Latest News

Mass. PD receives boy's handwritten apology after 911 pranks

PoliceOne - Sun, 01/21/2018 - 10:06

Associated Press

SOMERVILLE, Mass. — A Massachusetts police department has received a handwritten apology for a series of prank 911 calls from a young boy who promised not to call again except in an "emerginsy."

The Boston Globe reports that a Somerville police officer was sent to East Somerville Community School last week after several 911 calls were made from a phone in the cafeteria. The officer found the students responsible and talked to them and their parents.

A few days later, one of the students, about age 10, hand-delivered an apology note, which the department posted online .

The boy said he was "very sorry" for the prank and recognized that it was "a really bad idea."

He ended the letter by saying, "Thank you for everything you do to keep us safe."

As a joke last week, a few students made prank calls to 911. Ofc. Isaacs made his way over to the school, he was able to locate the parents of the students and speak with the students about the importance of 911 for emergencies. A student was so sorry, he wrote to Ofc. Isaacs+SPD pic.twitter.com/sij2urLmHh

— SomervillePolice (@SomervillePD) January 16, 2018


Categories: Latest News

Calif. county police take control of air rescues from fire dept.

PoliceOne - Sun, 01/21/2018 - 09:58

By Tony Saavedra The Orange County Register

ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. — The Orange County Sheriff’s Department has taken over the county’s helicopter rescue operations after talks disintegrated with the county fire authority in the turf war over who should conduct air rescues.

Sheriff Sandra Hutchens said this week that her department has not renewed an agreement that named the Orange County Fire Authority as the primary agency in handling air rescues in remote wilderness and park areas.

Though that arrangement worked for years, with the Fire Authority handling rescues in the county, in the past two years the two departments have clashed, with Sheriff’s Department helicopters and Fire Authority helicopters jockeying in the air to be the first to arrive at wilderness rescue calls. The feuding has led to dangerous confrontations between the two agencies during rescues and has set the stage for a potential collision.

The fighting has become so heated that firefighters have accused sheriff’s pilots of harassment.

Under the now expired agreement, sheriff’s helicopters were primarily used to patrol and to search out missing persons, leaving wilderness and other rescue operations to firefighters. The Fire Authority’s four helicopter teams include paramedics and are equipped with hoists to airlift the victims. Now, sheriff’s pilots have acquired hoists on two of their copters, and they’ve hired or trained personnel as paramedics.

The sheriff’s department also has said it plans to use its copters to fight wildfires, as well.

“As sheriff, I must ensure the public gets the best response when an emergency or life-threatening incident occurs,” Hutchens said.

Marc Stone, battalion chief with the fire authority, said his department was surprised and upset by Hutchens’ move to take over jobs that, for a generation, have been handled by firefighters.

“That would be like us putting shotguns in the front of our fire trucks,” Stone said.

“This has definitely caused a rift between the two agencies,” he added. “We don’t know where we stand right now.”

Leaders of both departments say their organization is better equipped — and in a better position to serve the public — on rescues.

“It is clear to me that the public is best served with the OCSD as the primary agency,” said Hutchens. “Our deployment model, response times, medical certifications and search and rescue expertise positions us to best provide this specific function.

“For me, the safety of the public always comes first.”

Stone at the fire authority dismissed out of hand the idea that sheriff deputies are better at rescue operations.

“They’re fooling themselves … Our paramedics run hundreds of calls a day. Our paramedics are far above theirs,” he added.

The county Board of Supervisors, empowered by the state government code, voted in October to let the Sheriff’s Department take control of search and rescue operations. The Sheriff’s Department and fire authority agreed to enter mediation on how to share the rescue duties.

Though those talks broke down, Hutchens said Thursday that her department would continue working with the fire authority.

“I am committed to working collaboratively with the Orange County Fire Authority and all other mutual-aid agencies to deliver the best public safety services to the citizens of Orange County,” Hutchens said. “Our agencies work together closely on a regular basis, and those partnerships will continue.”

During the two years that the two agencies have raced over the same rescue calls, sheriff’s helicopters have tended to arrive before fire copters, which some say is because the fire authority’s air unit is based in Fullerton while the sheriff’s helicopters are stationed centrally at John Wayne Airport. But fire copters — because they don’t have to stop to reposition patients as often — tend to get people to hospitals faster.

In 2010, the Orange County Grand Jury chided the sheriff’s department for not having enough helicopters – two at that time – to serve the county. The sheriff’s department now has the largest contingent of copters, with five aircraft. The fire authority has four helicopters and other police departments in the county, combined, have a total of six.

©2018 The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.)


Categories: Latest News

Chicago man arrested for murder after applying to be New Orleans cop

PoliceOne - Sun, 01/21/2018 - 09:41

By John Simerman and Matt Sledge Jsimerman Theadvocate Com The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.

