscreen, factory-sealed water bottles, empty water bottles and service dogs with paper credentials, she added.

Trulove, who works as a communications specialist for CDOT, stressed the importance of dressing for the bitterly cold nights and staying hydrated. She also pointed out that a system has been set up to notify attendees and others, such as the parents of youths attending the games, of any special incidents relating to public safety. To receive X Games text alerts, text XGASP to 888777. 

DiSalvo said there have been relatively few arrests and public safety issues over the years. Alcohol and drug use is fairly common; there is the occasional fight. DiSalvo and Trulove mentioned a couple of bomb scares in recent years, none of which involved an actual incendiary device.

All weekend, sheriff's deputies and state troopers will be stationed along Highway 82 near Buttermilk to be on the lookout for drunken drivers, DiSalvo said. “Amnesty boxes,” where attendees can ditch drugs, alcohol and other objects not allowed inside the venue, have been placed at the intercept lot and near the security checkpoint at the venue.

“To be honest, the last couple of years have been pretty quiet,” DiSalvo said. “My message would be to come here, enjoy the event and do it safely. If you do that, you're not going to have a problem; you're going to have a gas.

“If you don't do it safely, you may have an interaction with a police officer that could be unpleasant. But we want everybody to come here and enjoy themselves. We know what people are doing; just do it responsibly.”



Public Safety: ‘If you see something, say something'

Police departments seek surveillance help from security camera owners to solve crimes

by Rachel Rosenbaum

One key aspect in community policing: “If you see something, say something.”

While you might not have seem a crime in progress, your home or business security cameras might have.

Both the Yuba City and Marysville police departments are looking for businesses and residents to register their privately-owned surveillance systems with the departments in hopes of solving crimes.

As officers respond to criminal incidents, they may be able to use the information or footage gathered from the security cameras to assist in the apprehension and prosecution of involved criminals, according to a department press release. By registering your camera, the department can quickly identify nearby cameras that may have captured images of criminal activity.

After registering, you would only be contacted by police if there is a criminal incident in the vicinity of your camera. If necessary, police may request to view your camera footage in order to assist in the investigation. Providing footage is completely voluntary.

Here's how to participate in Yuba City:

• Fill out a registration form: It can be scanned and sent to or mailed to the Yuba City Police Department at 1545 Poole Boulevard, Yuba City, CA 95993. Registering also comes with a small yard sign, which the department says acts as a deterrent as well as helping solve crimes.

Here's how to participate in Marysville:

Complete a “safe city” registration form (found online at and drop it off at the Marysville Police Department's front counter, or mail it to the department at 316 6th Street, Marysville, CA 95901.

• The form can also be completed online and emailed to Lt. Adam Barber at

• Contact the department by phone for assistance in completing the form at 749-3952.

Information provided to the registry program regarding the camera system will be for official use only and not for public dissemination.


Private Industry and Public Safety

from PoliceOne

The drones are coming – and they can save your life

Drones were the hot item at SHOT Show this year, with both UAVs and accessories on display

by Ron LaPedis

A key attraction at SHOT Show every year is the Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP), which features presentations on the application of technology and training methods, and the latest strategies for successful response and engagement on scene. As part of the session titled Counter Ambush: Care Under Fire, the use of drones for surveillance, tracking and delivery of materials was addressed.

Before former military and law enforcement officer and trainer Mike Briant turned the session over to unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) pilot Matt Sloane, Mike described and demonstrated the many ways that body language can tell you a perp is about to attack, how to mitigate that attack and, most important, how to counterattack to put them off balance and allow you to make space before drawing your weapon. PoliceOne columnist Dick Fairburn discusses counterattack and the overwhelming use of force in this article.


One big advantage of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is that it works in three-dimensional space, giving you a high vantage point and the advantage of surprise. UAVs are significantly smaller and quieter than helicopters, and some newer drones are quiet enough for them to get lost in background noise.

