Many thanks to NAASCA's Terri Lanahan, Butte, Montana,
for her research into the news that appears on
the LACP & NAASCA web sites.
Jussie Smollett directed brothers to pour gas on him and yell slurs, prosecutor says
by Erin Jensen, Aamer Madhani and Jayme Deerwester
CHICAGO – "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett plotted an attack to make himself look like the victim of a brutal anti-black, homophobic crime, prosecutors said Thursday.
He scouted out the exact location with the two brothers he paid to stage the hoax, offered specific instructions on how he wanted to be beaten, and even gave them $100 to buy supplies used in the staged assault, prosecutors said.
The revelations came as Smollett made his first court appearance Thursday afternoon at a bond hearing following his early-morning arrest on a charge of disorderly conduct by filing a false police report.
Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. set Smollett's bond at $100,000 and ordered him to surrender his passport. No plea was entered and the actor said little other than giving his name. Smollett posted bond late Thursday afternoon and walked out of the Cook County Jail without making comment to a phalanx of reporters.
Smollett, who is gay and black, told investigators he was beaten by two masked men who shouted racial and homophobic slurs, wrapped a rope around his neck in the fashion of a noose and poured bleach on him. He also told investigators that the men who attacked yelled, "This is MAGA country," a reference to President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign slogan.
Assistant State's Attorney Risa Lanier said Smollett plotted the attack with the brothers, describing one of the men, Abimbola “Abel” Osundairo, 25, as a close friend of the actor's.
Lanier gave the prosecution's outline of the incident:
Three men met on Jan. 25 and planned the attack during a conversation in the actor's car. The attack was originally planned for 10 p.m. CST on Jan. 28, but had to be pushed back a few hours because the actor's flight from New York was delayed.
Smollett asked the other brother, Olabinjo Osundairo, to "place a rope around his neck, pour gasoline on him and yell, ‘This is MAGA country.' ”
He also initially directed the brothers to pour gasoline on him during the attack but later suggested they use bleach, Lanier said.
Smollett and the brothers met again on Jan. 27. The actor picked the men up from their home on the city's North Side and drove them to the area near his apartment where he wanted them to stage the attack. A witness, an employee of nearby NBC News, saw it all go down.
The actor instructed the brothers not to bring their cellphones with them. That day he also wrote a $3,500 check to Abel Osundairo that was backdated to Jan. 23.
He also gave them $100 to buy a ski mask, red hat and other supplies to be used in the attack, Lanier said.
“Smollett also stated that he wanted the brothers to catch his attention by calling him an ‘Empire' F, 'Empire' N,” Lanier said. “Smollett further detailed he wanted Abel to attack him, but not hurt him too badly and give him a chance to appear to fight back."
Prosecutors say texts between Abel Osundairo and Smollett show he also provided the drug ecstasy to the actor.
A half dozen people who were identified to the court as family members of Smollett watched the roughly 15 minute hearing.
Smollett, wearing a light black winter coat, watched intently as Lanier detailed the prosecution's case. At moments, his mouth fell slightly agape as Lanier outlined what they think happened.
Judge Lyke was taken aback by the allegations outlined against Smollett even as he told the actor he has the presumption of innocence.
“The most vile and despicable part of it, if it's true, is the noose," said Lyke, who is black. "That symbol conjures up such evil in this country's history."
Jack Prior, a member Smollett's legal defense team, said his client “vehemently denies” the charges and said that the case presented by prosecutors doesn't jibe with the actor's character.
He noted that in his five years living in Chicago, Smollett has become involved in philanthropy and volunteer work, even giving song-writing classes to detainees in the Illinois correctional system.
Smollett's defense team – which recently added Los Angeles-based celebrity defense lawyer Mark Geragos to assist with the case – later said in a statement:
“Today we witnessed an organized law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system. The presumption of innocence, a bedrock in the search for justice, was trampled upon at the expense of Mr. Smollett and notably, on the eve of a Mayoral election. Mr. Smollett is a young man of impeccable character and integrity who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence and feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing.”
At a morning news conference, police detailed how the 36-year-old actor choreographed the attack in an attempt to raise his profile.
Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, who is also African-American, said Smollett staged the Jan. 29 attack to look like a hate crime, to take "advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career ... because he was dissatisfied with his salary."
Smollett has played Jamal Lyon on "Empire" since 2015. Fox said Thursday it is weighing its response.
“We understand the seriousness of this matter and we respect the legal process," 20th Century Fox Studio and Fox Entertainment said in a statement. "We are evaluating the situation and we are considering our options.”
Smollett could face up to one to three years in prison and substantial fines for disorderly conduct, a charge that "can mean, say, causing a scene in public,” Adam Citron, a former New York state prosecutor turned defense attorney said. “In Illinois the law prohibits specific acts that waste public resources or cause unnecessary public fear or stress, and one of those acts is making a false police report.”
Smollett's initial status as a crime victim began to shift last weekend after police arrested and interviewed the Osundairos, who were originally identified as suspects after turning up in surveillance footage. They were seen running from the area, Commander Edward Wodnicki said.
Police learned that the Osundairos, both U.S. citizens, had flown to Nigeria soon after the attack, so officers immediately arrested the men at O'Hare International Airport.
The brothers were held in police custody for nearly two full days, the maximum police can hold suspects without charging them, before they cooperated with investigators. Their attorney, Gloria Schmidt, told police the brothers were willing to give a video interview.
“It was at that time that this investigation began to spin in an absolutely new direction,” Wodnicki said.
Meanwhile, the FBI is also in preliminary stages of investigating Smollet's role in the threatening letter sent to him at the Chicago studio where "Empire" films.
The letter was sent on Jan. 22, one week before his alleged assault. He could potentially faced federal charges as well, investigators said.
Johnson called on Smollett to come clean. Police did not immediately have an estimate for how much was spent carrying out the investigation.
“Absolute justice would be an apology to this city that he smeared, admitting what he did and then be man enough to offer what he should offer up in terms of all the resources that were put into this," he said.
Ice Cube and the philosophical foundations of community policing
by LUKE HUNT
The recent “First Step Act” is the most significant federal criminal justice reform in decades. Still, it is a modest first step. The law eases the sentences of some inmates in federal prison, but it will not impact the problem of mass incarceration significantly because it does not address the many inmates incarcerated in state and local facilities. Nor does the law address problems within policing.
In fact, the United States is moving away from policing reform. Despite the growing tension between many police departments and their communities, the Department of Justice has reduced oversight of cities that have demonstrated policing abuses and civil rights violations. This recent trend is occurring at a time when it is difficult to open a newspaper without seeing a tragic headline about police violence.
