Latest News

Texas LEO killed in single-vehicle wreck while responding to crash

PoliceOne - Sun, 08/06/2017 - 10:09

By Erica Pauda Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

YOAKUM COUNTY, Texas — A Yoakum County law enforcement officer was killed in a crash while responding to another crash Saturday evening in Yoakum County, according to Seagraves police and the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Jason Fann, who was a police officer in Seagraves as well as a deputy sheriff in Yoakum County, was identified as the victim of a fatal crash Saturday evening in Yoakum County.

DPS troopers were called to a crash involving a tractor-trailer around 6 p.m. Saturday on State Highway 214, approximately two miles south of Plains, said DPS Sgt. John Gonzalez.

Fann was responding to the crash when he lost control of his patrol unit, rolling the vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene, Gonzalez said.

The driver of the tractor-trailer was taken to the hospital in Denver City with incapacitating injuries.

The Seagraves Police Department responded to the crash in a post through Facebook Saturday evening.

“(Fann) was involved in a traffic accident while answering a call in Yoakum County,” the statement reads. “Officer Fann did not survive the accident. We ask for prayers from the public for officer Fann’s family, friends and co-workers. Jason Fann will be sorely missed by all.”

The crash remained under investigation late Saturday.


©2017 the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (Lubbock, Texas)

Categories: Latest News

FBI investigators seek suspects in Minn. mosque bombing

PoliceOne - Sun, 08/06/2017 - 09:37

Associated Press

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — FBI investigators are seeking suspects after an explosive device tore through part of a suburban Minneapolis mosque as people were preparing for morning prayers, damaging a room but not causing any injuries, authorities and witnesses said.

The blast happened at around 5 a.m. Saturday at the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, according to Bloomington Police Chief Jeff Potts. Windows of the imam's office were shattered, either by the blast or by an object thrown through them, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported .

One worshipper saw a pickup truck speeding away shortly after the explosion, said Mohamed Omar, the center's executive director. He said the mosque, which primarily serves people from the area's large Somali community, occasionally receives threatening calls and emails.

"We came to this country for the same reason everyone else came here: freedom to worship," Yasir Abdalrahman, a worshipper at the mosque, told the newspaper. "And that freedom is under threat. Every other American should be insulted by this."

Asad Zaman, director of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, described the attack as a firebombing.

Investigators will try to determine whether the incident was a hate crime and who may have been behind it, according to Richard Thornton, special agent in charge of the FBI's Minneapolis Division.

Thornton said during an afternoon news conference that the explosion was caused by an "improvised explosive device," and that investigators have recovered components of the device to figure out how it was put together.

But he didn't take questions and declined to provide details about the device, citing the ongoing investigation, which is being led by the FBI.

Saturday's bombing comes amid a rise in reports of anti-Muslim incidents in the U.S., including arson attacks and vandalism at mosques, harassment of women wearing Muslim head coverings and bullying of Muslim schoolchildren. Just recently in Minnesota, an Islamic cemetery in Castle Rock Township reported it had been vandalized with spray painted profanities and swastikas.

The mosque in Bloomington, just south of Minneapolis, serves as a religious center and community organizing platform for Muslim activists and leaders in the area, according to the society. The group is offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest or conviction.

A $10,000 reward also is being offered by the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR. The group said its national office is urging Islamic centers and mosques to step up security.

"If a bias motive is proven, this attack would represent another in a long list of hate incidents targeting Islamic institutions nationwide in recent months," said Amir Malik, the local chapter's civil rights director.

Along with a mosque, the building houses a community center that hosts computer classes, a basketball league, religious classes, lectures and other events.

Minnesota is home to the largest Somali community in the U.S., roughly 57,000 people, according to the latest census figures. The immigrants have been coming to Minnesota from their war-torn homeland since the 1990s, drawn by generous social services and the sense of community among the diaspora.

Categories: Latest News

No charges for Ohio cop who fatally shot man holding woman by neck

PoliceOne - Sat, 08/05/2017 - 06:30

Associated Press

CANTON, Ohio — A grand jury has declined to indict an officer for the fatal shooting of a man who was holding a woman by the neck outside a home in northeast Ohio and refused to let her go.

