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.
Oct 20, 2013
Jeh Johnson declares ‘I am a New Yorker' as he accepts Homeland Security nomination
Accepting President Obama's nomination to lead the Department of Homeland Security, Johnson, 56, recalled being present in Manhattan on 9/11 and wandering the streets that day thinking of what he could do. Johnson was the Defense Department's top lawyer from 2009 to 2012 — and an Obama fund-raiser in 2008, which some Republicans have taken issue with.
WASHINGTON — As he accepted President Obama's nomination to head the Department of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson had this message for America: “I am a New Yorker.”
Johnson, 56, made the declaration to explain his personal connection to the Sept. 11 attacks and why he accepted the nomination.
“I was present in Manhattan on 9/11 — which happens to be my birthday — when a day something like this was shattered by the largest terrorist attack on our homeland in history,” he said at a White House Rose Garden ceremony. “I wandered the streets of New York that day and wondered and asked, ‘What can I do?'”
Johnson, who was the Defense Department's top lawyer from 2009 to 2012, said he was not seeking to return to public service, “but when I received the call, I could not refuse it." Johnson was born in New York City and raised in the Dutchess County town of Wappingers Falls.
During his first stint in the Obama administration, he was one of the legal architects of the President's counterterrorism policies. Obama called him “an absolutely critical member of my national security team” who has a “deep understanding of the threats and challenges that face the United States.”
Patrols up after recent shootings
More officers, some on bikes and on foot, out in Lowell neighborhoods
LOWELL -- Looking out her window one night this week, Taya Dixon Mullane saw an unfamiliar sight: a police officer on a bicycle, patrolling the neighborhood.
"He was talking to two neighbors, which is something that doesn't happen all that often when there's an officer in a cruiser," said Dixon Mullane, chairwoman of the Lower Highlands Neighborhood Group. "I think that interaction is a great response by the police officer, to get out and talk to people. People are concerned about what's going on."
In the past week and a half, police responded to three separate instances of gunfire, twice at the same Powell Street address. Earlier this month, two 20-year-old men were shot on Salem Street, suffering serious injuries.
These recent incidents bring the total instances of shots fired in the city in the past six months to at least 15, resulting in nine injuries and the death of 25-year-old Keny Sien of Dracut.
The uptick in gun activity has neighborhood leaders calling for more community policing and increased visibility of officers, with the Police Department pledging to deliver.
Oct 19, 2013
US quietly releasing $1.6B in Pakistan assistance
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. has quietly decided to release more than $1.6 billion in military and economic aid to Pakistan that was suspended when relations between the two countries disintegrated over the covert raid that killed Osama bin Laden and deadly U.S. airstrikes against Pakistani soldiers.
Officials and congressional aides said ties have improved enough to allow the money to flow again.
American and NATO supply routes to Afghanistan are open. Controversial U.S. drone strikes are down. The U.S. and Pakistan recently announced the restart of their "strategic dialogue" after a long pause. Pakistan's new prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, is traveling to Washington for talks this coming week with President Barack Obama.
But in a summer dominated by foreign policy debates over the coup in Egypt and chemical weapons attacks in Syria, the U.S. hasn't promoted its revamped aid relationship with Pakistan. Neither has Pakistan.
The silence reflects the lingering mutual suspicions between the two.
The Pakistanis do not like being seen as dependent on their heavy-handed partners. The Americans are uncomfortable highlighting the billions provided to a government that is plagued by corruption and perceived as often duplicitous in fighting terrorism.
Gang members plead guilty to hate crime attack on Compton teen
LOS ANGELES >> Two Latino gang members displayed starkly different demeanors as they pleaded guilty Thursday to federal hate crime charges — the Southland's first convictions under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act — stemming from a racially motivated New Year's Eve attack on a black teenager in Compton.
Jeffrey “Turkey” Aguilar and Efren “Looney” Marquez admitted their roles in the assault to U.S. District Judge Terry J. Hatter Jr., who departed from the usual script at the change-of-plea hearing by questioning the defendants in detail about their crimes and commenting on their body language.
