Many thanks to NAASCA's Terri Lanahan, Butte, Montana,
for her research into the news that appears on
the LACP & NAASCA web sites.
After a Police Shooting, Ethiopian Israelis Seek a ‘Black Lives Matter' Reckoning
by David M. Halbfinger and Isabel Kershner
NETANYA, Israel — What stings most is not that he was arrested at 15, that his crime was speaking up for a younger boy, that he was one more Ethiopian harassed by the Israeli police, or even that he was pummeled by the police officer on the way to the station house.
The one memory that Izra Ayalo, 25, cannot shake was the moment when the officer told a commander, “Watch this,” and raised his fist again.
Mr. Ayalo flinched. The commander laughed.
“From that point on,” Mr. Ayalo said, “I've had a hole in my heart.”
The fatal police shooting of an unarmed Ethiopian-Israeli teenager on June 30 has set off angry and sometimes violent protests in cities across Israel, forcing a national reckoning with what black Israelis say is a history of endemic racism, especially when it comes to treatment by the police.
Ethiopian-Israelis, a tiny minority of 150,000 in a country of 9 million, say they hope the killing of 18-year-old Solomon Tekah might finally be their Black Lives Matter moment. At a minimum, it has been a galvanizing one: In housing-complex courtyards and shady parks, on social media and in professional suites, people in all reaches of the community have become newly emboldened to speak out.
“It's about all of us: lawyers, doctors, everyone,” said Michal Avera Samuel, the Ethiopian-born director of Fidel, a nonprofit organization that runs youth centers and offers training in leadership and parenting skills — but who says she is frequently offered housecleaning work by people who do not know her. “For the first time, we are willing to put it on the table.”
Ethiopian-Israelis have been here before.
At least four Ethiopian Israelis have been killed by police fire since 1997. Another seven were recorded as suicides or died in murky circumstances after encounters with the police, according to community activists. Nine of the 11 were under age 25.
You don't have to talk to many black men in Israel to find stories of abuse by the police.
Laoul Tashala, 24, said that as an 11-year-old boy in the city of Rehovot, in a poor neighborhood where half the residents are Ethiopian-Israeli, he was “searched and stripped” by officers who confiscated the cellphone he had bought with money earned from odd jobs and gardening.
His friend David Mulu, 25, told of being picked up by police — for the third time and as ever for no reason — six months ago outside the community center where he was a youth counselor.
“How does it look when the kids see I've been arrested?” he said.
“All of us have stories like this,” said Mr. Ayalo, who works as a deliveryman in the city of Netanya, home of the country's largest concentration of Ethiopian-Israelis. He said his rap sheet contained 10 bogus arrests, four of them expunged so far.
“They know we don't have money for lawyers,” he said. “They know we can't defend ourselves.”
Israeli officials acknowledge a longstanding problem of “over-policing” — aggressive tactics in response to minor violations.
In 2015, after two officers were caught on video beating a young soldier of Ethiopian descent as he headed home in uniform in an apparently unprovoked assault, the government formed a commission to stamp out racism. It was led by Emi Palmor, the director general of the Justice Ministry.
It found discriminatory policies and practices against Ethiopian-Israelis in education, medical treatment, employment and army enlistment as well as by police. Ethiopians were indicted and jailed at far higher rates than other Israelis, it found.
But many say progress has been meager.
The chances that the protests will gain the kind of traction and attention Black Lives Matter has in the United States are slim.
Ethiopian-Israelis possess scant political power, lack recognized leadership and face internal resistance from disapproving elders when they rock the boat. And after a single night of fury and firebombs left dozens injured and trapped motorists on Israel's busiest highways for hours, a police crackdown of arrests and intimidation, protesters say, has made it all but impossible for their demonstrations to gain momentum
It wasn't meant to be this way. When the largest wave of about 14,000 Ethiopian Jews arrived over three days in 1991 in a secret airlift, Israelis rejoiced and immigrants kissed the tarmac.
Ethiopian Jews, who tradition holds are the descendants of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, are thought to practice a form of Judaism dating from the time before the First Temple was destroyed 2,500 years ago.
But integration was not easy. Many came from undeveloped mountain villages to a bewilderingly fast-moving country on the cusp of a high-tech boom.
Government absorption policies sent many Ethiopian children to boarding schools. Patriarchal family structures began to break down as women went to work and children overtook their illiterate parents, leading to domestic conflict.
Even their Judaism was questioned. Traditional religious leaders, or Kessim, were stripped of authority by state religious bodies. Men were asked to undergo a second, symbolic circumcision.
The immigrants tended to stick together and even with the benefit of government-subsidized mortgages could only afford apartments in the poorest neighborhoods, spawning ghettos that have proved hard to escape.
“The concept was that they would develop best as a community,” said Isaac Herzog, a former minister of social services and welfare who now chairs the Jewish Agency, which deals with immigration. “That was a historic mistake.”
Only 20 percent of Ethiopian Israelis who grew up here hold an academic degree, compared with 40 percent of the rest of the Jewish population, according to a 2015 study by the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel. Monthly household income is nearly a third lower than the national average.
Even those who do get an education often find color is still a formidable barrier.
“It's very difficult as someone who's black to get the same opportunities,” said Alamito Itzhak, 32, of Netanya, who said she had earned a teaching certificate but was stuck working as a supermarket cashier. “People find it very hard to see you as equal.”
Racism spills out in other, often ugly ways.
Young Ethiopians describe the humiliation of being barred from nightclubs, told a party was “invitation only” or that a venue was full. After the protests broke out this month, Hebrew social networks were flooded with comments like “go back to Africa.”
Housing discrimination remains a problem. Residents of an apartment complex in the working-class town of Kiryat Malachi who refused to sell or rent to Ethiopian-Israelis set off a protest in 2012.
Even the army, Israel's melting pot, is not free of racism: Last month, an Ethiopian-Israeli soldier reported that his commander had called him a “stinking kushi” — a Hebrew racial slur. The commander was relieved
But it is in the conflicts with the police that racism can be deadly.
In January, just months before Mr. Tekah was shot in the northern city of Haifa, Yehuda Biadga, 24, was fatally shot in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bat Yam. Mr. Biadga, who suffered from a mental disorder, was in the street with a knife. His family had called the police for help.
The killings are not as common as those in the United States, a far larger country with a larger black minority, but the parallels are unmistakable.
“As a mother, I'm very afraid,” said Tami Ayalo, 35, an account manager at an import-export company who was visiting her mother in a heavily Ethiopian district of Kiryat Malachi. With an 11-year-old son who will soon want the freedom to go out alone, she said, “You know you are getting close” to the stage when the police may see him as an “automatic suspect.”
The police acknowledge the problem.
Gilad Erdan, the minister for internal security, said this week that he met with dozens of activists who told of mistreatment by the police and “they did not all make up stories and did not coordinate with each other.”
But the authorities say there has been progress. Ms. Palmor wrote recently that internal data reflected “a drop-in over-policing” and “a significant improvement in police interactions with young Ethiopian Israelis.” Indictments of Ethiopian-Israeli minors for assaulting a police officer have fallen by about a third.
Mr. Erdan and Motti Cohen, the acting police commissioner, promised to set up a new unit “to fight expressions of racism wherever they exist” and to ensure that force is used “moderately and responsibly only against those who break the law.”
Ethiopians are hopeful but they have heard these promises before. All they ask, they say, after an extraordinary journey to a promised land, is to be accepted as no less Israeli than anyone else.
In the 1980s, as a youth of 14, Zion Getahun walked hundreds of miles from his village in Ethiopia to a camp in Sudan, from where he was airlifted to Israel.
He had grown up listening to his grandmother dream aloud about reaching Jerusalem. Getting there after a journey of more than two months was “like touching the moon,” he said.
Mr. Getahun, an educator who sat on the Palmor committee and runs an Ethiopian community center in Jerusalem, compared the Ethiopians to Arab Israelis who have long borne the brunt of bigotry here. Now, he said, “We have passed the Arabs in discrimination.”
“Is this the Israel we dreamed of?” he added. “It's a question I ask.”
Police agencies may receive federal grants for helping nab immigrants, court rules
LOS ANGELES — When Los Angeles police officials requested $3.125 million in federal funds in 2017 to hire 25 officers, they said their focus would be on “building trust and respect” through community policing.
In keeping with longstanding city policy, they did not cite “illegal immigration” as a focus for the new officers, or indicate that the proposed hires would work with immigration agents to help deport immigrants being held in local jails.
The grant money went elsewhere, and Los Angeles sued, saying it was being punished for its stance.
A federal appeals court rejected that lawsuit Friday, ruling 2-1 that the Trump administration may give preference in awarding grants to police departments that help federal authorities nab immigrants.
The ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was a setback for Los Angeles, which won a nationwide injunction against the grant application process last year.
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said the city would explore all options, including an appeal to a larger panel of the 9th Circuit.
“If this decision were to stand, this or another administration could add other conditions, favoring jurisdictions that criminalize abortions or allow teachers to have guns in classrooms,” Feuer said.
Friday's legal victory for Trump followed a string of failures in his efforts to punish so-called sanctuary cities and counties. All courts that have heard those cases decided the administration could not deny communities federal funds simply because they refused to assist immigration agents.
At issue in the newest case was a competitive grant program called the Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS. Congress created the program in 1994 for community-based policing.
In 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice adopted a new scoring system for deciding which agency would receive the grants. Extra points were given to departments that wanted to hire officers to help federal authorities deport immigrants.
Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that 80% of the new grantees had “agreed to cooperate with federal immigration authorities in their detention facilities.”
In overturning the lower court, the 9th Circuit majority said nothing in the law that created the grant program prevents the Justice Department from giving extra points to agencies that focus on an administration's priorities.
Judge Sandra S. Ikuta, an appointee of President George W. Bush and author of the majority decision, said the “scoring process does not coerce an applicant or authorize the federal government to exercise any control over state or local law enforcement.”
“Los Angeles' decision not to select the illegal immigration focus did not itself put it at a competitive disadvantage,” Ikuta wrote.
