But due to recent altercations, some of those soldiers will be dressed in camouflage and patrolling the streets of this city near the Alabama border.
The new “courtesy patrols” come at the request of the city police chief after five soldiers from the huge Army base allegedly attacked a 21-year-old man walking downtown earlier this month.
Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson said the goal is for senior officers to command and enforce calm, civil behavior among the sometimes rowdy, lower-ranking soldiers.
“We do have in our downtown entertainment district, on any given weekend, a fairly sizable population of folks from Fort Benning,” she said. “And on occasion, you will get those that indulge a little too much in alcohol.”
Senior non-commissioned officers from the Army base have volunteered for the duty and wear arm bands identifying themselves as courtesy patrol officers.
They cannot make arrests or be armed. Doing so would violate the 1878 federal Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits the use of military personnel as civilian law enforcement.
But they will carry radios allowing them to relay information to local law enforcement and military police if the need arises.
“We have one of the best military/civilian relationships of any large military installation in the country,” Tomlinson said. “We welcome them, and want them to be entertained, but they need to remember that they’re not removed from laws or the authority of the military.”
JACKSONVILLE, Fla.April 23 2011 — A 21-year-old man is dead and a second man was hurt in a shooting early Friday morning outside an adult club on Philips Highway and Bowden Road that prompted a high-speed chase across Jacksonville.
Police said the shooting happened about 2:20 a.m. when a fight at Tiffany’s Gentlemen’s Club spilled out into the parking lot.
According to Jacksonville Sheriff’s Officer Lt. Rob Schoonover, witnesses saw Ivan Webb, 27, firing a pistol at Kenneth Chatman.
Schoonover said a private security guard came out of the club and fired at Webb, apparently hitting a second man. The guard provided a description of the car that Webb and the other man used to flee the scene.
Officer pursued Webb’s vehicle north on Interstate 95 to the intersection of Intersection 10, where the car spun out and hit the guardrail, where the passenger jumped out and fell 25 feet.
Schoonover did not identify the second man, but said he suffered a broken leg and also had a gunshot wound, presumably from the shot fired by the security guard.
One of the suspects was arrested after wrecking a car into a power pole in northwest Jacksonville and taking off on foot.
Webb sped off again, exiting into a neighborhood in Northwest Jacksonville, where he struck a telephone pole near the intersection of Breve and Belafonte drive. Webb got out and ran several blocks on foot before being apprehended.
Schoonover said Chathman died on the way to the hospital. Detectives were still trying to find information on the second victim, who walked away from the club before he or she could be questioned by police.
Channel 4 photojournalist Chris Shriver noticed this gun outside Club Climax and pointed it out to investigators at the scene.
A handgun believed to have been thrown from the fleeing vehicle was recovered in the parking lot of the nightclub.
Webb was hospitalized with unknown injuries. He has been charged with murder and fleeing and attempting to elude a police officer.
Several homes were without electricity Friday morning as a result of the crash. JEA crews installed a new power pole and restored power just before 8 a.m.
MONTGOMERY, Alabama April 23 2011 — A remorseful Ronnie Gilley pleaded guilty this morning to 11 counts of conspiracy, bribery involving a program that uses federal funds and money laundering.
Gilley told a federal judge his original intent was to bring an entertainment project to Houston County, but he said he was naive about the corruption that existed in state politics.
Gilley, the developer of the shuttered Country Crossing complex near Dothan, said he didn’t intend to go down the wrong path.
“The closer I got to the flames, it seems I became engulfed by the fire instead of putting it out,” Gilley said.
“I’m sorry, I’m wrong, and my plea is guilty.”
The federal judge did not issue a sentencing date. Federal prosecutors agreed to dismiss 11 counts against Gilley. The plea agreement came after negotiations with federal prosecutors.
Gilley could be a key witness for federal prosecutors attempting to prove VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor, two sitting state senators, two former state senators and others tried to buy and sell votes for a gambling bill before Alabama lawmakers last spring.
Asked if he expected Gilley to testify at the trial scheduled for June 6 , Gilley’s lawyer David J. Harrison said, “All I can say is Mr. Gilley will be speaking the truth.”
“This whole thing has been devastating to him. Emotionally he’s down. I’m sure he’s relieved after today,” Harrison said.
Gilley has been jailed since February after prosecutors alleged he tried to buy the silence of his lobbyist Jarrod Massey and prevent Massey from cooperating with federal investigators.
