Vansant VA March 14 2011 Two sheriff’s deputies were killed and two others wounded in a shooting at a salvage yard, and a suspect was killed by police after a search, in a rural corner of southwestern Virginia that saw a deadly rampage in 2002.
Buchanan County deputies investigating a report of a robbery at Roger’s Service Center in Vansant on Sunday afternoon were met by gunfire from long range, Virginia State Police said. Two were hit and died at the scene. Two others who arrived also were shot, said State Police Sgt. Steve Lowe.
One deputy has life-threatening injuries and the other was in serious condition, state police said. No names were released late Sunday.
A candlelight vigil for the four officers was planned Monday evening at the Buchanan County Courthouse in Grundy, according to two Facebook pages set up in honor of the deputies.
Christina Stiltner lives across the street from the salvage yard and had just walked into her home with her 10-year-old son when she heard “pow, pow, pow.”
She opened her front door and saw one deputy run into a neighbor’s yard. She heard another “pow” and the deputy went down. He was one of the injured, she said.
“It scares you so much,” she said. “I sat there thinking `what’s the number to 911′? It shocked me so badly, I didn’t know the number to 911.”
Residents said such violence is rare in the rural area of about 1,000 people, though in January 2002, a student opened fire on the Appalachian School of Law campus in Grundy just down the road from Vansant after learning he had flunked out of school.
The school’s dean, a professor and a student were killed in the attack. Three other students were wounded. The shooter, Peter Odighizuwa, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison.
“This is a laid-back community. Everybody knows everybody,” said Tivis O’Quinn, 68, who has lived in Vansant for 40 years and operates a business less than a mile from the salvage yard. “Nothing like this ever takes place, except for the law school shooting.”
Police did not say what sort of weapon was used, but Lowe said the suspect shot from long range. The owner of the salvage yard told police his business was being robbed and he had blocked the suspect’s vehicle with his own.
State police and other officers found the suspect after a two-hour search and after “some sort of engagement” they shot and killed him, Lowe said.
“I’m not sure what the confrontation was when they encountered him,” Lowe said. “Apparently he was identified as the right person.”
Lowe said he didn’t know if the man fired on police, or if he was armed at the time.
Stiltner said she knew all the deputies involved in the attack because they would often stop by the gas station and restaurant where she works.
Stiltner said she wasn’t allowed to return to her home seven hours after the shootings ended. Several other residents were out of their homes late Sunday.
Vansant is a former coal mining town in the mountainous region of southwestern Virginia. O’Quinn said the community experiences “little petty thefts now and then,” but nothing like what occurred Sunday.
On display in O’Quinn’s office was a 2011 calendar of the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Department. The photo features the department’s 47 members, including Foster and 24 uniformed deputies.
Buchanan County Sheriff Ray Foster called the shooting “one of a kind” for his department but declined to say anymore.
According to the website The Officer Down Memorial Page, the last Buchanan County sheriff to die in the line of duty was in 1975 of a heart attack. The website lists four on-duty deaths for the department since 1905. The last by gunfire was in 1964.
Florida March 14 2011 A United Space Alliance employee who fell to his death this morning while working on Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center was identified this afternoon.
USA engineer James D. Vanover, died this morning after a fall at Launch Pad 39A.
“Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to the family of Mr. Vanover,” United Space Alliance Chief Executive Officer Virginia Barnes said in a statement. “Our focus right now is on providing support for the family, and for his coworkers. We are also providing our full support to investigating officials in order to determine the cause of the incident as quickly as possible. Until that investigation is complete, it would be inappropriate to provide further comment on the details.”
Details about how the man fell, or what he was doing prior to the fall, remains unclear, said NASA spokeswoman Candrea Thomas.
NASA emergency medical personnel responded to the pad at about 7:40 a.m. and tried to revive the man, but were unsuccessful. An investigation into the accident is now being launched.
All work on the launch pad has been suspended while the man’s death is investigated, Thomas said. She declined to release the man’s name because his family has not yet been notified.
Workers are being offered counseling and other services, NASA said in a statement.
“Right now our focus is on our workers and for the family of the USA employee,” the statement said.
The pad is the site of next month’s space Endeavor space shuttle launch. Six astronauts are scheduled to lift off on April 19.
Thomas said the schedule has six additional days included in the pad schedule to accommodate delays in work.
In March 2006, a construction worker fell to his death after tripping over a wire on a roof. Steven Owens, 51, was transported to a local hospital, where he later died.
The worker, identified as 52-year-old Russell Sherry Roscoe of Webster, suffered head injuries Sunday while working on ride at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and was airlifted to Orlando Regional Medical Center, according to the sheriff’s office. He died there this morning.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Monday opened an investigation into the accident. No details have been released about the incident, which was not witnessed by guests at the theme park.
“Our Walt Disney World community has experienced a tragic loss,” Walt Disney World President Meg Crofton said in a prepared statement. “We extend our heartfelt condolences to Russ Roscoe’s family and we are working to assist them during this difficult time; our thoughts and our prayers are with them.”
Crofton added, “There is no higher priority than the safety of our cast and our guests, and we will work with authorities to thoroughly review every aspect of this incident.
The death is the second associated with the ride.
In November 2007, Disney worker Karen Price, 63, was working on an elevated rider-loading platform when she was struck by one of the roller coaster vehicles. She died five days later.