She said “numerous” applicants received grants without having made unauthorized immigrants a priority.
“Because an applicant is free to select other prioritized focus areas or not to apply for a grant at all,” the program's scoring method represented a mere “subtle incentive” for departments to focus on immigration, not coercion, she said.
Joining Ikuta was Judge Jay S. Bybee, also a Bush appointee.
Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw, an appointee of President Bill Clinton, dissented.
Wardlaw said Congress clearly intended the funds to be used for community policing.
“The preference for applicants who abandon community partnerships in favor of federal immigration partnerships is directly contrary to the language, structure, history, and purpose of the Act,” she wrote.
Congress did not intend to allow the Justice Department “to co-opt local and state officers into carrying out the current or any other presidential administration's agenda, unrelated to community-oriented policing,” she said.
The Trump administration has never given an explanation beyond “abstract allusions” of how federal immigration was related to community-oriented policing, Wardlaw said.
“This is no doubt because enforcement of federal immigration policy is entirely unrelated to community-oriented policing,” she added.
Wardlaw also questioned whether a focus on apprehending immigrants would improve public safety, noting it “could well erode the trust and mutual respect on which community policing depends.”
Feuer said the Los Angeles Police Department received the COPS grants every time it applied until Trump took office. The year before the 2017 rejection, the department had received $3.125 million from the program.
“This case is important for a host of reasons,” the city attorney said.
Los Angeles has used the grants in the past to put officers in crime-ridden neighborhoods where they coached sports teams or led mentoring programs. The department said those efforts drove down crime rates in low-income neighborhoods.
City officials were jubilant last year when U.S. District Judge Manuel Real, who died in June, blocked the grant application process. Joining the mayor and police chief, Feuer called the injunction a “complete victory.”
Real's ruling said the new scoring system violated separation of powers and breached the authority given by Congress to control the purse strings.
LAPD spokesman Josh Rubenstein said the department was reviewing the decision and its effect.
The Department of Justice could not be reached for comment.
Panel on police policies debated
by SUZANNE POLLAK
ROCKVILLE – A proposed Policing Advisory Commission designed to study police department practices, and whose members would be chosen by councilmembers and the county executive, was both praised as a good start and demonized for its lack of teeth on July 9.
A bill sponsored by Councilman Hans Reimer called for a 13-member commission to examine the policies, training and discipline of the Montgomery County Police Department (MCP). It would neither investigate individual incidents nor have the power to do anything but make recommendations.
Each of the county's nine council members would appoint one member, and County Executive Marc Elrich would name the four others.
The commission also would have two ex-officio members, one from the police and one from its police union.
Including police representation concerned many who testified during the two-hour public hearing on July 8. They complained that police presence would defeat the purpose of a civilian review board.
During a press conference prior to the public hearing, Councilmembers Reimer, Nancy Navarro, Evan Glass and Will Jawando all spoke in favor of the commission, as did Acting Police Chief Marcus Jones and Julio Murillo of CASA de Maryland.
Referring to recent incidents in which police officers were seen on social media using the n-word and bloodying a suspect's face, the council members said they saw the need for residents to have a voice in helping the police department be trusted by all residents.
“We are all here because we are accountable for this,” Reimer said. “We need to reinvent policy.”
He called the commission “an extension of our oversight role.”
Reimer said he hoped commission members would look into such areas as discipline, training to deal with people with mental issues and other disabilities, and best practices of other departments throughout the country.
“There is nothing more important to us than making sure public safety is number one,” agreed County Council President Navarro.
While those stressed there are many good men and women on the force, they said they saw room for improvement.
“The Montgomery County Police Department is by no means a perfect organization,” said Jones.
He said he looked forward to commission meetings in which the police could explain how they work and what some of their constraints are.
While backing the commission, Jones acknowledged there is “concern for us in the police world” that this commission could destroy morale when officers believe the community is against those “who are, by the way, are putting their lives on the line every day.”
Police understand that wherever they go and whatever they do ,most likely will be filmed and put on social media.
“This is a tough profession,” he said, adding that despite it all, the crime rate in the county is three times below the national average.
During the press conference, Jawando called creation of the commission “really a good step forward.”
It is necessary, he said, to see why “nearly half of the arrests” made here concern African Americans, “and we represent 19%” of the county's population.
Glass said there was a need for “honest conversations,” noting numerous residents have spoken to him about negative encounters between the police and members of the LGBTQ community.
Many group leaders spoke in favor of the proposed commission, including CASA de Maryland, the NAACP, Jews United for Justice, the ACLU of Maryland and Identity.
However, members of Showing Up for Racial Justice noted they could not support the commission unless members were elected, rather than appointed. They also opposed having any police or police union representation.
Torrie Cooke, president of Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge 35 – which represents 1,200 officers – called the commission “well-intentioned,” but said he was concerned that it would turn the department into a statistics-driven force.
The problem is not specific policies or a few rogue officers, he said. “It's police leadership.”
The department used to work under the concept of community policing but now focuses more on making arrests and issuing numerous traffic citations, Cooke said.
Numbers of arrests are posted with the idea of shaming other officers who do not make as many, Cooke said.
He would like the police and community members to talk together, “but when you talk about policies, that won't happen,” he said.
Resident Will Milam of Poolesville was also opposed to the commission, telling council members, “It's your job to police the police. Don't delegate it to someone else.”
Melissa Goemann of Jews United for Justice said she was “troubled by what's happening to people of color here,” and that while she favors the commission, she would prefer its meetings to be public and include time for public comment.
To include the community most impacted by bad policing, Goemann suggested that commission members be paid, so they could afford to participate.
The proposal calls only for reimbursement of expenses.
As people entered the council meeting, about a dozen protesters waved signs and chanted slogans against the proposed commission.
State Delegate Gabriel Acevero (D-39) addressed the protestors, calling the commission “another bureaucratic entity” done simply for political expediency.
At various times, the protestors called the police “racists” and its department, “toxic.”
One of the women participating in the protest continued shouting during the press conference and the beginning of the public hearing, frequently interrupting speakers.
She yelled, “We are still not safe. We are still not safe from the police,” and called the commission “cosmetic. You are standing by while our blood is being spilled.”
If approved by the council, the commission would start up in the fall.
Hundreds of murders threaten Cape Town's tourist mecca image: 'We are living in a warzone'
by Paul Tilsley
CAPE TOWN - When most Americans think of Cape Town, South Africa, they probably think of it as a mecca for tourists – the beaches, Table Mountain, and the winelands.
But there's a side to the city that is becoming more of a frightening reality – murder, much of it gang-related.
“Going to a shop is life-threatening, traveling in a taxi is life-threatening,” Elsies River Community Policing Forum Chair Imraahn Mukaddam told Fox News. “We are living in a war zone. A lot of violence here is orchestrated by a third force – the street gangs, who want to make the Western Cape almost ungovernable.”
The violence is not in Cape Town's tourist areas. But in the neighborhoods of crowded apartment blocks and low-income housing near the Cape Town International Airport, known as the Cape Flats.
There have been some 1,600 murders in this area since the beginning of the year, 900 of them believed to be gang-related. These include 55 unnatural deaths just this past weekend, including 6 young women shot dead, allegedly execution-style, in one house last Friday night in Philippi East. 5 young men shot dead nearby the next day.
“We have a crisis on our hands. Our problem is essentially around gang violence”, JP Smith, Cape Town's Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, told Fox News. “Prison gangs run street gangs from prison cells.”
Mukaddam claims the gang warfare helps facilitate their trade in illegal drugs. He adds the gangsters are operating in a very similar manner to those involved in the drug trade in Mexico.
Indeed, Cape Town has joined several Mexican cities in the list of the top 20 most dangerous cities in the world. Citizen Council for Public Safety and Criminal Justice in its latest statistics lists Latin American cities, as well as St. Louis, making up the top 14 most dangerous cities in the world – and then it's Cape Town at No.15.
Smith, while admitting the growth in murders here is "stratospheric", dismissed local media speculation that if the killings continue at the present rate, the city could become known as the most dangerous place in the world by year-end. Smith believes the City is doing all it can to bring the number of murders down, adding that reliable data is not published about several other countries, including some in Africa. Actual war zones such as Syria also do not contribute to the statistics.
Professor Lorna Martin, head of forensic pathology for the Western Cape, said there are so many bodies coming in, that at one mortuary, corpses are being stored in refrigerated shipping containers.
A new three-story mortuary due to be complete at the end of the year that's more than double the size of the facility it's replacing is already not big enough. On a media tour of the still incomplete building, Professor Martin told reporters: “With the increase that we've now had lately, I don't think we'll cope.”
Mukaddam claims many police are terrified to enter the gangsters' lairs, adding that a local police sergeant who stood up to them was taken out just two weeks ago. He's joined Provincial officials in calling for the South African army to be deployed, to escort ambulances and fire engines into the troubled areas.
Police & Public Safety Executives Return from Police Leadership Training in Israel
Georgia public safety executives are trained by Israeli police executives
by Steve Heaton
ATLANTA—Thirteen Georgia police chiefs and command staff, two sheriffs, a Georgia Bureau of Investigation inspector and executives from the Georgia State Patrol, Stone Mountain Park and the Georgia Command College have returned from Israel after an intensive two weeks of public safety leadership training with the country's top police executives.
They made up a 21-member delegation of senior law enforcement officials from Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina who participated in the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange's (GILEE) 27th annual peer-to-peer training program in partnership with Israel. While there, they were shown best practices and the latest technologies in policing and public safety.
Community policing, “a policy and a strategy aimed at achieving more effective and efficient crime control, reduced fear of crime, improved quality of life, improved police services and police legitimacy, through a proactive reliance on community resources that seeks to change crime-causing conditions,” was the focus again this year.
Community policing assumes a need for greater accountability of police, a greater public share in decision-making and a greater concern for civil rights and liberties, according to Robbie Friedmann, who formulated the definition. A professor emeritus at Georgia State University and GILEE's founding director, he led this year's delegation.
More than 770 public safety officials—most from Georgia—have participated in the program in Israel. Nearly 35,000 have attended additional GILEE trainings, briefings, seminars and workshops in Georgia and around the world.