Prominent cases have involved officers shooting persons in the back who were fleeing and not an imminent threat, and these cases are often along racial lines (see, for example the cases of Walter Scott and Laquan McDonald). The headlines are not only about shootings, but also about police officers who used unnecessary force—such as unauthorized chokeholds—that resulted in death (such as with Eric Garner).
Practical problems of policing raise a variety of philosophical problems, including the problem noted by rapper Ice Cube in a well-known N.W.A. song: “F*** the police coming straight from the underground, a young n**** got it bad cause I'm brown, and not the other color so police think, they have the authority to kill a minority.” In so many words, Ice Cube raised a question about the police's authority: On what basis do the police have the right to use deadly force, engage in deception, and exercise discretion generally?
One way to answer the question is to say that police have authority by virtue of the state's legitimacy—the moral right to command and be obeyed. Community-oriented policing is often described as a way to achieve legitimacy because the strategy seeks to build community trust and promote procedural justice. But as illustrated by the trends noted above, some are seeking policies that are “tough on crime” at the expense of procedural justice and community-oriented policing. It is for this reason that we see a return to policies that emphasize security (“law and order”). Prominent examples include increased police militarization, re-escalation of the “war on drugs,” and zero tolerance immigration policies that nullify prosecutorial discretion.
Balancing security, legitimacy, and related rule of law principles is nothing new in liberal societies. It is illustrative to consider how the idea of public reason —the idea that government principles should be justifiable to all those to whom the principles are meant to apply—might help balance our policing goals and justify community-oriented policing. Public reason serves as a sort of moral foundation that justifies the strategy because community-oriented policing promotes legitimacy by bolstering autonomy, justice, and respect regarding the differences within a community.
Draconian policies may reduce crime in the short term, but they promote a police “warrior” role and an “us versus them” mindset in the long run. Conversely, public reason is a doctrine about civic partnership and reciprocity: The enforcement of law is legitimate when it is based upon political arrangements that reasonable citizens could endorse. This includes arrangements that bolster public values—such as fairness, equality, and the rule of law—drawn from common sense principles of social cooperation. It follows that political power and coercive force based upon arbitrary authority is illegitimate.
Legitimacy often begins with consent. If one agrees to some form of political authority, then we usually deem that authority to be legitimate. But we know that receiving explicit consent from everyone governed in the community is a practical impossibility. Public reason might thus be viewed as a middle ground for justifying our moral and political principles to everyone to whom the principles are meant to apply. And that is one way to achieve some form of legitimacy with respect to those principles—especially in the realm of policing.
A first step toward addressing this problem through public reason is to acknowledge that policing is more than law enforcement. In addition to law enforcement officers, the police are emergency operators (responding to accidents on the highway) and social operators (responding to domestic disputes or other non-law-enforcement community problems). More broadly, the police are responsible for maintaining peace in a way that is consistent with the limits of the state's legitimate power—a responsibility that requires building community trust about that power. This is the basic idea behind procedural justice and community-oriented policing.
A focus upon ethics in law enforcement training is central to community-oriented policing. This includes instruction that emphasizes each community member's dignity, including those who have broken the law. It likewise addresses how ethnicity, gender, age, and socioeconomic factors might impact an officer's interaction with the community, as well as how officers should deal with mental health-related issues. As the next steps in criminal justice reform are considered, one might hope that they promote the basic tenets of public reason through renewed emphasis on federal oversight of troubled departments in need of procedural justice and community-oriented policing strategies. Law enforcement is a big part of policing, but it's not the only part.
Luke William Hunt is Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Radford University. His primary research interests are at the intersection of political philosophy, jurisprudence, and criminal justice, and are informed by his professional background.
Community policing project: Four charged with drug offences
by Elizabeth Payne
The Ottawa police have charged four people with multiple drug offences after a raid Friday at a Vanier property that has been the subject of community complaints and was the site of a recent shooting.
The tactical unit executed warrants and entered the property on the 200 block of St-Jacques Street on Friday evening. It found cocaine, numerous hydromophone pills, codeine, crack cocaine and Canadian currency, according to a release issued Saturday.
The four people — three men and a woman — were charged with multiple counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking and possession of proceeds of crime.
The arrests were part of a community policing project focused on addressing “criminal behaviour and social disorder issues” linked to problematic Vanier addresses that have been identified by local residents.
The arrests were the culmination of one of several such investigations underway, police said. Officers from across the service, including a bike and foot patrol unit, are involved.
Police are working with the City of Ottawa to involve landlords in cleaning up some of the identified problem addresses.
Waco officer who makes a difference, speaks his mind is set to retire
by TOMMY WITHERSPOON
Stan Mason was 7 when two Waco police officers came over to him and his family at the bus station to say hello and ask how they were doing.
Mason immediately was struck by how nice the officers were and became enamored with their big black belts lined with rows of shiny bullets and the .38-caliber revolvers they sported on their hips. He told his mother then that he was going to become a Waco police officer.
That was 50 years ago. Mason now has four days left before he retires after a successful 25-year career with the Waco Police Department.
The lanky, 6-foot-4-inch Mason is well known as an officer who goes out of his way to try to make a difference in the lives he touches, who digs into his own pocket to buy kids meals or pay for haircuts and who works to improve relations between police and the rest of the community.
He also is known as someone who is not afraid to take controversial positions that he knows make some uncomfortable and alienate others, such as using his weekly webcast at stanmason.com to call out police violence against black people, racism in our society and to support of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick's decision to kneel in protest during the national anthem before games.
“Stan was a striking authority figure in law enforcement,” Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said. “He is a big, tall, skinny guy and he contributed to us being able to develop some good relationships in areas where it wouldn't have been that way if not for Stan. He was one of those guys who would do what he could for kids. He didn't want a bunch of fanfare about it. But if he could buy a kid a sandwich or make sure they had Christmas gifts, he would do those kind of things. He just helped them and moved on to the next person in need.
“Stan gave 25 years of his life to the city and those people of Waco, and we are grateful for the service he has provided for the community and everything he did for the Waco Police Department.”
Mason had his chance encounter with the Waco officers as a boy while his family was visiting his mother's family in Waco. Mason's father, who spent 30 years in the Army and Army Reserves and later worked for the U.S. Postal Service, was stationed at Fort Hood when he met Mason's mother. The family moved to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where Mason, his brother and three sisters were born.
“Our neighborhood was one big family,” Mason said. “You could literally walk into anybody's house at dinner time and sit down and eat. You know the way the old days were. We didn't have much, but we didn't know it because the people next to us didn't have much, either. So if you had a little more of not having much, you had more than they had.”
