Latest News

Mo. county 911 dispatchers to view school cameras in emergencies

PoliceOne - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 08:34
Author: The Office of Justice Programs' National Institute of Justice (NIJ)

By Eric Dundon Hannibal Courier-Post

HANNIBAL, Mo. — If an act of violence were to occur at Hannibal High School, in the very near future responding emergency personnel will have real-time intelligence with which to work thanks to a partnership being developed between Marion County 911 and the Hannibal public school district.

The partnership will enable Marion County 911 dispatchers to access any of the security cameras in operation throughout the school district.

"If we have an emergency situation it is imperative to have the ability to provide real-time, accurate intelligence to first responders, law enforcement, fire or any other agency on the scene," said Rich Stilley, business manager for the Hannibal school district.

Stilley says 911 personnel are well suited to be utilized in such situations.

"Having someone off campus providing the real-time intelligence to law enforcement in a professional, calm manner will expedite controlling the situation," said Stilley. "These professionals are trained to deal with emergency situations like these, and our staff will be able to get out of harm's way, evacuate the building and get to safety."

Marion County 911 will not be logged in to school district camera feeds on a regular basis.

"911 will not be monitoring the cameras on a daily or consistent basis. However, they will have access to our cameras in an emergency situation," said Stilley, adding that all district cameras will be available to 911 personnel.

The Hannibal public school district is not the only area school district interested in forging such a partnership, according to Mike Hall, director of Marion County 911.

"We have been approached by several school districts that we serve and are willing to partner with them in this manner, but we don't have all the details, procedural and technical, worked out yet," he said.

Before the cameras can be accessed by 911 some technical hurdles have had to be overcome.

"Because this is a remote in software we had to be very cognizant of firewalls, cybersecurity, some liability concerns and the protocol of how and when access would be granted," said Stilley.

The cost associated with providing this service will be minimal.

"We have been able to roll the access into a new program that we purchased that improves inventory, work-order systems and computer upgrades," explained Stilley.

According to Stilley, this is not a recent development.

"We had our initial conversation about a year ago at a Homeland Security meeting in Macon," he said.

Like other security and safety measures that have been implemented throughout the Hannibal school district in recent years, Stilley hopes it will never have to be utilized.

"We are very excited to roll this out. I want to reiterate how much the Hannibal school district appreciates the collaboration of all of our safety partners," he said. "While I pray that we never have to enact this protocol, I am pleased to have this additional safety measure in place."

Copyright 2018 Hannibal Courier-Post

Categories: Latest News

Calif. police recruit 'drone killer' to help curb UAV proliferation

PoliceOne - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 07:57

Author: The Office of Justice Programs' National Institute of Justice (NIJ)

By Phil Diehl The San Diego Union-Tribune

SAN DIEGO — Drones have been used for a lot more than making videos and delivering pizzas.

They have dropped drugs into prison yards, scouted out illegal border crossings, and grounded lifesaving aerial firefighting efforts by accidentally wandering into the flight path.

The sky may be the limit for drones, but local law enforcement agencies are looking for a way to bring them back to earth.

A new electronic device called a “drone killer” could be the answer.

The Oceanside Police Department recently acquired San Diego County’s first drone killer, an electronic device that can disable a drone in the sky and force it back to the ground.

Other area law enforcement agencies also are considering the technology as a way to rein in unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs.

“The purpose is primarily for emergency situations,” Oceanside police Lt. Aaron Doyle said. “It won’t be used when someone complains about a neighbor flying a drone. It’s pretty much for a life-or-death situation, to save lives.”

The need arose in December during North County’s Lilac fire, which destroyed more than 150 structures and forced thousands of residents to flee their homes in the path of the flames. During the blaze, someone sent up a drone that forced aerial firefighting operations to cease for more than an hour to avoid a possible collision.

“Shutting down the operations for an hour can be critical to saving lives,” Doyle said. “We started looking for options in case it happened again.”

The search led officers to IXI Technology in Yorba Linda, a company that has been supplying high-tech electronic equipment to the U.S. military for 35 years, and a new device it released in 2017. The company agreed to donate one of the drone killers, worth about $30,000, and made a formal presentation to the Police Department at the Oceanside City Council meeting on March 28.

“We are the first law enforcement agency in San Diego County to have this device,” Police Chief Frank McCoy said at the meeting.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department also has looked at anti-drone technology and acknowledges a need for the devices, sheriff’s Lt. Karen Stubkjaer said in an email.

“We currently are not using this type of equipment, but have not ruled it out for future use,” she said. “Terrorist organizations are utilizing drones as well as organized narcotic groups. This type of technology may be important in the future to safeguard the county jails, courthouses and communities.”

The device, which looks like a gun, can be aimed like a rifle or a shotgun at a drone in the air. The 30-degree field of its beam and its range of almost a half-mile make the target hard to miss.

“In short, it breaks the command and control between the drone and the operator,” said Andy Morabe of IXI Technology.

The airborne drone, depending on how it is programmed, will do one of three things. It will either return to its “home,” which is the place it was launched, hover in place or go straight to the ground and land.

The company’s anti-drone device was first used by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to protect the 2017 Rose Parade, Morabe said. Since then, it has been used at a number of large public events around Los Angeles.

The device can stop almost any of the hundreds of models of remotely controlled aircraft that are available, Morabe said.

When a new drone is encountered that the device can’t defeat, the anti-drone software will be rewritten to include the new model and an update will be issued within days, he said. Operators can download the update from the internet, just like any new or updated app for a phone or computer.

Advancing technology and lower prices have led to a proliferation of drones in recent years, from the small ones with cameras sold online and in department stores to large ones used by the military to carry weapons. Drones have been used by criminals to drop contraband into prison yards, and by drug cartels to monitor the U.S. Mexico border, Morabe said.

U.S penitentiaries, the Border Patrol, and the military are all interested in the anti-drone technology, he said. Marines at Camp Pendleton trained with the device just last month, according to a story by Reuters news service.

