Latest News

Cop captures escaped 1000-pound pig

PoliceOne - Mon, 06/19/2017 - 12:40
Author: Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Editor at Large

By PoliceOne Staff

GEORGETOWN, Mass. — When Officer Henry Olshefsky received a call about an escaped pig, he thought of a small, pink pet.

But when he arrived, he discovered a 1,000-pound pig named Bruno hanging in a woman’s front yard, Fox 25 Boston reported.

"Because it is a small town, we were able to locate someone who knew someone who knew where the pig lived,” Olshefsky said.

Owner Frank Martino said everyone knows Bruno and he’s escaped probably three or four times since he was a baby.

"We didn't know how big he was going to get so now we have to think of a new way to lock him in with a padlock, that type of thing,” Martino said.

Bruno the pig likes to run away from home. Tonight on @boston25 - watch @PDGeorgetownMA surprise to find him wandering a neighborhood.

— Elysia Rodriguez (@ElysiaBoston25) June 16, 2017

Categories: Latest News

PD submits investigation of off-duty LAPD shooting to prosecutors

PoliceOne - Mon, 06/19/2017 - 12:02
Author: Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Editor at Large

By Scott Schwebke The Orange County Register

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Anaheim Police Department submitted to prosecutors on Friday its investigation involving off-duty Los Angeles Officer Kevin Ferguson, who fired a handgun during a highly-publicized February scuffle with a 13-year-old boy and other teenagers.

Detectives have spent several hundred hours investigating the incident, Anaheim Sgt. Daron Wyatt said in a statement.

“More than 90 interviews have been completed, numerous videos have been collected and viewed, and many items of evidence have been submitted and processed,” Wyatt said. “The investigative case file consists of over 400 pages of reports and approximately 70 CDs and DVDs.”

Numerous videos of the incident surfaced showing many individuals who needed to be interviewed, Wyatt said.

“Only recently have Anaheim Police Department detectives felt confident that everyone who needed to be interviewed had been contacted,” the sergeant added.

Detectives will remain in contact with the Orange County District Attorney’s Office as prosecutors determine if charges should be filed against Ferguson, Wyatt said.

The Feb. 21 confrontation with Ferguson and the 13-year-old boy began over ongoing issues with teenagers walking across the officer’s property in the 1600 block of West Palais Road, near Euclid Street, police have said.

The off-duty cop, it appears, confronted the boy and then tried to detained him for allegedly making threats about shooting him, Anaheim’s police chief, Raul Quezada, has said.

Videos quickly surfaced on social media showing Ferguson struggling with the boy and other teenagers before the off-duty officer discharged a handgun into the ground.

It was unclear if he fired on purpose; the shot appeared to go downward, and no one was struck.

The altercation may have started because of a misunderstanding between the boy and the officer, said Gregory Perez, a teenager who has said he witnessed the incident.

“The little kid said, ‘I’m going to sue you,’ and then the guy thought he said, ‘I’m going to shoot you,’ “Perez has said. “That’s when he started grabbing the little kid.”

The incident led to two days of civil unrest in Anaheim.

It is unclear whether Ferguson identified himself as a police officer. However, Anaheim police have said in the past that voices can be heard on video debating whether he was an officer, so “common sense” suggests he had IDed himself as an officer.

The Los Angeles Police Department is conducting its own internal investigation into Ferguson’s actions.

Michelle Van Der Linden, an Orange County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman, said prosecutors will decide whether to file charges after reviewing all of the case materials.


©2017 The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.)

Categories: Latest News

Standoff with Fla. deputy ends peacefully

PoliceOne - Mon, 06/19/2017 - 11:56
Author: Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Editor at Large

By Pat Beall The Palm Beach Post

BOCA RATON, Fla. — In a two-hour long incident this afternoon, roads near Boca Country Club were blocked and a sheriff’s command post set up as Palm Beach and Broward County Sheriff’s deputies tried to talk down a distraught Broward deputy threatening to injure himself.

The deputy’s name is not being released. He is being temporarily admitted to a psychiatric facility under Florida’s Baker Act laws.

According to Palm Beach County Sheriff’s spokesman Eric Davis, Broward officers first went to see the unidentified deputy at about 11 am. He made enough alarming comments for them to take his service revolver from him.

The deputy then got into his patrol car and drove to the Palm Beach County home of his ex-wife, near the Boca Country Club off Congress and west of I-95. The Broward deputies followed. Once there, the deputy grew distraught again. PBSO was called in to negotiate with the man, who continued to threaten to injure himself. No one else was threatened in the standoff, said Davis.

The deputy agreed to be Baker Acted. Roads re-opened at about 3 p.m.


©2017 The Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, Fla.)

Categories: Latest News

NYPD loses 2 cops to 9/11-related illnesses

PoliceOne - Mon, 06/19/2017 - 10:37
Author: Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Editor at Large

By PoliceOne Staff

NEW YORK — The NYPD lost two officers within the same week from 9/11-related illnesses.

Officer Kelly Korchak, 38, was laid to rest Thursday. Korchak was diagnosed while she was pregnant, but decided to forego aggressive treatment and give birth to her son Luke Harrison Attarian, the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association wrote on Facebook. She died eight months after giving birth on June 10.

Korchak, who was married to NYC Det. Steven Attarian, became an officer in 2001. She received two “Cop of the Month” awards during her career for her role in breaking up a burglary ring and detaining a murder suspect, Staten Island Live reported.

The Emergency Service Unit that Korchak’s husband worked with started a GoFundMe to help him and the baby she leaves behind with future needs.

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Rest In Peace New York City Police Officer Kelly Christine Korchak. P.O. Korchak died June 10, 2017, from a 9/11 related...

