Law Enforcement

Sheriff Joe on trial over immigration actions

Police One - 3 hours 14 min ago

By Jacques Billeaud Associated Press

PHOENIX — The immigration rhetoric and crackdowns pushed by President Donald Trump have a familiar ring in Arizona, where former Sheriff Joe Arpaio once used similar tactics to become a national figure.

Now, Arpaio is going on trial on a criminal charge stemming from those immigration enforcement actions.

The eight-day trial that begins Monday in federal court in Phoenix will determine whether the 85-year-old retired lawman is guilty of misdemeanor contempt of court for disobeying a judge's order to stop traffic patrols that targeted immigrants. The judge later found his officers racially profiling Latinos.

Arpaio's legal troubles played a major role in voters turning him out of office in November after a campaign in which he appeared alongside Trump at several rallies in Arizona.

The former six-term sheriff of metro Phoenix has acknowledged defying the judge's 2011 order in a racial profiling lawsuit by prolonging the patrols for months. But he insists it was not intentional. To win a conviction, prosecutors must prove he violated the order on purpose.

If convicted, Arpaio could face up to six months in jail, though lawyers who have followed his case doubt that a man of his age would be put behind bars.

For nine of his 24 years in office, Arpaio did the sort of local immigration enforcement that Trump has advocated. To build his highly touted deportation force, Trump is reviving a long-standing program that deputizes local officers to enforce federal immigration law.

Unlike other local police leaders who left immigration enforcement to U.S. authorities, Arpaio made hundreds of arrests in traffic patrols that sought out immigrants and business raids in which his officers targeted immigrants who used fraudulent IDs to get jobs.

His immigration powers were eventually stripped away by the courts and federal government, culminating with the 2013 ruling that Arpaio's officers profiled Latinos.

Arpaio's defense centers around what his attorneys said were weaknesses in the court order that failed to acknowledge times when deputies would detain immigrants and later hand them over to federal authorities.

Jack Wilenchik, an Arpaio attorney, said the former sheriff is charged with a crime for cooperating with U.S. immigration officials, which the Trump administration now encourages.

"This is really just a fight about immigration law and what it means," Wilenchik said. "And Arpaio is trying to do what a good cop does, which is to enforce the law."

His critics hope the case will bring a long-awaited comeuppance for the lawman who led crackdowns that divided immigrant families and escaped accountability.

The judge concluded that Arpaio ignored the order because he believed his immigration enforcement efforts would help his 2012 campaign. The TV interviews, news releases and tough talk about America's border woes that Arpaio used over the years to boost his popularity are now being used against him in court.

The sheriff's office issued a news release a week after the judge told it to stop the patrols saying it would continue to enforce immigration laws. Arpaio also gave a March 2012 TV interview in which he said his office was still detaining immigrants who were in the country illegally.

The retired lawman lost a request to prohibit prosecutors from mentioning comments he made about immigration during his last three campaigns.

It's not known whether Arpaio will testify in his defense.


Categories: Law Enforcement

Mo. county police officers getting a 30 percent pay raise

Police One - 3 hours 14 min ago

By Stephen Deere St. Louis Post-Dispatch

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — St. Louis County police officers’ average pay will jump by roughly 30 percent next year under a new wage scale announced Thursday by County Executive Steve Stenger.

Some officers will receive raises of more than 40 percent, thanks to county voters who approved Proposition P, a sales tax increase in St. Louis County that passed in April.

Hiring more police officers and boosting salaries were the stated goals of the ballot proposal.

The tax increase will generate $80 million a year, Stenger said, with $46 million going to the county and the remainder to be distributed to other police departments in the county.

In addition to the large pay boost for current officers, new officers will start at an 8 percent higher base pay.

“It helps ensure that we will be able to attract and retain the best and the brightest new and experienced officers,” Stenger said.

The raises are expected to cost $14.6 million.

The current wage scale for St. Louis County police patrol officers starts at $48,256 base pay per year and tops out at $70,980, said St. Louis County Police Association President Joe Patterson. But unlike other collective bargaining agreements that give officers raises based on their years of service, the county officers’ current agreement doesn’t compel the county to increase pay until there are additional revenue streams — such as the one provided with the passage of Proposition P.

As a result, the average pay for a St. Louis County patrol officer has remained stagnant at roughly $51,000. Dozens of officers who have worked for the county for 10 years still earn $48,256 in base pay, Patterson said.