After her death, Disney renovated the Primeval Whirl ride and installed sensors to prevent a similar accident occurring in the same area of the ride.
In 2008, federal investigators faulted Disney for five safety violations and fined the company $21,000 for the accident that caused Price’s death.
In the most recent accident, Webster was working in an area of the Primeval Whirl known as “the dip,” according to a 911 call released by Reedy Creek Fire District, Walt Disney World’s municipal fire department.
“We need somebody right now,” a co-worker told a 911 dispatcher. “One of our maintenance guys got hit by a moving vehicle…He got in the way of a moving vehicle.”
Webster, who suffered a massive head injury, was given first-aid care by his co-workers as they waited for Reedy Creek paramedics to reach the accident.
“We’re trying to keep him conscious,” the unidentified co-worker told 911, before encouraging Webster to remain conscious. “Stay with us, man.”
Police issued a warrant for Aaron Ray Ruppert, 39, on Jan. 3 after he was identified as the suspect in a robbery at the 7-Eleven store on North East Street.
A man fitting Ruppert’s description entered the store at about 4:30 a.m. on Jan. 2, brandishing a knife and jumping over the counter in an attempt to open the cash register. When he was unable to open it, he took the entire register and fled.
Police recovered evidence the robber was seen dumping in a nearby alley.
Ruppert was arrested Friday after failing to provide proper identification to Baltimore County Police responding to a shoplifting call in which he had been identified as a suspect.
Police said he also gave officers a false name.
After further investigation revealed Ruppert’s identity, Baltimore County Police called Frederick police and members of the Criminal Investigations Division responded to Baltimore County.
Ruppert was taken before a District Court commissioner in Baltimore County for a bail hearing, according to Frederick police. He is charged in Frederick County with armed robbery, theft less than $100 and malicious destruction of property greater than $500.
Baltimore city and county police had been working with Frederick police in attempting to locate Ruppert since the warrant was issued.
MOUNT HOLLY PA March 14 2011 — A Camden County woman was arrested Tuesday for stealing copper from a hardware store and fighting with one of the security guards, Delran police said Friday.
Constance Anderson, 37, of Cherry Hill, made a first appearance in Superior Court on Wednesday before Judge Thomas Kelly, who set her bail at $15,000.
She is charged with shoplifting and simple assault.
According to Delran police, Anderson stole $300 worth of copper plumbing fittings from the Home Depot on Route 130 at 2:31 p.m. Tuesday. When a security guard from the store tried to detain her, she allegedly physically fought with the employee.
She is taken to the Burlington County Minimum Security Facility in Pemberton Township, where she remained Friday, according to Burlington County Corrections Department records.
Patricia Edwards will be senteced May 11th. She was arrested in December when security officials say she walked out of Macy’s with more than $200 worth of items without paying for them.
Edwards pleaded guilty to similar charges in February of 2010.
She resigned her job as Principal of Lodge Elementary shortly after she was arrested on the original charges.
She was given a one year suspended sentence on those charges.
She faces up to two years in prison on the more recent charges.
Elk Grove, Ca March 14 2011 A 23-year-old man was robbed and left nude by two armed bandits in a parking lot of a Walmart store.
The robbery occurred at approximately 7:30pm Monday, just outside the store, located in the 8400 block of Elk Grove Boulevard.
Elk Grove police say that the victim went to the store to sell a pair of tennis shoes that he advertised on the popular Craigslist website. As soon as he arrived at that location, two men carrying guns accosted him.
Afterward, police say the robbers forced the victim to disrobe before fleeing in a green or gray Dodge Charger. They made off with the victim’s clothing, cell phone, cash, and shoes.
The victim immediately notified a store’s security guard about the incident, leading the guard to notify police.
Thankfully, no injuries were reported, despite the fact that the robbers carried guns.
After the incident, the victim managed to provide authorities a description of the two suspects as well as the tag number of the suspects’ vehicle, which was soon spotted by police in Stockton. The vehicle was stopped and two or three people in it were detained for interrogation. Out of all those three people, one of them matched the description of one of the robbers. That person was later identified by the victim as one of the two people who held him up and, thus, was taken into custody.
Police are still searching for the second robber.
The arrestee has been identified as 24-year-old Everett Lewis.
The victim’s name has not been disclosed.
FRAMINGHAM MA March 14 2011 — A Rte. 9 pharmacy worker admitted Monday to stealing and selling prescription painkillers, saying she did it to help pay child support, police said.
Lynda Black, 37, said she stole oxycodone and sold it to a friend so she could pay her husband, police spokesman Lt. Ron Brandolini said.
CVS security officers called Framingham Police at 12:45 p.m. Monday and said they had caught an employee stealing the painkiller.
Black worked as a pharmacy technician at the CVS at the intersection of Rte. 9 and Temple Street, Brandolini said.
“CVS had been conducting an internal investigation, and she admitted to the theft,” Brandolini said.
The store started an investigation last week after a shortage was discovered.
Security officers saw Black on video taking the pills from a dispenser, Brandolini said. They do not know exactly how many pills she took, or how long she had been stealing them, he said.
Black, of 1640 Worcester Road, was charged with the sale of oxycodone, the illegal possession of Vicodin and stealing a controlled substance from a depository.
Black pleaded not guilty at her Framingham District Court arraignment Monday. She was released without bail. She is due back in court April 21 for a pretrial conference.
