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What kind of cop will I be in these boots?

PoliceOne - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 15:46

By Garrett TeSlaa, P1 Contributor

Before the police academy, the closest I’d ever come to shining shoes was selling them. In high school I slogged through a job selling low-quality shoes at a JCPenney’s in a rundown mall, so it was no surprise that when it came time to shine my boots for the academy I was horrible at it. Like most of my academy experience, I had to figure out how to get by.

I did that by finding the one guy who was decent at shining boots but not so great at studying for tests. We traded skills, and he did my boots while I helped him study. It worked out. We both graduated; me with boots that didn’t draw unwanted attention, and he with a slightly better test score.

My thoughts recently returned to boots. I’m not sure how many I’ve gone through in almost 13 years, but it was time for a new pair. My boots were in disrepair: The toes had worn down, the sole was wearing away and the fabric was beginning to tear. I’d already broken one shoe lace. They couldn’t hold a shine if I’d tried. Not that I did.

When I opened up the shoe box, I got that new boot smell. For cops I suspect that smell ranks up there with a new patrol car and Hoppe’s.

I rummaged through my closet for the shine box. I’m so bad at shining my shoes that I usually use an automatic polish dispenser with a foam tip. It feels like cheating, and makes me fearful an academy instructor is going to come around the corner and make me knock out pushups until my shoulders dislocate. In my defense, I work a beat that includes concrete, ranch lands and beaches, so boots don’t stay polished for long. But this being a new pair I wanted to try to get a good foundation in before reverting back to bad polish habits.

As I worked the small circles of parade gloss into the toe, I began to think about these boots and what was to come for them, and the man who would be lacing them up.

What will these boots show me?

Certainly I’ll see some of the worst of humanity; things most people will never comprehend. I’m also going to see extraordinary acts of kindness and compassion in these boots; actions that will remind me of what we’re fighting to keep sacred.

The soles of these boots are pristine, having never been placed on the ground, but in time they’re going to step in blood, urine, vomit and feces. They are also going to step on sandy beaches and mountain tops. They’re going to step into an elementary school classroom of kids who think I’m a superhero. I’ll do my best to uphold that image.

These boots are going to walk into countless homes where strangers will tell me their darkest secrets and their biggest fears. They will recount horrors and, in that retelling, we will forever entwine our paths, even if we never consciously recognize it. They will tell me things they’ve never told another person.

These boots will step into my own home as I sneak off to wish my family a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and maybe even a happy birthday as I work a holiday shift. A crease is going to form in the top of the leather, right across the toe where the boot will fold as I kneel down to greet my son eye-to-eye.

If they’re like my last two pairs, they’ll be the boots I’m wearing when I find out a loved one has died too far away for me to be of any support.

These boots are going to step close to a stranger as I tell them about the death of a son or daughter. Then the superior shock absorption of the patented open cell technology of the midsole will absorb the added weight as I try to hold them up as they begin to grieve.

Will these boots help to keep me standing upright when everyone else in the room is collapsing to the floor? I’m going to need the help. God knows, I’m going to need the help.

The durable 500 denier nylon upper that encases my ankle is going to keep it sturdy as the sole goes vertical and connects with a felon’s front door just offset from the deadbolt. It’ll leave behind a size 12 business card to remind him I came by.

It’s likely the toes won’t look good for very long. They’re going to get scuffed up quickly; scraping the asphalt as I hold C-spine, give CPR or lay down on the highway to see if anyone is still trapped inside the rollover. The toes of the boot never hold up in this job.

The laces are going to fray and break from being tied up so often. I won’t mind because it’s a reminder of how many days I showed up.

What kind of cop will I be in these boots?

When I’m wearing these new boots, will I be the best version of myself possible? Or, will I be the most convenient version of myself that’s available?

Will these boots be occupied by someone who is demanding of himself but patient with others? Will he first seek to listen before he speaks, or will he be rigid and presumptive in his opinions?

These new boots will almost certainly be engaged in violence. Will the person in them be capable of violence yet reluctant to unleash it? Will I make sure my actions are from a place of love for country, community and my fellow citizens, and not hate for the perpetrator and the decisions that brought them in front of me?

At some point, the sides are going to get marked up. It won’t be long before a partner steps on my foot as we walk together, watching over each other as we go. The outside of my right boot will show wear from constantly rubbing against the cloth near the gas pedal as I patrol for countless hours while others sleep in their beds.

The Gore-Tex upper will keep my feet dry while I’m directing traffic in the rain. The boot will give just enough to allow me to run to the front door to evacuate an elderly woman from the home she’s lived in for 60 years as a wildfire bears down on her neighborhood.

Are these the boots I’ll be wearing when I’m put to the ultimate test of my abilities? Will the suspect first see the heel of the boot because I’m turned away and didn’t see it coming? Or, will the toe of these boots be pointed towards the fight?

The sole under the balls of my feet will be the first to wear because my weight will always be pointed towards the fight.

The tips of the sole will be worn down from running to the danger, not away from it. By the time these boots need to be replaced, the only part that will not show wear will be the heels. They won’t get much use. They will not be used to retreat. They will not experience the weight of my body from leaning away from what’s in front of me. They will not erode from standing still. Lessons will be learned on the toes. The toes will always be pointed forwards.

I love these boots.

About the author Sergeant Garrett TeSlaa is a 13-year veteran of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department. He is the founder and host of The Squad Room podcast, which develops positive leaders in law enforcement. The podcast is downloaded in over 100 countries and has a wide range of guests that help cops be successful in all areas of their lives. Learn more at

Categories: Latest News

8 Cleveland cadets hurt in combat training at state patrol academy

PoliceOne - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 13:37

By Adam Ferrise Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Eight Cleveland police cadets were hurt last month during a hand-to-hand combat training exercise at the Ohio State Highway Patrol's police academy in Columbus, officials said.

Six of the cadets -- four men and two women -- went to a hospital for treatment. One cadet dislocated a shoulder and five cadets suffered concussions, said Cleveland Police Det. Steve Loomis, who was president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association when the incident occurred Dec. 12.

One recruit remained at the hospital because of a previous injury but was released less than a week later. The other five recruits were treated and released, Ohio State Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Robert Sellers said.

Two other recruits suffered concussions during the training but were not taken to the hospital, Loomis said.

All of the cadets who were injured ended up graduating a week later, Sellers said. Two are on light duty with Cleveland police because of the injuries, Loomis said.

The training academy has not seen six cadets from the same class hospitalized at any other time in recent memory, Sellers said. The injuries rekindled an issue Cleveland's police union has had with the city dismantling its own police academy. The city has been sending recruits to Columbus in the wake of a U.S. Justice Department investigation that found new police officers were not being properly trained.

Cadets have been trained at the state patrol's academy since December 2015.

The six cadets were injured during a training exercise in which recruits fight off a training officer who attacks them. The exercise is called high-intensity training or dynamic training, Sellers said.

The exercise combines the totality of what the cadets learned at the academy, including de-escalation techniques, how to protect your gun and how to deal with an attacking suspect, Sellers said.

It ends with hand-to-hand combat.

An instructor will shout out instructions to the cadets during the fight, Sellers said. A doctor and a medic are on standby in case someone gets injured.

A new crew of medical professionals overseeing their first training exercise may have been overly cautious when they sent the six Cleveland recruits to the hospital, Sellers said.

Injuries do occur during the exercise, but the training academy takes an abundance of caution, Sellers said. Loomis -- a constant critic of the state patrol's academy and a proponent of bringing back the city's police academy -- disputed that, alleging that too many cadets were injured.

Loomis said the cadets told him that the harder they fought against the instructor, the more the instructor ramped up the fight.

"It was nothing less than a hazing in my opinion," Loomis said. "If this was a college training, it would be hazing."

The exercise is supervised by instructors with training approved by both the patrol and the Ohio Peace Officers Training Academy, Sellers said.

Sellers invited police union representatives to watch the training if they have any concerns.

"Our academy is open to them anytime they want to come down and view the training of their cadets," Sellers said. "No one ever comes."

The state patrol also released the mandatory survey that cadets must fill out after the high-intensity training exercise. The majority of the 43 cadets who responded enjoyed or liked the training exercise. One cadet called it "rockin' awesome."

But several others gave suggestions. Two cadets said more instruction was needed during the exercise, and another said the instructor fought harder against some cadets than others. Two cadets said some protective gear should be used during the exercise.

