Latest News

Sheriff: Las Vegas shooter had lost money, been depressed

PoliceOne - Sat, 11/04/2017 - 10:16

By Michael Balsamo Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — The man who killed 58 people at a country music festival in Las Vegas last month had been depressed after losing a significant amount of money in the past two years and that may have been a "determining factor" in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history, the city's sheriff said.

Gunman Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old high-stakes gambler and real estate investor, had lost a "significant amount of wealth" since September 2015, which led to "bouts of depression," Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said in an interview this week with Las Vegas news station KLAS-TV.

"This individual was status-driven, based on how he liked to be recognized in the casino environment and how he liked to be recognized by his friends and family," Lombardo said. "So, obviously, that was starting to decline in the short period of time, and that may have had a determining effect on why he did what he did."

Investigators still have not determined exactly what led Paddock to unleash a barrage of gunfire at concertgoers from his high-rise suite at the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino on Oct. 1.

Paddock killed himself after the massacre that also wounded more than 500 people. Las Vegas police and the FBI have examined his politics, any possible radicalization and his social behavior but turned up little.

Investigators have found that Paddock planned his attack meticulously and was "purposeful in concealing his actions," the sheriff said.

The gunman requested an upper-floor room overlooking the Route 91 Harvest Festival; stockpiled 23 guns, a dozen of them modified to fire continuously like an automatic weapon; and set up cameras inside and outside his room to watch for approaching officers.

One of the laptops found in Paddock's hotel suite was missing a hard drive, and searches of his internet history turned up nothing unusual.

Investigators found no evidence that Paddock had help carrying out the attack but are continuing to question his girlfriend, who was visiting family members in the Philippines during the massacre.

Marilou Danley is still considered a "person of interest" in the investigation and was being questioned again this week, Lombardo said. The FBI previously questioned her about Paddock's gun purchases and what she may have noticed about his behavior.

Danley has repeatedly denied knowing anything about the attack and said Paddock never said or did anything that would have led her to believe he was going to carry out a massacre.

But the sheriff said he had doubts about her story, calling it "hard to believe."

"You would think Ms. Danley would have some information associated with that," Lombardo said. "Currently, we haven't been able to pull it out of her, if she has it in her."

The sheriff also described Paddock's younger brother, Eric, as "manic" in interviews with news reporters outside his Florida home following the shooting but didn't elaborate. Eric Paddock has called his brother a multimillionaire.

"You can see there's something associated with the family," Lombardo said without elaborating.

A second brother, Bruce Paddock, was arrested in Los Angeles on Oct. 25 on suspicion of possessing child pornography.

In the wide-ranging, two-part interview, the sheriff said he believed Stephen Paddock was able to carry the guns into the hotel unnoticed by bringing them in separate bags over several days. He said Paddock was known among casino staff and nothing appeared unusual.

Fire officials released three hours of radio dispatches Friday that shed more light on the chaotic scene that first responders faced as they arrived and then worked to triage, treat and transport victims.

In just 2½ minutes, a mass-casualty incident unit was requested as firefighters scrambled to figure out where the gunfire was coming from and help victims. A firefighter described hearing "full-auto fire," a reference to the rapid gunfire coming from the hotel, as dozens of shooting victims were being reported.

It comes as several news organizations, including The Associated Press, have sued to seek 911 calls, police camera video and search warrants related to the shooting.

Spokeswomen for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the FBI declined to comment on Friday.


Categories: Latest News

Ex-police chief charged with assault, hate crime after cops report him

PoliceOne - Sat, 11/04/2017 - 08:00

By Jan Hefler Philly.com

BORDENTOWN TOWNSHIP, NJ — The former police chief of Bordentown Township said blacks are “like ISIS, they have no value,” mused about joining a firing squad to mow them down, and used police dogs to intimidate black spectators at high school basketball games, federal authorities said Wednesday in announcing assault and hate-crime charges against him.

Frank M. Nucera Jr. has “a significant history of making racist comments concerning African Americans,” according to a criminal complaint filed by the FBI in federal court in Camden.

The charges stem from an incident a year ago in which Nucera allegedly attacked a handcuffed black suspect who was already in police control in the Burlington County town. He made a series of anti-black remarks following the assault, authorities said, remarks that were secretly recorded by an officer in his department who was alarmed by the chief’s hostility toward the community.

In the Sept. 1, 2016, incident, an 18-year-old African American man, accused of not paying his motel bill, was pepper-sprayed and placed in handcuffs, and was being led to the top of a motel stairwell by two Bordentown Township officers when Nucera arrived. The chief approached the suspect from behind and “slammed his head into a door jamb,” according to an affidavit filed by the FBI.

Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick and FBI Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher announced the bias and civil rights charges at a news conference at federal court in Camden, where Nucera later appeared before a magistrate judge and was ordered held on $500,000 bail.

An officer who witnessed the 2016 incident said the suspect was “shouting at the officers” while at the top of the stairwell and being led to a police cruiser, but was “not kicking or struggling,” the affidavit said. When the man’s head hit the metal door jamb, it made “a loud thud,” the officer reported. A second officer, who was standing next to the suspect, described the blow as “significant” and said he also pushed his shoulder into the door jamb while forcing him and the suspect through the doorway.

Following a 2015 incident involving another African American suspect, whom Nucera suspected of slashing the tires of a police vehicle, the chief allegedly confided in an officer that “these n—s are like ISIS, they have no value. They should line them all up and mow ’em down. I’d like to be on the firing squad, I could do it.”

His alleged animosity toward blacks was also expressed in other ways, authorities said.

“Nucera … also ordered the racially discriminatory use of police dogs to intimidate African Americans,” according to the complaint. “For example, when the BTPD provided security for high school basketball games, defendant Nucera instructed police officers to bring canines to certain games and to position the canine vehicles at the entrance to the gymnasium in order to intimidate African American patrons.”

Some of Nucera’s alleged statements were secretly recorded by an officer in the department, the FBI affidavit said.

Nucera, 60, of Bordentown Township, made his first appearance in federal court in Camden on Wednesday after he was taken into custody. Grim-faced and shackled, he glanced briefly at two women in the back row, but showed no emotion. The women later declined comment.

