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Putting experience to work: The value of a formal mentoring program

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 11:38

By Leischen Stelter, editor of In Public Safety

Law enforcement agencies around the country have gotten smarter about who they hire and how they nurture individuals throughout their careers. One tool that has been proven to meet both goals is the development of formal mentoring programs for officers. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) has dedicated considerable resources to its mentoring program and its efforts are paying off.

“Our goal is to hire good quality candidates in the beginning and take care of them throughout their careers,” said Aaron Snyder, sergeant in IMPD’s Office of Professional Development and Police Wellness (OPDW). “The development and mentoring program and the college partnership program have all been put together to help retain officers throughout their careers and develop a strong department.”

Developing a Mentoring Program

In 2010, Snyder was instrumental in developing and implementing IMPD’s MyLegacy© Mentoring Program. The program matches successful veteran police officers with young officers and veteran officers who are struggling.

The mentoring program isn’t just about saving money by hiring highly qualified and well-adjusted officers. It’s also about taking care of one another.

“In recent years, we had several officer suicides and those really hit the department hard,” said Snyder, a 15-year veteran with the IMPD. “We also had officers struggling from PTSD symptoms after being involved with shootings, officers having issues after returning from the military, and officers who had alcohol issues. It wasn’t just one incident that motivated us to start the mentoring program. There were enough issues that our leadership determined it was time to start taking better care of each other so that’s what we did.”

Officers who are involved in shootings are enrolled in the program. It is also open to those who request it.

The position of mentor is voluntary but the department seeks successful veteran officers who display enthusiasm and passion for law enforcement. Mentors receive three days of formal training, which includes two days of classroom instruction and one day of team-building and individual awareness training. The agency uses personality profile tests to determine primary and secondary personality types for both mentors and mentees and find suitable matches.

The Benefits of Mentoring Young Officers

One of the initial goals of the program was to support young officers entering the force to help them transition from civilian life to law enforcement. “It’s a huge cultural shift for individuals as they move into law enforcement,” said Snyder, and new officers can benefit greatly from having guidance from experienced officers. The program has been so successful that it now starts at the training academy and pairs mentors with recruits.

“When we identify a strong candidate, we match them with a mentor to help them through the application process,” said Snyder. In addition, mentors also help communicate with a recruit’s family about what to expect when a family member is a police officer. “We’ve lost a few recruits whose family said I don’t want you doing this. If that happens and they’re already in the academy we’ve lost those dollars that could’ve been spent to train someone else.” The program is now on its third class of recruits.

Mentoring Officers in Distress

In addition to new officer transition, the program also matches veteran officers with veteran officers in distress. These mentors are trained to listen and offer council as a colleague and not as someone in a supervisory role. This approach gives officers the confidence to talk about their emotions and experiences without fear of having their competence questioned.

“When I first started I thought SWAT officers who were in high-risk situations all the time were going to be tough nuts to crack in terms of participation, but after meeting with a few of them, many said how they wished the program was in place years ago when they went through their first shooting,” said Snyder.

Here are some of the keys to the success of IMPD’s programs:

Build Trust Early

One of the most important elements of a mentoring program is confidentiality. “If officers don’t trust that they can talk openly to someone, then the program is dead,” said Snyder. Fortunately, IMPD’s program has not faced confidentiality concerns. “The department is very good about not asking details on officers,” he said. “The captain who spearheaded this was respected in our department by all officers so they knew this was a legitimate program from the beginning.”

Identify a Variety of Resources

The agency works closely with its employee assistance program (EAP), POST team, and the chaplain’s office. Case managers are assigned to mentees to ensure officers, especially those in distress, are properly assisted. In addition, the agency has built relationships with psychologists who specialize in PTSD and hospitals that specialize in stress management care and alcohol addiction issues.

Consider Generational Differences

Snyder has been surprised how well new officers have responded to the mentoring program. “Officers under the age of 30 are not apprehensive about talking to a counselor or mentor,” he said. “We’re finding the younger generation is very open to having mentors and they want a mentor to help them develop in their career.”

However, it often takes more work to convince veteran officers about the benefits of the program.

“There are a lot of veteran officers who believe they can take care of themselves and keep years of exposure to trauma and stress and anxiety to themselves,” said Snyder. It’s very important for mentoring programs to target veteran officers and help build their trust in the benefits of finding a healthy way to cope with the stress of law enforcement work.

Expand into Career Advancement

The IMPD’s program has started focusing more on career advice and advancement. “We find that when officers are injured and start thinking about civilian jobs, they don’t believe they have marketable skills,” said Snyder. Therefore, the mentoring program has expanded to focus on career and leadership development by offering a four-week leadership academy. It also allows them to take course credits that can apply to a formal degree. “We want to develop our officers from the very early stages of their career and help them think about higher education and their skillsets after law enforcement,” he said.

Include Military Officers

Several officers in the department approached Snyder and OPDW about mentoring officers in the military. The Deployed Services Unit is a group of military veterans trained as mentors who keep in contact with soldiers and their families throughout deployment. When a soldier returns, the mentor helps integrate him or her back to being a police officer. If signs of PTSD show up or an officer starts developing other issues, these experienced mentors are in place to assist.

The Results

IMPD has seen remarkable results from its efforts and the program has been effective at dealing with performance issues. “The first few years we saw a 40 percent decrease in discipline rates,” said Snyder. The program continues to grow in terms of its acceptance by officers. “As more officers participate and reap the benefits of IMPD’s program, the stronger the overall department will be,” he said.

Why It’s Time to Update Mentoring Programs

Law enforcement agencies have used various forms of mentoring programs for years, but many haven’t restructured their programs to address cultural changes and shifts in the background of those entering law enforcement.

