Monday, July 28, 2014

Federal judge declares Washington DC gun control unconstitutional-orders enforcement halted

Washington DC July 28 2014 A federal judge has declared that one of the District’s principal gun control laws is unconstitutional and ordered that its enforcement be halted.
The ruling by Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr., made public Saturday, orders the city to end its prohibition against carrying a pistol in public.
It was not clear Saturday night what immediate effect the order would have.
The order was addressed to the District of Columbia and Police Chief Cathy Lanier, as well as their employees and officers and others “who receive actual notice” of the ruling. But it could not be determined Saturday night who had received notice. Also unclear was whether the city would appeal and what effect that would have on the enforcement ban.
Legal sources said Saturday night that in general all parties to a case must be duly informed of a ruling and given the opportunity to appeal before it takes effect.
The D.C. attorney general represented the city. A spokesman for the attorney general’s office said he had not seen the order and declined to comment. However, he said city lawyers would study the ruling and consider their options.
A spokeswoman for the police department said she was not aware of the ruling.
The case was heard by Scullin, a senior U.S. District judge who normally sits in New York. In his ruling, Scullin said that, based on recent decisions, “there is no longer any basis” to conclude that the city’s “total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional.”
Scullin said he was stopping enforcement of the law “unless and until” the city adopted a constitutionally valid licensing mechanism.
The suit against the city was filed by four named plaintiffs and the Second Amendment Foundation, which is based in Washington state.
Washington Post

Off-duty LAPD officer dies in traffic crash

LOS ANGELES CA July 28 2014  An autopsy could be performed early this week on a Los Angeles police officer who was injured in an off-duty traffic crash earlier this week and died Saturday, a coroner’s official said today.
The autopsy on Officer Kathleen Talbot could be performed Monday or Tuesday, said coroner’s Inv. Joyce Kato.
Talbot, a patrol officer at the Rampart Station, succumbed to her injuries Saturday, said Officer Nuria Vanegas of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Media Relations Section.
News of her death was first posted on the Internet by chief Charlie Beck, who offered condolences.
In 2011, Talbot was honored by LAPD for helping to save the life of an arrested person who had been trying to commit suicide inside a holding cell at the Rampart station.
At 6:30 a.m. Thursday, a witness saw Talbot’s vehicle cross the center line of Valencia Boulevard and crash into a light pole, according to radio station KHTS in Santa Clarita.
Marty Siebe of Lebec witnessed the crash, and emailed KHTS to say that he “never saw her apply the brakes, and can only assume that she lost consciousness when she first began to drift.”
An officer at the Rampart Station said the death was from natural causes.
There was no indication Talbot’s death was related to police work.
A city fire department spokesman said firefighters offered a salute along an undisclosed funeral procession route as the officer’s remains were taken to the downtown area.
Talbot’s passing was the latest in a series of LAPD officer deaths this year.
On May 9, Detective Ernest L. Allen, 52, a 27-year veteran of the department, was killed when a cement mixer struck his pickup truck along a winding, hilly stretch of Loma Vista Drive in Beverly Hills. Officer Nicholas Lee, 40, was killed on the same stretch of road when an out-of-control truck struck his vehicle on March 7. After Allen was killed, Beverly Hills police announced a 30-day moratorium on heavy construction traffic on Loma Vista Drive and the rest of the Trousdale Estates area. Construction traffic is now heavily monitored in that area.
On May 3, two officers died: Officer George Nagata, 62, a 33-year veteran of the force who fell ill while on duty, and Officer Roberto C. Sanchez, 32, killed in a hit-and-run crash while pursuing a suspect in Harbor City.
On April 5, motorcycle Officer Chris Cortijo, 51, was struck from behind by an SUV while stopped at a red light in Sun Valley. He died four days later. That driver was charged with driving under the influence of cocaine.

Police searching for man wanted for armed robbery at Independence Mall

According to Wilmington Police, Cedric Reynard Smith was seen stealing merchandise from the Belk store and was later confronted by a security guard. (Source: WPD)
WILMINGTON, NC July 28 2014            
Police are searching for a man wanted for armed robbery after he pulled a knife on a security guard at Independence Mall.
Police say that Smith then pulled a knife and attempted to cut the employee.
Smith then fled the scene in a red vehicle.
Police are still searching for the suspect with arrest warrants for armed robbery.

University of Delaware police say hundreds of images captured on hidden camera in bathroom

A University of Delaware graduate student is accused of hiding video cameras in restrooms, both on-campus and off, over a period of more than two years

Newark DE July 28 2014 Police will not reach out to identify more than the 40 women they have confirmed as having been filmed in restrooms at and near the University of Delaware over a two-year period.
While hundreds of women were illicitly recorded, the state attorney general's office believes it now has enough evidence to successfully prosecute the suspect, UD's executive director of campus and public safety, Skip Homiak, said Saturday.
Homiak said the suspect, former doctoral candidate Javier Mendiola-Soto, has told UD Police he downloaded 1,500 separate videos taken of women using miniature cameras he hid in sanitary napkin dispensers in bathroom stalls on and around campus. But with some of the women having been recorded "three or four times," Homiak said, "hundreds" of victims would be an accurate estimate.
Mendiola-Soto, 38, is being held at Young Correctional Institution in Wilmington on a $42,000 secured bond; federal immigration authorities have added a detainer that would keep him jailed even if he could make the cash bond, Homiak said.
Once the case is adjudicated and any sentence served, he said, the "likely outcome" for Mendiola-Soto is deportation back to his home country of Mexico.
Mendiola-Soto has been expelled from the university, Homiak added.
Homiak said it's understood that some of the victims – all of whom have been offered counseling – might be reticent to appear in court.
"We're hoping that, in fact, if they're needed to testify, they will," he said. "We do understand that they've been traumatized. Everything that we are doing at the university is with the utmost sensitivity to the victims. And that's our main concern at the moment."
While officials won't attempt additional identifications for prosecution purposes, they will allow women who believe they were filmed and want to confirm it to do so.
"Anybody who thinks they may have been a victim of this, they can call us on the hotline and speak with an investigator," Homiak said. "And if that person wishes, we can compare her known photo with an image that we have taken from the videos."
To speed the process and add an additional layer of privacy, those images are screenshots of just faces that have been placed in digital folders arranged by location and date, he said.
Homiak said Mendiola-Soto used just two cameras and moved them over a period stretching from May 2012 through June 2014 amongst restrooms in five locations: the Hugh Morris Library, Memorial Hall, the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Laboratory, Willard Hall Education Building and a staff-only restroom at the Delaware Biotechnology Institute in the Delaware Technology Park. A woman in the latter location spotted a hidden camera and reported it June 27, Homiak said.
"Very quickly, the investigation led to the arrest of the defendant after we spoke to witnesses, and other investigative means," Homiak said. Mendiola-Soto, who was arrested July 1, took classes in that building, he said.
The cameras were at times also mounted in at least two other locations, Homiak said: the Goodwill Store on Main Street in Newark, and a bathroom at his Newark residence. Homiak said Mendiola-Soto's roommates included women.
On campus, Homiak said, police have searched every restroom – including men's rooms – and locker room. Nothing else was found, he said.
Homiak said it's unknown how Mendiola-Soto managed to slip in and out of women's restrooms – none of which are accessible 24 hours a day – over a two-year period, apparently without getting seen.
"That's a good question," Homiak said. "We don't know the answer to that. The cameras had to physically be removed and downloaded each time he placed them in the bathroom."
Homiak said Mendiola-Soto does not appear to have had an accomplice. "There's nothing at all to indicate that he acted anything other than solo on this," he said.
A forensic examination by the Middletown Police Department has concluded that none of the videos were electronically shared, Homiak said.
Contact William H. McMichael at (302) 324-2812 or On Twitter: @billmcmichael
Contacting UD Police
Anyone who wants to see if they are on the seized videos can use the UD police hotline at (302) 831-4800; callers can arrange to review the images with a female detective. is another option. Anyone with information on suspicious activity is asked to contact UD police at (302) 831-2222.

