By PoliceOne Staff
CHICAGO — Recently released dash cam footage shows an officer fatally shooting a suspect who pinned the officer against his police vehicle.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Juan Flores, 19, backed an SUV into Officer Jesse Oeinck, who then opened fire and killed the suspect. On Sept. 10, police received a call from Flores that his girlfriend’s father took the keys to his SUV.
Upon arriving at the scene, officers were informed by the girlfriend’s father that Flores was drunk and shouldn’t drive. When Flores was searching a backyard for his keys, another person emerged with them and said they were inside his SUV the whole time. An emotional Flores got into the SUV and fled as the officer ordered him to stop.
Oeinck pursued Flores, who then backed his SUV into the officer and pinned him against the hood of his cruiser. That’s when Oeinck fired five rounds at Flores, who died at the scene.
Oeinck sustained serious injuries and was taken to the hospital. A police lieutenant said the officer acted within department guidelines.
Author: Sean Curtis
By PoliceOne Staff
PIERCE CO., Wash. — A Washington police officer who uncovered a theft from the memorial fund for the families of four slain officers claims that he can’t get promoted because of pink shoes he wore to work.
KIRO 7 reports that Officer Jeremy Vahle filed a lawsuit against the city of Lakewood over the issue. The suit alleges that Chief Mike Zaro misused civil-service rules to deny the officer’s promotion to sergeant in part because of the pink shoes he wore to work.
Vahle wore the shoes while negotiating a uniform allowance to cover the costs of work boots. It was a protected act during bargaining negotiations, Vahle’s attorney said.
The suit alleges that Vahle was passed over for promotion by people who were ranked lower than him on the civil service list. City code requires the top three people on each list should be considered for the promotion.
In 2012, Vahle, a 13-year officer, disclosed a former officer’s theft of $112,000 from the memorial fund set up for the families of four cops who were killed at a coffee shop in 2009. Vahle claims he has been retaliated against for blowing the whistle in that case..
A city spokeswoman said that the city “stands behind its sergeant-selection process and the resulting promotions” and didn’t provide any further comment.
Author: Sean Curtis
By PoliceOne Staff
GALVESTON, Texas — A Louisiana deputy who’s recovering after being shot and almost killed in the line of duty may find himself being forced to leave rehab by his insurance company.
KHOU reports that Cpl. Nick Tullier, 41, was one of the officers injured when a gunman ambushed and killed three cops last July. Tullier was shot in the head, shoulder and abdomen but managed to survive.
Tullier was moved to a Houston rehabilitation center to recover, where his rehab has been coming along slowly. Two weeks ago, his insurance company moved him to a less costly location in Galveston, where the family says Tullier is supposed to be for six months. But Tullier’s family said they received a call from the insurance company saying they’re going to stop paying for his stay at the facility.
“Within the week we get a call from insurance, 'Oh, Nick has reached his goals now, and y’all need to move him into outpatient,'” James Tullier, Nick’s father, said. “We’re going to stop paying for him to be in any facility. Well, we wanted to know who came up with this list of goals.”
Tullier’s parents lost their home to a flood and moved into an RV close to him, making finding a location for Tullier’s outpatient care difficult. He has another week before he has to move.
Tullier’s parents will soon have a new, handicapped-accessible house for Tullier to stay in, which was a gift from a Houston officer, who also survived from being shot.
EBRSO Sheriff Sid Gautreaux released a letter addressing the agency's policy and the lengths they have gone to take care of Tullier as he continues his recovery. You can read it in full below.
Author: Tim Barfield
In my first article in this series, I laid out the foundations of Sir Robert Peel’s principles of policing. My second article reviewed the importance of building community relationships. The third article looked at how gaining public respect is the key to successful policing. The fourth of Peel’s nine principles focuses on how to build public cooperation and reduce force.
We are currently going through a tumultuous time in law enforcement and part of this relates to how technology enables the public to view police officer use of force.
My wife and I were discussing a recent video posted online of such an incident. She told me she winced as she observed the police officer trying to bring a suspect into compliance. Her reaction is important because she has watched many videos and we often discuss use-of-force incidents. I would certainly categorize her as a police supporter, but use of force is hard to watch even for a police officer or police supporter, so you can imagine how the general public views recordings of such incidents.
In his fourth principle, “The degree of co-operation of the public that can be secured diminishes proportionately to the necessity of the use of physical force,” Sir Robert Peel understood that the public would react negatively to viewing these types of incidents.
We have three choices in dealing with the current problem:1. We can do nothing.
With each use-of-force video that gets posted online, we are rocked with more protest and less cooperation from the people we serve. This started out as a big city problem, but now permeates small towns and rural locations. There is a bigger probability you will be recorded during a citizen encounter than helped by the public. Nothing sounds like a bad choice.2. We can blame the media.
