NJ police team up with Basketball Cops Foundation to give kids much-needed basketball hoop

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

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By PoliceOne Staff

GARFIELD, NJ — Officers in a New Jersey city brought some joy to their community last Thursday through the game of basketball.

The department teamed up with viral police hooper and founder of the Basketball Cops Foundation, Officer Bobby White, to help out a group of kids who were playing basketball using a hoop that didn’t have a backboard.

Garfield Police Sgt. Jeff Stewart first noticed the issue and reached out to White on Instagram. Within minutes, White asked for an address to send a new Spalding regulation hoop set.

Officers from the police department set up the hoop and delivered the surprise to the kids. The kids and officers played a five on five pick up game with the new set.


DOJ releases reports focusing on safety and wellness of U.S. law enforcement

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

By PoliceOne Staff

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice released two complementary reports focusing on the mental health and safety of the nation’s federal, state, local and tribal police officers Wednesday.

The reports, Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act: Report to Congress and Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Programs: Eleven Case Studies, focus on important steps to improving the delivery of and access to mental health and wellness services for the nation’s 800,000 law enforcement officers.

"Serving as a law enforcement officer requires courage, strength, and dedication," Attorney General William P. Barr said. "The demands of this work, day in and day out, can take a toll on the health and well-being of our officers, but the Department of Justice is committed to doing our part to help.”

Under the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act, the COPS Office submitted reports to Congress that addressed recommendations on effectiveness of crisis lines for officers, efficacy of annual mental health checks, expansions of peer mentoring programs and ensuring privacy for those in need of these programs. “In this environment, where an inherently stressful job is made more so by a constant undercurrent of distrust and negative public opinion, the risks to officer wellness are exacerbated,” COPS Office Director Phil Keith said. “This report is an important measure and reflection in our ongoing commitment to protect those who protect us."

Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act: Report to Congress Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act: Report to Congress by Ed Praetorian on Scribd

Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Programs: Eleven Case Studies Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Programs: Eleven Case Studies by Ed Praetorian on Scribd


Ohio police chief writes touching tribute to community following damaging tornado

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

By PoliceOne Staff

SHELBY, Ohio — Following an EF-2 tornado that caused damage to the community, the city of Shelby’s police chief shared his appreciation in a touching tribute, local news station FOX 8 reports.

"We have been so blessed with food, drinks, snacks and an outpouring of support from this awesome community. So many businesses and individuals have chosen to feed first responders, our service crews, and even residents. We have had offers of shelter from individuals and groups; people compelled to act and compelled to be selfless," wrote Shelby Police Chief Lance Combs.

The chief said seeing utility workers from different communities working to restore power made him choke up. The workers accomplished more than a week’s of work in less than two days, according to Combs.

Find his full letter below:

I know I have missed a lot of thank you’s. We have been so blessed with food, drinks, snacks and an outpouring of...

Posted by Shelby Ohio Police Department on Monday, April 15, 2019


Former Mich. trooper found guilty in ATV death

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

By PoliceOne Staff

DETROIT — A former Michigan trooper has been found guilty of the death of a man who was riding an ATV.

According to local news station WXYZ, former Trooper Mark Bessner was on trial for the death of Damon Grimes, who was riding his ATV around his neighborhood in August 2017.

Bessner and his partner observed Grimes driving down the streets of Detroit and attempted to stop him for a traffic violation, but a pursuit ensued.

The trooper says Grimes reached for his waistband two times, leading him to believe that Grimes was reaching for a gun.

Bessner deployed his TASER, leading Grimes to crash into a parked pickup truck and die from blunt force trauma to the head.

During his testimony, Bessner said that Grimes slowed down while pursuing him on the ATV. He didn’t know if Grimes was “taunting” them or trying to lure them into a trap. He said he was shocked to learn that Grimes didn’t have a gun and was only 15 years old.

“The Michigan State Police appreciates the careful deliberation of the men and women of the jury and we are grateful to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office for their dedication to justice,” the MSP said in a statement. “We send our sincere condolences to the family, friends and supporters of Damon Grimes.”

Bessner’s sentencing is scheduled for May 2.


Appeal focuses on Sandy Hook officials’ actions before shooting

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

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Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. — Sandy Hook Elementary School officials failed to follow mandated security protocol and order a lockdown that may have saved lives immediately after the gunman shot his way through the locked entrance, a lawyer for the parents of two children killed in the massacre told a Connecticut appeals court on Wednesday.

Attorney Devin Janosov tried to convince three judges on the state Appellate Court that they should overturn a lower court ruling that dismissed the parents' wrongful death lawsuit against the town of Newtown and its schools. It's not clear when the judges will issue their decision.

A lawyer for the town, Charles DeLuca, argued that ordering a lockdown was discretionary and there was confusion among officials about what the noises were when gunman Adam Lanza was shooting his way through the school's locked glass entrance in the chaotic first moments of the attack.

Principal Dawn Hochsprung and school psychologist Mary Sherlach rushed into a hallway to see what was happening and were killed. A third staff member was injured. Lanza went on to kill 20 first-graders and four other educators in two classrooms before fatally shooting himself on Dec. 14, 2012.

Janosov argued Hochsprung or other officials should have ordered a "code blue" lockdown over the intercom before going into the hallway, under school security protocol in place at the time. He said a lockdown would have alerted teachers to lock their classroom doors — possibly saving lives.

DeLuca disagreed.

"We'll never know what Dawn Hochsprung thought it was," he said of the first gunshots. "You can't call a code blue unless you know there's a reason to do so."

Another lawyer for the parents, Donald Papcsy, said after the court hearing that the shooting sounds made by an AR-15-type rifle like the one Lanza used are unmistakable.

The parents of Jesse Lewis and Noah Pozner are hoping their lawsuit prompts school officials to follow security procedures during future emergencies. They also are seeking damages. Earlier in the case, they offered to settle the lawsuit for $11 million.

Neil Heslin, Jesse's father, attended the court arguments. He said after the hearing that while he blamed Lanza for the killings, the school system should be held accountable for lapses in security protocol.

"If a code blue was called ... it would have made it possible for all the teachers to realize to lock their doors," he said.

The arguments came on the same day that a Florida teenager who authorities say was obsessed with the Columbine school shooting and may have been planning an attack in Colorado was found dead in an apparent suicide after a nearly 24-hour search. That incident came just ahead of the 20th anniversary of the 1999 Columbine massacre.

Lanza, the Sandy Hook shooter, killed his mother at their Newtown home before going to the school, where he killed himself as police arrived. The motive remains unclear. Connecticut's child advocate said Lanza's severe and deteriorating mental health problems, his preoccupation with violence and access to his mother's legal weapons "proved a recipe for mass murder."

Last year, Connecticut Superior Court Judge Robin Wilson dismissed the lawsuit over the Sandy Hook security protocols, citing government immunity.

"Emergencies, by their very nature, are sudden and often rapidly evolving events, and a response can never be one hundred percent scripted and directed," Wilson wrote.

"To say that the faculty and staff of the school were to act in a prescribed manner in responding to an emergency situation would likewise be illogical and in direct contradiction to the very purpose of governmental immunity: allowing for the exercise of judgment without fear of second-guessing," she wrote.


Ex-Black Panther gets new hearing in 1981 LEO death

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

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Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — A former Black Panther and death row activist convicted of killing a Philadelphia police officer decades ago will get a new appeals hearing after the city prosecutor on Wednesday dropped his opposition to it.

Mumia Abu-Jamal, 64, is serving a life sentence after spending decades on death row in the 1981 slaying of Officer Daniel Faulkner, who had pulled his brother over in an overnight traffic stop.

Abu-Jamal, who was shot during the encounter, was largely tried in absentia at his 1982 capital murder trial, after being removed over his repeated objections and efforts to serve as his own lawyer.

A former radio journalist, Abu-Jamal's prison writings made him a popular cause among death penalty opponents worldwide - and a foe of police unions and the slain officer's widow. The attention to his case quieted after his death sentence was set aside over flawed jury instructions in 2011, and his appeals appeared exhausted.

However, in December, Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Leon Tucker granted Abu-Jamal a new chance to argue his initial appeal after the U.S. Supreme Court said a former state justice had improperly heard an appeal in a murder case he had overseen as district attorney. The justice, Ronald Castille, had done the same in Abu-Jamal's case.

District Attorney Larry Krasner initially fought Tucker's order, fearing it could affect a large number of convictions. On Wednesday, he dropped his challenge, citing a revised ruling from Tucker that narrows the scope of his order.

Krasner agreed that Castille should not have worn "two hats" in the case, a fact made more egregious, he suggested, by the discovery of a 1990 note Castille sent Gov. Robert Casey about "police killers," urging him to issue death warrants to "send a clear and dramatic message to all police killers that the death penalty actually means something."

"Although the issue is technical," said Krasner, a longtime civil rights lawyer, "it is also an important cautionary tale on the systemic problems that flow from a judge's failing to recuse where there is an appearance of bias."

Maureen Faulkner said Krasner broke a promise made this week to inform her of the decision before announcing it. She had been out walking her dogs for a few hours Wednesday morning, out of cellphone range, when she learned the news.

"I was just crying my eyes out, once again," said Faulkner, 62, who was removed from a court hearing last year after her emotions overwhelmed her. "What about the survivors? What about victims in Philadelphia, and how they're notified?"

Krasner's office says he spoke with Maureen Faulkner on Tuesday before making a final decision to drop his challenge to the new appeal.

Castille told The Associated Press last year that Abu-Jamal's lawyers never asked him to step down from the appeal. He served as district attorney after Abu-Jamal's murder trial. He said his colleagues on the Supreme Court "knew I'd signed off on the appeal (filings), but I had nothing to do with the trial."

Tucker, in his opinion, said "the slightest appearance of bias or lack of impartiality undermines the entire judiciary."

Judith Ritter, a lead lawyer for Abu-Jamal, praised Krasner's decision.

"We look forward to having our claims of an unfair trial heard by a fair tribunal," said Ritter, a professor at Widener University's Delaware Law School.


Ohio trooper rescues teen sex trafficking victim

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

Dayton Daily News, Ohio

TOLEDO, Ohio — A trooper rescued a sex trafficking victim during a routine traffic stop near Toledo.

Trooper Mitch Ross from the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Swanton Post stopped a 2013 Nissan Sentra for a failure to move over violation on the Ohio Turnpike.

During the stop, the trooper noticed a teenage girl riding with a man. Neither had identification or spoke English, and a translator was called to assist. It was determined the girl was 15 and the man was 35, CBS affiliate WTOL-TV in Toledo reported.

Troopers also confirmed that the man had forced the girl to perform sex acts on him and that she was being taken to Chicago from New Jersey. The girl had been entered into police databases as a missing juvenile from New Jersey, WTOL reported.

The girl was taken to a hospital for medical care and the man was arrested. He was charged with abduction and is being held in the Lucas County Jail.

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©2019 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)


Colo. schools reopen as FBI continues to investigate woman’s threats

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

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Associated Press

LITTLETON, Colo. — The death of a Florida teenager who authorities say was obsessed with the Columbine school shooting and may have planned to carry out her own attack in Colorado did not end an investigation into the 18-year-old, authorities said as they examine whether the young woman acted alone and Denver-area schools prepared to reopen their doors.

The body of Sol Pais was discovered in the mountains outside Denver with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Wednesday after investigators got a tip from the driver who took her there, the FBI said.

Dozens of schools that closed as a precaution during the daylong manhunt planned to reopen Thursday with heightened security measures. Events planned to mark the anniversary of the 1999 Columbine attack will go on as scheduled throughout the week, including a ceremony near the school on Saturday.

Two teenagers attacked Columbine on April 20, 1999, killing 12 classmates and a teacher before taking their own lives. They have inspired cult-like admirers, some of whom committed other mass shootings over the decades. A growing "no notoriety" movement has urged news organizations to avoid naming the perpetrators of mass shootings to deprive them of the notoriety they seek.

The details of Pais' travel from Florida to Colorado began to trickle out Wednesday along with some classmates' confusion at her involvement. The student at Miami Beach High School dressed in black and kept mostly to herself, said Adam Charni, a senior at the school.

Charni said he was "baffled" to learn she was the person authorities in Colorado were searching for. Another classmate, 17-year-old Drew Burnstine, described Pais as quiet and smart.

But the Miami Beach high school student made troubling remarks to others about her "infatuation" with the 1999 assault at Columbine High and this weekend's anniversary, said Dean Phillips, FBI agent in charge in Denver. He did not elaborate on what she said.

Investigators will seek to learn more from Pais' social media and her other online presence, largely to ensure that she had no "accessories" or "accomplices," Phillips said. He confirmed that the material being scrutinized includes a blog containing hand-written journal entries that occasionally feature sketches of guns or people holding large firearms.

In Pais' hometown, Surfside Police Chief Julio Yero asked that the family be given "privacy and a little time to grieve." Pais' parents had reported her missing on Monday night, police said.

"This family contributed greatly to this investigation from the very onset. They provided valuable information that led us to Colorado and a lot of things that assisted in preventing maybe more loss of life," Yero said.

Pais purchased three one-way tickets to Denver on three consecutive days, then flew in on Monday night and went directly to a gun store, where she bought a shotgun, authorities said. Authorities said she did not threaten a specific school. But Columbine and more than 20 other schools outside Denver reacted by locking their doors for nearly three hours Tuesday afternoon, and some canceled evening activities or moved them inside.

"We're used to threats, frankly, at Columbine," John McDonald, security chief for Jefferson County school system, said when the manhunt was over. "This one felt different. It was different. It certainly had our attention."

McDonald described her trip as a "pilgrimage" to Columbine, though Pais is not believed to have been on the campus.

The threats and response added an emotional burden for many with ties to the Columbine community ahead of this weekend's anniversary.

Frank DeAngelis, Columbine's principal at the time of the shooting, said he was on campus Tuesday when the threat prompted officials to lock the high school's doors. He immediately went to check on several staff members who continue working there 20 years after the attack.

"The support was so great," he said. "Everybody came together."

Denver-area parents faced the difficult job of explaining to their children why they had the day off school without scaring them.

"This is definitely a challenge in their generation, and watching my kids learn how to navigate this is really hard. It is really heartbreaking," said Suzanne Kerns of suburban Arvada, whose children are 8 and 15.

Kerns said she was angry about how easy it was for someone reported missing to come from out of state and buy a gun.

Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader said the sale of the shotgun apparently followed the state's legal process. Out-of-state residents who are at least 18 can buy shotguns in Colorado. Customers must provide fingerprints and pass a criminal background check.

Pais' body was found off a trail not far from the base of Mount Evans, a recreation area about 60 miles (97 kilometers) southwest of Denver, authorities said. She used the weapon she bought, Phillips said.


Ga. officer remains hospitalized after shooting, 3 surgeries

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

By PoliceOne Staff

UNION CITY, Ga. — An officer who was wounded in a deadly shootout on April 1 remains in the hospital this week.

According to Fox 5 Atlanta, Officer Jerome Turner Jr. was shot six or seven times during the incident and has undergone three surgeries. He will have another procedure in the coming days.

Turner has only been with the department since December. He previously served as a police chief in Florida and was reportedly the youngest police chief the state when he was sworn-in in 2013.

Turner’s wife, Kyla, says he’s been handling everything well and is ready to get back on the job.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating the shooting.


Parole granted for driver in deadly 1981 Brink’s heist

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

Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. — Former left-wing revolutionary Judith Clark was granted parole Wednesday after serving more than 37 years behind bars for her role as getaway driver in a 1981 Brink's armored truck robbery that left two police officers and a security guard dead.

"You were wrong. Your behavior was criminal. Your callous disregard for the wellbeing of some, in favor of others, is a disgrace," the parole board wrote in its letter delivered to Clark. "However, this release decision is granted in keeping with applicable factors" including her age, the length of time served, her apologies to victims, her disavowal of radical principles and her accomplishments in prison.

Clark was seen by supporters as a symbol of the need for clemency if the prison system was to live up to its ideals as an institution of rehabilitation rather than retribution.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo praised Clark's behavior as a model prisoner when he commuted her 75-years-to-life sentence in 2016 to make her eligible for parole. The 69-year-old inmate has earned a master's degree, trained service dogs, founded an AIDS education program and counseled mothers behind bars during her time in prison.

"We are grateful that the Parole Board affirmed what everyone who has interacted with Judy already knows — that she is a rehabilitated, remorseful woman who poses no threat to society," said Michael Cardozo, who represents Clark pro bono as co-counsel with Steve Zeidman.

Clark is supposed to be released from Bedford Hills Correctional Facility by May 15, Zeidman said, adding "We hope it's much sooner." She plans to live with a friend in New York City and take a job with Hour Children, an organization that helps incarcerated women and their children rejoin the community.

"My great hope is that the Parole Board continues to honor the work people do to transform their lives while in prison and lets more families' loved ones come home," said Clark's daughter, Harriet Clark, in a prepared statement.

At her April 3 parole hearing, Clark presented support statements from more than 2,000 people. They included former Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, 11 members of New York's congressional delegation and Elaine Lord, a former superintendent of Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. A letter signed by more than 70 elected officials said the correctional system exists for rehabilitation as well as punishment.

But some law enforcement officials and families of victims opposed her release. The $1.6 million Brink's heist at a mall in suburban New York led to the shooting deaths of Brink's guard Peter Paige and Nyack police officers Edward O'Grady and Waverly Brown.

The parole board said it considered the letters in support and opposition of Clark's release, as well as her post-release employment plans and low risk of future offenses.

"This perversion of justice is a sad continuation of the deadly assault on police officers happening across our nation and signals to the criminal element that it is open season on cops," Rockland County Executive Ed Day said in a statement Wednesday.

"Judith Clark is a murderer and a terrorist," said Patrick Lynch, president of the Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York. "This is not justice."

Clark participated in the robbery as a member of the Weather Underground, an organization of violent revolutionaries that grew out of the anti-Vietnam war movement. "I look at the world differently now," Clark said in her letter asking Cuomo for clemency. "Instead of abstract slogans, I see and am moved by flesh-and-blood people."

Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said despite being the getaway driver and not at the scene of the robbery and shooting, Clark was sentenced to die in prison. "Since being incarcerated, she has expressed deep remorse for her role and used every opportunity to better herself and those around her."

The parole board denied Clark's release in 2017, saying she was "still a symbol of violent terroristic crime." A state supreme court judge ordered a new hearing, saying the panel improperly gave more weight to the severity of the crime than to her rehabilitation. But that ruling was overruled by a state appellate court.


Ala. Senate votes to allow church to form PD

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

By PoliceOne Staff

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The Alabama Senate has voted to allow a church to establish its own police department.

According to FOX 5 Atlanta, lawmakers voted earlier this month to allow Briarwood Presbyterian Church to establish a police department.

The church, which has a school and a 4,000 person congregation, says it needs its own officers to keep its members safe.

Critics argue that a department that reports to church officials could be used to cover up crimes. Police experts have said such a department would be unprecedented in the U.S.

Alabama has given a few private universities authority to have a police force, but never a non-school entity or a church.

A similar bill is also scheduled to be debated in the House.


Therapy K9s: Changing the way law enforcement serves communities

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

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By Jason Ratcliff

In March 2017 Sheriff Dallas Baldwin of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office in Columbus, Ohio, began the first law enforcement therapy K9 program in the state. At the time we were one of only six other agencies we could identify nationwide who were utilizing the benefits of therapy dogs.

As an agency that embraces community engagement, we realized therapy dogs could be beneficial tools to serve our citizens in a unique way. Dogs transcend cultures, religious beliefs and political affiliations, so we knew they could provide a segue into establishing stronger relationships with our diverse population.

The program has been such a success in our community that as of this writing, our program has grown to three canines. We have two handlers who are Certified Trauma Practitioner Clinical (CTP-C), as well as two Qualified Behavioral Health Specialists (QBHS) through the state of Ohio.

THERAPY K9 PROGRAM ACTIVITIES

Although public relations and community engagement represent a portion of our efforts, the cornerstone of our program is victim's advocacy, mental health and trauma.

We utilize the dogs in weekly group and individual counseling sessions with children enrolled in the mood and behavioral program at our local children’s hospital. Many of these children suffer from anxiety and are depressed, suicidal or have had suicidal ideations. As part of this partnership, the hospital is collecting outcome data for us. The last set of data indicated that 90% of the children reported an increase in mood when dogs were present, 100% of clients felt the dog's presence was helpful and 100% of clients reported a decrease in the overall SUDs (subjective units of distress scale) ratings of the children.

In addition to this partnership, we work closely with our county children services agency, our prosecutor's office, the FBI, and our veteran’s and drug court, as well as partnerships with several school districts where we specifically target children with behavioral challenges.

THERAPY K9 PROGRAM EXPENSES

The main expenses of a canine program revolve around the care of the dog themselves. We have been very fortunate that our program is funded through donations and community partnerships. All veterinarian care, food, supplies and grooming are provided by community partners free of charge. In addition to those services, we have received approximately $60,000 in monetary donations since the program’s inception from individual and corporate donors that assists us with needs not covered by the service providers.

Marketing our program to let our community know about what we do has been key to our success. Harnessing the power of social media, attending key events and taking advantage of the relationship between our public relations office and the media has been crucial to spreading our message, our needs and our mission.

THERAPY K9 PROGRAM TRAINING

To run a top-notch program, we recently sent one of our handlers through a Master K9 Trainer school and they are now a member of the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP).

In addition, we have staff who are evaluators for a nationally recognized therapy dog certification body. This enables us to do our training in-house and tailored to our specific needs, as well as assist other agencies who are looking to start a program.

To help us better understand how to use our dogs effectively, several of our handlers are in the process of obtaining their CTP-C designation (Certified Trauma Practitioner-Clinical).

3 CONSIDERATIONS BEFORE LAUNCHING A THERAPY DOGS PROGRAM

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office has a total of 14 dogs: 11 are dual-purpose K9s and three are therapy K9s. A therapy K9 can be anything from a chihuahua to a pit bull. A therapy K9 is selected by temperament alone, and breed plays no factor.

Agencies interested in starting a therapy K9 program can utilize their local animal shelter or rescue organization who often have dog behavioral specialists to help you select the best dog for your mission. If an agency prefers a breed of dog, they should work with a reputable breeder who can assist them in selecting the best dog for their needs from the available litters.

Here are three steps agencies should take as they plan a therapy dog program:

1. Get leadership support

Key to the success of any new program is buy-in from the top. Because the concept of therapy K9s is so unfamiliar to the world of law enforcement, I recommend doing thorough research before presenting the idea to decision-makers. Plead your case as to why it works. There are plenty of studies on the benefits of therapy dogs and, as with any new venture, it is a good idea to see who is being successful and reach out for advice and trusted counsel to not only gain insight but to save time. Don't reinvent the wheel. It is much easier to take an existing model and tweak it to your needs.

2. Establish funding for the program

Economic factors are next in importance. We are fortunate that our community has financially supported us, but that support didn't fall into our laps. Many hours have been, and continue to be, dedicated to marketing and spreading our message. Only you can decide if that is the right course for you. If your canine remains healthy, yearly maintenance costs should hover somewhere between $1,000 to $2,000. This is a small price to pay for the return on investment your agency and community will receive through strengthened relationships.

3. Review liability concerns

Liability issues and concerns will differ from agency to agency, especially with organizations that currently do not have a traditional K9 program in place. Behavior/temperament testing is crucial to a successful program. I would not recommend an agency select a dog without a temperament test from a trained professional, which should be a documented part of a dog’s file. In addition, ongoing training should be documented. An agency also needs to incorporate a comprehensive set of standard operating procedures for all handlers to follow. At the end of the day, even a well-trained dog has the propensity to bite, which is why it’s so crucial a therapy K9 program is ran with the same professionalism as any other unit in an agency.

LE THERAPY K9 SCHOOL ESTABLISHED

We routinely field calls and emails regarding how we managed to create a successful program. Questions range from how we pick and train dogs, liability issues, financing and our standard operating procedures.

Due to the amount of questions we receive, we created a week-long Law Enforcement Therapy K9 school through a partnership with our county Animal Control office where we will be selecting and training therapy dog candidates from the shelter. Our first class will be held in late summer of 2019. There will be no costs to agencies other than travel and lodging expenses if needed. At the end of the school, we will send officers home with a fully trained canine ready to serve their community free of charge.

Since we began this venture almost two years ago we have identified approximately 40 law enforcement agencies nationwide deploying therapy dogs in their communities. We have seen tremendous results from our program and community support has been overwhelming. It is my hope that other agencies will consider bringing this innovative concept to the communities they are sworn to serve and protect.


About the author Jason Ratcliff is a 23-year law enforcement veteran. He has served the last 20 of those years with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office in Columbus, Ohio, where he has worked in corrections, patrol, investigations and now as a sergeant on the community relations team. Contact Jason at jvratcliff@franklincountyohio.gov.


Why addressing animal cruelty crimes matters

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

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By John Thompson

I have been in law enforcement for nearly 50 years, starting out as a volunteer firefighter and EMT, and later serving as a military police officer, a canine handler and intelligence officer in the U.S. Army; a police chief in Mt. Rainier, Maryland; and assistant sheriff for Prince Georges County. I then spent 16 years at the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA). There were a lot of things I had to think about on the job, but animal cruelty wasn’t one of them. Policing has changed a lot since I began my career, and my thinking has changed about animal abuse and its connection to the goal of good police work, which is to protect our communities.

Getting there involved a transformative lightbulb moment. While in law school, my daughter worked as an intern at the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, and she reviewed the research on the link between animal abuse and other crimes. Her findings opened my eyes and made me ask, “How have I missed this?” About the same time, a small dog named Mr. Po came into my family’s life. Although I had been a canine officer and around dogs and other animals all my life, nothing prepared me for the deep and lasting influence Mr. Po would have on me. My world changed and as it did, I realized the many ways in which paying attention to animal cruelty could provide law enforcement with more and better tools for keeping communities safe. Let me explain.

Animal cruelty often occurs alongside other offenses

There is quite a large body of research – as well as first-hand experiences from officers in the field – showing that animal cruelty crimes occur alongside other serious offenses, such as child abuse, domestic violence, interpersonal violence, gang activity and illegal drug dealing. If you pay attention to animal cruelty, you may be able to identify – or even avert – other crimes more quickly. If there are neglected dogs on a property, there might be an animal fighting ring, children exposed to violence, or other criminal acts. When you arrive at a domestic violence call, look to see if there are animals in the household. Have they been injured? If, as often happens, the victim of domestic violence is hesitant to press charges, perhaps an alleged offender could be charged with animal cruelty. Paying attention to animal cruelty not only protects animals, but the families and communities in which they live.

Animal cruelty crime added to NIBRS

I am not the only law enforcement professional to think this way. In September 2016 the FBI added animal cruelty crime incidents to Group A of the National Incident Based Reporting System. The National Sheriffs’ Association, as well as the Animal Welfare Institute, submitted proposals to the Advisory Policy Board to request this addition.

In July 2018, the Joint Counterterrorism Assessment Team (JCAT) of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a statement in its First Responder’s Toolkit advising law enforcement that animal cruelty could be a warning behavior for terrorism or other acts of premeditated violence against humans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently agreed animal cruelty should be a data element in its National Violent Death Reporting System. A search of that database reveals a correlation between animal abuse and some violent deaths.

Resources and training on animal cruelty recognition

The National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) has taken this matter to heart, publishing special issues of its magazine “Sheriff & Deputy” on the link between animal cruelty and other crimes; the most recent edition can be downloaded here. Current NSA President John Layton created an Animal Cruelty and Abuse Committee. NSA also houses the National Law Enforcement Center on Animal Abuse (NLECAA), which has a number of practical resources for law enforcement. Two roll call videos are available, “Cruelty and Neglect” and “Dog Fighting,” with plans for additional videos in the future. NLECAA has also collaborated with the Justice Clearinghouse to provide free webinars on topics related to law enforcement and animal cruelty.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) provides free training and support to law enforcement agencies in handling animal abuse cases. To request a training, contact Ashley Mauceri. Similarly, the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys conducts an annual training conference and occasional webinars on enforcing animal cruelty laws and investigating animal cruelty crimes.

Now that animal cruelty incidents are part of NIBRS, we need to ensure we collect reliable data on animal cruelty crimes. If your agency participates in NIBRS – the FBI has a goal of 100% national participation by 2020 – be sure your department is reporting animal abuse incidents. Incidents are categorized as neglect, intentional cruelty, animal fighting and animal sexual assault. This information will enable effective targeting of resources, determine where interventions are needed or are working, and track how animal cruelty is related to other crimes.

As executive director of the National Animal Care & Control Association (NACA), one of my goals is to create bridges between law enforcement agencies and those animal service agencies not located within law enforcement. Animal control officers often are the first responders on an animal cruelty call. They also provide assistance when animals need to be removed from a situation. The NACA website has more information on the role animal control officers play in the law enforcement community.

Since reading that law school paper that changed my life, I have committed myself to urging law enforcement to pay attention to animal cruelty crimes and to offer them resources for doing that. Vigorous enforcement of animal cruelty laws not only can prevent or end animal suffering, but it can also protect our families and communities.


About the author John Thompson is executive director of the National Animal Care and Control Association (NACA) and former deputy executive director and COO of the National Sheriffs’ Association. Contact him at JThompson@nacanet.org.


Opinion: Overhauling police use of force in California

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

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By Ron Hernandez and Robert Harris

We are currently witnessing a tale of two bills in California regarding police use of force. The approaches are as different as night and day. One approach is grounded in emotion and seeks to score political points by throwing officers in jail when they use force during life and death situations. The other is grounded in sound policy and science, which seeks to reduce all uses of force by preventing them from occurring in the first place through stronger policies and improved training.

Assembly Bill 392

The ACLU and California Assemblywoman Shirley Weber are taking the politicization of officer-involved shootings to new heights with their bill, AB 392.

The ACLU wants to eliminate the reasonable standard that governs the legality of officer-involved shootings that was established by the Supreme Court in Graham v. Connor. They want to replace it with a necessary standard and apply a totality of circumstances lens to look at these incidents.

What does this mean? Essentially, under current U.S. Constitutional law, if an officer pulls someone over and the driver pulls a gun on the officer or others, then the officer may use deadly force to protect themselves and others. Under the ACLU’s bill, that officer would lose their right to self-defense if it is later determined the officer could have deployed a TASER, not pursued the fleeing bank robber or could’ve retreated out of the way. Furthermore, the officer can lose their right to self-defense if its determined that the officer lacked probable cause for a stop, regardless of the threat presented. It’s ridiculous.

To sell the bill, the ACLU has deployed a well-orchestrated disinformation campaign. The organization claims there is an epidemic of police violence in California, yet according to the Washington Post’s Fatal Force Database fatal officer-involved shootings have declined 40% since 2015. The ACLU and their supporters repeat over and over that California is 37% above the national average for fatal officer-involved shootings. In fact, according to the Washington Post data, California is 5.43% below the national average.

Senate Bill 230

On the other hand, top law enforcement associations in California are working with State Senator Anna Caballero on SB 230, a bill grounded in science, facts and data. SB 230 is an essential component of a comprehensive plan to reduce uses of force.

SB 230 will establish a clear standard for authorizing the use of force, standardizes use of force training and enacts evidence-based policies to minimize uses of force. For example, SB 230 mandates that all California law enforcement agencies adopt policies, and train on, de-escalation, managing mental health crisis situations and requiring an officer to intercede if they witness the use of excessive force.

SB 230 incorporates best practices from jurisdictions that have seen improvements in reducing uses of force. It provides public safety officers the necessary tools to safely do their jobs. But our collective goal ought to be to prevent as many dangerous encounters as possible and a new organization has been formed to do just that.

A holistic approach to crime reduction

Protect California, a non-profit organization, is committed to taking a more holistic approach to crime reduction and neighborhood safety. The organization’s plan addresses the root causes of crime by pulling virtually every public policy lever available to ensure positive outcomes between public safety officers and the community by:

Creating economic and educational opportunities in communities disproportionately impacted by crime and poverty; Adequately funding the delivery of treatment and services for those diagnosed with mental illness; Making sure convicted felons and those with diagnosed mental illness do not have access to guns; Equipping public safety officers with the necessary tools and training to safely respond to and manage dangerous situations and individuals with mental illness.

The debate over how best to safely reduce police use of force and make California neighborhoods safer is an important one. It’s one that must be grounded in facts and not driven by emotion. We can all agree the best outcome to any use of force is to prevent the dangerous encounter before it occurs. To learn more about the plan to protect California go to www.ProtectCA.com.


About the authors Ron Hernandez is treasurer of Protect California and president of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs.

Robert Harris is president of Protect California and a director with the Los Angeles Police Protective League.


$40 million for federal sexual assault kits initiative

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

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By Rachel Engel, P1 Staff

The Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance is allotting $40 million for the Sexual Assault Kits Initiative, a competitive grant program designed to assist jurisdiction officials in processing SAKs, utilizing evidence obtained from SAKs to seek convictions and gathering DNA samples to submit to the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).

Each grant request must include three elements:

Inventory of all unsubmitted SAKs in the jurisdiction, regardless of where they are stored; Create a multidisciplinary working group to address the reason for the high number of unsubmitted SAKs; Designate a site coordinator to keep team members up to date on SAK numbers. SAKI Grant Purpose Areas

Selected applicants will focus their projects on one of four purpose areas determined by BJA. They are:

Purpose 1: Comprehensive approach to unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits; Purpose 2: SAKI for small agencies (under 250 sworn officers); Purpose 3: Expansion of DNA database by collecting lawfully owed DNA samples; Purpose 4: Investigation and prosecution of cold case sexual assaults.

Purpose 1: Comprehensive approach to unsubmitted SAKs

Grant recipients must submit a comprehensive approach to submitting previously unsubmitted SAKs, and for cataloging future kits. Funding can also be requested to assist with testing of other evidence relating to SAKs, but all projects must include the three elements required by BJA as outlined above.

Purpose 2: SAKI for small agencies

For recipients in this purpose area, all three of the elements required by BJA are necessary, but as scaled-down versions. For this funding, applicants should:

Create a point of contact to keep all team members up to date on SAKs submissions Establish a multidisciplinary working group to address the reason for unsubmitted SAKs that includes a prosecutor, an investigator and a community advocate (at a minimum)

Purpose 3: Expansion of DNA databases

Funding in this area will be used to expand DNA databases by locating and collecting samples from convicted offenders who should have samples in CODIS, but have never been tested.

This purpose area is a follow-up to the main goal of submitting all untested SAK, and jurisdictions should only seek funding for the Purpose Area 3 if they have submitted all previously unsubmitted SAKs and have a comprehensive plan in place to prevent a backlog from reoccurring.

Purpose 4: Investigation and prosecution of cold case sexual assaults

This funding area follows the submission of untested kits and the collection of needed DNA samples as the next logical step. Jurisdictions can receive funds in order to hire additional personnel for the specific task of investigating cold case sexual assaults, as well as for training purposes, enhancing victim services, travel costs associated with victim engagement or suspect interviews, and for using advanced DNA practices and search methods.

Get free toolkits that can assist public safety with SAKI here.


Iowa LEO says she was forced to resign after sexual harassment complaints

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

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Erin Jordan The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

WEST UNION, Iowa — West Union’s only female police officer says she was forced to resign last week in retaliation for complaining about sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the department.

Sierra Fox, who had worked in the West Union Police Department since July 2015, alleges Police Chief Paul Bechtold treated her differently from male officers, denied her a women’s uniform, insulted her and called her vulgar names to other officers.

Two male police officers who used to work with Fox at the northeast Iowa department corroborated her statements, adding that Bechtold made sexual comments about Fox and told them to ignore her calls for emergency help because she probably was being “dramatic.”

“Chief Bechtold told me that if Officer Fox was in a chase and called for help, there was no need to rush to get to the chase to assist her because the suspect ‘would just stop anyway,’” Officer Makenz Kriener, who worked with Fox from December 2017 to June 2018, wrote in an affidavit provided to The Gazette by Fox’s attorney, Katie Ervin Carlson.

“I never would have abided by this command, but it was a dangerous and completely unacceptable order,” he said.

City Administrator Nick McIntyre on Friday confirmed Fox’s resignation, but said she was not required to step down or be fired.

“That’s a misinterpretation,” he said.

A message left for Bechtold by The Gazette had not been returned by Friday evening.

West Union, a city of about 2,300 in Fayette County, has a four-person police department.

Fox complained to McIntyre on Jan. 23 and filed a complaint with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission on Feb. 9, according to paperwork from her attorney.

McIntyre called Fox to a meeting Wednesday and placed her on administrative leave, Fox reported.

In an audio recording of that meeting provided by Ervin Carlson, McIntyre tells Fox she must resign by April 12 or he would “recommend dismissal to council on Monday.”

Fox submitted her resignation letter Thursday, Ervin Carlson said.

In the recording, McIntyre listed a half-dozen incidents since March 27 in which Fox is alleged to have broken department rules. These include spending unproductive time at the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, failing to respond to medical pages and responding to a K-9 police dog assist in another county without authorization.

“Do I get to say anything?” Fox asks McIntyre, according to the recording.

“You can, yeah. Absolutely,” he replies.

While Fox is looking up some notes, McIntyre continues. “It appears something is going on. You’re not engaged (with work) like you used to be.”

Fox said officers don’t respond to all medical calls because it sometimes isn’t needed, such as when a nursing home has its own medical staff. As the handler of the West Union K-9 officer, Xena, Fox talked about going with the dog to calls at a school and another county. Both calls were requested and provided training for the dog, she said.

“I was given six write-ups for performance issues, every single one of which is alleged to have occurred after I complained about discrimination, harassment, and retaliation,” Fox wrote in her resignation letter.

Fox asked in the letter for West Union to let her keep Xena.

“K9s do not typically change handlers as such a change can cause stress and confusion, causing the dog to shut down and be forced to retire,” Fox wrote. “I worry this will happen if Xena is taken from my care as a result of my forced resignation.”

In an interview, McIntyre said he could not comment on Fox’s assertion she was being retaliated against for her complaints about Bechtold or whether her complaints are being investigated by the city.

West Union Police Department K9 Xena has been awarded “Healthcare for K9 Heroes” Grant Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. is a...

Posted by West Union, Iowa Police Department on Wednesday, January 9, 2019

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©2019 The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)


Columbine threat by woman with gun shuts down Colo. schools

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

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Associated Press

LITTLETON, Colo. — Denver-area public schools will be closed Wednesday as authorities search for a young Florida woman who flew to the city and bought a gun after becoming "infatuated" with the mass shooting at Columbine High School.

The FBI said Sol Pais, 18, is "considered to be extremely dangerous" and "made threats to commit an act of violence in the Denver metropolitan area" just days before the 20th anniversary of the attack that killed 13 people.

All schools in the Denver area were urged to tighten security because the threat was deemed "credible and general," said Patricia Billinger, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Public Safety. Columbine and more than 20 other schools outside Denver lock their doors for nearly three hours Tuesday afternoon before Wednesday's complete closures were announced.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and the FBI say Pais traveled to Colorado from Miami on Monday night and bought a pump-action shotgun and ammunition.

Denver Public Schools said that all facilities and programs will be closed Wednesday, and there will be no afternoon activities or athletic competitions. The district said the decision to close campuses was in collaboration with other Denver metro-area school districts due to the ongoing safety concern.

On Tuesday, some schools released their students after additional security was called in and canceled evening activities or moved them inside.

"We always have heightened awareness close to high-profile anniversaries like this," Billinger said.

Authorities said Pais was last seen near Columbine -- in the Jefferson County foothills outside Denver -- wearing a black T-shirt, camouflage pants and black boots. They appealed for anyone seeing her to call an FBI tip line at 303 630-6227, and said she is too dangerous to be approached by civilians. The alert also said police who come into contact with her should detain her and evaluate her mental health.

"This has become a massive manhunt ... and every law enforcement agency is participating and helping in this effort," Dean Phillips, special agent in charge of the FBI in Denver, said late Tuesday night.

The FBI's Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force issued a notice Tuesday describing Pais as "infatuated with (the) Columbine school shooting."

The @FBIDenver & JCSO are asking for the public’s help regarding a potential credible threat. Last night Sol Pais traveled to Colorado & made threats. She is armed & considered to be extremely dangerous 1/3 pic.twitter.com/2x5iwddsMp

— Jeffco Sheriff (@jeffcosheriffco) April 16, 2019

Sheriff's spokesman Mike Taplin said the threats she made were general and not specific to any school.

The Denver Post reported that a call to a phone number listed for Pais' parents in Surfside, Florida, was interrupted by a man who identified himself as an FBI agent and said he was interviewing them.

Surfside Police Sgt. Marian Cruz confirmed that her parents last saw her on Sunday and reported her missing on Monday. The Miami Herald and WTVJ are reporting that neighbors say the teen is a senior at Miami Beach High School.

The Associated Press left messages at two numbers listed for Pais' relatives in Florida, while another number was disconnected.

Two teenage gunmen attacked Columbine on April 20, 1999, killing 12 classmates and a teacher.


FBI: Woman obsessed with Columbine ‘no longer threat’

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

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UPDATE: FBI says Sol Pais is no longer a threat.

UPDATE: THERE IS NO LONGER A THREAT TO THE COMMUNITY. More information to follow shortly. #FindSol

— FBI Denver (@FBIDenver) April 17, 2019

Associated Press

LITTLETON, Colo.— Denver-area public schools closed Wednesday as the FBI hunted for an armed young Florida woman who was allegedly "infatuated" with Columbine and threatened violence just days ahead of the 20th anniversary of the attack.

Sol Pais, an 18-year-old Miami Beach high school student, flew to Colorado on Monday night and bought a pump-action shotgun and ammunition, the FBI and the sheriff's department said.

All classes and extracurricular activities for about a half-million students were canceled as a precaution. Sheriff's spokesman Mike Taplin said the young woman's threats were general and not specific to any school.

"This has become a massive manhunt ... and every law enforcement agency is participating and helping in this effort," said Dean Phillips, agent in charge of the FBI in Denver.

The FBI said Pais is "considered to be extremely dangerous" and "made threats to commit an act of violence in the Denver metropolitan area" ahead of Saturday's anniversary of the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School that killed 13 people.

The FBI described Pais as "infatuated" with the Columbine school shooting.

Authorities said Pais was last seen not far from Columbine — in the Jefferson County foothills outside Denver — in a black T-shirt, camouflage pants and black boots. They appealed for anyone seeing her to call an FBI tip line at (303) 630-6227.

The alert also said police who come into contact with her should detain her and evaluate her mental health.

Because of the threat, Columbine and more than 20 other schools outside Denver locked their doors for nearly three hours Tuesday afternoon, and some canceled evening activities or moved them inside.

"We always have heightened awareness close to high-profile anniversaries like this," said Patricia Billinger, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Public Safety.

Messages left by The Associated Press at two numbers listed for Pais' relatives in Florida were not immediately returned, while another number was disconnected.

The @FBIDenver & JCSO are asking for the public’s help regarding a potential credible threat. Last night Sol Pais traveled to Colorado & made threats. She is armed & considered to be extremely dangerous 1/3 pic.twitter.com/2x5iwddsMp

— Jeffco Sheriff (@jeffcosheriffco) April 16, 2019

Two teenage gunmen attacked Columbine on April 20, 1999, killing 12 classmates and a teacher before taking their own lives.


Woman ‘infatuated’ with Columbine found dead

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

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Associated Press

LITTLETON, Colo. — A young Florida woman who traveled to Colorado and bought a shotgun for what authorities feared would be a Columbine-inspired attack just days ahead of the 20th anniversary was found dead Wednesday in an apparent suicide after a nearly 24-hour manhunt.

Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader said 18-year-old Sol Pais was discovered by the FBI with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The manhunt had led to the closing of Denver-area schools as a precaution.

During the manhunt, the FBI said Pais was "infatuated" with Columbine and made threats ahead of Saturday's anniversary of the attack that killed 13 people at Columbine High School in 1999. The FBI described her "extremely dangerous."

The Miami Beach high school student flew to Colorado on Monday night and bought a pump-action shotgun and ammunition, authorities said.

Agents had focused the search around the base of Mount Evans, a popular recreational area about 60 miles southwest of Denver.

All classes and extracurricular activities for about a half-million students were canceled as a precaution, though sheriff's spokesman Mike Taplin said the young woman's threats were general and not specific to any school.

"This has become a massive manhunt ... and every law enforcement agency is participating and helping in this effort," said Dean Phillips, agent in charge of the FBI in Denver.

Authorities said Pais was last seen not far from Columbine — in the Jefferson County foothills outside Denver — in a black T-shirt, camouflage pants and black boots.

The alert also said police who come into contact with her should detain her and evaluate her mental health.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said federal, state and local law enforcement were "dedicating all of their resources to locate this dangerous individual."

"We know that there is a lot of anxiety right now in Colorado," Polis said in a statement.

Because of the threat, Columbine and more than 20 other schools outside Denver locked their doors for nearly three hours Tuesday afternoon, and some canceled evening activities or moved them inside.

Pais' parents last saw her on Sunday and reported her missing to Florida authorities on Monday night, police in Surfside, Florida, said.

Messages left by The Associated Press at two numbers listed for Pais' relatives in Florida were not immediately returned, while another number was disconnected.

Adam Charni, a Miami Beach High School senior, said Pais dressed in black and kept mostly to herself. He said he was "baffled" to learn she was the person authorities in Colorado were searching for.

Another classmate, 17-year-old junior Drew Burnstine, said Pais was a quiet, smart student who sat alone in class and "never caused problems or indicated that she wanted to harm anyone."

Two teenage gunmen attacked Columbine on April 20, 1999, killing 12 classmates and a teacher before taking their own lives.

State Rep. Patrick Neville, the Republican House minority leader, was a 15-year-old sophomore at Columbine High at the time of the shooting and now has three school-age daughters.

"It wasn't easy for me to explain to my kids what was going on last night," Neville said on the House floor Wednesday.


Woman who threatened Columbine found dead after manhunt

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

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Associated Press

LITTLETON, Colo. — A young Florida woman who traveled to Colorado and bought a shotgun for what authorities feared would be a Columbine-inspired attack just days ahead of the 20th anniversary was found dead Wednesday in an apparent suicide after a nearly 24-hour manhunt.

Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader said 18-year-old Sol Pais was discovered by the FBI with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The manhunt had led to the closing of Denver-area schools as a precaution.

During the manhunt, the FBI said Pais was "infatuated" with Columbine and made threats ahead of Saturday's anniversary of the attack that killed 13 people at Columbine High School in 1999. The FBI described her "extremely dangerous."

The Miami Beach high school student flew to Colorado on Monday night and bought a pump-action shotgun and ammunition, authorities said.

Agents had focused the search around the base of Mount Evans, a popular recreational area about 60 miles southwest of Denver.

All classes and extracurricular activities for about a half-million students were canceled as a precaution, though sheriff's spokesman Mike Taplin said the young woman's threats were general and not specific to any school.

"This has become a massive manhunt ... and every law enforcement agency is participating and helping in this effort," said Dean Phillips, agent in charge of the FBI in Denver.

Authorities said Pais was last seen not far from Columbine — in the Jefferson County foothills outside Denver — in a black T-shirt, camouflage pants and black boots.

The alert also said police who come into contact with her should detain her and evaluate her mental health.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said federal, state and local law enforcement were "dedicating all of their resources to locate this dangerous individual."

"We know that there is a lot of anxiety right now in Colorado," Polis said in a statement.

Because of the threat, Columbine and more than 20 other schools outside Denver locked their doors for nearly three hours Tuesday afternoon, and some canceled evening activities or moved them inside.

Pais' parents last saw her on Sunday and reported her missing to Florida authorities on Monday night, police in Surfside, Florida, said.

Messages left by The Associated Press at two numbers listed for Pais' relatives in Florida were not immediately returned, while another number was disconnected.

Adam Charni, a Miami Beach High School senior, said Pais dressed in black and kept mostly to herself. He said he was "baffled" to learn she was the person authorities in Colorado were searching for.

Another classmate, 17-year-old junior Drew Burnstine, said Pais was a quiet, smart student who sat alone in class and "never caused problems or indicated that she wanted to harm anyone."

Two teenage gunmen attacked Columbine on April 20, 1999, killing 12 classmates and a teacher before taking their own lives.

State Rep. Patrick Neville, the Republican House minority leader, was a 15-year-old sophomore at Columbine High at the time of the shooting and now has three school-age daughters.

"It wasn't easy for me to explain to my kids what was going on last night," Neville said on the House floor Wednesday.


Calif. town votes to keep flag on police cars

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

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Associated Press

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. — The flag will continue to wave on police cars in a small Southern California coastal community, the City Council decided Tuesday night.

The Laguna Beach City Council voted Tuesday night to retain a new logo for its 11 police vehicles that uses stars and stripes running through the word "police" on the doors.

Some in the small, artsy coastal community thought the flashy red, white and blue decal was too aggressive and flashy while others were surprised that anyone would object to the American flag.

The council considered whether to keep the design or choose another.

Virtually everyone in the crowded council chamber raised their hand when asked if they supported the design and at one point the crowd sang "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Before the meeting, Mayor Pro Tem Steve Dicterow told the Los Angeles Times the council was simply facing "a very narrow decision" about the brightness of the colors, but that the issue had devolved into a broader national conversation about patriotism.

He said he has received hundreds of emails from people around the country, mostly in support of keeping the flag designs on the car.

The council agreed earlier this year to repaint its squad cars.

The proposed graphic the council approved in February was a more muted version of the design that now appears on the cars.

"Clearly, the way it looks on the car is not what anyone expected it to look like," Dicterow told the Times. "I think it's reasonable that we're going to look at it again so that whatever we (approve) is exactly what we put on the car."


Amid controversy, Calif. town votes to keep flag on police cars

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

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Associated Press

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. — The flag will continue to wave on police cars in a small Southern California coastal community, the City Council decided Tuesday night.

The Laguna Beach City Council voted Tuesday night to retain a new logo for its 11 police vehicles that uses stars and stripes running through the word "police" on the doors.

Some in the small, artsy coastal community thought the flashy red, white and blue decal was too aggressive and flashy while others were surprised that anyone would object to the American flag.

The council considered whether to keep the design or choose another.

Virtually everyone in the crowded council chamber raised their hand when asked if they supported the design and at one point the crowd sang "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Before the meeting, Mayor Pro Tem Steve Dicterow told the Los Angeles Times the council was simply facing "a very narrow decision" about the brightness of the colors, but that the issue had devolved into a broader national conversation about patriotism.

He said he has received hundreds of emails from people around the country, mostly in support of keeping the flag designs on the car.

The council agreed earlier this year to repaint its squad cars.

The proposed graphic the council approved in February was a more muted version of the design that now appears on the cars.

"Clearly, the way it looks on the car is not what anyone expected it to look like," Dicterow told the Times. "I think it's reasonable that we're going to look at it again so that whatever we (approve) is exactly what we put on the car."


Gun control group targets Nev. sheriffs over new law

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

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Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — A national gun control lobbying organization on Tuesday made Nevada the latest Western state where it is trying to show that gun rights groups including the National Rifle Association are behind a "Second Amendment sanctuary" drive.

The Brady advocacy group said it believes gun rights advocates improperly orchestrated resolutions by rural lawmakers and sheriffs who say they won't enforce a new state law requiring background checks on all gun sales, including purchases at gun shows and on the internet.

"These Nevada county commissions and sheriffs have gone rogue," Brady President Kris Brown said in a statement saying the officials are endangering public safety by declaring they won't enforce strict background checks.

"If your job is to keep your constituents safe and defend public safety, you should have a vested interest in keeping guns out of dangerous hands," she said.

The National Rifle Association didn't immediately respond to messages about the Brady organization filings seeking emails and communications from commissioners in four of Nevada's 17 counties and sheriffs in three.

Don Turner, head of the pro-gun Nevada Firearms Coalition, said he supports the counties and sheriffs for balking at laws "that infringe on U.S. and Nevada constitutions."

Brady spokesman Max Samis acknowledged that communications and lobbying happens on both sides of the gun issue.

"This is different," he said. "This is telling law enforcement officers not to enforce the law."

The push for documents in Nevada follows requests by the Brady organization for records last month in New Mexico, where at least 26 county commissions approved so-called Second Amendment sanctuary ordinances in opposition to an expanded gun background checks law due to take effect July 1.

Brady is considering similar action in Washington state, Illinois and Colorado, Samis said.

In Washington and Illinois, officials in mostly rural areas have vowed not to enforce new gun buyer screening laws.

In Colorado, gun rights activists say about half the state's 64 counties have symbolically declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuary areas in opposition to a "red flag" gun law signed last week by Democratic Gov. Jared Polis. It allows firearms to be taken from people a judge deems to pose a danger.

The officials in several rural Nevada counties focus on a law set to go into effect next January.

A newly Democratic-majority Legislature passed the measure and Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak quickly signed it in February, more than two years after a background check initiative was passed by voters in 2016.

Sisolak called it a memorial to victims of the October 2017 Las Vegas Strip massacre that became the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Despite lawsuits, the initiative was not enacted during the Republican administration of former Gov. Brian Sandoval and former Attorney General Adam Laxalt. They insisted it was flawed and that the state does a better job of checking records of gun buyers than the FBI.

Elected officials in Nevada's two largest urban areas, Las Vegas and Reno, have said they will enforce the new state background screenings law when it goes into effect.

In rural Nye County, Sheriff Sharon Wehrly said she wanted to see what the Brady campaign seeks before she comments about the public documents filing.

Eureka County Sheriff Jesse Watts referred to a letter he sent in February to Sisolak, saying he would "refuse to participate, or stand idly by, while my citizens are turned into criminals due to the unconstitutional actions of misguided politicians."

"Nowhere in my letter does it say I am not enforcing the law," Watts said Tuesday.


Federal grant to help Ala. establish a civil asset forfeiture database

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

John Sharp Alabama Media Group, Birmingham

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s office announced April 10 a $38,336 grant that will go toward establishing a statewide database to enable the tracking of property seized by police during arrests.

The money, which is provided to the state from the U.S. Department of Justice, will go to the Alabama Justice Information Commission for the development of a civil asset forfeiture plan. The plan includes the development of a database.

“Our police and deputies work long and hard to enforce laws and keep our communities safe,” Ivey said in statement. “Establishing these regulations will ensure that seizures related to crimes are done above board and without question.”

Jim Plott, spokesman with the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, which is administering the grant, said the database will list all seizures, forfeitures and disposal of property provided by law enforcement agencies.

“That information can be used in requests for statistical data required by federal agencies when local agencies may be seeking grants, and it presents a clear record should any concerns arise involving a law enforcement agency,” said Plott.

A database that tracks civil asset forfeitures has been discussed and debated in Montgomery for some time. Last year, lawmakers nearly approved legislation to require the development of a database but it was defeated during the waning days of the session following opposition from law enforcement groups.

The Alabama Legislature had all the elements in place to pursue bipartisan reform on civil asset forfeiture. But months of negotiations with law enforcement, followed by a key Senate floor debate, resulted in Alabama coming up empty-handed. What happened?

In late February, the Alabama District Attorneys Association announced the creation of the Alabama Forfeiture Accountability system that allows law enforcement to voluntarily provide details on property seized during arrest.

Carla Crowder, executive director of Alabama Appleseed Center for Law & Justice in Montgomery, said “transparency is welcome and needed," but that more was needed. The Institute for Justice, in grading states based on their civil asset forfeiture laws, gave Alabama a “D-“ largely because it maintains a low bar to forfeit an asset even if no criminal conviction is needed.

The practice of property seizures by police has drawn criticism in Alabama and nationally and received new attention with a recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. In an Indiana case, the court ruled that authorities violated the constitutional prohibition on excessive fines when they seized a $42,000 vehicle from a man who pleaded guilty to selling $225 worth of heroin to undercover officers.

Following the ruling, some Alabama-based organizations and lawmakers have called out for civil asset forfeiture reform including possible outright repeal of the practice. A host of lawmakers, including state Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur – who co-sponsored the reform measures last year, and has a similar bill this year – believe a criminal conviction should be required before law enforcement can seize someone’s property.

Crowder said she supports the bipartisan solution that is backed by Orr.

“The sensible solution to the government overreach allowed by our current civil asset forfeiture scheme is to require a criminal conviction before the government can take someone’s property," she said. "Alabama needs the reforms outlined in this bill, not a plan and not more delays.

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©2019 Alabama Media Group, Birmingham


Pa. bill creates police grants for drug-detecting devices

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

The Times

PHILADELPHIA — U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb has reintroduced legislation creating a grant program to help police obtain portable, chemical-screening devices that can be used to detect the dangerous drug fentanyl.

Lamb, D-17, Mount Lebanon, along with U.S. Reps. David Joyce, R-Ohio, and David Trone, D-Md., introduced the Providing Officers With Electronic Resources Act on April 3. Lamb, a former federal prosecutor, and Joyce, a former Geauga County prosecutor, introduced similar legislation in the House last year.

“The opioid crisis is affecting communities across our region and the country. We need to make sure our local law-enforcement officers are armed with the right tools to stay safe and do their jobs effectively,” Lamb said in a joint statement.

Full story: Lamb bill creates police grants for drug-detecting devices


4 charged in connection with chemical bomb thrown at Colo. officer

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

Sam Tabachnik The Denver Post

Four 19-year-old men face charges in connection with a chemical bomb that injured two people, including a police officer, the 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office announced.

On Friday, Braiden Ulmer, Gavin Dawson, Isaac Koch, and Maxwell McCann, all 19 years old, posted bond and appeared in court to be advised of their charges.

On April 7, an officer arrived at 72nd Avenue and Beech Street to clear a barricade blocking the street. As the officer and a civilian picked up the debris, someone threw a plastic bottle toward the officer, which began releasing white smoke, police said.

The officer soon lost consciousness and was taken to the hospital, suffering from chlorine gas exposure, the DA’s office said. The civilian suffered minor symptoms and was treated at the scene.

The four men, plus one unnamed juvenile, were arrested the next day on suspicion of first-degree assault; criminal attempt of second-degree assault; two counts of possession, use or removal of explosives or incendiary devices; and conspiracy to commit possession, use or removal of explosives or incendiary devices.

Ulmer, Dawson and McCann and Koch will appear in court for preliminary hearings on May 10.

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©2019 The Denver Post


Get more bang for your training buck with a simulation training subscription

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

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Sponsored by VirTra

At the end of 2018, PoliceOne issued its annual list of trends and predictions for the year ahead, including a forecast of a coming funding crunch for law enforcement agencies that will put extreme pressure on operational effectiveness.

That article quotes Jim Bueermann, a retired police chief and former National Police Federation president, warning that police agencies will begin to feel the effects of a coming global recession in the latter half of 2019, which will kick off a noticeable reduction in personnel in many law enforcement agencies and force the re-examination of basic service delivery models.

In other words, law enforcement will once again be asked to do even more for less budget, and department leaders may be tempted to economize in non-public facing areas, such as officer training. However, skimping on training increases the risk of negative outcomes that damage confidence and open the door to costly lawsuits. Consequently, legislators may then feel pressure to pull back on the budgetary reins even harder, cutting off funds for capital equipment purchases necessary to make policing safer for officers and the community.

Custom Subscription Training

In response to these challenges, VirTra developed a subscription approach to help bring essential training technology within reach for more departments, even those facing reductions in capital expense budgets. The Subscription Training & Equipment Partnership, or STEP program, enables departments of all sizes to benefit from VirTra’s training solutions, including multi-screen training simulators, courseware and development tools.

The program offers the option to finance through a monthly, quarterly or annual subscription basis rather than an up-front outlay. That enables departments to move long-term investments in officer training from capital expenses (that require administrative and legislative approval) to a single payment that’s just a line item in the operational budget.

Converting capital expenses to operating costs through a subscription service model is the basis of the cloud computing revolution that has transformed the information technology industry. Tech companies refer to this as Software as a Service, or SaaS model, and this approach has made computing power available to smaller businesses by eliminating the need to invest in costly data centers.

VirTra applied this approach, dubbed “Training Solution as a Service (TSaaS),” to help law enforcement agencies that need but may not be able to afford the advanced, immersive training that simulators deliver. Budgeting for a training service instead of a capital purchase solves the funding problem for many agencies.

“The STEP program provides agencies an immediate path to train with the industry’s best, at an affordable price point and without the uncertainties that a large capital purchase decision can induce,” said Jason Mulcahy, VirTra general manager. “We’ve already begun providing STEP to eager customers, and the initial reaction is extremely positive. We expect to continue to see positive reviews and benefits as we ramp up the new program.”

Choose your own adventure

The STEP program offers a customizable solution that allows an agency to select a combination of equipment, software training solutions, certified coursework and tools that best fit its training needs and budget. Available options include:

V-VICTA interactive coursework (nationally certified coursework accompanies the scenarios for CE credit hours). Immersive training simulators, such as V-300, V-180, V-ST or portable single-screen V-100. Hundreds of branching training scenarios, skill drills and courses of fire. V-Marksmanship, which provides ballistically accurate advanced skill drills training. Realistic drop-in recoil kits for the most widely used firearms. The stress inducing Threat-Fire training tool to simulate return fire. V-Author, VirTra’s exclusive software tool that allows customers to edit, create or author training scenarios from scratch with their own characters or scenery. TASER, OC spray and low-light training support for safe training any time of day.

Previously, departments needed to procure hundreds of thousands of dollars to implement these capabilities. That meant going up the chain of command, seeking legislative authorization, applying for grants and spending valuable time and resources jumping through hoops to bring necessary safety and training improvements in de-escalation and use-of-force measures.

Even authorities who recognize the need and value of an officer training program may balk at the price tag for a suite of new equipment and instead choose a subpar option that doesn’t train officers properly. But with the subscription option, departments can select the elements that best fit their needs and budgets.

“The STEP program allows departments to rent the VirTra system on an annual basis, which is perfect for government entities due to our yearly budget cycles,” said Captain Jody Hayes of the West Des Moines Iowa Police Department. “We never know exactly what our budget lines will be from year to year, so it’s very difficult to commit to multi-year or large-scale purchases.”

Hayes says purchasing a system outright wasn’t the best solution for West Des Moines because technology is improving so quickly, and the department did not want to risk getting locked into an antiquated system that would end up incurring further costs to maintain and update.

The STEP program includes a lifetime warranty and service for the product, as well as providing the replacement equipment and the newest technology as an agency renews its contract.

“Since they own it, they service it and update it,” said Hayes. “It’s not your worry.”


Police History: How Trooper Charlie Hanger caught the Oklahoma City bomber

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

Lt. Dan Marcou
Author: Lt. Dan Marcou

In the years since the deadly blast that killed 168 and injured 680 at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, we in law enforcement have learned numerous lessons.

We’ve improved our tactical response to mass casualty incidents. We’ve become more effective in conducting investigations – and sting operations – that prevent similar incidents from even occurring.

One lesson we must always remember was taught to us by Noble County (Okla.) Trooper Charlie Hanger. Hanger – who now serves as Noble County Sheriff – is proof that one cop can have incredible impact with a single traffic stop.

That stop resulted in the Oklahoma City bombers being brought swiftly to justice – Timothy McVeigh was put to death, and his accomplice, Terry Nichols, is serving a life sentence.

Charlie was on patrol working the day shift when the Oklahoma City bomb exploded. He was initially dispatched from his area to assist, but almost instantly was called off and told to remain in his own area.

A short time later, Charlie passed a yellow Mercury missing a registration tag. Charlie slowed to let the driver of the Mercury get ahead of him. As he did, Charlie hit his overhead lights to begin the vehicle stop.

As the driver pulled his vehicle over, Charlie got a strange feeling about the occupant. Even though the stop was for a minor violation, Charlie sensed something more serious was going on besides a missing registration tag.

The Arrest of timothy mcveigh

Charlie paid attention to his inner voice and orchestrated a non-approach vehicle contact. Instead of just walking up on the Mercury, he called for the driver to step out of the vehicle. Hanger watched the suspect exit his car. He had the man walk to the area between the squad and the Mercury.

When Charlie asked for the suspect’s driver’s license, the suspect reached for it. This movement alerted Hanger to the outline of a weapon impressed under the suspect's jacket. During a verbal exchange, the suspect – now known to be Timothy McVeigh – admitted to having a weapon and said it was loaded.

Charlie had drawn his own weapon, and as he covered the suspect he replied, “So is mine.”

Charlie handcuffed McVeigh and discovered he had a .45 caliber Glock loaded with the devastating Black Talon rounds. McVeigh carried his Glock in a quick-draw “suicide holster.” Charlie’s search also revealed McVeigh had a spare magazine and a knife hidden on his person.

Charlie took McVeigh to jail and booked him on a carrying a concealed weapon charge. It was here that McVeigh gave his address in Michigan – the address he gave was that of the brother of his accomplice, Terry Nichols.

A Little Bit of Luck

McVeigh would probably have been given a court appearance date and released either the next day – or at the latest, the day after – except for a little bit of luck. The judge he was to appear in front of was unavailable because of family issues.

This was a blessing in disguise to FBI investigators, because as their investigation led them to focus on McVeigh, they discovered they didn’t have to look far. He was but a few miles from the scene, already in jail courtesy of Trooper Charlie Hanger.

During a routine search of his own squad, Charlie found a business card discarded by McVeigh while he was squirming and handcuffed in the back seat of the squad. The card would turn out to be quite damning – it was the card of a military surplus store in Wisconsin. Written on the back of the card by McVeigh were the words, “Will need more TNT – $10 a stick.”

The Lesson Learned

Charlie believed that by increasing his stops, he was increasing the odds that he would make a difference, and that one stop he made years ago proved him right.

He always modestly claimed he was just “in right place at the right time.”

But it was much more than that. Any police officer can be at the right place at the right time and still choose to do nothing. Charlie proves that the right cop at the right place at the right time can do the right thing and make a difference in this world.

IN HIS OWN WORDS

In this video for the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, Charlie Hanger details the routine traffic stop that ended with the arrest of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

This article, originally published 04/17/2015, has been updated.


911 Emergency Dispatcher: The calm voice in the dark

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

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Author: Lt. Dan Marcou

Charlene Belew The Duncan Banner, Okla.

Most people have heard about the “thin red line” and the “thin blue line,” but what about the thinest gold line in the middle? That thin gold line represents those who aren’t ever seen, but are mostly heard. That thin gold line stands for dispatchers, who act as “the golden glue that holds it all together” when it comes to receiving emergency calls and sending out first responders.

National Public Safety Telecommunications Week falls between April 14-20. This week is a time to honor those dispatchers and public safety telecommunicators for the jobs they perform behind the scenes.

Heather George, who works with the Stephens County Sheriff’s Office as the 911 dispatch supervisor, said there are 10 total dispatchers from the county. From just Jan. 1 - March 31, these dispatchers have taken a total of 6,045 calls, both inbound and outbound, not including internal calls between the departments, which can sometimes fall in the 400-600 range each month. Usually, according to George, there are at least two dispatchers on duty at a time, except some early morning hours where there may only be one.

The dispatch center George works for handles calls for the county and dispatch for deputies, while also dispatching for Velma and some for Comanche. In total, there are seven rural fire department they dispatch for, along with Velma EMS.

George, who has been with the department since it began in 2011, has six employees of her own which have been in service for more than six years and three more employees who have served for right at or under three years apiece.

“Dispatchers work 12 hour shifts and when they come into the office, they get briefed by the shift that they are relieving. This is for any pertinent information that may be needed during another shift — ongoing calls or calls that haven’t been completed yet,” George said. “The dispatcher sits in front of four or five computer screens depending on which station they sit at. One works County for the deputies and works fire and phones. The fire/phones person also has the OLETS computer (Oklahoma Law Enforcement Telecommunications System) which lets us communicate with every other law enforcement agency in the U.S.”

These dispatchers use multiple systems they log into before they can actually begin their shift. These programs include ODIS, the data entry system that houses all the logs created for everything that comes over the radio and phone, CallWorks which is for 911 phone system and 911 mapping, a warrants system, recording system, OLETS and other resources which can be used to find locations, land or cow owners and more.

“We have clerical functions that have to be performed during the shift — warrant and protective order entries, citation and warning entries, etc. — but really, we wait,” George said. “We wait for someone to call or to key up on the radio, we wait to gather information, we wait for that person to call who is experiencing the worst day of their life and try to handle the call as professionally and efficiently as possible. I have been doing this job for 11 years and my heart still drops a little every time 911 rings and every time an officer out on a traffic stop or a call doesn’t answer their radio. You always know it’s going to be a bad call when you can hear the screams before you even get the receiver to your ear.”

For George and other dispatchers, this recognition week is extremely important, because most of the general public don’t realize the dispatchers are truly the first responders to the situations they’re calling about.

“We are the first person who knows what’s going on and we are the only reason anyone ever gets help. Police and Firefighters are always recognized as they should be, but without us, that police officer and firefighter would never come,” George said. “We work the shift work and spend the nights, weekends and holidays away from our families just like they do, we put our blood, sweat and tears into the job, just like they do, but we are invisible. Just a voice.”

George described taking calls where the dispatcher must remain calm to help save a life until a physical first responder can arrive to the scene.

“If an officer shows up to a house where, lets say, a woman is not breathing and the husband has started CPR, the officer goes in and takes over compressions and saves that individual, they are a hero — and they are — but what you won’t hear about is how we got all the information from a screaming husband quickly and gave it to the officer,” George said. “We convinced that horrified husband to get his wife to a flat surface and talked him through how to start CPR, we stayed on the phone to be his comfort and his cheerleader to get him through until the officer arrived. Then once they get there, we hang up, most of the time never to hear what happened, to know if she lived or died, we just move on to the next call. We get no closure.”

Handling dispatch calls calmly while the caller on the other line is having the worst day of their life isn’t where the job stops, though. Sometimes dispatchers receive calls about their own families and can’t do anything but their job until it’s over. Other times, the call is much darker and dispatchers hear tragedy happening actively.

“We have dispatchers that have taken calls involving their own families. Just a couple weeks ago, one of our dispatchers, while at work, heard his own address come over the radio as his house was burning down,” she said. “One dispatcher got a 911 call that his daughter wasn’t breathing. I myself was at work when a call came across of my sister and her kids being in a car accident. We have had people hurt while we are on the phone, and have people even commit suicide while on the phone with us. And even in all those situations, we finish taking care of the call before reacting to the incidents.”

George said there isn’t a specific type of person attracted to the job. Sometimes, people end up in dispatch simply because they needed the paycheck, or maybe because they wanted a stepping stone into actual law enforcement. With George, it wasn’t something she had thought about until her first day when she realized this is how she would spend the rest of her life.

“I loved being the person that was there in someone’s greatest time of need,” she said. “My very first 911 call I ever took was a screaming mother that had woke up to find her child had died during the night. It was terrifying, but also when I knew it’s what I would do for the rest of my life. I went outside and cried after that call. I have never worked with anyone or interviewed anyone who said that this is just what they have always wanted to do … but I don’t think it’s one kind of person that wants to be a dispatcher and strives to become one, it takes all kinds.”

