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.
Nov 10, 2013
‘Public Safety' Exception to Miranda Warnings Arises in LAX-Shooting Case
by Joe Palazzolo and Tammy Audi
The airport shooting in Los Angeles has rekindled a now-familiar debate over the circumstances under which the government may question a criminal suspect without first advising him of his right to a lawyer.
The local U.S. attorney's office has taken what legal experts describe as an aggressive interpretation of an exception to the Miranda rule in investigation of Paul Anthony Ciancia, the suspect in a shooting rampage at Los Angeles International Airport last Friday.
Mr. Ciancia was charged with two federal crimes in a complaint filed over the weekend, including the killing of a federal employee at work, Transportation Security Administration officer Gerardo I. Hernandez. The charge carries the death penalty, if Mr. Ciancia is convicted. The U.S. Attorney General will make the ultimate decision about whether to pursue the death penalty after a lengthy review protocol for potential federal death penalty cases.
In a court filing earlier this week, prosecutors objected to a request to appoint a public defender to represent Mr. Ciancia. Part of the government's argument: that it should be able to question him about the ”possible existence of co-conspirators, organizational support for his actions, and other violent plots about which Ciancia could have knowledge,” before it advised him of his right to an attorney.
A Supreme Court decision in 1984 said police can skip the Miranda warning — which begins, “You have the right to remain silent…” — if there is an imminent threat to public safety. In that case, the court ruled police acted properly when they asked a man arrested on suspicion of rape where he had hidden the gun he was carrying before they had read him his rights.
“The public safety exception was originally conceived to permit on-the-scene interrogation of suspects in urgent and potentially dangerous situations,” said Justine Harris, a defense lawyer in private practice and former assistant federal defender.
But increasingly, Ms. Harris said, the exception is becoming the rule. “Using the doctrine to justify questioning suspects in non-emergency situations amounts to a deliberate end-run around the Miranda rule,” she said.
Juliet Sorensen, a law professor at Northwestern University and former federal prosecutor, said there were too few examples of the use of the public-safety exception to draw firm conclusions, but she said the application of the exception in the Ciancia case went beyond the parameters of an Federal Bureau of Investigation memo on the subject.
“It appears to be DOJ policy to consider invoking the public-safety exception whenever possible to gather information or intelligence,” said Ms. Sorensen.
The application of the public-safety exception in the investigation of Mr. Ciancia, who has been in the hospital for nearly a week and has told police he acted alone, raises several questions. What is an immediate threat? Does he qualify as an operational terrorist?
The Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a 2010 internal memo that, in investigations of operational terrorists, agents should ask “any and all questions that are reasonably prompted by an immediate concern for the safety of the public or the arresting agents without advising the arrestee of his Miranda rights.”
The FBI said in an application for a warrant to search Mr. Ciancia's phone that it was interested in his views on the legitimacy and activities of the U.S. government. The warrant application mentions the New World Order, an old conspiracy theory that holds that an international group of elites is plotting to rule the world.
Similar issues arose in the investigation of the suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing earlier this year. A federal magistrate judge advised Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, the surviving suspect in the attack, of his rights about 16 hours after he was charged in a criminal complaint. The judge, Marianne Bowler, created a makeshift courtroom in Mr. Tsarnaev's hospital room, where he was recovering from gunshot wounds.
In Mr. Ciancia's case, a federal magistrate judge appointed a federal public defender to represent him, against the government's wishes. Prosecutors had warned in court papers that the move would “foreclose the opportunity — should Ciancia so choose — to waive his constitutional rights and speak to the government about the offense prior to arraignment.”
“This is simply untrue,” lawyers in the federal public defender's office wrote in a brief in response. “Mr. Ciancia is free to exercise his right to speak to the government, if he wishes, whether or not counsel is appointed.”
At this point, it's unclear whether the government still intends to invoke the public safety exception to question Mr. Ciancia, and if it does, how it would go about that given that Mr. Ciancia now has counsel. Mr. Ciancia's physical condition is also unknown. He is expected to meet with a judge next week, if his condition improves, according to people familiar with the situation.
