Shot Mo. LEO meets good Samaritans who helped her

Posted on June 20, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By News Staff

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An officer who was shot last week while transporting an inmate met the two good Samaritans who helped her during her time of need.

According to local news station KSHB, Officer Jasmine Diab was able to meet her two heroes, Rich Shannon and Jason Gamm, on Tuesday.

Diab was transporting 38-year-old inmate Jamey Griffin to a local hospital for a mental evaluation when Griffin tried to grab Diab’s handgun. Diab was shot during the incident.

The officer said Shannon and Gamm helped get the attacker offr and that she may have died from blood loss if it wasn’t for them stepping in to help.

In a Facebook post, Diab thanked the heroes and everyone else for their support.

“I may be a hero, but these two will always be my heroes,” Diab said.

A GoFundMe page has been created to help with the officer’s expenses.

First off I'd like to thank everyone for this support through this emotional tragedy I've been going through. It means...

Posted by Jasmine Diab on Tuesday, June 18, 2019


NC bill directing immigration holds advances

Posted on June 20, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. — Amid accusations of extreme ideology and racism, North Carolina Republican lawmakers advanced a bill Wednesday that would force sheriffs to recognize federal requests to hold jail inmates who may be in the country illegally.

Nearly all of the state's 100 county sheriffs voluntarily comply with Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers upon people charged with state crimes. Those documents aren't actual criminal arrest warrants, but if accepted, give ICE up to 48 hours to pick up suspects.

But several recently elected black Democratic county sheriffs — most from metropolitan areas — have refused to comply, saying it diverts resources and doesn't promote community safety. Some ran last year on ending voluntary cooperation with ICE.

The bill language that passed the Senate Judiciary Committee has been eased somewhat from what the full House passed in April. Instead of sheriffs having to comply with detainers unilaterally, the latest edition requires a judge or magistrate to issue an order to hold the inmate.

But it still sends the message that sheriffs must cooperate. The bill also demands that no matter how minor a suspect's alleged crime is, sheriffs must check the records of anyone jailed to see if they are sought by federal immigrant agents. Sheriffs who don't comply would be removed from office, even though they are elected by county residents.

"Nobody's threatening sheriffs," said GOP Sen. Chuck Edwards of Henderson County, who is helping shepherd the bill, but "we feel like there should be a consequence for not going one step further and asking if there is any reason to detain this person further."

Three sheriffs who don't comply held a news conference before the committee meeting and accused Republican lawmakers of unfairly targeting them. According to Sheriff Garry McFadden of Mecklenburg County, the state's largest county, legislators have been using "code words" like "urban sheriffs" and "sanctuary sheriffs" to highlight their partisan and racial makeup.

The bill represents a "clear agenda against the newly elected African American sheriffs, to erode the powers of the sheriff's office that we individually hold," McFadden said. He later told committee members that their comments about duly elected sheriffs are "disrespectful. And I can't sit back and watch that."

Other opponents say due process problems remain that make the bill unconstitutional because the suspects would be held without a warrant even after meeting other release terms. The judge or magistrate would issue the order simply if the official determines the prisoner is the same person subject to a detainer.

The North Carolina Sheriffs' Association, representing all sheriffs, initially opposed the House version but reversed course last week with the Senate language.

Bill proponents have highlighted a Mecklenburg County case to support the necessity for the bill. A suspect arrested twice on local charges last month related to domestic violence was released, only to be arrested by ICE soon after. But advocates for immigrants and their allies said the measure will discourage victims of crime who are in the country unlawfully from alerting law enforcement for fear they also will end up getting arrested and deported.

"How many victims of domestic violence will never come forward if we pass this?" asked Democratic Sen. Natasha Marcus of Mecklenburg County. "If you listen to the experts who work in this field, they will tell you hundreds."

The debate got testier before the committee's voice vote. Bill co-sponsor Rep. Destin Hall of Caldwell County blamed sheriffs' unwillingness to cooperate with ICE the result of "simply extremist left-wing ideology that says we should have open borders." A Wake County woman who through a translator told the committee she was living in the country unlawfully called the bill "racist and unconstitutional."

Two other spectators in the committee opposed to the bill were led out of the meeting room by legislative workers just before the voice vote. They had started yelling at Rep. Brenden Jones of Columbus County after the Republican said the legislation is "going to make these guys do what's right to protect the citizens of North Carolina."

The bill next goes to another Senate committee before heading to the floor. Any final legislation approved would be sent to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, whose office has said he had concerns with the House version. Immigrant and civil rights groups have urged Cooper to promise to veto the measure.


72 officers off streets amid probe into social media posts

Posted on June 20, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — Police Commissioner Richard Ross says 72 Philadelphia police officers have been placed on administrative duty amid an initial investigation into a national group's accusation of officers in at least five states posting racist and anti-Muslim comments on social media.

Ross said he believed at least "several dozen" people would be disciplined and he expects some to be fired. The commissioner said the internal affairs division prioritized posts "clearly advocating violence or death against any protected class such as ethnicity, national origin, sex, religion and race." An independent law firm had been hired to determine whether posts were constitutionally protected before any discipline is imposed.

"I am not prepared to tell you at this point who's being disciplined and how many may be terminated, but I can tell you with a degree of certainty there are some people who will meet with that fate," Ross said Wednesday.

John McNesby, president of the Philadelphia police union, said the Fraternal Order of Police leadership and attorneys will protect the officers' free speech.

"It's premature and irresponsible for the commissioner to tell the public that police officers will be fired without a complete investigation into officers' social media use," he said in an emailed statement. "Our officers are entitled to due process just like any other citizen."

The posts were uncovered by a team of researchers who spent two years looking at the personal Facebook accounts of police officers from Arizona to Florida. They said they found officers bashing immigrants and Muslims, promoting racist stereotypes, identifying with right-wing militia groups and, especially, glorifying police brutality. All the posts were public.

"We've talked about, from the outset, how disturbing, how disappointing and upsetting these posts are, and they will undeniably impact police-community relations," Ross said. "There's no question that this puts us in a position to work even harder than we already do to cultivate relationships with neighborhoods and individual groups who we struggle to work with or struggle to maintain relationships with now."

Ross also announced other steps, including measures to monitor social media posts by officers, anti-bias training for officers and preparation of a training video.

"I can't think of any other investigation that we've undertaken, at least in my 30 years, where that many people were taken off the street at one time," Ross said. He said he was a "dinosaur" who didn't use social media, but he couldn't understand how police officers who come into contact with many different people — and who were themselves part of a diverse recruiting class — could make what he called "ridiculous assertions" about whole groups of people.

"It really makes me sick, because we are in a position to know better, we are in a position by virtue of what we do every day, and how many people you see in different walks of life that people are the same — people want the same thing out of life," he said. "It angers me beyond belief, because it just makes our job far more difficult than it needs to be."

Following publication of the alleged posts, St. Louis' top prosecutor added 22 more names to a list of officers in that city who are not allowed to bring cases to her office.


Video shows Mich. LEOs arrest suspect after wild vehicle pursuit

Posted on June 20, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Charles E. Ramirez The Detroit News

CLINTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A Ray Township man is facing several charges after allegedly throwing packages of drugs out of a car while fleeing from police Sunday.

Aniano Arreola-Mora, 28, was charged in court Monday with third-degree fleeing police, possession of less than 25 grams of a controlled substance, having an open container of alcohol in a vehicle and driving with a suspended license, according to Clinton Township Police.

A magistrate ordered Arreola-Mora held on a $5,000 bond, officials said.

If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison for the fleeing police charge and four years for the controlled substance charge. The other two charges are misdemeanors.

Police said an officer was monitoring traffic for speeders at about 2:50 p.m. Sunday when a 2003 tan Cadillac passed him on 19 Mile near Garfield. The officer activated his lights and siren and attempted to execute a traffic stop on the Cadillac.

As the two vehicles traveled northbound on Dalcoma Drive, the officer saw the driver throw four packages out of the driver's side door. Another officer recovered the packages and the substance inside tested positive for cocaine, authorities said.

The suspect drove to Hall Road, then west to Garfield and south to Canal Road.

He then drove into the city of Sterling Heights on 19 Mile and took Van Dyke Road north to 26 Mile. The suspect continued on 26 Mile to Romeo Plank and north to 27 Mile to Teller Road until he reached 28 Mile. He took 28 Mile to Ray Center Road where he began heading south.

Police said while he was on Ray Center Road, the suspect drove onto a home's lawn and got stuck on the muddy grass.

He got out of the car and was taken into custody by Clinton Township police officers and Macomb County Sheriff's deputies.

He is lodged at the Macomb County Jail.

———

©2019 The Detroit News


Fla. officer guilty of negligence for shooting caretaker

Posted on June 20, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

MIAMI — A Florida police officer has been convicted of a misdemeanor but acquitted of attempted manslaughter for shooting at a severely autistic man and wounding the man's caretaker.

A jury deliberated for four hours late Monday before finding North Miami police Officer Jonathan Aledda guilty of culpable negligence in the 2016 shooting of caretaker Charles Kinsey, who was trying to protect 27-year-old Arnaldo Rios Soto. Aledda faces up to a year in jail but because he was acquitted of a felony, he might be able to remain a police officer.

A jury found the LEO guilty of culpable negligence in the 2016 shooting of a caretaker that was trying to protect a severely autistic man

Prosecutor Don Horn called the verdict "fair," while Aledda's attorney said he was disappointed.

"We thought he should have never been charged," Douglas Hartman said. A March trial had ended with a hung jury.

Kinsey was shot after Rios fled his group home carrying a shiny silver toy truck and Kinsey went after him. Rios sat down in the street, playing with the truck, and a passer-by reported he was possibly armed. Police soon surrounded Rios and Kinsey at a residential neighborhood intersection.

Video taken by a bystander showed Rios sitting with the truck. Kinsey lay on his back next to him with his hands in the air, begging officers not to shoot. Rios shouted "shut up." The video ended before the shooting.

Aledda, armed with a rifle, took cover behind a car 50 yards (45 meters) away. Two officers who were closer to Kinsey and Rios said they could tell the silver object was a toy, but a commander radioed that it appeared Rios was reloading.

Aledda fired three shots at Rios. Two missed but one hit Kinsey in the leg.

Aledda testified Monday that he thought it was a hostage situation and he needed to fire to protect Kinsey and his fellow officers.

"It appeared he (Kinsey) was screaming for mercy or for help or something. In my mind, the white male had a gun," Aledda testified, according to the Miami Herald.

Jury forewoman Stacy Sarna told the newspaper that jurors didn't necessarily believe Aledda, but didn't think his actions reached the level of attempted manslaughter.

"What he was saying was very carefully considered. He was very calculated and practiced," she said.

Kinsey and the Rios family are suing North Miami. Kinsey's attorney, Hilton Napoleon II, said he respects the jury's decision and is glad they held Aledda accountable.

"It sends the message that before you squeeze the trigger, you need to take into account the lives that could be affected," Napoleon said.

Napoleon wouldn't comment on Kinsey's federal civil rights case against the city but acknowledged that they're still preparing for trial. Napoleon said the past three years of meeting with prosecutors, investigators and doctors have taken a toll on Kinsey, who still has shrapnel in his leg and needs physical therapy.

"There are certain services that he needs that he's not currently getting," Napoleon said.


Ala. officer recovering after on-duty rattlesnake bite

Posted on June 20, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Carol Robinson Alabama Media Group, Birmingham

GREENVILLE, Ala. — Police officers never know what kind of danger they may face on any given shift, but what landed one Alabama cop in the Intensive Care Unit is the stuff of nightmares.

Greenville Police Officer Marissa Morrison, the city’s only female officer, has been in the ICU at Jackson Hospital in Montgomery since early Monday morning when she was bitten by a timber rattlesnake while on duty.

More than two days, and 16 vials of antivenin later, the 28-year-old mother of three is praising her fellow officers and co-workers for the way they jumped in to rescue her and quickly get her the help she needed.

“It scared me, and it scared my brothers,’’ Morrison told AL.com Wednesday in an interview from the ICU. “You hear about stuff like this, but it never happens to you.”

Until it does.

Morrison works the 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. patrol shift in the south Alabama town below Montgomery. As she has done many times before, she parked her cruiser in a quiet, scenic spot behind the airport to finish her paperwork before wrapping up her shift.

It was about 5:20 a.m. and she got out of her patrol car to stretch her legs. She walked a short distance to snap a photo of the sunrise and was walking back to her vehicle when terror struck.

Morrison felt a sting, and then heard the unmistakable rattle. “He was huge, and he gave me no warning,’’ she said. “I remember screaming and I ran away from him.”

The officer, who has been on the force for two years, quickly got on her radio to call for help. She issued an emergency alert. “I know they heard the panic in my voice,’’ Morrison said. “Usually my radio traffic is pretty calm.”

She said her corporal, Jimmy Oliver, knew exactly where to find her. The quiet spot is a place she goes often to unwind after a shift. Oliver got to her before the ambulance did and another fellow officer, Tom Powell, was close behind.

Oliver put Morrison in his cruiser and rushed her to the hospital. She was bitten in the calf muscle and her leg quickly swelled. The bite span was 1 ½ - inches wide.

Oliver asked Morrison if she could walk into the hospital on her own, but she could not. “I had started feeling lightheaded and I was shaking,’’ she said. “He just scooped me up and carried me inside.”

“They were panicking. They did their best to get me to where I needed to be,’’ Morrison said. “They did an outstanding job. I’m so lucky and blessed to have them.”

Morrison’s co-workers went back to the scene of the bite and found the snake still coiled in the same spot and still rattling. They killed the snake, and later brought her the rattle.

As badly as she was hurt, she said she knows it could have been worse. “I’m 5-feet, 6-inches tall so I wasn’t that far from him,’’ she said. “It could have bitten me in my arm, or somewhere else closer to my heart. I’m thankful it wasn’t.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, Morrison was preparing to move out of ICU and into a private room. She’s hoping to be released from the hospital by the weekend, so she can get home to her babies – ages 8, 7 and 3 months – and also ready to get back to work. She’s been warned it could be more than a month before she can return to duty.

“I love my job,’’ she said, “and I can’t wait to get back out there.”

———

©2019 Alabama Media Group, Birmingham


Calif. police officer shot, in serious condition

Posted on June 20, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A Sacramento police officer was shot and seriously wounded Wednesday evening by a rifleman who blasted away at officers trying to rescue her, police said.

Several officers were on a domestic disturbance call, helping a woman collect her belongings and leave a home in the North Sacramento neighborhood, when the officer was wounded, Sgt. Vance Chandler said.

She lay in the backyard of a home and officers couldn't reach her because the gunman kept firing, Chandler said.

"Our officers maintained cover in safe positions until we were able to get an armored vehicle in the area," he said.

It took more than 45 minutes to get her to the hospital, where the officer was in serious condition, he said.

"All I know right now that the officer is hurt bad, is at the hospital now and we're praying for her recovery and for her to make it through," City Councilman Allen Warren, who represents the area, told the Sacramento Bee.

The other woman wasn't hurt.

Chandler didn't immediately know the relationship between her and the gunman.

The rifleman kept shooting for at least two hours and as of late Wednesday night, Chandler said negotiators hadn't been able to contact him.

Heavily-armored police from several agencies swarmed the residential neighborhood, where a couple dozen marked and unmarked police cars had gathered.

Police warned residents by loudspeaker to stay out of the area near the intersection of Redwood Avenue and Edgewater Road. Police were keeping media and onlookers out of sight of the scene.

BREAKING: We've just been moved back to Grove Ave & Barrette Ave. as @SacPolice @sacsheriff investigate an officer down on Redwood in the yard of one home and a suspect shooting a rifle from another home on Redwood. @FOX40 pic.twitter.com/OOt9wch2Dh

— Sonseeahray Tonsall (@tonsalltv) June 20, 2019


Calif. officer fatally shot during domestic call

Posted on June 20, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento police on Thursday were trying to negotiate the surrender of a gunman suspected of killing a police officer during a domestic dispute.

Tara O'Sullivan, 26, died at UC Davis Medical Center hours after the gunman opened fire on her Wednesday, Deputy Chief Dave Peletta said during a news conference.

Several officers were on a domestic disturbance call, helping a woman collect her belongings and leave a home in the north Sacramento neighborhood, when the officer was wounded, Sgt. Vance Chandler said. The other woman wasn't hurt, and the relationship between her and the gunman wasn't immediately known.

Peletta said O'Sullivan was partnered with a training officer when she was shot just before 6 p.m.

O'Sullivan was in a backyard and officers couldn't reach her because the gunman kept firing, Chandler said.

"Our officers maintained cover in safe positions until we were able to get an armored vehicle in the area," he said.

It took more than 45 minutes to get her to the hospital, he said.

The rifleman kept shooting for at least two hours and as of late Wednesday night, Chandler said negotiators hadn't been able to contact him.

Heavily armored police from several agencies swarmed the residential neighborhood, where a couple dozen marked and unmarked police cars had gathered.

Police warned residents by loudspeaker to stay out of the area near the intersection of Redwood Avenue and Edgewater Road. Police were keeping media and onlookers out of sight of the scene.

According to city records, O'Sullivan had been working for the city since January 2018, The Sacramento Bee reported. She was part of the first class of graduates of Sacramento State's Law Enforcement Candidate Scholars program in 2017 and went on to the Sacramento Police Academy.

It is with a broken heart that we have to share with all of you that earlier today we lost one of our own. While on a...

Posted by Sacramento Police Department on Thursday, June 20, 2019


Slain Calif. officer had been on force just 6 months

Posted on June 20, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A man suspected of fatally shooting a Sacramento police officer surrendered after a standoff in which he repeatedly fired his rifle, preventing officers from reaching their wounded colleague for nearly an hour, authorities said Thursday.

Officer Tara O'Sullivan, 26, was gathering evidence in a domestic violence case at the home where she was shot Wednesday evening, police said in a statement.

"We are devastated tonight," Deputy Chief Dave Peletta said. "There are no words to convey the depth of sadness we feel or how heartbroken we are for the family of our young, brave officer."

The suspect, who has not been identified, was taken into custody around 2 a.m.

O'Sullivan had been on the force for just six months and was still completing her training with another officer when she was killed. She died at UC Davis Medical Center.

She had been helping a woman collect her belongings to leave the home when the shooting occurred, police Sgt. Vance Chandler said.

The standoff lasted about eight hours.

"Our officers maintained cover in safe positions until we were able to get an armored vehicle in the area," Chandler said.

The other woman was not hurt, and the relationship between her and the gunman was not immediately known.

Heavily armed police from several agencies swarmed the neighborhood during the standoff and residents were told to stay away.

In a post on his Facebook page addressed to O'Sullivan's parents, Mayor Darrell Steinberg wrote that O'Sullivan was in the first graduating class of a groundbreaking program at Sacramento State University that "emphasizes the importance of inclusion and cultural competence for future law enforcement leaders — of which Tara undoubtedly would have been."

O'Sullivan, who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, graduated from the police academy in December.

Before that, she worked with the Police Department as part of a community service program providing crime prevention support. She graduated from Sacramento State with a degree in child development a year ago.

It is with a broken heart that we have to share with all of you that earlier today we lost one of our own. While on a...

Posted by Sacramento Police Department on Thursday, June 20, 2019


$2.5M grants to enhance child exploitation investigations by police

Posted on June 19, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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By Andrea Fox, EfficientGov.com

Up to $2.5 million in federal funding will be awarded to support the development and advancement of investigative technology tools by local police and partner agencies to enhance child exploitation investigations.

Cities, towns, counties, tribal and state governments and non-profit or higher education partners can apply to increase the technological investigative capacity and implement training for law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies under the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs’ Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP) Strengthening Investigative Tools and Technology for Combating Child Sexual Exploitation grant program.

The discretionary grant program is expected to make up to six awards and will focus on methods and technologies that address child pornography, exploitation and sex trafficking of minors.

Proposed approaches may include:

Developing new protocols for ascertaining the identity of child exploitation offenders using anonymization networks, in particular, Tor and Freenet. Targeting offenders who exploit children through webcams, including online enticement, sextortion and live-streaming of child sexual abuse. Exploring legal and technological tools to ensure access to evidence encrypted by offenders. Building forensic capacity and expertise to meet the challenges that mobile devices with built-in encryptions and cloud-based storage pose to online child exploitation investigations. Identifying gaps in existing tools and resources. Developing tools that use artificial intelligence to assist law enforcement in efficiently processing large amounts of investigatory leads. Developing new software programs or investigative tools to fill the gaps; increase capacity and assist federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement partners in covert investigative work. Supporting research activities that help to identify characteristics, patterns or other indicators that predict which offenders are likely to be the most dangerous/high-priority suspects.

There is no matching requirement. The deadline to apply is July 29, 2019.

Awards are expected to be made under cooperative agreement beginning on October 1, 2019. Review the solicitation on OJJDP.gov. Apply on Grants.gov.


Bodycam footage shows Fla. LEO dragged by suspect’s car

Posted on June 19, 2019 by in Uncategorized

Richard Tribou Orlando Sentinel

ORLANDO, Fla. — Orlando Police released body cam footage of an officer being dragged by suspect’s car that hit speeds of up to 60 mph, according to a report on ClickOrlando.com.

The report said OPD Officer Sean Murphy had pulled over Zavier Askew, 25, on May 9 near College Drive and Willie Mays Parkway east of downtown Orlando. The officer found remains of marijuana in the car and asked Askew to exit the vehicle. At one point, Askew runs back into the car and drives off with Office Murphy halfway out the car window.

The body cam footage seen on ClickOrlando shows the moment Askew jumps into the driver’s seat and races off with Murphy’s legs out the window.

“Dude, you’re killing me. Stop, stop. This is attempted murder,” you can hear Officer Murphy’s voice saying in the video.

The report said Askew hit another car on a dead-end road where the chase ended with Askew hitting another car and Officer Murphy nearly avoiding getting pinned. Askew was arrested and charged with

attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer and other charges. He remains at the Orange County Jail.

———

©2019 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)

Can a bad word be a good tactic?

Posted on June 19, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Lt. Dan Marcou
Author: Lt. Dan Marcou

Can the use of bad words sometimes be a good tactic?

As a rule, I have taught officers to develop verbalization discipline to ensure they look like the professionals they are. However sometimes a bad situation can result in a spontaneous leak of “bad” words. Other times officers might even choose to use undeleted expletives.

Let’s discuss the issue of police profanity.

The Spontaneous Leak

There are moments in law enforcement when you see things happen right in front of you that are so dynamic and unexpected, they rip the emotions raw. You might blurt out words in a seemingly Tourette’s-like manner.

For example, I was pursuing a stolen vehicle years ago at over 90 mph on a four-lane highway with a grass median between the northbound two lanes and the southbound two lanes. I could see up ahead a state trooper approaching with lights on, when suddenly the officer swung across the median and set up a stationery roadblock in the path of the stolen car.

The young trooper miscalculated the driver’s propensity to comply and instead of stopping as he was required by law to do, the criminal barreled into the occupied squad at a speed of 93 mph, demolishing both vehicles. I believe the short prayer I prayed was, “HOLY SH-T!” To my surprise both the trooper and the criminal sustained only minor injuries.

Rehearsal to Avoid the Spontaneous Leak

Although such words are not considered the language of the professional, they may spontaneously spurt out during the sudden onset of violent, unexpected events.

In the case of use of force, however, you can prevent such spontaneous leaks from occurring by rehearsing effective combat communication.

For example, when you practice your strikes, shout: “Back.”

When you practice your decentralizations (take downs), shout: “Down.”

When you practice your control holds, communicate: “Police, relax, you’re under arrest. Stop resisting.”

When you practice deployment of your TASER, shout: “TASER! TASER! TASER!

When you are about to deploy your impact munition, shout: “Bean bag! Bean bag! Bean bag!”

If you have trained to say these things during anticipated stressful events, then during street applications these are the words that will come out rather than, “Stop resisting or I’ll break your f----ing arm, you a---hole.” These untrained words will negatively color an otherwise defensible use of force. By using these words, you are loading the defendant’s legal gun, which will later be pointed right at you.

I have always said that we can shoot someone and that can be defensible but calling someone an a—hole, even if the suspect’s photo appears next to the word in the street officer’s dictionary, is not readily defensible.

The Problem with Rough Words

Any use of force is scrutinized. Therefore, for the sake of the officer who uses a level of force that allows them to win on the street, you want all aspects of that force to be defensible, even the verbalization. If you call someone a mother-f--ker just before you use justifiable force on them, that one word will most certainly be used to cast doubt on your use of force, whether you strike them with a punch, a baton, or a bullet.

The Blue-on-Blue Problem

There is another problem with overuse of the street vernacular, especially when you have a weapon directed at a suspect and you are in plain clothes. To any responding uniform officer not fully briefed on what is occurring, your street vernacular may lead to a blue on blue shooting. The uniformed officer will undoubtedly at some point say, “He didn’t sound like a cop.”

Rehearse the Verbal Take Down of the High-Risk Suspect

If you rehearse the verbalization you will use when taking a high-risk suspect down at gun point (while you are utilizing cover), even if you are not dressed like a cop, you will “sound like a cop.”

In other words, if “Police, don’t move!” followed by “Put your arms out, palms up, and don’t move!” are your first choice of words to use in such a situation, practice those words so they professionally roll off the tongue. By practicing these words, they will be there for you when you need them.

Another problem with adlibbing is that during a truly dangerous event your brain will be distracted from the business of trying to keep you alive. When you are pointing your duty weapon at a suspect with a gun in his belt or even worse in his hand you need to be practiced, focused and precise.

The Deliberate, Last Resort Tactical Cuss

Most police policies declare deadly force should only be used as a last resort. If an officer gets to a point where a suspect is armed, non-compliant and the officer is barely, as they say, to the “left of bang,” that officer might reasonably believe one last attempt at verbalization may include a deliberate life-saving tactical cuss.

An officer on the verge of shooting may reasonably decide to try to save a suspect’s life by one last desperate command, “Drop the gun now or I will FUCKING shoot you!” These words said with the right combination of sincerity and urgency might just prevent an officer-involved shooting. You could call this a last resort tactical cuss.

Conclusion

It is easy to say you will try to eliminate your use of language that on its face seems unprofessional and difficult to defend; however, to suggest that every expletive must or even can be deleted in the world we police in is unrealistic.


Philadelphia police seize $1B of cocaine from ship

Posted on June 19, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Author: Lt. Dan Marcou

By Jeremy Roebuck The Philadelphia Inquirer

PHILADELPHIA — Federal authorities on Tuesday seized more than 16 tons of cocaine from a cargo ship docked at the Port of Philadelphia — a massive haul whose estimated worth of more than $1 billion made it one of the largest cocaine busts in the nation’s history.

Two members of the ship’s crew, including its second mate, were charged with violations of federal maritime drug trafficking laws. According to court filings, both men confessed to helping haul dozens of bales of cocaine aboard from at least 14 smaller boats that approached the vessel while plying waters to and from Peru.

The investigation appeared to be far from over. Investigators from at least six city, state and federal agencies — including U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Homeland Security Investigations — continued to scour the ship Tuesday night, while authorities said others could be charged in the coming days.

“This is one of the largest seizures in United States history,” U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain said in a tweet. “This amount of cocaine could kill millions — MILLIONS — of people.”

It was unclear Tuesday when investigators discovered the drugs aboard the MSC Gayane, which according to shipping records docked around 5 a.m. Monday in the port’s Packer Avenue Marine Terminal, near the Walt Whitman Bridge. It had arrived after a monthslong journey with stops in Peru, Colombia, Panama and the Bahamas.

A port employee who was not authorized to discuss the matter said investigators boarded the ship with drug-sniffing dogs sometime before 7 p.m. Monday and eventually discovered the cocaine, hidden in bags and housed among legitimate cargo in seven shipping containers bound for the U.S. and Europe.

Coast Guard officials swabbed members of the crew for cocaine residue and found it on the hands and arms of the second mate, Ivan Durasevic, according to his arrest affidavit.

Durasevic told investigators that he had been recruited by the ship’s chief officer, who was unnamed in the document, to help at least two other crew members and four people wearing ski masks haul bales of cocaine aboard the Gayane from smaller ships that approached it shortly after it left Peru. He was paid $50,000 for his effort, he said.

The second crew member charged Tuesday, Fonofaavae Tiasaga, blamed Durasevic for recruiting him into the smuggling effort. He told investigators that the second mate had paid him 50,000 euro to clandestinely load cocaine on one of the ship’s previous trips, according to his arrest affidavit.

On the Gayane’s current voyage, Tiasaga said, he was approached by Durasevic as well as the chief mate, an electrician, and an engineer — all of whom independently sought his aid in sneaking separate loads of cocaine aboard.

He described six boats, each carrying cocaine, that rendezvoused at different times with the Gayane under cover of darkness as it voyaged south from Panama to Peru. On the way back north, eight boats approached the cargo ship at night to unload their illicit cargo, the affidavit states.

Durasevic and Tiasaga remained in custody Tuesday night after appearing in federal court in Philadelphia during the afternoon. Detention hearings for both men are scheduled for later this week.

The Gayane will remain moored in Philadelphia until given the all-clear by investigators. The cargo vessel is owned by Mediterranean Shipping Co., a Geneva-based firm with operations in several U.S. cities.

In a statement posted on its website Tuesday, the company said it was taking the seizure “very seriously.”

“Unfortunately, shipping and logistics companies are from time to time affected by trafficking problems,” it read. “MSC has a longstanding history of cooperating with U.S. federal law enforcement agencies to help disrupt illegal narcotics trafficking.”

Tuesday’s seizure breaks a record set just three months ago, when customs agents reported another unprecedented cocaine seizure — 1,815 pounds worth an estimated $38 million and the largest in the Philadelphia port’s history — on a cargo ship carrying natural rubber from Guatemala and bound for the Netherlands. No arrests have been reported in that case.

The Philadelphia busts come amid a series of large cocaine seizures across the Northeast. New York saw its largest in a quarter-century in March with $77 million worth of the drug seized from a cargo ship in the Port of New York and New Jersey.

In fiscal year 2018, agents seized an average of 4,657 pounds of narcotics per day, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported on its website.

A report issued last year by the Drug Enforcement Administration said that cocaine’s “availability and use in the United States continued to rise between 2016 and 2017,” and that customs agents seized more cocaine in 2017 than any year since at least 2010.

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©2019 The Philadelphia Inquirer


Wash. PD announces $20K bonus incentive program to attract lateral LEOs

Posted on June 19, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By PoliceOne Staff

EVERETT, Wash. — A Washington police department is offering an additional financial incentive to bring in more lateral officers.

Starting in June, hired state lateral police officers can receive a $20,000 bonus from the Everett Police Department. The bonus will be paid in installments, beginning on the officer’s hire date and ending when the officer completes probation.

The incentive program is an effort to attract officers from within the state of Washington because hiring, training and relocating takes less time than with a new recruit and allows the officers to get out into the community quicker.

The department currently has five vacant officer positions with additional vacancies anticipated this summer due to retirements. The department hopes to fill the openings and have a fully-staffed team within the next six to 12 months.


Sheriff suspended after Parkland shooting continues to fight for job

Posted on June 19, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' decision to suspend the sheriff who oversaw the response to the Parkland school shooting was a knee-jerk reaction based on politics, not facts, a lawyer said Tuesday as a Senate hearing began on whether to uphold the suspension.

The lawyer for suspended Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel portrayed DeSantis as using the deaths of 17 students and staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for political gain, saying DeSantis was promising to remove Israel even before the governor was elected in November.

"This is sad, to have politicized the lives of children and adults who were lost to a terrorist at Marjory Stoneman Douglas," said Benedict Kuehne. "Before any facts were laid bare, (DeSantis) began the mantra that Sheriff Israel must go, almost a political mantra."

The hearing was being held before former state Rep. Dudley Goodlette, who was appointed by Senate President Bill Galvano to hear facts in the case and make a recommendation on whether Israel should be removed from office. The full Senate will later decide Israel's fate.

DeSantis suspended Israel three days after taking office in January, saying the response to the Parkland massacre showed incompetence and neglect of duty. Israel said neither was true.

"I've been called some names in my time, but on my 63 years on earth ... I have never been called incompetent and I have never been called negligent," Israel said. "I know these hearings are about taking my livelihood away from me, but incompetent and negligent? No sir."

A lawyer for DeSantis said the suspension was justified, and that the department was unprepared for another mass shooting 13 months prior to Parkland that left five people dead.

The chaos that broke out after a shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport on Jan. 6, 2017, Nicholas Primrose said, was due to Israel's failure "to adequately prepare his deputies for an active duty situation in one of the fastest growing airports in the United States."

"Confusion, unclear command orders and a lack of training resulted in unnecessary chaos and injuries to more individuals, which can only be described as an abysmal response."

Israel said that his department had trained for an active shooter situation at the airport, and that other than the five people who died, he wouldn't change a thing about that day.

"I don't get offended very easily, but to hear (Primrose) this morning say there was confusion and chaos at the airport, of course there was confusion and chaos at the airport. There were 20,000 people running haphazardly, people didn't know where gunshots were coming from, there were people hiding under cars," Israel said. "I'm so proud of the fact that after we arrived only one person was injured, and not seriously."

Primrose also said Israel should be held responsible for the actions of former Deputy Scot Peterson, a school resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas who failed to enter the school after former student Nikolas Cruz began firing inside. Peterson was charged earlier this month with 11 criminal counts for failing to confront Cruz.

"Any failure of Deputy Peterson is also a failure of Scott Israel," Primrose said. "It's baffling that Scott Israel accepts zero responsibility for the admissions and neglect of the deputies he appoints."

Kuehne said Peterson had received training for active shooter situations and there is nothing in his personnel file that indicated he would fail to act. He also noted that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, overseen by DeSantis and the independently elected Cabinet, doesn't require active shooter training for local law enforcement. He said DeSantis has had nearly half a year to demand that the department set standards for active shooter training and hasn't done so. DeSantis decided to suspend Israel before the department completed an investigation into law enforcement's response to the Parkland shooting, Kuehne added.

Israel will continue testifying Wednesday.


Sheriff suspended after Parkland shooting continues to fight for job

Posted on June 19, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' decision to suspend the sheriff who oversaw the response to the Parkland school shooting was a knee-jerk reaction based on politics, not facts, a lawyer said Tuesday as a Senate hearing began on whether to uphold the suspension.

The lawyer for suspended Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel portrayed DeSantis as using the deaths of 17 students and staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for political gain, saying DeSantis was promising to remove Israel even before the governor was elected in November.

"This is sad, to have politicized the lives of children and adults who were lost to a terrorist at Marjory Stoneman Douglas," said Benedict Kuehne. "Before any facts were laid bare, (DeSantis) began the mantra that Sheriff Israel must go, almost a political mantra."

The hearing was being held before former state Rep. Dudley Goodlette, who was appointed by Senate President Bill Galvano to hear facts in the case and make a recommendation on whether Israel should be removed from office. The full Senate will later decide Israel's fate.

DeSantis suspended Israel three days after taking office in January, saying the response to the Parkland massacre showed incompetence and neglect of duty. Israel said neither was true.

"I've been called some names in my time, but on my 63 years on earth ... I have never been called incompetent and I have never been called negligent," Israel said. "I know these hearings are about taking my livelihood away from me, but incompetent and negligent? No sir."

A lawyer for DeSantis said the suspension was justified, and that the department was unprepared for another mass shooting 13 months prior to Parkland that left five people dead.

The chaos that broke out after a shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport on Jan. 6, 2017, Nicholas Primrose said, was due to Israel's failure "to adequately prepare his deputies for an active duty situation in one of the fastest growing airports in the United States."

"Confusion, unclear command orders and a lack of training resulted in unnecessary chaos and injuries to more individuals, which can only be described as an abysmal response."

Israel said that his department had trained for an active shooter situation at the airport, and that other than the five people who died, he wouldn't change a thing about that day.

"I don't get offended very easily, but to hear (Primrose) this morning say there was confusion and chaos at the airport, of course there was confusion and chaos at the airport. There were 20,000 people running haphazardly, people didn't know where gunshots were coming from, there were people hiding under cars," Israel said. "I'm so proud of the fact that after we arrived only one person was injured, and not seriously."

Primrose also said Israel should be held responsible for the actions of former Deputy Scot Peterson, a school resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas who failed to enter the school after former student Nikolas Cruz began firing inside. Peterson was charged earlier this month with 11 criminal counts for failing to confront Cruz.

"Any failure of Deputy Peterson is also a failure of Scott Israel," Primrose said. "It's baffling that Scott Israel accepts zero responsibility for the admissions and neglect of the deputies he appoints."

Kuehne said Peterson had received training for active shooter situations and there is nothing in his personnel file that indicated he would fail to act. He also noted that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, overseen by DeSantis and the independently elected Cabinet, doesn't require active shooter training for local law enforcement. He said DeSantis has had nearly half a year to demand that the department set standards for active shooter training and hasn't done so. DeSantis decided to suspend Israel before the department completed an investigation into law enforcement's response to the Parkland shooting, Kuehne added.

Israel will continue testifying Wednesday.


How mobile-first apps are changing law enforcement

Posted on June 19, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Sponsored by Tyler Technologies

By Laura Neitzel for PoliceOne BrandFocus

When the first desktop personal computers arrived on the scene in the late ’70s and early ’80s, data storage maxed out at about 2.5 gigabytes. Graphics were rudimentary (think the original Mario Brothers video game). The first short message service, or SMS, note, which we now call a “text,” was sent in 1992. If you wanted to photograph a crime scene, you probably used a 35 mm film camera, since the first digital camera was not perfected until almost a decade later.

Fast forward to today, when most Americans have a smartphone, tablet or even a smartwatch that is more powerful than the supercomputers used to guide the Apollo 11 capsule to the moon. Now, anyone can use a handheld device to text, video chat, capture high-resolution images, play their favorite music, socialize with their friends, map the quickest way to a destination or even see a live view of Earth from the International Space Station.

Now that mobile technologies are fully integrated into our personal lives, police agencies are more open to equipping their superheroes with supercomputers: mobile devices and applications that leverage the ease of consumer applications but are built specifically to address the needs of law enforcement. Mobile apps can help keep officers more situationally aware while making tasks like reporting and evidence collection in the field more efficient and accurate.

Not only does the embrace of mobile technology make sense for safety, efficiency and accuracy, it will become increasingly necessary as the new generation of digital natives enters the profession already accustomed to mobile technology and the expectation of being constantly connected.

Here is a look at a few mobile-first apps that will soon put supercomputer capabilities in the hands of police officers – no matter where they are.

What is driving a mobile-first approach?

Mobile-first is basically the ability for folks to be able to perform their jobs out in the field on devices like a smartphone or tablet, says Russell Gainford, vice president of software strategy and development for Tyler Technologies’ public safety division.

Tyler is committed to developing increasingly sophisticated yet user-friendly and intuitive mobile applications for public safety, made possible by rapid advances in the devices themselves and the impending arrival of 5G, the next-generation wireless network that promises unprecedented speed and data storage capacity.

“The No. 1 thing we’re seeing is the improvement of device technology, the graphics processing, the chip processing, the memory and the ability for these phones and devices to be as powerful as your laptops and computers,” said Gainford. “We also expect over the next three years that the 5G wireless network will be out and available across the United States, which will dramatically improve the speed of an individual’s phone download by over 20 times. 5G will open up a realm of possibilities for mobility applications.”

Apps to enhance situational awareness and safety

One of the areas where officers are most exposed day-to-day in the field is when they leave their vehicle and dispatchers are not able to locate them.

One of Tyler’s mobile-first tools, New World ShieldForce, extends the computer-aided dispatch functionality onto a smartphone, tablet or watch, so a dispatcher can track an officer, first in their vehicle, then by their phone and then their watch as they move, says Gainford. The application can also trigger an emergency beacon if it recognizes that an officer is in a foot chase.

In addition to being able to track a single officer, command staff can view real-time positioning of all units and personnel during a large-scale incident, which helps when backup is required.

ShieldForce was also designed to provide critical information to officers in the field to keep them more situationally aware. With information instantly accessible, law enforcement officers do not need to radio into dispatch for additional information or return to their patrol vehicles to request or pull data from their MDTs.

“An officer can scan a driver’s license directly next to an individual in a car,” said Gainford. “They can search for vehicles. They can search for individuals. It’s a full-fledged dispatch application set that is meant to be the next generation of what’s done in the MDT today.”

Coming soon: An app for the smart watch

In addition to apps for smartphones and tablets, Tyler is working on an app that can push alerts, narratives and emergency notifications to an officer’s smartwatch. This will allow an officer to stay situationally aware even in instances where they may want to be more discreet or when a phone or tablet is not accessible or convenient.

“One of the things we’ve heard from police officers is, ‘Hey, when I’m out there and I’m talking directly to a potential suspect on a stop or something that’s occurring, I’m not looking directly at my phone all the time,” said Gainford. “Our goal with a smart watch application is to provide all the critical information that a first responder would need without them ever having to take a phone out of their pocket.”

Biometric sensors in the smartwatch can also monitor an officer’s heart or breathing rate and be configured to send alerts accordingly.

Evidence collection

Another area where the mobile-first approach has gained traction is evidence collection. Tyler’s New World Scene Collect app gives investigators the ability to take notes, take photos or record videos in the field and automatically upload them to secure, CJIS-compliant cloud storage.

“An officer can take a narration from a citizen who witnessed an accident, get pictures and video of the surrounding scene and then that information instantly gets stored to the cloud,” said Gainford. “Then that evidence will link back to the records management system so when an investigator goes into the records to look at the case or incident, they can view all the related files there instantly without having to navigate in multiple systems.”

Access information from other departments

Tyler recently acquired MobileEyes, a mobile-centric application designed to allow fire inspectors to essentially perform fire inspections using national fire code standards and violations. Although designed for the fire service, the information gathered from the fire inspection can be valuable to law enforcement officers as well.

“The results of those inspections can flow back into the city’s permitting software and also into the police department’s CAD and records dispatch software,” said Gainford. “That way, when a law enforcement officer is dispatched to a scene, they have information about that building, such as number of occupants, the nature of the business, whether there are hazardous materials stored at the location or whether there are fences, gates or security systems to be navigated.”

The future is coming: Are you ready?

Gainford has been surprised at how quickly police agencies are embracing mobile-first technology.

“We expected that, at least for quite a few years, our mobile applications would be used more as a supplementary application to a mobile device terminal in the car that would be used to capture some evidence or look up certain information,” he said. “But what we’re seeing right now is that many agencies, especially smaller agencies with volunteers, are just getting rid of the laptops altogether and using mobile devices as their primary device for their job.”

As millennials and Gen Z (born after 1995) enter the workforce, mobility will be the norm. Tyler Technologies is preparing for this near future, when mobile devices on 5G networks will give law enforcement unprecedented capabilities to share vital information that will lead to safer, smarter and more connected communities.


Man found guilty of fatally shooting Maine LEO

Posted on June 19, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Seth Koenig Bangor Daily News, Maine

BANGOR, Maine — A Cumberland County jury of six men and six women found John D. Williams guilty of murder in the April 2018 fatal shooting of Cpl. Eugene Cole of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office.

The death of Cole, who was the first Maine law enforcement officer fatally shot in the line of duty in nearly 30 years, and ensuing four-day manhunt for Williams garnered intense media coverage.

The jurors deliberated less than three hours before handing up their verdict.

“This won’t bring Gene back,” Tom Cole, Eugene Cole’s brother, told reporters outside the courthouse after the verdict. “There are no winners in a case like this, but maybe now we can start to get some closure. Hopefully we’ll start to sleep at night again and maybe it won’t be out there as much, so maybe the wounds can start to heal.”

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Marchese, who led the prosecution, said her team is “very grateful for the thorough job the jury did in rendering their guilty verdict.”

“They obviously agreed with the state’s view of the case,” she continued. “They weren’t out that long, so we’re thrilled.”

The fact that John Williams shot and killed the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office deputy was not disputed in the seven-day trial. Rather, Williams’ defense team argued that he was so impaired by drugs at the time he couldn’t have formed the intent to kill Cole when he pulled the trigger.

“That was the defense’s only argument and we didn’t buy it,” Marchese told reporters. “We thought his actions around the time of the homicide clearly showed he intended to cause the death of Cpl. Cole.”

If jurors had agreed he didn’t intend to kill, they could have downgraded the charge from murder to manslaughter.

A murder conviction carries a sentence of between 25 years and life in prison, while a manslaughter conviction has no minimum sentence and a maximum term of 30 years.

Williams, 30, had pleaded not guilty to murder. Defense attorney Verne Paradie, who represented Williams, told reporters he plans to appeal the verdict.

“I’m obviously disappointed,” Paradie said. “It’s not an entirely surprising verdict. It was a tough case. … [Williams] is obviously disappointed as well.”

Marchese reiterated to reporters that prosecutors will seek a life sentence. She said she expects the sentencing to take place in early September.

Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster was in court Tuesday and emailed his department once the jury handed up its guilty verdict, said Detective Jeremy Leal.

It came as a relief to the detective, who developed a close friendship with Cole when they were partners on patrol for between 2009 and 2013. Leal was one of the first Somerset County officers to arrive in Norridgewock in the early hours of April 25, 2018, after Cole went silent on his radio, and spent the next four sleepless days helping in the massive search for Williams.

“I was in my office and the new chief deputy was with me [when I saw the verdict]. We were elated that justice was served and I’m sure that was the sentiment throughout our department and law enforcement in Maine,” Leal said Tuesday afternoon. “It’s a good day.”

Monuments have gone up and a bridge has been dedicated in Cole’s name in the year since he died, and a few Somerset County deputies even have his call number, 1312, tattooed on their bodies, Leal said. For younger deputies who saw the 61-year-old corporal as a mentor, they see his legacy in their police work.

“He really took me under his wing,” said Deputy Logan Roberts, who was supervised by Cole during his first five months with the department, after he was hired at age 22 in November of 2017. “He always told me that I should treat people at work how I’d want my parents to be treated by the police. That’s something I carry with me every day.”

During the trial, prosecutors called a range of law enforcement officers and forensics specialists to testify that, based in part on the gunpowder marks left on the entrance wound on Cole’s neck and lead found on his uniform collar, Williams shot the deputy at contact range.

Under the definitions in Maine law, defendants can be found guilty of “knowing and intentional” murder if they “can be practically certain” their actions would cause death.

“John Williams knows exactly what happens when you put a .9 mm to a person’s neck and pull the trigger,” Marchese told jurors. “The target is eliminated.”

Marchese used the term “eliminated,” because jurors heard Williams tell detectives he “eliminated” Cole in a recorded interview. Prosecutors played the nearly 90-minute video of detectives interviewing Williams on the third day of the trial.

“I pulled my pistol,” Williams says in the video. “I got the jump on him. I shot him.”

“Where did you shoot him,” one of the detectives asks.

“I shot him in the head,” Williams answers.

“The confession, in my view, was the most compelling piece of evidence in the case,” Marchese told reporters. “Once you had the confession, it was never a ‘whodunit,’ so that, to me, was the most compelling.”

The prosecution also called witnesses who interacted with Williams during the hours before and after the crime, including two current or former friends and a convenience store cashier, who testified that Williams was able to steal and drive away Cole’s police truck, among other actions.

A former friend, Christopher Williams, no relation to the defendant, testified for the prosecution that John Williams was a knowledgeable and responsible gun owner.

Prosecutors hoped those testimonies would sway the jury that John Williams was not so impaired at the time he couldn’t have understood the close-range shot would be fatal.

Marchese said during her closing argument Tuesday that the defendant’s familiarity with his firearms proved he knew how to use them lethally.

“This man knew exactly what he was doing,” she told jurors.

Paradie disputed that Williams was at “contact range” when he shot Cole, saying during his closing argument the deputy’s blood would’ve been on the handgun or the police truck steering wheel, which Williams stole after the crime, had he been as close as prosecutors said.

During the trial, defense attorneys called only two witnesses: a forensic psychology professor and an addiction specialist, who told jurors on Friday that Williams’ drug use, exhaustion, hunger and isolation made him “irrational, destructive and self-defeating” in the days leading up to Cole’s shooting.

“Nobody has claimed Mr. Williams, when you’re as high as he was, can’t function,” Paradie said during his closing argument Tuesday, adding that jurors just need to agree that Williams didn’t understand that the shot would be fatal in the “instant” he pulled the trigger in order to find him not guilty of murder.

“He told [state forensic expert] Dr. April O’Grady, ‘It was like I was watching another person … then after the shot, I snapped back into reality like a rubber band,’” Paradie told the jury.

While the two sides disagreed whether Williams knowingly or intentionally killed Cole, the timeline of events was largely undisputed.

Under the prosecution’s timeline — which went unchallenged by the defense — Williams was attempting to get into a Mercer Road home in Norridgewock in the early morning hours of April 25, 2018, where he’d previously been living.

Cole — who had recently encountered Williams on a traffic stop in which drugs were allegedly found in the vehicle and Williams’ girlfriend, the driver, was arrested — approached to arrest Williams as well.

Williams pulled away from Cole, took out his Ruger .9 mm handgun and fatally shot the deputy in the neck.

Williams then stole Cole’s police truck and went on the run, starting a nearly four-day manhunt that ended on April 28, 2019, when police found him hiding in a small cabin in the Fairfield woods near the Norridgewock town line.

Williams’ defense team sought to downplay the video of his interview with detectives, arguing that police “beat and pummeled” him after finding him in the woods and that Williams only confessed to the crime to avoid further abuse.

But Superior Court Justice Robert Mullen ruled the video was admissible after a multi-day hearing in late February-early March.

Glenn Lang of the Maine State Police said Williams was reluctant to offer his hands to be cuffed, and acknowledged on the witness stand that he hit him “two or three times” in order to get handcuffs on the suspect as quickly as possible.

Marchese said during her closing argument Tuesday that Williams was heavily armed and had already killed one police officer at the time, and that the arresting officers didn’t know whether there was an accomplice somewhere in the area. She argued the additional force was understandable under the circumstances.

Paradie told reporters he plans to appeal Mullen’s decision to allow the admission of the confession video, as well as the prosecution’s depiction of the positions Williams and Cole were in at the time of the shooting.

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©2019 the Bangor Daily News (Bangor, Maine)


Bill adds killing Ore. LE back to crimes eligible for death penalty

Posted on June 19, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Noelle Crombie The Oregonian, Portland, Ore.

PORTLAND, Ore. — A bill that narrows the crimes eligible for the death penalty heads to a vote of the Oregon House on Wednesday with a new provision: A last-minute change adds back the killing of law enforcement, corrections and parole and probation officers to the definition of aggravated murder.

The bill now defines aggravated murder to apply to acts of terror that kill two or more people, killings in jail or prison by people already convicted of aggravated murder, the premeditated murder of a someone younger than 14 and the killing of officers.

Under current state law, aggravated murder covers crimes such as killing more than one person or killing someone during a rape or robbery. Senate Bill 1013 would reclassify those crimes as first-degree murder, carrying a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

House Majority Jennifer Williamson, D-Portland, said during a committee vote Monday that the inclusion of law enforcement in the bill is “appropriate.”

“What we talked about in the hearing was ensuring that our death penalty is available for the worst of the worst crimes,” she said.

Aliza Kaplan, a professor at Lewis & Clark Law School and director of the Criminal Justice Reform Clinic, called the bill a compromise and a start to fixing what she called a broken system.

“While we might not all agree -- some people want more things, some people want less things -- we are at least discussing the issue and focusing on what is best for our state so we are not wasting money,” she said.

The proposed legislation also would change one of the four questions juries must decide when considering whether to impose a death sentence. Under Oregon’s system, jurors must determine that a person guilty of aggravated murder is at risk of being a danger in the future. The bill would remove that question.

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©2019 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)


After fatal OIS, Ind. mayor says police must activate cameras

Posted on June 19, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is telling officers after a fatal police shooting that they must activate their body cameras during any interaction with civilians.

The Democratic presidential candidate asked his police chief to issue an executive order Tuesday confirming an existing department policy about use of body cameras. The order came two days after a white officer fatally shot a 54-year-old black man. The officer said the man refused commands to drop a knife.

Prosecutors investigating Eric Logan's death say the shooting was not recorded on Sgt. Ryan O'Neill's body camera because the officer was driving without emergency lights while responding to a call about a suspicious person going through vehicles.

Buttigieg says the city has been working for years to improve relations between police and the community. He says that "must continue with more urgency than ever" after Sunday's shooting.


3 NC sheriffs to speak out against detainer bill

Posted on June 19, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. — Some North Carolina sheriffs who've refused to hold people who would otherwise be released from jail if federal agents say they might be in the country unlawfully are still opposed to updated legislation aiming to address the issue.

Sheriffs from Mecklenburg, Wake and Buncombe counties plan to speak at a Legislative Building news conference on Wednesday before a Senate committee debates and votes on the bill.

These recently elected sheriffs announced they wouldn't comply with Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers for people charged with state crimes, saying it's not in the best interest of community safety and may be unconstitutional.

House legislation forcing sheriffs to fulfill those requests was changed in the Senate, to require orders from judges or magistrates. These sheriffs still have concerns about due process.


Phoenix police chief promises change amid civil rights claim

Posted on June 19, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

PHOENIX — Police Chief Jeri Williams promised change in her department after being booed by some of hundreds of people gathered to discuss a videotaped police encounter that has caused a national outcry.

The meeting at a downtown church Tuesday night was called by the city in the wake of the release of a bystander's video of police officers who pointed their guns and shouted obscenities last month at a black family. Dravon Ames and his pregnant fiancee Iesha Harper, who was holding their 1-year-old daughter, say their 4-year-old daughter had stolen a doll from a store without their knowledge.

"Real change starts with the community," Williams said to a sometimes hostile crowd comprised mainly of blacks and Hispanics.

"Real change starts with the firing of the officers! Fire them!" one woman shouted toward the stage, where Williams, who is herself black, was seated next to Mayor Kate Gallego and other Phoenix city leaders.

Appearing frustrated at times, Williams assured those gathered that the meeting would not be the last.

"We are here to listen, we are here to make change," she said.

The couple has called for the officers to be fired.

Ames addressed the crowd briefly, drawing applause when he said he and his family were lucky to be alive after the incident.

"No one should ever try to justify what happened that day," he said.

"We matter," said Harper, holding the couple's 1-year-old.

The father of Jacob Harris, a black 19-year-old man who was shot and killed by a Phoenix officer in January following an armed robbery at a fast food restaurant, also spoke at the meeting along with others who have had loved ones killed in police-related shootings.

Earlier Tuesday, Phoenix police released surveillance video aimed at backing up their assertion that adults and not just a child were shoplifting before the incident.

The store video is difficult to follow because it has been edited and the subjects' faces are blurred. It shows a man taking something from a display rack and examining it, but it's unclear what happened to the package when he walked off camera.

Another snippet of video later shows a little girl with a doll in a box walking out of the store accompanied by adults.

A police statement last week about the incident in late May states Dravon Ames told police he threw a pair of stolen underwear out of his car. Police also say a woman traveling in a different vehicle was arrested separately for stealing aluminum foil.

A bystander's video that came to light last week shows officers aiming guns and yelling profane commands at Ames and his pregnant fiancée, Iesha Harper, as she held their 1-year-old daughter. They say their 4-year-old daughter had taken a doll from a store without their knowledge.

The store decided not to prosecute and no charges have been filed.

The couple filed a $10 million claim against the city alleging civil rights violations as a precursor to a lawsuit. The race of the officers is not known.

Ames has a pending case on charges of aggravated assault of a police officer in an unrelated case that followed a traffic accident in suburban Tempe, Arizona, last year. Court documents say Ames unsuccessfully tried to kick officers several times when they arrested him on suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana.

One Tempe officer used a stun gun on Ames because he thought he was trying to grab the other officer's gun, according to documents.

Phoenix police have not responded to repeated questions about whether the officers in the videotaped encounter following the alleged shoplifting were aware of, or influenced by, Ames' earlier case. Civil liberties attorney Sandra Slaton said Monday the prior case was irrelevant.

The police chief has said an investigation into the officers' actions is under way. The Phoenix police union is urging calm, saying it will not express an opinion until the investigation is completed.

The bystander's video comes amid an investigation by police departments in Phoenix and other cities into a database that appears to catalog thousands of bigoted or violent social media posts by active-duty and former officers.

Williams, has moved some officers to "non-enforcement" assignments while the department looks into Facebook posts she called "embarrassing and disturbing."

The database published by Plain View Project earlier this month included nearly 180 posts tied to current Phoenix police officers that disparage Muslims, black people, transgender people and other groups.


Calif. LEO weighs lawsuit after altercation with Toronto Raptors’ president

Posted on June 18, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By PoliceOne Staff

OAKLAND, Calif. — A sheriff’s deputy is considering filing a lawsuit after claiming he was seriously injured by Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri last week.

According to CBS San Francisco, Ujiri allegedly hit the deputy with his arm on the side of his face and shoved him while trying to get to the court after the Raptors won the NBA Finals.

The deputy told investigators that he was trying to stop Ujiri because he didn’t know who he was and wasn’t wearing proper credentials. That’s when Ujiri gave “an unprovoked significant hit to the jaw” to the deputy.

The 20-year veteran suffered a serious concussion and jaw injury and hasn’t been able to return to work.

The Almeda County sheriff says he supports the deputy and is recommending the case move forward to the district attorney for criminal charges against Ujiri.


Ind. mayor cancels presidential campaign events after fatal OIS

Posted on June 18, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By PoliceOne Staff

WASHINGTON — An Indiana mayor who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination canceled his campaign events to return to his city after a fatal officer-involved shooting occurred.

According to Reuters, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg canceled his Monday campaign events after the fatal officer-involved shooting of 53-year-old Eric Jack Logan on Sunday. The mayor had been scheduled to appear at events in New York.

Buttigieg held a late night news conference Sunday explaining next steps in the investigation of the shooting. The mayor told reporters that he learned from criticism he received after previous use of force incidents and that it was important for leaders to get in front of the cameras even if there’s not much information to give.

Police say Logan approached an officer with a knife, prompting the LEO to shoot him. Logan was transported to a local hospital where he later died.

The unidentified officer is on administrative leave, per policy.

A separate internal affairs investigation at the police department is underway to determine if its policies and procedures were followed.


Silent no more: Officers need a lifeline, too

Posted on June 18, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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By Liz Barton

After retiring from a long career as a police officer, my grandfather died by suicide in 2012.

My grandfather wasn’t the only one I watched suffer in silence. Growing up as a multi-generational police officer’s daughter, and being married to a firefighter, I witnessed firsthand the devastating effects being a first responder can have on the brain. I watched as my loved ones and family friends battled depression, anxiety, PTSD, alcoholism, substance use disorder and, for my grandfather, suicide. After his death and the death of a close family friend, I knew I could no longer be silent.

I’m now an advocate for first responders struggling with mental health and substance use disorder. Every day, I get to help someone find healing as the national administrator for first responder services for American Addiction Centers. I also travel around the country working with law enforcement agencies to bring these issues to the forefront. My message: It’s OK to not be OK – but it’s not OK to live in silence.

Responders still afraid to seek help

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nearly one in four police officers has thoughts of suicide at some point in their life. In fact, more police officers die by suicide than in the line of duty.

It’s easy to understand when you consider most officers and other first responders experience more trauma in a single day than most people will experience in a lifetime. Despite this, I’ve found first responders are afraid to come forward and get help because they fear people will look down on them or they could lose their weapons and jobs.

Over the last several years, we’ve seen advancements in the policies and procedures for law enforcement agencies nationwide. But until we get to the point where officers do not fear repercussions for reaching out for help, there’s still much to do. For example, I would like to see every agency have a health and wellness committee and offer continuing education for officers around mental health.

Signs and symptoms of a mental health concern

We must continue to raise awareness about the early warning signs of a mental health concern. Those signs can include, but are not limited to:

Lack of sleep/nightmares; Sudden relationship issues; Increase in reckless behaviors; Loss of appetite; Lack of self-care; Anger/rage/change in personality; Isolation; Loss of interest in activities; Increased alcohol consumption or substance use as a coping mechanism.

Some first responders mistakenly believe these symptoms will get better over time. The reality is that they typically only get worse. The data shows the sooner you can get help after a traumatic event, the better the outcome. Unfortunately, officers are waiting too long to get help and it’s leading to an increased risk for substance use and addiction. And for some people like my grandfather, it becomes too much to bear and ends in death by suicide.

Reaching out for help

The good news is there is help. Taking the first step can include reaching out to a peer support team or chaplain, connecting with an EAP program, or contacting a confidential helpline. American Addiction Centers operates a 24/7 confidential law enforcement helpline at 855-997-6542.

What my family endured was heartbreaking. If I can help even one officer from going down that path, then I will continue to speak out and raise the alarm. This is my life’s calling and my way of honoring my family’s legacy.


About the author Liz Barton is a trained first responder addiction specialist and mental health champion. Liz works alongside Responder Rescue in St. Louis, Missouri, and HERO (Helping Emergency Responders Overcome) program, which offers confidential counseling for first responders and their families as well as support groups. Liz also works and advocates alongside many law enforcement organizations to support officer mental wellness. In 2014, she joined American Addiction Centers and eventually assumed the role of national administrator of first responder services. Liz also advocates for first responders on the legislative level. She has written several bills and lobbied to Congress to adopt laws accepting PTSI as a work-related injury under workers’ compensation.


St. Louis LEO sues city after being shot by colleague

Posted on June 18, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Erin Heffernan St. Louis Post-Dispatch

ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis police officer who was shot while off duty by a fellow cop in 2017 filed a federal lawsuit Monday, alleging abuse by his own department and offering new details of the controversial shooting.

Officer Milton Green filed suit in U.S. District Court in St. Louis two years after he was shot on June 21, 2017, outside his home in the city's North Pointe neighborhood while officers were searching for suspects. The shooter, identified as Officer Christopher Tanner, and the city of St. Louis are named as defendants.

Court documents lay out Green's account of the shooting and, according to the suit, a lack of support from the department in the two years since. Police declined to comment.

In an exclusive interview with Post-Dispatch metro columnist Tony Messenger, Green said that if he were a white officer, he believes the department would have handled things differently. Green is black and the shooter, Tanner, is white.

“I wouldn't have gotten shot,” Green said. “How did he not see my badge in my hand? My gun was pointed down, and the other officers were calm. The detective told them who I was and told them not to shoot.”

According to the lawsuit, Green was working on his neighbor's car in their shared driveway when he heard a vehicle crash into another car at the nearby intersection of Park Lane and Astra Avenue.

Police said they were chasing a stolen white sedan. Occupants inside had shot at officers, striking police vehicles. When the car crashed, the occupants fled, police said.

Green says one of the suspects ran next to his house and dropped to the ground when police shot at him. The man then pointed his gun at Green and Green's neighbor. Green pulled out his department-issued gun and yelled: 'Police! Drop your gun!" the suit says.

The suit says the suspect ran off, and an officer told Green to drop his weapon and get to the ground; Green complied. Green alleges he told officers he was a police officer and a detective told Green to stand up and approach him.

When he stood up, the suit alleges, Tanner walked up and shouted for him to drop the weapon while simultaneously shooting Green.

"The racial implications of how Officer Green has been treated cannot be ignored," the suit states.

Green was shot in the arm and is still on medical leave. The suit says he cannot grip with the arm that was shot.

The suit also says Green faced a lack of support from the department and his fellow officers after the shooting.

"Had he been shot by the perps everyone would have considered him a hero," Green's attorney Javad Khazaeli said Monday. "It happened while he was trying to stop a criminal and now he's permanently disabled."

Since the shooting, Green has been disappointed by the department's handling of the situation.

“If I was white, I feel like I would have been taken care of,” he told Messenger. “That's how I feel.”

The suit asserts the department "has not handled its investigation of Officer Green's shooting with any solemnity."

The department's Force Investigative Unit investigated, but, according to the suit, placed the father of Tanner's police partner in charge of the review. The suit says Green has not been interviewed by the department as part of the investigation.

In 2017, the shooting prompted then-acting Chief Lawrence O’Toole to form a committee to decide how best to train officers for similar situations. St. Louis police did not immediately say the committee produced results.

The Ethical Society of Police, which represents many St. Louis minority officers, has routinely criticized the department's response to the shooting. The group suggested more racial bias training was needed instead of friendly-fire training.

Green also says he's suffered financially. His pension claim has not been resolved, while other claims from injured officers are quickly granted, the suit alleges.

Court documents claim the St. Louis Police Officer's Association raised $2,000 for Tanner, the shooter, but held no fundraisers for Green. Jeff Roorda, business manager for the union, denied Monday that the association had hosted a fundraiser for Tanner and said that the union's charitable foundation donated money to Green.

Green, who has been a police officer since 2005, is now "drowning in bills," close to losing his home, and struggling to support himself and his four children, Khazaeli said.

Tanner was placed on administrative leave after the shooting and is no longer employed by the department.

Police took into custody two of the suspects who allegedly fled the car at the shooting scene. They were charged with a combined 31 felonies in 2017, but all charges were dropped by the St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office earlier this month.

The circuit attorney's office has not explained why the charges were dropped.

A third person who had been in the stolen car escaped, police said in 2017.

———

©2019 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch


New Orleans officer, 2 suspects wounded in drugstore shootout

Posted on June 18, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Ramon Antonio Vargas The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.

NEW ORLEANS — A usually tranquil stretch of Prytania Street in Uptown awoke to gunfire Monday morning after New Orleans police got into a shootout with two men robbing a drugstore, leaving one officer and both suspects wounded, authorities said.

While one of the suspects was quickly arrested, the second ran into a nearby residential neighborhood, sparking an hours-long manhunt through Uptown backyards and alleyways until heavily armed officers captured him.

Police brought their injured colleague to University Medical Center for treatment, and paramedics took the arrested suspects to the hospital. None of the wounded were immediately identified, but all were believed to be in stable condition, authorities said.

“I am just grateful (the officers) are OK,” New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said. “I am grateful no one sustained, that we know of, any serious injuries.”

According to police, a 26-year-old man and an 18-year-old man barged into the 24-hour CVS in the 4900 block of Prytania just after 6:05 a.m. and demanded property from the store at gunpoint. Three officers were at the store within a few minutes to investigate a call. They encountered a pair of armed men inside the store and exchanged fire with them, Ferguson said.

Police didn’t immediately say how many bystanders were inside the store during the shootout, but at least two people wearing CVS shirts could be seen talking to investigators in the parking lot later in the morning.

The wounded officer was hit in the upper left shoulder, police said. Ferguson said he didn’t know where the suspect who was detained at the store had been hit.

Meanwhile, the second suspect, despite being hit, managed to run out of the store toward the Mississippi River on Upperline Street, police said. On a radio channel, police described the man as “limping” and wielding “a black submachine gun.”

Officers cordoned off a large area generally bounded by Prytania, Boudeaux, Coliseum and Robert streets. Pedestrians and motorists were turned away at the edges of the perimeter while police dogs and the NOPD SWAT team combed the area’s yards and alleyways.

By 9 a.m., officers found the second suspect hiding near a home close to the corner of Upperline and Chestnut streets, within the zone that had been cordoned off, according to several neighborhood residents.

Andrea Lockwood, who lives in the area, recorded a cellphone video of that man being loaded into an ambulance on a stretcher. At least three NOPD officers and three Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents gathered at the ambulance as paramedics brought the suspect in.

Some residents said they thought they were hearing an early test run of 4th of July fireworks before they realized the situation was much more serious.

One resident, who asked to not be named, recounted how the second suspect hid in between his and his neighbor’s homes. The resident said he looked out his front window because he heard a tarp rustling, and he spotted an officer pointing a gun up an alleyway while shouting into his radio, “I need K-9 backup!”

“I went to the safest room that I could find and laid down. I stayed there for like an hour,” said the resident, who described later seeing blood in the alleyway.

Closer to the CVS, Robert Conner, who identified himself as the pharmacy manager’s father, said he was having coffee at a McDonald’s restaurant when he saw on the television that there had been gunfire at the store.

Conner drove to the CVS and waited across the street, worrying about what had happened as the minutes ticked by. Finally, he received a call from his daughter, who said she was safe.

“It released the burden of my heart,” a visibly relieved Conner told reporters. “God … spared her life.”

Monday was only one of several times that police in New Orleans have been drawn into gun battles this year.

In separate incidents between January and May, three men were fatally shot after video footage showed that they each first fired on police.

Additionally, in July 2017, roughly a half-mile from Monday’s clash, a police officer working a paid detail for an Uptown neighborhood organization was shot in the leg by someone in a passing vehicle.

As is police protocol in deadly police shootings involving NOPD, Monday’s melee is being investigated by the Police Department’s Force Investigation Team, a special unit set up under the agency’s seven-year-old reform agreement with the federal government.

Independent federal and municipal monitors are also reviewing the case, police said.

———

©2019 The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.


Texas motorcycle LEO struck, dragged by truck

Posted on June 18, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Jay R. Jordan Houston Chronicle

ROMAN FOREST, Texas — A Roman Forest police officer hit and dragged by a pickup truck along North Loop 610 on Monday morning is in good condition.