Although I think most of us would appreciate a fair perspective presented by the media or at least a full viewing of an incident, Peel was correct almost 200 years ago when he said that the public does not understand use of force and sees it as bullying. Think about any scene you have been on when the media arrives, what do we all do? We cover our faces and make ourselves scarce. The administration regularly circles the wagons and makes the usual “no comment” statement. The media is left to fill in the blanks with what little we offer.3. We can accept responsibility and address issues.
Many police officers and administrators don’t understand use of force, so how can we expect the public to comprehend why it is deployed? Unless you have tried to arrest a 15-year-old, 90-pound girl who does not want to comply, and tried to get her arms behind her back without breaking them or using strikes to gain submission, you will never know how difficult it is to gain compliance from someone who does not want to go. There is no secret police technique. As stated before, all use of force looks bad.
The time to build relationships with the public and the media is before an incident happens. Police departments should use citizen police academies or public meetings to explain use of force and field questions from the public. The more we de-mystify what we do, the stronger our bonds with the public.
Using social media to relay information and interact with the public is another great tool.
We need to make ourselves available to the public and the media. Even the unintentional “us versus them” environment helps to create walls that need to come down.
Personally, I have made myself available to the media and regularly return phone calls. I take the time to explain things even when I don’t have time, in the hope of getting the “benefit of the doubt” should that day come.
We should encourage people to submit to arrest, even if they think it is unlawful, but make the complaint procedure as open and educational as possible so we can attempt to decrease these incendiary videos and stories.
We are not to blame for the choices others make, but we are responsible to make connections and build trust in our communities. This will enable us to be partners instead of adversaries, and help keep our communities safer.
By Robert Medley and Josh Wallace The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City
LINDSAY, Okla. — A man died Tuesday evening after dousing himself and the inside of his van in gasoline and then being struck by a police officer's Taser, the McClain County Sheriff's Department reported.
The man had been reported as missing by Norman police and was reportedly suicidal, said McClain County Sheriff Don Hewett. Two Lindsay police officers located the man about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday inside a parked van at 100th Street and Council Avenue, about 2 miles northwest of Lindsay.
Lindsay city manager Stephen Mills said the officers were responding to a report of a man who was acting erratic with a gun when they found him sitting inside a van with a container of gasoline.
Mills said the officers ordered the man out of the van and he got out with a lighter in his hand.
Officers saw the gasoline but said he did not smell any gasoline on the man and did not see the man pour it inside the van, Mills said.
As the man disobeyed the officers' commands to get away from the van, he turned to get back inside the van, Mills said. The officer fired the Taser, igniting the gasoline. The man climbed back into the van, where the flames ignited the gasoline already poured inside the van. The van was quickly engulfed in flames, and one officer's jacket caught fire during the blaze.
Lindsay firefighters responded to extinguish the blaze.
Mills said he didn't think the officer violated any training in the use of a Taser, which can ignite any flammable liquid or fumes present. The officer believed the risk of the man getting back into the van with gasoline and a lighter was greater than firing the Taser, Mills said. Officers have not released the name of the man, who died at the scene.
Hewett said the fire burned the man beyond recognition.
The Lindsay officer who fired the Taser, whose name has not been released, suffered minor burn injuries and was treated and released at a Lindsay emergency room clinic, Hewett said.
Mills said both officers have been placed on routine paid leave pending an outcome of the investigation into the incident.
Hewett said Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agents are assisting in the investigation into the death.
Taser manufacturer Axon specifically warns against the use of a Taser or conducted electrical weapon, also known as a CEW, when gasoline or other flammable liquids or vapor is present.
“CEW use can result in a fire or explosion when flammable gases, fumes, vapors, liquids, or materials are present. Use of a CEW in presence of fire or explosion hazard could result in death or serious injury. When possible, avoid using a CEW in known flammable hazard conditions,” according to Axon.
A number of people have been injured or killed in recent years following Taser use by law enforcement where gasoline or other flammable liquids were present.
On July 10, an Arlington, Texas, man who had doused himself with gasoline caught fire after an officer fired a Taser at him. Four days later, Gabriel Olivas, 39, died at a hospital, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Arlington police spokeswoman Sgt. Vanessa Harrison told the paper they were aware of the risk of using a “stun gun” near gasoline, but said Olivas was “very frantic and erratic and became a danger to everyone in the room.”
Also in July, a Manitowoc, Wisconsin, man’s beard and chest hair caught fire after police were attempting to arrest him and a Taser probe reportedly struck a lighter he was holding.
In February 2015, a Virginia man led police on a pursuit and ultimately crashed his car, which led to his clothes being soaked in gasoline.
Authorities said Miles November was being combative as they pulled him from the wreckage and a Taser was deployed and November caught fire, which led to burns over 80 percent of his body.