Once Mr. Ciancia has had his initial appearance, the government would be prohibited from questioning him in the absence of his lawyer, unless he initiated the discussion or waived his right to counsel, said Jack Call, a criminal justice professor at Radford University in Virginia.
Mr. Call said, however, that the public-safety exception could still be applied, but Mr. Ciancia would almost certainly invoke his right to counsel, since he already has a lawyer.
A spokesman for U.S.Attorney André Birotte Jr. declined to comment. Sean K. Kennedy, the federal public defender in Los Angeles, didn't respond to requests for comment.
A lawyer for Mr. Ciancia's family in New Jersey said he had not been hired to represent Mr. Ciancia. “Paul is our son and brother,” the lawyer, John Jordan said, reading from a statement issued by the Ciancia family. “We will continue to love and care for him. We will support him during the difficult time ahead.”
The family said they were cooperating with federal investigators.
On Wednesday, the coworkers of the slain TSA agent, Mr. Hernandez, honored him with a ceremony and motorcade at Los Angeles International Airport. TSA officers formed a procession through Terminal 3, wher Mr. Hernandez was killed, as lines of police, fire fighters and other law enforcement agencies saluted. Airports across the country plan to hold a moment of silence for Mr. Hernandez on Friday at 9:20 a.m., when the shooting started.
How the Police Endanger Public Safety
Law enforcement policies increasingly put the public at risk.
by Steven Greenhut
A news photograph from Friday taken in the normally placid suburban community of Roseville, east of Sacramento, was shocking. A California Highway Patrol officer was pointing a rifle at a motorist stopped at a checkpoint, as police searched for an armed parolee who had injured some of their colleagues. It seemed reminiscent of an occupying army.
News stories focused on the suspect and the details of the manhunt, but the police approach – evacuating houses, using military-style vehicles and helicopters – raises a question rarely asked about policing policies today: Do they unnecessarily endanger the public's safety?
When agencies combed Southern California for former Los Angeles Police Department officer Christopher Dorner in February, some officers fired upon innocent bystanders who didn't come close to the right profile. Dorner, a large black man, was driving a gray Nissan truck, but an officer shot two Latina women driving a blue Toyota truck. An officer also fired on another bystander 20 minutes later.
Police behaved similarly as they sought a Boston Marathon bomber. As Conor Friedersdorf asked recently in the Atlantic, “Does anyone else find it disturbing that Boston area police, confronted with an unarmed suspect in a backyard boat, fired so many bullets so wildly that multiple adjacent houses were strafed ... ?”
This approach is not uncommon even in day-to-day policing. On October 22, in the middle of the afternoon, 13-year-old Andy Lopez Cruz was walking down the street in Santa Rosa with a plastic pellet rifle. Officers hid behind the door of their patrol car and called to him. As the boy turned, they shot him to death.
According to the police statement, “One of the deputies described that as the subject was turning toward him the barrel of the assault rifle was rising up and turning in his direction. The deputy feared for his safety, the safety of his partner, and the safety of the community members in the area.”
There are ongoing investigations, but this was standard behavior. Police routinely use deadly force in questionable circumstances even as violent crime rates hit record lows. Officer safety seems to trump concerns about public safety.
And there's remarkably little public discussion about the proper use of deadly force. Because of the California Supreme Court's 2006 “Copley” decision involving the former owner of this newspaper, the disciplinary records of law-enforcement officers are secret. So are internal investigations of specific shootings. The public has no right to know which officers may have a history of using deadly force.
The Peace Officers' Bill of Rights makes it tough to remove an officer. Former University of California-Davis cop John Pike, who nonchalantly pepper-sprayed peaceful Occupy protesters in November 2011, was just awarded a $38,000 workers-compensation settlement because of the stress he endured – more than the amount received by any of his victims. Pike spent eight months on paid leave and then was fired.
