Governor McAuliffe Appoints Expert Review Panel for Improving ABC Law Enforcement
April 24, 2015 | Virginia News
RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe announced additional appointments to his administration today. The appointees will join McAuliffe’s administration focused on finding common ground with members of both parties on issues that will build a new Virginia economy and create more jobs across the Commonwealth.
The following individuals will serve on the Expert Review Panel established under Governor McAuliffe’s Executive Order Number 40 for Improving ABC Law Enforcement:
Chairman for the Expert Review Panel
Brian Moran, Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security
Members of the Expert Review Panel
Travis Hill, Chief Operating Officer for the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control
Ryant Washington, Special Policy Advisor on Law Enforcement for the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control
Fran Ecker, Director of the Department of Criminal Justice Services
Wesley Reed, Sheriff of Prince Edward County
Donald Goodman, Chief of Police for the City of Radford
Kevin Foust, Chief of Police at Virginia Tech
Michael Herring, Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Richmond
Steven Flaherty, Superintendent of the Virginia State Police
Robert Archer, President and Chief Executive Officer for Blue Ridge Beverage
Hayes Humphreys, Chief Operating Officer for Devil’s Backbone
Laura Wood Habr, Co-Owner of Croc’s Restaurant
Paige Allen Hawkins, Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist at James Madison University
Christopher Konschak, Manager at Virginia Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Kurt Erickson, President at Washington Regional Alcohol Prevention
Abraham Axler, President at University of Virginia Student Council
Christopher Jones, Mayor of the City of Harrisonburg
Mamie Locke, Virginia State Senator, 2nd District, Hampton
Ryan McDougle, Virginia State Senator, 4th District, Hanover
David Albo, Virginia State Delegate, 42nd District, Fairfax
The first meeting of the Expert Review Panel will be held on May 4, 2015, in the Virginia State Capitol, Senate Room 3, from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Office of the Governor
Contact: Brian Coy
Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Office
Contact: Denise Burch
Police body cameras seen as inevitability
April 22, 2015 | Virginia News
By Michael Martz | Richmond Times-Dispatch
The cost and value of equipping law-enforcement officers with body cameras may be debatable, but growing public sentiment may be making them inevitable.
A security panel newly appointed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe wrestled for four hours Tuesday with the challenges of using a rapidly changing technology that would require major public investments in equipment, training and data management, as well as policy decisions to protect people’s privacy.
But the panel was focused more on how than whether to require law enforcement to wear cameras to document their encounters with the public.
“This needs to happen,” said Carmen Taylor, president of the Virginia State Conference of the NAACP, one of 31 members of the Secure Commonwealth subpanel on public safety and technology.
Lynchburg City Manager Kimball Payne called the use of body cameras “just inevitable. We’re going to have to deal with this.”
The push for expanded law-enforcement use of body cameras has intensified with a series of violent encounters between police and the public across the country, sometimes captured by private video.
“This is a challenging but very topical and necessary discussion,” Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran said in his opening remarks for the panel’s first meeting. ...
Governor McAuliffe Directs Secure Commonwealth Sub-Panel To Study Law Enforcement Technologies
April 21, 2015 | Virginia News
The 31 members will examine public safety and privacy issues
RICHMOND – Governor McAuliffe today announced the creation of a special sub-panel of the Secure Commonwealth Panel that will focus on the use of emerging technologies by law enforcement agencies.
The 31 members of the group will explore constitutional, personal privacy, economic and public safety issues related to the use of new and increasingly sophisticated technologies, weighing their benefits as well as their challenges.
“The Secure Commonwealth Panel is the ideal group to lead this initiative,” Governor McAuliffe said. “This bipartisan group includes a broad-based group of experts from my Administration, the legislature, law enforcement and the private sector. The citizens of our Commonwealth, and those who protect them, are best served with a deliberate and thoughtful approach to these complex public policy issues.”
The sub-panel will work with community, technology and public safety stakeholders to identify, evaluate and make recommendations for implementing evidence-based programs throughout Virginia.
During the first two meetings, the sub-panel will explore the use of body-worn cameras by law enforcement officers. Members of the sub-panel will address topics such as data storage and retention, equipment, and rules for handling evidence.
“The sub-panel members represent a wealth of diverse backgrounds, knowledge, and points of view that will help us achieve an appropriate balance,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. “As we explore the use of these technologies, we must recognize personal privacy as well as public safety interests.”
Members of the Sub-Panel are as follows:
Brian Moran, Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security, Chair
Karen Jackson, Secretary of Technology
Tonya Vincent, Deputy Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security
Sen. John Watkins, Co-Chair, Secure Commonwealth Panel
John Bell, Deputy Chief of Police, Virginia Beach Police Department, Co-Chair, Secure Commonwealth Panel
Wendell Fuller, President, 100 Black Men of Greater Richmond
Fran Ecker, Director, Department of Criminal Justice Services
Banci Tewolde, Associate Director, Department of Planning and Budget
Kevin Carroll, President, Fraternal Order of Police
Douglas Middleton, Chief of Police, Henrico County Police Department
David Johnson, Executive Director, Indigent Defense Commission
Hassan Aden, Director of Research and Programs, International Association of Chiefs of Police
Arthur Townsend, Sheriff, Lunenburg County
Carmen Taylor, President, Virginia Chapter, NAACP
Michael Goldsmith, Chief of Police, Norfolk Police Department
Linda Bryant, Deputy Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General
Lt. Col. Barry Barnard, Police Executive Research Forum
Alfred Durham, Chief of Police, Richmond Police Department
Henry Chambers, Professor, University of Richmond School of Law
Aryn Frazier, Incoming President, University of Virginia Black Student Alliance
Hudaidah Bhimdi Ahmed, Secretary, Virginia Asian Advisory Board
Dana Schrad, Executive Director, Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police
Nancy Parr, President, Virginia Association of Commonwealth’s Attorneys
Bill Robertson, Virginia Association of Counties
Lynda O’Connell, Executive Director, Virginia Center for Policing Innovation
Vivian Sanchez-Jones, Member, Virginia Latino Advisory Board
Kimball Payne, City Manager, City of Lynchburg, Virginia Municipal League
Jay Speer, Executive Director, Virginia Poverty Law Center
John Jones, Executive Director, Virginia Sheriffs’ Association
Col. Steven Flaherty, Superintendent, Virginia State Police
D.J. Smith, President, Virginia State Police Association
Office of the Governor
Contact: Brian Coy
Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security
Contact: Greg Davy
Extension of a Traffic Stop for Use of a Canine – How Long is Too Long?
April 21, 2015 | National News
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Rodriguez v. United States today that absent reasonable suspicion, police extension of a traffic stop in order to conduct a dog sniff violates the Fourth Amendment.
An officer observed a motor vehicle veer onto the shoulder of the road and then jerk back onto the road. The officer stopped the vehicle for a state law violation, prohibiting travel on the shoulder of a road. The officer was a K-9 unit who had his work dog with him that evening. The officer asked why the driver had veered onto the shoulder of the road to which the driver responded that he was trying to avoid a pothole. The driver produced his license, registration and proof of insurance as requested. The passenger also produced his license and answered the officer’s questions, as requested. The officer issued the driver a written warning, provided the occupants with the documents taken from them and explained the warning. The officer then asked permission to walk his dog around the vehicle. The driver refused. The driver was instructed to turn off engine, exit the vehicle and wait in front of the cruiser until a second officer arrived. After a second unit arrived, the officer then led the dog around the vehicle twice. The dog alerted to the presence of drugs and a subsequent search revealed a large bag of methamphetamine. Approximately 7 or 8 minutes elapsed between the time the warning was issued and the dog sniff was conducted.
The driver moved to suppress the evidence on the ground that the officer had no reasonable suspicion to conduct the dog sniff. The District Court found that there was no reasonable suspicion, but that the extension of the stop by 7 or 8 minutes was only a de minimis intrusion on the driver’s Fourth Amendment rights, and was permissible. The Eighth Circuit upheld the decision and the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to review the decision.
The Court began its analysis by restating the proposition that “A seizure for a traffic violation justifies a police investigation of that violation.” Routine traffic stops are more similar to a Terry stop than to an arrest. “Like a Terry stop, the tolerable duration of police inquiries in the traffic stop context is determined by the seizure’s “mission”—to address the traffic violation that warranted the stop, and attend to related safety concerns.”
In Illinois v. Caballes, 543 U. S. 405 (2005), the Supreme Court held that a dog sniff conducted during a lawful routine traffic stop does not violate the Fourth Amendment, as long as it does not lengthen the roadside detention beyond the time reasonably required to complete the mission. During the course of the stop, an officer may, of course, do other things which are incidental to the traffic stop (e.g. checking the driver’s license, determining whether there are outstanding warrants, and inspecting the vehicle’s registration and proof of insurance). The Court advised that conducting a dog sniff is not, however, an ordinary incident of a traffic stop. It is “a measure aimed at ‘detect[ing] evidence of ordinary criminal wrongdoing’.” The Court was cautious ￼to advise that this was not a situation where the driver was ordered to exit the vehicle during a routine traffic stop based upon the officer’s safety, which of course, would be justified. The purpose of conducting a dog sniff, however, is for an investigation into other crimes.
“We hold that a police stop exceeding the time needed to handle the matter for which the stop was made violates the Constitution’s shield against unreasonable seizures. A seizure justified only by a police-observed traffic violation, therefore, “become[s] unlawful if it is prolonged beyond the time reasonably required to complete th[e] mission” of issuing a ticket for the violation.”
Keep in mind that this decision does not stand for the proposition that officers can incrementally prolong the stop to conduct a dog sniff as long as the officer is reasonably diligent in pursuing the traffic-related purpose of the stop, and as long as the overall duration of the stop is reasonable in relation to other similar stops. The Supreme Court flatly rejected that argument, stating that officers are not entitled to quickly complete the purpose of the stop so that they could use the “extra time” to conduct a dog sniff. As a result, officers should be instructed that in a normal traffic stop environment, the officers cannot prolong the stop beyond the time reasonably required to effectuate the purpose of the stop. The use of the term “reasonably” means that this determination will be a subjective one, so officers should also not be instructed to make the stop last longer just to conduct a dog sniff. Lastly, this decision does not affect the ability of officers to use a dog sniff during the course of the traffic stop, provided it does not lengthen the duration of the stop. For instance, it still seems permissible for a K-9 officer to conduct a dog sniff while another officer attends to the purpose of the motor vehicle stop, as long as the dog sniff does not lengthen the duration of the stop.
This publication is produced to provide general information on the topic presented. It is distributed with the understanding that the publisher (Daigle Law Group, LLC.) is not engaged in rendering legal or professional services. Although this publication is prepared by professionals, it should not be used as a substitute for professional services. If legal or other professional advice is required, the services of a professional should be sought.
Keeping Your Personal Information Private: Part 1
April 20, 2015 | VACP
This is Part 1 of a five part series on the importance of Keeping Your Personal Information Private.
The ready availability and sale of your personal information on the Internet invades your privacy and represents a treat to your physical and financial security. The objective of this series is to provide you with some tips and proven approaches for controlling the amount and type of your personal information that is being compiled and sold on the Internet without your knowledge or consent.
Today we’ll start with a look at who is selling your personal information and why.
Literally anyone can search for a person on the Internet using such key words as:
- find someone
- locate a person
- people locate
- license plate records
- bank account locate
- employment locate
- phone record search
- social security number trace
- property record information
- and, more.
Searching on these key words will yield the URLs of hundreds of internet-based data broker companies that provide various levels of consumer information on line. Some even provide a good deal of information at no charge. Most provide a teaser amount of information and then charge a fee for the more interesting (and potentially damaging) data. Experiment a little and you’ll quickly discover that you don’t need to hire a private investigator to obtain almost any level of personal information about virtually anyone. And, of course, if you can find detailed sensitive information about someone else, than anyone can find your information as well.
The simple (and sad) fact of the matter is that information brokers, analytical companies and others are compiling vast amounts of your personal information – addresses, family members, relatives, interests, preferences, personal phone numbers and email addresses, financial history and, much more – all without your knowledge or consent. This information is then often combined with public records data to create comprehensive individual profiles which are then sold to virtually anyone willing to pay a small fee.
Internet-based information brokerages and data providers are surfacing all over the country. Why? Because it’s big business – a multi-billion dollar business that includes the three national credit bureaus, many marketing companies and entities like Been Verified, Spokeo, Private Eye and dozens of others. To be fair, many of these companies use your personal information for relatively benign marketing purposes. However, fifty or so of the newer market entries were formed for the exclusive purpose of selling your detailed sensitive information to anyone on the Internet without regard for your privacy. Unfortunately, these businesses are neither licensed nor regulated. As an example, a convicted felon in California is operating one of the largest information brokerage businesses in the country – because he can.
The important take away from today is that virtually anyone can find just about everything they might want to know about you on the internet for any purpose – targeting, stalking, bullying, revenge, embarrassment, identity theft and much more.
In the next segment, we’ll begin to provide you with important steps you can take to regain control of your private information and, in so doing, significantly enhance your physical and financial security.
Next week, Part 2: Dealing with tracking software.
Protecting your personal information in an on-line world is a never ending and time consuming, but very necessary process for individual and family safety – especially today. At the VACP, we have partnered with ManageURiD to help make reclaiming your privacy and better protecting your physical and financial security an easy and affordable process.
Visit https://vacp.manageurid.com to learn more.
Anyone who signs up for the service through the above portal will receive a 50% discount on the cost of the service AND will also help support the VACP!
Verizon’s Powerful Answers Award – Public Safety/First Responders
April 20, 2015 | National News
Expanding its ongoing commitment to innovation and social responsibility, FBI-LEEDA partner Verizon is now accepting ideas for its 2015 Powerful Answers Award program. We are very excited to announce the chance to win up to $1M for ideas that solve problems in Emergency Response.
Now in its third year, Verizon's Powerful Answers Award offers innovators, developers and entrepreneurs a total of $6M in cash prizes, plus the opportunity for winners to participate in an Accelerator program designed to help develop their ideas and bring solutions to market faster.
Potential contestants include private companies, start-ups, and individual entrepreneurs who are creating products and services. Government agencies and employees may only be eligible to participate if permitted by their own policies and applicable regulations.
The program seeks ideas that leverage cutting-edge technology to create solutions that deliver social good. The 2015 program is seeking ideas in three subcategories of Emergency Response:
FIRST RESPONDERS: How can technology be used to help first responders, such as emergency medical technicians, firefighters and police, cut down on response times and increase situational awareness?
SEARCH & RESCUE: Whether it’s over water, snow, mountains, forest or rubble, time and accuracy mean everything when it comes to search and rescue. It is critical to utilize technology to enhance existing resources and tools – and enable new ones. How can technology be employed to help search and rescue crews target, locate and help those in need before time runs out?
LONG-TERM RELIEF: Following an emergency or disaster, what happens once the initial response is complete? How can technology help ensure that relief supplies and support get to the people who need them most, that the living conditions remain safe, and that those affected are able to return to a normal routine as quickly as possible?
You can find out more about the contest and submit ideas until June 18th, 2015 at http://powerfulanswersaward.com
Download a PDF with more information here.
Saltville hires Bristol detective as its police chief
April 20, 2015 | Virginia News
Saltville Town Council announced and welcomed Chris Wilcox as the new chief of police during Tuesday’s meeting.
Wilcox comes from the Bristol Virginia Police Department, where he had served as a detective since 2012 and a police officer from 2008 to 2012. A native of Warrensville in Ashe County, N.C., he served as deputy sheriff in Watauga County, N.C., from 1998 to 2000, a Virginia state trooper from 2000 to 2005, a detective with the Watauga County Sheriff’s Department from 2005 to 2007 and again as deputy sheriff in Watauga County for a year before moving to the Bristol Police Department.
“My ambition was to become an administrator,” said Wilcox about applying for the chief’s position in Saltville. “And this town is a lot like where I grew up.”
Wilcox will be moving from Abingdon. where he lives with his wife, Colette, and children, son Ian, 8, and daughter Ella, 4.
With over 16 years of law enforcement experience, a bachelor of arts degree in political science/administration of justice, and a master’s of business administration with concentration in accounting, Wilcox said he is ready for the administration job of a police chief.
“In addition to my 16 years of law enforcement experience, I have over two years of management experience,” said Wilcox. “I understand the challenges that face policing in small towns and I am prepared to utilize my experience in order to make this police department one of the most professional departments in the commonwealth while carrying out the duties of the police department with a genuine focus based on community policing.”
In the vote to accept Wilcox as the new chief, council member Randall Brickey voted no, saying during discussion he thought the town could save money by keeping Erik Puckett in the position of interim chief until the next municipal election, allowing the new council to then hire a new chief. During council comments at the end of the meeting, Brickey said his vote was not personal against Wilcox, saying he and Puckett were the best candidates for the job, and that he welcomed Wilcox to the town and would support him as the new chief.
Source: Smyth County News & Messenger
Clark: License plate readers help police, don’t hurt privacy
April 19, 2015 | VACP
By Chief Rick Clark, Galax Police; Past President of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police
In the most recent session of the Virginia General Assembly, both the House and Senate passed bills that addressed the use of Automated License Plate Readers.
The bills as passed raised and continue to raise serious concerns among law enforcement in Virginia. License plate readers provide an important investigative tool that advances public safety and security.
License plate readers capture video images of license plates that are converted to text and stored in a data base. To understand the issues it must be realized that 1. LPR data is anonymous, and 2. LPR data can reveal personal information only by cross-referencing it with DMV data already protected by a federal law called the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act.
Virginia police agencies can access personal information only through the Virginia Crime Information Network, which is closely monitored by the Virginia State Police. That data is restricted to legitimate police purposes.
Contrary to popular belief, law enforcement is not authorized to randomly query license plate numbers to obtain personal information, nor does the current LPR technology automatically provide personal identifying information.
Virginia’s General Assembly should focus on the real issues that potentially impact driver privacy — proper access and security of the data.
A version that closely resembles the “permissible purpose” language of the Federal Driver’s Protection Policy Act would be appropriate.
The seven-day limit on the retention of data in House Bill 1673 is not realistic because some investigations have not gotten under way until after seven days. The ability to document a vehicle’s presence in a particular area might provide invaluable information.
Virginia law enforcement agencies are committed to the citizens of the commonwealth and recognize the importance of their trust while balancing the importance of utilizing emerging crime-fighting technologies.
The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police encourages legislators and citizens to be cautious as they consider broad sweeping changes that may reduce and hamper law enforcement’s ability to provide for the safety and protection of the public.
Jacocks: It’s not fair to paint all police officers with a broad brush of brutality
April 14, 2015 | National News
By A.M. “JAKE” JACOCKS JR.
THE INEXPLICABLE decision by a South Carolina police officer – fortunately now an ex-police officer – to shoot a fleeing suspect in the back is permanently etched in the minds of all of us who have seen the video.
We couldn’t forget what we saw if we tried. We should not try.
The release of cellphone video showing the use of pepper spray and a Taser by a Virginia Beach police officer, while minor compared to the South Carolina incident, is also troubling, even though police say the suspects were uncooperative and reportedly in possession of drugs.
At this point, though, we don’t know the whole story in Virginia Beach. So we must reserve judgment. I have every confidence that this incident will be fully investigated and the appropriate action will be taken by the department.
Nevertheless, policing in America can ill afford such negative publicity. Without effective policing, unattainable without community support, we would have anarchy. This incident does anything but generate community support.
Some will use the killing in South Carolina to somehow conclude that this is standard procedure, the norm, commonplace.
Whether by design or because it is often easier to follow the outspoken and often ill-informed rather than look at the big picture, some will make an effort to paint all police officers in America with a broad brush of brutality, racism and ineptness.
That’s patently unfair and wholly inaccurate, and here’s why:
There are approximately 18,000 state and local police departments in the United States and more than 800,000 sworn law enforcement positions when you combine university, local, county, state and federal agencies. Given this large pool of human beings, some mistakes and poor decisions will undoubtedly occur, but history tells us these are the exceptions rather than the rule.
In spite of stringent screening practices and hiring standards – often including psychological testing – people ill-suited for the incredible responsibilities of a law enforcement career sometimes will be hired.
Further, according to the FBI’s 2013 report Crime in the United States, “Nationwide, law enforcement made an estimated 11,302,102 arrests in 2013. Of these, 480,360 were for violent crimes, and 1,559,284 were for property crimes.”
The FBI does not collect data on traffic summonses, but based on my 38-plus years in law enforcement, it is safe to assume the number is nearly double the arrests. Conservatively, the number of official police interactions with citizens is upward of 30 million.
The number of interactions in which no documentation exists is many, many millions more. And yet the incidents of egregious, abusive and/or unlawful misconduct by police is a far smaller number.
During my career, including many years in SWAT and countless interactions with officers from departments all over the country, I never met a police officer who wanted to shoot someone.