Just like an officer should have their choice of firearms (pistol, shotgun or patrol rifle), a well-equipped UAV pilot should have their choice of drones, or if the budget doesn't allow for that, a set of accessories that are suited to the mission at hand.

For surveillance and tracking, UAVs can be equipped with powerful fixed or steerable lights and/or thermal cameras. Some drones, like the dji Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual, come with a built-in FLIR MSX thermal camera, while other UAVs can be equipped with after-market cameras. With the use of built-in GPS, real-time tracking software and remote video connections, your officers on the ground can be directed to a suspect from multiple directions, easing capture. In fact, the Chula Vista Police Department in California is testing out a “drone as a first responder” model. Under FAA's UAS Integration Pilot Program (IPP) program, the agency is flying the UAV from the roof of their  911 center building directly to a call – even if the drone travels out of the pilot's visual line of sight. A UAV can also be used during special events and mass gatherings to watch for suspicious activities.


Another application of UAVs is to deliver a payload. Matt demonstrated how even small UAVs such as the Mavic 2 can deliver a tourniquet, bandages, keys, a cellphone or a mag full of ammo. The item can be attached with Velcro or delivered by dropping it from the UAV while it is flying by using a device such as the Drone Sky Hook. Larger UAVs, such as the Matrice 600 Pro can carry just over 13 pounds for up to 18 minutes.

UAVs also can be used indoors, with the proviso that the pilot is well-practiced, and the UAV has propeller guards to keep it from causing injury. A UAV such as the Flyability Elios might be a good choice if your budget allows for mission-specific drones.

Idan Peretz, former head of the Israeli Defense Force rescue and climbing instruction unit, has an interesting take on using UAVs for law enforcement and the military. Idan founded Highnovate to both build equipment and train users. Idan designed strong, yet lightweight, components that allow a UAV to safely and discreetly place climbing/rappelling hooks and a tag line that can be used to pull the rope into place.

Two products are the Bella and Mini-Bella, which differ in size and capacity. The Bella is a two-piece device. The female is attached to a hook or another type of mount and the tag line is routed through it and secured to the male piece, which is attached to both the tag line and the rope and left on the ground. After the hook is secured by the UAV, the operator reels in the tag line, which pulls the male part along with the attached line into the Bella, where it locks into place. The Mini Bella weighs just over 5 ounces (yes, ounces!) and is rated to support 1,700 lbs. The Bella doesn't weigh much more and can support up to 2,800 pounds. Many other products are available, including building ledge anchors and climbing/rappelling quick disconnects, with all built in the USA.

Working with a partner, Highnovate will soon announce an autonomous UAV delivery system that lets the operator point at where they want the UAV to fly, and a machine-learning vision system will get the UAV there safely – even if it needs to fly through openings such as those found in some steel bridges and electrical towers.


What if your problem is illegal UAV activity? Ideal Blasting Supply was showing off the dji AeroScope in the NEXT Pavilion. The AeroScope can detect, identify and monitor dji UAVs. Since dji UAVs are estimated to make up two-thirds of civilian drones globally, this is still the vast majority in the air. The AeroScope monitors and analyzes the UAVs' electronic signals, allowing site owners and law enforcement to protect the integrity of flight-sensitive environments. Mobile and stationary units are available, each of which can cover a radius of up to 12.5 miles. In effect, it is a license plate reader that provides law enforcement with the data required to be able to quickly and effectively protect against UAV intrusion.

By intercepting the communications link between a UAV and its remote controller, AeroScope is able to track real-time identification information including UAV serial code, make and model, position, speed, latitude and ground controller location. This allows the operator to take mitigation action against the threat and at the same time dispatch officers to apprehend the pilot.


Before you can deploy your UAV you have to get it to the launch point. Smaller UAVs fold down, but larger UAVs need to be disassembled for transport and assembled for flight. Pelican just announced a set of UAV cases for larger drones which can carry them nearly-assembled for quick deployment. Unlike their previous line of cases, the new ones are UAV-specific with cutouts for the UAV and all of the accessories needed to fly it.


