Latest News

DC police training now requires LEOs to visit African-American museum

PoliceOne - Tue, 04/17/2018 - 10:03
Author: Mike Wood

By PoliceOne Staff

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Police in D.C. are now required to visit an African-American history museum as part of their training.

WTOP reports that the department is partnering with the University of the D.C. Community College and the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History to start a new training program aimed at teaching officers about African-American history in the city.

“I think there are some that would like to ignore that troubling history of law enforcement in our country. But, we believe it’s critically important that it remains a part of our education and understanding. And most importantly, it’s something we can learn from,” Chief Peter Newsham said.

The 10-hour training program led by the college’s history professors will begin with a tour and discussion at the museum. The department plans to have all of its 3,800 sworn officers and 660 civilian members complete the training, which started in January, by the end of the summer, according to CNN.

"The museum includes very honest, and poignant stories of the role that policing played in some of the historical injustices in our country," Newsham said.

Mayor Muriel Bowser said interactions between police and minorities remain a concern and that the program aims to address issues of bias and use of force in police departments.

Professor Bernard Demczuk said officers will start the program at 6 a.m. and will participate in three hours of lectures before touring the museum.

“We also take officers on to a U Street tour where we spend four or five hours in the Shaw community examining police brutality, examining history, examining the black Mecca of America, Washington, D.C. and the black Broadway along U Street; and the officers get a real good sense of D.C. history, D.C. policing and how we here are changing policing in America,” Demczuk said.


Categories: Latest News

Report: Officers saw different things before Kan. swatting death

PoliceOne - Tue, 04/17/2018 - 08:13
Author: Mike Wood

Associated Press

WICHITA, Kan. — A police officer who shot and killed an unarmed Kansas man while responding to a hoax 911 call thought the victim was reaching for a gun, although a dozen other law enforcement officers held their fire because they couldn't see a weapon or did not have a clear line of fire, according to an investigative report.

District Attorney Marc Bennett released the 42-page report after announcing last week that the unnamed officer won't face criminal charges in the Dec. 28 killing of 28-year-old Andrew Finch, The Wichita Eagle reports. Bennett said last week that the "the officer's decision was made in the context of false call."

Tyler Barriss, 25, of Los Angeles, is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the shooting. He is accused of making the hoax call that appeared to come from Finch's address. Prosecutors say Barriss called 911 and said he had shot his father in the head and was holding hostages. The hoax call aimed to summon a large police presence to an address in a practice known as "swatting."

Wichita police say the officer who shot Finch remains on administrative duty. The report said that as he took position across the street from Finch's home, his attention was directed to a person's silhouette that was visible on the second floor. He heard another officer say that it looked like the person was moving up and down, possibly giving CPR to the person they thought had been shot, the report says.

The officer said that when Finch opened his door, he was looking at him through the scope on his rifle and saw Finch raise then lower his hands as officers yelled commands. The officer said Finch's body language made him think, "he's 'gonna fire at officers."

None of the other nine officers or three deputies fired their weapons.

Another officer reported that Finch raising and lowering his hands made him think Finch might have a gun, but he didn't fire his weapon because other officers and residents at a nearby gas station were in his line of fire, according to the report.

Others said they didn't shoot because they didn't feel threatened and didn't see a gun. One officer said he thought Finch "was moving back towards the threshold of the door" when he was shot. One of the deputies said he was "not fearful of being shot" because he was close enough to Finch's right arm and hadn't seen a gun in it, the report said.


Categories: Latest News

NC deputy shot in the face, chest begins 'long road to recovery'

PoliceOne - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 14:56

By Greg Barnes The Fayetteville Observer, N.C.

LILLINGTON, N.C. — Harnett County sheriff's Deputy James Eric Cook had no idea that a teenager might be carrying a gun when he attempted to stop him on a dirt path Saturday night behind Cagle’s Furniture off N.C. 87.

The 16-year-old, Mario A. Garza lll, kept walking as Cook tried to question him about a missing person’s report matching the boy’s description that had been filed the day before, Sheriff Wayne Coats said at a news conference Monday morning.

Garza tensed when grabbed by Cook, who decided to call for backup, Coats said. When he did, the sheriff said, Garza pushed him and gunfire was exchanged.

A bullet from a .45-caliber pistol struck Cook in his bullet-proof vest; another tore through his cheek and out the other side of his face.

“As quick as this went down, he didn’t have a chance,” Coats said.

Cook was taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, then flown by helicopter to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, where Coats said he remained in stable condition “with very serious injuries” Monday morning.

Coats said he was able to talk to Cook the night of the shooting. “Sheriff, I’m OK,” Coats quoted his deputy.

Coats said Cook may have eye damage, and his right ankle is shattered, possibly by tripping over a log.

“He’s got a long road to recovery,” the sheriff said. “He’s just a very lucky young man, and the vest saved his life.

“We need everybody to be praying for this family and this officer.”

Shortly after the news conference, about 100 deputies and staff gathered at the flagpole outside the Sheriff’s Office for an impromptu prayer service led by sheriff’s Chaplain Scott Ellison.

While Coats spoke at the news conference, Garza sat in a courtroom across the parking lot, awaiting a first-appearance hearing. He is charged with attempted first-degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and two counts of assault with a firearm on law enforcement. A judge kept Garza’s bail at $1.5 million. Garza’s family has hired a Sanford lawyer to represent their son, Coats said.

In February, Garza, who has a Cameron address, was caught with a pocketknife at Overhills High School and sent to the Star Academy, an alternative school in Lillington, Coats said.

The Sheriff’s Office hadn’t had any dealings with him before that, Coats said, but his father reported guns were stolen from his home about four months ago. It is not known whether one of the stolen guns was used to shoot Cook, the sheriff said.

Coats said Garza fled after the shooting, leading to a huge manhunt that included law enforcement from surrounding agencies, including Fayetteville. N.C. 87 and a carnival were shut down during the search, he said.

Law enforcement using tracking dogs found Garza in woods with thick brush off Buffalo Lake Road, Coats said. The teenager did not resist. A .45-caliber gun was recovered when Garza was arrested, Coats said.

“In my opinion, he meant to kill this officer,” the sheriff said.

Cook, who has been with the Sheriff’s Office for more than 10 years, is married to Melissa Cook and has two young children. Coats said the department is seeking donations to help the family defray medical and other costs. People wanting to contribute can write checks to Melissa Cook and deliver them to the Sheriff’s Office, Coats said.

©2018 The Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, N.C.)


Categories: Latest News

Reports: Police moved past deputies to enter Parkland high school

PoliceOne - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 13:50

By Terry Sepencer Associated Press

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — When Coral Springs police officer Gil Monzon arrived at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School minutes after a gunman unleashed a massacre that killed 17, he says he found two Broward County sheriff's deputies in the parking lot.

He asked for the shooter's location, and was told they didn't know, but he could see a body next to the freshman building at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and bullet marks in its third-floor windows. He said in reports released Monday that he and three other Coral Springs officers immediately went to the building, checked the body and then entered, where they immediately found a victim standing against a wall and then falling to the floor.

The four pages written by three officers detail what they found when they arrived at the Feb. 14 shooting that also left 17 wounded. They corroborate earlier reports that the first Broward deputies at the scene failed to enter the building to confront the gunman and assist the wounded.

Officer Tim Burton, the first on-duty Coral Springs officer to arrive, grabbed his rifle and was directed toward the freshman building, where he found Deputy Scot Peterson, the school's security officer, taking cover behind a concrete column.

He said Peterson told him he had not heard any shots for several minutes, but to watch his back, that the shooter might be in the parking lot.

