ATLANTA GA Jan 31 2011 — A HERO Unit operator killed on Interstate 85 Monday morning has been identified.
Spencer Pass, 45, of Jonesboro, was killed while helping a stranded motorist on I-85, just south of Atlanta.
“It is with great sadness that I announce that we have lost one of our Georgia DOT family members today,” said Georgia DOT Commissioner Vance C. Smith Jr. “As a HERO, Spencer spent long hours, often in hazardous roadside conditions, to keep Georgia’s traveling public safer.”
Investigators with the Georgia State Patrol told Channel 2 Action News reporter Linda Stouffer that a flatbed truck pulling heavy equipment crashed into Pass’ HERO unit on I-85 near Metropolitan Parkway. HERO stands for Highway Emergency Response Operator.
Police said the flatbed truck also hit Pass, who was outside his vehicle, and collided with the stranded pickup truck. The flatbed truck then overturned, blocking all southbound lanes of the interstate. Traffic is moving again.
Authorities told Stouffer that the driver of the flatbed truck was seriously injured. The stranded motorist, however, managed to dodge the truck as it approached.
Officials told Stouffer that Pass was the first HERO unit operator to be killed while on duty.
“Our prayers go out to his unit co-workers as well,” said Smith.
HERO units patrol metro Atlanta highways daily, helping to clear troubled vehicles off the road and to keep traffic moving. HERO unit operators help repair flat tires and provide fuel, jump starts and courtesy phones. Operators are not members of a law enforcement agency.
“I pray that his family gains comfort and strength from the caring sympathy of the entire Georgia DOT family,” said Smith.
Tucson AZ Jan 31 2011
Four people were injured when a Pima County Sheriff’s Department helicopter crashed Monday morning northwest of Tucson, authorities said.
The Hughes 500 copter crashed after 11 a.m. near Waterman and Silverbell roads. The area is mountainous terrain about 28 miles northwest of Tucson International Airport, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
One person reportedly suffered serious injuries while the other three had non-life threatening injuries, according to the Avra Valley Fire Department.
A spokesman for Pima County’s northwest fire area, Adam Goldberg, describes the helicopter as perched on the side of a mountain in the Tucson range, supported in place by a tree.
HOUSTON TX Jan 31 2011 — A security guard was shot to death while working at a Northwest Houston sports bar early Monday.
Houston police said the shooting happened at La Pantera Sports Bar on North Houston Rosslyn Road near West Little York Road at about 3:20 a.m.
Detectives said that there had been some sort of disturbance inside the bar and shots were fired.
Police said they do not know if the guard was the target of the shooting.
The guard died at the scene. His name has not been released. A woman who identified herself as the guard’s sister said he had been shot in the head.
The security officer was 22 years old.
Police have not released a description of the shooter. Investigators said he left the bar with at least one other person.
“We have more than one suspect, but we have no more information than that,” said Robert Lujan with Houston police.
No other injuries were reported.
Anyone with information is asked to call the HPD Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.
Chicago IL Jan 31 2011 An Illinois state trooper honored as a hero for helping rescue an injured Chicago police officer from a burning squad car in 2006 could go to prison and lose his job if convicted of using his state-issued credit card to steal a few hundred bucks of gasoline.
Peter Radulovic, 46, was charged in 2009 with two felony counts of official misconduct and one count of felony theft. His jury trial, scheduled to start last week in Will County, has been pushed back to April.
It is a dramatic turnabout for the man who won the Law Enforcement Medal of Honor during a ceremony at the governor’s mansion in 2007. Radulovic for a time also ran former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s security detail, the trooper’s attorney said, and is a former Peotone village trustee.
A year after winning the medal, Radulovic was alleged to have used his state credit card to buy more than $300 in gasoline for his personal vehicle, apparently from several gas stations in Peotone, according to court records.
The District Chicago trooper has been suspended without pay and could lose his job depending on the outcome of an investigation that is before the state police merit board, said Master Sgt. Isaiah Vega.
Radulovic’s attorney, Patrick Campanelli, said there is no video evidence that the trooper used the cards to do anything but fill the tank of his squad car. He said the case is based on internal affairs estimates that Radulovic’s mileage and gas purchases were too high.
“It’s frivolous charges,” he said. “This case is unprovable. You could probably look at any state trooper and do the math of what a state trooper uses in gas and mileage and indict them for theft.”
Campanelli said he believes the case was brought for political reasons, blaming it on sour feelings over Radulovic’s job as Blagojevich’s head of security, and said its timing — when his client is a year away from vesting in his pension — is also suspect.
And he said it made no sense that former Chicago police Cmdr. Jon Burge will keep his pension after lying about torturing suspects but Radulovic could lose his benefits over gas-card charges that “could’ve been settled in-house.”
“After Blagojevich lost his position as governor, I think a lot of these state troopers looked at (Radulovic) as a person who moved up the ranks quicker than he should’ve,” said Campanelli, adding that the promotion came after his client’s heroics. “This is obviously just a ploy by state police to take (Radulovic) off the pension rolls.”
A spokesman for the Will County state’s attorney’s office declined to comment on the pending case.
On May 7, 2006, three Wentworth Tactical District officers were chasing a suspect after a 19-year-old was shot in the leg. Their red unmarked Ford Taurus spun out while leaving the northbound Dan Ryan Expressway onto Pershing Road.
The car sideswiped a light pole, and the front end became engulfed in flames. An Illinois Department of Transportation worker told the Tribune at the time that it looked as if a building were ablaze.
Radulovic, responding to a call for assistance in the case, came across the vehicle first. He saw the passenger was waving a handgun and heard two shots being fired, according to an account released by Illinois State Police.
After determining that all the occupants were plainclothes officers, he tried to put out the flames and open the car doors, but they wouldn’t budge, and the driver was trapped under the dashboard, according to the police account.
