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Updated: 3 min 53 sec ago

Motive for Murders of Florida Deputies May Never be Known

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 15:18

Investigators in Florida say they may never know why a man - a recluse from a rural farm community who rarely ventured into town - killed two Gilchrist County Sheriff's deputies Thursday while they sat in a Chinese restaurant.

John Hubert Highnote, 58, of Bell casually walked into the restaurant, went up to the deputies and fired at them. He then went into his car and killed himself, ABC News reports.

"It's inexplicable," State Attorney Bill Cervone said. "People will want to know why, and we may never have an answer for them."

Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz blamed the deaths of Sgt. Noel Ramirez, 30, and Deputy Taylor Lindsey, 25, on hatred toward law enforcement.

"What do you expect happens when you demonize law enforcement to the extent it's been demonized? Every type of hate, every type of put-down you can think of," Schultz said at a news conference.

 

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Dick's Asked to Donate Rifles to Police Rather Than Destroy Them

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 15:18

Dick’s Sporting Goods has announced that it will not sell AR-style rifles in any of its 700 plus stores and it plans to destroy its unsold stock.

Gun enthusiasts are asking the company to donate the rifles to cash-strapped police departments, Recoil Magazine reports.

"You can reach out to the Dick’s Sporting Goods customer service team, in the most respectful way possible, and request that instead of destroying all of these rifles, we want Dick’s to donate them to police departments that don’t have a patrol rifle program or simply don’t have the funds to supply officers with needed equipment," Recoil wrote.

Find ways to contact Dick’s HERE, find their Facebook HERE, or Twitter HERE.

 

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Some Illinois Lawmakers Want to Replace SROs with Therapists

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 15:18

Some Illinois lawmakers want to give extra money to schools that replace armed security officers with unarmed social workers and behavior therapists.

Rep. Emanuel "Chris" Welch, a Hillside Democrat, said he proposed the plan after hearing from advocates who argue that investing in mental health resources is the best way of treating the epidemic of violence.

His plan, which is backed by 16 other Democrats in the House, would allow schools to apply to an optional grant if they promise to reallocate funding for school-based law enforcement to mental health services, including social workers or other practices "designed to promote school safety and healthy environments."

The measure could be a tough sell, especially amid a widespread effort to employ more of what's known as school resource officers — fully armed law enforcement officers often paid for by schools, the Associated Press reports.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions proposed a school safety plan in March that included a measure prioritizing grants to states that agree to use the money to put more law enforcement in schools.

 

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NYPD Officer Kills Self Outside Department Facility

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 15:18

An on-duty NYPD officer fatally shot himself while parked outside a department facility in the Bronx Friday, authorities said.

He's the fourth NYPD officer to take his own life in as many months, police told the New York Daily News.

First responders rushed to an NYPD Auto Crime and Narcotics Division facility in Wakefield about 10:50 a.m., where the mortally wounded officer was found sitting in his personal vehicle in the parking lot.

Officers rushed him to Jacobi Medical Center, but he could not be saved. His name was not immediately disclosed.

 

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140 Officers Committed Suicide in 2017

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 15:18

Suicides left more officers and firefighters dead last year than all line-of-duty deaths combined — a jarring statistic that continues to plague first responders but garners little attention. 

A new study by the Ruderman Family Foundation, a philanthropic organization that works for the rights of people with disabilities, looked at depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other issues affecting first responders and the rates of suicide in departments nationwide.

The group found that while suicide has been an ingrained issue for years, very little has been done to address it even though first responders have PTSD and depression at a level five times that of civilians.

Last year, 103 firefighters and 140 police officers committed suicide, whereas 93 firefighters and 129 officers died in the line of duty, which includes everything from being fatally shot, stabbed, drowning or dying in a car accident while on the job.

Miriam Heyman, one of the co-authors of the study, told USA Today the numbers of suicide are extremely under-reported, while other more high-profile deaths make headlines. There were 46 officers who died after being fatally shot on the job in 2017, nearly 67% less than the number of suicides. 