Peterson would soon retire from his deputy job under criticism from Sheriff Scott Israel, who said he should have immediately entered the building to find the killer. Parents, meanwhile, speculated that victims on the third floor could have survived had first responders reached them more quickly: Ryan Petty, whose daughter Alaina died in the attack, tweeted over the weekend, "6 on the 3rd may have lived if anyone had gone in."

Monzon said that after dragging the victim who collapsed out of the building, he and three other officers went back inside.

"The hallway was quiet and full of thick smoke from gunfire," he wrote. They found a female hiding in an office and led her outside.

By then, another team of Coral Springs officers entered the building from the other side, so to avoid accidentally firing at each other, Monzon and his team moved to the second floor, where they found students and teachers hiding in classrooms. Still unsure if the gunman was in the building, they left survivors locked in classrooms and moved to the third floor, where Monzon said he "encountered several deceased students throughout the hall." He was then sent to help clear a nearby building.

On Friday, the Broward Sheriff's Office released its own reports from deputies, including one who sped four miles from another school and joined Coral Springs officers searching the freshman building. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement also is preparing a report on the overall law enforcement response.

Police say Nikolas Cruz, 19, a former Stoneman Douglas student, committed the mass shooting and then fled the building after his gun jammed. They say he joined students as they ran to the street and he was captured an hour later about a mile away. His attorneys have said he would plead guilty to 17 counts of murder in exchange for life without parole. Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty.

SAttorneyco18041609140 Release 4-16-18 by Ed Praetorian on Scribd

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Categories: Latest News

Starbucks viral arrest: Philly’s top cop gives model response

PoliceOne - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 12:31
Author: Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D.

Every law enforcement officer knows that things can go from routine to wild with little notice. That’s not only true on the streets, but it’s also true in the chief’s office. Of all the things that would show up on the Philadelphia police blotter, who would have expected that a video of a minor disturbance call at a coffee shop would spark protests in the street after millions of views and comments on social media?

In case you missed it, a 911 call from a Starbucks reported a trespassing complaint. Two men were at the coffee shop, hadn’t ordered anything, and were refused the access code to the bathroom door. Officers from the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) arrived, were not successful in resolving the dispute, and arrested the two men. The men asking to use the bathroom were black, the arrest was videoed by a bystander, and the narrative of racism exploded online.

To the surprise of many in the law enforcement community, Philly’s top cop, Commissioner Richard Ross, rose quickly to speak about the incident, plainly stating that the officers did nothing wrong. Ross, who is black, is a Philadelphia native and 28-year veteran with PPD. Testifying recently on the connection between social media posts and murders, Ross seems to be extraordinarily aware of the power of the new media. Here are six things Ross did right:

1. The right person

When a statement comes from the chief there is no filtering, no hiding behind a public relations screen and no question about what the administration really thinks. Ross didn’t wait to build credibility on this message as subordinates struggled to construct a statement that tried to please everyone and avoid more controversy. We heard it straight from the top.

2. The right message

The best number of talking points is one. The best sound bite is short, succinct and quotable. Ross’ statement will be remembered as just that. The officers did nothing wrong. There was not much room for misinterpretation. Anticipating the ubiquitous body camera questions, Ross addressed the absence of police video quickly and effectively.

3. The right medium

Taking to Facebook Live, Ross avoided depending on traditional media to get his message out. There were no shouted questions, no reporters lobbing accusatory questions, no need to select which media outlets to connect. It was Ross’ own show to run without interference, knowing that the target audience would be watching and listening.

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Commissioner Richard Ross gives a statement on the incident that occurred 4-12-18 at the Starbucks at 18th and Spruce Streets

Posted by Philadelphia Police Department on Saturday, April 14, 2018 4. The right timing

This story, on the cusp of a weekend, could easily have hung in a malaise of a long weekend of silence from the police department. The Commissioner took enough time to assess the simple facts of the event, then went live with a response in a timely manner. There was no festering speculation, no accusations of awkward silence. This allowed the police department to be a part of a narrative they helped to construct, rather than being a late addendum to the reporting. As we learned from Ferguson, waiting is a sure way to lose the message that the public needs and deserves to know.

5. The right focus

It would be easy to slip into a defense, explanation, or criticism of Starbucks management for decisions that led to the initial 911 call. As Ross quickly supported his officers, there was no need to get entangled with issues related to Starbucks. In fact, most of the criticsm was naturally drawn to Starbucks, since the question of police discretion quickly became secondary as the officers’ actions were examined in the light of the Commissioner’s affirmation of their professionalism.

6. The right preparation

While the patrol officer is practicing his quick-draw in front of a mirror at home, police administrators and public information officers must practice agility in their specialty of serving the public with good information. Philadelphia has made efforts under Commissioner Ross to improve community relations, to reduce racial bias in decision-making, and to keep social media interactions active and positive. Since viral controversies can burst on the scene faster than fire, a constant readiness to respond is a modern essential in public service. Being quick on the Twitter finger with the right message at the right time from the right person can save the day.


Categories: Latest News

How computerized police scheduling saves money, improves employee satisfaction

PoliceOne - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 11:20

Author: Tim Dees

Of the many tasks that fall to first line supervisors, making out the duty roster may be among the most thankless. Having a computer to relieve some of the heavy lifting associated with this may not inspire more gratitude, but it does make the process faster and more manageable.

When public safety employees worked more traditional eight-hour days, creating a duty roster wasn’t much more complicated for a police sergeant or fire captain than for a factory foreman. Everybody got the same days off every week, and maybe the supervisor had to ensure there were 25% more troops on evenings than on overnights. Put in everyone’s vacation schedule once a year, and you’re done.

Tired cops are commonplace

Today, most public safety employees work nine to twelve hours per day, rotate between day and night schedules, and are often mandated to have a minimum number of rest hours between shifts or when moving from day to night or vice versa.

This minimum rest requirement has consequences more far-reaching than just being taxing for the overworked employee. If an officer falls asleep at the wheel and crashes a patrol car because they had insufficient rest, you can bet there will be an investigation. If the employee was over-scheduled due to an error, the civil and career consequences can be grave.

This is further complicated by FLSA rules mandating the payment of expensive overtime after X number of hours over Y days, training schedules, and possibly internal rules, such as a requirement to have an EMT or DRE on duty around the clock. Before long, preparing a schedule by hand begins to look like one of those logic problems on a college placement test:

Mary, Bob, Joe and Ellen have two canoes between them. If Mary can’t ride with Joe, the red canoe was made in Canada, and Ellen is a vegetarian, how can Bob make sure he’s home in time to watch Judge Judy?

Scheduling software can track all of the requirements and limitations that work rules have to follow and produce a “best fit” duty roster for as far in advance as the user desires. Unresolved conflicts become immediately apparent, and the software can usually suggest solutions, rather than leave the user to figure them out themselves.

Eliminating perceived bias

An automated system offers a greater perception of fairness, giving rise to greater employee satisfaction. Many systems include automated notification systems for both taking call-ins from employees reporting they are sick or otherwise unavailable to work, and for notifying replacements of extra shifts available.

When this task is left to humans, there is always a potential for favoritism or punitive actions. If Officer Jones complains that he is never offered any overtime, can the supervisor show that Jones was called just as many times as everyone else? An automated system provides for greater transparency.

The same principle of transparency and fairness applies with an automated system of call-ins for employees reporting they are not coming to work. The time and date of the call can be logged automatically, something in-person call takers might not do reliably.

Mobile computing component

Most modern scheduling systems have an online component that can be used for checking schedules, reporting changes, or both. Employees can bring up the work schedule on their smartphones and know the staffing situation before they get to work. They can also look forward as far as the system projects to plan vacations and other scheduled time off. This just isn’t possible with an entirely in-house system.

If the scheduling system also reports actual hours worked, the convenience expands to the payroll office. Rather than chase down time cards and overtime authorization slips, the payroll clerk can see each employee’s hours on duty and calculate the appropriate compensation with a minimum of paperwork.

