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.
Aug 4, 2013
Police centers serve as office hubs
You won't often find Green Bay police stationed inside any of the city's three community policing centers.
And that's by design, said Green Bay police Capt. Jim Runge, who heads the district on the city's near east side.
“The intent for community police officers is they should be out in the community, so they should not be there a lot of the time,” he said.
Police have offices at the centers because it's more convenient for them to complete paperwork there, in the neighborhood they are assigned to, rather than go to the downtown station, Runge said. Officers also store their bikes and other equipment there, he said.
In 1995, police began a community policing strategy to help officers work on big neighborhood issues and connect with residents. Community police officers don't typically respond to emergency calls. Instead, they spend time patrolling parks, monitoring bars, investigating drug activity and accompanying probation and parole agents on house calls, among other duties.
Community policing events Aug. 6
Two events in community policing will take place next Tuesday night. The Minnesota Crime Prevention Association and communities throughout the state, including Park Rapids and Akeley, will celebrate the 5th annual Night to Unite. Akeley and other communities call Aug. 6 National Night Out.
Throughout the country, the event seeks to bring law enforcement and the public together to celebrate and strengthen neighborhood/ policing partnerships, to prevent crime. Night to Unite is sponsored by the Minnesota Crime Prevention Association, AAA of Minnesota/ Iowa and local law enforcement communities.
The Hubbard County Sheriff's Department's event will be from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Law Enforcement Center parking lot. Jail caterer A'viands hosts a bar-be-cue dinner from 5 to 7. The department's K-9 officer, Oakley, will give a demonstration with handler Sgt. Dan Kruchowski.
Participants will meet local deputies, boat and water patrol, SWAT, Command Center, ATV and snowmobile units, the Sheriff's Posse and Explorer Post members. There will be a child ID station and dunk tank for the K-9 Unit. In Akeley, the event runs -from 5 to 9 p.m. at Paul's Patio.
This event also includes free food, chips, ice cream and beverages. Kids in Akeley will have chances to win a Kindle Fire, iPods and Bunyan Bucks, redeemable at local merchants. Other games and prizes will be offered.
Both events are free and open to the public.
Do you know this person? HSI seeks public's help to identify an individual
(Picture on site)
DALLAS — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is urgently seeking the public's help to identify the pictured individual who may have knowledge crucial to an ongoing criminal investigation.
Based on investigative clues in the photos, HSI special agents believe that this person may now live in, or has recently visited, north Texas. The photos are believed to have been taken sometime in April 2013. The ball cap's logo, "Shut Up N Play," is new and has not yet been released for sale. While the ball cap has not been released yet for general sale, there has been very limited distribution within north Texas. Due to privacy concerns, no further details can be provided at this time.
If you think you know this person, please contact HSI at 1-866-347-2423 . You can also email your tip to: http://www.ice.gov/exec/forms/hsi-tips/tips.asp .
All tips will remain confidential.
From the FBI
Pirated Software May Contain Malware
You decide to order some software from an unknown online seller. The price is so low you just can't pass it up. What could go wrong?
Plenty. Whether you're downloading it or buying a physical disc, the odds are good that the product is pirated and laced with malicious software, or malware.
Is Your Software Pirated?
Possible signs of what to look for:
- No packaging, invoice, or other documentation…just a disc in an envelope
- Poor quality labeling on the disc, which looks noticeably different than the labeling on legitimate software
- Software is labeled as the full retail version but only contains a limited version
- Visible variations (like lines or differently shaded regions) on the underside of a disc
- Product is not wrapped correctly and is missing features like security tape around the edges of the plastic case
- Typos in software manuals or pages printed upside down
- User is required to go a website for a software activation key (often a ploy to disseminate additional malware)
From the Department of Homeland Security
"If You See Something, Say Something" Campaign
About the Campaign
The nationwide "If You See Something, Say Something™" public awareness campaign - is a simple and effective program to raise public awareness of indicators of terrorism and terrorism-related crime, and to emphasize the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the proper local law enforcement authorities. The campaign was originally used by New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which has licensed the use of the slogan to DHS for anti-terrorism and anti-terrorism crime related efforts.