Related Articles:

Preventing Police Suicides

Taking Care of Yourself

Police Suicides: Cop Killer

 

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Death of Detroit Officer Shot in 1972 Now Ruled a homicide

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 15:18

"We were investigating drug sales on the street," said Retired Detroit Deputy Police Chief James Younger whose partner was shot in 1972 by a man who was never arrested for the crime. 

The shooting left Detroit Police Officer Donald Kimbrough paralyzed from the waist down and he died December 7, 2017, from medical complications that resulted from the decades old shooting. 

"With the knowledge that he was shot and never fully recovered, the manner is homicide," says Dr. Bernardino Pacris from the Oakland County Medical Examiner's Officer who conducted an autopsy on Kimbrough and recovered an oxidized, deformed bullet from Kimbrough's back. 

Sergeant Todd Eby of Detroit's Homicide Task Force has been assigned to solving this extremely cold case, WXYZ reports.

 

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North Carolina Agency Offers Munchies to People Arrested on 4/20 Weed Holiday

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 15:18

Those who get arrested in Southern Pines, North Carolina, for celebrating "Weed Day" on Friday are in for a treat when they arrive at the police station.

The Southern Pines Police Department is taking a light-hearted approach to April 20, informally known as "Weed Day."

“To ensure the Southern Pines Police Department is prepared for additional guests visiting our detention facility on the 4/20 holiday, advanced preparation has taken place to accommodate the needs of these prisoners,” the police department posted on its Facebook page on Thursday.

Photos of a holding cell stocked with Oreos, Coca-Cola and Cha-Ching wavy potato chips in a bowl accompanied the post. A pair of handcuffs was casually placed next to the Oreos, the News & Observer reports.

 

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Pennsylvania Detective Dies During Physical Training

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 15:18

A New Castle, PA, police detective and special response team member died Thursday while participating in the team's mandatory physical training.

The New Castle Police Department reports on Facebook that Detective Sgt. Brian Cuscino had been with the New Castle Police Department since 2001. He worked as a patrol officer for approximately 10 years and was then promoted to a detective in the criminal investigative division.

Detective Cuscino served as the department's lead homicide investigator and the agency says he had an amazing 100% clearance rate on homicide cases in which he was the lead detective.

 

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Some Churches Commit to Stop Calling the Police

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 15:18

First Congregational Church of Oakland shares a neighborhood with many homeless people, and they often come to the church in times of mental health crises. Sometimes church members feel unequipped to deal with the erratic behavior: the most heart-wrenching scenes, volunteer leader Nichola Torbett says, are the times when the church is closing for the day, and a person with nowhere else to go absolutely refuses to leave the building.

At least once or twice a month, at their wits’ end, the church members call 911.

Now, the church has joined a small handful of congregations with a radical goal: to stop calling the police. Not for mental health crises, not for graffiti on their buildings, not even for acts of violence. These churches believe they should wash their hands entirely of the American police system.

The churches call their drastic approach “divesting” from policing. The project of divesting is organized by Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), a nationwide organization that tries to get white Americans working on behalf of racial justice. The four Unitarian and Protestant churches that have joined so far include three in the Bay Area and one in Iowa City. The Northern California Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ has signed on to recruit from among its member churches, and the Bay Area churches are talking to more congregations in their area, from denominations including the Disciples of Christ and the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Mercury News reports.

“It’s a challenging ask,” acknowledged the Rev. Anne Dunlap, a United Church of Christ minister who leads SURJ’s outreach to faith communities. “It’s a big ask to invite us, as white folks, to think differently about what safety means. Who do we rely on? What is safe? For whom? Should our safety be predicated on violence for other communities? And if not, what do we do if we’re confronted with a situation, because we are, as congregations? . . . How do we handle it if there’s a burglary? How do we handle it if there’s a situation of violence or abuse in the congregation?”

Those are hard questions. The churches that commit to ending their use of police resources are training members in alternate responses to danger. Torbett said at First Congregational, church leaders have invited experts from several nonprofits to train members on de-escalating mental health crises, and on self-defense in the case of a violent person at the church. “Our goal is to never call the police,” she said. As members discuss self-defense, they’ve also decided that they will not arm anyone at the church with any weapon.