“The field training officer (FTO) program many agencies utilize today emerged in the 1970s and the program was designed for the Vietnam War era male who came to the agency with military experience,” said Dr. Chuck Russo, program director of Criminal Justice at American Military University (AMU). “Today’s recruit is from a different generation and brings to the agency different life experiences, educational background, technology familiarization, and military exposure. One would wonder why it has taken law enforcement agencies so long to change the process that shapes the individual into a law enforcement officer.”

Mentoring programs must capitalize on the differences today’s recruits bring to law enforcement and provide a structured outlet and support system to assist new recruits, he said. “Such programs have the potential to allow recruits to remain ‘open’ throughout their careers in hopes that when critical incidents are encountered, the officers will utilize a well-established support system to aid in and facilitate a rapid ‘return to normal’ before psychological and physiological stressors manifest themselves as post-traumatic stress disorder,” said Russo.

Agency leaders must consider implementing or updating mentoring programs to foster a strong support network. Such programs can help increase the retention of new officers, help develop healthier officers, and improve agency morale. And, in the long run, such programs can save agencies money.

Categories: Latest News

8 deadly forms of fentanyl

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 10:37

Author: P1 Community

By PoliceOne Staff

Fentanyl was the subject of major scrutiny in the mid-2000s when it was linked to a slew of overdose deaths across the United States. Unfortunately, the crisis still continues today. The DEA reported a rise in fentanyl overdose deaths from 550 in 2013 to more than 2000 in 2014 and 2015.

The drug, which is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, is not detected in standard narcotic toxicology screens. It can also be hard to identify in the field, as fentanyl in its powder form is often cut with heroin and cocaine. For first responders, knowing the signs of a fentanyl overdose is imperative. As an opioid, fentanyl affects the part of the brain that controls breathing. Failure to recognize an overdose can lead to respiratory failure, respiratory arrest or death.

Five forms of fentanyl in medical applications
    Lozenge Oral tablet Oral spray IV Patch

All five forms of prescribed fentanyl are used illegally. Because the patch is known to contain large doses of fentanyl even after a three-day use, users can extract the drug and ingest it in other forms.

In medical applications, patients hold a tablet or lozenge under their tongue or in their cheek. The drug is then absorbed through the mucous membrane. Oral sprays are absorbed in the same manner. When using the patch, patients absorb the drug through their skin. Depending on whether the drug is absorbed through the skin, the mouth, or injected, the half-life of fentanyl varies.

Three forms of illegal fentanyl
    Spiked blotter paper Manufactured tablets Powder

Usually, abusers of the drug get fentanyl from illegal manufacturers. Often, heroin abusers seek out fentanyl as a substitute to alleviate the side effects of heroin withdrawal. Heroin or cocaine users may also take fentanyl without knowing, as heroin or cocaine manufacturers will substitute fentanyl powder to reduce costs and increase potency. Illegal manufacturers may also use the powder to create tablets that are meant to mimic other opioids.

On the street, fentanyl lozenges are often referred to as ‘lollipops.’ These fentanyl lollipops have been illegally obtained and are often found at the end of a small stick. Street names for fentanyl include Apache, China Girl, China White, Dance Fever, Friend, Goodfella, Jackpot, Murder 8, TNT, and Tango and Cash.

Recognizing the side effects of fentanyl

Common side effects of fentanyl include nausea, vomiting, itching, difficulty breathing, drowsiness, and unconsciousness. These side effects are also associated with heroin use. If heroin use is suspected, be on the lookout for signs that fentanyl may be involved. Patients may be unaware that they’ve taken fentanyl since the effects are very similar.

If a patient has used fentanyl via patch, it’s important to note that the drug may take some time to reach its peak concentration. So, while a patient may present only mild side effects, you should still be alert to a potential overdose.

Signs of a fentanyl overdose

Fentanyl is an opioid, so the signs of a fentanyl overdose are like those of a heroin overdose. The user may have bluish nails or lips in addition to difficulty breathing, remaining conscious, or speaking. Unlike other opioids, fentanyl has relatively little effect on heart function.

Naloxone is used to reverse overdose symptoms for opioids. Fentanyl overdoses are no exception to this method. However, because fentanyl is so potent, overdosed patients often need multiple applications of Naloxone.

Dosage and half-life

For first responders, estimating even an approximate dosage is difficult. As mentioned, fentanyl is often laced with other drugs and will contain other impurities. However, knowing the dosages used in medical applications may provide a useful perspective.

Fentanyl lozenges, or ‘lollipops’ come in six different doses measured in micrograms (mcg). Those are 200, 400, 600, 800, 1200, and 1600 mcg doses. The half-life of lozenges varies but can be up to 12 hours.

Fentanyl patches are applied for three days at a time, with three different doses measured in micrograms per hour (mcg/hr). Those are 25, 50 or 100 mcg/hr. Similar to lozenges, the half-life of patches varies but is generally around 17 hours.

Fentanyl taken via injection has a significantly lower half-life of around 3.7 hours. However, estimating dosage via injection from illegal means is very difficult.

It’s worth noting that even in medical applications, fentanyl is only prescribed to patients who have taken opioids before. Fentanyl is so potent that patients need to have a tolerance of opioids for it to be safely prescribed.

Whether fentanyl has been used legally or illegally, first responders should always look for the signs of a potential overdose when a patient is unresponsive.

Categories: Latest News

Ga. deputy shot in chest saved by ballistic vest

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 10:11
Author: P1 Community

By Ellen Eldridge The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

COMMERCE, Ga. — Officials were searching for a gunman who shot a Banks County sheriff’s deputy in the chest at the Tanger Outlet mall in Commerce about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The deputy was wearing a bulletproof vest and is expected to be OK, but the suspect ran off, GBI spokeswoman Nelly Miles said.