Gilley was granted a 24-hour release beginning today to be with his son during surgery.
A judge will hold a hearing Monday on whether Gilley can go free until his sentencing.
Gilley is the charismatic force behind Country Crossing, a now closed country music-themed bingo casino in Houston County. Gilley used his connections in the country music industry to bring music industry stars in as partners in the project he repeatedly described as an “entertainment extravaganza.”
The casino has been closed for more than a year after former Gov. Bob Riley’s gambling task force tried to raid the facility.
Gilley was also one of the driving forces behind a bill before Alabama lawmakers last spring that would have let Country Crossing McGregor and a handful of other operators have electronic bingo machines, which resemble slot machines.
Federal prosecutors said this morning that Gilley admitted that he and McGregor offered state legislators money, campaign contributions, campaign appearances by country music stars, political pools and fundraising assistance in exchange for actions on the bill.
In a statement made to police, the 18-year-old alleged victim describes staying overnight at McGuire’s home above the studio from the age of 6 until just a few months ago.
He accuses McGuire of inappropriately touching him.
In the graphically detailed account, the alleged victim made the following statements:
“I was at his apartment for the night and Tim opened his robe.”
“Tim would masturbate in front of me all the time.”
“Tim would tell me that I would never get a job and I should work for him forever. “
McGuire, who is being held at the Warren County Jail also made a statement to police.
He describes an incident when both he and the alleged victim looked at Playboy magazines and touched themselves.
McGuire made the following statements:
“I have never had any physical contact with (blank). I have never had any sexual contact with my students.”
“I am sorry that the incident occurred and wish that if I could relive that event again, I would have hidden the magazine.”
State Police, working together with the Glens Falls Police Department, are in the early stages of their investigation. But, officials say there may be more alleged victims out there. They are asking anyone with information to contact police immediately.
Telluride CO April 23 2011 The owners of Upper Bear Creek plan to take a much stronger stance against trespassing in the basin starting this summer, claiming they’ll “defend the rights that attend the ownership of our private property, including the placement of armed guards at points of entry at random times.”
That text appears in an ad in Friday’s Telluride Daily Planet, on page 7, and was taken out by Ron Curry, one of Gold Hill Development Company’s principals. The company owns a string of mining claims in the Bear Creek basin.
The Wasatch and East Fork trails unspool in the area of the claims, and the landowners say those trails are now closed where they cross private property.
The problem? The United States Forest doesn’t see it that way.
“We’re aware that they’ve made claims regarding jurisdiction of the trail, but our position is that there’s been historic, public use of this trail for many years that might even predate the establishment of the Forest Service,” said Judy Schutza, Ranger in the Norwood branch of the USFS.
The USFS was established in 1905, and Congress was given the ability to buy lands in 1911. The president of the United States could designate lands as National Forest as early as 1891, but Schutza wasn’t sure that happened in Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison national forests. The dates of some of the disputed mining claims reach back into the late 1890s.
The disagreement makes muddy the claims that the land is either open, as the USFS says it is, or closed, as GHDC says it is. What’s a hiker to do, say, if they’re confronted on a trail the government says is open but there’s an armed guard standing there, saying it’s not?
“That’s a good question,” Schutza said. “I hate to see things come to this kind of positioning, but we’re not necessarily in agreement with Gold Hill Development Company.”
What about those who may have to aid in disputes?
“Obviously, we’ve got some issues,” San Miguel County Sheriff Bill Masters said. “Is the Forest Service correct? Is there some kind of way that the trail is public access? Certainly it’s going to take somebody bigger than me … I’ll have to be talking to attorneys, maybe judges.
“It alarms people,” Masters said. “There’s no doubt about it.”
If a hiker were to trespass on Chapman’s land if it’s indeed closed, they face a petty trespass charge, no arrest and a fine of up to $500, Masters said.
He said the landowners could do whatever they wanted on their property but that “armed guards might be over-thinking the threat.”
“But it’s their property, and if they think that’s what’s needed I guess that’s what they might do,” he said.
Chapman’s GHDC set the skiing community in Telluride ablaze last spring when he and others purchased a string of mining claims in Upper Bear Creek, a side-country Mecca for skiers east of the ski hill’s Gold Hill boundary. The USFS later closed the access gates for most of the year before opening a gate that was much harder to get to.