Police capture man wanted in robbery at Bellagio Hotel

 Description Bellagio Casino and Hotel at Night.jpg

LAS VEGAS NV July 28 2014—An armed robbery at the Bellagio Hotel kept the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department busy tracking down leads, watching security surveillance video and following the trail but it all paid off as investigators say they arrested a person in the hotel robbery which took place Friday night.
Police say the man was taken into custody after officers responded to the scene of a suspicious person who checked into a hotel late Saturday night.
The SWAT team was also called out to the hotel on Paradise near Harmon to help take the man into custody.

Metro police say the man was booked into Clark County Detention Center as John Doe.
He faces charges of robbery with use of a deadly weapon and burglary with use of a deadly weapon.

Detectives have also found the person of interest they previously named in the case, Jesse Jones, which is no longer involved in the crime.

The robbery at the Bellagio Hotel happened around 8:30 p.m. The suspect pointed a handgun at an employee and demanded money, police said. Sources tell us the person got away with $30,000.
Metro police have not released the suspect’s name or a photo yet.

Nashville keeps ICE program "Secure Communities"

Nashville TN July 28 2014 Nashville’s mayor took the stage at a conference in Washington this month to explain how his city makes immigrants feel welcome — turning its libraries into citizenship assistance hubs, opening an academy to teach how government works and convening an immigrant advisory council.
Juana Villegas responded with wide-eyed shock to the news that Nashville tried to teach anything to anybody about the best way to treat immigrants.
Stopped on a 2008 careless driving charge that a Berry Hill judge later dismissed, Villegas was famously shackled to a Metro General Hospital bed during parts of her labor. The reason she gave birth in custody was a federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement program Nashville was volunteering to use at the time, called 287(g). The jail’s check of her immigration status showed she’d been deported before and re-entered the country illegally.
That program’s replacement, adopted here two years ago, is a nationwide version called Secure Communities. Counties and cities across the country — Chicago, New York and Newark, N.J., among them — are casting it aside, saying it’s too expensive, targets minor offenders and exposes local government to Fourth Amendment violation lawsuits. Local advocates for the immigrant community are suggesting Nashville stop participating, too.
But for now, it seems unlikely Mayor Karl Dean would use his bully pulpit to influence that process. He issued a statement saying the police and sheriff’s departments here haven’t reported any problems with Secure Communities, although he recognizes its chilling effect in other parts of the country.
After her jail stay made national news, Villegas became the face of immigrant treatment in Nashville, someone people stop on the street to ask for advice. Her little boy born in custody, Gael, is 6 now, preparing to start the first grade. He’s a sun-kissed, happy kid, who loves baseball and says his favorite school subject is recess.
They live in the family’s tidy, brick split-level in South Nashville, paid for in part with Villegas’ $490,000 legal settlement with Metro Nashville over her treatment.
While the average Nashvillian may be a bit nicer to his immigrant neighbors these days, she said, little has changed in the way of the city’s approach.
“I’ve seen a series of cases of people who are pulled over, get a citation for a minor infraction, are delivered to ICE and get deported,” Villegas said in Spanish, through an interpreter. “Up to this day, I get really nervous when I’m driving and I see police. I have my license now, and they have pulled me over.”
She’s in the country legally now, on a work permit that allows her to be an assistant manager at a fast-food restaurant. Two weeks ago, she put in 65 hours.
Mistrust of police
From outside its immigrant communities, Nashville seems like a different city from the one that had to vote in 2009 on whether to allow city employees to speak Spanish to Latino residents. In addition to the formal programs the mayor talked about, the city hosts frequent, well-attended international festivals.
The mistrust is of law enforcement, Villegas and other immigrants say. City police make the arrests, sometimes taking foreign-born residents to jail instead of writing them citations for minor offenses. Once in Metro’s jail, which is run by Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall, they’re subject to a check through Secure Communities, a 48-hour ICE hold and, if it’s found they’re here illegally, deportation.
A study of ICE detainers in fiscal years 2012 and 2013 by Syracuse University shows more than half the immigrants subject to them in Nashville aren’t convicted for the crimes that put them in jail. Forty-one percent are convicted of Level 3 offenses — things such as intimidation, shoplifting or refusing to aid an officer.
Another study by an advocacy group called Migrahack brought journalists and computer programmers together to analyze data and identify where Secure Communities is most aggressively used for deportation. Davidson County was among the communities that stood out to researchers, and Human Rights Watch followed up here with interviews.
“The first thing immigrants in Davidson County mentioned is that they are afraid to talk to police, because for any reason — even if you have an emergency — police may ask them for their documents and send them through Secure Communities,” said Claudia Núñez, Migrahack director.
Don Aaron, a spokesman for Metro Police, said the department’s El Protector program is working hard to let immigrants know they can safely report crimes. If police stop people suspected of misdemeanors who don’t have proper identification — and officers can even accept rent receipts and utility bills for that purpose, he said — they have no choice under law but to take them to jail.
Nearly 1,100 people have been subject to ICE detainers under Secure Communities since the program began here in October 2012. The sheriff’s department doesn’t track how much that costs local taxpayers, but a spokeswoman said it costs $95 per day per inmate for a jail stay.
Hall estimates Secure Communities has cost Davidson County about $200,000 since its inception. He has no intention of dropping it.
“I think everybody agrees on one thing: The system is a mess. We were talking about 287(g), and now with activists and the political winds growing, we’re getting into conversations about the Secure Communities,” said Hall, who is considering a 2015 run for mayor.
“It’s all a symptom of the problem. What does society want to do with someone in the country illegally who has been arrested in some community?”
Asking for a change
Expense was an issue in Los Angeles changing its policy around Secure Communities, and that city ceased honoring immigration detainers this year unless a judge determines there’s probable cause or issues a warrant.
A study by nonprofit research group Justice Strategies showed the detainers likely cost Los Angeles $26 million per year. Since it was released, author Judith Greene said, she’s been hearing from researchers from across the country who want to do the same calculations where they are.
“When jurisdictions started opting out, the Department of Homeland Security turned the tables on them and said, ‘No, you can’t — we never meant this to be voluntary,’” Greene said. “That has left a lot of public officials annoyed.”
Other city leaders are worried about possible legal exposure after a federal judge ruled in April that Clackamas County, Oregon, violated a woman’s Fourth Amendment rights by honoring an ICE detainer.
Hall said he’s monitoring any fallout from that case.
The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, on the other hand, has no qualms about asking local governments across Tennessee to stop participating in Secure Communities.
“Secure Communities is a flawed and expensive program that separates immigrant families, diverts local law enforcement resources, and undermines trust between the immigrant community and law enforcement,” said Stephanie Teatro, the coalition’s interim co-director. “Now that ICE has confirmed that honoring detainers is voluntary and federal courts have determined that local jails may be held liable for detaining people on an ICE hold, hundreds of jurisdictions have made the smart decision to stop honoring detainers.”
If Nashville wants to continue being a leader in the Southeast, she said, it needs to do the same.
Reach Heidi Hall at or on Twitter @HeidiHallTN.
Secure Communities
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement program fingerprints people taken to jail and runs those prints through an immigration database. Undocumented immigrants can be held for up to 48 hours for ICE to pick up. Here are how many ICE detainers have been issued in Nashville under Secure Communities since it launched in October 2012.
*Through July 20
Source: Davidson County Sheriff’s Office

Couple commit suicide at Staten Island Hilton Garden Inn

investigate the scene of a multiple shooting inside Hilton Garden Inn ...
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. July 28 2014  -- Police say the man and the woman found unresponsive Friday in a room in the Hilton Garden Inn died in a double suicide.
Police identified the pair as Scott Jacobi, 37, of Dongan Hills, and Theresa Mateo, 34, of the Bronx.
According to police, the city medical examiner has determined that the pair committed suicide.
The medical examiner's office will conduct autopsies to determine the cause of death, however, a source familiar with the investigation said the Bloomfield hotel was "advised by the New York City Police Department that it was an overdose."
Police said they did not find a suicide note, and they did not believe any weapons or drugs were found in the room.
The man and woman were found Friday in Room 401 by hotel workers when they failed to check out on time, the source said.
Officers responded around 12:53 p.m. to a 911 call of two unconscious people, police said.
On arrival, cops found Jacobi and Ms. Mateo fully clothed, holding each other in bed, police said. They were unconscious and unresponsive, said cops.
Emergency medical services personnel responded and pronounced the pair dead at 1:05 p.m., police said.
The couple was last seen alive on security footage within the hotel as late as Thursday evening.
"It was [Thursday] night before 10 p.m. that the couple was last seen in the public space of the hotel in a hallway," said the source.
In addition, the source said that the couple was not "connected to any special events at the hotel."