Homeland Security Begins with Hometown Security
If you see something suspicious taking place then report that behavior or activity to local law enforcement or in the case of emergency call 9-1-1. Factors such as race, ethnicity, national origin, or religious affiliation alone are not suspicious. For that reason, the public should report only suspicious behavior and situations (e.g., an unattended backpack in a public place or someone trying to break into a restricted area) rather than beliefs, thoughts, ideas, expressions, associations, or speech unrelated to terrorism or other criminal activity. Only reports that document behavior reasonably indicative of criminal activity related to terrorism will be shared with federal partners.
DHS is working to expand “If You See Something, Say Something ™” throughout the country by partnering with a variety of entities including: transportation systems, universities, states, cities, sports leagues and local law enforcement. If you're interested in getting your group involved please contact 202-282-8010. http://www.dhs.gov/if-you-see-something-say-something-campaign
Aug 3, 2013
Terror alert issued by U.S. State Department
WASHINGTON -- The United States issued a worldwide travel alert on Friday warning Americans that al Qaeda may be planning attacks in August, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa.
The State Department travel alert was based on the same intelligence that prompted it to close 21 U.S. embassies and consulates on Sunday, August 4, chiefly those in the Muslim world, a U.S. official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
"The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the continued potential for terrorist attacks, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, and possibly occurring in or emanating from the Arabian Peninsula," its statement said.
"Current information suggests that al Qaeda and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond, and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August," it added, saying the travel alert would expire on August 31.
Among the most prominent of al Qaeda's affiliates is Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a Yemen-based group whose attempted attacks included the Christmas Day 2009 attempt to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.
California prisons: U.S. Supreme Court rejects state bid to avoid removal of more inmates
Gov. Jerry Brown and his top prison officials may be running out of options to avoid having to remove another 10,000 inmates from the state's prisons by the end of the year.
In a brief but significant order, the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday rejected the Brown administration's bid to stall a federal court demand that the state shed the inmates to resolve California's prison overcrowding crisis. It was the latest setback in a long-running case that has stirred fears of thousands of criminals walking free, although the state would likely seek to place many of the prisoners in other facilities, including county jails.
The Supreme Court without explanation denied California's attempt to stay the orders while the justices consider whether to take up the state's broader appeal, an ominous sign for the governor. Three justices dissented and voted to put the inmate release order on hold, including Justice Antonin Scalia, who labeled it a "terrible injunction."
The Supreme Court did not indicate whether it will accept the full appeal of the order for its upcoming term, but with six justices refusing to put it on hold, the odds appear to weigh against the governor and his top prison aides.
Nevertheless, state officials vowed to press forward with their legal fight. The governor did not respond to the Supreme Court's order, but Jeffrey Beard, head of the state prison system, issued a brief statement saying the state now hopes to get the justices to consider the heart of the appeal.
Aug 2, 2013
US to temporarily shut down embassies around the world Sunday amid security concerns
The United States will temporarily shut down its embassies and consulates around the world Sunday -- including those in Iraq, Afghanistan and Egypt -- as a precautionary measure over terror-related concerns, State Department officials said.
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf did not say how long the international installations would stay closed -- only that the decision was taken “out of an abundance of caution and care for our employees and others who may be visiting.” Officials would not describe the nature of the threat.
Sunday is a normal workday in many Arab and Middle Eastern countries, meaning that is where the closures will have an impact. Embassies in Europe and Latin America would be shuttered that day anyway.
“We have instructed all U.S. embassies and consulates that would have normally been open on Sunday to suspend operations, specifically on August 4,” a senior State Department official said Thursday night. “It is possible we may have additional days of closing as well.”
Other U.S. officials said the threat was specifically in the Muslim world.
