Latest News

Deputies’ gift of new bike brings young fire victim to tears

PoliceOne - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 14:13

By PoliceOne Staff

PIMA COUNTY, Ariz. — After a young girl lost most of her belongings in a fire, several Arizona deputies knew they had to make her day a little brighter.

The Arizona Republic reports that Pima County deputies first encountered the 11-year-old girl on Tuesday morning while responding to a fire at her home, which took several hours to put out. Sgt. Kevin Kubitskey said the young girl told him that the fire took everything her family had, including their Christmas gifts. While trying to stay positive and smiling through her tears, the girl said the item she was most torn up about losing was her bike.

After hearing her story, the deputies knew what to do next.

After news reporters left, the deputies brought out a brand new bike they all pitched in for minutes earlier. The young girl’s tears of sadness turned into happiness.

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Early this morning a family lost their home due to a fire. All of their belongings including their daughter's new...

Posted by Pima County Sheriff's Department on Tuesday, January 9, 2018

"She just crumbled," Kubitskey said. "She cried and cried and wouldn't even touch it. We finally had to convince her to get on the bike." Kubitskey said the officers watched the girl ride the bike around before parking it and retrieving the emergency blanket she had. She went around and asked each officer to sign her blanket.

"The level of her positivity, you could see she was a brilliant young girl," Kubitskey said. "And you could tell, despite her living conditions, despite the deck of cards she was given in life, there was nothing that could keep her down. You don't see that very often."

A GoFundMe page has been set up for the family to help them in their time of need.


Categories: Latest News

Spotlight: Magnet Forensics offers digital forensic tools that help investigators save time and provide more accurate case resolutions

PoliceOne - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 14:10

Author: PoliceOne Sponsors

Company Name: Magnet Forensics Headquarters: Herndon, VA Signature Product: Magnet AXIOM Website: https://www.magnetforensics.com/

Magnet Forensics is a global leader in providing digital forensics solutions that extract images, recover data and examine data from smartphones and computers – all in one. We give examiners everything they need to have one tool to start with. Magnet Forensics was built on the values of trust, selflessness, passion, making a difference, and pushing boundaries. Our products are built with an artifacts-first approach to forensics that helps investigative teams deal with the massive volume of data from native and third-party apps in a more intuitive way.

Q&A:

1. Where did your company name originate from?

Magnet Forensics is very much about being a company that empowers law enforcement, military, government and private enterprise in their quest for justice. We want to help them find more evidence and gain added insight from it – really pulling the evidence out and then shining a light on what the evidence is saying.

2. What was the inspiration behind starting your company?

Our founder, Jad Saliba, was a police officer, who started to work in the tech crimes unit and noticed that there was a lot of information from social media apps and networks that could be retrieved. Jad had a computer science background, and he built a tool to search for and recover data from social apps and to take a deeper look for browsing history. After giving away the app to the policing community, the demand for more support and different apps to be searched grew quickly and Jad decided to dedicate himself full-time to building tools that would empower digital forensics.

3. What is your signature product and how does it work?

Magnet AXIOM is the most comprehensive, integrated digital investigation platform available today. AXIOM can extract images from phones, computers, and other removable media and then search those images, or cloud services, or images ingested from other third-party acquisition tools for artifact data and file system data. AXIOM then provides a number of unique and intuitive tools for analyzing the recovered data - including data visualization in eight views, multiple filters, tagging, and more. The Connections explorer in AXIOM allows examiners to visualize the relationships and trace the path of files that are of interest - who uploaded it? From where? How was it shared? With whom? Was it intentional? AXIOM leverages Magnet.AI , an industry-first machine learning capability that searches chats and conversations for context that indicates child luring, which saves time and helps examiners prioritize the most critical conversations.

4. Why do you believe your products are essential to your vertical (Police, Fire, EMS, Corrections, Government) community?

The forensics and policing community (as well as the legal community and even enterprises) are being inundated with phones and data in all of their investigations. Everyone has a digital footprint that could be imperative to any investigation. They need to recover the most relevant data and with the number of stakeholders on cases increasing, they need to be able to showcase and explain their findings quickly and efficiently. Forensics is a highly skilled area, and we know our technology helps our customers recover more data, examine more data, and present their findings credibly and defensibly to the public, the courts, their peers or their external stakeholders.

5. What has been the biggest challenge your company has faced?

Fundamentally, we face the same challenges as our customers.

We want to help them find more digital evidence from smartphones, computers, IoT devices, the cloud, and more. But access to all of that data is changing - encryption, privacy apps, security settings - it's becoming a minefield. So, we are constantly looking for ways to help our customers use technology to find the evidence and to examine it in a clear and thoughtful way.

6. What makes your company unique?

We are a very modern software company. We iterate on our software almost every four weeks. We take the issues that our customers are facing and say, how do we apply modern technology to that problem? Are there new ways of looking at that problem? For instance, our customers needed to surface child grooming evidence quickly in order to get warrants, further search warrants, lay charges, and more, so we took a look at Artificial Intelligence. We asked how we could train the software to understand the nuances in conversation that are actually indicators of luring, even if to the untrained eye they aren't apparent at first. We worked with customers and were able to build Magnet.AI, which contextually searches conversations for child luring indicators. We will continue to grow that to support other types of crime as well. It's reliant on the data sets needed to train the software, but we have partners who are eager to help us with this.

7. What do your customers like best about you and your products?

We hear from people that we listen. It's something we have made sure to do! Our support team is amazing and always willing to help. They are quick and they really know the product. Our development team responds to issues and feature requests incredibly fast. I think we are known as a good partner. If people take the time to reach out to us, we take the time to listen and to act. In terms of product - we are what we say we are. We know that the best tools work well with others, so we make sure our product works with other tools. The goal is justice and we want to be part of that toolkit for everyone, to be sure, and we would even argue that you should run your phone dumps and computer images through AXIOM first to get a really deep, good starting point that looks into corners for data you didn't know would be there, but we are only part of the toolkit. That's an approach we support. People tell us that each new feature we add is an obvious benefit to them - like Connections which can trace the path of a file and visualize it, showing examiners the relationships that file has formed.

8. What is the most rewarding part of serving the first responder/local government community?

We have company-side meetings regularly, and every so often, Jad will share a story someone told us about how they used our tools to stop a predator or even prevent abuse. When we hear the stories about our work paying off in the justice system, that makes all the late nights worth it! We had a special agent from the FBI come and discuss with us how teams used one of our tools during the Boston Marathon bombing case to find more evidence and prove radicalization. It was very inspiring.

9. Do you support any charitable organizations within public safety/community?

Definitely. We are just in the process of understanding the objectives of U.S.-based charities that help children and others who are marginalized and need our help. In the meantime, we have worked as a team to raise money and provide support for the Canadian Centre for Child Protection and for the Child Witness Centre of Waterloo Region. We will continue to expand our philanthropic programs.