NEW ORLEANS — Justin Matthew Payne hoped to be among the New Orleans Police Department's best and brightest.

The fact he applied at all suggests he was neither.

Payne's application in October to become a New Orleans police officer prompted his arrest by Chicago police this week on suspicion of murder in the Windy City, NOPD spokesman Beau Tidwell confirmed Friday.

Payne, 26, is suspected of killing trucking company owner Luis Peña, 64, in December 2016, although Chicago police had not issued a warrant for his arrest at the time he applied to join the NOPD, a police source said.

He had passed the Civil Service exam and an initial criminal records check when a recruiting investigator began checking with previous employers he'd listed on his application.

Payne's prior work includes driving a truck, and Chicago police soon got wind of his policing aspirations through a former employer.

"Detectives with Chicago PD contacted NOPD to verify address and phone number for Payne," Tidwell said in an email. "The Chicago PD notified NOPD that Payne was a suspect in a homicide."

On Wednesday, NOPD investigators called Payne into police headquarters under the pretense of needing him to complete more paperwork. Chicago detectives then walked into the room and confronted him.

A Chicago police detective told Peña's family on Thursday that Payne had confessed to the slaying, said 19-year-old Karina Peña, one of the victim's seven children.

Tidwell confirmed that Payne "confess(ed) to the homicide of his former supervisor at the trucking company where he worked prior to coming to New Orleans."

Detectives then walked Payne from NOPD headquarters to jail, booking him on an arrest warrant for first-degree murder.

Karina Peña said Chicago detectives had told the family they thought Payne fled to Georgia before landing in New Orleans.

She said her father had fired Payne as a truck driver about five weeks before the slaying, which occurred inside a trailer at Luis Peña's trucking yard on Chicago's Southwest Side.

Authorities in Chicago initially said Peña had been shot, but the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office concluded after an autopsy that he had been physically assaulted.

"He worked for my dad for so little (time). My dad fired him because he was lazy," Karina Peña said of Payne.

A mechanic at the trucking yard had identified Payne in a video from the crime scene, she said. But more than a year later, she said, the family had despaired that her father's murder would ever be solved.

"To be honest, everybody was feeling not much was being done. People were starting to lose hope," she said. "I'm happy because just the fact he confessed is a good confirmation that it was him. We're not worried that we were chasing after the wrong guy the whole time."

When they called the family on Thursday, Chicago police did not mention that Payne had applied to wear a gun and badge in New Orleans, she said.

"What? Really? Wow, that is crazy!" Karina Peña said.

A Chicago Police Department spokeswoman declined to comment on Payne's arrest, referring questions to the NOPD.

Payne was being held without bail in the Orleans Parish jail on Friday pending an extradition hearing scheduled for Monday.

His arrest was something of a good news story for the Police Department's vetting process for officer applicants, which came under heavy criticism in a January 2017 report from the federal monitors overseeing the department's reform process.

The monitors said then that recruiters were far too eager to hire applicants with red flags like drug use and prior arrests.

Since then, the Police Department has hired additional background check investigators. In June 2017, the monitors said that a follow-up audit had shown "dramatic improvement" in the recruit vetting process.

©2018 The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.


Categories: Latest News

SC deputy 'resting comfortably' at home following shooting

PoliceOne - Sun, 01/21/2018 - 09:30

By David Thackman The Herald (Rock Hill, S.C.)

YORK COUNTY, S.C. — Another York County deputy who was shot this week during an ambush by a domestic violence suspect is back home and resting after days in a Charlotte hospital.

Sheriff’s K-9 supervisor Sgt. Randy Clinton was discharged late Friday night from Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte after undergoing surgeries. He and three other York County law enforcement officials were attacked and shot Jan. 16 during a domestic violence call and manhunt near York.

According to the York County Sheriff’s Office, Clinton returned home from the hospital and is “resting comfortably.” About 25 officers from the York County Sheriff’s Office and the Rock Hill Police Department came out to welcome Clinton back home, the sheriff’s office said.

Clinton underwent two surgeries. He was the first officer shot in the incident that started late Monday and continued into Tuesday.

Clinton has served with the York County Sheriff’s Office for 34 years, according to York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson. Clinton is the K-9 unit supervisor and has handled police dogs for three decades.

York Police Department Sgt. Kyle Cummings, also shot, was discharged from the hospital Thursday.

York County Sheriff Sgt. Buddy Brown is still hospitalized in Charlotte.

Det. Mike Doty, who served with the sheriff’s office for 12 years, died Wednesday. His funeral is at noon Monday at Calvary Church in Charlotte.

A public candlelight vigil and ecumenical prayer service for the four officers is at 5 p.m. Sunday in front of the York County Courthouse in York.

The suspect in the shooting, Christian Thomas McCall, 47, of York, remains hospitalized, and has not been charged.