Sheriff offers 10-week citizen police academy
FRENCH CAMP – Ever wanted to learn about law enforcement tactics and procedures?
The San Joaquin County Sheriff's Department is going to make that possible.
Starting Sept. 4, the department will begin its annual Citizen's Police Academy at the Sheriff's headquarters in French Camp – providing an up-close and hands-on look at what those behind the badge do on a daily basis.
For $40, participants will spend three hours every Wednesday, for 10-weeks, working with academy instructors on patrol procedures, narcotics, gangs, hostage negotiations and crime prevention.
Instructors – which will include both sworn deputies and civilian staff members – will talk about internal affairs, the community oriented policing model that the department strives to embrace and what goes in to being part of a specialized unit like SWAT.
“The opportunity for citizens to attend our sheriff's academy allows them to learn about our inner workings and why we do what we do and how we do it,” said Sheriff's Public Information Officer Les Garcia. “We've been fortunate enough to hold several of these classes over the years and have received positive feedback from the community and those that participated.
Fireworks, food and family fun promised at V'land Night Out
VINELAND — The Vineland Police Department invites the community to its National Night Out celebration that's set to begin at 5 p.m. Tuesday on the grounds of Chestnut Assembly of God.
The event features a potluck sharing of resources for what is billed as a goodbye party for crime.
The message is serious. But the atmosphere will be fun with free food, an antique car show and family-friendly activities.
The city's Community Policing Unit works all year to organize the crime prevention party, which Police Chief Tim Codispoti called “one of the cornerstones of the emphasis that we put on community policing.”
Community policing is not a complicated concept, the chief said, noting it's nothing more than police and the public working together around the clock to keep their community safe.
This is the fifth National Night Out celebration hosted by the city's police force, Officer Joe Pagano said. More than 2,000 people attended last year's event.
Aug 1, 2013
Highly potent 'ear wax' marijuana concerns health officials
Two minutes after taking a five-second hit from a vaporizer, Josh felt the effects of the ear wax marijuana rushing over him.
"I felt like I was gonna die," the 17-year-old recalled. "The movie we were watching started to look 3-D. I kept seeing lights."
What the others in the group Josh was with had failed to tell him when they offered the drug to him, was that ear wax marijuana can include up to 90 percent THC.
In short, it's highly hallucinogenic. And, knowledgeable sources say, it can be very dangerous to certain people.
Officials on Solano County's Alcohol and Drug Advisory board, say they know little about ear wax marijuana -- its nickname derived from its appearance -- or its potential dangers.
The night Josh was under the drug's influence, someone telephoned Rhonda, Josh's grandmother. She picked him up and drove him to the hospital -- where his hands were handcuffed to the bed rails and he was later arrested.
Cleveland Kidnap Victims Kept Diary of Ariel Castro's Abuse, Prosecutor Says
Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro will appear in court today where he is expected to be sentenced to life in prison, plus 1,000 years, as prosecutors released new details from his captives' dairies that include "being held like a prisoner of war" on only one meal a day.
A sentencing memorandum, released Wednesday, outlines dramatic details of how Amanda Berry, 27, Gina DeJesus, 23, and Michelle Knight, 32, were restrained by chains attached to their ankles with access only to plastic toilets in the bedrooms that were rarely emptied. Castro fed the women one meal a day and used the "cold of the basement" and the "heat of the attic" as punishment techniques, according to the memo.
"The entries speak of forced sexual conduct, of being locked in a dark room, of anticipating the next session of abuse, of the dreams of someday escaping and being reunited with family, of being chained to a wall, of being held like a prisoner of war," the memorandum says.
Castro, 53, pleaded guilty Friday to 937 counts, including kidnapping, rape, assault and aggravated murder that will send him to prison for life with no chance of parole for abducting the three women and keeping them as sex slaves for more than a decade in his Cleveland home.
The prosecution released the memo in an attempt to persuade the judge to give Castro the sentence that the former bus driver has agreed to accept.