Veteran officer Greg Sammon and a Harris County Precinct 1 Constable's Office deputy were escorting a large load along the highway around 9:50 a.m. when a pickup truck involved in a crash rear-ended Sammon, Roman Forest Police Chief Stephen Carlisle said. Both the officer and his motorcycle were dragged for an unknown distance before the truck came to a stop near Kirkpatrick.

The officer was rushed by police escort to Memorial Hermann Hospital in an unknown condition, but his injuries are not life-threatening, according to Houston police. He was conscious and breathing as he was loaded into an ambulance, constable's office spokesperson Kevin Quinn said.

Sammon has been in law enforcement for 33 years, the last four of which he's spent in Roman Forest after retiring from the Humble Police Department.

"Officer Sammon appears to be in good condition and under great care at Memorial Hermann," Carlisle said. "He is with family and friends."

The pickup truck driver remained on scene and is speaking with crash investigators, Quinn said. It is unclear if the driver will face any charges.

Earlier this morning, Officer Greg Sammon was involved in a crash while escorting a large truck while on his motorcycle....

Posted by Roman Forest Police Department on Monday, June 17, 2019

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©2019 the Houston Chronicle


Off-duty Wis. LEO fatally shot while intervening in robbery

Posted on June 18, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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By PoliceOne Staff

RACINE, Wis. — An off-duty officer was shot and killed Monday night while intervening in an armed robbery. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, Officer John Hetland saw the robbery occurring outside of a bar and took immediate action.

As Hetland was intervening, the suspect opened fire and fatally wounded him. The suspect fled the scene and is still at large.

Hetland served with the Racine Police Department for 24 years and is survived by his parents and two children.


Fla. SRO suffers fatal heart attack

Posted on June 17, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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By PoliceOne Staff

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — An officer suffered a fatal heart attack Wednesday.

According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, Officer Steven Brown was a camp leader for the Port St. Lucie Police Athletic League’s Police Camp. After three days of strenuous outdoor activities, Brown had a heart attack and collapsed when he returned home at the end of the third day.

Brown was involved with the camp as part of his summertime duties as a school resource officer.

The officer served with his department for 14 years and is survived by his wife, daughter and son.


Police: 2 shot at Toronto Raptors championship parade, 2 arrested

Posted on June 17, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By PoliceOne Staff

TORONTO, Canada — Two people were shot at the Toronto Raptors NBA Championship parade on Monday.

According to CNN, two people are in custody after the shooting.

The victims’ wounds are “serious but not life threatening,” Toronto police tweeted.

Police recovered two firearms and emergency responders are on the scene.

This is a breaking story. More information will be updated when available.

SHOOTING: Nathan Phillip's Square -Bay St and Albert St -Police have located 2 victims -Injuries serious but not life threatening -2 people in custody -2 firearms recovered -Investigating ^dh

— Toronto Police OPS (@TPSOperations) June 17, 2019

Shots fired at Nathan Phillips Square. This is shot at the north side of city hall. pic.twitter.com/KhGb5xag02

— Francine Kopun (@KopunF) June 17, 2019


4 shot, 2 in custody after gunfire at Toronto Raptors parade

Posted on June 17, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By Theresa Braine New York Daily News

TORONTO — Four people were reportedly shot Monday in Toronto near where 1.5 million people were reveling in the Raptors’ NBA title victory.

The victims have serious but non-life-threatening injuries, police told Global News. Initially police said that two people had been shot, but later upgraded to four.

“We know that there are four victims right now that have gunshot wounds,” Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders told reporters at the scene, according to Global News. “None of them are life-threatening at this point in time, but I’m grateful that the resolve to this situation was as quick as it was.”

The incident happened around 4 p.m. at the southeast corner of Nathan Phillips Square. Police took two people into custody and recovered two firearms.

It was the first time the Raptors had ever reached the NBA finals in the team’s 24-season history, CNN reported. Elation at the team’s 114-110 win against the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of the NBA Finals sent throngs into the streets of downtown Toronto.

When gunshots rang out, panicked revelers fled in all directions, according to Global News, and others ran in response as authorities urged everyone to remain calm.

Among those on hand were Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the mayor of Toronto and the Raptors themselves, according to The Associated Press. They stayed onstage while the ceremony was briefly interrupted, AP said.

The parade began at 10 a.m. and ended at Nathan Phillips Square, where a stage was set up, The Washington Post reported. Raptors players arrived after 2. The victory ceremony wrapped up fairly soon after the shooting incident.

The shooting highlighted an increase in gun violence in the Canadian city, and Trudeau’s government has pledged about $5.2 million to quell gun crime. The incident is bound to put gun control on the national agenda as a campaign issue in the upcoming federal elections this October, the Post noted.

©2019 New York Daily News

SHOOTING: Nathan Phillip's Square -Bay St and Albert St -Police have located 2 victims -Injuries serious but not life threatening -2 people in custody -2 firearms recovered -Investigating ^dh

— Toronto Police OPS (@TPSOperations) June 17, 2019

Shots fired at Nathan Phillips Square. This is shot at the north side of city hall. pic.twitter.com/KhGb5xag02

— Francine Kopun (@KopunF) June 17, 2019


10 lessons from the Fairchild AFB shooting

Posted on June 17, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Mike Wood
Author: Mike Wood

On June 20, 1994, a mentally disturbed former airman returned to Fairchild Air Force Base (AFB) to kill the doctors who had previously tried to help him. He took a cab to the base hospital, located near Spokane, Washington, and entered the mental health clinic carrying a duffle bag that contained a rifle and a 75-round drum magazine.

Minutes later, the Fairchild AFB Security Police received the first call about a shooting at the hospital. Senior Airman Andy Brown immediately responded from three-tenths of a mile away on his police bicycle, and confronted the murderer outside the hospital.

When the killer refused commands to disarm and fired shots at the young police officer, Brown fired at him four times with his M9 pistol, striking him in the shoulder and face, and ending the threat. Post-event investigation indicated that Brown’s final pistol shot was fired at a distance between 68 and 71 yards, but his first hit would have been made at an even farther distance, since the killer was advancing on him as he fired.

Brown and his fellow security policemen secured the scene and began to assist the victims. By stopping the killer, Brown enabled medical professionals to provide lifesaving aid, and transport the victims to nearby hospitals. In the end, five victims perished, but 22 were saved.

Critical lessons

Andy Brown’s account of the Fairchild AFB shooting, Warnings Unheeded, was published in 2016. His meticulous detailing of the events leading up to the Fairchild AFB shooting is a cautionary tale about missed and wasted opportunities to short circuit the violence that would come later. It’s instructive, if disappointing, to note that 25 years after the incident, we’re still struggling with the same issues of a lack of detection and intervention that Brown identifies so clearly.

From a tactical perspective, Warnings Unheeded also offers many lessons for today’s law enforcement officers. Although the Fairchild AFB shooting occurred prior to the widespread adoption of the phrase “active shooter,” this active shooter attack is instructive on many levels.

A few of these many lessons addressed by Andy Brown in Warnings Unheeded include:

1. Personal responsibility

Because official training opportunities were limited, and Air Force policies restricted him from taking his duty weapon home, Brown purchased a similar weapon and trained extensively with it, on his own time, at his own expense. His personal effort allowed him to stop a moving, hostile threat at extraordinary distances with incredible efficiency. Brown also remembered to decock the weapon when it was appropriate, and check his ammunition supply after the shooting – good habits that were engrained by his personal dedication to training.

Brown provides us an excellent example here, and reminds us that we are the ones who are most responsible for ensuring our personal readiness.

2. Target discrimination

When Brown arrived on scene, the killer was moving among fleeing victims and was not immediately visible. It took a moment for Brown to identify him and, when he did, there was still a considerable danger that Brown’s fire could wound an innocent. Brown was conscious of the presence of innocents, and exercised great discipline in holding his fire until it was safe to do so. As a result, he stopped the killer without hurting anybody else.

It’s important for officers to realize that active shooting situations are chaotic, with an ever-present risk of “friendly fire.” To assist in building the proper habits for these challenging circumstances, officers should train in environments where they’re required to maneuver to obtain a clear shot on a “shoot” target, without striking “no shoots” in the foreground and background. Incorporating this kind of decision-making during police firearms training will prevent unnecessary casualties later.

3. Software, not hardware

By all accounts, Brown was at a disadvantage from an equipment and tactical perspective. His attacker was armed with a 7.62x39mm rifle, which was fed by a high capacity drum magazine. In contrast, Brown was only equipped with a 9mm pistol and 30 rounds of ball ammunition. Making things worse, the killer fired on Brown from a distance that drastically favored the rifle-armed attacker, and – unlike Brown – didn’t have to worry about hitting innocents. Despite these disadvantages, Brown used his superior mindset, preparation and skill to deliver accurate, fight-stopping shots and end the killing.

It’s important for officers to have the right equipment for the job, and desirable that they have an equipment advantage over criminals, but Andy Brown’s experience reminds us that software is more important than hardware in the final count. Your awareness, preparation, training, tactics and skill are much more important than what’s in your hand.

4. Information quality

There’s usually no shortage of information in an active shooter event, but most of it is poor quality. Frightened witnesses and victims often provide inaccurate information, and in the stress of the moment, additional errors can be introduced when information is relayed between dispatch and responders.

In the Fairchild AFB shooting, there were false reports of multiple shooters, and inaccurate descriptions of the shooter’s physical characteristics, weapon, clothing and location. Delayed reporting introduced more errors, when old information was passed off as current information, making it difficult for police to understand where the shooter was and what he was doing. Echoes made it difficult to fix the shooter’s location as well.

It’s important for officers to understand that much of the information they’ll receive during an active shooting will be inaccurate, and they should be cautious about relying on it for decision making. Officers need to develop their own intelligence, trust their personal observations when they differ from reports, and avoid feeding the “disinformation monster” by mindlessly repeating unverified information from witnesses. Officers (and dispatchers) should practice “information triage” by:

Asking clarifying questions of witnesses to gauge their reliability; Comparing witness reports to identify reoccurring patterns; Seeking reports from witnesses who are in better control of their emotions.

Obtaining and sharing this better information will allow officers to make improved decisions.

5. Communications

Not surprisingly, communications between responders suffered during the Fairchild active shooting. When personnel were subjected to danger and stress, it affected their ability to clearly communicate. Brown, for example, reports that while he thought his radio transmissions were calm and collected after the shooting, the dispatch tapes later betrayed a different reality. The size of the multiagency response – which included personnel from civilian police and fire departments – also complicated communications due to the sheer number of personnel involved, and incompatible radio frequencies. Off-scene leaders burdened phone lines and radio frequencies, seeking information that wasn’t reasonably available or critical at the moment.

Communication is always the second casualty in an active shooter event, so responders need to be jealous about guarding it. Officers and supervisors should be precise with their language, maintain their composure, understand “what’s important now?” and suppress needless chatter to enhance the quality of communications under stress.

6. Physiological changes

Brown experienced a host of physiological changes during his shooting. Auditory effects robbed him of his ability to understand witnesses and hear gunshots clearly (he reports both were “muddled”). Tachypsychia gave him the feeling that time was slowing down as he approached the scene, and tunnel vision led him to think that a man over 70 yards away was much closer, while robbing him of the peripheral vision needed to recognize that there was available cover nearby. Temporal distortions caused a momentary panic when the attacker didn’t seem to be reacting “quickly enough” to Brown’s gunfire, leading him to believe that his bullets were ineffective.

All of these effects are normal reactions to an abnormal circumstance, but they can become fatally distracting to an officer in the middle of the fight if he’s not forewarned about them. Brown’s careful cataloguing of these physiological changes is a potentially lifesaving gift to every officer who might someday face similar danger.

7. Empowering the public

Many victims of the attack took an active role in their defense, and ensured their survival. Some fled the danger, some hid and some sounded warnings and helped others to escape. Some barricaded and kept the killer out, and others physically attacked the killer, driving him off.

If public safety is our objective, it’s important for law enforcement to embrace the idea that we have a responsibility to assist with training, equipping and preparing the public to fend for themselves in the critical gap before professional help arrives. This encompasses everything from awareness to tactics, from armed defense to casualty care. The Fairchild AFB example shows us how lives can be saved when the public is mentally and physically prepared to help themselves, and reminds us that it’s no longer acceptable for police to tell the public to call for help and wait.

8. Indoors and outdoors

The Fairchild AFB shooting began indoors, then moved outdoors as the attacker made his way to the next building. The change from an indoor to an outdoor environment had a dramatic influence on several conditions, such as the type of cover and concealment available, the distances involved, the density of targets and the tactics necessary to counter the threat.

In many agencies, active shooter training and tactics are entirely focused on indoor scenarios, and outdoor considerations are ignored, but it’s important to understand these attacks are fluid and conditions can change rapidly. What begins as an indoor event may quickly turn into an outdoor one as the shooter goes mobile, so agencies cannot afford to ignore outdoor tactics, training and preparations.

9. Casualty care

The Fairchild AFB shooting was unique in that it occurred at a military hospital where there was a large population of people with medical training. Many doctors, nurses and medical technicians made good use of their skills to save lives that day, and they were joined by other personnel who had received first aid training as part of their basic military education. Conditions were extreme, and rescuers had to be resourceful – Brown reports that bandage and dressing materials were improvised, some chest wounds were sealed by cigarette packaging, and a leg was splinted with a “wet floor” sign – but they gave the victims precious time.

It’s a testament to the power of immediate, lifesaving action that all of the injured victims who were transported to outside hospitals survived their wounds. Agencies must heed this critical lesson and ensure that their officers are trained in tactical emergency casualty care, and are equipped with on-body, individual first aid kits, to enhance their survival and the survival of those they protect.

10. Emotional and mental health

Although Andy Brown did everything in his power to stop the killing as soon as he could, he still suffered from the effects of survivor guilt, and wrestled with horrific memories of the scene and its victims. The Air Force, unfortunately, was not attuned to his needs, and failed to give him the help and support he needed to deal with these predictable and understandable injuries. The Air Force wasn’t being malicious in their failure to help Brown, but their lack of preparedness and awareness cost them one of their best, as Brown left the military to fight his battle with PTSD and survivor guilt.

To his great credit and honor, Brown won the struggle and gained control of his life again, but his experience is an important warning to law enforcement leaders. We must be good stewards of our most precious resource – our people! We must ensure that we have people, programs and policies in place to help our people when they need it, and we must create an environment and culture where there is no stigma attached to asking for help. We all need help at times, and there can be no room for shame, embarrassment, or potential career jeopardy to serve as a roadblock. It does nobody – agency, public, or officer – any good if our people win the gunfight, but lose the emotional aftermath.

Warnings unheeded

Andy Brown penned a masterful account of the Fairchild AFB shooting that details these lessons and many more. He traces the development of the killer’s mental health issues and the behavior that led to his discharge, and expertly tells the story of the tragic shooting like nobody else can. He identifies weaknesses in mental healthcare and our uncanny ability to ignore critical danger signs along the way.

PoliceOne readers are highly encouraged to read his book, Warnings Unheeded, to discover more of Brown’s powerful insights and learn what we can do to detect, avoid and prepare for these kinds of incidents. An excerpt is available here.

I would like to thank Andy for sharing his story and these important lessons with us. I respect his accomplishments and service, but even more important, I respect his great strength and character, and his continuing contributions to public safety. He’s a role model for us all.


NY grants $343K to fight county gun violence

Posted on June 17, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Mid Hudson News

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY — The State Department of Criminal Justice Services has awarded $343,000 to the Dutchess County District Attorney’s Office, Poughkeepsie City Police Department, and the county probation department.

The money comes from the GIVE grant (Gun Involved Violence Elimination) that provides the resources for the agencies to devote more time to the investigation and prosecution of gun crimes and gun-related violence in the City of Poughkeepsie, said District Attorney William Grady.

“The focus of the grant is public safety and this investment by the state has shown significant results,” the DA said. “Latest statistics show that during the last 10 years of this program, violent crime has decreased 50 percent, firearm crimes have dropped 52 percent and robberies have been reduced by 71 percent.”

Full story: State grants $343,000 to fight Dutchess gun violence


Pa. county receives $1.25M in grants to increase security measures, help crime victims

Posted on June 17, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

MyChesCo

HARRISBURG, PA — Chester County’s Democratic state Reps. Carolyn Comitta, Melissa Shusterman, Kristine Howard, Danielle Friel Otten, Dan Williams and Christina Sappey announced that $1.2 million worth of grant funds from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency will be distributed across the county to increase safety and help crime victims.

Within Comitta’s legislative district, Domestic Violence Center of Chester County will receive $531,835 to provide direct services for domestic abuse survivors. Additionally, the Crime Victims’ Center of Chester County, Inc. will receive $624,328 to meet the needs of crime victims.

“I am grateful for the grants awarded to the Crime Victims’ Center of Chester County and the Domestic Violence Center of Chester County. These local organizations have a tremendous impact across our county, and they deserve our full support to continue to provide critical services to residents,” Comitta said.

Full story: Chester County Receives $1.25 Million in Grants to Increase Security Measures, Help Crime Victims


Funding your fleet: Grants for police vehicles

Posted on June 17, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Therese Matthews
Author: Therese Matthews

No matter the size of your police department, maintaining a fleet of vehicles is always a challenge. Competing budget priorities such as officer recruitment, police training and data management technology make new vehicle acquisition even more difficult.

Grants may be a great option to cover new police vehicle purchases. With some creative thinking, strategic writing and matching your needs to the grant agency’s purpose, you could be awarded funding to expand or upgrade your agency’s fleet.

Here are some funding options to consider:

U.S. Department of Justice Grants

I often mention Justice Assistance Grants (JAG) in my articles as not only is it the largest funding source for police and other law enforcement equipment, but JAG supports activity across the criminal justice system.

Vehicles are an allowable cost under this program but only police cruisers.

Many local municipalities across the country receive a local JAG allocation directly from the federal government based on their share of their state’s three-year violent crime average. Most JAG funding is awarded annually to a designated State Administering Agency (SAA). The SAA is required to sub-grant a large percentage of these funds to local and state agencies that don’t qualify for the local allocations. Reach out to your SAA representative to discuss your needs and inquire about the next application period.

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has a mission to support states, local communities and tribal jurisdictions in their efforts to develop and implement effective programs for juveniles. Community policing, gang suppression, and gang desistance and diversion are some of the many program areas they support. Vehicles are an allowable cost as long as they are directly tied to the goals and objectives of the OJJDP grant program and can be justified in your proposed project.

Homeland Security Funding

For several years, the Department of Homeland Security has distributed grant funds under several programs aimed at enhancing the ability of regional authorities to prepare, prevent and respond to terrorist attacks and other disasters. Vehicles are an allowable cost, as long as they fit within your state’s core capabilities strategy.

The State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) provides funding to all states based on a Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA)/Stakeholder Preparedness Review (SPR) of 32 core capabilities.

The Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) provides funding to 31 high-risk urban areas across the U.S.

The Port Security Grant Program (PSGP) provides funding to state and local agencies that manage ports and port operations.

The Transit Security Grant Program (TSG) allocates funding to public transit agencies, including their police units, for homeland security preparedness of transportation infrastructure.

Operation Stonegarden (OSG) is funding targeted toward states with proximity to the international border or international waters for providing security in those areas.

The Tribal Homeland Security Grant Program (THSGP) provides funding for tribes to provide them with the ability to develop and deliver core capabilities using the combined efforts of the whole community.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

For several years the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been offering grants and loans to support public safety services and equipment including police vehicles. The USDA’s Rural Development Community Facilities Direct Loan & Grant Program is available to communities across the country. If you are located in a rural area, and qualify because of your population size and poverty level, consider applying for funding under this program.

U.S. Department of Transportation

Federal dollars from Highway Traffic Safety grants are passed down to states through the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The Section 402 State and Community Highway Safety Grant Program has numerous focus areas, including improving enforcement of traffic safety laws, reducing accidents and enhancing emergency services. Police vehicles have been supported under this program in the past. States typically offer grants to local law enforcement agencies through a competitive application process. Contact your State Transportation Department to inquire how to apply for these funds.

The Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) is a federal grant program that provides funding to states to reduce the number and severity of crashes and hazardous materials incidents involving commercial motor vehicles. Funding has supported several thousand law enforcement officers and equipment necessary to increase enforcement and safety across the U.S. Again, contact your State Transportation Department representatives to find out if funding is available to support your vehicle or in vehicle equipment.

Travel and Tourism

Does your agency provide security for large events, fairs or concerts in your community? Consider reaching out to your state’s Travel and Tourism office to inquire if they have grant funding to support the cost of the equipment and vehicles you need to keep these events safe.

Green Technology/Zero Emissions Grants

Many police departments are replacing their aging vehicle fleet with alternative fuel or electric cars. If your agency is looking at this option, consider applying for funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). This agency has several funding options to consider under its Clean Cities Coalition Network. Coalitions operate within each major metropolitan region across the country. Reach out to the Clean Cities Coordinator nearest your area to discuss your project needs and inquire about funding.

Private Funding Sources

A host of corporate and private foundations have supported police equipment requests. Your application will be favorably considered if your agency is geographically located within their operating region or your request falls within their current priority focus.

Some of the nation’s largest insurance companies, such as State Farm and MetLife, and automobile manufacturers and rental car companies like Ford, Toyota and Hertz administer grant programs focus on driving safety, law enforcement and community well-being. Also, law enforcement trade associations such as The Spirit of Blue Foundation have grants available to support your in-car equipment and training needs.

Community Foundations operate across the country by providing funding to non-profit and some government agencies focused on keeping their neighborhoods safe and vibrant. The Foundation Center is a great resource for locating the community foundation that operates in your area. Once you find a contact, reach out to your Community Foundation representatives and inquire if they will support a request for a police vehicle or in-car equipment.

I’ve provided a number of grant options for you to pursue to support the cost of upgrading your police fleet. If you need additional assistance with grant research, writing or application review consider reaching out to the team at PoliceGrantsHelp. The team is staffed with numerous experts from across the country who can assist in your grant seeking and application needs.


Phoenix police chief apologizes to family over stolen doll incident

Posted on June 17, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Author: Therese Matthews

Associated Press

PHOENIX — Phoenix's police chief has publicly apologized to members of a family at whom police officers pointed guns and yelled profanities while responding to a report of shoplifting.

The parents say their 4-year-old daughter had stolen a doll from the store, unbeknownst to them. They have filed a $10 million claim against the city alleging civil rights violations by police officers.

A video released Friday shows police officers pointing guns and yelling profane commands to a father and a pregnant woman holding a baby.

Police Chief Jeri Williams apologized to the family, community and public on Sunday at Phoenix TV station KTVK.

Williams added that an internal investigation is underway into the incident from late last month.

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego posted an apology to the family on Twitter on Saturday.

"I thought he was going to shoot us" This is the moment US police confronted a family in Phoenix, Arizona after their four-year-old daughter left a shop without paying for a doll [Tap to expand] https://t.co/bSQAFXuUHw pic.twitter.com/dqe0s5P6VD

— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) June 17, 2019

My statement on the May 27th Phoenix Police incident: pic.twitter.com/1mYHQQbhWv

— Mayor Kate Gallego (@MayorGallego) June 16, 2019


Street dedicated to fallen NYPD detective killed in blue-on-blue shooting

Posted on June 17, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Author: Therese Matthews

Craig Schneider Newsday

Sean Mackie had nearly finished his speech honoring his childhood buddy, the late NYPD Det. Brian Simonsen, when his voice caught, snagged on the emotions he was feeling.

Mackie was standing on the very street where they grew up, South Jamesport Avenue, which was dedicated Saturday as "Det. Brian Simonsen Way."

Mackie, 42, had talked about all the fun memories — the basketball games at the rec center, the backyard barbecues that stretched into sleepovers, the staying up all night playing video games.

"This is where I had my first hello," he said, his voice cracking. Then after collecting himself, he added, "and my last goodbye."

The ceremony, held under a big tent on the tree-lined street, resembled a summer get-together of neighbors, friends and the Simonsen family. People smiled and hugged each other as they celebrated the life of the 19-year veteran of the force who was so beloved for his good cheer that people called him "Smiles."

Joe Hartmann was there, recalling how they had played softball and hung out at the Simonsens' pool as teens.

"We were supposed to go snowmobiling around the time he was killed," said Hartmann, now an assistant chief of the Riverhead Fire Department.

Georgette Case sat toward the back of the rows of white chairs lined up under the tent. The Riverhead town historian recalled Simonsen as the nice boy she'd see in Riverhead United Methodist Church.

But when the color guard stepped forward and the bagpipes began to wail, it summoned the funeral four months ago for the detective killed in a blue-on-blue shooting on Feb. 12. He was responding to an attempted robbery in Queens.

NYPD Police Commissioner James P. O'Neill recalled that ceremony, which drew thousands of police in their dress blues. He said the street-naming will provide an everlasting memorial to the 42-year-old fallen detective.

"Today and for generations to come, people will see this sign and ask about Brian Simonsen," O'Neill said. "It will be another opportunity to tell his story."

The event was one of two street-naming ceremonies held on Long Island Saturday for fallen members of the NYPD.

In Shirley, NYPD officers, family members, and neighbors gathered to honor NYPD Sgt. Paul Ferrara at the intersection of West End Avenue and Flower Hill Drive.

Ferrara had served 22 years on the force. He had responded to the terrorist attacks at Ground Zero and eventually suffered from stage 4 lung cancer, dying Aug. 28, 2014. He is survived by his wife, Kerrie; son Paul Jr., and parents Nick and Diane.

At the Jamesport ceremony honoring Simonsen, friends said that even when he was young, he stepped up when his family faced tragedy. Simonsen's sister, Melissa, died at age 13 when she was struck by a car while walking across a street. His father, Paul, died less than six months later.

"He always said he had to be home for dinner at 5:30," Mackie said. "He couldn't miss family dinner. Then he'd go out again."

Simonsen's wife and mother also attended the dedication. His wife, Leanne, pulled the cord that unveiled the blue street sign, a copy of which was given to her. "It's beautiful," she said. "There's no better way to honor such a beautiful person."

His mother pointed out the tan home where her family lived for 35 years — "just past the stop sign, right before the creek."

Her son is buried not far away in Jamesport Cemetery, near his sister and father.

"It still doesn't seem real," said Linda Simonsen, 70, of her son's death.

Linda, who now lives in Calverton, said she was moved by all the memorials for her son — the scholarships, the charity baseball game, the organ donor drive.

Still, she said, "I'd rather have him."

Det. Brian Simonsen Way

A ceremony was held Saturday to name South Jamesport Avenue "Det. Brian Simonsen Way" in memory of the fallen NYPD detective. See more photos here: https://bit.ly/2XfVO4U

Posted by Riverhead News-Review on Saturday, June 15, 2019

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©2019 Newsday


California lawmakers aim to rein in police use of facial recognition

Posted on June 17, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By Sam Dean Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — Facial recognition’s first blanket ban arrived in May, when San Francisco became the only city in the nation to bar police and other agencies from using the technology.

Now the powerful software, which uses machine learning algorithms to automatically track human faces in digital footage and match them to names, is facing a broader moratorium.

State lawmakers are considering regulation barring all California police officers from running facial recognition programs on body cameras. Other Bay Area cities such as Berkeley and Oakland are considering following San Francisco’s lead in banning all applications for local police. And federal legislators — from both sides of the aisle — are holding hearings on Capitol Hill to examine how federal agencies are using the technology, and whether it deserves more scrutiny and stricter controls.

Taken together, these efforts, pushed by activists and politicians from the tech industry’s home base in the Bay Area, constitute something not often seen in Silicon Valley: an attempt to impose preemptive regulations on a rapidly developing technology.

From social media to smart speakers, technological innovations have upended entire industries and changed the fabric of everyday life, with minimal public debate beforehand and sometimes significant unintended consequences. What makes facial recognition different is an emerging consensus that it poses a unique and alarming threat to basic civil liberties — and once it becomes widespread, it may be too late to stop it.

“People don’t expect to have their identity, their location, and who they associate with logged every time they step outside and walk down the street,” said Matt Cagle, an attorney for the Northern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which has been a key part of the coalition pushing for stronger regulation. “That’s the kind of world that automated face surveillance would usher in.”

The state measure, Assembly Bill 1215, would ban law enforcement agencies across California from using any “biometric surveillance system” — which includes software that would identify people by tattoo, gait and other individually distinguishable physical characteristics — in real time on police body cameras or on footage collected by those cameras. After passing the Assembly in early May, the bill was set for a key hearing in the Senate Public Safety Committee on June 4.

Assemblyman Phil Ting, the lead author of the bill, sees it as a necessary follow-up to his 2018 legislation requiring law enforcement agencies to release body camera footage within 45 days of incidents in which police kill or seriously injure someone, or any incident in which police shoot their guns.

“Body cameras were deployed to build trust with communities, to build more transparency and more openness,” said Ting, a San Francisco Democrat. “It really was not the intention of body cameras to have roving surveillance cameras on police.”

The bill states biometric surveillance is the “functional equivalent of requiring every person to show a personal photo identification card at all times in violation of recognized constitutional rights,” regardless of consent. It runs the risk of creating massive, unregulated databases about Californians never suspected of committing a crime, and “may chill the exercise of free speech in public places” as the identities of anyone in a crowd could be immediately discerned.

Formal opposition to the bill has come from the California Police Chiefs Assn., which said during an Assembly hearing that “prohibiting the use of biometric surveillance systems severely hinders law enforcement’s ability to identify and detain suspects of criminal activity.” Comparing images of suspects against facial recognition databases has led to cold cases being solved years later, and police commonly cite mass shooting or terrorist attack scenarios as potentially useful applications of facial recognition technology applied across a city.

Ting says that he is unaware of any police departments currently using the technology in concert with body camera footage.

In a statement, the Los Angeles Police Department said it does not use facial recognition technology in the department, though it has been used in limited instances in joint investigations with other agencies.

The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department has conducted small pilots with body cameras but has not deployed them widely. But the department does rely on facial recognition technology as a way to generate leads in investigations, said Lt. Derek Sabatini, who manages the county biometric identification system.

Comparing suspect images against a database of Los Angeles County mug shots to surface possible persons of interest has proved valuable in solving crimes, said Sabatini, who drew a distinction between how it’s used today and its potential risks as a surveillance tool in real-time deployment.

“Surveillance needs discussion,” Sabatini said. “We should talk about it and understand how it’s used — there’s a lot of trust issues with that, and it’s totally understandable.”

Skeptics say the risks inherent in facial recognition software far outweigh potential benefits.

There’s the problem of false positives. Researchers have shown that the software often turns up incorrect matches, especially when searches are run on images of darker-skinned people and women. An ACLU study found that Amazon’s facial recognition system, Rekognition, incorrectly matched the official photos of 28 sitting members of Congress with mugshots of people who had been arrested for crimes.

The potential real-world effect of relying on unproven algorithms to identify suspects came to life in San Francisco in 2009, when a false positive from an automated license plate reader algorithm led police to believe a woman named Denise Green was driving a stolen Lexus. Green was stopped by police and forced out of her car and onto her knees at gunpoint by six officers, and the city ultimately paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to settle lawsuits linked to her detention.

But even if the software were perfectly accurate, civil libertarians say that allowing police to check the identity of any passersby without consent constitutes an invasion of privacy and undercuts current California laws on the right to anonymity in public.

Their worst fears are already playing out in China, where the government uses facial recognition-equipped surveillance systems to track and target Uighurs, a largely Muslim minority, and maintain a social credit system that ranks — and blacklists — residents based on behaviors such as smoking and jaywalking.

Without going to those extremes, use of facial recognition by American law enforcement nevertheless runs the risk of drifting into uncharted waters. Clare Garvie, a senior associate at the Georgetown Law Center on Privacy and Technology who leads its research on law enforcement facial recognition technology, says the sheer speed and scale of the software’s capabilities imperil the presumption of privacy, especially when used in real time.

A police body camera connected to a facial recognition system could theoretically allow officers working crowd control at a political protest to check protesters for criminal records or simply log their presence. In London, the Metropolitan Police has already begun parking vans equipped with cameras running facial recognition algorithms along busy sidewalks to test out the system, and in one instance reportedly ticketed a man who tried to hide his face from view while walking past.

“We have this idea that law enforcement can’t search you and can’t demand identification unless you are suspected of wrongdoing,” Garvie said. “But if everyone who walks by an officer is being searched and compared against their criminal history or a watch list of crimes, that means there is a search happening before any suspicion is generated.”

Unlike some states, California has no law requiring that people provide identification to law enforcement officers on request, though drivers are required to show licenses during traffic stops.

Deployed in real time on police body cameras, critics say, facial recognition could heighten the potential for deadly escalation. A police officer whose camera misidentifies a stopped motorist as having an outstanding warrant and a history of violent crime might be more likely to approach with a gun drawn.

“Inaccurate technology in the hands of armed law enforcement is not going to make us safer,” Cagle said. “It will result in additional dangerous encounters between law enforcement and the public, and false identifications could lead to the use of force and the loss of life.”

Axon, the Taser manufacturer and leading police body camera provider in the U.S., said in a statement that it is not actively working on facial recognition technology. An April investigation by the Financial Times found that the company had taken out patents and acquired companies related to facial recognition, but Axon said that those systems were only used for automatic face redaction for body camera footage, and noted that it had established a policing technologies ethics board to build in safeguards for any future use of the systems.

Motorola Solutions, another major body camera provider, declined to comment but has stated its intention to develop facial recognition technology for body cameras.

The big software companies building facial recognition software are split on its use. Microsoft President Brad Smith said in April that the company refused to sell its technology to a California law enforcement agency over human rights concerns, and the company has publicly called for regulation of the technology to prevent “a commercial race to the bottom.” Amazon, despite criticism from shareholders and activists over its facial recognition programs, is continuing to sell its Rekognition service to law enforcement.

Facial recognition is quickly making its way into daily life via commercial technologies such as Apple’s FaceID unlocking feature and Facebook’s automated photo tagging. JetBlue recently became the first U.S. airline to allow passengers to submit to a face scan in lieu of showing a ticket and ID at boarding, and some retailers and restaurants already use facial recognition to help with loss prevention and customer tracking.

But companies may not have the final word in how the technology is deployed. Oakland’s and Berkeley’s city governments are considering adding a ban to their local ordinances, and facial recognition has been the subject of two House Oversight Committee hearings, in which both Democratic and Republican representatives have expressed support for a moratorium on the technology’s use.

Those hearings revealed that the FBI has amassed a database of more than 640 million photographs for its facial recognition program, including driver’s license photos from 21 states (not including California).

Brian Hofer, one of the architects of San Francisco’s ban and the chairman of Oakland’s Privacy Advisory Commission, believes the movement for more regulation is still gaining strength.

“People believe that it’s inevitable that there’s going to be more and more surveillance, more and more police state power, and technology is going to keep creeping into our lives,” Hofer said. “But we still have the freedom and ability to say no.”

———

©2019 Los Angeles Times


LAPD investigates officer’s actions in Costco shooting

Posted on June 17, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Police Department is gathering evidence and video footage in an administrative investigation into an off-duty officer who shot and killed a man authorities say attacked him inside a Southern California Costco Wholesale warehouse store.

Authorities remained tight-lipped Sunday, not responding to requests for comment about what provoked the Friday night confrontation and whether anyone but the officer was armed. Two others were critically injured in the shooting in Corona, which is about 40 miles (64 kilometers) east of Los Angeles.

The officer opened fire after Kenneth French, 32, of Riverside, assaulted him without provocation as the officer held his young child, Corona police said Saturday.

Bullets struck French and two of his family members, according to police. The officer was the only person who fired shots in the store, police said.

Rick Shureih, French's cousin, told The Press-Enterprise that he was a "gentle giant" who was mentally disabled.

Shureih also identified the other two victims as French's parents, Russell and Paola French, and said they remained in an intensive care unit Sunday. Authorities have not released their names.

French's family is seeking an attorney, Shureih said, and declined to give specifics about his mental condition.

French was "non-violent, non-aggressive, non-verbal," his cousin said, and "he has to be pretty much monitored."

"He's not the kind to trade words, so I don't believe that a verbal confrontation happened," Shureih said.

Shureih posted Sunday on his Facebook page a photo of French and his parents.

"I'm posting this picture because the stories on social media have made them out to be the suspects, and the off duty cop the victim," Shureih wrote. "This is a family that was unarmed and was just grocery shopping. Truth will come out! I'm sure this was a misunderstanding that got escalated for no reason!"

The LAPD will continue its internal probe as Corona police and the Riverside County district attorney's office conduct a separate investigation into the shooting. The LAPD said Sunday it had no further information. Corona police and the district attorney's office did not respond to requests for comment Sunday.

Los Angeles Police Commission President Steve Soboroff said Sunday it is Chief Michel Moore's decision whether to put the officer on leave, but it remained unclear if that happened. The officer's identity has not been released. He was treated and released at a nearby hospital and his child was not injured.

The department's policies allow off-duty officers to carry concealed weapons as long as they are authorized for on-duty use, according to the LAPD manual.

Joseph Giacalone, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a retired New York City Police Department sergeant, said it's justifiable to use deadly force even in a crowded store if the attacker has a weapon.

"If the guy pulled out a pocketknife and approaches him, game over," Giacalone said Sunday.

Police have not said if French had any weapons or if the officer identified himself as police before firing.

Giacalone said video footage from Costco's cameras and shoppers' cellphones will be critical to the dual investigations.

While it's not unusual for police to delay releasing information such as an officer's name in a shooting for safety reasons, Giacalone said it's important to get details out as quickly as possible.

"People start filling in the timelines for you" in the meantime, he said.

The shooting prompted a stampede of frightened shoppers, some who fled the store as others sought cover inside.

Witnesses reported seeing an argument between two people near a freezer section when shots rang out at least six times.


Police respond to active shooter at federal courthouse in Dallas

Posted on June 17, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

DALLAS — Police responded to shots fired at a Dallas federal courthouse Monday morning.

According to the Dallas Morning News, A Dallas News reporter witnessed the shooter open fire outside the building. Window panes in a revolving door at the courthouse’s entrance were broken, but it’s unclear if the door was shot by a shooter or police.

A suspect is in custody.

Schools in the area are on lockdown.

This is a breaking story. Information will be updated when available.

#Breaking: Shots were fired Monday morning at the Earle Cabell federal courthouse in downtown Dallas Monday morning, officials said. https://t.co/L6AgNEh92c

— Dallas Morning News (@dallasnews) June 17, 2019

#BREAKING: Shots fired outside the Federal Courthouse in Downtown Dallas this morning. You can hear a volley of gunfire in this clip. This went out as an active shooter. Dallas Police have a person in custody. No reports of injuries. pic.twitter.com/tC9WVnB08q

— Jason Whitely (@JasonWhitely) June 17, 2019

BREAKING: First responders are converging on two scenes in Dallas: Earle Cabell Federal Building and Courthouse Omni Dallas Hotel Details unfolding here: https://t.co/dgp86LG0Or pic.twitter.com/FWqnS9lPsZ

— NBC DFW (@NBCDFW) June 17, 2019


Person shot in gunfire with officers near Dallas courthouse

Posted on June 17, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE, Uncategorized

Author: Therese Matthews

Associated Press

DALLAS — A person was shot in an exchange of gunfire with federal officers outside a federal courthouse in downtown Dallas Monday morning, city police said, and a blast was later heard after the bomb squad said it would perform a controlled explosion on a vehicle.

The injured person was taken to a hospital and no one else was injured by shots fired outside the Earle Cabell Federal Building, Dallas police said via Twitter. A large law enforcement presence was visible downtown late Monday morning, with police closing off several blocks around the federal building.

Police did not immediately release any information about the person or the nature of their injuries. A bomb squad examined a vehicle associated with that person as a precaution and decided to perform a controlled explosion. A loud blast could be heard downtown at 10:38 a.m.

The Dallas Morning News reports that one of its photographers, Tom Fox, was outside the building and witnessed a gunman opening fire. A photograph shows authorities tending to a shirtless man lying on the ground in a parking lot outside the building.

Fox said he was outside the building when a man in a mask parked at the corner of two downtown streets. He said the man ran and began shooting at the courthouse, cracking the glass of the door.

The window panes in the courthouse's revolving door were broken.

Chad Cline, 46, who lives in a building near the courthouse, told The Associated Press that just before 9 a.m. a message was broadcast throughout the building that there was an active shooter in the area and that residents should stay inside. Less than half an hour later, another message said there was a potential bomb threat and that residents needed to leave. He, his wife and their two dogs went to a coffee shop. When he returned to his building later in the morning, he asked an officer armed with a rifle when he would be able to get back in and the officer didn't know.

Police say federal officers are now leading the investigation.

Man shot in gunfire exchange outside Dallas courthouse dies

Posted on June 17, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Author: Therese Matthews

Associated Press

DALLAS — A masked 22-year-old man was killed in an exchange of gunfire with federal officers outside a federal courthouse in downtown Dallas Monday morning, an FBI official said.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Matthew DeSarno said late Monday morning that Brian Isaack Clyde was pronounced dead at a hospital following the shooting outside the Earle Cabell Federal Building. A large law enforcement presence was visible downtown late Monday morning, with police closing off several blocks around the federal building.

"At this time we have no information indicating that there are other shooters, other threats to the community. We are working on one vehicle, we will have that cleared shortly," DeSarno said.

Following the shooting, a bomb squad examined a vehicle associated with the man as a precaution and performed controlled explosions. Two loud blasts from that could be heard downtown Monday morning.

The Dallas Morning News reports that one of its photographers, Tom Fox, was outside the building and witnessed a gunman opening fire. A photograph shows authorities tending to a shirtless man lying on the ground in a parking lot outside the building.

Fox said he was outside the building when a man in a mask parked at the corner of two downtown streets. He said the man ran and began shooting at the courthouse, cracking the glass of the door.

The window panes in the courthouse's revolving door were broken.

Chad Cline, 46, who lives in a building near the courthouse, told The Associated Press that just before 9 a.m. a message was broadcast throughout the building that there was an active shooter in the area and that residents should stay inside. Less than half an hour later, another message said there was a potential bomb threat and that residents needed to leave. He, his wife and their two dogs went to a coffee shop. When he returned to his building later in the morning, he asked an officer armed with a rifle when he would be able to get back in and the officer didn't know.


Masked gunman fatally shot after opening fire on Dallas courthouse

Posted on June 17, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Author: Therese Matthews

Associated Press

DALLAS — A masked gunman opened fire Monday on a federal courthouse in downtown Dallas before being fatally shot in an exchange of gunfire with federal officers, witnesses and authorities said.

Brian Isaack Clyde, 22, was pronounced dead at a hospital following the shooting outside the Earle Cabell Federal Building. Authorities offered no hint of his motive, but FBI agent Matthew DeSarno said there was nothing to indicate the presence of any other shooters or threats to the city.

Clyde opened fire about 8:40 a.m., and law enforcement immediately responded, including three officers from the Federal Protective Service who were stationed at the building.

A bomb squad later examined a vehicle associated with the gunman as a precaution and performed controlled explosions, authorities said. Two loud blasts could be heard.

The Dallas Morning News reported that one of its photographers, Tom Fox, was outside the building and witnessed the shooter opening fire.

Fox said he was outside the building when a masked man parked at the corner of two downtown streets. He said the man ran and began shooting at the courthouse, cracking the glass of the door. The window panes in a revolving door were broken.

A photograph posted on the newspaper's website showed authorities tending to a shirtless man lying on the ground in a parking lot outside the building.

Police closed off several blocks around the federal building.

Chad Cline, 46, who lives near the courthouse, told The Associated Press that a message was broadcast throughout his building shortly before 9 a.m. announcing that there was an active shooter in the area and that residents should stay inside.

Less than half an hour later, another message said there was a potential bomb threat and that residents needed to leave. He, his wife and their two dogs went to a coffee shop.


Ohio LEO helps save 6 lives in 2 hours

Posted on June 17, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Amy L. Knapp The Independent, Massillon, Ohio

MASSILLON, Ohio — Despite the heavy rain that was falling on the city Monday, things were pretty quiet.

Patrolman Aaron Franklin was a little more than an hour into his shift when that all changed. Over the radio came a call for juveniles trapped in water.

He raced to the scene along Tremont Avenue SE. He was the first emergency responder to arrive. He found a teen boy, who frantically told him his friends had been swept into the culvert that carried Sippo Creek to the Tuscarawas River.

The water rescue was just the beginning of a hectic day. With just a few minutes to catch his breath after the water rescue, Franklin responded to a vehicle crash.

Little did he know that within a span of less than two hours, he would be responsible for saving six lives.

All in a day's work

A nearly four-year veteran of the police force, Franklin never had been on a water rescue, but he knew to keep his cool.

After he learned the kids were in the culvert, the officer made his way down a slippery embankment to assess the situation.

The water was moving fast. Hanging onto a tree limb, he peered into the large culvert and spotted two teens clinging to the side of the culvert. They were unscathed and happy to see him. He told them to stay put, and he climbed back out of the water.

The boy's friend, who was able to escape and call for help, told Franklin others may have been swept further into the pipe.

Franklin advised fellow officers to make their way to the end of the spillway to search for the teens.

Knowing he could easily become a victim if he entered the culvert, Franklin tried to keep the boys calm as they waited for the fire department to arrive.

Fire Chief Tom Burgasser didn't hesitate to join Franklin in the water. Tethered to a rope and donning a life jacket, the chief made his way into the culvert to rescue the boys. Franklin remained at the entrance manning a life ring tied to the end of a rope.

The pair, along with other firefighters and officers, managed to rescue the two boys, but two more remained further in the pipe. The third had traveled under the city about half a mile throughout the culvert, where he was able to cling to a ladder in an access tower near state Route 21 and Tremont Avenue. Police found him and got him out.

"I could hear them yelling, but I couldn't make out what they were saying," Franklin said. "I threw the life ring out."

Water rescues are not something you train for, he said.

"It's more making a split second decision of what I should do, what I can do and what am I going to do," he said.

Burgasser praised Franklin for his efforts to save the boys.

"He was hanging onto a tree trunk (in the water). There as no rope tied to him," the chief said. "It was a cooperative effort. It took all of us."

It was a scary situation that could have turned out differently, the officer said.

Wet and weary from the rescue, Franklin joined emergency personnel at Fire Station No. 1, where the teens were reunited with their family.

With the city's emergency personnel stretched thin from the rescue, Franklin was called to respond to a vehicle crash. The vehicle still was in gear, and the driver was slumped over the wheel.

As he approached the scene along Lincoln Way W, bystanders urged Franklin to hurry. The man was turning blue, they said.

The officer pulled the man out of the vehicle and laid him flat on his back in the middle of Lincoln Way. He tilted back his head and made sure his airway was clear.

The man had a faint pulse.

Franklin had no idea what was wrong with the man, but bystanders speculated it was a heroin overdose.

As the only emergency responder, Franklin called on the crowd to help. Someone fetched the Narcan kit from his cruiser, while he asked another person to make sure he was safe from the traffic.

"It wasn't the first and it won't be the last time I use Narcan," the officer said. "But, it was the first time I'd administer it on somebody lying in an active roadway."

Burgasser praised Franklin adding that every minute a person goes by without brain activity is a minute closer to death.

After the first dose, the man's pulse got stronger and he began gasping and awakening. Paramedics arrived and took over. The man lived. He has been charged with driving while under the influence.

Unsung heroes

Franklin is surprised by all of the attention his actions have garnered. Monday was a little out of the ordinary, but the officer said he was just doing his job.

"My stance is every day in this line of work you show up and you never know what's in store for you," he said.

Sometimes it's quiet, and other times you have to be ready for anything to happen.

There is a lot of negativity surrounding police officers, but, every day, law enforcement face life-and-death situations, and they all have a story about a life they saved, Franklin said.

"Deep down, I hope, at least on that day, I did my job," the Army veteran said.

———

©2019 The Independent, Massillon, Ohio


Colo. trooper fatally struck while assisting crash

Posted on June 16, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Sam Tabachnik The Denver Post

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. — The Colorado State Patrol identified Saturday morning the trooper struck and killed Friday night on Interstate 70 between Limon and Peoria.

Trooper William Moden, 37, was killed while assisting a crash on the side of the highway in Arapahoe County, Col. Matthew Packard, the State Patrol’s chief, said.

“We lost one of our very best,” Packard said at a morning news conference.

Moden is the fifth trooper to be killed on Colorado roads since 2015.

About 9:40 p.m. Friday, Moden stopped to investigate a crash outside his patrol vehicle on eastbound Interstate 70 near Deer Trail, Sgt. Blake White, a State Patrol spokesman, said. While tending to the car, Moden was struck by another vehicle.

The 12-year State Patrol veteran was flown to the University of Colorado Hospital. He was pronounced dead after his arrival, the State Patrol said.

Packard described Moden as a man with a wicked sense of humor, a man who loved his job and lived to help others.

“Will was an incredibly beloved guy,” Packard said. “He has a smile that was eclipsed only by the size of his heart.”

The State Patrol has not identified the driver of the other vehicle or whether any arrests have been made in connection with the incident. Nobody else was injured in the crash.

The highway was closed for several miles in both directions after the incident.

Moden worked as a vehicular crimes investigator based in Adams County, the State Patrol said. It tweeted a picture of Moden taking a selfie, a wry grin on his face.

“He was a great example and amazing human,” the State Patrol said. “You will be missed, Will.”

Colorado leaders on Saturday also expressed their condolences.

“My thoughts are with the family of Colorado State Patrol Trooper William Moden, lost in the line of duty last night,” Gov. Jared Polis tweeted. The governor said flags across the state will be lowered in Moden’s honor. “He served our state in law enforcement for 12 years and loved being a state trooper.”

Sen. Cory Gardner said he and his wife were “extremely saddened” to learn of the trooper’s death: “We owe everything to these brave, selfless heroes and are forever grateful for their sacrifice to protect our communities.”

After Trooper Cody Donahue was struck and killed by a truck driver in November 2016, former Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law the “Move Over for Cody Act,” which increased penalties for drivers who fail to move over for emergency responders.

But the law has not managed to eliminate these roadside incidents.

“The message hasn’t changed, and that’s what’s frustrating,” Packard said. “If you’re driving a car, it’s worthy of your highest degree of attention. Lives are at stake.”

———

©2019 The Denver Post


Police union: Minn. chief violated law in case of 5 fired officers

Posted on June 16, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Associated Press

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The president of the St. Paul police union says the city's police chief broke a state law by revealing details about a case that cost five officers their jobs.

St. Paul Police Federation head Paul Kuntz said Friday that police Chief Todd Axtell gave "an incomplete and false narrative, forcing the media to fill in the blanks." Federation attorney Chris Wachtler said he expects the union to file a grievance next week.

Axtell responded in a statement by calling Kuntz's comments "untrue allegations." The chief said he wants to hear the union's position once it has requested and reviewed the files.

Axtell announced the firings on Thursday. He did not name the officers or give a detailed explanation, other than to say they failed to intervene in an assault last year.


Police: Off-duty officer shot man who hit him in Calif. Costco

Posted on June 16, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

CORONA, Calif. — An off-duty police officer opened fire inside a Costco Wholesale warehouse store, killing a man who had attacked him and wounding two others, the Corona Police Department said.

Kenneth French, 32, of Riverside assaulted the Los Angeles Police Department officer Friday night while he was holding his young child, the department said in a statement Saturday. The officer fired his gun, hitting French and two of French's relatives, the department said.

French was killed, the department said. The relatives are in critical conditions at hospitals.

The officer, whose identity is being withheld, was treated and released at a nearby hospital, and the officer's child was not injured, the department said.

The officer was the only person who fired shots in the store, the department said.

The shooting prompted a stampede of frightened shoppers to flee the store east of Los Angeles and seek cover inside.

Witnesses said they saw a man with a Mohawk haircut arguing with someone near a freezer section when shots rang out at least six times. The man involved in the argument was killed, Corona police Lt. Jeff Edwards said.

Witnesses said there was an altercation. Shoppers and employees described terror and chaos when shots rang out shortly before 8 p.m. Friday and police swarmed the store.

Shrieks from inside the store were heard on video recorded by shopper Nikki Tate, who had stopped by with her daughter to pick up steaks and lobsters for Father's Day.

Tate said Saturday she was by the meat section when she heard "about six or seven shots." She dropped to the ground and crawled toward her daughter who was at the other end. They huddled until they were able to escape through a side door.

"I saw people and heard shots and my first thought was 'Jesus, is this another mass shooting?'" she said. "I didn't know if this was a random thing or a domestic thing or if this was a mass shooting. Everything was happening so fast, I just wanted to get me and my kid to safety."

In the video, her daughter says, "Mommy, we need to go."

The Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement Saturday afternoon that it has launched its own investigation of the incident.

Christina Colis told the Riverside Press-Enterprise that she was in the produce area when she heard six to seven shots and hid with other shoppers in a refrigerated produce room. She said her mother saw people injured on the floor.

"I thought maybe someone dropped a bottle of wine, but then I kept hearing shots," shopper Will Lungo told the Press-Enterprise newspaper. "An employee came in and helped us out through the emergency exit."

Witnesses told KCAL-TV that shoppers and employees rushed to the exits. The station reported that more than 100 people were outside the store at one point. Left behind inside the store were purses, cellphones and backpacks from panicked shoppers, Corona police said.


Mo. LEO in critical condition after being shot while transporting inmate

Posted on June 15, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Katie Bernard The Kansas City Star

TRENTON, Mo. — A Trenton, Missouri, police officer is in critical condition after being shot in the abdomen while transporting an inmate to Saint Joseph Friday afternoon.

Just after 3 p.m., the officer was shot while on southbound U.S 69 highway inside a police vehicle. Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop H tweeted that a struggle occurred.

The inmate, Jamey A Griffin, is still in custody, according to Troop H public information officer Jake Angle.

Griffin, 38, was shot in the hand and taken to the hospital. Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop H tweeted that he is in stable condition.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol is investigating the incident and all information is preliminary at this point.

———

©2019 The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.)


Jury rejects St. Louis officer’s gender bias lawsuit

Posted on June 15, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Associated Press

ST. LOUIS — Jurors have rejected a high-ranking St. Louis police officer's claim that her colleague was promoted to deputy chief instead of her because of gender bias.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the jury ruled against Lt. Col. Rochelle Jones on Thursday. Her lawsuit alleged gender discrimination in the 2015 promotion of Ronnie Robinson to lieutenant colonel, the second-highest rank in the department. Jones was a major at the time.

Jones' lawyer J.C. Pleban said in closing arguments that former police Chief Sam Dotson "picked a man to be elevated to this men's club."

Deputy city counselor Nancy Kistler said Dotson promoted Robinson because he was the strongest candidate. She said Dotson also had a record of promoting women.

Jones and Pleban said they plan to appeal.


Shooting inside Calif. Costco kills 1, injures 2

Posted on June 15, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Associated Press

CORONA, Calif. — A gunman opened fire inside a Southern California Costco during an argument Friday night, killing a man, wounding two other people and sparking a stampede of terrified shoppers before he was taken into custody, police said.

Police swarmed the Costco after shots were reported at the huge store about 50 miles (80.5 kilometers) from downtown Los Angeles.

Witnesses told KCAL-TV that a man with a Mohawk haircut was arguing with someone near a freezer section when he pulled a gun and fired at least six shots.

The man involved in the argument was killed and two other people were wounded, Lt. Jeff Edwards said. There was no immediate word on their conditions.

The suspected gunman was apprehended, claimed to be injured and was taken to the hospital, Edwards said. His name and condition were not immediately released.

Shoppers and employees described terror and chaos as the shots rang out.

Christina Colis told the Riverside Press-Enterprise that she was in the produce area when she heard six to seven shots.

Colis told the paper that she and other shoppers hid in a refrigerated produce room. She said her mother saw people injured on the floor.

Will Lungo, 45, of Corona, said he and his wife were near the produce and alcohol sections when he heard gunshots.

"I thought maybe someone dropped a bottle of wine, but then I kept hearing shots," Lungo told the Press-Enterprise. "An employee came in and helped us out through the emergency exit."

Witnesses told KCAL-TV that shoppers and employees rushed to the exits. At one point, the station reported more than 100 people were outside the store.


Off-duty Calif. LEO discharged gun during deadly Costco shooting

Posted on June 15, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

CORONA, Calif. — An off-duty Los Angeles police officer among three people injured during a shooting inside a Costco Wholesale, killing one person, discharged his firearm inside the store, authorities said Saturday.

It was not immediately clear whether the unidentified officer was the only person who fired shots inside the store Friday night or if another person also opened fire or had a weapon.

Corona Police officer Tobias Kouroubacalis said Saturday he could not confirm if there was more than one shooter and said no one was in custody following the shooting that prompted a stampede of frightened shoppers to flee the store east of Los Angeles and seek cover inside.

Witnesses said they saw a man with a Mohawk haircut arguing with someone near a freezer section when shots rang out at least six times. The man involved in the argument was killed, Corona police Lt. Jeff Edwards said.

The injured officer was treated for minor injuries and released from a hospital, Los Angeles Police officer Greg Kraft said.

Corona police did not disclose details of what led to the shooting but witnesses said there was an altercation. Shoppers and employees described terror and chaos when shots rang out shortly before 8 p.m. Friday and police swarmed the store.

Shrieks from inside the store were heard on video recorded by shopper Nikki Tate, who had stopped by with her daughter to pick up steaks and lobsters for Father's Day.

Tate said Saturday she was by the meat section when she heard "about six or seven shots." She dropped to the ground and crawled toward her daughter who was at the other end. They huddled until they were able to escape through a side door.

"I saw people and heard shots and my first though was 'Jesus, is this another mass shooting?'" she said. "I didn't know if this was a random thing or a domestic thing or if this was a mass shooting. Everything was happening so fast, I just wanted to get me and my kid to safety."

In the video, her daughter says, "Mommy, we need to go."

No identities were immediately released. Police said the name of the deceased won't be released until the Riverside County coroner notifies family.

Christina Colis told the Riverside Press-Enterprise that she was in the produce area when she heard six to seven shots and hid with other shoppers in a refrigerated produce room. She said her mother saw people injured on the floor.

"I thought maybe someone dropped a bottle of wine, but then I kept hearing shots," shopper Will Lungo told the Press-Enterprise newspaper. "An employee came in and helped us out through the emergency exit."

Witnesses told KCAL-TV that shoppers and employees rushed to the exits. The station reported that more than 100 people were outside the store at one point. Left behind inside the store were purses, cellphones and backpacks from panicked shoppers, Corona police said.


Texas sheriff’s deputy found fatally shot in car

Posted on June 15, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

FORT WORTH, Texas — A Texas sheriff says one of his deputies was found fatally shot inside his car, near the county jail.

Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn tells news outlets that Sgt. Keith Shepherd was found Friday night inside his car in a downtown Fort Worth parking lot. The parking lot is across from the county jail, where Sheriff's Department Chief of Staff David McClelland says Shepherd was assigned.

Fort Worth police are leading the investigation into the shooting.

No suspect has been identified, and McClelland says authorities are pulling surveillance video from a three-block radius.

Waybourn says Shepherd worked for the department for 19 years.

Further details have not been released.


Texas sheriff’s deputy dies after being found shot in car

Posted on June 15, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Tom Steele The Dallas Morning News

FORT WORTH, Texas — A Tarrant County sheriff's deputy has died after being shot in downtown Fort Worth late Friday.

Sheriff Bill Waybourn said just before midnight that Sgt. Keith Shepherd, who worked in the department's detention unit, had died at a hospital.

Authorities were called around 9:30 p.m. to the 100 block of North Burnett Street where Shepherd was found in his personal vehicle with "significant head injuries," Fort Worth police Sgt. Chris Daniels said.

Shepherd was rushed to Texas Health Harris Methodist Fort Worth, where he died a short time later.

Waybourn said Shepherd had been taking a dinner break and was expected to return around 7 or 7:30 p.m., but never did.

He was found in a parking lot near the Sheriff's Department offices and the Tarrant County jail. The parking lot has security cameras, Waybourn said.

Fort Worth police are leading the investigation, the sheriff said. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also was on the scene.

Though the investigation was in its early stages and authorities did not have a suspect in the shooting, Waybourn said, "We're confident it will unravel soon."

Waybourn said he did not believe the public was in danger.

Law enforcement officers blocked off several streets, and police with rifles could be seen searching a nearby parking garage not long after the shooting was reported.

Shepherd, a 19-year-veteran of the force, had "a great reputation" in the department and was a strong leader, Waybourn said. He was also a great husband and father, the sheriff said.

———

©2019 The Dallas Morning News


All defendants found guilty of NYPD explorer’s murder

Posted on June 14, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Molly Crane-Newman and Larry Mcshane New York Daily News

NEW YORK — Five Bronx gang-bangers were convicted of first-degree murder Friday for the gruesome butchering of a 15-year-old aspiring city cop in a lethal case of mistaken identity.

The jury deliberated for eight hours over two days before returning their guilty verdicts against the killer quintet of Trinitarios in the June 20, 2018, murder captured in a heartbreaking video of victim Lesandro "Junior" Guzman-Feliz’s final minutes of life. The verdicts were read in a courtroom filled with more than three dozen court officers.

Defendants Jonaiki Martinez Estrella, Elvin Garcia, Antonio Rodriguez Hernandez Santiago, Miguel Rivera and Jose Muniz all face life in prison for their convictions. They were also found guilty of conspiracy and gang assault, and most showed no reaction as the jury delivered their decision.

“Hasta la muerte!” shouted an unrepentant Muniz — Spanish for “Til death” — in a declaration of gang solidarity after the verdict. Muniz, who also delivered a loud gang greeting in Spanish, attacked the helpless Junior with a machete during the frenzied and fatal attack.

The surveillance video presented by the prosecution showed Estrella plunging what appears to be a bread knife through Junior’s neck as the killing came to an end.

“I’m not going to have my son back, but those killers, those murderers, they’re not going to be outside killing other kids," said his mother, Leandra Feliz. “My son was a good kid, he was only 15 years old ... He was a really good kid. He’d never been in any trouble in his life until those kids murdered (him)."

The mom appeared relieved, as if a heavy weight was lifted by the sweeping verdict nearly a year after her son’s murder.

The defendants, all members of the Trinitarios street gang, descended on the innocent and outnumbered victim with knives and the machete, dragging him to his death outside a Bronx bodega. The first-degree murder conviction meant the jury determined that Junior was tortured before his tormentors finally killed him.

Jurors asked during their first day of deliberations to review the horrifying footage in slow-motion, and Guzman-Feliz’s mother howled in agony last month when she accidentally saw the video in court.

The execution of the innocent youth by the Bronx gang members broke the city’s collective heart, with an outpouring of grief and loss following the brutal murder.

“Junior came to symbolize all of the young people who have lost their lives to brutal gang violence,” said Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark. “Today’s verdict fortifies the Bronx community’s stand against violence ... We hope that the verdicts bring some consolation to his family, who have endured so much pain.”

A pair of turncoat witnesses testified against their former gang brethren, with one recounting the directions given to the killers by reputed Los Sures boss Diego Suero.

“If you have a gun, you shoot,” he allegedly declared. “If you have a knife, you stab. If you have a machete, use a machete.”

The cooperators avoided any jail time by cutting their deal with prosecutors before the trial started on May 6, with prosecutors arguing the teen’s death was a calculated killing ordered by a gang leaders.

The victim’s mom had wailed incoherently inside the Bronx courtroom during a court session where video of her son clutching at a fatal neck wound was aired. Court officers were needed to remove her from the building.

———

©2019 New York Daily News


NYPD officer dies by suicide, third this month

Posted on June 14, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By PoliceOne Staff

NEW YORK — A NYPD officer reportedly died by self-inflicted gunshot wound on Friday.

According to CBS New York, the Staten Island officer was found behind his police department in a locked car by an off-duty officer.

The incident makes the third death by suicide at the NYPD this month.


Photo of the Week: Job well done

Posted on June 14, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

PoliceOne Members
Author: PoliceOne Members

This week's photo comes from Officer John Mason of the Pasco Police Department in Washington. Pictured is Mason and his K-9, Lemon, after capturing a fleeing suspect. Mason has been Lemon's handler since June 2011 and is also on the regional SWAT team. Thank you for your service!

Calling all police photographers! PoliceOne needs pictures of you in action or training. Submit a photo — it could be selected as our Photo of the Week! Be sure to include your name, department information and address (including city, state and ZIP code) where we can reach you — Photo of the Week winners have a chance to win a PoliceOne.com T-shirt!


Mindset matters: Why you should treat driving with the same respect as weapons training

Posted on June 14, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Author: PoliceOne Members

Sponsored by Pursuit Response

By Laura Neitzel for PoliceOne BrandFocus

A law enforcement agency would never let a new officer go on patrol with a firearm and no police training. Even if that officer had years of experience with a personal firearm, an agency would draw the line. The logic makes sense: without the proper training and certification, there’s no way to know whether that officer really knows how to use the weapon, or, more importantly, has the judgment training to know why and when not to.

Why then do some law enforcement agencies seem willing to rely on driving skills an officer may have learned in high school, especially when the consequences can be as deadly as discharging a firearm?

Law enforcement officers and agencies should approach driving, especially vehicle pursuits, with an equal emphasis on training, tactics and de-escalation techniques as they would give to firearms training or other essential skills.

The numbers speak to why: traffic accidents are the second leading cause of death among law enforcement officers. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which tracks causes of law enforcement deaths, 50 officers died in traffic-related incidents in 2018, almost as many as the 52 firearms-related fatalities.

Backup to the rescue?

Of the 16 traffic-related fatalities in 2018 that were single-vehicle crashes, seven of the officers were responding to a call for service or as backup for another officer. While there is no evidence that these officer deaths were caused by reckless driving, agencies should agree that officers should adhere to their Number 1 goal: to get home safely.

“We should be as cool, calm and collected during emergency responses and pursuits as we are in building searches, physical altercations and shoot-outs,” said Chuck Deakins, lieutenant commander (retired) and lead specialist for simulation training at FAAC. “Everyone knows that if you crash on the way, you have only made the situation worse and not helped those that need you the most. You also take the risk of injuring or killing yourself as well as any innocent occupants of the other vehicle or bystanders.“

This means that even in the heat of the moment, law enforcement agencies should take all the commonly held concepts and tactics of field situations and apply them to driving situations.

Here are five ways that law enforcement agencies can apply tactics for safe responses and apply them to driving situations to help ensure that when there is a call for backup, backup actually arrives.

1. De-escalate a high-stress scenario.

De-escalation isn’t a tactic so much as a desired result. It’s about doing what’s necessary to turn a volatile situation into one that’s manageable. In a highly-charged situation, law enforcement officers are advised to approach the scene calmly (considering the circumstances).

The same advice should apply to driving. A traffic stop often turns into a situation where a suspect flees. It’s understandable that an officer might be angry or frustrated by such a flagrant violation but jumping into his or her vehicle during an emotional state to pursue the scofflaw can put the officer, the suspect and innocent bystanders in danger.

“De-escalation commences during the driving response, not after we are on-scene or in the pursuit,” said Deakins. “How can we expect an officer or deputy to respond with lights and sirens at high speeds, going through red lights, chasing suspects, talking on the radio, skidding to a stop, jumping out and running up to a situation, then suddenly expect others to de-escalate?”

2. Train with realistic safety standards in mind

Many law enforcement agencies put their officers through weapons simulation training in order to approximate a real-life scenario. Driving simulation training shares the same goal of putting the officer through an adrenaline-fueled experience in a safe environment where mistakes don’t have the deadly consequences they may have in real life.

In Deakin’s experience, some people believe that driving simulators are, at best, lame versions of a video game and not worth the time or expense. But Deakins says that driving training should get a similar degree of consideration as weapons simulation training. Since there is a real likelihood that a vehicle pursuit or high-speed response will result in a vehicle crash, putting officers through driver training simulation to ensure they are prepared for such an event can minimize the potential risks to officers, innocent civilians and suspects and help inoculate the agency against the cost of a lawsuit or the loss of reputation.

A study by California’s Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training found that driver simulation training was 2 times more effective than an Emergency Vehicle Operator Course (EVOC) training in preventing collisions. When driver training simulation was combined with EVOC track training, it was 2 ½ times more effective than track training alone in reducing law enforcement collisions.

“One of the key advantages of a simulation-based high-speed training program is more crashes. This is a bold statement, but a car crash is a highly instructive experience. We already know that learning by doing only works so long as the feedback from our actions is immediate and unambiguous,” said David Bouwkamp, executive director of business development at FAAC. “The unique aspect of simulator-based training is that you can have that accident, engage in instructor-led after-action review and then reset the simulator. That is real experience that will be retained, but without the disastrous repercussions it would have in real life.”

3. Learn tactics and strategies

Responding to an armed robbery or active shooter involves much more than skills honed during target practice. Similarly, training for a safe emergency response should include more than driving skills. It should also involve driving tactics and strategies.

A police officer doing a building search looking for a man inside with a gun would not just run through the building. The officer would move carefully.

“The same degree of caution should apply to driving,” said Deakins. “An officer shouldn’t just blow through an intersection without scanning and assessing the situation. It may not be a man with a gun that’s going to hit us but it’s a car that’s going to hit us. They can be equally deadly.”

Driving simulation training scenarios such as those at FAAC will teach both driving skills – such as scan and assess – as well as strategies and tactics like isolating and vehicle positioning.

