NEWS of the Week - Jan 14 to Jan 20, 2013
on some NAACC / LACP issues of interest


NEWS of the Week 
on some issues of interest to the community policing and neighborhood activist across the country

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following group of articles from local newspapers and other sources constitutes but a small percentage of the information available to the community policing and neighborhood activist public. It is by no means meant to cover every possible issue of interest, nor is it meant to convey any particular point of view ... We present this simply as a convenience to our readership ...

NOTE: To see full stories either click on the Daily links or on the URL provided below each article.


Jan 20, 2013



Dr. King's message still shaping local students

For the most part, we live his dream.

It was this dream of racial harmony and the fulfillment of the promise that was the United States that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. laid out on a sunny August day in Washington, D.C.

About a quarter-million people stood listening in rapt attention or sat soaking their feet in the reflecting pool on the National Mall. For 17 minutes he spoke on the steps of the memorial honoring President Abraham Lincoln, who 100 years earlier secured the Emancipation Proclamation.

On that day 50 years ago, King, a Baptist minister from Georgia, extolled his dream of harmony and acceptance for all the people in this land.

"I thank him for making this country different, for unseparating blacks and whites," said Christopher McKinstry, a fourth-grader at St. John Lutheran School in Ocala.

He and his fellow classmates in Francesca Knutson's fourth-grade class were making "peace posters" to spread around the school to remind the 360 St. John students of Dr. King's impact on their lives. The posters, said classmate Sarah Milbrandt, "are for each classroom, to show that we care and we're all equal."



Northeast Ohio follows President's lead on National Service Day

Many fanned out across Northeast Ohio Saturday to honor President Barack Obama's second inauguration -- replacing pomp and glamour with sweat, toil and service to others.

They followed the president's call for a National Service Day. It is something that began with Obama's first inauguration in 2009, and one he hopes other presidents will embrace.

There were about 25 venues within a 45-mile radius around Cleveland, ranging from reading to kids, to painting and cleaning multi-service centers.

One of the earliest events saw volunteers bring the warmth of human companionship to seven developmentally disabled residents at the Hattie Larlham Foundation in Mantua.



Ohio to launch arson regisry

Ohio is launching a statewide registry this year to keep track of convicted arsonists.

Arsonists — just like sex offenders — will be required to register annually with the county sheriff where they live under a law that takes effect July 1.

“This will get the arson investigators on the doorsteps of people who are likely culprits of repeated crimes much more quickly and will help save lives,” said state Sen. Tim Schaffer, R-Lancaster, who sponsored the legislation.

The list, being created and maintained by the Ohio Attorney General's Office, will be available only to law enforcement and not the general public. Ohio joins other states such as California and Montana with a statewide registry.

Arson is a major problem in Ohio. The FBI reported that there were 2,850 arson incidents in the state in 2010, the Ohio Legislative Service Commission said.



From the White House

Now Is The Time to Take Action Against Gun Violence

Hi, everybody. This week, I announced a series of concrete steps we should take to protect our children and our communities from gun violence.

These proposals grew out of meetings Vice President Biden and his task force held over the last month with more than 200 different groups – from parents and teachers; to law enforcement and sportsmen; to religious leaders and mental health professionals.

And in the weeks ahead, I will do everything in my power to make them a reality. Because while we may not be able to prevent every senseless act of violence in this country, if there is even one thing we can do to reduce it – if even one life can be saved – we've got an obligation to try.

My administration is taking a series of actions right away – from strengthening our background check system, to helping schools hire more resource officers if they want them, to directing the Centers for Disease Control to study the best ways to reduce gun violence.

But the truth is, making a real and lasting difference also requires Congress to act – and act soon.



From the Department of Justice

Attorney General Eric Holder at the U.S. Conference of Mayors Crime and Social Justice Committee Meeting

Washington, D.C. ~ Friday, January 18, 2013

Thank you, Mayor Parker, for those kind words – and good afternoon, everyone. It's a pleasure to be here today, and a privilege to be included, once again, in this annual forum. I'd like to recognize Mayor Nutter, along with the U.S. Conference of Mayors' Executive Committee and staff, for all they've done to make this year's Winter Meeting such a success. And I'd like to thank every member of the Criminal and Social Justice Committee for the opportunity to take part in this important session.