Law enforcement agencies across the United States are rapidly adopting the use of drones.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department became the first law enforcement agency in the county to use drones for surveillance in 2016. The eyes in the sky have assisted in dozens of homicide investigations, SWAT incidents and search-and-rescue missions.

The Chula Vista Police Department bought its first two drones this year, and police in Carlsbad and Escondido have said they are interested.

The Oceanside Police Department acquired its first drone a few months ago, Doyle said.

“It’s a great tool to use to find people who are missing,” he said, whether it’s an Alzheimer’s patient who just walked away from home, or a criminal fleeing a crime. The drone has a heat-sensitive infrared camera to help locate people at night.

“Right now, we can only fly it during the day,” he said. “The program is still in its infancy.”

Officers are working to become certified by the Federal Aviation Administration and to establish local policies for when drones and the anti-drone device can or should be used.

Oceanside’s location next to Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base, where training frequently causes brush fires, increases the need for a way to control drones during emergencies, Doyle said.

The Oceanside City Council gave its initial approval to a drone ordinance Nov. 1 and is still awaiting a final version. That ordinance, when finished later this year, is expected to prohibit drones over occupied schools and some other public places and may require a permit to operate drones in some situations.

Police often hear complaints about drones invading people’s privacy and in some cases creating a safety hazard. Last year, a drone hit an unsuspecting beachgoer, causing a minor injury, near the Oceanside pier.

Several cities already have adopted policies for the use of drones.

Poway approved an ordinance in 2015 that restricts the use of drones over much of the city, but officials said it will only be enforced in emergencies, such as to protect aircraft fighting wildfires.

The county Board of Supervisors last year prohibited the use of amateur drones within three miles of a fire or any other area declared off-limits for an emergency.

©2018 The San Diego Union-Tribune

Categories: Latest News

Video shows ambush outside NC police headquarters

PoliceOne - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 07:07

Author: The Office of Justice Programs' National Institute of Justice (NIJ)

By Jane Wester The Charlotte Observer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Officer Casey Shue was shot outside Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police headquarters in January.

She felt an impact to her leg before hearing gunfire and realizing she may have been shot, she later told investigators.

Shue got ready to fight back.

Despite the bullet wound, she ran for cover, pulling out her gun on the way.

Shue and several other CMPD officers and probation officers had been working on probation compliance checks that night, and they were about to hold a briefing in the parking lot when 23-year-old Jonathan Bennett drove up, according to a report from the District Attorney's Office.

Bennett, who was CMPD’s suspect in the death of his girlfriend earlier that day, began shooting. CMPD Chief Putney later called it an “ambush.”

Officers returned fire and killed Bennett.

District Attorney Spencer Merriweather ruled this month that the two CMPD officers and two probation officers who fired their guns acted lawfully.

One of those officers — CMPD's Jeff Zederbaum — was talking to Shue when the shots broke out, according to video from his body camera released Tuesday.

The beginning of Zederbaum's video is silent because CMPD's body cameras have a 30-second buffering function that lets them capture video, but not audio, from the 30 seconds before the officer pressed record.

Silently, in the first seconds of Zederbaum's video, Shue flinched and another officer covered his ears.

Then Shue reached for her upper left thigh — where she was shot.

Zederbaum pulled out his gun, which jostled the video. Shue headed for cover near the bushes.

In the body camera video from CMPD Officer Jared Decker, who also shot at Bennett, the audio turned on after Bennett was on the ground. Officers handcuffed Bennett and found his gun.

"Who's hit? She was hit!" one officer said.

Decker headed for his patrol car.

"I'm going with her," he said. Decker and three other officers drove Shue to the hospital, according to the report released with the distict attorney's ruling.

Shue, who was released from the hospital two days after the shooting, was CMPD's officer of the month in August 2017 for her efforts to make Charlotte's Hidden Valley neighborhood safer. She is on administrative assignment with CMPD as of Tuesday, police said.

©2018 The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.)

Categories: Latest News

Sacramento police issue new directive on muting body cameras

PoliceOne - Tue, 04/10/2018 - 13:38

By Kathleen Ronayne Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento police have issued their first written policy on when officers can turn off body cameras after two officers muted their microphones following the fatal shooting of an unarmed man in his grandparents' backyard.

Deputy Chief Ken Bernard discussed the new memo Monday at a meeting of the Community Police Review Commission after it was issued to officers last week.

Body camera footage of the killing of 22-year-old Stephon Clark reveals that two officers were told to mute their microphones several minutes after the shooting.

The March 18 killing sparked two weeks of protests and calls for police reform.

The new policy requires officers to verbalize their reason for turning off the microphone.

Body camera use is covered in training but officers haven't received any written direction on when the equipment can be turned off until now, police spokesman Sgt. Vance Chandler. He couldn't immediately provide details on what directives officers were given during training.

The policy was in the works before Clark's shooting but it prompted the department to issue the guidance more quickly, he said.

He said the department still is investigating who told the officer to turn the mic off and whether that individual is a supervisor, who turned the mic off and if that decision was appropriate.

Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn previously said officers should only turn off their microphones when having personal conversations or dealing with a confidential informant.

"Regardless of what the reason was for muting the mic in that instance, it still bred more mistrust and that is another chip away at the trust in general that we have between the police department and the community," he said in a recent interview with The Associated Press.

The new memo says officers can turn off their cameras while dealing with a victim of sexual assault or if a supervisor instructs them to do so.

Officers can also turn off the equipment if a victim or witness is refusing to provide a statement on camera and the situation is non-confrontational, or when speaking to a doctor, nurse or paramedic.

The city is this week also announced $1 million in grants designed entice technology startup companies, with an emphasis toward steering them to lower-income areas like the Meadowview neighborhood where Clark was killed.

Mayor Darrell Steinberg said in a statement that the city hopes "to spur innovation and economic opportunity in neighborhoods that have been disconnected from the economic growth in the central city."

Activists have called for more investment in lower-income areas in the wake of Clark's shooting.