‎Posted by Port Authority Police Benevolent Association Inc on‎ ??? ????? 13 ???? 2017

Officer James Kennelly, 37, died Saturday from an illness related to his recovery efforts as a firefighter during the World Trade Center attacks, the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association Facebook said.

Kennelly began his career in law enforcement with the Nassau County Sheriff’s Department before joining the Port Authority Police. He was also a member of the Port Authority Police Emerald Society and was the 2017 Grand Marshal for the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Kennelly is survived by his wife and daughter.

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Rest In Peace Port Authority Police Officer James Kennelly; End of Watch: Saturday, June 17, 2017. It is believed Police...

Posted by Port Authority Police Benevolent Association Inc on Sunday, June 18, 2017

Categories: Latest News

Car rams police vehicle on famed Paris avenue; attacker dies

PoliceOne - Mon, 06/19/2017 - 07:40

Author: Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Editor at Large

By Elaine Ganley and Lori Hinnant Associated Press

PARIS — A man on the radar of French authorities was killed Monday after ramming a car carrying explosives into a police vehicle in the capital's Champs-Elysees shopping district, prompting a fiery blast, officials said. France's anti-terrorism prosecutor opened an investigation.

No police officers or passers-by were hurt, the Paris police department said. It is unclear why the attacker drove into police, though officials said the incident was apparently deliberate.

Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said the man was killed after an attempted attack on a police convoy, saying that shows the threat is still very high in the country and justifies a state of emergency in place since 2015. He said he will present a bill Wednesday at a Cabinet meeting to extend the state of emergency from July 15, its current expiration date, until Nov. 1.

He says the current situation in France shows a new security law "is needed" and the measure would "maintain a high security level."

Two police officials told The Associated Press that a handgun was found on the driver, who they said was badly burned after the vehicle exploded. They identified the man as a 31-year-old man from the Paris suburb of Argenteuil who had an "S'' file, meaning he was flagged for links to extremism.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to reveal details of the incident, the second this year on the city's most famous avenue, which is popular with tourists from around the world.

An attacker defending the Islamic State group fatally shot a police officer on the Champs-Elysees in April, days before a presidential election, prompting an extensive security operation.

Public told to avoid Champs-Elysees area of Paris as car crashes into police van

— Sky News (@SkyNews) June 19, 2017

On Monday, police cordoned off a broad swath of the Champs-Elysees after the latest incident, warning people to avoid the area.

Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said the incident was apparently deliberate.

Police "pulled an individual out of the vehicle who had struck the car in front (of the convoy, “ Brandet told reporters. "Large numbers of police converged on the scene, firefighters to extinguish the fire."

A man could be seen lying on his stomach on the ground immediately after the incident, wearing a white shirt and dark shorts.

Hours later, access to the avenue remained blocked, while bomb squads combed the area.

The whole of the #ChampsElysees is blocked. #Paris

— Kevin W. (@kwilli1046) June 19, 2017

Eric Favereau, a journalist for Liberation newspaper who was driving a scooter behind the gendarmes, said he saw a car blocking the convoy's path, then an implosion in the vehicle. Favereau wrote that the gendarmes smashed open the windows of the car while it was in flames and dragged out its occupant. Other gendarmes used fire extinguishers to put out the flames. The account didn't say what happened to the occupant of the car afterward.

Visitors to a nearby Auguste Rodin exhibit were confined inside the Grand Palais exhibit hall for an hour after the incident.

Victoria Boucher and daughter Chrystel came in from the suburb of Cergy-Pontoise for a Paris visit and weren't afraid to go to the famed avenue.

"We were better off inside than outside," Chrystel said. But both agreed as the mother said, "unfortunately we now are used to this."

"The show must go on," the daughter said in English. "They won't win."

Categories: Latest News

Nurse shot after suspect fights with Fla. trooper

PoliceOne - Mon, 06/19/2017 - 07:06
Author: Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Editor at Large

By Austin L. Miller Ocala Star-Banner

OCALA, Fla. — A nurse was shot in the leg during a struggle between Florida Highway Patrol troopers and a man the troopers had accompanied to a hospital on Saturday.

Several people interviewed by the Star-Banner described the scene as chaotic, frightening and scary as law enforcement officers called to the scene rushed into the hospital.

One woman, Kelly Parker, said that when she went into the hospital, employees told her to turn around and leave. She said that as she was making her way outside, scores of police officers were running into the building.

In a news conference held at West Marion Community Hospital at 4600 SW 46th Court in Ocala, Lt. Patrick Riordan, an FHP spokesman, said the nurse was listed in stable condition. Riordan said the shooter, whose name was not released, was taken into custody and transported to the Marion County Jail, where charges are pending. The names of the troopers involved in the incident were also not released. The nurse's name was not released. Hospital officials could not be reached for comment.

One nurse was shot at West Marion Community Hospital this afternoon. The shooter is in custody. Turn on @WCJB20 at 6pm for more details.

— David Jones (@DavidJonesTV) June 17, 2017

Riordan said the unnamed man was a pedestrian on Interstate 75 near Mile Marker 341 and he requested assistance three times. The spokesman did not elaborate why the individual was on the highway and his reason for wanting help.

After the third time, Riordan said the man was taken to West Marion Community Hospital for treatment. The man was treated and while at the hospital failed to obey a trooper's order. A struggle between the man and a trooper ensued and the nurse was shot by a trooper's gun. It is not known if the trooper's gun was in the holster or not.

Riordan said three FHP troopers were involved and they received minor injuries during the struggle.

The shooting is being investigated by the FHP and they are expected to conduct an internal affairs investigation into the matter. Some of the issues FHP investigators will be examining is whether or not policies or procedures were followed.


©2017 the Ocala Star-Banner (Ocala, Fla.)

