Many thanks to NAASCA's Terri Lanahan, Butte, Montana,
for her research into the news that appears on
the LACP & NAASCA web sites.
Super Bowl sex-trafficking ring is busted as cops arrest 33 people and rescue four victims in Atlanta in sting ahead of Sunday's game
by LEAH MCDONALD
Over 30 people have been arrested on sex-trafficking charges during a planned operation in the lead-up to the Super Bowl.
Federal law enforcement officials announced Wednesday they have arrested 33 people in metro Atlanta for sex trafficking.
Authorities said they had also rescued four victims as part of the operation, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Campaigners have warned that large sporting events such as the Super Bowl are attractive to those in the sex trafficking trade.
Sex crimes can surge when lots of free-spending travelers are around and in one concentrated area.
The arrests were made over the past four days, according to Nick Annan, Homeland Security Investigations special agent in charge.
He declined to give further details on the arrests and said ongoing efforts will continue throughout the week.
'We plan to continue what we're doing,' Annan said.
Homeland Security assisted in a joint operation in Douglas County using undercover officers, social media sites and local hotel rooms on January 23 and 24, the Douglasville Police Department said.
Sixteen people were arrested, according to police, and the youngest person involved was 17.
The timing of the crackdown was related to the Super Bowl, police said.
More than 40 local and state law enforcement agencies, along with 25 federal agencies, are assisting with security for the Super Bowl.
Officers and security members have been visible throughout downtown Atlanta where events have been held, and those efforts will continue until hours after the big game.
Police have warned fans about fake tickets being sold and investigators have also found more than 2,000 counterfeit items, according to Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of Homeland Security.
Cops warned ticket-buyers to purchase only from a reputable source. They also explained that it may be difficult for fans to distinguish real tickets from counterfeit ones even though legitimate tickets contain a special NFL hologram.
Shields encouraged those heading to the game or other Super Bowl events to plan ahead and rely on public transportation.
For those who insist on driving, secure valuables ahead of time, she said. Call 911 or alert an officer to anything suspicious. But above all, Shields encouraged fans to have fun.
'This is a fantastic city. We really want people to come and just have a great time.'
Atlanta police Chief Erika Shields outlined their security plans during a press conference on Wednesday afternoon at the Georgia World Congress Center.
Shields said security planning for the Super Bowl began over two years ago, and so far everything is going according to plan.
Police set to start camera program with public Residents in Ill.
Springfield will soon join several Illinois cities that have a voluntary program in which residents can register their private cameras to help out police.
Police Chief Kenny Winslow told the City Council this past week that the registration will be available through the Springfield Police Department's website in February.
Residents who own private exterior cameras would enter information, like their address and a way to contact them, into a portal on the website. That information would be uploaded into a spreadsheet, which would plot all of the registered private security cameras on a map. Police officers would have access to this information and would be able to contact camera owners afterward if a crime occurred nearby.
"We can send an alert via email or have detectives just call," Winslow said.
Winslow said the camera owners would be able to send in the footage through evidence.com, which is an encrypted hosting site that the city already uses. Or, a police officer could review the footage with the homeowner.
Winslow said police are more likely to apprehend a suspect if they get information quickly after a crime. Plus, Winslow said the camera network could act as a deterrent to crime happening in the first place.
"It will hopefully lead to more investigatory leads on crimes, or hopefully a better apprehension rate or maybe even a reduction (in crime)," Winslow said. "We just have to figure it out how to better market it to have good participation."
Unlike some cities, Winslow said the department decided that going through a third-party vendor to host the registration was not cost-effective. The portal was made in-house by the city's information systems division.
Several Illinois cities like Chicago, Belleville, O'Fallon, Bloomington and Edwardsville have registrations.
Bloomington has had the program since 2016. It takes two to five minutes to fill out the form on its website, according to its police department's spokesman, Officer John Fermon.
Fermon said he couldn't say exactly how many cameras are registered, but he said it was a small percentage of Bloomington's 80,000 residents.
The registration is used as a "supplementary" tool to ongoing investigations.
In more serious crimes, police will have already committed to a door-to-door neighborhood canvass, Fermon said. Participation from the public when they hear about homicides can already be high, he added.
"Usually if a crime occurs, especially in Bloomington, a lot of people will call and say, 'Hey, do you guys need video?'" Fermon said.
The registration comes in handy in crimes like burglary and battery, where not as many resources may be available.
A registration was rolled out through the Edwardsville Police Department in June. So far, 35 people with cameras have signed up, according to Lt. Mike Lybarger. Every time the department posts about the program on social media like Facebook, a few more people sign up, he said.
"We stress it's a voluntary program," Lybarger said. "We don't want to log into your system. We just want to know you have a system."
The registration was part of a presentation to city council this week about the police department's proposed budget. Aldermen seemed receptive to the idea.
"This is something that's being widely asked for by our neighborhood associations and will be a positive for the city," said Ward 7 Ald. Joe McMenamin.
In an interview, McMenamin said a few neighborhood associations in his ward have already created lists of home security cameras and shared them with their neighborhood police officer. A citywide effort would be more helpful, McMenamin said.
He, too, has noticed more exterior cameras. He said he has encountered cameras that doubled as doorbells while dropping off meals on Meals on Wheels.
McMenamin cited a December shooting, in which a man got out of his car and opened fire on a car near Leland and Wiggins avenues, wounding a 26-year-old man. A camera capturing a license plate of the shooter's car in that instance would have helped, McMenamin said.
Winslow said no one incident prompted the need for a registration. Rather, it is a reaction to the higher number of private security cameras in the city.
