Law Enforcement

Fla. SWAT team arrests 2 fugitives who shot at NC cop

Police One - Mon, 08/20/2018 - 11:41

Associated Press

TREASURE ISLAND, Fla. — Police say two fugitives who fired on a deputy in North Carolina are in custody after a standoff with a SWAT team in Florida.

The Tampa Bay Times reports 50-year-old Donald "Alfred" Billings and 26-year-old Alton Smoot had an AR-15, a machete and a pipe bomb inside an apartment near St. Petersburg.

Authorities say a deputy in Alleghany County, North Carolina, let them go after they opened fire during a traffic stop this month.

Scene where fugitives from N Carolina were apprehended on Treasure Island. Read more: https://t.co/YQ6EIPa6ZM pic.twitter.com/Pqlw3jlvzT

— TBTphotog (@TBTphotog) August 19, 2018

Pinellas sheriff's investigators learned that Billings had an ex-girlfriend in Treasure Island, so they began watching her home. They found Smoot first and arrested him Saturday. Billings was hiding out in the apartment. Officers eventually used tear gas and then set off flash bangs. A fire broke out and officers found Billings on the floor.


Categories: Law Enforcement

Homicide With a Push: How Many Falls From Heights Were Murder?

Forensic Magazine - Mon, 08/20/2018 - 11:19
NewsThere are certain contextual factors that can be giant flashing warning signals in investigating homicides from a height, according to a new study in the American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology. Staff Author: Seth AugensteinTopics: Crime Scene
Categories: Law Enforcement

Condemned California Man Seeks Special DNA Investigation

Forensic Magazine - Mon, 08/20/2018 - 11:06
NewsA California death row inmate with some high-profile supporters on Friday asked Gov. Jerry Brown to appoint an independent special master to reinvestigate the case and oversee new DNA testing.Contributed Author: Don Thompson, Associated PressTopics: DNA
Categories: Law Enforcement

State Police removed twenty-one impaired motorists from the roadway

State - NY Police - Mon, 08/20/2018 - 11:01
State Police Troop F arrested twenty motorists for Driving While Intoxicated and one motorists for Driving While Ability Impaired during the weekend.
Categories: Law Enforcement

Thermal Goes on Patrol in East Chicago, Indiana

Police Magazine - Mon, 08/20/2018 - 11:00

As I snapped another picture, my “model” casually mentioned that our photo backdrop was the scene of a double homicide a couple years ago. Nearby, a few “kids” from the block—some of whom appeared to be in their mid-40’s and malevolent—were interested in what we were doing. Focused on the camera, I didn’t mind the sweat caused by my bulletproof vest and was thankful for the two other police officers watching our back. It’s a tough street in a tough city.

We were standing in the North Harbor neighborhood of East Chicago, Indiana.

If you haven’t heard of EC, you probably have heard about the city next door; Gary, Indiana is the occasional murder capital of the U.S and a very sharing neighbor. With Gary to the south and east, one of the biggest steel mills in the world to the north, the south side of Chicago to the west, refineries, smelting plants, harbors, more miles of railroad than street, a legacy of environmental problems and a history as a melting-pot city in a region originally made up of immigrants, East Chicago isn’t the easiest place to be a cop. That’s why we took the new FLIR Breach® PTQ136 multifunctional thermal imaging monocular to the streets with the East Chicago Police Department—to show them the many ways FLIR Breach can make their jobs both easier and safer.

Small Town, Big City Problems

Our host for the hot, busy July evening was patrolman John Richmond and his partner Joe Kelnhofer. A 14-year veteran of ECPD, Richmond grew up in a tough section of East Chicago just across the tracks from the steel mill. He works those same streets today, much to the aggravation of lawbreakers who think they can buffalo a man who knows multiple generations of residents. Kelnhofer just completed his first year on the force.

When asked to describe the overall policing situation in the community, Richmond thought for a moment and observed, “We’re a small town with big city problems.”

East Chicago is relatively small in both area and population. The city footprint is 16 square miles, but two of those are harbor and waterway and numerous other acres are occupied by industrial land, railroads and the cattail swamps along the Grand Calumet River and Lake Michigan. That means the city’s 30,000 inhabitants are densely packed into only ten neighborhoods.