“Our GILEE delegates return with new ways of developing, collaborating on and using strategies to minimize the production of crime and terrorism,” said GILEE executive director Steve Heaton. “In GILEE's 27 years, many of these graduates have gone on to serve in key leadership roles in Georgia and beyond.”
GILEE is a research unit within Georgia State's Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. It enhances public safety by nurturing existing and new partnerships within and across public agencies and the private sector. It has received multiple awards and honors, including the Special Service Award from the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police and the Georgia Governor's Public Safety Award.
“I believe GILEE offers one of the best leadership development training programs globally,” said Donald De Lucca, a three-time police chief and past president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), in a recent letter to GILEE. “The inside look and hands-on learning provides executives with a broader view of some of the best practices available to the police profession.”
In fact, several U.S. and international professional policing associations and academic institutions have written this year in support of the many contributions GILEE has made to the field's professional development. Learn more about the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange at gilee.gsu.edu.
Amid Public Outcry, Montgomery Lawmakers Look to Create Policing Commission
The Montgomery County Council moved a step closer Tuesday evening to creating a 15-member commission that would advise the council of police practices and policies.
“The very mission of police work and public safety is at stake and we need to reinvent policing in this new world that we're in,” said Councilmember Hans Riemer (D), chief sponsor of the bill to create the Policing Advisory Commission.
The council held a public hearing on the measure Tuesday night — the same day that a county police officer was charged with second degree assault and misconduct for kneeing a handcuffed suspected drug dealer. The officer's actions last week were captured on cellphone video – and have caused an outcry in the community.
Protesters outside the council chambers said they were pleased Officer Kevin Moris is facing charges over his use of force during the arrest at an Aspen Hill McDonald's, but added that other officers who stood by must also be held accountable.
“They not only failed to respond, but they were standing around and apparently were quite comfortable with the officer's behavior. That tells me that this is a departmental culture problem,” said Carlean Ponder, an activist with the Silver Spring Justice Coalition. “I would like the state's attorney's office to look into charges against those officers as well.”
At a news conference preceding the public hearing, Councilmember William Jawando (D), a co-sponsor of the measure to create the policing advisory panel, said the panel is needed to confront the disproportionate number of arrests of African Americans.
“Last year, for example, nearly half of the arrests were black people and we represent 19 percent of the population in the county. You need to know why that's happening,” Jawando said.
A couple of demonstrators sought to disrupt the news conference, shouting out derogatory remarks including “shame.” The demonstrators complained that the proposed commission's authority is too weak to challenge police conduct.
Acting Police Chief Marcus Jones said creation of an advisory panel “makes sense,” but expressed concern that it could send a troubling message to rank and file police officers.
“That is a concern of us in the police world … we have one of the safest communities in this country … we need to make sure our officers have a high level of morale,” Jones said, adding that it's important police don't believe “all of the community is against them.”
The council will consider the proposed commission in September and is expected to vote on the matter this fall.
Tulsa Sobering Center one year later: 47 people visited twice, and Saturdays are busiest
by Kevin Canfield
The Sobering Center, which opened May 30, 2018, has housed 767 people.
More than 700 people were transported to the Tulsa Sobering Center during its first year of operation, according to figures provided by the city.
The facility was built in the Hardesty Wing of 12&12 addiction recovery center, 6333 E. Skelly Drive. It opened in late May 2018 to provide an alternative to incarceration for individuals facing a charge of public intoxication.
Of the 767 people brought to the Sobering Center between May 30, 2018, and May 31, 2019, 47 made the trip twice.
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Deputy Police Chief Jonathan Brooks said he was encouraged by the first-year results.
“With the Sobering Center, we are being more strategic and efficient with officer time and public safety funding while building partnerships that lead to enhanced response and care for Tulsans through our community policing efforts,” Brooks said.
The city, led by Brooks, worked to create the center as a means of addressing the underlying issues that cause a person to abuse alcohol or drugs. The program also keeps individuals who have made a one-time mistake out of the judicial system and gets police officers back on the streets more quickly.
Individuals brought to the Sobering Center by police have the option of receiving treatment at 12&12. Seventy-three people went into 12&12's detox center in the program's first year, and 32 of them received treatment.
The Sobering Center is a partnership between the city and 12&12. The program is staffed by 12&12 employees, with the city providing $250,000 a year for operations.
Mayor G.T. Bynum called the center a key resource for police officers, the municipal court and the city as a whole.
“This first year in operation shows what we can accomplish when we put common-sense programs in place that focus on underlying causes of crime: better outcomes for residents, better use of taxpayer dollars, and a safer city for us all,” Bynum said.
The busiest day of the week at the Sobering Center is typically Saturday, city officials said, with May 2019 the busiest month so far.
The Sobering Center operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The facility has 25 cots for men and 17 cots for women. Individuals brought to the center by police must stay at least 10 hours but no more than 12.
Those brought to the center are not allowed to leave on foot. Individuals without transportation are given a taxi token, and those without a home are directed to shelters.
In the program's first year, 497 people, or 65% of those brought to the center, left by cab, with the remainder picked up by friends or family.
The Sobering Center is only for public intoxication. Individuals arrested for driving under the influence or who face separate charges in addition to public intoxication are taken to jail.
Brazil shifts from koban policing to car patrols
Police in Brazil have reduced the number of Japanese-style koban neighborhood police boxes, and instead are increasing car patrols in Sao Paulo due to deteriorating security.
Brazil introduced the koban policing system, mainly in Sao Paulo, in 1997. At one point, there were 150 koban boxes, as the method deepened ties between the police and the community. But the number has now dropped to 110.
The lives of nearly 70,000 people are taken by crime in Brazil every year, and the government says about 400 police officers are also killed.
Officials say in order to protect police officers, more districts are sending them out to patrol in vehicles, rather than have them remain in the police boxes.
Officers are required to wear bullet proof vests and work in pairs in the event they are assaulted in the koban. But many local governments are said to have had funding difficulties and finding personnel to staff them.
Principles Established to bring together Citizens and Police
by Logan Tobler
The framed proclamation of the 10 Principles will be hung in the JPD for each officer and citizen to see. The principles will be there to remind everyone of reaching toward equality in every tier of the criminal justice system.
The Jacksonville Police Department and the NAACP have come together to unite local citizens and law enforcement. Today, Police Chief Adam Mefford announced that the Jacksonville Police Department had adopted the 10 Shared Principles, a proclamation put together by the Illinois Association of the Chiefs of Police and the NAACP to ensure for smarter, results-based criminal justice and to end racial disparities at all levels in the criminal justice system.
The proclamation was signed by both groups back in March of last year. Chairman of the Legal Redress Committee and former local NAACP President Eric Robinson was on hand with his wife Secretary Delores Robinson and Vice President Ruth Linear. Robinson had this to say about the official announcement today.
“The principles have the value of joining the community with the police department. Knowing that the officers will follow these guidelines will ease up some of the tension that is going on in this country today.”
Robinson hopes the adoption of the principles will bring about a new relationship between the community and the police department.
“It has been a lot of educating going on in our communities. People are teaching their children just keep your mouth shut. I do not think that is good within itself. I think that you should be able to communicate with the police. When I was growing up, the police were your friend. You get lost or whatever the situation is, there is always a policeman that can help you out. Over the past, it has become a rare event. A lot of young people are really afraid of the police now. So I think this is a step forward and it is picking up and spreading real well throughout Illinois and the rest of the country.”
Delores Robinson says it's all a large part of the organization's ongoing education and outreach efforts in the community to bring about fair equality and justice for everyone.
Chief Mefford said that after having visits at World Cafes and talking to Robinson and members of the NAACP, he recognized the importance of the principles even more.
“You recognize nationwide, statewide [and] locally, that there is a need for communities to work together. The principles are based on that, that mutual working together. Are we always going to get everything right here at the police department? Absolutely not. But when we instill these principles into the officers and we base our day to day activities knowing that if we follow these guidelines, it keeps the community safe, it keeps our officers safe, and it helps build better trust within the community.”
Mefford correlates the principles to the department's current efforts towards community policing.
“One of our big pushes is to get the officers out into the community with our community policing programs. We feel it has been very successful. We recently had a survey done by one of the local colleges to see what level they felt the police department was at here in the community. We were very surprised to find that in a quarter mile area of our police substation; we found a 75% favorable rating in the police department. So, it shows that our community policing efforts out into the community are working and we also had a reduction in crime last year by 21%. So the facts speak for themselves when you put forth the effort.”.
Mefford, along with Mayor Andy Ezard and a half dozen members of the Jacksonville Police Department presented the NAACP representatives with a framed plaque signed by the Chief and the mayor indoctrinating the principles into the department's codes.
Global effects of gangsterism and policing
In our country, just as in many other parts of dwellings across the world, gangsterism has since time-immemorial been a common occurrence at varying levels. In current times, its growing emergence has largely been attributed to poverty, inequality and unemployment. As a country, we are beginning to realize heightened altercations like no other time since our democratic breakthrough twenty-five years ago, and this has even spread to our schools where there is a huge concentration of our young people.
Gangsterism is a gross human rights violation, and a global phenomenon inclusive of the formation of groups with the aim of committing violence and crime, and to defend themselves physically against violence of other groups. It is an anti-social behavior that emerges from within communities themselves, with drugs usually being their main currency, therefore becoming foot soldiers of a much more sophisticated underworld economy, engaging in serious and violent crime, money laundering, human trafficking, drugs peddling and arms smuggling, all at varying scales.
However, gangsterism differs in terms of its magnitudes and focus areas, whereas you can identify its three aspects as being along those whose crimes and actions are not planned, those well-organized with gang members having gone through ritual rites which separate them from non-members and corporate gangs which are highly structured criminal conspiracies that are usually organized to sell drugs.
Its spread into schools can be seen as a community problem in South Africa since schools are part of the community. In our case, this has resulted in learners often challenging and dismissing legitimate authority in this evolution of an urban identity determined along racial and economic lines.