"There's no reason to hurt them in these scenarios," Loomis said. "It's supposed to be instruction on techniques. It should be a teaching tool, not some guy coming up and fighting you."

©2018 Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland

Categories: Latest News

Technology is turning wrong-way drivers around

PoliceOne - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 13:24

By Jen Fifield

PHOENIX, Ariz. — If a driver turns the wrong way onto the freeway here, northwest of downtown Phoenix, the driver should instantly know he's made a grave error. If not, though, at least others will.

Thermal cameras recently installed on more than 30 off-ramps and along a 15-mile stretch of Interstate 17 will detect drivers who enter the ramps going the wrong way. When it detects a wrong-way driver, the system will light up a large, eye-level "Wrong Way" sign with flashing bright red LED lights. It will also track the driver and alert law enforcement and highway officials, who can broadcast warnings on highway message boards, turn freeway entrance-ramp signals to red, and even send an alert to other drivers on the highway who have downloaded a free app.

Alerting other drivers is just as important as trying to stop the wrong-way driver, said John Halikowski, director of the Arizona Department of Transportation. "We want drivers to have a chance."

A spate of wrong-way crashes in the Phoenix area and many other regions across the country in the past five years has pushed state officials to test how technology can prevent the crashes and save lives. Highway officials in California, Florida, Rhode Island and Texas have installed systems similar to Arizona's as part of pilot projects that they may expand to other wrong-way driving hotspots in their states.

While, overall, vehicle crash deaths in the United States have declined in the past decade, wrong-way crashes have maintained their deadly toll. At least 382 people died in the crashes in 2014, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. In about 60 percent of wrong-way crashes, wrong-way drivers are impaired by alcohol. But even as law enforcement agencies fight that problem, highway officials in many states say the sometimes-pricey technology can be another tool to save lives.

Deaths by wrong-way vehicle crashes make up about 1 in every 100 traffic-related deaths in the United States -- a small percentage, "but also a very visible one," Halikowksi said. There is a fatality in about 20 to 25 percent of all wrong-way crashes, compared to about 0.5 percent of all vehicle crashes, according to state studies in Arizona and Michigan, and federal crash data.

Just a few weeks ago in Arizona, a man was ejected from his vehicle and seriously injured at around 3:40 a.m. in a suspected wrong-way crash on a freeway in Tempe, a city just east of Phoenix, that was not equipped with the warning system. The other driver was not seriously injured. The wrong-way driver had a blood alcohol content of about .32, which is four times the legal limit.

States interested in the upgrades must find funding in transportation budgets already strained with repairing deteriorating roads and bridges. Depending on what's installed -- from illuminated signs to entire systems such as Arizona's -- the cost at each off-ramp can be anywhere from a few thousand dollars to more than $25,000. Arizona's pilot project, which covers just 15 miles of the state's 6,780-mile highway system, cost $3.7 million.

But state highway officials in many places say the technology is proving its worth. The number of wrong-way driver reports in San Antonio has nearly fallen in half, from 269 to 162, in the five years since the technology was installed. In Rhode Island, 99 of the 100 wrong-way drivers who were warned by a detection system since 2015, when it was installed, self-corrected. And on Florida's turnpike system, 47 of the 48 wrong-way drivers detected since 2014, when the turnpike's system was installed, self-corrected.

"Clearly, the technology we are deploying is absolutely saving lives," said Raj Ponnaluri, a system engineer with the Florida Department of Transportation.

Detecting Drivers

Interest in reducing wrong-way crashes increased nationally in 2012, after the National Transportation Safety Board published a study highlighting the main causes of wrong-way crashes -- drivers impaired by drugs or alcohol as well as older, disoriented drivers -- and suggesting potential solutions, said Jeff Shaw, a program manager at the Federal Highway Administration. That report caused a "flurry of activity" at the state level, he said.

The challenge, highway officials say, is finding a way to get the attention of intoxicated, disoriented or otherwise impaired drivers.

States started to try to address the problem decades ago with simple and inexpensive solutions such as additional wrong-way signs, pavement arrows and raised markers, said Melisa Finley, a research engineer at Texas A&M Transportation Institute.

Highway officials say an oft-cited suggestion -- spike strips on the off-ramp -- isn't an option, for many reasons: The spikes are meant for use at low speeds, would break and require a lot of maintenance, would pose problems for emergency vehicles, and are generally not accepted under highway standards.

In the past few years, some states, including Arizona, have lowered the height of their wrong-way signs to be closer to eye level. Finley and other researchers at the transportation institute found in a recent study that alcohol-impaired drivers tend to look not at the horizon but lower, at the pavement in front of the vehicle, Finley said.

Many states looked to San Antonio for what to do next. A police officer died there in 2011 after being hit by an impaired wrong-way driver. Shortly after, Texas became one of the first to install radar sensors and flashing signs.

The state quickly found that having just one radar sensor was not effective, as it caught too many false positives, said John Gianotti, a transportation engineer at the state transportation department's San Antonio district. But the flashing wrong-way signs worked, so the state turned the radar off and left the signs, Gianotti said. Since then, the average rate of wrong-way drivers entering the highway where the system is installed has fallen by about 29 percent.

San Antonio, along with Rhode Island, has since started testing other systems that use radar to detect drivers at multiple points. Rhode Island's, like Arizona's, also alerts law enforcement and highway officials, who can change message boards to warn other drivers, and tracks the vehicle.

Arizona's new system is different in that it uses thermal cameras, not radar, to detect vehicle movement. Thermal cameras are a newer technology that shows promise and may be more accurate than other detection systems, said Doug Nintzel, a spokesman for the state's department of transportation. Arizona officials believe they are the first in the nation to test it out, he said.

There may be an additional solution, Finley said, in the next generation of road technology. The Texas Department of Transportation funded a research project completed by Finley and other researchers at Texas A&M Transportation Institute that looked at how technology inside vehicles could both alert wrong-way drivers of their error and warn other area drivers and police.

Impaired Driving

State officials say much of the problem is beyond their control because so many of the drivers are impaired.

Officials in Florida, Texas and Rhode Island said their data show wrong-way driving hot spots on highways near bars and restaurants, and the crashes spike in the hours around closing time.

The problem is that drunken driving is somehow still socially acceptable, Halikowski said.

"If we can make it an unpopular thing to do -- much like smoking in a day care -- perhaps that will keep impaired drivers from getting on the road in the first place," he said.

Arizona officials already were studying how to address the problem with technology in 2014 when a series of wrong-way crashes occurred in one month. After another spike in crashes this past spring and summer -- including one killing three young adults on Good Friday -- state officials accelerated the installation of the new system. The system is still being installed and tested, and is set to be completed by early next year.

So far this year, 18 people have been killed in 56 wrong-way crashes on state highways, according to the state's Department of Public Safety. Officials say that's an increase from past years, though the comparison is hard to measure precisely because the state recently changed the way it tracks crashes.

In the April crash, the wrong-way driver's blood alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit. Concerns about impaired drivers are growing as more people become addicted to opioids and heroin. Any overindulgence, and drivers start to lose their judgment, Halikowski said.

The average blood alcohol content of wrong-way drivers in Arizona is more than .18, said Col. Frank Milstead, director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety. The legal limit is .08. Milstead has been outspoken about what he thinks is the real solution to preventing wrong-way driving -- eliminating impaired driving.

"The state is, rightly so, spending millions of dollars on technology to help," Milstead said. "But we could save those millions of dollars and do other social programs and other efforts if people would just be responsible for their own actions."

Staffing of state and city police departments has taken a major cut in recent years, Milstead said, so police aren't catching as many intoxicated people before they make it onto the highway.

Florida and Rhode Island recently launched new education campaigns against impaired driving. Rhode Island now spends more annually on impaired driver education than it does on engineered safety improvements like wrong-way driving technology, according to spokesman Charles St. Martin.

"There is only so much we can do in the engineering department," St. Martin said. "The rest is on the driver."


Categories: Latest News

Vt. considers offering third gender option on licenses

PoliceOne - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 12:26

Associated Press

MONTPELIER, Vt. — Vermont residents who don't identify as male or female may soon be able to choose another gender on their licenses.

Vermont Public Radio reports the Department of Motor Vehicles' new computer system will allow a third gender option.

The department also asked a panel of public safety officials if the change would have an impact on police officers' work. The Law Enforcement Advisory Board says they aren't opposed to the idea and would remain neutral on it.

