Latest News

Calif. cop helps kids give their Navy dad a proper farewell

PoliceOne - Tue, 01/10/2017 - 14:11
Author: Todd Fletcher

By PoliceOne Staff

SAN DIEGO — An officer brought some happiness to a difficult day for two kids who were saying goodbye to their Navy dad.

Josh Buetow was being deployed for the first time and his children Rileigh, 4, and Austin, 2, were yelling their goodbyes from the shore when Officer James Weaver noticed them, NBC San Diego reported.

Weaver told the news station that the kids were so far away from their departing father, he knew their goodbyes weren’t being heard. That’s when he approached the pair and asked if they wanted to use the PA. He allowed them to use the loudspeaker to say “bye daddy, we love you” to their father.

“It meant a lot to us,” Brettany Buetow, the children’s mother, said. “I was holding it together pretty well until he asked them if they wanted to do that and I just slowly broke down and started crying.”

Categories: Latest News

Paralyzed NY detective who became voice for peace dies

PoliceOne - Tue, 01/10/2017 - 13:14

Author: Todd Fletcher

By Colleen Long Associated Press

NEW YORK — New York Police Department Detective Steven McDonald, who was paralyzed by a teenage shooter's bullet in 1986 but publicly forgave the shooter and became an international voice for peace, died Tuesday at age 59.

McDonald had been hospitalized Friday on Long Island after suffering a heart attack and died there, the NYPD said.

"No one could have predicted that Steven would touch so many people, in New York and around the world," police Commissioner James O'Neill said. "Like so many cops, Steven joined the NYPD to make a difference in people's lives. And he accomplished that every day. He is a model for each of us as we go about our daily lives. He will be greatly missed, and will always remain a part of our family."

McDonald was a stocky 29-year-old patrolman on July 12, 1986, when he spotted bicycle thief Shavod "Buddha" Jones and two other teenagers in Central Park. He moved to frisk one of them because he believed he had a weapon in his sock. Then, the 15-year-old Jones pulled out a weapon of his own and shot McDonald three times, ran away and left him for dead.

One bullet tore into the left side of McDonald's neck, followed quickly by another to his wrist and a third that lodged behind his right eye. It was the first shot that splintered and pierced his spinal column, paralyzing him.

Doctors told McDonald's wife, Patti McDonald, who was three months pregnant, that he wouldn't live through the afternoon.

But his story had an unlikely ending: McDonald believed what happened on that day was nothing less than God's will, intended to turn him into a messenger of God's word. On March 1, 1987, the day of their son's baptism, McDonald had his wife read a statement about his feelings toward the teen who crippled him. McDonald, who had struggled with finding his new niche in life, knew what he had to say.

"I forgive him and hope he can find peace and purpose in his life," McDonald said.

He never wavered from that stance.

In the years after the shooting, McDonald became one of the world's foremost pilgrims for peace. He took his message of forgiveness to Israel, to Northern Ireland and to Bosnia.

"I have my days when I'm not feeling well — emotionally, physically, spiritually," McDonald said in a 2006 interview at his Malverne home. "But it's been a very, very active life."

In the first years after the shooting, McDonald drew attention like a rock star. He met with Pope John Paul II and Nelson Mandela, sat for an interview with Barbara Walters. He did the David Letterman show and co-authored a book with his wife.

The television cameras and media attention disappeared, but McDonald's commitment endured. He kept a busy schedule speaking at schools around the country, relentlessly retelling his story to anyone who would listen. Lifted into a modified van, he traveled to hundreds of appearances each year.

The president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, Patrick Lynch, said McDonald "was a powerful force for all that is good and is an inspiration to all of us."

"Since that fateful day in 1986, Steven dedicated his life to fighting hate and encouraging forgiveness through his actions," Lynch said.

The McDonalds' son, Conor McDonald, joined the NYPD and became a sergeant last year. In 2007, Patti McDonald was elected mayor of Malverne, a quaint 1-square-mile suburban community of about 9,000 residents.

Jones, the teenage shooter, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for attempted murder and spent much of his time in prison getting into trouble. McDonald reached out, sending him stationery and asking to start a dialogue. The two wrote letters for a while, but the correspondence ended when McDonald turned down a request to help Jones' family in seeking parole.

McDonald dreamed that Jones would join him on the speaking tours, creating an unlikely tag team with a mutual message of peace. But shortly after Jones' release from prison in 1995, he died in a motorcycle accident.

Categories: Latest News

Ohio officer gives her GPS to lost driver

PoliceOne - Tue, 01/10/2017 - 11:11
Author: Todd Fletcher

Associated Press

CINCINNATI — A Cincinnati police officer concerned about a lost driver trying to get to Florida gave the woman her personal GPS navigation system to help.

Officer Virginia Villing says Shirley McKeown was driving from Lynn, Indiana, to Venus, Florida, to spend Christmas with her daughter and other family when she pulled up to the officer and asked for help. The officer tells WXIX-TV McKeown had highlighted maps, but was lost with 1,000 miles to go.

She says McKeown reminded her of her own mother, and she would have wanted someone to help her mom.

Cincinnati Police Officer Virginia Villing went above and beyond the call of duty when a lost, Florida-bound elderly motorist approached her

— Jennifer Baker (@jbakerohio) January 8, 2017

McKeown last week mailed the GPS back and sent a thank you note. She said Villing was "just a sweetheart."

