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Doing double duty: What features to look for in the perfect on/off-duty handgun

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 17:10

Author: Warren Wilson

We are living in the golden age of defensive firearms. When I came up in the gun culture, it was a given that the smaller an auto-pistol was, the less likely it was to be reliable. That is much less true today and is probably a complete falsehood in reference to the ubiquitous mid-sized or compact pistol.

The guns in question generally have 15-round and 12-round magazines in 9mm and .40 caliber, respectively. They have barrels of about four inches in length. They are slightly downsized versions of larger duty pistols and have been mostly marketed for concealed carry and plain clothes carry. These guns are generally designated by their manufacturer as, “compact,” but may serve you just as well as a duty sidearm.

What characteristics would a pistol need to be considered for double-duty? It will need to be big enough for regular duty use and still small enough for concealed carry.

Big enough

Duty pistols aren’t pocket pistols or ankle guns. They must be big enough for street work. What characteristics make a gun suitable for the streets? It must be large enough to allow the user’s hands to get a solid purchase on the stocks. Duty guns must be big enough to retain under the worst conditions, including an attempted gun grab. Under the best circumstances they must have enough girth to effectively be used in training and qualification.

Sight radius may be another consideration. Naturally, a compact gun will have a shorter barrel, which will mean a shorter sight radius. Depending on the skill of the shooter, that abbreviated distance between the front and rear sights can have a negative effect on the individual’s ability to make good hits. That said, at distances common to law enforcement confrontation and qualification, this should be a relatively minor concern.

Capacity is a primary concern for a duty pistol. An often-quoted statistic is that an “average” law enforcement encounter results in only three to five rounds being fired by the officer. That’s often used as an excuse to disregard a gun’s lack of ammunition capacity. A mentor of mine impressed upon me that we shouldn’t only train for the averages. Many incidents have involved dozens of rounds fired and that number has increased over the years. How many will be enough and how much do you trust your luck? When using a subcompact pistol for off-duty carry, you might lose as many as 10 rounds of ammunition from your on-duty gun. However, a compact or mid-sized gun loses only a few rounds while allowing enough grip reduction for effective concealment.

Small enough

A concealed carry pistol must be small enough to effectively conceal. As stated above, we’re not talking about pocket guns or ankle guns here. Still, a double-duty pistol will need to be small enough to comfortably conceal. I’ve spent the last several years carrying such a handgun under a slightly oversized shirt in my off time without any trouble.

Bonus

Many of these quasi-compact pistols accept the duty-size magazines of their larger brethren. That increases the capacity of the compact handgun from 15 or 17 rounds to 13 or 15 rounds, depending on the caliber. Some manufacturers provide magazine adapters for their larger magazines that fill in the gap between the grip and the floorplate. It only makes sense to carry the full-size magazine with the adapter on duty and the slightly reduced magazine for concealed carry. With the shorter magazine inserted and with the proper holster, carrying a 14 or 16 round pistol is a breeze.

In a shopping mall some years back, an off-duty officer engaged an active shooter until help arrived. According to an interview he gave later, his 1911 only contained six rounds. He fired only three for fear he would run out of ammo before the threat was neutralized. The officer made the statement that he wished he'd had more ammunition; at least in the form of an extra magazine. I’m sure having a pistol with a capacity in the mid-teens would have been comforting for him.

Double-duty option

Firearms manufacturers are offering more viable handgun options for officers than ever before. Let’s face it, cops aren’t usually flush with disposable income. Having one pistol to serve two different roles is a great fiscal option for the law enforcement officer and his family. Do some research and see if what gun companies call a compact pistol may very well serve double duty for you.


Categories: Law Enforcement

How 3D scanning puts the crime scene in the courtroom

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 16:35

Author: Tim Dees

Diagramming a crime or crash scene can be a painstaking process, always preserving the possibility of missing a critical item of evidence or getting a measurement wrong. By relying on a 3D scanner, the crime scene investigator can produce a much more detailed record in far less time.

What the 3D scanners are able to capture and generate help give jurors and those in court an impactful visual of the scene and helps provide the spatial reference and at times can help stop trials from even going to court.

Hardware and mechanics

A modern laser scanner largely automates the process of recording the scene and everything in it. The basic technique begins by placing the scanner, mounted on a sturdy tripod, more or less in the middle of the area to be recorded. The scanner projects a vertically-spinning laser beam onto the surrounding landscape, recording points as reflected off every object in view. The scanner rotates 360 degrees in the horizontal axis as it scans, moved by a motor mount slaved to the scanner itself.

As the laser light is reflected back to the scanner, the time required for the light to make the trip there and back is recorded and converted into a distance measurement, using the speed of light as a constant. This is similar to the way that traffic LIDAR is used to get the range to a target vehicle. This is called a “time of flight” calculation.

At the same time, the scanner records the angle of the emitted light, the angle of the reflection, and the distance calculation to triangulate and establish x, y and z coordinates for that data point. This creates a fixed point in space for that point, relative to the scanner.

Point clouds

By recording these data points and displaying them graphically, the laser scanner system creates a “point cloud” that recreates the shapes of all the objects in the scanner’s view. Most scanners can record everything in their line-of-sight view from around 0.6 meters to 1,100 ft. (or more) away. The effect is to see a three-dimensional view of the area from the perspective of the scanner location, with a resolution of thousands of data points per inch. The scanners accumulate this data very quickly, recording between 10,000-100,000 data points per second.

When there are obstructions between objects of interest and the scanner, those areas hidden to the scanner will not be recorded. The image is fleshed out by moving the scanner to another location where the area of interest is not obscured, and repeating the scan. Software typically furnished with the scanner will stitch together the images, using GPS coordinates recorded at the time of the scan to register the combined data point sets.

Most scanners used for crime and crash scene reconstruction incorporate conventional digital cameras, so that the point clouds are superimposed onto the photographs. This results in a 3D representation of the area, recorded digitally and transferable as with any other digital file.

Analyses and calculations

Analysts can zoom in on any feature, determine distances and angles between points, and make calculations of relevant factors, such as vehicle force vectors and bullet flight paths. The images can be rotated and viewed from any angle, providing perspectives that would be impossible with a conventional set of photographs.

Representations of crime and crash scenes recorded by laser scanners are much more detailed and accurate than a human diagrammer could produce. They are more persuasive to judges and juries who have been “educated” by TV and movie depictions of forensic analyses, and who have come to expect high-tech evidence in the courtroom.


Categories: Law Enforcement

Thousands raised for kids of former Chicago cop

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 15:31
Author: Tim Dees

Associated Press

CHICAGO — More than 500 people have contributed over $45,000 for the two daughters of the Chicago police officer who was convicted in the shooting death of teenager Laquan McDonald.

One of Jason Van Dyke's attorneys, Tammy Wendt, launched the GoFundMe campaign shortly after a jury earlier this month found the officer guilty of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm — one for each time Van Dyke shot the teen on Oct. 20, 2014.

Van Dyke is in jail awaiting sentencing.

Wendt says on the GoFundMe page that Van Dyke's wife, Tiffany, is "left to raise their two children on her own" and that she hopes to raise $100,000 for things like clothing, shelter and school. The donations range from $5 to $1,000.


Categories: Law Enforcement

3 ways to integrate body-worn camera data into agency operations

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 15:16

Author: Heather R. Cotter

Body-worn camera footage is incredibly valuable not just for evidence collection or increasing police transparency, but also for improving many aspects of law enforcement agency practice. Risk management, training and employee evaluations are three ways law enforcement agencies can integrate BWC footage into daily operations.

BWCs are often viewed as a law enforcement accountability tool. BWC footage is generally gathered and used to protect officers and the citizens they serve; however, many agencies are exploring additional ways to leverage the BWC footage collected. Below are three ways to integrated BWC footage into law enforcement operations.

