“This is a great day for Army soldiers and Texas A&M University,” said Edwards, Chairman of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Committee. “This Army-A&M partnership will mean Fort Hood soldiers, their families and students throughout Central Texas will have access to a first-class, affordable university education.” Source: Austin American StatesmanThis is going to mean changes for the Killeen area.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
In its decision Wednesday in Kansas v. Ventris (No. 07-1356), the Supreme Court ruled that the government may impeach a defendant’s testimony using statements obtained during an interrogation that violated his Sixth Amendment right to counsel, even though the prosecution would be barred from using such tainted evidence as part of its case in chief. Source: SCOTUSblogThe march of justice rolls on.
Before this, in the most recent, previous exoneration in Houston, Ronald Taylor's false conviction also resulted from HPD crime lab errors; in that case, bad forensic analysis from the Houston crime lab corroborated an incorrect witness identification. These examples show how a too-close relationship between detectives and crime lab workers can corrupt forensic results. When lab workers are told too much information about the case - e.g., "a witness ID'd him and we just need you to confirm" - they go into the test with a bias about what the results should be. Source: Grits For BreakfastI would carry this idea even further, given the gravity of the issues we deal with, we in Law Enforcement should cast a sceptical eye at nearly everything and not get too locked into any one theory or suspect too soon. Even if that information comes from another cop, a victim or a witness.
"These people just don't understand how it could cost you your life, just disregarding a red light." Source: Killeen Daily HeraldThis is a unique way to enforce the law. I still want to sound the train whistle.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Beyond the policy madness of a felony rap for stealing a $35 goat, this bill raises a more general complaint I have about such legislation: The political process is not honest about what it would cost. As with all bills expanding incarceration at the Texas Legislature, the official "fiscal note" for SB 1163 claims the legislation is a freebie to taxpayers, but obviously that is false. Source: Grits For BreakfastEven is this law passes, it's not likely to have an increased deterrent effect. Most felonies around here aren't prosecuted as such since most people get "deferred adjudication". Deferred adjudication means if they complete probation the conviction won't go on their record.
"You get to see a whole different light of how people run those red lights in front of trains and how trains can't stop on a dime. You have a lot of weight behind that engine," said Carroll Smith, police spokeswoman. "Just like when you're in a big vehicle, it's not as easy to stop behind a small vehicle when something pulls in front of you."But does the officer get to blow the train whistle?
The officers on the train will alert officers patrolling the streets near the downtown railroad track about violators, and tickets will be given. Source: Killeen Daily Herald
Parishioners at Concordia Lutheran Church said they are hoping guilt will do what reinforced doors can't: Stop the thieves in their tracks.
A billboard in front of the church on Harwood Road now reads: "You are forgiven, again. Bring back our stuff." Source: NBCDFW.com
Hope it works in more ways than one.
Now Dallas area authorities are reporting a variation on this type of crime. Businesses hardened their locations to prevent the burglaries and now thieves have upped the ante by using heavy equipment to facilitate these crimes.
"OFFICERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO BE AWARE OF ANY CONSTRUCTION SITES WITH HEAVY EQUIPMENT WITHIN CLOSE PROXIMITY TO A BANK OR ANY OTHER BUILDING WHICH MAY HAVE AN ATM MACHINE INSIDE," a Dallas police bulletin says. "OFFICERS SHOULD ALSO BE AWARE OF ANY CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT THAT IS MOVING DURING THE NIGHT TIME." Source: Dallas Morning NewsThieves can be quite inventive.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
A San Antonio area school district has been ordered to close for the week by the Texas Department of Health due to an outbreak among their students.
Some health officials have expressed concern that this strain of swine influenza could possibly become a pandemic. While a number of deaths have been reported in Mexico, most of the cases in the US have been relatively mild.
Officers should use caution when dealing with persons who appear to be ill, especially if that person has recently traveled to Mexico.
Germs can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. Droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person move through the air. Germs can be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets from another person on a surface like a desk and then touches their own eyes, mouth or nose before washing their hands. Source: CDC.govThe virus that causes swine flu can live on surfaces for up to several hours on surfaces such as doorknobs, tables and desks.
The CDC recommends these actions be taken to protect yourself:
There is no vaccine available right now to protect against swine flu. There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza. Take these everyday steps to protect your health:Officer safety is not just about fighting bad guys. In the immortal words of Phil Esterhaus "Let's be careful out there."