Categories: Latest News

Google, YouTube donate $280K to first responder foundation

PoliceOne - Tue, 04/10/2018 - 08:15

By Sophie Haigney San Francisco Chronicle

SAN BRUNO, Calif. — In the wake of a shooting at YouTube headquarters that left three people injured last week, Google, YouTube and their employees are donating at least $280,000 to the San Bruno Community Foundation, to fund an initiative aimed at first responders.

Google and YouTube are making a $100,000 grant to the foundation, which was created to administer restitution funds after the PG&E gas pipeline explosion in 2010. YouTube and Google also invited employees to make individual donations, which Google said it would match.

“In the first 48 hours, more than 800 Googlers from around the world donated more than $90,000,” said Leslie Hatamiya, executive director of the San Bruno Foundation in a statement. — Google’s philanthropic arm — is matching those donations, so the San Bruno Community Foundation expects to receive at least $280,000, and possibly more.

Hatamiya told the Chronicle that YouTube, which is the largest employer in San Bruno, has previously partnered with the organization three times and contributed to their community grants program.

“They contacted us recently and said they’d heard about our first responder initiative and asked if that was something they could piggyback off,” Hatamiya said.

After the shooting, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki tweeted, “There are no words to describe how horrible it was to have an active shooter @YouTube today. Our deepest gratitude to law enforcement & first responders for their rapid response.”

The foundation’s First Responder Effectiveness Strategic Initiative was launched in March.

“Thinking about what was going on in the world, with the hurricanes and the fires and school shootings and being respectful of our own past, it seemed like a great initiative for foundation to take on,” Hatamiya said. “Unfortunately our initiative was a lot more timely than we expected it to be.”

Hatamiya said discussions are ongoing about what the money from Google and YouTube will ultimately fund, but that the initiative has three main projects. One is funding for emergency shelter supplies, which will enable San Bruno to operate a stand-alone emergency shelter. Another is a series of trainings and site assessments and incident plans.

The third, according to the foundation’s website is, “Police Officer Mindfulness, Compassion, and Resiliency Training,” which aims to “equip police officers to perform through occupational trauma with greater capacity for awareness, cognitive performance and humanity.”

Hatamiya said that the donation was “bittersweet” because of its origins in the shooting, but that the foundation is grateful for the company’s support following the shooting.

“We are grateful our first responders were so effective in their response,” she said, “and we are now pleased that Google and YouTube want to partner with us, and contribute to our important initiative.”

Copyright 2018 San Francisco Chronicle

Categories: Latest News

Video shows gunman aiming pistol at police before being fatally shot

PoliceOne - Tue, 04/10/2018 - 07:54

Associated Press

PRINCETON, N.J. — Authorities in New Jersey have released surveillance video they say shows that a man pointed a pistol in the direction of officers before he was shot and killed during a standoff at a restaurant near Princeton University.

Fifty-six-year-old Scott Mielentz, of Lawrenceville, was killed by state troopers March 20 at the Panera Bread restaurant.

The state attorney general's office says officers were called to the restaurant just before 10:30 a.m. Princeton's downtown area was shut down and two buildings were evacuated at the university, which was on spring break.

Officials say the man refused during hours of negotiations to drop the gun, which was later determined to be a BB pistol.

Categories: Latest News

Authorities release Austin bombing investigation documents

PoliceOne - Tue, 04/10/2018 - 07:45

By Jim Vertuno Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas — Federal officials said Monday that the suspect in a series of fatal Austin package bombings used PVC pipe casing, a metal pipe and shrapnel in his attacks that killed two people and seriously injured four others.

Authorities released an affidavit used to support an arrest warrant for suspect Mark Conditt. Investigators used bomb evidence, video surveillance, interviews and phone records to chart a path to Conditt. Police say he blew himself up March 21 as officers closed in to make an arrest.

The document still redacts details about some of the explosive materials used, confidential witnesses who were interviewed and phone numbers.

John Bash, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas, said authorities also dismissed an arrest warrant that had been issued hours before police say Conditt killed himself.

Bash said the investigation continues although no other suspects have been arrested "and we no reason to believe there are other suspects." Authorities have yet to determine a motive for Conditt's attacks and the affidavit gave no hint of one.

"We are looking through very voluminous computer records to examine his intent, his motivations," Bash said.

Beginning March 2, police say Conditt, 23, planted bombs in different parts of Austin. He began by placing explosives in packages left overnight on doorsteps, killing 39-year-old father Anthony Stephan House and 17-year-old musician Draylen Mason and critically injuring 75-year-old Esperanza Herrera. He then rigged an explosive to a tripwire along a public trail, injuring two young men who crossed it. Finally, he sent two parcels with bombs via FedEx, one of which exploded and injured a worker at a distribution center near San Antonio.

Investigators discovered a roughly 25-minute recording that Conditt had made on a cellphone allegedly confessing to the crimes. Authorities have not released that recording.

Christopher Combs, special agent in charge of the FBI's San Antonio office, said authorities worry releasing the recording could inspire copycat bombers.

"When you look at past active shooters or mass murderers, what we find is they study the previous events," Combs said. "We are concerned it could inspire other people to do other acts. (Conditt) says a number of statements that concern us and we just don't want that to live forever on the internet."

Categories: Latest News

Ala. officer injured in head-on crash dies

PoliceOne - Tue, 04/10/2018 - 07:06

By Ashley Remkus Alabama Media Group, Birmingham

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — A longtime Huntsville police officer has died after being involved in an on-duty crash two weeks ago.

Officer Keith Earle was injured in a head-on collision at Pulaski Pike and Grizzard Road on March 26 around 9:30 a.m. Another driver also was injured in the crash. Earle, 46, had been hospitalized since that day.

"It is with great sadness to inform every one of the passing of Officer Keith Earle this afternoon," Huntsville police said in a news release today. "Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers."

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"Due to the untimely death of our fellow Law Enforcement Officer Keith Earle, I am requesting all sworn HPD Law...

Posted by Huntsville Police Department on Monday, April 9, 2018

Earle worked for HPD for nearly 26 years.