Mason's pleasant experience with the Waco officers contrasted with what he calls intercity “northern policing” and helped shape the officer he would become. Four years later, Mason and a friend were walking home from the mall in Harrisburg when a lady reported her purse had been snatched.
“The next thing we know, a Harrisburg officer stops us and puts us in his car and took us over there to see this lady,” Mason said. “All I remember is her saying, ‘Not those two.' I will never forget that because all that lady had to say was ‘yes,' and my life probably would have been dramatically different. That left a bad taste in my mouth for policing. That really bothered me for a long time.”
After graduating from high school, Mason spent 11 years in the Air Force as a law enforcement specialist. He was in Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm at Taif Air Force Base, where his job was to protect the base, its planes and cargo.
True to his youthful prediction, Mason moved to Waco after leaving the Air Force in 1993 and got a job with a security company. Eighteen months later, he was a Waco police officer.
“When I got hired here, those two events with those officers really planted a seed for who I am,” Mason said. “I didn't like what happened to me up there, but I had two choices. I could complain about it and point fingers and blame police or I could come in and change it from the inside.”
Mason's security job had him driving to Dallas three times a week and walking around the parking lot of a Motel 6 for 12 hours. The other two days, he worked at the Waco school district's alternative school, where he formed his affinity for helping at-risk kids and a desire to help turn their lives around.
On the day he was to take the Waco police entrance exam, he had been up all night and drove back to Waco to find 760 applicants lined up for 21 open slots. The long line discouraged Mason, and he turned to leave.
“As I was walking away, a voice in my head said, ‘I brought you this far and you are going to quit?' I went back and got back in line and said, ‘God, I'm tired. I need you to take this test,'” Mason said.
Mason scored the highest grade out of all the applicants. A year later he became the first minority officer to win the Waco Police Department rookie of the year award, his first formal honor in a highly decorated career.
A proponent of community policing and tackling community problems head-on instead of merely reacting to calls, Mason said he is proud of the city he lives in now compared to that of the early '90s, when the crack cocaine wars were raging and murders were commonplace.
“I am proud of this city because Waco is an example of what a city and a police department can do when they work together to solve crime and homelessness and hunger and poverty, when they both come in and get through the hard conversations and finger pointing and sit down and solve the problems,” Mason said. “This city should do more to advertise its greatest resource, which, in my opinion, is not Baylor and is not Magnolia.
“It's the citizens. This city is very diverse. We do not have the racial strife that other cities have. We don't have the anti-police sentiment that other cities have. Sure, we have homeless people here, but you don't have to go far to see citizens feeding homeless citizens here. When somebody's house burns down, you have citizens come together to help those people.”
Mason was one of the first officers chosen by former Waco Police Chief Gil Miller to kick off a community policing initiative. Officers went into neighborhoods, got out of their cars and asked residents in blighted areas how they could work together to make things better.
“We need to change and we also need to teach people to change,” Mason said. “Policing's core concept has not changed in close to 10 years. Sure we have better technology and faster cars, but the concept of what policing is supposed to be has been lost in transition. I don't know if you want to call it an inability or an unwillingness or sheer ignorance of policing as an institution to look at an ever-changing society and say we need to get better at this. We don't get out of the cars and interact with the people as much as we used to.”
The department started the community policing program one neighborhood at a time, Mason said. Police held community meetings, listened to problems and worked together with the budding neighborhood associations to try to make them better places to live.
“The profession of policing does a lousy job of explaining to citizens the things they should know about policing,” he said. “There is a difference in responding to a call and solving a problem. The call is a result of a problem. I can work the call and not solve the problem, and that is where you get repeated incidents. There are different types of policing. I have a very nontraditional approach. I understand that. I look beyond the call. I don't see calls. I see problems.”
Mason labels the concept of policing he tries to promote as “roaches, mice and rats.” He explains that if you think of the city neighborhoods as apartment complexes, many apartments are going to have roaches. Those can be considered complaints for drunks, loud music, prostitutes — things that Mason says will not hurt you but will embarrass you if company comes over.
Then there are the mice. You never see them, but you see their droppings, shredded paper and the like. Those are the burglars, car thieves, graffiti artists and others — the ones you don't see but are keenly aware of the damage they leave behind.
Last is the group Mason calls the rats, violent offenders, murderers, rapists, drug dealers and gang members who have been through the criminal justice system and know it better than most.
As the community policing program started, police held neighborhood meetings to learn about the problems and to ask for help to solve them. Police held paint drives, resulting in work days in which four or five houses a day were painted and volunteers helped dig up and locate long-buried sidewalks in areas where people complained they had none.
Soon, the neighborhoods became the kind of places where people wanted to stay instead of ones they were dreaming about leaving, Mason said. Drug dealers and prostitutes moved to areas of town that had not been spruced up, areas where people had not yet rediscovered pride in their neighborhoods.
“People woke up and saw that now where they live is now where they want to be,” Mason said. “So now we have impacted crime without really having to deal with crime. The nuisance crimes were gone, which means now we could focus on the rats, because the roaches and the mice are gone. Their quality of life has gone up, they now are starting to believe in the police department. They are not hearing gunfire every night. They are hearing birds, and their kids can play outside. Their stress level is down, and their property values have gone up.”
Swanton said he credits Mason with paving inroads into areas that were “not typically police-friendly,” calling his work ground-breaking.
“Stan was one of those who was very good about making his way into a community and opening doors,” Swanton said. “The best thing that he had going for him was his ability to listen to people. Stan would attend neighborhood meetings and got along very well with kids and was very good about warming up to him. He was always community-friendly and very good about developing positive relations with the kiddos. He would go into low-income areas and help reduce the stigma of law enforcement being the bad guys.”
Carlton Stimpson, a longtime barber who works at The Jockey Club Barber Shop, 809 Elm Ave., has known Mason for 27 years and has seen many examples of his dedication to community service and his desire to help others.
“Community servant is the first thing that comes to mind,” Stimpson said. “He has a passion for his work. I see him speaking to kids and pulling them aside if they have saggy pants and telling them to stay out of trouble. He is always coming over to the parks and reaching out to the kids to let them know to chase their dreams and all of that, and the kids respond to him well. He is very well-liked and respected.”
Mason often brings kids in to see Stimpson for a trim and pays for the haircuts, Stimpson said. Mason also contributes to an annual community dinner known as the “Feast in the East” and sometimes buys school clothes for kids in need, he said. Perhaps his only flaws, Stimpson said, are that Mason is a Philadelphia Eagles fan and does not like the Dallas Cowboys.
