Latest News

Colo. officers hailed as heroes for saving military vet’s life

PoliceOne - Tue, 10/31/2017 - 05:00

By PoliceOne Staff

DENVER — Four Colorado police officers are being lauded for coming to the aid of a distraught military veteran.

The Denver Police Department recently shared details about the Aug. 19 incident in a Facebook post Sunday.

Officers Michael Green, Alexander Esparza, Nathaniel Magee and Daniel Meadows responded to a report of a person in crisis and found the veteran was was frustrated with the government and the lack of assistance he received.

The vet was threatening to harm himself, but the officers spent some time speaking to the man and he eventually surrendered himself.

When the officers learned that he had not eaten for several days, they decided to take him to a restaurant before taking him for treatment.

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TOP COPS: GREEN, ESPARZA, MAGEE & MEADOWS On August 19, 2017 District 1 Officer Michael Green, Officer Alexander...

Posted by Denver Police Department on Sunday, October 29, 2017


Categories: Latest News

Hundreds attend funeral for SC trooper killed in line of duty

PoliceOne - Tue, 10/31/2017 - 05:00

Gerogie Silvarole Anderson Independent Mail, S.C.

GREENVILLE, S.C. — The funeral for South Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper Daniel Keith Rebman Jr. began promptly at 2 p.m. Sunday. Hundreds of people sat in Founder's Memorial Amphitorium at Bob Jones University as the lights dimmed and a video began to play.

A projection screen at the front of the amphitorium lit up with a photo of Rebman as a kid, and a slideshow followed with images spanning the entirety of his life: He smiled while holding up a fish he had caught, beamed as he held his wife on their wedding day, laughed as he hugged his daughter, grinned as he played in the sand with his kids.

In every photo, one thing remained the same — Rebman's contagious smile.

"Trooper Rebman was always smiling," said Col. Chris Williamson, of the South Carolina Highway Patrol. "The loss of this young man cuts especially deep."

Rebman, 31, was killed in a line-of-duty wreck on Tuesday, Oct. 24. Rebman's stationary patrol car was struck from behind by a pickup truck at 12:23 a.m. Tuesday in the emergency lane on Interstate 385 in Greenville County, authorities said.

Rebman, who lived in Taylors, died of blunt force trauma at 2:25 p.m. Tuesday, the Greenville County Coroner's Office said. The manner of death was accident, Coroner Parks Evans said.

Hundreds attended the funeral service in Greenville on Sunday afternoon. Pastor Dave Smith, of Morningside Baptist Church, welcomed everyone and thanked law enforcement officers for their attendance on the family's behalf.

He asked attendees to nod their heads in prayer, and thanked God for all that Keith gave to his friends, family and community.

"Lord, we thank you for giving us Keith," Dave Smith said. "We miss his smile and his laugh and his hugs. We need your comfort today. ... We pray for Michelle, that she will feel your presence and your love, and that she will not feel alone."

Leroy Smith, director of the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, spoke about the quality of Rebman's character. His steadfast work ethic, his passion for his faith and his selfless attitude made Rebman an exceptional trooper, Leroy Smith said.

"I offer the department's most heartfelt condolences for the loss of your husband," Leroy Smith said. "As a family, you have shown remarkable strength and dignity in the face of overwhelming tragedy."

To the hundreds of state troopers and law enforcement officials who attended in uniform, Leroy Smith offered his understanding.

"Law enforcement officers are taught to be strong, but today isn’t about that," Smith said. "You are also human and this tragedy hurts. Your grief today is undeniable and very real."

In lieu of flowers, donations are being coordinated by the nonprofit organization Heroes in Blue through a GoFundMe page. The page, which was set up only four days ago, has already raised more than $42,000 by more than 550 people.

Trooper Rebman was a new trooper with the Highway Patrol, having graduated from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy in September 2016, Leroy Smith said. Prior to that, he worked as a dispatcher with the Highway Patrol for four years.

He was an avid outdoorsman and loved to spend his free time hunting and fishing, Smith said. He is survived by his wife, Michelle, and three young daughters, Olivia, Charlee and Kennedy.

"He had a passion for his faith, his family and his friends," Leroy Smith said. "He had a kind and sensitive heart and loved giving to others — almost to a fault. ... His death does not erase the legacy of selfless service he left behind."

Near the end of the service, Morningside Senior Pastor Josh Crockett stepped up on stage and read a letter the family had written for Keith.

“Hey Keith,” the letter began. “Everyone who knew you has a story of the care and kindness you showed them. … Thank you for caring for us. And don’t you worry about your girls — we will take care of them. You will forever live in our hearts.”

©2017 the Anderson Independent Mail (Anderson, S.C.)


Categories: Latest News

Europol launches the SIRIUS platform to facilitate online investigations

EUROPOL - Tue, 10/31/2017 - 03:19
As criminals increasingly adopt the Crime-as-a-Service model, getting easy access to tools and services for digitally-enabled crimes, law enforcement authorities face a highly complex challenge when conducting criminal investigations online. To address this challenge, and to better support EU Member States’ investigations on the internet, Europol officially launched the SIRIUS platform during a kick-off meeting in The Hague on 30 and 31 October 2017.
Categories: Latest News

Undercover cop arrests man who sexually assaults her on NY subway

PoliceOne - Mon, 10/30/2017 - 12:46

By PoliceOne Staff

NEW YORK — A man has been arrested for grinding his crotch on an undercover female police detective when she was in plain clothes on a New York Subway.

The New York Daily News reported that Felipe Mondragon, 52, was on a train that left Union Square when he reportedly began grinding his crotch on the undercover detective’s thigh. The officer was wearing plain clothes as part of an operation when the incident occurred.

Mondragon was immediately arrested and charged with forcible touching and sex abuse.

The detective is a part of the NYPD Transit Bureau’s Anti-Crime Squad, which is responsible for patrolling subways in the area and prevent crime.


Categories: Latest News

Fla. HOA: ‘Back the blue’ signs unauthorized, must be removed

PoliceOne - Mon, 10/30/2017 - 09:33

By PoliceOne Staff

ST. CLOUD, Fla. — Residents in a Florida neighborhood were told to remove their signs that support police officers from their yard when they received a letter from their HOA.