Categories: Latest News

Man plows van into crowd by London mosque; 1 dead, 10 injured

PoliceOne - Mon, 06/19/2017 - 06:59
Author: Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Editor at Large

By Danica Kirka, Paisley Dodds and Gregory Katz Associated Press

LONDON — The rash of deadly terror attacks that has rattled Britain in recent months took an ominous new turn on Monday as Muslim worshippers became targets during the holy month of Ramadan, mowed down by an attacker who plowed a van into a crowd leaving prayers at two mosques in north London.

It was the same tactic Islamic extremists used in recent assaults on Westminster Bridge and London Bridge. Those attacks and a third outside a pop concert in Manchester have triggered a surge in hate crimes against Muslims around Britain.

British authorities, including Prime Minister Theresa May, and Islamic leaders moved swiftly to ease concerns in the Muslim community following the attack shortly after midnight that injured at least nine people in London's Finsbury Park neighborhood, which is home to a large Muslim population.

Authorities said the incident was being treated as a terror attack. One man died at the scene, although he was receiving first aid at the time and it wasn't clear if he died as a result of the attack or from something else.

British media identified the suspect as Darren Osborne, a 47-year-old Briton and father of four living in Cardiff, Wales, who was not known to authorities before the attack.

Details about the assailant were sketchy, but the assault — the most dramatic against Muslims in London in recent years — suggested a new, dangerous level of polarization in British society.

"This was an attack on Muslims near their place of worship," May said in a televised address. "And like all terrorism, in whatever form, it shares the same fundamental goal. It seeks to drive us apart — and to break the precious bonds of solidarity and citizenship that we share in this country. We will not let this happen."

Mayor Sadiq Khan, London's first Muslim mayor, also urged residents to stand together.

"While this appears to be an attack on a particular community, like the terrible attacks in Manchester, Westminster and London Bridge, it is also an assault on all our shared values of tolerance, freedom and respect," Khan said, adding that there would be "zero tolerance" for hate crimes.

"We will not allow these terrorists to succeed. ... We will stay a strong city," the mayor said.

"This is a truly horrific terrorist attack on our city," says London Mayor Sadiq Khan #FinsburyPark

— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) June 19, 2017

May said police would assess security at mosques and provide any additional resources needed ahead of upcoming celebrations marking the end of Ramadan.

The Metropolitan Police Service, already stretched by investigations of the earlier attacks and a high-rise apartment fire that killed at least 79 people, said it was putting extra patrols on the streets to protect the public.

The attack occurred about 12:20 a.m. when a speeding white van swerved into worshippers emerging from prayers outside the Muslim Welfare House and nearby Finsbury Park Mosque. People surrounded the driver and witnesses said the outraged crowd began attacking him. A local imam, Mohammed Mahmoud, said he and others shielded the man until police could take him away.

"By God's grace, we were able to protect him from harm," the imam said.

Police said the driver was arrested on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of terrorism, including murder and attempted murder.

Toufik Kacimi, chief executive of the Muslim Welfare House, told Sky News the attack clearly targeted Muslims, saying the driver acted deliberately and was not drunk or mentally ill.

"The driver of the van, said 'I did my bit,' which means he's not mentally ill," Kacimi said. "This person was conscious. He did what he did deliberately to hit and kill as many Muslims as possible, so he is a terrorist."

But Kacimi said there was no need for the Muslim community to panic, because police and government officials have been "very, very supportive."

"At this stage, we are calling for calm," he said.

Monday's attack hit a community already feeling targeted from the fallout from three previous attacks in as many months, all blamed on Islamic extremists. Hate crimes directed at Muslims have increased nearly five-fold, according to British security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with official policy.

"My message to anyone who is the victim of hate crime, is please report it to the police. Don't think its too trivial," London mayor says

— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 19, 2017

Ali Habib, a 23-year-old student, said residents were upset that Monday's attack wasn't portrayed in the same light as other attacks across Britain.

"There has been an outpouring of sympathy for all the recent terror attacks but hardly a whisper on this attack," he said. "People are both scared and angry. Parents are scared to send their children to evening prayers. I don't think people understand how much these attacks affect all of us."

May attempted to counter that feeling, saying that police arrived at the scene within one minute, and that the incident was classified as a possible terror attack within eight minutes. The prime minister, who has been criticized for failing to show compassion to victims, traveled to the attack site within hours, and met with community and faith leaders.

"Diverse, welcoming, vibrant, compassionate, confident and determined never to give in to hate. These are the values that define this city," she said later outside Downing Street. "These are the values that define this country."

The attack occurred outside the Muslim Welfare House, a small mosque with about 200 congregants. Nearby, evening prayer services had just concluded at the larger Finsbury Park Mosque, which was associated with extremist ideology for several years after the 9/11 attacks. However, the mosque was shut down and reorganized and has not been associated with radical views for more than a decade.

The mosque's current leaders say they support inter-faith dialogue and want to serve the community in north London, which is located near Emirates Stadium, home of the Arsenal soccer club.

Britain's terror alert level is at "severe," meaning security officials believe an attack is highly likely.

On June 3, Islamic extremists used a vehicle and then knives to kill eight people and wound dozens of others on London Bridge and in the popular Borough Market area. Police shot and killed the three Islamic extremists who carried out the attack. In March, a man plowed a rented SUV into pedestrians on London's Westminster Bridge, killing four people before stabbing a police officer to death outside Parliament. He was also killed by police.

Manchester was hit by a deadly attack on May 22 when a suicide bomber killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert.