Marilyn Banks, a business owner on Elm Avenue, said Mason gave her and the East Waco community a sense that someone was watching out for them. She said she once mentioned in passing that someone had stolen an air-conditioner from the back of her business, not meaning to make it a police matter.
Mason tracked down the young offender, but instead of taking him to jail, Mason gave him 24 hours to bring back the merchandise, Banks said. The air-conditioner was there the next day, she said.
“He is somebody who is very caring,” she said. “He cares about the people who are often forgotten or the people who others might look down on. He loves everybody, and everybody loves him.”
Local department expanding community policing with technology
CASTLE SHANNON, Pa. - Castle Shannon Police are using a new app to improve public safety.
Last week, the department became the first in western Pennsylvania to formally join the Neighbors App.
The goal is to help police have eyes on all areas of the borough.
"You have the larger cameras actually protecting the main arteries coming in and out of Castle Shannon. The piece that's missing is the back streets and the neighborhoods," Police Chief Ken Truver said.
The app allows residents to quickly share home surveillance video with police if a crime is committed.
"If you had a crime in your neighborhood the police would go door-to-door to neighborhood canvass. Now that we have all of this technology out there, it's a force multiplier where we can get all of this activity and evidence," Truver said.
The video can only be shared with the users permission.
"If you see something, say something. It's the Homeland Security motto and we've been using it for years on our website. Now, with this new portal, if you see something, say something and if you have something, share something," Truver said.
Castle Shannon residents can join the Neighbors App by clicking here.
Is community-driven policing the answer to Baltimore's problems?
by Shane Bryan, Tara Huffman
Days after a community block party, members of the Ednor Gardens-Lakeside community were awakened by dozens of gun shots that ultimately took the life of yet another 20 year-old in Baltimore, his final moments spent on a city sidewalk. His murder left many in this tight-knit community wondering if there was anything we could have done to intervene and prevent this from happening. In its aftermath, the larger question remains: Apart from calling the police, what tools are there for communities to intervene in situations and safely resolve conflicts before they escalate?
Baltimore has long struggled with how to remedy the historic and systemic deficits that have plagued our city. Decades of underfunded public schools, redlining, over-investments in downtown, wholesale neglect of black neighborhoods, a job market out of reach for many Baltimore residents (both geographically and skill-wise), food deserts, and a ballooning drug epidemic left our city desperate for an alternative to the status quo.
A one-size-fits-all approach is doomed to fail. Baltimore is a city of neighborhoods, and no two are the same; similar maybe, but not the same. The history and character of each is important not only to the folks who call that neighborhood home, but also to officials hoping to understand how these neighborhoods make up the fabric of our city. Just as each community is unique, policing strategies should be unique to each community.
For this reason, we have come to believe that a comprehensive public safety strategy in Baltimore should not be limited to a well-equipped police department but should include all components that make a community strong. To that end, we believe it is time for Baltimore to implement an improved version of micro-community policing plans.
Micro-community policing plans allow each community to partner with local law enforcement to develop a policing strategy that addresses the specific needs of an individual community. First launched in 2015 in partnership with Seattle University, this policing strategy has become the standard in Seattle. The plans use a bottom up approach that marries police data with input from those who live and work in the community. Each plan is evaluated and revised annually.
Micro-community policing plans hold great promise for reducing crime and improving community-police relations in Baltimore. According to an evaluation of the approach in 2017, within just one year of implementing these policing plans residents reported slightly improved perceptions of the Seattle police and marked decreases in fear of crime. Baltimore can improve upon these results by addressing not only the needs of each community but also leveraging the assets of each community to help residents build the capacity to safely problem-solve without relying on the police.
Micro-policing plans also have the potential to help the Baltimore Police Department come into the compliance with the federal consent decree. Seattle came under a federal consent decree in 2012, and in January of 2018 a federal judge declared that the city was in “full and effective compliance” with the order. With Baltimore under a mandate to adopt a community policing strategy, micro-community policing is an option that believe would be welcomed in Baltimore's neighborhoods.
On Jan. 15, the Ednor Gardens-Lakeside community entered into a partnership with Open Society Institute-Baltimore to lay the framework for what a community-driven micro-community policing strategy can look like in Baltimore. The hope is that our community will be equipped with the tools to address the systemic issues that drive crime in our community and give neighbors the tools to intervene in situations that could not only potentially save a life but restore hope to many who feel hopeless.
‘Tech community policing' connects beat officers to the CCR in real time
In a bid to streamline the functioning of the police beat system and to bring in accountability, the police are mulling introducing ‘tech community policing' scheme.
by Shan A S
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a bid to streamline the functioning of the police beat system and to bring in accountability, the police are mulling introducing ‘tech community policing' scheme under which the officers on patrol would be connected to a GPRS loop, and their movement would be monitored from the Police Headquarters.
The project is in a conceptual stage and will get into the implementation phase once the required number of tablets are purchased and the network connectivity is ensured. The beat officers will be given the internet enabled tablets thus allowing the central control room to trace their exact location.
The officers can also enter the beat report on a mobile application that will be stored and can be viewed from the control room. The officers attached with the community police scheme (Janamaithri) will also be brought under the ambit of the plan. “The project, once implemented, would radically change the way the police patrolling is being done,” said a senior officer, who is part of the project.
“Now, the final word about a beat is the word of the officer who is part of that. It's his words that are taken at face value. However, there have been several complaints regarding night patrolling. The new system will flag in case of a discrepancy. For example, when a big crime happens, then only we would get to know about the shortcomings in the beat system. When technology comes into play, then there won't be any room for error and manipulations. The system will lock on to the location of the patrolling team,” the officer said.
‘24x7 network connectivity an issue'
However, a 24X7 net connectivity would be a tough ask, a section of officers feels.
The Crime and Criminal Tracking Networks and Systems (CCTNS), the flagship programme of the Centre meant to digitise documents and interconnect all police stations in the country, is lagging in the state due to lack of connectivity in certain areas.
The works that should be done online is now being done offline due to this issue, and the updating happens when the network connectivity is restored.
The connectivity issues that have crippled CCTNS could also impact the new project, a senior official said.
Understanding bias and power in community policing
Police-community relationship often fail because the law enforcement officer is unaware of a fact the community constituency knows all too well
by Shaun Ward, D. Mgt., PoliceOne Contributor
Effective law enforcement leaders constantly find themselves searching for opportunities to improve police-community relationships. Although leaders develop and implement strategies to achieve this goal, it is a difficult task.
