Latest News

Videos: Police fire 2 Ga. officers after viral UOF incident

PoliceOne - Fri, 04/14/2017 - 09:40

By Kate Brumback Associated Press

ATLANTA — Two Georgia police officers were fired Thursday, a day after authorities say one punched a man who had his hands up and the other kicked the man in the head once he was handcuffed on the ground.

The Gwinnett County Police Department said Thursday afternoon that Master Police Officer Robert McDonald violated department policy and the law. Video showed McDonald assaulting the handcuffed man, identified as Demetrius Bryan Hollins, while assisting a supervisor who had called for backup during a traffic stop about 4 p.m. Wednesday, police said.

Several hours later, police said that supervisor, Sgt. Michael Bongiovanni, had also been fired after a second video surfaced of him punching Hollins in the face as Hollins put his hands in the air.

"We acknowledge that the actions of these two officers have implications that will be felt for some time," a police department statement says. "However, we also believe that our decisive action in terminating both officers speaks volumes about what is expected of each officer that wears a Gwinnett County Police badge."

The department also has opened criminal investigations into the behavior of the two officers. The results will be turned over to the county district attorney, who will decide whether to prosecute the two officers.

McDonald was hired by the department in August 2013 and graduated from the police academy in March 2014, while Bongiovanni was hired in September 1998 and graduated from the academy in February 1999.

No working number could be found for McDonald, and the voicemail at a number listed for Bongiovanni was full. It wasn't immediately clear whether either man had an attorney who could comment.

Another police video surfaces from Gwinnett County today as an officer punches a man with hands up. ???? pic.twitter.com/Y5GyeHhm58

— Everything Georgia (@GAFollowers) April 13, 2017

Bongiovanni pulled Hollins over in Lawrenceville, just outside Atlanta, police said.

Video filmed by a witness shows Bongiovanni punching Hollins as Hollins stands with his hands up after getting out of the car, police said.

The other video shows Bongiovanni appearing to yell at a handcuffed man who then lies face-down in a left-turn lane of the busy intersection. McDonald runs up and immediately appears to stomp on the man's head before both officers eventually pull him to his feet.

Hollins, 21, appears to have blood on his nose and lip in his booking photo.

The shift commander initiated an "immediate investigation" and placed McDonald on administrative leave after Hollins' arrest.

Hollins was driving a red Acura Integra with no license plate and a brake light that didn't work, and switched lanes three times without signaling, according to an incident report filed by Bongiovanni.

Hollins yelled and began to "act strange," and based on that and the officer's recollection of Hollins' behavior during a previous arrest in August, Bongiovanni called for backup, the report says.

Hollins yelled and refused to obey orders when Bongiovanni ordered him out of the car and resisted when Bongiovanni tried to arrest him, the report says. There is no mention of Bongiovanni hitting Hollins.

The report mentions McDonald arriving after Bongiovanni had used his stun gun on Hollins and gotten him handcuffed on the ground. It doesn't mention any contact between McDonald and Hollins.

The two officers are white and Hollins appears to be black, police Cpl. Michele Pihera said in an email.

Jail records show Hollins faces charges of driving with a suspended or revoked license, operating a vehicle with a suspended or revoked registration, failure to signal, having a brake light that's not in good repair, obstructing a law enforcement officer and having less than an ounce of marijuana. He was released on bond Thursday afternoon.

Police released McDonald's personnel file Thursday and said Bongiovanni's would be released Thursday.

McDonald was "an excellent example of a team player with a strong work ethic" who completed his work on time, was always willing to help others and was courteous and professional with the public, Bongiovanni wrote in annual evaluation last June. He gave McDonald a rating of "often exceeds expectations" in many categories and no rating lower than "generally meets expectations."

McDonald received a few commendations and recognitions, including sharing the officer of the month honor in November 2015.

He had filed three use-of-force reports explaining why he used his stun gun or physical force in the course of his duties.

He faced a disciplinary loss of his good driving record after he rear-ended another car in his patrol car in June 2015. But the officer who responded to the accident said in a letter to the department's safety review committee that it would have been very difficult for McDonald to avoid the wreck.


Categories: Latest News

Orlando nightclub shooting: 'If you're alive, raise your hand'

PoliceOne - Fri, 04/14/2017 - 09:29

Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. — The sight of so many injured people lying on the dance floor after the Pulse nightclub attack in Orlando led one officer to ask patrons, "If you're alive, raise your hand," according to a new report from police.

The report reveals nearly half of the 49 victims in the mass shooting last June died on the dance floor without a chance to react or run for help. Another 13 died in bathrooms while waiting for help during a three-hour hostage standoff.

The revelations are part of a 78-page presentation Orlando Police Chief John Mina has given to about 10 police groups to discuss his department's response to the attack, considered the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

The Orlando Sentinel obtained a copy of the presentation, which includes diagrams and still photos from body cam footage that shows officers in their initial confrontation with gunman Omar Mateen as they responded to the club at 2:02 a.m. June 12.

The images include Officer Adam Gruler, who was working an off-duty job at Pulse that morning, firing shots at Mateen in the club's doorway. Gruler called a signal 43, which means an officer needs help. When help arrived minutes later, Gruler told them, "He's in the patio!" and shot multiple rounds toward Mateen.

Surveillance video from inside the clubs captures Mateen running from the main dance floor toward the bathrooms.

Nine people died in the north bathroom, where Mateen, 29, was barricaded for much of the standoff, according to the report. Four died in the south bathroom. Eleven died at the hospital or in triage areas set up outside the club.

At 5:02 a.m., some three hours after arriving, police used explosives to breach the building. That's when Mateen was killed in a shootout with police.

Mina's presentation notes that officers rescued people throughout the night. He said he doesn't know if any victims were struck by police gunfire.

The Orlando Police Department was one of 27 agencies responding to the shooting, which also wounded 68 people.

The presentation includes self-assessments and ways the agency might approach such situations differently in the future. It notes better coordination with local fire departments could lead to better communication. Mina said the Orlando Fire Department and Orange County Fire Rescue were not in his agency's command post outside the club.

"Would that have saved any more lives? No. The people who needed care, got care," Mina said. "But the communication would have been better between our two agencies if someone from the fire department would have been in our command post."

The presentation says that fire department officials said the "indirect communication" with law enforcement prevented crews from being informed of the wall breach. For example, many firefighters didn't know police would use explosives to breach the nightclub.


Categories: Latest News

Policing Matters Podcast: What the public should know about police SCOTUS cases

PoliceOne - Fri, 04/14/2017 - 04:00
Author: Jim Dudley and Doug Wyllie

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

Some of the most important U.S. Supreme Court cases for law enforcement are either misunderstood or entirely unknown by the average American citizen. Meanwhile, law enforcement officers are generally very much in tune with the cases which govern how officers’ actions — everything from use of force to search and seizure activities — are judged. In this podcast episode, Jim and Doug talk about a host of cases that cops know about and wish that the public did too.


