Latest News

Are you wearing your armor? Safariland's 2000th SAVE CLUB member underscores importance of donning the vest

PoliceOne - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 18:26

Author: Ron LaPedis

Groucho Marx famously said, “I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member.” But for those of you who put your lives on the line every day, there is a club that wants you as a member and I guarantee that you would want to join it rather than the alternative.

For 45 years, the Safariland Group’s SAVES CLUB has recognized officers who have survived a life-threatening incident while wearing the company’s armor and/or protective equipment.

In this 2014 PoliceOne survey, 15 percent of 4,600 police respondents said they do not wear their ballistic vests 100 percent of the time. Luckily, three years after that survey on September 24, 2017, Officer Brandy Pierce was wearing her armor, and became Safariland's 2000th armor save.

Pierce had responded to a call reporting a suspect maliciously breaking into vehicles. Upon arrival, the suspect quickly fled on a bicycle so Pierce released her K-9 partner Lex who tackled and detained the suspect.

As Pierce approached to remove the K-9 and take the suspect into custody, he produced a .45 ACP handgun and shot Pierce directly in the chest. Her Safariland ABA XT03 Level II armor stopped the round and enabled her to stay in the fight. She returned fire and fatally wounded the assailant. Pierce was treated and released from a hospital and has since returned to full duty.

Pierce, alongside fellow SAVES CLUB members paramedic Danielle Kamenar and police constable Adam Koch, will be recognized and share their stories at a special Safariland SAVES presentation on Wednesday, January 24, 2018, at SHOT Show, booth #12762.

Whatever your brand of body armor, it is money wasted unless you wear it. So please don your armor before every shift and stay safe out there!

Read more articles about the importance of body armor and how to select it on our PoliceOne products page, and watch for more armor reports on our 2018 SHOT show special coverage page.

Categories: Latest News

Grants help ND police agencies equip officers with Narcan

PoliceOne - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 15:13
Author: Ron LaPedis

By April Baumgarten The Bismarck Tribune

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Grants are helping law enforcement agencies in Grand Forks and Polk counties equip their officers with a medicine that can be used to prevent opioid overdose deaths.

University of North Dakota Police recently were trained to handle Narcan, a nasal spray version of naloxone used to fight the effects of opioid drugs such as fentanyl. The university law enforcement agency equipped its officers with the medication in early January, thanks to grant funding from Grand Forks Public Health, said UND Police Lt. Danny Weigel.

The effort to equip officers across the nation is in response to what some have called an opioid overdose crisis. Drug dealers have found a market in selling fentanyl, which has been used to treat pain in small doses. More than 42,000 people died of opioid overdoses in 2016 in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Full Story: Grants help law enforcement agencies equip officers with Narcan

Categories: Latest News

The impact of a government shutdown on public safety

PoliceOne - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 13:54

Author: Ron LaPedis

By Sarah Calams, P1 Contributor

The federal government shutdown at midnight on Jan. 19, forcing thousands of federal workers to be placed on unpaid leave until a funding deal was brokered.

Along with federal workers, U.S. military members, along with their families, were also told that they would not receive a paycheck as long as the government was shutdown. Furthermore, military death benefits are not dispersed during a shutdown.

The Senate voted today at 12 p.m. EST to end the shutdown with a short-term spending bill, which will last up to Feb. 8. A vote was attempted Sunday night, but was later rejected.

Senators voted 81-18 to end debate, reopen the government and vote on the bill, which would next go to the House and then to President Trump.

So what was, and still remains to be, the issue at hand? Senate Democratic leaders wanted a guarantee from Senate Republican leaders that an immigration bill will see a debate as well as a vote in the coming weeks.

If the funding bill issues are resolved by Feb. 8, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told CBS News that legislation would proceed to address DACA, border security and increased defense spending.

The question, however, remains: how does a government shutdown affect public safety personnel and first responders?

First responder and public safety personnel affected

In 2013, a government shutdown occurred from Oct. 1-16 during the Obama administration over the inability to agree on Obamacare.

During that time, the shutdown closed the National Emergency Training Center, forcing the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation to move events scheduled for its annual Memorial Weekend.

Mark Bray, a firefighter-paramedic at Montrose (Colo.) Fire Department, posted a question on Facebook during the 2013 shutdown about the National Fire Academy.

"Anybody know if the National Fire Academy was affected by the government shutdown?" Bray asked his Facebook followers.

Facebook follower Stephen Hrustich responded, saying the "gate is locked. You will not be picked up. Off campus classes are still being offered although with no support from the NFA."

In dismay, Bray replied, "They close up shop at the NFA and don't call or email students and tell them not to come or buy air fare. They force park rangers to clear the pond at Lake Powell and don't pay them."

Similarly, the FBI National Academy cancelled classes for the first time in its history during the 2013 shutdown. During the shutdown, Capt. Matt Canfield was into his first week of specialized training in Quantico, Virginia. According to the Laconia Daily Sun, Capt. Canfield was told that "his instructors were not considered 'essential personnel' and the training would be stopped."

During the shutdown, all federal employees who are believed to be "nonessential" are furloughed without pay.

Essential, nonessential federal employees

Essential personnel, according to NBC News, include:

Active duty military and civilian personnel FBI agents Doctors and nurses working in federal hospitals Air traffic controllers TSA officers U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents Coast Guard personnel Meat and poultry inspectors Centers for Disease Control and Prevention members IRS personnel National park rangers DEA personnel Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms field offices

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, almost all of its employees are exempt from a shutdown and would report to work.

Most federal agencies, however, do close during a shutdown, including the Department of Education and the IRS. Nearly 90 percent of Department of Homeland Security personnel, who are considered "essential," continue working, according to the DHS. Most Department of Justice employees also continue working during a shutdown.

Some Health and Human Services employees are furloughed during a shutdown as well as National Treasury Employees Union employees.

