Latest News

Berkeley praises police for keeping peace at Coulter rallies

PoliceOne - Sun, 04/30/2017 - 08:29

By Jocelyn Gecker Associated Press

BERKELEY, Calif. — Berkeley officials declared their handling of protests over Ann Coulter's canceled appearance a success thanks to a massive police presence that ensured the city did not become a "fight club," the mayor said Friday.

Hundreds of Coulter's supporters gathered in a downtown park Thursday after the University of California, Berkeley, nixed a speech by the conservative commentator. Many of them came dressed for conflict, wearing flak jackets, ballistic helmets adorned with pro-President Donald Trump stickers and other protective gear.

There were tense shouting matches but no major confrontations between Coulter's supporters and opponents, who held a nearby counter-rally. The two sides were separated by a wall of riot police, while hundreds of other officers were deployed around the city and campus.

"Having a large police presence definitely helped yesterday," Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin told San Francisco TV station KTVU on Friday. "What we saw was people in the park speaking out, there were lots of discussions and debates that happened, and that's what we wanted to facilitate.

"But nobody crossed the line to violence, and that's what we wanted. We don't want to turn our city into a fight club," the mayor said.

Police and officials, both for the city and its prominent public university, have faced criticism for failing to keep the peace at several political rallies in recent months that have erupted in violence.

This time, police said they took a new approach, including a large deployment of visible officers and a low tolerance for violence. Seven people were arrested, including one for obstructing an officer and wearing a mask to evade police, and another for possessing a knife.

Officers on campus also took selfies with students to try to lighten the mood.

Neither the university nor the police have disclosed how many officers were involved, but UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof said it had backup from a "wide range" of law enforcement agencies.

It is not clear how much the security cost, but Arreguin said the university footed the bill.

"This was a university event, they invited Ann Coulter and so they took on the responsibility of paying for, calling in mutual aid and helping coordinate with the city the mutual response," Arreguin said.

Coulter was invited to speak by campus Republicans, who also had invited right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulous to speak in February. That event was canceled because of violent protests by a left-wing extremist group that smashed windows on campus and set fires outside the student union.

Arreguin also attributed Friday's peaceful rallies to the fact that the "very extremist left-wing groups didn't really show up," as had been expected.

Berkeley, birthplace of the U.S. free speech movement in the 1960s, has emerged as a flashpoint for the extreme left and right amid debate over free speech.

Earlier this month, a bloody brawl broke out in downtown Berkeley at a pro-Trump protest that featured speeches by members of a self-described white nationalist group. They clashed with a group of left-wing Trump critics who called themselves anti-fascists.

Officials at UC Berkeley had said they feared renewed violence on campus if Coulter followed through with plans to speak despite the cancellation, citing "very specific intelligence" about threats that could endanger Coulter and students. Coulter said the threats were motivated by a university bias against conservative speakers.

She posted Friday on Twitter about the peaceful rallies in Berkeley: "Amazing what cops doing their jobs can accomplish!"


Categories: Latest News

Ground search called off as escaped Md. prisoner still at large

PoliceOne - Sun, 04/30/2017 - 08:25

By Colin Campbell The Baltimore Sun

JESSUP, Md. — A maximum-security inmate who escaped from a Jessup mental hospital parking lot eluded police for a second day Saturday, alarming nearby residents and business owners, and prompting questions about how he was able to break free and remain on the run.

The prisoner, David M. Watson II, 28, freed himself from handcuffs and a waist chain and escaped about 9:40 a.m. Friday from the custody of two Wicomico County Detention Center guards in the parking lot of the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center near Dorsey Run Road and Patuxent Range Road in Jessup.

Watson, convicted in Delaware of attempted murder after shooting into a police officer's home in 2012, is serving a 106-year sentence.

Howard County police suspended their ground search near the hospital Saturday afternoon, "after exhausting all search efforts in the immediate area" with officers, K-9 units and helicopters with heat-seeking technology, officials said.

Howard County detectives, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Maryland State Police are following leads locally, in Wicomico County and in Delaware, where Watson has ties, officials said.

"There are no indications that Watson remains in the area," Howard County police said in a news release.

Investigators have received no confirmed sightings Saturday of Watson, who is described as 5 feet 8 inches tall and 140 pounds. He was wearing all-white clothing at the time of his escape. A $5,000 reward has been offered for information on his whereabouts.

In 2014, a Wicomico County Circuit Court judge ruled that Watson — whose many tattoos include the word "evil" on the back of his neck — was not mentally competent to stand trial on charges that he had fired into the homes of police officers in Maryland. He has undergone regular psychiatric evaluations since then, officials said.

Monica Wright, 68, of Savage, came home early from work Friday out of concern for her 9-year-old granddaughter, whose school, Bollman Bridge Elementary in Jessup, went into a modified lockdown as a precaution, she said.

Wright said she has kept a closer eye on the 9-year-old, who likes to ride her bike in the neighborhood, since the escape.

"I home they catch him. It is a concern," she said. "I had to tell her yesterday, 'Stay close to the house, so I can see you.'"