In 2007, Juan Flores Lopez, 47, died after catching fire after a San Angelo, Texas, police officer deployed a Taser. Police said that Lopez had poured gasoline over himself and the Taser was used after pepper spray was ineffective.
Lopez later died at a hospital.
©2017 The Oklahoman
Author: Tim Barfield
By Randall Lockwood, P1 Contributor
In 2016, New York Police Department (NYPD) police officers brought a small, deceased dog to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Animal Hospital for evaluation by forensic veterinarians. The dog had allegedly been killed by her owner’s boyfriend in a dispute over who should walk the dog.
ASPCA veterinarians documented extensive injuries to the dog’s head, chest, abdomen and back resulting from a single strong impact. The medical evidence led to charges of felony animal cruelty, robbery, grand larceny, criminal mischief and endangering the welfare of a child. The suspect pled guilty to all charges and received 60 days in jail and four years of probation.
As part of the partnership between the ASPCA and the NYPD, veterinarians regularly examine and document injuries to animals that have been hurt or killed in connection with acts of domestic violence.
The above case was just one of more than 65 cases of animal cruelty related to domestic violence reports the ASPCA has helped document in the last three years. These have involved 78 animals, 25 of which were deceased. The abusers were most often significant others (60 percent) or spouses (22 percent), with the remainder being non-intimate familial relations or roommates.Research reveals connection between domestic violence and animal abuse
Dozens of studies over the last decade have shown a strong connection between domestic violence and companion animal abuse.
Many victims have animals they or their children are strongly attached to and frequently describe them as members of the family.
Interviews with victims seeking shelter from domestic violence consistently show that more than half have experienced threats or actual harm to their animals committed by a partner. In addition, at least one-fourth have delayed leaving an abusive environment out of fear of what would happen to animals they might have to leave behind.Cases involve abuser seeking power and control
Why is this connection so widespread? Domestic violence and animal cruelty both frequently involve an abuser seeking power and control.
Most victims report that pets were abused to control them or their children, maintain an atmosphere of fear, and isolate them or punish them for attempts to be independent or leave the relationship. Other victims attribute harming animals to the abuser’s jealousy at not being the sole focus of attention in the home.
Law enforcement officers should be alert to the seriousness of threats or harm to companion animals in the context of domestic violence. Killing or injuring an animal in front of a child to threaten or intimidate someone can be considered a serious offense, in addition to any animal cruelty charges. When responding to a call regarding domestic violence, police officers should ask if there are any pets in the home and make note of any animals with signs of injury.ASPCA offers resources, training
The ASPCA provides resources on this connection; offers trainings on the subject for law enforcement, social service professionals, veterinarians and others; and has helped establish safety net programs in communities across the country that provide alternatives to those who may otherwise surrender their pets to animal shelters.
The ASPCA has also provided grant funding and ongoing support and services for Urban Resource Institute’s PALS (People and Animals Living Safely) program, New York City’s first-ever initiative to shelter domestic violence victims with their pets.
Through its Animal Hospital, the ASPCA provides services including medical exams, vaccinations, behavioral support, spay and neuter surgery, and temporary fostering for pets residing in domestic violence shelters.
Police departments can access tools to help form local community task forces to address the links between animal cruelty and many forms of interpersonal violence.
In addition, the ASPCA supports the National Link Coalition, which provides up-to-date information on research, legislation and trainings on these connections.
Animals are part of the family in the majority of American households and often animal cruelty is a form of family violence. Being aware of and responding to such abuse can help save people and animals from harm.
About the author Randall Lockwood is ASPCA Senior Vice President of Forensic Sciences.
Author: Tim Barfield
By Jane Wester The Charlotte Observer
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has made progress this year toward filling its ranks – but there’s still a long way to go.
It’s harder to recruit new officers than it was even two years ago, CMPD Chief Kerr Putney said. Police conduct is scrutinized on social media, and officer-involved shootings in Charlotte and elsewhere have attracted protests.
“We’ve been struggling,” Putney said. “Since last year, in the area of diversity, which is what we really were making some headway in, we’ve seen almost a 60 percent reduction in our ability to attract African-Americans in particular.”
CMPD recruiters have tried reaching out to veterans and various other specific groups, but on Nov. 1, the department launched a push to recruit a different group: police officers employed elsewhere, who might be interested in moving to Charlotte.
Putney said the department has enough flexibility in its budget to pay these officers based on their experience in other departments, along with extra money if they’ll live inside CMPD’s service area or if they speak Spanish. The final cost will depend on how many officers are involved – the goal is to hire 60 of these transfers at a minimum, CMPD said.
In June 2016, City Council approved Putney’s request to add more than 60 new officers across several police academy classes. The department currently has about 150 vacancies and 70 officers in training, Putney said. That’s a decrease from 200 vacancies at the start of 2017.