Doty, Cummings and Brown all were working as SWAT members when they were shot while searching for McCall, police said.

Prosecutors have said there is probable cause to charge McCall with three counts of attempted murder for the shooting of three officers. The same probable cause exists for Doty’s death, prosecutors have said.

Doty started with the sheriff's office in 2006 after working for the York Police Department. He worked as a detective with the York County drug unit, as well as other duties including being a member of the SWAT team.

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Welcome home Randy. Probably about 20-25 officers there from the #YCSOFamily, & RHPD plus his neighbors came out to welcome Sgt. Clinton home this evening. #YCSOStrong

Posted by York County Sheriff's Office on Friday, January 19, 2018

The S.C. General Assembly will honor Doty and the other wounded officers with a moment of silence and dedication of the day’s business.

Many York County leaders have condemned the shooting, including the York County legislative delegation. Reps. John King, D-Rock Hill; Tommy Pope, R-York; and Gary Simrill, R-Rock Hill, have spoken out against the attack on the “dedicated” officers.

The York County Sheriff’s Office has set up an informational hotline number at 803-325-2400 for information regarding funeral arrangements, media funeral staging areas, donating monetary funds to the officers and donating food or other items to deputies.

©2018 The Herald (Rock Hill, S.C.)


Categories: Latest News

Baltimore's new police commissioner faces numerous challenges

PoliceOne - Sat, 01/20/2018 - 04:00

By David McFadden Associated Press

BALTIMORE — Deputy Police Commissioner Darryl DeSousa, who has steadily risen through the ranks during a 30-year career with Baltimore's police department, will take the helm of the force in a city struggling with a feverish pace of killings.

After a record year in per-capita homicides, Baltimore's mayor on Friday fired the city's police commissioner after 2½ years on the job and named DeSousa to the top post, saying a change in leadership was needed immediately.

"I am impatient. We need violence reduction. We need the numbers to go down faster," Mayor Catherine Pugh said at a news conference at City Hall after announcing DeSousa's promotion.

Although violent crime rates in Baltimore have been high for decades, Baltimore ended 2017 with 343 killings, bringing the annual homicide rate to its highest ever: roughly 56 killings per 100,000 people. Baltimore, which has shrunk over decades, currently has about 615,000 inhabitants.

In contrast, New York City had 290 homicides last year, its fewest on record in the modern era for the city of 8.5 million people. Los Angeles, with about 4 million residents, saw 305 homicides last year.

The challenges facing DeSousa are numerous: the pervasive mistrust of many citizens due to a history of corruption and discriminatory police practices; a federal corruption investigation into a group of indicted officers; and the unsolved slaying of a detective that has produced rumors but no arrests.

His promotion also comes as a monitoring team is overseeing court-ordered reforms to Baltimore's police department as part of a federal consent decree reached last January between Baltimore and the U.S. Justice Department due to discriminatory and unconstitutional policing.

DeSousa, a 53-year-old city resident who joined the department in 1988, said he's looking forward to the challenges. He said he'll approach his role as a strategic thinker who knows the ins and outs of the department's operations as well as law enforcement approaches that have had success in other U.S. cities.

"Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a chess player, and I don't like to be outwitted," he told reporters.

The head of Baltimore's police union, Gene Ryan, said the leadership shakeup is already improving morale, and "will bring about the positive changes that will allow us to achieve our mission of violence reduction."

DeSousa on Friday pledged to reduce crime by putting more uniformed officers on the streets and saturating "hot spots," an effort he said is already underway. He said he had a message for the city's violent repeat offenders, a rotating cast of "trigger pullers" that law enforcers say are responsible for an outsized percentage of the city's crime.

"We're coming after them. And I want to let everybody know that it will be done in a constitutional manner," DeSousa said.

The native New Yorker has served in just about every police department role over the years and in 2017 was assigned to lead the patrol bureau, the largest in Baltimore's force. His appointment will be made permanent following "appropriate approvals," Pugh's office said.

He appears to have the backing of the City Council and a number of Baltimore's civic leaders and organizers. Councilman Brandon Scott, who described DeSousa's promotion as a "great decision," said he received numerous phone messages from community leaders praising the move.

"Never before did I get text messages from community leaders saying, 'Thank you, this is the right choice,'" Scott said, describing the three previous times during his career as an elected official that a police commissioner was replaced.

Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, tweeted that she was perplexed by the leadership change. In a statement, she said Commissioner Kevin Davis had shown "unyielding commitment" to police reforms.

Some Baltimore residents were also skeptical that a veteran as entrenched as DeSousa could bring true reform.

"He's been there for 30 years and that's the guy who's going to change things up?" said resident Gerald Spann, who was washing the windows of a convenience store where gunmen and officers exchanged a barrage of gunfire earlier this week.