1. Risk management

There is a degree of risk with every business component within a law enforcement agency; whether it is a realignment of the agency’s organizational structure, promoting a captain to a commander, or implementing a new technology like body cameras. While there are several ways in which BWCs can be a risk management tool, let’s focus on officer compliance.

According to an August 2018 Bureau of Justice Assistance study, “agencies allow first-line supervisors to access and review BWC footage as part of administrative investigations, such as in response to a citizen complaint or use of force.” The study further describes that supervisors review BWC footage systematically or randomly to ensure general officer compliance with procedures and agency directives.

An article in Police Chief Magazine outlines a five-step process for how to assess footage through deconstruction and establishing key performance indicators. Once created, supervisors are essentially able to go through its checklist to make sure the officer did everything in alignment with policy and procedure from checking on victim welfare to determining what (if any) weapons were involved with the incident – this checklist will vary depending on the type of call for service.

Using BWC footage as a risk management tool for officer compliance is a tremendous agency benefit. Performing regular and on-going officer compliance reviews will help reduce litigation threats and improve job performance.

2. Officer training

There are myriad ways in which law enforcement agencies can leverage BWC data into police training, and there are advantages to doing so. Let’s explore the advantages.

Besides its cost-effectiveness, there are several advantages for officers to review their agency’s BWC footage for training purposes. Reviewing BWC footage will give officers the opportunity to examine positive and negative citizen encounters. This is advantageous because it allows officers to take a step back and see what methods an officer used during each call for service. Officers reviewing the BWC footage may learn new de-escalation techniques, scene safety observations or other useful tactics that they can adopt. The bottom line is that officers will be able to learn from one another through BWC footage review.

There are considerations an agency must weigh before rolling out a BWC footage training program, which includes whether an officer can view his or her own footage. According to the BJA study many agencies see this as a debatable issue after a critical incident (e.g., an OIS). Other factors agencies need to assess include how frequently officers will review BWC footage, whether it will be done in a group setting or individually and how they will measure whether the BWC footage review is affecting officer compliance and/or performance.

3. Employee evaluations

In the BJA study mentioned above, several agencies leverage BWC footage in officers’ performance reviews and performance management. This is done independently of officer compliance. Agencies can easily use BWC footage as part of officers’ performance evaluations, but before doing so, a process needs to be established and likely approved by human resources to ensure equity.

Conclusion

As BWC technology continues to evolve and footage is collected and stored, it’s important for agencies to pre-define processes and procedures for use of that footage, test out programs internally for a trial period, and then decide whether or not it makes sense for an agency-wide roll-out.


Categories: Law Enforcement

Ark. PD receives grants for new equipment, technology

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 15:11
Author: Heather R. Cotter

By Shelby Smithson KAIT8

JONESBORO, Ark. — Three grants awarded to the Jonesboro Police Department are taking some of the expense burdens off of taxpayer dollars.

It’s for equipment like bulletproof vests, body cameras, and updating laptops in the police cars. The Justice Assistance Grant that will be used to update equipment within the cruisers is straight funding the department received last year as well.

Chief Rick Elliott said each of these is important in keeping the officers and the community safe while staying on budget.

Full story: Police department receives three grants for safety equipment, technology upgrades


Categories: Law Enforcement

Mich. police to file criminal complaint after fetus remains found

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 12:34

Author: Heather R. Cotter

Associated Press DETROIT — Police in Detroit said they would file a criminal complaint against the owners after the remains of 10 fetuses and one infant were found hidden in a former funeral home that had lost its license when decomposing embalmed bodies were found there earlier this year.

A criminal complaint will be opened against the owners of Cantrell Funeral Home, Police Chief James Craig said Monday.

The Associated Press was unable Monday to find a telephone listing for Raymond Cantrell who owned the funeral home when its license was suspended in April.

An anonymous letter led state inspectors Friday to the decomposed remains hidden between the eastside building's first and second floors.

The fetuses were found together in a cardboard-like box while the full-term infant was in a coffin, Craig said.

"They were definitely hidden," Craig told The AP. "The way they were placed in ceiling, one would not have readily discovered them. In 41½ years in policing, this is first time I've heard of anything like this."

The remains were taken to the Wayne County medical examiner's office which is coordinating efforts with authorities "to hopefully get them identified and families identified," spokeswoman Lisa Croff said in a text message. "We have very little to go on (without) cooperation from the funeral home owners. Everything is under investigation."

No arrests have been made.

Cantrell Funeral Home was shut down and had its mortuary license suspended in April after decomposing embalmed bodies were found and other violations were discovered. The suspension has not been appealed and the investigation from earlier this year remains ongoing, said Jason Moon, a spokesman for Michigan's Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

Those violations include two improperly stored bodies covered in what appeared to be mold and a third body with unknown fluids covering the facial area. Inspections also turned up an unsanitary embalming room.

The establishment also was operating with an expired prepaid funeral and cemetery sales registration. The state says money for prepaid funeral goods or services had not been deposited with an authorized escrow agent within 30 days of receipt.

Raymond Cantrell told reporters at the time that some bodies were stored in the garage "so that we wouldn't have an aroma filling up the funeral home."

"If I had them in the funeral home, then my funeral home would not smell fresh," he said.

The building has a new owner.


Categories: Law Enforcement

State, city police join probe into infant remains at Mich. funeral home

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 12:34

Associated Press DETROIT — State and city police and other officials are investigating how the remains of 11 infants ended up in the ceiling of a former funeral home in Detroit.

Spokesman Jason Moon said Monday that Michigan Licensing and Regulatory Affairs is working with the state attorney general to gather information about Cantrell Funeral Home.

An anonymous letter led inspectors Friday to the decomposed remains hidden between the building's first and second floors.

Wayne County medical examiner spokeswoman Lisa Croff says authorities are trying to identify the babies' families. The funeral home's owners are not cooperating and are not under arrest.

Decomposing bodies and other violations led to the business being closed in April and its license suspended. Moon says the suspension wasn't appealed.

The building has a new owner.


Categories: Law Enforcement

Why LE agencies should create a mental health agency liaison officer position

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 12:03

Author: American Military University

By Dr. Chuck Russo, Program Director of Criminal Justice at American Military University, Jeremy Nikolow, alumnus, Criminal Justice, American Military University and Carrie Courtney, Contributor to In Public Safety

On a daily basis, law enforcement officers (LEOs) encounter individuals displaying mental health symptomology. It is unfortunate that typically the public only hears about law enforcement’s adverse interactions with those diagnosed with mental illness; such as when things go awry and negative outcomes occur. When these situations occur, LEOs are forced to respond to media inquiries and social media hype in real time. In both their message and rhetoric, law enforcement can come across as defensive. This does not have to be the case. Law enforcement can get ahead of these encounters by partnering with others in the mental health community. To do so, it would be beneficial to create the position of a mental health agency liaison officer.

What is a mental health agency liaison officer?

In this designated role, the mental health agency liaison officer serves as a link between law enforcement entities, mental health agencies, substance abuse agencies and local social service agencies. This includes for-profit and non-profit community-based mental health agencies in each district and jurisdiction.

As many mental health agency meetings and events are held during “normal business hours,” it may be best to designate an administrative member of the law enforcement agency as the mental health agency liaison officer. An administrative sergeant, lieutenant or higher ranked individual, free of the needs to respond to calls for service, should have the time to attend the necessary meetings and events that would be required for such a position.

The officer would work in partnership with symbiotic agencies on tasks such as psycho-education, networking, public awareness, public safety, outreach events and the facilitation of referrals between agencies. They would also help foster and sustain a positive relationship between law enforcement agencies, the local government, mental health agencies, vocational rehabilitation services and additional social service agencies.