Yet change only goes in the opposite direction. Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB 313, which forbids police agencies from disciplining officers that district attorneys have listed as having lied or otherwise misbehaved. That will further protect officers who unnecessarily use force and then mislead investigators.
“We need law enforcement professionals who are not operating from a vantage point of fear and paranoia where their own self-preservation trumps all other concerns,” argues Jonathan Taylor, a Cal State Fullerton professor. He was active in protests after Fullerton police in 2011 beat a homeless man named Kelly Thomas. The trial for two officers charged in Thomas' death is slated for December – a rare instance of police being prosecuted for a killing.
“Deadly force should not be the standard whenever police perceive a threat,” Taylor adds. He and other activists call for policy changes as well as changes within a police culture they view as overly militaristic. Police officials say such responses are needed given the very real dangers officers face and the potential threats to the public of having, say, an armed-and-dangerous parolee roaming the streets.
But most politicians of both parties, fearful of the political clout of police unions, don't want to go near this topic. So change may hinge on whether enough people are upset enough by these incidents to demand it.
Nov 9, 2013
Stephen Sedensky, State's Attorney, To Ask Court Not To Release Newtown 911 Tapes
NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut prosecutor is asking a court to block the release of 911 recordings from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting as he seeks the reversal of an order from the state's Freedom of Information Commission.
A New Britain Superior Court judge is holding a hearing Friday on the request for a stay from Stephen Sedensky III, the state's attorney who has fought to keep the recordings sealed in his role as the lead investigator of the Dec. 14 massacre.
In September, the FOI commission ruled the recordings of calls from inside the school must be provided to The Associated Press, which sought them in part in examine the police response to the massacre. Sedensky has appealed that ruling.
"A stay will ensure that the appeal will not be moot and will remain viable pending its resolution," Sedensky wrote in a court filing. "Additionally, a stay will protect crime victims and witnesses as well as allow information relative to child abuse to remain protected."
The AP and the FOI commission have opposed the request for a stay, writing in a joint filing that there is no reason for Sedensky to continue withholding the records. If the 911 recordings are released, the AP would review the content and determine what, if any, of it would meet the news cooperative's standards for publication.
Instagram pulls account exposing witnesses in Philadelphia as 'rats'
Police are investigating the RATS215 account on the popular photo-sharing site that posted photos and other identifying information on witnesses to violent crime. More than 30 people have been identified since February.
Police and prosecutors in Philadelphia are trying to find the source of an anonymous Instagram account that put up photographs and other identifying information about witnesses in violent crime cases.
The "RATS215" account, taken down Thursday by Instagram, outed more than 30 witnesses with police reports, photos and information about secret grand jury proceedings, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Police are investigating the account as an act of witness intimidation in a city with a long history of reluctant witnesses. Nearly 7,900 people were following RATS215, the paper reported.
One photo appeared to have been taken inside a courtroom while a witness was testifying. Another showed evidence and photos from a shooting victim whose case was in secret grand jury proceedings.
There were more than 150 photos and dozens of "likes" and comments on the account before it was shut down.
Matthew Tully: IMPD's push for diversity promotes good policing
It's probably inevitable these days that just about every public policy concept or proposal, no matter how helpful or sensible, will at some point get bogged down in silly conservative-versus-liberal chatter.
And, so, when I wrote recently about Indianapolis Public Safety Director Troy Riggs' belief in the value of a more diverse police department, one more representative of the city it serves, the talk in some quarters immediately turned to the phantom issues of quotas and reverse discrimination. And even though Riggs is the appointee of a Republican mayor, many people wrote or called me to blast the column and his thinking as empty headed liberalism. That knee-jerk response is based on ideological grudges that, sadly, end up making it hard for people like Riggs to do the right thing.
I'm coming back at this issue today because I fear the shouters may damage what shouldn't be a risky or controversial endeavor but probably is. After all, while the critics of a more diverse department are out in force, the Democratic machine in this town, which claims to stand for equality and fairness, sure hasn't come rushing to defend Riggs.