10. Is there any fun fact or trivia that you’d like to share with our users about you ou your company?

I'm relatively new to Magnet Forensics. When you join Magnet Forensics, you have to share three interesting facts about yourself and your favorite snack. The team is then invited to join you for a snack and get to know you, and everyone comes over and says hello and asks you about those three facts. It's such a friendly place to work. It was incredibly welcoming. That can be a rare thing.

11. What’s next for your company? Any upcoming new projects or initiatives?

We have a few interesting irons in the fire. One of the ones I am really intrigued by is our work with investigators and detectives, who wouldn't traditionally handle forensic capture on-scene. They might grab a phone and use a capture tool to get a quick or logical image, or they would take the phone to the forensics lab team, but those are both pretty time consuming. We are looking at how to ease some of that on-scene phone evidence capture - to both make it more likely to get on-scene evidence from a witness, and to lighten some of the load on the forensics team,who will still have to do the full examination of the confiscated phones and computers. People across the investigative team are pretty interested in this tool and how it will help them re- shape the investigation and get more in a much more timely way.


Categories: Latest News

Study: Recent spikes in U.S. homicide rates don’t tell whole story

PoliceOne - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 12:15

Author: PoliceOne Sponsors

By PoliceOne Staff

RICHARDSON, Texas — Homicide rates have spiked across the nation, leading many to attribute the rise to causes such as civil unrest and the opioid epidemic, but a recent study says there’s a simpler explanation.

The rise in homicides follow predictable fluctuation in rates over the past 55 years, according to a study from the University of Texas at Dallas. Homicide rates in most cities remain relatively stable, but the minor fluctuations from year-to-year suggest that long-term factors such as segregation and/or concentrated poverty play a significant role.

The U.S. homicide rate of 5.3 homicides per 100,000 residents climbed almost 12 percent from 2014 to 2015, making it one of the largest increases in decades. From 2015 to 2016, it rose nearly 8 percent.

Trends are usually calculated by comparing the percentages change from one year to the next. But UTD researchers said this method can paint a distorted picture.

The study found that the increased homicide rates in many cities stayed within predicted levels. In other analyses, the recent rise was much lower compared to rates in the early 1980s and 1990s.

The study questions some of the theories about homicide increases in some cities. The high homicide rates in Chicago and Baltimore have been attributed to decreases in police stops and arrests. But in New York City, which has also experienced a decrease in stops and arrests, had not seen an increase in homicides.

Dr. Andrew Wheeler, assistant professor of criminology, said that understanding the expected changes in homicide rates can help prevent the media, policymakers and the public from misinterpreting fluctuations.

“We hope that this information can illustrate that homicide rates are volatile, so it’s important to consider the size of a city and historic levels of homicide when analyzing homicide rates,” Wheeler said. “Researchers focusing only on very recent homicide trends are likely to overestimate the effect of recent events.”


Categories: Latest News

Police: Suspect on the run after shooting, wounding Tenn. officer

PoliceOne - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 11:49
Author: PoliceOne Sponsors

By Travis Dorman and Hayes Hickman Knoxville News-Sentinel, Tenn.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A reputed Aryan Nations gang member accused of wounding a Knoxville police officer in a Thursday night shooting has been added to Tennessee's Top 10 Most Wanted list.

A $2,500 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of Ronnie Lucas Wilson, 31, who allegedly opened fire on a Knoxville Police Department officer during a traffic stop, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation announced Friday.

Officer Jay Williams has been released from the hospital and is recovering from a single gunshot wound he suffered to his shoulder during the attack, police said.

.@Knoxville_PD Officer Jay Williams who was shot during a traffic stop last evening has now been released from the hospital. Thank you for the support & prayers. Suspect, Ronnie Lucas Wilson, is still on the run. Suspect is armed & dangerous. Do not approach - Call 911 pic.twitter.com/Ql71j2vEtm

— Knoxville Police TN (@Knoxville_PD) January 12, 2018

Williams was shot about 8:30 p.m. as he attempted to stop a vehicle for speeding along Washington Pike in front of the Target store in Northeast Knoxville, Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch said.

Wilson allegedly opened fire on Williams with a shotgun while being pursued by the officer, Rausch said. He then stopped his car, got out and fired multiple rounds at the officer before driving away, the police chief said.

"The officer, as far as I'm aware, did not fire his weapon," Rausch said.

Wilson, who faces a charge of attempted first-degree murder, was added to the state's most wanted list Friday morning, according to TBI.

Also on Friday morning, authorities recovered a black, mid-70s model Chevy Nova that is believed to have been the vehicle Wilson fled in from the shooting scene.

@Knoxville_PD officer has been shot on Washington Pike in front of Target. Suspect still on the run. Officer has been transported to hospital for treatment. Additional information will be released as information becomes available. pic.twitter.com/mwobYhuRld

— Knoxville Police TN (@Knoxville_PD) January 12, 2018

Rausch said Thursday night that he didn't know if Wilson was the only person in the car at the time of the shooting.

Law enforcement agencies across the state are "very familiar" with Wilson, Rausch said, adding that Wilson is listed in a database "as a member of the Aryan Nations gang."

In Knox County, Wilson was convicted of aggravated burglary in 2011 and was sentenced to serve three years in a state prison, according to court records.

Wilson on Facebook has posted photos of himself shirtless, showing off a large swastika tattoo on his chest and, on his stomach, a Celtic cross with different images in each quadrant and the words "White Pride Worldwide" around the outside. He also posted in October 2017 the two photos — of himself and the Nova — that KPD released Thursday night.

According to the Anti-Defamation League's website, that Celtic cross image is the main symbol for the Aryan Nations, described as "the largest white supremacist prison gang in Tennessee."

"The gang borrowed its title from the older neo-Nazi group of the same name, though the two are separate groups with few connections," the website reads.

The suspect who shot our Officer last night has been added to the TBI’s top 10 fugitive list. A $2,500 reward is being offered. Help us find Ronnie Lucas Wilson before he hurts anyone else. pic.twitter.com/siK1IzIyZb

— Knoxville Police TN (@Knoxville_PD) January 12, 2018

Wilson attended Gibbs High School in Corryton, according to his Facebook page.

Authorities ask anyone who sees Wilson to call E-911 immediately. Callers can remain anonymous.

"If you see this vehicle, if you know this individual, do not try to intervene," Rausch said.

"If he is going to take a shot at an officer, he won't hesitate to shoot at anyone else."

©2018 the Knoxville News-Sentinel (Knoxville, Tenn.)


Categories: Latest News

Chief: Murder suspect who shot at NC officers 'ambushed us'

PoliceOne - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 11:36

Author: PoliceOne Sponsors

By Joe Marusak and Mark Price The Charlotte Observer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A homicide suspect being sought by police ambushed officers outside Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police headquarters late Thursday, shooting one officer in the leg before being killed by return fire.

“He ambushed us,” Police Chief Kerr Putney told reporters.

Court records show the suspect, 23-year-old Jonathan Bennett, was due to stand trial Feb. 7 for felony probation violation in connection with a 2017 incident.

Just before 11 p.m., officers from the North Tryon Division and N.C. Probation and Parole were in the CMPD parking lot when Bennett arrived in a white car, Putney said.

