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.
June 23, 2013
Unity in the Community anti-violence rally sparks hope for change
Three 8-foot-tall crosses rested against trees in the center of Columbus Park, covered from top to bottom with pieces of paper. On each sheet were handwritten names and ages — one, for example, had these: Vincent Bass, 16; Donnell H. White, 13; Zoey Espinoza, 2.
"It's all the names of people who have died in our community because of violence," said Geri Martinez, who helped coordinate Unity in the Community, an anti-violence and public-awareness event held Saturday in the park on West 38th Avenue in north Denver.
The neighborhood has struggled with violence, particularly gang violence, she said.
Brightly colored thumbtacks pinned the sheets, listing hundreds of names, to the wooden crosses.
"We know we can't stop all the violence," said Dave Romero, pastor of New Beginnings Ministry. "But if we come together, we can slow it down."
Private force of civilians will serve as eyes and ears in Camden
Funding from state still needed
CHERRY HILL — Camden County freeholders on Thursday night approved a plan for “public safety ambassadors” to bolster the police presence in Camden's business districts.
But the private force, to be made up of 70 to 100 unarmed civilians in fluorescent vests, won't hit the streets until the state provides needed funding, officials noted.
The ambassadors are intended to serve as the Camden County Police Department's eyes and ears in the downtown business district along Broadway, as well as in shopping areas along Haddon and Mount Ephraim avenues, River Road and Federal Street, said Camden County Police Chief Scott Thomson.
“They'd provide a highly visible security presence,” said Thomson. “That will free up police officers to be in the city's neighborhoods, doing community policing and more particularly hitting the hot spots.”
“It's part of a larger law enforcement strategy that will allow the Metro Division to focus on policing the neighborhoods,” said county spokesman Dan Keashen.
Police Your Communities
Vandalism costs us all
The recent temperatures sure make it feel like we kind of skipped spring and dove right into summer around these parts. I really enjoy watching people and families get out and enjoy all the outdoor opportunities we are blessed to have in North Idaho. Most people are really good stewards of the natural resources and leave the place better than they found it.
Unfortunately, good weather also brings out mischievous activity as well. Over the last few years the amount of damage and litter on public lands has increased. It appears there is an overall lack of respect for anything that does not directly belong to people. I know most of these folks are of high school age or around that age and I understand that kids do goofy things and the decision process of the brain doesn't always have the elevator going all the way up. I get it, I was a kid too. But, the level of destruction is over the top.
In the past few weeks we have had signs and toilets shot up on our Sportsmen's Access sites. We have gates shot, buildings and equipment shot, live trees cut down and large amounts of litter left behind. We have people using the woods as a shooting gallery with the new rage of shooting down live sapling trees. It's a blatant disrespect for public property and complete lack of understanding of who pays for the up keep of that area.
From the FBI
Top Ten at 500
Two New Fugitives Added to List
The FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives program—an iconic symbol of the Bureau's crime-fighting ability recognized around the world—has reached a milestone with the naming of the 500th fugitive to the Top Ten list.
Jose Manuel Garcia Guevara and Walter Lee Williams—numbers 499 and 500, respectively—are the latest fugitives to be named to the list that was established more than six decades ago and has included notorious criminals such as bank robber Willie Sutton, serial killer Ted Bundy, Centennial Park bomber Eric Ruldoph, and terrorist Osama bin Laden. Update: Walter Lee Williams has been captured. (6/19/13)
During a ceremony held today near FBI Headquarters at the Newseum—a museum dedicated to news and journalism (see sidebar)—FBI Assistant Director of Public Affairs Mike Kortan noted, “The Top Ten program relies heavily on the help of citizens and the media. Without their help over the years, the FBI could not have located many of these individuals.”
Between the two of them, the fugitives named today are wanted for a combination of crimes including rape, murder, and the sexual exploitation of children. Rewards are being offered for information leading to the apprehension of both men.
June 22, 2013
Christopher Dorner's firing from LAPD defended
Christopher Dorner, the former Los Angeles police officer who went on a killing rampage he said was motivated to clear his name, was properly fired after using the internal Los Angeles Police Department system to try to stay on the force, police officials said Friday.
In a report to the Police Commission, Police Chief Charlie Beck and Inspector General Alexander Bustamante said the department followed all the correct procedures in removing Dorner from the department in 2009 after he filed a false complaint against a training officer, accusing her of kicking a suspect who had been restrained.