Scheduling software used to be only for large, complex operations, where there were so many people to manage that one person couldn’t track it all. Now, even smaller operations contend with intricate 10- and 12-hour shift schedules that change every few days and are never the same from one month to the next. FLSA requirements, training needs and special staffing mandates cause the scheduling task to confound a mere human supervisor. Computerized scheduling systems make everyone’s job easier and more empowering.


Categories: Latest News

LA police, firefighters rush to join controversial DROP program

PoliceOne - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 10:44
Author: Tim Dees

By Jack Dolan Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — The controversial program that pays veteran Los Angeles police officers and firefighters nearly double for the last five years of their careers received a flood of new enrollees in February, records show.

The rush to join the Deferred Retirement Option Plan, or DROP program, coincided with a Times investigation in February that found the program, which was created in 2002 to keep veteran officers and firefighters on the job, allows participants to file workers' compensation claims and then take extended injury leaves at nearly twice their usual pay.

Almost half of the participants who entered DROP from July 2008 to July 2017 subsequently took such leaves, The Times found. Their average absence was 10 months, while hundreds stayed out more than a year, typically with bad backs, sore knees and other ailments that afflict aging bodies regardless of profession.

None of the new DROP enrollees contacted by the newspaper responded to requests for comment on why they chose to sign up in February, though the surge in participants came amid questions about whether the program might be altered or eliminated.

In response to The Times' report, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and members of the City Council committee that negotiates contracts with police and firefighters called for an investigation to determine whether the program, which was approved by voters on a promise that it would retain officers without creating additional cost for the city, is achieving that goal.

In February, 129 people signed up for the program, according to data provided by the Los Angeles Fire and Police Pension fund. The average monthly enrollment is 25 new members.

February was the first month in more than six years with more than 100 new enrollees and was the largest one-month class since the program's inception in May 2002, when 389 people signed up.

LAPD spokesman Josh Rubenstein said he doubted the surge was driven by fear of changes and cited several other possible explanations, including annual February upticks in enrollment for tax reasons, a large recruiting class 30 years ago whose members who are now entering retirement age and Chief Charlie Beck's announcement in January that he is retiring.

"There may be some people who say if he's retiring, maybe it's time for me to go too," Rubenstein said.

In 2016, the City Administrative Officer recommended eliminating the program because it no longer was necessary as a tool for retention and it had never been cost-effective. But, he added, there would be a "surge" of people into the program once word got out that it was in its final days.

Local government agencies across the country, including San Francisco and San Diego, already had abandoned DROP programs after finding they were too costly.

Garcetti and council members Mitchell Englander, Paul Koretz, Herb Wesson and Paul Krekorian -- all of whom receive significant financial support from the city's police and fire unions -- ignored the recommendation in 2016.

In recent months, Garcetti has repeatedly voiced his support for continuing the program with some adjustments. One reform under consideration, he said last month, is the suspension of pension payments to participants in the program while they are on injury leave, an idea borrowed from San Francisco's now-defunct DROP policy. "That's one easy quick fix that I certainly would support," Garcetti said.

To become eligible for DROP, police and firefighters must be 50 years old and have at least 25 years of experience. At that point, they can choose to keep working and receiving their salary, retire with a pension of up to 90% of their salary or get both -- working while collecting their salary and pension simultaneously for up to five years.

So far, the program has distributed more than $1.6 billion in early pension payments. On average, participants who left DROP in 2016 walked away with an extra $434,000.

Mayoral spokesman Alex Comisar said the rush of new DROP participants won't hurt the departments because administrators still have "five years to plan, which is one of the principal benefits of the program."

Among the cases highlighted in The Times' investigation were a firefighter who took injury leave for a bad back and knees but kept working his second job as a longshoreman and a married couple, a police captain and detective, who both filed claims for carpal tunnel syndrome and other cumulative injuries and then took two years off, spending some of that time starting a family business and vacationing at their condo in Cabo San Lucas.

The couple collected just shy of $2 million for their time in DROP.

In a televised interview about DROP days after The Times' story was published, Garcetti touted the LAPD's unit dedicated to investigating fraud by fellow officers and other city employees. He said there were cases in the works, adding, "You'll hear, probably in the next month, about some of those prosecutions moving forward."

Since then, there has been one arrest. Terry Johns, 56, had been retired from the LAPD for two years when police took him into custody March 8 on a felony warrant for workers' compensation fraud. After 32 years on the force, he retired as a Police Officer II, one of the lowest ranks in the department.

Johns entered DROP in July 2014 and filed a claim for a bad back the next month, public records show. At a news conference announcing the arrest in March, Chief Beck said internal affairs investigators had observed Johns engaged in activity "inconsistent" with his claimed injuries but refused to offer further details.

Department officials offered no new details on the case late last week. Johns could not be reached for comment.

Asked whether any officers besides Johns have been arrested or disciplined in any way for abusing injury leave, LAPD spokesman Rubenstein said, "Since that one, there has been none that I know of."

"I wouldn't say that there's any kind of special initiative," Rubenstein said of combating workers' comp fraud in the LAPD ranks. "I think we are always looking at it."

No DROP participant other than Johns has been prosecuted for workers' compensation fraud since the program's inception, court records show.

City administrators offered no timeline last week for when their investigation of the DROP program will be complete.

A letter from the Garcetti administration to the fire and police pension fund to initiate an actuarial study -- key to determining whether DROP is truly "cost neutral" as promised to voters -- still has not been received, according to Ray Ciranna, general manager of the fund.

Copyright 2018 Los Angeles Times


Categories: Latest News

Philly chief defends officers in viral video of Starbucks arrest

PoliceOne - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 10:24

Author: Tim Dees

By PoliceOne Staff

PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia’s police chief said his officers did nothing wrong after viral video of officers arresting two men at a Starbucks sparked outrage.

The video shows police handcuffing two men at the cafe Thursday after Starbucks employees called police and said the men were trespassing, the Associated Press reports. The video went viral and prompted accusations of racism on social media.

Commissioner Richard Ross said the men asked to used the restroom at the cafe but were denied because they didn’t buy anything, which he said is company policy. Ross said the officers asked the men three times to leave but they refused to, leading to the arrest.

The two men, who have not been identified, were reportedly commercial real estate professionals who were meeting with a man to discuss business, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Ross defended his officers after the video went viral, saying that they “did absolutely nothing wrong” and that they conducted themselves professionally.

“As an African American male, I am very aware of implicit bias; we are committed to fair and unbiased policing,” Ross said. “If a business calls and they say that ‘Someone is here that I no longer wish to be in my business’ (officers) now have a legal obligation to carry out their duties and they did just that.”

Ross also recalled an incident in which a uniformed sergeant was denied access to a Starbucks bathroom, saying the cafe is “at least consistent with their policy.”

Mayor Jim Kenney has asked the city Commission on Human Relations to examine Starbucks’ policies “including the extent of, or need for, implicit bias training for its employees.”

He also added that a review promised by police of policies in similar situations “is fully warranted given the unfortunate outcome of this event, particularly at a time when our criminal justice reform efforts are focused on avoiding needless incarcerations.”

The incident sparked protests from the community over the weekend, with many calling for the firing of the employee who contacted police about the men. Starbucks has since apologized for the incident, and its CEO said he would like to speak to the two men involved.

The two men were released “because of lack of evidence” that a crime was committed, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office said.