Categories: Latest News

P1 Photo of the Week: Highway shut down

PoliceOne - Fri, 04/14/2017 - 02:00
Author: PoliceOne Members

Officer Steven Venezia with the Clearwater (Fla.) Police Department sent in this shot his co-worker snapped of him assisting the local fire department during a shutdown of the interstate. A large brush fire started by a commerical lawn mower that overheated shut down roads for hours on April 7. Luckily, no one was injured.

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

Dispatcher of the Year's speedy work helped save SF cops life

PoliceOne - Fri, 04/14/2017 - 02:00
Author: PoliceOne Members

By Sarah Ravani San Francisco Chronicle

SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco emergency dispatcher Janet Atchan was in the last hour of a 12-hour shift when she got the call she and her colleagues fear most.

“Shots fired. Officer down.”

Atchan, 46, drew on her 25 years of experience as a dispatcher as she mobilized emergency crews and backup police officers to the scene, and even took calls from witnesses with tips on the suspect’s whereabouts.

On Tuesday, Atchan was named Dispatcher of the Year for staying cool under pressure and helping to save San Francisco Police Officer Kevin Downs’ life after he was shot in the head following a confrontation on Oct. 14 at the Lakeshore Plaza Shopping Center.

“Your adrenaline goes from 0 to 100 and it’s scary, it’s a lot of confusion. You just can’t believe it’s real,” Atchan said. “I’m happy the officer is recovering very well.”

She also received a special commendation by supervisors Katy Tang and Norman Yee for her response.

“We are so grateful that people like Janet are there to calmly handle all the emergency situations that arise in the City. Emergency dispatchers work hard behind the scenes, and often times their work goes unnoticed,” Tang said in a statement to The Chronicle.

Atchan received a call about 8:15 p.m. that seemed routine, “a man was acting erratically at a shopping center,” said Francis Zamora, a spokesman for the city Department of Emergency Management.

Within minutes, the situation escalated.

When police officers got to the shopping center on the 1500 block of Sloat Boulevard, a security guard pointed them toward the suspect on Everglade Drive, and the man immediately fired multiple shots, striking Downs in the head, police said.

Downs survived the incident and police officials say it was due to Atchan’s speedy coordination in dispatching emergency crews.

“We are just very grateful and thankful that she maintained her professionalism and did her job,” said Officer Giselle Talkoff, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco Police Department. “We are very thankful that she was there and helped out.”

When Atchan heard the words “officer down” on the police scanner frequency, she immediately coordinated emergency responders to transport Downs to San Francisco General Hospital, she said.

“There’s that adrenaline, that fear and that concern. A lot of different feelings happening at one time really,” Atchan said.

She then worked with fellow dispatchers to establish a search perimeter within the neighborhood so that police could catch the assailant. As they worked with police, Atchan and other dispatchers were also fielding calls from community members with tips, including a wedding party that was near the shooting, Atchan said.

“As you can imagine, that’s incredibly intense and requires a lot of coordination,” Zamora said.

The bullet that hit Downs in the head missed his main cerebral artery by less than a centimeter, but caused a skull fracture and brain trauma that left his right leg paralyzed, police said.

The gunman, 26-year-old Nicholas McWherter, who grew up in Pacifica and battled mental illness, was shot during the confrontation with police. He died two days after the shootout.

That night, Atchan was calm and collected as she worked to respond, Zamora said.

But once her headset came off, the shock started to set in and she started shaking and crying, Zamora said.

“The situation overcame her,” Zamora said. “In her 25-year career, that has never happened to her before.”

Atchan is a fourth generation San Franciscan who grew up in the Fillmore neighborhood, but now lives in Oakland.

While working as a dispatcher, she attended night classes at UC Berkeley and earned a degree in sociology.

She eventually earned an MBA from University of San Francisco, which she hopes to use working in sports management after her dispatching days are over.

Atchan and Downs’ story isn’t over yet. The two haven’t met, but a future meeting is in the works, Atchan said.

“As a dispatcher, even with our 911 calls, we don’t see the people,” Atchan said. “So a lot of times, the end of our story isn’t complete because we don’t really get to see the person or meet the person. I’m really looking forward to actually meeting him and giving him a hug.”

———

©2017 the San Francisco Chronicle

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Learn more about our Dispatcher of the Year, Janet Atchan! https://sfdem.wordpress.com/2017/04/13/2016-dispatcher-of-the-year/

Posted by San Francisco Department of Emergency Management on Thursday, April 13, 2017


Categories: Latest News

Commission approves at-will New Orleans PD commanders

PoliceOne - Thu, 04/13/2017 - 12:22

By Matt Sledge The Advocate

NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Civil Service Commission on Monday approved the Police Department’s controversial proposal to allow its superintendent to promote and demote commanders at will.

The commission voted 4-0 to allow Superintendent Michael Harrison to pick the commanders who run the department’s eight geographic districts and other major divisions. Harrison said the proposal would cement recent reforms made under a consent decree with the federal government.

The OK for the plan came over the objection of all three major police unions. The Civil Service Commission's staff also had objected to the proposal, saying it represented an end-run around the regular, test-based promotion process for officers.

The commission’s vote will likely change little at the Police Department in the short term, because commanders have been serving at-will on a provisional basis since 2011. However, the vote hands the department what may be its ultimate victory in a long-running dispute with its unions.

Harrison acknowledged that the creation of 16 positions that officers can be promoted to and removed from purely at his discretion is an “exceptional” situation for a department where most officers are protected by strict civil service rules. But he said he needs the flexibility to implement the 2012 consent decree’s reforms.

“Because we work in exceptional times and live in exceptional times, it requires us to make exceptional decisions and take exceptional measures. Anything else is just the status quo, which is exactly why we’re in the nation’s most expansive federal consent decree,” he said.

The Police Department and the Landrieu administration had lined up several business and community leaders to support their position. All expressed confidence in Harrison’s ability to pick good leaders for the department.

“My view is that the job is to protect and serve, and that the protection of citizens is the primary thing in view and that we ought to empower this chief,” said David Crosby, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of New Orleans. “He understands what he needs. He’s saying, 'This is what I need to protect my citizens to the best of my ability.' ”

Union supporters said that making commanders subject to the approval of the police superintendent will expose them to politics inside and outside the department.

Peter Hansche, a sergeant in the NOPD’s homicide section who also is vice president of the Police Association of New Orleans, said he has encountered commanders who live in fear of being “defrocked.”

“When I started on the Police Department, captains were godlike figures,” he said. “It’s different now. The commanders that I’ve encountered through working seem scared.”