Gina Riccelli, 39, of Sandusky was charged late last week with four felony counts of misuse of credit cards and four counts of misdemeanor theft.
Riccelli worked at Tom’s Cruz Limousine, where she accessed the company’s client database to steal credit card numbers, Sandusky police Detective Gary Wichman said.
LOS ANGELES CA March 14 2011– Pilots on an Alaska Airlines flight locked down the cockpit and alerted authorities after three passengers conducted an elaborate orthodox Jewish prayer ritual during their Los Angeles-bound flight.
Airline spokeswoman Bobbie Egan says the crew of Flight 241 from Mexico City became alarmed Sunday after the men began the ritual, which involves tying leather straps and small wooden boxes to the body.
The cockpit was placed on a security lockdown – meaning the door couldn’t be opened even for pilots to leave briefly.
FBI and customs agents, along with police and fire crews, met the plane at the gate at Los Angeles International Airport.
Airport police say three men – all Mexican nationals – were escorted off the plane, questioned by the FBI, and released. They were not arrested.
Detroit MI March 14 2011 Detroit has become one of the nation’s “new frontiers” for Medicare fraud with many scams run by operators fleeing a federal crackdown in Miami.
Authorities say operators use recruiters to target poor men on Detroit streets, at soup kitchens and in homeless shelters. They shuttle them in vans to clinics set up for the scams or run by licensed providers trying to bilk the system for bogus treatments or for care never rendered or needed. Operators take their Medicare information in exchange for $50 or more.
Detroit’s unemployment rate makes it a particularly vulnerable target. Authorities have identified at least $120 million in fraudulent billings in metro Detroit.
The businesses investigated include physical therapy clinics, home health care agencies, medical equipment providers and podiatry offices. More regulation and prosecution is needed, some attorneys say.
“It’s like banks without an alarm system,” said David Haron, a Troy attorney who specializes in Medicare and Medicaid fraud, referring to the ease with which some medical businesses are established.
Since a federal strike force was created in Detroit in 2009, there have been more than 200 arrests, resulting in 60 guilty pleas and eight convictions at trial. Two operators of a Dearborn clinic — sisters Clara and Caridad Guilarte — are on a federal most-wanted list after their Dearborn infusion clinic was shut down for fraud.
Yet the recruiters keep coming.
Poor people’s Medicare information is being used to bilk the government
A man in white painter’s pants and a black parka with a fur-lined hood chatted last week with the poor, mostly homeless men at the Conner Capuchin Soup Kitchen on the east side of Detroit.
It wasn’t his first time.
“They are here every day,” Marilyn Reyes, assistant manager of the kitchen, said, pointing to the man, one of many Medicare recruiters preying on poor, elderly and frail people in Detroit.
When ordered to leave, the man takes his business to the public sidewalk or to a nearby fast-food restaurant or liquor store, the staff said.
Reyes said one recruiter even threatened her a few months ago when she told him to leave, saying, ” ‘I’ll have you killed.’ ”
By the vanloads, these recruiters truck their targets to clinics, doctors’ offices or other health care businesses in the suburbs, where their Medicare information is traded for $50 or more. The information is then used to bilk the federal government out of thousands of dollars in fraudulent Medicare billings.
When time doesn’t allow for a trip, recruiters take pictures of their targets’ red-white-and-blue Medicare cards for use in the scams.
To avoid detection during their recruiting trips, some drivers cover their license plates. Men most often are the targets, as they far outnumber women on the streets and at programs serving homeless people.
These activities continue all over the city, including at both Capuchin Soup Kitchens on the east side. The kitchens serve 1,000 meals a day, mostly to homeless men ranging from recently released prisoners to elderly Medicare beneficiaries.
The Conner Capuchin Soup Kitchen was forced to add a security guard in late February to watch its parking lot, in addition to guards who oversee the kitchen and staff inside. A recruiter mistakenly hit on guard Frank Shannon, a retired Detroit police officer, on his first day on the job, asking for his Medicare information in exchange for $50. He said he gave a bogus number to the man, who left. When he returned another day, he told the man he was a security guard hired to get rid of people like him, saying, “There’s a new sheriff in town.”
The Meldrum Capuchin Soup Kitchen also employs security guards inside and out, to no avail.
“They were here again today,” a guard told Brother Jerry Smith, Capuchin Soup Kitchen executive director, on Thursday.
The aggressiveness and pervasiveness of these soup kitchen recruiters shows the scope of the Medicare fraud problem, despite the nation’s biggest effort to end it.
Since March 2007, when the first joint federal task force began investigating Medicare fraud in Miami, 990 people have been charged with filing $2.3 billion in false Medicare billings in nine U.S. cities, including Detroit, where the task force efforts have been expanded. Investigators have identified at least $120 million in fraudulent billings in metro Detroit alone.
Federal officials estimate 3% to 10% of the $3.3 trillion the U.S. will spend on health care in 2012 will be wasted because of fraud and abuse. Cutting fraud and waste is critical to making Medicare solvent for future generations and finding money to offset costs for health reforms.
“In Detroit, and in the eight cities across the nation, our strike forces have been making a real impact,” Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said in a statement to the Free Press. “We’re no longer waiting for criminals to trip up. We’re working together … to identify the bad actors early, tracking the large criminal enterprises and shutting them down.”
