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.
April 7, 2013
Survivor Mitzvah Project helps the last, lost Holocaust survivors
In the decades since the darkness of the Holocaust, many efforts have been made to make amends for the past - but they haven't reached everyone.
The Survivor Mitzvah Project is doing something to alleviate that. The L.A.-based 501(c)3 nonprofit provides much-needed cash and just as necessary outreach to elderly Holocaust survivors in Eastern Europe who were skipped over by German reparations and other aid programs.
"I actually call these people The Unluckiest Generation," said the SMP's Zane Buzby, a former actress and TV sitcom director who has essentially devoted the last dozen years of her life to aiding these forgotten survivors.
"The oldest, over 100, survived the Czar's army," she continued. "They survived World War I, the Russian Revolution, the pogroms of the 1920s, upheaval, starvation, dislocation, the whole thing. Then in the 1930s, Stalin's enforced collectivization famines and the rise of Nazism and anti-Semitism. Then the invasion of their country by Germany and the Holocaust. Then the Iron Curtain falls. It's not like there was an Internet and everyone went to Israel because they heard about it on Twitter; they got stuck there."
Phoenix PD asks community to ‘Key on Three'
Crime reduction plan wants residents to focus on people, places and behaviors
The chief of the Phoenix Police Department is working to get the word out to the public that the city of Phoenix's crime reduction plan for 2013 requires a shared responsibility between residents and officers.
Chief Daniel Garcia outlined just a portion of his crime reduction plan during a City Council Policy Meeting on Tuesday. His main message was for officers to “Focus on Five” and for residents to “Key on Three.”
The five areas patrol officers should focus on are people, those who may be suspects in crimes; places, that may be used for crime; behaviors; high priority enforcement locations, locations where crime may be happening; and high priority offensive locations, where a high priority crime may have occurred so that officers can understand what they may have missed. Garcia said he wants the public to key in on three of those areas: people, places and behaviors.
Officers on patrol are being asked to take a more proactive approach to policing. Garcia said he'll be asking each officer to have a plan for the day, the next 30 days, and the year. The plan calls for a campaign to get the community involved in reaching out to the police department to keep their neighborhood safe.
April 6, 2013
Texas prosecutor's funeral held despite bomb threat
Private services were held yesterday for a Texas prosecutor and his wife despite a bomb threat targeting the church in Wortham where friends, family members and law-enforcement officials gathered to bid the slain couple a final farewell.
A public memorial was held on Thursday for Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, at the church where they worshipped in Sunnyvale, Texas. The two were found shot dead at their home on Saturday, two months after one of McLelland's assistant prosecutors was gunned down near the Kaufman County Courthouse.
The threat against the First Baptist Church of Wortham, in the eastern Texas town where McLelland grew up, came late Thursday, said Sgt. Clayton Aldrich of the Freestone County sheriff's office.
Someone apparently using a no-contract, pay-as-you-go cellphone called in the threat, making it extremely difficult to trace, Aldrich said. “Criminals use them … people who deal narcotics and stuff like that,” Aldrich added.
No bomb was found, and the funeral went ahead as planned.
Secret Service head personal info on Internet, site claims
Washington (CNN) -- The FBI and the Secret Service are investigating another incident involving a website that has divulged purported personal information about senior U.S. government officials and celebrities. This time it is the new Secret Service director.
A website posted information allegedly about Julia Pierson, who was named in March to head the agency charged with protecting the president and other top-level government officials.
The Secret Service would not comment beyond acknowledging it is looking into the matter.
The FBI would not say whether the information on the Internet, including Social Security and financial data, was accurate nor would they say whether investigators believe those materials were obtained by hacking.
As with some past reports on other people, it appeared that some of the information for Pierson is dated. For instance, it lists a Florida address although she has lived and worked in the Washington area for years.
Settlement Is Reached With Family in Slaying
MIAMI — The parents of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed teenager who was shot by George Zimmerman last year, have settled a wrongful-death lawsuit against the homeowners' association in the gated community where he was killed.
