The North Region Communications Center

Archive for 2012

April 30, 2012

Harter, Hirschy seek Steuben GOP coroner nomination

By Mike Marturello

ANGOLA — Two Angola-area men are running for the Republican nomination for Steuben County Coroner.

William Harter, 43, and Scott Hirschy, 38, are running for the nomination. The winner will face Democrat Eric V. Hildebrandt in the fall.

Harter said his goals for office include maintaining a trained staff with prompt response to families, continuing to work closely with all law enforcement agencies during a death investigation; implement new state of Indiana policies and procedures for the office; and implementing public information sessions regarding medication organization and safety related issues.

Hirschy said his goal would be to “continue to foster growth in the relationships with the office of coroner and the local law enforcement agencies. Be prompt and professional at the scenes.”

When it comes to issues facing the office, Harter said, “There are no real issues at this time.”

When asked the same question, Hirschy said, “The office of coroner over the last years has been run with dignity and dedication. Over the course of my career as a nurse, I have shared with many families the sorrow and tragedy of death. Also in my career as an administrator, I have exhibited team work and leadership. I am confident that with my experiences professionally and in my community involvement that I can give the voters of Steuben County four more years of the same dignity and dedication of our current and previous coroners.”

When asked how they would ensure transparency if elected, Harter said, “I would release information to the public, the information the office is able to release is regulated by law, which as coroner I would adhere to assuring the privacy to the decedent and their family.”

Hirschy said, “I will continue to be a good steward of the budget of the coroners’ office.”

Both men are newcomers to running for office and said they are doing so to serve the community.

“I am passionate about public service and being involved in the community, I want to continue my service to community in which I live in the capacity of coroner,” Harter said. “I have been part of the Steuben County Coroner’s office for 2 years; I want to continue to provide the quality of service that currently exists within the office of coroner.”

Said Hirschy: “I enjoy taking an active role in my community. I have recently been involved in the Steuben County Community Foundation. I am also the current president of my local PTO board. I am the current chairman of the Cameron Home Care and Hospice Board. I also enjoy giving back to the youth through the Angola Kids League as a coach.

I am an active member of St. Anthony Catholic Church. I have had a long time interest in government and I am an avid consumer of local and national issues. Therefore, I was compelled to run for the Office of Coroner.”

Harter is employed by the Angola Fire Department, where he currently serve as a captain.

He has been with the department since 1994 and fulltime since 2001. He has been chief deputy coroner since 2010. Before being hired by the city, he spent 12 years in industrial management. He has served as a Steuben County E.M.S. reserve from 1988-1992 and is a member of the Indiana Coroner’s Association.

He has one son, Brandon, who is in college.

Scott Hirschy holds a nursing degree from Indiana Universty-Purdue University Fort Wayne and a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Indianapolis. He has been employed at Cameron Memorial Community Hospital for the last five years, where he is the inpatient team leader.

Prior to that, he was employed at The Lutheran Health Network and Parkview Health Systems in Fort Wayne. In addition to nursing administration, he has served in many areas of the profession.

He and his wife of 10 years, Gina (Caruso) Hirschy, have a son and a daughter in elementary school.

Hirschy is founder of the Steuben County Young Republicans. He also has served as an election board official in Pleasant Township 6 the past three elections.

April 30, 2012

Sand through the hour glass

Photo one is the old Pendleton Post before it was torn down.

Photo two, three, and four is what the location looks like today.

April 30, 2012

Autopsy of Gibson Co. Sheriff's Captain released

by Jeffery Smith

GIBSON CO., IN (WFIE) - A Gibson County Sheriff's Deputy was found dead at his Owensville home on Thursday.

The autopsy results for Captain Jim Stoll have now been released. The Gibson County Coroner's Office says Stoll died of respiratory arrest.

The coroner says it's still not known what cause him to go into respiratory arrest.

Authorities say Stoll was found dead at his home around 4:00 p.m. Thursday afternoon.

Gibson County Sheriff George Ballard says Stoll's been with the Sheriff's Office a long time.

He'd been with us since 1995 and worked his way up from being a correction officer to part time, full time, became Deputy Sheriff

and became Captain. It's a great loss to the Sheriff's office to lose him, said Ballard.

Copyright 2012 WFIE. All rights reserved.

April 30, 2012

Muncie calls on national expert Terry Mills to testify in dog-fighting case

The Missouri state trooper, has offered his help in Muncie dogfighting case against Rahsaan Ahmad Johnson


MUNCIE -- A Missouri state trooper whose undercover work led to the largest dog-fighting bust in American history has offered his help in the prosecution of a local man accused of operating a large dog-fighting training facility in Muncie.

Terry Mills, known nationally for the seizure of more than 500 pit bulls and the arrests of 26 people involved in dog-fighting in a 2009 Missouri raid, has been asked to testify as an expert in the local case against Rahsaan Ahmad Johnson, according to Phil Peckinpaugh, superintendent of the Muncie Animal Shelter.

On Friday, Mills -- who now serves with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) as an animal fighting specialist -- met in Muncie with Peckinpaugh and several other city and county officials, including Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler, city police investigators Jami Brown and Jim Johnson and Joe Orick from the Delaware County prosecutor's office.

(Mills) is just awesome and has so much knowledge about dog-fighting, Peckinpaugh said. It was just a learning experience for what to look for in dog-fighting, the potential prosecution of further cases and understanding what the subculture of dog-fighting is all about.

Tyler said he came out of Friday's meeting with Mills with a better understanding of dog-fighting and what it actually entails.

I think that he could sit there and talk to you about those animals in ways that you or I would've never imagined or understood, but as he explains it to you, it all starts making sense, Tyler said in an interview Sunday. It's evident that the man's a professional in the field.

Johnson, 36, is set to stand trial Aug. 6 on 16 counts each of promoting an animal fighting contest and possessing an animal for use in animal fighting contests, nine counts of cruelty to an animal and two counts of purchasing an animal for fighting.

Muncie police found 25 pit bulls when they raided a condemned mobile home at 2407 N. Blaine St. in Muncie on March 29, along with paraphernalia -- included weighted collars and treadmills -- that investigators said were frequently linked to dog-fighting operations. One of the dogs -- named Wonder in the wake of the raid -- was euthanized days after the raid due to the extent of its injuries and its aggressive nature towards other canines.

Since that time, Peckinpaugh said six additional dogs found in the raid that were unable to pass temperament evaluations have been euthanized at local animal care facilities.

The remaining 18 dogs passed the same tests and have each been guaranteed spots at special shelters in Indianapolis and along the East Coast, Peckinpaugh said.

We did everything possible that we could to assure that we were doing it the correct way and making sure each dog had every chance possible to be re-homed, Peckinpaugh said. I do take some satisfaction knowing (the dogs) died with us giving them every chance that they had. They died an honorable death.

Peckinpaugh said the transport and vet costs for the pit bulls involved came at no cost to taxpayers. It was all funded through a ($4,000) grant issued by PetSmart Charities, he said.

Tyler commended Peckinpaugh and his staff for their diligence and hard work, especially in the wake of the discovery of such a large alleged dog-fighting operation.

I'm extremely proud of Phil and his staff and our law enforcement agencies and everybody that was involved in this that put together a heck of a case and a heck of a bust, Tyler said. I hope that we can nail -- well, for lack of a better term -- these people.

Contact reporter Andrew Walker at 213-5845. Find him on Twitter at

April 30, 2012

Large house fire destroys home, sends one boy to hospital in critical condition

BUTLER, Ind. (WANE) Four people living in a home in Butler were rudely awakened by smoke and flames early Monday morning.

Multiple fire departments were called to State Road 1 and South Broadway for that house fire around 1:00 a.m.

When crews got on scene they found two people with burns from the fire and discovered an 11-year-old boy was still inside.

Crews rescued the boy from the fire and performed CPR; he was airlifted to a Fort Wayne hospital in critical condition.

Officials also said a girl jumped from a 2nd floor window, on to a roof and then to the ground to escape the flames.

Butler Police on scene said a space heater may be the cause for the fire.

NewsChannel 15 has a crew on the scene gathering the latest details; this story will be updated when they are available.

April 30, 2012

Trooper traveling with N.H. governor rescues man in crash

ANDOVER— New Hampshire State Police say a trooper who was traveling with the governor in Massachusetts rescued a man from a fiery crash.

Investigators say Trooper Scott Frye was traveling with Gov. John Lynch and his wife in an official capacity when they

witnessed a road rage incident that led to the crash. It happened Sunday night on Interstate 93 in Andover.

They say a vehicle involved in the crash rolled down an embankment and trapped the driver inside.

Authorities say Lynch called 911 and Frye grabbed a fire extinguisher to help rescue the man.

Frye then climbed into the burning car and an off-duty firefighter helped him pull the driver to safety.

Frye was treated and released at a hospital for smoke inhalation.

State police continue to investigate.

April 29, 2012

Trine to host Indiana State Police youth camp

By Jennifer Decker

ANGOLA — Registrations are now being taken for Indiana State Police Summer Youth Camps.

Karen Shelton, director of operations for Indiana Troopers Youth Services, has worked for the camp program for the past 16 years.

This year’s program will have nine camps located all over the state, with one on law enforcement careers at Trine University for high-school-age teens July 15-20.

“This weeklong camp is designed to be a mini recruit school, and the campers go through the same training and education as troopers do when they are selected for the law enforcement academy – of course, on a smaller scale,” Shelton said. “The Indiana State Police do not finance the camps, however, they do provide volunteer troopers as camp directors, counselors and staff for all the camps. The camps are great avenues to allow Indiana youth to build rapport with our law enforcement officers and get to know them as real people.”

Shelton said the camps are filled with demonstrations from all areas of the state police: canine units, bomb squad, crime scene projects, equipment education, physical exercise and much more, all in a college campus setting with lots of time for fun, food and fellowship with other campers from around the state.

“There are fees for each camp — but we always try to get assistance/scholarships for any youngster who want to go and cannot afford it. Our goal is to never turn away a camper because of their ability to pay,” Shelton said. “Many of our current — and now retired — state troopers attended the camp program as kids and got the desire to become state troopers by their camp experiences.”

The camp director of the Trine Career Camp is Indiana State Trooper Marc Leatherman of Albion, who is assigned to the Fort Wayne State Police Post.

“(The camp) is oriented for those who think they have an interest (in law enforcement). They spend six days on campus and are with us around the clock,” Leatherman said. “They see we’re human, too. We give them a taste of training.”

Leatherman said the first day of the camp in spent on military drills.

“They work hard,” Leatherman said. “It’s really neat. They come in as individuals. You see them come together as a cohesive unit. We always have each other’s backs.”

Leatherman said everything done during the camp is law-enforcement-related.

Leatherman is in his 13th year as a state trooper.

“I love working with the kids to have them see what we do. (Sometimes) we can see them mature in six days,” he said.

Other camps this summer will be held throughout the state including: respect for law camps for fifth- and sixth-graders at Vincennes University, University of Southern Indiana in Evansville, Hanover College, the University Notre Dame, Anderson University; Lions law camps for seventh- and eighth-graders at Vincennes and Anderson; and career camp for high schoolers at Trine and Vincennes.

Camps are coordinated by the Indiana Troopers Youth Services with support from The Tony Stewart Foundation, The Indiana State Police Alliance, Association of Indiana State Troopers, ISP Pioneers, Indiana District Optimists, Jaycees, Lions Clubs of Indiana and Indiana Kiwanis.

For more information or to register for one of the camps, call 800-671-9851.

Registration forms can be found at or

April 29, 2012

Columbus Ends Private Use Of City-Owned Cars

City Will Save Thousands, Mayor Says

COLUMBUS, Ind. -- Columbus officials are putting the brakes on personal use of city-owned vehicles as part of an effort Mayor Kristen Brown said will save the city thousands and send a message about fiscal responsibility to taxpayers.

Brown has ordered all city employees except police and firefighters to suspend private use of their vehicles by Tuesday, The Republic reported. That means employees cannot take the vehicles home and use them for errands or family outings.

More than a dozen vehicles will be parked on city property under the new policy.

Brown said the changes will save the city thousands of dollars in annual fuel and maintenance costs.

The city for years allowed some officials to take work vehicles home for personal use. The Parks and Recreation Department halted the practice in 2008.

Bryan Burton, operations manager for the city garage, said supervisors who had the use of five pickup trucks in his department will miss them. But he said he understands the reason for the change.

They are convenient to have when we get a call in the middle of the night, he said. We'll just have to go to the garage to start with.

Brown excluded public safety workers from the policy because they are on call 24 hours a day.

Police Chief Jason Maddix said the take-home policy is vital for the quick mobilization of detectives, negotiators, lab team members, SWAT team members and others.

He noted that in case of severe weather, off-duty officers can respond from their homes instead of the station.

Off-duty police officers responded to more than 2,000 incidents in 2011, according to data from Maddix.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

April 29, 2012

Michigan deputy, prisoner injured in U.S. 41 accident

A Manatee County sheriff’s deputy and a prisoner in his cruiser were injured early Sunday morning after a vehicle crossed the median on U.S. 41 and hit the police car, the Florida Highway Patrol said in a press release.

The prisoner, Luis Jimenez, 46, of Sarasota, is in serious condition at Manatee Memorial Hospital with a severe laceration above his eye, according to Sgt. John W. Edwards of FHP; the deputy, Nathaniel E. Boggs, 33, of Bradenton, has a broken toe; and the driver of the vehicle that hit the cruiser, Mark J. Headley, 58, of Palmetto, was taken to Manatee Memorial Hospital with a broken ankle.