Vermont Human Rights Commission Executive Director Karen Richards says the proposed change would help protect transgender Vermonters during traffic stops. Richards says acknowledgement is an important step for the state.

Oregon, California and the District of Columbia offer a third gender option in their driver's license systems.

Categories: Latest News

SCOTUS to hear case disputing warrantless motorcycle search

PoliceOne - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 12:23

By Denise Lavoie Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. — The U.S. Supreme Court will be asked to decide whether police have the right to go on private property without a warrant to search a vehicle.

Arguments are scheduled Tuesday in a Virginia case that could test the boundaries of an exception to the Fourth Amendment's requirement that police obtain a warrant before searching a person, their home, papers or personal effects.

The case began with high-speed police chases of a distinctive orange and black Suzuki motorcycle. An officer later went on private property and lifted up a tarp to view the license plate.

The court will decide if the officer's search is covered by the automobile exception that allows police to search vehicles without a warrant if they have probable cause to believe they contain evidence of a crime.

Categories: Latest News

Sheriff to run for Texas governor

PoliceOne - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 12:02

By Molly Hennessy-Fiske Los Angeles Times

DALLAS — Guadalupe “Lupe” Valdez was making the rounds in jeans and a purple blouse on a recent Sunday at Norma’s Cafe, a popular diner packed with a diverse mix of Texans.

“Hey, sheriff!” exclaimed a Latino in a Dallas Cowboys jersey, and Valdez was soon at his side, grinning.

“I was afraid people wouldn’t recognize me without the uniform,” she said.

The week before, Valdez — the state’s first openly gay and first Latina sheriff — with almost four terms under her belt as Dallas County’s top cop — announced she was resigning to run for governor. In a crowded Democratic primary, she’s the front-runner with the potential to boost party voter registration and turnout long term, especially among Latinos. Though Valdez is unlikely to beat Republican Greg Abbott, a popular governor in a red state with $50 million to spend, she could benefit from a backlash against Trump, mobilizing Latino voters.

“We’re giving people hope,” Valdez said. “A lot of people have written off Texas.”

Valdez, 70, is no stranger to adversity. She grew up in San Antonio, the youngest of eight children in a Mexican-American family, migrating with her parents to work the fields. She waited tables to put herself through Southern Nazarene University, then joined the Women’s Army Corps. She was not openly gay at the time, but had friends who were gay or were spotted at gay bars and dishonorably discharged as a result. She came out later in life, in stages: attending a gay-friendly church in the 1980s, then living more openly in the 1990s after she became a federal senior investigator, eventually for the Department of Homeland Security.

When she ran for sheriff in 2004, she was out of the closet, and even with the high-turnout boost of a presidential election she was a long shot.

“She ran for sheriff in a county that did not have a single countywide official that was a Democrat and hadn’t for 20 years. She ran against an incumbent sheriff. She did not have any experience running for office. Few people, if any, gave her any chance of winning,” recalled Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa.

Valdez won by a slim margin, 51 percent to 49 percent. But her win helped set the stage for a larger victory, attracting Democratic candidates who swept into office in 2006. Two years later, Valdez’s margin of victory widened, 55 percent to 45 percent. Last year, she was reelected by the widest margin yet: 59 percent to 37 percent. As Dallas’ population grew and diversified, one of the keys to those victories was turning out minority voters, she said.

Valdez, who announced last month that she was resigning as sheriff to run for governor, said her campaign will be focused on economic issues that concern blue-collar families and the elderly, those who worked their way up like she did, subsisting at times on peanut butter and jelly, making sure they paid the rent, cleaned up for church and prayed over their meals the way she and others did at Norma’s.

“She understands what those folks are going through, what they need, what their families are all about,” Hinojosa said. “The only reason Texas is not a blue state is because the huge Latino population in this state has not turned out the way it should and the way it has in states like California.”

Wendy Davis, the Democrat who ran against Abbott in 2014, lost by more than 20 percentage points, a setback for Democrats statewide. She had risen to national prominence as a state legislator filibustering for abortion rights.

“One hope that Democrats have for Lupe Valdez is that she increases voter registration and turnout among Latinos and she shifts the percentage of the Latino vote won by Democrats from the 55 (percent) to 65 percent range, where it’s been recently in Texas, to the 65 (percent) to 75 percent range, where it’s been in places like California,” said Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice University in Houston.

Democrats now have two paths to relevance in Texas, Jones said: Peel off moderate, white Republican voters or mobilize their base, especially Latinos. Andrew White, 45, a Houston entrepreneur and son of the late Democratic Gov. Mark White, represents the first path. Valdez represents the second.

Valdez, though openly gay, is “not defined by her sexual orientation” the way Davis was defined by her stand on abortion, Jones said: “She’s not Harvey Milk.” Her girlfriend, a Dallas chiropractor, doesn’t plan to make many appearances on the campaign trail. Where Davis looked like a blonde model, Valdez said, she looks like a “grandma.”

Valdez clashed with Abbott on immigration policy as sheriff in 2015, refusing to honor federal immigration holds for inmates unless they were charged with violent crimes. Municipalities that wanted to be “sanctuary” cities for migrants were battling federal and state officials at the time, but Valdez’s stance was more pragmatic than political, Jones said: She reasoned there was only so much space in jail. Abbott threatened to withhold grant funding, then announced Valdez had backed off.

Texas has since passed a law designed to crack down on sanctuary cities that would punish local officials who don’t honor federal immigration detainers with jail time and fines of more than $25,000. After officials in several cities challenged the law in federal court, a judge prevented most of it from taking effect last summer, and it remains tied up in court.

Texas Republican Party Chairman James Dickey believes Valdez’s record on sanctuary cities and other issues makes her unpalatable to Texas moderates. He noted that when liberal Democrat Leticia Van de Putte ran for lieutenant governor in 2014 against conservative fellow state senator Dan Patrick, a tea party stalwart, she lost by a wide margin: 39 percent to 58 percent.

“There was a limited appeal as far as identity and at the same time a massive disconnect on values, issues and principles,” Dickey said. “No moderate of any race who looks at Lupe’s track record would consider her a moderate.”

Dickey also doesn’t expect Valdez to benefit from a Trump backlash at the polls.

“To the extent that there is opposition that has been drummed up against the president, I do not believe Texas voters equate that with Texas officeholders,” he said. “I will be shocked if we do not have a statewide candidate this election that wins straight up a majority of the Hispanic vote, because it’s our issues that resonate with all Texans.”

Former Dallas County Republican Party Chairman Jonathan Neerman disagreed.

“Traditional Latino Republican voters could abandon the party because of Trump and vote Democrat, or the sleeping giant could awaken and new Latino voters could vote Democrat,” Neerman said.

In that way, Valdez would lay the groundwork for another Democrat to stage a successful campaign for governor in 2022, Jones said, such as San Antonio congressman Joaquin Castro or his twin brother, former U.S. Housing secretary and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro.

Democrat Tony Sanchez managed to dramatically boost Latino turnout when he ran for governor against Republican Rick Perry in 2002, Jones said, but the party missed the chance to capitalize on that four years later.

“What Lupe Valdez is going to try to do is engage the Latino community that 2018 is a steppingstone,” said Jones. “The key for Democrats will be that the Valdez candidacy is not a one-off, that it sets things up for another candidate in 2022.”

©2018 Los Angeles Times

Categories: Latest News

Law enforcement split about selling seized guns 

PoliceOne - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 08:34

Martha Bellisle Associated Press

SEATTLE — Kyle Juhl made one last attempt to patch things up with his fiancee, then took back his ring, put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger as she and her mother ran from the apartment. The bullet went through a wall and narrowly missed a neighbor's head as she bent to pick up her little boy.

The Smith & Wesson 9 mm that Juhl used to kill himself in Yakima in 2014 was familiar to law enforcement: The Washington State Patrol had seized it years earlier while investigating a crime and then arranged its sale back to the public. It eventually fell into Juhl's hands, illegally.

It's fears of tragedies like that, or worse, that have created a split among law enforcement officials over the reselling of confiscated guns by police departments, a longtime practice allowed in most states.

Juhl's gun was among nearly 6,000 firearms that were used in crimes and then sold by Washington law enforcement agencies since 2010, an Associated Press review found. More than a dozen of those weapons later turned up in new crime investigations inside the state, according to a yearlong AP analysis that used hundreds of public records to match up serial numbers.

The guns were used to threaten people, seized at gang hangouts, discovered in drug houses, possessed illegally by convicted felons, hidden in a stolen car, and taken from a man who was committed because of erratic behavior.