For more than eight decades, this organization has brought together dozens of our nation's best and brightest public servants to share ideas and expertise; to discuss mutual concerns; and to formulate the policy solutions that our cities, communities, and citizens deserve. Over the years, I've had the chance to work with many of you to address some of the most complex and intractable public safety challenges we face. It's an honor to join Vice President Biden, Administrator Pistole, and other leaders from across the Administration in continuing our work this week – and adding my voice to this critical dialogue. And I'm particularly grateful for this opportunity to thank each of you for your service, your leadership, and your partnership – with one another; with key federal, state, local, and tribal leaders; and – especially – with the United States Department of Justice.

Every day, America's mayors stand on the front lines of our fight against terrorism, crime, and threats to the most vulnerable members of society. Your engagement is essential in protecting our citizens from harm, guarding against civil rights violations, and combating the gun-, gang-, and drug-fueled violence that steals too many promising futures. You understand exactly what we're up against – not only because you hear the alarming statistics and read the news stories, but because you see it, firsthand, on a daily basis. Most importantly, you recognize, as I do, that no public safety challenge can be understood in isolation – and that none of us can make the progress we need, and secure the results our communities deserve, on our own.



Jan 19, 2013


TSA Pulls Plug on Airport Nude Body Scanners

The Transportation Security Administration is pulling the plug on its nude body scanner program, a decision announced Friday that closes the door to a tumultuous privacy battle with the public scoring a rare victory.

Travelers will continue to go through one of two types of scanners already deployed, but images of naked bodies will no longer be produced. Instead, software will instead show a generic outline of a person.

First tested in 2007, the advanced imaging technology scanners became the object of intense media and public scrutiny around Thanksgiving in 2010. In addition to privacy concerns, some experts maintained the scanners' safety was unproven, and that the technology was ineffective in detecting smuggled weapons and explosives. Travelers are permitted to opt-out of the scan, but are then subjected to an aggressive pat-down procedure.

The government said Friday it is abandoning its deployment of so-called backscatter technology machines produced by Rapiscan because the company could not meet deadlines to switch to generic imaging with so-called Automated Target Recognition software, the TSA said. Instead, the TSA will continue to use and deploy more millimeter wave technology scanners produced by L-3 Communications, which has adopted the generic-outline standard.

“Due to its inability to deploy non-imaging Automated Target Recognition (ATR) software by the Congressionally-mandated June 2013 deadline, TSA has terminated part of its contract with Rapiscan,” the TSA said in a statement to Wired. “By June 2013 travelers will only see machines which have ATR that allow for faster throughput.”




GRPD Explains Community Policing on Southeast Side

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Officer Adam Baylis works in what's been one of the city's most troubled areas, the southeast side.

He's been a community officer for 15 years, which is considered one of the proactive roles in local law enforcement.

“We're each assigned a beat. My beat is Inkster, Madison, Wealthy and Cottage Grove,” Baylis explained.

“Well, a lot of people have perceptions on police. There's distrust in some neighborhoods on police,” he said.

“And once they see us every day, they talk to us every day, even some of the people that are up to no good in the neighborhoods develop some trust because they see us every day because we're talking with them, and it's not always in a confrontational situation,” Baylis explained.

That communication with citizens hopefully deters crime and leads to key information for unsolved crimes.




Judge ends most oversight of Ohio youth prisons

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A federal judge on Friday ended most of his court-ordered monitoring of Ohio's youth prison system while ruling that oversight of mental health services and units for students with behavioral issues must continue.

The decision by Judge Algenon Marbley brings to an end the ongoing court review of numerous issues such as general education, use of force and dental services. It also means many of the problems identified first in a 2004 lawsuit and later in a 2008 court settlement have been addressed successfully.

The ruling is a measure of how much progress has been made over the years, said Alphonse Gerhardstein, a Cincinnati lawyer representing juvenile inmates.