The main challenge within schools is that during these gangsterism fights, both learners and educators are terrified of being caught in crossfire, not only at school as some of these altercations are further perpetrated on their way back home. At most, some opt not to go to school until calm has been restored, therefore becoming a serious impediment to learning and teaching.
Quite often, in environments suffering socially and economically, gang members (mostly youth) are provided a sense of belonging and protection against other gangs, and often where the prospects of gainful employment are low, gangs provide illegal means of earning a living such as trafficking in narcotics or stolen property, extortion and assault. They are very diverse and different, and sometimes become targets of choice for some ideological and extreme beliefs, which influence and motivate them. South Africa has had to review travel laws at some point due to many youngsters being recruited into terrorist groups through the internet, demonstrating the sophisticated nature within which different gangs operate in recent times.
Unfortunately, innocent people can get caught in the crosshairs, so all those who live in the community where a gang is present are in greater danger as a result of the effect of the gang on their society.
It is common that gangs have become a permanent feature of urban landscape around the world, and with communities striving to do anything possible to prevent gang crimes, to make life safer and to create foundations that will be able to protect them, in the modern world cooperation and communication on the topic of gangs is quiet important. Without the cooperation of the community and police it will be very difficult to protect the families and to live in safety.
Most notably, the process of globalization has in some cases led to convergences in lifestyles and behaviors in distant communities. These marked lines of stratification in which social, cultural and spatial mobility is a central theme. The process of socio-spatial segregation and inequality have adhered in the development of spaces of advanced marginality in urban settings across the globe have seemingly proved to be breeding grounds.
Due to globalization, gangs can no longer start and stop with local conditions but today must also be rooted in a global context. Studying gangs is important because of unprecedented world urbanization, the retreat of the state under the pressure of neoliberal policies, the strengthening of cultural resistance identities, including fundamentalist religion, nationalism, and hip-hop culture, the valorization of some urban spaces and marginalization of others, and the institutionalization of gangs in some cities across the world.
Community policing becomes a necessity as it is based on the assumption that an effective fight against crime and antisocial behavior requires close cooperation between the Police and members of the community.
We are of the view that it is both a philosophy and an organizational strategy that allows police and community residents to work closely together in new ways to solve the problems of crime, fear of crime, physical and social disorders, and neighborhood decay that has engulfed our communities. This involves increasing the number of pedestrians Police officers (and other similar services), they should be the members of the communities in which they work.
Building mutual trust and faith in the rule of law continues in through the establishment of direct contacts with the people-police should be open to citizens by showing patience, understanding and willingness to help, even if you entrusted to the problems have no direct connection with the violation of the law.
Conceptually, the police officer has to be more a sort of “friend” than a civil servant and representative government. You can then count on the active participation of community members in efforts to combat crime.
Their main goal should be to bring community resources together to solve problems, decrease fear of crime, to listen to and address citizen concerns, to increase public confidence in the Police Department, to impact specific crime problems, and educate the public about its Police Department.
A change in its police service to the public is how the police can identify what is truly high-quality service and how it subsequently provided to the public. In the past, police always respond only to specific problems, and do so quite peculiar way and did not pay almost no attention to the proactive approach. For this, the work of the police today is truly effective, and there is the need to: take seriously the needs of the public, take into account the needs of police actions and programs, which are then focused on the public. It is in this sense that the police are becoming more receptive to public needs and can also better understand how their work has an impact on society.
Earlier this year, POPCRU argued in the South African parliament that the introduction of an anti-gangsterism strategy put forth by the National Intelligence Coordinating Committee (NICOC), based on four pillars, Human Development, Social Partnership, Spatial Design and Criminal Justice Process, should not only focus on police officers' role, but that of communities as well since the fight against any form of criminal activities affects us all.
The union argued for the need to have a dedicated team that would fight gangsterism in all of South Africa's nine provinces, which should be made up of officers with specialized training in ensuring they become more proactive instead of reacting to eventualities. Most importantly was that this establishment should be done in accordance with existing legislative frameworks.
The union further argued for strong social partnerships which would include amongst others, the establishment of the community safety forums and community police forums with restored relations as such had previously collapsed.
These forums must be resuscitated such that they can serve as vehicle that will help in combating crime and building a bridge between community and police officers in communities, and must equally be vetted such that criminals do not harbor themselves within these structures to advance their own inimical activities.
The required resources needed to deal with this problem are still unevenly allocated within police stations in communities, which is often worsened by the lack of proper spatial design and population dynamics in some of the areas.
POPCRU has, on numerous occasions, raised a grave concern on the fact that the South African Police Service's human and physical resource allocation has been, and continues to be, a deep-seated challenge with severe adverse effects to both the police officers and the community at large.
Majority of the police stations, more especially in townships and rural areas, do not have basic equipment such as well-functional CCTV cameras, bullet proof windows and burglar doors while members do not have adequate protective gear. This effectively renders these police stations and police officers on the ground susceptible to incursion by heavily armed gangsters.
This unfortunately leaves many of our members unnecessary perishing at the hands of these heartless criminals.
Another hindrance to the effective and efficient fighting of gangsterism and other forms of crime is understaffed police stations. It is practically impossible for understaffed police station to service and respond to the crime scene because the stations cannot be left unattended. Most police stations find themselves with only one police vehicle and two police officers to service their widely scattered jurisdictions. This kind of situation affects and prolong the turnaround time for police officers to report on crime scenes or reported complains.
The union also reflected that the disintegration of this strategy to other tiers of government reflects a dismal failure to come up with implementable strategy that can be used to combat gang related crimes and other form of crimes. The union is of the firm view that any crime preventing and fighting strategy should locate SAPS at the center of implementation and operationalization.
There must be a value chain within the Criminal Justice Cluster departments wherein a synergy will be built in terms of crime prevention and combating.
For this to be realized, the Criminal Justice Cluster departments stop working in silos but begin to synergies their efforts and resources to develop one comprehensive crime prevention and fighting strategy to deal with all form of crimes including gangsterism. With this submission we envisage that our correctional centers, in a situation where arrest and conviction were secured, are able to rehabilitate prisoners and eliminate reoffending.
Any strategy should provide tangible and concrete solutions to deal with the scourge of gangsterism and other form of crimes. Its disintegrated and incoherent approach on implementation and coordination is a recipe for failure.
POPCRU calls upon all community structures mandated to fight gangsterism to closely work and synergies their work with that of police such that they make impact in fighting this scourge in our communities.
All in all, it can be said that there are many issues that disturb the society and there is a considerable influence from the gangs. The effects of gangs in the community and the effects of community policing take place in the society, but there have to be taken more proper measures to ensure safety and living in comfort for the people. As a fact, the best way is to eliminate the groups of people who harm the society.
Consequently, there has to be tighter cooperation between the community and police, there has to be developed the new of communication, etc. There have to be present the newest technologies that will allow police to take proper actions and to know everything in advance.
Nowadays, the importance of the national security has become one of the main issues, as different circumstances lead people to committing different crimes, either in groups or individually. This problem has to be revised at the state level and its importance does not have to be underestimated under any circumstances.
Community policing: What it really means for states
by Hamza Idris, Ronald Mutum (Abuja), Hope Abbah Emmanuel (Makurdi), Balarabe Alkassim (Bauchi), Uthman Abubakar (Maiduguri), Lami Sadiq (Jos), Victor Edozie (Port Harcourt), Hameed Oyegbade (Osogbo), Usman Bello (Benin) & Nabob Ogbonna (Abakaliki)
Community police volunteers in Bauchi The news on the plan to introduce community policing by President Buhari was announced by the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu at the Forum of Northern Traditional Rulers in Kaduna. The event deliberated on critical security issues, especially as they affect the north. Adamu, during the event, said the new policy, ready to be adopted by almost every Nigerian state, has received the blessing of president Buhari. He said the Community Policing Model envisaged for the country will involve the establishment and utilization of the Special Constables.
The police boss added that it is mirrored after the Police Community Support Officers standard in the United Kingdom policing architecture, and will be tailored to align with the existing traditional security structure in Northern Nigeria. He said the Special Constables will be drawn from members of the community to serve as voluntary community police officers under the coordination of the Nigeria Police Force Members of Birmingham Neighborhood police team in England (Birmingham Mail).
“The Special Constables will be drawn from members of the community to serve as voluntary community police officers under the coordination of the Nigeria Police Force,” Adamu said.
With the adoption, Nigeria would have joined the big league of nations like the U.S, UK, India, France and many more that have decentralized their security system by adopting community or neighborhood policing, in which policing functions are citizen-centered and community-driven. Reports from across the country reveal that while the Federal Government is planning to formalize the concept, many governors, depending on the nature of their security challenges, have devised ways of co-opting citizens directly and indirectly to provide internal security within their jurisdiction, under different names. Before the IGP amplified the intention of President Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had at a different occasion said the Federal Government would announce a new policy on community policing, and assured that the establishment of community policing would not take away the powers of the national police. Contributing to the development during the security meeting in Kaduna, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa'ad Abubakar III, and other top government functionaries, said traditional rulers are strategic actors within the community policing architecture. They said the traditional institutional structure presents a unique framework which if properly engaged could enhance the attainment of community policing practices. Policing tailored to peculiarity of communities – Mba The spokesman of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Frank Mba, in an interview with Daily Trust Saturday, noted that the policing initiative intends to enter each community and come up with a specific policing model that suits that community and implement it there. Mba said there is no universally applicable community policing model. He said they are planning to roll out community policing in full, which would be customized to suit each segment of society: “When we talk of community, we are talking of the community in geo-cultural perspective, the media is a community, the banking sector is a community, and the university is a community, among others.” Mba noted that an advantage of community policing is that it engenders partnership, engagement, accountability, transparency, accessibility and improves the visibility of police officers. He added that the biggest problem with community policing is a lack of political will and resistance to change by some traditional police officers and stakeholders. “The need for community policing came as a result of an evidence-based study which showed that the use of traditional policing methods and core law enforcement approaches alone are insufficient in combating crime and social disorder in our society.” “The truth is that traditional policing approach is essentially reactive, and they are also law enforcement-based, they often isolate the community they are policing, and isolate the different interest groups within the community that they are policing,” he added. He said in a city like Abuja, “we are trying to lighten up dark spots and install CCTV cameras; we are also encouraging individuals and businesses to install cameras on their streets and business environment.” Mba also said part of the long-term plans for community policing is the revival of the special constabulary, provided for in section 50 of the Police Act. This he said would be done by drafting and training volunteers as special constables to serve as community policing officers. These special constables must be gainfully employed, he noted, adding that they should be from different fields of life, that volunteer their time, but only allowed to work within their community, with the full powers of a policeman. While there is a kind of consensus on the need for community policing, there are places where it is felt that the initiative is just an aspect of an issue that requires bigger intervention. A view from Makurdi In Benue, Terver Akase who is the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Samuel Ortom, said community policing has been in existence in Nigeria. “What is yet to be in operation is state police, which requires constitutional amendment to become operational,” he said. Akase had in a recent interview insisted that the only way out of Nigeria's present security challenges remains the creation of state police. “Some people have argued that the state police could be used by governors to harass perceived enemies, but the states have judiciary, who they pay, and yet still lose some of their cases,” he said. “In a state like Benue, where herdsmen issues have been the case, the governor has been supporting security agencies because it is his duty to do so. Therefore, to manage the police of their own wouldn't be grievous. Even if it means cutting other cost of governance to run it, I think the governors' forum can sit and look at it as a group and know what to do because the security of this country cannot be taken for granted,” he maintained.