WOFL reported that families in a St. Cloud neighborhood were told by the Stevens Plantation Residential Owner’s Association that their “back the blue” signs are unauthorized and are not in compliance with the community’s governing documents.

In the letter, the HOA states that “the primary purpose of a community association is to maintain and increase the value of each owner’s property, it is not the desire of the board of directors to impose hardship.”

The Burgess family have had their sign on the front yard since two Kissimmee police officers were killed in the line of duty in August. They expressed their disappointment with their HOA.

“It’s frustrating, it’s not uglying up the house, I mean it’s just a sign,” Bryan Burgess said.

Neighbors said they are going to voice their concerns at the next HOA meeting.


Categories: Latest News

Police charity lends helping hand to boy battling cancer

PoliceOne - Mon, 10/30/2017 - 09:21

Jill Harmacinski The Eagle-Tribune, North Andover, Mass.

LAWRENCE — When you see Brendon Cruz's excitement over getting a junior police badge, a miniature police car and a giant lollipop you almost forget he has cancer.

But the 2-year-old has been battling rhabdomyosarcoma, a muscle cancer, since January. He's currently being treated at Tufts Floating Hospital for Children in Boston.

This week, Brendon and his family got a helping hand from Cops for Kids with Cancer.

To date, the charity has given away more than $3 million to the families of children fighting cancer, said Edward McNelly, a retired Boston police captain on the charity's board of directors.

Brendon and his parents, mother, Yeronely Perra, and father, Rafael Cruz, and sister, Kimberly, 4, met with McNelly and Lawrence police Chief James Fitzpatrick Thursday to accept a $5,000 donation from Cops for Kids with Cancer.

The charity provides the money to families to help them with expenses during treatment.

Perra had to leave her job to tend to her son's intense medical needs. And Rafael Cruz is in between jobs, he said.

While the family offered thanks to McNelly, Brendon was busy exploring Fitzpatrick's office at the police station. Fitzpatrick pinned him with a "junior police" badge when he first arrived. A bag of goodies for the boy also contained a giant, multi-colored lollipop which he quickly opened, a gift certificate for Toys 'R Us, a T-shirt, hat and more.

"Drop us a line and let us know how he's doing," McNelly told Perra.

Cops for Kids with Cancer has made several donations in the Merrimack Valley and Southern New Hampshire in recent months.

In late September, the charity donated $5,000 to Methuen's Daniel Herrera-Abreu, a 17-year-old student studying information technology at Greater Lawrence Technical School.

Herrera-Abreu was diagnosed in 2015 with renal cell carcinoma, a form of kidney cancer.

Earlier in September, Cops for Kids with Cancer was also in Lawrence to deliver another $5,000 donation to 9-year-old Carlos Escarraman and his mother, Giraldi.

Cops for Kids with Cancer began in 2002 when former Boston police Capt. John Dow, who was battling a cancer diagnosis of his own, noticed the number of sick children in the hospital around him. A few members of the Boston police held a golf tournament with some Irish police officers, donating the funds to a children's cancer hospital in Ireland. The effort then grew into the nonprofit.

Today, Cops for Kids with Cancer donates $5,000 to six families per month. The only requirements are that there is a need and that the family has a child battling cancer. To date, it has given about $3 million to families across Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine and Rhode Island.

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COPS FOR KIDS WITH CANCER Cops for Kids with Cancer is dedicated to improving the quality of lives of children with...

Posted by Lawrence Police Department on Thursday, October 26, 2017

———

©2017 The Eagle-Tribune (North Andover, Mass.)


Categories: Latest News

Off-duty officer shoots, kills 2 during attempted robbery

PoliceOne - Mon, 10/30/2017 - 09:14

By PoliceOne Staff

NEWARK, N.J. — An off-duty New Jersey police officer shot and killed two people during an attempted robbery just before midnight Sunday.

WNBC reported that police were called about an attempted robbery before the off-duty Jersey City officer shot the two suspects. The details regarding what led the officer to fire his weapon have not been released at this time.

Detectives arrived at the scene where the gun shots occurred and recovered two weapons.

An Essex County Prosecutor Office spokeswoman confirmed the shooting but did not provide any additional information, NJ.com reported. The officer’s name was also not immediately released.

We will update you once more information becomes available.


Categories: Latest News

From 100 to 75: Fewer police calls before, during and after Bills-Raiders game

PoliceOne - Mon, 10/30/2017 - 09:13

The Buffalo News, N.Y.

ORCHARD PARK, NY — It was a slightly quieter game day for Orchard Park Police, who reported they responded to more than 75 calls before, during and after the Buffalo Bills-Oakland Raiders football game Sunday, rather than topping 100 calls as they have during previous games this season when the weather was warm and sunny.

Among the minor car crashes, fires, fights and general drunkenness, police also ticketed three men for unlawful solicitation before the game: Jerome Hunter, 55, and Michael Johnson, 54, both of Buffalo, and John Mcadory, 57, of Cheektowaga.

In two unrelated cases, officers found a baggie of cocaine in the parking lot of a stadium-area bar, but no suspects to go with it, and responded to a report of two men snorting cocaine in a vehicle in a private parking lot on Fay Street. The occupants had departed by the time police arrived, but, with evidence in plain view inside, the vehicle was impounded. Shortly afterward, Paul Setlock, 41, and Richard Calteaux, 46, both of Buffalo, were found and charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th degree, police reported.

During the game, police stopped a vehicle that allegedly had driven over "numerous" traffic cones on Abbott Road. David Powers, 23, of East Amherst Road was charged with moving from lane unsafely and aggravated unlicensed operation.

Much earlier in the day, police also arrested Jonathan R. Edwards, 32, of Buffalo, after he was seen using a cellphone while driving at about 2 a.m. near Abbott Road. Edwards appeared to be intoxicated, police said, and a later test showed a blood alcohol content of 0.16 percent, twice the legal limit of 0.08. He was charged with driving while intoxicated and aggravated unlicensed operation, and released on bail.