Under the wage scale announced Thursday, officers will start at $52,208 and then earn 80 cents more per hour every year thereafter. The new scale tops out at $77,168 for officers who have served the county for 15 years.

The scale will provide some astonishing raises. For example, officers with 10 years of service now making $48,256 in base pay per year will see their base pay jump to $68,848 — a 42 percent increase.

And it will cause average pay to climb to $66,000 per year.

Patterson said it will put county officers in the top 60th percentile in terms of pay for the region.

As an added bonus, the new county police pay matrix also will give officers credit for every five years served. Patterson said all police agencies are struggling to find new recruits, so attracting seasoned officers is going to be the quickest way to get to the department’s goal of hiring 150 officers.

Stenger said the $105 million per year that the police department receives from the county’s general fund will not change.

Stenger said the new wage scale is dependent on the council’s approval.

Council Chairman Sam Page said he has yet to see the numbers but looked forward to the proposal.

Though the raises are much appreciated, Patterson cautioned that years without raises have meant a big increase like this one only brings the department in line with its peers.

“This is the first major pay increase we’ve had in years, so (officers) are not exactly jumping for joy,” Patterson said. “They feel validated that now they are being recognized for their services as they should be, but it’s not like we’re doing backflips. It’s been a long, hard road to get here.

“But for the first time ever, we have a fully funded pay matrix that sets a lighted path for these officers to start planning their careers here. With competitive pay, we’ll be able to recruit and retain the finest officers in the region.”

Union leaders in the city of St. Louis have warned that officers there will leave for better salaries in the county if city leaders do not find ways to boost their salaries as well.

“We’re not trying to snub the city,” said Patterson, who uses a grass-cutting analogy to explain his position. “If I cut my grass, and you wake up and see it and think, ‘Well, now I’ve got to cut my grass,’ I’m not going to apologize for cutting my grass.

“We’re doing the right thing out here, and we’re not going to apologize for leadership. And we’re willing to help anyone who wants to know how we made this possible.”

Patterson said he also has fielded phone calls from officers in other departments in the county who are concerned that their political leaders are not using the Proposition P money to increase their police budgets.

Patterson said his organization is willing to be the watchdog and call out any elected officials who fail to do so.

Christine Byers of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.

———

©2017 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch


Categories: Law Enforcement

SP Amity - Man arrested for Felony Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated

State - NY Police - 3 hours 35 min ago
On June 24, 2017, Troopers arrested Stephen J. Gerringer, 24 of Olean, NY, for Felony Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated.
Categories: Law Enforcement

SP Amity - Man arrested for Felony Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated

State - NY Police - 3 hours 35 min ago
On June 24, 2017, Troopers arrested Stephen J. Gerringer, 24 of Olean, NY, for Felony Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated.
Categories: Law Enforcement

SP Amity - Traffic Stop leads to DWI arrest

State - NY Police - 3 hours 54 min ago
On June 25, 2016, Troopers arrested Christopher S. Hollister, 36 of Greenwood, NY, for Driving While Intoxicated.
Categories: Law Enforcement

State Police search for two missing teens in Lake Ontario

State - NY Police - 6 hours 16 min ago
A search is continuing on Lake Ontario Sunday night for two teenagers, ages 14 and 18, missing from Robert Wehle State Park in Jefferson County. 
Categories: Law Enforcement

Police Shoot, Kill Man Who Fired At Police Helicopter

Law Officer - Sun, 06/25/2017 - 22:20

Phoenix Police shot and killed a man Sunday who fired his rifle at a police helicopter and then at officers on the ground.

Nicholas Johnston, 47, was shot by officers in the front yard of a home near Cave Creek Road and Desert Willow Parkway at about 10 a.m.

Phoenix Police received a call of domestic violence at the home where they encountered Johnston. He had been drinking and damaging property after an argument with his mother.

AZ Central reports that as officers arrived, they saw Johnston in the front yard who fired a random shot in the air, then another at a police helicopter. He then pointed the weapon at officers.

Officers returned fire, killing the suspect.

Officers were not hurt.

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Categories: Law Enforcement

Missing North Carolina Girl Found Alive After One Year

Law Officer - Sun, 06/25/2017 - 22:05

A North Carolina teenager who disappeared more than a year ago has been found alive in Georgia and a 31-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the case.