A Bauchi approach
The new Bauchi State Police Commissioner Habu Sani Ahmadu recently launched a new strategy to tackle security challenges in communities across the state, launched on May 25 for a joint patrol between the police and vigilantes in the state. As part of the strategy, Bauchi metropolis was divided into 42 operational sectors for easy coverage. The CP had on May 8 emphasized that the policing strategy in the state would be intelligence-led and community policing guided by intelligence at strategic, operational, and tactical levels. According to him, the policing strategy had been reviewed, analyzed and re-strategized through Police-Community Policing Partnership to augment police manpower challenges to checkmate crimes like Sara-Suka, Armed Robbery, Kidnapping and other crimes. CP Ahmadu said about 1,500 Police and volunteers have been deployed across the 42 sectors to maintain peace. What's done in Borno Malam Isa Umar Gusau who is the Special Adviser on Public Relations and Strategy to Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum, said he could not talk on the issue of state police, but added that Borno had gone far in community policing. “You are aware that if there is one state that has proved to be responsible, apolitical and efficient in administration of a group in community policing, it's Borno,” he said. “Professor Babagana Umara Zulum inherited well-over 20,000 volunteers under the Civilian JTF, vigilantes and hunters involved in securing different parts of Borno, including joining soldiers at the frontlines. Police and volunteer security outfit during the launch of Community Policing joint patrol in Bauchi, in May 2019 “If you drive to most parts of Maiduguri, Jere, Bama, Konduga, Kaga, Biu during the day or in the middle of the night, you are likely to see youths awake and alert, securing routes. They have been doing that patriotic work for nearly 7 years without majority of them being involved in partisan politics. “You are aware that Prof. has increased their monthly allowances and he is trying to improve their mode of payment by making their payments through individual bank accounts. “All of these have proved Borno's competence in managing community policing. I am sure when the time is right, the state government will make its official position known, especially because the state is known to go along with decisions taking by the Nigerian Governors Forum and other national decision-making groups,” he said. Rainbow over the Plateau With the debate on community policing taking different directions, Plateau State Governor, Simon Bako Lalong is using Operation Rainbow, the state-owned security outfit to drive the policy in his state. Daily Trust Saturday observed that the governor is however focusing on using the outfit for early warning and response through the recruitment of citizens from all the wards in the state to assist in information-gathering. Though Lalong is yet to make a formal position on the issue of community policing, late last year he approved the employment of 350 persons for Operation Rainbow to assist in information-gathering in the hinterland. The governor had said the recruits would be employed from the various wards to assist security agents with information that would check crisis. Established by then-governor Jonah David Jang, it is backed by a 2012 state legislation. An early warning system was last year developed for the outfit by the United Nations Development Programmed for timely and appropriate prevention of violent conflict. The Coordinator of the security outfit, Major General Steven Gu'ar (rtd.) had last year told Daily Trust Saturday that Operation Rainbow was responsible for coordinating every informal sector including vigilante groups to turn them into grassroots guard forces.
‘Neighborhood Watch' in Rivers
Rivers State government last year set up an internal security outfit known as Neighborhood Watch. While inaugurating it, Governor Nyesom Wike said the outfit will complement the efforts of security agencies, and that it will be grassroots-oriented, where its personnel will be deployed to villages and remote communities to gather intelligence and security reports. About 10,000 Rivers indigenes and non-indigenes, mainly youths, were engaged, with a retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, Dr Uche Mike Chukwuma, as Director-General, with a functional office located at the GRA part of Port Harcourt. The personnel of the security outfit had embarked on a training session at the NYSC Orientation Camp at Nonwa when they were dispatched by men of 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt on the ground that they were a militia group. The training camp was shut down by the Army just as the trainees were asked to go back home. The shutting down of the outfit did not go down well with the state, and sparked outcry. Ebonyi's 500 In Ebonyi, 500 youths have been engaged for community policing by the state government since 2017.Their monthly take-home as salary and allowance is N20,000 and N10,000 respectively. Secretary to the State Government and Commissioner for Border Peace and Internal Security, Dr. Kenneth Ogballa, who spoke to Daily Trust Saturday explained that the funding comes from state and the 13 local government councils. Ogballa noted that the essence behind the inauguration of the state local security outfit “Ebonyi State Neighborhood Watch” was to step-down security activities at the grassroots. The idea is to call for collaboration and partnership because we don't have enough manpower in some of this federal security outfits, like the police,” he said. “We believe that if we have people that partner with them, and provide the necessary information, it will help us to cover more ground. The CP is the chairman of the board in charge of the Neighborhood Watch. So, community policing is very important but that doesn't mean that federal police should be scrapped,” he said. Edo will key-in Spokesperson of Governor Godwin Obaseki, Crusoe Osagie, said Edo State will key into the concept of community policing if approved. “Edo faces armed robbery, kidnapping, banditry, among others, so we'll welcome any effort to beef-up security in the country. I don't think the IGP, sitting in Abuja, would know about a community in the suburbs of Edoas much as people who live there,” he said. Osagie added that those to be recruited to do the policing on behalf of the state government would be drawn from the communities, with stronger ties with actors in communities, access to intelligence, and more. Osun is ready Osun State governor's spokesman, Mr Adeniyi Adesina, said the state is already making use of some residents of communities to complement the federal police to provide security in all nooks and crannies of the state. He said the state would build on this and streamline things to fit for the objective. Adesina said as soon as it becomes legal for states to establish their own police, there would be guidelines and procedures that would be developed according to best practices. Expert opinions Also speaking with Daily Trust Saturday, Asimi Samuel, the Program Officer, Criminal Justice Project (CRIMJUST), of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), said when we talk community policing, two things come to mind, the familiarity of officers with the terrain they police, while the other is a close relationship between these officers and the communities being policed. Samuel explained that these two are achieved when we have officers who are indigenes or have resided in that particular area for a considerably long period of time, thereby establishing bonds with residents of these areas. These residents, he said, often provide support to these officers when they can. This support could range from intelligence to donation of facilities by communities. He added that “We are aware that the presidency through the SGF announced the setting up of a panel on this issue about two months ago; we are monitoring it closely. “He noted that community policing could be challenging especially in the area of infiltration of these communities by organized crime syndicates. Samuel said this will be borne out of familiarity between these officers and the syndicates, adding that transparency in the use of funds is also an issue. “As observed, funds budgeted sometimes don't trickle down to the divisional police stations and police outposts,” he stated, adding that Nigeria needs a form of community policing strategy, especially at the geo-political zones that have familiar challenges. Samuel said there is a need to have a Police Reform Bill that will enshrine integrity, accountability, respect for human rights, community policing and other good practices into our policing system. “We can't be using a Police Act that was enacted by our colonial masters as we currently have it. We need to move forward,” he stated. Also speaking to Daily Trust Saturday, Okechukwu Nwanguma the Executive Director, Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Center (RULAAC) said the same factors inhibiting effective police performance affect community policing. He said poor resourcing, excessive executive control of the police and lack of operations autonomy, resistance to change, corruption and poor management account for the lack of actual take-off of community policing as the new method that will address worsening insecurity in Nigeria. Nwanguma said unless the new National Assembly is determined to revisit and review of the Police Act with a view to providing a new legal framework that will regulate policing in a democratic dispensation, all the talk about community policing will remain empty and insecurity will worsen. He added that the current structure of Nigeria's police force hinders effectiveness and efficiency, noting that it is one of the most centralized ones in the world. Nwanguma also said Nigeria, with its population and history of ethnic and religious differences and antagonism, cannot successfully operate a one-size-fits-all police force. He explained that there is the need for decentralization, in terms of authority and resources, to enable local initiatives. “Policing is local, after all,” he said.
Cyprus among the most active countries in the global police community, says SG of Interpol
Edited by Stelios Marathovouniotis
Cyprus is among the most active countries in the global police community, the Secretary General of Interpol Jurgen Stock has stressed, noting that the international police cooperation department of the Cyprus Police is a role model for many other countries worldwide.
Stock is paying an official visit to Cyprus; today he met with the Minister of Justice and Public Order George Savvides.
Speaking after the meeting, Stock said that he is in Cyprus on his first official visit as Secretary General, representing the only global police organization currently with 194 member countries. This visit, he pointed out, is of utmost importance, noting that the Government of Cyprus and the National Police is very successful in providing security in Cyprus and in being a strong partner in the international police cooperation.
“Cyprus is considered a very safe place and there is a reason why annually around 3 million tourists are coming to Cyprus, because they enjoy the beauty of Cyprus and they enjoy being in a very safe and secure environment”, he said.
Stock said that the international police community and the communities are facing a number of significant threats with regards to the development of crime.