Working to get more information from @CMPD headquarters where shots were fired around 10:45pm tonight @wcnc pic.twitter.com/ElZ63MnRyX

— Evan West (@TV_Evan) January 12, 2018

The group of six to eight officers was being briefed on an unrelated investigation in the parking lot when Bennett started shooting, media outlets report.

One CMPD officer, Casey Shue, was taken to Carolinas Medical Center with a gunshot wound to the leg, police said. The injury is not life-threatening. WSOC identified the officer as a female. Shue was hired on July 21, 2014, and is assigned to the North Tryon Division Crime Reduction Unit.

Two CMPD officers and two probation officers fired back and critically wounded Bennett. He was taken to Carolina Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, Putney said. The CMPD officers have been identified as Jeffrey Zederbaum and Jared Decker. Zederbaum was hired in 2009 and Decker was hired on July 21, 2014.

Bennett was a suspect in the fatal shooting of Brittany White, also 23, earlier Thursday in west Charlotte. Bennett and White were the parents of an infant daughter, and Bennett took the child with him after that shooting, police said. The daughter was later found safe.

Putney said it was doubtful that there would be any body camera footage from the shooting outside CMPD headquarters because it was an ambush.

“Times like this make you appreciate people who voluntarily put their lives on the line to keep us safe,” Putney said, emphasizing that officers have a “dangerous job.”

Here’s the video I shot on my cell phone inside my car. This was about 30 seconds after many shots fired in CMPD HQ parking lot. I am now about half a block away. pic.twitter.com/WGOyIb23AS

— Amanda Foster WBTV (@AFosterWBTV) January 12, 2018

WSOC-TV reporter DaShawn Brown reported hearing shots and seeing a body in the middle of CMPD’s parking lot shortly before 11 p.m. She and a station photographer had been outside police headquarters for a live report, she said.

“The only thing I could think about was to take cover,” Brown reported on the station’s 11 p.m. newscast. “I saw officers scrambling. I looked and saw flashes from a gun. I’m not sure, but it seemed like a dozen shots.”

A dozen shots were reportedly fired by Bennett before he was shot. One witness tweeted that the wounded officer was “in the bushes and could be heard screaming” before being placed in the back of a patrol car.

TV station WCNC reported MEDIC took two patients to Carolinas Medical Center, one with serious injuries and one with minor injuries.

WSOC reported the call for assistance at the Law Enforcement Center produced a flood of police cars rushing to the scene. Over the radio, another officer is heard urging responding officers to slow down.

“Slow your traffic, slow your traffic, nobody get hurt,” the officer said. “Slow the traffic. Suspect is in custody. Slow the traffic.”

Bennett was considered armed and dangerous as police searched for him after the killing of White. A source close to the investigation told the Obeserver’s news partner WBTV that Bennett changed the license plate on his vehicle before going to the law enforcement center. He had last been seen driving an older, white Ford Expedition with New York license plates HUP3071, reported WCNC.

Court records show Bennett served two and a half months in prison for felony breaking and entering, and larceny after breaking and entering. He was on probation for a 2016 charge of speeding to elude arrest, records show.

Bennett has been jailed at least three times in Mecklenburg County since 2016, for charges including assault on a female, communicating threats and larceny.

Cops on every corner following shooting at CMPD Headquarters @FOX46News pic.twitter.com/4Z8x48RJLf

— JenyneDonaldsonFox46 (@JenyneDonaldson) January 12, 2018

Records dating back to 2010 show he was previously charged with felony possession of stolen goods, using a stolen credit card, possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of marijuana, resisting an officer, trespassing, disorderly conduct, assault and battery and probation violation. He was found guilty of felony breaking and entering, speeding to elude arrest, possession of drug paraphernalia, second degree trespassing, assault and battery, resisting an officer, and larceny after breaking and entering.

Putney said the injured officer was in good spirits.

When police shoot someone, two investigations begin as part of standard procedure. The shooting will be investigated like any other shooting in Charlotte, and CMPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau will also hold an internal investigation to see if officers followed department policy and procedures. The officers involved will be placed on administrative leave.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call 704-432-TIPS and speak directly to a homicide detective or call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

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


Categories: Latest News

Cops, houses of worship come together to use safety and security planning app

PoliceOne - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 10:55

Author: The Office of Justice Programs' National Institute of Justice (NIJ)

By Becky Lewis TechBeat Magazine

A man fleeing an armed bail bondsman, running into the midst of a worship service. Individuals passed out on church grounds, apparently from opioid overdose. A playground portable toilet catching fire, a supposed act of arson.

Headlines about houses of worship (HOW) from around the country? No, all of those incidents happened at HOW in or near the city of Frederick, Maryland, where some 70 representatives of local faith communities gathered on a quiet fall morning in 2017 to learn about the Safeguarding Houses of Worship (SHOW) app developed by the Justice Technology Information Center (JTIC). JTIC is a component of the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center System (NLECTC), a program of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ).

How the SHOW app works

SHOW, released in October 2016, helps houses of worship develop a safety and security plan tailored to their specific needs. Produced with NIJ funding, SHOW is available only to law enforcement agencies, which in turn share download codes with HOW in their jurisdiction.

Agencies that have become involved in spreading the word about SHOW have found training sessions like the one in Frederick to be an extremely effective way of sharing the information. When the overview presentation ended, nearly everyone in the room clustered around Frederick County Deputy Sheriff Hal Jones to view an up-close demonstration of the app’s capabilities and get a download code.

“The SHOW app provides something for us to give to the faith-based community to work with in preparing themselves,” says Lt. Mark Landahl, Homeland Security Commander for the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office. “Too often, other processes are law enforcement-centric and do not result in a shared product. With SHOW, the shared nature of the process and the intuitive design of the app allow the faith-based community to work through the processes themselves with law enforcement and other emergency services providers as support resources. It provides ownership and support to organizations seeking to prepare themselves for emergencies ranging from routine medical events to serious active threats.”

SHOW APP assists houses of worship prepare for different emergencies

Although SHOW provides guidance in planning for active threats, it doesn’t stop there, assisting houses of worship in planning for weather events and what Landahl termed “traditional emergencies,” such as missing children and medical incidents. The app encourages HOW to take inventory of the resources available in the faith-based community; plan what to do before, during and after an event; and to hold drills to practice their plans.

“Houses of worship face a challenge in that they have a mission to be open and welcoming, but they have to balance this with a need for safety and security,” Landahl says. He also encouraged attendees to be aware of other resources such as CPR and first aid training, overdose response training, and training for the general public on dealing with an active threat, which may be available online or through a local law enforcement agency.

Pastor Barbara Kershner Daniel, senior pastor of Frederick United Evangelical Reformed Church of Christ, which hosted the event, says that she thought her congregation was well prepared, but after seeing the presentation, she realized her congregation of 400 still has some planning to do.

“We do have a plan for health emergencies and one for missing children, but we need to do much more,” she says. “We need to be thoughtful and intentional about our planning and also informing the congregation of our plans in case of an emergency. At the presentation, we also realized being prepared doesn’t mean we have to give up on our faith values and our outreach to the community.”