A personal story of George’s that has never slipped her memory includes a call from an older gentleman advising someone came to his home and told him about a car accident.

“The accident was a mother and two children, and it was bad. Ejections and fatalities, the husband of the driver was the one who came upon the accident and went to the callers house for help. The caller told me he was going to the crash and would call me back with the details I needed. I of course started everyone that way while waiting for his call. This caller was back on the phone with me in what seemed like seconds,” George recalled. “He was at the scene and told me it was bad. He was calm and had such a soothing voice. He started describing the scene for me and it was horrific. He came upon the deceased person from that accident and knew immediately that they were not alive, and he began to pray over them and pray for the survivors. I stayed on the line the whole time and silently sobbed in my chair. It still chokes me up to even talk about it now, it was so sad yet so beautiful all at the same time. I have no idea what happened to the rest of the people involved in that accident nor do I even know who they were because the caller wasn’t involved, but I will never forget it as long as I live. It kept me awake at night for a while as some of our calls do. Another call I will never forget was the Braylee Henry murder in Velma, that night was very difficult for many reasons, but it was a night that I think about often.”

There are a few things the general public can do when it comes to working with these dispatchers. The first is to keep in mind that it’s not at all like what it seems in the movies.

“Yes, we can ping your calls, but not immediately, it takes a few seconds and even then, if you are moving, it takes time to refresh to the new location,” George said. “I can’t tell you how many calls I get that the person says, ‘Get someone here now!’ or ‘I don’t know my address can’t you see it on the map?’ Write your address down, not just for you, and not just for your child in case they ever need to call, but also for those times that you may be so panicked and so distraught, you simply can not think of what it is.”

The second thing people can do when working with dispatchers includes properly handling 911 hang-ups and accidental pocket dials. Dispatchers want to know you’re safe, not get you in trouble.

“If you accidentally call 911, that’s okay,” she said. “We just ask that you stay on the line and let us know it was an accident. If you give your small child an old phone it can still call 911 even if there is no service, again, if they accidentally call just stay on the line. No one will get in trouble for calling, we just want to make sure you are safe.”

When it comes to celebrating these behind the scenes heroes, George said there’s an open selection of what can be done to recognize the dispatchers.

“If you know a dispatcher tell them you appreciate them, if you don’t, call the office, let them know you see them, you know they’re there and you appreciate what they do,” she said. “The biggest thing the public can do for us is trust us. We know that when you call 911, you may be experiencing the worst day of your life and I know our questions seem irritating, but they are necessary. And just because we are still asking questions three minutes into the conversation, doesn’t mean we don’t have people started that way. It is imperative for us to get the most information we can while on the phone, because once we disconnect or if we accidentally get disconnected or if their phone dies, we may not be able to reach them again.”

George also honors those dispatchers in the area, even if it is out of her own pocket. This year, George has reached out and received enthusiasm back from entities including Papa Johns, Chicken Express, Special Days Cakes, Rib Crib, Pizza Hut, Wendy’s and Viridian. George said AMR and Air Evac are also planning to throw a cookout for the dispatchers as a way to thank them.

“It’s a welcome treat in such a thankless job that we all love so much,” she said.

Stephens County Sheriff Wayne McKinney said the week provides a chance to sing the song of the unsung heroes.

“They take the 911 emergency calls and people who are experiencing some of the worst times of their lives and have to talk to that individual, stay on the line with that individual, get deputies or police officers to the scene,” McKinney said. “A lot of times we don’t give them a lot of credit and we should. This is a time for us to recognize them and the job they do and show how much we appreciate them.”

Dispatchers do so much that McKinney couldn’t name just one thing he wanted the public to know about these workers.

“They’re the lifeline,” McKinney said. “If there’s an emergency that comes in, and the family members call 911 trying to get help, whether it be medical attention, whether it be law enforcement to the scene, fire department, whatever, they’re the ones who relay the information to make sure we get to the exact location and stay on the line to keep that person calm or give them instructions if it’s a medical emergency to render some kind of first aid until first responders get there. They do a whole lot that’s normally behind the scenes.”

For more information on National Public Safety Telecommunications Week, visit https://www.npstw.org/.

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©2019 The Duncan Banner (Duncan, Okla.)


NAUMD announces winners of Best Dressed Public Safety Award

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

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Associated Press

OMAHA, Neb. — The North American Association of Uniform Manufacturers & Distributors (NAUMD) has announced the winners of its annual Best Dressed Public Safety Award ® Competition, a program that calls attention to the important role uniforms play in law enforcement and public safety. The award celebrates the suppliers, law enforcement departments and first responders that go the extra mile to create versatile, functional and stylish uniforms that represent public safety professionals.

To some, uniforms are prosaic and ordinary, but to the countless departments who have entered the NAUMD’s Best Dressed Public Safety Award ® Competition, uniforms have a greater meaning and purpose. “Uniforms have a powerful impact on how employees are perceived, and this is particularly true in law enforcement and public safety,” said Steve Zalkin, NAUMD president. “In law enforcement, a visible, uniformed public safety presence on the street, at a mall or other institution can add a sense of security and help comfort the public or allay fears.”

The 2019 Best Dressed Public Safety Award ® winners, by category, are:

Medium Size Department: Toledo, OH, Police Department, Superior Uniform Sales, Supplier Large Department: D.C. Metropolitan Police, Muscatello's, Supplier First Responders, Medium Department: Lakewood West Metro Fire Protection District, CO, Elbeco, Supplier First Responders, Small Department: City of Oakland Park, FL, Fire Rescue, Global Trading, Supplier

Judges review each department’s professional appearance and uniform diversity, paying close attention to detail and written standards. Since many officers have specific assignments and patrol details, there are many factors to consider, including the following: Does the uniform fit the job function? Is the appearance neat and do the garments fit properly? Most importantly, can the public immediately identify the wearer as a professional law enforcement officer?

Now in its 41 st year, the Best Dressed Public Safety Award ® Competition is open to departments across North America. Entries are solicited throughout fall and winter, and winners are announced at the NAUMD’s annual convention each spring. All winning departments and their suppliers receive plaques.

NAUMD honored its award recipients April 9 th during the association's 2019 Annual Convention, held in New Orleans at the Hyatt Regency.

6 things you need to know before buying your next uniform A Class A uniform that combines comfort, fit and performance


New Orleans PD to review officer’s UOF shown in video

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

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Emily Lane NOLA Media Group, New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Police Department’s investigative unit that probes uses of force on the public by NOPD officers is looking into the takedown of a woman who was handcuffed over the weekend as officers broke up a fight during French Quarter Festival, NOPD said Monday (April 15).

A video posted Saturday on Facebook shows what appears to be a white-shirted NOPD officer twice throwing a woman to the ground before other officers help him handcuff her near the intersection of North Peters and Bienville streets. The woman appears to hit the white-shirted officer during the struggle.

The New Orleans Advocate, which first reported on the video and internal investigation, identified the white-shirted officer as newly promoted 8th District Commander Octavio Baldassaro. Two law enforcement sources who were not authorized to speak confirmed Baldassaro is the white-shirted officer shown in the video.

Baldassaro received scratches to his left arm while trying to separate two women and his uniform was torn, one of the sources said. The woman he is seen apprehending in the video refused medical treatment.

Caught on Camera: NOPD commander in physical altercation; excessive force investigation underway

WATCH THIS VIDEO: Do you think this NOPD Commander used excessive force? An investigation is underway. Meanwhile, the woman involved has been arrested and is facing several charges. Let us know what you think in the comments section. Details --> https://bit.ly/2IkLPnT WDSU News

Posted by Juliana Mazza WDSU on Monday, April 15, 2019

NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson late last month moved Baldassaro from second-in-command in the First District, which polices Mid-City, Bayou St. John and Treme, to the visible post leading the 8th District, which polices the French Quarter, Faubourg Marigny, Central Business District and parts of the Warehouse District.

NOPD spokesman Andy Cunningham said the Force Investigation Team, a unit within the Public Integrity Bureau, was “immediately notified of the incident,” after it occurred, and responded to the scene. Federal consent decree monitors overseeing a mandate in place since 2013 to remedy unconstitutional policing practices were notified, as was the Office of the Independent Police Monitor.

The Force Investigation Team "is conducting a thorough investigation into the incident in its entirety,” Cunningham said.

Superintendent Ferguson also opened a separate and formal disciplinary investigation into the actions of Baldassaro.

“I want our community to know we are taking this incident very seriously and you can be confident the NOPD is committed to conducting a fair and impartial investigation,” Superintendent Ferguson said in a statement Monday night. “Please understand these investigations take time, but that we will continue to be transparent throughout the process.”

Two women, ages 21 and 26, were arrested on a charge of disturbing the peace, NOPD said. The 21-year-old was additionally booked on a second count of disturbing the peace, and on charges of resisting an officer, battery of a police officer and tampering.

Since posted on Saturday, the video has had 48,000 views and 1,300 shares, along with more than 550 comments.

Bonycle Sokunbi, a spokeswoman for the Office of the Independent Police Monitor, confirmed the taxpayer-funded watchdog organization is monitoring NOPD’s internal probe.

“The review of this incident must address if the high-ranking officer involved in this incident used the ‘minimum amount of force that the objectively reasonable officer would use in light of the circumstances to effectively bring an incident or person under control,'" said Sokunbi in a Monday press release that cites NOPD policy.

Update: This story was updated to include a statement from the Independent Police Monitor, as well as the news that Superintendent Ferguson had opened a separate investigation into the use of force.

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©2019 NOLA Media Group, New Orleans


Conn. officer permanently wounded in shooting retires

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

Pat Tomlinson The Hour, Norwalk, Conn.

NORWALK, Conn. — The Police Commission accepted Officer Phillip Roselle’s retirement on Monday.

While Mayor Harry Rilling said Roselle’s family was “very pleased” with the pension agreement, the retiring officer — a 31-year veteran who was shot and permanently injured in a September 2017 training accident — felt the city should do more for him.

“This is nothing but a forced retirement. I was shot by somebody who was irresponsible. I got a bullet in my chest that I can’t get rid of, and now I have kidneys that don’t work and a hand that doesn’t work — that’s what I got for 31 years of service,” Roselle said. “They don’t give a rat’s behind about me.”

The commission unanimously approved a pension settlement that granted Roselle a full pension instead of the disability pension that had previously been discussed. The pension will be effective retroactively to April 1.

The pension includes a monthly payment of $5,097.20 to Roselle for the rest of his life — a payment that will transfer to his wife if he dies — and a one-time severance package of $32,549.05.

Rilling claims the city will go a step further.

“The city has been working to ensure that the family is going to be taken care of above and beyond what you see here,” Rilling said.

Rilling declined to reveal what was being considered, but said it centered on a workers’ compensation settlement.

“From what I understand, the Roselles are very pleased with what they will be receiving with the pension and workers’ compensation benefits,” Rilling said.

Roselle, who was at dialysis and could not attend his official retirement, confirmed discussions with the city regarding a workers’ compensation settlement.

“They haven’t done anything ‘above and beyond’ for me and my family,” said Roselle, whose workers compensation benefits had previously been denied. “They basically said, ‘this is what we’re going to get, shut the heck up and move on.’”

Roselle also wouldn’t reveal the potential worth of the discussed settlement, but said he expected it to be finalized within two weeks. The settlement, he claimed, would include one lump sum of cash followed by two additional payments over 12 months.

“Whatever it is, though, it certainly won’t be enough,” he said.

Rilling said he empathized with the family’s frustrations, especially given the “extraordinary circumstances” that led to Roselle’s retirement, but also pointed out that the family would be “fairly compensated when all is said and done.”

The agreement comes more than two-and-a-half years after he was shot by his sergeant in a training range accident.

In recent months, Roselle’s wife, Debbie Roselle, has advocated for state legislation to allow municipalities to pay the difference between the disability retirement pay and regular pay rate for public safety employees who are forced to retire due to injury.

“I basically begged and pleaded for the mayor to hold off until the bill I’ve been working so hard on passes in June, but the mayor would not,” Debbie Roselle said. “It’s a very unfortunate situation, but I guess they needed to fill Phil’s spot.”

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©2019 The Hour (Norwalk, Conn.)


Ore. officer wounded in shootout, suspect in custody

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

Everton Bailey Jr. The Oregonian, Portland, Ore.

MILWAUKIE, Ore. — A 30-year-old man accused of shooting a Milwaukie police officer during a shootout near a grocery store late Saturday remains held in the Clackamas County Jail.

Douglas J. Teter appeared in county circuit court on suspicion of attempted murder, second-degree assault, resisting arrest and unlawful use of a weapon. He was denied pretrial release by a judge and ordered to next appear in court for a hearing on April 22, court records show.

Teter is accused of trying to kill Officer Daniel J. Duke, according to court documents. State records show Duke was hired by the Milwaukie Police Department last May and has prior law enforcement experience since 2009 outside of Oregon.

Duke was released from a hospital Sunday after being shot several times in his left leg, said Officer Brad Walther, a Milwaukie police spokesman. He said Duke has not yet been interviewed by members of the Clackamas County Major Crimes Team, which is investigating the incident.

“While he is very sore, he is able to get around with the use of crutches,” Milwaukie police said in a statement Monday evening. “Officer Duke is expected to recover fully and is in good spirits.”

According to police, Duke stopped Teter as he was walking near Southeast 42nd Avenue and Monroe Street around 11:20 p.m. because he matched a description of a man suspected of threatening another with a gun earlier. At some point, a TASER was used on Teter, but it didn’t work, police said.

Teter and Duke later exchanged gunfire two blocks north of where Teter was stopped, near the Safeway store at Southeast 42nd Avenue and Harrison Street, and the officer was injured, police said.

Teter then ran away and was later found hiding under a truck and camper, police said.

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©2019 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)


Charles Remsberg retires as editor in chief of Force Science News

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

By PoliceOne Staff

CHICAGO — Legendary law enforcement educator and trainer Charles Remsberg has retired from his role as editor in chief of Force Science News.

According to Force Science News, the long time editor in chief retired earlier this month.

Remsberg, who has written numerous articles for PoliceOne, has provided his expertise to the law enforcement profession for decades. Along with co-authoring books Street Survival, The Tactical Edge and Tactics for Criminal Patrol with his then-partner, Dennis Anderson, he also co-founded Calibre Press and the Street Survival Seminar.

Remsberg also co-authored Street Survival II: Tactics for Deadly Force Encounters with P1 Columnist Dan Marcou.

learn more

Read Chuck Remsberg's columns on P1 here. Find articles from Force Science News here.


IACP, civil rights organizations team up to help PDs address hate crimes

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

By PoliceOne Staff

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee) released an action agenda to help agencies effectively address hate crimes.

The organizations are encouraging stakeholders to use the “Action Agenda for Enhancing the Response to Hate Crimes” as a guide to respond to and work towards preventing hate crimes.

The agenda includes information on how community leaders, civil rights organizations, and law enforcement can work together to combat hate crimes and how law enforcement can break down barriers in the community to more effectively prevent and investigate hate crimes.

The release of the report comes at a time where hate crimes are on the rise in the U.S.

More information can be found on IACP’s website.


911 for 911: Deploying dispatcher mutual aid during major incident response

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

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By Randall D. Larson, P1 Contributor

With the increased number of large-scale mass casualty incidents and major natural disasters in recent years, proficient emergency communications are more significant than ever. But what happens when a 911 Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) becomes overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of incoming calls during a disaster?

To address this need, Telecommunicator Emergency Response Taskforce (TERT) programs began developing at the state level in 2001 and, by 2005, became credentialed by the National Incident Management System (NIMS). By 2017, 23 states had active TERT programs. Public safety dispatchers on these teams complete FEMA-certified training courses and have authorization from their home agencies to deploy.

Since the program was formalized in 2009, these teams have responded to dozens of major emergencies – from East Coast hurricanes to West Coast wildfires. Their efforts have been shown to be critical during numerous recent disasters, and they have been recognized as an essential support resource to incident management.

The Need for Telecommunicator Mutual Aid

“Historically, nearly all areas of public safety have had some type of mutual aid program,” said Jonathan Jones, a 12-year veteran of emergency communications and currently the operations coordinator for the Athens-Clarke County 911 Center in Athens, Georgia. “911 communications did not. There was no one for a 911 center to call when it needed help.”

The concept of large-scale PSAP mutual aid had been used in Florida following Hurricane Andrew in 1992, which resulted in a formal program within the state in 1993. But it took another decade before the concept was established as an active resource, and then embraced on a national level.

California began to develop its TERT in 2017, and the state’s fledgling team experienced its first trial by fire, literally, during 2018’s devastating Camp Fire, assisting local PSAPs as the deadly inferno exploded across Butte County, turning day into night and reducing the town of Paradise to little more than ash. Over a four-week period, 144 dispatchers from 30 different agencies were deployed to assist at PSAPs and the Incident Command Post (ICP), as well as subordinate search and rescue bases and the animal rescue ICP.

Developing the Concept

The first emergent TERT program were developed in the aftermath of 9/11 by members of the North Carolina Chapter of the National Emergency Number Association (NENA). In September 2003, NC TERT deployed 19 telecommunicators to assist in four counties in the aftermath of Hurricane Isabel; further in-state TERT deployments were made in 2004 and 2005 to assist with hurricane-affected PSAPs. NC TERT’s first out-of-state deployment came in 2005 with Hurricane Katrina, to assist St. Tammany Parrish, Louisiana for 10 days.

The lessons learned in these early experiences helped provide guidelines that refined and solidified ensuing TERT programs. Among the concerns encountered by TERT during the Hurricane Katrina deployment were:

Emergency Management Agencies (EMAs) were not aware of the TERT program or of local PSAP’s need for assistance; PSAPs were unaware of the availability of mutual aid; The TERT program was not identified as an established resource by the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC); PSAP mutual aid was not addressed by DHS/FEMA; Local/state governments attempted to treat PSAP mutual aid differently than other first responder mutual aid in terms of housing, travel, cost recovery and responder liability.

In response, TERT met with DHS and FEMA officials to discuss solutions, which led to the program being credentialed through NIMS (National Incident Management System), the establishment of training standards and the availability of funding through the Office of Domestic Preparedness. In 2006, the National Joint TERT Initiative (NJTI) was created, which became the national governance body for TERT, although individual states have their own coordinators and leadership. In May 2009, NJTI’s Model Recommendations for TERT Deployment were approved as a standard by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

“Initial deployments proved the need for a mutual aid response concept for 911 centers,” explained Jones, who also serves as deputy state coordinator for Georgia TERT, and is a board member on the National NJTI committee. The Georgia TERT program currently falls under oversight from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency and Georgia Chapters of APCO and NENA. The state’s TERT members must complete the FEMA IS-144 TERT Basic Course (developed in 2013 with NJTI), as well as Basic ICS and NIMS courses. TERT dispatchers must also have the approval of their PSAP supervisor to be considered for assignment to a team.

In 2017, Georgia TERT deployed six telecommunicators to Collier County, Florida during Hurricane Irma. Last year, eight TERT members deployed to Sampson County, NC, for Hurricane Florence, and last October, 13 were deployed from five different in-state teams to various areas in South Georgia. “These deployments continued to validate the importance and need for organized TERT programs,” Jones said. “But to that end, it reiterated the importance of considering requests for TERT teams sooner rather than later. TERT needs to be on the list of things to consider in planning, not after an incident has already occurred.”

Thinking Ahead on TERT

The duration of TERT responses average multiple days to weeks for PSAP to PSAP deployments, while field deployments of TERT-member tactical dispatchers to ICPs and the like range from less than 18 hours to several days.

“We did not want to rush into creating this program,” said Jamie Hudson, dispatch supervisor for California’s Elk Grove Police Department, with 26 years of law enforcement dispatch, who assumed the role of acting state TERT coordinator. “We knew the program needed to be comprehensive, but also that there were some unique deployment circumstances we would have to plan for. For instance, California agencies have been using field-deployed tactical dispatchers significantly in the past 20 years. We felt there needed to be an element for these resources included in this program.”

While California, with its newer TERT program, has the potential staffing of 7,000 public safety dispatchers across 58 counties, their PSAPs have routinely maintained minimum staffing levels and could not easily commit dispatchers to a one or two-week deployment. “Because of this,” Hudson said, “we needed to create and test models where mutual aid is brought in by individual shifts on a commuting basis as much as possible. This allows them to respond [with pay] on a day off, as opposed to creating significant staffing impacts at their PSAP.”

3 key steps to building a TERT program

These experiences have all proven the TERT concept’s merit, and there are more than a dozen states reported to have teams in development.

1. Learn from the framework

Jones recommends NJTI’s easy-to-follow framework for establishing a TERT program. “While considering the unique needs of Georgia, we felt it was very important to not completely deviate from the original mission of the NJTI, while having some variances based on regional or state need,” he said.

2. Bring everyone to the table

Hudson feels that one of the most important elements in creating California’s TERT program was to ensure all public safety disciplines are represented on the creation committee. “This allows a broad spectrum of potential needs to be addressed,” he said. “We also determined our state needed a Tactical Dispatch element as well as a commutable response element to deployments.”

3. Acquire and maintain commitment

Jones sees continuing expansion of the TERT initiative throughout states and regions that don’t currently have such a program, or lack support for developing one. “It’s worth it to take the necessary time and effort into building the program,” he urged. “Utilize 911 professionals from a variety of levels – line-level, supervisors, managers/directors, and so on. Involve your state associations – APCO and NENA chapters and your State Emergency Management Agencies. Understand EMAC and its reimbursement process. Reach out to agencies that have experienced the need for TERT to reveal where improvements can be made. Build TERT education into conference sessions in your state. We could not have gotten to the point we are currently at without the help of several TERT coordinators around the country, willing to share their manuals, MOUs, lessons learned, and other resources.”

Learn more about TERT and how to develop a team on the National TERT Joint Initiative website

Review and download the Standard for Telecommunicator Emergency Response Taskforce (TERT) Deployment:

APCO-NENA_ANS_1_105_2-2015_T by on Scribd


About the author Randall D. Larson retired after 20 years in public safety communications, serving as a shift supervisor, trainer and field communications supervisor for the San Jose (Calif.) Fire Department. Larson was also the editor of 9-1-1 Magazine from 1995 to 2009 and its online version from 2009 to 2018. He currently resides among the northern California Redwoods writing in a number of fields of interest.


Tips for rookie cops for common patrol calls

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

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By Xavier Wells, P1 Contributor

Departments nationwide are starting to do a great job of providing in-service training for their officers to meet the ever-changing needs of the communities they serve. There is, however, one group in our profession experiencing a gap in training: rookie cops.

Currently, most rookie training takes place on the streets under the guidance of field training officers. While this aspect of learning is critical, it can place young officers in situations they are ill-equipped to handle, where their jobs are at risk if they make a mistake as they are still on some form of probation or at-will status.

The problem is there is no feasible way for a police academy to cover in detail every tip, trick and strategy for every call an officer may come across.

When I went through the police academy I was trained in a variety of topics and situations, many of which were high-stress calls like active shooter, felony car stops and pursuits.

But I can still remember the sheer nervousness I felt during my first day of field training when I realized I didn’t know how to handle a simple theft call. I simply hadn’t been taught how to deal with the type of calls officers experience every day. The academy prepared me for the 1%, but not the 99% of service calls that are the foundation of the policing profession. If handled incorrectly, these “routine” calls can cost rookie officers their jobs, or sometimes their lives.

As theft calls and disturbance calls are extremely common, here are some helpful tips for a rookie officer to consider while headed to the scene:

THEFT CALLS: Subject in Custody

Officer safety considerations:

Secure the scene. Make contact with the subject in custody. Immediately frisk, detain and identify. Never take a loss prevention officer’s word that a suspect is unarmed or has already been searched. Always conduct a frisk/search yourself according to your training.

Objectives/outcomes:

Identify and interview the complainant and any witnesses. Review any surveillance video of the theft. Get a copy of the video if necessary. Get an itemized receipt of the items that were stolen to use in your report and submit for evidence. Retrieve and return stolen property to original owner. Check to see if there are any enhancements for the offense. Take appropriate enforcement action based on the level of offense. Document and report the incident as required by your department. DISTURBANCE CALLS: Family Disturbances

Officer safety considerations:

Secure the scene. Establish police presence to deescalate any ongoing conflict. Frisk and identify the aggravating party; detain in handcuffs if necessary. Frisk immediate area for weapons. Separate both parties physically and by line of sight. Be aware that family disturbances often take place in people’s own homes. Hence, weapons can be stashed anywhere.

Objectives/outcomes:

Identify and run all parties involved unless there is a clear primary complainant, and/or you believe there is a potential victim of family violence. Interview all parties involved. Attempt to find a resolution to the immediate problem. Often, this is accomplished by having one subject leave the scene for a while to let things calm down. Remember if both subjects are residents and there is no crime, you have no legal ground to make a subject leave. You can only suggest so. If during the interview you discover a crime has taken place, take appropriate enforcement action. Document and report the incident in accordance with your department’s guidelines.

Fully commissioned officers have access to hundreds of training programs throughout their careers, while too often we expect rookie cops to learn on the fly. But in today’s climate young officers can’t afford the luxury of learning from their mistakes. They should be afforded the same, if not more, training and professional resources as senior officers.


About the author Xavier Wells is a Texas peace officer, disabled veteran and author of The Rookie Handbook. He created Cadet, Rookie, Cop LLC to fill training gaps for new officers.


8 things rookie cops can do to improve their safety

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

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By Tyson Kilbey, P1 Contributor

Without question, the job of a modern law enforcement officer comes with certain risks, especially for new cops. As we face the challenges that come with policing, we owe it to our fellow officers, our community and ourselves to prioritize officer safety. Here are eight things rookie officers can do to be safer.

1. Conduct mental rehearsals

Even in the busiest jurisdictions, there is a certain amount of discretionary time during a typical patrol shift. Officers should use this time while they patrol a district to mentally play out scenarios and priority calls at local businesses and buildings. This will not only improve response, but also allow officers to focus on additional threats as they respond.

Mentally preparing for things like ideal tactical positioning prior to the call, possible response options and terrain considerations takes some of the unknowns out of potentially stressful situations. Professional athletes have used mental rehearsal as an effective form of preparation for decades. There is no reason law enforcement should not use this approach as well.

2. Learn pre-attack indicators

If you analyze police use of force videos, you will discover that in most incidents, pre-attack indicators were presented to the officer and either completely ignored or recognized too late.

There are pre-attack indicators that should immediately be addressed by officers. Clinched fists, pre-fight stretches, target glances, subjects who conspicuously looking around, and subjects saying “huh” or even making comments about not going back to jail, are just a few potential indicators of an impending attack. Learning and understanding pre-attack indicators is a critical step toward avoiding use of force incidents.

3. Get training repetitions through equipment checks

An officer must ensure the tools they carry on their duty belts or load-bearing vests are in good working order and can be easily accessed and deployed when required.

To that end, when officers check their gear before each shift, they should also practice accessing that gear. Five draws of a gun, TASER or flashlight adds up to hundreds of draws each month.

Finding a safe location to conduct these draws and function tests only takes a small amount of time but pays off big.

4. Consistently polish communication skills

The more experience you gain as a law enforcement officer, the more you recognize the value of excellent communication skills.

Use of force incidents can be minimized or avoided through effective communication. The keys to improved communication skills are active listening, clear and confident speaking without sounding arrogant or condescending, and the ability to respond to verbal confrontations without taking it personally.

5. Train in defensive driving and eliminate distractions

Too many officers are killed in traffic collisions. For a patrol officer, a tremendous portion of the shift is spent on the roadways. Not only should an officer be extremely confident in their driving ability and familiar with the maneuverability of their patrol vehicle, but they should also understand the importance of observation and awareness of other vehicles.

The same, if not an even greater level of awareness, should be dedicated to scanning and maintaining reactionary gaps while driving as you would while responding to active disturbances. The principles of officer safety carry over to defensive driving more than most officers realize.

6. Make physical fitness and healthy eating a priority

While this is important for everyone, it is even more important in a high-stress profession like law enforcement. A fitness program and a healthy diet are essential tools for you to effectively perform your job. Stop making excuses about time, budget, convenience, or any other reason you use for being out of shape. If you have been putting this off, now is the time to make the change.

7. Invest in your mental and emotional well-being

Officer suicides have a devastating effect on both the agency and the community. While we have a clearer understanding of the effects of depression and post-traumatic stress than ever before, there is still a lot of work to be done.

Officers must learn to recognize when the job is taking an emotional toll and understand that reaching out for help is not only the correct thing to do, but the imperative thing to do for the officer, his or her family, coworkers, friends and the community.

8. Start training Jiu Jitsu

There is a growing movement in the law enforcement community to incorporate Gracie or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in defensive tactics programs. The reasons for this are simple. Jiu Jitsu is a highly effective means of controlling or disengaging from a bigger and stronger attacker while at the same time inflicting a minimal amount of damage. The implications of this for law enforcement are tremendous.

As a bonus, physical fitness and healthy eating, as well as on the ability to be confident in stressful situations and find efficiency in all situations, are key components of Jiu Jitsu. The bottom line is the modern law enforcement officer can benefit greatly from Jiu Jitsu.

As a law enforcement officer, trainer and supervisor, studying and understanding ways for officers to be safer and more effective is one of my most important duties. While firearms and defensive tactics are part of the equation, there is more to officer safety than those two elements. By training and improving in some of the areas mentioned in this article, officers can approach safety in a more holistic, productive and layered way. Train hard and be safe.


About the author Tyson Kilbey has more than 20 years of experience in law enforcement, consisting of three years as a hotel security supervisor and 18 years as a deputy sheriff for the Johnson County Kansas Sheriff’s Office. He has worked in the detention, patrol and training divisions, as well SWAT and accident investigation units. He is currently a lieutenant for the Sheriff’s Office.

Kilbey owns Top Firearms Instruction, LLC, and recently authored “Fundamental Handgun Mastery.” He is a certified instructor for the Gracie University in Torrance, California, and a Master Instructor for the Carotid Restraint Training Institute. He is also the Match Director for the Brandon Collins Memorial Shootout, which is a shooting competition named in honor of a deputy who lost his life in the line of duty. Proceeds from the match go to charitable causes.


First responders to be honored at inaugural REV Group Grand Prix

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

By News Staff

MILWAUKEE — First responders will be honored at the inaugural REV Group Grand Prix, to be held in June, with free entry the entire week of activities.

REV Group, a Milwaukee-based manufacturer of specialty vehicle brands, and Road America, are teaming up to create a unique race experience for first reponders during the inaugural NTT IndyCar series in late June.

All active-duty first responders, including law enforcement, fire, paramedics and emergency medical technicians, will receive free entry. They have to show valid identification indicating active service.

Fire and ambulance vehicles from REV's E-ONE, KME, Horton, AEV, and Wheeled Coach brands will also be on display, allowing race fans to get a close look at some of the vehicles that equip the nation’s first responders.

“We are honored to have the REV Group Grand Prix as a platform to recognize first responders. The employees of REV wanted to share our appreciation for the dedicated people who use our vehicles each day to serve their communities,” said Tim Sullivan, president, and CEO of REV Group.

An international lineup of drivers will compete at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin from June 20-23.


Viral Louisville traffic stop: Putting the video into perspective

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

Author: Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D.

We all know the parable of the three blind men describing an elephant. The first feels the side of the elephant and describes the beast as a wall. The second feels the trunk and describes the creature as long and skinny like a fire hose. The third touches the tusk and describes a spiked, barbed creature. The same thing happens when a viral video hits the internet.

Nearing a million views, a video titled “Louisville Metro PD Falsely Alert K-9 To Conduct An Illegally Search” of a traffic stop by a Louisville, Kentucky crime interdiction team, has generated headlines and commentary questioning the officers’ actions. The scene is an unmarked detective unit tasked with reducing violent crime. The officers make a car stop based on an improper turn violation, pull the apparently cooperative driver out of the car, pat him down and handcuff him while a K9 unit searches the car. The driver is an 18-year-old black male with no criminal history. The dog reportedly alerts in a manner imperceptible on the 32-minute video, which is edited from multiple officers’ body worn cameras. The driver’s mother arrives, argues with officers, then the driver is released with a traffic summons.

SCENE 1: THE TRAFFIC STOP

The driver, Tae-Ahn Lea, answers his cell phone, then begins to narrate his experience for the benefit of his mother on the phone. An officer instructs him to get out of the car, then grabs Lea’s wrists and guides him out of the driver’s seat.

Civilian: Detectives stopping a kid for a rinky-dink traffic violation. That doesn’t sound right. Then he gets dragged out of the car for talking on his cell phone. They didn’t need to do that!

Cops: When a subject starts talking on a cell phone he’s not paying attention to me and that’s dangerous. Plus, he could be calling other people to the scene, which can cause conflict, which is exactly what ended up happening. We’re not worried about him telling somebody since it’s all on our body cams anyway. It’s a safety issue.

Policy wonk: There are specific policies and laws that cover when you can require people to get out of their vehicles and how much physical control police can exercise. If the officers can articulate the reasons for their actions their response is lawful. Stopping cars for a traffic violation with an ulterior motive for the contact is legal.

SCENE 2: THE PAT DOWN

Lea is patted down for weapons and repeatedly asked if there are drugs in the car. He is asked for consent to search and refuses. He becomes frustrated and officers ask why he is acting so nervous. A K-9 unit is called.

Civilian: Come on, man. He told you he had no drugs and he was within his rights to refuse consent to search. And you think he’s acting nervous? Of course, he is, there’s a swarm of cops there!

Cops: There are behaviors that are characteristic of persons who are guilty and at immediate risk of getting caught. When he declined consent to search we didn’t search. But a minimal detention for a canine sniff around the car is legal. The pat down was for officer safety.

Policy Wonk: Once consent to search is denied, any further pressure to cause the person to change their mind could be construed as intimidation that could lead to subsequent consent being ruled as coerced. Officers must articulate a reasonable belief that a person is armed and poses a danger before conducting a lawful Terry search. They may have had other facts known to them or not seen on this edited video, but justification for a frisk here is hard to find. Lea’s behavior seems anything but inappropriately nervous given the circumstances.

SCENE 3: THE FAMILY ARRIVES

Officer tells Lea to stop with the attitude. The K9 begins a search, reportedly showing an alert that is narrated by its handler but not visible on the video. Lea is handcuffed. An officer begins a search of the car, removing the bagged food and drinks, placing them on the roof of the car. An officer calls for an additional unit due to family showing up to “cause a ruckus.” The detective making the stop talks to the mother who arrived and engages in a relatively calm argument over the stop, including a threat to arrest the mother. Lea is questioned and searched for drugs based on the K9 alert. Officers end the encounter with a traffic summons and the question to Lea, “Why do you have this negative view of the police?”

Civilian: If my son was pulled over I’d want to see what’s going on and talk to the officer, too. There was no reason to threaten to arrest the mom!

Cops: There are few things more volatile than an audience. It distracts the officers and they are invariably emotional and defensive. Once the dog alerted, we have grounds to do a more extensive search. Every officer exercised restraint and calm professionalism. We try to explain our strategy to deal with violent crime. We know it’s an inconvenience to be stopped by the police, but that’s how we are trying to find criminals before they hurt someone.

Policy Wonk: This kind of interdiction effort has little support based on research, and clearly has trust and public relations costs. The officer’s question of why this young, black driver has a negative view of the police can be answered by the man’s present experience. It is hard to appreciate the efforts of police when you are standing in the roadway handcuffed while a police dog is walking around in your car when all you were trying to do was make a run to the convenience store. While the interaction with the mother was reasonably calm, talking to someone who desperately needs to be heard means that neither person is heard.

And so, the elephant remains.


Miss. deputy saved by vest after being shot several times by suspect

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

By PoliceOne Staff

MARSHALL COUNTY, Miss. — A deputy who was shot several times Friday was likely saved by his vest.

Suspect Randy Vaught led police on a high-speed pursuit after Deputy Daniel Tatum tried to pull him over after seeing him and two others leave a suspected drug house, WREG reports. Vaught fled to his mother’s house.

When Tatum opened the door to the house, Vaught shot him. Tatum played dead, but Vaught shot him several more times.

Marshall County Sheriff Kenny Dickerson says Tatum was shot three to eight times total, suffering wounds in his chest area, arm and leg.

Vaught barricaded himself inside the house for hours. When he emerged, he pulled out a handgun and fatally shot himself.

Officers were able to get Tatum to a fire station where they airlifted him to a local hospital. Dickerson credits Tatum’s ballistic vest with saving his life.

LIVE: Marshall County Sheriff's Office press conference about suspect in barricade and officer-involved shooting incident

WATCH LIVE: The Marshall County Sheriff's Office is hosting a press conference about Friday's officer-involved shooting and barricade situation. Officials identified the deceased suspect on Saturday as Randy Vaught. MORE: http://via.wreg.com/xCSQt

Posted by WREG News Channel 3 on Saturday, April 13, 2019

Driver arrested after dragging Wash. officer 30 feet

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

By PoliceOne Staff

BURLINGTON, Wash. — A woman has been arrested after dragging an officer with her car 30 feet while he attempted to arrest her for multiple warrants on Saturday.

According to local news station KIRO 7, the officer attempted to take the 29-year-old woman into custody when she drove away in a truck, dragging the officer on the ground behind the vehicle.

More officers responded and attempted to help the officer being dragged, but the woman continued to accelerate, running a red light and hitting a car that had two people inside.

When police went to give aid to the two people in the vehicle that was hit, the woman fled.

The officer and a 78-year-old woman were transported to a local hospital.

The woman was found and taken into custody on Sunday afternoon.


Hackers publish personal data on thousands of US officers and federal agents

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

By PoliceOne Staff

QUANTICO, Va. — A group of hackers breached several FBI-affiliated websites and uploaded dozens of files containing the personal information of thousands of law enforcement officers and federal agents.

According to TechCrunch, the hackers breached three sites associated with the FBI National Academy Association and put the data up for download on their website.

The information contained 4,000 unique records including member names, personal and government email addresses, job titles, postal addresses and phone numbers.

The hackers say they hacked more than 1,000 sites and have “over a million data” on employees across several U.S. federal agencies and public service organizations.

“Now we are structuring all the data, and soon they will be sold. I think something else will publish from the list of hacked government sites,” they told TechCrunch.

When asked if they were worried that the leaked information would put law enforcement and federal agents at risk, they responded, “probably, yes.”

The FBINAA released a statement on Saturday saying they were working with federal authorities to investigate the breach.


LEO’s son accused of setting church fires charged with hate crimes

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

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Associated Press

OPELOUSAS, La. — The white man suspected in the burnings of three African-American churches in Louisiana will remain in jail, denied bond Monday by a judge, as state prosecutors added new charges declaring the arsons a hate crime.

Twenty-one-year-old Holden Matthews, the son of a sheriff's deputy, entered his not guilty plea via video conference from the St. Landry Parish jail. The judge set a September trial date.

In denying bail, state District Judge James Doherty sided with law enforcement officials who said they worried Matthews would try to flee the area or set more fires.

"We felt that he was an immediate risk to public safety," said Louisiana Fire Marshal Butch Browning. "In my mind, I felt another fire was imminent."

Testifying in court, Browning outlined a litany of evidence, including some new details of the investigation, that he said tied Matthews to the crime, including images on Matthews' cell phone in which Browning said he "claimed responsibility" for torching the three black churches over 10 days.

Matthews was arrested Wednesday on three charges of arson of a religious building. Prosecutors filed documents Monday adding three more charges, accusing Matthews of violating Louisiana's hate crime law, confirming that they believe the fires were racially motivated, a link authorities had previously stopped short of making.

Browning said federal officials also are considering filing additional federal hate crime and arson charges against Matthews.

Matthews, shackled and wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, never spoke to the court during the hearing, letting his court-appointed lawyer enter the not guilty plea for him. His parents watched their son's appearance on video conference from the courtroom, his dad repeatedly wringing his hands and, at one point, leaving the room in tears.

The fires occurred in and around Opelousas, about 60 miles west of Louisiana's capital city of Baton Rouge.

Matthews' arrest came a little more than two weeks after the first blaze at the St. Mary Baptist Church on March 26 in Port Barre, a town just outside of Opelousas. Days later, the Greater Union Baptist Church and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Opelousas were burned. Each was more than 100 years old.

The churches were empty at the time, and no one was injured.

The fires set the community on edge. Gov. John Bel Edwards said the fires were a reminder "of a very dark past of intimidation and fear."


Man accused of setting church fires charged with hate crimes

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

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Associated Press

OPELOUSAS, La. — The white man suspected in the burnings of three African-American churches in Louisiana will remain in jail, denied bond Monday by a judge, as state prosecutors added new charges declaring the arsons a hate crime.

Twenty-one-year-old Holden Matthews, the son of a sheriff's deputy, entered his not guilty plea via video conference from the St. Landry Parish jail. The judge set a September trial date.

In denying bail, state District Judge James Doherty sided with law enforcement officials who said they worried Matthews would try to flee the area or set more fires.

"We felt that he was an immediate risk to public safety," said Louisiana Fire Marshal Butch Browning. "In my mind, I felt another fire was imminent."

Testifying in court, Browning outlined a litany of evidence, including some new details of the investigation, that he said tied Matthews to the crime, including images on Matthews' cell phone in which Browning said he "claimed responsibility" for torching the three black churches over 10 days.

Matthews was arrested Wednesday on three charges of arson of a religious building. Prosecutors filed documents Monday adding three more charges, accusing Matthews of violating Louisiana's hate crime law, confirming that they believe the fires were racially motivated, a link authorities had previously stopped short of making.

Browning said federal officials also are considering filing additional federal hate crime and arson charges against Matthews.

Matthews, shackled and wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, never spoke to the court during the hearing, letting his court-appointed lawyer enter the not guilty plea for him. His parents watched their son's appearance on video conference from the courtroom, his dad repeatedly wringing his hands and, at one point, leaving the room in tears.

The fires occurred in and around Opelousas, about 60 miles west of Louisiana's capital city of Baton Rouge.

Matthews' arrest came a little more than two weeks after the first blaze at the St. Mary Baptist Church on March 26 in Port Barre, a town just outside of Opelousas. Days later, the Greater Union Baptist Church and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Opelousas were burned. Each was more than 100 years old.

The churches were empty at the time, and no one was injured.

The fires set the community on edge. Gov. John Bel Edwards said the fires were a reminder "of a very dark past of intimidation and fear."


RI officer crashes patrol SUV into building to avoid vehicle

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

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Donita Naylor The Providence Journal, R.I.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A patrol officer was injured Saturday night when he swerved to avoid a vehicle and the police SUV he was driving jumped the curb and hit a brick building.

Police Chief Col. Hugh T. Clements Jr. said Sunday evening that the officer was responding just before 11 p.m. to a disturbance in progress, weapons involved, at the beginning of his shift.

He was outbound on Broadway, Clements said, when a vehicle emerged from the right. The officer swerved left, hitting a building at Vinton Street and Broadway, where signs say Mike the Tailor and direct deliveries to another address.

The injured officer was taken to the hospital, Clements said, "and thank God he's recovering."

Clements said the circumstances are being investigated. But accidents do happen, he said, especially when police try to reach a potentially violent situation in time to prevent a tragedy. "Unfortunately, officers get injured."

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©2019 The Providence Journal (Providence, R.I.)


Actor donates dog wheelchair to retired Philly K-9

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

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By Stephanie Farr The Philadelphia Inquirer

PHILADELPHIA — Hairy, handsome, and brave, Philadelphia Police Department K-9 Thor served the department for five years alongside his partner, Officer Alvin Outlaw, sniffing out drugs and sending out ruminations on Twitter, where at one time he was the second-most-followed officer in the department.

But while time has been good to Outlaw, who was promoted to sergeant in West Philly’s 19th District in November, it has not been as good to Thor, who is quickly losing the use of his hind legs.

Soon, though, Thor will be getting a new leash on life thanks to a wheely great donation by actor Trevor Donovan, who, after hearing the German shepherd’s tail, offered to donate a doggie wheelchair to the now-retired officer. News of the donation was first reported by celebrity website TMZ.

“Thor doesn’t know how to stay out of the limelight,” Outlaw said. “His stardom follows him everywhere, even in retirement.”

In 2013, after 960 hours of training, Outlaw and Thor officially became partners in the K-9 Unit. Thor also quickly became a part of Outlaw’s family, joining his wife, Shirena; their two kids; and their Shih Tzu, Bandit, in the family’s home.

About a year and a half later, Outlaw took on a second K-9 partner, Storm, a German shepherd cadaver dog who, in 2017, helped uncover the buried bodies of three of the four young men killed in Bucks County by Cosmo DiNardo. Storm also quickly became a member of the Outlaw family.

When Outlaw passed his promotion test and was being transferred into the 19th District, he asked to adopt both of his fuzzy partners and was given the department’s blessing. The dogs were officially retired from the force on Dec. 1.

Around that time, Outlaw and his wife began to notice that Thor, now 7, was losing the use of his hind legs. He was diagnosed with intervertebral disc disease, which caused a ruptured disc and a nerve pinch that made his legs go numb.

“It’s been progressing and progressing,” Outlaw said. “He can still walk but he stumbles and the thing we’re dealing with now is that he drags his back legs when he does walk so he gets sores and scratches on his feet.”

Thor went to therapy and surgery was suggested, but success isn’t guaranteed and Thor lost his health insurance with the department when he retired.

It’s been heartbreaking for the Outlaws to watch their family member’s body degenerate while his spirit is still fully intact.

“Mentally, he’s still the same,” Outlaw said. “That’s part of the problem, because one of the things he loved was playing with our other dogs. Now we let him out and he goes to run and he’s just dragging his feet behind him.”

One day, Shirena Outlaw saw Donovan — who starred in the reboot of 90210 and several TV holiday movies like Snow Globe Christmas — on TMZ Live talking about the loss of his own German shepherd, Dogbert. Donovan said his dog, which also had a degenerative disease, used a wheelchair and he’d like to find another good dog to benefit from it.

Shirena wrote an email to Donovan about Thor and among the throng of requests he received, Donovan chose the retired four-legged cop, noting that Shirena’s letter had “won over my heart.”

Outlaw said Donovan has decided to buy Thor a brand-new wheelchair instead of donating the used one.

While it hasn’t arrived yet, Outlaw said he was moved that someone from the 90210 wanted to help someone who responded to calls from 911.

“I was very happy to see that somebody was willing to make that kind of purchase for us just by hearing the story,” he said.

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©2019 Philly.com


Suspect who fatally shot Wash. deputy killed in shootout

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

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Jim Ryan The Oregonian, Portland, Ore.

COWLITZ COUNTY, Wash. — A man suspected in the killing of a southwest Washington sheriff’s deputy is dead after an encounter with law enforcement officers Sunday evening.

The Cowlitz County sheriff told KGW (8) that police fatally shot the man thought to have killed Deputy Justin DeRosier the night before. Two other men are in custody, according to the news station.

None of the men have been publicly identified.

Cowlitz County Sheriff's Deputy Justin DeRosier and his wife had their first child in October.

The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office said the Sunday evening shooting happened in the area of Spencer Creek Road in Kalama. No officers were hurt.

The shooting came amid a manhunt for the suspect or suspects responsible for the death of DeRosier, who was shot after being sent to check on a disabled vehicle that was blocking a road about three miles east of Interstate 5 late Saturday, authorities said.

DeRosier, a 29-year-old father and husband, died during surgery at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver.

He graduated from Kelso High School and Washington State University and signed on with the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office in 2016.

Darren Ullmann, Cowlitz County undersheriff, said few law enforcement officers want to serve more than DeRosier did. The deputy loved his job, Ullmann said, and “was incredibly good at it.”

“He will be with us forever, and he’ll be truly missed,” Ullmann said.

Deputy Justin Derosier End of Watch April 13, 2019

Posted by Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office on Sunday, April 14, 2019

MANHUNT UPDATE: April 14 @ 10:17pm At approximately 7:05 this evening, information came in of a suspicious person near...

Posted by Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office on Sunday, April 14, 2019

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©2019 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)


Wash. deputy killed while investigating disabled vehicle

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

Mark Bowder The Columbian, Vancouver, Wash.

COWLITZ COUNTY, Wash. — A Cowlitz County Sheriff’s deputy was fatally wounded late Saturday while investigating a disabled vehicle in a rural area northeast of Kalama, according to the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office.

The shooting occurred at 10:11 p.m. near the intersection of Kalama River Road and Fallert Road, according to a press release issued Sunday.

The deputy, whose name had not been released, had been dispatched to a report of a vehicle blocking the roadway in the 100 block of Fallert Road. He was shot shortly after he arrived at the scene, the press release said.

Other officers provided aid at the scene, and the deputy was transported by LifeFlight to PeaceHealth Medical Center in Vancouver, but he died a short time after arriving, the press release said.

The Clark County Major Crimes Unit is assisting in the investigation, which has located a person of interest and is following up on other leads related to the case.

The area where the shooting occurred is closed with the exception to local traffic only on Fallert Road. Investigators are asking the public to avoid the area unless absolutely necessary. There is no timeline currently available for reopening.

Investigators ask that anyone with information related to to the shooting to contact Sergeant Todd Barsness with the Clark County Major Crimes Unit at 360-397-2020 or todd.barsness@clark.wa.gov.

April 14, 2019 Cowlitz County Deputy Shooting Cowlitz County – On April 13, 2019, at approximately 10:11 pm, a Cowlitz...

Posted by Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office on Sunday, April 14, 2019

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©2019 The Columbian (Vancouver, Wash.)


Mass. officer shot twice, suspect arrested in gun battle outside nightclub

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

Jeanette DeForge The Republican, Springfield, Mass.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – A police officer remains in the hospital after being shot twice and a 25-year-old man has been arrested in what was described as a gun battle outside a nightclub early Saturday morning.

The officer, Edwin Irizarry, who has served at least 20 years on the department, was grazed in the left arm and shot in the left elbow during the incident that occurred shortly before 2 a.m. at the corner of State and Benton Street, Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood said.

Kenneth Hernandez, of Dickinson Street, Springfield, was charged with two counts of assault within intent to murder with a firearm, carrying a firearm without a license, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building, assault with a dangerous weapon and three counts of malicious damage. He could face other charges in the future, said Ryan Walsh, police spokesman.

“It was quite the gunfight the officers were involved in,” Clapprood said.

A second person was also injured in the shooting. The victim was driven taken to Baystate Medical Center by a friend and treated for two graze wounds and released, she said.

He is cooperating with police, she said.

Irizarry and a second officer, who are both long-term officers, were working a private detail at the Aquarious nightclub when they were told by the manager that there was a disturbance outside. Both went outside and found a man, who had been hit with a bottle, bleeding by the head across the street at the Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot on State Street, Clapprood said.

While they were investigating, one of the officers heard a woman yelling in Spanish to Hernandez, “What are you getting? What are you getting?" she said.

The two officers then saw the man walk to a vehicle and then turn around with his hands behind his back. They then repeatedly ordered him to show his hands, Clapprood said.

“At which time he produces a .22 caliber firearm and fires at the officers,” she said

The second officer took cover in a vehicle. At the same time there was also gunfire coming from behind the police, Clapprood said.

In total investigators recovered three different types of ammunition. One came from one of the officers who returned fire and one came from Hernandez’s gun, which was recovered at the scene when he was arrested.

Police are continuing to search for a third suspect and have a description of a car that left the scene that may have been part of the shooting, she said.

“It is a very fluid and active investigation,” she said.

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©2019 The Republican, Springfield, Mass.


Bodycam footage shows deadly shootout that wounds Fla. deputy

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

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Bodycam footage shows deadly shootout after carjacker leads cops on pursuit

Bodycam footage shows deadly shootout that wounds Fla. deputy

Howard Cohen Miami Herald

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — An armed carjacker who earlier had made threats of “suicide by cop” apparently made good on his intentions. He led a terrifying police chase amid startled motorists near Interstate 4 that ended with a shootout with five Florida officers.

When it ended Thursday in the DeLand area of Florida — about 34 miles north of Orlando — the suspect was dead and a Volusia County Sheriff’s Office deputy was grazed in the head with one of his bullets.

Volusia deputies identified Phillip Thomas Marsh as the Lake Helen, Florida, man who led to the intense afternoon chase and shootout. On Friday, the Volusia sheriff’s office posted a video of seven-minutes’ worth of body cam footage that had been viewed more than half a million times by Saturday morning.

Deputies say that Marsh. 30, carjacked a woman at gunpoint in Deltona shortly after 2 p.m. Thursday. The woman told officers he got into her white pickup truck, pointed his gun, demanded her keys and took off.

Marsh was so determined, Volusia deputies say, he swerved at a deputy who threw stop sticks on the road to blow out the tires.

“The suspect appeared to be waving a handgun out the driver’s side window,” deputies said.

Marsh kept driving for miles after the truck’s four tires were blown out by stop sticks.

The shirtless Marsh got out of the disabled vehicle on State Road 44 in front of the Volusia County Fairgrounds, with his handgun pointed to his head, ran toward motorists, approached a driver in a black SUV, and “appeared to be ready to carjack another innocent person,” Sheriff Mike Chitwood said at a press conference on Thursday.

Marsh was blocked from doing so by a deputy.

When Marsh opened fire on the deputies, they fired back, striking him several times.

It still wasn’t enough to take Marsh down.

“Still armed with the handgun, the suspect went into the woods, where deputies ultimately took him into custody, brought him out and performed first aid before he was transported to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead,” Volusia deputies said in their report.

Chitwood said Marsh had been reported missing and suicidal earlier in the week. “He was known to act violently toward law enforcement and has made threats of ‘suicide by cop’ and suicide by other means.”

Marsh’s bullet grazed the head of Sgt. Thomas Dane, 54, a 30-year-veteran. As blood gushed from his head, and his hat with the “Sheriff’s K-9 Unit” logo lay on the ground next to him with a bullet hole a few inches above the logo, he told fellow officers, “I think I’ve been shot,” Chitwood said at the press conference.

Dane was treated at a Daytona Beach hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shooting.

Chitwood commended his fellow deputies.

“Everything that they did was to try to prevent what happened — knowing that this was probably what was going to happen,” Chitwood said.

Marsh had a lengthy arrest record dating back to 2007, when he was 19, in Volusia County. He’s had arrests for offenses including home invasion with a deadly weapon, grand theft, dealing in stolen property, aggravated battery, and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

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©2019 Miami Herald


American flag graphic on police cars divides Calif. town

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

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Associated Press

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. — An American flag graphic on the side of freshly painted police cars is dividing a small coastal city in Southern California.

Some people in Laguna Beach feel the flag design is too aggressive while others are astonished that anyone would object to the American flag, The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

The city council will decide at its Tuesday meeting whether to keep the logo or choose an alternative.

Artist Carrie Woodburn said at a March council meeting that it was "shocking to see the boldness of the design" when the newly painted Ford Explorers rolled out.

"We have such an amazing community of artists here, and I thought the aesthetic didn't really represent our community," Woodburn said. "It feels very aggressive."

But attorney Jennifer Welsh Zeiter said that she found the police cars "exceptional" and questioned the loyalty of anyone who objected to the American flag display.

Critics are so blinded by their hatred of President Donald Trump, she said, "that they cannot see through their current biases to realize that a police vehicle with the American flag is the ultimate American expression."

The city council agreed in February to repaint its all-white squad cars in black and white with the stars and stripes running through the word "police" on the doors. The police department has 11 squad cars.

The proposed graphic that the council unanimously approved in February was a more muted version of the design that now appears on the cars.

Laguna Beach has about 23,000 people and is 55 miles (88 kilometers) south of Los Angeles.


‘How dare you:’ Brother of Ohio officer killed in hit-and-run chides man who struck him

Posted on April 13, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Kaylee Remington Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland

PAINESVILLE, Ohio — A judge sentenced a Kirtland man to 11 1/2 years in prison Friday for killing Mentor police officer Mathew Mazany in a hit-and-run-crash last year.

Brian Anthony, 25, pleaded guilty in March to aggravated vehicular homicide, operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and other charges in the June 24 crash. Prosecutors dismissed one count of failure to stop after an accident, saying in court that they did not have enough evidence to get a conviction on that charge.

Prosecutors in Lake County said that Anthony drank for at least three hours prior to the crash, and he tested positive for drugs including fentanyl, heroin, morphine and codeine after his arrest.

Lake County Common Pleas Court Judge John P. O’Donnell handed down Anthony’s sentence Friday as members of his family watched from the courtroom gallery. Many of them are area police officers and firefighters. Fellow police officers and family members also packed the courtroom on Mazany’s behalf.

Anthony’s attorneys, Richard Perez and Hector Martinez, maintain that he did not know what happened or that he hit a person. His mother, Ann Albrecht, said at the hearing that her son admitted that he has a drinking problem and that he worked hard to keep himself sober. His stepfather also spoke at the hearing. He went to the scene shortly after the crash happened.

“Brian would never choose to bring harm to another human being,” Ann Albrecht said. “He is a good loving man. This accident doesn’t define him as a person. My only wish for my children is for them to be a loving person and a service to others. My prayers will continue for all those impacted.”

Mike Albrecht, who has served as a Mentor Firefighter for more than 35 years, apologized to Mazany’s family, friends and colleagues.

“I pray you (everyone impacted) will one day forgive my son,” he said. “I’m deeply sorry that I had to deliver the news of a fellow officer. I ask you to consider another person’s life, the life of my stepson, Brian.”

Anthony said through tears that he understands that he made a horrible decision that caused “everlasting heartbreak.”

“I made a horrible series of decisions that evening," he said. “I know i need to change my behavior and I promise to do so in my days of incarceration and after.”

Mike Mazany, officer Mazany’s brother, told Anthony he has no sympathy for him and demanded the maximum time for Anthony as his brother did his duty as a police officer with integrity and service.

“How dare you? You knew you hit him,” he said to Anthony. “This family has fought so hard to demand this man time. I’m insulted by it. This man nailed my brother. You grounded him down and flung him through the air. You didn’t know? You’re a liar."

Mazany was fierce a protector of his wife and son, his wife, Lisa Mazany said during a statement to the court.

“With Matt by my side I always felt safe,” his wife said. “He was my heart, and soul.”

He was her everything, she said, and a hero; not because of the badge, but because he was the epitome of what a good man is.

The crash happened about 1 a.m. in the eastbound lanes of Ohio 2 near the exit to Ohio 306. Mazany was stopped along the highway to help another police officer with an unrelated traffic stop.

The crash pinned Mazany between a Jeep and another Mentor police officer’s cruiser.

Anthony also struck another police cruiser. Dashboard camera video showed he stopped for a moment before he drove away.

Mazany, who suffered skull fractures and blunt force trauma in the crash, died after paramedics took him to TriPoint Medical Center in Painesville for treatment.

Anthony went to Mentor Lagoons Nature Preserve & Marina after the crash to celebrate a friend who passed the police academy and told a friend that he hit something, but wasn’t sure what he hit, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Rocco Dipierro said. Anthony later told investigators he was not aware he hit someone on the side of the highway.

Authorities tracked the Jeep Wrangler after watching the dashboard camera video from the incident and obtaining the license. They found Anthony about 9 a.m. the morning after the crash, sleeping on a hammock at the marina, Dipierro said.

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©2019 Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland


Police say Dallas DA’s plan to give petty criminals a pass could backfire

Posted on April 13, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Sarah Sarder The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS — A day after District Attorney John Creuzot announced sweeping changes to Dallas County’s criminal justice system, local police officials and union leaders pushed back, saying his reforms won't change how they approach their jobs and could have disastrous side effects.

Some of the harshest criticism came from DeSoto Police Chief Joseph Costa, who announced Friday afternoon that his officers would disregard Creuzot's plan to decriminalize low-level offenses and decrease the use of excessive probation and bail.

"I understand and appreciate that in Texas, the elected District Attorney can control which cases his office prosecutes and those offenses he chooses not to prosecute. Police officers, however, have to follow state law," Costa said in a written statement. "I have instructed DeSoto Police Officers to continue to make arrests as necessary to protect our citizens and to help prevent crime, regardless of the initiatives implemented by the District Attorney."

Costa promised to attempt to prosecute any cases rejected by the DA's office in municipal court so residents feel the Police Department is "doing all it can to keep the City of DeSoto safe and secure."

Speaking after a Friday morning news conference by Creuzot, Dallas Police Association President Michael Mata acknowledged that Creuzot's changes would have positive effects, from decreasing the jail population to easing the workload for police officers.

But Mata and Sheldon Smith, his counterpart with the National Black Police Association, also voiced disappointment that Creuzot had not sought input from local police chiefs and other "stakeholders," like small businesses, before rolling out his plan.

Creuzot, however, said he had met with local police and city officials, and he had yet to hear a viable solution.

"I've met with the police chiefs," the district attorney said, "and I've met with the City of Dallas and I've asked them to come up with a solution. Today, I've got no response. So we're going to act."

Mata and Smith said they expected multiple problems to arise from the changes, but nothing concerned them more than the decriminalization of theft of necessities worth up to $750.

"This will run people out of business," Mata said. "Hundreds of dollars [in stolen goods] is not low-level theft."

Smith said small businesses won't be able to survive in South Dallas and Oak Cliff if they must absorb the losses from theft.

"We know Walmart is leaving South Dallas," Smith said. "If Walmart is leaving, how much theft do you think is happening? The little store has absolutely no chance of staying in business."

Mata admitted that the Dallas Police Department, shorthanded as it is, can't respond quickly to low-priority crimes like shoplifting. As a result, he said, shopkeepers may feel compelled to do what the police and district attorney won't.

"Either that shop owner is going to have to take matters into his own hands," he said. "Or he's going to have to let $600 worth of merchandise walk out of his store. ... It's sending the wrong message."

Mata argued that most people suffer from lower-level crimes, not violent crime, and the police must serve those residents, as well.

Furthermore, Smith said, dismissing trespassing charges would leave no place for police to take homeless offenders because shelters are often full. Costa echoed that sentiment, adding that often the homeless and mentally ill commit other offenses that Creuzot has also recommended not be prosecuted.

Creuzot acknowledged the issue of mentally ill offenders in his news conference, saying the county would build a dedicated facility to house those homeless individuals.

"There's nothing good that's going to come out of putting a mentally ill person in Dallas County Jail or any other county jail," he said.

The district attorney also announced changes to how law enforcement would deal with second- and third-time marijuana offenders. With some exceptions, Creuzot outlined a plan that would refer those people for intervention and treatment instead of jail. He was unclear on the details of the plan.

Also weighing in on the reform plan Friday was the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, which lauded Creuzot's sentiment but said the county must ensure that the new policies are constitutional.

"We are pleased that DA Creuzot continues to recognize the need to reform our bail system and the serious harm that comes from detaining people simply because they cannot afford to pay bail," senior staff attorney Trisha Trigilio said in a written statement. "For reforms to become a reality, all stakeholders must join together, including the district judges who continue to resist voluntarily making changes to improve the system in Dallas County."

The leaders of the police associations echoed that call for consensus, saying they would ask to sit down with Creuzot to discuss the plan and its shortcomings.

"We have a responsibility to protect the public," Mata said.

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©2019 The Dallas Morning News


Pa. officer who used gun instead of TASER won’t face charges

Posted on April 13, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

NEW HOPE, Pa. — A Pennsylvania police officer who mistakenly pulled his weapon rather than his stun gun won't face charges for shooting a man in police custody.

Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub says last month's shooting was an accident.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports the officer, who retired Wednesday and whose name was not released, shot 38-year-old Brian Riling during a scuffle inside a holding cell at the New Hope Police Department on March 3.

Weintraub says as the officer struggled with Riling, he yelled "TASER!" as a warning, but mistakenly drew his gun and shot him in the stomach. Riling was in critical condition but has been released from the hospital.

Riling was in police custody after an arrest earlier that day on intimidation charges.

His attorney Richard Fink says he has no comment.


LIVE PD celebrates 200th episode

Posted on April 13, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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By PoliceOne Staff

COLUMBIA, SC — LIVE PD will join South Carolina deputies for a celebration of the 200th episode of the show today.

LIVE PD’s Sean “Sticks” Larkin will join Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott and deputies of the department at 6 p.m. until midnight in the Cantey Building at the SC State Fairgrounds to celebrate the show’s milestone.

The episode event will feature K-9 demonstrations, tactical robots, law enforcement static displays, drone flyovers as well as have music, a bounce house for kids and other family activities.

“This is but another way in which our RCSD family, friends, and fans can gather together for a night of family-friendly fun,” says Sheriff Lott. “It’s also a great way of bringing together all of our communities as we celebrate the 200th episode of A&E’s hit TV series which we’ve been a part of since LIVE PD first aired two-and-a-half years ago.”

The event is open to the public and admission is free.


371 fallen officers to be honored during 31st Annual Candlelight Vigil

Posted on April 12, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By PoliceOne Staff

WASHINGTON — Hundreds of fallen officers will be honored during the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund’s 31st Annual Candlelight Vigil in May.

The names of 371 officers in U.S. law enforcement will be formally dedicated on May 13 at the National Mall.

Among the list includes 158 officers who were killed in the line of duty along with 213 officers who were killed in previous years but had been lost to history until the Memorial Fund’s research. Out of that number, 87 officers died of illness related to 9/11 and the recovery efforts.

In addition to the 371 names, the Memorial already bears the names of 21,910 officers nationwide who have sacrificed their lives throughout history.

The names of the 371 officers being added to the National Memorial this year can be found on the NLEOMF’s website.


Photo of the Week: The no privacy pooch

Posted on April 12, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Author: PoliceOne Members

This week's photo comes from Officer Ben Rexroad of the Weld County Sheriff's Office in Colorado. Pictured is his K-9 partner, Ringo, who lacks any sense of personal space. 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!


Video released of officers dragging student down stairs

Posted on April 12, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Associated Press

CHICAGO — Newly released surveillance video shows Chicago police dragging a high school student down a flight of stairs before striking and kicking her and using a stun gun.

Chicago Public Schools student Dnigma Howard's attorney, Andrew M. Stroth, said Friday that the video contradicts statements the two officers made saying the 16-year-old initiated the January altercation. She was charged with felony aggravated battery. Those charges were later dropped.

Dnigma's father, Laurentio Howard, on Thursday filed an amended federal civil rights lawsuit against the city, the Chicago Board of Education and the officers. The city's Law Department says it doesn't comment on pending litigation. The school district's inspector general and the agency that investigates Chicago police misconduct are both investigating.

Howard is seeking monetary damages. Stroth says the case can also be a "catalyst to influence police reform."


The Waze craze: Legal insight into LE concerns surrounding popular Google app

Posted on April 12, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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By David Moser, Esq., P1 Contributor

Waze is a navigation app that uses both mapping technology and crowdsourcing to provide drivers with the fastest and easiest routes from point A to B. The app, which hosts 100 million users worldwide, allows drivers to report activity that could influence other drivers’ decisions such as current traffic, road hazards and, among the most controversial, police presence.

The police-tracking feature, which was one reason for the spur in Waze’s popularity, notifies drivers of any nearby law enforcement vehicles and patrol activity, such as speed traps and sobriety checkpoints, allowing drivers time to find alternative routes and potentially avoid these routine precautions.

Are there legal issues associated with this feature? Some law enforcement officials think so, claiming the feature could potentially cause harm to both drivers and officers.

The Developing Waze Debate

This February, the NYPD demanded Google immediately remove the police-notification feature from the Waze app, citing that it encourages irresponsible avoidance of DWI checkpoints that are in place to keep civilians safe.

Google refused the NYPD’s request and fought back, stating that Waze keeps drivers safe with its traffic alerts by encouraging them to drive slower and that it aids traffic enforcement by raising awareness about checkpoints and advocating safe, sober driving, while also providing users with a quick way to find and access police assistance if necessary.

The debate surrounding the app centers around conflicting safety concerns, with opponents citing that the app’s police-reporting tool enables drivers to divert away from cops, drive recklessly and continue endangering others on the road. Some also argue that Waze’s tracking feature provides criminals with the resources to abduct children, rob banks or commit other illegal acts while escaping police detection. The other side of the argument has supporters claiming safer roads due to the app providing location information of police, crashes, debris and other unpredictable hazards.

What Legal Action Can LE Agencies Take?

Claiming that the apps places police officers in jeopardy is an understandable argument but may prove difficult to pursue in a court of law.

Although First Amendment rights, including free speech, are not unlimited, there have never been established rules that would allow law enforcement to covertly operate. To the contrary, in addition to the presence of CB radios and other technologies that have enabled drivers to notify each other of active police presence for years, it is also the right of private citizens to take video and audio recordings of police officers in public places. This said, the Waze tracker is stagnant, simply reporting if there is an officer present. The app does not disclose personal information such as officer names, movements or shift schedules.

There is likely no winning avenue for legal action to aid in the removal of the police-tracker feature. Both National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) standards and the seminal U.S. Supreme Court decision in Michigan v. Sitz, 496 U.S. 444 (1990) require sobriety checkpoints to be publicly announced. Under the First Amendment, Google is entitled to host this tracking feature, and people have the right to communicate information about police presence, even via a crowdsourcing app. Thus, it’s hard to see how Waze’s police feature crosses any First Amendment lines and the argument that the app promotes crime diversion is probably a dead end.

Officers in Danger

The National Sheriff’s Association started a campaign in 2015 urging Google to remove the police-tracking feature from its app to protect law enforcement officers from the possibility of stalking or harm by an app user. This came in response to a surge of viral videos recording controversial and sometimes dangerous police interactions, sparking additional concerns about the potential for criminals to target police officers by using the app’s location tracker.

An example of this scenario played out in December 2014 when two New York police officers were shot and killed by a gunman who, before the attack, posted screenshots from Waze and threatening messages aimed at law enforcement on social media. It is said that he used Waze to pinpoint the location of the two officers in order to assassinate them, before killing himself as well. While this information cannot be confirmed, some cops say the safety concerns surrounding the app are obvious.

What We Can Expect to See, Or Not to See

Given free speech considerations and the public’s right to exchange information, it is unlikely that legal action will result in the termination of the app’s police tracker. With free speech at the center of discussions surrounding the controversy, this is another example of free speech being pitted against safety concerns.


About the author David C. Moser is an associate at Isaac Wiles Burkholder & Teetor, LLC (Columbus) where he focuses his practice on representing clients in the public sector. He handles misdemeanor prosecutions as an assistant prosecutor for several localities and outside of the courtroom, he regularly assists government entities with employment disputes, day-to-day legal advice, and civil litigation.


The importance of being a ‘predator’ in a deadly confrontation

Posted on April 12, 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 with Lee Shaykhet, a renowned police trainer, who talks about predators versus prey—the importance of moving forward and doing what the subject doesn't expect in order to prevail in a deadly confrontation.

LEARN MORE

Defeating a close-quarters ambush

Using the 'T-Kick'

Basic takedown of a non-compliant subject

Surviving an ambush

Weapon Retention Out of the Holster


Fla. K-9 deputy lucky to be alive after bullet punctures baseball cap

Posted on April 12, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Tony Holt The News-Journal, Daytona Beach, Fla.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Sheriff Mike Chitwood said he has never felt luckier during his 32-year law enforcement career than he did Thursday afternoon.