As the Miami crackdown intensified, health care providers moved from there to other cities including Detroit, where large populations of poor, elderly and sick people, often with AIDS and other chronic problems, “make a target-rich environment,” said Tom Spokaeski, assistant special agent in charge of Detroit’s Office of Inspector General, part of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Businesses Spokaeski and others have investigated include home health care clinics, podiatry offices, physical therapy businesses and doctors’ offices. Some ordered costly tests and expensive prescription drugs or billed for services never rendered, according to federal court records in Detroit.
Others billed for months of physical therapy or home care for people who didn’t need any care or needed much less rehabilitation.
With its high unemployment rate, Detroit is a particularly easy target.
On a tour of the Cass Corridor last week, Spokaeski pointed to an area that federal investigators call “the Beach” near Third and Martin Luther King Drive, where dozens of people mill around some days talking to Medicare recruiters waiting for them on vacant lots, outside an aging hotel and near a homeless shelter.
Spokaeski and others have helped arrest more than 120 people in Medicare fraud scams since May 2009, when the joint task force expanded to Detroit. As of last month, 60 of 120 defendants arrested in Detroit have pleaded guilty and another eight have been convicted at trial, according to the Justice Department.
The average prison sentence in Detroit is 41.4 months, with nine people getting stiffer sentences of as much as 10 years.
“Despite our efforts, there is no shortage of cases,” said Barbara McQuade, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District in Detroit.
“We want providers to know we are scrutinizing billing records, and people will be brought to justice. We are seeing very strong sentences in these cases. People who just think a slap on the wrist are mistaken. The judges in our court have taken a very harsh view to this kind of activity.”
Federal investigators also have arrested and sentenced some of the recruiters but “the problem is rampant” and issues of attempted assault or trespass typically fall to local police, Spokaeski said. The Detroit Police Department did not return calls for comment.
$2.3 million in Medicare billings in four months
Xpress opened in November 2006 in Livonia. It was set up as a drug infusion clinic to administer high-dose prescription drugs by infusion for complications resulting from AIDS and HIV, hepatitis C and other problems.
Xpress lived up to its name.
Bankrolled by several Miami health care providers who later were charged or sentenced in various scams, it billed Medicare $2.3 million before federal agencies shut it down four months later, according to federal court records.
One of the principal owners of the clinic was Juan De Oleo, 51, of Miami, who was licensed as a physician’s assistant in Florida, federal court records show.
De Oleo and his partners had run other infusion clinics in Miami before coming to metro Detroit, federal authorities say.
They set up four infusion clinics — one in Livonia, two in Dearborn and one in Southfield — between 2006 and 2007, court records show. One of the Dearborn infusion clinics was run by Clara and Caridad Guilarte, who fled the country when their clinic was shut down for fraud. The two are now on a most-wanted list issued by the inspector general’s office in the Department of Health and Human Services.
The government focused its case on the Livonia operations, where it obtained the best records to establish fraud.
To help with the scheme, De Oleo needed a doctor willing to write prescriptions and bill Medicare for costly drugs. Through a newspaper ad, he found one. But the doctor usually appeared so stoned or drunk that De Oleo then convinced his wife, Dr. Rosa Genao, a 52-year-old Miami pediatrician, to help. Genao had been involved in questionable clinic billings in Miami, according to federal court records.
Flying in to Detroit on weekends in the dead of winter, Genao directed the falsification of records to bill Medicare for costly drugs at the Livonia clinic, court records show.
The clinics rendered little care and did not even have an adequate supply of medicines for the amount of drugs they allegedly prescribed, the court records show. In all, the four clinics submitted $11 million in billings to Medicare for about six months of operations, records show.
Three homeless people caught up in the Livonia scheme are among 19 Medicare recipients in Detroit charged in the scams, typically with conspiracy to receive health care kickbacks, a felony. Most have gotten probation, according to the Justice Department.
One was Rodney Woods, who received two years of probation for giving his Medicare information to Xpress.
“Rodney Woods was a truly sick individual” with AIDS, hepatitis C and other medical problems, said his Detroit attorney, S. Allen Early.
Early said the clinic billed Medicare $82,000 for Woods’ care, but the government said Woods got mostly sham treatments or, at most, B12 vitamin shots before a van shuttled him back to Detroit.
“He was more a victim than a participant in the scheme,” said Early.
Attorneys at the sentencing for De Oleo and Genao portrayed De Oleo as a silent investor in the clinics and his wife as a reluctant participant.
Letters from their pastor, family and colleagues to federal judge Denise Page Hood said the couple served as marriage counselors at their Mennonite church in Miami and Genao was a volunteer for a program in Miami called Virtuous Women that helped women raise their children.
“I can see you were kind of the rising star of your family,” Hood said to Genao, referring to Genao’s life growing up in Puerto Rico, attending medical school in the Dominican Republic and struggling to get licensed as a doctor in Florida.
Hood didn’t buy the couple’s pitch, saying both were more like top-of-the-food-chain perpetrators, compared with “the little guys” her court also has sentenced for Medicare fraud.
She sentenced De Oleo to 10 years in prison and Genao to eight and ordered the couple to pay $1.8 million in restitution.
Attorneys for De Oleo have requested a new trial. Both the husband and wife declined to comment.
De Oleo was taken away in handcuffs after his sentencing, kissing his wife on the cheek as he left the court with two U.S. marshals.
