Author: Jim Dudley and Doug Wyllie
Download this week's episode on iTunes, SoundCloud or via RSS feed
The California Legislature recently passed (and Gov. Jerry Brown then vetoed) a controversial piece of legislation — Assembly Bill 186 — that would have allowed entities to open so-called "safe injection sites" — facilities where drug users would be able to shoot up in an enclosed environment supervised by medical professionals on the lookout for signs of overdose. The trouble is, doing so is in direct contravention with Federal law. In this podcast segment, Jim and Doug discuss the reasons such sites are not a good approach to solving the opioid epidemic.LEARN MORE
Digital Edition: How to win the war on opioids
Reality Training: Law enforcement and the use of naloxone
Policing Matters Podcast: Should drug dealers get the death penalty?
Policing Matters Podcast: What do we do about the opioid crisis?
IACP Quick Take: Why the fight against the opioid crisis can’t stop with naloxone
Author: Jim Dudley and Doug Wyllie
NEW YORK — Looking to improve how its police department interacts with the public, New York City on Friday started requiring officers to give their business cards to people they stop and to explain, in most instances, why law enforcement activity is taking place.
The measures, born out of concern that controversy over stop-and-frisk practices had eroded trust in the department, also require officers be trained to obtain voluntary, knowing and intelligent consent before conducting searches without a warrant or probable cause.
"Trust is perhaps the most critical component in the relationship between the police and the communities they are charged with protecting," said city council member Antonio Reynoso, who sponsored the legislation behind some of the new requirements.
The reforms, known collectively as the Right to Know Act, were passed into law last December.
The NYPD printed about 10 million business cards, developed new training on the Right to Know requirements, updated its patrol guide and created a quick-reference sheet for its 35,000 officers.
About 9 million of the business cards are personalized with officers' names, shield numbers and other required information, the department said. The other 1 million cards are blank templates that officers can fill out on the fly when they run out of their own.
The head of the police officers' union issued a statement blasting the reforms as "unnecessary distractions."
"As we've said from the beginning, the 'Right to Know' laws will discourage police officers from proactively addressing crime and disorder and will lead to more frivolous complaints," said Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association.
The NYPD has said it's showing a commitment to building community trust by sharply reducing stop-and-frisks, embracing a neighborhood policing strategy and implementing the bulk of a separate set of reforms recommended by a court-appointed facilitator.
The NYPD reported less than 10,000 stop-and-frisks last year, down from about 684,000 in 2011. Those numbers have been falling since a federal judge ruled in 2013 that the practice of stopping and frisking people without justification violated the civil rights of minorities.
Police watchdogs are wary and say they'll be monitoring compliance with the new measures, such as by videotaping officer interactions. They said any violations will be raised with the Civilian Complaint Review Board.
"The question remains whether the NYPD will commit to implementing this new law in good faith, especially in communities of color that still experience heavy police presence in their neighborhoods," said Michael Sisitzky, of the New York Civil Liberties Union.
Author: Jim Dudley and Doug Wyllie
By Melanie Speicher Sidney Daily News
SIDNEY, Ohio — With a bark of doggy delight, Shelby County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Officer Colt ran his way around the newly-installed obstacle course located at the Sheriff’s Office.
The obstacle course was dedicated Wednesday morning, culminating an Eagle Scout project for Boy Scout Merrick Fox, 16, son of Shawn and Claudia Fox, of Sidney. Merrick is a member of Troop 301 and a junior at Anna High School.
“I have a passion for law enforcement and for animals,” said Merrick. “This was a perfect Eagle Scout project for me.”
But the project wasn’t Merrick’s alone.
“The employees at the Sheriff’s Office have been involved with three Eagle Scout projects,” said Chief Deputy Jim Frye. “This says a lot for the county. Shelby County is well represented in Eagle Scout projects.”
Frye said he received an email from “Merrick Merrick” about the obstacle course and that he’d like to talk about it as his Eagle Scout project.