According to a press release from the FHP, Headley’s 1998 Lexus ES500 was heading south on U.S. 41 in the left lane, and the marked Sheriff’s Office 2008 Ford Crown Victoria was heading north on U.S. 41 in the left lane. The Lexus drove across the center median, the report said, and the left front of the Lexus hit the left front of the Crown Victoria, which received about $10,000 worth of damage.

The accident happened at 2:50 a.m., just north of the intersection of 25th Street East and U.S. 41.

Jimenez was under arrest and being taken to the Port Manatee Jail at the time of the accident.

Charges are pending results of the driver’s blood test,

Copyright © 2012 — All rights reserved. Restricted use only.

April 29, 2012

Ohio sheriff eyes fund for radio system

Mike Sever

The Portage County Sheriff’s Office wants county commissioners to spend more than a half a million dollars on a new radio system he says will end the problem of radio dead zones.

Sheriff Dave Doak has proposed that the county sign a five-year lease-purchase agreement with Ohio’s Multi-Agency Radio Communications System for a digital radio system, at a cost of about $132,000 per year.

Discussing the issue on Thursday, commissioners agreed there is a need, but are concerned about where they will find the money, and what will have to be sacrificed to do it.

The county’s general fund budget has been relatively stagnant for the past three years and there’s not much sign of improvement so far this year, they said.

Doak told commissioners there are spots in northern Portage that are dead zones for radio communication, a dangerous situation for police and other emergency responders.

“We have had instances where a deputy on a call could not be reached on his radio or his cell phone. When that happens, another deputy has to be sent to the scene to make sure the first deputy is OK,” Doak said.

Urging commissioners to agree to the pact, Doak said, “We have gone on far too long putting deputies in harm’s way because they cannot communicate.”

The county has studied how to fix the problem, but has not taken any action. In 2009, Portage fire and police chiefs sent commissioners a letter recommending that the current Very High Frequency radio system be expanded, with towers added in the Garrettsville/Nelson area. In addition to expanding the coverage, the new towers could give the system redundancy needed in case of a disaster.

The price tag for a new five-channel, five-tower system was estimated then at $2.5 million. Jon Barber, head of the county’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said that would build a system “backbone” and each local partner would buy its own radios to use in time of catastrophe.

With no action on the VHF system, Doak tested the Multi-Agency Radio Communications System administered through the Ohio Department of Administrative Services.

MARCS is a digital radio and data network used by more than 1,200 public safety and service agencies statewide, including local, state and federal agencies.

Major Dennis Missimi said deputies had a chance to test the MARCS radios for a few days and were impressed.

“When the test was over I practically had to pry the radios out of their hands. They didn’t want to give them up,” he said.

Other fire and police agencies are sticking with their VHF systems, however, because they are paid for and still work.

Barber said the sheriff’s office and local agencies have different communication needs.

The sheriff’s office, he said, “is the only one that covers 540 square miles.”

Suffield Fire Chief Bob Rasnick agreed MARCS is superior from the standpoint of range.

“But how often does someone from the Suffield Fire Department need to talk to someone in Cincinnati?” Rasnick asked.

April 29, 2012

Colorado Governor approves Larimer deputy's license plate honoring fallen officers

A license plate conceived by a Larimer County Sheriff's deputy soon will be seen on the streets after Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill approving it.

The Colorado Law Enforcement Fallen Heroes plate was the idea of deputy Basil Marciniak in response to the death of Weld County Sheriff's deputy Sam Brownlee, who was fatally shot by a suspect in 2010.

This is an opportunity for citizens to recognize and remember the ultimate sacrifices many law enforcement officers have made and the risks officers face on a daily basis, Larimer Sheriff Justin Smith said in a news release Friday.

The plate, which features three eagles and a seal that says In memory of the fallen, will be available to people who make a $50 donation to Colorado Concerns of Police Survivors. The COPS organization assists families of law-enforcement officers who've been killed in the line of duty.

The plate was designed by Marciniak with COPS and Luke Burton with Huston Graphics and Printing of Windsor, according to the news release.

Some 3,000 signatures of interested citizens were gathered to demonstrate interest for the type of license plate. The plate is to be available by the end of the year, and specialty license plate fees also apply.

The Colorado Law Enforcement Day ceremony honoring Colorado's law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty will be held Friday at the Colorado State Patrol Academy in Golden. National Police Week is scheduled for the week of May 13 in Washington, DC, and includes a number of events throughout the week.

April 29, 2012

Plane Makes Emergency Landing In Fort Wayne

By Eric Dutkiewicz

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - An American Eagle flight from Dayton, Ohio, to Chicago made an emergency landing Saturday morning at Fort Wayne International Airport.

Airline officials say an odor similar to that of an electrical burn filled flight No. 3989 just before 11 a.m. The crew went through emergency procedures, and diverted the landing to Fort Wayne.

The plane made a routine landing, and the 32 passengers and three crew members were safely evacuated.

Emergency crews were remained on standby, but airport officials determined there was no fire on the plane.

An American Eagle official says company mechanics will fly into Fort Wayne to evaluate the plane, and says the cause of the odor has not been determined.

The official says passengers would continue on to Chicago Saturday afternoon, possibly on the same plane..

April 29, 2012

Detectives from ISP Peru Post Warn Hoosiers about Scam

Peru - Detectives working from the Indiana State Police Peru Post would like to warn Hoosiers of a scam which occurred in north central Indiana that cost a Miami County woman $2,200.

The scam started when the woman was called, unsolicited, and advised she had won a large sum of money and a new car. The caller indicated the lady was automatically entered into a drawing because she had previously used a debit or credit card. The caller indicated the woman had initially won the contest in November but the contest host was not able to contact her. Due to victim not being contacted in November, the caller said the winning car had to be placed in storage. The caller said it would cost the victim $2,200 to get the car out of storage.

The victim was advised to purchase a Green Dot MoneyPak card from an area retailer. She was told to place $2,200 on the card to pay the supposed storage fee. The victim then called the scammer with the card number, allowing the scammer access to the posted funds. The scammer told the victim that car and cash would be delivered to her residence.

Of course no car or cash was delivered. The scammer made repeated calls to the victim with different excuses on why the alleged prizes were not delivered. The scammer even had someone call the victim pretending to be an Indiana police officer. The fake officer told the victim he had stopped the car she had supposedly won. The fake officer said the car contained a large sum of money and he was calling to verify that the car and cash were not part of an illegal drug operation. All indications are there was no car, cash, or contest. Also, police officers do not call citizens asking for them to verify that they are not part of a criminal enterprise.

The Indiana State Police is investigating this case, but recovering funds from scams like this have proven difficult in the past. A large percentage of these scams originate outside of the United States.

Hoosiers are reminded:

To always be cautious of anyone contacting them unsolicited, either by phone or internet. Think Scam!

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Have a good phone number for your bank and credit cards that you can call with questions.

April 29, 2012

Driver arrested after hit and run injures Arkansas police chief


PANAMA CITY BEACH, FLORIDA — A hit and run vehicle crash Friday night in Panama City Beach left a police chief from Arkansas in critical condition.

It was one of two hit and run vehicle crashes within about an hour in Panama City Beach that left two people injured.

According to a report by the Florida Highway Patrol, Friday about 8:30 p.m., Jimmy J. Christo Jr., 52, of Panama City Beach, was turning left in a 1994 Toyota onto Quarts Street from Thomas Drive and drove into the path of a motorcycle driven by Joe Landers, of Lowell, Ark. The collision ejected Landers from his Harley-Davidson.

Landers, the police chief of Lowell, Ark., was not wearing a helmet, FHP said.

Landers was taken to Bay Medical Center, where he was in critical condition Saturday afternoon, FHP said.

FHP said Christo left the scene, but was found later on Hill Top Drive in Panama City Beach. He was arrested and charged with leaving the scene with serious injuries, drug possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. FHP said additional charges are pending.

Lowell Mayor Eldon Long held a press conference Saturday afternoon in Lowell and said there would be a prayer vigil Saturday night at Lowell City Hall.

Lowell Police Detective Sgt. Paul Pillaro said Landers is on life support. He said the chief was riding with a group of motorcyclists, but they were caught at a light, which is why Landers was alone at the time of the collision.

A second hit and run occurred about 9:45 p.m. Friday on North Lagoon Drive near Joan Avenue and resulted in injuries, but no fatalities. FHP investigated that accident, but released no details, including whether the driver who left the scene was found or the condition of the injured person.

The two hit and run incidents came just 24 hours after a hit and run in Callaway left one man dead. Allen Cox, 62, Callaway, was walking along State 22 when he was struck. He later died at a local hospital. The driver, Kenneth Bennett, 30, of Parker, was charged with vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident involving death. His passenger, John Griffin, 29, of Springfield, was charged with accessory after the fact of a vehicular homicide.

It was one of two fatal crashes Thursday night. The other happened on Tyndall Parkway between 7:30 and 8 p.m. when a bicyclist was hit. The victim died at the hospital, but his name still had not been released Saturday.

April 29, 2012

Police car parked outside officer’s home set on fire

By Stan Finger

Someone crept up to a Wichita police car parked on a residential street early last Saturday morning and set it on fire.

The officer who drives the car awoke shortly after 2 a.m. in his home in the area of Douglas and Oliver and found the car “engulfed in flames,” a police report states.

“I’ve never heard of a cop car catching on fire, let alone being intentionally set on fire” in Wichita, said Lt. Kelly Zane, who has 26 years with the Wichita Fire Department – the last six as a fire investigator.

There’s no question the fire was intentionally set, fire officials said.

“Ignitable liquid was present outside the vehicle,” Zane said, declining to offer more details.

Nothing indicates the officer was specifically targeted, officials said. But police said it’s possible the patrol car was targeted in retaliation for the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old boy by a police officer in the backyard of a house in the 1200 block of West Crawford, just southwest of Pawnee and Seneca, early on the morning of April 13.

“That’s something that we’re taking into consideration,” Zane said.

The teen was one of four people witnesses said were holding a family at gunpoint during a home robbery at the house, police have said. Someone inside the house called 911 to report the robbery and officers surrounded the house.

Some of the officers peered inside the house and saw men with guns, police officials said. Three men ran out the back door trying to escape.

In their hands, police officials have said, the officers could see what looked like guns. An officer with a shotgun fired multiple shots and struck one of the men who had turned toward him.

The other two men continued to run, and when they refused to stop running, another officer fired his handgun several times, striking both.

Eleven people have been shot in officer-involved shootings in or near Wichita this year. Four have died. No officers have been killed or wounded.

Investigators won’t know the actual motive for torching the police car “until we get someone into custody,” Fire Capt. Stuart Bevis said.

Police officials hope to be able to salvage the heavily damaged car and return it to service.

Authorities “have some pretty significant leads,” Zane said, but no arrests have been made.

© 2012 Wichita Eagle and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.

April 28, 2012

Man not guilty of meth making

By Amy Oberlin

ANGOLA — An Angola man was found not guilty of manufacturing methamphetamine Friday by a Steuben County jury.

The case against Zao Burrell, 24, was ordered dismissed. His alleged accomplice, 38-year-old Jason Ray Hull, is set to go to trial on June 21.

Testimony started Thursday at 11 a.m. after three men and nine women were seated in Steuben Superior Court. Steuben County Prosecutor Michael Hess presented testimony Thursday, showing 85 photographs of a Long Beach Lake property where the offense allegedly took place Oct. 25, 2011.

Friday morning, as the second day of the trial started, Hess rested his case. Public defender Robert Hardy rested his case, also, without presenting evidence.

While Hess told the jury that the many items associated with meth making found around the home pointed to drug manufacturing, Hardy posited that the drug production could not be pinned on Burrell. In Thursday’s testimony, witnesses reported seeing Burrell and Hull go into a bedroom, and that Burrell entered and exited the room several times. That was to get ingredients for the drug-making process, said Hess, specifically ammonia sulfate, which was found in the garage at the property.

Burrell was charged after Steuben County Probation officers went to Hull’s residence and Burrell answered the door. Burrell slammed the door in the probation officer’s face and fled the area with a friend, Hess said. The probation officer, Christian Sallows, reported immediately smelling an odor associated with meth production and police were called to the scene.

Hull, who is confined to a wheelchair and was on house arrest when the alleged crime took place, faces Class B felony manufacturing meth, Class C felony neglect of a dependent, Class D felony possession of meth and maintaining a common nuisance and misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia. He is represented by Auburn attorney Kurt Grimm.

Steuben County Sheriff’s investigators found a meth lab in Hull’s bedroom, according to court documents. An expert called to the stand Thursday by Hess verified the findings.

The jury deliberated for an hour and a half, delivering a verdict at 10:45 a.m.

A case alleging disorderly conduct and criminal mischief is still pending against Burrell in the Steuben County courts.

This story was posted on at noon Friday.

April 28, 2012

Frank Straub to step down as Indianapolis public safety director

INDIANAPOLIS - Embattled Public Safety Director Frank Straub is resigning in the wake of the mishandled evidence in the Officer David Bisard investigation that led to the resignation of the police chief and suspensions of two other key commanders.

Frank Straub's resignation will be effective August first.

It came to be the right time to move on, said Straub in an interview with Eyewitness News Friday.

Straub says despite mounting pressure from the police union and City-County Council, he was not forced out by the mayor.

We came to a decision together that it was the right time for me to resign and the department to bring in new leadership and to move the reform process forward, he said.

He submitted his resignation and the mayor actually asked him to stay for 90 days to help transition thru the process, said Marc Lotter, mayor's office spokesman.

Straub, a New Yorker, was hired to re-engineer IMPD. He says his many accomplishments include a drop in the homicide rate and a safe, glitch-free Super Bowl. But he also clashed with the police union and, recently, council members over his handling of the Bisard case, budget issues and his abrasive management style.