While those dozen or so guns represent an extremely small percentage of the resold firearms, some police departments contend the law shouldn't be doing anything to put weapons back on the street. The AP did not look at how many of the resold guns figured in crimes committed out of state, so the actual number of misused weapons could be higher.

"We didn't want to be the agency that sold the gun to somebody who uses it in another crime," said Capt. Jeff Schneider of the Yakima Police Department, which sold guns until about a decade ago but now melts them down. He added: "While there is almost an unlimited supply of firearms out there, we don't need to make the problem worse."

Similarly, the International Association of Chiefs of Police says confiscated guns should be destroyed because putting them back in circulation "increases the availability of firearms which could be used again to kill or injure additional police officers and citizens." Also, federal agencies must destroy seized firearms unless they are needed as evidence or being used by the agency.

On the other side of the debate, some law enforcement officials say the selling of guns raises money to purchase crime-fighting equipment, and if the practice were abandoned, people would just buy weapons somewhere else. In fact, a growing number of states from Arizona to North Carolina are passing laws prohibiting agencies from destroying guns.

"These guns are going to be out there," said Sheriff Will Reichardt of Skagit County, Washington. "If I destroy them all, I'm just helping Remington or Winchester's bottom line."

Phyllis Holcomb, a manager with the Kentucky State Police, which oversees Kentucky's gun sale program, said such transactions have helped equip officers with body armor and other gear.

The debate is playing out in Washington state, where the State Patrol is pushing back against a state law that requires the agency to auction off or trade most guns.

The State Patrol hasn't sold any weapons since 2014 and at one point accumulated more than 400 in the hope the Legislature would change the law and let the agency destroy them. Democratic Rep. Tana Senn of Bellevue is sponsoring such a bill.

"I know many of the police chiefs in my district chose not to sell but rather to destroy, and in their own words, 'It's so we can sleep at night,'" Senn told a legislative committee.

The National Rifle Association opposes the plan.

"The police chiefs maybe could sleep better if they went out and apprehended the criminals behind the guns and didn't worry about destroying perfectly legal firearms that are no more easy to purchase than a brand-new firearm at a firearms dealer," NRA spokesman Tom Kwieciak said.

Tragedies involving police-sold guns have happened throughout the U.S.

In 2010, a mentally ill man ambushed and wounded two Pentagon police officers with a handgun sold by Memphis, Tennessee, police. Also that year, a Las Vegas court security officer was killed by a man with a shotgun sold by a Memphis-area sheriff's office. And in 2015, an unstable man walked into City Hall in New Hope, Minnesota, and wounded two officers with a shotgun sold by the Duluth Police Department. The department has since stopped selling guns and now destroys them.

The weapons sold back to the public in Washington include Colt, Glock and Ruger pistols, 12-gauge shotguns, .22-caliber rifles and assault weapons such as AR-15 and SKS rifles. All such sales are handled through federally licensed firearms dealers, including auction houses, pawnshops and sporting goods stores. Before buyers can take their guns home, they must pass an FBI background check.

On a recent Friday night, owner John West of Johnny's Auction House in Rochester, Washington, about 80 miles south of Seattle, launched into his rapid-fire bid-calling to a packed room, selling necklaces and coins. Before he offered up the first police-confiscated gun for sale, he had a warning.

"Straight up," he told the crowd, "if you cannot possess a firearm and you can't pass a background check, just don't even bother bidding."

There is no master list of guns sold by police, so compiling one for Washington state involved dozens of public-records requests to individual agencies. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives keeps track of crime guns but refused to release information from its database, so the AP collected databases from individual agencies and compared them with the sold guns.

One of the guns that ended up in a new police report was a .22-caliber handgun sold by Longview police in 2016. In 2017, a drunken Jesse Brown and a friend armed themselves with the gun and two other weapons, went to a house and threatened two young men they believed were selling drugs, police said.

Longview Police Chief Jim Duscha said that while some resold guns may be used in new crimes, "if they're going to get a weapon, they're going to get a weapon." Selling guns generates money used for drug investigations, he said.

The Seattle Police Department and the sheriff's office in surrounding King County don't sell crime-scene weapons; they hand them over to a foundry to be melted down at no cost to themselves.

For years, the State Patrol traded confiscated firearms to dealers for other gear, and the dealers then would sell the guns to the public. In one exchange in 2013, the State Patrol traded in 159 weapons and got a credit of $27,420, which it then used to buy handguns for the force.

The weapon Juhl used to kill himself was in a batch the State Patrol traded in 2012. It was purchased by a man in Yakima, who sold it to someone else, who then sold it on Craigslist. Juhl's girlfriend told police that's where he acquired it.

Juhl, 24, was not legally permitted to own or possess a gun. He received a bad-conduct discharge from the Army after serving time in prison for using the drug ecstasy and going AWOL for about two months. An Army spokesman said Juhl's criminal history was sent to the FBI's Criminal Justice Information System, but the police detective who handled Juhl's suicide said he checked the FBI's database but didn't find Juhl's convictions.

Categories: Latest News

Wash. deputy shot during foot pursuit dies

PoliceOne - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 08:19

Associated Press

UPDATE 12:42 p.m. (PST):

Authorities in Washington state say they now have a detailed description of a man suspected of involvement in the fatal shooting of sheriff's deputy.

The Pierce County Sheriff's Department said Monday that authorities are looking for a mixed race or white man who is tall and thin, with curly dark hair in a ponytail.

He's described as having a large pointy nose and pock marks on right side of face, and was seen wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and black beanie.

Deputy Daniel McCartney was shot and killed during a foot chase as he responded to a home invasion in the Frederickson area, southeast of Tacoma, late Sunday night.

One suspect was found dead at the scene but the other escaped, prompting a manhunt.


FREDERICKSON, Wash. — Authorities in Washington state have identified a sheriff's deputy shot and killed while responding to a home invasion as a Navy veteran and father of three young boys.

Pierce County Sheriff's Department spokesman Ed Troyer identified the deputy as 34-year-old Daniel McCartney, of Yelm.

The department says McCartney was responding to a home invasion in the Frederickson area, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) southeast of Tacoma, late Sunday night when he was shot during a foot chase.

Officials say two suspects were involved. One was found dead at the scene. The other is being sought.


FREDERICKSON, Wash. — Authorities in Washington say a Pierce County Sheriff's deputy has died from gunshot wounds sustained while responding to a home invasion.

The Pierce County Sheriff's Department posted on its Facebook page early Monday that the deputy was shot just after 11:30 p.m. Sunday during a foot chase after responding to a 911 call. The deputy had been transported to a hospital in Tacoma before he died. The deputy has not been identified.

The department asked in a Facebook posting that the deputy's family, friends, and the department be kept in people's thoughts and prayers.

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); = id; js.src = ''; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));

Overnight our department, our community, and especially one of our families suffered an incredible loss. We are...

Posted by Pierce County Sheriff's Department on Monday, January 8, 2018

Officials say two suspects were involved in the home invasion in the Frederickson area, about 15 miles southeast of Tacoma. One suspect was found dead at the scene and another is on the loose and being sought by authorities.

No additional information about the home invasion has been released.

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); = id; js.src = ''; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); Deputy Daniel McCartney

A Pierce County deputy was shot and killed pursuing a suspect near Frederickson. Deputy Daniel McCartney, of Yelm, was a Navy veteran and leaves behind a wife and three young children. "He had an ethic, an ethic in his heart for doing something for other people. Know that. People in the community need to know that."

Posted by KING 5 on Monday, January 8, 2018

Categories: Latest News

Police: Snow thwarts shoplifter in ND

PoliceOne - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 04:00

Associated Press

MINOT, N.D. — Authorities say a North Dakota man who wheeled a shopping cart with stolen merchandise out of a Hobby Lobby craft store was stopped by snow.

Police say 22-year-old Dustin Johnson filled up a cart with about $4,000 in products at a Hobby Lobby store in Minot on Wednesday. After the cart got stuck in the snow in the parking lot and tipped over, Johnson allegedly ran off.

Police say that along with the merchandise, Johnson left behind his wallet — which contained identification with his address.

Johnson is charged in Ward County with theft of property. Court documents do not list a lawyer for him.

Categories: Latest News

Audio: Man calls 911 to report himself drunk driving

PoliceOne - Sun, 01/07/2018 - 11:56

Associated Press

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Florida authorities are sharing the details of an unusual 911 call on New Year's Eve, from a man who said he wanted to report himself drunk-driving.