"We've seen a proliferation of private security cameras throughout our city," Winslow said. "We know that more and more, as the price comes down, people are installing them."
PoliceOne - to the Officer - Policing Matters
Why agencies should keep mounted, bike and foot patrols
Walking the beat is a fundamental element to community
by Jim Dudley and Doug Wyllie
Walking the beat is a fundamental element to community policing. Other forms of patrol aimed principally at community engagement have officers mounted atop equine partners, and rolling around town on tricked-out mountain bikes.
In all these cases, officers on foot create opportunities for the public to connect with their police (and vice versa).
Conversely, when officers are wrapped in two tons of metal and plastic, that opportunity for real connection is essentially lost. In this podcast segment, Jim and Doug discuss the need for agencies to keep these types of patrol efforts well-staffed and supported.
PoliceOne - to the Officer - Neighborhood Relations
4 ways officers can improve neighborhood relationships.
If you know more criminals on your beat than citizens you protect, that's a problem – here are four ways to remedy that
by Booker Hodges
As our profession begins to transition from one generation to the next, I have noticed newer officers struggling with how they can individually improve neighborhood relations.
Below are some tips I have practiced over the years to maintain great connections with my neighborhood. I believe if each and every one of us did the majority of these things, we would begin to turn the corner on what seems to be an all-out assault on the credibility of the law enforcement profession.
1. LIVE WHERE YOU WORK.
It's easy to say, “Screw the police,” but it's a lot more difficult to say, “Screw Deputy Hodges.” Living where you work allows you to know more people in your community than criminals. It also allows members of your community to know you outside of your law enforcement capacity.
I don't have to ask someone what the community thinks because I am a member of the community. Living where you work also shows those you police that you value them enough to live side by side with them. I realize that living in some police communities is cost prohibitive based on an officer's salary, but if at all possible living where you police is one thing you can do to improve neighborhood relations.
2. INTERACT WITH PEOPLE IN NON-ENFORCEMENT SITUATIONS.
A police officer's wife recently said to me, “My husband is a cop, but our kids don't have any interaction with cops other than him. They drive down the street with the windows rolled up and sunglasses on. I wish they would stop to say hi when they see us playing in the front yard.”
I believe that we have become disconnected from those whom we police. Policing using statistics and data-driven initiatives removes the human element from policing. If you know more criminals on your beat than citizens you protect, that's a problem.
Administrators helped create this problem with productivity logs. If you are rewarded for the number of citations you write rather than for the number of non-enforcement citizen interactions, what are you more likely to focus on?
Remember what I said, it's easy to say, “Screw the police,” not so easy to say, “Screw Deputy Hodges." Public perception is changed one person at a time.
3. VOLUNTEER IN YOUR COMMUNITY.
I cannot say enough about the importance of volunteering in the community you police. People who volunteer are active in their communities and are the type of people we need spreading the truth about our profession. Being a public servant should not stop when you take the uniform off – volunteering keeps you connected to the community you are policing.
4. DON'T READ, WATCH, OR SURF THE INTERNET FOR NEWS.
A wise police chief told me, “The media is not interested in the story; they are interested in a story.” If you believe what is written in the media is reflective of public sentiment you are gravely mistaken. The majority of the public supports law enforcement officers and what we do. The majority of the public wants to interact with us and get to know us as people. Unfortunately, many of us avoid these interactions, especially in certain communities, because of how we perceive they perceive us. The perception in the media is not the reality we live and we should conduct ourselves accordingly.
As a profession we must connect on a personal level with those we are charged with policing. The next generation of police officers will be successful if they become fully immersed in their communities. It is much harder to hate up close!
Community Policing on an International Scale
Torrington police officer visits Iraq, Romania
by Crystal R. Albers
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.”
What Hopkins can learn from Japan's police system
Japan uses the koban system, a form of community policing that uses “police boxes.”
by RIKO YUJI
As an exchange student brought up in Japan, it was a whole new idea that people can feel threatened by police officers. By taking sociology classes, participating in local volunteer activities and talking with minority students at Hopkins, I learned that people in Baltimore -- especially minorities -- regard police officers not as their protectors, but as potential threats because of their discriminatory, unjust policing.
In Japan, the image of police officers is totally different. People see them as protectors of communities, and always ask them for help. Walking on streets, you frequently see police boxes, or koban, with red lights and police officers stationing. There are about 12,600 koban throughout the country. People drop by police stations to ask directions and to bring in lost belongings they find on streets. If people have security concerns in neighborhood or conflicts among neighbors, they report to police stations nearby. Police officers are highly responsive and make a special patrol in areas and mediate conflicts. Local members in communities also volunteer to patrol neighborhoods in collaboration with police officers. With police stations as a platform, Japanese police officers are well integrated into local communities and demonstrate a good model of community policing. Although Japanese police officers do carry guns, they do not invoke fear. Civilians are never pointed at with guns unless they commit seriously violent actions.
To be fair, there are many social and economic differences between the U.S. -- especially Baltimore -- and Japan, which give rise to our vastly different perceptions of police officers. Specifically, there is relatively less ethnic diversity in Japan and segregation and economic inequalities based on race and ethnicities are not so serious as in the U.S. In addition, Japan has maintained the tradition of community policing with the koban system since 1874, while the U.S. experienced a nationwide move toward professionalization from the early 1900s resulting in separation of the police from the public.
Notwithstanding these differences, however, some ideas of Japanese community policing can be applicable in maintaining security around Hopkins communities. The main concern of those who oppose the establishment of private police at Hopkins is that private police will lack transparency, which can result in discriminatory policing against minorities both in student body and neighborhood. In order to hold private police accountable, it is essential to make sure that local members are involved in monitoring and improving the operation of private police.