"The overriding message is that a lot has gone right and we'll finish the work up in a cooperative fashion and the kids will be well-served," Gerhardstein said.

Helping the juvenile inmates change their lives is the agency's most important work as it builds a safer Ohio, said Harvey Reed, director of the Department of Youth Services.

"That's why we've worked hard to reform juvenile justice in Ohio to serve the right youth in the right place with the right treatment," he said in a statement.


Jan 18, 2013


Assault weapons: What are they, and should they be banned?

One side calls them "weapons of war" that have no place on America's streets. The other side says the term "assault weapons" is simply a menacing moniker designed to stir up anti-gun passions.

President Barack Obama jumped into the center of the fiery debate when he called on Congress to ban those weapons and their high-capacity magazines in the wake of December's elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn., giving new life to the crusade of gun-control advocates to re-enact the federal assault-weapons ban that expired in 2004.

The debate begins with a simple question that has no simple answer: Just what is an assault weapon?

Lacking a rigid definition, lawmakers have struggled for years to come up with a set of criteria that sweeps in the rapid-fire, military-style rifles used in some of the nation's most sensational mass murders while leaving out popular hunting rifles that allow a sportsman to quickly fire a half-dozen bullets at a deer dashing through the forest. But it's almost impossible to do that: There are M-16 look-alikes that are far less dangerous than a common pistol, as well as hunting rifles that can do nearly the damage of Connecticut school shooter Adam Lanza's Bushmaster.



Los Angeles

L.A. County's Teen Court aims to put kids back on right path

The ring of a cellphone interrupted the defendant's testimony, a tone silenced quickly as Judge Sandy Kriegler frowned at the errant spectator.

"Let's remember, ladies and gentlemen, that this is a courtroom," he said.

And while Kriegler was presiding over what looked like a typical courtroom - with a judge's bench, witness stand and jury deliberation room - he was actually speaking to students crowded into a converted lecture hall at Van Nuys High. The recently dedicated courtroom, funded with $115,000 in construction bond revenue, brings a heightened sense of realism to the campus's long-running Teen Court program.

"Students take it much more seriously," said Emma Martinez, the school's bilingual coordinator, who oversees Teen Court. "I've noticed a big difference."

Van Nuys High hosts one of 18 Teen Court programs operating in Los Angeles County, where students hear the cases of first-time juvenile offenders accused of nonviolent misdemeanors like petty theft, tagging and drug possession.




Columbia Heights police officers get out into the community

In 2008, Columbia Heights' crime was spiking. So the new police chief pushed officers out of their squad cars and into the community. The result: Crime has hit a 25-year low. Columbia Heights' crime rate was spiking when Scott Nadeau took over as the new police chief in 2008.

Robbery, burglaries and vandalism were all on the rise. The call-and-response way the department conducted business left officers chasing the problem, Nadeau realized.

"It was that 1960s and 70s model of rapid response and investigating crimes as opposed to trying to look at where you have issues in the community and working with community stakeholders to try and bring about change," Nadeau explained. "You can't arrest your way out of a problem. You have to have a more proactive approach."

Determined to reduce crime and renew the public's confidence in the police, Nadeau analyzed crime data for hot spots and started talking to community members. The department plugged into social media to better connect with the public. The chief pushed his 27 officers out of their squad cars and into school gymnasiums, storefronts and church potlucks.

By 2012, the city's crime rate dropped to a 25-year low. The results are so dramatic the department received the 2012 International Association of Chiefs of Police Community Policing Award. The city won in the category for cities under 20,000.



New Jersey

Police Department Expands Presence in Schools

Gloucester Township Police Chief W. Harry Earle announces significant changes for township schools' security.

Gloucester Township Police Chief W. Harry Earle announced this afternoon his department has implemented a plan to bring a significantly increased police presence to the township's 11 kindergarten-through-eighth-grade (K-8) schools.

There will not be one armed officer in each of Gloucester Township Public Schools' 11 school buildings at all times under the plan, but Earle notes in a statement police will have "a significantly increased uniform presence at all of our elementary schools. These officers will be patrolling our schools' hallways, parking areas, highways adjacent to our schools, answering police calls for service at our schools, building mutual respect between the school staff and most importantly establishing a rapport with the students."