Fatal or not, a police shooting is a life-changing event for everyone involved. Policing, by and large in America, is performed by professional men and women who are well-trained, dedicated and trying hard to help and protect our citizens. Courageous, often heroic actions by officers are the norm. All too often, they are killed doing what we’ve asked of them.
Is there room for improvement? Of course.
We need more community outreach and engagement, increased staffing, increased training, broader deployment of less-than-lethal weapons and body cameras, rigid hiring standards, better supervision and an unrelenting approach by police leaders to both honor officers who perform to high standards and hold them accountable when they go outside the lines.
In no way do I minimize the killing in South Carolina, or those in Cincinnati, Milwaukee or Anytown, USA. I am disgusted because those episodes do not reflect what professional law enforcement in America is all about.
Instead of lashing out at all American law enforcement, those who are as disgusted as I am by these incidents should be demanding accountability, change and justice as a response to specific incidents.
You can’t do that with a broad brush.
A.M. “Jake” Jacocks Jr. retired as chief of the Virginia Beach Police Department and is now a law enforcement consultant.
Published as a guest column in the Opinion section of The Virginian-Pilot.
Lynchburg police chief set to retire Oct. 1
April 14, 2015 | Virginia News
Chief Parks Snead has been the department’s chief since September 2008. He was a police officer for 24 years before that.
By Eleanor Roy | Lynchburg News & Advance
Lynchburg Police Department Chief Parks Snead is set to retire before the end of the year, according to department spokesman Lt. Malcolm Booker.
Snead announced the decision to department employees last week. The retirement will be effective Oct. 1.
Snead couldn’t be reached for comment Monday because he is out of the office, Booker said.
Snead has been the department’s chief since September 2008. He was a police officer for 24 years before that.
City Manager Kimball Payne said the process of hiring a new chief will be the same as when Snead was hired.
“What we did last time that I filled this position is develop a job profile through discussions with the community and have an open application,” Payne said in a phone interview Monday.
He expects the job profile to take one to two months to complete. The profile will be created through discussions with community groups and the department’s officers.
“Just trying to make contact with people who might have thoughts on what sorts of issues a new chief might have to address and what they’re looking for in a new chief,” Payne said.
Payne said he had discussions with Snead about retiring in the past.
“A couple weeks ago he actually gave me a letter of his intention to do that,” Payne said.
He said he wasn’t too surprised about Snead’s decision because 60 percent of the city’s department heads are eligible to retire now or within the next three years.
He said there’s a “pretty aggressive succession plan going on here in the city.”
Payne said he enjoyed working with Snead over the years and is looking forward to the next six months.
“The accolades will come later, but I think he’s been a good police chief,” Payne said.
Monti Lee promoted to deputy chief of Roanoke police
April 2, 2015 | Virginia News
Capt. Monti Lee, who’s been with the Roanoke Police Department for 30 years, has been promoted to deputy chief of uniform operations.
Lee takes over the position vacated by Curtis Davis, who became chief of police for the Farmville (Virginia) Police Department on March 16.
Lee joined the Roanoke Police Department in 1985, and he is the department’s longest tenured captain, according to department spokesman Scott Leamon.
He has accrued an abundance of experience, including working in patrol, vice, evidence collection and major crimes.
He was the first person to oversee the Community Response Bureau following the department’s reorganization last year.
Lee is a graduate of the Professional Executive Leadership School, the Institute for Leadership in Changing Times, the Reid School of Interview, the Forensic Science Academy and the Executive Education Leadership Training Program at the Harvard Kennedy School at Harvard University.
Among other promotions at the department:
- Holly Willoughby was promoted to sergeant from the rank of detective. She joined the department in 1993.
- Kenneth Sauls was promoted to sergeant from the rank of officer. He joined the department in 2001.
- Jeffrey Newman was promoted to lieutenant from the rank of sergeant. He joined the department in 2005.
- Chris Bolling was promoted to lieutenant from the rank of sergeant. He joined the department in 1993.
- Eric Charles was promoted to captain from the rank of lieutenant. He joined the department in 1992.
- Theresa Jenkins, a civilian employee, was recognized as senior animal warden. She joined the department in 2005.
Prince George County Police Chief Ed Frankenstein Announces Retirement
April 2, 2015 | Virginia News
Frankenstein to Retire October 1 After 30 Years of Service in Law Enforcement
PRINCE GEORGE, VA – On Wednesday, April 2, 2015, Colonel Edward Frankenstein, Chief of Police for Prince George County, Virginia, announced that he would retire effective October 1, 2015.
Colonel Frankenstein established his career in law enforcement as a Deputy Sheriff in the combined Prince George Sheriff/Police Department on September 6, 1985. He was promoted through the ranks to Patrol Sergeant in 1992. With the separation of the Prince George Sheriff’s Office and Police Department in 1995, he remained a Patrol Sergeant with the Police Department.
In 1996, Edward Frankenstein was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in the Patrol Division where he commanded all Patrol functions of the department. From February 3, 1998 to September 1, 1998, the Board of Supervisors appointed Edward Frankenstein to Interim Chief of Police for the first time. On September 1, 2000, the Board of Supervisors appointed Edward Frankenstein as Interim Chief of Police a second time, a position he held until he was appointed to Chief of Police on May 1, 2001. After fifteen years as Chief, he continues to provide exceptional leadership to the Police Department and outstanding service to County citizens. He is responsible for managing a budget of approximately $6.4 million and for directing the activities of approximately 75 employees of the Police Department, Animal Services and the 911 Communication Center along with 12 Auxiliary Police Officers.
Colonel Frankenstein holds a Police Science Degree from John Tyler Community College and is a graduate of the 199th Session of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. He is currently a member of multiple civic, community, and national organizations including the Community Criminal Justice Board, Hopewell/Prince George Crime Solvers, 1B Drug Task Force, Prince George TRIAD, and Law Enforcement Curriculum Review Committee at John Tyler Community College. He is also the current Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Crater Criminal Justice Training Academy.
Colonel Frankenstein has served in the past on many different Public Safety Committees in the region to include the Board of Directors for the John Tyler Alcohol Safety Action Program (JTASAP), a member of the Executive Committee for the Tri-City Regional Strike Force as well as a member of the Central Virginia Law Enforcement Chief Executive Association (CVLECEA) just to name a few. In 2005, he served a five-year term when he was appointed by Governor Warner to serve on the Wireless E-911 Services Board.
Ed Frankenstein and his wife Karen have two sons, Shawn and Kyle. He is very active in the daily activities of his family and, in the past as need arose, lent his coaching skills to the Department of Parks and Recreation.
In January of 2014, a huge milestone for this department and Prince George County was accomplished when the Police Department was formally presented the Certificate of State Accreditation from the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission. This significant accomplishment was a result of the hard work and commitment to professional service by all of the men and women of the Police Department.
Bill Robertson, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, stated, “Edward Frankenstein has dedicated his life to law enforcement in Prince George County and has served the citizens well as Chief. Through the years, he has supervised many new and innovative improvements in his department. He leaves the Prince George Police Department well trained, equipped and respected for the next Chief.”
Percy Ashcraft, County Administrator, stated, “Chief Frankenstein has made strong contributions to the department and community over the last three decades. State Accreditation for our Police Department was a capstone for a career of dedication and service. We thank Chief Frankenstein and wish him well in retirement.”
Prince George County will begin the process of recruiting and selecting his replacement in the very near future. Percy Ashcraft, County Administrator, will lead the search for Chief Frankenstein’s replacement.
Doxxing: The New Threat, Part 2 — Protecting Against Doxxing
March 31, 2015 | VACP
This is Part 2 of a two part series on the subject of “Doxxing”. In Part 1, we defined Doxxing, discussed how it is being used, and reviewed the risks and threats Doxxing represents to law enforcement officials and their families. In this part we will talk about what can be done to best protect yourself against Doxxing.
To reiterate, Doxxing is loosely defined as an Internet based practice of researching and broadcasting personally identifiable information (such as names, addresses, phone numbers, spouse, children, relatives, financial history, and much more) about an individual. The process of doxxing is facilitated by the ready availability of sensitive personal information on the Internet.
The simple fact of the matter is that information brokers have compiled comprehensive information profiles about just about everyone. This information is then made available for anyone to acquire on the Internet. These sources feed the practice of doxxing and can lead to many different types of assaults including the following – which do not need to be life threatening to be debilitating:
- Physical Stalking
- Cyber Stalking
- Identity Theft
- Vigilante “Justice”, etc.
This is, of course, a very serious issue. Many have been victimized already. So, what can be done?
PROTECTING AGAINST DOXXING
With respect to protecting yourself against doxxing, and other misuses of your personal information, there’s lots of good advice out there regarding the use of the Internet, such as:
- Don’t use your actual name on the Internet;
- Never give out personal information like phone numbers or physical addresses;
- Don’t send sensitive information from a personal computer;
- Remove personal information from social media accounts;
- Clear cookies and browser cache on a regular basis; and
- Countless suggestions regarding safe email usage, etc.
At the end of the day, while all of this is useful and well intended, the only practical solution is to remove your personal information from these sites. But, that task is easier said than done.
The unfortunate reality is that removing personal information from these sites is intentionally convoluted and difficult. While it is technically possible, most people do not have the time or patience to execute each of the following steps:
Step 1 - Identify all of the more than 200 sites that compile, maintain and sell personal information, and then zero in on the 50 that can really hurt you.
Step 2 - Dig through each of the sites to locate the particular set of instructions for opting out of that site.
Step 3 - Follow each of the required processes, prepare and submit the necessary form or forms, and provide the additional information necessary (including a photo ID in some cases) to complete the opt out request.
Step 4 – After the full set of opt out instructions have been submitted, revisit each of the sites to verify they have complied with the opt out request.
Step 5 – More than a step, this is an on-going process. Even after many of these sites have complied with the initial removal instructions, they will repopulate personal information over time. So, periodically (at least every 30 days), it is necessary to return to Step 1 and repeat the entire process.
Protecting YOUR personal information in an on-line world is a never ending and time consuming, but very necessary process for individual and family safety – especially today. At the VACP we have partnered with ManageURiD to help make reclaiming your privacy and better protecting your physical and financial security an easy and affordable process.
Visit https://vacp.manageurid.com to learn more.
Anyone who signs up for the service through the above portal will receive a 50% discount on the cost of the service AND will also help support the VACP.
Governor McAuliffe Signs Executive Order to Improve Law Enforcement at Virginia ABC
March 25, 2015 | Virginia News
RICHMOND - Today Governor McAuliffe signed Executive Order 40, which takes four preliminary steps toward improving law enforcement in the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC).
Last week Governor McAuliffe called for an independent state police investigation into an ABC arrest in Charlottesville in which a student was injured. As the comprehensive investigation moves forward, the Governor’s Executive Order takes steps to address broader concerns about ABC law enforcement by:
Requiring more training for all ABC special agents in the areas of; use of force, cultural diversity, effective interaction with youth and young adults, and community policing.
Improving accountability and oversight by requiring that the ABC Bureau of Law Enforcement will now report to the Chief Operating Officer of the ABC, who is responsible for the day-to-day management of all agency functions.
Examining the need for additional steps by directing the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security to convene an expert review panel to report to the Governor on the agency’s mission, structure, policies and training and make recommendations regarding any identified changes needed.
Improving cooperation and communication with local communities and Virginia colleges and universities by directing the ABC to engage with communities that are home to state institutions of higher education about its enforcement role in each locality. The ABC will update or enter into agreements that delineate an agreed-upon enforcement role for the ABC that is in cooperation with each community’s law enforcement approach.
Below is the full text of Governor McAuliffe’s Executive Order 40:
NUMBER FORTY 2015
IMPROVING ABC LAW ENFORCEMENT
Importance of the Initiative
Keeping Virginia families and communities safe is the highest responsibility of the Governor and state government. In performing that duty, we also have a responsibility to ensure that agencies charged with public safety have the training, resources and oversight they need to do their jobs professionally and in a way that promotes and protects the public trust.
Recent events involving special agents of the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) in Charlottesville have underscored longstanding concerns about the agency’s Bureau of Law Enforcement and exposed the need for more extensive training and oversight. While we must await results from the investigations by Virginia State Police and the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney in Charlottesville before drawing conclusions about that particular incident, it is not too soon to take proactive steps to improve ABC’s Bureau of Law Enforcement.
Accordingly, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Governor under Article V of the Constitution of Virginia and under the laws of the Commonwealth, I hereby direct the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security, the Chief Operating Officer and the Commissioners of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, in conjunction with the Department of Criminal Justice Services, to take the following immediate actions:
The ABC Board shall require the immediate retraining of all ABC special agents in the areas of use of force, cultural diversity, effective interaction with youth, and community policing, to be completed no later than September 1, 2015. This training shall be implemented and certified by the Department of Criminal Justice Services utilizing evidence-based training curricula and education practices that meet nationally-accepted standards.
Effective immediately, the ABC Bureau of Law Enforcement shall report directly to the Chief Operating Officer of the ABC, who is responsible for the day-to-day management of all ABC functions.
The Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security shall convene an expert review panel of representatives of local and campus law enforcement agencies and sheriff’s offices, Commonwealth’s Attorneys, the Governor’s Policy Advisor on Law Enforcement for ABC, the Chief Operating Office of the ABC, the Director of the Department of Criminal Justice Services and such other individuals representing relevant stakeholder groups, as he may deem appropriate in order to review the agency’s mission, structure, policies and training and make recommendations regarding any identified changes needed. A report of the review panel shall be completed and presented to me no later than November 1, 2015.
The ABC Bureau of Law Enforcement shall immediately review, update or enter into appropriate Mutual Aid Agreements, or other Memoranda of Understanding, with local law enforcement agencies serving communities with state institutions of higher education, with the goal of improving collaboration, communication and delineation of expectations regarding enforcement activities performed by ABC special agents in these communities.
Effective Date of the Executive Order
This Executive Order shall be effective upon its signing and shall remain in full force and effect until amended or rescinded by further executive order.
Given under my hand and under the Seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia this 25th Day of March, 2015.
Terence R. McAuliffe, Governor
Office of the Governor
Contact: Brian Coy
Lynchburg Police officers now are in autism awareness
March 24, 2015 | Virginia News
The Lynchburg Police Department is the only police department in the Commonwealth to have all officers trained in autism awareness.
By Ashlie Walter | Lynchburg News & Advance
Over the past two weeks, officers have taken a two-and-a-half hour course about responding to emergency situations involving people with autism, Master Police Officer Ronnie Sitler said.
The law enforcement officers learned how to interact with people on all points of the autism spectrum. In most cases, people with autism will have problems following verbal commands, reading body language and deficits in social understanding.
The course was developed in partnership with the Commonwealth Autism Board and local police departments in case they have to respond to a call for service involving a person with autism. The officers learned how to identify the behavioral symptoms of an adult or child with autism and basic response techniques.
Sitler said everyone “from the Chief down” has taken the training, which was a part of the department’s annual officer training and is updated every other year.
“Most people associate autism with children but now many of them are adults and the cops have to deal with them,” he said. “We don’t normally deal with 5 or 6 year olds, we deal with the adults.”
Sitler said calls for service involving an autistic subject have become more prevalent and an individual with autism is seven times more likely to have an incident with an officer because of behavioral issues.
School resource officers in the city school system also have received the training.
The department was recognized by Commonwealth Autism at the 14th annual Autism Conference for their first responder training on March 11 in Richmond.
Source URL: Lynchburg News & Advance
Yonce named Hillsville’s police chief
March 24, 2015 | Virginia News
Around eight months of speculation about Hillsville’s Town Council naming a full-time police chief was decided at its regular meeting Monday night with interim chief Wesley Yonce named to the department’s top spot.
Vice-Mayor Ed Terry commented afterwards that six months into his tenure as interim chief it was “apparent he was doing an outstanding job.”
Terry explained council worked through interviews during that time frame without identifying a candidate meeting their requirements for availability and price. He said this prompted them to ask Yonce if he’d consider the post.
Yonce was previously named interim police chief for Hillsville during the Hillsville Town Council meeting on July 14, 2014. Following a two-hour closed session at that time, Terry made a motion naming Yonce for the position and Sulphur Springs Councilman Bill Tate provided the second. Pipers Gap Councilman David Young voted in favor of the motion and Laurel Fork Councilman Greg Yonce abstained, since the nominee was his brother.
Following that meeting, Terry said, “One of the reasons behind council’s decision was Yonce is not interested in pursuing the permanent position of police chief. That clears the way for other officers to seek the position.”
Terry, at that time, said council was very satisfied with Yonce’s time with the department and pleased with the actions of the department under the leadership of Cpt. Junior Alderman. After Police Chief Greg Bolen submitted his resignation on June 30 of last year, Alderman, the department’s second in command, took charge of police operations for a brief time.
At that meeting Terry said Bolen’s resignation “was by no means coerced by council. We asked Bolen to stay on and work with council before he tendered his resignation.” Yonce, who has been a member of the police department for 15 years, echoed Terry’s earlier statements.
“I’m not filing for the police chief position. I just want to continue to work as a patrolman and then retire,” said Yonce at the time.
Yonce said his mind was changed by the way council members and the town came together to encourage him to reconsider the position, which is effective immediately. Yonce’s wife, Trina, and his step-daughter Cayla Horton were on hand for the announcement.
“I have an hour and 45 minutes left in my first day,” Yonce joked after the late announcement Monday. “We’re going to run this department as a team. I’m going to let things settle for a day or two and then call all of us together to talk. It’s not an I department but a we department. We’re going to get together to make it the best department in Virginia to work in. People will be knocking the door down to get in.”
Deciding when to use force can be difficult, local police say
March 22, 2015 | Virginia News
By Dani Kass | Charlottesville Daily Progress
The night after Martese Johnson was bloodied and arrested by Alcoholic Beverage Control agents, protesters marched from the university to the Charlottesville Police Department.
Johnson, 20, has been charged with obstruction of justice and public intoxication after being denied entry into Trinity Irish Pub. Witnesses then say he was thrown to the ground by an ABC agent, where a picture of him with a bloodied face was taken.
The officers involved are currently on administrative leave and are being investigated by the Virginia State Police at the request of the governor and Charlottesville’s commonwealth’s attorney.
City police were uninvolved in the arrest that sparked questions about use of force in Charlottesville, having arrived to serve as backup only after Johnson was in custody.
However, records from the department show that there have been 68 incidents involving the use of force by officers over the last three years.
Two of these incidents in 2014 were found to be unjustified — one where the action was legal, but avoidable and the other where the officer didn’t have probable cause for arrest, according to Sgt. Brian O’Donnell in the Office of Professional Standards of the Charlottesville police.
“It happens from time to time,” Police Chief Timothy J. Longo said about officers using unjustified force. “It’s a rare occasion that it happens, but it does in fact happen.” ...
Altria fights cigarette trafficking from Virginia to New York
March 22, 2015 | Virginia News
Investigators scour urban streets to trace the path of a festering black market from Virginia to New York City.
By John Reid Blackwell | Richmond Times-Dispatch
Twice a year, about a dozen people working for a company hired by Altria Group Inc. fan out in New York City neighborhoods on a scavenger hunt, of sorts.
Over a roughly three-week period, they comb the streets looking for and collecting empty cigarette packs that smokers have discarded around the city.
It isn’t a trash-cleanup project. Rather, officials with Henrico County-based Altria, the nation’s largest tobacco manufacturer, say the collection program is a key piece of intelligence gathering in the company’s efforts to track and disrupt illegal smuggling of its cigarette brands.
When a discarded pack is found on a city sidewalk or a trash bin, it is placed into an evidence bag and shipped back to Altria’s offices.
“In a city like New York, we will collect about 5,000 packs of cigarettes,” said Michael Thorne-Begland, a lawyer who is the director of Altria’s brand and trade channel integrity department, a 20-person unit tasked with protecting the company’s valuable brands from counterfeiters and traffickers.
In analyzing the discarded packs, “we look at whether they are counterfeit or genuine,” Thorne-Begland said. “Do they have a tax stamp on them and where did it come from? Is the tax stamp counterfeit or genuine? If it is not intended for sale in the U.S., where was it supposed to be sold?”
Thorne-Begland said Altria has conducted similar discarded-pack collections in multiple cities in recent years. “We have collected over 325,000 empty packs of cigarettes and analyzed all of them,” he said, adding that the collections give Altria “a fairly robust data set” on the origins of cigarettes being smoked in a region at a particular time.
Altria’s information gathering in the Big Apple confirms what law-enforcement agencies already know: New York City, with the nation’s second-highest combined state and local cigarette tax of $5.85 per pack, is being saturated with black-market smuggled cigarettes from low-tax states.
The source of those cigarettes is primarily Virginia, which has the nation’s second-lowest cigarette excise tax at 30 cents per pack.
The price difference makes smuggling a highly profitable criminal venture. A carload of about 600 cartons bought in Virginia and sold without paying New York taxes can produce a profit of $20,000, according to Altria’s own calculations. ...
