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 17, 2013
Moves afoot to keep veterans from getting left behind
After serving multiple tours of duty in Iraq, dodging mortars and roadside bombs, Army Cpl. Stephen Fox came home to Tarzana with a traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder and a host of additional ailments.
“We got blown up, like, every day, and then there was other stuff, too,” said the 26-year old former infantryman, recalling the time he was among the first responders to arrive after an explosion in Kirkuk that left 80 dead and 170 wounded.
“It was terrible,” he said quietly.
Even though the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs was well aware of his returning condition — providing him with free medical treatment at its Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center — it still took two years to process his claim for disability benefits.
For most veterans, however, that is the norm.
Of the 700,000 nationwide claims pending before the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, almost 400,000 are considered backlogged, according to Rep. Julia Brownley, D-Westlake Village, who sits on the House of Representatives' Veterans Affairs Committee.
Man arrested in connection with girlfriend's stabbing death five years ago
A man who allegedly fled the country after murdering his live-in girlfriend by stabbing her to death with a sword in front of their four small children five years ago in their Lancaster apartment has been apprehended and returned to the United States to face charges, authorities said Saturday.
Jesus Humberto “Chuey” Canales, 34, was detained by Mexican authorities in a small town in Jalisco, Mexico, on Thursday and released into the custody of U.S. Marshals, who flew him to Los Angeles on Friday.
Canales was booked on suspicion of felony murder and child endangerment Saturday morning and remains in custody in lieu of $1.4 million bail, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff's department records.
Detectives allege Canales killed 26-year-old Lucy Preciado during a domestic dispute July 12, 2008. Her family members said she told them in the days before she died that she was planning on leaving Canales.
Her killing attracted national attention when investigators released a recording of the 911 call placed by their then-9-year-old daughter.
Seeking Safety: Fear is the norm, unity the response in Fayetteville
For too long, living with crime and the fear that accompanies it has been the norm in Fayetteville.
Perhaps for most of us, the fear is little more than a nagging concern, enough to prompt us to install an alarm system, avoid certain parts of the city at certain times, even buy a gun for protection. For too many, though, it is a deeper worry that keeps us trapped in our homes, afraid and angry about what has happened to our community.
There was a time, maybe in our memory, maybe only in the stories told by our parents, when such fear barely existed. A time when we left our doors unlocked, when we didn't worry about where our children were playing, when our schools didn't need metal detectors.
But in the years since then, we have adjusted to the crime. We've accepted 4,000 break-ins, 8,000 thefts, 1,000 robberies and assaults a year as an unpleasant part of life in Fayetteville. We've shrugged and, with a survivor's wry pride, called our home "Fayettenam."
But it is increasingly clear that we are tired of adjusting. From the Police Department, from City Hall, from election campaigns and from community forums, we've heard a consistent message: We're fed up with crime. We want answers.
Today, The Fayetteville Observer joins the search for solutions. We are calling our effort "Seeking Safety." That's what people really want, to feel safe in their own community.
Nov 16, 2013
Is there more to JFK assassination?
(CNN) -- Fifty years after President John F. Kennedy's assassination, there are very few down-the-line defenders of the Warren Commission to be found. The investigation into JFK's murder was inadequate, rushed and manipulated by powerful officials.
Just consider a few of the commission's flaws.
-- President Lyndon Johnson and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had all but decided what the report would say -- that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman with no conspiracy -- within 48 hours of the shooting.
-- The report was issued on a political timetable. LBJ wanted it out well before his election in November 1964.
-- The FBI was less interested in the full truth and more determined to avoid blame for misreading Oswald's violent character. Hoover later admitted: "We failed in carrying through some of the most salient aspects of the Oswald investigation. It ought to be a lesson to all."
-- Far worse was the behavior of the CIA, which coached some witnesses, hid others and withheld important information. The agency never told the commission it had been keeping tabs on Oswald or why. To this day, the CIA says it did not have a relationship with Oswald and that it is not withholding anything important about the assassination from the public.
-- Even more suspiciously, the CIA maintained its subterfuge and continued to lie to yet another official JFK investigation in the 1970s, this one run by the U.S. House of Representatives. It was a chance to come clean, with lesser consequences, and the CIA didn't take it. The director of that study, Robert Blakey, now denounces the CIA and says he doesn't believe anything the agency told him and his panel.