"We are attempting to get answers to many questions that we all have," the police department news release says. "We will be respecting the family's wishes during this time so please be patient as we know everyone has questions surrounding these circumstances."

In a statement, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said he and his wife are praying for Earle's family and for HPD.

"We offer our deepest condolences as our community mourns his loss and remembers his service," the statement says.

©2018 Alabama Media Group, Birmingham

Categories: Latest News

Thousands of euros for a life-threatening journey to the EU: migrant smugglers arrested in Austria and Romania

EUROPOL - Tue, 04/10/2018 - 03:47
Migrants from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Syria were charged up to EUR 7 000 each to be smuggled into the European Union by a criminal gang. The organised crime group, coordinated by a Pakistani national with the aid of Romanian and other nationals, had been operating since July 2016 and was illegally transporting migrants in cars, vans and lorries to the EU via the Balkan route.
Categories: Latest News

Maine police department receives safety grant

PoliceOne - Mon, 04/09/2018 - 15:28

Keep Me Current News

WESTBROOK, Maine — The Westbrook Police have recieved more than $7,500 in state funding to keep drivers safer behind the wheel and pedestrians safer in the crosswalks.

The pedestrian safety grant money will be used for crosswalk enforcement across the city between May and August. Downtown will be a particular focus because, according to Westbrook Police Department Captain Steven Goldberg, that is where police “see the most issue with motorists not yielding to pedestrians in the crosswalk.”

The Maine Department of Transportation reports between 2013 and 2017, there were 27 pedestrian accidents in Westbrook, including 23 that resulted in injury and two that were fatal (both last year).

Full Story: Westbrook police receive safety grant

Categories: Latest News

4 reasons California's deadly force proposal deserves to die

PoliceOne - Mon, 04/09/2018 - 14:31

Author: Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D.

On April 3, 2018, legislators Keven McCarty and Shirley Weber introduced the Police Accountability and Community Protection Act (AB 931) to the California Assembly.

As of this writing, I have been unable to find verbiage for the proposal, but judging from the press conference video, the intent is to accomplish a reduction in fatal shooting of suspects by police by making deadly force “necessary” rather than “reasonable.”

What’s really frightening is the stunning web of flawed thinking, bad information and unrealistic notions that came out of the mouths of those at the press conference. If given the chance in open debate, there’s not a claim being made by the sponsors and advocates that will stand up under cross examination.

1. The supporters ignore the sufficiency of current law

Both the “reasonable” test and the proposed “necessary” tests are officers’ predictions of the future based on a totality of circumstances at a given moment in time.

The “necessary” formula varies little from the “reasonable” formula, with only the addition of a speculative hope that an officer has that the target won’t kill or maim in the extra milliseconds that the law would afford a suspect.

Whether the bill, if passed, will result in more police officers being convicted of crimes remains to be seen. Surely a higher legal standard will result in more lawsuits, might result in more officer injuries, and likely will result in less policing and more danger to the public.

What it won’t do is reduce “senseless” police shootings, because the basic calculations of imminent serious harm don’t change. The one thing the bill will accomplish is to afford its sponsors the opportunity to inflame fears, incite anti-police behavior and garner favor from their well-funded political allies.

2. The supporters ignore evidence of police restraint

The ACLU spokesperson at the press conference said, “Deadly force can no longer be the first response to a perceived threat.” This kind of presumptuous statement reflects exactly the opposite of what happens in the real world of police decision-making.

As I pointed out in an earlier article on use of force, law enforcement officers in the U.S. are masters at avoiding the use of deadly force. With millions of police contacts every day, the rate of police use of force is very small, despite the fact that the majority of officers face deadly force decisions frequently in their careers.

Another frequently repeated drumbeat was for more accountability. The implication is that cops want to kill and can get away with it. Simply not true. Perhaps the proponents don’t realize that multiple investigations by multiple agencies and multiple reviews by multiple levels of criminal and civil attorneys are already embedded practice with officer-involved shootings. Officers face federal and state civil litigation, federal and state criminal prosecution, department discipline and often career-ending scrutiny.

3. The supporters ignore laws of science and rules for rational discourse

The sponsors and supporters are aiming for the heart and not the head. Emotional pleas that ignore facts make great press conferences and poor laws. Human capacity and limitations that include brain science, anatomy and sensory processing under stress constitute a massive amount of research and data. The truth is found in science, not emotion.

We can’t expect legislators to know what it’s like to make the kinds of decisions they presume to govern, but a grasp of the facts is a reasonable expectation. Speakers who listed Michael Brown as an unarmed child killed by police, or added Trayvon Martin to the roll call of police killings, lose all credibility.

4. The supporters ignore the realities of “calling for backup” and other alternatives

The ACLU spokesperson claimed that officers would forfeit the justifiability of deadly force “if they rushed in instead of keeping their distance and calling for backup.” I’ve written about the myth that backup solves all problems. There may, in fact, be an inverse relationship in the safety of both the officer and suspect with multiple officers present.

Availability of immediate less-lethal weaponry and special teams is a function of time and resources – neither of which is a luxury always afforded.


I am never opposed to reforming, re-thinking and revising policy and training. But if those things are done to further political careers, pander to voters and soothe emotions rather than to rationally solve problems, then our laws will fail to protect and serve the citizenry.

Categories: Latest News

Calif. K-9 recovering after being shot in the neck

PoliceOne - Mon, 04/09/2018 - 13:46
Author: Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D.

By PoliceOne Staff

MARYSVILLE, Calif. — A California K-9 is recovering after being shot in the neck by a man who led police on a pursuit.

On Friday, Wheatland police pulled over a drunken driving suspect, 26-year-old Jonathan Erick Alexander, who became uncooperative after presenting officers with his ID, The Sacramento Bee reports. The suspect fled the scene and led a pursuit, police said.

The pursuit ended when police deployed spike strips to disable Alexander’s vehicle. After refusing to comply with officers, authorities deployed Yuba County Sheriff’s K-9 Glock on the suspect.

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K9 Glock is home and resting! Thank you Sutter Orchard Supply, BACK the BADGE, Yuba Sutter and everyone who...