Radulovic and another trooper, Sgt. Devin Stokes, who arrived soon after, were able to pull one of the officers out of the car after breaking the rear passenger-side window.
“There was a lot of smoke and fire,” Radulovic told the Tribune in 2006. “The scene was really hectic because, obviously, they were in a lot of peril. So we tried to keep them calm.”
Stokes, who also won a medal for his actions, declined to comment when reached Friday.
The front-seat passenger was able to free himself, but the driver remained pinned inside the car until firefighters arrived, cut the roof off and freed him.
End of Watch: Saturday, January 29, 2011
Tour of Duty: 8 years
Badge Number: Not available
Cause of Death: Assault
Date of Incident: Saturday, January 29, 2011
Weapon Used: Person
Suspect Info: In custody
Correctional Officer Jayme Biendl was strangled in the Monroe Correctional Facility’s chapel by an inmate.
Officer Biendel was assigned to the prison chapel at the Monroe Correctional Facility. A prisoner, who was serving a life sentence, strangled Officer Biendel during an escape attempt.
The inmate was discovered missing during a routine headcount shortly after 9:00 pm. He was located three minutes later in the prison chapel’s lobby and informed the officers that he had planned to escape.
After an equipment inventory was completed it was discovered that a set of keys and radio were missing. Other officers were dispatched to Officer Biendl’s assigned duty post and found her unresponsive. CPR was initiated but she was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics a short time later.
Officer Biendl had served with the Washington State Department of Corrections for eight years.
Agency Contact Information
Washington State Department of Corrections
PO Box 41100
Mail Stop 41100
Olympia, WA 98504
Phone: (360) 725-8213
Please contact the Washington State Department of Corrections for funeral arrangements or for survivor benefit fund information.
End of Watch: Friday, January 28, 2011
Tour of Duty: 22 years, 6 months
Badge Number: Not available
Cause of Death: Automobile accident
Date of Incident: Friday, January 28, 2011
Weapon Used: Not available
Suspect Info: Not available
Corrections Officer Casimiro Pomales was killed in an automobile accident as he and another officer transported an inmate to a medical appointment.
Officer Pomales was driving a prison van on the New York State Thruway, near Ulster, when it was sideswiped by another car. The impact caused the van to overturn. Officer Pomales, the other officer, and the inmate were transported to Kingston Hospital where Officer Pomales was pronounced dead.
Officer Pomales had served with the New York State Department of Correctional Services for over 22 years and was assigned to the Eastern Correctional Facility. He is survived by his wife and several grown children.
Agency Contact Information
New York State Department of Correctional Services
1220 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12226
Phone: (518) 457-8126
Please contact the New York State Department of Correctional Services for funeral arrangements or for survivor benefit fund information.
Lt. Raymond Evers emphasized that the case is still wide open, but he said he wanted to assure residents of Greenberg’s Manayunk neighborhood that there wasn’t “a maniac on the loose.”
He said of investigators: “They’re taking their time; they’re not going to rush it.”
Greenbeg, 27, a first-grade teacher at Juniata Park Academy, was found dead about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in her apartment at the Venice Loft Condominiums at 4601 Flat Rock Rd., near Main Street.
The medical examiner’s office at first reported the death as a homicide. But Evers said evidence had surfaced – “I can’t really discuss it” – that made suicide more likely.
Greenberg was found in the apartment by her fiance, who called police. Evers said other residents of the building heard no commotion.
Evers said detectives were looking into some “mental issues” that Greenberg may have had.
Greenberg seemed to have everything going for her – a teaching career she cared deeply about, a close family, and a summer wedding to plan.
Pat Mazzuca, former principal of Juniata Park, chose Greenberg to help start the school four years ago.
“She was very dedicated to the kids,” Mazzuca said, “very organized . . . very, very much concerned about her students who were not achieving.”
Nashville TN Jan 31 2011 A bicyclist attempting to help security guards stop three shoplifters was hit by the thieves’ car, police said.
Officers said the theft happened at the Kohl’s store on Jackson Downs Boulevard around 2 p.m.
Police said three shoplifters — a man and two women — fled the store.
A security guard was attempting to stop them when a bicyclist in the parking lot, “Gator” Cook, tried to help out.
Cook said the trio jumped into a car and backed right into him, dragging him and his bike several feet.
Cook said he wasn’t seriously injured, and refused treatment at the scene.
Police said they are looking for a white car, possibly a four-door Dodge Stratus, in connection with the incident.
VANCLEAVE, MS Jan 31 2011 – It was the same man, using the same mask with the same M.O.
“This guy, he’s just pretty brazen about what he does,” said Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd.
Surveillance video from the robbery just two weeks ago is eerily similar to what happened around 1:00 Saturday afternoon. Three workers at the Save-Rex Pharmacy found themselves face to face with a recurring nightmare.
A masked man barged into the store brandishing a gun and bolted toward the counter. Then, he locked the employees inside.
Byrd said the store had just hired a security guard following the first robbery.
“The security guard saw him when he came in and started to draw down on him, but it was just too late the guy was on him too quick,” Byrd said.
The suspect turned his gun on the guard and took his gun. He demanded three bottles of OxyContin, then escaped out the back door. There were no customers inside, and no workers were injured.
Though it all lasted about five minutes, workers said it was a nightmarish scene that keeps playing in their heads.
Byrd said, “They’re pretty shook up, and they have every right to be shook up.”
So is Charlotte Banas. Her husband is the dentist next door. She said the robbery earlier this month was bad enough, but a repeat robbery is just unnerving
“I’ve been paying attention all over the coast,” Banas said. “There are many desperate people out there doing some pretty stupid things and putting people’s lives in jeopardy in the process, and it’s very scary.
Byrd said since the man came in on foot, he’s likely staying in the area. The Sheriff has seven detectives on the case and 15 deputy sheriffs on alert for the man; however, even Byrd admits it’s been a tough situation.