Several union representatives said Monday that while they respect Harrison, they believe handing the next superintendent the power to remake his top ranks overnight would be unwise.

“The fact is, the chief of police is going to be chief of police for about another year,” said Jim Gallagher, secretary-treasurer of the Fraternal Order of Police. He was referring to the fall election for a new mayor, who could appoint a new police superintendent next year.

Gallagher said the next chief could get rid of many or all of the commanders appointed by Harrison.

“Can you imagine what that does to the rank and file police officers, looking every three years to see the entire management structure, upper and middle, replaced?” he asked.

Commission member Ronald McClain said he also was concerned that the turnover in administrations would result in turnover at the Police Department. He called for an audit in 2018 to see how the system is working, and the commission agreed.

Another commission member said she appreciated the unions' concerns. Still, she insisted the move will not lead to the loss of civil service positions elsewhere in city government.

“This in no way is a slippery slope. I know we’ve heard that discussion and that worry,” Michelle Craig said. “We do not expect this to be used as precedent for any other office or any other appointing authority, because this is a unique set of circumstances.”

A police union leader said he anticipated mounting a legal challenge to the commission's vote.

"Yes, we can, and yes, we will," said Mike Glasser, president of the Police Association of New Orleans.

———

©2017 The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.


Categories: Latest News

P1 Research: De-policing and police morale are troubling trends post-Ferguson and Dallas

PoliceOne - Thu, 04/13/2017 - 12:13

Author: Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Editor at Large

Researchers at Louisiana State University recently partnered with PoliceOne to conduct a survey entitled Policing in a Post-Ferguson Society. The survey garnered a total of 3,346 responses from verified sworn law enforcement professionals across all ranks and department sizes. Respondents consisted of line officers and supervisors working patrol and other assignments in the profession.

The survey — which was reflective of the prevailing opinions of a sample size of American LEOs represented by PoliceOne members — was aimed at discovering police officers’ opinions about their jobs following three seminal events. Officers were asked how their morale and job satisfaction, confidence in use of force, and sense of safety changed following the Michael Brown OIS in Ferguson, and the deadly ambush attacks on police in Dallas and Baton Rouge.

Among the wide-ranging results — which you can read more about here and here — I observed two key takeaways that support two widely-held beliefs in law enforcement for which we had heretofore mostly anecdotal evidence.

The first is that following Ferguson, officers across the country began to disengage in proactive police work (a phenomena dubbed “de-policing”). This concept continues to be widely discussed, and up to now, the only real data to support the theory are spotty changes in police reports of citizen contacts and a decrease in the number of arrests in some select places.

The second is that many police officers feel that they are under attack. This notion also has been widely perceived to be true, but up to now there has been scant quantitative data to support this assertion.

With the completion of the LSU/PoliceOne survey of PoliceOne readers, we now have data that shows that our anecdotal observations seem to be accurate.

De-policing

Asked about their feelings during the post-Ferguson period (August 2014 to June 2016), a full 45 percent of officers said that their motivation at work decreased. Further, nearly half of all respondents (47.29 percent) said that following Ferguson, the amount of stops they made (traffic and pedestrian) decreased. More than half of respondents (51 percent) said that their enjoyment at work decreased during that same time period.

In addition, in the aftermath of the fatal OIS on West Florissant Street, 39.80 percent of officers said that their apprehensiveness about using force increased. This is a surprising result, given the fact that 95 percent reported confidence in determining appropriate use of force, and 89 percent said they had confidence in UOF training.

Further, when queried about whether or not they are confident in their “ability to determine the appropriate decision in a shoot/don't shoot situation” 30 percent said they agree, and 65 percent said they strongly agree. That’s a full 95 percent of officers polled who are confident that they will make the right decision when faced with a deadly threat scenario, and yet, a large number also say they have pulled back from proactive police work.

These are eye-opening responses. And frankly, it’s a little concerning.

Several years ago I began writing about the notion of de-policing and deadly hesitation and have followed up on the topic on several occasions (see here and here and here).

That reportage was admittedly based on anecdotal evidence readily available at the time. It was based on conversations held with a relatively small, but well-informed, universe of law enforcement professionals. It was based on conclusions derived from those discussions.

According to the data derived from the LSU study, it was also accurate.

Based on the raw data from the LSU study, the trend of de-policing is real, and officers and police leaders alike need to figure out how to deal with it.

Under attack

Following the August 2014 fatal OIS of Michael Brown in Ferguson, 59 percent of officers responding to the LSU/PoliceOne survey said that their feelings of safety on the job decreased. Following the ambush attacks in Dallas and Baton Rouge in July of 2016, 67 percent of officers said they felt less safe on the job.

Think about that for a moment: two thirds of police officers polled said that they felt less safe simply performing their job after the ambush attacks that left five officers in Dallas dead and three Baton Rouge police officers slain (with many others in those cities wounded).

Following those ambush attacks, 41 percent of officers responding to the survey said that their feeling that most people don’t respect the police increased. When asked if citizens would be more apt to obstruct the police than to cooperate with them, 36 percent of respondents said their agreement with that statement became even stronger.

The LSU study focuses on officers’ opinions following the ambush attacks in Dallas and Baton Rouge, but according to preliminary data supplied to PoliceOne by NLEOMF, police officers have also been shot and killed in ambush attacks in Salt Lake City (Utah), Danville (Ohio), Bel Air (Maryland), Prince William (Virginia), Landover (Maryland), and Richmond (Virginia) in 2016 alone.

Indeed, according to the NLEOMF, the number of officers shot and killed in ambush attacks in 2016 was 20 — the highest total since 1995. The NLEOMF also reported that 44 officers were killed in fatal ambush shootings since 2014.

Not all ambush attacks are fatal. About 15 hours after the attack in Baton Rouge, two Sheboygan (Wisconsin) Police Department officers thwarted an ambush attempt during a robbery in progress call. In September 2016, University of Pennsylvania Police Officer Eddie Miller and Philadelphia Police Sergeant Sylvia Young survived a shooting rampage. Last October, two Boston police officers who were responding to a report of a domestic disturbance were wounded in an ambush attack. There were numerous others — too many to list here.

It’s clear that these ambushes are having a major impact on officers — and a large number of officers responding to the LSU poll feel unsafe and under attack. Everyone in the profession needs to account and accommodate for this paradigm shift. Cops cannot conduct their daily duties effectively if they are feeling fear on the job.

Conclusion

In the past two or three years, we have perceived precipitous decline in morale among many police officers. As a consequence, the dominant focus of the 2017 LSU/PoliceOne survey was about officer morale.

The bad news is that in collecting the opinions of more than 3,300 police officers, we confirmed some of our assumptions that the profession is suffering — that these incidents impact officers’ motivation to work and feeling of safety.