4. Pursue safely with due regard.

“The only difference is in a vehicle pursuit, I'm pursuing an individual or a car,” said Deakins. “In an emergency response I'm pursuing a situation.”

The tactics and strategies involved in pursuits/emergency response are the same as with building searches, high-risk vehicle stops and hostage situations, says Deakins. “Move with precision, move carefully and don’t be reckless. Is this not a practical definition of ‘due regard’?”

5. Don’t make “deadly exceptions”

For some, there’s a double standard when it comes to driving. Some officers will follow safe practices when responding to a citizen emergency, but when another officer is involved, they may throw safety to the wind as they charge to the scene.

“There's a deadly exception out there in the attitude of the officers. If they're in pursuit of a suspect who has shot a cop, they're going to do anything they can to catch that guy,” said Deakins. “That means they're throwing out all their preparation, they're throwing out the seriousness of their risk, they're getting tunnel vision.”

Deakins encourages officers to make an agreement with their partners to uphold the standards of officer safety, especially when they’re behind the wheel.

“Tell your partners that you don’t expect them to take unnecessary risks to help you when you are in great trouble,” he said. “Think of it like those trapped in a burning building; you know when, as a police officer, you can run into the building and attempt the save and when it is simply not worth the risk or danger.”

A police vehicle is as potentially a deadly weapon as a firearm. Just as police agencies understand the value of simulation training for critical situations like an active shooter, FAAC Simulation Training can be used to teach driving skills and tactics that keep officers in the right frame of mind to keep themselves, fellow officers and bystanders safe.


Financial planning tips for police officers

Posted on June 14, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Policing Matters Podcast
Author: Policing Matters Podcast

Download this week's episode on iTunes, SoundCloud or via RSS feed

All too often police officers put themselves in unnecessary financial strain, causing them to have to work a ton of overtime or even get a side job. In this podcast segment, Policing Matters podcast co-host Doug Wyllie sits down with Jason Hoschouer, a motor officer and a financial coach who specializes in helping public safety professionals better manage their money.

LEARN MORE

Building financial strength in LEO families: The plan

How police officers can increase their income during the holidays without overtime

3 reasons financial fitness is just as important as physical fitness

7 things you should and should not spend your first paycheck on

5 excuses cops make about their financial mistakes


Video shows man falling from Okla. bridge after pursuit

Posted on June 14, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Associated Press

TULSA, Okla. — Video from a police body camera shows a shooting suspect falling about 30 feet from an Oklahoma bridge as he fled from officers.

A Tulsa police news release says officers responding to reports of someone shooting at a motorist from a car on April 30 followed the vehicle onto Interstate 244. The vehicle crashed into a barrier.

Police say Damico Taylor of Sand Springs ran from the car to the wall and climbed over.

The video released Thursday shows Taylor hanging from the wall until he either releases or loses his grip. The unidentified officer ran to the concrete ditch, where Taylor said "everything" hurts.

Police said in the news release that Taylor fractured his skull. Police didn't return phone calls Friday. Online court records don't list any charges against him.


Fla. governor signs bill banning sanctuary policies

Posted on June 14, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — All law enforcement agencies in Florida will have to cooperate with federal immigration authorities under a bill signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday during a ceremony that often felt like a campaign rally for him and President Donald Trump.

The bill prohibits local governments from enacting "sanctuary" polices that protect undocumented immigrants from deportation. It will require law enforcement to honor U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers for undocumented immigrants who are arrested or convicted of a crime. It exempts crime victims and witnesses.

"Sanctuary cities basically create law-free zones where people can come to our state illegally and our country illegally, commit criminal offenses and then just walk right out the door and continue to do it," DeSantis said. "In Florida, that will not happen."

The bill was signed in the Okaloosa County Commission's meeting room with an overflow crowd dotted with red "Make America Great Again" hats. Okaloosa, in the western Panhandle, is one of the state's most conservative counties. The crowd cheered wildly in support of the bill and equally as loud at the mention of Trump.

Trump, who has made illegal immigration a top priority, helped DeSantis win the GOP primary last year and campaigned for DeSantis in the general election. Republican U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, another close Trump ally and who campaigned across the state for DeSantis, also spoke at the ceremony.

DeSantis also introduced Kiyan Michael of Jacksonville, whose son Brandon was struck and killed by a driver who had been deported twice and illegally returned to the country again.

"We're blessed to have the best president, we believe, since Ronald Reagan," she said as the crowd roared. "Our fight is not over. Our immigration laws have to be reformed, they have to be changed, so you all don't become us."

The bill caused protests among immigrants and their advocates at the Capitol when it was before the Legislature. They feared it would encourage law enforcement profiling, force people to be deported for minor offenses like traffic infractions, and discourage crime victims and witnesses from coming forward. Opponents also argued that holding people based on an immigration detainer was unconstitutional.

Critics said the bill was politically motivated. Republican Sen. Joe Gruters, who also chairs the Republican Party of Florida, sponsored the bill and repeatedly argued it was simply about following the rule of law.

At the bill signing, he said the bill was about "making sure we protect American citizens from the very bad, criminal illegal aliens that are here committing the worst crimes imaginable. This is not about illegal aliens who are here trying to provide for their families."


Street Survival: When it comes to using deadly force, are you a P.O. or a C.O.?

Posted on June 14, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Lt. Dan Marcou
Author: Lt. Dan Marcou

“Heads up!”

Remember that? When you were a kid, and you least expected it, one of your friends would shout that phrase and launch a football or a basketball in your direction. If your reactions were sharp enough, you caught it and, if not, you fumbled the ball.

That’s about how suddenly deadly threats develop at times for officers except without anyone having the courtesy to shout, “Heads up!”

Fumbled Balls

Two high-profile incidents recently resulted in – to continue the analogy – fumbled balls.

In the aftermath of these incidents, former officer Mohamed Noor is facing prison after being convicted in Minnesota for what has been deemed by a jury to be not only an overreaction, but “murder.” In the second case, former SRO Scott Peterson finds himself charged by a prosecutor for criminal neglect for an underreaction to the Parkland school shooting.

These cases have inspired me to discuss some impediments to making good decisions when an officer is suddenly thrust into a deadly force decision-making event.

Whether you are an entry-level officer or a veteran you need to be aware if one of these three conditions describe your psyche before someone’s life is on the line and your reactions mean the difference between life or death:

1. Conscientious Objector

For those of you who have read the book “On Killing” by Colonel David Grossman, you realize it is not a natural thing for a human to take a life of another human, even when there is clear justification to do so. Colonel Grossman explains how there is a natural resistance in most, to killing.

When a police officer has to use deadly force to save innocents from a killer, that officer must be unencumbered and purposeful in his mission. They must be able to seek out that killer, take aim and fire a bullet into a vital area to stop the threat.

To be able to do this while making the right decision in doing so takes not only a great deal of ongoing training, but also a quantum of soul-searching in advance to determine that the officer is a P.O. (Police Officer) who can do what needs to be done, and not a C.O. (Conscientious Objector), who can’t.

Now is a good time to do that soul-searching. Ask yourself if you can take the life of another if that dire decision is thrust on you by fate and/or circumstance.

As a career-long field training officer and survival trainer I have had officers on more than one occasion state, “I would rather take one in the chest than ever shoot someone.”

After hearing this, I followed up with this question in each case, “Knowing this, why did you get into law enforcement?”

Their answer was that they wanted to be a police officer to help people. They felt since most officers never have to fire their weapon the odds were in their favor that they might never have to shoot someone. One stated he would just count on someone else doing it.

At least these officers knew they were conscientious objectors. Not all officers are aware they are C.O.s until it’s too late.

If you know you would be unable to fire your duty weapon at a deadly threat, you should find another career.

2. Nervous in the Service

Another condition that can have a debilitating effect on an officer in a deadly situation is being “nervous in the service.” Now let’s be clear that I am not talking about the presence of fear. Fear is a normal reaction to many challenges and is felt by police officers universally.

However, being “nervous in the service” is when out-of-control fear is so debilitating that it causes an officer to freeze, over-react, or under react. All three can lead to unacceptable results.

Controlling and properly channeling fear is what great cops do well.

3. A Dulled Edge

Another situation that often prohibits an effective response in a deadly situation can be called the “dulled edged.” Some officers have been assigned to administrative duties, or “officer-friendly” positions for many years and have few, if any, recent critical experiences. In addition, because of their position they may be rarely offered survival-training opportunities. The survival edge that was once sharp and continually honed through training and experiences may be considerably dulled slowing their reaction time and hampering their critical decision-making capability.

This can also occur in the veteran street officer whose edge has been dulled by complacency and the failure to train.

Unacceptable Corrective Options

Officers, who suffer from these conditions too often:

    Seek out a position in law enforcement where they believe they won’t ever be put into a position where they will have to shoot someone. Deliberately avoid hot calls, or let others arrive first. Go about their day-to-day business of policing and hope a critical situation never happens.
Conclusion

No matter what your job assignment, you need to continually prepare yourself for your “heads-up” moment by:

    Mentally preparing for what you may someday have to do. If you are a C.O., do not accept any armed protective position in law enforcement. Making certain that no matter what your duty assignment is your survival training is realistic, repetitious, regular, recent and at the ready. Don’t pray that it never happens to you. Pray instead that when innocents are endangered by an evil predator, that it will be you that gets that call, because you realize that when things are at their worst, is when you are at your best!

With that said, heads up!


Ariz. LEO saves suicidal man on bridge by offering a hug

Posted on June 14, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Author: Lt. Dan Marcou

By PoliceOne Staff

CHANDLER, Ariz. — An officer saved a suicidal man’s life Wednesday by offering him a hug.

According to Fox News, Officer Aaron Little saw a 26-year-old suicidal man climb the railing on a pedestrian bridge with the intent to jump.

In body camera footage, Little is seen talking to the man, asking him to walk towards him.

"I'll hug you, man. I don't care. I just want to talk to you. I swear," Little says.

The officer was able to convince the man to climb back to safety and embrace him.

Officer Talks Suicidal Man Out of Jumping Off Bridge

In the early evening of Thursday, March 28, 2019, a 26-year-old male climbed the protective railing of a pedestrian bridge that spans the Price Freeway with the intent to jump. Officer A. Little arrived at the bridge and, after developing a rapport with the male, Officer Little was able to convince him to climb off the railing and back to the safety of the bridge. While this incident is extraordinary, the compassion Officer Little showed is a common occurrence with the men & women of the Chandler Police Department. Officer Little’s body worn camera captured their interaction:

Posted by Chandler Police Department on Wednesday, June 12, 2019


Milwaukee man fires 4 shots at LEOs before being shot in shoulder

Posted on June 14, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Author: Lt. Dan Marcou

By PoliceOne Staff

MILWAUKEE — A man has been charged with two counts of attempted first-degree intentional homicide after opening fire on police during a domestic dispute on Saturday.

According to Journal Sentinel, 34-year-old Javon Lewis opened fire on two officers during a foot pursuit.

The two officers were responding to a home after being called about a domestic dispute between Lewis and his girlfriend. Lewis told a relative who called police that he was going to shoot his girlfriend and that the police were going to have to shoot him, Journal Sentinel reports.

As police approached, Lewis began to walk away from the scene. An officer ordered him to stop, but Lewis began to run.

While the officers were chasing him, Lewis turned around and fired four times at the LEOs. One bullet hit an officer’s holster at his waste and cracked it.

An officer fired nine rounds at Lewis while the other officer dived to the ground to avoid Lewis’s bullets. During the exchange of gunfire, Lewis was shot in the shoulder, causing him to fall to the ground and allowing police to arrest him.

Lewis has also been charged with possessing a firearm as a convicted felon along with misdemeanor battery and strangulation and suffocation.


Your agency’s guide to building a real-time operations center (eBook)

Posted on June 14, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Author: Lt. Dan Marcou

Sponsored by Motorola Solutions

The abundance of data now available to law enforcement agencies presents both an opportunity and a challenge: How can police correlate information from various sources and in various formats to render actionable data in real time?

This growing need has fueled the development of real-time operations centers to more effectively manage data from myriad sources – body-worn cameras and other video, social media, structured and unstructured data, etc. – to better connect and empower officers on patrol.

Download this free guide to learn about the functions and benefits of an RTOC, including analysis, crime prevention and more efficient investigations, as well as how to build your own RTOC.

What’s inside:

What is a real-time operations center? What are the key steps to building a real-time operations center for your agency? How to overcome common challenges when setting up a real-time operations center. How a real-time operations center has improved productivity and public safety in New Orleans. Resources for more information.

Fill out the form below for your FREE eBook:


Here’s why you should care about the afterlife of your bullet

Posted on June 14, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Sponsored by Action Target

By Yoona Ha, PoliceOne BrandFocus Staff

Cops are serious about recycling. They’re accustomed to dutifully separating coffee cups, used papers and cans of soda from their trash to divert them from heading to the landfill. But what if they could use their spent bullets and empty shells to reduce waste and help the environment as well? Turns out, there’s a reward for recycling metals, too.

Action Target in Provo, Utah, is working with law enforcement agencies and shooting ranges across the country to pay them for their spent brass and lead. In the U.S. alone, metals recycling is a huge industry that handles millions of tons of scrap copper and lead on a yearly basis. It’s estimated by the United States Department of Labor that around 1.5 million tons of copper and 1.3 million tons of scrap lead get recycled each year.

PoliceOne talked to Diana Rotolo, sales manager of range retail programs at Action Target, to understand why law enforcement should care about the afterlife of their spent ammunition.

P1: Tell us about your metal recycling program and why law enforcement should be thinking about metals recycling efforts.

Action Target: Action Target’s metal recycling program offers a turnkey solution for law enforcement shooting ranges that have to dispose of their lead and brass. By law, any agency that disposes of hazardous material or waste, including lead, is responsible for these byproducts from the cradle to the grave – which means that it’s their responsibility for where it ends up and how it gets there. If you’re sending your scrap metals out and don’t know where it’s going and how it’s been disposed of, then you’re legally liable for that and can be subject to hefty fines and costly lawsuits.

Metals recycling can be a challenge, especially for many smaller law enforcement agencies, because it’s easy to lose sight of how their metals recycling is being handled. We’re the one-stop-shop solution for these police departments and are compliant with the Environmental Protection Agency and certified by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. We give our clients all of the paperwork they need to be EPA and OSHA compliant.

P1: Possible risk of lead exposure is a known hazard. How does your organization handle occupational exposure to lead in the recycling and cleanup process?

Action Target: Everything from the range ventilation filters to the personal protective equipment used to clean the range is covered by our hazardous waste disposal program to prevent the risk of lead exposure or cross contamination. Improper disposal is illegal and the handling of lead is nothing to mess around with since it can poison our bodies and poison the environment.

We not only pay for the shipping of the scrap metal, but we also pay for the packaging that’s used to collect these metals. In addition to these protective measures, we also offer transparent pricing details for agencies that sell their metal by relying on numbers from the London Metals Exchange, which is similar to the stock market in that the prices go up and down in real time, so we guarantee our customers the best rate possible. Our goal is to make recycling profitable for our law enforcement agency partners.

P1: Tell us more about the pricing and payment incentives of your metals recycling program.

Action Target: We offer to either cut our sellers a check for the value of metals they sold us, or they can opt to use that value as a credit with Action Target, which gives them a 10% value bonus. This means that customers can buy anything from products to services under the Action Target umbrella, which can include anything from parts, maintenance, service for shooting ranges to range ammo, paper targets or ventilation filters.

P1: What’s one thing that often gets overlooked that you’d like to emphasize to our readers?

Action Target: Metals recycling can be a win-win scenario for everyone involved. Some people don’t understand that if they’re not careful about where their lead and brass are going, they could be held responsible for improper handling or not having the proper documentation as to how those materials were transported and disposed of. In addition, many law enforcement agencies get a budget to purchase range ammunition, and by recycling with Action Target, they can get revenue from the recycled ammo and use that revenue a second time around.


5 Minn. LEOs fired for failing to stop 2018 assault

Posted on June 14, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Five St. Paul police officers were fired Thursday for allegedly failing to intervene in an assault that reportedly was carried out by a former officer.

Chief Todd Axtell announced the firings at an emotional news conference, calling the officers' actions "a violation of trust." But Axtell gave almost no details except to say the assault happened at a business a year earlier and did not involve violence by an officer.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press, both citing unidentified people in the department or familiar with the case, said the incident happened in June 2018 when officers responded to an incident at an east side bar involving former St. Paul officer Tou Cha.

A criminal complaint charging Cha with felony assault described a pair of fights breaking out at a gathering at the bar, with Cha caught on video swinging a baton on a defenseless man, the Star Tribune reported. The man was later hospitalized, according to the complaint.

Neither Axtell nor a police spokesman would confirm or deny that the firings were related to the Cha case. "The law won't allow me to say anything further about that," Axtell told the Star Tribune.

At his news conference, Axtell said officers are expected to intervene when a violent act occurs in their presence and to tell the truth.

"When officers fail to live up to these standards, it affects everyone who wears the badge, and that's why I've taken this action," Axtell said. "This community deserves to know that its St. Paul police officers will always do the right thing and to tell the truth."

Axtell said he learned of the incident last summer. The decision to fire the officers was made after an investigation by the police department's internal affairs unit and after recommendations by the Police Civilian Affairs Review Commission, the chief said. The review was completed this week.

Cha has pleaded not guilty. He did not immediately reply to a phone message The Associated Press left Thursday at the restaurant. His attorney, Jack Rice, told the AP that Cha's wife owns the bar, Checkerboard Pizza, and Cha works there.

An attorney for the St. Paul Police Federation, Christopher Wachtler, said the officers did not deserve to be fired, and the union will fight their terminations "all the way."

Wachtler, the union attorney, said the incident was captured on squad car and body camera video.

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter said in a statement he supports the chief's leadership and the work of the Police Civilian Affairs Review Commission "to enforce strong ethical standards in our police department."

"While the vast majority of our officers meet and exceed these standards every day, the trust we place in them demands accountability for actions that fall below our high standards," Carter said.


Photos: NY police, K-9s train for explosive detection at first ever ‘Canine Week’

Posted on June 14, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Jolene Cleaver Observer-Dispatch, Utica, N.Y.

ORISKANY, NY — For police officers with canine partners like Utica police Patrolman Sean Bubnis and 4-year-old partner Wolf, there is an ongoing cycle of continuous training so they can be prepared for any incident that arises.

And having that level of training available in the Mohawk Valley is valuable, said Bubnis.

Bubnis and Wolf were among 50 other police canine explosion detection teams participating this week in the first ever "Canine Week" at the State Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany, a training hosted by the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.

The teams are engaging in "scenario-based training exercises geared toward the detection of explosives," organizers said.

Among simulated trainings, canine teams are operating out of a helicopter during an emergency response, detecting explosives in a maritime environment using the state's Swift Water Rescue site and practicing executing a high-risk warrant situation that might involve explosives, said Meghan Dudley, an intelligence analyst for the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.

Dudley also said canine teams have been busy this week utilizing the swift water rescue facility in order to train in a maritime setting.

"It's a different environment. ...Most have not had an opportunity to train in water," Dudley said, further noting that since floods are now a common occurrence in New York the water-based training is relevant as, "crime doesn't stop when flooding occurs."

In a detail of the week's trainings, Bubnis added that the new environments and tasks police officers can expose their canine partners to at the training center is beneficial and at a higher level than typical trainings.

Not only do the canines learn to work efficiently in the presence of other police dogs, but they, "work through all these extreme scenarios and perform at a high level."

This week, not only have police agencies from New York attended the canine focused training, but out of state agencies from Connecticut and Georgia have begun to travel to the area for training.

"It's exciting to have this kind of world class training here in Oriskany," Dudley said.

———

©2019 Observer-Dispatch, Utica, N.Y.


Tenn. police appeal for calm after marshals fatally shoot wanted man

Posted on June 14, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Police appealed for calm Thursday in a tense Memphis neighborhood where a rock-throwing crowd gathered after federal marshals fatally shot a black man who, authorities said, had rammed a police vehicle with a stolen car.

Thirty-six officers suffered minor injuries from flying rocks and bricks in the hours following the death of 20-year-old Brandon Webber, who was killed Wednesday evening after he exited the car holding some type of weapon, authorities said.

Webber had been wanted in a June 3 shooting that happened during a car theft about 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Memphis in Hernando, Mississippi. The victim was shot five times and survived. The car was the one used to ram the police vehicle, according to DeSoto County, Mississippi, District Attorney John Champion, who spoke Thursday at a news conference.

Elected officials condemned the violence, and the police chief pleaded for patience while the shooting is investigated. But unanswered questions left many people angry as they recalled other police shootings around the country.

On Thursday evening, dozens — including Webber's father and other friends and relatives — gathered near the house where he was shot.

A couple of men spoke into megaphones and some motorists who drove by honked their horns and shouted messages of encouragement. There was a light police presence with a couple police cars parked at a nearby fire station that was damaged during Wednesday night's unrest.

Shortly after Wednesday's shooting, people began to gather in the area, and their numbers swelled as some livestreamed the scene on social media. Memphis police initially responded in street uniforms, then returned in riot gear as people began hurling rocks and bricks.

During the unrest, officers cordoned off several blocks in the Frayser neighborhood north of downtown and arrested three people. By 11 p.m., officers had used tear gas and most of the crowd dispersed, Police Director Michael Rallings said.

Rallings implored residents to wait until the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, or TBI, finished its investigation. He appealed for people to refrain from violence and from spreading possible misinformation about the shooting.

"I need everyone to stay calm," Rallings said.

He later told WREG-TV that while peaceful protests are allowed, authorities would not tolerate further attacks on officers or any property damage or looting. Among steps designed to maintain public order and protect law enforcement, Rallings said, officers' days off have been canceled and they will ride in two-person cars as a precaution.

Separately, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said through a spokeswoman that the shooting would be fully investigated. Lee's press secretary, Laine Arnold, said the crowd's actions were "not representative of the community, but we stand firmly against acts of lawlessness that threaten the safety of our neighborhoods."

Webber's home was in a working-class neighborhood of north Memphis. By Thursday afternoon, the police presence was minimal, with two squad cars parked in front of a fire station. No uniformed officers were visible. About 20 people stood outside of Webber's one-story house, and others gathered nearby. One woman wept loudly and hugged a man as she cried.

The Rev. Andre E. Johnson said he was standing among the protesters when tear gas was released. He said he heard no police order to disperse.

People were upset because they initially did not know why the marshals sought to arrest Webber, said Johnson, who called him a beloved member of the community.

"The problem with it is they feel that police and the administration and city officials do not treat them as humans. That's what it really boils down to: You are not worthy of an explanation," said Johnson, speaking hours before the Mississippi prosecutor described the allegations against Webber.

TBI spokeswoman Keli McAlister said a fugitive task force went to a Frayser home to look for a suspect with felony warrants. She said marshals spotted the man getting into a car, which then rammed task force vehicles several times before the man got out with the weapon.

Marshals then opened fire, she said. McAlister did not say how many marshals fired or how many times the man was shot. The TBI identified the dead man as Webber.

Authorities provided no details about the type of weapon or the charges that drew the task force's interest. A criminal history for Webber released by the TBI listed two arrests, in April 2017 and April 2018, on charges including weapons possession, drug dealing and driving without a license.

The 2018 charges were not prosecuted, and the 2017 charges were dismissed, court records showed.

Webber's father, Sonny Webber, told The Associated Press by phone that his son leaves a 2-year-old boy and a young daughter, with another daughter on the way: "He would have had three children. Now he'll have a child that he won't get to meet."

The TBI is routinely called in to investigate police shootings around the state. TBI investigators typically deliver a report to the local district attorney, who then decides whether to pursue charges against officers involved.

At least two journalists also were hurt in Wednesday's violence.

Memphis-area police shootings in the past four years have prompted sporadic protests. Among them was Darrius Stewart, an unarmed 19-year-old who was fatally shot during a fight in 2015 with Connor Schilling, a white officer who was trying to arrest him on outstanding warrants.

A Shelby County district attorney recommended that Schilling be charged with voluntary manslaughter, but a grand jury refused to indict him.


Texas police release video of fatal OIS of man inside truck

Posted on June 14, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

FORT WORTH, Texas — Fort Worth police on Thursday released body camera footage of officers fatally shooting a man who ignored repeated police orders to drop his handgun.

JaQuavion Slaton, 20, died Sunday of multiple gunshot wounds to the head and chest, Dr. Nizam Peerwani, Tarrant County medical examiner, said in a statement. One head wound was self-inflicted and the others were from police bullets, and an investigation continues into whether the self-inflicted gunshot wound was deliberate or accidental, Peerwani said.

Slaton was the fourth suspect Fort Worth police had fired upon in 10 days and the second who was killed.

In introducing the video, interim Police Chief Ed Kraus said three of the department's Special Response Team officers had gone to an east Fort Worth address four times since May 6 to serve Slaton with warrants issued by the University of Texas at Tyler police accusing him of felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, assault on a family member and evading arrest. Slaton could not be found the first three times, but he was found Sunday during a traffic stop, and the Special Response Team officers went to the scene.

"They already knew Slaton had several warrants for his arrest, and from previous encounters they knew, they believed he was currently armed with a weapon," Kraus told reporters and community activists.

Kraus they showed body-camera video of a foot pursuit that showed an object in Slaton's hand that appeared to be a handgun. The pursuing officers are heard shouting, "Gun! Gun! Gun!"

After briefly losing contact with Slaton, officers found him in the cab of a pickup truck.

Officers first approached the truck from behind but moved in front to shield nearby pedestrians from any gunfire, Kraus said. Video showed a semicircle of armored officers in front of the truck, guns drawn, amid shouts of "Put your hands up!"

Finally, one officer shouted, "He's reaching!" Officers opened fire. Even after a call of "Cease fire!" an officer is heard warning that Slaton still had a gun in his hand.

Kraus said Slaton's position in the vehicle and the position of body cameras on officers' chests keep the video from capturing clearly what they saw, Kraus noted. "What is depicted, however, is Slaton not complying with multiple requests to show his hands and Slaton making overt actions which led officers to discharge their firearms," he said.

Kraus said he hoped the release of the video and the briefing would be "a first step" toward building public trust in the police.

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Richard Vazquez, precinct chairman for the neighborhood where Slaton was shot, said the video was a good first step but that more video and statements from officers involved need to be released.

"My community is not going to be satisfied until we know more," he told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Estella Williams, president of the Fort Worth/Tarrant County branch of the NAACP, also praised the initial release. But she told the Star-Telegram, "I'm hoping there will be some changes. We know there have been lots of shootings in recent weeks and we need information."

News Conference regarding Officer Involved Shooting near 5200 East Berry Street on 06/09/19.

Posted by Fort Worth Police Department on Thursday, June 13, 2019


15 tips from fathers that cops use on patrol

Posted on June 13, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By PoliceOne Staff

Yeah, your dad might've been a bit of a hardass when you were growing up, but he probably gave you some pretty good advice along the way. In honor of Father’s Day, we asked you to share advice from dad that you've found useful on patrol. Below is a collection of the best responses. Be sure to check out top tips from mom here.

    If you’re going to do something and you don’t know if it’s the right thing to do, imagine me standing behind you watching. You’ll make the right decision every time. – Rhonda Trekell Bays Treat every person with respect no matter what. Giving respect to others is more about the man you are than whoever they might be or what they have done. – Derek John Instead of being a hand crank, try being a self-starter. – Franklin Marino Don't take any wooden nickels! – Frank Keough Know that you will not change the world but you have an opportunity to help make a change. – Tim Menard Never turn your back on a woman during a domestic violence call. – Sifu Says Watch their hands but talk to them like your mother's listening. – Michael McKellar Someone is counting on you to do your job so they can do theirs. – Pat Welsh You have two names on your uniform. Your family’s and the community you serve. Don’t bring shame to either one. – William Ferline Be careful what you say at work, you never know who your next boss will be. – Marv Alex Trust your gut. If someone or something doesn’t feel right, trust your gut. – Ashley Brashear Make a new friend every day. – John Paul Always assume no one has done their job; do it again, it could possibly save your life. – David Allen Never forget that no matter how high you go in the police department you will never stand higher than the shoulders of those people below you. – Ed Devennish Nothing good happens after midnight. - Jimmy Andrews
LEARN MORE

Police work as a family affair

How to talk to your kids about the dangers of policing

How to find child care to fit your odd LEO schedule

6 keys to being a better police parent

Keys to successful parenting for police officers


Iowa sheriff won’t honor neighboring town’s arrests

Posted on June 13, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

DURANT, Iowa — An unusual circumstance let a speeding drunken driver avoid a trip to jail after her recent arrest in this small eastern Iowa town: the sheriff isn't honoring arrests made in Durant.

Saying he cannot rely on the truthfulness of officers in the farming community of 1,800 people about 165 miles (265 kilometers) east of Des Moines, Cedar County Sheriff Warren Wethington has declared that his jail will not book any suspects whom they arrest for the foreseeable future. He has barred Durant officers from setting foot in the county law enforcement center and ordered his own deputies to not base any arrests on the observations of Durant officers.

Wethington's directive, issued last month, has won him praise from residents, who see it as a rare public stand against police misconduct by a law enforcement official. But it has escalated his long-running feud with Dawn Smith, chairwoman of the Cedar County Board of Supervisors, whose husband, Robert Smith, is the Durant officer at the center of the sheriff's allegations.

Wethington said the main problem is that Robert Smith, one of the town's three full-time officers, has a history of being untruthful, using questionable force and generating complaints about his harsh demeanor. And Durant's police chief, he says, is aware of the problems but hired Smith anyway last year even though some of them have to be disclosed to criminal defendants.

"I'm not saying they can't do their jobs. I'm just saying that I'm not going to vouch for their integrity," Wethington said in an interview at the sheriff's office in the county seat of Tipton, population 3,200, which is 150 miles (241 kilometers) east of Des Moines. "When you allow somebody to bring a suspect to your jail, you are saying 'I believe this officer is credible and that there is probable cause this happened.' That's not the case here."

Robert Smith retired from the Iowa State Patrol last year after a 30-year career and then was hired by Durant, where his wife previously served as mayor and one of her supporters is the police chief. Dawn and Robert Smith said that he left the patrol in good standing; a patrol spokesman had no immediate comment.

But court records show that the Cedar County prosecutor's office routinely discloses to criminal defendants that Smith's truthfulness as a witness may be called into question by issues that surfaced during his job as a trooper. Such disclosures are referred to as Giglio notices because they are required under a Supreme Court decision by that name and can be a career-ender for officers subjected to them.

Records detailing Robert Smith's past issues are maintained in a sealed file at the courthouse that defense lawyers and judges have been allowed to review in-person.

Robert Smith declined comment on the contents of the file but said, "My record stands by itself and that's all I have to say." Durant Police Chief Orville Randolph declined comment, citing the advice of the city attorney.

Dawn Smith called the sheriff's move an attempt to get back at her after the two elected officials have clashed on other issues. She said Wethington "chose to target me, my family, my friends and my community" after she looked into his admitted unprofessional behavior at a May 1 meeting of the county's 911 board, which he chairs.

Wethington acknowledged that he used foul language and was "downright mean" to vendors of the county's radio system because he was outraged their equipment isn't working and he demanded answers. However, he says Dawn Smith has made an issue of the meeting only to try to discredit him after she caught wind of his plan. He said their feud "makes it easy" to speak out against Durant officers but that's not why he's doing it.

Randolph, the Durant chief, said his department is continuing business as usual amid the situation. But it is having a real-world impact.

A 43-year-old woman was charged with operating while intoxicated last month after she was pulled over for speeding 24 miles per hour over the limit in Durant and had a blood alcohol level over the limit. A criminal complaint says she was released with a date to appear in court rather than jailed because the "Cedar County Sheriff refused to take defendant."

Calling the situation unfortunate, the chief judge of the judicial district has ordered that people who are arrested in the Cedar County part of Durant can be taken to the Scott County jail in Davenport. If that jail is full, they are to be taken to the Muscatine County jail. Durant, despite its small population, stretches into all three counties.

After they make court appearances, the suspects can then be ordered sent back to the Cedar County jail in Tipton pending further proceedings.

Wethington says that he's willing to accept the inmates at that point since their charges have been reviewed by the court — even though it means an 85-mile roundtrip for one of his deputies to pick them up. In addition to the transportation costs, the arrangement could mean additional hearings for the judges and clerks in Scott County.

The sheriff said the response has been "overwhelmingly good" despite those costs, pointing to social media posts cheering him on.

"I even got an 'I Stand With Warren' hashtag," he said with a laugh.


Case study: How bar codes boosted productivity for one Texas sheriff’s office

Posted on June 13, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Sponsored by QueTel

By Rachel Zoch for PoliceOne BrandFocus

Change is tough for any organization. Add in the need to maintain a clear chain of custody for evidence management and you have a significant challenge.

Last year, the Comal County Sheriff’s Office in Texas took on that challenge, transitioning its evidence intake and management from a semi-manual add-on to its RMS to an automated bar code system from QueTel.

Det. Sgt. Ronald Womack, a 30-plus year veteran officer who oversees the department’s evidence operations, was initially resistant because the transition would pose a significant burden on his staff of four – but the added functionality of the bar codes quickly won him over.

“I knew there would be growing pains,” he said, “but now that I have it and we’ve done a lot of work with it, I think the bar code system is really cool. It’s been a blessing in disguise.”

SAVING TIME ON EVIDENCE ENTRY AND TRACKING

The CCSO adopted the QueTel Evidence TraQ system last year, and although Womack’s team is still working to tag all the department’s roughly 45,000 items, he says they are already seeing the benefits.

Before adopting the bar code system, the department was using a “very limited, very bare bones” evidence processing module tacked onto its RMS, says Womack. Officers would file incident reports, and then evidence techs would have to use that information for intake and processing.

Now, officers log in using their unique employee numbers and bar code the evidence themselves before handing it over to the property room.

“It took away our need to have a lot of man hours inputting all the evidence,” said Womack. “It's already put in the system, so when we pull it from the one-way intake bins it’s already bar coded, and all we do is accept it and assign it a locker. That sped up the process.”

Womack says many of the officers, like him, were initially resistant to the change, but once they realized they no longer had to do chain of custody labels because the bar code provides that, they recognized that the change cut down on paperwork tremendously, saving them time and hassle.

“If you have 20 pieces of evidence, you have to put a chain of custody label on each one of those pieces of evidence,” said Womack. “You don’t have to do that anymore. You just bar code it. You put it in, run the barcode, boom, slap it on the evidence and it’s done. That’s your chain of custody installed on it, meaning that whenever it changes hands, whatever is done with that evidence, no matter what, you can always see what was done.”

This automated tracking also cuts down on the potential for discrepancies, he adds, a key safeguard for everyone involved.

“Anything you’re allowed to get into in an evidence room, you’re subject to recall five, 10 years down the road,” he said. “I could be retired and they could call me to court on a piece of evidence.”

ADDING SEARCH CAPABILITES

Another key benefit of the new system is that it can be easily searched, which Womack says is a “night and day” difference from before. Every piece of evidence, no matter how small, gets a bar code that is logged by the QueTel system, and an evidence locker holding multiple items can be assigned a bar code that can be scanned to list everything inside. The software can then be queried to list what’s in a given locker or where to find a particular item.

“We’ve been doing a massive item inventory as every item in here is being bar coded. If we have 10 pieces in an envelope and they’re in different bags, each one of them gets a bar code,” he said. “What I like about it that we couldn’t do before is I can go in and put ‘locker A’ and it’ll tell me everything in locker A. The other system didn’t do that.”

HAVE THE RIGHT SUPPORT IN PLACE

Womack credits his team with making the transition a success and says it’s important to have the right people in place.

“Anytime you go to a new software system, make sure that you have the people around you to grab the bull by the horns,” he said, crediting evidence tech Caitlin Buckman for taking the lead on implementing the bar codes.

Womack also emphasizes the importance of a software provider that will work with your agency to get the new software system up and running and provide ongoing support.

“Support was a key factor,” he said. “The team they have are very positive and very helpful. They didn’t just drop us by the wayside. They were very good to us, and they took care of us. You can call them and basically they’ll bend over backwards. Of course, there were a few bumps in the road during the transition like any time you merge two systems, but they were quick to correct those problems.”

He says the experience with QueTel has been very positive overall, and the department will likely expand with other modules, such as those for quartermaster or impound management.

“On a scale of one to 10, I give them a nine,” he said. “What we lacked is the bar code system. It brings us into the 21st century.”


Iowa PD turn to private doorbell cameras to help catch criminals

Posted on June 13, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By PoliceOne Staff

WAUKEE, Iowa — Police are asking residents to register their home security cameras to help them solve crimes.

According to the Des Moines Register, the Waukee Police Department are following departments across the nation to encourage their community to register their home doorbell cameras so police can quickly request footage if an incident occurs nearby.

Departments in New York, Virginia and Texas have already established programs that take advantage of the growing number of home cameras.

“It’s crazy how many people have doorbell cameras ... it’s going to be an advantage for us,” Waukee police Sgt. Mackenzie Sposeto said.

More than 3.4 million doorbell recording devices were expected to be sold last year with reports saying the devices will be in 22 million homes by 2020.

Some departments are offering discounts on doorbell cameras in exchange for access to their footage. Waukee police aren’t offering subsidies on devices, but since launching their program a few weeks ago, they’ve received around 20 applications.

Registering these devices doesn’t give police automatic access to footage, but if a crime occurs in a neighborhood with a registered camera, police can contact the owner and request recordings.


The importance of report writing skills for career development

Posted on June 13, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Lindsey J. Bertomen
Author: Lindsey J. Bertomen

Report writing skills are just as important for career survival as any other police skill, such as defensive tactics, firearms handling, and knowledge of statutes and codes.

I’ve been teaching report writing to students for more than 15 years. I don’t make it complicated. There are only two rules to follow for writing excellent reports:

    Write in the first person/active voice. Do not make legal conclusions.
First Person/Active Voice

Writing in the active voice means that the subject of a sentence does the action indicated by the verb.

Active voice sentences are structured as “This (he, she, etc.) did that.” For example, Officer Smith drove his patrol car to the morgue. When an officer uses active voice correctly, it reduces confusion.

Active voice sentences directly answer the question, "Who did this?" They center on the active verb, which allow the reader to quickly grasp who performed the activity.

Understanding active voice also enables a writer to use natural language. Natural language is one a writer writes the same way that people talk. The opposite of this is institutionalized language.

Let’s look at institutionalized language first:

Upon arrival, I made contact with…

People don’t generally talk like this, but for some reason we have decided that writing like this in reports makes us sound more intelligent. Does the previous sentence mean a person landed on top of their arrival? When they made contact with someone, does that mean that, before anything else, they walked up and touched them? This could be awkward.

The natural language equivalent would be something like:

“When I arrived, I talked to…”

Sometimes, institutionalized language sounds like total nonsense. For example, officers might write, “He was ambulatory, so the ambulance crew did not use a gurney.” Instead, how about, “Smith walked into the ambulance”?

The worst violators of institutionalized language use are traffic accident investigators. Writing that, “The point of impact was arrived upon by the damage to Vehicle 1 and scuff marks on the pavement,” is just awkward.

Writing the same way as we naturally speak becomes important when we use our reports to refresh our memory on the stand. We can simplify language by using the active voice and natural language:

The two of them became engaged in an argument.

They argued.

The vehicle appeared in good repair and appeared new in appearance.

The car looked new.

As of this date, the anticipated response has not been delivered.

I don’t have an answer yet.

The two of them were engaged in a physical altercation.

They fought.

Is there a time when passive voice is appropriate in a report? Yes, but only when it is productive to emphasize the object of the sentence. For example:

After a few minutes, Blanco was finished with Chief Sill’s boring monologue.

Legal Conclusions

Perhaps the most uncomfortable cross examinations stem from officers who make legal conclusions in their reports. It happens like this:

Officer Blanco, according to your report, you stated that “…the car careened off the guardrail, causing it to strike the pickup truck in the other lane.” Is this correct?

That’s correct.

What sort of training do you have in physics, Officer?

I’m sorry?

Let me rephrase. How did you know that the car bounced off the guardrail, rather than the driver steered the car into my client after hitting the guardrail?

You can see where this is going. Creating a conclusion or an assumption in a report is dangerous, especially when it comes to criminal cases.

The way to avoid making legal conclusions is to look for language that suggests “this caused that” or things that the officer could not possibly know from their vantage point.

Sometimes officers string facts together creating a conclusion. Not only is this problematic, it is a poor investigatory habit. For example:

Marie Smith said that she was in the bedroom when suspect Scranton approached the front porch. Scranton banged on the door, then Scranton kicked it in. Smith opened the bedroom window and crawled out.

If Marie Smith didn’t actually see or hear Scranton bang on the door, the information cannot be confirmed. This is not only poor writing; it is poor investigatory technique. That is, what if there was a second suspect and Scranton was not the one who banged on the door?

Sometimes officers will make legal conclusions that stem from information they could not possibly know. For example:

By this time, Smith was thinking that he was going to assault Dean for molesting his daughter.

Imagine the question on the stand:

Officer, what degree of clairvoyance do you have?

What?

Oh, you didn’t know this question was coming? Why not?

Investigators cannot possibly know what someone was thinking, but I see this in reports all the time.

Becoming a better report writer

It probably would not surprise anyone to know that I have students with graduate degrees who have trouble with simple incident report writing. I encourage recruits to take a writing class before they enter the police academy.

Just like many college writing classes, my incident report writing classes are entirely online. I work closely with local agencies and often get the “My rookie needs to take your short course” phone call occasionally.

I also encourage students to read. Even reading popular novels will mold language skill development. Many “college-ready” students have not read much beyond an 8th-grade level. If you are a potential recruit, pick up something like “Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins. I read the trilogy over a weekend. There are plenty of similar reading experiences from “The Cold Dish: A Longmire Mystery” to “Orange is the New Black.”

Stay safe!


Be the smartest person in the room

Posted on June 13, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Duane Wolfe
Author: Duane Wolfe

Over the past several months I’ve had the opportunity to attend courses taught by some of the top police trainers in the country, including Courageous Leadership with Travis Yates, Bulletproof with Jim Glennon and Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, and Decision-Making: Foundation of Reasonable Force with John Bostain.

Despite the variety of topics covered in these courses, the trainers all had one unifying message: When it comes to police-related issues, you need to be the smartest person in the room. Why? Because all too often law enforcement’s message doesn’t get heard.

Anti-police groups have their agenda, which doesn’t include acknowledging any information outside their own message. Too often, those at the top of our organizations cannot or will not speak out on hot-button topics for fear of losing their jobs. The media, while it occasionally shares stories showing the police in a positive light, focuses on those news items that will result in the most hits, clicks and shares.

So, the only one left to tell law enforcement’s story is you. Know that most people view the police in a positive light. Understand there are those who will never change their negative mindset about law enforcement. Your message needs to be focused on those in the middle whose opinions can be swayed through a logical presentation of facts.

In order to do that you need to be armed with researched responses that address hotly debated issues. Here are a few you can use to debate some of the most common criticisms of law enforcement.

Police violence is an epidemic

According to a 2011 NIJ study, there are approximately 40 million police contacts with citizens each year. Less than 1% of those contacts require use of force beyond an application of handcuffs and low-level control holds. Use of deadly force – police shootings, not just deaths – occurred in only 0.00002865% of those estimated 40,000,000 contacts.

A research study published in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery in March 2018 showed that out of 1,041,737 police contacts, force was only used in 0.086% (1 in 1167) of those contacts and in 114,064 criminal arrests, force was used only in 0.78% of (1 in 128) of those arrests. These low numbers indicate police are frequently deploying their de-escalation skills.

Police training exaggerates the dangers of the job

Police don’t even make the top 10 most dangerous jobs by accidents lists like crab fishermen and loggers. However, when looking at the murder rate by profession, the 2013 Bureau of Labor Statistics lists police work as the second most dangerous profession.

Police are trigger happy

The FBI’s 2012 Restraint in Use of Deadly Force study showed that when involved in a situation where they were legally authorized to use deadly force, 70% of officers chose other means to deal with the threat.

Police use of force is racially biased

In a 2017 study published in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers analyzed 5,630 Dallas Police Department use of force reports from 2014-15. They found there was no racial disparity in the use of force. This is just one of several studies that refute this assertion.

A 2018 study on use of deadly force and racial disparity concluded, “When adjusting for crime, we find no systematic evidence of anti-black disparities in fatal shootings, fatal shootings of unarmed citizens, or fatal shootings involving misidentification of harmless objects.”

Officers should wear body cams to curb police abuses

An 18-month study conducted by The Lab – a research group created by the Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser – looked at over 2,000 officers comparing citizen complaints and use of force by officers. Half of the officers wore body cameras, the other half didn’t. When comparisons were made between the two groups, researcher Anita Ravishankar concluded, "We found essentially that we could not detect any statistically significant effect of the body-worn cameras." In other words, body cameras did not seem to create any change in how officers do their jobs.

It is also worthy to note that organizations that were calling for all officers to have body cams are now calling for a stop to camera use due to privacy concerns.

Counter negative opinions with facts

I was easily able to locate statistics and research to counter some of the commonly heard criticisms of police. The information is available to anyone who wants to look it up, whether they are a police officer or not. For those people who are on the fence regarding their beliefs about the police, this information could change their mind.

No one knows your job better than you. No one understands your job better than you. But if you don’t take the time to gain the knowledge to counter negative opinions about the police with factually based arguments, we will continue to lose ground.


SC police release video of K-9 capturing suspect hiding in dishwasher

Posted on June 13, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Author: Duane Wolfe

By PoliceOne Staff

GREENVILLE COUNTY, SC — An investigation is underway after a K-9 attacked a suspect being apprehended in April.

According to Fox News, the department’s K-9 found suspect Kevin Leroy Scott White, 47, attempting to evade arrest by hiding in a dishwasher outside in a yard.

When White was found, the K-9 pulled him out and bit his side when the dog’s handler briefly lost his footing, police say. The K-9 attacked White a second time on top of his head.

Footage shows the K-9 officer command the dog several times to release White, who can be heard screaming on the ground. The officer had to repeat the command several times before the K-9 released White.

An investigation into whether excessive force was used during the arrest is being conducted by the sheriff’s department and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

White was taken to a local hospital and treated for his injuries after the arrest. He’s been charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, failure to stop for blue lights, resisting arrest and other charges.


Bill named after Conn. LEO forced into retirement heads to governor’s desk

Posted on June 13, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Pat Tomlinson The Hour, Norwalk, Conn.

NORWALK, Conn. — Former Norwalk police officer Phil Roselle has dealt with a host of issues, both mental and physical, since he was shot by a fellow officer during a training session at a gun range in September 2017.

He’s experienced blood clots and night terrors, depression and permanent nerve damage in his right hand. His kidneys are failing him. Worst of all, he said, is the overwhelming feeling of helplessness.

“I wouldn’t wish this upon any other officer, to go through what I’ve been through. It’s just really hard,” he said.

In April, he was forced to retire from the police force — a profession he dreamed of since he was a teen. But on Wednesday, he and his family heard the first bit of good news they’ve gotten in a while.

A bill allowing municipalities to pay public safety employees forced into retirement by injury the difference between their retirement pay and the regular rate of pay prior to retirement is heading to Gov. Ned Lamont’s desk after it was approved by the state House of Representatives on the last day of the legislative session. The bill is expected to be signed into law next week.

Under the current collective bargaining agreement, public safety employees in Connecticut can only receive up to 75 percent of their pay from worker’s compensation when forced into retirement by an injury.

Phil Roselle’s wife, Debbie, first began pushing for a means to close that pay gap in October 2018, when she learned of a law in Massachusetts that allowed municipalities to step in where worker’s compensation might fall short.

And after six months of impassioned pleas before the state legislature, her hard work has paid off.

“I feel like I’ve been able to give Phil justice, hope and dignity that he needed after everything he went through,” said Debbie Roselle, who initiated the push for the bill back in October. “This is something those in the line of duty should be entitled to, and I’m happy to have been able to do this for Phil and other officers like him.”

Now, the ball is in the city’s court.

When the bill was first proposed in January, Mayor Harry Rilling said he would consider enacting the measure in the event it passed.

But now, with the bill’s passage appearing imminent, Rilling’s tone grown a little more noncommittal.

“I will take a look at the bill and see who is eligible for these expanded benefits,” Rilling said in a statement Friday. “The city has worked hard to negotiate a fair retirement settlement for Officer Roselle and his family, the terms of which are confidential. I want to be clear that the City of Norwalk has been and continues to be committed to protecting those who keep us safe in our community. We must do what’s right to ensure our first responders are taken care of and protected.”

Roselle currently receives a monthly payment of $5,097.20 (75 percent of his previous wage), and will consider to do so for the rest of his life under his pension.

Under the proposed law, Norwalk’s Common Council could vote to supplement his pay with a two-thirds vote of its legislative body until he reaches age of 65. He is now 52.

Common Council chairman Tom Livingston said he wasn’t familiar with the bill, so he could not yet comment on it.

Despite no assurances from the city, Debbie Roselle remains confident that they will “do the right thing.” She said once the bill is officially signed into law, she plans on reaching out to the mayor to discuss a possible agreement.

“I followed through and did what I had to do, I just hope the city will do the same,” Debbie Roselle said.

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©2019 The Hour (Norwalk, Conn.)


Calif. LEOs sue city, claim bias against race, sex in promotions

Posted on June 13, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — Twelve white male San Francisco police officers are suing the city, arguing they were passed over for promotions because of their race and gender.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports Wednesday that the lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday in federal court, is the latest round in a conflict that dates back decades. A 13th plaintiff who is now retired says she also was denied promotion, because she is a white lesbian.

The lawsuit challenges a test-scoring method that the city adopted in 1979 in response to a lawsuit from a group representing black and female officers, who alleged discrimination in hiring and promotions.

San Francisco "bands" promotional test scores so that people who score within a certain range are treated the same, which means the department can consider other factors such as language skills and experience in awarding promotions. The latest lawsuit challenges that method.

"The city — to this day — has a long-standing practice and custom of discriminating against white males in SFPD promotions to the rank of sergeant, lieutenant and captain," said M. Greg Mullanax, the officers' attorney, in the lawsuit.

Mullanax said that in 2016, the department promoted three black sergeants, even though their scores were lower than those of 11 white candidates who were denied promotions.

San Francisco settled a similar 2003 lawsuit for $1.6 million, but did not acknowledge wrongdoing.

Mullanax said the Police Officers Association contacted Chief William Scott but none of the officers who met with Scott received any "substantive response."

John Coté, a spokesman for City Attorney Dennis Herrera, said the department "uses lawful, merit-based civil service examinations in making promotions."


San Francisco LEOs sue city, claim bias against race, sex in promotions

Posted on June 13, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Author: Duane Wolfe

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — Twelve white male San Francisco police officers are suing the city, arguing they were passed over for promotions because of their race and gender.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports Wednesday that the lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday in federal court, is the latest round in a conflict that dates back decades. A 13th plaintiff who is now retired says she also was denied promotion, because she is a white lesbian.

The lawsuit challenges a test-scoring method that the city adopted in 1979 in response to a lawsuit from a group representing black and female officers, who alleged discrimination in hiring and promotions.

San Francisco "bands" promotional test scores so that people who score within a certain range are treated the same, which means the department can consider other factors such as language skills and experience in awarding promotions. The latest lawsuit challenges that method.

"The city — to this day — has a long-standing practice and custom of discriminating against white males in SFPD promotions to the rank of sergeant, lieutenant and captain," said M. Greg Mullanax, the officers' attorney, in the lawsuit.

Mullanax said that in 2016, the department promoted three black sergeants, even though their scores were lower than those of 11 white candidates who were denied promotions.

San Francisco settled a similar 2003 lawsuit for $1.6 million, but did not acknowledge wrongdoing.

Mullanax said the Police Officers Association contacted Chief William Scott but none of the officers who met with Scott received any "substantive response."

John Coté, a spokesman for City Attorney Dennis Herrera, said the department "uses lawful, merit-based civil service examinations in making promotions."


Eight-foot gator takes bite out of La. deputy’s cruiser

Posted on June 13, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Rebecca Hennes Houston Chronicle

SHREVEPORT, La. — Deputies with the Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office in Shreveport said they were unable to apprehend a dangerous "suspect" Monday.

The suspect - an eight-foot alligator - was spotted in the middle of Hwy. 1 in the hills of north Caddo Parish, deputies said in a Facebook post. While waiting for wildlife experts, deputies attempted to contain the gator themselves, but the animal proved too quick for them.

Before escaping, the gator took a huge bite out of a patrol deputy's car, removing part of the front fender.

The toothy suspect is still on the run.

Alligators spotted around the Houston area are not uncommon during this time of year, according to officials with the Texas Parks & Wildlife. Earlier this month a large gator was found on the front porch of a home in Cinco Ranch, while a five-foot alligator was found swimming in floodwaters at U.S. Highway 90 near the Katy Veterinary Clinic last month.

Residents who come across the animals should not approach them, officials said.

The one that got away... This 8-footer was spotted tonight in the middle of Hwy. 1 in the hills of north Caddo Parish....

Posted by Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office on Monday, June 10, 2019

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©2019 the Houston Chronicle


Ark. PD to overhaul no-knock drug raid policies

Posted on June 13, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Little Rock Police Department announced Wednesday it is overhauling policies for obtaining no-knock warrants in drug raids, eight months after a man alleged officers blasted down his door and raided his apartment without probable cause.

Police Chief Keith Humphrey said at a news conference that the department will now use more detailed information when determining whether a no-knock warrant is reasonable. Officers are not required to announce themselves when serving a no-knock warrant.

Humphrey also said the department will implement other policies, such as thoroughly vetting cooperating individuals and more carefully defining how narcotics and SWAT teams interact, all of which are aimed at improving community policing and repairing a damaged image.

In October, Roderick Talley said he was suing the department and the city, alleging the police lied to obtain a no-knock warrant and used similar boiler-plate language on dozens of other warrants. Talley showed video footage from outside of his home which he said proved police lied when they claimed on an affidavit that they witnessed a confidential informant buying cocaine from Talley. Footage showed the informant ringing Talley's doorbell and leaving minutes later — after no one answered the door. Talley said he was at work when the informant approached.

After police obtained the warrant, indoor footage provided by Talley showed officers blew open his door and raided his apartment. The search warrant inventory shows police found a "green leafy substance," scales, baggies and "paperwork," but no cocaine.

Talley's lawyer, Mike Laux, said the suit has been withdrawn and will be filed again later, possibly with more complainants.

Humphrey said the new policies were enacted from a desire to improve best practices.

"I don't want the community to think that it was because we were forced to do this," Humphrey said. "It was because we felt it was the best way to increase the community's trust in us and we know that there's always a better way of doing things."

A graph provided by the department showed all narcotic warrants have dropped precipitously since last year, a decline Humphrey attributed to both federal agents conducting investigations and city investigations being more targeted and focused.

In 2018, the department served 95 narcotics warrants, 57 of which were no-knock. This year, through Tuesday, only 29 warrants were served, six of which were no-knock.

Beginning Wednesday, an officer who files an affidavit must now fill out a "threat assessment" matrix, which asks questions like "Is the suspect on parole?" or "Is the suspect currently/historically associated with an organization which is known or suspected of violent criminal activity?"

Mayor Frank Scott, who attended the news conference, called the threat assessment "an extra step of accountability."

Answers to those questions, as well as other intelligence such as whether children are present, will guide officers in determining if a no-knock warrant is appropriate. Supervisors must now also sign off on no-knock requests, and Humphrey said he will review all affidavits and threat assessments after the warrants are served.

The department's use of cooperating individuals was also reformed, changes which were implemented late last year. Previously, informants were not regularly investigated. Now, they'll be investigated annually, at a minimum, and individuals who are inactive for a year will be purged from the department's approved list. The department said 59 individuals have been purged so far this year.

Laux, Talley's attorney, said he was pleased with the department's reforms, calling them "gratifying." But he also said they don't solve past issues, including instances in which officers lied on affidavits.

"Going forward, I think it's going to save lives, I think it's going to save property, I think it's going to result in less litigation," he said. "But what about the stuff in the rearview mirror?"


25 LEOs injured, 3 people arrested at scene of fatal Tenn. shooting

Posted on June 13, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

null

Associated Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Armed officers and an angry crowd faced off after a Tennessee man was fatally shot by U.S. Marshals in a working-class Memphis neighborhood.

People in the crowd threw rocks and bricks, with 25 officers suffering mostly minor injuries during the tense clash Wednesday night in the Frayser community in north Memphis. Officers cordoned off several blocks near the scene. By 11 p.m., officers had used tear gas and most of the crowd dispersed, police director Michael Rallings said at a Thursday morning at a news conference. Three people were arrested.

Officers on horseback patrolled the area, and lines of police cars with flashing blue lights were parked along the street. An ambulance could be seen at the outer edge of the scene. A helicopter flew overhead as police cars trickled away. Residential streets were blocked, and a heavy police presence remained in the area Thursday.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Keli McAlister said the Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force went to a Frayser home to look for a suspect with felony warrants. Marshals saw the man get into a vehicle and then proceed to ram task force vehicles several times before exiting with a weapon, McAlister said. Marshals then opened fire, killing the man who died at the scene. McAlister did not say how many marshals fired or how many times the man was shot.

One local official identified the victim as Brandon Webber and said he was shot several times in his family's front yard. Family members confirmed to the Daily Memphian that the 21-year-old Webber died.

In identifying Webber on Twitter early Thursday, Shelby County Commissioner and mayoral candidate Tami Sawyer said "Every life lost should matter...every single one. How many times will this be ok? It cannot continue to be."

Memphis police officers were called in to help with crowd control as word of the shooting spread on social media. As more protesters showed up, more Memphis officers and Shelby County sheriff's deputies arrived at the scene. The situation then escalated, and officers donned protective riot gear as people threw rocks and bricks. Police cars and a nearby fire station were damaged, Rallings said.

The TBI is called in to investigate police-involved shootings by district attorneys in Shelby and other counties in the state. TBI investigators then give their report to the district attorney, who will decide whether to pursue charges against officers involved.

The police director implored residents to wait until the TBI finishes its investigation before spreading possible misinformation about the shooting. "I need everyone to stay calm," Rallings said.

While police support the right of people to demonstrate, Rallings said "we will not allow any acts of violence."

Passion Anderson, a 34-year-old student, drove her 13-year-old son to the scene early Thursday, after protesters had gone and the scene had calmed down. She grew up in Memphis, but left to Ohio before moving in November to the Frayser neighborhood, a mostly low- to middle-income area north of downtown.

Anderson said she worries about her son's safety every day in Memphis which like other large cities, struggles with violent crime.

"I just want him to see this, know what's going on, to be conscious," she said from the driver's seat of her car, with her son in the passenger seat. "I fear for him all the time."


25 LEOs injured at scene of fatal Tenn. shooting

Posted on June 13, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Author: Duane Wolfe

Associated Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Armed officers and an angry crowd faced off after a Tennessee man was fatally shot by U.S. Marshals in a working-class Memphis neighborhood.

People in the crowd threw rocks and bricks, with 25 officers suffering mostly minor injuries during the tense clash Wednesday night in the Frayser community in north Memphis. Officers cordoned off several blocks near the scene. By 11 p.m., officers had used tear gas and most of the crowd dispersed, police director Michael Rallings said at a Thursday morning at a news conference. Three people were arrested.

Officers on horseback patrolled the area, and lines of police cars with flashing blue lights were parked along the street. An ambulance could be seen at the outer edge of the scene. A helicopter flew overhead as police cars trickled away. Residential streets were blocked, and a heavy police presence remained in the area Thursday.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Keli McAlister said the Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force went to a Frayser home to look for a suspect with felony warrants. Marshals saw the man get into a vehicle and then proceed to ram task force vehicles several times before exiting with a weapon, McAlister said. Marshals then opened fire, killing the man who died at the scene. McAlister did not say how many marshals fired or how many times the man was shot.

One local official identified the victim as Brandon Webber and said he was shot several times in his family's front yard. Family members confirmed to the Daily Memphian that the 21-year-old Webber died.

In identifying Webber on Twitter early Thursday, Shelby County Commissioner and mayoral candidate Tami Sawyer said "Every life lost should matter...every single one. How many times will this be ok? It cannot continue to be."

Memphis police officers were called in to help with crowd control as word of the shooting spread on social media. As more protesters showed up, more Memphis officers and Shelby County sheriff's deputies arrived at the scene. The situation then escalated, and officers donned protective riot gear as people threw rocks and bricks. Police cars and a nearby fire station were damaged, Rallings said.

The TBI is called in to investigate police-involved shootings by district attorneys in Shelby and other counties in the state. TBI investigators then give their report to the district attorney, who will decide whether to pursue charges against officers involved.

The police director implored residents to wait until the TBI finishes its investigation before spreading possible misinformation about the shooting. "I need everyone to stay calm," Rallings said.

While police support the right of people to demonstrate, Rallings said "we will not allow any acts of violence."

Passion Anderson, a 34-year-old student, drove her 13-year-old son to the scene early Thursday, after protesters had gone and the scene had calmed down. She grew up in Memphis, but left to Ohio before moving in November to the Frayser neighborhood, a mostly low- to middle-income area north of downtown.

Anderson said she worries about her son's safety every day in Memphis which like other large cities, struggles with violent crime.

"I just want him to see this, know what's going on, to be conscious," she said from the driver's seat of her car, with her son in the passenger seat. "I fear for him all the time."


Calif. deputy shot in off-duty attack dies

Posted on June 13, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

null

By Stefanie Dazio Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy who was shot in an off-duty attack at a fast-food restaurant died Wednesday, the sheriff announced.

Joseph Gilbert Solano, who had been on life support, died Wednesday afternoon, Sheriff Alex Villanueva.

Medical staff worked around the clock for two days "trying to do a miracle but unfortunately that didn't come to pass," he said.

A man walked into a Jack in the Box in suburban Alhambra on Monday and shot Solano in the head as he was waiting for his food order at the counter, authorities said.

Solano was out of uniform and there's no indication that the gunman knew he was a deputy, Villanueva said.

"The deputy was alerted in the restaurant that someone was following him and that's when he turned to confront it and that's when the shooting happened," the sheriff said. "But a motive or rationale from the suspect, that's the million-dollar question."

Solano's son, girlfriend, mother and other family members were at the hospital news conference.

"He was a really good dad," said his weeping son, Matthew Solano. "Continue to pray for him and my family, please."

Rhett Nelson, 30, of St. George, Utah, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of the killing after he called his father in Utah from a Long Beach church to say he had killed someone.

Nelson's family has said he suffers from mental illness and an opiate addiction. It wasn't immediately known if he had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf.

Investigators said Nelson also is suspected of shooting a 30-year-old man standing on a Los Angeles street about an hour before Solano was killed. Both shootings appeared unprovoked and may have been random, authorities said.

Meanwhile, the San Diego Police Department, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department and the Carlsbad Police Department issued a news release Wednesday saying that Nelson is being investigated in connection with a series of five armed robberies of convenience stores that occurred in the area June 7 through Sunday.

In each robbery, the suspect wielded a handgun and demanded cash, the release stated. The crimes occurred in San Diego, Lemon Grove and Carlsbad.

Before the possible string of crimes began, however, Nelson's family contacted St. George police on May 27 and said he'd left their Utah home "without any specific reason" with a gun but they did not think he was suicidal or a danger to anyone else, Capt. Mike Giles said.

"He made a statement to them or somehow communicated he wanted to make it on his own or die," Giles said. They formally reported him missing the next day and said they believed the gun was for self-defense. It was not immediately known who owned the weapon.

Nelson has a history of mental illness and a history of opiate abuse, though he had been clean for about six months, according to statements from his father, Bradley Nelson. The family is "devastated beyond words" by the attacks and is cooperating with authorities.

"We believe we made every effort to help Rhett and bring him home safely without harm to himself or others, but despite our best efforts we were unable to locate him before this horrific act," the statement said.

On June 4, Nelson called his family from Rancho Santa Margarita in Orange County, Giles said. They still believed he was safe and police removed him from a missing persons database the next day.

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department released Nelson's booking photo as part of an effort to seek any additional victims. Homicide investigators believe he may have been involved in other crimes in California.

Giles said no recent crimes involving Nelson have been reported to St. George police.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Nelson didn't have a violent criminal history in Utah but had previously pleaded guilty to driving with a "measurable amount" of a controlled substance in his body and guilty to underage alcohol offenses.

Los Angeles authorities recovered a gun from Nelson's car. It was not immediately clear if it was the firearm from Utah.


5 keys to great report writing

Posted on June 13, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D.
Author: Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D.

No recruiting brochure ever finds room for a picture of a bleary-eyed patrol officer in the station typing police-speak into a report for half her shift.

The cops on television don’t even take notes, much less write reports – unless, of course, the script calls for one of those chaotic stationhouse scenes where pimps and druggies are being jerked around in the background as our hero taps on the old manual typewriter one finger at a time (I’m an old school "Hill Street Blues" fan).

Despite all of our digital technology, there is still no better way to tell the world what happened at three in the morning in the mud and the blood and the beer in that alley than by the written word. We have so many time-saving boxes to check that sometimes we fail to provide a healthy narrative in the press of time.

Here are a few reminders to keep motivated to make good reports.

Good Field Notes

Having a good, consistent shorthand is essential to fast note-taking. Jotting down questions (notes to self...) that come to mind during interviews and observations can keep follow-ups fresh and focused.

Clearly identifying who did and said what at a scene – officers as well as witness and suspects – should be a priority. Quick clothing descriptions (supplemented by cell phone pictures) of persons involved can be helpful.

Notes on sequence, time, and environmental conditions should be part of your written record.

Establish Elements of the Crime

Looking at the statute is the best way to establish an outline for your report. Remember that every element of the offense must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

It’s not about the big picture – it’s about the tiny details. Defense attorneys will attack the element that is least supported or the one that gives rise to the likeliest defense. Anticipating defenses is the opposite side of proving the elements.

Any of us who have watched a defense attorney take a pick axe to our case knows that crazy theories can come from left field. Contemplating their game can help us nail down loose ends in our report.

Include Exculpatory Evidence

Recent cases have crucified police officers who fail to identify and follow-up on suspects (no matter how unlikely) or who fail to include names of all officers at the scene, witnesses, and digital audio or video material.

Just as the CSI effect (jury expectations of fancy science applied to every crime scene) makes us document what we did as well as what we didn’t do in terms of evidence collection and processing, leads unchecked and persons not interviewed will be leveraged to attack the credibility of reporting officers.

Good Reports Will CYA

Covering your assets NEVER means falsifying or fudging on a report. Better to lose a case than your reputation, job, or ability to testify.

However, expect that your report will be used against you in a civil suit or on the stand to discredit you. Defense attorneys seldom have an innocent client, so they have to fabricate a guilty officer. Therefore, be diligent about describing your professional behavior as well as the behavior of others at the scene.

We all know that dash-cam video, for example, can fail to show to an uninformed viewer what is going on outside the camera lens. It can also fail to show the micro signs of pre-aggression, and it can certainly not show the reputation of the suspect or the information you know about him or her that dictated your conduct during the contact.

The same is true of a report. The reporting officer must give the reader a close-up view of the event from as many angles as possible. Don’t ever assume that readers of your report are going to give you the benefit of the doubt, ascribe good or heroic qualities to you, or even think independently in assessing your conduct.

Tell them what you need for them to know, and be as detailed as you truthfully can.

The Long Haul

It is eye-opening to chart the progress of your report as it winds through the system. You know your supervisor sees it, the prosecutor sees it, and the defense attorney sees it.

Do you think about the victim who sees it? The insurance company? The victim advocate? The defense investigator? The probation/parole officer reviewing for the pre-sentence investigation? The parole board in considering parole?

Researchers seeking data for planning, budgeting, grant funding, crime prevention, and a host of other academic pursuits may also see your report. Their conclusions then eventually become policy and legislation (academic research does affect you!).

Juries, reporters, treatment practitioners, attorneys on both sides of a civil suit, internal affairs investigators and the list could go on. This is the equivalent of your English paper being read in front of the whole class in high school...and again next year, and the year after that, and every year following for the foreseeable future.

In other words, it had better be good.

No doubt you’ll be pressured to “get back on patrol” or “let the detectives deal with it” but the long-term effects of a poor report are too substantial to ignore.

This article, originally published 11/29/2012, has been updated with current information.


Top tips for law enforcement career development

Posted on June 13, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Author: Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D.

LEO Round Table host Chip DeBlock asked his guests to share their top tips on career development in law enforcement.


Former heavy metal drummer sworn in as Ind. reserve officer

Posted on June 12, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By PoliceOne Staff

ROCKPORT, Ind. — Five Finger Death Punch drummer Jeremy Spencer departed from his band and joined a police force in his home state of Indiana.

The 46-year-old musician left his popular band in 2018 and was sworn in as a reserve officer with the Rockport Police Department on Monday.

Spencer joined Five Finger Death Punch in 2005 and left the band after undergoing surgery on his back last year. He hasn’t ended his music career entirely, though. He’ll still be working on new projects while serving part-time at his department.