“It’s very frustrating because we’re following up a bunch of leads that we got last time that led us to dead ends,” Byrd said.
In the meantime, Banas said there’s one thing everyone can do to help.
“We all on the coast need to be vigil with our small businesses and keeping an eye open on these types of things,” Banas urged.
When caught, the suspect is facing armed robbery and a kidnapping charge for holding the guard. The owner of Sav-Rex Pharmacy said he the store will be closed Monday, but will reopen Tuesday.
Sheriff’s deputies are looking for a white male, 5’8″ to 5’9″, about 165 to 170 pounds. He has a star tattoo on the inner side of his left wrist and is was wearing a thin beard.
If you have any information on this crime, please contact the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office at (228) 769-3063.
The Daily News-Miner reports that Fairbanks police officers found 63-year-old John T. Preshaw Jr. with alcohol on his breath, slurred speech and watery eyes.
Preshaw was charged with fourth-degree weapons misconduct after he denied drinking, refused a breath test and had trouble dialing a phone to call his supervisor.
In June 2009, Preshaw’s trooper career and job as a security guard were cited to establish his credibility during his testimony as a defense witness for a Fairbanks woman who ran over a 4-year-old boy.
MANCHESTER NH Jan 31 2011 – An off-duty Manchester police officer, helped to catch a robber trying to make off with goods from the Sports Authority on South Willow Street.
On his way to work Friday afternoon, Det. Sgt. John Patti saw three subjects run out of the store, get into a vehicle and then flee the area. Patti was able to identify the license plate and get a description of the vehicle before it disappeared.
At the same time another male was attempting to leave the store with what police describe as a “significant amount of merchandise,” assaulted a store clerk as he fled and ran from the parking lot.
Patti chased the suspect on foot and called headquarters for assistance.
Patti caught 17-year-old William Delisle, of 15 Malvern St., Manchester, and took him into custody by the time additional officers arrived.
Delisle was charged with robbery and violation of bail conditions.
Police said mall security spotted the suspect, accompanied by a teenage girl, shoplifting at Zumiez, a clothing store in the mall. The suspects fled from the store on foot but were located in the parking lot by a mall security guard on a bicycle.
The male suspect, who police identified as Anthony Woodridge, 20, began to drive away in the vehicle and allegedly struck the security guard with the car while the guard was trying to get the vehicle’s license plate number, Lt. Paul Foley of the APD said.
The car was abandoned in a mall parking structure. Police arrested Woodridge a short time later just outside of Macy’s. The teenage girl was arrested inside of Macy’s, Foley said.
Woodridge was also booked on a charge of contributing to the delinquency of a youth. He is being held at the APD on $30,000 bail, according to police.
The teenage suspect, 16, was booked on charges of commercial burglary and falsely identifying herself to a police officer. The teen has been released to her parents, police said.
Police did not have information on the status of the security guard who was struck, but Lt. Foley believed that the guard’s injuries were minor to moderate.
Owners or operators of security companies in Rapid City, as well as interested residents, are asked to submit a Citizens Interest Form by 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 7.
The Citizen Interest Form is available on the city’s website, http://www.rcgov.org, or by calling the mayor’s office at 394-4110.
SCRANTON PA Jan 31 2011 – A Dunmore man faces several assault-related charges for his alleged outburst Wednesday at Community Medical Center in Scranton.
Scranton police said Michael Erhard, 52, of Dunmore, a patient at the hospital, was harassing someone through cell phone calls and text messages. He got angry when security guards attempted to take his phone, removing a guard’s handcuffs and hitting guard John Kurilla on the head, causing minor injuries, police said.
Mr. Erhard faces charges of aggravated assault, simple assault and disorderly conduct.
Cpl. Steve Armbruster said he was given what he considered an unconstitutional order to eject 15 members of the evangelical group Repent America from the Kutztown University campus in April 2007. He was relieved of his duties and later suspended for five days without pay.
A federal judge last year rejected his lawsuit, and The Philadelphia Inquirer said the 3rd U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia heard his appeal last week.
Students and university officials said the group showed up unexpectedly to preach against homosexuality and was confronted by hundreds of students. A judge later dismissed disorderly conduct charges against members but criticized them for demonstrating on the campus without the university’s permission.
Armbruster contended that the order by the university president and the campus police chief would violate the group’s civil rights and subject him to liability.
U.S. District Judge C. Darnell Jones II Jones ruled last year that Armbruster was serving in his official capacity, so his rights were not violated. He also rejected Armbruster’s position that he had a right to refuse to violate the constitutional rights of others.
Advertisement “Based on this court’s research, over the past 30 years, no (higher court) has held such a right exists,” Jones wrote.
Armbruster’s attorney, Randall Wenger of the Independent Law Center in Harrisburg, told the appeals court last week that the demonstration was not disorderly, but merely offended the students, and that made the order to remove the demonstrators unconstitutional.
“Do we live in a police state where we expect police officers to obey all orders no matter what?” he asked.
Senior Deputy Attorney General Claudia Tesoro, however, said police officers do not have a constitutional right to disobey the orders of a superior, “even arguably questionable ones.”
The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a brief saying Armbruster deserves a chance to prove in District Court that he was ordered to “violate the clearly established rights of protesters on public property.”
Armbruster, a 20-year veteran of the campus force, is now running for Carbon County sheriff.
Oakland CA Jan 31 2011 Police are investigating a fatal officer-involved shooting that happened in the city’s Rockridge District Saturday morning.
Police said officers responded to a disturbance on the 5500 block of Taft Avenue at 9:30 a.m. for a report of a man acting strangely and pacing up and down the street in front of his former girlfriend’s home.
The man was dressed in a camouflage outfit and threatened to shoot the ex-girlfriend before he ran into a residence causing its homeowners to “run out onto the street screaming,” a neighbor said. The man emerged from the home carrying a replica rifle, prompting three officers who responded to the 911 call to open fire, killing him, Assistant Chief Howard Jordan told reporters.