———

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


Categories: Latest News

Supreme Court declines to hear gun case from West Virginia 

PoliceOne - Mon, 10/30/2017 - 08:29

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court is leaving in place an appeals court ruling that concluded police can frisk someone they believe has a weapon.

The court declined Monday to take a case out of West Virginia in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit concluded that an officer who makes a lawful traffic stop and has a reasonable suspicion that one of the automobile's occupants is armed may frisk that individual for the officer's protection and the safety of everyone on the scene.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, joined by attorneys general for Indiana, Michigan, Texas and Utah, had asked the court to hear the case. Morrisey said innocent gun owners have the right to carry weapons "without the fear of being unreasonably searched."


Categories: Latest News

9 steps to keeping your cop ethics in check

PoliceOne - Mon, 10/30/2017 - 04:25

By Kevin Earl, P1 Contributor

We often read about police officers who destroy their careers through ethical lapses that make us ask, “What the hell were they thinking?” The answer is they were not thinking with an ethical survival mindset. Going home safely to our families and loved ones is the priority for all law enforcement personnel, and the need for officer survival training is clear. However, are we preparing ourselves on a daily basis for ethical survival? If complacency can kill us physically, what role does ethical complacency play in ending careers? These are the questions that only you – the officer – can answer.

What is ethical survival?

Survival is defined as continuing to live or exist, typically in spite of an accident, ordeal or difficult circumstance. An officer survival mindset focuses on a cop’s physical and mental safety and survival. This mindset is built through training, field experience and personal practice.

Ethical survival takes a different approach from officer survival, as it is aimed at saving an officer’s career. Ethical survival focuses on personal accountability, a conscious recognition of potential ethical challenges, and the development of personal ethical strengths required to overcome the adverse and unusual ethical dilemmas police officers encounter. This definition is predicated on an acceptance that officers are fallible and, over time, can become complacent in their ethical preparation.

The numbers don’t lie

The need for an ethical survival mindset is clear when you compare the number of officers killed annually to the number of officers entered into the National Decertification Index.

In 2011, 71 law enforcement officers nationwide were killed feloniously. In the same year, over 1,350 officers were entered into the National Decertification Index.

We need to look at ethical survival in the same way we address line-of-duty deaths: What can we learn from these incidents and how do we prevent ourselves from making the same mistakes?

How to improve ethics in policing

Developing an ethical survival mindset is critical for career survival, as being complacent about ethics could end your police career. Here are 9 easy steps to follow taken from suggestions made by police officers during ethics training courses.

1. Engage in ethical pre-planning

We play the “when/then” game when training for officer survival. We can apply this same process to ethics, preparing ourselves ahead of time for potential ethical challenges. It is impossible to plan for every possible scenario, but ethical preparation improves our chances of ethical survival.

2. Avoid ethical complacency

The Below 100 training program stresses that cops should not be complacent about officer safety; we need the same focus to prevent ethical complacency, which can kill your career the same as a bullet.

3. Consider the consequences

Clearly understand and fear the consequences of police misconduct. The internet is full of websites that provide information on how police officers get in trouble and the consequences they face (loss of career, jail and prison, and embarrassment for themselves and their families). Examine these stories and consider how you would act under the same set of circumstances. Keep in mind that cops do not fare well in prison.

4. Put up ethics reminders

Placing ethics reminders where you will see them keeps ethical conduct in the forefront of your mind. The Law Enforcement Oath of Honor, Code of Ethics and other short ethical reminders are ideal. Small cards with values such as integrity, legacy and accountability are easy to create.

5. Remember your meaning and purpose

Ask yourself: What was my ethical purpose in entering law enforcement, and am I living that meaning and purpose today? This question gets you thinking about your current ethical state of mind and areas of improvement.

6. Think, and then act

Many acts of misconduct occur when an officer is confronted by an unexpected ethical challenge. Unlike an immediate officer safety decision, you can usually slow down to make an ethical decision. When you are not certain what to do, stop to consider your options. Think it through. Phone a friend. Get help in making the decision. Remember you are not alone in this profession and a moment of consultation with a supervisor or trusted peer may prevent you from making an ethical mistake with far-reaching consequences.

7. Set high ethical standards

This is a personal focus on your own ethical standards. We need to develop our own personal integrity (also called “moral fortitude”). This includes staying focused on ethical best thinking, not compromising our ethics and refusing to act unethically. Set high ethical standards for yourself and never lower them.

8. Be a role model

New officers watch senior officers and FTOs to see how they handle situations and decisions that pose ethical dilemmas. Positive ethical role models can shape younger officers, who are the future of our profession. Be that role model.

9. Make the decision to act ethically

You need to make a conscious decision to act ethically regardless of the circumstances. Refuse to act unethically, and support this with your behavior and actions.

Ethics is an intensely personal and, in many ways, sensitive topic for police officers. Developing an ethical survival mindset has the potential to save your reputation, your career and your life. Leave a legacy of professionalism and ethics to pass on to those you influence. Protecting our communities as a police officer is a calling, a privilege and an honor. Remember all who have come before you, and uphold the high standards they have set.

About the author Officer Kevin Earl has served for the past 20 years with the Washoe County School District Police Department in Reno, Nevada. He is certified as a master instructor through the California POST Instructor Development Institute, and has completed the Ethics Instructor Certification Course through the National Institute for Ethics. Kevin is currently completing his PhD in Public Service Leadership through Capella University. His dissertation topic focuses on the effects of peer officer relational and ethical leadership on the ethical climate within law enforcement organizations.


Categories: Latest News

5 ways police leaders can recruit and retain millennials

PoliceOne - Mon, 10/30/2017 - 04:00

Author: Althea Olson and Mike Wasilewski

Editor's note: This special coverage series, Recruitment & Retention Crisis: The Struggle to Hire – and Keep – Good Cops, will take an in-depth look at the recruitment and retention challenges currently facing police agencies, share potential solutions to the crisis and highlight best practices progressive PDs are deploying to bolster their ranks. Watch for further installments of this series throughout the rest of 2017.

