| 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.
Mar 17, 2013
For scary co-workers, trust your gut and tell your boss
After disgruntled former Los Angeles police officer Christopher Dorner's murderous rampage, it's a question a lot of people are asking.
A man considered to be the father of forensic psychology said there is probably no way for rank-and-file workers to accurately identify dangerous co-workers, but that doesn't mean a worried worker shouldn't say something to a supervisor.
"The job of normal people should be to notice unusual behaviors for that person, behaviors that make you concerned about the person's stability," said Park Dietz, a Newport Beach-based psychiatrist who has testified as an expert or consulted on dozens of high-profile cases, including the Unabomber and serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.
Dietz also runs Threat Assessment Group, a group that helps businesses deal with irrational, violent behavior of employees.
From the Department of Justice
Protecting Those Who Protect Us
When servicemembers board the plane to return to the United States from deployment overseas, their family and friends are not the only ones waiting for them. Scam artists are also busy setting up store fronts, phone lines, and websites specifically targeting servicemembers.
These consumer predators know that servicemembers have to deal with distinct pressures, such as spending extended periods of time abroad, moving to different cities multiple times, and being held to a higher standard for debt repayment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. In addition, servicemembers are known for having a steady income and trying to do what is best for their families.
At the Department of Justice, we are working hard to protect consumers like you. The Civil Division's Consumer Protection Branch has made fighting fraud aimed at servicemembers and veterans a top priority. We are working internally with the department's Civil Rights Division to ensure that businesses respect the rights of servicemembers. And we are working externally with other agencies, such as the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, to identify potential fraud earlier.
We are also collaborating with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Office of Servicemember Affairs, led by Holly Petreaus, to engage in a dialogue with military leadership about how we can prevent this fraud together. And we have joined forces with federal and state prosecutors — as well as the JAG Corps — to identify scammers and bring more cases against them. In fact, we are sending resources to the JAG/legal assistance officers at bases nationwide, so they can help you get relief from consumer fraud, while providing referrals that help us bring more enforcement actions to stop that fraud.
Justice Department Announces Nearly $2 Million in Grants to Strengthen Legal Services for the Poor
Grants Announced at Event Marking the 50th Anniversary of Gideon V. Wainwright
Attorney General Eric Holder announced today $1.8 million in new resources to improve access to criminal legal services and strengthen indigent defense across the nation. In remarks during the “50 Years Later: The Legacy of Gideon v. Wainwright” event hosted by the Department of Justice, the Attorney General emphasized the department's commitment to ensuring that all those accused of a crime, regardless of their wealth, education or class, have adequate legal representation and counsel. March 18th marks the 50th Anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, where the court unanimously ruled that even those unable to afford counsel are entitled to counsel by court appointment.
At today's event, Attorney General Holder led a discussion on keeping and continuing the promise of Gideon, which included U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan and former Vice President Walter Mondale, who, as Minnesota Attorney General in 1963, organized the submission of the amicus curiae brief to the U.S. Supreme Court with 21 state attorneys general in support of Clarence Gideon.
Mar 16, 2013
Judge rules secret FBI national security letters unconstitutional
SAN FRANCISCO – A federal judge has struck down a set of laws allowing the FBI to issue so-called national security letters to banks, phone companies and other businesses demanding customer information.
U.S. District Judge Susan Illston said the laws violate the First Amendment and the separation of powers principles and ordered the government to stop issuing the secretive letters or enforcing their gag orders, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The FBI almost always bars recipients of the letters from disclosing to anyone — including customers — that they have even received the demands, Illston said in the ruling released Friday.
The government has failed to show that the letters and the blanket non-disclosure policy "serve the compelling need of national security," and the gag order creates "too large a danger that speech is being unnecessarily restricted," the San Francisco-based Illston wrote.
U.S. Is Bolstering Missile Defense to Deter North Korea
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon will spend $1 billion to deploy additional ballistic missile interceptors along the Pacific Coast to counter the growing reach of North Korea's weapons, a decision accelerated by Pyongyang's recent belligerence and indications that Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, is resisting China's efforts to restrain him.
The new deployments, announced by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Friday, will increase the number of ground-based interceptors in California and Alaska to 44 from 30 by 2017.
The missiles have a mixed record in testing, hitting dummy targets just 50 percent of the time, but officials said Friday's announcement was intended not merely to present a credible deterrence to the North's limited intercontinental ballistic missile arsenal. They said it is also meant to show South Korea and Japan that the United States is willing to commit resources to deterring the North and, at the same time, warn Beijing that it must restrain its ally or face an expanding American military focus on Asia.