Jamea Gouker, administrator at MorningStar Family Church in Thurmont, was among the attendees at the event who later expressed interest in using the SHOW app.

“I’ve been telling our pastor we need to be aware and we need to think about situational awareness,” says Gouker, formerly a member of the Army’s Special Forces Command. “I’ve taken several online workshops and trainings, because of all the events happening in churches that you hear about on the news. It’s unfortunate, but in this day and age, you always need to be prepared, and the app will be a good way to tie all the pieces I’ve already created together.”

Although all of the HOW representatives in attendance, like Kershner Daniel and Gouker, were enough aware of the need to attend the event, not one had actually begun to develop a plan. Now, with assistance from SHOW and the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, most are already well on their way.

For more information on the Safeguarding Houses of Worship app and how law enforcement agencies can become involved in working with HOW in their jurisdictions to promote safety and security planning, visit JUSTNET, the website of the NLECTC System, at https://www.justnet.org/resources/Houses_of_Worship.html.


Categories: Latest News

Research analysis: Tazed and confused

PoliceOne - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 10:39

Author: The Office of Justice Programs' National Institute of Justice (NIJ)

By Mark Kroll, PhD, FACC, FAIMBE

An important new study headed up by Don Dawes and Jeff Ho, published in the Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, compares the cognitive effects of electronic control, physical exertion and alcohol intoxication. [1]

In this study, 115 subjects were subjected to three sensitive computer-based tests for neurocognitive abilities.

Background

Occasionally, a subject will allege that he could not comply with officer commands because he was “dazed and confused” after the use of an electrical weapon. This is contradicted by the peer-reviewed literature, as subjects can follow simple commands within 1 second of the use of electronic control. [2]

This had been taking a step further with some arguing that a Miranda consent was not valid after electronic control.

That position is very dubious as multiple studies have shown that subjects can immediately operate a keyboard and perform computer testing. [3-6]

One researcher found that 1 test score went down while 5 went up. [3]

This received a fair bit of media attention with the suggestion that this would call Miranda consent into question. None of the media accounts – that I recall – mentioned that 5/6 test scores actually went up in that study.

The New Study

The 115 subjects each took a 10-minute battery of 3 sensitive cognition tests:

    The “Procedural reaction time” test measures attention and processing speed by having the user respond as quickly as possible to different sets of stimuli based on simple rules. The user is instructed to press the left mouse button if the number 2 or 3 is presented on the screen and the right mouse button if the number 4 or 5 is presented on the screen. The “Matching to sample” test measures visual spatial discrimination and working memory by presenting the user with a visual pattern for a specified period of time and then, following a brief delay, asking the user to select the previously seen pattern from two choices. The “Logical relations” test measures abstract reasoning and verbal syntax ability by asking the user to evaluate the truth of a statement (e.g., "& comes after #") describing the order of two symbols displayed on the display (e.g., "& #"). The user presses designated buttons to indicate whether the statement is true or false.

After the cognition testing, 48 random subjects were invited to the bar and 21 “control” subjects were given nothing to do but relax in a break room.

To stimulate an arrest-related struggle, 18 subjects were coached through high-intensity exercise with maximal effort.

An unlucky 24 subjects received a 5-second electrical weapon exposure from probes shot into the back.

The cognition testing was repeated 10, 35 and 85 minutes after the intervention. The imbibing subjects were divided into a “HiAlc” group if their BAC was > 0.12; the rest went into the “LoAlc” group.

The 18 HaAlc subjects had an average BAC of 0.16; the 30 in the LoAlc group subjects had an average BAC of 0.08.

Study results and implications

The HiAlc group was the only one that suffered statistically significant declines in cognitive performance. The other groups had test scores that were either steady or showing a slight increase.

The authors included a discussion of the case law on Miranda consent after intoxication; I suspect attorneys will find this interesting. The authors concluded:

“The courts have consistently ruled that alcohol intoxication does not invalidate the Miranda waiver or consent... This study does not support delaying obtaining a Miranda waiver or consent after a CEW exposure. This study also provides additional evidence that there are no long-term neurocognitive deficits following a CEW exposure.”

The study included a nice bonus for the defense of excessive force litigation.

Immediately after the “intervention,” subjects were given standard law enforcement commands: Stand here, turn and face away from me, spread your feet apart, and put your hands behind your back. All subjects were able to comply.

“The CEW neurocognitive literature is strongly supporting the assertion that any neurocognitive deficits after a CEW exposure are related to a general stress response, are not different from other stressors, are transient, and unlikely to be of legal significance from a consent or Miranda perspective. There is no evidence of any long-term effect,” said study co-author Dr. Donald Dawes, a SWAT doc and ER physician in California.

The results of this study scientifically refute the allegation that a criminal continued to resist because he was too dazed and confused to understand the officer’s commands.

References

1. Dawes D, Ho J, Vincent AS, Nystrom P, Driver B. The neurocognitive effects of a conducted electrical weapon compared to high intensity interval training and alcohol intoxication – implications for Miranda and consent. Journal of forensic and legal medicine. 2018;53:51-7.

2. Criscione JC, Kroll MW. Incapacitation recovery times from a conductive electrical weapon exposure. Forensic science, medicine, and pathology. 2014;10(2):203-7.

3. Kane RJ, White MD. TASER® Exposure and Cognitive Impairment. Criminology & Public Policy. 2015.

4. White MD, Ready JT, Kane RJ, Dario LM. Examining the effects of the TASER on cognitive functioning: findings from a pilot study with police recruits. Journal of Experimental Criminology. 2014:1-24.

5. Ho J, Dawes D, Miner J, Moore J, Nystrom P. Neurocognitive Effect of Simulated Resistance and Use of Force Encounters on Standardized Field Sobriety Testing. The Journal of emergency medicine. 2014;46(2):283.

6. Dawes DM, Ho JD, Vincent AS, Nystrom PC, Moore JC, Steinberg LW et al. The neurocognitive effects of simulated use-of-force scenarios. Forensic science, medicine, and pathology. 2014;10(1):9-17.

About the author Mark Kroll, PhD, FACC, FAIMBE, is a biomedical scientist with a primary specialty in bioelectricity. Secondary biomedical specialty is biomechanics with a focus on the biomechanics of arrest-related-death (ARD). His bioelectricity scientific work involves researching and lecturing on electric shocks and their effects on the body. In his subspecialty of ARD biomechanics, he published the first paper establishing the amount of weight required to crush the human chest and the first paper on fatal head injuries from electrical-weapon induced falls.

He is an adjunct full professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Minnesota and the California Polytechnic University. He was awarded “Fellow” recognition by the American College of Cardiology and the Heart Rhythm Society, and awarded Fellow status by the Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society and the American Institute for Medicine and Biology in Engineering. He is the author of over 200 abstracts, papers, and book chapters and co-editor of 4 books including “TASER® Conducted Electrical Weapons: Physiology, Pathology and Law” and “Atlas of Conducted Electrical Weapon Wounds and Forensic Analysis.”