Deputies first responded to a reported armed robbery in progress at the Atlanta Dragway, the sheriff’s office said in a news release. The suspect stole a car and drove toward the outlet mall.

GBI Forensic Artist completes sketch of man wanted for shooting a Banks County Deputy Sheriff. Please share. pic.twitter.com/4dbVmT98Pg

— GA Bureau of Invest (@GBI_GA) April 27, 2017

When a deputy tried to pull the car over, the driver got out and shot the deputy, who was still in his patrol car, the release said.

The suspect continued to run and deputies were last searching in the area of Steve Reynolds Industrial Parkway.

The man is believed to be armed with two weapons. He is described as in his 40s with short hair, approximately 6 feet tall and 170 pounds. He was last seen wearing dark clothing.

The deputy was taken to a nearby hospital in stable condition.

Copyright 2017 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Categories: Latest News

911 call: Man wants K-9 to search for stolen heroin

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 10:11
Author: P1 Community

Associated Press

AKRON, Ohio — Police say an Ohio man called 911 to request a police dog to help track down heroin allegedly stolen from him.

WEWS-TV reports a 20-year-old man in Bath Township, near Akron, made the call in January. The recording was released this week.

When the call operator asks why the caller needs a police dog, he replies that a female stole heroin from him.

Bath Police Chief Mike McNeely says it's among the most bizarre things he's heard in four decades of policing.

McNeely says the man is expected to face a drug charge after he pulled a brown, waxy substance from his pants while being interviewed by police.

The substance was seized and sent to a lab for testing. The caller was released pending the test results.

Categories: Latest News

Search underway for missing Texas cop in 'emotional distress'

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 08:48
Author: P1 Community

By PoliceOne Staff

AUSTIN, Texas — A statewide search is on for a missing police officer who was reported to be in emotional distress.

The Austin American-Statesman reported that colleagues and family members notified the Austin Police Department Tuesday when they couldn’t contact the officer.

Police discovered the officer’s vehicle near a lake in West Texas Wednesday morning, TWC News reported.

Local police agencies have joined the search. We will update you once more information becomes available.

Categories: Latest News

Masked man with loaded guns in car arrested outside Dallas police station

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 08:15

Author: P1 Community

By Naheed Rajwani The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS — A man was arrested Wednesday afternoon after he showed up at the Dallas Police Department's southwest patrol station and threatened to open fire, police say.

Adan Salazar, 22, has been charged with terroristic threat, unlawful carrying of a weapon, and possession of marijuana.

Officers confronted Salazar after he parked outside about 2:40 p.m. and put on a Guy Fawkes mask similar to those worn in the political thriller film V for Vendetta, said Deputy Chief Albert Martinez, who oversees the station.

When officers confronted him, Salazar said he was thinking about shooting at the station or its officers, Martinez said. Police found marijuana and two loaded 9 mm handguns in his car.

It's unclear what prompted him to go the station.

"His behavior was very erratic. He was yelling; he was just saying words," Martinez said.

Salazar was taken to the Dallas County jail, where he could be evaluated to determine whether he needed to be taken to a hospital for mental health treatment.

It common for people to visit the station to file crime reports, ask questions or complete child custody exchanges.

The Police Department bolstered security at its stations after the July 7 ambush in which a gunman killed five officers downtown.

Martinez said Wednesday's encounter with the masked man greatly concerned him.

"We have a duty to protect our citizens, but we also have a duty to protect our officers in this work environment," he said. "They've got to have a safe place to come to."

#DPD officers continue working hard. 1 guy arrested at SW with this. Unrelated SE Officers now searching woods for possible robbery suspects pic.twitter.com/OBN0DE9EwS

— Maj. Max Geron (@MaxDPD) April 26, 2017


©2017 The Dallas Morning News

Categories: Latest News

Pa. police ambush killer gets death sentence

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 07:07

Author: P1 Community

By Michael Rubinkam Associated Press

MILFORD, Pa. — The bell atop the Pike County Courthouse last tolled the fate of a condemned killer in the 1980s.

On Wednesday, it rang again.

Eric Frein, the would-be revolutionary who shot two Pennsylvania troopers, one fatally, in a late-night attack at their barracks, was sentenced to death late Wednesday. The jury's decision that Frein should die by lethal injection brought a shouted "yes!" from a gallery that included high-ranking state police brass, the slain officer's mother and the trooper who suffered debilitating injuries after Frein shot him with a high-powered rifle.

"Jurors have delivered full justice in this case and issued the penalty that is so richly deserved by Eric Frein," said District Attorney Ray Tonkin.

Frein, 33, did not react visibly to the sentence.

Minutes after the jury issued it, a Pike County's sheriff climbed the courthouse cupola and rang the bell eight times, following a tradition that dates to the 19th century.

Prosecutors said Frein was hoping to start an uprising against the government when he opened fire on the Blooming Grove barracks in the Pocono Mountains on Sept. 12, 2014. Cpl. Bryon Dickson II, a Marine veteran and married father of two, was killed, and Trooper Alex Douglass was critically wounded.

Frein led police on a 48-day manhunt after the ambush, and for a time he was among America's most wanted criminals.

Prosecutors portrayed him as a remorseless killer who attacked troopers at random in hopes of fomenting rebellion.

Frein kept a journal in which he coolly described shooting Dickson twice and watching him fall "still and quiet." In a letter to his parents, written while he was on the run but never sent, he complained about lost liberties, spoke of revolution and said, "The time seems right for a spark to ignite a fire in the hearts of men."

Frein showed "wickedness of heart" when he "made a choice to pull that cold trigger again, again, again and again," Tonkin said in his closing argument Wednesday.

The gunman likely won't face execution for decades, if ever. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has imposed a moratorium on the death penalty, and Pennsylvania's last execution took place in 1999. The state has executed only three people since the U.S. Supreme Court restored the death penalty in 1976.

