Latest News

Network of hashish smugglers dismantled in Spain and France

EUROPOL - Fri, 10/06/2017 - 00:39
Europol has coordinated a joint operation between the French Customs and Gendarmerie Nationale and the Spanish Customs to dismantle a criminal group involved in hashish smuggling. The gang, which was based in Gerona, Spain, was involved in smuggling large quantities of hashish from Spain to France and possibly beyond in lorries.
Categories: Latest News

5 ways police leaders can be more productive

PoliceOne - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 16:21

By Jesse Williams and Randy Larcher, P1 Contributors

“I’m working to improve my methods, and every hour I save is an hour added to my life.” –Ayn Rand

While technology may have promised to increase efficiency, our lives are very hectic. We have a lot to do and little time to do it.

As we are so busy, it is important to implement best practices that make us as e?ective as possible. We often find ourselves in the thick of things like sending emails and performing other repetitive tasks. It is essential to use the most e?cient methods for accomplishing tasks. We need to avoid wasting time on things that are not important. In many ways, less is truly more.

In an era of constant distractions, we are at risk of overlooking important tasks because things that seem urgent overshadow them. We also confuse being present with being productive. The two are not synonymous. The challenge is to improve our methods in order to get the best things done with both expediency and quality.

Productivity is not just about getting things done. It is about getting the right things done, in the right order, and in a satisfactory manner.

Productivity expert Dave Crenshaw describes three principles of productivity:

1. Space;

2. Mind;

3. Time.

Space refers to the physical location of where we work and how we use devices such as an in-basket, notebook or desk to collate tasks and organize projects.

The mind involves the process of moving from an idea to a reality.

Time management is vital, and includes prioritization and budgeting.

In “The Power of Full Engagement,” Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz write about “full engagement,” where they maintain that, “Energy, not time, is the fundamental currency of high performance” and “performance, health and happiness are grounded in the skillful management of energy.”

This includes renewal and strength training in all the areas of life balance (physical, mental, spiritual and emotional). If work does not fully renew us each day, our productivity will suffer. Here are five simple steps you can take to be more e?ective:

1. Make to-do lists

Everyone should keep a list of things to do, but we should do our best to limit the list to a few items each day. Some experts advocate for only two mission-critical tasks a day, but others merely caution to keep the amount low. Apps such as Todoist and Wunderlist can help you stay on top of tasks.

2. Engage in deep work

Set aside time each day to focus on important projects. In order to sharpen focus, consider shutting your door (if you have one), closing your email and removing other distractions.

Cal Newport, author of “Deep Work,” argues that focus is the new I.Q. in the modern workplace: “Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It's a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time.”

3. Always have a meeting agenda

Rarely, if ever, conduct a meeting without an agenda. An agenda keeps a meeting on track and prevents participants from venturing o? topic. Prepare an agenda ahead of time and send it to those attending the meeting. Send a follow-up email after you have met with a review of assignments.

4. Craft an email strategy

If there is one thing we are doing on an increasing scale, it is reading and writing emails. You must employ strategies to prevent email from ruling your life. One tip is to get everything out of the inbox. If you did not delete the email in the first place, it must be there for a reason. Productivity consultant David Allen has a simple formula when dealing with email: Delete it, do it, defer it or delegate it.

5. Keep a calendar

Use your calendar to schedule time for your most important tasks. This way it can serve as a powerful to-do list with automatic reminders. When you schedule meetings, attach the agenda to the meeting invite.


Author H. Jackson Brown Jr. said, “Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Je?erson and Albert Einstein.”

Resolve to fill your days with productive pursuits. Strive not to major in minor things, but to work deeply on those things that matter most. By streamlining how we spend our time and striving to ensure we are energized to perform at maximum capacity, we can ensure our busy-ness results in deliberate, desired outcomes.

About the authors Jesse Williams is the Captain of the New Mexico State Police Training & Recruiting Bureau in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is a graduate of New Mexico State University and earned Master’s degrees in Criminal Justice and Public Administration. He enjoys applying best practices regarding personal wellness and development.

Randy Larcher is a Captain with the New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau. He graduated from New Mexico State University in 2005 with a degree in history. He is a student of ethics, productivity and leadership.

Categories: Latest News

EPIC training is about officers helping officers

PoliceOne - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 16:14

By Jacob Lundy

Reprinted with permission from “Subject to Debate,” Vol. 30, No. 2, a newsletter of the Police Executive Research Forum.

When I was first approached to run the EPIC program, which was in its infancy at the time, I was aware the task would involve input on content and logistics. I learned very quickly, however, that the primary duty of the position would entail something far more fundamental and important to its success.

Our early participants, including Dr. Joel Dvoskin, Dr. Ervin Staub and Michael Quinn of the International Ethics and Leadership Training Bureau, understood that to be successful, we could not impose the EPIC program on officers.

My primary responsibility would be designing a program and strategy that results in officers wanting to attend the training and embrace the concept. This was quite a task, given the natural reluctance in law enforcement to take direction from bystanders.

But with one-third of the New Orleans Police Department now trained and the feedback overwhelmingly positive, I am often asked to name the single most important aspect of EPIC training in gaining this success so far. The answer is that EPIC is based on the idea that police officers are human beings who must respond to immensely stressful scenarios, day in and day out, and they have human reactions to stressful events. We cannot create “police-robots.” We are here to train humans to better navigate a challenging job.

As we conduct the training, we don’t just “tell,” we ask the class questions about their experiences. When we talk about “danger signs” that stress may be affecting an officer, we solicit examples from the class. Everyone has seen warning signs in coworkers over the years. Each of us has either helped a coworker in similar circumstances, or wished we had helped a coworker.

Effective interventions are broken down into two types:

Is the situation an “emergency” that must be handled immediately? Or is it a situation where you can take your time?

We teach students that if a fellow officer is using excessive force or doing something illegal, they cannot be subtle about intervening, as immediate action is required. But if the situation revolves around a personal problem or minor courtesy/professionalism issue, we teach officers to take some time and think about the best approach.

Non-Emergency Interventions

In non-critical situations, it may be best to speak to a coworker privately. There may be another officer who is close to the person and in a better position to approach him or her. We also discuss approaching people with courtesy and respect, and explaining that they are receiving an intervention. We instruct classes to emphasize that they are intervening to help the person involved.

We also teach about the requirement to accept an appropriate intervention. We discuss in class that a person who is seemingly resistant to an intervention may go home and continue thinking about what was said. It may eventually sink in. We encourage officers to follow up in some way.

Additionally, and importantly, we teach about “escalation.” An intervention is a tool to help a coworker, but if a coworker dismisses your offer of help, you may have to escalate the intervention to a higher rank or another officer to make sure you’ve done enough.

Emergency Interventions

There are a different set of issues with “emergency interventions,” sometimes called critical interventions. In emergencies, you need to stop improper behavior immediately, or step in to prevent improper behavior if you sense a fellow officer is under stress and might be on the verge of doing something wrong, such as using excessive force.

We teach officers to assess the urgency and react in the way they need to react. This can include telling someone flat out that you are taking over. We also teach that you may need to tell a coworker that you are taking them to the station and they are not going back on the street until they calm down.

Such an intervention may need to be physical. In the case of excessive force, we have to teach officers that it is their job to restrain someone.

If Possible, Be Discreet

Depending on the situation, you might be able to be discreet about an intervention and allow the officer to back down without losing face. For example, you might just say, “I’ll handle this” in a routine manner, as if you are doing the officer a favor, rather than questioning his judgment or temperament.