Villing's supervisor says she has a reputation for going out of her way to help people.

The Indiana motorist mailed Officer Villing this thank you note. Details on FOX19 NOW at 10 p.m.

— Jennifer Baker (@jbakerohio) January 8, 2017
Categories: Latest News

Painting depicting cops as pigs restored to Capitol Hill display

PoliceOne - Tue, 01/10/2017 - 10:58

Author: Todd Fletcher

By Kevin Freking Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A high school student's painting of Ferguson, Missouri, with the image of a pig in a police uniform aiming a gun at a protester is back on the wall on Capitol Hill.

Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., rehung the painting on Tuesday after a Republican lawmaker found it offensive and removed it. Joined by several lawmakers, including other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Clay said returning the painting was about defending the Constitution.

"I do not agree or disagree with this painting," Clay said. "But I will fight to defend this young man's right to express himself because his artwork is true for him and he is entitled to that protection under the law."

David Pulphus, 18, won an annual arts competition in Clay's congressional district. His picture portrays events in Ferguson after the shooting of an unarmed teenager set off protests. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., removed the painting last Friday and returned it to Clay's office.

The Missouri congressman said it is "pathetic" that some Republicans and "alt-right media types" constantly refer to themselves as constitutional conservatives, but don't think the same document protects the free-speech rights of his constituent.

The painting showed a police officer taking aim with signs saying "history" and "stop kill." The police officer has an elongated face with tusks, much like a razorback pig. The background includes the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and a young black man looking out from prison bars. One of the figures also appears to show a protester as a wolf.

A hallway between a House office building and the Capitol is filled with winning artwork from students around the country.

Some police organizations cheered Hunter's actions.

Hunter dismissed the free-speech argument and said GOP leaders will seek to have the architect of the Capitol remove the painting.

"You can't have offensive things in the U.S. Capitol. It violated the arts competition rules," Hunter said.

Clay said he's ready to have that debate. He said there are numerous works of art around the Capitol that he and his constituents find offensive. He specifically cited a portrait of the late Sen. James Eastland of Mississippi, a staunch segregationist, and statues of Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis, leaders of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War.

Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., said Hunter was seeking to deflect from his own ethical woes. The House Ethics Committee is looking into possible violations, and the lawmaker had to explain last week after spending $600 in campaign funds to fly a pet rabbit with his family. Hunter later repaid the money as part of more than $60,000 in questionable charges to his campaign. Some of the charges included stays at resorts, video games and a garage door, the San Diego Union-Tribune has reported.

"Any crisis manager will tell you, if you want them to stop talking about your ethics, create another issue. Unfortunately, he picked on an 18-year-old, gifted artist to create his diversion," Richmond said.

Hunter pointed out that other GOP lawmakers took offense to the painting as well.

Categories: Latest News

NY cop survives 'life-and-death' fight with man high on synthetic drugs

PoliceOne - Tue, 01/10/2017 - 10:51

Author: Todd Fletcher

By PoliceOne Staff

BUFFALO, N.Y. — An officer is on injury leave after a suspect high on synthetic drugs attacked her Sunday.

According to The Buffalo News, Elijah Davis faked an injury in the middle of the street. When a driver stopped to help, Davis leaped into the front seat. The bystander, who has a valid pistol permit, shot Davis in the hand. The driver was able to get away and call police.

Officer Jasmine Olmstead arrived on the scene to find Davis injured, the publication reported.

When she asked if he was OK, Davis jumped onto the hood of the patrol car, then entered the vehicle and began punching Olmstead.

District Chief Joseph A. Gramaglia said Davis then reached for the officer’s gun.

"She wasn't in a position to call for backup. She fought him with her left arm and was taking punches the whole time while she was protecting her gun with her right arm,” Gramaglia said. “The officer was in a life-and-death fight.”

Olmstead fell out of the moving patrol vehicle while Davis was attacking her. By then, backup had arrived and officers attempted to break up the fight.

“He was kicking other officers in the face and he tried to bite Officer Olmstead. Eventually, the other officers were able to subdue him," Gramaglia said.

Davis was treated at a local hospital where he admitted he smoked synthetic marijuana and molly.

Olmstead was treated and is recovering.

Davis was charged with felony assault of a police officer, and misdemeanor charges of obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest and harassment.

Categories: Latest News

Searching for a cop killer, be ready for a deadly confrontation

PoliceOne - Tue, 01/10/2017 - 10:00

Author: Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Editor at Large

At the time of this writing, a manhunt is presently underway in Florida for the man who murdered Master Sergeant Debra Clayton of the Orlando Police Department.

In the aftermath of her murder, Clayton — a 17-year veteran of the force — is being remembered by her police peers as a hero who “gave her life to the community she loves.” OPD tweeted that Clayton: “always had a smile for kids and always took a moment to interact w/community.”

If the loss of Master Sergeant Clayton on Monday morning wasn’t painful enough, Florida law enforcement soon suffered another tragedy. In the early hours of the manhunt, Orange County Sheriff’s Office Deputy First Class Norman Lewis was killed when he was involved in a motorcycle crash while searching for Clayton’s murderer.

The murder subject is 41-year-old Markeith Loyd, who has also been identified as the primary suspect in the murder of his pregnant ex-girlfriend in December of 2016. Loyd is considered to be armed and extremely dangerous. Authorities have publicly urged Loyd to turn himself in peacefully to prevent further loss of life.