 

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Woman Now Faces First-Degree Murder in MO Officer's Slaying

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 19:26

Tammy Dee Widger's charges in the fatal shooting of Clinton, MO, Officer Ryan Morton last month have been amended and now include first-degree murder, the Henry County Prosecutor's Office said Wednesday.

Widger also now faces two counts of first-degree assault. She originally faced second-degree murder and drug charges, reports the Kansas City Star.

First-degree murder carries a maximum penalty of the death sentence or life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

Officers responded to Widger's home in Clinton by mistake in early March after a 911 call was made 20 miles away. James Waters fatally wounded Morton and injured two other officers in a shooting, police said.

"Although it is believed that James Waters actually shot the three police officers," the Henry County Prosecutor's Office said in a release, "Missouri law provides that if an accessory to a crime ... aids another person in planning, committing or attempting to commit the offense, the accessory may be charged with the same offense."

The release added that aiding can occur either before or during an offense.

 

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MS-13 Directs Members to 'Take Out a Cop'

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 19:23

MS-13 has directed its members to "take out a cop" in a directive that has police on high alert across the New York area, according to a new memo obtained by the New York Post.

Police are searching for the gang member suspected of putting out the hit order — a tall, light-skinned Hispanic man with a thin build and a tattoo of three dots next to his eye.

Officers in Hempstead, one of the Long Island towns the violent gang has terrorized, were tipped off to the threat Wednesday by a “credible” informant, the NYPD memo said.

The member of the Salvadoran gang told the informant they needed to make a “statement” and specifically wanted to kill an officer in the Hempstead area.

 

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2 Florida Deputies Killed in Apparent Ambush at Restaurant

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 19:11

Two sheriff’s deputies were shot and killed Thursday in a restaurant in Trenton, FL, in what appeared to be an ambush, officials said.

The Gilchrist County deputies died "after a suspect walked up" to the Ace China restaurant around 3 p.m. "and shot both deputies through the window," the Alachua County Sheriff's Office said in a statement made on behalf of the Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office. "As fellow deputies responded to the scene, they found the shooter deceased outside the business, and both Deputy Sheriffs where they died of their wounds."

There is no clear motive, reports Fox News.

 

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Killing of Massachusetts Officer Renews Calls for State Death Penalty

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 16:15

The killing of a Massachusetts police officer has some Republicans calling for the reinstatement of the death penalty for the murder of law enforcement officers in the state, reports the Associated Press.

Recent attempts to restore capital punishment in the state have faltered, most recently after the killing of another police officer two years ago and in 2013, after the Boston Marathon bombing.

The death of Officer Sean Gannon, a Yarmouth K-9 handler who was fatally shot in the head while serving an arrest warrant last Thursday, has again raised the issue. Gannon's funeral was Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the Massachusetts Republican Party sent out a message on Twitter reaffirming the party's backing of capital punishment for criminals who kill police officers.

An aide to Republican Gov. Charlie Baker said he also "supports the death penalty for the offense of killing a police officer." Baker on Friday signed an overhaul of the state's criminal justice system that imposed a new mandatory minimum for assault and battery on a police officer causing serious injury.

But a bill that would reinstitute capital punishment has just two sponsors -- one Democrat and one Republican.

 

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Maryland SRO to Receive NASRO National Award of Valor

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 13:12

The school resource officer (SRO) who quickly ended a shooting at Maryland’s Great Mills High School last month will receive the National Award of Valor from the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO). The organization announced today that it will present the award to Deputy First Class Blaine Gaskill of the St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office during NASRO’s annual School Safety Conference in Reno, Nevada, June 24–29.

NASRO President Don Bridges of the Baltimore County Police Department and NASRO executive director Mo Canady announced the award today, during the 2018 Maryland Center for School Safety Summit in Annapolis.