Low crime rate sign of a 'healthy community'
Sudbury was a safer place in 2012, stats show
More than a year after her neighbourhood made headlines for a dramatic drop in crime, June Davis says the positive changes in the area have managed to take root.
“Things are going well,” said Davis, who heads the Louis Street Community Association, which has taken a leading role in establishing community programs in the area.
Police at one time were getting 12 calls a day to come to the neighbourhood, but thanks to the work of social service groups in the area and a community policing initiative called Zone 30, that number had dropped to one a month last year.
Davis said key to the change is the regular presence of police in the community, as opposed to having them there to respond to a crime. It allows police to be seen as more part of the community than outsiders called in to deal with problems.
“We have two officers on bicycles ... who come around the community and check things out,” Davis said.
City police host Citizens Academy Class
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, City of St. Louis will host a Citizens Academy Class September 4 through November 20, meeting Wednesday nights from 6-9 p.m. There is no fee.
Parking is provided.
Citizens will gain a better understanding of the inner workings of the department through instruction in the department's history and structure, predicting and analyzing crime patterns, gang intelligence, homicide investigations and community policing techniques. Nearly all instruction is provided by commissioned police officers.
Participants will have the opportunity to meet Chief Sam Dotson and interact with police canines, the police bomb robot, tour the 911 call center and use the driving and shooting simulators.
Applicants must be St. Louis city residents or business owners, must be at least 18 years of age, must have no outstanding arrest warrants and must agree to a criminal background check.
July 31, 2013
Manning Is Acquitted of Aiding the Enemy
FORT MEADE, Md. — A military judge on Tuesday found Pfc. Bradley Manning not guilty of “aiding the enemy” for his release of hundreds of thousands of military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks for publication on the Internet, rejecting the government's unprecedented effort to bring such a charge in a leak case.
But the judge in the court-martial, Col. Denise R. Lind, convicted Private Manning of six counts of violating the Espionage Act of 1917 and most of the other crimes he was charged with. He faces a theoretical maximum sentence of 136 years in prison, although legal experts said the actual term was likely to be much shorter.
While advocates of open government celebrated his acquittal on the most serious charge, the case still appears destined to stand as a fierce warning to any government employee who is tempted to make public vast numbers of secret documents. Private Manning's actions lifted a veil on American military and diplomatic activities around the world, and engendered a broad debate over what information should become public, how the government treats leakers, and what happens to those who see themselves as whistle-blowers.
“We always hate to see a government employee who was trying to publicize wrongdoing convicted of a crime, but this case was unusual from the start because of the scope of his release,” said Gregg Leslie of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, adding, “Whistle-blowers always know they are taking risks, and the more they reveal the bigger the threat is against them.”
July 30, 2013
Could your car be hacked? US-funded experts reveal how
Master Diagnostic Technician Kurt Juergens, of Foxborough, Mass., uses a laptop computer to diagnose and repair the brake system on a 2010 Toyota Prius in the repair shop of a Toyota dealership, in Norwood, Mass., Feb. 9, 2010. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
BOSTON - Car hacking is not a new field, but its secrets have long been closely guarded. That is about to change, thanks to two well-known computer software hackers who got bored finding bugs in software from Microsoft and Apple.
Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek say they will publish detailed blueprints of techniques for attacking critical systems in the Toyota Prius and Ford Escape in a 100-page white paper, following several months of research they conducted with a grant from the U.S. government.
The two "white hats" - hackers who try to uncover software vulnerabilities before criminals can exploit them - will also release the software they built for hacking the cars at the Def Con hacking convention in Las Vegas this week.
Ark. District Arming Teachers, Staff With Guns
As Cheyne Dougan rounded the corner at Clarksville High School, he saw three students on the floor moaning and crying. In a split-second, two more ran out of a nearby classroom.
"He's got a gun," one of them shouted as Dougan approached with his pistol drawn. Inside, he found one student holding another at gunpoint. Dougan aimed and fired three rounds at the gunman.