Holding regular local meetings that take into account opinions from various local communities and getting help from local volunteers in police patrolling -- including minorities and people from the most underserved neighborhoods -- will allow the community to monitor the practices of police officers. By stationing at regular shifts, police officers can get more familiar with local people, and will be less likely to randomly stop residents based on their race and ethnicity. Police boxes can be an open window for local members to report security concerns, which help police officers respond to local needs. Close communication can facilitate both preventive policing and trust-building among residents towards police officers.
It is reasonable to be skeptical about whether such soft approaches can be really effective even in Baltimore, which has much higher crime than Japan. However the Japanese koban system was introduced in 2000 to a part of Sao Paulo called Ranieri, which the United Nations designated as “the world's most dangerous area”. Ten years after the introduction of koban system, the crime rate in Ranieri dropped to around 20 percent. With this success, the koban system has been exported to other countries in Central and South America. In order to break the vicious cycle of excessive policing and resistance from minorities resulting in violence, it would be a better idea to pursue preventive and collaborative approaches rather than robust approaches like the “Zero Tolerance”strategy that continues to affect Baltimore policing.
Installing police boxes and providing extensive services requires funding. It is difficult for the Baltimore Police Department to realize community policing in near future, considering their chronic underfunding. As a private institution with a huge security budget, however, Hopkins may be able to initiate a model of community policing in Baltimore through a potential private police force.
Considering rising crime rates in Baltimore, it is reasonable that we need to take a step to increase security in Hopkins communities. It appears more cost-effective to spend money on professionally trained police officers with arrest authority rather than less trained and temporary security guards. However, we need to make sure that if Hopkins is to have a private police force, it will invoke a sense of security and justice for everyone through community policing.
Maine Gov's Public Safety Pick Criticized by Gun Rights Fans
A former Portland police chief is facing a few jeers and some criticism from gun rights supporters Friday as a legislative committee considers his nomination for public safety commissioner.
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A former Portland police chief was jeered and criticized by gun rights supporters Friday as a legislative committee considered his nomination for public safety commissioner.
Several gun rights groups, Republican leaders and activists criticized Democratic Gov. Janet Mills' nomination of Mike Sauschuck over his gun policy views in a state whose constitution says "every citizen has a right to keep and bear arms."
"There are folks out there who don't trust me in this role because of some of the specific stances I've taken on firearms," said Sauschuck, whose nomination has drawn hundreds of public comments.
Sauschuck, who faces a Senate confirmation vote, said it'll be up to him to build trust with those critical of his positions. Mills has defended his nomination and said Sauschuck will help tackle Maine's opioid crisis.
Sauschuck said he would have little influence over firearms issues as commissioner and doesn't see himself ever "talking to anybody about a specific concealed weapons permit." He said each year, he'd consider about a dozen applications from individuals with criminal backgrounds seeking permission to hunt.
Democratic Sen. Susan Deschambault stressed Friday that lawmakers are considering Sauschuck's qualifications.
His supporters praised Sauschuck's record as a leader focused on community policing and improving de-esculation and defense training for officers.
"I can tell you that I believe Mike's view on gun control is he wants to see less violence and wants to get guns out of the hands of criminals," said interim Portland Police Chief Vern Malloch.
Sauschuck supported a failed 2016 referendum for universal background checks for gun sales and transfers. He has voiced concern over Maine's open-carry and concealed carry laws, and has served on the board of a gun safety coalition board linked to former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Community policing funds could be 'better spent tackling homelessness
A senior councillor has suggested that funding set to be cut from community policing could be better spent tackling homelessness.
Police chiefs were grilled by councillors over the capital's funding deal for officers – with fears the authority "does not get good value" for money.
Today (February 1), the city council's finance and resources committee will examine proposals to cut millions of pounds of funding from the 2019/20 budget.
The proposals total £41m – but the figure is set to drop to around £34m after a deal was struck between the SNP and Greens in Holyrood over the Scottish Government budget.
One of the tabled proposals is to cut £522,000 of the £1.6m paid to Police Scotland for community policing by the authority – which police chiefs told councillors could see the loss of nine of the current 53 officers.
The vice convener of the council's housing and economy committee, Labour councillor Lezley Marion Cameron, has suggested that the money could be spent on other priorities.
Addressing police chiefs, she said: "We are the lowest-funded area from the Scottish Government.
"It could be argued that the funding we give you could be allocated to supporting homeless and getting people out of poverty – which actually could even reduce levels of some crime."
Chief superintendent Gareth Blair told councillors that if the funding is withdrawn, a £150,000 pot for community based initiatives to tackle antisocial behaviour, violence, and disorder would likely be cut.
He added: "It would be a bit more challenging to tackle some of the significant issues in Edinburgh – such as operations for motorcycle thefts and Operation Moonbeam around Bonfire Night.
"Our proposal is for four less family and household support officers and five less community police officers."
Police Scotland also came under fire for giving the capital less officers per head of population than other parts of Scotland.
Community policing 'has never gone away, chief insists
New members of the city's police services board have expressed a desire to return to the community policing model used until 2017.
Ottawa's police chief insists the community policing philosophy has never gone away in the capital, despite complaints and calls to return to the previous model of policing.
New members of the city's police services board have expressed a desire to return to the community policing model used until 2017, when about five dozen community police officers were reassigned to front-line patrol. It was a means to save money and increase efficiency, but many residents and businesses have since complained about police responsiveness.
The chief insists that community policing never went away in Ottawa.