Posted by Yuba County Deputy Sheriff's K9 Association on Sunday, April 8, 2018

Police said Alexander pulled a handgun and shot Glock on the neck, prompting police to return fire, fatally wounding Alexander. The bullet that struck Glock came out the other side of his neck, according to KCRA.

The K-9 was taken to a hospital where his condition was stabilized. On Sunday, The Yuba County Sheriff’s K-9 Association said on Facebook that Glock was released from the hospital and is at home recovering from his injuries.

“The support everyone has given Glock is overwhelming, and we cannot thank you enough. K9 Glock definitely had a hero's welcome waiting for him when he got home,” the department wrote.

No other officers were injured in the shooting. Police said three Yuba County deputies and a Marysville officer were placed on administrative leave, per policy, pending the outcome of the shooting investigation.

Categories: Latest News

5 essentials for your range bag

PoliceOne - Mon, 04/09/2018 - 11:08
Author: Sean Curtis

In the profession of law enforcement you will encounter police officers who love their guns (Tackleberrys) and those who border on hoplophobic, while recognizing the critical necessity of their firearms.

Because it is our least often used, but most important weapon, cops need to engage in regular firearms practice, which means training at the shooting range.

Some officers can’t wait to clear leather and create some tight groups on their paper foes, while others experience stress and test anxiety when they need to qualify.

Wherever you fall on this scale, here is some awesome gear to make your trip to the shooting range a little better.

Tactical Rx

When Bret Hunter got done with being a combat engineer he went to school to be become an optician. He then solved one of the greatest puzzles in the world of eyewear – how to make a curved prescription lens.

Too much magnification in a curved lens creates a fishbowl effect that causes people to become dizzy and nauseous. While people in his industry said it was impossible, Hunter pulled it off by inventing his own proprietary formula.

He didn’t stop there. He went on to produce his own line of eyewear, including prescription safety glasses.

So if you’re a shooter with less than 20-20 vision, his company, called Tactical Rx, can take care of you.

Many high-end tactical teams use Hunter’s eyewear. The FBI gave him feedback that they loved Hunter’s prescription safety glasses because they were equipped with transitioning lenses that darkened in the sun and lightened at night.

I’ve used a couple of pairs of Tactical Rx and the products are outstanding. Basic safety glasses are available in prescription and non-prescription with the latter starting around $89.

FoamAction Sports

Innovations often improve various aspects of our lives and this certainly holds true for the shooting range. After years of using heavy shooting bags, I found the FoamRest from FoamAction Sports.

These X-shaped foam shooting rests are lightweight and durable, and don’t take up a huge amount of room. During several recent trips to the range I used traditional filled shooting bags. They usually start out at the right elevation, but then settle with recoil, causing them to need to be adjusted. FoamRest doesn’t settle. Plus, they give you myriad options when it comes to elevation.

While a pair is great for long guns, you can also use a single one for a pistol during sighting or accuracy testing. At $14.99 for a single or $24.99 for a pair, they won’t break the bank or weigh you down when you haul them out to the range.

Tuff Writer Pen

Many gun ranges determine what you need to bring. For those of us who shoot at unimproved ranges, we need to bring more gear. It may seem like an afterthought, but a pen in the range bag is pretty important when shooting, especially if you’re not in uniform when doing so.

Most qualification courses I’ve attended required a sign-in sheet where you indicate shooter, course, maybe your firearm, plus whether you passed or failed. These forms have to be filled out and pens never seem to be handy. Keeping one in the range bag is a good remedy. Pens are also great for marking and scoring targets.

Tuff Writer’s Operator Series comes in at an MSRP of $89.95. This is a perfect example of a quality item you will only need to buy once. I have had cheap pens freeze in my range bag and I’ve had them break when I’ve dropped guns, staplers or ammo on them. Tuff Writer has a YouTube video where the pen wrecks a high-end blender… the sparks alone are worth the watch. This pen will hold up to anything it might experience in your range bag and it serves as a backup weapon because it won’t deform with forces under 750 PSI. Buy a pen you can pass on to your children.

Hygenall LeadOff

We are learning more about the dangers of lead exposure during shooting. Although this article refers to indoor ranges and breathing in lead dust, I recently learned about another method of entry. One of the head firearms instructors from a major sheriff’s department told me several of their instructors had developed various cancers in the intestinal tract, starting at the mouth and moving south from there. Eventually it was attributed to the officers shooting and then eating handheld foods at lunch.

While proper handwashing is critical, what if you shoot at an unimproved range that doesn’t have the best decon options? Hygenall makes a product called LeadOff designed to remove lead. It comes in several forms to suit your needs. The soap is great for ranges with bathrooms, but if you’re truly roughing it, nothing is better than the wipes. Hygenall makes enormous, refillable buckets with 500 wipes in them that can be parked at a range or mounted on a wall. This job is tough enough without increasing your cancer risk, so tell your range master to buy LeadOff by Hygenall. Prices vary according to products; check out the Hygenall website.

Everyone faces different challenges at their range. In the comments section below, sound off on what you face, and what gear you bring to deal with it.

MagPump 9mm

Last but not least is the new MagPump. A previous version of this thumb-saving device has been around for about a year now – AR-15 shooters marveled at the ease with which they could load their magazines. Now, MagPump has done it again with a time-saving loader for the popular 9mm.

This unit is hopper-fed like its predecessor, but it has evolved to being non-directional. That’s right, dump up to 50 rounds of ammo in the bin, place your magazine in the base, and start pumping. The unit loads magazines faster than I can manually, and it breaks down into two pieces to better fit in a range bag.

MagPump has created sleeves that enable the loader to be used with Ruger, Glock, Smith & Wesson, CZ and Sig Sauer double-stack magazines. The company also makes a billet aluminum version for heavy use. This loader is perfect for any range day, but it could be a great time saver for heavy training days. The standard version of the MagPump 9mm is $149.99. MagPump has a no-questions-asked, transferable, lifetime warranty.