Doxxing: The New Threat — Posting the Personal Information of Officers & Their Families
March 22, 2015 | VACP
This is Part 1 of a two part series on the subject of “Doxxing”. In this first part we will define Doxxing, discuss how it is being used, and review the risks and threats Doxxing represents to law enforcement officials and their families. In Part 2 we will talk about what can be done to protect yourself from Doxxing.
Doxxing is loosely defined as an Internet based practice of researching and broadcasting personally identifiable information (such as names, addresses, phone numbers, spouse, children, relatives, financial history, and much more) about an individual. The practice of doxxing is not new. It actually dates back to the 1990s and was often used for constructive purposes such as helping law enforcement locate suspects and /or dangerous criminals, in business analysis, and the legitimate vetting of individuals. Doxxing, however, strays into a very dark area when it is used for other purposes.
DOXXING AS USED BY ONLINE VIGILANTES
There are countless modern examples of doxxing that millions of Americans read about every day, often without realizing that doxxing is at the heart of what they are reading. In the last two years, the Social Security number of First Lady Michelle Obama, Beyonce's home address, Aston Kutcher's personal phone number, and the credit report of Los Angeles PD chief Charlie Beck were all posted online following acts of doxxing.
While these events were troubling enough to the individuals involved, the more recent use of doxxing has taken an even darker turn.
Following recent events in Fersuson, the group called Anonymous acquired the sensitive personal information of Colonel Ronald Replogle, posted it on the Internet, and then Tweeted the location of this information to thousands of people.
Literally anyone – an ill-intended individual, gang member, escapee, former arrestee, protestor, etc. can follow the provided link to acquire a home address, phone number, email address and much more. These kinds of acts essentially put the individual involved and his family at immediate risk.
Erica Garner, one of the daughters of Eric Garner who was killed in a chokehold event by a New York City police officer, tweeted out the address of one of the officers present at the time (Justin D’Amico). Her Tweet linked to a web page with addresses for D’Amico and for “five” possible relatives. Erica Garner has more than 5,000 Twitter followers and her post was retweeted about 500 times.
Following the fatal shooting of a homeless man on Skid Row in Los Angeles in early March, LAPD confirmed that at least two police officers were the victims of doxxing. An unknown individual or group posted the officers’ names, addresses, and details about their kids’ schools on the Internet.
THE RISKS AND THREATS OF DOXXING TO LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS
Law enforcement officials often find themselves in risky situations. It comes with the territory. Doxxing, however, is a new kind of threat and one that can manifest itself in many dimensions and extend the risk beyond the individual involved to include family members and relatives.
The bigger problem here, of course, is the ready availability of sensitive personal information on the Internet to feed the practice of doxxing. More than 50 entities, loosely defined as data brokers, have compiled comprehensive information profiles about most of us. This information is then made easily available for anyone to acquire on the Internet. These sources feed the practice of doxxing and can lead to many different types of assault including the following – which do not need to be life threatening to be debilitating
- Physical Stalking
- Cyber Stalking
- Identity Theft
- Vigilante “Justice”, etc.
This is a serious issue with many having been victimized already. So, what can we do about this at both individual and organizational levels? The only practical solution is to remove your personal information from these sites. But, that task is easier said than done. More on that subject in Part 2 next week.
For more information in the interim, please visit https://vacp.manageurid.com
Virginia Tech fraternities join program with police
March 21, 2015 | Virginia News
The Blacksburg Police Department’s Adopt-A-Cop program has worked closely with fraternities at Virginia Tech.
By Karin Kapsidelis | Richmond Times-Dispatch
At Virginia Tech this month, the leaders of 28 fraternities are getting a different sort of schooling.
They’re enrolled in the second year of the Blacksburg Police Department’s six-week Adopt-A-Cop Academy — part of a program designed to foster a safer social environment in off-campus fraternity houses by establishing municipal police officers as mentors and advisers for each chapter.
“We have successfully navigated some tough water with them,” Blacksburg Police Chief Anthony Wilson said.
The department’s proactive approach comes amid increased scrutiny of fraternities nationally as a result of recent shocking — in one case literally so — incidents.
Just this month, Washington and Lee University suspended the Phi Kappa Psi chapter for three years after a member used a Taser on a new brother and intimidated others with it.
At the University of Oklahoma, Sigma Alpha Epsilon members riding on a party bus were caught on video singing a racist song with a line about lynching.
At Pennsylvania State University, members of Kappa Delta Rho are under police investigation for a secret Facebook page displaying photos of nude women who were either sleeping or unconscious.
And Thursday night, the North Carolina State University chapter of Pi Kappa Phi was suspended after the discovery of what appeared to be a pledge book filled with jokes about rape and lynching.
The incidents renew debate over whether the Greek system is an outdated vestige of another century, or whether fraternities are unfairly maligned for the misbehavior of a few. ...
New Market Selects Rinker as Next Police Chief
March 16, 2015 | Virginia News
The town of New Market officially appointed Sgt. Chris Rinker as its new chief of police Monday night.
The town council approved Rinker’s appointment as acting Chief of Police with a unanimous 5-0 vote. Rinker will begin duties of acting chief starting Wednesday, before officially taking over the position starting July 1.
“I guess I need to take it all in first. I mean, I’m excited,” said Rinker, who has served in the New Market Police Department for almost 16 years.
Rinker added, “It’s been a goal of mine to be the police chief for the town of New Market.”
Rinker will take over from the town’s current chief, Charles Peery. Peery has served as chief since 2007, and gave the town his notice of retirement last fall.
According to Peery, this appointment was actually something he had been prepping for a couple years leading up to Monday night.
“I’ve worked with Chris [Rinker] for 15 years, the last two or three I purposefully sent him to schools to give him the training that he needs,” Peery said, noting that grooming Rinker for the position was his goal.
Peery added, “He didn’t really understand that sometimes, but I had a motive.”
According to Peery, he saw Rinker’s “maturity, his desire to do the job and his dedication to” the job when considering him for the position. “Those are hard characteristics to find nowadays.”
Of Rinker’s appointment, New Market mayor Douglas Bradley, said, “First of all, I think it’s healthy for the department and I think it’s healthy for the community.”
According to Bradley, Rinker is highly regarded amongst the residents of New Market. “He’s very well-known and very well-respected … that was what we based it on.”
Bradley also noted that the town did not look at any other candidates for the position.
“I’m sure he’s the best candidate that we could have interviewed, I know that,” Bradley said, adding, “Everyone was on board, I don’t think there’s any disappointing areas in it at all.”
In his newly appointed role, Rinker simply stated that he wants to “be a good leader.”
“[Chief Peery] is a great leader,” Rinker said, adding, “I can’t describe everything that he’s taught me and he’s been a great leader.”
Lynchburg Police basketball program builds relationships
March 13, 2015 | Virginia News
By Ashlie Walter | Lynchburg News & Advance
For some children in Lynchburg’s inner-city neighborhoods, the first time they touch a basketball is at the Lynchburg Police Department’s Badges for Basketballs program.
Close to 10 officers work as coaches in the program which extend into friendships with many of the children. Members of the force volunteer their time to coach the six teams of middle-school-aged children.
Senior Officer R.E. Coleman III, program organizer, said participation in the program nearly doubled this season.
“I think last year was a little bigger than the year before. We played private schools last year…this year we’re so big we play ourselves,” he said.
The program was been around for the past 3-4 years, Coleman said. The program’s purpose is to get the youth more involved with police on a positive note instead of “seeing us at their house late at night or arresting their parents.”
This season was Coleman’s second year with the program, last year he was a coach.
“They really enjoy it, they enjoy playing basketball and getting to know them on a personal level,” he said.
When he was a coach, Coleman was used to seeing many of the program’s children at their homes and often developing that personal relationship led to a calmer environment during incidents.
The league began in January and will culminate in a championship tournament starting at 9 a.m. Saturday at Dunbar Middle School.
The Boys and Girls Club works in association with the basketball program by providing grant funding.
Admission to the tournament is free and open to the public.
Source URL: Lynchburg News & Advance
Nominations sought for 2015 ADL Shield Awards; Due April 24
March 12, 2015 | Virginia News
The Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) SHIELD Awards were created to annually recognize law enforcement professionals for significant contributions towards protecting the American people from hate crimes, domestic and international terrorism, and towards promoting civil rights. The Awards were created in 2010 by ADL’s Washington, DC Regional Office (serving DC/MD/VA/NC) and are presented to law enforcement serving this region.
The name of the award is an acronym for the core values of the profession: Service, Honor, Integrity, Excellence, Leadership, and Dedication. The awards were established to honor law enforcement’s dedication and commitment to protecting the communities they serve and to increase public awareness of the values and sacrifices of the men and women in law enforcement.
The awards recognize law enforcement in DC, MD, VA and NC. Recipients are chosen by a committee of more than twenty-five agency heads in the Washington, DC region.
Click here for more information about the SHIELD Awards, including details about past winners and the members of the selection committee.
Richmond area police chiefs say community relationships critical
March 11, 2015 | Virginia News
On Thursday evening, March 12, 2015, the Richmond Times-Dispatch hosted their 55th Public Square - Meet Your Chiefs. The event was held in the Times-Dispatch's downtown offices and featured Chesterfield Police Chief Thierry Dupuis, Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham, Henrico Police Chief Doug Middleton, and Hanover Sheriff David R. Hines.
By BRANDON SHULLEETA | Richmond Times-Dispatch
The region’s top local law enforcement leaders emphasized the importance of strong community relationships, collaboration between agencies and investments in law enforcement personnel and equipment during a public forum hosted by the Richmond Times-Dispatch on Thursday evening.
Henrico County Police Chief Doug Middleton said The Times-Dispatch’s 55th Public Square marked the first time, to his knowledge, that all of the top law enforcement leaders of the region’s four largest localities have appeared together as panelists in a public forum.
“I do think the relationship piece … is the critical piece,” Middleton said during the Public Square, a program created in 2005 to encourage civil community discussion.
The other panelists were Chesterfield County Police Chief Thierry Dupuis, Hanover County Sheriff David R. Hines, and Richmond’s new police chief, Alfred Durham.
The law enforcement executives said they’re in close communication with each other and often share ideas, and they also said they have established close relationships in the communities — relationships they’re hoping to build on.
Dupuis said that while some refer to police and the community as two separate entities, he believes that in this region, “it’s not two different things. We are one.” ...
IRS to Warner: Uniforms for Public Safety Officials are Not Taxable
March 11, 2015 | Virginia News
In response to request from Sen. Warner, IRS provides clarity to Virginia firefighters and police that the cost of clothing provided to wear on duty is not subject to taxation
WASHINGTON – In a letter to U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that firefighters and police officers will not be expected to pay taxes on common clothing items that they are required to wear while on duty.
“I am pleased that the IRS has clarified its policy on taxing police and fire department uniforms,” said Sen. Warner. “Now our firefighters and police officers can stop worrying about getting taxed for their clothing and concentrate on what they do best: keeping us safe.”
“On behalf of the Virginia Sheriffs’ Association, I want to thank Sen. Warner for standing up for our members all across Virginia,” said Lunenburg Sheriff Arthur Townsend, Virginia Sheriffs’ Association President. “He continues to demonstrate a clear understanding of our needs and a willingness to support the sheriffs and deputies who put their lives on the line and protect the public.”
Last year, Botetourt County, Va., was audited by the IRS and found to owe $91,000 in back taxes, stemming in part from an IRS finding that the locality erred in not taxing deputies for the value of certain common clothing items that are part of their uniforms.
In January, Sen. Warner wrote to the IRS, seeking the clarification on behalf of Virginia law enforcement concerned about the tax treatment of certain clothing items that are required as part of a uniform.
“Virginia sheriffs applaud Sen. Warner’s persistence and work on this important issue on behalf of the Virginia Sheriffs’ Association,” said Virginia Sheriffs’ Association Executive Director John W. Jones. “I also want to commend Sheriff Brian Roberts of Brunswick County, who visited Washington with me, for carrying a display of various uniforms used by deputy sheriffs that are being taxed to show firsthand how modern day uniforms used by deputy sheriffs are functional, less expensive than traditional uniforms, and should not be subject to taxes by the IRS.”
“Sen. Warner’s swift action on this matter will save Virginia’s sheriffs and deputies from unfair taxation during tough budget times,” said Brunswick County Sheriff Brian Roberts.
Under IRS regulations, uniforms are considered to be nontaxable if they are required as a condition of employment and the item(s) are “not suitable for everyday wear.” Due to the high costs of traditional patrol uniforms, to save money many departments issue some deputies clothing items such as polo style shirts, non-steel toe boots, or shorts to wear while working if their stations – such as providing jail security – do not require a full service uniform. These standard uniform items often come with distinctive agency logos and officials are prohibited by their departments from wearing them off duty. However, in the absence of clear guidance from the agency, many individual IRS agents have determined that these common public safety uniform items are suitable for everyday wear and are therefore subject to taxation.
Responding to questions from Sen. Warner, IRS Associate Chief Counsel Andrew J. Keyso wrote, “Unfortunately, there is no comprehensive list of clothing, or labels or markings on clothing, that make the clothing suitable or unsuitable for everyday wear in all circumstances.” However, “In cases where a law enforcement agency or fire department has a policy of prohibiting off-duty wearing of uniforms, the uniform is properly viewed as not suitable for everyday wear and the value of the uniform is not includible in the employees’ income.”
The New Threat: Targeting Law Enforcement Personnel In Their Homes
March 4, 2015 | VACP
The VACP is pleased to announce the formation of a partnership with ManageURiD – a company that was formed for the exclusive and urgent purpose of controlling the amount and type of personal information that is being compiled and made readily available about all of us on the Internet.
The personal privacy of virtually everyone is routinely being violated today in a way that especially threatens the physical and financial well-being of law enforcement officers and their families. This issue has become seriously aggravated by the stated targeting of police by organizations like Anonymous, various protest groups, and others, and has made the protection of the personal information of law enforcement personnel an officer safety and force protection imperative.
Family Members Are Also Targets
An article published in the December issue of The Police Chief stated in part, “Law enforcement officers’ home addresses are no longer confidential information. Many free websites exist where a search by last name or phone number provides a listing of a person’s current and prior addresses. This is unfortunate and should be considered as a family and home security issue as any arrestee can now go to the web and find out where you live.”
Within the last few days and less than 48 hours after of the fatal shooting of a homeless man on Skid Row, the LAPD confirmed that at least two police officers were victims of what is called “doxxing.” That is, someone posted their private personal information online, including names, addresses and details about their children’s schools.
Removing This Information Is Difficult
The only practical solution to this problem is to remove relevant sensitive personal information from the many sites offering it available. The unfortunate reality, however, is that removing personal information from these sites is intentionally convoluted and extremely difficult. While it is technically possible, most people do not have the time, patience, interest or skill to successfully accomplish the task as the process would virtually require a full time commitment.
While protecting personal information in an on-line world is a never ending and time consuming process, it is a very necessary process for individual and family safety, especially for high profile public figures such as law enforcement and public safety officials. Unfortunately, once personal information has been accessed by the wrong individual or group, it cannot be retrieved.
ManageURiD was formed — and the ManageURiDProtect service developed — for the exclusive and urgent purpose of empowering our clients to regain control of this process and, most importantly, control the amount and type of their personal information that is being compiled and made readily available on the Internet. We do this with a fully automated process to help our clients and their families reclaim their privacy and better protect their physical and financial security.
ManageURiD is owned and operated by military veterans with extensive knowledge of the “sensitive personal information” space, and a highly successful track record of supporting intelligence, military, law enforcement agencies.
The VACP has partnered with ManageURiD to bring this identity protection service to you at a discount. Anyone who signs up for the service through the VACP's ManageURiD portal will get a 50% discount on the cost of the service AND will also help support the VACP.
For more information and to start protecting your personal information, visit: https://vacp.manageurid.com.
Update from the Virginia Police Chiefs Foundation
February 26, 2015 | VACP
The Virginia Police Chiefs Foundation (VPCF) is a 501(c)3 and is the charitable and educational arm of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police. The primary purpose of the VPCF is to provide leadership education and training to law enforcement. The foundation is funded by grants, donations, fundraising events, and training fees.
The New Chiefs/Deputy Chiefs Training School is being held next week. This training is full. The next one will be held in March 2016.
Media Relations Training is being held March 31-April 2 in Glen Allen. This program focuses on essential media relations skills for anyone who has contact with the media or who is responsible for handling public information assignments. Click here to register
The First Line Supervisors Training School is being held April 7-9 in Glen Allen. This is a three-day training program that has been designed for those newly appointed (or soon to be promoted) as supervisors and is most applicable to individuals who have had little or no prior supervisory training. This program is designed to assist officers in their transition to their new role as supervisor. Click here to register
The VPCF also runs an Internal Affairs Investigators Basic Training School. We just finished the 2015 school, the next one is being planned for February 2016.
PELS Alumni Section Annual Training is being held at the Holocaust & Marine Corps Museums April 21-23.
The Institute for Leadership in Changing Times (ILCT) is our mid-level leadership education program. It is held at the Roanoke Police Academy for one week in June and 3 days in September. The application deadline is April 1.
The Professional Executive Leadership School (PELS) is our Executive level leadership education program. You must be a lieutenant or above to attend this program. The program is held for 3 weeks, one week a month for 3 consecutive months. The next session starts in September. The application deadline is July 1.
VPCF College Scholarship Program is for dependant children of active police officers employed in the Commonwealth of Virginia. This is a needs-based scholarship and the amount of each scholarship awarded varies between $500 and $1,000. Application deadline is April 1, 2015.
We also have another partial scholarship for PELS available through the Lex T. Eckenrode Scholarship Fund.
In addition, we currently have funding available to provide discounts for agencies with limited resources to attend VPCF programs. Click here for more information.
Upcoming Fundraising Events
Our annual Captains Choice Golf Tournament is being held May 13 at the Draper Valley Golf Club. Registration is forthcoming, but will be posted at http://www.vapolicefoundation.org/support/outreach.html.
The PELS Alumni Section Annual Silent Auction will be held in conjunction with the VACP Annual Conference. We are looking for donated items for the auction:
- Home & Garden
- Sporting Goods
- Challenge Coins!!
NAWLEE Announces 20th Anniversary Membership Drive
February 26, 2015 | National News
The National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE) has launched a new membership drive as part of their celebration of their 20th anniversary.
NAWLEE is the first organization established to address the unique needs of women holding senior management positions in law enforcement.
According to Chief Barbara O’Connor, President of NAWLEE and Chief of the University of Connecticut Police Department: “Our mission is to serve and further the interests of women executives and those who aspire to be executives in law enforcement. Our association is comprised of members at all levels from 1st year officers to seasoned Chiefs, which enables us to serve all women in policing. In addition to growing our membership, we are also looking at growth beyond North America”.
NAWLEE’s general purpose is to promote the ideals and principles of women executives in law enforcement; to conduct training seminars to train and educate women executives in law enforcement; including but not limited to the areas of leadership, management, and administration; to provide a forum for the exchange of information concerning law enforcement and generally fostering effective law enforcement.
They provide mentoring opportunities for women in mid-level management positions and those new to senior management roles. NAWLEE provides opportunities for men and women in senior management positions to better understand how to retain and mentor women in their organizations.
The association’s Executive Director, Dave Weisz, emphasized that: “We are involved with many key issues that all law enforcement leaders and their agencies face including participation in the Presidential Task Force on 20th Century Policing. NAWLEE is also very active with National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence and requests for our view on certain issues has been increasing as we continue our strong growth.”
Membership is open to women and men in law enforcement as well as other individuals in the industry. To learn more about the association and to join online, please visit www.nawlee.org.
2015 VACP/VPCF Award Nominations due June 5!
February 22, 2015 | VACP
Please take the time to nominate your deserving officers or citizens for the 2015 VACP Awards for Valor, Lifesaving and Outstanding Contribution to Law Enforcement. An officer or citizen's actions need only have occurred prior to the deadline to be eligible for nomination by a VACP member. (In other words, they are not limited to the 2014 calendar year.)
The nomination form clearly describes the criteria for the three separate categories of awards. Please read them carefully and make sure that the officer or officers you wish to nominate fit the criteria AND you select the most appropriate award category for the nomination. In particular, the Outstanding Contribution to Law Enforcement Award is very unique and is not simply a “catch-all” category for anything that doesn’t fit the Valor or Lifesaving Award criteria. We recommend reviewing the recipients of past OCLE Awards to see the type of contribution that is worthy of recognition with this award.
Please include sufficient explanation in the supporting documentation to show that the actions of the officer(s) meet the criteria for the selected award. Again, nominations for the 2015 awards are open to all actions occurring prior to the June 5, 2015 deadline, so long as they have not been previously submitted for consideration. (Read about previous VACP Award recipients here.)