Stark County's prosecutor said in a statement Friday that the grand jury voted Thursday not to indict the officer in the May 24 fatal shooting of Hayden Stutz.

Canton's police chief has said Stutz told officers several times that he had a pistol and didn't care what happened. Police said the 24-year-old man moved like he was going to hurt the woman before the officer shot him. No gun was found.

Court records said Stutz was due in court on a disorderly conduct charge the day he was shot.

Categories: Latest News

Cops: Rant about salad with too-few cucumbers ends in arrest

PoliceOne - Sat, 08/05/2017 - 06:30

Associated Press

NEW HOLLAND, Pa. — Police say a Pennsylvania man ranted that there weren't enough cucumbers on his Wendy's salad before he threw his food at an employee and made a threat.

Police say they were called to the fast-food restaurant on Sunday afternoon in New Holland after 58-year-old Theodore Gunderson Jr. cursed, threw the salad at an employee and said, "If I had a gun or knife you would be the first to go."

The clerk called police, and officers arrived to find Gunderson in his vehicle with the windows rolled up. Police say Gunderson eventually rolled down his window but then tried to drive away as an officer reached inside.

Online court records don't list an attorney for Gunderson. He remained jailed Friday on aggravated assault, terroristic threats and other charges.

Categories: Latest News

Man on lawnmower charged with ninth DWI

PoliceOne - Sat, 08/05/2017 - 06:30

The Free Press

MANKATO, Minn. — A Madison Lake man is facing his ninth DWI-related charge after he allegedly was caught driving a lawnmower while intoxicated.

A Madison Lake police officer reportedly noticed Thomas Edward Grothe, 60, driving a riding lawnmower erratically on city streets July 20. Grothe allegedly tested 0.28 and 0.27 on breathalyzers.

Grothe was charged this week with gross misdemeanor DWI and gross misdemeanor driving after license cancellation.

Grothe has eight prior DWI-related convictions, according to the criminal complaint.


©2017 The Free Press (Mankato, Minn.)

Categories: Latest News

Prosecutor: Fatal OIS of armed Iowa man justified, body cam released

PoliceOne - Sat, 08/05/2017 - 05:00

Associated Press

NORTH ENGLISH, Iowa — A prosecutor has declined to charge a southeastern Iowa police officer in the shooting death last month of a North English man.

Iowa County Attorney Tim McMeen said in a written statement Tuesday that an investigation showed Police Officer Blake Heller was justified in shooting 53-year-old Robin Blaylock on June 10.

Heller and several other law enforcement officers responded to the North English house where the shooting happened for a report of a domestic disturbance involving a gun.

McMeen says Blaylock pointing a gun twice at officers and refused to obey officer commands.

Heller serves as a part time officer for Williamsburg and the town of Marengo. He is also employed as a full time Iowa County Deputy Sheriff.

Categories: Latest News

SC sheriff: Man used wounded woman as shield in shootout

PoliceOne - Sat, 08/05/2017 - 05:00

Associated Press

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Nine officers in South Carolina had no choice but to fire on a man after he wounded a woman last month, then used her body as a shield during a shootout, a sheriff said Friday.

Ramiro Ramirez "came to do battle" after killing the woman on a busy highway in Greenville on July 14, firing on responding officers before they could even get out of their cars, Greenville County Sheriff Will Lewis said at a news conference.

Ramirez hid behind 25-year-old Candy Rosario's body, reloading once as he kept firing at deputies, Lewis said.

The shootout ended with Ramirez, 34, putting the gun to his own head and pulling the trigger, Greenville County Coroner Parks Evans has said.

Since the State Law Enforcement Division is investigating the shooting, Lewis said he doesn't know exactly how many shots his officers fired or whether any of them struck Rosario.

The nine deputies followed all police rules and he reinstated them to active duty 11 days after the shooting, Lewis said. The criminal investigation into the shootings continues, the sheriff said.

But Lewis left little doubt he felt like the shooting was legal.

"I don't think we could have prevented this, ever," the sheriff said.

Ramirez and Rosario were in a romantic relationship before the shooting, Lewis said.