Not that it mattered much: Skiers trespassed this season with regularity, cobwebbing Upper Bear Creek’s slopes with hundreds of tracks on some days.
At the heart of the matter is access to the quilt of mining claims in the basin high above Telluride and adjacent to the ski area. Access to the area was closed — legally, at least — this winter amid private property concerns. Now, landowners are demanding access up the front of the ski mountain via Telluride Trail and then to mining claims on the Gold Hill Road. GHDC says access runs with the claims, similar to water rights in the West.
The roads are largely on federal lands, but Telski uses them in order to maintain and expand its ski area. GHDC says it has the right to use the roads and, if necessary, make improvements that would facilitate access to Upper Bear Creek.
Chapman has been faulted in the past for leveraging property in spectacular areas — a national park, in one case — against land managers and preservationists and trying to make large sums of money off what amounts to sensational private-property rights demonstrations.
In a letter to Dale Garland, the run director for the Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run, Chapman wrote that it wasn’t his company’s desire to “damage” the ski operation here and hoped for a good relationship with Telluride Ski & Golf and Telluride residents.
“We would not have a problem in negotiating an agreement that protects Telski’s ski area interests and at the same time acknowledging our rights to access our private lands via the historic vehicular road that leads to them,” he wrote. “We would grant an easement to the Forest Service for the Wasatch Trail and East Fork of Bear Creek Trail as they pass over our lands and in return the Forest Service would grant us a non-exclusive access easement over the Gold Hill Road on forest lands. That’s the solution that makes the most sense, and it would be easy enough to do.”
The Hardrock has not yet been granted permission to run through the basin, and attempts to reach Garland failed on Thursday. In the past, the race has run through the basin.
The ad in the newspaper says those hoping to cross the lands have to obtain a written easement from the landowners and that people must stay off the land — and the trails that slither through it — all year long.
“We’re being told we cannot access our property. Until that is resolved the statement speaks for itself,” Chapman said earlier this week. “I think is a shame that we cannot access our property if an agreement cannot be reached … We’re 61 years old. We had to walk.”
SANFORD Fla April 23 2011
Seminole County sheriff’s office says they have made an arrest in the deadly shooting at a Sanford Internet cafe.
Deputies arrested Shawn E. Richardson, 32, on charges of felony murder, shooting into an occupied structure, armed robbery and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
According to officials, three men stormed into the Allied Veterans Cafe, on East Semoran Boulevard overnight Tuesday, and exchanged gunfire with an armed security guard, all while around 30 people were sitting inside.
The suspects shot both at the guard and into the cafe. Amazingly, no one was hit, but the security guard fired back, hitting one of the gunmen, Gary Bryant, in the back.
The other two suspects kept shooting as they fled in a car, taking the injured Bryant with them.
Deputies said they later found Bryant’s body at the Value Place hotel, on Clarcona Ocoee Road.
The suspects’ car was found abandoned near Pine Hills Road and North Lane. Orange County deputies said they are investigating that scene, as well as some of Bryant’s clothing.
Investigators said Bryant was wanted for armed robbery, and this was not the first time he and the other suspects had done this.
Detectives said they believe the men were after cash at the 24-hour cafe, where veterans and retirees spend time playing online slot machines
COLUMBIA, SC April 23 2011 – Every once in a while, a birthday is more than a birthday and becomes a celebration of many things coming together. On Thursday, a very special birthday party was held to honor a co-worker like no other.
“81 years old, a four-time cancer survivor and he’s out here doing the same thing our 21-year-old deputies are doing,” exclaimed Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott.
Doing the same thing means the physical fitness, training and workload. “I told Sheriff Lott I don’t want to work in the office, I want to work on the road,” said Deputy Dwight Thomas. “That’s where the fun is and that’s where I want to be.”
“Such a great role model for everybody here that works at the sheriff’s department,” added Lott.
But 81 years old is getting up there, especially in law enforcement. How long will Thomas keep policing? “One of my doctors asked me that question too, not very long ago,” laughed Thomas. “I said, whenever they fold the lid down!”
The reason for Thomas’ devotion can be found in the company he keeps while doing his job. “The best part of the job is riding with the deputies that I ride with,” added Thomas. “That’s the best part of the job.”
Those deputies aren’t worried about riding around with a coworker old enough to be their father. “I’ve trusted him with my life on many occasions,” said Deputy Shawn Schroder. “I’d do it again.”