At the time of the shooting, Mr. Zimmerman was the neighborhood watch captain at the development, the Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford, Fla., where he lived with his wife. A homeowners' association newsletter sent to residents in February 2012, the same month as the shooting, cited Mr. Zimmerman as the person to contact for neighborhood watch issues. The newsletter suggested that if concerns arose, they first call the police and then alert Mr. Zimmerman.
After Mr. Martin's death, his parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, sued the association for wrongful death. The amount of the settlement was not revealed. As is customary in such settlements, the association admitted no guilt in Mr. Martin's death and all parties are bound to confidentiality. The Orlando Sentinel obtained the portion of the settlement that was made public Friday at the Seminole County courthouse.
The Martin family's lawyer, Benjamin Crump, has said he planned to file a separate lawsuit against Mr. Zimmerman at a later date.
No Country for 'Black Teens'
One year later, the Trayvon Martin tragedy still stings -- and some people are still throwing salt on the open wound. Last week George Zimmerman's brother, Robert Zimmerman, posted a tweet comparing Trayvon Martin to De'Marquis Elkins, a 17-year-old black teenager charged with fatally shooting a one-year-old baby.
The tweet showed a photo of Elkins side by side with a photo of Martin, both making inappropriate gestures, with the caption "A picture speaks a thousand words. Any questions?"
Zimmerman's follow-up tweet read "Lib[eral] media [should] ask if what these [two] black teens did [to] a [woman and her baby] is the reason [people] think blacks might [be] risky." The implication was that Trayvon Martin's actions on the night he was murdered were equivalent to the killing of an innocent child.
This would be worrisome enough if it were just the opportunistic cry of a family embroiled in racial controversy. But this belief -- that male "black teens" are inherently more likely to be criminals -- is ingrained in our society. It has seeped into our institutions in the form of racial profiling, and too often it poisons the judgment of those who are supposed to protect us.
No noon meal for kids in debt at middle school
CNN) -- Sorry, kid. No money, no lunch.
Students at an Attleboro, Massachusetts, middle school went hungry this week, if they had a negative balance on their pre-paid lunch cards.
Five cents of debt was enough for cafeteria employees at the Coehlo Middle School to instruct kids at least one day this week to dump out the food they would have normally eaten, CNN affiliate WJAR in Rhode Island reported.
About 25 children left the lunchroom with empty stomachs, said Whitson's Culinary Group in a statement. The company runs the school's cafeteria.
Parents were appalled. So was the principal. So was Whitson's. "I told them this is bullying; that's neglect, child abuse," said parent Jo-An Blanchard.
April 5, 2013
'Threatening world peace while his people starve':
Hackers take control of North Korea's official Twitter and Flickr accounts and brand Kim Jong Un a pig
Hackers posted a picture of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un portrayed as a pig on the country's official flickr account today.
The account and the official Uriminzokkiri Twitter account were apparently hacked today as tensions in the Korean Peninsula continued to rise.
The North's Uriminzokkiri Twitter and Flickr accounts stopped sending out content typical of that posted by the regime in Pyongyang, such as photos of North's leader Kim Jong Un meeting with military officials.
Instead, a picture posted today showed Kim's face with a pig-like snout and a drawing of Mickey Mouse on his chest. Underneath, text read: 'Threatening world peace with ICBMs and Nuclear weapons/Wasting money while his people starve to death.'
The mocked-up Wanted poster included a $1million 'bounty' placed on Kim and accusations of 'human rights violations'. Another posting says 'We are Anonymous' in white letters against a black background.
Majority of Americans now favor legalizing marijuana
For the first time in four decades of polling, a majority of Americans now favor legalizing marijuana, according to a survey released today by the Pew Research Center. The center found that 52 percent of 1,501 adults surveyed last month favor legalization, up 11 percentage points since 2010.
The increase "suggests that some of this change is relatively recent," said Carroll Doherty, associate director of the Washington-based Pew Research Center.