The cohort of young adults known as the millennial generation has been causing a stir for some time.

Generally considered as those born between the early 1980s and the mid-1990s, they are technologically savvy, highly social, socially tolerant, generally well educated and civically engaged. They upend social and business conventions, challenging old ways of thinking across academic, marketplace and political landscapes, and driving change and innovation at a lightning fast pace.

They also take a lot of fire. Criticized as coddled, entitled and immature, they are seen to embody all the characteristics of the insulter du jour, the overly sensitive and much-maligned “snowflake.”

How millennial cops differ from previous generations

Millennials entering law enforcement today are more likely than earlier generations of cops to boast college degrees (and to seek even higher education), to come from widely diverse backgrounds, and to express openness to and acceptance of ideas that would strike many older officers as unconventional (or even “liberal”).

Many come pre-committed to maintaining a work/life balance in comparison to older colleagues, who wear years of working impossibly long hours and personal self-sacrifice (not to mention relentless pursuit of the almighty O.T. dollar!) like a badge of honor. They are less likely to center their social life around police culture, opting instead to compartmentalize their work and non-work lives.

While these traits are concerning to veteran officers and administrators, to others they reflect a wider sociological shift. In recent years, we have been advocating for police officers to develop a healthier work/life balance to address the stresses of the job, so we hope this generation’s approach will become normalized over time.

With that said, millennials – and especially younger millennials – do exhibit one trait that is already affecting police agencies currently hiring and employing them. A generational wariness toward long-term employment commitments has created issues of employee retention for a profession that has traditionally expected and relied on workforce longevity to ensure stability and experience.

Millennial recruitment and retention concerns

Known as “job hoppers,” millennials move from one employer to another, trying on different hats, and ready to jump ship for greener (or more interesting) pastures.

A 2012 poll of millennial workers found that as many as 91 percent expect to stay in any one job less than three years. To think law enforcement is drawing entirely from the 9 percent with expectations of greater stability is foolish. Further, “54 percent of millennials either want to start a business or already have started one. And 72 percent of Generation Z (the post-millennial generation) want to start their own business.”

Virtually all new police hires today are coming from the younger end of the millennial pool, with the Gen Z population soon to follow as they come of recruitment age. Gallup research found 60 percent of employed millennials are open to new opportunities, and they are the generation most likely to switch jobs and least engaged in the workplace.

These numbers are raising concern in the private sector where companies are not only competing to recruit and hire the best young talent, but to retain staff and promote engagement. Losing employees impacts productivity and profits, increases employee-training costs and often damages the ability of a company to attract replacement workers. The stakes for law enforcement may even be higher.

Unlike the private sector that can generally expect its employee pool to remain in the game for up to 20 years longer than the typical police officer (who retires younger), they can draw from potential candidates across a wider range of age and experience. Law enforcement typically hires from a much younger pool, often due to statutory restrictions, with older candidates and experienced lateral transfers possible, but still representing relatively few hires.

And as most police officers would probably attest, it can take three to five years for a young officer to become truly proficient at the job. The cost of training a young officer runs into the tens of thousands of dollars in the first few months of employment alone, with hiring expenses, salary and benefits, training, uniforms, gear and field training officer costs. Some departments wash out from 10 percent-50 percent of new hires before they clear probation, and still others quickly decide, “I was wrong, this isn’t for me!” and leave on their own.

By the time an officer is solo, fully competent and invested for the long haul, a department has spent a small fortune. Send them to a few schools or invest in training for specialty positions or ancillary assignments and the cost increases. These are good investments if officers stick around long enough to produce benefits. Experienced, highly functioning, highly invested officers benefit their communities, departments and fellow officers. High turnover undermines good service, professionalism and morale.

Police agencies are not only competing for a smaller pool of potential applicants relative to the millennials – which is still the largest living demographic – but can expect more of the same when they start recruiting Gen Z, the smallest demographic and the one most idealizing entrepreneurship over working for someone else. Recruitment and retention may only become harder in the future, so focusing on officer retention strategies now is a top priority for law enforcement agencies.

Principles of retaining millennial police officers

The key principle on which to focus and work toward is engagement. Employee engagement is a critical factor in job satisfaction for almost all employees regardless of age, but the millennial cohort is the one most likely to leave in its absence. To foster engagement, police agencies must emphasize certain attitudes and practices from the top down.

1. Respect an employee’s desire for a work/life balance

The days of cops routinely sacrificing home and personal life for the job are over. Thanks to increased familial closeness and definitions of family expanded to include longtime friendship circles, the ubiquity of social media and tightened bonds it creates, and increased opportunities for socialization and lived “experiences,” millennial police officers are simply different than those of older generations.

Embrace the differences. If possible, invite younger officers to bring their family and friends around to show off the department, go on ride-alongs, meet bosses and coworkers, and experience the job. Involving those people most important to your young officers in their work world increases the likelihood of the officer bonding with the agency. Working to enhance valued work/life balance demonstrates good faith, empathy and valuing what is important to them.

2. Foster a sense of purpose

Millennials demand purpose. They need to feel invested in something bigger than themselves, that their work has meaning and value, and that putting on the uniform each day is important. Police work can sometimes become a grind, where officers feel they are tasked busy work or simply spinning their wheels with little effect. It takes leadership and guidance, usually from a purpose-driven supervisor or fellow officer, for most employees to discern meaning from the mundane. There are countless “competent” managers in policing, but precious few leaders. Be that leader, regardless of rank.

In “Millennials: The Job Hopping Generation,” Gallup writer Amy Adkins posits:

It's possible that many millennials actually don't want to switch jobs, but their companies aren't giving them compelling reasons to stay. When millennials see what appears to be a better opportunity, they have every incentive to take it. While millennials can come across as wanting more and more, the reality is that they just want a job that feels worthwhile -- and they will keep looking until they find it.

What could be more worthwhile than law enforcement? For the opportunity to make immediate, lasting impact, policing should offer countless opportunities.

3. Provide varied and impactful opportunities

In many law enforcement agencies, specialty assignments are doled out infrequently or given only to certain “golden children.” Opportunities for training, to take part on specialty teams or expand professional horizons are few. Even for high performers, this can create a sense of “I’ll never move up, or get a chance to do anything besides chase the radio,” leading to disillusionment and bitterness.