Davis, previously chief of police in Maryland's Anne Arundel County, replaced Anthony Batts in the job in October 2015. Batts was fired amid a spike in homicides after Freddie Gray died of a fatal spinal cord injury received while in police custody. The black man's death triggered massive protests and the city's worst riots in decades.

Pugh, who took office in December 2016, said she was grateful to Davis "for all that he has done to implement the initiatives underway to address violent crime at its root causes."


Categories: Latest News

Man who hit NYPD cop was reenacting scene from 'The Fast and the Furious'

PoliceOne - Sat, 01/20/2018 - 04:00

By Andy Mai and John Annese New York Daily News

NEW YORK — The alleged drug dealer was trying to act out a scene from “The Fast and the Furious,” when he was caught on camera trying to mow down an NYPD officer in Times Square, his lawyer said early Friday.

Arfhy Santos, 20, was behind the wheel of his buddy’s Mercedes-Benz when he dragged NYPD Officer Ian Wallace as the cop tried to stop him Saturday.

“It’s easy to get caught up in the sensationalism of the video that had gone viral at this point,” Santos’ lawyer, Paul Presti said. “My client’s behavior that day was stupid, to reenact a scene out of ‘The Fast and the Furious.’”

Wallace, who stepped in front of the car to stop it, didn't approach the vehicle in "the typical way," and Santos thought the officer was going for his holster and got scared, Presti said.

Santos is charged with assault and was held on $100,000 bail at his arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court. He has open drug dealing charges from an October arrest in the Bronx. Car owner William Lopez, 24, was also in the vehicle and was held on $5,000 bond or $2,500 cash bail.

Lopez faces reckless endangerment and reckless driving charges for an earlier incident in Manhattan where he‘s accused of driving on a sidewalk for two blocks to escape police.

"The police got it wrong because it was not Mr. Lopez that was driving," Lopez's lawyer, Luis Diaz said.

Lopez has a pending case in the Bronx for a similar incident.

©2018 New York Daily News


Categories: Latest News

Lawsuit over officer seizing phone, deleting photo settled

PoliceOne - Sat, 01/20/2018 - 04:00

Associated Press

LAFAYETTE, La. — A settlement has resolved a federal lawsuit that accused a Louisiana police officer of violating a woman's constitutional rights by grabbing her cellphone and deleting a photo she took of her son in the officer's vehicle.

The Lafayette City-Parish Consolidated Government agreed to pay $12,000 to cover the woman's attorneys' fees. It also agreed to train its officers on the public's First Amendment right to photograph police performing their duties.

A judge formally dismissed the suit Friday at the lawyers' request.

Attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana filed the suit last March on behalf of Chelline Carter. Lafayette police Officer Shannon Brasseaux arrested Carter's son on a drug charge in a parking lot outside a CVS store on the afternoon of Jan. 24, 2017.

The suit claimed the officer took Carter's cellphone without a warrant or her consent and deleted at least one photo before returning the phone to her. The officer also told Carter she was breaking the law by photographing her restrained son in the back of the police vehicle and threatened to arrest her for taking pictures of "evidence," the suit said.

"At no time did Mrs. Carter interfere with Officer Brasseaux's arrest of her son or any of his actions following the arrest," the suit said.

Jane Johnson, the ACLU of Louisiana's interim executive director, said the training Lafayette police officers are getting "is a credit to (Carter's) courage and resolve."

"People have a constitutional right to take photographs of things in public spaces, and that includes the police and other government officials," Johnson said in a statement.


Categories: Latest News

Deputies: DUI suspect mistook bank drive-thru for Taco Bell

PoliceOne - Sat, 01/20/2018 - 04:00

Associated Press

SPRING HILL, Fla. — Authorities say a Florida man was charged with driving under the influence after mistaking a bank drive-thru for a Taco Bell.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that 38-year-old Douglas Jon Francisco was arrested Wednesday evening outside the Bank of America branch in Spring Hill.

The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office says employees spotted Francisco passed out in the bank’s drive-up lane. After the workers banged on his car for some time, deputies say Francisco finally woke up and tried to order a burrito. When the branch manager told him it wasn’t a Taco Bell, he reportedly drove to the front parking lot.

Deputies say they found Francisco in the driver’s seat with his car running. He was arrested after failing a field sobriety test.

Francisco was freed Thursday on $500 bail. Jail records didn’t list an attorney.


Categories: Latest News

Mass. PD receives grant to maintain public safety

PoliceOne - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 15:38

Somerville Journal

SOMERVILLE, Mass. — Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Public Safety Secretary Daniel Bennett announced Friday, Jan. 19 that 14 police and fire departments have received $3,015,000 in state grants to assist municipalities in maintaining public safety and emergency response core services. These funds may be used to restore, retain or hire police and fire personnel or for overtime if needed to provide adequate shift coverage to maintain appropriate staffing levels.