-- Both the CIA and the FBI failed to inform the commission about their various arrangements with the Mafia, another prime suspect in Kennedy's killing. They considerably underplayed Oswald killer Jack Ruby's organized crime ties. "The evidence does not establish a significant link," the commission asserted, but in fact, Ruby was in frequent contact with mobsters.
-- A surprising number of first-hand, close-in witnesses from Dealey Plaza on November 22 were never interviewed by the commission. These people had useful information to impart. I interviewed some of them, still living after the passage of five decades, and to this day they cannot understand why the commission was uninterested.
-- The commission dismissed or ignored some compelling testimony that contradicted its preferred findings.
Man impersonates officer to try and get discount on donuts
TRINITY, FL. - Pasco County Sheriff Deputies arrest a man after he tried to get a discount on donuts by impersonating a law enforcement officer.
Deputies say 48-year-old Charles "Chuck" Barry went to the drive-thru of a Trinity Dunkin' Donuts last week, and after identifying himself as law enforcement, asked for a discount on his order of donuts.
When the clerk refused to give him the discount, Barry allegedly held up a gun -- still in its holster -- and said, "See, I'm a cop!" The witness told investigators Barry never pointed the gun at him or took it out of its holster.
The next day he went through the drive-thru again and the manager took down his license plate tag.
On November 12, surveillance was set up at Dunkin Donuts and a Deputy with the Pasco Sheriff's Office observed Barry driving away from the business. A traffic stop was conducted and while speaking with Barry the deputy observed he had a law enforcement badge in his wallet. He was also carrying a .38 caliber revolver in his front pocket. He was positively identified by store personnel and arrested on above mentioned charges.
Barry was charged with one count of False Impersonation of a law Enforcement Officer and Improper Exhibition of a Firearm.
Nov 15, 2013
FBI director warns of cyberattacks; other security chiefs say terrorism threat has altered
FBI Director James B. Comey testified Thursday that the risk of cyberattacks is likely to exceed the danger posed by al-Qaeda and other terrorist networks as the top national security threat to the United States and will become the dominant focus of law enforcement and intelligence services.
Appearing before the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Comey said he expected Internet-related attacks, espionage and theft to emerge as the most consuming security issue for the United States by the end of his 10-year FBI term.
“We have connected all of our lives — personal, professional and national — to the Internet,” Comey said. “That's where the bad guys will go because that's where our lives are, our money, our secrets.”
The warning underscored the growing sense of alarm among officials in Washington over the nation's vulnerability to online attacks as well as the diminished ability of al-Qaeda to mount plots against the United States after more than a decade of CIA drone strikes and other counterterrorism operations.
Comey was among three of the nation's top security officials to testify Thursday that the risk of a major terrorist attack in the United States is seen as lower now than at any time since before the strikes on Sept. 11, 2001.
Microsoft unveils Cybercrime Center to tackle malware, botnets, online child abuse
Summary: The new dedicated cybercrime center will be used to fight online malware spreading, intellectual property theft, and other online criminal activity, the software giant said.
Software giant turned de facto private law enforcement unit?
Microsoft on Thursday unveiled its new Cybercrime Center , which it hopes will be a force to preventing some of the worst crime on the Internet, including child exploitation and online botnets.
The hope is that Microsoft, along with other partners, will help to tackle some of the more invasive practices by criminals to improve the end-user experience for home and business users.
The software giant said in a statement the dedicated space on its Redmond, Wash.-based campus will enrich partnerships across industry, academia, law enforcement, and customers — although, in the wake of the National Security Agency's PRISM scandal, the company has distanced itself somewhat from the federal government — in what it described as "critical partners" in the fight against cybercrime.
"The Microsoft Cybercrime Center is where our experts come together with customers and partners to focus on one thing: keeping people safe online," David Finn, associate general counsel of the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit, in prepared remarks. "By combining sophisticated tools and technology with the right skills and new perspectives, we can make the Internet safer for everyone."
Department of Justice
Associate Attorney General Tony West Delivers Remarks at the Violence Against Women Tribal Consultation
Thank you, Bea [Hanson] for that kind introduction and for all that you and your staff have done to make this consultation possible.
Good Morning! I am so grateful to be with you all here today in Washington, and I welcome the many leaders of tribal nations, the many public safety and public health officials, and all of you who share a dedication to stopping the scourge of violence against women in our communities.