Lewis plans to soon release dashboard footage of the shooting, which he said will remove any questions about the officers' actions. There is also body camera footage, but it shows graphic scenes like Ramirez's death and deputies dragging a badly wounded Rosario away and Lewis said he won't release that video.

"When they were dragging her away she became exposed," Lewis said. "I just don't want that video out there for the victim's family."

Categories: Latest News

Feds take no action after reviewing fatal Tenn. OIS

PoliceOne - Fri, 08/04/2017 - 14:24

By Johnathan Mattise Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Federal officials on Friday agreed with a state decision not to prosecute a white Tennessee police officer who fatally shot a black man after a traffic stop.

A U.S. Attorney's Office statement said it worked with the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice in reviewing investigations by the Nashville Police Department and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and determined that no further action or investigation of the fatal shooting of 31-year-old Jocques Clemmons is warranted.

The announcement bolsters the decision in May by Nashville District Attorney General Glenn Funk not to seek charges against Officer Josh Lippert. But it frustrates African-Americans in the city, where the NAACP, some clergy, Clemmons' family and other community members have challenged the official investigations.

"I think they violated his civil rights, for a man to be shot down like a dog, be shot down in the back, and shot multiple times," said Ludye Wallace, president of the NAACP's Nashville chapter.

But Funk said the officer's actions met the legal definition of self-defense, and that a witness backed the officer's statement that Clemmons carried a gun during the confrontation in February.

"We appreciate the diligence of the FBI and the Department of Justice in their review," Nashville police spokeswoman Noelle Yazdani said in a statement.

The U.S. Attorney's statement didn't say whether federal officials did any independent interviews of the people involved. At the state level, the investigation rested largely on the original police interviews. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation did not re-interview the woman who backed the officer's account of the shooting, citing guidance from Funk that "if a previously conducted interview was sufficient and covered all questions that would have been asked by TBI personnel, then it was acceptable to rely on the (Nashville police) interview."

The witness told Nashville police investigators that she was watching from her car in the parking lot where the confrontation unfolded, and at one point saw a gun fall to the ground, perhaps from Clemmons' hoodie or pants pocket. She said the officer tried to kick it away, but Clemmons grabbed it and ran. She said she heard three shots fired, but didn't see the shooting itself. Lippert shot Clemmons twice in the back and once in the hip.

Funk said the woman's account was key, because without it, "we would have had the officer's statement and we would have had a (surveillance) video that would not have clearly established that what was in his hand was a gun."

According to Lippert, after Clemmons recovered the gun, Clemmons started turning toward him until the gun faced his direction.

From interviews and surveillance video, Funk determined that Clemmons held the gun in the officer's general direction, but "never drew down on the officer and pointed it at him."

The Clemmons family's lawyer, Michael Hoskins, has contended that Clemmons wasn't armed; the family has raised doubts about a gun Lippert said he recovered at the scene.

Lippert told investigators that Clemmons had a "me or you look in his eye" after picking up the gun. He said he fired when he saw the barrel of the pistol turning his way.

"I'm sorry and I feel, you know, terrible and I mourn the loss of this man," Lippert told investigators. "It's at my hands. I know that. But he was a lethal threat to me. And without a doubt, I'm telling you, if I didn't do what I did, you'd be burying me."

Clemmons was convicted of a cocaine felony in 2014, and thus was prohibited from possessing the pistol under state and federal law, police said.

Critics of Lippert have also called for him to be fired. They have cited his disciplinary record, which includes nine suspensions over his five years on the force, including a case in Oct. 2015 when Lippert used unnecessary physical force to remove a black driver from a car during a traffic stop.

Categories: Latest News

Calif. police find hundreds of animals during arrest

PoliceOne - Fri, 08/04/2017 - 14:21

Associated Press

MONTCLAIR, Calif. — Police in California stumbled across a trash-strewn industrial building crammed with more than 1,000 snakes, parrots, chickens and other animals — many of them dead — when they arrived to serve an arrest warrant on a man who rented the property.

The surviving animals were being examined and sheltered Friday by the Inland Valley Humane Society and SPCA.