He wasn't going to have to tell a young girl that her father had been killed in the line of duty.

"A millimeter lower and Sgt. Dane is dead," Chitwood told the media a few hours after the shooting during a news conference less than 100 yards from where the face-off took place on State Road 44.

Volusia County Sheriff's Sgt. Thomas Dane, 54, had a round from a .32-caliber handgun graze his skull. The bullet punctured his K-9 baseball cap in two places and cut through his scalp, but Dane was not seriously injured, Chitwood said.

Posted by Volusia County Sheriff's Office on Thursday, April 11, 2019

The shooter, a carjacking suspect who led deputies on a pursuit from Deltona to the Volusia County Fairgrounds outside DeLand, died at the hospital from his bullet wounds, according to the Sheriff's Office. He was identified late Thursday as 30-year-old Phillip Thomas Marsh of Lake Helen.

Chitwood said Marsh had a criminal history and had been declared missing and suicidal for several days before the shooting.

"Clearly ... when he came out of that vehicle, he wanted us to shoot him and he was going to take one of us with him," Chitwood said.

Dane and the suspect were transported to Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach. The sheriff said Dane was airlifted to the hospital while the suspect was taken by ambulance. Dane was released from the hospital Thursday evening.

The violence started around 2:20 p.m. when a woman on Ludlow Street in Deltona was approached by a shirtless and shoe-less man armed with a gun, according to the Sheriff's Office. He pulled a gun on her and demanded she hand over her the keys to the Chevrolet pickup that was parked in her driveway, deputies said.

The woman told a 9-1-1 operator that she had kids in the vehicle, but they safely got out of the truck before the man pulled out of the driveway and fled.

The suspect drove the white pickup out of the neighborhood and headed north along State Road 415, according to the Sheriff's Office. At one point, the suspect swerved toward one deputy and waved his gun out the window, Chitwood said. Marsh headed north on the highway and turned west on S.R. 44. He ran over a set of deployed stop sticks, which punctured all four tires, said Andrew Gant, a Sheriff's Office spokesman.

The rubber on the tires fell off, so Marsh was driving on the bare rims of the pickup going 10-15 mph while deputies continued to follow him, Chitwood said. The vehicle traveled about 3 miles without tires before stopping.

The pickup came to a halt near the fairgrounds, where deputies had set up a roadblock. Marsh got out, held a gun to his head to ward off deputies, crossed the median and tried to carjack another motorist near the roadblock, but another deputy pulled in front of him and blocked him about 10 yards from the vehicle, Chitwood said.

That's when the suspect opened fire on deputies, five of whom returned fire. Chitwood was at the scene and was behind Dane, who was one of the deputies firing at the suspect. Chitwood did not fire his gun because he "couldn't get a clear shot," he said.

Chitwood said he was astonished at what he saw from Dane.

"He never retreated," the sheriff said. "He kept going forward toward the threat.

"You talk (bravery) and just being so focused on what your mission is, I've never (seen) anything like that."

Marsh ran into the woods after he was shot and continued his standoff with deputies. A ballistics team moved in armed with shields and stun guns and eventually subdued the suspect. Deputies loaded the severely injured man into an ambulance, but he was pronounced dead around 5 p.m., Chitwood said.

Court records show Marsh was out on bail awaiting trial on an aggravated battery arrest stemming from an incident in September in Lake Helen. Marsh was accused of running over another man with a golf cart and injuring him.

After everything quieted down Thursday, Chitwood got on the radio and commended deputies and dispatchers.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shooting. All of the deputies who fired at the suspect were placed on administrative leave with pay, which is standard following a deputy-involved shooting.

The highway remained closed to traffic until about 8 p.m., Gant said. The S.R. 44 ramps to I-4 also were closed.

Chitwood said he saw Dane, who has served with the Sheriff's Office for more than 30 years, at the hospital. He was surrounded by family and was in good spirits.

"It was a great pleasure ... seeing him in that hospital room with his daughter," Chitwood said.

*Sheriff Chitwood briefing news media on deputy-involved shooting* An armed suspect who fired at Volusia County sheriff’s deputies was fatally wounded Thursday afternoon and a VCSO sergeant survived with a grazing gunshot wound to the head in a shooting that erupted near Interstate 4 after the suspect carjacked a woman at gunpoint in Deltona, led deputies on a pursuit to the DeLand area and appeared to be ready to carjack another innocent person. The initial carjacking was reported around 2:21 p.m. at a home on the 2500 block of Ludlow Street in Deltona, where the victim said a man got in her truck, pointed a gun at her, demanded her keys and then took off in the vehicle. Deputies attempted to stop the stolen truck in Deltona, but the suspect continued fleeing erratically. At one point, the suspect swerved at a deputy who deployed stop sticks on the truck. As he fled, the suspect appeared to be waving a handgun out the driver’s side window. After several stop stick hits, with all four tires appearing to be deflated, the truck slowed to a crawl and came to a stop on State Road 44 in front of the Volusia County Fairgrounds. The suspect got out of the truck with the gun still in his hand and ran in the direction of several motorists who were stopped on the road next to him. A deputy drove his unmarked SUV in the suspect’s direction, preventing him from reaching another potential carjacking victim, and the suspect ran the other direction and opened fire at several other responding deputies. Deputies returned fire, striking the suspect several times. Still armed with the handgun, the suspect went into the woods, where deputies ultimately took him into custody, brought him out and performed first aid before he was transported to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. The deceased is Phillip Thomas Marsh, 30 (DOB 12/7/1988), of Lake Helen. Marsh had been reported missing and suicidal earlier this week and at the time, it was noted he was known to act violently toward law enforcement and has made threats of “suicide by cop” and suicide by other means. The sergeant who received the graze wound to the head is Sgt. Thomas Dane, 54, who has been a VCSO deputy for 30 years (hire date in July 1988). Footage from Sgt. Dane’s body-worn camera indicates he was shot soon after emerging from his vehicle. His hat was found lying on the road with an entry hole next to the "SHERIFF’S K-9 UNIT" logo on the front, and an exit hole a few inches above that. He was treated and released from Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach. In total, five deputies fired at Marsh. The exact number of shots fired is unconfirmed at this time. It’s believed Marsh fired multiple times. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is conducting the official investigation into the shooting. Those who fired their weapons have been placed on administrative leave with pay, which is standard following a deputy-involved shooting. Sheriff Mike Chitwood, who was one of several units involved in the pursuit and was on scene during the shooting itself, commended the tactics and coordination of all involved. “Everything that they did was to try to prevent what happened – knowing that this was probably what was going to happen,” Chitwood said, adding: “I know tonight when I go home, I’ll be saying a prayer thanking the good Lord that Sgt. Dane will be back to work real soon.” The area of the incident was reopened to traffic around 8 p.m. Thursday.

Posted by Volusia County Sheriff's Office on Thursday, April 11, 2019

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©2019 The News-Journal, Daytona Beach, Fla.


New Orleans officer shot at gas station, suspect in custody

Posted on April 12, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Laura McKnight NOLA Media Group, New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS — A New Orleans police officer was shot in the leg Thursday night as he was responding to a suspicious person call at a Mid-City gas station, NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said.

The shooter was apprehended and another person also was taken into custody, Ferguson said during a news conference at the scene.

“He’s speaking and alert,” Ferguson said of the officer, who had a bullet lodged in his right calf.

The shooting occurred about 9:15 p.m., as officers responded to a call of a suspicious person at a Shell station in the 3300 block of Tulane Avenue. The caller had reported that the suspicious person could be armed, Ferguson said.

Arriving at the Shell station, the NOPD officer spotted someone matching the description of the suspicious person and, while trying to pat the person down, became involved in a struggle.

The “individual fired his weapon" during that struggle, striking the officer in the right calf, Ferguson said.

“The officer continued to show restraint and professionalism,” detaining the person until help arrived, Ferguson said. “He never removed his weapon from its holster.”

Another officer applied a tourniquet to the wound, Ferguson said. The wounded officer was then taken by EMS to a local hospital, where he was in stable condition late Thursday.

“He’s doing fine,” Ferguson said, and was “ecstatic to see his wife.”

Police have not identified the officer who was shot, but Ferguson said he is a three-year veteran of the force and assigned to the NOPD’s 1st District, which includes a swath of Mid-City, along with parts of neighboring areas of the city.

Ferguson said the suspected shooter was found with a gun believed to be the weapon used to fire on the officer. The NOPD has not identified either the suspected shooter or the other person in custody.

Ferguson said investigators have not determined why the suspected shooter was armed.

“We do not know if the individual was planning to rob the business," he said at the scene. "We do not know what (were) the circumstances behind the individual being armed.”

The intersection of Tulane Avenue and Jefferson Davis Parkway was closed to traffic Thursday night. A large area around the Shell station was cordoned off by police tape. Investigators could be seen going in and out of the gas station, including a group of crime-scene techs who entered the store carrying bags of evidence cones. Though police were focused on the inside of the gas station, at least one cone was placed in the roadway of Tulane Avenue.

Several people stood just outside of the gas station, watching as the cluster of NOPD officers and state police troopers grew.

Other onlookers stood near the police tape, wondering aloud at what had transpired. One woman said she was waiting to check on her son, who works nearby.

“The only person that was hurt is a police officer,” an NOPD officer told the woman.

Another woman, who was sitting outside of a nearby bar, said she saw a scuffle inside of the Shell station shortly before the shooting but could not see who was involved in the struggle.

“I just saw arms swinging,” she said.

The NOPD Force Investigation Team is leading the ongoing investigation. Anyone with any additional information on the shooting is asked to call the NOPD at 504-658-6010.

To our amazing community, thank you for the outpouring of love, support & prayers ???? Our Officer is in good spirits and surrounded by his family. We hope to have more updates soon. Thank you again, #NOPD ??????

— NOPD (@NOPDNews) April 12, 2019

———

©2019 NOLA Media Group, New Orleans


Wanted woman’s Facebook taunts help police track her down

Posted on April 12, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

WAYNESBURG, Pa. — A wanted Pennsylvania woman who taunted a sheriff's department online by asking if they "do pick up or delivery" has gotten a response: They do both, and she's in custody.

Chloe Jones commented on a Facebook post by the Greene County Sheriff's Office featuring her as one of the county's most wanted, writing "Do you guys do pick up or delivery??" followed by four crying-laughing emojis. Police say she had failed to appear in court on assault charges.

She then got into arguments with other commenters and claimed she was at a hospital in Morgantown, West Virginia. Police there tracked her down this week, and she was extradited to Pennsylvania.

Court records don't say whether she has a lawyer to comment on her behalf.

The sheriff's office took to Facebook again to announce her arrest and add that Jones "and her witty comments are taking a hiatus from our Facebook comments section due to the jail not having internet for her to use."

Posted by Greene County Sheriff's Office on Monday, April 8, 2019


Man charged with shooting officer at SC hospital

Posted on April 12, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A shooting inside a South Carolina hospital on Thursday left both a police officer and the suspected gunman wounded, authorities said, in what was the second shooting inside a hospital in the state in two days.

The Thursday shooting happened around 2 a.m., when 27-year-old Kevin Boyce Patterson was spotted with a gun, visiting the emergency room at the Laurens County Memorial Hospital in Clinton, authorities said.

An arrest warrant issued Thursday night said Patterson dragged his father at gunpoint across the waiting room. When a Greenville Health Authority Police Department officer and a state trooper started to ask the man questions, he shot the police officer and tried to run, said Sarah Moore, a spokeswoman for Prisma Health, which runs the hospital.

The officer fired back, hitting Boyce in the arm, investigators said.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division charged Boyce with attempted murder, kidnapping and pointing and presenting a firearm. He was booked in the Laurens County jail. Records did not indicate whether he had a lawyer who could comment.

Moore said the police officer was treated and released. The officer's name was not released as of Thursday.

The shooting in Laurens County happened a day after a nurse was shot in a hospital emergency room in Orangeburg. According to a police report, 23-year-old Abrian Dayquan Sabb came to the Regional Medical Center with a long gun and shot the nurse in the abdomen Wednesday morning.

A hospital security guard had Sabb in custody by the time the first Orangeburg County deputies arrived three minutes later, a police report said. Sabb had come to the center just a day before, along with family members who were trying to get him mental health treatment.

State Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter said Wednesday that the family was told to come back because there weren't enough treatment beds.

Before the hospital shooting, deputies said they encountered Sabb after his girlfriend called 911 to report that he had fired a gun while she tried to take it from him. The officers gave the gun to Sabb's father, according to the police report.

The gun used in the hospital shooting Wednesday appeared to have been stolen from a nearby home just minutes earlier, deputies said.

Sabb, 23, is charged with attempted murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of violent crime. Police and court records did not list an attorney for him.

Sabb was ordered to remain in jail at a court hearing Thursday. One of the nurse's family members said at the hearing that the nurse was in critical condition. The family member did not identify herself.


Man pleads not guilty to killing Calif. officer

Posted on April 12, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

MODESTO, Calif. — A man suspected of being in the country illegally has pleaded not guilty to killing a Northern California police officer during a traffic stop in a case that has rekindled a debate over California's sanctuary law that limits law enforcement's cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

An attorney for Paulo Virgen Mendoza entered the not guilty plea to a murder charge in Stanislaus Superior Court, the Modesto Bee reported Thursday. Mendoza is charged with fatally shooting Newman Police Officer Cpl. Ronil Singh on Dec. 26.

Investigators say Singh suspected Mendoza of drunken driving.

Authorities say Mendoza was in the country illegally and was fleeing back to his native Mexico when he was arrested two days after Singh's killing near Bakersfield.

President Donald Trump seized on the case to call for tougher border security amid a fight with congressional Democrats over funding for a border wall, which has forced a partial government shutdown.

The sheriff leading the investigation blamed California's sanctuary law for preventing local authorities from reporting Gustavo Perez Arriaga to U.S. immigration officials for two previous drunken driving arrests. If he had been deported, Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson said, Cpl. Ronil Singh of the tiny Newman Police Department would still be alive.

The case was put on hold in January to determine if Mendoza was mentally fit to stand trial. On Thursday, a judge determined he was competent to stand trial after Mendoza was examined by a psychiatrist.

Mendoza is still identified in Stanislaus County jail records as Gustavo Perez Arriaga, an alias that he used when arrested. But he's referred to in court by his given name.

Prosecutors say Mendoza is eligible for the death penalty.


10 great YouTube channels for cops

Posted on April 11, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By PoliceOne Staff

This may come as a shock, but there’s a wealth of excellent content for police officers on the internet in addition to what you can find on PoliceOne (we are the best, though). And out of every corner of the web, there’s no better place to find great stuff than on YouTube, which is why we’ve rounded up 10 of the best channels (in no particular order). Give them a try and share any we missed in the comments.

1. Mike The Cop

One of the most popular police humor channels run by an officer, Mike the Cop is arguably one of the pioneers of creating law enforcement content for the platform. Great when you just need a break and want to laugh.

2. Officer401

Officer401 offers tips, advice and general musings that all men and women in blue can enjoy, from lessons on how to be a supportive police spouse to leaving police work at work.

3. LEO Round Table

A panel of law enforcement professionals tackle hot topics in the news and industry. These videos tend to be deep dives into what’s currently capturing the attention of the LE community at large.

4. Officer Daniels

One of the OG police humor channels, you’ve probably heard of Officer Daniels. Another good one if you need a laugh.

5. Tier Talk

Tier Talk host and CorrectionsOne columnist Anthony Gangi features everything from roundtable news analysis to career advice and training tips on his channel. While primarily focused on issues in corrections, there’s a ton of content here that police officers should find interesting or useful.

6. Donut Operator

This list wouldn’t be complete without Donut Operator. One of the most popular LE channels, this one features a wide variety of content ranging from police history to cop humor.

7. The Firearm Blog

PoliceOne features content from TFB twice a month, but it barely scratches the surface of what the channel has to offer. From reviews of the latest products to looks at weapons throughout history, this is a great spot for gun enthusiasts.

8. Free Field Training

Made for both a law enforcement and general audience, Free Field Training features tons of gear reviews and tactical tips.

9. COPS

There’s enough material here to satisfy even the most hardcore fan’s COPS fix. You’re welcome.

10. Ultimate Survival Tips

Subscribe to this one for videos on all things tactical, survival tips and more.


Reader poll: 45% get in-service training on interacting with ASD subjects

Posted on April 11, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By PoliceOne Staff

This information comes from a recent PoliceOne poll. Polls are updated on the P1 homepage twice a month and open to all P1 readers. Make your voice heard HERE in our latest poll.

April is World Autism Month, and World Autism Awareness Day was held on April 2. In recognition of this, we asked our P1 readers last week if they’ve received in-service training on how to interact with individuals who have autism spectrum disorder. Here are the results:

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Unfortunately, this training appears to be lacking among those agencies represented in the poll – with only around 45% of officers saying they have received training and another 7% saying it’s in the works at their department.

With the increase in those affected by autism, it’s likely that you will have contact with an ASD subject at some point in your law enforcement career. Check out the following articles to educate yourself further on this issue:

Autism training for police officers: The basics of response

More kids with autism means more police contacts with ASD subjects

Autism FYI offers free training, app and more to law enforcement

3 steps toward understanding autism challenges during traffic stops

Ohio bill creates communication-disability registry for police

Have you had any contacts with ASD subjects in the field? If so, what were some of the challenges? Share your experience in the comments section, and don’t forget to weigh in on our latest poll.


Wanted woman’s Facebook taunts help police track her down

Posted on April 11, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

WAYNESBURG, Pa. — A wanted Pennsylvania woman who taunted a sheriff's department online by asking if they "do pick up or delivery" has gotten a response: They do both, and she's in custody.

Chloe Jones commented on a Facebook post by the Greene County Sheriff's Office featuring her as one of the county's most wanted, writing "Do you guys do pick up or delivery??" followed by four crying-laughing emojis. Police say she had failed to appear in court on assault charges.

She then got into arguments with other commenters and claimed she was at a hospital in Morgantown, West Virginia. Police there tracked her down this week, and she was extradited to Pennsylvania.

Court records don't say whether she has a lawyer to comment on her behalf.

The sheriff's office took to Facebook again to announce her arrest and add that Jones "and her witty comments are taking a hiatus from our Facebook comments section due to the jail not having internet for her to use."


Police: Suspect in church fires is son of LEO, dad helped arrange arrest

Posted on April 11, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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By Melinda Deslatte and Kevin McGill Associated Press

OPELOUSAS, La. — The suspect in a string of fires that destroyed three black churches in rural Louisiana is the white son of a sheriff's deputy whose father helped arrange for his arrest, authorities said Thursday.

Holden Matthews, 21, was jailed without bail on arson charges in connection with the blazes in and around Opelousas, a city of 16,000 where the flame-gutted remains of the buildings evoked memories of civil rights era violence.

Louisiana Fire Marshal Butch Browning offered no motive for the fires. He and other officials stopped short of calling them hate crimes. Eric Rommal, the agent in charge of the New Orleans FBI office, said investigators were still looking into whether the fires were "bias motivated."

Browning said there were no indications that anyone else was involved and the danger to churches was over.

"This community is safe again," he said at a news conference. "We are extremely, unequivocally confident that we have the person who is responsible for these tragic crimes."

The Rev. Harry Richard, pastor of Greater Union Baptist Church, which was destroyed, said the arrest put him at ease and let him sleep at night.

"I felt relieved my congregation didn't have to worry anymore," said Richard, who was told of the arrest late Wednesday. "I was reassured that law enforcement was on our side, that things were finally coming to an end."

Investigators used surveillance video, cellphone tracking and a Walmart receipt to help identify Matthews, who was arrested late Wednesday. They moved quickly, arresting him within 12 hours because they were worried that "other crimes were imminent," Browning said.

The charred remains of a red gas can recovered at one of the churches was sold at Walmart locations, and the company's investigators found that the same type of gas can was bought March 25 at a store in Opelousas, along with automotive cloths and a lighter.

The debit card used in that purchase belonged to Matthews, according to court documents.

"The purchase time on this receipt is less than three hours before the first church fire was reported," an affidavit said.

In addition, cellphone tower data showed Matthews was in the area of all three fires. Surveillance video from businesses and homes near the churches, and on the roads to and from each fire scene, repeatedly showed a "light colored extended-cab truck" that was consistent with the beige pickup that belonged to Matthews' father. Matthews apparently drove the truck to buy the gas can and other items, according to the court documents.

St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz confirmed that the suspect was the son of deputy Roy Matthews, whom he described as an excellent employee who knew nothing of his son's actions.

The elder Matthews was heartbroken when told his son was a suspect, the sheriff said.

"He broke down," Guidroz said. "It was hard." He said the father arranged for the son to leave the house and go to a place where he could be arrested without incident. He did not elaborate.

The younger Matthews was arrested on three counts of arson of a religious building. A conviction could bring up to 15 years in prison on each count, Browning said.

The fires set many people on edge in and around Opelousas, about 140 miles northwest of New Orleans.

Gov. John Bel Edwards said the fires were "especially painful" because they were a reminder "of a very dark past of intimidation and fear."

"This is a reflection of one depraved individual," he added. "It is not a reflection on the state of Louisiana."

Matthews had shown interest in "black metal," an extreme subgenre of heavy metal, Browning said. The music has been linked, in some instances, to fires at Christian churches in Norway in the 1990s.

A Facebook page that appeared to belong to Matthews showed him with the words "black metal" spray painted on a wall behind him. He also posted a comment on a movie's portrayal of black metal musician Varg Vikernes, a far-right figure convicted of manslaughter and arson at three churches.

Black metal lyrics often espouse satanism and paganism, and a few bands feature neo-Nazi beliefs.

The fires happened over a 10-day period. The first blaze torched the St. Mary Baptist Church on March 26 in Port Barre, a town just outside of Opelousas. Days later, the Greater Union Baptist Church and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Opelousas were burned. Each was more than 100 years old.

The churches were empty at the time, and no one was injured. Investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were still combing the scene at Mount Pleasant and warning onlookers away on Wednesday, a week after the fire.

At Greater Union, which burned April 2, the flames caused exterior walls of brick and wood to collapse on rows of metal folding chairs. All that was left of an upright piano was the lattice work of steel strings.

Denzel Washington, a 23-year-old black resident of Opelousas, lamented the loss for the congregation that now has to rebuild.

"But what's the sense in hate? Forgiven. Forgive what he's done. It's not going to change nothing," he said.


Will your department thrive or be left behind in today’s data-driven world? (eBook)

Posted on April 11, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Sponsored by Axon

Technology is advancing at such a dizzying speed that it is a challenge for police leaders to stay knowledgeable about the latest developments and how they can transform LE operations. While the goal of technology in policing is simple – to improve situational awareness while delivering a unified, efficient workflow that frees officers from the burdens of administrative tasks – the procurement and implementation of the hardware and software to accomplish this can seem overwhelming.

This eBook provides an essential checklist for police leaders to follow to develop a customized total technology solution for their agency.

Download this free eBook to learn:

How your agency can build a build a digital roadmap and why you need one Best practices and pitfalls to avoid as your agency prepares to leverage artificial intelligence as a tool How to evaluate the efficacy of police training in a data-driven world How RMS platforms can boost policing productivity


Hero Systems announces first purchase of HERODrag System

Posted on April 11, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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By News Staff

CHICAGO, Ill. — Hero Systems, Inc. made the first sale of their new product, the HERODrag System, a victim immobilizing rescue system designed for quick, easy deployment and stabilization, to the Chicago Police Department.

Created by a veteran battalion chief of the Chicago Fire Department, the HERODrag System rescue device is compact, ultra-lightweight, foldable and consists of light, rigid plates allowing for “hands-free” transport by first responders into hostile environments with a carrying case or in firefighter turnout gear pockets.

Once opened, the HERODrag System includes five tie-down locations that can be secured with one buckle and three adjustments. Deployment of the rescue device and stabilization process can be completed in less than 30 seconds using the HERODrag System.

Field tested by police, the rescue device was determined to be a functional tool to pull injured officers away from dangerous scenarios when fire and EMS personnel are unable to reach them.

“The HERODrag is the perfect complement to our mass casualty response,” said Lt. Robert Stasch, commanding officer of the CPD’s Special Functions Detail Section. “The stretcher works as designed, allowing a single officer, if needed, to securely move an injured person over a variety of terrain features, including stairs and escalators in such a way that the injured person is immobilized from further injury. This a well-designed rescue stretcher and is an integral tool of the CPD’s Detail Section.”

Chicago Police Department Special Functions “Detail Section’s” primary responsibility is Homeland Security and crowd management at all major city special events.

Visit Hero R & B Fabrications April 8-13 in booth #3842 at FDIC 2019 for more information about the HERODrag System.


How to get the most out of your LE career: Life after the badge

Posted on April 11, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Jerrod Hardy
Author: Jerrod Hardy

As I prepare to step away from my career as a law enforcement officer after 21 years, I felt an overwhelming need to share my experience with as many others as possible.

For me, there have been four steps I have taken during my police career that has allowed me to leave physically and mentally fit so that I can enjoy the next phase of my life.

In my previous articles, I wrote about remembering your purpose, stress management and self-assessment. This month I address the fourth and final step: life after the badge.

Step Four: Life After the Badge

This is a hard topic to address and talk with inside an agency. If you start talking with people about your “what’s next” transition, you can easily be passed over for promotions or assignments and have your daily motivation questioned. It is almost tradition in law enforcement that you do not talk about your retirement plan and that you are expected to make a switch almost immediately. You go from being part of an agency, shift and team with all the associated structure, comradery and purpose to walking away over a set of normal days off. I recently had to deal with this after retiring in December 2018 and I can tell you my adjustment it is still a work in progress.

Here are several steps I used to prepare myself to make the transition from being active duty to retired:

1. Know what you want to do

Have a plan for how you will spend the new time available to you. There are only so many home improvement projects and chores to complete before you get bored.

Transitioning from a structured, systematic way of life to a completely unscheduled way of living is not for everyone. Many people end up missing the structure and purpose so much they retire for only a short period before returning to the same agency they left.

I have several small businesses I had invested in and had been running for the last few years of my career that now fill my time. Take steps to plan what you will be doing during your retirement prior to leaving your police career so that you can ease the transition from one life to the other.

2. Know what you are good at

This may seem obvious, but I am surprised by the number of people who have never given a thought to how their skills and interests they developed over their career translate to the civilian marketplace.

Not only are there many different fields that need workers with our skills, there is a lot of money to be made outside the government pay scale. The hard part is that we need to know where and how to look for the jobs and have a solid understanding of what we bring to the table!

I found this out first hand sitting at a negotiating table working on a business deal for my gym. On one of the breaks I was told, “You are strictly business when you negotiate, no emotion.” I thought about it for a moment to gather my response and realized that contract and business negotiations are much like handling a routine call for cops. You show up, listen to both sides of the disagreement, stay emotionally unattached to either story and listen for commonality. We know on any disturbance or dispute call, the truth of the matter is usually a combination of both people’s stories, not exclusively one or the other. Negotiating a contract is the same, stay emotionally unattached when you listen to their proposal, then offer yours, and realize the best deal for both parties is a combination of the two in the middle!

Whether you love reconstructing automobile crashes, dealing with credit card fraud or have an affinity for working with kids, there are insurance companies, banks and school districts that would love to have you and your skills on their team.

3. Know who you will spend time with

For the entirety of your police career you work with the same group of people day in and day out. You learn about their families, their interests and their annoying habits. You do this every day without conscious thought. Once you step out of the department doors for the last time, you now must schedule such meetings. Suddenly, people are too busy, do not have time and are constantly having conflicts arise so they must cancel on you.

This has been the hardest part of the journey so far for me. All the people you would run into as part of your daily walk to the break room, gym or restroom are no longer around. You must be intentional in developing your social network and make sure you spend time with people, avoiding falling into the habit of isolation. Sometimes as much as we dislike talking to some of the people on the job, it is these very interactions we find ourselves missing the most when our careers are over.

Conclusion

I hope this series helped provide you with some thought and options as you look to get the most out of your police career and all that it has to offer. Day to day and year to year, we receive fantastic training on the newest gadgets, tactics and procedures. However, far too often we neglect addressing our long-term emotional and mental survival that will set us up to be successful after our police careers are over.


4 tips for successful public safety retirement

Posted on April 11, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Author: Jerrod Hardy

This article is reprinted with permission from the Lexipol blog.

By Shannon Pieper

Retirement is a big change for any professional. But in public safety, it seems to hit even harder. Perhaps that’s because so many firefighters, police officers and corrections officers retire young, with many good working years ahead of them. The transition is also complicated by the fact that public safety work creates tightly knit communities of personnel held together by their sworn oath to protect the community and one another. Simply walking away from that level of intensity can be difficult.

Many former officers gravitate to second careers where they are still serving law enforcement. Following are four tips for those preparing for retirement from a public safety career from recently retired LEOs now working for Lexipol, which provides mission-critical content, policies and online training for public safety and local government.

1. Be prepared for an identity crisis

“The empty feeling is what surprised me the most,” says Jennie Pierce, a professional services representative for Lexipol and a former New Mexico State Police officer. “I truly felt as if I had lost my identity.”

Pierce is hardly alone. Many public safety employees experience a type of identity crisis when they leave the job.

“This is a family, your family, one you’ve never been without and never want to be without,” says Shirl Tyner, a Lexipol professional services representative with 25 years of experience as a civilian officer. “You’ll miss your partners, those you have worked beside and counted on, vented to, protected and leaned on, the ones who always had your back. And let’s not forget that adrenaline rush, hearing the dispatcher over the radio and the rush of getting to the call.”

Few people are prepared for such feelings. When Tyner presented a session on retirement at a recent public safety show, she was flooded with people thanking her because they had not considered the emotional repercussions of retirement.

“We retire with these giant egos from being on this rush for 20 to 30 years,” Pierce says. “It takes every ounce of strength you have to fill the void of the lifestyle and camaraderie. For me, it took about a year for the empty hole to close and for me to be okay with my new identity.”

Simply knowing such feelings are normal can help. But there are ways to reduce the emotional toll of public safety retirement. Mark Chamberlain, a training coordinator for Lexipol who retired as chief deputy of corrections for the Garland County (AR) Sheriff’s Office, notes that staying connected with the job is possible. “My biggest surprise was the people I worked with for so long have really kept in touch,” he says. “Not a week goes by when I don’t hear from someone back at the agency or from a fellow retiree. Social media has really helped in that regard.”

Developing outside interests long before retirement is also important. In a recent article, Chief (Ret.) Dan Fish explains that law enforcement officers often believe they must dedicate their entire lives to the job when, in fact, practicing self-care and cultivating outside interests can make them better at their jobs. “I believe having several different interests outside of work before retiring goes a long way in staving off issues of depression or feeling a lack of worthiness now that you’re no longer on the job,” Chamberlain says. Pierce agrees: “You have to make sure you have friends and hobbies outside of the job, or you won’t make it!”

2. Do your financial homework

Most public safety personnel retire with some sort of a pension, but it’s a huge mistake to assume retirement won’t bring financial changes. “Even with a pension, retirement requires a clear-eyed look at your finances,” Tyner says. “You may need to see a financial counselor and develop a budget that accounts for expenses such as travel and healthcare.”

Healthcare costs were something for which Chamberlain wished he’d been more prepared. “I knew the cost of health insurance would be a factor, but I did not anticipate how quickly it has risen in the six years since I left my agency, about a 17% increase,” he says. He stresses the importance of running the numbers in advance and educating yourself about your options: “I did a lot of financial comparisons in the months preceding my retirement. Many states offer several different retirement options, mostly concerning beneficiary benefits. I found that a robust life insurance policy, combined with the optimal monetary retirement benefit, worked out very well for me and my family.”

For Pierce, who obtained health insurance through her husband, performing some quick calculations provided stress relief until she found work with Lexipol. “I felt like I wasn’t providing for my family – I can’t just sit here and do nothing!” she says. “Then I figured out I only needed approximately $200 extra a month to make up the difference between my working paycheck and my retirement paycheck. I had a teaching gig doing court-ordered classes a few days a week when needed, so I knew I had the income balanced out. You need to understand your pension and insurance options, so you can figure out how to make it on your new fixed income.”

3. Position yourself to move into satisfying post-retirement employment

Closely related to financial planning is planning what you’ll do after retirement. Even with a pension, it’s likely you’ll need additional employment to maintain your lifestyle. Perhaps more importantly, traditional retirement activities – classes at the senior center, fishing, time with grandkids – are often not enough for public safety employees retiring from fast-paced careers in their 50s.

One important aspect to consider about working after retirement is what level of involvement you’re looking for. “If you are not careful, retirement can mean a second full-time career,” says Kevin Piper, recently retired from Lexipol after serving in several positions, including vice president of operations and who retired as captain for the city of Montclair, Calif., after 30 years in law enforcement. Of course, you may want a second career. But it’s important the job be fulfilling. “At this point, choose whatever you enjoy and want to do,” Piper says. “Don’t punish yourself in a retirement job. You should wake up each work day looking forward to the work you will be doing.”

Chamberlain points to two options when considering post-retirement employment. “One, do something completely different than what you were doing while working. If you were a police officer, go be an usher at a sports venue or the ranger at a golf course,” he says. “Or two, stay connected to public safety. I worked as a reserve deputy with my former agency for two years after I retired. It was great being a line officer again after having the pressures and stress of being a division commander for a decade. Lexipol has offered me the opportunity to do a little of both. I never dreamed I’d be teaching folks about software or web-based training!”

Another aspect is preparation. Pierce wanted and expected to work after retirement, but she found herself unprepared to move into the private sector. “I don’t have a bachelor’s degree, so I didn’t qualify for many jobs I was interested in,” she says. “I’d been an auto theft detective, so I figured I could do insurance fraud. No dice, not qualified. That was a letdown. I have an associate degree, I had an amazing career, I was only 42 years old – and no one wanted me.”

As Pierce experienced, a post-retirement job may require additional education – something best achieved long before you’re retired. “Look at the qualifications of jobs you’re interested in and make sure you prepare before retirement,” she says. “I didn’t look for a job until after I retired. I really should have gone back to school. I understand that now. I didn’t then.”

Piper also stresses the challenge of moving to the private sector.

“The number of job opportunities may surprise you,” he says, “but prepare for a shock in how the private sector operates.”

He provides the following suggestions:

Obtain training that relates to the job you anticipate holding in retirement; Network with private sector leaders and educators; Attend college-level business management courses; Work part-time pre-retirement in the field you anticipate working in prior to retirement. 4. Leave the job better than you found it

Leaving the job you love is never easy, but the transition can be smoother if you’re confident those who succeed you are prepared to build on the foundation you laid. For public safety leaders, a good place to start is with the agency’s policies. Comprehensive, up-to-date policies that truly reflect your practice provide a consistency of operations through leadership changes. If you’re a few years out from retirement and your policies are outdated or incomplete, committing to a full-scale policy review and implementation could make an ideal final project, a way to ensure your influence is felt for years after your departure.

Chamberlain and Piper also stress the need for strong succession planning in public safety.

“The transition plan for replacing you should go into effect prior to your departure,” Piper says. “Either train your replacement or ensure there is a transition plan that includes training.”

Chamberlain notes the importance of sharing your knowledge with those who take over after you leave.

“Keep your door open! Chances are, whoever replaces you did not have the same experiences you did during your career,” he says. “The last 30 years have brought about more significant changes in public safety than the preceding century. In-car computers, body cameras, homeland security, biological incidents and direct supervision are all terms that didn’t exist 30 years ago. We have lived through some of the most rapidly evolving stages of public safety in our nation’s history. We need to continue to mentor and support those who come after us. Offer to be a continued resource for your replacement.”

A New Chapter

Although your retirement story will depend on your specific circumstances, needs and goals, one thing is certain: “Retirement is a huge change,” says Pierce. “And you can either effect change or be affected by it.”

Whatever path you choose, remember that life after a public safety career can and should be challenging, fulfilling and rewarding. “You earned this retirement and you deserve to enjoy it,” Tyner says. “So, make it count! You love what you do, or you would not be doing it. You were born with a servant’s heart. How can you put that to work in your retirement?”


About the author Shannon Pieper is director of marketing communications for Lexipol and former editorial director for PennWell Public Safety.


Are you ready for your third act? How cops can plan for retirement

Posted on April 11, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Author: Jerrod Hardy

Whether you intend to pursue a second career after you retire from policing or just spend time on your hobbies, you should start to make plans three to five years before your anticipated retirement date. In this episode of LEO Round Table, host Chip DeBlock asks his guests how they successfully navigated the transition from active to retired cop.


Life after law enforcement

Posted on April 11, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Dr. Brian Kinnaird
Author: Dr. Brian Kinnaird

Article first published on Psychology Today.

For a law enforcement officer, leaving active duty can be a difficult time. Whether or not the person freely chooses to leave, is forced to leave, medically retires, or just hits that “mark” of retirement, a strong camaraderie among fellow officers has been developed.

At some point, officers must be prepared to become civilians. A loss of police power and a feeling that one is no longer part of the cop family strongly accompanies the change. To leave this interpersonal web of protection is not easy and is likened to removing an integral part of your personality. In research conducted by police psychologist and author J.M. Violanti, an officer commented: “It’s like I belonged to a big club. I made my mark, I was one of the guys, I did my job. Everyone in the station respects you. Suddenly, all of that is gone and you are on the outside looking in. I felt so different. I called the guys almost everyday to see if they still related to me the same way. I visited the station, wondering what was going on and wanting to be part of the action. Somehow, it wasn’t the same. I wasn’t one of them anymore. It’s hard to explain. I left, but I couldn’t let go of this strong attachment.”

It is further suggested that officers continue to experience residual trauma even after separating from police service. A residual stress hypothesis proposes that prior trauma exposure leaves residual effects that are widespread, deep and long-lasting.

Consider that officers spend much of their time preparing for the worst. Day in and day out scenarios are played out in their minds. What if? On or off duty, training emphasizes the worst possible case scenarios and prepares officers to deal with that event only. As a result, they become occupationally and personally socialized into approaching situations with considerable suspicion, distrust and anxiety. They are hyper-energized, sensitive, irritable, tired and secreting various stress hormones when seemingly trying to relax on the sofa.

Although law enforcement is often routine, it’s also jumbled with quick cuts – responding to death, destruction, violence, interpersonal human aggression and within a confine of personal excitement – goodwill, compassion, indignation and vigilance. Officers can become addicted to this excitement and cannot function well without it when they separate from service.

An interesting hypothesis by police psychologist K.M. Gilmartin examines adrenaline as an addiction that may be a result of learned behavior. Police work creates a learned perceptual set that causes officers to alter the manner in which they interact with the environment. Statements by officers that “it gets into your blood” are illustrations describing a physiological change that becomes inseparable from the police role. An interpretation of the environment as always dangerous may reprogram the reticular activating system and set into motion physiological consequences. This is interpreted as feelings of energy, rapid thought patterns, and speeding up of cognitive and physical reactions.

The police subculture is another factor and pervasive microcosm in which a closed mini-society perpetuates a sense of strong cohesion, a code of silence and secrecy, and dependence upon one another for survival. Most research suggests that one of the major regrets of separated officers is that they no longer feel a part of the department. Separation and loss of support from the police group may serve to increase the already heightened physiological and psychological state associated with elements of post-traumatic stress disorder up to, and including, guilt.

Upon separation from active law enforcement, officers exposed to trauma will lose ready access to the group and may no longer be able to depend on other officers, the police agency, or police benevolent groups to reinforce a sense of understanding and recognition of their trauma. This is most significant for officers who retire with a disability. While others are in some mode of exit, the disabled officer is immediately “thrown” into a new life and one in which they are often ill-prepared to handle. There’s a great quote from the 2005 war movie “Jarhead”: “A man fires a rifle for many years. Then he goes to war. And afterward, he turns the rifle in to the armory and believes he is finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands – love a woman, build a house, change his son’s diaper – his hands remember the rifle.”

Another factor upon separation is adapting to new work. With such consistent exposure to trauma, cops devote psychic energy to deal with those traumas, often leaving them void of energy to direct towards other things. As as result, a lack of adequate and satisfying work for the trauma-exposed person has its emotional costs in family and friends.

Law enforcement officers will tell you that it is not a job or a career but a way of life – how they look at people, where they sit in restaurants, scanning locations and people, questioning their children and spouse, being suspicious and distrustful of others and hyper vigilant in the safety and security of loved ones. The pendulum will often swing “back” the other way and there are times of great depression, isolation and a sense of being lost that they had never felt before. In essence, many officers define themselves by their job.

The transition to civilianhood is not an easy one, even under the best of circumstances. Transitions are difficult in general. A new baby, divorce or a new relationship and marriage, a new home, a new boss, going back to school or even a new car. The old program is, in a strange sense “safe.” Change is uncomfortable, and no one likes to feel uncomfortable.

Finding relationships that substitute for the police subculture is necessary for officers when they leave (or are forced to leave). When a primary role is no longer there to occupy, they must spend time seeking out activities which structure their lives. Suggestions to buffer the anxiety and toxicity of unchecked post-separation fallout include:

    Use family and friends as support structures; Use department-offered or local mental health services (you’re only as sick as your secrets); Maintain ties with your agency (auxiliary or special duty work); Maintain ties with your police colleagues (coffee, get-togethers); Enjoy a hobby or activity that gives you personal satisfaction and meaning; Be a guest speaker at a police academy (become a point of reference); Write articles or blogs for the law enforcement community; Teach criminal justice at a local college; Enjoy a second career completely outside of law enforcement.

When a law enforcement officer leaves the “job” for another life, some are pleased and yet others will wonder. They know that after a career of camaraderie that few experience, it will remain as a longing and nostalgic outlet for those past times. We know in the law enforcement life there is a fellowship that lasts long after the badge, gun and uniforms have been turned in. Even so, they will be with them every step and breath that remains in their frame.

Vocatio is Latin for “to call.” The burdens of the job are ones claimed by cops who have accepted such a call. Although you will still look at people suspiciously, will see what others do not see (or choose to ignore), you will always look at the rest of the law enforcement world with respect for what they do – accomplished only by a lifetime of knowing.

Copyright © 2007-2019 by Dr. Brian A. Kinnaird. Reprinted with permission by the author.

For more articles, visit The Hero in You column at Psychology Today. For law enforcement-related books, articles, networking, training, or speaking opportunities, contact Brian Kinnaird at brian.kinnaird@gmail.com.

References & Suggested Readings
    Figley CR. Psychological adjustment among Vietnam veterans: an overview of the research. In C.R. Figley (Ed) Stress Disorders Among Vietnam Veterans-Theory, research, and treatment. New York: Brunner/Mazel, 1978. Gilmartin KM. Hypervigilance: A learned perceptual set and its consequences on police stress. In J.T. Reese and H.A. Goldstein (Eds) Psychological Services for Law Enforcement, (pp 443-446). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1986. Jarhead. Don Michael Paul. Universal Pictures, 2005. Violanti JM. Traumatic stress in critical occupations: Recognitions, Consequences, and Treatment. Charles C. Thomas Publisher, 1997. Violanti JM. Police Retirement: The impact of change. Springfield, Illinois: Thomas, 1992.

Wis. K-9 continues recovery from stabbing

Posted on April 11, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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By PoliceOne Staff

GREEN BAY, Wis. - A K-9 who was critically stabbed during an arrest last Sunday is recovering.

According to ABC 15, Pyro is in rehab at an animal center with medical staff giving him around-the-clock care. Officer Scott Salzmann, Pyro’s handler, has reportedly been sleeping at the center for the past few days to help him recover.

Pyro was stabbed by a suspect after the K-9 bit him during an arrest, according to a police report. The K-9 was sent to an animal hospital where he endured multiple surgeries.

Since his surgeries, Pyro has been making small strides to recovery. Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt presented Pyro with a rare “Key to the City” on Tuesday.

Good Morning Titletown. Please keep our K-9 Officer Pyro in your thoughts and prayers today. He is continuing to...

Posted by Green Bay Police Department on Monday, April 8, 2019


New technology helps SWAT make arrest without injuring suspect or LEOs

Posted on April 11, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Mitch Mitchell Fort Worth Star-Telegram

FORT WORTH — It’s a tool that will not work for all arrests in all situations, police say.

But in the right circumstances, the BolaWrap can be a nonlethal and painless way to ensnare an individual who in the past might have required police to use more drastic measures.

The BolaWrap is Kevlar cord ejected from a small device that will wrap around a suspect’s arms or legs and render the suspect temporarily incapable of free movement, Fort Worth police Lt. Todd Plowman explained.

SWAT officers used the tool during a barricaded person call at the Willow Glen Apartment complex, 1301 Sycamore School Road in south Fort Worth, on Saturday, Plowman said. A man with a shotgun was threatening to harm a woman and her mother, Plowman said.

The SWAT officers deployed a quick evaporating chemical agent that forced the suspect outside the apartment, and once he was outside, used the BolaWrap to ensnare him, Plowman said. The suspect left the shotgun inside the apartment, Plowman said. Once the suspect was immobilized, officers were able to move quickly to complete the arrest, Plowman said.

“We are trying to prevent escalation on the part of the officer and on the part of the suspect,” Plowman said.

During a demonstration exercise, SWAT Officer Daniel McCreery used the BolaWrap to lasso Deputy Chief Ty Hadsell. The tool consists of 8 feet of Kevlar cord that is shot from a canister at a range of 10 to 25 feet away from the target, McCreery said.

Barbs at either end of the cord grab hold of the target as the wire wraps tightly around the suspect’s arms or legs, making movement difficult if not impossible.

“The only way we’re going to hurt someone is if the barbs go into someone’s skin,” McCreery said. “And even then it’s not going to hurt that much. We don’t want to hurt anyone.”

The woman and her mother were able to free themselves from the situation before the suspect barricaded himself inside the apartment, according to authorities.

Fort Worth is believed to be the first police department to deploy the tool during an arrest.

“This is an example of the importance of providing the right tools for police officers for the right situations. The BolaWrap 100 was able to be deployed from a distance to assist S.W.A.T. officers in the apprehension, while minimizing injury to the suspect,” according to a statement from Michael Rothans, chief operating officer at Wrap Technologies, the company that makes the BolaWrap.

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©2019 the Fort Worth Star-Telegram


Calif. seeks death penalty in ‘Golden State Killer’ case

Posted on April 11, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California prosecutors announced Wednesday they will seek the death penalty if they convict the man suspected of being the notorious "Golden State Killer" who eluded capture for decades.

The move comes less than a month after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a moratorium on executing any of the 737 inmates on the nation's largest death row. Newsom's reprieve lasts only so long as he is governor and does not prevent prosecutors from seeking nor judges and juries from imposing death sentences.

Prosecutors from four counties briefly announced their decision during a short court hearing for Joseph DeAngelo. He was arrested a year ago based on DNA evidence linking him to at least 13 murders and more than 50 rapes across California in the 1970s and '80s.

He stood expressionless in an orange jail uniform, staring forward from a courtroom cage, as prosecutors from Sacramento, Santa Barbara, Orange and Ventura spoke. Although prosecutors from six counties were in court for the four-minute hearing, charges in those four counties include the special circumstances that could merit execution for 12 of the 13 murders under California law.

His attorney, public defender Diane Howard, criticized seeking the death penalty against a 73-year-old man, saying in an email that the decision "does not further justice and is wasteful."

With a multicounty prosecution team including more than 30 people, she cited a Sacramento County estimate that the prosecution will cost taxpayers more than $20 million.

DeAngelo has yet to enter a plea and his trial is likely years away.

Prosecutors wouldn't comment after the hearing, but Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said several prosecutors and family members of murder victims planned a Thursday news conference to denounce Newsom's moratorium. An announcement from Spitzer's office said victims' families "will share their stories of losing their loved ones and how the governor's moratorium has devastated their pursuit of justice."

The serial killer would sneak into suburban homes at night, authorities said. If a couple was home, he would tie up the man, place dishes on his back and threaten to kill both victims if he heard the plates fall while he raped the woman.

"These are horrific crimes. Our sympathies are with the victims and families who have suffered at the hands of the Golden State Killer," Newsom spokesman Brian Ferguson said in a statement acknowledging that the governor's executive order does not affect the ability of local prosecutors to make charging decisions.

California has not executed anyone since 2006, but Newsom said he acted last month because 25 inmates have exhausted their appeals and court challenges to the state's new lethal injection process are potentially nearing their end. He endorsed a repeal of capital punishment but said he could not in good conscious allow executions to resume in the meantime knowing that some innocent inmates could die.

He also said he is exploring ways to commute death sentences, which would permanently end the chance of executions, though he cannot act without permission from the state Supreme Court in many cases.

"The death penalty does serve as a deterrent," Ron Harrington, older brother of Golden State Killer victim Patrick Harrington, said after witnessing Wednesday's announcement. "Unfortunately now our governor has decided to interpose his own personal opinion regarding the death penalty."

Newsom's announcement "places decisions that local prosecutors make in a different light," said Death Penalty Information Center executive director Robert Dunham, whose organization has been critical of how the penalty is administered. Decisions should be made on the facts "and not on their perception of gaining political points by opposing the governor."

Voters narrowly supported capital punishment in 2012 and 2016, when they voted to speed up executions by shortening appeals.

Criminal Justice Legal Foundation legal director Kent Scheidegger said prosecutors' decision made sense despite Newsom's moratorium.

"It's a perfect example of a killer for whom anything less would not be justice," said Scheidegger, who is fighting in court to resume executions. "I think it's entirely appropriate for DAs to continue seeking the death penalty in appropriate cases, because the actual execution will be well down the road and the governor's reprieve won't be in effect by then. Something else will have happened."


Officer, suspect wounded in shooting at SC hospital

Posted on April 11, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Associated Press

CLINTON, S.C. — The South Carolina State Law Enforcement Department says a gunman and a health systems police officer have been wounded by gunfire inside a hospital.

News outlets report it happened at about 2 a.m. Thursday at Laurens County Memorial Hospital in Clinton.

SLED spokesman Thom Berry says the suspect was being treated when he shot the officer and tried to flee. The officer returned fire. Their conditions are unclear.

This was the second shooting inside a South Carolina hospital in two days. Authorities said an armed man seeking mental health treatment was turned away and disarmed Tuesday, only to show up with another gun Wednesday and shoot a nurse at the Regional Medical Center in Orangeburg. That suspect was arrested and the nurse was in critical condition.


LEOs donate their own money to landscaper whose car, tools were stolen

Posted on April 10, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By PoliceOne Staff SANTA ANA, Calif. — After learning of a man down on his luck, a few officers pitched in to make his day better.

According to CNN, Adrian Salgado, a gardener, was getting ready for work when two thieves hijacked his pickup truck and stole around $3,000 worth of possessions. Along with his truck, $1,000 in cash that he was going to use for rent, his cell phone, leaf blower, hand tools and a mower were stolen.

After learning what happened, Salgado’s daughter reported the incident to police.

Police were able to find the truck and arrest the two men, who each had $500 in their pockets, but officers couldn’t prove it wasn’t their money and weren’t able to return it to Salgado. Most of the equipment was also gone.

That’s when Officer Lysette Murillo came up with an idea to donate their own money to help Salgado replace some of his stolen items.

After officers raised $500, Murillo contacted Santa Ana Officers Association President Gerry Serrano, who donated another $500. Seven officers then went to Home Depot to purchase replacement items. The store ended up donating another $100 and a shopper donated another $40 after learning what the officers were doing.

After Salgado got the items, he immediately returned to work, which “floored everyone,” according to Santa Ana Police Sgt. Michael Gonzalez, who told CNN Salgado reminded him and some of his colleagues of their own fathers.

"We all came from working-class families," Gonzalez told CNN. "It was like, 'hey, that's my dad.’"

SAPD Recover Stolen Landscape Truck Via Phone App

On 27 March 2019, between 11 am - 12 pm, a local man's landscape vehicle was stolen with all of his tools, cash for rent, and a cell phone. Total value estimated at $3k. The man is the sole provider for his family; his daughter called SAPD and reported the crime. Patrol Officers started pursuing the vehicle through an app on the iPhone and were able to locate the truck. The suspects were unwilling to cooperate thus reluctant to provide the location of his property. The Santa Ana Police Officers Association donated funds, and officers escorted the gentleman to purchase new equipment. #sapoa31strong#31strong #santaanapolicedepartment @sapoa31strong

Posted by Santa Ana Police Officers Association on Wednesday, March 27, 2019


First responder #LipSyncChallenge comes to television

Posted on April 10, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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By News Staff

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — A new lip sync battle competition featuring first responders will air on CBS later this year, hosted by Cedric the Entertainer.

Following up on the success of last year’s viral #LipSyncChallenge sensation, “Lip Sync to the Rescue” will give first responders another chance to perform their favorite songs and show off their dancing skills.

“Lip Sync to the Rescue” will air the top 10 user-submitted videos based on online voting during a one-hour special later this year filmed in front of an audience of first responders. The top two videos will then go head-to-head with a live vote during the broadcast, with one organization crowned the winner.

“When CBS first approached us with the idea for a special, we had no idea how deep the vault was of Lip Sync Challenge videos,” Robert Horowitz, president of Juma Entertainment, said in a press release. “Soon, we uncovered video after video, quickly realizing this phenomenon spread to first responder departments in all 50 states. What made me believe we had a hit on our hands was the incredible performances and production value each video seemed to have.”

First responders wishing to submit a video should email their submission to LS2Rescue@gmail.com by Friday, April 12.

Ready for some fun? ?? New interactive countdown special "Lip Sync To The Rescue" is set to be hosted by @CedEntertainer later this year. Learn how you can vote on your favorite performance: https://t.co/embDrDbCOI pic.twitter.com/khD0lhFVr2

— CBS (@CBS) April 2, 2019

“I am so excited to announce that I will be hosting the new entertainment special LIP SYNC TO THE RESCUE, inspired by the viral video sensation #LipSyncChallenge, airing later this year… https://t.co/pP7KUorKYh

— CedricTheEntertainer (@CedEntertainer) April 2, 2019


BJA body-worn camera grants for FY 2019 announced

Posted on April 10, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Therese Matthews
Author: Therese Matthews

The Bureau of Justice Assistance(BJA) within the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) just announced the opening of the Fiscal Year 2019 Body-Worn Camera Policy and Implementation Program to Support Law Enforcement Agencies Grant Opportunity.

A total of $18 million in competitive grants will be awarded to public agencies and national, state or regional organizations representing publicly funded law enforcement agencies. Grants can be used to implement a new body-worn camera (BWC) program or expand an existing program.

The Benefits of Body-Worn Cameras

Law enforcement agencies across the United States and around the world are seeing the benefits of body-worn cameras. Bodycams provide:

Compelling evidence for legal procedures; Actionable law enforcement training opportunities based on the analysis of the captured video; Enhanced safety of, and improved interactions between, both officers and the public.

In addition, a growing body of research shows that the presence of BWCs can reduce the use of force by assisting in the de-escalation of conflicts.

Overall, the bodycam grant program furthers DOJ’s mission if promoting the safety of law enforcement officers and citizens.

FY 2019 Funding Opportunity

There are a few changes in the grant program over last year. These include:

An increase in the allowable federal funding per camera cap to $2,000 (up from $1,500); Expansion of funding categories; Revision of administrative requirements.

Read the grant solicitation in its entirety (also available below) and review resources on BJA’s website and the BWC Toolkit to familiarize yourself with the program before you apply.

Here’s a summary of this year’s opportunity:

Application Deadline: June 5, 2019.

Total Available: $18 million. Individual grant amounts vary by category.

Match requirement: 50% cash or in-kind.

Eligible agencies: Public agencies of state government, units of local government (cities, towns, counties, parishes etc.), and federally recognized Indian tribal governments that perform law enforcement functions. Additionally, any department, agency, or an instrumentality of them that performs criminal justice functions (including combinations of the preceding, one of which is designated as the primary applicant) may apply. Note that correctional agencies, primary and secondary school and college/university law enforcement are eligible provided the organization performs a law enforcement function and is publicly funded. Private schools, universities, correctional agencies or security entities are not eligible.

Applicant categories: Categories 1–3 are defined by the total number of sworn officers in your agency/agencies not by the number of BWC being requested.

Category 1: Implementation or expansion of BWC programs for small and mid-size agencies

Maximum award: $500,000.

Maximum federal amount per camera: $2,000.

Applicants must be agencies with 250 or fewer sworn officers. Agencies may invite sub-recipient agencies to be included in their proposal, however, the combined number of sworn officers across all agencies must not exceed 250.

Category 2: Implementation or expansion of BWC programs for large agencies

Maximum award: $2 million.

Maximum federal amount per camera: $2,000.

Applicants must be agencies with between 250–1,000 sworn officers. Agencies may invite sub-recipient agencies to be included in their proposal, however, the combined number of sworn officers across all agencies must not exceed 1,000.

Category 3: Implementation or expansion of BWC programs for extra-large agencies

Maximum award: $3 million.

Maximum federal amount per camera: $2,000.

Applicants must be agencies with more than 1,000 officers. Agencies may invite sub-recipient agencies to be included in their proposal, however, the combined number of sworn officers across all agencies should be used to determine the category of funding.

Category 4: Implementation or expansion of BWC programs through state or regional consortia

Maximum award: $3 million.

Maximum federal amount per camera: $2,000.

This is a new category for FY 2019. BJA seeks to leverage economies of scale by enabling a single organization to apply on behalf of component agencies. State and regional consortiums representing a group of law enforcement agencies would apply under this category. This leverages partnerships, collaboration and joint-acquisition strategies in establishing new programs or expanding existing BWC programs.

Examples of the lead applicant could be the State Administering Agencies (SAAs), state police, regional law enforcement agencies or major city or county agencies.

Funds are correlated to the number of cameras that will be deployed to all agencies within the consortium, not the total number of sworn officers required under Categories 1–3. Applicants under Category 4 must purchase at least 100 BWCs across the participating agencies.

Allowable Costs

It’s important to understand how your agency can use the funding to cover BWC program needs.

The $2,000 of federal per unit maximum is not the expected costs of the camera itself. Paired with the matching funds, it is the maximum federal dollar amount for one camera system. This could include the camera, storage, software, licenses, services, policy development, training and travel to conferences. The Camera-Based Funding Metric Formula and Examples document explains this in more detail.

Note on Data Storage Costs

As in past years, the federal funds cannot be used to cover data storage costs. However, BJA recognizes that BWC systems are often bundled or sold as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) with no line item distinction in data store costs. Those procurements with bundled costs as noted above can be covered with the federal funds. Storage costs can also be proposed as part of your required matching funds.

Other Important Application Requirements Agencies employing BWC must have clear written policies in place that address relevant state law, privacy rights, data retention and public release of video. footage. If not and you are awarded a grant, you will only have access to 10% of your grant funds until you have these policies in place. Include a letter from the applicants and subrecipient authorized agency official affirming regular review of BWC footage to improve officer safety. Include memorandums of understanding or letters of support from all subrecipient agencies.

We encourage you to work with your law enforcement partners across your area and apply for funding to support your body-worn camera program.

The team at PoliceGrantsHelp is ready to help. Our grant assistance program includes several options including grant writing and grant application review.

BWC19 by Ed Praetorian on Scribd


12 lessons from the FBI Miami shootout

Posted on April 10, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Mike Wood
Author: Mike Wood

On April 11, 1986, FBI Special Agent Ed Mireles and seven of his fellow agents fought against two heavily armed felons in a desperate battle in an unincorporated part of Miami, Florida. The five-minute gunfight resulted in the deaths of both felons and two agents and left another three agents – including Mireles – clinging to life with serious injuries.

The “FBI Miami shootout” was a watershed event for American police that’s perhaps best known for its influence on the development of better ammunition for law enforcement. Yet there are many other important lessons to learn from the fight. At a recent presentation for armed citizens and law enforcement, Mireles shared some from his personal experience with the group that included the following:

1. The importance of good communications

The felons recognized they were being followed by the FBI and tried to evade them by making a series of turns during the vehicle chase prior to the shooting. As they attempted to keep up, the agents in the lead car became task saturated with monitoring the suspects’ actions, evaluating the terrain and formulating a takedown plan. As a result, the agents were unable to provide timely updates on the location of the pursuit.

When the chase abruptly terminated in a vehicle crash and the gunfight began, responding FBI and Metro-Dade PD units didn’t know where to find their brothers, and it took several valuable minutes for them to locate the scene. Sadly, they arrived too late to have an influence on the outcome of the fight.

The experience highlights the importance of transmitting timely information and lends support to the tactic of transferring communication responsibilities to the #2 unit in a pursuit, to relieve the workload on #1.

2. The importance of gun safety

We talk a lot about gun safety during training, but your safety habits are no less important in a gunfight. At one point during the firefight, Mireles realized his Remington 870 shotgun was pointing at a brother agent’s back as he ran up to his position to reinforce it. Recognizing the danger, he raised his barrel skywards to avoid muzzling his partner and was almost simultaneously shot in the arm and head by a .223 caliber rifle. Mireles’ awareness of the safety violation saved two lives that day, because the bullet that would have torn into his heart was stopped by the bones in his just-raised left arm, and the agent he had accidentally covered with his weapon was saved from being shot by the involuntary trigger press that might have followed after Mireles was shot in the chest.

3. Physiological effects

Mireles experienced a range of physiological effects during the pursuit and gunfight. The stress of the incident caused temporal distortion, giving Mireles the sense that things were happening in slow motion. Mireles also experienced auditory effects, with some sounds muffled (gunshots), some amplified (distracting sounds from the environment, like birds chirping), and some completely masked (the warning shouts from fellow agents). He also experienced visual effects like tunnel vision. If an officer is forewarned about these common effects, then they are less likely to be distracting or disturbing when experienced during an emergency. This “inoculation effect” makes it important to address these phenomena in training.

4. The importance of target identification

Although Mireles had his badge displayed in the middle of his chest, the plain clothes worn by him and his fellow agents made it more difficult for responding patrol officers from Metro-Dade PD to identify the agents as law enforcement. The danger of a “blue-on-blue” shooting spiked dramatically when the felons attempted to escape in an FBI car with its blue light flashing on the dash, because an outsider could have easily assumed they were officers under attack, not cop killers stealing a police car. By the grace of God and the discipline of the responding patrol officers, no shots were fired at friendlies, but it could have been very different.

Circumstances can make it extremely difficult for officers to identify friend and foe in the chaos of an engagement, but every officer must know that they have positively identified their target as a threat before pulling the trigger. No officer wants to shoot an innocent citizen or officer by mistake.

5. Never give up

Mireles was gravely wounded during the fight, but never gave up. Even as he lay in a daze after being shot in the head and having his arm destroyed by rifle fire, he still maintained situational awareness, tracked the location of the felons and kept his weapon oriented toward the likely threat. Despite life-threatening injuries, he managed to move offensively and terminate the lethal threat, while fighting off an overwhelming desire to surrender to the fatigue that was overcoming his body and mind. Mireles said that he “raged against the dying of the light,” and through sheer will was able to stop the cop killers from injuring more agents and getting away. His actions demonstrate the power of a no-surrender mindset and serve as a model for all of us to follow.

6. The importance of Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (TECC)

Agent Mireles’ arm was turned inside out by the rifle bullet that almost separated it from his body. The massive bleeding from his arm and his head wound almost killed him and made him lapse in and out of consciousness. The gunfight happened before the advent of TECC knowledge, procedures and training, and the lifesaving acceptance of tourniquets as a first line of defense against hemorrhage. Had Mireles been trained and equipped to self-apply a tourniquet, it’s likely he wouldn’t have come so close to death and wouldn’t have struggled to maintain consciousness in the middle of the gunfight. His experience provides a critical lesson for today’s officers to take advantage of TECC training opportunities, and to carry a suitable individual first aid kit (IFAK) on duty. It also illustrates the frequency of hand and arm injuries in gunfights and warns us to be ready for single-hand shooting and weapon manipulations.

7. Improvise, adapt, overcome

In addition to not giving up, Mireles demonstrated the importance of flexible and creative thinking under stress. With one arm hopelessly damaged, Mireles had to find a way to operate his pump-action shotgun single-handed, so he could stop the deadly threat. Keeping his head, he devised a way to fire and reload the shotgun by resting it on the bumper of a car and reloading it with the gun braced between his knees. The technique “came to him” in the moment due to a superior mindset that was focused on problem solving and getting the job done, no matter the difficulty. Mireles focused on what he could do, instead of what he couldn’t, and he prevailed.

8. The importance of good tactics

Despite his severe injuries, Mireles made effective use of cover as he engaged the felons with his shotgun from a prone and sitting position. He worked the angles and calculated where he needed to aim on the felons’ escape car to prevent his buckshot from getting deflected by the compound angles of the windshield. When he made his last-ditch charge of the felon’s position to finally end the fight, he utilized available cover and concealment as he approached, enhancing his chances for success. His focus on using sound tactics helped him prevail.

9. Front sight focus

In some corners of the law enforcement training world, there’s a belief that stress-induced physiological changes make it impossible to focus on your front sight in a gunfight. That may happen for some officers experiencing high levels of sympathetic nervous system arousal, but it wasn’t Ed Mireles’ experience. While the combined effects of bleeding out and survival stress induced a strong case of tunnel vision in the closing moments of the gunfight, his sight picture was nice and clear as it moved between the faces of the two felons and steered his bullets true to stop the threat. A hard-front sight focus is important when precision fire is required, and many officers have reported achieving this in gunfights and making good hits. An officer who is experiencing a strong physiological response to stress may have a hard time moving from a target focus to a front sight focus, but if he can gain his composure, it will enhance his ability to use his sights and deliver shots with precision, as Mireles did.

10. Power of habits

After Mireles fired the final shots of the firefight, he was approached by fellow agent Ron Risner who told him the fight was over and directed him to secure his handgun. Although Mireles was under significant stress and hovering on the edge of bleeding out, he holstered his revolver as directed. Later, it was discovered that he had reflexively secured the thumb break on the holster. Mireles did this unconsciously as an automatic habit that was the byproduct of disciplined training. Under stress, we revert to our habits – make sure you program good ones into your brain.

11. Importance of family

In many ways, Mireles’ battle was just beginning after the last shots were fired. His arm was terribly damaged, and it took a heroic effort to save it. He faced years of surgeries and rehabilitation. Mireles points out that his wife, Liz, and his soon-to-be-born children were key to his successful recovery. They kept him going with their support and love – including a few doses of tough love when needed – and tended to his physical and emotional wounds. It’s easy for our families to get ignored in the shuffle of police work, and Mireles’ experience demonstrates the critical importance of caring for this most precious resource.

12. PTSD and healing

Ed’s honest discussion of his fight with PTSD and survivor guilt provides important clues for officers who might be struggling with these issues. Ed reports that discussing the shooting – and its lasting emotional and physical effects – with the other agents who were there was a great help. Talking with trusted peers allowed him to understand that the emotions and physical reactions he was experiencing were a normal response to an abnormal event. Talking things over with the other agents also helped him to understand how his actions fit into the larger picture, since there was no formal group debriefing for the agents to allow them to piece it all together. This comprehensive understanding helped to answer questions and erase nagging doubts.

Ed reported that he and his fellow agents felt a sense of survivor guilt and questioned whether they could have done something different or better that would have changed the outcome and saved their friends. It took years before Ed was finally able to “forgive himself,” accept the fact that he had done all that was humanly possible and realize that his lost friends would understand that. Once again, Ed credits the support of his family and peers for helping him to eventually come to this peace.

Ed notes that it’s important to remember that PTSD can cast a wide net. The agents who were too late to the scene to help were significantly impacted by the event and felt tremendous guilt for not being there. The dispatchers who heard the terror unfold on the radio and felt powerless to stop it also battled with significant emotional distress. An event like this firefight sends out ripples in the pond that travel far, and officers and agency leaders need to account for this and provide help to all those affected – not just the direct participants.

Much more to learn

There are many more important lessons to learn from this pivotal experience, and I encourage you to get a copy of Ed’s excellent new book, FBI Miami Firefight, which discusses them in detail. PoliceOne readers should also monitor Ed’s website for information about upcoming presentations and appearances because he’s a gifted speaker with a vitally important message.

Ed and his fellow agents performed extraordinarily well in a dynamic, dangerous and difficult fight. Their courage, tenacity and fighting spirit is a powerful example for all who wear the badge, and I’m grateful to help share the lessons from their experience. I thank SA (Ret.) Ed Mireles and his wife Liz (also a retired FBI Special Agent) for sharing their powerful story with us here at PoliceOne.

God bless you all and be safe out there.


Force-on-force training IS NOT firearms training!

Posted on April 10, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Author: Mike Wood

By Jason Wuestenberg, P1 Contributor

In light of the recent Loyola University Chicago study examining police shooting accuracy in officer-involved shootings, as well as many other articles that have been published in recent years that suggest better firearms training should include force-on-force and video simulation, I felt it was time to speak out.

First, force-on-force (FoF) training (AKA reality-based training or scenario-based training) and video simulation is NOT firearms training. A firearm replica is used in these forms of training, but it is not firearms training. FoF projectiles and video lasers do not replicate marksmanship accuracy. In some cases, the firearm replicas are not even the same as the actual firearm an officer carries on duty. And some training weapons used in FOF and video simulation do not allow for weapon manipulation.

While most FoF training and video simulation programs use firearm replicas, they also integrate the use of other force option tools such as an inert TASER, inert chemical agent and foam baton. Does this mean that FoF training and video simulation also counts as TASER training or chemical agent training? If an officer drives a patrol vehicle a short distance as part of the FoF scenario does that mean they have conducted driver training? I think not.

FoF training and video simulation is for stress inoculation, tactics training and OODA loop decision-making training, where officers:

Observe indicators (observation); Process information quickly (orientation); Identify options and select one (decision); Apply the appropriate tactics (action).

Most scenarios are typically geared toward a deadly force encounter, which is why it is often considered “firearms training.” But as previously mentioned, the scenarios can be scripted to include the use of other force option tools.

Firearms training is when an officer uses a fully functioning firearm, preferably their duty weapon, for dry-fire and live-fire training. There are critical aspects of firearms training and gunfighting that can only be addressed on a live-fire range and cannot be addressed in FoF training or video simulation. And there are certain aspects of decision-making and gunfighting that are better addressed in FoF and video simulation than on a live-fire range. That’s why a balance of both live-fire range training and FoF training or video simulation is the best option for officers.

We cannot allow FoF training and video simulation to be considered as part of a “firearms training” program. For example, if an agency allows eight hours for firearms training and four hours of that is for FoF or video simulation, then only four hours is being spent on actual “firearms training.” Firearms instructors, rangemasters and administrators must stop labeling FoF training and video simulation as “firearms training” because it’s not. FoF training and video simulation can provide better stress inoculation and decision-making training, but it cannot provide better firearms training – only improved live-fire training (and highly developed firearms instructors) can provide better firearms training.

On a final note, to my knowledge, none of the major companies and organizations that certify people as a FoF/RBT/video simulator instructor has a pre-requisite for attendees to be a certified firearms instructor before attending their courses, which should be an indicator that these types of training venues are NOT meant to be firearms training.