Police identified the man on Sunday as Matthew Cicelski, 39, of Oakland.
The home is located in a quiet residential neighborhood near College Avenue and is located three blocks away from the Rockridge BART station. The area typically experiences petty thefts and robberies, but shootings and other violent crimes are uncommon for the upscale neighborhood.
Saturday’s shooting is the second fatal Oakland Police officer-involved shooting in the past 72 hours. On Wednesday, an Oakland Police officer shot and killed a pursuit suspect after he armed himself with two guns when the car being chased crashed near 85th Avenue and San Leandro Blvd. in East Oakland.
The Alameda County District Attorney’s office and Oakland Police Internal Affairs and Homicide Detail will investigate the shootings as part of standard procedure.
BENTONVILLE, Ark. Jan 31 2011– The Benton County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division began an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against a Bentonville High School teacher’s aide.
Mandy Flynn was accused of having inappropriate relations with one of her 17-year-old special needs students that started just before the first of the year.
CID Investigator Wes Bryant conducted interviews on Friday, including interviews with the students and Flynn.
Bryant determined there was enough evidence to arrest and charge Flynn with first-degree sexual assault.
MONROE, Wash. Jan 30 2011- A female officer was found dead in the chapel at the Monroe Correctional Complex on Saturday night.
Officer Jayme Biendl, 34, of Granite Falls, was an eight-year veteran at Monroe and was the 2008 officer of the year.
It’s believed that she was strangled by Byron Scherf, a three strikes inmate serving a life sentence for rape and assault.
“This is the saddest day of my career,” said Superintendent Scott Frakes.
Frakes says Beindl was solely in charge of securing the chapel. After service Saturday night, at about 9:14 p.m., the inmates were counted in their cells. Scherf was missing.
Three minutes later, at 9:17, Scherf was found in the chapel lobby. He said he was trying to escape.
It wasn’t until 10:25 p.m. that Beindl’s body was discovered inside the chapel.
“We’re trying to determine what is it about our processes to not immediately say where is Officer Biendl?” said Frakes.
Beindl’s boyfriend says Beindl often talked about being overwhelmed in the chapel.
“I just can’t see how you can have someone working alone as isolated as she was,” he said.
The superintendent says Beindl was not armed. He says she never talked about feeling unsafe.
“The only thing she would consistently say to me is that she had a lot of ground to cover,” he said.
Union Secretary Tracey Thompson believes this is a wake-up call for the Department of Corrections. She says the DOC could have prevented this.
“It’s getting more and more unsafe, with reductions in staffing, freezes on hiring, it’s becoming a ridiculously unsafe place,” she said.
Gov. Chris Gregoire issued a statement Sunday saying she had asked Department of Corrections Secretary Eldon Vail to thoroughly review the incident and look at the safeguards in place at the Monroe complex.
“This young woman was devoted to an agency that works around the clock to ensure our communities are safe, which makes her death all the more tragic. I ask all Washingtonians to join me in keeping her loved ones in our thoughts and prayers,” Gregoire said.
Scherf has been isolated in a segregation unit. He has not made a statement and has asked for a lawyer.
WAStateC.O.P.S. says Teamsters Local 117 is setting up a memorial fund for donations in support of Biendl’s family.
Cards to the family or Dept. of Corrections may be sent to:
Family of Officer Jayme Lee Biendl
C/O Teamsters Local 117
14675 Interurban Avenue, South, Suite 307
Tukwila, WA 98168
Los Lunas NM Jan 30 2011 Guns on school campuses? That’s what Desi Garcia, Los Lunas Schools director of safety and security, proposed at the school board meeting Tuesday, and the school board is asking for public input.
In the first reading of the policy to allow School Resource Officers to carry guns on school campuses, Garcia asked the school board to “exercise its power to delegate to the superintendent the ability to allow certified law enforcement SROs to carry firearms.
“We are not introducing guns to our campus,” Garcia said.”They are already there. We’re just trying to provide the tools necessary for SRO’s to protect our students.”
In light of the recent shooting in Tucson, and the legacy of Columbine High School, school security and law enforcement officials believe armed officers are needed on school campuses.
“It’s about that time,” said Garcia, a retired Albuquerque police officer. “Monday morning I picked up the Albuquerque Journal and I saw that a gunman shot and killed a female at a Walmart store. This is in Monday’s paper.”
Another incident reported that a jealous man killed his best friend in front of his wife’s or girlfriend’s daughter.
“Everybody knows what Jared Loughner did when he shot 25 people,” Garcia said. “Killed six, wounded 19. Clay Alan Duke walked into a school board meeting and attempted to kill members of the school board, the superintendent of the schools, for firing an employee in the Florida school district. Fortunately, there was a police officer present and he did what he is trained to do, go after the bad guy.”
Last week at Gardena High School in California, a young man took his backpack to school, in which he had a gun. When he dropped his backpack, the gun discharged injuring two of his classmates.
“We’ve done some research over the last part of the school year, starting in September,” Garcia said. “A 15-year-old female student was shot and killed at a bus stop on her way to school. A 17-year-old boy was stabbed in Coral Gables, Florida.”
Garcia said you can’t identify who could become violent at school.
“Truly it could be anyone,” he said. “This week alone, we’ve had three calls, two from the high school, one from Valencia, about kids who have threatened to shoot up the school.”
“With the increased violence that we’re seeing in the schools throughout the country, I think we’d all be naive to believe that we’d never have an incident occur in one of our schools here in our own community,” said Valencia County Sheriff Louis Burkhard. “I hope and pray that it doesn’t, but I’m not one to rely on luck. I think that we have to prepare. We have to train, and we have to be ready in the event that we do have such an incident occur.