So I will.
First things first. Yes, it is worth asking questions about demographic information when a county is 28 percent black but has a police department that is only 13 percent black, and when the numbers regarding Hispanic officers are even worse. It is worth looking to see if there is an inherent discrimination at play, intentional or not, that results in such numbers. It's important to make sure all applicants are starting on level ground.
Judge throws out LA man's murder conviction
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles man who spent 34 years behind bars for a decades-old killing was freed from jail Friday after his conviction was overturned.
Kash Delano Register, 53, walked out of the Twin Towers downtown jail at about 4:30 p.m. and was greeted by family members and attorneys.
"I'm just in a numb feeling right now," Register told reporters. "You know, it just hasn't really set in yet. I know it's real, but it just hasn't truly set in yet. It's a beautiful feeling, though."
Register was convicted of killing Jack Sasson, 78, in April 1979 and sentenced to 27 years to life in prison. He always maintained his innocence.
Superior Court Judge Katherine Mader threw out the conviction on Thursday, ruling that prosecutors used false testimony at trial and failed to disclose exculpatory evidence. Prosecutors said they would decide by next month whether to appeal the decision or retry him.
Register was convicted mainly on alleged eyewitness testimony. None of the seven fingerprints found on Sasson's car matched Register's, and police never recovered the murder weapon.
Register's girlfriend said he was with her at the time of the shooting but prosecutors relied on the testimony of Brenda Anderson, who identified Register as the gunman.
From the FBI
Fugitives Sought -- New Subjects Added to Cyber's Most Wanted List
(Pictures and Podcast on site)
Five individuals have been added to the FBI's Cyber Most Wanted list for their roles in domestic and international hacking and fraud crimes collectively involving hundreds of thousands of victims and tens of millions of dollars in losses.
In announcing the addition of the new subjects—along with rewards of up to $100,000 for information leading to their arrests—Executive Assistant Director of our Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch Richard McFeely said, “Throughout its history, the FBI has depended on the public's help and support to bring criminals to justice. That was true in the gangster era, and it's just as true in the cyber era. We need the public's help to catch these individuals who have made it their mission to spy on and steal from our nation and our citizens.”
Rewards are being offered for each of the five fugitives, all of whom are believed to be living outside the U.S. See the accompanying “Wanted By the FBI” posters for more information.
The FBI's Most Wanted program is best known for its Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. The Top Ten list was established more than six decades ago and has become a symbol of the Bureau's crime-fighting ability around the world. But the Bureau highlights other wanted fugitives as well—terrorists, white-collar criminals, and increasingly, those who commit cyber crimes.
From the Department of Homeland Security
Serving Veterans Across DHS
As we take time on Monday to thank our nation's veterans for their service and sacrifices, we also recognize the veterans who continue to serve here at home, including across the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
As a veteran myself, I am proud that DHS employs more than 54,000 veterans who make up almost 28 percent of our total workforce, in addition to the more than 43,000 active duty U.S. Coast Guardsmen and women we are honored to call our colleagues.
I'd like to highlight just some of the work we are doing across DHS to recognize our men and women in uniform.
This year, from November 7 to 13, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will welcome almost 8,000 new U.S. citizens at over 120 naturalization ceremonies—many of whom are military members and veterans who have sworn to defend our nation and will be proudly welcomed as our fellow Americans.
At the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), over a quarter of the workforce is military veterans. This year, TSA revised screening requirements to allow expedited screening for this group through its Wounded Warrior program.
Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month
November is Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month, which recognizes the important role critical infrastructure plays in our nation's way of life and why it is important to expand and reinforce critical infrastructure security and resilience.
What Critical Infrastructure Means To You
The nation's critical infrastructure provides essential services that underpin American society and sustain the American way of life. Critical infrastructure supports the power we use in our homes, the water we drink, the transportation systems that get us from place to place, the bridges that connect us and the communication systems we rely on to stay in touch with friends and family.