The Somerville Police and Fire Departments will receive $38,000 and $60,000, respectively.

The Massachusetts Municipal Public Safety Staffing Grant (MUNI) program assists eligible municipalities to maintain public safety and emergency response services by helping them address police and/or fire department staffing necessities. Nine municipalities submitted applications on behalf of their police departments and five municipalities also requested funding for their fire departments.

Full Story: Somerville police and fire to receive thousands in state grants


Categories: Latest News

PD in NY receive grant to maintain public safety

PoliceOne - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 15:38

Somerville Journal

SOMERVILLE, N.Y. — Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Public Safety Secretary Daniel Bennett announced Friday, Jan. 19 that 14 police and fire departments have received $3,015,000 in state grants to assist municipalities in maintaining public safety and emergency response core services. These funds may be used to restore, retain or hire police and fire personnel or for overtime if needed to provide adequate shift coverage to maintain appropriate staffing levels.

The Somerville Police and Fire Departments will receive $38,000 and $60,000, respectively.

The Massachusetts Municipal Public Safety Staffing Grant (MUNI) program assists eligible municipalities to maintain public safety and emergency response services by helping them address police and/or fire department staffing necessities. Nine municipalities submitted applications on behalf of their police departments and five municipalities also requested funding for their fire departments.

Full Story: Somerville police and fire to receive thousands in state grants


Categories: Latest News

Police: NFL star threatened to sexually assault officer’s wife

PoliceOne - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 14:48

By PoliceOne Staff

SUNRISE, Fla. — An NFL star threatened to sexually assault a Florida officer’s wife after being arrested for speeding.

NJ.com reports that New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson, 24, was pulled over Friday after driving 105 mph in a 45 mph zone for about three-quarters of a mile. Anderson was “all over the roadway” before Officer Jonathan Hennessy finally stopped and arrested the athlete.

When Hennessy tried to put Anderson in his squad car, the wide receiver tensed up and refused to get in. Anderson later told the officer that he was going to find his wife and “f--k her and nut her in the eye” once he was released from jail.

"He continued [to] make other verbal threats towards my family," Hennessy wrote in a police report. "Based on his statements, it was clear that he intended to sexually assault my wife. He also began to brag about how much money he has and how all I was doing was trying to ... 'ruin his fun.'"

This was not the first time Anderson has been arrested. In May, he was arrested at a music festival after pushing an officer during a dispute.

Anderson faces several charges, including felony threatening a public servant or family member.

Read the full police report below:

Robby Anderson arrest report by DarrylSlater on Scribd

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Categories: Latest News

LAPD chief announces early retirement

PoliceOne - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 13:14

By PoliceOne Staff

LOS ANGELES — The chief of the Los Angeles Police Department abruptly announced his retirement Friday, ending an eight-year tenure as top cop.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, 64, made the announcement during a press conference to discuss the city’s crime trends, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Serving the citizens of Los Angeles for over 40 years has been the honor of a lifetime. Leading the men and women of the #LAPD -my family- has been a privilege I never thought I’d be worthy of. Today, I am announcing my retirement effective June 27th of this year.

— Chief Charlie Beck (@LAPDChiefBeck) January 19, 2018

Beck, who has served with the LAPD for over 40 years, said his retirement will be effective June 27th of this year. Beck said the department is “ready for fresh eyes to take our organization to even higher levels.”

“I plan on working every day until that day as the Chief of the greatest law enforcement agency in the country,” Beck wrote in a tweet. “I believe we are in the right place to support my decision, and give the next generation of LAPD leaders an opportunity to lead.”

Beck rose through the ranks during some of the most notable moments in the LAPD’s history, such as the 1992 L.A. riots and the Rampart corruption scandal.

No official reason has been given for Beck’s retirement. It’s also unclear who will replace him as the city’s next police chief.

BREAKING: LAPD Chief Beck announces his retirement effective in June. pic.twitter.com/UK3NL3PaNa

— mollenbeck (@amollenbeckKFI) January 19, 2018


Categories: Latest News

Video shows off-duty trooper rescuing woman from burning car

PoliceOne - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 11:31

By PoliceOne Staff

MIAMI — An off-duty trooper sprung into action to rescue a woman whose car was engulfed in flames following a crash.

WSVN reports that Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Yenir Dinaz Bueno was working an off-duty contraction job Nov. 29 when he witnessed the accident. The unconscious woman was trapped inside the passenger seat as her car became engulfed in flames.

The trooper desperately tried to get her out after the passenger door appeared to be jammed. After another trooper used a fire extinguisher to put out the flames, the troopers were able to pull the woman out of the burning vehicle.

The woman was badly injured, but she managed to survive.

“You don’t need words. Just look at the video, you’ll see the things that the officers, all of us, we go through on a daily basis,” said FHP Trooper Alvaro Feola. “This is what we do. This is what we go through everyday. You know, we’re police officers 24/7.”