Johnita Argrow, 30, who has a 10-year-old and a 6-year-old at Bollman Bridge, said she doubted an inmate on the run would venture near a school and would probably try to flee the area as quickly as possible.

"The first place they're going is not an elementary school," she said. "They're trying to get as far from jail as possible."

Watson had been picked up from Sussex County Correctional Facility in Delaware and taken to the Wicomico County Detention Center before being brought to Perkins in Jessup, officials said.

As he was being removed from a transport van, he knocked a guard to the ground and ran into the woods, officials said. His restraints included leg irons, handcuffs, a waist chain and a device called a black box, which makes it more difficult for an inmate to tamper with handcuffs. The handcuffs and chain were found near the van, along with two articles of clothing.

Video footage shows that correctional officers followed proper procedures in putting Watson in restraints before he left the Wicomico jail, according to George Kaloroumakis, that county's corrections director.

The lookout for Watson didn't keep more than a dozen customers from taking advantage of the sunny, 90-degree Saturday to stop by Columbia Junction Car Wash nearby on Washington Boulevard.

Manager Jesse Hall, 20, said he was requiring employees to escort each other outside after work, especially given Watson's record.

"He's probably thinking life-or-death," Hall said. "You're doing 106 years. You're not seeing sunlight."

The incident should prompt a review of area law enforcement's prisoner security protocols, said Becky Delagarza, 39, of Elkridge.

"For him not to be found for that many hours, it's concerning," she said.

Thomas Viaduct Middle School in Hanover canceled outdoor activities and entered a modified lockdown for several hours Friday, according to Delagarza's 12-year-old son, Ben, a student there.

"Everyone thought it was a drill," he said.

Pedro Balazios, 53, of Columbia said he'd seen three police helicopters, several state troopers and a SWAT truck in the area Friday.

Authorities have a responsibility to tell the public about what is being done to find Watson and to prevent a similar escape in the future, he said.

"They need to do something to make people feel safe," he said. "We need to feel safe."

———

©2017 The Baltimore Sun


Categories: Latest News

Police officer's killer sues NY over parole reversal

PoliceOne - Sat, 04/29/2017 - 04:30

By Phil Fairbanks The Buffalo News

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Nearly 50 years have passed since New York City police officer John E. Varecha died during a routine traffic stop that turned quickly into a shootout.

And it's been more than 17 years since Albert Victory, one of the men who killed the rookie officer, was granted parole and then, when the word got out, rejected.

Victory still won his release but now, after all that time, his lawsuit against the state – he claims parole officials fabricated a reason to try and keep him in prison – may be going to trial in Buffalo federal court.

Filed in 2002, Victory's civil suit claims the parole board reversed itself when then Gov. George E. Pataki, who was publicly opposed to violent felons getting parole, learned of his release and pressured the board to stop it.

In moving the suit to trial, U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny denied the state's motion to dismiss the 15-year-old case. He also set the stage for a possible out-of-court resolution.

"This case will either be tried or settled," said Norman P. Effman, Victory's lead attorney. "For everyone's sake, I hope it's settled."

Victory's suit stems from his time at Attica Correctional Facility, which is why the suit was filed in Buffalo, and his 1999 appeal to the parole board. The two-member panel, after reviewing the case, including letters of support from eight corrections officers, ordered him released.

By some accounts, it was not a popular decision among high-ranking parole officials or Pataki. It also set in motion what Victory claims was an orchestrated and illegal effort to reverse the board's decision.

"It's history, history that should be looked at," Effman said. "It's an example of how politically powerful people can influence the justice system."

To understand the politically volatile nature of Victory's release, all you have to do is look at the media coverage that followed him from Varecha's murder in 1968 to the parole board's decision in 1999 to Victory's arrest for driving while intoxicated in 2009, well after his release.

"Cop killer must rot," said a New York Daily News headline after his DWI arrest. "Time for the cell door to slam for good on Albert Victory."

Victory's story begins in October 1968 when Officer Varecha stopped him and Robert Bornholdt after their vehicle ran a red light in Manhattan. The traffic stop escalated into a struggle and then a gun battle that left Varecha with four fatal gunshot wounds.

At the time, Varecha was 25 years old and still two months away from his one-year anniversary with the force.

Convicted of murder in 1970, Victory and Bornholdt were sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison. Eight years later, Victory escaped from Green Haven Correctional Facility in Dutchess County by bribing two prison guards. He spent the next three years on the run in California.

Recaptured near San Francisco, Victory returned to prison and, by most accounts, was a model inmate until 1999 when a two-member parole board ordered his release.

When news of the board's decision became public, New York City's police union reacted with outrage and called for an end to discretionary parole. The board also found itself under pressure from the governor's office and high-level parole officials.

In the end, another three-member board voted to rescind Victory's parole.

But he sued and a Wyoming County judge – Victory was in Attica at the time – rejected the board's revised decision and gave Victory his freedom. But he didn't get out until 2005.

For years, Victory was represented by Myron Beldock, a prominent civil rights lawyer known for taking on difficult cases, most notably the conviction of former boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter. Beldock died last year at the age of 86.

Effman wouldn't comment on what type of cash settlement Victory wants but he did voice concern that, given his client's age, a quick resolution to the suit would be preferable.

