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.
Sept 29, 2013
Lawmakers consider giving guns to village public safety officers
A Village Public Safety Officer killed in the line of duty this March in the Southwest village of Manokotak might not have died if Alaska law had allowed him to carry a firearm to protect himself like just about everyone else in the state, his widow said at a recent legislative hearing in Anchorage.
Luan Madole's testimony at Thursday's hearing -- which included a voicing of support from the commissioner of public safety as well as a former commissioner -- was perhaps the most compelling so far in the ongoing debate about arming some 120 VPSOs flung across the state. On March 19, Madole lost her husband of more than 30 years, Thomas Madole, when a reportedly suicidal man shot the VPSO, who was running for cover, according to the charges.
With draft legislation to allow local governments the option to arm VPSOs already written, little opposition has arisen to the idea so far. But lawmakers are still collecting information on what the proposal would mean and what it would cost, in terms of equipment and training, to put guns in the hands of the officers and allowing them to make life-or-death decisions.
Franklin & Marshall considers arming public safety officers
With the growing prevalence of mass shootings in this country, Franklin & Marshall College is considering arming its public safety officers.
College officials have exhaustively researched the subject and will seek campus, community and law enforcement input before the board of trustees likely makes a final decision in February 2014.
Open forums on the topic for F&M students will be conducted Oct. 7 and 9 on campus, led by Dean of the College Margaret Hazlett.
"This is the beginning of a conversation," said Cass Cliatt, F&M's vice president of communications.
And it's the kind of conversation many other institutions are having, she said.
Over the next five months, the college looks forward to hearing a variety of viewpoints, Cliatt said.
F&M employs 19 full-time sworn officers in its Department of Public Safety, as well as four full-time security officers, said Director of Public Safety Bill McHale.
Somerset gets a close look at public safety gear
SOMERSET — Being doused in the face with pepper spray and then hit with a Taser is not exactly everyone's idea of a good time.
But Richard Bloom, 30, a reserve Somerset police officer, laughed after demonstrating the weapons' effects for audiences at Saturday's Public Safety Day in Somerset.
“I knew it was going to be really hard. Now, I know I'd rather be Tased than pepper-sprayed. In five seconds it's over,” Bloom said, adding that it took him about 30 minutes to recover from the pepper spray.
“He's got a nice glow to him, doesn't he?” Somerset Police Sgt. Todd Costa joked while Bloom and other police officers mingled with civilians eating hamburgers and checking out the police cruisers on display.
More than 1,000 people visited the Somerset Public Safety Complex on County Street for the ninth annual Public Safety Day, an event intended to develop relationships between the public and the various local and state public safety agencies, including the Somerset Police and Fire Departments, and the Massachusetts State Police.
From the Department of Justice
The Third Annual Summit on Preventing Youth Violence
For the past two days an extraordinary group of people gathered to understand and to develop strategies to address a serious and complicated problem: the surge in violence committed by and – perhaps more troubling – against our young people.
The impact of this violence is greater than it appears on the surface. We can see the immediate physical damage it does, and we know it causes emotional trauma in the kids it touches. But we don't always appreciate the full toll it takes on a child's body and mind and on the families and communities he or she belongs to. A growing body of research in developmental psychology and neuroscience is showing us that trauma does great harm to the brain and can have life-long consequences. But there is good news, too. Just as research is showing us the extent of the negative effects of violence, it is also shedding new light on what we can do to counter those effects.
Attorney General Eric Holder and Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Munoz stressed the Administration's commitment to this crucial issue as they opened the third annual Summit on Preventing Youth Violence, where mayors, police chiefs and youth from 10 cities shared their strategies to reduce violence and gang activity and mitigate its impact on our children.
Sept 28, 2013
NSA Spying Defended by Lawmakers Citing Misperceptions
While the Senate intelligence committee's top Democrat and Republican favor legislation that would leave U.S. spy programs intact, some lawmakers want to ban some Internet and phone records collection -- and are asking whether other data were swept up too.