Polk County Sheriff's officials say the dispatcher kept him talking while directing officers to the scene.

When the dispatcher asked Michael Lester where he was, he said, "I'm too drunk. I don't know where I'm at."

And when she asked what he'd been doing all night, he said "I don't know, driving around, trying to get pulled over, actually."

"I'm driving on the wrong side of the road," he said later.

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); = id; js.src = ''; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); Michael Lester turns himself in for DUI

Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious crime. Innocent people are too often injured or killed from impaired drivers. DUI is not a laughing matter. this particular incident, nobody was hurt, so we couldn't help but LOTO (that means we Laughed Our Tasers Off). You’ve heard Sheriff Judd on the radio telling his #CrazyCriminal Stories - we figured, for those of you who don’t have a radio, all two of you, why not share those stories here for your reading pleasure? Allow us to introduce Michael Lester of Winter Haven. On New Year's Eve, Michael decided to call in a drunk driver. Himself. If you need to take a second to re-read that sentence, to let it sink in, we'll wait. Good? Alright, let us proceed. So Michael called 911, and told the dispatcher that he was driving drunk, and needed to be pulled over. The dispatcher, who did a fantastic job by the way, continually tried to get Michael to pull over, kept him talking, and directed a deputy to Michael's location. Fortunately, Michael was stopped before anyone got hurt. Michael first told the deputy he had only two beers (standard drunk answer). Then he changed it to three or four (slightly more accurate). He also mentioned that he had only slept four hours in the past four days. Oh, and he also said that he had swallowed meth earlier, instead of smoking it. The attached audio is Michael's call to 911 (edited for time), and it's quite entertaining. Please folks, let this be a lesson to you that DUI is bad-bad-bad, because unfortunately, Michael is having a hard time learning this lesson. He has a criminal history which includes a previous DUI, as well as aggravated battery, drug possession, disorderly conduct, resisting, and hit & run. The Polk County Sheriff's Office had thirty DUI arrests in the month of December. Special thanks to Michael Lester, for throwing himself under the bus for #30 (we love round numbers). At least Michael wasn't involved in a crash, and lived to see another day (and maybe he'll see this Facebook post too. Hi, Michael!). By the way, he was also cited for driving on the wrong side of the road, improper use of the center lane, and no seat belt - 4 charges total (maybe he likes even numbers). #PCSO #DontDUI #Hello911ImHammered #SomebodyGetThisGuySomeBandAids #HeMethedUpBad #Best911CallWeveHeardInAWhile

Posted by Polk County Sheriff's Office on Friday, January 5, 2018

The operator repeatedly urged him to park his truck and wait for officers to find him. Unfortunately, he chose the wrong spot.

"Look, I'm parked in the middle of the road," he said. Sirens could be heard in the background a short time later.

Deputies said Lester admitted drinking beers and swallowing methamphetamine. He also said he'd barely slept for several days.

The sheriff's office Facebook post says Lester's criminal history includes DUI, aggravated battery, drug possession and hit-and-run.

"Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious crime. Innocent people are too often injured or killed from impaired drivers. DUI is not a laughing matter," sheriff's officials wrote. "However ... in this particular incident, nobody was hurt, so we couldn't help but LOTO (that means we Laughed Our Tasers Off)."

Categories: Latest News

Colo. prosecutors weighed charges against deputy killer

PoliceOne - Sun, 01/07/2018 - 11:38

By John Ingold and Noelle Phillips The Denver Post

DENVER — The emails were taunting, belligerent, threatening.

In the months before he shot and killed a Douglas County Sheriff’s deputy and wounded six other people, Matthew Riehl sent at least 18 different messages to officials in Lone Tree and to one police sergeant there, and Douglas County detectives combed each one to see if there were grounds for a criminal charge.

On Dec. 14, a little more than two weeks prior to the shooting, a prosecutor came back with an opinion: There wasn’t.

“We do not believe there is a likelihood of success at trial,” the prosecutor, 18th Judicial District Senior Deputy District Attorney Douglas Bechtel, wrote.

Emails between police and prosecutors, released to The Denver Post after a records request, provide new insight into Riehl’s rantings against police, the anxious effort by law enforcement officials to evaluate them and the ultimate decision not to charge Riehl.

The messages began in mid-November, after Riehl was given a speeding ticket by a Lone Tree sergeant. Riehl sent 15 messages to the municipal court in Lone Tree and another three to the sergeant, according to an investigative summary Douglas County Sheriff’s detective Phil Domenico provided to prosecutors. In the emails, Riehl accused the sergeant, without any evidence, of corruption and demanded that the sergeant be fired. He made references to “Lone Tree DSS swazi cops and a bearded judge.” He also posted at least five videos on YouTube repeating similar themes.

Gradually, though, the emails grew more worrisome for law enforcement.

Riehl included the sergeant’s home address in one email and posted it on Twitter, as well. Another made reference to the sergeant’s wife. Riehl began to demand that he be given the sergeant’s job.

“I could drive circles around you and if it ever came down to it, you know I’m a more disciplined marksman than your shaking pathetic lying ass,” Riehl wrote in one email to the sergeant.

Even as Douglas County dispatched deputies specially trained to deal with people in mental health crises to talk to Riehl, Domenico wrote that detectives contemplated a variety of possible charges: harassment, posting a law enforcement officer’s personal information on the internet, attempting to influence a public servant, witness intimidation. They weren’t sure any fit or if they rose to the level of an illegal threat, but the emails had them concerned.

“Some of the bosses both here and at Lone Tree are anxious to get that report,” Domenico wrote to Bechtel in asking for his analysis.

Bechtel’s response, though, noted that prosecutors had to weigh Riehl’s messages and the potential threat they posed against Riehl’s First Amendment rights to free speech, “especially given the wide latitude since we are public servants[.]”

In an interview, Liz Skewes, University of Colorado’s journalism department chairwoman, said Riehl’s posts and messages about law enforcement straddled a narrow line.

“It runs right up against free speech,” she said.

The First Amendment allows people to say and post bizarre things on social media. And it gives a wide berth to statements that could be perceived as threatening or offensive, she said. For there to be a crime, there must be clear, specific intent to cause harm to another person.

Determining that such a threat exists can be especially hard on social media, where people often go to vent in vivid terms, Skewes said.

“The problem for law enforcement is they can see it but they can’t arrest somebody for saying something that is not appropriate,” she said.

Bechtel wrote to Domenico that authorities might have a case if Lone Tree asked Riehl to stop sending the emails and he continued. That could show an intent to harass, instead of just an intent to vent or to get the speeding ticket dismissed.

But, in an interview, 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler said any case over the emails would have been a difficult one for prosecutors, since the public has the right to criticize public officials even when those comments are crude or vile.

“Are you allowed to say that to a police officer? Yes. You’re allowed to say things like that to public officials about their public duties,” Brauchler said. “Criticism of public officials, even demeaning criticisms, is not illegal.”

©2018 The Denver Post

Categories: Latest News

Pa. police fatally shoot suspect who struck officer with vehicle

PoliceOne - Sun, 01/07/2018 - 10:38

By Lindsay C. VanAsdalan The York Dispatch, Pa.

MANCHESTER TOWNSHIP, Pa. — A 27-year-old man was fatally shot in a church parking lot in Manchester Township after a police traffic stop, state police said.

Gregory Stough, of Reading Township, Adams County, was pronounced dead at the scene by York County deputy coroners Tania Zech and Matt Groft at about 4:30 a.m.

Northern York County Regional Police approached Stough in his Pontiac Bonneville at about 3:21 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 6, in the parking lot at Stillmeadow Church of the Nazarene, 400 Stillmeadow Lane, according to a news release from Pennsylvania State Police.

Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Brent Miller said officers approached because they deemed a vehicle in the parking lot at that hour as suspicious.

Officers discovered Stough was wanted on four traffic warrants and had a suspended license, the release states.

When the officers tried to arrest him, Stough resisted by placing his vehicle in reverse, at which point he "abruptly accelerated backward, trapping an officer between the door and car," according to the release.

He continued in reverse "and propelled the officer violently into a parked police vehicle," the release states, while another officer opened fire in defense of the first officer.

He then put his vehicle in drive, moving toward the firing officer, who continued shooting, according to the release.

The Troop H Major Case team is investigating the incident, assisted by the York County Coroner's Office and District Attorney's Office, the release states.