Securing critical infrastructure and ensuring its resilience is a shared responsibility of federal, state, local, tribal, territorial and private sector partners, as well as individual citizens. Just as we all rely on critical infrastructure, we must all play an active role in keeping it strong, secure, and resilient.
Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month will focus on building awareness and understanding of the importance of critical infrastructure to America's national security and economic prosperity as well as reaffirming the commitment to keep our critical infrastructure and our communities safe and secure. This requires a nationwide effort, with partners working together toward a common goal.
Nov 8, 2013
EXCHANGE: Hanover Park officer serves community
HANOVER PARK, Ill. (AP) — The Hanover Park Police Department does not officially have an "officer friendly" program, but it does have officer George Sullivan .
Officer Sullivan serves as the strategic enforcement and prevention officer for the department. With his personable and friendly demeanor, he goes above and beyond the call of duty to serve the community. Sullivan is what community policing is all about.
"My main thing is outreach," Sullivan said. "To get the connection from the police department to the citizens so that we have a flow of communication, because, one of the main things with policing is information flow, and if we don't have the backing of the citizens, that information flow stops."
He adds that while officers engage in their investigations to solve crimes, it's often a tip from a citizen who calls 911 that helps to solve many situations in Hanover Park.
Sullivan, 46, is a graduate of Illinois State University and is entering his 25th year with the department. He lives in the Northwest suburbs with his wife and three children, ages 9, 7 and 2.
One of Sullivan's main responsibilities organizing the annual COPS Day picnic, an event held in July which alternates between the north and the south sides of town. Police officers grill hot dogs and mingle with residents among an array of emergency vehicle and helicopter displays, sports team mascots, a "Dunk the Cop" tank, a police dog demonstration, raffles and information booths.
14 graduate from Rockford's Citizens Police Academy
ROCKFORD — This group of CPAs probably can't help you much with your taxes. That's because they are not Certified Public Accountants. They are the latest graduates of the Rockford Police Department's Citizens Police Academy.
The diverse group of 14 young adults to senior citizens made up the department's 10th graduating class. They were presented certificates by Mayor Larry Morrissey and Chief Chet Epperson Wednesday in a biannual ceremony held at the Public Safety Building. Today's class increased the number of graduates to 209 since the volunteer program's 2009 inception.
One day a week, for the past seven weeks, the participants learned what happens from the time a 911 call is made to the time an arrest is made and a case is presented to the Winnebago County's State's Attorney's Office for prosecution.
The men and women learned about the various components of local law enforcement that contribute to public safety such as 911 Center operations, community policing, crime prevention, drug and gang awareness, crime analysis, criminal laws and city ordinances, identity theft, and organizing and maintaining a neighborhood watch group.
Community Services Supervisor Sgt. Carla Redd told the graduates to, “Take the information you've received back to your neighborhoods and strengthen the community around you.”
Labor Department Wants Safety Reports Made Public, Source Says
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Labor Department wants companies to begin filing all workplace injury and illness reports electronically so they are available for anyone in the public to see.
The department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration will announce the plan on Thursday as part of a proposed rule that would dramatically change the way companies file safety records, according to a person familiar with the proposal.
The person requested anonymity so as not to get ahead of the formal announcement.
In a description of the rule, OSHA said a new electronic reporting system would help the government, workers, researchers and the public more effectively prevent workplace accidents and illnesses. The agency said the change also supports President Barack Obama's initiative to increase public access to government data.
The plan would apply only to companies with more than 250 employees.
While the proposal is expected to please labor and workplace safety groups, business groups are likely to oppose it. They say raw injury data can be misleading or contain sensitive information that can be misused.
Nov 7, 2013
Kent Police host community awareness meeting Nov. 14
The Kent Police Department invites the public to a community awareness meeting at 7 p.m. Nov. 14 at Kent Elementary School, 24700 64th Ave S.