“I’m still a resident of Las Vegas, Nevada, but it’s an honor to be able to come back to this area when I can and serve the community as a reserve police officer and help out my brothers,” Spencer said.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Jeremy Spencer (@officialjeremyspencer) on


Ind. grants beef up school security

Posted on June 12, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By Herald Journal

CHALMERS — Indiana schools now have more options when it comes to preparing for the possibility of an active shooter.

A bill signed into law in early May will grant funds more easily to school corporations in the name of safety.

Schools must comply with the law by completing threat assessments by mid-2021 and conducting active shooter drills within the first three months of the academic year. Compliance with these requirements mean the school may earn funds that can be used to hire law enforcement officers...

The grant provides matching funds for schools, up to $100,000 with a 100 percent match. Frontier schools have applied for the program and received grants of about $35,000 per year for the past two years, and are eligible for even more in the coming years.

Full story: State grants beef up school security in White County


Book Excerpt: Write to Protect and Serve – A Practical Guide for Writing Better Police Reports

Posted on June 12, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Chapter 4: Notetaking Discussion Topic

Watch and listen to this episode of Dragnet titled, “The Big Thief.” Take notes of the details of this event.

Chapter Learning Objectives Understand the importance of taking good field notes. Learn the supplies needed to take notes. Develop one’s own style of taking notes. Understand the need to proofread and edit reports. Recall specific details depicted in “The Big Thief.”

There are three stages of every police report. It starts with collecting content (facts) about an event, then organizing notes and writing the report itself, and proofreading and editing the final document.

Content

Learning the facts usually starts with interviewing a victim or witness, or seeing something unfold in front

of us. That’s where we find information such as the who, what, when, where, and how (4-W+H) of events that we should include in all reports.

There will be events that are more complicated and may cause each of these “content” sections to become lengthy. For instance, an interview with a victim of an assault must go into great detail regarding the description of the offender to include sex, race, height, weight, hair color and length, facial hair (if any), distinguishing marks or tattoos, and clothing description (the who). Specific details of the attack need to include weapons used (if any), statements made by the offender, and a complete description of each injury sustained by the victim (the how). I think you get the idea. Some events are more serious than others; therefore, documenting the who, what, when, where and how will need a great deal of attention.

Organizing Notes and Writing the Report

We are all human. We forget things. Many times throughout the day, officers learn certain details of suspected criminal activity and the only way to remember them all is to write them down. Learning to take good notes is the first step in report writing.

You need to make sure that you always have available the proper tools and supplies for taking notes. Now, this is not rocket science. I’m talking about a simple notepad and pen. In order to collect all the information needed, officers must have sufficient supplies on hand that meet their needs for any situation. By supplies, I mean multiple notebooks, pens, business cards, Miranda cards, forms, recorders, and even cameras.

Most investigators use what is called a portfolio binder. These contain storage compartments and allow for quick access to these supplies. They are a good way to organize materials in a professional looking manner.

Most patrol officers carry a small notebook in their uniform shirt pocket. This type of notebook should only be used to write down information such as a tag number, a phone number, or a name. They are not sufficient to write down details of an event. Certainly, patrol officers should not be expected to approach cars at a traffic stop holding a notebook, but they should have one available in their car.

Some suggest that pens with black ink are the best to use when taking notes because black ink will last longer. I agree, but my position has always been that I would rather have something written in crayon than nothing written at all.

Take notes so that you can make sense of them. When interviewing someone and taking notes, you control the pace of the interview. You have the ability to stop at any time to ask for clarification of facts or even how to spell something. Don’t get in a hurry. Develop your own style of notetaking. By style, I mean the ability to organize the information on the page in a manner that will allow you to use it later in order to complete the report more efficiently.

You should cover simple things, such as remembering that every report must note the date and time. Also, notes must be legible—not necessarily legible to someone else, but certainly to you. There are occasions when you are required to maintain or keep your rough notes before a court proceeding. I suggest that once you fill up a notebook, write the date range somewhere on it. Doing so will help you recover it easily if you had to. You should not write personal messages, personal phone numbers, or other personal notes on your business notepad just in case you have to provide it to the prosecutor or others.

Your notebook will also likely contain notes pertaining to different events. Each event is issued a unique case number; therefore, beginning your notes of that event with that case number is essential. These case numbers, sometimes called file numbers, are issued by the agency.

One thing that will keep you on track while preparing the report is organizing your notes first. Make an outline of the topics you need to cover. Inevitably, during an interview with a victim or witness, they will think of something that relates to what you wrote down on page one. Now you're on page ten. Remember, our reports should describe events in chronological order, and that's how you should do your interview. However, sometimes your notes don't turn out like that.

When reviewing your notes, I suggest you develop a system that you can use to organize your thoughts. I would always try to review my notes and place a number by a sentence containing a topic that I thought should go at a certain place in my report. If my notes consisted of five pages, there would usually be some information out of chronological order.

During an interview, there are often multiple topics discussed, so organizing the report by topic is a must. If at the beginning of the report you write about injuries to the victim, and in the middle of the report you write about injuries to the victim, and then more injuries are discussed toward the end of the report, you will lose the reader’s attention. Finish all the facts about one topic before going to the next. That is why the numbering system worked for me.

Many times, especially for follow-up investigations, detectives’ notes might consist of twenty or thirty pages. That is another reason to come up with a system that you can use when preparing your report, so it will tell the story the way it must be told. Covering all the "number one’s" before going to "number two's"—and placing a line over them as you go—will ensure that you write about every topic in your notes. Doing so can speed things up at the end. Once each paragraph of your notes is crossed out, you're through with the report.

Proofreading and Editing

Once you have completed writing the report, check it for errors and correct them. I suggest you follow this simple outline:

    Does the report comply with agency formatting guidelines? In other words, does it look like it should? Most agencies have specific requirements, such as the use of first-person vs. third-person sentences or military vs. civilian reporting times. Some agencies have specific requirements as to font size and spacing. After writing a few reports, such requirements will become easy to remember. Ensure that the report is grammatically correct. Remember, this report and the way you write it reflects on you and your agency. Misspelled words and improper use of punctuation must be corrected. Most writing software contains programs that can help you identify these errors as the report is being completed. However, you should not rely on this software totally. Take your time and read each line with a sharp eye for errors. Look for any omissions of required “content.” That’s the 4-W+H information. If any of this information is missing, you should attempt to recover it. This might involve a simple phone call to a victim or witness to follow up on an earlier interview. Make sure the report properly tells the story in a way that can be easily followed and understood by everyone. If it sounds confusing to you, it will most certainly sound confusing to others. Don’t worry if you struggle in the beginning. Before you submit a report, have a trusted colleague review it and offer suggestions and feedback. This will increase your confidence level for future reports.

The objective here is to develop your skills to a degree where you feel comfortable and confident writing reports. Preventing reports from being kicked back by supervisors due to errors should be your goal. Writing the same report many times over should be avoided.

Discussion Topic Review

Below are questions relating to facts contained in the Dragnet episode. Search your notes for the answers:

    In what city did the crime occur? On what date did the first crime occur? What are the names of the two Detectives assigned to the robbery case? What is the name of the first Doctor who was robbed? What was the location of the hotel where the first robbery occurred? What items were stolen from the first robbery victim? What was the alias used by the robbery suspect? What was the address where the shooting took place? How old was the suspect who was shot and killed by the Detective?

Here are the answers. Compare them to your notes. How did you do?

    In what city did the crime occur? Los Angeles, California On what date did the first crime occur? Wednesday, June 17 What are the names of the two Detectives assigned to the robbery case? Frank Smith and Joe Friday What is the name of the first Doctor who was robbed? Dr. Aaron R. Platt What was the location of the hotel where the first robbery occurred? At the corner of Pembroke and Columbia What items were stolen from the first robbery victim? Watch, wallet, solid gold lighter, narcotics What was the alias used by the robbery suspect? Timothy Allen What was the address where the shooting took place? 9276 South Dixon How old was the suspect who was shot and killed by the detective? 22-years-old

This exercise illustrates the need to take good notes. If you don't write it down in a way that makes sense to you, you will not remember details when it’s time to do the report.


Book Excerpt: Write to Protect and Serve – A Practical Guide for Writing Better Police Reports

Posted on June 12, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Chapter 4: Notetaking Discussion Topic

Watch and listen to this episode of Dragnet titled, “The Big Thief.” Take notes of the details of this event.

Chapter Learning Objectives Understand the importance of taking good field notes. Learn the supplies needed to take notes. Develop one’s own style of taking notes. Understand the need to proofread and edit reports. Recall specific details depicted in “The Big Thief.”

There are three stages of every police report. It starts with collecting content (facts) about an event, then organizing notes and writing the report itself, and proofreading and editing the final document.

Content

Learning the facts usually starts with interviewing a victim or witness, or seeing something unfold in front

of us. That’s where we find information such as the who, what, when, where, and how (4-W+H) of events that we should include in all reports.

There will be events that are more complicated and may cause each of these “content” sections to become lengthy. For instance, an interview with a victim of an assault must go into great detail regarding the description of the offender to include sex, race, height, weight, hair color and length, facial hair (if any), distinguishing marks or tattoos, and clothing description (the who). Specific details of the attack need to include weapons used (if any), statements made by the offender, and a complete description of each injury sustained by the victim (the how). I think you get the idea. Some events are more serious than others; therefore, documenting the who, what, when, where and how will need a great deal of attention.

Organizing Notes and Writing the Report

We are all human. We forget things. Many times throughout the day, officers learn certain details of suspected criminal activity and the only way to remember them all is to write them down. Learning to take good notes is the first step in report writing.

You need to make sure that you always have available the proper tools and supplies for taking notes. Now, this is not rocket science. I’m talking about a simple notepad and pen. In order to collect all the information needed, officers must have sufficient supplies on hand that meet their needs for any situation. By supplies, I mean multiple notebooks, pens, business cards, Miranda cards, forms, recorders, and even cameras.

Most investigators use what is called a portfolio binder. These contain storage compartments and allow for quick access to these supplies. They are a good way to organize materials in a professional looking manner.

Most patrol officers carry a small notebook in their uniform shirt pocket. This type of notebook should only be used to write down information such as a tag number, a phone number, or a name. They are not sufficient to write down details of an event. Certainly, patrol officers should not be expected to approach cars at a traffic stop holding a notebook, but they should have one available in their car.

Some suggest that pens with black ink are the best to use when taking notes because black ink will last longer. I agree, but my position has always been that I would rather have something written in crayon than nothing written at all.

Take notes so that you can make sense of them. When interviewing someone and taking notes, you control the pace of the interview. You have the ability to stop at any time to ask for clarification of facts or even how to spell something. Don’t get in a hurry. Develop your own style of notetaking. By style, I mean the ability to organize the information on the page in a manner that will allow you to use it later in order to complete the report more efficiently.

You should cover simple things, such as remembering that every report must note the date and time. Also, notes must be legible—not necessarily legible to someone else, but certainly to you. There are occasions when you are required to maintain or keep your rough notes before a court proceeding. I suggest that once you fill up a notebook, write the date range somewhere on it. Doing so will help you recover it easily if you had to. You should not write personal messages, personal phone numbers, or other personal notes on your business notepad just in case you have to provide it to the prosecutor or others.

Your notebook will also likely contain notes pertaining to different events. Each event is issued a unique case number; therefore, beginning your notes of that event with that case number is essential. These case numbers, sometimes called file numbers, are issued by the agency.

One thing that will keep you on track while preparing the report is organizing your notes first. Make an outline of the topics you need to cover. Inevitably, during an interview with a victim or witness, they will think of something that relates to what you wrote down on page one. Now you're on page ten. Remember, our reports should describe events in chronological order, and that's how you should do your interview. However, sometimes your notes don't turn out like that.

When reviewing your notes, I suggest you develop a system that you can use to organize your thoughts. I would always try to review my notes and place a number by a sentence containing a topic that I thought should go at a certain place in my report. If my notes consisted of five pages, there would usually be some information out of chronological order.

During an interview, there are often multiple topics discussed, so organizing the report by topic is a must. If at the beginning of the report you write about injuries to the victim, and in the middle of the report you write about injuries to the victim, and then more injuries are discussed toward the end of the report, you will lose the reader’s attention. Finish all the facts about one topic before going to the next. That is why the numbering system worked for me.

Many times, especially for follow-up investigations, detectives’ notes might consist of twenty or thirty pages. That is another reason to come up with a system that you can use when preparing your report, so it will tell the story the way it must be told. Covering all the "number one’s" before going to "number two's"—and placing a line over them as you go—will ensure that you write about every topic in your notes. Doing so can speed things up at the end. Once each paragraph of your notes is crossed out, you're through with the report.

Proofreading and Editing

Once you have completed writing the report, check it for errors and correct them. I suggest you follow this simple outline:

    Does the report comply with agency formatting guidelines? In other words, does it look like it should? Most agencies have specific requirements, such as the use of first-person vs. third-person sentences or military vs. civilian reporting times. Some agencies have specific requirements as to font size and spacing. After writing a few reports, such requirements will become easy to remember. Ensure that the report is grammatically correct. Remember, this report and the way you write it reflects on you and your agency. Misspelled words and improper use of punctuation must be corrected. Most writing software contains programs that can help you identify these errors as the report is being completed. However, you should not rely on this software totally. Take your time and read each line with a sharp eye for errors. Look for any omissions of required “content.” That’s the 4-W+H information. If any of this information is missing, you should attempt to recover it. This might involve a simple phone call to a victim or witness to follow up on an earlier interview. Make sure the report properly tells the story in a way that can be easily followed and understood by everyone. If it sounds confusing to you, it will most certainly sound confusing to others. Don’t worry if you struggle in the beginning. Before you submit a report, have a trusted colleague review it and offer suggestions and feedback. This will increase your confidence level for future reports.

The objective here is to develop your skills to a degree where you feel comfortable and confident writing reports. Preventing reports from being kicked back by supervisors due to errors should be your goal. Writing the same report many times over should be avoided.

Discussion Topic Review

Below are questions relating to facts contained in the Dragnet episode. Search your notes for the answers:

    In what city did the crime occur? On what date did the first crime occur? What are the names of the two Detectives assigned to the robbery case? What is the name of the first Doctor who was robbed? What was the location of the hotel where the first robbery occurred? What items were stolen from the first robbery victim? What was the alias used by the robbery suspect? What was the address where the shooting took place? How old was the suspect who was shot and killed by the Detective?

Here are the answers. Compare them to your notes. How did you do?

    In what city did the crime occur? Los Angeles, California On what date did the first crime occur? Wednesday, June 17 What are the names of the two Detectives assigned to the robbery case? Frank Smith and Joe Friday What is the name of the first Doctor who was robbed? Dr. Aaron R. Platt What was the location of the hotel where the first robbery occurred? At the corner of Pembroke and Columbia What items were stolen from the first robbery victim? Watch, wallet, solid gold lighter, narcotics What was the alias used by the robbery suspect? Timothy Allen What was the address where the shooting took place? 9276 South Dixon How old was the suspect who was shot and killed by the detective? 22-years-old

This exercise illustrates the need to take good notes. If you don't write it down in a way that makes sense to you, you will not remember details when it’s time to do the report.


How one law enforcement agency is collaborating to prevent school violence

Posted on June 12, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Val Van Brocklin
Author: Val Van Brocklin

April 20, 2019 was the 20th anniversary of the Columbine school shooting. Fifteen people were killed, including the two shooters who turned their guns on themselves, and 21 people were injured. It wasn’t the first school shooting by students. It wouldn’t remain the deadliest. In 2007, an undergraduate killed 32 people and wounded 17 others at Virginia Tech before killing himself. But Columbine marked the beginning of what some call “Generation Columbine” – kids who have never known a world without school shootings.

Fire alarms, drills and “Stop, Drop and Roll” have been augmented with active shooter drills; hard corners and code reds; Stop the Bleed kits; ballistic backpacks; and “Run, Hide and Fight.” But in Yavapai County, Arizona, community stakeholders have implemented a more proactive strategy.

The Milestones Project

The 20 years since Columbine yielded grave but valuable information. Ninety-one percent of school shootings were committed by current or former students. Eighty-seven percent of mass school shooters exhibited signs of a crisis in their behavior before the shooting. About 80% were suicidal. Seventy-eight percent revealed their plans ahead of time.

If the shooter is a student in the school, lockdown drills show them the school’s planned response. Punishing precursor threats of violence with suspension, expulsion or criminal charges is ineffective with a suicidal student and may increase the risk of violence by worsening grievance. When such students are expelled, they may enroll in another school that receives no information about the expulsions.

Don Ostendorf didn’t wait for 20 years of data before taking action. The former CEO of the West Yavapai Guidance Clinic – which is tasked with providing client-centered mental health services to residents of Yavapai County – envisioned that communities needed to get out in front and identify students at high risk of violence and then provide them services. Thus began the Milestones Project not long after Columbine.

Milestone Partners

The first challenge was to connect stakeholders and service providers so they could and would share information, work together, develop individually tailored plans and provide services.

The Milestones Project partners include:

Schools and school districts; Law enforcement – the Sheriff’s Office and police departments; Child Protective Services; Juvenile Probation Office; Mental health service providers; The County Education Service Agency; The court system.

Relationships and trust had to be built. When I asked Yavapai County School Superintendent Tim Carter what it took, he said, “The right people willing to work together.” Simple, but not easy. They’ve been working together now for 20 years and Yavapai County Sheriff Mascher said they continue to learn and refine roles and processes

Initially, these people had to find ways to share information. Schools are bound by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) – a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protects the privacy of mental health records. According to Superintendent Carter, 11 different agencies had relevant information regarding the Columbine shooters. None of it had been shared.

The Milestones Project made parental consent and involvement key to information sharing and an Individual Case Management Plan for every kid accepted into the program. A local judge helped devise the parental consent form. Superintendent Carter could only recall two parents during the project’s history who had not consented.

Entry into Milestones

Anybody can refer a kid to Milestone – bus drivers, students, teachers, parents, probation officers, police officers, medical or mental health providers, CPS workers, or a neighbor.

Once referred:

The Milestone partner that is the Reporting Agency confers with internal staff to determine if the child fits the Milestones profile. (Guidelines for that determination can be found in the online project manual.) A parent signs the consent form. The Reporting Agency submits the Milestones electronic file with parental permission attached to the County Education Service Agency. The file is then sent electronically to the liaisons for the lead agencies – schools, juvenile probation, police and mental health. They confer via email, phone, etc. Once a majority agrees the child fits the Milestones profile, the Reporting Agency arranges a meeting with all applicable agencies and the family. Decisions are made about appropriate services and referrals. Services are provided to the child. The Reporting Agency uses the follow-up report to inform participating agencies of the child’s progress.

Sheriff Mascher noted that a unique aspect of Milestones is that all committee members are decision agents in their agency, so things don’t have to travel through a chain of command. Decisions are made and acted on quickly. The Individual Case Management Plan is also key – ensuring follow-through and accountability.

Law enforcement’s role has evolved. They are not just a committee member involved with decisions related to a particular child; they also also offer risk management through four main mechanisms:

    Risk assessments regarding how the school is secured. Preventative threat assessments. When a child is referred, they can do a threat assessment. Training first responders. Aftermath – how to deal with the media, funerals, families and crisis intervention after a tragedy.
The results

Both Sheriff Mascher and Superintendent Carter had compelling stories of kids and their parents helped by the Milestones Project. No one can say for sure those kids would have become a school shooter without Milestones, but we know that none of the school shooters from Columbine on received such services. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to forecast what can happen when you take a mentally disturbed student who is depressed, suicidal, has made threats and has the means, and you ignore that and reject them by expulsion with no information being shared.

A detective with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said in a presentation after the Parkland school shooting last year, “It was obvious that [the shooter’s] behavior was escalating over time.”

Tragically it was only obvious after-the-fact, because there was no Milestones Project to take note of the escalating behavior and act on it before the shooting.

As Sheriff Mascher said, “Think if there had been a Milestones Project that had brought all the information together and developed and implemented an Individual Case Management Plan. Could that have prevented Parkland?”

Let’s not be left wondering what we might have done to prevent a school shooting. Of the Milestones Project, Superintendent Carter said, “This is just a model. You can tailor it to your community. We don’t have the corner on intelligence.”

All it takes is the right people willing to work together. The Milestones Project – winner of a 2015 statewide Youth & Education Rural Innovation Award for its collaborative efforts to prevent school violence – offers a good model.


NJ PD welcomes first all-female class, first hijabi LEO

Posted on June 12, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By PoliceOne Staff

PATERSON, NJ — A New Jersey department welcomed their first all-female class and first hijab wearing officer on Tuesday.

Officers Yeniry Medina, Gabriela Toribio and Serein Tamimi were sworn in by Mayor Andre Sayegh on what he called a “proud moment for the city of Paterson.”

According to NorthJersey.com, the class started with six recruits that included four women and two men. After six months of physical and academic training, three were left.

Tamimi, 22, became the first city police officer to wear a hijab. She hopes to inspire other Muslim women and set an example for Americans who may not know much about the religion, NewJersey.com reports.

"I want to show them that we're not what the media portrays us to be," Tamimi said. "We’re friendly people, we love what we do and we are there for the community."

Medina decided to join the force to help the community while Toribio made the decision from an encounter with a kind police officer when she was a child. They have lived their entire lives in the city they now serve.

The class is joining a force of just over 400 people, including 57 women.


Baltimore police arrest security guard on charges of impersonating officer, rape

Posted on June 12, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Jessica Anderson The Baltimore Sun

BALTIMORE — A hospital security guard has been charged with impersonating a police officer and raping a woman in Baltimore earlier this month.

Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison announced the arrest of Richard Stephen Barnes, 50 of Baltimore, a guard at the University of Maryland R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, during a news conference early Tuesday evening at police headquarters. The case has roiled the department for weeks and prompted Baltimore detectives to pull 120 white patrol cars from service as they searched for a vehicle matching the one described by the victim.

The victim told police she believed she was assaulted by a person in police uniform and driving a police vehicle, Harrison said.

“Out of an abundance of caution, our investigators did a thorough check of all Baltimore Police Department vehicles that fit this description. As you can imagine, this was a monumental task,” Harrison said. "They put in a lot of hard work and they should be publicly praised.”

Baltimore Police Announce Arrest in Sexual Assault Case https://t.co/0Z7cwyLIpQ

— Baltimore Police (@BaltimorePolice) June 11, 2019

The victim reported that she was near the Charles Village Pub when she met a man named “Rick,” who appeared to be a police officer, according to an internal police memo previously obtained by The Baltimore Sun. She reported the man then took her to a residential area near Camden Yards — she didn’t have an exact location — and forced her to have sex, before dropping her back in the Charles Village area, the memo said. The woman later went to an area hospital to report the incident.

The department’s license plate reader unit and the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center assisted in looking at vehicles that might have been in the area during the time of the assault.

Investigators reviewed hundreds of hours of CCTV and private camera footage from the area, inspected more then 300 body worn camera videos, and 600 daily activity logs from officers, Harrison said.

The vehicle turned out to be dark-colored belonging to a private citizen and not a police officer, Harrison said. Harrison said detectives did a hand search of over 1,600 Maryland Motor Vehicle records to narrow in on a suspect. Investigators were able to identify Barnes, of the 3000 block of E. Northern Parkway, in North Baltimore.

Harrison said that on June 1, Barnes stopped the victim’s vehicle in the 2700 block of Lovegrove St. in Charles Village and identified himself as a police officer, ordered the victim out of her car and into his. He was wearing his security guard uniform at the time. He then drove her to another location and assaulted her.

A warrant was issued for Barnes on Tuesday.

In a statement, a University of Maryland Medical Center spokesperson said hospital officials are “shocked and saddened to learn of the allegations and are cooperating fully with the investigation” and have suspended Barnes without pay.

In the days after the allegations, police started returning cars to the street as the investigation progressed. Ultimately, the department did not process any of the vehicles for evidence because they determined none of the cars were involved, a police spokesman said previously.

Harrison said investigators do not know of any other assaults connected to Barnes but asked any victims to contact police.

If residents suspect they are being pulled over and it is not a police officer, Harrison said, they should call 911. Officers are supposed to be in communication with dispatchers.

“Then if it is not, we will be dispatched to this scene,” he said.

———

©2019 The Baltimore Sun


Police release photo of bloodied LEO beaten during arrest attempt

Posted on June 12, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE, Uncategorized

By PoliceOne Staff

CINCINNATI — Cincinnati’s police union president is asking for more support of their cops after an officer was beaten during an arrest.

Cincinnati’s Fraternal Order of Police President Sergeant Dan Hils posted a photo on Facebook of a bloody officer who was injured during an arrest attempt on June 6, local news station WLWT5 reports.

According to Cincinnati.com, police were called to a YMCA after receiving reports of Durrell Nichols, 25, acting disorderly and refusing to leave the basketball gym.

Police attempted to force Nichols to leave, but he resisted. Nichols then assaulted the officers with a deadly weapon, resulting in the injuries of the unnamed officer.

The officer required several stitches and his face is still swollen.

“The officer would have been justified if he had used deadly force,” Hils said. “At what levels of leadership would he have been supported and at what levels would he have been abandoned?”

Nichols is behind bars on charges of assaulting an officer, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing.

This is the officer right after the vicious assault on him at the YMCA last Thursday night. The officer would have been…

Posted by Daniel Hils on Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Fla. K-9 suffers fatal heat stroke

Posted on June 12, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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By PoliceOne Staff

DORAL, Fla. — A Florida department is mourning the death of a K-9 partner.

According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, K-9 Biggie suffered from heat stroke while conducting a track during a training exercise on April 30.

He was transported to a local veterinarian but was unable to recover from heat exhaustion and died later that day.

Biggie served with the South Florida Reception Center’s K-9 Team for five years.


Ky. trooper wounded, suspect dead in shootout

Posted on June 12, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Author: Val Van Brocklin

Mike Stunson Lexington Herald-Leader

HAZARD, Ky. — A Kentucky State Police trooper was injured following a shootout that left a suspect dead, according to state police.

The shooting occurred around 9:30 p.m. Monday off Hull School Road in the Bonnyman community of Perry County, where state police and the Perry County Sheriff’s Office were executing a search warrant regarding suspicious drug activity, said state police trooper Jody Sims.

When police cruisers and sheriff vehicles arrived at the home, they saw several people “acting suspiciously” go inside a residence across the street, Sims said.

Troopers heard what sounded like gunfire coming from the residence the people had run into, and according to a news release, three of the five people who had gone inside came out and were detained after a brief negotiation.

“After an extended period of time, the two remaining individuals ran outside and were confronted by troopers and a deputy,” the release stated.

One of the people was armed with a gun and was told to drop it. When the man did not comply, a brief exchange of gunfire ensued, according to Sims.

One trooper was struck in the leg by a bullet and was taken to Hazard ARH Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, Sims said. He was released Tuesday.

The man with the gun died the scene, according to the Perry County coroner’s office. An autopsy was to be conducted by the state medical examiner.

According to state police, the man who died was the only suspect firing a weapon. It’s not clear if any of the other people were charged.

The names of the victim and trooper have not been released. The injured trooper was a member of the state police’s drug interdiction team.

It’s not clear if the two residences were connected in any way, Sims said.

Kentucky State Police’s critical response team is leading the investigation.

———

©2019 the Lexington Herald-Leader (Lexington, Ky.)


Never miss recording bodycam footage when you need it

Posted on June 12, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Sponsored by Utility, Inc.

By Laura Neitzel for PoliceOne BrandFocus

The scene is repeated in countless movies and TV shows: Good guy with his pistol – unholstered and at the ready – cautiously peers around a corner, prepared to defend his life when the outlaw draws his gun. In real life, in today’s environment, it’s rarely so clear cut.

Is unholstering of firearms a use of force?

While there is no national consensus on whether unholstering a firearm is considered a use of force, many law enforcement agencies would agree that as a matter of practice, it’s an action that should be taken infrequently and only when the situation clearly warrants.

Because “unholstering a gun” can be interpreted as “brandishing a weapon,” understanding what transpired in the moments before and when a gun is unholstered can be critically important in defending an officer against excessive use of force allegations or in providing transparency around controversial situations.

For this reason, many departments are adopting policies that restrict the unholstering of firearms and define circumstances in which unholstering is justified.

“Some police agencies have a policy that anytime a weapon is deployed, that is a use of force and it should be documented as such, both to record that data for review purposes and for being able to know and capture those incidents where use of force is being applied or potentially applied,” said Jason Dombkowski, retired chief of police of West Lafayette, Indiana, and director of law enforcement relations for Utility, Inc.

The obligation to record

Some agency policies require officers to start bodycam recordings anytime their firearm is unholstered in the line of duty (except in situations like training and disarming at the end of a shift).

In Decatur, Georgia, there are two types of known situations where a police officer would remove his or her firearm, says Sgt. Dan Bellis of the Decatur Police Department.

“One is if we have a cause to believe that there is going be a need for use of a deadly force because of a threat of great bodily harm, injury or death to ourselves or another,” he said. “The other type of situation would be during a felony traffic stop or when entering a building that has been burglarized and we’re searching the interior of the building for suspects.”

While recording policies are advisable and relatively easy to comply with in situations where the officer reasonably expects that a use of force might be necessary, there are other situations where it may be completely unexpected.

When use of force is unexpected

“We are a community-oriented policing department, so we patrol on foot and engage in the public regularly,” said Bellis. “In these cases, there’s no reason to have the body-worn cameras activated. That being said, we don’t know when an unexpected event might happen.”

It’s exactly for these unexpected situations that BodyWorn by Utility developed the Smart Holster Sensor technology.

“Those are the times where officers are under stress and they’re trying to take care of business. They may be at an escalating situation or potentially needing to save somebody’s life, including their own,” said Dombkowski. “The Smart Holster automatically triggers bodycam recording, as opposed to the officer having to be responsible in the heat of the moment to activate a piece of technology.”

Be proactive about protection

Decatur PD was one of the first agencies to sign on with the Smart Holster Sensor, not in response to any negative incident, but out of its mission to equip its officers with technology that will help them stay safe and foster a positive relationship with the community. Having embraced in-vehicle cameras, body-worn cameras and community policing ahead of many of its peer agencies, department leadership quickly realized the benefit of equipping all their patrol officers with the BodyWorn Smart Holster Sensor.

“The thing to remember about police officers is that, even though we go through a lot of training, we’re people as well,” said Bellis. “In a critical situation, we’re not going to be focused on turning the camera on, because we’re going to be focused on our movements, the other person’s movements and assessing the situation, all within a split second. Not having to think about turning a camera on is more helpful. That’s one less thing to think about.”

How it works

About the size of a piece of chewing gum, the Smart Holster Sensor attaches externally to the holster. When the firearm is unholstered, the sensor automatically commands the BodyWorn camera system to start recording. It also can send an alert to dispatch and nearby officers if it is the policy of the agency.

Every recording is automatically saved to a CJIS-compliant cloud environment, ensuring a clear chain of custody. The footage is automatically tagged with metadata such as date, time, location and even how the recording was started – whether by the officer, by the patrol car or the holster sensor.

When supervisors and other interested parties review the footage on Utility’s AVaiLWEB platform accessible via any web browser, they can automatically see exactly when the firearm was unholstered, what transpired during the full duration while the gun was unholstered and when it was re-holstered.

Customized to department policy

The Smart Holster Sensor integrates with the BodyWorn camera, and the recording function can be customized to each department’s policy. For example, Decatur PD’s camera system is configured to activate every time an officer leaves the patrol vehicle or activates emergency equipment.

“Whenever we’re actually encountering a high-risk situation or even just a routine situation of taking a report from a victim, we’re always recording,” said Bellis. “In the event we’re not recording because we’re out in the community, should we have to unholster our firearm, we don’t have to worry about activating the bodycam ­– it’s already configured to work like we need it to.”

The ability to configure the system according to department policy and needs is particularly useful because police agency policies can vary widely and the public is quick to criticize any police action. In a rural agency, a police officer may be making a traffic stop, alone, late at night. It might be completely permissible and reasonable for that officer to unholster his or her firearm and approach the vehicle with the weapon behind their leg, unseen, says Dombkowski.

If department policy does not require bodycam recording when the firearm is unholstered, the holster can still be configured to record audio and capture metadata indicating exactly when and where the firearm was unholstered. It also features pre-event recording so, depending on department policy, it can capture up to two minutes with audio and video to document events leading up to the unholstering of the officer’s firearm.

Capturing the officer’s perspective, automatically

There have been national incidences where the officer gets criticized for not recording an event,” said Bellis. “I think that the biggest takeaway from this is that an officer under a stressful situation doesn’t have to think about turning the recording device on. That’s the whole advantage of it.”

There are a hundred different valid reasons why an officer in the heat of a situation may not have recorded the incident, says Bellis.

“But, all those cast aside, the one thing that we know is that we don’t have to worry about the argument that the officer purposely did not turn it on, because it’s going to turn on automatically,” he said.


Ky. LEO shot by police says he was more afraid of officers than bad guys

Posted on June 12, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Beth Musgrave and Morgan Eads Lexington Herald-Leader

GEORGETOWN, Ky. — A Scott County sheriff’s deputy who was shot and mostly paralyzed by a police officer during a Sept. 11 confrontation that killed a fugitive told Kentucky State Police investigators he had concerns about the training of his fellow officers.

“I was more afraid of getting shot by one of the guys that was inexperienced than getting shot by actual bad guys,” said Scott County Deputy Jaime Morales. Morales was shot and paralyzed while police were trying to capture fugitive Edward R. Reynolds, who was killed at a rest area off of Interstate 75.

“Some of the guys did not have tactical experience to be, you know, on the situation. You know, as high stress as something like that is,” Morales told investigators.

Morales’ statements were included in hundreds of pages of interviews, investigative findings and forensic reports included in the Kentucky State Police case file of the Sept. 11 incident. The Lexington Herald-Leader obtained the case file through an Open Records Act request.

Lawyers for Morales said more could have been done to prevent Morales’ shooting.

“I think it’s pretty clear that errors were made,” said Elliott Miller. Elliott and Tom Miller are representing Morales. “We certainly believe the outcome was avoidable.”

The Millers said Morales should be compensated for the shooting that left him partially paralyzed. As of Tuesday evening, state police had not released the case file to Morales’ lawyers.

“We have filed a complaint with the attorney general’s office,” Tom Miller said of the repeated delays in releasing the case file. Attorney General Andy Beshear rules on open records cases.

State police forensic experts would not say which officer shot Morales, the case file shows. The two officers who fired their weapons that night also deny shooting Morales.

But investigating officers’ notes show KSP questioned those results.

Autopsy and other reports show Reynolds was shot multiple times but never fired his weapon.

Morales was one of seven officers who were part of a special-response team, or SRT team, consisting of Georgetown and Scott County sheriff’s department personnel. They were sent to the Scott County rest area in response to a call from a deputy U.S. marshal. Florida colleagues had told the deputy marshal that Reynolds was spotted in the area. The SRT team met the deputy marshal at the rest stop off of Interstate 75. The deputy marshal had spotted a silver Ford Mustang that Reynolds was reported to be driving.

According to the investigative file, the SRT team truck pulled in behind the Mustang. The team left the truck, surrounded the Mustang and called to the driver. The officers who surrounded the vehicle gave verbal commands, such as “show your hands!”

Officers told KSP investigators that Reynolds refused to comply with commands, grabbed his keys and started the Mustang. Some of the officers saw the Mustang’s brake lights and reverse lights come on.

Morales tried to open the driver’s side door, but it was locked. At that point, Morales and Scott County Deputy Jordan Jacobs tried to break the driver’s side door window with their batons while Scott County Sgt. Jeremy Nettles attempted to break the passenger side door window with his baton. Morales eventually succeeded in breaking the driver’s side window, at which point he saw Reynolds retrieve a handgun from between the front seats or the console area.

Morales reported he saw Reynolds load the gun and move the slide as if chambering a round.

Once he saw the handgun, Morales immediately said “gun!” to warn the other officers, according to the case file.

At that point, Deputy Jacobs, Georgetown officer Joseph Enricco and Morales fired their patrol rifles in Reynolds’ direction, according to information presented to a Scott County grand jury.

Reynolds never fired his weapon, police officers at the scene and ballistic tests of Reynolds’ Beretta handgun later showed.

According to information in the files, Reynolds’ autopsy report showed dozens of gunshot wounds “attributed to nine projectiles.”

Reynolds could not have shot Morales in the back if Reynolds never fired his weapon.

Yet, Scott County Sheriff Tony Hampton waited until March, after a grand jury did not pursue charges in Reynolds death, before announcing Morales was shot by law enforcement.

Jacobs, Enricco and Morales were the only officers who fired, according to ballistic reports. According to a diagram presented to the Scott County grand jury this spring, all three were on the driver’s side of the Mustang.

In the investigation report, three possible scenarios of how Morales could have been shot were presented. One possibility, according to the report, is that Morales stepped right and diagonally to check on Reynolds before being shot. It is also possible that the officer who shot Morales was moving as he fired his last shot, striking Morales in the back. The third possibility presented was that both Morales and the officer firing were moving at the time Morales was shot.

According to forensic reports, at least two bullet fragments found in Reynolds’ body came from Hornady ammunition, which is issued to Scott County sheriff’s deputies. Three bullet fragments were Federal tactical, which is used by the Georgetown Police Department.

The report said ballistic experts couldn’t identify which officer fired each round found in Reynolds’ body.

KSP forensics experts also would not say which officer shot Morales. Yet, there were clues, KSP investigators noted.

Test fires showed that Federal Tactical bullets mushroomed. Hornady bullets fragmented into several pieces.

“I explained that Officer Enricco’ s rifle was loaded with Federal tactical ammunition and that Deputy Jacobs’ and Morales’ rifles were loaded with Hornady ammunition,” according to the report written by KSP Lt. Claude Little. “I commented that the Federal projectile looked just like the projectile visible in Deputy Morales’ x-ray.”

Yet, KSP forensic experts said they could not make that determination without having the bullet that hit Morales.

Elliott Miller said the bullet could not be retrieved. It is still lodged in Morales’ spine.

KSP investigators asked Morales why he was concerned about the officers he served with.

“Some of the guys did not have the tactical experience to be, you know on the situation,” Morales said. “Also the training was very, like I said we would show up and somebody would say, ‘Oh we need to do this like this’ and somebody else would say ‘no we need to this like that.’ So it was very confusing and changing constantly,” Morales said of SRT training. “And confusing is the most accurate word I can use.”

———

©2019 the Lexington Herald-Leader (Lexington, Ky.)


Utah man arrested in shooting of off-duty LA deputy

Posted on June 11, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By John Rogers Associated Press

ALHAMBRA, Calif. — A Utah man was being held Tuesday on suspicion of shooting an off-duty Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy at a fast-food restaurant, and authorities said he may have killed another man an hour earlier in apparently random attacks.

Rhett Nelson, 30, of St. George, Utah, was arrested by Long Beach police after he went into a church Tuesday morning and called his father back home, sheriff's Homicide Bureau Capt. Kent Wegener said.

"In that call, he referred to committing a murder in Southern California," Wegener said.

The father called police, who stopped Nelson in his car a short time later, he said.

Nelson is suspected of walking into a Jack in the Box restaurant in the eastern Los Angeles suburb of Alhambra on Monday night and shooting Deputy Joseph Gilbert Solano in the head.

Solano, 50, was in grave condition and on life support, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said at an afternoon news conference.

"This is the part of this job that I don't relish," Villanueva said. "I always dreaded this would happen. It happened way too soon."

Solano, who was waiting for a food order at the counter, "was not wearing anything that would identify him as a law enforcement officer" and the attack appears to be random, Wegener said.

The weapon believed to have been used in the shooting was found in Nelson's car, Wegener said.

Solano's description and car also match those of a man who shot to death a 30-year-old man less than an hour earlier in Los Angeles, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said.

The man was standing in the just south of downtown when a car pulled up, someone inside said something and then opened fire, Moore said.

Investigators are looking into reports that Nelson may have been involved in other crimes since arriving in Southern California last week, authorities said. They said they didn't know if Nelson had obtained an attorney or why he had recently come to Southern California.

Solano joined the sheriff's department in 1999, left in 2000, worked at the Alhambra Fire Department for a year and was rehired by the sheriff's department in 2006. He was most recently assigned to the custody division, Villanueva said.


Texas sergeant suffers fatal heart attack after participating in wellness program

Posted on June 11, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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By PoliceOne Staff

THE COLONY, Texas — A Texas sergeant has died after suffering a heart attack on June 7.

According to CBS DFW, Sergeant David Fitzpatrick suffered a fatal heart attack after participating in his department’s wellness program.

Fitzpatrick collapsed while returning to his office after working out. He was transported to a local hospital where he died three days later.

The sergeant served 34 years with The Colony Police Department and is survived by his wife.

PRESS RELEASE It is with a heavy heart that The Colony Police Department shares the unfortunate news that Sergeant...

Posted by The Colony Police Department on Tuesday, June 11, 2019


LAPD officer dies following surgery related to 2015 on-duty crash

Posted on June 11, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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By PoliceOne Staff

LOS ANGELES — An officer has died following a surgery related to an on-duty traffic collision that happened in 2015.

According to Patch.com, Officer Esmeralda Ramirez had surgery on Sunday and succumbed to complications fro the procedure over the weekend.

The 49-year-old officer joined the LAPD in 2008 and “was a valued member of the Pacific Division.”

Ramirez is survived by her three children.


Ala. PD receives $700K grant for body cameras

Posted on June 11, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

The Birmingham Times

The Birmingham police department has received a $700,000 federal grant to purchase 276 body cameras.

“We’ve been having some issues with the men and women that go out to write parking citations being harassed and things like that so we’re also going to equip all of them with body cameras,” said Councilor Hunter Williams, chair of the council’s public safety committee.

The date for implementing the cameras is contingent upon when the city will receive the grant.

Williams said the new equipment is needed to upgrade technology and part of the planned $1.5 million Real Time Crime Center which will be housed on the fourth floor of Birmingham Police Headquarters and modeled after the Jefferson Metro Area Crime Center which is equipped with a wall-sized bank of video screens, computers and other technology.

Full story: Birmingham Police Dept. receives $700K grant for body cameras


Product review: PIG saddle rifle cradle and field tripod

Posted on June 11, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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By Harry Fitzpatrick

In the law enforcement sniper community, engaging a suspect from the prone position rarely happens; however, a large portion of LE sniper training is still conducted from the prone position. Recently I attended a LE training course that moved away from focusing on prone shooting to shooting from different positions using a tripod.

One company that has bridged the gap of a steady prone shooting platform to an all-other-position shooting platform is Shadowtech LLC, creator of the HOG and PIG saddle rifle cradles. These rifle cradles, along with a solid tripod, provide an LE sniper with a stable platform ranging from a high prone to a solid standing position.

For testing purposes, Shadowtech sent me the PIG Saddle with a Feisol CB-50D Ball Head with a quick-release plate. The company also sent the PIG 0311-G Field Tripod.

PIG saddle specifications

The PIG Saddle is constructed from solid steel with an aluminum knob assembly to loosen or tighten the side plates. The interior of the PIG saddle has UV-resistant rubber pads with a raised grid pattern to help lock the rifle into place. This also keeps the rifle from moving in the saddle during recoil. The PIG saddle weighs in at 1.4 lbs with a Melonite finish to prevent corrosion due to its steel construction. It can be mounted to any tripod that utilizes 1/4-20 or 3/8-16 thread attachments.

Attaching the PIG Saddle to a ball head

The PIG Saddle can be attached directly to a tripod or to a ball head attachment. I chose to use the Feisol CB-50D ball head for my testing. I prefer the ball head as it allows for tracking up and down, as well as lateral tracking. The ball head also lets the sniper lock the rifle in a downward position if in an elevated over-watch position. An oversized knob on the side that can be manipulated with one hand allows the sniper to move the ball head and track a moving target. The ball head allows for smooth movement left to right and up or down.

PIG Field Tripod specifications

The tripod is the base of the whole platform and is important. The PIG 0311-G Field Tripod is a solid design with a magnesium body and stout aluminum legs. It weighs in at 5.6 lbs., but is very robust and stable. This tripod has a maximum operating height of 61 inches and a minimum of 10.8 inches. There is a center column extension that is 5 inches. At the bottom of the column extension is a load-bearing hook. This hook can be used to hang a bag or weight to add to the stability of the tripod and help mitigate recoil. The tripod feet are rubber but can be interchanged with spiked feet, which are included.

Shooting using a complete system

Shooting from this complete system is much more stable than traditional kneeling, sitting or standing unsupported. To increase stability, you can load the tripod by using a sling or even your support hand. A load-bearing hook in the center column also helps steady the tripod.

One key takeaway I learned was to set the tripod up in the right orientation. If a shooter is left-handed or right-handed, make sure the tripod is set up so all the knobs can be loosened or tightened with the support hand. I made this mistake in one of the first drills I tried, and it was slow and awkward.

LE sniper engagements are usually taken within close distances. Shadowtech’s pig saddle and tripod system offer a capable platform to take a precision shot at these distances from positions other than the prone position. This system also decreases fatigue on the individual sniper that might be experienced from non-standard shooting positions.

MSRP Prices PIG Saddle: $135 Feisol CB-50D Ball Head: $165.95 PIG 0311-G Tripod: $138

For more information, visit Shadowtech.


About the author Harry Fitzpatrick has served as a police officer in an urban police department for 14 years. He is currently assigned to a SWAT/sniper unit.


Product review: SWATSCOPE enables discreet intelligence gathering

Posted on June 11, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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By Harry Fitzpatrick

When we think of a periscope, we often associate it with the silent hunters of the deep. This tool allows large underwater vessels to gain visual intelligence without being exposed or detected.

On a much smaller scale, the SWATSCOPE is a variable-power periscope that is an invaluable tool for snipers in the military or law enforcement, providing a sniper with the ability to look without being exposed or detected.

SWATSCOPE specifications

The SWATSCOPE is a compact, lightweight optical device with a variable power magnification. The magnification range for the SWATSCOPE is four power at the lowest setting up to nine power. Collapsed, the periscope is 21½ inches; fully extended, the periscope measures 27¼ inches. The slide bar that raises and lowers the lens is 7¼ inches.

The SWATSCOPE ships in a hard metal case and comes with a padded nylon carrying case. Several different accessory options enhance the scope’s capabilities. A small section of picatinny rail on the scope can accommodate a flashlight. A small hook attached at the handle can clip onto a belt. There is a killflash that can be added to reduce glare off of the lens and an adapter for a PVS-14 night vision device. The accessories that come with the SWATSCOPE meet a variety of needs of the LE or military sniper.

Using the SWATSCOPE during LE sniper training

Over the past few months I tested out the SWATSCOPE in a variety of LE applications.

I participated in a stalk/observation scenario at LE sniper training, where the SWATSCOPE proved to be worth its weight in gold.

During this training scenario, my partner and I stalked into a position approximately 130 yards from the objective. Role players were actively patrolling on foot and using magnified optics to detect the sniper teams. The SWATSCOPE allowed us to remain undetected while gathering necessary intel. My partner and I were able to identify the role players and weapons they were carrying during the scenario.

Not only did I have the chance to use the SWATSCOPE in sniper training, but also for surveillance from a rooftop. As it is relatively lightweight, I could prop it up at an angle and extend the lens past the edge of the wall I was hiding behind. Set up this way, I was able to look through it for extended periods of time.

The only drawback with the SWATSCOPE is that at the maximum magnification, the field of view or focus becomes a lot smaller. The manufacturer would obviously have to make a bigger lens to address this, but then it would be much easier to spot. I found that five to six power magnification allowed be to have a large enough field of view so as not to be focused on one person.

The head and shoulders of a human being is one of the most recognizable and easy-to-spot shapes. The SWATSCOPE mitigates this by allowing the user to remain hidden behind solid objects with only a small lens exposed. The SWATSCOPE is a simple, low-tech solution that allows a LE or military sniper to discreetly gather intelligence from a position of safety.


About the author Harry Fitzpatrick has served as a police officer in an urban police department for 14 years. He is currently assigned to a SWAT/sniper unit.


Jon Stewart lashes out at Congress over 9/11 first responders fund

Posted on June 11, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By News Staff

WASHINGTON — Comedian Jon Stewart lashed out at Congress Tuesday for failing to ensure that a victims’ compensation fund for the 9/11 attacks never runs out of money.

According to the Associated Press, Stewart angrily called out Congress for failing to attend a hearing on a bill that would ensure benefits for the next 70 years for first responders who were victims of the 9/11 attacks.

"I can't help but think what an incredible metaphor this room is... a filled room of 9/11 first responders behind me and in front of me, a nearly empty Congress,” Stewart said at the hearing. “Sick and dying, they brought themselves down here to speak to no one...shameful."

Congress passed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act in 2010. The $7 billion fund was reauthorized in 2015 for 90 years, but a key portion -- the Victim Compensation Fund -- was only funded for five additional years. According to CBS News, over 11,000 types of cancer have been reported since the attacks, ranging from Glioblastoma and lung cancers.

Stewart has championed for the act since 2010 and has since become a vocal advocate for 9/11 first responders. He called the lack of attendance at Tuesday’s hearing “an embarrassment to the country and a stain on the institution” of Congress.

Powerful moment from Jon Stewart: “What an incredible metaphor this room is for the entire process that getting health care and benefits for 9/11 first responders has come to. Behind me, a filled room of 9/11 first responders, and in front of me, a nearly empty Congress." pic.twitter.com/nLMAiQmBxQ

— Dan Linden (@DanLinden) June 11, 2019


Why word selection matters during a suspect interview/interrogation

Posted on June 11, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Louis C. Senese
Author: Louis C. Senese

We are all besieged by marketing semantics that are used to obtain a desired effect. Would you rather purchase a vehicle from a used car lot or a certified pre-driven center? Police investigators can use the same principle when interviewing or interrogating individuals by attempting to select the least offensive description of the crime without legally minimizing consequences of the behavior.

The role of semantics in investigative interviews

Merriam-Webster defines semantics as: “The language used (as in advertising or political propaganda) to achieve a desired effect on an audience.”

When conducting a non-accusatory investigative interview of an individual suspected of committing a crime, it is important to use words that seem to minimize the moral seriousness of the behavior in question. For example, when questioning regarding a rape, it would be more appropriate to phrase the question, “Did you force Mary to have sexual intercourse?” rather than, “Did you rape Mary?” Along these same lines it would be more appropriate in a homicide investigation to ask the subject, “Did you cause the death of your next-door neighbor, Charlie?” rather than, “Did you murder your next-door neighbor, Charlie?”

Socially acceptable terms

A good rule to follow is to avoid words that describe the crime as it is listed in the criminal code. It is more effective to use words and phrases that mean the same but are less emotionally charged. Most criminals do not view their behavior as “bad.” In most cases they have already rationalized and justified their behavior.

Here are 10 examples of “socially acceptable” replacements for legal terms:

    Take or took without permission vs. steal Sexually touch vs. molest Making a sexual comment vs. sexual harassment Caused the death of vs. murder Caused the fire vs. arson Caused the explosion or damage vs. terrorist act Selling drugs vs. dealing drugs Overreacting when disciplining a child vs. child abuse Going into a house without permission vs. home invasion Viewing young individuals in sexual activities vs. child pornography

You should also apply the same principle when describing the victim of a crime. For example, in a child sexual abuse case involving a family member, investigators should refer to the victim by their first name, “Mary,” versus “Your child.” We would not ask, “Did you sexually molest your child?” but rather, “Did you have sexual contact with Mary?” Both questions address the same behavior, but the latter socially distances the abhorrent behavior and associated punishment.

In addition, never show graphic photos of the victim to the subject during an interview or interrogation. Not only do you want to keep details about the crime secret (so they can be used later to verify the authenticity of a confession), but you do not want to remind the subject of the seriousness of their behavior.

Conclusion

Using words that minimize the moral seriousness of the behavior but not the legal consequences will significantly help investigators obtain the truth from deceptive individuals and increase case resolution.


Quiz: What does your life after law enforcement look like?

Posted on June 11, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Sponsored by GovX

By PoliceOne BrandFocus Staff

We get it – law enforcement is not just a job, it’s a way of life. But transitioning to civilian life can mean a new, exciting chapter is ahead of you.

Take our quiz and find out what your path could look like.


Ala. deputy sheriff killed in crash while responding to burglary

Posted on June 11, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Christopher Harress Alabama Media Group, Birmingham

MONROE COUNTY, Ala.— A Monroe County deputy sheriff was killed in a car crash in the early hours of Tuesday morning while responding to a burglary.

The officer was identified as deputy Julius Dailey by Monroe County Deputy Sheriff’s Office.

“He was easily recognized by the big smile he kept on his face,” said a post on the sheriff office’s Facebook page Tuesday morning. “Please keep Jay’s young daughter, his family, his friends, our communities, and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office in your thoughts and prayers during this extremely difficult time.”

It’s not yet known how the crash occurred.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated as new information becomes available.

With a heavy heart, Monroe County Sheriff Tom Boatwright regrets to inform that we have lost the life of one of our own....

Posted by Monroe County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday, June 11, 2019

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©2019 Alabama Media Group, Birmingham


Suspect arrested after NY woman found chained in basement

Posted on June 11, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Associated Press

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — A suspect is in custody after police in New York say a woman was found chained in a basement.

Police in Niagara Falls tell WIVB that Michael Ciskiewic was arrested Monday on charges of kidnapping, burglary, rape, assault and menacing with a weapon after he was found hiding in a nearby industrial area. Information on his lawyer wasn't immediately available.

Police had been searching for the suspect after receiving a call about an assault early Sunday morning. They found a broken window and blood but no one was at that home.

The woman's family was unable to make contact with her and police returned with a bloodhound. The dog tracked her to another home nearby where she was rescued. The woman was treated at a hospital and released.


Ohio police release body camera footage of LEO punching man during shots-fired incident

Posted on June 11, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Ceili Doyle The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Columbus police released more than 49 minutes of video footage Monday in connection with an incident in which an officer punched a man who refused to comply with police instructions to stay back from an investigation scene into a shots-fired report.

The video is a compilation of three officers' body cameras and two cruisers' video footage showing at least three people taken into custody after a shooting was reported by the ShotSpotter detection system on Friday in the 900 block of Heyl Avenue on the South Side. Though the scene is repeated from angles, the clearest footage of the incident appears to come at the 22-minute mark.

Jonathan Robinson, 25, refuses to get back and argues with Officer Carl Harmon after he stops a woman with two children Robinson later identifies as his children as they attempt to cross the street toward the house where the investigation is focused.

In the video Harmon shouted at Robinson to "get back!" after he followed the woman crossing the street.

"Or what?" Robinson said.

"Get back," Harmon repeated.

"Or what?" Robinson asked again.

Harmon told Robinson to back down again as Officer Anthony L. Johnson, holding a shotgun, approaches Robinson and orders him to back away. Robinson refused and Johnson pushes Robinson back with his left hand, according to court documents.

"Get the f**k off me," Robinson allegedly said as he squared off facing Johnson.

Johnson then punched Robinson in the left side of his face with his right hand. Robinson was immediately thrown to the ground and arrested. At least two others were handcuffed and taken into custody during the confusion that resulted as others reacted to Robinson being struck and arrested.

Over the weekend cellphone video of the incident went viral across social media and several people responded criticizing Johnson's use of force.

Johnson has various social media accounts, all under the user name "OhNoItsDaPoPo," documenting his extensive community outreach efforts. One popular video shows Johnson caught on camera dancing with some local children.

Because the investigation into the incident and the officer's actions, Columbus police are not giving interviews or releasing further details at this time.

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©2019 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)


RCSD deputy jumps over Normandy

Posted on June 11, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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By W. Thomas Smith, Jr., Richland County Sheriff’s Department

Richland County Sheriff’s Department Reserve Deputy Paul Waldner was in France last week as part of a contingent of parachutists jumping over Normandy during the 75th anniversary commemoration of the D-Day landings and Battle of Normandy.

Waldner and other civilian and military parachutists were specifically honoring the American and British paratroopers who began jumping just after midnight June 6, 1944, before the seaborne landings that took place a few hours later that morning.

Waldner also jumped over Normandy last year.

As a reserve deputy, Waldner serves on RCSD’s Special Response (SWAT) Team.


Texas LEOs wounded in deadly crash expected to make full recovery

Posted on June 11, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Fares Sabawi San Antonio Express-News

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Two Castle Hills police officers who were struck by a pickup while responding to a traffic accident early Sunday morning are expected to make a full recovery, Chief Johnny Siemens said Monday.

The officers were working a wreck at about 3:30 a.m. on Loop 410 near Honeysuckle Lane when a pickup crashed into a police cruiser.

A 27-year-old woman who stopped to help was killed in the wreck. Two police officers and two other men were injured in the wreck.

The two men are in critical condition, police said Sunday.

Siemens said one police officer was treated and released at the scene. The officer initially thought he tore his rotator cuff, but the injury was downgraded to a bruised shoulder.

"He's in a lot of pain. He'll be off for the week," Siemens said.

The other officer remained hospitalized Monday with injuries to his elbow, knee and ribs. Siemens said that officer had a surgery on his elbow Sunday and will have surgery on his knee when the swelling subsides.

Siemens was "relieved" that the officers are expected to recover, but recalled how worried he was when he was told about the wreck.

"It's a call you hope you never get your whole career," he said. "I was relieved ... but we're still deeply saddened by the tragic loss of the female."

The woman has not yet been identified by the Bexar County Medical Examiner's Office.

The suspect driving the pickup will be charged with intoxication manslaughter and four counts of intoxication assault, Siemens said.

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©2019 the San Antonio Express-News


Video shows deadly Chicago police vehicle crash that wounded 10 LEOs

Posted on June 11, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

CHICAGO — Surveillance video obtained exclusively by The Associated Press shows two fast-moving Chicago police vehicles with their emergency lights on colliding at an intersection, then crashing into a stationary car and killing an 84-year-old retired teacher.

The video was provided to the AP on Monday by a lawyer representing the woman's family. It shows a police van going through a red light and striking another police vehicle. Both then both slam into the family car, killing Verona Gunn and injuring three others.

The Memorial Day weekend collision also injured 10 police officers. Authorities have said the accident involved police vehicles and a civilian car, but couldn't say definitively who caused it because the investigation was ongoing.

The Gunn family lawyer, Andrew M. Stroth, told the AP that the police vehicles violated department rules that dictate officers responding to calls slow as they approach intersections to ensure they can proceed safely. Dispatchers had said there were reports of someone with a gun nearby, which, according to Stroth, is not an extraordinary report for Chicago.

"This was a response to standard call for service and it was not a police pursuit," the family attorney said. "It did not necessitate officers drive in a reckless manner. As a result, the matriarch of the family was killed."

The family car, a Toyota sedan, had stopped as around 10 police vehicles passed through the same intersection before the crash, Stroth said. The car was still idling when the collision occurred.

Accidents involving law enforcement vehicles have long been a public safety concern, both for civilians and officers.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, which highlights the risk of police vehicles crossing intersections, said that in most years, traffic-related accidents overall are the main cause of death for on-duty officers, with 564 killed in crashes — including ones involving officers on foot in or by the roadside — from 2005-2016. It didn't include the number of civilian deaths in those crashes.

Stroth filed a wrongful lawsuit in Cook County court Monday, naming the city of Chicago and the two officers driving the vehicles that night. They are only referred to as John Doe 1 and 2.

Chicago's law department said it had not seen the lawsuit and declined to comment.

Days before the May 25 crash, new Mayor Lori Lightfoot had announced a stepped-up police presence and an increase in youth programs for the Memorial Day weekend in a bid to stave off violent crime on a holiday that's seen an uptick in shootings in previous years. Stroth said the stepped up presence could have played an indirect role in the accident.

"Part of the reaction by police that weekend was based on the surge of officers in these areas," he said. "It resulted in a complete overreaction by officers responding to calls."

The accident occurred on a Saturday night in Chicago's Austin on the West Side, which Stroth describes as a densely populated neighborhood that should have led officers to be especially cautious.

Gunn's son, Dwight, wrote a letter to Lightfoot and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson last month that called Verona Gunn "the matriarch" of the family who worked for 30 years as a teacher. Two other adults in the car and a 9-year-old were also injured, the letter said.

Dwight Gunn also thanked Lightfoot and Johnson for calling the family to express their condolences and to assure them there will be "a full and swift" investigation.

On Monday night, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the department expressed its "deepest condolences" to the Gunn family but couldn't comment on the specifics of the crash.

"Both the Civilian Office of Police Accountability and the Chicago Police department are independently investigating" the crash, Gugleilmi said.


Calif. sheriff’s deputy critical after off-duty shooting

Posted on June 11, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Associated Press

ALHAMBRA, Calif. — A Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy was been shot in the head and critically wounded Monday as he waited in line at a fast-food restaurant, authorities said.

The deputy was off-duty and in civilian clothes when he was shot shortly before 6 p.m. at a Jack in the Box restaurant in Alhambra, an eastern Los Angeles suburb, sheriff's officials said at a news conference.

"The deputy is currently in critical condition and he needs our prayers ... to see whether he can pull through," Sheriff Alex Villanueva said.

He didn't release the deputy's name.

Authorities are looking for a gunman who was seen driving away in a 2006 white Kia Sportage SUV with paper plates.

The man was wearing a white fedora hat when he fled but is believed to have changed clothes, authorities said.

"There doesn't appear to be an overt motive" based on security video footage, sheriff's Homicide Bureau Capt. Kent Wegener said.

He said the deputy walked into the restaurant and ordered food. He was standing at the counter waiting for the food when the gunman approached and shot him once in the head, then left immediately, Wegener said.

"He was off-duty, in civilian clothes. There was nothing overtly that would indicated he was a law enforcement officer," Wegener said.


Calif. police searching for suspect who shot off-duty LEO in the head

Posted on June 11, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Associated Press

ALHAMBRA, Calif. — A Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy was been shot in the head and critically wounded Monday as he waited in line at a fast-food restaurant, authorities said.

The deputy was off-duty and in civilian clothes when he was shot shortly before 6 p.m. at a Jack in the Box restaurant in Alhambra, an eastern Los Angeles suburb, sheriff's officials said at a news conference.

"The deputy is currently in critical condition and he needs our prayers ... to see whether he can pull through," Sheriff Alex Villanueva said.

He didn't release the deputy's name.

Authorities are looking for a gunman who was seen driving away in a 2006 white Kia Sportage SUV with paper plates.

The man was wearing a white fedora hat when he fled but is believed to have changed clothes, authorities said.

"There doesn't appear to be an overt motive" based on security video footage, sheriff's Homicide Bureau Capt. Kent Wegener said.

#LASD Sheriff Villanueva provide update of suspect and vehicle involved in shooting of off-duty Deputy Sheriff during Press Conference on 06/10/2019

Sheriff Alex Villanueva and Homicide Captain Kent Wengener provide additional information during a press conference of the suspect and vehicle involved in the shooting of an off-duty Deputy Sheriff earlier this afternoon in Alhambra.

Posted by Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department on Monday, June 10, 2019

He said the deputy walked into the restaurant and ordered food. He was standing at the counter waiting for the food when the gunman approached and shot him once in the head, then left immediately, Wegener said.

"He was off-duty, in civilian clothes. There was nothing overtly that would indicated he was a law enforcement officer," Wegener said.


How LAPD’s podcast takes a modern approach to telling the agency’s story

Posted on June 10, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Cole Zercoe
Author: Cole Zercoe

Ask most civilians to describe the characteristics of a police officer and they’ll probably give you some combination of the usual stereotypes: “macho,” “donut lover,” or “gun nut.” But what about “articulate,” “charismatic,” or “pescatarian?” How about “ex-cage fighter” or “former stage actor?” You’d be hard-pressed to find anybody outside the profession who’d associate those descriptors with their idea of a cop – unless they’ve listened to the Los Angeles Police Department’s official podcast. In episodes ranging from 20 minutes to nearly an hour, “Our LAPD Story” challenges the public’s preconceived notions of officers, police technology and law enforcement operations through deep dives on controversial topics, first-hand accounts of harrowing incidents and profiles of officers on the agency’s diverse force.

The modern approach to community engagement is the brainchild of LAPD Public Information Director Josh Rubenstein, who left a 25-year career in broadcasting to join the department. When he came on board in 2016, Rubenstein, who manages all of LAPD’s internal and external communications, knew the agency needed to take a multimodal approach to telling their story in order to capture the attention of as many Angelinos as possible.

“I want to use everything in my power to communicate to the public what policing is about today, the complicated work our officers do, the difficult situations they face, the emotions that they have,” Rubenstein said. “The more the public understands what we are doing, the better off we all are.”

One of the more unique initiatives was the podcast. Launched near the end of 2017, it was initially developed as a means to an end; the department had just announced a pilot program to test unmanned aerial systems and were grappling with intense public pushback. Rubenstein was looking for novel ways to be transparent, correct false or misleading narratives about the new tech, and listen to the public’s concerns.

“We knew that if we had just done a press conference or if we just pushed something out in a news release, the news media would create their own narrative,” Rubenstein said. “There was a lot of nuance to it and we wanted to alleviate the concerns of the public and inform them we weren't going to use drones in an unconstitutional manner. I thought, ‘What about a podcast where we can actually talk about it in a very cogent way where you are going to hear all of the details as opposed to just a couple of snippets?’”

HUMANIZING THE BADGE

The podcast grew from there, evolving from a way to educate the public on topics like UAS and crowd control to a tool for humanizing officers. It’s widely understood among law enforcement that most people’s perception of cops is usually not informed by knowing officers on an individual level. LAPD’s podcast offers a solution to that problem – sharing officers’ lives, interests, work and beliefs with the public through storytelling in a style similar to mainstream podcasts like “This American Life.”

Among the officers profiled: Officer Jaqueline Perea, who joined the department after her brother was tragically murdered; Deputy Chief Justin Eisenberg, who was one of the cops targeted in the Christopher Dorner incident; and Tactical Flight Officer Vanessa Hensen, who is a member of the agency’s elite air unit.

Rubenstein credits the effectiveness of the podcast to its authenticity. Officers are candid about their emotions – the times they were afraid, their moments of doubt.

“Tapping into the vulnerability and the emotions of our officers is one of those ways that we’re being authentic,” Rubenstein said. “If we make them out to be heroes who don't have feelings, then we're not really being honest.”

Here's my latest episode of the podcast "Our LAPD Story"for this one we go back to the night of April 7th -two officers are ambushed at the West Traffic Division front desk. I'm amazed they are alive to tell their story..don't forget to subscribe. https://t.co/gUUCkt0jVY

— Josh Rubenstein (@PDPIOJosh) November 16, 2018

The podcast also doesn’t shy away from difficult topics like police use of force.

“It can't be propaganda, because the public is very smart, and they can they can spot a fake a mile away. That means addressing some of the negative, that helps the validity of these podcasts,” Rubenstein said. “My goal is to build public trust, and I can do that if I'm authentic and honest.”

Given law enforcement’s reputation for being insular, one would assume getting officers to open up is hard. But Rubenstein says he’s been surprised at how easy it’s been so far.

“There's this myth that officers don't have feelings or emotions when they come into work, but they do,” Rubenstein said. “I think they're waiting for someone to give them the opportunity to share these things in a safe environment.”

CAPTURING AN AUDIENCE

So far, the experiment has yielded promising results. The podcast has around 3,000 active subscribers, and those who are listening stay engaged; 91% of people who start an episode finish it – an impressively low bounce rate in an age of short attention spans and content overload.

“The fact that you get someone to hit play and have them listening to LAPD tell a story for 40 minutes is huge,” said LAPD Strategic Communications Officer Mathew Rejis, who works on the podcast with Rubenstein. “Especially in the world of digital media where you're combating the endless scroll.”

For Rubenstein, the length of time a podcast allows to tell a story – and the sense of intimacy it creates – are the biggest advantages in delivering the agency’s message via a podcast versus other mediums.

“In Los Angeles, we spend a lot of time in our cars, so I want it to be something that someone could listen to during their commute. Anybody who's sat and listened to the radio in the car knows there's an intimacy that is just unmatched,” Rubenstein said. “Podcasting offers the ability to almost talk directly to someone rather than feeling like there's distance between the person telling the story and the person listening to the story.

The podcast has made an impact internally, as well. Rubenstein and Rejis say the reaction inside the department has been overwhelmingly positive. In an agency of nearly 13,000 employees, the podcast has enabled many LAPD officers – even top brass – to learn about their colleagues in a way they wouldn’t have otherwise.

“I'll go to one of our divisions and someone will stop me and say that they love the podcast because it tells their story,” Rubenstein said. “We have officers from various backgrounds that have so many different life experiences. And they bring that to work. That is really what makes this such a rich environment. There are endless stories here, and I'm more and more impressed by the caliber of men and women that come and decide to take on this profession.”

TELLING YOUR AGENCY’S STORY

You don’t have to have a background in broadcasting to create a compelling podcast. You don’t even need to spend all that much money on equipment – a couple of microphones, a laptop and some simple editing software will get the job done. And you don’t need a large team, either – LAPD’s podcast is primarily the product of three people. There are a ton of articles and how-to videos out there that break down the basics of creating a podcast; here are five tips to get you started.