@Starbucks The police were called because these men hadn’t ordered anything. They were waiting for a friend to show up, who did as they were taken out in handcuffs for doing nothing. All the other white ppl are wondering why it’s never happened to us when we do the same thing. pic.twitter.com/0U4Pzs55Ci

— Melissa DePino (@missydepino) April 12, 2018


Categories: Latest News

9 ways to improve subject control training

PoliceOne - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 10:06

Author: Tim Dees

By Tyson Kilbey, P1 Contributor

Whether you call it use of force, subject control or defensive tactics, there is always room for improvement in police training on these critical skills.

Officer preparation in matters of subject control could literally mean the difference between life and death, yet the majority of law enforcement agencies only allow for four to sixteen hours of subject control training per year. This is not enough for a perishable skill typically used under stressful conditions.

In addition, as subject control incidents are recorded and shared on social media and critiqued by large audiences, agencies are increasingly held accountable for the type and amount of subject control training provided to officers.

This article offers strategies to immediately improve any agency’s subject control program. Some of the following suggestions can be implemented today, while others require some planning.

1. Develop skilled use-of-force trainers and PAY for them to train outside of work.

Use-of-force trainers must continuously train and become subject matter experts to truly be effective. Allow trainers to attend multiple schools; don’t just go with one “system.” Have instructors attend development schools. There are no bad students, only bad teachers. Make sure your instructors are the best.

2. Mandate subject control training for command level officers.

Command staff who judge the appropriateness of force used by line staff would benefit greatly from participating in subject control training on an ongoing basis.

3. Conduct weekly scenario and report writing-based roll call discussions on subject control.

Almost every agency can use roll call time more effectively. Pick one day a week to review an area related to use of force. It could be the specific body mechanics of a handcuffing technique, debriefing of a recent incident or deployment of less lethal tools. If you use roll call time efficiently, you can explore a broad range of subject control topics.

4. Stop training in eight-hour blocks.

Most cops have experienced the “eight-hour DT training day.” I find that two- and four-hour blocks of instruction enhance retention, as well as allow officers to exert the appropriate amount of physical activity without going overboard. Even professional fighters don’t train in eight-hour increments. How can we expect law enforcement officers to train with focus and the proper intensity for eight hours?

5. Use video review as a training tool.

More police activity is being documented through video. Body cams, dash cams and detention center videos can be excellent training tools. Use discretion as to which videos are appropriate for review and training. Officers can also learn from evaluating and assessing their own performances, so consider recording training sessions that involve range drills and dynamic subject control incidents.

6. Provide on-going supplemental training.

Agencies will make excuses as to why they cannot do this. They are all excuses. The reality is that today’s modern law enforcement agency can’t afford not to do it. Law enforcement officers and the citizens they are sworn to protect deserve better than excuses.

7. Incorporate communication skills and report writing into your subject control training.

Subject control or defensive tactics are usually taught as a separate entity from communication skills. Furthermore, report writing is taught as a separate topic from both of those. These three topics are interwoven and should be taught together. For example, a review of defensive tactics techniques should be followed by scenario training that incorporates effective verbal communication with physical techniques, and concluded by mock report writing of the scenario.

A well trained officer is a confident officer. A confident officer tends to exhibit superior communication skills. A confident, well-trained officer with great verbal skills tends to write a concise and articulate report. Those skills all interconnect to form a complete and well-rounded officer.

8. Replace the concept of “minimal force” with “reasonable force.”

Subject control is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Too many law enforcement officers, even those in command positions, think officers are required to use the “minimal amount of force.” This is simply not true. It is an impossible standard to meet because what is minimal for one officer may not be the same for another. Furthermore, with the benefit of hindsight, you can virtually always speculate a less intrusive way to theoretically handle a specific incident. The appropriate way to approach subject control incidents is to take each incident for what it is, and determine if the officer’s actions were reasonable based on what he or she knew at the time.

9. Incorporate Jiu Jitsu into your defensive tactics program.

Jiu Jitsu should be incorporated into every defensive tactics program, as it offers many benefits for law enforcement:

Jiu Jitsu is proven effective for smaller people to defend against larger opponents. This is critical to law enforcement because there are no weight classes in calls for service. By its nature, Jiu Jitsu neutralizes a threat without causing unnecessary harm to the opponent. Close quarter control and ground neutralization is paramount in law enforcement, and Jiu Jitsu has consistently reigned supreme in this realm. law enforcement is dynamic

Police officers need to adapt to trends in attacks. What bad guys were doing in the 1990s is not necessarily what bad guys are doing in 2018. What’s happening in 2018 won’t be what happens in 2030. Tactics must evolve.

Agencies must do everything possible to enhance the delivery of current subject control training. It is unacceptable to wait until a training deficiency is brought to light due to a high-profile lawsuit or, worse, an officer injury or death. Implementing these strategies will create more confident officers and a better served public.

About the Author

Tyson Kilbey has more than 20 years of experience in law enforcement, consisting of three years as a hotel security supervisor and 18 years as a deputy sheriff for the Johnson County Kansas Sheriff’s Office. He has worked in the detention, patrol and training divisions, as well SWAT and accident investigation units. He is currently a lieutenant for the Sheriff’s Office.

Kilbey owns Top Firearms Instruction, LLC, and recently authored “Fundamental Handgun Mastery.” He is a certified instructor for the Gracie University in Torrance, California, and a Master Instructor for the Carotid Restraint Training Institute.


Categories: Latest News

Firearms review: 4 excellent 9mm pistols for LE

PoliceOne - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 09:28
Author: Tim Dees

By Nick Jacobellis, P1 Contributor

In this round-up article, I review four different 9mm pistols for law enforcement applications.

These pistols include the 9mm SIG 320 Carry Model with an interchangeable Compact Model frame, the 9mm Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0 Compact and the 9mm FN 509.

My day at the range

The day I qualified in late 2017 to renew my HR 218 firearms authority, I decided to go through the 50-round course of fire with a brand new FN 509 I had never fired. When the smoke cleared, I had achieved a perfect score. The two reasons this was made possible is because the FN 509 has a superb striker fired trigger and excellent high-visibility, three-dot sights that are incredibly easy to acquire. This is especially the case when you are engaging a humanoid target in timed sequences with reloading drills at different distances out to 25 yards.

The same day I ran through a POST qualification course with the standard-size FN 509, I tested two other 9mm pistols. As someone who carried DA/SA SIGs during my career with the U.S. Customs Service and for many years after I retired, I was anxious to field test a striker fired 9mm SIG P320 Carry model. As impressed as I was with the performance of the striker fired FN 509, I was also impressed with the striker fired SIG P320 Carry model.

I also test-fired a new striker fired 9mm Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0 Compact, and began testing a 9mm SIG P320 Compact model. This was easily made possible by installing an interchangeable compact model frame on a SIG P320 Carry model and using a 15-round magazine instead of a 17-round magazine.

Once I added the compact model SIG P320 to the mix, I knew I had some worthwhile tidbits of information to pass on to PoliceOne readers.

The following represent the results of this T&E:

ERGONOMICS

All four pistols tested have excellent ergonomics.

RELIABILITY

All pistols tested were flawlessly reliable while using Federal 124 and 147 grain FMJ training ammunition, 147 grain Aguila FMJ ammunition and 124 and 147 grain Federal HST and 147 grain Federal Hydra-Shok hollow-point ammunition.

Smith & Wesson’s superb customer service replaced a defective 15-round mag on day one of testing.

Standard high-capacity 17-round M&P mags also worked reliably in the S&W 2.0 Compact.

The SIG P320 Compact also functioned reliably when used with standard 15-round magazines and 17-round SIG P320 Carry model magazines.

TRIGGERS

All of the pistols tested had excellent striker fired triggers.

SIGHTS

All pistols tested have easy-to-acquire sights ideally suited for LE-style combat shooting. The FN 509 sights are very high profile and offer the largest flat surface in front of the sights. This feature allows the operator to retract the slide in an emergency using one hand, by placing the front of the rear sight against a fixed object and pushing down on the pistol to reload the pistol. The night sights on the SIG P320 seem well suited for one-handed operation.