The meeting will provide residents with more information on how to make their neighborhoods safer. It also will bring police leadership and community members together to address community crime concerns and introduce police resources that can help residents make their neighborhoods safer and more secure.
Kent Police Chief Ken Thomas and agency administrators will answer questions about department operations and community safety concerns. Members of the department's Neighborhood Response Team and Community Education unit also will be hand to answer questions and take input regarding specific issues or concerns within the community.
The Kent Police Bike Unit will make a special presentation.
A cornerstone of the Kent Police strategy for creating safe communities lays in Intelligence Led Policing. This practice uses real-time crime intelligence, sharing information with our partners, pro-active problem solving and community partnerships to address the issues of crime while improving the quality of life.
For more information, visit www.kentwa.gov/police or www.facebook.com/kentpolicedepartment
Police stops raise suspicions
Pressure on officers to fill out 'contact cards' for street stops have some concerned about legality of tactic; others say it alienates those who could provide information
Under pressure from police Superintendent Garry McCarthy to reduce violence, Chicago police are increasingly writing up "contact cards" — the form they fill out when making street stops — raising concerns of civil libertarians that the number of unconstitutional stop-and-frisks are also on the rise.
Through the first 10 months of the year, officers had filled out more than 600,000 contact cards, already exceeding last year's total of 516,500 and far outpacing the 379,000 written in 2011, when McCarthy took office, department records show.
Contact cards go back decades as a tool for Chicago police. If officers stop a person on the street but don't make an arrest, they are required to jot down the age, address, race, time and location, and reason for the stop. The contact cards can be helpful to police in keeping track of gangbangers and solving crimes.
McCarthy, the product of a New York City Police Department that relied heavily on stop-and-frisk tactics that a federal judge recently found unconstitutional, has been riding commanders of Chicago's 22 police districts for months to increase street stops by cops, according to numerous police sources.
There is no quota on how many contact cards must be filled out by individual officers each workday, according to the sources, but if too few have been written in a district, commanders risk incurring McCarthy's wrath in front of peers at weekly meetings on CompStat, the department's data-driven strategy that uses crime statistics and street intelligence to hold police brass accountable for the neighborhoods they oversee.
Nov 6, 2013
Starbucks aims to hire 10,000 vets, active-duty spouses over 5 years
The coffee company also says its store near Joint Base Lewis-McChord will share revenue with a nonprofit program aiding vets.
Starbucks is announcing Wednesday a plan to hire at least 10,000 military veterans and active-duty spouses over the next five years.
Chief Executive Howard Schultz, who will detail the plan at Starbucks headquarters, has charted an aggressive global expansion that ultimately calls for 500,000 employees companywide, up from 200,000 today.
The announcement also coincides with a massive drawdown of American troops in Afghanistan, meaning more than a million people will leave the military and transition to civilian life over the next few years.
Schultz will be joined Wednesday by former Secretary of Defense and CIA director Robert Gates, now a Starbucks board member.
“This is, in my view, not charity or philanthropy. But in fact, this is good business,” Schultz said Monday in an interview at the company's Sodo offices. “These are highly skilled, highly trained people who have significant leadership capabilities, who will add value to Starbucks.”
Also on Wednesday, Starbucks will turn a coffee shop in Lakewood, near Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), and another in San Antonio, into so-called community stores. That means a set amount from each transaction will be invested back into the community through local nonprofits.
Community Rights Campaign confronts over-policing in schools
Students, parents and teachers rallied at Martin Luther King Blvd. and Vermont Ave. near Manual Arts High School last week to discuss over-policing in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Today, the newly-formed LAUSD Progressive Discipline and Safety Committee will hold a public meeting from 4 to 6 p.m. to continue the conversation.
The Labor/Community Strategy Center organized the Oct. 30 rally as part of its Community Rights Campaign. Its goal? To put an “end to punitive and exclusionary policies and practices that criminalize our students and contribute to devastating graduation rates and education outcomes for students of color,” according to a press release.