About the author Jason Wuestenberg is the executive director of the National Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors Association (NLEFIA). Jason retired as a sergeant from the Phoenix Police Dept (AZ) in 2017 after 22+ years of service. Jason has been a firearms instructor since 1997 and a reality-based training instructor since 2002. Jason served as a full-time tactics/RBT instructor for over 2 years and a full-time firearms instructor for over 10 years with the last six years as a range master. Jason was a firearms subject matter expert for Arizona POST and has conducted firearms and FoF training at the state and national level. Contact Jason at director@nlefia.org.


Acting DHS deputy secretary resigns

Posted on April 10, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The acting deputy secretary of Homeland Security has been forced to resign amid a staff shakeup spurred by President Donald Trump's growing frustration over the number of Central American migrants crossing the southern border.

Claire Grady resigned Tuesday. She was technically the next in line to replace Kirstjen Nielsen, who resigned Sunday. But Trump chose Kevin McAleenan, the head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, as acting secretary. That meant Grady had to resign or be fired.

Two officials with direct knowledge of the decision say Grady was forced to resign. The officials were not authorized speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Grady is a longtime civil servant with more than 28 years of experience at the departments of Defense and Homeland Security.


Calif. closer to setting rules on officer-involved shootings

Posted on April 10, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A grieving mother choked up as she questioned why police didn't use other tactics instead of killing her son. A deputy recalled the terror of second-guessing herself as she traded fire with a suspect who killed her partner.

The emotional testimony Tuesday came before California lawmakers advanced a first-in-the-nation measure restricting when police can use deadly force, one of two radically different legislative proposals seeking to cut down on deadly shootings in the nation's most populous state.

The measure faces a tougher fight in the full Assembly. Even some supporters on the public safety committee said it goes too far and will require changes as lawmakers try to balance the safety of officers and those they're tasked with protecting.

Last year's police shooting of unarmed vandalism suspect Stephon Clark in Sacramento inspired the legislation that would allow officers to kill only if there is no reasonable alternative, such as verbal persuasion or other non-lethal methods of resolution or de-escalation.

"It's time to make clear that the sanctity of human life is policing's highest priority," said Democratic Assemblywoman Shirley Weber of San Diego, adding later that her proposal "is designed to change the culture of policing in California."

The committee's chairman, Democratic Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer of Los Angeles, said a tougher standard will do little good without buy-in from law enforcement organizations.

Those groups are supporting a different plan, which is also before lawmakers, to require that every department have policies on when officers should use de-escalation tactics and other alternatives to deadly force.

Weber's measure got party-line support. The eight-member panel's two Republicans opposed the measure they said could make officers hesitate for a fatal second if they have to consider alternatives to lethal force.

That's what Sacramento County Deputy Sheriff Julie Robertson faced. She testified how her partner, Mark Stasyuk, died last fall during a gunfight and she hesitated as the suspect shot at her with only his back exposed.

"I recall in that moment thinking that if I were to shoot him in the back, I would be the next officer in the news being scrutinized for my actions," Robertson said. "The thought of having to second-guess my actions in that moment is frightening. ... This bill makes me wonder if sacrificing everything is worth it."

Elizabeth Medrano Escobedo told lawmakers that Los Angeles officers could have used other tactics instead of killing her son, Christian Escobedo, last year. Police said he was sleeping behind a parked car with a loaded handgun.

"This bill can save mothers from grieving the loss of their children, which is what I'm experiencing right now," Medrano said, choking up.

Ciara Hamilton testified how Barstow police killed her cousin, Diante Yarber, last year after they said the car theft suspect hit two squad cars and nearly struck an officer. His family says the car was barely moving and that Yarber, who was black, might have lived had officers provided immediate medical attention.

"What does that tell us about policing in California and America? It's that black and brown people are not safe from state-sanctioned violence," Hamilton said.

The debate resonated personally for lawmakers.

Democratic Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove of Los Angeles tearfully recounted finding four officers in her home responding to a false burglar alarm last fall. They treated her respectfully, yet Kamlager-Dove, who is black, said she started shaking and crying.

"And I realized I was crying because I was afraid. I didn't want to make any sudden movements," she said.

Kamlager-Dove broke down as she urged police organizations and reformers to reach consensus "because this hurts. ... I don't want any of us to live in fear."

Republican Assemblyman Tom Lackey of Palmdale, who spent 28 years as a highway patrolman, recalled how a fellow officer killed someone in the line of duty and eventually ended his own life.

"When peace officers are placed in a position to where they feel like they have to use deadly force, no one can really understand that unless you've been in that position," Lackey said.

Plumas County Sheriff's Deputy Ed Obayashi, a use-of-force expert, called Weber's measure "an exercise in legal futility" because he predicts judges will interpret the language the same way they do court rulings. Prosecutors would have to prove an officer was criminally negligent, which carries a high legal burden.

Weber acknowledges officers would have to egregiously violate a policy to face charges but expects the standard would deter shootings.

A Senate committee is expected to consider a police-backed alternative in two weeks. That measure would enshrine court standards into law, allowing officers to use deadly force when they have a reasonable fear of being harmed. The standard has made it rare for officers to be charged and rarer still to be convicted.

Law enforcement groups plan to amend the legislation "to ensure that we are truly putting forward the most comprehensive legislative solution to effectively reduce the use of force in our state," California Police Chiefs Association president Ron Lawrence said.


Thousands honor fallen Maine police detective

Posted on April 10, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Seth Koenig Bangor Daily News, Maine

PORTLAND, Maine — Col. John Cote, commander of the Maine State Police, said Detective Ben Campbell’s unwavering “positive outlook” helped “others see the light in some of our darkest days.”

“He understood [that] just because he was arresting someone did not mean that person was a career criminal,” Cote, his voice cracking with emotion, told a full, but quiet Cross Insurance Arena crowd Tuesday morning. “Ben would talk to those folks and through those conversations, he would learn that many times the conduct that led to the arrest was simply the result of problems and circumstances within that person’s life.

“His constant smile, genuine compassion for people and his respect for them was evident to those he dealt with,” he continued.

Approximately 3,000 people filled the Portland arena for Campbell’s memorial service. The state trooper was killed Wednesday when two wheels detached from a passing logging truck and one hit the officer on the side of Interstate 95 in Hampden, where Campbell was helping a motorist who’d gone off the road in that morning’s snowstorm.

Campbell’s casket, draped in an American flag, was escorted by six fellow state troopers down the arena’s center aisle following a procession that included police and deputies carrying flags from the five other New England states and all 16 Maine counties.

More than three dozen police bagpipe players and drummers led the casket and filled the air with somber notes as thousands of troopers, deputies and police in dress uniforms stood in salute on both sides of the aisle.

Our hearts are broken at the loss of our brother Det. Ben Campbell. Thank you all for your support on this terrible...

Posted by Maine State Police - Headquarters on Wednesday, April 3, 2019

“Ben had an infectious smile and a special way of looking at you. You simply couldn’t help but love the guy,” said Lt. Sean Hashey, a former supervisor of Campbell with the state police’s Troop E, which patrols Penobscot and Piscataquis counties. “Negativity and complaining simply weren’t part of Ben’s life.”

Polygraph Supervisor Terry James attributed Campbell’s strength and positivity to his upbringing by his parents — Nancy and Jim — and the support of wife Hilary. Campbell, who lived in Millinocket, also leaves behind a 6-month-old son, Everett.

“Good things take a lifetime, but what’s good and right can be taken from you in an instant,” James said, adding: “What justice is there when something like this happens? What kind of world do we live in when a kind, brave young husband and father stops his car to help someone out and a second later is gone? Yesterday he should have celebrated his 32nd birthday and not have to be cremated.”

The otherwise silent crowd Tuesday only applauded once, after remarks by Campbell’s wife, Hilary, who thanked the first responders on the scene the day of his death.

“If there’s anything I can say as I try to wrap my head around this, it would be for all of you to slow down and take life in,” she said through tears. “Life gets crazy. Small things become larger than they should and get more attention than they deserve. If you’re mad at a loved one, that’s OK. But let it go. Don’t let negative emotions fill your heart.”

To her husband, she said: “I love you with every piece of my being. I promise to raise our son the way that we planned. I promise to try to have your patience. I promise your son will know who you are. I promise to try to make you proud. I promise to let Everett pick his favorite NFL team, but I can’t promise I won’t nudge him toward the Patriots if he starts to like the Steelers. We love you, Daddy.”

Cote said that “at Ben’s very core was a cornerstone of integrity, a foundation of selfless service, sacrifice and, at his center, the part that made him special, Ben had the heart of a guardian.”

The colonel said that guardian’s heart sometimes showed itself in unusual ways. He recalled a case when a caller reported that someone abandoned five domesticated rabbits along Interstate 95 in Medway “during one of the coldest days of that winter.” The caller was worried the rabbits wouldn’t survive, Cote said.

“Despite their dire situation, Ben found that none of the rabbits thought being rescued was a good idea,” he recalled. “So began a determined chase by Ben.”

After he’d caught four of the five rabbits and was struggling to corral the final one, Cote said, Campbell “threw in the towel and headed out.” But not for long.

“This was Ben. He later told his friends he got about a mile down the road, and thinking of that lone rabbit, took a crossover, went back and spent nearly another hour before capturing it and taking the entire clan to a local animal rescue,” the colonel said.

“It is that commitment to being a guardian that brought Ben to the side of I-95 last Wednesday to guard a motorist in danger,” he continued. “Not stopping would never have entered into his mind.”

Tuesday’s ceremony concluded with a final call and traditional fallen trooper’s flag ceremony, before Campbell’s casket was escorted back out of the arena.

“We honor Ben each day by serving others in the way he demonstrated and the way he would expect us to serve,” Cote said. “Ben would demand it.”

Campbell’s death is the first line-of-duty death of a state trooper since Oct. 17, 1997, when Detective Glenn Strange died of a heart attack after a drunken driver kicked and punched him in the chest in Linneus, according to the Maine State Police. Eleven troopers have died in the line of duty since 1924, four of them in the 1990s.

So far this year, 32 police officers across the U.S. have died in the line of duty, including seven who were struck by vehicles, according to the website Officer Down Memorial Page, which tracks officers’ line-of-duty deaths. In recent years, the number of officers killed annually after being struck by vehicles has hovered around five.

The investigation into the accident that killed Campbell is ongoing. The driver of the logging truck has not been charged. Investigators are reviewing the logging truck to determine whether any defects contributed to the incident.

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©2019 the Bangor Daily News (Bangor, Maine)


Conn. trooper awarded for role in capture of NYC homicide suspect

Posted on April 10, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Tara O'Neill Connecticut Post, Bridgeport, Conn.

A trooper was recognized Tuesday for the part he played in the capture of a New York City homicide suspect last summer.

In a ceremony Tuesday morning, Trooper First Class Jason Cassavechia was named the 2018 Officer of the Year recipient by SecureWatch24. According to Connecticut State Police, the award was in connection with the apprehension of a homicide suspect on Interstate 84 in July 2018.

Cassvechia was aided that day by his K9 partner, Favor, and his vehicle’s license plate recognition system, according to state police.

The LPR system is a series of high-speed cameras attached to the outside of the cruiser. The system rapidly runs registration plates against data from the National Crime Information Center and the Department of Motor Vehicle. The database has information on expired plates, fugitives, stolen vehicles, missing people or suicidal people. Cassvechia’s vehicle is one of 42 state police cruisers with the technology.

“The LPR serves as an additional tool to assist law enforcement in protecting citizens, enforcing laws and solving crime,” state police said.

The LPR will detect a plate of interest and let out an audible alarm on the trooper’s laptop. The trooper can view the information and verify the system read the plate correctly.

During the ceremony, Cassvechia was commended for his attention to detail, work ethic and dedication to the citizens of Connecticut.

The suspect caught by Cassvechia on the highway that day was one of many suspects accused of being involved in the homicide of 15-year-old Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz, according to state police.

According to the New York Daily News, Guzman-Feliz was killed by members of the Dominican gang Trinitarios on June 20, 2018, in the Belmont neighborhood of the Bronx. It was a case of mistaken identity, the Daily News report said.

***Trooper Recognized for Apprehending Homicide Suspect*** MIDDLETOWN, CT (April 9, 2019) – In a ceremony at...

Posted by Connecticut State Police on Tuesday, April 9, 2019

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©2019 the Connecticut Post (Bridgeport, Conn.)


Conn. LEO honored for role in capture of suspect who fatally stabbed NYPD police explorer

Posted on April 10, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Author: Mike Wood

By PoliceOne Staff

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. — A Connecticut trooper was recognized Tuesday for capturing a New York homicide suspect last summer.

Trooper First Class Jason Cassavechia apprehended the 14th suspect in the slaying of Bronx teen Lesandro Guzman-Feliz, WFSB reports. Guzman-Feliz was fatally stabbed and slashed by a group of suspected gang members outside of a bodega on June 20. The 15-year-old was an NYPD police explorer.

Cassavechia was named the 2018 Officer of the Year recipient by SecureWatch24 . The officer was aided by his K-9 partner, Favor on the day of the arrest.

***Trooper Recognized for Apprehending Homicide Suspect*** MIDDLETOWN, CT (April 9, 2019) – In a ceremony at...

Posted by Connecticut State Police on Tuesday, April 9, 2019


26 victims of Parkland shooting sue sheriff, school board

Posted on April 10, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Associated Press

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Survivors and family members of the slain victims of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, are suing the school district, the sheriff's office, a deputy and a school monitor, claiming their negligence allowed the massacre to happen.

The lawsuits will be filed in state court in South Florida on Tuesday morning, following a news conference.

Authorities say former student Nikolas Cruz fatally shot 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine's Day in 2018.

The lawsuits name as defendants the School Board of Broward County; the Broward Sheriff's Office; former deputy Scott Peterson, who was a school resource officer; Andrew Medina, who was a school security monitor; and Henderson Behavioral Health Clinic, a mental health facility where Cruz was treated.


When it comes to digital evidence, body-worn cameras are only the beginning

Posted on April 9, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Sponsored by Motorola Solutions

By PoliceOne BrandFocus Staff

Agencies that have deployed body-worn cameras have discovered that the pitfalls of a BWC program most often lie not with the devices the officers use in the field, but with managing the video and other digital records the devices create. Video files can be huge compared to most other computer records, and storage is expensive and cumbersome.

Keeping the video data accessible and connected to other case data is often problematic, as the video and other data frequently reside within separate systems or even separate storage devices. This is where a unified digital evidence management system, such as CommandCentral Vault from Motorola Solutions, can be a force multiplier for law enforcement.

Vault integrates video from bodycams and associates relevant data, including RMS data, as it is created, linking dispatch logs, still photos, voice recordings and other case information into a structure easily accessed and searched by investigators and prosecutors. Correlation of video evidence to CAD and RMS data compiles all the content related to an incident into a case folder for detectives, reducing the risk of evidence falling through the cracks.

At the same time, an audit trail for each data element is automatically created and maintained with the evidence. In the courtroom, the prosecutor can easily demonstrate how each item was created, accessed and maintained, as well as show the court and defense counsel that the information was not edited or altered.

Collect and upload video evidence quickly and easily

The new Si200 body-worn video camera from Motorola Solutions is a reliable, simple-to-operate device that gives officers the capacity to document their actions and observations in the field. This powerful capability is multiplied when the device is used as the entry point to CommandCentral Vault to store, index and archive the camera’s output and other digital evidence associated with each case.

The compact and lightweight Si200 body-worn camera captures high-definition video and features additional advanced capabilities. Its internal battery will record continuously for 12 hours on a single charge – covering most full shifts – and its 64GB of internal memory is more than sufficient to store that much video at 480p, 720p or the max resolution of 1080p.

Recordings are preserved in .mp4 format, and pre-event buffering of up to two minutes is available. This means that the camera is always recording in video-only mode when the power is on. When the “record” button is pressed or the recorder is otherwise triggered, the content of the silent video buffer is appended to the start of the recording and saved with the rest of it.

The Si200 captures location information from either the GPS or GLONASS (Russian) satellite system, which is saved with the metadata of every recording. Recording is triggered manually by the user pressing a button on the camera’s side, or via an optional Bluetooth command triggered when the officer draws his sidearm from a specially equipped holster. A button below the “record” button toggles sound recording on and off.

Manage video data via smartphone app, backend software

All digital evidence stored on the Si200 transfers to Motorola’s CommandCentral Vault software when the device is placed into a charging/synchronization cradle, or wirelessly over an authorized secure Wi-Fi network.

More importantly, documentation of the chain of custody of each recording begins at the time the recording is made. The Si200 digitally signs all captured content to ensure the chain of custody. This documentation, and the integration of the video data with other digital evidence pertinent to each case, is the foundation and strength of the Si200/CommandCentral Vault system.

Additionally, video captured by the Si200 can be reviewed in the field using a secure mobile application for live viewing, tagging and playback. This enables officers to easily annotate video and tag recordings with relevant case data, such as names, license plate numbers, case numbers and other details that may be useful later to locate the recording and distinguish it from others.

The benefits of consolidated digital evidence

These features help officers log digital evidence more accurately to help prosecutors make their cases, as well as speed up the process so they can spend more time in the field, serving the community. For example, the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado adopted CommandCentral Vault to manage their digital evidence and reduce paperwork and the time required to enter various forms of evidence. Records clerk Jessica Flinn says the system allows officers to capture and upload video more effectively and gives investigators quick access for review or redaction.

“Before we had the video technology, our deputies would take photos and videos from digital cameras and regular film cameras and have to get that developed or get it onto a flash drive and into our evidence department,” Flinn said. “With that, they would have to fill out property sheets and bring that back in, and so it was a very long process for them at the end of their day, when they already had a full report to write.”

Managing the influx of video from body-worn cameras and other sources can be a significant challenge, but this information is vital to solving and prosecuting crimes. Consider how to integrate your agency’s bodycams with a centralized solution for aggregating and organizing all of your digital content in one place for easier maintenance, review and sharing. Visit the Motorola Solutions website for more information on consolidating digital evidence.


Calif. officer praised for saving choking baby

Posted on April 9, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By PoliceOne Staff

CULIVER CITY, Calif. — An officer’s quick thinking and training saved a choking baby’s life last month.

According to CBS Los Angeles, Officer Brian Cappell was flagged down by a little girl who directed him to a choking 9-month-old baby on March 22.

Cappell arrived to find the baby’s mother holding her. The baby wasn’t crying and had blood in her mouth.

“It always makes you nervous, but it’s one of those things. But your training just kicks in,” Cappell said.

The officer flipped the baby over and started striking her on her back.

Thanks to Cappell’s efforts, the baby began to cry and get air. Soon after, paramedics arrived and took over.

“As soon as we heard that cry, it was like an angel. It was like God sent his angel through him,” Janet Lockridge, the baby’s mother, said.

Lockridge said words can’t express how thankful she is to Cappell for saving her baby, Harley.

Cappell was awarded for his heroic deed on Monday, where he was reunited with Harley and her family.

“She would not be here if it wasn’t for him. So we are grateful,” Lockridge said.


Mich. police award $25M in grant funding to support school safety

Posted on April 9, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Campus Life Security

LANCING, Mich. — The Michigan State Police (MSP) announced March 27 that 135 public school districts, 66 non-public schools, 20 public charter schools and nine intermediate school districts/regional education service agencies will receive $25 million in state grants.

The $25 million in funding will come from the 2019 Competitive School Safety Grant Program and fund school safety and security improvements through the purchase of equipment and technology.

“Safety for our children should always be a top priority,” Governor Gretchen Whitmer said. “Every parent should have the peace of mind that their children are receiving an education that allows them to achieve their dreams under the safest possible conditions.”

Full story: Michigan State Police Award $25 Million in Grant Funding to Support School Safety


Video shows armed man charging at LEO before being fatally shot

Posted on April 9, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Harold McNeil The Buffalo News, N.Y.

FREDONIA, NY — Chautauqua County authorities said there is no evidence to support filing criminal charges against the Fredonia police officer who shot and killed a 23-year-old man in December.

George P. Penev was shot by a Fredonia police officer on Dec. 10.

During a news conference today, officials said body camera footage helped them determine that the officer, Nathaniel Scriven, should not be held criminally liable for the death.

Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson said toxicology reports showed Penev had cocaine, LSD and other narcotics in his system.

An examination revealed numerous minor and major force injuries to Penev's head, neck, chest and upper body, injuries that would have proven fatal absent the shooting, officials said.

Earlier Friday, Fredonia Police arrested SUNY Fredonia College student, Amanda Bridges, of Erie County, who was accused of supplying narcotics to Penev.

Soon after the shooting, a person familiar with the details told The Buffalo News that an officer responded to a call of a person in distress who was refusing to leave a second-floor bathroom on Liberty Street in Fredonia. The officer and a firefighter asked the man to come out of the bathroom, and when he did, blood was flowing from wounds to his chest.

The man – now known to be Penev – moved toward the officer while holding a knife, the source told The News. The officer turned, ran downstairs and ran out the door, with the man following him. That's when the victim was shot several times, after refusing orders to drop the knife, the source said.

Days later, the Fredonia Police Department identified the officer as Scriven, a 15-year member of the department. Personnel with the Chautauqua County District Attorney's Office and State Attorney General's Office intended to watch footage from the officer's body camera before determining their next moves.

A lawyer for Scriven said the officer was cooperating with the investigation.

Penev worked for his family's trucking company, helping to arrange logistics. His Facebook page indicated he graduated from Iroquois High School and studied at Erie Community College.

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©2019 The Buffalo News (Buffalo, N.Y.)


Ky. officials willing to offer hemp bill to resolve ‘glitches’

Posted on April 9, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — As hemp enters a new era as a legal agricultural commodity, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday he's willing to offer follow-up legislation to resolve any "glitches" stemming from mistaken identity between the crop and its lookalike, illicit cousin.

That includes safeguarding hemp shipments stopped by police who can't tell whether they intercepted a legal crop or marijuana.

"Some glitches remain to be worked out, and some of it may require legislation," McConnell told reporters after a hemp forum in Louisville, his hometown.

Using a football analogy, the Republican Senate leader said hemp supporters have reached the "red zone" in restoring the historic crop to mainstream American agriculture. He added: "I'm prepared to do my job ... all the way into the end zone if it requires additional legislation."

Since hemp's legalization, some truckers with interstate shipments have been stopped and sometimes arrested. The only way to distinguish hemp from marijuana is by measuring their tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and officers don't have the testing technology to do so on the spot. Marijuana, illegal under federal law, has enough THC to get users high. Hemp has almost none — 0.3 percent or less under U.S. government standards.

Kentucky and Oregon are big hemp producers, and much of what they grow is processed in Colorado. Companies that transport hemp often drive through Oklahoma and Idaho, where some arrests have occurred.

McConnell, who led the push in Congress to legalize hemp last year, said Monday that regulations might be sufficient to help some aspects of the hemp business.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Greg Ibach, who attended the hemp conference, said USDA has asked federal drug enforcement officials for a "coordinated effort" on interstate hemp shipment.

"That might be an area where USDA can work together with other federal agencies to not only help them understand hemp, (but) look for testing protocols that might be able to be used on the road to be able to differentiate between hemp and other products that aren't legal," he said.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said ensuring unimpeded hemp shipment requires communicating with officials in other states "about what hemp is and what hemp is not."

Other concerns have included making sure the fledgling industry gets the financial backing it needs to grow.

McConnell recently teamed with Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, in seeking to ease concerns about credit availability and other financial services for hemp farmers and businesses. They urged federal financial regulatory agencies to make it clear that hemp is legal and to issue "guidance" to institutions under their jurisdictions to ease concerns.

McConnell orchestrated successful efforts last year to attach hemp legalization language to the new federal farm bill. The provision removed hemp from the list of federally controlled substances and treats the low-THC version of the cannabis plant like any other agricultural crop.

Now, the USDA is crafting rules for a nationwide hemp program. The Kentucky forum was part of the effort to gather input. The goal is to have the program in place for the 2020 crop season, Ibach said. The work includes developing a crop insurance program for hemp growers.

"My goal is to get this product out as quick as we can, but yet it's got to be right," USDA Risk Management Agency Administrator Martin Barbre told reporters.

Deeply rooted in Kentucky's past, hemp was historically used for rope but has many other uses, including clothing and mulch from the fiber; hemp milk and cooking oil from the seeds; and soap and lotions. Other uses include building materials, animal bedding and biofuels. Hemp-derived CBDs are touted by many as a health aid.

While hemp's commercialization is still in its infancy, Quarles said he hopes Kentucky hemp someday becomes as recognizable as Kentucky bourbon and horses.

The state's hemp processors reported $57.75 million in gross product sales last year, compared with $16.7 million in 2017, Quarles said recently. Processors paid Kentucky farmers $17.75 million for harvested hemp materials in 2018, up from $7.5 million the year before.

Nearly 1,000 farmers will grow hemp in Kentucky this year and more than 120 companies in the bluegrass state are processing the material, Quarles said


Police release 2018 video of Conn. officer being dragged for a mile

Posted on April 9, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Christine Dempsey The Hartford Courant

GROTON, Conn. — Groton police have released video of an officer being dragged last year.

The body camera footage shows Officer Tyler DeAngelo clinging to an SUV that police said traveled a mile -- at one point exceeding 50 mph. DeAngelo was not severely injured.

“He’s very lucky, let’s put it that way,” Deputy Chief Paul Gately said Friday.

The driver, Taj L. Dickerson, then 22, was arrested on more than a dozen charges after the dragging, police said. They said at the time that he had marijuana and crack in the vehicle. His attorney could not be reached Friday.

Dickerson, of Nautilus Drive in New London, was convicted on July 17 of engaging police in pursuit and assault on a public safety officer, court records show. He was sentenced in Superior Court in New London to a little more than a year in jail, with his full sentence being five years, suspended after 400 days, followed by three years of probation.

According to police, the dragging followed a traffic stop about 4 a.m. on Feb. 26, 2018. DeAngelo had noticed an equipment violation on the 2007 Ford Edge and pulled Dickerson over on Fort Hill Road in the town of Groton, just west of the intersection with North Road, or Route 117.

DeAngelo smelled marijuana in the car and Dickerson admitted he had pot on him, police said at the time. So DeAngelo asked Dickerson to get out, and, as a back-up officer arrived, Dickerson did. Dickerson then told the officers he had a dog in the car as well, and they asked him to remove it.

Police searched the car and found crack cocaine, police said. The officers decided they would be taking Dickerson into custody, but as they were making arrangements to put the dog in a police car, Dickerson ran back toward the Edge and got in, they said.

DeAngelo ran after him, and the two struggled in the driver’s seat. Dickerson put the car into drive and sped off, with DeAngelo partially hanging out of the car, police said. The Edge continued west on Fort Hill Road to Poquonnock Road, or Route 1, with DeAngelo clinging to the car, its driver’s side door open.

Dickerson ignored the officer’s commands to stop as the car hit speeds of more than 50 mph, police said. DeAngelo was dragged about a mile.

When it appeared Dickerson was steering toward a utility pole, the officer, fearing for his life, grabbed the steering wheel to turn away from the pole, police said. DeAngelo then let go and fell onto Poquonnock Road, police said.

Fellow officers helped him while others chased Dickerson from Poquonnock Road to Long Hill Road and onto I-95 south. Dickerson continued driving into New London, police said. Officers stopped the car on Eugene O’Neill Drive with help from New London officers.

DeAngelo suffered scrapes, bruises and a cut to the back of the head that required staples to close, police said. He returned to work on light duty within a week.

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©2019 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.)


Colo. police arrest 5 in connection with chemical bomb thrown at officer

Posted on April 9, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Saja Hindi The Denver Post

ARVADA, Colo. — Arvada police arrested four men and a juvenile in connection with a chemical bomb that injured an officer and another man in west Arvada, police said.

The five teens are accused of throwing a homemade chlorine bomb at the officer and another man, who had stopped to clear a street of a barricade made from road signs and plastic wrap, according an Arvada Police Department arrest affidavit.

Within 24 hours of the attack, Maxwell McCann, 18; Braiden Ulmer, 19; Isaac Koch, 19; Gavin Dawson, 19; and an unnamed juvenile were arrested on suspicion of first-degree assault; criminal attempt of second-degree assault; two counts of possession, use or removal of explosives or incendiary devices; and conspiracy to commit possession, use or removal of explosives or incendiary devices.

The attack happened after midnight Saturday when an officer, identified as T. Grahn, responded to a call about the barricade on Beech Street, near the intersection of West 68th Avenue.

The street signs had been pulled out of the ground and placed in the street, creating a barricade. And plastic wrap was strung across the road and attached to signs.

Grahn saw a small plastic bottle near the poles and heard a man yell “Hey, asshole,” as a person ran away, the arrest affidavit said.

As the officer grabbed his flashlight and drew his gun and began to look around, one of the callers who reported the barricade approached and helped the officer move the signs, the affidavit said.

As they were moving signs, someone threw a plastic bottle, which began to shrink and release white smoke after it hit the ground, the documents stated. Grahn also smelled chlorine.

The caller helping move the signs said he had seen someone throw a smoke bomb before police arrived.

More officers arrived to search for suspects. As Grahn was working with them, he collapsed, the affidavit said. He was diagnosed with a chlorine gas exposure at Exempla Lutheran Medical Center. The bystander was treated at his home for minor injuries, the documents said.

While searching, police found three more bombs, and an Arvada Fire hazmat crew determined at least one of the devices was made of brake fluid and powdered chlorine, which caused the chemical reaction.

The five juveniles were identified as suspects after investigators found in a nearby field a Walmart receipt that listed ingredients purchased to make the devices. They obtained Walmart surveillance footage that showed the five suspects, according to the documents.

McCann, one of the teen suspects, told police he thought the gas from the bombs wasn’t toxic or harmful, according to the arrest affidavit.

The five are scheduled for an advisement on Friday.

Arvada Police Chief Link Strate said in a video released Monday that the police department is “grateful that our officer and the community member were not more seriously injured, although we do not yet know the long-term effects of this attack on them.”

The attack is not representative of the community, Strate said.

“We appreciate the support of our community and we take their safety and our officers’ safety very seriously,” Strate said.

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©2019 The Denver Post


Video shows gun battle in deadly standoff that wounded 2 LEOs

Posted on April 9, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Alexis Stevens, John Spink, Asia Simone Burns The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

HENRY COUNTY, Ga. — The man accused of shooting two police officers and killing his girlfriend, her teenage son and then himself fired hundreds of rounds at officers, Henry County police Chief Mark Amerman said Friday morning.

But Anthony Bailey shouldn’t have had a gun at all. He’s a convicted felon and served nearly two years in prison for an aggravated assault conviction in the 90s, according to the Georgia Department of Corrections.

Bailey allegedly killed Sandra White, who was pregnant, inside her Stockbridge home Thursday morning. Then, he shot two officers who arrived at the home.

Officers Taylor Webb was shot in the chest and hip and Keegan Merritt was shot in the hand, Amerman said. Each had been on the force for seven years and both remained Friday at Grady Memorial Hospital. Both should survive their injuries.

Friday afternoon, Henry police released body camera footage from the first officers arriving at the scene. White’s sister called 911 after seeing the pregnant woman on the ground in the garage, according to police.

Officers saw blood on the driveway and the woman bleeding and unresponsive and forced their way into the home, video showed. Immediately, the two officers were shot.

“Shots fired! Shots fired!” an officer is heard yelling in the video.

“I’m hit! I’m hit!” another officer says.

Officer Taylor Webb was shot in the chest and hip, Amerman said. Webb made it to the garage of the home, where he saw White’s lifeless body. A second officer, Keegan Merritt, was shot in the hand.

Bailey is then heard yelling at officers to not come in the house, warning that he had ample ammunition.

“Don’t come in here. Don’t come in here. Do not come in here,” Bailey said. “I got a lot of shots. I got a hostage. I got a hostage.”

The hostage was White’s son, Arkeyvion. Though police never made contact with the teenager, he was able to send text messages to relatives, Amerman said.

Officers negotiated with Bailey for hours, but he refused to surrender.

After deploying gas into the home, Bailey again fired at officers and an armored truck, but no one was injured, Amerman said. Around 3 a.m., Georgia State Patrol troopers entered the home and found three bodies: Bailey, Sandra White and Arkeyvion. White was still in the garage and Bailey and the teenager were found in upstairs bedrooms, police said.

Outside the home Friday morning, Sandra White’s parents called Bailey a coward while remembering the single mother who worked as a nurse at WellStar Atlanta Medical Center and a teenager with a bright future.

Arkeyvion was a sophomore at Dutchtown High School, where he was on the honor roll and played football, his grandparents said Friday.

“He was looking to go far,” Kathie White, the teen’s grandmother, said Friday.

Henry schools are out this week for spring break. But grief counselors are expected at Dutchtown High on Monday when students and teachers return, according to a district spokesman.

On Saturday, the White family had planned to hold a surprise baby shower for Sandra White, who was due to deliver a baby boy April 29. She had already named the boy Antonio, her parents said.

Instead of a baby shower, the family now must plan a funeral.

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©2019 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)


Chicago police release video amid concerns about officer suicides

Posted on April 9, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Madeline Buckley Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — Chicago police Officer Cory Chapton says he finished work one day around 2 p.m., got into his car outside the West Side’s Harrison District station and sat in the parking lot for hour after hour “contemplating how do I get rid of this pain?”

He thought about ending his suffering as the afternoon stretched into the evening and then into the following morning. It wasn’t until 5 a.m. that he drove off. Fifteen hours had passed.

“I’m done. I’m tired. I don’t want to deal with this no more,” Chapton recounts in a new video produced by the Chicago Police Department.

“You get to that point that,” says Chapton, pausing for several seconds, “just end it all. Forget it.”

Superintendent Eddie Johnson; his predecessor, John Escalante; and Tina Skahill, formerly one of the department’s highest-ranking black women, joined Chapton in going public with the emotional struggles they encountered before mustering the courage to seek help.

The video, produced as part of a series aimed at encouraging officers to seek mental health support, comes as the department confronts a cluster of seven officer suicides since July.

The spike has brought renewed focus on the department’s mental health counseling efforts, which were criticized in a scathing U.S. Department of Justice report in early 2017 in the fallout over the fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald. The investigation found that CPD’s Employee Assistance Program was overwhelmed, with just three counselors trying to provide services to a department with more than 13,000 officers.

After the most recent suicide — that of a 44-year-old detective last month — Johnson met with the head of the department’s counseling program and convened a task force to study the problem. The department is in the process of boosting its staff of clinicians to 10 by next year — a mandate of the recently approved federal consent decree that aims to force a broad overhaul of the Police Department’s polices and practices, another byproduct of the McDonald shooting.

The Justice Department’s report also recommended that the Police Department find ways to reach out to officers to lessen the stigma of seeking mental health care.

That is the chief goal of the video, which begins with its four participants announcing, “I reached out” and ends with the message, “You Are Not Alone,” and the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255). Over its eight minutes, the video intersperses the accounts of the four on how they sought help from counselors or supervisors after hitting rock bottom for one reason or another.

While Johnson doesn’t reveal the troubles that drew him to seek help one day, he describes how he pulled over to the side of the street while on duty and called the Employee Assistance Program. Escalante details his struggles going through a divorce, while Skahill shares her own suicide attempt many years ago.

Chapton talks about the stresses of the job, particularly dealing with tragedies involving children and the elderly. He also describes the emotional toll of interacting with people who dislike or distrust the police, not the respect he expected on taking the job.

“Take all this negative energy, if you don’t know how to get rid of it, it can be a time bomb, a pressure cooker,” he says.

‘An eye opener’

The idea for the video was born earlier this year out of a different tragedy.

In December, Calumet District Officers Eduardo Marmolejo and Conrad Gary were fatally struck by a train while pursuing a suspect onto the tracks.

The Far South Side district already had been hit by several tragedies that year. Two of its officers took their own lives outside the district station, while a third died after collapsing at work.

To save officers from the grisly job of recovering the remains of Marmolejo and Gary, Superintendent Johnson and other members of the command staff decided to take on the responsibility themselves, police officials revealed to the Tribune.

“That was just a bad scene, and the superintendent and all the command staff went up there recovering the bodies of the officers, so that their own officers would not have to see that,” said Sgt. Cindy Guerra, the department’s director of internal communications.

By early January, Sgt. Shawn Kennedy, who works at EAP and had been at the district station shortly after the tragedy, and the rest of the counseling department met with the command staff to help deal with the trauma from that evening.

The police brass told the gruesome details of recovering the officers’ remains, Kennedy recalled. They also talked about other difficult incidents they had encountered throughout their careers.

“It was an eye-opener,” said Kennedy, describing hearing his bosses talk openly about the impact of that experience.

That was the inspiration, Guerra said, to create a video of high-ranking officers talking about seeking help in their own lives to show the rank and file that counseling doesn’t have to hurt their careers.

‘Like a volcano’

Escalante, who served as interim superintendent after Garry McCarthy’s firing weeks after the release of a video of McDonald’s killing roiled the city, spoke openly about his struggles years ago during an acrimonious divorce, a common thread in several of the recent officer suicides.

Escalante acknowledged he had previously shared with only a few people the period when he was a sergeant and dreaded rising out of bed many mornings.

“It was something very personal to me,” Escalante told the Tribune in a telephone interview last week. “I didn’t feel like it was something I needed to share with other people.”

But he felt compelled to talk in the video, recalling a nephew he lost to suicide at 18.

“He seemed like the perfectly normal, happy kid that I had watched grow up the past 18 years,” says Escalante, who had seen his nephew just a day and a half before his death. “I always wonder what happened. What if I took a little more time to talk to him?”

In the hope that he might help someone, Escalante talks in the video about his divorce’s traumatic first year. He recalled moving into his own apartment, away from his small children, while at the same time navigating the knotty legal landscape and trying to hold it together at work so he could properly supervise officers.

“I didn’t actually want to take my own life, but I did not want to live,” he says in the video.

After one particularly overwhelming day, Escalante said he felt his knees go weak and slumped to the floor. Despite fears his seeking help wouldn’t remain confidential, he went to the department’s counselors.

“It dawned on me: How did I even get up that day?” he told the Tribune. “How am I going to get up tomorrow?”

With officers regularly witnessing the “worst of the worst,” Johnson said, the stress of policing can compound everyday struggles such as marital breakups or financial pressures.

“It’s like a volcano,” the superintendent says in the video. “That top is going to come off at some point.”

Johnson said he called the counseling program once at 2 a.m. after he pulled over to the side of the road and decided he needed help.

“They talked to me for the two hours that I needed to unpack it,” he said.

Skahill’s darkest moment came when she was a 29-year-old youth officer and a new mother. After giving birth, she said, she suffered from postpartum depression, swallowed pills and was rushed to the hospital. She decided to seek treatment.

“It’s something you don’t expect after having a child,” Skahill, who rose to chief of the Bureau of Internal Affairs before retiring in 2013, told the Tribune.

When someone is physically ill, “no one blinks an eye,” said Skahill, now a civilian department employee holding down the bureau’s No. 2 post. It should be the same with mental health issues, she said.

After his 15 hours outside the Harrison District station, Chapton turned a corner when he finally decided to tell a supervisor he needed help, he says in the video.

He walked into the office, closed the door and had a heart-to-heart talk with his lieutenant.

“I thank him for that,” Chapton said.

———

©2019 the Chicago Tribune


Man wounds LEO, fatally shoots woman outside police station

Posted on April 8, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Hannah Fry and Laura Newberry Los Angeles Times

HAWTHORNE, Calif. — The man arrested in the fatal shooting of a woman during a custody exchange at the Hawthorne police station Sunday has been identified by police as 30-year-old Jacob Munn.

Munn opened fire on Brenda Renteria, 27, of Simi Valley, the mother of his child outside the police station, police said.

Renteria and Munn agreed to meet at the Police Department so Renteria could pick up their 17-month-old baby. The toddler was already inside the station when Renteria arrived, police said.

At some point, police allege, Munn fired at least one blast from a shotgun at Renteria. An officer who heard shots from inside the station rushed outside, spotted the suspect and opened fire as Munn drove off in a black Chevy truck. Munn was not hit, police said.

Renteria was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police tracked Munn’s car to 133rd Street and Hawthorne Boulevard outside a Denny’s restaurant, where it was abandoned. Officers set up a perimeter and brought in police dogs to search for him. He was arrested on suspicion of murder about three hours later in the 4400 block of 134th Street, police said.

Munn is being held on $2-million bail, according to jail records.

"In general, the police departments are not aware of any custody exchanges," Hawthorne Police Chief Michael Ishii told KNBC-TV Channel 4 on Monday. "Oftentimes, [the parents] make arrangements at local police stations or across the county. It's a public space. We are not supervising them, not aware of them.

"We're not sure if that was the case yesterday in this horrible and tragic incident."

The incident was the second officer-involved shooting in Hawthorne on Sunday. The first happened about 9:30 a.m. when a police officer and a suspect exchanged gunfire near a Marriott hotel at the corner of Rosecrans Avenue and Aviation Boulevard.

Police had responded to the location after a man dressed in military fatigues and carrying a handgun was reported chasing a woman in the hotel.

During the gun battle, a 15-year veteran of the Hawthorne police force was shot in the leg. The officer was hospitalized but is expected to survive his injury.

———

©2019 the Los Angeles Times


Spotlight: Benchmade is where hard-working knives are made by hard-working people

Posted on April 8, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Author: PoliceOne Sponsors

Company Name: Benchmade Knife Company Headquarters: Oregon City, OR Signature Product: SOCP, Triage and Auto Stryker Website: https://www.benchmade.com/

1. Where did the company name originate from? Our company’s name is a reference to how we make our products: a combination of manufactured precision parts and hand assembly. This was a “bench” operation and our CEO Les de Asis wanted the name to reflect the marriage of manufactured and custom.

2. What was the inspiration behind starting the company? Les first started making knives at a young age. He wanted a knife built with the latest materials and manufacturing technology to replace the cheap butterfly knives, known as Bali-Songs, he played with as a kid. Using his high school shop skills, he blueprinted his dream knife. In 1979, Les assembled and finished his first Bali-Song.

3. What is one of your most popular products for law enforcement and why?

We have several products that are popular for law enforcement including the SOCP, Triage and Auto Stryker. The Outlast is one of our newest products that combines several functions in one tool. This all-in-one knife includes a first responder extrication tool for MVAs, a carbide tip for glass breaking, safety cutter for seat belts and two blades, one of which is fully serrated.

4. Why do you believe your products are essential to your vertical (Police, Fire, EMS, Corrections, Government) community? A knife is an essential tool for law enforcement professionals. Our designs take into consideration the importance of weight, function and carry options, resulting in a product that will meet the individual needs of any law enforcement professional.

5. What makes your company unique? Benchmade combines craftsmanship with precision manufacturing to produce some of the world’s best US-made knives. Our customer service team is well-renowned and all of our products are backed by a limited lifetime warranty and lifetime LifeSharp service.

6. What is the most rewarding part of serving the first responder/local government community? Benchmade is proud to be able to provide products to the first responder community that they can depend on when it matters most. Hearing stories about how our products have helped them save lives makes us very proud of the work that we do.


DHS secretary, Secret Service director leave White House

Posted on April 8, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump and White House allies pushing for a harder line on immigration sped their campaign Monday to clean house at the Department of Homeland Security, pushing ahead with a mission far wider than the departure of Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

L. Francis Cissna, the head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and General Counsel John M. Mitnick were expected to leave their positions, according to two people familiar with the matter, and possibly several other longtime civil servants in other posts around the agency. The people were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

Separately, the director of the Secret Service is leaving his job, but that was unrelated to the immigration shake-up, officials said.

Nielsen announced her resignation on Sunday, and Trump announced that U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan would take over as secretary on an acting basis, leaving his border position open. With Nielsen's departure, there will be no confirmed leader — and no one officially in charge of interior immigration enforcement after the White House abruptly withdrew the nomination of Ron Vitiello to lead Immigration and Customs Enforcement last week.

But the staff shake-up won't get around the immigration laws and court challenges that are thwarting Trump at every turn, including his suggestions to reinstate family separations and his threats to shut the border entirely. Meanwhile, the number of migrants crossing the border continues to grow, and critics say the chaos in Washington is only going to encourage more.


Wis. K-9 in ‘rough shape’ after stabbing

Posted on April 8, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By PoliceOne Staff

GREEN BAY, Wis. — A K-9 named Pyro is in “rough shape” after being stabbed multiple times during a call on Sunday night.

According to WBAY, police responded to a call of a man who threatened to shoot family members.

The officers deployed Pyro. When Pyro bit the suspect, he was stabbed several times in the neck.

Pyro has been through one surgery and is scheduled for another on Monday.

The 2-year-old K-9 has been with the department for a year.

Good Morning Titletown. Please keep our K-9 Officer Pyro in your thoughts and prayers today. He is continuing to...

Posted by Green Bay Police Department on Monday, April 8, 2019

We are receiving numerous calls from people who are asking how they can help or to donate money to support Pyro. ...

Posted by Green Bay Police Department on Monday, April 8, 2019


Making big data small: The importance of relevant data collection for crime-fighting

Posted on April 8, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Joshua Lee, M.L.S., CFE, CCCI, CTFI, CCIE
Author: Joshua Lee, M.L.S., CFE, CCCI, CTFI, CCIE

As I sat at my 1970s metal-style desk holding a now cold cup of unsweetened green tea, I leaned back in my chair and mumbled, “Data, data, everywhere, but not a drop to drink.” I was surrounded by mountains of paper printouts, two computer monitors running three different data-management programs, and a frosted glass whiteboard covered in diagrams, numbers and the occasional sticky note. I was there, like you, hopelessly attempting to make sense of the data sets provided by antiquated police data systems.

The quote is actually from Samuel Taylor 1834 poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” as he reflected his sad state of affairs of being a cursed captain, dying of thirst, stuck in an ocean of undrinkable water: “Water, water, everywhere, and nor a drop to drink.” But I felt the same, stuck in the middle of an ocean of data surrounded by undrinkable (unusable) information.

POLICE LOVE DATA

For a little over a decade, police agencies have been hyperactively collecting data like kids fighting for candy from a pinata. Agencies focused on the volume of data collected but were less concerned about the relevancy of that data. Unfortunately, for many agencies this once small pool of data has grown into a large ocean of undrinkable data.

Many departments are downloading information from CAD dispatch systems, uploading information from police officer’s vehicle-mounted computers, and sending information wirelessly using e-citation machines, all without understanding why and how the data is collected.

Understanding the “why” behind data collection will help encourage how the data is collected. The goal should never be to collect random data just to add to the pool of previously collected data – random collections of data will lead to an ocean of unusable data like what we have now. The goal should always be to collect data for a specific purpose: crime-fighting.

Once the data is collected with a purpose, it is now the job of the crime analysts and detectives to convert that data into information, then turn that information into insight.

TURNING DATA TO INFORMATION

Police agencies need more relevant data and less garbage that analysts and detectives can quickly convert into usable information. My undergrad health professor told me, “Garbage in equals garbage out,” and the same concept applies to data collection: Luckily, correcting irrelevant data collection habits is as easy as 1,2,3. (I don’t like the phrase “bad data” …the fact is there is a TON of data out there…law enforcement needs smart tools to help deliver the right/relevant information.

1. Numbers: Numbers pose an interesting problem for data collectors because they can be easily transposed. The numbers on VINs, license plates, serial numbers and addresses should be verified before recording it into any software.

2. Individuals: Accurate data collection on people can also pose a problem. Many people share the same first and last name so collecting distinguishing characteristics is just as important as names. In Arizona, for example, 43 people share my first and last name; 4 share the same first, middle and last name; and 1 is a released violent felon from another state. Pay close attention to personal identifying information (PPI) including complete legal name, accurate social security number, visible tattoos and tattoo location, and race.

3. Associates and friends: Document friends and associates and I promise your analyst will thank you later! Always ask the passengers of traffic stops and friends of your suspect for their PII, too. Just remember in most states, passengers of traffic stops do not have to talk with you unless you have a violation on that person, but at least you can try.

The more accurate the information, the easier it will be to turn that information into insight.

TURNING INFORMATION INTO INSIGHT

The next step is turning information into insight. Data sets alone are useless. Data literacy – the ability to derive meaningful information from data – however, is priceless. The quickest way to become data-literate is by using software designed to help interpret that data.

Software can easily and efficiently sort through large data sets, link associates and friends, and paint the bigger picture. Combine data management software with a skilled analyst, investigator, or officer, and you have your recipe for crime-fighting success!

Big data needs to be made small to be effective. The best way to start to shrink data is by understanding the why behind the collection, recording accurate information and using analyzing software to turn data into insight so you are not left floating in an ocean of undrinkable data mumbling to yourself, “Data, data everywhere but not a drop to drink!”


A new method of DNA testing could solve more shootings

Posted on April 8, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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This story was published in partnership with Wired.

By Ann Givens, The Trace

Police found 19 spent shell casings scattered in the San Diego street where Gregory Benton was murdered on April 12, 2014. Benton and his cousin had gone to buy cigarettes, a witness later said. As they returned to a family party, two men pulled up in a car behind them. They got out, and at least one of them opened fire.

Witnesses didn’t get a good look at the men or the car, so when police sat down to review their leads, the shell casings were the best evidence they had. They sent the casings to the San Diego Police Crime Lab, which just happened to be trying out a new DNA testing technique.

Previously, to remove DNA from casings, the lab would moisten a cotton swab and rub it over the metal. But their success rate was less than 1%. This was proving to be a problem for many cities across the country struggling to solve shootings and homicides. Police often find that shell casings they collect from a crime scene are their most valuable evidence. Ballistic testing can offer clues about what kind of gun was used and, sometimes, whether that same gun was used in another crime. But the casings seldom yielded fruitful DNA results, and the San Diego Police Department, like many others, had stopped testing them.

Until 2014. That’s when DNA scientist Shawn Monpetit of the SDPD began researching the subject and came across a 2011 study in which Dutch scientists recovered DNA from about a quarter of the casings tested using a new method. This new technique required scientists to soak the casings for about half an hour in tubes filled with a cocktail of chemicals that break open cells and release DNA so it can then be isolated and tested. “Think of it like soaking your dishes,” said Kristin Beyers, one of the lab’s supervising criminalists.

In a rare move, the SDPD agreed to fund its own study in 2014. Ten cops and lab workers were enlisted to use ammunition the way a criminal might: They carried some around in their pockets and took some straight out of a package before loading it into a gun and firing. When the scientists ultimately tested the roughly 800 casings they collected, swabbing half using the traditional method and soaking the other half, the lab got “interpretable” DNA samples off about 34% of the soaked samples. They published their study in a peer-reviewed academic journal, Forensic Science International, and the SDPD began using it in 2014 – around the same time they tested the evidence in the Gregory Benton murder case.

The scientists soaked the 19 casings from the Benton case. They retrieved testable DNA from two different people, which they matched with samples in local and state DNA databases. Days later, they brought the two men in for questioning and put them together in a holding cell, where they were recorded.

“Hey homie…my DNA just came back on two of those shell casings,” said one of the men, Emanual Peavy, according to a legal decision in the case. The other man, Lamont Holman, cursed, declaring that they had “no doubt” messed up, the decision said. The two men were later convicted of their roles in the killing.

In the three years since the study, police have sent the lab more than 1,000 casings to test. The lab is now getting usable DNA off about 30% of the casings it analyzes. About 11% of those link to a sample they have in their system – either a suspect or evidence in another case. That would average out to about 30 casings a year that link to a known person or evidence in another case, though lab officials don’t keep a precise count.

These statistics have caught the attention of forensic scientists from all over the country, many of whom have visited the San Diego lab to learn more about the technique. Police departments in San Francisco and Miami say they are researching the method. Jeffrey A. Thompson, commanding officer of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Forensic Science Division, said his lab has already evaluated the soaking method and plans to start using it in the coming months.

“On some shooting crimes, the bullets and casings are the only physical evidence left behind by the suspect,” Thompson said in an email. “A DNA profile match can provide a valuable lead.”

That’s particularly true as more police departments are using software like ShotSpotter that notifies them immediately of the exact location where shots are fired. Prompt notification means cops arrive to a crime scene quickly, before the casings get moved or tampered with. Those casings can hold important clues, especially when retaliation is likely and witnesses go silent, police said.

Still, there are logistical challenges to consider. Many labs submit shell casings to the National Integrated Ballistics Imaging Network, or NIBIN, a database that can connect a shell casing with others that were shot from the same gun. The faster that investigators submit these casings to NIBIN, the faster they can get leads to help solve cases and get shooters off the street.

But many labs are already struggling to enter casings into NIBIN in a timely fashion. In a story last year, The Trace and NBC Bay Area reported that nine out of 10 California labs questioned took at least 20 days to enter shell casings into NIBIN, and most took more than three months. That’s if they get them in at all. The vast majority of casings – about 75% – are never entered into NIBIN.

Testing the casings for DNA would likely delay getting a NIBIN lead. In San Diego, where police now ask for DNA testing on the majority of casings collected in homicides, it takes the lab about eight days from when police pick up a casing off the street to the time they get it into NIBIN. That’s about two days longer than it would otherwise take them.

“The DNA portion does slow down the NIBIN entries,” said San Diego lab director Jennifer Shen in an email. “Although we certainly think it is worth it, as do our customers.”

But some fear that evidence could grow stale, especially if a lab has a DNA testing backlog. “You shouldn’t spend a month doing that DNA test at the expense of putting cartridges into NIBIN immediately,” says Pete Gagliardi, a former official with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives who now works as a private consultant helping police use forensic technology.

Gagliardi suggests one strategy to mitigate this issue: Labs could fast-track DNA analysis in cases where the shell casings are key evidence but decline to do it in other cases, opting instead to get a NIBIN lead back quickly.

Joseph P. Murphy, commander of the Chicago Police Department’s Forensic Services Division, says that with the number of shootings his department investigates, it’s hard to imagine implementing this technique anytime soon. “Each fired cartridge case would need to be soaked in its own solution; on some cases we have over 50 fired cartridges,” he says. Although shootings and homicides decreased in Chicago last year, about 2,900 people were shot and 570 killed in 2018, according to Chicago police.

Murphy says the Illinois State Police Lab, which processes DNA for the Chicago police, has a current backlog of thousands of cases, which experts say is a common problem. Mechthild Prinz, who heads the master’s degree program in forensic science at the City University of New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice, says tests for “touch” DNA have become so popular because of advances in the field that many labs are overwhelmed by requests to do them. (Police are frequently recovering touch DNA – genetic material that can be transferred in just a few skin cells when someone touches an object – from clothing, guns, doorknobs, and other evidence found at crime scenes. It’s harder to get it off shell casings because of their small surface area and their brief contact with anyone’s skin, scientists said.)

“The amount of manpower it would take to make this potentially run would consist of an entire team of forensic scientists,” Murphy says. With money tight and staffing short at many police crime labs, experts say it can be complicated to start using a new technology – even a promising one. However, the San Diego lab says it hasn’t needed to add staff, and the new equipment it required, mostly larger beakers, cost only a few thousand dollars.

For San Diego, the new method has been worth implementing. “We didn’t want to shy away from the challenge of doing something new,” says lab supervisor Beyers. And the shell casings collected at Gregory Benton’s murder scene? The police ran them through NIBIN and found that one of the guns that killed Benton had been used in an attempted murder two days earlier – a shooting over gang territory. Without DNA pulled from the casings, investigators say both those crimes might have gone unsolved. “It was a spider web of information,” says Monpetit, the DNA scientist. “They suspected it was someone from the rival gang, but who it was inside that gang … I’m not sure they would ever have been able to figure that out or prove without the DNA.”

This report was originally published by The Trace, an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit newsroom covering firearms policy, injury and death in America.


About the author Ann Givens writes about the nation’s law enforcement agencies, from the ATF to local police departments, and the effectiveness of their efforts to curb gun violence.


After deputy names K-9 ‘Trump,’ a Fla. may change policy on dog names

Posted on April 8, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Michael Williams Orlando Sentinel

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — After an image of an Orange County Sheriff’s Office dog named “Trump” was featured in a Facebook meme, the agency said it may tell its deputies to avoid naming their four-legged partners after real people.

A picture showing an OCSO deputy’s patrol car — which, like most K-9 deputies’ vehicles, has a decal featuring the dog’s name and picture — was posted Wednesday by the Facebook page “Cop Humor,” which describes itself as a “pro-law enforcement conservative group.”

The meme had garnered more than 1,000 likes, 200 shares and nearly 100 comments by Thursday afternoon, and was shared by Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 93, which represents Orange County deputies.

“Atta boy, Trump! Making a difference,” said text overlaid on the image.

An OCSO spokesperson confirmed the Sheriff’s Office does have a K-9 named Trump and said the agency was aware of the meme being shared on social media.

The Sheriff’s Office purchased K-9 Trump in March 2018, the spokesperson said. The dog was put into service in June.

In a statement, the Sheriff’s Office said the names of K-9s are left to the discretion of their human partners, and there’s currently no policy dictating how the dogs should be named.

“In the future, the Sheriff’s Office may consider directing Deputies to avoid naming their K9 partners after real people,” the statement said.

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©2019 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)


Fla. felon released for vehicular homicide leads police on high-speed pursuit

Posted on April 8, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Frank Fernandez The News-Journal, Daytona Beach, Fla.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — It didn't take long for trouble to again find a Daytona Beach man recently released from prison for causing a wreck that killed a man.

John Mai, 25, was back behind the wheel of a car on March 16, again speeding away from deputies, according to a statement released by the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.

Mai nearly hit several motorcycles and cars before crashing into a porch and bailing from the car before being arrested, wrote Andrew Gant, sheriff's spokesman, in an email.

The 25-year-old Mai was released Jan. 18 after serving about 7½ years of his 10-year prison sentence for vehicular homicide, aggravated fleeing and grand theft auto. Mai was only 17 on Jan. 9, 2010, when he sped away from an attempted traffic stop in the Daytona Beach area. Deputies did not chase him because a pursuit was not authorized but that didn't save Paul E. Outzen, 72, of DeLeon Springs, who was fatally injured when the stolen-vehicle driven by Mai crashed into his car at Tomoka Road and Madison Avenue.

Mai had ties to a street gang and by then had already fled from police at least three times before he crashed into and killed Outzen. He had also been arrested four times on charges of stealing cars. He was only 11 when he was first arrested on a charge of resisting an officer.

Arrested again for fleeing: 3/16/19

RECENTLY OUT OF PRISON FOR VEHICULAR HOMICIDE, DAYTONA MAN AGAIN FLEES AT HIGH SPEEDS A Daytona Beach man recently released after a 10-year prison sentence for vehicular homicide and aggravated fleeing/attempting to elude law enforcement was arrested again this weekend after he fled from Volusia County sheriff’s deputies, narrowly missed hitting several vehicles and eventually crashed into the front porch of a house. John Mai, 25 (DOB 7/3/1993), fled from a deputy doing proactive patrols in the Daytona Beach area around 10:35 p.m. Saturday. The crew on the Sheriff’s Office helicopter, Air One, had radioed to ground units that they were following a suspicious vehicle. When the deputy attempted a traffic stop, the car took off at high speed. Air One followed overhead, and other deputies were successful with stop sticks before Mai crashed the car at 236 N. Caroline St., Daytona Beach, and ran to a nearby apartment complex, where he was caught by Daytona Beach police officers. A passenger who also ran from the vehicle was not immediately located. Mai was charged with fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement, leaving the scene of a crash with damage, driving with a suspended license, resisting an officer without violence, possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was released from the Volusia County Branch Jail on Sunday morning after posting $12,500 bail. In 2011, Mai was sentenced to 10 years in prison for vehicular homicide, aggravated fleeing and grand theft auto after he crashed into a car while speeding away from a January 2010 attempted traffic stop in Daytona Beach. The crash killed Paul E. Outzen.

Posted by Volusia County Sheriff's Office on Monday, March 18, 2019

Sheriff Mike Chitwood, who was the police chief in Daytona Beach at the time, said on March 18 he remembers the wreck that killed Outzen and one of his dogs. He said Mai is a good example of his belief that 20 percent of the people commit 80 percent of the crimes.

"We are going to throw everything we can to have him stay in jail and keep him off the streets as long as we can," Chitwood said.

But for now Mai is free again after posting $12,500 bail.

Chitwood said deputies are asking the State Attorney's Office to revoke Mai's bond.

Saturday's arrest was not even Mai's first since his release from prison. Mai stopped his silver Nissan on South Nova Road about 1:38 a.m. on March 7 when an Ormond Beach Patrol car turned on its police lights. The officer said Mai was doing 63 mph in a 45 mph zone. Mai was charged with operating a vehicle with a suspended, canceled or revoked license. He was also charge with possession of narcotic paraphernalia. He was released several hours later after a bondsman paid the $1,000 bail.

Only 10 days later, Mai attracted the attention of the Sheriff's Office helicopter, Air One, about 10:35 p.m. on Saturday. The chopper's crew radioed deputies about a suspicious vehicle but when a deputy tried to stop Mai, he sped away at high speed, the release said.

As the helicopter followed, deputies used stop sticks to puncture at least one tire on Mai's car, which crashed at 236 N. Caroline St., Daytona Beach. Mai then ran but was quickly arrested. A passenger who also fled was not caught.

Mai was charged with fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement, leaving the scene of a crash with damage, driving with a suspended license, resisting an officer without violence, possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was released from the Volusia County Branch Jail on Sunday morning after posting $12,500 bail.

When Mai was sentenced in 2011 for the fatal wreck, he told then-Circuit Judge R. Michael Hutcheson, who now serves as a senior judge, that he wanted another chance.

Mai said that his childhood was marred by custody fights between his parents. He said he had earned his high-school equivalency diploma while in custody of the department of corrections, while awaiting trial.

Mai told the judge he thought about the crime "every day."

"It's depressing," Mai said in 2011. "I feel prison is just going to make me worse."

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©2019 The News-Journal, Daytona Beach, Fla.


Texas trooper critically wounded, suspect charged

Posted on April 8, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

The Monitor, McAllen, Texas

EDINBURG, Texas — The suspect accused of shooting a state trooper in Edinburg on Saturday has been charged with three counts of attempted capital murder of a peace officer, according to a tweet from the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Victor Alejandro Godinez, 24, was arraigned Sunday by Edinburg Municipal Judge Terry Palacios.

The three charges against Godinez, an Edinburg resident, are first degree felonies. The suspect’s bond was set at $1 million for each count.

Godinez led several law enforcement agencies, including federal, state and local departments, on a manhunt that ended sometime after 12:30 a.m. with his apprehension east of Mon Mack Road and State Highway 107 in Edinburg.

DPS on Sunday afternoon identified the trooper as Moises Sanchez, who according to a DPS tweet remains in stable but critical condition following surgery.

Rio Grande Valley residents have since taken to social media to express their support for Sanchez, and fellow law enforcement authorities from agencies throughout the South Texas region have also asked the public for prayers for the trooper and his family.

Donate for Sanchez’s medical expenses here: https://t.co/agVK1FC3ww

— MikeHGarcia (@MikeHGarcia1) April 8, 2019

PRAYER REQUEST: A group of Texas State Troopers gathered at the Basilica Sunday to pray for their brother Trooper Moises Sanchez who was shot Saturday night. @TxDPS reports Trooper Sanchez is in critical but stable condition, asks the public to lift him and his family in prayer. pic.twitter.com/HwYDxUgytN

— Brownsville Diocese (@CatholicRGV) April 8, 2019

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©2019 The Monitor (McAllen, Texas)


2 Ark. men in ballistic vests arrested for shooting each other

Posted on April 8, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Kate Feldman New York Daily News

An Arkansas man told police he had been shot multiple times in the back and chest through a ballistic vest while protecting an “asset.”

Instead, it turns out, he and a neighbor were drinking and decided to shoot each other.

Charles Eugene Ferris, 50, and Christopher Hicks, 36, were arrested on April 1 in connection with aggravated assault, but have not been officially charged yet, according to the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Ferris was taken to the hospital on March 31 after his wife heard a gunshot and saw a mark on his chest, according to a police affidavit.

He then reportedly told Deputy Dorian Hendrix that he had been shot five times in the back and once in the chest protecting an “asset.”

At some point, though, Ferris changed his story and admitted that his neighbor, Hicks, had shot him in the chest with a .22-caliber semi-automatic rifle while wearing the bullet-resistant vest.

Hicks then put on the vest and Ferris fired five bullets into Hicks’ back, according to the Democrat-Gazette.

Ferris was arrested after being released from the hospital and Hicks was arrested at his home.

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©2019 New York Daily News


4 adults, 2 kids shot and wounded at Chicago baby shower

Posted on April 8, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

CHICAGO — Two men who opened fire on a crowd of people gathered for a baby shower, wounding six people, including two children, may have acted in retaliation for an earlier gang conflict, police said Sunday.

Authorities have only "shards of information" about what happened at the family gathering in Chicago because witnesses are not cooperating, a police spokesman said, but investigators hope the serious nature of the children's injuries will prompt someone to talk.

"This is a very tragic incident. You have two young children, an 8-year-old and a 10-year-old, clinging to life," Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.

At least a dozen people were gathered outside a home decorated with balloons for the baby shower when two armed men approached on foot and began shooting about 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Guglielmi said.

The gunmen fired multiple rounds and ran away down an alley, he said.

An 8-year-old boy was shot in the chest and back, and a 10-year-old girl was shot in the leg. Both children were in critical but stable condition. Their names were not released.

Also shot were four other people — three men ranging in age from 23 to 48 and a 29-year-old woman. The woman was hospitalized in critical condition, and the two younger men were in stable condition.

The condition of the oldest man was unknown, and Guglielmi said it was unclear whether the woman who was hurt may have been the person who was pregnant.

People rushed inside the house when the shooting began. Children who had been playing in the yard reportedly started piling atop one another as they tried to get through the door.

"We were trying to pick the kids up, get the kids out of the way . they were going to get crushed," Richard Nix, whose grandson was having the shower, told The Chicago Tribune. "It wasn't nothing but kids in front of the house, sitting on the porch. They was just playing, and the shooting went off."

The shooting occurred in the West Englewood neighborhood of Chicago's South Side, and investigators had indications it was in retaliation for a previous incident, the spokesman said.

"It's part of a larger conflict that's going on in that area," Guglielmi said.

Another shooting occurred Sunday morning about three blocks from the home where the gunfire erupted, he said, but it was unclear whether there was any connection.

Authorities have struggled to contain violence in Chicago, the nation's third-largest city. Police said 561 homicides were committed in the city last year, a total that exceeded the number of killings in New York and Los Angeles combined.


Man arrested in death of Calif. Highway Patrol officer

Posted on April 8, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — A Southern California man was arrested on suspicion of murder and driving drunk in the death of a motorcycle officer with the California Highway Patrol, officials said Sunday.

Michael Callahan of Winchester was booked on the charges in the death of California Highway Patrol Sgt. Steve Licon, said Officer Steve Carapia.

Callahan is suspected of driving drunk Saturday afternoon when he crossed over the right shoulder of Interstate 15 in Lake Elsinore, crashing into Licon and a car he had pulled over for speeding.

Licon died at a nearby hospital. The family of four in the car he had pulled over weren't hurt.

It's unclear if Callahan has an attorney. Inmate records show he has a court appearance set for Wednesday.

Investigators believe the recommendation of a murder charge in the case is "completely appropriate," said Mario Lucio, special services commander of CHP's Inland division.

"We have uncovered evidence which shows gross negligence both during and before this tragic collision," Lucio said at a Sunday news conference.

He declined to explain what the evidence was. Ultimately, prosecutors will decide what charges to file.

Licon was a 27-year veteran of the agency and is survived by his wife, daughter and stepdaughter.

Licon's body was taken to the coroner's office in a slow and somber procession on Saturday night.

Acting Gov. Eleni Kounalakis ordered flags to be flown at half-staff at the state Capitol, and the California Highway Patrol is holding a bell tribute ceremony in his honor on Monday.

Carapia, who knew Licon for six years, said the sergeant was well-liked and known for his work ethic and a distinct and quirky high-pitched laugh.

"He had a great sense of humor," Carapia said. "You could hear him laughing from the sergeant's office. You could hear him coming down the hallway ... Just an all-around great human being."

He said Licon loved his job and the fact that his office was on a motorcycle.

"This is a tough one," he said. "It hits you to the core."

Lucio said Licon used to be his sergeant when he was coming up in the agency and helped shape his career and that of many other younger officers.

"He loved mentoring the troops," Lucio said. "The guy really spent time developing the officers he supervised."

He said the sergeant's death should be a strong reminder to the public that drinking and driving is never acceptable.

"We lost a darned good sergeant," he said. "He's going to be missed."

Police departments and officers across the state took to social media to post about Licon.

CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley said Licon was a great leader "who sacrificed his life serving the people of California."

CHP Headquarters tweeted that "our hearts are heavy ... Rest easy brother, we have the watch from here."


Iowa man facing terrorism charge after gun discharges in front of police

Posted on April 7, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Nancy Newhoff Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, Iowa

WAUKON — A Waukon man is jailed following an incident Saturday.

Loren Eugene Havens, 33, faces charges of felony terrorism, domestic assault, intimidation with a dangerous weapon (Class C felony), and reckless use of a firearm (aggravated misdemeanor).

The incident began when Waukon Police were called to 409 First Ave. NW on a report of a domestic assault of a juvenile. While at the residence the officer attempted to make contact with the suspect in the residence, when the suspect made a comment about someone dying. Havens then fired a .45-caliber gun.

No one was injured as a result of the firearm discharge.

The Waukon Police Department was assisted at the scene by the Allamakee County Sheriff’s Office, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and Waukon Veteran’s Memorial Hospital Ambulance Service.

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©2019 Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (Waterloo, Iowa)


Report: Man says NY blue-on-blue shooting stemmed from prank

Posted on April 7, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Associated Press

NEW YORK — A man charged in the blue-on-blue shooting death of a New York City police officer says the shooting stemmed from a "prank gone horribly wrong."

Christopher Ransom told the New York Daily News in an interview published Friday that he only meant to carry out a phony holdup of a T-Mobile store in Queens.

He said he carried a fake gun and that a friend videotaped the stunt.

Ransom said he returned the workers' money but police were already responding and opened fire. The shooting claimed the life of Det. Brian Simonsen and wounded Sgt. Matthew Gorman.

He told the newspaper that he was not a "monster" and that he didn't anticipate what happened.

Ransom faces murder and other charges in Simonsen's death.


Calif. Highway Patrol officer killed, 2 other people hurt in crash

Posted on April 7, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. — Authorities say a California Highway Patrol Officer was killed and at least two other people were injured in a crash on a freeway in Lake Elsinore, the Los Angeles Times reports .

The CHP and the Riverside County Fire Department say the crash on Interstate 15 occurred about 4:30 p.m. Saturday. As of 8 p.m., all southbound lanes between Nichols Road and Indian Truck Trail remained closed, according to the California Department of Transportation.