The good news is that there remains a strong core of officers who counter that opinion, saying that after the OIS in Ferguson and the numerous attacks on officers, they continued about their business, trying to not let those events affect their work.

I’m hopeful that this latter group of cops can positively influence the former, and that the proud profession of policing regains what confidence has been lost in recent years. They chose not to rely on self-destructive behaviors to deal with recent events, but found solace in family and fellow officers.

I’m hopeful also that the overwhelming majority of American citizens who respect and admire their police become more vocal in their support, somehow finding a way to drown out any anti-police sentiment which is pervading our public discourse and hurts officer morale.

With the data in hand from the LSU survey of PoliceOne members, perhaps we can affect these ends.

Regardless of what feelings officers express regarding the morale issues examined in the PoliceOne/LSU survey, we hope that the findings begin discussions that move us toward a more positive period for American police in the future.

In terms of possible solutions to these two problems, we need to at least open the conversation about what can be done. When faced with feelings that the public doesn’t respect or support the police, officers can find on PoliceOne and other websites a number of positive stories of citizens committing random acts of kindness. With a perception that attacks on officers are increasing, agencies may want to consider the officer safety benefits of patrolling in pairs, and officers on the street should do their best to back up their fellow officers on as many calls as possible.

Offer your own suggestions in the comments area below. Let’s get this conversation started.


Categories: Latest News

'Policing Post-Ferguson' survey: Opinions differ across race, rank, and gender

PoliceOne - Thu, 04/13/2017 - 12:13

Author: Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Editor at Large

PoliceOne partnered with researchers at Louisiana State University to issue a survey of PoliceOne members entitled Policing in a Post-Ferguson Society. The survey was conducted between January 10 and January 22, 2017, garnering a total of 3,346 responses from verified sworn law enforcement professionals across all ranks and department sizes. Among the respondents, 54 percent were line officers and 46 percent were supervisors. Interestingly, two thirds of respondents work in patrol whereas 32 percent have other assignments. The average age of respondents was 45 years old.

The survey, which was reflective of the prevailing opinions of a sample size of American LEOs represented by PoliceOne members, was aimed at discovering police officers’ opinions about their jobs following three seminal events. Officers were asked a variety of questions about how they felt about their job satisfaction, confidence in use of force and a host of other topics following the Michael Brown OIS in Ferguson, and the ambush attacks on police in Dallas and Baton Rouge.

The survey revealed that, following Ferguson, job satisfaction fell precipitously across all demographics, with 45 percent of respondents saying that their motivation to work decreased. Nearly half of respondents (47 percent) said that the number of stops they made (pedestrian and traffic) decreased during the period following Ferguson. A full 51 percent said that their enjoyment at work decreased, and during that time period, a full 59 percent of all respondents said that their feeling of safety decreased.

Following the ambush attacks that left five officers in Dallas dead and three Baton Rouge police officers slain (with many others in those cities wounded), that feeling of safety worsened significantly, with 67 percent saying that they felt less safe after those dreadful attacks. Following those incidents, 41 percent of all respondents said that their feeling that the police-public relationship is not very good increased.

Disparities between officers

The survey revealed distinct differences in responses from a variety of demographic groups, notably supervisors versus non-supervisors, female and male officers, as well as officers of different races. PoliceOne recently connected with Jose Torres, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Louisiana State University and lead researcher on the survey, to discuss his interpretation of the initial findings.

“The majority of the sample was very apprehensive about using force during this time period and also very fearful of losing their jobs,” Professor Torres told PoliceOne. “Specifically in regards to how the samples felt on certain items following Ferguson, there were some noteworthy increases in terms of apprehension of using force and stopping minorities. And there were also some noteworthy decreases in feelings of safety as well. And then overall, cynicism toward the public also increased following Ferguson.”

Torres said that non-supervisors — line-level officers — tended to be a bit more cynical toward the public in comparison to supervisors. Officers were more inclined than supervisors to feel that citizens are more apt to obstruct than cooperate and have feelings that police-public relations are not very good.

“Non-supervisors were also much more fearful of using force, which is not surprising considering they’re put in more of those situations where it’s needed,” Torres said. “They’re also much more fearful of losing their job in comparison to supervisors. And this is regardless of the time period — whether it was following Ferguson or following the events in Dallas.”

Apprehensiveness in using force and apprehensiveness in stopping minorities increased with non-supervisors following Ferguson and Dallas in comparison to supervisors.

“Supervisors were much more confident in the training that they’ve received and how that training allows them to determine the appropriate amount of force,” Torres said. “In comparison to non-supervisors, supervisors were much more confident with their ability to judge the appropriate amount of force. It might be something where you’re much more confident in your ability to use force if you’re not in those situations as much anymore. Whereas patrol officers on the street — who are making those contacts with citizens regularly — have a little less confidence in their ability to make that appropriate determination of force because they are more often put in those situations than supervisors.”

Torres went on to say that supervisors should try to reassure those guys on the street, because it looks as though one of the main problems revealed in the survey is officers’ fear about using force and fear of losing the job.

“That’s something where the brass — or the supervisors — can step in and try to put some more confidence in their guys to continue to do their job with the support of rank personnel,” Torres said.

Similarities between officers

Not all questions revealed differences between line-level officers and their supervisors. Interestingly, supervisors and non-supervisors had a very similar view on the types of duties police should be engaged in on the street. For example, a full 91 percent of all respondents said they are willing to work with minority communities to build trust. Furthermore, a full 92 percent of respondents agree that cops should make frequent informal contacts with people, and 91 percent feel that cops should perform duties that build trust with the community.

Another area where supervisors and non-supervisors had similar responses was in the area of how they responded to the events in Dallas and Baton Rouge. Only a tiny fraction of all respondents sought professional assistance, with most simply speaking with either a family member or a fellow officer about their feelings in the aftermath of those attacks.

This, however, was where one of the more interesting differences between male and female officers was evident.

Gender differences between officers

“Women were more likely to seek professional help and more likely to talk to others about how they were feeling,” Torres said. “Men were more likely to deal with these events by what we can call a detachment style coping, basically attempting to let go of the events on your own, not seeking as much formal or informal help.”

Female officers surveyed were more inclined to want to quit the profession following the events in Dallas and Baton Rouge than they were following Ferguson. What this implies is that — at least for female LEOs included in the survey sample — that high-profile line of duty deaths have more of an impact on whether they want to stay in the profession than high-profile incidents involving police use of force.

“Stepping back, what does that mean?” Torres rhetorically asked. “It could suggest that departments should devote additional resources to try and keep females following high-profile line of duty deaths since it appears as though this could be an issue where females would be pushed to leave departments. Given the dilemma plaguing departments about hiring and retaining females, this might be something they may need to address so that the issue of increasing the presence of women in law enforcement is not worsened.”