The organization is specifically referring to the citation and arrest policies of LAUSD and Los Angeles Schools Police Department. Speakers addressed the crowd about their experiences with ticketing in schools.
According to the group's report, Latino students were twice as likely as White students to get ticketed in the 2012-2013 school year. Black students were six times more likely to get ticketed than White students.
The rally came after a year of attempting to reform the district's policies. “We recognize the leadership of several LAUSD officials and LASPD Chief Steve Zimmerman have been critical to the on-going community engagement to change the culture of our schools,” the center wrote in its press release.
Today's LAUSD meeting of the Progressive Discipline and Safety Committee is open to the public and will be held at the LAUSD board room.
Nov 5, 2013
LAX shooting: Authorities defend massive response
by Brian Sumers
As a SWAT team leader for the Los Angeles office of the FBI, Patrick Conley taught law enforcement how to proceed in the hours after a major event, such as the shooting Friday at Los Angeles International Airport.
Now matter how obvious a crime scene seems, Conley said, officers must methodically consider every possibility. Only then, he said, can they clear the area.
“We used to tell them if you are going to hand a scene over, you have to be willing to have your 2-year-son sit on the floor and you have to know he's going to be safe,” said Conley, now a managing director at Risk Control Strategies in Westlake Village. “You absolutely have to be 100 percent certain that it is a secure environment.”
At LAX on Friday, no one was taking any chances.
About half of the airport was essentially shut down for more than six hours, as hundreds of police and fire officials from throughout the city descended the shooting scene at Terminal 3. Almost all arrived after Los Angeles World Airport police shot and severely wounded suspect Paul Anthony Ciancia. They parked police and fire trucks on the airport roadways and shut down several streets around the airport, including a portion of Century Boulevard.
No easy answers on whether to revise airport security strategies
WASHINGTON » When Stephen L. Holl, the chief of police at the Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority, gathered his staff for the regular morning meeting on Monday, he opened with a sobering assessment.
"It wasn't our turn this time," said Holl, who oversees security at Reagan National and Dulles International airports. "Our turn could be next or it could be never."
"We believe this could happen any time," he later added.
The shooting last week at a security checkpoint at Los Angeles International Airport that left one Transportation Security Administration official dead and two others wounded has security experts re-examining strategy for making airports safe, but they say there are no obvious solutions and that extending any security perimeter raises other problems.
"Wherever you establish a security perimeter, by definition, there's stuff outside it," said Arnold Barnett, an aviation security expert at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, explaining why it was hard to guard the people at the gate. Placing additional police officers outside the security perimeter, like at the ticketing area or at the curb, could simply prompt a gunman to go where the officers are not.
In a July 4, 2002, shooting at the Los Angeles airport, a man with a handgun waited until police officers left the area in front of the El Al Airlines ticket counter before he shot and killed two people and wounded several others. An El Al security guard shot and killed the gunman.
Two juveniles, possibly armed, arrested in Denver school stand-off
(Reuters) - Denver Police early on Tuesday arrested two male juveniles who appeared to be toting rifles inside a middle school that they broke into and refused to leave for several hours.
The two 15-year-old boys, each carrying what appeared to be a long rifle and a school bag, were seen breaking into the Rachel B. Noel Middle School in Colorado's largest city late on Monday, Denver Police Chief Robert White told reporters at a press conference early on Tuesday.
Police units, including a SWAT team and bomb squad, converged on the school and were still sweeping it early on Tuesday, looking for the weapons and bags, said Denver Police spokesman Steve Warneke. At one point, a police helicopter shined a spotlight on the outer building and a bomb robot searched within.
When Police arrested the two boys after several hours of trying to talk them out using the school's public address system, they were unarmed and bagless.
The boys had earlier smashed a window but had not entered another school nearby. It was not immediately known if the schools would be open.