Eyewitness tells @jamesrbuk man drove van at pedestrians outside London mosque, then shouted “Kill me, kill me, I want to kill all Muslims”

— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) June 19, 2017

Categories: Latest News

Europol coordinates Europe-wide action to combat trafficking in human beings for labour exploitation

EUROPOL - Mon, 06/19/2017 - 03:42
Europol supported a Europe-wide operation carried out by law enforcement agencies, labour inspectorates, immigration services, tax authorities and other partners targeting organised crime groups trafficking vulnerable people for the purpose of labour exploitation.
Categories: Latest News

Grand theft avocado: 3 arrested in $300K theft

PoliceOne - Sun, 06/18/2017 - 12:02

Associated Press

OXNARD, Calif. — Police are calling it grand theft avocado.

Three produce company workers have been arrested in the theft of up to $300,000 worth of avocados, according to the Ventura County Sheriff's Office.

Thirty-eight-year-old Joseph Valenzuela, 28-year-old Carlos Chavez and 30-year-old Rahim Leblanc were each charged with grand theft of fruit and were being held in jail on bail of $250,000 each. They were arrested Wednesday.

It was unclear whether they have attorneys.

Detectives began investigating the suspects in May after receiving a tip that they were conducting unauthorized cash sales of avocados from a ripening facility in the city of Oxnard owned by the Mission Produce company.

The company estimated the avocado loss at about $300,000, the sheriff's office said.

"We take these kinds of thefts seriously. It's a big product here and in California," sheriff's Sgt. John Franchi told the Los Angeles Times. "Everybody loves avocados."

Categories: Latest News

Mom's grief spurs NY bill targeting opioid dealers in deaths

PoliceOne - Sun, 06/18/2017 - 11:27

By Mary Esch and David Klepper Associated Press

COLONIE, N.Y. — Four years after Patty Farrell found her 18-year-old daughter lying cold and blue in bed from an overdose, the former police detective hopes to see heroin dealers charged with homicide when their product kills.

"She was the love of my life, my only child," says Farrell, whose home is like a shrine to her daughter with photos and keepsakes everywhere. "When I lost her, I lost my world."

A bill named for her daughter, Laree, would create a new criminal classification of "homicide by sale of an opiate-controlled substance," punishable by 15 to 25 years in prison. It has passed the state Senate and awaits action by the Assembly as the Legislative session moves into its final week.

Proponents say tougher penalties would help reduce overdoses. But critics say the focus should be on prevention, treatment and saving lives, and that similar "drug-induced homicide laws" in more than 20 other states are a step backward among failed aspects of the "war on drugs."

"We need people to be willing to call for help whenever someone is in trouble," says Kassandra Frederique, New York director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "People don't call for help when they fear criminal justice consequences."

More than 33,000 people died from heroin, fentanyl and other opioid drugs in 2015, according to statistics from the Kaiser Family Foundation. New York state was second in the nation for opioid overdose deaths in 2015 with more than 2,700, up from 562 in 2005.

A flurry of legislation aimed at curbing the overdose epidemic has been enacted or introduced in New York and other states. Since her daughter's death in the Albany suburb of Colonie in 2013, Farrell has lobbied state lawmakers on a broad range of measures including addiction-treatment insurance coverage, access to rehabilitation and curbing over-prescription of painkillers.

"They've taken care of some of the issues," says Farrell, who retired after 20 years with the Albany police and took a state job. "But they still haven't done anything enforcement-wise against the big drug dealer who's bringing heroin into our state and selling it to our families and killing them."

Earlier this year, the Legislature and Cuomo inserted $214 million in the state budget to boost treatment and prevention programs around the state.

"We need to take on the heroin epidemic from all sides," says Sen. George Amedore, a Republican who has sponsored the "Laree's Law" bill. "We need prevention, proper treatment and support for those in recovery, and we need to properly punish those that are bringing this drug onto our streets, and into our schools."

Amedore says the measure is aimed at "mid- to high-level" dealers. Language in the bill says it would not be used to prosecute users who share heroin or opioids with an acquaintance who later dies of an overdose.

Farrell says she'll probably never know who sold the lethal dose to her daughter, a high achiever who graduated from her suburban high school with an advanced Regents diploma when she was 16. Laree had only used heroin for four months and tried repeatedly to stay clean after rehabilitation, her mother said.

"Education, awareness, rehabilitation, I'm behind all those things," says Farrell, who has miniature replicas of anti-heroin billboards on her mantel. "We also need strong statutes to stop this scourge."

Categories: Latest News

Milwaukee County sheriff not joining DHS, after all

PoliceOne - Sun, 06/18/2017 - 10:44

Associated Press

MILWAUKEE — The Department of Homeland Security says Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke is no longer a candidate for a position in the agency.

The conservative firebrand said last month he was taking a job as an assistant secretary at the DHS, but the agency declined to confirm the appointment, saying it announces such senior appointments once the DHS secretary makes them official.

Craig Peterson, a political adviser to Clarke, said in a statement that the sheriff notified DHS Secretary John Kelly late Friday that he "had rescinded his acceptance of the agency's offer" to join the department. The Washington Post first reported on Clarke's decision.

The tough-talking Clarke, who is known for his provocative social media presence, is an outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump. According to Peterson's statement, Clarke said he "is 100 percent committed" to Trump's success and that he "believes his skills could be better utilized to promote the President's agenda in a more aggressive role."

Clarke is "reviewing options inside and outside of government," the statement said.

A DHS spokesman said by email Sunday that Clarke is no longer being considered for a position within DHS.

Clarke has drawn a considerable amount of controversy as Milwaukee County sheriff.

He was hit by allegations last month that he plagiarized content in his master's thesis on homeland security, which he denied.

Seven workers at the county jail he oversees are at the center of a criminal investigation into the dehydration death last year of an inmate who prosecutors say was deprived of water as punishment. Clarke isn't among the seven staffers — prosecutors said he wasn't directly involved in the events that led to the death of 38-year-old Terrill Thomas — but the death happened under Clarke's leadership, which his critics say is enough cause for his firing.