"We tried to fold in some of the functions that our old neighbourhood officers used to have into our patrol officers," said Chief Charles Bordeleau.
"The majority of the time, they always work the same area, so they get to know the community."
Bordeleau admits that it hasn't been perfect. He hopes a new Community Response Unit will address root cause of crime issues as they're identified by front-line officers.
"Our model is always evolving and I think it shows that we're trying different things," Bordeleau told Ottawa Today with Mark Sutcliffe on 1310 NEWS. "We're trying different things; we're experimenting and trying to use our resources in the best way possible."
How to police from the heart in your community
PoliceOne - to the Officer
Every day cops see people who need a helping hand beyond traditional policing services
by Nick Borges
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
Seaside, California, is located on the central coast of the Monterey Peninsula. The peninsula is known for its beautiful beach fronts, world-renowned golf courses and being home to legendary actor, producer and director Clint Eastwood. However, the Monterey Peninsula is not all glamour and swank. At the center of the peninsula is a small town with a population of about 34,000 called Seaside.
The City of Seaside was incorporated in 1954. Through the years, this diverse community has had a history of gang violence and drug activity. There is no other area in Seaside more infamous for contributing to the city's reputation during the late 1960s and well into the 1990s than the Del Monte Manor, the largest low-income housing development on the peninsula.
In the early 2000s, veteran Seaside police officers would share stories about the violence and tension between residents of the Del Monte Manor and police. One police sergeant would say, “We could not go into that complex without at least three cops. Residents would throw bottles at us and sometimes even shoot at us.”
The Del Monte Manor has been featured in numerous local gangster rap videos as a legendary landmark showcasing Seaside's dangerous history and reputation.
FAST FORWARD TO 2016
A police officer who patrols the area of the Del Monte Manor each day stops alongside the roadway and observes young children playing on a rundown playground surrounded by sand. The officer has his window down and hears a mother shout out to her young son, “Don't play in there too long, I don't want to get fleas in the house again.”
This could have been the end of the cop's observation. Fortunately, it was the beginning of something remarkable.
The officer got out of his patrol car and began asking questions. “How long has this park been here? Why isn't there a nicer playground for the kids to play in?” The answers were shocking. The City of Seaside had donated second-hand equipment over 35 years ago. While the City's gesture was commendable, the equipment was inadequate from the start. Generations of kids grew up playing on the same subpar playground equipment. The big metal slide haf seen its share of crying kids falling off the uneven slide.
Perhaps the most important thing the officer discovered was that a playground committee had just been formed by Del Monte Manor residents.
The police officer wanted the entire Seaside Police Department to get behind the residents and help them acquire a new playground. The residents were hesitant. There was still a sense of distrust toward the police. It was not common to have the police at the Del Monte Manor for anything short of a service call pertaining to a tense or negative situation.
However, the residents knew a new playground would be a budgetary challenge so they were looking for a helping hand in order to proceed with their plans. From that moment, the group of residents and police officers would be known as the Del Monte Manor Coalition.
In 2017, the Seaside Police Department partnered with the Seaside Fire Department to organize a fundraising event at the Del Monte Manor. Although the event only raised about $1000, the barriers broken proved priceless.
Since the event Seaside officers attended weekly meetings, assisted in grant writing, collected donations and helped make the right connections to keep the project alive. Earlier this year, the Del Monte Manor Coalition raised more than $60,000 to fund the entire playground renovation. The City of Seaside Public Works Department lent a hand and contracted services to have all the old equipment removed at no cost.
Today, the playground is fully installed and landscaped. At its grand opening in January, officers played basketball with the kids, barbecued hotdogs and honored the community for coming together for the project. The playground signifies much more than just an area where kids will play and make memories; it is a symbol for the community that anything is possible when we unite. The relationship developed between the residents and the Seaside Police Department is perhaps one of the most significant side effects that no one could have anticipated two years earlier.
Police officers spend hours patrolling neighborhoods all across the United States. They see people every day who need a helping hand beyond the traditional policing services. When a community unites, great things can happen.
Trump wants law enforcement to be gentle on his associates but violent with other criminal suspects
by Eugene Scott
President Trump campaigned as a law-and-order leader who would be tough on crime and criminals. But that attitude doesn't seem to extend to those closest to him.
Take, for example, Trump's response to the pre-dawn FBI raid on Roger Stone, an adviser to Trump's 2016 campaign. As The Washington Post's Alex Horton reported:
At least a dozen FBI agents from a tactical response team wielding M4 rifles and wearing body armor announced their presence at Stone's Florida home early Friday.
“FBI!” one agent yelled, and pounded a fist on the door. “Open the door.”
Stone decried the force of the federal agents at his home as an overbearing intimidation tactic. “I opened the door to pointed automatic weapons. I was handcuffed,” he later said.
Stone, a longtime Trump friend, has been charged with obstruction, witness tampering and lying to Congress in connection with the special counsel's investigation of Russian election interference.
Stone later said the agents had been polite; my colleagues have pointed out this is pretty standard FBI procedure. There were several agents with weapons on hand because prosecutors worried Stone (who has described himself as a “dirty trickster") might "destroy evidence if he was arrested in any way that gave him a way to do so or an opportunity to surrender,” former federal prosecutor Kenneth White told The Post's Deanna Paul.
No shots were fired. No one died. And Stone was peacefully apprehended.
Even so, Trump told the Daily Caller that the method of arrest was “very disappointing.”