The mental health agency liaison officer would serve as an advocate by attending and participating in law enforcement, mental health and substance abuse agencies board meetings. In addition, he or she would actively serve on participating agencies board of directors, as requested.

In Volusia County, Florida, for example, there are multiple mental health agencies and social service providers. Through the designation of one individual as the mental health agency liaison officer between law enforcement and mental health, substance abuse and social service agencies, the flow of internal and external communication would improve, thereby facilitating a positive alliance among all participants. Oversight provided by the mental health agency liaison officer would demonstrate the effectiveness and importance of their alliance by fostering solutions and decreasing the perpetuation of myths and negative community-based perceptions.

The benefits of a mental health agency liaison officer

One of the many goals of the mental health agency liaison officer would be to increase familiarity among LEOs and mental health, substance abuse and social service providers. By putting a LEO presence in a constant advocacy role for those experiencing mental illness and substance abuse issues, all of the internal and external participants would work together cohesively to facilitate a united partnership. As such, the mental health agency liaison officer would create enhanced positive interactions between LEOs and those diagnosed with mental illness and substance abuse and dependence issues.

A collaborative approach could also help provide education to law enforcement about how “best” to approach a person with mental health needs and how to avoid exacerbating the situation. For example, there have been well-defined links between mental health and drug usage, anger issues, crime and even homelessness. While law enforcement may seek a strict deterrent for drug or anger issues (e.g., incarceration), mental health agencies may be able to weigh in with a more rehabilitative approach (e.g., drug treatment or anger management) that would help reduce these “flare-ups” from people with mental health issues.

In addition, the mental health agency liaison officer can provide a singular voice to mental health agencies on many issues and concerns from a law enforcement standpoint. A uniform and consistent message on these issues can help to standardize the process and response from law enforcement to mental health issues. This makes it easier for mental health agencies to understand and know what to expect from law enforcement’s response to client issues and concerns. It can also lead to future support of these same issues and concerns. If law enforcement and mental health agencies support each other in their respective roles, it could go a long way in quelling concerns in the event of public scrutiny.

The mental health agency liaison officer could also serve as a key figure in integrating fiscal needs among mental health, substance abuse and social service agencies by bringing grant revenue and other funding sources to the attention of these agencies (e.g., utilizing Veterans Affairs for military veterans with mental health needs and pharmaceutical companies for substance abuse clients). As a “neutral” third party, the mental health agency liaison officer could connect previously disjointed agencies that are often consistently in desperate need of funding and additional resources to serve the complex needs of their clientele.

By designating an individual as the mental health agency liaison officer, law enforcement agencies would demonstrate an active willingness to partner with mental health, substance abuse and social service agencies. This will serve as a targeted effort to provide innovative solutions to assist those diagnosed with mental illness and substance abuse/dependence issues.

The mental health agency liaison officer could become an integral problem solver in the mental health and substance abuse community by working interdependently with each agency to provide reliable support and collaborative, functional resources for individuals and families suffering from the disorderly destruction associated with mental illness and substance abuse. In addition, the mental health agency liaison officer will provide supportive assistance for individuals and agencies addressing mental health symptomology. This cooperative support will bring community-wide mental health and substance abuse assistance, while addressing the plethora of concerns associated with these diagnoses.

About the authors: Dr. Chuck Russo is the program director of Criminal Justice at American Military University. He began his career in law enforcement in 1987 in Central Florida and was involved all areas of patrol, training, special operations and investigations before retiring from law enforcement in 2013. Dr. Russo continues to design and instruct courses, as well as act as a consultant for education, government and industry throughout the world. His recent research and presentations focus on emerging technology and law enforcement applications, post-traumatic stress, nongovernment intelligence actors, and online learning.

Jeremy Nikolow, MS, is a police lieutenant with a large Central Florida agency and adjunct faculty with colleges and universities. His law enforcement career began in 2005 and he has involved several areas of patrol, investigations, motors, SWAT and specialized operations. Jeremy presently serves as watch commander. He graduated from American Military University in 2012 earning his Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice.

Carrie Courtney, MSW, is the former grant specialist for a large Central Florida law enforcement agency. She was a founding member of the agency’s Critical Incident Stress Management Team, as well as a team member of other state and district teams. She was contracted by the Bureau of Justice Assistance to review grants on a federal level. She is a member of the Florida Crisis Consortium, as well as a board member of a mental health organization, and the outgoing president of the Mental Health Association. She specialized in trauma and devoted most of her career to working with adult and children who experienced severe trauma.

To contact these authors, email IPSauthor@apus.edu. For more articles featuring insight from industry experts, subscribe to In Public Safety’s bi-monthly newsletter.


Categories: Law Enforcement

Colo. PD's community-oriented policing project reduces shootings, assaults

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 10:26

By Zachary Hillstrom The Pueblo Chieftain

PUEBLO, Colo. — A determined group of Pueblo police officers and community volunteers braved the below-freezing temperatures Sunday morning and took to the streets in an effort to continue what the Pueblo Police Department’s Watch IV has been doing since March of last year: cleaning up a portion of the East Side.

The clean-up on Sunday was of a literal nature, as volunteers walked the area surrounding El Centro del Quinto Sol recreation center, picking up trash, placing it into black bags and then transporting the bags to a large dumpster.

But the figurative clean up of the area began last year, when Watch IV identified it as an ideal location to conduct a Community Oriented Policing (C.O.P.) project, in which officers target a specific area with high crime rates to reduce the problems and empower the community to take an active role in the safety of their neighborhood.

“Obviously, we see the whole city is needing our services, but we wanted a focal area where we could put more officers in that area, do more patrols and more traffic enforcement,” said Watch IV Officer Bryan Gonzales.

“This gets us to work cooperatively with the community, which is what we want to do.”

Watch IV chose the area on the East Side surrounding El Centro del Quinto Sol, with a southern boundary of East Fourth Street, a northern boundary of East 12th Street, a western boundary of Erie Avenue and an eastern boundary of Hudson Avenue.

Through their efforts, and the buy-in from the surrounding community, the one-year results of the project have been significant.

According to statistics provided by the Pueblo Police Department, from Jan. 1 through Sept. 30 of this year, crime in the target area has been reduced in a number of different categories, including burglaries, sexual assaults and shootings.

Their data shows that burglaries decreased by 28 percent, dropping from 44 last year to just 32 in 2018; sexual assaults dropped from two to one, for a 50 percent decrease; and shootings dropped from eight last year to just one so far in 2018, for a decrease of 88 percent.

Narcotics arrests in the area, however, have skyrocketed, not because illegal drugs have become more prevalent, but because increased police presence has resulted in more drugs being found and their users and sellers being taken off the street, police said.

“That’s because of the fact that we’re contacting people more,” Gonzales said. “We’re finding more people that have drugs and we’re arresting them.”

Members of the community have seen the results of the C.O.P project firsthand.

“(The crime) has definitely gone down,” said Toby Gonzales, who’s lived on East Sixth Street for the past five years.

“When we first moved here, there was all these drugs and everything and I saw it a lot in the neighborhood, … but it’s been cleaned up a lot since they came in.”

Toby Gonzales was one of the community volunteers to aid Watch IV in their community cleanup on Sunday, and he said the cleanup, as well as the ongoing C.O.P. project, are a major benefit to the children who live in the area.

“This is for the kids ... because all the kids come to the skate park and skate, and my kids like going to the center,' he said. 'It just makes it safer for them.”

Another local resident, 62-year-old Vickie Gatlin, echoed Toby Gonzales' sentiments.

“Every little bit of help is good for my community,” Gatlin said.

“I’m all about the kids. Let’s get the kids back in their neighborhood. Riding their bicycles, on the sidewalks, and going to the skate park without them or their parents having to be worried.”