Categories: Latest News

FHP sergeant struck, killed while investigating an accident

PoliceOne - Sun, 06/18/2017 - 10:30

The Gainesville Sun

ALACHUA COUNTY, Fla. — A Florida Highway Patrol trooper was struck and killed on Interstate 75 in Alachua County Saturday evening.

Master Sgt. William Trampass Bishop, a 30-year veteran with the agency, was struck while outside his patrol vehicle, according to an FHP news release. He was taken to UF Health Shands Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The crash occurred at 6:36 p.m. on I-75 southbound at mile marker 403 near the High Springs exit.

"We all have a heavy heart. Every time we go out there we know this can happen, but we're never prepared for it," said FHP regional commander Chief Mark Brown during a news conference Saturday night.

Our condolences to the family, friends & The @FLHSMV on the #LODD of Sergeant William Trampass Bishop

— Dearborn Police (@DearbornPolice) June 18, 2017

"Anybody that has ever been near Trampass knows that he's an amazing man and he's dedicated his life to service and he's going to be sorely missed. He's a wonderful man and he's a dedicated public servant."

Bishop was at the scene of a previous crash involving a Chevy Malibu driven by Steven D. Catanach, 22, of Miami, according to an FHP media release. That car was parked in the inside emergency lane.

At that time, a second crash occurred in the center lane. A 2016 Ford Fusion, driven by Michael T. Korta, 46, of Tampa, was behind a 2007 Cadillac STS when the two collided. The driver of the Cadillac — John C. Sams, 67, of Lady Lake — had minor injuries.

Sgt. Bishop was struck during the secondary collision.

"Every member at the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is grieving with Sgt. Bishop's family during this horrific time," said the department Director Terry L. Rhodes and FHP Director Colonel Gene Spaulding in a prepared statement.

"We appreciate all of the support FHP has received and continues to receive. Please keep Sergeant Bishop's wife and son and all members of the Florida Highway Patrol in your thoughts and prayers."


©2017 The Gainesville Sun, Fla.

Categories: Latest News

Ga. deputy saved by ballistic vest

PoliceOne - Sat, 06/17/2017 - 04:30

By Steve Burns The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

HALL COUNTY, Ga. — A Hall County deputy was wounded after responding to an overnight home invasion and three other people, including a child, were injured, the sheriff said.

Just before midnight, deputies went to the 4300 block of Campbell Road in east Hall County, Sheriff Gerald Couch said in a news release Friday.

As deputies walked toward the home, a vehicle with multiple adults and children left the residence and swerved at one of the deputies, Couch said.

Gunfire was exchanged.

A deputy, who was not identified, was hit in the torso and also received a minor head wound, according to the release. The deputy’s ballistic vest stopped the bullet to the torso area. He was treated and released.

Two of the adults in the vehicle were taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center with injuries that were not life-threatening, Couch said. A child was taken to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston for treatment. The child’s injuries were not life-threatening.

The suspects were taken into custody, Couch said. Identities and exact charges were not available.

The GBI was asked to investigate the situation, which is standard with officer-involved shootings.


©2017 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)

Categories: Latest News

In Miami, Trump toughens Obama Cuba policy

PoliceOne - Sat, 06/17/2017 - 04:30

By Patricia Mazzei And David Smiley Miami Herald

MIAMI — Miami’s hardline Cuban exiles embraced Donald Trump when he was a presidential candidate limping to Election Day.

On Friday, President Trump loved them back, enacting a tougher policy toward Cuba as he basked in celebratory cheers that recalled his campaign rallies.

Casting it as a “great day” for the people of the communist island of Cuba, Trump powered into Miami and announced a sweeping change in diplomatic relations intended to rebuke his predecessor’s executive changes and spur commerce and personal freedoms. Criticizing Barack Obama’s “terrible and misguided deal with the Castro regime,” he promised a brighter future during a relaxed 38-minute speech and signed a new executive policy he said would hold the island’s leaders accountable for human rights violations and push them to open up economic and personal freedoms.

“We will not be silent in the face of communist oppression any longer,” he said.

Forget the investigations into whether his staff colluded with Russia and whether he obstructed justice by firing FBI Director James Comey, as Trump himself confirmed in a tweet Friday morning. Friday afternoon in East Little Havana offered Trump his favorite part of politics: praise from people who feel his promise has been kept.

“Last year I promised to be a voice against oppression … and a voice for the freedom of the Cuban people,” he said. “You heard that pledge. You exercised the right you have to vote. You went out and voted and here I am like I promised.”

Trump, plucking at the audience’s heart strings, brought violinist Luis Haza on stage to play the Star Spangled Banner, telling a story about Haza as a boy being forced by soldiers to play music following the execution of his father — so he played the U.S. national anthem.

Trump then stepped away from the lectern to a side table, picked up a pen and signed the policy with a flourish.

He’d wanted the announcement to take place at the nearby Bay of Pigs museum, where the Brigade 2506 veterans endorsed him last October — a moment Trump appeared to cherish, given how many times he’s mentioned it since to South Florida politicians. But the museum proved too small to accommodate the entourage of a presidential speech.

Instead, Trump spoke at the Manuel Artime Theater, a one-time church that offered an intimate atmosphere imbued with exile symbolism: The late Artime himself was a Bay of Pigs veteran. Brigade members, local politicians and activists sat on risers behind him, clad in matching polo shirts with embroidered insignia and sailor-style hats.