“I thought it was very unusual," he said. "You know, I've stayed out of that whole situation because there was no collusion whatsoever. There was no nothing done wrong. And frankly, I could have waded in very early. I could have ended it very easily if I wanted to. But just let it run its course. But I will say, I'm speaking for a lot of people that were very disappointed to see that go down that way. To see it happen where it was on camera, on top of it. That was a very, very disappointing scene.”
That's a very different message from other times Trump has discussed how law enforcement should treat suspected criminals.
During a July 2017 speech to law enforcement officers, the president told the attendees not to protect suspects under arrest. While mimicking the physical motion of an office protecting a suspect's head at risk of bumping up against a squad car, Trump said:
“When you guys put somebody in the car and you're protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over?”
“Like, don't hit their head, and they just killed somebody — don't hit their head,” Trump continued. “I said, you can take the hand away, okay?”
The comments were made after Trump spoke of violent MS-13 gangs that include undocumented immigrants ravaging Long Island towns.
“You see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon — you just see them thrown in, rough — I said, please don't be too nice,” he said.
At the time, Trump was widely criticized for his remarks. “The last thing we need is a green light from the president of the United States for officers to use unnecessary force," Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, told Washington radio station WTOP.
Taken together, it seems as though Trump has two different messages for law enforcement. When it comes to arresting people of color, police shouldn't hold back. But those closest to him — even those suspected of being involved with something as serious as interfering with an election — deserve an entirely different, more humane kind of treatment.
Bill banning sexual exploitation by law enforcement sails through House
The Vermont House on Thursday approved a bill that would forbid sexual conduct between a law enforcement officer and an individual being held in custody.
A person convicted of the offense would face up to five years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
The bill, H.19, sponsored by Rep. Selene Colburn, P-Burlington, passed on a voice vote with no debate. The legislation now heads to the Senate for consideration in that chamber.
“No law enforcement officer shall engage in a sexual act with a person whom the officer is detaining, arresting, or otherwise holding in custody or who the officer knows is being detained, arrested, or otherwise held in custody by another officer,” the bill reads.
Colburn said a person in custody lacks the ability to consent.
The legislation is similar to a statute currently on the books that forbids sexual conduct between correctional officers and prisoners, she added.
Just last week a corrections officer in Springfield prison, Cameron Morin, 21, of Newfane, was arrested on charges of lewd and lascivious conduct and sexual exploitation of an inmate.
Colburn said while people may have thought a similar statute was in place regarding law enforcement in Vermont, that isn't the case. She said national reports last year on the topic indicated that Vermont had no such law, prompting the proposed legislation.
The bill was taken up last year but, despite receiving overwhelming support in both the House and Senate, it never made it out of a conference committee as the session drew to a close.
“It didn't cross the finish line,” Colburn said of the legislation last year, adding that it wasn't the bill itself, but other late-session conference committee factors that shelved the measure.
In fact, Colburn said, she has never heard anyone who opposes the legislation.
Vermont Network Against Domestic & Sexual Violence as well as the Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services both supported the proposed legislation. In addition, law enforcement organizations from across the state are backing the bill.
“Preserving the integrity of our system of law enforcement requires that when such a significant breach of trust occurs, the law does not require prosecutors to prove that the victim did not consent to the sex act,” Chris Fenno, CCVS executive director, said before House panel.
“A person who is under arrest, in custody, or detained in some manner is not capable of giving meaningful, voluntary consent,” she added. “Further, no legitimate reason exists to allow even truly voluntary sexual contact in this setting.”
The bill last week moved out of the House Judiciary Committee on an 11-0 vote.
'Survive' and 'Be polite': Law enforcement officers discuss traffic stops
by Michael Futch
If Tuesday night's special program, "How to Stop for a Cop: Reconnecting Law Enforcement and the Community," was boiled down to one word, it would be survive. To make it through a traffic stop without an escalation to conflict.
The program, presented by the Fayetteville State University Collegiate Chapter of the NAACP, was held on campus before more than 60 students and visitors in the school's Rudolph Jones Student Center.
"I tell young people, 'Survive. Be polite. Be polite to that officer,' " Cumberland County Sheriff Ennis Wright said. "Your mission from that traffic stop is to get home safely."
Wright was among a guest panel of law enforcement officers that also included Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin, Fayetteville Police Chief Gina Hawkins and Chief Renarde D. Earl, who heads up FSU's Department of Police & Public Safety.
The topic of conversation, titled after a Peterkin-penned book first published in February 2018, focused on how to best interact with law officers during a stop encounter. Over the last few years, the nation has witnessed multiple cases of apparent racial profiling and racial bias that, in some cases, turned a minor traffic violation into a deadly situation.
Research data has found not only that black and Hispanic drivers are stopped at a more frequent rate in the United States, but that those drivers also are searched on the basis of less evidence than white drivers. The data reveals not only a racial disparity in some police practices, but offers evidence of racial biases in traffic enforcement.
As Peterkin pointed out, one of the first things it says in his book is "Let's Stay Alive. The number one rule is that everyone safely goes home from a traffic stop!"
"As law enforcement, we need you and you need us," he said. "All the shooting — we need to stop."
In regards to officers dealing with the public, Peterkin said, he had two pet peeve zero tolerances for deputies and staff with the Hoke County Sheriff's Office. He said he has fired officers, both black and white, for proven discrimination while on the job.
"There's good and bad in everything," he told those in attendance. "But that's not who we are."
"If you find an officer who clearly is racial to anyone in the community," he said, "they don't have a job. If they commit sexual harassment — and we can prove it — you don't have a job. I don't allow officers of any culture to discriminate against anyone of other cultures. It's clear cut. Like Chief (Hawkins of Fayetteville police), we train them. We do all that. Regardless of what economic community, if you live in a poor part of my community, you treat them like the rich. You treat that person with the upmost respect. Because while I was writing my book, this is what people expressed to me. This is what they feared."