Email Mark at mark@kroll.name.


Categories: Latest News

Policing Matters Podcast: The DOJ, states' rights and legalized marijuana

PoliceOne - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 10:02
Author: Jim Dudley and Doug Wyllie

Download this week's episode on iTunes, SoundCloud or via RSS feed

Under federal law, marijuana is illegal. Meanwhile, 30 states and the District of Columbia currently have laws legalizing marijuana for either medical or recreational use. This discord puts the Justice Department in a legal bind. Under President Obama, Deputy Attorney General James Cole drafted a memo saying that the Feds would defer to state and local agencies to enforce their own marijuana laws, with federal involvement directed only at drug cartels and activity in states where pot was still illegal. But in the first week of 2018, the mainstream media reported that Attorney General Jeff Sessions plans to lift those Obama-era restrictions on Federal enforcement of drug laws in jurisdictions that have voted to legalize marijuana. However, Sessions stopped short of directly encouraging U.S. prosecutors to bring marijuana cases. Jim and Doug discuss the ramifications of the new position of the DOJ.


Categories: Latest News

Law enforcement and private sector join forces to shut down illegal Streaming Network

EUROPOL - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 06:02
On 11 January 2018, a crime group suspected of hosting a large-scale illegal IPTV streaming business has been dismantled.
Categories: Latest News

EU law enforcement joins together with Facebook against online terrorist propaganda

EUROPOL - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 01:44
On 11 January 2018, Europol’s Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU) organised the eighth joint Referral Action Day with colleagues from the national referral units of Belgium, France and the United Kingdom, to identify and secure the swift removal of terrorist and violent extremism content uploaded on Facebook and Instagram.
Categories: Latest News

Va. police receive grant to help fight meth

PoliceOne - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 12:05

By WHSV-TV

STAUNTON, Va. — Virginia State Police recently received a $1.1 million grant to help combat methamphetamine manufacturing and distribution in the state and some of that money will go on to help fight the drug in the Valley.

The Valley Community Services Board in Staunton offers several treatment programs for those struggling with addiction including intensive outpatient treatment, support groups that tackle coping skills, self discover and forming healthy, sober relationships.

Tonia Taylor, the outpatient services manager at VCSB, said that the majority of the people they see are struggling with substance abuse.

Full Story: Police get grant to help fight meth in the Valley


Categories: Latest News

Trump signs mental health bill for police officers

PoliceOne - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 11:10

By PoliceOne Staff

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump signed a mental health bill intended to helps law enforcement officers struggling with mental health issues.

WANE reports that Trump signed the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act after it passed the Senate Tuesday. The law will make grants available to initiate peer mentoring pilot programs.

The bill will also help develop resources for mental health providers on the specific challenges that LEOs face. It will also take a look into the effectiveness of crisis hotlines and annual mental health checks.

“I think it can help our police officers. the men and women in blue, brown or green when they have a mental health challenges that there will be somebody to talk to,” said Sen. Donnelly, who co-authored the bill. “This legislation will make sure that our officers can be able to be part of a peer program basically where other Fort Wayne officers can help them and other Allen county officers can help them.”

Under the bill, the Departments of Defense, Justice and Veteran Affairs will also be directed to confer about the existing mental health practices and services being used by the DoD and VA that could be adopted by LE agencies.


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Lead detective in San Francisco Zodiac killer case dies

PoliceOne - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 09:34

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — Dave Toschi, the San Francisco police detective who led the unsuccessful investigation into the Zodiac serial killing a half-century ago, has died. He was 86.

Toschi died Saturday after a lengthy illness, his daughter, Linda Toschi-Chambers, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Toschi was put on the Zodiac case after a San Francisco taxi driver was shot to death in 1969. He was removed nine years later when he acknowledged writing and mailing anonymous fan letters to the Chronicle lauding his own work.

Five people were fatally stabbed or shot to death in Northern California in 1968 and 1969, and their killer sent taunting letters and cryptograms to the police and newspapers.

The killer was never caught. He was dubbed the Zodiac killer because some of his cryptograms included astrological symbols and references.

Duffy Jennings covered the killings for the Chronicle and grew close to Toschi.

Jenning said Toschi visited the San Francisco murder scene on the anniversary of the killing for many years in a row to see if he overlooked any clues.

"The Zodiac case gnawed at him," Jennings said. "He said it gave him an ulcer."

Actor Mark Ruffalo portrayed Toschi in the 2011 movie "Zodiac."

Toschi was born in San Francisco and graduated from Galileo High School before serving in the Korean War with the Army. He returned to San Francisco in 1953 and was hired at the Police Department, where he worked until retiring in 1985.

Toschi's family said the retired inspector enjoyed music and books.

He "could sing with the best of them," said his daughter. "His greatest pleasure was his loving family, and we will miss his keen sense of humor, his gentle guidance and his unconditional love."

Toschi is survived by his wife, Carol Toschi of San Francisco; two daughters, Toschi-Chambers of San Francisco and Karen Leight of San Mateo County; and two granddaughters, Sarah Leight of Pacifica and Emma Leight of Los Angeles.

Private services were held Wednesday.


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NY State Police to begin deploying drones

PoliceOne - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 09:17

By Gordon Block Watertown Daily, N.Y.

NEW YORK — State police will begin using aerial drones in the north country this month, as part of a program that will soon be expanded throughout the state.

A governor’s office news release said the state police drones will be used for law enforcement work including disaster response and traffic safety.

The deployment this month includes state police’s Troop D, which covers seven counties including Jefferson and Lewis, along with Troop A in Western New York, Troop F west of the Hudson River and Troop G in the Capital Region.

An additional 14 drones will be deployed throughout the state by April.

“The aerial drone systems we are deploying bring substantial benefits to our Troopers in the field, and are representative of our ongoing efforts to provide the tools they need to deliver outstanding service to the public,” said state police Superintendent George P. Beach II, in a provided statement.

Among the benefits listed for the use of drones were reduced costs compared to manned aircraft, improved response times and increased efficiency in operations. As one example, a drone can help reconstruct motor vehicle crashes more quickly, lessening closure times for motorists.

In case of natural disasters and dangerous situations, the drones may be able to help protect troopers, the governor’s office said.

“This state-of-the-art technology will improve emergency response, improve operational and cost efficiencies and increase Trooper safety,” said Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, in a statement. “We will continue to implement innovative technologies to improve our ability to protect New Yorkers across this great state.”

Troopers using the drones will be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration and undergo 32 hours of hands-on training.

Sixteen of the drones provided for the work are being provided by the New York State Trooper Foundation.

The use of drones by state police is another example of state agencies taking advantage of the new technology. The state Department of Environmental Conservation has a 22-drone fleet that they use for a variety of purposes, including evaluating eroded coastline on Lake Ontario last year.

©2018 Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, N.Y.)