“I do strongly support school resource officers being armed. I think them not being armed places them, our students and the staff in great jeopardy.”
The possibility that a student might be able to get their hands on an SRO’s firearm during a scuffle was one of the worries of Los Lunas Board of Education President Maria Marez.
Sgt. Robert Ferrarri, of the Los Lunas police SWAT team, who does the arms qualifications for SROs, demonstrated to the board all the latches and locks on the holsters that secure the guns.
“I train my people to ensure that they are capable of neutralizing a situation,” said Ferrarri. “The holsters that we issue here to our officers are what we call ‘double two plus holsters.’”
Once the firearm is locked into the holster, it cannot be removed.
“You have certain steps you have to take to get the pistol out of your holster,” Ferrarri said. “If I try to pull this weapon up and out (he tugs on the gun in his holster), it’s not going to happen.”
He assured Marez that the SROs will do what they have to do to keep students safe and nobody else gets hurt.
Chris Martinez, vice president of the board, asked about response time from other law enforcement agencies if a shooter were to get onto the campus at of one of the schools.
“All my police officers have access to the dispatch system, so they can switch channels on their frequencies and contact dispatch in the event that such an event should occur,” Garcia said. “That has all been arranged. As we’ve grown we’ve developed relationships with all (county and state) entities.”
All the law enforcement agencies in the county work together and assist one another, he said.
There are four lessons learned from the Columbine shootings, Garcia said. Number one: That there isn’t a distinct psychological profile of a school killer. Another is the need to better prepare students and teachers for an emergency.
The method of handling such incidents has also changed.
In the old law enforcement approach, Garcia said, cops surround the building, set up a perimeter and contain the damage.
That approach has now been replaced by the “active shooter protocol.”
“Optimally, it calls for a four-person team to advance in a diamond-shaped wedge,” Garcia said. “They’re trained to move toward the sound of gunfire and neutralize the shooter. Their goal is to stop him at all costs.”
This approach has been proven successful at numerous shootings during the last 10 years. At Virginia Tech alone, it probably saved dozens of lives, Garcia said.
The SROs are police officers and not security officers, They are state certified by the Department of Public Safety, and have all attended a police academy. They are all up to date on state law enforcement requirements. They are commissioned by Los Lunas Police Department and the Valencia County Sheriff’s Office.
They have the powers of arrest, and to submit cases for prosecution to the Juvenile Probation and Parole Office and the District Attorneys Office.
Until Los Lunas Schools can provide firearms, the officers will use the guns they kept from their law enforcement careers.
“It’s one more tool to keep our kids safe,” said Marez. “We’d be silly not to be proactive in this area. Mr. Garcia put it well, APS set the tone for this. APS is the largest district in New Mexico, and we’re one of 10 in size. So, we’re right behind APS.”
Marez said she’d like to hear from the community on the issue.
Reno NV Jan 30 2011 A 41-year-old Carson City man was arrested Wednesday afternoon at Mark Twain Elementary School after allegedly having a disagreement with his son’s teacher and saying “this is going to be another Columbine.”
According to the arrest report, the teacher told deputies that the boy’s recess privileges were suspended for the week after he was caught picking on a Hispanic student, taking that student’s coat and using it like a bullfighter’s cape, yelling “Torro, Torro!”
The teacher said that the boy’s father came into her classroom and yelled at her in front of 15 second-grade students, claiming his son was being racially profiled, and that something needed to be done or there would “be another Columbine” at the school. The teacher reported that the father also smelled of alcohol.
The man then reportedly left the school with his son, and school officials took the precaution of locking down the school, which had just released all its students for the day.
A deputy said she contacted the man and convinced him to come back to the school to file a report, where he was arrested for making threats, a misdemeanor. The man allegedly admitted to making the threats, and said he drank a 32 oz. beer before coming to the school.
Atmore AL Jan 20 2011 Two students at Escambia County High School were arrested Wednesday morning after drug dogs discovered marijuana and Lortabs in two vehicles.
Four dog teams from the Alabama Department of Corrections along with deputies with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office were requested by school administration to sniff out classrooms and lockers following rumors that drugs were on campus.
Their intuition paid off.
Tikeria Deshae Wiggins, 18, was arrested for felony possession of a controlled substance and a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana after the dogs discovered a bottle of Lortabs and a small amount of marijuana in her white Toyota Corolla in the school’s parking lot. The pill bottle was discovered in the console of her car and the marijuana was discovered hidden in a compartment next to the steering wheel. ECSO deputies immediately transferred her to the Escambia County Detention Center in Brewton.
A 17-year-old black, male student was also detained after two to three grams of marijuana were discovered in his black Toyota Corolla.
The large bag of marijuana was discovered hidden under the gear shifter. He was transferred to the Baldwin County Juvenile Detention Center.
Although suspicions paid off, ECHS Principal Zickeyous Byrd was “disappointed” by the discovery of drugs on his campus.
“It was an unfortunate situation, and I was really disappointed,” he said. “I was confident that no drugs were on this campus, but it goes to show that we have more work to do.”
An hour-long search of the inside of school, including each classroom, technical buildings and lockers, turned up no drugs. Byrd was pleased drugs were not discovered inside the premises, but believes more work can be done to keep them completely off campus.
“Although drugs were not inside the building, I still was hurt to find out that they were in the parking lot, inside the cars,” Byrd said. “Again, It goes to show that we have more work to do. We must do a better job at educating our students about the dangers of drugs, and I am committed to doing that with the help of the community. ECHS will be a campus that is drug free on the inside as well as on the outside. We have some wonderful students here, but sometimes they make mistakes. Life is full of learning experiences, and this should serve as a learning experience for all our students.”
The dog teams began their search at Escambia County Middle School following rumors of drugs on campus. No drugs were discovered during the hour-long search, but some students were found in possession of cell phones.