During a committee hearing yesterday, U.S. intelligence officials were questioned by one of the leading skeptics of National Security Agency surveillance programs about whether the agency captured mobile phone location data on Americans.
Keith Alexander, director general of National Security Agency, from left, James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, and James Cole, deputy attorney general, are sworn in during a hearing before the Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C on Sept. 26, 2013. Photographer: Alex Wong/Getty Images
Sept. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Mark Zuckerberg, founder and chief executive officer of Facebook Inc., talks about the U.S. government's surveillance programs, and Facebook's business strategy, growth and products. He speaks with Michael Arrington at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco. (Source: Bloomberg)
Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who supports barring some of the NSA's surveillance practices, asked NSA Director General Keith Alexander if the agency has ever collected location data or ever developed a plan to do so.
Alexander refused to give a “yes” or “no” answer, saying that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper had submitted a classified answer about the matter.
Hamilton police leaders dismiss calls for reactivation of Public Safety Advisory Commission
HAMILTON — Township police leaders have dismissed calls for the reactivation of a civilian police oversight panel as political posturing.
After two Trenton residents were shot in the Bromley neighborhood on Saturday night, Democratic council candidates Daniel Keelan, Tennille McCoy and Joe Santo and independent mayoral candidate Antonio Gambino called for the dormant Public Safety Advisory Commission to be revitalized.
But that commission would only bring unnecessary interference into the operations of the township police division, Detective Steven Gould said today.
He said he was not sure how the commission would work with the department. The committee hasn't met since before he was named president of PBA Local 66.
“Any public oversight over the police department is just a horrible idea that's only going to cause problems,” Gould said. “They don't have any current law enforcement experience so they don't know what's going on with the day-to-day operations of the police department. To have them try to have oversight over the people who do it every day doesn't make sense,” Gould said.
Sept 27, 2013
Colorado parolees: Some fear new policies put public safety at risk
As Colorado struggles to lower one of the highest return-to-prison rates in the nation, parole officers are stuck balancing second chances against punishment for parolees who misbehave.
Documents obtained by The Denver Post reveal the state's parole division two years ago adopted new policies aimed at keeping troubled parolees out of prison and on the streets whenever possible.
But the shift has been plagued by inadequate training and a lack of resources, corrections officials now say. Law enforcement and parole officers question the new direction, fearing the public's safety is at risk.
Parolees are "getting so bold because of the direction the whole division is going in," said Ryan Burch, who supervises sex offenders out of the Englewood parole office. "We're losing the parolees' fear that prevents them from violating their parole."
Two years ago, Greeley police Chief Jerry Garner complained to corrections officials that his community faced a surge of dangerous parolees on the street.
PUBLIC SAFETY: Sweep of former inmates nets 15 arrests
Most were in Menifee and Perris, out because of the realignment law that shifts convicts to local jails
A joint law enforcement team assigned to oversee former inmates released from custody under terms of the state's 2-year-old prison realignment law made 15 arrests during a sweep of Menifee and Perris.
The check Wednesday, Sept. 25 of high-risk or at-large people under post-release community supervision also included unincorporated county areas next to the two Southwest Riverside County cities.
All of those arrested were booked for investigation of violation of probation; additional individual allegations ranged from child endangerment to possession of heroin for sale, being under the influence of a controlled substance and possession of narcotics paraphernalia. One weapon was seized along with an undetermined amount of illegal drugs.
Realignment shifted sentencing for non-violent, non-serious and unregistered sex crimes from state prison to county jails. Supervision of those released from custody after serving time has switched from state parole agents to county probation officers.
Sept 26, 2013
From the FBI
New Internet Crime Initiative -- Combines Resources, Expertise
A pilot program targeting Internet crime—focused on establishing a model for sharing information and coordinating investigations—was recently launched by the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) and the state of Utah.