Boston police planning to add to weapons arsenal
More access to powerful rifles
Four years after Mayor Thomas M. Menino expressed concerns about arming more Boston police with military-style rifles, the department is quietly preparing to train 99 patrol officers to use such semiautomatic rifles, a dramatic boost in firepower that some officials say is excessive.
Under the plan, 22 uniformed officers on every shift — two for each of the city's 11 districts — would have routine access to the weapons in their cruisers after they are trained. It represents a substantial increase from the current complement of four to eight specialized officers who patrol the city in “gun cars” equipped with an M4 semiautomatic rifle and a shotgun.
It is one of the final policy changes instituted by Commissioner Edward F. Davis, who left the department Friday after nearly seven years at the helm.
“It's standard operating procedure across the nation, and the officers have to be able to protect themselves,” Davis said in an interview last week. “I think it's a practical and appropriate plan.”
Davis said officials had been planning the change months before the April 15 Boston Marathon terrorist attacks, but the tragedy underscored the need for a greater number of more powerful weapons.
Nov 4, 2013
LAX shooting sparks debate on security, arming TSA agents
Both LAX police the Transportation Security Administrator are reviewing protocols in the wake of the shooting Friday that left a TSA agent dead and several other people wounded.
At a press conference over the weekend, TSA Administrator John Pistole said his agencies review will include the question over whether agents should be armed (they are not presently).
“We will look at what our policies and procedures are and what provides the best possible security," he said.
A review is also planned at LAX.
Experts have long said that lobbies, ticketing counters, baggage claim areas and sidewalks of the nine terminals at Los Angeles International Airport, the nation's third-busiest, are easily accessible to attackers intent on bringing firearms or bombs into the airport's public areas.
Creating a fail-safe security perimeter for the terminal area, however, would be extremely costly and might shift attacks by those seeking to do harm to other public gathering places, said Brian Jenkins, an authority on terrorism and aviation security at Rand Corp., the Santa Monica-based think tank.
Bicycles big assist in community policing
NORMAN — Norman police officers wanting a stealthy approach have an usual tool in their arsenal — bicycles. Police on bikes have ridden up on drug deals and car burglars without being noticed. The Norman bicycle team has 15 members, including four female officers. Additionally, the team has two lieutenants and a commanding captain.
It didn't start out that way.
“Apparently, the first bikes we got were from property custody,” said Lt. Jamie Shattuck, bike team member. “I think that Shon Elroy went to bike instructor school. He was our first instructor.”
Twenty years or so ago, two night shift police officers — Elroy and Harold Nicholson — were concerned about break-ins in downtown Norman. The pair did their research and became convinced that patrolling on bicycles could help.
“We had gotten interested in mountain biking and then we got interested in police patrolling on bikes,” said Sgt. Elroy who is the NPD range master.
“We met with a lot of resistance at first, but we proved ourselves,” Elroy said.
OPD makes moves to improve community policing initiative
Shortly before 3 p.m. on a Friday, a fleet of Oshkosh Police squad cars arrived and a crowd of officers gathered in front of a residence in the 500 block of Bowen Street.
There wasn't a problem – at least at the momentt. Instead, officers were holding their daily start-of-shift resume briefing outside the residence, which has been the location of numerous complaints. It gave officers a chance to not only become familiar with the problems, but also hear from officers who had experience responding to calls at the residence.
“Often times there's a couple of officers that are more familiar with a specific problem and bringing the resume out to the problem helps show the entire shift what the problem is and helps them familiarize themselves with whatever it might be,” Sgt. Andrew Lecker said. “It's a good way of getting everybody a better idea of exactly what's taking place by bringing them out there and showing them exactly where the problem is and what it is.”
It's one of the newest steps Oshkosh Police are taking in their community policing strategy, which aims to keep officers more connected with what's going on in the city's neighborhoods while also helping police make connections with the city's residents.
“We just want to stay connected to the people that live in them,” Oshkosh Police Chief Scott Greuel said. “Our philosophy hasn't changed. The structure of how officers are assigned has changed.”