The survey found that 65 percent of people between ages 18 and 32 favor legalizing marijuana, up from 36 percent in 2008. There has also been a change among the Baby Boomer generation - half now support legalization, up from 24 percent in 1996.
Generation X, those born between 1965 and 1980, favor legalization by 54 percent, and support among the Silent Generation, those born between 1925 and 1942, has jumped from 17 percent to 32 percent since 2002, according to the survey.
Next drug forum will discuss community policing
The next in an ongoing series of community forums designed to make Cecil County residents more aware of drug abuse issues here is scheduled for Thursday.
Cecil County Sheriff Barry Janney and Harford County Sheriff Jesse Bane will talk about community policing and other programs to reduce crime and how citizens can help.
The program begins at 6:30 p.m. in Room 208 of the Technology Building on Cecil College's North East Campus. For more information, call 443-722-4027 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
April 4, 2013
North Korea warns military cleared to wage nuclear attack
PYONGYANG, North Korea - Ratcheting up the rhetoric, North Korea warned early Thursday that its military has been cleared to wage an attack on the U.S. using "smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear" weapons.
The Pentagon, meanwhile, said Wednesday that it will deploy a missile defense system to the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam to strengthen the region's protections against a possible attack.
The warning from an unnamed army spokesman and carried by Pyongyang's state-run news agency was latest in a series of escalating threats from North Korea, which has railed for weeks against joint U.S. and South Korean military exercises taking place in South Korea and has expressed anger over tightened sanctions for a February nuclear test.
Washington calls the military drills, which this time have incorporated nuclear-capable stealth bombers, routine annual exercises between the allies. Pyongyang calls them rehearsals for a northward invasion.
Northwest Detroiters employ community policing to curtail crime rates
Some might view the problem of crime in Detroit as "hopeless", but many city residents haven't given up so easily
Detroiters are rallying together for a unified cause to curtail crime in their neighborhoods. They are selflessly giving their time and effort to engage in community policing, an initiative that aims to drive out the criminals and make the streets of Detroit safer.
The Winship Community Association is a group based in Northwest Detroit. The non-profit organization has served the nearby community by helping bring attention to and resolve it's biggest challenges.
At it's most recent meeting, members voiced pressing concerns related to dangerous activities taking place in their neighborhoods. Among influencing factors, they discussed the poor condition of nearby Peterson Park. Residents referenced recent shootings, loitering, parked cars and overall upkeep.
"We have made complaints to the recreation department, and I'm sure they have a file with my photo on it", said Dr. Arthur Divers, President of WCA.
Cop Cards forge bonds between Park Ridge Police Officers and kids
Given their exuberance, one would have thought the three teams competing in the Park Ridge Police Department's game show that tested their knowledge of information found on the popular "Cop Cards" were vying for prizes or a trophy. The game show was part of the PRPD's culminating activity for the Community Policing initiative that had students collecting the trading cards.
The three teams, formed only minutes before the game began, stood in groups behind tables set up on the stage in the high school theater. Despite having no say in which team they were on, and with teams being made up of students of different ages and grades, they quickly chose a spokesperson, or more accurately the person who would write down the team's answer and display it when called for, and worked together, conferring in whispers so as not to be overheard by the other teams.
The game show, the drawings for prizes and the reception that followed in the high school cafeteria were organized by the Department's Community Policing Bureau and the event culminated the wildly popular "Cop Cards" program that challenged Park Ridge students to collect all 20 cards – one for each of the 17 members of the force, plus one for the Police Reserves, one for the Department's secretary Fran Smith, and one for Councilman Keith Misciagna, the police commissioner.
In all, 71 students in Grades 1-6 at schools in the borough collected the entire set. They became eligible to win prizes through a raffle held at the event. There were lots of other prizes – gift cards, gift certificates and other items, for those who didn't get all the cards and those winners were also chosen through a raffle at the event.