After two lengthy hearings, councilors delayed his confirmation vote until May. Still, Council President Maggie Lewis said she was surprised to hear of his resignation.

Overall, I believe he's been somewhat successful. Morale though is low, so this is a good conversation to have some conversations with officers, she said.

The FOP issued a statement saying while they were supportive of the announcement, Many questions still exist especially as they relate to director Straub's replacement.

Last month FOP President told us, you really can't put a finger on too many deliverables that have come out of this administration in terms of moving the police department forward...this really has become too much about the public safety director. That relationship needs to be between the police chief and FOP.

When asked if it had become too personal, Owensby said, I'm not going to comment on that. They say their thing. I'm not going to speculate on that. It's time to move forward.

David Bisard case

Straub came under fire for the way the David Bisard case was handled. Bisard is an Indianapolis Metro Police officer accused of driving drunk when he crashed his cruiser into a group of motorcyclists in August 2010. Eric Wells died and two others suffered life-changing injuries.

The investigation was marred by a blood draw that the defense argues is not admissible in court, and then a second revelation this month when it was learned that one of the blood samples had been removed from a refrigerated area, raising questions about whether it could still be used as evidence.

Former Chief Paul Ciesielski stepped down after the mishandling of evidence was announced.

The City-County Council postponed a confidence vote on Straub twice over the past month.


The Fraternal Order of Police has also been calling for Straub to step down over what it calls the mismanagement of funds. The city's public safety budget is $30 million in the red.

Last week, Straub compared himself to an exterminator.

We're kind of in this position where you have bugs in your house. You call the exterminator. The exterminator comes and says you've got bugs in your house and I have to get rid of them. And you get mad at the exterminator because there's bugs in the house. The exterminator didn't put the bugs in the house. You called the exterminator to solve the problem, he said.

Clearly, there was a need and recognition two years and four months ago that we need to re-engineer the police department. We need to modernize the police department. We had to give the police department better equipment, we had to make their job safer. So the mayor conducted a national search asked me to come, and for two years and four months we've endeavoring to make those changes.

Statement from Mayor Ballard:

Frank Straub came to Indianapolis facing the difficult task of updating and modernizing the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department at the same time preparing for and successfully hosting the highest profile event in this city's history. It hasn't always been easy but meaningful reform seldom is.

During Frank's tenure criminal homicides are at their lowest levels in 15 years, the city's integrated public safety model is receiving national and international recognition, IMPD and IFD training is being modernized and steps are being actively taken to improve the diversity of hiring and promotions in our public safety departments.

Frank Straub's work set the stage for the Department of Public Safety and all of its divisions to proudly serve this city in a positive fashion for years to come.

Statement from FOP President Bill Owensby:

Obviously, our membership is supportive of the Mayor's announcement regarding the transition within the Department of Public Safety. However, many questions still exist especially as they relate to Directors Straub's replacement.

In the interim, we remain focused on our current and future budgetary challenges which threaten our community policing efforts. We stand by our FOP Ten Step Stabilization Plan which included this transition and we now look forward to working with our community and our elected officials to take the remaining nine steps.

We remain committed to assist in this process if allowed to do so. We look forward to working WITH the Mayor, the City County Council and the police department's leadership to make a great department even better through meaningful improvements. Our membership continues to strive for excellence in their chosen profession and simply seek the tools, equipment and proper leadership to achieve our community's goals.

Statement from Marion County Sheriff John Layton:

Public Safety Director Dr. Frank Straub telephoned Sheriff John Layton this morning to advise him of his decision to resign as Public Safety Director. Just last Tuesday, Sheriff Layton issued a statement that he looked forward to continuing to work with all parties, including Public Safety Director Straub, to find positive solutions to the difficult public safety funding challenges facing the City and County.

During the course of the conversation this morning, the two Public Safety Officials agreed to continue their efforts during Dr. Straub's remaining tenure. Over the last several weeks, Dr. Straub and I have worked together finding that our offices faced similar challenges and we realized that by working more closely together we might better meet these challenges successfully, said Sheriff Layton. I appreciate the dialogue with the Department of Public Safety, and I hope to have a good relationship with the next Public Safety Director.

April 28, 2012

Scuba Dive Recovery of equipment

On 04/26/2012 at approximately 3:00 PM, Deputies Temple, Kugler and Snider from the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office dive team conducted a recovery dive at Clear Lake located in Fremont Indiana. Deputies searched the north shore in attempt to recover a canoe that had previously sunk during a fishing accident on 12/29/2011 where the owner/operator capsized and swam to shore. On the first of two dives, Deputies searched a break down to depths of 50 ft deep running a search pattern along the break. The canoe was not located on the first dive. On the second of two dives, Deputies located the sunken canoe resting in a large weed bed in 15 ft of water approximately 150 yards from the shoreline. Deputies exhausted spent air from their primary regulators into the hull of the canoe causing the canoe to surface in a controlled manor. Along with the canoe, Deputies located two fishing poles, one fish finder, and two anchors. The found property was returned to the rightful owner.

Assisting with the recovery was Fremont Fire Department who provided a dive boat and operator. Clear Lake Police Officer McCarty provided surface support for the divers during the operation.

The Sheriff’s Office dive team originated January 2011 starting out with 4 volunteer members. Since that time, three full time deputies from within the department have received and successfully completed certified dive training, making the Sheriff’s Office dive team a total of 7 members. The Sheriff’s Office dive team are also members of the SCURT Team (Steuben County Underwater Recovery Team) and work closely in relation to the SCURT members and operations.

April 28, 2012

Off-duty Pinellas County Deputy Sheriff, Jason Shoulta, involved in fatal motorcycle crash

Pasco County, Florida-- Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri announced with great sympathy the death of Deputy Sheriff Jason Shoulta, who was fatally injured in a motorcycle crash while off duty just after noon today.

According to PCSO, Deputy Shoulta, 43, served with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office since March 3, 1999.

He was currently assigned to the Patrol Operations Bureau, and in the past he also served as a Bailiff in Court Security and as a member of the SWAT Team, among other assignments.

In a message to all members of the Sheriff's Office, Sheriff Gualtieri said, Our thoughts and prayers are with Jason's family and friends.

There is no sense that can be made of such a tragedy and no words that can make this easier on anyone.

PCSO said the Florida Highway Patrol investigated the crash, which occurred around 12:15 this afternoon in Pasco County at the intersection of Perrine Ranch Road and County Road 77 (Seven Springs Road).

According to the Florida Highway Patrol news release, Deputy Shoulta was driving his 2010 Harley Davidson Street Glider southbound on County Road 77 approaching the intersection with Perrine Ranch Road, when the second driver, Taylor Anne Vanderbilt, traveling northbound, attempted to make a left turn into the gas station at that intersection, and entered into Shoulta's path.

The FHP advised that Shoulta tried to avoid the collision, but struck the right rear section of Vanderbilt's vehicle.

He sustained critical injuries and was transported to Bayonet Point Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased at 1:23 p.m.

The Sheriff's Office critical incident teams are assisting the family and colleagues of Deputy Jason Shoulta.

April 27, 2012

Indiana police officer fired after 5 crashes in 3 years

VALPARAISO, Ind. — A northwestern Indiana sheriff's officer has lost his job because of five on-the-job crashes in three years, the final one happening in September when he flipped a car on Interstate 65 while heading to a remedial driving program.

The Porter County Merit Board reached a unanimous decision Thursday that Officer Paul Arnold violated department rules and had unsatisfactory performance related to the crashes.

The Times of Munster reports the board found that in the I-65 crash Arnold was following a supervising officer's car too close when traffic slowed as he reached for a drink.

Sheriff Dave Lain says the county's auto insurance carrier will no longer cover Arnold.

Arnold's attorney, John Kopack, says two of the crashes weren't Arnold's fault and that Arnold has good grounds for an appeal.

April 27, 2012

Massachusetts State Trooper Makes Donation to Hospital

Massachusetts State Trooper Allyson Powell with staff from Shriners Hospitals for Children in Boston.

Trooper Powell is a recipient of the 2011 Carnegie Medal and chose to donate

the associated financial grant to the pediatric hospital.

BOSTON---Massachusetts State Trooper Allyson Powell presented a $5,000 check to Shriners Hospitals for Children® — Boston. Trooper Powell is the recipient of the 2011 Carnegie Medal from the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, an organization that rewards extraordinary acts of civilian heroism in Canada and the United States.

Trooper Powell has chosen to donate the award's associated financial endowment to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston, in recognition of their work treating children with severe burns, cleft lip and palate, and orthopaedic conditions. The donation will contribute to the construction of a new radiology suite, which will enable the pediatric specialty hospital to expand orthopaedic services for children.

This recognition for the Carnegie Medal honor is a result of Trooper Powell's heroic actions in July 2010 when she came to the aid of an unconscious man trapped in an overturned vehicle.

She and two other individuals removed the man from his burning vehicle moments before it became engulfed in flames. He was transported to a local hospital for his injuries, from which he later recovered. Powell also received treatment for smoke inhalation.

“Trooper Powell exemplifies the highest ideals of the Massachusetts State Police,” said Colonel Marian J. McGovern, superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police. “Her disregard for her own safety in conducting this high-risk rescue, coupled with her selfless donation of this award to such a noble cause, gives me great pride. Her actions reveal her to be a superb trooper and a responsible, compassionate citizen of our Commonwealth.

“Trooper Powell’s heroic act and subsequent donation are examples of outstanding citizenship,” said Ronald G. Tompkins, M.D., chief of staff at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston. “We are honored to accept her contribution to our campaign for a new radiology suite.”

Shriners Hospitals for Children is changing lives every day through innovative pediatric specialty care, world-class research and outstanding medical education. The 22 hospitals in the United States, Canada and Mexico provide advanced care for children with orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate. For more information, visit

For more information about the programs as services of the Boston hospital, visit

Shriners Hospitals for Children is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and relies on the generosity of donors. All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent permitted by law.

April 27, 2012

ISP Memorial License Plates

Most of you are aware of the Indiana State Police Memorial License Plates and some of you may currently have them. If you do not have one I encourage you to purchase one for at least one of your vehicles. They can be ordered directly from the BMV website and you can pick your own license plate number. Most pick their PE numbers. Proceeds from the purchase of the license plates benefit the Indiana State Police Memorial Fund which helps with upkeep of the memorial and eternal flame at District 52 and the proceeds also support the Youth Education and Historical Center (museum).

If you haven’t been by the museum lately you should plan on stopping by sometime. Under the leadership of F/Sgt. Brian Olehy, the museum has undergone some updating and changes and this place is really a place to be proud of. Sales of the memorial license plate will ensure we are able to keep the museum as a real “showplace” for our history to be enjoyed by all for years to come. I have attached a flier to this email with information regarding purchasing the ISP Memorial License Plates. If you have trouble opening the attachment you can go to the BMV website at to order your license plate or you can go to your local license branch to place the order. To order a specific number (higher than 100) go to For numbers 1-100 contact F/Sgt. Brian Olehy at the museum at 317-899-8519

If for some reason you have trouble accessing the site to order a plate with the above link, go to the ISP website at then on the left side of the page click on the “In Memoriam” link and below the memorial photo on that page you will see a link (ISP Memorial License Plate). Click on that and it will take you to the page to order the license plate with a specific number.

April 27, 2012

Routine probation visit uncovers meth lab

David Benassi

A routine probation visit has resulted in the arrest of a Fillmore man suspected of operating a methamphetamine lab.

According to officials, officers visited David Benassi's home on North Main Street in Fillmore, Ind. While there, they found items used to manufacture methamphetamine.

Officers also found two sawed off shotguns and a one pot methamphetamine lab hidden outside Benassi's home, according to police.

Benassi has been preliminarily charged with one count of Manufacturing Methamphetamine, Class B felony; one count of Maintaining a Common Nuisance, Class D felony; one count of Possession of Precursors, Class D felony and two counts of Possession of a Saw-off shotgun, Class D felony.

He is currently held in the Putnam County Jail without any bond.

Copyright © 2012, WXIN-TV

April 27, 2012

3rd Ind. turkey hunter shot in season's 1st 2 days

BIRDSEYE, Ind. — A wild turkey hunter has been shot by another at southern Indiana's Patoka Reservoir, the third to be shot in the opening two days of the state's spring turkey hunting season.

Conservation officers say 62-year-old Anthony Pavlench of Valparaiso was shot in the right leg Thursday when the 12-gauge shotgun of 53-year-old hunting companion Christopher Hanna of Chesterton discharged. They were about 30 yards apart at the time at the reservoir about 50 miles northeast of Evansville.

Officers say Hanna helped Pavlench walk to their vehicle, then drove him to a waiting ambulance. Pavlench was released after treatment at Jasper Memorial Hospital.

Hunters also were shot Wednesday in Morgan Monroe State Forest and in Orange County.

April 26, 2012

3 New York state troopers suspended in prostitution ring probe

Three troopers suspended, including the son of a former high-ranking State Police official

By Brendan J. Lyons

State Police Trooper Titus Taggart in one of his published Facebook photographs.(Hinman)

ALBANY — Three state troopers from western New York were suspended Thursday as part of a State Police investigation into allegations that at least one trooper, and possibly more, were involved in promoting a prostitution ring in which female prostitutes were transported from Canada to the Buffalo area.