The CHP on its Facebook page identified the motorcycle officer killed in the crash as Sgt. Steve Licon, the Times reports. Authorities told the Times that it appears that Licon was hit by an "errant driver" while conducting a traffic stop on the shoulder of the freeway.

"Our hearts are heavy after the immeasurable loss of a friend, father, husband, and hero," the CHP said in a statement. "Rest easy brother, we have the watch from here."

Our hearts are heavy after the immeasurable loss of a friend, father, husband, and hero. Sergeant Steve Licon, #13348,...

Posted by California Highway Patrol on Saturday, April 6, 2019


Chicago mayor-elect wants re-examination of code of silence case

Posted on April 6, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

CHICAGO — Chicago Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot wants her former colleagues at the U.S attorney's office to re-examine the acquittals of three police officers accused of covering up the police shooting of Laquan McDonald.

A judge in January found the officers not guilty of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and official misconduct.

Former Officer Joseph Walsh, Officer Thomas Gaffney and former Detective David March were accused of lying in their reports to protect Officer Jason Van Dyke, who was convicted of murdering McDonald.

In an interview with NPR's "Morning Edition," Lightfoot said federal prosecutors should reopen their grand jury investigation. She says if they determine there are no civil rights violations they can bring against the officers, "they need to have a fulsome grand jury report."

Martin Preib of the Fraternal Order of Police says Lightfoot's appeal is "disappointing."


Calif. officers help deliver baby inside McDonald’s

Posted on April 6, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By Ashleigh Panoo The Fresno Bee

FRESNO, Calif. — A woman gave birth to a baby at a McDonald’s restaurant in Madera, California, police say.

It happened Monday night when the woman went into labor in the lobby, according to a Madera police Facebook post.

It’s not everyday you get to help deliver a new born baby at McDonalds. Last night, officers responded to McDonalds...

Posted by City of Madera Police Department on Tuesday, April 2, 2019

When officers and paramedics from Pistoresi Ambulance arrived, they realized there was no time to transport the mom.

So they helped deliver the baby at the fast food restaurant, ushering into the world a healthy baby boy.

The woman and baby were then taken to the hospital, where they are doing well, police said.

“It’s not everyday you get to help deliver a new born baby at McDonald’s,” the post read.

As unique as the situation may seem, this isn’t the first time a baby has been born at a McDonald’s.

In fact, a baby was born in late March inside a McDonald’s restroom stall in Illinois.

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©2019 The Fresno Bee (Fresno, Calif.)


Sheriff suspended in Parkland shooting appeals judge’s ruling

Posted on April 6, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A Florida sheriff who was suspended after the Parkland school shooting is appealing a judge's decision to dismiss his lawsuit challenging his suspension.

A judge ruled Thursday that Gov. Ron DeSantis' executive order removing Scott Israel as Broward County sheriff was consistent with the Florida Constitution. DeSantis has said Israel displayed poor leadership and failed to keep children safe before and during the Valentine's Day 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 people dead.

The sheriff has said DeSantis overstepped his constitutional authority and interfered with the public's right to determine their elected official. He appealed the dismissal of his lawsuit to Florida's Fourth District Court of Appeal.

"The constitutional question involving the Governor's political use of the limited suspension power is so very important that it should be resolved by Florida's appellate courts," Israel's attorneys said in a statement Friday. "Sheriff Israel's appeal will ask the appellate judges to constrain the Governor's suspension and removal power, restricting it to what has historically been allowed for clear violations of constitutional and statutory duties of elected officials. "

The Florida Legislature, which must approve DeSantis' decision to suspend Israel, is reviewing the matter, but says it would wait for Israel's court proceedings to play out.

After the judge's ruling Thursday, the governor said in a statement he pleased that the "court recognizes my authority as governor to suspend a public official for reasons of neglect of duty and incompetence," and said he will ask the Senate to move forward with its review.

Several parents of slain students had pushed the newly elected Republican governor to remove Israel, a Democrat. Calls for Israel's ouster began shortly after the shooting when it was revealed that the deputy assigned to guard the school, Scot Peterson, had not gone into the building to confront the shooter, but took cover outside.

Before the shooting, Israel had changed his department's policy to say deputies "may" confront shooters, instead of "shall." Critics say that gave eight deputies an excuse for not confronting the gunman during the shooting.


NJ stops training police dogs to sniff out weed

Posted on April 6, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey has halted training state police dogs to sniff out pot.

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal told lawmakers Wednesday that a pending proposal to legalize recreational marijuana led police to stop training them to detect the odor of burnt cannabis.

He says dogs already trained to detect the scent could be used in other settings where marijuana would be prohibited, such as jails and schools. He added that it's possible to train the dogs to detect marijuana in the future if needed, but it's impossible to "un-train" dogs who already recognize the odor.

Grewal spoke at an Assembly budget hearing after a lawmaker asked how police dogs would be affected if recreational weed becomes legal.

New Jersey would be the 11th state with recreational marijuana if a proposal goes forward.


Texas study shows majority of interactions with officers end in conversation

Posted on April 5, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By PoliceOne Staff

ARANSAS PASS, Texas — Researchers at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi have released results of a study reviewing how police interact with civilians.

The 12-month study researched body camera footage from the Aransas Pass Police Department with the goal of determining whether specific factors, such as race and gender, correlate with the nature and outcomes of interactions.

“The majority of citizens have few personal interactions with police, but what they do have is a constant barrage of negative exposure to police-citizen interactions via the news or social media,” said Associate Professor of Criminal Justice Dr. Wendi Pollock. “Studying the number and nature of police-citizen contacts can potentially increase transparency between the two units, thereby improving safety, trust, and quality of these interactions.”

The department began outfitting the officers with cameras in 2012 when less than 10 percent of police departments nationwide were using the tool. By 2014, the entire department was equipped with cameras. They also archive footage for a year, unlike many departments that only archive videos for 60-90 days.

The research team randomly selected 600 out of 30,000 videos from the department that included officer-citizen interactions to analyze, with most of the clips being recorded before the officers knew the videos would be used in the study.

It took the team about 18 months to review all the footage.

“It was incredibly time-consuming to watch and code each interaction, somewhere around 325 hours of video,” said Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Sarah Scott, “but because we were watching video and not relying on research observations during a police officer ride-along, we were able to observe interactions as they occurred, without our presence influencing anyone’s behavior.”

Results found that force of any kind was rare and police-citizen interactions in the department were not influenced by gender or race. The likelihood of a citizen getting arrested or receiving an citation was mostly tied to whether they were pulled over for a traffic violation or intoxicated. Out of the 600 videos, a majority ended in a positive outcome.

Other major conclusions included police-citizen interactions were slightly more likely to be initiated by officers than civilians and the interaction was highly initiated through traffic stops. By a large margin, interactions with police most likely ended in conversation.

In only three incidents did citizens have force threatened or used against them, with none being lethal.

“The people of Aransas Pass should feel good,” Pollock said. “They can trust that their police officers generally see them as more than just someone being pulled over. Aransas Pass Police will listen to them, try to help them, and above all, seem to be willing to do their best to treat citizens with dignity and respect. Citizens can now trust that – not just because their PD says it – but because an outside group of independent researchers conducted a systematic observation of cases and found it to be true.”


Colo. undersheriff shot in face while trying to stop woman’s suicide

Posted on April 5, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Kieran Nicholson The Denver Post

SAN JUAN COUNTY, Colo. — San Juan County Undersheriff Steve Lowrance was shot in the face early Tuesday as he attempted to stop a woman who fatally shot herself, according to the sheriff’s office.

The incident unfolded when deputies responded to a high-speed pursuit on U.S. 550 out of La Plata County, the sheriff’s office said.

Deputies stopped the vehicle, and Lowrance suffered facial wounds while trying to “prevent the driver from her actions,” according to a Facebook post. The driver died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the sheriff’s office said.

In the early hours of April 2nd, 2019, San Juan County Officers responded to a high speed pursuit on Highway 550...

Posted by San Juan County Sheriff's Office, Colorado on Tuesday, April 2, 2019

San Juan County Coroner Keri Metzler on Wednesday identified the woman as Amanda Maes, 30, of Colorado Springs, according to the Silverton Standard & the Miner newspaper.

Lowrance was taken to Mercy Regional Medical Center, in Durango, where he was treated and released. He’s expected to recover fully.

Two passengers in the eluding vehicle were taken into custody and held at the La Plata County jail. The incident is being investigated by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

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©2019 The Denver Post


Can we cut distracted driver-related vehicle crashes to a minimum?

Posted on April 5, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Sponsored by Mobileye

By Yoona Ha, PoliceOne BrandFocus Staff

Over the past few decades, hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on initiatives designed to warn drivers of the dangers of driving. Despite all that, traffic fatalities are still at a troublesome high.

The National Safety Council, a nonprofit that works closely with federal auto safety regulators, revealed that close to 40,000 people were killed in roadway and highway-related incidents over the past three years. Among those victims are law enforcement officers, who also struggle with traffic-related accidents, which are the leading cause of death among officers.

Numbers from the FBI and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund bear grim news that more officers are dying on roads and highways than in years past, and the consistent uptick has made reducing the rate of on-duty deaths a high priority for police leaders everywhere. So where does a police chief begin with these facts in mind?

Occupational distractions

The reality is that today we live in a world where there are more opportunities for distraction on the road. What makes matters more challenging is that police officers must consider cognitive distractions (such as needing to be on the lookout for law violations on the road while driving) and visual distractions (such as checking the radar and on-board computer for more information).

This hasn’t changed since 2013, when Kevin Navarro, a driving instructor and police leader of ALERT International, warned that, “Officers sometimes forget the dangers because they’ve become so used to juggling radios, phones and computers that give important information.”

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration advises that drivers should never take their eyes off the road for more than two seconds – but how is an officer to keep his or her eyes on the road, look out for suspicious behavior and manage the various devices inside of a patrol car?

Mobileye has an answer: Why not implement a collision avoidance system in your patrol fleet that will act as a second set of eyes for officers on the road?

A second set of eyes on the road: How it works

Mobileye designed and adapted the collision avoidance system, known as the Mobileye 6 Series, specifically with law enforcement needs in mind. Sometimes law enforcement officers find themselves spontaneously pursuit drive when the situation calls for it. Unlike other collision avoidance systems, the system offers a pursuit mode that silences non-critical alerts for drivers so there isn’t an unnecessary distraction.

The Mobileye 6 Series also doesn’t collect or save any data, plus the system can be easily installed inside of any police cruiser with windshield wipers. Mobileye’s collision avoidance system can be retrofitted to vehicles already in your fleet. In addition, a huge upside for departments is that there’s a minimal learning curve involved to use the system, which lifts the training burden departments often have to face when they choose to leverage a new technology.

Travis Sanders, southeast regional sales manager for Mobileye, explains that the system watches the road on behalf of cops by scanning ahead for potentially dangerous situations and alerting the officer to act and mitigate the danger.

The collision avoidance technology issues five different audio and visual alerts:

Lane-departure warnings: When an officer departs his lane without a turn signal on, Mobileye issues a lane departure warning. A recent study found that if all U.S. cars in 2015 were equipped with lane-departure warning systems, it could prevent nearly 85,000 crashes and more than 55,000 injuries.

Headway monitoring warnings: These warnings help drivers maintain a safe following distance between the vehicles ahead of them to help officers keep a safe distance to stop if the vehicle ahead of them comes to an abrupt halt.

Forward collision warnings: Mobileye’s system scans the area in front of the police vehicle to detect all kinds of vehicles (including motorcycles). With rear-end collisions so common (from 2012 to 2014 almost half of two-vehicle crashes were rear-end collisions), this alert is issued when the system detects an imminent rear-end collision. It will provide up to 2.7 seconds of early warning for the officer, thus giving them additional time to react to the situation. Also available in urban environments, at speeds below 19 miles per hour.

Pedestrian and cyclist detection warnings: Mobileye’s collision avoidance technology works during daytime to alert the driver of a possible collision through audio and visual alerts. The early alert gives the officer enough time to take corrective action and avoid or mitigate a collision.

Speed limit indicator: Going above the speed limit can be dangerous for drivers. Mobileye’s speed limit indicator is a smart detection system that keeps the driver aware of the speed limits while on the road. The driver is notified by a visual alert if he or she is exceeding the speed limit signs along the route.

Keeping officers safe and focused on the road

“Mobileye’s system issues proactive alerts during the most critical moments that lead up to a crash,” said Sanders. “The average return on investment, including significantly lower car accident rates, is seen under 12 months.”

Police departments across the nation, like the Polk County Sheriff’s Office in Florida, are already using patrol cars outfitted with Mobileye’s collision avoidance system, and Mobileye helps fleet managers configure the system to meet their officers’ needs.

“One memorable moment for me was an officer from the Florida Sheriff’s Association sharing an email from his colleague that said, ‘If it were not for Mobileye’s system, I would have rear-ended this car doing 60 miles per hour,” Sanders said. “It’s feedback of all forms that help us address real-life scenarios that can mean life or death.”

Down the road, as more distractions are added and the complexity of in-car patrol gadgets increases, even the most experienced drivers may find themselves at risk of a vehicle collision. The good news is that officers can now take a proactive stance to tackle the problem of vehicle collision-related deaths and injuries by using systems that act as a second pair of undistracted eyes.


Photo of the Week: Father and son get the job done

Posted on April 5, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Author: PoliceOne Members

This week's photo comes from Officer Anthony Lara of the Gridley-Biggs Police Department in California. Pictured is Lara and his son in front of a mural painted outside of his department. What a cool dad!

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!


Detroit settles with family of girl killed in police raid

Posted on April 5, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

DETROIT — The city of Detroit reached an $8.25 million settlement Thursday with the family of a 7-year-old girl accidentally killed by a police officer during a 2010 raid.

Detroit Corporation Counsel Lawrence Garcia announced the settlement with the family of Aiyana Stanley-Jones four days before a civil trial was to begin.

"Aiyana's death was a tragic loss for her family and has been a heavy burden on our community. We believe today's settlement is fair because it balances the needs of Aiyana's family and our responsibility for the city's finances. We hope this resolution will provide everyone involved a measure of closure," Garcia said in a statement.

The girl was shot in the head while she slept on a couch. Joseph Weekley, a member of an elite police unit, was the first officer through the door of her home during a chaotic search for a murder suspect. He says he accidentally fired his gun during a struggle with Aiyana's grandmother.

The family's attorney, Geoffrey Fieger, said the settlement should allow the family, the city and Weekley to move on from the tragedy. He said the settlement "won't provide full justice. The only full justice would be to bring Aiyana back and I can't do that."

The settlement still needs approval from the Detroit City Council.

The Michigan Supreme Court last September cleared the way for a trial or settlement when it declined to hear an appeal after two courts ruled a jury could decide whether Weekley's actions amounted to gross negligence.

Weekley was charged with involuntary manslaughter, but a judge dismissed that charge during a second trial in 2014.

Chauncey Owens, whom police were searching for in the raid, was eventually arrested in a second-floor unit of the duplex where the girl and her family lived. Owens was later convicted of murder in the death of 17-year-old Je'rean Blake, who was fatally shot outside a convenience store days before the raid. The girl's father, Charles Jones, was convicted of second-degree murder for providing the gun used to kill Blake.


Suspect held in 4 slayings at ND business

Posted on April 5, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

MANDAN, N.D. — Police following evidence from surveillance video arrested a 44-year-old man Thursday in the slayings of four people at a property management business, just days after the discovery of their bodies shook a North Dakota town.

Mandan Police Chief Jason Ziegler announced the arrest at a news conference Thursday night, saying police don't yet have a motive but noting that the suspect lived on property managed by the company, RJR Maintenance and Management.

Ziegler said the suspect lived in Washburn, a town about 35 miles (56 kilometers) north of Mandan, and was arrested without incident. He had not been formally charged but was being held on suspicion of four counts of felony murder.

"Evidence discovered on (the suspect) and in the vehicle provided probable cause to place (him) under arrest for the murders," Ziegler said. He did not elaborate on the evidence.

The dead were identified earlier this week as RJR co-owner Robert Fakler, 52, and employees Adam Fuehrer, 42; Lois Cobb, 45; and William Cobb, 50. The Cobbs were married.

Ziegler also revealed Thursday night that the four had been shot or stabbed.

Police had released little information about their investigation in the days following the discovery of the bodies after authorities responded to a medical call Monday. Homicides are unusual in Mandan, a town of about 22,000 just across the Missouri River from the state capital of Bismarck that hadn't had a slaying since 2016 — and had only three in the past six years.

"It's been a difficult week for everyone involved," Mayor Tim Helbling said.

A court appearance was likely Friday. Felony murder carries a maximum punishment of life in prison without parole. North Dakota does not have the death penalty.

The suspect had no criminal history immediately evident in state or federal court in North Dakota.

Ziegler said police are not looking for anyone else and were focusing on "putting everything together so we can get prosecution on this and bring (the suspect) to justice."

He added: "Just because we've got him ... this is far from over. Now comes the long process of prosecution."

It wasn't immediately clear if the man had an attorney representing him.

Police had said the attack "was specific to the victims," and they didn't feel the public was in danger. Ziegler declined to say whether all four were targeted.

Earlier Thursday, police declined to release details of a 911 call that alerted authorities to the slayings. The Associated Press and other media outlets asked for audio and a transcript of the 911 call, but police denied the requests, citing a provision of the state's open records law that allows authorities to withhold such information during an active investigation.

The company's website says it has handled commercial and residential properties in the area for more than 20 years. Its services include collecting rent for landlords, paying mortgages, re-renting apartments, building and grounds maintenance, lawn care and snow removal. It also rents out storage units.

The RJR building is somewhat isolated despite its location in a business district near a busy main road known as The Strip. A large empty lot sits in the front, a golf course in back and a soccer complex to one side.

A combined memorial service for the victims was planned for Tuesday at Bismarck Community Church, according to Eastgate Funeral and Cremation Service.


NYPD’s secret weapon in standoffs – a simple length of rope

Posted on April 5, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

NEW YORK — The New York Police Department has all the latest crime-fighting tools: body cameras, algorithms, even drones.

But it is now widely deploying a far simpler technology, a 5½-foot (1½-meter) piece of rope, to help officers deal with one of the diciest kinds of calls.

The department this year started training all 35,000 officers in a technique of using a length of rope to secure the door of a home where a distressed person is threatening harm, temporarily trapping them until backup arrives. The rope makes it virtually impossible for the person inside to burst through the door and cause harm.

The idea, commanders said, is to avoid having gun-toting officers, perhaps only lightly trained in dealing with such situations, in the same adrenaline-charged space as someone acting irrationally, waving a kitchen knife or a pistol.

Officers Jesse Trap and Paulton Chan used the rope last month when they responded to a call of a "person in distress" who had holed up in a Brooklyn apartment.

The door was chained but the officers were able to see that the man had an object that looked like a gun. Remembering a demonstration a sergeant had given them a few weeks earlier, they tied the rope to the handle of the apartment door and pulled tight to prevent the man from bursting into the hallway.

"That gave us time to call for backup and gave us time to reassess the situation," Chan said. "We don't want the distressed person inside to hurt himself or come out and hurt the public. It gave us time."

Chan held the rope while Trap tried to speak with the man. Chan, protecting his hands from rope burns with gloves bought at Home Depot, said he felt the door wiggle as the man inside tried to open it.

The technique has actually been a mainstay for decades in the NYPD's emergency services unit, which has extra training and tools for dealing with people in distress and is often called in by patrol officers to try and diffuse potentially dangerous situations. But it is now being disseminated to the whole force.

The NYPD has changed how its officers interact with what it refers to as "emotionally disturbed people" after a rash of fatal encounters. The department fielded 180,000 calls for people in that state last year. Over the last three years, officers killed 14 people showing signs of emotional distress.

Some involved people who were shot by the police in their own homes and hadn't posed an immediate danger to anyone else until officers arrived, according to their families.

Robert Lukach, the deputy chief of the special operations unit, suggested to the department that providing all officers with a rope and a door wedge —another way to keep the door shut — could help calm those situations. Instead of rushing in and escalating the risk of violence, officers are using the rope to build a buffer and buy time.

Police also say that, by deescalating the situation, using the rope lessens the chances that the person inside will harm himself or herself.

"Now they're able to control that door and there's not a surprise all of a sudden that somebody comes out with a weapon and then they're confronted, and they have to make a split-second decision," Lukach said.

The department said it cost $114,000 for the citywide rollout of the kits, including the rope, wedge and a water-resistant pouch.

Lukach recently demonstrated the technique at an NYPD training facility mocked up to look like an apartment building hallway officers might encounter.

Lukach and Capt. Ronald Zedalis portrayed officers responding to a call like the one in Brooklyn, carefully securing the door with a rope while Sgt. Kenneth O'Brien acted out the typical responses of the person inside.

"I have a knife. Leave me alone!" O'Brien said.

"OK. Just stay in there, sir. Stay in there," Lukach responded after tying the rope to the door handle. "Don't try to come out. I have control of the door."

The rope's length allows officers to stand away from the doorway — and out of the area police call the "fatal funnel" because a gunman will tend to aim there if he or she decides to open fire.

Officers are instructed to make a loop and knot the rope tightly around the handle, then to pull it tight. Rope only works to secure doors that open inward. The NYPD uses wedges, which are basically door stops, for doors that open outward. The rope is always placed, never thrown like a lasso, onto a door handle. Officers will carry the rope in a kit in their cars.

"This is not the wild west," Sgt. Thomas Brogan said.

The Brooklyn standoff ended peacefully after about six hours. Police flew a drone outside the apartment window — in a first-of-its-kind use for the department — to confirm that the man was surrendering. The 49-year-old man, whose name was not disclosed by police, was taken to a hospital.

The object in the man's hand turned out to be a harmless imitation pistol.

"At the end of the day, we want to go home safe," Trap said. "We want everyone else to go home safe and we want the person to go home safe. The rope really offered us that opportunity to build something between us and the person and get them out nice and safe."


Man sentenced to 30 years in death of Milwaukee officer

Posted on April 5, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

MILWAUKEE — A man convicted of leading Milwaukee police on a high-speed chase that resulted in the death of an officer has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Ladell William Harrison pleaded guilty in February to six charges in the June 2018 death of Officer Charles Irvine Jr., who was a passenger in a squad car that was chasing Harrison after he fled a traffic stop. The cruiser lost control and rolled several times before landing on its roof.

Prosecutors said Thursday that the sentence was needed to send a message to the community that fleeing from police will not be tolerated.

The court heard victim statements from Officer Matthew Schulze, who was driving the squad car at the time of the crash, as well as Irvine's family.


Man accused of shooting La. officer captured

Posted on April 5, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Claire Taylor The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.

ABBEVILLE, La. —The Abbeville man accused in the non-fatal shooting of an Abbeville Police officer Wednesday night has been captured.

Nahshon Ishmael Brooks, 29, was apprehended in Lafayette Parish, Louisiana State Police Troop I spokesman Trooper Thomas Gossen said in a release. He said Brooks was captured around 10 p.m. and will be brought to the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center before being transferred to the Vermilion Parish Jail.

Brooks was accused of shooting a female police officer following a traffic stop on Alley Street. The suspect reportedly fled on foot toward North Gertrude Street and shot at the police officer as she pursued him.

Several agencies were involved in the arrest, including the U.S. Marshal's Service, Louisiana State Police, Lafayette Sheriff's Office, Lafayette Police Department, Abbeville Police Department, Abbeville City Marshal's Office and the Vermilion Parish Sheriff's Office, Gossen said.

The officer, who has not been named by police, was reportedly shot in the shoulder and airlifted to a hospital. She was in stable condition Wednesday night.

Brooks is wanted on charges of attempted first-degree murder, carrying a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a firearm in a gun-free zone, state police said in a news release.

Anyone with information about the location of Brooks is asked to call Louisiana State Police at 337-262-5880.

Brooks has been arrested before for shooting someone in Abbeville. He was arrested in 2017 for an attempted second-degree murder the prior year, according to news reports and court records.

News reports from February 2016 indicate police were searching for an Abbeville man by the same name, 25 years old at the time, for allegedly shooting and critically injuring a man on St. Peter Street. He was extradited from North Carolina in January 2017 after he was arrested in Brunswick County, North Carolina, in June 2016 while officers served a warrant for the arrest of someone else at a home, according to a news report at the time.

Brooks was charged with attempted second-degree murder, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a firearm in a gun-free zone.

Vermilion Parish court records show in 2018 he pleaded guilty to the amended charge of aggravated battery. He was sentenced to six years at hard labor, all but one year suspended, and received credit for time served. He also was placed on two years probation.

North Carolina records show he also was indicted in Brunswick County, North Carolina, in April 2012 for attempted breaking and entering a motor vehicle and attempted first-degree burglary of a home in February 2012. He pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of attempted breaking and entering of a motor vehicle and was sentenced to 45 days, with credit for 45 days he spent in jail prior to sentencing.

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©2019 The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.


Ga. deputy dies from ‘medical event’ during training

Posted on April 5, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Zachary Hansen The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — A 29-year-old deputy died after suffering a “traumatic medical event” during a training exercise, authorities said.

Forsyth County Deputy Sheriff Spencer Englett collapsed during his first day of training at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Pickens County, Sheriff Ron Freeman said in a news release Thursday.

Englett, who was recently married, was rushed to Piedmont Mountainside Medical Center in Jasper where he died, the release said. It’s unclear what the “traumatic medical event” was that led to his death.

He had been with the sheriff’s office since May 2017, the release said. He previously worked for the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office.

“He was an exemplary deputy who served Forsyth County with distinction and honor,” Freeman said in the release. “We ask all to keep Deputy Englett’s wife and family as well as the FCSO family in your prayers during this difficult time.”

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©2019 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)


2 officers wounded in Ga. standoff that killed 3 people

Posted on April 5, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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ATLANTA — A standoff that began when two Georgia police officers were shot and wounded has ended with a 16-year-old boy and a pregnant woman killed by a gunman who then killed himself, authorities said.

The two officers were responding to a domestic disturbance Thursday morning when they came under fire by the gunman, who then barricaded himself inside the house. A standoff ensued for the next 15 hours as police pleaded with the gunman to release the teenager from the home in Stockbridge, south of Atlanta.

Police were hopeful, saying that a negotiator was speaking with the gunman.

"With communication with the individual, at least he's talking — that's helpful," Henry County police Capt. Joey Smith said at a Thursday afternoon news conference. "We're going to wait as long as we can."

However, by late Thursday night, the gunman was refusing to surrender and would not "provide proof of the well-being" of the teenager and the woman inside. So commanders made the decision to deploy gas inside the home, police said.

"The suspect fired numerous rounds at SWAT officers and vehicles," police said in an update on social media late Thursday.

Blood was seen on the floor of the garage by the 911 caller, and officers were sent to check on the residents, Henry County spokeswoman Melissa Robinson said late Thursday.

Finally, in the pre-dawn hours Friday, police forced their way into the home and found three bodies. Their identities haven't been released.

However, Anetria White told reporters at the scene that the woman who died was her sister, a nurse at WellStar Health System who had been working to get more training through Georgia Southern University. White also said the teenager was her nephew, and that he played football at nearby Dutchtown High School.

In an interview with WAGA-TV , White said she was the one who called 911 when she went to the home and saw blood.

White broke down in tears as she described seeing blood and then enduring hours of anguish and worry, "and then you find out that all three of them were gone," she said.

The identities of the three people killed haven't been released by authorities. The coroner's office Friday morning referred questions to Smith, who wasn't immediately available Friday.

The officers were hospitalized at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. Both were expected to survive, Smith said Thursday. One of them was struck in the hand and the other in the torso and hip area.

"I think the less injured officer was able to aid the other and get him out of the house," Smith said.

Henry County has endured multiple shootings of police officers in the past two years.

In December, Henry County Officer Michael Smith was shot at a dentist's office and died of his wounds about three weeks later. Employees at the dentist's office had called police about a man who had been acting erratically, and Smith was shot as he confronted the man.

In February 2018, Locust Grove Officer Chase Maddox, 26, was shot in the head and killed in the Henry County town he patrolled. Two Henry County sheriff's deputies were also wounded in that shooting as the three law enforcement officers tried to serve an arrest warrant at a home.


Street Survival: The survival triangle

Posted on April 5, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Lt. Dan Marcou
Author: Lt. Dan Marcou

In recognition of the release of “Street Survival II: Tactics for Deadly Encounters,” I am writing a series of articles on street survival designed to turn the tables on the current generation of cop-killing criminals. In this series I will share the tactics I acquired during a career dedicated not only to ensuring my own personal survival but assisting other officers in their quest to survive as well.

The challenge faced by all law enforcement officers is to find a way to survive not just a shift, but your entire career in law enforcement physically, legally and emotionally.

To achieve this takes a commitment to total survival, from day one through to retirement. This is best done by constantly strengthening every point of the survival triangle, which consists of:

Tactics; Shooting skills; Mental and physical conditioning.

Even though there are only three points to a triangle, let’s put another right in the middle for good measure:

Equipment and tools. TACTICS

Most careers start with recruits becoming “competent” in arrest and control tactics, building search tactics, communication tactics and vehicle contact tactics to name a few.

However, as these officers’ careers progress, these “basic” tactical skills deteriorate because they are not reinforced by ongoing training. Some officers even set aside good tactics, as they surrender to the siren’s song of complacency.

In contrast, the officer committed to total personal survival chooses to master the basics and expand their options by learning additional and advanced tactics.

SHOOTING SKILLS

If you check officer vs. criminal gunfight hit ratios, you will see the result of many agencies only requiring their officers to shoot once, or possibly twice a year. It is inconceivable how any boss could believe they have done everything within their power to ensure their officers’ survival by offering police firearms training annually.

Administrators arranging once-a-year training do this out of concern for their own liability rather than their officers’ survivability. Sadly, there are officers okay with this shooting schedule and others still who must be physically dragged to the range to shoot once a year.

Honorable gunfighting is a psychomotor skill, combined with knowledge of the law and a proper mind-set, that must be developed and maintained over a lifetime. This takes ongoing training, which includes:

    Marksmanship; Shooting while moving drills; Shooting at a variety of distances; Decision shooting; Shooting under a variety of lighting conditions; Shooting while properly using cover and concealment; Shooting and reloading; Shooting while incorporating malfunction clearing; Shooting under extreme stress; Force-on-force scenario training; Isolation exercises; Shooting with full duty gear and duty ammunition; Classroom training on ethical/defensible use of force and legal considerations; All the above done with all weapons available to officers.
PHYSICAL CONDITIONING

All police officers should regularly engage in physical activities that not only improve an officer’s physical health, but also prepares them to control resistive suspects, capture fleeing suspects and prevail during any physical attack.

Recommended activities should be designed to enhance:

    Cardiovascular strength and endurance; Muscular strength and endurance; Muscular and joint flexibility; Psychomotor skills (controlling/fighting skills) training.

Police work is a contact sport, except that it is not really a sport at all. A police officer has much more to lose than a professional athlete and therefore more reason to train for the next unscheduled event. Skills training requires a level of repetition that builds in realistic intensity to prepare for those times when you must react immediately or be added to your team’s injured reserve list…or worse.

Few agencies can afford to pay an officer to physically achieve and maintain fitness as well as achieve a truly competitive level of physical skills on the street. To default on physical training leaves many officers not only ill-prepared for a deadly physical encounter, but also physically unhealthy.

MENTAL CONDITIONING

Mental conditioning is a major component to not only surviving but also enjoying your career. We must prepare ourselves mentally for what we will see, experience and do in law enforcement.

As mentioned earlier, you must train to immediately react to a physical threat; however, you can be more deliberative with your mental/emotional response according to the late Viktor Frankl, a noted psychologist and survivor of Auschwitz. In his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” Frankl described a space between a deed experienced and that person’s emotional reaction to the deed. This space allows time for the aggrieved to choose how he or she will react. Frankl called this “response ability,” which allows a person to decide to mentally/emotionally to react positively, or negatively.

As a young officer who read the book before entering my career I adopted this practice and chose in a world surrounded by cynicism and negativity to practice the discipline of staying positive every day. This practice helped me to stay active and enjoy my career right up to the day I retired.

However sometimes officers experience situations so traumatic they need to admit they need some help gaining a healthy perspective. An agency environment must be created where officers feel comfortable asking for emotional help.

EQUIPMENT AND TOOLS

Having the best tool for the task will lead to the best results and a variety of tools can give officers a variety of options. Here are two questions:

    Administrators, are you driven to acquire the best tools and equipment to ensure your officers succeed and survive? Officers, if you find yourself poorly equipped/trained by your agency, do you improve your odds of survival by pursuing additional training and better equipment on your own time and on your own dime?
CONCLUSION

You are in the best position to look at the survival triangle and determine your strengths, as well as where you need improvement. It is possible to survive the physical, legal and emotional challenges of law enforcement when you consciously take responsibility for your own survival.

By proactively acquiring the tactics, equipment, skills and conditioning you need when you find yourself suddenly thrust into that “mudroom” between life and death, you will be one of those many officers who live to declare, “I saw the flash of his gun…and then my training kicked in!”


Book Review: Street Survival II

Posted on April 5, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Mike Wood
Author: Mike Wood

When I was a young man, my dad took several of his precious days off from the job to attend a multi-day seminar titled “Street Survival,” after the name of a recently released police book from a new company called Calibre Press.

Although it was tough to find room in the family budget for the tuition (safety-conscious cops have always had to spend their own money to supplement the meager training they receive from their departments), it was money well spent. The lessons he learned in the ground-breaking officer safety program helped keep him safe and get him home to his family each night, and you just can’t put a price on that.

Nothing like it

There had never been a book quite like “Street Survival” when it was published in March 1980. Pierce Brooks’ “…officer down, code three” had helped usher in the fledgling “officer survival” movement when it was published five years earlier, but Brooks’ effort was more focused on the mental aspects of officer safety. Through a series of stories based on actual incidents, Brooks helped to identify and encourage a survival mind-set, but his book was light on tactics and procedure.

In contrast, “Street Survival” was a virtual “how-to” for policing. Critical concepts and theory were covered, but what made “Street Survival” unique was its detailed focus on the tactics, techniques and procedures police officers should follow to ensure their safety. Diagrams and photos showed officers how to use cover, how to counter a disarm attempt, how to reload a weapon with one hand injured and how to conduct a search. Officers could learn better handcuffing techniques, tactics for a high-risk stop and how to clear a malfunction in one of the semiauto pistols that were just starting to make inroads in police work.

“Street Survival” became an instant classic because it filled a desperate need. Police training honestly wasn’t very good or comprehensive in many parts of America in 1980. A lot of training lacked context and realism, and in some places, officers were put on the street without any formal training at all. Agencies didn’t share much information with each other, and most officers didn’t have access to police training beyond what their agency provided…which often wasn’t very much.

“Street Survival” helped change that. It provided vital information many officers had never seen before, and shared best practices with officers who had no other way to discover them. The accompanying Street Survival Seminars – inspired by the book’s success – had an even more dramatic effect on learning, because they brought officers from all over the country together to share their experience and knowledge. The seminar’s presenters often learned as much from the audience as the audience learned from them, and Calibre Press wisely incorporated this new knowledge into the presentation. As such, the seminar continuously improved, and the information never got stale.

Updating a classic

Tens – maybe hundreds – of thousands of cops around the nation have read “Street Survival” and been exposed to its lifesaving lessons. It’s still full of good information and will always be a classic in police education, but some of the content is dated by today’s standards. While some things about policing will never change, it’s still a dynamic profession and there’s no way a text written in 1980 could do a good job of addressing all the challenges faced by street cops today.

Nobody understood this more than Lieutenant (Ret.) Jim Glennon, the current owner of Calibre Press. As a cop for 29 years and a lead instructor for the Street Survival Seminar for 15 years, Jim knew the book hadn’t kept pace with the march of time. While the seminar it had inspired benefitted from continuous improvements that maintained its relevancy, the book was overdue for a refresh.

This wasn’t a project that could be undertaken lightly, however. Street Survival had become an icon in the law enforcement community, and any attempt to revisit it would fail unless it was done right. The information had to be presented in a way that would engage a new generation of cops who didn’t suffer from the information shortage their fathers and grandfathers experienced “back in the day.”

To make that happen, Jim approached Lieutenant (Ret.) Dan Marcou to lead the effort. A PoliceOne columnist and editorial advisory board member, “Lt. Dan” is a critical thinker, skilled tactician, passionate instructor and talented writer. Like Glennon, Marcou is a “cop’s cop,” and was the natural choice to tackle a project of this magnitude.

Changes

Readers familiar with the original “Street Survival” will recognize some of the changes in Street Survival II right away.

Some of these changes are the result of advances in equipment used by officers today. In the nearly four decades since “Street Survival” was published, the semiautomatic pistol replaced the double action revolver in police work, and the carbine came close to doing the same thing to the venerable shotgun. Electronic discharge weapons and OC spray emerged as the primary less-than-lethal tools, and cops found themselves suiting up with body-worn cameras before every shift.

The amazing power and capability of modern tactical flashlights, weapon-mounted lights and weapon-mounted lasers have opened doors to new tactics and techniques that couldn’t have existed in 1980. Similarly, the proliferation of in-car computers, cell phones and other electronics have created distractions and safety issues that previous generations of cops didn’t have to deal with as much.

“Street Survival II” deals with these changes and their influence on tactics and officer safety, but it also goes beyond equipment-related topics. Contemporary issues like terrorism, active shooters, the “Guardian versus Warrior” debate, officer-created jeopardy, the war on cops, law enforcement interaction with suicidal subjects and current legal issues are all freshly addressed by the text.

Some things don’t change

“Street Survival II” also recognizes the constants in the profession though. Just as the prior text offered instruction on the best ways to handle the daily challenges of the job, “Street Survival II” guides a new generation of officers toward the best practices for searching a building, approaching a car, keeping their sidearm running, or countering an ambush.

Situational awareness and mental preparation are covered, and the authors also discuss how physiological changes induced by stress can affect performance.

One of the things that made the original “Street Survival” so unique was its bold and open recognition of post-traumatic stress in an era when the issue was usually ignored or hidden from view. “Street Survival II” continues that theme with a frank and helpful discussion about this unique threat to officer safety and health.

“Street Survival II” also follows the successful pattern of its predecessor by teaching many of its lessons through the powerful stories of officers who both won and lost their battles with evil. These real-life tales will resonate with the reader and hammer home the most critical officer safety lessons of the book.

Strong suites

Capitalizing on Glennon’s expertise and experience in the field of communications, “Street Survival II” provides new insights on ways that officers can use language to influence suspects, calm a situation and eliminate confusion. Officers will learn how to craft and deliver commands that achieve the desired effect without creating additional safety risks. The text addresses the power of communication to establish dominance, create rapport and smooth ruffled feathers. The reader will also learn how to look for and interpret non-verbal cues that provide insight to a suspect’s mind-set and help warn of a pending attack.

Marcou’s expertise in the martial arts is put to good use in “Street Survival II” as well. Officers are introduced to proven arrest and control techniques that enhance officer safety while protecting the suspect from needless injury. Weapon retention and disarm techniques are studied, as well as realistic defenses against edged weapon attacks. Color images break down many of the moves for clarity, in the same pattern established by “Street Survival” many years ago.

What it is and what it’s not

With such a variety of topics covered, there’s no way “Street Survival II” could have included everything there is to know on any given subject. Some of the sections are top-level discussions that avoid getting into too much detail. Conversely, some of the sections go into detail on a topic, but only show a single technique to perform a task, because there just isn’t enough space to discuss all the possible variations. There are many ways to cuff a suspect, run a pistol, or defeat a disarm attempt. Some officers might find that their favorite technique isn’t addressed in “Street Survival II,” but that’s just the nature of the beast.

“Street Survival II” is not designed to be the complete and final word on anything. The authors are much too wise to think about education and learning as anything other than a continuous, evolutionary process.

Glennon and Marcou didn’t set out to capture the entire universe of police knowledge on paper. Instead, they focused on delivering sound advice and guidance on a variety of relevant topics to create a book that would serve both as good foundation, and as an inspiration for additional learning.

They succeeded. “Street Survival II" upholds the tradition of “Street Survival,” and will be a valuable text for law enforcement officers for many years to come.


How one agency is decriminalizing mental illness, saving money and bettering lives

Posted on April 4, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Val Van Brocklin
Author: Val Van Brocklin

Yavapai County (AZ) Sheriff Scott Mascher is so enthusiastic about his department’s Reach Out program that he met with me to talk about it on his day off. We were also joined by Chief Deputy David Rhodes. Both men’s eyes lit up when they spoke.

The problem

Reach Out’s goal is to reduce involvement in the justice system by people with mental health issues and substance use disorders.

I asked Sheriff Mascher what sparked his interest in such a challenge.

“My community,” he replied.

About five years ago, he was working on a voter issue to extend a jail sales tax. Everywhere he went he kept hearing citizens – families of people with a mental illness or substance abuse disorder – say they called the police for help and their family member ended up in the justice system, usually for a minor offense like disorderly conduct or trespassing.

We all know the problem. Every year more than 11 million people move through America’s 3,100 local jails, many on low-level, nonviolent misdemeanors, costing local governments about $22 billion annually. Sixty-four percent of them suffer from mental illness and 68% have a substance abuse disorder.

Sheriff Mascher said the recidivism rate for Yavapai County inmates with mental health issues is very high – in some cases approaching 80%. Moreover, nationally on average, people with mental illnesses remain incarcerated 4 to 8 times longer than people without mental illnesses arrested for the same charge.

With seven times more people with mental health problems in jails or prisons than treatment facilities, police, EMS providers and jails have become the first – and oft-times only – response for people in mental health crises. It can be an expensive and ineffective response.

Vision through collaboration

While the problem was apparent to Mascher and Rhodes, the solution wasn’t. Their vision came from collaborating with their community. They began meeting with their local judiciary, county attorney, legislators, mental health providers, schools and concerned citizens. They formed a local mental health coalition and invited the media. Mascher said one of the most challenging tasks was to get everyone onboard. But they did it.

The coalition chose the Sequential Intercept Model (SIM) as their blueprint. SIM was developed as a conceptual model to inform community-based responses to the involvement of people with mental and substance use disorders in the criminal justice system. The model was recognized by Congress in the 21st Century Cures Act (2016) and by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA).

Using SIM as a framework, Yavapai County’s Reach Out program has five major components:

    Pre-arrest diversion accomplished by officers trained to identify and deal with the mentally ill, mobile crisis response teams and community crisis stabilization units. Screening of all inmates at booking for mental health and substance use disorders, connection to appropriate providers and informing the court at initial appearance. Assessment and treatment plans for inmates that meet criteria. Collaboration among jail, mental health (MH) providers and the court to determine if alternative services are appropriate. Diversion to treatment through collaboration among the jail, pre-trial services (PTS) and the court. Transportation is provided, and services begin within 24 hours of release. Progress is tracked through jail, PTS and MH providers. Re-entry support is provided to released inmates via employment, housing, coaching and other community resources.
Funding

Once the coalition adopted SIM, they began identifying funding sources:

Chief Deputy Rhodes obtained a $250,000 grant from DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Assistance. The County Attorney kicked in $224,290 from its pre-trial diversion funds saying that, “Reach Out is the most visionary program I have seen in my 35 years working in the criminal justice system in Arizona.” The Northern Arizona Regional Behavioral Health Authority provided $140,000. Last year, the state legislature appropriated $500,000 over the next 3 years.

Just last October, the Sheriff’s Office launched a new program supported by a $375,000 SAMSHA grant for three trainings:

    Mental Health First Aid; Applied Suicide Intervention Skills; Crisis Intervention.

The trainings are designed to provide community collaboration members with the tools to recognize mental health crises and to refer someone in crisis to the proper local resources.

Officer buy-in

I wanted to talk to a deputy sheriff on the front lines of Reach Out. Enter Deputy Ethan Stover, an 11-year patrol veteran. He confided he’d been a volun-“told” for his first mental health training. He was advised it was about “crisis something” and directed to attend. He quickly saw the benefit – for officer safety and the safety of the mentally ill or persons with mental challenges. He explained, “Once you learn to identify a mental health crisis, a lot of it is just slowing down, being patient, letting people talk or letting a person with autism fidget.”

Deputy Stover was very clear with me, “I still do the job. I’m not a social worker.” If force becomes necessary, he doesn’t hesitate. He had to use deadly force against an intoxicated man who suffered from a traumatic brain injury and was shooting a gun. Around the same time, he received an award from a mental health organization for his response to a suicidal man that ended well. He was very clear that it wasn’t about not doing the job of policing. It’s that he’s experienced the value of the additional tools he acquired. And he feels good when he helps someone or a whole family. He didn’t say that last part. But I saw it in his face and heard it in his voice.

The results

Deputy Chief Rhodes says the collaborative response has led to a dramatic reduction in recidivism: “For a population that was probably 60% to 80%, today we have a recidivism rate of 19% to 26%.”

In just a portion of Yavapai County – the Verde Valley where they launched a pilot program three years ago – mobile crisis teams, in partnership with law enforcement, achieved the following estimated cost savings in 2018:

912 ER visits averted saved $9,120,000; 346 ER tests averted saved $1,245,600; 493 arrests avoided saved $3,944,000.

That’s a total of $14,309,600.

But there are things Reach Out has accomplished that are priceless.

“Bettering lives” is how April Rhodes, CEO of Spectrum Healthcare, which provides the Mobile Crisis Team Partnership Program in the Verde Valley, described it. And there’s the feeling officers get when they help people.

Sheriff Mascher summed it up: “This is the right thing to do for Yavapai County and our communities. You shouldn’t be a criminal for having a serious mental health issue.”

From the Sheriff’s lips to all of law enforcement’s ears. You can do it – just like they’re doing it in Yavapai County.

The following video from Spectrum Healthcare, discusses the program’s origin, the process for establishing it and the results.

MENTAL HEALTH OUTREACH PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT RESOURCES The U.S. DOJ, Bureau of Justice Assistance, and Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP) offer grant funding for collaborative efforts between criminal justice and mental health providers. The Data-Driven Justice Initiative Playbook: How to Develop a System of Diversion features best practices, strategies and lessons learned for implementing a coordinated community approach of effective and humane treatment for those with mental health or substance abuse problems while simultaneously increasing pre-arrest and post-arrest diversion and decreasing recidivism. Developed for local leaders and practitioners with a focus on “what works,” the playbook includes recommendations for funding sources. The Police-Mental Health Collaboration Toolkit from the Bureau of Justice Assistance is designed to assist law enforcement leaders in developing and implementing collaboration in their communities. The Sequential Intercept Model offers a conceptual model of community-based solutions for justice-involved people with mental and substance use disorders.

Training Camden: 3 steps to creating a protector culture

Posted on April 4, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Jack E. Hoban & Bruce J. Gourlie
Author: Jack E. Hoban & Bruce J. Gourlie

Hundreds of LEOs have been through our basic Ethical Protector course. While we have scores of positive testimonials from our students, we usually train only a few officers in each of many different organizations. Our influence has been more wide than deep. But there was one department that was different.

We were both involved in a large training program several years ago that tested our theories in, what was at the time, the most dangerous city in America. It was a unique opportunity. We were tasked with helping shape the culture and skills of the new Camden County Police Department (CCPD) virtually from scratch. The previous city police department had been disbanded due an inability to control the high crime rate, poor relations with the community and cost overruns.

The new chief, a forward-thinking leader named Scott Thomson, had approached us to discuss how we could lead the training of the new department. The goal was to make the officers in this “start-up” department ethically-driven, effective communicators and tactically proficient in a very challenging environment.

Over the many months we were there we trained all the officers in tactics, de-escalation skills and community policing methodologies, some adapted from the Marines’ effective “winning hearts and mind” efforts overseas. At the core of the training was respect – respect for the sanctity of life. Whose life? Self and others. Which others? All others. Including the criminals, if possible. Wherever our officers went, everyone would be safer because they were there. That ethic, of a life-protector, drove the new tactical philosophy and communication techniques. “Ethics drives tactics, tactics drive techniques,” was the motto.

After our training concluded, we were anxious to see if the new philosophies and methodologies would stick. Could CCPD sustain the transition? Would the lives of the officers and citizens of Camden continue to improve? Or would the culture revert to the old days of out-of-control crime and poor community relations?

We are happy to say that the culture has remained true to the ethical protector (or guardian, as they now call it) culture. Today, Camden is often cited in the news as a model of effective community policing, and crime is way down. Making the officers think of themselves as “protectors,” along with deploying new de-escalation tactics, saved a life almost right away.

The credit, of course, rightfully goes to the men and women of the Camden County Police Department who have created and maintained the new culture and to their courageous and visionary leadership. While our roles have ended, we think it would be helpful for other departments intrigued by the dramatic transformation in Camden to learn about the unique methodology that was used to get the change started. We were intimately involved with that.

There were several things that appeared to work that any police leader could try:

1. Demonstrate top-down support and buy-in at all levels

It was Chief Thomson who made a 100% commitment to the new program. Granted, he was able to start with a fairly “clean slate,” as the new CCPD had a fresh start with many new young officers. But there is no way you can create a new culture (or change one) without everyone, particularly the leadership, being fully engaged.

Chief Thomson started by introducing us to all the leadership and emphasizing that the ethical protector culture would be the number one priority in the department. Then we scheduled “port and starboard” training for the entire department where we gave every officer a one-hour overview of the new program. It was mandated everyone be trained, including the captains and deputy chiefs. Everyone. Often police leadership tries to introduce a new program, but the actual training gets foisted on the rank and file while the leadership remains in their offices. Camden didn’t do that.

2. Select and empower effective mentors

Concurrent with the program overview training, we asked Chief Thomson to select his 20 most respected and charismatic officers – not the most highly ranked, necessarily, but the ones most looked up to by their peers.

His first choice was the training officer who was a former Marine and a “walk-on-water” field cop. Together we selected the next 19. Some were lieutenants, some were sergeants, but many were patrol officers, several with combat experience overseas. They came in all flavors – genders, races and job descriptions.

They were given two special “mentor courses” and we held bi-monthly mentor meetings to practice the new de-escalation and tactical skills. But most important, we told stories. We talked about our own mentors and how they had impacted our lives. Stories of respectful behavior and heroism we had witnessed were shared. And we celebrated them.

In addition to setting the example for all officers and being available 24-7, the mentors selected certain individuals in the department who they felt connected to and could “take under their wing.”

We also talked about officers who needed specific guidance, and we made sure someone would willingly mentor that person.

We are not big fans of traditional “train-the-trainer” programs. No matter how “vital” the information being passed, the idea that a few days (or hours!) of training qualifies a person to teach others, much less make the lessons stick, is mostly delusional. People need mentorship and sustainment to learn something, especially if the goal is to create a whole new positive attitude about their job. The next step was having the mentors assist our staff in teaching a three-day Ethical Protector course to the rest of the department – 25 officers at a time. The training included ethics, communication and de-escalation skills (we used the Verbal Defense & Influence methodology) and tactical skills.

Every training day also consisted of a PT session where the participants – mentors and officers alike – worked on fitness and shared adversity. There we bonded and had some fun. Personality clashes evaporated. We were “one team – one fight” all the way.

3. Sustain the momentum

The training was great for morale, and the officers’ response was overwhelmingly positive. But we worried about how to sustain the momentum.

The mentor program was one way: make sure the mentors followed up with the officers and informally answered any questions they might have about the tactics or de-escalation techniques. But we realized that we needed a “practice” that could be done, daily so the training wouldn’t wear off, and the culture would feed on itself and keep evolving in a positive way. This is not easy. The life of a police officer can be very busy and stressful anywhere, but especially in a dangerous city like Camden. Hours are long, and the pay is not always great. It’s hard to schedule anything but state-mandated training. Keeping physically fit is also a challenge. But once a culture is established, it can be self-reinforcing.

One suggestion to use is a tool called CAP, which stands for clarify, activate and practice:

Clarify: This first step consists of just one thing: re-affirming our self-concept as a protector or guardian of life, no matter what.

Activate: Moral behavior can be effectively inspired through the emotions. Consistently activate the protector self-concept by sharing stories. And the officers of Camden – perhaps of every city – have stories of heroism and selflessness to spare. Tell them.

Practice: Put everything all together with quick reviews of the tactical and verbal skills as a daily practice. This is a commitment but can realistically be done in 5 or 10 minutes at role call and be led by whichever mentors happen to be on shift. Instead of saying “Be safe,” we recommend saying something like, “Remember, everyone is safer in your presence.” Then call on someone to give their favorite anecdote about a friend or colleague (or even talk about a timely story from the news) that epitomizes the image of an ethical protector. Then do one physical activity. It could be a gun retention move, or the unholstering and re-holstering of your firearm 10 times in a row with eyes closed, or 10 push-ups or deep squats. It doesn’t have to take long – just a couple of minutes – but do it every roll call, and don’t leave out the physical part. Don’t just talk! Eventually it will become part of the culture, and that’s when the important changes start.

With some motivation, a plan and a sustainment methodology you can improve the morale and effectiveness of your officers, as well as positively impact your officers’ tactical and communication skills. The ethical protector philosophy also has a good chance of helping you improve your relationship with the community you are sworn to serve. Police departments are under intense scrutiny by the media, having a department of real ethical protectors is a story you’ll want them to tell.


2 Ga. officers shot, in serious condition; suspect barricaded in home

Posted on April 4, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Author: Jack E. Hoban & Bruce J. Gourlie

Shaddi Abusaid, Alexis Stevens, Leon Stafford, John Spink The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

HENRY COUNTY, Ga. — Two Henry County police officers were shot Thursday morning and a suspected gunman has barricaded himself inside a Stockbridge home, police said.

Two Officers Shot in Henry County

UPDATE: Henry County police say both officers are at Grady Memorial Hospital in serious condition. There is a gunman barricaded in the home and the situation is "very fluid." ------- BREAKING: At least 2 police officers have been shot in Henry County - 2wsb.tv/2WKdlOD. We have multiple reporters and photographers at the scene for LIVE reports RIGHT NOW on Channel 2 Action News.

Posted by WSB-TV on Thursday, April 4, 2019

Officers responded to a home along Eagle Way about 10:45 a.m.

Henry police Capt. Joey Smith said “another potential civilian victim” was inside the home, but he could not confirm their condition. Channel 2 Action News is reporting that at least one person is dead inside the home.

The two officers were taken to Grady Memorial Hospital in serious condition, police said, one by ground and one by air.

Police activity had most lanes of I-75 South blocked before Hudson Bridge Road as the wounded officers were taken to the hospital.

All lanes are now open, but heavy delays remain in both directions.

Eagle Way is located near Red Oak and Flippen roads in Stockbridge, not far from the interstate. There is a large police presence in the neighborhood as officers from several nearby jurisdictions, including Jonesboro and Clayton County, have responded to the scene.

Residents are asked to stay away from the area.

Neighbors say the kids are in a home next door to the home where a gunman is barricaded. @wsbtv pic.twitter.com/rYfq7k9Jov

— Tom Jones (@TomJonesWSBTV) April 4, 2019

Thursday’s shooting comes just days after a Union City police officer was shot multiple times Monday evening after responding to a home on Stonewall Drive. Officer Jerome Turner Jr. is stable and recovering at Grady after undergoing surgery, police said.

It was the second time in four months a Henry County officer was shot in the line of duty. On Dec. 6, Officer Michael Smith was shot while trying to subdue a man outside a dental office. Smith, 33, died from his injuries Dec. 28.

Six Georgia officers died in the line of duty in 2018, including four in metro Atlanta. Smith was the second Henry officer to die in 2018. In February, Locust Grove police Officer Chase Maddox was shot and killed while assisting deputies serving a warrant.

So far this year, one Georgia officer has been killed in the line of duty. On Jan. 29, Glascock County Deputy Joshua Ryer Jr. was killed in a two-vehicle crash while on the way to pick up an inmate. The 19-year-old had been with the department for five months.

Henry County students and teachers are on spring break this week and no schools are affected by the police presence.

This is the scene in a Henry County neighborhood where at least two officers have been shot. My sources say a hostage is dead and a man is holed up in a home here. I saw the Bomb Squad arriving minutes ago. @wsbtv pic.twitter.com/DTMOEfsOhV

— Tom Jones (@TomJonesWSBTV) April 4, 2019

———

©2019 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)


How to defeat ‘we’ve always done it this way’ thinking in policing

Posted on April 4, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Author: Jack E. Hoban & Bruce J. Gourlie

By PoliceOne Staff

From shift schedule changes to policy development, LEO Round Table host Chip DeBlock asks his guests to share their successes effecting operational and cultural change in their agency.


La. officer shot, in stable condition; suspect at large

Posted on April 4, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

null

By PoliceOne Staff ABBEVILLE, La. — Police are searching for a suspect who shot an officer Wednesday night during a traffic stop.

According to KLFY, the suspect has been identified as 29-year-old Nahshon Ishmael Brooks.

The officer, only identified as female, is in stable condition after suffering a collapsed lung.

State Police spokesman Thomas Gossen said Brooks should be considered armed and dangerous and anyone with information on his whereabouts should call 911 immediately.


Roundtable: How to be a change agent in law enforcement

Posted on April 4, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

null

By P1 Staff

Change these days seems to be constant, but it doesn’t have to be painful. In our civilian life we turn to self-help books for advice on how to change our relationships, our eating habits and our financial health. But how do you successfully effect change in the workplace, especially in a profession like law enforcement, which is often averse to minute shifts in operations and culture due to the unrelenting pace of daily service delivery?

In this roundtable, we asked PoliceOne columnists and contributors what advice they would give police officers looking to bring about change in their departments and within their communities. Their suggestions provide a road map all officers can use to successfully implement new programs, policies and procedures, as well as initiate change in their own career path.

What one change would you like to introduce in your agency? Share your thoughts in the comments below or email editor@policeone.com.

Be prepared to be patient

New officers are always excited about all the possibilities and opportunities to make positive changes, but you need to be patient enough to know you are still learning about your agency’s history and culture and identifying the respective stakeholders involved. Allow yourself to gain experience both in the field, as well as in the station, so that when you speak of change you have earned your voice and it will be respected by your peers and chain of command.

You also need to be consistent. Be consistent in your performance and in your desire to be an agent of change. Too many people get discouraged or just realize accepting the status quo is easier than fighting for progressive change, especially as they progress through their career. Once you've obtained the necessary experience, you must be consistent in providing solutions for issues facing your agency and consistent in your own performance. The combination of experience and consistency will be a welcomed voice in many circles.

Jerrod Hardy is a 20-year law enforcement officer and an Air Force veteran. He owns one of the largest mixed martial arts gyms in Colorado.

Be prepared to revise your idea

Pay attention to interpersonal dynamics. If you have a solution to a problem it won’t see the light of day if you don’t navigate the land mines of personalities that will be involved in reviewing, accepting and implementing any change. The rule in innovation is that every solution potentially creates a new problem. There will be unintended consequences, both positive and negative. Anticipate the arguments against your proposal whether financial, personal, or logistical. Plan for evaluation and revision of your idea in case it is implemented. Expect revisions, suggestions and implementation that leaves out some things you think are critical. Be willing to bear the grief if your plan fails, even if it wasn't your fault.

Chief Joel Shults, Ed.D, who retired as a chief of police in Colorado, operates Street Smart Training and is the founder of the National Center for Police Advocacy.

Be prepared to present more than one option

Anticipate resistance, but don’t take it personally – our prehistoric predecessors evolved to be weary of the unknown, perceiving it as either a threat or a reason to prepare for the worst possible outcome. By acknowledging that people, both those affected and decision-makers, will have apprehensions, even if unwarranted, you can present potential options that address those fears up front. Solicit and acknowledge their concerns without being dismissive or attempting to immediately rationalize them away.

Once you’re ready to present options, be flexible in your own thinking. The more stakeholders there are, the more adaptable you need to be. It can be helpful to present a few options rather than only one. People are more likely to adopt a solution if they feel they had choices; just don’t offer so many that it’s a challenge to decide. Provide two or three options that assuage their concerns but still bring about the change you want to implement.

Major Christian Quinn is a 22-year veteran law enforcement officer and currently serves as the commander of the Cyber & Forensic Bureau with the Fairfax County Police Department in Fairfax, Virginia.

Be prepared to effectively communicate your plan

If you want to influence people and turn your ideas into reality, you must learn to communicate effectively. Start by developing your writing skills. Create a brief executive summary as a series of bullet points on a single page. Make each bullet point a short “headline” that will pique the reader's interest in a specific topic. Hooking their interest with an executive summary will cause decision-makers to turn to the following pages of your recommendation to get the details of specific ideas.

Even before submitting your written recommendations, be prepared to verbally discuss your ideas. Practice making a concise argument that makes your point without wasting peoples’ time. Without resorting to clichés or cute abbreviations like LOL or IMHO, create a “sound bite” that summarizes your pitch. If you are proposing a major program, develop a short PowerPoint presentation (simple and not cutesy) and have it ready to go in case your initial written and verbal presentations get you to the formal proposal stage.

Richard Fairburn has more than 40 years of law enforcement experience. He is currently serving as the public safety director in a central Illinois community.

Be prepared to be part of a team

Pragmatism and experience guide my thoughts on change. Effecting change is not as easy as making suggestions or working your rear end off on a project. Changing organizations and communities should be viewed as a process that first requires a team-established mission and goals. Without an established mission and associated goals, the ship may sink before the wind catches a sail. The process starts with an idea and a little marketing. The goal of marketing is to create support that extends toward the creation of a working team. The team should synthesize its ideas to develop a mission and vision statement that will guide the process of goal attainment. From here, the process involves communicating with stakeholders, developing a proposal, seeking approval, implementation, evaluation and revision. The most important thing to remember is that the result isn’t the implementation of YOUR idea. You lit the match, but the result comes from a process based in teamwork. Effective change does not evolve from a single person no matter their rank or position; there must be “buy-in” from the organization and/or community.

David Blake is a retired California peace officer and certified Ca-POST instructor in DT, firearms, force options simulator and reality-based training.

Be prepared for failure

Take a risk, even if it’s a calculated one to make a change in your department or community. Go against the grain of the adage, “We’ve always done it this way.” Be innovative and be prepared for the risk of failure. You never know, you just may succeed and change the way things are done.

James Dudley is a member of the criminal justice faculty at San Francisco State University.

Be prepared for the investment change requires

On duty and off duty, live up to your potential by living within your means. There’s a lot to unpack in there. Some high points are: Consider your physical, mental and emotional/relational means, and don’t spend more out of those accounts than you have. In each area, be wise about who you’re intentionally willing to invest or divest in (victims, crooks, family, friends, peers, bosses – there’s good and bad in each), be wise about what you intentionally invest or divest (time, effort, care, emotions) and for all that stuff, know and be able to articulate the whys. Change comes by way of relationships, so remember, every on-duty and off-duty relationship you have, good or bad, either adds to or draws from those limited accounts...and changes you for the better or worse. Over a career this really adds up! Pay attention to all your daily transactions in these accounts. Then, while you’re busy living within your means, increase them! Never quit learning, growing, maturing. Soon enough, on-duty and off, you’ll naturally be an agent of change for the forces of good.

Dave Edmonds is a retired Sonoma County (CA) Sheriff’s captain and founder of 360ARMOR, a free, online, membership-based police fitness and wellness organization.

Be prepared to be flexible

The first thing I would tell an officer is to be flexible. Officers may come into roll call and think, “Great, today I get to concentrate on working traffic,” just to find out they have been assigned to attend numerous career fair events throughout the shift. As a chief, I need officers who are willing to go from a homicide call to a community event all while maintaining a positive and professional attitude. To effect change, officers must be visible within their community, not only on criminal endeavors, but during positive community events as well. Citizens who feel connected to the officers they serve are more likely to be supportive of the law enforcement actions that officers do take; every department needs and should foster that support.

LJ Roscoe is chief of the Goose Creek Police Department in Goose Creek, South Carolina.


Roundtable: How to be a change agent in law enforcement

Posted on April 4, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

null

By P1 Staff

Change these days seems to be constant, but it doesn’t have to be painful. In our civilian life we turn to self-help books for advice on how to change our relationships, our eating habits and our financial health. But how do you successfully effect change in the workplace, especially in a profession like law enforcement, which is often averse to minute shifts in operations and culture due to the unrelenting pace of daily service delivery?

In this roundtable, we asked PoliceOne columnists and contributors what advice they would give police officers looking to bring about change in their departments and within their communities. Their suggestions provide a road map all officers can use to successfully implement new programs, policies and procedures, as well as initiate change in their own career path.

What one change would you like to introduce in your agency? Share your thoughts in the comments below or email editor@policeone.com.

Be prepared to be patient

New officers are always excited about all the possibilities and opportunities to make positive changes, but you need to be patient enough to know you are still learning about your agency’s history and culture and identifying the respective stakeholders involved. Allow yourself to gain experience both in the field, as well as in the station, so that when you speak of change you have earned your voice and it will be respected by your peers and chain of command.

You also need to be consistent. Be consistent in your performance and in your desire to be an agent of change. Too many people get discouraged or just realize accepting the status quo is easier than fighting for progressive change, especially as they progress through their career. Once you've obtained the necessary experience, you must be consistent in providing solutions for issues facing your agency and consistent in your own performance. The combination of experience and consistency will be a welcomed voice in many circles.

Jerrod Hardy is a 20-year law enforcement officer and an Air Force veteran. He owns one of the largest mixed martial arts gyms in Colorado.

Be prepared to revise your idea

Pay attention to interpersonal dynamics. If you have a solution to a problem it won’t see the light of day if you don’t navigate the land mines of personalities that will be involved in reviewing, accepting and implementing any change. The rule in innovation is that every solution potentially creates a new problem. There will be unintended consequences, both positive and negative. Anticipate the arguments against your proposal whether financial, personal, or logistical. Plan for evaluation and revision of your idea in case it is implemented. Expect revisions, suggestions and implementation that leaves out some things you think are critical. Be willing to bear the grief if your plan fails, even if it wasn't your fault.

Chief Joel Shults, Ed.D, who retired as a chief of police in Colorado, operates Street Smart Training and is the founder of the National Center for Police Advocacy.

Be prepared to present more than one option

Anticipate resistance, but don’t take it personally – our prehistoric predecessors evolved to be weary of the unknown, perceiving it as either a threat or a reason to prepare for the worst possible outcome. By acknowledging that people, both those affected and decision-makers, will have apprehensions, even if unwarranted, you can present potential options that address those fears up front. Solicit and acknowledge their concerns without being dismissive or attempting to immediately rationalize them away.

Once you’re ready to present options, be flexible in your own thinking. The more stakeholders there are, the more adaptable you need to be. It can be helpful to present a few options rather than only one. People are more likely to adopt a solution if they feel they had choices; just don’t offer so many that it’s a challenge to decide. Provide two or three options that assuage their concerns but still bring about the change you want to implement.

Major Christian Quinn is a 22-year veteran law enforcement officer and currently serves as the commander of the Cyber & Forensic Bureau with the Fairfax County Police Department in Fairfax, Virginia.

Be prepared to effectively communicate your plan

If you want to influence people and turn your ideas into reality, you must learn to communicate effectively. Start by developing your writing skills. Create a brief executive summary as a series of bullet points on a single page. Make each bullet point a short “headline” that will pique the reader's interest in a specific topic. Hooking their interest with an executive summary will cause decision-makers to turn to the following pages of your recommendation to get the details of specific ideas.

Even before submitting your written recommendations, be prepared to verbally discuss your ideas. Practice making a concise argument that makes your point without wasting peoples’ time. Without resorting to clichés or cute abbreviations like LOL or IMHO, create a “sound bite” that summarizes your pitch. If you are proposing a major program, develop a short PowerPoint presentation (simple and not cutesy) and have it ready to go in case your initial written and verbal presentations get you to the formal proposal stage.

Richard Fairburn has more than 40 years of law enforcement experience. He is currently serving as the public safety director in a central Illinois community.

Be prepared to be part of a team

Pragmatism and experience guide my thoughts on change. Effecting change is not as easy as making suggestions or working your rear end off on a project. Changing organizations and communities should be viewed as a process that first requires a team-established mission and goals. Without an established mission and associated goals, the ship may sink before the wind catches a sail. The process starts with an idea and a little marketing. The goal of marketing is to create support that extends toward the creation of a working team. The team should synthesize its ideas to develop a mission and vision statement that will guide the process of goal attainment. From here, the process involves communicating with stakeholders, developing a proposal, seeking approval, implementation, evaluation and revision. The most important thing to remember is that the result isn’t the implementation of YOUR idea. You lit the match, but the result comes from a process based in teamwork. Effective change does not evolve from a single person no matter their rank or position; there must be “buy-in” from the organization and/or community.

David Blake is a retired California peace officer and certified Ca-POST instructor in DT, firearms, force options simulator and reality-based training.

Be prepared for failure

Take a risk, even if it’s a calculated one to make a change in your department or community. Go against the grain of the adage, “We’ve always done it this way.” Be innovative and be prepared for the risk of failure. You never know, you just may succeed and change the way things are done.

James Dudley is a member of the criminal justice faculty at San Francisco State University.

Be prepared for the investment change requires

On duty and off duty, live up to your potential by living within your means. There’s a lot to unpack in there. Some high points are: Consider your physical, mental and emotional/relational means, and don’t spend more out of those accounts than you have. In each area, be wise about who you’re intentionally willing to invest or divest in (victims, crooks, family, friends, peers, bosses – there’s good and bad in each), be wise about what you intentionally invest or divest (time, effort, care, emotions) and for all that stuff, know and be able to articulate the whys. Change comes by way of relationships, so remember, every on-duty and off-duty relationship you have, good or bad, either adds to or draws from those limited accounts...and changes you for the better or worse. Over a career this really adds up! Pay attention to all your daily transactions in these accounts. Then, while you’re busy living within your means, increase them! Never quit learning, growing, maturing. Soon enough, on-duty and off, you’ll naturally be an agent of change for the forces of good.

Dave Edmonds is a retired Sonoma County (CA) Sheriff’s captain and founder of 360ARMOR, a free, online, membership-based police fitness and wellness organization.

Be prepared to be flexible

The first thing I would tell an officer is to be flexible. Officers may come into roll call and think, “Great, today I get to concentrate on working traffic,” just to find out they have been assigned to attend numerous career fair events throughout the shift. As a chief, I need officers who are willing to go from a homicide call to a community event all while maintaining a positive and professional attitude. To effect change, officers must be visible within their community, not only on criminal endeavors, but during positive community events as well. Citizens who feel connected to the officers they serve are more likely to be supportive of the law enforcement actions that officers do take; every department needs and should foster that support.

LJ Roscoe is chief of the Goose Creek Police Department in Goose Creek, South Carolina.


Chaplains provide support as police, paramedics respond to ND homicides

Posted on April 4, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Amy Dalrymple The Bismarck Tribune, N.D.

MANDAN, N.D. — As the community of Mandan grapples with the shock of four homicides, police chaplains are working behind the scenes to provide support.

The Rev. Bruce Prentice, a chaplain for the Mandan Police Department, said he was called Monday morning to assist after four bodies were discovered at RJR Maintenance and Management.