During the last shutdown, the National Park Service closed national parks and the national monuments in Washington, D.C. U.S. Forest Service employees were also deemed "nonessential."

Congress, on the other hand, continues to operate during a shutdown and members of Congress also continue to be paid. Federal prisons also still operate during a shutdown.

And even though some workers are deemed "essential," it doesn't mean that they all still get paid during a shutdown; they can have their pay withheld and still have to continue working.

The effects of a government shutdown

The longer a shutdown occurs, the more serious it becomes.

As a result, a government shutdown affects many different departments, agencies, personnel and everyday American citizens.

It causes havoc for departments and agencies that some may argue should always be considered "essential." It also creates low morale for those who are still required to work, despite being unpaid, due to the lack of backing and support of a full staff.

The effects of this shutdown, according to the Washington Post, were limited, including the halt of trash pickup on National Park Service property, cancelation of military reservists' drill plans and switching off some government employees' cellphones. However, since the shutdown continued into a workday, thousands of federal workers and federal agencies were affected; federal contractors will see delayed payments and the IRS may be forced to slow its preparations for the upcoming tax season.

Over the next few weeks, Congress members will reconvene and continue negotiating in order to reach a deal by the Feb. 8 deadline.

Until then, it's all a waiting game.

Categories: Latest News

Chief: Officers acted lawfully when disconnecting man’s surveillance cameras

PoliceOne - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 13:37
Author: Ron LaPedis

By PoliceOne Staff

VERO BEACH, Fla. — A Florida police chief is defending his officers after a man claimed his privacy was violated when an officer disconnected a surveillance camera outside his front door.

In August 2017, Vero Beach officers received an anonymous tip that the man, who didn’t want to be identified, matched the description of a suspect wanted for felony grand theft, WPTV reports. Chief David Currey said the officers went to the man’s apartment for a felony warrant and were advised there may be firearms at the home.

When officers showed up at the apartment, they knocked to no answer. The tenant said he was at work at the time.

Video, which the tenant later viewed after returning home, captured an officer disconnecting the surveillance camera.

“When I saw that I had no idea what they were up to, what their intentions were,” the tenant said.

It turned out that the tenant was not the man they were looking for. Police later arrested the actual suspect.

But the tenant questioned the officers’ practice.

“If anybody can just make a report and then have the police show up and remove and tamper with things around your house, that’s not right," the tenant said.

Currey said the officers acted legally.

“In law enforcement we don’t want to be at a disadvantage. We try to be at an advantage as best we can. If that was a safety precaution and a tactical precaution to make them safer then I stand behind that,” Currey said.

Currey added that the officers were concerned about possible weapons in the home but didn’t hear about officers disconnecting cameras while they were at the apartment.

The chief said he wished the tenant would’ve come forward with his concerns sooner, saying he learned about the surveillance video recently. He said the department would have offered to pay to repair any damage to the cameras.

Categories: Latest News

Slain SC detective remembered for tough, but caring demeanor

PoliceOne - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 12:50

Author: Ron LaPedis

Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A South Carolina sheriff's deputy who was killed last week in an ambush was known for walking around with a scowl most of the time.

Despite his tough look, York County Det. Mike Doty had a passion for helping people, including addicts and teens who wanted to become police officers one day.

Thousands of people turned out for Doty's funeral Monday at Calvary Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was killed Jan. 16 in an ambush by a domestic violence suspect who was hiding in the woods. Three other officers were wounded. They attended Doty's funeral in wheelchairs in front of the front row, right by his American flag-draped coffin.

Doty's twin brother, Chris, is a York County deputy, too. They were hired together 12 years ago. York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson said Chris Doty wanted him to make an important point about his brother.

"Despite the fact Mike walks around with a scowl on his face 90 percent of the time, he is a really happy guy," Tolson said.

The sheriff said Mike Doty started his department's program to provide deputies with drugs to revive people who had overdosed on opioids because he was passionate about helping addicts. He mentored teens who wanted to be officers through the Explorers program, again doling out tough love.

"If you were Mike's friend, he would tell you the truth, no matter how hard it was. He would hurt your feelings, but later on, you'd go — he's right," Tolson said.

Doty and other SWAT team members were called to the woods last week near York, South Carolina, to look for Christian McCall. He had fled into the woods after his wife called 911 to say he was beating her, authorities said.

McCall first shot York County Sgt. Randy Clinton as he and his police dog were closing in, investigators said.

A few hours later, McCall ambushed Doty, York County Sgt. Buddy Brown and York City Police Sgt. Kyle Cummings — all SWAT team members, the sheriff said last week.

McCall, 47, was also shot. His condition has not been released. Prosecutors said they plan to charge him with murder in Doty's death, attempted murder in the other shootings and a number of other charges.

York County officers filled the rows just behind Doty's coffin. SWAT team members in their camouflage uniforms were in front. In the further back were nearly a dozen rows of York County deputies in their gray uniform shirts and black neckties. Doty's body would later head down the interstate into South Carolina with a police escort for a burial in Rock Hill.

Doty wanted to save, protect and help everyone he could, Carolinas Cornerstone Church Senior Pastor Barry Yates said.

"If you needed him, he ran to help you," Yates said.

Categories: Latest News

How mobile broadband technology will revolutionize emergency response

PoliceOne - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 11:55

Author: Ron LaPedis

By Thorsten Robrecht, Nokia

As communications technology becomes ever more advanced, public safety organizations stand to benefit from the capabilities that mobile broadband networks have to offer.

Legacy narrowband networks (such as P25 here in the U.S., for example) were designed specifically to support voice services and offer very little in the way of data.

Though they’ve been relied on for decades, these networks cannot support the newer, high-bandwidth applications – such as real-time, two-way, high-definition video – that can be invaluable in a variety of emergency scenarios.

The technology of choice for mobile broadband is 4G LTE, which is already used worldwide in commercial mobile networks.

Mobile broadband enabling push-to-video

The availability of true mobile broadband through the introduction of LTE is changing the role that video can play in mobile services of all kinds.