Magistrate Judge Ann Marie Donio set bail at $500,000 in unsecured bonds and ordered Nucera to surrender any guns he had in his home, and his passport and any other travel documents.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Molly Lorber said Nucera had six guns registered to his name, but wasn’t clear on how many he still owned. She requested the $500,000 bail, saying that he has “significant financial assets” and that the government wants to ensure he appears at trial.

Mount Holly lawyer Tracy Riley, who represented Nucera, objected, saying Nucera had never been charged with a crime before, had community ties, and had a military record. She also said she expected he might be able to make bail within 24 hours. She said he would voluntarily surrender his weapons but would like them to be provided to a family member who is with the police department. Nucera’s son is a sergeant in the department.

The judge said the guns should at least initially be handed over to the FBI.

Nucera waived a formal preliminary hearing and offered only brief responses, such as “Yes, your honor” and “I understand,” when questioned by the judge. Dressed in jeans and a gray sweatshirt, he showed no visible emotion.

Nucera resigned from the 25-member police department — and as administrator of the township of 11,000 — in January after learning he was being investigated for “racially motivated use of excessive force.”

According to the FBI affidavit, Nucera was among the backup officers who showed up at the Bordentown Ramada hotel after a hotel clerk complained the 18-year-old man and a 16-year-old girl, both African Americans, had not paid for their hotel room the night before. Backup was summoned when the teens tried to resist arrest, the affidavit said.

The suspect was restrained and “not a threat to anyone in the community,” Fitzpatrick said.

In a back-and-forth with an officer, Nucera alluded to the two people in custody as being from Trenton, whose residents are predominantly African American, in contrast with Bordentown Township, which is majority white, the affidavit said.

“The nobility of police officers is rooted in their selfless commitment to protect our communities and their pledge to honor our constitutional values. As chief of the Bordentown Township Police Department, the defendant dishonored the profession by doing neither,” Fitzpatrick said.

He said his office did not anticipate bringing charges against anyone else in the department. “This is a crime identified by Bordentown police officers who saw what was going on, knew it was wrong, and came forward,” he said.

He declined to name the officer who recorded Nucera secretly as the chief allegedly made racist remarks.

Burlington County Prosecutor Scott A. Coffina underscored Fitzpatrick’s praise for the conduct of the other officers.

In a statement, Coffina said he was “heartened that the FBI’s thorough investigation concluded that this behavior was confined to the individual who has been charged [and] is not a reflection of the culture of the Bordentown Township Police Department, its current leadership, or the dedicated officers on the force.”

Bordentown Township Mayor Steve Benowitz, in a statement, also noted that the “charges began from a self-reported complaint” from within the department and said the township “has moved forward with new leadership that promotes community, inclusion, and equality.”

If convicted, Nucera would face a maximum of 20 years in prison and $500,000 in fines.

©2017 Philly.com


Categories: Latest News

Ex-police chief charged with hate crime after cops report troubling behavior

PoliceOne - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 20:00

By Jan Hefler Philly.com

BORDENTOWN TOWNSHIP, NJ — The former police chief of Bordentown Township said blacks are “like ISIS, they have no value,” mused about joining a firing squad to mow them down, and used police dogs to intimidate black spectators at high school basketball games, federal authorities said Wednesday in announcing assault and hate-crime charges against him.

Frank M. Nucera Jr. has “a significant history of making racist comments concerning African Americans,” according to a criminal complaint filed by the FBI in federal court in Camden.

The charges stem from an incident a year ago in which Nucera allegedly attacked a handcuffed black suspect who was already in police control in the Burlington County town. He made a series of anti-black remarks following the assault, authorities said, remarks that were secretly recorded by an officer in his department who was alarmed by the chief’s hostility toward the community.

In the Sept. 1, 2016, incident, an 18-year-old African American man, accused of not paying his motel bill, was pepper-sprayed and placed in handcuffs, and was being led to the top of a motel stairwell by two Bordentown Township officers when Nucera arrived. The chief approached the suspect from behind and “slammed his head into a door jamb,” according to an affidavit filed by the FBI.

Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick and FBI Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher announced the bias and civil rights charges at a news conference at federal court in Camden, where Nucera later appeared before a magistrate judge and was ordered held on $500,000 bail.

An officer who witnessed the 2016 incident said the suspect was “shouting at the officers” while at the top of the stairwell and being led to a police cruiser, but was “not kicking or struggling,” the affidavit said. When the man’s head hit the metal door jamb, it made “a loud thud,” the officer reported. A second officer, who was standing next to the suspect, described the blow as “significant” and said he also pushed his shoulder into the door jamb while forcing him and the suspect through the doorway.

Following a 2015 incident involving another African American suspect, whom Nucera suspected of slashing the tires of a police vehicle, the chief allegedly confided in an officer that “these n—s are like ISIS, they have no value. They should line them all up and mow ’em down. I’d like to be on the firing squad, I could do it.”

His alleged animosity toward blacks was also expressed in other ways, authorities said.

“Nucera … also ordered the racially discriminatory use of police dogs to intimidate African Americans,” according to the complaint. “For example, when the BTPD provided security for high school basketball games, defendant Nucera instructed police officers to bring canines to certain games and to position the canine vehicles at the entrance to the gymnasium in order to intimidate African American patrons.”

Some of Nucera’s alleged statements were secretly recorded by an officer in the department, the FBI affidavit said.

Nucera, 60, of Bordentown Township, made his first appearance in federal court in Camden on Wednesday after he was taken into custody. Grim-faced and shackled, he glanced briefly at two women in the back row, but showed no emotion. The women later declined comment.

Magistrate Judge Ann Marie Donio set bail at $500,000 in unsecured bonds and ordered Nucera to surrender any guns he had in his home, and his passport and any other travel documents.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Molly Lorber said Nucera had six guns registered to his name, but wasn’t clear on how many he still owned. She requested the $500,000 bail, saying that he has “significant financial assets” and that the government wants to ensure he appears at trial.

Mount Holly lawyer Tracy Riley, who represented Nucera, objected, saying Nucera had never been charged with a crime before, had community ties, and had a military record. She also said she expected he might be able to make bail within 24 hours. She said he would voluntarily surrender his weapons but would like them to be provided to a family member who is with the police department. Nucera’s son is a sergeant in the department.