Two people with knowledge of the case said the investigation involves up to five troopers but is centered on Trooper Titus Z. Taggart, 41, an 18-year veteran and the son of a former State Police colonel. Taggart is assigned to Troop T in Buffalo, a unit that patrols the New York State Thruway. The other two troopers, Jeremy C. Smith, 34, and Michael L. Petritz, 33, were both suspended without pay for misconduct. State Police officials said they were not involved in organizing the alleged prostitution ring.

Taggart's father, Arthur L. Taggart, 72, is a retired State Police colonel who was a special assistant to Thomas Constantine, a former State Police superintendent.

A State Police spokesman said Taggart was suspended without pay as a result of an internal investigation that alleges he organized parties that may have involved the promotion of prostitution, while off-duty. The spokesman said there have been no arrests. Josh Vlasto, a spokesman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, declined to comment.

The investigation began about five months ago as investigators sifted websites with postings that promoted parties where alleged prostitution was being offered, according to a person briefed on the case. State Police investigators have examined allegations that Taggart may have facilitated bringing prostitutes from Canada to the Buffalo area, the person added.

Federal law enforcement organizations also are involved in the investigation.

New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association President Thomas Mungeer said he was not told of any arrests.

From what I understand there's an investigation into off-duty conduct, and if and when somebody calls for PBA representation for administrative purposes we'll be involved, Mungeer said. They might have made an arrest. I'm getting kind of hearsay.

Titus Taggart could not be reached for comment. He joined the State Police in September 1993. Taggart's Facebook page depicts several photographs in which he is holding what appears to be bottles of alcohol. One photo depicts a sexually charged cartoon rendering of a woman holding a gun and wearing a police uniform augmented with lingerie. The depiction shows the woman standing in front of a heart that is adorned with yellow police tape and the words busted.

In a brief telephone interview Thursday Arthur Taggart said he was unaware his son had been suspended and that he planned to call State Police headquarters for information on his son's case. He declined additional comment and said he would try to reach his son.

In December 2012, Gov. Andrew Cuomo tapped his former chief investigator from the attorney general's office as State Police superintendent. The appointment of Joseph D'Amico, a former New York Police Department deputy chief, followed a series of high-profile political scandals involving the State Police and the governor's office.

The first matter involved Gov. Eliot Spitzer's release of information on the use of State Police aircraft by former Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno, who later resigned from public office in the face of a federal criminal investigation.

The second incident centered on allegations a trooper with Gov. David Paterson's security detail had contacted a woman who was involved in a domestic incident with a top Paterson aide.

An outside probe found no criminal wrongdoing by State Police in the domestic incident case.

April 26, 2012

Trooper Files Complaint Against Warren Officer

WARREN, OHIO---An Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper has filed an internal affairs complaint against Warren police officer Doug Hipple.

Trooper Donald Walker filed the complaint Wednesday. Surveillance video shows Hipple walking by Walker, and Walker said Hipple brushed up against him and allegedly swore at him. Walker said he told Hipple his conduct was unprofessional and then alleges that Hipple flipped him off.

I'm very confident we are going to look into it and I talked to the chief today and he assured me they are going to evaluate what happened and if necessary make changes to correct any situation of misconduct, said Warren Mayor Doug Franklin.

Hipple and Walker have not gotten along for years. Walker is married to Hipple's ex-wife.

Hipple has received numerous honors for attempting to rescue several women from a burning group home in April 2009. He also faced controversy in 2004 when he arrested a 14-year-old boy for disorderly conduct when he said the boy swore at him.

The internal affairs report should be complete in a few weeks and that is when the chief will determine if any discipline should be issued.

The mayor said he expects officers to conduct themselves properly.

We expect our officers to act professional and perform in ways on and off duty that is becoming as good citizens, Franklin said.

Neither Hipple nor Walker could be reached

April 26, 2012

Police vet admits he stole tools

Dominic Adams

A former Allen County Sheriff’s Department sergeant pleaded guilty to felony theft Wednesday in Allen Superior Court, but he probably won’t serve time in prison.

Louis Lee, 58, admitted to stealing tools from a trailer at Klopfenstein Furniture in Leo-Cedarville in November.

The plea agreement calls for a two-year sentence, but he could serve that time on either home detention or work release if he is eligible, court documents said.

A surveillance system captured images of Lee taking $3,000 worth of tools from the business’s van and putting them into his unmarked squad car while he was on duty and in uniform, authorities previously said.

An internal affairs investigator with the sheriff’s department later asked Lee to come to his office for an interview and bring the items he took from the van, according to court records.

Lee returned the tools at the interview and admitted to stealing them, court records said. He said he didn’t know why he stole the tools or what he planned to do with them.

Lee, from Fremont, was a third-shift sergeant who spent 32 years with the sheriff’s department. He resigned from the sheriff’s department and was paid for 120 hours of vacation time and 80 hours of sick time that he had not used – for a total of $6,290.

Lee also is eligible to receive about $24,000 a year in retirement, County Auditor Tera Klutz previously said.

In court Wednesday, Lee said he was being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder but was not taking medication for it.

He will be sentenced in June.

© Copyright 2012 The Journal Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

April 25, 2012

ISP Memorial Service

April 25, 2012

Indiana State Police to Participate in Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller

left to right. Deputy Chief Marty Bender(FWPD), Zoeller, and Sgt. Ron Galaviz (ISP)

Fort Wayne, IN-On Saturday, April 28, 2012, the Indiana State Police will be participating in a nationwide initiative headed by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) called “Prescription Drug Take Back Day.”

The “Take Back” initiative seeks to prevent increased pill abuse and theft. Collection sites will be set up nationwide as collection points for expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs for destruction. This service is free, anonymous and no questions will be asked. Citizens wishing to participate in this program may drop off their prescription drugs for disposal at the Indiana State Police, 5811 Ellison Road, Fort Wayne on Saturday, April 28th between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The Indiana State Police Post in Fort Wayne along with the Fort Wayne, New Haven and Allen County Police Departments and the volunteer organizations of TRIAD and RSVP currently work together in a year-long unwanted medication collection program in which each of the four law enforcement agencies maintain a permanent collection point for unwanted medications.

Their goal is to safely and effectively collect and destroy these medications so that they don’t fall into the hands of those who shouldn’t have them, especially children, and so that they don’t contaminate our water sources by being dumped or flushed down drains. Anyone wishing to drop off their medications can do so 24 hours a day, seven days a week at any of those four law enforcement agencies.

April 25, 2012

Troopers Investigate Overnight Crash that Seriously Injures Bicyclist

Gibson County – At approximately 12:02 this morning, two bicyclists were traveling northbound in the emergency shoulder of U.S. 41 approximately 4/10 mile south of Coalmine Road. Aaron Henry, 23, of Princeton, was the lead bicyclist and his friend, a 19-year-old from Evansville, was following. Preliminary investigation reveals a gold or beige colored vehicle was northbound on U.S. 41 and for unknown reasons left the roadway on east side and struck Henry’s bicycle. The vehicle failed to stop and continued northbound on U.S. 41. Henry was airlifted to St. Mary’s Hospital where he is currently being treated for serious injuries. Henry’s friend was not injured.

The vehicle is gold or beige and should be missing part of the front right (passenger side) bumper. Troopers also believe that the vehicle is possibly a Toyota. Anyone with information concerning this crash is encouraged to contact the Indiana State Police at 867-2079 or 1-800-852-3970. Anyone with information can remain anonymous.

Investigating Officer: Trooper Brandon Deig, Indiana State Police

Assisting Agencies: Fort Branch Police, Haubstadt Police and Gibson County Sheriff’s Office

April 25, 2012

Mayor hires brother as codes officer

Retired Logan police officer previously served in interim role

by Jason M. Rodriguez

LOGANSPORT — Logansport Mayor Ted Franklin hired his brother Monday to be the city’s code enforcement officer, he said Tuesday.

The move was warranted, given George Franklin’s performance when he served in the role on a temporary basis, Ted Franklin said.

“He did an admirable job,” the mayor said. “He’s really had a lot of success in getting some properties cleaned up. I feel that he’s done it the right way — in giving the folks that own the property a first chance to get it cleaned up — and many times, he’s had a lot of success in doing that.”

The mayor also noted that he has long said, even before taking office in January, that he wanted someone with a law enforcement background to do the job.

His brother, a 22-year veteran of the Logansport Police Department, fits the bill.

George Franklin said he wants the city to get away from dilapidated buildings, which some peg as “typical Logansport.”

“Well, we don’t want to be typical Logansport anymore,” he said. “We want to clean it up. We want to get rid of these places, and we want to make everyone in this town feel better about this town.”

The longtime officer was placed on sick leave from the police department in December for a back injury.

In January, Mayor Franklin placed him on code enforcement duty. In that role, George Franklin joined interim building commissioner Deb O'Connor in taking four or five recommendations a week to the city’s Board of Public Works and Safety for action.

The mayor said Indiana law requires a person who retires from municipal government take 30 days off before being considered for another municipal position. George Franklin retired from the police department March 22.

Although he was hired by his brother, according to his job description, George Franklin will report to the city’s community development director, Chris Armstrong.

The hiring does not violate existing state law, nor a measure going into effect July 1 that prohibits elected officials from hiring relatives they directly supervise.

George Franklin will make $34,680 a year as code enforcement officer.

He hit the ground running this week, sending 57 letters to property owners Tuesday as he cracks down on overgrown weeds and grass.

“Ted had made it very clear to Deb and I both that he wanted us to be aggressive up here in cleaning up condemned properties ... and that’s our goal,” he said. “We’re going to have a zero tolerance for people who don’t maintain their yards or maintain their grass or properly maintain their hedges and their shrubs or the appearance of their house.”

Mayor Franklin set a precedent earlier this year, asking both the police and fire departments to submit multiple names to fill vacancies.

For the code-enforcement position, the mayor said people applied early on, but he “hadn’t really had a lot of interest in the last couple months or so.”

“I’m very satisfied with the job that he did, and I didn’t really feel the need to go out looking for resumes,” the mayor said. “It’s a good fit.”

George Franklin also serves as Cass County coroner and works security at a local supermarket. He said the additional job would not be tough to balance.

“That won’t be any problem,” he said. “I’ve always been the type to work two jobs and at times three.”

Jason M. Rodriguez is news editor of the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5117 or jason

April 25, 2012

Indiana State Police - Public Information Office

ISP - Indianapolis Post (Dist 52 - Regional Dispatch Center) is looking for dispatchers.

Know anyone looking for a rewarding career?

ISP - Indianapolis Post (Dist 52 - Regional Dispatch Center) is looking for dispatchers.

Pass this along.

Don't wait...

April 25, 2012

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Arizona Immigration Law

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments about Arizona's tough immigration law on Wednesday in a landmark case expected to provide clarity about whether states can enforce federal immigration laws.

Federal courts have blocked the four most controversial sections of Arizona's SB 1070, which was passed in 2010 and gave officers expanded powers to ask about the immigration status of subjects, and to hold those suspected of being illegal immigrants, reports the New York Times.

It's unusual for the Supreme Court to accept a case that hasn't yet been fully adjudicated by the lower courts, but the court appears to want to resolve the issue sooner rather than later, reports the Arizona Republic. Several other states including Georgia, Alabama, and Utah have passed laws similar to SB 1070, prompting conflicting legal rulings in various appeals-court districts.

Justice Elena Kagan will not hear this case, because as solicitor general, before taking the bench last year, she had been involved in the Obama administration's initial legal opposition to the law, reports CNN. The Wednesday hearing will be the final case of the court's current term.


April 25, 2012

Visits to nude clubs end Florida deputy's career

Erik Knutsen spent hours and hours at his favorite nude clubs. He wasn't nude. It was what he was wearing that got him in so much trouble: His deputy's uniform.

The Broward Sheriff's Office deputy has been fired for embarrassing the agency, lying on reports, and skipping official calls so he could remain at The Booby Trap, The Cheetah III, or sometimes the late-hours Allstar's, all while on duty, an internal affairs investigation found. All three clubs were outside his zone of responsibility.

-Knutsen had worked at BSO for nearly five years, earning $53,060 annually, when he was let go in February. The internal affairs file, released Monday to the Sun Sentinel, details how the agency confirmed its suspicions by placing a tracker on the deputy's patrol car.

I'm not a bad person,'' he told BSO investigators in a sworn statement. I just sometimes do dumb things.''

Knutsen, who couldn't be reached by the newspaper for comment, admitted to BSO investigators he was guilty of poor decision making,'' the file says. But he told them he mostly hung out in The Booby Trap's kitchen, eating and watching TV with the head cook, a man who filled in as a father figure after the 2009 passing of Knutsen's dad. At The Cheetah, he said he was visiting a friend at the parking valet stand or helping move patrons out safely at closing time.

Knutsen denied having sex or any involvement'' with the female strippers and said he was there to see my friends.

According to the BSO file:

Knutsen became a target of investigators after an unidentified complainant told the Sheriff's Office that Knutsen was hanging out at full-nudity, full-bar strip clubs while on duty. The allegations included claims he had female strippers in his patrol car and that sexual activity was taking place,'' accusations never substantiated.

Knutsen worked the overnight shift, from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Investigators at BSO took a look at the calls he'd handled at the clubs in question. There were only a few.

Then they stuck a tracker onto Knutsen's squad car, and Knutsen's career at the agency was on the path to termination.

Over a five-week period starting in October, Knutsen's fondness for the strip clubs was confirmed. Here's what the investigators found:

Week one: Out of 36 work hours, the deputy spent 10 hours, six minutes and 28 seconds at The Booby Trap and The Cheetah III in Pompano Beach.

Week two: Knutsen worked 44 hours, and spent 10 hours, 37 minutes and 48 seconds at the strip clubs, including about 20 minutes at a third club, Allstar's, which investigators said was a favorite spot in Deerfield Beach for strippers to visit after the nude clubs closed.