Frein's lawyers promised to tie up his case in appeals.

Defense lawyer Bill Ruzzo told reporters he was disappointed by the death sentence, and surprised the jury failed to find a single mitigating circumstance that would point to a sentence of life without parole. His lawyers had urged jurors to spare Frein's life, telling them he'd grown up in a dysfunctional home.

"The jury has rejected our defense, so we'll go back to the drawing board," Ruzzo said.

Col. Tyree Blocker, the state police commissioner, thanked the jury for delivering justice.

"Cpl. Dickson will always remain in the hearts of all members of the Pennsylvania State Police, forever," he said outside the courthouse.

Douglass, who has endured 18 surgeries and might lose his lower leg, smiled broadly as the sentenced was pronounced but did not comment afterward.

Categories: Latest News

NC corrections officer killed in inmate attack

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 06:47
Author: P1 Community

By Alan Wooten The Fayetteville Observer

WINDSOR, N.C. — A man convicted of first-degree murder in Cumberland County 13 years ago has been named in an assault by an inmate leading to the death of a jailer in Bertie County.

Craig Wissink was found guilty of first-degree murder April 1, 2004, and is serving a life sentence. N.C. Public Safety officials said he is being investigated in the death of Sgt. Megan Lee Callahan, a 29-year-old who died about 6:20 p.m. Wednesday following the incident at Bertie Correctional Institution in Windsor.

Callahan was assaulted about 5:30 p.m. Life-saving measures were administered by the medical staff at the prison and first responders.

"I am deeply saddened and send my heartfelt sympathies to Sergeant Callahan's family," Public Safety Secretary Erik A. Hooks said in a news release. "We will do all we can to support her family as well as the correctional family. The department will cooperate fully with the law enforcement investigation as well as conduct its own internal investigation."

The State Bureau of Investigation is handling the probe.

Callahan, of Edenton, had been with the department since January 2012. She was promoted to sergeant in February 2016.

Wissink received a life sentence plus a minimum of 39 months for the shooting of John Lawrence Pruey during an attempted robbery on Cumberland Road on June 27, 2000. He was convicted nearly four years later along with Lawrence Lee Ash.

Wissink's life sentence has no parole; the additional sentence was reduced by the state Court of Appeals in 2005. Ash is also serving a life sentence. Prosecutors in the 2004 trial said the two went to Pruey's mobile home with the intent to rob him; each defendant said the other pulled the trigger on a shotgun blast through a door that killed Pruey.

___ (c)2017 The Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, N.C.)

Categories: Latest News

Del. trooper fatally shot ID'ed, suspect killed

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 06:37

Author: P1 Community

By Randall Chase Associated Press

MIDDLETOWN, Del. — A man suspected of fatally shooting a Delaware state trooper has been shot and killed by officers after an overnight standoff, state police said Thursday.

The man, who has not been identified, walked out of the home where he had been holed up since the fatal shooting of the trooper a day earlier, "engaged officers" and was shot by law enforcement and died at the scene, police said in a statement. Police planned a news conference Thursday afternoon to release more details.

The man had been barricaded inside the home since Wednesday afternoon, not long after Cpl. Stephen J. Ballard, 32, was shot several times after he approached a vehicle in the parking lot of a Wawa convenience store near Bear.

State police superintendent Col. Nathaniel McQueen said the vehicle had two suspicious people inside. One man got out of the car and shot Ballard several times before running away, McQueen said Wednesday. The other man was arrested at the scene.

"This is a sad day for our state and for the Delaware State Police family," McQueen said as Gov. John Carney stood at his side.

Police tracked the suspected gunman to his home in a subdivision of two-story houses near Middletown, about 15 miles (25 kilometers) south of where Ballard was shot. The gunman, alone in the house, refused to leave and fired several shots at officers surrounding the home, state police spokesman Master Cpl. Gary Fournier said. No other officers were injured.

"There have been multiple gunshots that have come from the house at police officers," Fournier said.

Hostage negotiators were on the scene and established contact with the man in an effort to get him to surrender peacefully, Fournier said. But there was no quick resolution as the standoff stretched into the evening.

Shortly after 8 p.m., police used an explosive device to blow the door of the house off its hinges, but officers did not immediately enter the home, Fournier said.

Officers came under fire again Thursday morning and authorities used explosives to blow off windows, but did not immediately enter the home, police said.

A local fire company opened its space to temporarily house evacuated residents while police continued to negotiate with the suspect.

Sarah Adkins, 18, who lives with her parents on the same street where the suspect was barricaded, said that shortly after arriving home early Thursday afternoon, she started hearing sporadic gunfire that lasted for about an hour and resumed at other intervals.

Adkins said the man believed to be the suspect went to school with her brothers, and has always seemed friendly, smiling and waving at her when she last saw him a couple of weeks ago.

Police used a robo-calling system to tell residents in the areas to stay inside and lock their doors.

Ballard had been on the force for more than eight years, according to state police spokesman Sgt. Richard Bratz.

"My heart is with the officer's family and the officers who have served beside him," Carney said in a statement.

Categories: Latest News

Texas House OKs 'sanctuary city' ban with tough jail penalty

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 02:00

Author: P1 Community

By Will Weissert Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas — The Republican-controlled Texas House approved a strict ban on "sanctuary cities" early Thursday, empowering local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration law against anyone they detain and threatening police chiefs and sheriffs who refuse to do so with jail.

The vote came just before 3 a.m. and followed 15-plus hours of heated, sometimes tearful debate, much of it from outnumbered Democrats.

The bill would allow Texas to withhold funding from county and local governments for acting as sanctuary cities — even as President Donald Trump's efforts to do that nationally have hit roadblocks. Other Republican-led states have pushed for similar polices, but Texas would be the first in which police chiefs and other officials could face a misdemeanor criminal charge of official misconduct and be removed from office for not helping enforce immigration law.