The Police Department's Juvenile Unit has been expanded from four officers to eight, including a sergeant who will serve as unit commander and direct all school- and juvenile-related activities for the Police Department, in order to implement the school security improvements, Earle said.

Earle's complete statement is below:

The Gloucester Township Police Department has consistently engaged in a policing philosophy focused on community policing, building partnerships, and developing programs and initiatives aimed at addressing crime and reducing violence. As the one month anniversary of the Sandy Hook School massacre passes, we have taken the opportunity to continue in our efforts of implementing and developing community partnerships and programs especially those dealing with youth and school safety.



Jan 17, 2013



Debate over driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants reignited by DMV study

SAN DIEGO - Immigrant advocates are welcoming a California study that found unlicensed drivers are the most hazardous motorists on the road, saying it supports their longstanding argument that denying driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants has put everyone at risk.

Drivers without a valid license are nearly three times more likely to cause a deadly crash, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles report.

The study reviewed drivers with revoked or suspended licenses along with unlicensed drivers who were found to have the worst driving record.

Advocates say immigrant drivers could benefit from training and testing required to get a license. Opponents, however, say a driver's license would jeopardize national security by giving illegal immigrants an official ID from the government.

The study came as the debate over driver's licenses for illegal immigrants has been heating up. Illinois is expected to join New Mexico and Washington by becoming the third state in the U.S. to grant driver's licenses to illegal immigrants



Washington, DC

President Obama unveils gun plan, concedes tough fight ahead

WASHINGTON - Conceding "this will be difficult," President Barack Obama urged a reluctant Congress on Wednesday to require background checks for all gun sales and ban both military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines in an emotion-laden plea to curb gun violence in America.

The president's sweeping, $500 million plan, coming one month after the school massacre in Connecticut, marks the most comprehensive effort to tighten gun laws in nearly two decades. But his proposals, most of which are opposed by the National Rifle Association, face a doubtful future in a divided Congress where Republicans control the House.

Seeking to circumvent at least some opposition, Obama signed 23 executive actions on Wednesday, including orders to make more federal data available for background checks and end a freeze on government research on gun violence. But he acknowledged that the steps he took on his own would have less impact than the broad measures requiring approval from Capitol Hill.

"To make a real and lasting difference, Congress, too, must act," Obama said, speaking at a White House ceremony with school children and their parents. "And Congress must act soon."




Islamist militants seize dozens of hostages, including 7 Americans, in Algeria

ALGIERS, Algeria - In what could be the first spillover from France's intervention in Mali, Islamist militants attacked and occupied a natural gas complex in southern Algeria on Wednesday. Two people were killed and dozens of others, including several Americans, were reportedly taken hostage.

A militant group claimed responsibility for the rare attack on one of oil-rich Algeria's energy facilities, saying it came in revenge for the North African nation's support for France's military operation against al-Qaida-linked rebels in neighboring Mali. The militants said they were holding 41 foreigners from the energy complex, including seven Americans.

The group - called Katibat Moulathamine or the Masked Brigade - phoned a Mauritanian news outlet to say one of its affiliates had carried out the operation at the Ain Amenas gas field, located 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) south of Algiers, the Algerian capital.

BP, together with the Norwegian company Statoil and the Algerian state oil company Sonatrach, operates the gas field. A Japanese company, JGC Corp, provides services for the facility as well.

In Rome, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta declared that the U.S. "will take all necessary and proper steps" to deal with the attack in Algeria. He would not detail what such steps might be but condemned the action as "terrorist attack" and likened it to al-Qaida activities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.




Ohio school votes to arm science teacher with gun

ORRVILLE, Ohio (AP) — A northeast Ohio school district plans to allow a science teacher to carry a firearm during class — a move the superintendent says was prompted by last month's mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.

WEWS-TV in Cleveland reports (http://bit.ly/USlpXa) that the science teacher at Orrville City Schools is also an officer with the nearby Lawrence Township Police Department.