As a thank you to the community for buying into the project and taking ownership over the goings-on in their neighborhood, Watch IV hosted a community barbecue at El Centro del Quinto Sol following the cleanup, featuring free food, carnival games for kids, prizes and a youth clothing giveaway.

“We wanted to have a community barbecue to show our appreciation and show we’ve made a positive impact,” said Officer Gonzales.

“There’s a lot of people in this area who want to stand up and say we’re not going to tolerate this. … This is a great park and a great facility right here, and we want to show that these are for the children, these are for the kids and the people who want to access them for the right reasons.

'And we’re not going to tolerate the drug dealing, the prostitution, none of that,' he said. 'We’re not going to have it here.”


Categories: Law Enforcement

National Law Enforcement Museum features stories of courage, honor and sacrifice

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 09:37

Author: Lauri Stevens

The National Law Enforcement Museum in Washington, D.C. is about stories. “Stories about courage, stories about honor, stories about sacrifice. True stories that remind us never to take public safety for granted,” Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein told the crowd of assembled police professionals at the grand opening ceremony on Oct 11.

The museum, which was built by the nonprofit National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), features immersive, interactive exhibits that allow visitors to not only learn about law enforcement but also experience some of the tasks and duties police perform every day.

“The story of law enforcement has never been told. People need to learn about and understand the role law enforcement plays in their lives and also realize that they need to work in cooperation with their police,” said Craig Floyd, founding CEO at NLEOMF, a job he’s held for 30 years.

Exhibits at the museum acknowledge the current tension between police and citizens, many touching on controversy, but presenting issues in a way intended to generate dialog and mutual understanding.

Floyd spent a good portion of opening day giving a one-on-one tour to Washington, D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham, who said the day was an emotional one.

“Mostly I feel relief that it’s finally open. It’s been two decades in the making. A lot of people said it would never happen,” said Newsham.

Among the highlights at the musuem:

109-seat theatre that shows an impactful movie every 20 minutes; 900 of 20,000 police artifacts on display; An interactive wall illustrating the Web of Law Enforcement – how geographically dispersed cases are linked to one another; A gallery that depicts policing in five different cities; Exhibits offering experiences to see what it’s like to be a bomb tech, a K9 officer, SWAT officer and 911 dispatcher; The Parks Police helicopter used in a 1982 rescue after a plane crashed into the Potomac River in Washington, D.C.; Corrections exhibit complete with jail cell; Hall of Remembrance honors the more than 21,500 officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

The development of the museum has been 18 years in the making. President Bill Clinton and the U.S. Congress authorized its establishment in 2000. With the raising of over $130 million in municipal bonds and private donations, construction began in February 2016.

The story of the law enforcement profession is powerful, complex and ever-changing and finally has a home to call its own in Judiciary Square in our nation’s capital, a fact not lost on DC’s hometown police chief.

“Nothing could make me happier than to know that people all across our country finally have a place to learn about what we do and who we are,” said Newsham.

The National Law Enforcement Museum is located at the Motorola Solutions Foundation Building in Judiciary Square, Washington, DC. For opening hours and more information, click here.

Time-lapse movie shows the construction of the National Law Enforcement Museum. Video courtesy of EarthCam.


Categories: Law Enforcement

Cop, good Samaritans save girl with special needs from drowning

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 09:33

Author: Lauri Stevens

Niagara Gazette

OLCOTT, N.Y. — The quick actions of good Samaritans and a Niagara County Sheriff’s deputy saved a 4-year-old girl from drowning in Lake Ontario near Krull Park on Thursday morning.

According to Niagara County Sheriff Jim Voutour, the girl, who is non-verbal and has special needs, wandered from her Main Street home sometime before 8 a.m. Voutour said he didn’t know how the girl got the door open.

She ended up at Krull Park, where she slipped through a fence around Olcott Beach.

Nearby park-goers tried to coax the girl away from the water, but seemingly frightened, she instead went farther out. So they called 911, reporting the girl was in the water and appeared at risk of drowning.

By the time Deputy Jon Vosburgh arrived on the scene, the girl was about 60 yards out and struggling to swim.

With waves pushing the girl farther from shore, and her head repeatedly vanishing under the waves, Vosburgh dove into the cold waters.

Vosburgh managed to bring her back to the shore within minutes.

The girl coughed up large amounts of water, but was conscious and breathing.

EMTs at Olcott Volunteer Fire Company evaluated the girl, who was later taken to Oishei Children’s Hospital for further evaluation.

Deputies spoke with Olcott residents and were able to locate the girl’s Main Street residence within about 30 minutes. They found the front door ajar and the girl’s father, Joshua Wankasky, asleep.

Voutour said deputies found no evidence that drugs or alcohol kept Wankasky in his slumber. Still, deputies charged Wankasky with endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor.

“He has an obligation to take care of his child,” said Voutour, adding that he trusted his deputies and their supervisors’ determination.

Deputies found no sign of the girl’s mother at the home. “No one’s ever mentioned mom all day. She wasn’t there,” Voutour said.

Voutour commended the 911 callers and Vosburgh, a Newfane native and U.S. Marine Corps veteran who was hired by the sheriff’s office in 2011.

“Deputy Vosburgh did an outstanding job. He thought nothing of taking off his equipment, diving into a 55-degree lake and bringing this girl above the surface,” Voutour said. “Had he not done that, we would have been talking about a death for sure.”

After the rescue, Vosburgh dried off, put on a clean uniform and went back to patrol duty.

Later in the day, Vosburgh responded to a dispute involving two fishermen on opposite sides of Eighteen Mile Creek.

“I thought he was going to have to go into the water again. ... Fortunately, he was able to solve that from shore,” Voutour said.

Copyright 2018 Niagara Gazette


Categories: Law Enforcement

Ariz. police team up with drug counselors to combat opioid crisis

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 09:22

By Caitlin Schmidt The Arizona Daily Star

PIMA COUNTY, Ariz. — As officials continue to grapple with the opioid crisis in Pima County, a new $1.4 million grant may further those efforts, pairing drug counselors with law enforcement for a more holistic approach.

The grant, from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is part of a collaboration between the county, the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, Tucson Police Department, Codac Health Recovery and Wellness, the University of Arizona Southwest Institute for Research on Women, Arizona Superior Court Pretrial Services and Cenpatico.

It will support Pima County’s new project, United Medication Assisted Treatment Targeted Engagement Response, or U-MATTER, and will run through Sept. 29, 2021. The Pima County Board of Supervisors is to vote on the grant at Tuesday’s meeting.

The U-MATTER project, which complements TPD’s recently implemented opioid-deflection program, will provide peer-supported case management for people who receive medication-assisted treatment, which involves the use of medications such as Vivitrol, methadone or Suboxone, which ease the symptoms of opioid dependence and withdrawal.

On July 1, TPD rolled out its deflection program in its midtown and west-side divisions. The three-pronged program gives opioid addicts the ability to be placed into treatment with no risk of jail. It involves self-referral by drug users and outreach by officers and caseworkers to connect with people who recently overdosed or fell out of drug treatment.

The U-MATTER project will take the deflection program several steps further, pairing Codac drug counselors, known as peer navigators, with TPD’s Mental Health Support Team, or MHST, to respond to overdoses and mental-health calls.

The grant will pay for two peer navigators to serve within the MHST unit and follow up with people post-overdose or post-deflection to make sure they’re keeping up with their treatment, said Terrance Cheung, Pima County’s director of justice reform initiatives.

“Just like smoking, you’re not ready to stop smoking until you say in your mind, ‘I’m ready to do this,’” Cheung said.

“It’s the same thing with this population. Simply because we’re deflecting them doesn’t necessarily mean they’re ready for treatment. So you kind of have to repeat this over and over again, but it’s still an alternative to jail.”