2015 VACP Awards Nomination Form: Download as Word doc | Download fillable PDF
The Awards Committee will review the nominations in June or July and award notices will be sent to the agency heads no later than early August. Recipients of Awards for Valor and Outstanding Contribution to Law Enforcement will be presented with their plaques at the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police Annual Conference in Williamsburg, August 30 – September 2, 2015. Lifesaving Award recognitions will be presented to the agency heads for presentation to the officer at a departmental ceremony. Please be prepared to provide a high-resolution digital photograph of your Valor Award nominee(s) as they will be requested upon notice of selection for inclusion in the awards program.
New Market Police Chief Set to Retire
February 21, 2015 | Virginia News
New Market Police Chief Charles Peery is retiring from the department after eight years on the job.
Peery, 61, said Thursday he has already submitted his resignation to the New Market Town Council. His last official day of work will be June 30, although Peery said he will not be on duty after the middle of March. The remaining weeks until retirement will be taken up by unused sick days and “those sorts of things,” Peery said.
Peery took over as police chief in 2007, a job that requires him to patrol the streets with rank and file officers in the five-member department. Peery said the Town Council has chosen no replacement but he expects Sgt. Chris Rinker to be appointed interim chief until the position is filled permanently.
Peery said several factors led him to retire.
He cited “a very slight” stroke he suffered around Thanksgiving 2013 that forced him to miss six weeks of work. ...
Stafford County Sheriff Charles Jett Announces Retirement
February 10, 2015 | Virginia News
Charles Jett has served as the Sheriff of Stafford County, Virginia, since 2000. His law enforcement career spans 30 years with the Stafford Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Jett began his law enforcement career when he joined the Stafford Sheriff’s Office at the age of 19. During his tenure he served in various positions from Field Operations to Criminal Investigations. In 1991 he was promoted to Captain in Charge of Field Operations where he served until 1999 when he was elected Sheriff. As Sheriff, he leads a department of more than 240 members and provides primary law enforcement service for the citizens of Stafford County.
Jett is a graduate of the FBI National Academy 187th Session. He has served as Chairman of the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission; State Chair for Special Olympics Virginia; the National Sheriffs’ Association Traffic Safety Committee; Virginia Law Enforcement Executive Advisory Committee on Crime Prevention; Virginia Commonwealth University Public Safety Institute Inaugural Member; past President of the Virginia Sheriffs’ Association; and is currently the Chairman of the Criminal Justice Services Board.
He has served on the VACP's Virginia Highway Safety Committee since it's inception.
Sheriff Jett is married, and he and his wife Ann have two sons Steven and David.
Statement from Sheriff Jett:
"I am taking this opportunity to announce that after 37 years of service to Stafford County, in the most rewarding career I could have imagined, I have decided to retire at the end of my term in December of this year.
"The highlight of my career has been the opportunity to work with some of the most selfless, courageous and dedicated men and women anywhere. I am proud of the work that we have accomplished as a team and equally proud of the service that that team has provided to the citizens of Stafford County. I feel confident that the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office will continue its path of excellence.
"As Sheriff of Stafford County I have been the recipient of many accolades on behalf of the Sheriff’s Office, knowing full well that the credit belongs to the outstanding professionals that I have been honored to work with each and every day. It is their commitment to the mission and core values of this department that have helped us achieve the high standards that our community expects and deserves.
"It has been my high honor to serve the citizens of Stafford County for 37 years. The opportunity to work for and assist the fine people of Stafford County has been a blessing and I will always be grateful for the support that I have received over the years from the community."
Campus Alcohol Abuse Prevention Resources Now Available
February 9, 2015 | VACP
Resources are first part of a pilot educational initiative between VACLEA and Virginia Highway Safety Office
Available now on the Smart, Safe & Sober website are resources for community and four year campus law enforcement agencies – as well as municipal agencies that have campus safety responsibilities – to learn more about excessive campus alcohol use prevention efforts. These resources are being provided as part of a project by the Virginia Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (VACLEA) to develop a pilot alcohol education initiative to prevent underage drinking and impaired driving by college students.
The leadership and partnership of law enforcement on community and campus alcohol prevention coalitions is essential for success, mutual support, and consistent coordination of messaging and strategies.
The project is funded through the Highway Safety Office of the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.
Bluefield Virginia Chief of Police Cundiff is retiring
February 4, 2015 | Virginia News
By BLAKE STOWERS | Bluefield Daily Telegraph BLUEFIELD — Chief of Police Harry Cundiff is retiring from the Bluefield Virginia’s Police Department.
“I originally started in October of 1972 as a dispatcher, and then I moved to the Tazewell Sheriff’s office as a deputy under Sheriff Bill Osborne. I worked several years under him,” Cundiff said.
Early in Cundiff’s career he was taught the basics.
“We were taught the basics. Finger printing, the law and state law. Just some basics to get us through,” Cundiff said.
Cundiff also serves on the Southwest Virginia Academy Training Board.
“Over that time I’ve been on the Southwest Virginia Academy Training since the day I became chief. I’ve served as executive chair one time and the second in command for two terms, which I am currently the vice chair at this time,” Cundiff said.
He’s been on the board since he was hired as Chief of police in Bluefield, Virginia.
“The training and the instruction that we’ve seen of people coming into law enforcement is just more qualified than what it use to be. The training and education has improved over the years,” Cundiff said.
According to Bluefield Mayor Don Harris, Steve Arey is also retiring as the city’s attorney.
Cundiff became chief January 1, 2005. He is 66 years old.
Al Durham named as Richmond’s next police chief
February 4, 2015 | Virginia News
Mayor Dwight C. Jones today announced the appointment of Richmond Police Department Deputy Chief Alfred Durham as the next Chief of Police.
When naming Alfred Durham, Mayor Jones acknowledged the wealth of experience at senior levels in Richmond’s police department, and the department’s success with community policing.
“When Chief Ray Tarasovic told me last fall that he wanted to retire, I decided then that I wanted the next Chief to continue two hallmarks of his tenure. First, I expect crime rates to stay low and I expect a continued commitment to community policing,” said Mayor Jones. “We’ve had five straight years of violent crime reduction, with rates the lowest in the 40 years I’ve been in Richmond, and that’s helping to fuel the Richmond Resurgence.”
Mayor Jones noted that Alfred Durham brings a wealth of experience to the position, having previously worked in Richmond serving on former Chief Rodney Monroe’s leadership team. Durham worked in Richmond from 2005 to 2007. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy. He holds an Associates’ degree in Corrections Administration from the University of the District of Columbia. He served in the Marine Corps for 17 years, and then retired from the Metropolitan Police Department in DC, after 25 years. In DC, he led several departments, and served as Boating Law Administrator for the District. He rose to Assistant Chief, serving as the Executive Officer in the Office of the Chief of Police, responsible for the day-to-day operations of the police force.
“As a veteran of the DC police force, Chief Durham knows how to handle major events. He planned the Presidential Inauguration in 2005, and he knows how to handle multiple major events at one time,” continued Jones. “This experience gives me great confidence as we prepare for the World Championships of Cycling in September. I know we’ll be ready for the biggest event Richmond has ever seen.”
Durham has maintained a home in Southern Barton Heights for a decade. He returned to the Richmond Police Department last November, becoming one of three Deputy Chiefs.
“I would like to thank Mayor Jones for the opportunity to lead what I feel is one of the finest police departments in the country,” said Durham. “Policing is a noble profession, a profession that I have dedicated my life to. Over the course of my career, I've realized incredible rewards, but being named Police Chief for the City of Richmond tops the list of those rewards. I'm humbled by this awesome responsibility that is being given to me and look forward to serving Richmond as Chief of Police.”
Durham’s appointment becomes effective Feb. 21, 2015, and his salary will be $165,000 annually.
VACP Midyear Conference Update
January 28, 2015 | VACP
Don't forget to register for the 2015 Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police Midyear Training and Business Conference, February 23-24th, in Henrico County, Virginia. The first day of the conference will be dedicated to the TASER Technology Summit.
The conference will also bring you an update on the 2015 Virginia General Assembly, and training on other current law enforcement issues. We’ll also be presenting information on a program to help remove your private information from internet phishing and hacking. (See the conference page for the full agenda.)
Here are some of the presentations that have been scheduled, thanks to the support of TASER:
The Accelerating Pace of Technology
Rick Smith, CEO & Founder, TASER International
Legal and Community Benefits of On-Officer Cameras
Ret. Chief Tom Streicher, Cincinnati PD
How to get Local LE Communities to Collaborate through the Cloud
Chief Chris Burbank, Salt Lake City PD
How to Move Public Safety into the Future
Ret. Superintendant Ronal Serpas, New Orleans PD
UPDATE (2015-02-10): There are only a few rooms remaining at the Hilton at the VACP Midyear Conference rate. For those of you who still need lodging, please contact the hotel directly for reservations by calling (804) 364-3600. When making reservations please refer to the "VACP Conference rate."
To complete conference registration, visit the conference page by clicking HERE. Conference registration must be completed by February 22nd. If you are a member of the VACP, please remember to log in prior to registering to receive the member rate.
We look forward to seeing you in Henrico!
Killings of blacks by police in Virginia fuel debate
January 28, 2015 | Virginia News
By Mark Bowes, Richmond Times-Dispatch
African-Americans have been disproportionately killed by police in Virginia as a percentage of their population since 2000, but as a group they have committed a disproportionate number of violent crimes and assaults on officers that could lead to deadly encounters with law enforcement, an analysis of state crime data shows.
Police from across the state reported killing 31 blacks over the past 14 years, just one less than the 32 whites that were reported killed in confrontations with officers over the same period, according to reported “justifiable homicides” by Virginia law enforcement officers culled from Virginia State Police uniform crime reports.
While nearly 51 percent of the 63 people police reported they killed in Virginia from 2000 to 2013 were white, 49 percent of the fatalities were black, which would appear to be disproportionate since blacks constitute only about 20 percent of Virginia’s population.
But as a group, blacks also have been over-represented as offenders in violent crimes and assaults on police officers — factors that criminologists say increase potential for violence with law enforcement.
“Police killings are not random, and we shouldn’t expect killings to be proportionate with population percentages, but instead proportionate with potentially violent encounters with police,” said Thomas Baker, a criminologist and an assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs who teaches quantitative research methods and criminology theory and analyzed the data for the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
The data, however, also show that police officers in Virginia are more likely to kill black offenders for reasons other than attacking police officers or civilians or for resisting arrest than they are to kill white offenders for the same reason.
* * *
The newspaper’s review of killings by police and assaults on officers in Virginia in the explosive context of race comes as the nation is engaged in an ongoing debate about the societal implications of high-profile killings of mostly young black men by white officers.
The polarizing nature of the debate can be illustrated by the differing reactions of a local African-American defense attorney who has represented black clients in police misconduct lawsuits, and the director of one of Virginia’s premier law enforcement associations for police executives.
Reginald Barley, an attorney, called the statistical analysis “misleading” and based primarily on police accounts of the killings. Dana Schrad, executive director of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, said police use of lethal force is a response to aggression or to resisting arrest in which officers have the right and duty to protect themselves and others from harm.
Data obtained through the Virginia Freedom of Information Act show that 130 people have been reported killed by police in “justifiable homicides” in Virginia dating back to 1990. Of those, 59 were black, or 45.38 percent, and 70 were white, or 53.8 percent. One was Asian.
But the analysis of police killings was limited to the years 2000-2013 because comparable crime data that could provide some insight into the issue was not immediately available for most of the 1990s.
Baker said one potential measure of incidents that could lead to police killings in Virginia would be to compare them with the proportion of people identified as violent offenders. Blacks were implicated as the offender in more than 60 percent of all violent crimes in Virginia from 2000-2013, according to offender data from Incident Based Reporting figures maintained by state police.
The numbers ranged from a low of 56.2 percent of all violent offenders in 2013 to a high of 62.5 percent in 2002, state records show.
“When considering these numbers as a potential indicator for violent encounters with police, blacks are underrepresented, rather than overrepresented in police killings,” Baker said.
* * *
Another indicator to consider when thinking about the proportion of potentially violent encounters that could lead police to kill someone are assaults on police officers, Baker said.
While only data from 2009 to 2013 was immediately available for analysis, a similar over-representation of blacks involved in violent encounters with police emerges.
Blacks were implicated in 44.7 percent of the 6,906 assaults on law enforcement officers during that five-year period, and using that as an indicator, blacks were slightly overrepresented in police killings “though the difference is not statistically significant,” Baker said.
“These numbers provide some suggestion that comparing the proportion of people killed by police who are black versus the proportion of the population that is black may be inaccurate,” Baker said. “Instead, it may be beneficial to think about police-citizen encounters that could lead to violence.”
However, Baker said, these numbers don’t tell us about the actual incidents that led to police killing black Virginians. When these figures are examined more closely, a pattern of black over-representation does emerge, he said.
Of the 63 people killed by police from 2000 to 2013, 54 were killed while either attacking a police officer or civilian, or resisting arrest, according to justifiable homicide category definitions included in the data.
But in 30 of 32 incidents in which whites were killed (93.8 percent), they were attacking a police officer, attacking a civilian or resisting arrest. By comparison, blacks were identified as engaging in the same behavior in only 24 of 31 killings (77.4 percent).
“This indicates that between 2000 and 2013 in Virginia, blacks were more likely to be killed during the commission of a crime or fleeing crime than whites,” said Baker, noting the other categories of behavior that were reported in officer-involved killings.
“While this sixteen-plus percentage difference is quite large and deserves further investigation and discussion, due to the small number of total cases, the differences between black and white killings do not reach statistical significance,” Baker said.
* * *
Nearly all police killings are deemed by police departments or other authorities to be justifiable.
The large majority of the 164 officers involved in the 130 killings reported by police since 1990 were white, or 86.58 percent. Black officers were involved in nearly 11 percent of the killings, the data show.
No precise racial breakdown of Virginia’s law enforcement officers is available. But a U.S. Census American Community Survey for 2013 reported 71 percent of the state’s law enforcement workers were white, which matched the state’s estimated white population. By comparison, 23 percent were black, or 3 percent higher than Virginia’s estimated black population, the survey said.
The census’ definition of law enforcement worker, in addition to police officers and detectives, includes game wardens, animal control officers and parking inspectors.
Thirty of the state’s 130 justifiable homicides occurred in the central Virginia region. Richmond and Chesterfield County reported the highest numbers, with nine killings each, although one of Chesterfield’s homicides involved an FBI agent.
Precise statistics on the number of killings by police in Virginia are not available. All police agencies are required under uniform crime-reporting guidelines to report justifiable killings to state police, which collects all local crime data and forwards it to the FBI.
But at least one law enforcement agency in Virginia, the Fairfax County police, has decided unilaterally to stop reporting the data to state police.
In a December story on the hundreds of police killings that go uncounted nationally, The Wall Street Journal learned that Fairfax police opted some years ago to stop reporting those homicides, because they weren’t considered to be an “actual offense” and are not required to be included in an agency’s crime-reporting numbers.
In the early to mid-1990s, Fairfax police reported four people were killed in encounters with officers, earlier records obtained by The Times-Dispatch show.
In response to a FOIA request, Fairfax police provided The Times-Dispatch a list of justifiable killings by its officers from 2007 through 2013. There were 13 such homicides, or nearly two a year, that weren’t reported to state police. Fairfax declined to provide the age, gender and race of the individuals killed and the officers involved, saying such records are exempt from mandatory disclosure under FOIA.
“It’s true that [justifiable homicides] are not really a crime, per se,” said Norman Westerberg, manager of uniform crime reporting for Virginia State Police. “But it’s also a requirement that they send in justifiable homicides. It’s an interaction between an officer and victim that needs to be reported, and is required to be reported.”
Westerberg said he has contacted the FBI about Fairfax’s non-reporting of police killings.
Aside from Fairfax, Westerberg said he is unaware of any other Virginia law enforcement agencies that are not reporting justifiable homicides. “But I haven’t done a sample of them or canvassed the entire group.”
The Times-Dispatch also discovered that a 2011 killing by Henrico County police of a black criminal suspect who fired on officers was not reported, but a county police spokesman said an editing error prevented the uploading of the data to state police.
“We were unaware it was not submitted,” spokesman Chris Eley said. “We are currently working to correct the problem and resubmit the data.”
* * *
Baker said the Virginia numbers add to the ongoing national narrative surrounding race and police killings.
“While it certainly seems that blacks may be disproportionately involved in crime and assaulting police officers, police officers in Virginia are more likely to kill black offenders for reasons other than attacking police officers or civilians or resisting arrest than they are to kill white offenders for the same reason,” Baker noted. “However, none of this tells us why.”
Baker said research clearly demonstrates that blacks have more negative views of police officers than do whites. They are less likely to cooperate with the police, trust the police or be satisfied with policing in general.
“Much of this distrust and dissatisfaction comes from negative direct and vicarious experiences with the police, including media accounts, and has unfortunately become inculcated among many black Americans,” Baker continued. “At the same time, police officers are not insensitive to this distrust and dissatisfaction, and may enter encounters with blacks on higher alert. All of this adds up to potentially volatile and violent interactions.”
What it also means, Baker said, is that a “one-sided approach” to solving the problem is unlikely to work.
“Additional training for police officers, while potentially beneficial, will not solve the problem without cultural changes on how police are perceived among many black Americans,” Baker said. “These two things, changing police behavior and changing how blacks view police, are reciprocally related.”
Without a change in police behavior, blacks’ perception of police are unlikely to change, and as long as blacks continue to distrust police and are discouraged to cooperate with them, “police officers may be on higher alert and quicker to resort to violence,” Baker said.
* * *
Barley, an African-American who has litigated cases on both sides of the fence involving police officers, said he doesn’t put much credence in the statistical analysis of police killings because there are too many unknown variables in the data.
“Statistics alone can be misleading,” said Barley, who as a former Richmond city attorney in the 1980s represented the city in misconduct lawsuits filed against officers, but as a private litigator has sued Richmond officers on behalf of clients in alleged police brutality cases.
“The findings are primarily based on the reports of police officers ... without the benefit of cameras or independent witnesses. And the defendants on many occasions cannot respond because they are convicted felons, so their credibility is diminished. All of those factors come into play.”
Consequently, “all you have is the policeman’s version of what happened, and I see that so often in my practice of criminal law,” Barley said, who has represented clients in high-profile criminal cases in U.S. District Court in Richmond.
Barley believes it is also misleading to compare police killings of African-Americans with violent crime offender data by race.
“And the reason for that is that we don’t know what the underlying reason is for an encounter with a police officer,” he said. “We don’t know who provoked who. We [have seen] provocations by police officers.”
Barley said he also suspects that a disproportionate number of “especially young African-American males” are being killed by police in Virginia versus young white males.
“And that’s the biggest problem that we have, killings by police officers of unarmed African-American young men,” Barley said. “Because all of the outcry that we’ve been hearing in the media of late, and all of the protests of late, have (involved) young African-American males who have been killed by police.”
* * *
The data obtained by The Times-Dispatch does show a racial disparity in the average age of blacks and whites killed by police in Virginia over the past 24 years.
From 1990 through 2013, the average age of African-Americans killed by police was 30.78 years, compared with 36.07 for whites, a difference that is considered statistically significant, Baker said. In the 16 to 21 age category, 10 blacks and eight whites were killed in Virginia over that period.
Schrad, director of the Virginia police chiefs association, said while the statistics don’t reveal a gross over-representation of minorities in police killings, the numbers “also don’t address other factors that may need to be explained.”
For example, Schrad said it would be interesting to know whether there is a higher proportion of calls for service from minority neighborhoods, and whether the types of service calls vary between white and minority neighborhoods.
“If the sheer number of calls for service is dramatically higher in minority neighborhoods, then it stands to reason that there are more interactions with police officers and minorities that could be relevant to this statistical examination.”
“Fear of law enforcement officers represents a failure in our communities, and a breakdown of relationship between our officers and the people they are sworn to protect,” Schrad said. “It is critical that this trend be reversed through improved police-community relations.”
Schrad said there are two “key” approaches that may best address the problem: more training for officers in the less-than-lethal uses of force, and educating the public that complying with an officer, “even when you think the officer is wrong, is the correct response.”
U.S. Conference of Mayors Report: Strengthening police-community relations in America’s cities
January 27, 2015 | National News
The events which began in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9, 2014 with the shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teenager, by a White police officer have brought to the forefront serious social issues that must be addressed – issues of race, class, prejudice, poverty, and inequality that are often difficult for people to talk about. These issues also underscore the complex nature of policing in communities across the country.
The decision of a St. Louis County grand jury not to indict the police officer responsible for Brown’s death compounded these issues, as did a similar verdict by a Staten Island, New York grand jury that declined to indict a White police officer in the death of Eric Garner, a Black man accused of selling cigarettes individually on the street, by an apparent chokehold. The tragic assassination of New York City police officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu on December 20 while they sat in their squad car, by an individual who claimed retaliation for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, underscored the turmoil the nation is facing. Police officers are beleaguered and on alert and feel persecuted while risking their lives on a daily basis. These events have shaken some of the public’s perceptions of policing in America and of the criminal justice system. They have highlighted both the rift that may exist between police officers and the communities they serve and protect, and the danger which those officers face every day.