The judge said the guns should at least initially be handed over to the FBI.

Nucera waived a formal preliminary hearing and offered only brief responses, such as “Yes, your honor” and “I understand,” when questioned by the judge. Dressed in jeans and a gray sweatshirt, he showed no visible emotion.

Nucera resigned from the 25-member police department — and as administrator of the township of 11,000 — in January after learning he was being investigated for “racially motivated use of excessive force.”

According to the FBI affidavit, Nucera was among the backup officers who showed up at the Bordentown Ramada hotel after a hotel clerk complained the 18-year-old man and a 16-year-old girl, both African Americans, had not paid for their hotel room the night before. Backup was summoned when the teens tried to resist arrest, the affidavit said.

The suspect was restrained and “not a threat to anyone in the community,” Fitzpatrick said.

In a back-and-forth with an officer, Nucera alluded to the two people in custody as being from Trenton, whose residents are predominantly African American, in contrast with Bordentown Township, which is majority white, the affidavit said.

“The nobility of police officers is rooted in their selfless commitment to protect our communities and their pledge to honor our constitutional values. As chief of the Bordentown Township Police Department, the defendant dishonored the profession by doing neither,” Fitzpatrick said.

He said his office did not anticipate bringing charges against anyone else in the department. “This is a crime identified by Bordentown police officers who saw what was going on, knew it was wrong, and came forward,” he said.

He declined to name the officer who recorded Nucera secretly as the chief allegedly made racist remarks.

Burlington County Prosecutor Scott A. Coffina underscored Fitzpatrick’s praise for the conduct of the other officers.

In a statement, Coffina said he was “heartened that the FBI’s thorough investigation concluded that this behavior was confined to the individual who has been charged [and] is not a reflection of the culture of the Bordentown Township Police Department, its current leadership, or the dedicated officers on the force.”

Bordentown Township Mayor Steve Benowitz, in a statement, also noted that the “charges began from a self-reported complaint” from within the department and said the township “has moved forward with new leadership that promotes community, inclusion, and equality.”

If convicted, Nucera would face a maximum of 20 years in prison and $500,000 in fines.

©2017 Philly.com


Categories: Latest News

NYC truck terror attack: New ‘lone wolf’ study may help analysis

PoliceOne - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 14:06

By Seth Augenstein

Reprinted with permission from Forensic Magazine.

The Uzbek immigrant accused of ramming a rented truck into a crowd of pedestrians on a bike path in Manhattan on Tuesday, October 31, made his first court appearance on Wednesday, November 1, as authorities continue to investigate how the deadly attack was planned and carried out.

The investigation includes talking to 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov, who came to the U.S. legally from Uzbekistan in 2010, as well as searches of an apartment in nearby Paterson, N.J.

Saipov was self-radicalized after identifying with the cause of the Islamic State, said authorities. Such “lone wolf” attackers may be predicted based on certain criteria, according to a new study.

Researchers analyze “lone wolf” behavior

The data-driven analysis did a deep dive into the minds and actions of 55 lone wolves of the past, and reconstructed the timelines and motivations based on a set of 198 variables, report scientists from Leiden University in the Netherlands and University College London, in the Journal of Forensic Sciences last week.

The variables were broken into eight categories:

The personal background of the killers; Their social environment Attack planning Attack preparation Operational security; “Leakage behavior” before the actions; Post-preparation activities; Relevant-related activities.

Some of those detailed factors included:

Whether they had been involved with radicalized or extremist groups Whether they had been given justification for violence Whether they had conducted reconnaissance at the intended targets beforehand; Whether they had made known threats of violence beforehand; Whether they had paramilitary or firearms training or experience at a shooting range.

It also included when those factors played into the sequence of events leading to their killings.

The list of 55 events spanned the gamut of solitary killers. But it generally included a series of many anti-government and anti-abortion attackers in the 1990s, and a growing number of “Islamist” killers after 9/11.

The list included the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski; Timothy McVeigh, the terrorist responsible for the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing; the “Olympic Park Bomber” Eric Rudolph; and also a series of Islamist public killings in the United Kingdom, the U.S. and Europe.

The four most recent in the study were: the jihadist Ottawa Parliament Hill mass shooter of October 2014; the Islamist car-ramming attack perpetrator from Quebec the same month; the Copenhagen gunman of Feb. 2015, Omar Abdelhamid el-Houssein; and Robert L. Dear Jr., who shot up a Planned Parenthood in Colorado on Nov. 27, 2015, killing three and wounding nine.

“As most of the 55 cases predate 2011, the sample has little to say directly about the recent lone actor threat emanating from returning ‘foreign fighters,’ those citizens of Western countries who left to join Islamist terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq,” the researchers concede.

The study refers to such killers as “lone actors”– and not “lone wolves” –since their findings show the “wolf” term is misleading.

“Most lone actors are not highly lethal or surreptitious attackers,” they conclude. “They are generally poor at maintaining operational security, leak their motivations and capabilities in numerous ways, and generally do so months and even years before an attack.”

In fact, 86 percent of the list of killers leaked their radical or extremist convictions to others before carrying out their plans.

About half (49 percent) came into contact with law enforcement for some reason during their planning and preparation stages, they add.

Lone wolves may not be alone

Crucially, the lone wolves who carry out these attacks are not so “lone” as may be believed.

“Most lone actors uphold social ties that are crucial to their adoption and maintenance of the motivation and capability to commit terrorist violence,” they add.

The study was compiled with an eye toward predicting the next terrorist killers among us. But identifying and catching the next perpetrator is not a matter of days or weeks beforehand, they write. Instead, it is months and even years earlier that law enforcement has an opportunity to pick up the trail, they add.

“Law enforcement and security agencies need not necessarily rely on last-minute indicators of an impending strike but, given sufficient data and a correct analysis of contextual specifics, can engage in the early detection, interruption, and prevention of lone actor violence,” they add. “It seems that many lone actors develop a desire to do something and begin amassing the necessary means before that ‘something’ is given particular thought.”