Officers have been working overtime to fill the gaps, which costs money, takes officers away from their families and is hard on their bodies, Putney said.
Hiring officers from other departments has advantages, Putney said – they require less training and their past performance can be carefully screened, for example.
The transfers will go through four to six weeks of training when they reach Charlotte, including sessions on implicit bias and other community issues, Putney said.
“They don’t get exempted from any of that training, because that training establishes a culture,” Putney said.
Hiring more experienced officers will help CMPD through the next few years, when the retirement rate is expected to be higher than average. Officers who joined the department through grant programs in the early 1990s will soon finish their 30 years of service and retire.
Some current CMPD officers transferred from other departments, but now CMPD is getting the word out that they’re focusing on these hires, the department said.
Officer Shaun Ward, who transferred from Asheville three years ago, said he was drawn to CMPD’s eagerness to think outside the box.
©2017 The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.)
By Naheed Rajwani The Dallas Morning News
DALLAS — In her first major move as Dallas police chief, U. Renee Hall on Thursday temporarily dismantled the department's vice unit after discovering "serious issues" and reassigned its 20 officers.
The chief has not publicly detailed what led to her decision to overhaul the unit that oversees prostitution and gambling investigations.
"There are some serious issues that need to be addressed because there are more questions than answers following my initial assessment," she said at a news conference Thursday evening.
The vice unit's specialized officers will be reassigned to five other "critical enforcement" areas, such as domestic violence and robberies.
New investigations that the vice unit would typically handle will fall to patrol officers and other units, Hall said. It is unclear what will happen to open cases.
"We are responsible to the residents of this community," she said. "Service is first. Accountability is important, and we have to operate within the highest level of integrity."
The chief said it would be unfair to blame anyone for the vice unit's issues, adding that it's too early to say whether anyone will face disciplinary action. Hall has hired members of the International Association of Chiefs of Police to conduct an impartial analysis of the vice unit and help remedy its problems.
Dallas City Council Member Adam McGough, who chairs the public safety and criminal justice committee, said that like the chief, he doesn't want to jump to conclusions about the vice unit.
"I'm going to wait and let the facts come out," said McGough, adding that he supports Hall's plans to re-evaluate and restructure the department.
Dallas Police Association President Michael Mata also declined to speculate about what the chief found during her initial review.
"The men and women of the vice unit are of the highest integrity, and they have set the standard in dealing with vice offenses and investigations in North Texas," Mata said.
Hall, who joined the force in September, is conducting a top-to-bottom review of the Police Department. Beyond the vice changes, additional shakeups are expected in the coming weeks, including a new organization structure and leadership staff.
Her command staff is likely to shrink — a move that could result in demotions.
Hall's predecessor, Chief David Brown, had nine assistant chiefs and more than a dozen deputy chiefs at one point last year. The police associations often criticized his large command staff, calling it inefficient and unnecessary.
A draft copy of Hall's organizational chart shows three assistant chiefs and seven deputy chiefs.
The department currently has seven patrol divisions, but that could change, too. Hall's chart divides the city into four patrol divisions: central, west, east and south. Some of those divisions would be broken into smaller patrol areas.
©2017 The Dallas Morning News
By Chau Lam Newsday
NEW YORK — A jury convicted a Queens man Thursday of first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Brian Moore, an NYPD officer from Long Island.
The Queens district attorney’s office said the jury deliberated for two hours over two days before convicting Demetrius Blackwell in the death of Moore, 25, of Plainedge, who died two days after he was shot in the head on May 2, 2015.
The panel of five men and seven women also found Blackwell, 37, guilty of first-degree attempted murder for shooting at Moore’s partner, Officer Erik Jansen, who was not hurt, and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
Blackwell faces a maximum of life in prison without parole. Sentencing is set for Dec. 12.
Many of Moore’s brothers and sisters in blue packed the courtroom as the verdict was read, while a group of court officers stood around Blackwell.
Moore’s father, Raymond Moore, a retired NYPD detective sergeant, nodded his head in approval as the first-degree murder verdict was announced.
Blackwell said, “I love you,” to someone in the courtroom as a court officer escorted him out.
During the trial, Queens prosecutors said Moore was shot after he and Jansen, who were working in the anti-crime unit, became suspicious of Blackwell when they spotted him walking on a Queens Village street.
The plainclothes officers followed Blackwell briefly in their unmarked car, then pulled up to him. Moore identified himself as a police officer and showed his badge, which was hanging around his neck, according to Jansen. Jansen testified that Moore asked Blackwell if he “got something” on him.
Jansen told jurors that Blackwell responded: “Yeah. I got something.”
Within seconds, the officer said, Blackwell pulled out a handgun and fired at Moore twice, striking him once in the head. The second bullet hit the police car and a fragment of the bullet struck Moore in the face. Jansen said a third round was fired at him, but missed him.