Mayors and police chiefs know full well that effective community policing is practiced in a constitutional manner by many police departments, and that the vast majority of police officers have developed trusting relationships with the communities they serve. But they also believe that this country cannot let the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner or of other men and boys of color who have died in encounters with police officers, or of Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu or other officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty, to be lost in a set of statistics. They believe that the nation must learn from these painful experiences and do everything possible to prevent them from happening again.
This report, developed by a working group of mayors and police chiefs appointed by U.S. Conference of Mayors President and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, provides a set of recommendations for local and national actions intended to improve police-community relations in America. These recommendations emerged from discussions held by the Conference of Mayors leadership when it met in Sacramento in September and from further discussions held by mayors and police chiefs who met in Little Rock in October on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program.
The recommendations are grouped into six areas: building police-community trust, improving police department practices, ensuring timely and accurate communications, conducting independent investigations, addressing racial and economic disparities, and providing national leadership. In some instances, the recommendations go beyond the purview of mayors and police chiefs and call for actions by the broader community in cities and the nation as a whole, and by the federal government.
USDOJ BLOG: Responding to and Protecting Students from Sexual Assault
January 26, 2015 | National News
President Obama established the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault one year ago. On this anniversary, the task force has released a sample memorandum of understanding (MOU) to assist campuses and law enforcement agencies to work together in their efforts to protect students, address the needs of sexual assault survivors, and ensure a prompt, thorough, and fair response to allegations of sexual misconduct. This is yet another important step in the task force’s effort to help colleges and universities, as well as their partners in the community, address the problem of campus sexual violence.
Note: The sample MOU can be found HERE.
While colleges and universities can do much on their own, communication and collaboration between campus administrators, campus police and local law enforcement is critically important to address the problem of sexual assault on campus.
The sample MOU reflects input from task force members and agencies, outside experts on sexual assault, police associations, state attorneys general, and campus administrators and counsels.
Many colleges and universities already have MOUs in place with local law enforcement authorities covering a variety of areas. Our conversations with campus administrators, campus police, and law enforcement have underscored the need for additional tools and strategies that are specifically tailored to the dynamics of sexual assault on campus, as well as the needs of sexual assault survivors. The task force is providing this sample MOU with that in mind.
We recognize that every campus and community is unique and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The sample MOU is, therefore, intended to be a starting point for a conversation between campus administrators, campus police and local law enforcement on how to improve collaborations between critical first responders. We fully expect that, in partnering to address the issue of sexual violence on campus, campus administrators and law enforcement will adapt the provisions of the sample MOU to meet their particular needs and circumstances. For example, some campus and law enforcement authorities may wish to incorporate some or all of the provisions into an existing general campus safety MOU, while others may prefer a standalone agreement specifically addressing campus sexual violence. Still others may decide that some different method of collaboration better meets their needs. We hope that this sample MOU will be an important resource in collaborative efforts between campus administrators, campus police and law enforcement to eradicate sexual assault from college communities nationwide.
Courtesy of Eve Hill and Mark Kappelhoff, Deputy Assistant Attorneys General for the Civil Rights Division
An ICE Detainer is Merely a Request—Not a Requirement
January 24, 2015 | Virginia News
Law enforcement officers and agencies are often faced with deciding whether they are required to detain an otherwise releasable prisoner when there is a detainer on the prisoner from the federal Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) on file. The Commonwealth of Virginia’s Office of the Attorney General rendered an Advisory Opinion on January 5, 2015 providing guidance on this very issue.
The Attorney General confirmed the decisions of several courts and the wording of the regulation creating the detainer, 8 C.F.R. § 287.7(a), that an ICE detainer does not create a legal obligation or provide legal authority for a law enforcement officer or agency to maintain custody of an adult prisoner who is otherwise eligible for immediate release from local or state custody. Rather, Federal Regulation 8 C.F.R. § 287.7 serves as a mere request for law enforcement to advise the Department of Homeland Security that they have an alien in their custody prior to releasing that individual. If a law enforcement officer or agency elects to advise ICE pursuant to the ICE detainer, they are only permitted to detain the prisoner for a period not to exceed 48 hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, in order to permit the Department of Homeland Security to take the alien into custody. Put another way, federal law simply limits the amount of time that a law enforcement officer can detain a prisoner under the ICE detainer if a law enforcement officer or agency chooses to honor an ICE detainer, but the law enforcement officer is not obligated to honor the request and hold the prisoner.
In addition, the ICE detainer provides no legal authority to hold an adult inmate or prisoner who is otherwise eligible for immediate release from local or state custody. Therefore, as a request and not an actual “hold,” if an adult inmate or prisoner is eligible for immediate release, law enforcement officers and agencies must release the adult inmate notwithstanding the ICE detainer on file. The situation is different, according the AG’s opinion, if the inmate or prisoner is a juvenile and being held pursuant to an indeterminate commitment. If a juvenile is being held pursuant to an indeterminate commitment, the Department of Juvenile Justice may hold the juvenile until ICE officials take him or her into custody, so long as the juvenile is not detained by the DJJ longer than thirty-six continuous months or after the juvenile turns twenty-one years of age.
If you have questions about ICE detainers or other areas of law effecting law enforcement officers and agencies, please contact one of our local government attorneys or law enforcement defense attorneys – Ken Roeber, Michelle Warden, or Cullen Seltzer.
Chief of Police M. Douglas Scott to Retire in March 2015
January 23, 2015 | Virginia News
Arlington County Chief of Police M. Douglas Scott will retire March 20, 2015, following a 40-year career in law enforcement. He has served as Arlington County Chief of Police since 2003.
“Doug has done an excellent job of serving our community and our organization – not only as an outstanding police chief, but also as a stalwart member of my leadership team,” said Donnellan. “Doug is always thoughtful, measured, and focused on the bigger strategic picture. He is results-oriented and focused on solutions and I very much value his contributions to the big questions we wrestle with.”
Chief Scott’s career highlights include:
- Serving 17 years as a Chief of Police, including Chief of Fairfax County Police Department and City of Fairfax Police Department.
- Serving as Chair of Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) Police Chiefs Subcommittee.
- Serving on Executive Board of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police (VACP); also served as President of VACP, 2009-2010.
- Serving for many years on Executive Committee of International Association of Chiefs of Police.
In announcing his retirement, Chief Scott explained that “… retirement in 2015 feels like the right decision for me and my family.” He added, “I have had the pride and privilege leading the men and women of the Arlington County Police Department. It has been an absolute honor to have served in this position and to wear this badge.”
He will retire on March 20, 2015.
Over the next couple of months, Donnellan will name an Acting Chief of Police and begin a national recruitment.
AG Herring, Legislators Introduce Bills to Reduce Heroin, Prescription Drug Fatalities
January 20, 2015 | Virginia News
Bipartisan package to encourage overdose reporting and hold dealers accountable has support of major law enforcement organizations
RICHMOND (January 20, 2015)--In response to a troubling statewide spike in heroin and prescription drug overdose fatalities, Attorney General Mark R. Herring and a bipartisan group of Virginia legislators have introduced important legislation to save lives and hold drug dealers accountable. According to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, heroin overdose fatalities in Virginia have more than doubled from 100 deaths in 2011 to 213 deaths in 2013, while an additional 468 Virginians died from prescription drug overdose in 2013. Between 2011 and 2013, every region of the state experienced an increase in heroin fatalities, including a 164% increase in Northern Virginia, a 94% increase in Hampton Roads, and a 50% increase in the Richmond metro area.
"Too many Virginians are losing loved ones to heroin and prescription drug overdose. I don't want one more parent to bury a child, or one more child to lose a parent, because of these drugs," said Attorney General Herring. "The goal of these bills is to save lives. This is a complicated problem that will require education, prevention, treatment, and enforcement at the local, state, and federal level. We've worked hard with law enforcement, prosecutors, and advocates over the last few months to make sure these bills will be effective and useful. This is just one step, but we think it's an important one in turning the tide against heroin and prescription drug fatalities."
In September, Attorney General Herring announced a 5-part plan to address heroin and prescription drug fatalities. It included a number of legislative proposals that have been refined through extensive outreach and work with legislators, prosecutors, and law enforcement. The legislation has been endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, the Virginia Sheriffs' Association, the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Virginia Association of Commonwealth's Attorneys.
The bills are:
Safe Reporting (Good Samaritan provision)--Carr/O'Bannon/Rust (HB1500) This bill would encourage reporting of overdoses in progress by establishing an affirmative defense for minor possession or intoxication crimes if a person reports an overdose, remains on the scene, and identifies themselves as the reporter. Safe reporting provisions currently exist in 21 other states and the District of Columbia.
Drug-induced Homicide--Miller (HB1638) This bill would give prosecutors a tool to hold drug dealers accountable when their drugs lead to an overdose death. Currently these cases are almost always taken to the federal level--including by cross-designated prosecutors from the Office of Attorney General--because Virginia law makes convictions very difficult.
Statewide Naloxone Expansion--Carr/O'Bannon (HB1458) Naloxone is a prescription drug that counteracts the effects of a heroin or prescription opioid overdose. This bill would expand the current naloxone pilot project to authorize naloxone use by any law enforcement agency in the Commonwealth. It would also provide immunity to law enforcement who administer the drug. Similar authorization currently exists in 23 states. According to the Centers for Disease Control, naloxone successfully reversed more than 10,000 overdoses between 1996 and 2010.
Prescription Monitoring Program-- Howell (SB817) This bill will allow probation officers to access Virginia's Prescription Monitoring Program to ensure their probationers are not getting opioid prescriptions they are not authorized to have.
Bill sponsors and law enforcement officials from across the state offered the following statements on the scope of the heroin and prescription drug crisis in Virginia and the package of legislation to help address it:
Delegate Thomas Davis Rust (Co-Sponsor of HB1500, Safe Reporting)
"We are seeing an epidemic of prescription drug and heroin fatalities across the state, and in particular in Northern Virginia. If we can help encourage the reporting of overdoses in progress, we can get that person help, save a life, and set them on a path towards recovery."
Delegate Betsy Carr (Co-Sponsor of HB1500, Safe Reporting and HB1548 Naloxone)
"The prescription drug and heroin overdose rates throughout our Commonwealth are alarming. It is my hope that my bill, HB1500, when passed will encourage individuals or their loved ones experiencing an overdose to seek timely medical attention. We want to increase calls to 911 and decrease deaths from overdoses."
Delegate Jackson Miller (Sponsor of HB1638, Drug Induced Homicide)
"This amendment to the state's felony homicide statute will help law enforcement and prosecutors hold dealers accountable when their drugs lead to the death of a Virginian. There is still much work to be done to combat heroin and prescription drug abuse, but by holding dealers accountable for the full consequences of their actions, we can help slow the flood of cheap, dangerous drugs on our streets."
Richmond Chief of Police Ray Tarasovic and Commonwealth's Attorney Mike Herring
"The enforcement work group is an unprecedented collaboration of front -line stakeholders in the fight against heroin and prescription drug abuse. Drawing from the various perspectives of emergency response, criminal justice, medicine, treatment and advocacy, the work group made several important recommendations on ways to enhance our efforts to avoid the tragedy of drug overdose. The recommendations included: (1) immunity for first responders who administer Nalaxone; (2) enhanced penalties for persons who sell schedule 1 or 2 drugs that result in the death of the user; and (3) increased law enforcement access to the prescription drug registry. The Attorney General's legislative proposals for preventive, investigative and prosecutorial enhancements reflect the work group's consensus that a holistic, coordinated effort will best save lives."
Virginia Beach Chief of Police Jim Cervera
"It is encouraging to see lawmakers really put their heads together and work on a solution to fight the heroin epidemic that has shaken our Commonwealth. We all know by now that the heroin death rate has more than doubled in recent years - and this is just not an area where law enforcement can deal with the problem alone. To beat the heroin epidemic, educators, behavioral health experts, police, parents, communities and lawmakers must work together. So on behalf of the Va. Beach Police Department, we are encouraged with this package of legislation that provides a multi faceted approach to the problem. This is what being smart on crime is all about."
Roanoke Chief of Police Chris Perkins
"Heroin not only damages the lives of the people using the drug, but heroin damages the lives of the users family, friends, co-workers and everyone in our community. The Commonwealth of Virginia must take a balanced approach in dealing with threat posed by drug abuse. We must provide sufficient legal protections for those seeking medical treatment for overdose and dependency, while criminalizing the negligent behavior of those who would act recklessly in supplying this drug. Heroin has re-emerged and it is now marketed in such a way that its popularity has started to surpassed many of the most commonly used drugs. We must stop it now before impacts generations of Virginians."
Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman
"Heroin overdoses are taking way too many lives throughout Virginia. We need to aggressively target this problem through enforcement, prevention and education. A proactive and comprehensive approach that combines law enforcement with community resources will help get this problem under control."
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Michael Kelly
Attorney General Prohibits Federal Agency Adoptions of Assets Seized by State, Local Law Enforcement
January 16, 2015 | National News
Today, Attorney General Eric Holder issued an order setting forth a new policy prohibiting federal agency forfeiture, or “adoptions,” of assets seized by state and local law enforcement agencies, with a limited public safety exception.
A federally adopted forfeiture – or “adoption” for short – occurs when a state or local law enforcement agency seizes property pursuant to state law and requests that a federal agency take the seized asset and forfeit it under federal law. The U.S. Department of the Treasury, which has its own forfeiture program, is issuing a policy consistent with the Attorney General’s order and that policy will apply to all participants of the Treasury forfeiture program, administered by the Treasury Executive Office for Asset Forfeiture.
“With this new policy, effective immediately, the Justice Department is taking an important step to prohibit federal agency adoptions of state and local seizures, except for public safety reasons,” said Attorney General Holder. “This is the first step in a comprehensive review that we have launched of the federal asset forfeiture program. Asset forfeiture remains a critical law enforcement tool when used appropriately – providing unique means to go after criminal and even terrorist organizations. This new policy will ensure that these authorities can continue to be used to take the profit out of crime and return assets to victims, while safeguarding civil liberties.”
The Attorney General ordered that federal agency adoption of property seized by state or local law enforcement under state law be prohibited, except for property that directly relates to public safety concerns, including firearms, ammunition, explosives and property associated with child pornography. The prohibition on federal agency adoption includes, but is not limited to, seizures by state or local law enforcement of vehicles, valuables, cash and other monetary instruments. This order is effective immediately and applies to all Justice Department attorneys and components, and all participants in the Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture Program. The new policy will ensure that adoption is employed only to protect public safety, and does not extend to seizures where state and local jurisdictions can more appropriately act under their own laws.
Both the Justice and Treasury Departments regularly review their asset forfeiture programs to ensure that federal asset forfeiture authorities are used carefully and effectively to take the profit out of crime, combat organized crime groups, and enable victim compensation, while ensuring that laws are followed, civil liberties are protected, and our constitutional system is strengthened. Since 2000, the Justice Department has returned approximately $4 billion in forfeited funds to victims of federal crime. Both departments will be part of the Law Enforcement Equipment Working Group, which will provide recommendations to the President regarding actions that can be taken to improve programs, like asset forfeiture, that help local law enforcement obtain equipment.
The Justice Department’s policy permitting federal agencies to adopt seizures dates from the inception of the Asset Forfeiture Program in the 1980s. The Treasury Department’s adoption policy has been part of its Asset Forfeiture Program since its inception in 1993. At the time that these policies were implemented, few states had forfeiture statutes analogous to the federal asset forfeiture laws. Consequently, when state and local law enforcement agencies seized criminal proceeds and property used to commit crimes, they often lacked the legal authority to forfeit the seized items. Turning seized assets over to federal law enforcement agencies for adoption was a way to keep those assets from being returned to criminals. Today, however, every state has either criminal or civil forfeiture laws, making the federal adoption process less necessary. Indeed, adoptions currently constitute a very small slice of the federal asset forfeiture program. Over the last six years, adoptions accounted for roughly three percent of the value of forfeitures in the Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture Program.
The new policy applies only to adoptions, not to seizures resulting from joint operations involving both federal and state authorities, or to seizures pursuant to warrants issued by federal courts. The policy does not limit the ability of state and local agencies to pursue the forfeiture of assets pursuant to their respective state laws. Law enforcement agencies working on joint task forces are required to follow the 2015 Guidance for Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Regarding the Use of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, National Origin, Religion, Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity.
University at Buffalo Study Shows Positive Personality Traits May Protect Police at High Risk for PT
January 15, 2015 | National News
Personal traits such as resilience, satisfaction with life, and a grateful disposition may help shield police officers from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the aftermath of a natural disaster. This is the case even though police officers are repeatedly exposed to traumatic events and those events have been found to provoke PTSD. These are the conclusions of a new study that examined police officers in the New Orleans area both during and immediately after Hurricane Katrina.
“We found that symptoms of PTSD signiﬁcantly decreased among subjects as resilience, satisfaction with life and gratitude increased,” says researcher Dr. John Violanti, UB professor of epidemiology and environmental health, and an internationally known expert on police stress. “This also was true among officers — excluded from the study — who did not work during the hurricane. This study extends our understanding of how positive factors are associated with reduced PTSD symptoms, and can inform and guide treatment modalities for PTSD,” Dr. Violanti says.
The protective personal qualities under consideration in the study were resilience, the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; satisfaction with life; post-traumatic personal growth — that is, psychological shifts in thinking and relating to the world that contribute to deeply meaningful change; and a grateful disposition, which is associated with positive affect and well-being, prosocial behaviors, and other qualities.
The authors point out that the severity of symptoms and risk of PTSD are associated with such factors as the severity of the disaster, degree of exposure, personal losses, and even how one behaved during the event. Following Katrina, the study says, police officers faced a number of physical and psychological challenges, and many reported having to conduct their duties — crowd control, looting control, rescuing victims in flooded areas, body retrieval — while facing open hostility from the citizens they were trying to aid, sometimes in the form of assault and being shot at.
“About 50 percent of the general population in the U.S. has been exposed to at least one traumatic event involving actual or threatened death, serious injury or other terrifying situations,” Dr. Violanti says. “Five to six percent of them will develop PTSD, while others will cope pretty well. Police officers are at significantly higher risk than the general public because PTSD is more likely among those repeatedly exposed to trauma,” he says, “and between 9-19 percent of police will develop PTSD, indicating both a higher rate of occurrence than in the general public and greater variability in risk.”
Holder Urges Improved Data Reporting on Both Shootings of Police Officers and Use of Force by Police
January 15, 2015 | National News
In a speech at a Justice Department ceremony honoring the late Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday that the nation must improve police officer safety at the same time that it confronts the sense of mistrust between law enforcement and the communities they serve. As an initial step, the Attorney General called for better reporting of data on both issues, noting that the current level of reporting by localities on both uses of force by police—as well as officer fatalities—was incomplete.
“The troubling reality is that we lack the ability right now to comprehensively track the number of incidents of either uses of force directed at police officers or uses of force by police,” the Attorney General said in his remarks. “This strikes many – including me – as unacceptable. Fixing this is an idea that we should all be able to unite behind.”
Currently, federal authorities publish annual figures on the number of “justifiable homicides” by law enforcement, as well as figures on the number of law enforcement officers killed or assaulted. But since reporting is voluntary, not all police departments participate, causing the figures to be incomplete. In his comments Thursday, the Attorney General urged improving the method for collecting both these sets of data.
“This would represent a commonsense step that would begin to address serious concerns about police officer safety, as well as the need to safeguard civil liberties,” he said.
A complete version of the Attorney General’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, appear at http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/attorney-general-holder-urges-improved-data-reporting-both-shootings-police-officers-and-use
Joint UVa, Charlottesville police substation opens on The Corner
January 15, 2015 | Virginia News
The University of Virginia and Charlottesville police departments are opening a substation on The Corner as part of its plan to improve student safety around Grounds.
The substation — which will only be staffed from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights — was announced last fall in response to the slaying of second-year student Hannah Graham. Members of both departments will be stationed in a gray trailer on University Avenue, across from the White Spot restaurant and adjacent to the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center.
Officials are planning to move the substation into a permanent facility in the building that once housed the Freeman-Victorious picture frame store this summer.
Officials said the new station will increase police visibility on The Corner during busy nights.
Next month, the university will unveil the second part of its plan: the use of unarmed security guards.
UVa will use the services of multinational security contractor G4S for unarmed security “ambassadors” around Grounds. The security staff will escort students who might otherwise be walking home at night alone and provide increased security in places frequented by students at night.
G4S, formerly known as Group 4 Securicor, is a British private security company offering its services around the world. The massive company, which grosses more than $500 million annually, provides a range of services, including staffing for prisons, security for major events and electronic security systems.
Most notably, the company provided security at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and provides electronic security equipment for some Israeli prisons and military checkpoints in the West Bank. Last June, the company pledged to end its contracts with Israeli prisons within three years in light of allegations of abuse at the facilities, according to the Financial Times.