Aguilar and Marquez were both charged with “aiding and abetting and causing an act to be done” under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009. The law is named after Matthew Shepard, a gay college student tortured and killed in 1998, and James Byrd Jr., a black man who was chained to a pickup truck and dragged to his death the same year. The law makes it a federal hate crime to assault people based on race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender and gender identity.
The diminutive Aguilar, who appeared meek and frightened, told Hatter he hit the 17-year-old victim on “his head” with a metal pipe.
“I assaulted him, sir,” Aguilar, 20, said in a barely audible mumble. Hatter told him to speak up.
After pleading guilty, he walked back to his seat, head lowered.
Oct 18, 2013
Community Police Commission seeking input at 10/24 EastPAC meeting
The Community Police Commission (CPC) was created to provide a vehicle for community input into the police reform process now underway as part of the settlement agreement with the US Department of Justice (DOJ). The CPC has been working over the last few months to develop policy recommendations in a number of areas, specifically bias-free policing, stops and detentions, in-car video recordings and use of force.
The CPC plays a key role in the reform efforts. The CPC's charge is to seek community input and represent a broad range of community perspectives in their recommendations to the DOJ.
We will have the opportunity to voice our opinions, experiences and perceptions about the Police Department's procedures relating to racial profiling, use of force and other key issues.
Our upcoming October 24th East Precinct Advisory Council (EastPAC) meeting will feature the CPC's Acting Director, Betsy Graef, who will be looking for key community input on these issues.
Here is our chance to be heard, for your voice to become a policy recommendation! Please attend and talk about your experiences, perceptions and opinions.
Community Policing Office
The men and women of the Santa Barbara Police Department are pleased to announce the creation of the Franklin Neighborhood Center Community Policing Office located at 1136 E. Montecito Street. This one-year pilot program is the result of a collaboration between the Santa Barbara Police Department and the Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation Department. The goals of the program are to increase police presence at and around the Franklin Neighborhood Center, to enhance our community oriented policing efforts by providing a location away from the Police Station where citizens can interact with officers in their community, and to augment programs and other activities at the Franklin Neighborhood Center by providing a greater sense of security for both staff and participants.
A brief ceremony to commemorate the opening of the Community Policing Office will be held at the Franklin Neighborhood Center on Tuesday, October 22, 2013 at 1:00 p.m. All are welcome to attend.
From the Department of Justice
Two Compton Men Plead Guilty to Federal Hate Crime Charges Resulting from New Year's Eve Attack on African-American Youths
Two Latino men associated with the Compton 155 street gang pleaded guilty today to federal hate crime charges related to a racially motivated attack on African-American juveniles at a residence in Compton, Calif. on New Year's Eve.
Jeffrey Aguilar, 20, who uses the moniker “Terco,” and Efren Marquez Jr., 22, who is also known as “Stretch” and “Junior,” each pleaded guilty to violating the Matthew Shepard-James Byrd Hate Crime Prevention Act.
Appearing before United States District Judge Terry J. Hatter Jr., Aguilar admitted that on Dec. 31, 2012, he and another individual physically attacked a 17-year-old African-American, who was walking down a street in the City of Compton. Aguilar chased down and struck the victim in the head with a metal pipe. During the incident, Marquez threatened to shoot another African-American juvenile who was present. Both Aguilar and Marquez admitted that the attack on the 17-year-old victim was substantially motivated by his race and color.
“These juvenile victims were threatened and assaulted because of their race,” said Jocelyn Samuels, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “Such intimidation and violence has no place in our society. The Justice Department will continue to vigorously prosecute those who commit such acts of hate.”
From the FBI
National Cyber Security Awareness Month 2013
October marks the 10th anniversary of National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Established by presidential directive in 2004, the initiative—administered by the Department of Homeland Security—raises cyber security awareness across the nation by engaging and educating public and private sector partners through a variety of events and programs. The ultimate goal is to protect the country from cyber incidents and respond to them effectively if they do occur.