After the verdict, Moore’s parents spoke at a news conference on the courthouse steps.
“At the end of the day I did lose my son,” said his mother, Irene Moore. “At the end of the day there was justice done for Brian’s killing, but it is a hole, and it is a void that will never, ever be filled. And, I hope that this never happens to anyone else.”
Raymond Moore called the outcome “a good verdict,” but added: “Brian is still not going to be there in my house when I get home.”
The grieving father said if he could speak to Blackwell, he’d use the same phrase that Blackwell reportedly said to his son before firing the fatal shot.
“I’d like to walk up to him and tell him, ‘Yeah. I got something’ for you, and put two bullets in his head,” he said.
Blackwell’s attorney, David Bart of Flushing, had told jurors that his client was paranoid and was not in control of his actions at the time of the shooting. The jury had considered whether Blackwell was acting under extreme emotional distress at the time of the shooting, but rejected that defense.
Queens Executive Assistant District Attorney Daniel Saunders said the case was complicated and included dense testimony, but judging from the speed of the verdict, he said, jurors understood it.
“Their resounding verdict, and embracing the testimony, especially of the surviving partner, Jansen, sends a message, I hope, that there are severe consequences to the murder of a New York City police officer,” Saunders said. “And hopefully every police officer in the city of New York is a little safer by virtue of their verdict today.”
Staff Report Chattanooga Times/Free Press, Tenn.
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — A Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper sent to the scene of a Nashville area car crash is credited with saving the life of a driver whose neck was punctured by an antler of a deer that went through her windshield.
When Trooper Russell Bernard arrived at the scene, the driver of the crashed car was bleeding heavily from a large puncture wound in her neck, according to a news release from the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security. Bernard applied pressure to the wound until emergency medical services personnel arrived.
The deer had been hit by another vehicle and thrown through the victim's windshield. Its antlers also punctured the driver's seat, according to the release.
"I commend Trooper Bernard for taking swift action to save the life of the injured driver," THP Colonel Tracy Trott said. "Trooper Bernard was able to apply his cadet training and respond quickly using the proper technique and protocol. I am proud of the work we do every day to save lives on our Tennessee roadways."
The driver, who had a torn artery, was taken by EMS personnel to a Dickson, Tenn., hospital and later flown to Skyline Hospital in Nashville for emergency surgery, the release states.
©2017 the Chattanooga Times/Free Press (Chattanooga, Tenn.)
By PoliceOne Staff
Results from a recent PoliceOne survey indicate that two in three police officers found the training they received on the use and deployment of body-worn cameras to be insufficient. Additionally, nearly 84% of those who took the survey said they only received zero to two hours of training on the use of their BWC. How much initial and ongoing training should departments conduct to adequately equip law enforcement to police in the video age? We want you to weigh in on these issues in this quick survey.
By PoliceOne Staff
DETROIT — A Detroit police officer has died after suffering from a medical condition Friday morning.
WXYZ reports that the officer, who was off-duty at the time, was rushed to a local hospital where he was later pronounced dead. The officer’s identity and details about his medical condition are unknown at this time.
The officer’s colleagues have been visiting the hospital to pay their respects. The LEO has been with the Detroit Police Department for more than 15 years.
Additional details have not been released at this time.
Download this week's episode on iTunes, SoundCloud or via RSS feed
In Sutherland Springs, Texas, 26 people were killed at a small church. The killer was reportedly neutralized by an armed citizen who shot the subject as he fled in his vehicle. Of course we also recall the recent tragedy in Las Vegas that left 59 dead and hundreds injured at an outdoor concert. After events like the slaughter of 20 children between six and seven years old in Newtown, Connecticut, an inevitable debate about guns in America ensues. In this podcast segment, Jim and Doug discuss mental illness, gun control, and other topics tied to recent active shooter incidents.
Author: Jim Dudley and Doug Wyllie
By Mike Stunson Lexington Herald-Leader
LEXINGTON, Ky. — A sword was the weapon of choice for a Louisville man who is charged with attacking a police officer Wednesday, according to court records.
An officer from Louisville Metro Police responded to a disturbance about 3 a.m., and when the officer knocked on the door, Kenneth Smith began yelling at him, according to the police report.
Smith, 41, allegedly asked the officer if he wanted to die and told him, “I’ve got something for you,” according to court records.
When the officer opened the door, Smith “jabbed” him with a 3-foot sword on the arm, according to the police report.
The officer ordered Smith to get on the ground, according to the report. Smith dropped the sword but refused to cooperate, and police then arrested him, according to the police report.
Smith’s daughter told police that he had been yelling at their dog and drinking alcohol, according to court records.
Smith was charged with wanton endangerment of a police officer and terroristic threatening. He is in the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections.