One of the company’s subsidiaries, G4S Secure Solutions, currently provides security for Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia Tech.
Attorney General Holder Announces Partnership with Facebook, Bing to Expand Reach of AMBER Alert
January 15, 2015 | National News
Attorney General Eric Holder announced today that – as the nation observes National AMBER Alert Awareness Day – the Justice Department has partnered with Facebook and Bing to expand the reach of the AMBER Alert system. Facebook will begin sending alerts to its members in designated search areas and Bing will allow users to access AMBER Alerts through its online tools. Attorney General Holder continued to urge other companies and organizations to step forward and do their part by offering whatever assistance they can provide.
“Protecting the well-being of our young people is a responsibility that falls to every American,” said Attorney General Holder. “Each of us can help by paying close attention to alerts that come in – and by making sure you are plugged into the AMBER Alert network via social media. Remember: finding an abducted child and returning him or her to safety depends on a fast response. The more vigilant citizens we have on the look-out, the better our chances of a quick recovery.”
The complete text of the Attorney General’s video message is below:
“At the Department of Justice, we are committed to ensuring the safety and security of everyone in this country – and especially our young people. Over the last two decades, a key tool in this effort has been the AMBER Alert system – an early warning system that helps us find and return abducted children.
“Since the first AMBER Alert system became operational in 1996, AMBER Alert’s strong network of law enforcement and transportation officials, broadcasters, private-sector representatives – and dedicated ordinary citizens – has helped to rescue and safely return more than 700 abducted children. Just last month, two young children were recovered. In one incident, a three-year-old boy who had been taken in a domestic dispute was used as a shield by his abductor. In another, an infant just 20 days old was abducted by a carjacker. Fortunately, with the help of the AMBER Alert system, both children were rescued unharmed.
“Through radio announcements, highway signs, wireless notifications, and Web posts, AMBER Alerts are now capable of rapidly reaching millions of people across the country. But we have a great deal more to do in order to ensure that we can spread the word about missing children as quickly and as widely as possible.
“Today – as our nation observes National AMBER Alert Awareness Day – I am pleased to announce that we are making two vital additions to our innovative national partnerships in order to expand the reach of the AMBER Alert system. Facebook, already an AMBER Alert partner, will now begin sending alerts, along with detailed information and photographs, to its members in designated search areas. And the search engine Bing will begin allowing users to access AMBER Alerts through its online tools. These cutting-edge tools are available as a result of agreements with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which coordinates our AMBER Alert distribution efforts.
“Facebook’s geo-targeted alerts and Bing’s online broadcast tools will give AMBER Alerts an expanded social media and Internet presence – extending our web of child protection resources into new and critical areas. I am grateful for their involvement, and for the participation of so many organizations and agencies that have helped to make the AMBER Alert system such an important public safety asset. And I urge other companies and organizations to step forward and do their part by offering whatever assistance they can provide.
“Protecting the well-being of our young people is a responsibility that falls to every American. Each of us can help by paying close attention to alerts that come in – and by making sure you are plugged into the AMBER Alert network via social media. Remember: finding an abducted child and returning him or her to safety depends on a fast response. The more vigilant citizens we have on the look-out, the better our chances of a quick recovery.
The full video of the Attorney General’s message is available at http://www.justice.gov/opa/video/expanding-amber-alert-tools-recover-missing-children.
IACP Releases Report from National Summit on Community-Police Relations
January 14, 2015 | National News
A Message from IACP President Richard Beary
I am pleased to announce the release of the report from the IACP National Policy Summit on Community-Police Relations: Advancing a Culture of Cohesion and Community Trust. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to present the report to President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. It is our hope that the recommendations from this report will aid the Task Force as they continue the insightful work they are doing to examine and strengthen community-police relations.
We also hope that this report will be used as a call to action by every law enforcement executive and every law enforcement agency to take stock and recommit to the principles of justice and service that are at the core of the oath that police officers take.
The report stresses that law enforcement leaders should strive daily to build strong, trusting community-police relationships and recognizes that, in many areas, more can be done. The report also makes clear that the challenges we are currently facing, were not created in a vacuum, and will not be solved by law enforcement alone. Instead, the solution lies in making progress in a number of areas, and requires coordination and collaboration at all levels. Therefore, recommendations for key stakeholders, such as community and political leaders, are also included in this report.
As law enforcement leaders, we understand that policing is a unique profession. The reason each and every one of us took an oath to become a police officer is because we want to help others. We are highly committed to ensuring the safety of the public. We knew that wearing a badge would bring challenges, that we would sometimes be up against the worst of humanity, and we would witness some truly devastating things. But we also knew that for all the bad we would encounter, that our days would also be filled with good. We would have the opportunity to rescue the abused, assist the helpless, reunite missing children with their parents, prevent an individual from committing suicide, keep a child from going down the wrong path, and most importantly, save lives.
However, despite the nobility of our profession, recent events are a strong reminder that we must never be complacent in our efforts to sustain trust across police and the communities they serve. We must continue to reevaluate, recommit, and renew our focus on sustaining trusting relationships with all segments of the community. This movement is not “revolutionary,” but rather, “evolutionary.” It is change that takes time, patience, and, when successful, results in the betterment of all. This is an opportunity to lead for both police and community leaders that cannot go unattended.
As you continue your daily efforts to protect and serve your communities, I urge all of you to carefully review this report and its recommendations.
Chief Richard Beary
President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police
Purcellville Police Chief Announces Retirement
January 13, 2015 | Virginia News
Purcellville Police Chief Darryl C. Smith will retire April 1. He has lead the town police force for the past nine years, helping it to achieve state accreditation and winning numerous for awards for its youth engagement and outreach programs.
“The town was blessed when we were able to hire Chief Smith over nine years ago,” Town Manager Robert W. Lohr stated in announcing the retirement plans. “It is rare that someone can have such a positive impact on an organization and community that he has served in such a short period.”
“Chief Smith’s leadership has transformed the Purcellville Police Department into the community focused organization it is today,” Mayor Kwasi Fraser said. “Programs such as the Homework Club, Back to School Picnic, and End of School Picnic were led by Chief Smith and have been instrumental in connecting our young people and their families to our police force in a meaningful way. While I do not have a tremendous amount time working with Chief Smith, it has been my observation that he is a dedicated public servant and has worked tirelessly to secure our citizens and garner community trust. Chief Smith has provided us with a template as to what traits and capabilities we must expect and require from a new police chief. I thank Chief Smith for his service to our community and wish him and his family all the best during his retirement.”
In 2007, the police department won a Virginia Municipal League Achievement for smith’s youth engagement and outreach programs and in 2008 the department’s work received the Webber Seavey International Award given by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and Motorola.
Smith also is credited for leading the department through a period of rapid growth and a recession that required creative ways to expand the police station to meet program needs and state recommendations and regulations. In addition, he worked to update the entire fleet of vehicles and equipment issued to all officers while implementing a progressive staffing model.
“To Chief Smith, this was not just a job but a love and a passion for the community and his officers.” Lohr said. “In a period where administrators tend to spend too much time behind their desk, he was constantly in the community working with our youth, residents and businesses. Chief Smith will be greatly missed and will leave some mighty big shoes to fill in this department and on our management team.”
Heroin Deaths Spiked in 2014
January 12, 2015 | Virginia News
Heroin deaths in the area soared by more than 60 percent in 2014 over the total for 2013, despite a slowing in the rate of overdose deaths in the last months of the year.
The 33 deaths counted by the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force were 12 more than the previous year.
The deaths were spread throughout the jurisdiction of the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force — Frederick Warren, Shenandoah, Page and Clarke counties, plus Winchester and Front Royal.
The majority of the deaths were concentrated in Frederick County and Winchester. There were eight heroin or opioid overdose deaths in Warren County and Front Royal and two each in Shenandoah and Page counties.
Virginia State Police Special Agent Jay Perry, the coordinator the drug task force, said in an interview Monday that efforts to stem the spread of heroin are sometimes hindered by reluctance among friends and family members of victims to accept that a loved one’s death was caused by a heroin overdose.
Toxicology and autopsy reports often come back showing heroin was one of several drugs contained in a “cocktail” consumed by a victim in the hours before his death. ...
Toscano bill would expand DNA data bank, as sought by Sheriff Harding
January 11, 2015 | Virginia News
Albemarle County Sheriff J. E. “Chip” Harding’s push for DNA data bank expansion has found a voice in legislation recently filed by House Minority Leader David J. Toscano.
The bill would add 99 serious misdemeanors to a growing list of convictions for which the state requires offenders to submit a DNA sample to the state data bank.
Inspired by the high-profile case of slain University of Virginia student Hannah Graham, Toscano said lawmakers should act with urgency to expand a law enforcement tool proven to help solve and prevent crime.
“This comes out of the Hannah Graham tragedy and the feeling that if we have a more expansive database, we could potentially catch people before they commit more serious crimes,” said Toscano, D-Charlottesville. “I rarely put in criminal justice bills, but this is just too important.”
Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr., who is charged with abduction with intent to defile in Graham’s case, would have had his DNA entered into the state data bank upon his misdemeanor trespassing conviction in 2010 under the terms of Toscano’s bill.
The what-ifs are haunting, said Gil Harrington, who said she supports the legislation and also advocates for DNA collection upon all felony arrests. ...
‘Gun show loophole’ discussion takes place amid rise in arrests
January 11, 2015 | Virginia News
Total arrests for illegal gun buys are up at gun shows even as overall gun sales decline.
By Mark Bowes
As state legislators prepare to consider a proposal by Gov. Terry McAuliffe to close the “gun show loophole,” new state data show that the percentage of arrests at gun shows among people denied approval to buy firearms has increased for a third consecutive year.
The volume of gun show sales, purchase denials and arrests all declined in 2014 — a year in which all commercial gun sales in Virginia dropped an estimated 15 percent from 2013. But in an increase, 35 percent of the people denied permission to buy firearms were then charged with being legally prohibited to possess a gun.
The denial-to-arrest figure has climbed for three years in a row and suggests an upward trend by state police in enforcing firearm laws at Virginia gun shows.
That percentage rose from 10.6 percent in 2011 — the first year that state police began tracking gun show transactions — to 12.4 percent in 2012 and to 27 percent in 2013.
“This is a positive sign that people are being arrested for illegally trying to obtain firearms [at gun shows],” said criminologist Thomas Baker, an assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University’s L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, who analyzed the recently released state police firearm transaction data for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. ...
Task force on sexual assault cautioned about mandatory reporting proposals
January 9, 2015 | Virginia News
BY KARIN KAPSIDELIS Richmond Times-Dispatch
RICHMOND — Proposed state laws requiring mandatory reporting of campus sexual assaults to outside law enforcement could be accommodated under the complex federal regulations that universities also must adhere to, the Governor's Task Force on Combating Campus Sexual Violence was told Thursday.
But such a mandate could have unintended consequences, cautioned John DiPaolo, deputy general counsel for departmental law and postsecondary education for the U.S. Department of Education.
Federal regulations administered by the department recognize mandatory reporting "as an appropriate area for state law," he said. But the policies also recognize students need "some place they can go to have a confidential conversation."
Legislation designed to require more reporting to law enforcement could have "a reverse effect where students don't want to make a report at all because they know they will lose control" of the process, DiPaolo said.
"Thank you for bringing that up," responded state Secretary of Education Anne Holton, who said "the worst-case scenario" for universities would be to be caught between a state mandate requiring reporting and a federal policy allowing confidentiality.
The task force is expected to consider preliminary recommendations in March for a statewide strategy to address campus assaults, but a series of bills have been filed that could pre-empt some of that work.
Police lives matter, too
January 9, 2015 | National News
Why do we often cheapen the value of police lives?
BALTIMORE SUN > OPINION
By Burke Brownfeld
On Dec. 20, two New York police officers were killed while sitting in their cruiser. On Christmas night in Durham, N.C., Police Officer T.J. West was shot as he exited his vehicle. Three days later, two Los Angeles police officers were shot at while traveling in their cruiser. And this week, a man brought a loaded gun into a Baltimore police precinct at, he said, the behest of the Black Guerilla Family gang, which the FBI has warned is targeting white officers in Maryland.
2014 was a deadly year for police officers, with line-of-duty deaths up by more than 10 percent compared to last year, according to The Officer Down Memorial Page. The most striking statistic is the fact that the number of police officers killed by gunfire in 2014 is up 57 percent compared to 2013. Unfortunately, it appears that violence against the police is a trend that is getting worse, and it will affect the way police officers do their jobs.
For years and years, we have tried to explain away the murders and attempted murders of police officers. "That's what you signed up for," we say. I was a police officer for six years, and the idea of getting murdered was not in the recruitment brochure. Why do we often cheapen the value of police lives?
Society has gone through a systematic dehumanization of police officers. Let us remember that this profession has been demonized long before the protests in Ferguson. For example, in 1988, the band N.W.A. released a song called "[Expletive] tha Police." The song features lyrics that encourage the killing of cops: "I'm a sniper with a hell of a scope, Taking out a cop or two, they can't cope with me." The sentiments of this song are alive and well today. When a person at a party says, "The problem with black people is ..." we call them racists. However, it has become acceptable to use similar broad generalizations about police officers across the nation. Just like with racism, the group on the receiving end of a stereotype feels disrespected and anonymous. This has a cumulative negative effect on the individual officers spread throughout our country. We see it affecting police morale, and we also see some police officers becoming defensive and reacting with equally negative rhetoric.
This stereotyping behavior also has an effect on citizens. We can say that the killer of the NYPD officers was mentally deranged and try to explain it away. Were the shooters in Durham and Los Angeles, who also tried to commit police murders, mentally ill? We cannot explain away every murder of police officers by blaming mental illness. At some point, we have to accept that hateful speech is inspirational for some people. Hateful speech leads to demonization. Demonization leads to dehumanization. Once a group is dehumanized, it is much easier to throw a bottle or fire a shot.
We don't have to change our attitudes or opinions about the police. However, we must remember that the working parts of this equation are all human in nature. If we demand more community policing, more foot patrols, less police shootings, we have to understand that the necessary ingredients to make that happen involve both the community and the police. As long as the police are publicly crucified on the whole, based on individual cases, and then murdered in the streets, change will not happen. The necessary conversations that might lead to change can't even happen. We as a society are alienating police officers instead of inviting them to join the conversation. So we must ask ourselves, have the current strategies really made any progress with police and community relations? Let's leave the emotional responses, stereotypes and violence against the police at the door and start seeking a better understanding of the complexities of the police/community relationship.
Tarasovic set to retire as Richmond police chief in February
January 9, 2015 | Virginia News
Richmond Police Chief Ray J. Tarasovic will retire by the end of February, and his successor is expected to come from the leadership ranks of the department he has run for nearly two years, sources told the Richmond Times-Dispatch on Thursday.
The chief’s departure — and the department’s plan for his succession — are expected to be announced by Mayor Dwight C. Jones during a news conference at 11 a.m. today at the Richmond Police Academy.
The 64-year-old Tarasovic has been trying to retire since August, according to multiple sources.
Attempts to reach Tarasovic on Thursday evening were not successful.
Tarasovic was the right-hand man to former Richmond Police Chief Rodney D. Monroe, who was appointed by then-Mayor L. Douglas Wilder in 2005. The computer mapping and a community policing strategy implemented during Monroe’s tenure was credited with producing dramatic reductions in homicides and violent crime.
Tarasovic left Richmond in 2008 to follow Monroe to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., Police Department, where he worked until 2010 before retiring. After working part time as a program manager in the office of the Virginia secretary of public safety, he returned to the Richmond Police Department as its chief in February 2013 following the departure of Chief Bryan T. Norwood.
Tarasovic, who kept a home in the Fan District during his two-year stint in North Carolina, agreed to become chief out of loyalty to the city.
“Nothing would have brought me out of this fifth retirement, nothing other than public service in the city of Richmond,” he said during a news conference announcing his appointment. “I love this city. So I will serve this city — surely with my head, because that’s what I’m paid to do — but also with my heart.”
January 9, 2015 is National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day
January 8, 2015 | VACP
On January 9th, 2015, Concerns of Police Survivors, Inc. and partnering organizations in support of law enforcement officers nationwide will promote a National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day (L.E.A.D.). In light of recent negativity directed toward law enforcement nationally, there is a need to show law enforcement officers that our citizens recognize the difficult and sometimes impossible career they have chosen, in public service to us all.
The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police invites you to join them to show support to law enforcement that serves to protect our community.
Each day 780,000 police officers across our country put a badge on and go to work knowing they may face extremely dangerous situations. On average, between 105 and 203 officers die in the line of duty each year, 50,000 officers are assaulted in the line of duty each year, 14,000 officers are injured in the line of duty each year, and over 300 officers commit suicide each year. There is no other profession in the world, except possibly the military, where you will find these kinds of statistics.
Law enforcement officers play such an integral part in our society. Without law enforcement officers, chaos would reign. Have you ever thought about what you would do if you were in trouble - a car accident, a home invasion, an assault - and you did not have someone to call for help? No matter how much abuse law enforcement takes, they continue to do their job, and do it well. They are the guardians of our way of life and they deserve our support.
On January 9th, we call our nation's citizens to action in support of law enforcement. Those citizens who appreciate law enforcement and are discouraged about the negative attention being given to law enforcement are encouraged take time on Friday, January 9th to show their support. If you are unable to attend this local event, you can show your support in a number of ways:
- Change your profile picture on social media to this image
- Wear blue clothing in support of law enforcement
- Send a card of support to your local police department or state agency
- Share a positive story about a positive law enforcement experience on social media
- Ask children in your community to write letters in support of law enforcement
- Participate in Project Blue Light. Proudly display your blue light in support of law enforcement.
Most importantly, if you see a police officer, thank a police officer.
National Law Enforcement Organizations that are partnering together include: Concerns of Police Survivors, The Fraternal Order of Police, The FBI National Academy Associates, The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement, Officer Down Memorial Page, Law Enforcement United, National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, International Conference of Police Chaplains, National Trooper's Coalition, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, National Police Wives, Wives Behind the Badge, International Union of Police Associations, New Jersey State PBA, National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives, National Sheriffs' Association, and the United States Air Force Security Forces.
Libby Legg hired as new Buena Vista deputy chief
January 7, 2015 | Virginia News
The Buena Vista Police Department is proud to announce the hiring of Elizabeth "Libby" Legg as the department's Deputy Chief.
With 30 years of law enforcement experience, Captain Legg will be a valuable asset to the department and the Buena Vista community. Before coming to the city, Captain Legg was serving as police chief for Colonial Beach, VA. Prior to that she served as Ferrum College police chief after serving with Roanoke, VA police department for 22 years, working her way up to lieutenant before leaving to take the Ferrum chief's job. Captain Legg's first project will be to begin the department's accreditation process to become a state accredited law enforcement agency.
RELATED: Colonial Beach police chief resigns
VIDEO: How Participating in the National Law Enforcement Challenge Saves Lives
January 7, 2015 | VACP
This video is a compilation of interviews taken during the IACP’s 2014 National Law Enforcement Challenge (NLEC) Awards Ceremony. The NLEC (and the coordinating state competition, the Virginia Law Enforcement Challenge) is a friendly competition between law enforcement departments and agencies all across the country designed to encourage them to address traffic safety issues in their state or locality in an effective, systematic way.
The program brings recognition to outstanding agencies across the country that most effectively focused their efforts to make a difference within their traffic safety programs ultimately having the roadways safer.
Join Laser Technology, Inc., and the IACP's National Law Enforcement Challenge for a live webinar that will give new and returning applicants helpful information about the Challenge! April 9, 2015 at 11:30 AM (EST) Register Now!
Did you miss the January 20th NLEC Quick-Start Webinar? Watch the recording HERE.
Extended & Additional Interviews
Chief Howard Hall, Roanoke County (VA) Police Department:
Lt. Lee Bailey, New Kent County (VA) Sheriff's Office:
Ms. Dana Schrad, Executive Director, Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police:
Chief John R. Batiste, Washington State Patrol:
Chief Scott Keller, Princess Anne (MD) Police Department:
Sheriff Timothy K. Cameron, St. Mary’s County (MD) Sheriff’s Office:
Inspector Bruno Schettini Goncalves, Federal Highway Police, Brazil:
Campus sexual assault reports a complicated tally
January 4, 2015 | Virginia News
Parents hoping to get a grasp on reports of sexual assault at the University of Virginia will have to look beyond statistics, according to experts.
Although much of the narrative of a Rolling Stone article describing an alleged gang rape at UVa has fallen apart, the university is still under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education for the way it handles reports of assault. It also is being sued by an anonymous student who claims she was raped in 2012 and administrators mishandled evidence in her case.
There were 14 “forcible sex offenses” on Grounds and 11 in the surrounding area in 2013, according to information gathered under the Clery Act. The numbers represent an increase from 2012, when there were six on-Grounds assaults and five off-Grounds.