ACCURACY

All of the pistols tested performed admirably and delivered accurate shot placement, including when used to engage humanoid paper targets and a torso-size metal plate at different distances from a standing unsupported position.

The two SIGs and the FN 509 took a slight lead in being the easiest to shoot with precision at longer distances; this is likely due to the sights and the triggers.

CONCEALED CARRY

The M&P 2.0 Compact and the SIG P320 Compact model were the top guns in this category among the pistols tested. However, the rough textured grip on the M&P Compact 2.0 can scratch the surface of bare skin when this pistol is carried concealed in an inside-the-pants holster under a T shirt.

The SIG P320 Carry model and the FN 509 are virtually identical in overall size and have slightly longer grips to accommodate 17-round magazines.

EASE OF OPERATION

The slide on the FN 509 took a bit more effort to retract compared to the other pistols tested.

IN CLOSING

If issued any of these pistols, I would feel well armed. As you can see from this review, there are some subtle differences between pistols. This is why you are the only person who can determine if any or all of these pistols will work in your hands.

About the Author Nick Jacobellis is a medically retired U.S. Customs Agent and a former police officer who was physically disabled in the line of duty while serving as an undercover federal agent.


Categories: Latest News

Video shows officers saving man who set himself on fire

PoliceOne - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 08:36
Author: Tim Dees

By PoliceOne Staff

KAYSVILLE, Utah — A Utah police department released surveillance footage of officers being burned while saving a suicidal man who set himself on fire.

KSTU reported that the four Kaysville officers injured during the incident spoke out for the first time about the experience during a Thursday news conference. Officers Robert Jackson, Lacy Turner, Cade Bradshaw and Sgt. Shawn McKinnon were called to help a man who doused himself with gasoline and was holding a lighter inside a convenience store restroom.

After negotiations with the man broke down, Jackson said he waited for the man to close the lighter before lunging for it, but the man still managed to set himself on fire.

"I remember grabbing him and kind of wrestling him," Bradshaw said. "I heard the sound of fire going up and it got extremely hot and we made a mad dash to get out."

The surveillance footage shows officers scrambling out the door as the burning man takes off his clothing and lunges into store shelves before police extinguished the flames.

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The Kaysville Police officers who were injured saving a man who set himself on fire spoke for the first time since the incident. Update: http://via.fox13now.com/jdRcb

Posted by Fox 13 News on Thursday, April 12, 2018

Jackson said he suffered third-degree burns on his legs and calves and will have to undergo surgery to treat them. Bradshaw said he was burned in the face and suffered second-degree burns on his arms.

McKinnon and Turner have been cleared to return to duty. The man who set himself on fire remains hospitalized in critical condition, police said.

"I feel bad for him. We deal with people that are in crisis. Obviously our main goal is to help them and get them the help they need. It’s a sad situation he was in some point in his life where he felt like he needed to do this," Bradshaw said. "I hope he gets the help he needs."

The officers added that they were appreciative of the support they received since the incident.

"My job is to protect lives," Jackson said. "And if I have to risk mine to save somebody else, I’m going to do that."


Categories: Latest News

Slain Mass. officer’s K-9 back on his feet

PoliceOne - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 08:31
Author: Tim Dees

By PoliceOne Staff

YARMOUTH, Mass. — A Massachusetts K-9 who was wounded in a shooting that killed his handler is back on his feet.

The Yarmouth Police Department said on Saturday that K-9 Nero is on his feet again after undergoing multiple surgeries, WFXT reported. Nero and his handler, Officer Sean Gannon, were shot while serving an arrest warrant Thursday.

Gannon was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Nero was taken to a veterinary hospital for emergency surgeries, according to WCVB.

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OUR FOUR-LEGGED HERO! The men and women of the Yarmouth Police Department are proud to report that our beloved K9 NERO is back on his feet---FIGHTING back and standing STRONG! ??

Posted by Yarmouth Police Dept. on Saturday, April 14, 2018

Louisa Rahilly, with Cape Cod Veterinary Specialists, where Nero is recovering, said the K-9 is starting to eat and that “the biggest struggle right now we’re having medically is that he’s having some arrhythmia in his heart that’s just after a shock event.”

“After seeing Nero and his recovery and having just a few moments with him I walked out there better than when I walked in,” Yarmouth Police Department Chief Fred Fredrickson said.

The Barnstable Police K9 Foundation said on Facebook that Nero was able to walk down a hallway. The foundation said they are still providing 24-hour LEO coverage for him.

Nero and Gannon started their partnership on April 18, 2017 when the K-9 was 16 months old.

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We wanted to give you an update on Nero. He is progressing with his recovery each day. Today he walked down the hallway...

Posted by Barnstable Police K9 Foundation on Sunday, April 15, 2018


Categories: Latest News

Man gives dash cam video to police to clear his name, gets arrested

PoliceOne - Sun, 04/15/2018 - 09:29

By Howard Cohen Miami Herald

MIAMI — A Florida man was done in by his own dashboard camera.

Xavier Inocencio Moran, 25, was arrested on April 7 on charges of battery, two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill, resisting an officer without violence and escape.

He told police he had been involved in a crash on April 5 in Royal Palm Beach and that he could prove someone else had cut him off — which could explain the cuts and scratches on his face in a mug shot taken soon after at the Palm Beach County Jail. He was released on Sunday and signed consent for deputies to view his dashcam video.

That video revealed something else altogether.

When a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputy reviewed the footage, he found images of Moran taking a baseball bat from his trunk and also of someone breaking the glass door to a beauty store and burglarizing the establishment, the Palm Beach Post reported.

Police determined that Moran was the one breaking into the store.

On Tuesday, Moran was arrested again and charged with possession of burglary tools and burglary of a dwelling.

Moran is being held at West Detention Center on $5,000 bond.

©2018 Miami Herald


Categories: Latest News

Report: Elementary SRO rushed to Parkland high school

PoliceOne - Sun, 04/15/2018 - 09:23

By Kelli Kennedy Associated Press

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A resource officer at a Florida elementary school jumped into action Feb. 14 after hearing a colleague scream "shots fired" at a nearby high school where 17 were killed, reports released Friday said.

In response to continuing public records requests from local and national news outlets, the Broward Sheriff's Office released a new batch of deputy reports about the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

The details come after the Stoneman Douglas resource officer faced intense criticism for not entering the building during the shooting. He has since resigned.

The Riverglades Elementary School resource officer drove 4 miles (6 km) to the school, pulled an AR-15 from the trunk and changed it from "ammo ready" to "threat ready" mode."

As the deputy moved toward the freshmen building, the deputy saw one victim dead on the ground, someone the deputy knew personally. The report doesn't name the deputy or victim. Many details were blacked out in the 30-page document dump.

The Riverglades resource officer used a golf cart to drive an injured male to a triage area. The victim had trouble sitting up and "needed to be supported." The deputy reported leaning over the seat and holding onto the victim until they arrived.

"I only gave him words of encouragement that he was going to survive" the deputy said. The victim didn't reply.

The deputy then returned to the freshmen building, searching for the suspect and securing the building before extricating other victims from the smoke-filled crime scene.

Once finished, the deputy's arms, uniform and rifle were covered in the victims' blood.

A former student, Nikolas Cruz, 19, is charged with killing 17 people and wounding 17 others in the Feb. 14 mass shooting.

The newly released documents include narratives from about 10 deputies. Several described the carnage they witnessed as they searched the school.

One responding deputy reported hearing gunshots after arriving at the high school. The deputy was responding to radio reports of an active shooter from the high school's resource officer, now-former deputy Scot Peterson.