Torres said another thing that departments may want to consider is devoting additional resources to allow their personnel — specifically men — to deal with these kind of events in a more positive manner to prevent them from having to deal with these events entirely on their own.

Racial differences between officers

There were also some significant differences in responses from officers of different racial backgrounds.

“Black officers in the sample were much more likely to feel safe in comparison to other racial and ethnic groups in the sample and that’s regardless of what time period we looked at — whether it was immediately following Ferguson or immediately following the events in Dallas,” Torres said. “They also appear to have a bit more satisfaction with the job currently and again that’s even after specifically following Ferguson or specifically following Dallas. They have much less fear of losing their jobs in comparison to other groups. They’re less likely to support stop and frisk strategies than other groups and I’d say, overall, they’re more likely to support community policing strategies.”

Torres said that white officers are much more apprehensive about using force than any other group. Black officers were very confident of their ability to go hands on in the scenario question that was asked in comparison to the other groups. That scenario suggested that on an officer’s next shift, they confront a hostile citizen that needs to be taken into custody. This person is a male who is six feet tall and weighs 200 pounds. The subject shows no signs of having a weapon. “How confident are you in your ability to use only your hands to physically get them into custody by yourself without the use of OC/pepper spray, baton, or TASER?"

“One thing to take from this is more support for the hiring of minority officers — specifically black officers since they were considerably less apprehensive about stopping minorities,” Torres said. “Given the current state of police-minority relations, being apprehensive about stopping minorities needs to be reduced since apprehensiveness could potentially increase negative police-citizen encounters.”

Conclusion

“Part of why I wanted to do this was because sometimes we can use science to do some good," Torres said. “With this study, one of my goals was to give a voice to law enforcement out there to speak their minds on what happened in Ferguson and how it impacted them. Studies like this can sometimes help tease out certain problems that we can’t see — identify certain problems that we didn’t know about before — and we can go from there to determine the next step in trying to address those issues. For example, the questions about how law enforcement was coping with the events in Dallas and Baton Rouge, that was one more specifically I was interested in because one of the things that doesn’t get addressed much within law enforcement is mental health. Asking law enforcement questions about how they’re dealing with the things that they encounter on the street is particularly important because it is a profession that is going to come with an increased exposure to critical incidents.”

Torres pointed out that some of the solutions to the issues found in the survey don’t need to be tailored to specific groups based on race, gender, or rank, and could simply be addressed to all personnel.

For instance, peer-support programs following major events are offered universally and not tailored to any one demographic.

Another issue that should be viewed and addressed as a universal problem affecting all officers is fear of job loss when having to use force. Such fear could result in the failure to act in a use-of-force situation and thus can put fearful officers at risk. Torres said that departments may need to review their use-of-force policies and the disciplinary process with their personnel so everyone is on the same page as to how their department would handle use-of-force complaints, which may reduce some of these fears.


Categories: Latest News

P1 Research: Cops fear using force despite confidence in training

PoliceOne - Thu, 04/13/2017 - 12:13

Author: Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Editor at Large

By John Bostain

Police use of force is in the national spotlight. News outlets like CNN have hosted town hall forums, social media is regularly flooded with stories about police conduct and the candidates in the last presidential election cycle frequently brought up the topic. The question is, has the intense national focus caused officers to fear using force?

A recent Pew Research Study found that 76 percent of the officers surveyed are more reluctant to use force, even when it’s appropriate. Now, a survey administered by PoliceOne entitled “Policing in a Post-Ferguson Society” is finding similar results.

The survey, a joint project between PoliceOne and Louisiana State University, examined officers’ opinions related to policing in the post-Ferguson era (August 2014-June 2016) as well as their feelings since the ambush attacks in Dallas and Baton Rouge (July 2016-present). More than 3,000 sworn law enforcement officers responded, providing valuable insight into the attitudes of officers in the field.

While the sample size is not representative of the 900,000 law enforcement officials in the U.S., the opinions reflected in the survey are consentient with what I hear as I teach around North America. Approximately 53 percent of the officers surveyed indicated they are apprehensive about using force, even though it may be necessary, and 40 percent indicated that apprehensiveness increased after the events in Ferguson.

Further, nearly 50 percent of the officers indicated the amount of stops they made (traffic and pedestrian) decreased in the period after Ferguson. When it comes to their own safety, 59 percent of the officers surveyed indicated their feeling of safety decreased after Ferguson, and that number jumps to 67 percent since the Dallas and Baton Rouge attacks.

Officer reluctance

Interestingly, 95 percent of the officers indicated they are confident in their ability to use force and believe they have received proper training, so the reluctance to use force is being caused by other factors. In short, many officers appear to be more reluctant to use force when appropriate, which may have negative implications for officer safety.

The notion that officers may be more reluctant to use force now versus prior to Ferguson may be welcome news to the general public and special interest groups. Activist groups, research foundations and even some police executives have been calling for officers to show more restraint during dangerous situations. The Los Angeles Police Department’s Preservation of Life award is just one example of this.

Restraint examined

But how much restraint is too much? Research on the Restraint in the Use of Deadly Force conducted by the FBI found that 70 percent of officers have been confronted with a situation where they could have justifiably used deadly force, but did not. It appears officers already show great restraint in deadly situations. How much more is expected?

The problem with rewarding officers for showing “great restraint” is that it evaluates the quality of the outcome, not necessarily the quality of the decision. Just because the outcome was good, doesn’t mean the decision making was good.

For example, a person decides to go out to a bar and get drunk. Rather than call for a cab, they decide to take their chances and drive home. The following morning, they wake to find their car in the driveway, undamaged and nobody got hurt. That’s a pretty good outcome, right? The person saved money, didn’t hurt anyone and didn’t damage their vehicle. That’s a good outcome. But, is anyone going to claim the decision to drive drunk was a good one? Of course not. It’s the same when rewarding officers on the outcome of an encounter and not whether they made quality decisions.

Overcoming apprehension

Is there a way to overcome the apprehensiveness that many officers say they are feeling about using force? While these surveys have provided insight into how officers are feeling, the cause of those feelings is still open to interpretation. Until there is more research on the topic, our police officers would be well served by training focused on enhancing use of force decision making. One of the most important things we can do is slow down, when feasible.

It’s time to address the culture of speed that exists in the law enforcement profession. Anyone who takes a wide scale, objective look at law enforcement training programs will see that there is an element of speed ingrained in much of what is taught. For example, consider how recruit officers are taught to respond to an open door alarm activation. In almost every academy in the country it’s taught the same way. Arrive on scene, call for back-up, set a perimeter and call for a K-9 if available. They are further instructed that in these situations, time is on their side, so there is no need to rush.