You can see the tire marks here at Stillmeadow Church in Manchester Twp., York Co. where a man attacked police w/ his car - a cop later shooting & killing the man. PSP says around 3am, police saw a suspicious car in the church lot. Man was wanted on multiple warrants @fox43

— Grace Griffaton (@GraceGriffaton) January 6, 2018

Police stated in the release that Stough's traffic warrants were for three inspection violations and an emissions violation.

Miller was available at the scene for questions Saturday afternoon.

He said he does not have reason to believe the incident was connected to any other incidents at this time, and to his knowledge, Northern York County Regional Police officers did not have any witnesses to the shooting.

Miller said a forensics team was at the scene earlier today for reconstruction and mapping, but the case could take weeks or more to investigate.

One Northern York County Regional officer sustained minor injuries, and was taken to Memorial Hospital, he said.

According to the release, the officer who opened fire is on administrative leave, which is standard procedure for an officer-involved shooting.

Cause and manner of death will be determined pending an autopsy, which is scheduled at Lehigh Valley Hospital at a time and date to be announced later Saturday, according to the coroner's report.

Stillmeadow Church of the Nazarene released a statement on Facebook responding to the incident.

"As the media has reported, a life was lost," the statement reads. "As a church family, we continue to recognize the brokenness of our world. Today, we are again reminded of that brokenness. Jesus remains the Prince of Peace and gives peace no matter the circumstances. We are calling on all to be in prayer as we process this together."

©2018 The York Dispatch (York, Pa.)

Categories: Latest News

Suspect denies terror plot for San Francisco's Pier 39

PoliceOne - Sun, 01/07/2018 - 10:23

By Pablo Lopez The Fresno Bee

FRESNO, Calif. — Suspected American terrorist Everitt Aaron Jameson of Modesto pleaded not guilty Friday to two felony charges in connection with an alleged plot to go on a murderous rampage on Christmas at Pier 39 in San Francisco – crimes that could put him behind bars for 40 years.

His trial in U.S. District Court in Fresno could be a rarity – prosecutors revealed at Jameson’s arraignment that a portion of the evidence is classified material.

So far, about 8,200 pages of evidence have been given to attorney Charles Lee of the Federal Defenders office, which is defending the 26-year-old Jameson. But a portion of the evidence – less than 1,000 pages – has not been turned over to Lee because it is classified and pertains to national security, prosecutor Christopher Baker and Dawrence “Duce” Rice informed Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill.

Baker and Rice informed O’Neill that they will do everything in their power to get the information declassified before Jameson’s trial. To give prosecutors time to get the information declassified, O’Neill said Jameson’s next court date will be April 9, when both sides will agree on a trial date.

If prosecutors can’t get the evidence declassified, O’Neill will have to follow strict guidelines under the Classified Information Procedures Act, which could keep key evidence secret from the defense, and perhaps hamper Jameson’s ability to confront the most sensitive evidence against him.

The act has been routinely used in terrorism cases post-9/11 with the stated intent of preventing criminal defendants from learning sensitive government secrets and disseminating the information to foreign enemies. In general, the act allows judges to put protective orders on evidence, and only those with special clearances from the federal government can read the classified information.

Most judges in Fresno have never handled any such cases in their career.

O’Neill has been a judge in Fresno since 1990, first with the Fresno County Superior Court. He was appointed to the federal bench in 2007 and is cleared to handle classified information, but has only presided over two other such cases in his career.

Jameson showed up in court in a jail jumpsuit. He is being held in the Fresno County Jail without bail. About 10 of his family members and friends attended the brief hearing.

An indictment charges Jameson with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, specifically the Islamic State of Iraq, or ISIS. He also is charged with distribution of information relating to destructive devices with the intent to commit violence. Each charge carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines if convicted.

After the hearing, Lee declined to discuss with reporters any trial strategy, but court records say Jameson suffers from mental illness. In fact, when he was arrested in December, he was temporarily put on psychiatric hold in the Fresno County Jail because staff believed he was a danger to himself, according to a transcript from his Dec. 28 detention hearing.

According to an FBI affidavit, Jameson told an undercover agent that Christmas Day would be “the perfect day to commit the attack” and that he “did not need an escape plan because he was ready to die.” He allegedly targeted Pier 39, a popular tourist destination, because “he had been there before” and determined it would allow him to “funnel” people into an area where he could inflict many casualties, the FBI says in court papers.

The indictment says that from Oct. 24 to Dec. 20, Jameson was working on the plot. His alleged plan, however, was thwarted by FBI sources and employees who posed as senior ISIS officials, who secretly recorded conversations with Jameson. Jameson told them he was well-versed in the “Anarchist Cookbook,” a how-to handbook on making explosive devices, the affidavit says. Jameson also described how to build pipe bombs out of PVC pipe, gunpowder, nails and BB’s, the affidavit says.

Lee indicated at a Dec. 28 detention hearing that Jameson didn’t have the means to carry out the alleged plot. During the search of Jameson’s home, Lee said, authorities didn’t find any bomb-making material. He says the guns found in the home belonged to a relative who owned them legally and had them in a locked gun case that Jameson didn’t have access to.

Lee also said Jameson is not a danger to the public because he has no history of violence and only one misdemeanor conviction that has been expunged. In addition, the case is built on Jameson’s statements posted on his Facebook page, and he made no effort to hide his identity or use encrypted communication or counter-surveillance techniques.

“What we have here are simple Facebook posts. We have phone calls. We have meetings,” Lee said at the detention hearing. “And in none of these scenarios does Mr. Jameson represent that he is anything but who he is.”

But Baker said at the detention hearing that Jameson wrote about his plot. According to Baker, Jameson wrote: “We have penetrated and infiltrated your disgusting country. These acts will continue until the lions of Islam overtake you.”

And when authorities searched Jameson’s home, one of them asked him to describe the mindset of someone who supports ISIS. According to Baker, Jameson said: “The destruction of the United States. The institution of Sharia Law.”

©2018 The Fresno Bee (Fresno, Calif.)

Categories: Latest News

La. officer killed in single-vehicle wreck

PoliceOne - Sun, 01/07/2018 - 09:52

By PoliceOne Staff

MONROE, La. — An officer in Louisiana was killed after being involved in a single-vehicle wreck while on duty.

The News Star reports that Monroe PD Officer Chris Beaudion, 26, was traveling in his cruiser on early Sunday morning when he veered left for unknown reasons and hit a tree. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Our prayers and deepest condolences are extended to his wife and two children along with his parents, family and friends,” a statement from the Monroe PD said. “He will be greatly missed.”

Beaudion began his career with the Monroe PD in 2016.

Police are continuing to investigate the accident. The officer’s body was sent for an autopsy.

No additional details have been released at this time.

Categories: Latest News

Thousands attend funeral of Colo. deputy killed in ambush

PoliceOne - Sat, 01/06/2018 - 04:00

By Jennifer Brown The Denver Post

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. — Gracie Parrish rose from her seat in front of her husband’s flag-draped casket and climbed the stairs to the church stage, his badge hanging from her neck over a black dress. Then she read him her final love letter.

“You are my once in a lifetime,” she said of Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputy Zackari Parrish before thousands of mourners, several hundred of them law officers, and the governor. “I’ll never forget slow-dancing with you in the kitchen or the way you held my hand.”

“Babe, you were an amazing father and loved your girls so well,” she choked out during the funeral service Friday for the fallen deputy, shot to death while responding to a disturbance call on New Year’s Eve morning. “You are my rock and my heart and my soulmate and I am so proud of you.”

Remembering our hero, Deputy Zack Parrish. #RememberParrish

— DC Sheriff (@dcsheriff) January 5, 2018

The sanctuary that holds 5,000 at Cherry Hills Community Church in Highlands Ranch was filled. More watched from an overflow room across the street at Valor Christian High School. For more than an hour beforehand, a motorcade of several hundred law officers weaved through the streets following a hearse with Parrish’s remains. People who never met him lined University Boulevard and Wildcat Reserve Parkway, where the evergreen trees were tied with blue ribbon, holding American flags and handmade signs.

A bagpipe and drum band made up of law enforcement played a melancholy tune as they marched ahead of the processional toward the church, beneath a giant, billowing American flag held by two fire truck ladders. Motorcycles led the motorcade, rounding the church’s circular drive with lights flashing, and stopping in front of hundreds of mourners. Law officers stepped from their vehicles to salute as others responded to the call of an honor guard commander to remove the coffin. Gracie Parrish, an officer on each arm, led a line of relatives along a path to the church’s front door.

