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 11, 2013
Gun-control bills could push California to top of firearm-restriction list
SACRAMENTO -- With summer recess behind them and the legislative session's five-week homestretch ahead, state lawmakers face a fusillade of gun-control bills that could move California far beyond what any other state has enacted -- including proposals to ban a wide range of semi-automatic rifles and impose strict new regulations on ammunition.
And what happens in Sacramento might not stay in Sacramento. With their agenda stalled in Congress, gun-control advocates hope California can break the inertia and reignite the national debate that erupted after a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school in December.
"When we see movement on the California bills and the sort of tenacity that you had post-Newtown, it makes it really hard for the gun lobby to say the momentum has gone away. And it's certainly something Congress pays attention to," said Kristin Rand, legislative director at the Violence Policy Center in Washington, D.C. "You can't underestimate how important it is for Congress to see movement in the states, especially big states like California."
Harrisburg police call town hall meeting to jump start community policing
HARRISBURG – Police in the capital city are calling on residents to help make their community safer and cleaner through a coordinated effort beginning with a planning forum next week.
Harrisburg Police Department -- “Policing our community is everyone's civic duty." - Harrisburg police
Town hall meeting featuring training and discussion re: Neighborhood Crime Watch, as well as blight, illegal dumping, fire safety and security and surveillance.
On heels of conference, black officers discuss challenges, changes in policing
Several years ago, Andre Davis and his wife were driving home from a concert in Pittsburgh. The couple had seen Luther Vandross at the Civic Arena.
At a red light on Route 65 north between the city and the Beaver County line, Davis -- then a beat cop -- found himself across the intersection from a police cruiser stopped in the opposite lane.
When the light turned green, Davis proceeded through the intersection. The cruiser made a U-turn and pulled over his vehicle.
The fairly young, white officer told Davis, who is African American, that he pulled him over for a “white line thing.” There was no alcohol involved, Davis said, and he and his wife didn't understand the justification for the traffic stop.
ICE's top 10 anti-gang achievements
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) protects the United States by promoting homeland security and public safety through the criminal and civil enforcement of federal laws governing border control, customs, trade and immigration. To accomplish this mission, ICE coordinates with its federal, state, local and tribal partners to arrest and remove dangerous individuals during anti-gang operations and projects around the country.
Below are 10 of ICE's anti-gang achievements.
Operation Community Shield
ICE conducted its largest ever nationwide gang surge Oct. 1, 2008, during Operation Community Shield. In the course of the ICE-led operation, 1,759 gang members and associates, criminals and immigration violators were arrested.
ICE announced March 1, 2011, the arrests of 678 gang members and associates from 133 different gangs during Project Southern Tempest, an intensive law enforcement operation executed in 168 U.S. cities targeting gangs affiliated with drug trafficking organizations.
From the FBI
Wanted by the FBI: Serial Sexual Attacker
The FBI is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information about the identity of a man wanted for at least 35 sexual assaults in the Los Angeles, California area.
The unidentified man is linked to a series of attacks through DNA analysis. The attacks have taken place from 1996 through 2012. He has been called the Teardrop Rapist because witnesses say he has one or two teardrop tattoos underneath one of his eyes.
"If somebody has information, it's crucially important for them to report it to avoid him attacking even one more person," said Special Agent Olivier Farache.
Aug 10, 2013
Study finds walking under the influence of a cellphone can result in injury or death
by Zen Vuong
PASADENA - For the most part police officers don't ticket pedestrians walking under the influence of a mobile device.
An estimated 2 million injuries each year are the result of walking and talking, texting or fiddling with a cellphone, according to a study authored by Jack Nasar, a professor of city and regional planning at Ohio State University.
It's Nasar's third study of what he calls "distracted walking."
"When talking on a cellphone, you have distracted attention," Nasar said. "While your body may be in the environment, your head is somewhere else. When texting, your eyes aren't even in the environment."
For his most recent study, Nasar's team of researchers analyzed six years of data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. The system samples injury reports from 100 U.S. hospitals. The study found that people under 30 -- especially males -- were more prone to cellphone-related injuries. The study will be published in Accident Analysis & Prevention journal.
Aug 9, 2013
Boston Bomb Suspect's Friends Indicted Over Backpack
Two 19-year-old Kazakh friends of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were indicted by a federal grand jury on claims they hindered the probe into the April 15 attack to protect their classmate.
Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov, both Kazakhstan citizens living in Massachusetts on student visas, were charged today with conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstructing justice to impede the investigation, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz in Boston said in a statement.
This courtroom sketch shows defendants Dias Kadyrbayev, left, and Azamat Tazhayakov appearing in front of Federal Magistrate Marianne Bowler at the Moakley Federal Courthouse in Boston on May 1, 2013. Illustration: Jane Flavell Collins via AP Images
This courtroom sketch shows defendants Dias Kadyrbayev, left, and Azamat Tazhayakov appearing in front of Federal Magistrate Marianne Bowler at the Moakley Federal Courthouse in Boston on May 1, 2013. Illustration: Jane Flavell Collins via AP Images.
Seeking Answers After Youth's Death in Police Stop
BAY HARBOR ISLANDS, Fla. — Israel Hernandez-Llach, a skateboarder and 18-year-old artist, was typically adept at dodging police officers while he tagged Miami Beach walls with his signature, “Reefa.”
But early Tuesday morning, after he rolled up to a shuttered McDonalds, his lookout with him, the police caught up with the teenager. Mr. Hernandez-Llach bolted, running through the streets and a building and over an iron fence, according to a report by the Miami Beach police. The officers ultimately stopped him, after firing a Taser to immobilize him, said Raymond A. Martinez, the Miami Beach police chief.
At 6:15 a.m., an hour after the police first spotted him, Mr. Hernandez-Llach, a former Miami Beach High School student and a Colombian immigrant, was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. The teenager was in medical distress after being shocked by the Taser, Chief Martinez said, and paramedics were called.
Chief Martinez said that the cause of death had not yet been determined and that the department was waiting for autopsy and toxicology reports. Mr. Hernandez-Llach had no other injuries, the police said. The department is investigating.
Aug 8, 2013
Cellphone alert system comes to Iowa
Thousands in California were alerted to the suspected kidnapping of 16-year-old Hannah Anderson this week by the buzzing mayhem from their cellphones. It was California's first Amber Alert sent statewide via mobile phone and was among the widest sent through the Wireless Alert System.
About 98 percent of cellphone users are signed up for the nationwide network, even if they don't know it.
The service was activated in Iowa last month and notified people across the state that authorities were searching for Sean Shannon, who was suspected of kidnapping his 11-year-old daughter Kiley from Shellsburg.
The alert was issued just after 10 p.m. July 12. Kiley Shannon was located unharmed in Cedar Rapids less than 90 minutes later. Shannon's vehicle was identified by members of the public and law enforcement after the Amber Alert was issued, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Director Charis Paulson said.
It's an example, Paulson said, of how such technology can be used to alert a mobile public when quick action is necessary.
Malloy addresses crime, community policing in Norwich forum
Norwich — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy gave a ringing endorsement for community policing in Norwich and elsewhere, calling it a "philosophy" rather than a program and saying it has helped to reduce crime throughout the state.
Malloy made his seventh stop in Norwich Wednesday in a statewide tour of cities to discuss urban crime and community policing. The City Council Chambers was crowded with invited guests, including police officers, representatives from the Greeneville Neighborhood Revitalization Zone Committee and neighborhood watch, city and state officials and several teenagers involved in local summer youth programs.
Malloy said that while most homicides occur in the state's larger cities, Norwich has other criminal issues related to drug trafficking, illegal guns and burglaries. Malloy touted the state's efforts to stiffen gun control laws and said federal legislation is needed as well. The nation still does not have universal background checks or national gun tracking laws, he said.
The audience applauded Malloy's comments on the new state gun control laws.
"That wasn't so popular last time I was here," the governor responded, referring to a packed town hall meeting Malloy held in Norwich shortly after passage of the new laws. Gun rights advocates peppered the governor with questions and held up signs criticizing the new laws.
Community-based policing: An alternative to stop and frisk
In the face of growing criticism of the NYPD's “Stop and Frisk” operation, Mayor Bloomberg has taken a “my way or the highway” position. Without Stop and Frisk, he says, there is no effective way to reduce crime in inner-city neighborhoods.
As we have just celebrated the 30th National Night Out Against Crime on August 6, a yearly event that enlists community support in making our streets safer, we want to tell the Mayor that he's wrong. Other cities have developed strategies that have been as effective as Stop and Frisk without alienating the very communities they were created to protect.
One proven alternative, already being used in at least 50 jurisdictions, is known as “Pulling Levers Policing.” This method targets the small number of individuals known to have committed most of the violent crimes in a given minority neighborhood, not just any young black or Latino who happens to walk by.