Nowhere is this capability more valuable than in networks and services for first responders, and substantial efforts have been made toward the standardization of mission-critical features for LTE.

As a result, the industry is already beginning to see deployments of this technology specifically for public safety applications around the world; notably in South Korea, parts of the Middle East and in the United States.

When lives are at stake, police and other emergency personnel must be able to communicate with one another without fail in order to effectively coordinate response efforts. LTE enables first responders, dispatchers and command center personnel to see one another and, more important, access live video streams from incident sites.

Among the services now becoming available to first responders are push-to-video features. The ability to initiate a video stream at the push of a button allows onsite responders to immediately share what they are seeing with the command center or other nearby emergency personnel.

Push-to-video can also be coupled with more traditional services including push-to-talk and alert messaging, which together can dramatically improve situational awareness. Think of this as push-to-talk on steroids.

Naturally, this can offer huge benefits as it enables real-time visual assessment of the incident scene – be it a fire, explosion, riot scene or armed standoff – by the command center.

This in turn enables commanders to determine what additional resources may be needed, and whether additional support teams of police officers, SWAT, EMTs or firefighters may need to be dispatched to the scene.

Equally as important is that these audio and video streams can all be recorded for post-event analysis.

Accessing additional video sources

Of course, there is an increasing amount of video becoming available from incident scenes of all kinds, especially in urban environments, from sources like police dash and body cams, bystanders’ cell phone videos and video surveillance systems. However, these video feeds typically only become available after an incident has already taken place, so none of them offer the immediacy and coordination capabilities of push-to-video streams directly from first responders, which can be delivered and analyzed in real-time.

There is no doubt that providing both real-time and recorded video to personnel in command and control centers is incredibly valuable. However, what if these networks could also help emergency personnel look into the future? What if existing video streams – from cameras deployed for traffic monitoring or video surveillance of metro stations, stadiums and other public spaces – could be continually analyzed at or near a specific location in question to detect anomalies (such as a crowd gathering quickly at an unusual time or place – also known as a “flash mob”) and alert police or other emergency services about the potential for an incident?

The emergence of Multi-access Edge Computing

An emerging technology called Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) is starting to make that possible, at least in part.

MEC involves the deployment of computing power at the very edge of the network (at or near individual radio base stations, for instance) and enables information to be processed extremely quickly. Coupled with video analytics technology, this can offer clues to public safety organizations about events that might be developing at a given location.

These technologies can be coupled with ruggedized devices that are suitable for use in the field and include built-in cybersecurity capabilities that can help to ensure the security, reliability and integrity of the related networks and data that they carry.

Ultimately, the advanced communications networks becoming available today can be an important tool for law enforcement, emergency response and disaster recovery and support their missions to enhance public safety.

About the author Thorsten Robrecht is head of Vertical Network Slices, Mobile Networks, Nokia.

Categories: Latest News

Why it’s a shame Live PD may be too real for some tastes

PoliceOne - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 11:39
Author: Tim Dees

Several law enforcement agencies regularly featured on “Live PD” have decided to end their participation in the show. The program is a little too real for some of their constituents.

A&E’s “Live PD” is a reality show on the same theme as “COPS,” “Campus PD” and others that send camera crews out with police patrols. The wrinkle of “Live PD” is that the program is broadcast in almost-real time. A central control room coordinates the live feed from five or more crews at a time, all in different parts of the country. There is a delay of five to 20 minutes so as not to compromise investigations or privacy issues, and the central studio has a host and a couple of police consultants to provide transition and commentary.

None of the agencies depicted are especially well-known. They represent a cross-section of medium-size law enforcement agencies that answer the same calls for service and perform the same policing duties that are familiar to any experienced cop. If nothing else, they illustrate that police work doesn’t change that much from one place to another. The weather, uniforms and environment may vary, but the stories remain the same.

External forces

The outfits that are pulling out are doing so mostly because their local government politicians don’t care for the way their communities are being portrayed.

The cops are shown going to trailer parks, run-down housing areas and the seedier parts of town, and arresting people for being drunk, or high, or violent, or just plain anti-social. They are going where cops go, and they’re doing what cops do.

Most people live their lives in blissful ignorance of the grittier aspects of their communities. Growing up, their parents tell them to stay out of certain parts of town, and as adults, they have no reason to go there. If someone asked them where they could go to score some meth, buy or sell stolen property, or pick up a hooker, they might have a vague idea, but they wouldn’t know specifics.

The typical street cop can probably supply you with specific names and addresses if asked the same questions and inclined to answer. The typical street cop may have visited these premises within the previous few days, or maybe an hour ago. With rare exceptions, this is true of every city and county in America.

The city and county fathers urging a departure from “Live PD” probably have some awareness that these ills exist within their communities, but they are comfortably distanced from it, and they don’t have to confront it very often. That is, after all, why they authorize the money to pay for cops who take care of those things for them, and confront evil on behalf of the local government so the elected officials can sleep peacefully in their beds.

They also don’t like “Live PD” giving the world the impression that their city or county is rife with crime. If the people of America see that the cops in Bridgeport or Tulsa are running from call to call, going after drugs and muggers and drug fiends, they’ll come to believe that the town has a huge crime problem, and won’t bring their business or tourism there.

So they ask the chief of police or the sheriff to cut ties with the show so that Google searches will be more likely to yield a marketing video from the Chamber of Commerce than the TASER-ing of Bubba after he punched his girlfriend’s lights out.

Not much has changed

This sort of revelation isn’t anything new. “COPS” was a new program the last few years I worked the street, so the television portrayal of cops for the typical citizen came from programs like “Hill Street Blues,” “Miami Vice” and (regrettably) “T.J. Hooker.” Lacking another frame of reference, this was what people thought they knew of police work.

I was frequently assigned citizen ride-alongs. Their motive for accompanying an officer on patrol varied, but they often just wanted to see for themselves what we did every day.