Orrville City Schools Superintendent Jon Ritchie says there was little opposition to the move from the district, which is about an hour southwest of Cleveland.

Ritchie says the district approached the teacher about the idea. He says it saves the schools from hiring security personnel.

Orrville resident Nicole Walker tells the station that having someone inside her children's school following the Newtown, Conn., shooting puts her mind even more at ease.




Ohio begins educators' school shooting training

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The state is kicking off the first of five regional sessions to train Ohio educators to respond to school shooting situations.

The attorney general and the Ohio Department of Education are partnering on the free training for teachers and administrators. Police officers also were invited.

More than 200 people registered for the first sessions, scheduled Thursday in Columbus where Attorney General Mike DeWine will be on hand.

The state says planning for the training began after the school shooting in Chardon that left three students dead last February. It says the December massacre at a Connecticut elementary school created a surge in interest and accelerated scheduling of the sessions.

More training events are planned in Cincinnati, Chauncey, Toledo and Valley View over the next few weeks.




Community policing teams with task force for arrests

MANSFIELD — The Richland County Community Policing Partnership joined forces Tuesday with the Richland County division of the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force to track down probation and parole violators who had warrants for their arrest.

Nineteen officers from Richland County Adult Probation, Ohio Adult Parole Authority, Mansfield Municipal Court Probation and the task force went to several locations attempting to locate and arrest these violators and bring them back before the court.

Seven people were arrested during this operation. The operation concluded with a final arrest after a brief foot pursuit and Taser deployment.

“I feel for our first joint operation such as this, it was a great success. We are able to pool our resources to bring these offenders back into custody, thus making the communities safer because these offenders, while on the run, are often out committing new crimes to get by,” said J.J. Bittinger of Richland County Court Services.

Beginning in December, the Richland County Court Services strengthened its relationship with the task force by placing an officer on the task force on a full-time basis.



New Jersey

Atlantic City, Pleasantville group says a lot of work needed to stop the violence

Stop the Violence of Atlantic County has done a lot of work but still has a lot to do, leaders agreed as they met Wednesday to look back at what's been accomplished, and at plans for the coming year.

The group, which consists of leaders and activists from Atlantic City and Pleasantville, presented its year-end report at Richard Stockton College's Carnegie Center in Atlantic City.

“In my entire career, I've never seen a body of people come together for a particular cause like Stop the Violence,” Atlantic City Deputy Police Chief Henry White told the group. “We can't lock our way up out of the problem. This group here is so vital and so important. I just feel confident that we will make a difference.”

Plans include continuing the Stop the Silence cookouts Atlantic City hosted this past summer and community walks, youth collaborations involving Atlantic City's and Pleasantville's school systems, and a gun buyback program set for the spring sponsored by the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office.

“There is no more pressing problem facing us as a community than gun violence,” acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain said. “The question is, what to do? The answer to that question is, everything.”



Jan 16, 2013


Gun-law push faces slow start in most states

One month after the elementary school massacre at Newtown, Conn., more than three-fourths of the states have no plans to weigh new firearms restrictions this year, and six states are considering loosening restrictions, a USA TODAY-Gannett survey of governors and legislators found.

Eleven states are considering new gun laws as legislatures gather at the start of the year. Most of them are in the Northeast and Pacific coast, where some of the strongest gun-control measures are already in place, and in Connecticut and Colorado, scene of horrific mass murders last year. All are blue states that tend to vote for Democrats.

Thirty-nine states are not considering new gun restrictions, in some cases because they say they already have tough controls on the books.

On Monday, Vice President Biden gave President Obama recommendations from his task force on gun violence created in the aftermath of the tragedy in Newtown. Obama said he would push for better background checks for gun buyers and limits on the size of ammunition magazines.

Some governors and legislative leaders, particularly in conservative states where support for gun rights is high, say they are focusing on better school-safety or mental-health programs rather than new gun limits.

Eight states, all with Republican governors, are targeting school safety: Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia, Texas and South Dakota. At least three of those -- Texas, Virginia and South Dakota -- are weighing proposals for enhancing armed security at schools.