Those neighborhoods run the gamut, making East Chicago a city of great contrast. There are 1950’s and 60’s public housing projects sprinkled through areas that could otherwise pass for old working-class historical neighborhoods in major cities. Some other sections give off a country club-like vibe, looking much like middle-manager suburban subdivisions. Mix in countless factories that range from “well-used” to whatever classification lies beyond “post-apocalyptic,” and you have an urban landscape that is both fascinating and challenging.

The city is approximately half Latino and 30-percent African-American, while the remainder is a mix of Polish, German, Serbian and other ethnic backgrounds. Fortunately, racial tension isn’t a huge problem for the city or its police force. That’s a good thing because drugs and gangs—often transplants from nearby Chicago and Gary—bring plenty of trouble to the community.

In fact, during the 1990’s when murder rates were significantly higher, the county’s prosecuting attorney declared that Guthrie Street in East Chicago was even more dangerous than any of the more notorious trouble spots in nearby Gary.

East Chicago officers take pride in noting that things are better now, but their city still faces challenges.

At 9 p.m. on a sultry night when Lake Michigan breezes only added humidity to the full-moon heat, we cruised by one dimly lit local park that was full of people loitering in the dark. Richmond sourly noted, “We could probably make some arrests right here, right now.”

It was a perfect place to press the FLIR Breach into duty.

You Can’t Hide 

At only 210 grams, FLIR Breach adds minimal weight to an officer’s otherwise heavy gear. It can be concealed in a pocket or be mounted to a helmet with its mini-rail feature.

We pulled over and I handed the thermal monocular to Richmond. He discretely brought it to his face while looking out the open driver’s-side window of his unmarked SUV. “Wow,” was the initial response, followed by, “that’s really cool.”

Another “wow” was repeated more softly and then, “I can clearly see what everybody is doing.” The officer was awed. He handed the FLIR Breach to his partner, who offered the same reaction before refusing to hand the unit back.

We got out of the vehicle, and Richmond approached several shadowy figures hanging out under a shelter. A few of the men stayed put, offering desultory greetings to the officers, while several others sidled away into the darkness.

They didn’t realize that Kelnhofer was watching everything they were doing through the FLIR Breach. Even through the darkness, Kelnhofer could easily see if the men were dropping drugs or drug paraphernalia into the grass or hiding a gun as they walked away.

Kelnhofer liked the idea that he could record over 1,000 still images or 2.5 hours of video of the scene with the push of a button. “That would be really handy in court,” he pointed out while watching some of the men enter a vehicle with Illinois plates.

On this occasion, Kelnhofer didn’t see anything actionable, though we did check out several locations where the men had lingered while walking away. As we looked around a spruce tree where one of the group had paused, Kelnhofer noted that if the man had dropped a handgun into the shrubbery it would have been easy to locate due to transferred body heat emitting from the firearm. Tonight, however, there was nothing.

Between calls for service and one arrest, the remainder of our night on patrol in EC was spent cruising the streets and alleys looking for suspicious activity. In one instance, we parked on an unlit street corner and conducted a short observation of a known group of troublemakers goofing off in front of a house.

Nearby, another group of residents was sitting in the dark on a doorstep. Richmond engaged them in some friendly conversation. After a few minutes, he allowed them a brief view through the Breach. They were shocked at the ease in which it could quickly and clearly identify people—especially in the Outdoor Alert color palette, which highlights the warmest parts of the scene in orange. “You can’t hide from that thing,” one of the men said with a note of pain in his voice.

While driving away, Richmond laughed and offered that someone in the group had likely already called their friends down the street and warned them that the police were now equipped (in the words of the resident) with “some kind of Star Wars (expletive deleted).”

Indeed, they were.

The Day is Done

As we stood talking in the police department parking lot after the shift, Richmond was enthusiastic about the wide variety of uses FLIR Beach holds for officers. “It’s a great tool,” he said, unsure where to begin on the list. “It would be very handy out here (in East Chicago) on patrol, and our gang and narc (narcotics unit) guys would love to have this because of its small size,” Richmond noted.