An entity that fails to follow the law could be subjected to a civil penalty of $1,500 for a first offense and $25,500 for any subsequent violation.

The proposal is needed to "keep the public safe and remove bad people from the street," said Republican Rep. Charlie Geren of Fort Worth, its House sponsor.

The term "sanctuary cities" has no legal definition, but Republicans want local police to help federal authorities as part of a larger effort to crack down on criminal suspects in the U.S. illegally.

The Texas House bill originally allowed local law enforcement officers to inquire about federal immigration status only if someone is arrested. A version passed in March by the state Senate went further, permitting immigration inquires of anyone who is detained, including during traffic stops.

But a floor amendment backed by the tea party movement extending the House version to apply to those detained as well as those arrested passed on an 81-64 vote — bringing the full bill closer to what the Senate previously approved.

Democrats, and even some veteran Republicans, opposed the change to no avail. It drew rebuke from the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops, who tweeted: "We're disappointed House voted to allow police to inquire into legal status during detention rather than arrest."

Trump is trying to withhold federal funding for sanctuary cities, but a federal judge in California on Tuesday issued a preliminary injunction preventing him from doing so. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has declared the issue an "emergency" item, saying the state is poised to pass an anti-sanctuary cities law, regardless of what happens nationally.

Sally Hernandez, the sheriff of Travis County, which includes liberal Austin, enraged conservatives by refusing to honor federal requests to hold suspects for possible deportation if they weren't arrested for immigration offenses or serious crimes such as murder. But Hernandez softened her policy after Abbott cut grant funding to the county and she has said she'll conform to the state's ban if it becomes law.

Other sheriffs warn the bill could make their jobs harder if immigrants — including crime victims and witnesses — fear the police.

"Today we've made real that fear," said Roland Gutierrez, a San Antonio Democrat. Many of his colleagues decried what they called a "show me your papers law."

Wednesday night, dozens of protesters, many waving signs and banners skewering the bill and its supporters, gathered inside the Texas Capitol to chant pro-immigrant slogans in English and Spanish. Some later filed into the House visitors' gallery to applaud bill opponents on the floor. "God is watching what you're doing," one woman yelled at Republican lawmakers before being escorted out.

Things had quieted hours later, when the bill was approved. Still, Democratic Rep. Mary Gonzalez of El Paso, on Texas' border with Mexico, wept openly as she recalled being sexually assaulted, saying the bill will empower criminals. Rep. Victoria Neave, a Dallas Democrat, staged a four-day fast in opposition.

"I have seen the fear of children who worry their parents are going to be deported," Neave said.

The state Senate's version is different enough from what the House passed that the two chambers must compromise before sending a bill to the governor. Similar efforts have collapsed in the past, though, meaning the issue isn't yet fully settled.

Categories: Latest News

Police: Armless security robot loses fight to drunk man

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 11:14

By PoliceOne Staff

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — A security robot was attacked by a drunk man during a parking lot patrol last week.

Jason Sylvain, 41, allegedly approached and pushed over the 300-pound armless Knightscope robot, ABC7 reported.

"I think this is a pretty pathetic incident because it shows how spineless the drunk guys in Silicon Valley really are because they attack a victim who doesn't even have any arms," citizen Eamonn Callon said.

The robot, named K5, suffered minor scratches and is back on patrol.

Meet K-5 ---the droid taken down by an alleged drunk man last week. Don't worry, he's back on patrol :) details @abc7newsbayarea at 11 pic.twitter.com/0qthDHONQq

— Tiffany Wilson (@TWilsonTV) April 25, 2017

Knightscope’s co-founder told ABC7 that this event proves the technology is useful because police caught and booked the suspect.

Sylvain is facing prowling and public intoxication charges.

Categories: Latest News

France honors police officer killed in Champs-Elysees attack

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 11:02

By Sylvie Corbet Associated Press

PARIS — France's top officials and presidential candidates attended a national ceremony Tuesday to honor the police officer killed by an Islamic extremist on the Champs-Elysees.

Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron, who are facing off in the May 7 presidential runoff, were present at the ceremony at the Paris police headquarters. Others present were Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and former president Nicolas Sarkozy.

President Francois Hollande paid tribute to 37-year-old Xavier Jugele, who was killed last week when an assailant opened fire with an assault rifle on a police van parked on the most famous avenue in the French capital. Two other officers were wounded.

The attacker was shot and killed by officers. The Islamic State group quickly claimed responsibility for the attack.

Hollande said the French people must "support the police. They deserve our esteem, our solidarity, our admiration."

In a message to the presidential candidates, Hollande also asked France's future government to "provide the necessary budget resources to recruit the indispensable people to protect our citizens and give them means to act even more efficiently."

Hollande recalled that France's police and military forces are deployed on French territory and abroad to fight terrorism in Iraq, Syria and in Africa's Sahel region.

This is "a combat that will last, a combat that will be fought until the threat is definitively over. That combat will be long, demanding, difficult but, I am certain, victorious," he said.

Jugele was one of the officers who raced to the Bataclan concert hall the night three armed men with suicide bombs stormed a show and slaughtered 90 people on Nov. 13, 2015.

He returned to the concert venue a year later as a spectator when it reopened with a concert by Sting. Jugele told People magazine at the time how happy he was to be here "to celebrate life. To say no to terrorists."

Jugele also was a member of a French association of LGBT police officers. He was in a civil union. In a speech during the ceremony, his partner, Etienne Cardiles, said: "Let's stay dignified, let's take care of peace and preserve peace."

Jugele had worked in the Paris area as a police officer since 2011. At the time of his death, he was a member of the Paris police department's public order and traffic division.