However, as Harold D. Stolovitch says, “Telling ain’t training.” When officers are given a chance to practice responding to an open door alarm activation in a scenario, they attempt to follow what they were told in the classroom. They call for back-up, to which the instructor promptly replies “back-up isn’t available.” The recruit then asks for a K-9, much to the chagrin of the instructor, who replies “You know we don’t have a dog out here! “

What the instructor really wants the young recruit to do is get into the building, clear it and debrief. Why? Is it because that’s what they were taught? No. It’s because they have several other groups of students to get through the scenario before the instructor can go home. This is an unintended consequence of well-intentioned training, and it isn’t malicious on the instructor’s part. This is just the way we’ve always done it. So the culture of speed starts in the academy and grows from there.

There are many other examples of how we are priming officers towards a culture of speed in training. For example, in driver’s training, you are allowed to hit a certain number of cones as long as you do it under a certain time limit (you can hit stuff, as long as you do it fast enough). Another example is scenario-based training that ends as soon as shots are fired or a takedown is complete, without allowing it to progress to a natural conclusion.

With increased speed often comes decreased quality of decisions. That’s why officers need to be primed to slow down when feasible. Slowing down isn’t the same as going slow. I prefer the approach of John Wooden, who taught his players to “be quick, but don’t hurry.” To hurry is to be chaotic and out of control, but quick is fast, while also being deliberate and purposeful. That's where good decisions come from.

Improving decision making

What we know from reviewing the emerging research is that officers appear to be more reluctant to use force, and some agencies are compounding that problem by implementing policies to ensure restraint by their officers. The community and the police officers themselves would be safer with a focus on improved decision making, not a focus on how to avoid using force. One step toward that goal is to slow things down and be quick, but not in a hurry. Is it the solution to solve all of our problems? No, but it’s a start.

About the Author John Bostain is the Co-owner and lead instructor for Command Presence Training Associates. He is a former Hampton Police Officer, serving in patrol, narcotics, and the academy. He then served as a Senior Instructor for Defensive Tactics, Use of Force, and Patrol Operations for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) for 13 years. John was also the 2012 ILEETA Trainer of the Year and can be reached at jbostain@commandpresence.net


Categories: Latest News

2017 'Policing Post-Ferguson' survey complete results

PoliceOne - Thu, 04/13/2017 - 12:13

Author: Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Editor at Large

By PoliceOne Staff

In collaboration with Louisiana State University, PoliceOne issued a survey that explored officers’ views related to policing in the Post-Ferguson era (August 2014-June 2016) and their feelings since the ambush attacks in Dallas and Baton Rouge (July 2016-present). This survey resulted in 3,346 responses on topics ranging from use of force to law enforcement career satisfaction.

For expanded analysis of the survey findings, visit our special coverage page. To view complete survey results, view the embedded document below or download the embedded survey findings here.

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Categories: Latest News

Infographic: How are cops policing post-Ferguson?

PoliceOne - Thu, 04/13/2017 - 12:13

Author: Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Editor at Large

By PoliceOne Staff

PoliceOne and LSU’s 2017 "Policing in a Post-Ferguson Society" survey asked 3,346 sworn law enforcement professionals across all ranks and department sizes about the impact of major events like Ferguson and Dallas on their happiness and overall performance as law enforcers. P1’s full coverage of the results can be found here.

This infographic highlights some of the key findings in three critical areas: use of force, community relations and the mental health impact of such events. Click the shortened preview image below to download the entire infographic.

View the full PDF infographic


Categories: Latest News

Exclusive: PoliceOne and LSU's survey of how Ferguson, Dallas have impacted cops

PoliceOne - Thu, 04/13/2017 - 12:13

Author: Heather R. Cotter, PoliceOne Senior Editor

In collaboration with Louisiana State University, PoliceOne issued a survey that explored officers’ views related to policing in the post-Ferguson era (August 2014-June 2016) and their feelings since the ambush attacks in Dallas and Baton Rouge (July 2016-present). This survey resulted in over 3,346 responses on topics ranging from use of force to career satisfaction.

In our special coverage series, “Major Event Impact: How Ferguson and Dallas Changed Police Psychology”, PoliceOne is publishing several items as a result of the survey findings.

1. Data Summary

The data summary provides an overview of the data and responses collected. You’ll quickly see that the 54 percent of the respondents are line officers and 46 percent are supervisors. The information contained in the data summary is incredibly valuable to all department leaders and can be used to inform policy, procedure and training.

2. Infographic

The infographic is a visual aid that highlights key findings from some of the main themes of the survey, including use of force, community relations and how critical incidents like Ferguson and Dallas impact officers’ mental health.

3. Expert analysis

PoliceOne Contributor John Bostain looks into the issues revealed by the survey about police use of force, including officer reluctance, restraint and fear on the job. Bostain emphasizes that police officers will be safer by focusing on improved decision making and not on how to avoid using force. PoliceOne Editor-at-Large Doug Wyllie interviewed the LSU researchers about their interpretation of the survey findings, including the differences in opinion among supervisors and officers, female and male cops, as well as officers of different races. Wyllie also examines how the raw data appears to confirm the issue of de-policing and the general sentiment among cops that they are under attack.

High-profile events like Ferguson, Dallas and Baton Rouge are bound to impact officers in one way or another. It is incumbent on us to directly acknowledge and address these issues so we can move forward, and safeguard our officers and the communities they continue to nobly serve. All law enforcement officials should use these findings as a tool and discuss them among the command staff and line officers within their departments.

While continued research on the key issues — use of force, career satisfaction/morale and mental health — is needed, these findings provide a good baseline for the law enforcement profession to make informed and evidence-based decisions on policy, procedure and training.


Categories: Latest News

Cop paralyzed on duty fights for benefits

PoliceOne - Thu, 04/13/2017 - 11:45

Author: Heather R. Cotter, PoliceOne Senior Editor

By PoliceOne Staff

JERSEY CITY, N.J. — An officer who was paralyzed after injuring her spinal cord while responding to an emergency call is fighting to receive benefits to aid her recovery.

Officer Cora Kerton fell while responding to reports of an unconscious man in 2015, PIX 11 reported. The fall left her paralyzed from the waist down.

Kerton is fighting to gain benefits for full-time care and a new wheelchair, but says she’s not receiving what she’s earned from her 17 years of law enforcement service.

"I am so angry,” she said. “I am just asking for the care I earned and deserve.”

Kerton said she struggles to obtain her medication, medical supplies, and transportation to the doctor.

The city said they don’t “comment on personnel matters and litigation.”

Vin Disbrow, vice president of the Jersey City Police Officers Benevolent Association, said the union “will continue to represent [Kerton] fully, and do all that we can to insure she is afforded the benefits of a hero she earned through her service protecting the community.”