“International terrorism is more complex and more international than ever, organized and emerging crimes are a multibillion criminal enterprise that are operating across the globe and of course cybercrime, which is borderless by nature, are providing unprecedented challenges for global law enforcement and no country can fight these phenomena in isolation”, he noted.
Stock said he is grateful that Cyprus is among the most active countries in the global police community. “The police are investing a lot in international police cooperation, and I was able to visit the international police cooperation department, which is a role model for many other countries in the world”, he stressed.
He went on to say that Cyprus Police is using Interpol as a global platform to share police information. “This is a system that is used here in Cyprus that ensures that relevant information that comes from America, from Asian, from other parts of Europe, from Africa, is available at the front line of policing here in Cyprus and vice versa the sharing of information with international partners is of utmost importance”.
Moreover, he said, Cyprus is sending some of its best police officers into Interpol's international team, in the headquarters in Lyon and in the hub in Singapore and it also helps Interpol in exploiting new technologies. “One of the Cyprus police officers is currently heading one of our future oriented projects that help the organization to provide relevant services to our member countries”, he added.
“My visit here is a great opportunity to strengthen that partnership. We are looking forward to strengthening this partnership, which is one of the best in our global police community”, he concluded.
The Minister reaffirmed the importance that the Republic of Cyprus attaches to closer cooperation with Interpol in the fight against Organized Crime through international police cooperation and through the exchange of information.
How Norway turns criminals into good neighbours
by Emma Jane Kirby
What is the point of sending someone to prison - retribution or rehabilitation? Twenty years ago, Norway moved away from a punitive "lock-up" approach and sharply cut reoffending rates. The BBC's Emma Jane Kirby went to see the system in action, and to meet prison officers trained to serve as mentors and role models for prisoners.
"OK, and now put your big toes together and put your bum behind you!" calls the enthusiastic yoga instructor in English to the 20 or so participants who are shuffling into child's pose on rubber mats spread out on the grass in the faint early morning sunshine.
"Can you feel the stretch?" she gently asks a heavily tattooed man as she settles his ruffled T-shirt and smoothes his wide back with her hand. "It's OK, yeah?"
It could be a yoga class at any holistic health retreat anywhere in the world but the participants here at Norway's maximum security Halden Prison are rather far removed from the usual yummy mummy spa clientele. Barefoot murderers, rapists and drug smugglers practise downward-facing dog and the lotus position alongside their prison officers, each participant fully concentrating on the clear instructions from the teacher.
"It calms them," says prison governor Are Hoidal approvingly, as we watch from the sidelines. "We don't want anger and violence in this place. We want calm and peaceful inmates."
Tranquillity does not come cheaply. A place at Halden Prison costs about £98,000 per year. The average annual cost of a prison place in England in Wales is now about £40,000, or £59,000 in a Category A prison.
A uniformed prison officer on a silver micro-scooter greets us cheerily as he wheels past. Two prisoners jogging dutifully by his side, keep pace.
Hoidal laughs at my nonplussed face.
"It's called dynamic security!" he grins. "Guards and prisoners are together in activities all the time. They eat together, play volleyball together, do leisure activities together and that allows us to really interact with prisoners, to talk to them and to motivate them."
When Are Hoidal first began his career in the Norwegian Correctional service in the early 1980s, the prison experience here was altogether different.
"It was completely hard," he remembers. "It was a masculine, macho culture with a focus on guarding and security. And the recidivism rate was around 60-70%, like in the US."
But in the early 1990s, the ethos of the Norwegian Correctional Service underwent a rigorous series of reforms to focus less on what Hoidal terms "revenge" and much more on rehabilitation. Prisoners, who had previously spent most of their day locked up, were offered daily training and educational programmes and the role of the prison guards was completely overhauled.
"Not 'guards'," admonishes Hoidal gently, when I use the term. "We are prison 'officers' and of course we make sure an inmate serves his sentence but we also help that person become a better person. We are role models, coaches and mentors. And since our big reforms, recidivism in Norway has fallen to only 20% after two years and about 25% after five years. So this works!"
In the UK, the recidivism rate is almost 50% after just one year.
The architecture of Halden Prison has been designed to minimise residents' sense of incarceration, to ease psychological stress and to put them in harmony with the surrounding nature - in fact the prison, which cost £138m to build, has won several design awards for its minimalist chic. Set in beautiful blueberry woods and peppered with majestic silver birch and pine trees, the two-storey accommodation blocks and wooden chalet-style buildings give the place an air of a trendy university campus rather than a jail.
A thick, curving 24ft-high concrete wall snakes around the circumference of the prison but there's no barbed wire or electric fence in sight and you really have to look for the discreet security cameras. There are movement detector sensors on each side of the wall, Hoidal assures me - but no-one has ever tried to escape.
When I see the inside of a cell - every inmate has his own cell, which comes with an en suite toilet and shower room, a fridge, desk, flat TV screen and forest views - and when I clock the immaculate sofas and well-equipped kitchenette in the communal common room, I ask Halden's governor whether the level of comfort here isn't a bit too cushy.
Are Hoidal nods politely. He's been expecting this question, of course. It's one he answers every day, whether it comes from astounded foreign journalists or from critics within Norway itself.
"It is not easy to have your freedom taken away," he insists.
"In Norway, the punishment is just to take away someone's liberty. The other rights stay. Prisoners can vote, they can have access to school, to health care; they have the same rights as any Norwegian citizen. Because inmates are human beings. They have done wrong, they must be punished, but they are still human beings."
In the on-site garage, two inmates in overalls are tinkering with the wheel arch of a car, brushing out mud and carefully re-fixing bolts. Like most of the prisoners here, they leave their cells at 07:30 each morning and are at work by 08:15. Apart from one hour's rest in their cells during the afternoon, to coincide with the guards' break, they are not locked in again until 20:30 at night.
The idea is to give them a sense of normality and to help them focus on preparing for a new life when they get out. Many inmates will be released from Halden as fully qualified mechanics, carpenters and chefs.
"We start planning their release on the first day they arrive," explains Hoidal, as we walk through to the carpentry workshop where several inmates are making wooden summer houses and benches to furnish a new prison being built in the south of Norway.
"In Norway, all will be released - there are no life sentences," he reminds me.
"So we are releasing your neighbour," he continues. "If we treat inmates like animals in prison, then we will release animals on to your street."
(The maximum sentence in Norway is 21 years, but the law does allow for preventative detention, which is the extension of a sentence in five-year increments if the convicted person is deemed to be a continued threat to society.)
In the graphic design studio, quietly spoken Fredrik is putting the finishing touches to his striking design for the front cover of the prison's cookery book. Sentenced to 15 years for murder, Fredrik says he has struggled to come to terms with what he has done and the pain he has caused. Going on a silent three-week retreat within the prison has helped him achieve peace, he adds, and to reflect on his past.
He is not boasting when he tells me that he's achieved a diploma in graphic design since he arrived at Halden, nor that he's passed eight other exams at A and B grade and is now studying the Norwegian equivalent of A-level maths and physics; he is just keen that I should understand he is using his time inside wisely for a projected future outside the curved wall.
"If you don't have opportunities and you are just locked in a cage, you don't become a good citizen," Fredrik says as he adjusts the colours on one of the photos on his screen. "Here there are good opportunities, you can have a diploma and when you come out, you can maybe get a stable job and that's important."
When I congratulate Fredrik on his recent exam success he nods shyly and confides that he hopes, once he's transferred to an open prison, to work on getting a degree, a Masters, or even a doctorate.
Normalising life behind bars (not that there are any bars on the windows at Halden) is the key philosophy that underpins the Norwegian Correctional service. At Halden, this means not only providing daily routines but ensuring family contact is maintained too. Once every three months, inmates with children can apply to a "Daddy In Prison" scheme which, if they pass the necessary safeguarding tests, means they can spend a couple of nights with their partner, sons and daughters in a cosy chalet within the prison grounds.
"Lots of toys and children's books," points out prison officer Linn Andreassen as she unlocks the gate and shows me the little play garden. I note the double bed in the main bedroom, flanked by a cot.
"Yeah, they get to play house, play happy families," she smiles. "It's a big privilege for them so they have to earn it."
Linn is a slight young woman in her early 30s. She's been in the prison service for 11 years already, 10 of which have been spent at Halden - almost half of the staff at this category A prison are female. But Linn assures me she has sounded the personal alarm that all Norwegian prison officers carry only twice in her career, and insists she has never felt sexually threatened.
"It's normal to have women in society," she shrugs. "So the guys here need to cope with that. They need to respect not just the uniform but the person, the woman as well. And we respect them, so they respect us."
In the craft workshop, John, who is serving a long sentence for drug smuggling, is stitching a black toy sheep on his sewing machine. When I ask John what is good about the Halden regime, the presence of female officers is one of the first things he mentions.
"They're more effective to keep the macho guys down," he reflects thoughtfully. "You have to think a bit differently around them." He places an eye on to his sheep, ready to stitch.
"And when we play football, women are not such bad referees."
Another prisoner, Khan, is interested in our conversation and puts down the frog he's sewing.
"We are lucky to have women in the guard system," he agrees. "It normalises things."
It takes 12 weeks in the UK to train a prison officer. In Norway it takes two to three years. Eight kilometres north-east of Oslo in Lillestrom, an impressive white and glass building houses the University College of the Norwegian Correctional Service, where each year, 175 trainees, selected from over 1,200 applicants, start their studies to become a prison officer.
Hans-Jorgen Brucker walks me around the training prison on campus, which is kitted out with reproduction cells and prison-style furniture. I note a bulging pile of helmets and stab vests in one storage room. Brucker acknowledges that prison officers will undergo security and riot training, but he's fairly dismissive of this part of the course.
"We want to stop reoffending which means officers need to be well educated," he says. He shows me a paper outlining the rigorous selection process, which involves written exams in Norwegian and English (about a third of the prison population is non-native, so officers are expected to be fluent in English) and physical fitness tests.
"My students will study law, ethics, criminology, English, reintegration and social work. Then they will have a year training in a prison and then they will come back to take their final exams."