It's possible that this subject’s peaceful surrender won't happen. The unfortunate truth is that this thing may end with Loyd dying by a self-inflicted gunshot wound, or getting killed in a confrontation with police.

Loyd has murdered a law enforcement officer, carjacked a car in order to escape, and shot a number of rounds at other officers seeking to apprehend him — his gunfire hit a police SUV, but fortunately did not strike other officers.

Loyd has a long criminal history dating back nearly two decades. In 1998, he served over four years for battery on a law enforcement officer or firefighter and resisting arrest with violence, according to the Orlando Sentinel. He was convicted for conspiracy with intent to distribute cocaine in 1999, and while in jail in 2002, a corrections officer filed charges against him for battery — Loyd was found guilty of that charge.

What does this mean for police seeking to take this dangerous suspect into custody?

Simple: be ready for a deadly force encounter at all times. Be ready for standoff. Be ready for ambush. Be ready for anything. Your life — or the life of another — may depend on it.

Looking to recent history for guidance

I’m reminded of the weeklong manhunt for Christopher Dorner in California in February of 2013, and the statewide manhunt for Maurice Clemmons in Washington in November 2009.

In the Dorner case, the former LAPD officer who gone totally rogue and murdered four people — two of them cops — was discovered to be holed up in a cabin near Big Bear.

A standoff ensued, and after one of the walls of the cabin was torn down and chemical munitions deployed, it became abundantly clear that the murderer would not surrender. As the building burned to the ground above him, Dorner sat in the basement and fatally shot himself.

In the Clemmons case, the murderer who assassinated four police officers at the Forza Coffee Shop in Lakewood — and who himself was shot and wounded in that incident — decided to set a trap in which he planned to kill more cops.

Clemmons had not considered the skill and guile of Seattle Police Officer Ben Kelly, who was dialed-in and ready for anything when he came upon an abandoned vehicle at around 0245 hours. Kelly was in his squad car when he saw a man approaching him from his six o’clock. He exited his vehicle, recognized Clemmons, and shot the cop killer.

A hunted murderer, potentially getting help

This is not going to end like the search for Eric Frein, who ambushed a Pennsylvania trooper outside his barracks and was captured by US Marshals in the Pocono Mountains after a 48-day search.

Unlike Frein — but like Dorner and Clemmons — Loyd committed his killing at bad-breath distance. The murders were more personal. The murderer was more interested in bloodshed than his own survival.

Frein not only committed his atrocity from stand-off distance, he survived in the woods — entirely without help — for more than a month and a half. That’s a different kind of threat than a career criminal who has reportedly received help in his flight from police following the murder of his pregnant ex-girlfriend.

It’s unclear if he will receive assistance now, but officers must assume that he will indeed receive care and comfort of his criminal colleagues.

Be ready not only for a deadly confrontation with the wanted suspect, but also with the people who choose to call Loyd an ally. Watch for signs of ambush. Remember that there is strength in numbers. Don’t rush in. Watch your six. And stay safe out there my brothers and sisters.

Categories: Latest News

Spotlight: Safety Vision’s mobile surveillance solutions combine the latest tech with the sharpest images

PoliceOne - Tue, 01/10/2017 - 09:50

Author: PoliceOne Sponsors

Company: Safety Vision Headquarters: Houston, TX Signature Product: The Observer 4112 Hybrid Video Recorder (HVR) Website:

Q&A Questions:

1. What was the inspiration behind starting your company?

In the early 90s, our founder and CEO Bruce Smith was working for a mobile equipment distributor, and came into contact with several industry professionals who had unique problems. Bruce knew that he could assemble a team of experts that could understand these problems, engineer effective solutions, and provide world-class service and support. Now celebrating 25 years, Safety Vision has become the premier vendor in the mobile video surveillance industry, supplying vehicle fleets world-wide with mobile video solutions that are custom tailored to each customer’s specific needs.

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

The Observer 4112 Hybrid Video Recorder (HVR) combines eight traditional analog camera inputs with an additional four IP camera inputs utilizing a Power over Ethernet (PoE) switch, allowing you to incorporate the latest technology and sharpest images. This allows expenses to be controlled by installing HD cameras in the most critical positions where more definition is needed. The IP camera pointed out of the front windshield will capture the long field of view ahead of the vehicle, and the resolution allows you to zoom in on fine objects such as license plates and signs. Multiple analog cameras can efficiently capture shorter distances in the vehicle interior, minimizing the overall system cost. These situations illustrate the immediate benefits hybrid video recorders can provide.

3. Why do you believe your products are essential to the police community?

Our mobile video surveillance and collision avoidance products enhance driver visibility, and helps serve as a complete digital evidence capture solution to quickly dismiss false claims and reduce financial threats. Video recorded allows the opportunity to identify areas of improvement, evaluating accurate use of equipment and how police perform their duties. Footage can also be replayed as an effective training tool to demonstrate the skills required in real-life emergency scenarios.

4. What makes your company unique?

Safety Vision is a privately held company that has successfully grown over the past 25 years from the substantial relationships we have built with our customers. Our corporate offices located in Houston, TX consists of our knowledgeable client support network which includes product development, customer service, technical support, marketing, sales, and administrative teams, all in-house under one roof and available to provide expert installation, product training, and trouble shooting for departments or agencies. At our corporate offices, an on-site, four-tier 35,000 sq. foot warehouse stores over 12 million dollars of inventory, and offers same day shipping before 3pm CST.