The primary reason strategies fail to improve the police-community relationship is that law enforcement officers may be unaware of a fact the community constituency knows all too well: both leaders and their officers always bring their tacit bias and power to every call for service.
An officer is often the only person on-scene to carry multiple lethal weapons. An officer has a certain bias based on his or her previous experiences. An officer has the legal authority to vastly change the lives of all persons on a service call. Thus, the on-scene position of power is definitely one-sided, of which the public can be angrily aware. However, there are strategies officers can deploy to vastly improve this dynamic and subsequently improve community policing.
STRATEGY 1: BUILD AN INTERNAL COMMUNITY
The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) defines community policing by three components: relationships, organizational transformation and problem solving. Each component expresses the importance of building a community both internally and externally.
In order for community members to feel their police department cares about them and their communities, leaders should build and sustain an effective internal community first. This is accomplished through leaders involving their officers in every part of the decision-making process. Even though final decisions are made by the executives of an organization, involving officers enables them to feel connected to the overall mission of the organization and empowers them to be a stakeholder rather than an employee.
Police leader tip: When police officers accept leadership positions, their priority is their subordinates. If police officers are expected to serve their community, leaders should also serve their subordinates by embracing the practice of servant leadership.
STRATEGY 2: UNDERSTAND HOW PEOPLE CONNECT
The concept of positionality, which is supported by the reticular activating system of the brain, attempts to explain how humans, consciously or unconsciously, connect with people with whom they share commonalities and interests. Our reticular activating system plays the role of gatekeeper of the information that travels into our conscious mind and how we perceive sensory information every day.
Although police officers, like all humans, have biases based on their background, experiences and what interests them, they must not apply those biases during their decision-making process.
Police leader tip: In order for decisions to be made without bias, leaders must constantly remind officers to focus on the facts and circumstances before them and make decisions as a result of that information.
STRATEGY 3: RECOGNIZE POWER DYNAMICS
Sworn law enforcement officials have a certain degree of power and influence. It is essential for a sworn officer to understand a power dynamic always exists when he or she responds to a call for service. Knowing that, officers should not focus on exercising that authority as a tool, but rather use facts and circumstances to guide their use of power.
Police leader tip: Leaders may want to consider training strategies that encourage influence to be used proactively and not reactively. For example, letting a person know why they are stopped or why you are at their home encourages transparency. Although the officer has the authority to conduct the vehicle stop or be in someone's home, being transparent invites cooperation and can show the officer is not abusing their power, thus potentially improving both officer and civilian safety.
Effective community engagement strategies for law enforcement leaders:
About the Author
Shaun Ward, D. Mgt., is a law enforcement professional with over 15 years of strategic and leadership experience who received his Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership degree. Dr. Ward has contributed extensively as a program manager of community policing initiatives and professional development. He is dedicated to researching occupational health and safety, relational process, and employee well-being to produce evidence-based best practices that are meaningful to scholars, practitioners and communities at large. Connect with him on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/shaunlward
How faux collaboration stymies community policing efforts
The idea that somebody else should get to vote on our course of action is contrary to our instincts – but it is key to successful community policing
by Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D.
Current leadership literature emphasizes the importance of teams and collaborative decision-making. In police work, however, collaboration is often interpreted as a lack of confidence or a way to take or shift blame depending on the outcome. In our world – where the time frame for decisions is measured in milliseconds and we have within our reach a belt-load of tools designed to bring a quick end to an adversary's life, liberty, or pursuit of happiness – the idea that somebody else should get to vote on our course of action is contrary to our instincts.
BE AN INTENTIONAL LISTENER
As a researcher on the subject of community policing, I discovered that while we train officers and leaders about community policing and community policing programs, we seldom teach skills associated with making collaborative decisions.
Shared exploration of police problems – beginning with the question of whether a problem in the community needs a police response as part of the resolution – requires the ability to shift from an autocratic, unilateral decision-making process to a process of intentional listening that disregards one's own position of strength.
INVITE DIVERSITY OF THOUGHT
This is not only true of officers on the street, but for police leaders as well. In an attempt at the collaborative process many leaders fail at an essential component of collaboration that is the meat of a collaboration sandwich.
Think of the ideas for addressing an issue as two slices of bread. One slice is the leader's ideas, the other slice is comprised of ideas of others who are invited to offer facts or an opinion about the ultimate outcome. The meat of the sandwich is the examination of the problem from various perspectives and the exploration of solutions offered.
To extend the sandwich metaphor, note that the two slices of bread on a sandwich are usually from the same loaf. In other words, when we invite people to join us in making our decisions, we are likely to ask those who will probably have the same world view and basis of opinion as ourselves, because we really aren't looking for diversity of thought, but for others to agree that out decision was the right one to begin with.
This is not collaboration. It's not even collaboration lite, it is faux collaboration. Faux collaboration is asking a lot of opinions to give the appearance of collaboration and then doing what you were going to do in the first place. We've all been in those meetings!
MOVE FROM COERCION TO COLLABORATION
In policing – whether on the street, at a community meeting, the squad room, or conference room – there is always a tension between our coercive habits and our need to fully engage in collaborative decision-making. I developed the C-10 decision model to facilitate understanding that tension and discovering the optimal strategy for problem-solving.
After a problem has been identified accurately, C-10 begins with a continuum between the first two Cs, coercion (power) and collaboration (engaging in thoughtful discourse to discover solutions).
The Cs in the coercion column include control and compliance in order to achieve conformity. Under the collaboration column are creativity, cooperation and consensus.
The 10th C is completion, which is the end goal identified as the most desirable outcome.
The shared characteristic of each strategy is communication. In coercion, the object of communication is to ensure that the decision-maker's power and demands are heard and obeyed. In collaboration, the object of communication is to ensure that every voice is heard and understood.
In faux collaboration, coercion is masked by asking for everyone's input, but only those that align with the decision-maker's predisposed outcome are heard. The Cs of creativity, cooperation and consensus are missing from the formula. Control, compliance and conformity rule the process while collaboration makes a brief appearance for display only.
There is nothing wrong with decisive, unilateral decisions when the circumstances require and time demands are pressing. In circumstances where others are going to be asked to be invested in a lasting outcome collaborative decisions are often the most sound.
Improving connections with your community:
About the author
Joel Shults operates Street Smart Training and is the founder of the National Center for Police Advocacy. He retired as Chief of Police in Colorado. Over his 30-year career in uniformed law enforcement and criminal justice education, Joel served in a variety of roles: academy instructor, police chaplain, deputy coroner, investigator, community relations officer, college professor and police chief, among others. Shults earned his doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Missouri, with a graduate degree in Public Services Administration and bachelors in Criminal Justice Administration from the University of Central Missouri. In addition to service with the U.S. Army military police and CID, Shults has done observational studies with over 50 police agencies across the country. He has served on a number of advisory and advocacy boards, including the Colorado POST curriculum committee, as a subject matter expert.