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you get sick with influenza, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them. Source: CDC.gov
"Within seconds he sat up and began firing a weapon that came out of nowhere, it was somewhere on his body we assume," Okaloosa County's Interim Sheriff Ed Spooner told more than 300 sheriff's office employees who gathered Sunday night to pray and hear an explanation of the shootings. Source: Yahoo NewsThe thing to take from this tragedy is that none of these non-lethal force options are perfect. In 18 years in law enforcement I've seen these gadgets come and go as the latest "wonder device". The only consistent thing they possess is inconsistency.
Most detectives have worked daytime hours, picking up cases from patrol officers hours — or sometimes days — after a crime occurred. The detectives were then responsible for following up with potential witnesses, reviewing forensic evidence and determining whether a suspect could be charged.
Police officials said the current arrangement means thatdozens of types of crimes do not receive a detective's review for 24 hours or more. Source: Austin American Statesman
It's almost always best to "strike while the iron is hot". Solvability is increased when the case is handled in a timely manner. It will be interesting to see if this improves APD's clearance rate.
"It touches every walk of life, every race, every religion," Wallace said.Bell County also has the second highest per capita rate of child abuse according to this article.
"It's not stopping. In some cases, it's not slowing down – it's progressing." Source: Killeen Daily Herald
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Mexico City has become the epicenter of the sickness, which is suspected to have infected 1,324 people nationwide by Saturday night. Mexican President Felipe Calderón issued a decree allowing the federal health department to enter homes and forcibly quarantine people, and the authorities ordered all schools closed until May 6 in the capital and neighboring Mexico State. Source: USA TodaySo far there are about a dozen cases that have been reported in the US. Is your police department ready to confront the realities of a pandemic? It may not be the swine flu but how would your agency cope with such an outbreak? Do you have plans in place? Are you ready personally to weather such an epidemic?
Friday, April 24, 2009
1st Sgt. Valdemar Gonzales, acting sergeant major for the 4th BCT rear detachment, said when the 3,900 troops from the 4th BCT return in June, nearly 300 of them will have to find a place to live. Source: Temple Daily TelegramIn spite of the fear that there will be a reduced number of troops assigned to Fort Hood (and hence a negative economic impact on the surrounding communities) this story seems to point to growth not decline.
The wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan have kept troops busy and away from Bell County for a number of years. Their return to the post in the short term should lessen the impact in the long term. It's not all doom & gloom.
“When someone decides to seek shelter, it is usually after a while,” Armour said. “A lot of times it is after years of abuse.” Source: Temple Daily TelegramAs a large part of police work consists of dealing with domestic violence it's a pretty good read.
The fact is, penalty hikes are among the least effective ways to reduce graffiti because a) penalties have already been increased many times and b) so few people are arrested for the offense, particularly compared to the tens of thousands of separate graffiti offenses committed statewide every year (much of which goes unreported). Source: Grits For BreakfastGraffiti is not the only statute where the felony enhancement has not proved to be effective.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
But, only about a year after the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on gun rights in District of Columbia v. Heller, the Justices could soon be faced with one of the most significant issues left undecided by Heller. That is whether the Second Amendment’s guarantee (as interpreted in Heller) of a personal right to have a gun restricts the power of state and local governments to regulate personal weapons (as it already does for the federal government). Source: SCOTUSblog.com
The evolutionary process of case law marches on.
"We're looking at going to a no-tie ordinance. Currently, the ordinance allows for a pulley system so it's not tied to a single point. A lot of research shows that it tends to breed aggression in animals," Clements said. Source: Killeen Daily Herald
Now that the recommendations have been made, it will be up to the City Council to decide.
"We offered the deal a while back," Waldman said. "The only benefit Roberts really got was possible parole in 30 years. It's my expectation that he will never take a free step with what he did to Kathy Parker." Source: Killeen Daily Herald
He also plead guilty to drug and escape charges.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
The Court held that a search of the passenger compartment of a vehicle following an arrest is allowed “only if  the arrestee is within reaching distance of the passenger compartment at the time of the search or  it is reasonable to believe the vehicle contains evidence of the offense of arrest. When these justifications are absent, a search of an arrestee's vehicle will be unreasonable unless police obtain a warrant or show that another exception to the warrant requirement applies.” Source: PoliceOne.com
The case law affecting search and seizure ebbs and flows. I once heard an expert say that even if you had a Supreme Court justice riding in your police car you'll have a hard time keeping all the case law straight on search & seizure.
The link has a picture of what the new licenses will look like.
If a ban goes into effect, it will be interesting to see how many citations are issued.