"He's in his mid 70s," said Effman, "and even though he's relatively healthy, he's worried this litigation might become moot."

Lawyers for the parole board declined to comment on Skretny's ruling. The two sides are expected to meet next month to possibly set a trial date.

———

©2017 The Buffalo News (Buffalo, N.Y.)


Categories: Latest News

Boy turns in $2K he found, gets Outstanding Citizen Award

PoliceOne - Sat, 04/29/2017 - 04:30

Associated Press

ARLINGTON, Mass. — A 6-year-old Massachusetts boy who turned in $2,000 in cash he found in a bank bag lost by a restaurant employee has received an Outstanding Citizen Award.

Arlington resident Jasper Dopman was walking with his father, Erik Dopman, on April 18 when he spotted a cloth bag on the ground near a school. The bag contained cash and deposit slips.

Erik Dopman called the Arlington police and turned in the bag. An investigation determined the money belonged to Tenoch Mexican Food Corp. Police located an employee at the company's Medford restaurant who said she had lost the bag earlier.

The money was returned to the family-owned restaurant.

Father and son each received an Outstanding Citizen Award from police and gifts from the Mexican food company.


Categories: Latest News

NYPD: Woman shot at point-blank range saved by her purse

PoliceOne - Sat, 04/29/2017 - 04:30

Associated Press

NEW YORK — Police say a New York City woman shot at point-blank range during a robbery was saved from a bullet wound thanks to her purse.

The New York Police Department says a 52-year-old man ran up to his intended victim on a Brooklyn street early Wednesday morning and demanded her car keys.

The Daily News reports that the 39-year-old woman fought back against the man. During the struggle, the man fired a round at point-blank range. Police say the bullet tore through the victim's purse, wallet and clothes, but stopped short of actually hitting her body.

The man then pistol-whipped the woman, took her keys and drove off in her vehicle. Police later found him nearby in the vehicle and arrested him on attempted murder charges.

The victim was taken to a local hospital for treatment.


Categories: Latest News

Llama on the lam: Trooper lassoes llama loose on roadway

PoliceOne - Sat, 04/29/2017 - 04:30

Associated Press

RUSSELL, Mass. — Massachusetts State Police are praising the cowboy skills of one their troopers after he lassoed a llama that was loose on a state highway and led it to safety.

Police say Troopers Matthew Kane and Kyle Minnicucci were called after a llama was spotted on a state roadway Thursday in Russell.

Fearing for the animal's safety, Kane grabbed a rope from his cruiser, fashioned it into a lasso and slung it around the llama's neck. Kane and Minnicucci guided the animal off the road to ensure it wouldn't be hit by passing vehicles.

The troopers were not able to determine where the llama came from, but the owner of a nearby horse farm offered to keep the animal until its owner is found.

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Llama on the Lamb in Russell Early this morning, just before 1:00 a.m., two troopers from the State Police Russell...

Publicado por Massachusetts State Police em Quinta, 27 de abril de 2017


Categories: Latest News

Wife of slain Del. trooper says he was proud of his work

PoliceOne - Sat, 04/29/2017 - 04:00

By Jessica Gresko Associated Press

MIDDLETOWN, Del. — The widow of the Delaware state trooper killed this week in the line of duty says her husband was proud of his job, wanted to get to know people so he could help them, and had dreams of becoming the state's governor one day.

Cpl. Stephen J. Ballard, 32, died Wednesday after approaching a vehicle with two suspicious people outside a convenience store in New Castle County. Burgon Sealy Jr. fatally shot the officer and was ultimately killed by police Thursday after a lengthy standoff. Authorities have not said anything about Sealy's possible motive.

Ballard's wife, Louise Cummings, said in a telephone interview Friday that her husband was "very proud of his work in law enforcement," and wore T-shirts with the Delaware State Police emblem even when he was off-duty.

"He wanted people to know what he did," she said.

The two met in 2013 at the graduation party of a mutual friend's son. She was told he was a "loving and kind man" and a "good man with a good job." What struck her most was that he was "just full of life," she said.

They enjoyed spending time at the ocean, going to the Rusty Rudder in Dewey Beach and listening to a calypso band or sitting on the boardwalk to people-watch.

He enjoyed trips to Philadelphia and older soul and R&B music, though his favorite artist was Prince. Together they visited Playa del Carmen in Mexico. And after they married in 2015, they honeymooned in Grenada in the Caribbean.

But winter was his favorite time of year, she said. An only child, he loved Christmas and spending time with family, including his 5-year-old stepdaughter.

"Holidays were always a big deal," Cummings said.

Cummings said her husband, a 2003 graduate of Bowie High School in Maryland, initially wanted to be a pilot but became interested in criminal justice in college. After he graduated from Delaware State University in 2007 he returned to mentor students because he wanted them to learn from his experience and stories, she said.

His friend Michael Woods, the best man at their wedding, said he paid his way through school working at Best Buy but could have had any career he chose.

"He loved helping people and he had a desire to serve," Woods said.

Ballard graduated from the police academy in 2009 and loved his work, his wife said. He also wanted the communities he served to have positive interactions with troopers, she said.