Invariably, they got an unexpected dose of sensory saturation. They had no idea we spent as much time as we did searching buildings for intruders, mediating domestic quarrels (and sometimes arresting the participants), or recovering illegal drugs. They seemed to think we spent most of our time eating donuts and writing tickets. After that experience, they didn’t see the city in quite the same way as they had before.

Later on, during my teaching career in different parts of the country, I would have well-intentioned citizens tell me that nothing much ever happened in their town, and that there was practically no crime. I’d reply with, “Then, do you think the police department is a waste of money, that they have nothing to do?” Sometimes, they did think it was a waste. I’d encourage them to get the ride-along experience and find out just how much nothing was going on.

It’s a shame that the associations with “Live PD” are ending because people don’t want the nature of their communities to become known. As with so many things, there are details people prefer to remain ignorant about. Fortunately, there are still close to 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the U.S. that “Live PD” hasn’t yet shown on TV, so they won’t want for material.

Categories: Latest News

SCOTUS sides with police over partygoers in wild bash

PoliceOne - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 11:36

Author: Tim Dees

By Jessica Gresko Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court sided Monday with police over partygoers in a dispute about arrests at a 2008 bash at a vacant home that had been turned into a makeshift strip club.

The high court ruled that police had sufficient reason to make arrests at the raucous party, which took place in a District of Columbia duplex furnished only with a few metal chairs and a mattress. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in an opinion that police reasonably concluded that the revelers "were knowingly taking advantage of a vacant house as a venue for their late night party."

"Most homeowners do not live in near-barren houses. And most homeowners do not invite people over to use their living room as a strip club, to have sex in their bedroom, to smoke marijuana inside, and to leave their floors filthy. The officers could thus infer that the partygoers knew their party was not authorized," he wrote.

Police officers arrived after receiving a complaint about loud music and illegal activities at a home that had been vacant for months. Arriving officers found loud music playing. Inside the home, they smelled marijuana and saw beer bottles and cups of liquor on the floor. Scantily clad women were performing lap dances while wearing cash-stuffed garter belts. Upstairs, officers found a naked woman, several men, open condom wrappers and a bare mattress.

The partiers provided police with inconsistent stories about the bash. Many said it was a bachelor party, but no one could identify the bachelor. Partygoers claimed they'd been invited to the home but could not say by whom. Two people said that a woman named "Peaches" was the party's host, but she wasn't there when police arrived. Reached by phone, Peaches eventually told police she had invited people to the house but didn't have the homeowner's approval to use the place.

A total of 21 people were arrested for unlawful entry, though charges were later dropped. Some of the revelers later sued for false arrest, and they were awarded $680,000 plus attorneys' fees.

The Supreme Court disagreed with that result, saying the arrests were proper and reversing a lower-court ruling for the partiers.

The case is District of Columbia v. Wesby, 15-1485.

Categories: Latest News

How a SC sheriff’s department is combatting police PTSD on the front-end

PoliceOne - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 10:52

Author: Tim Dees

By W. Thomas Smith Jr.

For years, Richland County (S.C.) Sheriff Leon Lott had been troubled by the mental and emotional fatigue he feared his deputies risked as a result of the ordinary stresses of life combined with the often-harsh realities of patrol work and lack of awareness the public has about the challenges of police work.

Lott knew his men and women probably were not suffering any more or less than other law enforcement officers nationwide, but the risks to his officers nonetheless existed. He had, at times, witnessed those risks manifest themselves into emotional struggles for at least one or two officers serving within his near 800-plus-member force.

By 2015 – with the ongoing national discussion of how to help soldiers returning from overseas deal with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – Lott knew it was time to take action.

“As I became increasingly aware of what these returning soldiers were dealing with and why, it became obvious to me that my deputies not only risked the same, but that some of them might probably be concealing what they were feeling,” says Lott. “That reality had to be addressed.”

And it was, in early 2016, but not in the traditional sense.

Understanding PTSD

Combat stress, shell shock, battle fatigue or any of the other labels used to refer to PTSD, is one of the most debilitating yet least understood emotional disorders suffered by those living in the wake of experienced trauma.

The military services, military medical practitioners and a number of military veterans groups have only just begun to appreciate the risk of PTSD to combat veterans. But it’s still only a surface understanding, and the symptoms are as varied as they are problematic.

What struck Lott is that while myriad programs aimed at “putting a Band-Aid on the problem” after the traumatic experience(s), little if anything was being done on the front-end before soldiers crossed the line-of-departure or police officers hit the street.

That changed for the Richland County Sheriff’s Department (RCSD) in January 2016 when Lott instituted a pre-patrol period of pre-PTSD counseling and training all his newly hired deputies would receive during entry-level training. Experienced officers would also be required to go through the training.

“We hoped this would preempt and mitigate the onset of PTSD,” Lott said. “And I am convinced it has helped, and quite a lot.”

Program facilitates peer-to-peer dialogue

If nothing else the program has enabled deputies to talk about – and share – their experiences with other officers. That in itself is vital to the emotional and cultural well-being of the department.

“Anytime you can sit down among your peers and freely talk about what you are dealing with professionally and personally, there is a tremendous benefit,” said RCSD Major Roxana Meetze, a 23-year veteran of the force who also teaches a portion of the program. “A lot of those officers who have attended the course really appreciate us being very raw and upfront with them about the process and what they can expect, say for instance, if there is an officer-involved shooting or some other critical incident. I wish we had had this program years ago when I was first coming along.”

The program, titled Critical Incident and PTSD Awareness Training, was developed in-house by the RCSD with the help of at least one criminal justice professor, a few chaplains and psychologists.

The program looks at the physical, cognitive and emotional symptoms of PTSD. But it’s so much more. Instruction includes education on:

Coping strategies; Myths and truths about PTSD; How to reduce, control or respond to stress reactions from critical events; The importance of family, friends, churches and support groups in dealing with PTSD; Department and extra-departmental resources for the impacted person.