In New Orleans, we have a signal “10-12,” which officially means “be discreet,” as in, “Don’t use plain language in front of a violent felon who is about to be arrested.”

Over the years, we adopted this code as an intervention signal that, depending on tone, can mean anything from “calm down” to “stop right now!” EPIC specifically teaches 10-12 because it is discreet; it does not notify the public that an intervention is happening. More importantly, signal codes are better than plain language at breaking the “tunnel vision” and “auditory exclusion” that can prevent an officer under extreme stress from comprehending what you are saying.

Inhibitors to Intervening

We also discuss “inhibitors” to interventions – factors that make it difficult to intervene. Officers may witness something happening that they know is not right, but not do anything to stop it, because they mistakenly believe their job is to always support their fellow officers, right or wrong. Or they may be reluctant, or think it’s not their job, to correct a higher-ranking officer.

In our training, we address these issues by first asking the class to tell us what they think are the most common inhibitors to intervening. Then we show a slide with several inhibitors that are often mentioned. Then we discuss counter-measures.

One important counter-measure is a top-down commitment from the chief of the agency to the concept of intervening and the reasons for intervening. The EPIC training itself is an important countermeasure, because it’s a strong signal that this is an issue the department takes seriously. We also mix all ranks in each class, so that everyone experiences the training together and realizes that everyone is receiving the same training. Police agencies can reduce inhibitors by adopting policies against retaliation, transfers or other actions against officers who do an intervention.

Finally, I want to mention, just as I do in class, that EPIC’s main advantage is teaching officers to look out for signs they can act on before they find themselves forced to intervene in a serious situation.

I want to credit NOPD’s Public Integrity Bureau for embracing this concept and helping to create one of this country’s most progressive disciplinary policies, which provides every incentive for officers to intervene in each other’s lives and behavior.

Jacob Lundy, formerly of the New Orleans Police Department, has experience in homicide investigation, consent decree compliance and education/training. He now devotes his time to criminal justice writing and consulting through his firm MIRC (Major Incident Response Consulting) based in New York City, along with practice partner Michael Wynn, a Manhattan-based attorney. MIRC specializes in front-end liability assessment, policy development and review, as well as media relations for small to mid-sized law enforcement agencies negotiating the rapidly changing environment of use-of-force investigation and accountability. For more information on MIRC, email or call 504/344-5357.

Categories: Latest News

A look at NOPD's innovative and career-saving EPIC peer intervention program

PoliceOne - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 15:59

By Jonathan Aronie

Reprinted with permission from “Subject to Debate,” Vol. 30, No. 2, a newsletter of the Police Executive Research Forum.

A few years back, I watched a police use of force that has stuck with me. A detained suspect was verbally abusing a patrol officer. After enduring five minutes of despicable racial slurs, and becoming noticeably angrier with each repulsive epithet, the officer finally lost his cool and punched the suspect in the face.

Four other officers were present, and all watched it happen. None stepped in to de-escalate the situation at any time. Not one officer suggested to the target of the racist slurs that he should step back from the suspect or leave the room, or simply take a breath. No one had that “courageous conversation.” They all just watched. Following the punch, not one of the officers stood up to his/her colleagues and said, “We should report this.”

All five officers ultimately lost their jobs, their chosen careers, their income and probably more.

If just one of the officers in the room had been taught what it means to be an “active bystander,” the whole, sad affair could have been avoided. Had one officer in that room been given the skills to intervene effectively and safely (either before the punch was thrown, or at least before the decision not to report the incident was made), all five careers likely would have been saved. Considering the abuse he was taking, even the officer who punched the detainee probably would not have lost his job.

The whole incident was very frustrating – from the excessive use of force, to the bad decision-making, to the unnecessary cessation of five promising careers.

Shortly after my 2013 appointment by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana to serve as Monitor over the New Orleans Police Department, following the City’s entry into a far-reaching federal consent decree, I made two promises to the citizens of New Orleans and to the officers charged with protecting and serving them. First, I promised I would be a fair, honest and vocal critic when the NOPD’s performance was sub-par. Second, I promised I would be an equally fair, honest and vocal advocate when NOPD did something worthy of praise. I am writing this article to honor that second promise.


In early 2016, recognizing that events like the one above happen all too often in departments across the country, a number of NOPD officers – with full support from NOPD management and the community – created a program called EPIC.

EPIC stands for Ethical Policing Is Courageous, and is a program like none I have seen in the United States. EPIC is a department-wide peer intervention program (actually it is more a philosophy than a program), crafted to harness the abilities of rank-and-file officers to serve as the first line of defense in preventing mistakes and misconduct among their peers.

EPIC empowers and gives police officers the strategies and tools they need to step in and prevent problems before they occur; and then protects those officers who have the courage to apply those strategies and tools in the field.

EPIC is not a discipline program or a “rat-on-your-colleagues” program. EPIC is a practical prevention program tailored to the reality that officers too often lose their careers to misconduct that could have been avoided.

In designing EPIC, the men and women of the NOPD started by asking themselves a simple question: Why are officers so quick to risk their lives for their peers, but so slow to stop them before they do something that may end their career?

In the words of Mark Twain, why is it that “physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare”?


To answer these questions, the NOPD brought in some of the nation’s leading thinkers on the topic of “active bystandership” to form a working group along with police officers.

An “active bystander” intervenes when he or she sees something happening or about to happen that is wrong. “Passive bystanders” fail to intervene for various reasons. They may be afraid they are interpreting the situation incorrectly, or they think it is not their job to intervene, or they have a misplaced sense of loyalty to a colleague. The EPIC training attacks these “inhibitors” to intervention head-on.

Passive bystandership not only allows bad things to happen; it also has a corrosive effect on standards. If no one intervenes to stop misconduct, it creates a sense that the misconduct is normal behavior, resulting in more misconduct.

The NOPD’s working group included a psychologist, a historian who has studied passive bystandership during the Holocaust and other international atrocities, the author of a forward-thinking policing text, community members, police association members, and officers at all levels.


The resulting peer intervention solution revolves around five simple goals:

1. Help officers understand the career-saving benefits of intervention and the huge risks (including the growing legal risks) of non-intervention.

2. Help officers identify the signs that an intervention is necessary.

3. Teach officers how to intervene effectively and safely.

4. Teach officers how and why to respectfully accept intervention.

5. Protect officers who intervene and those who accept intervention.

The NOPD pursues these goals through training at all levels – recruit training, in-service and roll calls. The training teaches peer intervention science, skills and strategies through a multi-media approach.

As part of the training, officers participate in a number of role-playing scenarios that simulate the situations that present a need for intervention and the common inhibitors to action.

Just as with firearms simulation-based training, the NOPD’s peer intervention scenario-based training is designed to give officers a tactical advantage in the field, and prepare them to deal with the potentially career-ending situations they will be called upon to handle over the course of their time in blue.


NOPD’s peer intervention philosophy does not stop at the Academy gate. The Department has called upon each of its leaders to incorporate and promote EPIC within their units. So far, each is answering the call.

The Department’s Internal Affairs function, for example, has taken a meaningful step in this direction by adding successful peer intervention as a formal mitigating factor against any related misconduct – both for the intervenor and for the officer who was intervened upon. (Of course, as in the example that began this essay, had intervention come early enough, there would have been no misconduct to report in the first place.)