“Their world changed,” Douglas County Sheriff chaplain Tim Ralph said of Parrish’s family, as he opened the service. “That world changed not only for every person in this room, but every law enforcement person across the country.”

Ralph was on his way to Littleton Adventist Hospital last Sunday morning when he got the call that he instead needed to drive to Parrish’s home. The deputy had died. As he walked into Parrish’s house, among the first things he saw was a scripture on the wall: “Lord, I cannot. But you can.”

VIDEO: The playing of Taps for fallen @DCSheriff Zackari Parrish. #RememberParrish #Denver7

— James Dougherty (@DoughertyKMGH) January 5, 2018

Zack Parrish, 29, was deeply religious, a man who prayed about whether to give up a career in banking to follow his passion and become a law enforcement officer, family and friends said. He had a zest for life, “no off switch,” was courageous and bold, loved his music loud, and got the phone number of the woman he would marry because he listened to her give it to another guy.

As a Castle Rock police officer, Parrish once pulled money from his wallet to buy a hotel room for a man with nowhere to sleep, said his former boss, Castle Rock Police Chief Jack Cauley. Parrish once held a child in his arms so the child wouldn’t see the handcuffs officers were placing on a parent. He had a gift, Cauley and others said, to use humor to deescalate tense encounters, including the time a driver in a vehicle he approached called out that he had a concealed carry permit and a weapon. “You don’t move yours and I don’t move mine. We got a deal?” Cauley recalled Parrish saying.

The morning he died, Parrish was in front of other deputies calmly talking through a door to a man who had barricaded himself in his apartment bathroom. Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock, who listened to body camera audio after the ambush, told mourners he had never heard a calmer voice in such a situation.

The funeral procession is underway for fallen Deputy Parrish. They're headed to Cherry Hills Community Church for an 11 a.m. service. Watch LIVE here: #9newsmornings

— 9NEWS Denver (@9NEWS) January 5, 2018

“Not once did I hear Zack Parrish use a foul word. Not once did I hear him raise his voice. Not one time,” the sheriff said. “Up until the moment Deputy Zack Parrish died, he was pleading with the man, begging him, ‘Let me talk to you. Let me help you. Please.’ And then the killer killed him.”

Spurlock said he was mad, that he wanted to “strike out” in his eulogy, but after spending time with Parrish’s family, he scratched the angry words from his notes. At the hospital, when he held Gracie Parrish’s hand and told her “I’m sorry, we lost Zack,” she squeezed his hand back and said, “It’s going to be OK. Zack loved his job,” the sheriff recalled.

Parrish was a Castle Rock police officer for two and a half years before joining Douglas County seven months ago. Other officers traded their shifts so they could ride with him, said the sheriff, who will award him the medal of valor for bravery. People who knew him described a “magnetic force” that pulled him toward law enforcement.

“He just knew he had something in him,” Spurlock said. “Everyone around him knew it.”

The family’s motto, said Parrish’s father, also Zackari Parrish, is now “Go blue. Live like Zack.” His father recalled Parrish’s love of baseball and music, the time at his sixth birthday party when he thanked every single boy who came to Chuck E. Cheese’s, the time he called, after two dates with Gracie, to say he had met “the one.”

The scar on Parrish’s eyebrow, noticeable in the photograph on the church stage and the funeral program, came from a fall down the stairs when Parrish was 14 months old, said his father, standing in front of flowers near Parrish’s beloved baseball bat and his guitar. “He enjoyed life,” the elder Parrish said more than once.

Honor. Respect. Remember. You will never be forgotten Zack #RememberParrish #ThinBlueLine

— DC Sheriff (@dcsheriff) January 5, 2018

Troy Kessler, a Colorado State Patrol trooper, became Parrish’s best friend after the two met in a small group class at church before either of them entered law enforcement. They worked out together before dawn, went skydiving once, and talked about Kessler buying the house across the street from Parrish so they could build an underground tunnel. People teased them about their “bromance,” Kessler said, and if they hadn’t hung out in a while, Parrish would call and say, “I miss your face.”

Parrish’s energy and drive were infectious, Kessler said, recalling that Parrish “could have sold anything” and when he discovered something new — whether a post-workout protein, a new sauce for a quesadilla or his beloved pickup truck — he wanted everyone to have it. “Phenomenal,” he would describe them all.

“I want a house next door to you in heaven with a tunnel in between,” said Kessler, one of so many law officers in uniform, including most of those injured the morning Parrish was shot to death. “Until we meet in heaven, I love you brother. I’ll miss seeing your face.”

The funeral closed with a salute of 21 bell chimes. Then officers, under the orders of the honor guard commander, folded the flag draped over the coffin, knelt before Gracie Parrish, and placed it on her lap.

©2018 The Denver Post

Categories: Latest News

Mexican man acquitted in death of SF woman sentenced for illegal gun possession

PoliceOne - Sat, 01/06/2018 - 04:00

By Paul Elias Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — A Mexican man acquitted of murder in the shooting death of a San Francisco woman that sparked a national immigration debate was sentenced Friday to time served for illegal gun possession.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Samuel Feng also denied a defense request to grant Jose Ines Garcia Zarate a new trial for his conviction of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Garcia Zarate will now be taken into U.S. custody to face two federal gun possession charges.

The San Francisco Sheriff's Department said it would hold Garcia Zarate in jail until U.S. marshals pick him up. His lawyer, Tony Serra, said he expects the transfer this weekend.

Serra also said he plans to inject politics as much as he can into his defense of Garcia Zarate in federal court. That would be a marked departure from the state case, in which the judge banned any mention of Garcia Zarate's immigration status and the nationwide debate around it.

Garcia Zarate had previously been convicted of illegally re-entering the United States and been deported five times before Kate Steinle was fatally shot on a popular pier in July 2015.

The San Francisco sheriff's department released him from jail several weeks before the shooting, ignoring a federal request to detain him for a sixth deportation. San Francisco's "sanctuary city" policy bars local officials from helping U.S. immigration authorities in deportation matters unless they have a warrant.

During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump pointed to Steinle's death as a reason to build a wall along the Mexican border and tighten immigration policies. The president also has threatened to withhold federal funding to cities with sanctuary city policies.

"A vote for guilty in the federal case is a vote for Trump," Serra said outside court Friday.

Federal prosecutors charged Garcia Zarate with two gun possession counts after a San Francisco jury acquitted him of murder but found him guilty of a gun charge.

Garcia Zarate was sentenced Friday to three years in jail for the state conviction. He has been behind bars in San Francisco since July 1, 2015, and with credit for time served, he fulfilled the sentence, the judge ruled.

His lawyers said he has served a total of 17 years in federal prisons for three illegal re-entry convictions.

San Francisco public defender Jeff Adachi on Friday criticized federal prosecutors for adding the charges, which he called "ridiculous" and politically motivated.

"This is rarely done" after a defendant is acquitted on charges in a state court, Adachi said.

Garcia Zarate said he was sitting on a city pier when he found and picked up a gun wrapped in rags. His lawyer said he didn't know it was a weapon until it accidentally fired, the bullet ricocheting of the pier's concrete walkway and striking Steinle in the back.

Categories: Latest News

Kan. cop shot, wounded after responding to domestic violence call

PoliceOne - Sat, 01/06/2018 - 04:00

Associated Press

TOPEKA, Kan. — A Riley County police officer was shot when he responded to a domestic violence call in Manhattan.

Riley County Police Department Director Brad Schoen says one of the first officers to respond to the call Friday was shot by the man in the home, who then barricaded himself inside. Schoen says the officer’s injury is not life-threatening. No other officers were injured.

Schoen says the man surrendered without resistance after about two hours.

He says a woman was able to escape the home.

The shooting happened around 12:30 p.m. Friday about 3 miles (4.83 kilometers) northwest of the Kansas State University campus.

An investigation is continuing.

Scene here at Churchill St. & Hawthorne Woods in Manhattan. Crews on scene investigating shooting that injured one officer @KSNTNews

— Gretchen Koenen (@GretchenKSNT) January 5, 2018

Categories: Latest News

Retired deputy wounded in shooting at his Calif. home

PoliceOne - Sat, 01/06/2018 - 04:00

By Sarah Parvini and Maya Lau Los Angeles Times

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. — There was a knock at the door around midnight. Then bullets shot straight into the apartment.