Best of all, the program has everyone in the department talking.

Removing the stigma

Meetze says she believes “the RCSD’s pre-PTSD conditioning training removes the stigma or the perception that being a cop means you have to prove yourself, be tough, and not tell others how you feel.”

RCSD Lieutenant Larry Payne, a 22-year veteran and also a pre-PTSD conditioning program instructor, agrees.

“In the past, there was this misperception that you would be thought of as weak if you admitted you were struggling emotionally,” said Payne. “That thinking was and is the biggest problem.”

Another instructor, RCSD Staff Sergeant Kellye Hendrick, who has served for 14 years, says she believes one of the program’s strengths exists within the dynamic of the students observing and listening to the experiences of veteran officers.

“When the students see us standing before them and sharing real-world experiences that they too will likely encounter, the student will often say to himself or herself, ‘Hey, if that person dealt with what they have seen and since lived with and yet they are okay, so will I be,’” Hendrick said. “That’s key.”

“Most civilians cannot relate to the effects of a critical incident or repeated incidents on a person. PTSD is real. It’s damaging. And I want to ensure my deputies are able to recognize it in themselves and others,” said Lott. “It’s best we begin the process of understanding the risk and the disorder at the front of the pipeline as opposed to dealing with it post-trauma.”

The RCSD program is not only designed to prevent or lessen the effects of PTSD before it surfaces; it helps identify the disorder even if it is hiding or lying dormant. Moreover, there is an accountability factor, as better-informed deputies will be able to identify the onset of PTSD in fellow officers, helping the sufferer identify and cope with the symptoms.

For more information, email the Richland County Sheriff’s Dept. Office of Public Information at

About the author W. Thomas Smith Jr. is a special deputy with the Richland County Sheriff’s Dept.

Categories: Latest News

Utah bill would lower age to charge teen cop killers as adults

PoliceOne - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 10:28

Author: Tim Dees

By PoliceOne Staff

SALT LAKE CITY — A new Utah bill would lower the age requirement for teenagers accused of killing police officers to face adult-level charges.

KSTU reports that under Utah law, juvenile defendants must be at least 16 to be directly taken into the adult court system. In a bill filed by Rep. Mike Winder, the age would drop to 15 if the crime involves the murder of an officer.

Winder said the bill was in response to the 2016 murder of Officer Cody Brotherson, who was killed while attempting to stop a stolen vehicle driven by teens. Three teenagers, one 14-year-old and two 15-year-olds, were sentenced to confinement in a juvenile facility until they turn 21.

Brotherson’s family felt that justice was not served and wanted the teens to face adult charges.

“I believe that if you intentionally murder a police officer or kill a police officer during an active crime, you deserve to face adult consequences,” one of

Brotherson’s family members said. “Quite honestly, these guys shouldn't have been on the street the day they were. They had been committing assaults prior to that.”

Winder said Brotherson’s family asked him to consider legislation that will allow teens to face adult charges when an officer is killed.

“When someone targets a police officer, in some ways it’s a higher offense because that officer represents all of us in trying to keep law and order,” Winder said.

Categories: Latest News

Mass. PD receives boy's handwritten apology after 911 pranks

PoliceOne - Sun, 01/21/2018 - 10:06

Associated Press

SOMERVILLE, Mass. — A Massachusetts police department has received a handwritten apology for a series of prank 911 calls from a young boy who promised not to call again except in an "emerginsy."

The Boston Globe reports that a Somerville police officer was sent to East Somerville Community School last week after several 911 calls were made from a phone in the cafeteria. The officer found the students responsible and talked to them and their parents.

A few days later, one of the students, about age 10, hand-delivered an apology note, which the department posted online .

The boy said he was "very sorry" for the prank and recognized that it was "a really bad idea."

He ended the letter by saying, "Thank you for everything you do to keep us safe."

As a joke last week, a few students made prank calls to 911. Ofc. Isaacs made his way over to the school, he was able to locate the parents of the students and speak with the students about the importance of 911 for emergencies. A student was so sorry, he wrote to Ofc. Isaacs+SPD

— SomervillePolice (@SomervillePD) January 16, 2018

Categories: Latest News

Calif. county police take control of air rescues from fire dept.

PoliceOne - Sun, 01/21/2018 - 09:58

By Tony Saavedra The Orange County Register

ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. — The Orange County Sheriff’s Department has taken over the county’s helicopter rescue operations after talks disintegrated with the county fire authority in the turf war over who should conduct air rescues.

Sheriff Sandra Hutchens said this week that her department has not renewed an agreement that named the Orange County Fire Authority as the primary agency in handling air rescues in remote wilderness and park areas.

Though that arrangement worked for years, with the Fire Authority handling rescues in the county, in the past two years the two departments have clashed, with Sheriff’s Department helicopters and Fire Authority helicopters jockeying in the air to be the first to arrive at wilderness rescue calls. The feuding has led to dangerous confrontations between the two agencies during rescues and has set the stage for a potential collision.

The fighting has become so heated that firefighters have accused sheriff’s pilots of harassment.

Under the now expired agreement, sheriff’s helicopters were primarily used to patrol and to search out missing persons, leaving wilderness and other rescue operations to firefighters. The Fire Authority’s four helicopter teams include paramedics and are equipped with hoists to airlift the victims. Now, sheriff’s pilots have acquired hoists on two of their copters, and they’ve hired or trained personnel as paramedics.

The sheriff’s department also has said it plans to use its copters to fight wildfires, as well.

“As sheriff, I must ensure the public gets the best response when an emergency or life-threatening incident occurs,” Hutchens said.

Marc Stone, battalion chief with the fire authority, said his department was surprised and upset by Hutchens’ move to take over jobs that, for a generation, have been handled by firefighters.

“That would be like us putting shotguns in the front of our fire trucks,” Stone said.