Peer intervention programs are not a 21st century invention. The medical, airline and education professions have been applying peer intervention techniques for years. The military likewise has embraced this philosophy. Elementary schools, high schools and universities have figured out that peer intervention programs are an effective tool for combating bullying, sexual abuse and mental health issues. However, few law enforcement agencies have realized the advantages of giving officers these same career-saving and life-saving tools. New Orleans’ EPIC program fully embraces peer intervention at all levels of the department.


NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison, a champion of the Department’s EPIC program, applauds his officers for developing such an innovative program. Harrison sees EPIC not only as a career-saving tool, but as a life-saving tool.

“As police officers, we operate in a highly stressful environment,” Harrison said. “As a profession, we suffer from depression, alcoholism, family problems and suicide more than most other professions. EPIC will help us all recognize the moments when that stress is getting the better of one of our colleagues, and will give us the courage and the tools to step in and offer help. I believe the program will save families and lives.”

While the NOPD presents EPIC to its members as an officer survival program, EPIC is just as much a community survival program. In the same way airline passengers benefit when a co-pilot says to a pilot, “I think you’re coming in too low; recheck your gauges,” the community benefits when one officer says to another, “I know you’re frustrated (or mad, or scared), but don’t do what you are about to do.”

NOPD EPIC Project Manager Jacob Lundy, an NOPD veteran and ranking member of the local Fraternal Order of Police chapter, views EPIC as the “perfect win-win strategy,” because “the community and the department clearly benefit when mistakes and misconduct are prevented.”

In sum, NOPD’s EPIC program reflects an astute realization that intervention techniques can be taught like any other policing strategy. The men and women of the NOPD deserve great credit for their development of this innovative solution to a vexing national problem.

I have little doubt the New Orleans peer intervention program soon will become a national model – the New Orleans Model. Officers simply cannot afford not to take active steps to protect their own careers, their families and their chosen profession. The community cannot afford it either.

Jonathan Aronie is a partner in the internal investigations and civil fraud practice group of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton, LLP in Washington DC. In August 2013, Jonathan was appointed by the U.S. District Court for the District of Louisiana to lead the monitoring team over the NOPD Consent Decree. In addition to Aronie, the NOPD Monitoring Team includes five former police chiefs, two criminologists, and a former civil rights prosecutor.

Categories: Latest News

Police release video of officer shooting at actor playing armed robber

PoliceOne - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 15:48

By PoliceOne Staff

CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. — Police released body camera footage of an officer firing a shot at an actor who was playing the role of a bank robber.

The officer arrived to the scene Sept. 26 after receiving a call about an armed robbery in progress, according to The Kansas City Star.

The actor, Jim Duff, was wearing a ski mask and holding a fake gun. Police say the officer fired one shot after police demanded Duff drop the weapon and he turned toward them.

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RAW VIDEO: Crawfordsville, Indiana Police Officer Shoots at Actor on Movie Set, Mistaking Him For Real Bank Robber; No Injuries

Posted by Breaking911 on Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Duff then dropped the gun and was taken into custody while officers assessed the situation. The production company did not inform police or other business owners about the shoot, according to the report.

No one was injured.

Categories: Latest News

Cop suing NYPD, tennis star for defamation after being cast as 'racist' in false arrest

PoliceOne - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 15:46

By PoliceOne Staff

NEW YORK – The officer at the center of an arrest incident that garnered national attention has filed a defamation lawsuit.

According to the Washington Post, Officer James Frascatore filed a lawsuit Tuesday against tennis star James Blake, the city of New York, the NYPD and the NYPD’s Civilian Complaint Review Board.

Frascatore was seen on video taking down and arresting Blake outside of a hotel in 2015. Police were investigating a fraud case at the time and Frascatore says he believed Blake matched the description of the suspect. Blake was released around 10-15 minutes later when police realized their mistake.

Blake spoke out in the wake of the incident, calling for Frascatore’s termination and accusing him of excessive force. He also published a book earlier this year that includes a description of the incident.

The city and department later apologized to Blake.

In the lawsuit, Frascatore accuses Blake of casting the officer “as a racist and a goon.” He also accuses the city of scapegoating him as a racist.

Frascatore is still on modified duty with the NYPD, according to the report.

“I have a family to go home to. I’m on a crowded sidewalk, with a possibly armed suspect in the middle of 42nd Street,’’ Frascatore told the NY Post. “You have to take control of the situation. I can’t just be pulling out my gun. People need to realize that, with the information I had at the time and the circumstances that presented themselves, it was the right call.”

Frascatore has previously been named in several civil rights lawsuits and civilian complaints, according to the Associated Press.

Categories: Latest News

Security officer who located Vegas shooter kept helping cops after being shot

PoliceOne - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 15:43

By PoliceOne Staff

LAS VEGAS – An unarmed security officer is being hailed as a hero for his part in stopping the gunman in Sunday’s deadly attack in Las Vegas.

According to ABC News, Jesus Campos located Stephen Paddock on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. He was shot in the leg as he approached Paddock’s room – which had cameras set up to detect police.

Despite his wound and the hail of gunfire he faced, Campos managed to alert police to Paddock’s location. Campos even provided a hotel key for the officers to clear the floor and continued to help until they urged him to get medical treatment.

Campos told ABC News he was just doing his job.

Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo praised the security officer in a news conference on Wednesday.

"His bravery was amazing," Lombardo said. "He gave our officers the key card for the room and then continued clearing rooms until he was ordered to go seek attention."

Paddock fired over 200 rounds when he was discovered.

Categories: Latest News

Man who rescued Vegas victims after being shot in neck was saved by cop

PoliceOne - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 15:25

By Lyndsay Winkley The San Diego Union-Tribune

LAS VEGAS — Sometimes even heroes need heroes.

As bullets rained down on concertgoers at the 91 Harvest Festival, Jonathan Smith shepherded dozens of people to safety and, in the process, took a bullet to the neck. His picture was shared tens of thousands of times on social media.

Many people praised Smith’s heroism, but the 30-year-old Orange County man might not have survived without a hero of his own. He told the Washington Post that a San Diego police officer saved his life.

That officer was Tom McGrath.

He was in the crowd with his wife and another off-duty officer when 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, a poker-playing accountant and real estate investor, started shooting from his suite on the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

Chaos erupted. Behind McGrath, a woman was shot in the chest. He immediately took off his shirt and he and his wife put pressure on the wound. The shooting began again and the couple was separated in the ensuing stampede.

"A lot of people had gotten hit,” McGrath said. “I was checking them, one, to make sure they weren't my wife and, two, to see if there was any aid I could lend them.”

He managed to escape the area and found Smith injured in a nearby parking lot, McGrath told reporters Wednesday, speaking at San Diego police headquarters. San Diego police Officer Max Verduzco, who was also at the concert, shared his experience as well.

Both officers spoke with emotion as they recounted their still-vivid experiences.

According to the Washington Post, Smith was close to the stage when gunshots rang out during country singer Jason Aldean’s performance. Smith and his brother, Louis Rust, focused on getting their nine family members, including children, to safety.

At some point, Smith got separated from his family. As he turned to look for them, he noticed a group of people huddled behind a sheriff’s patrol car near the edge of the concert lawn, the Post article said. He started grabbing people and telling them to follow him as he ran to a nearby parking lot.

"I got a few people out of there," Smith told the newspaper. "You could hear the shots. It sounded like it was coming from all over Las Vegas Boulevard."

As the group crouched behind a row of cars, Smith noticed two girls who were exposed, according to the Post. He stood to tell them to move and was shot in his neck.