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

Safety Vision prides itself on customer service and support after the purchase. Our biggest strength and the most important part of any project is what happens after the equipment is installed. We deliver real long-term value to our customers with 100 percent dedication. Every system is custom tailored to meet and exceed each customer's specific needs. We offer a full money back guarantee if a customer is not satisfied with our products or service, no contract required.

6. What is the most rewarding part of serving the first responder community? Safety Vision recognizes and truly values the hard work and commitment the first responder community dedicates to public safety. We are proud to serve those who serve and defend our communities. It’s a great honor that first responders entrust in our visual enhancement products to ensure they stay out of harm's way during rapid responses. Guiding the heroes that rescue and save lives is a reward that will never go unappreciated.

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

Technology is racing forward rapidly and Safety Vision has the desire and capability to keep ahead of the technology curve. Our in-house Product Development team diligently works on testing out new technologies to adapt to our solutions. Safety Vision has built this vision into its systems by bringing technological innovation, value, and safety to vehicle fleets world-wide. Safety Vision is proud to announce that we now service and provide the best mobile video surveillance in any Latin American country, headquartered in Panama with representation throughout several countries.

Categories: Latest News

5 things to know about suspected cop killer Markeith Loyd

PoliceOne - Mon, 01/09/2017 - 17:38

By PoliceOne Staff

An Orlando police sergeant was shot to death early Monday, and a second officer was killed in a crash during the ensuing manhunt. Police are looking for 41-year-old Markeith Loyd, described as 6-foot-3-inches, 230 pounds, in connection to the brutal killing, and have offered a $60,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. Here are five things to know about the suspect.

1. Loyd is wanted in the killing of his pregnant ex-girlfriend.

Police have been searching for Loyd since the fatal shooting of 24-year-old Sade Dixon, who was three months pregnant at the time of her death on Dec. 13, according to WESH. Loyd was Dixon’s ex-boyfriend. Dixon’s brother, 26-year-old Ronald Steward, was also shot during the incident and critically injured. Dixon’s 5-year-old and 7-year-old children were in the home at the time their mother was killed. According to the Associated Press, police believe Loyd has been receiving help evading police in the wake of the killing.

2. Loyd is suspected in the death of Master Sgt. Debra Clayton.

Clayton was shot and killed after someone alerted her that Loyd was in the area. She attempted to stop him in a Wal-Mart parking lot when Loyd fired multiple shots.

Clayton returned fire, but Loyd was not hit, according to AP. A manhunt for the suspect began shortly after.

3. Loyd allegedly attacked another officer after fleeing the scene of Monday’s murder.

The suspect is considered armed and dangerous, and he has already opened fire on those trying to apprehend him. After shooting Clayton, the suspect fled the scene and was spotted a short distance away by police. Loyd then opened fire, striking a deputy’s SUV, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Loyd also carjacked a vehicle, which was later found abandoned.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office has asked for the public’s help in finding the suspect, but cautioned not to approach him.

4. The suspect has a lengthy criminal history.

Loyd spent 10 years in prison and five years on probation after being convicted for conspiracy with intent to distribute cocaine in 1999, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

The case was just one in a series for Loyd, who has a long criminal history dating back 20 years. In 1998, he served over four years for battery on a law enforcement officer or firefighter and resisting arrest with violence, according to the report. While in jail in 2002, a corrections officer filed charges against him for battery – Loyd was later found guilty.

Loyd also faced murder charges in 1996, but they were dropped. In 2015, Loyd faced domestic violence charges which were dismissed.

5. Loyd told his Facebook followers he wanted "to be on Americas most wanted"

Two additional photos of murder suspect Markeith Loyd. Wanted for murder of Sade Dixon and OPD Master Sgt Clayton. Crimeline reward $60k

— OCSO FL News (@OrangeCoSheriff) January 9, 2017

In a Facebook post from Nov. 30, 2016, Loyd wrote, “Goals!!!! To be on Americas [sic] most wanted.”

In another Facebook post created the day before Sade Dixon was killed, Loyd wrote, “Orlando Fla.. when you talk about street legends mention ME!!!!! Me!!!!”

Categories: Latest News

Rapid Reaction: Officer safety is paramount during active manhunt

PoliceOne - Mon, 01/09/2017 - 17:27

Author: Heather R. Cotter, PoliceOne Senior Editor

On a day in which we unite to celebrate Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, tragedy struck two Florida law enforcement agencies. Master Sgt. Debra Clayton of the Orlando Police Department was fatally shot when she approached a wanted murder suspect early Monday morning, and Orange County Sheriff’s Office Deputy First Class Norman Lewis was killed in a motorcycle crash while in search of the suspect who murdered Clayton. The authorities are advising the suspect to turn himself in peacefully to prevent further tragedies.

Every day law enforcement officers put their lives at risk to serve and protect our communities. Every day officers approach individuals not knowing their identity – a risk in and of itself. But when officers are made aware that an individual is dangerous, the stakes are even higher and the risk of assault is greatly increased. A wanted subject poses a high risk to every responding officer. There’s an uncertainty about what the subject’s actions might be, so it’s imperative that officers always proceeds with extreme caution.

Officer safety is paramount

The suspect in the incident in Florida is considered armed and dangerous. Because of the evolving dynamics of this particular incident, officers must remember to assess the scene upon arrival, request backup and maintain a heightened level of situational awareness.