The drug dogs were then used in Flomaton where a teacher at the Escambia County alternative school was arrested and charged with drug possession following a search at the school and Flomaton High School parking lot.
During a search of classrooms at the alternative school, sheriff’s officials said, drug dogs alerted deputies to a bag belonging to Jill Coulter, 54, of Cantonment, Fla., a teacher. The search revealed prescription medication belonging to Coulter, officials said.
Drug dogs also zeroed in on Coulter’s car in the parking lot, and she allowed officers to search the car after admitting there was marijuana in the vehicle, officials said.
Deputies searched the car and found a small amount of what deputies believed to be marijuana and rolling papers inside her purse.
Coulter was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.
Superintendent Billy Hines hopes the arrests will serve as a stern warning to both students and teachers that drugs will not be tolerated on any school campus, during and after school hours.
“We’re not limiting these drug searches to a school day,” he said. “We have had these drug dogs come in during basketball games to search vehicles. As long as we are having any type of function on school property, we can have these drug dogs on our campus.”
Hines said measures such as having drug dogs search schools and their parking lots is one way of working to ensure the system’s top priority, the students, are safe.
“Our goal is to have a drug free system and whatever we can do to deter it or discourage people from bringing drugs to school, we will do it,” Hines said. “We’re always looking after the safety of our children.”
Hines said that the drug searches are unannounced to the school administration with only him knowing ahead of time. He said principals are called a few minutes prior to law enforcement arriving on campus.
“These are random searches, the only one who knows about it is me,” Hines said. “The morning of, the principal is called to put the school on lockdown when they get there. We welcome them in the schools because we use it as a deterrent. There is no previous warning to anybody that the drug dogs are coming.”
Hines said Coulter is currently on administrative leave, pending an investigation.
State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. granted the Bills’ summary judgment motion Thursday, throwing out a lawsuit filed by William D. Austin of Wheatfield.
Andrew D. Fleming of Hamburg, Austin’s lawyer, said he intends to appeal Kloch’s ruling.
Austin, 53, was hurt with 8:16 remaining in the third quarter of a Nov. 13, 2005, game against the Kansas City Chiefs, which the Bills won, 14-3.
Fleming said his client, as instructed, was standing beyond the end zone at the tunnel end of the field with his back to the play, looking into the stands for possible trouble.
Evans stretched to catch a 29-yard touchdown pass from quarterback J. P. Losman, tumbled out of the end zone and crashed into Austin.
Austin was wheeled off on a stretcher but got a big hand from the crowd as he raised his arms to signal “touchdown,” The Buffalo News reported the next day.
The News reported Austin suffered a high ankle sprain, but court papers said Austin later underwent surgery for a right knee injury, a “posterior lateral meniscus tear.”
“It’s a permanent injury,” said Fleming, who said Austin, a former Niagara County corrections officer, still works in private security.
Keith N. Bond, the Bills’ attorney, did not return calls seeking comment on the case.
Court papers said Austin was working at the game for the Apex Group, a company with which Contemporary Services Corp., which had a stadium operations contract with the Bills, had subcontracted game security duties.
Kloch said court rulings in similar cases have established that people near the sidelines at sporting events have “an implied assumption of risk.”
Legal precedents included a ruling against a photographer who was hurt at a New York Knicks basketball game in Madison Square Garden when Knicks forward Charles Oakley crashed into him. The photographer’s suit was thrown out of court.
“Our case is different. Mr. Austin was required to look into the crowd. The photographer was required to look at the court and had to assume the risk,” Fleming argued. “We thought these were issues that should be heard by a jury, and that’s the argument we will make to the Appellate Division.”
Kloch also cited an effort by Wendy Kreil of Cheektowaga to collect damages after she was struck by a hammer in 2000 while watching the hammer throw at a Highland Games event in Olcott’s Krull Park. She sued Niagara County, which owns the park, but lost.
Another plaintiff who lost his case, according to Kloch, was a stadium vendor hurt by a fan who lunged into the aisle to try to catch a T-shirt fired from a cannon.
Happy Valley OR Jan 30 2011
Happy Valley police officers wear black uniforms embellished with patches and identifying features unique to the squad. They drive white and blue cars with “Happy Valley Police Department” displayed on the side.
But the officers — right up to new Happy Valley Police Chief Shane Strangfield — are actually employees of the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office and are on contract with the city through a four-year police levy.
The idea of contracting out services — known as a district model — is common in the smaller cities sprinkled throughout Clackamas County. A district model creates districts for services such as sewer, water, library and policing. These districts do not always follow city boundaries and may serve a larger area.
With Happy Valley’s budget shrinking, City Manager Jason Tuck has found the district model a more cost-effective way to run the city of about 13,000 residents and to keep taxes low.
Happy Valley’s approved 2010-11 budget is about $13.4 million. Its current tax rate is 67 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, meaning the owner of a $250,000 home pays $167.50 a year in property taxes. By comparison, property owners in Gladstone, which has a similar population, pay $4.98 per $1,000 of assessed value. In much larger Oregon City, property owners pay $5.05 per $1,000.
“In the district, we have a larger area that is paying toward the services it provides, so it’s a more efficient model at least in our view,” Tuck said. “We are able to keep the tax rate relatively low.”
He added that without the district model, residents would have fewer programs and services to enjoy. For example, Happy Valley is one of two cities in Clackamas County without a city-run library. Residents pay to take part in the Clackamas County Library District, which allows them to check out materials from 13 libraries without having to purchase a library card for $92 a year.
Money to operate the district comes from a measure voters approved in November 2008 which created a tax of about 40 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. The owner of a $250,000 home pays $100.
The closest library is at Clackamas Town Center, but plans are in place to move it to Sunnyside Village Community Center at 13792 S.E. Sieben Parkway by fall — a move to be funded by the county and the district.
The city also contracts with fire, water and sewer service companies, keeping those rates low and leaving management of the agencies in the hands of Clackamas County Sewer District One and Sunrise Water Authority.