Two students screamed "active shooter!" as they ran past the deputy, and shortly behind them was teacher helping a student who had been shot in the leg.

The deputy went to the building where the shooter had opened fire and saw a body just outside. Another officer checked the person's pulse and proclaimed him dead as several officers from the Coral Springs Police Department rushed toward the building. Officers were coming in from the opposite side of the building so, worried about crossfire, the Broward deputy attended to the body nearby but also found no pulse.

"He appeared to have an injury to the back of his head," the deputy wrote.

Another responding Broward deputy described joining with other officers when at the building where the shooting occurred.

"I could see smoke in the air and victims on the ground," the deputy wrote.

The deputy and the others began immediately assisting wounded people. On the third floor, they found three victims on the ground, one of whom was trying to lift his arm.

"We went to the victim and brought him back to the west side stair case where he was evacuated," the deputy wrote. "The other two victims were deceased."

The officers began evacuating the wounded and others as quickly as possible. Several deputies described smelling smoke and seeing bullet shell casings on the building's floor.

"We found one adult woman hiding in a locked office," one deputy wrote in a report. "Some windows had to be shattered in order to gain entry into some of the locked classrooms where students and faculty were found to be hiding."

After SWAT teams cleared the building of students and had it secure, the deputies and officers were still surrounded by the bodies of the fallen teachers and students.

"As I walked out the door I could see the body of (redacted) to my left and an unidentified girl to my right," a deputy wrote. "Both were deceased."

A deputy responding from nearby Tamarac was among the first officers to enter Building 12.

"I entered ... and immediately detected the odor of gun powder and observed several people lying in the hallway in pools of blood," the deputy wrote."


Categories: Latest News

NC deputy shot in the face, chest while conducting investigation

PoliceOne - Sun, 04/15/2018 - 09:15

By Rodger Mullen The Fayetteville Observer, N.C.

CAMERON, N.C. — A 16-year-old suspected of shooting a Harnett County deputy on Saturday was caught hours later after a massive manhunt, Sheriff Wayne Coats said.

Mario Alexander Garcia III, no address available, was taken into custody shortly before 10 p.m. It was not clear what he would be charged with, Coats said.

The deputy, identified as James Cook, was in stable condition late Saturday at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville, Coats said.

Cook was shot near H.M. Cagle Drive while conducting an investigation, said Maj. Jeff Huber, a spokesman for the Sheriff's Office. The shooting occurred on a dirt path in a wooded area near Spout Springs Church.

BREAKING: A Harnett County Sheriff’s Deputy has been shot in the line of duty. Officers are putting on bulletproof vests and helmets. Helicopter searching the area. The suspected shooter is still on the run, and should be considered armed and dangerous @ABC11_WTVD pic.twitter.com/yEMipK6Gxr

— Michael Perchick (@MichaelPerchick) April 15, 2018

He had responded to a call about a missing juvenile around 6:34 p.m.

“They got into a scuffle and he pulled a gun out and shot him,’’ Coats said.

Cook was shot in the face and chest at close range, the sheriff said. The shooting happened a few hundred feet from Cook's patrol vehicle. The sheriff said he did not know where Garcia got the gun, believed to be a .45-caliber handgun.

Coats talked to reporters at a news conference after visiting with Cook at the hospital.

He said Cook was alert and talking with him. When Coats rounded the corner toward the deputy's room, Cook was able to say "Sheriff, I'm OK.''

Harnett County Sheriff: Teenage suspect wanted in shooting of deputy has been caught. #ABC11 pic.twitter.com/kS63LJV8ET

— Andrea Blanford (@AndreaABC11) April 15, 2018

Cook has been with the Sheriff's Office about eight years.

H.M. Cagle Drive is off N.C. 87, about seven miles north of Spring Lake. It is near a shopping center that includes a Food Lion grocery store.

For awhile, N.C. 87 was shut down.

“We didn’t want him to be able to get back and possibly carjack somebody,’’ Coats said.

On Saturday night, patrol vehicles and emergency personnel from various agencies were in the area. Authorities were set up near Cagle Furniture and Spout Springs Church. Dogs and a helicopter from the state Highway Patrol were used in the search.

The Highway Patrol and members of the sheriff's offices in Cumberland, Lee and Wake counties and the Fayetteville Police Department were among the agencies that took part in the search.

"We weren't going to stop until we got him,’’ the sheriff said.

Harnett Co Sheriff says Deputy Cook was shot center mass, short range. His ballistic vest saved his life.@WRAL pic.twitter.com/AXGZRxP1jk

— La Femme Photog (@LaFemmePhojo) April 15, 2018

©2018 The Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, N.C.)


Categories: Latest News

Hundreds gather for vigil honoring slain Mass. officer

PoliceOne - Sun, 04/15/2018 - 08:50

By Ethan Genter Cape Cod Times, Hyannis, Mass.

WEST YARMOUTH, Mass. — Hundreds of people crowded into the Yarmouth Police Department parking lot Saturday at a candlelight vigil to pay their respects to the family, friends and fellow officers of Sean Gannon, a Yarmouth police K-9 Officer who was gunned down in the line of duty on Thursday.

Gannon's cruiser sat in the front of the department, showered in hundreds of flowers from mourners grieving the loss of the 32-year-old officer who died after he was shot while serving a warrant at a home in Marstons Mills.

Before the vigil started, Nicole Monteiro, a lifelong Yarmouth resident, and her son Mayson placed a flower next to the cruiser.

OFFICER REMEMBERED: Hundreds attend vigil in honor of Officer Sean Gannon at @yarmouthpolice dept. last night. @EricHalperinTV was there and has a report next on @wpri12 pic.twitter.com/SX3vg1hMVq

— Julianne Lima (@JulianneLimaTV) April 15, 2018

"I wanted him to see how our community comes together in a tragedy like this," she said, pointing to Mayson. "It really hits home when it's one of our own."

The ceremony got underway a little after 7 p.m. at the 9/11 Memorial at the department. Friends and colleagues described Gannon as friendly, outgoing, and the type of officer who would go out of his way to help others.

State Rep. Timothy Whelan, a former state trooper, presided over the vigil and told the Gannon family and colleagues that he and the crowd had come to let them know that they were not alone.

"We will always be with you," he said.

U.S. Rep. William Keating asked for everyone to be more like Gannon.

Thousands gather in vigil for @yarmouthpolice Officer Sean Gannon. Our hearts are broken, yet we stand shoulder to shoulder with our grieving officers, the Gannon family, and our community. pic.twitter.com/wWVSRbx1Lq

— Julian Cyr (@JulianCyr) April 15, 2018

"In an era when people are looking for what's in it for them ... Sean was a giver," he said. "Sean is someone you should aspire to be. ... We're challenged to follow Sean's example and be a giver."

Matthew Spadafora, 29, of Hyannis, said he knew of such instances of Gannon's kindness.

Before the ceremony, police officers from across the region could be seen embracing their colleagues in Yarmouth and expressing their condolences. Officers both in and out of uniform flanked the memorial to show their support during the vigil.

Yarmouth Police Chief Frank Frederickson described his pain.

"I can tell you the hurt is within me," he said. "I'm the chief right now but I'm crushed inside. But we're going to move forward."

Frederickson said he was trying to find an answer to why this tragedy happened. How could Gannon, a rising star in the department, have his life cut so short?

Hundreds gathered for tonight’s vigil to remember @yarmouthpolice Officer Sean Gannon. @wpri12 pic.twitter.com/FCnBBsizpT

— Eric Halperin- WPRI (@EricHalperinTV) April 14, 2018

"When I personally am hurting I have to find a way to resolve the hurt so I can carry on my duties to lead this family through this tragedy our officers who are shattered, a community that is also shattered," he said. "So I vow to be there for all of you and ask you to actively participate in that."