"You steal a prescription pad and you start writing prescriptions and go from one side of town to the other, to every pharmacy and give them your prescription until you get caught," said Lt. Joe Coy, of DPS Narcotics. Source: KXXV.com
I have noticed an increase of the seizure of prescription drugs from drug users who in years past would have only had illicit narcotics. This is only the tip of the iceberg as many prescription drug abusers are "respectable" citizens who aren't being arrested in a crack house.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Woolever's masquerade has him now facing third degree felony charges.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Imagine if you turned on the radio and heard this: "From NPR News in Washington, I'm Carl Kasell. After 70 years of prohibition, marijuana becomes legal today for personal consumption throughout the United States for persons 21 and older …"How would the world change if cannabis finally came out of the closet, if it were fully legal to possess, sell and cultivate? Source: NPR
Welcome Chief Ellis.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
The 80,000-square-foot complex was slated to be finished this summer. Police Chief Dennis Baldwin said Tuesday the completion date was pushed back because of delays in acquiring steel and cinder blocks for the project.The station is expected to be finished in December and possibly earlier, Baldwin said. He expects KPD's move-in will take between 30 days and several months after it receives the keys to the headquarters on Featherline Road. Source: Killeen Daily Herald
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
Cummings said Batiste has an extensive criminal record. Source: KWTX.com
Maybe he'll do some real time for this if he's convicted.
The U.S.-Mexican border is a dynamic place, with competition over drug routes and the quest for cash destabilizing northern Mexico and straining local and state law enforcement on the U.S. side. Putting pressure on the people who are active in the border drug trade has so far only inspired others to innovate and adapt to the challenging environment by becoming more innovative and pragmatic. Source: Stratfor.com
As usual another great report from Stratfor. I highly recommend subscribing to their free email reports.
Bank robbery has about as high a clearance rate as murder. About three quarters of all bank robbers are caught. Usually more. By comparison, some property crimes in Dallas have single-digit arrest percentages. Source: Dallas Morning News
With the economy in the tank, it is likely we'll see even more bank robberies.
Jane's Police Review editor Chris Herbert, who requested the information, said: "The Force appears to be strong in Strathclyde Police with their Jedi police officers and staff.
"Far from living a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, some members of the noble Jedi order have now chosen Glasgow and its surrounding streets as their home." Source: BBC
Either this police force has a few Star Wars geeks or this proves that cops hate filling out surveys that come from Human Resources.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
"Because of the malicious nature of this case, several detectives have spent many hours working the investigative and crime scene aspects through the years," Thornton said. "We’ve always been aware of the existing fingerprint evidence and had just hoped one day it would help identify a suspect." Source: Fort Worth Star Telegram
Kudos to the Fort Worth detectives.
The study is based on job growth in more than 300 metropolitan areas across the U.S. but the analysis also took into consideration how employment figures have changed in the last decade. Source: KWTX.com
Here in Bell County we've been very fortunate to escape most of the employment problems plaguing other areas of the US.
“I am convinced that we can stamp out sexual assault by ensuring that we educate our soldiers and their families, and we encourage them to act,” Lynch said. Source: Temple Daily Telegram
Like many crime problems, it takes a comprehensive approach to make a difference.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
"It was nice to be recognized," said Weston, who has 10 months on the job. "I'll just leave it at that." Source: Lawofficer.com
Under the bill, which passed 24-6, Texans could be arrested and charged with a crime if they refused to give their name, date of birth and address. Source: KVUE.com
Lynch said he has established a task force on domestic violence to battle it head-on, because “we’ve seen a marked increase.” Source: Temple Daily Telegram
Stressors on a population whether soldiers or civilians tend to increase violent crime. Repeated deployments are hard on military families.
The Commanding General of Fort Hood, Lt. General Rick Lynch announced that troop levels will drop by more than 7200 soldiers over the next four years. Source: KCENdt.com
Not only will this affect the area's economy but it will also affect area police department's workload. More people = more calls for service.
Chief Dennis Baldwin intends to spend some of the funding for patrol cameras, a specialized K-9 patrol SUV and equipment for evidence processing and organized crime investigations. Source: Killeen Daily Herald
This grant should augment what's shaping up to be a lean budget year for police departments across the nation.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
The issue stems from the state requiring counties of a certain size to have "drug courts" to handle drug offenders.
Statutes in the amendment stated if a county did not have sufficient funds for the court, it was not required to have it, but other county programs, including adult probation and Child Protective Services, could be in jeopardy of having their state funding pulled.
"We just can't risk losing funding on those programs because we didn't have a drug court," Burrows said. "We're trying to come up with a solution to satisfy the state without costing taxpayers in the end." Source: Killeen Daily Herald
It will be interesting to see how a new drug court changes the dynamics of the court system here in Bell County.