“This has definitely caused a rift between the two agencies,” he added. “We don’t know where we stand right now.”

Leaders of both departments say their organization is better equipped — and in a better position to serve the public — on rescues.

“It is clear to me that the public is best served with the OCSD as the primary agency,” said Hutchens. “Our deployment model, response times, medical certifications and search and rescue expertise positions us to best provide this specific function.

“For me, the safety of the public always comes first.”

Stone at the fire authority dismissed out of hand the idea that sheriff deputies are better at rescue operations.

“They’re fooling themselves … Our paramedics run hundreds of calls a day. Our paramedics are far above theirs,” he added.

The county Board of Supervisors, empowered by the state government code, voted in October to let the Sheriff’s Department take control of search and rescue operations. The Sheriff’s Department and fire authority agreed to enter mediation on how to share the rescue duties.

Though those talks broke down, Hutchens said Thursday that her department would continue working with the fire authority.

“I am committed to working collaboratively with the Orange County Fire Authority and all other mutual-aid agencies to deliver the best public safety services to the citizens of Orange County,” Hutchens said. “Our agencies work together closely on a regular basis, and those partnerships will continue.”

During the two years that the two agencies have raced over the same rescue calls, sheriff’s helicopters have tended to arrive before fire copters, which some say is because the fire authority’s air unit is based in Fullerton while the sheriff’s helicopters are stationed centrally at John Wayne Airport. But fire copters — because they don’t have to stop to reposition patients as often — tend to get people to hospitals faster.

In 2010, the Orange County Grand Jury chided the sheriff’s department for not having enough helicopters – two at that time – to serve the county. The sheriff’s department now has the largest contingent of copters, with five aircraft. The fire authority has four helicopters and other police departments in the county, combined, have a total of six.

©2018 The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.)

Categories: Latest News

Chicago man arrested for murder after applying to be New Orleans cop

PoliceOne - Sun, 01/21/2018 - 09:41

By John Simerman and Matt Sledge Jsimerman Theadvocate Com The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.

NEW ORLEANS — Justin Matthew Payne hoped to be among the New Orleans Police Department's best and brightest.

The fact he applied at all suggests he was neither.

Payne's application in October to become a New Orleans police officer prompted his arrest by Chicago police this week on suspicion of murder in the Windy City, NOPD spokesman Beau Tidwell confirmed Friday.

Payne, 26, is suspected of killing trucking company owner Luis Peña, 64, in December 2016, although Chicago police had not issued a warrant for his arrest at the time he applied to join the NOPD, a police source said.

He had passed the Civil Service exam and an initial criminal records check when a recruiting investigator began checking with previous employers he'd listed on his application.

Payne's prior work includes driving a truck, and Chicago police soon got wind of his policing aspirations through a former employer.

"Detectives with Chicago PD contacted NOPD to verify address and phone number for Payne," Tidwell said in an email. "The Chicago PD notified NOPD that Payne was a suspect in a homicide."

On Wednesday, NOPD investigators called Payne into police headquarters under the pretense of needing him to complete more paperwork. Chicago detectives then walked into the room and confronted him.

A Chicago police detective told Peña's family on Thursday that Payne had confessed to the slaying, said 19-year-old Karina Peña, one of the victim's seven children.

Tidwell confirmed that Payne "confess(ed) to the homicide of his former supervisor at the trucking company where he worked prior to coming to New Orleans."

Detectives then walked Payne from NOPD headquarters to jail, booking him on an arrest warrant for first-degree murder.

Karina Peña said Chicago detectives had told the family they thought Payne fled to Georgia before landing in New Orleans.

She said her father had fired Payne as a truck driver about five weeks before the slaying, which occurred inside a trailer at Luis Peña's trucking yard on Chicago's Southwest Side.

Authorities in Chicago initially said Peña had been shot, but the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office concluded after an autopsy that he had been physically assaulted.

"He worked for my dad for so little (time). My dad fired him because he was lazy," Karina Peña said of Payne.

A mechanic at the trucking yard had identified Payne in a video from the crime scene, she said. But more than a year later, she said, the family had despaired that her father's murder would ever be solved.

"To be honest, everybody was feeling not much was being done. People were starting to lose hope," she said. "I'm happy because just the fact he confessed is a good confirmation that it was him. We're not worried that we were chasing after the wrong guy the whole time."

When they called the family on Thursday, Chicago police did not mention that Payne had applied to wear a gun and badge in New Orleans, she said.

"What? Really? Wow, that is crazy!" Karina Peña said.

A Chicago Police Department spokeswoman declined to comment on Payne's arrest, referring questions to the NOPD.

Payne was being held without bail in the Orleans Parish jail on Friday pending an extradition hearing scheduled for Monday.

His arrest was something of a good news story for the Police Department's vetting process for officer applicants, which came under heavy criticism in a January 2017 report from the federal monitors overseeing the department's reform process.

The monitors said then that recruiters were far too eager to hire applicants with red flags like drug use and prior arrests.

Since then, the Police Department has hired additional background check investigators. In June 2017, the monitors said that a follow-up audit had shown "dramatic improvement" in the recruit vetting process.

©2018 The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.

Categories: Latest News

SC deputy 'resting comfortably' at home following shooting

PoliceOne - Sun, 01/21/2018 - 09:30

By David Thackman The Herald (Rock Hill, S.C.)

YORK COUNTY, S.C. — Another York County deputy who was shot this week during an ambush by a domestic violence suspect is back home and resting after days in a Charlotte hospital.

Sheriff’s K-9 supervisor Sgt. Randy Clinton was discharged late Friday night from Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte after undergoing surgeries. He and three other York County law enforcement officials were attacked and shot Jan. 16 during a domestic violence call and manhunt near York.

According to the York County Sheriff’s Office, Clinton returned home from the hospital and is “resting comfortably.” About 25 officers from the York County Sheriff’s Office and the Rock Hill Police Department came out to welcome Clinton back home, the sheriff’s office said.