Even if specialty assignments are highly competitive and difficult to come by, we can still provide opportunities to learn and practice complex skill sets.

Providing opportunities for temporary assignments with specialized divisions allows an officer to practice and demonstrate what they are capable of, stay engaged and have a little fun, while letting permanently assigned officers get to know younger officers’ work ethic and potential.

Encourage patrol officers to work complex investigations, develop community-policing projects, and formulate and carry out traffic enforcement strategies. Supervisors can foster officer development by arranging mentorship and training opportunities to develop needed skills.

4. Provide recognition as a matter of course

Millennials are often criticized as the “participation trophy” generation, even by themselves, and there is certainly some validity to that. However, occasional recognition is valuable.

Leaders who care know that praising past and current behavior is the best way to predict future behavior. Praising those who have performed well virtually ensures they will continue whatever activity got them the praise. Recognition does not need to be formal or complex – a roll call “Atta boy!” goes a long way – but departmental awards are very powerful. Unfortunately, many departments see giving praise as a sign of weakness and “ball busting” is the norm. Get past it.

5. Create an environment of advocacy and trust

This one is huge, so do not underestimate it.

Millennials are especially untrusting of institutions and organizations. In “Millennials Don’t Trust Anyone: That’s a big deal,” political analyst Chris Cillaza writes, “Of 10 major societal institutions, just two – the military and scientists – garnered majority support from millennials on the question of whom they trust to do the right thing most of the time.” The one bright light in an otherwise depressingly cynical article is that the police came in third. So we are doing okay, it seems, among young adults!

If you are a supervisor or senior officer, create an environment of advocacy and trust. Have your subordinates’ backs, be willing to take heat for them when it is due, and create an environment of advocacy and trust where appropriate.

Conclusion

The millennial generation is the future of law enforcement. It is up to current police officers and law enforcement leaders to prepare and support them for the challenges they face. We are all responsible for the retention of solid, well-trained, highly engaged police officers, so let’s make sure we do right by them and the communities we serve.


Categories: Latest News

Man hiding from police calls for help after getting stuck

PoliceOne - Sun, 10/29/2017 - 11:29
Author: Althea Olson and Mike Wasilewski

Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — Authorities say a Utah man who was hiding from police and fled arrest had to call 911 to be rescued after getting stuck in his hiding spot.

Salt Lake City police say 46-year-old Shane Paul Owen called dispatchers for help on Tuesday, more than six hours after he accidentally locked himself in a church's boiler room.

Officers were looking for Owens on Monday because he is a suspect in a string of burglaries and had warrants out for his arrest.

Police say an officer spotted him and attempted to pull his vehicle over, but Owen fled, got out of his car and ran into the church.

A SWAT team held a standoff at the church until Owens called to be rescued.


Categories: Latest News

2 NYPD detectives suspended amid probe of rape allegations

PoliceOne - Sun, 10/29/2017 - 11:28
Author: Althea Olson and Mike Wasilewski

Associated Press

NEW YORK — Two New York City police detectives have been suspended without pay amid reports that they're facing criminal charges in the sexual assault of an 18-year-old woman.

The Brooklyn teenager says the officers assaulted her following a traffic stop on Sept. 15.

Police spokesman Stephen Davis says the two officers were suspended and demoted from detective on Friday.

He declined to comment on reports that a grand jury has handed up an indictment charging at least one of the officers.

The woman's lawyer, Michael David, says the detectives threatened her with arrest over a bottle of prescription pills, then handcuffed her and drove around before stopping in a restaurant parking lot.

David says one detective forced the woman to perform oral sex and the other raped her.


Categories: Latest News

LEOs bring special gift to fallen officer's bullied son

PoliceOne - Sun, 10/29/2017 - 11:20
Author: Althea Olson and Mike Wasilewski

Associated Press

BELLEVUE, Iowa — A fallen Iowa officer's son and his family received a special presentation Friday that offered support from law enforcement officers around the country.

Anamosa police Officer Mitch Kelchen died in a car crash over Labor Day weekend while off duty. After his death, Kelchen's oldest son, Shane, collected business cards from other officers but someone at his school destroyed the cards.

News of that trouble spread and officers around the country sent Shane cards. He now has more than 10,000 cards, plus challenge coins, patches and letters of support, Des Moines television station KCCI reported.

Kansas City, Kansas, got involved and on Friday presented two frames full of more than 150 business cards, including one of Mitch Kelchen's cards.

You've seen the story all over FB. Shane Kelchen collects officers' cards & they were ruined. KC, KS officers just gave him over 100! @KCRG pic.twitter.com/85mqKSaQ8Y

— Allison Wong KCRG (@AWongKCRG) October 27, 2017

Shane and his family weren't sure what to expect when they walked into the Bellevue, Iowa, station on Friday. While looking at the cards, Shane found his dad's card.

"We didn't know that he had a business card and I didn't have one of his, so that's the first one I've gotten," Shane said.

Officer Travis Toms said after hearing the boy's story, he started collecting cards throughout the Kansas City, Kansas, department and detectives supplied him with cards from departments from New York to Los Angeles.

Shane's mom, Tina Kelchen, said the support her family has received has been "beyond anything I could have ever even imagined."

"I knew (police officers) we were all one family, but this has really reinforced that they're all truly there for us, they're right by our side, they have been through this whole process," she said.

Toms said the boy's story "hits home."

"The child is about the same age as my son too," he said. "I'd want someone to look out for mine as well if it were to happen to me."


Categories: Latest News

Va. pizza shop employee writes anti-cop message on LEO's receipt

PoliceOne - Sat, 10/28/2017 - 12:08

By Jonathan Edwards The Virginian-Pilot

NORFOLK, Va. - Two police officers spotted something wrong with their receipt after ordering a couple of slices at a local pizza place.

Subtotal: $8.97

Then a quote from a rap song that once caused officers to chase N.W.A members off stage: –– THA POLICE.