L.A. County jail inmates save dogs, possibly themselves
(Photo gallery on site)
Glock, a German shepherd once on the verge of being euthanized for aggression, lay down on the grass, paws up, and quietly enjoyed a belly rub from a new friend.
The 3-year-old purebred has undergone quite a transformation since being plucked from an animal shelter's death row, thanks to an unlikely group of dog trainers - inmates at Men's Central Jail.
"Glock was a little aggressive, not obedient, didn't want to stay in the kennel," said John Buchholz, 40, an entertainment industry CGI artist from Downey jailed on an auto theft charge. "In a matter of weeks, through a daily routine where we take turns every half hour to train him, we've seen progress."
Glock and Buchholz are part of the new Custody Canine Program run by the Sheriff's Department in partnership with dog behaviorist Rick Belmonte, who owns Belmonte's Dog Training and Equipment.
April 3, 2013
Police target texting drivers; tickets start at $160
LOS ANGELES - As part of distracted driving month, which started Monday, police across Southern California will be ticketing for texting drivers, those holding a cellphone to their head or drivers whose attention wanders for any reason.
Dozens of police agencies have planned targeted operations for April 3-16, which has been designated a maximum enforcement period. Wednesday will be zero-tolerance day, when officers will give tickets only -- no warnings.
Fines start around $160. A second offense can cost about $280. In Pasadena, Friday will be maximum enforcement day, according to Lt. Pete Hettema said.
Tuesday at 8 a.m., California Highway Patrol officers and Burbank city officials will be at John Burroughs High School to impress upon students the importance of paying attention while driving.
In April 2012 alone, about 57,000 people statewide got tickets for driving while distracted, and about 450,000 people were ticketed during the entire year. In 2011, about 3,300 people died nationwide in accidents involving at least one distracted driver, according to federal highway safety officials.
According to studies cited by law enforcement, young, inexperienced drivers are most susceptible to having an accident because of distracted driving. Drivers using any kind of handheld electronic device are about four time more likely to have a wreck than drivers who are not using them.
Racial brawl breaks out at Twin Towers Jail
A fight along racial lines involving as many 62 inmates erupted shortly after noon in Los Angeles County's Twin Towers Jail, leaving four of those in custody needing medical treatment.
The brawl between Latino and black inmates broke out at 12:10 p.m in the third-floor recreation area of Tower 1 and was quashed in about 90 seconds after deputies deployed sting balls and gas, sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said.
"We cannot say how many of the inmates were exactly involved, but 62 were in the area at the time," Whitmore said. The altercation left four inmates needing treatment at the medical center with cuts and bruises. Whitmore said deputies immediately deployed two sting balls and gas designed to clear areas.
Twin Towers is among the county's most modern jails with module-designed levels. Although such fights have been common at the Pitchess facility in Castaic, Twin Towers is rarely the scene of multi-inmate clashes.
Whitmore said the incident is being investigated and charges are likely to be forthcoming once the culprits are clearly identified..
FWPD and the Community: Building a Relationship
FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The crimes may have stopped for the time being, but that doesn't mean Fort Wayne police are taking a break. Chief Rusty York shares what the police department is doing to stop crime and build a better relationship with the community.
Fort Wayne Police Chief Rusty York says FWPD has multiple forces, like the Gang Unit, Neighborhood Response Team, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), working together on crimes.
In addition to manning the streets, York says they patrol based on two methods: community policing and data-driven policing.
Community driven policing is when officers are assigned "beats" or specific neighborhoods in which they patrol, and form relationships with area residents. York says FWPD views this way of policing as more of a philosophy, because they do not have officers specifically assigned to certain areas. York says they do, however, have Community Liaison Officers that meet with neighborhood groups monthly.
Data-driven policing is the use of statistics to pinpoint trends like who, what and where crimes are happening. Officers hold weekly, or daily meetings going over the stats to know which areas need the greatest police presence. York says this type of information is helpful to FWPD's Gang Unit and Neighborhood Response Teams.
