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 14, 2013
Florida police sergeant fired for having Trayvon Martin shooting targets
A Florida police sergeant was fired for possessing several so-called Trayvon Martin shooting targets, authorities said Saturday.
Sgt. Ron King of Port Canaveral Police Department was fired Friday after an internal review investigated how he offered the hoodie paper shooting targets to two fellow officers, said John Walsh, interim CEO of the Canaveral Port Authority.
The officers, who saw King with the targets in his police vehicle, declined the offer, Walsh said.
"Port Canaveral Police Department considers that behavior unacceptable," Walsh said of King's conduct.
Police Seargent Responds To Firing For "Trayvon Martin" Target
(Video on site)
PORT CANAVERAL, Florida -- Former Port Canaveral Police Sergeant Ron King issued a statement in a You Tube video in response to his firing last week for allegedly using a target resembling Trayvon Martin for shooting practice.
King, who is also a long-time firearms instructor, denied the allegations. He maintains that the target was a "no shoot" training aide. King added that the complaining party specified that the target was not used. He also said that a witness in the complaint stated that no derogatory statements were made.
"As a result of last year's Trayvon Martin shooting, a company offered for sale a target of a faceless silhoutte wearing a hoodie with his hands in his pockets - one of which was holding two objects," said King. "These objects in the hand were non-threatening - and the target was something that I viewed as a "no-shoot" situation."
King says that the motives behind the allegations are due to internal politics where one of his co-workers wants to ultimately see the Port Canaveral Chief of Police fired.
From the Department of Justice
Attorney General Eric Holder Speaks at the Quarterly Meeting of the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
It's a pleasure to be among so many good friends and distinguished colleagues this afternoon. And it's a privilege to join you all in welcoming Bob Listenbee as Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Many of us have known Bob for years, as a highly-respected public defender and juvenile justice system reformer. Throughout his career, he has championed juvenile justice issues and fought to protect young people who are in need and at risk – most recently as Co-Chair of the Attorney General's Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence. He has also served as a member of OJJDP's Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice, which advises the President, Congress, and OJJDP on juvenile justice policy; as a trial lawyer at the Defender Association of Philadelphia; and as Chief of the Association's Juvenile Unit.
As OJJDP Administrator, I know Bob will continue to be a strong voice for all children and their families, particularly those impacted by violence. And I'm proud to officially welcome him to the Justice Department today.
At our last Coordinating Council meeting in December, this group heard from the Attorney General's Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence. The Task Force presented a report including 56 recommendations to address and prevent childhood exposure to violence – as victims or as witnesses.
From the Department of Homeland Security
Are You Vulnerable Online? Get Tips from U.S. CERT
Cyberspace is woven into the fabric of our daily lives. According to recent estimates, this global network of networks encompasses more than two billion people with at least 12 billion computers and devices, including global positioning systems, mobile phones, satellites, data routers, ordinary desktop computers, and industrial control computers that run power plants, water systems, and more. While this increased connectivity has led to significant transformations and advances across our country – and around the world – it also has increased the importance and complexity of our shared risk.
The Internet is truly a public place and once you post something online, it can be accessed by anyone, and you may have no control over what they might do with that information. To help you stay safe online, the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) has the following tips for publishing information online:
View the Internet as a novel, not a personal diary Be careful what you advertise Realize that you can't take it back
April 13, 2013
Immigration bill could exclude many, source says
WASHINGTON - A promised path to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally may leave out hundreds of thousands of them.
Bipartisan Senate legislation would make legalization and ultimately citizenship available only to those who arrived in the U.S. before Dec. 31, 2011, according to a Senate aide with knowledge of the proposals. Anyone who came after that date would be subject to deportation.
The bill, expected to be introduced next week, also would require applicants to document that they were in the country before the cutoff date, have a clean criminal record and show enough employment or financial stability that they're likely to stay off welfare, said the aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the proposals had not been made public.
Although illegal immigration to the U.S. has been dropping, tens of thousands of people still arrive annually, so the cutoff date alone could exclude a large number of people. The aide said hundreds of thousands could be excluded overall. That came as a disappointment to immigrant rights groups that had been hoping that anyone here as of the date of enactment of the bill could be able to become eligible for citizenship.
U.S. tells N.Korea new missile launch would be 'huge mistake'
South Korean President Park Geun-Hye (L) and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shake hands before their talks at the presidential Blue House in Seoul April 12. (Kim Jae-Hwan/Reuters/Pool)
Secretary of State John Kerry warned North Korea on Friday it would be a "huge mistake" to test launch a medium-range missile and said the United States would never accept the reclusive country as a nuclear power.
Addressing reporters after talks with South Korea's president and leaders of the 28,000-strong U.S. military contingent in the country, Kerry also said it was up to China, North Korea's sole major ally, to "put some teeth" into efforts to press Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear ambitions.
Kerry, like other U.S. officials, played down an assessment from the Pentagon's intelligence agency that the North already had a nuclear missile capacity. The United States, he said, wanted to resume talks about North Korea's earlier pledges to halt its nuclear program.