Beck had ordered the review after Dorner's manifesto, a 17-page document called "Last Resort," raised questions over the procedures used in his firing.
Dorner is believed to have committed suicide when he was cornered inside a Big Bear cabin following a killing spree in which he had allegedly murdered the daughter of the attorney who had represented him and her fiance, as well as killing two other police officers and wounding three others.
Edward Snowden extradition attempts 'could take years'
Hong Kong legal experts say US could face lengthy diplomatic and legal process to try NSA whistleblower in American court
Any attempt by the US to extradite the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden from Hong Kong for espionage could take years and be blocked by China, legal experts have said.
The warning comes after it emerged on Friday that the US has charged Snowden with theft of government property, unauthorised communication of national defence information and wilful communication of classified communications intelligence to an unauthorised person. The latter two charges are part of the US Espionage Act.
Legislators in Hong Kong responded by calling for mainland China to intervene in the case. Snowden, 29, who is reportedly in hiding in Hong Kong, was last seen on 10 June. He is understood to have made contact with human rights lawyers in anticipation of a legal action from the US.
The US and Hong Kong have had an extradition treaty since 1998, a year after Hong Kong was transferred from British to Chinese rule. Scores of Americans have been sent back for trial under the treaty.
Ex-Border Patrol agents get at least 30 years
SAN DIEGO — Two brothers who worked as Border Patrol agents were sentenced to at least 30 years in prison each for smuggling hundreds of immigrants into the United States, crimes that the judge termed a threat to national security.
U.S. District Court Judge John Houston sentenced Raul Villarreal on Friday to 35 years in prison for being the ring leader and ordered him to pay a $250,000 fine. His brother, Fidel Villarreal, was sentenced to 30 years for managing the illicit business.
The sentences are among the longest given to border law enforcement officials for corruption.
Houston said he gave the severe sentences to deter other agents who have been entrusted by the American people to protect the border. The judge called their smuggling operation "disgusting."
Jasper County Sheriff's deputies start community policing effort
CARTHAGE, Mo. — Jasper County deputies have taken community policing to the country.
Sheriff Randee Kaiser said the goal of a project started recently is to encourage residents cooperating in reducing crime in an area in the south central part of the county.
The program has been started as a trial with plans to extend it to other areas, he said.
“It's going very well, we've gotten a lot of positive reaction from the community so far,” he said.
The area targeted for the project is from the south county line north to Cedar Road, between County Road 120 and 190, which includes the Fidelity area. He said the area was selected because it now has higher rates of calls for service.
LPD: Community Policing Helped Lower Crime Stats
Lynchburg, VA - The Lynchburg police department is pleased with new crime statistics, showing the total number of incidents was down in 2012.
The state police released the annual report this week, showing property crime is down significantly from the year before.
Police attribute several things to lowering the number of property crimes last year -- everything from social media to vigilant citizens.
Sirens. It's a sound no one wants in their neighborhood. And if you live in Lynchburg, you may be hearing it less.
June 21, 2013
Judges: Gov. Jerry Brown must fully comply with prison order
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A panel of federal judges on Thursday rejected Gov. Jerry Brown's attempt to circumvent its long-standing order for reducing California's prison population, the latest step in an ongoing legal drama over how to improve inmates' medical and mental health care inmates.
Brown quickly announced that he will ask the courts to stay what he called an "unprecedented order to release almost 10,000 inmates by the end of this year." The governor already filed notice that he intends to appeal the latest order to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The judges stopped just short of citing the Democratic governor for contempt of court, but again threatened to do so if he does not immediately comply with their latest order.
The plan submitted by the Brown administration in May to further reduce the inmate population failed to meet the judges' mandate because it fell short of the court-ordered population cap by 2,300 inmates, the judges said in their 51-page order. That previous population reduction order has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The judges reiterated in their sharply worded ruling that the governor must comply with the original order to reduce the population to 110,000 inmates by the end of the year. They ordered Brown to take all the steps he outlined in May, as well as one more step - the expansion of good-time credits leading to early release. Brown had offered that as an option, but it was not one he was willing to embrace.
Southern California police say they need more resources to confront potential inmate releases
A court order that could, in what may be considered a worst-case scenario, lead to the early release of thousands of state prison inmates prompted outrage from Southern California police leaders, as well as liberal and conservative politicians who decried the ruling as a threat to public safety.