While toy UAVs are available almost everywhere for a few tens of dollars, professional UAVs start at around $1,000 (the Matrice 600 Pro is $5,000 before accessories) and are easily damaged or lost if piloted by an untrained individual. Our LEEP session demo pilot, Matt Crow, is licensed under Part 107 by the FAA (USA Federal Aviation Administration) to fly UAVs under 55 pounds. The exam is similar but not as extensive as the one used for piloted aircraft. Matt had to learn how to read aeronautical charts, how and when he can fly in controlled airspace and much more before he could fly as a licensed pilot. To fly larger drones, Matt needed an exemption under the FAA special authority for certain unmanned systems. Additional exemptions are needed to fly at night or over people. More information is in this PoliceOne article.

Before your agency budgets for a UAV, you also need to budget for initial training, certification and recertification of your pilot(s). You need to run your UAV program the same as you would run any specialized program with specific training and equipment such as your designated marksman program or SWAT team. Remember your pilot may not be on shift or could be on vacation – so that means you need more than one.

Click here for more information about the use of UAVs in law enforcement. For more SHOT Show coverage, visit


About the author

Ron LaPedis has been a business continuity and security professional for over 25 years and frequently writes and speaks on business continuity, cybersecurity, physical security and public safety topics. He is a Patron of the NRA, NRA-certified Range Safety Officer (RSO), NRA and California DOJ Certified Instructor, member of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), and serves on the boards of public safety, military and law-enforcement related organizations.

Ron is a Master Business Continuity Professional, an Associate Fellow of the Business Continuity Institute, a Distinguished Fellow of the Ponemon Institute, a Certified Information Systems Security Professional and is licensed to carry a firearm in his home state of California and beyond.


New Jersey

from Law Enforcement Today

City that supported giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants wants to lay off 112 cops

by LET Staff

PATERSON, NJ  – Police in Paterson, New Jersey are in fear for the future of their careers after budget cuts are putting city jobs on the chopping block.

According to public officials and union representatives, the city has been in talks about how to alleviate some of the pressures from the city's budget crisis.

The latest talks consider cutting 112 law enforcement officers from the city payroll as well as demoting 19 others.

Keep in mind, this is the same Paterson, New Jersey whose mayor advocated for undocumented illegal immigrants to get driver's licenses in 2018. Mayor Andre Sayegh commented about the bill, claiming it would “free up resources in courts and jails due to fewer unlicensed or uninsured drivers.

Now that same man who wanted illegal immigrants in his community to be able to “provide and care for their families” wants to put American law enforcement officers' livelihoods at risk.

Officials met earlier this week to discuss how the budget issues will be handled, with the gap looming somewhere between $8 million and $12 million.

Members of Sayegh's administration offered a deal that would reportedly save over $4 million and would equate to a two-week paycheck deferral for officers over the next five months. But even if they accepted, there is apparently no guarantee that it would end the conversation on layoffs.

Firefighters and other public servants may find their jobs in jeopardy as well.

Why is it that immigrants who are here illegally can reside in the city and have access to benefits from the city budget, yet our police officers are the ones paying the price?

There are currently 415 officers on the payroll for Paterson. Just 8 years ago, 125 officers were laid off due to a previous budget crisis. What followed the layoffs was an increase in shootings and violent crime. Now that those numbers have fallen, the administration is looking to make the same move.

When questioned about the potential for layoffs, head of the public safety committee, Councilman Michael Jackson claimed that “if we laid off 100 officers, that would be the straw that broke the camel's back.” He went on to call the proposition “unfathomable.”

Union President Mason Maher said the layoff strategy would “put the police department in an extremely dire situation.” He is hesitant to support the paycheck deferral after a similar agreement from 1994. Maher alleges that officers who have retired recently have still not been properly compensated for that situation.