Clinton underwent two surgeries. He was the first officer shot in the incident that started late Monday and continued into Tuesday.

Clinton has served with the York County Sheriff’s Office for 34 years, according to York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson. Clinton is the K-9 unit supervisor and has handled police dogs for three decades.

York Police Department Sgt. Kyle Cummings, also shot, was discharged from the hospital Thursday.

York County Sheriff Sgt. Buddy Brown is still hospitalized in Charlotte.

Det. Mike Doty, who served with the sheriff’s office for 12 years, died Wednesday. His funeral is at noon Monday at Calvary Church in Charlotte.

A public candlelight vigil and ecumenical prayer service for the four officers is at 5 p.m. Sunday in front of the York County Courthouse in York.

The suspect in the shooting, Christian Thomas McCall, 47, of York, remains hospitalized, and has not been charged.

Doty, Cummings and Brown all were working as SWAT members when they were shot while searching for McCall, police said.

Prosecutors have said there is probable cause to charge McCall with three counts of attempted murder for the shooting of three officers. The same probable cause exists for Doty’s death, prosecutors have said.

Doty started with the sheriff's office in 2006 after working for the York Police Department. He worked as a detective with the York County drug unit, as well as other duties including being a member of the SWAT team.

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Welcome home Randy. Probably about 20-25 officers there from the #YCSOFamily, & RHPD plus his neighbors came out to welcome Sgt. Clinton home this evening. #YCSOStrong

Posted by York County Sheriff's Office on Friday, January 19, 2018

The S.C. General Assembly will honor Doty and the other wounded officers with a moment of silence and dedication of the day’s business.

Many York County leaders have condemned the shooting, including the York County legislative delegation. Reps. John King, D-Rock Hill; Tommy Pope, R-York; and Gary Simrill, R-Rock Hill, have spoken out against the attack on the “dedicated” officers.

The York County Sheriff’s Office has set up an informational hotline number at 803-325-2400 for information regarding funeral arrangements, media funeral staging areas, donating monetary funds to the officers and donating food or other items to deputies.

©2018 The Herald (Rock Hill, S.C.)

Categories: Latest News

Baltimore's new police commissioner faces numerous challenges

PoliceOne - Sat, 01/20/2018 - 04:00

By David McFadden Associated Press

BALTIMORE — Deputy Police Commissioner Darryl DeSousa, who has steadily risen through the ranks during a 30-year career with Baltimore's police department, will take the helm of the force in a city struggling with a feverish pace of killings.

After a record year in per-capita homicides, Baltimore's mayor on Friday fired the city's police commissioner after 2½ years on the job and named DeSousa to the top post, saying a change in leadership was needed immediately.

"I am impatient. We need violence reduction. We need the numbers to go down faster," Mayor Catherine Pugh said at a news conference at City Hall after announcing DeSousa's promotion.

Although violent crime rates in Baltimore have been high for decades, Baltimore ended 2017 with 343 killings, bringing the annual homicide rate to its highest ever: roughly 56 killings per 100,000 people. Baltimore, which has shrunk over decades, currently has about 615,000 inhabitants.

In contrast, New York City had 290 homicides last year, its fewest on record in the modern era for the city of 8.5 million people. Los Angeles, with about 4 million residents, saw 305 homicides last year.

The challenges facing DeSousa are numerous: the pervasive mistrust of many citizens due to a history of corruption and discriminatory police practices; a federal corruption investigation into a group of indicted officers; and the unsolved slaying of a detective that has produced rumors but no arrests.

His promotion also comes as a monitoring team is overseeing court-ordered reforms to Baltimore's police department as part of a federal consent decree reached last January between Baltimore and the U.S. Justice Department due to discriminatory and unconstitutional policing.

DeSousa, a 53-year-old city resident who joined the department in 1988, said he's looking forward to the challenges. He said he'll approach his role as a strategic thinker who knows the ins and outs of the department's operations as well as law enforcement approaches that have had success in other U.S. cities.

"Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a chess player, and I don't like to be outwitted," he told reporters.

The head of Baltimore's police union, Gene Ryan, said the leadership shakeup is already improving morale, and "will bring about the positive changes that will allow us to achieve our mission of violence reduction."

DeSousa on Friday pledged to reduce crime by putting more uniformed officers on the streets and saturating "hot spots," an effort he said is already underway. He said he had a message for the city's violent repeat offenders, a rotating cast of "trigger pullers" that law enforcers say are responsible for an outsized percentage of the city's crime.

"We're coming after them. And I want to let everybody know that it will be done in a constitutional manner," DeSousa said.

The native New Yorker has served in just about every police department role over the years and in 2017 was assigned to lead the patrol bureau, the largest in Baltimore's force. His appointment will be made permanent following "appropriate approvals," Pugh's office said.

He appears to have the backing of the City Council and a number of Baltimore's civic leaders and organizers. Councilman Brandon Scott, who described DeSousa's promotion as a "great decision," said he received numerous phone messages from community leaders praising the move.

"Never before did I get text messages from community leaders saying, 'Thank you, this is the right choice,'" Scott said, describing the three previous times during his career as an elected official that a police commissioner was replaced.

Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, tweeted that she was perplexed by the leadership change. In a statement, she said Commissioner Kevin Davis had shown "unyielding commitment" to police reforms.

Some Baltimore residents were also skeptical that a veteran as entrenched as DeSousa could bring true reform.

"He's been there for 30 years and that's the guy who's going to change things up?" said resident Gerald Spann, who was washing the windows of a convenience store where gunmen and officers exchanged a barrage of gunfire earlier this week.

Davis, previously chief of police in Maryland's Anne Arundel County, replaced Anthony Batts in the job in October 2015. Batts was fired amid a spike in homicides after Freddie Gray died of a fatal spinal cord injury received while in police custody. The black man's death triggered massive protests and the city's worst riots in decades.