Genao awaits a letter from the federal Bureau of Prisons telling her where to surrender to serve her sentence. She threw herself on the ground under the attorney’s table in Hood’s courtroom after the verdict, sobbing.
New federal rules and fraud office in Michigan
New federal rules going into effect this month are an attempt to increase scrutiny of providers seeking Medicare numbers that allow them to bill the program, and to conduct unannounced inspections.
Michigan also has a newly created Office of Inspector General within its Medicaid division and has increased prosecution of health care providers who falsely bill the state-administered Medicaid program. But some providers, particularly those who bill private insurers, often can be involved in questionable activities that escape detection if the business is not required to be licensed. Such is the case with home health care agencies, imaging centers and outpatient clinics, for example. A bill to require licensing of home health care agencies awaits a hearing by the state Senate Health Policy Committee.
Still, attorneys complain that more scrutiny is needed, particularly before a business is allowed to open, and more resources are needed to prosecute illegal and questionable activities.
“There needs to be more resources to vet the people” before they open any type of health care business in Michigan, said David Haron, a Troy Medicare and Medicaid fraud attorney.
Source:Detroit Free Press
SALEM, Ore.March 14 2011 — Warm Springs officials would like to change Oregon law to give tribal police officers jurisdiction off the reservation.
But some non-tribal law enforcement officials want a two-way street: If tribal officers are to get more authority off the reservation, they say, then state, county and municipal law enforcement officers should get more authority when they are on the reservation.
Under existing law, tribal officers cannot arrest anyone off a reservation.
If, for instance, there is a shooting at Rainbow Market just across the river from the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, it can take Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies a while to get to the scene.
For Warm Springs officers, it’s only a few minutes away. But unless tribal officers have been cross-deputized, they can’t make an arrest. At best, they can prevent suspects from fleeing.
Officers of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and other tribes in Oregon say that giving them more authority off of reservations would improve public safety. They point out that they go through the same training and certification process as state-certified officers.
A work group that includes lawmakers, tribal officials, lawyers and representatives of other law enforcement agencies has been formed to look at SB 412, which would give tribal police officers more authority. The work group is expected to add some amendments, not yet released, to the bill. A hearing on the bill is slated for March 24.
The Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association, which opposes the bill, says there needs to be reciprocity.
There are certain laws that apply to state-sanctioned policing agencies that do not always apply to tribal officers.
John Powell, a lobbyist with the sheriffs’ association, says there are many examples, including laws governing open records and the handling of evidence. Powell wonders if the legislation would require tribal members to follow these laws and others.
“Here is an example of reciprocity. Let’s say there is a police shooting, and you want public records, and the agency is on the reservation. That’s the issue,” Powell said. “Say you are a relative of someone who has a run-in with that agency and you want to make sure evidence is being handled properly. Those are the issues.”
Powell said tribal police should be required to abide by the same laws as state law enforcement agencies.
In 2005, a Warm Springs officer was in pursuit of a vehicle that was traveling through the reservation on U.S. 26. The driver had crossed the center line and driven into the oncoming lane of traffic. The officer, Joseph Davino, continued to follow the car as it sped across the reservation’s boundary. Davino eventually arrested Thomas Kurtz, who was charged and convicted of attempting to elude a police officer and resisting arrest.
The Oregon Court of Appeals overturned the decision to charge Kurtz. Because Davino was not a police officer, the court reasoned, Kurtz could not be charged with resisting arrest or attempting to elude an officer. The court said a police officer acts on behalf of an Oregon governmental entity. Tribal police officers do not act on behalf of the state.
The Court of Appeals decision has made it difficult for tribal officers to know exactly what to do with the thousands of non-Indian motorists traveling across the reservation on U.S. Highway 26.
Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, assembled the work group on the bill.
“My perspective is, if you’re going to have tribal officers taking enforcement action off the tribal lands, certain criteria need to be met,” Prozanski said. “I’m not going to go into a lot of details because a lot is in the works. I’m serious about moving something forward in the sense that we will have a hearing.”
Stan Suenaga, chief of the Warm Springs Public Safety Department, says the tribe is willing to work with the sheriffs’ association to address its concerns.
However, Suenaga says there is one non-negotiable item: The tribes will not give state-certified police officers a free pass to come onto the reservation and enforce the law. If officers from another jurisdiction needed to investigate on the reservation, tribal officers would assist them, he says.
The Warm Springs Indian Reservation is working with Oregon’s nine other American Indian tribes to change the law.
The 64-year-old guard they called “Pops” and his portly partner gave chase, but Weisz said he and his pal, Ross Konkel, outran them easily, up 20th from K Street in Sacramento’s Lavender Heights district. Around the corner in an alley, they caught their breath and yukked it up over the prank, until Weisz realized the key to his apartment was in his car, parked at the Badlands.
They doubled back to the bar and sneaked into the parking lot from the rear, but Leroy Berry “Pops” Fisher III, a popular midtown figure, spotted them. Prosecutors said Fisher told them to stop and that he pulled out his “stun pen” device to keep them from leaving. First, he zapped Weisz. When Konkel tried to push him away, Fisher gave him a jolt, too.
Dazed and confused, the bounced pair managed to pile into Weisz’s 2005 Scion and make their way to the parking lot exit onto 20th Street. Along the way, police and prosecutors said, Weisz ran over and killed Fisher.