Hailey Burns, now 17, has been reunited with her parents after being found overnight at a home in Duluth, about 30 miles northeast of Atlanta.

The suspect, Michael Ren Wysoloyski, faces a number of charges, including cruelty to children and false imprisonment.

Burns vanished from her home in Ballantyne, an upscale part of Charlotte, in May 2016. At that time, her father told local media that his daughter left behind a diary that detailed plans to run away with a man she had met online.

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Categories: Law Enforcement

Police Chief: I Will Release Video If You Disrespect My Officers

Law Officer - Sun, 06/25/2017 - 18:22

Photo:  Oxford (AL) Police Chief Bill Partridge

I’ve been saying it for years and today it took a police chief in an Alabama city to follow through with what should be a policy for every police department in America.
This post prompted Chief Partridge to release the entire video of the encounter.

After a resident mocked an Oxford (AL) Animal Control Officer and allegedly lied about the incident on social media, Oxford Police Chief Bill Partridge announced that “Effective this date it will be my policy that if you disrespect one of our officers and then file a false complaint or make false claims on social media, I will post the video footage of the contact on social media for the public to see. I am tired of false complaints being brought to the department in an attempt to get out of a traffic charge or criminal charge.

Finally, at least one police chief is using video to help protect officers in the public forum and for that I applaud him.  In fact, as I’ve said for sometime, law enforcement agencies should release all video, at all times, so the public gets an accurate and true reflection of what law enforcement does each and every day.

What the public would see is time and time again, professional police officers going above and beyond to treat citizens with respect and dignity.

Up until now, law enforcement has handled video technology poorly.  We wait for a media request on what they would consider “controversial” or of a “use of force” situation and then we release that video for the media to put their context to it.  Meanwhile, law enforcement is left back on it’s heels trying to explain the video and they rarely get the first story out.

Instead of letting the media or others on social media dictate what video we release, law enforcement should proactively release video from officer actions each night of the week.  There is no need to wait for a FOI request or a demand from the media.  Simply put, law enforcement releases video and puts out the context of each video.  Only then would the public see an accurate depiction of the men and women in the profession.  I originally wrote this request in an editorial piece in Law Officer Magazine and I’m not surprised that to this day, we do not routinely see agencies doing this.

What Chief Bill Partridge did last week is an excellent start.  No one has the right to defame and lie against our police officers and releasing the entire video altercation is a great way to defend our officers.

Last year, the Tampa Police Department released a video that compiled events showing the professional conduct of their officers along with countless suspects defying orders from the police.

These are all positive trends but we must do more.  While many will write me and say it is a ridiculous idea to release all of the video encounters our officers do, I would simply say that there is not a mandate to not do so.  Agencies can continue doing what they do now and the bruising of our reputations will certainly continue.

I say start somewhere.  Take one video a day and release it, for free, on social media. Our heroes behind the badge are some of the most impressive professionals this country has to offer. We owe it to the communities they serve to depict an accurate picture of what they do each day.

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Categories: Law Enforcement

No seat belt leads to drug arrests

State - NY Police - Sun, 06/25/2017 - 16:17
UPM Arrest
Categories: Law Enforcement

Machias Woman Arrested For Aggravated DWI Three Times Legal Limit

State - NY Police - Sun, 06/25/2017 - 16:13
SP Boston-Machias woman arrested for Aggravated DWI following a traffic stop.   
Categories: Law Enforcement

Driving on 3 tires results in a DWAI-Drugs arrest

State - NY Police - Sun, 06/25/2017 - 16:05

DWAI-Drugs Arrest

Categories: Law Enforcement

Lake George man arrested for Aggravated DWI

State - NY Police - Sun, 06/25/2017 - 15:39
On June 24, 2017 a Trooper from the Northway Station arrested 48 year old Thomas E. Shelly III for Aggravated DWI.
Categories: Law Enforcement

Oneida County Man arrested following a physical domestic incident

State - NY Police - Sun, 06/25/2017 - 14:36
State Police arrested Andrew S. Howard, age 33, from Rome, NY for Reckless Endangerment 1st degree, Criminal Possession of a Weapon 3rd degree, Assault 3rd degree, and Criminal Possession of a Weapon 4th degree.