But ominously, they most effective – and deadliest – of the “lone wolves” are those who are the best prepared, they add. That includes Kaczynski the Unabomber, and Anders Breivik, the Norwegian mass murderer who took 77 lives in bombings and shootings in 2011.

Saipov, who is still being held at a local NYC hospital, allegedly plowed his car into pedestrians before ramming a school bus, after which he reportedly got out of the rental truck brandishing air guns as he shouted “Allahu akbar.” Eight were killed, and at least 11 seriously injured before police incapacitated him with a gunshot to the abdomen, authorities said.

About the Author Seth Augenstein is a reporter for Forensic and Laboratory Equipment magazines. He spent a decade as a reporter at New Jersey newspapers, most recently at The Star-Ledger. He has interviewed people at crime scenes, in prisons, from hospital bedsides, within operating rooms, inside laboratories, standing in flood waters, cringing outside four-alarm fires, and in many dirty kitchens and quiet living rooms. He has won numerous state press association awards for his work. He is also a fiction writer.


Categories: Latest News

Ill. man shoots himself in penis while robbing hot dog stand

PoliceOne - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 13:17

By PoliceOne Staff

CHICAGO — A man is in the hospital after he reportedly shot himself in the penis while robbing a hot dog stand in Chicago Tuesday.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that police found Terrion Pouncy, 19, slumped over the steps of a home across the street from the restaurant he allegedly held up at gunpoint. The pain from the wound was too severe for Pouncey to continue running further.

Pouncy walked into the store and held a gun to an employee’s head demanding cash. When another worker handed the suspect the cash, a bucket of grease tipped over and caused the bills to scatter in the air.

The suspect collected the money and headed toward the exit. As the suspect began to flee, he shifted the gun on his waistband and apparently pulled the trigger, shooting himself.

Police were able to use surveillance cameras to identify Pouncy. His blood-stained boxers matched the ones seen in the footage.

Pouncy faces two counts of armed robbery.


Categories: Latest News

Minn. man throws punch at police horse

PoliceOne - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 13:12

By PoliceOne Staff

MINNEAPOLIS — A man was arrested after he reportedly punched a police horse near a bar in downtown Minneapolis over the weekend.

WCCO reports that Jacob Solberg, 22, ran up on the horse without provocation and hit it on its rear end, leading to his arrest. The horse was uninjured, but police say the man’s punch could have scared the horse, which would have created a dangerous situation.

“When something does happen and they are struck, they can rear up and they can throw the rider. That’s what makes it so dangerous,” Corey Schmidt of the Minneapolis Police Department said.

The Minneapolis Police Department has 12 horses and often use them to patrol the streets in downtown when it gets crowded and chaotic on weekend nights.

Solberg was held in jail on suspicion of fourth-degree assault.


Categories: Latest News

P1 Photo of the Week: Vegas strong

PoliceOne - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 13:11
Author: PoliceOne Members

This week's photo comes from artist Daniel Sundahl, who recently did a photo shoot with the Las Vegas shooting first responders. Sundahl writes:

"The first responders in these images all helped the night so many people were killed and injured in Las Vegas earlier this month. Here are the actual faces of the heroes who made such a huge difference in so many lives that night."

You can find the entire series of prints from the Vegas photo shoot here for purchase. All sales will go to the Las Vegas First Responder Mental Health Fund that has been set up by The Code Green Campaign.

Calling all police photographers! PoliceOne needs pictures of you in action or training. Submit a photo — it could be selected as our Photo of the Week! Be sure to include your name, department information and address (including city, state and ZIP code) where we can reach you — Photo of the Week winners have a chance to win a PoliceOne.com T-shirt!


Categories: Latest News

Fla. cop under investigation for sitting during anthem

PoliceOne - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 13:09
Author: PoliceOne Members

By PoliceOne Staff

ORLANDO, Fla. — An investigation is underway after an on-duty Florida police officer refused to stand during the national anthem.

WFTV reports that when the anthem started during a boating event, someone reportedly noticed that the officer was sitting. When asked to stand, the officer declined to do so. A complaint was filed against the officer after the incident.

The Orlando PD’s policy requires its officers to stand for the anthem while they’re on duty. The OPD did not provide WFTV additional details, citing the ongoing investigation.


Categories: Latest News

Concrete barriers to be installed along NY bike path after terror attack

PoliceOne - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 12:44
Author: PoliceOne Members

Vincent Barone amNewYork, New York

NEW YORK — Transportation advocates are fuming over the “haphazard” placement of concrete barriers along the West Street bike path in the wake of the deadly terror attack along the greenway earlier this week.

Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, said in a scathing statement on Friday that the installation of Jersey barriers and concrete blocks along the popular path was an “ill-advised and unacceptable solution” that reinforces the false notion that cyclists in the city should be scared.

“New Yorkers are particularly anxious about biking right now, and the city should be actively encouraging more people to ride, now more than ever,” White said. “Instead, by installing these brutal barriers, Gov. [Andrew] Cuomo is creating another safety hazard and actively discouraging bikers, walkers, and commuters from using one of the country's vibrant public spaces.”

The Hudson River Greenway, which stretches up Manhattan’s West Side, is a state-owned public greenspace.

On Thursday, just two days after a terror suspect killed eight people by driving a truck down a large swath of the bike path in lower Manhattan, city and state Department of Transportation crews began installing concrete and Jersey barriers at 57 spots along the route between 59th Street and the World Trade Center, according to the mayor’s office.

The barriers are meant to protect pedestrians and cyclists on the greenway from vehicular traffic on the West Side Highway.

“Vehicles won’t be able to access places they aren’t supposed to,” said Ben Sarle, a spokesman for the mayor’s office. “They’re extremely heavy and effective.”

But at the corner of West 37th Street, crews set down a slab of concrete diagonally in the middle of the bike path.

“Stupidest idea I have ever seen. Thousands of bikers go here,” said Robert Sinclair, 44, of Clinton Hill. “People are going to seriously hit that.”

It was unclear if it would be moved in the future. A request for comment from the city DOT was not immediately returned.

The 20-foot-long Jersey barriers put in by the state are particularly dangerous, according to White, because they turn a two-way bike lane into one single lane, “effectively putting north and southbound cyclists on a collision course.”