Officers, Wright said, are held to higher standards.
He said as a young man, he was stopped for racial reasons while driving in Fayetteville.
Hawkins and Peterkin said the body cameras that lawmen now wear help in cases, but their hands are tied by state law when it comes to making the tapes available to the public.
"I have to abide by the law of North Carolina," Hawkins said.
Current law requires individuals who want the release of footage from police body cameras to petition a Superior Court judge. Those individuals depicted in the footage are allowed to view the footage if they request it from a law enforcement agency. There's no guarantee they will be allowed to view it.
The Fayetteville Police Department is one of the few law enforcement agencies in the state that sponsors and staffs its own training academy. That training, which includes any new ideas on how to de-escalate potentially dangerous scenarios, continues over their career, Hawkins said.
"De-escalation means we take a step back. We want to survive. We know you want to survive," she said. "The end game is this: You called us out there because you thought you were going through a crisis. We don't want to come ... and this is going to be the day we end our career, our life and your life. Officers don't wake up for that, y'all."
Staff writer Michael Futch can be reached at email@example.com or 910-486-3529.
Does Law Enforcement Have A Customer Service Problem?
by Travis Yates
As a law enforcement trainer and writer for two decades, I have tackled almost every issue that you can imagine in the law enforcement profession. From defending law enforcement from tired and false claims of racism to calling out leaders that throw their officers under the bus for sport, I've had to keep a thick skin for some of the criticism and attacks that have come my way and it took more than thick skin to walk away from an encounter that I had today with a State Trooper.
Yes, you read that correct and while it was indeed a State Trooper that appeared to have just left puberty, let me be clear. What I am about to say applies to every agency out there. None of us work in a perfect department and we certainly don't have perfect police officers but this needs to be said.
We have a customer service problem.
I've actually known it for decades. As a supervisor, middle manager and now commander, I've fielded complaints for years that were either false or true and when it came to the true ones, they almost always dealt with rudeness. In fact, most departments report that the vast majority of their citizen complaints are for rudeness.
While the media and politicians want society to believe that cops are nothing more than racists in uniform, that could not be further from the truth. It may make for controversial television but as a profession, we go above and beyond to root out, fight and get rid of anyone that displays hatred on any level.
But when it comes to rudeness, we do very little about it. The reason is simple.
We don't have to.
If you walk into a burger restaurant and are treated like crap, you can choose from hundreds of others to go to next time so it is in the interest of that restaurant to give great customer service. If you call 911 today and a police officer gives you bad service, guess who you have to call the next time? Yep, the same department .. as long as you are in the same city. Unlike businesses, the citizen has no other options and law enforcement has been dismal in the area of service.
Don't get me wrong. There are some great agencies and better officers that do a great job in this area but if we were honest, we all know that it needs to improve.
I've known it for years and I talk about in our Courageous Leadership Seminar but it wasn't until today that I decided to write about it. As an on duty Commander of a specialty division, I'm not always in uniform and today was one of those days. As I round a corner of a busy highway, I see a State Trooper blocking an exit. He is well off the roadway and cars are clearing easily. I had not heard any radio traffic about any major incidents so I made the decision to approach him and ask him what was going on.
Upon asking him, he began yelling at me to leave and that I had no business stopping. I identified myself as a police officer (the Police Package SUV should have given it away) and his tone changed immediately to a Chick-Fil-A Employee taking my order. While he didn't say “my pleasure,” I had a few things to say.
“If it takes me identifying myself as a police officer for you to be kind, maybe you should check yourself on how you are treating citizens?”
Well, you can imagine how that conversation went. I didn't go to jail but I also don't think he learned anything so I'm hoping that you do.
We can talk all we want about community policing and race relations and the next pie in the sky police program but nothing and I mean nothing will take the place of simply treating people right. Treating people with respect and dignity and with kindness.
I'm not talking about the silly idea of the San Francisco Police Chief that will not permit his officers to have suspects sit on the ground or some other “hug a criminal” idea that is floating around. I'm talking about law enforcement treating our good and honest citizens well.
Treating citizens they way you want to be treated.
Treating citizens the way you would want your spouse or kids treated.
In future articles, I am going to dive into some steps that agencies can do to improve in this area because it is certainly tough to monitor it before the complaints come in.
But for now, maybe all of us can think about how we treat others and some of us, including myself, can improve in this important area.
Law enforcement agencies statewide joining forces to fight distracted Driving
As part of efforts to reduce distracted driving in Nevada, law enforcement agencies statewide will be Joining Forces and focusing on distracted drivers from February 1 to February 19.
Joining Forces is a multi-jurisdictional law enforcement program aimed at reducing injuries and crashes through statewide enforcement in the areas of: DUI, speed, distracted driving, seat belt and pedestrian safety.
The Nevada Highway Patrol says they will be working diligently to urge motorists to keep their eyes on the road and put away cell phones or other items that cause distractions.
In the month of January, Nevada Highway Patrol Troopers initiated 265 traffic stops resulting in 298 citations issued and 2 DUI drivers arrested.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's continues to urge the motoring public to take the following safety precautions to minimize distractions while driving:
Be a safe, distraction-free driver. Put your cell phone down and focus on the road
When using electronic devices for directions, set the destination prior to driving
Speak up when you're a passenger and your driver uses an electronic device while driving. Offer to call or text for the driver, so his or her full attention stays on the driving task
Always wear your seat belt. Seat belts are the best defense against other unsafe drivers
For more information about Nevada's distracted driving laws, visit the state's Zero Fatalities website at Zerofatalitiesnv.com.