Categories: Latest News

US marshals’ vehicles get parking tickets at hospital after colleague’s death

PoliceOne - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 11:28

By PoliceOne Staff

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Several U.S. Marshals received tickets while parked outside a hospital where their colleague died.

PennLive reports that several U.S. Marshal vehicles were parked outside a Pennsylvania hospital’s emergency room after Deputy U.S. Marshal Deputy Christopher David Hill was shot while serving a warrant. Hill later died from his injuries at the hospital.

Mayor Eric Papenfuse said sometimes this kind of mistake happens when parking enforcement officers don’t recognize unmarked vehicles.

“It will be a straightforward process to have the tickets waived,” he said.

Several US Marshal vehicles parked outside Harrisburg Hospital ER have been ticketed. To whomever did this: they may have a good case to fight it today. @PennLive pic.twitter.com/Oil8rvU8B6

— Joe Elias (@josephmelias) January 18, 2018


Categories: Latest News

Police credit new tech for helping nab suspected Phoenix serial killer

PoliceOne - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 11:19

By PoliceOne Staff

PHOENIX — Police in Phoenix arrested a man suspected of nine killings in a three-week span, thanks in part to new technology.

CBS News reports that police arrested Cleophus Cooksey in mid-December for the murder of his mother and stepfather. While Cooksey was in jail, detectives were investigating seven other unsolved murders that occurred in the area between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

All of the victims died from gunshot wounds, and all were reportedly traced back to Cooksey thanks to new technology.

Since mid-2017, Phoenix police have been using high-powered in-house technology that allows them to compare bullet casings from multiple crime scenes, according to the Arizona Republic. The tech allows police to immediately share and process ballistics evidence from different crimes scenes within hours instead of weeks.

"It means police can make an arrest and stop a killer before he claims another life," Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said. "Our streets are safer today."

The tool examines the microscopic grooves left on casings by the gun that fired them and allows police to compare them with casings found at other crimes scenes. Phoenix police Sgt. Jonathan Howard said while the technology was important, eyewitnesses, cell phone-tower data and surveillance footage also pointed police to the lone suspect.

Police believe Cooksey may be eventually be linked to more crimes.


Categories: Latest News

Police: Man punches self in face to avoid sobriety test

PoliceOne - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 09:11

Associated Press

BELFAST, Maine — Police in Maine have accused a man of punching himself in the face three times to avoid a sobriety test.

Police in the town of Belfast say they found 27-year-old Brian Fogg in his car, stuck in a ditch last week.

WGME-TV reports police said when they tried to test for his blood-alcohol level, Fogg punched himself in the face, causing himself to bleed. Police tended to his injuries instead of giving him the test, but later charged him with operating under the influence, falsifying physical evidence and criminal mischief.

Fogg's been released on bail. He has an unpublished number and it wasn't immediately known if he had a lawyer.


Categories: Latest News

Ex-officer: Fatal Fla. shooting of motorist was 'classic case of self-defense'

PoliceOne - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 08:17

By Marc Freeman Sun Sentinel

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The former police officer who shot and killed stranded motorist Corey Jones says it was “a classic case of self-defense” and he shouldn’t be prosecuted any longer.

Lawyers for Nouman Raja on Thursday filed a claim under Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” law, arguing the charges from the shooting Oct. 18, 2015, in Palm Beach Gardens should be dismissed because it “was wholly justifiable.”

“Officer Raja faced a man who pointed a gun at him, and did what any citizen is entitled to do: he defended himself,” wrote attorney Richard Lubin.

He asked Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Samantha Schosberg Feuer to hold a hearing where the defense would present evidence to show Raja deserves immunity.

Jones’ family has a pending wrongful death civil lawsuit against Raja, but it’s on hold until the criminal case is over.

Clinton Jones Sr., father of Corey Jones, said Thursday Raja “brought on the confrontation. I don’t understand how it can be self-defense.”

For now, Raja, 40, is facing a trial in April on charges of manslaughter by culpable negligence while armed, and attempted first-degree murder with a firearm. A grand jury found that his “use of force” was unjustified.

Raja remains on house arrest with a GPS ankle monitor — permitted to run some errands and work for a Boynton Beach firm that supplies gear to law enforcement agencies — under a $250,000 bond.

Jones, a 31-year-old Delray Beach housing inspector and a church drummer from west of Lake Worth, was on the way home from a gig with his reggae band when his SUV broke down. He stopped along an Interstate 95 southbound exit ramp at 1:30 a.m.

At the time, Raja was assigned to patrol parking lots in response to a string of late-night vehicle burglaries. Prosecutors say he approached Jones in an unmarked cargo van in plain clothes at about 3:15 a.m. — what they’ve called a “tactically unsound, unsafe and grossly negligent manner.”