Baltimore police charge man in Whole Foods robbery

Man arrested in Whole Foods robbery
Baltimore MD July 28 2014 A man was arrested for robbing the Whole Foods in Harbor East on Sunday, getting $346 and closing the store for several hours, Baltimore Police said Friday.
Adel Gabara, of the 200 block of South Broadway, was charged with armed robbery, assault and weapons violations, and held at Central Booking without bail, police said. He is either 38 or 40 years old; charging documents list two different birth years for him.
An employee told police she was working at a register when she noticed a man "acting nervous" in line behind the customer she was waiting on, according to charging documents. The man put a "green bottle of bubbles" on the conveyor belt, leaned over and said, "Give me the money I have a gun, I'll kill you and everyone in here, and I'm not joking," the documents said. He grabbed his left side as if for a gun, the documents said.
The employee tried to kick a nearby colleague to get her attention, and the man ordered her to hurry up, according to the documents, so she put money from the register on the belt and the robber grabbed it and fled.
Several days later, police were called by a man who said he recognized the robber from surveillance photographs shown in the media, according to the documents, leading to Gabara's arrest.
Baltimore Sun

Security, service workers at odds in contract negotiations with The Metropolitan Opera

The Met Opera

New York City NY July 28 2014
For Metropolitan Opera patrons, it's the ticket takers, security guards, matrons and ushers that make an evening run smoothly before the main event. The Metropolitan Opera, however, is involved in contentious contract negotiations and threatening those same workers with pay cuts, pension cuts and increased health care expenses, which on their small salaries, they cannot afford.
There are 16 unions negotiating contracts with the Metropolitan Opera, and all contracts except one are due to expire July 31. Met General Manager Peter Gelb has threatened a lockout over the contract negotiations if agreements can't be reached.
On Thursday, the ushers, ticket takers, security guards and matrons, members of 32BJ SEIU, rallied outside the Metropolitan Opera house in the late afternoon.

"We are not close to an agreement. They continue to propose wage freezes over a five year agreement, which is what they are asking for. They have proposed a very high deductible health plan," Shirley Aldebol, the vice president of 32BJ SEIU, told Latin Post. "They continue to propose changes in work rules that would hurt our members in terms of income, and they want to cut the pension benefit."

32BJ SEIU has 150 members who work at the Metropolitan Opera. Aldebol said management is offering a health plan with a $2,000 deductible for single people and $4,000 for a family, increases in co-pays and increases in out-of-pocket expenses.
"That coupled with a wage freeze, actually a wage cut, because they currently don't pay a deductible to go to the doctor or the hospital. This change would mean that people won't be able to afford the health care," Aldebol said.
Management is also threatening pensions with a cutback of 60 percent of their 2003-4 salary to 40 percent of that total, representing cuts of $2,000.
The average salary for a security guard, usher or matron full-time is $35,000 -- $45,000 a year, or $17 -- $22 per hour, and currently workers are not required to contribute to their health plan.
Met officials said they need to save money, their ticket sales are down, their costs have gone up, and in order to keep the Met operating, they have to reduce their operating costs.
"Our position is that the amount of savings they can get from our workforce is so insignificant and the savings will be miniscule in terms of what they really need to save," Aldebol said. "If they have mismanaged their finances where they're in a position saying they can't continue to operate unless these cuts happen, it is unfair to do it on the backs of workers who really can't afford it."
The Met is trying to resolve a gap between their $300 million operating budget and their $253 million endowment according to New York Observer.

Aldebol said they will continue to negotiate in good faith.

Metro Nashville police concerned about Walmart crime

Metro Police respond to suspicious package in west Nashville - WSMV ...

NASHVILLE, TN July 28 2014            
A brand new Walmart Supercenter in Madison means one-stop shopping and low prices around the clock.
For Metro Nashville Police it also means a lot of headaches.
"Looking at the numbers on our shoplifting, we do see a pattern developing from our Walmarts," said Commander Sebastian Gourdin.
Forty-seven percent of Madison's shoplifting incidents this year all happened at Walmarts. It's a huge drain on the department's resources.
"It takes away from officers being in the neighborhoods addressing crime issues and quality of life issues as well," Gourdin said.
Taxpayers end up footing the bill.
"All of that costs money, costs time," Gourdin said.
And, if that doesn't upset you, perhaps eventually having to pay higher prices at the checkout lines will.
"Things like that has a way of trickle-down effect. That can cause prices to rise throughout Walmart," Gourdin said.
Walmart officials say they value their partnerships with local communities. They say if there's a large percentage of shoplifting reports within Walmart stores that's demonstrative that their safety measures are working. It means they're catching shoplifters.
A Walmart spokesperson issued this statement: "We constantly evaluate how we can be doing better in terms of our asset protection measures and we are constantly updating those measures."
Officers say they have asked Walmart to add more resources.
"Some locations do have cameras, maybe put them in a different area. They always can hire more security," Gourdin said.
So far, no luck.
"We are looking for more partnership with the Walmarts to help us out," Gourdin said.
It's not that police don't welcome the new business. In fact, they say they're glad it's here.
"We actually love it. Personally, I shop there. Me and my family shop there all the time," Gourdin said.
They're simply asking for their help.
"We would like their assistance. Like I said, we're trying to help them out, as well as for the whole area," Gourdin said.
A Walmart spokesperson said they change their security measures on a store-by-store basis and evaluate them that way. They say they appreciate the feedback and take it seriously.

Kayakers breach secure area at JFK airport

Kayakers breach secure area at JFK airport

New York NY July 28 2014 Two kayakers adrift in Jamaica Bay with just one paddle unwittingly breached Kennedy Airport’s $300 million perimeter detection system.
They could have been spotted by a boat patrol — except there wasn’t one. Port Authority boats don’t patrol the bay at night, police sources said.
Jordan Crooms of Rosedale, Queens, and Anthony Giglio of Inwood, LI, set out at 11:30 p.m. Friday from a park in Inwood, across the bay from the airport.
“We were just kayaking at night,” Crooms explained.
The duo lost two paddles when their three-man kayak rolled over.
“We had one paddle left,” Crooms said. “We were going toward the closest spot to shore.”
They washed up on a swampy area that juts out from the end of Kennedy’s Runway 4L, said Port Authority police sources. The airport’s perimeter detection system failed to detect the pair, the sources said.
Workers maintaining runway safety equipment found the men at 1:40 a.m. Saturday and turned them over to cops.
Crooms and Giglio, both 21, got summonses for trespassing and were released.
Port Authority boat patrols around Kennedy and La Guardia airports were canceled last year to save money, although some patrols resumed last month after a boat crashed into runway approach lights at LaGuardia when its captain abandoned the helm to participate in a three-way sex romp, sources said. Nighttime patrols around Kennedy have yet to be restored, police sources said.
“Once again a perimeter security breach at JFK Airport raises serious concerns about the Port Authority’s Perimeter Intrusion Detection System, a system the PAPBA believes is a failure,” said a spokesman for the Port Authority police union. “The PA has the vessels, purchased with federal funds, and Coast Guard certified marine police officers to perform a 24-hour marine perimeter patrol with rescue capability.’