He winces when I ask him if he would employ a prison officer who had trained for only three months.
"I think there is a high risk for corruption with a short training," he says, clearly a little uncomfortable criticising the UK's system.
"In our system, officers are quite well paid and when an officer knows more about the law, he knows more about how to deal with inmates and how to avoid violence."
Every year his students go to the UK to spend a day observing an English prison and I ask him what his students say about their experience in English high-security jails. He tells me they are always surprised by the noise, the crowding and the relatively small number of staff.
"It's an eye-opener," he says, clearing his throat politely.
The only loud noise at Halden that I encounter comes from the TV in the drug addiction unit's sitting room, where a rather spaced-out looking inmate is watching a cops and robbers show. At one point my guide, prison officer Linn Andreassen, disappears briefly to check something with a colleague and I am left alone with the inmate. He grins at me, points to the gun-wielding policemen on screen and makes a joke in Norwegian before wandering off to his cell.
When I ask the prison governor, Are Hoidal, about the level of violence in Halden prison, he looks genuinely surprised. I tell him that in England and Wales, assaults on staff have almost tripled in five years and that there were 10,213 assaults on staff in 2018, with 995 of those classed as serious.
He scratches his head.
"Of course, in some of our older prisons there is occasional violence but I really don't remember the last time we had violence here," he reflects. "Maybe we had one or two incidences of spitting?"
In the gardens at Halden, 28-year-old trainee officer Jon Fredrik Andorsen is taking a break from his duties with his experienced colleague, Linn. At Halden there are 258 inmates (including 22 who are in a half-way house on the other side of the wall) and 290 employees, 190 of whom are prison officers. (The rest work as workshop tutors, teachers and admin staff.) Jon Fredrik, who used to work as a car salesman, admits he would never have considered joining the prison service if he hadn't felt his safety was guaranteed. So far, he says, he has never felt threatened at Halden - he has confidence in his training and in the wisdom of the more experienced officers. Norwegian prison officers do not even carry pepper sprays.
"My first defence is my voice and our social connection with the inmates," he explains. "We defuse situations before they happen."
Linn interjects: "You can't help others if you don't have good conditions yourself. You need to have a clear head at all times in this job. To focus. If you're going around scared you can't help anyone."
She tells me how shocked she was, when visiting a prison in the UK, that prison officers told her it was dangerous to stand in certain places around the building as the inmates might throw things down on her. She screws up her face.
"And there were so many prisoners! The UK locks up a lot more people than here in Norway, no?"
Scotland, England and Wales have the highest imprisonment rates in Western Europe. Scotland locks up 150 people per 100,000 of the population and England and Wales almost 140 people, compared to Norway's 63.
The smaller prison population means that at Halden prison, for instance, each officer can be given three individual prisoners for whom he or she will act as a point of contact. The contact officer helps fill out applications, addresses complaints and makes sure that inmates get their quota of phone calls home.
Kim, who is serving 17 years for murder, raises his eyebrows rather sarcastically when I mention this system.
"Some prisoners like to interact and some don't," he shrugs, closely watching Are Hoidal, who is in the room with us.
"I'm sceptical about opening up to guards too much - if I open up will they use it against me? It's a double-edged sword. Some guards are OK but…" He trails off, still looking at Hoidal who is grinning good-naturedly back at him.
As Hoidal and I walk back together towards his office, past some colourful abstract paintings, he reminds me that the practice of dynamic security at Halden is not always popular with prisoners because the officers' omnipresence makes dealing drugs difficult. There certainly is drug dealing at Halden, he admits, but these are not drugs like heroin and spice that have been smuggled into the prison from outside, they tend to be medications - opiates and painkillers - that inmates have been prescribed by prison doctors.
Hoidal is extremely enthusiastic about the prison's new projects. A choir has just started up - inmates already have their own on-site recording studio, the aptly named Criminal Records - and he's hoping for a Christmas concert to coincide with the release of the inmates' new cookery book. But underneath his indefatigable positivity there is a nagging worry; profits from oil production in the North Sea are dwindling and the government has warned that swingeing cuts - including to prison budgets - are on their way.
"If you want quality and high-class results, we need money," argues Hoidal firmly. "I fear there will be more violence and the recidivism rate will go up if we can't have all the programmes we have now. It's not good. It's not good at all."
In Unit C, a cell door has swung open and I can see a red rose in a glass on the window sill. The former occupant has just been transferred to another lower-security prison but, perhaps needing to impart the wisdom he has learnt during his time at Halden, he has stuck a hastily scrawled message on the magnetic whiteboard for the new inmate who will take his place.
"To love is to give without asking for anything back," his note reads. "Loving makes you free. Free from yourself, my friend."
Dept of Justice
22 Los Angeles-Based Members of MS-13 Transnational Gang Named in Federal Racketeering Case that Alleges String of Grisly Murders
by Nicola T. Hanna, United States Attorney, Central District of California
LOS ANGELES – An investigation by federal and local authorities has resulted in a federal racketeering case that charges 22 people linked to the MS-13 transnational gang, most of whom allegedly participated in a series of murders, including several slayings in which victims were hacked to death with machetes in the Angeles National Forest.
A 12-count indictment unsealed Monday afternoon alleges that members and associates of the gang murdered seven people over the last two years. The indictment charges gang leaders who allegedly authorized and coordinated the murders. Also charged are gang members who allegedly murdered and attempted to murder rival gang members, those who were perceived to be cooperating with law enforcement, and, in one instance, a homeless man who was temporarily living in a park controlled by the gang.
The indictment focuses on a particularly violent subset of the gang known as the Fulton clique, which operates in the San Fernando Valley and has recently seen an influx of young immigrants from Central America. Under the influence of these young gangsters, younger associates who wanted to become members of MS-13 were “required to kill an MS-13 rival or someone perceived to be adverse to MS-13 to be initiated into MS-13,” according to the indictment.
In one murder detailed in the indictment, several MS-13 members allegedly targeted a rival gang member who was believed to have defaced MS-13 graffiti. On March 6, 2017, according to the indictment, the rival gang member was abducted, choked, and driven to a remote location in the Angeles National Forest, where six people attacked him with a machete. The victim was dismembered, and his body parts were thrown into a canyon after one of the defendants allegedly cut the heart out of the victim's body.
The federal RICO case – which was unsealed Monday during arraignments for three defendants who were taken into custody over the past several days in the Los Angeles area – is the product of an investigation by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Task Force on Violent Gangs, which is made up of special agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, officers with the Los Angeles Police Department, and deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. A fourth defendant was arrested over the weekend in Oklahoma.
Over the past year, the other 18 defendants named in the indictment were taken into custody, some on state charges and some on federal charges previously filed. The superseding indictment announced today, which was returned by a federal grand jury on July 9, adds 15 defendants to an indictment filed in March.
“We have now taken off the streets nearly two dozen people associated with the most violent arm of MS-13 in Los Angeles, where the gang is believed to have killed 24 people over the past two years,” said United States Attorney Nick Hanna. “This investigation has been an unqualified success. The collaborative law enforcement effort solved several murder cases and dealt a severe blow to members of the gang who engaged in acts of brutality not seen in the region for over 20 years. The prosecution of these defendants would not have been possible without the backing of local law enforcement, including District Attorney Jackie Lacey, who has supported our efforts every step of the way and has dedicated substantial resources to ensure that all of these defendants get the justice they deserve.”
“Taking violent offenders off the street should send a message to MS-13 members and their associates that medieval-style violence and senseless murder will not be tolerated in Los Angeles,” said Paul Delacourt, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI's Los Angeles Field Office. “Working with our local partners, we expect to impact MS-13's influence in gang-occupied communities.”
“The greatest tragedy in these cases is that these young victims likely left their homelands hopeful that in the United States they would find safety and prosperity,” Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said. “Instead, these victims had the misfortune of crossing paths with violent gang members who preyed on the vulnerabilities of their immigrant experience. My office will vigorously prosecute these defendants and continue to work with other agencies to enhance public safety in the communities where MS-13 and other brutal gangs operate.”
“Today's charges are the product of diligent work and a steadfast resolve that we will not let violent criminals continue to victimize our residents,” said Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore. “It can only be accomplished through the shared vision of our state, local, and federal law enforcement partners.”
“The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is always willing to work with our local, state and federal law enforcement counterparts to ensure public safety,” said Sheriff Alex Villanueva.
The 78-page indictment charges all but one of the 22 defendants with conspiring to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. The RICO charge alleges nearly 200 “overt acts,” beginning with the transportation of $1.22 million in narcotics proceeds that were seized in Nebraska in 2010. As part of the RICO conspiracy, members of the gang allegedly committed murders in 2014 and 2015, the second of which is part of a previous racketeering case against the leadership of MS-13 in Los Angeles.
The majority of the conduct outlined in the indictment – including seven murders – started in 2017 and continued into this year. While the indictment focuses on murders committed to increase the gang's membership, expand the gang's power and intimidate outsiders, the RICO charge also alleges drug-trafficking activities, including the sale of narcotics to the Fulton clique in Maryland.
In addition to the conspiracy charge, the indictment contains four counts of first-degree murder related to machete, knife and baseball bat killings in the Angeles National Forest, which is within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States. Those four murders – along with a fifth that occurred in the Malibu hills and a sixth in that was committed in the Fulton clique's stronghold of Whitsett Fields Park in North Hollywood – are also charged as violent crimes committed in aid of racketeering (VICAR), and those six counts allege that the victims were killed “for the purpose of gaining entry to and maintaining and increasing position in MS-13 Los Angeles.”
The indictment also contains allegations that the six VICAR murders were committed “in an especially heinous, cruel, or depraved manner in that [they] involved torture or serious physical abuse to the victim.” The 16 defendants charged in relation to those six murders are eligible for the federal death penalty, although the government has not indicated whether it will seek such a sentence for any of the defendants if they are convicted.
In addition to the RICO case announced today, there are two under-seal cases pending against juvenile defendants in United States District Court.