But he also stressed that Washington would defend its allies in the region if necessary and pointedly said that Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, "needs to understand, as I think he probably does, what the outcome of a conflict would be".
Rockford police officers back on foot patrol to build up community
ROCKFORD — Eric Boettcher and Duane Johnson stride through a cold mist, ready with a friendly word for an office worker huddled under an umbrella, a wave to a passerby or a visit with grateful business owners.
They're among a small group of officers assigned to the Rockford Police Department's popular foot patrols downtown, in Midtown and along Broadway in the wake of a recent spate of violence.
“Part of community policing is being more accessible,” said Boettcher, a 15-year veteran. “It's a little easier for us to get to things we wouldn't normally see from the car. A car is a good tool, but it can also be a barrier.”
The patrols are conducted on an as-needed basis in any part of Rockford, day or night, at any time of the year, although they had been on winter hiatus until this month.
Their mission is one that is implicit in community policing — cops as neighborhood problem-solvers — the department's relatively new approach to police work that attempts to break down barriers between officers and the community.
April 12, 2013
Alert: Community policing going high-tech
Its website has a new look, Twitter and Facebook are getter ever-higher profiles, and now the Upper Darby Township Police Department has signed on to Nixle, an instant-alert system that has gained popularity around the country.
"Social media is a big thing," said Upper Darby Capt. Anthony Paparo, adding that it's a high-tech version of an old concept: community policing. The department also has set up an email address for crime tips.
Nixle essentially is an electronic community bulletin board that can target alerts and advisories all the way to the block level, Pararo said.
On Thursday, the department sent out an alert -- with photo -- that a warrant was issued for a man who threatened to kill a woman and burn her house down. The man was "known to get around on a bicycle, carrying a dufflebag or backpack. Use caution he may be armed and has threatened to kill the victim," the alert said.
Texas stabbing suspect had interest in cannibalism, necrophilia and wearing masks cut from victims' faces
HOUSTON - A man accused of stabbing more than a dozen people at a Houston-area college told investigators that he had fantasized about cannibalism and necrophilia and about cutting off people's faces and wearing them as masks, according to a court document made public on Thursday.
Dylan Quick also told an investigator that he had researched mass stabbings on his home computer about a week before the attack at Lone Star College in Cypress, according to a search warrant affidavit.
“He stated that he had read numerous books about mass killings and serial killers which are also located at his residence,” the affidavit said.
Quick is being held without bond on three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for Tuesday's attack that injured 14 people. Only one person remained hospitalized Thursday, and that person was listed in good condition.
April 11, 2013
US drones target low-level militants who pose no threat
Top secret documents show that half of those killed in a year were 'unknown extremists'
The US government was accused of hiding the truth about its drone programme after leaked intelligence files revealed that it was targeting unidentified militants who posed no immediate threat to the United States.
Despite President Barack Obama's public promise that the CIA's armed Predators and Reapers were only firing on those suspected of plotting against America, top-secret documents show that in one year alone almost half of those killed were simply listed as “unknown extremists”.
The documents, obtained by US news agency McClatchy, also reveal Pakistan's intelligence agency was co-operating with the US at the same time as its government was condemning drone strikes on its soil.
“There is now mounting evidence that the Obama administration is misleading the American public – and the world at large – about the drone war it is waging in Pakistan,” said Jennifer Gibson, a lawyer working with the British human rights charity Reprieve.
Even in pro-gun states, bid to arm teachers stalls
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — When a gunman killed 26 children and staff at a Connecticut grade school, Missouri state Rep. Mike Kelley quickly proposed legislation that would allow trained teachers to carry hidden guns into the classroom as a "line of defense" against attackers.
Similar bills soon proliferated in Republican-led states as the National Rifle Association called for armed officers in every American school.
Yet less than four months later, the quest to put guns in schools has stalled in many traditionally gun-friendly states after encountering opposition from educators, reluctance from some governors and ambivalence from legislative leaders more focused on economic initiatives.
The loss of momentum highlights how difficult it can be to advance any gun legislation, whether to adopt greater restrictions or expand the rights to carry weapons.
Since the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., legislators in at least four states — Connecticut, Colorado, Maryland and New York — have passed significant gun-control measures. The Newtown attack came less than five months after a gunman killed 12 people and injured 70 at a Colorado movie theater.
Community policing effort aims to prevent crimes near KU Med
KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) - Officers in KCK are teaming up with residents to crack down on crime.
The KCK Police Department is hosting meet-and-greet events across the city to talk with residents about issues.
Community police officers went door to door on Wednesday warning residents about a spike in car thefts and break ins. Officers handed out fliers giving residents tips for how to avoid becoming a victim of the crimes.
The area targeted by Officer Steve Kopps and others was near 45th and Francis streets. This area is near the University of Kansas Hospital.