Gov. Jerry Brown immediately responded to Thursday's ruling by declaring he will seek a stay of what he described as an "unprecedented" order calling for the release of nearly 10,000 inmates by year's end.
The judges who issued the ruling demanded that California reduce its prison population by 9,400 inmates. Although it was not necessarily certain that, if the ruling is upheld, all of those inmates would be freed instead of confined in alternative facilities, the possibility remains that the order may result in thousands of inmates being released into communities where police services have been cut due to local government's budget struggles since the Great Recession.
"This puts us in a very tough position," Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell said.
The Long Beach Police Department recently hired 50 officers, McDonnell said, which would put its total staffing of sworn men and women to just over 800 officers.
Senate immigration deal would double number of U.S. border agents
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Federal agents on the U.S.-Mexican border would double to about 40,000 under a deal reached on Thursday in the Democratic-led Senate to draw more Republicans to a landmark immigration bill headed toward anticipated passage.
Some questioned the costs and benefits of up to $50 billion in the extra border security, which also will include high-tech surveillance equipment such as manned and unmanned aerial vehicles, radar and seismic devices.
But concerns were overshadowed by the deal's main goal: win votes for an overhaul of U.S. immigration law that will open a pathway to citizenship for up to 11 million undocumented immigrants.
Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid was expected to set a test vote for as early as Monday in a bid to have the deal added to the White House-backed bill in the form of an amendment.
Grandma organizes ‘Glock Block' to shoot neighborhood criminals
Fed-up by the rise of crime in her neighborhood in Milwaukie, Oregon, 65-year-old, Coy Tolonen has decided to put matters into her own hands — using a Glock handgun.
The grandmother of three has organized a neighborhood “Glock Block,” a group of pistol-packing elderly neighbors seeking to deter crime, KOIN 6 News in Oregon reported.
Tolonen decided to start the group when her home was broken into last Thursday, she fears, by the same man who had stolen a bronze statue from her backyard earlier that day.
“It just made my blood run cold because our grandkids are playing here a lot, and one of them could have been snatched just as easily as the statue,” she told ABCNews.com.
Now the breast cancer survivor has taken a class and joined-up with other neighbors with concealed carry permits to try to keep their neighborhood safe. The neighbors have put-up fliers in their windows with their stated motto: “This is a Glock Block, We don't call 911.”
Police trading cards returning to Florham Park
FLORHAM PARK – It appears the borough police will once again be giving out those popular baseball-style trading cards kids love to collect and swap.
The Borough Council on Thursday approved a resolution endorsing Police Chief Patrick Montuore's request to re-initiate the program, which had been offered several years ago but was discontinued due to expense.
Montuore, however, wants the cards to return because they “have a pretty good local policing value."
Restoring the program, he said, “was a no-brainer.”
The cards typically contain a photo of police officers, as well as a little about them and the department. Kids typically collect the cards, and in doing so, also get to know more about the officers.
Oakland Police Unveil Neighborhood Commanders In New Strategy
OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Oakland Interim Police Chief Sean Whent said Thursday that his department's new neighborhood policing plan is aimed at being more efficient in reducing the city's high crime rate.
“We want to better identify crime hotspots and react to them,” Whent said at a news conference at the police Eastmont substation, where he introduced the commanders of the five new police districts.
The Police Department had been divided into two large geographic districts in recent years but in March it started switching to five smaller districts, each with its own captain and about 66 officers.
Police officials say the new units will be able to focus on smaller beats and consequently improve response times and allow for more proactive policing.
Whent said the department also wants to “improve our relationship with the community” so that community members feel more comfortable talking with police officers and helping them solve crimes.
June 20, 2013
How to block the NSA from your friends list
After recent revelations of NSA spying, it's difficult to trust large Internet corporations like Facebook to host our online social networks. Facebook is one of nine companies tied to PRISM--perhaps the largest government surveillance effort in world history. Even before this story broke, many social media addicts had lost trust in the company. Maybe now they'll finally start thinking seriously about leaving the social network giant.
Luckily, there are other options, ones that are less vulnerable to government spying and offer users more control over their personal data. But will mass migration from Facebook actually happen?