Gannon was the type of man who made the people around him better, Frederickson said, and his sacrifice saved lives at the expense of his own.

"That disgusting person was going to hurt or kill somebody else and Sean stopped that from happening," he said. "I can guarantee you Sean saved someone's life."

Earlier in the day in South Yarmouth, more than 100 volunteers, most with blue ribbons pinned to their shirts to honor Gannon, picked up trash along roads and at beaches and conservation areas for the third annual Yarmouth Chamber of Commerce "Community Cleanup Day."

"I knew of him," South Yarmouth resident Don Costa said of Gannon. "I used to see him at different events." He said he planned to attend Saturday night's vigil.

"I'm wearing it for the police officer who was tragically killed a couple of days ago," said West Yarmouth resident Betsy Schlesinger, who was getting ready to collect trash near the Bass River with South Yarmouth resident Judy Daddana, who also wore a ribbon.

Sights and sounds of emotional vigil for fallen #Yarmouth officer Sean Gannon. Hundreds of people. Story tonight on #WBZ news. pic.twitter.com/Q1Tq9j2MqL

— Jim Smith (@JimSmith_WBZ) April 15, 2018

At another event on Saturday in South Yarmouth planned prior to Gannon's death, and sponsored by the Howard Lodge, anyone who wanted could meet the region's first responders and climb aboard to inspect ambulances, firetrucks, tow trucks and police cars. Only a handful of uniformed police officers were there, but the many children and parents made up for that in numbers.

"There's an immense sense of sorrow in the Cape Cod community right now, after this tragic murder of Office Gannon," said retired Boston police Officer James Kelley, who organized the lodge's first First Responder Appreciation Weekend. A pancake breakfast is planned today with the proceeds going to the Gannon memorial fund sponsored by the nonprofit Yarmouth Police Foundation.

"Although we certainly didn't plan it, we are actually glad that we have a place today where the community can come together," Kelley said.

©2018 Cape Cod Times, Hyannis, Mass.


Categories: Latest News

Judge deciding whether to keep NY cop killer in prison

PoliceOne - Sat, 04/14/2018 - 04:00

By Chris Carola Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. — A New York judge on Friday heard arguments but didn't immediately rule on whether a former radical who fatally shot two New York City police officers in 1971 should be released on parole.

The state parole board last month approved the release of Herman Bell for next Wednesday but the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association filed a lawsuit on behalf of a widow of one of the slain officers to try to keep him in jail.

PBA lawyers argued Friday that the parole board should have considered Diane Piagentini's victim impact statement, while lawyers for the state argued that the parole board did its job.

State Supreme Court Justice Richard Koweek said he would start reviewing Friday's arguments on Monday. He said his temporary restraining order granted in the PBA's lawsuit seeking to halt Bell's release remains in effect, essentially keeping the 70-year-old Bell behind bars until the judge issues a decision.

Bell has served 44 years for his role in the fatal shootings of officers Waverly Jones and Joseph Piagentini at a Harlem housing development.

Bell and two other members of the Black Liberation Army, a violent offshoot of the Black Panther Party, were convicted of killing Waverly Jones and Joseph Piagentini after luring he officers to the housing development with a bogus 911 call. Authorities say both officers were shot multiple times, with Piagentini hit by more than 20 bullets.

During Bell's eighth parole hearing in early March, the state parole board approved Bell's release from Shawangunk Correctional Facility in Ulster County, determining "his debt has been paid to society." Board members took into consideration his stated remorse for killing the officers and the fact he had earned bachelor's and master's degrees while in prison and counseled other inmates.

The officers' union says Bell should be kept in prison. The lawsuit against the state contends parole board members failed to consider, as required under state law, the comments of the sentencing judge and prosecutors, who indicated Bell should never be released from prison. The board also didn't consider the victim impact statement she submitted, her lawyers argued.

Parole board members can consider many factors, but "it doesn't give them the right to act outside the law," said Mitch Garber, Piagentini's lawyer.

The lawsuit also seeks a new parole board to reconsider whether Bell is eligible for parole.

Joshua McMahon, the assistant attorney general handling the case for the state, argued that relatives of a crime victim have no standing when it comes to the parole process other than to submit impact statements.

Diane Piagentini and her two daughters sat in the front row of the courtroom along with leaders of the PBA of the City of New York.

One of Bell's co-defendants has since died in prison while the other, Anthony Bottom, is serving 25 years to life at maximum-security Sullivan Correctional Facility in Sullivan County. Bottom, 66, is due for a parole hearing in June.


Categories: Latest News

Officer who fatally shot Alton Sterling appeals firing

PoliceOne - Sat, 04/14/2018 - 04:00

By Michael Kunzelman Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. — A white police officer who shot and killed a black man during a struggle outside a Baton Rouge convenience store has appealed his firing over the deadly confrontation nearly two years ago, his attorney said Friday.

The former officer, Blane Salamoni, is asking a civil service board to rescind his firing and reinstate him to the Baton Rouge Police Department, according to his three-page appeal petition.

Police Chief Murphy Paul fired Salamoni on March 30, less than a week after Louisiana's attorney general ruled out state criminal charges in Alton Sterling's July 2016 shooting death.

Salamoni's petition claims his firing "was not made in good faith or for cause."

"He wants to show that what he did was not wrong," said Salamoni's attorney, John McLindon.

McLindon said he plans to call witnesses at a board hearing that hasn't been scheduled yet. He said it would be "more in line with a trial" than the disciplinary hearing Paul held a day before he fired Salamoni.

"The rules of evidence are somewhat relaxed," McLindon added.

Salamoni shot Sterling six times after he and a second white officer, Howie Lake II, wrestled the 37-year-old man to the ground. Lake shocked Sterling twice with a stun gun but didn't fire his firearm that night.

The officers recovered a loaded revolver from Sterling's pocket. As a convicted felon, Sterling could not legally carry a gun.

Paul said he fired Salamoni for violating department policies on use of force and "command of temper." He suspended Lake three days for violating only the latter policy.

"My decision was not based on politics," Paul said during a news conference. "It was not based on emotions. It was based on the facts of the case."

Two cellphone videos of the incident quickly spread on social media after the shooting, fueling protests at which police arrested nearly 200 people. Videos from the officers' body cameras and store surveillance camera remained under wraps until the police chief announced Salamoni's firing.

Body camera footage captured an officer, said to be Salamoni, screaming profanities and insults at Sterling before and after the July 5, 2016, shooting. Salamoni also pointed a gun at Sterling's head and threatened to shoot him before he and Lake wrestled him to the ground in the parking lot outside the Triple S Food Mart.

Sterling had threatened someone with a firearm before the officers responded to a report of a man with a gun outside the store, where Sterling was selling homemade CDs, according to Attorney General Jeff Landry's report on the shooting.

Salamoni told an internal affairs investigator in September 2016 that he cursed at Sterling to send a message that the officers weren't "playing," a police report says. Salamoni also said he saw Sterling reach for and hold a gun in his pants pocket right before he shot him.

Trying to explain why he swore at Sterling after the shooting, Salamoni said "he was so mad at Sterling for making him kill him and for trying to kill us," the police report says.

In June 2017, Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome called on Paul's predecessor, Carl Dabadie Jr., to fire Salamoni. Dabadie refused, saying it would be improper and premature because the shooting remained under investigation.

The criminal investigations effectively ended with Landry's March 27 announcement that his office isn't charging either officer. The Justice Department ruled out federal criminal charges last May.

Salamoni, 30, had served as a Baton Rouge police officer for four years before the shooting. Lake, who was a three-year veteran of the force, returned to his job last week after serving his suspension. Salamoni and Lake had been on paid administrative leave since the shooting.