Raja’s lawyers claim he identified himself as a cop and Jones jumped out of his SUV and “immediately drew a gun and pointed it at Officer Raja.” Raja ordered Jones to drop the weapon but he did not, wrote Lubin, with attorneys Scott Richardson and Rick King.

Raja, seeing what he thought was a “red laser” from the muzzle of Jones’ licensed .380-caliber handgun, then fired three shots because he feared for his life, the defense claims.

Jones then ran to a grassy area and Raja followed, when “Officer Raja saw a flash and Mr. Jones raise his right arm as if to point the gun again,” Lubin continued.

That prompted Raja to fire three more shots at Jones, according to the defense.

The “stand your ground law,” first enacted in 2005, says someone does not have to retreat and can legally use deadly force if the person reasonably believes doing so is necessary “to prevent imminent death.”

Of the six shots, Jones was hit three times. One of the bullets tore through Jones’ heart and both lungs, fatally wounding him, according to medical examiner findings.

Prosecutors have accused Raja of not telling the truth to investigators about identifying himself as an officer, or what followed. They are leaning on the recording of a phone call between Jones and a roadside assistance operator that captured sounds of the shooting.

Investigators said the recording proves Raja fired the second round of shots even after he had to have realized that Jones had tossed his weapon in the grass near the rear of his SUV.

At least one of the shots was fired as Jones ran, because a bullet struck the back of Jones’ upper right arm, according to a prosecutors’ report.

Raja’s legal team on Thursday contends more recent testimony from the lead investigators proves “the state has no idea how this shooting occurred.”

©2018 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)


Categories: Latest News

Baltimore police commissioner fired after record year in homicides

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

By David McFadden Associated Press

BALTIMORE — Following a record year in per-capita homicides, Baltimore's mayor on Friday fired the city's police commissioner after roughly 2 ½ years at the helm, saying a change in leadership was needed to reduce violent crime more quickly.

Mayor Catherine Pugh announced that Deputy Commissioner Darryl DeSousa, who has steadily risen through the ranks during a 30-year career with the police department, will take Commissioner Kevin Davis' place immediately.

"My decision is because I'm inpatient," Pugh said at a news conference at City Hall. "My decision is based on the fact that we need to get these numbers down. ... I'm looking for new and creative, innovative ways to change what we're seeing here every day."

While violent crime rates in Baltimore have been notoriously high for decades, Baltimore ended 2017 with 343 killings, bringing the annual homicide rate to its highest ever — roughly 56 killings per 100,000 people. Baltimore, which has shrunk over decades, currently has about 615,000 inhabitants.

In contrast, New York City had 290 homicides last year, its fewest on record in the modern era for the city of 8.5 million people. Los Angeles, with about 4 million residents, saw 305 homicides last year.

DeSousa, a 53-year-old city resident who joined the department in 1988, pledged to reduce violent crime in part by putting more uniformed officers on the streets and saturating "hot spots," an effort he said is already underway. Additional uniformed officers began rolling out in waves starting at 9 a.m., he said at the news conference, some heading out to what he described as "problematic businesses."

DeSousa said he had a message for the city's violent repeat offenders, a rotating cast of so-called "trigger pullers" that law enforcers have long said are responsible for an outsized percentage of the city's high crime rates.

"District commanders in all nine districts know who they are and we're coming after them. And I want to let everybody know that it will be done in a constitutional manner," DeSousa said.

He says he's looking forward to the challenge of his new leadership job and will approach his role as a strategic thinker who knows the ins-and-outs of the department's operations as well as law enforcement approaches that have had success in other U.S. cities.

"Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a chess player, and I don't like to be outwitted," he told reporters.

DeSousa has served in just about every police department role over the years and in 2017 was assigned to lead the patrol bureau, the largest in Baltimore's force. His appointment will be made permanent following "appropriate approvals," Pugh's office said.

DeSousa appears to have the strong backing of the City Council and a number of Baltimore's activists. Councilman Brandon Scott said he has received numerous phone messages from community organizers praising the mayor's "great decision."

"Never before did I get text messages from community leaders saying, 'Thank you, this is the right choice,'" he said, describing the three previous times during his career as an elected official that a Baltimore police commissioner was replaced.

Davis, previously chief of police in Maryland's Anne Arundel County and assistant chief in Prince George's County, was sworn in as Baltimore's commissioner in October 2015 after serving on an interim basis for several months. He replaced Anthony Batts, who was fired after homicides spiked following the death of Freddie Gray, a black man whose fatal spinal cord injury in police custody triggered massive protests that year and the city's worst riots in decades.

Prior to 2015, Baltimore's killings had generally been on the decline.

In a statement, Pugh — who took office as mayor in December 2016 and has said reducing crime is her No. 1 priority while boosting police recruits and improving long-neglected neighborhoods — described Davis as "hardworking."