Police originally arrived at the industrial building in Montclair, 30 miles (48 kilometers) east of Los Angeles, to make an arrest unrelated to the animals. They had asked humane society workers to accompany them to care for the man's two dogs while he was in custody.

But when they got there, humane society operations manager James Edward said Friday, they immediately became suspicious that other animals were inside.

A search warrant was served and authorities entered to find more than a thousand chickens, baby chicks, parakeets, parrots, love birds, snakes and fish.

"Unfortunately there were numerous deceased chickens and snakes," Edward said, adding conditions were deplorable.

Trash and debris were strewn everywhere, he said, and fish were swimming in tanks so filthy it was impossible to identify them. Snakes were locked in boxes without food or water. The building, itself, reeked of ammonia.

"It was definitely uninhabitable for animals or people," Edward said.

Police did not immediately release the arrested man's name, and Edward said authorities didn't know why the animals were kept there.

Categories: Latest News

Wife of NJ officer killed in wreck gives birth to daughter

PoliceOne - Fri, 08/04/2017 - 12:32

By PoliceOne Staff

SUMMIT, N.J. — The wife of an officer who was killed in a multi-car crash while driving to work in May recently gave birth to their daughter.

Victoria Tarentino gave birth to Anastasia Catherine, the department announced on Facebook Thursday. Det. Matthew Tarentino was killed in a three-car wreck on May 30. He was a D.A.R.E. officer for the city and was scheduled for a school event the day of the crash, reported.

“Mom and baby are doing great,” the department wrote. “Proud big brothers Robbie and Ray are eager for their little sister to start playing with them! Congratulations Vickie, Robbie and Ray — and welcome to the world little one!”

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On behalf of the Tarentino Family, the Summit Police Department is proud to announce the recent birth of the late Det....

Posted by Summit Police Department on Thursday, August 3, 2017

Categories: Latest News

Denver proposes new bill that would limit police cooperation with ICE

PoliceOne - Fri, 08/04/2017 - 12:19

By PoliceOne Staff

DENVER — A Denver City Council committee passed an ordinance that would limit police interactions with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The committee passed the ordinance in a 6-1 vote Wednesday, KUSA reported. Mayor Michael Hancock also announced an executive order that would remove Denver from any immigration enforcement.

The bill would prevent jail staff from contacting ICE about an inmate’s release, unless they have a signed warrant from a federal judge or magistrate. ICE agents would need to obtain a warrant to gain access to secure areas of jails. Currently, jail employees must give ICE notice about inmates before their release.

“This bill is not about changing [ICE’s] responsibility, it’s not about impacting their job, it’s about simply saying, we are not required to do it and it’s not appropriate for us to do it,” Councilwoman Robin Kniech said.

Kniech said ICE knows who’s in the jails due to federal requirements.

“We will continue to follow the law and if you have a warrant, you get access to our jail, you get access to inmates and that is the practice in our country,” she said.

The mayor’s executive order would establish legal defense for immigrants through the nonprofit and legal community and would protect victims of crime, regardless of their immigration status. It would also help children and families who are separated by the system.

The ordinance will be proposed in front of the full council for a vote on Aug. 21. The deciding vote will be on Aug. 28.

Categories: Latest News

Dunkin Donuts worker refuses to serve NYPD, manager apologizes after union threatens boycott

PoliceOne - Fri, 08/04/2017 - 10:52

By PoliceOne Staff

NEW YORK — A manager of a Dunkin Donuts has apologized after an employee allegedly refused to serve two NYPD officers.

Two plainclothes police officers with visible badges on their shirts were ignored by an employee Thursday, who asked the customer behind them what he wanted instead, the New York Post reported.

The man ordered then said the officers were in front of him, to which the employee allegedly said “Yeah, I know, but I don’t serve cops.”

The manager said it was all simply a misunderstanding and the officers waited at the counter where customers pick up their food, not where they place orders. The unnamed manager wouldn’t allow The New York Post to see the footage.

“I kept trying to explain that we serve everyone, we have nothing but respect for the police, and that they were standing at the wrong counter. It was busy at the time, and we were busy serving customers,” he said.

Police union President Michael Palladino said that the incident was “disgraceful and it should not go unattended.” Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner James O’Neill both condemned the incident.