The next day, Sacramento police detectives caught up with Weisz in San Francisco and booked him on a murder charge. His trial is now under way in Sacramento Superior Court, with closing arguments scheduled for Tuesday in front of Judge Maryanne G. Gilliard.
Weisz, now 24, testified for two days last week about the Sept. 23, 2009, hit-and-run. Charged with second-degree murder, he told jurors he had no idea his car ever hit Fisher. Still smarting from the stun pen, Weisz said, he was focused at the time of the killing on getting his friend into his car and the two of them out of the parking lot.
“I was completely debilitated,” Weisz, under questioning from defense attorney Donald Masuda, said of the electric blast. “It was like being electrocuted.”
Fisher was about to stun him a second time, Weisz testified, when Konkel pushed the security guard away. Weisz said he saw Fisher then shock Konkel to the ground. Weisz said he backed up the Scion, put it in drive and looked to get his buddy into the car.
“I leaned over and unlocked the door and Ross was still having trouble getting in the car, and I had to reach over to open it, and my foot slipped off the brake,” Weisz said. “I didn’t realize it was rolling at first. When I did, I hit the brake.”
Konkel climbed in and they took off, Weisz said. As for Fisher, “I didn’t even think to look for him.”
While Weisz and Konkel headed to the defendant’s apartment at the 800 J Street Lofts, Fisher lay sprawled and dying in the parking lot.
The Scion crushed Fisher’s chest and broke every one of his ribs. It also broke his lower left leg and shattered his upper left arm so badly it left his blue work shirt saturated in blood, the coroner found.
The undercarriage of Weisz’s car ripped Fisher’s scalp and one of his ears almost completely off. He died in the hospital about an hour after he was hit.
More than 100 people would later hold a candlelight vigil for Fisher.
In her cross-examination, Deputy District Attorney Sheri Greco elicited additional information on a few details Weisz brushed over in his direct testimony.
Greco pointed out that Weisz’s cell phone records showed that he called his boyfriend almost immediately after the incident, at 1:29 a.m. Weisz confirmed he told the man about his trouble.
Reading from the boyfriend’s statement to police, Greco, in her questioning of the defendant, said the man told police that Weisz informed him that he hit Fisher with his car.
“I never told him that,” Weisz responded, although he later said he felt at the time it “might be a possibility” he ran down the security guard.
In her trial brief, Greco said Konkel, 25, called his brother in the hours after the parking lot confrontation and told him Weisz “had intentionally run over the victim to protect (Konkel) because the victim was using his Taser on him.”
Konkel told police the day of the death that he “might have said that at that point.” He backed off the statement at trial, telling the jury he didn’t recall it.
Asked by Masuda if he might have puffed up his remarks to his brother because he’s a “drama queen,” Konkel replied, “I suppose you could say that.”
A website designer at the time, Weisz testified he and Konkel had gone to a concert by The Killers band at the former Arco Arena the night Fisher was killed.
After the concert, Weisz, said they stopped for a drink at The Bolt on Del Paso Boulevard. Then they headed to Lavender Heights, meeting up with friends at Faces before crossing the street for a nightcap at Badlands.
Weisz testified that Konkel drained a bottle of wine by himself in 45 minutes before the concert, downed a couple of beers during The Killers’ show and threw back a shot at The Bolt before they landed at 20th and K streets. Weisz said he consumed no more than a couple of beers on the night.
According to Weisz, Konkel “was just kind of loud and, yeah, kind of obnoxious” by the time they hit Badlands.
At the bar, the defendant said, he and Konkel turned their attention to four other patrons. When they got a little too friendly with one of them, Weisz said, it irritated another member of the foursome, who called for security to oust them.
When the two demanded an explanation from Fisher, Weisz said, he showed them his stun pen and popped the charge in the air to show them how it worked.
The demonstration persuaded Weisz and Konkel to leave, but not without incident, and not for long.
Currituck County NC March 14 2011 Three years ago, a man working with a contracting crew entered Griggs Elementary School in Poplar Branch. Before he could get past the lobby, he was escorted off campus.
His boss had to bring somebody else in to do the work. The sex offender detection system, called LobbyGuard, flagged the worker’s driver’s license after finding him on the sex offender’s list. The $34,000 security system had been installed two years earlier.
It hasn’t happened since, but Currituck County Schools officials continue to beef up security.
By the end of the school year, monitoring cameras will be set up in all 10 schools at a cost of about $200,000. Last summer, door entry systems with cameras were installed in every school for about $40,000.
Other school systems in the region have some, but not all, of the security levels used by Currituck County. People have questioned whether something bad happened to bring this about.
“No,” said Paul O’Briant, chief information officer for Currituck County Schools. “It’s more of a proactive thing.”
Dare County has entry cameras but uses the sex offender detection system only at First Flight High School in Kill Devil Hills, said facilities director Jim Winebarger.
Across the border in Virginia, Chesapeake Public Schools uses the sex offender scanning system but does not have entry cameras, said spokesman Tom Cupitt.
Both school systems have security cameras installed around the schools.
Pasquotank-Elizabeth City Schools do not have entry cameras or sex offender scanners, said schools spokeswoman Angela Noblitt. Some newer schools may have hall monitoring cameras, she said.
