Broward County Fla July 27 2010 More than 70 Broward Sheriff’s Office employees working at Port Everglades could be replaced with private guards under a cost-cutting proposal from seaport administrators that union leaders say could jeopardize security.
The port’s plan calls for eliminating all of its Sheriff’s Office community service aides — civilian employees who staff the four entrance gates, direct traffic and patrol what is on track to become the world’s largest cruise hub. Replacing them with guards from the private sector could shave about $2.5 million yearly from the port’s budget, said Port Director Phillip Allen.
Allen said he’s attempting to “right size” port security, but the union representing the community service aides questions whether the change would expose the port to heightened threats, including terrorism. The Federation of Public Employees argues that private guards lack the aides’ training and sense of professionalism.
“Anyone seriously viewing such private security guards as being capable of properly protecting our seaport … against infiltration by organized crime networks and as potential terrorist targets has simply failed to do the necessary research,” Scott Perrin, a master steward for the union, wrote the Broward County Commission.
Surprise AZ July 27 2010 A man accused of crashing a party in February has been arrested on suspicion of negligent homicide because the security officer called to the scene died of a heart attack, Surprise police said.
Surprise police arrested 42-year-old Timothy Tuggle on Thursday because of his suspected responsibility in the death of a security guard, Surprise police spokesman Sgt. Mark Ortega said.
According to Ortega, Tuggle attended a party he was not invited to in February and would not leave when asked. Instead, Ortega said, Tuggle became belligerent, and fought people around him. Others at the party called a security guard to the scene.
Tuggle was being restrained by two party guests as the security guard arrived, according to Ortega.
Ortega said it was unclear whether the Tuggle and the security guard made contact. But the security guard had a heart attack and later died.
Tuggle was arrested in February on suspicion of assault and disorderly conduct. Police submitted a recommendation for a charge of negligent homicide on Thursday to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. Prosecutors will decide whether to charge Tuggle.
The death sentence has been upheld for a man convicted of shooting a security guard during a robbery attempt and setting him on fire, the state’s highest court ruled on Monday.
Ron O’Neal Finklea, 36, was sent to death row in September 2007 after a Lexington County jury found him guilty in the death of 56-year-old Walter Sykes Sr., a security guard for Wackenhut Corp. working at a plant that made electronics.
The attack that apparently came after Finklea and another suspect tried prying open an ATM at the Solectron plant was captured on the plant’s surveillance video, which the court described in its decision.
Early on the morning of Aug. 2, 2003, Finklea went to the plant in Springdale with another man later identified as his brother-in-law, 33-year-old Theodore Davis. Thinking he wanted to use the ATM, Sykes opened the door for Finklea, who then followed him into the plant’s security office and let Davis in.
Davis handed Finklea a gasoline can, which he used to douse the ATM machine.
Moments later, Sykes was seen on video running from the security office, engulfed in flames. Sykes left the building and then collapsed on the plant’s front lawn. Finklea and the other man fled the plant, taking nothing, authorities said.
Authorities said Finklea shot Sykes in the neck and head before pouring gasoline on him and setting him on fire. At the time, Sheriff James Metts said he thought the fires had been set on fire to destroy evidence. Investigators said they found evidence someone had tried to pry open the ATM.
The day before the shooting, authorities said Finklea had gone to the same plant to try to use the ATM, which another guard told him wasn’t working. During that visit, Finklea asked the guard questions about the company’s security and left when another guard showed up.
Finklea and Davis were arrested several days later in Monroe County, Ala. Finklea subsequently tried to hang himself in his cell, an event the court wrote resulted a brain injury and amnesia about the shooting and fire.
During his trial in September 2007, jurors found Finklea guilty of murder and first-degree arson. In the appeal, his attorney argued Finklea should not have been found competent to help his attorneys during the sentencing part of the trial because of his brain damage.
The court disagreed, writing that Finklea did help his attorney by identifying possible character witnesses, giving details about his character and expressing remorse.