Over the last three months, 66 people have opted into TPD’s deflection program to avoid arrest, two people self-referred for treatment and 14 people enrolled via social referrals, which means they either approached officers on the street or were contacted and offered treatment without the presence of criminal charges.

“It started out really busy and then it slowed down a little bit, then it started getting really busy again,” Dan Barden, Codac’s vice president of clinical services, told the Star.

“We’re probably averaging at least one a day right now.”

Barden said organizers of the program were hopeful that it would generate this level of success, but expected it to take longer to ramp up.

“It’s great to see the extent that TPD has bought into this and the officers are buying into this,” Barden said. “I want people to be aware of really how cutting-edge our Police Department is in getting this started.”

It’s unclear what’s led to the program’s early success, but Barden attributes increasing public education and awareness coupled with decreasing stigma surrounding the opioid crisis, with nearly everyone knowing a person who is or has been impacted by addiction.

“It’s not like people thought once upon a time, it’s not necessarily limited to a specific socioeconomic class, this is across society,” Barden said. “But I think anyone that reads the news can see the numbers, they know the stories. I think that’s had a huge influence on how people are viewing the opioid crisis now.”

The program has already impacted dozens of people by keeping them out of jail and getting them into treatment, but organizers of U-MATTER anticipate a much greater reach.

The county decided to partner with TPD for the U-MATTER program since half of the people booked into the Pima County jail come from TPD’s jurisdiction, Cheung said.

“Since they’re the largest agency that has a pathway of law enforcement engagements to jail, we thought that they would be a good first start for us, and because they have a really deep and robust mental-health support team program,” Cheung said, adding that TPD already deflects people in mental-health crisis, so the grant essentially expands that role into substance abuse.

Codac has already hired the U-MATTER peer navigators, who are getting ready to start training, Braden said.

The second and third years of the grant will fund two more navigators, which would allow the program to expand its coverage to nights and weekends, Cheung said.

The grant will also pay for research and evaluation of the project, calculating a return and success rate for people who enter into deflection or medication-assisted treatment. From there, U-MATTER officials will continue to evaluate and look at expanding populations of addicted adults, including the elderly and postpartum women.

Navigators will work closely with Pretrial Services, making sure that people under court supervision have ready access to case support and peer management to handle their addiction, Cheung said.

“We’re trying to be really deliberate and careful in how we’re expanding this program, because ... most of the people in jail either have a substance-use issue or a mental-health issue,” Cheung said. “We’re trying to figure out how to do this and manage the caseload while being able to track and evaluate the impacts of this.”

The grant will also provide money for training sheriff’s deputies and other local partners in skills like motivational interviews and other components to make the project successful.

For the time being, Cheung is acting as program manager, but the county will soon begin the process of hiring a full-time U-MATTER program manager.

U-MATTER goes hand-in-hand with the Pima County Safety and Justice Challenge, a multi-year grant designed to reduce the jail population. When the challenge started in 2015, the largest population in the Pima County jail was people being held on misdemeanors, which has since been drastically reduced.

Currently, nonviolent drug offenders make up the largest population in the jail, which has shifted the challenge’s strategies and goals.

“This is really an expansion of the work we’ve done as part of the Safety and Justice Challenge. SJC only funds so much, but we see that there’s a greater need, so we go after different grants and funding opportunities to really address this other population,” Cheung said.


Categories: Law Enforcement

Trump administration approves money for Wash. police

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 09:12

By Daniel Beekman The Seattle Times

The Trump administration, after threatening to withhold funds for Seattle in retaliation for the city’s immigration policies, has agreed to hand over the money, according to Mayor Jenny Durkan and City Attorney Pete Holmes.

Seattle and nearby jurisdictions have been approved for $657,975 in Justice Assistance Grant funds, the U.S. Department of Justice said in an Oct. 10 letter to the city.

Durkan and Holmes are declaring the news a victory for Seattle and its policies, including a 2003 law that in most cases prohibits police officers and other city employees from asking about a person’s immigration status.

Police officers can ask when required by court order and when they have reasonable suspicion to believe a person has been previously deported.

Since 2017, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been warning about a crackdown on Seattle, King County and other local governments across the country that the Trump administration considers so-called “sanctuary jurisdictions” because they have policies limiting their own participation in immigration enforcement.

“Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions blinked, Seattle won and public safety prevailed,” Durkan said in a statement over the weekend.

The Trump administration has argued cities and counties with sanctuary policies are protecting illegal immigrants.

Local leaders have said they have no obligation to carry out immigration enforcement, which is the federal government’s job, and aren’t doing anything wrong. They also have said police should mostly avoid involvement in order to build trust from immigrant communities.

President Trump slammed sanctuary cities during his 2016 campaign and issued an executive order shortly after taking office that such jurisdictions would be cut off from federal grants.

Seattle sued the Trump administration over the executive order, and a Seattle judge declined to dismiss the lawsuit. But Sessions issued additional warnings about the Justice Assistance Grant funds, attracting defiant statements from local leaders each time.

Federal court rulings in August sided with jurisdictions like Seattle, bolstering the city’s position, according to Durkan’s office.

Seattle will split the fiscal 2017 funds with King County and other jurisdictions in the region. The city’s allocation will be $252,157, and the Seattle Police Department will use the money to pay three crime-prevention coordinators, according to Durkan’s office.

The coordinators organize block-watch programs and attend community public-safety meetings.

Conditions enclosed with the Trump administration’s Oct. 10 letter to Seattle say local governments, in order to keep the money, must not restrict the exchange of information about a person’s immigration status.

But Holmes said the city appears to have prevailed.

“As we have said all along, there was never any legal basis to withhold this money,” he said in a statement.

“This latest decision hopefully reflects the Trump administration’s full acquiescence to the right of Seattle to be a welcoming city.”


Categories: Law Enforcement

Former officer in Tamir Rice case withdraws from part-time cop job

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 09:04

By Evan MacDonald Advance Ohio Media

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The former Cleveland police officer who fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice has backed out of taking a part-time job with an Ohio police department that recently agreed to hire him.

Tamir's mother, Samaria Rice, announced at a Wednesday news conference that Timothy Loehmann rescinded his application to the Bellaire Police Department.

Samaria Rice said she is relieved that Loehmann will not be patrolling Bellaire.

"Hopefully he will never be employed by any [police department] in America," she said during the news conference. "He is unfit to be a police officer, period."

Jeff Follmer, the president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association union that represents rank-and-file officers, also confirmed that Loehmann decided not to take the job. Follmer cited "political pressure" as the reason Loehmann decided to rescind his application.

The village of Bellaire hired Loehmann last week to serve as a part-time police officer. Bellaire is a small town of about 4,000 people that borders the Ohio River at the West Virginia border.

Bellaire's police chief, Richard "Dick" Flanagan defended his decision in a statement to the Wheeling, West Virginia newspaper The Intelligencer: "(Loehmann) was cleared of any and all wrongdoing. He was never charged. It's over and done with."

Attempts to reach Flanagan on Wednesday were not successful.

Rice said during Wednesday's news conference that she strongly disagreed with Flanagan's decision to offer Loehmann a job, calling it a "personal attack on [her] family."

"[Loehmann] doesn't deserve any second chances," she said.

Rice said she has not spoken to Flanagan. But her Chicago-based attorney, Billy Joe Mills, reached Flanagan on Wednesday to discuss the job offer to Loehmann, she said.

Activists, including from the Cleveland chapter of Black Lives Matter, contacted Bellaire officials and residents in the days after Loehmann's job offer was made public. Rice and BLM organizer Kareem Henton credited those efforts for getting Loehmann to back out of the part-time job.

"This wouldn't have happened if it were not for outside forces putting pressure on Chief Flanagan," Henton said.