Categories: Latest News

Book Excerpt: Cops, Cons and Grace: A Father’s Journey Through His Son's Suicide

PoliceOne - Mon, 04/09/2018 - 10:32

Author: Sean Curtis

By Brian Cahill

Appendix A: An Open Letter To All Cops

October 1, 2015

My dear young men and women,

This book is about how a police officer’s depression can and sometimes does lead to suicide. It tells the story of my son’s suicide and the aftermath of that horror and trauma. In different parts of the book I share what I’ve learned about cops and suicide, drawing from the work of major writers, researchers, and therapists in this field. I’m trying to point out that the very things that make you good at what you do – the very things that keep you safe and effective on the street – can, in some cases, lead you down the dark path that my son took.

When I was in the midst of grieving for John, it came to me that I wanted to honor him by putting my energy into trying to help all of you. Now, as I finish writing this story, I feel that desire even more strongly. You spend your days helping and protecting us, willing to put your life on the line for us. Today your job is more difficult than ever, and every decision you make is held up for public scrutiny and judgment. I believe that the great majority of people in this country respect and appreciate you, but I’m not sure you have the opportunity to hear and feel that respect and appreciation. I do know that you get to experience the hate and disrespect that some people on our streets show you.

I want to try to lay out for you here the things you need to know about depression and suicide among police officers, the things you need to look out for, and the things you need to do to survive in your career and retire to a full and joyful life.

I’m not an expert in any of this. I’m not a cop or a psychologist or a researcher. I’m just the father of a cop who lost his way. And I didn’t see it coming. Learning about cops and suicide was not part of my retirement plan. But after John’s suicide, while I assumed that his divorce and its aftermath was a major factor, I found myself wondering whether John’s 19 years as a cop contributed to what happened. I wasn’t trying to blame law enforcement. I just wanted to find out why I lost my son this way.

Today I believe that while the pain and disruption in John’s life in the aftermath of his divorce were dominant, John’s suicide was also linked to his job in ways that weren’t obvious. And that belief and what I’ve learned about cops and suicide motivates me to scream from the rooftops to every one of you who wears a badge and a gun – be careful, be aware of the emotional risks in your work, be aware of how your work can affect your personal life and your family, be aware how being a cop can lead to depression – and, in some cases, self-destruction.

Some of what I’m writing here is a repeat of information from different parts of the book. But I wanted to lay out the basic information and a set of “how to survive steps” in one place, in one chapter. If you don’t read the rest of this book, read this chapter.

My first message to you is that if this could happen to my secure, confident, adventurous, son, this can happen to you, to any of your partners or your team members. And it does.

In the Bay area alone, the San Francisco Police Department has lost six officers to suicide since 2010 – three of them retired and three of them active duty officers. San Jose PD lost my son and a woman officer to suicide in 2008, and a midnight patrol sergeant took his life in 2011. Oakland PD lost two officers to suicide in 2013 and one in 2015. The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department lost a deputy at the end of 2013, and Morgan Hill PD lost an officer just two months ago. According to the Badge of Life, a national organization of former police officers dedicated to preventing law enforcement suicide, 150 cops across the country take their lives every year. The Badge of Life reports that police suicide happens at a far greater rate than police homicide or duty-related accidental deaths.

The Badge of Life also reports that for every police officer that commits suicide, there are a thousand officers dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder and another thousand cops struggling with marital issues, depression or alcoholism. There are approximately 940,000 police officers in the United States. If the Badge of Life reports are accurate – and I believe they are – this means that up to 30 percent of all working cops are struggling with serious personal problems while they’re on the job. I don’t say this to stigmatize you, but rather to point out that the career you’ve chosen, as noble as it is, can change you, can harm you and your loved ones, and, in some cases, destroy you.

Much of the recent research on law enforcement suicide has been conducted by John Violanti, Ph.D., a former New York state trooper who currently works with the Badge of Life and is on the faculty of the School of Medical and Biomedical Sciences at the State University of New York at Buffalo. The research tells us that good cops are highly functioning in all aspects of their life. They are trained to bring control out of chaos. They’re willing to risk everything in the critical incident because they know that the critical incident will come to closure; it won’t go on forever. These characteristics make for good cops, but these same characteristics can be lethal when a cop gets depressed. They think they’re not functioning well, they’re frustrated because they can’t control things, and they begin to despair because they think their pain – their “critical incident” – will never end. John didn’t think he was functioning well in his work and in his personal life. He was wrong, but his sense of self-worth had been so damaged by his personal problems – his divorce and everything that went with it – that he could no longer see the situation clearly. He also told me how frustrating it was for him not to be able to control his situation. And a month before he died he told me, “This will never end.” At the time I didn’t understand what any of that meant. Now I do.

Again: if this can happen to John Cahill, it can happen to any cop. It can happen to any of you. Until the last 18 months of his life, John was the most secure, healthy, and vibrant human being I knew. He went from being healthy and vibrant to depressed and despairing to completely losing his way. My perception of my son as secure and healthy and strong didn’t allow me to see that he could be capable of suicide.

In Appendix B of this book, I summarize the major books covering the subject of depression and suicide within law enforcement, but here in this open letter I want to briefly emphasize the work of four authors.

Ellen Kirschman is the author of “I Love a Cop.” She does a lot of training with California police agencies. This is the book I would recommend for your loved ones who may not completely understand the nature of your work. Kirschman emphasizes that cops are oriented toward control and can have a distorted but culturally correct sense that they’re invincible and independent – or believe that they should be. Kirschman writes, “A cop’s distress can result from a tangled series of events, often including a devastating relationship loss and a temporarily hopeless outlook.” That was John.

Thomas Joiner is a psychology professor at Florida State University. He wrote “Myths about Suicide.” He points out that in most cases suicide is not an act of cowardice or selfishness. People who commit suicide perceive that they’re a burden, that they don’t belong, and that those who are close to them would be better off if they were gone. They’re wrong, but that is their reality. That was John’s reality. That was the reality of many of the cops who lost their way. They were wrong, but they weren’t cowards.