“His vision and plan were pretty vague,” he said. “So he comes to meet with me. I had wondered who would name his son ‘Merrick Merrick’ and then I found out his father was Shawn (Fox).”
Shawn Fox is reserve deputy at the Sheriff’s Office.
Frye said he and Merrick discussed what obstacles should be used in the course and the dimensions of each obstacle.
“I reached out to my mentor and received the Department of Defense’s plans for K-9 obstacle courses,” said Frye, who was a K-9 handler and trainer when he was in the U.S. Marines.
With those plans in hand, the development of the obstacle course began.
“When I first met Merrick, he was meek and mild mannered,” said Frye. “Now he’s boisterous. He’s developed his leadership skills. He’s learned from the people who helped with the project.”
In addition to Frye, Deputies Frank Bleigh and Brian Strunk assisted with the project. Bleigh is K-9 Colt’s handler.
“Merrick had his Court of Honor Tuesday night so he’s officially an Eagle Scout,” said Frye. “So many people have played an important role in the project. The Southwest Training Group, which includes five counties, have their dogs here today.We also have a K-9 from the Wapakoneta Police Department here.
“The vision was not only to let our dogs use this, but other agencies as well,” said Frye. “The public can come in to teach their dogs the obstacle course. Our K-9s work in all types of conditions — dry and wet. You can’t predict the weather” when they are called to a scene.”
Frye said if a local resident would like to bring their dog to the obstacle course, they should call the dispatch office and let them know when they plan to be there.
Merrick first learned about during a Boy Scout meeting where possible Eagle Scout projects were discussed.
After deciding on the project, said his mom, Claudia, Merrick had to present the idea to the Boy Scouts of Miami Valley Council for their approval. After receiving their OK, Merrick began working with Frye and Bleigh, who helped him design the obstacle course.
“I picked out 10 obstacles that I liked,” said Merrick. “I showed them to Chief Deputy Frye and we picked out seven obstacles for the course.”
Merrick had one word of how he felt the first time he saw a dog run through the obstacle course: Awesome!
“It was definitely worth the work,” said Merrick.
One of the obstacles was modified from the military specs they used to design the course.
“We added a door to one so it was similar to a car door,” said Frye. “The dog has to be able to get out of a cruiser in an emergency.”
Today, the officers have a button to open the door, said Frye, but if they are unconscious, the dog would have to get out of the vehicle through the window.
“Merrick did a wonderful job,” said Bleigh. “The door is the hardest obstacle because the opening is small. When Colt sees it (obstacle course), he wants to go play.”
Colt, who has been with the department for 10 years, is already benefiting from having the obstacle course at the sheriff’s office.
“Frank will drive to work early so Colt can run the course,” said Frye. “Frank is training Colt every night.”
Gay Smith provided the financial backing for the project.
“I’m just a dog person,” said Smith. “Deputy Strunk and Merrick approached me about the project. When they said ‘dog’ and ‘training,’ I said ‘why yes and who is this young man.’”
James and Judy Beckelhymer and Len Larson also helped Merrick with his project.
“We provided him the space to work,” said the Beckelhymers. “We had the tools, guidance and encouragement.”
Larson helped with the design of the obstacles and “turned it into something that we could build.
“It came together very nicely,” said Larson, who does woodworking and construction as a hobby. “We built and assembled it at James and Judy’s house. Some of the work was done at my place.”
Larson said he and Merrick talked about the vision of the project before they started working on it.
“We worked together to get it into the form you see here,” said Larson.
The construction of the obstacle course was completed over a series of days with the assistance of members of Merrick’s troop and adult troop leaders. Merrick used what he learned in his shop class at Anna High School in the construction of his project.
Jackson Center Police Chief Chuck Wirick and his K-9 Officer Hiro were on hand for the dedication.
“This is a great asset to have here,” said Wirick. “It’s nice to have it in the county. It’s another tool we can use for training.”
With the completion of his Eagle Scout project, Merrick said he has already started encouraging other members of his troop to start working on their project.