New training will improve response by law enforcement to people in mental health crisis
by DAVE SOLOMON
Investigators from the Attorney General's office were kept busy in 2015, examining three separate fatal shootings by law enforcement officers.
In January, Derry police officer Kevin Ruppel killed Andrew J. Toto, 55, of Derry, a distraught and suicidal man who opened fire on police with a shotgun.
In July, Haverhill police officers Ryan Jarvis and Greg Collins killed Hagen Esty-Lennon, 42, of Canterbury, who was running at them with a knife.
In September, Merrimack Police Lt. Matthew Tarleton and Master Patrolman William Gudzinowicz killed Harrison Lambert, 23, in his home after he pulled a knife on the officers.
While all three cases involved different circumstances, they all had two things in common: The shootings were ruled justified by the Attorney General's office, and the victims were experiencing a suicidal or mental health crisis.
An ambitious new training program is about to launch in February at the N.H. Fire Academy in Concord for state police and emergency responders.
The program aims to better equip emergency personnel to deal with individuals in a mental health crisis in the hope of avoiding such fatalities in the future.
The Crisis Intervention Team approach, as it's called, could help New Hampshire, where half the cases of deadly force by law enforcement involve mental illness, according to statistics from the Attorney General's office.
Above national average
While 2015 was a particularly bad year, it was not unique. Between 1999 and 2017, there were 55 officer-involved shootings for all of New Hampshire law enforcement agencies, with 25 involving a victim who had documented mental health issues, according to data from the N.H. Department of Justice.
State police were involved in 10 of those shootings, with five victims suffering from mental illness.
“The national average is about 40 percent involve people with mental health issues,” says retired New Hampshire State Police Maj. Russell Conte. “I can tell you, New Hampshire is a bit higher. So when you know that half the people who get to the point where force has to be used are suffering from a mental health crisis, that tells me we have to do something about it.”
In addition to his role as mental health and wellness coordinator with the Department of Safety, Conte is also on the board of the New Hampshire chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and co-chairs the N.H. Suicide Prevention Council.
NAMI-NH worked with Conte and others on a $119,000, three-year grant, announced last September. He described the Crisis Intervention Training that is coming to New Hampshire as “the gold standard for first responders.”
Susan Allen-Samuel is a certified crisis intervention trainer.
The goal in each of the three years is to certify 75 state troopers and 20 firefighters or emergency medical service providers after a full week (40 hours) of training that involves classroom work, tours of mental health facilities, role playing and other activities.
In addition, another 50 fire or EMS personnel will take an eight-hour course each year in what is called mental health first aid. A total of 435 first responders will be trained by the end of the three-year project.
“Once completed, our state police will have the greatest saturation of CIT-trained officers in this part of the country,” said Conte. “We will be close to 80 percent.”
Conte presented the program to the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee last week, as it held a work session on a bill that would constrain the use of deadly force by police officers attempting to make an arrest.
“Your concerns are timely and viable,” Conte said. “This is nationwide. Everyone is concerned about these things, and we are really on the edge of making some cultural changes.”
The program comes to fertile ground in New Hampshire, where the largest cities have already implemented some form of crisis intervention training, including Manchester, Nashua and Concord.
“Many of the larger communities are ahead of the curve,” said Conte. “It's got to be widespread. This should be a very basic requirement for every first responder.”
New Hampshire now has a champion for the program and its first certified CIT trainer, Susan Allen-Samuel, community educator and outreach coordinator for NAMI-NH.
Allen-Samuel, with master's degrees in counseling and criminal justice, took the CIT coordinator course at CIT International in Kansas City last October and attended a weeklong conference later in Washington state.
She approaches the issue from both a personal and professional perspective.
“I have a family member I've had to call the police on, and I learned quickly what I needed to say so they didn't come in with guns ablazing,” she said. “I can tell them how families respond once they are there.”
Allen-Samuel has been encouraged by the enthusiasm law enforcement and emergency responders have shown for the training opportunity, which is made possible not only by the grant but by the willingness of each agency to find money in its budget to fill in for the personnel who will disappear for a week at a time.
“The State Police are jumping on this, and it's incredible that we have them so willing and interested, as well as fire and EMS who have signed on for it,” she said. “I'm getting calls from all over the state for mental health first aid or CIT training for local police departments, so it's going to be the way things are done from this point on.”Role playing is key
The heart of the training is two days of role-playing and critique involving mostly professionals in the role of individuals in crisis, but also individuals who've had encounters with law enforcement in the mental health context.
“This is where the magic happens with these officers, where they all of the sudden seem really engaged,” Allen-Samuel said. “You break them into smaller groups with five different role plays in each group. One officer responds and the rest of the officers critique that response.”
At the end of the three-year program, the state should see many tangible results.
“I hope the data will show the training works,” she said. “That people are getting mental health care versus being taken to jail or worse; that this becomes the normal standard of response.
“It keeps the police officer safer, it keeps the family safer and it keeps the community safer. When you have an understanding of what you are looking at, you are going to respond to it differently.”
Smart Technology Invaluable for Law Enforcement, but Shouldn't Replace Conversations about Safety
No one has ever been fond of having their movements tracked by Big Brother – the eye in the sky – but after the alleged kidnapping incident that unfolded in downtown Boston and in Charlestown's Bunker Hill development, many are re-thinking their position on such phone tracking apps.
That's because the Find My Friends app used by the victim's sister initially to pinpoint her in Bunker Hill was a watershed clue that helped police hone in on the location of the victim, Olivia Ambrose.