“There's been a quickening pace of provocations,” said one senior administration official, describing actions and words from North Korea and its new leader, Mr. Kim. “But the real accelerant was the fact that the North Koreans seemed more unmoored from their Chinese handlers than even we had feared.”
Counter-Insurgency “Community Policing” Coming to Kitchener
Community to fight back with protest march and people's report
Police are taking lessons from the British occupation of Northern Ireland, and applying them to poor communities in Southern Ontario. This is the chilling conclusion of BASICS Kitchener-Waterloo's research into the new PAVIS (Provincial Anti-Violence Strategy) model being deployed in Kitchener.
PAVIS supposedly focuses on crime prevention and building relationships with youth and mobilizing communities, however, it is actually about using counter-insurgency tactics to police communities in Canada.
In November, Kitchener community activist Julian Ichim attended a conference held by the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD)—a body which is supposed to investigate complaints about police. Yet, the main purpose of the meeting was for OIPRD to promote a community policing model based on counter-insurgency techniques. Expert speaker, Dr. Webb, claimed that this model of policing is effective in Northern Ireland.
At a conference that was supposed to ‘consult' with the community, Ichim says “Half the delegates walked out in disgust at their voices being silenced.”
The OIPRD is an allegedly independent body from the police force. But the board doesn't seem to have much independence: “It's funded by the government, and one out of every two people who works there is an ex-cop,” Ichim said.
Mar 15, 2013
Police chief says community holds key to fighting crime
RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) — Richmond's new top cop, Chief Ray Tarasovic, says that keeping the city safe is his top priority.
“I get here early. I leave late. I expect my people to work hard,” he told CBS 6 in an interview on the day marking his first month on the job.
Tarasovic says fighting crime through community-policing and neighborhood walk-throughs are critical.
“It's a chance to engage. It's a chance to support not only my people ,which is important, but to support a community that's trying to change,” he said.
But change in leadership at the police department was difficult for some faith-based leaders who strongly supported former Chief Bryan Norwood.
“I think they're more excited now after meeting me. We're not talking about if anymore. We're talking about where do we go,” Tarasovic said.
How Budget Cuts Have Forced SD 's Hand on Gang Policing
San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne's comments to City Council Monday painted a pretty clear -- and frightening -- picture.
"There is one thing -- and it's one thing -- that keeps me awake at night: our communication system," Lansdowne said.
He was referring to the department's computer aided dispatch, or CAD, system, which dispatches emergency 9-1-1 calls.
Its software was written in the 1970s. The infrastructure for it was installed in 1991. A walk-through of the department's dispatch center downtown feels like a 1980s cop movie.
The department has lost more than 300 positions to budget cuts since 2009. It recently pleaded for (and the council approved) $6.9 million to update that essential CAD system. The strain has meant that rather than digging in to persistent public-safety issues with fresh tactics, the department is digging itself out of a hole.
"They're a very traditional, outdated department," said Joshua Chanin, a criminal justice professor at San Diego State University. "There's a disconnect between their rhetoric and what I see."
Mar 14, 2013
Amber Alerts won't be sent in the middle of the night
Some Ohioans were none too happy to be awakened about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday by a loud tone from their cellphones alerting them to a child abduction.
Partly because of that, the Ohio AMBER Alert Steering Committee announced yesterday that it will not send out alerts between midnight and 6 a.m., at least for the time being.
The alert on Tuesday resulted in “considerable grumbling” in the form of complaints to the State Highway Patrol and the attorney general's office, Lt. Anne Ralston, patrol spokeswoman, said yesterday.
The statewide alert that a 16-year-old girl and her 7-month-old daughter had been abducted in West Virginia by the teen's stepfather was sent to cellphones in Ohio that had been enabled to receive such alerts.
Phones that are part of the Wireless Emergency Alert program receive the notifications automatically, and other phones can be set to receive the alerts.
The man was arrested, and the girls were safely recovered in West Virginia around 9 a.m. Tuesday. The alert had been extended into Ohio because of reports that the man's car had been seen crossing into Ohio.
Witness to a Police Stop in Northeast Portland
How many Portland Police officers does it take to check two African American men out? This sounds like the beginning of a lame joke but - in reality - the answer is ten to twelve.
My husband and I happened upon Portland's Gang Enforcement Team action in Northeast Portland around 4:30 p.m. last Saturday. As racial justice advocates concerned with police accountability, we decided to observe and record the action unfolding in front of us. Here is what happened.
We saw two Portland officers (loaded down with weapons) approach two African American men who appeared to be in their mid-to-late 30's. Two cowed men were being frisked on opposite sides of the street. Just as the first pair of cops made contact, four additional police cars rolled up. Officers poured from the cars, tense and taking up space on sidewalks, a parking lot and the roadway between.