He had received praise from bosses earlier this year for his courage during the evacuation of a building after an accidental blast in the western suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt.

Jugele has been promoted to police captain and awarded Chevalier of the Legion of Honor posthumously.

Categories: Latest News

States alarmed by laser strikes on aircraft are passing laws

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 10:33

By David Eggert Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State Police pilot Jerry King was flying his state plane back to the Lansing airport after a mission when he saw a green pulsing light in the night sky.

Suddenly, he was blinded by a bright flash, much like staring into a camera flashbulb as it goes off, and he was unable to see for several seconds.

"It'll seem like 10," King said. "If you lose control of the aircraft, that's it. It's not like a co-pilot's going to take over."

The cockpit of the single-engine plane was hit by a laser beam directed by someone on the ground. Such incidents once happened occasionally to pilots, as laser devices became commonly available to amateur astronomers, construction engineers and others, but now are reported at least 7,000 times a year.

Michigan is poised to join a growing list of states enacting new laws to combat increasingly frequent laser attacks and put those responsible in prison. Twenty-two states now have passed such laws, most in the last few years.

The Michigan legislation was approved unanimously by the Senate Tuesday and could be referred to Gov. Rick Snyder for his signature as early as next week. It would make "lasing" an aircraft or train a felony punishable by five years in prison.

Though there have been no known air crashes caused by laser strikes, some pilots have been injured, and authorities are alarmed by the danger of pilots temporarily blinded as they are landing or taking off at airports. King sustained a flash burn in his left eye, requiring a trip to an ophthalmologist and a course of eye drops.

Pointing a laser at an aircraft is currently a federal crime punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, but enforcement has been difficult in part because of the complicated coordination necessary between federal and local officials. Only 70 people have been charged between 2012 and 2016.

Authorities believe the state laws will make it easier to quickly deploy police to the site of a laser attack.

State police helicopter pilots in some cases can swiftly head to where the beam is originating and alert patrol cars for assistance. Police armed with high-tech cameras and GPS trackers can be used in places where attacks are most frequent, such as around airports.

"We could prosecute them at the state level right then. We don't have to contact the FBI and wait for agents to be able to have time to do that and a U.S. attorney who is involved with high-level matters to worry about this," said Sgt. Timothy Fitzgerald, legislative liaison for the state police. "Once we start enforcing this, I think we're going to see these incidents go way down."

Lasers have become more powerful and cheaper in recent years. Popular green lasers cost as little as $10, and are more visible than red ones.

Hobbyists use them to point at stars and construction crews use them for leveling. Some of the people who point them at aircraft are pranksters, but others deliberately target law enforcement aircraft involved in police chases and surveillance. Three of the four full-time pilots in Michigan's aviation unit have been struck by lasers.

In February, state police arrested a man suspected of repeatedly shining a laser at one of its helicopters and three passenger jets on approach to the Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

"That's actually how they honed in on him. As he keeps shooting it, they keep narrowing his location," Fitzgerald said.

He is facing federal charges. A week later, a Delta airliner was lasered while approaching the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids.

The FBI urges those with information about someone pointing a laser at an aircraft to call the local FBI office or 911.

"The FBI takes these actions very seriously and is committed to identifying and prosecuting individuals who violate this federal law," said spokesman Timothy Wiley.

Recently, Michigan extended the authority of airport police to respond to laser attacks beyond airport boundaries.

"When you have pilots testifying that it's very hazardous," more has to be done to stop the attacks, said Rep. Laura Cox, a sponsor of the new legislation. "We don't want any crashes."

Categories: Latest News

Man accused of impersonating cop, giving kids jail tours

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 10:32

Associated Press

AKRON, Ohio — A man has been accused of taking children in handcuffs to tour an Ohio county jail and courthouse while wearing a police uniform.

The Akron Beacon Journal reports Christopher S. Hendon claimed he was part of a police program that gives kids prison tours to scare them off from committing crimes.

Police say Hendon tried to enter the courthouse and jail four times and left each time after being denied access. Authorities arraigned Hendon on Tuesday on charges of impersonating an officer, criminal trespass and taking a gun into a courthouse.

A councilwoman says Hendon wanted to be an officer and mentor young people. Hendon attended a police academy but didn't graduate.

Hendon is jailed. Attorney Don Hicks says he'll represent Hendon but hasn't met with him.

Authorities are trying to identify the children involved in the tours.

Categories: Latest News

Spotlight: Steiner Optics products meet the demands of first responders in all types of environments

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 09:38

Author: PoliceOne Sponsors

Company: Steiner Optics Headquarters: Colorado Signature Product: Steiner Poro Prism Binoculars Website: http://www.steiner-optics.com/

Q&A Questions:

1. Where did your company name originate from?

Karl Steiner started the company in 1947 in post-war Germany.

2. What was the inspiration behind starting your company?

Karl Steiner started a one-man workshop in Bayreuth, Germany, obsessed with a single goal: creating optical products so functional, sturdy and uniformly flawless that nothing in the chaotic, mass-production post-war world could compare. His passion for unmatched optical perfection pushed Steiner-Optik from a hardscrabble startup to a 50-man factory within six years, and on to become a worldwide optical icon with binoculars and rifle scopes for every purpose, a history of innovation, and legions of diehard enthusiasts in every category.

3. What is your signature product and how does it work?

Steiner Poro Prism binoculars were designed for use by the military. The binoculars are extremely rugged with no internal moving parts, a Makrolon chassis that will withstand hundreds of pounds of G force, and a Sports-Auto-Focus system that brings all objects from 20 yards to infinity into sharp focus.

4. Why do you believe your products are essential to the police community?

They have been proven to be rugged and reliable on battlefields around the world and are designed to meet the demands of first responders who work in all kinds of conditions.