The officers went into Del Vecchios at 1080 W. 47th St. on Wednesday night and ordered two slices of chicken-ranch pizza and a house salad, according to a receipt sent to The Pilot.

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It has been brought to our attention that a receipt has gone viral that does NOT represent our establishment adequately....

Posted by Del Vecchios on Thursday, October 26, 2017

One officer said Del Vecchios had been “one of our trusted eating spots” for a long time, but not after this. He said news of the incident was swirling around the department.

“I loved that place,” he said.

By Thursday night, Del Vecchios employees had posted on Facebook, apologizing. On Friday, manager Emily Browning said one worker was responsible and had been fired.

The employee knew one of the two officers who’d ordered pizza from outside of work and was kidding around with him, Browning said. “It was a joke that escalated.”

Still, she added, Del Vecchios strongly disapproves of what he did.

“We love our police department,” Browning said, noting that they give them 50 percent discounts. “We always take care of them.”

Several people who claimed to be law enforcement officers replied to the Del Vecchios post, defending the restaurant. One said it was a part of a long-running joke that the officer took too personally. Another said Del Vecchios is “very police friendly.”

One woman said her husband is an officer and eats there all the time. In an environment in which officers are more heavily scrutinized, though, “I don’t find that funny at all.”

©2017 The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.)


Categories: Latest News

Fla. responders used SWAT vehicle for Hurricane Irma rescues

PoliceOne - Sat, 10/28/2017 - 11:25

By Sarah Peters Palm Beach Post

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — During Hurricane Irma, Palm Beach Gardens police converted a 20,000-pound vehicle they normally use to approach bad guys into a roving rescue vehicle.

The police department bought the SWAT vehicle with about $180,000 in money seized from drug crimes a few years ago to safely approach armed suspects or other dangerous situations, Chief Stephen Stepp said.

Then they realized its size, equipment and run-flat tires make it great for getting around in a hurricane, when ambulances and fire trucks normally can't operate safely in tropical storm—or hurricane-force winds. This vehicle enables them to correct dangerous situations and reach someone having a massive heart attack.

Its weight prevents the wind from knocking over the six-wheel-drive vehicle. The tires will hold up so the driver can keep going even after their punctured by a bullet or, in this case, debris, Stepp said.

"You can pretty much get through anything," he said.

The vehicle has two spotlights on top with a thermal-imager in the middle that allows the driver to navigate the roads safely, even with heavy rain or fog, Stepp said.

Patrol officers and SWAT firefighter-paramedics were able to ride in it. There's a ledge for them to rest a stretcher on the back.

Some police departments acquire surplus military-grade vehicles. They're designed for bomb blasts coming up the ground and don't mix well with sidewalks and driveways, Stepp said. This department worked with the manufacturer to set it up for police.

On non-hurricane deployments, police have been able to use it to deescalate situations and not use deadly force because they can talk to people without being exposed, he said.

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SWAT VEHICLE

Posted by PALM BEACH LINE-X on Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Copyright 2017 Palm Beach Post


Categories: Latest News

Philly Police Commissioner: We're not ICE, never will be

PoliceOne - Sat, 10/28/2017 - 11:18

By Jeff Gammage Philly.com

PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross made two points crystal clear during 90 minutes of testimony Thursday: The Police Department is not an arm of federal immigration enforcement, and it does not intend to start behaving that way.

Ross was the first and most prominent witness called to the stand in U.S. District Court in the city’s lawsuit against Attorney General Jeff Sessions, lodged over the Trump administration’s attempt to withhold grant money from “sanctuary cities.”

The commissioner testified that Philadelphia police arrest people who commit crimes without regard for their citizenship status. A criminal, he said, is a criminal. At the same time, the department depends on information and help from law-abiding citizens, he said, and part of that trust is built on the fact that police do not routinely collect and store data on whether individuals are in this country illegally.

“There’s no way in the world you’d want to come forward as a source of information or criminal activity if you learned you would be deported,” Ross said.

Broadly defined, a sanctuary city limits its cooperation with federal authorities that enforce immigration law. City leaders generally aim to ease fears of deportation among undocumented residents, believing that members of immigrant communities will then be more willing to report crimes.

President Trump and Sessions have argued that sanctuary city policies allow dangerous criminals to be released into local neighborhoods, when they should be returned to their homelands.

Philadelphia filed its suit in August. Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and California also are going to court over the new restrictions on a federal grant that supports police training and overtime, among other improvements. The lawsuits accuse the president and attorney general of withholding the money as a cudgel to make cities enforce federal immigration laws.

Last year, Philadelphia received $1.67 million.

In July, Sessions added two additional requirements for the grants. At the request of officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, cities must give agents two days’ notice before releasing undocumented inmates from custody. In addition, they must allow ICE agents to enter any detention facility to question immigrants about their right to be or stay in the United States.

The city contends that those requirements were not authorized by Congress and that they violate the 10th Amendment by forcing local governments to do the work of federal authorities.

No immediate ruling was expected in the case, with further testimony scheduled for next week.

Philadelphia city officials, including Ross, say they avoid the term sanctuary city because it’s difficult to define. Instead, they say, they implement policies that provide equal treatment to all who enter the criminal justice system.

On Thursday, Justice Department lawyer Arjun Garg pressed Ross and other witnesses about the circumstances under which local police might assist ICE in its work.

In his testimony, Ross drew a line between ICE requests for information on people who have broken the law, as opposed to those who are victims or witnesses. In the former, when asked, the city may provide information about immigration status, if it has it. In the latter, Ross said, the police will provide no information, believing confidentiality to be crucial to cooperation between police and residents.

Victims and witnesses to crimes must know they can come forward without concern that police will investigate their status, Ross said. Without that assurance, “some of our partners in the neighborhood would fear us, and we can’t afford to have that happen. It would severely inhibit our ability to get info, intelligence.”

©2017 Philly.com


Categories: Latest News

Sheriff's office cracks down on sex crime arrests days before Halloween

PoliceOne - Sat, 10/28/2017 - 11:16

By Margaret Kadifa Houston Chronicle

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — The Harris County Sheriff's Office is rounding up suspected and documented sexual predators to make the streets safer for Halloween trick-or-treaters.