State audit finds Alamo Colleges campus security records deficient

Video thumbnail for State audit finds Alamo Colleges campus security records deficient

SAN ANTONIO TX July 28 2014  - Citywide, there are five Alamo College campuses, 59,000 students and a total of 67 security officers covering those schools.

More than a third of those officers were found to have personnel files that were incomplete.

"It is a little surprising. I would expect that everybody would be up to date with what they need to have," said student Victoria Meyers.

In a 2014 audit, the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Agency revealed one officer was missing psychiatric evaluation records, 10 did not have documents showing physicals and/or drug screens had been completed, and 21 officers did not have adequate certification for firearms training.

"Others were fingerprints, they had to go out and be fingerprinted again and brought in," said Associate Chancellor of Communications of the Alamo Colleges Leo Zuniga.

"It shouldn't take a state audit for them to say, 'Oh, wait, we're behind,'" said student Jammila Ward.

"I'm paying for a reason, I'd like to at least feel a little safe on campus," said student Abel Chavira.

According to Zuniga, in some cases, the required evaluations had never been done.

"It was a series of things. Some of them were missing, some of them were thought to be in one office, some were thought to be in another office, but a complete search and audit was done and all of the records were brought up to standard," Zuniga said.

The Alamo Colleges were given 30 days to come into compliance, which they did.

During that time, seven of the officers were taken out of uniform, but according to Zuniga, campus security was never compromised.

"There was overtime assigned to the remaining officers on the force, to cover their duties and responsibilities of the seven officers that were out for five to 10 days," Zuniga said.

Administrators have since changed the way they manage and keep records.

They are now keeping both digital and hard copies in two different locations.

"It was a learning experience and we gained from it and we've improved the process as a result of this," Zuniga said.

To see the state audit, click here:

Myrtle Beach police investigate pair of sexual assaults

Garry Leon White

Myrtle Beach SC July 28 2014 A Charlotte, N.C. man has been charged in connection with one of two sexual assaults reported Saturday at Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach, according to police records.
In the first incident, a woman said the suspect groped her and then threw a drink on her inside Rodeo Bar and Grill at Broadway at the Beach, according to a police report.
Garry Leon White, 29, of Charlotte, N.C., was charged with assault and battery, second degree; and resisting arrest, the report said.
Bond has been set at $5,469 for both counts, according to the Horry County Public Index.
The suspect initially denied groping the woman. His shirt was wet too and he said she was the one who threw a drink on him.
However, multiple witnesses said the suspect did grope the woman, and that they threw drinks on each other.
Confronted with this, the man fled on foot across the parking lot at Broadway and behind Hard Rock Cafe. Police had to tase the man to subdue him, the report said.
Investigators conducted a followup interview of security officers and took surveillance video of the foot chase into evidence.
In the second incident, a woman said she was kidnapped and sexually assaulted by two black males.
According to the report, the woman told police she was kidnapped in the area of 17th Avenue South after getting gas and pulling back onto the road near a stop sign.
The report listed the incident location at 1318 Celebrity Circle in Myrtle Beach. The incident occurred between 3 and 7 a.m. Saturday, according to the report.
One of the suspects had dreadlocks and a flat nose. The other was clean cut and both were in their 30s, stood about 5-9 to 6-0 and weighed between 140 and 170 pounds.
There is no apparent connection between the two sexual assaults.

TX federal court rules citizen had right to tape police

Austin TX July 28 2014 Activist Antonio Buehler scored a legal victory this week when a federal judge declined to dismiss his lawsuit against the Austin Police Department, ruling he had a clearly established constitutional right to photograph and film officers when they arrested him multiple times while videotaping authorities.
In an order filed Thursday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Lane found all private citizens have the right to record officers in public places as they perform their official duties, so long as they don’t interfere, and that the officers in Buehler’s case weren’t immune from allegations that they had detained and searched him without probable cause.
Lane said the city and Police Department could not escape liability for failing to establish a policy and provide training addressing how officers should proceed when citizens videotape or photograph them, according to the memorandum filed in the U.S. Western District of Texas. He rejected Buehler’s claims of excessive force and malicious prosecution.
The case has garnered the attention of activists and journalists as the U.S. Supreme Court hasn’t ruled on the right to record officers, and it has fallen on federal appeals courts to determine the law.
The city, which had sought to have the civil case dismissed on the grounds that filming officers wasn’t a recognized constitutional right, can appeal the judge’s decision to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. If its petition is denied, the case moves forward until a settlement is reached or the parties go to trial.
Police officials referred comment to the city attorney, who didn’t return calls Friday.
Daphne Silverman, Buehler’s lawyer, said she and her client were pleased with Lane’s detailed analysis in support of his constitutional rights. “This ruling is a clear signal to law enforcement that the public can now photograph and videotape police officers so long as they don’t interfere with the officer’s duties,” she said.
Buehler said he hopes his case exposes corruption endemic within the Police Department in Austin and in those nationwide. “Every one of my arrests has been unjust,” he said.
The 37-year-old Army veteran has been in a dispute with the department since officers arrested him New Year’s Day 2012 as he videotaped a woman being arrested in the parking lot of a convenience store on Lamar and 10th Street. Buehler has said he was trying to capture the officers abusing the driver and her passenger, and he later founded the Peaceful Streets Project, whose members record police encounters and post them online.
Buehler was arrested two more times in August and September 2012 while filming officers.
His civil complaint filed on the last day of 2013 came more than four months after a Travis County grand jury cleared Buehler and officer Patrick Oborski of felony charges in the January 2012 incident.
The National Press Photographers Association in May filed an amicus brief in support of Buehler’s civil case, which the organization says is “part of a nationwide phenomenon where police have interfered with citizens’ rights to photograph and video-record officers engaged in official business in public spaces.”
Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel for the association, said he contacted Police Chief Art Acevedo several times in 2012 and 2013 to offer help at no cost with instituting guidelines and training on how officers should interact with citizens who are filming them.
“We had very cordial exchanges by email,” he said. “We got some promises but never had anything substantive.”

Two rival gangs shoot it out at Columbus Eastland Mall

Two teenagers are charged in an east Columbus mall shooting that left two people injured. The shooting happened shortly after 4:30 p.m. at Eastland

COLUMBUS, Ohio July 28 2014 -Two people were shot yesterday afternoon inside Eastland Mall when rival gangs clashed over shirts being made to memorialize fallen members. Hundreds of shoppers heard the gunfire and ran for safety.

Late last night, Columbus police assault-squad detectives remained at the scene and hadn’t yet released the names of those shot, who are expected to survive.

The two were reported to be a 63-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy. Both were treated for injuries that weren’t life-threatening at OhioHealth Grant Medical Center, according to Columbus police dispatchers.

The shooting occurred about 4:30 p.m. near a T-shirt kiosk that’s in front of the Deb Shops store near the mall’s food court, according to police and witnesses.

“The rival gangs went to the same location to get some shirts made,” said Columbus Police Sgt. Ralph Guglielmi. Words were exchanged, he said, and shots fired.

Bobby Baten, who was working at the T&M Perfumes kiosk, heard three shots, followed by “a lot of people running and shouting.”

Others described a “tidal wave” of security gates closing at surrounding stores, with employees and shoppers taking cover behind merchandise.

Late last night, four people were in custody for questioning at police headquarters Downtown, Guglielmi said. One of them is presumed to be the gunman. No charges had yet been filed.

He said that police also are reviewing mall surveillance video.