“It’s horror. It’s evil in a way that really impacts you more so than normal,” Prentice said. “There’s no way it doesn’t impact you. There’s things you can’t unsee.”

Prentice, the pastor for Bethel Orthodox Presbyterian Church, has volunteered as the chaplain for Mandan police and the Morton County Sheriff’s Office for about nine months.

“We’re available to let the officers talk. Nothing they say to me goes higher,” Prentice said. “It’s kind of a safe zone for them.”

Mandan Police Chief Jason Ziegler said the chaplaincy program is extremely important to the department.

“When you’re going through tough things, it’s always nice to have someone who just listens,” said Ziegler, speaking in general and not specific to the homicide investigation.

Police did not release any new details on Wednesday about the killings. The business owner and three employees were found dead Monday at the southeast Mandan business after emergency personnel responded to a 911 call for a medical assist at about 7:30 a.m.

On Tuesday, police identified the victims as business owner Robert Fakler and employees William and Lois Cobb and Adam Fuehrer. Police have not said how they died.

The Crisis Care Chaplaincy program provided a debriefing with Metro-Area Ambulance and the Mandan Fire Department on Monday, said staff chaplain Greg Carr.

Crisis Care Chaplaincy has six chaplains who are trained for critical incident and stress debriefings.

Carr, a former volunteer firefighter, said he likes to think of first responders as carrying backpacks, and every call they respond to adds a pebble to the load they carry.

“You never know which is going to be the pebble that pushes them over, and they can’t carry that backpack anymore,” Carr said. “So we do these debriefings so that we help them handle and manage that backpack.”

Prentice said he’s available to family members of Mandan and Morton County law enforcement as well.

“The encouraging thing is the police aren’t on their own on this,” Prentice said. “There’s people a little bit behind the scenes that are encouraging them and helping them. That’s a good thing.”

———

©2019 The Bismarck Tribune (Bismarck, N.D.)


St. Louis police want chemical agent restrictions lifted

Posted on April 4, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Associated Press

ST. LOUIS — A federal judge should end restrictions on when St. Louis police use chemical agents such as pepper spray and tear gas to break up protests, according to a court filing on behalf of the police department.

The 39-page motion filed Friday seeks to dissolve a preliminary injunction issued in 2017 after the American Civil Liberties Union sued on behalf of protesters who took to the streets in response to the acquittal of former officer Jason Stockley.

A judge on Sept. 15 2017, found Stockley not guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith, a drug suspect. Within minutes of the announcement, protests broke out.

Demonstrations lasted for weeks, and some turned violent. Police were at times pelted with bricks and bottles. Several officers suffered minor to moderate injuries. About 300 people were arrested.

But police were accused of abusive actions that included arresting law-abiding demonstrators, innocent bystanders and journalists, and inappropriately using tear gas and pepper spray. The police actions spurred nearly two dozen lawsuits and prompted a U.S. Department of Justice investigation that led to indictments of four officers .

U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry's November 2017 injunction in the ACLU lawsuit said police can't end protests or use chemical agents to punish people for exercising their right to free speech. Her order said that before using chemical agents, police need probable cause to arrest a person, must first give "clear and unambiguous warnings," and must allow people enough time to obey police commands.

The judge cited testimony and video evidence showing that officers acted "in an arbitrary and retaliatory fashion to punish protesters for voicing criticism of police or recording police conduct," she wrote at the time.

But police in the new filing said their own video evidence gathered from media, police officers, even plaintiffs in the lawsuit, suggested that officers were under siege. The filing said police used pepper spray only to clear streets, come to the aid of officers, and defend Mayor Lyda Krewson's home after hundreds of protesters gathered outside of it in September 2017.

The filing also compared St. Louis' response favorably to what happened in nearby Ferguson, Missouri, and in Baltimore during protests that followed officer-involved fatalities.

Police "on the whole responded to extremely difficult challenges with disciplined effectiveness," the filing said. "St. Louisans did not experience the violence and terror of full-scale riots, as did Ferguson or Baltimore in similar situations. For this the community (including plaintiffs, though they may not realize it) owes a debt of gratitude to the vast majority of St. Louis police officers."

The case is scheduled for trial Aug. 26. ACLU attorney Tony Rothert said he'll save the thrust of his response for trial.

"We view the case and the evidence that we've gathered in the last year-and-a-half quite differently than the city does," Rothert said.

In November, the Justice Department announced the indictments of officers Dustin Boone, Randy Hays, Christopher Myers and Bailey Colletta. Boone, Hays and Myers were accused of beating an undercover officer during a Stockley protest, unaware he was a colleague. Colletta was accused of conspiring to cover up the crime.

Concerns about police behavior were raised again in January, when officer Nathaniel Hendren was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of another officer, Katlyn Alix. Charging documents said they had been drinking and playing a variation of Russian roulette, taking turns pointing a gun loaded with one bullet at each other and pulling the trigger. Alix died of a chest wound.


3rd man charged in fatal shooting of off-duty Chicago officer

Posted on April 4, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

null

Madeline Buckley and Madeline Buckley Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — Minutes before the mistaken-identity slaying of an off-duty Chicago police officer last month in the River North neighborhood, the gunman grew agitated in a nearby hotel room, vowing revenge on those who had beaten up his friend earlier that night, Cook County prosecutors said Wednesday.

The conversation was among new details revealed by prosecutors in court as a third suspect, Jaquan Washington, 22, was ordered held without bond on charges in the murder of Officer John Rivera.

Washington turned himself in to police Tuesday with the same hat on that he was spotted wearing in surveillance video the night of the slaying, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said in court.

Co-defendants Menelik Jackson, 24, of South Holland, and Jovan Battle, 32, of Chicago, were arrested last week and also ordered held without bond while awaiting trial. Prosecutors have identified Jackson as the gunman in a fatal case of mistaken identity that may have been racially motivated.

At the bond hearing Wednesday at the Leighton Criminal Court Building, Murphy said surveillance video shows Jackson and Washington getting into a fight with a group of Latinos outside McDonald’s on Ontario Street about 2:25 a.m. on March 23. Washington was punched and knocked to the ground, he said.

Jackson hurried to his white pickup truck to retrieve a gun, the prosecutor suggested, but police arrived to break up the fight. The Latino group boarded a party bus, and Jackson and Washington walked away together.

In a room at the nearby Hotel Felix, Jackson briefly placed a gun on a table, Murphy said. Washington recounted for three women there how the Latino group punched him, angering Jackson, according to the prosecutor.

“Jackson was getting more upset and seemed to feed off what defendant Washington was saying,” Murphy said in court. “Jackson was upset because of the fight … and defendant Jackson wanted to shoot them.”

The two left the room, but Washington returned a short time later looking for a magazine or clip for the gun, Murphy said.

By about 3:20 a.m., Jackson and Washington met up with Battle in an apparent effort to track down the Latinos, according to the prosecutor.

Meanwhile, Rivera and three friends — who were not involved in any fights that night — were sitting in a parked car nearby, Murphy said.

“Where they at?” Murphy quoted Jackson as asking Battle. “Is that them?"

Battle, wielding a bottle, pointed it directly at Rivera's car multiple times, Murphy said. All three suspects approached the car, according to the prosecutor.

As Washington ran across the street toward the rear of Rivera’s car, Jackson pulled out the handgun and aimed directly at the driver's window a few feet away, Murphy said.

Rivera was shot multiple times in the driver’s seat and was later pronounced dead. Another man, also 23, was seriously wounded in the shooting. Two other occupants of the car, a woman and another man who was also an off-duty Chicago police officer, were not injured.

Brittany Kimble, Washington’s attorney, said in court Wednesday that her client was a victim of a beating that night and that no evidence existed of “any kind of agreement that Mr. Washington was in cahoots with anything that defendant Jackson has done.”

Washington did not “in any way aid, abet, solicit, encourage Mr. Jackson (into) doing anything,” she told Judge Mary Marubio.

Prosecutors, though, contend that Washington was accountable for the murder under state law by being present with the other two at the shooting scene.

Kimble said Washington has no gang affiliation, does not know Battle and wasn’t close with Jackson.

At the time of his arrest, Washington was free on bond awaiting trial on weapons charges. He also has previous felony convictions for attempted burglary and burglary, court records show.

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©2019 the Chicago Tribune


Hundreds of tips help LAPD arrest bike-riding slasher

Posted on April 4, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — A man who rode around on a bicycle and slashed the faces and necks of at least nine people in Los Angeles was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of attempted murder, police said.

One victim said the man laughed after he cut her.

Lenrey Briones was tracked down and taken into custody after police received hundreds of tips, Capt. Dan Randolph said at a news conference. The 19-year-old suspect is believed to be homeless, he said. It wasn't immediately known if Briones has an attorney.

The assailant left at least nine victims, including a 13-year-old, with slashing wounds, and detectives were looking for additional victims, officials said.

"The suspect instilled fear in this community," Randolph said.

A man standing near a bus stop was attacked on Monday, and a woman was cut about a mile (1.6 kilometers) away, police said. They were hospitalized with severe injuries and are expected to survive.

Similar attacks happened in the same area of South Los Angeles on March 20 and in the neighboring cities of South Gate and Lynwood on March 27.

Stefany Coboz told KNBC-TV she received a deep gash under her left ear, and the man turned to look at her after the attack.

"He started laughing," she said "He laughed."

The assailant rode a black and green mountain bike and wielded an unknown type of "edged weapon," police said.


Suspect arrested in fatal shooting of Pa. police official’s son

Posted on April 4, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — Police have arrested a man suspected of fatally shooting the son of a high-ranking city police official at a Philadelphia park.

Philadelphia police say they arrested 19-year-old Tyquan Atkinson Wednesday evening in connection to the killing of 20-year-old Nicholas Flacco.

Police say several fights broke out among women in groups in FDR Park and a woman threatened to "call her man." An armed man later fired twice, left, and then returned 10 to 15 minutes later and shot Flacco, the son of an Internal Affairs commander who was home from college.

Police say Atkinson is charged with murder, criminal conspiracy and other charges.

It's unclear whether Atkinson has an attorney. A listed number for him couldn't be found Wednesday.


Killing K-9s in Fla. could earn longer prison term

Posted on April 4, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — People who kill or seriously injure police dogs in Florida soon could face tougher penalties after the Senate unanimously passed a bill inspired by the shooting death of a canine named Fang.

"This bill has been a roller coaster of emotions," said Sen. Aaron Bean. "Fang was executed."

Fang was a 3-year-old German shepherd at the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. He was fatally shot as officers chased a 17-year-old carjacking suspect. Bean said he decided to sponsor the bill after learning the penalty for killing the dog was a maximum of five years in prison. The bill would make the crime a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

"The double hurt came not only in losing the animal, but we discovered the penalty for harming an animal ... was only a third degree felony," Bean said. "It was just sad."

Bean noted that just last weekend a police K-9 was shot in Pinellas County after a traffic stop, though the dog is expected to survive.

In making his case for the bill, he turned to Republican Sen. Tom Wright, a former Rochester, Minnesota, police officer who was assigned a K-9. He told stories about two incidents when his K-9, Officer Denver, stopped an armed suspect he was pursuing.

"Just two examples of I probably wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for this dog," Wright said. "These are officers, they just happen to have four legs."

The increased penalties would also apply to anyone who seriously injures or kills a police horse or canines used by fire departments and search and rescue teams.

A companion House bill is ready to be considered by the full chamber after unanimous approval in each of its committee stops.

Rest In Peace Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office K-9 FANG. K-9 FANG was shot and killed this morning while apprehending an...

Posted by Jacksonville Sheriff's Office on Sunday, September 30, 2018


Mich. officer surprises boy with memorable birthday party

Posted on April 3, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Sasha Zidar The Grand Rapids Press, Mich.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — A Grand Rapids police officer granted a birthday wish for a 9-year-old that he will never forget.

The chance meeting between the police officer and boy from Grand Rapids’ Southeast Side last week started with Thomas Daniel missing his bus to school and finished the next day with a special party put on by police officers.

Daniel now calls Grand Rapids police officer Austin Lynema a hero and credits him for a memorable birthday.

The special bond began being formed on Feb. 26, when Daniel was walking to his bus stop. It was his ninth birthday and he was day dreaming of his birthday party later that day and all of his friends he invited that he hoped would celebrate with him.

As Daniel was approaching his bus stop, he realized the bus was driving away and attempted to flag down his only source of transportation to school, but he was too late.

“I was sad I missed the bus, I just wanted to go to school,” Daniel said. “I started crying when it drove away.”

Lynema witnessed what happened and offered to help the young man.

“I saw him running down the sidewalk trying to chase his bus, he was in tears. I tried to stop his school bus for him,” Lynema said. “He informed me he never missed a day of school. I wanted to make sure I could help him as much as I could.”

The police officer walked Daniel back to his apartment. On the way, the officer learned that it was Daniel’s birthday. Daniel invited all the GRPD police officers to his birthday party because he was afraid no one would be coming because he said he was being bullied at school, Lynema said.

After Lynema received permission to drop off Daniel at school, he made sure to provide a grand entrance, just for Daniel. As he pulled into the school parking lot, Lynema flashed his lights and sirens.

“When he said he wasn’t sure if anyone would be at his party I wanted to be sure that somebody was going to be there,” Lynema said.

Daniel’s family and Grand Rapids police officers attended his party that evening.

“When Austin came over, no one was at my birthday party because everybody had to go somewhere … to their friends’ houses to play,” Daniel said of the people he invited. “I just love Austin, because he’s the coolest guy I’ve ever met in my life."

We want to introduce you to a special birthday boy, 9 year old Thomas Daniel! Recently, Ofc. Lynema saw a little boy...

Posted by Grand Rapids Police Department on Tuesday, April 2, 2019

The day after Daniel’s birthday, Lynema and other members of the Grand Rapids Police Department decided to surprise Daniel with a birthday party he would remember for birthdays to come.

Police brought personalized Krispy Kreme donuts that spelled out “Happy Birthday," a Grand Rapids goodie bag with toys, shirts, hats and more, along with a singing quartet.

“People at school are happy for me because Austin … he never lets kids down, he’s a hero,” said Daniel. “I’ll never forget this until the day I die.”

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©2019 The Grand Rapids Press, Mich.


Shot Mont. trooper regains consciousness, condition improves

Posted on April 3, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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David Erickson Ravalli Republic, Hamilton, Mont.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Wade Palmer has regained consciousness in a Salt Lake City hospital and his medical status has improved from critical to stable condition, according to the Montana Department of Justice.

Palmer was shot three times in the neck, face and head last month just north of Missoula after locating a suspect involved in an earlier shooting that injured two and killed one man in Missoula.

So far, all of Palmer's interactions have been non-verbal, but he has shown recognition of certain people and commands, according to a press release. He is scheduled for reconstructive surgery for jaw injuries on Thursday and has been moved from the University of Utah Hospital's critical care unit to the neuro-acute care unit.

“We are immensely grateful for Trooper Palmer’s progress,” said Col. Tom Butler, chief of the Montana Highway Patrol. “We remain hopeful as we see Wade continue to heal and make positive strides; however, we are fully aware that he has a long journey ahead of him. We will be with him and his family every step of the way and we thank the public for their continued support and prayers.”

After Palmer was shot, he was transported to Providence St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula before eventually being flown to Salt Lake City.

Casey Blanchard, one of the three victims found shot at a related scene about an hour before the shooting involving Palmer, was also flown to Utah for treatment at the same hospital. Blanchard's current condition is listed as stable, hospital staff told the Missoulian on Tuesday.

Blanchard's mother, Julie, also was shot and wounded in the same incident, and a friend, Shelley Hays, was killed.

A benefit for Blanchard and his family is set for April 27 at the St. Mary's Parish in Stevensville. The event begins at 4 p.m., and all proceeds will go to the Blanchard family to assist with their mounting medical expenses.

Later on Tuesday, the Montana Federation of Public Employees announced in the past week its members had generated $3,000 for the Palmer family. In the same meeting, delegates approved a proposal to establish the MFPE Benevolence Fund.

"One of the historical pillars underpinning organized labor has been the assistance unions have provided members and their families during a time of crisis," a release from MFPE spokesman Bob Funk states. "With a benevolence fund MFPE can provide limited financial assistance to members who may be injured on the job."

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©2019 Ravalli Republic, Hamilton, Mont.


How LEOs can reclaim personal privacy online

Posted on April 3, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Sponsored by OfficerPrivacy.com

By Cindy Coleman for PoliceOne BrandFocus

Personal information found freely on the internet is being used to target LEOs. The security risk is real to them and their families. Daily news headlines reflect an increasingly hostile environment for LEOs – “MS – 13 gang planning to target off-duty officers at their homes,” “Targeted attack on at least seven Indianapolis officers’ homes in one night,” and “Philly police officer facing backlash.” Because of this growing hostility, LEOs are on high alert, not only on the job, but even at home where they are hoping to unwind and relax off duty.

After spending 25 years in law enforcement, Pete James is using his experience, love and respect for the profession to make life safer for LEOs. James is the founder of OfficerPrivacy, a service that removes personal information from the top 25 people-search websites, giving LEOs back their personal privacy.

“My whole idea is we'll take care of this for you. Live your life and relax,” said James, who specializes in digital forensics, information systems security and is a licensed private investigator. “In these roles, I use these sites to do my research. So I know what information is available out there and how to find people.”

What’s the risk to me and my family?

Free sources on the internet can give anybody access to a law enforcement officer’s name, home address, and sometimes email address, phone number, birthday and even the names and information of family members.

“You didn't ask for your address to be blasted all over the internet, but it's there, and it's a risk to you and your family that should be mitigated,” said James. “Anybody can knock on your front door and confront you about their arrest or question why you sent their family member to prison.”

When an officer is involved in a controversial incident, he or she has enough to worry about. Knowing that his or her home address is out there is one more source of stress the officer shouldn’t have to endure.

Can I remove my information from the internet?

Can an officer remove the information themselves? “Yes,” said James, “and you can also give yourself a haircut or represent yourself in court.”

An officer could spend several hours going to each of these 25 sites and completing the process to have their personal data removed. Some of the “opt-outs” are online only, some require a confirmation email and some require drafting an email with specific language. Others require you create an account and add a real cell phone number for verification. After all of that, not all websites remove you the first time you ask.

Then there is the need to monitor. “Just because your information was removed, doesn’t mean it will stay removed. You should be searching often to make certain your info is still private. Life gets in the way and you don't check for a month or two, or three, and then you're back on the sites all over again. We monitor for you,” said James.

Can I trust privacy services?

There are other privacy services that promise to remove your data from the internet. Ironically, some of these belong to the same companies putting your information out there in the first place.

OfficerPrivacy is based in the United States and staffed by all former sworn law enforcement who take their jobs very seriously, so privacy is ensured. It takes two to four weeks to remove personal information from people-search websites. Then, OfficerPrivacy monitors the sites in case an officer’s address re-appears. If it does, his or her personal information is removed again.

This increases privacy and helps LEOs feel more secure. “OfficerPrivacy doesn’t hide you from the government, make you invisible or put you in a secret witness protection program,” said James. “The goal is to break the connection between your name and your home address.”

OfficerPrivacy keeps only minimal data about their clients and it is always encrypted. They also don’t identify their clients as officers when “opting out,” thereby keeping your occupation private. No need to expose this fact to people who sell your information.

Safety, security and peace of mind

By removing LEOs from the top 25 people-search sites, officers get their privacy back, feel more secure and can relax when off-duty versus being “on-guard” all the time. Risk is reduced for LEOs and their families from persons with criminal intent searching them out to cause potential harm or harassment or even members of the media persistently pursuing the latest on an investigation.

Within 24 to 48 hours of signing up, LEOs receive a report listing all websites and the status of each opt-out request, noting which are “removed” or “awaiting removal.”

As a privacy service developed by a former LEO for LEOs, law enforcement departments, associations, unions and individuals, officers will be less at risk in an increasingly hostile, digital world and feel safer knowing their personal information has been removed from free access sites on the internet.

OfficerPrivacy is offering a special to PoliceOne members: Click here to receive 50% off the regular price.


A round in every chamber, plugs in every ear

Posted on April 3, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Ron LaPedis
Author: Ron LaPedis

Before you start your shift, you don and check your body armor and ensure your sidearm is loaded with one in the chamber. You have disposable gloves on your person to protect you from fluids or worse when searching a subject. Before you enter any range, you put on your eyes and ears. So why aren’t you protecting your hearing every day?

The National Fire Protection Association’s NFPA 1500 Standard on Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Program addresses noise exposure for firefighters: "To comply with NFPA 1500, a fire department MUST provide hearing protection for all firefighters riding on apparatus who are subject to noise levels above 90 decibels.” It also requires that fire departments establish hearing conservation programs.

Unfortunately, there are no hearing protection mandates, nor is there data about hearing thresholds and the risk of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) for cops. In this French study involving 887 cops and 805 civil servants, cops were 1.4 times more likely to have hearing loss than civil servants. The difference was even greater for motorcycle police officers. While over-the-ear hearing protection might be great on the range, it is not appropriate for beat cops, supervisors, or command staff when out in public.

Just like you don’t wait for trouble to put on your vest or rack your sidearm, you cannot stop the action while you put on your ear protection. This means you need protection that can be worn while you are on your shift that doesn’t block your hearing under normal circumstances. This article discusses why auditory acuity is a vital element of policing, so solid earplugs are out, but amplified earplugs are in. If you wear an audio headset for your radio, consider getting one that will help protect that ear or use one that fits over the ear and can work with in-ear hearing protection.

At SHOT Show 2019, a handful of manufacturers had amplified in-ear protection products on display. The products I tested are the Peltor TEP-100 (the military/LE version of the TEP-200) and the OTTO NoizeBarrier Micro.

TEP-100 and NoizeBarrier Micro

The TEP-100 and NoizeBarrier Micro arrive in a cardboard box that contains a latched plastic case to protect and charge the earpieces, along with accessories and a handful of tips designed to fit most ears. Both cases store the earpieces and can charge the earpieces multiple times.

The earpieces run for about 16 hours on a charge; a fully-charged case can recharge the OTTO earpieces 20 times and the Peltor earpieces 16 times. Both cases are IP67-rated when closed.

The Otto case uses a built-in battery that is recharged through a micro-USB port, while Peltor uses three AA batteries. You also can use a USB adaptor connected to the case for charging, but one is not included. The Peltor earpieces have an auto shutoff if the volume button hasn’t been tapped for two hours and a warning chime lets you know a minute ahead of time to tap the earpieces.

The Otto case stores extra earwax filters and a removal/replacement tool, while the Peltor case has lanyard storage posts to prevent tangling. The Peltor earpieces do not have an earwax filter but has a smaller hole. Both come with a lanyard that helps prevent loss of the earpieces should one need to be removed. Both cases have a quick start guide inside the cover.

Suggested retail for both is $399. Suggested retail for the TEP-200 is $475.00, which also can receive wireless audio from 2-way radios using a neck loop accessory. Agency discounts are available directly from the manufacturers.

TEP-100 and NoizeBarrier Micro Ear tips

Since every ear is differently shaped and sized, even on the same person, both earpieces come with several silicone and foam tips, and both are sized closely enough to accept the same tips. The ear tip that is most comfortable and seals the ear is the best choice. However, the ear tip must seal well and prevent feedback (whistling) to provide proper protection. If none of the included tips fit perfectly, alternate tips are available from many sources including Amazon. The choices are many, including rubber, silicone and foam.

Rubber and silicone come in different sizes and shapes, such as single, double, or triple-flange, while foam is available in single- or multiple- use cylindrical or cone shapes in different densities. Even the famous Peltor Skull Screw will work. Just make sure to get the communications tips and not the earplug, which is solid.

No matter which one you choose, the ear tip is inserted into the ear canal either with or without lubrication where it is supposed to create a soundproof seal. With the electronics off, your hearing should be about the same as it is with a pair of over-the-ear muffs. Remember to replace the tips per the manufacturer’s instructions. While deeply-sealed foam ear tips generally make a tighter seal, they usually need to be replaced much more often than silicone eartips.

TEP-100 and NoizeBarrier Micro Fitting

The manufacturers took different approaches in regard to how the devices fit into your ear canal, where the microphone faces and how the device lays into your concha (the bowl-shaped portion of your outer ear).

It might make sense for your department to have both available for testing. A simple wipe with alcohol and boxes of replacement ear tips will let each cop figure out which one they want to wear.

Range Day

Unlike our eyes, where mass-produced sunglasses frames fit just about everyone, both the external and internal parts of our ears differ dramatically in size and shape. One size not only doesn’t fit all, it doesn’t even fit most. As you can see in the ear tips photo, both universal fit earpieces come with a handful of tips, one of which should fit. A search on Amazon will show dozens of different replacement ear tips, showing how individualized we are. Some people may need to use a different size or style of tip in each ear. My ear canals are V-shaped, which makes it hard for me to find comfortable tips that seal well.

I took an afternoon trip with some friends to Reed’s in Santa Clara along with 9mm and .45 ACP pistols and a shotgun with a selection of shells. Reeds has a loud exhaust system that was a great way to test for background noise.

I wore the Peltor TEP-100 first using Skull Screws, with an advertised NRR of 30 dB. It took about 10 minutes for the foam to completely expand to a point that provided the maximum protection. I could hear normal conversations on the low setting when I was on the sales floor and switching to the high setting let me hear conversations across the floor. Moving into the range, while the shots were still “sharp,” they were suppressed and conversation over the fans was possible with a raised voice. While the shots were suppressed, the background noise of the fans stayed constant, which means that only the peaks were being compressed with no recovery time (the “whooshing” or “breathing” sound that you sometimes hear using electronic muffs that simply reduce the volume when they detect a gunshot).

Using the controls was easy since all you do is push and hold the button to power on and off and tap to change between the two volume levels. When I used the high setting, there was a feedback “whistle” that I was never able to figure out how to eliminate.

Next, I tried the NoizeBarrier Micro using the large 3-flange tips with an NRR of 25 dB. The low setting on these was like the high setting on the TEP-100. Again, there were sharp but suppressed shots, and I was astounded when I could hear the echo of the gunshot from the walls. Just like the TEP-100, power and adjustments were as easy as pressing the button.

For more information on hearing protection for cops, visit the PoliceOne police headsets product category page.


Calif. battle over use of force legislation rages on

Posted on April 3, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

David Blake
Author: David Blake

Last year, PoliceOne published an article discussing California Assembly Bill AB 931, which was intended to enhance law enforcement officers’ accountability for the use of deadly force.

The bill was introduced by California Assembly members Shirley N. Weber (D-San Diego) and Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) and was framed as a response to the Stephon Clark officer-involved shooting (OIS). The bill failed, due in no small part to the efforts of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the California Police Chiefs Association and the Peace Officers Research Association of California.

The Clark OIS was independently investigated by Sacramento District Attorney and the California Attorney General. Both determined the officer’s use of deadly force in response to Clark’s actions was reasonable.

This year, Weber and McCarty introduced AB 392, which is another attempt at changing the use of force legal standard in the state of California. Like last year, the new bill amends California Penal Code (CPC) section 196 (Justifiable Homicide by a Peace Officer) and CPC 835a (Authority to Use Force). However, the new proposal is significantly different than last year. While reading AB 392, I found it complex and confusing. I am not an attorney or a legal scholar, but I have worked in or with law enforcement for over 20 years. As a current use of force expert witness and trainer, I believe it is important to attempt to disentangle the narrative of AB 392 to inform myself, law enforcement and the public.

If passed, AB 392 would increase officers’ civil and criminal liability for not making the absolute best decisions leading up to and at the moment force was used. This is a type of standard federal courts have warned about (Scott v. Henrich, 39 F. 3d 912 9th Cir. 1994). It is also a standard inconsistent with continuously reaffirmed guidance from the United States Supreme Court (Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (1989).

Now, if I have your attention, print out a copy of AB 392 and follow along.

AB 392 PROPOSED DEADLY FORCE STANDARD

AB 392 significantly alters CPC 196 (Justifiable Homicide by a Peace Officer).

CPC 196 Section (2): Changes include separating incidents of non-lethal force that result in an in-custody type death from those aligned with officer-involved-shootings. A homicide resulting from a non-lethal (intended) use of force appears to fall under evaluation standards found in CPC 835a section (b) and by proxy, section (c). These two sections relate specifically to non-lethal force and state an officer shall have complied with a comprehensive list of de-escalation tactics demonstrating an attempt to avoid the need to use force (if feasible).

CPC 196 Section (3): Officer-involved shootings resulting in death will apparently be evaluated equivalent to that of a civilian (CPC 197). Interesting that this standard is also a reasonableness inquiry. For example, the jury instructions for justifiable homicide (CalCrim 505) state, “The defendant reasonably believed he or someone else was in imminent danger of being killed or suffering great bodily injury and believed the immediate use of deadly force was necessary.”

WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL?

I can’t say how this would change a prosecutor’s charging decision, but it appears as if an officer-involved shooting would not be evaluated by CPC 197 standards alone. Rather, additional criteria in CPC 196 and CPC 835a may apply.

For instance, regarding self-defense and defense of others, the civilian standard does not use the word necessary in PC197; however, the jury instruction does, although without definition. PC 196 defines necessary as an officer having “no reasonable alternative” while including an evaluation of the tactical conduct and decisions of an officer leading up to the use of deadly force. It should be noted that the narrative in PC 196 indicates the operationalism of the word necessary only applies to fleeing felons. Yet, one must consider the possibility that this definition may fill the gap where one fails to exist?

Additional evaluative guidance may be found in the proposed changes to the authority for an officer to use deadly force. The proposed version of CPC 835a states that deadly force can be used when necessary to defend against an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury. While necessary is defined similarly in both CPC 835a and CPC 196, the word imminent remains a little less clear.

835a Section (3)(e)(2): Defines an “imminent threat” of death or serious bodily injury as a reasonable belief that a person has the ability, opportunity and intent to immediately cause death or serious bodily injury. It goes on to state “imminent harm is not merely a fear of future harm, no matter how great the fear and no matter how great the likelihood of the harm, but is one that, from appearances, must be instantly confronted and addressed.”

CalCrim Section 505: The civilian standard for justifiable homicide (PC 197) uses the word imminent as well. The associated jury instruction states: “Imminent Peril means that the peril must have existed or appeared to the defendant to have existed at the very time the fatal shot was fired. In other words, the peril must appear to the defendant as immediate and present and not prospective or even in the near future. An imminent peril is one that, from appearances, must be instantly dealt with.”

The differences here may be insubstantial to some. Some could argue I am comparing apples to oranges. Others may argue that the proposed 835a section (3) clearly states the criteria cannot be used in criminal proceedings but can be used in civil and administrative hearings. I understand but feel the definitions should not be ignored.

PROPOSED CALIFORNIA FLEEING FELON RULE

CPC 196 Section (4): This section appears to mirror the “fleeing felon” standards as outlined in Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (1985). However, it is interesting that the “probable cause” statements from the federal standard are replaced with “reasonable belief” in the state standard. This section also establishes a need to follow the “necessary deadly force” definition previously discussed.

Lastly, there is an added section allowing for an officer to be charged with manslaughter if a mistake is made.

CPC 196 Section (c): Indicates that the criteria outlined in CPC 196 will not prevent an officer from being charged with manslaughter (CPC 192). This includes “situations in which the victim is a person other than the person that the peace officer was seeking to arrest, retain in custody, or defend against, or if the necessity for the use of deadly force was created by the peace officer’s criminal negligence.”

AB 392 PROPOSED NON-LETHAL FORCE STANDARD

The current version of CPC 835a (in practice) provides officers the ability to use force to effect an arrest, overcome resistance, or prevent the escape of a suspect. Officers are not required to retreat or desist, nor will they be deemed the aggressor when using reasonable force.

Beyond separating standards for deadly and non-deadly force, the first notable change in the proposed version of CPC 835a is the removal of the word “retreat” from its original narrative. The proposed narrative reads that officers “need not abandon or desist from the arrest.” The proposed version adds narrative stating officers shall use time, distance, shielding and communications…” to mitigate force (when feasible). The overall objective of the narrative demonstrates the expectations and evaluative criteria that officers may be held in the near future.

SUMMARY OF AB 392

It is difficult to summarize what I can only describe as a complex use of force standard(s) that provides separate evaluative criteria dependent on the type of force.

If AB 392 were to pass, it appears there are separate standards for non-lethal force, lethal force and non-lethal use of force resulting in an in-custody death. The non-lethal standard is fully based in a list of requirements circumscribing de-escalation, including distance, shielding and communication – when feasible. The deadly force standard is what I would call an enhanced civilian standard, meaning it must be a reasonable defense of self or others, BUT also necessary (as defined in CPC 196) and evaluated based upon pre-shooting tactics and decision making.

Lastly, there is what I opine to be a novel evaluative standard for in-custody deaths resulting from the non-lethal use of force. An event that would intuitively be judged under CPC 196/197 depending on what the future holds.

LE BACKING OF SENATE BILL 230

A second bill has been introduced that has the backing of law enforcement.

SB 230 addresses the issues with current law while also addressing peace officer training. The proposed changes to the law are straightforward and succinct while aligning with contemporary federal standards.

In addition to adjusting the law, SB 230 will fill a significant gap in regard to California peace officer training. SB 230 proposes regular training be provided to officers on a statewide standard of acceptable use of force guidelines including legal standards, de-escalation, duty to intervene, alternatives to force and rendering medical aid (not all inclusive).

CONCLUSION

This article is not intended to be a legal opinion, nor am I providing legal or any other guidance. The article is intended to inform based on my attempt to disentangle the narrative found in AB 392.

I believe there are a significant number of law enforcement officers, their families and friends who have no idea of this proposal or its content. I don’t blame you, nor would I expect most to spend the time I have in attempting to interpret AB 392. Subsequently, I doubt the California voter will either. They will likely pull the lever based on anecdotal beliefs coupled with media messaging of much-needed change.

While I no longer have skin in the game, I do have beliefs on right and wrong. It goes without saying that law enforcement officers should be held accountable for unlawful force. However, the realities of force continue to be misunderstood and misrepresented, which has brought us to where we are today. It is up to the law enforcement agencies, unions and officers to educate themselves, make informed decisions and assist the public in doing the same.

Be safe, be vigilant.


6 steps to hosting an effective community meeting

Posted on April 3, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D.
Author: Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D.

American policing hasn’t come out of the trough of disrespect and suspicion but there is good news. Recent studies on the use of body worn cameras, trust of police and racial bias in use of force have vindicated the profession on many levels. But building, or rebuilding, positive connections with the communities we serve remains a constant challenge.

One way to interact with the community is through community meetings. These can go horribly wrong and be counterproductive. Chicago Tribune reporter Lolly Bowean recently attended a neighborhood meeting where she lives where police were asked to address recent criminal activity. Her mission was personal. A neighbor had been murdered.

Here are some of her observations: “Yes, there had been a murder and a separate shooting, one of the higher-ranking police officers told us. But compared with some other Chicago neighborhoods, crime was not that bad. Another police community engagement liaison explained that because of how the law works, the police essentially have their hands tied and for various reasons can’t address our concerns. When one of my neighbors stood and offered the address to a home that had drug activity and homeless people squatting, the police liaison told him that just because he thought it was a drug house doesn’t mean it is. The officer didn’t make any promises to investigate. When another neighbor told them about a sidewalk being crowded by loiterers, the spokesman explained that loitering isn’t against the law and trespassing is difficult to prove. When a new homeowner stood and spoke about his efforts to install cameras around his property, the officer told us that even if we had surveillance footage, it was useless unless a person was actually behind the camera and willing to appear in court.”

Those of us who have sat in those police leader positions and been put on the defensive, accused of inaction, unwilling to make promises we can’t keep, and communicating our own frustrations with the culture and the legal system, may easily understand the difficult position these Chicago officials are in. But this meeting, perhaps like many in your world, did little good and some possible harm. Make your community interactions better by following these principles:

1. Small groups are better than large crowds

Large audience venues can be plagued by poor sound systems, disruptive people in the crowd, and lack of connection between speakers and community members. Multiple meetings with smaller groups – especially select stakeholders and community influencers – offer opportunity for better interactions.

2. Tables are better than platforms

When I see pictures of a uniformed officer behind a podium addressing a group, I see a lost opportunity for connection. It may be second nature to set up a room the same way our classrooms were set up at the academy or in the briefing room or press conference but the “sage on the stage” is not a posture designed for listening, it is a barrier of separation.

Sitting around a table or a circle of chairs at the same level of those with whom you are interacting helps equalize the parties. Avoid the temptation to be at the head of the table. If you’re there to listen and answer questions, you don’t have to be in charge. A moderator can be helpful in defining and phrasing the discussion. The dynamics of the presence of media at a small event is likely to have much more positive results than media at a large event.

3. Positives are better than negatives

Avoid any verbiage that implies nothing can be done. Instead of saying, “We have no control over that,” try, “We can have a conversation with the prosecutor about that.” Instead of saying, “We can’t do anything without evidence,” try saying, “We will devote some investigative resources to examine that. If anyone knows of additional information, please contact me at this number.”

4. Solutions are better than problems

You may be just as frustrated as your citizens about conditions in your community and lack of cooperation from political leaders, the justice system and lack of resources. But the way to be viewed as problem solvers in our communities is to solve problems, not create excuses. Expressing hope and encouragement instead of stooped shoulders and sighs will build trust as you look for creative solutions to the challenges your community is asking you to address. Asking for solutions with an open mind without swatting down audience member’s ideas with why their ideas won’t work or why it’s been done before and failed can start a productive discussion about what can be done and by whom.

5. Listening is better than talking

Take notes. Ask for clarification. Get examples. Make immediate phone calls to get or convey information. Ask what end results are desired. Review the main points. Ask if anyone was unheard of if anything was unsaid. Ask questions. Explore responses.

6. Following up is better than making promises

If the group is small enough and you’ve asked for contact information, send a thank you and a summary to participants or to leaders who may convey your message. Offer a follow-up meeting, especially if an advisory group or task force evolved from your interactions. Assign tasks to specific officers and get a summary of results ready to report. Be ready to find and present good news about the issue. Make sure the patrol officers working the neighborhoods are aware of what happened at the meetings if they weren’t present. They will be key in maintaining support for your efforts.


Photo: Ohio LEO flips patrol car while trying to catch up to speeder

Posted on April 3, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Author: Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D.

By PoliceOne Staff

NEW HEIGHTS, Ohio — An officer is out of the hospital after a rollover crash this week.

According to News 5 Cleveland, Newburgh Heights Officer Robert Veverka spotted a driver traveling twice the posted the speed limit.

Veverka attempted to stop the speeding driver, but hit a patch of ice making him lose control, hit a curb and flip over. His cruiser crashed into a parked SUV.

Bystanders David Gross and Hugh Woodson found themselves in the middle of the incident.

“It was like a movie,” Gross said.

Woodson and Gross were able to cut Veverka out of the car.

Chief John Majoy says the officer was simply trying to catch up to a traffic offender. He also says that he’s not sure if the driver knew the officer was attempting a traffic stop.

Thank you for the thoughts and prayers for our officer who was injured in a crash today. He is still hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries but expected to make a full recovery.

Posted by Newburgh Heights Police Department on Sunday, March 31, 2019


13-year-old boy donates horse to Ohio police department

Posted on April 3, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Author: Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D.

By PoliceOne Staff

ST. MARY’S, W. Va. — A 13-year-old boy with dreams of becoming a cop donated his horse to a mounted unit on Tuesday.

According to Fox 8 Cleveland, the horse Ben Wagstaff donated was a much-needed addition to the unit.

“Normally we’re looking for donations. We don’t have people coming to us saying, ‘Hey, we’ve got horses’,” Sgt. Bob Forsythe said.

Wagstaff emailed several agencies to see if his 4-year-old horse, Sam, could become a police horse.

The Columbus Mounted Unit said Wagstaff’s donation came at perfect timing because they had just retired two horses.

In a Facebook post, the department called the teen’s act “selfless.”

13-YEAR-OLD WHO WANTS TO BE A POLICE OFFICER DONATES HIS HORSE TO CPD’S MOUNTED UNIT! To say 13-year-old Ben Wagstaff is selfless is an understatement. His mom Jessica Owens-Wagstaff couldn’t be more proud. The St. Mary’s, West Virginia teen emailed a few police agencies in neighboring states to see if his 4-year-old draft horse, Sam, could be a police horse. Fast forward 2 months, today members of CPD’s Mounted Unit made Sam a part of their family. Legend, a 4-legged member of CPD’s Mounted Unit, rode along to help Sam get comfortable to get in the horse trailer. With family and friends watching Sam made it in and enjoyed the ride to his new home. He’ll be one of CPD’s 11 horses in the Mounted Unit. Sgt. Bob Forsythe says Sam will need 6-12 months of training but he’s optimistic that he’ll make an excellent addition! CPD is fortunate and grateful for the donation. Horses are bought and donated to CPD.

Posted by Columbus Division of Police on Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Forsythe says Sam will need about six to 12 months of training before he becomes an official police horse.

“I’m very proud of Ben,” Wagstaff’s mother, Jessica Owens-Wagstaff, said. “He’s raised him [Sam] from a colt.”

Officers gifted Wagstaff, who already knows he wants to be a cop when he grows up, with a Mounted Unit t-shirt, a patch and a challenge coin.


Wis. officer receives ‘thank you’ note from speeding driver

Posted on April 3, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Author: Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D.

By PoliceOne Staff MIDDLETON, Wis. — An officer received an unexpected “thank you” note from a speeding driver this week.

Officer Kim Wood stooped a driver from speeding in a 35 mph section of a Wisconsin highway, Channel 3000 reports.

“While not ‘above and beyond’ I want to thank Officer Wood for slowing me down in my rush to get back to work,” the driver wrote in the note. “My speed was more than a little exuberant.”

The traffic stop made the driver rethink their speed on the freeway.

"Since then I have been mindful of the speed and enjoying the scenery, though cars behind me do not always seem to share my appreciation," the driver wrote. "May all traffic stops result in drivers rethinking their actions."

Extremely rare thank you note received after Officer Kim Wood stopped a driver for speeding recently. Another fine...

Posted by Middleton Police Department on Tuesday, April 2, 2019


Maine trooper killed in crash while responding to disabled vehicle

Posted on April 3, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Matt Byrne Portland Press Herald, Maine

HAMPDEN, Maine — A Maine State Police trooper was struck and killed Wednesday morning on I-95 in Hampden, the department announced.

The trooper has not been identified.

The crash took place south of the Coldbrook Road overpass just after 7:30 a.m. The southbound lanes at the crash site have been closed and traffic is being diverted at the Coldbrook exit.

#BREAKING: A Maine State Trooper was struck and killed this morning in a crash on I-95 in Hampden, according to State Police. Part of the highway remains closed. https://t.co/nBns9nbxnL #NEWSCENTERmaine pic.twitter.com/SOmiSZDRGH

— Zach Blanchard (@ZachBlanchard) April 3, 2019

The trooper was out of his vehicle at the site of a disabled car along I-95 and the other vehicle involved in the crash was a tractor trailer. The trooper was rushed by ambulance to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, where he died.

Few details about the crash were immediately available, but State Police Spokesman Steve McCausland said the driver of the tractor trailer stopped and is being questioned by police. No charges have been filed as of 10:35 a.m., he said.

It was also unknown Wednesday morning how long the trooper was at the scene of the disabled vehicle before he was struck, or if the trooper’s cruiser or the disabled vehicle he was responding to was also hit in the crash.

State Police said a news conference is likely at 3 p.m. this afternoon at the state police barracks in Bangor to provide additional details of the crash and the identity of the trooper.

The last Maine state trooper killed in the line of duty was Detective Glenn Strange, who died in October 1997 of heart problems, six days after he was punched and kicked in the chest by a drunken driving suspect being arrested in Linneus.

The Maine State Police force is divided into troops that are each responsible for patrolling a large swathe of the state. The stretch of I-95 where the crash occurred is patrolled by Troop E, which also is responsible for all of Penobscot and Piscataquis counties, and is led by Lt. Sean Hashey, according to the state Department of Public Safety.

This story will be updated.

———

©2019 the Portland Press Herald (Portland, Maine)


Maine police detective killed while aiding motorist

Posted on April 3, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Author: Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D.

Dan Glaun MassLive.com, Springfield, Mass.

HAMPDEN, Maine — Maine State Police Detective and Easthampton native Ben Campbell was fatally wounded while helping a motorist on Interstate 95 Wednesday morning, Maine State Police said.

Campbell, a six-year veteran of the force, was assisting a driver whose vehicle spun out when a wheel came off of a passing tractor-trailer and struck him, causing fatal injuries, Maine State Pol. John Cote said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

Our hearts are broken at the loss of our brother Det. Ben Campbell. Thank you all for your support on this terrible...

Posted by Maine State Police - Headquarters on Wednesday, April 3, 2019

“This has been a tough day. It has been a tough day for the Campbell family, with the loss of Det. Ben Campbell,” Cote said, his voice shaking with emotion. “And it has been a tough day for our agency. We’ve lost one of our very best and we’ve certainly lost one of Maine’s very best.”

Campbell was traveling to a training on I-95 southbound when he came across a spun-out vehicle that was in the breakdown lane and partially obstructing a travel lane, Cote said. He had exited his vehicle to provide help when two wheels came off of a passing truck in a case of “bizarre” timing," Cote said.

One wheel rolled into the median, while the other struck Campbell, causing fatal injuries.

Campbell, 31, grew up in Easthampton and was a graduate of Westfield State College, Cote said

He joined Maine State Police in 2012 as a trooper and was promoted to detective in 2016. He is survived by his wife and six-month-old son.

Trooper killed in crash

WATCH LIVE: Maine State Police hold a press conference after a state trooper was killed in a crash on I-95 in Hampden.

Posted by WGME CBS 13 News, Portland on Wednesday, April 3, 2019

———

©2019 MassLive.com, Springfield, Mass.


Man indicted in crash that severely injured NY trooper

Posted on April 3, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

null

Joan Gralla Newsday

NEW YORK — A distracted driver who hit a state trooper on a Sagtikos Parkway overpass, causing the officer to lose the ability to walk, talk or eat on his own, has been charged with misdemeanor assault, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Jesse Cohen, 23, of West Islip, "sent and received dozens of text messages in a number of separate conversations in the 20 minutes leading up" to his striking Trooper Joseph Gallagher on Dec. 18, 2017, Westchester County prosecutors said.

Westchester District Attorney Anthony Scarpino Jr. was appointed special prosecutor in the case after the office of Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini recused itself because of an unspecified conflict, officials said.

The trooper, now severely disabled and requiring constant care in a rehabilitation center, was 35, married and the father of young children when Cohen ran into him, officials said. Gallagher had been helping another motorist with a disabled car.

The officer, who served in the Coast Guard before becoming a state trooper in 2014, had parked his patrol car — with its lights flashing — behind the stopped car, closing one of the two lanes on the overpass connecting the Sagtikos with the Long Island Expressway in Commack, prosecutors said.

And Gallagher, a native of the Buffalo suburb of West Seneca who had worked on Long Island for nearly a year, had placed flares around the stopped car, they added.

"While more than one car successfully passed the trooper in the right lane, motorist Jesse Cohen failed to move right and drove his car into Trooper Gallagher," the prosecutors said.

State Police Maj. David Candelaria, in a joint statement with the prosecutors, said, “Texting while driving is dangerous for the driver, other motorists and our first responders who are working to protect the driving public. The deaths and injuries caused by distracted driving are 100 percent preventable."

If convicted, Cohen, charged with assault in the third degree with criminal negligence, faces a top prison sentence of 1 year, prosecutors said.

Cohen was arraigned on an indictment in Suffolk County Court in Central Islip on Tuesday and released on his own recognizance, they said.

———

©2019 Newsday


Ill. police increase focus on Scott’s Law violations, distracted driving

Posted on April 3, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Derrick Mason The Journal-Standard, Freeport, Ill.

FREEPORT, Ill. — A decision to stay in the right lane when approaching an emergency vehicle is likely to cost you a ticket, as law enforcement agencies in the state increase focus on Scott's Law violations and distracted driving.

Three Illinois State Police troopers have died this year on state highways, including two deaths related to Scott's Law violations. The law mandates that drivers slow down, use caution and move over, if possible, when approaching an emergency vehicle on the roadway.

Winnebago County Sheriff's deputies wrote 30 Scott's Law citations in a roughly 4 1/2 hour period of time on Sunday after conducting a patrol specifically to target those who failed to slow down and move over. In Ogle and Grundy counties, deputies wrote 14 and 21 citations in similar periods of time over the weekend, according to the organizations' respective Facebook pages.

Motorists should expect the trend to continue for the foreseeable future, said Dominick Barcellona, deputy chief for Uniform Services for the Winnebago County Sheriff's Office.

"We'll be focusing on it until people can really understand that it's common sense that if someone is in the right lane, they should move over," he said. "Scott's Law is known as the 'move over law' and with the increased fatalities with Illinois State Police we're bound and determined to make sure people know that."

Barcellona said it's hard to estimate how many Scott's Law violations occur on a daily basis, since officers can't always enforce the rule because they are already dealing with another incident. An additional squad car was available to apprehend violators during the special patrol on Sunday, which led to an increase in citations.

"We may witness them all the time, which we do, but you may not be in a position to enforce it," he said. "Sometimes it's just because we can't catch up to the people. I can say, in a 4 1/2 hour period, that's a significant number of citations."

Sixteen Illinois State Police troopers have been hit this year while attending to traffic incidents. All of the vehicles had their emergency lights activated, ISP Acting Director Brendan Kelly said in a news release.

Trooper Brooke Jones-Story, 34, was killed Thursday after she was struck by a semitrailer while inspecting a vehicle on the side of the road. The other driver's name has not yet been released.

Trooper Gerald "Jerry" Ellis, 36, died two days later when a wrong-way driver collided head-on with his vehicle. The other driver, 44-year-old Dan Davies, also died. While the incident was not related to Scott's Law, Davies had alcohol in his system at the time of the crash, according to the Lake County Coroner's Office.

"How many of these incidents could have been avoided if motorists were simply paying attention?" Kelly said. "Please show that you care about our troopers, all emergency responders and your fellow citizens. Respect and obey all traffic laws and, please, do not drive distracted."

Police will also crack down on distracted driving, as April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. A number of agencies, including Winnebago County, have received grants to allow for increased patrols and enforcement zones to ticket drivers using handheld devices.

Freeport Police will be on the lookout for any drivers texting or otherwise using a cell phone without a hands-free connection.

"Distracted driving is certainly always something we focus on and try to provide as much enforcement as we can to it," said Freeport Police Chief Todd Barkalow.

Freeport receives grants that allow for increased patrols at certain times, usually around holidays. Distracted driving comes into play more often than Scott's Law for Freeport officers, since a majority of the city's streets do not have an additional lane for drivers to move over into, Barkalow said.

"We don't have that type of environment, generally speaking," he said. "But it's always a concern whenever we make a traffic stop.

"What drivers should do is slow down," he said. "Slow down and seriously try to give that officer as much room as they can without endangering themselves or anyone else."

Families speak out

Jones-Story's family released the following statement Saturday night:

"Growing up in rural Illinois, Brooke loved her family, and her high school and college volleyball teams. Brooke always had a passion for service and committed herself to becoming a trooper. It was through that role that she gained her family in blue, met her husband and connected her personal and professional loves.

"When Brooke wasn't working, she could be found working with rescue animals on her farm, cheering for the Cubs, working out with her CrossFit family and watching all the Disney movies she could find.

"This is a woman who embraced life and loved spending time with her beloved family and friends. A dedicated, courageous, loving and passionate officer and the absolute best person you could meet. Brooke will be sorely missed and is loved and celebrated for a life committed to her family and the service of others."

The Ellis family released the following statement on Monday:

"Jerry will be remembered as the foundation of our family and the community. Through his compassion, devotion, and nurturing abilities, he supported anyone that crossed his path."

"Each day, he will be remembered as a husband and father who was noble and altruistic. He was the person that would lend a helping hand without having to be asked.

"Acceptance, respect, and dignity are characteristics he displayed with the greatest of ease. His daughters described him as the best dad in the world, a hero, who adored them and showed them the tender unconditional love that only a father could."

"He was a loyal and dedicated husband, providing love and laughter, teamwork and understanding, happiness and excitement; there was never a lack of effort when it came to his family."

"We would like to thank and extend our condolences to every individual and organization who has helped and supported us at this time, including the Illinois State Police, all extended law enforcement agencies, first responders, hospital staff, family, friends, neighbors, and all the individuals we have not had the chance to meet in person."

———

©2019 The Journal-Standard, Freeport, Ill.


How to buy secure communications equipment

Posted on April 3, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Author: Police Product Buying Guide

Secure communications can mean many things. Secure can refer to encrypted frequencies and equipment used to broadcast sensitive information, or it can mean equipment and technology put in place to ensure that a radio system from user to user is safe, secure and resilient.

Here are some important things to consider when purchasing secure communications equipment for law enforcement:

1. Ease of use

The current buzzword for many in the public safety communications industry is “interoperability.” Whether discussing radio interoperability that allows disparate radios and frequencies to communicate with each other or data interoperability that allows computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems and other technology to communicate regardless of vendor or type, interoperability is a must for effective and efficient communications in every field of public safety.

However, interoperability is subsequent to operability. This means no level of technological advancement will be effective if it is difficult to learn or use in day-to-day operations. When purchasing equipment, be sure to consider the end users and get input from them prior to making any level of commitment.

2. Resiliency and durability

In essence, resiliency means less easy to break. For communications, this means durable redundant systems at every point in the system. Field radios should be durable, weather/waterproof and safe for hazardous environments. The infrastructure that bridges the gap between field agency and communications center should be durable, redundant and self-sufficient during disaster situations, to include back-up power. Redundancy should be such that there is no single point of failure in the system. Communications center equipment should be modern, user-friendly and capable of meeting the needs of today’s communications center, to include the ability to evolve with new technology and products.

3. Maintainable and upgradable

By its very nature, communications equipment is always changing and evolving. This means the technology of today will be obsolete tomorrow or shortly thereafter. Equipment being purchased today should be designed for upgrades and modifications to meet these needs versus replacement. Systems that do not allow for future expansions or upgrades will quickly become stagnant and ineffective. This, in turn, will lead to additional purchases and expenses that would far outweigh the costs of planning today for operations tomorrow.

The phrase “secure communications” covers a wide variety of technology and equipment, from satellite-based systems and encrypted telephones to hardened radios and pagers. When agencies are looking to purchase any type of secure communications equipment a few basics need consideration to ensure they are purchasing the best equipment available and, more importantly, the equipment that meets their needs today and tomorrow. Be sure to specify equipment that is developed according to industry standards and avoid proprietary-vendor solutions.

Any other suggestions? Anything we missed in the list above? Leave a comment below or email products@policeone.com with your feedback.

This article, originally published 8/25/2009, has been updated


FirstNet announces new improvements for 2019

Posted on April 2, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By PoliceOne Staff

DALLAS — AT&T plans to roll out a number of improvements to FirstNet this year.

The new improvements include a single sign-on for quicker access to FirstNet services, enhanced security measures, increased network visibility for administrators, and a mobile app that will enable users to request priority service from the field during times of network congestion.

You can read more about the features, as well as some new developer tools the company has planned, here.


FirstNet announces new improvements for 2019

Posted on April 2, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By PoliceOne Staff

DALLAS — AT&T plans to roll out a number of improvements to FirstNet this year.

The new improvements include a single sign-on for quicker access to FirstNet services, enhanced security measures, increased network visibility for administrators, and a mobile app that will enable users to request priority service from the field during times of network congestion.

You can read more about the features, as well as some new developer tools the company has planned, here.


Prosecutors’ decision on Smollett brings dueling protests

Posted on April 2, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

null

By Javonte Anderson Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — Hundreds of opposing protesters converged in front of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s downtown office Monday, continuing the fierce and divisive reaction to prosecutors’ decision to drop all charges against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett.

Members of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police rallied outside the Cook County Administration Building, many wearing buttons that read “Foxx must go.”

Their demonstration was met by smaller groups, including members of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, who staged a counterprotest and carried signs that read “FOP is racist.” The Rev. Jesse Jackson also lent his support.

Earlier reports that a statewide prosecutors’ group was co-sponsoring the FOP protest were incorrect, a spokesman said.

What began as two rallies centered on Foxx became a clash at times of diverging ideologies.

The scene became chaotic when the groups merged, and counterprotesters — initially positioned across the street from Foxx’s office — crossed to where the FOP members were staged.

The dueling demonstrations intensified but remained nonviolent as people from opposing sides clashed verbally, shouting and cursing at one another. Dozens of police officers were on hand to quell the conflicts and eventually used their bicycles to create a barrier between the two groups.

At one point, a group of FOP-aligned protesters yelled: “Blue Lives Matter!”

To which counterprotesters responded: “Racists go home!”

A few counterprotesters shouted “16 shots and a cover-up,” referring to the number of times 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was shot by Officer Jason Van Dyke in October 2014. A chorus of FOP protesters drowned them out with chants of “Foxx must go!”

Mike MacDonald, 60, was among those opposing Foxx. MacDonald, whose sign read “Justice for sale in Crook County,” said he has been in law enforcement for 35 years and is disappointed with how Foxx is running the office, especially how she handled the Smollett case.

“I don’t think that justice was served at all,” he said.

Chicago police union President Kevin Graham said he was pleased with the outpouring of support and that it’s critical to have “fair and just prosecution” applied to everyone.

“It shouldn’t be that you have influence, it should not be determined by how much money you have, or the color of your skin, or your religion, or your sexual orientation.

“We certainly hope that (Foxx) knows that we’re serious and that we’re not happy.”

Some said they thought the FOP’s criticisms of Foxx were racially motivated.

“This is phony justice,” said Frank Chapman, co-chairman of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. “Not one person from the FOP or anyone of their ilk called a demonstration in defense of or promoting justice for Laquan McDonald.”

McDonald’s shooting long has been a focal point of activism and outrage in the African American community. Van Dyke was sentenced last fall to 6 3/4 years in prison.

Activist and former mayoral hopeful Ja’Mal Green noted that some protesters were wearing red “Make America Great Again” hats.

“What does Trump and ‘Make America Great Again’ hats have to do with anything?” Green asked. “We’re sitting here talking about how the prosecutor should deal with cases.”

The rallies were yet another development in the saga of the Smollett case.

The “Empire” actor, who is African American and openly gay, has said he was walking from a Subway sandwich shop to his apartment on East North Water Street around 2 a.m. Jan. 29 when two men wearing masks attacked him, shouted racial and homophobic slurs and placed a noose around his neck.

Chicago police initially launched a hate crime investigation but eventually said their investigation showed Smollett, 36, staged the attack.

Foxx said in February that she was recusing herself in the case but has drawn criticism for never formally withdrawing from involvement.

Last week, prosecutors dropped all charges against Smollett in exchange for community service and his forfeiture of the $10,000 he had posted as bond. The decision, which Foxx has said she was not involved in, drew swift and scathing criticism from police Superintendent Eddie Johnson and from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who called it a “whitewash of justice.”

———

©2019 Chicago Tribune


Prosecutors’ decision on Smollett brings dueling protests

Posted on April 2, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

null

By Javonte Anderson Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — Hundreds of opposing protesters converged in front of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s downtown office Monday, continuing the fierce and divisive reaction to prosecutors’ decision to drop all charges against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett.

Members of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police rallied outside the Cook County Administration Building, many wearing buttons that read “Foxx must go.”

Their demonstration was met by smaller groups, including members of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, who staged a counterprotest and carried signs that read “FOP is racist.” The Rev. Jesse Jackson also lent his support.

Earlier reports that a statewide prosecutors’ group was co-sponsoring the FOP protest were incorrect, a spokesman said.

What began as two rallies centered on Foxx became a clash at times of diverging ideologies.

The scene became chaotic when the groups merged, and counterprotesters — initially positioned across the street from Foxx’s office — crossed to where the FOP members were staged.

The dueling demonstrations intensified but remained nonviolent as people from opposing sides clashed verbally, shouting and cursing at one another. Dozens of police officers were on hand to quell the conflicts and eventually used their bicycles to create a barrier between the two groups.

At one point, a group of FOP-aligned protesters yelled: “Blue Lives Matter!”

To which counterprotesters responded: “Racists go home!”

A few counterprotesters shouted “16 shots and a cover-up,” referring to the number of times 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was shot by Officer Jason Van Dyke in October 2014. A chorus of FOP protesters drowned them out with chants of “Foxx must go!”

Mike MacDonald, 60, was among those opposing Foxx. MacDonald, whose sign read “Justice for sale in Crook County,” said he has been in law enforcement for 35 years and is disappointed with how Foxx is running the office, especially how she handled the Smollett case.

“I don’t think that justice was served at all,” he said.

Chicago police union President Kevin Graham said he was pleased with the outpouring of support and that it’s critical to have “fair and just prosecution” applied to everyone.

“It shouldn’t be that you have influence, it should not be determined by how much money you have, or the color of your skin, or your religion, or your sexual orientation.

“We certainly hope that (Foxx) knows that we’re serious and that we’re not happy.”

Some said they thought the FOP’s criticisms of Foxx were racially motivated.

“This is phony justice,” said Frank Chapman, co-chairman of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. “Not one person from the FOP or anyone of their ilk called a demonstration in defense of or promoting justice for Laquan McDonald.”

McDonald’s shooting long has been a focal point of activism and outrage in the African American community. Van Dyke was sentenced last fall to 6 3/4 years in prison.

Activist and former mayoral hopeful Ja’Mal Green noted that some protesters were wearing red “Make America Great Again” hats.

“What does Trump and ‘Make America Great Again’ hats have to do with anything?” Green asked. “We’re sitting here talking about how the prosecutor should deal with cases.”

The rallies were yet another development in the saga of the Smollett case.

The “Empire” actor, who is African American and openly gay, has said he was walking from a Subway sandwich shop to his apartment on East North Water Street around 2 a.m. Jan. 29 when two men wearing masks attacked him, shouted racial and homophobic slurs and placed a noose around his neck.

Chicago police initially launched a hate crime investigation but eventually said their investigation showed Smollett, 36, staged the attack.

Foxx said in February that she was recusing herself in the case but has drawn criticism for never formally withdrawing from involvement.

Last week, prosecutors dropped all charges against Smollett in exchange for community service and his forfeiture of the $10,000 he had posted as bond. The decision, which Foxx has said she was not involved in, drew swift and scathing criticism from police Superintendent Eddie Johnson and from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who called it a “whitewash of justice.”

———

©2019 Chicago Tribune


Utah passes bill banning independent civilian police review boards

Posted on April 2, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By PoliceOne Staff

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah has passed a bill banning oversight powers for independent civilian boards that review police departments, local news station KUTV reports.

The bill is a “pre-emptive thing” against the rise of “anti-law enforcement activist” groups, Republican Sen. Don Ipson said.

According to the bill, independent civilian groups can meet to discuss police policies but won’t have authority over a police chief’s decisions or department procedures.

"There isn't a problem now," Ipson said, "but we feel like there is one coming if we don't do this."

The bill is a response to a proposal for an elected board with veto powers over the Salt Lake City Police Department. Opponents say the bill prevents community action in response to police misconduct.

"This is what oversight needs," said David Newlin, an organizer for Utahns Against Police Brutality. "You're supposed to have an independent body — somebody who is fundamentally removed from the body you're overseeing otherwise you're running into problems and running into conflicts of interest."


Conn. officer agrees to cover face tattoos to avoid termination

Posted on April 2, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By PoliceOne Staff

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — An officer facing potential termination over his facial tattoos has agreed to cover them.

According to the New Haven Register, Officer Jason Bandy agreed to cover his facial tattoos in order to save his job during a termination hearing on March 27.

Former Chief Anthony Campbell and Interim Chief Otoniel Reyes both recommended that Bandy be fired for his facial tattoos since they violated departmental policy - which the union contests - and prevented the department from exercising control over its image.

"We all signed up to do a job; we all signed up to a particular brand. And that brand should be able to maintain its integrity,” said Reyes. “When an officer walks in with tattoos on their face, there are segments of the population that we serve that may be confused and offended by that - that may not understand what that’s all about, that may question the mental stability of the officer who does that.”

Police officials initially offered Bandy an agreement that he could have his tattoos surgically removed to avoid termination, but a dermatologist said that option would leave Bandy with lasting scars.

Bandy’s agreement to cover his tattoos with makeup - part of a second offer - resulted in the hearing being tabled for 30 days as both sides work out a compromise over other parts of the deal.


Texas officer, truck driver help save suicidal teen from jump off bridge

Posted on April 2, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Jay R. Jordan Houston Chronicle

ARLINGTON, Texas — A truck driver minding his own business might have saved the life of a suicidal teenager in dramatic video released by police in North Texas.

On Wednesday morning, police in Arlington received a 911 call reporting that a teenage boy was threatening to jump off an overpass along Interstate 20 near Kelly Elliot Road, the police department said in a Facebook post. When officers arrived, they found the teen straddling the overpass barriers threatening to jump, police said.

Acting quickly, Arlington Police Department Corporal Deric Sheriff flagged down a passing trucker on the highway and enlisted him to park underneath the overpass, so if the teen were to jump, he would land on the trailer.

The officer planned on getting more trailers to line up underneath the bridge, but just as the first truck pulled underneath the bridge, video shows the teen jumping to the top of the trailer. Police said he was uninjured.

"A special thanks to our commercial drivers who (lent) a helping hand this morning," the police department posted. "We were able to get the teen some help during this crisis intervention."

We had some help from a big rig this morning as a teen was contemplating jumping from an overpass. APD Motor Officer Deric Sheriff was instrumental in directing the truck driver before the teen jumped & later landed on the trailer. Excellent crisis intervention to help this teen! pic.twitter.com/qSZwVQG6ef

— Will Johnson (@ArlingtonChief) March 27, 2019

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©2019 the Houston Chronicle


Dash cam video shows Fla. trooper firing GPS device at fleeing vehicle

Posted on April 2, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By Josh Rojas, Bay News 9

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — Dash cam video captured a Florida Highway Patrol trooper firing a sticky GPS device from his cruiser at a fleeing minivan in Pasco County on March 18. The device helped track the minivan on the Suncoast Parkway, eventually leading to the capture of the driver.

According to an FHP report, the New Port Richey Police were chasing a white minivan and requested the trooper’s assistance because the driver was about to leave their jurisdiction. Police said that fleeing driver had already committed felony aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer.

The trooper said because there were other law enforcement vehicles near his cruiser, it wasn’t safe to attempt a P.I.T. maneuver. Instead, the trooper deployed his StarChase system, which fired a GPS device that stuck onto the minivan near the license plate.

“I got the vehicle with StarChase,” the trooper radioed. “I got the mapping program up on my end. So, I can see real time where he’s going.”

Full story: Dash Cam Video Shows FHP Trooper Firing GPS Device at Fleeing Vehicle


Colo. inmate paints tributes to fallen deputies on jail walls

Posted on April 2, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By News Staff

CASTLE ROCK, Colo. — An inmate at the Douglas County Justice Center is using his artistic skills to honor fallen officers.

According to FOX 31, Inmate Lucas Mefford has painted an American flag, a hero’s flag and two badges honoring fallen officers.

"I was about 2 or 3 when I started drawing," Mefford told FOX 31. "I was always just a quiet kid. I'd just sit back and get lost in artwork."

Mefford is serving time for violating his parole.

"I had a pistol on me," he said. "And obviously, I'm not supposed to have firearms because of the fact that I'm a felon."

A few months earlier, a chaplain stumbled upon Mefford’s artwork, prompting jail staff to ask if he would be interested in drawing an American flag in the booking lobby.

"I said, 'Yeah.' You know? Art needs to be shared," Mefford said.

His skills were so impressive he was asked to paint murals of fallen Douglas County deputies Zack Parrish and Donald King.

Mefford is scheduled to be released later this year and hopes to never see those murals again.

"I'm just looking to live life, I'm tired of doing this, tired of being in and out all the time," he said.


NYPD cracks down on cops accused of domestic violence

Posted on April 2, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Graham Rayman New York Daily News

NEW YORK — The NYPD has ordered cops with internal charges for domestic violence to receive 24 weeks of counseling as part of a series of fixes to the disciplinary system, police officials said Monday.

Police officers found to be involved in misconduct related to domestic violence will now be placed on dismissal probation, meaning they could be fired on the spot if they are caught doing it again. If they are convicted, they would face automatic firing.

The announcement from Police Commissioner James O’Neill was part of a 60-day status report that followed the findings of the three-member panel which conducted a review of how the NYPD disciplines cops.

“If we build trust in the agency, then particularly that means we’re treating our officers fairly,” First Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker said. “The way they are treated will benefit the public out on the streets doing their job.”

The department also said it will continue to lobby Albany to change section 50-a of the state Civil Rights Law so it allows them greater latitude in releasing disciplinary outcomes. In recent years City Hall and the NYPD have argued that 50-a as it’s written bars the release of cop disciplinary records — but that the law should be changed. Civil rights advocates disagree with how City Hall and the NYPD interpret the existing law, and say such records can legally be made public now.

The NYPD plans to reduce its use of 50-a as a justification for refusing to turn over body camera footage, arrest reports and routine police reports through the state Freedom of Information Law.

In 2018, the Daily News published a series on problems in the NYPD’s disciplinary system. The reports prompted the NYPD to create the review panel.

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©2019 New York Daily News


Pa. sheriff: Immigration agents must say when they’re in court

Posted on April 2, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — The sheriff of Philadelphia has told federal Homeland Security authorities that immigration agents must identify themselves to sheriff's deputies if they are on-duty in courtrooms in the city.

Sheriff Jewell Williams cited a report in The Philadelphia Inquirer that plainclothes Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were in courtrooms to apprehend people illegally in the country.

The Defender Association was quoted as saying at least three people had been arrested this year on their way into or out of the city's Criminal Justice Center.

Williams said agents could easily and confidentially disclose their presence or intentions, otherwise an agent "may be perceived as an intruder trying to disrupt or intimidate participants in a proceeding, in which case our deputies would intervene."

Department of Homeland Security representatives didn't immediately return a message seeking comment.


Fallen Ill. trooper sacrificed life to save others from wrong-way driver

Posted on April 2, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Ella Torres New York Daily News

GREEN OAKS, Ill. — Even in his last moments, Trooper Gerald Ellis put the lives of others before himself.

Ellis, an 11-year-veteran with the Illinois State Police, was killed early Saturday after an impaired wrong-way driver struck his squad car head-on Interstate 94 in Lake County, police said. He was rushed to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries but was pronounced dead at 4:04 a.m.

He was headed home at the time of the crash.

In a post commemorating the 36-year-old, Carrie Kay commented with a story of her own — one that she said ended in her daughter’s life being saved.

Kay wrote that her daughter, who she did not name, was travelling from Washington D.C. with a family she babysits on I-94. Ellis’ car was ahead of her daughter’s two lanes over, she said.