    Be honest. The public won’t buy in unless you’re being real with them. Don’t be afraid to show your officers have emotions or to address difficult topics. The more genuine you are, the more you’ll make a connection. If your message isn’t real, it’ll sound like propaganda and people will tune out. Keep things conversational with your interviewees. Likely there are many officers in your agency who’d be willing to sit down and share their story with an audience. For officers to open up, they need to know they’re in a safe environment. Keep it loose and relaxed. “Do everything you can to make it feel like you are just having a conversation and that will elicit open and authentic responses from the person you're talking to,” Rubenstein said. Get your message out on as many platforms as possible. Accessibility is key. You need to be on as many platforms (Apple, Spotify, Soundcloud, etc.) as possible. Create as many opportunities as you can for people to find your content. Drop the "cop speak." It’s important to remove barriers of entry for the public to get into your show. Keep in mind the audience is outside the realm of law enforcement and they don’t use the same shorthand or terminology that you do.“We talk in acronyms and ‘cop speak.’ People want to hear a human being talking,” Rubenstein said. Remember, you have two audiences. Everything you put out has two groups of listeners. Even if your podcast is tailored to the public, there’s also an internal audience. Keep everyone in the loop. Be prepared for potential criticism, as well as praise. “You always have to be thinking that your message doesn't only go one direction, it's not just outward,” Rubenstein said. “As a communications director, everything you do is dual-purpose, so you need to keep that in mind when you're producing or doing anything externally.”

Police bloodhound tracks woman found chained in NY basement

Posted on June 10, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Author: Cole Zercoe

Associated Press

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — Police in Niagara Falls, New York have been searching for a suspect after a woman was found chained in a basement.

WKBW says the woman was taken to a hospital after police used a bloodhound to track her down on Sunday.

Police had received a call about an assault at around 1 a.m. Sunday. They found a broken window and blood but no one was at that home.

The woman's family was unable to make contact with her and police returned with the bloodhound. The dog tracked her to another home nearby where she was rescued.

Further details of the investigation were not made public.


A huge blind spot: Why overlooking officer vehicle safety leads to line of duty deaths

Posted on June 10, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Sponsored by Mobileye

By Dale Stockton for PoliceOne BrandFocus

Many line-of-duty deaths are preventable, making them all the more tragic for those left behind. Since 2000, law enforcement losses attributable to vehicle-related incidents have exceeded losses due to gunfire by a staggering 20%. The conventional wisdom is that “bad guys” are responsible when an officer loses his or her life, but the sobering reality is that many involve a significant degree of officer culpability. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly half of fatal law enforcement crashes involve a single vehicle crash. It’s pretty hard to blame the bad guy when your vehicle is the only one involved. To take matters further, in many multi-vehicle collisions, it’s often the emergency vehicle that’s found to have been a contributing factor to the collision or even at fault.

Officers, don’t take driving safety for granted

Clearly a commitment to improving officer safety must include a commitment to improving vehicle operations safety because it will lower the level of line-of-duty losses and decrease the number of career-ending injuries. There’s also the significant (and cost saving) fact that improving in-vehicle safety will reduce the number of at-fault collisions where an innocent party is struck by a law enforcement vehicle.

Improving vehicle safety is not a one-and-done effort. It takes ongoing commitment and can best be accomplished through a multi-faceted approach including training and the use of technology, both of which can improve driver awareness.

In terms of training, most officers receive some level of emergency vehicle operations training in the academy, but many agencies do not have ongoing programs that address the most frequent task that officers perform – driving. There is often a degree of rationalization that driving is one of those basic skills that simply improve with experience. While experience can be helpful, it can also cause drivers to “lock-in” bad behaviors over time. Refresher training can increase officer awareness and hone skills. It’s easy to overlook the importance of seatbelts, which is why it’s crucial to reinforce their importance as the most basic piece of safety equipment that officers have. While usage varies by assignment and, to a degree, by type of agency, the overall level of seatbelt utilization among uniformed officers is approximately 50%. In contrast, the general public’s utilization rate usually exceeds 90%.

One thing is clear here: many officers are unnecessarily exposing themselves to a greater risk of serious injury.

How technology can improve in-vehicle safety

Viable technology approaches can vary but, at their core, those that are effective have two common elements: the technology is integral to the officer’s work environment (in this case, the car), and drivers are made aware of the behaviors that put them at greater risk.

In an effort to improve safety and reduce at-fault collisions by their deputies, the Polk County (Florida) Sheriff’s Office began reviewing tech options in 2013. Tragically, during the time that review was being conducted, PCSO Deputy Joseph “Shane” Robbins, a fifteen-year veteran, died after his vehicle inexplicably left its designated lane of travel and went off the roadway, subsequently striking a large tree. The loss of Deputy Robbins underscored the need for improving safety and solidified the agency’s commitment to change. PCSO subsequently selected Mobileye, a real-time alert collision-avoidance system for a pilot effort and, after the pilot proved successful, installed the units throughout its fleet.

How Mobileye helps officers on the road

Mobileye is made up of two pieces. The primary Mobileye road-scanning camera unit mounts in the upper-center area of the vehicle’s windshield and contains an image sensor, processing unit and speaker for audible alerts. The second piece is the EyeWatch unit, which can be mounted in a variety of places within the driver’s field of view and consists of a circular display that provides the visual warnings. Mobileye continually scans and analyzes the roadway conditions, including reading speed limit signs, recognizing lane markings and identifying other objects such as vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians. The unit is wired into the vehicle’s Controller Area Network (CAN) bus so it can factor in real-time speed and braking actions. The combination of visual analysis and vehicle input allows Mobileye to provide a visual and audible alerts of a dangerous condition (examples of types of alerts have been covered by PoliceOne before). Mobileye does not take affirmative action such as braking or altering course of travel.

It's important to understand that Mobileye’s technology is designed to aid the officer not replace his or her control of the vehicle.

When seconds can mean life-or-death, Mobileye gives officers the reaction time they need

Mobileye has an extensive history of improving vehicle safety and the company’s technology is used by 27 different automotive manufacturers. Mobileye devices are used in a wide variety of vehicle operations, such as transportation services, transit, and commercial fleets. For law enforcement, the company created a special “mode” that disables the non-critical audio warning tones for lane departure and headway monitoring when the vehicle is being operated in an emergency response or pursuit mode. Muting these alerts can help the driver maintain focus, but the pursuit mode doesn’t neglect officer safety as it still sounds critical collision warnings to protect the driver.

Polk County provided significant input for the latest law enforcement system.

Mobileye does not do any recording or transmission of information; it’s purely an advisory tool for the operator.

Perhaps the best way to understand its value is to equate it to a partner officer who is continually scanning the road and pointing out an imminent threat or providing a warning when distraction is causing a dangerous situation, such as drifting out of the lane of travel. Mobileye performs these tasks at a rate faster than the human eye and brain can process what is being seen.

It’s easy to install this collision avoidance system

Mobileye can be retrofit to most any vehicle, meaning there is no need to purchase a new vehicle to receive the same advanced driver-assistance technology. There is no ongoing fee or maintenance charge. Installation can be handled by contracting with certified Mobileye installers or, in the case of a large fleet, having agency personnel trained to do the installs. Installation is relatively straightforward, requiring connections that provide power, grounding and plug into the vehicle’s ignition system and CAN bus.

The takeaway for officers

Training and technology should not be viewed as an either-or situation. They are complementary and should be used to build upon each other to improve driver safety. The technology that Mobileye offers can prove to be a powerful partner, resulting in fewer injuries and line-of-duty losses as well as a lowered level of liability exposure.


Fla. man shooting at Amazon Alexa sparks gun battle with police

Posted on June 10, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By PoliceOne Staff

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — A domestic call to a Florida home left two officers wounded and a suspect in critical condition on Saturday.

According to ABC News, dispatchers received a call from a 10-year-old girl saying her parents had gotten into a fight.

The fight stemmed from the mother being upset with suspect Terrance J. Peterson Jr., 62, who had shot at her Amazon Alexa, police say.

After arriving to the scene, police found the woman had been battered. More officers were called.

When police tried to communicate with Peterson inside the home, Peterson – armed with a handgun and a semi-automatic rifle – allegedly opened fire.

"He was?shooting?at everybody," Pasco County sheriff Chris Nocco said.

During an exchange of gunfire, an officer was shot in the leg and suffered life-threatening injuries. Another officer was grazed in the hand by a bullet.

Multiple squad cars, nearby homes and even a deputy’s protective shield were hit with bullets with one round almost going all the way through the armor.

A SWAT team was called to the scene and attempted to negotiate with Peterson who had barricaded himself inside the home. A robot was sent inside around 4 a.m., which enabled police to see that Peterson was bleeding.

EMS was sent into the home where they found Peterson with a gunshot wound to the head. It’s unclear if the wound was from the shootout or if it was self-inflicted.

Peterson was transported to a local hospital but his condition is unknown.

The wounded deputy, 41-year-old Christopher Stone, was also taken to a local hospital where he is recovering. Deputies were able to apply a tourniquet to Stone at the scene, which will likely increase the chances of him not losing his leg.

Peterson is charged with domestic battery and at least five counts of attempted homicide.

"This individual had full intention, in my eyes, to kill deputies, to kill everyone," Nocco said.

Sheriff Nocco providing an update on Saturday’s deputy shooting. https://t.co/fIaGvCqGfU

— Pasco Sheriff (@PascoSheriff) June 10, 2019


Port Authority LEO dies of 9/11 cancer

Posted on June 10, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Thomas Tracy New York Daily News

NEW YORK — A Port Authority police officer known for his dedication and true grit has lost his long bout with a 9/11 related cancer, the agency said Friday.

Police Officer William Leahy, who reminded colleagues of stoic western star John Wayne died at his parents’ home on Thursday — one month after what many hoped would be a life-saving surgery, friends said. He was 49.

“(He was) tough as nails and always got the job done,” PAPD Lt. Daniel Rhein said. “At the same time, he would call his mother every day.”

Rhein, who worked with Leahy, called his longtime friend a “straight shooter” who had a “John Wayne type personality.”

Leahy joined the Port Authority in 1992, a year before the World Trade Center bombing.

He responded to the World Trade Center on 9/11 and spent weeks working at Ground Zero during rescue and recovery efforts.

Despite his fatal illness, the 27-year veteran never left his post at Kennedy Airport, PA officials said.

“Officer Leahy served the Port Authority Police Department with pride and distinction," Port Authority Superintendent Ed Cetnar said. “His commitment to serving the public never wavered and his determination held steady as he battled his illness.”

During his career, the Leahy spent time in PAPD’s Marine Unit, Cargo Unit and heavy weapons unit. He also racked up more than 500 arrests while in plainclothes at JFK Airport. He also received the World Trade Center medal and an Excellent Police Duty Unit Citation, PA officials said.

An estimated 90,000 first responders showed up at work on the pile in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. An additional 400,000 survivors lived and worked in the area at the time.

World Trade Center health care advocates are seeking to extend the $7.3 federal Victims Compensation Fund, which provides monetary payouts to those stricken with a 9/11 illness to help offset living and medical expenses.

The fund is slated to expire in 2020, but so many people have requested help, that the fund is expected to run out money before the deadline. In February, the fund compensated for the expected shortfall by amending its award payouts — new applicants would get less money than those enrolled prior.

Funeral services for Leahy will be held Saturday and Sunday at the Charles J. O’Shea Funeral home in East Meadow. A funeral mass will be held at St. Louis de Montfort Roman Catholic Church in Miller Place at noon on Monday.

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©2019 New York Daily News


Texas LE officials see dip in violent crimes after project launch

Posted on June 10, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By Gabriel Monte AGN Media Amarillo Globe-News, Texas

AMARILLO, Texas — Local, state and federal law enforcement officials launched Friday a Department of Justice initiative aimed at dissipating a violent crime hot spot in Lubbock after seeing encouraging results from the same program in Amarillo.

About an 8.66-square-mile strip in the center of Lubbock was designated a Project Safe Neighborhoods area. Similar to other cities, the project focuses police and legal resources to curb violent crime and improve the relationship between law enforcement and the community.

"What we have found with this program is that when crime lacks a geographic locus, it dissipates," said U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox, the chief federal prosecutor in the Northern District of Texas, during a news conference at the Lubbock police headquarters. "And when a community trusts law enforcement, it thrives.

The DOJ's first Project Safe Neighborhoods city in Texas was Dallas and launched in February 2018. Cox said Dallas Police Department statistics showed a 29% drop in violent crime in the area of focus in the first quarter of this year compared to the same time last year.

Amarillo was added to the initiative six months ago and violent crimes in the targeted area dipped by 5%, Cox said.

Community outreach is also part of the initiative, which includes hosting community events aimed at strengthening the relationship between law enforcement and the community and teaching returning offenders about avoiding re-offending.

"This includes meetings at schools, this includes community events that, normally you'd see local enforcement at these events, we're going to be bringing in a number of our different law enforcement partners as well as the prosecutors there," Cox said. "So the community can get to know who's working on their behalf."

"This line is monitored by federal agents, who will route the tip to the appropriate law enforcement agency," said Cox, who was surrounded at the podium Friday by representatives of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. "And as the saying goes, if you see something, say something. And it's certainly what we want to encourage this community to do."

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©2019 Amarillo Globe-News, Texas


2 LEOs wounded, 1 woman dead after pickup truck plows into crash scene

Posted on June 10, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Chris Quinn San Antonio Express-News

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — A woman is dead and four people injured, including two police officers, when a pickup truck crashed into the scene of a separate traffic accident Sunday morning on the North Side, according to San Antonio police.

Police at the scene say officers from the Castle Hills Police Department were working a traffic accident about 3:30 a.m. on Loop 410 near Honeysuckle Lane when a pickup truck crashed into a police cruiser.

To avoid getting hit, an officer standing in front of that police cruiser jumped over the wall along the highway and fell down onto the frontage road below, police said.

The pickup then crashed into a vehicle that was involved in the original accident. Four people, including a second Castle Hills police officer, were near that vehicle when the pickup plowed into it.

A woman standing near the vehicle that was struck by the pickup was also hit by the pickup and died as a result of her injuries, according to police.

Police say two men and the second officer either jumped over the wall or were struck by the pickup and thrown over the wall and down onto the frontage road.

All four were taken to University Hospital where two men in critical, according to police.

One of the officers remains in the hospital with non-threatening injuries while the other officer was treated and released, officials say.

The driver of the pickup is facing multiple charges and results of the driver's sobriety test are pending, police said.

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©2019 the San Antonio Express-News


Minneapolis police consider new pursuit policy

Posted on June 10, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Libor Jany and Jeff Hargarten Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

MINNEAPOLIS — Minneapolis police are weighing new guidelines that would limit when and how officers can pursue a suspect after a string of high-speed police pursuits that ended in crashes involving injuries and even death.

The debate comes after vehicle pursuits jumped about 25% from 2016 to 2018. Most were over quickly and lacked the headline-grabbing drama of pursuits in which bystanders were struck and killed by someone fleeing arrest. But many more result in property damage.

"In my opinion, there's not a large number of crimes, or types of crimes, that warrant pursuing unless there's some sort of danger to the public," said Assistant Police Chief Mike Kjos, one of the biggest champions of the proposed change.

Following a series of dangerous pursuits last winter, he fired off an angry e-mail ordering officers to avoid pursuing suspects for all but the most serious offenses. Authorities say the number of pursuits has slowed in the first half of 2019 in the wake of Kjos' order, issued while he was acting inspector on the North Side.

A police pursuit two years ago totaled Roxxanne O'Brien's car. Police were pursuing a drug suspect, who crashed into a line of parked cars, including hers, on N. Emerson Avenue.

An officer at the scene asked if she was glad that police made a quick arrest. But in that moment, O'Brien said, she was less concerned about whether police got their man than she was about her 2013 Mitsubishi Gallant.

"I'm shocked that he doesn't see how I couldn't see the positive in that moment," she said.

In a recent interview, Kjos said officers must balance the risks before beginning a pursuit. Officers, he said, can develop tunnel vision during a pursuit, failing to check for other vehicles and pedestrians, because it's "in their DNA" to catch and lock up criminals.

"Which then makes it difficult to tell yourself, 'I need to stop right now,'?" he said.

PURSUITs increase

Officers in Minneapolis were pursuing more suspects than in years past, with the number rising from 128 in 2016 to 160 last year. Nearly half the pursuits started with a traffic stop, according to a Star Tribune analysis of 465 pursuits from the past three years; another third were for stolen cars. Only 11% of pursuits during that span began because of a felony-level offense.

Kjos remembers a case earlier in his career when a supervisor overruled his decision to call off a pursuit of an apparently suicidal woman. It ended in the death of a pedestrian — a memory that has always stuck with him, Kjos says.

Without going into specifics, he said the department's new policy will clarify under what circumstances officers can initiate a pursuit, leaving less up to interpretation.

About 28% of pursuits ended in a crash, a figure that rises to 37% in cases involving auto theft — possibly, experts say, because car thieves may drive more brazenly in a vehicle that isn't theirs.

Deaths are rare, and injuries occur less than 10% of the time. But they do happen.

Last summer, a man fleeing state troopers crashed into a north Minneapolis playground, severely injuring three children who were playing on the swings.

In May, a 27-year-old man who sped away from police after a suspected drug deal crashed into a sedan driven by Jose Angel Madrid Salcidio, who later died, authorities say.

Last week, a judge sentenced Dayquan Hodge to more than 32 years in prison for stealing a car last September and leading the State Patrol on a pursuit through south Minneapolis, reaching speeds of up to 105 miles an hour, before broadsiding a pickup truck outside Matt's Bar and killing three people.

When to pursue?

Officers receive emergency driving training at the police academy, and they must complete eight hours of continuing education every five years, said Nate Gove, director of the Minnesota Peace Officer Standards and Training Board, which licenses officers. Even with some departments limiting pursuits, most still allow officers to try to catch suspects who pose immediate threats to the public, he said.

"There have been a number of serious criminals arrested and taken off the streets after a pursuit, people who have robbed or harmed others, and significantly impaired drivers," Gove said.

Changing technology has made it easier to track criminals without putting bystanders or officers at risk, experts say. From license plate readers to a relatively new device called StarChase, which allows police to tag fleeing vehicles with adhesive GPS sensors, authorities can monitor a suspect's movements from a safe distance, they say.

Still, some law enforcement officials worry that limiting pursuits amounts to giving criminals a free pass.

There is little evidence, however, that banning officers from chasing fleeing suspects would enable and embolden criminals, said Esther Seoanes, executive director of PursuitSAFETY, a national nonprofit that advocates for more restrictive pursuit policies.

Under existing Minneapolis policy, officers can pursue a suspect in a homicide, rape or another violent felony. It says they need to continuously weigh the need and desire for apprehension against the risk to safety.

In most cases, the call over whether to end a pursuit is left up to a supervisor, but the pursuing officers do have discretion.

Every pursuit is reviewed for possible policy violations by a department panel; of the 47 internal pursuit-related investigations opened from 2016 to 2018, officers have been disciplined eight times, records show.

Compensation for victims

Soon after the pursuit and crash that left her car totaled, O'Brien got a letter from the city of Minneapolis threatening to auction her car unless she paid the $140 cost of towing it to the impound lot and the $18-a-day storage fees.

O'Brien landed a meeting with City Attorney Susan Segal, who eventually agreed to waive the towing and impound fees, she said.

In a follow up e-mail obtained by the Star Tribune, Segal said city officials were considering creating a compensation fund for people whose homes, cars or property are damaged during a police pursuit. Segal's office declined to comment.

Eventually, the city cut O'Brien a check for roughly $4,000, she said — about $1,000 less than what she spent on Lyft rides to and from work, and other related expenses over the months she was without a car.

She said she couldn't help feeling like she was paying for something that wasn't her fault.

"It was really a lot on me," she said.

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©2019 the Star Tribune (Minneapolis)


Body of Texas police chief found near dike

Posted on June 10, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Nick Powell Houston Chronicle

TEXAS CITY, Texas —The U.S. Coast Guard has now confirmed that the body of Kemah Police Chief Chris Reed has been recovered near the Texas City Dike on Sunday.

More than a dozen local state, and federal agencies spent the weekend scouring land and water after a wave knocked Reed from a large vessel around 4 p.m. Friday about two miles north of the Texas City Dike. The 50-year-old was not wearing a life jacket.

A makeshift command center was set up on the dike, with first responder vehicles from all over the Houston-Galveston region parked near a boat launch. About 40 vessels were involved in the search.

The U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew participated in the search from the air, and the Cutter Tiger Shark patrolled the waters looking for any sign of Reed. Members of the Coast Guard and volunteers from Texas Equusearch operated drones from the shore of the levee to assist in the search.

Additional volunteers combed the shoreline of the dike on all-terrain vehicles looking for Reed. Texas City officials have a waiting list for additional volunteers.

Tim Miller, the founder of Texas Equusearch, said that the water conditions in the bay on Saturday were optimal for a search of this magnitude, calm with few rip currents, and he expected that Reed's body would turn up by the end of the day.

"We anticipate he should be floating here before long," Miller said. "We'll be out here 'til the end."

Government and law enforcement colleagues from across the region issued statements of support for Reed and his family on Saturday.

"Our thoughts are with Chief Reed, his family, friends & colleagues," tweeted Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo. "We lift him and all in prayer."

Reed, an Army veteran who served as Kemah police chief since 2016, launched the boat with his wife in the Clear Lake area, according to police radio traffic. She saw him fall overboard north of the levee.

"Large boat came by and knocked her husband off the boat," a dispatcher said. "She hasn't seen him since."

Reed, who also served as a trustee for Clear Creek ISD, is a graduate of Sam Houston State University and LeTourneau University. He previously worked as the city manager in Nassau Bay and at the League City Police Department as its assistant chief.

"Our prayers are with (Reed's wife) Jana and her family. Chris has and always will be a beacon and light for children. We are at a loss of words and hope that we find him," Clear Creek ISD said in a statement.

#restinpeacechief pic.twitter.com/8bURFnOIys

— Kemah Police Dept. (@KemahPD) June 9, 2019

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©2019 the Houston Chronicle


How a UAS program can benefit SWAT operations

Posted on June 9, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Author: The Office of Justice Programs' National Institute of Justice (NIJ)

The Alameda County (California) Sheriff's Office uses unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to assist with investigations and work with other first responders to enhance public safety, including integration of the technology into all SWAT operations.

This video takes a look at the agency's program and showcases some of its successes using UAS.


‘Person of interest’ taken into custody in Detroit serial killer case

Posted on June 9, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Nelson Oliveira New York Daily News

DETROIT — Police in Detroit detained a person of interest Friday night in connection to the apparent serial killings of three women whose bodies were found naked inside vacant homes across the city.

Deangelo Kenneth Martin, who police described as a 34-year-old homeless man, has not been charged with a crime. He was found at a bus stop just hours after police released his photo and asked for the public’s help in identifying him.

Authorities are trying to determine if he’s the “serial murderer and rapist” behind the deaths of three women over the past three months. The latest victim’s decomposing body was found Wednesday, but police were still working to confirm her identity.

All three women were in their 50s and police believe they were sex workers.

The first woman, 52-year-old Nancy Harrison, was found March 19 and the second, 53-year-old Travesene Ellis, was discovered on May 24. The cause of death for Harrison was initially believed to be a drug overdose, but a medical examiner ruled two months later that she died of blunt force trauma.

Authorities are still investigating how the latest two victims died.

Earlier on Friday, officials announced a massive project to search and board up every vacant home in Detroit by the end of September as authorities fear more victims may be found. Detroit Police Chief James Craig said in a news conference that investigating murders of sex workers is “very challenging” because they are often not reported missing.

“In many cases they are invisible or they’re not connected to families,” he said Friday. “Some are illegal narcotics users... So if they go missing, generally there is no report of a missing person.”

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©2019 New York Daily News


FBI team works to reconstruct Virginia Beach shooting

Posted on June 9, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Associated Press

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — A group of 45 FBI employees is working to reconstruct the shooting at a municipal building in Virginia Beach that left 12 people dead.

The Virginian-Pilot reports the FBI's agents, analysts and other employees are trying to determine exactly what the shooter and four responding police officers did inside the building.

A Virginia Beach city employee killed colleagues and a contractor May 31 before he was gunned down. Police have said one victim was shot in a car and the others were found on three floors.

Martin Culbreth is the special agent in charge of the FBI's office in Norfolk. He says the investigation could last 10 days or more.

Culbreth says many of the team members have investigated other mass shootings, including those in Las Vegas and Parkland, Florida.


Texas police chief missing after being knocked overboard from fishing boat

Posted on June 9, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Nicole Hensley Houston Chronicle

KEMAH, Texas — The Coast Guard and a team of volunteers continue to comb the Galveston Bay for the Kemah Police chief after a wave from a large vessel threw him overboard Friday.

Chris Reed, 50, has been missing since 4 p.m. Friday, when he fell out of his boat without a life jacket, Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Caren Damon said at a news conference late Friday.

About 15 agency vessels and 25 volunteer vessels were searching the water Saturday, as numerous volunteers walk the shoreline. Texas City officials have a waiting list for additional volunteers.

Reed and his wife launched the boat in the Clear Lake area, according to police radio traffic. She saw him fall overboard north of the levee.

"Large boat came by and knocked her husband off the boat," a dispatcher said. "She hasn't seen him since."

Texas City Police Department received the emergency call and about a dozen agencies responded to the bay, including the Coast Guard. Helicopters and a drone team are also involved.

Damon vowed to keep crews on the water searching for Reed through the night and "for as long as we believe he is viable on the surface."

Reed, an Army veteran, has served as Kemah police chief since 2016 and is a trustee for Clear Creek ISD, where his wife is a teacher. He has three children.

Texas City Police Chief Joe Stanton called Reed "a great cop."

"He was a big part of Kemah and everything they were accomplishing and doing over there," Stanton said at a news conference near the levee. "He's one of ours and we're out there and we're going to find him."

The search prompted an outpouring of social media messages, including several tributes from members of Houston's wrestling community. Reed founded the Houston Area Wrestling Foundation for at-risk youth.

"I pray that somehow, the toughness he got from wrestling, military, and law enforcement, and fighting helps him survive long enough for authorities to find him today as he was knocked off a boat with a nasty undertow," wrote Mike Moor, wrestling director of W4R Training Center in Tomball.

Reed, a graduate of Sam Houston State University and LeTourneau University, previously worked as the city manager in Nassau Bay and at the League City Police Department as its assistant chief.

"Our prayers are with (Reed's wife) Jana and her family. Chris has and always will be a beacon and light for children. We are at a loss of words and hope that we find him," Clear Creek ISD said in a statement.

Posted by Kemah Police Department on Saturday, June 8, 2019

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©2019 the Houston Chronicle


Detroit police seeking homeless man in serial killer case

Posted on June 8, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

DETROIT — Police concerned that a possible serial killer is on the loose in Detroit began inspecting hundreds of vacant homes Friday for more victims and identified a person of interest, two days after the decomposed body of a third woman was discovered.

Mayor Mike Duggan predicted it would take two weeks to check 1,000 properties on Detroit's east side. Other crews then will board up the houses, a job that could last through July, before they're eventually demolished.

The bodies of three women have been found in separate vacant houses since March, the latest one Wednesday. Only one so far has been ruled a homicide. But Duggan said there's a "strong possibility" that one person is responsible for the deaths.

Police Chief James Craig believes the women could have been lured into blighted houses, raped and killed. He suspects two worked in the sex trade.

"It appears we may have a serial killer," Craig said.

Craig said investigators are seeking a person of interest in the case: a man in his mid-30s who's known to be homeless and who frequents the east side. Police released two photos of the man in an effort to generate tips from the public. Craig did not say why the man was considered a person of interest.

He said the third victim was a 55-year-old woman whose name he declined to release because her family had not yet been notified. The other women have been identified as Nancy Harrison, 52, and Trevesene Ellis, 53.

"We have been getting regular leads, tips" about the deaths this week, Craig said. "We're following up on each and every one. ... We're going to find this violent predatory criminal."

Abandoned houses have marred Detroit for years. The city has demolished about 18,000 properties since 2014 and has another 18,000 houses to go, Duggan said.

"Getting these houses down is absolutely critical," the mayor said.


Bodycam footage shows Calif. LEOs fatally shoot man with knife

Posted on June 8, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Pauline Repard The San Diego Union-Tribune

SAN DIEGO — Three sheriff’s officials were legally justified in fatally shooting an Alpine man who burst out his front door and lunged at them with a butcher knife last fall, District Attorney Summer Stephan has determined.

The trio “acted reasonably under the circumstances” and will face no criminal charges, Stephan wrote in a May 21 letter to Sheriff Bill Gore that was released Wednesday.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Chris Katra, Cpl. Sean McGillicuddy and Deputy Kevin Nulton fired a total of 14 rounds that killed Daniel Ayala, 31, at a second-floor apartment on Alpine Boulevard on Nov. 12.

In the letter, Stephan outlines that shortly before 3 p.m., several people called 911 to report that a man who sounded drunk was screaming, throwing things and threatening to kill people, with a 5-year-old boy — Ayala’s son — in the apartment with him.

Body-worn camera footage from Nulton and Katra, released by the district attorney along with the letter, shows the deputies consulting at the foot of a wooden stairway. They walk up to a narrow landing on the second floor and Nulton knocks a few times on an apartment’s metal security screen door. Katra stands to the right of the door and McGillicuddy to the left.

Nulton announces, “Sheriff’s Department,” several times, then adds, “nobody’s in trouble, we just want to talk with you real quick.”

Seconds later, Nulton’s camera footage shows the blade of a large knife plunge all the way through the metal mesh screen, near where Nulton was standing. He warns, “knife, knife, knife,” as he backs away and Katra moves across to the other side of the door. The footage shows Nulton’s pistol in both hands and, when the sergeant is out of his way, he opens fire as Ayala lunges out of the doorway.

Katra’s camera video shows Ayala coming out, crouching forward with a large knife thrust forward in his right hand. He falls as bullets hit him. Nulton fired six rounds; Katra and McGillicuddy each fired four.

The child inside the apartment was not injured.

Katra told investigators he fired his gun because he had no time to get out of the way and he was afraid Ayala would stab him. He estimated that he was four or five feet from Ayala when he fired.

Stephan’s letter noted that six rounds hit Ayala’s torso and four hit his legs. Two others hit the floor and railing. Another was found in the parking lot and a fourth pierced the walkway floor and the window of an apartment directly below.

Toxicology results showed Ayala had evidence of methamphetamine, heroin, cannabis and alcohol in his system, Stephan said.

“With the extremely limited time to assess the threat Ayala presented, and with minimal physical space available to escape harm’s way, the deputies were compelled by Ayala to use deadly force in order to safeguard their own lives,” Stephan wrote.

At the time, Katra had been with the Sheriff’s Department for 18 years, McGillicuddy for 12 years and Nulton for 10 years.

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©2019 The San Diego Union-Tribune


K-9 critical care course kicks off in Conn.

Posted on June 8, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By PoliceOne Staff

HARTFORD, Conn. — Officers and their K-9s were among the first to partake in a special training in May.

According to FOX 61, ten officers and their four legged partners began a course that helps teach handlers lifesaving tactics for their partners.

Using a simulated canine named “Axel,” the handlers were taught how to administer emergency care.

“The object is to provide canine handlers and canine handlers to be life saving measures for their dogs, to provide immediate medicine for them,” Connecticut State Trooper Phil Soucy said.


Philadelphia LEO found dead at desk

Posted on June 7, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By Mensah M. Dean The Philadelphia Inquirer

PHILADELPHIA — A Philadelphia sheriff’s deputy who was a leader in the city’s gay community, and who a state legislator said “lifted up every room he ever stepped foot in,” was found dead at his desk in his Center City office Friday morning.

Deputy Sheriff Dante Austin, 27, was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the office headquarters at 100 South Broad St., Sheriff Jewell Williams said.

Police and medics raced to the building at 6:45 a.m. Friday, police said. Williams confirmed Austin’s death shortly after noon.

Austin, a U.S. Army veteran who was working in the Civil Enforcement Unit, was scheduled to be promoted to sergeant in the Sheriff’s Office on July 1, Williams said.

“This is a tragedy for the Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Austin’s family, and the local LGBTQ community,” Williams said. “Dante was a person who believed in and cared about everybody. He had the highest score on the Deputy Sheriff’s exam when he was hired in November 2013. He was our first openly gay deputy sheriff and we promoted him to become our first LGBTQ community liaison in May 2017.”

The sheriff said the office closed at noon out of respect for Austin, and was coordinating with the Managing Director’s Office to provide grief counseling for employees.

In addition, the Mayor’s Commission on LGBT Affairs said in a statement that the rainbow flag at City Hall would be lowered to half-staff in Austin’s memory.

“Dante worked tirelessly, always, to lift up the most marginalized among us, to secure safety and protection for the most vulnerable, and to serve his community with unparalleled dedication and a warmth and generosity that moved so many of us,” the commission said.

“Dante’s legacy is one of boldness, bravery, compassion, and an unfailing commitment to a kinder and more just world for all. As we move forward in mourning and honoring our friend and colleague, may we cherish and celebrate the ways he changed us, improved our city, and protected and saved lives.”

Last June, Austin and his partner, Robert “Tito” Valdez, an assistant city solicitor, were chosen as the first Grand Marshal Couple in the Philly Pride Parade. Austin also was a board member of the Delaware Valley Legacy Fund, (DVLF), a grant provider to LGBTQ nonprofit organizations.

Philadelphia’s LGBTQ community lost one of our best & brightest last night! Dante Austin was one of the strongest & kindest champions for equality I’ve ever met. He lifted up everyone he touched. He supported everyone who needed him. He cared deeply & loved loudly. pic.twitter.com/DKfzbQ86pw

— Brian Sims (@BrianSimsPA) June 7, 2019

According to the American Public Health Association, gay and bisexual men attempt suicide at four times the rate of straight men — a reality lamented by Reginald T. Shuford, executive director of the ACLU Pennsylvania in an interview Friday.

“Dante’s passing is a sad reminder that LGBTQ people have higher rates of suicide attempts and suicide ideation,” said Shuford, who knew Austin. “It’s a symptom of a society that, while improving, mistreats members of the LGBTQ community in unfair and dehumanizing ways. It’s imperative that we care for ourselves and for each other.”

Others who knew Austin were quick to praise him Friday.

State Rep. Brian Sims (D., Phila.), the first openly gay person elected to the state legislature, said in an interview Friday that people should not dwell on how Austin died but instead should remember him for all he contributed to the city, especially the LGBT community.

“Dante is an advocate that worked with virtually every LGBT organization and LBGT activist that I know in the city,” said Sims, himself a gay activist. “He’s pushed for better training in the Sheriff’s Office and was a champion of LGBT equality. He was one of those people who lifted up every room he ever stepped foot in. This is one of those losses that’s going to be felt for a very long time.”

Nate Osburn, DVLF board secretary — who said Austin seemed upbeat when he saw him Thursday night — called him “just a wonderful human being and was passionate about building bridges in the community. There was a warmth about him and you felt that warmth whenever you were around him.”

Joe Blake, who retired as the Sheriff’s Office’s communications chief in 2017, said Austin was “just an all-around nice guy, very active in his community, and very active in veteran affairs. He was just everywhere, just committed to the community at every level.”

Each year as Christmas neared, Blake said, Austin was always one of the first Sheriff’s Office employees to volunteer to pass out toys and other gifts to children. “He would say, ‘Where do you need me and what time do you need me?’ That was his spirit. He was one of the most popular guys there.”

“Dante was a big-hearted, community-oriented, dedicated leader who was a pioneer in bringing LGBT sensitivity to the Sheriff’s Office,” said Chris Bartlett, executive director of the William Way LGBT Community Center, 1315 Spruce St., which planned a gathering in Austin’s memory at 3 p.m. Friday.

“He’s part of a generation of young LGBT leaders of color who are taking the reins from my generation,” Bartlett said. “He’s an irreplaceable loss. We’ll aim to have a Pride Weekend that is worthy of his legacy, but it will be difficult.” The city’s annual Pride Parade will be held Sunday.

As the Sheriff Office’s LGBT liaison, Austin took a leadership role in developing training to educate officers on LGBT issues, as well as developing policies and procedures to better serve the LGBT community. He was the first openly gay officer to hold such a post in Pennsylvania.

Before joining the Sheriff’s Office, he served in the Military Intelligence Corps of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Rosemont College and was pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree at West Chester University.

©2019 The Philadelphia Inquirer


How technology can enhance crime scene investigation techniques for narcotics

Posted on June 7, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Sponsored by Smiths Detection

By James Careless for PoliceOne BrandFocus

It’s an increasingly common arrest scenario. A suspect is busted with a clear plastic bag (or bags) of unknown powder or pills in their possession, and the arresting officer needs to identify the contents during the arrest to see if charges are warranted.

The problem is that one white powder looks pretty much like another. Meanwhile, opening the bag for a closer inspection could expose the officer to toxic chemicals.

“In Arizona, officers have gotten sick because of exposure to unknown drugs,” said Joshua Lee, a detective in with the Mesa PD and an instructor with Grand Canyon University’s criminal justice program. “The rule of thumb is this: When you can’t immediately identify the drug, don’t open the bag.”

The good news: Thanks to advances in technology, officers now have access to a suite of chemical identifier devices specifically designed for field use. These portable devices can tell officers what they are dealing with and do so with a degree of accuracy and documentation that will stand up in court. This enhances the officer’s ability to investigate a crime efficiently, while keeping their health and safety in mind.

Using light to identify chemical signatures

Some chemical identifiers rely on Raman spectroscopy to identify an unknown substance. In plain language, this means shooting a laser at a substance, even while it is inside most clear or semi-transparent glass or plastic containers. The laser will cause the substance to emit a unique energy signature, much like a chemical fingerprint, which is measured by the chemical identifier.

These measurements are compared against an onboard database within the device. This allows the substance to be identified, with the answer displayed on the chemical identifier’s screen. Depending on the database loaded, a Raman spectrometer can identify drugs, explosives or other dangerous chemicals without the container ever being opened.

“These devices are proving to be very beneficial out in the field, because we’re starting to see a lot of fentanyl, and you don’t want to open those bags,” said Lee. “They are also able to identify pills.”

The best part: These chemical identifiers do their work with proven, documented degrees of accuracy, which typically eliminates the need for expensive, time-consuming laboratory tests after the fact. The data they provide is legally sound, helping officers make better arrest decisions in the field that more accurately separate the guilty from the innocent.

Identifying substances in the field

Smiths Detection offers a range of devices that allow officers to accurately identify unknown substances on scene while helping reduce their potential exposure, increasing safety.

The company’s ACE-ID handheld chemical detector is one such device. ACE-ID uses Raman spectroscopy to conduct non-contact analysis of unknown substances through translucent and semi-translucent containers, such as plastic and glass. It is useful for quickly identifying drugs and explosives on the scene.

The device uses Orbital Raster Scan technology to diffuse its Raman laser energy to reduce the risk of burning drug samples, heating/igniting explosives and detonating energetic materials. But even with this safety feature, ACE-ID can identify solids (pills), powders, gels and liquids in seconds. (Wearing gloves is still recommended for the safe handling of sample containers.)

ACE-ID is designed for easy one-handed operation, with onscreen instructions that allow for minimal training. It is certified to MIL-STD-810G standards for use in harsh conditions and high temperatures.

“ACE-ID is well-suited for use by officers who need to identify unknown substances safely during arrests,” said Chris Weber, Ph.D., a technical solutions engineer with Smiths Detection. “They can do this without ever opening the container.”

A suite of tools

ACE-ID is part of a family of detection tools made by Smiths Detection that also includes:

Target-ID, a portable infrared analyzer that can identify drugs and narcotics in the form of powders, liquids, gels, pastes and solids, with an onboard database, which can be updated to include emerging designer drugs and local variants. IONSCAN 600, a portable trace detector that can test for the presence of unseen substances, including narcotics and explosives.

Basically, these three devices work as a supportive suite of tools for arresting officers. The IONSCAN 600 can analyze swabbed samples off door handles and other surfaces to see if there’s a hint of illegal substances. The ACE-ID can then give officers a general sense (down to 10% of a total sample content mixture) of what a substance is, even when inside a semi-translucent container. Then the Target-ID can confirm for the officers what these substances are with lab-quality precision.

As the opioid epidemic continues, officers are encountering potentially dangerous drugs like fentanyl on a regular basis. Target-ID, ACE-ID and IONSCAN all include updated narcotic libraries that can match results with numerous variations of fentanyl, which can pose a significant risk to officers. While these tools can improve investigations by protecting officers and expediting field-based narcotics identification, it’s important to note that officers should always follow their agency procedures and protocols for handling unknown substances.

With the ability to quickly and safely determine the nature and concentration of substances found at the scene of an arrest, tools like the Target-ID, ACE-ID and IONSCAN 600 can substantially enhance the investigative effectiveness of officers in the field by producing scientific evidence, which should lead to more effective prosecution.

About the Author

James Careless is a freelance writer with extensive experience covering law enforcement topics.


How a classic police training text was re-vamped and re-published

Posted on June 7, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Policing Matters Podcast
Author: Policing Matters Podcast

Download this week's episode on iTunes, SoundCloud or via RSS feed

During the annual conference of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA) in St. Louis, Policing Matters podcast co-host Doug Wyllie roamed the hallways and ran into countless law enforcement trainers and experts, some of whom were willing to sit down and talk about what they're teaching and what they're learning.

In this podcast segment, Doug sits down with PoliceOne Columnist Dan Marcou to discuss his latest book, the second edition of the classic law enforcement training manual Street Survival, originally authored by Chuck Remsberg.

LEARN MORE

Book Review: Street Survival II

Street survival: Develop your stealth approach

Street Survival: The survival triangle

"Street Survival II" offers survival strategies for all LEOs

30 years of the Street Survival Seminar


Texas LEO fatally struck while running radar on highway

Posted on June 7, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By PoliceOne Staff

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas — An officer has died following a crash Friday morning.

According to NBC 5, the incident occurred while the officer was outside of his vehicle running radar on a highway.

The officer was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

“We are deeply saddened about losing one of our own,” the department tweeted. “Our hearts are heavy. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we grieve this unbelievable loss.”

We are deeply saddened about losing one of our own. Our hearts are heavy. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we grieve this unbelievable loss. https://t.co/BjCVdSVif4

— Grand Prairie Police (@GrandPrairiePD) June 7, 2019

Texas LEO fatally struck while running radar on highway

Posted on June 7, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Author: Policing Matters Podcast

Jack Howland, James Hartley, and Domingo Ramirez Jr. Fort Worth Star-Telegram

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas — A Grand Prairie, Texas police officer who was standing outside of his vehicle running radar was hit and killed by a car Friday morning, according to police.

Grand Prairie Officer Albert “A.J.” Castaneda, 38, died shortly before 11 a.m. at an Arlington hospital.

Castaneda was standing near his vehicle on the inside shoulder of President George Bush Turnpike when the driver of a Nissan 300ZX lost control of the car and hit the Grand Prairie Police Department Tahoe, police said. The officer was thrown from the elevated highway to the ground below, police said.

Troopers with the Texas Department of Public Safety are investigating the accident, and no charges have been filed against the driver at this time, Grand Prairie police said.

The driver of the Nissan was not injured, and no one else was in the car.

Grand Prairie Police Chief Steve Dye tweeted at 2:25 p.m. about Castaneda’s death. “It is with deep sadness that I announce we have lost one of our @GrandPrairiePD Officers this morning. Our department is hurting... our community is hurting... our city is hurting. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we move forward,” he said in the tweet.

At a news conference Friday afternoon, Dye noted that Castaneda had volunteered to work Friday on his day off.

The accident occurred around 10:30 a.m. on Friday on PGBT near Dickey Road, police said. The officer was taken to Medical City Arlington hospital.

“We are deeply saddened about losing one of our own,” the Grand Prairie Police Department tweeted. “Our hearts are heavy. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we grieve this unbelievable loss.”

This is the first death of an on-duty officer in Grand Prairie since 2004, according to the department.

We are mourning the loss of Ofc. Castaneda who died while serving the community he grew up in. He was a loving and devoted father, a friend, a trusted colleague and an outstanding officer whose passion was providing service to the public. EOW June 7, 2019 pic.twitter.com/benjS6gZxw

— Grand Prairie Police (@GrandPrairiePD) June 7, 2019

Castaneda was a five-year veteran of the Grand Prairie police force who was assigned to the patrol division’s field operations bureau.

He was featured by local news agencies in September when he saved a child who was choking at the Mid-Autumn Festival at Asia Times Square.

“He grew up in this community,” Dye said. “Every Thursday he bought pizza and took it to the children in the neighborhood he grew up in.”

He worked for six years with the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office and served as a member of the United States Coast Guard from 2000 to 2008.

He was a father of two children.

He was “a friend, a trusted colleague, and an outstanding officer whose passion was providing service to the public,” according to a news release from Grand Prairie police.

The northbound lanes of PGBT near Dickey Road were closed after the accident and reopened shortly before 5 p.m., according to DPS.

Traffic was being directed to a service road.

An off-duty Arlington officer saw the accident and stopped to call it in, police said.

Arlington police were assisting Grand Prairie police at the hospital, according to Arlington officer Christopher Cook, a police spokesman.

———

©2019 the Fort Worth Star-Telegram


Man’s attempt to attack Times Square thwarted by undercover agent

Posted on June 7, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

NEW YORK — A New York City man plotted to use guns, grenades and suicide vests to bring bloodshed to Times Square, federal prosecutors said Friday.

Ashiqul Alam was arrested Thursday after arranging through an undercover agent to buy a pair of pistols whose serial numbers had been obliterated, prosecutors said. Alam also discussed buying a silencer, ammunition and hand grenades, which he said could each "take out at least eight people," prosecutors said.

Alam, 22, of Queens, was expected to be arraigned Friday on weapons-related offenses, but court documents filed in connection with the case describe months of plotting for a terrorist attack aimed at killing civilians and law enforcement officers in Times Square.

Alam started speaking with the undercover agent about his plans last August and went with him on a reconnaissance trip to the bustling Manhattan tourist district in January, the documents said.

Alam "repeatedly expressed interest in purchasing firearms and explosives for a terrorist attack in the New York City area" and spoke about terrorist organizations including ISIS during conversations with the undercover agent, the court documents said.

Alam used his cellphone to take video of Times Square and "explained to the undercover that he was looking for potential targets," according to the documents.

Alam's lawyer, James Darrow, declined comment.

Times Square, which is in the heart of the Broadway theater district and is packed with tourists day and night, has been a target of attacks before.

In 2010, Faisal Shahzad, a U.S. citizen who had gotten explosives training in Pakistan, tried but failed to detonate a car bomb there. He was sentenced to life in prison.

In 2017, a Bangladeshi immigrant, Akayed Ullah, detonated a bomb in an underground pedestrian concourse linking the Times Square subway station to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Only Ullah was seriously hurt, though bystanders were injured by shrapnel.

That same year, a man who told police he was high on drugs and hearing voices drove his car into the square's crowds, killing a teenager and injuring around 20 people.

Police always have a heavy presence in Times Square and its sidewalks and plazas are partially protected with steel posts intended to stop speeding vehicles.


Deepfakes, forensic science and police investigations

Posted on June 7, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Author: Society of Police Futurists International

By Joseph Schafer, Past President, Society of Police Futurists International

USA Today recently ran a piece on the emergence of “deepfakes.”

Deepfakes is a term applied to the ability to manipulate video to modify words and possible actions. In other words, to take something that is ostensibly real and modify it in such a way that the video conveys something entirely different.

The implications for policing, while they might seem distant and rare, are profound, particularly when coupled with social media and a 280-character news cycle based on short attention spans and limited critical evaluation of sources.

The technology is being advanced, in part, by entertainment media. Video of an actor might be modified in post-production to correct an error or insert a better joke. An actor who has died can still complete their appearance in a film or TV show (although there might be legal, contractual and financial implications).

Consider this technology in the hands of a foreign nation, however. Just days before an election, video might be released that seems to show a candidate making a particular statement. The capacity to interfere with free elections is profound and the risk in upcoming election cycles is astonishingly real. What was a pipe-dream in 2016 increasingly appears to be a reality for 2020.

In time, the risks here will not be limited to entertainment media or nations leveraging influence campaigns against each other. Imagine controversial police use of force event captured by a bystander’s mobile phone. In the near future, it might be possible to manipulate that video to make it appear the officer made biased, vulgar, or profane statements. In time, it might be possible to manipulate the video even more, to edit out citizen resistance or elevate the apparent force used by an officer.

In all of these examples, is anyone calling for the development of forensic expertise to analyze video and determine manipulation has taken place? Do crime labs and investigative agencies employ personnel with the requisite skill set for such analysis? How long will it take to develop credentialing standards for such forensic examiners? Will society care, or label reports that video has been altered “fake news,” continuing to believe that what they saw in a video with their own eyes represents reality?

Questions abound, but answers and solutions (for now) appear elusive. As future-thinking police leaders, are we doing enough to call for attention and action on this issue before matters escalate beyond mitigation?


Photo of the Week: NBA Finals

Posted on June 7, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

PoliceOne Members
Author: PoliceOne Members

This week's photo comes from Constable Chris Ford of the Peel Regional Police, Airport Division in Mississauga, Ontario. Pictured is a cruiser from our Canadian brothers in blue supporting the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 NBA Finals. Thank you for your service!

Calling all police photographers! PoliceOne needs pictures of you in action or training. Submit a photo — it could be selected as our Photo of the Week! Be sure to include your name, department information and address (including city, state and ZIP code) where we can reach you — Photo of the Week winners have a chance to win a PoliceOne.com T-shirt!


The greatest loss: Police suicides

Posted on June 7, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Richard Fairburn
Author: Richard Fairburn

Every year in the United States we lose more than 100 officers in the line of duty due to felonious attacks, traffic accidents and other causes. Though the numbers are more difficult to accurately pin down, a similar number of officers die each year by their own hand. Having seen firsthand the horrible effects of both types of deaths, I believe suicides cause more damage to the surviving officers and departments. We can more easily understand an officer dying as a sheepdog, protecting their flock. Suicides are more difficult to understand and almost impossible to shake off as friends and co-workers can become crushed with guilt about what they might have or should have done to help save that officer’s life.

As I write this article, we are learning about two NYPD officers who died by suicide a day apart this week. Deputy Chief Steven Silks was a month away from mandatory retirement after serving for nearly 39 years, while Detective Joe Calabrese had served the NYPD since 1982. The accomplishments of both officers in the department were impressive, but we can never see into the soul of another and comprehend the darkness that can overwhelm the light. I am certain many of their friends and co-workers are overwhelmed by grief and the feeling they should have seen this coming. This is why I consider police suicides the greatest loss of all, as all too often more than one officer “dies.”

Steps leaders can take to prevent officer suicide

In every leadership school I have ever taught, we dedicate at least one hour of discussion to critical incident stress. Effective leaders MUST understand the effect stress will have on the performance of their officers during a major incident and the lasting damage they must deal with for years to come. Indeed, a commander’s effectiveness as a leader during the incident can lessen (or greatly increase) the stress officers experience.

We always build in a long break after the critical incident stress segment of a class because we have learned that someone in the class – and sometimes more than one person – will seek out an instructor during the break and relate a horror story from their experience. Sometimes the stress lecture will affect an officer so deeply an immediate intervention becomes necessary.

The most heartbreaking stories I have heard revolve around the suicide of an officer in their agency. I have seen more than one tough cop wipe away tears as they make an almost predictable statement, “One of our officers died by suicide and I knew it was going to happen, but I didn’t have the courage to do anything to stop it.” These are officers who work the most dangerous neighborhoods and go on SWAT missions almost daily, yet are afraid to confront a deeply depressed friend to try to get them to seek help. Even if they did try to help their desperate friend, taking the next step – going to a supervisor with the information – was unthinkable.

We are told throughout our careers that the cops who have interests outside of work are often the healthiest, mentally. Being passionate about a hobby, church or volunteer activity like mentoring an Explorer Post or coaching little league can help you avoid the depression of what police officers do and see every day on the street. Those same things can give you something to look forward to when it comes time to pull the pin and retire.

Supervisors should be especially alert for warning signs of possible suicide in their team that include a change in behavior, attitude or performance. Unfortunately, good police officers are experts at hiding their emotions, so only a partner or very close co-worker may see the warning signs.

Saving a life is more important than saving a friendship

At one point in my career, after I had heard several terrible suicide stories, my supervisor and good friend’s life went into the toilet after a string of powerful stressors. After one funeral he said, “The preacher talked about going to see Jesus, and I thought maybe that’s what I need to do.” After hearing a couple of similar statements, I did the normal “guy” thing and told him to knock off such talk or I would kick his ass. We both laughed it off, but his funk seemed to deepen every day. So, I did the unthinkable and told his boss my fears.

The department forced him to an intervention and handled things quite well, I thought. But he felt I had stabbed him in the back. He transferred to another job and our friendship was clearly over. Not being privy to the follow-up counseling he received, I was left wondering if I had overreacted. Had I done the right thing?

A couple of years before I retired from that agency my friend showed up one day at my office door and said, “I need to apologize to you.” I told him I was probably the one who needed to apologize, but he stopped me and said, “No, I was closer to suicide than I realized. I’m sorry I put you in a position where you had to make such a tough decision. You did the right thing.”

My reply: “I did it because I truly thought your life was in danger and I hoped my actions would help keep you alive. But I also did it for me. I didn’t want to be another of those guys who would spend the rest of my life saying, ‘One of our officers committed suicide and I knew it was going to happen, but I didn’t have the courage to do anything to stop it.’”

It will be the most difficult thing you will ever do, but if you suspect a fellow officer is contemplating suicide, you must report your observations. Choose to have a former friend who is alive and well. Because if you do nothing and that officer dies by suicide, a part of you will die with them.

I encourage you to share this message with every cop you know, both active and retired. If you are struggling with your own mental health, there are suicide prevention resources available specifically for first responders. You are not alone.


Is it time to scrub Facebook?

Posted on June 7, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D.
Author: Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D.

Living in conformity with department regulations, political pressure, society’s expectations, media bias and critics’ scrutiny leaves little room for error in a police officer’s conduct. Police officers routinely deal with the release of personal information, the recording of every call for service, judicial reviews, internal investigations, civilian review boards, and now, the scanning of their social media posts.

What is left of an officer’s private life, their ability to have an opinion and the exercise of their First Amendment rights? Those questions are great fodder for philosophical conversation, but they are also great fodder for bad publicity and bad results in court.

Officers’ Facebook posts under scrutiny

A website that monitors law enforcement officers’ Facebook posts is prompting investigations in many police agencies probing whether their officers are promoting discriminatory ideology that can be perceived as affecting their enforcement practices.

The Dallas News reports that the Dallas Police Department is investigating posts from current and former officers that “include some that equate Muslims with terrorists, make light of claims of police brutality and support killing refugees and criminals. Other posts identify with right-wing militia groups and employ racist stereotypes.” Police agencies in several other states are also investigating their officers’ social media feeds.

Police officers have diverse opinions just like other segments of the culture, with a subset of officers who are outspoken with their political views and unfiltered humor. A look at the posts that the website identify as offensive can appear to be funny, innocuous, or even reflect situations officers face daily.

For the officer’s agency, digging out from under the suspicion of employing officers who hold racist or extremist views that could affect their enforcement behavior can bruise years of trust building. Many police agencies have policies that guide officer conduct on personal internet sites, but no policy can cover every poor decision or predict every reaction of offended parties.

For the individual officer, a single Facebook post or series of posts can spell disaster. Imagine a half dozen posts over a three-year period by an officer with a disdain for Muslims. One post uses discriminatory terminology when referring to adherents of Islam, another shows a photo of the World Trade Center with commentary advocating banning immigration, and there are several “likes” of posts that imply a conspiracy to institute Sharia law. Now our hypothetical officer arrests a person of Middle Eastern descent who resists and must be subdued using force. It doesn’t take much imagination to expect a defense attorney to bring those posts to the table for a plea bargain, or the arrestee’s plaintiff’s attorney being sure that a jury in a civil suit paints a picture of bias.

It might be time for officers to consider scrubbing their Facebook history, and Facebook has recently made that possible.

Deleting Facebook posts

Data breaches of Facebook users’ retained marketing information generated consumer outrage and changes in Facebook’s privacy settings. Users, including cops who want to avoid the hassle of professional Facebook stalkers, can now fully delete past posts with a promise from Facebook that that information isn’t stored somewhere waiting for a subpoena.

Under “settings” there is a small Facebook icon next to “Your Facebook Information” that creates a menu that includes “Access Your Information” leading to another menu that can navigate through past posts and permanently delete those the user doesn’t want discovered.

With the multitude of other social media platforms, users might need to search the internet to purchase software for deleting past posts. Whether those products can save the user from posts, tweets, memes, or shares on others’ accounts varies among products.

Don’t provide fuel for the fire

A carefully curated social media presence is crucial for anyone in law enforcement who wants to keep their platforms and keep their job, not to mention compete for promotion or survive a lawsuit. No one can expect an attorney to overlook the opportunity to paint an officer in the worst possible light to benefit a client. Saying “I didn’t really mean it that way,” or “It was just a joke,” or “That doesn’t affect the way I do my job,” or even an apology for misjudgment will not constitute a defense or explanation that will undo the damage.

Police officers can claim freedom of speech, but no one can claim freedom from consequences.


Former Minneapolis officer who shot 911 caller sentenced to 12½ years in prison

Posted on June 7, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Author: Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D.

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — A Minneapolis police officer convicted of murder was sentenced Friday to 12½ years in prison for the shooting of an unarmed woman who had called 911, and he apologized in court for "taking the life of a perfect person."

Mohamed Noor was convicted in April of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the July 2017 death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, a 40-year-old dual citizen of the U.S. and Australia. Noor shot Damond when she approached his squad car in the alley behind her home.

Noor's lawyers had argued for a light sentence, saying sending him to prison would only compound the tragedy, and that incarceration won't let him do service to make amends for killing Damond.

But Judge Kathryn Quaintance sentenced the 33-year-old to a sentence identical to the recommendation under state guidelines.

An emotional Noor, his voice breaking as he spoke about the shooting for the first time, said he can't apologize enough.

"I have lived with this and I will continue to live with this," Noor said. "I caused this tragedy and it is my burden. I wish though that I could relieve that burden others feel from the loss that I caused. I cannot, and that is a troubling reality for me."

Noor said from the moment he pulled the trigger he felt fear and when he saw her body on the ground he was horrified.

"Seeing her there, I knew in an instant I was wrong," Noor said. "The depth of my error has only increased from that moment on. Working to save her life and watching her slip away is a feeling I can't explain. ... It leaves me sad, it leaves me numb, and feeling incredibly lonely. But none of that, none of those words capture what it truly feels like."

Noor's attorneys argued in a court filing ahead of Friday's sentencing that nobody would benefit from a long sentence, and that being in prison would keep Noor from making amends for killing Damond by doing good works in the community. They submitted letters of support that they said showed that Noor is a kind and peaceful man who has tried to be a bridge between Somali Americans in Minnesota and the larger community.

Tom Plunkett, Noor's attorney, made the case for a lenient sentence saying the victim can't be forgotten but what's best for the community and Noor must also be considered.

"I have never stood up at sentencing with anyone my entire career that's done more or worked harder to be a good person, to earn the gifts he's been given," Plunkett said. "That's who Mohamed Noor is."

But prosecutor Amy Sweasy called for the 12.5-year sentence recommended under state guidelines.

"The law is not concerned necessarily with what's good for the community," Sweasy said. "The court must give a sentence proportional in severity to the crime committed."

A jury convicted Noor in April of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the July 2017 death of Damond, a 40-year-old dual citizen of the U.S. and Australia who was engaged to be married a month after the shooting. Noor shot Damond when she approached his squad car in the alley behind her home.

Don Damond, Justine's fiance, said in court Friday that every time he sees the alley where she walked barefoot and in her pajamas toward the police car he relives the moment.

"In my mind I beg you to turn around," he said, speaking of a "lost future" of decades filled with "love, family, joy and laughter." He said Justine was his soul mate and he misses her "every day, every moment."

"We both lived with our hearts open, caring for others," an emotional Don Damond said.

Noor testified during his trial that a loud bang on the squad car scared him and his partner, and that he saw a woman at his partner's window raising her arm. He said he fired to protect his partner's life. But prosecutors criticized Noor for shooting without seeing a weapon or Damond's hands, and disputed whether either of them really heard a bang.

Justine's father John Ruszczyk, in a statement read in court, asked for the maximum sentence and called her killing "an obscene act by an agent of the state."

"Justine's death has left me incomplete — it is as if I have lost a limb or a leg," he said in the statement. "I have lost my daughter, I have lost those private conversations over tea."

Noor sat quietly at the defense table with hands clasped, staring straight ahead and showing no emotion as victim impact statements were read.

Damond's death sparked bewilderment and outrage in both the U.S. and her native Australia. The case was also fraught with race. Damond was white, and Noor is Somali American, leading some to question whether the case would have been handled the same if the victim had been black and the officer white. While the city agreed to a $20 million settlement with Damond's family soon after Noor's conviction, it has yet to settle with the family of Jamar Clark, a black man shot by police in 2015, though in that case police said Clark was struggling for an officer's gun.

Plunkett and fellow defense attorney Peter Wold proposed to Judge Kathryn Quaintance that she creatively sentence Noor to turn himself in to a county detention facility for a week every year on the anniversary of Damond's death and on her birthday while he was on probation. They also proposed an annual period of community service.

Under Minnesota's sentencing guidelines, Noor's presumptive sentence for third-degree murder was 12½ years, although the judge had the flexibility to impose a sentence anywhere from about 11 to 15 years without providing justification. Any bigger variation would have required an explanation. The presumptive sentence on the manslaughter count was four years.

Noor had been held since his conviction in the most secure unit at the state's maximum security prison in Oak Park Heights for his own safety, Corrections Department spokeswoman Sarah Fitzgerald said Thursday. He was kept alone in his cell but had the same privileges as other prisoners in the unit and was let out for recreation time, she said.

Noor appeared with his hair grown out, in contrast to his previously shaven head.


Missing NYPD detective found dead of suicide at Brooklyn beach

Posted on June 7, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Author: Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D.

Thomas Tracy , Rocco Parascandola and Graham Rayman New York Daily News

NEW YORK — A massive manhunt for a veteran homicide detective who disappeared Thursday ended in tragedy when he was found dead in a suicide at a Brooklyn beach, multiple law enforcement sources said.

The body of Joe Calabrese, 58, was discovered in bushes in Plumb Beach with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, police sources said. The grim discovery came a day after another NYPD officer, Deputy Chief Steven Silks, died by suicide in his car in a Queens parking lot.

Calabrese, a Brooklyn South homicide squad detective, was a longtime board member and union trustee for the Detectives Endowment Association.

“I am shocked and shattered beyond belief,” Michael Palladino, president of the DEA, said in a statement. “Joseph Calabrese was a dedicated detective, union official, husband and father. He was the salt of the earth.”

Calabrese was last seen between midnight and 2 a.m. at Maimonides Medical Center, according to sources. His wife had just had a minor surgical procedure and he visited her late Wednesday, just before his disappearance, sources said.

His car was found abandoned at Plumb Beach near the Belt Parkway about 3 a.m. Within a few hours, dozens of officers scoured the Sheepshead Bay area with K-9 dogs, boats and helicopters in the search. As many as 100 police vehicles rushed to the scene, tangling traffic on the parkway.

The search continued into the afternoon until Calabrese’s body was found.

Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said Calabrese was a beloved member of the NYPD.

“Today, we lost a pillar of the Detective Bureau. A gentleman who’d lend a hand to anyone in need. A seasoned homicide investigator determined to find justice for the victim and solace for those left behind. Rest easy, Detective Joe Calabrese. You will be missed tremendously,” he said in a statement.

Calabrese joined the NYPD in 1982 and rose to detective first grade, a much-coveted title. He lived in Marine Park close to the area where his car was discovered and has a son in the NYPD, assigned to the 67th Precinct, sources said.

Earlier Thursday, with the NYPD still reeling from Chief Silks’ suicide from a self-inflicted gunshot to the head, Chief of Department Terence Monahan released a video urging officers to get mental health counseling if they felt they needed it.

“As cops you do a great job every day of keeping people safe and helping those in need,” Monahan says in the brief video. “Your health and well being is extremely important to all of us. We all want to make sure you take care of yourself.”

Monahan said the department can provide assistance for cops suffering from stress, depression, relationship issues and other situations.

“Trust me when I say getting some help will not prevent you from having a successful career,” Monahan says. “Actually, getting help will lesson the burden you may be carrying. You are never alone.”

Police Commissioner James O’Neill also took a moment to remember Chief Silks, one of his personal friends — and to remind officers not to suffer in silence.

“I need you to know that help is available, help is here for you,” he said. “What seems unbearable today will be more manageable tomorrow. The first step toward a solution is speaking to someone. To take care of others, first you must take care of yourself.”

Silks was just one month away from his 63rd birthday and mandatory retirement from the department when he died.

———

©2019 New York Daily News


NYPD apologizes for ’69 raid at now-landmark Stonewall gay bar

Posted on June 7, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

NEW YORK — Nearly 50 years after a police raid at the Stonewall Inn catalyzed the modern LGBT rights movement, New York's police commissioner apologized Tuesday for what his department did.

"The actions taken by the NYPD were wrong, plain and simple," Commissioner James O'Neill said during a briefing at police headquarters.

"The actions and the laws were discriminatory and oppressive," he added. "And for that, I apologize."

The apology comes just weeks ahead of the milestone anniversary of the raid and the rebellion it sparked the night of June 27-28, 1969, as patrons and others fought back against officers and a social order that kept gay life in the shadows.

The New York Police Department was facing calls to apologize from organizers of what is expected to be a massive LGBT Pride celebration in the city this year — and from organizers of an alternative Stonewall anniversary march. City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who is gay, had also said the department should apologize.

He tweeted his appreciation for O'Neill's remarks, and Pride organizers cheered them.

"The NYPD, as an institution, needed to take responsibility for what happened at Stonewall. This isn't going to undo the decades of violence and discrimination that our community has experienced at the hands of the police, but it's a good first start," said James Fallarino, a spokesman for NYC Pride.

Police participate in and protect its annual parade, but the lack of a formal apology from the department for the 1969 raid — the very event that gay pride marches commemorate each June — has hung over the collaboration, Fallarino said. He hopes people will see O'Neill's remarks as a sign of "the NYPD's commitment to positive change."

Organizers of the alternative Queer Liberation March, however, see no such thing. They called O'Neill's comments an "empty apology" made under pressure.

"Where has this apology been for the last 50 years?" the group, called the Reclaim Pride Coalition, said in a statement. The coalition, which is excluding police from its march, is seeking a more sweeping apology from the NYPD. The group says transgender and minority LGBT people, among others, still face heavy-handed policing.

At the time of the Stonewall raid, the psychiatric establishment saw homosexuality as a mental disorder, and law enforcement often viewed it as a crime.

LGBT people could be subject to arrest for showing affection, dancing together, even for not wearing a certain number of items deemed gender-appropriate. Bars that served gay people had at times lost their liquor licenses, and others — like the Stonewall — were simply unlicensed. Raids were common.

That night, patrons and passers-by erupted in resistance, shouting at officers, throwing coins, cans and anything at hand, and facing off with a tactical police unit brought in as reinforcements. There were about a dozen arrests and an unknown total number of injuries; police reported at least four officers were hurt. And the protests and clashes continued for several more nights.

It wasn't the first time gay people protested or spontaneously clashed with police. But it proved to be a turning point, unleashing a wave of organizing and activism. A park across from the Stonewall now houses first national monument to gay rights.

The head of the NYPD sergeants' union, Sgt. Ed Mullins, said that he understood why the department apologized. But Mullins said he took O'Neill's statement "as blaming the police officer in the street" for the laws and departmental flaws of the time.

Both Mullins and O'Neill joined the force in the 1980s.

The police inspector who led the raid, Seymour Pine, said in 2004 that he was sorry, according to news accounts of a talk he gave at the time. Pine died in 2010.

NYPD leaders have expressed some regret before about the events at the Stonewall, but until Thursday, they stopped short of a formal apology.

Former Commissioner William Bratton in 2016 called it "a terrible experience" but noted that it had also been "a tipping point" for change. He said an apology was unnecessary: "The apology is all that's occurred since then."

When O'Neill was asked the next year about apologizing for Stonewall, he said it had "been addressed already."

On Thursday, he addressed it frankly: "What happened should not have happened," he said.


How do officers feel about their agency’s CAD system? (infographic)

Posted on June 7, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Sponsored by Mark43

Dispatch is a critical component of any emergency response. Almost 400 officers and dispatchers surveyed earlier this year revealed that while most find their agency’s CAD system to be helpful, there is much room for improvement in performance, interoperability and the level of detail provided.

Download the FREE infographic to learn:

What features are most important in a CAD system? How often officers query external databases, such as NCIC? How can current CAD systems be improved? And more!

Fill out the form below to get the infographic:


Ga. LEO fakes traffic stop to pop the question

Posted on June 7, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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J.D. Capelouto The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Do you know why I pulled you over? Can I see your license and registration? Will you marry me?