“The Hudson River Greenway is the busiest pedestrian and bike path in North America -- it is used and beloved by hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers every year, and the city and state's current ‘solutions’ fail them in spectacular fashion,” White added. “We need to protect our public spaces without making them uninviting and difficult to use.”

A request for a statement from the state DOT in response to Transportation Alternatives was not immediately returned.

White said although the city and state have promised the barriers are only temporary, cyclists deserve a hard timeline for their removal and called on the city to consider other solutions, like bollards.

“Until bollards can be installed, we insist that the state and the city refine the placement of their concrete blocks so that the integrity of the busiest bike path in the country can be maintained,” White added.

Bollards – short posts cemented into the ground that are often made of metal – would eliminate the risk of traffic violence and would be inexpensive to implement, according to White.

On Thursday, members of the City Council rallied on the steps of City Hall, calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to support a council bill that would require the city to install metal bollards around schools, pedestrian plazas and at dangerous intersections where there are high levels of pedestrian deaths and serious injuries. As of Thursday afternoon, the legislation had support from a majority of council members.

“We have seen how vehicles have increasingly been used as weapons in other cities ... and most recently right here, a few blocks away from where we are standing,” said Manhattan Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, the bill’s sponsor and chair of the council’s Transportation Committee, who stressed gaining city support before bringing the bill to vote. “We should expand the use of bollards to include other high-pedestrian areas in the city — schools, parks and other cultural institutions.”

The legislation would require the city to install bollards on sidewalks “immediately adjacent” to at least 50 schools and along at least 20 dangerous intersections per year. It also would require bollards at every pedestrian plaza, but would give the DOT commissioner leeway to decline installation at plazas if they are not “consistent” with city guidelines or if they “endanger(s) the safety” of pedestrians.

Supporters pointed to other cities in Europe that have used bollards and expanded car-free zones as an example.

Critics say that the installation could be costly, time-consuming and would simply push terrorists to look at other options to carry out attacks. Opponents also characterized the notion as a misguided “one-size-fits-all” measure.

“Our number one priority is keeping New Yorkers safe and secure,” said Sarle in a statement. “While we strongly support additional safety measures, we feel that the blanket, one-size-fits-all approach of this bill is not the best use of city resources. Every intersection is unique, and requires dynamic safety treatments.”

Sarle said the DOT coordinates closely with police on the placement of bollards. The agency relies on the NYPD to identify locations and types of barriers needed at each space. The DOT then reviews the areas and provides feedback regarding Americans with Disabilities Act requirements and pedestrian flow. Generally, the two agencies work with property owners to install bollards as building security measures, which result in most of the bollards seen around the city, according to DOT testimony at a June 2017 hearing on the bill.

But council members and advocates believe the city needs to begin budgeting for such bollards annually, as part of a more detailed plan for the city’s congested centers.

“We can’t always anticipate or predict when or where these attacks will occur, but there’s a lot we can do to prevent them from happening again,” said Paul Steely White, executive director at Transportation Alternatives. “We owe it to the victims of Tuesday’s tragedy. We owe it to ourselves as a free and livable city. The solution here is not to retreat from public space, but to better protect and enshrine our public spaces.”

©2017 amNewYork


Categories: Latest News

Policing Matters Podcast: How to choose the best training options for your police career

PoliceOne - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 12:35
Author: Jim Dudley and Doug Wyllie

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

Too many training budgets in law enforcement continue to suffer cutbacks. Meanwhile, police critics demand that cops get more and better training. You can’t have it both ways. If you want more training, you have to fund it. But failing that, many officers are choosing to train in their off time and on their own dime. Training companies run by retired police and military personnel are seemingly popping up on a daily basis. In this week’s podcast segment, Jim and Doug discuss how to evaluate and choose the best options for you and your career.


Categories: Latest News

Off-duty Fla. deputy saves man from burning truck

PoliceOne - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 10:32

Alexi C. Cardona Naples Daily News, Fla.

NAPLES, Fla. — An off-duty Collier County sheriff's deputy last month saved a man from a burning tractor-trailer following a crash that could have been a scene in an action movie.

Cpl. Joshua Hankinson, a corrections deputy at the Collier County Jail, left Oct. 23 and was traveling north on Interstate 75 in Charlotte County when he drove over a raised overpass at exit 167 and saw a crash involving two semitrailers southbound at mile marker 166 around 7:15 a.m., according to a Sheriff's Office news release sent Thursday.

Hankinson pulled over and went to check on the driver of the semi with the worst damage. According to the release, Hankinson saw the driver moving around in the cab and smelled diesel fuel that was leaking from the truck.

He forced the driver door open and told the driver to get out of the cab, but the man appeared disoriented and didn't respond to the deputy's instructions, according to the Sheriff's Office.

When the deputy realized the driver may have been in shock, he unbuckled the man's seat belt, pulled on the driver's shirt and left arm and got him out of the truck, the release states.

“As I guided him to a safe distance, about 50 feet, the truck became engulfed in flames and a few loud explosions occurred,” Hankinson said in the release.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a semi-truck with a trailer in tow was pulled over on the outside shoulder of I-75 near mile marker 167 facing south Oct. 23. The driver, Gurmit Cheema, of Port Charlotte, accelerated from the median and drove onto the outside lane of the interstate, right into the path of another semi-truck.

The driver of the second semi-truck, Collier resident Yosbani Cuesta, hit the brakes and veered into the center lane but could not avoid a crash, according to an FHP press release.

The front right side of the second truck crashed into the back left side of the truck that pulled off from the shoulder, the release states.

No one was injured in the crash, and both drivers were wearing seat belts, according to FHP. According to the Sheriff's Office, Hankinson received a few "minor abrasions" on his hands.

Hankinson described the scene as "very chaotic" and said he stepped aside when other first responders arrived.

Hankinson will be nominated for a Medal of Distinguished Service, an award that honors a Collier deputy who "distinguishes himself in the performance of an act of courage involving probable risk of personal injury for the purpose of saving or protecting human life," according to the Sheriff's Office.

“I do not feel I did anything above what any person with a heart would have done in the same situation,” Hankinson said in the release. “It was just simply, in my mind, a moment in time where I made a decision to do what is right in the world."