Categories: Latest News

Calif. police fatally shoot ax-wielding man at power plant

PoliceOne - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 09:08

By Robert Salonga The Mercury News

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Police don’t have clear answers for why a man hopped a fence into the Metcalf Energy Center armed with axes and throwing knives, and got into a confrontation where officers shot and killed him Tuesday evening.

The 27-year-old city resident was admitted to a local hospital on a psychiatric hold in September, and over the past year had run-ins with police in San Jose, Fresno and Santa Cruz County, some of which yielded the three active misdemeanor bench warrants issued for him on various drug and weapons offenses.

“This was an individual undergoing mental crisis and arms himself, and officers had to deal with it,” Police Chief Eddie Garcia said. “It’s an unfair situation for both parties. It’s a sad case. My officers are shaken by it, and I’m sure the individual’s family was shaken by it.”

The confrontation evoked memories of another high-profile shooting in the area, from April 2013, when one or more snipers opened fire on the nearby Pacific Gas & Electric Co. power substation on Metcalf Road, blasting 17 transformers and half a dozen circuit breakers. The attack caused $15.4 million in damage and spurred sweeping security upgrades.

No one else was injured at the Calpine power plant Tuesday, and there is no indication that the suspect had any ties to the facility or its operator. Garcia said it was not immediately clear what the suspect — who has not been formally identified — was targeting, if anything.

“I don’t know what he was planning to do once he got on that property,” he said. “Detectives will be reaching out to family. He never indicated to officers what his intent was.”

The encounter marked the city’s first officer-involved shooting of the year. San Jose recorded eight such shootings last year, half of which were fatal.

San Jose police were called around 5 p.m. to the Metcalf facility for reports of an intruder who drove up to the front gate in a black Mercedes-Benz sedan, pulled something out of his trunk, then jumped a perimeter fence. A check on the car’s license plate turned up an “armed and dangerous” bulletin for the owner of the car, issued by the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office.

Garcia said responding officers traveled to the site and approached the unoccupied Mercedes. An officer peered into the front of the car spotted a large sword on the driver’s seat. The Santa Cruz-area alert described a man who had brandished a sword at some security guards.

From a distance, the power plant security staff could see that the man was wandering with a 6-foot pipe in one hand and an ax or hatchet in the other. Officers followed him from a distance.

“He said, ‘Shoot me and kill me’ several times,” Garcia said.

The man swiftly turned around and began walking toward officers and Garcia said two officers “ordered the suspect to either surrender or drop his weapon no less than 23 times.”

Just before 5:20 p.m., one of the officers, in police radio broadcasts that were corroborated by authorities, was heard saying, “Put it down!” followed by brief radio silence, and then suddenly, “Shots fired. Shots fired.”

“When the suspect was approximately 5 to 6 feet away from one of the officers, one officer shot the suspect, and the suspect continued toward the second officer, with the ax and (pipe) still in his hands,” Garcia said. “The second officer then also shot.”

The man was pronounced dead at the scene. Upon a search of his body, police recovered another ax, six throwing knives, and pepper spray, Garcia said.

While the suspect’s name has not been released, this news organization verified his identity through court records and law-enforcement sources. Court records show that in addition to active cases based on his misdemeanor arrests in July and October last year in San Jose, he had five convictions — including at least one felony — between 2005 and 2009. The cases revolved around illegal weapons and narcotics possession, primarily involving meth and firearms.

He was on supervised release when he was arrested Nov. 25 in Fresno on suspicion of similar offenses, records show. In many of the cases where he was stopped or arrested by police, he was driving the same Mercedes recovered at the scene of Tuesday’s shooting.

The two officers who fired their weapons were placed on paid administrative leave while an SJPD investigation was launched in conjunction with the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, and monitored by the San Jose Independent Police Auditor and City Attorney’s Office. At least part of the shooting was recorded on the officers’ body-worn cameras, but that footage likely won’t be made public, if ever, until the end of the investigation.

©2018 the San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)


Categories: Latest News

Report: Body cams may help reduce citizen complaints against Boston officers

PoliceOne - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 07:49

By Bob McGovern Boston Herald

BOSTON — Body cameras may help reduce citizen complaints against Boston police officers, according to a new report analyzing the city’s pilot program, but advocates say they still need to know more about how they would be used.

The preliminary report released yesterday, produced by Northeastern University researchers working with police officers, found fewer complaints filed against the test group during a one-year period — 17 for 140 officers with cameras vs. 29 for the control group of 141 officers without cameras.

“In general, these analyses suggested that the placement of (body-worn cameras) on BPD officers seemed to reduce the incidence of citizen complaints,” the report states. “The impact was twelve (12) fewer complaints filed against officers equipped with BWCs over the one-year intervention period which amounts to one less complaint per month compared to control group officers.”

The evaluation into the body camera program will continue through May, and a final evaluation report is expected in June. The BPD implemented the body camera program in September 2016.

“Nationwide, the impact on body cameras has been varied,” police Commissioner William B. Evans said in a statement. “Waiting for the results of the full analysis is prudent and necessary to really understanding the context and setting in which body cameras may have the most impact.”

Segun Idowu, co-founder of Boston Police Camera Action Team, said he hopes the final report adds meaningful information about the program to go along with the data points cited.

“We want the next report to focus more on what policies work and what policies don’t work,” Idowu said. “How comfortable were officers? What issues did they run into?

“The subjective stuff helps tailor this program to Boston,” he said. “The program is going to be different in every city, so to make sure it works for Boston, we need to address the issues that Boston has.”

Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal, executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, said in an email that he hopes “other indicators” are taken into consideration when analyzing the program.

“We need to consider the impact body cameras have on community trust,” he said. “At a time of growing tension between law enforcement and communities of color, a properly implemented body camera program will help to provide the accountability that is necessary for building community trust.”

The analysis determined that there were seven fewer so-called “Use of Force” reports filed by officers who had body cameras.

The analysis looked at the effect of 100 body-worn cameras on patrol officers in five police districts and plainclothes officers in the Youth Violence Strike Force. The selected officers worked the day and first half shifts and were actively providing police services to Boston residents.

According to the report, the small number of officers tied with the “low base rates of citizen complaints and officer use of force reports” makes it difficult to fully understand the impact of the body camera program.

©2018 the Boston Herald


Categories: Latest News

As Sessions targets legal marijuana, former Calif. AG launches cannabis company

PoliceOne - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 07:36

By Brooke Staggs The Orange County Register

SANTA ANA, Calif. — While the nation’s attorney general is calling for a crackdown on legal marijuana, a former California Attorney General is launching his own marijuana distribution business.

Bill Lockyer, who served as the Golden State’s top cop from 1999 to 2007, is co-founder of C4 Distro, a Newport Beach-based company that hopes to distribute cannabis between licensed retailers.

Lockyer, who has experience fighting Washington on the issue of legal marijuana, is among a small but growing group of people making the switch from government to the cannabis industry.

Lockyer’s partner in the venture is Eric Spitz, who was president and co-owner of the Orange County Register from 2012 until 2016, when the newspaper was purchased out of bankruptcy by Digital First Media.