The Third Surge

The number of suicides in the ranks of the U.S. military has more than doubled since 9/11. According to data released unofficially by the Pentagon on Monday, there were 349 suicides in the U.S. military in 2012, nearly one a day. That's 118% more than 2001's 160 suicides, and marks the Pentagon's highest annual self-inflicted death toll ever.

Three-hundred-and-ten U.S. troops died in Afghanistan in 2012. One perished in Iraq. Three-hundred-and-forty-nine died at their own hands, a Pentagon official said Monday.

Seems only fitting. After all, there was a surge of U.S. troops into Iraq in 2007, followed by a surge into Afghanistan in 2010. So a surge in suicides – from 301 in 2011 to 349 last year, a 16% increase – follows a pattern.

We've tried making sense of the U.S. military's suicide scourge since it began spiking northward several years ago. We've written of those who killed themselves , those who killed their families along with themselves, and, last week, veterans who have done so.

Every suicide is unique. But there are common threads. The post-9/11 stress of military life is real, even if some of those in uniform have never been in a war zone. In many cases – certainly those we've written about – war has often led to post-traumatic stress, to depression, and to behavioral problems that can lead to broken relationships. There's a synergy there that can end in suicide. But for everyone who takes his own life (95% of troops who kill themselves are male), there are hundreds facing the same challenges who don't.



Villaraigosa speaks in D.C., urging immigration overhaul

The Los Angeles mayor calls for a system that provides a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants and whose focus is to 'remove real threats to our borders and inside our country.'

WASHINGTON — Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa delivered a high-profile speech in the nation's capital Monday in support of overhauling immigration laws but sidestepped questions about his future once his mayoral term ends.

"I'm focused on the job I've got and want to finish as strong as I can," he told a National Press Club audience. When asked whether he would serve in the Obama administration after his term ends June 30, he said, "When I'm asked, I'll answer the question.

"The sun may be setting on my administration, but I'm not riding off into the sunset just yet," Villaraigosa said. He is due to return to Washington at the end of the week for a news conference with other mayors calling for tougher gun laws.

On Monday, Villaraigosa called for comprehensive immigration legislation that includes a path to citizenship for the 11 million people who are in the United States unlawfully. Illegal immigrants would have to undergo background checks, show English language skills and American civics knowledge and pay back taxes before they could be processed for legal status under his proposal. The overhaul, he said, should include an effective employment verification system and "smart enforcement."

"We've created an immigration system that is long on enforcement but short on opportunity ... a system that happily capitalizes on the labor of millions of undocumented men and women but then refuses to extend them the basic rights and privileges that most of us take for granted," he said.




Civil rights group want AG to investigate fatal shooting of 15-year-old

NEW BEDFORD — Police response to seeing a possible gang handshake exchanged by two youths — one of them, Malcolm Gracia, 15, whom they later shot and killed — was outside the bounds of community policing and “not an isolated incident,” ACLU attorney John Reinstein said Monday at a press conference requesting further investigation of the death.

Police fired a Taser and two volleys of shots at Gracia on May 17, killing him after he had stabbed Detective Tyson Barnes multiple times in the chest. Police had started talking to the teen in a so-called “meet and greet,” a community policing tool in which officers engage members of the public in conversation.

“The response to these two young men was aggressive, forceful ... and that is what brought us to the tragic conclusion of the stabbing of the police officer and ultimately to the shooting,” said Reinstein. “The circumstances of that evening and the experience of the New Bedford branch of dealing with the complaints from the community indicates that this was not an isolated incident and that the meet-and-greet program is outside the parameter of what we expect community policing to be.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, NAACP's New England Area Conference, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice and the New Bedford NAACP have asked Attorney General Martha Coakley to appoint a judge to further investigate Gracia's death to determine if the second round of shots was necessary.



Jan 15, 2013


New Jersey

Pitman Police print officers' trading cards to reach out to local youth

PITMAN — By the time buds start blooming, borough kids will start unwrapping packs of Topps or Upper Deck, checking for maybe a Ryan Howard or a Derek Jeter.