Ballard was involved in collecting food for families at Thanksgiving and kept coloring books and gifts in his patrol car, especially around Christmas, to give them to kids. He was especially skilled at "getting people to come to a common understanding," his wife said, and he enjoyed helping kids learn from their mistakes, she said.

"He was very interested in getting to know people so he could help them," she said.

Someday, she said, he hoped to be governor.

Cummings said she told her husband: "I think you should stick to community organizing." But he had higher aspirations. "I don't really know why," she said. "It was an innate thing."

"He wanted to effectuate change. He wanted to be able to control that on a higher level," she said.

Cummings said negative national news about law enforcement including police shootings discouraged her husband and it concerned him that people would not like the police, but she said that "never stopped him from being proud" of his work.

A memorial fund for Ballard's family has been set up at the Delaware State Police Federal Credit Union .


Categories: Latest News

Ex-con pleads guilty to charges in 2015 killing of Tenn. cop

PoliceOne - Sat, 04/29/2017 - 04:00

By Adrian Sainz Associated Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — An ex-convict pleaded guilty Friday to federal carjacking and ammunition charges in connection with the fatal shooting of a Tennessee police officer.

Tremaine Wilbourn had pleaded not guilty to charges filed in December 2015 in the killing of Memphis Police Officer Sean Bolton. Authorities said Tremaine Wilbourn shot Bolton several times in August 2015 while Bolton was attempting to detain him.

Federal prosecutors charged Wilbourn with carjacking, possessing a firearm during and in relation to the carjacking, and felony possession of ammunition. Wilbourn pleaded guilty to all three charges under a deal with prosecutors that allows him to avoid trial. According to an indictment, Wilbourn used a gun while carjacking a man as he tried to evade authorities after the officer's shooting.

Wilbourn had faced federal trial starting May 15. Sentencing will now take place July 28. He faces no less than 25 years in prison.

The 31-year-old Wilbourn still faces first-degree-murder and other charges in state court. State prosecutors said they will seek the death penalty if he is convicted. No trial date has been set.

Bolton, who was white, is one of four police officers to be fatally shot in Memphis since July 2011. Wilbourn is black.

If the case had gone to trial, prosecutors planned to present witnesses who allegedly saw Wilbourn kill Bolton with a pistol and recover spent shell casings at the shooting scene, court documents showed.

During the hearing, Wilbourn acknowledged carjacking the man and using a weapon while doing it. But he did not say he killed Bolton.

Bolton's relatives were in the courtroom, but declined comment after the hearing. In a statement, Memphis Police Director noted Bolton, 33, was a military veteran and called him an "upstanding officer."

"We will forever honor him for the sacrifice made while attempting to serve and protect the citizens of Memphis," Rallings said.

Police said Bolton, who had served in Iraq, interrupted a drug deal taking place inside a car in a residential neighborhood in Memphis. Wilbourn, who was a passenger in the car, got out and confronted the officer, and they got into a physical struggle. Wilbourn took out a gun and shot Bolton, police said. An autopsy report shows Bolton was shot eight times.

In pretrial motions, prosecutors said Wilbourn carjacked a vehicle from Desric Ivory only a few minutes after the shooting, telling Ivory that "he needed the car because he had just shot a police officer."

Wilbourn led officers on an intense, two-day manhunt before turning himself in to U.S. marshals.

Wilbourn's sister, Callie Watkins, has told The Associated Press that her brother was trying to defend himself from an aggressive officer who had him in a hold. His defense attorneys planned to challenge Ivory's identification of Wilbourn as the person who carjacked him, according to pretrial motions.

At the time of the shooting, Wilbourn was on federal probation for an armed bank robbery. Wilbourn was sentenced to more than 10 years in federal prison and released on probation in July 2014. He was ordered to undergo mental health treatment, according to court documents. It's not clear whether he was ever evaluated.

Wilbourn also pleaded guilty Friday to violating his probation.


Categories: Latest News

NYPD begins pilot body camera program

PoliceOne - Sat, 04/29/2017 - 04:00

By Anthony M. DeStefano Newsday

NEW YORK — More than 50 NYPD officers in Washington Heights hit the streets Thursday wearing miniaturized body-cameras, the vanguard of a long-anticipated pilot program that officials expect will lead to all 22,000 city patrol cops wearing the devices by the 2020.

As news reporters and photographers watched shortly after 3 p.m., 10 uniformed officers from the 34th Precinct filed out of their station house roll call, climbed into five police vehicles, and drove off on patrol.

Other cops, also sporting the small cameras attached to the front of their uniforms, drove out from a precinct parking area. A total of 58 cops from the precinct have been selected to wear the cameras, which are black and smaller than a pack of cigarettes.

‘This is a historic day for New York City,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference after the roll out in the station house. “This is the first day of the era of body-worn cameras and that means we are going on a pathway of transparency and accountability that will benefit everyone.”

DeBlasio said that cameras will help what he said was a continuing trend of bringing police and communities closer together.

The 34th Precinct, located in an ethnically-diverse neighborhood with the largest Dominican population in the city, is the first of 20 precincts to get some of the nearly 1,200 cameras this year in the pilot program. The next precinct scheduled to get the body cameras is the 60th Precinct in South Brooklyn near Sheepshead Bay.