In another part of the festival area, Officer McGrath hid under a sound booth, waiting to escape the gunfire.

“It felt like the fourth (volley) was the closest,” he said. “I don't know if it was because I was alone or the adrenaline was pumping, but I could hear the rounds hit the metal poles — hit the ground.”

In the next moment of quiet, he ran. He ran as fast as he could.

McGrath was looking for his wife when he found Smith. The officer used Smith’s shirt to pack the bloody wound, all the while telling Smith he was going to be OK.

“I told him, ‘We need to go. I'll walk your pace. I'm not going to leave you,’” McGrath said.

The officer managed to find a pickup carting other injured people and he put Smith inside. He also helped tie a tourniquet on the leg of a woman who had been shot in the knee, he said. McGrath got into the truck and told the driver to find a police outpost.

They found one a couple miles away. McGrath told paramedics Smith needed to go to a hospital immediately. Reflecting on the ordeal afterward, McGrath assumed Smith had died of his injuries.

But he didn’t.

Doctors decided not to remove the bullet lodged in Smith’s neck for fear of causing more damage. He also suffered a bruised lung, a fractured rib and a broken clavicle, according to a GoFundMe started to help pay for accruing medical costs.

The officer and Smith would later reconnect and speak at length over the phone. During a CNN interview, Smith said he now considers McGrath a brother, and the officer concurred.

San Diego police Officer Max Verduzco was also at the concert when the shooting started. As the gunfire raged, he ran to a fence and helped push it backwards so people could slip past the barricade.

When he came across people huddling behind cars, he directed people to hide behind wheel wells and the engine, which would provide better cover.

He found himself near a Las Vegas officer who was trying to apply a tourniquet. Verduzco identified himself as off-duty law enforcement and offered to help treat people.

He went from victim to victim, giving his belt to one for a tourniquet, and his shirt to another to help stanch a bleeding wound.

“One girl was hit in the leg. She was freaking out, but I could tell she was going to be fine,” he said. “...I told her ‘Hey, look at me. You’re gonna make it.’”

The last victim Verduzco helped was an off-duty deputy from Orange County. He was suffering from a gunshot wound to the abdomen. The deputy said he’d been shot while running to help injured people.

“I told him, ‘You’re a hero. I ran, but you’re a hero,” Verduzco said with tears in his eyes.

Deputy Joe Owen was shot twice, once in the abdomen and once in the thigh, according to the Orange County Register. The injuries were serious but not life-threatening.

Tuesday night, the officer’s father, a retired San Diego police sergeant also named Max, visited his son at his home. The elder Verduzco knows the horror of a mass shooting all too well — he responded to the San Ysidro McDonald’s massacre on July 18, 1984.

On that day, 41-year-old James Huberty shot and killed 21 people and injured 19 others before he was fatally shot by a sniper on the SWAT team.

When Verduzco became an officer, his father said he hoped his son would never have to respond to something so deadly.

©2017 The San Diego Union-Tribune

Categories: Latest News

How to stop a sniper? Police sharpshooters firing from copters is one idea

PoliceOne - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 15:21

By Richard Winton, Geoffrey Mohan and Sarah Parvini and Corina Knoll Los Angeles Times

He was a quarter of a mile away and a few hundred feet high — the smallest of specks in a boisterous landscape.

They were 22,000 targets in an open field, dodging gunfire on a night when music turned to madness.

Some staked their lives on the shelter of a beer cart, a food truck, a cooler. Those who ran had little sense of direction. Were they racing toward the shots? Would a car, a restaurant, a hotel closet, become refuge or a trap?

The mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival would leave 58 dead and hundreds more injured.

It would also highlight the vulnerability of those in the focus of a sniper as well as the chilling limitations of responding officers.

Authorities have long discussed the threat of terrorism by a sniper in a crowded area and the reality that there are relatively few tools to prevent or quickly stop such an attack.

Los Angeles police have tried different tactics, including placing sharpshooters on rooftops during the Academy Awards. Earlier this year and for the first time, the LAPD had a police officer in a helicopter shoot a suspect who was firing from the top of a hill.

But replicating those tactics more commonly at open-air events would be costly and in some cases impractical.

Stephen Paddock’s position — a window on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel — gave him “commanding terrain,” said Charles Heal, a retired Los Angeles County sheriff’s commander and special weapons leader.

“There were so many people in his line of fire, he didn’t need to target anyone,” Heal said. He noted that the complexity of a high-rise hotel created a maze for police attempting to track Paddock.

“If you don't find cover, given his position, he is likely to hit you.”

The scene was sustained by what could be called the trigonometry of terror.

Retired Army Lt. Col. Arthur B. Alphin said Paddock was a patient, well-trained gunner who did not pick and choose his targets, but held to a steady kill zone centered in the middle of thousands of concertgoers.

“He had a huge area of three, four or five football fields with people standing shoulder to shoulder,” said Alphin, who has a mechanical engineering degree and specialized in ballistics.

“He was not aiming at any individual person. He was just throwing bullets in a huge ‘beaten zone.’ ”

Beaten zone is an infantry term dating to World War I. Shaped like the area a searchlight casts across a flat surface, it refers to where bullets can strike. It can move substantially with tiny changes in the tilt of the gun.

From his perch, Paddock was firing down the hypotenuse of a right triangle and would have to adjust his aim for the arc of the bullet — a skill that would require training.

At least one of the 23 weapons found in his hotel room had a bipod stand to hold it steady, authorities said.

Officers on the ground would be virtually ineffective when combating a sniper so far away, said San Marino Police Chief John Incontro, a former LAPD SWAT captain.

“Even if you see the muzzle flash, we are talking officers with pistols,” Incontro said. “Even with rifles, you have a prospect of missing and harming others.”

Experts believe the Las Vegas massacre will force a shift in the paradigm for policing outdoor events. Locations will be vetted for quick escape routes for large crowds. Event organizers might be asked to have materials on hand that could become a makeshift fence. Tactical plans could be drawn up for areas such as L.A. Live where skyscrapers loom.

Los Angeles police currently station counter-snipers at open-air events, but the tactic is used sparingly and only for major affairs, such as award shows. A counter-sniper would have to be positioned higher than the shooter.

After a five-hour standoff with a gunman in Sunland, Los Angeles police were ordered to fire from a helicopter. The man was at the top of the hill in a house and had been difficult for responding officers to reach. Chief Charlie Beck said the decision to employ the tactics was made at the highest levels of the department.

It’s not clear if that approach would have been effective in a situation like Las Vegas.

“You have to get pretty close for that shot,” said Incontro, adding that a sniper could also be compelled to shoot at the helicopter, possibly forcing it into the ground.

Paddock’s plan of attack was similar to that of Charles Whitman, a former Marine sharpshooter who opened fire from a tower at the University of Texas at Austin in 1966.

Whitman, who lost his scholarship to the school a few years earlier, had taken an elevator to the 27th floor, where he hauled rifles up two flights of stairs to the observation deck. Sixteen people were killed.

Paddock was at an even higher distance and armed with weapons modified to rapidly fire when he began his relentless attack on the crowd below.

He was able to create a setting similar to that of a battlefield, said James Allen Fox, a Northeastern University criminologist who researches mass killings.

Those watching country singer Jason Aldean perform Sunday night dismissed the initial gunshots as firecrackers.

Then bodies began to drop.

“We’ve got to go!” Jared Birnbaum heard his girlfriend say before she disappeared in the chaos.