“It would be great to sit in a UC (Undercover) vehicle and look out for people while remaining undetected and still maintaining your peripheral vision,” Richmond mused. “You can also pick out heat signatures from vehicles and know if they’ve been running or sitting,” he added, observing that as the Illinois vehicle at the park drove away, it had clearly visible warm spots on the tires where they had been resting on the pavement.

Kelnhofer was equally impressed. “I liked it a lot!” he said enthusiastically. “It’s definitely needed for law enforcement, but I’d also use it for hunting—especially to help find downed deer. It’s a great all-around-awesome product.”

All told, nearly a dozen officers on the ECPD got a chance to handle the Breach during the afternoon and evening ride-along. All were similarly impressed with the compactness, image quality and sheer usefulness of the tiny thermal monocular. They definitely saw its potential as a great new tool that could help the officers become more effective and much safer on the challenging streets of America’s “small town with big city problems.”

For more information on the new FLIR Breach, as well as other thermal and night vision products for law enforcement, visit flir.com.

Want more information on FLIR Systems? 
Sign up to receive additional information from FLIR Systems. 

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Categories: Law Enforcement

Documents: Suspects in Missing Teacher's Death Admit Slaying

Forensic Magazine - Mon, 08/20/2018 - 10:58
NewsNew court documents suggest that within weeks of a south Georgia teacher's 2005 disappearance, two of her ex-students told friends at a party they had killed her and burned her body.Contributed Author: Associated PressTopics: Witness Testimony
Categories: Law Enforcement

Illicit Drug Use Could Be Higher Than Previously Thought; Soars During Special Events

Forensic Magazine - Mon, 08/20/2018 - 10:56
NewsAmerica's drug problem may be even worse than officials realize. And illicit drugs are consumed at a higher rate during celebratory events. Those are just two of the conclusions scientists have drawn from recent studies of drug residues in sewage.Contributed Author: American Chemical SocietyTopics: Toxicology
Categories: Law Enforcement

Judge Orders Change on Attorney’s Death Certificate

Forensic Magazine - Mon, 08/20/2018 - 10:51
NewsState District Judge David Thomson has ordered the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator to change its determination on the cause of death for high-profile Albuquerque lawyer Mary Han from “suicide” to “undetermined.”Contributed Author: Phaedra Haywood, Santa Fe New MexicanTopics: Medical Examiner
Categories: Law Enforcement

New Rochelle Police Department (NY)

Law Enforcement LODD - Mon, 08/20/2018 - 10:44
Police Officer Kathleen O'Connor-Funigiello died as the result of cancer that she developed following her assignment to assist with search and rescue efforts at the World Trade Center site immediately...

Detective Bureau

State - RI Police - Mon, 08/20/2018 - 09:45
MEDIA CONTACT: Major Dennis B. Fleming, Detective Commander (#401-765-5605) On August 19, 2018, members of the Gaming Enforcement Unit arrested Barry M. Quinlan, age 59, of 330 Beacon Street, Apartment A21, Boston, Massachusetts, for the following: 1.) Larceny Over $1,500.00. Mr. Quinlan was
Categories: Law Enforcement

Florida Sheriff's Deputy Critically Injured in Crash

Officer.com - Mon, 08/20/2018 - 09:39
Clay County Sheriff's Deputy Ben Zirbel was critically injured in a crash Sunday evening.
Categories: Law Enforcement

K-9 Thor Dies, Leaves Legacy Of Hard Work & Dedication

Law Officer - Mon, 08/20/2018 - 09:33

A hero K9 from Ft. Myers (FL) Police Department died on August 13, 2018 after battling declining health issues.

During his tour of duty, K9 Thor deployed 1,144 times on calls for service, locating 66 felony suspects and recovering 30 pieces of evidence.

Thor was also trained in Narcotics Detection and he conducted 751 narcotic searches, finding illegal drugs in 298 cases according to the Fort Myers Police Department.

K9 Thor retired in March 2018 and he will be missed by the entire law enforcement community.

The post K-9 Thor Dies, Leaves Legacy Of Hard Work & Dedication appeared first on Law Officer.