5. What has been the biggest challenge your company has faced?

The biggest challenge is continued improvement in optical systems, better lens coating for greater light transmission and competition from lower priced competitors.

6. What makes your company unique?

We offer a wide range of optics from binoculars to riflescopes. In addition, Steiner recently entered the eOptics category. We now have laser rangefinders, laser aiming systems and night vision equipment.

7. What do your customers like best about you and your products?

Bright, clear optics that perform as well as those costing hundreds of dollars more. Steiner stands behind its products with industry leading customer service. We can still repair most binoculars.

8. What is the most rewarding part of serving the first responder community?

The most rewarding part is hearing from those who use and rely on our products and how they help them perform better in the field.

9. Is there any fun fact or trivia that you’d like to share with our users about you or your company?

In the first Gulf War, an armored vehicle was hit with an IED that blasted and burned everything but the men inside. They all got out safely but much of their gear was destroyed, except for pair of Steiner military binoculars. Although they were charred and misshapen, they still worked – the lenses and prisms were intact.

10. What's next for your company? Any upcoming new projects or initiatives?

Development of optics for LE that are more affordable for those who have to buy their own gear.

Categories: Latest News

Texas day of remembrance would mark Dallas police shooting

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 07:23

Author: PoliceOne Sponsors

Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas — The anniversary of five Dallas police officers killed during a downtown shooting would be commemorated as "Fallen Law Enforcement Officer Day" under a bill tentatively approved by the House.

The measure approved Tuesday would designate July 7 as a day to honor officers in Texas killed in the line of duty. Law enforcement groups say nearly 1,900 officers in Texas history have died on the job.

An Army veteran opened fire on Dallas police during a protest march last summer. It marked the deadliest day for U.S. law enforcement since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. In all, 12 officers were shot.

The Senate approved a similar measure in March.

Categories: Latest News

Chicago passes 1K gunshot victims for the year

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 07:04

Author: PoliceOne Sponsors

By Heather Schroering, Rosemary Regina Sobol and Elvia Malagon Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — Two people were killed and five others were wounded over a single hour in Chicago on Monday as the number of gunshot victims this year passed the 1,000 mark.

The city reached the grim milestone four days later than last year, which saw the worst gun violence in two decades, according to data kept by the Tribune.

As of Tuesday morning, at least 1,008 had been shot in Chicago this year. Last year, the city passed the 1,000 mark on April 20.

There have been at least 182 homicides this year, just two fewer than this time last year, according to Tribune data.

Propelling the numbers was a burst of violence over the weekend that continued into the beginning of the week.

Seven people were killed and 31 others were wounded over the weekend. Ten of the shootings occurred over seven hours Sunday, according to police.

From Monday morning through early Tuesday, three people were fatally shot and 13 others were wounded. That includes five double shootings on the South Side.

One of the double shootings took place in the Englewood neighborhood and left a 19-year-old man dead.

The man and a 17-year-old boy were shot while they were walking in the 6900 block of South Honore Street about 7:30 p.m., police said.

The shooter got out of a black car and opened fire at them, police said. The 19-year-old man was hit in the chest and was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he was pronounced dead.

The 17-year-old was shot in the buttocks and leg. His condition was stabilized at the same hospital, police said.

On the West Side a minute after the shooting on Honore, a 31-year-old man was shot in the head while driving an SUV, in the 2900 block of West Washington Boulevard in the East Garfield Park neighborhood, police said.

He crashed into a parked Hyundai Sonata, then hit a Chevrolet Malibu that had been traveling west, police said.

The man suffered gunshot wounds to the head and was pronounced dead at the scene.

A 31-year-old man who was a passenger in the Malibu was taken to Norwegian American Hospital for minor injuries.

Around 2:25 p.m. on the South Side, a 55-year-old man was shot in the face and chest in the 6900 block of South Dorchester Avenue in the Grand Crossing neighborhood. He was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he died, police said.

Officers responding to a call of a person shot found the man unresponsive in the stairwell of a building.


©2017 the Chicago Tribune

Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com

Categories: Latest News

Courthouse annex named for slain Texas lawman

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 06:56

Author: PoliceOne Sponsors

By Mihir Zaveri Houston Chronicle

HOUSTON — Within weeks, new signs on a courthouse annex in Baytown will bear the name of the Harris County lawman whose ambush and murder there earlier this month sparked a massive manhunt that sent law enforcement in Houston reeling.

At an emotional meeting Tuesday with dozens packed into the Harris County Commissioners Court chambers, the commissioners voted to name the courthouse annex at 701 W. Baker Road after Chief Deputy Constable Clint Greenwood, who was killed there on April 3.

"We're renaming this courthouse not because of the tragedy that took place there, but because of the incredible life that Chief Greenwood led and the inspiration that he provided to so many people," said Precinct 2 Commissioner Jack Morman, whose precinct encompasses Baytown.

Widow thankful

Greenwood's widow, Leatha Greenwood, fought back tears as she thanked commissioners, and described the cards, texts, emails and fundraisers from friends and strangers alike that have poured in after Greenwood's killing.

"We're still reading the cards and letters," she said. "It's our intention to thank everyone, one by one, to thank the investigators, some who worked 24-hour-plus shifts to Harris County officials who vowed to seek justice, to the officers that guarded our home and Clint's body around-the-clock and to the Commissioners Court. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for honoring Clinton Francis Greenwood."

He was shot to death, moments after pulling into the parking lot of the annex where he worked for the Precinct 3 constable's office.

His ambush sparked a massive, week-long manhunt for Greenwood's killer. The investigation eventually found that the man identified as his killer, William Kenny, 64, fatally shot himself in the head about 8 a.m. April 4 near Ben Taub General Hospital with a gun just like the one he used to kill the lawman.