He scrambled to an exit only to be stopped by a police officer redirecting the mob. Birnbaum then dove under nearby bleachers, joining hundreds of others.

By then, the 30-year-old was covered in blood — most of it from other people — and hearing talk of multiple shooters. He feared being taken hostage in what felt like a fishbowl of raining bullets.

“All you could do is duck and put your hands behind your head,” he said, “and hope you’re not one of the ones to go.”

©2017 the Los Angeles Times

Categories: Latest News

Calif. becomes 'sanctuary state' as governor signs bill

PoliceOne - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 12:39

By Jonathan J. Cooper and Kathleen Ronayne Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Gov. Jerry Brown signed "sanctuary state" legislation Thursday that extends protections for immigrants living in the United States illegally — a move that gives the nation's most populous state another tool to fight President Donald Trump.

Brown's signature means that police will be barred from asking people about their immigration status or participating in federal immigration enforcement activities starting Jan. 1. Jail officials only will be allowed to transfer inmates to federal immigration authorities if they have been convicted of certain crimes.

California is home to an estimated 2.3 million immigrations without legal authorization.

"These are uncertain times for undocumented Californians and their families, and this bill strikes a balance that will protect public safety, while bringing a measure of comfort to those families who are now living in fear every day," Brown said in statement.

The Trump administration said the bill will make California more dangerous.

The state "has now codified a commitment to returning criminal aliens back onto our streets, which undermines public safety, national security, and law enforcement," Devin O'Malley, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice, said in a statement.

The measure came in response to widespread fear in immigrant communities following Trump's election. He railed against immigrants in his campaign and promised to sharply ramp up the deportation of people living in the U.S. illegally.

Democrats hope blocking police from cooperating will limit the reach of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.

The bill "will put a large kink in Trump's perverse and inhumane deportation machine," Democratic Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon said at a press conference in Los Angeles celebrating the signing.

De Leon's bill cleared the Legislature with support only from Democrats. Republicans said it will protect criminals and make it harder for law enforcement to keep people safe.

The bill, SB54, originally would have severely restricted the authority of police officers to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. At Brown's insistence, it was scaled back to allow cooperation in jails.

Police and sheriff's officials, including jail officers, will still be able to work with federal immigration authorities if a person has been convicted of one of about 800 crimes, mostly felonies and misdemeanors that can be charged as felonies. But they will be barred from transferring immigrants to federal authorities if their rap sheet includes only minor offenses.

The changes convinced the California police chiefs association to drop its opposition, while sheriffs — elected officials who run jails — remained opposed. ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan has condemned the measure, saying California is prioritizing politics over public safety.

California's Democratic political leaders have enthusiastically battled Trump and his administration with lawsuits, legislation and fiery public rhetoric, particularly about immigration and the environment.

Some law enforcement officials say the impact of the sanctuary measure likely will be minimal because it bans immigration enforcement activities that few agencies participate in.

Immigrant rights advocates say it's important to codify restrictions with the force of law while adding new ones. For them, it's a rare victory during Trump's presidency.

The measure was dubbed a "sanctuary state" bill because it sought to expand so-called sanctuary city policies that have long been in place in some of California's biggest cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Brown and de Leon have said the bill does not give safe harbor to immigrants, particularly after the concessions Brown demanded.

Categories: Latest News

Off-duty NY parole officer dies in exchange of gunfire with police

PoliceOne - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 12:35

Associated Press

CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. — A police officer who was sent to an off-duty state parole officer's apartment to check on her ended up in a shootout and shot and killed her, authorities said Thursday.

The police officer went to Pinnacle North Apartments on Wednesday afternoon to check up on Sandra Guardiola at the request of another parole officer, Canandaigua police Chief Stephen Hedworth said.

When no one answered her door, an employee of the complex let the officer into the apartment, Hedworth said. Moments later, shots were fired inside the apartment, he said.

Guardiola, 48, was killed, Hedworth said. The police officer was uninjured.

Here's what @news10nbc has to say about an off-duty parole officer who died following Canandaigua shooting.

— Melody Burri (@MelodyBurri) October 5, 2017

The police chief said the investigation into the shooting was immediately turned over to the New York State Police. Investigators were trying to determine what led to the shootout and how many shots were fired, state police Maj. Richard Allen said.

"We're still putting those facts together," Allen said Thursday.

Guardiola started working for the state Department of Corrections and Community Services in May 2015. She was originally from the New York City area and had spent the past year in Canandaigua, in the Finger Lakes region 25 miles (40 kilometers) southeast of Rochester.

Hedworth said the police officer who shot Guardiola has more than 20 years of experience in law enforcement, including the past 15 years with the Canandaigua Police Department. The officer, whose name hasn't been released, was placed on paid administrative leave while the investigation is underway.

Categories: Latest News

Dismantling and arrest of a Moldovan criminal organisation

EUROPOL - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 03:54
On 1 October 2017, four suspects were arrested in Moldova for associating with a criminal organisation and trafficking very large amounts of drugs. The arrests were the result of a long-term operation run by the Moldovan authorities (the National Inspectorate of Investigations and the Organised Crime and Special Cases Section of the Prosecution Office), supported and coordinated by Europol.
Categories: Latest News

Vegas killer's girlfriend says he left her in the dark

PoliceOne - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 19:08

By Brian Melley, Michael Balsamo and Ken Ritter Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — The girlfriend of the Las Vegas gunman said Wednesday that she had no inkling of the massacre he was plotting when he sent her on a trip abroad to see her family.

Marilou Danley issued the statement after returning from her native Philippines and being questioned for much of the day by FBI agents still trying to figure out what drove Stephen Paddock to open fire on 22,000 fans at a country music festival from his 32nd-floor hotel suite.

"He never said anything to me or took any action that I was aware of that I understood in any way to be a warning that something horrible like this was going to happen," Danley said in a statement read by her lawyer outside FBI headquarters in Los Angeles.

Danley, who was overseas for more than two weeks, said she was initially pleased when Paddock wired her money in the Philippines to buy a house for her family. But she later feared it was a way to break up with her.

"It never occurred to me in any way whatsoever that he was planning violence against anyone," she said.

Danley, 62, who has been called a person of interest by investigators, said she loved Paddock as a "kind, caring, quiet man" and hoped they would have a future together. She said she was devastated by the carnage and would cooperate with authorities as they struggle to get inside Paddock's mind.

Investigators are busy reconstructing his life, behavior and the people he encountered in the weeks leading up to the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said. That includes examining his computer and cellphone.

But as of Wednesday, investigators were unable to come up with a motive for the attack Sunday night.

"This individual and this attack didn't leave the sort of immediately accessible thumbprints that you find on some mass casualty attacks," McCabe said.

Paddock killed 58 people and wounded more than 500 others before killing himself in his room at the Mandalay Bay hotel casino, authorities said. The Associated Press previously reported that 59 victims were killed, but has received revised information from the Clark County coroner.

Paddock had 1,600 rounds of ammunition and several containers of an explosive commonly used in target shooting that totaled 50 pounds in his car, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said. But the sheriff said he didn't know what, if anything, Paddock planned with the explosives.

The shooter also sprayed 200 rounds of gunfire into the hallway when a security guard approached his hotel room, Lombardo said. The security guard was hit in the leg. Lombardo said Paddock planned to survive and escape from the hotel, but he didn't say how.