That’s why this birthday is more than a birthday, it’s a recognition of honor.
Michael Young, of Warwick, R.I., asked a judge in Attleboro District Court on Tuesday to dismiss a driving to endanger charge issued in September 1974.
He was 23 at the time. The now 60-year-old told the court he found out about the warrant recently when he went to conduct business at the Rhode Island Registry of Motor Vehicles.
The Sun Chronicle of Attleboro reports that Judge Daniel O’Shea noted that half the people in court had not even been born at the time of the traffic violation. He granted Young’s request, dismissing the case with payment of $100 in court costs.
Prosecutors agreed with the dismissal.
Bucks County PA April 23 2011 For the first time since they began carrying the weapons, a Bucks County Courthouse security officer used a Taser on Thursday to subdue an angry man.
Christopher Daley, the county’s director of security, said the 48-year-old man was attending a court hearing and became enraged over something a judge said.
The man was asked to leave the courthouse, Daley said, but refused.
“Basically, he just lost it,” Daley said.
Witnesses said the man was “kicking and screaming” at the courthouse entrance and grabbed onto a metal detector when deputy sheriffs arrived and tried to escort him from the building. Daley said the man repeatedly was told to calm down, but became even more agitated when the deputies tried to place him in handcuffs.
Daley said he instructed security Officer Anthony Succi to subdue the man with his Taser so the battle would not escalate. Daley said Succi employed a “dry Tase,” meaning he did not shoot electric probes out of the weapon, but instead touched the man’s thigh with it.
The man – whom prosecutors would not name because he was not charged with a crime related to the incident – was Tasered twice before he stopped resisting the officers, Daley said. He said the man was warned at least three times before the weapon, which emits a strong, immobilizing electrical shock, was applied, but still refused to comply.
After he was touched with the Taser the second time, the man was stunned enough that deputies were able to handcuff him. He was then carried into the courthouse holding cell.
The incident happened in full view of the jurors lounge, where dozens of residents were serving jury duty, and close by a crowd of courthouse employees leaving the building for their lunch break.
Brian Hessenthaler, the county’s chief operating officer, said he reviewed the incident and believes all procedures were carried out properly.
Courthouse security guards used to carry firearms. In 2008, the county required the guards to switch to Tasers, a move that drew some heat from the security officers’ union.
Daley said Thursday’s incident proved it was the right decision.
Although he doubted the man would have been shot, officers may have had to use batons or brute force to subdue him.
“No one was seriously injured. A Taser in this instance was the right weapon to use,” Daley said.
ORLANDO, Fla.APRIL 23 2011 — A man who had been handcuffed by law enforcement in front of Universal Cinemax Theaters died in custody, Orlando police said.
Police identified the man as 33-year-old Adam Spencer Johnson.
Officers who were working off duty at Universal Orlando early Friday morning were called by Universal Studios security in reference to a person who was acting irrational in front of the movie theaters, authorities said.
“The behavior was irrational. The person needed help, and we were there to get them help,” Orlando Police Department Sgt. Barb Jones said.
When an officer attempted to restrain Johnson, he began to violently resist, police said. One officer deployed a Taser gun and Johnson was handcuffed.
While on the ground, the Johnson became non-responsive. Officers began CPR and rescuers from the Orlando Fire Department responded.
Johnson was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement was at the scene and will investigate.
All officers involved will be placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure.
The men and women who work for Harbor Bay Isle security are known as the eyes-and-ears of the Alameda Police Department on Bay Farm Island. But the security officers also have discovered that helping keep neighborhoods safe has an additional benefit — it looks good on a resume.
Dozens of former Harbor Bay Isle security officers now work in law enforcement.
“Our philosophy is to enhance the quality of life,” said Bill Leitz, a retired Alameda police captain who now directs Harbor Bay Isle security. “But we also try to run this like a mini police department.”
Among those who once patrolled Bay Farm Island for the security firm is Sean Mannix, the son of former Alameda City Councilman Charlie Mannix and now an assistant police chief in Austin, Texas.
Berkeley police Lt. Rico Rolleri worked for the firm from 1991-94 before he put himself through a police academy in Pittsburg.
He also briefly worked for the firm when he graduated from the academy as he waited to become a police officer.
“I felt like it really helped me to get a good understanding of what you do in law enforcement,” Rolleri said about the security job.