Eastland Mall, at the northwest corner of Hamilton and Refugee roads, was built in 1968 and was Columbus’ first enclosed mall.

It has had other shootings, said Jonathen Kinney, 34, an airbrush artist at Nu-Source in the mall.

“It seems every six months to a year, somebody gets shot,” Kinney said. “I hate to say we’re kind of used to it, but it happened again.”

Guglielmi said, “It seems like we get at least a couple (of shooting calls) a year there. It is an active mall.”

The mall typically closes at 9 p.m., but several security gates closed at

7 last night, and employees were told to leave.

Crime-scene tape extended about a quarter-mile around the entire west side of the mall and remained up late last night. More than a dozen police cars were present.

The Glimcher Realty Trust-owned mall is about 80 percent occupied.

Lapses plague security forces at local VA facilities

Seattle WA July 28 2014 The agitated radio call came into Department of Veterans Affairs police Officer Tim Plourd from a colleague who was being assaulted by a patient in the VA’s Seattle hospital.
The transmission was broken and choppy, as if the officer under attack were many miles away instead of in another part of the same building.
“I kept asking him, over and over again, ‘Where are you?’ ” Plourd recalled.
The incident happened in 2009. The officer attacked by the patient returned to duty, but Plourd remains troubled about the problems of that day.
Five years later, the weak radio communications network still plagues a Puget Sound-area VA police force responsible for protecting thousands of patients and staff at the Seattle and Lakewood campuses.
The problem persists even after two separate 2012 investigations by the federal Occupation and Safety Health Administration (OSHA) and the VA’s own Office of Inspector General found the radio system faulty and a serious risk to patient and employee safety.
The troubles in recent years have extended beyond the communication breakdown to include lapses in training, forged records, inadequate staffing and other issues. They prompted the national VA’s chief law-enforcement office to conclude after a 2012 inspection that the force was operating “in an unsatisfactory manner.”
“What we have here is a fundamental failure” to protect VA employees, said Plourd, who has filed several complaints with the VA.
Plourd decided to speak to The Seattle Times and News Tribune in hopes of spurring changes. Two other police officers who previously served at the Seattle VA also spoke to reporters, on condition of anonymity, about their concerns with the police force, which numbers about three dozen officers at the Puget Sound VA.
VA administrators declined an interview request from the newspapers. In written responses to questions, the VA said the police force has moved forward from the tumultuous period described in the 2012 investigation.
VA spokesman Chad Hutson wrote that the department has steady leadership after a period of rapid turnover in its top ranks. Earlier this year, the department passed an inspection and received an accreditation from the VA Office of Law Enforcement and Security, the same agency that previously called it “unsatisfactory.”
VA officials, in a June email to staff, acknowledged three dead spots in radio communications remain at the Seattle campus, but said the agency is making progress upgrading the network. The department estimates it needs $530,000 to improve the system.
“We have requested the funding needed to make this happen,” the June 18 email said.
“We’re dealing with our own”
The VA police force is a part of a sprawling veterans’ health-care system that has come under withering scrutiny in recent months because of delays in patient care and reports that VA staff in Phoenix falsified records on wait times. Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned in the scandal’s fallout.
VA police are trained law-enforcement officers, and many — such as Plourd — are military veterans. This helps them deal with anxious or angry patients seeking health care in a system under strain from surging numbers of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans.
“When we deal with these folks, we’re dealing with our own,” said Plourd, 46, a captain in the Army Reserves who lives in Seattle.
Occasionally over the years, VA medical centers have seen violent episodes.
In 2002, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, VA police Officer Jose Oscar Rodriguez, 53, was shot and killed while stationed at a front gate.
In Washington state, VA staffs periodically have faced threats of violence, including a 2011 assault by a patient at the Seattle VA that Plourd said seriously injured a fellow officer.
Workplace assaults by VA employees also have occurred.
In 2011, at the Seattle VA, an angry nurse kicked down a door, hurled a metal stapler and tried to bite, kick and hit her colleagues before being subdued, according to a state Department of Health investigative document.
A former VA employee faces charges of attempted murder after she entered a VA facility in Vancouver in February and allegedly shot Allen Bricker, the Northwest Region’s chief financial officer, twice in the chest with a handgun.
“The danger is real”
Around the country, VA hospitals are taking different approaches to improve security. Some, such as a VA facility in Washington, D.C., are turning to metal detectors at building entrances.
Good radio communications are an essential part of security so that an officer who encounters trouble can quickly call for help, and receive it.
The VA Puget Sound has a challenging layout for its radio network. The tall, dense buildings on the Seattle campus and the sprawling complex at American Lake both are difficult for signals to fully penetrate.
The VA has slowly been developing a new dispatch center and radio network. It has installed improved antennae, and it’s working on a solution to the remaining weak spots, the VA’s Hutson wrote.
In the meantime, officers say they have state-of-the-art radios that don’t work as intended because the VA has not invested in amplifiers to carry signals throughout the hospitals.
Officers’ concerns about the network escalated after the 2011 assault by a patient. Plourd and other sources say the attack resulted in serious injury to the officer, who has since left the VA force.
Plourd contends the police response in that case was slowed because the radio calls for help were difficult to hear clearly. By the time police backup arrived, emergency-room personnel had jumped into the fray to assist the officer. He had been wrestled to the ground by a patient who also attempted to grab his gun, according to two officers.
That incident helped spur a complaint to OSHA about unsafe working conditions.
“Police officers deserve a fighting chance when faced with exigent circumstances daily,” wrote an officer who requested the 2012 inspection. “Essentially police officers are talking into empty space with the odds stacked against them. ... The danger is real.”
The OSHA investigation resulted in a citation for a “serious violation.” An inspector noted that the lack of a dependable communication system was a risk that could cause injury or death.
Over the years, Plourd and other officers say they’ve unsuccessfully brought forward proposals to link the VA with other law-enforcement agencies for dispatch and communication services.
Police officers made another push to resolve the problem in September, when their union filed a grievance about lapses in the radio network. They argued officers were still at risk despite prodding from the IG and OSHA.
“A significant amount of waste and abuse of funds has occurred on the topic, but officers are still operating under the same radio conditions that resulted in (an officer) being injured,” states a grievance filed by the union, AFGE Local 3197.
The VA Puget Sound administration rejected the grievance in January, saying the union had not filed it correctly.
Broader malaise?
Plourd says the failure to fix the radios is part of a broader malaise in the operations of the VA Puget Sound police force that resulted in the 2012 “unsatisfactory” rating from the VA’s chief law-enforcement office.
Many problems cited in that report related to training. For example, the records for firearms proficiency were so tangled that investigators couldn’t figure out if all officers had qualified, so the entire force had to go through it again.
Auditors took a close look at training records and found two officers did not receive training on the dates indicated on forms they had initialed. A lieutenant, who’s no longer with the department, acknowledged he had forged the initials of those and other officers.
Auditors also found that VA police were not properly staffing the Seattle hospital, sometimes failing to have at least two officers on patrols at all times.
Also in 2012, a dispute over billing prompted the Washington State Patrol (WSP) to pull terminals out of VA facilities that had allowed officers to research criminal backgrounds of suspects.
That denied the VA police force easy access to information that most law-enforcement agencies take for granted. Plourd said that added to the frustration of officers in the Seattle and American Lake facilities.
Without the terminals, Plourd said officers lack basic information to assess threats by running license plates or names through the database. They also have trouble verifying criminal records they would use to move a case through the judicial system.
Officers “don’t know who they’re working with,” he said. “They can’t process paperwork if they do arrest someone.”
The VA is working to restore background-check terminals, according to officials at the VA and WSP.
The dispute “has been resolved. We anticipate these being operational soon,” the VA wrote in response to questions from the newspapers.
Seattle Times

Man in custody after Nashville airport bomb threat

Nashville TN July 28 2014 A 25-year-old Antioch man is in jail after allegedly calling 911 and threatening to blow up a runway at the Nashville International Airport.
Zachary Smith was taken into custody early Sunday morning, shortly after police traced a Verizon cell phone number to his address, according to police.
Airport spokeswoman Emily Richard said no airport operations were disrupted because of the threat, which came in shortly after midnight.
Smith denied he had made the calls, but told police he was the only one in possession of the phone and was the only one who knew its passcode.
Police extracted files from the phone which showed two calls had been made to 911 and deleted.
Police also found multiple calls to the Russian Embassy in Washington DC at about the same time the 911 calls were made. Police said Smith attempted to delete those calls as well.
Smith was charged with making a false report and tampering with evidence. He remains jailed on a $35,000 bond, and is due to appear in court on Thursday.