Loehmann shot and killed Tamir Nov. 14, 2014 outside the Cudell Recreation Center on the city's West Side. Loehmann was a rookie officer, and a passenger in a car driving by veteran training officer Frank Garmback.

The two officers responded to a 911 call about someone pointing a gun at people outside the recreation center. The 911 caller told a dispatcher that the gun looked fake, but that information was never relayed to the officers.

Garmback drove his car within feet of the now-demolished gazebo, and Loehmann shot the 12-year-old boy almost immediately after he got out of the car. Tamir died early the next morning at a Cleveland hospital.

A Cuyahoga County grand jury declined to bring criminal charges against Loehmann in Tamir's death, but the city of Cleveland fired him in May 2017, not for the shooting, but for lying on his application when he applied for his job.

One of the more glaring omissions was that Loehmann did not disclose that he was dismissed from the Independence Police Department after they determined he was unfit to serve on its department. His personnel file from that job noted that Loehmann broke down and cried on the shooting range.

Henton, during Wednesday's news conference, criticized the Bellaire Police Department for trying to hire Loehmann despite his history in Cleveland and Independence.

"Once again, you had a municipality that was going to hire him despite the warning signs," Henton said.

Loehmann has appealed the termination from his Cleveland job ,and the arbitration is still pending, said Henry Hilow, the attorney representing Loehmann in the arbitration case.


Categories: Law Enforcement

First responders reflect on grief after NY limo crash

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 08:59

By Emily Masters Times Union

SCHOHARIE, N.Y. — Five days after converging on the nation's worst transportation disaster in nine years, the Central Bridge fire and ambulance squad got a call it was dreading all week: another car wreck.

"It was one of our fears: how it would turn out, how we would react, if it was going to trigger anything," Central Bridge Fire Department Chief Brian Baker said.

Thankfully, the Thursday crash and another that followed were both minor. No one was injured, and the crew "got back on the horse," he said.

"They're holding their own at the moment, feeling better day by day, but it will be a long time until things are normal," Baker said.

The emergency workers who rushed to the scene of the fatal limousine crash Oct. 6 are still grappling with what they saw that Saturday afternoon. The firefighters, police officers and EMTs described sleepless nights, persistent memories and, as Baker put it, "basic sorrow."

Twenty people -- including the driver, all 17 passengers and two bystanders -- were killed when a stretch limousine sped through an intersection and crashed head-on into an embankment along Route 30A.

Every firefighter and nearly all of the medical personnel who were sent to the scene are volunteers.

"They may do superhuman work but they are normal people," Schoharie County Sheriff Ron Stevens said. "The first responders did everything they could and that is probably what hurts the most. We do this to save lives."

The troopers who responded to the crash said through a State Police spokeswoman that their experience was still too fresh to discuss. Albany Medical Center Hospital, which had medical staff on standby Saturday and whose pathologist handled the autopsies, also declined to comment.

"We feel for the grieving parents, grieving children," Stevens said. "We know that our pain is recoverable but they cannot recover what they lost. I think that's why we're so guarded."

A city honors the victims of the limo crash in upstate New York over 4 days of funerals https://t.co/EosC6UJRmb pic.twitter.com/VtcjUt4rCQ

— CNN (@CNN) October 14, 2018

He said his deputies and medics were also not ready to talk about what they'd seen.

The Central Bridge firefighters and ambulance squad who were at the crash site that day -- about seven or eight people, the chief said, including himself -- have set up a group text chain to support one another.

"We can chat all day long," Baker said. "If something is bothering us, we can discuss it or make plans to meet up in person."

The group has also spent time together every day and attended two stress debriefings with Red Cross and county mental health professionals.

"There are images you can't forget... You can't erase your memory," Baker said. "Each time you can get together and discuss these things, especially with people who were there, it helps. You hear you're not the only one dealing with it. It takes the edge off when people listen."

On Tuesday, the Central Bridge fire and rescue squad visited the crash site together. Some prayed, others had a quiet moment. They all embraced and cried.

"We never knew them but we feel like we're close at heart now," Baker said, crying softly as he talked about the victims. "It's hard to explain."

Copyright 2018 Times Union

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A sincere and humble thank you to the community for coming by to show support and gratitude for our members. It truly means a lot to each of us.

Posted by Central Bridge Fire Department on Sunday, October 14, 2018


Categories: Law Enforcement

Trump administration steps in to kill Chicago police-reform plan

Sun, 10/14/2018 - 01:00

Associated Press

CHICAGO — The Trump administration informed a federal judge in Chicago on Friday that it's seeking to scuttle a plan negotiated between the nation's third-largest city and the state of Illinois that envisions far-reaching reforms of Chicago's 12,000-officer police force under close federal court supervision.

In a statement announcing the intervention, Attorney General Jeff Sessions blasted the roughly 200-page plan, also known as a consent decree, because of the court oversite. And he offered a full-throated defense of Chicago police, saying they must take the lead in stemming city violence.

"There is a misperception that police are the problem and that their failures, their lack of training, and their abuses create crime," Sessions said. "But the truth is the police are the solution to crime, and criminals are the problem."

An 11-page Justice Department statement of interest — filed with Judge Robert M. Dow Jr., who must grant the proposal final approval — says the reform plan, as it is, would deprive police of flexibility to do their jobs right. And it criticizes criteria in the plan meant to assess police compliance as vague.

It asks Dow "to allow state and local officials — and Chicago's brave front-line police officers — to engage in flexible and localized efforts to advance the goal of safe, effective, and constitutional policing in Chicago."

The filing and Sessions' comments came a week after jurors convicted Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke of second-degree murder for shooting teen Laquan McDonald 16 times in 2014 as he walked away from police with a knife.

A video of the shooting, released about a year later, sparked outage nationwide and led to an Obama administration investigation of Chicago police, which was followed months later by a damning report that found widespread police abuses.

The Department of Justice Friday simultaneously announced the creation of a "Gun Crimes Prosecution Team" at Chicago's U.S. attorney's office focused on gun crimes. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will assign five violent-crime coordinators to work with federal prosecutors.

Responding to the announcements, a spokesman for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Matt McGrath, said the city appreciated the additional resources, "but we don't appreciate efforts ... to impede our public safety reforms or inhibit our efforts to rebuild the bonds of trust between officers and residents."

Illinois Attorney Lisa Madigan — without objection from Emanuel — sued the city last year to ensure any police reforms would be overseen by a judge. That killed a draft plan negotiated with Trump's administration that didn't envision a court role in reforming the department and led to the ultimately successful talks to create the current plan.

The reform plan now on the table foresees far stricter rules on the use of force by officers. One provision requires officers to file paperwork each time they point their weapons, even if they don't fire.

Sessions again echoed President Donald Trump, who told officers at a convention in Orlando on Monday that a three-year-old agreement between Chicago and the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois to curb stop-and-frisk procedures by police prevented officers from doing their jobs.

"When police are restrained from using lawfully established policies ... when arrests went down, and when their work and character were disrespected, crime surged," Sessions said. "There must never be another consent decree that continues the folly of the ACLU settlement."

Chicago officials and the ACLU have said those and similar claims by Trump administration officials are exaggerated, get the data on crime in Chicago wrong and misstate the underlying causes of crime.

Karen Sheley, the director of the police practices project at the ACLU of Illinois, said the move Friday by the Trump administration to sink a plan in the works for over a year was "a last-minute political play at the expense of real people in our city."

"The Trump Administration and Sessions' Department of Justice have never attempted to learn about the problems in Chicago or what reform is necessary," Sheley said in a Friday statement.


Categories: Law Enforcement

City ordered to pay Ore. cop fired for controversial Facebook posts

Sun, 10/14/2018 - 01:00

By Everton Bailey Jr. The Oregonian

WEST LINN, Ore. — An arbitrator denied the city of West Linn's appeal of his ruling ordering the city to pay lost wages to a police officer fired last year for posts on Facebook.