The city is aiming to begin deferring paychecks beginning February 8th.


About The Authors

LET Staff -- The staff of Law Enforcement Today is compiled of career cops. Cumulatively we possess nearly a century of experience in the business of police work. Our backgrounds derive from the East Coast, West Cost, South and Upper Midwest. Moreover, we connect with our readers through social media everyday. As a result, we have our finger on the pulse of American law enforcement.


Border Sequrity

from Law Enforcement Today

Border Security 101: CBP

by Sgt. A. Merica

This is a public service announcement to everybody reading and watching all that's occurring in media and government with nexus to Border Security. We'll call it Border Security 101 and it'll serve to quickly educate you on the basics of what CBP is.

The largest federal law enforcement agency in America is known as “CBP” although my buddy Rodney often calls it CPB, but he's from Ohio … or is it Illinois?!

Anyway … the acronym stands for U.S. Customs and Border Protection; this is what the agency was named when it was created in 2003 in conjunction with the newly formed Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in response to the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

CBP essentially merged the legacy functions of the U.S. Customs Service (Treasury), Immigration and Naturalization (Justice), and Agriculture (USDA).

CBP has approximately 60,000 personnel and is comprised on 3 main components:

  • Air & Marine (AMO)

  • Border Patrol (BP)

  • Field Operations (OFO)

Despite what you hear on the news, CBP does not stand for Customs and Border Patrol, although many leaders, to include the President, reference the agency improperly as such. The “P” in CBP stands for Protection. The agency is U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Did you know that Customs is the oldest law enforcement agency in America? Passed by the first act of Congress in 1789.

AMO wears a tan uniform; they operate the water vessels and aircraft that secure our nation's borders. Lately it has been forgotten that there are borders on all 4 sides of the United States. Perhaps when the President's new Space Force enters the picture, there will be a fifth border extending upwards, but that is yet to be determined. OK, now back to AMO who is often mischaracterized as a support arm; they are a law enforcement branch of CBP and a very powerful one at that. Think of them as the Air Force and the Navy of Federal Law Enforcement for America's Borders.

The Office of Field Operations (OFO) is the largest of the three CBP components and their law enforcement personnel, known as CBP Officers are stationed throughout the United States and abroad at international locations known as pre-clearance. They wear blue uniforms and are trained to carry HK P2000, shotgun, and M4. They are generally assigned to ports of entry and functional equivalents thereof, to include airports, seaports, land borders, etc. OFO has special operators as part of their Special Response Team (SRT). There are also Agriculture Specialists who search for prohibited items in order to protect U.S. Agriculture and the farming industry.

Green uniforms are worn by Border Patrol Agents who work in between ports of entry at Sectors and are routinely tasked with securing some of the most treacherous terrain in America. They have some of the most dangerous and physically demanding law enforcement jobs in the US. They also carry the HK P2000, shotgun, and M4. BP has special tactical operators known as BORTAC.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is not part of CBP. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is part of ICE. Components of the legacy agencies that formed CBP were placed within ICE in 2003. Prior to the merger, they were within the same agency as their counterparts but that changed in 2003. For instance, legacy U.S. Customs investigations and legacy Immigration investigations (Special Agents) that once worked side by side with Inspectors are now within a totally different component than CBP Officers. Many think this is not the most efficient and effective way to operate but they remain separate. We will touch more on those agencies in the future but think of HSI as the detectives and BP, OFO, and AMO as the Police Officers if that makes sense. Now imagine if the detective and police officers were assigned to separate police departments.

By no means is this article all-inclusive. It's just some basic info. Think of it like CBP cliff notes There are also discussions to be had about trade and how goods are imported and exported. Import Specialists, Entry Specialists, and a myriad of non-law enforcement functions that are crucial to the United States economy. It's also important to understand that the border has people and goods moving in both directions; people and goods leaving the U.S. (outbound) is critical but we'll save that for another time too.

–  Sgt. A. Merica


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