So how common is the district model and does it really save cities money?
According to a survey by the League of Oregon Cities, about 10 cities similar in size to Happy Valley use a district model for various programs and services. The most common district listed in the survey is fire services; others, such as library and policing districts, tend to see lower participation.
Mike McCauley, the league’s executive director, said one thing for cities to remember is to evaluate what works best for residents.
He said some cities take part in districts because without them, it would be too expensive to run services without raising taxes. At the same time, use of districts can create a city that feels disconnected and almost virtual, with most services being outsourced to private or county-run organizations.
“The community needs to do what makes sense for citizens because they may actually be increasing costs of residents and disconnecting the integration of community,” McCauley said.
He added that residents of district-run cities might have a harder time communicating with each of the boards running various services. For example, if a Happy Valley resident has a complaint about the library, he or she can’t just go to a council meeting but has to attend a meeting of the Clackamas County Library District.
Yet when it comes to community policing, Chief Strangfield –who is also the chief officer in Damascus and Estacada — said the benefits of contracting with the sheriff’s office far outweigh the cost of starting and operating a separate police agency.
The city pays for the officers’ uniforms and designs Happy Valley-specific badges and cars. For police services, residents pay $1.38 per $1,000 of assessed property value, which amounts to $345 a year for the owner of a $250,000 home.
In return, residents have access to all Clackamas County sheriff’s services, including seven full-time officers, one sergeant, one traffic officer, one detective and one community service officer dedicated to Happy Valley.
The county can also send out additional patrol officers and manages all training, maintenance and personnel issues.
While it’s difficult to estimate how much it might cost the city to provide its own police services, Jim Strovink, spokesman for the sheriff’s office, said it would amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars. “If you think about what a massive undertaking it would be to have a building, training, buying equipment, this really is the only economical, viable option for these small cities,” he said.
Tuck agreed, crediting the district model for resulting in savings for the city.
“The district model has helped us survive and provide at the low tax rate that we have, even as a little city,” Tuck said.
Ricardo Concepcion was arrested Wednesday afternoon in Rockford where he resides.
Concepcion joined the Byron Police Department in 2008 with 20 years of law enforcement behind him. He’s also a veteran of the U.S. Army.
The Byron community is shaken by the news. “It’s crazy,” says Dan O’Neill. “We’re a small community, real tight. It’s a shocker to show you you can never be too careful.”
WTVO contacted Byron Police Chief Todd Murray, but he has no comment at this time.
Concepcion is currently held in the Winnebago County Jail without bond.
Los Angeles CA Jan 30 2011 A Los Angeles police officer who claimed he was shot while patrolling near a high school has been arrested for concocting the whole story.
Authorities said Officer Jeff Stenroos has been arrested on a felony charge of filing a false police report.
Stenroos had said the shooting happened when he accosted a man who was looking into the windows of parked vehicles near the El Camino High School in the San Fernando Valley on January 19.
The reported shooting caused several schools in the area to be put on lock-down for hours while over 300 police officers scoured the area looking for an armed shooter.
A reward for information leading to the arrest of the ‘long-haired gunman’ grew to $100,000 and a sketch of the alleged assailant was released.
But last night Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said Stenroos had made the whole story up and was caught out when detectives became suspcious of his tale.
‘The current state of the investigation refutes Stenroos’ initial account of the incident and we are now certain that there is no outstanding suspect in this shooting’, Mr Beck said in a statement.
The Police Chief said detectives had followed up on more than 350 leads and carried out neighbourhood canvasses and distributed ‘countless’ fliers in the search for information leading to the capture of a gunman that had shot one of their own.
The whole ordeal was a great inconvenience to students, teachers and local residents as officers implemented a seven-quare-mile area that was blocked off.
False report: Stenroos had given an artist impression of the gunman who he said had long hair but turned out not to exist
Stenroos had been wearing a bullet protective vest which prevented the bullet from entering his body.
After the shooting occured, Coast Guard Auxiliary member Michael Brodey found Stenroos and used the officer’s radio to call for help and looked after the officer until an ambulance arrived.
Mr Brodey did not see a gunman at the scene.
Stenroos is understood to have suffered bruising to his chest and claimed he was knocked back and hit his head but no other injuries were reported.
But Mr Beck did not elaborate during last night’s press conference on how Stenroos may have got the wound on his chest or whether it was self-inflicted.
‘While I understand the media and the public’s intense interest in this investigation, and the desire for answers to the many questions that will be asked with this new development of the officer’s arrest, I cannot provide more detailed information at this time’, Mr Beck said.
Detectives are still trying to understand how Stenroos managed to pull off the hoax.
Steven Zipperman, chief of the Los Angeles School Department called Stenroos a ‘disgrace’ and said: ‘Obviously it’s as shocking to us as it is to anyone else’.
‘The law enforcement community is disgusted’, Paul M. Weber, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League said in a statement.
‘While Mr Stenroos is a disgrace to the badge, his individual and dangerous actions should not reflect on the hard-working men and women in law enforcement’
Wetumpka AL Jan 30 2011 In two months the Wetumpka Police Department will turn over 41 square miles of its police jurisdiction to the Elmore County Sheriff’s Department.
The city limits will become the outer edge of Wetumpka police officers’ responsiblity, based on a plan by the Wetumpka City Council to cut costs by ceasing city services outside the city limits.
With the clock ticking, Sheriff Bill Franklin and the Elmore County Commission are hustling to make sure there’s no interruption in vital police service.
Wetumpka’s still answering calls in the police jurisdiction, though they’ve ceased regular patrols. But as of April 1, sheriff’s deputies will be responsible for “everything from barking dogs, to serving subpoenas to a murder call,” Franklin said.
Franklin submitted a proposal Monday night to hire three patrol deputies and one investigator in response to the impending expansion of territory.