Police said a retired Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy was shot in the wrist and abdomen at his Redondo Beach apartment just before 12:30 a.m. Thursday morning as he peered out his window.

Someone at the retired lawman’s door asked for a person who doesn’t live at the address in the 500 block of Avenue G. The stranger fired at least three shots, then fled, police said.

Retired deputy in his 70’s shot twice through #RedondoBeach apt’s front door after gunman asked for a person who didn’t live there. Deputy in surgery @CBSLA

— JASMINE VIEL (@jasmineviel) January 4, 2018

The 75-year-old victim is recovering from surgery.

Friends and a neighbor identified the wounded man as Matthew Turner, a Navy veteran and member of the American Legion.

“I saw Matt covered in blood as they walked him down the stairs,” said Susan Margolese, who lives in an apartment several yards away and said she heard the shots.

“He is the nicest guy and would do anything for you,” she said.

The former lawman retired from the Sheriff’s Department in 1978, said agency spokeswoman Nicole Nishida.

Larry Futrell, an official at a local chapter of the American Legion, said Turner listed his occupation as “private investigator” when he joined the group in 1995. A LinkedIn profile for Matthew Turner describes him as an investigator.

#RedondoBeach police investigating shooting of retired LASD deputy in his Apt in that city. 75 year old Victim will survive. Male white suspect still at large. @KNX1070

— Pete Demetriou (@knxpete) January 4, 2018

Redondo Beach Police said in a statement there does not appear to be a link between the victim’s previous occupation as a sheriff’s deputy and the shooting.

At least two bullet-size holes could be seen in the door and window of the man’s apartment on Thursday.

Police say a suspect was seen running away down Avenue G toward Prospect Avenue. Both injuries to the retired lawman came from a single shot fired by the gunman.

“He never went inside,” said Redondo Beach Police Sgt. John Bruce. “Just shot and ran.”

Authorities described the suspect as a male in a hooded sweatshirt. The incident is still under investigation.

©2018 the Los Angeles Times

Categories: Latest News

Boy with terminal cancer named Dallas chief for a day

PoliceOne - Sat, 01/06/2018 - 04:00

By Naheed Rajwani The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS — Gloria Adekilekun has been preparing for the worst for months, but Friday offered a rare ray of sunshine.

Her 14-year-old son, Ayodeji, was named Dallas' police chief for a day, a point of pride for a mother still coming to grips with the teen’s brain cancer diagnosis. The boy is in hospice care at the family’s apartment.

Although symbolic, the gesture by Dallas police was significant for a family of Nigerian immigrants.

In addition to a chief badge and a police patch, Chief U. Renee Hall and a cadre of officers delivered their support and a treasure trove of gifts for the family that doesn't own much.

“For officers to be coming into my home and doing this for me, I am surprised,” Adekilekun said. “Back in my country, they don’t do that.”

The family moved to the U.S. a year ago, after Ayodeji was diagnosed with terminal cancer. They'd traveled to the United Arab Emirates and India for treatment, and they were hopeful American doctors might be able to help.

But they also found help outside of doctors' offices.

Officer Raashid Brown, a neighborhood police officer, was visiting Dan F. Long Middle School in August when the principal pointed Ayodeji out to him and described him as a standout student who just happened to have brain cancer.

At the time, Adekilekun still had hope, but the boy's doctor had told her to prepare for the worst.

In the fall, the teen had a seizure and was placed in hospice care at home. He’s been bedridden ever since.

Over Christmas, the officers had arranged for a local business to donate $300 to the family, knowing they wouldn’t get to celebrate otherwise.

Adekilekun fell to the ground and wept when Officer Brown and the donor stopped by the Far North Dallas apartment on Christmas Eve with the check and a ham that Brown’s friends had gifted.

“I can't imagine somebody just walking in and giving me money,” said Adekilekun, who shares the barely furnished two-bedroom apartment with her three children, her sister and nephew.

Chief Hall makes Ayodeji Augustine Adekilekum, Chief for the day!

— Dallas Police Dept (@DallasPD) January 5, 2018

She used $200 of the Christmas gift for this month's rent and the rest for groceries.

But Brown and his police partner, Officer Lamar Glass, still wanted to do more for the family, so they asked Hall for permission this week to make Ayodeji an officer for a day. The chief offered a better alternative: Make him chief.

Hall stopped by the apartment Friday morning to deliver the news to Ayodeji in person. She prayed with his family before leaving and told reporters outside the apartment that the chief-for-a-day gesture showed what the Dallas Police Department is all about.

"This is the human side of us," Hall said. "Each and every day we focus on violent crime, we focus on quality of life issues — but this is life."

Brown said he and his colleagues are still collecting funds to improve the family’s quality of life and pay for Ayodeji’s funeral when the time comes.

“I’ve learned to be really grateful, even in the shortcomings I may have, because there’s always somebody that’s willing to trade places,” Brown said.

On Friday, the officers were rewarded with a response from the boy they’ve visited for several months.

Ayodeji’s eyes flickered and he tried to speak despite the tube in his mouth.

His mother expressed what he could not.

“I don’t know what to say,” Adekilekun said. “I just appreciate it and I keep praying for them.”

She spent the afternoon by her son’s side, reading to him from the children’s books the officers had brought. Dallas finally felt like home.

©2018 The Dallas Morning News

Categories: Latest News

Police: Man ripped heads off chickens in jealous rage

PoliceOne - Sat, 01/06/2018 - 04:00

By Christine Dempsey The Hartford Courant

MILFORD, Conn. — Two men face cruelty charges after a Christmas Day rampage in Milford during which cars were vandalized and 20 chickens were stolen and brutally killed, police said.

One of the men watched while the other, Gregory Ulrich, 28, smashed the chickens’ heads and tore them from their bodies with his bare hands, police said, calling the act “gruesome.”

Ulrich, 28, of Milford, was arrested on 20 counts of cruelty to animals and other charges, police said. John Budnovitch, 21, also of Milford, was charged with conspiracy to commit cruelty to animals. Both were arrested Wednesday and both posted court-set bail; Ulrich’s was $15,000 and Budnovitch’s was $5,000. They are due in Superior Court in Milford Jan. 30.

According to Officer Michael DeVito, the two left a bar early on Christmas morning and drove off, with Budnovitch behind the wheel. Ulrich was drunk and upset about pictures he saw on social media of people hanging out with his wife, DeVito said.

“Ulrich was highly intoxicated and was in a jealous rage,” he said.

Ulrich had Budnovitch drive to the homes of the people who sparked his fury, most of whom lived in the city’s Devon section, and he took an ax to their car windows — once leaning out of the car to swing it while Budnovitch was driving, DeVito said.

Ulrich then had Budnovitch drive to a home with chickens on the property.

“By the end of the whole mission, now it’s like 3 or 4 in the morning, [Ulrich] tells him, ‘I’m going behind this house,’” DeVito said. Ulrich stole 10 chickens, he said.

“He banged them on the ground to kill them and snapped the heads off,” DeVito said. Some of the heads were left lying around the owners’ property.

Ulrich put them in a bag, claiming he would boil them and eat them, DeVito said. He had Budnovitch drive to another home that had chickens, tore off the chicken coop doors and killed those chickens, too, DeVito said — all with his bare hands.

Police checked on the wife to make sure she was OK, DeVito said, but there were no signs Ulrich had been violent with her or intended to injure her.

Besides cruelty to animals, Ulrich was charged with fifth-degree larceny and interfering with a police officer. He also was charged with three counts of first-degree criminal mischief and 10 counts of second-degree criminal mischief, police said.

Budnovitch’s other charges include traffic violations: using a motor vehicle without the owner’s permission, operating a motor vehicle while under suspension and evading responsibility, police said.

He also was charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree criminal mischief and six counts of conspiracy to commit second-degree criminal mischief, they said.

Both men are familiar to police.

On May 17, 2016, Ulrich was sentenced in Superior Court in Milford to six months in jail for carrying a pistol without a permit, illegal possession of a weapon in a vehicle, first-degree reckless endangerment, breach of peace and carrying a firearm while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, according to court records.

He also was fined in 2010 in Waterbury court for possession of less than four ounces of marijuana and received an unconditional discharge in Milford for a motor vehicle violation, the records show.

In the last year, Budnovitch was convicted in courthouses in Milford, Bridgeport and Meriden of crimes ranging from larceny to engaging police in pursuit, according to the records. He managed to avoid a prison term.

©2018 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.)

Categories: Latest News