According to a Pew study released weeks before news of PRISM broke, teen-agers are disenchanted with Facebook. They're moving to other platforms, like Snapchat and (Facebook owned) Instagram, the study reports. This is the way a social network dies - people sign up for multiple platforms before gradually realizing that one has become vacant or uninteresting. Myspace, for instance, took years to drop off the map. By 2006 Myspace reached 100 million users, making it the most popular social network in the United States. But by 2008, Facebook had reached twice that number, less than two years after allowing anyone older than 13 to join the network.
Benjamin Mako Hill, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, thinks Facebook's ability to connect people and bind them to the social network is overrated to begin with. "Facebook didn't exist, what, 10 years ago," he says, and in 10 years, he thinks, "a company called Facebook will exist, but will it occupy the same space in our culture? That's certainly not something I'm willing to take for granted."
June 19, 2013
Haiti Creating Community Policing Unit, With Help From NYPD
The Haitian National Police is developing a “community policing unit” aimed at improving engagement with citizens.
The unit's members have been training with HNP teachers and Haitian-American officers from the New York Police Department, covering courses from ethics and disciplinary regulations to stress management.
The Haitian National Police began recruiting the officers in 2012, with 40 chosen out of an initial pool of 150 applicants.
The 40-officer unit will serve in the Delmas area of Port-au-Prince, with the officers set to graduate from training at the end of this month.
The NYPD has had Creole-speaking officers in Haiti since the 2010 earthquake, with the US State Department underwriting the officers' salaries and other costs.
For the past two years, the NYPD has deployed 68 Haitian-American officers to Haiti for 90-day rotations.
The 14-year-old kid arrested over his pro-NRA shirt now faces a year in jail
The West Virginia eighth-grader who was suspended and arrested in late April after he refused to remove a t-shirt supporting the National Rifle Association appeared in court this week and was formally charged with obstructing an officer.
As CBS affiliate WOWK reports, 14-year-old Jared Marcum now faces a $500 fine and a maximum of one year in prison.
The boy's father, Allen Lardieri, is not pleased.
“Me, I'm more of a fighter and so is Jared and eventually we're going to get through this,” Lardieri told WOWK. “I don't think it should have ever gotten this far.”
“Every aspect of this is just totally wrong,” Lardieri added. “He has no background of anything criminal up until now and it just seems like nobody wants to admit they're wrong.”
June 18, 2013
Restraining order didn't work for West Hills mother of two
A husband vows to kill his wife. She gets a restraining order, but the threats keep coming. She begs the police for help. They tell her to hide.
He finds her anyway.
It's a scenario that police and domestic violence advocates have seen before. While the majority of the time, the system is able to protect women, sometimes it doesn't.
In the case of Michelle Ann Kane, who police say was stabbed to death by her estranged husband in front of the West Hills home of friends where she sought refuge, she had done everything right to ward off an attack. After seeking a divorce, she had filed for a restraining order and then asked police for help only a day before her death.
So how, experts, are asking, could she have still allegedly fallen victim to domestic violence?
"This should be investigated," said Vickie Jensen, a Cal State Northridge professor of sociology who specializes in domestic violence. "Simply telling her to find a safe place -- he's going to find her.
Calif. professor and alleged killer added to FBI's 'Most Wanted' list
WASHINGTON - The FBI added two people on Monday to its list of most-wanted fugitives: a Mexican laborer accused of killing a woman in Louisiana and a former university professor charged with committing sex crimes in the Philippines.
The FBI is offering $100,000 for information leading to the arrests of the men, who are the 499th and 500th fugitives to be featured on the Ten Most Wanted list.
JosÃ© Manuel GarcÃa Guevara, 25, is a Mexican national who allegedly raped and killed a woman in Lake Charles, La., in 2008, in front of her 4-year-old stepson. Guevara and the woman lived in the same mobile home park, the FBI Walter Lee Williams (FBI)said.
He is believed to be in Mexico but might have traveled back to the United States, the FBI said.
Walter Lee Williams, 64, was an anthropology and gender studies professor at the University of Southern California. He left in 2011, an FBI spokeswoman said.
Letter to the Editor
Policing and Immigrants
To the Editor:
Re “ Little-Known Guide (Definitely Not for Tourists) Helps Police in a Diverse City ” (news article, June 11):
In the last decade, more than two-thirds of states saw their foreign-born populations increase by at least 30 percent. A significant proportion of the growth is happening in areas that were once unfamiliar with immigration — in rural communities, suburbs and small cities.