Categories: Law Enforcement

Louisiana K9 Killed In The Line of Duty

Law Officer - Mon, 08/20/2018 - 09:25

A Louisiana K-9 officer is dead after a suspect shot him during a chase.

Police said around 7:30 p.m. Friday, they received a call of a suspicious person at a home. When deputies arrived, they found Vincent Roberson from Monroe, who was wanted for attempted second-degree murder for reportedly shooting his girlfriend.

As deputies approached, they said Roberson ran into the woods behind the home, and K-9 Boco was released. Moments later, deputies said they heard gunfire and could not find Boco.

Law enforcement from multiple agencies continues the search and were able to arrest Roberson around 2 a.m. Saturday morning.

Later that morning, deputies were able to find Boco’s body.

“Boco died heroically helping to apprehend a suspect in order to keep our community safe,” said a post from the Lincoln Parish Sheriff Department’s Facebook page.

Original Source

The post Louisiana K9 Killed In The Line of Duty appeared first on Law Officer.

Categories: Law Enforcement

Community Rallies After Police K9 Injured In House Fire

Law Officer - Mon, 08/20/2018 - 09:21

A house fire in Ocean County (NJ) injured a K-9 officer, while his owner and police partner watched, feeling helpless.

Now a community is rallying to help a family rebuild.

By the time flames shot out of the home on Ship Avenue in Beachwood, the occupants were safely outside, but two dogs, Lola and Keto didn’t make it out. The latter is a K-9 officer.

The dogs’ owner, Pine Beach Police Officer Russell Okinsky, was at work when he answered the scariest dispatch call of his life.

He said investigators told him the fire’s cause is likely electrical, starting in a bedroom where his young nephew sleeps. Also in the house were the officer’s fiancee, siblings, more nephews and his mother, Anna, who luckily was awake at 1 a.m. on Saturday and ordered everyone out.

The officer’s dogs were hard for firefighters to find. Lola was finally pulled out from under a bed. She was gravely injured and died not long after.

Keto was freed from a cage and seemed to be in bad shape, but he rallied at the animal hospital.

Read More

The post Community Rallies After Police K9 Injured In House Fire appeared first on Law Officer.

Categories: Law Enforcement

Welcome to Our Tactical/SpecOps eNewsletter

Officer.com - Mon, 08/20/2018 - 09:18
Welcome to Officer.com's newest electronic newsletter: Tactical & SpecOps. Nowhere in law enforcement will you find a discipline that requires a higher level of fitness and dedication. And while a great many people seem to believe that most SWAT officers...
Categories: Law Enforcement

Video: Florida Sheriff's Deputy Rescues Girl From Hot Car

Officer.com - Mon, 08/20/2018 - 09:15
In June, Seminole County Sheriff's Deputy Bill Dunn rescued a three year old girl barely clinging to life from a hot car.
Categories: Law Enforcement

3 Ways To Improve Community Connections

Law Officer - Mon, 08/20/2018 - 09:14

I didn’t really think much about these police lip-sync challenges that have taken Facebook by storm.  Like most departments, we never really have time to catch our breath from all the other things we must do and the idea of squeezing another thing on the schedule and the organization the event would demand put that idea to bed.  I also thought of it like so many other “community relations” ideas that have floated around in the last couple of years; shooting hoops in the neighborhoods, giving out ice cream sandwiches, organizing bike rides with officers, etc.  I don’t have a problem with any of those ideas but I don’t think that is the kind of lasting connection that changes the relationship between a police force and the people we serve.

The ideas listed above and others like them are not the overall connections that will repair the relationships.  Police work, not intentionally but as a coping mechanism, causes officers to disconnect with the very people they originally devoted themselves to.  I have lived it and I have seen it affect almost every cop I know. Some eventually see it, but many finish a dedicated, hard worked career only to leave bitter, hard and disillusioned.  There are ways to make the connections that will allow relations to grow and prosper.

I have taught a few cops in my career and the resounding theme among those I have spoken to about this is that they got into police work to help people.  The problem is as we gain time on the department we work with those who have become disillusioned and without proper attention, that perspective begins to grow in them and spread to the newest officers.  As officers we see the worst of society and rarely see the good. We don’t have time (or I would argue don’t make time) to see the outcome of what we have accomplished. I would suggest this is in large part due to the lack of leadership in departments across the country.  Now I know cops because I have spent almost 4 decades with them but the more I learn and observe, the more I understand how much leadership in business, government and everywhere else, is lacking.