In 2017, as the result of another investigation by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Task Force on Violent Gangs, a federal grand jury issued a RICO indictment that targeted MS-13's leadership across the Los Angeles region. That indictment, which alleged three murders attributed to the Fulton clique, charged 34 defendants, 14 of whom have pleaded guilty. Nineteen of the defendants are currently scheduled for trial on September 24. One defendant in that case – Sergio Alexander Galindo, also known as “Killer” – remains a fugitive.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court. The federal RICO case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Joanna Curtis of the Violent and Organized Crime Section and Deputy District Attorneys Eric W. Siddall and Carmelia Mejia, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorneys who have been designated as Special Assistant United States Attorneys.
from: Thom Mrozek, Director of Media Relations
Law Enforcement News
|LEO Killed In Arkansas Shooting
Authorities say two people, including a sheriff's deputy, were killed Thursday in a shooting in rural northern Arkansas. Arkansas State Police spokesman Bill Sadler said Stone County Sheriff's deputy Sergeant Mike Stephen, 56, was killed as he was responding to a call in Leslie when a suspect opened fire. Leslie is about 77 miles north of Little Rock. Sadler said Stephen arrived around 8:40 a.m. at a house in response to a domestic welfare check call, shortly before other deputies arrived. As Stephen approached the house, he began talking with a woman outside, while a man was inside. Then, Sadler said, "gunfire erupted." He did not say who shot first, what guns were involved or how many shots were fired. Both Stephen and a male suspect were killed. The woman was taken to a local hospital with what are believed to be non-life threatening injuries.
Alabama LEO Shot Multiple Times Expected To Recover
An Alabama police officer was shot as many as seven times by a suspected armed robber who was then killed in a shootout that ended in what authorities described as a running gun battle through downtown, authorities said Thursday. The shooting, which happened Wednesday night, was among three involving area law enforcement officers within the span of a few hours. No one died in the other shootings. Officers were answering a call about a robbery reported at a small grocery store when they saw a man leaving the scene, Police Chief Patrick D. Smith told a news conference. Officers attempted to stop the man, who pulled out a gun and repeatedly shot Officer Cullen Stafford, Smith said. Authorities responding to Stafford's call for help were met with additional gunfire. Stafford was shot between five and seven times, and Smith said a bulletproof vest "probably saved his life." "He was still hit multiple times and he's going to have a long road to recovery," Smith said.
LAPD Officer Making History As Female Boxer At Montebello Charity Event
Deirdre Fonseca - known as "Sugar" Dre in the boxing ring - is preparing to make history Saturday. The 31-year-old Los Angeles Police Department officer will become the first woman to headline a charity law enforcement boxing event in the U.S., when she fights a female officer from England at the "Undisputed" event in Montebello. At five-feet two-inches and 128 pounds, Fonseca has come a long way. "I was 204 pounds when I had my second baby," she recalled. At that time, the single mom worked as an LAPD dispatcher, but said she wanted to show her two daughters, Demi, now 7 years old, and Violet, 8, that she could do more. She looked to her dad Daniel, a former boxer, for inspiration to get in the ring. "My dad had 17 amateur fights and 5 professional fights in the 1970s," said Fonseca. "That's part of my background, that's in my family tree." She says she started working out five or six days a week. "I would just work out, shower, take the girls to the sitter, go to work." She won her first fight in 2014. So far, she has five wins and one loss to her name. And she's gained a following.
Woman Shot Dead In East Hollywood
A woman was fatally shot Thursday in East Hollywood by a man who had been following her as she walked near an apartment complex, authorities said. Gunfire was reported about 2:20 p.m. in the 900 block of North Oxford Avenue, south of Romaine Street, Los Angeles Police Department Officer Tony Im said. An ambulance was called to the scene for a woman who was down in the driveway of an apartment complex, not conscious or breathing, police said. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Distraught family members told reporters that she was 27-year-old Cindy Lopez, who lived nearby with her mother and had been studying for a career in law. It's unclear if the woman and the man suspected of shooting her knew one another, but the shooting did not appear to be random, LAPD Lt. John Radtke said at the scene. The suspect, who was wearing shorts and a blue shirt, fled the scene northbound on foot and was being sought, according to the detective.
Hit-and-Run Crash Leaves Man Dead In Mid-City Street; LAPD Searching For Driver
Police are searching for a hit-and-run driver who fatally struck a man in the Mid-City neighborhood of Los Angeles and then fled the scene Friday morning. The incident was reported about 2:20 a.m. after the victim was found in the roadway on Venice Boulevard near Cadillac Avenue, Los Angeles Police Department Capt. Elaine Morales said. Investigators believe the man had been struck by a vehicle, which then fled the scene. “The injuries are consistent with a traffic collision,” Sgt. Rick Hernandez said. The victim, described only as a homeless man in his 60s, was pronounced dead at the scene. A rolling suitcase was found next to the unidentified victim, Morales said. The person who discovered the victim in the roadway did try to help him before calling 911, she said. No information was available about the vehicle that struck the victim. Investigators are searching the area for witnesses or surveillance video.
LAPD To Equip More Officers With Medication To Reduce Opioid Deaths
As the nation battles an opioid epidemic, the Los Angeles Police Department is expanding a program to supply officers with thousands of doses of a nasal spray to treat overdose victims. Last year, the LAPD launched a pilot program to train and equip officers to administer naloxone, which blocks the effects of an opioid overdose. More than 6,100 officers now carry the drug sold under the brand name Narcan. Other officers are expected to receive training. So far, officers have saved 15 people's lives with the drug, but it did not work in two other cases, Deputy Chief Dominic Choi said. This week, the Police Commission approved the department's request to accept a $750,600 donation from the California Health and Human Services Agency to pay for 10,008 doses. “The officers know it's helpful,” said Choi, who until recently served as the LAPD's homeless coordinator. “This is really an effort by the department to help people.” Officers have dispensed the drug to overdose victims living on the streets, including in downtown Los Angeles' skid row, and those in homes needing emergency treatment, Choi said.
Los Angeles Times
Shooting Investigation Shuts Down Part Of Colorado Boulevard In Eagle Rock
A shooting investigation has shut down Colorado Boulevard between Glen Iris Avenue and Highland View Avenue in the Eagle Rock area of Los Angeles Thursday evening. One victim was rushed to the hospital in an unknown condition. The shooting happened in the 1900 block of Colorado Boulevard. LAPD says two male suspects were seen driving away in a white Honda Pilot. The first suspect was described as a male Hispanic wearing a red and white basketball jersey. Police described the second suspect as either a male Hispanic or Filipino wearing an L.A. Lakers jersey. This is a developing story.
Police Searching For Suspect After 7-Year-Old Boy Shot In Watts
A massive police presence descended on a Watts neighborhood after a gunman opened fire near a group of children, wounding a 7-year-old boy, police and witnesses said. Dozens of police cars and fire vehicles were on the scene and about six blocks were taped off to traffic in the area of Wilmington Avenue and 111th Street as police searched for the shooter. Vanessa Sanchez saw her little brother Joseph get shot in the leg. "He's just a kid, he's only 7 years old," she said. "He didn't deserve this." Authorities said the shooting victim was listed in stable condition. Sanchez witnessed the gunman get out of a car and open fire with a rifle, hitting Joseph in the leg. "I saw the guy got out with a rifle. As soon as I saw that, I knew automatically something was gonna happen. I told the kids run inside, run inside." Sanchez said her brother ran upstairs before anybody had even realized he had been struck.
Detectives Searching For Missing 48-Year-Old Westlake District Woman
Police were asking the public's help Thursday to find a 48-year-old woman last seen leaving her home in Westlake. Sheryl Watson was last seen about 6 a.m. on July 8 in the 100 block of South Virgil Avenue and hasn't been heard from since, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. “It is very unusual for Ms. Watson to be missing and for her to not have been in regular contact with her children,” according to a police statement. Watson is black, 5 feet 9 and about 160 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. She was wearing shorts, a white T-shirt and a white scarf on her head when she was last seen. Anyone with information regarding Watson's whereabouts was urged to call the LAPD's Missing Persons Unit at 213-996-1880 or 911. Tipsters can also call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS.
Panorama City Man Accused Of Killing Wife With Machete In June Pleads Not Guilty
A Panorama City man pleaded not guilty Thursday, July 18, to killing his wife with a machete in June, and then forcing his way into his neighbors' apartment, where he allegedly attacked a couple and their teenage son. David Ernesto Rodriguez, 36, allegedly chased his wife, Karla, out of their apartment on Roscoe Boulevard near Kester Avenue during an argument June 22 and killed the 32-year-old woman with a machete, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. He then allegedly forced his way into his neighbors' apartment and attacked the husband and wife, along with their 17-year-old son when he tried to intervene, according to prosecutors. The father suffered serious eye, nose and arm injuries from the machete, while the mother's head was cut and their son's hand was seriously injured, according to the District Attorney's Office. Rodriguez is charged with one count each of murder, attempted murder and first-degree burglary with a person present, along with two counts each of assault with a deadly weapon and mayhem involving the alleged attacks. The charges include allegations that he used a deadly weapon and caused great bodily injury.
Los Angeles Daily News
Local Government News
|City Of LA Installs 21 Drinking Fountains Near Homeless Encampments, But Residents Have Concerns
The city of Los Angeles has installed 21 new drinking fountains near homeless encampments to provide just a little bit of relief in this summer heat, with some in areas like Skid Row. But one of those fountains is inside a Venice Beach neighborhood, and some homeowners think that's the wrong place for it. A homeless man was seen cleaning razors in the new drinking fountain installed on 3rd Avenue near Rose in Venice Beach. Residents also snapped photos showing a man in bathrobe who just washed in the fountain, and piles of trash surrounding it. Resident Rick Swinger said he understands the need, but he thinks it's the wrong location for the fountain near homes just three blocks from the beach. "What it does is creates a camping environment, makes it easy for everybody to come here. World travelers come here for free camps because we're by the beach," he said. Lorenzo lives on the street with his two dogs. He said he's happy about the fountain, because he doesn't have to bother neighboring businesses for water. "We don't have money to buy water. It helps a lot," he said.