©2017 the Lexington Herald-Leader (Lexington, Ky.)
This stunning photo of a cruiser patrolling the roads during a misty sunrise comes from Officer James McGraw of the Weston (Conn.) Police Department. Clear evidence that fall is the best season!
Calling all police photographers! PoliceOne needs pictures of you in action or training. Submit a photo — it could be selected as our Photo of the Week! Be sure to include your name, department information and address (including city, state and ZIP code) where we can reach you — Photo of the Week winners have a chance to win a PoliceOne.com T-shirt!
By Stan Finger The Wichita Eagle
WICHITA, Kan. — Caleb Moraine has wanted to be a police officer since he was 10 years old.
When that moment arrived Wednesday, shortly after he turned 20, he stiffened his back so the badge could be pinned to his uniform.
And then he rose out of his wheelchair, ignoring the cancer that has dogged him relentlessly for five years, stood at attention, raised his right hand and repeated the oath new officers take as best he could, his voice barely above a whisper.
The crowd packed into the Evergreen Recreation Center in north Wichita applauded loudly, many dabbing away tears, as Caleb accepted handshakes, his parents and older brothers looking on with pride.
“It’s been a long road, a long battle for Caleb,” his mother, Renee, said. “To see him standing here today…”
Her voice broke.
As he was growing up, Caleb enjoyed lifting weights with his father, Mark, who at one point was one of the best power lifters in the state. But his legs began bothering him, so much so that Renee took him to see doctors.
“Doctors kept telling Renee the pains in his legs were growing pains,” said his aunt, Christina Collins, who took turns taking photos and wiping away tears of joy during the ceremony.
The cancer was finally discovered when he was 16. He’s had serious surgeries – including one to remove a large portion of his skull – and grueling chemotherapy regimens, but he’s remained upbeat.
Two weeks ago, the family learned the cancer is continuing to grow and chemotherapy isn’t working. That gave added poignancy to Wednesday’s ceremony declaring Caleb an honorary officer.
“From Day 1, we’ve always called him the brave warrior,” Renee Moraine said. “Several people have said he’s the strongest person they’ve ever seen,” given everything he’s been through.
“Yet he’s here right now, standing, ready to receive this honor.”
We are proud to announce our newest member of the Wichita Police Department, Officer Caleb E. Moraine, who has had a lifelong dream of being a member of Law Enforcement and is currently battling cancer. Today Officer Moraine fulfilled that dream. pic.twitter.com/hheLnSQtCA— Wichita Police (@WichitaPolice) November 9, 2017
Collins said the impact of what the ceremony meant to Caleb is “immeasurable,” but could probably best be summed up by two words: “He’s standing!”
Given everything he’s been through, she said, that’s remarkable.
Officer Carlos Atondo, who got to know Caleb through Facebook, presented the city’s newest officer with a large metal shield he can hang on his wall at home. Retiring officers typically receive that honor, with their badge number on the art work.
“He’s been through a lot,” said Atondo, whose voice filled with emotion as he talked. “He’s so brave. He’s always hopeful. He’s always upbeat.”
Renee Moraine is an EMT and the family is known and respected in Wichita’s community of first responders. Collins said she’s in awe of the love and support the Moraine family has received.
“The city has just poured out love to them,” she said. “So kind, so gracious, so giving. People just drop by the house and leave things on their doorsteps. Encouraging words, encouraging rocks...
“Whoever thought a rock could be encouraging? And yet it has been.”
A spirit of service runs in the family. Caleb aspired to continue that tradition, Atondo said.
“Service to others – that’s what he talked about the most” Atondo said.
It’s why he wanted to become a police officer. Atondo put things together to make that happen.
“He’s a brave young man that’s going through a lot,” Chief Gordon Ramsay said. “It’s nice to do things like this. It means a lot to him and his family and we’re honored to do it.”
©2017 The Wichita Eagle (Wichita, Kan.)
Author: Barry Reynolds
Editor's note: This special coverage series, Recruitment & Retention Crisis: The Struggle to Hire – and Keep – Good Cops, will take an in-depth look at the recruitment and retention challenges currently facing police agencies, share potential solutions to the crisis and highlight best practices progressive PDs are deploying to bolster their ranks. Watch for further installments of this series throughout the rest of 2017.
Many, if not most, law enforcement agencies use a recruitment and hiring policy to guide the selection process of new personnel. This policy can be found within the agency policy manual, or is part of a larger human resources policy for the state, county or city that oversees hiring for the organization.
The actual policy itself is often procedural in nature, outlining the requirements for consideration of employment, and the necessary and exact steps taken through the hiring process to ensure the most qualified applicants receive consideration. Often there is a statement of non-discrimination advocating diversity within the hiring process.