The city initiated the camera program as a result of a 2013 federal court decision in litigation over the NYPD’s use of stop-and-frisk procedures. In finding that police officers employed the tactic unconstitutionally against minorities, Judge Shira Scheindlin came up with various remedies. Among them was having police officers experiment with body cameras as a way of defusing tensions and providing a method of accountability.

Police officials, including O’Neill, acknowledged Thursday that the pilot program is a work in progress and has faced been some opposition. Some civil rights advocates have said the program doesn’t require police to record enough of their encounters with the public. The advocates, who unsuccessfully tried to block the program rollout last week in court, also had issues with officers having the right to view recorded encounters with the public before making statements.

“As we move forward and see that there are tweaks that need to be made, we will do that,” said O’Neill about the criticism. “Have faith. Everything we do is to build trust and make this city safe.”

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Today the NYPD began the rollout of its police officer body-worn camera (BWC) pilot program in the 34 Precinct, covering the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan. The Vievu cameras will initially be worn by each of the approximately 50 officers on patrol assigned to the 4 P.M. to midnight shift. The rollout will continue to additional precincts through the end of 2017, with a total of 5,000 cameras deployed through 2018, and approximately 22,000 by the end of 2019. More: http://nypdnews.com/2017/04/watch-live-mayor-de-blasio-police-commissioner-oneill-speak-about-body-worn-camera-roll-out/ Las cámaras corporales serán utilizadas por el NYPD. Lo que usted necesita saber: https://youtu.be/W8dTCpQTPkw

Publicado por NYPD em Quinta, 27 de abril de 2017

O’Neill added that the goal of having police officers wear body cameras “is get to the truth.

First Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker said the project was an experiment that will undergo constant evaluation by the NYPD and federal court monitor Peter Zimroth, who is overseeing stop and frisk litigation reforms.

While the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association agreed to body-worn cameras in settling its recent contract, other police unions voiced objections and indicated they might go to court. But a police labor official who asked not to be named said the other unions have agreed that the issue of cameras for higher ranked officers and detectives will be the subject of collective bargaining in the future.

Copyright 2017 Newsday


Categories: Latest News

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PoliceOne - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 16:43

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Categories: Latest News

Md. police search for escaped attempted cop killer

PoliceOne - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 14:44

By Phil Davis The Capital

JESSUP, Md. — Police are searching for a prisoner who escaped custody in Jessup Friday while awaiting psychiatric evaluation in connection with shooting into law enforcement officers' homes.

Howard County police said David M. Watson II, 28, escaped custody and ran into the woods while he was in the area of Dorsey Run Road and Patuxent Range Road.

Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis said Watson was being transported to the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center by two correctional officers from the Wicomico County Detention Center, which does not fall under the purview of the sheriff's office.

Watson had been charged with shooting into the homes of three law enforcement officers in Wicomico County, but was found incompetent to stand trial and ordered to be committed to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in 2015, The Daily Times wrote. George Kaloroumakis, the detention center's warden, told The Capital that officers were complying with a state order to take Watson to the hospital Friday morning for a psychiatric evaluation.

After arriving at the hospital, Watson escaped custody as he was being moved from the vehicle into the hospital, said Kaloroumakis. He could not immediately provide more details.

In an unrelated case, Watson was sentenced to 106 years in prison in connection with a shooting at a Delaware law enforcement officer's home, The Daily Times reported.

Police are searching the area with a police helicopter and K9 units and anyone who sees someone matching Watson's description is asked to call 9-1-1 immediately.

The Perkins hospital center is part of a state prison complex that crosses the Howard and Prince George's County lines.

Copyright 2017 The Capital, Annapolis, Md.


Categories: Latest News

Photo: Police issue warning to cat holding 'assault rifle'

PoliceOne - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 11:43

By Lizzy Acker The Oregonian

NEWPORT, Ore. — On Tuesday, the Newport Police Facebook page, which is possibly the best local police Facebook page in America, posted a picture of a cat in a tree.

But this was no regular cat-in-a-tree. The cat looked distressingly like it was holding an assault rifle.

Ultimately though, Newporters can breathe a sigh of relief, because according to the Newport Police, "Reports of an armed cat this morning were unfounded."

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Reports of an armed cat this morning were unfounded. The feline was contacted by our canine and was determined to be in...

Posted by Newport Oregon Police Department on Tuesday, April 25, 2017

"The feline was contacted by our canine," the post continues, "and was determined to be in possession of a non-lethal branch."

Still, the Newport Police weren't going to let the cat off scot-free.

"The cat was given a verbal warning," Newport Police said on Facebook, "for posing with what could be mistaken as an assault rifle while wearing poor camouflage attire."

———

©2017 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)


Categories: Latest News

Cowboy up!: Texas cops look to their Western roots for new hat

PoliceOne - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 11:39

By Anjulie Van Sickle The Dallas Morning News

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas — The Grand Prairie Police Department is saddling up and saying, "Howdy, y'all," while donning brand-new cowboy hats as part of a recent uniform change.