Week three: His work hours totaled 36, and of those, he spent eight hours, 59 minutes and 44 seconds at the clubs.

Week four: His 32-hour work week included five hours, three minutes and 30 seconds at the strip clubs and the after-club.

Week five: Knutsen put in 36 work hours, of which 10 hours, 20 minutes and 26 seconds were at the three establishments.


Investigators started digging into his dispatch records, and found that time and again, Knutsen was dispatched to calls, claimed on the radio or in his paperwork he'd shown up, but actually never left The Booby Trap.

Some of the calls were minor: suspicious vehicle, disturbance, suspicious person, trespassing.

But one was a disturbance with a weapon on Northwest 21st Street in Pompano Beach. Knutsen reported he arrived as a backup to another officer at 10:58 p.m. and left the scene at 11:47 p.m.

According to the GPS tracking device,'' the investigative report says, Deputy Knutsen was still stationary at The Booby Trap.''

Confronted by investigators, Knutsen acknowledged he often visited the clubs, but he said he didn't go into the main floor area unless there was a law enforcement reason.

At The Booby Trap, the club he visited the most, he said he'd become best friends with the club manager Borzo Bo Yazdanfar. And he said the head cook, Harry Havelos, had become a father figure to him and would often feed him,'' investigators wrote in the summary report.

When faced with the GPS data, Knutson explained each call he'd claimed to have responded to. He said some came from locations that had histories of bogus or unfounded 911 calls.

Each time, he gave a variation of the response he gave about the disturbance with a weapon:

Um, just a, um, once again, bad decision on my part.''

Knutsen apologized, asking investigators to talk to Yazdanfar and Havelos, who he said would vouch for him.

They did, telling investigators he'd been visiting the club since 2009 but that he parked in back, and often sat in the patrol car filling out paperwork. They said he didn't spend time in the main club area.

But they also said he brought his supervisor, Sgt. Kristi Daly, with him. Havelos told investigators she was there about half the time.

Daly is now under BSO investigation, the agency said Monday. The Sun Sentinel could not reach her Monday.

Knutsen is still certified to work as a law enforcement officer, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said Monday. But he's not working as one in Florida, right now.

April 25, 2012

Off-duty Seattle police officer arrested in domestic violence incident

An off-duty Seattle police officer was arrested Sunday in Snohomish County for a misdemeanor domestic violence assault, the Seattle Police Department confirmed Tuesday.

Details of the arrest were not released, but Seattle police said the officer had been arrested by Everett police. The officer, Todd Charles Harris, is assigned to the Special Operations Bureau.

He has been administratively re-assigned to home pending the on-going investigation, a release by the police department said.

April 24, 2012

Joint Operation Shuts down Massage Parlor

St. Joseph County – Officers with the Indiana State Police, the St. Joseph County Police Department, Federal ICE agents, the St. Joseph County Health Department, and the St. Joseph County Prosecutors Office worked in collaboration on Monday that resulted in one arrest and the closing of an area massage parlor.

The eight month investigation was initiated after officers received several complaints from the community about suspicious activities that were occurring at area massage parlors.

The operation was set into motion Monday morning when officers went to the City Massage and Spa at 52144 SR 933 in South Bend and arrested Fengqin Xue, 34, of Chicago, Illinois. Purportedly Xue offered sexual acts in exchange for money while working at City Massage. Police also executed a search warrant at the business and officials with the health department closed the business.

The operation continued with the police and health department visiting four other massage parlors in South Bend, Mishawaka, and Granger. No enforcement action was taking at any of the other businesses by police or the health department.

Xue is facing a felony charge of prostitution and is currently in custody at the St. Joseph County Jail.

April 24, 2012

Two men arrested for planting deadly booby traps on Utah walking trail

One of the booby traps found near a Utah hiking trail.

PROVO CANYON, Utah -- Two men are in custody in Utah after deadly booby traps were uncovered along a popular walking trail in Provo Canyon.

The suspects -- Benjamin Steven Rutkowski, 19, and Kai Matthew Christensen, 21 -- were charged Saturday with reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor.

A statement issued by the Utah County Sheriff's Office said a US Forest Service officer discovered the two booby traps inside a makeshift shelter built from dead tree limbs while on foot patrol along the Big Springs walking trail April 16.

As he investigated the shelter he noticed what appeared to be a trip wire near the ground at an entrance. Upon further investigation he discovered that the trip wire led to a booby trap device which was made with a large rock, sticks sharpened at both ends, and was held together with rope, the statement read.

This device was situated in such a way that when contact was made with the trip wire it would swing toward an unsuspecting hiker or camper, the statement added.

Benjamin Rutkowski, left, and Kai Christensen were arrested this morning after Utah officials found two booby traps near a popular hiking trail.

A second booby trap was also discovered, also triggered by a trip wire. This wire was configured so as to trip a person, possibly causing them to fall forward onto sharpened sticks placed in the ground, the statement said.

That would kill people, easily, easily kill people, hiker Emily Hammerstad told FOX13 News. It's just awful and sickening that people would do that kind of thing.

Authorities used Facebook to track the suspects down. They moved in on Rutkowski and Christensen following discussion of the booby traps on the social networking site. A witness also contacted the Utah Country Sheriff's Office with information on the suspects.

Police said the pair had confessed to placing the deadly traps in the makeshift enclosure.

April 24, 2012

Rochester Officer Russell Glass Resigns, Facing Charges


SHELBY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WJBK) -- What would be a good defense for an off-duty officer pulling out a gun, we asked attorney Fred Gibson.

There's many defenses to that, but again you're asking me to provide information that I simply can't intelligently respond to at this point in time, he responded.

He is still delving into what happened on April 13 with his client, Russell Glass, a former Rochester police officer.

Shelby Township police got a call about a fender bender. A teenage girl is accusing Glass of following her home and then pulling a weapon on her father after the traffic incident.

Glass, a 16 year veteran of the Rochester Police Department, was off-duty that night. He is now charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, which carries up to four years behind bars, and brandishing a firearm in public, a 90 day misdemeanor.

A not guilty plea was put in on behalf of the court.

Innocent people end up being in court sometimes and maybe this is one of those situations, Gibson remarked.

Glass was suspended while the investigation took place. He was ordered to give up all guns, something he already did when he turned in his badge.

Glass will be back at 41st District Court in Shelby Township on May 10 for a preliminary hearing.

April 24, 2012

Both officers involved in Monday night crash were responding to the armed robbery at Josie's Takeout

By Aaron Aupperlee

JACKSON, MI — Both officers involved in a crash Monday were responding to an armed robbery at Josie's Takeout, said Michigan State Police 1st Lt. Michael Krumm.

A Jackson Police Department cruiser and a Michigan State Police cruiser collided about 9:24 p.m. at High and Francis streets. Both officers went to Allegiance Health, were examined and released.

You have two officers rushing to the scene of a very serious crime, and they had an accident, Krumm said Tuesday morning. The bottom line is both officers are going to be fine, and fortunately, we avoid any serious injuries.

Krumm has not yet talked to either his trooper or the Jackson police officer. The investigation, handled by the state police, is not yet complete. Preliminary findings indicated that the state police cruiser had a green light at the intersection and the Jackson police cruiser approached with its lights flashing, Krumm said.

It is standard procedure to not activate the siren in that situation, Krumm said. He did not expect tickets would be issued to either officer.

The trooper involved works out of the Jackson post and is part of the state police's Hometown Security Team. The trooper was going to the robbery to assist with the perimeter, Krumm said. The trooper's cruiser was totaled, Krumm said.

His name has not yet been released.

Jackson Police Chief Matt Heins was at first not happy when he received a phone call Monday night about the crash. When he learned that both officers were OK, his mood changed.

Considering the damage that was done, we are very fortunate, Heins said.

The Jackson officer involved is Steve Scarpino, who had his dog, Zygos, in the car with him. Both Scarpino and Zygos were OK.

Heins does not yet know if the Jackson police cruiser is totaled. The damage, he was told, is extensive. The Jackson Police Department, whenever possible, does not investigate crashes involving their own cars, Heins said.

Both Heins and Krumm will wait until the investigation is complete to start any internal reviews of the crash. Any administrative discipline will be issued following the internal review.

© 2012 All rights reserved.

April 24, 2012

Inmates stay on scene to help deputy after two-car wreck

By Melanie Torre

TYLER, TX (KLTV) -Police say the Smith County deputy and two inmates who were injured in a morning wreck have been released from the hospital.

The crash happened just before 6:30 a.m. Monday at the intersection of North Palace and West Gentry.

Witnesses say it wasn't just the wreck, but what they saw after the wreck that really caught their attention.

Sheriff J.B. Smith says the deputy's vehicle is out of service for good, but he's glad the people who were in the vehicle are not.

We're very fortunate that none of them were hurt seriously. The deputy has stitches in his head; he was treated and released. One of the trustees also had some bruises and abrasions on his head; they're both in good shape, but I've got a feeling they'll be awfully sore tomorrow morning, says Sheriff Smith.

Deputy Joseph Jordan was taking the inmates back to jail after their morning trustee duties of washing clothes.

That's when police say a black pickup traveling in the opposite direction, failed to yield, turned left and hit the jailer's car.

I was actually in my bed asleep. I heard a sliding sound and then I heard a boom. I came outside and the inmates were trying to help the police officer out of the car, says Patricia Austin.

Austin witnessed the aftermath. She says neither inmates tried to flee, but instead they stayed to help the pinned-in deputy.

The door was crashed in. I saw them pulling on the door and all of them were bleeding, she says.

Thirty-two-year old Alvin Odom and 33-year old Shannon Wallace were the inmates in the car.

These are low-risk prisoners. One is in for non-payment of child support and the other one is [in on] a misdemeanor. They did what was right, and believe me I'll give them the maximum good-time credit for what they did, says Sheriff Smith.

Tyler Police say the driver of the truck that hit the deputy's car was ticketed for failure to yield the right-of-way.

April 24, 2012


Putnam County—This morning at 8:16AM, Indiana State Police troopers and Putnam County emergency agencies responded to a one-vehicle rollover crash on US 40 near County Road 825 East. The crash involved a young mother and her infant son, with both having suffered possible non-life threatening injuries.

Preliminary investigation revealed a 1999 Pontiac Grand Am driven by Kelsea Shircliff, age 20, of Plainfield, IN. was westbound on US 40 and for an unknown reason traveled off the right side of the roadway. The vehicle rolled over four times and came to rest on its top. Prior to arrival of emergency agencies, Ms. Shircliff was able to free herself from the vehicle restraint system and retrieve her 8-month old son Ryan from his restraint system, a child safety seat placed in the rear seat area of the vehicle.

The mother and son were transported to Hendricks Regional Health for treatment by Putnam County EMS. Kelsea Shircliff was treated for abrasions and neck pain and Ryan Shircliff was treated for contusions and abrasions.

Alcohol and drugs were not a factor in this crash. No citations were issued.

The crash was investigated by ISP Trooper Adam Edwards. He was assisted by ISP Major Brad Scully, Jefferson Township Fire Department, and Putnam County EMS.

April 24, 2012

NJ State Police, Attorney General Investigate Trooper Escort of Exotic Car Ride to Atlantic City

The sergeant allegedly involved has been suspended, NBC New York has learned

By Brian Thompson

New Jersey's attorney general and state police are investigating allegations that members of the department used police vehicles to escort more than two dozen exotic cars down the Garden State Parkway to Atlantic City last month.

The complaints, leveled by private citizens and relatives of former state police officers, allege that a group of luxury cars, including Porsches and Ferraris with taped-up license plates, raced down the parkway with two police escorts -- which had flashing emergency lights on -- leading and trailing the convoy.

NBC New York has learned that the 47-year-old sergeant involved has been suspended without pay for his alleged role in the race. His lawyer says his client, who has been a trooper for 25 years, is cooperating with the investigation and didn't do anything seriously wrong.

Another 28-year-old trooper has been suspended without pay, and the Totowa station commander has been transferred until any potential involvement on his part has been determined, said the attorney general's office.

Gov. Chris Christie said Monday that the race was a dumb thing to do, and said the one consolation is that no one got hurt.

In complaints obtained by The Star-Ledger, witnesses say they observed cars going more than an estimated 100 mph, following the lead police car.

I noticed that many cars were struggling to get out of their way safely, wrote John Kennedy of Madison, whose complaint, along with that of another witness, was sent to the Turnpike Authority on March 30 and April 1.

The sergeant's lawyer, Charles Sciarra, said the race was done at the request of Giants star Brandon Jacobs, who has known the sergeant for years and was among those driving in the caravan. Jacobs' agent confirmed that Jacobs was part of a ride to Atlantic City.

A state police source told NBC New York that the drive was not authorized by anyone other than the sergeant involved, who was in the lead car.

The source said complaints have come from both the family of a retired trooper and the family of an active trooper, who said regular motorists were put in danger during the drive.

Jacobs, who was traded from the Giants to the San Francisco 49ers in March, is a known car aficionado.

He spoke about his collection of cars in an interview with Rides Magazine in 2011.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

April 24, 2012

Man steals soda from McDonald's, charged with felony

Mark Abaire

NAPLES, Fla. (AP) - Authorities say a Naples man remains jailed on felony charges after leaving a McDonald's restaurant without paying for a cup of soda.

Deputies arrested 52-year-old Mark Abaire last week after the restaurant manager told them he had asked for a cup of water and then filled it with soda from the fountain machine.

The Naples Daily News reports Abaire was sitting outside the restaurant when the manager asked him to pay a dollar for the soda. Abaire refused, then would not leave the premises. Police arrived and arrested him.