Trump, spurring a standing ovation, billed his appearance as a campaign promise kept to Cuban-Americans to take a harder stance on Cuba. He told the crowd he was canceling Obama’s Cuba policies, though in actuality he’s not. Rather, he’s taking a different approach to pressure Cuba to open its economy and eventually its political system.

“To the Cuban government, I say, put an end to the abuse of dissidents. Release the political prisoners. Stop jailing innocent people. Open yourselves to political and economic freedoms,” he said. “Return the fugitives from American justice, including the return of the cop killer Joanne Chesimard. And finally, hand over the Cuban military criminals who shot down and killed four brave members of Brothers to the Rescue who were in unarmed, small, slow civilian planes.”

Joining Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on stage were the architects of his Cuba policy, Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, along with Rep. Carlos Curbelo, Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera. Rubio, Diaz-Balart and Curbelo flew from Washington with the president and Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, a Miamian, on Air Force One. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen was also invited but stayed in Washington, citing family plans.

Categories: Latest News

NM shooting rampage spanning hours, 200 miles leaves 5 dead

PoliceOne - Sat, 06/17/2017 - 04:30

By Morgan Lee Associated Press

SANTA FE, N.M. — A man accused of killing three family members and two other people in a shooting rampage that spanned nearly 200 miles in New Mexico was captured after a chase and a crash, authorities said Friday.

After Damian Herrera, 21, gunned down his mother, stepfather and brother, police say, he carjacked and killed a driver before chaos erupted hours later at a general store in a tiny town that artist Georgia O'Keeffe called home for most of her life. That's where the final victim died.

Herrera was arrested Thursday and booked into jail on suspicion of five counts of murder.

The shooting of his family appears to stem from a domestic dispute, police say, but investigators were still piecing together what happened at five different locations with many witnesses.

District Attorney Marco Serna called the shootings horrific and senseless, saying northern New Mexico was rocked to its core. He said his office will request that Herrera be held without bond.

It wasn't immediately clear if Herrera had an attorney. The suspect had no criminal record, only traffic citations in 2015 and one earlier this year, according to court records.

The three family members killed Thursday were Maria Rosita Gallegos, 49; Max Trujillo Sr., 55; and Brendon Herrera, 20, all from the La Madera area, 50 miles (80.5 kilometers) north of Santa Fe and not far from the Ojo Caliente hot springs, a popular tourist destination.

After the killings, police say Damian Herrera headed north to the community of Tres Piedras, where he is accused of killing Michael Kyte, 61, and stealing the man's truck.

Herrera drove into Colorado before finding his way back south into New Mexico, circumventing a rural area dotted by just a few close-knit communities and scenic mountain ranges.

Nearly five hours after the first 911 call came in about the family's slaying, Manuel Serrano, 59, was killed at the general store in Abiquiu, a traditional Hispanic enclave where O'Keeffe lived.

Sheriff's deputies spotted the stolen pickup and began chasing it.

"Herrera was driving so fast that when he came upon a curve, he was unable to maintain his lane of travel and veered into oncoming traffic," state police said in a statement.

The pickup overcorrected to avoid an oncoming police vehicle and crashed into a tree.

Herrera got out and ran toward deputies. He tried to grab one of their guns and it fired, authorities said. A second deputy used a stun gun on Herrera, and he was taken into custody.

An officer injured his elbow during the scuffle but there were no other injuries, police said.

Kyle Frettem, who took classes at the University of New Mexico with Herrera and would go hiking with him, said he had not talked to Herrera in about a year but described him as someone who was into inner peace.

"He was the kind of guy who would go out into the mountains and meditate," Frettem said. "People can change pretty drastically in a year, but someone like this, it's like no way."

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Amid debate, NY OK's family-DNA searches for suspects

PoliceOne - Sat, 06/17/2017 - 04:30

By Jennifer Peltz Associated Press

NEW YORK — New York is becoming the latest U.S. state to let police hunt for suspects by identifying their relatives through DNA, after officials voted Friday to allow a practice that authorities call a crime-solver but civil libertarians consider a DNA dragnet.

The technique, known as familial DNA searching, is now expected to be available this fall in New York. The state Commission on Forensic Science voted 9-2 to allow it in murder, rape and some other cases, including times when it could help exonerate someone already convicted.

Spokeswoman Janine Kava says the new policy "will provide law enforcement with a proven scientific tool to help investigate and solve serious crimes."

Authorities have for decades found suspects by matching crime scene evidence to convicted offenders' DNA. Familial DNA testing comes into play when there's no match. It looks instead for people similar enough to be closely related to whoever left the crime scene DNA. From there, investigators can look for family members who fit as suspects and, if they find one, pursue enough other evidence to bring charges.

At least 10 other states and some other countries use familial searching. It has borne fruit in such high-profile cases as Los Angeles' Grim Sleeper serial killings and the 1976 killing of the ex-wife of Righteous Brothers singer Bill Medley, also in Los Angeles.

Proponents see familial searching as a potent source of leads that can be done precisely and fairly.

"The process also helps exclude the innocent, and safeguards are in place so that the searching is done prudently and the information is used discreetly," said District Attorneys Association of New York President Thomas Zugibe, who's the DA in suburban Rockland County. Under New York's new policy, the state criminal justice services commissioner would review every familial DNA searching request, and investigators couldn't see the results without training on how to evaluate them.

While authorities praise the technique, defense lawyers and civil liberties advocates decry it for entangling law-abiding people in investigations because of their family ties. At least two jurisdictions, Maryland and Washington, D.C., have prohibited the practice, and the Legal Aid Society said Friday it was considering legal action or a legislative campaign to stop it in New York.

"Civil rights and privacy lost with today's vote," said Tina Luongo, an attorney with the society.