How Leadership Can Shape Community Relations.  

First, we must back our people.  Too many leaders don’t have the intestinal fortitude to stand up for their people because either they don’t know the law, so they fall to emotion-based decisions, or they care more about their career than they do about their people.  

Leadership is hard, but it is never about you!

As a leader, your people need to know that they can be trusted to do the right thing and that when hard decisions come you will support them. Most cops make the right decision almost all the time.  If they are wrong, a leader will help them learn from their mistake in a way that they still feel supported.

Second, we have done a terrible job of monitoring our emotional health.  A good leader will make sure that all their people are well balanced. That will mean getting to know your people or that the leader in charge of that group knows their people.  This will mean that when we see things that concern us that we are quick to step in and move people back to a well-balanced perspective.  People like to be liked. Often, we see concerning behavior in subordinates or peers that we should address but we don’t.

If you are more concerned about being liked than doing right, you are not a good leader.  

Having courageous conversations with people about their attitudes or behaviors will save many careers and many departments from disaster. The sooner we cure bad thoughts and dispositions the more resilient our people will be. A happy, well-adjusted officer will deal with the public better and there is far less chance that the officer will end up in the news or unemployment line.

Third, we need to teach our officers to respect the people we serve.  That starts at the top and how we treat our people will be reflected in how they treat the people they serve.  Teaching our officers that every person just wants to be treated with respect, real respect for them as people not objects, will result in better community relations.  This job can’t be just a job dealing with problems but with people. The Arbinger Institute conducts training and has produced several books on the topic of treating people with respect and not as objects.  This concept was made abundantly clear this last year as I walked along side my wife during a medical issue that had us in contact with medical personnel multiple times each week. Some treated her with incredible respect as a person, one doctor pulled up a chair, looked her in the eyes and told her he was sorry she was on that journey, what compassion!  Others treated her as an object that had no real worth other than a number for the day. It gave me a taste of how I know I have been at times and how easy it is to behave that way. We came to this profession to serve and help, getting back to those roots is a vital key. Mutual respect is a proven change agent.

Conclusion

I am convinced that these three things can change those who have a rocky relationship with their community more than de-escalation, procedural justice or any of the hot topic classes being pushed today.  These are things we have been working on for years now. It is because of these types of community approaches that we received a lip-sync challenge, but it was not from another police department but from our town.  We didn’t have time, but we accepted because that is what change looks like.

Be safe!

The post 3 Ways To Improve Community Connections appeared first on Law Officer.

Categories: Law Enforcement

Deputy Tim Sims heads home

Officer.com - Mon, 08/20/2018 - 09:07
Cleveland County Sheriff's Deputy Tim Sims makes a stop by the Cleveland County Law Enforcement Center on his way home from the hospital on Aug. 18.
Categories: Law Enforcement

How yoga and meditation helped sharpen my aim

Police One - Mon, 08/20/2018 - 09:04
Author: American Military University

By Detective Wendy Hummell, contributor to In Public Safety

Even after 20 years as an officer, I continue to dread mandatory firearms qualification time. Officers in my department are required to qualify twice a year with their duty handgun and shotgun.

For new and veteran officers alike, firearms qualifications can be a source of great stress. Firearms are arguably the most important tool of our trade and officers must be proficient at using them, but it can still be nerve-wracking to go to the range.

Personally, I have always struggled with the shotgun; it’s always been my nemesis starting back during my early years of police training. Each time mandatory time rolls around, I get that sinking feeling in my gut. Whether I pass or not (and I actually pass more than I fail), I still put myself through hell. I hear the words of the range staff telling me that if I get nervous here in the controlled environment of the range, just imagine what it would feel like to be in an actual gunfight. And they are absolutely right. I do not take any of it lightly.

In the last few years, I found an extremely effective, but completely unintentional, way to improve my aim. About nine years ago, I started practicing yoga after my second daughter was born. I had a difficult pregnancy, needed to drop weight and get healthy so I decided to try yoga.