All officers must stay up to date and informed about this evolving threat. Communications must continue between officers and across jurisdictions during this manhunt.

Due to the unpredictable behavior of this suspect, it’s imperative that all responding officers have the necessary equipment and body armor prior to approaching. Should an officer get a call for service that the suspect has been located, it’s imperative that the officer drive safely to the scene.

Active manhunt

The suspect is still at large and is considered armed and extremely dangerous. An active manhunt poses several challenges and risks to law enforcement officers and innocents. During this active investigation, it is critical for Florida law enforcement agencies to actively share information and intelligence within departments and across jurisdictions in order to accurately track and capture the suspect. All officers should be briefed about this incident during roll call. Citizens should be informed not to approach the suspect and to call 911 should they see him.

The loss of two great law enforcement officers is devastating. The communities, friends, colleagues and departments the officers’ served are not only suffering, but they are on edge to find the at-large suspect. This high-risk manhunt poses a dangerous threat to responding officers and the communities they’re protecting. Officers and agencies must work together, communicate and continue to track the suspect until he is captured.

Categories: Latest News

Chief: Texas officer suspended for 10 days after viral incident

PoliceOne - Mon, 01/09/2017 - 12:51

Author: Heather R. Cotter, PoliceOne Senior Editor

By Claudia Lauer Associated Press

DALLAS — A white Texas policeman was suspended without pay for 10 days, but will not be fired, after an incident in which he was caught on video wrestling a black woman and her daughter to the ground, Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald announced Monday.

Fitzgerald said the officer violated policy, is sorry for his behavior and is eager to resume active duty at the end of the suspension. He said he has asked the officer to go back into the community when the suspension ends "to repair relationships."

"We are not sanctioning bad behavior... People make mistakes. We have levels of mistakes that every police officer makes," Fitzgerald said. "Some things deserve punishment; some do not. Some deserve termination and some do not."

The incident happened after Jacqueline Craig complained that a neighbor choked her 7-year-old son for allegedly littering in his yard. One of her daughters filmed the interactions between Craig and the officer.

In the video, the officer questions why Craig hadn't taught her son not to litter and later asks why the neighbor shouldn't have put his hands on her son. One of Craig's daughters tries to push her mother away from the officer, but the officer forces Craig and the daughter to the ground. He thrusts a stun gun into Craig's back and later points it at the daughter telling her to stay down.

He arrested Craig and her daughters on charges that include disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Craig's attorney had demanded that the officer be fired and criminally charged, that all charges against the Craig family be dropped and that the neighbor be charged with assaulting her son. The attorney, S. Lee Merritt, did not immediately return a phone call Monday seeking comment.

Fitzgerald said some members in the police chain of command did not agree with his disciplinary decision, but the ultimate decision was his to make. He referred questions about possible criminal charges to the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney's Office.

A spokeswoman for the district attorney said the office will send the entire incident file including the department's investigation to a grand jury to determine if criminal charges should be filed against any of the parties involved.

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"The report on the Craigs, the officer and the neighbor will all come together before the grand jury," spokeswoman Sam Jordan said. "They could find to press charges against all or no one."

Jordan said the office will not make any recommendations to the grand jury about charges for any of the parties. She said there is no set date, but the grand jury that was just seated will hear the case in the "next few months."

The video was viewed millions of times on Facebook, and letters and emails have been rolling into the department and to city officials asking that the officer be fired.

Categories: Latest News

Why police departments must acknowledge gender differences in training

PoliceOne - Mon, 01/09/2017 - 12:33

Author: Chrystal Fletcher

I had the opportunity to attend LouKa Tactical Training’s Building Warrior Women class. It was the most unique, and some of the best training, I have attended. And yet, I walked away feeling cheated. I did not feel cheated by the folks at Louka Tactical. The training staff was top notch, and the material they presented was of the highest quality. I felt cheated by the host agency because they were only willing to host a two-day class. LouKa Tactical pared the class down to a morning of lecture, an afternoon of buddy and self-rescue, and a full day on the range for handgun training. Having to shorten a class that has enough material to easily fill a week meant the women at LouKa Tactical Training really had their work cut out for them.

As a female firearms instructor, it can probably go without saying that I spend the vast majority of my time on the range in the company of men. And, I admit that I have never really given much thought to the challenges of other women. It was an eye-opening and perspective-changing experience to say the least. I got the most out of the lectures on the sociology of women in society and specifically in law enforcement. Listening to the instructor’s insights from their years of experience and social science research, while watching heads nodding in agreement from everyone in the room, was enlightening. Women have come a long way since the days of the suffrage movement, but as any woman working in a career dominated by men can attest, they have experienced a completely different career experience than their male colleagues from day one. Just knowing that other women have faced the same obstacles, challenges and attitudes instantly created a safe and cohesive learning environment. I have never seen female law enforcement officers so excited about training.

This is information from which all trainers would greatly benefit. The genders are different. Each has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. If your department’s training staff is not at least acknowledging those differences, they are doing a huge disservice to their officers.

Buddy and self-rescue

I was encouraged to see how this group of women found ways to overcome the size and strength challenges they faced during the down and injured officers portion of training. These are gender differences that should and must be embraced by trainers. A department may set a standard for a dead weight carry that every male may easily manage with brute strength, while their female counterparts may need to rely on technique to complete the same task.