Preparing for such scenarios has become common for police after a school shooting in Connecticut last December left 20 children and six teachers dead. But Dougan is no policeman. He's the assistant principal of this school in Arkansas, and when classes resume in August, he will walk the halls with a 9 mm handgun.
Dougan is among more than 20 teachers, administrators and other school employees in this town who will carry concealed weapons throughout the school day, making use of a little-known Arkansas law that allows licensed, armed security guards on campus. After undergoing 53 hours of training, Dougan and other teachers at the school will be considered guards.
"The plan we've been given in the past is 'Well, lock your doors, turn off your lights and hope for the best,'" Superintendent David Hopkins said. But as deadly incidents continued to happen in schools, he explained, the district decided, "That's not a plan."
FBI says it doesn't need warrant to use drones
The FBI has told Congress it does not need to get a warrant to conduct surveillance with drones, in a letter laying out some of the top federal law enforcement agency's policies for how it uses unmanned aerial vehicles.
In a July 19 letter to Sen. Rand Paul, Stephen D. Kelly, assistant director for the FBI's congressional liaison office, said the agency has used drones in 10 instances, including twice for "national security" cases and eight times for criminal cases. The FBI authorized the use of drones in three other criminal cases but didn't deploy them.
Then, in a follow-up letter Mr. Paul released Monday, Mr. Kelly said they don't believe they ever need to obtain a warrant to conduct drone surveillance as long as it's done within guidelines.
He said they take their lead from several Supreme Court cases that don't deal directly with drones but do cover manned aerial surveillance. In those cases the court ruled that a long as the areas observed were in public view and no law enforcement officer was trespassing, no privacy rights were violated.
In one case a concurring opinion by one of the justices said that there could be a problem if an agency were conducting long-term warrantless surveillance of someone in public, because that could constitute an unreasonable search in violation of the Constitution's Fourth Amendment.
Police to discuss neighborhood involvement at northwest Omaha park
OMAHA, Neb. —A Dundee Neighborhood Watch group is making its streets safer, and now police are trying to get residents in northwest Omaha to do the same.
The residents of Dundee are committed to keeping criminals off their streets. Brent Ruswick said it starts with people being good neighbors.
“I haven't felt any reason to be concerned about myself or my possessions here,” Ruswick said.
A robbery Friday night had the community talking. Police said two men in a white sedan held up another man near 49th and Cass streets around 11 p.m.
Laurie Morris, block captain for one of Dundee's Neighborhood Watch groups, learned Monday that the car may have been spotted in Dundee within the last two weeks.
“Hopefully, we can catch the people doing the crimes and keep it safe,” Morris said.
Omaha police know community policing can make a difference, which is why they are trying to get residents near Greentree Park involved.
Sandy Springs' Citizens on Patrol: Why They Do It
Citizens on Patrol is a component of the community policing initiated by former Police Chief and now Public Safety Director Terry Sult. The first Citizens on Patrol class graduated in 2011.
An Amberidge neighbor waved from her driveway when she saw the Citzens on Patrol car pass by, last week. You may have occasionally noticed a Citizens on Patrol vehicle driving through your neighborhood too. They look similar to the Sandy Springs Police cars.
“It's kind of nice to drive through and see if anything looks out of the ordinary,” said Mark Thomas, a Citizens on Patrol volunteer. “After a while you get a feel for what looks normal and what doesn't. Like if you see a cargo van backed into a driveway.
With the August graduating class, Citizens on Patrol will have a total of 42 volunteer members. Thomas coordinates the program with Officer Jeff Holmes, who is in charge of the SSPD Volunteer Unit.
Citizens on Patrol is a component of the community policing initiated by former Police Chief and now Public Safety Director Terry Sult. The first Citizens on Patrol class graduated in 2011.