Work that we have done with the Justice Department's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services aims to foster continuing collaborations between police departments and the immigrant communities they serve.
We have identified some promising practices in the field: comprehensive approaches, including dedicated community liaisons, multicultural police advisory councils, and training for police personnel that is developed in partnership with community members.
Effective efforts include training guides, but need to go beyond them and directly involve the community in learning about its barriers to receiving police protection and services. A police officer can learn volumes about a specific community's needs through interactions that take place at a community-based cafe or during a walk through a neighborhood.
Montebello Unified School District police explorers honored for service
MONTEBELLO-After its students logged more than 1,400 community service hours over the past year, the Montebello Unified School District celebrated the achievements of its 30 police explorers during the biennial recognition and graduation ceremony at Eastmont Intermediate School recently.
"These students are an integral part of this community and this is our way of recognizing them for all of the great work they do," said MUSD police Chief Linh Dinh, who heads the program. "I'm so proud of all of our police explorers, some of whom have been involved in Post 640 since its inception in 2009."
The explorer program was founded to provide youths, ages 14 to 20, with a snapshot of law enforcement careers, and also promotes important values including respect, discipline and responsibility.
In addition to shadowing MUSD police officers, the explorers also volunteer and provide assistance at athletic games, and at other district and community events.
The course curriculum, taught by Dinh and other post advisors, includes training on leadership, ethics, search and seizure, community policing, traffic enforcement and more.
June 17, 2013
6 dead, at least 36 injured in city's most violent weekend in 2013
The most violent weekend in Chicago this year left at least 36 people injured and six others dead from gunfire. Those killed ranged in age from 16 to 40.
“I had a family from my parish tell me recently that their 10-year-old son didn't want to come back to Chicago from vacation because of the violence,” said Rev. Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina Catholic Church in Englewood, which is about a mile from the site of one of the shootings.
Friends and family gathered Sunday outside the Humboldt Park home of Kevin Rivera to sign a poster and light candles to remember the 16-year-old. He was killed late Saturday when a gunman on a bicycle shot Rivera as he walked in an alley not far from his home on the 1500 block of North Keystone. He collapsed down the block from where he was shot about 11:45 p.m.
Earlier Saturday, about 10:50 p.m., Ricardo Herrera, 21, was killed and two others were wounded in a shooting in the Little Village neighborhood when a gunman opened fire in the 2500 block of South Ridgeway Avenue. Herrera, of the 2400 block of South Marshall Boulevard, was dead at the scene.
Rookie cops walking South Side streets
Initiative puts new officers on night patrols in some of city's most dangerous blocks
Flashlights in hand, the five rookie Chicago cops were walking along a darkened stretch of the gang-infested South Side neighborhood on a recent night when their radios crackled with a call of a battery in progress.
One behind the other, the five jogged the next block over, joining up with four other young officers already huddled around a man who said the two mothers of his children had just duked it out.
"Can you pull someone over if you're walking?" asked the man, surprised to see all the officers had arrived on foot. "We're still the police, right?" one officer replied. "Absolutely, we can pull someone over. If they don't stop, we'll call (for a squad car)."
Fresh from the police academy and three months of street training, up to 16 rookie cops a night patrol some of the city's most dangerous blocks on foot as part of a new initiative that is a throwback to the department's days of old.
Superintendent Garry McCarthy calls it a return to community policing, but it also is designed to beef up the police presence in tough neighborhoods and give the new cops a taste of life on the street.
Social media give Virginia Tech police a host of new eyes
The department is finding Facebook and Twitter help them catch offenders as well as connect with the community
BLACKSBURG — Technology is leading to a new era of community policing at Virginia Tech.
Over the past two years, Tech police say using social media to post selected footage from new security cameras installed in public areas around campus has led directly to the solving of about a half-dozen cases.
While some have been small thefts or acts of vandalism, Tech Police Maj. Kevin Foust said others have been serious. At least one such posting has led to a felony charge.
More than that, the social media initiative is involving students, faculty and staff in keeping their own campus safe, and opening up new avenues for interaction with police. “This is how our community wants us to communicate,” Foust said.
The trend began about two years ago as the department ramped up its Facebook presence, a move that boosted its “friends,” or subscribers' list from about 2,500 to about 9,500 today, Tech police Lt. George Jackson said.