“The Utah pilot is the first step in our efforts to fix a gap that the FBI and our state and local law enforcement partners have recognized exists in the investigation and prosecution of Internet fraud,” said Richard McFeely, executive assistant director of the Bureau's Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch. “Because not all Internet fraud schemes rise to the level necessary to prosecute them in federal court, we are enhancing how we package the investigative leads we receive at IC3 and disseminating those packages directly to state and local agencies.” Based on the initial results of the Utah pilot, he said, the FBI plans to expand it to other states.
Internet fraud and other Internet-based crimes for profit cause untold financial losses each year. The IC3 reports that in 2012 alone, victims reported more than $500 million in losses due to crimes like fraudulent auto sales, intimidation/extortion scams, online dating fraud, scareware and ransomware, auction fraud, charity fraud, and computer intrusions. Our new initiative, led by IC3 with the assistance of our Cyber and Criminal Investigative Divisions, combines law enforcement resources to strategically pursue criminals responsible for these kinds of crimes.
How the program works. Using its complaint database and its analytical capabilities, IC3 personnel create actionable intelligence packages that are connected to particular geographic regions. These packages can highlight trends, identity individuals and criminal enterprises based on commonalities of complaints, link different methods of operation back to the same organization, and detect various layers of criminal activity. They will also contain results of preliminary investigative research performed by IC3 analysts, including criminal record checks and basic web domain searches.
Security Fail! Inmates Escape After Guards Leave Keys in Van
Eight prisoners re-captured in Oklahoma on Tuesday just hours after fleeing in security vehicle
Eight prisoners made a short-lived break for freedom when prison guards transporting the group parked outside a hospital and left the keys inside the still-running security van, local authorities have admitted.
A private correctional firm was transporting the inmates on Tuesday when one became ill, prompting an unscheduled detour to a medical facility near the town of Weatherford, an hour west of Oklahoma City. As the guards went to look for help for the sick prisoner, the unsupervised inmates proceeded to kick down an interior partition in the vehicle and then drove off.
Six fugitives were re-apprehended soon after the escape and the remaining pair were back behind bars later that evening. Nearby Southwestern Oklahoma State University was locked down for several hours during the manhunt.
Sept 25, 2013
Oklahoma teen found guilty in school shooting plot
BARTLESVILLE, Okla. A teenager who authorities say tried to recruit classmates for a mass shooting and bomb attack at his northeastern Oklahoma high school has been convicted in a plot to kill students, teachers and police officers.
A jury in Bartlesville found 19-year-old Sammie Eaglebear Chavez guilty of planning to cause bodily harm and recommended a 30-month prison term and $5,000 fine. The jury found him not guilty of conspiring to perform an act of violence.
Chavez had pleaded not guilty and testified in his own defense that he was joking when he told classmates about how a shooting and bomb attack could be carried out at Bartlesville High School.
"It was a joke in the sense that it wasn't meant seriously," Chavez told jurors, the Tulsa World newspaper reported. Bartlesville is 45 miles north of Tulsa.
Police and prosecutors said Chavez intended to lure students into the school's auditorium, chain the doors shut and shoot the students. Chavez also planned to place bombs by the auditorium doors and detonate them as police officers approached, according to an affidavit.
Chavez was arrested in December, hours before a gunman opened fire at a Connecticut elementary school and killed 20 children and six adults before killing himself.
Boston Police boss Davis: Use crime-fighting community policing strategies against terrorism
LOWELL, Massachusetts — A key to preventing future attacks like the Boston Marathon bombing is to bring the crime-fighting strategies of community policing to the battle against terrorism, Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis said Tuesday.
Davis said there are almost always some warning signs that could alert investigators of an individual planning an attack.
He said it's critical to work with communities so people who might spot those warning signs feel comfortable giving that information to police, a tactic that he said has worked in the fight against crime in Boston.
Davis said simply increasing the police presence at major public events isn't the answer, noting that there aren't enough police officers in the entire state to line both sides of the marathon for all 26 miles of the race.