In partnership with the sheriff's office patrol unit and the Texas Attorney General, the criminal warrants division has an ambitious one-week goal to track down 55 unregistered sex offenders and arresting 90 people charged with sexual crimes, said Lt. Darren Chambers with the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

The agency this week assigned all 13 of the sheriff's deputies who work in the field serving criminal warrants to sex-related crimes.

That's almost triple the agency's average monthly numbers. And six times the number of deputies normally assigned to the task.

The Halloween initiative began Monday and ends Friday.

At the forefront of the effort are Thom Smith and Don Bock, the sole sheriff's deputies assigned full-time, year-around to executing warrants related to sexual crimes.

Combined, the pair have more than 50 years on the force. They make about 50 arrests every month – a volume that outnumbers their peers, Chambers said.

The duo starts their days early. By 5 a.m Tuesday, Smith and Bock had hit their first house where they tracked down a man accused of two counts of sexual abuse of a child.

Three hours later, their peers nabbed an employee of a Chick-fil-A off of Beltway 8, near Aldine, who had been charged with two counts of sexually assaulting a child between 14 and 17 years of age.

Things slowed down later that morning. Smith and Bock, plus three state police, wound up at a nondescript office park off of the Southwest Freeway in an effort to find a man accused of possession of child pornography. That man was in New York on a business trip, said his manager, who did a double-take upon hearing the charges.

He'll be caught when he tries to board the airplane back home, Bock said, exiting the building.

A warrant for a different man with two counts of sexual assault and felony criminal mischief brought the pair of deputies to a ramshackle house in the Third Ward and led them on a fruitless chase across south Houston.

Hours later, the man's lawyers got the warrant retracted.

"Crap," Bock said, upon hearing the news over his cell phone.

Across town, another sheriff's team proved more successful. Deputies arrested a man in southeast Houston who had not registered as a convicted sex offender.

The criminal warrants division isn't tackling Halloween safety alone. As part of the initiative, patrol deputies are knocking on doors where registered sex offenders live to make sure their homes aren't decorated to attract Trick-or-Treaters.

The deputies arrested a total of about 10 people and cleared a handful more warrants on Monday and Tuesday – just a drop in the bucket of their ultimate goal for the week.

But Smith and Bock didn't seem concerned. In their half-dozen years serving warrants together, they've found some days they're luckier than others.

"A lot of our days are hit or miss," Smith said. "It's just the luck of the draw."

©2017 the Houston Chronicle


Categories: Latest News

Ga. police thwart 'Columbine-type' school threat

PoliceOne - Sat, 10/28/2017 - 11:09

By Ellen Eldridge The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. — As the Cherokee County sheriff tried to imagine what motivated two high school students accused of attempted murder in his county, the infamous Columbine High School shooting came to mind.

“We prevented something from happening," Frank Reynolds said. “We saved potential lives.”

Etowah High School students Alfred Dupree and Victoria McCurley had access to firearms, but Reynolds said they more likely planned to use a flammable device not unlike a bottle-based petrol bomb commonly known as a Molotov cocktail against school staff.

“It was in a container and it had the potential for implementing like a Molotov cocktail,” Reynolds said Thursday during a news conference. “(There was) no ignition device or anything like that.”

The two 17-year-old juniors, who will be tried as adults on attempted murder and other charges, were denied bond during their first court appearances Thursday. Their case will be heard in Cherokee County Superior Court.

Reynolds said this would have been a “Columbine-type incident” if it had not been thwarted.

In 1999, two teenagers at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, went on a shooting spree, killing 13 people and wounding more than 20 others before turning the guns on themselves. While authorities never determined with certainty the teens’ motives, that they felt bullied may have been a factor.

Reynolds called the person who provided the tip about the Etowah students’ threats “a hero.”

Dupree and McCurley had a “hit list” and the people on that list were contacted by the sheriff’s office, but Reynolds wouldn’t say more.

A man who said his name was Frank called WSB Radio on Wednesday night and said his daughter, who is on the homecoming court, was one of about five people on that list.

“After we sat down (with authorities) in our home, we eventually found out what was taking place,” Frank said.

His daughter said she never worried about Dupree or McCurley, but she recognized they were “somewhat different than the other kids.”

The man said to find out his daughter was one of the people on that list made him think about how precious life is and not to take it for granted. He said his daughter is busy preparing for homecoming and “not missing a step or a beat at all.”

Dupree, of Acworth, and McCurley, of Woodstock, each face three counts of criminal attempt to commit murder and four counts of making terroristic threats and acts. They also face charges of criminal attempt to commit arson and possession or transportation of a destructive device or explosive intending to kill, injure or destroy any public building.

What police know about the teenagers’ intentions is largely gleaned from a diary Dupree kept, the sheriff’s office said. As the investigation is ongoing, officials aren’t releasing more information about statements Dupree made in that diary, sheriff’s spokeswoman Sgt. Marianne Kelley said.

In addition, the arrest warrants were sealed by Chief Magistrate Judge James Drane III. During Thursday’s first appearance, Drane told both teens not to have any contact with students or staff at Etowah.

But social media posts made by McCurley appear to show her as a troubled individual who romanticizes events such as the Columbine massacre in pictures.

The profile picture on an Instagram profile with pictures of a teenage girl who resembles McCurley is an image of character Tyler Durden from the 1999 movie “Fight Club,” which is about a depressed man living with multiple personalities who is encouraged to destroy people, places and things through an underground club for fighting.

The image reads, “In him we trust. Tyler Durden.”

In addition to pictures of McCurley, the account includes an Oct. 11 post with an image of a student involved in the Columbine shooting above this caption and an Oct. 18 post showing a so-called bulletproof blanket shielding students in a hallway during a school shooting.

The previous month, a post featured what appears to be writing on a wall.

“Lost children with dirty faces today but no one really seems to care,” according to the post.

Authorities received the tip about the threats Monday and interviewed Dupree and his family that night. Police and the sheriff’s office acted quickly, taking the threats seriously and informing parents Tuesday.