I am pleased that Karol Mason, the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs, is here this morning. We are also fortunate to have two United States Attorneys who work tirelessly in Indian country join us today – Amanda Marshall for the District of Oregon and Tim Purdon for the District of North Dakota.
I saw some of you yesterday at the White House Tribal Nations Conference, and I want to start by thanking the tribal leaders who extended their stay in D.C. to participate in today's important government-to-government Violence Against Women Tribal Consultation.
I also express my sincerest gratitude to those tribal leaders who made a special trip to D.C. specifically to attend today's consultation. I know many of you were inconvenienced by the decision to postpone the annual consultation due to the government shutdown, and it makes your presence here today all the more meaningful; thank you.
Nov 14, 2013
Should you start a neighborhood watch?
You notice someone lurking on your neighbors' property when they are on vacation or you are aware that the local abandoned house is being used as an impromptu juvenile hangout. What should you do? The first call of action would be to contact local law enforcement to handle the situation. A second response could be to talk with the members of your community to form a neighborhood watch.
According to the Crime Prevention Council, neighborhood watches can be a foundation for community crime prevention.
Captain Richard Fiorilla of the West Milford Police Department concurs that neighborhood watches, whether formal or informal, are an effective way to look for anything out of the normal in the community.
"Each community has their own needs and problems and citizen watch groups can help foster communication between neighbors to discuss issues and problems," Fiorilla says.
While there is no specific recipe for starting a neighborhood watch, Fiorilla says it is important to foster a relationship between the neighborhood and local law enforcement. Local police can assist neighbors in developing a neighborhood watch program and give residents tips for what to do if they see something suspicious and how to handle neighborhood issues, such as problems with people breaking local ordinances. The West Milford Police Department has officers trained in community policing and are available to meet with residents.
"Informal neighborhood watches, like in our local lake communities, keep an eye out for happenings in their neighborhood, but don't specifically patrol the streets," says Fiorilla. "These communities can have issues with ATVs on roadways, trespassing on private property, teen vandalism and the list can go on and on. Problems are specific to each particular neighborhood. Problems in a community can be as simple as neighbors blowing their leaves too early on a Sunday morning."
Editorial: City's heroin scourge needs community's full police support
The community forum on a “growing opioid epidemic” held at Cruiseport Gloucester last night could not have come at a better time.
With Gloucester Police reports regarding some type of heroin or other opiate-related arrests on a nearly daily basis — and with a downright chilling case last weekend centered on the arrest of a woman tied to the 2011 heroin overdose death of her finance — it's clear that the city is once again in the throes of a heroin or opioid scourge, if it ever really suppressed it in the first place.
And while groups such as the Healthy Gloucester Collaborative, with its “Learn to Cope” program and other efforts, is clearly making strides, it's also clear that too many people in Gloucester and in other communities are continuing to fall through the cracks — perhaps as many as in the first two months of 2011, when three confirmed heroin deaths sparked stepped-up policing efforts and the first of three August vigils held to remember the victims and recognize the toll that all drugs continue to take on our community.
By all counts, Gloucester police are making gains in cutting into the city's street supplies.
That's apparent whenever a scanner call notes that police, firefighters or rescue crews are administering NARCAN, which reverses the effects of an excessive heroin dose, at a response scene. It shows up at times like the night of Nov. 1, when officers took a man they called a known drug user and alleged dealer off the city's streets after a surveillance effort paid off near the McDonald's and 7-Eleven store on Maplewood Avenue. And it was apparent last Friday, when officers entering a house on Cleveland Street not only found three alleged users injecting heroin with two little kids present, but recovered a quantity of Suboxone, a compound opioid, neatly packaged for sale and distribution.
High Desert known for body dumping
For many, the vast expanses of the Mojave Desert between Victorville and Las Vegas provide relaxing scenic views for those who drive to and from the Golden and Silver states.
But to some, the region has served a more sinister purpose — as a location to dispose of bodies or to commit murder.
The skeletal remains of four people, unearthed from two shallow graves on Wednesday in an off-roading area near Stoddard Wells Road, west of the 15 Freeway and just north of Victorville, left some pondering that darker side of the Mojave.