Those questions don’t usually go together. But DeKalb County Police Department Officer John Heart wanted to give his girlfriend Alexis the surprise of her life when he pulled her and her friend over in Lawrenceville on Tuesday.

Alexis’ friend was driving the car and was in on the plan for Lawrenceville police to pull them over, according to a Facebook post from the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office.

When Alexis got out of the car, she was shocked to see Heart get down on one knee and pop the question.

“We're pleased to announce she said YES and wish the happy couple all the best as they plan their wedding and embark on married life,” the sheriff’s office wrote.

Keeping with the cop theme, they plan to get married on Oct. 4: 10-4.

———

©2019 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)


Ex-SRO in Parkland shooting out of jail on reduced bail

Posted on June 7, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A former Florida deputy charged with 11 criminal counts after failing to confront the gunman in the Parkland school massacre was released from jail Thursday after a judge reduced his bail and lifted some restrictions.

Scot Peterson walked out of the Broward County Jail with his attorneys after Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer set bond at $39,500, down from the initial amount of $102,000. Peterson said nothing before getting into a car that drove him away.

Scherer also eliminated a previous requirement that Peterson wear a GPS monitor. His bond is secured by $330,000 in real estate and he will be allowed to go to his home in North Carolina.

"He's going to be on standard pretrial release," the judge said.

Peterson, 56, is charged with child neglect, culpable negligence and perjury stemming from the February 2018 shooting that left 17 dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. If convicted, he faces a potential maximum prison sentence of nearly 100 years.

While out on bail, Peterson cannot possess a firearm or take any job involving children, Scherer said. Peterson, dressed in beige jail clothes, did not speak during the hearing.

His attorney, Joseph DiRuzzo, said Peterson should not face the neglect and negligence charges because he was not legally a caregiver with direct responsibility for the welfare of the students.

"They are overreaching. These definitions don't apply to my client," DiRuzzo told reporters after the hearing.

Assistant State Attorney Tim Donnelly said case law supports the charges.

"The definition of caregiver is very broad," Donnelly said.

The charges stem from Peterson's decision to remain outside a school building — where he was the assigned resource officer — on Valentine's Day last year when police say defendant Nikolas Cruz, 20, fired 140 rounds from an AR-15 rifle. Cruz faces the death penalty if convicted of the killings. His attorneys have said he would plead guilty in return for a life prison sentence.

DiRuzzo said Peterson was abruptly arrested without warning earlier this week after an internal affairs "name-clearing" hearing at the Broward Sheriff's Office. Sheriff Gregory Tony said Peterson was fired after that hearing, even though he had previously announced his retirement.

"We expect that he will be treated fairly and appropriately on a going-forward basis and we look to defending against these charges," DiRuzzo said.

Scherer is also the presiding judge in the Cruz case, which is expected to go to trial early next year.


Police in uniform now welcome at Calif. pride event

Posted on June 7, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Organizers of a pride parade in California reversed course Thursday and said uniformed police officers will be welcome at this weekend's festivities.

The announcement came after the Sacramento LGBT Community Center and the Sacramento Police Department created a partnership that will include a police liaison for the center and training for all new officers with discussions about implicit bias.

The center previously asked city officers not to participate in uniform to acknowledge what it called "the pain and marginalization of community members who have been harmed by police violence."

The partnership also calls for LGBTQ community forums that include Police Chief Daniel Hahn, LGBTQ officers, center board members and anyone else who is interested.

One goal would be to establish a program at the center for people to report crimes or complaints to police.

Representatives from the police the center first met in late May to discuss the center's ban on uniformed police officers.

"Everyone at the table listened, heard one another, and spoke from the heart, making it apparent everyone had the same desire to do what is best for the community," Hahn said. "We all want to be accepted for who we are and to feel safe and welcome in our own communities."

Police didn't participate in last year's events, which took place a few months after the fatal shooting of 22-year-old Stephon Clark in his grandparents' yard.

LGBT Community Center officials have said allowing officers in civilian clothes to participate this year was a compromise.

"We cannot be surprised when those for whom law enforcement has been historically and disproportionately applied are stricken with fear by the sight of a uniform nor can we be surprised when banning that uniform doesn't bring about the deeper change we seek," said Carlos Marquez, president of the center's board.

Marquez said the partnership "is about healing and propelling us forward."

Pride festivities in Sacramento begin Saturday. The parade is set for Sunday.


Gunman killed after bizarre standoff at burning Calif. home

Posted on June 7, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

SAN GABRIEL, Calif. — A gunman held police at bay for six hours Thursday, set fire to several homes and launched fireworks at surrounding SWAT team members before he charged outside with a shotgun and was shot dead, authorities said.

His name wasn't immediately released but Los Angeles County sheriff's officials described him as a homeless man who made frequent visits to a home where his relatives lived.

Officers were called to a junk-filled property containing several houses over reports that a man had fired gunshots during a family dispute, San Gabriel city spokesman Jonathan Fu said.

When officers arrived the man exchanged gunfire with them. Nobody was hurt. The man then barricaded himself in a home, Fu said.

Police from several local communities and members of a sheriff's SWAT team surrounded the area. Several neighbors were evacuated and nearby Interstate 10 was shut down for hours, jamming traffic for miles.

During the ensuing standoff, the man fired gunshots out of a window and set fire to the home, authorities said. About 30 firefighters were forced to stand by because of the threat from the gunman as smoke and flames poured from the home.

Eventually, SWAT team members trained a hose on the house.

In the meantime, helicopter news video showed the shirtless man leaping out the door of the burning home with a gun in his hand. He later set fire to the porch of a home, hid in the yard, went into a guesthouse and threw fireworks out a window in fountains of sparks, went back out into the yard, hid under a boat, got into a pickup truck and then crouched and went under the truck, crawling out with a cigarette in his mouth and holding two guns.

Authorities at the scene described the man as paranoid, believing people were there to hurt him, and negotiators were unable to reason with him.

The man went back into the guesthouse and was shot when he ran out carrying a shotgun.

Nobody else was injured, authorities said.


The consequences of false statements and deliberate omissions in warrant affidavits

Posted on June 6, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Mike Callahan
Author: Mike Callahan

Carlos Luna, a Boston Police Department (BPD) Detective, obtained a search warrant for a residence based upon his sworn affidavit. Luna’s affidavit claimed he received information from an informant that illegal drug activity was occurring at that residence. Luna and other officers went to the residence to execute the warrant. During a forced entry, shots were fired from inside the residence and an officer was killed.

Albert Lewin was charged with murder of the officer. During legal proceedings that followed, Lewin’s lawyer moved for disclosure of Luna’s confidential informant. The judge granted the motion, but the prosecution was unable to produce the informant. As a result, the trial judge dismissed the Lewin indictment. [1]

Detective Luna submitted a new affidavit in an effort to obtain reinstatement of the charges against Lewin. Luna admitted to making substantial material misstatements in his search warrant affidavit including the facts that he attributed to his informant. The case against Lewin was reinstated by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, but Lewin was later found not guilty of the officer’s murder at trial. Detective Luna was subsequently charged and convicted of perjury and filing false police reports.

Some might suggest that the affidavit perjury of the Luna case was an aberration, a rare and infrequent occurrence. Sadly, the appearance of false statements in sworn affidavits happens too frequently. For example, in a separate matter, two Boston Police Detectives, Walter Robinson and Kenneth Ascerra, entered guilty pleas in federal court in Boston in 1999 and were sentenced to three years in federal prison for their role in a scheme to steal money and property from drug dealers by means of phony search warrants. A fellow detective, testifying before a federal grand jury under a grant of immunity, admitted preparing dishonest search warrants on his own and at the direction of other detectives. He admitted to falsely claiming he conducted surveillance of the targets of search warrants and falsely swore to the existence or reliability of informants. [2]

More recently, on 2/16/19, the New York Times reported that a Houston, Texas, narcotics officer lied in an affidavit for a search warrant about the use of a confidential informant to purchase heroin from a certain location. Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo was quoted in the article and said there were, “material untruths or lies” in the affidavit for a search warrant that led to the raid. When officers breached the door of the target location, a gun battle ensued. During the gunfight four officers were shot and wounded and two occupants of the residence were killed. According to a separate article in Reason.com, two Houston officers involved in the incident have retired and the Houston Chief said the one of them is likely to face criminal charges. The article reported that under Texas law one officer could be charged with aggravated perjury. The article reported that the Harris County District Attorney’s Office is conducting a review of a total of 2200 cases that these officers were previously connected with.

According to a news release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland on 2/12/19, a federal judge sentenced former Baltimore Police Detective Momodu Gondo to 10 years in federal prison. Gondo was a member of the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) Gun Trace Task Force (GTTF). The news release reports that, “According to his plea agreement, Gondo conspired to steal money, property, and narcotics by detaining victims, entering residences, conducting traffic stops, and swearing out false search warrant affidavits.” He also “prepared and submitted false official incident and arrest reports, reports of property seized … and charging documents.” Gondo was one of several former GTTF detectives that have either plead guilty to federal racketeering charges or been found guilty after trial in connection with this matter.

During the federal investigation of wrongdoing by members of the GTTF, BBC News reported that the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office (BCSAO) requested an internal affairs investigation of conduct by Detective Gondo’s GTTF partner, Detective Jemell Rayam. The BCSAO learned that a criminal defense attorney alleged that Detective Rayam made intentional or reckless false statements in a search warrant affidavit. Moreover, a local judge found that Rayam’s testimony was not credible and suppressed evidence gleaned from execution of the warrant. Rayam later plead guilty to racketeering conspiracy in the federal investigation of the GTTF.

In addition to the use of deliberate false statements in sworn affidavits, courts in America have consistently ruled that deliberate, intentional or reckless omissions of material facts from an affidavit by the officer affiant are likewise verboten. [3] A recent, and yet to be resolved, example, of the deliberate omission issue is found in a Memorandum prepared by United States [Congressional] House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (the “Committee”) dated 1/18/18.

The Memorandum reports that the FBI sought a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) order for electronic surveillance on a volunteer advisor to the Trump presidential campaign from a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) on 10/21/16. The Memorandum states that “Committee” findings reveal that the FBI application for the FISA order omitted material and relevant information, including the fact that the source of much of the information set forth in the application was paid by the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign. On 3/28/18, Michael E. Horowitz, Inspector General, United States Department of Justice announced that his office will conduct a review of “information that was known to the DOJ and the FBI at the time the … [application for the FISA court order mentioned above was] filed from or about an alleged FBI confidential source.” This review is still ongoing.

Conduct of this nature dishonors those who embrace it and makes a mockery of the judicial system that law enforcement officers sign up to protect. Here are four consequences of false statements and deliberate omissions:

1. Evidence suppression and case dismissal

The first consequence of false statements and material omissions in warrant affidavits involves evidence suppression and the dismissal of criminal cases. The United States Supreme Court [4] has ruled that the veracity of sworn statements by law enforcement officers in an affidavit can be challenged by showing that the affidavit contains deliberate/intentional false statements or statements made with reckless disregard for the truth. [5] Likewise, courts have consistently ruled that deliberate or reckless material omissions from an affidavit can result in evidence suppression as well. [6]

2. Lawsuits

Officers who utilize false material statements in affidavits or deliberately omit important facts from the scrutiny of a judge or magistrate are likely to be sued for money damages pursuant to federal civil rights law.[7] Some federal courts have also barred police defendants from asserting the qualified immunity defense in civil liability cases involving false statements and material omissions. [8]

3. Criminal charges

Affidavit perjury can result in criminal charges and criminal convictions for the involved officers. The criminal conviction of Boston Police Detective Carlos Luna for perjury and his dismissal from the police force represents a quintessential example of the disastrous consequences that can flow from engaging in this dangerous practice.

4. Disciplinary actions

Officers who engage in practices of this nature are also likely to become targets of internal department disciplinary investigations, which can result in dismissal from the force. Moreover, once a department disciplinary investigation results in an official finding that an officer lied in a sworn affidavit, that officer may be prohibited by prosecutors from ever testifying in future criminal cases. The officer’s name may also be added to the prosecutor’s “do not call for testimony” list. Even if an officer with a departmental finding of lack of candor in his/her personnel file is not terminated, the officer’s career as an effective police officer will be seriously curtailed.

Conclusion

The decision to utilize deliberate/intentional false statements and intentional material omissions in sworn affidavits has career-destroying potential. Often, such dishonesty leads to further false testimony in subsequent legal proceedings, including criminal trials. Even worse, it can lead to financial ruin, criminal charges and conviction. Recruit training and in-service training on ethical police practice must emphasize the many pitfalls connected with such conduct. Superior officers must take complaints of this nature seriously and conduct thorough internal affairs investigations to stop this practice and deter others from engaging in it.


References

1. Commonwealth v. Lewin, 405 Mass. 566 (1989). Defense counsel reviewed 31 other separate affidavits prepared by Detective Luna in which he used the same informant as his source for much of the information contained in each affidavit. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court found it incredible that one informant had provided information on drug cases from all over the City of Boston. Moreover, the court opined that it was highly questionable as to whether Luna’s informant actually existed.

2. Boston Police Detectives Robinson and Acerra were indicted by a Federal Grand Jury on 10/2/97. The indictment charged them with submitting and causing other detectives to submit affidavits that contained knowing and material false information about informants and surveillance activities. Moreover, the defendants used those fraudulently obtained warrants to take and seize money and property for personal gain.

3. See e.g. United States v. Rajaratnam, 719 F.3d 139, 146 (2nd Cir. 2013); United States v. Vigeant, 176 F.3d 565 (1st Cir. 1999) and United States v.Falls, 34 F.3d 674, 681 (8th Cir. 1994).

4. See, Franks v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 154 (1978). See also, United States v. McMurtrey, 704 F.3d 502 (7th Cir. 2013) and United States v. Harris, 464 F.3d 73 (7th Cir. 2006).

5. In Franks, the Court ruled that if statements in an affidavit are deliberately false or made in reckless disregard for the truth, the Judge must determine whether they are material to probable cause (i.e. If the false statements are removed from the affidavit, the Judge must decide whether the warrant fails for lack of probable cause). If probable cause is insufficient, evidence suppression will follow.

6. United States v. Castillo, 287 F.3d 21, 25 (1st Cir. 2002); United States v. Clapp, 46 F.3d 795, 799 (8th Cir. 1995). In Clapp, the court ruled that the defendant must show that facts were omitted with the intent to make the affidavit misleading. The reviewing court must then determine whether the affidavit still contains probable cause once the omitted facts are added to the probable cause determination. If not, suppression will follow.

7. See 42 U.S.C. §1983. See also, Rainsberger v. Benner, (No. 17-2521) (7th Cir. 2019); Aponte-Matos v. Pedro Toledo-Davila, 135 F.3d 182 (1st Cir. 1998).

8. Burke v. Town of Walpole, 405 F.3d 66, 82 (1st Cir. 2005) and Golino v. City of New Haven, 950 F.2d 864, 871 (2d Cir. 1991).


What is the extent of the mental health crisis in law enforcement?

Posted on June 6, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

International Public Safety Association
Author: International Public Safety Association

This article is reprinted with permission from the IPSA blog.

By Jessica Dockstader

Police officers experience many traumatic events throughout their career. A 2015 study found that on average, law enforcement officers experience 188 critical incidents over the course of their career.

In response to critical incidents, officers can develop negative coping mechanisms, experience symptoms of and/or develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other co-occurring psychopathological disorders. Additionally, factors such as organizational stress, stigma surrounding mental health within the department, a lack of mental health literacy on the part of the officer, and a lack of leadership surrounding mental health in the department can also lead to an officer developing PTSD and/or using poor coping mechanisms.

Factors contributing to the ignorance and dismissal of the mental health crisis in law enforcement stem from mental health stigmas held across the United States and within the law enforcement community. Other contributing factors are the unwillingness to establish a mental health baseline in currently operating officers based on the fear that some of them may be unfit to serve.

The challenge is in establishing that police officers are, like all human beings, affected by trauma without implying they are unable to do their jobs. It is imperative to impress upon the law enforcement community that their officers might be suffering from post-traumatic stress, which in turn can impact the way they do their job.

Researchers must determine if the effects of prolonged exposure to traumatic events throughout a law enforcement professional’s career can be offset by mental and emotional health training at the beginning and throughout said law enforcement professional’s career.

Below are 10 recommendations for law enforcement agencies and researchers to address these issues:

1. Centralize mental health resources

Develop an area within the department where all resources available for officer mental health and wellness are centralized and can be easily accessed. This will simultaneously accomplish two goals: reducing the stigma of receiving help and ensuring every officer knows where to go to seek help.

2. Partner with mental health organizations

Partner with mental health organizations such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness and/or former law enforcement officers who have experienced and overcome mental health issues to deliver presentations to officers on how to recognize signs of mental illness within themselves.

3. Collect data on officer suicides

Begin to collect data on the suicide rate of officers from the department, and contribute to the new data platform, a partnership between the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention.

4. Prepare lateral transfers for critical incidents

Lateral transfers coming from a smaller department to a larger one may be more severely impacted by critical incidents. Ensure these officers receive appropriate training and assistance as they integrate into the department.

5. Recognize the impacts of understaffing on officers

During the ongoing nationwide staffing shortage, it is important to emphasize mental health awareness and self-care for officers. Researchers found that officers were 28.4% more likely to seek help for symptoms related to mental illness when they had received an extra hour of sleep; thus, it is imperative to better understand the impact of shift work and sleep deprivation on officers.

6. Improve the organizational culture

Research has shown that organizational stressors have an equal or greater impact on law enforcement officers than critical incidents. Bring in an organizational consultant to assess and address issues that could be negatively impacting the department.

7. Establish partnerships with research organizations

Partner with local and/or national research organizations to integrate evidence-based practices in the department. Without coordinating these partnerships, the department, officers and communities you serve have the potential to be negatively impacted.

8. Conduct research inside departments

Develop relationships with law enforcement departments to conduct research with their officers to determine their level of mental health literacy, attitudes toward mental health treatment, and to begin to determine how many officers are struggling with PTSD and PTSD-related symptoms.

9. Develop safety protocols for officers

Law enforcement officers have a large fear of being “de-gunned.” At the same time, having their weapon can be a risk to them while suffering from PTSD. Researchers and counselors must work with law enforcement departments to create special safety plans to address an officer’s access to lethal means while placating their fear of not being able to work.

10. Educate departments on evidence-based practices

Law enforcement departments have been utilizing Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) despite the fact that it has not been found to accomplish what it claims to. Researchers must develop partnerships with law enforcement departments to routinely update them on the latest evidence-based practices to ensure a robust flow of knowledge surrounding best practices in the field of law enforcement.


About the Author

Jessica Dockstader is an MA candidate at the University of San Diego and earned her BA in Human Development with a concentration in Counseling Services from California State University San Marcos. She is currently completing her master’s capstone on mental health in law enforcement and has worked in the field of police-community relations in San Diego for a year and a half. She also serves as a member of the IPSA Mental Health Committee. Email her at jdockstader@sandiego.edu.


Conn. further restricts police cooperation on immigration

Posted on June 6, 2019 by in FIRE, Uncategorized

Author: International Public Safety Association

Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut is further limiting local law enforcement's cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The measures were recently passed by the legislature and reduce the instances in which local law enforcement can detain an immigrant without a warrant.

Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont has said he will sign the bills.

The sponsor is state Rep. Steve Stafstrom, a Democrat from Bridgeport. He says the measures will give Connecticut one of the more restrictive policies on when local and state law enforcement will cooperate with ICE.

Critics say the legislation will make it more difficult for police to do their job and compromise public safety.

The measures come several years after the state adopted ground rules for when police are allowed to detain immigrants on behalf of ICE.

New app provides emergency response vehicles with faster, safer paths to incident scenes

Posted on June 6, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By News Staff

A new GPS system is in development to help first responders get to incident scenes safer and faster.

According to ECN Magazine, the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate partnered with Azimuth1 to develop a GPS system called QuickRoute that takes into account specific factors that can delay response times.

QuickRoute features an alert system to warn first responders of hazards along routes. It also leverages additional data streams the public doesn’t have access to that will allow greater flexibility in timely situations.

“If you have firefighters who have been called to an emergency, and they’re driving, say, a hook and ladder truck—perhaps they can’t traverse a narrow lane,” said Science and Technology Program Manager Kimberli Jones-Holt. “QuickRoute will provide an alternate route to be able to get them to that emergency much more quickly than a traditional commercial application would.”

The system considers the emergency response vehicle being used as well as agency roadway protocols, bridge and tunnel clearance, turn radius and the vehicle’s ability to use lights to clear paths and avoid signals. It also uses other data sources including local jurisdiction rules, weather patterns and traffic and transit schedules.

QuickRoute, which will come in an app and desktop version, will be available during the second quarter of 2020.


4 ways simulation can boost your agency’s training efforts

Posted on June 6, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Author: International Public Safety Association

Sponsored by VirTra

By Rachel Zoch for PoliceOne BrandFocus

Ongoing training is critical for every law enforcement agency to help keep officers sharp in the field and up to date on the latest laws and policies. As important as daily roll call briefings are in communicating this information, it’s even more important to provide realistic, stress-inducing experiences to help officers develop muscle memory and practice real-time decision-making for the rapidly unfolding, high-pressure situations they face every day.

This is where virtual reality simulation training comes in – but a simulator can provide more than training. PoliceOne spoke with Ken Wallentine, chief of the West Jordan (Utah) Police Department and former chief of law enforcement for the Utah Attorney General, as well as Will Fowlke, a 25-year law enforcement veteran and training specialist with the Utah Attorney General’s Office.

They discussed the innovative ways the Utah AG’s training center uses a VirTra simulator to provide training, evaluation and community outreach for a host of local, state and federal agencies.

1. CUSTOMIZED OFFICER TRAINING

The mission of the training center is to work with all sizes of law enforcement agencies, from local to federal, each with its own training objectives and mandates. The center has served more than 90 groups and counting. Versatility is one of the key benefits of the VirTra platform, says Fowlke.

“Our programs have to be versatile to deal with that broad range of training objectives and education objectives,” he said.

Wallentine, who was instrumental in developing the AG’s simulation training program before becoming the West Jordan PD chief in October 2018, says the simulator provides an excellent representation of real-world conditions and situations. West Jordan has sent its officers through a full regimen of training at the center over the last couple of years, including hundreds of hours in the simulator.

“It is the closest thing to training in real life and force-on-force training that we could not really accomplish without phenomenal expense. Frankly, the facilities just aren’t available,” Wallentine said. “The virtuosity of the reality, the closest to what officers are doing on the street, in fact, and the fact that they are training at the speed of life on the street, is important.”

The ability to develop specific scenarios and courses tailored to local needs and goals is another key benefit, he adds, giving the example of using a course from the VirTra library to highlight a particular issue, such as interacting with a hearing-impaired person, and then follow up with department-specific information.

“The officer has to demonstrate the skill of dealing with the hearing-impaired person, then we can back that up with our own training,” said Wallentine. “We can debrief the scenario from their performance perspective and also add our policy, the legal requirements and what we expect to reinforce that in real life.”

He says the interactive scenarios are especially helpful when it comes to policy topics that might make for a dull briefing but are nonetheless critical for success on the street.

“We’re able to take a subject that otherwise might be considered dry and is so very critical to risk management and success on the street for a police officer, and we’re able to deliver that training in a way that’s enjoyable, it’s kinesthetic,” said Wallentine. “There are so many adult learning principles at play that just reinforce the concepts that we’re trying to train.”

2. OFFICER SELECTION AND EVALUATION

Training is only one way to use the simulator, however. Every police department in the country struggles to find suitable applicants and discern whether they have the judgment and skills to make it in the field.

Wallentine says the simulator is a great tool for finding out how candidates will react in high-stress situations. He and Fowlke both recommend using the simulator to evaluate recruits and assess an officer’s fitness for duty when needed.

“We’ll take our candidates over to the virtual reality center and put them in situations where they’ve got to use force and make decisions in a real-time situation,” said Wallentine. “We’re looking for people who can make decisions quickly under stress and don’t just freeze up. We’ve got real-time, real-life performance that we can tie their answer to. That’s been very valuable.”

The simulator can also provide a key tool when assessing an officer’s fitness for duty, because the virtual reality system can show both the evaluator and the officer his or her performance and provide concrete feedback based on that person’s reaction to real-time stimuli than abstract, psychological testing.

Wallentine recalls working with a neurologist to evaluate one officer who suffered a traumatic brain injury. The doctor joined the chief and the officer at the virtual reality center to observe the officer’s performance and monitor her brain function under intense stress before clearing her to return to work based on the results.

“As a chief, my role is to make sure that my community is safe, and I do that by making sure that first, I hire the best people I can, and the virtual reality simulator helps me do that. Secondly, I put the officers out on the street as well-equipped as they can be to deal with the tasks that they’re going to face, and the virtual reality simulator helps me do that,” said Wallentine. “Then, in those rare cases where I’ve got a question about someone, it helps me sit back and take a look at that person’s ability.”

3. COMMUNITY OUTREACH

A third possibility is community outreach. In addition to officers and law enforcement agencies, the Utah AG’s training center also welcomes community leaders and groups to foster a better understanding of what it’s like to stand in the shoes of an officer and make split-second decisions under pressure.

Wallentine has invited community civil rights leaders to spend time with his team at the VirTra simulator and to have a discussion of why police officers use force and helping them experience situations where the force decisions are made under incredible pressure to better understand the Supreme Court’s term: “Tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving.”

That experience has opened a very productive dialogue, he says.

“It provided the most magnificent platform for a discussion of how we train, and how our police department and our police community do show reverence for life,” said Wallentine. “We have made tremendous deposits in the bank of public opinion and transparency in a way that I don’t think we could’ve accomplished otherwise.”

Fowlke adds that the training center extended an open invitation to members of the media to help them understand that decisions are often made between heartbeats for officers, within split seconds.

“I sometimes feel that we are just scratching the surface of the different uses to help law enforcement and the larger community understand the criminal justice system and criminality,” he said. “They cannot judge an officer’s performance based on 20/20 hindsight. It has to be, ‘What would a reasonable officer on the scene do?’ That’s been very effective.”

4. EDUCATING SCHOOL LEADERS

Community outreach is a key potential use for the simulator, and this includes helping educators understand how law enforcement approaches campus safety. Fowlke and Wallentine recommend that school resource officers bring school principals and other educators to the virtual reality training center to experience active shooter scenarios for a better understanding of the officer’s perspective and what must be done to make the campus more secure.

“My goal is to have them walk out of that experience committed to working with their resource officers and their local police departments in developing and testing their active shooter policies and procedures,” said Fowlke. “We try to form a partnership between them. So far, it’s been very successful.”

THE BEST DEFENSE

Wallentine is also an attorney, and he has defended many police officers in use of force cases. He says the intensity and realism of the simulation training is “a marvelous tool” that provides a key legal benefit.

“This is one of the most powerful tools to defend the overall integrity of your training program,” he said. “We’ve seen courts talk about training being inadequate when it doesn’t include strong components of decision-making, when the officer doesn’t have to make a decision in a rapid situation. The more realistic the training, the more defensible the training is against a claim that the department, the agency, has failed to train the officer.”

OTHER POTENTIAL APPLICATIONS

Simulation training really is limited only by the creativity of the people using the system, say Fowlke and Wallentine. The Utah AG training center is working on new programs, including teaching officers to lower their heart rate during critical incidents by using cardiac monitors and biofeedback techniques.

Wallentine is particularly excited about a tactical medicine program to help officers refresh skills they may use rarely but still need to keep razor-sharp.

“It’s very typical for a tactical team to go to a parking lot and rehearse,” he said. “This system allows us to rehearse with a breach with the sound, with the fury, with the gunfire – and planning for the contingency that one of my officers gets hit and needs to be immediately removed and have a tourniquet applied. To me, it’s a lifesaver.”

The VirTra software gives agencies the ability to film on their location and to create their own branching scenarios, or the company will work in partnership with the agency to create scenarios to be added to the main library for all VirTra users.

“As a chief of police, in my 37 years of policing, virtual reality and this particular system, because it’s so faithful and so versatile, is probably the biggest, high-tech advance that we’ve seen in preparing officers to be on the street,” said Wallentine.


Public safety resiliency center benefits Va. officers

Posted on June 6, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and BJA’s VALOR Initiative, an officer safety and wellness initiative, awarded its National Officer Safety and Wellness Awards on Sunday, May 12, 2019.

The Prince William County (VA) Police Department was the recipient of the 2019 Officer Wellness Award. Due to several difficult years within the police department and an alarming trend of mental health, diabetes, obesity and other health concerns related specifically to first responders, the Police Department’s Wellness & Resiliency Unit was established in 2016. The agency's public safety resiliency center offers confidential counseling, crisis support and emergency management to all public safety employees and their immediate families.

The National Officer Safety and Wellness Awards are presented annually, and agencies are encouraged to submit details about their successful safety and wellness programs at www.DestinationZero.org.


NC sheriff’s office phasing out TASERs over UOF concerns

Posted on June 6, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By PoliceOne Staff

WAKE COUNTY, NC — A North Carolina sheriff’s office will no longer issue out TASERs to new deputies as it adjusts its use-of-force policies.

According to WRAL.com, several changes were rolled out on Tuesday during a deputy training session that includes phasing out TASERs and changing how police cover high-speed pursuits.

Deputies will now have to go “hands-on” with someone who doesn’t comply with commands and supervisors are now in charge of deciding when to pursue suspects.

"Are they happy about it? Of course not. Who would be?" legal adviser for the sheriff’s office Rick Brown said. "By the same token, they are willing to do their job. They don't want to hurt anybody. That's not their job."

Brown said the decision to phase out TASERs was based on a ruling that they may be seen as unconstitutionally excessive in some circumstances.

In the past, the decision to pursue a suspect was in the hands of deputies. With the new policy, Brown says a supervisor will make the call because they can more easily take into account factors like the traffic volume, weather conditions, the seriousness of the offense the fleeing driver is suspected of and pedestrians.

"There have been studies to show that you don't want somebody who has to concentrate on the driving skills that it takes to pursue somebody to be aware of all these other factors," Brown said.

The North Carolina Police Benevolent Association is reviewing the policy changes to make sure they are aligned with federal and state laws.


Applying the internal customer and servant leadership concepts in law enforcement

Posted on June 6, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Warren Wilson
Author: Warren Wilson

Law enforcement is generally behind the business world in embracing new leadership practices. This is due in part to the belief cops have that law enforcement is so inherently different from any other profession that only cops know how to “police” our own. But private businesses spend millions of dollars in research and training to identify best practices for leading and motivating employees. It doesn’t make sense to ignore their findings.

I’ve studied and experimented with the concepts of the internal customer and the servant leader for several years now and have seen favorable results. I believe these concepts can be adapted to work in law enforcement agencies.

The Internal Customer

Businesses live and die by customer satisfaction. At some point, the private business community realized their internal customers drive the satisfaction of their external customers.

Internal customers are any employee who is provided goods and services from within their organization. These goods and services are, of course, provided by other members of their organization. In private business, a good example is the human resources department or information technology. In law enforcement agencies, those customers (sworn officers) are also served by support personnel such as the records divisions or dispatch. I would submit that this concept can also apply to upper law enforcement leadership.

Internationally renowned leadership expert and motivation speaker Stephen Covey said, “Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.” I would add, “Because they will.” We see it repeatedly in law enforcement. Cops who are treated with respect “at home” are more likely to treat the public with that same respect in the field.

The Servant Leader

Management researcher Robert Greenleaf coined the term “servant leadership” in a paper he published in 1970.

The concept behind servant leadership is that a leader should be more service oriented than power driven. That culture helps others in the organization to grow their aptitude in the area of service.

In Leadership by the Book: Tools to Transform Your Workplace author Ken Blanchard states, “…the minute you think you work for the person above you in the hierarchy…you’re assuming that person – your boss – is responsible and your job is to be responsive to his or her whims and wishes. As a result, all the energy in the organization moves up the hierarchy and away from the customers…” That might be a big pill to swallow for us, but it’s hard to argue against the idea. Energy and employee engagement are finite resources. How much of those resources are wasted trying to please the administration rather than serve the public?

leadership concepts In Practice

Don’t you hate it when articles talk about how things are wrong yet don’t offer solutions? Here are three examples of the small things we can do as administrators to change our culture and ourselves for the better.

1. Explain your decisions

Let’s say an officer comes to his leadership with an idea to follow up on domestic violence calls to enhance the investigation and subsequent prosecution of offenders. It would require him working overtime to accomplish. Although it would be a great thing to do in the officer’s mind, he is told, “No,” or worse yet, receives no response at all. How would that affect that officer’s motivation to give more than the minimum mandatory effort in the future?

Now what if the officer was told he had a great idea, but it cannot be implemented at present since the overtime budget is already strained and the financial resources just aren’t there for a proactive program like the one proposed. Isn’t that less likely to have a negative long-term affect on the officer’s future proactivity?

Do you recall a time when you went to your boss with an issue and were dismissed out of hand? Did that exchange or lack thereof adversely affect your personal motivation? Probably. Take a minute and listen.

2. Educate yourself

The most effective leaders are perpetual students of the craft. Attending leadership training can be costly and require time away from our duties. However, there are hundreds of books on the topic. There is no excuse for lack of knowledge. I recommend you start with “The Little Book on Coaching: Motivating People to be Winners” by Ken Blanchard and Don Shula. It’s a short read that creates a solid foundation for a leader. I buy one for all my first-line supervisors and it has proven to be an inexpensive, yet engaging tool for them.

3. Review your techniques

Another of my favorite references on the topic of people management is “Love ’Em or Lose ’Em: Getting Good People to Stay” by Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan Evans. It’s a great book, but the title says it all. As the public opinion pendulum swings against us more vigorously than ever, good applicants are hard to recruit, and good officers are hard to keep. This is the time to review and revise our management techniques. Would your department benefit from the culture change required to adopt the two principles of the internal customer and servant leadership? Consider how you can put forth a little extra effort to make these concepts work at your agency.

What mainstream leadership techniques have improved your police leadership skills? Share your success stories in the comment box below.


Why caring about the ketchup will make you a better leader

Posted on June 6, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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By Cory Nelson

How many police commanders are aware of what is in the breakroom refrigerator? Is there a bottle full of fresh ketchup? If not, why not? If leaders know minute details such as the status of ketchup in the breakroom, then I am guessing they are relatively plugged into the details of the rest of their district. They probably will have a strong followership.

As the weather warms here in Wisconsin, we are looking forward to breaking out the grills again. We encourage shift cookouts in Madison to promote team and district unity. But what is a cookout without our favorite condiment? You may ask yourself, why would I care about ketchup? The answer is in the question, it shows you care.

It shows you care about your officers if you care about a little thing that makes their meal that much more enjoyable. While you are looking for that bottle of ketchup, did you notice the refrigerator could also use a good cleaning? While you are scrubbing out that refrigerator, did you notice the breakroom floor could use a vacuum since your janitorial staff does not come for a few more hours?

While you were vacuuming from the breakroom down the hall to the locker room, did you notice all the old stuff in the locker room that has not been gone through in years? Did you notice the cobwebs in the corners and the dust on top of the lockers? Much of leadership is about how you deal with the little things.

As a district commander, I want the officers assigned to my district to know I care. I care about the small things, the things I don’t think are usually noticed but are by those who are trained to look. I care about making sure the officers have what they need, even the ketchup.

Take a seat at the lunch table

After 30 years on the job, I understand the stress officers go through every day. I want and need for them to have a comfortable, clean and safe place to retreat to when they must. Officers need to be able to let their guard down occasionally.

Officers want to see their command staff in an informal setting at times. How long has it been since you ate your lunch in the breakroom? This is an daily routine for me. It is healthy to get away from the computer screen and allows me to bond with the officers who it is my duty to protect and oversee. We talk informally about the day’s events and about issues they want to discuss without the formal chain of command.

After being promoted to captain and being assigned to a district, I immediately started taking my lunch break with the officers, and I could not believe the positive feedback I received. From day one, officers appreciated this simple gesture. It shows you care about their day, and it allows them to tell you about the sad calls, the bad calls and the mad calls.

My command staff and I spent the other day cleaning our breakroom and locker rooms from top to bottom. Yes, we have janitorial staff, but the place needed a deep cleaning from the winter’s worth of sand and salt that had been tracked in. Officers noticed, they talked about it and the word spread: “My commanders care about me!” Caring builds trust, while bars on the collar and sitting in an office does not. Trust between all employees leads to countless good things happening in your agency.

How long has it been since you have checked your bottle of ketchup?


About the author Cory Nelson is a captain with the Madison Police Department (MPD) in Wisconsin where he has served for 30 years. He is currently assigned as the commander of the South Police District. His past assignments included narcotics, SWAT, persons crimes, investigative services, focused deterrence, and professional standards and internal affairs. He was also responsible for bringing the concept of an opiate-related criminal diversion program to the MPD.

He is an alumnus of the National Institute of Justice’s LEADS Scholar program and is currently serving as an executive fellow of the National Police Foundation. He is a Wisconsin Law Enforcement Command College graduate, and now serves on the board of directors. He is an instructor for internal affairs investigations for the Wisconsin Department of Justice and has taught focused deterrence for the U.S. Department of Justice at a variety of national venues


Lawsuit: Gay Ohio officer says he endured harassment by fellow LEOs

Posted on June 6, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Eric Heisig Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland

CLEVELAND — A gay Cleveland police officer hurt in 2017 says in a lawsuit that fellow officers harassed him with disparaging statements, a post on a bulletin board and through several drawings of penises with his name on them.

The suit filed in federal court Tuesday says officer Kevin Jones endured discrimination both because of his sexual orientation and due to injuries he suffered in 2017. The suit names one officer whom Jones accuses of sustained harassment, but the Cleveland police union president said that officer was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Police brass were aware of the harassment and discrimination but largely did nothing about it, the suit alleges.

Jones filed two complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

A spokeswoman for Cleveland police said Jones is on extended sick leave and that he has disciplinary cases that have yet to be completed. The lawsuit says the city didn’t properly inform him of his rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act. He said he is able to work without accommodations.

Jones seeks an unspecified amount in damages and an order to return him back to the job. He also wants his personnel file expunged of negative documentation.

City spokesman Dan William declined comment.

The city hired Jones in 2015.

He was hurt when he helped people out of a house that was on fire in 2017, according to the suit. He was considered disabled as a result and the city placed him on restricted duty.

On June 1, 2018, Jones participated in the LGBTQ Pride Parade in Cleveland. He posted a picture of himself on Facebook during the event “with a positive message regarding the parade,” according to the suit.

Jones returned to work three days later and saw the picture printed out and posted on a bulletin board. The suit says someone also wrote the following underneath the picture:

“On restricted for over a year, can’t answer radio, but can walk around downtown for a parade...??”

Whoever posted the picture did so to out Jones to the city, according to the lawsuit.

“The Disclosure Incident harassed Jones because Jones did not conform to the City or the individual’s perception of the male stereotype and how a male should act,” according to the suit.

Jones also saw drawings of a penis with his name on the drawing, one of which was in the men’s bathroom.

Jones made a complaint about his harassment to a lieutenant on Aug. 18. WJW Fox 8 ran a segment soon thereafter about Jones’ complaint, and officers harassed Jones regarding the news story.

As a result, he filed another written complaint and said “I truly don’t feel safe anymore,” the suit says.

Jones’s lawsuit says he suffered another injury in 2018 and received a handicap parking placard. Jones was working in the department’s public records section Jan. 10 when city officials told him that he could not park in a handicap spot without clearance from the department’s medical unit, the suit states.

Jones sent an email the next day that said he believed he was enduring retaliation because of his complaints, according to the suit. Three days later, Chief Calvin Williams took Jones off active duty and said Jones was physically unfit to perform his job duties because he was issued a handicap placard, the suit alleges.

He claims in the suit that a fellow officer called him “stub toe” and harassed him in a group chat among officers and in front of superiors, the suit says. Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association President Jeff Follmer said human resources investigated claims Jones made against the officer and cleared him.

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©2019 Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland


NYPD chief dies by suicide month before mandatory retirement

Posted on June 6, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Rocco Parascandola , Kerry Burke and John Annese New York Daily News

NEW YORK — A high-ranking NYPD officer fatally shot himself in the head in a car in Queens Wednesday, just one month before he would have turned 63 and faced mandatory retirement from the department, police sources said.

Deputy Chief Steven Silks, the executive officer of Patrol Borough Queens North, parked his department-issued car not far from the 112th Precinct stationhouse, along a lonely stretch of road in the shadow of Forest Hills Stadium on Burns St. near 69th Ave., and shot himself, according to multiple police sources.

A security guard for the nearby West Side Tennis Club found him at about 6:45 p.m., in civilian clothes, the gun beside him, sources said. Responding officers did not immediately know that he was a police officer, they said.

Silks was rushed to Elmhurst Hospital, but he couldn’t be saved, sources said. His family declined to speak about him Wednesday night.

“I am speechless," said Roy Richter, head of the Captains Endowment Association. “Steve was an incredibly dedicated and great guy. He was great at what he does. This is a terrible loss.”

Richter recalled that Silks was an avid outdoorsman. “He ran a 3:09 New York Marathon at one point in his life and reached the summit of Mount Everest,” Richter told The News. “He coordinated the U.S. Open on a regular basis.”

“He was part of the fabric of just about every major police event over the last couple of decades,” Richter said.

“He’s a reliable guy, he’s very friendly. He was a good friend. How do you describe a good friend? He was always someone you could rely on when you needed support.”

Sources said Silks showed up at the NYPD pension office on Tuesday and submitted retirement papers after a storied career spanning nearly 39 years, including several years as commander of the NYPD firing range in the Bronx.

He also commanded two Bronx precincts, and was the second-in-command at the Police Academy, the Patrol Services Bureau, Patrol Borough Queens South and Patrol Borough Brooklyn North.

“His family lives out of state. He’s not married. He absolutely lived for the NYPD,” said a fellow cop and friend of the officer. “He was admired and loved by everybody he worked with. He was aged out. He’s the kind of guy who would have served until he died of natural causes.”

Police sources said Silks had expressed sadness about his pending retirement.

“It’s terrible that he found himself in that place. Say a prayer for his family," one police source said. Another praised the veteran cop, saying, “He was a sweetheart.”

Early last year, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill recorded a YouTube video describing mental health services available to cops in distress, after the department saw three suicides in a span of two months.

“Your job requires that you spend your day helping others. But before you can take care of anyone else, you must first take care of yourself, so please, remember, if you need it, help is here, and help is available,” O’Neill said in the March 2018 video.

The NYPD offers a variety of programs and in 2014 launched an “Are You OK?” campaign. The department also works with POPPA, or Police Organization Providing Peer Assistance, a volunteer support network for officers and retirees.

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©2019 New York Daily News


Taco Bell customer calls cops after restaurant runs out of taco shells

Posted on June 5, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By Blake Alsup New York Daily News

SLIDELL, La. — This customer was going through Taco Hell.

A Taco Bell customer in Slidell, La., called the cops to complain about a taco shell shortage on Monday.

The unsatisfied customer notified the Slidell Police Department that the restaurant was “out of both hard and soft taco shells.”

It’s been a while, but another “we can’t make this stuff up“ story. Somebody called in to complain that the Taco Bell...

Posted by Slidell Police Department on Monday, June 3, 2019

Police joked on Facebook that “it’s been a while, but another ‘we can’t make this stuff up’ story” had happened.

“While this is truly a travesty, the police can’t do anything about this,” the Slidell Police Department wrote.

We can only hope the shells were restocked in time for Taco Tuesday.

©2019 New York Daily News


Oakland becomes 2nd US city to decriminalize magic mushrooms

Posted on June 5, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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By Samantha Maldonado Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — Oakland on Tuesday became the second U.S. city to decriminalize magic mushrooms after a string of people shared how psychedelics helped them overcome depression, drug addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The City Council voted unanimously to decriminalize the adult use and possession of magic mushrooms and other entheogenic, or psychoactive, plants. Denver voters approved a similar measure for people 21 and older last month.

Speakers overwhelmingly supported the move, describing substances like peyote as traditional plant-based medicines. One man who described himself as a former heroin addict said such plants saved his life. Some offered mystical descriptions of the hallucinogens as providing spiritual healing.

The vote makes the investigation and arrest of adults who grow, possess, use or distribute entheogenic plants one of the lowest priorities for police. No city money could be used to enforce laws criminalizing the substances, and the Alameda County district attorney would stop prosecuting people who have been apprehended for use or possession.

Council member Noel Gallo, who introduced the resolution, had said decriminalizing such plants would enable Oakland police to focus on serious crime.

Amendments offered by Council member Loren Taylor added caveats that the substances "are not for everyone," recommending that people with PTSD or major depression seek professional help before using them and that people "don't go solo" but seek expert guidance and have a trusted friend present during the use.

The ordinance also directs the city administrator to come back within a year to provide the council with an assessment of the law's impact on the community.

"Entheogenic plants and fungi are tremendous for helping to enable healing, particularly for folks who have experienced trauma in their lives," Carlos Plazola, chairman of the advocacy group Decriminalize Nature Oakland, said before the council meeting. "These plants are being recommended pretty extensively undercover, underground, by doctors and therapists."

The Oakland Police Department did not respond to emailed messages from The Associated Press seeking comment before the meeting. Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Teresa Drenick declined to comment.

Magic mushrooms are still illegal under federal and state law. Entheogenic substances are considered Schedule 1 drugs under the federal Controlled Substances Act, which categorizes drugs that have potential for abuse and no medical value.

Skeptics had raised concerns about unsafe use, especially in schools.

To address such concerns, Gallo said, lawmakers would have to establish rules and regulations about the use of such substances, including what exactly can be used, how to use them and what the associated risks are.

Entheogenic plants have long been used in religious and cultural contexts. Gallo remembers his grandmother treating his family members with plants, including entheogenic ones, for a variety of ailments.

"Growing up in the Mexican community, this was our cure," Gallo said.

Hemp oils, mushrooms and yerba buenas — an aromatic plant known for its medicinal properties — "that was our Walgreens. We didn't have a Walgreens. We didn't have a way to pay for any drugs. These are plants we have known for thousands of years in our community and that we continue to use."


Third of Baltimore employees’ computer access restored after major ransomware attack

Posted on June 5, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By Ian Duncan The Baltimore Sun

BALTIMORE — A third of Baltimore employees have regained access to their computers after the ransomware attack and 90% are expected to be back online this week, officials said Tuesday.

And city officials announced two new workarounds to pay water bills and traffic tickets.

Sheryl Goldstein told reporters at a City Hall news briefing that the IT office is working to verify the identities of the city’s 10,000 employees and provide them with new login details.

The process of getting workers back online began last week.

At the briefing, senior city officials stressed that many services were working fine despite the ongoing computer problems that began May 7 when hackers locked up the city’s files and demanded a ransom payment for the keys.

“Baltimore is open for business,” Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young said.

City officials have declined to discuss how the hackers gained access to the city’s systems, citing an ongoing federal investigation. Goldstein said the city’s forensic review would be complete in about a month and that officials would determine what information could be shared.

But in a statement Tuesday, members of Maryland’s congressional delegation said they had received a briefing from the National Security Agency and had been told that the evidence suggests the city was initially compromised by phishing. That typically involves hackers tricking a victim into clicking a link that allows them to gain access to a computer network.

”We urge against further speculation until the investigation is complete and look forward to sharing more as we learn more,” the delegation members said.

The statement, and a previous one by Rep. C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger, conflict with reports in the New York Times that a tool developed by the NSA was used as part of the attack on Baltimore.

At a City Council budget hearing Tuesday afternoon, Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow said prosecutions had been affected by the computer issues. Prosecutors lost access to a shared system to keep up to date on drug, DNA and gun test results, Schatzow said. That meant prosecutors had to run back and forth to the police department to get information.

“We have limited resources,” Schatzow said. “When we apply them in inefficient ways, it impacts on cases. But I don’t think anyone can calculate for you a precise number and a precise impact.”

Councilman Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer said he had sat in court and observed prosecutors struggling to reach police officers who were supposed to be testifying.

Schatzow said police email and the shared lab system was now back online and that prosecutors would look at re-charging cases that were dropped because of the computer issues.

While some city systems have remained usable as officials try to recover from the ransomware, bill payments have been disrupted.

City officials said residents now have options for paying water bills and traffic tickets.

Public works director Rudy Chow said water customers can either visit the Abel Wolman Municipal Building downtown to pay an estimated water bill or wait to receive a regular bill covering the period of the computer outage once the system comes back online.

Goldstein said officials have recovered data on traffic tickets back to May 4, which will make it possible for people to pay them even if they have lost their own copy of the ticket. The inability to clear the tickets had made it difficult for some people to renew their drivers licenses.

Erin Sher, the city’s procurement officer, said the city had spent more than $1 million on new hardware and was using some existing contracts to provide help with the recovery. The city also has used emergency contracts, which officials have not yet publicly disclosed.

In all the cost of the ransomware has been estimated at $18 million — a combination of a projected $10 million of direct costs to restore the city’s systems and $8 million in lost or deferred revenue. Finance Director Henry Raymond said Tuesday that some of the $8 million might be recovered.

Despite the costs, Raymond said he did not expect the ransomware to cause a “material impact” on the city’s finances with a new budget year beginning July 1.

©2019 The Baltimore Sun


Suspect’s escape from patrol car caught on video

Posted on June 5, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By Claire Osborn Austin American-Statesman

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas — The Williamson County sheriff's office is searching for a man who escaped from custody Monday by slipping off his handcuffs and crawling through a small window in a patrol car, according to a tweet from Sheriff Robert Chody. Ronald Luis Scott Jr. is wanted for a theft that is a felony, Chody said.

Scott escaped by crawling out a sliding small window that separated the front and rear compartments of the patrol car, Chody said.

A video from the sheriff's office shows Scott slipping out of handcuffs while still in the patrol car.

Video shows handcuffed driver who escaped WilCo custody yesterday was in deputies vehicle. Subject then slipped cuffs and crawled thru small window separating rear and front compartments. If you see Ronald Luis Scott Jr,call 911. Scott was wanted for a felony theft warrant. pic.twitter.com/2A2piPVTRP

— Williamson County Sheriff Chody (@SheriffChody) June 4, 2019

©2019 Austin American-Statesman, Texas


Fla. judge: Ex-deputy to turn in passport or stay in jail

Posted on June 5, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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By Curt Anderson Associated Press

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A former deputy assigned to the Florida high school where 17 people were fatally shot will have to stay in jail for now on charges of child neglect and negligence for failing to intervene.

Broward Judge Jackie Powell ruled Wednesday that Scot Peterson must first surrender the passport, which is now at his home in North Carolina, before being released on a bond set at $102,000. He must also show the court that he has collateral, such as real estate, before he gets out of jail.

Peterson, wearing beige jail garb, stood silently with his hands cuffed during the hearing, which followed his arrest Tuesday on 11 charges.

Peterson was the officer assigned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School but never went inside as the gunman opened fire in hallways and classrooms. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement determined through a 14-month investigation that he "did absolutely nothing to mitigate" the shooting.

Defense attorney Joseph DiRuzzo III said Peterson is being made a scapegoat. He called the charges "a thinly veiled attempt at politically motivated retribution."

He said he believes the bond issue will be worked out quickly. "Of course, Mr. Peterson expects to be treated fairly just like every other person," he said.

After the shooting, Peterson, 56, took retirement rather than accept a pension. Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony said he's now been formally fired, adding, "it's never too late for accountability and justice."

Peterson also is charged with perjury over a statement he gave under oath to investigators, contending that he didn't hear any shots fired after taking up his position outside the school. Investigators determined through video, witnesses and other evidence that this was not true.


Legal experts question ex-deputy’s arrest over Parkland tragedy

Posted on June 5, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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By Curt Anderson Associated Press

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The arrest of a Florida sheriff's deputy for not confronting the gunman in the Parkland school massacre represents a highly unusual use of the law — and a legally dubious one, in the opinion of some experts.

Scot Peterson, 56, appeared in court Wednesday on 11 charges, including negligence and child neglect for not entering the building during the rampage last year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 people dead.

In court papers, prosecutors said five people were killed and four others wounded after Peterson took up his position, gun drawn, but did not go inside. Nikolas Cruz, 20, faces the death penalty if convicted in the Valentine's Day bloodshed.

President Donald Trump and others have branded Peterson a coward. But can Broward County prosecutors prove his hesitation to act amounts to a crime?

Legal experts are not so sure and suggested prosecutors may have overreached.

"This is a unique prosecution, pushing the bounds of criminal liability," said David O. Markus, a prominent Miami defense attorney not involved in the case. "While elected prosecutors many times bow to the court of public opinion, our justice system demands that a case like this be tested in a court of law. Legally, this is a tough one for the prosecution."

Michael Grieco, a defense attorney and state legislator from Miami Beach who is also not involved in the case, agreed that prosecutors face an uphill climb.

"Although as a father, legislator and human being, I believe that there is no societal defense to cowardice, the law has consistently and recently held that there is no constitutional duty for police to protect us from harm," Grieco said. "The decision to criminally charge Mr. Peterson, although popular in the court of public opinion, will likely not hold water once formally challenged."

Instances in which law enforcement officers are accused of mishandling a situation are often dealt with not with criminal charges but with lawsuits seeking damages. Several have already been filed against Peterson.

The negligence charge brought by prosecutors accuses Peterson of "reckless indifference" or "careless disregard" for others. Child neglect involves a failure to protect someone under 18 from "abuse, neglect or exploitation."

Peterson's lawyer, Joseph DiRuzzo, said the charges should be dismissed because Peterson did not legally have a duty to care for the students, as would be the case for someone dealing directly with children, such as a nurse or day care staffer.

"Mr. Peterson cannot reasonably be prosecuted because he was not a 'caregiver,' which is defined as a parent, adult household member or other person responsible for a child's welfare," DiRuzzo said. "Mr. Peterson was not criminally negligent in his actions, as no police officer has ever been prosecuted for his or her actions in responding to an active shooter incident."

Investigators, prosecutors and victims' family members tell a different story. Prosecutors noted in court papers that Peterson was trained to confront an armed assailant and, as the school's resource officer, was the only armed person on campus who could have limited or stopped the carnage in a timely way.

"He could have and would have saved lives. So he has to deal with that for the rest of his life," said Lori Alhadeff, whose 14-year-old daughter Alyssa was killed.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Rick Swearingen, whose agency conducted a 14-month investigation into Peterson's conduct that included interviews with 184 witnesses and a review of many hours of surveillance video, said: "There can be no excuse for his complete inaction and no question that his inaction cost lives."

Bail was set at $102,000 for Peterson, who was fired Tuesday as a deputy though he had already retired. He said nothing at the hearing Wednesday and did not enter a plea. In news interviews, he has defended his actions as justified amid the chaos that day.

"I believed there was a sniper. So in my mind, I'm thinking to myself there's possibly, maybe, somebody up there shooting out. But I didn't think they were shooting at kids," Peterson said on NBC's "Today" show. "I thought they were shooting out at the building. Outside."

Peterson faces a maximum sentence of nearly 100 years in prison if convicted on all counts, a combination of felonies and misdemeanors. Other than Cruz, who is set to go to trial early next year, he is the only person charged with a crime despite a well-documented litany of failures by authorities before and during the massacre.

"There has only ever been one person to blame — Nikolas Cruz," Peterson's lawyer said.


Top cop calls Chicago’s most violent weekend so far this year ‘despicable’

Posted on June 5, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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By Jeremy Gorner and Gregory Pratt Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — Calling Chicago’s most violent weekend so far this year “despicable,” police Superintendent Eddie Johnson stuck to the department’s usual explanation for what went wrong, blaming the flow of illegal guns and a too-lenient criminal justice system.

“Unfortunately, over the past 72 hours in Chicago, we saw a despicable level of violence,” Johnson said at a news conference Monday at police headquarters. “Weekends like this remind us all of the challenges that we face and that they are complex and profound.”

According to the department, at least 52 people were shot, eight fatally, from 6 p.m. Friday until midnight Monday. At least one other person was fatally stabbed, bringing the homicide toll to nine.

More than half the victims — 31 to be specific — were wounded during a 12-hour burst of gunfire from Friday evening to Saturday morning in areas of the South and West sides that have long struggled with crime, poverty and hopelessness. Four of them died.

Police officials said the weekend violence resulted from gang conflicts, drug-dealing and personal disputes that escalated.

At City Hall, Mayor Lori Lightfoot stepped outside of a meeting Monday afternoon with police and city officials that she dubbed “Accountability Mondays” when she regularly plans to review the city’s policing strategies after weekends that often are marked by astonishing violence.

“What I said to them in the opening was if they’re not going to bed every night and waking up every morning worrying and having a sense of urgency and asking themselves what more they can personally do to fight crime and stem the violence in their city, they’re in the wrong job,” she said.

Asked if she was optimistic the department has effective strategies in place to combat violence, Lgihtfoot said, “I’m optimistic that we will have effective strategies going in place because I’m going to make sure that happens.”

Johnson said some shootings took place with officers a short distance from the gunfire. Austin District Cmdr. Ernest Cato, for instance, was a half a block away when shooting erupted, prompting him to join his officers from the West Side district on foot patrol, according to Johnson.

“That just shows you how emboldened some of these individuals are,” the superintendent, flanked by seven of his top deputies, told reporters. “And it’s ridiculous that we just cannot get this right in terms of holding people accountable and finding alternatives for certain individuals.”

Johnson has long blamed the unrelenting violence on the flow of illegal guns on city streets and a court system that allows too many criminals caught with those weapons to be bonded out prematurely.

“We know who a lot of these people are,” said Johnson, using a phrase he once said frequently but hadn’t for some time. “And how do we know that? Because we keep arresting them over and over and over and over and over again, and it’s just a vicious cycle.”

The mayor also said she will be talking with judges and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office about making sure gun offenders aren’t allowed back onto the street soon after being charged with firearm crimes.

A spokesman for Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans, however, later pointed to a recent study commissioned by his office that found felony defendants released on bail rarely picked up a new charge of violence. From October 2017 through December 2018, less than 150 of about 24,000 defendants released from custody — about 0.6% — were charged with a new violent offense, the study found.

So far in 2019, homicides and shootings have actually fallen for the third consecutive year since a disastrous 2016 saw the worst violence in almost two decades. Through May 26, homicides dropped about 10 percent from a year earlier, while shootings declined 13 percent, department statistics show.

Teny Gross, who heads the Institute for Nonviolence Chicago, a group that works with individuals — many of them youths — at risk of becoming victims or perpetrators of violence, said the rash of shootings this past weekend felt “like a real setback.”

“This weekend felt very mayhemlike and very busylike,” said Gross, whose group largely focuses on the West Side. “… We go into even higher gear when that happens.”

Despite the bloody weekend, Gross said he’s not discouraged going into the summer.

“I feel that the structures that have been built and the mobilization of outreach groups are already bearing fruit in some neighborhoods, and we’re determined to continue to push forward despite the setback,” he said.

Asked if the Police Department’s strategies worked over the weekend or needed improvement, Johnson said he and his command staff are always looking for ways to be more effective. He extolled their work effort and commitment.

“These people that you see up here with me today from Memorial Day to today probably hadn’t had a day off,” he said. “So if that doesn’t give you the sense that they’re committed to what we do, I don’t know what will.”

©2019 the Chicago Tribune


7 lessons from the Virginia Beach active shooting

Posted on June 5, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Mike Wood
Author: Mike Wood

On May 31, 2019, a City of Virginia Beach employee entered a municipal building and murdered 12 people with a pair of handguns. The employee was shot by responding police during an extended gun battle and died during transport to hospital. Many others were wounded, including one police officer, who was saved by his body armor.

The Virginia Beach active shooting is the latest in a growing trend of atrocities committed by evil and disturbed individuals, and many elements of the story are similar to past events. It’s important to identify these repeating trends to aid in preparations and training. It’s also important to note that each of these shootings has its own fingerprint. It’s useful to identify uncommon or unique characteristics, and determine whether current police tactics, techniques and procedures should be modified to account for them.

Many of the critical details about the Virginia Beach active shooting are still unknown at this early stage, but publicly available information leads us to the following observations about this attack:

1. Warning signs and mental preparation

At this early stage officials are hard-pressed to identify a motive for the killings. The worker was an employee in “good standing” whose work was “satisfactory.” He was not known to be facing any disciplinary action, according to the city manager. Friends and coworkers report there was no history of violence or conflict with this individual. It seems unlikely that the attacker suddenly snapped and decided to kill his coworkers and bosses, and in time we may discover that there was a history that pointed to this violent outburst, but for now we’re left with the unsettling truth that sometimes there are no readily visible warning signs to violence.

We spend a lot of time discussing “red flags” and teaching people to stay alert for cues of pending trouble, but sometimes we’re completely surprised to find evil among us. This surprise often results in denial, with individuals trying to explain away or rationalize the horror right in front of them. In Virginia Beach, employees reported they thought “it was a drill,” even when they saw injured victims or personally encountered the murderer with a weapon in his hand. Others reported that they thought the sound of gunfire was a pneumatic nail gun. Law enforcement efforts to prepare the public for these situations must address the reality of shock and the denial instinct as part of instruction on mental awareness and preparation. The public needs to be trained about the dangers inherent to denial, and oriented toward trusting their gut feelings, instead of trying to dismiss them.

2. Mobility

The shooter began his attack outside the municipal building, shooting someone in the parking lot. He then moved inside and began to shoot people on each of the three floors in the building.

When police arrived, they had to locate the shooter in a maze of corridors, rooms and stairwells, and a running gun battle erupted as the shooter was eventually cornered into a room, where he barricaded and made his final stand.

The highly mobile nature of the shooter complicated the police response and should strongly influence many aspects of police training and preparations. Consider the following:

Are your officers trained to shoot while they are moving? Are they trained to move tactically as individuals, and as small teams, in both indoor and outdoor environments? Are patrol officers and tactical teams practiced in containment, blocking, pincer and ambush tactics to defeat a mobile attacker? Can your agency move personnel and equipment quickly from one location to the next, even through gridlocked traffic or past natural or manmade obstacles, to keep up with highly mobile killers? 3. Sustainment

The first officers to arrive on scene were apparently detective supervisors and K9 units, who ran to the scene from a police station 100 yards from the location. These officers made entry and located the suspect, then engaged him – along with other responding officers – in a gun battle that lasted approximately 22 minutes, based on radio traffic.

While FBI statistics estimate almost 70% of active shootings are over in less than 5 minutes, and 36% are over in less than 2 minutes, events like Virginia Beach indicate that we need to be ready to fight for much longer. Among other things, this has implications on policies that address the minimum equipment (firearms, ammunition, armor, medical, lights and communications) that must be carried by all officers on duty.

Could you carry on a gunfight for 22 minutes with what you have on your person? As we’ve discussed previously, a detective can be suddenly thrust into a situation where they might need more substantial equipment than what is typically carried by officers in soft clothes – they don’t get a pass, based on their assignment. The middle of a gunfight is no time to figure out that your single-stack, subcompact gun isn’t enough for the job.

4. Breaching

Once again, the Virginia Beach shooting exposed a weakness in preparations when it came time for officers to get through locked doors. Multiple calls were made by officers for breaching tools and keys to open doors that had been purposely barricaded by workers (as we’ve been teaching them to do for years) or just routinely secured.

In the final showdown with the suspect, officers had to breach a door to the room he had barricaded himself in, shortly after the suspect had fired at them through the same door. We’ve been talking about this as a community since at least San Bernardino, but we’re not making the necessary changes. Patrol vehicles need to be outfitted with basic breaching tools, and facility managers in public and private buildings need to install Knox Box-type systems to provide public safety responders the appropriate access to keys and access badges. This will not only enhance response time but will also prevent injuries and protect property from unnecessary damage.

5. Suspect’s weapons

The suspect in Virginia Beach reportedly used a pair of .45 caliber pistols with extended magazines, which would make his choice similar to the weapon used by the Borderline Bar attacker in Thousand Oaks, California. Since active shooters often study previous attacks and attempt to mimic elements of them, it’s possible the Virginia Beach shooter’s choice of firearms and/or magazines could have been influenced by the Borderline shooter, especially since police are reporting that one of the firearms was obtained sometime in 2018 (potentially, post-Borderline).

What’s more interesting about Virginia Beach though, is that the shooter used a suppressor on his pistol. We haven’t seen this in prior active shootings, and it’s worth the time to consider the tactical implications. From the reporting available, it doesn’t appear that the use of the suppressor negatively affected law enforcement’s ability to locate the shooter within the structure, and it also didn’t hide the sound of gunfire from the potential victims, many of whom reported hearing it. A suppressor doesn’t eliminate noise, of course, but only lowers it to safer levels. Still, it might be worthwhile to consider whether using a suppressor could give a suspect an advantage that we have to account for. Consider, for example, that using a suppressor might allow a suspect to retain more of his hearing after shooting a firearm indoors multiple times, which might make noise discipline even more important for responding officers.

6. Concealment versus cover

The Virginia Beach killer fired at officers through a door and wall as they made contact with the barricaded suspect. We’ve seen this tactic used in other shootings, most notably the 2009 Mixon shooting in Oakland where two SWAT officers were killed after the suspect shot at them from inside a bedroom closet.

The report from Virginia Beach underscores the importance of being mindful that concealment is not cover. If a suspect is barricaded inside a room, he can still place effective fire on officers outside by shooting through thinly constructed internal walls and doors. As a result, officers need to consider their position and movements carefully. It may not be wise to stage in hallways outside rooms where a suspect is barricaded, particularly near anticipated entryways. Officers should transit these danger areas quickly, and not linger there. Noise discipline (avoiding talking, radio use and equipment brushing against walls) may become even more important to prevent the suspect from learning your location.

Finally, if officers are forced to remain in this danger area by circumstances, they should seek the best cover available and might consider taking a low position to get below the area where a suspect is likely to fire blind shots that are directed at standing officers.

7. Attack resolution expectations

In an FBI study of active shooter events between 2000 and 2013, 56.3% ended with the shooter fleeing the scene, surrendering, or committing suicide. These numbers mirror the results of an ALERRT study, which indicates about 49% of active shootings end via surrender, escape, or suicide. The fact that these killers voluntarily stop their attacks with such frequency has an influence on police tactics and expectations. We’re currently teaching officers to apply pressure on the shooter as quickly as possible – even if acting solo – because we expect that the killers will stop killing in half or more of the cases. I think solo entry protocols are where we need to be, but events like Virginia Beach remind us that there’s still a percentage of shooters out there who will fight to the last, and we must be ready for them.

The Virginia Beach killer shot at police through doors and walls and did not surrender, flee, or kill himself. The only way that police were able to stop the Virginia Beach killer was to injure him with gunfire to the point that he was no longer able to resist. This example has implications for training. It’s good for us to recognize that active shooters will often voluntarily cease hostilities, but we must be careful about setting up a mental expectation in officers that they will do so. Training needs to instill a proper mindset in officers – they must embrace the notion that the killer will not stop until they are stopped by the officer. Officers must not be led to believe that the suspect will “do the job for them” if they put some pressure on him, but instead must be prepared to locate, close with and stop the threat in a tactically appropriate manner for the circumstances. Scenarios and training exercises must be careful to reflect these priorities.

We will learn more about the Virginia Beach shooting in the days to come, but the important thing right now is to take stock of what we know and ask whether the events in Virginia Beach have an influence on tactics, techniques, procedures and training. If there are things we need to address, the time to do it is now.

God bless you all and be safe out there.


Ohio businesses oppose workers’ comp PTSD coverage for first responders

Posted on June 5, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Author: Mike Wood

Jim Siegel The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio first responders are once again butting heads with the business community over workers' compensation benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder.

A fight that has repeatedly arisen over recent years is again heating up, after House lawmakers added a provision to the Bureau of Workers' Compensation budget allowing police, firefighters and emergency medical workers to file claims without a correlating physical injury.

First responders say that requiring a physical injury, as under current law, is inconsistent with the definition of PTSD, which says a physical injury is not among the criteria for a diagnosis.

Catherine Murphy Hardin gave emotional testimony Tuesday as she talked about her son, Trever Murphy, an Orange Township firefighter/paramedic in Delaware County who committed suicide in April at age 28.

"On my son's last two runs, the second-to-last run, a little girl died in my son's arms, and he struggled very bad with that," she said. His last run was a fatal car accident.

"When he was able to finally release this gentlemen from his seat belt, he fell dead in his arms, and that devastated my son. It completely broke him," Murphy Hardin said.

PTSD can be triggered by a single event, or the culmination of multiple experiences, such as fatal house fires or car accidents, William Quinn, secretary-treasurer of the Ohio Association of Professional Fire Fighters, told a House committee.

Quinn, a retired Hamilton firefighter, described being first on the scene where a man slit his wife's throat, stabbed one daughter and raped the other, also slitting her throat.

"It sticks with you. Sometimes it manifests itself through sleep disorders, anger, withdrawing from your family. A lot of times it goes to self-medication," Quinn said. "The singular ones are easy to identify and understand. The cumulative are a little more wicked."

But business groups including the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, NFIB/Ohio and Ohio Manufacturers' Association oppose the provision, as does the Ohio Township Association.