Citrus Heights Police Department Earns Award for Excellence
The award, which is sponsored by the state Attorney General's Office, was given for transforming Sayonara Drive.
The Citrus Police Department was the recipient of a community policing award for its transformation of Sayonara Drive.
The department was named the 2013 recipient of the James Q. Wilson Award for Excellence in Community Policing, an annual award presented by the California chapter of the Regional Community Policing Institute. The award is sponsored by the American Military University and the state Attorney General's Office, according to the California Police Chiefs Association.
Sayonara Drive, located off Sunrise Boulevard in Citrus Heights, was once an unsafe street filled with gang-related crime, drugs, shootings, litter and unkempt houses. But that has changed with the help of the "problem oriented policing unit," according to the association. Officers worked with kids in the youth center on the street and built trust with the local families.
The association reports that Sayonara Drive underwent a "remarkable transformation, with a new Children and Youth Center and new park, and a stunning 78 percent overall decrease in calls for service from 2007 through 2011."
According to the Regional Community Policing Institute's website, the award is given to one law enforcement agency every year after a panel of experts review information based on problem solving, relationships with the community and organizations and results.
You can read more about the Sayonara Drive revitalization here.
April 2, 2013
Man, 29, arrested in kidnapping of Northridge girl; second suspect still at large
Suspects have long criminal histories
Los Angeles police have arrested a 29-year-old man on suspicion of kidnapping a 10-year-old Northridge girl last week, and are still looking for another man wanted in connection with the crime.
Daniel Martinez of West Hills was arrested early Sunday in the 18200 block of Rayen Street in Northridge, about two miles east of the girl's residence. Police announced the arrest Monday afternoon and said Martinez was being held on $1 million bail.
The LAPD did not disclose why Martinez was on Rayen Street at the time of his arrest. They did not specify what led them to Martinez or what the motivation for the kidnapping might have been.
Tobias Dustin Summers, 30, whom police publicly identified Saturday as a suspect, is still at large.
"Investigators have reason to believe that Summers may be in the San Diego area and may have changed his appearance by shaving his head," police wrote in a news release Monday.
Parolee throws K-9 police dog out second-story window
A wanted parolee threw a Fontana police dog out of a second-story window on Sunday, leaving the dog with head injuries.
Police sent the dog, Jaris, into a home in the 9500 block of Mango Avenue in Fontana about 12:30 p.m. when the suspect, Bryan Bills, 28, of Fontana, refused to surrender.
When Jaris ran toward Bills, Bills used the dog's momentum to throw the animal out of an open window. The dog fell on his head on the concrete below, police said.
The dog suffered a large gash on his head. He was bleeding from his nose and staggering. He is being examined by a veterinarian today.
Bills was arrested on suspicion of injuring a police dog, resisting an officer and violating parole. He was booked into West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga.
Flight attendants at LAX demand small knives be kept off planes
LOS ANGELES - Flight attendants for U.S. airlines plan to distribute leaflets at LAX and other airports across the nation today to demand that small knives be kept out of their cabins.
The Association of Flight Attendants members will pass out leaflets at LAX and seven other airports asking passengers to demand that current regulations not be changed, as the Transportation Security Administration plans to do.
The TSA has announced plans to allow small pocket knives to be brought aboard planes, with the goal of increasing enforcement against larger potential weapons by not worrying about smaller implements. But the union decries any move that could make flight attendants and passengers "written off as acceptable casualties."
"Risk-based security screening makes sense," the union said in a statement. "Introducing risks into the system does not."
The leafleting is planned for LAX and airports at Chicago, Denver, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Pittsburg, Seattle, and Washington/Dulles. The local effort will be at the Bradley International Terminal departure level from 12:30 to 2 p.m.
Explainer: What is the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas?
(CNN) -- As investigators scramble to figure out who killed two Texas prosecutors, suspicions abound over whether the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas played a role. Authorities have not officially linked the two slayings, nor do they know whether the white supremacist group ordered the attacks. But a series of events leading up to the killings have raised questions about the group's possible involvement.