Reynolds said the tipster-turned-hero also underscores a neccesity on the part of parents to watch over their kids’ use of social media. And though he said he understands the sometimes dark emotions teenagers can have, adults in their lives must take them seriously.

“We look at some of the incidents like Columbine and you have 17-year-olds committing horrendous crimes and murdering folks,” Reynolds said. “We can’t let that emotion play into it; we have to look at facts and circumstances.”

Reynolds called himself a community leader with a vested interest, with family members who are teachers in the school system and children who are students. He insisted parents need to have access to their children’s social media accounts.

“My children have that condition: at any time Mom and Dad can go in their room,” Reynolds said. “You have to be nosy; you never know what your children are going to get into.”

McCurley’s home had an incendiary device that Kelley described as flammable.

“I am so thankful for the person who reported them,” Woodstock parent Paige Post told The AJC. “I can't begin to imagine what kind of destruction could have been done.”

While many students and parents were shocked, others were thankful someone reported the teens.

“The real hero in the whole thing is whoever reported it,” Andy Waldron, whose son is a senior at Etowah, said. “God bless them because they likely saved lives.”

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


Categories: Latest News

Judge blasts cop killer's parole board for considering letters from LEOs

PoliceOne - Sat, 10/28/2017 - 04:00

By Douglass Dowty Syracuse Media Group

CANASTOTA, NY -- A state judge has blasted a cop-killer's parole board for considering letters from cops in denying the 74-year-old murderer's release after 43 years in prison.

John Ruzas - who is up for parole for the 11th time - shot to death Trooper Emerson Dillon on the Thruway near Canastota in 1974. Ruzas earlier had robbed a DeWitt jewelry store.

Ruzas, who was 32 years old at the time, was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. He has gotten chances at parole for nearly two decades.

Anyone has a right to send a letter opposing parole: there's even a form on the state prison website to submit a letter supporting or opposing parole for an inmate.

And state police have, for years, made a public appeal to keep Ruzas behind bars.

But Hudson Valley Judge Victor Grossman this month held the parole board in contempt for considering dozens of opposition letters that came from police officers decrying Ruzas's murder.

Grossman said considering those letters violated the law. The judge ordered a new parole board to consider Ruzas' bid for freedom, forbidding the previous parole board members from participating in the new panel.

The judge also went after the parole board members personally, saying if they didn't uphold the law, they should resign or be fired. He said parole boards routinely flounted the law because they could get away with it.

The judge's ruling incensed the state troopers union, which called the it "ignorant, insulting and inexcusable."

""Shame on Judge Grossman. This bush-league judicial decision is a slap in the face to the children of Trooper Dillon and the entire New York State Trooper family," said Police Benevolent Association President Thomas H. Mungeer. "How can this judge say that Troopers who risk their lives to serve and protect the public and endure nightmarish moments together aren't considered family and members of the community who are harmed by the crime?"

At its heart, the dispute comes down to this: are some crimes -- like killing a police officer while fleeing a robbery -- so violent that they should virtually disqualify someone from parole? Or should a parole board consider an inmate's record and rehabilitation for even the worst crimes?

The law sends mixed signals: the PBA noted correctly that someone who murders a police officer in 2017 can face life in prison without chance of parole. (That wasn't on the books when Ruzas was sentenced.)

But parole boards -- for those eligible -- are also required to account for someone's rehabilitation and "future-focused" risk if returned to the community.

This is at least the third time that a New York State judge has overturned a parole board's decision in a murder case as being arbitrary and ignoring the law.

In his 14-page decision, Grossman insisted that he wasn't ordering the parole board to ignore community opposition to Ruzas's release. But the judge said only those people defined under law -- namely, the victim's family and representatives -- could be considered by a parole board.

Grossman summed up the impermissible letters this way:

"The 'wealth of opposition' (cited by the parole board) includes several out-of-state letters, 46 letters with identical 'boilerplate' opposition language, eight letters expressing a desire to life without parole and penal philosophy, and a few others...

The judge noted that letters and statements from the trooper's family were appropriate for consideration.

The PBA called the judge's order for yet another parole hearing a "cruel and devastating reminder" to the trooper's family 43 years after his death.

"The children of Trooper Dillon -- who are devastated by this ruling -- cannot understand why a judge seems more concerned about a murderer than the troopers and their families who have supported the Dillon family over the years," the union said in a news release.

Grossman noted that Ruzas is nearly 75 years old now and needs a cane or a wheelchair to get around. He's hard of hearing. And he's had a clean prison record since 1990 and has repeatedly acknowledged guilt and expressed remorse, the judge said.

Those are factors the parole board paid only lip service to in denying parole, the judge ruled.

The parole board acknowledged that an internal risk assessment found "no risk." But the panel focused on the horrendous nature of Ruzas's crime. Here's part of its ruling denying parole:

"You have presented yourself; 74 years old with medical issues and clean discipline. Your COMPAS indicates no risk and case plan features satisfactory goals. The panel is concerned given your account of the instant offense whereby admittedly you drew your illegal weapon and shot the trooper struggling over a jacket... Overall, your interview expressed shallow remorse whereby you did so only when prodded. The interview revealed what appeared to be your agitation with the process and its repetition. A review of the sentencing minutes revealed the judge's premise that your sentence would satisfy your debt to society. Moreover, this file features a wealth of letters opposing your release at this time. Therefore, based on all the factors in the file considered discretionary release is not appropriate."

That parole board's decision was actually the second time Ruzas had appeared before the board based on the judge's ruling.

Grossman found that second decision to be faulty, as well, in ordering a third parole hearing this time around. The police union charged that the cop-killer had found a "sympathetic ear" in the judge.

"I'm growing very tired of judges attempting to legislate from the bench," Mungeer, the union chief, said. "Trooper Dillon's sacrifice to the people of New York state will never be forgotten, and this union will continue to advocate for him and his family."

Ruzas's next parole hearing must be held by early November, the judge said. Grossman heard the case because he presides over the area where Ruzas is being held, at the Fishkill Correctional Facility.

©2017 Syracuse Media Group, N.Y.


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