Instead, he said, reaching out to individual communities and members of the public is a smarter approach.
Maritime academy weighs arming its police force
BUZZARDS BAY — In the wake of the 2007 massacre at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and the mass shooting in December at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the conversation on arming campus police is hardly new to Massachusetts Maritime Academy.
But in a closed-door meeting earlier this month, the academy's board of trustees raised the possibility that campus police officers — currently armed with batons and pepper spray — would add handguns to their utility belts.
The timetable for the board's decision is unclear, as the trustees could take months weighing the risks against the rewards of arming the campus force of seven full-time officers.
Richard Covel, chairman of the academy's board, could not be reached for comment.
If the board opts to provide campus police with sidearms, the academy would become the eighth school in the nine-campus state university system with an armed force. The Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston would be the only school left without an armed force in the state university system, which falls under the state Department of Higher Education but is separate from the University of Massachusetts and community college systems..
Sept 24, 2013
Program prepares law enforcement, public to handle active shooter situations
LAKE FOREST -- There was a hostage situation within the halls of a middle school, and Tim Stack and Steve Lieberman were moving in.
They stood back to back, covering each other as they moved through the hallways and classrooms.
Children ran past screaming. Stack and Lieberman told them to take cover.
The two shuffled into a room, still covering each other's backs, when the assailant emerged in front of Lieberman, holding a gun to a hostage's head.
Lieberman called for the armed assailant to drop the gun. Instead, he aimed it at Lieberman, and Lieberman fired, killing the gunman and freeing the hostage along with the rest of the middle school students.
Lieberman and Stack managed to do all of this without firing a single bullet or leaving a Lake Forest warehouse. Welcome to Artemis Defense Institute, the only virtual defense training facility in the Southland.
German hacker group claims iPhone fingerprint hack
BERLIN — The fingerprint-based security system used to unlock Apple's latest iPhone can be bypassed using a household printer and some wood glue, a German hacking group has claimed.
A spokesman for the Chaos Computer Club said the group managed to fool the biometric sensor in the iPhone 5S over the weekend by creating an artificial copy of a genuine fingerprint.
“It was surprisingly easy,” Dirk Engling told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Monday, a day after the group announced the exploit on its website.
A member of the Chaos Computer Club going by the pseudonym Starbug took a high-resolution photograph of a fingerprint left on a glass surface, printed it onto a transparent sheet and smeared the pattern with liquid latex or wood glue. Once the glue set, it could be peeled off and placed on another finger to mimic the genuine print, said Engling.
“We used this method 10 years ago and didn't have to change much for the iPhone,” he said. “The hardest bit was getting hold of one of those new iPhones because they are chronically sold out.”
Illegal entrance into U.S. rising
Observers cite improving economy, lax enforcement
WASHINGTON — After several years that saw more undocumented immigrants leaving the U.S. than entering, illegal immigration may be back on the rise, according to a report released Monday.
The total number of undocumented immigrants reached 11.7 million in 2012, representing a slow increase that is nearing the country's all-time high of 12.2 million undocumented immigrants in 2009, according to the report from the Pew Hispanic Center, a research group.
So far, the trend seems to have gone largely unnoticed in Oregon's farming community, where undocumented immigrants are most commonly employed.
“They're always looking for people,” Farm Bureau government affairs specialist Ian Tolleson said. He works with farm labor issues and said he hasn't heard from farmers that undocumented immigrants are suddenly more available.
“It's difficult to get good, qualified workers who want to work in the fields, no matter the season, the crop or the year,” he said.
Schools tighten security after Sandy Hook
They're using a mix of strategies, from police to surveillance to armed teachers.
Visitors to any of 53 elementary and middle schools this year in Oregon's Salem-Keizer School District will need to be buzzed in. Their arrival will be captured on camera. And that's about all security manager Ray Byrd wants to say about that.