The 64-year-old high-stakes gambler and real estate investor specifically requested an upper-floor room with a view of the music festival when he checked in last Thursday, according to a person who has seen hotel records turned over to investigators but wasn't authorized to speak publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

It was just another indication of how methodically he planned the attack. Authorities have said he brought 23 weapons in 10 suitcases into the room and set up cameras inside and out to watch for police closing in on him. But Lombardo said Wednesday that none of the cameras was recording.

So far, investigators have little to work with in trying to determine what set him off.

While he had a passion for high-stakes gambling at Nevada casinos, his game of choice was video poker, a relatively solitary pursuit with no dealer and no humans to play against. And while neighbors described Paddock as friendly, he wasn't close to them.

"He was a private guy. That's why you can't find out anything about him," his brother Eric Paddock said from his home in Florida. As for what triggered the massacre, the brother said, "Something happened that drove him into the pit of hell."

Occasionally, Paddock shared news of his gambling winnings, his brother said, recalling a photo text message he received showing a $40,000 payout.

Casino regulators are looking closely at Paddock's gambling habits and checking their records to see whether he had any disputes with casinos or fellow patrons. In addition, investigators are examining a dozen financial reports filed in recent weeks when he bought more than $10,000 in casino chips.

It was in a casino where Paddock met his girlfriend, who was a high-limit hostess for Club Paradise at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno, Eric Paddock told The Washington Post.

Stephen Paddock wired $100,000 to the Philippines days before the shooting, a U.S. official who was not authorized to speak publicly because of the continuing investigation said on condition of anonymity. Investigators are trying to trace that money.

Danley's sisters in Australia said in a TV interview that they believe Paddock sent her away so she wouldn't interfere with his murderous plans.

Paddock had no known criminal history. Public records contained no indication of any financial problems, and his brother described him as a wealthy real estate investor.

"I believe, based on what I have been told, the issue was not that he was under financial stress," said Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, the ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security Committee.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump met privately with victims at a Las Vegas hospital Wednesday and then with police officers and dispatchers, praising them and the doctors who treated the wounded.

"Our souls are stricken with grief for every American who lost a husband or a wife, a mother or a father, a son or a daughter," he said. "We know that your sorrow feels endless. We stand together to help you carry your pain."

Paddock had stockpiled 47 guns since 1982 and bought 33 of them, mostly rifles, over the past year alone, right up until three days before the attack, Jill Snyder, an agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, told CBS on Wednesday.

Categories: Latest News

The extraordinary value of dash cam evidence in police civil rights litigation

PoliceOne - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 14:54

Author: Mike Callahan

In civil rights lawsuits filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983, defendant officers almost universally assert the Qualified Immunity Defense before trial by filing a motion seeking dismissal through Summary Judgement.

The officers’ goal is to obtain an early dismissal of the suit by the trial judge to avoid protracted discovery and trial. If the defense is successful, a judge vindicates the officers as a matter of law (i.e., Summary Judgement) without trial by jury.

For the trial judge to rule on the efficacy of the defense, they must decide, based upon the known facts, whether the officer violated a constitutional amendment and, if so, whether the law was clearly established on the conduct in question.

When material facts of the incident are in dispute, the trial judge has historically been required (by court rule) to adopt the plaintiff’s version of the disputed facts in reaching a decision.

If the trial judge rejects the qualified immunity defense before trial, based upon the required acceptance of the plaintiff’s version of material facts in dispute, the case will proceed to a jury trial unless the trial judge’s decision is reversed on appeal. A trial by jury in these matters is the last thing a defendant officer should hope for.

Scott v. Harris dash cam video: An exception to the rule

Recent rulings of the United States Supreme Court have created a clear exception to the time-honored rule of civil procedure that mandated trial judges adopt the plaintiff’s version of disputed material facts in deciding summary judgement motions in civil rights cases.

The dynamic entrance of police dash cam video onto the litigation stage is the fundamental cause of this dramatic change.

On April 30, 2007, the United States Supreme Court decided Scott v. Harris 550 U.S. 372 (2007). A Georgia deputy sheriff attempted to stop Harris for speeding. Harris refused to yield and began traveling down a two-lane road at speeds exceeding 85 mph. Deputy Scott implemented the so-called “Precision Intervention Technique” (PIT) to bring the chase to a halt. Harris’ vehicle ran down an embankment, overturned and crashed. Harris sustained injuries that led to him becoming a quadriplegic.

Harris sued Scott and other officials pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983, alleging that Scott’s use of the “PIT” maneuver amounted to excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

Both the Federal District Court and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals accepted Harris’ version of disputed facts, rejected Scott’s motion to dismiss based on qualified immunity and ruled that the case must proceed to trial. Scott petitioned the Supreme Court, which accepted the case for review and reversed.

The Supreme Court ruled 8-1 in favor of Deputy Scott. The Court observed that normal procedure in deciding cases involving pre-trial assertion of the qualified immunity defense and disputed material facts requires the lower courts to accept the plaintiff’s [Harris’] version of disputed facts as true. However, the Supreme Court rejected normal procedure in this case because of the existence of clear and unequivocal video tape evidence that displayed what occurred during the pursuit. The video tape was available from the dashboard cameras that were in the police cruisers that participated in the pursuit.

The Court observed that the dash cam video evidence clearly contradicted Harris’ version of what happened in the pursuit. Harris had given the impression he was driving so carefully one might conclude he was attempting to pass a driver’s test.

The Court noted that the video tape told a different story.

The Court observed, “We see Harris’ vehicle racing down narrow, two-lane roads in the dead of night at speeds that are shockingly fast. We see it swerve around more than a dozen other cars, cross the double yellow line, and force cars traveling in both directions to their respective shoulders to avoid being hit.”

The Court also noted, “Far from being the cautious and controlled driver the lower court depicts, what we see on the video more closely resembles a Hollywood-style car chase of the most frightening sort, placing police officers and innocent bystanders alike at great risk of serious injury.”

The Court made clear that in future cases, the lower courts must make use of reliable video evidence when resolving qualified immunity claims by police officers.

After viewing the video, the Court ruled that Deputy Scott’s tapping of Harris’ bumper was a “seizure” pursuant to the Fourth Amendment and that the “seizure” was lawful, i.e., accomplished with “objective reasonableness” pursuant to the Court’s earlier decision in Graham v. Connor 490 U.S. 386 (1989).

The Court stated that in “judging whether [Deputy] Scott’s actions were reasonable, we must consider the risk of bodily harm that Scott’s actions posed to [Harris] in light of the threat to the public that Scott was trying to eliminate.”

In the latter respect, the Court observed that Harris posed an actual and imminent threat to the lives of any pedestrians, other motorists and the officers involved in the pursuit. The Court explained “it [is] appropriate…to take into account not only the number of lives at risk [i.e., pedestrians, other drivers and police officers] but also their relative culpability. It was [Harris], after all who intentionally placed himself and the public in danger by unlawfully engaging in the reckless, high-speed flight that ultimately produced the choice between the two evils that Scott confronted.”

The Court declared that Harris could have ended the 10-mile pursuit at any time by simply applying the brakes on his vehicle. The Court had no trouble in concluding that Scott acted reasonably under the Fourth Amendment.

Finally, the Court debunked Harris’ claim that the police should have terminated the chase instead of using the “PIT” maneuver upon his vehicle.

The Court declared, “[W]e are loath to lay down a rule requiring the police to allow fleeing suspects to get away whenever they drive so recklessly that they put other people’s lives in danger.”