Kevin Gilmartin, Ph.D., was a street cop in Tucson, Arizona, for twenty years. Today he travels around the country talking to cops, trying to tell them how to survive a police career. He’s the author of “Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement.” Every cop should read this book. If I were your father, I would make you read this book. If I were your chief, I would buy this book for you. Gilmartin’s main message is that the very things that make you a good cop, keep you safe, and make you effective on the street can screw up your personal life and, in some cases, destroy you. He points out that hypervigilance on the job produces a healthy amount of cynicism and mistrust, which is necessary for street survival but can be destructive for personal relationships and family life.

For Gilmartin, police suicide is always job-related. Some time ago I had the opportunity to meet him and tell him about John. I said that I was pretty sure that my son did not suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I’ll never forget the sad look on his face when he said to me, “It doesn’t matter; he was a cop for nineteen years, and that was a factor in his death.” Recently I came across a study of fifty-seven NYPD suicides between 1985-1994. Sixty percent of those suicides were determined to have been caused by relationship losses. This job can kill you in a lot of different ways.

A La Mesa police captain, Dan Willis, recently wrote “Bulletproof Spirit,” an easy-to-read book full of practical steps you can follow to take care of yourself. Willis writes about warning signs that can lead to disaster: isolation; irritability; difficulty sleeping; anger; emotional numbness; lack of communication; cynicism; distrust and loss of work satisfaction; depression; drinking as a way to deal with the job or as a habit. He recommends that you keep your private life separate from your job and that you maintain control over your finances. Willis emphasizes the importance of regular exercise, a healthy diet, and moderate use of alcohol and caffeine. He asserts that to be able to survive the stress and trauma of your work, you have to increase your self-awareness “so that you will know when your spirit is suffering from the toxic effects of the job.”

I have just a few more thoughts for you. If the issue I’m talking about here – the risk of suicide among cops – is taken seriously by command staff, by supervisors, by you, by your partner, by your team members, by your families, suicide can be preventable. Maybe we can’t eliminate suicide among cops, but we can significantly reduce the numbers. After John’s suicide, SJPD changed their entire training program and told their officers that if they were depressed, they should come in; when they did they would receive counseling. Their confidentiality would be protected, and they would not be risking their badge. During the next year, twelve cops came in and received counseling. Their privacy was honored, and they have stayed on the job.

But some things have to change – in many police departments and law enforcement agencies and among cops themselves. Some of those changes are cultural.

The biggest cultural change that has to happen – among command staff, supervisors, and officers – is the belief that asking for help is a sign of weakness. Asking for help is a sign of strength, a sign of wisdom, a sign of courage. It is not a sign of weakness. Your reluctance to ask for help is understandable. Your whole focus is on helping others, and cops are supposed to be tough, invincible and independent. But today, we know too much about the emotional dangers of your job, and we see too many tragic situations arising from a culture that considers asking for help to be a sign of weakness, to allow ourselves to indulge in that attitude. So please: if you need help, ask for it.

I would also urge you to consider getting an annual mental health check-up, in the same way you get an annual physical or regular dental check-up. Your bosses should never mandate this, but I’m hoping they’ll come to encourage you to take this step. The only way this can work is if you have access to a list of qualified mental health specialists who know about cops. Otherwise you may end up wasting your time.

San Francisco PD has developed a cadre of mental health professionals who’ve done ride-alongs and gone through firearms training simulator exercises as well as regular sessions with the officers in the department’s behavioral science unit. Those mental health workers get what cops do and understand the stress of the work, so the officers who consult with them won’t have to waste time trying to explain their work to them.

You may be still thinking to yourself, “There’s no way I’m going to see a shrink if I don’t have to.” If that’s where your head is, then I will leave you with this question, which I consider every day: If my son had had the opportunity to establish a relationship with a mental health professional before he became depressed, would he still be alive today?

As cops, you and your fellow officers also have to look out for each other. A growing number of police agencies have developed volunteer peer support programs, which pave the way for officers to serve as confidential resources for their colleagues who need help. SFPD, with a sworn force of 2,100 officers, has 300 trained peer support members. And some departments have developed a Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT). SFPD has forty officers who volunteer as CIRT members. These cops are trained volunteers with twenty-four-hour on-call responsibility (on top of their regular jobs). As CIRT members, they respond by giving emotional support when their fellow officers are involved in critical incidents.

I have the greatest respect for cops. I believe police work is the highest calling, the highest form of public service. It involves obvious risks and hidden risks. You always train for the obvious risks in your job. This father wants to tell you – and hopefully your bosses are beginning to tell you – that you have to train just as hard for the hidden risks in your job. Those hidden risks are more likely to bring you down than a bullet from a bad guy.

I wish you well in your work life and – even more important – in your personal life. God bless you all.

Categories: Latest News

Beneath the Vest: Police officer alcoholism

PoliceOne - Mon, 04/09/2018 - 10:26
Author: Sean Curtis

By PoliceOne Staff

OC87 Recovery Diaries is an interactive website that features stories of mental health, empowerment and change.

In the second of a three-part series with first responders titled “Beneath the Vest: Conversations about Mental Health,” Officer Joe Peterson of the Norristown Police Department in Norristown, Pennsylvania, shares how the cumulative effects of trauma took a toll, and “ending the pain” became a mantra for him that led to some very dark moments: “You fight monsters for so long that you become a monster. And I became a monster.”

Categories: Latest News

Police honor boy, 2, for helping officer save overdose victim

PoliceOne - Mon, 04/09/2018 - 10:08
Author: Sean Curtis

By PoliceOne Staff

COATSVILLE, Pa. — A Pennsylvania officer is crediting a sharp and curious 2-year-old boy for helping him save an overdose victim’s life.

On Tuesday, Odale Gilliam, mother of 2-year-old Amari, was alerted by her son, who was near a window, about a man passed out outside their home, FOX 29 reports.

"I pulled the blinds down and he kept pulling them up so I'm like what could be keeping him looking out the window? I saw a gentleman he was just slumped beside his vehicle and that's when I just dialed 911," she said.