The commission began considering the issue last fall, when prosecutors wanted to use familial DNA searching in the case of Karina Vetrano, a 30-year-old killed while out running in New York City last August. Ultimately, police zeroed in on suspect Chanel Lewis through other means and then got a DNA sample from him that matched material under Vetrano's nails and at the crime scene, they said. Lewis has pleaded not guilty to charges including murder.

Although familial searching didn't factor in Vetrano's case, her father applauded Friday's vote.

"Many families will benefit, and many criminals will suffer," Phil Vetrano wrote on an online reward-fund page. "We will always be grateful to Karina for this."

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Minn. officer acquitted in fatal shooting of Philando Castile

PoliceOne - Fri, 06/16/2017 - 13:03

By Steve Karnowski and Amy Forliti Associated Press

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A Minnesota police officer was acquitted of manslaughter Friday in the fatal shooting of Philando Castile, a black motorist whose girlfriend streamed the aftermath live on Facebook.

Jeronimo Yanez was also cleared of two lesser charges in the July traffic stop in a St. Paul suburb. Jurors deliberated for about 29 hours over five days before reaching the verdict in the death of Castile, who was shot just seconds after informing Yanez that he was carrying a gun.

Yanez, who is Latino, testified that Castile was pulling his gun out of his pocket despite his commands not to do so. The defense also argued Castile was high on marijuana and said that affected his actions.

Castile had a permit for the weapon, and prosecutors questioned whether Yanez ever saw it. They argued that the officer overreacted and that Castile was not a threat.

Castile's shooting was among a string of killings of blacks by police around the U.S., and the livestreaming of its aftermath by Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, attracted even more attention. The public outcry included protests in Minnesota that shut down highways and surrounded the governor's mansion. Castile's family claimed he was profiled because of his race, and the shooting renewed concerns about how police officers interact with minorities. Minnesota Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton also weighed in, saying he did not think the shooting would have happened if Castile had been white.

Castile's family reacted angrily to the verdict. His mother, Valerie Castile, stood and swore when it was read. His sister and others sobbed loudly. Family members immediately tried to leave the courtroom, and did so after security officers briefly barred their way.

Yanez was charged with second-degree manslaughter, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, though sentencing guidelines suggest around four years is more likely. He also faced two lesser counts of endangering Castile's girlfriend and her then-4-year-old daughter for firing his gun into the car near them.

The jury got the case Monday, after just five days of testimony, evidence and arguments. The 12-member jury included two blacks. The rest were white. None was Latino.

Yanez testified that he stopped Castile in the St. Paul suburb of Falcon Heights because he thought the 32-year-old elementary school cafeteria worker looked like one of two men who had robbed a nearby convenience store a few days earlier. Castile's car had a faulty brake light, giving the 29-year-old officer a legally sufficient pretext for pulling him over, several experts testified.

Squad-car video played repeatedly for the jury shows a wide view of the traffic stop and the shooting, with the camera pointed toward Castile's car. While it captures what was said between the two men and shows Yanez firing into the vehicle, it does not show what happened inside the car or what Yanez might have seen.

The video shows the situation escalated quickly, with Yanez shooting Castile just seconds after Castile volunteered, "Sir, I have to tell you, I do have a firearm on me." Five of the officer's seven shots struck Castile. Witnesses testified that the gun was in a pocket of Castile's shorts when paramedics removed him from his vehicle.

Prosecutors called several witnesses to try to show that Yanez never saw the gun and acted recklessly and unreasonably. But defense attorneys called their own witnesses to back up Yanez's claim that he saw Castile pulling the gun and that Yanez was right to shoot.

After shooting Castile, Yanez is heard on the squad-car video telling a supervisor variously that he didn't know where Castile's gun was, then that he told Castile to get his hand off it. Yanez testified, "What I meant by that was I didn't know where the gun was up until I saw it in his right thigh area."

He said he clearly saw a gun and that Castile ignored his commands to stop pulling it out of his pocket. His voice choked with emotion as he talked of being "scared to death" and thinking of his wife and baby daughter in the split-second before he fired.

Prosecutors argued that Yanez could have taken lesser steps, such as asking to see Castile's hands or asking where the gun was. After Castile told the officer he had the gun, Yanez told Castile, "OK, don't reach for it then," and, "Don't pull it out."

On the squad-car video, Castile can be heard saying, "I'm not pulling it out," as Yanez opened fire. Prosecutors said Castile's last words were, "I wasn't reaching for it."

Reynolds testified that she began recording the shooting's aftermath because she feared for her life and wanted to make sure the truth was known. Defense attorneys pointed to inconsistencies in several of her statements.

Defense attorneys also argued that Castile was high on marijuana and said that affected his behavior. But a prosecution expert testified there's no way to tell when Castile last smoked marijuana or whether he was high.

Categories: Latest News

Former dominatrix fights to keep her job as police officer

PoliceOne - Fri, 06/16/2017 - 10:48

Associated Press

JERSEY CITY, N.J. — A newly sworn-in sheriff's officer is fighting to keep her job after her department learned that she previously appeared in bondage films as a dominatrix.

Hudson County sheriff's officer Kristen Hyman is accused of conduct unbecoming a public employee and faces a disciplinary hearing June 27, The Jersey Journal reported on Thursday. The department says the videos, produced from 2010 to 2012, have sparked ridicule for it.

The department suspended Hyman on May 26, six days before her academy graduation, saying she failed to disclose that she appeared in the films and sometimes saw clients privately for money.

Court documents show that Hyman told investigators she never appeared naked and didn't perform any sex acts in the videos.

Hyman called the videos "stupid stuff I did when I was a kid." She said that violent acts seen in some recordings, including whipping and kicking, were staged and that she was merely an actress. She also noted that she didn't use her real name.