Greenville police see drop in crime, more community policing
by Morgan Young
GREENVILLE, AL (WSFA) - The Greenville Police Department released its crime totals for 2017, 2018 and so far in 2019. The department saw a 38 percent decrease in overall crime from 2017 to 2018, and Greenville Police Chief Justin Lovvorn said, so far, 2019 numbers are right on track with what the department has on record for this time last year.
“We're very proud of that,” said Lovvorn. “Of course, there's not just one reason why that happened. It's a multi-faceted approach that we took.”
Greenville police received reports of 223 total “part one” crimes in 2017 and 152 in 2018. In 2017, the department closed 162 cases. Officers closed 199 cases in 119. Lovvorn said part one crimes are those considered to be more serious like theft, assault, murder, arson and rape.
In both 2017 and 2018 the most common crime was theft, with the department working 129 cases in 2017 and 77 the following year. The second most common type of crime for both years was burglary, followed by assault.
Lovvorn said he and his officers have made major strides to build relationships with the community by hosting events and implementing community-based policing.
“We do our Cops and Kids Day where we get out the grill and make hot dogs and play games with the kids to build that relationship,” said Lovvorn. “We also worked to target areas and track the crime there and when it is happening so we can have patrols out there.”
He also said he has allocated funds and made time for officers in his department to undergo training in areas like mobile devices, self-defense instructor certification, firearm instructor certification, active shooter training, crisis negotiations, advanced tactical training. He said the department also works with businesses and community members who request their services to assess facilities for risk and vulnerabilities.
The department also uses cameras and targets geographic areas in the city to take a proactive approach to fighting crime and has two school resource officers at the high school and middle school.
Lovvorn said he believes working with the community is the most important tool officers have to fighting crime.
“Working with the community usually always means immediate results once we get the information and look into it," Lovvorn said.
Moving forward, Lovvorn said he would like to see that effort continue with more neighborhood watch groups being implemented in a neighborhoods across the city in 2019.
Law & Fire: PSP (Public Safety Projects)
by MATT LINDBERG, The Columbus Telegram
Columbus, NE -- About nine months after Columbus voters approved up to a $16 million bond to fund the construction of new police and fire stations, work on both is well underway and progressing nicely.
“These are generational type structures, so it's nice to be part of those,” said B-D Construction Treasurer/Project Manager Bryan Kearney, who is leading the efforts on the fire station portion of the city's Public Safety Projects. “They are something we will be able to drive by our whole lives and see those structures completed for the next generation to come.”
The city commissioned local entity B-D for both facilities' construction, which began in fall 2018. Both remain on schedule and budget, according to City Administrator Tara Vasicek, and will be the culmination of years of work when they officially open.
In 2014, discussion began about possibly constructing a joint facility at the old Walmart site along 23rd Street, the old Columbus Middle School or on multiple lots in the downtown district. Officials pivoted the idea for a joint location to two separate facilities that would meet fire and police's priorities of response time and a downtown location, respectively.
"Originally looking at a joint facility for both police and fire, a parcel of land required to house both was hard to find," Columbus Mayor Jim Bulkley recalled in mid-February of the process. "It was determined that separate locations could better serve the needs of both."
Then, in January 2018, the Columbus City Council approved a two-year option-to-purchase agreement for three parcels of land just north of Howard Boulevard/U.S. Highway 81 between 46th and 47th avenues for building a new fire station. The station is on the west end of Columbus, where CFD receives a greater percentage of its calls.
Fast forward to May 2018, the bond issue was passed by voters with ease, 2,755 votes (75.81 percent) to 879 (24.19) percent, paving the way for both projects to get started. It called for building the two separate sites, as well as the demolition costs of the old fire station and the former Gene Steffy building where the police station will be. The price tags are $135,000 to demolish the existing fire station at 1459 26th Ave. and $75,000 to raze the old Steffy showroom at 2310 14th St.
"The public voted a resounding yes to the plan and showed great confidence in us being good stewards of the tax dollars," Bulkley said in mid-February while reflecting back on the process. "We soon will have state-of-the-art faculties to house our first responders. These facilities will serve Columbus for generations to come."
Officials also plan to eventually add living quarters to the C.W. Louis Fire Station on the city's southeast side along Eighth Street so some staff could be based there. That station, along Eighth Street, is currently an unmanned facility.
“I thought 65 percent, but it turned out to be 75 percent,” Columbus Fire Chief Dan Miller said right after the bond passed, adding he was happy the public had faith in the need for the project proposal city officials put before the voters. “I was pleased the public believes what we're doing is the right thing.”
Since commencing in fall 2018, those driving by have seen construction on both facilities start from the bottom up. Both sites presently feature a semblance of what the final state-of-the-art facilities will look like when completed. Tentatively by spring 2020, both city departments will be operating out of their new digs.
"We are excited with being able to move forward with our new police and fire facilities. After years of discussing the needs we came to the voters with a plan," Bulkley said in mid-February. "The plan was well laid out, showed the need and showed how it would be financed. Without a tax increase!"
These are their stories …
Sheriff proposes upgrade of public safety network
by Bill Rethlake
GREENSBURG, IN – Sheriff Dave Durant recently addressed the Decatur County Commissioners, proposing an upgrade of the emergency management technology in Decatur County and the possible hiring of a full-time network technician to monitor that newly upgraded system.
Using a PowerPoint presentation for impact, Durant explained the condition of the existing network and the upgrades he felt were necessary to move into the future.
“The Decatur County Public Safety Network is operating on outdated and incompatible software and hardware that often fails,” he said. “That is disrupting emergency communications and operations among the five primary public safety agencies: the Decatur County Sheriffs' office, Decatur County Crisis Management, Decatur County Emergency Management, the [Greensburg] Police Department and the [Greensburg] Fire Department.”
Describing the existing network as relying on a “patchwork of informal agreements and individual agency funds,” he said it was “inefficient, ineffective and costly” and that “the lives of first responders and citizens are at risk when communications are disrupted or fail during emergencies.”
“How did we get here?” he asked the assemblage rhetorically. He answered his own question, citing that Decatur County has simply outgrown their existing system and stating that no one in any of the five organizations involved has the appropriate training to address or trouble shoot any issues that arose with the current antiquated system.
Durant explained that Decatur County and the City of Greensburg's core networks are running on equipment installed in 2006 and 2012.