"I don't know the details and I wasn't there, but if it's what you describe, it's someone being stupid and unfair to our police officers," De Blasio said.

According to the International Business Times, Palladino announced Thursday that NYPD officers and their families would be boycotting Dunkin Donuts until they receive an apology for refusing officers service. The franchise owner has since personally apologized to both officers.

"Our franchises are committed to serving each and every guest with respect and courtesy," a statement from Dunkin’ Donuts issued on Twitter said. “The franchisee of the Brooklyn restaurant is meeting with the police officer he spoke to earlier this week in person to hopefully bring this to a satisfactory conclusion for all involved."

Statement from @DunkinDonuts on clerk reportedly refusing #NYPD cops service. No word if clerk keeping job. @WOR710 @NBCNewsRadio

— Ethan Harp (@EthanHarpNews) August 3, 2017

Palladino said officers aren’t looking for special treatment, they just want equal treatment. "I respect the response from headquarters and I think they can use this as a learning process I think from what happened here they should start ordering their franchise to start giving their employees a little sensitivity training and maybe check their politics at the door before they punch into work," Palladino said.

Categories: Latest News

Texas professor shows up to class in vest, helmet on 1st day of campus carry

PoliceOne - Fri, 08/04/2017 - 10:43

By PoliceOne Staff

SAN ANTONIO — A professor showed up to class dressed in full protective gear on the first day of campus carry at Texas community colleges.

Charles K. Smith told that he “didn’t feel safe,” so he came to class with a ballistic vest and a helmet on.

"It definitely makes me feel uneasy that there are more firearms on campus than there really should be," Smith said. "[Dressing this way] was just a statement on how I felt.”

Smith said he’s encountered arguments, fist fights and threats over grades, but no weapons were ever involved.

"I realize students were carrying guns on campus illegally, but now it's legal to do so. It increases the chances of something happening," he said. "Used to, when they got mad at me, they had to go home to get the gun and had time to cool off, now they will have it with them."

Campus carry was signed into law in 2015, allowing individuals with a license to carry to carry guns at Texas community colleges.

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In response to concealed carry, Professor Charles K. Smith, wears protective gear to his Physical Geography class at San Antonio College.

Posted by Hot Mustard on Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Categories: Latest News

City councilman blames Okla. Highway Patrol, 'negligence' for trooper’s death

PoliceOne - Fri, 08/04/2017 - 10:40

By PoliceOne Staff

NORMAN, Okla. — A city councilman blamed Oklahoma Highway Patrol and “extreme negligence” for the death of Lt. Heath Meyer.

Meyer was struck by a patrol car during a high-speed pursuit on July 14 while laying out stop sticks, The Oklahoman reported. Dangelo Ladon Burgess, who was out on bail, was arrested that night.

KFOR reported that Councilman Stephen Tyler Holman wrote on Facebook that the negligence of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol resulted in Meyer’s death. The post has since been deleted.

“Putting stop sticks out to stop a car going over 100 mph is extremely negligent on behalf of the OHP,” he wrote. “They put people's lives at risk by doing that and it ended up costing one of their own.”

Another post by Holman, which was also deleted, said the suspect can’t be the only one taking the blame and the department ignored other factors.

Former trooper Corey Miner wrote an open letter to Holman after seeing the posts, saying that Meyer put himself in harm’s way that night to “protect everybody on that highway, including Councilman Holman.”

“I think he should apologize to Trooper Meyer's widow, I think he should apologize to Trooper Meyer's two children and I think he should apologize to those constituents whom he represents,” Miner told KFOR.

Holman later replied to a comment saying he supports all good police officers, including Meyer.

Categories: Latest News

Policing Matters Podcast: Is the NJ bill on educating kids about police contacts a good idea?

PoliceOne - Fri, 08/04/2017 - 09:38
Author: Jim Dudley and Doug Wyllie


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

New Jersey is considering legislation (Assembly Bill A1114) that would require schools to teach children how to interact with police "in a manner marked by mutual cooperation and respect." But can we really legislate civility? And what about compliance with lawful commands? Just because a kid has been told what to do, will they when they become adults actually do what they’ve been told? In this week's podcast, Jim and Doug discuss the potential such a law would have, as well as the ways in which it could go totally sideways from its intended purpose.