The FBI is heavily invested in protecting the country's cyber interests. We lead the national effort to investigate high-tech crimes, including cyber-based terrorism, espionage, computer intrusions, and major cyber fraud. To stay in front of current and emerging trends, we gather and share information and intelligence with public and private-sector partners worldwide.
But cyber security is a job for everyone. Every American who uses digital technologies at home or in the office needs to play a part in cyber security. If you open a virus-laden e-mail attachment at work, for example, you could infect your entire company's computer network.
Oct 17, 2013
Earthquake expert warns of dangers on Great California Shakeout day
It will take 100 seconds for California to unzip, and three minutes for the state to stop shaking. That's how Kathleen Springer describes The Big One, and she's the expert.
Springer, a longtime senior curator of geological sciences at the San Bernardino County Museum in Redlands, has devoted much of her career to telling people what to expect when The Big One hits.
“Let's face it: There's an earthquake in your future,” Springer cautioned by phone.
Millions are expected to participate Thursday in the Great California ShakeOut, the state's largest earthquake drill.
Hundreds will be a part of the museum's drill with Springer again. She will address a crowd about the program, how it was created and the importance of being prepared and how to survive the large shaker that will rock the region. Her talk is titled, “The Science Behind the ShakeOut.”
LAPD, human rights group work to prevent assaults on LGBT arrestees
Last year, the Los Angeles Police Department made headlines when it announced it was creating a housing unit at the Metropolitan Detention Center downtown exclusively for transgender arrestees — believed to be the first in the country — to ensure their personal safety.
The department also earned praise from civil rights groups last year for developing a series of patrol protocols to be “respectful, professional and courteous” to transgender people, including guidelines such as addressing them by their preferred name and using gender pronouns in line with how they identify and express themselves.
Now, the LAPD is about to receive a $240,000 federal grant to work with the human rights organization Just Detention International to help the police agency come into compliance with the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act and to help other agencies around the country do the same.
While no one is immune to rape or sexual assault, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has a history of being targeted and victimized in custody settings, law enforcement officials and advocates say.
2 convicted murderers mistakenly freed from Florida prison
The state of Florida is asking for help in locating two former prison inmates that they realized should still be current inmates.
Charles Walker and Joseph Jenkins, both 34, are considered "escapees" by authorities, but their prison break wasn't exactly a scene out of "The Shawshank Redemption."
Walker and Jenkins -- both convicted murderers -- separately walked out of the Franklin Correctional Institution located on Florida's panhandle "in accordance with Department of Corrections policy and procedure," according to Department of Corrections Secretary Michael Crews.
"However, both of their releases were based on fraudulent modifications that had been made to court orders," he said.
Authorities would not elaborate further. Law enforcement learned of the situation Tuesday.
Oct 16, 2013
Community policing comes to Assumption
Former Framington Chief Takes Over
WORCESTER — Assumption College's new director of public safety, Steven B. Carl, believes a college campus is the perfect place to maximize the community policing strategies he used during his years as the Framingham police chief.
Mr. Carl, who took over the post recently from Robert A. Murphy, retired from his role as chief in the large town to take the new job at Assumption College. During his decades of policing, Mr. Carl embraced the proactive approach of community policing, but unlike college campuses, local police find themselves sometimes overwhelmed by 911 calls.
"In this environment (college campus) it is like a petri dish for community policing," Mr. Carl said. "You can really experiment and develop some great programs to protect the campus or enhance the quality of life on campus."
During his tenure in Framingham, Mr. Carl wrote grants to enhance community policing in the town. He found preventing crime rewarding, and felt the policing technique was well-received in town.
Having a transparent and engaged department is a priority for the 54-year-old Hopkinton resident. As a married father of two sons in college, Mr. Carl knows parents want a valuable education for their children, but also a safe campus.
Madison Police and Fire Commission urged to review deadly force policy and to look outside department for new chief
Nathan and Amelia Royko Maurer have, by their own admission, hounded the Madison Police Department in the 11 months since Officer Stephen Heimsness shot and killed their friend and roommate Paul Heenan on Nov. 9, 2012.