Additionally, has anyone in your department thought about teaching similar techniques to male officers? We don’t know when an injured officer, not operating at full strength, may need to affect a rescue.

Range training

The range is where I really witnessed the difference between genders. When it comes to firearms training, most every male officer I have encountered is more than eager to start putting lead downrange. They go in guns blazing, so to speak. They just can’t get enough. Shooting is one of the areas where women have the physical ability to really excel. Yet, I witnessed a distinct lack of enthusiasm and even some hesitation to go out and train. Even in this environment, the most non-judgmental and inclusive training environment these ladies had probably ever trained in, several were unwilling to go out there and risk failure. That is a training scar of the highest order.

Our skills cannot improve unless pushed beyond their limits, therefore it is imperative that we have a time and place in which to fail. Some of these officers had such horrible experiences during range training in the past, that their willingness to put their self-esteem at risk was hindering their ability to effectively train. By the middle of the day, much of that anxiety had melted away and they were open to receiving the high-quality training they had been yearning. My hope is this positive experience on the range will help them develop the courage to train hard, risk and overcome that failure, and become the shooters I know they can be.

The good folks at LouKa Tactical Training are filling a niche that has gone ignored by officers, trainers and command staff for far too long. If you are a female law enforcement officer, a trainer of female law enforcement officers or a supervisor of female law enforcement officers, then you need to look into attending or hosting the LouKa Tactical Training Building Warrior Women class. You, your agency and your community will be better for it.

Categories: Latest News

Feds: Blue lines painted on roads in support of LE not safe

PoliceOne - Mon, 01/09/2017 - 12:16
Author: Chrystal Fletcher

By PoliceOne Staff

TRENTON, N.J. —Towns across the United States have been showing their support for law enforcement by painting blue lines down the middle of streets. But according to the Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, the lines are unsafe.

“There are many appropriate and fitting ways to recognize service to the public that do not involve the modification of a traffic control device, which can put the road user at risk due to misinterpretation of its meaning,” a letter written to the Somerset County Engineering Division reads. “We appreciate the impact of expressing support for law enforcement officers and value their contributions to society.”

The department states the space between the two center yellow lines should remain blank and blue paint should only be used to mark handicapped parking areas. reported that the letter is in response to Somerset County's chief engineer Matthew Loper, who requested clarification on federal guidelines on the painted blue lines.

When local New Jersey towns began painting the lines, they received permission from the county first.

The Associated Press reported that it is unclear if municipalities face a penalty if they choose to keep the blue lines.

Categories: Latest News

How to prepare cops for a terrorism threat

PoliceOne - Mon, 01/09/2017 - 10:52

Author: Chrystal Fletcher

By Brian Ruck

Since the shooting at Columbine High School in 1999, police agencies, large and small, have been training to respond to incidents involving active violence and mass casualties. As with any threat, the mechanisms for attack and response have evolved for the attackers and first responders. Now, as officers continue to prepare to defend the public from attacks, we are faced with more ambush scenarios targeting the defenders. We are dealing with the specter of international extremist groups, such as ISIS, threatening and attacking the homeland. As police agencies across the country grapple with higher calls for service with less personnel resources per capita, how do we effectively prepare and train to meet the enhanced threats? How do we balance the challenges of policing in the 21st century with the need to give our officers the confidence, skills, and most importantly, aggressive mindset to overcome the evolving threats? Teamwork development, consistency in curriculum and stress inoculation involving rapid decision making are the core concepts to any effective training plan.

Many law enforcement agencies regularly deploy single officer patrol units. Depending on the size of the jurisdiction and available resources, these officers become accustomed to working alone in their mobile office. Although self-reliance is an admirable trait, officers need to be trained to understand the power of the team regardless if it’s two or fifty.

Developing effective team building exercises

When I teach small unit tactics to new or veteran police officers, one of the biggest hurdles to overcome is communication. When faced with a high-stress training scenario many trainees forget they have a team of officers with them, and they perform poorly because they act as individuals and not teammates. Team building exercises must be performed on a regular basis initially in the academy, and then the exercises should be incorporated periodically throughout an officer’s career. The team building exercises will benefit officers by requiring them to work together on calls for service instead of acting as individuals. If your agency has the resources for scenario-based training, develop evolutions that will fail if the students do not perform as a team. This type of training should not be shunned as being a set up for failure, but rather embraced as a way to show your trainees as individuals they are strong but as a team they are invincible.

It is vitally important to ensure all instructors relay a consistent and unified message to the trainees. Depending on the size of the agency and academy configuration (department specific or regional) maintaining a consistent curriculum will be a challenge. Academy directors should strive to develop a dedicated cadre of instructors to regularly teach these concepts so the same message is delivered in the same manner during each training session.

Active shooter training

I started training officers to respond to active shooter events in 2003. Since then, the training has evolved from basic interior movement to include our Paramilitary Attack Counter Offensive Plan program. Our PACOP program includes enhanced stress inoculation training, heart rate testing during scenarios, and most recently, integration with fire and rescue personnel. One of the staples of the training program is to ensure consistency in training and tactics. It doesn’t matter what tactical discipline your agency chooses to employ as long as you maintain the fundamental concepts.

I use the term ‘lowest common denominator’ during instructor schools to ensure trainers focus on engraining the basic tactical concepts and decision-making skills into the trainees. Ensuring officers understand the fundamentals of cover, tactical movement, weapons handling and communication through repetitive walkthrough training will allow them to perform the tasks under simulated or actual stress. This truly needs to be a gross motor skills approach so officers, regardless of tactical ability, can master these core concepts.