The charge is petty theft, but it was increased to a felony because Abaire has previous petty theft convictions. In Florida, a third-degree felony can result in a sentence of up to five years and a $5,000 fine.

April 24, 2012

George Zimmerman Case Affects Neighborhood Watch Trial In Baltimore

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The case against George Zimmerman in Florida is affecting a Baltimore trial involving a neighborhood watch group.

The trial of Eliyahu and Avi Werdesheim has been delayed.

The brothers are accused of beating an African-American teen while patrolling a Jewish neighborhood in November 2010.

They face multiple charges, including assault.

The brothers have claimed self-defense.

Defense attorneys say they want to postpone the case until the uproar over Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman has eased. They also plan to ask for a change of venue.

A judge will hear the motions Tuesday.

If convicted, the pair faces up to 13 years in prison.

April 24, 2012

Secret Service agent regularly posted photos of himself with sexy women; three more agents booted

By S.A. MILLER in Annapolis, Md., HARRISON HERNANDEZ in Cartagena, Colombia, and DON KAPLAN in NY

A married Secret Service agent ousted in the Colombia sex scandal has a Facebook page filled with pictures of himself with scantily clad women — bringing further embarrassment to the agency as three more of his co-workers resigned in disgrace yesterday.

They are part of what is now being described as at least a dirty dozen agents who allegedly drank and hired hookers in the steamy South American city of Cartagena while they were supposed to be preparing for the arrival of the president last week.

Two of the agents already tossed from the federal security agency include supervisor David Chaney, 48, and K-9 Unit supervisor Greg Stokes.

Chaney had brazenly flaunted his penchant for boozing and beauties on his Facebook page even before the scandal erupted.

One photo shows Chaney at a high-school reunion in 2009 sandwiched by two pretty blondes, each kissing him on a cheek.

In another photo, he and an unidentified man enjoy the performance of a scantily clad belly dancer while on vacation in Egypt.

The married federal agent also posted a photograph of himself guarding former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin — and boasted below it that he was “really checking her out.”

Chaney has two college-age sons and drives a pickup truck with bumper stickers supporting the radical call for Texas to secede from the United States.

Neighbors defended the agent, claiming he has been in a loving relationship with his wife in the 10 years they’ve known them since the couple moved to Annapolis, Md.

“They are always together and so romantic,” said Deedee Wilson, who lives next door. “They . . . love to sit out at night together.”

Meanwhile, in Colombia yesterday, Dania Londono Suarez, the beautiful, 24-year-old call girl who sparked the international scandal, went into hiding as a team of investigators grilled dozens of people — from maids to front-desk workers — at the Hotel Caribe, where the Secret Service sexathon unfolded.

Suarez’s lawyer, Marlan Betancourt, blasted the media for splashing pictures of his client worldwide.

Yesterday’s resignation of three agents brings to six the number who have lost their jobs in the hooker scandal. As the agents stepped down, agency Director Mark Sullivan personally briefed President Obama on the issue in the Oval Office.

Meanwhile, Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, tried to drag the White House into the hooker scandal by demanding the release of documents about administration staffers who were at the Hotel Caribe.

“Did the Secret Service reserve rooms at the Hotel Caribe . . . for representatives of the [White House Communications Agency] or the White House Advance Team?” he asked. “If so, have records for overnight guests for those entities been pulled . . . If not, why not?”

Additional reporting by Lorena Mongelli and Post Wire Services

NEW YORK POST is a registered trademark of NYP Holdings, Inc. , , and are trademarks of NYP Holdings, Inc.

Copyright 2011 NYP Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.

April 23, 2012

Muncie Police Department welcomes 3 new officers

Darren Anderson, Jeff Herber and Brandon Qualls start their MPD careers;

five other officers graduate from police academy


Three new officers, Darren Anderson (from left), Jeff Herber and Brandon Qualls,

were sworn in for duty last Monday morning in the mayor’s boardroom.

/ Kurt Hostetler / The Star Press

MUNCIE -- Staffing levels within the Muncie Police Department remain the same despite the fact that eight new officers have been -- or will soon be -- out patrolling the city's streets.

The eight new officers -- five of whom recently completed state-mandated academy training, while the other three are preparing to take the same 15-week course -- are replacing officers who have retired, according to Muncie police Chief Steve Stewart.

The Muncie Police Department currently has 103 officers, a decrease of about 14 percent since 2005, when the department had 120 officers.

Stewart said he doesn't anticipate Muncie police staffing to increase anytime soon.

Would I like to see more officers? Sure, Stewart said. But I just don't think that's in the works right now.

In a 2005 cost-cutting move, MPD dissolved its horse patrol and community policing/crime prevention units to decrease from 120 to 115 city officers. That number has slowly decreased further since that time.

Three new hires

A trio of new city officers -- Darren Anderson, Jeff Herber and Brandon Qualls -- were sworn in April 16 in a morning ceremony conducted in Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler's office.

Anderson and Herber will now be required to pass 15 weeks of police academy training while also riding for three weeks with a field-training officer.

Qualls, a former Ball State University police officer, already underwent academy training and can go straight into field training, Stewart said.

Anderson, 26, is a Gaston native and graduated from Wes-Del High School before moving on to Ivy Tech Community College, where he received his degree in criminal justice and law enforcement.

Anderson -- who has an uncle in law enforcement -- said his parents tell him he has been interested in being a police officer since he was a toddler.

When I was little, every time I saw a police officer, I'd walk up and talk to him and ask him what he was doing, Anderson said Tuesday at City Hall. It was just out of curiosity and it followed me into my adult life.

A Marine Corps reservist, Anderson said he'll lean on his military training during various police-related calls. I think I'll be able to handle some of the stresses of the job, both mentally and physically, he said.

A Marine Corps reservist, Anderson said he'll lean on his military training during various police-related calls. I think I'll be able to handle some of the stresses of the job, both mentally and physically, he said.

A Huntington native, Herber, 24, said he became interested in law enforcement as an elementary school student when a DARE officer visited his school.

(The officer) came and brought a dog out, Herber said. I think it was just that and the cop car and the sirens, not to mention the fact that they're a public servant and a role model. That really caught my eye.

Herber graduated from Huntington North High School and then attended Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, where he excelled with a 3.76 grade-point average as a criminal justice major. Herber said he'll rely on a high standard of physical fitness as a Muncie police officer.

Qualls' earliest memories, meanwhile, involve the Muncie Police Department. His father, Bruce, is a veteran city police officer and currently serves as the department's supervisor of the traffic division.

I always thought it was what I wanted to do, Brandon Qualls said. I always grew up around Chief Stewart and some of these other guys since I was a kid.

Qualls already has significant law enforcement experience to lean on. The Central High School graduate studied criminal justice at Ball State University and spent a couple of years as a member of the university's police department.

Since I already went through the academy at Ball State and then those years that I was there and all the training and experience I had at that time, it will definitely help me here (with MPD), Qualls said.

Five pass academy

Five other city officers officially became state-certified after graduating from the 15-week academy on April 13.

Those officers are Matthew Hollans, Ryan McCorkle, Sara Mench, Gregory Skaggs and Ryan Yeager, according to Chief Stewart.

These five officers have been patrolling the city and will spend a few months with a field training officer before continuing their careers in various MPD divisions.

Contact reporter Andrew Walker at 213-5845. Find him on Twitter at

April 23, 2012

Nebraska Trooper Injured in Head-On Collision with Unlicensed Teen Driver

By Steve White

A Nebraska State Patrol trooper received serious injuries when his patrol unit was struck nearly head-on by an unlicensed 17-year old driver.

Just before 2:00 a.m., Sunday, April, 22, Trooper Jeffrey Van Stelton, 28, was traveling westbound on U.S. Highway 34, about four miles west of Stratton, in Hitchcock County when a 2008 Ford Fusion, crossed the center-line striking his 2010 Dodge Charger nearly head-on.

Trooper Van Stelton's vehicle which suffered extensive front-end damage came to rest in the south ditch, before bursting into flames. The other vehicle came to rest on the Highway.

Trooper Van Stelton, was transported by ambulance to the McCook hospital, and then flown by medical helicopter to Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney with injuries to his pelvis, legs and arm. He is listed in serious condition.

The 17-year old male driver of the other vehicle was transported by ambulance to the Benkelman hospital, where he is being treated for non-life threatening injuries. A 40-year old female passenger, identified as Antonia Valdez, was transported by ambulance to the McCook hospital, and was later flown by medical helicopter to Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney, with non-life threatening leg injuries.

The 17-year driver of the vehicle did not have a driver's license. Both the driver and his passenger are believed to be from the Denver metro area.

A six-year veteran of the Nebraska State Patrol, Trooper Van Stelton is assigned to Troop D-North Platte and is stationed in McCook.

Source: Nebraska State Patrol

April 23, 2012

Retired Sheriff’s Deputy Drowns In Central Texas Lake

BRYAN (April 22, 2012)—Retired Brazos County sheriff’s deputy Tommy Preston, 63, drowned Saturday after the canoe from which he and his nephew were fishing overturned on a privately owned lake in Bryan.

Preston never resurfaced.

Lt. John Polluck of the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division said several area agencies were involved in the search for Preston’s body, which was recovered about two hours after the accident.

Preston was a former College Station police officer and Brazos County deputy and he often fished at his former CSPD partner's lake.

Antone Dobrovolny said Preston spent many hours on his lake

“I said man if you have to go, if you’re doing something you enjoy…it’s better than something you don’t. Everything happens for a reason,” he said.

Preston’s daughter, Teresa McMillian arrived at the lake after the body was recovered.

She remembers her father as a guy that tried to help and do the best he could for about everyone. He loved to help and do anything he could for anyone.”

McMillian said her father is “going to be dearly missed…and I love him dearly.”

An autopsy was ordered.

April 23, 2012

Chief sheriff’s deputy strikes moose in Howland, suffers head injury

Nick McCrea

HOWLAND, MAINE — The Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department’s chief deputy suffered a head injury when his cruiser struck a moose on Lagrange Road in Howland early Sunday morning, Sheriff Glenn Ross said Sunday afternoon.

Chief Deputy Troy Morton’s vehicle struck the moose shortly after midnight, according sheriff’s Sgt. William Sheehan.

Ross said Morton struck his head on equipment in the vehicle during the crash. The air bags did not deploy.

“He’s been hospitalized, but we’re hopeful for a full recovery,” Ross said.

A nursing supervisor at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor said Sunday evening that Morton had been treated at the hospital and released.

The impact broke the cruiser’s windshield and tore off a side mirror, but damage was minor, according to Ross.

“I think it was a low-speed event,” Ross said.

Ross said he believes the moose was able to wander away from the scene of the crash and that deputies did not go searching for it.

The Sheriff’s Department was assisted at the scene by state police, Howland Rescue Services and Penobscot Valley Hospital ambulance service, Sheehan said.

April 23, 2012

St. Joe County Men Arrested on Drug Charges in Miami County

Parker Brown - Mark Kuzmits

Peru – Friday night, a traffic stop by Indiana State Trooper Luke Bowyer led to the arrests of two Saint Josephs’ County men on drug charges.

Trooper Bowyer initiated a traffic stop on a 1997 Honda Civic which had allegedly committed multiple unsafe lane movements while traveling on southbound U.S. 31 near Business 31, in Miami County. As Bowyer was speaking with the Honda’s driver, Mark Kuzmits, 23, North Liberty, IN, he detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from the car. While Trooper Bowyer was determining Kuzmits’ level of intoxication, Trooper Daniel Prus and his narcotics detecting police dog, Zeke, arrived to assist.

Prus deployed Zeke to conduct a free air sniff around the Honda. Zeke gave a positive alert to the odor of illegal narcotics inside the car. During a subsequent search of the Civic, offices allegedly found a personal use amount of cocaine, prescription medication, a misdemeanor amount of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and open alcohol containers.

Kuzmits was incarcerated in the Miami County Jail on a felony charge for possession of cocaine. He also faces two misdemeanor charges for possession of marijuana under 30 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was also issued a citation for having open alcohol containers. The investigation revealed he was not too intoxicated to drive.

Parker Brown, 20, South Bend, IN, a passenger in the Honda, was also arrested. He was incarcerated in the Miami County Jail on two class D felony counts for possession of cocaine and possession of a schedule II narcotic. He also faces three misdemeanor charges for possession of marijuana under 30 grams, possession of drug paraphernalia, and illegal consumption of alcohol by a minor. He was also issued a citation for having open alcohol containers.

Trooper Wendell Beachy also assisted with this investigation.

April 23, 2012

2 Motorcycle Crashes, Critical, No Helmets

By Katrina Helmer

(Indiana's NewsCenter) -- Two motorcycle crashes overnight across northeast Indiana leave both drivers with serious head injuries after not wearing helmets.

The first crash happened at 7:14 p.m. Saturday in DeKalb County. An Ashley Police Officer tried to pull Daniel McMahon over after for traffic violations in Ashley, Ind. Instead of complying, McMahon, 37, of Auburn, Ind., sped up on his Honda bike and led officers on a chase on County Road 20.

According to the police report, McMahon was driving at a high rate of speed and did not have full control over his bike when he drove up the embankment west of County Road 23. McMahon flew almost 160 feet with his bike before wrecking in a field on the north side of CR 20.

McMahon started walking away from the crash. But police stopped him and then gave him over to paramedics on scene. He was sent to a local hospital in critical condition. As of last night, McMahon was unresponsive and suffering from a head injury.

Police said McMahon was not wearing a helmet. Criminal charges are pending.