Consultants from PSA-Dewberry told the council that the new 87,000-square-foot headquarters strongly needed the extension of Featherline Road northward toward W.S. Young Drive or Stan Schlueter Loop, before it became active, or else there would be no immediate direct north response route from the headquarters. Source: Killeen Daily Herald
The new headquarters in currently under construction. You can monitor progress on the new building on the KPD website.
OSHA has reported in the past that police officers and prison guards are more likely to be assaulted in the workplace than any other occupation.
In the same KDH story, several other Bell County crooks got sentenced for their misdeeds.
Monday, April 13, 2009
"Our cars are different in Texas. We want to be able to carry guns, spit, chew, call on our cellphones or sharpen our knives while driving. Texas is unique," Pickett said. Source: KVUE.com
This probably won't stop the politicians from trying. A local councilman tried to introduce a similar ordinance here.
"We're unsure yet who started this fight, how the swordplay got involved," Mount said. "We're not sure who it was who stabbed the woman. We'll have to do some testing on the swords and figure out who had which sword, whose blood is on which sword." Source: Yahoo! News
When swords are outlawed, only outlaws will have swords.
Thomas is "clearly 'crazy,' " a judge on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals wrote in a concurring denial of his appeal last month, "but he is also 'sane' under Texas law." Source: Dallas Morning News
This brings up an interesting point. Many criminals have mental problems. How do we define the line that determines insanity versus criminal culpability?
Saturday, April 11, 2009
A 10-year-old Killeen girl tipped Killeen police off as a knife-wielding robbery suspect fled through her neighborhood Friday evening.
Killeen police responded to a shoplifting report at the Killeen Wal-Mart about 6 p.m. Friday. Two men, one displaying a knife, are believed to have been involved in a shoplifting attempt that became a robbery, Sgt. Scott Meads said. Source: Killeen Daily Herald
Friday, April 10, 2009
Local government and commercial leaders have said that people cut back on spending as soon as they saw their 401(k)s shrinking but that in the last couple of months the real effects of the recession have been showing up in the area's commerce. They have said that the recession would not be as deep here as elsewhere in the state and nation because of the stabilizing effect of Fort Hood. Source: Killeen Daily HeraldHopefully this won't last long. A lot of cities are putting off hiring, purchasing new equipment and the like due to the slump. A recent Byrne grant may help departments with a few purchases so it's not all bad news.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
He was taken to the hospital and I'm sure the police will be there waiting for him when the doctor's are done fixing him.
All it took was the gunshot fired outside his Walker County home to trigger training ingrained in former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, the lone survivor of a dramatic battle in Afghanistan in 2005.
He did a sweep through the house. Checked on his mother. And bolted out the door, where he found dead his beloved Labrador retriever, Dasy, a dog given to him to help him recover from his own wounds and the loss of his fellow Navy comrades.
“I could tell she tried to get away because there was a blood trail,” Luttrell recalled in a phone interview Wednesday. “When I saw she was dead, the only thing that popped into my head was, ‘I’ve got to take these guys out.’ ” Source: Houston Chronicle
These three mopes apparently have no idea that SEALs are some of the best trained operators in the world.
The area of four-plexes off State Highway 195 and Elms and Florence roads is one of Killeen's most active crime areas. A recent string of unsolved taxi driver robberies happened near Cantabrian Drive. Also, a man listed among Bell County's most wanted was captured April 3 in a traffic stop on Cantabrian Drive. A woman was shot in September on Hereford Lane after being dropped off at one of the four-plexes.It will be interesting to see how those comments will play out. The Killeen City Council has been discussing changes to the City's zoning ordinances to change the way high density housing is constructed. This area has lots of multi-family housing.
Tony Evans lives two four-plexes down from the shooting. His children always stay with his wife because he is too scared they will be shot by random gunfire while playing outside, he said.
"It's all the time," Evans said. "It's a bad neighborhood. If I'd known what I know now, I never would have moved here." Source: Killeen Daily Herald
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Castellano passed gas “which upset Ramirez to the point he picked up a large knife and threw it at Castellano, striking him in the leg,” states a news release from the Waco Police Department.
Ramirez then crossed the room, picked up the knife and stabbed Castellano on the left side of his chest, the release states. Source: Waco Tribune
I'm always amazed at the number of felony assaults that start for stupid reasons.
The number of fatalities in both Bell and McLennan Counties has increased over the past year and safety officials say the number of construction work zones may be to blame. Source: KCEN DT TVWhile it seems like most of Bell County is under construction I don't know that many of our fatal traffic accidents are occurring in these zones, accidents maybe but not fatalities.