Here's a primer on the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas:
What is the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas?
The FBI describes the group as a "whites only," prison-based gang that has been operating since at least the 1980s.
"I think the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas today is arguably the most violent white supremacist prison gang out there," said Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The group has been blamed for more than 100 homicides and at least 10 kidnappings since the early 1980s.
Mag Mile Alderman wants more police to prevent disturbances
One Chicago alderman wants police to step up their presence downtown following a series of disturbances over the weekend.
Ald. Brendan Reilly, 42nd, says more help, more planning and more resources are needed to deter outbursts like the one that happened on the Magnificent Mile on Saturday.
There were two separate incidents downtown that called for police response.
17 young people were arrested for disturbances along Michigan Avenue. Police say the suspects bumped into people, blocked sidewalks and stopped traffic.
11-teenagers were arrested after 2 women were attacked on the CTA's red line in The Loop. Several people have been charged with misdemeanor reckless conduct.
Ald. Reilly has praised the police response to the incidents. But he wants police to do more to prevent the attacks from happening in the first place.
April 1, 2013
New York to sift Ground Zero debris for more remains of 9/11 victims
NEW YORK -- New York City will today begin the mammoth task of sifting through the debris of buildings at the World Trade Center site to find more remains of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack that will allow more number of them to be identified.
According to an NBC report, the city has collected about 60 dump truck loads of debris from construction areas around the World Trade Center site, known as 'Ground Zero', over the past two and a half years that will be sifted for fragments of 9/11 victims' remains, New York City officials said on Friday.
The debris will be combed for about 10 weeks starting today at a mobile sifting unit, the report said. Of the 2,750 people killed in the September 11, 2001 attack, 1,634 have had their remains identified. Any human remains will be analysed by the medical examiner's office for possible matches to 9/11 victims, it said.
"We will continue DNA testing until all recovered remains that can be matched with a victim are identified," Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway wrote on Friday in a memo to Mayor Bloomberg.
The city expanded its search for remains of trade center victims in 2006, when several bones were found in a manhole.
More than 1,800 pieces of potential human remains have been found.
The office has made 34 new identifications since 2006, and hundreds of fragments of remains have been matched to people who were already identified, the report said.
Arlington Heights Using Website for Community Policing, Alerting Residents of Crimes
Citizen Observer opens line of communication between police and residents.
Arlington Heights police put up a Hot Crime Map every week pin-pointing crime in the village, on Citizen Observer, and it quickly becomes the most popular post of the day on Arlington Heigths Patch.
Citizen Observer, a website that allows police to post and distribute crime alerts, is popular too with police, as they seen a two-fold increase in the number of subscribers.
The department made it a strategic planning goal to increase that figure over the last year, Police Chief Gerald Mourning said.
Police had 2,238 subscriptions in January 2013, up from 1,887 subscriptions in December 2011, Crime Prevention Officer Doug Hajek said.
Hajek and other officers worked to get the word out about Citizen Observer and get Arlington Heights residents to sign up for the website, which includes alerts about breaking crime.
Bedford steps up community policing with focus on schools
BEDFORD - Students and teachers at Bedford schools can expect to soon see more police officers walking the halls.
A community outreach program aimed at increasing the visibility of daytime patrol officers in the schools is set to begin on April 8, said SAU 25 Superintendent Tim Mayes. The program was recommended by Police Chief John Bryfonski, whose desire is to step up community policing by establishing relationships with different groups in town.
"About a month ago I was approached by the chief about a program to improve the visibility of the police department in all the schools," Mayes said. "To have the kids and the faculty see the officers in the school helps everybody feel a little safer given the things that have transpired." Mayes was referring to the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., where a gunman on Dec. 14 killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Mayes made the announcement about the program at this week's school board meeting.
"I think it is a marvelous, fantastic idea," said school board member Cindy Chagnon.