Yet at public input session on Monday about the topic of a new police chief , the couple was conspicuously silent, legally barred from communicating with the five members of the Madison Board of Police and Fire Commissioners because of their complaint against Heimsness with the board.
But many of the nine speakers picked up where the Royko Maurers left off: concerned with officers' use of deadly force and the department's ability to foster goodwill in the community with the departure of Chief Noble Wray on Sep. 27.
"A year ago, I wouldn't have been here," said Madison resident Heidi Kramer. "Over the last year, my confidence and trust [in my police force] is deeply shaken."
The department has taken the most flak for the death of Heenan, who was shot after he drunkenly tried entering a neighbor's house. But the fatal shootings of Brent Brozek, a mentally ill former cab driver, on May 17, and Charles Carll, who police were told was suicidal following a domestic disturbance, on Aug. 17, have also alarmed community members.
Public Safety team trains to help large animals in peril
Horses abound in Aiken while cattle, emus and other large animals also live in the area. Sometimes these hefty creatures get into trouble, and the Aiken Department of Public Safety wants to be ready to respond.
“Accidents do happen,” said Sgt. Daymon Spann. “Last year, we had a horse that got away and ran into a minivan, leaving the polo field. He ended up in the woods, and he had a broken shoulder.”
Spann was among the members of the Department of Public Safety that attended a large animal emergency rescue training session on Tuesday at the Carolina Equine Clinic on Powderhouse Road.
The instructor, Rebecca Gimenez, spent the early part of the afternoon teaching her students how to put on, restrain, and move a horse on a rescue glide, which works like a stretcher. She also supervised as department personnel turned a horse trailer on its side to simulate a traffic accident and learned how to deal with an equine victim.
“Horses are like psychiatric patients,” Gimenez said, “because, basically, they don't like to be strapped and restrained, but we do it for our safety as well as their safety.”
Radio hams put passion to work for public safety communication in disasters
Starting last month, there is a new partnership between Rockdale County and the local chapter of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service. ARES is a volunteer organization that works with local police, fire and rescue to relay vital messages in the event of an emergency.
Amateur radio operators can be traced back to World War II when they sent messages from the frontlines of battle. Present day ARES groups have been involved in rescue efforts during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks as well as the Boston Marathon bombings.
The Rockdale ARES organization has had a long standing relationship with the county, but over the last several years the group has not been directly involved with emergency planning.
Rockdale Fire Chief Dan Morgan, who is also the emergency management director for the county, said he's looking to change that.
“Under this new agreement we're looking to bring the local ARES group into what we're doing here at the fire department as well as with the sheriff's department and the hospital,” said Morgan. “That way when there is an emergency we don't have to try to put a plan together we will already have one in place.”
Oct 15, 2013
Report: NSA collecting email and IM contacts globally
The National Security Agency has been collecting contacts from people's personal email address books and instant messaging accounts in an effort to detect relationships that might be crucial to government security, the Washington Post is reporting.
The agency is collecting the data from overseas points and many of the contacts belong to Americans, the Post reports.
The Post bases its report on word from senior intelligence officials and top secret documents, including a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation, provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden..
The majority of the contacts harvested come from Yahoo and Hotmail accounts, but others also come from Facebook, Google and unspecified other providers, the Post reports. The contacts amount to a sizeable portion of the world's email and instant messaging accounts, according to the news organization.
"You need the haystack to find the needle," the Post quotes Gen. Keith B. Alexander, NSA director, as saying in defense of the bulk collection.
No one from public affairs was available to discuss the allegations at National Security Agency headquarters in Fort Meade, Md., Monday evening.
Rutgers police asking students' opinions on how to improve public safety
The Rutgers Police Department has released a university-wide survey asking for students opinions on how to improve police practices and public safety tactics on the school's three campuses, officials said today.
The 20-question survey, which will be conducted at least once every three years, is part of a department wide effort to improve community relations and a requirement for the agency to keep its status as an internationally accredited law enforcement agency, according to Capt. Michael Rein, a Rutgers police spokesman.