The city was ordered in July to pay at least $100,000 in back pay to former officer Tom Newberry. The arbitrator, Portland-based attorney Eric Lindauer, concluded that Newberry's firing in February 2017 was justified. But he also ruled that the city should bear some financial burden because Newberry's social media use was common knowledge in the police department. The then-police chief and several other high-ranking officers did nothing to address the behavior until it was reported by the media in July 2016.

The inaction violated the city's own policies, Lindauer determined in his initial ruling.

The city appealed his decision in August. Lindauer upheld his ruling in an Oct. 1 memo and said the payment shouldn't include Newberry's retirement contributions and other benefits.

Newberry, 65, earned an annual salary of $82,480 when he was fired, according to the city. He was ordered to receive back pay from February 2017 to July 2018. At 17 months, that works out to Newberry being owed nearly $116,850 in salary alone.

West Linn City Manager Eileen Stein said Friday the city is still trying to get clarification from the Public Employees Retirement System and hoped to know more next week.

"At this point, we are still trying to understand what the decision means for the city of West Linn," she said.

The city could appeal the latest ruling to the Oregon Employment Relations Board and then up to the Court of Appeals. It was not clear Friday if the city plans to appeal again.

In its August motion for reconsideration, the city of West Linn claimed the arbitrator didn't have the authority to award back wages because the parties hadn't agreed to the possibility of an award if Newberry's firing was found to be justified.

In the October memo, Lindauer said past cases have established that an arbitrator has discretion to impose a wide range of remedies in cases.

"This is particularly true when, as in this case, the city failed to take appropriate disciplinary action when it was clearly aware of (Newberry's) misconduct," Lindauer wrote. He said he could have used that as a basis to order the city to reinstate Newberry, but didn't think it would be appropriate.

Lindauer did side with the city's stance that it shouldn't have to provide retirement contributions and other fringe benefits. The city contended that Newberry wasn't entitled to benefits because he wasn't a West Linn officer at the time.

"Awarding benefits as part of back-pay is a make-whole remedy, and there is no precedent or rationale for making whole an employee like Mr. Newberry who was terminated for just cause," the city's motion for reconsideration said.

The Clackamas County Peace Officers' Association, the police union that filed a grievance over Newberry's firing in March 2017, said Newberry's award should include PERS contributions and other benefits because those funds are typically understood to be part of back pay awards.

Lindauer wrote that while employees who are reinstated would earn benefits accrued on leave, Newberry was fired, and his termination was upheld.

Lindauer also denied a union request to be reimbursed for attorney fees, saying the city had a legitimate basis to file its appeal.

Before making his July ruling, the arbitrator reviewed 131 Facebook posts made by Newberry while on and off duty from February to July 2016. Lindauer found that some posts showed racial bias against African Americans and hostility toward the Black Lives Matter movement, and reinforced public perception that police officers are biased against black people. Some of the posts included references to African Americans and Black Lives Matter supporters as "ghetto rats," "cockroaches," "morons," and other insults.

Newberry once commented that he considered it a "badge of honor" to be called a racist by someone "in the hood." Lindauer wrote. On the day before being placed on leave in July 2016, Newberry posted a story about a potential Black Lives Matter protest and wrote, "So day of target practice?"

Newberry, who is white, admitted that he posted the content and denied to investigators that he is racist. The postings violated the police department's social media policy, which banned speech or expression that damaged the agency's reputation, Lindauer wrote in July. The police department's rules required Newberry to remove the comments from his Facebook page.

But the arbitrator found that Newberry's immediate supervisor, Sgt. Dave Kempas, expressed approval of some of Newberry's posts and didn't tell him to delete them. Then-Chief Terry Timeus, Capt. Neil Hennelly and Sgt. Mike Francis "liked" or replied to some of the posts.

Timeus, Hennelly and Kempas have all since retired from the West Linn Police Department. Francis now works as an officer with the Portland Police Bureau.

Newberry was hired by West Linn police in November 2008. He was there for eight years before he was fired after a seven-month internal investigation that reviewed the same Facebook posts as the arbitrator that upheld his firing.


Categories: Law Enforcement

Ohio police help motorcyclist with disabilities get moving

Sun, 10/14/2018 - 01:00

By Nancy Molnar The Times-Reporter

NEW PHILADELPHIA, Ohio — A Dover man is expressing his thanks to four New Philadelphia police officers who helped him get moving after his motorcycle got stuck on Tuesday.

Brad Shepherd, 59, was especially appreciative of the help because he has been a tetraplegic since a 2011 diving accident left him with only the use of his hands, arms and shoulders. As he describes it, nothing from his chest down works.

When the cycle got stuck around 2 p.m., he had no one to call for help.

"I was really in a jam," Shepherd said. "During the day, everybody is at work."

When the mishap occurred, Shepherd was riding in his modified motorcycle. The vehicle has an unusual appearance on the road because Shepherd rides in the sidecar, which is equipped with a steering wheel and hand controls. There's no one sitting on the motorcycle seat.

Shepherd finds the modified motorcycle more maneuverable than his van.

He said he tries to do things that he did before his accident, as much as he can.

"I try to do the best that I can with the limitations that I have," Shepherd said.

He was on his way to show his rental property on Beaver Avenue NE when he hit a road hazard.

"There was a pothole and the chain hit the pothole," Shepherd said. "It knocked the chain off the sprocket."

Shepherd, whose wheelchair sits inside the sidecar, left the disabled vehicle on to meet the prospective tenants.

Police Capt. Paul Rossi found the abandoned motorcycle on Ray Avenue NE, and after some checking, found Shepherd.

"He said you've got to get it off the road there," Shepherd said. "By the time we got back down there, there were four or five cop cars down there already."

Among the responding officers was Capt. Rocky Dusenberry, who was able to get the chain back onto the sprocket on the rear wheel.

"It took some work to get it back on," Shepherd said.

Rossi, Dusenberry and patrolmen Jeff DeMattio and James Miller pushed the vehicle until the chain wrapped around the sprocket.

"I was really impressed by the way they handled things," Shepherd said. "In the news these days, it's just unfortunate that police get such a bad rap. It's a job I wouldn't want."

He said his experience with the police reminded him of a billboard from the 1960s, which said that if you have a problem with the police, the next time you're in trouble, yell for a hippie.

An updated version of the billboard, posted n Muncie, Ind. in 2016, said, "Hate cops? The next time you need help call a crackhead."


Categories: Law Enforcement

Ind. school board considers app to link teacher, police phones

Sat, 10/13/2018 - 09:39

By John Kline Goshen News

GOSHEN, Ind. — Goshen school board members will consider a collaboration plan with the Goshen Police Department to improving law enforcement response time to any future school emergencies.

According to Diane Woodworth, superintendent for Goshen Community Schools, her office was recently approached by the Goshen Police Department about collaborating on a new safety and security communication system known as SchoolGuard.

“The county was trying to do a similar system a couple years ago, and it kind of fell apart and never did work out. And so we’re real excited about this one. I think it has a lot of promise,” Woodworth said in introducing the collaborative effort Monday.

Goshen Mayor Jeremy Stutsman, who is helping to spearhead the collaboration, offered a similar sentiment.

“Since I’ve been in office, one thing that I wanted to make sure we were working hard on was safety of the kids. School safety is high on our priority list. So we’ve been looking for a couple years now at different programs, and finally found one,” Stutsman said of the program. “We think it’s going to be an excellent opportunity to get our police officers to schools much quicker if it’s ever needed. And my greatest hope is that every dollar we spend on this is wasted, and that we never have to find out if it works. But we are very interested in it.”

The program is described as an app that can be downloaded onto the cellphones of police officers, teachers and administrators that then serves as a kind of “panic button” in cases of emergency.