Coatesville PD Officer Ed Batykefer arrived on the scene to check on the man who showed signs of an opioid overdose. The officer administered Narcan and revived the man.

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After being dispatched to a medical emergency and using Narcan to help revive the patient from an apparent opiate...

Posted by City of Coatesville Police Department on Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Batykefer credited Amari for his help in giving the man a second chance at life, saying the young boy “is a hero in my view.” For his heroic efforts, Amari received a badge and a $10 certificate from the department to start a savings account at a local bank.

"I keep little plastic junior police badges in my car that I purchase and when I see a kid doing a good thing or something like that, just to keep the relations going, I like to give them out," Batykefer said.

The boy’s mother said she can’t wait to explain to her son how he helped police save a man’s life when he gets older.

“That badge that they gave him yesterday and that certificate to open his first account at the Coatesville Savings Bank, it means a lot,” she said.

Categories: Latest News

Ga. sheriff's concealed-carry sign goes viral

PoliceOne - Mon, 04/09/2018 - 10:05
Author: Sean Curtis

By PoliceOne Staff

HARRIS COUNTY, Ga. — A Georgia county sheriff’s sign that warns visitors about the county’s armed residents has gone viral.

The Washington Post reports that Harris County Sheriff Mike Jolley posted the sign to warn any criminals that many residents in the county exercise their right to bear arms.

“Welcome to Harris County, Georgia,” the sign reads. “Our citizens have concealed weapons. If you kill someone, we might kill you back. We have ONE jail and 356 cemeteries. Enjoy your stay! -Sheriff Mike Jolley.”

The sign was put up last week amid national debate over gun control. While Jolley said he understands many support gun control, he wanted to give visitors fair notice of what to expect when visiting the county.

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Welcome to Harris County, Georgia. Sheriff Mike Jolley invites you to visit, as long as you follow the law??

Posted by Sandi Meeks Bennett on Tuesday, April 3, 2018

“We want people to come and enjoy Harris County,” he said, “but we want them to do it in a safe manner, and we want them to know that they’re safe when they get here.”

This is not the first time one of Jolley’s signs gained attention. In 2015, Jolley received recognition after putting up his “politically incorrect” sign for Christmas.

“WARNING: Harris County is politically incorrect,” the sign said. “We say: Merry Christmas, God Bless America and In God We Trust. We salute our troops and our flag. If this offends you … LEAVE!”

Jolley told the Ledger-Enquirer in 2015 that he was tired of the silent majority becoming “more silent” and that it was time for them to “stand up for our beliefs and not be ashamed.”

The sheriff said he changes the message on the sign every eight months or so and pays for them out of pocket. He said the response to his most recent message has been almost unanimously positive.

Categories: Latest News

Video shows shootout between Fla. police, man who shot wife

PoliceOne - Mon, 04/09/2018 - 10:02
Author: Sean Curtis

By PoliceOne Staff

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — A Florida sheriff’s office has released new body cam footage of police engaged in a gun battle with a man who shot his wife.

WFTV reports that the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office released footage Thursday of deputies dodging bullets and returning fire outside a home in July 2016. The sheriff’s office previously released some footage of the shootout but shared more after a jury returned a verdict on the suspect, Emmnauel Rosado.

On July 24th, police responded to the scene after Rosado barricaded himself inside the family’s home, according to WTVJ. Police said Rosado shot his estranged wife after an argument while their three children watched.

The video shows Deputy Eric Cheek exchanging gunfire with Rosado as the officer’s backup arrived. Cheek and another deputy were able to take the children and Rosado’s wife, who was shot in the leg and pelvis, to safety.

Rosado later surrendered to deputies and was initially charged with two counts of attempted first degree murder for the gunfire. Rosado was later convicted of attempted second degree murder and battery.

He was found not guilty of attempted first degree murder of one of the deputies involved.

Categories: Latest News

Man bites off, swallows NY officer's fingertip

PoliceOne - Mon, 04/09/2018 - 08:34

Author: Sean Curtis

By M.L. Nestel and Thomas Tracy New York Daily News

NEW YORK — He bit off all he could chew.

An unhinged man who chomped off a piece of a cop’s middle finger at a Brooklyn stationhouse swallowed the digit before cops could retrieve it, authorities said.

Ainsley Johnson, 34, gulped down the fingertip during a fight with a cop who was escorting him into a jail cell at the 69th Precinct in Canarsie about 6 p.m. Friday, according to police.

About an hour earlier, cops arrested Johnson on E. 99th St. after he wigged out on a 46-year-old resident, breaking the windows of the man’s 2003 BMW and crushing his victim’s mailbox with a cement planter.

Cops took Ainsley in on criminal mischief charges.

While at the precinct, Johnson resisted as a 24-year-old cop tried to re-handcuff him — and the two tussled, falling onto the floor.

That’s when things turned feral.

Ainsley bit off the cop’s finger “from nail to tip,” police sources said.

Medics rushed the two-and-a-half-year veteran to Kings County Hospital.

Ainsley was also injured in the fight and was taken to Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center for treatment. The extent of his injuries weren’t disclosed.

Cops charged Ainsley with resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer for what is believed to be his 12th arrest since 2008, officials said. His arraignment is pending.

Johnson, a registered sex offender, was arrested for rape in Queens in 2008. He was convicted of attempted sexual battery during a separate sex offense in Florida in 2012.

Last year, cops in the same precinct as the finger-biting incident busted Johnson on four occasions for charges that included unlicensed operator, resisting arrest and criminal trespass.

©2018 New York Daily News

Categories: Latest News

Illegal network used cryptocurrencies and credit cards to launder more than EUR 8 million from drug trafficking

EUROPOL - Mon, 04/09/2018 - 04:41
Operation Tulipan Blanca, coordinated by Europol and conducted by the Spanish Guardia Civil with the support of the Finnish authorities and Homeland Security Investigation of US, has seen 11 arrests and 137 individuals investigated. Members of a crime ring laundered money earned by other organised crime groups, who made their money selling drugs, by using credit cards and cryptocurrencies.
Categories: Latest News