 

Categories: Law Enforcement

Officer attends graduation of girl he rescued in 2011

Police One - Sun, 06/25/2017 - 13:14

Associated Press

NORTH BABYLON, N.Y. — A Long Island police officer has attended the high school graduation of a teen he rescued from icy waters more than six years ago.

Newsday reports that Suffolk County Police Officer Matthew DeMatteo watched Sarah Thalhammer graduate from North Babylon High School on Saturday.

Thalhammer was 11 when a dog she was walking dragged her onto the frozen Great South Bay on Jan. 17, 2011. The ice gave way about 50 yards off shore.

DeMatteo crawled onto the ice and pulled Thalhammer out, but the ice broke again. Firefighter Chris Gonzales threw them a rope and pulled them both to safety.

Thalhammer's mother invited DeMatteo to her daughter's graduation.

DeMatteo said Thalhammer is going to do great things and he's "very, very proud of her."

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Six years ago, Suffolk County Police Officer Matthew DeMatteo saved a then-11-year-old Sarah Thalhammer from drowning in Sayville. Today, DeMatteo was invited by Thalhammer's family to watch her graduate from North Babylon high School. FiOS1's Patricia Nicolas has the story.

Posted by Verizon FiOS1 - Long Island on Saturday, June 24, 2017


Categories: Law Enforcement

High police, fire pension rates send Ariz. lawmakers scrambling

Police One - Sun, 06/25/2017 - 13:00

Associated Press

PHOENIX — A group of Arizona House lawmakers is launching an effort aimed at cutting the soaring costs to communities of police and fire pensions, with its leader warning that cities could end up declaring bankruptcy if legislators fail to act.

The new committee announced by House Speaker J.D. Mesnard comes just over a year after 70 percent of voters approved changes to the state's public safety pension plan designed to return it to solvency in 20 years.

The voter approval and separate legislative overhauls to the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System, known as PSPRS, couldn't address current costs because the state Constitution bans cuts to promised pensions. Instead, they established less generous and lower-cost pensions for new hires and changed how current cost-of-living increases are calculated, a switch intended to stabilize the system over time.

Republican Rep. Noel Campbell of Prescott said he understands the difficult task ahead but believes the pension issue requires urgent attention, calling the debt load a "tsunami."

"We have to start taking a hard look at this because my fear is that two, three years down the road here, cities, municipalities will start filing (bankruptcy)," Campbell said Friday.

There are 230 different entities — cities, town, counties and fire districts — in the PSPRS plan, and each is responsible for its own liabilities in the plan. Employers have seen median contribution rates soar to an average of 52 percent of each officer's salary as the value of the pension plan failed to meet expected returns to meet its obligations. A decade ago, the rate was 21 percent, and just last year it was 42 percent.

Some cities, including Bisbee and Prescott, are paying much higher rates. Bisbee is paying 134 percent of an officer's salary in pension costs, according to plan records. It has $10.8 million in liabilities and only $800,000 in assets on the books.

The state's largest city, Phoenix, also is struggling with soaring pension costs. The City Council voted Wednesday to ask the state pension plan to allow it to pay off its outstanding debt of $2.4 billion over 30 years instead of 20, a change made possible by a new state law. Phoenix has seen its yearly costs for police and fire pensions soar to $207 million from just $56 million in 2007.

As of last June 30, plan members are owed $14.5 billion in retirement benefits and PSPRS has just $6.4 billion in assets.

Mesnard appointed five Republicans and two Democrats to examine possible solutions, with Campbell chairing the effort. The committee plans a series of meetings across the state, followed by four formal meetings at the Capitol.

Campbell says part of the committee's job is to raise awareness about the looming problems.

"It's amazing in talking about this issue how few legislators know anything about it — it's not something being brought to their attention," Campbell said.

Campbell said one of the big problems is that the pension fund hasn't come near to meeting the 7½ percent return its actuaries anticipated. Its 10-year average return is less than 5 percent. In addition, generous benefits have sapped returns.

The 2016 overhaul addressed another major cause of plan underfunding, cost-of-living adjustments. The way the plan was set up, excess earnings were put into a fund that doles out automatic increases of up to 4 percent in most years. The problem is that when the overall pension fund had losses, as it did during the Great Recession, excess cash in flush years couldn't make up the difference because it is sent to the cost-of-living adjustment fund.