After taking a beginner class at the YMCA, I started attending classes at a hot yoga studio and was hooked. I was able to build strength, balance and flexibility, which was all very beneficial, but what proved to be even more useful was that I started paying closer attention to my breathing. I started applying the principles of yoga to work, life and specifically my problems with shooting and it didn’t take long for me to start seeing significant improvements.

Similarities between yoga and shooting

The guys at the range are not exactly “yogis.” Instead, they are precisely who you’d expect to be shooting instructors: burly guys who are former Marines or seasoned officers who are very passionate about their jobs. They truly care about each and every one of us coming home safe at night and it shows in their delivery.

While they aren’t using the language of yoga, they are actually teaching many of the same principles and techniques. They talk about focusing on breathing to calm the nervous system. They discuss stance and the importance of balancing body weight, as well as sight alignment. They even recommend reciting a mantra.

All these elements are similar to what’s taught in yoga. The concept of proprioception (body awareness) is necessary at the range and is a skill that can be honed during yoga. Not to mention concentration (Dharana) and breathing (Pranayama), which are two of the eight limbs of yoga.

Improving Concentration with Meditation

Meditation has been part of my yoga practice for many years, I just didn’t realize it. This past year, I started a regular meditation practice. Almost every morning I spend anywhere from five to 20 minutes sitting in stillness. To be honest, some days it’s just a minute or two and sometimes it has to happen during my commute, but I make a point to do it. It’s the equivalent of an adult time-out. I feel calmer; like I've recharged my battery.

When I first decided to meditate, I was a little overwhelmed. There is so much information out there so I decided to start with the Calm app. It offers a lot of options and is great for beginners; you can choose more guidance, meditations for sleep, stress relief, etc. I further improved my meditation practice by attending a training class offered by the PauseFirst Project, a non-profit organization geared towards bringing meditation to the first responder culture.

I’ve found that my go-to relaxation technique is tactical breathing. I learned this during my yoga training through Yoga for First Responders and it’s truly been a game changer. I do tactical breathing several times a day and incorporate it into my meditation practice.

Revisiting the Range

Now, before my firearms qualifications, I do visualization meditation for several days leading up to my day at the range. I passed my most recent qualification, but I know I still have a lot of work to do. With the help of the awesome range staff at my department and more practice, meditation and yoga, I will overcome my anxiety. One thing yoga has taught me is that practice, discipline and repetition lead to success.

Talking about things like yoga and meditation to a bunch of cops is no easy task. However, one of the first things Olivia Kvitne, the Executive Director of Yoga for First Responders, teaches is that the original intent of yoga is mastery of the mind and optimal functioning of the nervous system. That should appeal to every single officer.

If yoga can help on the range, just think how valuable it can be during other aspects of policing, including critical incidents, citizen encounters, and the overall stress management and well-being of officers. I feel very fortunate to have found the tools of yoga and meditation in my career and only wish I would have known about them earlier. I hope that officers will put aside their doubt or apprehension and give yoga and meditation a try – every officer deserves to have all the necessary tools to aid their emotional, physical and mental well-being.

About the Author

Wendy Hummell is a 20-year veteran of the Wichita (KS) Police Department. She is currently the Crime Stoppers Coordinator and spent a majority of her career working Persons Crimes Investigations, homicide, gang, and sex-crimes cases. She is also a member of her department's CISM (Critical incident Stress Management) team. She holds a Bachelors and Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice. She is a 200-hour level registered yoga teacher and a Yoga for First Responders (YFFR) ambassador. She teaches YFFR classes at her department to officers and police recruits. She also teaches restorative and vinyasa yoga classes at the Hot Asana studio in Wichita. To contact her, email IPSauthor@apus.edu. For more articles featuring insight from industry experts, subscribe to In Public Safety’s bi-monthly newsletter.


Categories: Law Enforcement

Community Rallies for New Jersey Police Officer Who Lost Home In Fire

Officer.com - Mon, 08/20/2018 - 09:00
Residents in Beachwood, New Jersey, are coming to the aid of a police officer whose home burned down over the weekend.
Categories: Law Enforcement

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