Commissioner David Bowen said he was shocked “by the low number you gave.”
“I was surprised that you’re prepared to pick up more than half the city’s call volume with four new officers.”
Franklin said he asked for what he thought was feasible.
“Some would come in here with double digits, but I realize there’s only so much gold to go around,” he said. “And this gentleman’s about to ask for some gold, and (another county official) needs some of that gold …”
The WPD has 20 officers when at full staff who were responsible for police matters in a 51 square-mile area. After the pullback, those 20 will cover just 12 square miles.
The sheriff’s department currently has 32 deputies who patrol 628 square miles, along with more than 1,000 miles of shoreline, according to Franklin.
“Our manpower is about what they have, but our square mileage is 62 times more,” Franklin noted.
Now much of the county territory, like Kowaliga, Titus or Weoka, is sparsely populated. An extra 41 miles of that area wouldn’t be a problem. But Wetumpka’s PJ, he said, “is a congested, highly populated 41 miles.”
The salary and benefits for the additional three patrolmen and one investigator will cost the county $164,000, Franklin said.
Commissioners tabled the official decision to add personnel, but they approved personnel from the jail to attend the police academy March 7 to prepare to be promoted to the patrol division.
“Sheriff Franklin has done more with less (resources) than any sheriff in the state, I believe,” Commissioner Joe Faulk said. “The timing is bad, but it’s our responsibility to act.”
Lilburn GA Jan 30 2011 Three DeKalb County teens got an unusual field trip Friday when they skipped school to accompany the mother of one of them on a bank heist.
Gwinnett County Jail Tawander Simmons, 35, of Stone Mountain allegedly robbed a Wells Fargo Bank with three teens Friday morning, police say.
Benny Brice, 17, the son of Tawander Simmons, David Rawlins, 17, is one of four suspects arrested, Glenn Broom, 18, also was arrested.
Police in Lilburn said Tawander Simmons, 35, of Stone Mountain, pointed a handgun at a teller at the Wells Fargo Bank in the 5500 block of Lawrenceville Highway Friday morning. She was accompanied by two of the teens, while a third waited outside in the getaway car, said Deputy Chief of Police Bruce Hedley.
Hedley said early in the day that Simmons checked her son Benny Brice, 17, and the two other boys, out of Stephenson High School in Stone Mountain just before the robbery. Hedley said that account was based on what the arrested youths had told officers, but he said the school police later told him that only one of the teens had attended school Friday and then walked out but that the others had skipped.
School officials gave an account that differed slightly. A spokesman for the DeKalb County School System told the AJC that there was no record of any of the three teens attending school Friday morning.
“Nobody has a record of them showing up to class,” said the schools spokesman, Walter Woods. He said there also was no record of Simmons checking them out.
The robbery occurred at around 9 a.m.
A witness called police with the description of a fleeing vehicle, and minutes later Lilburn officers spotted the red Toyota Corolla and gave chase.
Two police cars followed that Corolla at speeds up to 90 m.p.h. as it fled down Highway 78 onto southbound I-285. The car exited at East Ponce de Leon Avenue near Clarkston and attempted a right turn at the end of the exit ramp without slowing down, Hedley said. The car went into the embankment across the road and crashed into railroad tracks.
ARCADIA CA Jan 30 2011 - A man and teenage girl were arrested Saturday on suspicion of shoplifting from the Westfield Santa Anita shopping mall, then striking a security guard who tried to stop them with their car, police said.
Anthony Woodridge, 20, of Pasadena was booked on suspicion of burglary and assault with a deadly weapon, and a 16-year-old Pasadena girl was booked on suspicion of burglary, Arcadia police Sgt. Dan Crowther said.
Mall security guards noticed the pair stealing clothing from Zumiez, a clothing and skateboard shop, and followed them into the parking lot, the sergeant said.
The two got into a car, and a security guard on a bicycle began writing down the license plate number of the car, Crowther said.
Woodridge, who was driving, then struck the security guard with his car before both he and the teenage accomplice abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot, he said.
Police and security guards found Woodridge and the teen in the area and arrested them, Crowther said.
The security guard who was struck suffered only minor injuries in the incident, he added.
VANCLEAVE, Miss.Jan 30 2011 — A man wearing a Halloween mask robbed a Vancleave pharmacy at gunpoint today and ran away with painkillers, according to Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd.
It’s likely the same man who robbed the Sav Rex Pharmacy on Jan. 18, the sheriff said, and investigators have a person of interest they’re looking for today.
Byrd said that at 1 p.m., the man entered the store on Miss. 57 with a gun, stole a gun from an armed security guard inside, then demanded the painkillers.
The man was handed Oxycontin pills and time-release narcotic skin patches, Byrd said, and he ran away.
Byrd said deputies used trained dogs to track the man’s path for about 100 yards, and the man likely got into a vehicle at that point and drove away.
On Jan. 18, a man wearing a mask robbed the store around 8 a.m., forcing four nearby schools to go into lockdown as a safety precaution.
Byrd did not identify the person of interest in the robberies.
According to police reports from the Barboursville Police Department, a 25-year-old woman stole $104.96 in Wii video games and merchandise from the Game Stop on Champion Drive in Barboursville on January 19.
The store manager couldn’t stop the woman in time, but she did call police and she did warn the other two Game Stop stores in the Huntington Mall about this woman, just in case she tried to return the merchandise for a refund.
The police report says the shoplifter did try to return the merchandise to both of the stores, but was not given a refund.
As she was leaving the mall, she was stopped by a Barboursville Police officer. That’s when the woman said she was pregnant, her water had just broken and she needed to go to the hospital.
An ambulance was called to take her to the hospital, but the police report says the woman just walked out of the emergency room before she was seen by a doctor.
All three of the stolen items have been returned to the original store.
If the suspect is arrested, she will be charged with third offense shoplifting.