However after spotting the wrong-way driver coming eastbound in the westbound lanes, Ellis moved his car directly in front of Kay’s daughter to block the driver from hitting the civilians, according to Kay.

“Trooper Gerald Ellis you are my HERO. This officer paid the ultimate sacrifice early this morning and saved my daughter’s life,” she wrote.

“[Her daughter and the other passengers] were the sole vehicle on the interstate at the time of the crash and were witnesses to the whole thing,” she added.

Acting Director of the Illinois State Police Brendan Kelly said Ellis saved lives with his actions, but did not elaborate.

The trooper leaves behind his wife and two children.

The driver, identified Monday as 44-year-old Dan Davies, also died in the crash, police said. The Lake County Coroner’s Office confirmed that he had alcohol in his system, but was waiting for the toxicology report to come back to release his BAC.

Davis sustained multiple injuries due to the crash, the office said.

The investigation into the crash is active and ongoing.

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©2019 New York Daily News


Wounded Texas trooper remains in hospital, ‘in good spirits’

Posted on April 2, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Domingo Ramirez Jr. Fort Worth Star-Telegram

FRISCO, Texas — A Texas Department of Public Safety trooper shot in the leg Friday during a standoff in Frisco remained in the hospital on Monday, a DPS official said.

The trooper, who was not identified, was shot in the leg just above his ankle, said DPS Lt. Lonny Haschel in an email Monday.

“I just left the hospital and the trooper is in good spirits,” Haschel said in the email. “But he has a long road to recovery.”

The trooper was shot after attempting to stop 42-year-old Bryan M. Cahill on a traffic violation on the Dallas North Tollway in Plano on Friday afternoon.

Haschel said, for a reason that has yet to be determined, Cahill refused to stop and fled to his Frisco apartment on Lebanon Road.

At some point, Cahill opened fire on the trooper outside the La Valencia at Starwood Apartments, in the 6800 block of Lebanon Road, Haschel said.

Video taken by an apartment resident and viewed by a Star-Telegram reporter shows a man crouching behind the front of a car and shooting at a trooper. The man appears to fire several shots before turning and running toward an apartment building. The trooper continues to shoot at the man and the man appears to stumble as he runs toward the building.

Video from the scene also shows the trooper using a vehicle for cover during the shooting. The trooper limped back behind a vehicle after he was hit. Another officer can be seen coming to help the DPS trooper with his gun drawn, the video showed.

Throughout the standoff, Cahill fired multiple shots at authorities, according to a DPS news release.

Cahill barricaded himself in his apartment and held authorities at bay for 15 hours before he was taken into custody shortly after 5 a.m. Saturday.

Cahill suffered serious injuries and was taken to a local hospital. Authorities did not provide any details on how Cahill was injured.

Cahill was booked into the Collin County Jail in McKinney on Sunday and bond was set at $500,000.

The Frisco man faces a charge of aggravated assault on a public servant, according to jail records.

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©2019 the Fort Worth Star-Telegram


4 dead in ‘multiple homicide’ at ND business

Posted on April 2, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

MANDAN, ND — Four people were found dead Monday in what police called a "multiple homicide" at a North Dakota property-management business.

The bodies of three men and a woman were discovered inside RJR Maintenance and Management in Mandan, a city of about 22,000 just across the Missouri River west of Bismarck, Police Chief Jason Ziegler said. The victims weren't immediately identified and police didn't say how they died.

"It's quite a large crime scene, so it's not something that's going to be easy for us to get in and do quickly," Ziegler said of the pace of the investigation.

Officers were combing through the building, which includes an office area in the front and a large warehouse area in the back, and planned to be there "as long as it takes us to get everything that we need," the chief said.

Ziegler said someone other than the four people who were found dead is responsible for the killings. However, police have not yet identified a suspect and have no motive.

"The crime scene is contained to where it's at, and there is no evidence based upon what we see that the public at large is in any danger from what happened there," Ziegler said. "It looks like an isolated incident."

He said he was not aware of officers responding to any other recent incidents at the business that might have been connected to the killings.

The building has many surveillance cameras, Ziegler said. He asked other businesses in the area that might have video footage they consider relevant to come forward.

Police announced in a brief statement Monday morning that they had found "several" bodies while responding to a "medical call" to RJR. As hours passed without additional information, people with friends or loved ones who work at RJR gathered beyond a police line, anxious for news about those inside.

Judy Praus, 70, said she was a longtime friend of the owner's family and had just seen them at a restaurant Saturday. She said she also knew a lot of employees, and had no details on any of them.

"When I was notified, I shattered. Unbelievable," she said.

Gina Kessel, 52, of Mandan, showed up at the business Monday to pick up her son, Mitchell Kessel, an employee there. She said Mitchell "called me, said something is going on." She said he didn't tell her what.

She and her son hugged, with both of them crying. The son declined comment before going back behind a police line.

A statement posted on the company's website said the business was closed Monday. No one answered the phone at RJR, which is somewhat isolated despite its location in a business district near a busy main road known as The Strip. A large empty lot sits in the front, a golf course in back and a soccer complex to one side.

Darin Helbling, a manager at a nearby bowling alley, said police asked to see his business' surveillance video. Helbling said the video showed only a couple of vehicles on the road that separates the businesses since 10 p.m. Sunday.

RJR's website identified it as a family-owned company that has been handling commercial and residential properties in Bismarck and Mandan for more than 20 years. Its services include collecting rent for landlords, paying mortgages, re-renting apartments, building and grounds maintenance, lawn care, and snow removal. It also rents out storage units.

A "Meet Our Team" feature on the website pictured 22 employees.

Natasha Towne said her brother, Adam Fuehrer, has worked at the business for about eight years. She said she didn't know his status and was frustrated at the lack of news. She declined to talk further.


Things to know about night vision and thermal technology

Posted on April 2, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Author: Ron Avery

Night vision and thermal imagers add a big advantage to our capacity to operate safely and efficiently in low light environments. They are being used extensively by military personnel overseas and are gaining in popularity here with law enforcement officers in the U.S.

As part of our educational series on things that officers should know, I turned to one of my expert technical advisors, Rob Lowe, previously the sales and marketing manager from NIVISYS, a company specializing in low light technologies. Lowe is a former law enforcement officer and was a SWAT team leader for his department before he retired. He understands both the tactical and technical side of night vision and thermal equipment and how to maximize their potential.

Much of what we do as law enforcement officers take place in low, altered or failing light. Knowing how to read both the light and the situation at hand lets us make choices on how to handle them. If you remember my tactical decision-making equation from the article, Risk vs. Need, I talk about resources available as part of your strategy. You should also be aware of how night vision can be used by you or against you by your opponent.

I am a strong proponent of learning how to operate in darkness and becoming comfortable in that environment. When I worked as an adjunct instructor with the Surefire Institute, I was able to see how the tactics of using lights correctly gave a huge advantage over someone who did not have a light. That brought my low light skills up to a much higher level of awareness and expertise.

When the lights go off, there is a strong tendency to want to light everything up around you so that you feel safe. Using white light at the wrong time, without an awareness of your environment or opponent’s capabilities, could expose you as a target.

It is my belief that you should have strong skills in the intelligent use of white light and be able to function both individually and in a team environment with white light. You should also know the capabilities and how to effectively use night vision and thermal devices so you understand their capabilities and limitations.

I feel strongly about this and I will be adding both thermal and night vision devices to our tactical low light courses, and use both white light and night vision and thermal devices so officers can learn to use different approaches to low light environments. I will have a variety of platforms to use the night vision and thermal devices so officers can learn how to use them efficiently and what to purchase when their budgets allow for it.

Hands-on training with night vision products

In 2010 Lowe came up to our training site at The NRA Whittington Center in Raton, N.M. to demonstrate night vision and other equipment as part of our video series with PoliceOne. Doug Wylie, Farran Tabrizi, Kathie Ferguson-Avery, and I were able to see the different technologies in use and The Whittington Center is an ideal place to use both technologies.

We were able to see jackrabbits, deer, and antelope with the thermal imager out to 500 yards as well as see people hiding in the brush that couldn’t be seen with the night vision devices. We used infra-red lasers on mountain peaks up to four miles away and were able to check out a new hybrid thermal/night vision device that brings the best of both technologies together in one compact unit.

Lowe told us about grants to purchase night vision and thermal imaging equipment and it may be more affordable than you think. One thing to keep in mind in regards to night vision/thermal equipment: just because you don’t have night vision doesn’t mean your opponent doesn’t. There are a lot of gen 1 and gen 2 devices for sale on the open market here in the U.S. and even a poor quality unit will give an advantage over someone who doesn’t have anything.

Night operations technology for LE

The two predominant technologies that exist for law enforcement to use in night operations are night vision (or image intensified equipment) and thermal imagers.

There are other technologies in the arena such as CCD-based cameras, however, there are limitations such as lagging images when panning the viewer and CCD works requires a certain level of existing ambient light in order to be useful. In true low light conditions, absent the desire to use white light, night vision and thermal technologies tend to perform better for most law enforcement needs.

Historically, these technologies have been used in military applications, and as has been the case with other products, military hardware migrates into the law enforcement world.

Night vision myths and misconceptions

For even more information, I turned to Lowe for his take on night vision and thermal devices. In particular, he said that we need to remember that there are a lot of legends that are passed along in locker room conversations. Here, Lowe corrects some of those myths and misconceptions.

Myth #1. All night vision is the same.

Fact: There are two primary U.S. manufacturers of the heart and soul of image-intensified equipment: the image intensifier tubes. There are a number of offshore companies that all produce image intensifiers and there is usually a very distinct difference in the quality and performance over the life of the equipment.

Remember that there are a number of companies that have commercial access to these image tubes and use them in the production or assembly of night vision equipment. Be aware that there are also a large number of companies and retailers that are in the business of re-selling night vision equipment manufactured by other companies both domestically and off-shore.

It will serve you well to not get complacent in your hunt for equipment like this. The usual three bid requirement and a lack of research can have an impact on what type of gear you or your team wind up with.

Myth #2: Night vision outperforms thermal in all cases.

Fact: Both night vision and thermal imagers have performance characteristics that the user may prefer over the other in specific situations. Night vision equipment will provide a higher degree of resolution and thereby give the operator better target recognition and generally longer ranges of detection. However, if the target is stationary or camouflaged with barriers such as vegetation, it becomes much more difficult to locate. Thermal equipment will generally perform better in that situation as it becomes much more difficult for a target to conceal a heat signature.

Thermal products have a similar pedigree as image intensified gear. Thermal operates differently — it operates independently from ambient lighting. This means that it can be used both day and night. Thermal detectors are the heart and soul of all of the thermal equipment out there. These detectors are also manufactured by two primary U.S.-based manufacturers of detectors and several international manufacturers. Cost, performance, and availability will be the obvious product delineators.

The less obvious factor might be: how am I going to deploy this equipment? There are thermal imagers that are intended to be low-cost, handheld devices but there are also thermal imagers that are designed to be very versatile. Several models perform as dedicated weapons thermal sights or are designed to be multi-function — meaning they can be used as weapons-mounted, helmet-mounted, or as handheld units.

It is true that thermal can’t offer the degree of facial recognition that night vision does, but thermal outperforms traditional night vision when it comes down to finding a bad guy on the run that might be laying in ambush for his pursuers.

So the obvious questions is: why not both?

You can achieve this in two ways, like most larger teams, a combination of these two technologies exist when operators deploy with either weapon or helmet mounted night vision devices and other over-watch team members are equipped with a thermal imager. We know of several teams that are forced to rely on borrowed fire department handheld devices which perform well at short range but are really designed for the fire environment and don’t generally work well if you are hunting bad guys and need to be carrying a carbine.

There is another solution as well, a poor man’s fusion device such as the NIVISYS Industries TACS unit is a clip-on thermal imager that is specifically designed to clip-on to an existing night vision device such as a monocular or AN/PVS-7 goggle. The TACS unit projects or overlays a thermal imager into the objective lens of the night vision device and results in the operator having a “fused” thermal night vision image.

Other steps can be taken to reach an optimum environment for night operations. The addition of an infrared or i.r. illuminator/designator to a night vision platform can also enhance an operator’s effectiveness when bore sighted to the weapon. The designator/illuminator offers the advantage of precise shot placement without the need for white light.

How do police departments pay for night vision?

Funding is always the catch in this business. In a time when budget cuts and potential lay-offs dominate agencies everywhere, asking for this type of equipment seems futile. However, these questions remain to be answered.

Can you operate in the dark as well as daylight? Can you rely on white light to solve all of your detection situations? Do you have the maximum level of force protection in place if you are going to search the dark for bad guys? Who has the advantage in these situations?

Check out state and DHS grant sources and talk with other agencies that have successfully acquired this type of equipment through grant programs.

This article, originally published 6/22/2010, has been updated


How simulation training can improve officer performance (eBook)

Posted on April 2, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Author: Ron Avery

Sponsored by Laser Shot

Training to keep your skills sharp is necessary to succeed in any profession. In law enforcement, however, it can mean the difference between life and death. Video-based simulation training has become a key solution for departments to expand the scope of their training without breaking the budget.

Download this free eBook to learn:

3 key features to look for in a simulation system. How simulation training can help prepare officers for active shooter response. How simulation training can help prepare officers for appropriate use of force. Why one officer believes in simulation training.

Fill out the form below for your free eBook:


19 hospitalized after disturbance at memorial for rapper Nipsey Hussle

Posted on April 2, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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By Eric Licas The Orange County Register

LOS ANGELES — What began as a peaceful gathering in memory of slain rapper Nipsey Hussle in Los Angeles's Hyde Park neighborhood ended in a stampede of panicked mourners that left several people injured on Monday, April 1. And as events unfolded quickly, Los Angeles police late Monday named a suspect in Sunday's killing of Hussle. The LAPD was looking for Eric Holder, 29, of Los Angeles, in the death.

By about 10 p.m., 19 patients had been transported to hospitals with two in critical condition, said Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Margaret Stewart. One of those critically hurt had been struck by a vehicle, the other had a penetrating traumatic injury but its cause was not known.

She said 15 of those transported had minor injuries, several consistent with being trampled in the incident that started about 8:10 p.m. Besides the two critically hurt, two more were seriously hurt.

Stewart said firefighter/paramedic crews responded on a report of a possible shooting or stabbing and initially found one person critically injured. There was no evidence any of the patients had been struck by gunfire.

Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said in a tweet that an informal initial report from the Fire Department said 12 people were treated at the scene. "Many (were) treated on scene for sprained ankles," he added.

It wasn't immediately known what started the disturbance at the memorial, which had been proceeding peacefully with hundreds of people since Hussle was fatally shot on Sunday afternoon.

The LAPD was telling people to leave the area near the intersection of Slauson Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard.

LAPD spokesman Josh Rubenstein told KCAL9 that police were on a modified tactical alert following the stampede.

CBS Los Angeles reported police were investigating if those hurt were stabbed, or if they were hit by a vehicle or vehicles, or if they were hurt in the stampede or by another cause. Reporters on the scene noted there was a lot of broken glass from candles, flower holders and other objects and that the glass could have contributed to the injuries.

The LAPD tweeted later that "reports of shots fired at the vigil do not appear to be accurate."

City News Service contributed to this story.

Copyright The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.)


A motor cop’s guide to probable cause

Posted on April 2, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Jason Hoschouer
Author: Jason Hoschouer

I understand not all of us are as excitable about the vehicle code as those of us in traffic enforcement, but I promise that having even a rudimentary knowledge base surrounding that rather a large book can come in quite handy when you're looking for a good reason to stop and chat with a driver. I also understand that not all of us have a “Rain Man”-like Rolodex embedded in our respective psyches in which we store the aforementioned vehicle codes.

The key to it isn't necessarily having a numbered section on the tip of one's tongue to flaunt about when the soon-to-be suspect asks, “Why did you stop me?” If you can rattle off busted taillight that works just as well as saying CVC 24252(a).

My hope is to educate you on some common mechanical violations that are great for establishing probable cause or jumpstart your memory from the countless number of years ago in which you attended the police academy.

Before starting, I have to admit to a deficiency. I am fairly fluent in the California Vehicle Code, but I don't know a thing about the Insert-Every-Other-State Vehicle Code. Consequently, you'll have to take the plain text language from here and do a bit of research to find the specific sections to which I will be referring. I apologize in advance for my obvious shortcomings; however, I have faith in your ability to Google your state's vehicle code.

Common motor vehicle violations

I’m not sure why the universe deemed it so, but more often than not, scofflaws drive dilapidated cars. Let's start with some easy violations.

Vehicle lights

There's the aforementioned broken taillight, but lighting sections can be incredibly helpful to know. Understandably, this applies more to you night owls than those of us on day shift, but imagine if vehicle lights are all supposed to be operational. That means the brake lights, headlights, reverse lights and even the license plate light need to work. If a light is out or even dim you have a stellar reason to chat up the driver.

If a broken taillight is covered with tape, even the same color tape as the light (nice try), that's no good. Ground effect lighting looks tough in movies, right? Sure, but almost every second of “The Fast and the Furious” is jam-packed with illegal equipment. Those ridiculous lights on windshield wipers, rims and trim are all illegal.

Another great section to know, especially for you swing/grave-types, is driving without headlights. What’s your state's code on low and high beam use?

Missing license plates

Another easy one (at least in California) is no front plate. It never ceases to amaze me how many cars I see with no front plate. Now, do I cite for it? Sometimes. By and large, it’s a good reason to see who is in the car, contact them and see if there is any criminal activity afoot.

Uncommon motor vehicle violations

Those are some easy examples to identify violations. Let's talk about some uncommon violations.

Excessive exhaust and noise

If a car is smoking out the back end as it cruises through your response area or the exhaust is excessively loud, you have a violation.

Broken or obstructed windshield

Another violation you may see more often than you realize is the broken windshield. The key to that violation is that the defective condition of the windshield must impair the driver's vision.

While the days of a pine-scented air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror as a good reason to stop someone have long passed us by, you’ve got to be able to articulate the violation’s inherent obstruction. Granted, if there are 40 air fresheners hanging there, that’s a whole different kettle of fish.

Vehicle is unsafe

Remember that scene in “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” where Steve Martin and John Candy get stopped in a burned out wreck of a car? The cop pulled them over because the vehicle was “unsafe.” It’s a pretty vague section, so if you can articulate why the vehicle is unsafe, you're good to go.

Along those same lines is the condition of the vehicle's tires. If there is less than 1/32” of tread depth, it's a violation. Of course, most of us don't carry a tread gauge, but if you wouldn't drive with those tires, it may be worth a closer look. If you see metal instead of tread, you've got a violation.

Sadly, some of my greatest memories of childhood are now illegal. Riding in the back of my dad's '65 GMC pickup with my dog untethered in the bed are both violations. Sure, I see the ridiculous danger inherent in it, but it was fun while it lasted.

Speaking of hauling things around, if a vehicle is being used to haul just about anything that can fall out (think dump run in a pickup truck), the operator is required to cover the load to prevent spillage. Also, if you can't see out the back using your rearview mirror, you must have both a left- and right-side mirror. If you can see out the back using your rearview mirror, then only a left-side mirror is required, but a vehicle must have a minimum of two mirrors (one being the left-side) at all times.

Being aware of less obvious mechanical violations, in addition to the violations that are easier to recognize, will increase your knowledge and ability to contact a citizen.

This article, originally published 9/12/2016, has been updated


More kids with autism means more police contacts with ASD subjects

Posted on April 2, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Author: Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Senior Contributor

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regularly updates statistics on the number of people believed to be affected in some way by autism — to be an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) subject — and the numbers keep increasing. The condition is now believed to affect one in 59 school-age children — up from one in 68 in 2014 and one in 88 just two years earlier.

“That means virtually every grade in every elementary school has at least one child with autism — a seemingly astonishing rise for a condition that was nearly unheard of a generation ago,” USA Today said in its 2014 reporting on the increase.

We know from prior discussions on the topic that as the numbers of ASD subjects go up, the numbers of police interactions with them will inevitably go up as well. The numbers from the CDC offer an excellent opportunity for police officers and trainers to review some of the basics and explore some of the latest information to become available on the topic.

The basics of autism spectrum disorder

First, we know that ASD individuals are highly likely to be the victims of all manner of criminal activity — from bullying to robbery to sexual assault. Further, ASD subjects often have psychological problems, such as depression and self-destructive behaviors, which can attract the attention of law enforcement. Finally, ASD subjects are typically unafraid of the dangers associated with water, strangers, heights, other hazards, and can consequently have medical emergencies necessitating a public safety response.

You will encounter an ASD subject at some point — likely more than once — and those individuals will have a different response to police than “the usual suspects.” Remember that ASD subjects may react unpredictably to outside stimuli such as visual and audible queues, as well as physical human contact. Lights, sirens, a badge and a gun — even an officer’s command presence — are very different for an ASD person than someone considered to be “neurotypical.”

Susan Hamre, director of the Giant Steps Autism Training Center in Lisle (Ill.), is an expert on ASD and someone with whom I regularly consult for updated information on this topic.

Hamre said that while there aren’t necessarily any “new tactics” to learn since I last wrote about the issue, there are some concepts she’s been talking about in her training programs which merit our attention today.

If you’re out looking for an ASD subject who has gone missing, and have no other information to go on, Hamre suggests one of your first stops should be the water in your AOR. Many ASD subjects are magnetically attracted to bodies of water, and far too many ASD subjects have tragically perished in lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams.

If you have access to a parent or caregiver, you may consider asking them questions such as:

What are this individual’s ‘triggers’? What are their sensory needs/challenges? What interests them? Are they all about Spiderman, trains, keys, the color yellow, Star Wars, or something else? What type of communication — pictures, spoken words, written words — works best with them? Where are they likely to go? Where had they recently been — McDonald’s, a grandparent’s home, a movie theater — and may be attempting to return?

Along with these questions, you’ll obviously get typical description of what they were wearing and any outstanding physical characteristics.

Hamre shared a hypothetical scenario in which you’ve found an ASD subject but you don’t have any idea where they came from. There’s no missing persons alert, and you’re having no success in gleaning from the subject where they live or where they belong.

“Consider the ‘reverse tracking’ method — having a police K-9 track the person back to where they came from via scent,” she explained.

“Do everything you can to ‘get into relationship’ with the individual. Talk about what they’re interested in, what they like to do. If you can get that information up front, you are more likely to get quicker cooperation from them.”

If you see an ASD subject experiencing a meltdown, back up and give them space as long as doing so is tactically sound. Obviously, you can’t back up if an ASD subject poses a tactical threat to yourself or an innocent third party, but generally speaking, an ASD subject will calm down on their own, eventually.

training on responding to subjects with asd

Overall, Hamre explained, law enforcement agencies across the country are doing more — and higher quality — training on responding to subjects with ASD.

“Generally, the requests for training come from departments that have had an incident with someone with ASD that perhaps was challenging or handled poorly, they have a police staff who has a family member with ASD who personally pushes for it, a police staff has attended a NEMRT or CIT training and wants their entire staff to receive the training,” Hamre said.

Hamre lamented that she sees some resistance with a number of chiefs or training departments who feel that the online or roll-call training is sufficient, but she said that we can do better.

“While both of those trainings are better than nothing, they leave much to be desired. There is little-to-no room for ‘what if’ questions, question-and-answer time, and no time for sharing real examples. That’s where — I personally feel — the real learning takes place,” Hamre said.

I’m a strong advocate for 10-minute training If that’s all you’ve got time and budget for, then that’s going to have to be sufficient for your ASD training.

“The officers who come out to receive some comprehensive training almost universally are happy they did. The evaluations we get — and some of the personal conversations post training — typically include comments like ‘I wish my entire department could have this training’ or ‘we need to have a refresher course every year on Autism’,” Hamre said.

Plan for future training on ASD

Keep yourself apprised of the issue, and I would encourage you to consider inviting Hamre and her cadre of trainers visit your PD to conduct their comprehensive training.

Seek quick refreshers on some of the time-tested and proven responses for police officer contacts with ASD subjects — this is where that 10-minute training concept fits in. For example, during ILEETA 2011, I sat down with Susan Hamre for a video interview on the subject of police encounters with ASD persons.

PoliceOne has posted news of how Green Bay PD continues to review that brief discussion (and others like it from our PoliceOne Academy offering) in their roll call training.

Check out my interview with Susan Hamre, talk with your shift about this subject, and stay safe out there.

This article, originally published April 2, 2014, has been updated with current information


Autism FYI offers free training, app and more to law enforcement

Posted on April 1, 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

The caller had told dispatch about a man who had been wandering around her neighborhood for hours, not responding to anyone who spoke to him, seemingly disoriented. He didn’t answer the officers who responded to the call either. However, because they had just completed online Autism Spectrum Disorder training from Autism FYI, they recognized the symbol on his bracelet and knew why he didn’t answer, and how they could get the resources they needed to help them help him.

The online training and the easily recognizable symbol are just part of the services offered to first responders by Autism FYI and its Immediate Recognition Increase Safety (IRIS) program. A nonprofit organization started in 2014 by the parents of two adult sons on the autism spectrum, Autism FYI developed IRIS to promote autism awareness among first responders in addition to other services it offers.

Parents or guardians of individuals on the autism spectrum can register them for free through IRIS, and at that time, IRIS notifies first responders in the individual’s community about the registration. Participants receive a unique ID number, an ID card and a bracelet marked with the organization’s recognition symbol, as well as a PDF file of the symbol so they can make copies to attach to backpacks, jackets and so on. The bracelet also uncoils into a USB that can connect to a computer and provide a direct link to the individual’s information. However, if linking to a computer is not feasible, officers can also call the IRIS toll-free number (printed on the bracelet and the ID card) to receive help in reaching the individual’s emergency contact and in providing an appropriate response.

Autism FYI co-founder Joyce Benjamin says she and her husband were moved to start the organization after reading news accounts of an encounter between law enforcement and a young man with autism that did not go well. In addition to IRIS and other resources offered on the organization’s website, Autism FYI provides a free roll-call training module through a training site called FirstForward.

“The training can be taken by an officer on their own, or an instructor could make it required training for an agency. In the latter case, there’s an option to go back and make sure they actually took the training,” Benjamin says. In addition, Autism FYI offers basic information and resources for individuals here.

“Even if officers take the training, if they’re not exposed to individuals with autism on a frequent basis, they may forget, so we’ve created a free app for both iPhone and Android,” she says. “It gives them tips for immediate use and not only provides characteristics of autism, it also provides assistance with the characteristics of other neurological disorders, such as Huntington’s Disease or stroke.”

The app also includes de-escalation techniques and five key strategies for dealing with someone having “a meltdown.” Autism FYI encourages its use by first responders and by teachers and school administrators.

On a limited regional basis (near its headquarters in suburban Washington, D.C.), Autism FYI also provides train-the-trainer programming with the assistance of a retired police sergeant. The organization has reached out to local police departments, businesses and restaurants through the training, which also touches on dementia and other cognitive and communicative disorders. The expanded training includes the addition of a second symbol to indicate that a person has some type of neurological disorder. Both symbols are available in a variety of formats, including window decals and seatbelt covers, for a nominal fee. Restaurants that provide training for their staff members can receive a special window decal indicating they are an autism-friendly business.

“This is not [running a nonprofit] something we originally set out to do, but the need is really there. We have more people with autism integrating into the community and we need the community to be able to support them,” Benjamin says. “We go to conferences and I’m surprised at how many officers have no training at all. To their credit, they do understand that it’s an issue and they need training, and our hope is that we can reach some of them through the online resources. And we do hope to be able to grow and eventually expand our in-person training as well.”

To find out more about Autism FYI, click here.


3 steps toward understanding autism challenges during traffic stops

Posted on April 1, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Author: The Office of Justice Programs' National Institute of Justice (NIJ)

By Jennifer Allen

There is a greatly feared scenario among families who have a child diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or Asperger’s syndrome. It goes like this: A young man diagnosed with high-functioning autism is pulled over for speeding. As the trooper approaches the vehicle the young man’s anxieties kick in. Since his disability is not apparent, the officer notices the man fidgeting and deduces shiftiness or guilt, then proceeds to suspect something is wrong. When he questions the young man’s behavior by asking if something is wrong, the autistic mind takes the statement literally and the young man begins to tell the officer, “Yes, something is wrong. You pulled me over and I’m supposed to be at work in 10 minutes!” The officer mistakes this truth as flippant behavior and proceeds accordingly. The situation escalates as the misinterpretation is misconstrued for defiance.

As the number of citizens diagnosed with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s syndrome continues to increase, here are three considerations for police when encountering a person with autism during a traffic stop.

1. The autistic brain is wired differently, which may impact behavior during a traffic stop

Autistic brains are wired differently from the brains of neurotypical individuals. Too many tight connections in frontal-lobe circuits and too few long-distance links between the frontal lobe and the rest of the brain often cause some of the language, social problems and repetitive behavior seen in autism spectrum disorders.

A person with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s syndrome may drive and be a good driver at that. Their ability for adherence to structure and rules makes for excellent driving skills. However, due to behavioral challenges, communication breakdowns may occur during a traffic stop. Here are some aspects of how the autistic brain works that officers may notice in a pull-over scenario:

Motor control issues:

Fine and gross motor skills are impacted, which affects the ability to multitask, such as reaching for a driver’s license, writing skills when signing a ticket and talking, and clumsiness when walking. Impact on speech pattern where the individual may exhibit slow or quirky language. Slower to respond and may freeze when asked many questions.

Social interaction issues:

May appear disrespectful with no social graces or skills. May be unable to make eye contact as it is painful to concentrate when looking eye to eye. Inability to comprehend sarcasm, innuendos or humor and takes things literally. If you asked, “Where’s the fire?” they would be looking for an actual fire.

Sensory issues:

Bright flashing lights and loud sounds are often painful and/or distractible, cause them to pause to respond. Shiny badges and flashlights can be a painful distraction. Touch sensitivities means holding their arm or grabbing abruptly causes pain. Smells such as cologne/perfume or strong tobacco may cause sensory overload and they shut down. 2. Autism is not an aggressive mental disorder

Most law enforcement training on mental disorders that is required on an annual basis places autism with aggressive disorders such as comorbid psychopathology, bi-polar, schizophrenia and other comorbidities.

A recent study by Aspergers101, UT Health Science Center in San Antonio and Texas DPS illustrated the need for better LE understanding of autism. Researchers assessed state troopers’ knowledge and attitudes about ASD behaviors, ASD stress reactions and potential for violence of ASD individuals prior to and immediately following a two-hour workshop. The workshop included video clips from Temple Grandin and other experts discussing ASD behavior, stress reactions and application to traffic stop behavior. A teenager with ASD also shared his experiences with driving.

After administering pre- and post-tests to three classes of Texas trooper recruits, the data was calculated and presented at the Texas Psychological Association Conference in Austin, Texas, proving training of law enforcement officers on ASD is both needed and overwhelmingly effective.

Knowing that autism is not an aggressive mental disorder, here are some of the traits of autism that may appear during a traffic stop that could be misconstrued as potentially aggressive:

Lack of eye contact or too much eye contact. No expression and/or seemingly bland behavior. Unusual speaking patterns including direct (sometimes curt) short answers. Physical display of coping mechanisms (from stress) such as repetitive body movements, crying, holding ears, yelling, singing or fetal position. 3. Effective communication with a driver with autism requires specific skills

If you suspect you pulled over an individual with autism:

Be factual. Tell them why you pulled them over. Don’t ask them. Allow time for them to respond (approximately 20 seconds per question). Reassure them they are not going to jail as this is the first thing they picture when pulled over. Talk in medium-level tones as loud, sudden sounds can scare and cause a painful delay in response. State, step by step, what your intentions are and what you expect from them during the stop. Never assume they know what is expected of them. Do not take a lack of eye contact, the changing of subjects, or answers that are vague, evasive, or blunt as evidence of guilt. Let them know when the interaction is over, and they are free to drive off.

I hope these tips are useful for officers when interacting with a person diagnosed with autism. While a person’s face will not denote the brain’s unique wiring, once you engage in conversation, the difference will become quickly apparent.


About the author Jennifer Allen is the founder and CEO of Aspergers101. Jennifer and her son, Samuel Allen, are leading an initiative in Texas that notifies and educates both law enforcement and the public on the new Texas DL Restriction Code “Communication Impediment with a Peace Officer.” A new bill, the Samuel Allen Law, currently being introduced during the Texas Legislative Session, would allow a person with a communication impediment the option for disclosure when registering their vehicle through the Texas DMV. This would place the diagnosis privately in the Texas Law Enforcement Telecommunication System (TLETS) alerting the officer prior to approaching the vehicle in a pull-over scenario. Read more about the “Driving with Autism” Texas initiative or contact Jennifer Allen for law enforcement training at https://aspergers101.com/drivingwithautism/.


Ohio bill creates communication-disability registry for police

Posted on April 1, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Author: The Office of Justice Programs' National Institute of Justice (NIJ)

By David Moser

All law enforcement officers know how quickly a traffic stop can escalate into an unexpectedly serious situation. Emotions flare, signals get crossed, tensions rise and what may have been a “routine” encounter transitions into a potential arrest or even use of force. When communication barriers enter the mix, these interactions may be even more aggravated. Fortunately, the recent passing of Ohio’s House Bill 115 will help avoid potentially harmful situations between police and drivers with communication disabilities.

Under House Bill 115, which took effect in August 2018, any person with a communication disability who regularly drives or rides as a passenger may voluntarily submit a verification form identifying them as having a communication disability. This information is then made available to state and local law enforcement officers through the Law Enforcement Automated Data System (LEADS).

Communication disabilities, ranging from hearing impairment to PTSD to autism, are increasingly becoming more widely understood in American culture and particularly in the law enforcement community. With more available and accessible support services for these individuals, strengthening police-driver interactions was a clear and necessary next step.

The law – jointly sponsored by State Representatives Theresa Gavarone and Scott Wiggam – creates a program that has been a long time coming. The law took well over one year to pass through the legislative process, receiving improvements along the way.

How individuals enroll in the communication-disabilities program

Under House Bill 115, any person with a communication disability who drives or is a regular passenger can voluntarily submit a form verifying their diagnosis. A physician’s signature is required to validate that the individual does have a communication disability, and a parent or guardian’s signature is also required if the driver is under the age of 18.

The form is then uploaded into a database that triggers a notification in LEADS, showing any police officer making a traffic stop that this individual has a communication disability that may affect their forthcoming interaction. This notice pops up as soon as the officer runs vehicle plates and/or driver’s licenses through their mobile data terminal. Only general information flagging a communication disability is disclosed; the driver’s exact diagnosis remains private.

With this information in hand, officers can immediately tap into their training to better communicate with the enrolled individual once they make contact during the stop. Specialized trainings are offered throughout the state, setting forth recommended protocol and tips for law enforcement interactions with disabled Ohioans. Trainings continue to be developed to help law enforcement officers recognize how and when a communication disability may impact a stop.

Traffic stops involving these communication barriers require a unique and different approach from stops with the rest of the public. The new LEADS registry, coupled with this training, should improve effective traffic stops across the board and officers and drivers with communication disabilities alike should all benefit from safer interactions provided by the program.

House Bill 115 has provided only the first step and, since enrollment is voluntary, spreading awareness is crucial to sustaining and growing the program. Drivers who may have trouble speaking during a stop due to hearing impairment or another disability such as autism, are strongly urged to enroll. Law enforcement agencies can promote the program via widespread marketing and social media campaigns distributed to the public.

It is just as important for community agencies to join in spreading the word – police departments, prosecutor’s offices, mental health boards and county boards of developmental disabilities are just a few key players involved in the ongoing goal to bolster police-civilian relations regarding communication disabilities.

To sign up, individuals should contact their local Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) branch or stop by in person. Verification forms are also available online here. According to the Ohio Department of Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, the information provided will be protected by the state firewall, is not a public record and drivers may opt out of the database at any time. Additional, updated information can be found online here.

So far, the new registry created by House Bill 115 has been met with encouragement and enthusiasm. The program facilitates improved community relations and helps avoid past cases of miscommunication that has led to unnecessary arrests. A number of previous cases across the state involved officers who initiated a traffic stop and soon observed unusual physical cues from drivers. These cues led the officers to believe the driver was possibly impaired by drugs or alcohol, when in fact they were indicators of a diagnosed communication disability, like autism. Following field sobriety testing, the drivers would be placed under arrest for Operating a Vehicle under the Influence (OVI), only for the officers to learn later that the individuals were not under the influence of any substance whatsoever.

Looking to the future, the new communication-disability registry should prevent these types of situations. Education is the primary fix to the problem. By educating law enforcement officers, drivers with communication disabilities and the public, House Bill 115 bridges a previous communication gap that is slowly fading from the rearview mirror.


About the author David C. Moser is an associate at Isaac Wiles Burkholder & Teetor, LLC (Columbus) where he focuses his practice on representing clients in the public sector. He handles misdemeanor prosecutions as an assistant prosecutor for several localities and outside of the courtroom, he regularly assists government entities with employment disputes, day-to-day legal advice, and civil litigation.


13 steps for surviving survival training

Posted on April 1, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Lt. Dan Marcou
Author: Lt. Dan Marcou

As a young officer, I witnessed an instructor unintentionally fire a .357 magnum round into the cement floor of a range, causing the bullet and the floor to fragment and injure five officers. This incident inspired me to become a trainer, dedicated to making certain my training would prevent, not cause, injuries.

Force-on-force survival training is valuable when realistic but can be fraught with danger if not done with a laser focus on safety. I would like to share 13 steps I followed to ensure my force on force training was as safe as possible.

1. Safety sweep

Sweep the training area to determine no dangerous conditions exist. Once complete, proper notifications should be made, and the area cordoned off with signs indicating training is in progress. These precautions prevent unaware individuals from wandering into the area once training begins, which could obviously lead to unpleasant outcomes.

2. Safety brief

Relay the concept that everyone involved in training is responsible for safety in the safety brief. Anyone who sees an unsafe condition should be authorized to stop the training by shouting “Red!” or “Stop!” Red is preferred, because stop could be construed to be to be a part of the scenario.

Explain safety rules to prevent injury, as well as protocols to follow if an injury occurs. Participants should identify pre-existing injuries, or conditions they have going into the training.

Close by asking, “Does everyone feel safe to continue?” If so, participants give a thumbs up.

3. Evolutionary brief

The trainer in charge conducts the evolutionary brief. The brief describes the general flow of the training and what is expected of the trainees. For example, at times you may limit the level of force used in the scenario because you are targeting the training of proper handcuffing and searching techniques. This would be impossible to accomplish when role players and trainees are in full-body protective gear.

4. Triple check

The triple check is the step not taken when tragedies have occurred. All trainers, role players and observers must be triple checked.

The safety officer should have each person:

    Check themselves to ensure they have no live weapons, or ammunition on their person. Be checked by a fellow student, or instructor. Be checked a third time by another instructor. This check should be thorough, but not so intrusive into intimate areas as to generate complaints. This is not a search incident to arrest.

No one can bring a live weapon into the scenario location; even high-ranking observers.

5. Role player prep

Every scenario should have a pre-determined objective and role players should be properly rehearsed. When role players deviate from the script, they not only compromise the objectives and continuity, but they also compromise safety.

6. Equipment check

Equipment checks should be done by a trainer thoroughly familiar with all the equipment involved. There is such a variety of training ammunition and protective equipment used for force-on-force training that it is imperative this inspection should be done by a pro. For example, there is a big difference in the safety equipment used by participants armed with airsoft guns as opposed to students armed in training where simunitions are in play.

Damaged safety equipment should be replaced.

Again, lethal weapons containing lethal ammunition can’t be allowed into in-progress force-on-force training.

7. Equipment issue

A trainer issues all equipment – including the helmet, throat and groin protection – that is to be used in force-on-force firearms training. When that equipment is in place the training firearm is issued and holstered. Magazines loaded with the desired training round are issued and placed in the pouch. The trainee is taken to a safe location to administratively load, charge and holster their training weapon on the trainer’s command. (It is also acceptable to have students load their own magazines under the supervision of the trainer, so that all are satisfied each round placed in the magazine is the training round selected to facilitate the training.)

8. First safety loop

A trainer checks the trainee to determine equipment is properly in place and that they are ready to proceed.

9. Second safety loop

The trainer asks the individual trainee if they have any injuries, or conditions going into the scenario. Additionally, they are asked, “Do you feel safe to continue?” If so they indicate with a thumbs up. The safety officer advises the officer in charge of the training the student is clear to begin.

10. Start exercise/scenario

The officer in charge will begin the scenario or exercise.

11. Stop exercise/scenario

The officer in charge will end the scenario when:

    Someone is about to be injured or has been injured; The objective has been achieved; The trainee has gone in an unacceptable direction or has begun a loop (verbalization or a tactic that is ineffective and repetitive).
12. Safety loop

Immediately after stopping a scenario the trainer should ask, “Are there any injuries?” A quick thumbs up indicates everyone involved is uninjured.

13. Debrief

During the debrief let the trainees self-debrief by asking them two questions:

Why did you do what you did? (They describe and justify their actions.) How do you see yourself the next time? (“When this happens on the street, I see myself…”)

By conducting debriefs in this way you are preparing trainees to write thorough reports, testify in court and when-then think on every call.

All weapons and ammunition are cleared and accounted for under the direct supervision of a designated trainer.

Conclusion

The professional trainer strives to walk the fine line between training that is as realistic as possible yet safe, all the while preparing officers for the harsh realities of the street.

Bibliography

Murray KR. Training at the Speed of Life: The Definitive Textbook for Police and Military Reality Based Training 1st Edition. Armiger Publications, 2006.


TSA’s social media channels highlight weird stuff in travelers’ bags

Posted on April 1, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Author: Lt. Dan Marcou

By Colleen Long Associated Press

WASHINGTON — David Johnston stands over a table full of peculiar items confiscated at Dulles International Airport: a glittery clutch with brass knuckles as a clasp. A perfume bottle shaped like a grenade. A rusted circular saw blade. A pocket-sized pitchfork.

None of those is quite right. Then Johnston sees it: a guitar shaped like a semi-automatic rifle. Bingo. It will do nicely for the Transportation Security Administration's social media accounts.

Johnston, TSA's social media director, is following in the footsteps of Curtis "Bob" Burns, who created unlikely internet buzz for the not-always-beloved agency by showcasing the weirdest stuff travelers pack in their carry-ons. He died suddenly in October at age 48.

Burns' work created a model for other federal agencies. The quirky photos combined with a hefty dose of dad humor helped lure in more than a million followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, who would then see important messages about the dos and don'ts of airline travel.

"How are we going to replace Bob? The reality is we can't," said Johnston. "We had a unique situation with him, but we can still be entertaining and help people as we find our way forward without him."

On the blog, Burns shared a weekly count of firearms that TSA officers found at checkpoints nationwide. He did a summary of knives and all matter of other bizarre and sometimes scary items that travelers had stuffed into their bags, pockets, purses or briefcases.

In one Instagram post , someone tried to bring on a glove with razors for fingers and Burns (naturally) made a "Nightmare on Elm Street" joke.

"It's safe to sleep on Elm Street again. Freddy lost his glove at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)."

The agency's Instagram account won three Webby awards last year, including the People's Voice Award for weird social content marketing. In his acceptance speech, Burns eyed the award, shook it and declared: "This Webby is carry-on approved!"

Johnston, who worked with Burns for about three years, and has been in government jobs for nearly a decade, has tried to keep it up all on his own, but it's been tough.

Johnston sent out a Valentine's Day post that showed off a throwing star, ax and double-edged dagger confiscated from a passenger's carry-on bag. ("Safe travels, you romantic fool!") And it was national puppy day recently, so that was an excuse for a photo of Cole, a big-eyed TSA explosives detection dog.

TSA is growing its social media staff — bringing in three more workers to expand its social media presence. The staff will continue to use fodder sent in by officers around the country, who seize all manner of unusual items people try to bring onboard. But it's hard to find people who have both the government know-how and a sense of humor that resonates.

Johnston said the thing that made Burns' posts so special was Burns himself.

"When you look at his posts, you're seeing a window into his soul," he said. "It really was from his heart. He was a fun, happy guy."

Burns' sister-in-law, Candy Creech, said he had a dry sense of humor and a hefty dose of patriotism: He had served in the Gulf War. Burns had worked in airports before taking over social media and believed there was public negativity around TSA. He wanted to change that.

"And I think he felt he could change that by communicating with people in a way that wasn't scolding," she said. "He was one of a kind."

During a TSA Facebook live, "Ask Me Anything" episode last year, Burns said the success of the account was partly due to the shock value.

"People don't come to a government Instagram account and expert to see humor," Burns said. "And they also don't expect to see these crazy things that people are trying to bring on a plane."

At Dulles, in the prohibited items section, Johnston sees a few possibilities for TSA's YouTube series called "They Brought What?" including a large snow globe with big a white fairy imprisoned in some kind of liquid (It's creepy and it has liquid, so they can highlight the liquid restrictions.)

He passes over the four pairs of nunchucks (Yawn. You can't believe how many people bring those) and a handful of pocket knives. He stops at a large bullet from Afghanistan that has been altered to be a cigarette lighter and pen.

"The things people think of," he says. Turning more serious for a moment, Johnston notes the importance of showing off these items, especially to people who aren't well-traveled.

"The bottom line is our social media pages makes travelers better informed so they have a better experience and it frees up our officers to do what they need to do — look for the bad actors," he says.


Ga. police use confiscated funds to buy Tesla for $45K

Posted on April 1, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Author: Lt. Dan Marcou

By J.D. Capelouto The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

BROOKHAVEN, Ga. — Brookhaven residents may soon see police officers doing patrols in a fully electric luxury car.

The police department purchased a previously owned 2015 Tesla Model S for $45,000 using confiscated funds, the city said in a statement Friday. Now that they’ve put the Brookhaven police logo on the side, the department is putting the Tesla “through rigorous field testing to see if it would make a better option to the police patrol cars now in use.”

When Brookhaven bought it, the Tesla had about 22,000 miles on it.

Posted by City of Brookhaven, Georgia on Friday, March 29, 2019

Now, the city is looking into the possibility of having an all-electric fleet of police cruisers.

“I don’t know of any other city this side of the Mississippi that is testing an electric vehicle platform for patrol vehicles. Other cities have electric cars for city planners, code enforcement and other officials, that’s not uncommon. We will be the first to use them for law enforcement patrol operations,” Brookhaven City Manager Christian Sigman said in a statement.

City officials said the Tesla speaks to the city’s environmental goals and its set of policies known as Sustainable Brookhaven.

Brookhaven has several electric car charging stations installed and in the works, and is aiming to make its new public safety headquarters as environmentally friendly as possible.

“We are always looking for ways to reduce our impact on the environment, improve our air quality and conserve resources for future generations,” Mayor John Ernst said in the statement.

©2019 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)


Son of high-ranking Philly police official killed

Posted on April 1, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Author: Lt. Dan Marcou

By David Boroff New York Daily News

PHILADELPHIA — The 20-year-old son of a high-ranking Philadelphia police commander was fatally shot on Saturday, one day after celebrating his birthday.

Nicholas Flacco was with a group gathered in FDR Park after tailgating at a Phillies game when several fights between females broke out, according to Captain Jason Smith of the Philadelphia Police Department. An unidentified woman was heard threatening to "call her man and that they should be afraid," according to authorities.

A gunman later arrived and fired into the air and to the side, cops say. The man left, but returned 10 or 15 minutes later and shot Flacco, the son of an Internal Affairs commander.

Still no known motive or suspect description in Saturday night murder of @Phillypolice Chief Inspector Chris Flacco’s son Nick,20, in FDR Park across from Eagles training facility on Pattison Ave&across Broad St from Wells Fargo Center. $35,000 total reward offer @FOX29philly pic.twitter.com/at3ypfMEs1

— Steve Keeley (@KeeleyFox29) April 1, 2019

"It does hit very close to home," Police Commissioner Richard Ross told ABC 6. "I've known Chief [Chris] Flacco for probably 25 years at least. Our hearts are broken and we're keeping him and his family in our thoughts and prayers. It's just another example of senseless violence."

Ross told the station that investigators don't believe that Nicholas Flacco was involved in the dispute.

"He was just along with some of the people there," Ross told ABC 6.

Nicholas Flacco was in his fourth semester at Penn State University, and was majoring in the Liberal Arts. He had returned home on Friday to celebrate his birthday.

"Random acts of violence such as this are unfathomable and very troubling," university spokeswoman Lisa Powers said in a statement. "This news is tragic and we offer our deepest condolences to Nicholas' family and friends during this difficult time."

The reward for information leading to an arrest has increased to $35,000, including $10,000 from Philadelphia's Fraternal Order of Police.

Anyone with information should contact the Philadelphia Police Department at (215) 686-3334.

©2019 New York Daily News


Bodycam gunshot detection system aims to improve officer safety, situational awareness

Posted on April 1, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Author: Lt. Dan Marcou

By PoliceOne Staff

DALLAS, Tex. – The last thing a police supervisor wants to hear after an officer-involved shooting is “there is no camera footage,” Jason Dombkowski said at a recent demonstration of Utility Associates' BodyWorn camera gunshot detection system. As a former police chief in West Lafayette, Indiana, Dombkowski knows how failing to capture bodycam footage of use of force can be problematic for law enforcement agencies.

There are many legitimate reasons why an officer might fail to activate a bodycam during a high-stress event, but in the current environment where the public expects police transparency, citizens are likely to jump to misguided conclusions that an agency has something to hide if an officer did not activate his or her bodycam. Police officers may even be reprimanded for not hitting “record,” notwithstanding that they may have been in a life-and-death situation where activating their bodycam was not an immediate concern.

Utility Associates views this not as an officer problem, but a technology problem. The company believes automated recording is the solution.

At the demo, the Utility team advanced its concept of “the connected officer” – an ecosystem of devices and software that leverage artificial intelligence and the internet of things to increase officer safety while preserving evidence critical for prosecution and police transparency. One essential tool for the connected officer is Utility’s new BodyWorn camera with gunshot detection. Easily concealed and secured in a tactical vest, the device does more than capture footage – it provides critical information that can save a life.

Whenever a shot is detected – whether fired from an officer’s gun or a suspect – the bodycam automatically starts recording. The camera’s smart pre-event recording feature captures the preceding two minutes of audio and video, preserving critical information about what transpired in the moments before shots were fired.

When gunshots are detected, the bodycam sends an alert to dispatch and any other officers within a designated radius. The bodycam of any officer in the alert zone will also start recording on gunshot detection.

The BodyWorn camera also transmits GPS data and other critical information back to AVaiLWEB, its evidence management software that enables dispatch and command staff to view the officer’s location on a map, along with the location of the gunshot and any other officers within the alert zone. The software enables livestreaming of all connected video footage in one web-based interface so tactical command can get a real-time view of the situation.

In addition to increasing officer safety through improved situational awareness and alerts, BodyWorn’s gunshot detection ensures departments can access, store, secure and share the video as needed.

“Upon gunshot activation, the video that results is sealed,” said Chris Lindenau, Utility’s chief revenue officer who led the demonstration. “It automatically transmits to a CJIS-compliant cloud environment, where administrators can access it. The video is secure, and the chain of custody is preserved.”


2019 COPS Office funding opportunities announced

Posted on April 1, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Therese Matthews
Author: Therese Matthews

On March 29, the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office announced the availability of over $70 million in competitive grant funding to support a variety of community policing initiatives.

Five COPS grant programs will be accepting applications from now until the end of May to cover:

School violence prevention programs; Multi-jurisdictional anti-drug task forces; Officer safety and officer wellness initiatives; Practices and innovations in community policing.

Spend the time now to understand what’s expected under each grant program so you can prepare a winning grant application.

Here’s a summary of each grant program along with some tips on how to prepare your application package.

School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP)

$24 million in total funding available.

Funding authorized under the Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing School Violence Act of 2018 (STOP School Violence Act of 2018) is available to improve security at schools and on school grounds using evidenced-based school safety programs.

Uses of the funds can include:

Coordination of school safety strategies with local law enforcement. Training for local law enforcement to prevent school violence against others and self. Deterrent measures in school such as placement and use of metal detectors, lighting and locks. Acquisition and installation of technology for notification of local law enforcement during an emergency.

Eligible applicants: States, units of local government, Indian Tribes and public agencies (i.e., police, sheriff’s and school districts.) Note: Individual schools (public or private) are ineligible to apply directly for these funds. A portion of the funds can be sub-awarded to local education agencies and nonprofits, as well as other public agencies.

Maximum grant award: $500,000 over a two-year period. A 25 percent cash match is required.

Deadline: May 31, 2019.

COPS Anti-Heroin Task Force (AHTF) Program

$32 million in total funding available.

The AHTF is designed to advance public safety by providing funds to locate or investigate illicit activities through statewide collaboration related to the distribution of heroin, fentanyl, or carfentanil or unlawful distribution of prescription opioids. AHTF is open to state law enforcement agencies with multijurisdictional reach and an interdisciplinary team (e.g., task force) structures.

Uses of the funds can include:

New civilian or entry-level sworn personnel to work directly on anti-heroin and other opioid investigation activities. (Agencies may elect to redeploy locally funded sworn personnel to engage in AHTF activities and assign newly hired AHTF-funded officers to backfill their positions.) Equipment, supplies, travel, training, contracts/consultants and other costs directly related to anti-heroin and other opioid investigation activities. Other costs can include overtime for sworn officers engaging in anti-heroin and other opioid investigation activities.

Eligible applicants: Only state law enforcement agencies who have primary authority over state seizures of heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil and other opioids. The state must have high per capita rates of primary treatment admissions for heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil and other opioids

Maximum grant award: $3 million over a two-year period. No local match required.

Deadline: May 28, 2019.

COPS Anti-Methamphetamine Program (CAMP)

$8 million in total funding available.

CAMP is designed to advance public safety by providing funds directly to state law enforcement to locate and investigate illicit activities related to the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine.

The program targets funds to state law enforcement agencies in states with high seizures of precursor chemicals, finished methamphetamine, laboratories and laboratory dump seizures.

CAMP funding must be used to locate or investigate illicit activities such as precursor diversion, laboratories, or methamphetamine traffickers.

CAMP funding is not available for cleanup, treatment programs, or prosecution of methamphetamine-related activities.

Eligible applicants: CAMP is open only to state law enforcement agencies authorized by law to engage in or to supervise anti-methamphetamine investigative activities.

Maximum grant award: $2 million over a two-year period. No local match required.

Deadline: May 28, 2019.

Community Policing Development Program (CPD)

$6 million in total funding available.

CPD funds are used to develop the capacity of law enforcement to implement community policing strategies by providing guidance on promising practices through the development and testing of innovative strategies; building knowledge about effective practices and outcomes; and supporting new, creative approaches to preventing crime and promoting safe communities.

Applicants must propose to develop strategies addressing multiple agencies, not single departments or jurisdictions.

In 2019, CPD will fund projects in the following areas:

Building Bridges between Law Enforcement and Youth

$200,000 available to fund one or more awards. The COPS Office will provide funding to an organization seeking to explore innovative ways to reduce youth involvement in the criminal justice system including youth leadership and life skills training among others.

Increasing the Capacity for Change Through the Implementation of Innovative Recruitment Strategies

$500,000 to fund one award. Funding will support provider training and technical assistance around officer recruitment and officer retention strategies. Must propose to work with at least four law enforcement agencies.

Designing a Public and Officer Safety Dashboard

$500,000 to fund one award. Funding will support the development of a public safety dashboard to ensure adequate data are filtered to leaders and decision-makers and give them real-time 360-degree situational awareness.

Protecting Youth Through the Implementation of School Safety Recommendations

$500,000 to fund one award. Under this award, a provider will partner with a group of law enforcement agencies to implement recommendations from recent school safety studies and to document implementation lessons learned. Resources/publications developed must be for national distribution to law enforcement agencies.

Translating Crime Reduction Best and Emerging Practices for Small and Rural Agencies

$400,000 to fund one award. The COPS Office seeks to fund an applicant to translate crime reduction (e.g., violent crime, domestic violence, drugs) best and promising practices into actionable strategies for small and rural agencies.

Building a Campaign to Improve the Reporting of Hate Crimes

$200,000 to fund one award. The focus of this topic area is the development of a nationwide campaign on hate-crime reporting. This should include tools for community reporting to law enforcement and law enforcement to the FBI.

Improving Law Enforcement Coordination and Information Sharing in Response to Endangered Youth

$300,000 for one award. The goal of this project is to develop, test and deploy a system that will improve law enforcement coordination and information sharing in response to endangered youth.

Innovative Uses of Technology to Address Crime

$300,000 for one award. The COPS Office will award a grant to one provider who will explore, identify and document crime reduction strategies that make innovative use of law enforcement technology.

Emerging Issue Forums

$250,000 for one award. Funding will support a provider to convene two forums of leaders in the law enforcement field on issues impacting community policing.

Training for Law Enforcement: Developing New Skill Building Courses to Advance Public Safety

$500,000 total for two awards. The goal of this topic is to develop innovative online or in-person training course(s) for law enforcement professionals that advance public safety through the application of community policing. Example topics include digital evidence processing and management; tribal policing; de-escalation; traffic safety; recruitment and hiring; leadership; human trafficking and hate crimes.

Blue Alert Network Support

$100,000 for one award. The COPS Office seeks an applicant to assist them in National Blue Alert Network coordination efforts by collecting information on law enforcement officers shot in the line of duty and preparing the annual report, as well as other materials for both the advisory group and public dissemination.

Open Category

$600,000 total for multiple projects. Applicants for this topic area can propose the development of new or existing implementation projects that enhance community policing strategies. This could include developing interactive training, implementing demonstration projects, creating promising practice guidebooks and toolkits, delivering topic-specific technical assistance, or producing multimedia resources that capture innovative stories and experiences.

Invitational Applications

These topics are by invitation only. Contact the COPS Office Response Center for details.

Uses of CPD funds: Varies by topic area.

Eligible CPD applicant: All public governmental agencies, for-profit and nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher education, community groups, and faith-based organizations. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit an application that shows partnerships with key organizations including institutions of higher education and nonprofit organizations to build strong working relationships.

Maximum CPD grant award: Varies by topic area. Awards are for a two-year period. No matching funds required.

Deadline: May 28, 2019.

Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act (LEMHWA) Program

$2 million in total funding.

The 2019 LEMHWA program will fund projects that develop knowledge, increase awareness of effective mental health and wellness strategies, increase the skills and abilities of law enforcement, and increase the number of law enforcement agencies and relevant stakeholders using peer mentoring programs. Projects in topic areas 1 and 2 must be national in scope.

Topic areas include:

LEMHWA Peer Mentoring Training and Support

$350,000 for one award. The successful applicant will propose the development and delivery of a comprehensive peer mentoring training and support program.

LEMHWA Recommendation Implementation

$250,000 for one award. The COPS Office seeks an applicant to design projects or resources that will help the field advance one or more recommendations in the LEMHWA Report.

LEMHWA Peer Support Implementation Projects

$1 million to cover 10 awards of up to $100,000 each. The primary goal is to pilot new or enhanced peer-led mental health and wellness projects that will serve state, tribal, or local law enforcement agencies. Proposed projects may serve one agency, a consortium of agencies, or officers from agencies located within a county or state.

Uses of funds: Varies by topic area.

Eligible applicants: All public governmental agencies, for-profit and nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher education, community groups and faith-based organizations.

Deadline: May 28, 2019.

HOW TO PREPARE A COMPETITIVE GRANT APPLICATION

Hundreds of agencies across the country will be applying for these grants – many more than the COPS Office is able to fund. Here are some suggestions to prepare a grant application that stands out from the crowd.

1. Start now to prepare your project strategy

First step is to read (and even re-read) the grant application guidelines and other documents on the respective COPS grants websites. The COPS Office provides a huge amount of material to help applicants understand requirements. The information outlines what expenses are allowable and unallowable under each program; how applications are to be structured; what federal laws and regulations you need to follow if awarded; and the fiscal and programmatic reporting requirements.

2. Register on all the required federal grant portals

Your application will be submitted electronically through Grants.gov, which requires your agency have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number and be registered and active in the System for Award Management (SAM) database before establishing a Grants.gov account. You will also be required to have an active COPS online account on the COPS Office Agency Portal. Check with your agency to see if these have been established; if not, complete the registration process. It may take a few weeks for portal access approval so start now.

3. Meet with community partners

Meet with schools, task force members, mental health agencies, government leaders, law enforcement and other criminal justice representatives and nonprofits. Develop and define each partner’s role in your proposed program. Draft letters of commitment or memorandums of agreement that outline these roles and responsibilities. Some of the grant applications require these documents.

4. Gather all the required statistics and demographic information

Most of the COPS grants applications require statistical information such as crime rates, substance abuse treatment admissions data, population size, poverty rates and other demographic data to justify your need for the funding. Collecting the required data can be time-consuming so begin this process now.

5. Follow the application instructions

Follow all application instructions exactly as written. Do not go over the page limit or word count on any component of the application. Do not include an item in your budget that is not allowable. Include all required forms and attachments. Submit your application by the deadline.

Your time and effort in preparing a comprehensive application will be lost if your application is rejected because you went over the page limit or didn’t follow other COPS Office requirements.

The team at PoliceGrantsHelp is always available to assist. We offer grant-writing services, application assembly and review, along with grant research assistance.


Fla. police recruit dies after exercise session at academy

Posted on April 1, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Author: Therese Matthews

By Dan Scanlan The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A 43-year-old police recruit died Thursday afternoon following an "apparent medical episode" after a routine exercise regimen at the police academy at Florida State College at Jacksonville's South campus, the Sheriff's Office said.

Tony Alexander Cephas, married with two children and a military veteran, fell ill during a scheduled water break and was declared dead after he was taken to a hospital, Director Ron Lendvay said.

Announcing the death with a "very heavy heart," Lendvay said Cephas had just begun the law enforcement program only 10 days ago.

"They had been exercising as a class for a little over 15 minutes when they were given a water break," Lendvay said. "... His condition deteriorated as he was transported to Baptist North, where he ultimately passed away despite life-saving efforts."

Cephas had been living in Jacksonville as he trained at the academy, but Lendvay said he was from South Florida. During the water break, an instructor noticed Cephas was in some kind of discomfort, and after checking with him, called over paramedics who are routinely staged at the academy during exercises, Lendvay said.

The exercise session was a standard part of the academy training, much like the military undergo, and was done with safety in mind, Lendvay said.

"Unfortunately, sometimes even with help staged there, there's just no recovery from some medical episodes," Lendvay said. "They were engaged in physical training. It's part of what we have to do to prepare recruits to come out and do what they have to do on the street. It's just a very sad occurrence this evening."

Homicide detectives are interviewing other recruits and staff to determine what more may have happened, but "there are no signs pointing to anything other than a medical emergency," Lendvay said.

The medical examiner will do an autopsy, and advocates are helping the family and class of 39 recruits.

©2019 The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, Fla.)


Sheriff: Inmates to be cuffed in hearings after lawyer hit

Posted on April 1, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Associated Press

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A Florida sheriff says all inmates will now be handcuffed during bond hearings after a public defender was punched in the head. The lawyer's boss calls that an overreaction, and blames the episode on deputies who failed to contain a clearly "psychotic" defendant.

Broward County's newly appointed Sheriff Gregory Tony said the blame lies with the public defender's office, which he said created "lax security" by arguing against the routine handcuffing of defendants who are presumed innocent under law.

Closed-circuit video of Wednesday's jailhouse bond court session shows William Green, 27, attacking public defender Julie Chase from behind in a room crowded with inmates. She was knocked to the ground, stunning almost everyone in the room as well as the judge, who was presiding remotely. Deputies quickly handcuffed Green and cleared the room.

Gordon Weeks, executive chief assistant at the public defender's office, said the attack was preventable. He said Green appeared to be in a "clear psychotic state" at the time, and had been brought for his first appearance before a judge on charges he battered a technician at a mental hospital.

"For our attorney to take the brunt of the failures of law enforcement ... is unacceptable," Weeks told the Sun Sentinel . Public defenders have a tough enough job to do without having to worry about defending themselves in the courtroom, he added.

Chase said in a statement Thursday that she had recognized years ago that the criminal justice system is poorly suited to deal with the needs of the mentally ill.

Public Defender Punched

SHOCKING VIDEO - Just a few minutes ago in Broward bond court, an inmate is seen walking up to a female public defender and punching her in the face. STORY - http://bit.ly/2TzBghP

Posted by WJXT4 The Local Station / News4JAX on Wednesday, March 27, 2019

"During the time I have worked as an assistant public defender, our office and Howard Finkelstein, our elected Public Defender, have placed great priority on improving the interaction between the criminal courts and the mentally ill," Chase said. "I know the criminal courts and many law enforcement agencies have followed our office's lead, yet there is still a long way to go."

Weeks said there is no indication Green knew either Chase or the other client. The video shows him sitting with other inmates, holding his chin in his left hand, before suddenly getting up and attacking the lawyer. He never should have been removed from a mental facility equipped to treat his conditions, Weeks said.

"There was a big push to have officers trained to deal with crises, trained to identify folks with mental illnesses, trained to make better decisions about who they were going to arrest, and it seems like going into a hospital to arrest someone who is acting out in a psychotic state, consistent with their psychosis, only seems to transfer the issue to jail," Weeks said.

Tony, who was recently appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis to replace Sheriff Scott Israel, said he too is troubled that an inmate would attack an officer of the court, but the answer is more security.

"Although I understand their concern that having deputies standing close to the inmates or having them wear handcuffs or shackles could imply guilt, they must in turn understand that their requests made it possible for this unusual situation to occur," Tony said.


Man gets 4 years for shooting Texas officer who was serving murder warrant

Posted on April 1, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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By Claire Z. Cardona The Dallas Morning News

FORT WORTH, Texas — A 26-year-old man was sentenced Tuesday to four years in prison for the 2016 shooting of an Arlington police officer who was trying to serve a warrant for the slaying of a Saginaw teenager.

A Tarrant County jury found Joel McCommon guilty Friday of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in the shooting that wounded Officer Eddie Johnston.

McCommon faced up to 20 years in prison on the charge and up to life in prison had he been convicted of the original charge of aggravated assault on a peace officer.

Arlington and Saginaw police had been attempting to serve McCommon with a murder warrant April 25, 2016, when McCommon fired on Johnston from inside an apartment in the 400 block of Summit Avenue, near the University of Texas at Arlington campus.

Johnston fired back and wounded McCommon. The officer, a three-year veteran of the department, was shot once and released from the hospital the next day.

Johnston said Tuesday that his wife has had to seek help explaining to the couple's two children that their father had been shot, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

"Every day before I leave for work, my 6-year-old tells me, 'Dad, don't get shot today,'" he said. "We try to laugh it off. To this day, I haven't been able to tell them about it. They still don't know the details."

An Arlington police spokesman said the department continues "to support our officer, the department and community during this ordeal."

"We are thankful that our officer has returned to full duty and how this case has proceeded through the criminal justice system," the spokesman said.

Two days before the shootout with police, McCommon was accused of fatally shooting 17-year-old Jordan Miles in broad daylight during a failed marijuana transaction.

During the trial, McCommon said he was planning to sell a small amount of marijuana to someone he thought was a woman, but Miles and two other men got into McCommon's car, Assistant Tarrant County District Attorney Tim Rodgers said.

McCommon testified that during the transaction, Miles pulled out a realistic-looking airsoft gun. Thinking it was real, McCommon took out his own gun and shot Miles, Rodgers said.

The two men in the back seat got out and ran while Miles got McCommon's gun and stumbled out. McCommon then got out, tackled Miles to get the gun back and drove off, Rodgers said.

Miles was found lying on the ground in the 200 block of Creekside Drive near his home. The Saginaw High senior died at a local hospital days before his 18th birthday. His cause of death was a gunshot wound in the abdomen, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner's office.

"If he thought he was justified in using self-defense against Jordan, he should have called police," Tarrant County prosecutor Dawn Ferguson said. "He showed you absolutely no remorse for what happened in Saginaw. All he cares about is himself and his gun."

McCommon could still face trial on the murder charge in Miles' death, Rodgers said. He said the decision was made to bring the aggravated assault case first based on the "totality of everything."

During the trial, McCommon's attorney Deric Walpole said his client was acting in self-defense because he thought Miles had a real gun, the Star-Telegram reported. He also said that the officers did not announce they were police when they knocked on McCommon's door that night.

Prosecutors said McCommon changed his story several times, including details such as which way he was pointing the gun the night Johnston was shot.

Two days after Miles was shot, Saginaw and Arlington police knocked on the apartment door because they weren't sure McCommon was there. He opened the door after a while, closed it immediately, opened it again and fired, Rodgers said.

McCommon said during the trial that he thought it was the two men who had been with Miles and not the police. Johnston, the officer, said he yelled "police," Rodgers said.

Ultimately the jury determined McCommon, who was a senior math major at UT-Arlington, was not acting in self-defense but did not know that he was shooting at a police officer, Rodgers said.

He said he hopes the four-year sentence does not lead people to believe that shootings of police officers don't matter.

"It’s really important to us to prosecute fully when a police officer gets shot, but the jury obviously felt there was a lot of mitigation on behalf of the defendant in coming to the decision they did," Rodgers said.

©2019 The Dallas Morning News


Jury selection begins in ex-Minneapolis officer’s trial

Posted on April 1, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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By Amy Forliti Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — Jury selection began Monday in the trial of a former Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot an unarmed Australian woman after she called 911 to report a possible sexual assault behind her home.

Mohamed Noor, 33, is charged in the July 2017 death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond in a case that drew international attention, cost the police chief her job and forced major revisions to the Police Department's policy on body cameras.

Prosecutors charged Noor with second-degree intentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, saying there is no evidence Noor faced a threat that justified deadly force.

They must prove he acted unreasonably when he shot Damond , a 40-year-old life coach with both U.S. and Australian citizenship who was engaged to be married. Noor's attorneys plan to argue that he used reasonable force and acted in self-defense.

Noor has refused to talk to investigators and his attorneys haven't said whether he will testify at his trial, which could last weeks. He did not respond to reporters' questions Monday as he and his attorneys arrived at the Hennepin County courthouse for the start of jury selection.

Potential jurors were expected to fill out forms in a half-day session.

Noor's partner that night, Officer Matthew Harrity, told investigators he was driving a police SUV when he heard a voice and a thump and caught a glimpse of someone outside his window. Harrity said he was startled and thought his life was in danger. He said he then heard a noise and turned to see that Noor, in the passenger seat, had fired his gun past Harrity and hit Damond through the driver's side window.

The officers did not turn on their body cameras until after the shooting, and there was no squad car video.

The lack of video was widely criticized, and Damond's family called for changes, including when officers are required to turn on their cameras. Days later, the Police Department strengthened its policy to require that the cameras be activated immediately when responding to a call or making a traffic stop.

The shooting also raised questions about the training of Noor, a Somali American whose arrival on the force about two years earlier had been celebrated by city leaders and Minnesota's large Somali community. Noor had previously worked in property management.

Then-Chief Janee Harteau defended Noor's training and said he was suited to be on the street. But Harteau was forced to resign by then-Mayor Betsy Hodges, who also lost her bid for re-election four months later in an election influenced by police-community relations.