Categories: Latest News

Police pay respects at funeral for special Olympian, LE supporter

PoliceOne - Fri, 08/04/2017 - 09:19
Author: Jim Dudley and Doug Wyllie

By PoliceOne Staff

ARLINGTON, Texas — Officers showed up to pay their respects this week to a man who formed a strong bond with officers as a competitor in the Special Olympics.

Police told Fox 4 DFW that Ross Steele, 36, always greeted them with a smile and told them how much he admired police. Steele died unexpectedly two weeks ago at swim practice from an apparent heart attack.

"He'd always salute us,” Officer Dick Hill said. “That was his big thing — smile and salute."

Steele formed a love for law enforcement and the military in high school when he was a member of the ROTC program. His mother, Debbie, said he’d always walk up to officers and military members and thank them for their service.

Law enforcement and Steele formed a strong bond while Steele was competing in the Special Olympics. Officers from three different departments showed up to the funeral to their respects to someone who appreciated them so much.

"He sees the positive sides of everything and everyone,” Det. Tim Henz said. “Negatives are not in his makeup."

Debbie told Fox 4 it meant a lot that they showed up to say goodbye.

"Ross had an impact on a lot of people,” Debbie said. “And that he showed so much kindness and love, they're returning that favor now by being here."

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My story tonight...a Special Olympics athlete, who loved Police officers, dies...and officers show their gratitude at his funeral. FOX 4 News

Posted by Brandon Todd Fox 4 on Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Categories: Latest News

What the Neb. 'OB-GYN' lawsuit says about women in police work

PoliceOne - Fri, 08/04/2017 - 08:32

Author: Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Editor at Large

When I read that the Nebraska State Patrol has “for years” forced female police recruits to submit to “a vaginal and rectal examination” as a requirement for employment, I immediately thought, That simply cannot be true. Nobody is that stupid.

I quickly remembered that we continually come upon stupid people, with each idiotic act outdoing its predecessor. However, this allegation – if found to be true – is one of the most monumentally stupid things I’ve heard in my life.

According to a report by the Associated Press, Trooper Brienne Splittgerber filed a lawsuit against the Nebraska State Patrol, the state of Nebraska, two former patrol heads and “various other people.”

The AP said, “State Patrol spokesman Cody Thomas said no NSP recruits have undergone the pelvic exams since December 2016.”

This case has not yet been heard in court, and I have no intention to adjudicate it here, but talk about a damning statement. It immediately begs the question: What about before December 2016?

According to the lawsuit, Splittgerber submitted to the required, pre-employment physical exam in 2014 before she was hired by the patrol in 2015.

File under: You just can’t make this sh*t up.

Undoing a terrible history of misogyny

Splittgerber’s allegation reminds us that there have been some pretty egregious examples of mistreatment of women (and, for that matter, a number of other groups) in the ranks of law enforcement. I’m led to wonder, has all of that past mistreatment had an adverse effect on recruiting and retention of female officers?

Renowned police trainer and PoliceOne Contributor Sergeant Betsy Brantner-Smith was hired as a police officer in 1980 and started at the police academy in early 1981. That class had four other women.

Five days into the academy, Betsy was the only female left.

This is anecdotal evidence, to be sure, but compelling evidence nonetheless.

During her academy training, one of the lead instructors confronted Smith – in front of the entire academy class – and suggested that instead of being a student in “his academy” he would rather see her on her knees in front of him.

“I was stunned, but so naïve and so fearful I would lose the job I’d worked too hard to get that I just shut up. It didn't get a whole lot better, but I persevered and graduated,” Sergeant Smith told PoliceOne.

“As a rookie, I was written up for things like standing with my feet too far apart for a woman, using too much profanity in the station for a woman and disobeying a direct hint. Those are direct quotes from my disciplinary paperwork,” Smith said.

Smith said that even into her early career, the hazing continued, but not by her immediate peers on patrol. It was command staff who, for nearly two years, mistreated her. Her toughness, fortitude, and solid performance as a “cop’s cop” were the difference between washing out and becoming one of the most revered and respected female officers this country has ever seen.