Hyman's lawyers argued that it was wrong to suspend her before a disciplinary hearing. The suspension was rescinded by a judge, and Hyman was sworn in June 8. Her lawyers say she is on modified duty.

Court documents show that Sheriff Frank Schillari concurred with the discipline against Hyman, saying it was necessary to protect the department's integrity and to prevent her from taking an oath of office "for which she is not entitled." Schillari declined to comment to the newspaper, citing the ongoing dispute.

Hyman also declined to be interviewed, but one of her attorneys, James Lisa, said she hopes to remain in law enforcement.

"The videos are clearly inflammatory, but there is nothing illegal," he said.

Lisa said Hyman could be fired at the disciplinary hearing or the matter could be dismissed altogether.

The Hudson County prosecutor's office declined to pursue any criminal charges against Hyman.

Categories: Latest News

Border Patrol agents seize $1.5M in cocaine near Calif. checkpoint

PoliceOne - Fri, 06/16/2017 - 10:36

Associated Press

TEMECULA, Calif. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents seized more than 100 pounds of cocaine after a driver attempted to elude a checkpoint inspection in Southern California.

Officials say the 46-year-old man sped away when his SUV was referred to a secondary inspection area along Interstate 15 in Temecula.

The suspect led agents on a pursuit into a residential area. He ran from his vehicle but was caught when an agent used a stun gun.

The Riverside Press-Enterprise says the cocaine has an estimated value of about $1.5 million.

Agents discovered 37 bundles stashed inside a speaker box and plastic container in the SUV’s rear cargo area.

Categories: Latest News

3 keys to buying body armor that’s right for you

PoliceOne - Fri, 06/16/2017 - 10:00

Sponsored by Propper

By PoliceOne BrandFocus Staff

Of the 135 police officers killed in 2016, 64 died in firearm-related incidents, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. As criminals with firearms continue to threaten officers on the job, body armor can be a lifesaver.

However, buying the right body armor requires more than simply checking a box and placing an order. Vests are not one-size-fits-all. Many require custom fitting, and it’s important to know the differences between the various armor options and threat ratings. Plus, there’s the challenge of funding.

Here are three key steps to help you prepare for a purchase of body armor:

1. Measure for correct fit

A ballistic vest that doesn't fit correctly might be uncomfortable, or worse, not provide enough coverage. Body armor should protect all vital organs, especially on the sides, where most officers are shot. If a vest isn’t sized correctly, coverage across the sides is often not complete.

In order to get accurate measurements, it’s important to have someone else measure with a soft measuring tape rather than taking self-measurements.

Be sure to take both sitting and standing measurements to ensure that vests fit comfortably whether you are sitting in a cruiser or on foot, says Skip Church, vice president of Propper International’s armor division.

He recommends taking the average of these two measurements so that when an officer sits down, the vest doesn't hit him or her in the throat or interfere with the duty belt but still offers enough coverage while standing.

It’s also important to consider the difference between tactical and concealed armor. Concealed armor is usually custom-fitted, while tactical armor often comes in alpha sizing, which can range from XS-2XL depending on the model.

2. Match the armor to the mission

When deciding what armor to buy, first determine what threats you and your agency anticipate and what your budget will allow.

The National Institute of Justice categorizes ballistic armor based on bullet resistance, with levels I, IIA, II and IIIA in the softer materials, and III and IV for harder armors. The higher the rating, the higher level of protection the vest offers. The higher ratings offer greater protection but often come with heavier and stiffer materials and higher costs.

It’s important to understand the difference between soft, semi-rigid and hard armor. Soft armor is flexible, made to wrap around the wearer and stop handgun rounds. As the majority of firearm threats officers see are from handguns, this is the most popular type of armor.

Semi-rigid plates can offer protection from rifle rounds and absorb blunt force trauma while still remaining lightweight. Hard armor plates made from ceramic or metal must be able to withstand multiple shots from a high-powered rifle, making them generally much heavier and less comfortable. Ceramic plates, which “catch” a bullet, are preferred over metal. Metal (typically steel) plates cause bullets to spall and shatter, putting the officer and those nearby in danger from the shrapnel.

With the exception of an active shooter situation, most patrol officers opt for a soft, handgun-rated vest for daily wear. A SWAT officer generally requires a higher level of protection and tactical capability, so they tend to wear heavier rifle-rated plates.

Deciding between the safety of hard armor and the greater comfort of soft is a constant problem, says Church, and hard plates cover vital organs but may leave gaps in coverage on the wearer’s sides.

“It won't cover the side unless there’s a side plate,” he said. “You could surround yourself with hard armor, but it would be so uncomfortable, so heavy, that you would never want to wear it.”

Armor comes in two basic configurations: two-panel “clamshell” or four-panel wraparound vests with overlapping panels. If you opt for a two-panel vest, be sure any gaps on the sides are closed for full coverage.

3. Find funding for your armor

Body armor doesn’t last forever and generally should be replaced every five years. The materials, especially in soft armor, break down over time, even faster with daily use. The NIJ recommends inspecting in-use body armor at least once a year, and any armor that has taken a hit should be replaced immediately.

While most departments list body armor as a budgeted item, it can be difficult to find the funds to replace old vests and buy new armor. Luckily, there’s a lot of grant money available for departments with smaller budgets. Here are a few programs that offer grants for body armor:

Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program 1122 Program Justice Assistance Grant Program Surplus Property Donation Program

Some manufacturers, including Propper, offer bulk purchasing discounts as well. Ask about this when making your inquiries.

It’s important to be prepared with the right kind of body armor for your mission. Selecting and buying armor that fits correctly and meets your specific needs without breaking the bank can provide protection for years. Consider what kinds of threats you and your fellow officers are most likely to face in the field, match that to an NIJ rating, and then consider what armor best meets your needs.

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