The waterproof cowboy hats have been implemented to protect officers from the extreme Texas weather, department spokeswoman Chelsea Kretz said.

The department pulled from its Western heritage in choosing this new look.

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Howdy y'all! You'll start seeing us wearing cowboy hats. Be sure and say hi now, ya hear?

Posted by Grand Prairie Police on Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The new hats will be distributed just in time for the Cowboy Cops Rodeo in September, which will benefit Special Olympics Texas. Many officers compete in traditional rodeo events alongside their family members during the annual competition.

About 30 to 40 out of the department's 270 officers have the new cowboy hats right now, Kretz said.

Although the department does not require officers to wear the hats, demand has been high enough that the Fort Worth store that supplies them ran out and had to order more for the department, she said.

———

©2017 The Dallas Morning News


Categories: Latest News

NY top cop: Troopers will aid efforts to combat MS-13 gang

PoliceOne - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 11:32

By David M. Schwartz Newsday

SUFFOLK, N.Y. — Suffolk Police Commissioner Timothy Sini said Thursday state troopers will begin increased patrols of parks and other state-owned land in the Brentwood and Central Islip area to help the county combat the MS-13 gang.

Sini told county lawmakers the gang — suspected in the killings of four young men in Central Islip last week — along with the opioid crisis are the top challenges facing the police department.

“Obviously, this is a huge issue for Suffolk County and many other communities,” Sini told the legislature’s Public Safety Committee meeting during a marathon three-hour testimony in Hauppauge. “The level of violence is unprecedented.”

Sini said to combat the gang, the police department was making targeted street arrests, continuing to cooperate with federal authorities and increasing patrols.

Among the areas where state troopers would help is the former Pilgrim State Hospital in Brentwood, Sini told reporters after the legislative hearing.

“Essentially, we’ve mapped out all the state property in the area, and we’ll be sharing intelligence with New York police so they can do targeted patrols of the areas that may attract MS-13 gang members,” Sini said. Assistant Police Commissioner Justin Meyers declined to identify other locations.

Beau Duffy, spokesman for the New York State Police, said late Thursday: “We haven’t committed to anything specific yet. The governor is in discussions with the county executive.”

On Wednesday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said he was prepared to offer resources to help the county combat MS-13 violence, which Cuomo called an “out of control” situation.

“The more resources we have the better,” Legis. Monica Martinez (D-Brentwood) said Thursday. “At this point, we need all levels of government on deck.” She and Sini credited Legis. Tom Cilmi (R-Bay Shore) with writing a letter to the governor asking for increased patrols.

Sini said homicides are up from eight in 2016 to nine year to date in 2017, although violent and property crimes are down.

Meyers said that news conferences are an effort “to be as transparent as possible” and three-quarters of the news conferences come to fulfill media requests.

Lawmakers also asked Sini about rising police overtime costs, which exceeded the budgeted amount by $14 million in 2016.

Sini said they were rolling out new software to help track staffing levels. New police hires would also help him stop the increases, he said, though he acknowledged that there are provisions in the police contracts that “tie his hands” on staffing issues. Police overtime hours are up more than 50 percent since 2011.

In a tense moment, Legis. Robert Trotta (R-Fort Salonga) asked Sini about his political ambitions. Sini, a Democrat, has screened with the county Conservative Party committee for a possible run for county district attorney this fall.

“I’m concerned these news conferences are more about running DA, than running the police department,” Trotta said. “Are you running for DA?”

Sini said, “I’m not going to answer that question.”

Sini said morale is up in the police department since he took office last February after the retirement of former Chief of Department James Burke, who is in federal prison for beating a suspect and orchestrating a cover-up.

Sini also said a security alarm registration program has reduced the number of 911 calls.

———

©2017 Newsday


Categories: Latest News

Colt Detective Special: Cops and robber's best friend

PoliceOne - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 08:04
Author: TFB Staff

This article originally appeared on The Firearm Blog.

The Colt Detective Special is a revolver that was a constant companion to cops as well as robbers for over 60 years. In this episode of TFBTV, Patrick takes a look at his 1951 production Dick Special that is chambered in .38 Special. With a one round advantage over the Smith & Wesson Chief’s Special, the Colt revolver was a staple for concealed carriers and cops from its introduction in 1927 well into the 1980’s. Hope you enjoy the video of this classic Colt revolver.


Categories: Latest News

Policing Matters Podcast: Keys to safe police contacts with open-carry citizens

PoliceOne - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 07:46
Author: Jim Dudley and Doug Wyllie

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

Individuals and groups who staunchly support the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms it affords have in recent years taken to carrying their firearms openly in public. They do this in order to visibly call attention to rights that they believe are in jeopardy of being taken from them by politicians who race to the television cameras every time a high-profile shooting happens. The trouble is, many Americans have never even held a gun, much less shot one. And people tend to fear what they don’t understand. So when six “guys with guns” show up at the coffee shop, police are usually called. In this podcast episode, Jim and Doug discuss the issues in play when police respond to calls involving open-carry advocates.