University administrators and experts agree that it’s an underreported problem. Allison Kiss, director of the Clery Center in Pennsylvania, said higher numbers might be a good sign because it means victims feel safe reporting sexual assaults.
“That leads me to believe they’re doing programming on this,” Kiss said. “I think we’re breaking down that myth that higher numbers is a bad thing.”
Adding to the confusion, it’s not totally clear when an incident must be counted as “sexual assault.” One parent quoted in the Rolling Stone article complained that her daughter’s case had been marked down in a university police report as “suspicious circumstances.”
Dana G. Schrad, executive director of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, said colleges are required to report a very broad range of conduct as “sexual assault,” including uninvited touching. But cases that are reported to university administrators — people designated by the university to counsel rape victims — would not show up in police reports.
“This is one of the reasons why many of our campus chiefs would like to ensure that Title IX investigations and complaints are always reported to the campus police,” Schrad said. ...
126 Law Enforcement Officer Fatalities Nationwide in 2014
December 31, 2014 | National News
Firearms-related fatalities spiked 56 percent while ambush attacks remained the leading cause of felonious deaths
Washington, DC—Law enforcement fatalities in the U.S. rose 24 percent in 2014, reversing what had been two years of dramatic declines in line of duty deaths, based on preliminary data compiled and released today by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF).
According to the NLEOMF report, 126 federal, state, local, tribal and territorial officers were killed in the line of duty this year, compared to 102 in 2013. The number of officers killed by firearms in 2014 (50) was 56 percent higher than the number killed by gunfire in 2013 (32). Ambush-style attacks, as evidenced earlier this month by the shooting deaths of New York City Police Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos while sitting in their marked patrol car, were the number one cause of felonious officer deaths for the fifth year in a row. Fifteen officers nationwide were killed in ambush assaults in 2014, matching 2012 for the highest total since 1995.
Forty-nine officers were killed in traffic-related incidents this past year, which was an 11 percent increase from 2013. Twenty-seven officers died due to other causes in 2014, including 24 who suffered from job-related illnesses—such as heart attacks—while performing their duties.
In 2011, officer fatalities spiked to 171, which led to a number of new initiatives and policy changes aimed at promoting law enforcement safety. The result was a sharp decline in line-of-duty deaths to 123 in 2012 and 102 last year—the lowest fatality figure since 1944. Over the past decade the average annual number of officer deaths has been 151. The deadliest year ever for law enforcement was 1930 when 300 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty. The deadliest single incident was the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, resulting in 72 officer deaths. There are more than 20,000 names of officers killed in the line of duty inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC, dating back to the first known death in 1791.
“We issue this report each year as a stark reminder that some 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers go out each and every day putting their lives on the line for our safety and protection,” explained NLEOMF Chairman and CEO Craig W. Floyd. “These brave men and women are willing to lay down their lives for us. The least we should do is honor and remember their service and sacrifice, support their families and do all that we can to make it safer for those who continue to serve.”
The statistics released by the NLEOMF are based on preliminary data compiled and do not represent a final or complete list of individual officers who will be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in 2015.
For a complete copy of the preliminary report on 2014 law enforcement fatalities, go to: www.LawMemorial.org/FatalitiesReport.
Key Data as of December 29, 2014:
- Firearms-related incidents were the number one cause of officer deaths in 2014, with 50. This was a 56 percent increase over the 32 officers shot and killed in 2013.
- Ambush attacks resulted in 15 officer deaths, the leading felonious cause of deaths among officers in 2014 and for the fifth straight year. The other leading categories of felonious deaths in 2014 were traffic stops or pursuits (8), investigating suspicious persons or activities (7), disturbance calls (6), attempting arrests (4), investigative activities (3), accidental shootings (2), burglary in progress (2), investigating drug-related matters (1), robbery in progress (1), and tactical situations (1).
- Traffic-related incidents were the second-leading cause of officer fatalities in 2014, with 49. This was an 11 percent increase over the 44 traffic-related deaths in 2013. Of these 49 officers, 35 were killed in automobile crashes, nine officers were struck and killed outside their vehicle and five officers were killed in motorcycle crashes.
- Of the 27 officers who died due to other causes this year, 24 were caused by job-related illnesses; one officer was strangled to death; one officer drowned; and one officer was killed in a fire-related incident.
- During the past year, more officers were killed in California (14) than any other state; followed by Texas (11); New York (9); Florida (6) and Georgia (5).
- Six officers killed in 2014 served with federal law enforcement agencies. Two of the officers who died during the past year served with correctional agencies, two were tribal officers and one was a military officer. Three of the 126 fatalities were female. On average, the officers who died in 2014 were 41 years old and had served for 12 years.
“With the increasing number of ambush-style attacks against our officers, I am deeply concerned that a growing anti-government sentiment in America is influencing weak-minded individuals to launch violent assaults against the men and women working to enforce our laws and keep our nation safe,” declared NLEOMF Chairman and CEO Craig W. Floyd. “Enough is enough. We need to tone down the rhetoric and rally in support of law enforcement and against lawlessness.”
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About the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund
Established in 1984, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund is a non-profit organization dedicated to telling the story of American law enforcement and making it safer for those who serve. The Memorial Fund is now working to create the National Law Enforcement Museum, which will tell the story of law enforcement through high-tech, interactive exhibitions, historical artifacts and extensive educational programming. For more information, visit www.LawMemorial.org.
VACP President details realities of the job
December 30, 2014 | VACP
Pulaski Police Chief Gary Roche encourages detractors to walk a mile in the shoes of his officers.
Why, with the outcry from recent officer-related shootings and the subsequent execution-style slayings of police officers, would anyone want to put on a badge and put their life on the line to serve and protect?
Pulaski Police Chief Gary Roche encourages detractors to walk a mile in the shoes of his officers.
Throughout the latter half of 2014, law enforcement in America has come under fire in the aftermath of officer-related deaths – particularly the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in New York City. During that time, widespread media coverage has focused the public eye on a constantly updated number of police brutality cases in the United States.
Those incidents recently culminated in the murders of NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu by an individual who was reportedly motivated by those recent cases.
Following that incident, the danger faced by law enforcement officers in the line of duty has also become a cause for public awareness.
In light of those recent events, Roche offered insight into the realities of the job of which most civilians are unaware.
“If you stand back and look at the job from a decision standpoint, it ain’t a very good one,” he admits.
According to Roche, officers are forced to make decisions every minute of every day they put on the uniform and go out on patrol. More often than not, those decisions are not easy calls to make.
For some, that means acting quickly in life-or-death situations and relying on the intuition of a morally sound mind. Roche, who has worked as a police officer for more than 30 years, says the weight of that responsibility keeps many people who go into law enforcement from staying in the career as long as he has.
“Very few people retire from law enforcement,” he notes.
In many cases, that includes the sacrifices made by both officers and their families. Still, Roche stresses his belief that law enforcement – on both a local and national level – is carried out successfully by the ethical nature and actions of working officers.
A line in the Pulaski Police Department’s Vision Statement contributed by Roche embraces that ideal. It reads: “Our prime directive is to do what is right, even when no one is watching.”
In that sense Roche says he holds his officers in the Pulaski Police Department to a higher standard. A three-page list of disqualifiers – detailing everything from minor traffic violations to drug use and other lifestyle choices – shows what can bar someone from working as a police officer in Pulaski.
There are other ways he enforces those standards well.
In a hallway hanging next to the door that leads to the squad cars at the Pulaski Police Department, a plaque displays signatures under the law enforcement officer’s oath. According to Roche, he makes sure every one of his officers sees it before they walk through that door to go on patrol.
In an adjacent hallway, other plaques display the names of certain Pulaski officers, honoring them for dedication to their service. Roche says that because of the names on that wall, lives have been saved – both of police and civilians.
According to Roche, the Pulaski Police Department is currently struggling to recruit officers, mainly due to the fact that it’s difficult to find people who are up to facing the challenges and making the sacrifices needed for the job. In any instance, he said accepting those challenges and sacrifices is what is needed to succeed as a police officer.
“You have to want to do it,” Roche explains. “You’ve gotta have the heart for it.”
For Roche, he answered the call to be a police officer when he was 16 years old, and throughout his career, he has learned the ideals that shape law enforcement.
For those entering the profession, he gives a speech titled “Mistakes of the Head, Mistakes of the Heart,” which educates his officers on what they can expect from the job, what can get them into trouble and what can get them fired.
Still, he points out that people make mistakes, including police officers all over the country and those within the Pulaski Police Department. However, in the case of any mistake made, Roche says they are measured by the intent behind them.
When it comes to altercations police officers face in the field, Roche points out that use of force is very rare, and is only involved in less than 1 percent of cases, statistically speaking. At the same time, he points out data showing that police-related shootings make up less than a fraction of those incidents.
While those instances are rare, Roche says that in such cases, it takes time to react, and even when engaging an unarmed subject, the threat against an officer’s life is still ever present.
“‘Unarmed’ does not mean ‘no threat,’” Roche says.
On the other hand, Roche says working in law enforcement typically does not mean dealing with violent cases. As mental health and welfare checks, assisting drivers broken down on the highway and calls of that nature are more commonly part of the daily routine, he says 80 percent of the job is helping out.
“We try to stress the good in everybody,” Roche says.
Along those lines, he says that even with the sacrifices and responsibilities that are everyday realities in law enforcement, the job can be tremendously rewarding at times.
“The look on people’s faces when you help them is unbelievable,” Roche says.
In the aftermath of this year’s officer-related deaths, with public opinion shifting toward an anti-law enforcement attitude, Roche says the real problem with that viewpoint seems to be with those who have an agenda and are looking to validate any claims of police brutality.
“There are some factions in the debate where it doesn’t matter what the facts are,” Roche says.
To address the issue, particularly for those who believe law enforcement in America is in need of reform, Roche lays out a simple solution: Come join the ranks. He emphasizes that if someone can make the cut to become a police officer, it’s the most effective way they can make a difference.
“My solution is ‘come apply’,” Roche says, speaking on a national level for all law enforcement agencies in America.
Dillon Appointed as Deputy Chief in Warrenton
December 29, 2014 | Virginia News
The Warrenton Police Department (WPD) is proud to announce that Gary M. Dillon has been selected as the WPD’s Deputy Chief. A veteran law enforcement Officer, Gary until recently has served as the Manager of the Virginia Accreditation Center at the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) since July 2005. Through Gary’s vision, the program that sets and requires higher standards for its participating agencies to adhere to has developed into a national model and leader in its field.
Gary has coordinated and drafted several important model policies for the agency, including best practices for Eyewitness Identification, Human Trafficking, Law Enforcement Usage of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones), and Auxiliary Police Officers. Gary has been a presenter to the Virginia Criminal Justice Services Board, Secretary of Public Safety, and the Virginia Crime Commission on topics relating to best practices in law enforcement.
Prior to coming to DCJS, Gary was a Supervisor with the Charlottesville Police Department, as well as their Accreditation Manager. He was instrumental in the creation of the West Point Police Department, as well as having worked in other law enforcement agencies.
Gary has a wealth of knowledge and understanding of police policies, procedures, rules and regulations having worked with a majority of the Commonwealth’s law enforcement agencies.
Gary possesses a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration and is currently participating in a Master’s program seeking a degree in Public Administration.
Deputy Chief Dillon was selected from a group of highly qualified applicants.
Gary is married with two children.
Longo has handled many high-profile cases as Charlottesville’s top cop
December 26, 2014 | Virginia News
By FRANK GREEN
CHARLOTTESVILLE — Timothy J. Longo left the gritty precincts of Baltimore for the tranquil foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains when he took over in 2001 as police chief of the city that is home to the University of Virginia.
It was a move he does not regret but — in recent years at least — one he admits hasn’t quite been what he expected.
In 2010, a U.Va. senior was killed by her intoxicated ex-boyfriend, a lacrosse-playing anthropology major convicted in a lurid trial; in 2012, a 19-year-old transgender woman disappeared from city streets; this year, a U.Va. student vanished and later was found slain; and last month, the country was shocked by allegations of a savage gang rape at a fraternity house in Charlottesville.
The tragedies unfolded under the white-hot glare of local, national and international media, and the spotlight at times has caught Longo, a career police officer with a comes-right-at-you personality who can get personal in front of a television camera.
At a news conference in September about missing U.Va. student Hannah Graham, Longo spoke about his own 15-year-old daughter.
“If you have a child, especially a daughter, Hannah’s disappearance should strike at your core. It does mine,” he said. For anyone who might have seen Graham the morning she disappeared, he pleaded, “I need to hear from you.”
Longo is unapologetic: “That’s who I am, and I’ve been criticized for that. People who have never met me, who have never talked to me, don’t know me, (act) as though I’m a scripted individual, a stage actor. That’s the furthest thing from the truth, and people that know me can tell you that.”
VACP Requests Shrouding of Badges for NYPD Officers
December 22, 2014 | VACP
To: Virginia Police Chiefs
From: Chief G. W. Roche, Association President
Ref: NYPD Officer Assassinations
Due to the recent allegations against law enforcement, and the apparent targeting of police personnel for violence, I believe that the police officers in Virginia should be afforded the opportunity to demonstrate solidarity for our profession and empathy for the families of those NYPD officers murdered last weekend.
The VACP recommends the shrouding of badges until the funerals of the deceased are completed in New York city. I realize that our association normally reserves this observance for officers that lose their lives in the Commonwealth but I believe that an exception to that policy is in order in these cases.
Registration open for 2015 VPCF Leadership Education Programs
December 16, 2014 | VACP
All leadership education and law enforcement training programs offered by the VPCF are submitted for pre-approval to the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) for Partial In-service Credit.
Internal Affairs Investigators Basic Training School
February 3-5, 2015 • Glen Allen, VA
This is a three-day training program that has been designed for those individuals who have recently been assigned to Internal Affairs or for those who have not received any formal Internal Affairs training. This program has been designed by the Virginia Police Chiefs Foundation in partnership with the VACP Internal Affairs Investigators Advisory Board (formerly the VA Internal Affairs Investigators Association) to assist Internal Affairs Investigators in the transition to their new role.
Registration deadline is January 13, 2015. Program and registration information can be found here.
New Chiefs/Deputy Chiefs Training School
March 3-5, 2015 • Glen Allen, VA
This is a three-day training program that has been designed for individuals who have been recently appointed or elected to the position of chief executive of their agency, assistant or deputy chief executive, or for those individuals who act in those roles in their absence. This program is designed to assist newly promoted/appointed executive level personnel in their transition to their new role.
Registration deadline is February 3, 2015. Program and registration information can be found here.
Media Relations Training
March 31-April 2, 2015 • Glen Allen, VA
This program focuses on essential media relations skills for anyone who has contact with the media or who is responsible for handling public information assignments. Given today’s high stakes, high speed media environment and its relentless focus on the public service community, this training is appropriate for executive level personnel, public information personnel, individuals responsible for managing public affairs matters, mid-level managers and supervisors. The program is open to applicants from law enforcement agencies, both in-state and out-of-state.
Registration deadline is March 3, 2015. Program and registration information can be found here.
First Line Supervisors Training School
April 7-9, 2015 • Glen Allen, VA
This is a three-day training program that has been designed for those newly appointed (or soon to be promoted) as supervisors and is most applicable to individuals who have had little or no prior supervisory training. This program is designed to assist officers in their transition to their new role as supervisor.
Registration deadline is March 6, 2015. Program and registration information can be found here.
Institute for Leadership in Changing Times (ILCT)
June 15-19 & September 22-24, 2015 • Roanoke, VA
The Institute for Leadership in Changing Times (ILCT) is an eight-day, intensive leadership education program. This program is designed for individuals who who currently serve in or are soon to be promoted to mid-level management positions within their organizations. Prospective applicants must have already successfully completed a basic supervisory course.
Application deadline is April 1, 2015. For application and program information, please click here.
Professional Executive Leadership School (PELS) – 37th Session
September 14-18; October 12-16; and November 16-19, 2015 • Richmond, VA
The Professional Executive Leadership School (PELS) program is an intensive three-week leadership education program conducted in cooperation with the University of Richmond. This program is designed for individuals who currently serve in command/executive level positions within their agencies. The objective of this program is to acquaint participants with best practices in leadership, challenge them to reflect upon their own leadership competency, and examine ways of achieving both personal and professional growth.
Application deadline is July 1, 2015. For application and program information, please click here.
Registration coming soon for...
• PELS Alumni Training to be held April 21-23, 2015.
• Captains Choice Golf Tournament to be held May 13, 2015.
Culpeper Police Major Accepts Chief of Police Position with City of Emporia
December 16, 2014 | Virginia News
The Culpeper Police Department’s Major Rick Pinksaw has accepted the position of Chief of Police of Emporia, Virginia after serving the Town of Culpeper Police Department for over 25 years. He made the announcement on Wednesday, December 11th and will be assuming his new position as Chief of Police on January 5, 2015.
Major Pinksaw, a western Pennsylvania native, started his law enforcement career in Culpeper May 3rd, 1989 when he accepted the position of patrol officer. Throughout his career he served many different roles within the Culpeper Police Department moving his way through the ranks to his current assignment and serving a Deputy Chief of Police.
He served the Culpeper Police Department in the following roles during his a career:
- Patrol Officer 1989-1995
- Narcotics Detective 1995-1997
- Corporal of Narcotics 1997-1999
- Sergeant of Criminal Investigations 1999-2003
- Lieutenant of Criminal Investigations 2003
- Captain 2003-2013
- Major (Deputy Chief of Police) 2013 – Current
Major Pinksaw graduated from Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pennsylvania and also has a Master’s of Science Degree from Virginia Commonwealth University located in Richmond, Virginia. He also attended and graduated from the 251st Session of the F.B.I. National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.
Major Pinksaw was instrumental in the Culpeper Police Department becoming internationally accredited through the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc (CALEA) in 2005. As the department’s accreditation manager he was instrumental getting the Culpeper Re-Accredited in 2008 and in 2011. Major Pinksaw also has served as a CALEA Assessor from 2005 to 2006 and currently serves as a Team Leader for CALEA.
Chief Chris Jenkins states, “Rick adopted the Culpeper community as his own when he became a police officer here in 1989. I am proud to say that Rick has served his community with the utmost excellence on and off duty. He has been very instrumental in the successes this agency has had over the past 25 years. We are proud of him and he will do a great job in the City of Emporia serving as Chief of Police.”
Major Pinksaw, age 49, is married to Missy. He has two sons, Anthony Pinksaw and Justin Pinksaw and has a new grandson Mason.
He has also served the Culpeper community over the past 25 years while not donning the badge. He served as a volunteer Culpeper Little League baseball coach, a member of the Culpeper Mid-Day Lions, a member of the S.A.F.E. Executive Board, and volunteered at countless other civic events.
“I appreciate the 25 years of service he has given to this town. As he served our community, his interest was always with the town which made him a true professional. He will be greatly missed and we wish him all the best in his new position in Emporia.” states Mayor Michael Olinger.
Major Pinksaw will assume the position of Chief of Police on January 5th, 2015. The City of Emporia lies off Interstate 95 in Greensville County in southeastern Virginia and has a population of 6,000 people. Their Police Department has an authorized strength of 26 police officers and 2 civilian personnel.
VCU Police collaborate with School of the Arts to produce 2015 Safety Calendar
December 15, 2014 | Virginia News
University Public Affairs
Virginia Commonwealth University’s Police Department has collaborated with the VCU School of the Arts to address various issues surrounding sexual assault in the higher education setting.
Today the two departments unveiled a 2015 VCU Police calendar that features VCU Police officers on the Monroe Park Campus in Richmond. Each photo highlights a quote by officers encouraging the community to report sexual assaults, maintain healthy relationships, take part in bystander intervention and create a culture of respect between individuals at VCU.
An introductory page to the calendar states that VCU aggressively investigates any incident or allegation of assault.
“This was a collaborative and innovative approach to a very difficult issue. We want everyone to look out for each other, be respectful of others’ boundaries and come forward to police should they ever need our help,” VCU Police Chief John Venuti said. “We want students, faculty and staff to know who our officers are and how we support a culture of safety and security.”
Under the direction of Sasha Waters Freyer, chair of the Department of Photography and Film in the School of the Arts, VCU students John Sampson and Nick Seitz photographed officers and designed the calendar. The back of the calendar has a full listing of sexual assault reporting and support services at VCU along with contact information for officers featured in the publication.
At the beginning of the academic year, Venuti presented safety information to academic department leaders and stressed that VCU Police has an open-door policy for collaborative projects. Waters Freyer approached Venuti afterward with an idea for a calendar and planning for the project began.
“It is deeply gratifying to see this collaborative project – which began as a basic idea back in July – come to such successful fruition,” Waters Freyer said. “Every step of the process, from brainstorming with our talented students, to working with the officers who trusted us to represent them, to the final, beautifully printed calendar, came together wonderfully. It was an honor to be involved in this project that both brings together different areas of our diverse campus, and addresses a crucial need – awareness around sexual assault reporting.”