He also told the commissioners that, at times, the dated equipment simply doesn't interface well with modern software and is non-compliant with with state and local policies.
“These threats include social engineering, ransomware, network intrusions, etc,” he said.
Durant said the fix should be coordinated equally by all five public safety offices, new equipment with appropriate support should be purchased, the new equipment must interface with the new jail infrastructure, this equipment should be able to connect with the public safety network currently being used by the 911 system, and a set of disaster plans should be adopted across the board for all networks in the county.
Proving he had completely investigated all courses of action and understands the issues, the sheriff proposed short- and long-term solution scenarios.
“For a short-term solution, we can continue using the existing system(s), relying on a casual network of previous and current employees to fix any issues that arise on their own time. We can also continue to wait, sometimes for several days until those issues are fixed,” he said.
For the long-term solution, Durant proposed the hiring of an employee to maintain the system who would be available 24 hours a day seven days a week, and adopting a centralized technology management plan that addresses the needs of all the agencies, now and in the future.
Durant proposed that this new employee should be funded equally by Greensburg and Decatur County funds and should report to a board of the department heads of the five public safety agencies.
Along with hiring a network administrator, he proposed the purchases of basic employee computers and any “specialty tools” necessary as identified by that administrator. He explained that any repairs and upgrades should be funded by the relevant agency budget.
Durant proposed this new position be paid $100,000 per year with a benefit package worth approximately $32,000.
Durant said the existing system could completely collapse during an emergency, resulting in the serious injury or death of a first responder or a private citizen due to the faulty communication system now being used.
When asked if he had ever been involved in an instance where a public safety network had a major catastrophic failure, Durant said. “I can't answer that, but I know we don't want to find out what happens in that instance.”
Probation can lead to better public safety
by PAT NOLAN, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR
Across the country, state leaders have recently passed laws to create more alternatives to prison when dealing with crimes committed by people struggling with addiction, mental health challenges, or those who made a bad decision at a low point in their life — for good reason: prison isolates people from their family; takes a mom or dad miles away from their child; and starkly removes any chance to engage with the community, hold a job and be self-sufficient.
Instead of prison, probation can be an effective, safe corrections tool.
If individuals meet certain conditions, often set by a judge, and stay crime-free, they complete their sentence and move on. However, when supervision is administered poorly by government, it only serves to surveil wide swaths of people without any public safety pay off. People may be slapped with a severe prison sentence at the first missed appointment with a probation officer or failed drug test. Rather than providing an alternative to prison, probation often becomes a path leading to prison. Probationers who are revoked, or sent back to jail or prison for messing up on a condition of supervision or for committing a new offense, make up 55 percent of all admissions to Georgia's prisons, and 61 percent of Rhode Island's admissions.
The Pew Charitable Trusts recently released findings showing that 4.5 million Americans are on probation and parole, twice those who are incarcerated.
There is also wide variation throughout the country in the supervision rate: in Utah, 1 in 134 of your neighbors are on probation or parole, while in Pennsylvania, 1 in 35 people are on supervision. This reach is too large when the system is not efficient and we are not seeing positive public safety outcomes.
The good news is that we have examples of state policy changes that have moved away from sweeping, boondoggle approaches to community corrections in favor of methods that deliver on the promise of public safety.
In 2010, South Carolina restructured supervision to offer appropriate responses to success and failure on supervision. For example, if an individual meets his obligations during a specified time period, he can be swiftly rewarded with a waived fee, encouraging more of that behavior. Conversely, if an individual doesn't comply with conditions, he is given a sanction proportional with the offense. It sounds simple, but this evidence-backed approach of incentives and sanctions reduced revocations to prison due to incompliance by 46 percent. People who began supervision post-reform are 33 percent less likely to be incarcerated after one year than those supervised prior to the system change.
In Missouri, officials adopted “earned discharge” which allows certain eligible groups on probation and parole to earn 30 days off their supervision sentence for every month of compliance. The supervised population fell by 18 percent, or nearly 13,000 people, between August 2012 and June 2015. Average caseloads for probation and parole officers dropped 16 percent, meaning these officers could spend more time on the toughest cases, those at a higher risk of committing another crime.
State officials are often surprised when they look at their prison data and see many people end up in a prison bed, not for having committed a horrible crime, but for thumbing their nose at probation compliance. Our country's geography is dotted with state facilities bonded and built for this poor behavior. To respond, Louisiana adopted caps on time served in prison for first-time violations of supervision. After this policy change, the average length of incarceration for these revocations declined by 281 days. At the same time revocations to prison for new crimes declined by 22 percent, meaning that public safety outcomes improved.
We as a country can double-down on these efforts, and make supervision an effective tool that doesn't waste taxpayer dollars.
Probation and parole are often perceived as less punitive than prison, but the reality for many Americans is that supervision is a harsh sentence that extends for years and cycles them in and out of prison, without any path to redemption. These states have already shown that we can do better at successfully integrating individuals into a crime-free life while they stay at home with their families. It's time to follow their lead.
Pat Nolan is the Director of the Center for Criminal Justice Reform at the American Conservative Union Foundation, a Right on Crime Signatory, and was formerly the Republican Leader of the California State Assembly.
FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT
Bump Stocks Threaten Public Safety and National Security
by Mary B. McCord, Eric Tirschwell
For many Americans, the tragic killing of 58 Las Vegas concert-goers in October 2017 made all too vivid the dangers posed by bump stocks, attachments that convert semiautomatic firearms into automatic weapons. Although the Las Vegas shooter's motive remains unclear, there's no doubt that these devices in the hands of someone seeking to cause harm—whether based on personal grievances or domestic or international extremism—present a grave threat to security here in the homeland. U.S. terrorism laws rightly cover crimes committed using weapons of mass destruction, such as bombs and nuclear devices, but automatic weapons, better known as machine guns, can be just as lethal.
In the wake of the Las Vegas attack, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) began moving down a path of protecting the public from this threat, a path that, in December 2018, yielded a new regulation prohibiting the sale and possession of bump stocks. Before that regulation takes effect on March 26, gun rights groups have filed several suits against the federal government, asking judges to block the prohibition. The first court hearings took place earlier this month. Because the new regulation is based on a reasonable interpretation of long-standing law, the courts should reject these challenges.
The key text at issue in these lawsuits comes from a law passed by Congress in 1934. Responding to the dangers increasingly evident from particularly powerful weapons, Congress imposed extensive restrictions on machine guns. And Congress identified a machine gun as a weapon that “ shoots ... automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.” Congress later expanded that definition to cover a part or parts “designed and intended ... for use in converting a weapon into a machine gun.”