©2017 the Naples Daily News (Naples, Fla.)


Categories: Latest News

Cop impersonator arrested after pulling over Ky. officer

PoliceOne - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 10:04

Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Officials say a Kentucky man pretending to be a police officer is facing charges after pulling over a real officer.

News outlets cited an arrest warrant in reporting that a Louisville police officer was driving his personal vehicle when 24-year-old Brandon Hurley began driving toward him Saturday with flashing lights and a honking horn.

The warrant says the officer pulled over and Hurley asked him if he knew how fast he was going.

When the officer identified himself as working for the Louisville police force, Hurley said he wouldn't write him a ticket and left the scene.

Police said the officer got Hurley's license plate number and he was arrested Tuesday on charges of impersonating a peace officer and wanton endangerment.

Jail records don't indicate whether he has an attorney.


Categories: Latest News

Man who shot NJ cop at point-blank range charged with attempted murder

PoliceOne - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 09:44

Associated Press

CAMDEN, N.J. — A New Jersey man was charged Thursday with shooting a police officer in the thigh at close range after a struggle while he was trying to run away from him.

Camden County police say the officer approached three people who were acting suspiciously just after 10 p.m. Wednesday in Camden when one ran away. Officer Patrick O'Hanlon caught the suspect, who pulled out a gun and fired during a struggle, Police Chief Scott Thomson said.

Investigators believe the gun jammed as the officer fought with the suspect, preventing him from firing a second shot, Thomson said. O'Hanlon was listed in stable condition.

Delronn Mahan, 19, of Lindenwold, was charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, weapons charges and resisting arrest, the Camden County prosecutor's office said.

Mahan has been arrested 10 times since turning 18, Thomson said. It wasn't immediately known if he had an attorney to comment on his behalf.

Fellow officers applied a tourniquet to the wounded officer's leg before rushing him to a hospital.

"They responded heroically," Thomson said. He said he was told by a trauma surgeon that the officer might have been in much worse shape if not for the quick response.

The officer was listed in stable condition. Thomson said the bullet struck a vein but did not hit any bones or major arteries.

"The trajectory of the bullet was very fortunate," Thomson said.

The officer did not fire his weapon, and Mahan was uninjured. Thomson said Mahan's gun was recovered at the scene.


Categories: Latest News

Court rules LEO who shot suspect stabbing cop can be sued, video released

PoliceOne - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 09:10

Maura Dolan Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — An Orange County sheriff’s deputy who in 2013 continued to shoot a felled suspect and then stomped his head may be sued for using excessive deadly force, a federal appeals court decided Wednesday.

“When police confront a suspect who poses an immediate threat, they may use deadly force against him,” Judge Alex Kozinski wrote for a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. “But they must stop using deadly force when the suspect no longer poses a threat.”

In an unusual action, the court released the police videos of the fatal shooting, which can be viewed here and here. The shooting occurred three minutes into the first video and 3½ minutes into the second.

The court reached its decision in a lawsuit filed by the mother of Connor Zion, 21, who suffered seizures, bit his mother and cut her and his roommate with a kitchen knife, according to the court.

The Sheriff’s Department was called. When Deputy Juan Lopez arrived at the condominium complex in Laguna Niguel, Zion ran toward him and stabbed Lopez’s arms.

Deputy Michael Higgins, who arrived separately and saw the attack, shot Zion.

Video on the department dashboard cameras revealed that Higgins initially fired nine shots. Once Zion was on the ground, Higgins fired nine more times, emptying his gun.

Then Higgins walked in a circle, took a “running start” and stomped on Zion’s head three times, the court said the video showed.

The Sheriff’s Department later awarded Higgins a medal of valor for the action for saving his partner’s life, the Orange County Register reported.

Zion appeared to have been wounded and was not making threatening gestures after being fired upon at “relatively close range” and falling to the ground, the court said.

“While Higgins couldn’t be sure that Zion wasn’t bluffing or only temporarily subdued, Zion was lying on the ground and so was not in a position where he could easily harm anyone or flee,” Kozinski wrote.

A jury could find that Zion did not pose an immediate threat and that Higgins should have held his fire, the court said.

“Or, a jury could find that the second round of bullets was justified, but not the head-stomping,” Kozinski wrote.

The Sheriff’s Department argued that Zion remained a threat on the ground because he was still moving.

“But terminating a threat doesn’t necessarily mean terminating the suspect,” Kozinski said.

If a suspect is on the ground and appears wounded, “a reasonable officer would reassess the situation rather than continue shooting,” the court said.

The Constitution’s due process clause protects against such “brutal” conduct as head stomping, the court said, noting the strikes to Zion’s head appeared to be “vicious blows.”

“Like forced stomach-pumping, head-stomping a suspect curled up in the fetal position ‘is bound to offend even hardened sensibilities,’” Kozinski wrote, citing a previous ruling.

The decision revived the lawsuit filed by Kimberly Zion, the dead man’s mother. A district judge had ruled for the Sheriff’s Department.

©2017 the Los Angeles Times


Categories: Latest News

Ga. deputy dies from heart attack during annual physical assessment

PoliceOne - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 07:30

Nefeteria Brewster The Augusta Chronicle, Ga.

AUGUSTA, Ga. — A deputy is dead after suffering a heart attack during his annual physical assessment, according to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputy James Wallace, 61, of Augusta, was on duty when he suffered the attack and died Thursday afternoon.

Deputies performed CPR until EMS arrived and James was transported to Doctors Hospital where he died at approximately 1 p.m., according to a news release from the sheriff’s office .

He will be sent for autopsy at GBI in Atlanta.

James started at the sheriff’s office in November 2010 at the age of 54 and was a dedicated employee where everyone knew him to be a good person and friend, the sheriff’s office said.

“Everyone at the Sheriff’s Office mourns the loss of Deputy Wallace with his family and friends and we offer them our deepest condolences,” Capt. Allan Rollins said in a statement. “James was a good man and will be missed.”

Wallace is the second Richmond County Sheriff’s Office employee to die this week. On Tuesday, Investigator Christian Gandy was ejected and killed when he hit a deer while riding his motorcycle near the Burke County line. He was off-duty at the time.