Currituck’s extensive security is rare nationally among rural counties with relatively low crime rates, said Ken Trump, president of National School Safety and Security Services, a consulting company based in Cleveland. Trump has been interviewed about school security by national news organizations such as CNN, USA Today and Fox News.
“Most school districts around the country do not have the money for that kind of technology,” Trump said. “It’s the exception, not the rule.”
Money for school security is typically getting cut as budgets shrink, he said. After the shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999, there was greater attention to security, but that has waned some, he said.
It’s worth the cost and trouble, said Alicia Chryss, a school volunteer and parent of middle school and elementary school students. “Oh, I’m thrilled to have it,” she said. “To keep our kids safe, I’d do anything.”
At Currituck Middle School in Barco, secretary Debbie Barnhill monitors the door cameras. She has a view of visitors at the door and can also see them on the camera. After speaking with them briefly, she disables the magnet locking the door and they can enter. Once inside, they must go to Barnhill’s office to check in.
Meanwhile, cameras mounted in the lobby record visitors, sending images to O’Briant’s computer and to a TV screen in the office of the resource officer, a sheriff’s deputy on campus.
Once in Barnhill’s office, a visitor must stand in front of a computer screen, where a camera snaps a photo. A menu asks what the purpose of the visit is. Then the visitor must insert his or her driver’s license in a small scanner.
If successful, the person’s identity shows up on the computer screen and in a few minutes a paper badge is issued. The badge, to be worn during the visit, states what the visitor’s purpose is. If the scan flags a sex offender, the badge comes out with VOID on it, and an e-mail is sent to O’Briant and to middle school Principal Rhonda James-Davis.
The e-mail includes the photo just taken at the school, the driver’s license photo, and a photo from the sex offender list to make sure the right person was flagged.
“Teachers don’t have to worry so much about people they do not recognize,” James-Davis said. “They know they’ve been checked out.”
Hattiesburg MS March 14 2011 Local bars and nightclubs don’t seem to be too afraid that they will share the fate of Remington’s Hunt Club.
The club was shut down March 4 after Forrest-Perry County District Attorney Patricia Burchell pushed for a temporary injunction, closing the doors until the club owner has a full hearing in Chancery Court.
Marcus Carr, disc jockey and promoter for the Hunt Club’s North 31st Avenue nightclub neighbor, Pascha, said his establishment doubled its security the night after police locked down the Hunt Club, figuring for a certain amount of new clientele.
But he said the spike in business was negligible.
Carr said, however, that the two recent Hunt Club shootings, leaving four injured, and the response by city officials made security a high priority for the six-week-old club from the beginning.
Following the first Hunt Club shooting in November that injured three Southern Miss football players, Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree tried to shut down the club by suspending its operating license. But Chancery Court Judge Sebe Dale Jr. granted an injunction on the club’s behalf, reopening the doors.
“With all the situations happening within the city, we just wanted to make sure our customers felt safe,” Carr said.
He said the club’s goal from the beginning was to have no more than 50 patrons per security guard, and as the club’s customer base grows, he said the ratio has gotten smaller and smaller.
Pascha added additional security guards to its roster March 3, the day before the Hunt Club was closed, and Carr said the club did so because more and more people show up each weekend.
Pascha’s customer-to-security ratio now sits somewhere between 30 and 35 to 1.
Another Hattiesburg nightclub’s business liaison says one of the reasons the club management isn’t afraid of violence shutting down the night spot is the relaxed atmosphere.
“We’re really a lounge instead of a club,” said Malcolm Clark, an employee of Taste Bar and Lounge.
Clark also said bar management isn’t threatened by the possibility of violence because of the 21-and-older crowd patronizing the lounge on the weekends and the dress code enforced there. Taste also has at least two security guards on duty each night – one at the door and another inside.
But he said the bar hires extra security for special events likely to draw a larger crowd. He said the act booked to play at the Hunt Club the night it closed came to Taste instead, and management had 11 security guards on duty.
“It was a little overkill because it didn’t produce the way the promoters thought it would,” Clark said.
He also explained that Taste’s Hattiesburg Main Street location and the regular police drive-through traffic helps keep down the risk of foul play.
“That’s what really helps us as far as the lingering outside,” Clark said.
Mugshots owner Ron Savell said he’s happy with the security situation at his Fourth Street bar, but did discuss the possibility of making changes following the incidents at the Hunt Club.
But he decided to keep his security the same – only doormen checking identification upon patrons’ entry.
He said his system seems to be working.
“Everybody has their scuffle once in a while, and it’s just how you handle it and get everybody out,” Savell said.
But he said he often thinks about the liabilities involved with owning a bar, and that the high volume of potentially violent Hunt Club customers who don’t have a club to visit anymore has entered his mind as one of these liabilities.
“That guy is going to go somewhere else, and if he’s going to shoot somebody, he’s going to shoot somebody,” Savell said.
Gale Walker, owner of The End Zone on Fourth Street, said she doesn’t worry about a violent crowd showing up at her establishment, which she describes as a “neighborhood bar.”
“I just don’t think we’re that type of place,” she said.
Noting that she has personally ejected rowdy patrons in the past, Walker said her bartenders act as security guards when needed.
She said The End Zone has hired security guards in the past, but she decided to stop using them.
“All they can do is call the cops,” Walker said. “What’s the point?”