Waters Freyer approved a design proposal from two of her students; each was awarded a grant by the photography department to work on the project.
Nick Seitz, a sophomore and photography major, photographed a dozen VCU Police officers.
“I really enjoyed working on portraits with each of the officers,” Seitz said. “In getting to know each of their stories I really came to realize how invested the VCU Police force is in student safety and well-being, while still being friendly and approachable.”
John Sampson, a sophomore majoring in graphic design, created the layout using VCU’s iconic gold, black and gray school colors.
“We made the decision to dedicate the calendar to the victims of abuse, and I was immediately engaged,” Sampson said. “I know many people who have been abused and I see how it affects them, so I am very happy to have contributed to such a project.”
The YWCA of Richmond is a nonprofit organization offering free counseling, case management and emergency housing services for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and intimate partner violence. Funding helps the YWCA provide services for survivors of intimate partner violence, including domestic and sexual assault.
The 2015 calendar is the second fundraiser for the YWCA supported by VCU Police this year. The first was a Chili's Give Back the Night fundraiser in October.
“We can tell by their efforts, and the quotes from the officers in the calendar, that VCUPD is proactively working to train officers to respond to these types of crimes with sensitivity, empathy and compassion for the victim,” said Carol Anne Lajoie, chief development officer for the YWCA.
“That's a great place to start the healing process for survivors. Plenty of studies have shown that when the immediate response includes understanding and caring, survivors have a higher success rate in terms of trauma recovery. We're proud to partner with VCU in both prevention efforts and to provide a compassionate response to this type of violence in our community.”
The YWCA collaborates with other agencies on the Regional Hospital Accompaniment and Response Team (R-HART), to provide survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence throughout the region with hospital advocates 24/7. The YWCA also partners with agencies on the Greater Richmond Regional Hotline, a free, confidential resource for survivors and their advocates.
About VCU and VCU Medical Center
Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 223 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-eight of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see www.vcu.edu.
About VCU Police
The VCU Police Department is a campus police force of 92 sworn, trained and certified officers and is the largest campus police force in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The department works 24/7 to ensure a safe learning, living and working environment for the students, faculty and staff of Virginia Commonwealth University.
Find Your Next Recruits in the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets
December 15, 2014 | VACP
Law Enforcement agencies across the U.S. are constantly challenged by the task of finding and hiring candidates of the highest quality and character. No task in the law enforcement arena is more critical than hiring the absolute best candidates to be the police officers of the future. One excellent source of quality recruits your department should consider is the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets.
The over 1,000 cadets enrolled at Virginia Tech enjoy the best of both worlds, a world class education at one of the nation’s finest universities, while developing as leaders within a military-style organizational model. Cadets can chose one of two tracks, the Military-Track and commissioning through an ROTC program, or the Citizen-Leader Track.
The Citizen-Leader Track presents a structured program, similar to the ROTC programs, to best prepare its cadets for post-graduation employment. Formally established over a decade ago, this track’s steady growth now comprises nearly 25 percent of the Corps’ cadet strength. These hard-working, dedicated cadets have diverse academic majors and career aspirations, and see the value of developing their leadership skills in order to pursue lives of service in business, government, and nonprofit sectors to name a few.
Dozens of cadets aspire to a law enforcement career. Many graduates now serve on police forces across the Commonwealth, from campus to county to federal levels.
Cadets in the Citizen-Leader Track live side-by-side and graduate with the same structured professional development experiences as their classmates destined for the armed forces. This structure is supplemented with additional academic and experiential opportunities unique to the Citizen-Leader Track, under the tutelage of the Commandant’s staff. Much like ROTC cadets belong to military organizational structures mirroring their chosen service, Citizen-Leader Track cadets are assigned to what’s known as VPI Battalion, with its own cadet chain of command. Within this structure, cadets practice leadership, followership, manage service projects, and develop the soft skills sought by employers today. They also participate in regular wellness and physical fitness activities, which leads to positive life-long habits.
Citizen-Leader Track curriculum is continually upgraded and improved to meet the needs of its cadets. In a weekly 2-credit hour lab, cadets benefit from expert presentations on résumé writing, job searching, interviewing techniques, and other skills to help cadets launch their careers. Classes also delve into social etiquette, public speaking, financial planning, project management, and the college-to-career transition. Successful Tech alumni frequently return as speakers and panelists to share their life experiences and discuss how the Corps increased their value to their organizations. Many businesses and government agencies send representatives to campus to speak to Citizen-Leader Track cadets about the benefits of joining their team.
Governor McAuliffe Announces Legislation to Prevent Gun Violence in the Commonwealth
December 15, 2014 | Virginia News
~ Proposals include common-sense measures to protect Virginia communities and keep dangerous weapons out of the wrong hands ~
ARLINGTON - Governor McAuliffe today announced a series of legislative proposals aimed at protecting Virginia residents and families through common-sense gun violence prevention efforts. The proposals include prohibiting the possession of firearms for persons subject to protective orders and those who have committed certain misdemeanor offenses, such as stalking, sexual battery, and domestic violence, as well as revoking concealed handgun permits for parents delinquent on child support payments and closing the gun show loophole.
“As Governor, there is no greater responsibility than ensuring the health and safety of the citizens I serve,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Our Commonwealth and our nation have seen too many tragedies as a result of dangerous weapons getting into the hands of the wrong people. These common-sense proposals will keep guns out of the hands of criminals, will keep our communities safe, and will help to build a new Virginia economy.”
“These are responsible policies that will benefit Virginia’s neighborhoods and families and will create safer environments for our law enforcement officials,” added Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. “By implementing these common-sense measures, Virginia can lead the way on curbing gun violence and can prevent dangerous individuals from illegally obtaining firearms.”
Governor McAuliffe’s legislative package on preventing gun violence includes:
Prohibit the possession of firearms for persons subject to protective orders
According to the American Journal of Public Health, when a gun is present in domestic violence situations, the risk of homicide for women increases by 500%. This proposal will aim to prevent domestic violence tragedies from occurring in Virginia by prohibiting the possession of firearms for persons subject to protective orders, which covers acts of violence against family members, inter-partner violence, and other dangerous behaviors.
Prohibit the possession of firearms for misdemeanor domestic violence offenders
Past violence is one of the biggest predictors of future violence, as handgun purchasers with violent misdemeanor convictions are 8 times more likely than those without prior convictions to be convicted of a new violent offense. This proposal will aim to stop that disturbing trend by prohibiting possession of firearms for certain misdemeanor offenses, including stalking, sexual battery, assault and battery against a family or household member, brandishing a firearm, and having two more convictions of assault and battery.
Curtail handgun trafficking by reinstating the one handgun a month law
As a gun owner and a supporter of the Second Amendment, Governor McAuliffe believes in the right to bear arms, but in a responsible way that prevents dangerous people from stockpiling and trafficking dangerous weapons. This common-sense measure, which was Virginia law for 19 years, limits handgun purchases to one a month and aims to reduce the chances of handguns causing violent tragedies in Virginia and across the nation.
Revoke concealed handgun permits for parents delinquent on child support payments
In order to build a new Virginia economy, it is essential that parents are receiving support payments and are able to provide for their children and families. Currently, there are 8889 parents with concealed handgun permits delinquent on child support payments, collectively owing over $15,675,000.
Keep handguns out of the wrong hands by closing the gun show loophole
Under current Virginia Law, only Federally Licensed Firearms Dealers are required to conduct criminal background checks prior to selling or transferring firearms. At gun shows, private vendors are not required to conduct criminal background checks, creating an easy avenue for criminals to illegally gain access to guns. Governor McAuliffe’s legislative proposal changes that, requiring universal background checks for all purchases at gun shows.
Give Virginia State Police authority to process voluntary background check requests
Today, the Virginia State Police does not have the authority to process background check requests even when they have been submitted to them by private vendors. This proposal will give Virginia State Police the statutory authority to do so. Governor McAuliffe also is including an additional $100,000 in his budget to ensure that the Virginia State Police will be at every gun show in Virginia and available to perform these voluntary background checks.
Make unlawful purchases more difficult by clarifying what information can be displayed by gun show vendors
Today, gun shows can advertize that they are not required to conduct background checks, creating an easy environment to solicit business from individuals legally prohibited from buying firearms. This common-sense proposal will reduce the chance of dangerous people from illegally obtaining firearms at gun shows by preventing gun shows from advertising that they are not required to conduct background checks.
Office of the Governor
Contact: Rachel Thomas
Governor Appoints VACP Executive Director to Board of Juvenile Justice
December 12, 2014 | VACP
RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe announced additional appointments to his administration today. The appointees will join McAuliffe’s administration focused on finding common ground with members of both parties on issues that will build a new Virginia economy and create more jobs across the Commonwealth.
Board of Juvenile Justice Appointees
- Dana G. Schrad, JD of Mechanicsville, Executive Director, Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, Virginia Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, & Chief Executive Officer, Virginia Police Chiefs Foundation
- Tyren C. Frazier, MLA of Chesterfield, Executive Director, Higher Achievement, Richmond Affiliate
Created by the Code of Virginia §66-4, the Board of Juvenile Justice ensures the development and implementation of a long-range youth services policy and advises the Governor, the Director of the Department of Juvenile Justice and the General Assembly on matters relating to youth services.
Click here for a list of policies authorized by the Board of Juvenile Justice as of September 2009.
Click here for the Board of Juvenile Justice's long-range youth services policy which guides Virginia’s juvenile justice system (amended April 2009).
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Office of the Governor
Contact: Rachel Thomas
Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Office
Contact: Denise Burch
Go-Fund-Me campaign launched for Franklin police officer suffering life-changing injuries after fall
December 10, 2014 | VACP
Al Herdeg, a veteran of the United States Navy, has faithfully served the residents of the City of Franklin for the past eight years. Al rose to the position of Corporal with the police department demonstrating through his actions the values of Honor, Integrity, Courage, and Commitment.
On Saturday, November 22, 2014, Al, a single father of three boys, was decorating his home for the holidays when he suffered a tragic accident.
Al was on the roof of his two-story home when the ladder collapsed causing him to fall approximately 25 feet to the ground. As a result of the fall he has numerous critical and life changing injuries. The neurosurgeons at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital have indicated the injuries Al sustained in his fall are similar to those experienced by the late actor Christopher Reeve.
The support and financial needs of the Herdeg family are great. As a single parent, the continued living expenses of day-to-day life are great enough without the additional burdens placed upon them through this incident. Whatever assistance can be provided is greatly appreciated as we endeavor to take on projects such as the building of accessibility ramps, remodeling areas of the home for accessibility, providing transportation, and meeting the responsibilities that come from the cost of medical care.
An account has been established with Bronco Federal Credit Union for donations in the name of Albert Herdeg. There is also an opportunity to donate on-line at www.gofundme.com/CplHerdeg.
VACP Past President William W. Davis passes away
December 10, 2014 | VACP
Retired Virginia Beach Chief of Police William W. Davis, Sr. passed away on Saturday, December 6, 2014, at the age of 89. He was President of the VACP from 1980-1981.
The family will receive friends at H.D. Oliver Funeral Home (2002 Laskin Rd., Virginia Beach) on Wednesday, December 10th from 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.
Funeral services will be held Thursday, December 11th at 1:00 P.M. in the chapel of H.D. Oliver Funeral Home.
Burial will follow at Princess Anne Memorial Park Cemetery, located at 1110 N. Great Neck Road.
William (Bill) Worthington Davis, Sr. was born in Norfolk. He graduated from Oceana High School in 1942 and then attended the Norfolk Division of William & Mary.
Bill served his country in the Army Air Corps during World War II, and after the war he worked as an aircraft mechanic at Norfolk Naval Air Station. In 1951 he joined the Virginia Beach Police Department, and by 1960 had advanced through the ranks to Lieutenant of the Detective Bureau. In 1963, he graduated from the 72nd session of the FBI Academy. Bill continued to advance within the police department, culminating with his promotion to Chief of Police in January 1969. He served as President of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police (1980-1981). He retired in January 1982.
Condolences may be offered to the family at www.hdoliver.com.
Guthrie named as new Salem police chief
December 10, 2014 | Virginia News
Just like the two men who preceded him in the job, Salem’s new police chief made his way to the top of the city’s law enforcement ladder by gaining valuable experience at every stop along the way.
Earlier today, City Manager Kevin Boggess took the “acting” portion off Tim Guthrie’s title as he appointed him chief of police for Salem, effective immediately. He replaces Jeff Dudley, who retired as Salem’s chief on Dec. 1.
“I cannot begin to say how grateful I am to have been given this opportunity to serve as your chief of police,” said Guthrie. “I have had the opportunity to serve under many great leaders, and I am ever so thankful for the investment they made in me.”
Guthrie has been with the department since 1981 and learned many valuable lessons while working under former Chiefs Jimmy Bryant and Dudley. During his 33 years with the Salem Police Department, he has served as a patrol and traffic officer, narcotics and general investigations detective, detective and services division sergeant, services division lieutenant, a captain and major.
“Chief Guthrie is a very thoughtful and principled leader with a strong will to move the department forward,” said Kevin Boggess, Salem city manager. “I am very proud to announce his selection as Salem’s new chief of police.”
Guthrie is a Roanoke native who graduated from William Fleming High School and completed requirements for his Associate in Applied Science degree at Virginia Western Community College. In 1998, he earned his Bachelor of Science from Bluefield College, and later his master’s degree in liberal studies from Hollins University in 2013.
In addition, Guthrie is a graduate of the 220th session of the FBI National Academy in Quantico and the 23rd session of the Administrative Officer Management Program in Raleigh. Over the years, he has attended numerous police training schools and seminars in police management and protocol.
”I would be remiss if I did not mention the employees of the department who are without a doubt the best group of men and women a community could ask for,” he said. “Their dedication to serve is paramount, and I look forward to being part of their continued growth.”
Boggess and Guthrie conferred with one another about the appointment of Salem’s new deputy chief, and both are pleased to announce that Sgt. Mike Crawley will assume that role and rise to the rank of deputy chief immediately.
“I am humbled by the opportunity to serve alongside the men and women of the Salem Police Department,” said Crawley. “As we move forward, it will be imperative that we build on our excellent staff relations, our work within our communities and the development of policing strategies to ensure that we continue to have a progressive police service.”
Crawley also is a Roanoke native and a 1991 graduate of Patrick Henry High School. He attended Virginia Western Community College and is pursuing a degree in management from Bluefield College. He began his career with the Salem Police Department in December 1999 as an officer assigned to the Patrol Division. After completing field service as a patrol officer, he was promoted to the rank of senior police officer and transferred to the Detective Division in 2004, where he was assigned to the Special Investigation Unit. In 2006, Crawley was transferred to the General Investigative unit, where he rose to the rank of sergeant.
“Mike Crawley brings a great deal to the plate and he already is a proven leader in the department,” said Guthrie.
“He has earned the respect of his co-workers and will carry the department in a positive direction both now and in the future.
Both Chief Guthrie and Deputy Chief Crawley reside in Salem with their families.
“Salem has a reputation for outstanding leadership development, and Chief Guthrie and Deputy Chief Crawley are two more examples of why that reputation is so well deserved,” said Boggess.
VIDEO: Commonwealth Public Safety Memorial Dedication
December 10, 2014 | VACP
The Commonwealth Public Safety Memorial was dedicated on Saturday, December 5, 2014 in a moving ceremony at Capitol Square.
For those who could not attend, Richmond Police produced a quick video of the event.
Some photos of the memorial dedication:
Jeff Dudley wrapping up as Salem’s police chief
November 25, 2014 | Virginia News
The spotlight is on a police veteran who prefers to work behind the scenes.
In the crowded community room at the Salem Civic Center, Police Chief Jeff Dudley had a plan: Stick to the cards.
He had scribbled some brief notes on index cards so that when he had to get up and speak to the dozens of public safety officials and Salem city employees in the room, he wouldn’t have to come up with words to say. He had already written down his remarks, which thanked everyone for coming to his retirement banquet and for their support through his years as Salem’s police chief.
“I know if I got off track, I would lose it,” he said weeks later in his office, where the walls were mostly bare since he had taken his dozens of awards and accomplishments down and packed them.
Dudley officially retires from his role as police chief on Monday, December 1 after spending the past five years in the job. For the mild-mannered, soft-spoken police veteran of 37 years, all the attention has put him outside his comfort zone. Dudley is known by colleagues as someone who likes to stay out of the spotlight, preferring instead to work behind the scenes and deal with people one-on-one.
“It was like pulling teeth to get him to do a party at all,” said City Manager Kevin Boggess. Whenever he asked Dudley what he would like to do for his retirement banquet, which was held Nov. 12, Boggess said his response was, “Do I really have to do anything at all?”
Now 57, Dudley has worked in every department of the Salem police. He began as a dispatcher in 1977; then he became a police officer, a detective, a sergeant, a lieutenant and deputy chief before taking the top spot.
In his office the last week on the job, Dudley recalled the first time he knew he wanted to be a police officer. He was a teenager living in the Roanoke Valley when he got a job at a gas station. As part of his job he would wash state troopers’ vehicles and envision himself in their role. He later became a member of the Salem Rescue Squad and at 19, he joined Salem’s emergency response center.
“I saw being in dispatch as a way to get a foot in the door,” he said. He was a sworn police officer just one year later, but not before picking up the basics of first response.
Valerie Ramey, a Salem dispatch supervisor, has worked with Dudley for about 35 years and remembers when he was just getting his feet wet.
“He was exactly the same,” she said. “He was so humble.”
“I love my chief,” she said protectively, describing Dudley as more of a longtime friend than supervisor.
Lt. Joe Mills, who has worked with Dudley since 1998, said Dudley bucks the stereotype of a brash police chief and has been one of the kindest, most approachable people in the department. Sgt. Stacey Sheppard said Dudley would often visit all the different departments every day just to see what was going on.
“He’s always had an open-door policy,” she said, adding that the time he would take out of his day to check on the minor things made a difference in the office. ...
DOJ Releases Resource Guide to Help Law Enforcement Strengthen Relationships with Communities
November 21, 2014 | National News
The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) today announced the release of a resource guide intended to help law enforcement officers build stronger community-police relations. The Resource Guide for Enhancing Community Relationships and Protecting Privacy and Constitutional Rights is a collaboration between BJA and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office).
“The Justice Department encourages law enforcement officials, in every jurisdiction, to work with the communities they serve to minimize needless confrontation,” Attorney General Eric Holder said. “It is vital to engage in planning and preparation, from evaluating protocols and training to choosing the appropriate equipment and uniforms. This is the hard work that is necessary to preserve the peace and maintain the public trust at all times—particularly in moments of heightened community tension.”
“The role of law enforcement is not only to enforce the law, but to preserve peace, minimize harm, and sustain community trust,” said BJA Director Denise O’Donnell. “The resources available through this guide will help police departments and sheriffs’ offices maintain order and build effective police-community relationships, while promoting the rights and protecting the civil liberties of the citizens they serve.”
For many years, BJA and the COPS Office have developed guides, publications, webinars, checklists and tools for law enforcement agencies on community policing, building community trust, diversity training, privacy protections, and safeguarding first amendment rights. Building strong police-community relations requires a sustained effort over time, yet maintaining these relationships is exceedingly difficult during and in the aftermath of a high-profile incident or civil unrest. Professional law enforcement departments and effective operations require training and ongoing support from all partners. This guide helps law enforcement agencies locate these resources in one place, including in-person and online training opportunities, publications, reports, podcasts, and websites.
“Law enforcement officers are stewards of the peace and protectors of the people, but above all else, they are custodians of the public trust,” said COPS Office Director Ron Davis. “As a former police chief, I am proud of the work we are doing at the Department of Justice to help America’s public safety professionals carry out this sacred duty.”
The Resource Guide is available at www.bja.gov/Publications/CommRelGuide.pdf.
The Office of Justice Programs, headed by Assistant Attorney General Karol V. Mason, provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has six components: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. More information about OJP can be found at www.ojp.gov.
The COPS Office, headed by Director Ronald L. Davis, is the federal agency responsible for advancing community policing nationwide. Since 1995, the COPS Office has awarded over $14 billion to advance community policing, including grants awarded to more than 13,000 state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring and redeployment of approximately 125,000 officers and provide a variety of knowledge resource products including publications, training, and technical assistance. For additional information about the COPS Office, please visit www.cops.usdoj.gov.
LEO Near Miss System developed by COPS Office
November 20, 2014 | National News
In partnership with the Police Foundation, the IACP and other reputable law-enforcement associations, law-enforcement officers now have followed suit in recognizing the importance of studying near misses to reduce injuries and fatalities to their officers.
The Police Foundation is excited to announce the new LEO Near Miss system developed with support from the COPS Office. This system will allow law enforcement personnel to share “close calls” in order to help their peers stay safe and prevent tragedies.
Our mission is to encourage law enforcement personnel to share their stories