Here's the central statutory question now at issue: Does a bump stock, as a mechanism attached to a semiautomatic rifle, convert that rifle into something described by those words? If so, the text of the statute brings bump stocks under the prohibition set out in the 1934 law—and ATF appropriately should ensure they are prohibited by regulation.
The answer is as clear as it seems: yes. As ATF explained in a Dec. 26's Federal Register announcement of the new regulation, a bump stock makes a firearm into a weapon that fires multiple shots automatically—by a single trigger pull. That's what Congress described in its 1934 statutory language.
But gun rights challengers lean heavily on the fact that ATF previously determined that bump stocks do not convert rifles into machine guns. The plaintiffs essentially argue that ATF cannot change its legal interpretation of the underlying statute—and that, now that ATF has changed its interpretation, courts must change it back.
That's a mistaken view of the law. Courts have grappled with various instances in which administrative agencies like ATF have altered their views, and one overriding principle emerges from that case law: An agency can , in the right circumstances, modify its position. That's especially true when—as here—the previous view was poorly considered, not just in its result but also in its process.
When ATF reached its earlier conclusions, it showed little serious engagement with the key legal and factual questions of whether a bump stock transforms a rifle into a machine gun according to the 1934 statutory language. As ATF has now explained, those earlier determinations did not analyze the meaning of the term “automatically.” Instead, ATF appeared to assume that bump stocks do not cause a semiautomatic rifle to fire “automatically” because bump stocks do not include automatically functioning parts or springs that bring about rapid fire, but instead rely on constant pressure from the shooter on the trigger. When ATF reviewed its earlier determinations and examined more closely how bump stocks work, it concluded that, by harnessing the recoil energy of the firearm discharge through the bump stock, a single pull of the trigger allows the trigger to fire continuously. A “single pull” of the trigger, ATF now correctly reasons, is equivalent to what the law expresses as “a single function of the trigger.” The result, of course, is automatic fire.
What an agency generally cannot do is change its position on a whim—but ATF has not done so here. When a previous decision was poorly reasoned, when a new decision is in good faith and well explained, and when world events underscore the need for a fresh look, an agency is entitled to—indeed, should be urged to—update its view. That's a point the Supreme Court has made clear in cases like 2005's Brand X decision, affirming that agency interpretations of governing statutes are not “carved in stone” and that an agency should consider “varying interpretations and the wisdom of its policy on a continuing basis.” Indeed, ATF reconsidered a similar failure to regulate machine guns in 2006—and a federal appeals court correctly affirmed the agency's decision three years later.
Even assuming the courts allow ATF to correct its earlier error, that will not solve all of the public safety and national security problems in this area. ATF's new rule does not prohibit a host of other devices such as binary triggers, competition triggers and hellfire triggers that, like bump stocks, make it easier to rapidly fire multiple rounds of ammunition. The injury and death these devices are capable of inflicting rivals that of weapons of mass destruction that few would quarrel with prohibiting. But this step is important progress: For ATF to correct this interpretive error and prohibit bump stocks honors the text of a law written almost a century ago and takes the most obviously sensible step to prevent future tragedies like the shooting in Las Vegas. The correction is something to be praised, not something to be blocked by the courts, which should reject the challenges now before them.
Federal Authorities Arrest Three Men Charged with Conspiring with L.A. Sheriff's Deputy to Steal Marijuana and Cash in Sham Search
LOS ANGELES – Three men were arrested this morning on federal drug distribution charges alleging they conspired with a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy and others to steal more than 1,200 pounds of marijuana and $645,000 in cash and money orders during an armed robbery of a downtown Los Angeles warehouse that was staged to look like law enforcement was executing a search warrant.
Matthew James Perez, a.k.a. “Neer,” 42, of Ontario; Daniel Aguilera, 31, of East Los Angeles; and Jay Colby Sanford, a.k.a. “Monte Jay,” 41, of Pomona, were arrested this morning without incident. They are scheduled to make their initial court appearances this afternoon in United States District Court.
According to a criminal complaint unsealed today, Perez, Aguilera, and Sanford conspired with LASD Deputy Marc Antrim, 41, of South El Monte, and others to commit the early morning armed robbery on October 29. The off-duty Antrim, Perez and a third man arrived at the warehouse at 3:00 a.m. in an unmarked Ford Explorer registered to LASD. All three men were dressed as LASD deputies, were carrying holstered firearms, and posed as legitimate law enforcement officers executing a search warrant of the warehouse, court documents state. Perez, a convicted felon, also allegedly brandished a rifle.
After Antrim detained the warehouse's three security guards inside the LASD Ford Explorer, Aguilera drove a large rental truck into the warehouse parking lot, which later was used to transport the stolen marijuana, two cash-filled safes and other items from the warehouse, according to court documents. During the robbery, Sanford allegedly served as a nearby look-out, scouting for potential law enforcement and remaining in contact with his co-conspirators via phone and walkie-talkie radios.
While the two-hour robbery was in progress, Los Angeles Police Department officers legitimately responded to a call for service at the warehouse, the complaint states. When LAPD officers arrived, Perez and the other man posing as a deputy discarded their LASD jackets and fled through a back door, along with Aguilera, according to court documents. Antrim allegedly remained at the warehouse, showed the LAPD officers his LASD badge, and falsely claimed that he was conducting a legitimate search.
Antrim then allegedly handed his phone to one of the LAPD officers so that the officer could speak to someone on the phone claiming to be Antrim's LASD sergeant. According to court documents, however, the individual on the phone was not Antrim's sergeant, and Antrim did not have a legitimate search warrant for the warehouse. Antrim's falsehoods ultimately prompted the LAPD officers to leave the warehouse, thereby allowing Antrim and his co-conspirators time to complete the heist, court documents state.
According to the complaint, text messages between Antrim and another conspirator suggest that, for their assistance the night of the robbery, Perez was going to be paid $30,000, Sanford $10,000, and Aguilera $5,000.
Perez, Aguilera, and Sanford are charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. If convicted of this offense, each man would face a statutory maximum sentence of 40 years in federal prison and a mandatory minimum of five years in prison.
Antrim and two other men who participated in the robbery were arrested in November. They since have signed plea agreements admitting to drug trafficking and gun charges related to the sham search, and are expected to enter guilty pleas in the coming weeks.
A complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Drug Enforcement Administration; and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. LASD's Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau provided substantial assistance to the federal investigation.
This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lindsey Greer Dotson of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section and Assistant United States Attorney Joseph D. Axelrad of the Violent and Organized Crime Section.
from Ciaran McEvoy, Public Information Officer
Department of Justice