This marks the second time Rutgers has released such a survey. The department received several thousand responses from students, faculty and other members of the campus community in 2011, Rein said.
Many of the questions revolve around community members' previous interactions with Rutgers Police, asking what type of services officers' provided at the time and what they could have done better to resolve the incident they were called to respond to.
The questions are fairly straightforward, and should only take a few minutes to answer, according to Rein,
Emergency Managers Expanding Communication Channels to Increase Public Safety Awareness
National Study Finds Concerted Effort to Meet Diverse Public Communication Needs, Address Complacency with Broader Approaches
UNIVERSITY PARK, Ill., Oct. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- As mobile technologies and social media channels continue to penetrate Americans' communications behaviors, emergency managers are working diligently to ensure emergency communications keep pace. This is one of the findings from the 2013 Federal Signal Public Safety Survey , which examines some of the greatest challenges currently faced by emergency managers. The survey, following on the heels of September's National Emergency Preparedness Month, comes as recent tragedies in Yosemite National Park and Aurora, Colo., remind Americans of the unpredictable and devastating effects man-made and natural disasters can have.
Now in its fourth year, and conducted again by Zogby, the annual report has traditionally surveyed the general public on safety awareness and emergency preparedness attitudes and behaviors. For the first time, however, this year's survey shifts the conversation by asking emergency managers about the most significant challenges they face and the measures they are taking to address them.
"Last year's Federal Signal Public Safety Survey showed that complacency and a lack of safety awareness are common public perception when it comes to emergency preparedness and response," said Joe Wilson, president of the Industrial Systems Division, Safety and Security Group at Federal Signal. "This year, we wanted to assess the complexity of the issues emergency managers face and uncover the actions they are taking to find effective solutions."
Oct 14, 2013
Coming Soon: Meetings on Community Policing and Quality of Life Issues
Nassau County Legislator Dave Denenberg, D-Merrick, is hosting two meetings on community policing and quality of life issues. The first will take place at Seaford Library (2234 Jackson Avenue, Seaford) on Wednesday, Oct. 16; the second, at Bellmore Library (2288 Bedford Avenue, Bellmore) on Thursday, Oct. 24.
Jerry Brown vetoes public safety death benefits bill
Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed legislation Sunday that would have extended the statute of limitations for survivors of public safety officers to file a workers' compensation claim for death benefits.
Assembly Bill 1373, by Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, D-Los Angeles, would have extended the time limits for survivors' claims for injuries while on duty to 480 weeks from 240 weeks in cases involving cancer, tuberculosis or blood-borne infections diseases.
Brown vetoed a broader version of the bill last year, and in vetoing an unrelated bill Saturday regarding the timeliness of sex abuse victims' claims, the Democratic governor delivered a virtual treatise on the significance of statutes of limitation.
In his veto message, Brown said the measure is "identical to the one I vetoed last year."
"At that time, I outlined the information needed to properly evaluate the implications of this bill," he wrote. "I have not yet received that information."
In his veto a year ago of Assembly Bill 2451, Brown said there was "little more than anecdotal evidence" available to determine how to balance "serious fiscal constraints faced at all levels of government against our shared priority to adequately and fairly compensate the families of those public safety heroes who succumb to work-related injuries and disease."
Clarksville tries to keep New Providence policing center open
Multipurpose center could be shut down if federal grant not renewed
CLARKSVILLE, TENN. — There's almost always a police car parked in front of the New Providence Community Police Center, and there is of course “policing” in its title, but you'd be mistaken to think that the center is just another police precinct.
For more than two years now, the 640 Providence Blvd. building, stationed squarely in the middle of Clarksville's poorest neighborhood, has delivered a range of services to help area residents.
From adult educational programs to career services and even targeting the physical blight in the area, the policing center and the services that go along with it are a one-stop shop for trying to turn around the community.
But those services may soon come to an end if the city isn't awarded a renewal of the federal grant that funds the center. If the grant is not renewed, and the city doesn't fork over the money itself, the center will close in October of 2014.
The Clarksville Police Department hasn't heard back from the federal government on the grant application.