“I certainly faced harassment and discrimination many times in my 29 years as a police officer, but like most women cops, I just accepted it as part of the job and learned to choose my battles wisely,” Smith said.

Smith says that the biggest discrimination issue she hears about from female officers is how poorly police departments handle pregnant cops.

“Even though pregnancy is inevitable for most agencies and the handling of this temporary condition is quite simple, police managers continue to get it wrong, often with women losing their careers and their livelihood. The stories are horrific to say the least, and jurisdictions waste a lot of money on lawsuits that are easily avoided,” Smith said.

Overcoming a reputation of discrimination and hostility toward women

According to the National Center for Women and Policing, a mere 13 percent of American police officers are female. The FBI puts that number even lower at 11 percent. Jane Townsend, who is chief inspector for the British Transport Police, told The Atlantic last year that the percentage of female officers in the United Kingdom is more than double that of the United States at 28 percent.

Does a history of mistreatment of women lead to that low number? It’s impossible to draw from that data a cause-and-effect relationship, but to not address the possibility is negligent in the extreme. Most law enforcement agencies are having a difficult time recruiting and retaining any cops, much less women. But Smith cautions against changing recruiting and retention practices to attract more females.

“A reputation of discrimination and hostility toward women or other minorities quickly becomes an issue that the agency will have a hard time overcoming even when they finally change their ways. However, agencies that are too lenient of poorly performing women and minorities run a similar risk of damaging their reputations and may fail to attract the best candidates,” Smith said.

“At a time when the law enforcement profession continues to swim upstream in the big river that is public relations, police managers cannot afford to fail to treat each applicant, each recruit and each employee equally. This means hold everyone to the highest possible standards, and frequently reviewing policy and practices to make sure they benefit the community, the agency and the police officers themselves.”

Meanwhile, back in Nebraska…

There is certainly more to be revealed about the Nebraska lawsuit. Did the agency also require male officers to submit to the “turn and cough” exam? What about prostrate exams? If this was also part of the pre-employment regimen, then a deeper examination of the NSP hiring process may be worthwhile.

And while we just don’t know all the facts of the case yet, this report sounds not only bad, but totally plausible.

What we do know is that Splittgerber’s lawsuit seeks unspecified damages. We also know that if she wins this thing, we can safely specify that the payout will be enormous.

Categories: Latest News

Shell casings found weeks after fatal shooting of off-duty Ga. deputy could prove crucial evidence

PoliceOne - Fri, 08/04/2017 - 06:51

Author: Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Editor at Large

By Sandy Hodson The Augusta Chronicle

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Weeks after an off-duty sheriff”s deputy was fatally shot outside a south Augusta home, additional shell casings were found that could prove crucial to proving what happened the afternoon 43-year-old Gregory Cooke died.

At a preliminary hearing Thursday in Richmond County Superior Court for 17-year-old Naheem Caldwell, Georgia Bureau of Investigation Agent Woodrow Boyd testified he collected two 9 mm shell casings Wednesday in the front yard of 2416 Lennox Road. Caldwell admitted he shot at Cooke five times, contending he did it in defense of his father.

Boyd testified he went to the scene of the June 15 shooting Wednesday after attorney Keith Johnson, who is representing the teen, called the agent back to the home off of Windsor Spring Road. Scientific testing should prove if the casings were fired from the 9 mm gun Caldwell used to shoot Cooke, the agent said

The issue could be crucial because Caldwell’s father, Stevie Caldwell, admitted that on the afternoon of the shooting he disposed of other shell casings after his son fled the scene with his cousin, Donnelle Osborne, 18. The pair turned over the 9 mm and Cooke’s 40-caliber Glock, which they admitted taking from Cooke, when they surrendered in Burke County not long after the shooing.

During Stevie Caldwell’s preliminary hearing Wednesday, Judge Ashley Wright chastised him, telling Caldwell that his actions may prevent anyone from knowing what happened that night because he tampered with physical evidence.

Naheem Caldwell and Osborne told officers they believed Cooke was threatening Stevie Caldwell with a gun and Naheem fired at the deputy from the front yard. The shell casings Boyd collected Wednesday were about five and nine feet from the front door, he testified. Stevie Caldwell indicated the casings he tossed in a storm drain were on the road.