Already, young people in the Turn It Around program have been talking about how they might install the app on their phones for safety, and law enforcement experts say it is a new wave in personal safety for young children, young adults and the elderly.
National child safety experts, however, say it should not be considered a magic pill, but rather something to use to complement robust family conversations about “stranger danger” and personal safety.
The Suffolk County District Attorney's Office said such technology is often used for stolen property, but said the current case is emblematic of what can happen when new technology is combined with good police work.
“It's not uncommon for phone finder apps to be used in locating stolen property, but a case like this illustrates how the same technology – when used properly – can help law enforcement come to the aid of someone believed to be in danger,” said Renee Nadeau Algarin, spokeswoman for Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins. “When every minute matters, the ability to quickly locate a person can help ensure the best possible outcome. To that end, we're grateful to Boston Police, Transit Police, BHA officials, and others for their hard work using a number of tools to bring the victim home.”
Former Boston Police Officer Dan Linskey, the managing director for Kroll Security and Risk Management in Boston, said such apps are a great tool for law enforcement and for families of young children and college-aged adults.
“I have it on my kids' phone and I recommend people get it on their phone,” he said. “There are other apps that can track your movements around the globe. There are even panic buttons now that appear to be jewelry. You hit the panic button and it sends out an emergency message to two or three of your contacts, complete with your exact location…The app is very accurate too, because a cell tower can only locate someone within 1,200 to 1,500 feet, but the app in this case took police to about 100 feet from the victim.”
Linskey said it is also important for kids and young adults if they take ride-share services like Uber. Incidentally, like the DA, Linskey said those apps are helpful locating a phone if it has been stolen. Anyone who has the phone number in their contacts can search the location of the phone immediately.
For young adults and college-aged kids, he also said another wave of technology that can be shared amongst families is the Emergency Notification List app. Once downloaded, entire families can know about severe weather, active shooters, fires and any other disaster happening at a college or school.
“Parents do want to opt into that, too,” he said. “It's part of the conversation in keeping kids safe.”
Speaking of conversations, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is complementary of the app, but they also said they feel many parents are using it as a “magic pill” to replace conversations and teachings about personal safety.
“These are individual, family conversations about what everyone feels comfortable with and what they feel is appropriate,” said Eliza Harrell, director of Educational Outreach. “We know location service technology has tremendous benefits, but it comes with risks also. For what it's worth, technology apps that allow targeting by location is useful for a lot of reasons, but you have to understand it isn't the magic pill and it is constantly adapting and evolving. It should not replace conversations that families have about personal safety with kids and young adults. It has to be a personal calculation as a family, a person or an individual.”
One of the things that can backfire with such apps is it opens young people up to targeted marketing by retailers who use location to beam ads to their phones. For young adults, it can open up doors for a tech-savvy stalker to gain their location from afar.
Likewise, she said if someone is intent on stalking or doing harm to another person, many are schooled on all the new tracking apps. Just as someone can turn them on, said Harrell, these folks learn how to turn them off or muddle them. “These apps just cannot be seen as a replacement for having real conversations with kids,” she said. “They have to be another tool in the toolbox.”
Law Enforcement doubling down on pets left in outside during cold weather
Virginia's Attorney General issued a warning on Tuesday.
Mark Herring is reminding folks to bring their pets in ahead of the cold.
The Bedford Police department is also letting folks know they're watching for pets left outside.
They say the first offense would get a warning.
But repeat offenders, could face charges. "We are going to be out there looking for those problems," explained Robert Kimbrel, Bedford Police Lieutenant.
Herring warned in a press statement that leaving a pet outside could be considered animal cruelty which is a class one misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.
Lt. Kimbrel says a lot of times it comes down to pet owners not understanding "adequate shelter."
The law defines adequate shelter "as safe and protects each animal from injury, rain, sleet, snow," and other weather conditions.
So, as officers are buckling down on pet patrol, they want you to step up and do your part. "If you're cold, they are cold. I think it's very important to keep your pets inside with you," added Bedford area resident Laura Critzer.
Bedford Police say they've issued some warning this year.
But, they say since the Facebook post, they've had a lot less complaint calls.
Shelters, Law Enforcement Step Up Efforts to Find Warm Beds for Homeless
These frigid temperatures are not safe for people to spend time in, let alone to sleep in.
The Goodwill Inn is leading the way and venturing into the neighborhoods to find homeless people. They want to bring them inside the shelter and get them a warm place to sleep.
About 200 people in Traverse City experience homelessness at any given time.
“It's important to find as many people as we can,” said Ryan Hannon, Goodwill Inn's outreach coordinator. “We're going to be out and about checking on people looking and making sure there's no one sleeping rough.”
“Sleeping rough” is when Hannon finds someone sleeping in a nook or cranny around town.
“There's people sleeping in vehicles, campers, in rural areas or yards and also in abandoned buildings,” said Hannon.
Local law enforcement has also partnered with the Safe Harbor shelter in downtown Traverse City to keep everyone safe.
As Traverse City police explain, the local homeless shelter is helping the community in a lot of ways.
“As a department, we try to develop a better relationship with our homeless community,” said officer Justin Nowland, who's coordinates with Safe Harbor. “[Safe Harbor] helps us big time…one, people aren't out in the cold, and two, hopefully there's less crime because it's cold they're not breaking into places or steal things to stay warm.”
The Goodwill Inn has 100 rooms and Safe Harbor has 90 beds and they're hoping they can fill all of them during this cold snap.
The Goodwill Inn is located on 2943 N Keystone Rd, Traverse City, MI 49686