“Without hesitation or regard for his own safety, Deputy Gaskill reacted immediately upon hearing a gunshot,” Canady said. “By responding directly to and confronting the threat, he eliminated the potential for far greater loss of life. Deputy Gaskill’s actions exemplified NASRO best practices and our organization will be proud to recognize him at our annual conference.”

According to information published by the St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office, a 17-year-old male student fired one shot in a school hallway early in the morning of March 20. That shot struck two other students, one of whom eventually died of her injuries. The gunman then moved down a connecting hallway, where Gaskill confronted him. Gaskill fired one shot, striking the gunman’s hand as the gunman simultaneously fatally shot himself.

Gaskill is a nine-year veteran of the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office who is in his first year as an SRO. He is also a member of his agency’s emergency services (special weapons and tactics) team.

NASRO bestows its National Award of Valor for a single act of courage and valor through which an SRO or school staff member risked his or her own life to protect others. It is one of several awards NASRO presents at its annual conference.

Last year, more than 900 people attended the annual NASRO school safety conference. It offers attendees an opportunity to complete on-site NASRO training courses at no additional charge; receive in-service training; visit an exhibit hall with the latest in products, technologies and innovations; and interact with SROs, school administrators, sheriffs and chiefs of police from throughout the country and world. Available training includes NASRO’s Basic SRO Course, ideal for law enforcement officers who are newly assigned to work in schools.

More information about the conference, including a complete agenda and online registration, is available at www.nasro.org/conference/.

For more information about NASRO, visit www.nasro.org.

 

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Plasan Showing New Lightweight Armored Vehicle at ExpoSeguridad Mexico

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 10:55

At next week's Expo Seguridad in Mexico City Plasan will be showing its broad range of products and solutions, and it will be unveiling an all-new lightweight armored vehicle.

The Yagu will be making its debut on the Plasan stand at the exhibition. In the spirit of "the element of surprise" that the new vehicle embodies, details are still scarce but the company says it can reveal that the Yagu is an ultralight and super agile vehicle with an unprecedented level of protection for a vehicle at this low weight.

There is high demand for a light and agile vehicle with the dynamic attributes of a buggy. But invariably the need for protection is traded off in the interests of keeping the weight down. These unprotected vehicles end up unusable in dangerous areas and are often relegated to the role of runarounds on bases; disappointed soldiers have been known to call them "expensive golf carts," the company says.

By contrast, Yagu carries a crew of 3 with 360-degree protection against high-velocity threats, in air-conditioned comfort, with excellent situational awareness. With the optional Remote Weapon Station, it is a truly usable combat vehicle, deployable for use by special forces, border guards, or on counter-terror operations. Easily maneuverable in urban environments, and highly mobile off-road, there is nowhere that Yagu can't take the chase, the company says.

The Yagu will be shown at Expo Seguridad in Mexico City from April 24 to April 26 in Booth 1415.

 

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FLIR Systems Completes Strategic Investment in DroneSense

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 10:55

FLIR Systems, Inc. and DroneSense, Inc. have announced that FLIR has completed a strategic investment in DroneSense, makers of a software platform that serves the growing needs of public safety organizations in utilizing unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to better perform their missions.

The minority investment by FLIR in DroneSense will create opportunities for the companies to collaborate and share their respective expertise and customer relationships to develop and bring to market advanced UAS operating, management, and reporting systems. FLIR’s advanced thermal imaging payloads for UAS platforms provide first responders a new sense of awareness by imaging heat, seeing through smoke, and seeing at night. DroneSense’s comprehensive solution will enable first responders to build and scale their UAS programs with full accountability and transparency. Together, the FLIR and DroneSense offerings will enhance situational awareness, act as a force multiplier, and ultimately save more lives as organizations continue to integrate UAS into daily missions.

“This alliance with DroneSense will help bring to market a truly mission-critical solution needed by first responders to effectively deploy a complete UAS program across their organizations,” said James Cannon, president and CEO of FLIR. “We believe this platform is scalable geographically, across multiple markets, and across multiple FLIR Business Units. While focused today on UAS’s, we see longer term opportunity for the solution to be extendable to other forms of sensing devices.”