A GoFundMe has been set up to help Kerton with her needs.


Categories: Latest News

What is the role of religion and spirituality in policing?

PoliceOne - Thu, 04/13/2017 - 11:32

Author: Heather R. Cotter, PoliceOne Senior Editor

By Ed Kelley, Executive Pastor of Bay Area Community Church, Chaplain for INLETS

A typical table has four legs. We have all experienced a table that is out of balance, where one leg is “off” and the silly table unsteadily rocks back and forth. I like to think of life like the four legs of a table, each representing the four key areas of our existence: physical, emotional (social), mental and spiritual.

A table needs equal strength from all four legs in order to handle any significant weight placed upon it. If one leg is weak, the table can come crashing down. Life is the same way: The human life needs physical, emotional, mental and spiritual balance so when life’s stresses land in our life—as they always do—we can handle it.

Stress can feel really heavy; law enforcement, as a profession, is extremely stressful. Officers can experience stress from all sorts of sources: responding to calls for service; leadership within the department; society’s expectations; spouses and family members; finances; or even from within, as officers tend to hold their actions and behaviors to very high standards.

Officers often feel they are under constant stress, and this weight can accumulate over time. High levels of stress can also come from a single event, whether it’s responding to a car accident or being involved in a use-of-force incident. Unfortunately, many officers take the stress they experience from their job back to their home lives, which can cause even more turmoil.

I have worked with law enforcement for 30 years. I have counseled officers whose out-of-balance work lives ended up crashing their personal worlds. Quite often, officers crash when their lives are out of balance over an extended period of time. Whether it’s the emotional (social) or mental sides of life that are weak—or if they are ignoring the spiritual aspect—out-of-balance lives create risk. After all, a three-legged table is not very good at handling weight that is thrown on it.

As a Christian pastor, I help officers deal with the emotional and spiritual aspects of their lives. I have found that many officers ignore spirituality. That worries me because I know how valuable faith, be it Christian or otherwise, can be for helping the average person get through life’s stresses, so it’s even more important to officers who experience much greater levels of stress.

Part of the reason officers do not address the spiritual side of life can be attributed to their inconsistent and downright crazy work schedules. Many officers work night shifts, weekends, and are on call, so attending religious services or maintaining relationships at a house of worship can be difficult to manage.

Another reason officers often neglect the spiritual side of life is that they have seen so many bad things. Officers deal with the lowest of the low in society and they’ve also seen horrific things, from gruesome crimes to tragic accidents. This can harden a person’s outlook towards people and life in general. However, this is even more of a reason why officers need to find some element of spirituality in their lives. Spirituality helps people gain perspective on their life’s events and can help bring balance, perspective, and even gratitude for what they have. Finding spirituality also drives many people into a service task such as participating in missions and local charities to help them give back and contribute in a different, and often therapeutic, way.

Throughout my 35 years as a pastor, I have found that almost all the officers who share with me their frustrations, challenges and pain are able to find some sort of solace when they focus on their spiritual life.

Officers come to me with all different backgrounds and experiences in spirituality. Those who start with no spiritual foundation and spend some time investigating faith are usually drawn out of the malaise of their daily life. Officers who have a moderate understanding and practice of faith normally just need to be reminded of what is really important in the grand scheme of life and are able to renew their focus on the spiritual leg of their table. For those who are strong in faith, reiterating together what is true in divinity usually helps strengthen their life’s spiritual journey even further.

My message to every officer I work with, regardless of their faith, is that stress is a killer. It destroys lives and can cause incredible damage to a person’s well-being. Officers need to find ways to cope with and address their stress, so it doesn’t eat them from the inside out. My job is to help people think through what is right, and what is important in life, so that stress doesn’t get a hold of one of their “legs.” For me, as someone who has a Christian worldview, I believe that stress can be lessened when one understands his or her purpose in life. When officers take the time to ensure that the legs of their own table are in balance, they are much better equipped to handle the weight of life.

About the Author: Ed Kelley has been a pastor for 35 years and is currently working as the Executive Pastor of the Bay Area Community Church in Annapolis, Maryland. As part of his ministry, he has been working with law enforcement officers for the last 30 years and is the Chaplain for the last three years with INLETS. If you have questions about life, “legs,” or the Christian worldview, feel free to contact him at Ed.Kelley@bayareacc.org.


Categories: Latest News

Pushing 'strong pensions,' San Antonio recruits Dallas officers

PoliceOne - Thu, 04/13/2017 - 11:04
Author: Heather R. Cotter, PoliceOne Senior Editor

By PoliceOne Staff

SAN ANTONIO — Armed with a strong pension plan and signing bonuses for veteran officers, the San Antonio Police Department is targeting Dallas cops as their new recruits.

Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata told Fox 4 News that he believes between 20 and 30 Dallas officers will join the San Antonio department after attending the recruiting event in Dallas that took place on Monday and Tuesday.

Dallas has struggled retaining officers and recruiting new ones as the pension system heads toward insolvency. According to the Dallas Morning News, the combination of unsustainable benefits and overvalued, underperforming investments have put the police and fire pensions on track to collapse in 10 years. The department is currently lacking 400 officers.

San Antonio PD says the pension is 90 percent funded, and they’re promising recruits a $7,500 signing bonus for eligible officers and a housing credit for those who buy a home within the city limits, Fox 4 reported.

San Antonio Lt. Steven Trujilio said the department is “simply being aggressive trying to hire the best.”

“They are qualified and they are experienced,” Trujillo said. “Those are some of the things that the city of San Antonio Police Department is looking for.”

Mata said the Dallas officers looking into other options are “looking out for what’s best for them and their future.”

“I don’t think anybody can look bad at them for that.”


Categories: Latest News

Ala. Senate votes to allow church to form police department

PoliceOne - Wed, 04/12/2017 - 12:28

Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Alabama Senate has voted to allow a church to form its own police force.

Lawmakers on Tuesday voted 24-4 to allow Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham to establish a law enforcement department.

The church says it needs its own police officers to keep its school as well as its more than 4,000 person congregation safe.

Critics of the bill argue that a police department that reports to church officials could be used to cover up crimes.

The state has given a few private universities the authority to have a police force, but never a church or non-school entity.

Police experts have said such a police department would be unprecedented in the U.S.

A similar bill is also scheduled to be debated in the House on Tuesday.


Categories: Latest News

United CEO: Airline won’t use police to remove overbooked passengers

PoliceOne - Wed, 04/12/2017 - 12:26

By PoliceOne Staff

CHICAGO — The United Airlines CEO said that the company will no longer use airport authorities or local police to remove overbooked passengers from flights after video of an aviation security officer dragging a man off a plane went viral.

Oscar Munoz told ABC News Wednesday that the passenger, Dr. David Dao, was not at fault and the incident occurred due to a “system failure” that resulted in a “lack of common sense.”