©2017 The Augusta Chronicle (Augusta, Ga.)


Categories: Latest News

La. LEOs escort daughter of slain officer during homecoming

PoliceOne - Thu, 11/02/2017 - 14:42

By PoliceOne Staff

ALEXANDRIA, La. — A group of Louisiana LEOs accompanied a teenager to her school homecoming in honor of her fallen officer father.

The Town Talk reports Margaux Carruth, 17, was escorted during her school’s homecoming game by Alexandria police officers. The gesture was in honor of her father, Officer Jeremy Carruth, who was killed on Feb. 20, 2003 when he was attempting to serve a search warrant.

Margaux wore a powder-blue suit and navy hat to honor the men and women in uniform.

Margaux’s stepfather, a U.S. Army Reserve captain and former LEO, along with one of his partners, were originally supposed to escort her before the other 10 officers decided to join in. The officers wanted to show her and her sister, Noelle Carruth, support and show them the kind of person their father was.

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Our gorgeous Margaux Ellen Carruth...Her daddy was killed in the line of duty when she was only 2 years old. She is now...

Posted by Carey Carruth Hamblin on Friday, October 27, 2017


Categories: Latest News

How a Tenn. agency trains its LEOs to be emergency medical responders

PoliceOne - Thu, 11/02/2017 - 11:52

By Marian O’Briant

Blount County, Tennessee Sheriff James Lee Berrong and Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell were on hand October 16 for the official kick-off of the department’s Emergency Medical Response (EMR) program.

“This is a groundbreaking program for law enforcement,” Sheriff Berrong said. “I don’t know of any other Sheriff’s offices in Tennessee that offers this to its citizens. These deputies who are certified are now equipped with additional life-saving skills and equipment that will allow them to be able to provide aid more quickly when it comes to life-and-death health emergencies.”

Ten deputies who expressed interest in the certification were selected to take part in the initial program. American Medical Response (AMR) taught the 60-hour certification course, followed later in the month with a national certification test. One deputy, Megan Householder, was previously certified as an advanced EMT.

The deputies will now work with AMR to gain 30 hours of practical experience on an ambulance.

Program enhances emergency medical services

Sheriff Berrong and Mayor Mitchell saw a way to enhance medical services in Blount County.

Patrol deputies often arrive on scene prior to fire or EMS, and administer some sort of medical aid. These deputies will now be ready to provide enhanced medical services to improve emergency medical care in Blount County.

The EMR certified deputies will be spread between all three patrol shifts.

“In the seven years I’ve been Blount County Mayor, seeing this EMR program in our Sheriff’s office is one of the proudest moments,” Mayor Mitchell said. “As mayor, the safety and well-being of our citizens has and will continue to be of utmost importance to me.

“With the help of Sheriff Berrong, we have put in place a new way of ensuring we are doing what both of us believe is in the best interest of the county. It says a lot about the high quality of our Sheriff’s Office and the deputies who embraced the idea and worked hard to gain this additional certification.”

EMR-certified deputies receive an additional $4,000 per year. Sheriff Berrong hopes to add 10 additional deputies each year to the program.

What is an emergency medical responder?

Emergency Medical Responders provide immediate lifesaving care to critical patients who access the emergency medical services system.

EMRs have the knowledge and skills necessary to provide immediate lifesaving interventions while awaiting additional EMS resources to arrive. EMRs also provide assistance to higher-level personnel at the scene of emergencies and during transport.

About the author Marian O’Briant is the public information officer for Blount County Sheriff’s Office.


Categories: Latest News

Police: Ohio man pulls gun after failing to get McMuffin

PoliceOne - Thu, 11/02/2017 - 11:51

Associated Press

WARREN, Ohio — Police in Ohio say they're looking for a man who pulled out a gun after being told by a McDonald's drive-thru worker there were no Egg McMuffin sandwiches available.

Police say the incident occurred shortly after 3:30 a.m. Wednesday at a McDonald's in Warren, about 60 miles (97 kilometers) southeast of Cleveland.

The worker told police that two men inside the car appeared to be around 20 years old. She said the driver called her a vulgar name after pulling out the gun and then cursed at her again before driving away.

Warren police hope to identify the men using surveillance video footage.


Categories: Latest News

What are the biggest challenges impacting policing in America?

PoliceOne - Thu, 11/02/2017 - 11:35

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

The Heritage Foundation recently released a report that shows encouraging evidence that leaders are facing the reality of the pressures and dangers of today’s law enforcement climate.

Retired police executives, lawyers and other police advocates met in March of this year for a policing strategy summit. The resulting report, Policing in America: Lessons from the Past, Opportunities for the Future, recognizes four major challenges:

1. The false narrative of systemic racism in law enforcement;

2. The lack of budget support for needed improvements;

3. A lack of credit for success in maintaining historically low crime rates;

4. The need for more application of scientific crime-fighting methods.

To quote from the report’s introduction: “Agency budgets have tightened. At the same time, hostile narratives have emerged in mainstream and social media, which encourage antipathy toward police and paint American law enforcement as ‘systemically racist.’ The high volume of consent decrees handed out by the Department of Justice under prior Administrations has only exacerbated this misrepresentation of today’s police. The predictable result has been friction between police departments and the communities they serve, which has occasionally erupted in violent protests and targeted attacks on law enforcement officers. This prevailing narrative belies major successes and innovations in law enforcement across the country, as well as long-term declines in crime rates, which are now being threatened.”

False Narrative

As I discussed in my article on how the outdated police media strategy lost the Twitter-verse in Ferguson, law enforcement agencies are just now developing the ability to use the variety of media platforms to form a fact-based narrative.

The Heritage Foundation’s report calls for better “branding” – a term purloined from marketing – to provide a consistent reputation as a backdrop for the inevitable rough spots.

The report criticizes reports of systemic racism that are based on legitimate data-driven crime control methods. Police contacts with citizens will disproportionality involve minorities when crime reports are highest in minority communities. Numbers without context have been used by the Department of Justice with increasing frequency under the Obama administration to intervene in local agency operations, such as reducing stop and frisk decisions by patrol officers.