“Even assuming Finklea’s amnesia is genuine, we decline to find him unable to assist counsel based on an inability to recall mitigating facts which may or may not exist,” the court wrote. “Moreover, any potential prejudice to Finklea’s capacity to consult with his counsel due to his inability to recall the circumstances of the crime is lessened by the fact that the incident was captured on video.”
Finklea’s appellate attorney also said the trial court should not have let prosecutors use fire during closing statements. At trial, prosecutor Donnie Myers held a lit fire-starter in front of the jury as he described how Sykes was lit on fire.
“Gasoline pouring on another human being and the fire, the fire, the burning,” Myers said in his closing statement. “What if it’s all over your body and you can’t get away from it, it’s engulfed you? … The last, last moments of a good man’s life on fire.”
The judge was right to allow that demonstration, which did not prevent Finklea from getting a fair trial, the justices wrote.
On Monday, Finklea’s appellate attorney said he had hoped the justices would give more consideration to his client’s mental state.
“We never challenged Mr. Finklea’s guilt, but are disappointed the Court found it acceptable to execute a man who cannot remember why he is being executed,” chief appellate defender Joe Savitz said Monday.
Davis was convicted of murder in 2008. He is serving a 30-year prison sentence
LaPorte IN July 27 2010 A police officer responding to the LaPorte County Fair to make an arrest was delayed by an attendant at the gate who insisted that he pay.
It’s an incident that officials with the fair and sheriff’s office were reluctant to speak much about Monday.
The mix-up stems from a decision to use private security during this year’s fair, which ended Saturday night.
Sheriff’s deputies used to working security were told they had to pay to enter the fairgrounds this year unless called to make an arrest.
”I think there’s some common sense that got overlooked there,” said Gene Shurte, general manager of the LaPorte County Fair.
LaPorte County Police Sgt. Mike Kellems was dispatched to the fairgrounds just after 5 p.m. Friday to arrest an individual wanted on an outstanding felony warrant.
Another county police officer at the fair happened to see the man and recognized him as being wanted on the outstanding charge.
Kellems stopped at the ticket gate and explained he was there to take a fugitive into custody, but was informed by an attendant that he had to pay the $5 admission fee. He again stated why he was there, but another attendant, Marcia Morris, insisted he pay.
Kellems asked for a receipt and returned to his squad car.
In his report, Kellems said he waited for several minutes but nobody came to his police vehicle with a receipt, so he went ahead and entered the fairgrounds.
Kellems made his way to the fair security office where LaPorte County Police Chief of Detectives John Boyd was waiting with the fugitive for him to take away.
Robert Aubin, 23, of Hammond was wanted for failing to appear in court on charges of failure to stop at an accident and driving on a suspended license.
Private security was brought in after the county for the first time asked the fair to pay liability insurance on the officers as a legal precaution.
The private firm, A & B Security out of Valparaiso, provides its own liability insurance and costs about two dollars an hour less per officer.
Sheriff Mike Mollenhauer said he agreed before the fair to make his officers available to make any apprehensions at the fairgrounds because private security does not have arresting powers.
Mollenhauer said he hopes things can be worked out for sheriff’s deputies to return to work security at next year’s fair.
”Maybe this is a good lesson for everybody to realize,” Mollenhauer said.
Shurte said no decisions have been made.
”We have no idea,” said Shurte.
Mobile Al July 27 2010 It was just after daybreak when a police SWAT team headed to a Days Inn in Mobile, Ala.
Their man was in a room on the third floor.
He was a prime suspect in a car theft. But he also was wanted for questioning in the slaying of his mother at a Pinellas Park mobile home.
After posting a police bulletin, Pinellas County sheriff’s deputies had tracked 24-year-old Corey Hicks to this hotel, then sought help from authorities in Mobile.
Arrest warrant in hand, and Pinellas sheriff’s detectives watching, the Mobile SWAT team moved in. The team broke in the door and a man came at them, ax held high. The blade hit one of the officers in the arm.