C4 Distro is headquartered in Newport Beach, state records show, which has some of the strictest marijuana policies allowed under state law. But they don’t intend to operate there, with plans instead to distribute marijuana products initially in the Los Angeles area.

Distributors are the only entities legally allowed to transport marijuana between other licensed businesses. C4 Distro — the business name for Golden Systems LLC — plans to focus on picking up manufactured marijuana products, such as edibles and concentrates, and delivering them to shops that sell them to the public.

The company doesn’t appear to have one of the 151 licenses the state had issued as of Wednesday for recreational and medical marijuana distribution, according to the Bureau of Cannabis Control’s online database. C4 Distro officials declined interview requests, saying they plan to share details of their business later this month.

Federal threat looms

The company’s plans don’t seem to have slowed despite the cloud that’s been cast over the industry at the federal level.

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law. The Drug Enforcement Administration still classifies it as a Schedule I controlled substance, on par with heroin.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been outspoken about his disdain for marijuana. And on Jan. 4, Sessions killed an Obama-era Department of Justice memo that offered some protection for marijuana businesses operating in compliance with state legalization programs.

California lawmakers and officials were quick to criticize the move. That includes current Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who said in a statement: “In California, we decided it was best to regulate, not criminalize, cannabis. We intend to vigorously enforce our state’s laws and protect our state’s interests.”

This fight isn’t new to 76-year-old Lockyer.

Lockyer launched his political career in the State Assembly in 1973. He was serving in the State Senate when Californians passed Proposition 215, which legalized medical marijuana in California in 1996. Lockyer has said he supported the ballot measure after watching his mother and sister both die from leukemia with only morphine to ease their pain.

He was California’s Attorney General when the second Bush administration went after California’s growing medical marijuana program. He called for meetings with federal regulators and filed a Supreme Court brief to protect patients’ rights.

After he termed out as Attorney General, Lockyer ran for State Treasurer. He held that post from 2007 through 2015, when he announced he was retiring from public service.

Lockyer is now an attorney with Brown Rudnik, specializing in government law and strategies out of the firm’s Irvine office.

He’s married to Nadia Lockyer, a former Santa Ana Unified School District board member who’s battled substance abuse. The couple have three children and divide their time between homes in Long Beach and Hayward.

From government to marijuana

Lockyer stands out for how long he served in high-profile government roles before diving into the cannabis industry. But he’s not alone in making the transition.

Andrew Freedman became Colorado’s first Director of Marijuana Coordination when the state legalized cannabis in 2012. Now Freedman runs the Denver-based cannabis consulting firm Freedman & Koski with Lewis Koski, who was director of the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division during the legalization process.

Patrick Moen was a supervisor with the DEA and led a Portland team that fought methamphetamine and heroin traffickers. In 2013, he became attorney for Privateer Holdings, a Seattle-based firm that owns the popular strain review app Leafly, Bob Marley’s legacy brand Marley Natural and Canadian cannabis company Tilray.

Clay Bearnson may be one of the first to fill both roles at the same time, after he opened Oregon Farmacy cannabis dispensary while serving as a councilor for the city of Medford, Ore.

It’s quite common for government workers to later become consultants to the industries they once regulated, using the knowledge they gained as public employees to help private business owners navigate bureaucratic red tape.

But the marijuana industry may be particularly susceptible to corruption, some worry, since the industry is still forced to operate largely in cash and because there’s still a massive black market in states where marijuana remains illegal.

Legal marijuana critics — including Sessions — point to the case of Renee Rayton.

Weeks after she left her post as a Colorado marijuana enforcement officer, a June 7 indictment claims Rayton started using her insider knowledge of the system to help marijuana cultivators illegally sell their plants out of the state on the more-profitable black market.

Rayton was accused of ignoring a Colorado law that says state workers must wait six months before taking a job in an industry they regulated.

So far, California doesn’t have any rules on the books about cannabis regulators going to work for cannabis businesses.

Assemblyman Ken Cooley, D-Rancho Cordova, tried to change that. He introduced a bill in February 2017 that would have prohibited former employees of the state cannabis bureau or any agency responsible for licensing marijuana businesses from working for any licensed cannabis business for one year.

“This simply ensures that persons in regulatory roles at the state or local level keep their focus on community, local quality of life, state quality of life,” Cooley said when he introduced the bill on the Assembly floor in May. “They’re not tempted to make decisions and then jump in the industry. It supports good government.”

Assembly Bill 1527 – which was coauthored by Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale – died in committee.

Without such rules in place to guard against corruption, some lawmakers fear California could invite scrutiny from Sessions and the U.S. Attorneys appointed to serve here.

In a July essay for Zocalo Public Square magazine, Spitz cited his previous experience working in the alcohol industry, arguing that independent cannabis contributors could help guard against black market diversion. He sided with the Teamsters, who were pushing for cannabis to have a distribution system akin to alcohol.

State lawmakers ultimately came down against that scheme, instead allowing companies that grow cannabis and make marijuana products to also apply for licenses to distribute it.

C4 Distro has only announced plans to focus on distribution — a segment needed to keep products moving through the state’s massive marijuana market.

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


Categories: Latest News

MORE THAN ONE MILLION OPERATIONAL MESSAGES SHARED BETWEEN EUROPOL, MEMBER STATES AND THIRD PARTIES IN 2017

EUROPOL - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 07:32
Over the course of 2017, more than one million SIENA messages were exchanged among Europol, Member States and third parties. SIENA is the Secure Information Exchange Network Application, managed by Europol which enables a swift and secure communication and exchange of operational and strategic crime-related information and intelligence. SIENA, as an operative instrument allows law enforcement authorities to collaborate effectively on a daily basis, and more than 20,000 SIENA messages were exchanged per week in 2017 on thousands of investigations within the European Union and beyond.
Categories: Latest News

Judge: Seattle police in full compliance with court-ordered reforms

PoliceOne - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 07:23

By Mike Carter and Steve Miletich The Seattle Times

SEATTLE — In a landmark ruling, U.S. District Judge James Robart on Wednesday found the Seattle Police Department in “full and effective compliance” with court-ordered reforms imposed on the city more than five years ago after a string of high-profile incidents involving use of force.

The city will enter into a two-year review period in which it must show the sweeping reforms are locked in place and address a list of issues Robart laid out in his 16-page ruling.

“Fulfilling Phase I is an enormous milestone and one in which the City and SPD should take pride,” Robart wrote. “Nevertheless, the court cautions the City and SPD that this does not mean their work is done. In many ways, Phase II is the most difficult portion of the Consent Decree to fulfill.

“The ability to sustain the good work that has begun is not a foregone conclusion,” the judge added. “It will require dedication, hard work, creativity, flexibility, vigilance, endurance, and continued development and refinement of policies and procedures in accordance with constitutional principles.”

Mayor Jenny Durkan agreed, saying “the next two years are going to be critical” to continuing the work. She noted during a Wednesday afternoon news conference that the city’s work is not done — “and we know we’re not done.”