"I am grateful to Commissioner Davis for all that he has done to implement the initiatives underway to address violent crime at its root causes," she said, referencing a city initiative started in October to chip away at violent crime by focusing attention on five troubled zones.


Categories: Latest News

Details emerge in fatal shooting of US marshal

PoliceOne - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 07:34

By Steve Esack The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.)

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A gun threat over a double-parked car three months ago.

That, authorities said, sparked a shootout Thursday morning in Harrisburg that left a deputy U.S. marshal dead, a police officer wounded and another hit but unharmed because of his armored vest.

Deputy Marshal Christopher David Hill, 45, a married father of two, was shot and killed when he and other members of the marshals’ Fugitive Task Force served an arrest warrant at a home in a city neighborhood, authorities said. Court records say the woman wanted on the warrant pointed a gun at another woman during a parking spat in November.

Authorities said a man shot at officers when they came to arrest the woman at 6:30 a.m., and they returned fire, killing the man.

“Christopher Hill died a hero today,” U.S. Attorney Dave Freed said during a news conference at the federal building in Harrisburg about eight hours after the fatal encounter. “We will honor his memory by standing with his family and his brothers and sisters in law enforcement.”

York police officer Kyle Pitts, a 10-year veteran of the city police department and a member of the task force, was wounded in the shooting in the 1800 block of Mulberry Street, Freed said. A Harrisburg officer was shot in his body armor and was not injured, he added.

Authorities later identified the shooter as Kevin Sturgis, 31, of Philadelphia. He had his own outstanding warrants for skipping a sentencing hearing on a gun charge and failing to appear at a probation violation hearing concerning a past charge of receiving stolen property and unauthorized use of a car. Sturgis had nine closed adult criminal cases dating to 2005 and juvenile adjudication for rape.

The woman who was the subject of the warrant was identified as Shayla Lynette Towles Pierce, 30. She was sent to Dauphin County jail under $200,000 bail on charges of making terroristic threats, simple assault and carrying a firearm without a license.

Uncredited / AP

According to Freed, this is how investigators, so far, believe the shooting unfolded:

Task force officers, armed with the arrest warrant, arrived at the house on Mulberry Street in the Allison Hill neighborhood, 1.5 miles from the state Capitol complex. They knocked, identified themselves and entered through the front door. Pierce and two children then appeared at the top of the steps. She surrendered and was handcuffed.

Then shots rang out from the second floor, hitting Hill and Pitts. The other officers got the wounded out the back door and set up a perimeter while Hill was rushed to a downtown hospital, where he later died.

Dauphin County District Attorney Fran Chardo said during the news conference that an early review indicates the shooting was justifiable self-defense. The shooter started firing first, he said.

Pitts, the York officer, was undergoing surgery and expected to make a full recovery.

Dauphin County Court records show Harrisburg police filed a criminal complaint Dec. 2 for Pierce.

According to that criminal complaint:

On Nov. 25, Harrisburg police officer Rachel James responded to a call at 1837 Mulberry St. A woman told James she asked another woman — later identified as Pierce — to move her double-parked car out of the street. Rather than comply, Pierce pulled a gun from her purse, pointed it at the woman’s head and said, "I'll shoot you," before lowering the gun and then raising it again in a menacing fashion.

The woman took a picture of the double-parked car’s license plate and police tracked the car’s owner to the location of the call, 1837 Mulberry St., but police could not track the owner down. The woman picked Pierce's photo out of a lineup, allowing James to file the warrant.

The task force is composed of federal marshals, local and state police and county sheriffs. It serves federal court warrants and helps track down fugitives.

U.S. Marshal Martin Pane, who heads the services’ central Pennsylvania office, said Hill was one of the best at his job, using knowledge and skills learned as an Army Ranger to perform tactical maneuvers and handle explosives, all while never losing his sense of humor.

“I ask that you keep his wife and two children in your thoughts and prayers in this difficult time,” Pane said while fighting back emotions.

“No words can adequately express the sadness we feel at this moment as we contemplate the loss of yet another law enforcement officer in the line of duty,” Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse said.

The shooting occurred a block away from where police shot and killed a man last month after he drove around the city shooting at police cars.

A third shooting occurred in the same area in the last four months, said Ron Segrist, 53, who lives on Mulberry Street.

“A nice old guy was shot in the leg,” he said. “It’s just bizarre. So much hate on one block.”

©2018 The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.)


Categories: Latest News

Europol Executive Director receives the Vice Minister of China at Agency’s headquarters

EUROPOL - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 04:22
Today, Mr Rob Wainwright, the Executive Director of Europol has received the visit of the Chinese Vice Minister for Public Security, Mr Li Wei. The purpose of the visit was to discuss closer international law enforcement cooperation under the strategic agreement signed between Europol and the People's Republic of China in April 2017.
Categories: Latest News

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