The cruel irony is that crime has increased in places where officers and administrators become hesitant to use proven methods of criminal interdiction.

Budgetary Constraints

Police leaders recognize what economic development and political leaders often do not – that quality law enforcement is as much a factor in attracting jobs to a community as are parks and schools. Political leaders seem to succumb to pressure from anti-police activists to reduce the effectiveness of law enforcement, including budget tightening, rather than accepting the necessity to support and encourage quality policing for a community’s health and vibrancy.

Lack of credit for crime control

Successful crime control methods are being labeled as civil liberty violations despite the wide protections of Constitutional guidelines. The report cites that the “stop and frisk” debate leaves out the reality that police don’t randomly stop and search citizens, but must articulate acceptable reasons for the contact, questions and frisks. Critics further cite the low rate of discovery of weapons, rather than interpreting that statistic as a success of deterrence.

Despite the reality that crime is at historic lows, law enforcement is seldom credited with its part in the decline. An increasing erosion of support for the effectiveness of quality of life enforcement often credited for dramatic crime reduction in New York City and other jurisdictions is being associated with the perception that police officers are wasting time on petty offenses that target minorities.

More science

Calling for increased federal cooperation and more sources of funding, the report cites high promise for the application of scientific methods for predicting and solving crime. Efforts to concentrate on repeat offenders who are responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime should be enhanced by predictive intelligence and more efficient processing of physical evidence.

Federal involvement

Many summit participants expressed hope that the Department of Justice would become less political and more constructive. The federal government could foster great gains in training, technology and best practices if it moves toward less oversight and more support.

Although not all summit participants agreed on all points, police officers on the front lines can be encouraged that those at a high level of influence are addressing the realities that affect every officer.


Categories: Latest News

How to keep good cops: Police leaders share best practices

PoliceOne - Thu, 11/02/2017 - 11:13

Author: Karen L. Bune

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

Law enforcement agencies across the country are facing monumental recruitment challenges reflective of our current turbulent political climate.

For some people who may have contemplated pursuing a law enforcement career, their minds may have changed due to the anti-police sentiment we’ve seen over the last several years. For cops already employed, they may wonder whether to remain in their current department or the field itself.

Though police departments may differ in size, they all face similar challenges. Here’s how police leaders from Austin, Texas, Montgomery County, Maryland, and the District of Columbia tackle the challenge of recruiting good candidates and retaining them when they are on the job.

Metropolitan Police Department, Washington, D. C.

Assistant Chief Robert Contee says his department is looking for officers with integrity and judgment, who can engage with the community.

He acknowledges that law enforcement agencies everywhere are still trying to figure out how to retain good officers: “It is critical for us to identify ways to keep them,” said Contee, with the one- to five-year mark being a critical time for retention.

To attract millennials, the department advertises positions on social media, in movie theaters, on the back of buses and on local radio stations, along with participating in traditional job fairs.

Contee has four tips for retaining good cops:

1. There needs to be flexibility in, as well as opportunities for, educational advancement in order to recruit and retain police officers.

2. Agencies must offer opportunities for advancement. If officers cannot advance, they will go elsewhere, leaving the department from which they were initially hired.

3. The department must provide an atmosphere where officers can voice their opinions and engage command officials in dialogue.

4. Agencies must provide officers opportunities to demonstrate their value to the organization. Certain skill sets they possess may be beneficial to the department and may maintain their interest in that arena.

Montgomery County Police, Montgomery County, MD

Montgomery County is a suburb of the nation’s capital, rich in diversity. The county frequently works with neighboring jurisdictions in Virginia and the District of Columbia. A diversified work force is essential and, as Assistant Chief Luther Reynolds said, “Work ethic is huge.”

Reynolds reveals that an impeccable reputation and the ability to get along well with others goes a long way in policing and, particularly, in diverse communities.

Reynolds points out that people want to be part of a professional organization that cares about their well-being. In his county, he notes, there is a high level of support for officers from the community, as well as the judiciary and even local politicians.

Integrity is essential in hiring good cops. “Integrity has to be impeccable. You can’t teach someone to be honest,” Reynolds said. Interpersonal communication skills are also vital in choosing the right candidates, and they must possess empathy and be effective in dealing with people.

Pay and benefit packages are important in attracting officers. Benefits like take-home cars, pay increases, comprehensive healthcare coverage and retirement packages influence an individual’s initial decision to join a department and then stay with that department once they get some experience under their belt.

Reynold’s indicates that training is a key tool for retaining cops. Departments need a cadre of faculty and a curriculum of excellence that touches on the core values of the organization in order to produce a culture of excellence.

It is also important for agencies to embrace new technological tools and speak the language of Facebook and Twitter.

People are also hungry for leadership. Good leaders treat people with dignity, value and respect and are models of compassion.

Finally, an agency that values the community tends to retain officers because there is a lot of community engagement.

“A large majority of people in Montgomery County care about police,” Reynolds said.

When all these elements combine, people feel appreciated and valued. Officers need to know there is support for their safety and recognition that what they do is important. They want to be heard. “It’s an ongoing evolution,” Reynolds said.

Austin Police Department, Texas

Chief Brian Manley leads a department of 1,908 sworn officers and 725 civilians. His jurisdiction is in the top three of the highest paid agencies in the state.

Manley believes that retention of good officers starts with recruiting. It is important to recruit the right candidates and emphasize the importance of community and community policing. He considers what candidates have done to give back to the community and how compassionate they are towards the community.

His five tips for retention include effective leadership from first-line supervisors to the executive team:

1. The organization must practice effective leadership.

2. Departments must offer an attractive and competitive pay package.

3. Law enforcement agencies need rigorous wellness programs that provide adequate opportunities for police officers to get help when they need it. This includes a strong peer support system and adequate equipment to maintain officer fitness.

4. There must be growth opportunities within the organization that allow officers to expand their knowledge and experience.

5. Offering cutting-edge training allows officers to perform at their best.

These insights gleaned from law enforcement leaders in Washington, D. C., Montgomery County and Austin demonstrate the commonalities shared in the recruitment and retention of excellent and productive law enforcement officers. Taking a strategic approach to hiring officers increases the likelihood you will retain those good cops in your ranks.


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