These are all great policies to have and follow, but in an era of greater transparency, many organizations are including a statement of principles within their recruitment policy. This statement of principles outlines the philosophy and values within which the recruitment and selection process operates, as well as the hiring process expectations for both the agency and the potential candidates.
Some items in the statement of principles might seem obvious, while others may also be included in the police department’s values statement. However, the inclusion of expressed and transparent principles in the recruitment and selection process can be vitally important to the process itself, sending an important message to potential candidates considering your organization among their employment options.
Here are five principles to consider adding to your recruitment and selection process policy:1. Respect for diversity
Even with the presence of similar statements or clauses within the hiring procedures themselves, a clarified statement on the value of diversity in organizational personnel takes it beyond a mere policy statement to a philosophical statement of inclusion. This principle should clearly state that the organization not only respects diversity, it actively pursues a diverse police workforce through the recruitment and selection process.2. Service
This principle outlines the organization’s philosophy regarding community service. Regardless of the policing philosophy the organization employs, service to the community remains the foremost goal. To perpetuate that philosophy, an agency’s recruitment principles must emphasize service to the community, and actively seek police candidates who place community service as a priority in their personal approach to policing.3. Integrity
This principle requires the agency instill integrity and honesty as the twin pillars of credibility in the recruitment and selection process. This applies to both the police agency and the candidate. If an honest mistake is made in the process, the agency may resolve the issue on the side of the candidate.
However, an agency should be clear that dishonesty or a lapse in moral integrity results in the immediate and permanent disqualification of the candidate. The social contract we hold with our communities demands we expect nothing less from current and future employees.4. Merit-based selection
The recruitment and hiring process of police officers can be extensive and lengthy, or it can be streamlined with an eye toward on-boarding at the earliest opportunity. Regardless of the process, the principle of merit-based selection in law enforcement requires the most qualified applicant receive the highest consideration. A merit-based selection process utilizes multiple evaluations of a candidate’s qualifications with each evaluation being objective and independent from the others.
There will always be some form of subjective evaluation, but the goal of the merit-based system is to reduce subjectivity to the highest extent possible to assure candidates that their qualifications and performance are the primary considerations for advancement.5. Recruit for vacancies and hire for the future
The philosophy behind this principle recognizes that the recruitment and selection process is the first and most important step an organization takes in acquiring and retaining career employees. While the immediate goal of the hiring process might be to fill current or imminent vacancies, the department is looking toward the sustainment of a stable and professional workforce. As such, consider those intangible traits and values that lend themselves to a long-standing employment relationship.Conclusion
Too many agencies find themselves repeating their recruitment process because the first process failed to result in enough qualified candidates, or the candidates chosen failed to successfully transition to permanent employment status. Implementing a set of organizational principles into your recruitment and selection process helps market your agency to the type of candidates who are most likely to be successful in your hiring process, thereby increasing the chances that your next hire will be a member of your organization for decades to come.
BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Pennsylvania State Police say a trooper who was shot several times during a traffic stop has undergone a successful second surgery and is still listed in critical condition.
A state police spokesman says Cpl. Seth Kelly underwent surgery Thursday, a day after authorities said the 13-year veteran likely saved his own life by applying a tourniquet to his leg before help arrived following a shootout Tuesday.
Kelly suffered gunshot wounds to his neck and shoulder area and to his leg after the traffic stop erupted into a close-quarters gunfight along a busy road north of Philadelphia.
Twenty-two-year-old suspect Daniel Khalil Clary faces charges that include attempted murder of a law enforcement officer and aggravated assault. Authorities say troopers suspected him of driving under the influence of marijuana. He was also shot.
By Paul J. Weber, Emily Schmall and Jim Vertuno Associated Press
LA VERNIA, Texas — By the time Paul Brunner rolled up in his ambulance to the worst mass shooting in Texas history, the First Baptist Church was a chaotic triage scene. Parents cried and kids screamed, and nearly all the victims appeared to have been hit more than once.
Two of the first four patients the burly volunteer medic loaded into ambulances were children.
"Our inclination is to protect children. The thing is, that wasn't his inclination," Brunner said, referring to the gunman. "He wasn't separating going: 'I'm not going to hurt the kids. I'm going to go after whatever adults wronged me.'"
When gunfire tore through the church in tiny Sutherland Springs, killing more than two dozen, the bullets claimed eight children and teenagers who were sitting through Sunday services with their families. It was the largest number of children killed in a mass shooting since 20 died at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.
Like that massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, the fact that the assailant slaughtered defenseless children compounded the anguish. Nearby schools quickly added grief counselors.
The shooter, Devin Patrick Kelley, had a turbulent and violent past that included a court-martial while serving in the Air Force on charges that he assaulted his then-wife and hit her child hard enough to fracture the boy's skull. Kelley, who had a rifle and left behind at least 15 empty magazines holding 30 rounds each, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after he was chased by bystanders and crashed his car.