Rob Brundrett of the manufacturers said emergency responders are not the only ones who undertake dangerous jobs, and "it may be difficult to justify not doing the same for other professionals who seek equal treatment."

Once a physical injury is no longer required, "the potential inroads into the program are endless," Brundrett said, citing increased costs.

But Rep. Jay Edwards, R-Nelsonville, said that unlike other professions, the purpose for first responders is to go into dangerous situations.

"I'm still confused as to how we can't agree there's an exception for those certain jobs," he said.

Charlie Smith of NFIB/Ohio replied that there may be reason for a special circumstance, but it should be debated separately from the workers' compensation budget. Rep. Scott Oelslager, R-Canton, chairman of the House Finance Committee countered that the issue has been debated around the Statehouse for more than six years.

The full House is taking up the bill Wednesday, and if approved it moves to the Senate.

"I don't think anybody contests that PTSD is real," Quinn said. "Without the ability to get off work, receive care and come back to work ... you have first responders whose heads aren't always in the game."

jsiegel@dispatch.com

@phrontpage

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©2019 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)


I put Under Armour’s Valsetz boots to the test

Posted on June 5, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Sponsored by GovX

By Sean Curtis for PoliceOne BrandFocus

I have marveled over the years at how hard the profession of law enforcement can be on footwear. I’ve tried a number of brands over the years and while some did better than others, most of them eventually broke down and succumbed to a full medial retirement after some sort of blow out. The rigors of hours on foot, occasional running, scuffing, standing in mud, snow and water, all take their toll. The most I asked from my boots was to not hurt my feet, and take the occasional polish well.

These days, footwear is capable of so much more. I didn’t learn this until I tried the Under Armour Valsetz 1.5 RTS.

Unboxing the Under Armour Valsetz boots

When I received the box from GovX it almost felt empty. Shaking the vessel confirmed contents but when I pulled the Valsetz boots out, I marveled at their lightness. Their inky blackness also seemed to absorb all the light around them, but for the reinforced areas on the canvas which look like a textured bed-liner—tough. Subtle badging was nice and there wasn’t a great deal of leather everywhere.

Things started to make more sense from a design standpoint.

These boots are what you get when you combine the best attributes of a combat boot with a high-end pair of running shoes.

Features to consider

The boots have some great details that are designed to withstand harsh treatment while supporting their wearer. With its ClutchFit features, cops can count on good ankle support that is structurally sound. This support is critical because during a foot chase, rolling an ankle can cause you to go down and create your own law enforcement yard sale.

On the outside, the Storm technology gives you that all important breathability while still repelling water. The rubber lug sole is low profile but super grippy and there is also a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPO) toe cap. Deep within, the TPU shank gives you good rigidity, and even helps with rebound (more on this in testing). Overall, the foam and molded sock liner translates to some top notch comfort as soon as you put the boot on, and all the way through your shift.

Putting the boots to the test

I attended NRA’s Annual Meeting this year in Indianapolis. While the estimates vary, a ball park of the number of attendees was around 80,000 strong. Having seen it, I can believe it.

The expanse of the floors in the expo are massive, and with that many people to navigate through, it sets up a daunting task for new shoes. I have hesitated in the past to don new boots for a pretty big hike. Some footwear I’ve used did more to break my feet in on first trips than my feet could break in the boots.

All this aside I pulled on the Valsetz boots and laced them up, marveling at just how comfortable and lightweight they are on the feet. I headed off to the expo and started hitting all the booths on my list.

I walked a total of six miles on the first day and while this is no marathon, it was a strong indicator of future performance.

Dodging people, children, and the occasional muzzle, I moved fluidly from booth to booth. There were stairs, the occasional drop, and navigating of city streets and sidewalks. I kept waiting for a hot spot to form somewhere, either a heel or perhaps along the pads just behind the toes—it never happened. Not only did I not have hot spots, but I also did not have any redness on my feet. The Valsetz boots just comfortably hugged my feet without rubbing while I purposefully strode around.

I was continually encouraged by their lack of heaviness, which saved my strength. Moreover, I began to notice a strange sensation in the shank, a slight rebound. With each bend of the sole, I felt the bottom of the boots straightening again, returning energy. The grip was great on every surface I encountered, even in the rain.

The verdict? These boots are law enforcement ready

Modern police have more varied duties than ever before, but one thing still remains consistent: there is a lot of standing and walking.

Whether you are a school resource officer strolling the halls of the school, or a SWAT officer stacking outside a door, chances are the hours are long and the amount of time on your feet is cumulative. If you end up in a struggle with a suspect on the ground, then you need footwear with traction. Running officers need to feel confident about turning abruptly or covering uneven terrain without rolling an ankle and falling.

Above all, officers need comfortable footwear that can still go high performance in a moment’s notice. The Under Armour Valsetz boots is a combination of the tough service boot you need, with the high performance you crave, all while providing hours of comfortable service.


3 training villains: How to avoid being one

Posted on June 5, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Lt. Dan Marcou
Author: Lt. Dan Marcou

Bear with me. I am about to tell you a true story about the moment in my life when I decided to become a “learn it all.”

In today’s world, police training budgets have been cut with machetes rather than scalpels. Keeping that in mind, when your agency does send you to training it behooves you to get everything you can from the experience. Don't let your attitude rob you of the opportunity to obtain valuable knowledge and skills. Here are three training villians to avoid becoming:

Don’t Care at All: This person, for a variety of reasons, has checked out of many things and reinforces this by often saying, “Fugetaboudit.” They attend training to earn but won’t learn. Know it All: This person arrives in training skeptical that there is anything out there for him or her left to learn. This officer feels they have been there and done it all. If there is a new or different tactic or technique shown in the training they will find a reason why it is inferior to what they already know. Damn it All: This person attends training because they have to be there. If they had a choice, they would be someplace else.

The “don’t care at all,” the “know it all” and “damn it all,” will partake begrudgingly in training, but their attitude is a major impediment to learning.

Be a “Learn it All”

I was not always hungry to learn. Prior to college I was mostly a “don’t care at all.” What I did learn was taught by some excellent teachers because of their attitude (and in spite of mine).

In college, however, I decided to try to be a better student because I longed to be the best police officer possible. I found myself at one point in an emergency first aid class where my fellow students had checked out mentally from the class as soon as the instructor entered the room. The gentlemen teaching the class walked into the classroom with white hair, a white shirt, white pants, black bow tie, black belt and black spit-shined shoes. I will call him “Mr. White” although that’s not his real name.

I remember the barely suppressed chuckle that went through the class of irreverent 70s-era “know it alls,” at the appearance of Mr. White. The class judged instantly that this “old man” could teach them nothing and tuned out.

In feeble defense, the “know it all” could say, “Mr. White was hardly a dynamic presenter. He was not cutting edge in his teaching style and did not know how to lace humor and variety into his class to maintain the interest of his students.”

I chose to listen to this man however, which was not easy, for after every class my peers mercilessly belittled the “Old Man” for his monotone delivery, mannerisms and outdated appearance. “He’s a dinosaur,” they proclaimed. It was the 1970s and the youth of that time seemed in retrospect to be naively arrogant.

A Lesson from an Old Master

Because I chose to listen, I discovered that in spite of his appearance, Mr. White was a humble fountain of knowledge and excelled when challenged by questions. One day I asked a question that truly concerned me. I queried, “What do I do when I have a car crash with multiple people bleeding, crying and dying all over the scene.”

Mr. White paused for a moment, got a distant look on his face and said, “Young man, when you are as frightened as everyone else at an accident scene and you do not know what to do next, calmly take someone’s pulse. It does not matter whose pulse, just bend down and take a pulse, while you calm yourself and breathe. As you do this, triage. Ask yourself what needs to be done first, second and then third. As you take this pulse, others will see you perform this simple act and conclude that help has arrived. While calming yourself in this manner, you will be calming others. When you have calmed yourself and you have formed a plan of action, proceed.”

He added in a fatherly tone, “Don’t worry son, you’ll do fine.”

A Skill Learned and Applied

At that time I was working full-time nights as a police officer and attending school during the day. I was able to apply that technique instantly at a particularly chaotic accident scene. I discovered that Mr. White had passed along to me a precious gem.

I decided from that for as long as I lived, I would aggressively pay attention to the trainers who cared enough to share their knowledge and experience with me. I vowed to keep an open mind and never become a “don’t care at all,” a “know it all,” or a “damn it all.” I would not miss a tactic, technique, or tidbit of knowledge from someone who was not an old man, but an old master.

As the last class ended, I walked up and shook Mr. White’s hand and thanked him for sharing the pulse technique with me. I told him that I had already used and it had worked with great effect.

As I thanked him I asked, “Where did you learn it?”

Mr. White looked off into the distance, paused for a few long moments, and answered in a whisper, “Omaha Beach.”

This article, originally published 6/6/2012, has been updated with current information.


The importance of coordinated response to a mass casualty event

Posted on June 4, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

What’s New in Blue is a series of short videos from the COPS Office that feature informative discussions about ideas worth spreading throughout American policing in a format useful for viewing in roll call, training classes, or sharing with colleagues and across social media.

In this episode, Dr. J. Pete Blair – a professor of criminal justice and the executive director of the ALERRT Center at Texas State University – speaks about the importance of coordinating responses among law enforcement, fire services and medical community to respond to active shooter/critical incidents.

In FY 2017, the COPS Office made an award to the ALERRT Center at Texas State University to increase law enforcement and public safety through scenario-based training that prepares officers and other first responders to handle active-shooter and other violent threats safely and effectively.

Additional resources on multi-agency response to an MCI

Why public safety agencies must train together to improve MCI response

8 essential truths about MCI response plans in the wake of the Vegas shooting

How police, fire and EMS can coordinate active shooter response

Why police agencies need to embrace the Incident Command System

Why public safety needs an integrated response plan for acts of mass violence


Ex-Fla. SRO charged for inaction during Parkland shooting

Posted on June 4, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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By Curt Anderson and Terry Spencer Associated Press

MIAMI — The former Florida deputy who failed to confront a gunman during last year's Parkland school massacre was arrested Tuesday on 11 criminal charges related to his actions, prosecutors announced.

Broward State Attorney Mike Satz said in a statement that 56-year-old Scot Peterson faces child neglect, culpable negligence and perjury charges that carry a combined potential prison sentence of nearly 100 years.

Peterson, then a Broward deputy, was on duty as the school resource officer during the February 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School but never went inside while bullets were flying. Seventeen people died and 17 others were wounded in the attack.

Peterson's bail was set at $102,000, Satz said. Once released, Peterson will be required to wear a GPS monitor and surrender his passport, and will be prohibited from possessing a firearm, the prosecutor said.

Peterson lawyer Joseph DiRuzzo III didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. In the past, he has defended Peterson's conduct as justified under the circumstances.

The charges follow a 14-month investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, according to that agency.

"The FDLE investigation shows former deputy Peterson did absolutely nothing to mitigate the MSD shooting that killed 17 children, teachers and staff and injured 17 others," FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen in an email statement said. "There can be no excuse for his complete inaction and no question that his inaction cost lives."

Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony said Peterson has been formally terminated, although he announced his retirement shortly after the shooting.

"It's never too late for accountability and justice," Tony said.

Nikolas Cruz , 20, faces the death penalty if convicted of the first-degree murder charges filed in the attack. His lawyers have said Cruz would plead guilty in return for a life sentence, but prosecutors have refused that offer.

Cruz is expected to go on trial in early 2020.


Texas governor signs state ban on red-light traffic cameras

Posted on June 4, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Author: Mike Wood

Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has signed a bill into law banning red-light traffic cameras in the nation's second-largest state.

Abbott tweeted Saturday that he signed off on the ban, which takes effect Sept. 1.

Such cameras take images of vehicles entering intersections when red stoplights are lit. Drivers are usually fined $75.

Critics say red-light cameras are unconstitutional and contribute to traffic accidents. Supporters say red-light cameras help make streets safer and generate funds for cities and other government entities.

An amendment lets cities keep operating the cameras until their contracts with vendors expire, although some communities have begun negotiations to terminate the deals earlier. The law also prevents counties and Texas officials from refusing to register a vehicle amid unpaid red-light camera tickets.


Calif. LEOs blocked from wearing uniforms while marching in Pride parade

Posted on June 4, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By Molly Sullivan, Candice Wang, and Theresa Clift The Sacramento Bee

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — For the second year in a row, uniformed police officers will not be participating in the Sacramento PRIDE parade after organizers asked them not to wear their uniforms.

“To honor the pain and marginalization of community members who have been harmed by police violence, we have asked Sacramento Police not to participate in uniform for the 50th anniversary of Stonewall,” the Sacramento LGBT Community Center said in a Facebook post Friday.

A Sacramento LGBT Community Center spokesperson did not immediately respond to comment about the uniform ban.

The center said in a social media post that event organizers had been in “discussions with police for some time.” Uniformed cops didn’t participate last year, but this year officers were invited to attend in plain clothes as a “compromise.”

“Rejection of the compromise fails to acknowledge the pain and historical abuses police institutions have inflicted on the most marginalized in our community,” the LGBT Community Center said in a Facebook post.

“Sad that inclusion doesn’t really mean everybody,” Capt. Norm Leong of the Sacramento Police Department wrote in a Facebook post. “Worse part is to hear how much this hurt our LGBTQI officers who looked forward to participating.”

Councilman Steve Hansen, the city’s first openly gay council member, said, “I’ve had a lot of conversations over the last few days with the stakeholders and I’m optimistic that there will be a constructive path forward on the issue.”

In a statement emailed to The Sacramento Bee, the police department said, “Our police department is disappointed that the LGBT Center does not want our officers attending upcoming public community events while in uniform. We support our LGBTQ officers who proudly serve our community on a daily basis. They have worked hard to earn these uniforms and are proud to wear them.”

Events for SacPride 2019 will begin Saturday morning at Capitol Mall.

©2019 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.)


Ore. bill cracks down on racially motivated 911 calls

Posted on June 4, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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By Sarah Zimmerman Associated Press

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon moved to crack down on racially motivated 911 calls on Monday, responding to a series of publicized incidents across the country where predominantly white civilians called the police on black people going about everyday activities like napping or barbecuing.

Victims of those police calls would be able to sue the caller for up to $250, under a measure overwhelmingly approved by state Senate.

The move is a joint effort by the Oregon Legislature's only three black lawmakers and is meant to "shine a spotlight on an issue African Americans have known for far too long," according to sponsoring Rep. Janelle Bynum.

"When someone gets the police called on them for just existing in public, it sends a message that you don't belong here," said Bynum, the only black member of the House.

A black family in Oakland had the cops called on them for barbecuing in the park. A Yale graduate student was questioned for sleeping in her dorm's common room. And a pair of black men were arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks after one of them tried to use the restroom, sparking public outcry and the closure of 8,000 stores across the country for "racial bias" training.

Bynum proposed the legislation after being on the receiving ends of such a call. She was canvassing door-to-door for her re-election campaign last year when a woman called 911 because Bynum looked "suspicious."

She said although she was able to get an apology from the woman, she realized that most people have no way to hold these callers accountable.

"This creates a legal pathway to justice for those of us who have to worry about getting the cops called on us for existing in public," she said.

Victims of these calls must be able to prove the caller had racist intent, and that the caller summoned a police officer to purposefully discriminate or damage a person's reputation.

That's difficult to prove, said Sen. Alan Olsen, a Republican and one of the few critics of the bill. He adds it could discourage people from reporting crime, making "our communities less safe."

Sen. Lew Frederick, a black lawmaker and one of the measure's co-sponsors, said people could still call the police if they suspect a person is committing a genuine crime.

He added that the proposal is about making Oregon "a more equitable community" and formally recognizing the daily hardships faced by minority communities.

People of color fear police for reasons a predominantly white Legislature could never understand, Frederick said. Unnecessarily dispatching the police only heightens those tensions between police and the black community.

"It's not just an inconvenience when a police officer stops me," he said. "When a police officer stops me, I wonder whether I'm going to live for the rest of the day."

Although the measure was approved by the House, the chamber still needs to sign off on a technical change before it heads to the governor.


Off-duty officer stabbed in Memphis after argument in Uber

Posted on June 4, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Associated Press

BARTLETT, Tenn. — Police in Tennessee say an off-duty Bartlett officer has been stabbed in the face, neck and leg by a person still being sought by police.

Memphis police tell news outlets that the officer was sharing an Uber with a man early Sunday when the two began arguing. A police report says the officer and the man then got out of the Uber in Memphis.

It says a person exited a nearby house and began arguing with the two before stabbing the officer and fleeing. The officer was hospitalized. His condition was unclear as of Tuesday morning.

Police say they have surveillance video of the attack. Authorities haven't released the identities of those involved. An investigation is ongoing.


Agents kill armed man in gun battle at California-Mexico border crossing

Posted on June 4, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Associated Press

SAN DIEGO — U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents fatally shot a motorist who refused to stop at California's border with Mexico.

San Diego police say the shooting took place Monday night in a secondary vehicle inspection area near the San Ysidro Port of Entry. Police say the suspect's vehicle was blocked and he opened fire on the officers.

KNSD-TV obtained video showing gunfire erupted as cars waited in line to get into the U.S.

Shooting at the south border at San Ysidro San Diego-Tijuana. Thank you to all the agents that took care of all of us trapped during the shooting. #sandiegotijuana #southborder #mexico pic.twitter.com/gdmUymbtaX

— Esteban Gerardo (@gerardo301986) June 4, 2019

Border agents yelled, "Get down, everybody get down!" At least a dozen shots were heard.

The officers returned fire, and the suspect was hit. CBP officers and fire-rescue attempted life-saving measures, but he did not survive.

Police say the name of the 23-year-old U.S. citizen was withheld for family notification.

None of the seven officers involved was injured.


Off-duty Detroit sergeant killed in domestic incident

Posted on June 4, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Associated Press

GARDEN CITY, Mich. — Police say an off-duty Detroit sergeant has died following what was described as domestic violence at a home in a suburban community.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said Monday that Sgt. Elaine Williams was "a rising star in this police department."

#EOW @detroitpolice Sgt. Elaine Williams was murdered in an off-duty incident. She was also a former colleague, and great friend to one of our members. We offer our sincerest condolences to her family, both blood and blue, during this tragic time. RIP Sister ?? ??:VM pic.twitter.com/GIezXEbr5W

— ????Brotherhood for the Fallen???? (@BFTFAurora) June 4, 2019

Police in Garden City say in a statement that they responded to the home about 11:40 p.m. Sunday and found a person dead inside. Another person was found shot and wounded outside the home and was taken to a hospital for treatment. Details on that person haven't been released.

Police describe what happened as a domestic violence incident and say there's no active threat to the community. Police are investigating.


Va. governor announces special session on gun control

Posted on June 4, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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By Alan Suderman Associated Press

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is summoning lawmakers back to the state Capitol to consider a package of gun-control legislation, saying Friday's mass shooting in Virginia Beach calls for "votes and laws, not thoughts and prayers."

Northam also said Tuesday that he wants every state lawmaker go on record for or against his proposals during the special session this summer, rather than let leaders shield them from tough votes by killing them subcommittees.

"I ask that the members of the General Assembly engage in an open and transparent debate and that the bills brought before the legislature are put to a vote by the entire General Assembly," Northam said. "The nation will be watching."

The Democrat said in an Associated Press interview ahead of his announcement that he wants the Republican-controlled legislature to hear from the public about the need for "common-sense" laws. A top GOP lawmaker signaled Monday that he's open to a legislative debate, but doesn't expect Northam's bills to pass.

Speaking to a standing ovation from gun control advocates, state workers and elected officials, Northam said the massacre in Virginia Beach demands that lawmakers put saving lives before party doctrine.

"Our first responders knew what to do. They rushed to the sound of the gunfire. They responded in less than two minutes to the shooting. Our first responders acted to save lives, and indeed, they did save lives. Now, I'm calling on the elected officials of this commonwealth to become second responders. Your duty is clear: rush to the scene and put a stop to this violence," he said.

"Show Virginians that it doesn't matter what party you are in, we all our Virginians first, and we care about the safety and security of every Virginian no matter who they are or where they live," he added.

Virginia Beach city employee DeWayne Craddock used two semi-automatic handguns, a silencer and extended ammunition magazines on Friday to kill 12 people, all but one them colleagues he had worked with for years. Craddock was mortally wounded in an intense gunbattle with police.

Northam's bills include legislation that directly relates to Friday's shooting, such as a ban on silencers and high capacity ammunition magazines, as well as broadening the ability of local governments to limit guns in city buildings. But he said other recent shootings, including the death last month of a 9-year-old girl who was shot at a community cookout in Richmond, are also driving his call for a special session.

"It's an emergency here in Virginia, and it's time to take action," Northam told the AP. "Every one of these pieces of legislation will save lives."

Northam said he also wants votes on mandating universal background checks before gun purchases, limiting purchases to one handgun per month and a so-called red flag bill that would allow authorities to temporarily seize someone's guns if they are a shown to be threat to themselves or others.

The governor has long advocated for stricter gun control. He made the issue a top priority of his 2017 gubernatorial campaign, drawing from his experience as a pediatrician and Army doctor who has treated children and soldiers wounded by firearms.

Most of the legislation already proposed by Northam and other Democrats has failed in Virginia, where Republicans hold slim majorities in the House and Senate. This is a closely watched election year in the state, when all 140 legislative seats are up for grabs.

Virginia law doesn't give a governor any say in how a special session is conducted. While GOP Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment indicated Monday that there's some willingness to debate whether to ban large-capacity magazines, according to the Virginia Gazette, he told gun-control advocates outside his office on Monday that "nothing would have helped us in Virginia Beach."

Craddock appeared to have had no felony record, making him eligible to purchase guns. Government investigators identified two .45-caliber pistols used in the attack and all indications are that he purchased them legally in 2016 and 2018, said Ashan Benedict, the regional special agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Friday's shooting has been Northam's first major test since a scandal over a racist photo in his medical school yearbook nearly drove him from office four months ago. The governor has been active in helping coordinate the state's response and comforting victims, while also pressing the case for stricter gun control.

A top gun rights advocate denounced the special session as "political theater," and called it "pure baloney" that silencers mask the sound of gun shots. Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, said "there's really nothing other than allowing people to protect themselves until the police get there that would have worked."

In his AP interview, the governor flatly denied that he's "playing politics."

"I'm bringing people to the special session to save lives," Northam said.


Shift Briefing Series: How the Safety Priorities influence tactical decision-making

Posted on June 4, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By David Pearson

The Shift Briefing Series is designed to provide law enforcement officers with short training videos that will help make them smarter, safer and more efficient in daily operations and when responding to critical incidents. The videos address key components of the Top 20 Concepts, a class I created and have presented around the country since 2011. The class addresses 20 foundational concepts in law enforcement that are based in law, policy and ethics, are repeatable and defensible, and assist with critical incident decision-making. Group discussion questions are listed after each video to help solidify the topics and ensure the application is in line with your department’s mission and values.

This Shift Briefing video addresses one of the most important law enforcement concepts used by officers around the country, the Safety Priorities, sometimes referred to as the Priorities of Life: hostages, innocent citizens, LEO and the subject/suspect.

This concept is foundational to tactical decision-making and can be used to inform the decisions made during incident response. When to make entry into a house, whether to use chemical agents during crowd management, and how to act when responding to a suicidal subject are all decisions made easier through consideration of the Safety Priorities.

This video will help viewers understand the concept and how to properly apply it on the street. This concept should be understood by all personnel levels at your agency as it can drive education of the public, inform policy decisions and reduce liability risks.

Questions to consider

1. What is the difference between “value” and “priority”? Why is it important to know that difference when explaining this concept?

2. How can you use this concept to help educate the community where you work and what are the benefits from doing this education?

3. How are the Safety Priorities applied at a traffic stop, domestic violence call, barricaded subject, robbery in progress and hostage rescue? What other calls does your agency handle where the Safety Priorities would be applicable?

4. What can you do as a LEO to prepare yourself for the time when you are risking your life for someone who is a higher priority?

5. How do you use the Safety Priorities to help guide your decisions when addressing a suicidal subject call?

6. How are the Safety Priorities integrated into your department’s decision-making process, policies, tactics and procedures?

Next Shift Briefing: LE response to suicidal subjects


About the author David Pearson is a lieutenant with Fort Collins Police Services in Fort Collins, Colorado. He has been a police officer since 1990 and held several assignments as a sergeant and lieutenant. He has been a law enforcement instructor since 1996 and has taught a variety of topics to include officer safety, SWAT tactics, active shooter and incident command.

Since 2005, David has been an instructor for the National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA) and has taught classes on several disciplines. David’s focus has been in less lethal technology and tactics and he is the main instructor for the NTOA’s Less Lethal Instructor course. David has certified over 1,000 instructors in the United States and Canada in the less lethal course. Since 2013, he has served in the role of Less Lethal Section Chair for the NTOA.

In 2017, David started his company, Rocky Mountain Blue Line Consulting, LLC, and provides expert witness assistance and consulting. David has presented at the annual conferences for APCO, NSA, IACP, California Chiefs, Utah Chief’s and Utah Sheriff’s Association.

David is a two-time Medal of Valor recipient for his actions on patrol and SWAT. He also earned a Medal of Merit for his life-saving efforts during a major flood. He holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership.


What you can do when hitting “record” isn’t at the top of your list of concerns

Posted on June 3, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Sponsored by Utility, Inc.

By Laura Neitzel for PoliceOne BrandFocus

The scene is repeated in countless movies and TV shows: Good guy with his pistol – unholstered and at the ready – cautiously peers around a corner, prepared to defend his life when the outlaw draws his gun. In real life, in today’s environment, it’s rarely so clear cut.

Is unholstering of firearms a use of force?

While there is no national consensus on whether unholstering a firearm is considered a use of force, many law enforcement agencies would agree that as a matter of practice, it’s an action that should be taken infrequently and only when the situation clearly warrants.

Because “unholstering a gun” can be interpreted as “brandishing a weapon,” understanding what transpired in the moments before and when a gun is unholstered can be critically important in defending an officer against excessive use of force allegations or in providing transparency around controversial situations.

For this reason, many departments are adopting policies that restrict the unholstering of firearms and define circumstances in which unholstering is justified.

“Some police agencies have a policy that anytime a weapon is deployed, that is a use of force and it should be documented as such, both to record that data for review purposes and for being able to know and capture those incidents where use of force is being applied or potentially applied,” said Jason Dombkowski, retired chief of police of West Lafayette, Indiana, and director of law enforcement relations for Utility, Inc.

The obligation to record

Some agency policies require officers to start bodycam recordings anytime their firearm is unholstered in the line of duty (except in situations like training and disarming at the end of a shift).

In Decatur, Georgia, there are two types of known situations where a police officer would remove his or her firearm, says Sgt. Dan Bellis of the Decatur Police Department.

“One is if we have a cause to believe that there is going be a need for use of a deadly force because of a threat of great bodily harm, injury or death to ourselves or another,” he said. “The other type of situation would be during a felony traffic stop or when entering a building that has been burglarized and we’re searching the interior of the building for suspects.”

While recording policies are advisable and relatively easy to comply with in situations where the officer reasonably expects that a use of force might be necessary, there are other situations where it may be completely unexpected.

When use of force is unexpected

“We are a community-oriented policing department, so we patrol on foot and engage in the public regularly,” said Bellis. “In these cases, there’s no reason to have the body-worn cameras activated. That being said, we don’t know when an unexpected event might happen.”

It’s exactly for these unexpected situations that BodyWorn by Utility developed the Smart Holster Sensor technology.

“Those are the times where officers are under stress and they’re trying to take care of business. They may be at an escalating situation or potentially needing to save somebody’s life, including their own,” said Dombkowski. “The Smart Holster automatically triggers bodycam recording, as opposed to the officer having to be responsible in the heat of the moment to activate a piece of technology.”

Be proactive about protection

Decatur PD was one of the first agencies to sign on with the Smart Holster Sensor, not in response to any negative incident, but out of its mission to equip its officers with technology that will help them stay safe and foster a positive relationship with the community. Having embraced in-vehicle cameras, body-worn cameras and community policing ahead of many of its peer agencies, department leadership quickly realized the benefit of equipping all their patrol officers with the BodyWorn Smart Holster Sensor.

“The thing to remember about police officers is that, even though we go through a lot of training, we’re people as well,” said Bellis. “In a critical situation, we’re not going to be focused on turning the camera on, because we’re going to be focused on our movements, the other person’s movements and assessing the situation, all within a split second. Not having to think about turning a camera on is more helpful. That’s one less thing to think about.”

How it works

About the size of a piece of chewing gum, the Smart Holster Sensor attaches externally to the holster. When the firearm is unholstered, the sensor automatically commands the BodyWorn camera system to start recording. It also can send an alert to dispatch and nearby officers if it is the policy of the agency.

Every recording is automatically saved to a CJIS-compliant cloud environment, ensuring a clear chain of custody. The footage is automatically tagged with metadata such as date, time, location and even how the recording was started – whether by the officer, by the patrol car or the holster sensor.

When supervisors and other interested parties review the footage on Utility’s AVaiLWEB platform accessible via any web browser, they can automatically see exactly when the firearm was unholstered, what transpired during the full duration while the gun was unholstered and when it was re-holstered.

Customized to department policy

The Smart Holster Sensor integrates with the BodyWorn camera, and the recording function can be customized to each department’s policy. For example, Decatur PD’s camera system is configured to activate every time an officer leaves the patrol vehicle or activates emergency equipment.

“Whenever we’re actually encountering a high-risk situation or even just a routine situation of taking a report from a victim, we’re always recording,” said Bellis. “In the event we’re not recording because we’re out in the community, should we have to unholster our firearm, we don’t have to worry about activating the bodycam ­– it’s already configured to work like we need it to.”

The ability to configure the system according to department policy and needs is particularly useful because police agency policies can vary widely and the public is quick to criticize any police action. In a rural agency, a police officer may be making a traffic stop, alone, late at night. It might be completely permissible and reasonable for that officer to unholster his or her firearm and approach the vehicle with the weapon behind their leg, unseen, says Dombkowski.

If department policy does not require bodycam recording when the firearm is unholstered, the holster can still be configured to record audio and capture metadata indicating exactly when and where the firearm was unholstered. It also features pre-event recording so, depending on department policy, it can capture up to two minutes with audio and video to document events leading up to the unholstering of the officer’s firearm.

Capturing the officer’s perspective, automatically

There have been national incidences where the officer gets criticized for not recording an event,” said Bellis. “I think that the biggest takeaway from this is that an officer under a stressful situation doesn’t have to think about turning the recording device on. That’s the whole advantage of it.”

There are a hundred different valid reasons why an officer in the heat of a situation may not have recorded the incident, says Bellis.

“But, all those cast aside, the one thing that we know is that we don’t have to worry about the argument that the officer purposely did not turn it on, because it’s going to turn on automatically,” he said.


Program takes multi-faceted approach to active shooter training

Posted on June 3, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

The Office of Justice Programs' National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
Author: The Office of Justice Programs' National Institute of Justice (NIJ)

By Becky Lewis TechBeat Magazine

In the first few minutes of an active shooter incident, individuals at the scene face the threat alone, often unsure what to do. Hide? Run away? Counter the shooter? And what about helping the victims?

The First 12 Minutes, a multi-faceted training developed by the City of Falls Church, Va., provides training to administrators, teachers and school staff that addresses all of those areas, all within a three-hour window and all at no charge to the participating schools.

The program consists of 1.5-hour lecture portion and a second 1.5-hour section of hands-on training. During the lecture, representatives from the city’s emergency services provide historical background on active shooter incidents in the United States and discuss response options such as enhanced lockdown, evacuation and confronting the shooter. The hands-on portion splits participants into three rotating groups: one practices barricading doors with anything and everything within reach, one learns Stop the Bleed techniques to include tourniquets and packing wounds, and the third goes through two lockdown scenarios: the traditional lockdown where everyone moves to a corner, then another where participants work together to plan, swarm and attempt to stop the shooter.

“If you don’t start by giving them the data about why it’s important to think about, decide on and collaborate on a response, and why it’s important to provide immediate first aid, then they won’t buy into the hands-on portion,” says Tom Polera, city fire marshal and emergency manager. “If they understand why they’re doing something, they’re more likely to retain the knowledge.”

That’s the reason, he says, for running through the lockdown training twice: when the participants sit clustered in a corner, the “shooter” usually hits the entire group with simunition (nerf) projectiles. During the second run, the swarming tactics usually bring the shooter down with few casualties.

“That’s the true ‘ah-ha’ moment when they realize why they’re learning the importance of working together, deciding who’s going to grab at each limb, who’s going for the gun, and who’s going to throw things to distract the shooter,” Polera says. “And none of this is once and done. They need to continue to practice this way when they do lockdown drills in school. We try to keep the first aid simple but they need to practice it as well.”

In addition, the training also emphasizes the importance of clear and accurate messaging during an emergency situation. Often, Polera says, teachers and students only know that a lockdown has been called, and they don’t know why it’s being called. It could be because there was a bank robbery nearby or an active shooter in the building, and knowing that shooter’s location is also critical. If teachers know the shooter is on the opposite side of the building, they have the information they need to evacuate their students to safety: “It’s all about making an informed decision at the classroom level.”

Falls Church began implementing the training program in April 2018 and trained more than 500 participants in the first nine months. Polera became a certified instructor for a program that uses these principles and worked with other members of the city’s emergency services to develop The First 12 Minutes for use in local schools, government facilities, businesses, houses of worship, and more.

“The training doesn’t fit neatly into any one department, but requires cooperation from various types of emergency services, and by doing it this way, it also helps build a rapport between first responders and the community,” Polera says. The team uses feedback obtained during the training to constantly refine and improve The First 12 Minutes, and from this experience, Polera offers this advice to other jurisdictions looking to set up similar programs: Be sure the training fits into a reasonable timeframe and is comprehensive to incorporate the Stop the Bleed component.

“You hear a lot about other potential school safety solutions, but not a lot about training for teachers. Teachers are the first first responders and overwhelmingly, our teachers are thankful for being taught something empowering,” Polera says. “For anyone who has a hard time accepting it, I say this is the new normal and this is how we need to prepare for it.”

For more information, email Tom Polera here.


Atlanta PD pulls all officers from federal task forces

Posted on June 3, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Christian Boone The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ATLANTA — Atlanta police will no longer partner on task forces with the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration or U.S. Marshals because the federal agencies won’t allow officers to wear body cameras, the department said.

“The city believes that the public trust we lose from not wearing body cameras is not worth whatever gains we achieve by continuing to serve on these missions without the accountability that body cameras can provide,” said APD spokesman Carlos Campos, who said ending task force participation will not hinder efforts to combat drugs or collar fugitives. “We don’t have to be on a task force to go after gangs.”

In January, an Atlanta officer working with the FBI shot and killed a suspect who was hiding in a closet. Investigator Sung Kim was not wearing a body cam.

Suspect Jimmy Atchison was wanted for armed robbery when he fled to a friend’s apartment, where he was shot. Witnesses said Atchison, who had allegedly stolen a cellphone at gunpoint, was unarmed. No guns were recovered in the apartment.

APD has since expanded its body cam policy and now requires “basically anyone who does enforcement daily” to wear them, Campos said. About 1,200 have been issued to about two-thirds of the force, including the department’s fugitive unit.

Attorney Tanya Miller, who represents Atchison’s relatives, said the family applauds APD’s new policy.

“If Officer Kim was wearing a body cam we wouldn’t have all these unanswered questions about Jimmy’s death,” Miller said,” she said. “I can’t understand why the FBI would be against transparency.”

In a statement, FBI Special Agent in Charge Chris Hacker thanked Atlanta police for its participation and said the agencies will continue to work together in the future, if not on task forces.

“I want to assure the people of the city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia that the men and women of the FBI will continue to do their work diligently and with the utmost respect for adherence to the Constitution,” Hacker said. The statement did not address its policies on body cameras.

In 2016, members of a U.S. Marshals Regional Fugitive Task Force shot former Clark Atlanta University football player Jamarion Robinson 59 times. Officers had been trying to arrest Robinson for allegedly firing a gun at officers in a previous encounter when he was shot. A weapon found in the East Point apartment where Robinson died. He had struggled with schizophrenia.

None of the officers involved were wearing body cameras. In December, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard sued the U.S. Department of Justice, accusing federal authorities of hindering his investigation into Robinson’s death.

Howard has also expressed doubts about the scope of the FBI’s investigation into the January shooting. In March, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division announced an independent review of the FBI’s findings. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation also is investigating.

Howard offered effusive praise for Shields’ decision in a letter sent to the chief and shared with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“In Atlanta, a city steeped in civil rights tradition and a place which strives to follow the example set for us by the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., your decision to remove Atlanta police officers from federal task force operations for the sake of transparency and accountability should not be understated,” he wrote.

Calling it a “monumental moment in our city’s history,” Howard said Union City and South Fulton’s police chiefs support Shields’ position, as does Union City Mayor Vince Williams.

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©2019 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)


Ohio police release video of arrest of armed man after bystander video circulates

Posted on June 3, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By PoliceOne Staff

LANCASTER, Ohio — A police department released body camera footage of the apprehension of a man with a gun Sunday after witness video of the arrest circulated.

According to local news station WBNS, officers responded to a call of a distraught man with a pistol on Saturday evening.

When police arrived, the man fired a round before dropping his weapon within a few feet of him and kneeling to the ground, police report.

Video shows an officer forcing the man to the ground, a move that police say was to get the gun away from the suspect.

The man was taken to the hospital to treat his injuries then arrested. Charges against him are unknown.

Man w/Gun | Shots Fired Incident

Man w/Gun | Shots Fired Incident The Lancaster Police Department responded to a call in the 800 block of N. Columbus St. on Saturday evening. Officers were responding to a very tense and dangerous incident involving a distraught male subject with a pistol. The Lancaster Police Department is extremely thankful that the public in the area and the male subject in the video did not suffer any injuries. The male subject was taken into custody and appears totally unharmed after his arrest. He was transported to the hospital for treatment. The Chief of Police has decided to release a portion of our body cam video in the name of transparency. Our organization has policies in place to review any critical incident . We are currently working to guarantee that we have all the information surrounding this particular incident. Some facts about the video you will see: This subject is armed with a .38 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver as officers approach him. He fires one round as the officers arrive. The weapon was dropped into the grass/mulch within a few feet of where he kneels. Officers do not know what his intentions are as they approach. Officers do not know if someone else has been shot or injured before they arrive. The subject does not immediately comply with their commands to get face down on the ground. The officer who forces him to the ground is pushing him away from the weapon and kneels down to secure it. He clearly catches himself with his hands when an officer forces him to the ground.

Posted by Lancaster Police Department on Sunday, June 2, 2019


Fla. LEO struck, killed by van while training for memorial bike ride

Posted on June 3, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Lisa Maria Garza Orlando Sentinel

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — Volusia County Senior Deputy Frank Scofield was riding his bicycle Sunday morning, training for a memorial ride to honor 9/11 victims, when a van blew past a stop sign and hit him from behind.

The 58-year-old deputy from Port Orange was riding his bike north on County Road 415, near Pioneer Trail, when he was struck by 75-year-old Lake Helen resident Lajos Toth, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Scofield was taken to Halifax Health Medical Center, where he later died.

FHP is investigating the deadly crash and charges are pending against Toth, who was not injured in the collision, according to spokeswoman Lt. Kim Montes.

Sheriff Mike Chitwood told reporters at a press conference Sunday afternoon that Toth hit Scofield going 40 mph, causing a massive head injury that he never recovered from.

“The impact was so incredible that it broke his bike in two and ripped his seat post off,” Chitwood said.

Scofield was wearing a helmet, according to Montes.

The Navy veteran began his career with the Sheriff’s Office in 1995 and worked as a firearms instructor and member of the dive team and marine unit.

“When he shook your hand with those big hands of his, you knew he was your friend,” Chitwood said. “On the flip side of it, if you were breaking the law, you would also know he’s not the kind of guy you would want to come after you because he would come after you with everything that he had.”

Scofield was training for the memorial bike ride in New York with a retired Daytona Beach Police officer when the accident happened, according to Chitwood.

“He died doing what he loved,” Chitwood said. “He was passionate about doing the right thing and making a difference in this community – he was one of a kind.”

Update: It is with great sadness we announce Senior Deputy Frank Scofield succumbed to his injuries this morning. There...

Posted by Volusia County Deputies Association, Local 6035 on Sunday, June 2, 2019

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©2019 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)


NYPD chief who died of 9/11 related cancer remembered at street renaming

Posted on June 3, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Thomas Tracy New York Daily News

NEW YORK — An NYPD chief who died from cancer-related to Ground Zero was remembered Saturday when a Staten Island street was renamed in his honor.

Police Commissioner James O’Neill and NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea joined family members at the street renaming ceremony for former NYPD Chief of Detectives William Allee at the corner of Bascom Place and Collfield Ave. in Manor Heights, Staten Island.

Allee, 76, died from a 9/11 related leukemia in May 2018. He served 40 years with the NYPD and retired in 2003.

Allee had been the NYPD’s Chief of Detectives since 1997. Despite his rank, he “worked feverishly” in the rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero in the weeks after the 9/11 attacks and suffered from breathing problems as a result.

On May 10, the chief’s name was added to the NYPD’s Memorial Wall at police headquarters in Lower Manhattan along with two captains, four lieutenants, 14 detectives and 21 police officers who died of 9/11 related illnesses. They will posthumously receive the NYPD Distinguished Service medal during the department’s Medal Day ceremony on Tuesday.

Today the #NYPD joined family & friends who gathered to remember retired Chief of Detectives William Allee. During a street dedication ceremony, Bascom Place in Staten Island was named in his honor. Chief Allee passed away from illness related to September 11th. #NeverForget pic.twitter.com/MZPeUUp8Gx

— NYPD Special Ops (@NYPDSpecialops) June 1, 2019

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©2019 New York Daily News


Ga. officer saves Navy veteran from suicide attempt

Posted on June 2, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Kristal Dixon The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

SMYRNA, Ga. — A Smyrna police officer who is a U.S. Army veteran stopped a fellow veteran from killing himself Saturday.

Officer Daniel Sperano was working an off-duty job May 25 at RaceTrac at 1461 Veterans Memorial Highway in Mableton when he was told that a man was “acting strangely” on the bridge at Veterans Memorial Highway and Riverview Road at the Cobb-Fulton county line, Smyrna police said.

Sperano arrived at the scene and came face to face with a man who said “he wanted to die and was attempting to jump into the Chattahoochee River,” Smyrna police said.

Sperano grabbed the man, who pleaded with the officer “to let him die,” the department said. The officer struggled with the man, who identified himself as a United States Navy veteran, for more than three minutes.

Sperano, who is one of the department’s K-9 officers, was able to keep the Navy veteran subdued until more officers and medical personnel arrived to take over the incident.

Smyrna police said Sperano has been nominated for the department’s Medal of Honor and Life Saving awards for his actions.

Press Release SPD Officers saves US Navy Veterans Life On May 25, 2019, over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, K9...

Posted by Smyrna Police Department on Thursday, May 30, 2019

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©2019 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)


Man fatally shot after attempting to run over LEO while fleeing scene

Posted on June 2, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Matt Byrne Portland Press Herald, Maine

GORHAM, Maine — The search by police for a Standish man who eluded a state trooper in May during a car pursuit ended in gunfire Friday when he was shot and killed by a Gorham police officer.

Kyle Needham, 32, was shot by Gorham police Officer Dean Hannon, a 16-year veteran of the force, in the state’s third officer-involved shooting of the year, the Mane Attorney General’s Office said.

Needham was wanted on warrants, including for eluding a Maine State Police trooper during a car pursuit in York County last month, but it was unclear what brought Gorham police to the shopping plaza in Gorham Center where the shooting occurred or how they first came to interact with Needham.

No officers were hurt in the incident, which happened between 4 and 5 p.m. Friday. A woman who was with the man at the time of the shooting on Main Street also was unhurt, said Marc Malon, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office.

Hannon fired on Needham when it appeared he was about to run over an officer, according to Malon. It was unclear whether Hannon was the officer in danger of being struck by Needham’s truck, or whether it was another officer who appeared to be in danger.

Malon said Needham had used the truck to ram at least one police vehicle before he was killed.

There was little sign of the confrontation near the Burger King on Saturday, where a restaurant employee declined to comment about what happened. The confrontation occurred in a back parking lot next to the restaurant.

Needham’s father, Steve Needham, also declined to comment Saturday and said he needs to find out more about what happened to his son.

Hannon has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the attorney general’s investigation into whether the shooting was legally justified, which is standard practice in officer-involved shootings. Needham was shot as he attempted to escape from police in the truck, authorities said.

Needham was wanted on warrants, police said. State police asked for the public’s help locating Needham last month, after he led troopers on a high-speed pursuit through Hollis, they said. State police spokesman Steve McCausland confirmed Saturday that the man killed Friday is the same person they sought in the earlier pursuit.

At that time, Needham’s license was suspended as a habitual offender, and he was wanted on warrants for probation revocation and eluding law enforcement in connection with a previous car pursuit, police said.

During the car pursuit in Hollis, police said Needham was traveling with a woman, identified as Amanda Merrifield, 33, of Biddeford, who was also wanted for one count of failing to submit to arrest.

It was unknown Saturday whether the woman in the vehicle Friday was a different person. A message left for Merrifield’s family Saturday was not immediately returned.

Needham’s criminal history stretches to 2006, and he spent multiple stints in jail and prison. All of his convictions are for property crimes that did not include violence committed against a person. The most serious convictions include two counts of burglary, multiple theft convictions, felony drug possession, and in 2017 he was convicted of eluding an officer, which garnered him a 14-month prison sentence.

Needham’s driving history is also deep with violations, including multiple tickets for speeding and convictions for attaching false plates, failure to provide proof of insurance, driving after suspension, driving to endanger, failing to show a valid inspection sticker, and eluding an officer.

His license was most recently revoked in May 2018 for three years, and he would have been eligible to drive again in May 2021.

Hannon has used deadly force once before in Maine. In 2007, he was among officers from several towns who were involved in a car pursuit that followed a shooting in Saco. In that incident, Hannon fired on the suspect vehicle as the pursuit came to an end, believing he was under fire from the suspect, who was armed with an AK-47-style assault rifle.

Hannon fired at the suspect’s vehicle three times, and the use of deadly force was deemed justified. The gunshots did not hit the suspect, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the Attorney General’s Office later determined.

Police may use deadly force if they have an actual, reasonable belief that deadly force is being threatened against them or someone else, and that using deadly force is necessary to counter the imminent threat.

The Attorney General’s Office investigates all uses of deadly force by law enforcement officers. The judgment is based on the totality of the circumstances, from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene.

Since 1990, the Attorney General’s Office has investigated more than 150 police-involved shootings in Maine, and it has never found any of them to be unjustified.

Comments are disabled on some stories about sensitive topics.

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©2019 the Portland Press Herald (Portland, Maine)

Wanted Standish man was killed in Gorham police shooting, authorities say

Matt Byrne

Portland Press Herald, Maine

(TNS)

The search by police for a Standish man who eluded a state trooper in May during a car pursuit ended in gunfire Friday when he was shot and killed by a Gorham police officer.

Kyle Needham, 32, was shot by Gorham police Officer Dean Hannon, a 16-year veteran of the force, in the state’s third officer-involved shooting of the year, the Mane Attorney General’s Office said.

Needham was wanted on warrants, including for eluding a Maine State Police trooper during a car pursuit in York County last month, but it was unclear what brought Gorham police to the shopping plaza in Gorham Center where the shooting occurred or how they first came to interact with Needham.

No officers were hurt in the incident, which happened between 4 and 5 p.m. Friday. A woman who was with the man at the time of the shooting on Main Street also was unhurt, said Marc Malon, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office.

Hannon fired on Needham when it appeared he was about to run over an officer, according to Malon. It was unclear whether Hannon was the officer in danger of being struck by Needham’s truck, or whether it was another officer who appeared to be in danger.

Malon said Needham had used the truck to ram at least one police vehicle before he was killed.

There was little sign of the confrontation near the Burger King on Saturday, where a restaurant employee declined to comment about what happened. The confrontation occurred in a back parking lot next to the restaurant.

Needham’s father, Steve Needham, also declined to comment Saturday and said he needs to find out more about what happened to his son.

Hannon has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the attorney general’s investigation into whether the shooting was legally justified, which is standard practice in officer-involved shootings. Needham was shot as he attempted to escape from police in the truck, authorities said.

Needham was wanted on warrants, police said. State police asked for the public’s help locating Needham last month, after he led troopers on a high-speed pursuit through Hollis, they said. State police spokesman Steve McCausland confirmed Saturday that the man killed Friday is the same person they sought in the earlier pursuit.

At that time, Needham’s license was suspended as a habitual offender, and he was wanted on warrants for probation revocation and eluding law enforcement in connection with a previous car pursuit, police said.

During the car pursuit in Hollis, police said Needham was traveling with a woman, identified as Amanda Merrifield, 33, of Biddeford, who was also wanted for one count of failing to submit to arrest.

It was unknown Saturday whether the woman in the vehicle Friday was a different person. A message left for Merrifield’s family Saturday was not immediately returned.

Needham’s criminal history stretches to 2006, and he spent multiple stints in jail and prison. All of his convictions are for property crimes that did not include violence committed against a person. The most serious convictions include two counts of burglary, multiple theft convictions, felony drug possession, and in 2017 he was convicted of eluding an officer, which garnered him a 14-month prison sentence.

Needham’s driving history is also deep with violations, including multiple tickets for speeding and convictions for attaching false plates, failure to provide proof of insurance, driving after suspension, driving to endanger, failing to show a valid inspection sticker, and eluding an officer.

His license was most recently revoked in May 2018 for three years, and he would have been eligible to drive again in May 2021.

Hannon has used deadly force once before in Maine. In 2007, he was among officers from several towns who were involved in a car pursuit that followed a shooting in Saco. In that incident, Hannon fired on the suspect vehicle as the pursuit came to an end, believing he was under fire from the suspect, who was armed with an AK-47-style assault rifle.

Hannon fired at the suspect’s vehicle three times, and the use of deadly force was deemed justified. The gunshots did not hit the suspect, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the Attorney General’s Office later determined.

Police may use deadly force if they have an actual, reasonable belief that deadly force is being threatened against them or someone else, and that using deadly force is necessary to counter the imminent threat.

The Attorney General’s Office investigates all uses of deadly force by law enforcement officers. The judgment is based on the totality of the circumstances, from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene.

Since 1990, the Attorney General’s Office has investigated more than 150 police-involved shootings in Maine, and it has never found any of them to be unjustified.

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©2019 the Portland Press Herald (Portland, Maine)


Did ‘silencer’ make a difference in Va. mass shooting?

Posted on June 2, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Associated Press

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The shooter who killed 12 people in a government office building in Virginia Beach used a firearm equipped with a suppressor that muffles the sound of gunfire. It's the nightmare scenario that gun-control advocates have warned about amid efforts in recent years to ease restrictions on the devices, which they say can help shooters escape detection and inflict more carnage.

But gun-rights advocates and most law enforcement experts say DeWayne Craddock's use of a suppressor likely had no bearing on his ability to kill so many people in so little time Friday.

Virginia is among 42 states that allow residents to purchase and possess suppressors, though some cities and towns — including Virginia Beach — prohibit them.

Known colloquially as a "silencer," a suppressor was attached to the .45-caliber handgun that police say the shooter used to kill a dozen people on three floors of the building where he worked before police closed in and, after a protracted gunbattle, fatally shot him.

That could at least partially explain why survivors of the attack said they were caught off guard and initially puzzled by what was happening. One described hearing something that sounded like a nail gun.

"This is the concern we were talking about when Republicans were trying to deregulate silencers as 'ear protection,'" said David Chipman, a retired agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and now the senior policy adviser with Giffords, a gun-control lobbying group.

"Especially on a handgun, a suppressor will distort the sound in such a way that it would not immediately be recognizable as gunfire to people who sort of know what that sound is."

Others say the shooter's use of a silencer was less of a factor in enabling him to carry out the rampage than was his familiarity with the building and even possibly his military background, both of which may have given him a tactical advantage.

"A suppressor does not alter the lethality of the weapon at all. All it does is just limit the noise it makes," said Gregory Shaffer, a retired FBI agent who was a member of the bureau's elite Hostage Response Team. "It doesn't increase the rate of fire. It doesn't do anything other than make it more comfortable to shoot because it's not so loud."

It's not immediately clear how long Friday's attack lasted, or how much time passed before the first police officers arrived. The police department is in the same complex as the building where the shooting took place.

It also wasn't yet known how Craddock got the suppressor he used on his handgun, though authorities have said he legally purchased multiple firearms recently.

Authorities have three days to conduct a background check when someone is buying a firearm. But suppressors are regulated by the National Firearms Act, which also governs the sale of machine guns, and the extensive background check can take upward of eight months or more before the sale can go through.

Despite the barriers, suppressors have gained in popularity. In 2008, when West Valley City, Utah-based SilencerCo was formed, about 18,000 of the devices were being sold each year. The company, which controls an estimated 70 percent of the market, sells roughly that many each month.

Nicknamed "cans," the devices were invented in the early 1900s by MIT-educated Hiram Percy Maxim, who also invented a muffler for gasoline engines. They were brought under NFA regulations after Depression-era game wardens expressed concern that hunters would use them to poach.

A suppressor does not eliminate the sound a gun makes but generally diminishes it by 20 to 35 decibels, leaving most guns still louder than your average ambulance siren.

"Clearly this was an individual who did understand and have experience with firearms and had given potentially some forethought into the advantage that using a suppressor would offer him, particularly the suppressor coupled with the caliber of weapon he was using," said Thor Eells, executive director of the National Tactical Officers Association and a retired law enforcement officer with the Colorado Springs Police Department, where he oversaw a SWAT division.

Some have questioned how secure the building was where police say the shooter and all but one of his victims worked. A government facility, the building is open to the public, but security passes are required to enter inner offices, conference rooms and other work areas, officials said.

As a current employee, the shooter would have had such a pass and would have known the floor plan, areas that were "easy to control," where the best places to hide were and how to move quickly from one area to another, Eells said.

While responding police might have had some familiarity with the building, it's very possible the shooter knew it a lot better after working there for years.

His protracted gunfight with law enforcement officers would indicate that he "was in a place that was difficult for officers to access or engage," Eells said.

"Whether that was happenstance or intentional, it's too early to tell."


Fla. LEO killed in rollover crash

Posted on June 2, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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By PoliceOne Staff

SOUTH BAY, Fla. — A Florida lieutenant was killed in a vehicle crash on Wednesday.

According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, Lt. Joseph Johnson was driving around 10 p.m. when his vehicle drove off a roadway and overturned into an adjacent canal.

First responders were able to remove Johnson from the vehicle and transport him to a local hospital, but he succumbed to his injuries around midnight.

Johnson was a U.S. Army veteran and served with the Seminole Police Department for 10 years. He survived by his wife, two children, three grandkids and three siblings.

Our hearts are heavy over the tremendous loss the Seminole Police Department suffered this week. Lieutenant Joseph P....

Posted by Florida Police Chiefs Association, (FPCA) on Friday, May 31, 2019


Some of the most recent deadly US mass shootings

Posted on June 1, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

A longtime city worker opened fire Friday in a building that houses Virginia Beach government offices, killing 12 people and wounding six others.

A list of some of the deadliest mass shootings in the United States in the last two years:

— Feb. 15, 2019: Gary Martin killed five co-workers at a manufacturing plant in Aurora, Illinois, during a disciplinary meeting where he was fired. He wounded one other employee and five of the first police officers to arrive at the suburban Chicago plant before he was killed during a shootout police.

— Nov. 7, 2018: Ian David Long killed 12 people at a country music bar in Thousand Oaks, California, before taking his own life. Long was a Marine combat veteran of the war in Afghanistan.

— Oct. 27, 2018: Robert Bowers is accused of opening fire at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, during Shabbat morning services, killing 11 and injuring others. It's the deadliest attack on Jews in the U.S. in history.

— June 28, 2018: Jarrod Ramos shot through the windows of the Capital Gazette offices in Annapolis, Maryland, before turning the weapon on employees there, killing five at The Capital newspaper. Authorities say Ramos had sent threatening letters to the newspaper prior to the attack.

— May 18, 2018: Dimitrios Pagourtzis began shooting during an art class at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas. The 17-year-old killed eight students and two teachers and 13 others were wounded. Explosive were found at the school and off campus.

— Feb. 14, 2018: Nikolas Cruz shot and killed 17 students and staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. It surpassed Columbine High School as the deadliest shooting at a high school in U.S. history.

— Nov. 5, 2017: Devin Patrick Kelley, who had been discharged from the Air Force after a conviction for domestic violence, used an AR-style firearm to shoot up a congregation at a small church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, killing more than two dozen.

— Oct. 1, 2017: Stephen Paddock opened fire on an outdoor music festival on the Las Vegas Strip from the 32nd floor of a hotel-casino, killing 58 people and wounding more than 500. SWAT teams with explosives then stormed his room and found he had killed himself.


San Francisco police got a warrant to search journalist’s phone months before controversial raid

Posted on June 1, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Rick Hurd East Bay Times

SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco police department obtained a warrant to search the phone of the freelance journalist at the center of a controversy over a leaked report, and were authorized to conduct monitoring on the device months before a raid on his home and office, documents released Friday showed.

In a statement emailed to this newspaper Friday, an attorney for the journalist, Bryan Carmody, accused police of obtaining the warrant illegally. Police raided Carmody’s home earlier this month after unflattering reports about late San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi were leaked to Carmody, who in turn sold them to news stations.

Adachi died in February and was a staunch critic of police.

“Mr. Carmody received today a previously undisclosed search warrant obtained secretly and illegally by the San Francisco Police Department on March 1, 2019,” Carmody’s lawyer, Ben Berkowitz said in the statement. “The SFPD appears to have used the illegal warrant to spy on Bryan’s movements, phone calls and communications.”

Late Friday afternoon, Police Chief Bill Scott announced that he has reached out to outside agencies to take over the investigation “into the unauthorized release of the Jeff Adachi police report.”

“At the request of San Francisco Mayor London Breed, we are seeking an independent, impartial investigation by a separate investigatory body,” Scott said.

The case has generated controversy because California has a shield law that protects journalists from being bullied by police into revealing confidential sources.

“This is an alarming and deeply disturbing attack on the free press in an attempt to unmask Mr. Carmody’s confidential source,” Berkowitz said. “The warrant provided for ongoing surveillance of a journalist. The SFPD’s actions are plainly illegal under the First Amendment and California’s Shield Law. This is outrageous conduct by the SFPD. We are calling on city officials to hold the SFPD accountable.”

Scott addressed the shield law in his statement.

“I am specifically concerned by a lack of due diligence by department investigators in seeking search warrants and appropriately addressing Mr. Carmody’s status as a member of the news media,” Scott said. “This has raised important questions about our handling of the case, and whether the California shield law was violated.”

Scott also said the department will continue its own investigation into the obtaining of the warrant.

“I am committed to leading a department that is transparent, accountable and reflects the values of [San Francisco]. The residents … our mayor and city leaders, news media and the hardworking men and women of the police department deserve better. We understand that faith in the SFPD has been shaken, and we will work hard to restore it.”

Scott last week apologized for the raid, calling it improper. Days earlier, he announced that Carmody was under criminal investigation for conspiring with a police department employee to steal a report about Adachi, saying Carmody “crossed a line.”

Scott made those comments hours after agreeing to return the equipment from Adachi that police seized in the raid.

After Scott’s reversal and apology, the San Francisco Police Officers Association called for his resignation.

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©2019 the Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.)


Ill. poised to be 11th state to legalize marijuana use

Posted on June 1, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois is likely to become the 11th state to allow small amounts of marijuana for recreational use after the Democratic-controlled House on Friday sent a legalization plan to Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who campaigned on the issue.

Pritzker called for legalization in his campaign for governor, arguing for its tax-revenue potential and for freeing police to enforce more serious crimes

Those 21 and older would be able to buy marijuana at licensed dispensaries beginning next year under the legislation approved on a vote of 66-47. Residents could possess up to 1 ounce (30 grams) and non-residents could have 15 grams.

Illinois would become the second state to endorse the idea through its legislature, following Vermont last year. Ten states and the District of Columbia have dropped pot prohibitions, mostly through ballot initiatives.

But the Illinois plan also became a social justice initiative as black lawmakers and activists stepped in to see that legalization reversed decades of inordinate treatment of minorities in narcotics crackdowns. The legislation provides for scrubbing of past low-level criminal convictions and boosts minority involvement in a nascent industry.

"It is time to hit the 'reset' button on the War on Drugs," the proposal's sponsor, Chicago Democratic Rep. Kelly Cassidy, said. "We have an opportunity today to set the gold standard for a regulated market that centers on equity and repair."

Pritzker called for legalization in his campaign for governor, arguing for its tax-revenue potential and for freeing police to enforce more serious crimes. He claimed there would be $170 million in licensing fees in the first year and a fully established industry could produce up to $1 billion annually in state tax revenue. But Cassidy said Friday the first year's take would be $58 million and the state could expect $500 million in five years.

The vote came on the last day of the General Assembly's spring session, which got extended in part because of the 3 ½-hour marijuana debate. House leaders, noting the "volume of workload," announced that session would continue at least through Sunday. The Senate had not announced schedule changes.

Legislation after May 31 requires three-fifths majority approval. But Democrats hold supermajorities in both chambers of the General Assembly, allowing Pritzker to take office in January with an expansive agenda following four years of stalemate between legislative leaders and Pritzker's vanquished predecessor, Republican Bruce Rauner.

The marijuana measure allows the governor to pardon anyone with records of convictions for possession of 30 grams or less. It eases record-clearing for possession up to one pound (500 grams) and some intent-to-deliver convictions. Minority-owned businesses would be given advantages in bidding for lucrative state licenses and offered low-interest loans to compete.

"The state of Illinois just made history, legalizing adult-use cannabis with the most equity-centric approach in the nation," Pritzker said in a statement. "This will have a transformational impact on our state, creating opportunity in the communities that need it most and giving so many a second chance."

Both sides in the debate traded summaries of studies that differ on the impact of using the psychoactive drug, with opponents claiming it's a gateway to stronger drugs and that it can have ill effects, including producing psychosis.

"No matter how you package this, whether it's revenue, or it's criminal justice reform, or it's just saying that people are smoking it anyway, so just give up, I can pretty much guarantee you where we're going to be in 10 years ... and it's not going to be good," said Democratic Rep. Anthony DeLuca of Chicago Heights.

He then produced an egg and cracked it into a frying pan, recreating a famous 1980s public service announcement which suggested the frying egg represents "your brain on drugs."

Originally intending to let anyone grow five marijuana plants at home for personal consumption, law enforcement opposition prompted Cassidy to restrict the five-plant home-grow limit only to qualified medical-marijuana patients.

Private property owners could restrict use. Landlords could ban marijuana on their property. And employers would still be allowed to maintain "zero tolerance" policies toward marijuana use and the workplace.

In other work, lawmakers were crafting a spending plan of about $39 billion and a $41.5 billion state construction program. It looked as if revenue for a building program would depend on a massive expansion of casino gambling, which itself appeared to be the means for resuscitating a dormant proposal to legalize sports betting.

Statutory protections for abortion in the face of strict restrictions on the practice in Republican-led states have House OK and await Senate action.


Officials ID Va. gunman as long-time city employee

Posted on June 1, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The gunman who killed 12 people in a Virginia Beach municipal building was identified by police Saturday as a 15-year city employee who had served in the military and was described by neighbors as quiet and rarely smiling.

Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cervera identified the gunman as DeWayne Craddock, who was employed as an engineer with the city's public utilities department. Cervera declined to comment on a motive for Friday's rampage that ended with Craddock dying in a gun battle with police.

Authorities used a Saturday morning news conference to focus on the victims, saying 11 of them worked for the city. Another victim was a contractor trying to get a permit. They projected photos on a screen and gave each victim's name along with biographical details.

"They leave a void that we will never be able to fill," said City Manager Dave Hansen.

Hansen said that chaplains and family assistance workers worked overnight to notify family members of the dead, which he described as "the most difficult task anyone will ever have to do."

The 11 city employees who died were identified as Laquita C. Brown of Chesapeake, Tara Welch Gallagher of Virginia Beach, Mary Louise Gayle of Virginia Beach, Alexander Mikhail Gusev of Virginia Beach, Katherine A. Nixon of Virginia Beach, Richard H. Nettleton of Norfolk, Christopher Kelly Rapp of Powhatan, Ryan Keith Cox of Virginia Beach, Joshua A. Hardy of Virginia Beach, Michelle "Missy" Langer of Virginia Beach and Robert "Bobby" Williams of Chesapeake. The 12th victim, Herbert "Bert" Snelling of Virginia Beach, was a contractor filling a permit.

Authorities have said the gunman opened fire with a handgun in the municipal building Friday afternoon, killing 12 people on three floors and sending terrified co-workers scrambling for cover before police shot and killed him following a "long gun battle." Four other people were wounded in Friday's shooting, including a police officer whose bulletproof vest saved his life, police have said.

Police have said the suspect was armed with a .45-caliber handgun. Cervera said Saturday that more weapons were found at the scene and at his home, but declined to elaborate.

Craddock, 40, was a professional engineer who had graduated from Denbigh High School in nearby Newport News in 1996 and joined the Army National Guard, according to a newspaper clip from the time. He received basic military training and advanced individual training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He later graduated from Old Dominion University with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering. Before going to work in Virginia Beach, he worked for a private engineering firm in Hampton Roads.

Craddock appears to have had no felony record, which would have made him eligible to purchase firearms.

People who live near Craddock said police swarmed the small neighborhood of modest townhomes in Virginia Beach on Friday where some said he had lived for at least 10 years.

Several neighbors said Craddock was clean cut, a member of the neighborhood association board and spent time lots of time at the gym. But they also said he mostly kept to himself, especially after his wife left him some number of years ago.

Angela Scarborough, who lives in the neighborhood, said "he was very quiet . he would just wave."

She said she knew his wife, but she left some time ago. "She just left," Scarborough said. "Didn't let us know or anything."

"I'm very saddened because this is a great neighborhood," Scarborough said. "It's very sad to know that that's the way he decided to resolve the situation. It's just something I can't believe."

She added: "I would speak to him and he would speak back, but conversation-wise, I never had a conversation with him."

Cassetty Howerin, 23, who lived under Craddock, was visibly shaken upon learning from reporters that police said he was behind the shooting.

"That could have easily been me," she said.

Howerin said Craddock had cameras at his home monitoring two nice cars parked out front, including what appeared to be a Mustang. But she said she never saw him bring anyone over. She never saw him come home with groceries.

"He never really cracked a smile," she said.

She said he seemed to be up at all hours of the night, walking around his apartment and sometimes dropping heavy things on the floor above her apartment. She also said that he was "jacked" from spending a lot of time at the gym.


12 people killed in Va. shooting, suspect dead

Posted on June 1, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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By Ben Finley Associated Press

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — A longtime city employee opened fire in a municipal building in Virginia Beach on Friday, killing 12 people on three floors and sending terrified co-workers scrambling for cover before police shot and killed him following a "long gun-battle," authorities said.

Four other people were wounded in the shooting, including a police officer whose bulletproof vest saved his life, said Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cervera. The city's visibly shaken mayor, Bobby Dyer, called it "the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach."

The shooting happened shortly after 4 p.m. when the veteran employee of the Public Utilities Department entered a building in the city's Municipal Center, and "immediately began to indiscriminately fire upon all of the victims," Cervera said. Authorities did not release the suspect's name, instead choosing to focus on the victims during a news conference.

Police entered the building and got out as many employees as they could, then exchanged fire with the suspect, who was armed with a .45 caliber handgun, the chief said.

Police initially said the gunman shot and killed 11 people, including one who was found inside a vehicle outside the municipal building. Cervera later said one more died on the way to the hospital.

The shooting sent shock waves through Virginia Beach, the state's largest city and a popular vacation spot in southeastern Virginia. The building where the attack took place is in a suburban complex miles away from the high-rise hotels along the beach and the downtown business area.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement he was devastated by the "unspeakable, senseless violence," and is offering the state's full support to survivors and relatives of the victims.

"That they should be taken in this manner is the worst kind of tragedy," the governor said during the news conference.

The White House said President Donald Trump had been briefed and was monitoring the situation.

Megan Banton, an administrative assistant who works in the building where the shooting happened, said she heard gunshots, called 911 and barricaded herself and about 20 colleagues inside an office, pushing a desk against a door.

"We tried to do everything we could to keep everybody safe," she said. "We were all just terrified. It felt like it wasn't real, like we were in a dream. You are just terrified because all you can hear is the gunshots."

She texted her mom, telling her that there was an active shooter in the building and she and others were waiting for police.

"Thank God my baby is OK," Banton's mother, Dana Showers, said.

At a nearby middle school, friends and relatives were reuniting with loved ones who were in the building when the shooting happened. They included Paul Swain, 50, who said he saw his fiancee from across the parking lot, clearly in an agitated state.

"I think she knew some of the people," he said.