All the possessions of both men were searched. The men stood idle and alone as their names were run through the police computers. About 15 community members, including a business owner, collected . watching the police. When, after about fifteen minutes, the first man was released, I asked him for the reason police gave for stopping and searching him. He stated the officer said he observed him participate in a 'hand-to-hand exchange' with the other man. The Gang Unit was sure it was a drug deal. What really happened was a successful, Portland-based recording artist had given fifty cents to a brother in need.
Mar 13, 2013
E.C. Police Department seeks citizens academy applicants
EAST CHICAGO | The East Chicago Police Department is accepting applications for its citizens academy. The academy runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursdays, April 24 through May 29, and culminates with a graduation dinner on June 8. The citizens academy is designed to provide residents with an intimate look into the workings of the department and the law enforcement profession in general.
Applicants must be 18 years old, live or work in East Chicago, be able to pass a limited background inquiry and have no felony convictions. Some of the topics the academy covers include police administration, community policing, patrol, firearms, detective bureau investigations, crime scene investigations, the canine unit, dispatch and ride-alongs.
Seating is limited. Applicants are encouraged to apply early. An application form may be obtained at the department or by contacting Lt. Marguerite Wilder at email@example.com
Overrun by Crime, Oakland Looks to Make Allies in Community
OAKLAND, Calif. — Over the next several months, this city just across the bay from San Francisco will be partitioned into five police districts from its current two. The smaller districts, according to a new plan, will each be led by a powerful captain who will be held accountable for crime reduction in regular meetings with the police chief.
But equally important will be the captain's focus on community policing. In a smaller area, the theory goes, the captain will be able to reach out to more community leaders in a city with a long, troubled history between its police and residents, especially in black and Hispanic neighborhoods.
“The police cannot do it by themselves,” said Capt. Steven Tull, the commander of one of the first two districts scheduled to be created on March 16, speaking at a station in a high-crime area of East Oakland. “The community must really be engaged because sometimes the community might have solutions, they might have ideas and we need to respect that.”
Late last year, Oakland barely avoided becoming the first city in the nation to lose control of its police force to federal authorities. Understaffed and demoralized, the city's police department is still struggling to quell a crime surge that has angered residents and community leaders and turned Oakland into the most violent city in California.
Thomas Frazier: Oakland's new police leader has iron will
OAKLAND -- Thomas Frazier is scheduled to report for duty at Oakland police headquarters Monday with unprecedented power and a reputation for shaking up the status quo.
The former Baltimore police commissioner, who rose up the ranks in San Jose, is accountable only to the federal judge who last week appointed him to ram through reforms that Oakland police were supposed to have completed five years ago.
Despite the modest title of compliance director, Frazier, 68, will have authority to overrule top commanders, spend city funds and even oust Chief Howard Jordan and demote his deputies if he determines they are obstacles to the decade-old reform drive.
"I don't think anyone has ever had this kind of power over a police department," said Sam Walker a criminologist at the University of Nebraska Omaha, who has studied Oakland's failed police reforms.
Mar 12, 2013
Community policing program grows
by Andy Koen
COLORADO SPRINGS - In the mid-morning hours Monday, Vanessa Jones is driving her patrol car through the Garden of the Gods taking a careful look at all of the vehicles in the parking lot.
"This in an area that we patrol quite frequently," Jones said. She is one of about 15 Community Service Officers, or CSO's for short, that are now patrolling the streets of Colorado Springs. "We're the ones in the green squad cars. We're the ones that go to non-emergent calls, no suspect information, to kind of help assist the officers with their workload."
The CSO program began in 2010 and has proved successful enough that CSPD Chief Pete Carey says the department is expanding.
"We have about a dozen CSO's out in the field and we're going to double that number."
These officers don't carry a gun and can't make arrests. However, they are trained to defend themselves, wear bullet proof vests and carry pepper spray. They also investigate some crimes, like vehicle break-ins.
New police chief continues community walk-throughs
RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)–Since the controversial departure of former Police Chief Bryan Norwood, questions have been circulating about what policies and practices of his will remain and which will be changed.
It was clear Monday evening that one principal practice of Norwood's will remain intact.
“I'm very excited to do it, i think it's a great idea, it gets us all out here,” said Richmond Police Chief Ray Tarasovic. He's embracing an idea of the man he took over for; community walk-throughs. Monday evening was in the city's North side. “Meghan, Hi, Ray Tarasovic, pleasure to meet you,” he said, as he greeted one community leader.