"We're not going to put a law enforcement official... to remove a booked, paid, seated passenger," Munoz said. "We can't do that."

Airline officials told ABC that they offered passengers at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport up to $800 to volunteer their seats for four crew members who needed to board. When no one volunteered, the computer generated four passengers’ names. Dao, 69, was the only one who refused due to his need to see hospital patients.

“The doctor needed to work at the hospital the next day,” witness Jayse Anspach tweeted. “So he refused to ‘volunteer.’”

Dao can be seen in the video being dragged out of the plane with blood running down his face. His lawyers said he is recovering in a local hospital from his injuries.

In an email to employees on Tuesday, Munoz said Dao was “disruptive and belligerent” before he was removed by officers. Later he said the company is investigating and he “deeply apologize[s] to the customer forcibly removed and to all customers on board. No one should ever be mistreated this way.”

“I want you to know that we take full responsibility and we will work to make it right,” he continued.

The security officer involved has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the investigation. The Chicago Department of Aviation told ABC that the officer’s action were “not in keeping with the standard operating procedure.”


Categories: Latest News

Colo. cop seriously injured after suspect stomps her face

PoliceOne - Wed, 04/12/2017 - 09:56

By PoliceOne Staff

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — An officer is recovering and a suspect is in custody after an assault Monday night.

Owners of Specialty Sports & Supply told KKTV they called police after Rickie Darrington, 42, walked into the store and demanded guns and ammo. When employees refused, he allegedly told them he was going to retrieve his personal gun and return to the store.

The owner said Darrington repeatedly attacked the female officer who responded to the scene and stomped on her face. She was transported to a local hospital where she was treated for hand and face injuries and released.

Photo of Rickie Darrington DOB 12/20/1974 charged with 2 counts 2nd Degree Assault on Peace Officer (photo from 11/16/16) No current photo pic.twitter.com/Y0bjJR72QZ

— Springs Police (@CSPDPIO) April 11, 2017

An anonymous witness told the news station he attempted to stop her bleeding with his sweater after the attack.

"It really happened so fast that he hit her like 10 times and kicked her at least twice that I saw," he said. "I was shaking. He hit her hard, and the way he sucker punched her, I mean it was like he was trying to do more than hurt her."

Darrington is facing two counts of second-degree on a peace officer.

An investigation is ongoing.


Categories: Latest News

Search continues for suspects who shot Ohio cop

PoliceOne - Wed, 04/12/2017 - 07:45

ByJon Baker and Nancy Molna The Times-Reporter

NEWCOMERSTOWN, Ohio — Two armed men are being sought in connection with the shooting of a Newcomerstown police officer on Tuesday morning.

The Ohio Attorney General's Office reported that one suspect was wearing a vest, and that they are armed with a shotgun and hand guns.

Patrolman Bryan J. Eubanks, 37, was taken to Southeastern Ohio Regional Medical Center in Cambridge for treatment of a wound to his right forearm, according to Police Chief Gary Holland. He said the single bullet that went through Eubanks' arm caused a clean wound without serious damage.

"That's a relief," Holland said.

Eubanks has been with the department 14 years.

He was shot after he stopped a black Geo Tracker at 10:08 a.m. on the south end of the S. River Street bridge over the Tuscarawas River. The shooting took place in Oxford Township.

"Upon approaching the vehicle, a white male passenger opened fire on the officer, shooting at him twice, striking him once in the arm," Holland said. "The officer sustained non-life threatening injuries and is expected to make a full recovery. He was transported to the hospital by (Newcomerstown Emergency Rescue Service, Inc.) and has since been released."

Sheriff Orvis Campbell said the Tracker is believed to have two doors with a rear-tinted window.

One of the suspects was described as a skinny, white male with tattoos on his face. Information was not available, however, if that individual was the driver or the passenger. He and the other suspect were reported to have been in a black Geo Tracker with blacked-out windows. The vehicle has a hard shell on the back, tinted windows, black rims, wide tires and no license plates.

Both occupants in the Geo Tracker fled the scene. The passenger was wearing a lime green shirt and some type of vest. The driver was described as a white male wearing a red shirt.

Holland released the following additional information to reporters Tuesday afternoon:

- The passenger in the vehicle fired two shots at Eubanks. The passenger reached behind the driver's seat to get the weapon used;

- The reason for the traffic stop was that the vehicle had no license plates;

- Police are working on a list of Geo Trackers in the area to look for matches with the suspect vehicle;

- A witness who saw the shooting has some idea what happened.

Information is being gathered at this time, and the suspects' current whereabouts are unknown. The public is advised that they should be considered armed and dangerous.

In a press release, Holland advised the public not to try to apprehend the suspects themselves, but to contact local law enforcement.

"We have numerous agencies assisting us with this on-going investigation (including) Tuscarawas County Sheriff Office, Coshocton County Sheriff Office, Guernsey County Sheriff Office and the Ohio State Highway Patrol," the chief said.

"We've been looking all over because we're not sure of where or what," Holland said. "At this point in time, we're still in a search for a Geo Tracker.

There are still two suspects out there somewhere."

Holland was investigating the scene of the shooting with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation on Tuesday afternoon. BCI agents used a three-dimensional scanner to take 360-degree photos of the crime scene.

Holland said a person of interest, a 28-year-old former Newcomerstown man, was questioned, released and is not considered a suspect.

Campbell said the incident is being investigated jointly by the Tuscarawas County Sheriff's Office and the Newcomerstown Police.

He said law enforcement conducted searches of house and roads in Tuscarawas, Guernsey and Coshocton counties. "This is a multi-county agency investigation," he said.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact the Newcomerstown Police Department at 740-498-6161.

The Daily Jeffersonian contributed to this report.

Update from the Newcomerstown Police chief. No suspects in custody. Person of interest cleared. Cop released from hospital. Shot thru arm.

— Ben Garbarek (@BenWSYX6) April 11, 2017

———

©2017 The Times-Reporter, New Philadelphia, Ohio


Categories: Latest News

Condom-clogged pipe leads police to Texas prostitution ring

PoliceOne - Wed, 04/12/2017 - 07:05

Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas — Police say they cracked an Austin prostitution ring they were led to by a drainage pipe clogged with condoms.

A police affidavit filed Tuesday said investigators learned that a massage parlor was operating in a shopping strip in northwestern Austin after the realty company that had just taken control of the property. The company grew suspicious of the activities of a tenant when they found hundreds of condoms clogging a waste disposal unit connecting the strip to the city sewer system.

Police say they found a massage parlor operating in the strip where female workers offered sexual services for pay. A woman and her husband have been arrested and charged with organized criminal activity and money laundering.


Categories: Latest News

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