But whether it's the Phils or the Yanks they idolize, it's unlikely players on those cards will save a neighbor's life or bust the guy who's been breaking into homes. Or even be a trusted friend.

That's partly why the borough police department on Monday started its 2013 Trading Card Program. It's created 20 such glossy cards - one for each officer in the department - picturing the officer, with name and rank, on the front.

On the back of each card is a brief bio of the officer. Kids are invited to ask them for their trading cards when they see them in person, and to try to collect all 20.

The program is part of the department's community policing efforts, meant to strengthen bonds between officers and residents, said Chief Robert Zimmerman.

“It's hoped that the trading cards will demonstrate that every member of our department is a uniquely talented professional, and not a faceless uniform,” Zimmerman explained.




Birmingham police to offer young parent mentoring program

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- The Birmingham Police Department will work with The Dannon Project and Community Policing and Revitalization to offer a young parent mentoring program.

The program is seeking mentors to help young parents find career pathways and economic self-sufficiency.

Potential mentors are asked to register at Lawson State Community College Advanced Technology and Training Building at 3060 Wilson Road on Saturday.

Organizers will be on hand from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. Breakfast will be served.

For more information, contact Andrea' Watson at (205) 297-8016 or (205) 297-8086. You can also email at willie.watson@birminghamal.gov .




New York leads the way

Cuomo's sweeping gun safety legislation sets a national standard

Exactly a month after the unspeakable carnage in Newtown, the sweeping gun safety bill proposed by Gov. Cuomo should put the National Rifle Association on notice: The people will no longer fear the gun lobby. Rather, in the wake of the schoolhouse massacre of 20 children and six adults, they will pressure politicians to seriously restrict weapons of war that have no business being in civilian hands.

It gives us great pleasure to praise leaders when they lead. Cuomo, who issued a clarion call for New York to be a model for the nation, delivered. So did Senate Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein. And the 43-18 vote for Senate passage included GOP Conference Leader Dean Skelos and 11 fellow Republicans. They broke with the rigid NRA line and got on board. Great kudos to all.

Together, they have advanced measures that, if properly enforced — and they must be — would make New York the pace-setter among states.

Assault weapons like the Bushmaster AR-15 used to mow down first-graders: banned for sale. And all weapons of this type already in circulation would smartly be tracked in a statewide registry.

Large-capacity magazines, like those holding 30 bullets, used in so many massacres from Tucson to Aurora to Newtown: banned. No longer would would-be murderers be legally permitted to buy obscene amounts of ammunition, enabling them to squeeze the trigger again, and again, and again, in quick succession. Maximum number of rounds to be allowed in a magazine: seven.



Jan 14, 2013



Violent crime drops in 2012, stats show

Roughly one year after the New Haven Police Department introduced an updated model of community policing, the number of homicides and deadly shootings in New Haven has decreased significantly.

The Elm City saw a 50 percent drop in homicides from 2011 to 2012 after the rate had increased for three consecutive years. Overall shooting victims in 2012 also plummeted by a third compared to 2011. But despite these signs of less violent crime in the city, Mayor John DeStefano Jr. and NHPD Chief Dean Esserman said there is more work to be done.

The 2012 crime statistics were unveiled last week at a City Hall press conference, during which Esserman and DeStefano discussed the new initiatives implemented by the NHPD last year and presented their plans for 2013.

“It's a beginning,” Esserman said at the press event. “We have a ways to go.”



New York

Police to Increase Visibility in Shelby Township Schools, Neighborhoods

Shelby Township Township police Chief Roland Woelkers is encouraging his officers to familiarize themselves with the schools, businesses and people in their patrol areas by making one-on-one contact.

Shelby Township schools and neighborhoods can expect to see a greater police presence in the months ahead as the department works to increase its visibility and involvement in the community. Township police Chief Roland Woelkers said he plans to encourage “community policing,” a policy that would increase the personal contact officers have with the community, according to Shelby This Week.

“Two of the most vulnerable people in a community are children and senior citizens,” Woelkers told Shelby This Week. Bearing that in mind, Woelkers said the department will emphasize its officers' relationships with these two groups.