Categories: Latest News

Sergeant fatally shoots K-9 after it attacks him

PoliceOne - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 07:14

Author: Jim Dudley and Doug Wyllie

By Steve Burns The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

HOUSTON COUNTY, Ga. — A Middle Georgia officer shot and killed his police dog after it attacked him, the Houston County sheriff said.

Sgt. Slate Simon and Kyro, a 4½-year-old Belgian Malinois, were helping with a manhunt in Dooly County on Tuesday when the incident happened, according to The Telegraph in Macon.

“He was just doing his job,” Simon said of the dog. “It was just mistaken identity.”

Houston Sheriff Cullen Talton told the newspaper the dog bit Simon all the way to the leg bone. The only way the officer could get the dog to turn loose was to shoot him.

Simon and Kyro were partners for about three years, the newspaper reported. The dog had not had previous behavioral problems.

Kyro’s body is expected to be examined for signs of illness, according to the sheriff. The dog was up to date on its shots.

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©2017 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)


Categories: Latest News

UK police shoot 1, arrest 6 others in counterterror raids

PoliceOne - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 07:10

Author: Jim Dudley and Doug Wyllie

By Gregory Katz and Jill Lawless Associated Press

LONDON — British police said Friday they had disrupted an active terror plot with raids in London and southeastern England. One woman was shot and seriously wounded as heavily armed counterterrorism officers stormed a house in a residential London street.

Six suspects were arrested on terrorism-related charges, police said. The injured woman, who is in her 20s, was in serious but stable condition in a hospital.

The woman, whose name hasn't been released, was under police guard but had not been arrested because of her condition, police said.

Armed officers fired CS gas into the house in the Willesden area of northwest London, which had been under observation as part of an anti-terrorism investigation, Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said. He didn't give details of how the woman was shot.

In footage shot by a witness, what sounds like several shots ring out as police surround the house.

A woman's been shot by police in a London anti-terror operation. You can hear gunfire in this video filmed outside.https://t.co/fALzOLRE9y pic.twitter.com/fEV17QuGe7

— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) April 28, 2017

Neighbor Maxine McKenzie said she saw "a lot of frenetic police activity" and a woman being taken out of the house on a stretcher.

"She was sitting upright and had oxygen on — I couldn't tell if she was conscious or unconscious," McKenzie said.

Police said the raids weren't connected to an arrest by counterterrorism police near Parliament on Thursday afternoon. A man was detained near the Houses Parliament and the prime minister's office in Downing Street while allegedly carrying large knives in a backpack. The 27-year-old suspect, who hasn't been identified, had been under police surveillance.

He was arrested yards from where an attacker drove an SUV into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge on March 22, killing four, before fatally stabbing a police officer inside Parliament's gates.

Basu said the Willesden raid disrupted an ongoing plot, but did not elaborate.

In both the Willesden and Parliament incidents, "we have contained the threat that they posed," Basu said.

Britain's official threat from international terrorism stands at the second-highest level, "severe," meaning an attack is highly likely.

Counterterrorism police say 13 potential attacks have been foiled in the last four years. Police and security services say they face a challenge monitoring hundreds of people of interest, including Britons who went to join IS militants in Iraq and Syria and have returned.

Basu, Britain's senior coordinator for counterterrorism policing, said there had been "increased activity to combat terrorism over the last two years," with police "making arrests on a near-daily basis."

In 2016, British police arrested 260 people on suspicion of terrorism offenses, 96 of whom were charged

In Thursday's raids, a 20-year old woman and a 16-year-old boy were arrested at the address where the woman was shot, as was a 20-year-old man nearby. A man and a woman, both aged 28, were arrested when they returned to the house later.

A 43-year-old woman in Kent county, southeast of London, was also arrested.

Police said the suspects were being held on suspicion of preparation of terrorist acts. They were being questioned but had not been charged.

Ryan O'Donnell, who saw the Willesden raid, said it was "a bit shocking" to see "police wearing big gas masks and holding guns and stuff."

"Things are pretty much always going on around northwest London, something criminal, so I didn't think it was terrorism at the time," he said. "I thought maybe it is guns or something, or drugs or something. But (it) makes sense why they needed such a force."


Categories: Latest News

Deputy opens fire during run-in with wanted couple

PoliceOne - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 07:04
Author: Jim Dudley and Doug Wyllie

By Jim Ryan The Oregonian

CLARK COUNTY, Ore. — A sheriff's deputy fired his gun during a run-in with a wanted man and woman Thursday in rural Clark County, an official said.

No one was injured in the encounter, and the man and woman were later arrested, Sgt. Fred Neiman, a county sheriff's office spokesman, said in a news release. The agency tweeted that one of the suspects tried to hit a deputy with a car at some point.

Neiman said the encounter began after a deputy came across a suspicious car parked at a turnout on Northeast Sunset Falls Road in eastern Clark County around 9:30 a.m.

#clarkwa suspect attempts to strike deputy w/ vehicle one shot fired no injuries two in custody additional to follow pic.twitter.com/vm6I04YLna

— Clark Co Wa. Sheriff (@ClarkCoSheriff) April 27, 2017

Neiman said the deputy approached the man and woman, who both had outstanding felony arrest warrants. The male driver started the car, ignored the deputy's commands and tried to flee, he said.