 

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Video: Texas Officer Nearly Caught in Fiery House Explosion

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 19:43

VIDEO: Texas Officer Nearly Caught in Fiery House Explosion

A police officer who drove out to investigate a vehicle collision in Hurst, TX, narrowly avoided being seriously injured in a fiery house explosion at the scene of the crash.

In new dashcam footage from the April 7 incident, Officer Travis Hiser can be seen approaching the home in question when a sudden blast of flames erupts out of it toward him. The house had been hit by a car that reportedly severed its primary gas line, allowing gas to build up inside the residence.

The driver was arrested at the scene, reports Time.

Hiser and the other officer on the scene, Corporal Ryan Tooker, were treated for minor injuries at a local hospital. The three people inside the house were injured but are expected to recover.

 

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Man Fatally Shot After Stabbing GA Deputy in Station, GBI Says

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 19:31

A man entered the Douglas County (GA) Sheriff's Office Tuesday night seeking shelter, but several hours later a deputy was forced to shoot him inside the facility, officials said.

According to the sheriff and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, 32-year-old Justin Oakes first entered the lobby of the sheriff's office about 10:25 p.m., where he was offered some water.

At some point, Oakes started making "numerous" 911 calls from the bathroom, according to the GBI. He said someone poisoned him, he gave a false name, and he said “I’m about to be killed,” reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

When two deputies went to check on him about 2:15 a.m. Wednesday, Oakes, authorities said, was barricaded in the restroom. The deputies pushed their way inside, only to discover he had a knife, authorities said.

Deputies deployed a Taser, but Oakes continued moving in their direction with the knife, according to the GBI.

One deputy shot him. Oakes, who had a history of mental illness and was on parole from state prison, died on the scene.

The deputy was stabbed at least twice in the process. The other deputy was also injured during the confrontation. Both were taken to a local hospital and later released.

"The deputy (did) what he was trained to do," Sheriff Tim Pounds said during a morning news conference.

 

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Video: Thousands Mourn Slain Massachusetts Officer

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 16:47

VIDEO: Thousands Mourn Slain Massachusetts Officer

A wake for slain Yarmouth, MA, K-9 handler Officer Sean Gannon was held Tuesday evening at St. Pius X Roman Catholic church in Yarmouth. A funeral Mass was held Wednesday morning at the church, followed by a private burial.

Members of the community, wearing blue, lined Route 28 Tuesday afternoon as police escorted Gannon from the funeral home in Hyannis to the Yarmouth church. Thousands of officers from around the country were there for a walk-by and a moment of silence, reports WBZ-TV.

The 32-year-old Gannon was shot and killed last Thursday while he and other officers were serving an arrest warrant at a home in Barnstable, MA.

Thomas M. Latanowich, 29, has been charged with murder in the shooting. He pleaded not guilty and is being held without bail, reports the Boston Globe.

Gannon is survived by his wife Dara. He was an 8-year veteran of the department and the department's first full-time drug detection K-9 patrol officer. He was remembered in his obituary for his "high moral integrity, infectious humor, and collaborative work with colleagues," reports WBZ-TV.

Gannon was posthumously promoted to the rank of sergeant by his department Wednesday, reports the Boston Globe.

 

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North Carolina City Prohibits Police Training Exchanges with Israel

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 13:42

The Durham City Council voted Monday night to bar the city’s police department from engaging in international exchanges where officers receive “military-style training.” The Council voted 6-0 to adopt the statement of policy, which explains “such exchanges do not support the kind of policing we want here in the City of Durham.”

The statement is the result of a petition created by the group Demilitarize! Durham2Palestine, which called on the City Council to “immediately halt any partnerships that the Durham Police Department has or might enter into with the Israeli Defense Forces and/or the Israel Police.”

Proponents of the petition claim that Israeli tactics promote racial bias and militarization of police. Its opponents, including the group Voice for Israel, call those claims false, politically-motivated, and antisemitic, WRAL reports.

 

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