Stress inoculation training

As agencies struggle with civil unrest stemming from officer-involved shootings, we, as trainers, are mandated by principle to effectively train our officers to operate under extreme stress. We are failing as trainers if we don’t expose students to high levels of simulated stress and develop scenarios that force them to make critical decisions while dealing with a stress response.

This needs to be designed as a building block approach since officers who have never truly experienced their stress response may completely freeze and subsequently will gain little from the training. Ideally this stress inoculation starts at the academy level to help new recruits transition into their new role and mentally prepare to operate at the highest level in the worst situations.

Measuring heart rates during training

In 2009, we conducted a heart rate study to demonstrate how consistent training and mental preparedness can affect performance and physical stress response. The medical community has clearly defined how our heart rate affects us physiologically and psychologically. At 175 beats per minute, the average person will start to experience tunnel vision, auditory exclusion, impaired decision making and fight, flight or freeze response. The study tested two different groups of officers during a scenario involving high levels of stimuli to elicit stress response. The scenario involved rapid response, decision-making and extended periods of movement.

As expected, the SWAT officers handled the scenario more effectively than the patrol officers, and their heart rates illustrated they managed the stress better than the patrol officers. The SWAT officers completed the extensive scenario almost 15 minutes faster, their heart rates stayed well below the 175 beats per minute threshold, and they communicated effectively and operated as a team.

Conversely, over 90 percent of the patrol officers had heart rates reach 175 beats per minute and several spiked to over 200 beats per minute. As a whole, the patrol officers had difficulty communicating with each other and experienced high levels of auditory exclusion when tested by instructors during the scenario.

Does this mean that the SWAT officers are better cops than the patrol group? No, it does not. It simply illustrates that members of a highly functioning tactical unit, who train and operate multiple times a week in high-stress environments, function more effectively than those who don’t have the opportunity to consistently train and operate while experiencing a stress response. A separate study, conducted at the same time, showed patrol officers were more likely to shoot an unarmed role player when their heartrate was raised above 175 beats per minute. As police officers, we know there are multiple factors that determine how we make decisions when faced with a potential threat. As police trainers, however, we need to force our trainees to experience a stress response during training or we will fail to prepare them for a real-world confrontation.

Most agencies have limited funding and staffing, so it is imperative to use time and resources effectively during any training evolution. This is achievable, regardless of constraints, if the instructors have clear training objectives in mind and focus on the most important aspects of response to these critical incidents. Because of the new threats police officers face, training programs need to give officers the ability to train functionally in multiple environments and disciplines. Keep in mind, the goal is to train the fundamental concepts for each topic – lowest common denominator – while allowing the student to experience several different applications of the training.

Research shows us that officers will freeze up under simulated stress or fail to make decisions because they are completely overwhelmed with stimuli. This mandates trainers to test students under simulated stress so they understand their individual reaction. At some point in their career these officers may be called upon to run toward the sound of gunfire, so let’s prepare them to respond as a force multiplier to meet any threat they face with confidence and resolve.

About the Author Lieutenant Brian Ruck has served with the Fairfax County Police Department for eighteen years. This includes fourteen years of experience as a SWAT operator, firearms instructor and tactics trainer. Lieutenant Ruck has been the lead trainer for the department’s active shooter programs since 2005 to include the nationally recognized Paramilitary Attack Counter Offensive Plan (PACOP) model. He was also responsible for coordinating the joint police / fire Rescue Task Force response training in 2015. He is currently assigned as the Police Liaison Commander to the county Department of Public Safety Communications center.

Categories: Latest News

Deputy sheriff killed during manhunt for Fla. officer's killer

PoliceOne - Mon, 01/09/2017 - 10:07

Author: Chrystal Fletcher

By Mike Schneider Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. — An Orlando police sergeant was shot and killed Monday after approaching a suspect wanted for questioning in the murder of his pregnant ex-girlfriend, and a second law enforcement officer was killed in a motorcycle crash while responding to a massive manhunt for the suspect.

More than a dozen schools were placed in lockdown during the manhunt, and authorities were offering a $60,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Markeith Loyd, the 41-year-old suspect wanted for the murder of Master Sgt. Debra Clayton.

Officers and deputies focused their manhunt on an apartment complex in northwest Orlando, and dozens of residences had been searched. Residents who were evacuated from their homes sat on a sidewalk along a street with heavily armed officers and deputies and a parked SWAT team truck.

Members of our @Twitter community: Thank you so much for the outpouring of love & support today. We lost a hero in Master Sgt. Debra Clayton

— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) January 9, 2017

Clayton, 42, was killed outside a Wal-Mart store in northwest Orlando early Monday, and Orange County Sheriff's Office Deputy First Class Norman Lewis was killed in a crash while responding to a manhunt for Loyd.

It is with heavy hearts we announce the death of beloved Deputy First Class Norman Lewis. The 11-year-veteran died in a crash today. #RIP

— OCSO FL News (@OrangeCoSheriff) January 9, 2017

Another Orlando police officer also was involved in a crash while responding to the shooting but only had minor injuries.

Authorities said Loyd previously was a suspect in the murder of his pregnant ex-girlfriend last December.