This approach has been credited for a dramatic decline in Boston's murder rate while at the same time building community trust in the police. Without trust and collaboration, especially in the poorest neighborhoods, even the best police officers find it difficult to prevent crime and promote public safety.
Aug 7, 2013
National Night Out brings police, communities together
How does a police force of approximately 500 officers keep a community of 300,000 residents and thousands more commuters safe? According to Howard County Police Chief Bill McMahon, it doesn't — well, not all by itself at least.
"To keep a community that big safe is an insurmountable challenge," McMahon said Tuesday, Aug. 6, at the county's kickoff ceremony for National Night Out. "We are successful because of partnerships we have with the community every single day. Tonight we take a special moment to focus on it and highlight it, but these efforts are going on every day and every night in the community without a lot of fanfare."
The kickoff celebration, held at the newly opened Roger Carter Community Center, in Ellicott City, was one of many events held in neighborhoods throughout the county. In addition to the kickoff event, a second main event hosted by Howard County police was held at the North Laurel Community Center.
The purpose of National Night Out is to increase the visibility of police within the community and heighten the awareness of community members in an effort to deter crime. The tactic is called community policing, and according to McMahon, it is working.
Community gets to know Ogden police on fun basis
OGDEN — Ogden police were out in full force Tuesday night, taking an opportunity to show their softer side to the public.
The National Night Out was held at the Ogden Amphitheater and showcased several community-oriented police units and other agencies.
The prominent group was the Community Policing Unit, which is described as the “hands-on” division of the police force.
The unit's job is to handle very specific problems in the community and to be the face of the police department to the community.
“It's a law enforcement and citizen partnership in crime prevention,” said Officer Kevin Mann.
County police cite gains against Camden crime
'The first step'
CAMDEN – Authorities Tuesday said Camden's revamped police force has reduced violent crime citywide since its May launch. They also acknowledged more must be done to curb crime in a city considered the nation's most dangerous.
“This is the first step in the journey of a thousand miles,” Camden County Police Department Chief Scott Thomson said at a police headquarters press conference. “But what is positive is that it is a large step forward and it is one that will be replicated and continued.”
Authorities said total crime fell 20 percent and violent crime has dropped 11 percent since May, compared with the period May 1 through July 31 last year.
Thomson stood behind a display of dozens of guns seized by county officers. Many of the weapons would be able to pierce a police officer's body armor “like a warm knife through butter,” according to Thomson.
County police have confiscated 74 firearms, a 76 percent increase from the year-before figure of 42 weapons.
Feds: $20 million in Mexican meth seized, eight gang members arrested in raid
In the largest single crackdown on organized crime in L.A. County history, a major drug raid Tuesday netted nearly $20 million in meth, and the arrest of eight accused gang members, busting up what federal authorities called an alliance of Mexican outlaws that threatened to wreak havoc on Southern California.
A multi-agency task force raided areas in Montebello as the final salvo in a 20-year federal investigation.
Agents from the DEA and ATF partnered with local law enforcement to nab the suspects, who were key to an alliance being forged between the Mexican Mafia, known as La Eme, and La Familia, a Mexican drug cartel that has made inroads into the illegal drug market in the U.S. in recent years.
The illicit pact, dubbed "The Project" by gang members, would have seen La Familia provide a steady supply of meth to La Eme each month to sell throughout Southern California, according to Sarah Pullen, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.
Aug 6, 2013
Clothing left at airport security checkpoints to go to veterans
WASHINGTON - Recently, 180 pounds of clothing were boxed up and given to the Vietnam Veterans of America. The provider? Maybe you.
Under the Clothe a Homeless Hero Act, the Transportation Security Administration has begun donating clothing forgotten at airport security checkpoints to local veterans' organizations and charities.
On Thursday, Reagan National Airport joined other airports in the nationwide effort, packing two months' worth of discarded clothing into trucks headed to VVA distribution centers. Before the act was signed into law, forgotten clothing was either donated to canine units for scent training or discarded.
"Now we're going to be segregating clothing at our lost-and-found office," said Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority spokesman Rob Yingling. "If it's coming from the checkpoint, it's going to the veterans. If it's lost elsewhere in the airport, it'll go to the canines."