The Court concluded by stating, “[i]nstead, we lay down a more sensible rule: A police officer’s attempt to terminate a dangerous high-speed car chase that threatens the lives of innocent bystanders does not violate the Fourth Amendment, even when it places the fleeing motorist at risk of serious injury or death.”

Plumhoff v. Rikard Dash Cam Video: Exception Reaffirmed

Seven years later, the Supreme Court repeated its emphasis on the videotape exception it created in Scott. On May 27, 2014, the Court decided Plumhoff v. Rickard 134 S.Ct. 2012 (2014). In this case, Rickard, the male driver of a vehicle pursued by police for a traffic offense, and Allen, his female passenger, were shot and killed by pursuing officers.

The Court ruled 8-1 that officers did not violate the Fourth Amendment when they terminated a high-speed pursuit by shooting the driver of the suspect vehicle. Moreover, the Court ruled 7-2 that officers did not violate the Fourth Amendment when they fired 15 shots at the driver to end the dangerous pursuit. Finally, the Court ruled alternatively 9-0 that the involved officers did not violate clearly established Fourth Amendment law at the time they shot and killed the male driver and therefore were entitled to dismissal of the case upon qualified immunity grounds.

In Plumhoff, the driver of a vehicle (Rickard) and his female passenger (Allen) were stopped by a West Memphis, Arkansas, police officer for driving with one headlight. Rickard suddenly drove off and a multi-car police pursuit followed. The chase continued from Arkansas into Memphis, Tennessee.

Several police vehicle video cameras captured the entire chase. Rickard drove at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour and passed more than two dozen other vehicles during the pursuit. Rickard’s vehicle spun-out and collided with a cruiser. Other police vehicles surrounded the suspect vehicle, leaving only one way for Rickard to attempt escape. Rickard’s front bumper contacted a police vehicle that blocked Rickard from moving forward. The wheels on Rickard’s car were spinning and his car was rocking back and forth. He used his accelerator to break free, even though his front bumper was flush against the front of a police cruiser.

Officers approached the suspect vehicle on foot. Officer Evans approached on the passenger side and attempted to open the door without success. At that time, Officer Plumhoff fired three shots into the Rickard vehicle from the passenger side. Rickard placed the car in reverse and maneuvered onto another street, almost striking an officer in the process. Rickard placed the car in drive and began to move forward.

Officer Gardner fired 10 shots at Rickard’s moving vehicle, first from the passenger side and then from the rear as it proceeded forward. A third officer likewise fired two shots at the vehicle. Officers fired 15 shots at the Rickard vehicle during the encounter. Rickard drove down the road, but subsequently crashed into a nearby building, not far from the shooting scene. Both Rickard and Allen were killed. Twelve rounds hit Rickard and two hit Allen.

The participating officers were sued pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983. The Federal District Court Judge refused to dismiss the lawsuit before trial and rejected the officers’ assertion of qualified immunity. The Sixth Circuit affirmed and ordered that the case proceed to trial. The court noted that after the Supreme Court’s ruling in Scott, federal appellate courts are now required to consider evidence such as video that shows that a plaintiff’s version of disputed facts is demonstrably not credible.

The Sixth Circuit reviewed the videotape, but remained unpersuaded that it required reversal of the District Court’s rejection of the qualified immunity defense.

The Supreme Court reviewed the dash cam video and reversed. The Court observed that Rickard drove at speeds of more than 100 mph to outrun the pursuit. He placed the lives of numerous motorists in jeopardy and the Court characterized his driving as “outrageously reckless.”

The Court noted that when Rickard collided with a police vehicle and temporarily came to a stop, he refused to yield. In less than three seconds, with his front bumper flush against a police cruiser, he pressed down on his accelerator, causing his wheels to spin. He placed his car in reverse and backed up in a circular fashion, never yielding to officers on foot near his vehicle.

The Court stated, “The record [i.e., the videotape] conclusively disproves [Rickard’s Estate] claim that the chase … was already over when [the officers] began shooting.”

The Court explained that “Under these circumstances, at the moment when the shots were fired, all that a reasonable officer could have concluded was that Rickard was intent on resuming his flight and that, if he was allowed to do so, he would once again pose a deadly threat for others on the road.”

The Court ruled that firing 15 shots into the vehicle was reasonable and explained, “It stands to reason that, if police officers are justified in firing at a suspect in order to end a severe threat to public safety, the officers need not stop shooting until the threat is ended.”

The Implications

We can derive several learning points from these cases:

Police dash cam video (and video from other sources) is extremely valuable in police civil rights litigation. Dash cam video has resulted in the creation by the U.S. Supreme Court of an exception to the rule requiring lower court judges to adopt only the plaintiff’s version of disputed material facts when ruling on pre-trial Qualified Immunity Summary Judgement motions. This videotape exception requires trial judges to examine the videotape evidence to resolve disputed material facts. This new exception has already resulted in two highly favorable pre-trial verdicts for officer defendants at the Supreme Court level in very serious civil rights cases. Because the great majority of officers act reasonably in responding to conduct that threatens serious bodily injury/death to the innocent, the availability of videotape evidence in civil rights litigation is very likely to result in future dismissal of these cases without trial on Qualified Immunity grounds. The favorable outcome to law enforcement in both Scott and Plumhoff (both cases involving the deaths of the occupants of one vehicle fleeing from police and the permanent serious injury of another driver) highlight the extraordinary value of the Qualified Immunity Defense supported by videotape evidence. Scott/Plumhoff demonstrates the Supreme Court’s total disdain for persons who drive in extreme disregard for the innocent and the belief of the Court that law enforcement has a duty to stop these driver’s from engaging in reckless behavior, even if it results in their death or serious bodily harm.
Categories: Latest News

Calif. cop, a new father, shot in head during Vegas massacre

PoliceOne - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 13:05
Author: Mike Callahan

By Ryan Hagen San Bernardino County Sun

UPDATE 4:05 p.m. (PST):

Officer Michael Gracia was able to get out of his hospital bed and take steps today, according to the City of Ontario. As Gracia continues to show signs of improvement, The Ontario Police Officers' Association has set up a fund through the Ontario Public Employees Credit Union. Find more information about the fund here.

Original story below.

LAS VEGAS — An Ontario police officer who was shot in the head during Sunday night’s mass shooting in Las Vegas underwent surgery Monday and was in critical but stable condition, officials said.

Officer Michael Gracia, 24, and his fiancee were both wounded at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival, according to Ontario police Sgt. Jeff Higbee. The fiancee’s wounds were not life-threatening, Higbee said.

After Gracia was hurt, his fiancee, Summer, tried to cover him and was shot as well, according to Jesse Rivera, a friend of Gracia’s from Bonita High School in La Verne.

Rivera created a GoFundMe page to help pay for Gracia’s medical bills and other expenses. It had raised more than $42,000 by 5 p.m. Monday.

While the surgery was successful, there will be a long road to recovery, Rivera wrote on the page.

“The love between those two are real and they are new parents and new parents shouldn’t be going through this,” he said.

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Update on my brother. He is doing extremely well. Moving around and opening his eyes. CT scan came back great. Gonna...

Posted by Stephen Gracia on Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Though Gracia was only 24, he had been with the Ontario Police Department “for many years, starting out as a cadet, then working as a jailer and eventually becoming a police officer. He has been an officer for four years,” Higbee said in a statement.

“Please keep Officer Gracia and his family and the families of all of the victims in your thoughts and prayers,” Higbee said.

Ontario police said Monday afternoon that a media outlet’s report that Gracia had died was untrue.