April 10, 2013
Student arrested in Texas college stabbing spree that injured 14
CYPRESS, Texas - A student went on a building-to-building stabbing attack at a Texas community college Tuesday, wounding at least 14 people before being subdued and arrested, authorities said.
The attack about 11:20 a.m. on the Lone Star Community College System's campus in Cypress sent at least 12 people to area hospitals, including four people taken by helicopter, according to Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department spokesman Robert Rasa. He said several people refused treatment at the scene and all the wounds were consistent with stabbing.
Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia said officers responded to the campus after receiving a call about a male "on the loose" stabbing people. He said it was not immediately clear what type of weapon was used.
"Some of the details in the call slip did indicate that students or faculty were actively responding to work to subdue this individual," Garcia said, describing the man as being about 21 years old and enrolled at the college. "So we're proud of those folks, but we're glad no one else is injured any more severely than they are."
Isn't safety worth it? (Community Voices)
New York City has proven it's possible - big cities can become safe.
New York has reduced crimes like murder, robbery and burglary by more than 80 percent and sustained it for 20 years - a record no other city has ever come close to.
As we prepare Oakland's next two-year budget, I'm focused on achieving the levels of safety for Oakland that New York enjoys. But it will be challenging. A recently released budget report shows that the cost of delivering all city services will be increasing over the next two years as $41 million in labor concessions expire and benefit costs sky-rocket by $44 million. That's why despite growing revenues, Oakland will need to come up with another $55 million over the next two years just to keep all city services and staffing levels (including police) where they are today.
If we want to increase the police force by 72 officers and 56 civilians over the next two years (bringing sworn strength to 732 officers), we will have to come up with another $41.89 million.
Oakland has been investing - and should continue to invest - in effective crime prevention and intervention strategies, including Head Start, after-school programs, libraries, rec programs, conflict resolution and restorative justice, Ceasefire gang violence strategy, public health model street outreach and job training. But we have failed to maintain adequate policing, despite mounting evidence of its' effectiveness.
April 9, 2013
Newtown Sends out the Last Post-Shooting Donations
Thousands of the toys and other gifts that poured into Newtown following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School ended up going to children's hospitals, mental health programs, victims of Superstorm Sandy; some are even destined even for homeless children in India.
And a lunch box, a backpack and a stuffed animal went to 9-year-old Rashid Ricketts, of Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
"I use the backpack every day, and the teddy bear is on my bed," Rashid said. "It feels nice to get something from someone you don't even know. It makes me just want to say thank you and sorry for your loss."
Newtown officials say they have distributed all of the 63,790 stuffed animals and thousands of other items sent there in the wake of December's shooting. The town received enough school supplies to fill 2,211 large moving boxes, and games and puzzles to fill 159, said Chris Kelsey, the town assessor, who was in charge of organizing the gifts. Other gifts included clothing, bicycles and quilts.
The town got so many gifts that donated warehouse space had to be used to house it. Kelsey said he shipped out the last boxes of toys and school supplies March 29.
April 8, 2013
Community-police trust bill promotes public safety
Police officials say building community trust is a critical factor in successful local policing. But what if trust is not in place?
Cities and neighborhoods are safest when residents and police officers work together. Neighbors willing to report round-the-clock activity nearby enables police to stop child abuse and domestic violence. A person might be able to prevent a violent crime if she feels comfortable calling the police. These issues of public safety are solved or prevented only if trust exists between community members and law enforcement.
While officers rely on community members to report suspicious activity and serious crimes, some immigrants do not report due to fear that local police are instead acting as federal immigration enforcement agents. While immigrant witnesses and victims want to communicate with police, many are reluctant to do so because they are afraid of being separated from their families.
The Colorado legislature is debating House Bill 1258, the Community and Law Enforcement Trust Act, which would remove the requirement under current law that local police must report suspected undocumented immigrants to federal immigration enforcement. Doing so will send a powerful signal to immigrant communities and international tourists that it's "safe" to talk to law enforcement. The proposal will also remove this burden on Colorado's police officers and sheriff's deputies so they can focus resources on public safety priorities that are most important for their own communities.
From the White House
President Obama: Requiring Background Checks for Anyone Who Wants to Buy a Gun is Common Sense
President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the Denver Police Academy in Denver, Colo., April 3, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Today in Colorado, President Obama asked the American people to continue calling on Congress to vote on a set of common-sense proposals to help reduce gun violence, including closing loopholes in the background check system to keep guns out of the hands criminals and others who should not have access to them.
Since the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut prompted a national call for action just over 100 days ago, gun violence has killed more than 2,000 Americans. “Every day that we wait to do something about it, even more of our fellow citizens are stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun,” President Obama said today.
Colorado – a state that's experienced two of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history – has already taken action to prevent future violence. State officials worked together to enact tougher background checks that help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people without infringing on the rights of responsible gun owners.
“There doesn't have to be a conflict between protecting our citizens and protecting our Second Amendment rights,” President Obama said. “Colorado has shown that practical progress is possible.”