Oklahoma City store employee caught shoplifting pulls gun on manager

According to police, officers responded to the incident at Crest, located at N.W. 23rd and Meridian.

OKLAHOMA CITY OK July 28 2014            

The search is on for a rogue grocery store employee. Oklahoma City Police say the employee pulled a gun inside the Crest store near NW 23rd St. and Meridian Ave., when he was accused of shoplifting.
Business has returned to normal at the store, and in the past couple of hours they have brought in extra security to make shoppers feel safe; all this after the manager caught his employee stealing merchandise.
“It happened so fast I didn't have time to think,” said Crest manager, Kevin Shoemake.
Shoemake didn't think he would be staring down the barrel of gun when he confronted an employee about shoplifting.
“I was surprised. He was good worker,” Shoemake said.
Shoemake says security cameras captured the employee stealing bags of meat from the store - and had been for two weeks.
“T-bone, New York strips, all the good meat and all the good cuts.”
At the end of the shift, Shoemake stopped the employee and searched his bag to find $250 of meat inside.
“At that point he pulled out a gun and said expletive this and took off running.”
Shoemake says it happened so fast most customers didn't realize the scene was developing.
Police searched high and low for the suspect, but did not initially find him
Police have the name and address of suspect because he had to provide all of his information when he was hired here. At last check, they haven't caught up with him, but it's just a matter of time.
OKC News 9

U.S. Internal Revenue Service employee, 2 others charged with identity theft scheme

Sacramento CA July 28 2014 A former U.S. Internal Revenue Service employee and two others were arrested and charged in an alleged identity theft scheme that involved stealing personally identifying information on individuals, including IRS employees, to open credit card accounts and make fraudulent purchases that totaled more than $1.2 million.
Viririana Hernandez, the former IRS worker, was arrested on July 22, along with the two co-defendants. All three have been charged with conspiracy, bank and wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of California. One of the co-defendants was also charged with mail fraud. Arraignment for a fourth defendant has not been scheduled yet.
From June 2012 to January 2014, the four conspirators allegedly obtained personal information from victims through various methods, authorities say. Hernandez, who had worked for the IRS since 2006, had access to the personal information of IRS workers. Several of the 160 victims are current or former IRS workers, according to authorities.
After the information was stolen from the victims, the conspirators allegedly opened up credit card accounts in the victims' names or added themselves as authorized users of the victims' existing accounts, authorities say. The conspirators then allegedly used the accounts to buy goods and services at locations throughout California.
If convicted, the defendants each face a maximum statutory penalty of 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
"Identity theft is a nationwide crisis that places a heavy burden on the victim and creates chaos in the victims' lives," says Rod Ammari, Treasury inspector general for tax administration at the San Francisco field division. "When an IRS employee is involved in stealing information through their employment at the IRS and facilitating identity theft rings, it will not be tolerated."

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Private Security Benevolent and Memorial Services


Again this year, we have seen a rise in security officers being injured in the line of duty, many suffering severe trauma, gunshot and stabbing injuries.
Although deaths of security officers are down by 17% over previous years, serious injuries have increased by 23%.

Once a year, Private Officer International asks that our members and friends support our Memorial Fund through personal donations, employer sponsorships/donations or monthly pledges.

The Benevolent Memorial Fund is used for:
·        Assist injured security officers
·        Assist families of officers killed on duty
·        Provide donations to CrimeStopper reward funds
·        Assist with the annual Memorial Ride which brings memorial services to areas throughout the country.

o   Sponsors and donors will have their name posted on the POI website and in press materials.

o   Corporate sponsors/donors will also receive:

o   Their name posted on the POI website
o   Printed in all press materials
o   Business name on all banners
o   Business name included on vehicle
o   Business sponsorship included in local news release

We are asking that all members and friends of POI donate a minimum of $25 each and that those who have the ability to assist us with larger donations please consider doing so.
As a member based organization, our funding for the benevolent fund is limited by our members and though the need is great, the support is not always significant enough to help the people who need it the most.

Special Note: For all donations exceeding $25, POI will give the individual or business a training credit in the amount of the donation, that can used at any time, for any course offered by Private Officer International or Armour College.
Corporate donations/sponsorships exceeding $500 will also receive an on-site or on-line training credit,(travel expenses not included) for any of the 200 courses, programs that we instruct including certifications in lethal and non-lethal weapons.

You may also become a monthly pledge sponsor. Each month, we will invoice you for the pledge amount that you have indicated.

Sponsor a Memorial or Donate Now

Thank you in advance for your support.

Private Officer International

Mayfair mall security guard injured pursuing shoplifter

xxxVictoria ambulance

Victoria BC Canada July 27 2014 Victoria police are looking for the shoplifter who hit a Mayfair mall security guard with his vehicle as he made his escape.
Officers rushed to the mall about 3:30 p.m. Thursday after a security guard tried to chase down a shoplifter who stole sunglasses from the Bay at the Mayfair Shopping Centre.
The man got into a black Honda Civic in the parking lot. The security guard tried to open the passenger side door but the vehicle backed up, hitting the guard and leaving him with injuries to his face and head.
Several witnesses spoke to Victoria police but no one was able to obtain the vehicle’s licence plate number.
Officers are trying to obtain video surveillance footage from the Bay to try to identify the shoplifter, said Sgt. Matt Waterman.
The suspect is described as a white man in his early 20s with an athletic build.
The guard was taken to Victoria General Hospital for treatment. The extent of his injuries was unknown. -

National Guard Recruiter Charged With Fraud

Tampa FL July 27 2014 A Tampa Bay area National Guard recruiter is facing federal charges after authorities say he falsified sign-up numbers to earn about $78,000 in bonuses.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Tampa reported Thursday that 46-year-old Travis Devall has been charged with 10 counts that include conspiracy to commit and the commission of wire fraud, theft of government property, and funds and aggravated identity theft.
Prosecutors say Devall worked under the Guard Recruiting Assistance Program, which pays bonuses bringing in recruits. An indictment says that Devall provided the fraudulent information from September 2006 to at least July 2010.
Besides prison time, prosecutors also want Devall to pay back the bonus money.
Devall's attorney didn't immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Jury awards Maryland Transportation Authority Police officer $127,000

BALTIMORE MD July 27 2014 — A federal jury awarded a former Maryland Transportation Authority Police officer $127,000 after she alleged that she was sexually harassed by an instructor at the agency's police academy.
The Daily Record reports ( that the jury on Thursday awarded Renee Basil money from the transportation authority police and from retired Officer Michael A. Noel, the instructor Basil says harassed her during training.
Basil alleged in a 2012 lawsuit that Noel made inappropriate comments during her training. Basil also said that she was told to "pick her battles" when she reported Noel to a supervisor.
Basil said she was fired after alerting a supervisor of Noel's behavior when he was re-hired as a contractor.
Cheryl Sparks, a spokeswoman at the Maryland Transportation Authority, did not respond to a request for comment.