The team opened fire.
Shortly after 9:15 a.m., Corey Hicks, 24, was dead from multiple gunshot wounds. Soon afterward, deputies released information that he was the prime suspect in the murder of his 51-year-old mother, Debbie Neace.
Bruce Hicks, 58, repeatedly had tried calling Neace during the weekend. Neace’s boyfriend of 28 years, he moved out two weeks ago after several disputes with the couple’s son, Corey.
Failing to reach her, he decided to drive to the blue mobile home they once shared.
When Hicks arrived Sunday, he found Neace dead.
After an autopsy Monday, detectives said Neace had suffered multiple “sharp force” injuries to her head and upper torso, consistent with wounds from an edged weapon.
Neace’s car, a 2006 Toyota Corolla, was missing. Deputies suspected Corey Hicks stole it. On Sunday they weren’t calling him a suspect, but they said they did want to talk to him.
After spending the night interviewing friends and family members, detectives discovered that the last time anyone saw Neace alive was 6 p.m. Friday.
Once they connected the dots with the fights and the stolen car, detectives believed Corey Hicks was their suspect. They obtained an arrest warrant for grand theft auto, and once the car was found they asked Mobile police to help.
Police would not reveal how many times Hicks was shot. The officer who was struck in the arm by the ax suffered a broken bone. He also was hit in the same arm by a stray bullet during the SWAT team rush.
The officer was treated at a nearby hospital and released.
“This tells us that this is a very dangerous job,” Mobile police Chief Michael T. Williams said at a news conference after the shooting. “Every day these police officers go out and put their lives on the line to protect the citizens of this city.”
Monday afternoon, friends arrived at Neace’s Pinellas Park home.
Rene Jalbert and Catherine Self brought a bouquet of white, orange and yellow flowers.
They had both worked with Neace at Valpak in Largo, designing coupons. “This is a devastating loss of a good person,” Jalbert said. “She was kind, generous and always smiling.”
Jalbert said she had worked with Neace for 13 years and said Neace had never mentioned any problems at home. She said their work sometimes was stressful.
“It takes a special kind of woman to do that job with a smile,” Jalbert said.
Self said every morning when she arrived, Neace was already there, smiling. She had worked with Neace for eight years, the last four side by side.
“How a quiet person can be missed this much,” Self mused, staring at the flowers.
SAN ANTONIO TX July 27 2010 — A security guard is recovering after being hit by a car over the weekend.
The security guard was hit near Main and Evergreen early Sunday morning.
“For whatever reason, the security guard asked the suspect to move his car, explained Officer Matt Porter of the San Antonio Police Department. “His co-worker then ran across the street to come to his aid. The suspect backed the vehicle up, not seeing him, striking that security guard.”
Police said it appears it was an accident, but the driver was arrested for DWI.
Neither the name of the driver or security officer was released.
Tara Durig, 27, and Jason Durig, 29, of 1251 Hilltop, are in the Miami County Jail, Troy Police Capt. Joe Long said.
Police are calling the death of the infant suspicious. The boy’s body is at the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office, where preliminary autopsy results are expected Tuesday, July 27, Long said.
A call to Miami County 911 at 11:42 a.m. reported an 8-month-old was not breathing, he said, adding the mother called 911.
Police are looking into whether the parents have been investigated for child abuse previously, Long added.
“We had sufficient evidence to charge child endangering, pending the outcome of the autopsy and further investigation,” Miami County Prosecutor Gary Nasal said Monday afternoon.
Monday night, neighbors of the couple were holding a vigil for the child, who they said was named Caleb. Angela Byrd, 36, said the couple made a living “scrapping,” or collecting junk metal to sell at a scrap yard. She said their pick-up truck overloaded with junk was a familiar sight around the neighborhood.
She said she helped the couple move in.
“I thought they were good people,” she said.