One of the ways he plans to implement this "community policing" is to assign officers to a specific patrol area – one they will patrol 90 percent of the time – and require officers to make direct contact with the schools, businesses and senior centers in that area.

This will include assiging a second liaison officer to work in elementary school buildings specifically. Woelkers told Shelby This Week that this will allow the officer to familiarize him or herself with the building layout and staff, which would be vital knowledge in an active shooter situation. Woelkers added that his department has been working for months to enhance its role in school security, even issuing patrol rifles to all officers.




How to stop the bloodshed

Stockton police look for root causes in effort to fight city's murder spree

STOCKTON - They just want the damn killing to stop.

In direct response to the city's record-setting number of homicides in 2012, the Stockton Police Department has developed an internal Homicide Reduction Plan.

The plan breaks down the violent act of murder by motive and other factors in order to aid law enforcement in reducing similar homicides from occurring in the future. It organizes the department's ability to respond based on the resources it has at its disposal and those available in the community, including public and private agencies that address mental health and community services.

The plan establishes regular meetings with stakeholders such as the District Attorney's Office, sheriff, Community Partnership for Families, school districts, state parole, county probation and mental health services to develop ideas on how to reduce homicides.

Some of the tactics it is considering include stricter enforcement of referrals to community programs and a stronger focus on education.



From the Department of Justice

Court Finalizes Consent Decree to Transform the New Orleans Police Department

Today, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana entered an order granting the joint motion of the United States and the city of New Orleans to enter the consent decree regarding the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD). This order is a critical milestone in reforming the long-troubled NOPD and is an important step in dealing with the public safety crisis in New Orleans and in restoring community confidence in the New Orleans criminal justice system. The court's order ensures critical changes to policy and practices, oversight by a federal monitor and transparency so that the community can continue to participate in and track the reform process. The order finalizes this binding agreement that was extensively negotiated between the department and the city, and allows for that agreement's immediate implementation. The department and the city signed the agreement in July 2012.

“The Department of Justice appreciates the court's careful attention to this matter,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. “The court's action today ensures that the people of New Orleans will have a police department that respects the Constitution, ensures public safety and earns the confidence of the community. This decree will provide the city with important tools to reduce crime, ensure effective, constitutional policing and restore public confidence in NOPD.”

As outlined in the court's order, approval of the consent decree comes after thorough review of the consent decree to determine if it is fair, reasonable and adequate to address the long-standing constitutional deficiencies within NOPD. The review included hearing extensive testimony from the United States, the city, the Office of the Independent Police Monitor, the Fraternal Order of Police and the Police Association of New Orleans and many other New Orleans stakeholders and residents. The testimony reaffirmed both that NOPD engages in unconstitutional conduct, and that there is a public safety crisis in New Orleans that the NOPD can only address by implementing the reforms required by the decree.



From ICE

ICE arrests 97 during 4-day operation targeting criminal aliens, immigration fugitives in West Michigan

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – As part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) ongoing efforts to focus agency resources on the removal of criminal aliens and egregious immigration law violators, 97 convicted criminal aliens, immigration fugitives and other immigration violators were arrested during a four-day operation in West Michigan.

This operation concluded late Thursday and was conducted by ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) teams from Grand Rapids and Detroit.

Of the 97 arrested, 60 had prior convictions for crimes such as: sex with a minor, assault, illegal firearm possession, drug possession and theft. Twenty three are immigration fugitives who had been previously ordered to leave the country but failed to depart; 11 others had been previously deported and illegally re-entered the United States, which is a felony. Three other immigration violators were arrested during the operation and placed in removal proceedings.

Following is the nationality breakdown of the 86 men and 11 women arrested: Mexico (66), Guatemala (18), Honduras (3), Laos (2), Dominican Republic (2), Canada (1), Romania (1), Cambodia (1), Vietnam (1), India (1) and Thailand (1). Arrests were made in the following 11 West Michigan communities: Grand Rapids, Holland, Wyoming, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Fennville, Grant, Niles, Kentwood, Newaygo and Pullman.