But, for the moment, the ruling represents a major turning point for the Police Department, recognizing its accomplishments since the city entered into a consent decree with the U.S. Justice Departmentin July 2012 to address allegations that officers had engaged in a “pattern or practice” of using excessive force and displayed troubling evidence of biased policing.

“This is a very significant and good day for the city of Seattle, for the Police Department and for the community,” Durkan said, flanked by the department’s brass and city leaders.

Robart, who has overseen the consent decree, granted a motion, filed by the city in September, asking that it be found in full compliance with the agreement. The Justice Department and Community Police Commission, a citizen body created as part of the consent decree, had joined in the city’s request.

The department began to move toward compliance under the leadership of former Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole, an ex-Boston police commissioner who was hired by the city in June 2014 at a time the reform effort was foundering. She stepped down Dec. 31, citing mostly personal reasons for her decision.

Interim Police Chief Carmen Best, who has said she wants the permanent job and lauded the work of the department’s employees Wednesday, will inherit the responsibility of maintaining the changes, bolstered by a boost in department morale that is certain to greet Robart’s ruling.

The ruling also clears the path for Durkan — who was the U.S. attorney in Seattle when the Justice Department in 2011 found deficiencies in the Police Department — to push for the continued reforms she has pledged to carry out.

During the news conference, she promised that the next police chief will “continue in this very important process of police reforms.”

“It will be critical we hire someone who can be the leader we need in this community” to champion the reform process, she said.

Years of friction between police and minority communities — many centered on allegations of officers escalating petty situations into confrontations, and then using force to quell them — came to a head in 2010 and 2011 with a series of publicized and controversial incidents, many of which were caught on video.

Included was an officer’s threat to beat the “Mexican piss” out of a prone Latino man.

The public outrage reached a peak on Aug. 30, 2010, when then-Officer Ian Birk shot and killed a First Nations totem carver who was walking downtown carrying a piece of wood and a small folding knife. A dashboard camera in Birk’s patrol car captured the audio of the encounter and revealed that only about four seconds passed between the time Birk issued commands to put down the knife and when he fired the shots that ended the life of John T. Williams.

The shooting proved a catalyst within the communities that had over the years witnessed repeated attempts at police reform falter or fail. This time they responded with a single voice and to a higher authority, the Justice Department.

In December 2010, the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, joined by 34 community groups, sent a letter to the Justice Department asking for a formal investigation into the Police Department.

When the Justice Department gave credence to the complaints in a scathing report in December 2011, then-Mayor Mike McGinn and then-Police Chief John Diaz reacted defensively, setting off a tortured, monthslong process that culminated in the consent decree. City Attorney Pete Holmes had warned that McGinn’s strategy had put the city on the verge of a civil-rights lawsuit that could have dire consequences.

The consent decree led to the appointment of a court monitor, Merrick Bobb, whose initial reports to Robart raised concerns about the pace of reform.

But after the election of Mayor Ed Murray, who took office in January 2014, and the hiring of O’Toole, Bobb began issuing increasingly positive report cards.

The most significant finding occurred last April, when Bobb issued a report concluding the department had carried out a dramatic turnaround in the use of force.

Citing data and case samples over a 28-month period, the monitor found overall use of force dropped both across time under the consent decree and when compared with the period that led to the Justice Department’s findings in 2011.

In contrast to the 2011 numbers, there had been what appeared to be a net decrease of 743 incidents — a 60 percent drop — in the use of moderate and high-level use of force. Of 2,385 incidents, 39, or 1.6 percent, stemmed from the most serious type of force, including 15 officer-involved shootings.

Yet Bobb filed court papers in September in which he told Robart the city had not met all of its obligations in the consent decree. Sources not authorized to publicly discuss the matter contended Bobb subsequently softened his position.

Robart, in his decision, makes it clear the city still has significant and difficult work to do in the coming two years.

Particularly, he noted that the city has not yet named a civilian inspector general to oversee police internal investigations, nor has it concluded negotiations with the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild (SPOG), which has been working without a contract since 2014.

SPOG has filed two unfair-labor-practices complaints against the city over reforms related to the consent decree, the most recent just last week over police-accountability legislation passed by the City Council.

Robart has warned that he will not allow reforms to be derailed by the union.

“If collective bargaining results in changes to the accountability ordinance that the court deems to be inconsistent with the Consent Degree, the City’s progress in Phase II will be imperiled,” the judge wrote.

SPOG President Kevin Stuckey, who attended the news conference as a spectator, said he looked forward to working with the new city administration to resolve differences.

“I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, we do not wish to impede the progress,” Stuckey said, adding that it was critical the city play by the collective-bargaining rules.

Much of the progress on police reform took place under Murray, the former mayor who made the mandate a key campaign issue when he defeated McGinn in the 2013 race for mayor. It was Murray who hired O’Toole, whom Robart singled out in his ruling for her “exceptional work.”

Murray resigned last year amid sex-abuse allegations.

Murray, in an emailed statement Wednesday, offered his thanks to the “women and men of the Seattle Police Department who have created a national model for reform.”

U.S. Attorney Annette Hayes said the achievement was a “milestone” and a “credit to the hard work of SPD and City leadership, engaged community members including the Community Police Commission, and SPD officers whose dedication to the mission is essential to reform.”

In November, Robart asked the city for more information on the Police Department’s finding that the fatal shooting on June 18 of an African-American woman, Charleena Lyles, was reasonable before he decided on the city’s motion.

Lyles, a 30-year-old mother of four, was shot by two white officers, who said they fired after she pulled one or two knives on them while they were investigating a burglary call from her at her Northeast Seattle apartment.

In submitting the finding to Robart, city attorneys argued the conclusions should have no bearing on the motion.

Lyles’ death occurred after Bobb’s assessments, they wrote, noting that if the department was found to be in compliance with the consent decree, it will be required to keep that status during the two-year “sustainment period.”

“If Ms. Lyles’s death or the City’s response to it demonstrate, along with other evidence, that SPD has failed to comply with one or more requirements of the Decree, the court can make that determination on a complete record at that time,” their brief says.

Tim Burgess, the former Seattle City Council member who spearheaded reform and was praised Wednesday by city leaders, issued a statement on Robart’s ruling, saying, “This is such wonderful news. Lots of people deserve credit, especially the officers, detectives and civilian employees of SPD.”

©2018 The Seattle Times


Categories: Latest News

Ky. house panel advances bill to help police track pawned items

PoliceOne - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 04:00

Associated Press

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky's pawnbrokers would have to submit their transactions to a database accessible by police under a bill that has won initial approval from a legislative committee.

The bill was endorsed by law enforcement officials Wednesday as it cleared the House Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations Committee.

Information submitted by pawnbrokers would include the dates and amounts of any transaction, the identification of a seller and a full description of the property. Pawnbrokers would have to hold any pawned items for at least 12 days before reselling the merchandise.

Jessamine County Sheriff Kevin Corman says the database would be an important tool for police to track down stolen merchandise.

Rep. Kim King says her bill is needed to clear up a patchwork of local ordinances dealing with reporting by pawnbrokers.


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