Help offered

The constable's work gave investigators a long list of people with possible grudges against him, and Greenwood had reported to a county official just days before he was killed that he felt threatened by a man he had once prosecuted. Kenny was none of those.

Greenwood, 57, spent decades working as a defense attorney, prosecutor and peace officer in Harris County, earning the respect of a wide swath of the local criminal justice community. Before joining the constable's office, he worked as a major in the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

He also worked as a prosecutor in the Harris County District Attorney's Office overseeing the Police Integrity Unit and as a reserve deputy for 20 years.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said the county was indebted to Greenwood for his long service to local government.

"Rest assured that all of Harris County will consider the Greenwood family as ours for years to come," Emmett said to Leatha Grenwood at the meeting Tuesday. "Do not hesitate to call upon any part of this county at any time in the future, even if it's 20, 30, 40 years from now."


©2017 the Houston Chronicle

Categories: Latest News

Judge cites Trump's comment in 'sanctuary city' ruling

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 06:45

Author: PoliceOne Sponsors

By Sudhin Thanawala Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — For the third time in two months, a federal judge has knocked down an immigration order by President Donald Trump and used Trump's own language against him.

In a ruling on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge William Orrick quoted Trump to support his decision to block the president's order to withhold funding from "sanctuary cities" that do not cooperate with U.S. immigration officials.

Trump called the sanctuary cities order a "weapon" against communities that disagree with his preferred immigration policy, Orrick said. The judge also cited a February interview in which he said the president threatened to cut off funding to California, saying the state "in many ways is out of control."

The first comment was evidence that the administration intended the executive order to apply broadly to all sorts of federal funding, and not a relatively small pot of grant money as the Department of Justice had argued, the judge said.

The second statement showed the two California governments that sued to block the order — San Francisco and Santa Clara County — had good reason to believe they would be targeted, Orrick said.

Orrick's ruling was another immigration policy setback for the administration as it approaches its 100th day in office later this month. The sanctuary city order was among a flurry of immigration measures Trump signed in January, including a ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries and a directive calling for a wall on the Mexican border.

Trump reacted to the decision on Twitter on Wednesday morning, calling the decision "ridiculous" and saying he would take his fight to the highest court, tweeting: "See you in the Supreme Court."

Trump tweeted: "First the Ninth Circuit rules against the ban & now it hits again on sanctuary cities-both ridiculous rulings."

Trump tweeted that the 9th circuit has "a terrible record of being overturned (close to 80 percent)."

He said, "They used to call this 'judge shopping!' Messy system." That was apparently a reference to the 9th circuit's liberal reputation and rulings that have often irked conservatives."

Trump's words were also cited by federal judges in Maryland and Hawaii, who last month blocked his revised ban on new visas for people from six Muslim-majority countries. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii and U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang in Maryland said comments by Trump supported the allegation that the ban was aimed at Muslims.

Orrick's preliminary injunction against the sanctuary cities order will stay in place while the lawsuits by San Francisco and Santa Clara work their way through court.

The government hasn't cut off any money yet or declared any communities sanctuary cities. But the Justice Department sent letters last week advising communities to prove they are in compliance. California was informed it could lose $18.2 million.

Orrick said Trump cannot set new conditions on spending approved by Congress.

Even if the president could do so, those conditions would have to be clearly related to the funds at issue and not coercive, as the executive order appeared to be, Orrick said.

White House chief of staff Reince Priebus described the ruling as another example of the "9th Circuit going bananas."

The administration has often criticized the 9th circuit. Orrick does not sit on that court but his district is in the territory of the appeals court, which has ruled against one version of Trump's travel ban.

"The idea that an agency can't put in some reasonable restriction on how some of these moneys are spent is something that will be overturned eventually, and we will win at the Supreme Court level at some point," Priebus said.

The Trump administration says sanctuary cities allow dangerous criminals back on the street and that the order is needed to keep the country safe. San Francisco and other sanctuary cities say turning local police into immigration officers erodes the trust that is needed to get people to report crime.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera praised the ruling and said the president was "forced to back down."

"This is why we have courts — to halt the overreach of a president and an attorney general who either don't understand the Constitution or chose to ignore it," Herrera said in a statement.

Categories: Latest News

Number of Dallas officers at lowest level in a decade

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 02:00
Author: PoliceOne Sponsors

Associated Press

DALLAS — The number of police officers serving Dallas has fallen to its lowest level in about a decade while the department also is falling short of its goal for new hires, the interim police chief told a city council committee.

Chief David Pughes said Monday that the number of officers on the force is 3,077. That's down from nearly 3,700 officers some six years ago.

He said the department will be short-staffed as the summer approaches and crime generally increases.

Concerns over the failing Dallas Police and Fire Pension System have led many officers to retire at a rate faster than the department can hire and train new ones, The Dallas Morning News reports.

Dallas so far this year has lost 244 officers, many of whom had more than 20 years of experience. Officials believe another 120 will leave by the end of September.

Pughes said he's considering hiring many of those retired officers to temporarily bolster patrol numbers.

"I'm actually excited about the possibility of bringing retirees back in whatever capacity they can work," Pughes said.

The move could be a short-term remedy in the face of fewer new hires than hoped. The department so far this year has hired just 80 officers and expects to add about 200 by year's end, far below a target of around 450, the newspaper reported.

The hiring rate is surprising in light of a surfeit of applications in the wake of the July sniper shootings during a downtown protest where five officers were killed and nine others wounded. The department said job applications more than quadrupled in the two weeks following the shootings.

David Brown, who was police chief before retiring in October, at the time had urged those protesting police actions to help change law enforcement from within by applying to become a cop.

Despite the rise in applications, a rigorous hiring and training process results in many applicants being dropped from consideration.

Categories: Latest News