Three 9 mm casings were found in the storm drain. Two were found in the yard. Cooke was shot five times, four times in his legs and once in his back.

Stevie Caldwell and his estranged wife told officers there was a heated exchanged between him and Cooke that afternoon. Caldwell said he thought Cooke might have been the man his wife dated while he was serving a lengthy prison term. Cooke, they said, got out of his vehicle with a handgun and confronted Caldwell who was sitting in his vehicle in front of the house.

As she did at the conclusion of preliminary hearings for Osborne and Stevie Caldwell earlier in the week, the judge found probable cause existed to send the charges against Naheem Caldwell to the grand jury for possible indictment.

Osborne and Naheem Caldwell are charged with murder, aggravated assault and armed robbery. Stevie Caldwell is charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and tampering with evidence.


©2017 The Augusta Chronicle (Augusta, Ga.)

Categories: Latest News

NY police chief injured in collision with deer

PoliceOne - Fri, 08/04/2017 - 06:44

Author: Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Editor at Large

By Daniel Fitzsimmons The Daily Gazette

CANAJOHARIE, N.Y. — Village of Canajoharie Police Chief Bryan MacFadden was injured Monday when the motorcycle he was driving collided with a deer in the town of Sharon.

The accident occurred about 7 p.m. on State Highway 10 just north of Sharon Springs. MacFadden, speaking from a hospital bed Thursday, said he suffered eight fractured ribs and some road rash. He said he’ll be out of work for at least three weeks.

“I should be back on light duty in a few weeks, at least administratively,” MacFadden said.

In describing the accident, MacFadden said the deer actually hit the motorcycle he was driving.

“I never saw it, the bike just wasn’t there one second,” he said. “There was no speed or anything else that contributed to the accident.”

MacFadden added that senior Officer Brian Beardsley will be managing the day-to-day operations of the Police Department in his absence.

The stretch of road where the accident occurred, State Highway 10 between Staleyville Road and Green Road, is known to be accident-prone — specifically in incidents involving deer.

“It’s a place where deer cross, absolutely,” said MacFadden, adding that his bike actually landed near a roadside cross that was placed in honor of someone who lost their life in an accident nearby. It’s unclear whom the cross is in memory to.

In 2010, a woman riding a motorcycle on that stretch of road, under circumstances very similar to MacFadden’s, was killed when her bike collided with a deer. In 2014, a 21-year-old SUNY Cobleskill student was killed in a head-on collision with another vehicle on Route 10 just north of Sharon Springs. News reports about the incident make no mention of deer being involved in the 2014 accident.

MacFadden said state police from the Cobleskill barracks took an accident report. State police spokesman Mark Cepiel said, according to information on the state police’s computer system, MacFadden was ejected from the motorcycle, a 2010 BMW.

He was transported by ambulance to Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown.

Cepiel said the accident report was not yet completed by the on-scene trooper, and he did not know if blood alcohol tests were performed, but that alcohol is not believed to have been a factor in the accident.

Canajoharie Mayor Francis Avery said he’s in contact with members of the Police Department to deal with any issues that arise during MacFadden’s absence.

“I have yet to go visit him; I want to do that this weekend and maybe we’ll have a little more idea as to how long he’ll be laid up,” Avery said. “We really don’t know.”

Sharon Town Supervisor Sandra Manko said she heard about MacFadden’s accident and said that section of State Highway 10 can be dangerous.

“I know that there have been other accidents there because of deer,” Manko said.

She added that there are no deer crossing signs in that area of road, and that the town has no jurisdiction because the road belongs to the state. The state Department of Transportation could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Manko said she’s fielded complaints from residents in the area concerned about safety on that section of road, and four years ago she tried to get the speed limit lowered to no avail. She said driving northbound on state Highway 10, right before Staleyville Road, there is a limited sight line.

“I would agree it’s a dangerous part of the road,” Manko said. “Deer come across the farm fields and jump down off the bank, and you can’t see them coming.”


©2017 The Daily Gazette, Schenectady, N.Y.

Categories: Latest News