"There's concerns that there's money laundering at some of these sites, so they (the comptroller's office) can now monitor who owns what and where they are," said state Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, who voted in favor of the bill. Source: Laredo Morning Times8Liner gambling operations generate a ton of citizen complaints and are very hard to combat under the current Texas law. Hopefully this law will close more loopholes than it opens.
Officer Jeff Thomason, a police spokesman, said the department was grateful for the team's support. "It's overwhelming for us," he said. "It does mean a lot for the Oakland Police Department and the men and women who work here." Source: SFGate.comIt seems like most news about Oakland PD makes you think they are always under siege from a community that doesn't like them. Things like this should help Oakland PD feel appreciated.
In another note, the Oakland Police Officers Association has set up a trust fund for the officers' familes.
"Baird said that Lubbock police zeroed in on Cole for no good reason after he flirted with an undercover officer outside of a Lubbock pizza parlor. The officer was attempting to lure the person responsible for a string of unsolved rapes near the campus, according to testimony at the February hearing.
Cole's behavior — he gave his real name, was polite and left when the officer rejected his request for her number — did not in any way resemble the rapist, who forced his victims into their cars, Baird wrote.
Baird said a "suggestive lineup" led rape victim Michele Mallin to identify Cole as her attacker. She joined Cole's family in seeking his exoneration." Source: Austin American Statesman
I don't bring this up to pick on Lubbock PD but I think we can all learn from these exonerations. I am sure that Lubbock PD was under incredible pressure to solve the string of rapes that led to Timothy Cole's arrest.
I think the days are coming to an end where we can get a conviction based on an "eye witness" identification alone. In fact, we should be the first to cast a suspicious eye at a case based soley on a photo lineup. While a lineup ID may give us a direction to go during an investigation we should not be so lazy as to rely on it alone for probable cause. We also should keep an open mind for other possible suspects when such an ID was made.
Dallas PD already got stung by improper photo lineups and changed their policy to improve their lineup procedures.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
"But experts say most people who embark on such wholesale slaughter share certain key characteristics: A catastrophic event that triggers a suicidal rage and an unquenchable thirst to get even.
And there is often no way to see it coming.
"I'm not sure you can even predict it," says Mark Safarik, who retired in 2007 as a senior profiler in the FBI's famed Behavioral Analysis Unit.
"It's the constellation or coming together, the perfect storm of someone's last shot at something. For them, there's just no other way out. Or if there's another way out, they don't choose it, because they're going to punish somebody."
Mass murder is nothing new, and the invention of repeating guns only made it easier. But even experts who study the phenomenon have been stunned by the recent rash — seven in the past month, three in the past week alone." Source: Yahoo! News
While this doesn't offer any easy answers to preventing these incidents, it does point to likely places people who feel aggrieved may lash out, workplaces, government buildings, schools, etc.
Every disturbance call has the potential to go bad.
"There is no excuse. It could have been handled better, without a doubt," - Allegheny County Chief of Emergency Services Robert Full, Source: Yahoo! NewsWhen you're getting information about a 'routine' disturbance are you asking the right questions? If your dispatcher gives you this information are you taking it to heart?
Then, because cops heard no gunfire, suggesting there was no "active gunman," they decided to wait for a SWAT team before entering, said Binghamton Police Chief Joseph Zikuski.
"Nobody could have been saved even if police walked in the door that first minute," Zikuski insisted. Source: Officer.Com
This brings up an interesting question, at what point does an active shooter cease being active and the scene becomes a multiple murder? How would you respond?
"We ought to treat these exonerations like we treat a plane crash. It's a big deal. We've gotten so accustomed to false convictions in Texas that we just shrug our shoulders and say, 'Oh, well."' Source - Dallas Morning NewsMany departments and even the state legislature are working on changes to help prevent this from happening in the future. Texas leads the nation in DNA exoneration of people wrongly convicted.
The Dallas Morning News also has an interesting online feature regarding these exoneration.
"Bell County received $554,000 from the grant to split among five law enforcement entities. This year marked the first time Belton and Harker Heights will receive money through the grant.These monies should provided a needed boost to purchase equipment during what many are characterizing as a lean budget year.
Money is distributed to each city and county based on their violent crime rate.
Killeen will receive the highest amount in the county, $352,570. Temple will receive $92,568 and Harker Heights will receive $23,221." Source: Killeen Daily Herald
Monday, April 6, 2009
You never know when the next routine call will go bad. Are you on your toes at all times?
The initiative has already netted several serial killers working as truck drivers. Ever wonder what draws a trucker into serial murder or serial murderers into truck driving?