Oyster Creek Nuclear Power Plant security nab two men with drugs

Two men were charged with drug possession on Thursday night after security at the Oyster Creek Nuclear Power Plant searched a suspicious car on the property, police said.
At 10 p.m. Thursday, police responded to the Oyster Creek Nuclear Power Plant main gate security checkpoint after security had a car that appeared to be suspicious and driven by an unlicensed driver, Chief David Paprota said.
When police arrived, they were advised by security personnel that a search had been done on the suspicious car, which contained two adult men, Jonathon S. Lloyd, 45, Waretown and Jacob Moore III, Villas. Security personnel reported discovering various forms of drugs in the possession of Lloyd, Paprota said.
Plant security seized 13 wax folds of heroin, a hypodermic needle, marijuana, a glass smoking pipe, and a vial of anabolic steroids and turned the drugs over to police, according to Paprota.
Lloyd was arrested and charged with possession of Heroin, possession of anabolic steroids, possession of Marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of a hypodermic syringe, Paprota said. He was processed at police headquarters and released on his own recognizance pending a court appearance.
Moore III, who was the driver of the car, was issued motor vehicle summonses for driving with a suspended license and having controlled dangerous substances in the car.

Seattle City Council Appeals to Bezos Over Subcontracted Amazon Security

Seattle WA July 27 2014 Along with upsetting investors by reporting a quarterly loss, Amazon (AMZN) drew some unwelcome attention this week from hometown politicians.
In a letter to Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, Seattle’s nine city council members declared themselves “deeply concerned” over alleged mistreatment of subcontracted security workers who patrol the company’s headquarters there.
At issue are claims by the Service Employees International Union that Security Industry Specialists, a California-based firm contracted by Amazon and other tech companies, illegally punished workers for trying to organize and discouraged them from talking about the union.
“As one of Seattle’s largest employers,” the council members wrote, “we ask that Amazon take full responsibility for ensuring a respect for human rights and national labor law on behalf of your direct and subcontracted employees alike.”
That letter follows meetings between council members and pro-union SIS workers, and an unanswered June letter to Amazon from Seattle’s Human Rights Commission.
Amazon and SIS did not immediately respond to inquiries. In a “Union Facts” page on its website, SIS accuses SEIU of pursuing “a campaign of lies and deceit against SIS.”
Unions and their allies have long argued that current U.S. law fails at enabling workers who want collective bargaining to secure it, and at protecting workers when they try.
The SIS effort is one of an array of major union campaigns aimed at leveraging a mix of media, political, consumer, and workplace pressure to shield pro-union workers from retaliation and coerce companies to come to the table. SEIU’s focus on Amazon (and fellow SIS client Google) also exemplifies a recent trend in labor activism: pressuring high-profile companies over conditions throughout their supply chains.
Seattle’s move seems largely symbolic—it’s a letter, not legislation. Given the rapid growth of Amazon’s real estate footprint and workforce in the city, politicians who really wanted to could find ways to make life difficult for the Seattle-based juggernaut.
But getting them to do so could be a heavier lift than convincing them to sign a letter voicing concern.

Members of Congress Acknowledge Major Security Gap at House Garages

Members Acknowledge Major Security Gap at House Garages
Washington DC July 27 2014
Hannah Hess/CQ Roll Call
Over the course of four workdays, Capitol Police spotted two 9 mm handguns during the security searches that are standard protocol for visitors and staffers entering congressional office buildings. Meanwhile, the Capitol community paid tribute to two Capitol Police officers killed in a gun battle in the Capitol 16 years earlier.

Nothing indicates the two men arrested for entering the Cannon House Office Building were intent on doing harm, but the timing of the grim anniversary of the deaths of Detective John Gibson and Officer Jacob J. Chestnut on July 24, 1998, framed some of the concerns of members and staffers with a massive security loophole in the House garages.

On July 18 and 23, the security protocol at the Cannon doors worked. But, if someone with access to the House parking garages carried a gun, as staffer Ryan Shucard allegedly did, members believe he or she could enter office buildings without a bag check or metal detector screening.

“You know, there’s only so much you can do,” said Rep. James P. Moran, D-Va. “If you can bring a gun in, I don’t know how we stop it, frankly. At some point you’ve got to rely upon, you know, people acting rationally and responsibly.”

Both Republicans and Democrats on the panel that sets the budget for securing the Capitol agree that it’s a complex and careful calculation. In the wake of the gun incident, leaders of the House Administration Committee, who have oversight over the campus, indicated law enforcement is working to mitigate the problem.

“The officers protecting the entrances to the House office buildings are clearly doing an exceptional job keeping Members, staff, and the public safe,” Chairman Candice S. Miller, R-Mich., and ranking member Robert A. Brady, D-Pa., said in a joint statement to CQ Roll Call. “We can assure our colleagues that the Sergeant at Arms re-assesses the security needs of this Institution constantly and takes every appropriate precaution to ensure the safety of everyone who works in or visits the complex.”

Like other congressional agencies, Capitol Police were hit hard by the sequester, which closed Capitol doors and vehicle access points in March 2013.

“It’s a fine balance between access, you know, it would be unmanageable if you’re searching every vehicle as it comes into each garage,” said Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., chairman of the House Appropriations Legislative Branch Subcommittee. Cole said there is a lot of tension between easy access, which the committee wants for the convenience of constituents and staff who need to be able to move expeditiously around the complex, and security.

“At the same time, it is a target because it’s such a symbolic venue,” he said. “All I can say is I would take any suggestions they had very seriously.”

At exterior House office building doors and checkpoints in tunnels below the Capitol, visitors and staffers meet metal detectors, empty their pockets and submit their bags for a search. Those who drive into work on the House side are not subject to the same level of security. Tackling security at the House garages appears to be a massive and expensive undertaking, involving more than 100 doors, staffing and screening equipment.

“We have already dedicated funds to the Sergeant at Arms in order to mitigate potential incidents in the garages, however there is no doubt that the lack of comprehensive parking garage screening is a vulnerability in House security,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., a veteran legislative branch appropriator and ranking member on the panel, said in an email to CQ Roll Call. Funding was included in the fiscal 2014 spending bill, according to her office.

Wasserman Schultz stressed that the panel is committed to working with the House Administration Committee, the Capitol Police and the Sergeant-at-Arms “to continue identifying, understanding and addressing these security concerns while seeking to strike the right balance between enhanced House security and managing House access for Members, staff, and visitors.”

During hearings this spring, appropriators grilled House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul D. Irving and Capitol Police Chief Kim C. Dine on bottlenecks at the doors and asked whether they planned to open more access points if funding increased.  In the fiscal 2015 spending bill approved by the House on May 1, the Capitol Police received $355.66 million — a $9.5 million increase over enacted levels in 2014.

“We started with, we want more doors open because you’ve got these big queues of people out in front of House office buildings, not very far from the Navy Yard,”  legislative branch appropriator Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., said in an interview. “Large concentrations of people, whether they be here, in a mall, in a theater, you probably want to avoid [in case of mass shooting events].”

While the House Administration Committee oversees Capitol Police, it’s the lawmakers holding their purse strings who take on the role of examining department resources ranging from staffing levels to tools and equipment. In interviews, appropriators acknowledged they were looking carefully at police budgets — not out of dissatisfaction with performance, but to figure out the best way to allocate dollars.

“I’m not saying they don’t have a tough job,” Amodei said. “They suffered sequester, but having said that, what we’re starting [to look at] is, how are you spending this money? It might be time for a little more concentration on how you spend your money, who’s making the overtime — is it those people out there doing that sort of stuff?

“You want the maximum security that you can have, in view of the fact that it’s still an open, public place and it should be accessible,” the Nevadan continued. “I’m not a fatalist, but if you are intent on doing harm you can. … It’s unfortunate, but part and parcel of the decision to serve.”

Amodei said he also wants to ensure the “maximum protection we can get within these resource confines.”