Documents later filed as part of the criminal case showed that training officers voiced concerns about Noor's fitness for duty long before he shot Damond, but he was deemed fit to serve.

Judge Kathryn Quaintance ruled that prosecutors cannot present evidence about prior "bad acts" as a police officer.

She also said Noor's pre-employment psychological exam, which found that Noor was more likely than other officers to be impatient or have difficulty confronting people, cannot be used unless he testifies and it becomes relevant. She also ruled his refusal to speak to investigators can't be used as evidence unless Noor takes the stand.


Colo. sheriff says he’d rather go to jail than enforce red flag bill

Posted on April 1, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By Tyler Silvy Greeley Tribune, Colo.

WELD COUNTY, Colo. — Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams told CNN recently he’s willing to be a prisoner in his own jail rather than enforce a law he feels is unconstitutional.

Reams’ statement came during a recent visit from CNN, during which he gave the crew a tour of the jail as well, Reams told The Tribune via text message Sunday.

House Bill 19-1177, also known as a red flag bill or the Extreme Risk Protection Orders bill, passed the Colorado Senate 18-17 on Thursday, and is scheduled Monday for the House floor.

The bill would allow a family member, roommate or law enforcement officer to petition a judge to take someone’s firearms if they’re determined to be a threat to themselves or others.

Weld County is one many Colorado counties to have declared itself a “Second Amendment Sanctuary County,” with county commissioners here unanimously approving a resolution stating they would not allocate funding to enforce the bill should it become law. The resolution also expresses commissioners’ support for Reams, who has likewise vowed not to enforce the bill should it become law.

Part of that enforcement includes housing confiscated firearms, something Reams has said he doesn’t have the space to do.

More than half of Colorado’s counties oppose HB 1177, and Reams has testified against the bill at the Legislature.

Reams’ stance could put him in legal jeopardy, though, as he could be held in contempt of court for failing to enforce a valid court order. It’s within that context that a CNN reporter asked the following:

“Are you willing to sit in your own jail to avoid enforcing this law?”

Reams’ response:

“Well obviously no sheriff wants to be confined in their own jail, but if that’s what it takes to get this bill ironed out, then I guess that’s a sacrifice I’ll be forced to make.”

In a phone interview Sunday with The Tribune, Reams added more context for his remarks to CNN, saying he’s not at all hoping to get thrown in jail.

“The worst way to bring attention to it is for me to be put in that position, but I’ll do that before I’ll violate somebody’s constitutional rights,” Reams said.

Instead, Reams said it’s about challenging the law in court.

“We’re working hard to try to figure out a mechanism to get this into the courts before anybody is harmed by it,” Reams said. “Unfortunately, someone has to be damaged by it first. It comes down to whether I want to take this to court for violating somebody’s rights or for me refusing to enforce a court order.”

Reams appeared earlier this month on the Fox News program Fox & Friends to discuss the Extreme Risk Protection Orders bill, saying the bill didn’t actually focus on mental health at all.

According to CNN, other groups are already formulating legal challenges should the bill become law, so it’s likely Reams would never see the inside of his own jail as a prisoner.

Still, when asked, he told CNN he’s not bluffing.

“I’ve explained that time and time again — I’m not bluffing,” Reams said.

To read CNN’s story, or to watch its video, click here.

©2019 the Greeley Tribune (Greeley, Colo.)


3 ways a 3D laser scanner can benefit your agency

Posted on April 1, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Sponsored by FARO Technologies

By PoliceOne BrandFocus staff

Painstakingly measuring and documenting the scenes of crimes and traffic accidents can be a tedious undertaking, but gathering this information is crucial to the investigative process. New technology offers a way to both accelerate and enhance the accuracy of these scene investigations.

Laser scanners, such as the FARO Focus or Freestyle series, can quickly and accurately collect millions of measurable data points at a crime or accident scene. These measurements are stored for later analysis, and the data can be transformed into a model of the scene exactly as it was at the time of capture.

Here are three ways a 3D laser scanner can help your agency process scenes more effectively and efficiently.

1. Capture a comprehensive record

A 3D laser scanner can greatly enhance the accuracy of evidence gathering because the entire scene is captured in millions of data points at the scene. Everything the laser can “see” is recorded, and the data points are called a 3D point cloud.

All details of the scene are captured, which provides an accurate representation of the evidence, including blood spatter, the location of artifacts, skid marks, and vehicle positions or charring patterns. You can use this point cloud later to digitally take measurements, create diagrams, animate scenes and present “walk-throughs” for courtroom presentations.

2. Save time, preserve evidence

Investigators can document all evidence at the scene with a laser scanner in far less time than what is required by traditional, manual methods. This is especially helpful when you need to clear the road, and unlike a dynamic crime or crash scene, the recorded point cloud never changes.

Because the data is stored for analysis when your agency is ready, you never have to return to the scene to take more measurements. Investigators and forensics specialists can use the 3D point cloud after the fact to create a model of the scene and measure locations, evaluate points of view and explore scenarios.

3. Recreate the scene for court

Law enforcement agencies can use the point cloud to create diagrams and animations to recreate the scene to provide visually compelling testimony in court. Prosecutors can then walk the judge or jury through the scene using a 3D model created from the point cloud to show exactly how it looked at the time of the incident.

FARO 3D laser scanners

FARO provides lightweight, portable and easy-to-use laser scanning tools to capture exterior and interior scenes. FARO scanners can record millions of measurements in seconds, within 1mm of accuracy.

FARO FocusS series scanners capture color images for both interior and exterior scenes, in bright sunlight or in complete darkness. They are portable and weigh less than 10 pounds, including the battery.

The handheld FARO Freestyle3D is particularly useful for capturing small details in hard-to-reach spaces at indoor scenes and outside in low-light situations.

How one agency is using laser scanners

In his 30-year career as a crash reconstructionist, Bobby Jones, assistant chief deputy of the Knox County, Tennessee, Sheriff’s Office, has captured scenes with tape measures, total stations and now a FARO Focus laser scanner. Jones appreciates the amount of time using the scanner saves when documenting crash scenes.

“Scanners are going to become a way of life for all of us investigators,” Jones said. “They’re accurate, reliable, efficient – and now they are affordable.”

Jones estimates 33 minutes to scan the scene and 70 minutes from the time arrived on scene until completion of the final diagram and analysis. He uses FARO software applications to obtain critical measurements from the captured data, to analyze the crash and to create compelling exhibits for courtroom presentations.


Man sentenced to 20 years for deadly ‘swatting’ call

Posted on March 31, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Swatting victim’s family blames two suicides on deadly hoax as Barriss gets 20 years

Man sentenced to 20 years for fatal Call of Duty ‘swatting’

By Amy Renee Leiker The Wichita Eagle

WICHITA, Kan. — Tyler Barriss — who made the hoax emergency call that ended in the police shooting death of 28-year-old Andrew Finch in 2017, the nation’s first fatal swatting — on Friday received a 20-year prison sentence for a host of swattings and fake bomb threats he made to schools, government buildings and businesses across the country and in Canada.

U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said the 20-year term is thought to be the longest ever given in a swatting or hoax-call case.

Finch’s sister, Dominica Finch, told reporters after U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren handed down the 240-month punishment in the federal cases that Barriss got the sentence he deserved.

“It’s heartbreaking. What he did was horrible. But he’s at where he’s at now,” Dominica Finch said.

Dominica Finch also said her family is coping with other tragedies “directly related” to Andrew Finch’s killing.

Her niece, 18-year-old Adelina Finch, fatally shot herself in January, just more than a year after she witnessed her uncle’s death.

Adelina’s boyfriend, 20-year-old Jeremy “J.C.” Arnold, who found her in the south Wichita apartment they shared, also has died in an apparent suicide.

Police discovered his body in the apartment Tuesday night with what appeared to be “a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” Wichita police Officer Charley Davidson said by e-mail.

“There are no words to express the toll that it’s taken,” Dominica Finch said, referring to the swatting as she sobbed outside of the federal courthouse in downtown Wichita. She was present for Barriss’s sentencing but did not give a statement to the court.

“The involvement of my niece and how she was treated that night (Andrew Finch died) has taken her life,” she said. “The reaction to that has taken the life of another young man.”

Barriss in court apologized to Finch’s family, saying if he hadn’t made the hoax call “Andrew Finch never would have lost his life.” He said he takes “full responsibility” and now realizes he “was toying” with authorities when he made fake emergency reports.

“If I could take it back, I would. … I’m just so sorry,” he said.

Barriss could have received up to 25 years in prison under his plea deal. But prosecutors agreed not to push for that term since Barriss wrote apology letters to law enforcement and Finch’s family.

Barriss’s federal public defender, Rich Federico, in arguing for the 20-year sentence, told the court Barriss sought solace and notoriety on the internet— especially in the online gaming world — because he’s essentially alone. His father died when Barriss was a toddler and his mother abandoned him. And the grandmother who raised him “wants nothing to do” with him, Federico said.

The grandmother obtained a restraining order against Barriss after he threatened to kill her if she reported him for phoning in a bomb threat to a Glendale, Calif., TV station in 2015, The Wichita Eagle previously reported.

“As he sits here before the court, he literally has nothing left,” Federico said. The only place Barriss felt like his life had value was online, he said.

Melgren said that while Barriss’s personal circumstances moved him, they did not influence his sentencing decision.

“Andrew Finch was a completely innocent victim,” the judge said. Barriss, he said, “should have anticipated that someone would get hurt by what he did … (but) the fact that someone died was not only beyond his intention but beyond his comprehension.”

Barriss, 26, pleaded guilty to 51 federal charges in November. The counts include charges from three federal districts — in Kansas, Washington, D.C., and Central California — for crimes spanning the country including bomb threats at the Federal Communication Commission’s and FBI’s headquarters. Prosecutors last year agreed that all would be adjudicated in Kansas, where Barriss has been incarcerated since shortly after his South Los Angeles arrest the day after Finch died.

Barriss called Wichita City Hall from California on Dec. 28, 2017, saying he’d shot his father in the head and was holding two family members hostage in a closet and was considering setting the house on fire. Police descended on the home not knowing the call was fake.

Rapp shot Finch with a rifle from his post across the street after Finch stepped out on his porch to see why there were police lights outside of his home. Police claim Finch didn’t comply with commands to keep his hands up.

Finch’s family says Finch posed no threat, was unarmed and had no clue what was going on.

Barriss made the fake report after one of two online gamers fighting over a Call of Duty wager worth $1.50 contacted him and requested the swatting. The location Barriss was told to swat, 1033 W. McCormick, was an old address of one of the gamers.

The gamers — 19-year-old Casey Viner of Ohio and 20-year-old Shane Gaskill of Wichita — are each facing federal charges for their roles in the swatting call. Viner is expected to plead guilty in his case next week. Gaskill is still awaiting trial.

Immediately after Barriss’s arrest, Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett charged him with involuntary manslaughter, giving false alarm and interfering with law enforcement in Kansas state court.

But in a joint news conference with McAllister on Friday, Bennett announced that he was dismissing the case.

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©2019 The Wichita Eagle (Wichita, Kan.)


2 arrested after group threatened Chicago cop, helping suspect escape

Posted on March 31, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Rosemary Sobol, Anna Kim and Alice Yin Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — Two West Side men who escaped police earlier this month when a group threatened to harm the officer arresting one of them, are in custody and facing felony charges, Chicago police said.

Robert Gates, 31, and Anthony James, 30, were each arrested Wednesday on the West Side in connection with the March 17 incident.

Gates, of the 4700 block of West Adams Street, was charged with two felony counts of aggravated battery to a police officer and one count of escape from a police officer. He was ordered held on $100,000 bail Thursday.

James, of the 5300 block of West Monroe Street, was charged with two felony counts of aggravated assault of a police officer, a felony count of escape and two misdemeanor counts of resisting arrest, and he was ordered held on $10,000 bail.

In court before Judge Sophia Atcherson, James shook his head as if to say no and smiled as prosecutors laid out the details of him allegedly taunting officers as they tried to arrest Gates during a tense situation in the city’s West Garfield Park neighborhood earlier this month.

The incident began with two officers watching a van make a turn without signaling in the 4700 block of West Gladys Avenue. Gates exited the passenger side with suspected drugs around 2:10 p.m., authorities said.

Gates tossed the drugs underneath a vehicle and began “flailing” his arms around to stop the arrest, and kicked and hit arresting officers, prosecutors said.

At that point, James began “taunting” police, calling them names and saying, “go ahead and shoot,” prosecutors said.

A crowd gathered, and one of the officers was surrounded. During the altercation, a shot was fired, authorities said. The officer attempting to make the arrest backed away for his safety, police said, and Gates and James ran away. James was on parole for felony drug convictions at the time of his arrest, according to state records.

Gates turned himself in Wednesday night. His mother and two other people were in court supporting him. Irv Miller, his attorney, told the judge Gates’ family could come up with $2,000 for bond, but the judge said that was “not sufficient” under the circumstances.

James is unemployed, has his GED and is a lifelong resident of Chicago, a public defender said.

Before setting the much lower bond for James, the judge said James’ “actions and statements’’ made officers “in apprehension of receiving a battery.’’

Just after the incident, a police spokesman supported the officers’ actions, saying the situation could have quickly spiraled and put lives at risk.

“It was a situation where (the officer) didn’t want to escalate what could have been a very volatile situation with a group of people,” police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.

———

©2019 the Chicago Tribune


China clones first K-9 officer

Posted on March 31, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Zhang Zhihao Asia News Network

YUNNAN, China — The canine named Kunxun, which has a distinguished lineage, is the first cloned police dog in China. She is a female of the Kunming wolfdog breed — a cousin to the German shepherd. Wolfdogs often are used for border security, police work and firefighting in China, according to the Kunming Police Dog Base of the Ministry of Public Security.

Kunxun, now around 3 months old, recently arrived at the center to begin basic training, Science and Technology Daily reports. At around 6 months old, Kunxun will begin three to five months of training, including following and tracking, drug investigation, crowd control and searching for evidence.

After graduation, Kunxun will participate in police fieldwork as a novice under the guidance of a dog trainer. If all goes well, Kunxun will enter service at around 10 months old. According to officials at the Beijing Police Dog Base, around 35 percent of all police dog candidates wash out before entering service.

Kunxun might have an edge thanks to being a clone of a veteran police dog named Huahuangma, who is serving in the city of Pu’er, Yunnan province. At age 7, Huahuangma has helped crack dozens of murder cases, hence the reference to Sherlock Holmes.

Huahuangma is an extremely gifted and precious asset, given her talent and the fact that the training to develop such a police dog’s abilities can take up to five years and 500,000 yuan ($74,490) with no guarantee of success, said Wei Hongjiang, a professor at Yunnan Agricultural University, who helped with the cloning.

“These steep costs, coupled with the high elimination rate, means there is a shortage of quality police dogs that can satisfy China’s security needs,” he said. “By cloning veteran dogs, we can greatly improve the success rate and the number of quality Kunming police dogs available, bolstering national security as a result.”

The cost of cloning was not available.

China is planning to build a repository of cells of other top police dog breeds for future use, Wei said. Chinese scientists will also create a networking platform where arrangements can be made to crossbreed top police dogs around the country, which also might lead to stronger offspring, he added.

In 2005, South Korean scientists created the world’s first cloned dog — an Afghan hound named Snuppy, according to Seoul National University. Two years later, another team of South Korean scientists created the world’s first cloned working dogs — Labrador retrievers called Toppies — for the Korean Customs Service to screen drugs.

In recent years, South Korea’s Sooam Biotech Research Foundation, a company best known for cloning pet dogs for the hefty sum of $100,000 each, has also cloned special military dogs for the United States and Russia for sniffing out explosives or guarding prisons.

However, animal cloning has been a controversial topic ever since Dolly the sheep, the world’s first cloned animal, was created in 1996. The debate was reignited last year when famed United States actress Barbra Streisand cloned her fluffy Coton de Tulear dogs, Miss Violet and Miss Scarlett, from genetic material taken from her deceased dog Samantha.

Streisand’s decision to clone her pet sparked public discussions ranging from animal rights to the concepts of mortality. Wei said while public discourse on cloning technology is necessary, he believes cloning working dogs is less morally ambiguous given how specific its applications and implications are.

“Cloning technology is now being used to preserve and save endangered species,” he said. “It also has wide applications in agricultural and medical research. It is just a useful tool.”

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©2019 the Asia News Network (Hamburg, Germany)


Calif. police release body-cam footage of deadly OIS in Taco Bell drive-thru

Posted on March 31, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Gwendolyn Wu and Megan Cassidy San Francisco Chronicle

VELLEJO, Calif. — In the minutes before Vallejo police officers fatally shot an unresponsive man in a Taco Bell drive-thru lane last month, they talked about opening his car door, grabbing the gun in his lap and dragging him out of the car, police body-cam footage released Friday shows.

But the door was locked.

As the officers’ body cameras rolled, the sleeping man, 21-year-old Willie McCoy, began to move. He used his right hand to scratch near his left shoulder, then bent forward and moved his left arm toward his lap. That’s when officers opened fire through the window with a barrage of bullets, video shows.

The controversial Feb. 9 shooting — documented by multiple officers’ body cameras — has garnered widespread attention following reports that McCoy was unconscious and armed while his car remained operational in the drive-thru lane. But in a rare move, the department released not only raw footage of the incident, but also edited takes of the shooting, complete with subtitles, a slow-motion view of crucial moments and play-by-play text that include an officer’s version of events not readily seen in the video.

The 29-minute video was part of a robust package of information posted on a city web page, which also includes separate video commentary from the Vallejo police chief, a Q&A section and information about fatal-incident protocol.

In a press statement, the department said it was the first time Vallejo police have ever released video in this fashion.

“It is our hope that we provided sufficient context for the community to understand the facts of this incident,” police said.

McCoy’s family, however, challenged the department’s motives in editing the footage and suggested police are attempting to spin the controversial shooting in their favor.

“They’re being political now,” said Marc McCoy, Willie McCoy’s older brother. “Look, that’s the way our society is. If your people do wrong, you’re not allowed to say, ‘Hey, we messed up.’ That’s the way we’ve been trained.”

The video, which includes footage from all six officers involved in the fatal shooting, begins with a narrative of events and then includes two maps of the scene, before cutting to an officer standing just feet from the driver’s side window. Police cruisers had already boxed in McCoy’s vehicle in the drive-thru.

“Gun, gun,” an officer says, immediately pulling out his weapon.

“I’m going to bust that f— window,” the officer says, shining a flashlight into the car.

More officers arrive on scene and begin walking around the vehicle with their guns drawn. Attempts to gain entry are unsuccessful because the car’s doors are locked.

“I’m gonna pull him out and snatch his ass,” says the first officer.

A caption on the video notes McCoy’s gun was loaded with an extended magazine.

About five minutes after the officer first pulls his gun, McCoy appears to wake up and scratch his chest. Officers begin shouting orders to show his hands. McCoy appears to move his left arm and lean forward and officers begin firing numerous shots that leave large holes in the driver’s side window, as well as other holes in the windshield.

The edited version of the video goes in slow-motion around this time, and on-screen text provides the officers’ account of McCoy’s actions that are unclear to the viewer.

“[Driver then bends forward at waist, verbal commands continue]” one screen states. On the next, “[Left hand reaches for gun on lap, officers fire].”

The six officers involved in the shooting — Officers Ryan McMahon, Collin Eaton, Bryan Glick, Jordon Patzer, Anthony Romero-Cano and Mark Thompson — were placed on administrative leave, but they have since been cleared to return to duty, police said.

In a video statement, Vallejo Police Chief Andrew Bidou says it’s the first time the department has released video along with a press release.

“[W]e’re trying to get timely and accurate information out to our community,” he said.

The department’s release comes on the eve of a new California law meant to make it easier for the public to view police body-camera footage. The law, which will take effect July 1, will require departments to release footage or audio within 45 days of a critical incident.

McCoy’s brothers and a cousin said they viewed the footage earlier this month with police brass and questioned if officers made a real effort to wake up McCoy before shooting him.

“My initial reaction was there was no (attempt at a) peaceful resolution or effort to wake him up,” said Marc McCoy.

He added that when Willie McCoy started to move, none of the officers identified themselves as police, leaving his brother no time to get his bearings.

Marc McCoy said he supports the release of the video, but noted that videos of police violence rarely result in criminal prosecutions or convictions.

“We have to let police know that as much as they are appreciated in the communities, they also have to be held accountable when they make mistakes,” Marc McCoy said. “And, unfortunately, they have been trained to make mistakes.”

McCoy’s family has filed a wrongful death claim against the city of Vallejo. Civil rights attorney John Burris, who represents the family, said officers shot McCoy 25 times.

“I don’t see what he did in order to justify the shooting,” Burris told The Chronicle. “It did not look like he was ever conscious in a real way.”

The city is expected to release a determination on the claim by April 14.

The Solano County coroner’s office has not released an autopsy report, and police said it is still unclear if McCoy was shot more than 20 times. The district attorney’s office is investigating the Police Department’s use of force.

“When viewing the body camera footage, the public should be aware that body cameras do not always reflect what the officer’s eyes see,” police said in its summary of events.

The city said it redacted the footage of officers performing first aid on McCoy out of privacy concerns.

———

©2019 the San Francisco Chronicle


Suspect in shooting of Texas trooper arrested after standoff

Posted on March 30, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Associated Press

FRISCO, Texas — A SWAT team on Saturday arrested a man suspected of shooting and wounding a Texas state trooper during a traffic stop before holing up in a suburban Dallas apartment for a 15-hour standoff, authorities said.

Bryan M. Cahill, of Frisco, was taken into custody shortly after 5 a.m. and was taken to a hospital for treatment of serious injuries, Lonny Haschel, a Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman, said in an email.

Once he's able, Cahill, 42, will be jailed on a charge of aggravated assault on a police officer, he said.

Authorities say Cahill shot the trooper during a Friday afternoon traffic stop before fleeing to an apartment in Frisco. Haschel said Cahill fired shots at officers multiple times during the standoff, but that no one else was injured.

The wounded trooper underwent surgery and doctors said it "went well," Haschel said.

The apartment complex was still an active crime scene as of 7 a.m., he said.

Statement from Texas DPS. We appreciate the continued community support for all of the officers at the scene, and our thoughts are with the Trooper involved. More information will be released as it becomes available; continue to monitor this feed for updates. pic.twitter.com/xCyvO4FsIK

— Frisco Police (@FriscoPD) March 29, 2019

BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: The State Trooper who was shot in Frisco today is now out of surgery. Officials said the surgery went well. Suspect remains barricaded inside an apartment. --> https://t.co/sgvb9VRLqI pic.twitter.com/yxRu5YfpED

— NBC DFW (@NBCDFW) March 30, 2019


Suspect in shooting of Texas trooper arrested after standoff

Posted on March 30, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Associated Press

FRISCO, Texas — A SWAT team on Saturday arrested a man suspected of shooting and wounding a Texas state trooper during a traffic stop before holing up in a suburban Dallas apartment for a 15-hour standoff, authorities said.

Bryan M. Cahill, of Frisco, was taken into custody shortly after 5 a.m. and was taken to a hospital for treatment of serious injuries, Lonny Haschel, a Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman, said in an email.

Once he's able, Cahill, 42, will be jailed on a charge of aggravated assault on a police officer, he said.

Authorities say Cahill shot the trooper during a Friday afternoon traffic stop before fleeing to an apartment in Frisco. Haschel said Cahill fired shots at officers multiple times during the standoff, but that no one else was injured.

The wounded trooper underwent surgery and doctors said it "went well," Haschel said.

The apartment complex was still an active crime scene as of 7 a.m., he said.

Statement from Texas DPS. We appreciate the continued community support for all of the officers at the scene, and our thoughts are with the Trooper involved. More information will be released as it becomes available; continue to monitor this feed for updates. pic.twitter.com/xCyvO4FsIK

— Frisco Police (@FriscoPD) March 29, 2019

BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: The State Trooper who was shot in Frisco today is now out of surgery. Officials said the surgery went well. Suspect remains barricaded inside an apartment. --> https://t.co/sgvb9VRLqI pic.twitter.com/yxRu5YfpED

— NBC DFW (@NBCDFW) March 30, 2019


3rd trooper killed this year on Ill. roads

Posted on March 30, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

GREEN OAKS, Ill. — The Illinois State Police say a trooper was killed while on-duty when a wrong-way vehicle struck his squad car on Interstate 94 in northern Illinois.

The agency says 36-year-old Trooper Gerald Ellis was driving home Saturday when he was hit at about 3:25 a.m. in Green Oaks. The vehicle was driving eastbound in the westbound expressway lanes and struck Ellis' squad car head-on. Ellis died at a hospital at about 4 a.m. Ellis was an 11-year state police veteran with District 15 in Downers Grove.

Ellis is the second state trooper to die on Illinois roads this week and the third trooper to die this year. Trooper Brooke Jones-Story was killed when a truck struck her in Freeport. A vehicle fatally hit Trooper Christopher Lambert in January near Northbrook.


Tenn. officer to perform in honor of fallen LEOs during National Police Week

Posted on March 30, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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By PoliceOne Staff

WASHINGTON — An officer who recently lost a colleague will perform on a national stage in May in honor of all LEOs killed in the line of duty.

Officer Mark Hutchinson has been asked to perform a song entitled “On and On They Stand” in Washington during National Police Week, local news station WRCB-TV reports.

The song, written by Hutchinson, is dedicated to all officers killed in the line of duty, including his colleague Officer Nicholas Galinger, who was killed in Feb.

"It was just a very emotional thing to happen in our community," said Hutchinson.

He wrote the song right before Galinger was killed. He later teamed up with his friend and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Willie Kitchens, who helped bring the lyrics to life with his voice.

"I think that we need to do everything we can to keep the memories alive of those who have served," Hutchinson said.

Galinger’s name will be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in 2020


Chief’s poem featured on PoliceOne gains national attention on CNN

Posted on March 29, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

By PoliceOne Staff

SAN DIEGO – A poem recently published on PoliceOne is garnering national attention for the Massachusetts police chief who wrote the poignant poem.

“If You Could See,” written by Fitchburg State University Police Chief Michael Cloutier, debuted last month as part of PoliceOne’s ongoing series highlighting poetry written by LEOs across the nation.

CNN interviewed Cloutier about what inspired him to write the poem, which gathered quite a reaction from PoliceOne’s law enforcement audience.

"My hope," Cloutier told CNN, "is that people might see things through a different lens, and perhaps it helps breach a little bit of that gap with our police and community relations."

According to the report, Cloutier is also sharing the poem with students enrolled in his college’s police program to stress the importance of self-care in policing.

Do you have a poem you’d like featured on PoliceOne? Email your submissions for consideration to editor@policeone.com.


Myth vs. reality: Testing Hollywood gun stunts

Posted on March 29, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Author: TFB Staff

This article originally appeared on The Firearm Blog.

In this episode of TFBTV, James takes you behind the scenes of the Outdoor Network program, Hollywood Weapons, which is also available for streaming on Netflix. As you will see from this mini-documentary, Hollywood Weapons is an excellent show for firearms enthusiasts, gun guys, special effects nerds, and movie buffs as well. The show looks at famous gun stunts from popular films and tests them in real life to see if the stunts play out in the real world the same way they did in the movies...or if it’s just gun fantasy. And there are no two better co-hosts than Terry Schappert and Larry Zanoff. Terry is an Army Special Forces veteran, and Larry is one of the main principals from Independent Studio Services, Hollywood’s biggest gun prop company. James Reeves interviews Terry, Larry, and other members of the Hollywood Weapons crew today on TFBTV.


Photo of the Week: Max-imum safety

Posted on March 29, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Author: PoliceOne Members

This week's photo comes from Serena Booth of the Bertram Police Department in Texas. Pictured is Max the K-9 ready to serve his community. 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!


Red dot sights on pistols for patrol officers: Policy and training considerations

Posted on March 29, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Author: PoliceOne Members

By James Dexter, P1 Contributor

Technology has been an enhancer for the law enforcement profession since the first electric police car debuted in Akron, Ohio, in 1899. Fast forward to 2019 and technology continues to enhance an officer’s ability to do the functions of the job, with a focus on improved efficiency and ease of use.

Technological advancements in sighting systems have allowed officers to enhance their ability to utilize their firearms – from the service revolvers of old with their machined-in sights to the plethora of options currently available for semi-automatics that include adjustable sights, tritium and fiber optics.

Changes in iron sighting systems enhanced users’ ability to see and track their sights but offered no method to change the way their eye saw the sights and the threat itself; officers were still relegated to a front sight, rear sight and threat targeting system.

Enter the red dot sight (RDS) for pistols. More specifically the duty-grade red dot sights that can stand the rigors of police work. Red dot sights are not a new thing; competition shooters have been using electronic sighting systems successfully for over 30 years. With companies improving red dot sights so they can be mounted directly to a slide and handle the rigors of slide-mounted recoil and manipulations – such as the Trijicon Ruggedized Miniature Reflex (RMR) and Leupold’s Delta Point Pro – RDS systems can now be trusted for duty-carry handgun use.

FOCAL PLANES

Father Time gets us all, there is no avoiding that. Recently a group of firearms trainers were asked what they do to help those with aging eyesight. The question was met with a perfunctory “nothing” in response.

While traditional iron sights can vary in ability to see by including high viz rings, or fiber optics, the system remains that of front sight, rear sight and target. No variance in iron sights will change how the sights are used and what the eye needs to see to take an acceptable shot.

Traditional iron sight shooting of a pistol requires three focal planes. This means the eye must do more work to achieve its task – it must take in and process the front sight, the rear sight and the target to align everything prior to a good trigger press.

With an RDS the eye utilizes one focal plane: the target. When shooting an RDS the officer remains threat/target focused as the dot overlays on the target and, once the dot is placed in the correct targeting location, the officer can engage. The ability to remain target focused has further benefits than simply decreasing the number of focal planes the mind must engage. Remaining threat focused allows officers to take in and process more information during a deadly force encounter, as nothing must go out of focus prior to making the decision to press the trigger.

DUTY USE

While competitors have been using RDS systems for years, these sights were normally mounted on platforms attached to the frame and were not designed to handle one-handed manipulations or being racked off a ballistic shield.

Duty-grade optics allow an officer to mount the RDS directly to the slide and not impede the officer’s ability to do any type of manipulation that may need to be done with a firearm. Trijicon’s RMR and Leupold’s Delta Point Pro are reliable sighting systems that remain functional through the demands of police pistol use.

Multiple mounting options for RDS exist that allow departments to choose how to move forward with RDS on pistols. Direct milling a slide allows for the RDS to be mounted directly to the existing firearms slide in a cut designed specifically for the chosen optic. Almost every major firearms manufacturer now offers a pistol with mounting plate options so that officers can choose the optic they want to use and mount with the correct plate onto the slide. Aftermarket mounts that utilize the existing rear dovetail also allow for RDS to be mounted to the slide.

RDS entrance into law enforcement use has also been hindered by a firearm’s ability to be holstered and carried with acceptable retention. Safariland addressed that issue with a “RDS” series of holsters that allow an officer to choose their desired retention level of holster for RDS-equipped Glocks, Smith & Wesson M&P CORE and Sig Sauer P320 RX guns. These options allow departments to approve RDS guns without worry of any policy issues related to holsters, as Safariland has an RDS series option for the most commonly used retention holsters.

RDS POLICY CONSIDERATIONS

New equipment implementation requires guidance and policy for standardized implementation within a department. These policies ensure that officers are utilizing an optic appropriate for duty as well as requirements for the firearm to meet the needs of duty carry.

Weapon selection

Departments should define the weapons that are authorized for use and the allowed configuration.

Optic-ready gun (FN 509T, Glock MOS, S&W CORE, Walther Q4 Tac, Sig P320 RX, etc.) Direct mill to officer’s gun. Determine if policy will dictate if the gun must be milled by a reputable company (Trident Defense, ATEi, Boresight Solutions). Dovetail mounting platform (Dueck Defense RBU, Raven Balor).

Optic selection

Determine and identify optics that will be allowed for mounting. Optics should be duty grade and able to withstand drops and manipulations of the slide with impact on the optic.

Secondary sighting systems

With the recognition that optics are an electronic piece, much the same as rifle policies, guidance on secondary sighting systems should be assessed. Co-witnessed iron sights and lasers are common examples.

Holster selection

Most general firearms policies already specify holster requirements and should reflect RDS guns. As gun manufacturers expand RDS-ready guns, considerations for allowance of custom holsters should be made but require levels of retention and be of reputable manufacture.

Training

As any piece of new equipment, RDS training requirements should be stated in policy. While RDS should not be held to a different standard than traditional iron sights, some sort of familiarization training should be conducted. Determination of in-house, state certified, or outside company training should satisfy the requirement. Determine minimum training topics to satisfy the requirement (installation, maintenance, zeroing, optic mitigation, etc.).

Maintenance

Determine if policy will dictate who and when things such as battery changes and zero confirmation will occur. Zero confirmation can be done in conjunction with qualification and zero should be confirmed with each battery change. Policy should state if the officer is responsible for battery change or if it will be scheduled with a department armorer.

RDS TRAINING

Department adoption and use of RDS on pistols should not simply be done through issuance of a memo and immediate allowance of carry. Just as any other piece of equipment has guidelines and training so should RDS implementation.

While an RDS-equipped pistol has certain advantages, some officers may not want to make the transition. With a single focal plane sighting system, an officer’s natural arch of movement will at first be more prevalent and a good presentation is necessary for sight acquisition. These issues are mitigated by training. Those who utilize an RDS find that they become a better overall shooter due to the ability to diagnose their shooting better because they are looking only at the target they are aiming at and they can see the path of their red dot through the shooting sequence.

Training also mitigates common misconceptions about use of an RDS such as that they don’t work when they get wet (they are a closed system they work just fine), that they are slow up close (you’re not using front sight, rear sight and target acquisition with irons at close distance), and that they fog up and become unusable (preventative maintenance, people who wear glasses mitigate this all the time).

Time should be taken to ensure that officers are comfortable with an RDS-equipped pistol and that the system enhances the officer’s abilities prior to them carrying it on duty. With a well-researched and implemented RDS program, a department can enhance an officer’s abilities with their pistol. All industries necessary for the implementation of an RDS duty pistol program have shown a commitment to continuing product support and advancement. As technological advancements in the field of law enforcement go, RDS for pistols is one that will produce measurable results for departments and officers.


About the author Jim Dexter is a 14-year police officer currently serving with the Lisle (Illinois) Police Department and assigned to the FIAT SWAT team. His former agencies include the Madison (Wisconsin) Police Department and the Federal Air Marshal Service. He is a veteran of the Illinois Amy National Guard and deployed to Iraq from 2003-2004. Jim is a State of Illinois SWAT instructor and a graduate of the FBI Firearms and Carbine Instructor schools. He is responsible for developing the IL state-certified red dot pistol curriculum and is cited in multiple RDS training programs. Jim is the owner and lead instructor of Tactically Sound Training Center, LLC, providing red dot-based pistol and medical instruction. He holds a BA from Western Illinois University and an MA in criminal justice from American Military University. Jim currently sits on the board of directors for the Illinois Tactical Officers Association.


The case for optics

Posted on March 29, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Mike Wood
Author: Mike Wood

Despite the ready adoption of optics on duty weapons by police (and particularly patrol rifles), there are still agencies who have resisted the trend over concerns such as cost, reliability and maintenance. Since many of these concerns have their roots in a lack of information and education, it’s worthwhile to evaluate the costs and benefits of these tools to make a more informed decision.

Cost of optics

One of the foremost concerns for any police administrator is budget. Adding optics to duty weapons costs extra money, but the price tag may not be as large as you’d think, and other savings may help offset the initial outlay.

There are sophisticated and expensive optics to choose from, but an agency (or individual officer) doesn’t need to spend a fortune to get an optic that’s suitable for duty use. Companies like Vortex Optics offer discounted pricing for law enforcement and won’t charge an agency sales tax or shipping. This can put mil-spec quality optics like the Vortex Crossfire red dot into an officer’s hands for under $150.

That’s not free, but it’s not prohibitive either, and many agencies have found that a good optic can provide indirect cost savings by decreasing the amount of training time and ammunition required to obtain and maintain proficiency with a weapon. Additionally, if the extra capability provided by an optic helps an officer prevent one bad shooting, it will pay for itself a million times over – ask your city manager what it would cost the city to settle a lawsuit in which an innocent citizen was struck by a round that missed the suspect, and you’ll find that’s no exaggeration.

Durability of optics

There was a time when many optics weren’t robust enough to endure the abuse of law enforcement duty use and would either break or lose their zero. Fortunately, advances in materials, design and manufacturing have changed that, and many optics are now up to the challenge.

For evidence, we need look no further than the U.S. military, where both the Army and the Marine Corps have amassed over a decade of operational experience with optics as the primary sighting system on the rifles and carbines carried by our soldiers and marines. Additionally, some special units have even been using pistol-mounted optics with great success in combat, as well.

If hundreds of thousands of infantry rifles can withstand the rigors of getting knocked around in Humvees, banging into walls, hitting the deck, being subjected to temperature extremes, killer sand and explosive blasts, and getting soaked in chemicals, water and blood, then it’s a safe bet they’ll survive a shift in a patrol car’s gun rack.

These same optics have been subjected to high-volume training by enthusiastic competitors who put more rounds through a gun in a month than most officers will shoot in five years. The crucibles of combat and competition have taught manufacturers many lessons about durability, and today’s law enforcement officers now enjoy the benefits of this experience.

Stuff happens though, which is why many companies offer comprehensive warranties to correct problems. In truth, some optics companies have even repaired optics that weren’t covered under warranty, just to ensure that police were ready for duty. If an optic does break, a good manufacturer can get it up and running or replace it with a minimum of fuss.

Training officers to use optics

When you introduce new gear, there’s a training burden that goes with it. If you mount an optic to a patrol rifle, you will have to train the troops how to use and care for it, but that task may not be as difficult as you’d expect, depending on the equipment selected.

Take the popular red dot sights, for example. The beauty of these optics is their simplicity – to make them work, a shooter simply holds the dot in the right spot and presses the trigger. There are training issues that must be accounted for, like mechanical offset or long-range elevation holdovers, but even with these requirements, an optic:

Promotes faster learning. By putting the sight and the target in the same optical plane, an optic simplifies the task of aiming the weapon and decreases the amount of time and effort required to obtain proficiency, compared to iron sights. Promotes better performance. Optics can decrease the time required to get good hits on target by making the sighting task less difficult. This is especially true as the apparent size of the target decreases due to distance or exposure. It’s also valid when a shooter has to fight from an awkward position due to injury, or to make effective use of cover. Optics also encourage better performance against moving or low light targets, which can be more challenging to hit using iron sights, especially if they lack illumination. Decrease the training maintenance burden. Because they encourage better results with less effort, optics can decrease the amount of time, ammunition and effort necessary to maintain the desired level of performance with the secondary weapon, once an officer has received initial training. This conserves precious resources, which can be used elsewhere in training. Selection of optics

For the uninitiated, the variety of optics can be confusing. Agency decision-makers may not have grown up with optics or understand the pros and cons of different options, making them feel unprepared to make a good choice. This may encourage them to resist considering an optic at all.

There are many educational resources available to police who want to enhance their understanding. Other agencies, independent trainers (like National Training Concepts or TacFlow Academy), professional associations (like NTOA, ITOA, or ILEETA), organizations (like the NRA Law Enforcement Division), and manufacturers are all excellent resources that can help provide the necessary education and training.

Additionally, the selection process can be simplified by defining the mission. When an agency understands their priorities and what they want to achieve by adding an optic, then entire classes of optics may be dismissed from consideration. For example, if light weight and rapid target acquisition at short ranges are important, then the red dot sights are where you need to focus your energy. Conversely, if information gathering, target identification and enhanced precision at longer ranges are most important, the focus needs to shift to low power variable optics (LPVOs), and the red dot sights can be ignored.

Education and experience are the keys to making good choices in optics. Someone unfamiliar with a LPVO might think it’s unsuitable for rapid engagements at short distances, but a little exposure will prove that wrong. Don’t make choices based on what you think you know, get out there and get some hands-on time with the technology before you decide.

Fair analysis

A patrol rifle doesn’t need an optic to be effective. Cops have been getting the job done without optics for a long time, and if their training and preparation are up to the task, they’ll continue to do so.

However, optics offer some definite advantages that can enhance effectiveness and decrease the burden on the officer and training staff. They have a cost associated with them, but the benefits seem to make up for it, and then some.

While optics may not be a good solution for every officer or agency, it’s important to come to that conclusion based on facts, not unfounded fears. Today’s optics are a viable option for police and shouldn’t be dismissed due to a lack of education.

Get smart on optics, make a good choice and be safe out there.

The author would like to thank Jon Skubis at Vortex Optics for his assistance with the article. To learn more about optics for law enforcement, contact Jon at jskubis@vortexoptics.com


How the Below 100 program can save lives

Posted on March 29, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Author: Jim Dudley and Doug Wyllie

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 Below 100 instructors Rod Rifredi and Kim Schlau, who discuss the five tenets of the Below 100 program—wear your belt, wear your vests, watch your speed, remember "what's important now" and complacency kills.

LEARN MORE

What we can learn from police officer deaths in 2018

How to approach difficult conversations with colleagues

The evolution of the Below 100 program

Too many cops are dying in single-vehicle accidents

Policing Matters Podcast: Officer wellness and safety in 21st century policing

5 principles of officer safety from the 'Below 100' program

Below 100: The choices we make often make us


Former Pittsburgh officer cleared in fatal shooting of teenager

Posted on March 29, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Author: Jim Dudley and Doug Wyllie

Associated Press

PITTSBURGH — A jury acquitted a former police officer Friday in the fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager as he was fleeing a high-stakes traffic stop outside Pittsburgh, a confrontation that was captured on video and led to weeks of unrest.

Former East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld was charged with homicide for killing Antwon Rose II last June. Rose was riding in an unlicensed taxi that had been involved in a drive-by shooting minutes earlier when Rosfeld pulled the car over and shot the 17-year-old in the back, arm and side of the face as he ran away.

The panel of seven men and five women — including three black jurors — saw video of the fatal confrontation, which showed Rose falling to the ground after being hit. The acquittal came after fewer than four hours of deliberations on the fourth day of the trial.

Rose's family remained stoic as the verdict was read, with his mother telling his sister not to cry. Rosfeld's wife began sobbing, and she and Rosfeld were hustled out of the courtroom by deputies.

There were tears and gasps in an overflow courtroom, and several people broke out in song: "Antwon Rose was a freedom fighter, and he taught us how to fight."

Rose's death spurred angry protests in the Pittsburgh area last year, including a late-night march that shut down a major highway.

But on Friday, the reaction was measured.

After the verdict, a group of about 100 protesters headed to the trendy East Liberty neighborhood, about 5 miles (8 kilometers) from the downtown Pittsburgh courthouse, and they blocked intersections and briefly entered two hotels, chanting "17" for Rose's age and reading a poem written by Rose.

The family's attorney, S. Lee Merritt, had urged a murder conviction, saying before closing arguments that it's "pretty obvious" Rose was not a threat to Rosfeld.

He said afterward that Rose's mother, Michelle Kenney, was "upset about the state of the law. But she didn't really expect a different verdict," given other high-profile cases in recent years in which police officers have either avoided charges or won acquittals in the shooting deaths of black men and teens.

"She has joined a community of mothers who have lost children in really, really horrific ways," he said.

Defense lawyer Patrick Thomassey told reporters that Rosfeld is "a good man. He said to me many times, 'Patrick, this has nothing to do with the kid's color. I was doing what I was trained to do.'"

Thomassey said he hoped the city remained calm, and "everybody takes a deep breath and gets on with their lives."

Stephen Zappala Jr., the district attorney in Pittsburgh, said he disagreed with the decision.

At trial, the prosecution and the defense sparred over whether Rosfeld — who'd worked for the East Pittsburgh Police Department for only a few weeks and was officially sworn in just hours before the fatal shooting — was justified in using lethal force.

Assistant District Attorney Jonathan Fodi declared in his closing argument that Rosfeld had acted as "judge, jury and executioner," and the video evidence showed "there was no threat" to the officer.

"We don't shoot first and ask questions later," the prosecutor added.

But the former officer told the jury he thought Rose or another suspect had a gun pointed at him, insisting he fired his weapon to protect himself and the community. Neither teen was holding one when Rosfeld opened fire, though two guns were later found in the car.

"It happened very quickly," Rosfeld said. "My intent was to end the threat that was made against me."

A defense expert testified Rosfeld was within his rights to use deadly force to stop suspects he thought had been involved in a shooting.

Rose had been riding in the front seat of the cab when another occupant, Zaijuan Hester, in the back, rolled down a window and shot at two men on the street, hitting one in the abdomen. A few minutes later, Rosfeld spotted their car, which had its rear windshield shot out, and pulled it over. Rosfeld ordered the driver to the ground, but Rose and another passenger jumped out and began running away. Rosfeld fired three times in quick succession.

The defense said the shooting was justified because Rosfeld believed he was in danger and couldn't wait for other officers to get there.

"He's a sitting duck," Thomassey told jurors in his closing argument, asking them to consider "the standard of what a reasonable police officer would do under the circumstances."

Prosecutors had charged Rosfeld with an open count of homicide, meaning the jury had the option of convicting him of murder or manslaughter. The prosecution said Rosfeld gave inconsistent statements about the shooting, including whether he thought Rose was armed.

Hester, 18, pleaded guilty last week to aggravated assault and firearms violations. Hester told a judge that he, not Rose, did the shooting.


Ill. trooper killed by semi-truck during traffic stop

Posted on March 29, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Author: Jim Dudley and Doug Wyllie

Chris Green and Derrick Mason Rockford Register Star, Ill.

FREEPORT, Ill. — An Illinois State Police trooper who died Thursday in the line of duty was a wife and mother.

Trooper Brooke Jones-Story, 34, was pronounced dead at the scene after she was struck by a semitrailer during a traffic stop on U.S. Highway 20 about a half mile west of Illinois Route 75.

Jones-Story, 34, was outside her squad car investigating a commercial motor vehicle on U.S. 20 westbound when she was hit by the truck at about 12:20 p.m., authorities said. The semi struck both Jones-Story's squad car and the commercial vehicle before it collided with the trooper.

"My deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathy go out to the entire Jones-Story family and her friends, and the entire Illinois State Police family," said Acting State Police Director Brendan F. Kelly. "Today, trooper Jones-Story paid the ultimate sacrifice while protecting and serving the citizens of Illinois. Our law enforcement family is mourning the loss of a fallen sister."

Jones-Story was a 12-year veteran of the Illinois State Police District 16 in Pecatonica. She leaves behind her husband, retired ISP Master Sgt. Robert Story, two stepchildren, a step-grandchild, her parents and a sister.

Jones-Story is the second Illinois State Trooper to die in the line of duty in the last 75 days and the 15th struck by a vehicle this year due to a Scott's Law violation, Kelly said. In 2018, eight troopers were struck by drivers who violated the law, which mandates that drivers reduce speed and change lanes, if possible, when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped along the roadway.

Kelly stressed that Jones-Story followed procedure by positioning her squad car behind the commercial vehicle and activating her emergency lights.

"These troopers are just doing their job trying to protect everyone," Kelly said. "How many times does this have to happen?

"How many more have to be hurt or killed? When is enough, enough?"

Kelly said both the commercial vehicle and the semi were engulfed in flames, but no other injuries were reported as a result of the crash. The driver of the vehicle that veered off the road has been cited with a violation of Scott's Law and improper lane usage.

Stephenson County State's Attorney Carl Larson said an investigation will determine whether the driver will face additional charges. The driver currently is in police custody.

"This event is being investigated by some really outstanding investigators, and I know they'll do a meticulous job," Larson said. "Once their reports are in, we'll review them and at that point determine what, if any, additional charges are appropriate."

There seems to be no common denominator in incidents in which troopers are struck by motorists, Kelly said. The violations have occurred at all times of the day, in various weather conditions and in different locations, he said.

"The only explanation is not that our troopers are doing anything wrong or there's some policy issue that's a problem, or there's some equipment issues," he said. "This is just about people caring about what they're doing and paying attention to what they're doing."

At least 10 law enforcement agencies were part of a procession of squad cars that escorted a Stephenson County Coroner's vehicle carrying the body of Jones-Story from the scene of the crash to the county morgue.

———

©2019 Rockford Register Star, Ill.


Ga. officers confront armed driver on Atlanta-area freeway

Posted on March 29, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

ATLANTA — More than a dozen police officers with guns drawn filled four lanes of a freeway near Atlanta, bringing Friday morning traffic to a standstill as they confronted an armed motorist.

Marietta police said a driver stopped on the freeway was armed and not cooperating with officers.

Police spokesman Chuck McPhilamy told reporters a robbery had occurred in the area of a Walmart a few miles away and officers spotted a car matching the description.

"He pulled over to the side of the interstate and then refused to exit the vehicle," McPhilamy said.

The southbound lanes of Interstate 75 were shut down just northwest of Atlanta.

"We had to do that for everyone's safety," McPhilamy said, as police used a telephone line to conduct an "off-and-on negotiation" with the motorist.

News photos showed an officer with a scoped rifle perched atop an armored vehicle and staring down at the suspect as police tried to resolve the situation.

No injuries were immediately reported.

Traffic was backed up for miles. The standoff comes on a particularly busy day on Atlanta highways as people are traveling through the city on their way to spring break destinations.

The situation was unfolding near SunTrust Park, the home of the Atlanta Braves, but no game was planned Friday.


Life in prison for 19-time felon shot fleeing Las Vegas police

Posted on March 29, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — A 19-time felon suspected of escaping from authorities, getting shot by Las Vegas police and leading a wild pursuit in a stolen truck stood before a judge the next day, his arm in a bandage, to be sentenced to life in prison.

Christopher Gregory Ganci, 52, stood shackled in court Thursday, surrounded by heavily armed police and a medic, as he told Clark County District Court Judge Douglas Smith he wasn't a violent man and deserved another chance. While not named by police in the attempted escape, Ganci acknowledged that he "took a bullet" the day before.

"I never hurt anybody. I'm no danger to the public," Ganci said. "Your honor, I've had a long hard life of crime. I'm not a robber or killer."

But Smith declared Ganci a habitual offender with a history of disregarding judges and parole restrictions.

"At some point you have to say, Mr. Ganci, you can't be in the public and not break the law," the judge said. "I think it's time you pay the consequences."

Ganci's sentencing was delayed for a day after he failed to appear in court Wednesday. Smith gave Ganci five consecutive life terms without parole for being found guilty in February of armed robbery, kidnapping, battery and two counts of conspiracy. His 19th conviction was for admitting he had a gun.

He had been accused of abducting and robbing a man who escaped Ganci and a woman at a Las Vegas casino.

Prosecutor John Giordani told Smith that Ganci was convicted previously of 13 felonies in Arizona, California, Illinois and Texas and served multiple stints in prison before moving to Las Vegas.

Ganci has active warrants for his arrest from four states and still faces witness tampering charges in his Las Vegas case, the prosecutor said.

Ganci acknowledged he "took a bullet" on Wednesday, and Giordani said Ganci is expected to face charges related to the attempted escape and police chase.

Police have not named Ganci, but say an officer who accompanied a 52-year-old prisoner in custody to a medical clinic for what was described as a routine procedure shot the man in the left arm when he ran to an unattended pickup truck and drove away.

The wounded man led officers on a wreck-filled chase before surrendering near downtown casinos and the county courthouse, police said.

No bystanders were struck by gunfire and no one was seriously hurt in vehicles rammed by the pickup, police said.

The name of the officer has not been made public. He was placed on paid leave pending departmental and district attorney reviews of the shooting.

Police said it did not appear that two men who left the pickup unattended in the clinic parking lot were connected with Ganci.


‘Texas 7’ prison-break gang member gets execution reprieve

Posted on March 29, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Author: Jim Dudley and Doug Wyllie

Associated Press

HUNTSVILLE, Texas — A member of the "Texas 7" gang of escaped prisoners won a reprieve Thursday night from execution for the fatal shooting of a suburban Dallas police officer after claiming his religious freedom would be violated if his Buddhist spiritual adviser wasn't allowed to be in the death chamber with him.

The U.S. Supreme Court blocked Patrick Murphy's execution about two hours after he could have been executed.

Murphy's attorneys had said that Texas prison officials' efforts to prevent the inmate's spiritual adviser, a Buddhist priest, from being with him when he is put to death violated Murphy's First Amendment right to freedom of religion. Murphy, 57, became a Buddhist almost a decade ago while incarcerated.

Lower courts had rejected Murphy's argument.

But in a concurring opinion Thursday night, the newest justice on the court, Brett Kavanaugh, said the Texas prison system allows a Christian or Muslim inmate to have a state-employed Christian or Muslim religious adviser present either in the execution room or in the adjacent viewing room. But inmates of other religious denominations who want their religious adviser to be present can have the adviser present only in the viewing room and not in the execution room itself, he said.

"As this Court has repeatedly held, governmental discrimination against religion_in particular, discrimination against religious persons, religious organizations, and religious speech_violates the Constitution," he wrote. "The government may not discriminate against religion generally or against particular religious denominations."

Kavanaugh said Texas can't move forward with Murphy's punishment unless the state permits his Buddhist adviser or another Buddhist reverend of the state's choosing to accompany Murphy in the chamber during the execution.

"What the State may not do, in my view, is allow Christian or Muslim inmates but not Buddhist inmates to have a religious adviser of their religion in the execution room," the justice said.

Kavanaugh did not hear any death penalty cases in his 12 years as an appeals court judge joining the Supreme Court.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jeremy Desel the state would review the ruling to determine how to respond.

Desel said Murphy would be returned from the Huntsville Unit prison, where executions are carried out, to the Polunsky Unit, about 45 miles to the east, where death row inmates are imprisoned.

"I knew there was a thin thread of possibility," a smiling Murphy said from a holding cell just a few feet from the death chamber after he was told by the warden he received a reprieve.

Texas officials argued to the court, citing security concerns, that only chaplains who had been extensively vetted by the prison system were allowed within the chamber. While Christian and Muslim chaplains were available, no Buddhist priest was. Prison officials allowed Murphy to visit with his spiritual adviser for about 40 minutes Thursday afternoon.

Murphy was among the inmates who escaped from a South Texas prison in December 2000 and then committed numerous robberies, including the one in which they shot 29-year-old Irving police Officer Aubrey Hawkins 11 times, killing him.

Hawkins, who had been with the Irving police force about 14 months, had just finished Christmas Eve dinner with his family when he responded to the call about the robbery at a sporting goods store and was ambushed.

The escaped inmates were arrested a month later in Colorado, ending a six-week manhunt. One of them killed himself as officers closed in and the other six were convicted of killing Hawkins and sentenced to death. Murphy would have been the fifth to be executed. The sixth inmate, Randy Halprin, has not been given an execution date.

Murphy would have been the fourth inmate put to death this year in the U.S. and the third executed in Texas, the nation's busiest capital punishment state.

In February, the Supreme Court rejected a request from a Muslim death row inmate in Alabama to have his Islamic spiritual adviser be present in the execution chamber. Dominique Ray, who was executed , also argued his religious rights were violated because Alabama allows a Christian chaplain employed by the prison to be in the execution chamber.

Murphy was convicted under Texas' law of parties, which holds a person criminally responsible for the actions of another if they are engaged in a conspiracy.

Murphy's attorneys had also asked the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to stop his execution, arguing his death sentence is unconstitutional because he was only the lookout during the robbery, never firing at Hawkins because he had left the scene before the shooting began.

The appeals court earlier this week turned down the request while the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles declined to recommend either a commutation of his sentence or a 90-day reprieve.

"It is unconscionable that Patrick Murphy may be executed for a murder he did not commit that resulted from a robbery in which he did not participate," his attorneys, David Dow and Jeff Newberry, said in a statement.

Toby Shook, the lead prosecutor who handled Murphy's case and those of the other five members, said Murphy actively participated in the robbery, monitoring a police scanner from a getaway vehicle and telling the other inmates when Hawkins was coming to the back of the store.

"He alerted them. That allowed them to set up their ambush," said Shook, who is now a criminal defense attorney in Dallas.

Murphy was serving 50 years for a Dallas sexual assault but was only 15 months away from being released on mandatory parole when he took part in the prison escape.

Shook said Murphy has a very long and violent criminal history, including molesting his step-sister and pulling a gun on his father.

"They all were violent felons," Shook said. "So, he fit in perfectly with the rest of the Texas 7. He actively participated in all their robberies and all their crimes when they were out on the run."


FBI could review the many suspicions around Smollett case

Posted on March 29, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

CHICAGO — The FBI was already investigating Jussie Smollett before President Donald Trump tweeted that the agency and the Department of Justice would review the case, which the president called "an embarrassment" to the nation.

Trump's tweet on Thursday came two days after a surprise decision by Cook County prosecutors to drop all charges against the "Empire" actor, who was accused of orchestrating a fake attack involving two men who beat him on a downtown Chicago street. The president did not specify what aspect of the case would be probed, and Department of Justice officials declined to comment.

Some former federal prosecutors say there are enough anomalies to justify a Justice Department review of why prosecutors dismissed all 16 felonies. Among the red flags they cited: the unusual level of secrecy around the proceedings, including sealed court documents; prosecutors' often muddled and contradictory explanations; and the absence of any requirement that the accused accept responsibility in exchange for dropping charges.

Investigators believe Smollett hired two brothers to stage the Jan. 29 attack and that Smollett hoped the attention would help advance his career. Police also allege that before the attack, Smollett sent a letter threatening himself to the Chicago television studio where "Empire" is shot. The FBI has been investigating that letter.

State prosecutors insisted that they could still prove Smollett concocted the entire assault. And even after charges were thrown out, the actor maintained that the attack was real.

Phil Turner, an assistant U.S. attorney in Chicago before entering private practice, said federal prosecutors could, at minimum, seek an order for state prosecutors to preserve emails, texts and other documents that might shed light on why they acted as they did with Smollett.

Prosecutors' hasty calling of the Tuesday hearing with no prior public notice and their swift sealing of court records showed a highly unusual and suspicious level of secrecy, Turner said.

"It makes it look like they were clearly trying to pull a fast one," he said. "It all smells funny."

Federal prosecutors could, in theory, bring charges under a law that requires public officials to provide honest services to citizens if evidence emerges that any decision was made at the behest of influential people outside the state's attorney's office, Turner said.

Justice Department investigators "could try to show that, if Cook County prosecutors did a favor for someone by dropping charges, that deprived people in Cook County of the honest services they deserve," he said.

The case, he theorized, could qualify as a federal matter if communications about the decision took place on the phone or internet, placing it within federal jurisdiction.

Another former federal prosecutor, Joel Bertocchi, sounded much more skeptical about the chances of a full-fledged investigation.

"You'd have to show the decision (to drop charges) was corrupt — not just bad or unexplainable," he said. "Traded favors is not enough for corruption. It has to be money. And there's no indication of that here."

While U.S. attorneys can in principle look into whatever they want, Bertocchi said, accepted practice is that they need some indication an actual crime was committed. "You can't just investigate someone willy-nilly."

The suspicions about the Smollett charges were shared by many in Chicago, including Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who has led official voices of outrage, telling reporters that "something is rotten in Denmark." The city said Thursday it is seeking $130,000 from Smollett to cover the costs of the investigation into his reported beating.

The Illinois Prosecutors Bar Association on Thursday issued a scathing critique of Cook County prosecutors. The group said State's Attorney Kim Foxx and her representatives "fundamentally misled the public on the law and circumstances surrounding the dismissal."

"The manner in which this case was dismissed was abnormal and unfamiliar to those who practice law in criminal courthouses across the State," it said.

The critique also highlighted what it called the "uncontested sealing" of the case, saying Cook County prosecutors had "falsely informed the public" that the action was mandatory under Illinois law.

The fact that Tuesday's hearing was not put on the public court schedule and other factors added to an "appearance of impropriety," according to the bar association, which said Cook County prosecutors had "fallen woefully short" of legal ethics.

The Arlington, Virginia-based National District Attorneys Association also weighed in, saying in a statement that aspects of the case may have run afoul of best practices, including the decision to abandon the charges without forcing Smollett to accept some degree of guilt.

The group alluded to Foxx's decision to recuse herself before Smollett was charged because she had discussed the case with a Smollett family member. If the chief prosecutor withdraws, it said, the best practice is for the whole office to step away from a case and to appoint a special prosecutor.

Foxx defended her office's decisions. Even if a trial had been held, Smollett would never have received a prison term because the 16 charges were the lowest form of felony. And if he pleaded guilty, it would have been to one count, not 16, she said.

"For all of the noise and all of the media attention, it's a step up from a misdemeanor," she told Chicago television station WGN. Most comparable cases are resolved with probation or an agreement such as Smollett's if the defendants "don't have a long rap sheet or a violence in their background."


‘Always be my backup’: Slain Wash. state deputy honored

Posted on March 29, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

ELLENSBURG, Wash. — More than a thousand people, including hundreds of law enforcement officers, gathered Thursday at a memorial service for a Washington state sheriff's deputy who was killed last week by a road rage suspect living in the country illegally.

Uniformed officers lined a street and saluted as a white hearse brought the flag-draped casket of Kittitas County Deputy Ryan Thompson to Central Washington University in the town of Ellensburg, about 100 miles east of Seattle. Bagpipers, drummers and an honor guard of uniformed officers met the casket.

Thompson, 42, a graduate of the university, died in a gunbattle March 19 near Ellensburg that also killed the suspect and wounded police Officer Benito Chavez, 22, of the nearby small town of Kittitas.

Speakers described Thompson as a courageous hero who loved his community.

"We will never be the same," said sheriff's Deputy Ben Corbett, a friend and neighbor. "We enjoyed sharing life with you."

Corbett added, "You will always be my backup."

Thompson grew up in Walla Walla and is survived by his wife and three children.

The memorial service featured officers from the U.S. and Canada, and opened with the national anthems of both countries. People in the audience wiped away tears.

The suspect in the shooting was in the U.S. illegally, officials said.

Juan Manuel Flores Del Toro, 29, was a citizen of Mexico who entered the United States in 2014 at Laredo, Texas, on a temporary agricultural worker visa, Immigration and Customs Enforcement said. The agency had no record that Flores Del Toro left the U.S. or extended his visa after it expired.

Flores Del Toro died in a hospital a short time after the shootout. Investigators say they do not know why Flores Del Toro fled from the officers and that no warrants were pending for his arrest.

The two officers had tried to stop Flores Del Toro's vehicle after they received a complaint about his driving. Authorities have described it as a "road-rage type event" without revealing more details.

Law officers chased the car, which stopped in a trailer park in the town of Kittitas. Flores Del Toro got out and used a handgun to exchange gunfire with the officers, police said.

Thompson's death was the first fatal shooting of a law enforcement officer in the rural county since 1927, officials said.


3 dead after 15-hour standoff with police at NH hotel

Posted on March 29, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

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Associated Press

MANCHESTER, N.H. — A 15-hour standoff at a New Hampshire hotel ended Thursday with three people dead, including two who had barricaded themselves inside a room and shot repeatedly at police and drug enforcement agents.

Authorities, including a SWAT team, swarmed the area around the Quality Inn in Manchester, closing off a bustling commercial neighborhood filled with car dealerships, a strip mall and several restaurants.

It began Wednesday evening when Stephen Marshall, 51, of Manchester, climbed out of a hotel window. Armed with an automatic handgun, Marshall "engaged" with a Manchester police officer and two Drug Enforcement Administration agents who had come there to serve a warrant on him and another man. They only would say it was drug-related.

A police officer and DEA agent shot Marshall, and he was pronounced dead at the hospital, according to the state attorney general's office. No law enforcement officers or bystanders were injured.

Meanwhile, two other people — a man and a woman whose names have not yet been released — holed up in a first-floor room of the hotel. For nearly nine hours, one of the two fired multiple times on law enforcement who were outside.

SWAT team members eventually deployed chemical agents inside the room. At the same time, MacDonald said Manchester police officers "attempted to speak with these individuals and seek a peaceful resolution."

The standoff ended Thursday morning after law enforcement officers managed to get into the Quality Inn. The attorney general's office said the pair were found dead but wouldn't say how they died.

"It's disheartening that we have to face incidents like what we had to deal with today," Manchester Police Chief Carlo Capano said. "When you think about a nine-hour period of officers being shot at as much as they were ... we are truly blessed that none of those officers were hurt today."

WMUR-TV reports that Marshall had a criminal history dating back 10 years that included multiple drug charges.

New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald told reporters Marshall's shooting was being investigated by the New Hampshire State Police major crime unit under the direction of his office. The names of the two officers involved in the shooting were not released.

"This remains an active investigation. It is in its early stages and, as such, we are limited in the information we can provide," MacDonald told reporters, adding that the crime scene was "complex."

After Marshall was shot, a SWAT team arrived and the hotel and a nearby restaurant were evacuated. Police closed surrounding roads, and armored personnel carriers were stationed outside the hotel. Several firetrucks were also on the scene.

Michael Hughes, a shift manager at the Manchester Poker Room & Casino, which is next to the hotel, recalled how there were about 250 people inside playing bingo and other games when a few customers standing outside heard gunshots. That prompted the business go into a lockdown, eventually escorting customers five at a time past the heavy police presence around 9:30 p.m.

"It was chaotic," Hughes said, adding that the business opened as usual Thursday. "It was definitely not a normal occurrence."

After the standoff, roads and businesses were reopened. However, the hotel is not expected to reopen for several days to more than a week.


Breaking through the glass ceiling: Lessons from female police leaders

Posted on March 28, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Laura King
Author: Laura King

I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel around the country teaching law enforcement leadership. Through this experience I have been able to hear the stories of countless women who have broken through the glass ceiling and have risen to a leadership role.

Through these stories, I have uncovered a common theme specific to the female experience.

Leadership is very different for women in law enforcement than it is for men. Here, I will share something significant I have learned from the stories I have gathered from dozens of women across the nation about police life, professional struggles, and advancing to a position of leadership.

Be Your Authentic Self

As police professionals, women are very different than men. Nothing negative or necessarily positive — just different. If we are to achieve positions of leadership in this industry, we must recognize these differences, embrace them and work with them to achieve success. If any woman spends her career in this field trying to act like anything other than her authentic self, she will be frustrated, disappointed and disheartened.

Women have something powerful to contribute to police work. We need to stop being afraid of being “the girl” and trying to blend in as one of the guys. This bad habit of trying to act like something we are not is suppressing our ability to use our natural talents and abilities to shine. When we start embracing our differences and being the best version or ourselves, we will experience success naturally. I am not talking about anything extreme here — we just need to stop being afraid of who we are and what we have to offer.

In my travels I have been fortunate to have many women share their stories with me. I try to honor their experiences by using them to enrich my teaching and my writing. While the people I meet while I travel are all very different, there are many common themes present in almost every story I hear. One of the most frequently occurring revolves around having the courage to be your authentic self.

I hear stories of female law enforcement professionals trying to get ahead and struggling in similar ways. They try to be everything to everyone. They go above and beyond because something in this profession still sends subtle messages that as a female, they have to prove they measure up. No matter how hard they try, they never seem to gain the momentum of their male counterparts. There are obstacles along the way and they get tired. Sometimes they give up, other times they break through.

There are obstacles for everyone — male and female. The difference is when career challenges present to female officers, there is a little part of us that always wonders, “Is this happening to me because I am a girl?”

Obstacles and Setbacks

Wondering if your gender is prohibiting you from achieving the professional success you think you deserve in and of itself is an obstacle. An obstacle you have the power to eliminate entirely by changing the way you think. I am not asking anyone to tolerate illegal behavior. What I am suggesting is that you have the power to overcome ignorant thinking by continuing to move forward and not allowing it to stand in the way of you and the success you want to achieve.

The simple fact is it doesn’t matter what causes the obstacle. Once it has happened, it has happened. Unless the action is so egregious that it is clearly against the law, speculating on whether your gender was a contributing factor will not serve you well if you want to get past the issue. We cannot change the past and shouldn’t spend much time dwelling in it.

In any professional career, at some point there will be an instance of some form of setback. Sometimes it is a personal issue that causes the struggle — marriage, childbirth, illness, divorce. Other times, the situation is professional in nature — injury, missed promotion, mishandling of an incident, citizen complaint. Either way, if you stick around long enough, a setback is bound to show up at some point and cause you distress.

When people tell me about the setback they experienced, it is often described as the lowest point in their career. The stories of courage and strength I have heard in overcoming extreme circumstances are nothing less than amazing. Once any setback occurs we have to make a choice. There are only two options — we let the setback define us, or we become defined by our ability to rise above the situation and continue to give our best to this noble profession. The good news is, as long as you chose the latter option, the setback will be temporary. Every tomorrow is a new day where you can gather your resolve and start moving forward again.

With a resilient mindset in this new tomorrow something amazing happens. The female professional eventually works through the difficulties she has faced and comes out the other side — stronger, smarter and more confident. After this experience, she is tired of trying to please everyone else and starts focusing on making herself happy. She works hard, but not to prove herself to someone else; rather because she is proud of her skills and abilities. She speaks up and allows her voice to be heard instead of keeping silent and trying not to draw unwanted attention. She moves forward, always holding herself to a higher standard. Every day she brings her best to her professional performance. Not to try and get ahead, but because it is the right thing to do. It is the type of person she is. This is where the magic begins. She is her authentic self again and she is amazing. Slowly and steadily this hard-working, confident professional begins to rise through the ranks.

This story is remarkable, and it is shared by countless women in the law enforcement profession throughout our great country; but it is the story of yesterday. While the setback component seemed to be a mandatory part of achieving success for many of the women who have spent years fighting for equality in this profession, it is not necessary anymore. By knowing our worth and learning from our predecessors, today’s female law enforcement professional’s ability to succeed knows no limit.

Conclusion

Today, women are emerging as leaders in this profession without the trials and tribulations of yesteryear. Every woman needs to know that the key to getting ahead lies in a combination of hard-work, competence, fortitude and confidence. Opportunities to develop in these areas are present in each moment of every workday.

Stay the course and keep giving your best to the profession. By committing to a few simple principles, we can break the glass ceiling that used to hang over our head and achieve whatever level of leadership we aspire to. The secret to getting ahead is found in your daily habits; hard work, continuous learning, professional behavior, authenticity. Repeat this behavior each and every day and nothing will stop your ability to achieve success.

This article, originally published June 28, 2016, has been updated


Chicago mayor says Smollett should pay for police probe

Posted on March 28, 2019 by in EMS, FIRE, POLICE

Author: Laura King

By John Byrne Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he will try to get “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett to pay Chicago back for the costs of the investigation into his claim that he was the victim of a hate crime attack, saying paying the money would be an implicit admission he was guilty of a hoax.

Appearing on WGN Radio on Thursday morning, Emanuel also called on President Donald Trump to “just sit this one out,” after Trump tweeted