The deputy fired a single shot, Neiman said. The driver headed east.

It wasn't immediately clear when the driver tried to hit the deputy with the car.

Neiman said more deputies converged on the area, and someone saw the driver headed west on Sunset Falls Road about 90 minutes later. The driver eventually rear-ended a flatbed truck, Neiman said, and a deputy used a patrol vehicle to pin in the car. The man and woman were both arrested.

The news release didn't identify the suspects, if they were armed, or what they were suspected of or wanted for. It also didn't detail why the deputy fired his weapon.

Neiman didn't immediately return a phone message seeking additional comment Thursday afternoon.

He said detectives are investigating and that the deputy who fired his weapon will be put on paid critical incident leave, as is standard protocol.

———

©2017 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)


Categories: Latest News

Ann Coulter a no-show at raucous but peaceful Berkeley rally

PoliceOne - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 06:57

Author: Jim Dudley and Doug Wyllie

By Jocelyn Gecker Associated Press

BERKELEY, Calif. — Ann Coulter did not turn up in Berkeley where hundreds held a raucous but largely peaceful demonstration in her absence and lamented what they called the latest blow to free speech in the home of America's free speech movement.

The conservative pundit's canceled appearance at the University of California, Berkeley drew hundreds of her supporters to a downtown park Thursday, many of them dressed in flak jackets, ballistic helmets adorned with pro-Donald Trump stickers and other protective gear in anticipation of violence.

But there were no major confrontations between Coulter's supporters and opponents, largely because of a significant police presence and the fact that members of an extremist left-wing group did not show up to provoke clashes.

Coulter had publicly floated the idea of making a controversial visit to Berkeley despite the cancellation, but did not show.

Her supporters and students on the UC Berkeley campus, many of whom expressed distaste for Coulter's political views, voiced frustration that she didn't get to speak and that the university's reputation as a bastion of tolerance was suffering. Coulter planned to give a speech on illegal immigration.

"I don't like Ann Coulter's views but I don't think in this case the right move was to shut her down," said 24-year-old grad student Yevgeniy Melguy, who held a sign earlier in the day saying "Immigrants Are Welcome Here."

Anthropology major Christina Katkic, 21, worried that the university was getting increasingly stuck in the middle of the country's political divide.

"Berkeley has become a platform and a lot of people want to come here and use it," said Katkic, who had joined other students on campus blowing bubbles near a message scrawled on the ground in chalk that read: "If only bubbles actually made our campus safe."

"I think Ann Coulter has a right to speak here. Berkeley students are interested in political discourse," she said.

University police erected barricades and refused to let any protesters enter the campus. Six people were arrested, including one for obstructing an officer and wearing a mask to evade police, and another for possessing a knife.

Hundreds of Coulter's supporters gathered about a mile (1.6 kilometers) from the university's main Sproul Plaza at the Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park in downtown Berkeley.

"It's a shame that someone can't speak in the home of the free speech movement," said Wilson Grafstrom, an 18-year-old high school student from Menlo Park, California.

He wore a helmet with a "Make America Great Again" sticker across the back, goggles, a gas mask and knee pads. He blamed people opposed to Coulter and President Donald Trump for forcing him to gear up for problems.

Gavin McInnes, co-founder of Vice Media and founder of the pro-Trump "Proud Boys," was one of several speakers at the gathering. He delivered the speech Coulter had planned to give on illegal immigration, on her behalf, to the crowd's raucous applause.

"They tried to ban her and we can't allow that. It's unacceptable," McInnes said as he left the gathering surrounded by private security. "Free speech is about uncomfortable speech. Yes, it's often about hate speech and it's about speech that's banned."

On its Facebook page, McInnes' group calls itself a fraternal organization aimed at "reinstating a spirit of Western chauvinism during an age of globalism and multiculturalism."

While the afternoon rally ended without serious conflict, police at one point formed a human wall in the street separating anti-Trump protesters from the park where pro-Trump groups were gathered.

Anti-Coulter and anti-Trump protesters at the park held a banner that read: "It's not about 'free speech,' it's about bigots trying to normalize hate."

Earlier this month, a bloody brawl broke out in downtown Berkeley at a pro-Trump protest that featured speeches by members of the white nationalist right. They clashed with a group of Trump critics who called themselves anti-fascists.

In February, violent protesters forced the cancellation of a speech by right-wing writer Milo Yiannopoulos, who like Coulter was invited by campus Republicans.

Officials at UC Berkeley said they feared renewed violence on campus if Coulter followed through with plans to speak, citing "very specific intelligence" of threats that could endanger Coulter and students, which Coulter said was motivated by a university bias against conservative speakers.

Police had faced criticism after the earlier clashes for failing to stop the violence.

UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof credited the peacefulness of Thursday's rallies partly to an increased police presence. He declined to specify how many police were deployed but said there were a "wide range" of local and regional agencies present.

"I think it's clear that having a strong visible police presence was important both in terms of deterrence and law enforcement," he said, noting that even in Coulter's absence hundreds descended on Berkeley. "This points to the challenges we face in the climate we're living in."


Categories: Latest News

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