Paul announced the officers' discipline a day after holding separate, closed-door hearings. Civil service board hearings are open to the public.

State Examiner Robert Lawrence, whose office oversees Louisiana's police and fire civil service boards, said Baton Rouge's five-member board typically meets monthly but can hold special hearings. Board hearings are "a little less formal" than court proceedings, he said.

"They're not held to the same evidentiary standards," Lawrence said.


Categories: Latest News

Judge: Money for police cannot be pegged to cooperation with ICE

PoliceOne - Sat, 04/14/2018 - 04:00

By Joel Rubin and Dakota Smith Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — The U.S. Department of Justice cannot favor police departments that are willing to cooperate with immigration agents when it doles out tens of millions of dollars in funding each year, a federal judge in Los Angeles ruled this week.

U.S. District Judge Manuel Real issued a permanent, nationwide ban against a Justice Department policy that gave an edge to obliging police departments applying for a community policing grant program. In doing so, Real dealt a legal setback to the Trump administration in its aggressive campaign to crack down on illegal immigration and to force compliance from law enforcement officials.

"This is a complete victory," said Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer, who challenged the new rules in federal court last year. "This is yet another dagger in the heart of the administration's efforts to use federal funds as a weapon to make local jurisdictions complicit in its civil immigration enforcement policies."

Calling the ruling "overbroad and inconsistent with the rule of law," a Justice Department spokesman said the government was within its rights to give preference to departments that assisted in immigration enforcement.

"The Department has the lawful discretion to give additional consideration for jurisdictions that prioritize the safety of their communities and their law enforcement officers when they promise to cooperate with federal immigration authorities seeking information about illegal aliens who have committed crimes," Devin M. O'Malley said in a statement.

Feuer, who was flanked Thursday by Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, filed a lawsuit in September, claiming that U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions had overreached his authority and crossed constitutional lines when the Justice Department changed how it judged applications from local police agencies for the Community Oriented Policing Services program. The LAPD applied for funding and was rejected.

For years, police departments around the country have sought a share of the program's funds to bolster their community policing programs, which are focused on building stronger ties and trust with neighborhoods instead of traditional law-and-order enforcement.

Los Angeles applied regularly to the program and often received funds. In 2016, the LAPD was awarded $3.125 million and has received as much as $16.8 million in previous years. The department typically uses the money to add officers to its Community Safety Partnership program. Instead of focusing on arrests, officers in the program take on assignments coaching sports teams and leading mentoring programs.

The strategy, police say, has paid off. Violent crime dropped by more than 50% and arrests were cut in half during the program's first three years in three Watts housing developments, officials have said. Police also credit the program for a three-year stretch without a homicide in Jordan Downs, one of the developments.

Last year, however, Sessions implemented a change in how applications for the grant would be scored: Additional points would be awarded to police departments that helped Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents identify and apprehend jail inmates believed to be in the country illegally.

To get the point boost, police departments had to be willing to alert ICE 48 hours before releasing inmates who agents had targeted for deportation and were required to give ICE agents access to jail facilities so they could interview inmates and review records. Los Angeles, which refused to abide by the new rules, was not awarded any funds, while 80% of the departments that did receive money cooperated with ICE, court records show.

The move by Sessions fit into a larger campaign to clear the way for immigration agents to dramatically ramp up the number of people they arrest and deport. President Trump and Sessions have been infuriated by so-called sanctuary municipalities such as Los Angeles that, to varying degrees, refuse to help federal authorities enforce immigration laws because of legal and moral concerns over cooperating.

Sessions has tried to punish objectors through public shaming and threats of withholding funds.

An executive order by Trump that sought to deny a broad array of federal funding to sanctuary cities was knocked down in federal court last year. Since then, Sessions has made more targeted threats to withhold just law enforcement related-funds. Those threats too have been met with legal challenges by Feuer and others.

Jean Reisz, a professor at the USC Gould School of Law who specializes in immigration issues, said that she's not surprised by Thursday's announcement or the other, similar ones.

"The courts have held that the government can't coerce a local jurisdiction to enact a federal law," she said. "The federal government can't force local jurisdictions to enforce immigration laws. That's something the federal government has to do."

The legal sparring ratcheted up last month, when the Justice Department sued California over laws that, among other things, make it a crime for business owners to voluntarily help federal agents find and detain workers in the country illegally and prohibit local law enforcement from alerting immigration agents when detainees are released from custody.

For decades, the LAPD has abided by rules that sharply restrict an officer's ability to inquire about a person's immigration status. In a city with a large population of immigrants living in the country illegally, the rules are meant to assure immigrants that they can report crimes without fear of being questioned about their status in the country.

During his tenure, Beck has been particularly assertive on the need for the department to build trust with the city's immigrant communities.

The court ruling, Beck said, showed that "we won't be bullied and we can't be bought. You cannot force us to go against our philosophies, to go against our principles by withholding money."

Losing out on funding last year upended the LAPD's plans to hire 25 officers for the community policing program in Harvard Park, one of the city's deadliest neighborhoods. Instead, Beck said, the city cobbled together money from private donors and local public funds to carry out the Harvard Park plans. The ruling this week does not allow city to retroactively seek money.

In issuing his ruling, Judge Real sided with Feuer, saying the new funding rules violated the separation of powers laid out in the nation's Constitution.

Real found that tying funds to cooperation with ICE was an improper attempt to force local police to participate in immigration enforcement, which is the job of the federal government. The move, he wrote, "upset the constitutional balance between state and federal power by requiring state and local law enforcement to partner with federal authorities."

The judge said the rules also violated the authority given to Congress to control government spending.

As a result, Los Angeles and other cities that refused to adhere to the funding requirements were put at a disadvantage and would be handicapped again in future years, Real concluded. The remedy, he said, was to issue a permanent injunction against the Justice Department that prohibits it from giving an advantage to departments that play along with ICE.

Saying the Trump administration "has been hostile to the law, to our constitution, to immigrants and most importantly, to public safety," Garcetti praised the ruling.

"Today, the court said loud and clear what we have said loud and clear: Quit politicizing public safety," he said.

©2018 the Los Angeles Times


Categories: Latest News

Slain Mass. officer's K-9 survives surgery

PoliceOne - Sat, 04/14/2018 - 04:00

By Sean F. Driscoll Cape Cod Times, Hyannis, Mass.

WEST YARMOUTH, Mass. — Yarmouth K-9 Officer Sean Gannon's police dog, Nero, survived a surgery Friday for injuries he received in the Thursday shooting that killed Gannon, according to a Facebook post from the Yarmouth Police Department.

According to a post from the Dennis Veterinary Hospital, Nero, who was shot in the head and neck, was stabilized at the scene of the Marstons Mills shooting by the Cape Cod Regional Law Enforcement Council SWAT Team and then taken to an emergency veterinary facility. He was later transferred to a surgical facility and was described as "stable but not out of the woods."

Peter McClelland, a retired Yarmouth police officer who served in the K-9 unit, was with Nero throughout the night, according to the hospital's post.

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K9 NERO K9 Nero remains alive and we continue to pray for his full recovery as he overcomes a gunshot wound suffered...

Posted by Yarmouth Police Dept. on Friday, April 13, 2018

"(He) remains with him, rubbing his head, this morning, with no plans of leaving his side today," the post states. "Those that know Peter — this is not a surprise."

The dog is under "full 24/7 law enforcement protection" and will remain in the care and control of the Yarmouth Police Department's K-9 Unit and K-9 units across New England, according to the Police Department.

Nero is a 28-month-old Belgian Malinois certified in tracking, criminal apprehension, evidence recovery, crowd control and handler protection, according to a statement the Yarmouth police issued when the dog joined the department a year ago.

©2018 Cape Cod Times, Hyannis, Mass.


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