Storrs CT March 14 2011 The two top-ranking police officials at the University of Connecticut — Chief Robert Hudd and Maj. Ronald Blicher — were paid $246,961 and $193,616 last year, according to newly compiled state pay figures for 2010.
That is much higher than the salaries of many of their counterparts in big-city police departments and campus police or security divisions at other universities. And this is probably not the best time for UConn to call attention to itself by paying high salaries, because the governor and legislators are looking for places to save billions of dollars in the state budget during a historic fiscal crisis.
When the nonprofit Yankee Institute last week put newly compiled state payroll data on its Internet website, http://www.CTSunlight.org, UConn salaries topped the list, as they do annually, because of the big-name athletic coaches and highly paid doctors on the faculty of the university’s school of medicine in Farmington. All 12 of the state employees paid more than $500,000 last year were either UConn coaches or doctors.
UConn and its defenders have long countered charges of excess by saying those high salaries are normal for such elite personnel at universities across the country. Such salaries, they say, are not evidence that ordinary UConn faculty and employees are overpaid or that the school spends too much in general. Comparisons with other universities are always complicated by the large number of faculty members and other administrators, and variables such as faculty-student ratios and years of seniority.
But it’s simpler to compare what the university pays a couple of public safety administrators to compensation received by their counterparts in city and state police departments, and at other universities.
And those comparisons make the UConn salaries of Hudd and Blicher look enviable in the world of police work.
Here are the annual pay figures for Hudd and Blicher as obtained from the office of the state comptroller by the Yankee Institute and published on the institute’s website:
—Hudd: $194,494 in 2007; $205,290 in 2008; $218,208 in 2009; and $246,961 in 2010.
—Blicher: $145,132 in 2007; $154,491 in 2008; $164,041 in 2009; and $193,616 in 2010.
The annual salary of Hartford’s police chief, Daryl Roberts, is $156,800, and he has nearly 400 police officers under his command to protect a city of about 125,000 people, with a daytime employee population that is much higher.
That’s about twice the number of people supervised by Hudd and Blicher — police officers and civilian employees combined — in the UConn system, which consists of the main campus at Storrs, the regional campuses, and the UConn Health Center in Farmington. They are responsible for the safety of about 40,000 students and employees, as well as visitors, UConn spokesman Michael Kirk said.
Following are a few other salary comparisons from outside academia:
—New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, whose force of more than 34,000 protects about 8 million residents and many more tourists and weekday office workers, was paid about $212,000 as of two years ago.
—Providence Police Chief Dean Esserman makes $168,000, but a city councilman said in January that’s too much and proposed that it be cut to $150,000.
—Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis, with more than 2,000 officers in his department, had a 2008 salary of $179,096.
Hudd and Blicher could not be reached Friday.
Both got big raises when the university last year abolished the position of chief at the UConn Health Center in Farmington and gave them more responsibility, Kirk said. Both also have worked for the state for at least three decades, with Blicher starting in 1976 and Hudd in 1981, Kirk added.
In addition to holding the title of chief for the UConn system, Hudd also is associate vice president for public and environmental safety. Blicher is director of police services, and oversees all police operations as well as assisting Hudd in managing the Division of Public and Environmental Safety.
UConn police conduct general patrols, investigate criminal and suspicious incidents, and enforce both criminal and motor vehicle laws at the UConn campuses, Kirk said. They work with other departments at the state, municipal and federal levels, and also serve at at major NCAA sporting events in Storrs and at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, he said. In addition, they enforce parking regulations at UConn campuses, issuing 50,000 tickets a year, Kirk said. In 2010, they made more than 450 criminal arrests and investigated about 250 motor vehicle accidents, he said.
Kirk suggested that comparisons be made with “other major universities across the nation, rather than with municipal departments.”
Here are a few such comparisons, researched by The Courant:
—At San Jose State University in California the campus police chief’s pay was about $150,000 when he was hired last year. The campus police force there has more than 80 members, and the median household income there is about $79,000, roughly the same as in Mansfield Center, near UConn, according to statistics.
—At Northern Illinois University, with 24,000 students, the police chief’s salary was almost $200,000 in 2008.
—At Rutgers, the state university in New Jersey, the police chief made $121,600 in 2009 on the New Brunswick campus, which has 37,000 students.
—At Colorado State University, with 26,500 students, the campus police chief made $115,000 in 2009.
While those comparisons are inexact because of variables in regional income, as well as differing numbers of university police officers and students, it would be hard to argue that UConn underpays its police administrators.
UConn had no comparisons to offer with regard to campus police salaries elsewhere. Neither did the Washington, D.C.-based American Association of State Colleges and Universities or the West Hartford-based International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.
But one national organization did compile statistics for job categories at universities across the country: the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources. CUPA-HR, as the group calls itself, says that it includes about 90 percent of universities in this country big enough to offer doctoral degrees.
According to a recent CUPA-HR study, the median salary for directors of campus security or safety was $108,552 in the past year at universities that offer doctoral degree programs. The sample included schools of different sizes, and CUPA-HR did not have a breakdown specific to institutions the same size as UConn.
ATHENS, AL March 14 2011 – Athens police are investigating a homicide.
Authorities said the body of a young adult female was found inside the old Trinity High School off Browns Ferry Street around 12:15 p.m. Sunday.
Police are now waiting for forensics to come collect evidence.
Authorities are not saying who found the body or any other details of this murder at this time.