"We have to be careful not to put information out there that can be exploited by the bad guys," he says.
In a grim reminder that mass shootings have become a fact of life in America, school districts across the USA this fall are opting for more locked doors, more visitor check-ins and more surveillance equipment. Many have had security policies on the books for years, especially after the 1999 Columbine High School shootings. But the massacre last December at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where a gunman killed 20 children and six educators, introduced a new level of urgency. Suddenly, even children in elementary schools were not safe from bad guys.
"Sandy Hook changed the playing field," says Curtis Lavarello, executive director of School Safety Advocacy Council, based in Sarasota, Fla. "We realize now every school is vulnerable to that kind of a tragedy."
Limiting access to school property has been one of the most visible changes. School officials in Marlboro, N.J. budgeted $1.8 million this school year for security measures, including construction of "man-trap" vestibules at entrances to be completed later this fall. In Tupelo, Miss., school officials made a slew of upgrades this summer, including new playground fencing. School district officials in several states, including New York and Pennsylvania, have asked election officials to move polling places off their campuses.
Sept 23, 2013
Honoring Navy Yard Victims, Obama Asks: ‘Do We Care Enough' to Change?
WASHINGTON — President Obama on Sunday eulogized the 12 victims of the Navy Yard shooting and lamented what he called a “creeping resignation” in America about the inevitability of gun violence.
President Obama paid tribute at a memorial to the victims of the Washington Navy Yard shootings in Washington on Sunday.
Family members of victims of the Washington Navy Yard shooting before the start of a memorial service in Washington on Sunday.
In remarks to service members and their families who packed the bleachers in the barracks about two and a half blocks from where the killings took place last week, Mr. Obama vowed that he would not accept inaction after the latest in a string of mass shootings during his presidency.
But the president appeared exasperated with the political system that he leads, admitting that changes in the nation's gun laws “will not come from Washington, even when tragedy strikes Washington.” He acknowledged that his previous effort to pass new gun laws had failed, but he did not specifically call for a new political battle, saying change would come only when Americans decide they have had enough.
Independent Surveillance Review Not Exactly "Independent," Per Se
A panel of so-called independent experts appointed by President Obama to review the federal government's surveillance programs "has effectively been operating as an arm of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees the NSA and all other U.S. spy efforts," according to a report from the Associated Press. They write:
The panel's advisers work in offices on loan from the DNI. Interview requests and press statements from the review panel are carefully coordinated through the DNI's press office. James Clapper, the intelligence director, exempted the panel from U.S. rules that require federal committees to conduct their business and their meetings in ways the public can observe. Its final report, when it's issued, will be submitted for White House approval before the public can read it.
That sounds super independent. Even though no classified information has been discussed, the meetings have remained closed, and the press office for the DNI said that Clapper exempted the review panel from the Federal Advisory Committee Act due to the "highly classified nature of their review." The office also told the AP that, "We are conducting this review as openly and transparently as possible." In one meeting, representatives from tech giants including Microsoft and Apple advocated for more permission to be open with their users.
Police say 'swatting' leads to serious trouble
PANAMA CITY — It's a hoax, but law enforcement agencies across the country aren't laughing.
The FBI estimates that hundreds of instances of “swatting” — making a false 911 call to cause a police SWAT team to respond — occur each year. Cody Blaine Jones, a 16-year-old Southport boy, added to that tally last Monday when he allegedly caused the Delaware County Police SWAT team and bomb squad in Broomall , Pa. to respond to an empty house. Broomall police were told there was a heavily armed man inside the house holding someone hostage, and that the man had an explosive device.
Those were lies, police said.
Jones was charged with filing a false report of a bomb, explosive device or weapon of mass destruction in the incident. The Bay County Sheriff's Office reported that Jones faced the same charge for an incident of “swatting” at Wyndham Bay Point Resort last October. Jones and his family could not be reached for comment Sunday. Their neighbors said they either didn't know the family or declined to comment on Jones' arrest.