Investigators have said the shooting appeared to stem from a domestic dispute involving Kelley and his mother-in-law, who sometimes attended services at the church but was not present on Sunday.
One couple who survived the attack, Rosanne Solis and Joaquin Ramirez, said Kelley went aisle by aisle through the pews and shot crying children at point-blank range.
Authorities put the death count at 26, including the unborn baby of one of the slain women and the 14-year-old daughter of the church's pastor, Frank Pomeroy.
"There were just so many babies in there. It was a church. It was families," said Torie McCallum, the former sister-in-law of Crystal Holcombe, the pregnant woman. "Watching them take person after person after person out was so heartbreaking."
McCallum is also a volunteer medic in nearby Floresville who spent 12 hours at the scene Sunday. She identified Crystal and her three dead children — 11-year-old Emily, 13-year-old Greg and 9-year-old Megan.
Another of Crystal's children, 7-year-old Evelyn, ran out of the church to a neighbor's house. She suffered a head contusion, which McCallum thinks may have been caused by her head hitting a pew.
The kids were smart and liked church. Their father died six years earlier, but McCallum was relieved when John Holcombe entered the picture and helped raise them as his own.
They called him Dad and thrived in the 4-H Club. Emily liked archery while Greg, Evelyn and Megan did karate. Crystal homeschooled the children, and the girls sang in church, where the family got a kick out of how their different voices harmonized.
McCallum said the kids were excited for a new sibling and decided that the baby's name, whether a boy or girl, should be Billy Bob Wigglebottom — which they found hilarious.
The official list of those killed released by Texas authorities Wednesday included Carlin Brite "Billy Bob" Holcombe.
By Wednesday, an online fundraiser had collected more $72,000 for the family.
"To see seasoned FBI agents and seasoned paramedics and seasoned law enforcement officers, when you see their eyes red, I feel so awful for all of the people who responded to that scene. Because they should never have to see anything like that, especially with so many children," McCallum said.
One of the wounded children, 5-year-old Ryland Ward, was hit multiple times and opened his eyes at the hospital Tuesday for the first time since the shooting, said Leslie Ward, the boy's aunt.
"Seeing the children that were killed. It's one thing to see an adult, but to see a 5-year-old, that's tough," Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt said.
Alison Gould, 17, returned Wednesday to the church where she had waited hours on Sunday for word about her best friend, 16-year-old Haley Krueger. She got the news she feared later that night.
"I am trying my best to cope. I want to see her really bad, and it's kind of hard because I know that I can't," Gould said. "Me and her mom keep thinking that maybe she's in the hospital, and they just identified her wrong. We're trying really hard."
Brunner, chief of the ambulance service in nearby La Vernia, had been at lunch with his own family when he heard about the shooting.
"You had parents screaming about their kids. They got stuff in front of them that they never imagined they would see in their life," Brunner said. "Not really a war zone, because at least people in a war know they're in the middle of a war. This is just hard to describe."
By Kevin Freking Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Congress on Thursday honored five officers who "ran toward the threat and stopped it" when a gunman opened fire on a congressional baseball practice in June, gravely injuring House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.
Gathering in the U.S. Capitol, leaders of the House and Senate paid tribute to the five officers who initially responded to the attack, presenting them with the U.S. Capitol Police Medal of Honor, the agency's highest honor. The medal is awarded to those who exhibit great courage and voluntary risk their life to help others.
The officers honored were Special Agents David Bailey and Crystal Griner of the U.S. Capitol Police and officers Nicole Battaglia, Alexander Jensen and Kevin Jobe of the Alexandria Police Department. The latter were the first officers from an outside law enforcement agency to receive the honor.
"These men and women we're honoring today ran toward the threat and stopped it, and we can't ever thank you enough," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Scalise, 51, was seriously wounded when he was struck in the hip, and the bullet tore into blood vessels, bones and internal organs.
Relying on two walking sticks to help him move, Scalise told the officers that their actions prevented a deadly attack similar to the recent massacres in Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs, Texas.
"That day on June 14th could have turned out the exact same way. We all know what the outcome would have been if not for the heroism and the bravery of the men and women on this stage," said Scalise.
Officer Bailey's mother traveled from Brazil to attend the ceremony at the Capitol. Scalise had a message for her. "Your son saved the lives of over a dozen members of Congress and the staff that were out on that ball field that day."
Scalise and four other people were injured June 14 when a gunman opened fire on a Republican baseball practice in nearby Alexandria, Virginia. U.S. Capitol Police and other officers returned fire and killed the gunman. The rifle-wielding attacker had nursed grievances against President Donald Trump and the GOP.
"To see these officers get their due, this really is another milestone in all of our collective recovery," House Speaker Paul Ryan said. "Even as we try to go back to normal, we see that we were so close to losing so many of our friends."