With a push of the button, a 911 call is immediately sent and all teachers and staff are notified of the threat. In addition, all federal, state and local law enforcement officers, both on and off duty, who have the software installed and are located within 10 to 20 miles of the incident, are also notified.

“What we’re concerned about most is just the timeliness of officers being able to get to a scenario unfolding quickly. And if you had to ask any officer on our police department what keeps us up at night thinking about this stuff, it’s how quickly we get there, because seconds matter,” said Shawn Turner, assistant police chief with the Goshen Police Department. “This, I think, is not only one of the better programs we’ve been introduced to, but we’ve also had agencies in some of the surrounding counties — Kosciusko County for one — that have gone to this system and are actively trying to get it into more schools. So there will be some uniformity, not only with us, but with some of the surrounding counties. And it actually brings in law enforcement nationwide. So this has been tested, and I believe it’s a working system that everyone can feel comfortable with.”

Goshen Police Chief Jose Miller agreed, noting that he has used the software on his own cellphone for several years.

“I personally have this on my phone and have for a long time. What it does is, we’re able to download it to our phones, and we’re required to show our police IDs and badge credentials before they approve us to be on the system,” Miller said of the program, which is free to police officers. “It reaches out to any law enforcement officer who is on the system — that could be local, state or federal officers. And if the panic button is activated, if you’re within a 10 to 20 mile radius of this incident, it will alert your phone, and it will tell the location where it’s at, it will tell you the time the incident started, it will tell you the address and it will also show you a map of where that activation occurred at on that premises. It also allows us officers the opportunity to say we’re going to respond in uniform or in plain clothes, depending on where we’re at.”

And to prevent accidental activation, Turner noted that the system is anchored around the associated schools with geofencing, meaning the system cannot be activated when a phone with the app is not on school property.

According to Stutsman, he has been working with the city’s budget and anticipates being able to pay for the installation of the software on the cellphones of all teachers within the Goshen Community Schools system as well as the city’s two private schools, Bethany Christian Schools and St. John the Evangelist Catholic School.

“The city of Goshen will pay for the upgrade of the software and for the installation. We’ll just need the schools to commit to paying for the monthly fees,” Stutsman said. “But we truly do think it’s going to be great.”

Stutsman noted that the purchase of the software would probably come in the form of a two- to three-year agreement, the particulars of which have not yet been solidified given that the school board was only notified of the effort Monday.

“The longer you sign, the cheaper the monthly expenses get. So that would definitely help the schools,” Stutsman said of the plan. “I’ve got a set budget that I know I can use once we know the installation costs. If there is extra money in those lines, I’m going to use it for the first however many months I can of the school expenses. I just don’t know how far that will go until we hear the exact expenses.”

For her part, Woodworth said it is her intention to bring the partnership agreement between GCS and the Goshen Police Department back before the board for consideration at a future meeting.

“We’ve been looking for something like this, and I cannot say enough good things about the positive relationship we have with Goshen City and the Goshen Police Department,” Woodworth said in concluding the presentation Monday. “We greatly appreciate all of you. So it is our intention to move forward with this.”


Categories: Law Enforcement

U.S. attorney general: Toss Chicago police consent decree

Sat, 10/13/2018 - 09:21

By Dan Hinkel Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — On the last day to submit written comments on a proposed court order to reform the Chicago Police Department, activist groups sought changes forcing officers to be more accommodating to the families of people they shoot, while U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he opposed the idea of a consent decree, period.

Sessions and his assistants submitted an 11-page statement Friday painting the proposal as an overly restrictive measure that could lead to increased crime. The comment repeated Session’s allegation that the city’s 2015 agreement with the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, which forced officers to document street stops more thoroughly, led to a roughly 60 percent jump in homicides in 2016.

The attorney general lauded the steps local officials including Mayor Rahm Emanuel have taken to reform the department and argued that the city and state governments — not a federal judge — should control the force’s future.

“The United States asks the Court not to enter the proposed consent decree but, rather, to allow state and local officials — and Chicago’s brave front-line police officers — to engage in flexible and localized efforts to advance the goal of safe, effective, and constitutional policing in Chicago,” the statement said.

Sessions also said the Department of Justice would send five additional prosecutors to Chicago to establish a “gun crimes prosecution team,” among other anti-crime measures.

Emanuel spokesman Matt McGrath welcomed the extra federal resources but blasted Sessions for trying to “impede our public safety reforms or inhibit our efforts to rebuild the bonds of trust between officers and residents.”

ACLU of Illinois officials accused Sessions of making a “last-minute political play” to undermine the consent decree.

“The Trump administration and Sessions’ Department of Justice have never attempted to learn about the problems in Chicago or what reform is necessary,” ACLU of Illinois attorney Karen Sheley said in a statement.

Sessions’ perspective on the consent decree dovetails with that of the union that represents rank-and-file officers, the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police. The union has sought — unsuccessfully, thus far — to have the litigation that gave rise to the consent decree dismissed. On Friday afternoon, attorneys for the union filed a 54-page comment alleging that broad swaths of the consent decree violate the union’s contract or collective bargaining rights and should not be included in the final order.

Meanwhile, lawyers for activist groups including Black Lives Matter Chicago filed a comment stretching some 80 pages that seeks, among other things, protections and services for victims of police misconduct and the families of people killed by police. The activist groups want the consent decree to order police to allow families access to their dead loved ones after shootings and ensure that bodies are removed from scenes promptly. The groups also want the city to provide “trauma-informed psycho-social support services for survivors of police violence and the families of both victims and survivors of police violence.”

The activist groups reinforced their point with statements from family members of people shot by the police, some of whom alleged that officers were unhelpful or rude in the aftermath — with more than one alleging that cops laughed at them.

Martinez Sutton wrote that police gave him little information beyond a hospital address after Officer Dante Servin shot Sutton’s sister, Rekia Boyd, to death in 2012. Servin, who has resigned, was acquitted of involuntary manslaughter.

Sutton briefly described being pulled over by police after the trial and how another passing officer chuckled and said, “That’s the guy whose sister got shot in the head.” Sutton, who said he grew depressed and withdrawn after the shooting, lamented the lack of city services for people struggling with a loved one’s killing by police.

“I started losing track of time, days, hours, and I had to drop classes in school because I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t hold a job, I just had to survive on my own,” he wrote.

An eventual consent decree would likely be one of the most significant and lasting effects of the police reform push that coalesced three years ago after the release of video footage in which Officer Jason Van Dyke shot teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times. Van Dyke was convicted this month of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery.

The November 2015 video release spurred furious protests among African-Americans with long-standing complaints about their treatment by police, as well as calls for a federal investigation of the department.

That investigation culminated in January 2017 with a report that described the Chicago police as badly trained, largely unaccountable and prone to needless violence. In the last days of an Obama administration that often intervened in local police forces, Emanuel vowed to work toward a consent decree.

But President Donald Trump appointed Sessions attorney general, and Sessions has repeatedly criticized federal intervention in local law enforcement. Emanuel responded to the lack of federal pressure for court-mandated reform by proposing an out-of-court agreement, but advocates objected.

Last year, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan sued the city and Emanuel agreed to work toward a consent decree. The city was also sued by activist groups, and the politicians worked out a deal to allow the groups a role in the litigation.

The proposed decree would mandate comprehensive changes to departmental practices and aim to tighten supervision, improve training and fix the city’s police disciplinary system.

At the end of the month, U.S. District Judge Robert Dow Jr. is slated to hold hearings to take public comments on the proposed decree. Dow holds the authority to eventually enact and enforce the decree.

One crucial unanswered question is who will be appointed to monitor the changes. Madigan’s office plans to announce in coming days the finalists chosen from nine teams that applied to monitor reforms in the coming years.


Categories: Law Enforcement

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