July 29, 2013
Too many alarms: Many electronic ankle bracelets go unchecked
Three decades after they were introduced as a crime-fighting tool, electronic ankle bracelets used to track an offender's whereabouts have proliferated so much that officials are struggling to handle an avalanche of monitoring alerts that are often nothing more sinister than a dead battery, lost satellite contact or someone arriving home late from work.
Amid all that white noise, alarms are going unchecked, sometimes on defendants now accused of new crimes.
Some agencies don't have clear protocols on how to handle the multitude of alerts, or don't always follow them. At times, officials took days to act, if they noticed at all, when criminals tampered with their bracelets or broke a curfew.
"I think the perception ... is that these people are being watched 24 hours a day by someone in a command center. That's just not happening," said Rob Bains, director of court services for Florida's Ninth Judicial Circuit Court, which this spring halted its monitoring programs after two people on the devices were accused in separate shootings.
CrimeStoppers:Benefits of improved police-community relations
Crime Prevention efforts reduce polarization that sometimes exists between police and citizens.
Community Policing, Neighborhood Watch, CERT teams, and McGruff programs build a bridge that enables residents and law enforcement to communicate, collaborate, and work together to build safer, more caring communities.
When trust is established between law enforcement and the community, members of the community are often more forthcoming with helpful information and potential investigative leads. Calls for service may initially increase due to a more “open” line of communication. Everyone wins when law enforcement are able to do their jobs more effectively. I have often said that the level of service that any community receives is a direct result of positive involvement between police and the citizens it serves.
Community residents have much to gain when they work side by side with law enforcement. There are better information exchanges and they gain a better understanding of law enforcement.
Improved relations allow community residents to have more trust and less fear of police, safer community and have less tension and conflict. A positive relationship with the police results in increased safety for children and seniors. It can also help in a quicker resolution to crime.
Organization of black law enforcement executives meeting in Pittsburgh
The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives will begin an annual conference in Pittsburgh on the heels of a month marked by racially charged protests and gatherings.
Pittsburgh police Assistant Chief Maurita Bryant, president of the 2,500-member organization based in Alexandria, Va., says the community policing ideas that the group will discuss can quell such tension between police and minorities.
“NOBLE was one of the first law enforcement organizations to adopt community policing philosophy,” Bryant said. “Your interaction with the public should be more positive and service- oriented than anything else. You collaborate with the community more than you come in and tell people what to do.”
The 37th annual NOBLE Training Conference and Exhibition will take place Aug. 3-7 in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown. Bryant said she expects at least 1,500 people to attend the conference. Only five city police officers are registered.
NOBLE represents mostly chiefs, assistant chiefs, sheriffs and others who are at least at the level of lieutenant, said Joseph Akers, the organization's interim executive director. The conference will address diversifying the supervisory ranks, he said.
From the Department of Justice
Associate Attorney General Tony West Delivers Remarks at the Meeting of the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
The Attorney General regrets that he is not able to join us for today's meeting; he very much wanted to be here as he has in been in the past, and asked me to convey his deep appreciation for all the critical work that the Council does for children and families. As you all know, as both the Attorney General –as someone who has been a prosecutor, a judge, and most importantly, a father – the well-being of our nation's youth has been and remains one of his top priorities.
As part of his Defending Childhood Initiative, the Attorney General's Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence recommended the creation of a task force specifically devoted to American Indian and Alaska Native children in order to address the complex and unique needs of American Indian and Alaska Native communities. I am pleased to report that the creation of the Task Force on American Indian/Alaska Native Children's Exposure to Violence is fast becoming a reality.
Building on the work of the original and successful Defending Childhood Task Force and efforts across the Department of Justice in Indian country, the American Indian and Alaska Native Task Force will consist of two groups – an Advisory Committee and a Federal Working Group.
The Advisory Committee will consist of non-federal experts that will convene to examine the pervasive problems associated with American Indian and Alaska Native children's exposure to violence. This committee will act in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act and OJJDP will soon engage in a member selection process. In addition, OJJDP has already issued a solicitation seeking technical assistance and other support for the Advisory Committee of the Task Force.