Outside the school, Cheryl Benn, 65, waited while her husband, David, a traffic engineer with the city who was in the building where the shooting happened, gave a written statement to detectives.

She said her husband initially called her from a barricaded room and said it sounded as if someone had been working with a nail gun. Then he saw the bodies.

"This is unbelievable for Virginia Beach," Cheryl Benn said. "By and large, it's a pretty calm and peaceful place to live."


11 people killed, 6 injured in shooting at Va. municipal center; suspect dead

Posted on May 31, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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By Ben Finley Associated Press

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — A longtime, disgruntled city employee opened fire at a municipal building in Virginia Beach on Friday, killing 11 people before police fatally shot him, authorities said.

Six other people were wounded in the shooting, including a police officer whose bulletproof vest saved his life, said Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cervera.

Five patients were being treated at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital and a sixth was being transferred to the Trauma Center at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, Sentara Healthcare tweeted.

The shooter opened fire in Building 2 of the municipal center, which is adjacent to City Hall. The building houses the city's public works, public utilities and planning departments, according to City Councilwoman Barbara Henley, who arrived at City Hall building about 4 p.m. Friday just after the shooting.

Megan Banton, an administrative assistant who works in the building where the shooting happened, said she heard gunshots, called 911 and barricaded a door.

"We tried to do everything we could to keep everybody safe," she said. "We were all just terrified. It felt like it wasn't real, like we were in a dream. You are just terrified because all you can hear is the gunshots."

She said she texted her mom, telling her that there was an active shooter in the building and she and others were waiting for police. Banton works in an office of about 20 people that is part of the public works department.

"Thank God my baby is OK," Banton's mother, Dana Showers, said.

Cervera identified the shooter as a disgruntled employee of the Public Utilities Department. He did not release his name.

Christina Pullen, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Norfolk, said the bureau is assisting.

BREAKING: 11 victims killed in Virginia Beach mass shooting

BREAKING on NBC News Now: 11 victims killed in Virginia Beach mass shooting; the suspected shooter, who is also dead, was a current employee; 1 officer was shot but saved by protective vest. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/suspect-custody-active-shooter-situation-virginia-beach-n1012646

Posted by NBC News on Friday, May 31, 2019


Police: Shooting at Va. municipal center results in ‘multiple injuries’

Posted on May 31, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — At least one shooter wounded multiple people at a municipal center in Virginia Beach on Friday, according to police, who said a suspect has been taken into custody and they believe there was only one shooter.

At least one victim was taken to the Sentara Princess Anne Hospital and another was brought to Virginia Beach General Hospital, Sentara spokesman Dale Gauding told The Virginian-Pilot .

There was no immediate word on the extent of injuries.

Christina Pullen, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Norfolk, said the bureau is responding to assist Virginia Beach police. She did not have specifics on how many people were hurt.

A police spokesman told the newspaper the shooter opened fire in Building 2 of the municipal center, which is adjacent to City Hall.

This is a breaking story. Information will be updated when available.


Photo of the week: In loving memory…

Posted on May 31, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

PoliceOne Members
Author: PoliceOne Members

This week's photo comes from Officer Ashley Wilson of the Gwinnett County Police Department in Georgia. Pictured is Wilson finishing her rookie ride with the Police Unity Tour and seeing her partner's, Officer Antwan Toney, name on the National Memorial for the first time. Thank you for your service!

Calling all police photographers! PoliceOne needs pictures of you in action or training. Submit a photo — it could be selected as our Photo of the Week! Be sure to include your name, department information and address (including city, state and ZIP code) where we can reach you — Photo of the Week winners have a chance to win a PoliceOne.com T-shirt!


The difference between content-driven and problem-based learning

Posted on May 31, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Author: Policing Matters Podcast

Download this week's episode on iTunes, SoundCloud or via RSS feed

During the annual conference of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA) in St. Louis, Policing Matters podcast co-host Doug Wyllie roamed the hallways and ran into countless law enforcement trainers and experts, some of whom were willing to sit down and talk about what they're teaching and what they're learning.

In this podcast segment, Doug sits down once again with Dan Green to continue the discussion about FTOs and the difference between content-driven and problem-based learning.

LEARN MORE

How the FTO's teaching role differs from academy instruction

Why you should give your police trainees problems, not solutions

Curriculum development for law enforcement: Community-oriented policing and Andragogy


Don’t be a drag: Considerations when attempting to control subjects inside a vehicle

Posted on May 31, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Author: Policing Matters Podcast

By Sergeant (Ret.) Robert E. Bemis

It happens more often than you think, and a simple internet search will reveal the frequency. It is a rapidly developing situation that can lead to officer injury yet may not be initially considered as a threat. It occurs when a law enforcement officer attempts to restrain or arrest a subject seated inside a vehicle and is subsequently dragged alongside the vehicle as it goes into motion.

A fair number of officers are injured annually when reaching into a vehicle to attempt to remove an occupant or prevent flight. Others have been hurt when they were close enough to the vehicle to be either physically held by one of the occupants or become entangled on a portion of the vehicle as it is driven from the scene.

At the core of police work is the internal drive to catch violators of the law. How we go about getting a suspect into custody is situational. Our desired goal should always be to gain compliance verbally, but we know that on occasion, control will have to be achieved by physical means. Of course, going hands on carries with it a certain amount of risk to the officer, but with training, sound tactics and common-sense thinking, our risk can be reduced. The key to high performance almost always can be found in the mind of the officer on the scene.

Why officers need to work through the “what ifs”

When training law enforcement students for the street, I’ve stressed the importance of mentally considering the “what ifs” in a given scenario and how you would respond. Working through sudden changes in a fictitious situation might help you approach real-life incidents with a more common-sense solution, possibly overriding the tendency to react impulsively.

Some would argue that if we don’t train officers in vehicle removal techniques, it impedes an officer’s ability to arrest a non-compliant subject. While I agree that it is important to train the tactic of removing an arrestee seated in a vehicle, I also feel it is critical to balance the decision to use such a tactic against the totality of the circumstances. Questions to be considered as you ponder such a move include:

What is the objective you are trying to accomplish at that very moment? What options are available to you prior to “breaking the plane” of the interior of the vehicle? Does that option make sense tactically?

We exist in a world of moments where we need to constantly search for potential safety-related “red flags.” In many violent encounters, the subject gives pre-attack cues either verbally or non-verbally. As these indicators begin to build, so does the danger. When that danger presents itself, officers may only have fractions of seconds to choose a response. In the potential chaos that follows, how do we avoid inadvertently placing ourselves at greater risk of injury by acting out of emotion instead of training?

The compliance baseline

During a vehicle stop, officers can begin to evaluate safety risks within the first few minutes of contact with the operator by setting a compliance “baseline.” All decisions and actions moving forward are evaluated by the subject’s initial willingness to comply with the officer’s directions. Every subsequent action (or failure to act) potentially moves the level of danger off the baseline.

When debriefing students at the conclusion of scenario training, I like to take a few minutes to “walk” officers through this concept. I identify the initial moment of officer/subject contact during the incident and help them to use that to establish their baseline. I then guide them through the events that follow, stopping at each danger cue that may (or may not) have been perceived. Each time I ask the officer: “Did the danger level go down, stay the same, or go up? And then this happened….” This exercise helps students evaluate if they used the correct force option, or if they need to improve their tactics.

One of the simplest methods to set the compliance baseline on your approach is to request that the driver turn the vehicle wheels toward the non-traffic side of the berm and turn off the engine. Now envision what you would do if the operator refused. Has your danger level gone down, stayed the same, or gone up? Non-compliance could indicate that your violator does not want to give up the ability to flee.

How to respond to non-compliance

When it becomes clear there is a certain level of non-compliance from your subject, what’s next? It’s important to act based on sound tactics instead of an emotional response. Consider the following:

What is the reason for the stop/investigation? What is the severity of the crime? Is the person under arrest? Did I call for back-up? Can I wait? What do I see? Are there multiple occupants, contraband and/or weapons? Can the vehicle move right now? Is the vehicle engine running and is it in gear? How can I gain access to the subject? Will I have to open a door or go through a window? If I must use force to enter, how long will that take? Where am I standing? Can I get struck or caught on the vehicle if it suddenly moves?

Use the answers to these questions to form your response. If there is an opportunity to quickly seize the subject and remove that person without the vehicle going into motion, make the decision and commit. If all else fails, immediately disengage, seek cover and revert to your training in high-risk stops.

Beyond the traffic stop

Similar injuries occur to officers who are attempting to extricate persons following a pursuit. When the pursuit stops, either by crash or surrender of the operator, how many of us make that conscious decision to close the gap and forcefully remove the suspect(s) from the vehicle? Before you made that decision, were you certain that the vehicle was immobilized? On far too many occasions, we’ve seen pursuits temporarily stop, only to resume when the driver sees an opening. It could be at this point that an officer is struck and/or dragged.

Never place yourself in a position directly in front of, or to the rear of a vehicle that could go into motion. Aside from the immediate personal danger you could be in, think about what you may have to do to stop the vehicle. Would deadly force be an appropriate option? Consider the impact of your tactics on other officers at the scene. Will they be forced to act to prevent injury to you? Will any of these decisions withstand scrutiny later?

Remove the Emotion

We know that during high-stress situations a lot of things happen inside your brain. The physiologic changes that occur can have a direct impact on perception and motor skill performance. Anger and frustration can be factors that fuel our physiological arousal (adrenaline and fight or flight response) and may cause us to miss threat cues. Impulsive behavior induced by stress can lead to action without consideration for the consequences and is often rapid, premature and excessive.

Dr. Michael J. Asken, retired Pennsylvania State Police psychologist and author of “Mindsighting,” teaches techniques that can aid in preparing for a tactical response. Tactical performance imagery is a performance enhancement technique where an officer uses his or her imaginal abilities to create a simulation of tactical skills, responses or situations to maximize the quality of relevant physical, emotional and cognitive responses.

The exercise is usually effective using the first person/internal perspective, which is imaging what you actually experience (what you see in front of you, around you) but could be accomplished alternatively with the third person/external perspective (a view as if watching yourself or seeing yourself on a video monitor).

There are some keys to making mental imagery or mental rehearsal work well. The first is to image the scene or skill in all five senses. Think about what you see, hear, feel (both physically and emotionally), taste and smell. Using all five senses makes the experience more real.

The imagery should always be of a successful action. It is important to image alternate occurrences and even things being a surprise or going badly, but you never stop there. Always image what you might do in that bad situation (even if it is not a great choice) so you are prepared with some alternate action. Image (and feel) yourself in emotional control, smoothly and confidently executing your actions, even when faced with an inflammatory situation.

Final thoughts

No one wants to see a violator get away. More important, no one wants to see an officer injured by someone using a vehicle as a weapon, intentionally or otherwise. It is critical to consider this scenario and utilize techniques such as tactical performance imagery to help override the natural urge to “grab ’em” when you’re faced with a flight situation. Rely on the training you’ve received in high-risk vehicle stops, pursuit driving and decision-making. Set a compliance base line with your subject and respond accordingly with sound tactics when that person does not follow your direction.


About the author Sergeant (Ret.) Robert Bemis retired in 2017 as a supervisor in the Operational Training Division at the Pennsylvania State Police Academy in Hershey. With over 30 years of law enforcement experience, Sgt. Bemis spent more than a decade as a trainer specializing in officer safety, self-defense and civil disorder tactics. He is the author of “Forged in Scars & Stripes: A Trooper’s Victory Over Critical Injury.” Sgt. Bemis is currently the director of training at NSENA VR, a virtual reality training solution for law enforcement and corrections.


Rats and other vermin infest LAPD downtown station, sparking anger among officers

Posted on May 31, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Mark Puente, Soumya Karlamangla, Jaclyn Cosgrove and Richard Winton Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — When state officials inspected the Los Angeles Police Department’s Central Division station last November, they uncovered rodent infestations and other unsanitary conditions at the facilities responsible for protecting skid row and other parts of downtown.

The conditions have now become the source of growing anger inside the station, with some officers threatening to seek transfers and city leaders scrambling to address the problems.

The issues at the Central Division come amid larger concerns about disease and filth across downtown, notably a vermin infestation at City Hall last year. One city employee was diagnosed with typhus, a disease that can be spread by rodents. City Hall workers said they saw fleas, rodent droppings and plants eaten by vermin in the building.

The California Department of Industrial Relations issued six violations and a $5,425 fine to the LAPD on May 14 and two violations and a $1,910 fine to the Department of General Services, records reviewed by The Times on Thursday show. On Thursday, Mayor Eric Garcetti and the LAPD said they are working to resolve the problems. The division has 414 sworn officers — the largest number in the city.

“Our officers work hard every day to protect our city, and they deserve the best working conditions,” said Alex Comisar, a Garcetti spokesman. “Whether the issue is bad plumbing or something else, the mayor is working with the department to get to the bottom of this situation — and will take every possible step to protect the health and safety of all our employees.”

The department added: "The state’s report is concerning and we are taking steps to ensure the men and women who work for the Los Angeles Police Department can come to work in a healthy environment.”

The LAPD announced late Wednesday that an employee who fell ill at the downtown LAPD station had contracted the strain of bacteria that causes typhoid fever and was being treated for the condition. The LAPD confirmed that a second employee had a lower intestinal infection, but a specific diagnosis has not been determined.

It’s unclear where the officers contracted typhoid, though officials said they were not patrol officers. The LAPD appeared to link the case to officers’ work conditions, saying in a statement that “our police officers often patrol in adverse environments and can be exposed to various dangerous elements.”

Yet several experts said it was highly unlikely the the officer contracted typhoid on the job or even in the country, where the spread of typhoid is rare. The filthy conditions that the LAPD was cited for aren't related to the spread of typhoid, experts say.

“It would be very important to know what the travel history is for the past six to eight weeks,” Dr. Robert Winters, an infectious disease doctor who runs a travel clinic in Santa Monica, said of the sick LAPD officer. “It’s not something you worry about going to Starbucks or McDonald’s.”

Two police sources said officers are considering taking a hard stance and filing paperwork to transfer from the station. One concern, the sources said, was that some officers reported getting sick from chemicals used to kill fleas, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly.

Among the violations at the station on East 6th Street, according to the state, was that the LAPD did not train employees about how the dangerous bacterial disease typhus is transmitted, its symptoms or measures for prevention. The department also did not have a program to exterminate and control rats, fleas, roaches, gnats, mosquitoes or grasshoppers in the building. Inspectors found all those in the facility, records show.

Other state violations came from failing to clean “dust, dirt/suspect mold/fungus from the HVAC registers within a reasonable time"; for using extension cords instead of fixing wiring in the detectives area; and for not keeping the parking garages, stairwells and records room clean, according to the citations.

The state fined the Department of General Services for not maintaining the building. The department submitted an appeal to the state Tuesday. A statement from the department said it has addressed some issues and routinely conducts pest control activities and provides daily cleaning services.

The board of directors for the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the police labor union, said “officers worry enough about being shot or injured policing the streets of Los Angeles” and shouldn’t fear taking home infectious diseases.

Robert Harris, a union director, called the conditions "pretty disgusting" in the Central Division headquarters and called on the city to hire outside experts to craft a plan to sanitize all police facilities.

"We're trying to be a proactive partner to clean up these toxic work sites," Harris said. "Let's clean it up before we have a massive outbreak."

Still, it is even more challenging for the city to keep downtown disease free with the thousands of homeless living on the streets. The areas with large homeless populations have major effects on public health, said Dr. Neha Nanda, epidemiologist at Keck School of Medicine at USC.

Typhus, in particular, is spread by fleas that live on rats and then bite humans, something that could become more common as more people live on the streets.

Thirteen people in the state were diagnosed with typhus in 2008, compared with 167 last year. More than 95% of the people falling sick in California are in Los Angeles and Orange counties, according to state health data.

In October, L.A. County officials declared an outbreak of typhus linked to overcrowding in downtown L.A. around skid row. A major outbreak of Hepatitis A in San Diego linked to homelessness killed 20 people two years ago.

Nanda said that growing homeless populations often create unsanitary conditions that contribute to the spread of disease, even some "that are coming back from the historic times."

Typhoid too is linked to unsanitary conditions, as it is transmitted through water and food contaminated with fecal matter, Nanda said.

So far this year, the L.A. County Department of Public Health has received reports of five cases of typhoid, according to officials. Last year, there were 14 cases of typhoid fever in the county, they said. Most cases occur in people who traveled to countries where the disease is common, they said.

“It’s not seen that often, but if we follow that theory — that homelessness is increasing — and we see the surges of Hepatitis A and typhus and all these things, why not typhoid?” Nanda said. “How much can our infrastructure take?”

———

©2019 the Los Angeles Times


Chicago police release 500 pages of reports in Jussie Smollett case

Posted on May 31, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — On the day in late February when Jussie Smollett was indicted on 16 felony charges that he allegedly faked a hate crime against himself, a top Cook County prosecutor told Chicago police she believed the case would end with the “Empire” actor paying restitution and doing community service.

It would be nearly a month before prosecutors in a surprise hearing dropped all charges in what they later said was in exchange for Smollett forfeiting his $10,000 bail and as credit for volunteer work he had already performed.

The detail about one of State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s top prosecutors, Risa Lanier, informing a detective about Smollett’s likely fate in late February was buried in hundreds of pages of reports released Thursday in the Chicago Police Department’s investigation of Smollett.

Since the charges against Smollett were dropped in late March, Foxx has faced fierce criticism over her office’s abrupt dismissal of them, including calls for her resignation by the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police.

The nearly 500 pages of documents released Thursday reveal more detail in a case that has only grown in controversy since prosecutors dropped all charges alleging Smollett falsely reported being the victim of a hate crime.

The release comes after last week’s ruling by a Cook County judge lifting the seal on Smollett’s court records. The actor’s attorneys got his file sealed during the same hearing in March at which the charges were dropped.

Police and prosecutors, citing the seal, previously declined to release documents that otherwise would be subject to public records requests. Prosecutors also are expected to release several internal documents in the coming days.

Other details in the police reports show how Smollett allegedly sought the help of two brothers, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, to stage a hate crime on the “Empire” actor in late January. Among those details was that Smollett only wanted one of the brothers to punch him, though it’s not clear which one because of various redactions.

“Smollett was also clear that only (one brother) was to do the hitting because Smollett did not trust (the other brother) to pull his punches,” according to the reports.

While the Osundairos were not charged in the case, they were key witnesses for detectives in helping bring charges against Smollett.

The police reports also show that investigators who reviewed phone and financial records reported they indicated that Smollett discussed drug deals with one of the brothers, further evidence the three knew each other before Jan. 29, the day Smollett reported the hate crime.

He and the two brothers have not been charged with any drug crimes.

According to the reports, investigators said phone records indicated Smollett wanted one of the brothers to supply him with “weed, molly or Whitney,” which is slang for cocaine. On July 1, 2018, Smollett and one of the brothers exchanged texts on how the actor could obtain “Whitney” and pay for it, the reports state.

Payment was arranged through Venmo, an online payment program, and Smollett later sent a follow-up text stating he just sent $200, according to the reports.

A detective wrote in the police reports that on “multiple occasions” Smollett appeared to have disguised “illicit activity” in his Venmo account by describing it as “payments for legitimate expenses.”

For example, in a September 2018 text exchange in which police alleged Smollett was buying ecstasy from one of the brothers, the actor described the purchase in his Venmo payment as “training.” Smollett’s lawyers have said a $3,500 check — which police alleged the actor used to pay the brothers for helping him stage the attack — was actually to pay one of the brothers for personal fitness training.

The documents outline the exhaustive search for video evidence, a search that brought detectives from downtown to swaths of the North Side, where the Osundairos live. They also detail how detectives tracked down taxi and ride-share records in an effort to find the brothers.

The reports also show Smollett participated in a “walkthrough” with detectives in which he traced his steps to show how the attack occurred. Police asked him how his sweater didn’t get dirty during the attack and he said it was because it fell on snow and ice.

The reports show that at one stage of the police investigation, Smollett declined to sign a medical release or turn over his phone to investigators. He also said he’d think about submitting a buccal swab for police to determine whether his DNA was present on rope found around his neck, the reports show.

The legal drama surrounding Smollett’s case continues unabated. A retired appellate judge has mounted an aggressive effort to appoint a special prosecutor to look into Cook County prosecutors’ handling of the case.

The city of Chicago has sued the actor for the cost of overtime investigators spent looking into his allegedly false report. And the county inspector general is investigating the matter, at the request of Foxx.

Smollett, who is black and openly gay, reported in late January being the victim of an attack by two people shouting racist and homophobic slurs.

But he was charged after Chicago police determined that Smollett had agreed to pay $3,500 to the Osundairo brothers, whom he knew previously, to stage the attack.

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©2019 Chicago Tribune


Body camera footage shows OIS of NC man who pointed apparent weapon at LEO

Posted on May 31, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Anna Johnson The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

RALEIGH, NC — Vehicle and body camera videos released Thursday show a Raleigh police officer shoot a man who was pointing an apparent weapon at the officer.

Officer C.T. Melochik shot Michael Anthony Hendricks Jr., 40, in the stomach May 19 at Quail Ridge Apartments off Falls of Neuse Road. Hendricks was holding an “Airsoft gun” with its orange safety tip removed, according to a report Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown released last week.

“Pursuant to the Raleigh Police Department’s continuing effort to foster transparency and trust in our community, RPD has decided to release body worn camera and dash camera footage related to the incident,” according to text on an edited video of the body camera and dash camera footage.

The city released six videos including five unedited clips and one file edited together with captions from the Police Department.

The department obtained court approval to release the video, as required by state law.

A 911 call made at the time of the shooting records a man telling dispatchers: “There’s a man in the corridor with a knife. He’s a vet. He’s having a flashback.”

Body-worn camera footage shows Melochik arriving and a witness immediately telling him the suspect is outside of the apartment complex, armed with a knife and possibly a handgun. After about a minute of looking for the man, Melochik goes back toward the witnesses to get a description of the man.

Witnesses then point to Hendricks behind a line of parked cars, according to body camera footage. Melochik ducks behind a patrol car and draws his weapon.

Hendricks, like the witnesses, are blurred out through video editing and it isn’t clear if he is holding a weapon from the officer’s body camera video.

Video from a patrol car’s dash cam, however, shows Hendicks in the parking lot pointing something at the officer.

Melochik looks over the patrol car before rushing back, saying, “He has a gun! He has a gun!” Other body camera and dash camera footage shows more officers arriving around this time.

Melochik calls out twice for the man to drop the gun before firing his weapon once.

The entire incident takes less than three minutes after Melochik appears to arrive at the apartment complex.

Officers then approach Hendricks, putting him in handcuffs until medical personnel arrive. The video says they provide medical aid.

At one point Hendricks says, “I can’t breathe.”

Melochik has been placed on administrative leave pending the case’s outcome. The State Bureau of Investigation will investigate the shooting and report to the Wake County district attorney, which is standard procedure in such incidents.

On Thursday, Hendricks was not listed as a WakeMed patient, meaning he has been released or has invoked a “privacy designation.”

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©2019 The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)


Jury recommends death penalty in ambush killing of Calif. officers

Posted on May 31, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

INDIO, Calif. — A jury on Thursday recommended death for a man convicted of killing two Southern California police officers and wounding six others in an ambush-style attack in 2016, prosecutors said.

The same jury that convicted 28-year-old John Hernandez Felix of murder and attempted murder earlier this month recommended capital punishment, according to the Riverside County District Attorney's Office.

He'll be sentenced by a judge on Aug. 30.

Palm Springs Officers Lesley Zerebny and Jose "Gil" Vega were killed responding to a call about domestic violence at the home of Felix's mother on Oct. 8, 2016. Prosecutors said Felix opened fire with an AR-15 rifle.

Six other officers were injured as police and Felix exchanged gunfire in the neighborhood more than 100 miles (161 kilometers) east of Los Angeles. Felix was arrested after a lengthy standoff.

"We are gratified with the jury's verdict and this represents a step toward justice for these two fallen officers," District Attorney Mike Hestrin said in a statement Thursday.

Defense attorney John Dolan has contended Felix, an admitted gang member, is intellectually disabled and should not face capital punishment.

Dolan didn't immediately comment on Thursday's jury recommendation.

Gov. Gavin Newsom earlier this year announced a moratorium on enforcing the death penalty but the decision does not prevent prosecutors from seeking or judges and juries from imposing death sentences.

Vega, a father of eight, was a 35-year veteran months away from retirement when he was killed. He wasn't scheduled to work the day he died but had volunteered to fill the shift.

Zerebny was a rookie officer just back from maternity leave.


La. LEO killed, K-9 wounded in single-vehicle crash

Posted on May 31, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Lea Skene The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.

BATON ROUGE — Friends and colleagues were mourning the loss Thursday of an East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff's deputy who spent decades training dogs for law enforcement agencies in south Louisiana.

Lt. Steven Whitstine, 42, was driving to work Thursday morning with his new K9 partner when their vehicle inexplicably ran off the road, striking a tree and bridge before overturning in a roadside canal around 6:30 a.m., East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said.

The longtime law enforcement officer was pronounced dead at the scene. And his dog, "Six," was taken to a local vet to be treated for minor injuries, Gautreaux said.

No other vehicles were involved and authorities are investigating what could have caused the accident.

Whitstine joins multiple other law enforcement officers from the Baton Rouge area who have been killed or injured in traffic accidents over the past several months, most recently Baton Rouge police Cpl. Shane Totty who was killed in a motorcycle wreck while escorting a funeral procession in February.

"This is another tragic accident. It's not easy to lose a deputy under any circumstances," Gautreaux said outside the East Baton Rouge Coroner's Office following the arrival of the body Thursday morning. "He was a fine young man. … We have to go on, but he will be missed."

Whitstine, 42, had served as a K9 officer with the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office for the past eight years. He leaves behind his wife — also an East Baton Rouge sheriff's deputy — and their two adult children.

He started his career in law enforcement with the Louisiana Department of Corrections, working in the dog training program at Elayn Hunt Correctional Center. He then moved to the Baker Police Department and served for nine years as a K9 officer before later transferring to the sheriff's office at Gautreaux's request to help expand the K9 division there.

Whitstine was the division's second in command, working under his longtime colleague Capt. James Broussard who heads the program. The division grew under their leadership from just two dogs to 13, earning national recognition in the process.

Broussard said Whitstine had gotten his new K9 partner just a few weeks ago. He had spent months searching for the right dog following the death of his last partner.

"He was without a dog for over a year and that weighed heavily on him," Broussard said. "Dogs were his passion. … He was so excited to be working with this new one."

Colleagues described Whitstine as "laid back and easygoing — a big teddy bear." They said his steadfast nature and unwavering patience defined his interactions with both human and canine friends.

In addition to his job and family, Whitstine was a musician. He played guitar and sang in local bands.

"And if there was a karaoke machine anywhere around, he was gonna get up there," Gautreaux said with a smile. "He really prided himself on his Elvis impersonation. … But he was a better singer than he was an impersonator."

An autopsy is scheduled for Friday morning, which could reveal more about what caused the accident.

Dozens of law enforcement officers escorted Whitstine's body from the scene of the accident on Port Hudson–Pride Road in Zachary to the East Baton Rouge Coroner's Office on Thursday morning. The procession arrived around 10 a.m. and the group then saluted their fallen colleague as his body was carried inside.

The sheriff said an announcement about funeral arrangements will be provided in coming days.

Officials announced Thursday morning that Port Hudson Pride Road would be closed immediately between Munson Drive and Pin Oak Lane for bridge repairs because of damage due to the accident. The detour route will be Zachary–Slaughter Road to Rollins Road to Old Scenic Highway.

Message From the Sheriff: It is with a heavy heart I write to inform you that 42-year-old Lt. Steven Whitstine of our K9...

Posted by East Baton Rouge Sheriffs Office on Thursday, May 30, 2019

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©2019 The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.


NY lawmaker introducing bills to combat impaired, distracted driving

Posted on May 30, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Robert Brodsky Newsday

NEW YORK — Rep. Kathleen Rice will introduce a package of bills to combat impaired or distracted driving, including a requirement that within 10 years all new cars be equipped with advanced technology that uses infrared light to detect if a driver is under the influence.

The bills would also set federal criminal penalties — similar to those in effect in New York — against motorists who drive intoxicated or impaired with a child in the vehicle and would create a new education grant program to address distracted driving.

“Taken together, nearly 15,000 were killed in 2018 because of an impaired or distracted driver," said Rice (D-Garden City), a former Nassau County district attorney. "These are deadly and tragic epidemics that have claimed too many lives and destroyed too many families. It’s past time that we take action at the federal level to end this crisis."

Rice is holding a news conference to announce the proposed bills Thursday afternoon at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow with Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and DWI prevention advocates.

The "End Drunk Driving Act" would give automobile manufacturers a decade to equip all new cars sold in the U.S. with technology that detects a driver’s blood alcohol content and prevents the vehicle from moving if the driver is at or above the legal intoxication limit.

The technology is currently being developed by the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety program, a research partnership between the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety, which represents 17 automobile manufacturers.

The program responds to the touch of a driver’s fingertip and uses infrared light to measure the driver’s blood alcohol content. Unlike a Breathalyzer or interlock ignition device, the driver breathes normally to detect the BAC level and not into a tube.

A 2015 University of Michigan study found that requiring DWI-prevention technology in all new cars could prevent roughly 85 percent of all drunken driving-related deaths and injuries over 15 years, preserving more than 59,000 lives and avoiding an estimated 1.25 million injuries.

The study, which proposed the use of ignition interlock devices in all vehicles, found the technology would save $343 billion within 15 years — recovering the cost of installing the devices within three years.

A second bill, the Prevent Impaired Driving Child Endangerment Act would set criminal penalties nationwide against motorists who drive while intoxicated or impaired with a child passenger. The measure would require every state to adopt bills similar to Leandra’s Law in New York, which made it a felony for an individual to drive drunk or impaired with a child passenger.

The bill would require drivers convicted under the law be charged with a felony, punishable by up to 4 years in prison, and have their license suspended unless an ignition interlock system is installed. The driver would also need to undergo mandatory substance abuse treatment while authorities would be required to report the incident to a state child abuse registry. States that fail to comply with the law would lose a percentage of federal funding beginning in fiscal 2021, the bill states.

The "Distracted Driving Education Act of 2019" would create a $5 million competitive grant, awarded by the Department of Transportation, to nonprofit groups focused on preventing distracted driving.

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©2019 Newsday


Police chiefs call for meeting with Homeland Security over immigration issues

Posted on May 30, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By PoliceOne Staff

MIAMI — Major city police chiefs want to meet with the Department of Homeland Security to get clarity on how officials plan to handle the relocation of immigrants in their cities.

According to The Washington Post, the Major Cities Chiefs Association wants a voice in the federal policymaking process.

Led by Houston police Chief Art Acevedo, the MCCA is seeking to learn how DHS will handle “sanctuary city” status declared by local governments. Acevedo has openly opposed a Texas law banning sanctuary cities.

“From our perspective, there is no such thing as a ‘sanctuary city’ in terms of taking action against those who would do harm to members of our communities,” Acevedo said.

The chiefs also want to discuss the federal policy on ICE civil detainers and the issue of notifying the agency before releasing prisoners who have immigration detainers.

Along with these issues, the chiefs say their local social service agencies are being overwhelmed by busloads of suddenly relocated immigrants.

“We need to know what is the plan and what is the impact on public safety,” Acevedo said. “We need to be part of the discussion because while immigration enforcement is a federal issue, these decisions have an impact on the safety and security of the American people, and that is our primary responsibility.”


Man to face new hate crime charges for plowing car into Calif. crowd

Posted on May 30, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — Prosecutors will file new hate crime charges against a former Army sharpshooter accused of eight counts of attempted murder after he deliberately plowed his car into pedestrians at a California crosswalk last month, authorities said Thursday.

Two hate crime allegations will be filed against 34-year-old Isaiah Joel Peoples, a veteran of the Iraq war, Santa Clara District Attorney's Office spokesman Sean Webby said.

Peoples' mother said he has struggled with PTSD.

He showed no remorse after his car intentionally plowed at high speed into a group of people on April 24 in a crosswalk in the Silicon Valley suburb of Sunnyvale, then went on to hit a tree, police Chief Phan Ngo has said.

Evidence shows Peoples targeted the victims based on their race and his belief that they were of the Muslim faith, Ngo said

A 9-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl were among those injured. The girl remains in a coma with brain trauma.

A hearing in the case was set for later Thursday in San Jose. He could enter a plea.

Family and friends described Peoples as quiet and polite and expressed shock at his involvement.

His mother, Leevell Peoples of Sacramento, said her son had "a bad episode" with PTSD in 2015, for which he was hospitalized, and has told her that he had been taking medication regularly since then.

She said she could not imagine any situation in which her son would deliberately crash into innocent people other than something related to the PTSD.

Peoples was honorably discharged from the Army, and police were investigating the PTSD report, Ngo said. Peoples had no criminal record.


Military-themed police cruiser hits Idaho streets

Posted on May 30, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Julie A. Ferraro The Times-News, Twin Falls, Idaho

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — A new police patrol car will debut this week in Twin Falls, and it’s not your average cruiser.

The latest of Twin Falls Police Department’s Ford Interceptors — beefed-up, themed vehicles — is called “Salute to Service” and features camouflage coloring and emblems of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Police Cpl. Jayson Mickelson, a Marine Corps veteran, suggested the theme.

The timing of its debut near Memorial Day wasn’t exactly coincidental.

“We have a lot of military veterans on the force,” Police Chief Craig Kingsbury said. Some are actively serving in the Reserves and National Guard.

So, after Mickelson submitted his idea, the theme was approved to follow other distinctive patrol cars.

Moving away from ordinary black and white cruisers started in-house.

“We put it out to our employees for different ideas,” Kingsbury said. A popular suggestion involved adding a thick blue line to the paint design. That concept was posted on the department’s Facebook page.

“We got a lot of feedback,” he said.

From there, the plan for themed cars grew.

“There are a number of causes that are near and dear to my heart,” Kingsbury said.

A domestic violence awareness themed car hit the streets during the Voices Against Violence event last year. Then, a breast cancer awareness SUV with a prominent pink ribbon was presented during the 2018 rodeo’s Tough Enough to Wear Pink event.

Other themed cars helmed by Twin Falls Police include a yellow and black SUV with the College of Southern Idaho logo.

“We have a great partnership with CSI, and we wanted to honor that,” Kingsbury said.

Student Resource Officers at Twin Falls and Canyon Ridge high schools drive cars painted with their respective school colors and logos.

“Magic Valley High School will be the next one,” Kingsbury said.

“There’s a lot of different causes that we at the Police Department get involved with,” Officer J.P. O’Donnell said.

That involvement extends beyond the officers themselves to the families and community, O’Donnell said.

Joining Forces Magic Valley, a local veterans organization, gave its blessing to the Salute to Service interceptor, Kingsbury said.

“We’ve been getting a lot of rave reviews” since the Salute to Service photos hit the police department’s Facebook page last week, Kingsbury said.

Some additions to the design came from those postings, O’Donnell added. A POW/MIA sticker and a Purple Heart City sticker are now on either side of the rear license plate.

The Salute to Service cruiser will officially hit the streets this week with Mickelson behind the wheel.

Kingsbury was all smiles at the prospect.

“We’re pretty excited.”

Our newest Community Connection patrol vehicle is our Salute to Service Police Interceptor! Figured #MemorialDayWeekend...

Posted by Twin Falls Police Department on Friday, May 24, 2019

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©2019 The Times-News (Twin Falls, Idaho)


Webinar: Transforming police reporting with speech recognition technology

Posted on May 30, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Sponsored by Nuance Communications

An exceeding number of police departments and law enforcement agencies, whose officers spend upwards of four hours a day completing incident reports and other time-sensitive paperwork*, are turning to smarter tools, such as speech recognition solutions, to help transform their police reporting workflows.

Join us, Wednesday, June 25, 2019, at 1 p.m. Eastern (10 a.m. Pacific) to hear why these law enforcement professionals are embracing smarter tools to complete higher-quality reports and move mission-critical information within the CAD/RMS faster and more efficiently – all by voice.

This discussion will provide you with an understanding of:

What law enforcement has to say about current reporting processes. Why officers – especially recruits – want smarter tools to help with police paperwork. Why manual reporting has a negative impact on report accuracy and productivity and can hinder criminal proceedings. How departments can speed data entry within the CAD/RMS and move mission-critical information more accurately and efficiently. How speech recognition technology can help increase officer safety and improve situational awareness and productivity on patrol. How embracing smarter technology increases community visibility and minimizes costs.

Learn how your department can make incident reporting faster, safer and more complete by registering for the Transforming Police Reporting with Speech Recognition Technology webinar today.

*Role of Technology in Law Enforcement Paperwork Survey

Complete this form to register.


NYPD turns to rope to help contain EDPs

Posted on May 30, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Rocco Parascandola New York Daily News

NEW YORK — The NYPD relies on smartphones, drones and facial recognition technology to fight crime, but the secret to a better way of dealing with the mentally ill may be found in an invention dating back to about 3,500 B.C. — rope.

The NYPD is now using rope to help police gain control of situations involving people who are emotionally disturbed, with officers containing the person in a room, then holding the door shut with a nylon rope so they have more time to use their new-school de-escalation skills.

The rope, a tried and true tool for officers assigned to the Emergency Services Unit, is now part of a three-item kit in nearly 1,600 patrol cars, along with a wedge, used on doors that open outwards, and a shield.

Deputy Chief Robert Lukach, second in command for the Special Operations Division, said patrol officers started using the items in November after meetings dealing with a persistent issue in the city – the emotionally disturbed and how to deal with them, whether to make an arrest or get them to a hospital.

The topic exploded in headlines after the Oct. 2016 death of 66-year-old Deborah Danner, who was shot by Sgt. Hugh Barry as she wielded a bat in the bedroom of her Bronx apartment. Barry was charged with murder but acquitted in Feb. 2018. The city later paid $2 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the family.

And the NYPD implemented crisis intervention training (CIT) to help cops deal more effectively with the mentally ill.

At its core, the training involves calming a tense situation and taking the person into custody without using force. That, Lukach said, takes time, which is what the rope, shield and wedge provide.

“The more time that we spend there, the greater likelihood of a voluntary surrender or a compliance by the individual,” he said. "We de-escalate things. That individual is usually hyped up or angry at the time we get there.

“By tying the door off, controlling the situation and just taking our time allows that individual to calm down.”

Patrol officers now must carry to all incidents involving the mentally ill the shield, which traditionally was most often seen being used by Emergency Service Unit cops, plus the nylon rope and wedge, both tucked into a small bag that wraps around the shield’s handle.

When possible, officers are instructed to isolate the person in one room, using the shield as protection, then close the door and use either the rope or wedge to keep it closed. The rope is pulled against the door frame. The wedge has rivets that can be pressed into the ground.

Lukach said an incident involving an emotionally disturbed person (EDP) in the Bronx some six years ago took about 36 hours before the suspect surrendered. Often, he said, the waiting game ends with the person falling asleep.

Patrol cops have been using the new tools since the end of November. During that time police have been sent out on some 73,000 EDP incidents.

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©2019 New York Daily News


Fleeing SUV hits 2 pedestrians, 5 others in San Francisco pursuit

Posted on May 30, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — A stolen sport utility vehicle struck two pedestrians and injured five other people Wednesday afternoon as it drove on a San Francisco sidewalk and smashed into other cars while fleeing police, authorities said.

A person struck in a crosswalk was treated for life-threatening injuries and was listed in stable condition, KPIX-TV reported.

Another pedestrian and five drivers — including the woman behind the wheel of the SUV — had non-life threatening injuries, police said.

She was arrested but her name wasn't immediately released. It also wasn't immediately clear whether she was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The car took off in a neighborhood after an officer checked the license plate of a silver Kia in an intersection and found it was stolen, a police statement said.

The car then stopped in front of a nearby police station, authorities said.

Surveillance video showed the car running up on a sidewalk, hitting a building, and injuring a construction worker near some scaffolding as more than a dozen police swarmed it. The SUV then backed up and went forward several times, hitting a tree and several cars, including an unmarked police car, before managing to drive off.

The SUV then hit a person in a crosswalk and four other cars before finally stopping in another neighborhood, police said.

One car was struck as the stolen SUV plowed the wrong way down a street. Two were struck near where Lauren Sorensen, 43, was about to cross the street.

"We were all about to cross," she told the San Francisco Chronicle . "The crowd of people waiting was two to three people deep. We're so lucky."

"This is a very densely populated area. It's very scary what I saw," police Sgt. Michael Andraychak told the Chronicle about the video. "It's very, very dangerous what this person was doing ... and right at about 2 o' clock, just as schools are letting out."


California Assembly approves police UOF reform bill

Posted on May 30, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Alexei Koseff San Francisco Chronicle

SACRAMENTO — After a year of protest and contentious negotiations, the state Assembly approved legislation Wednesday to tighten the rules for when police officers can open fire on suspects in California.

The unanimous vote to pass AB392 came after a deal last week between law enforcement groups and civil liberties advocates that cleared the way for the state to adopt one of the tightest use-of-force standards in the country. The bill now goes to the Senate.

It would direct police to “use deadly force only when necessary in defense of human life” and, when possible, to use techniques to de-escalate the situation before shooting. It does not explicitly define what would be considered “necessary,” though courts could consider the actions of both the officer and the suspect when determining whether the force was justified.

Current law on police use of force, established by a pair of U.S. Supreme Court cases, considers whether a “reasonable” officer in similar circumstances would have acted the same way.

Democratic Assemblywoman Shirley Weber of San Diego, the American Civil Liberties Union of California and activists whose family members were killed by law enforcement began pushing for changes last year, following the fatal shooting by Sacramento police of Stephon Clark in March 2018. The unarmed 22-year-old, holding only a cell phone, was killed in his grandmother’s backyard in south Sacramento, generating national outrage. The Sacramento County district attorney declined to charge the officers.

“Police officers should never take a human life when there is an alternative,” Weber said Thursday. She dedicated the vote to her two grandsons, ages 7 and 5, telling colleagues that she never wanted to have a conversation with them about how they needed to be careful around law enforcement.

“This is a 400-year challenge to an African American in this country, because of the definition of our lives and the vulnerability of African Americans, whether it was dealing with law enforcement, whether it was dealing with lynch mobs,” Weber said. “Our lives were always precarious and could easily be taken without any justice or anyone fighting back.”

The measure originally faced intense opposition from law enforcement organizations, which argued that the “necessary” standard would put officers in danger by causing them to second-guess their actions.

But those groups dropped their objections last week when Weber scaled back some of the language, including a requirement that officers exhaust all alternatives before opening fire. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who held a private meeting with law enforcement representatives, and legislative leaders helped guide the two sides to a compromise.

“AB392 now reflects the shared experiences, perspectives and expertise from everyone at the table, from families and communities to the officers who have sworn to serve and protect them,” Ron Lawrence, president of the California Police Chiefs Association, said in a statement.

A second bill, SB230, backed by law enforcement to increase training for officers and strengthen the requirements for what departments must include in their use-of-force policy, passed unanimously in the Senate on Tuesday and now goes to the Assembly.

Lawmakers debated AB392 for nearly an hour and a half Wednesday before the vote, where it passed 67-0. Two members who had voted against the bill on the floor later changed their position to not voting.

Assemblyman Tom Lackey, a Palmdale (Los Angeles County) Republican and former California Highway Patrol officer, said through tears that “in my entire elected experience, never has a bill consumed my thinking as this has.” He expressed his concern that changing the use-of-force standard could “make law enforcement unnecessary victims,” but ultimately voted for AB392.

Lackey shared the story of a colleague who was shot on duty and “was never the same individual.”

“Deadly force is rarely called upon, but when it is, it is the most critical thing that can happen in one’s life,” he said. “We are not predators, folks.”

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©2019 the San Francisco Chronicle


How to buy body armor for undercover officers

Posted on May 29, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Sean Curtis
Author: Sean Curtis

Body armor has advanced in its capabilities over the last decade using thinner and lighter materials to accomplish the same level of protection. There are heavy-duty plate carrier options for SWAT and other tactical responders, as well as concealed and external ballistic vests for uniformed officers on the street. Thankfully, many of these advances also apply to covert body armor as well, meaning undercover operators need not go without. Here are some tips on purchasing body armor for your covert needs.

Select your level of protection

Whether your personnel are working low-profile, close protection detail or are full-blown undercover assets, you’ll want to strike that balance between a good level of protection and concealability. There are many options out there, but you may be surprised to find you can achieve up to a NIJ level IIIA with a garment the size of a tank top.

While there is a general trade-off of fortification related to bulk, you can find excellent protection from very unobtrusive products. Keep in mind, the lower the level of protection, the easier the defensive garment will be to conceal.

Avoid the tells

Buy specific products intended for low-profile or undercover work. Trying to fit the standard patrol vest under a shirt or jacket is not a wise adaptation. Bulky panels that rub against each other are going to give body armor away. They do this by folding out at odd angles and generally not allowing the normal range of movement a person would experience sans body armor.

Another factor that could unveil an undercover operator is extra heat. If an operative is wearing a t-shirt and shorts but sweating profusely, they might have some explaining to do. Find concealable body armor products crafted with great breathability in mind so wearers do not have to face this critical issue.

Proper fit

Ill-fitted pieces might even push off a belt and ride up above a cover garment potentially risking compromise. When you have selected the level of protection you need and the garment that will work for your personnel, make sure they have a proper fitting. This will help ensure their level of mobility and flexibility do not suffer.

Dress for the occasion

By seeking out the right vendor, you can dress your low-profile employee for success. This does not necessarily refer to the body armor itself, but clothing that blends them into their environment. Seek out concealed body armor manufacturers who can produce garments that fit the general identity of the person or their assignment. Ordering a protective suit jacket would be idyllic for a dignitary close-protection assignment, but would not go over well for your drug taskforce operative.

If you cannot find something available in a manufacturer’s catalog that suits your needs, reach out to them and tell them what you are looking for. Reputable companies will work with you to help fulfill your concealed body armor needs.

Clothes make the man or woman

When you are talking about ballistic protection, there is no doubt that these are some of the most important garments people who go into harm’s way on a regular basis can wear. With a little effort up front, perspective buyers can find body armor solutions that will increase the survivability of a shooting scenario for your undercover asset while not tipping off the people around them that they are protected.


Case study: How one crime investigations unit cracked open a crime network and increased multijurisdictional collaboration

Posted on May 29, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Author: Sean Curtis

Sponsored by Forensic Logic

By PoliceOne BrandFocus Staff

There’s nothing new about law enforcement’s use of data. In fact, it’s a centuries-old practice to stitch together bits of information to make sense of what happened and who was involved, but today’s explosion of digital data has officers facing the new opportunities and challenges that come with analyzing a sea of information.

Former cop turned Harvard professor Malcolm Sparrow, in “New Perspectives in Policing,” underscored that understanding “the structure of the knot” of crime, or the bigger pattern, can help agencies develop a tailor-made strategy to address those crimes.

Having access to all relevant data points is a key part of any investigation, yet that information has been traditionally been hard to view and use. For instance, it’s been pretty common for investigators to log into multiple databases requiring separate logins to view all of the evidence tied to a specific case. It’s a problem for many detectives, especially since precious time that could be sent on analyzing crimes instead is wasted on compiling disparate pieces of information into one place.

Recent technological advantages have also made it easier for criminals to take increasingly sophisticated measures to commit crime. That’s why investigators can miss out big time if they’re not leveraging the right technological tools that can help them improve their investigations.

One law enforcement agency in California formed a strategic investigations unit designed to tackle some of the city’s biggest public safety concerns. With a team of crime analysts and investigators, the agency of about 20 staffers handles around 150 or more cases per year. As the strategic crimes arm of a high-profile district attorney’s office, the agency wanted to adopt a data search tool that put all the information they needed in an investigation on one screen.

The challenge: Breaking down information silos

Soon after the strategic investigative agency was formed, it needed to find a relational database tool that helped combine evidence from different sources into one place. After all, the agency’s goal was to collaborate and help law enforcement agencies understand who and what is driving crime. Soon after its inception, the agency quickly rolled out Forensic Logic’s LEAP Search, a law enforcement information portal that functions as a search engine for investigators.

The decision to adopt LEAP Search was a no-brainer, says Joanna Smith, the agency’s lead analyst.

“The mission of the unit was to be data-driven, and as the principal analyst I wanted to get my hands on as much data as possible,” she said. “The user interface and [the platform’s] ease of use was a huge selling point – there’s a treasure trove of information that keeps growing exponentially every year.”

Law enforcement databases often lack search functionalities, so gathering needed evidence can take up a lot of time, often involving back-and-forth phone calls and faxes and delays while waiting for responses.

The solution: LEAP Search helps investigators see the big picture

Once the agency started using the LEAP Law Enforcement Portal, which works just like any online search engine. LEAP helped the agency easily access critical information through its network of billions of documents that include court, evidence and lab data, NIBIN shell casing reports, arrest records, parole and probation records, warrants, body camera footage and more.

All investigators needed to do was enter search terms that related to the case. For instance, analysts could enter what they knew about the case, such as a suspect’s name, driver’s license number, phone number or home address and be able to pull up information from various systems and databases across multiple law enforcement agencies.

With this new tool, the agency was able to effectively piece together disparate pieces of information across agencies of various jurisdictions and collaborate more efficiently with other police departments.

One of many cases LEAP helped shed light on involved a string of robberies that cost a major drug store chain and other drug stores in a major metropolitan area over $120,000. The investigators on the case used LEAP to see if there were cases with similar M.O.s that matched with robberies in other jurisdictions. Using the search engine platform, they were able to find similar occurrences reported to other law enforcement agencies and match the cases to a much larger robbery series that turned out to be a massive fencing operation that turned into a federal case.

LEAP Search also aids in human and sex trafficking cases. For instance, investigators were able to identify minors in trafficking ads by inputting the phone number on these illicit advertisements. In several cases, the victims were able to get help through an intervention thanks to information uncovered from LEAP.

The Results: Increased inter-agency collaboration and diminished data silos

After leveraging LEAP as the go-to investigative tool for officers on the strategic crimes team, the agency found that the platform was key to increased collaboration among agencies.

“Through our close collaboration, we’ve built a lot of trust and good will among our agency partners, and that has lead them to also embrace LEAP,” said Smith.

Implementing new software often involves lengthy onboarding and training sessions, but what makes LEAP an appealing choice for departments is the minimal training it requires from users.

“A lot of times tools sold to law enforcement agencies have lots of bells and whistles that require a lot of training and instruction manuals, and often because of that they become underutilized because it requires too much effort to use them, even if they ultimately pay dividends,” said Smith.“The threshold to use LEAP very effectively is very low, so it’s a powerful tool that’s very easy to use.”

What use are torrents of data if you can’t decode them? No industry is immune to the changes and challenges of harnessing an ever-expanding flow of data. That’s especially true for law enforcement agencies seeking to use data-driven insights to solve crimes. Data silos decrease the efficacy and speed of any investigation, but harnessing data effectively by using a tool like LEAP can bring about lasting positive change.

“This is why we always shout it from the rooftops about how much we love this tool,” she said. “It serves an essential need in our unit, which is to be able to quickly search for pieces of information and then see how those pieces of information can connect and give us a full, complete picture of a given situation.”


Wanted man escapes custody, is tackled by bystander

Posted on May 29, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. — A man wanted in a Virginia slaying was caught in North Carolina and managed to escape custody, only to be tackled by a bystander.

Citing a news release, news outlets report 41-year-old George William Knisley was arrested Friday in Raleigh and was being transferred to a detention center when he escaped. Authorities say he complained his handcuffs were too tight and fled when a deputy tried to loosen them.

John Martinez Jr. says he was walking down the street when he saw a man in an orange jumpsuit sprinting away from an officer. Martinez says the officer needed help, so he dashed after the man and tackled him.

Knisley is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Matthew T. Broyles, of Powhatan. He's also accused in the disappearance of 43-year-old Amy Renee Fabian.


9/11 Memorial pays tribute to those sickened by toxic air at Ground Zero

Posted on May 29, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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New York Daily News

NEW YORK CITY — May 30, 2002, saw the Last Column reverently carried out from the World Trade Center site, marking the end of the recovery phase at Ground Zero. The column, like so many human bodies before it, came up from The Pit on a ramp that sloped down from the corner of Liberty and West Sts., angling east towards the center of the site below.

The 36-foot, 58-ton, steel girder now stands in the WTC museum, still with numbers and letters painted on — SQ 41, E 214 and L 111 — for FDNY squad, engine and ladder companies and the first responder death tolls: PAPD 37, NYPD 23, FDNY 343.

Those numbers have swelled with the deaths of others, uniformed and civilian, who succumbed not to the falling towers, but to the poison in the air from gray plume of pulverized concrete and the fires and the smoke.

The new 9/11 Memorial Glade for these heroes and victims on the site of the downtown memorial is appropriately quiet, separate from the twin voids, those 200-foot squares where water falls. Aligned in the same spot at the long-gone Ramp, a simple phalanx of rock outcroppings form an honor guard, three per side.

The dedication is fittingly the anniversary of the recovery’s end: May 30.

©2019 New York Daily News


Footage shows man killed by NOPD fired first, told LEOs, ‘Shoot me’

Posted on May 29, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By Emily Lane NOLA Media Group, New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS — A man killed by police gunfire in New Orleans East earlier this month shot at the New Orleans Police Department officers before they fired back, body camera footage released Tuesday (May 28) shows. A family member of the man who viewed the footage last week said it shows he was in the midst of a mental episode leading up to and at the time of the fatal encounter.

Donald Davis, Jr., 40, was fatally shot May 17 the 6800 block of Parc Brittany Boulevard on May 17. NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said officers were called that morning to investigate a report of an aggravated assault at an apartment complex’s leasing office when they encountered an armed man.

Note: Footage below comes from surveillance video recorded at the apartment complex where the fatal shooting occurred, and the leasing office where an incident prompted the initial call to police. NOPD made available officers’ body worn camera footage, but NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune is choosing not to publish it because of its graphic nature.

Three responding officers, who have all been on the force somewhere between three to five years, fired their weapons during the encounter, according to NOPD. The officers fired a total of 31 rounds, Ferguson said, and Davis fired once. The officers’ gunfire struck Davis more than once and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Ferguson said investigators did not learn until meeting with Davis’ family to review the footage that he has a history of diagnosed mental health problems.

Body camera video shows a verbal exchange ahead of the gunfire. Ferguson said Davis yelled something to the effect of, “Shoot me. I dare you.”

Asked if the fatal shooting was the result of a “suicide by cop” incident, in which someone is believed to intentionally draw police gunfire, Ferguson said he couldn’t say for sure but that it’s something investigators have considered. Davis’ first cousin, Otra Williams, 40, said she has considered that possibility.

One video clip taken from a camera inside the Laguna Creek Apartments’ leasing office showed Davis inside the office with a .45-caliber gun in his hand, hanging at his side. Someone in the leasing office called police, initiating the police encounter. Davis’ relatives said the argument was related to the fact that his apartment key broke off in the unit’s door.

Broderika Parker, 33, of Slidell, also a first cousin of Davis, viewed video of the fatal encounter last week with Ferguson, NOPD Public Integrity Bureau Chief Arlinda Westbrook and PIB investigators. Her mother and Davis’ brother also joined, she said. Parker said the video from the leasing office shows Davis was “talking out of his head,” because he was yelling about his wife -- but Davis was not married.

“He was in a rage about an hour,” said Parker, a first cousin of Davis.

Ferguson said Davis threatened someone in the leasing office with a gun a little less than an hour -- 54 minutes -- before police encountered him in the leasing office’s parking lot.

Officers were initially dispatched to a “priority call” of an armed man in the leasing office, he said, but when someone from the leasing office called to say Davis had left, the priority was downgraded. Officers arrived at the leasing office nearly an hour after the initial call to take the report. They were getting back into their vehicles in the parking lot, on their way to drive to Davis’ apartment to interview him, when Davis walked toward them with the same gun.

The video shows Davis pointing his gun at officers as they get back out of their vehicles and yelling at them, then lifting his arm and firing a round. Two officers take cover near a black pickup truck that Davis’ bullet appeared to have struck, then fire their guns toward him until he falls down on his back. The third officer shoots at Davis from the side. Video shows Davis, while on the ground, appears to lift his hand that was still holding the gun. It’s unclear if he intended to shoot again.

The gunfire subsides as Davis lay on his back, knees slightly bent, but still moving slightly, the footage shows. One of the officers approached Davis and used his foot to move the gun that still lay in or near Davis’ hand.

Parker and Williams both said Davis has struggled with mental health problems most of his life. His mother, Charlene Davis, who died in 2011, lived with schizophrenia and bipolar disease, Williams said. She was unable to raise Davis when he was young, so Davis grew up in foster care in different parts of Louisiana. Parker and Williams also said they believe Davis was molested as a boy.

He was not treated for his mental health problems while in foster care as far as she knew, Williams said. At the time of this death, Davis was living off of his disability benefits.

“This whole thing could have been prevented if he had proper mental health,” Williams said.

Davis had been living with his mother a few years before she died and found her dead when he returned from a trip to the drug store, Parker and Williams said. Davis wasn’t capable of handling it, Williams said, noting he didn’t call for first responders when he found her, but called her “crying hysterically.”

“Ever since that he went into a deep depression,” Williams said.

Parker said there were times when Davis was accessible, then he would become withdrawn. He served probation in two separate incidents, in 2011 and 2014, after pleading guilty to various charges including illegally carrying a weapon, attempting to disarm a police officer and possession of marijuana. But Parker said she knew her cousin, and “Donald wasn’t no killer.”

“He was stressed out his whole life,” Parker added.

Williams, whose mother Rose Dunbar retired from NOPD in 2008 as a roughly 20-year veteran of the force, said she can sympathize with the officers who fatally shot her cousin because they didn’t know what kind of person Davis was when he fired a shot at them. She added, though, that she wishes it could have been handled differently, perhaps with nonlethal force, such as a taser. NOPD policy allows officers to return lethal force with lethal force.

“This is devastating to us,” Williams said.

Ferguson said the officers were forced to respond “within seconds” after Davis began approaching them and fired at the officers, noting they didn’t know what he was thinking or the nature of his mental state. Video shows about six or seven seconds passed between when officers got out of the car and when Davis fired the shot, which appeared shatter the window of a the pickup truck that the officers were moving toward to take cover.

“He didn’t give us a chance to say any words and trust us, we wish that he had,” Ferguson said. “This didn’t have to turn out this way but, again, we were left with no other options.”

No officers were injured during the exchange.

“In this case, while a life was unfortunately lost, we are confident our officers acted within departmental policies, and while difficult, they did what they had to do,” Ferguson said.

Parker said she was glad she was able to look at the video to get clear answers about her cousin’s death, but “it was hard to watch," noting the site of three officers firing on Davis.

“I wish I could have talked to him,” Parker said.

Williams has been reflecting, she said, on how she or other relatives could have been a better mentor to Davis, or checked in more.

“It’s so heartbreaking because he didn’t deserve to die like that," she said.

Ferguson said internal investigators do not believe the officers violated any NOPD policies. The three officers, all 7th District officers who were answering a call for service that day, were temporarily reassigned to administrative desk duty while the investigation continued, per NOPD standard practice. On Tuesday, Ferguson said they would likely be returning to their regular assignments later this week. He identified the officers as Kevin Ngyen, Stephen Jones and Wayne Lewis.

The body camera footage was released under a department policy that gives NOPD’s leaders and investigators a total of nine days to review and decide when and how to release any pertinent video of officer-involved shootings, a decision that involves the city attorney, district attorney’s office and U.S. Attorney’s office.

Davis is the third man to be killed in an police-involved shooting in New Orleans in 2019 with seven months left in the year.

Zonell Williams, 33, was fatally shot by police Jan. 4 after firing at officers in front of a home in the 2300 block of Orleans Avenue. Police were responding to the home that night to a call of an attempted suicide.

Reginald Bursey, 32, was fatally shot Feb. 17 by NOPD officers and a Louisiana State Police trooper when he started shooting at officers who approached him near the intersection of Canal Street and Elk Place. Five bystanders were shot, including three Ferguson said investigators determined were struck by errant NOPD gunfire. Police had approached Bursey because he was a suspect in two armed robberies.

NOPD internal investigators are still probing possible police involvement leading up to the death of two teenagers who Ferguson said may have been chased by officers in violation of NOPD policy before the car they were in crashed into a Broadmoor beauty salon, setting it on fire, on March 20. A salon customer also was killed, in addition to the teens in the car, Byron Wilson Jr., 16, and Chimelu Collins, 14.

There were no fatal or nonfatal officer-involved shootings in 2018, which was the first time that was the case at least in the past several years. The lack of police shootings last year drew commendation from the New Orleans Independent Police Monitor’s Office.

Davis’ aunt, Lanell Parker, 54, of Chalmette, also viewed the footage with police last week. She said will always remember Davis’ smile, the way he walked.

“He’s my nephew,” she said.

Williams said she can see people suffering from mental health problems when she drives around New Orleans and it makes her think of her cousin’s struggles, and now his fateful end. She hopes they’re encouraged to get help and that services are available for them.

“A lot of work needs to be done because I’m sure he’s not the only person in this city suffering,” Williams said.

©2019 NOLA Media Group, New Orleans


Man gets life in prison for Ind. deputy’s shooting death

Posted on May 29, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

LEBANON, Ind. — A central Indiana man has been sentenced to life in prison without parole after pleading guilty in the fatal shooting of a sheriff's deputy.

Anthony Baumgardt of Lebanon agreed in April to plead guilty to murder in the March 2018 killing of Boone County Deputy Jacob Pickett. The plea deal spared Baumgardt the death penalty .

A judge sentenced the 22-year-old Baumgardt on Wednesday.

The 34-year-old deputy was pursuing Baumgardt with his police dog in Lebanon when the suspect shot him. Pickett died three days later.

Investigators say Baumgardt told them he fired at Pickett because he didn't want to get bitten by the police dog. He was also charged with resisting law enforcement, and illegal handgun, methamphetamine and marijuana possession.


Advisory board: Don’t name Kan. officers involved in shootings

Posted on May 29, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Associated Press

WICHITA, Kan. — A public advisory board in Wichita, Kansas, is now recommending that officers involved in shootings should not be named, citing worries about possible death threats to the families of the officers.

The Wichita Eagle reports that the Citizen Review Board has changed its position after previously suggesting that police create a new policy where names would generally be released. The new recommendation came after Police Chief Gordon Ramsay raised concerns about officer safety.

Ramsay's proposal, approved by the board last month, calls for releasing some information about the officer, such as age, gender, race and years of service, along with discipline history in use-of-force cases and previous involvement in shootings.


1 dead, 3 including deputy wounded in Texas shootings

Posted on May 29, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Associated Press

CLEVELAND, Texas — Police are searching for a man they say killed a woman and wounded three people, including a sheriff's deputy, during shootings in East Texas.

Authorities say that a woman was killed and two men injured Wednesday morning at a veterinary clinic east of Cleveland, a city of 8,000 people about 50 miles northeast of Houston.

Liberty County Sheriff's Office Capt. Ken DeFoor says deputies pursued the suspect, Pablo Vito, along a local highway and then pulled off and exchanged gunfire. DeFoor says a deputy was shot in the throat and flown to a Houston hospital where he is in stable condition.

DeFoor says police are searching for Vito, who was driving a white 2004 Mercury. He did not provide the names of the deputy, woman or injured men.


Gunman found dead after Texas shootings

Posted on May 29, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Author: Sean Curtis

Associated Press

CLEVELAND, Texas — Police searched Wednesday for a man they say killed a woman and wounded three people, including a sheriff's deputy, during shootings that started at a plumbing company in East Texas.

A woman was killed and two men injured around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday at the business east of Cleveland, a city of 8,000 people about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northeast of Houston, Liberty County sheriff's Capt. Ken DeFoor said.

DeFoor said the suspect, Pablo Vito, was driving away from the plumbing company when deputies pursued him on a local highway. He said Vito pulled off and exchanged gunfire with the deputies near a veterinary clinic.

A deputy was shot in the throat and flown to a Houston hospital where he was in stable condition, DeFoor said.

Vito fled and authorities continued to search for him. DeFoor said Vito was driving a white 2004 Mercury.

DeFoor did not provide the names of any of those who were shot, including the deputy.

Public schools in Cleveland were locked down Wednesday morning, according to a statement on the district's Facebook page.

UPDATE: Wynne Unit bloodhound Raider caught the scent at the location where Pavol Vido's vehicle was found, followed that 50 yards to a boat, where the suspect was found hiding. When confronted by law enforcement, Vido shot himself with a handgun. pic.twitter.com/Ob6dQgR3eO

— TDCJ (@TDCJ) May 29, 2019


Texas LEO suffers critical head injury after being assault by suspect

Posted on May 29, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Monique Batson and Jacob Dick Beaumont Enterprise, Texas

SOUR LAKE, Texas — A Sour Lake Police Department officer has suffered head injuries after he was reportedly assaulted.

William McKeon, 59, was in "very critical, but stable condition" Tuesday and will "undergo numerous surgeries in the coming hours and days," Hardin County Sheriff Mark Davis said.

McKeon, a four-year veteran of the department, responded around 8:30 p.m. to a call from J&R Meat Market on Texas 326, where a man later identified as a transient from Kentucky refused to leave when asked by store employees, Davis said.

Davis said the man attacked McKeon after he approached to ask him to leave.

"You hear the word senseless crime but this is really a classic example," the sheriff said.

A bystander and off-duty Beaumont police officer attempted to stop the assault when the suspect pulled the Sour Lake officer's gun and threatened them, the sheriff said. He then broke out the window of the police cruiser and fled the scene.

Officers deployed spike strips on Texas 326 in Kountze, stopping the vehicle. The driver fled on foot into the woods. He was spotted at daybreak, Davis said, and taken into custody.

Bradley Joseph Pruitt, 45, has been charged with aggravated assault on a public servant, aggravated assault, evading arrest, unlawful possession of a firearm and taking a weapon from an officer. The Kentucky man is being held on bonds totaling $4 million.

He is wanted on a warrant in New Mexico for assault of a peace officer, Davis said.

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©2019 the Beaumont Enterprise (Beaumont, Texas)


3 Ill. LEOs wounded, 2 people dead in hostage situation, shootout

Posted on May 29, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Alicia Fabbre Chicago Tribune

JOLIET, Ill. — Authorities on Tuesday identified two people who died Monday in a shootout that took place after police responded to a hostage situation at a burning home in Joliet.

The Will County coroner’s office Tuesday identified the deceased as Kimiki Truss, 43, of Joliet, and Nakia Smith, 44, of Joliet. Both suffered multiple gunshot wounds. Officials Monday had only confirmed one fatality.

Three officers also were taken to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries, according to a news release from the Will County sheriff’s office. One of the officers was treated for a graze wound to his arm, Will County Sheriff Lt. Dan Troike said.

Shortly after 4 a.m. Monday, Joliet police were called to Truss’ home in the 1200 block of Justice Lake Drive after she contacted a third party to tell them she needed help, Troike said. When police arrived, they found Truss’ home on fire and as they entered through the front door they encountered gunfire from Smith, who was standing near the entryway, Troike said.

Smith, who was holding Truss hostage, then ran out the back door with Truss and exchanged more gunfire with police in the backyard, said Troike.

Truss was transported to Silver Cross Hospital, where she was pronounced dead in the emergency room at 5:03 a.m. Monday, according to the Will County coroner’s office. Smith was pronounced dead at the scene.

The two had a long-term relationship that ended and Truss had a new boyfriend, Troike said. He could not elaborate on why Smith was at Truss’ home or what prompted the incident but noted police were reviewing phone records and text messages.

Troike said Truss was shot by Smith, but also noted investigators are awaiting ballistics reports.

The Will-Grundy Major Crimes Task Force is investigating the incident, said Troike, who also serves as commander for the task force. Any officer-involved shootings are reviewed by the task force, Troike noted.

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©2019 the Chicago Tribune


How police leadership handles the aftermath of a deadly pursuit

Posted on May 28, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

James Dudley
Author: James Dudley

I recall the incident as clearly as if it happened yesterday. My partner and I were approaching a suspected drug dealer’s vehicle from our unmarked car. After initiating contact with the driver, I heard chaotic shouting from a radio transmission announcing that a vehicle pursuit of a robbery suspect was headed toward our location. I turned to see a dark-colored vehicle approaching from a few blocks away at a high rate of speed. The car bottomed out as it reached the crest of each block. I observed the black and white radio car trailing the suspect vehicle at a block distance with red lights flashing and siren wailing. My partner and I took cover from the approaching vehicle as it swerved, narrowly missing our unmarked car as it careened toward the next intersection. The driver never slowed as he plowed through the red light, slamming broadside into a small sedan with four occupants.

I ran to the victim’s vehicle and saw the carnage inside. I called for an ambulance and fire department rescue as we attempted to enter the vehicle. The suspect vehicle continued another half block where it came to rest against a utility pole with both the driver and passenger suspects inside and semi-conscious. Both men survived. Three of the victims in the other vehicle did not survive the collision. In the debriefing we l