The second motorcycle accident happened at 9:30 p.m. Saturday just West of 1000 E on SR 120. Shawn Sasser, 40, of Montpelier, Ohio, was driving a 2007 Yamaha Motorcycle East on State Road 120 near the state line.

Sasser's motorcycle drifted off the south side of the road causing him to crash and skid to the ground. Steuben County Sheriffs say he was not wearing a helmet.

Sasser was flown from the scene by Samaritan to a local hospital with head injuries. Police believe alcohol was a factor in the crash. This personal injury crash is still under investigation.

April 23, 2012

Navy shoots down veteran’s war stories

Despite clash with official file, he stands by claims

Vivian Sade

FORT WAYNE – John Carl Pequignot, 85, of Fort Wayne has told many people he fought the Japanese in three major battles as a Navy corpsman during World War II and that he was injured three separate times.

Depending on where he is discussing his war history, he may talk about when he was taken as prisoner of war and held in a camp in Luzon, Philippines, or sometimes it’s Guam.

The recounting of his military career often includes details about a clash where half of his face was blown off by a grenade. He underwent 27 reconstructive surgeries made possible by hip bone parts donated by more than a dozen Marines he saved, he has said.

After the war, Pequignot said, President Harry Truman personally presented him a sword for his heroism.

For years, Pequignot has told some portions of these stories to youth groups, at churches and in retirement homes. In 2007, he was presented a Silver Star, the third-highest honor in the military. In 2010, he was made an honorary member of the Indianapolis Korean War Veterans Association, Chapter 259, and is featured in the group’s online video project, “Tell America.”

The Journal Gazette ran a story on Veterans Day in November in which Pequignot was prominently featured talking about his World War II experiences.

But according to Navy records, Pequignot was never in battle and never left the U.S. during his military service. There is no official documentation that would indicate he was a POW, and archivists at Truman’s presidential library said they have no record of a meeting. In fact, the name Pequignot does not appear at all.

A convicted thief and bank robber after the war, Pequignot has insisted for years that the Navy lost all of his overseas records. But military records obtained by The Journal Gazette from the National Archives and Records Administration in St. Louis seem to account for almost every day Pequignot was in the service. Nothing in the records corroborates any of his military stories.

Because of the discrepancies, U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar’s office has backed away from a push to award Pequignot the Medal of Honor – an award numerous local residents have championed on Pequignot’s behalf.

Major discrepancies

Too young for active service, the records show Pequignot worked in Fort Wayne at the Pennsylvania Railroad yards until he was accepted into active service on July 28, 1944, a month before his 18th birthday and a year before the war ended. He was discharged on July 12, 1946.

He served the majority of those two years in California, according to military records.

Pequignot claims to have been a corpsman, an enlisted person with some medical training who serves the Navy and Marines as a medic in times of war. But Navy records do not list any medical training for Pequignot.

Asked about the discrepancy, Pequignot said he took a two-week course on an island – he did not remember its name – north of Australia in the fall of 1944.

During a battle in Saipan in November 1944, he claims to have received serious injuries to his leg from flying shrapnel while involved in hand-to-hand combat. He was then transferred by the USS Comfort to a military hospital to recuperate until March 28, he said.

But during that time, official military records place him at a Naval training center in Oklahoma.

Pequignot tells of another battle he was in on the island of Iwo Jima on Feb. 19, 1945. But Navy records show he was in California then. Asked about the conflicting dates, Pequignot said his memory “may be off by a few days or so.”

Pequignot has said he was critically injured when a grenade detonated mid-air in Okinawa on April 1, 1945, blowing off half his face and jaw. According to Pequignot, he recuperated in a base hospital in Okinawa for five months before being sent back to the States.

He claims to have undergone 27 surgeries to repair the damage. The first surgery was performed in Okinawa, he said, when 15 Marines volunteered to donate parts of their hip bones to help reconstruct his face.

But according to documents related to his official military discharge in July 1946, Pequignot “required neither medical nor dental attention.” Despite his claims of critical injuries and months of surgeries and rehabilitation, military records indicate his health was normal with “no defects, abnormalities or injuries.”

Records confirm he served aboard the USS Shangri-La, as he claims, but the Navy said he was aboard the ship after the war, from Oct. 26, 1945, to May 17, 1946.

Medals and ribbons

Jonn Lilyea, a retired infantry platoon sergeant who served in Desert Storm, recently noted Pequignot’s claims in his popular military blog, “This ain’t hell, but you can see it from here.”

“Saipan, Iwo Jima and Okinawa were operations by different (Marine Corps) units,” Lilyea wrote, “so he must have really been bounced around.”

After leaving the Navy, Pequignot was a Fort Wayne police officer until he was convicted in 1958 for involvement in a car theft ring.

Six years later, he was convicted of bank robbery in Allen County.

All of that “was long ago” and has no bearing on his military record, he said.

In later years, Pequignot was a high school sports referee and did janitorial work.

He has qualified for 50 percent disability pay from the Department of Veterans Affairs based on “conditions of military service.”

He receives $845 a month as compensation for tinnitus and hearing loss. Claims for shrapnel wounds and tremors of the hand and arm were denied, according to VA documents.

Pequignot has a number of medals and ribbons, many in a glass case and some on the uniform he wears when he makes presentations, he said. He claims to have three Purple Hearts, an Asiatic-Pacific Ribbon, China Service Ribbon, Japan Occupation Ribbon, Distinguished Marksman Ribbon and a Presidential Citation.

Official records show Pequignot received a World War II Victory Medal and Victory Ribbon, which were given to all veterans who served during WWII, and an Asiatic-Pacific Ribbon, which was given to all veterans who served in the Pacific.

In a ceremony at Allen County Public Library on Oct. 30, 2007, Pequignot was presented with a belated Silver Star – the third-highest honor in the military – given for distinguished gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States. The Korean War Veterans hosted the event, and the medal was presented by then-state Sen. Gary Dillon.

Dillon remembers the event but has no idea where the Silver Star originated or where the order came from, he said. He was simply asked to show up and make the presentation, as elected officials are often asked to do, he said.

Although it’s possible that a belated award would not be found in many WWII records, the citation would have had to be signed by a senior Navy officer such as an admiral or a Department of the Navy civilian official at the secretary level, often both, said Col. Wayne Morris, USMC, of Jacksonville, N.C.

Pequignot was unable to produce any paperwork for the citation.

The belated Silver Star medal would have had to be processed through the Navy Board for Corrections of Military Records, said C. Douglas Sterner, curator for the Military Times Hall of Valor in Alexandria, Va.

“It doesn’t appear that was done,” he said.

James Yaney, a Korean War veteran who has pushed for the Medal of Honor for his friend Pequignot, said the Silver Star medal was sent directly from Veterans Affairs to Pequignot.

Sterner said Lugar’s office backed off the Medal of Honor nomination when officials at the Navy Decorations board found there was no validity to Pequignot’s claims.

The Medal of Honor is the highest award given to military personnel.

The Navy had been provided with a copy of Pequignot’s Purple Heart citation, which it deemed not to be authentic, said Sterner, who played a major role in the passage of federal law making it a misdemeanor to falsely claim a military medal.

“There is no evidence he earned a Silver Star or one, much less three, Purple Hearts,” Sterner said. “We do not believe he was a corpsman, and there is no evidence he was ever a prisoner of war.”

Yaney said he was “completely devastated” about the lack of evidence to support Pequignot’s claims.

Still, Pequignot maintains his version of his military service is the truth.

“There’s no way to prove I’m telling the truth if the Navy won’t present my side,” he said.

© Copyright 2012 The Journal Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

April 23, 2012

Arkansas State Trooper Involved Shooting, Leaves One Man Dead

ALMA, Ark. -- Arkansas State Police say a state trooper has fatally shot a man during a traffic stop near Alma in western Arkansas.

Authorities said Trooper Michael Bowman had stopped a vehicle for speeding on U.S. Highway 71 about 11:30 p.m. Saturday when the driver, Christopher Snyder, got out and fled the scene on foot.

State police said when Bowman caught up with the 28-year-old Snyder behind an abandoned mobile home, Snyder refused to comply with Bowman's orders. Officials said as Bowman was trying to handcuff Snyder, the two fought and Snyder began choking the trooper.

Bowman got to his handgun and fired at Snyder, who was pronounced dead at the scene. Bowman has been placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of an investigation.

Very saddened and shocked. The family told 40/29 news. Seems out of character for him.

Bowman back ground: In 2008, Michael D Bowman joined Troop H in Crawford county after completing a 12 week course. According to Arkansas State Police site, Bowman had served previously as a State Trooper outside of Arkansas.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

April 23, 2012

Officer Struck By Own Patrol Car

Barnwell, SC (WLTX) -- A police officer for the city of Barnwell is recovering from an accident in which he and another person were hit by the officer's own patrol car.

Early Saturday morning, about an hour after midnight, the Barnwell City Police Department was conducting a service call on SC Highway 3. According to a trooper with the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the city police officer left his patrol car in the roadway of the southbound lane of SC-3 when he got out to talk to an unidentified person who was walking along the side of the roadway.

While the officer was outside talking with the person, an 84 year-old woman driving in the southbound lane hit the the side of the patrol car with her 2004 Buick, which pushed the patrol car into the officer and the unknown person as they were standing near the officer's car.

Both the officer and the unidentified person were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment of their injuries; the woman who hit the patrol car was treated for minor injuries, as well.

The accident is still under investigation by the highway patrol.

April 22, 2012

Hundreds of thousands may lose Internet in July: FBI

WASHINGTON — For computer users, a few mouse clicks could mean the difference between staying online and losing Internet connections this summer.

Unknown to most of them, their problem began when international hackers ran an online advertising scam to take control of infected computers around the world. In a highly unusual response, the FBI set up a safety net months ago using government computers to prevent Internet disruptions for those infected users. But that system is to be shut down.

The FBI is encouraging users to visit a website run by its security partner,, that will inform them whether they're infected and explain how to fix the problem. After July 9, infected users won't be able to connect to the Internet.

Most victims don't even know their computers have been infected, although the malicious software probably has slowed their web surfing and disabled their antivirus software, making their machines more vulnerable to other problems.

Last November, the FBI and other authorities were preparing to take down a hacker ring that had been running an Internet ad scam on a massive network of infected computers.

We started to realize that we might have a little bit of a problem on our hands because ... if we just pulled the plug on their criminal infrastructure and threw everybody in jail, the victims of this were going to be without Internet service, said Tom Grasso, an FBI supervisory special agent. The average user would open up Internet Explorer and get 'page not found' and think the Internet is broken.

On the night of the arrests, the agency brought in Paul Vixie, chairman and founder of Internet Systems Consortium, to install two Internet servers to take the place of the truckload of impounded rogue servers that infected computers were using. Federal officials planned to keep their servers online until March, giving everyone opportunity to clean their computers. But it wasn't enough time. A federal judge in New York extended the deadline until July.

Now, said Grasso, the full court press is on to get people to address this problem. And it's up to computer users to check their PCs.

This is what happened:

Hackers infected a network of probably more than 570,000 computers worldwide. They took advantage of vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Windows operating system to install malicious software on the victim computers. This turned off antivirus updates and changed the way the computers reconcile website addresses behind the scenes on the Internet's domain name system.

The DNS system is a network of servers that translates a web address — such as — into the numerical addresses that computers use. Victim computers were reprogrammed to use rogue DNS servers owned by the attackers. This allowed the attackers to redirect computers to fraudulent versions of any website.

The hackers earned profits from advertisements that appeared on websites that victims were tricked into visiting. The scam netted the hackers at least $14 million, according to the FBI. It also made thousands of computers reliant on the rogue servers for their Internet browsing.

When the FBI and others arrested six Estonians last November, the agency replaced the rogue servers with Vixie's clean ones. Installing and running the two substitute servers for eight months is costing the federal government about $87,000.

The number of victims is hard to pinpoint, but the FBI believes that on the day of the arrests, at least 568,000 unique Internet addresses were using the rogue servers. Five months later, FBI estimates that the number is down to at least 360,000. The U.S. has the most, about 85,000, federal authorities said. Other countries with more than 20,000 each include Italy, India, England and Germany. Smaller numbers are online in Spain, France, Canada, China and Mexico.

Vixie said most of the victims are probably individual home users, rather than corporations that have technology staffs who routinely check the computers.

FBI officials said they organized an unusual system to avoid any appearance of government intrusion into the Internet or private computers. And while this is the first time the FBI used it, it won't be the last.

This is the future of what we will be doing, said Eric Strom, a unit chief in the FBI's Cyber Division. Until there is a change in legal system, both inside and outside the United States, to get up to speed with the cyber problem, we will have to go down these paths, trail-blazing if you will, on these types of investigations.

Now, he said, every time the agency gets near the end of a cyber case, we get to the point where we say, how are we going to do this, how are we going to clean the system without creating a bigger mess than before.

April 22, 2012

Stabbed in Brain, Officer Escaped ‘Death’s Door’


Dr. Joshua B. Bederson of Mount Sinai Medical Center with Officer Eder Loor’s wife, Dina, at a news conference on Wednesday

The wild swing connected to the left side of the police officer’s head, a presumed punch until the blood started flowing. The officer, Eder Loor, reached to his temple and felt the handle of a knife.

He pulled the knife out, his wife later learned, not realizing then just how seriously injured he was.

By any odds, Officer Loor should have been killed or left brain-dead by the knife that entered his skull on Tuesday, after a confrontation with a 26-year-old ex-convict in East Harlem. At best, he could have lost the ability to speak, to talk to his pregnant wife or young daughter.

The head of neurosurgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center, Dr. Joshua B. Bederson, said Wednesday that none of that would come to pass.

“He is probably the luckiest unlucky man you could ever have,” Dr. Bederson said at a news conference in New York.