Pugh, who took office in December 2016, said she was grateful to Davis "for all that he has done to implement the initiatives underway to address violent crime at its root causes."

Categories: Latest News

Man who hit NYPD cop was reenacting scene from 'The Fast and the Furious'

PoliceOne - Sat, 01/20/2018 - 04:00

By Andy Mai and John Annese New York Daily News

NEW YORK — The alleged drug dealer was trying to act out a scene from “The Fast and the Furious,” when he was caught on camera trying to mow down an NYPD officer in Times Square, his lawyer said early Friday.

Arfhy Santos, 20, was behind the wheel of his buddy’s Mercedes-Benz when he dragged NYPD Officer Ian Wallace as the cop tried to stop him Saturday.

“It’s easy to get caught up in the sensationalism of the video that had gone viral at this point,” Santos’ lawyer, Paul Presti said. “My client’s behavior that day was stupid, to reenact a scene out of ‘The Fast and the Furious.’”

Wallace, who stepped in front of the car to stop it, didn't approach the vehicle in "the typical way," and Santos thought the officer was going for his holster and got scared, Presti said.

Santos is charged with assault and was held on $100,000 bail at his arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court. He has open drug dealing charges from an October arrest in the Bronx. Car owner William Lopez, 24, was also in the vehicle and was held on $5,000 bond or $2,500 cash bail.

Lopez faces reckless endangerment and reckless driving charges for an earlier incident in Manhattan where he‘s accused of driving on a sidewalk for two blocks to escape police.

"The police got it wrong because it was not Mr. Lopez that was driving," Lopez's lawyer, Luis Diaz said.

Lopez has a pending case in the Bronx for a similar incident.

©2018 New York Daily News

Categories: Latest News

Lawsuit over officer seizing phone, deleting photo settled

PoliceOne - Sat, 01/20/2018 - 04:00

Associated Press

LAFAYETTE, La. — A settlement has resolved a federal lawsuit that accused a Louisiana police officer of violating a woman's constitutional rights by grabbing her cellphone and deleting a photo she took of her son in the officer's vehicle.

The Lafayette City-Parish Consolidated Government agreed to pay $12,000 to cover the woman's attorneys' fees. It also agreed to train its officers on the public's First Amendment right to photograph police performing their duties.

A judge formally dismissed the suit Friday at the lawyers' request.

Attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana filed the suit last March on behalf of Chelline Carter. Lafayette police Officer Shannon Brasseaux arrested Carter's son on a drug charge in a parking lot outside a CVS store on the afternoon of Jan. 24, 2017.

The suit claimed the officer took Carter's cellphone without a warrant or her consent and deleted at least one photo before returning the phone to her. The officer also told Carter she was breaking the law by photographing her restrained son in the back of the police vehicle and threatened to arrest her for taking pictures of "evidence," the suit said.

"At no time did Mrs. Carter interfere with Officer Brasseaux's arrest of her son or any of his actions following the arrest," the suit said.

Jane Johnson, the ACLU of Louisiana's interim executive director, said the training Lafayette police officers are getting "is a credit to (Carter's) courage and resolve."

"People have a constitutional right to take photographs of things in public spaces, and that includes the police and other government officials," Johnson said in a statement.

Categories: Latest News

Deputies: DUI suspect mistook bank drive-thru for Taco Bell

PoliceOne - Sat, 01/20/2018 - 04:00

Associated Press

SPRING HILL, Fla. — Authorities say a Florida man was charged with driving under the influence after mistaking a bank drive-thru for a Taco Bell.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that 38-year-old Douglas Jon Francisco was arrested Wednesday evening outside the Bank of America branch in Spring Hill.

The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office says employees spotted Francisco passed out in the bank’s drive-up lane. After the workers banged on his car for some time, deputies say Francisco finally woke up and tried to order a burrito. When the branch manager told him it wasn’t a Taco Bell, he reportedly drove to the front parking lot.

Deputies say they found Francisco in the driver’s seat with his car running. He was arrested after failing a field sobriety test.

Francisco was freed Thursday on $500 bail. Jail records didn’t list an attorney.

Categories: Latest News

Mass. PD receives grant to maintain public safety

PoliceOne - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 15:38

Somerville Journal

SOMERVILLE, Mass. — Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Public Safety Secretary Daniel Bennett announced Friday, Jan. 19 that 14 police and fire departments have received $3,015,000 in state grants to assist municipalities in maintaining public safety and emergency response core services. These funds may be used to restore, retain or hire police and fire personnel or for overtime if needed to provide adequate shift coverage to maintain appropriate staffing levels.

The Somerville Police and Fire Departments will receive $38,000 and $60,000, respectively.

The Massachusetts Municipal Public Safety Staffing Grant (MUNI) program assists eligible municipalities to maintain public safety and emergency response services by helping them address police and/or fire department staffing necessities. Nine municipalities submitted applications on behalf of their police departments and five municipalities also requested funding for their fire departments.

Full Story: Somerville police and fire to receive thousands in state grants

Categories: Latest News

PD in NY receive grant to maintain public safety

PoliceOne - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 15:38

Somerville Journal

SOMERVILLE, N.Y. — Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Public Safety Secretary Daniel Bennett announced Friday, Jan. 19 that 14 police and fire departments have received $3,015,000 in state grants to assist municipalities in maintaining public safety and emergency response core services. These funds may be used to restore, retain or hire police and fire personnel or for overtime if needed to provide adequate shift coverage to maintain appropriate staffing levels.

The Somerville Police and Fire Departments will receive $38,000 and $60,000, respectively.

The Massachusetts Municipal Public Safety Staffing Grant (MUNI) program assists eligible municipalities to maintain public safety and emergency response services by helping them address police and/or fire department staffing necessities. Nine municipalities submitted applications on behalf of their police departments and five municipalities also requested funding for their fire departments.

Full Story: Somerville police and fire to receive thousands in state grants

Categories: Latest News