"He should be considered armed and dangerous," Police Chief John Mina said at a morning press conference. Later in the day, the chief said, "It doesn't matter where he is. We will track him down to the ends of the Earth."

Markeith Loyd is the suspect who shot OPD officer this morning. Anyone w/info please call 1-800-423-TIPS @CrimelineFL

— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) January 9, 2017

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said deputies had been searching unsuccessfully for Loyd for several weeks and believe he was receiving help from someone.

At an afternoon news conference, Demings urged Loyd to turn himself in peacefully.

"If we have to go in after him, then that jeopardizes and puts at risk the safety of law enforcement officers ... and we cannot control what happens in that situation," Demings said.

Mina lauded Clayton, a 17-year veteran of the force as a "committed" officer and "a hero" who gave her life to the community she loves. The Orlando Police Department said in a tweet that Clayton always had a smile and a high five for every child she came across.

Clayton had grown up in the Orlando area and was active in programs that mentored young people, Mina said.

"She was always the first to step up and help kids," the chief said.

Clayton was a supervisor for a patrol division in the neighborhood where she was shot, and she previously had worked in investigations and as a school resource officer, said Deputy Chief Orlando Rolon.

"She made a point, even outside her working hours, do to things for youth and do things for the community," Rolon said.

She was married and had a college-aged son. She died Monday at 7:40 a.m., less than an hour after she was shot while on duty.

Police released a video of Clayton's body being taken out of the hospital to a waiting van in a flag-covered stretcher. A line of officers saluted as the stretcher was wheeled out.

The Orlando Police Department family is heartbroken today. One of our own was taken in the line of duty. There are no words.

— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) January 9, 2017

Authorities said 17 area schools were placed in lockdown following the shooting.

The apartment complex that was the focus of the manhunt and shooting in northwest Orlando was nowhere near Orlando's tourism corridor in the southern part of the metro area.

"There will be a large law enforcement presence in that area until we can determine he is not there," Mina said.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer declared a day of mourning in the city.

While at the Wal-Mart Monday morning, Clayton was tipped off by someone that Loyd was in the area. When she approached him, he fired multiple shots at Clayton, who was wearing body armor, Mina said.

Clayton returned fire but didn't hit him, he said.

Sheriff's officials said a deputy spotted Loyd fleeing in a vehicle. The suspect pulled into a nearby apartment complex and then fired at a deputy, striking the deputy's SUV twice. The deputy wasn't harmed, the sheriff's office said.

Loyd then carjacked another vehicle, drove away and then abandoned the vehicle not far away, according to the sheriff's office.

The manhunt was being conducted where he abandoned the vehicle.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office deputy was killed more than two hours after the shooting when a van collided with his motorcycle as he responded to the manhunt. Demings described the 35-year-old Lewis as "a gentle giant," and the sheriff's office said he had played football for the University of Central Florida before joining the agency 11 years ago.

Gov. Rick Scott cancelled an appearance in Orlando because of the shooting but appeared with Orlando officials at the news conference.

"I'm heartbroken and angry," Scott said.

Categories: Latest News

Handcuffed Texas suspect shoots himself while in custody

PoliceOne - Mon, 01/09/2017 - 09:25
Author: Chrystal Fletcher

Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas police say a suspect in handcuffs pulled a handgun from his waistband and shot himself in the head while he was being driven to a police station.

Interim Austin police Chief Brian Manley says the man was arrested Sunday on suspicion of shoplifting and possessing a controlled substance.

Manley didn't explain if the man was searched or why he had a weapon while in custody.

He says the handcuffed man was inside a police car when he pulled the weapon and aimed it at his head. An officer ordered him to drop the weapon but minutes later the man shot himself.

The suspect was being treated late Sunday for life-threatening injuries. Manley has not released the suspect's name, but says he's in his late teens or early 20s.

Categories: Latest News

Va. cop injured when man throws caustic substance at face

PoliceOne - Mon, 01/09/2017 - 09:23
Author: Chrystal Fletcher

Associated Press

NORFOLK, Va. — Authorities say a Norfolk police officer suffered significant injuries when a man threw a caustic substance into the officer's face.

Police say a man approached the police sergeant shortly before 10 a.m. Monday and threw an unknown substance at the officer's face. Police say the officer received what appear to be significant burn injuries.

Police say it appears the attack was unprovoked. The officer, who was transported to the hospital, has not been identified.

Police say the man was taken into custody near the scene of the attack. Police say they will not identify the man until charges against him are formalized.

Categories: Latest News

2 arrested after La. wildlife agent shot during traffic stop

PoliceOne - Mon, 01/09/2017 - 09:18

Author: Chrystal Fletcher

Associated Press

PERRYVILLE, La. — State agency officials say a Louisiana wildlife agent is in stable condition after being shot multiple times while on patrol.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said in a Facebook post Sunday that 25-year-old Tyler Wheeler was responsive to commands at the LSU Health Shreveport Trauma Center. Wheeler stopped a vehicle while patrolling in Morehouse Parish around 2 a.m. Saturday.

Department officials say Wheeler was shot multiple times.

Louisiana State Police say 31-year-old Amethyst Baird and 34-year-old Jeremy Gullette were arrested in connection to the shooting. Both are being held at the Ouachita Correctional Center.

Baird is charged with attempted first-degree murder. Gullette is charged with accessory after the fact to attempted first-degree murder. It's not clear if they have attorneys.

Categories: Latest News