“If there were to be a cross everywhere someone dumped a body, the desert would look like Forest Lawn,” said Keith Bushey, a former San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy chief and Los Angeles police commissioner.
“If you want to kill somebody, you're going to take him some place that's desolate, and the California desert is just a wonderful place and it's a secluded place. In addition to all the wonderful things it has to offer, it's long been a place to dump bodies.”
Apple Valley resident Debra Andrews saw the sheriff's vehicles and news vans from the 15 Freeway on Wednesday afternoon and pulled off to see what was going on. She was shocked when she heard what investigators were unearthing.
Ohio delays inmate's execution over organ issue
Ohio's governor delayed the execution of a condemned child killer to consider the inmate's unprecedented organ donation request, acknowledging that it's "uncharted territory" but expressing hope that the man might help save a life before losing his own.
Ronald Phillips, 40, was scheduled to be put to death Thursday with a lethal injection of a two-drug combination not yet tried in the U.S., but Gov. John Kasich issued a stay of execution Wednesday. The execution date has been reset for July 2.
"I realize this is a bit of uncharted territory for Ohio, but if another life can be saved by his willingness to donate his organs and tissues then we should allow for that to happen," Kasich said in a statement. He said he wanted to allow time for medical experts to study whether Phillips could donate non-vital organs, such as a kidney, before being executed.
Phillips, who was sentenced for raping and killing a 3-year-old girl in Akron in 1993, asked this week to donate a kidney to his mother and his heart to his sister. His attorney said it was an attempt to do good, not a delay tactic.
Ohio's prison medical policy accommodates organ donations, but prison officials rejected the request, saying it came too late to work out logistics and security concerns.
Nov 13, 2013
Oakland police travel to Chicago for specialized training
OAKLAND, Calif. — Oakland Police confirmed several members of the department, along with community members, traveled to Chicago last week to study the way that city trains its officers in community policing.
The training, known as "procedural justice and police legitimacy" is mandatory for all of Chicago's 12,500 police officers and is designed to better prepare police for interacting with the communities they serve.
Despite having 452 homicides last year, Chicago police say overall crime is down 15 percent in 2013, homicides are down 19 percent and shootings have declined by 24 percent.
Oakland Interim Assistant Police Chief Paul Figueroa was among those who traveled to Chicago. Figueroa and a smaller group of others working on Operation Ceasefire also visited Chicago PD two weeks ago. He says the goal is to "train the trainers," so they can share what they learned with the rest of the department.
"Basically, when law enforcement takes an action, the individual wants to know there's fairness involved and they'll have a voice in the process," said Figueroa.
When KTVU asked about the need to travel to Chicago to learn about this kind of training, Figueroa said the department is always looking for "best practices."
Lawyers for accused Boston bomber to challenge prison conditions
Attorneys for accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are due in court on Tuesday to argue against the restrictive terms of his confinement, which they say are impeding their ability to mount an effective defense.
The 20-year-old defendant is being kept separate from other prisoners at the facility west of Boston where he is being held awaiting trial and his lawyers have been ordered not to share messages from Tsarnaev with the outside world.
Prison officials and prosecutors argued in court papers that these measures are necessary to protect the safety of both the public and the man accused of the April 15 bombing, which killed three people and injured 264.
Prosecutors contend that Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, planted two pressure-cooker bombs at the race's finish line, and three days later killed a university police officer in an unsuccessful attempt to steal his gun. That prompted a massive police response, leading to a gunbattle that left Tamerlan dead. Dzhokhar fled and was found hiding in a drydocked boat late on April 19, after a daylong manhunt.
Tsarnaev, an ethic Chechen who had lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, wrote messages on the wall inside the boat including one that, according to court papers, read "Know you are fighting men who look into the barrel of your gun and see heaven, now how can you compete with that."
Nov 12, 2013
NYC asks court to vacate order curbing stop-and-frisk by police
City attorneys have asked a U.S. appeals court to vacate a federal judge's decision ordering the New York Police Department to curtail its stop-and-frisk tactics, after the same court removed the judge from the case but left her ruling intact.
The "public perception of the NYPD has been clouded" by U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin's August ruling against the department, city attorneys wrote in the motion filed late Saturday.
Scheindlin's order "lends credence to the notion that the NYPD unfairly targets minorities for stops and frisks, undermining its ability to carry out its mission effectively," New York City Corporation Counsel Michael Cardoza wrote.