Since much of what the security officers do mirrors police work — patrolling, writing reports and interacting with the public — the experience paid off when he entered the academy, Rolleri said.
“I felt like I was way ahead of the game,” he said.
Along with Berkeley police, other local law enforcement agencies that now employ former Harbor Bay Isle security officers include the Oakland, Hayward and El Cerrito police departments, as well as the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.
The deep connections between the security firm and local law enforcement stretch as far back as 1979, when the department was created to serve the homeowner associations that were springing up across Bay Farm Island.
Among those who helped lay the groundwork for the security firm were Arthur Treadwell, a former Alameda police captain, and Leitz’s father, Fred Leitz, a former Oakland police sergeant who ended up directing Harbor Bay security for nearly a decade in the 1980s.
The younger Leitz stepped in as director six years ago, when he retired from the Alameda police.
“As an employer, our philosophy is to help people who are motivated to move into the criminal justice system for a career,” Leitz said. “This is a steppingstone in that direction.”
Today Harbor Bay Isle security employs 13 officers. The agency operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Along with the grounds of the Harbor Bay Landing Shopping Center, the officers patrol the 20 neighborhoods that make up the Community of Harbor Bay Isle Owners Association. It includes 2,973 homes.
Dues from the association pay for the security service.
Harbor Bay Isle officers do not patrol Earhart or Bay Farm elementary schools or the grounds of Leydecker and the other public parks on Bay Farm. But they are still expected to immediately notify Alameda police if they spot anything suspicious in those areas, Leitz said.
“They’re good witnesses,” Alameda police Detective Greg Ella said about the security officers. “They’re always out there and they are familiar with the neighborhoods. They are often the first ones to call us if there’s an open garage door or something unusual.”
When a resident calls Harbor Bay Isle security, the call is directly connected by radio to a security officer in a patrol vehicle, a system that officers say helps them provide a quick response time.
While Harbor Bay Isle officers are always vigilant for serious crimes — such as a broken window or other evidence of a burglary — they are also available for more minor tasks, such as providing a jump-start for someone’s car.
“I’ve never needed to call the security guards,” said 31-year-old Wilson Cheng as he shopped at the Safeway on Island Drive on a recent afternoon. “But I look at them like I look at the police. It’s good to know that they are available when you do need them. It makes you feel safer.”
Washington DC April 23 2011 After years of ridicule on late-night TV, the Department of Homeland Security’s color-coded terrorist threat alerts are being replaced with public warnings that are more black and white.
Department officials said Wednesday that they were scrapping the five-color system, which was created in the frantic months after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, because the alerts typically said little about the supposed threat or what authorities were doing to lower the danger.
Most importantly, studies showed that the public paid little heed to the much-mocked warnings. The level never dropped below “elevated,” and had not changed since 2006.
Starting Tuesday, written alerts will warn the public of an “elevated” threat or a more specific “imminent” threat. The bulletins will include details about a potential attack and steps that members of the public or law enforcement can take to help reduce the risk.
The primary-color alerts have “faded in utility,” said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, “except for late-night comics.”
In February, for example, Conan O’Brien unveiled a five-tiered “Nicolas Cage Terror Alert System” on his TBS show, “Conan.”
Whether the new National Terrorism Advisory System will get any more respect remains to be seen.
“Any alert system is only as good as the intelligence that goes into it,” said Frank Cilluffo, a former domestic security advisor to President George W. Bush.
“This is an imperfect business,” Cilluffo said. “Risk communications is more of an art than a science.”
Giving out too much information could spread panic or tip off a terrorist cell that it has been infiltrated, said Rick Nelson, a domestic security expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank.
“The government will always be struggling with how much information to give without having a negative effect,” he said.
Homeland Security officials will disseminate the new alerts through the press and social media sites. The bulletins will ask local police and the public to be on the lookout for vehicles or behavior that may be part of a terrorist plot that the government is tracking. Alerts could be directed at airports or subways, or may urge people in a specific city to take shelter in their homes for a short time.
Alerts will be issued for two weeks unless intelligence agencies determine that the threat remains high enough to extend the warning. The goal is to “get us away from cascading alerts that never seem to disappear,” Napolitano said in a conference call with reporters.
Under the old system, green signified the lowest risk and fire-alarm red the most dire. A red alert was issued only once, on Aug. 10, 2006, when British authorities disrupted a plot to detonate explosives on airliners bound for the United States.