“I’ve approached two or three Scouts who are close to 18 years of age,” said Merrick. “I’ve told them they need to get going on a project. It’s well worth it.”
Merrick is also working on his Eagle Palms, which is only available to Boy Scouts who have earned their Eagle Scout pin. He can earn bronze, silver and gold palms based on the number of merit badges he continues to earn.
“I’ve gained confidence in talking to people,” said Merrick when asked what the most important thing he learned from completing the project. “I’ve gained the leadership to go and do the project.”
Merrick also received assistance from Joseph Riddle, Chris Knasel-Chandler, Robert Geuy, Lowe’s Home Improvement and Jenny’s Design on the project.
© 2018 AIM Media Midwest
Author: Jim Dudley and Doug Wyllie
SHREVEPORT, La. — Prayer vigils will no longer be hosted or promoted by police in Shreveport, Louisiana.
That's according to City Attorney William Bradford, in response to a letter from a national nonprofit that advocates for the separation of church and state.
The Shreveport Times reports that the Freedom From Religion Foundation wrote Shreveport Police Chief Alan Crump in August saying that hosting the vigils suggests the department "prefers religion over nonreligion," thereby violating the Constitution.
Bradford says officers still can attend vigils independently.
The police chief is also a pastor at the Republican Missionary Baptist Church, and police spokeswoman Cpl. Angie Willhite confirms that all 15 of the department's volunteer chaplains are Christian. The letter also asked the department to end its chaplain program. Bradford says Shreveport doesn't plan on doing that.
Author: Jim Dudley and Doug Wyllie
By Mike Stunson Lexington Herald-Leader
SCOTT COUNTY, Ky. — A Scott County sheriff’s deputy mostly paralyzed after being shot in the line of duty last month received a hero’s welcome when he returned to the county Thursday.
Jaime Morales was shot during a confrontation with a fugitive Sept. 11 and has spent most of the last month in a spinal rehabilitation facility in Louisville.
Soon after the shooting, Scott County Sheriff Tony Hampton called Morales’ injury “life changing” and said his legs were mostly paralyzed.
Morales will need to head back to Louisville to continue his rehab at a later time..
“The community is real excited about him coming home and the sheriff’s office is excited, too,” Hampton said Thursday morning. “It will be good to see him come and him get some rest.”
The sheriff’s office did not receive word until Wednesday that Morales would be released Thursday, Hampton said. Hampton said he hopes to have a parade in Morales’ honor in the future.
Hampton called Thursday a “mini parade.” Hampton said the route was going to take Morales to various schools in the county, where students made posters welcoming him back home.
Scott County High School sophomore Colby Conley said the shooting that injured Morales had a “huge” impact on students and teachers.
“We have a huge respect for what they do for us.; they are in our school all the time,” Conley said. “We just wanted to show our support.”
The support the sheriff’s office has received from the community has been “overwhelming,” Hampton said. Donations have poured in from people wanting to help pay Morales’ hospital bills. Money has been received for a handicapped-accessible vehicle. T-shirts are available at the sheriff’s office for $15, with the proceeds going to Morales.
“I hope it continues,” Hampton said of the support. “It’s very kind of everybody to be this generous and want to give to this cause.”
Hampton said he visited Morales four times in rehab and the deputy’s spirits have remained positive.
“He has rehabbed very hard and has exceeded their expectations up to this point as to where he should be,” Hampton said. “I think he is ahead of the curve a little bit.”
In a Facebook post earlier this month, Morales said he hopes to one day put back on his sheriff’s uniform. He said he would give anything to get back to doing what he loves.
“Sometimes we take the simplest things for granted. Something as simple as walking can be gone in a blink of an eye,” he said. “Look around you and be thankful for what you do have in this moment. You never know when your life could change completely. My goal is to one day wear this uniform again and continue to serve and protect you all.”
©2018 the Lexington Herald-Leader (Lexington, Ky.)