Scheindlin ruled in August that the NYPD's practice of stopping individuals on the street and frisking them if they arouse "reasonable suspicion" had led to "indirect racial profiling" of young minorities. She ordered the practice scaled back, named a dozen law professors to a panel that would help implement reforms by the department and appointed a federal monitor to oversee the process.
But in a stunning decision last month, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered Scheindlin off the case, saying she violated the judicial conduct code by giving media interviews on the matter and by encouraging plaintiffs in the case to file the lawsuit.
The three-judge panel ruled that Scheindlin's actions undermined the appearance of impartiality but did not address the merits of her opinion. The panel instead suspended her ruling and scheduled arguments in the case for next spring.
Former homeless man loses benefits for failing to report $850 found on sidewalk
HACKENSACK, N.J. – Offers of support have been pouring in from around the nation for a formerly homeless New Jersey man whose good deed proved costly.
James Brady of Hackensack was notified recently that his government benefits were being suspended after he failed to report as income the $850 he had found on a sidewalk and turned over to police.
Brady, who was homeless when he found the money on a sidewalk in April after leaving a local homeless shelter, turned the cash over to police. He was allowed to keep it six months later after no one claimed it during a mandated waiting period.
But the Hackensack Human Services Department denied him General Assistance and Medicaid benefits through Dec. 31 because he failed to report the cash as new income. The director of human services said the agency was just following the rules.
The 59 year-old Brady is a former photographer and market data analyst who has suffered from depression since losing his job a decade ago, according to The Record of Woodland Park.
Brady told The Record that he hadn't realized he was required to report the money. Formerly homeless, he had recently found housing and was seeing a therapist and a psychiatrist and taking medication, but was unsure he'd be able to afford continuing care after his benefits were cut off.
Nov 11, 2013
Mexico Police Department, Explorers to start neighborhood watch
MEXICO — The Police Department and the Mexico Explorers program will host a meet-and-greet with residents this month to discuss an upcoming neighborhood watch program, interim police Chief Roy Hodsdon said Friday.
Hodsdon said the idea for the program came from reserve police officer Cam Barrieau.
“Cam came up to me last spring, around the time the burglaries in town were increasing, and proposed the idea of a neighborhood watch for our town, and I told him that I thought it'd be a great idea,” Hodsdon said. “It's always been in the back of our mind as something we should do.”
Hodsdon said the meet-and-greet will be announced to the press and on the department Facebook page when a date is set.
The community response has been “overwhelmingly” in favor of a neighborhood watch, he said.
“We made a post on our Facebook asking residents what they thought about a neighborhood watch, and we've heard nothing but good things about it,” Hodsdon said. “Once we set a date for the meet-and-greet, residents will get to come in and share what their expectations are and some of the ideas they have for the town.”
Public Safety Symposium garners little attention
Two parents show up for public safety event
More than 3,000 students attend Cañon City public schools, but only two parents showed up Saturday at the Public Safety Symposium at Harrison School.
"If we reach two parents, it's better than no parents," said Robyn Vidmar, Cañon City Police School Resource Officer for Cañon City High School and one of the symposium organizers.
Sponsored jointly by the Cañon City School District and the CCPD, the open-ended, come-and-go event was designed to inform parents about the programs available to ensure their children's safety. It also provided access to representatives from local agencies committed to the health and well-being of the community.
Student volunteers, ages 10-16, from last summer's Junior Law Enforcement Academy and several professionals spent the day waiting to interact with the public that never showed up.
Take extra precautions around schools, buses
Nov. 14, 2012, started as a day like many others. School was letting out and everyone was excited to be headed home.
Frank Booth was on his job just the way he was most days, directing traffic in front of Mt. Mourne School. This was a job that Frank enjoyed by all accounts. Those who knew him have told me he was always there to help. He took a great deal of pride in directing traffic.
It is a job that most people would probably rather not do, but Frank liked it a lot. The weather can be cold and wet, and people do not always pay attention to the crossing guard.
On that afternoon, Frank lost his life directing traffic. As we approach the anniversary of Frank's death, please take some extra time around our schools and be careful.
There are more than 30 public schools in Iredell County educating more than 21,000 children every day.
Getting those children safely into the school and back home each day is an enormous responsibility.