A few hours after pork executive Ronald William Prestage was arrested after police detected a loaded 9 mm handgun in his briefcase, legislative branch appropriator Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., said security as it exists is fine. “I’m not really concerned,” he told CQ Roll Call. “I’m not concerned that our security is not tight enough”

Members of the House Administration Committee said from a workplace safety perspective, the two gun incidents show Capitol Police are doing their job. Reps. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., and Gregg Harper, R-Miss., both praised the officers’ work.

Asked about the garage vulnerability, Harper indicated he was not aware of any breaches, but the committee was always conscious of screening levels. “Not only are we dependent upon the members, we’re dependent also upon our staff who you believe will do the right thing in that situation,” he said.

Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, said he didn’t know how a person could forget they had a loaded gun in their bag, and also praised the police. “They didn’t get in with the gun, so I think that speaks highly of our Capitol Police and our gun screening mechanism,” Thompson said.

3 men pull out guns after man tries to shoplift steak

MOBILE, Alabama July 27 2014 -- On Friday afternoon a tense scene played out in front of the Rouses Supermarket on Theodore Dawes Road. Three people drew their guns after a reported theft, a Mobile Police Department spokesman said.
Donnie James Moore, 60, had shoplifted steaks from the grocery store before officers arrived at 12:20 p.m., according to MPD. When a loss prevention officer tried to stop him, Moore shoved past him. Police said Moore made it to his car, where he grabbed a gun.
He pulled it on the officer, MPD spokesman Officer Terence Perkins said. The loss prevention officer stepped back, pulled his own gun and aimed it at Moore.
Another man watched the scene play out from his car. He pulled out his own gun and pointed it at Moore before either man could decide whether or not to shoot, according to police.
The bystander fired multiple shots at Moore's car. In response the 60-year-old jumped into the car and drove off.
Police found him a short time later as he tried to replace one of his damaged tires, Perkins said.
Officers said the bystander, who was not identified, will not face charges for opening fire on Moore.
"He acted in defense of someone else," Perkins said. "If you happen to see a situation (where) deadly force is going to be used, you have the right to defend."
Moore was charged with one count of first-degree robbery because he used force while trying to steal from Rouses, according to police.
Mobile County Metro Jail records show Moore has faced multiple arrests since 1987. He's faced charges of robbery, theft and burglary before.

British Security Industry Association Reinforces Role Played By Security Firms

England UK July 27 2014 Continued partnership working between Police and private security firms has helped forces across the country reduce costs in the face of public sector budget cuts.
In a report published earlier this week by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), police forces’ response to budget cuts were praised, while concerns have been raised around the impact on neighborhood policing. Responding to this report, the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) – the trade body representing the UK’s private security industry – is reinforcing the important role played by security firms in delivering cost savings to forces across the country.
Since 2011, Police forces have had to find £2.5bn of cuts, while the central government funding grant for police forces in England and Wales was cut by 20%. Rising to the challenge, forces’ response to these cuts has been rated either “good” or “outstanding” in a recent report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).
Providing support services and performing back-office functions is a key way in which private security firms help to drive efficiency by freeing up warranted police officers to return to front-line duty. HMIC’s report highlighted a projected reduction in the police workforce of up to 34,000 people by March 2015, by which time there will also be 8,500 fewer front-line police officers. Despite this, efficiency is on the rise, with the proportion of police officers in front-line roles set to increase from 89% to 92%.


HM Inspector of Constabulary, Zoe Billingham, said: “It is not easy to provide the high quality police service that the public rightly demands, with far less money… Forces have had to change how they do their business – the best of them understand their demand in a sophisticated way and target their resources well, work with local public sector organizations to reduce crime, and collaborate with others to reduce costs.”
Indeed, many members of the BSIA already collaborate with police forces to provide a range of services, from victim support provided by personal safety devices, to ‘street to suite’ custodial services, which have been proven to save 350 hours of frontline police time in an eight-week trial period.
Meanwhile, concerns over neighborhood policing are also allayed by private security involvement. One member of the BSIA has supported police in driving down anti-social behavior by conducting park patrols in Manchester, while another member company provides additional support for police in one of London’s busiest shopping destinations, Carnaby Street. Most recently, seven BSIA member companies were selected to support the policing function at this month’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Encouraging more police forces to consider further engagement with private security firms is key to enabling police forces to meet the ongoing demands they face from budget cuts.
Chief Executive of the BSIA, James Kelly, said: “It is not about creating a privatised police force, as many opponents of partnerships working would have us believe. In contrast, this is a case of private industry taking on support functions to aid the police in delivering the Government’s program of reform.”
“The security industry already contributes significantly to assisting the police and emergency services if called upon to do so, and the BSIA will continue to engage with police forces, PCCs and Parliamentarians through its dedicated public affairs program, to ensure that political thinking remains open to this diverse and innovative approach.”
Chairman of the BSIA’s dedicated Police & Public Services Section, Robbie Calder, added: “Police reform simply cannot be delivered without the support of private security companies. Many of the core aims of police forces would be difficult to achieve without outsourcing at least some support functions to the private sector.”
Source Security

IP Casino security-Biloxi police charge man in hotel burglary

BILOXI MS July 27 2014  -- A Biloxi man is accused of burglarizing a hotel room at a IP Casino, police said.
Marquel Butler, 26, was arrested on Saturday, said Biloxi Police Department Sgt. Donnie Dobbs.
Dobbs said Butler's arrest stemmed from a joint investigation with the IP Casino's security and surveillance departments.
Butler was identified on video surveillance entering a hotel room through an unlocked door, Dobbs said.
Dobbs said items taken from the room include a Coach purse, cash, a black backpack and assorted personal items.
After his arrest, Butler was incarcerated at the Harrison County Adult Detention Center. Harrison County Justice Court Judge Albert Fountain set his bond at $10,000. SunHerald

Read more here:

Philly police hunt for 2 who carjacked SUV, killed 3 kids

(AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek). Investigators gather at the scene of a fatal accident in North Philadelphia, Friday July 25, 2014.

PHILADELPHIA PA July 27 2014 (AP) - Police were searching for two men who carjacked an SUV and plowed into a group of children and adults selling fruit to raise money for their church, killing three kids and critically injuring their mother and the carjacking victim. Another woman was hurt but is in stable condition.
The men carjacked a real estate agent at gunpoint Friday morning, forcing her into the backseat of her Toyota 4Runner. The SUV sped out of control about a mile from where the carjacking occurred, slamming into the children and adults manning the fruit stand, Philadelphia police said.
"Three innocent children had their lives taken," Philadelphia Homicide Capt. John Clark said of the victims, ages 7, 10 and 15.
The suspects fled on foot.
"There are no words to describe how I feel right now," said police commissioner Charles Ramsey, "but we do need to find these two guys."
More than $100,000 in rewards were being offered for the suspects' capture. Police also asked nearby businesses for surveillance video and pleaded with anyone with information to come forward.
Police said they may have blown a tire as they turned a corner at high speed. The car ended up in a wooded area, its front end smashed against a stand of trees.
"Something obviously went horribly wrong," Clark said.
The victims included a 15-year-old girl and her younger brothers. Their mother, 34, was in extremely critical condition, police said. Their identities were not immediately released.
A neighbor helping the family sell fruit, a 65-year-old woman, was in stable condition, police said.
The carjack victim, a 45-year-old real estate agent, was also critically injured.
Witness Renee Charleston saw a car streaking through the intersection, then noticed children on the ground.
"Nobody was moving," she told television station WPVI.
Employees at Education Works, an educational nonprofit across the street from the wreck, told The Philadelphia Inquirer they ran to try to help the victims. One boy had no pulse and another's was barely there, said Karen Payne, who runs a summer camp there.
"I'm certified in first aid and CPR - my first instinct was to go to them," she said. "But I couldn't help."
Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison described the mayor as heartbroken.
"The prayers of the city go out to this family," he said.