Prescott, Campbell's hometown, has nearly $80 million in unfunded liabilities and plans to ask voters in August to raise city sales taxes from 2 percent to 2.75 percent. Campbell said people are angry about the proposed tax increase, and he worries it won't put a dent in the pension debt.

More worrisome, he said, are the state Constitution's limits on cutting promised pensions may crimp any efforts to reform the system.

"I don't know if there is a solution because ... the constitution prevents any reduction or diminution of retirement benefits," he said.


Categories: Law Enforcement

'Beyond the Crash' Wins Emmy for Community/Public Service

State - RI Police - Sun, 06/25/2017 - 12:45
'Beyond the Crash,' a series of sobering videos featuring Rhode Island State Police talking about the life-changing effects of drinking and driving, last night won an Emmy award for community/public service campaign from the Boston/New England chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and...
Categories: Law Enforcement

Seattle police: No choice but lethal force in fatal shooting

Police One - Sun, 06/25/2017 - 12:41

Associated Press

SEATTLE — Two Seattle police officers who shot and killed a 30-year-old pregnant woman each say they fired their weapons after the woman suddenly pulled a knife and came after them.

The Seattle Police Department late Friday released transcripts of interviews with the officers involved in the June 18 fatal shooting of Charleena Lyles, the Seattle Times reported.

The two officers say they had no choice but to use lethal force after Lyles, a mother of four, tried to stab Officer Jason Anderson in the stomach and cornered Officer Steven McNew in the kitchen.

Family members, who previously expressed concerns about her mental health after Lyles threatened officers with long metal shears less than two weeks before the shooting, question why the officers didn't use nonlethal methods to subdue the petite woman and have suggested race played a role. Lyles was black, and the officers were white.

The officers responded to the apartment on June 18 after Lyles reported a burglary. Anderson told investigators that the officers were talking with Lyles and he was looking at his notebook when Lyles pulled a knife from about 3 feet away.

Anderson told investigators, according to the transcript, that he "was jumping back, uh, kind of sucking my abdomen in trying to avoid getting stabbed in the stomach."

Anderson said "just the look on her face changed completely from when I had been talking to her a second early."

Anderson said Lyles advanced from around a counter into the kitchen toward McNew, telling investigators that "at that moment I was in, in fear that she was gonna try and kill my partner, um, 'cause she was going after him," according to the transcript. "I don't know at what point she changed her focus from, from me to Steve, um, but as she started turning the corner to go after Steve, that's when I, um, that's when I shot."

McNew told investigators Lyles had him trapped in the kitchen and was closing the distance between them.

"And at that point, fearing for what was about to happen, what she would do to me, um, being stuck in that spot, I fired my handgun," he told investigators, noting he remembered hearing shots coming from Anderson's location.

"She hit the floor," McNew said. "She, I didn't see her movement, but when she landed on the floor she landed face down."

Lyles had four children, and three of them — ages 11, 4 and 1 — were at home when she called police.

After the shooting, McNew said, "one of the little babies crawls out from behind and right on top of her . her . upper body, you know resting his head against her."

McNew picked up the child, and a third officer who arrived began giving first aid to Lyles.

Along with the transcripts, police also released images of what appear to be kitchen knives as well as a diagram of Lyles' apartment.

Anderson told investigators he wasn't carrying a Taser because the battery had died two weeks earlier. But he said that he wouldn't have used it in that situation because he was trained to use lethal force when being attacked by someone with a knife.

McNew's transcript is about 29 pages, while Anderson's transcript is about 60 pages.


Categories: Law Enforcement

Colo. officer escorting Pence motorcade seriously injured in crash

Police One - Sun, 06/25/2017 - 12:00

Associated Press

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A Colorado Springs motorcycle officer has been injured in an accident while escorting Vice President Mike Pence's motorcade to the city's airport.

Police Lt. Howard Black told The Gazette the accident happened at 7:30 a.m. Saturday. Officer Andrew Holland, an eight-year veteran of the force, was in serious condition.

No other vehicles were involved, and Pence's motorcade continued to the airport.

Pence said in a Tweet released by the police department that he'd spoken with the officer's wife and was "so relieved his injuries are not life-threatening."

Pence was in Colorado Springs to mark the 40th anniversary of Focus on the Family. He also visited Schriever Air Force Base, home to the Air Force Space Command.


Categories: Law Enforcement

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