“That is misinformation,” the Ontario Police Department said on Twitter shortly before 2 p.m. “He is still in critical but stable condition.

Among those who donated to the GoFundMe account for Gracia was retired Ontario Officer Robb McCandlish — whose $500 contribution was a way to pay it forward.

McCandlish was injured while on duty in 2013, when his motorcycle was involved in a collision with a semi-truck in Ontario. More than 150 people came to a barbecue to raise funds for McCandlish, then a corporal, while he was intensive care.

McCandlish said he knew Gracia and respected him.

“He was one of our jailers prior to getting hired on full time,” he said Monday. “A really good kid. You hate to see this happen.”

He said police officers stand together regardless of their personal experiences.

“This is where the police department as a family come together during these times of grief,” McCandlish said.

He said he wanted to help ease the worries for Gracia and his family.

“He’s got a lot of medical injuries to go through, and he doesn’t need his thoughts on finances,” McCandlish said. “I know what it means to go through that and to have people helping you.”

©2017 the San Bernardino County Sun

Categories: Latest News

Boy, 2, dies after being ejected from fleeing suspect's car

PoliceOne - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 12:53

Author: Mike Callahan

By Matt Coughlin The Morning Call

TULLYTOWN, Pa. — Police say a man fleeing following a reported theft from a Philadelphia-area store crashed into other vehicles at an intersection, claiming the life of a 2-year-old boy in his vehicle.

Christopher D. Kuhn, 27, of Hamilton, N.J., is charged with third degree murder, homicide by vehicle, endangering the welfare of children, recklessly endangering another person, driving without a license and related offenses. Kuhn is being held in Bucks County prison on $5 million bail.

Chief Daniel Doyle of the Tullytown police department said the Kuhn fled the Walmart store at Levittown Town Center early Tuesday afternoon.

Authorities said he ran a red light and collided with two other vehicles. Kuhn’s 2-year-old son was thrown from the vehicle and pronounced dead at a hospital.

Police said Kuhn fled on foot but was arrested and taken to a hospital for evaluation before being arraigned on the charges against him late Tuesday night. No one else was injured in the crash.

Kuhn pleaded guilty in 2015 to drug possession after an incident in nearby Morrisville and was sentenced to one year of probation. Court records indicate Kuhn pleaded guilty to drug and theft charges in New Jersey in recent years as well.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

©2017 The Morning Call

Categories: Latest News

City council votes to allow fallen Calif. cop's family to keep K-9

PoliceOne - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 12:44
Author: Mike Callahan

By Kevin Valine The Modesto Bee

MODESTO, Calif. — Modesto officials decided Tuesday that Ike — a 3-year-old police dog — can retire and live out his days with the family of his former handler, Sgt. Mike Pershall, who was killed in August by a suspected drunken driver.

The City Council voted 7-0 to sell Ike to the Pershall family for $1.

Police Chief Galen Carroll asked the council essentially to give Ike to the Pershall family. He said in an interview last week that this might not be popular with everyone — Ike is 3 years old and most K9s work until they are 8 or sometimes even 10 — but it was the right thing to do.

“It is not a good deal for the Police Department to lose the dog,” Carroll said last week. “But there is also the human factor of, you have a wife and two kids who just lost their dad, and that’s the family dog. What is the right thing to do?”

Ike is a Belgian Malinois and cost the Police Department $9,137.

But Carroll said there has been an outpouring from community members who are willing to donate toward the department’s purchase of its next police dog. Carroll said he also will speak with the Modesto Police Canine Association, which paid for the department’s last police dog.

Modesto City Council unanimously votes in favor of selling police K-9 Ike to family of fallen officer Mike Pershall for $1 @ABC10

— kurtriveratv (@kurtriveratv) October 4, 2017

The Pershall family and Ike were not at the council meeting.

Pershall died Aug. 22 when he was struck by a suspected drunken driver while riding his bicycle while off duty in east Modesto. Pershall had been Ike’s handler for two years.

Two weeks before his death, Pershall was promoted to sergeant. As a result, Ike was to be trained with a new handler, but he has stayed with the Pershall family.

©2017 The Modesto Bee

Categories: Latest News

Coffee shop worker who helped cop under attack: 'I was ready'

PoliceOne - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 12:38
Author: Mike Callahan

By Robyn Sidersky The Virginian-Pilot

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Jaclyn Krogh was working behind the counter at Bad Ass Coffee on 18th Street when a police sergeant walked in the door Tuesday morning.

As he started to order, another man walked in and approached the sergeant, Krogh said.

“He came up in his face,” said Krogh, who heard the man say to the sergeant: “What did you say to me (expletive)?”

Then he started pushing the sergeant, she said in an interview.

The man and the officer scuffled in front of the counter, knocking baskets and other knickknacks off the shelves by the windows.

“I was ready to intervene,” Krogh said.

Krogh said she kicked the man in the back and stepped on him. Then she grabbed a heavy glass vase full of flowers from the counter.

“I was ready to clock him in the head,” she said.

But the sergeant told her to call 911.

The man ran out of the coffee shop and the sergeant caught and arrested him .

“It was really upsetting to see a cop being attacked,” Krogh said.

Bad Ass is a small, Hawaiian-themed coffee shop in an old beach cottage between 18th and 19th streets on Cypress Avenue. Officers are regular customers of the spot, which is about a block from the Police Department’s Second Precinct.

Antoine Omar Wynn, 33, of Norfolk, was charged with felony assault and battery of a law enforcement officer, destruction of property, disorderly conduct and providing a false identity to a law enforcement officer, according to a police news release.

Wynn declined to do an interview, according to a jail spokeswoman.

Krogh said: “I’m just doing what normal people should do.”

©2017 The Virginian-Pilot

Categories: Latest News

Cops: One-armed woman fails in Pa. bank robbery attempt

PoliceOne - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 10:45
Author: Mike Callahan

Associated Press

EAST MCKEESPORT, Pa. — Police say a one-armed woman tried to rob a Pennsylvania bank.

East McKeesport police say 51-year-old Wanda Irvin entered the Key Bank branch about 4 p.m. Tuesday armed with a knife and demanded money. When the teller refused, police say Irvin ran out of the bank and drove away.

Police say a witness got Irvin's license plate, which they tracked to her home where they found a knife in her purse.

Police say Irvin acknowledged the robbery attempt and repeatedly told them, "I don't know why I did it" — a remark she repeated to WPXI-TV outside the police station.

Online court records showed she is in custody at the Allegheny County jail on charges of robbery, possessing an instrument of crime and simple assault.

Categories: Latest News

Police: Ark. officer fired, threatens to 'blow up' police academy

PoliceOne - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 10:37

Author: Mike Callahan

Associated Press

POCAHONTAS, Ark. — Police say an east Arkansas police officer has been fired and is under investigation after alleged threats to "blow up" a law enforcement training academy in northeast Arkansas.

Arkansas State Police said Tuesday that 29-year-old Wisam "Troy" Algburi is under investigation for alleged threats to blow up the Black River Law Enforcement Training Academy at Black River Technical College in Pocahontas.

Trooper Liz Chapman declined to say what the specific threat was, but said in an email that Algburi was dismissed from the academy on Friday after the alleged threat was made.

Marion Police Chief Gary Kelley told area reporters that Algburi was fired because he was dismissed from the academy.

Third District Prosecuting Attorney Henry Boyce did not immediately return a phone call for comment.

Categories: Latest News