Norwood started the tradition of a community walk-through at the RPD, canvassing city homes and asking residents what police could do better on their streets. “What can we do for you?” asked Tarasovic as he went door to door Monday night.
Norwood would almost always be visible on the walk-throughs and made a point to connect with faith leaders along the way. Tarasovic says the tradition is a good one and one the department will continue.
Mar 11, 2013
Speed cameras are a scam, Ohio judge rules
A judge in Ohio says what so many have been thinking, but never expected to hear from a judge. He described them as "nothing more than a high-tech game of 3-card Monty."
Many believe that speed cameras were invented by Fagin. They perch there in all arrogance, waiting for the next sucker whose pocket they'll pick.
Some localities have come to admit that they don't reduce accidents. Arizona took the decision to remove its highway speed cameras altogether. Baltimore's were so riddled with errors that they were removed recently too.
Who could forget the recent, poetic incident in Baltimore when a speed camera decided (with the help of a human police officer) that a stationary car was speeding.
The chorus of suspicion surrounding these dubious objects has now been joined by one of the last people you'd suspect: a judge.
ARCATA POLICE WINS AWARD FOR COMMUNITY POLICING
Submitted by mjacquez Arcata, Ca- The Arcata Police Department has been given an award by the State of California. It's the James Q. Wilson Award for Excellence in Community Policing. The award is recognizing the Youth and Family Services Division, now an award-winning program.
Some might say that a police officers job is to respond to calls and make arrest. But in Arcata officers say they are doing much more. Lieutenant Ryan Peterson said, "It's not just going out and arresting the bad guy. It's going out and fixing the problem… we are trying to do something that is unique, something that is different. Something that is going to have this long term, lasting effect on the community of Arcata."
One of the programs in the division is called ‘Cops and Kids.' The program is a way for students to see officers beyond the badge. Lt. Peterson added, "police officers really are promoting something like literacy. That being in school, reading, and getting a good education is the most important thing that a child can do."
The Principal at Arcata Elementary said the students enjoy the interaction with the officers. Principal Margaret Flenner said, "the kids see them in a different light. Rather then just the authoritarians, they see them as being apart of the school and the community… when they see them they are waving to them. When they see them in town they go up and talk to them."
"You're on your own": Video claims police unable to help
The video, created by activists, features footage of police suggesting measures for warding off home invaders
An undercover video has been released by conservative activists who claim it highlights how residents are "on their own" when it comes to warding off home invasions, and illustrates the "importance of recognizing a gun's role in saving lives."
Camera operators from Project Veritas, headed by James O'Keefe, asked police officers in their stations in North Carolina, New Jersey, and New York for advice on what homeowners should do while waiting for police to arrive.
While a few officers suggested applying for gun permits, the group says the majority of the advice was the same: fend for yourself. Police suggested anything from locking yourself behind closed doors and screaming, using bleach and ammonia, and having a dog to protect your home.
In some instances, the cops tell the videographers that they have incredibly long response times and one North Carolina officer saying, "We can't always get there. Look at the traffic right now."
Police reserve program touted
When people hear the term, "reserve police officer," their first impression doesn't always match reality.
Critics might picture a bumbling Barney Fife patrolling the streets of Mayberry, but Kevin McMahill sees an opportunity for a dedicated volunteer officer force with the same abilities as a full-time Las Vegas police officer.
"People have a natural reluctance to think we could field a fully capable reserve officer ... because they think those officers wouldn't be up to par in training," said McMahill, deputy chief of the Patrol Division.
"The reality is, they would have the same training and the same requirements as a regular officer. And it's proven to be effective in so many other jurisdictions," he said.
Phoenix, Los Angeles and San Diego are three nearby cities with a healthy reserve program, McMahill said. Las Vegas used reserve officers more than 20 years ago, although the practice was eventually dissolved.
Be good officers, yes. But also be good ambassadors.
She tells far more stories about good cops doing great police work, but Sarasota Chief of Police Bernadette DiPino does have one hackle-raising anecdote about two cops in Miami.
In a nutshell: When visiting South Florida years ago with her young daughter, DiPino got lost in a tough neighborhood and asked two officers for directions.
For no apparent reason aside from disdain for anyone who would bother them, the officers first ignored her, then were rude and dismissive, and finally gave her bogus directions.
DiPino was disgusted, but she knew this to be unusual behavior — even if normal for those two — because she also was a cop.
The new chief told the story to a room full of Sarasota officers in a training session a few days ago, and then asked: What impression would that encounter make on someone who doesn't know cops, never sees them being helpful and friendly, and only sees them make arrests, write tickets and ask suspicious questions?