Suspected U.S. drone strike kills 4 in Yemen; U.S. citizens urged to leave
A suspected U.S. drone killed four alleged al-Qaida members in Yemen on Tuesday, as the State Department ordered the U.S. Embassy there evacuated as a result of the threat by al-Qaida that has triggered temporary shutdowns of 19 American diplomatic posts across the Muslim world.
The draone fired a missile at a car carrying the four men in the al-Arqeen district of Marib province, setting it on fire and killing all of them, officials said.
The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not allowed to talk to the media, believed that one of the dead is Saleh Jouti, a senior al-Qaida member.
The strike is the fourth in less than two weeks. Three similar attacks have hit cars belonging to alleged al-Qaida figures in southern Yemen.
Meanwhile, a statement issued Tuesday says the State Department has ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. government personnel from Yemen “due to the continued potential for terrorist attacks.”
Drunk walking leads to pedestrian fatalities
A new study released Monday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that walking while intoxicated is a major cause of pedestrian death.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Just as drinking and driving can be deadly, so can drinking and walking. Over a third of U.S. pedestrians killed in 2011 had blood alcohol levels above the legal limit for driving, according to government data released Monday.
Thirty-five percent of those killed, or 1,547 pedestrians, had blood alcohol content levels of .08 or higher, the legal limit for driving, according to data reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration by state highway departments.
Among the 625 pedestrians aged 25- to 34-years-old who were killed, half were alcohol impaired. Just under half the pedestrians killed who were in their early 20s and their mid-30s to mid-50s were also impaired. Only among pedestrians age 55 or older or younger than age 20 was the share of those killed a third or less.
By comparison, 13 percent of drivers involved in crashes in which pedestrians were killed were over the .08 limit. Overall, about a third of traffic fatalities in 2011 — 31 percent, or 9,878 deaths — were attributable to crashes involving a driver with a BAC of .08 or higher.
Aug 5, 2013
Terror Threat Extends U.S. Embassy Closures Through Aug. 10 (1)
At least 19 U.S. embassies and consulates in predominantly Muslim countries will remain closed through the week as the State Department stays on guard for potential terrorist attacks.
Yesterday's initial one-day closing of 22 U.S. outposts followed the State Department's issuance of a worldwide travel alert warning of planned attacks in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia by al-Qaeda or its affiliates. The decision to extend the selective shutdown through Aug. 10 “is not an indication of a new threat stream,” Jen Psaki, a department spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we've decided to extend the closure of several embassies and consulates including a small number of additional posts,” she said. This is “merely an indication of our commitment to exercise caution.”
President Barack Obama instructed his national-security team last week to “take all appropriate steps to protect the American people in light of a potential threat occurring in or emanating from the Arabian Peninsula,” according to a White House press release. The terrorist threat that prompted the closure is “very credible” and “specific as to how enormous it was going to be,” lawmakers from both parties said.
Fort Hood shooting trial: 5 things you need to know
The trial of Major Nidal Hasan begins Tuesday, nearly four years after the horrific shooting at the Ft. Hood Army base. Hasan's 2009 shooting rampage left 13 dead and more than 30 others wounded. The court-martial proceeding has been authorized to consider the death penalty as punishment. Here are five things you need to know about the trial:
How is this trial different from a civilian trial?
Why did it take so long for this trial to begin?
Why is Hasan defending himself?
What is his defense?
Even if he is convicted and sentenced to death, what are the odds Hasan would ever be executed?
Cops shoot and kill 14-year-old gunman in the Bronx
Shaaliver Douse opened fire on Melrose street; responding rookie officers ordered him to drop his gun, police said. When he did not comply, one of the officers shot him in the face. Detectives are investigating how Douse obtained the gun.
A rookie cop shot and killed a 14-year-old gunslinger on a Bronx street early Sunday — just days after Mayor Bloomberg railed against a flood of firearms falling into the wrong hands.
Shaaliver Douse was shot to death just after 3 a.m. in Melrose when he kept firing a black Astra 9-mm. pistol after two uniformed police officers yelled at him to drop the gun, said NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly.
Kelly said the teen — who was due in court on a gun-possession rap and had been arrested in May on an attempted murder charge — is the youngest person to die in a police-involved shooting that he can recall.
Douse was chasing an unknown man down E. 151st St. when the officers intervened. “It is undetermined at this time whether he fired at the officer or the unknown male,” Kelly said at a Sunday evening press conference. The commissioner said the gun Douse had was made in Spain and detectives were investigating how it ended up in the teen's hands.