The folding knife’s three-inch blade passed half an inch below structures that control motor functions and another half-inch from structures that control vision. It touched the nerve that gives sensation to the face and nicked, but did not penetrate, a major artery, Dr. Bederson said.

“It was a millimeter from everything; it was ridiculous,” he said later in an interview. “You don’t want to overemphasize, but he was at death’s door. He was minutes away from crashing.”

Officer Loor’s wife, Dina Loor, sat beside the doctor at the news conference, a picture of unfailing calm and poise. She answered questions in English and Spanish as she spoke of her husband’s first words to her, and of how he never showed fear, much as she hid her concerns from their daughter.

Ms. Loor said her husband told her: “Babe, I’m fine. It just hurts.”

The news conference, which was also attended by the officer’s sister, was a vast departure from what typically follows a near-fatal attack on a police officer: Information is guarded, and loved ones seek privacy at a critical time. It also offered a welcome juxtaposition with the scene at Woodhull Medical Center in Brooklyn this week, when Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg delivered the news that Lt. Richard A. Nappi of the Fire Department had died while fighting a blaze.

Throughout the news conference at Mount Sinai, it was made clear that Officer Loor, 28, was fortunate not to have met the same fate.

Officer Loor and his partner, Luckson Merisme, were responding to an emergency call by the mother of an emotionally disturbed man, Terrence Hale. The mother, Vearry Hale, had called 911 to say her son was bipolar and had stopped taking his medications. When the officers met her outside, she said her son was upstairs and needed to go to the hospital, the police said.

The officers strode into the Franklin Plaza Apartments, a housing complex at 1945 Third Avenue, near 107th Street. Mr. Hale exited an elevator in the lobby and walked past them as his mother asked him to go to the hospital, according to an account given by the police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly.

Mr. Hale responded, “I’ll go by myself,” and then walked out the door.

The officers caught up to him and said they would escort him there, the police said. It was then that he suddenly produced the knife and stabbed Officer Loor, they said.

By Wednesday evening, Mr. Hale had not been arraigned on charges that included attempted aggravated murder. He had been arrested in the past, the authorities have said, including for a knife attack in 2006, for which he served a term at Sing Sing.

In a brief telephone interview on Wednesday, his mother said she was angry because she had called for an ambulance to help him, and not for the police. She also accused the police of mishandling the situation and displaying a lack of training for a sensitive domestic encounter, and said she planned to contact a lawyer.

“They did not get backup, and they did not do their job right,” Ms. Hale, 51, said. “My son was not feeling well; he was sick and said he wanted to go to the hospital.”

After the stabbing, a call for an ambulance was received at 10:32 a.m. on Tuesday, and Dr. Bederson cited the quick work of the emergency workers in helping to save the officer. The doctor had moved fast, too: he had flown into La Guardia Airport from a conference in Florida that morning and was running in Central Park when the call came. He ran straight to Mount Sinai.

By the time Dr. Bederson arrived, the knife had been removed; the officer’s wife said, “He pulled his own knife out.”

“Since he’s an E.M.T., he somehow managed to hold the pressure,” Ms. Loor said. “Somebody on the street, I believe, handed him a towel.”

Although Officer Loor was alert at first, Dr. Bederson said, he “rapidly deteriorated and was lethargic and sleepy.” The officer was bleeding inside and outside the brain, he added, “and the hemorrhage was expanding and pressing on the brain.” Doctors removed a bone flap, seven inches in diameter, from his skull and stopped the bleeding.

The knife, which entered just behind the officer’s eye, went “deep into the temporal lobe and all the way down to the skull base,” the doctor said.

It cut through the Sylvian fissure, which separates the frontal and temporal lobes and contains major blood vessels. The knife cut the major vein of that fissure and nicked the middle cerebral artery that supplies blood to the brain’s left hemisphere. It missed the carotid artery by a millimeter.

Officer Loor, who joined the force six years ago, is likely to experience a period of facial numbness and a depletion of energy, and will probably require some anti-epileptic drugs, but he is expected to “make a complete recovery,” the doctor said.

In a lighter moment at the news conference, the doctor said he imagined a debate later with Officer Loor over when he would return to work: in one month, as the officer might prefer, or in three, under doctor’s orders.

After the surgery, Ms. Loor, 25, said, she had brought their daughter, 4 ½, into Officer Loor’s room for a bedside visit. The girl was happy “to see her dad,” Ms. Loor said.

Their next child, a boy, is due in July.

As for her husband, she said, “all he wanted was a kiss.”

Dr. Bederson, asked if he would call the officer’s survival miraculous, said, “If you want to call that a miracle, I guess you’re justified in calling that a miracle.”

Joseph Goldstein and Ivan Pereira contributed reporting.

April 22, 2012

500 troopers may help handle NATO protesters


As many as 500 troopers from the Illinois State Police will assist the Chicago Police Department in handling thousands of protesters expected to descend on Chicago during the May 20-21 NATO summit, City Hall sources said Friday.

The 500-trooper contingent would represent nearly 40 percent of the statewide total, raising questions about how the State Police would be able to juggle their other responsibilities to patrol state expressways and tollways and perform other emergency functions.

Monique Bond, a State Police spokeswoman, refused to discuss the assistance or what it might cost.

Chicago Police Department spokeswoman Melissa Stratton said the size of the State Police contingent is “evolving, as is the attendance and type of delegations” attending the NATO summit.

She refused to confirm the 500-trooper number, citing the fact that the NATO summit is a “National Special Security Event,” a designation normally reserved for the Olympics, the Super Bowl and the Democratic and Republican National Conventions.

“Illinois State Police is assisting with motorcade support and supplying a number of Mobile Field Force personnel,” Stratton wrote in an e-mail to the Chicago Sun-Times.

“This is a large, complex event and it is our responsibility to ensure the success of the event as well as the security and safety of those attending and the residents and visitors within the city during the summit. CPD has stated from the beginning — and ensured through the [City] Council — the superintendent’s authority to contract with outside law enforcement. CPD’s planning … has looked to all options as our responsibility will be to deliver police services throughout Chicago, provide security support for the [event] and provide dignitary and motorcade protection.”

For the first time, Stratton also revealed that police from northwest suburban Rosemont would provide assistance near O’Hare Airport as motorcades bearing world leaders, foreign and defense ministers from 50 nations “exit airport property.”

“They are only helping with the border area of O’Hare and have a very minimal role with traffic for delegate arrivals and departures,” she said, refusing to reveal what, if any, other police agencies may be involved.

Last month, President Barack Obama shifted the G-8 summit from Chicago to Camp David. That prompted protesters to seek to shift their march from May 19 to May 20, same time, same route.

City Hall refused, saying it did not have a “sufficient number of on-duty police officers” or traffic control aides to “police and protect” participants and spectators. The city subsequently granted a permit that will allow the protesters to march on the outskirts of the Loop to McCormick Place.

Earlier this week, the Illinois National Guard disclosed that as many as 600 of its troops would help move international delegations around the city during the summit.

The National Guard also revealed that it has scheduled an emergency response drill outside the city during summit weekend so even more of its troops can be summoned to Chicago in the event of largescale trouble.

Before the G-8 was moved to Camp David, Chicago

Police Supt. Garry McCarthy was talking about seeking roughly 850 reinforcements to assist his officers.

McCarthy once served as operations chief for the New York City Police Department, which has extensive experience in crowd control, civil unrest and protection of visiting dignitaries.

But, sources said McCarthy was determined to limit his request for outside help to officers within the state of Illinois, including State Police, Cook County Sheriff’s Police and officers from suburban and Downstate municipalities.

It was not immediately clear why McCarthy was hesitant to ask for out-of-state help, but cost may have something to do with it.

Officers from outside Illinois would have to be fed and put up in hotels. Officers from the suburbs could go home at night.

Copyright © 2012 — Sun-Times Media, LLC

April 22, 2012

Ex-cop charged with money laundering linked to Regal Theater rehab



Regina Evans retired from the Chicago Police Department with a vision to resuscitate a grand old Chicago theater.

She would train kids, women and minorities to work there, they would learn trades and she would help them get GEDs, using a $1.25 million state grant in February 2009 for her nonprofit, We Are Our Brother’s Keeper.

The historic and endangered New Regal Theater, a landmark South Side stage graced by the likes of Nat “King” Cole, Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald and Stevie Wonder when it was called the Avalon, would rise again.

Only now, Evans, 49, is indicted on federal fraud charges.

Prosecutors said Friday in the federal courthouse in Springfield that the former Country Club Hills Police chief used almost half of the grant for the mortgage on the Regal building and payments to her friends, family, associates and for herself between February 2009 and June 2010.

The indictment alleged Evans used $275,000 of the grant to make payments on a delinquent mortgage she had for the Regal, which was facing foreclosure in Cook County Circuit Court at the time the job-training money was made available.

The indictment also accused her of diverting $135,000 of the grant to her personal bank account and using it “for cash withdrawals and personal and other expenses, including the repayment of additional indebtedness.”

Evans, who spent 22 years with the Chicago Police Department before retiring in 2007 as a lieutenant, channeled an additional $50,000 in grant funds to her “family members, friends and associates,” the indictment alleged.

It did not specify who allegedly received the money.

A spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney James A. Lewis, the top federal prosecutor in Illinois’ central district, declined to comment on the indictment.

Within months of getting the grant, and already plagued with financial problems, Evans was hired as police chief in Country Club Hills, the first African-American woman to head a south suburban department.

Her husband would follow her, also hired by Mayor Dwight Welch, as inspector general to investigate complaints against the police department headed by his wife. They earned more than $200,000 together, courtesy of taxpayers in the city of 16,000.

But the theater faltered.

So did Evans’ other businesses, including another entertainment venue in Dolton and a limo company that subcontracted with Country Club Hills. And the theater building, 1641 E. 79th St., was sold at auction in September to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. after going into foreclosure.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan sued We Are Our Brother’s Keeper in July 2011. Sun-Times Media and the SouthtownStar reported extensively that month about the Evans’ financial and legal troubles, including personal and corporate bankruptcy. The papers’ investigation also revealed problems with part-time police officers Evans hired using a federal grant.

In August, Ronald Evans’ job was eliminated, and Regina Evans went on medical leave. In October, she was fired as chief. In November, the Evanses’ bankruptcy case was closed. A U.S. trustee determined they had no assets.

Evans has pleaded not guilty to the charges ­— one count of mail fraud and two counts of money laundering — part of a sealed grand jury indictment made public Friday. She was released on a $10,000 bond.

Her lawyer, Larry Beaumont, said she did not misspend state dollars.

“I expect the evidence will show we used the money for exactly what we intended to use the money for, which was to create opportunities for disadvantaged youth in the community in connection with this theater,” he said.

“We certainly disagree with the allegations as set forth in the indictment. We think when all the evidence settles, the record will be clear,” Beaumont said.

Welch said: “I feel very sorry for her and her family. She did a good job for us while she was here and it’s unfortunate it happened. Does a criminal charge in America equate to being guilty? I’m not going to sit there and say anything negative about her. She did a good job while she was here and I wish her the best of luck.”

Contributing: Casey Toner

Copyright © 2012 — Sun-Times Media, LLC

April 22, 2012

Bank robbery suspect speeds from Michigan City to Elburn, flings cash on highway

Police from cities, county, state and the FBI gather on I-80/94 at the 19 mile marker in Portage, Ind. Friday April 20, 2012. An alleged bank robber was pursued from LaPorte County to past the Illinois state line by multiple police agencies. The alleged robber tossed money and clothing out the window along the highway. Some of the money was collected by passing motorists. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media

Indiana State Police Troopers put out flares for traffic control as police from various agencies gather on I-80/94 at the 19 mile marker in Portage, Ind. Friday April 20, 2012. An alleged bank robber was pursued from LaPorte County to past the Illinois state line by multiple police agencies. The alleged robber tossed money and clothing out the window along the highway. Some of the money was collected by passing motorists. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media

An officer carries an evidence bag and its contents back to a squad car as police from various agencies gather on I-80/94 at the 19 mile marker in Portage, Ind. Friday April 20, 2012. An alleged bank robber was pursued from LaPorte County to past the Illinois state line by multiple police agencies. The alleged robber tossed money and clothing out the window along the highway. Some of the money was collected by passing motorists. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-

An Elburn man is in custody Friday night after allegedly robbing a northwest Indiana bank and leading police on a 110-mile long, high-speed chase through Indiana and Illinois — while throwing cash out the window along the way.

David Ziesel, 32, was charged with felony aggravated fleeing and attempting to elude a police officer and misdemeanor resisting a peace officer, according to a written statement from the Kane County Sheriff’s office.

Ziesel was turned over to detectives from the LaPorte County (Ind.) Sheriff’s office.

The incident started when the suspect allegedly robbed a bank in LaPorte, Ind. and police gave chase, said Bob Ramsey, supervisory resident agent with the FBI in Merrillville, Ind.

Dispatch reports indicate Michigan City, Ind., police began chasing the suspect at 2:15 p.m. and Indiana State Police soon joined. The pursuit reached speeds of 99 mph and police attempted to keep the suspect in the left lane after laying stop sticks near the Indiana 249 exit.

A witness said the driver of car — which officials said was a tan 1999 Chevy Suburban — started throwing large amounts of money outside of the SUV as he was speeding down I-94 between Indiana 49 and 51. Motorists were stopping to gather the cash, but one person turned “a large amount of currency” over to Michigan City police, the witness said.

The suspect continued along Interstate 80/94 to the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), where he proceeded to head north. The suspect exited the Tollway to U.S. Route 41 northbound where the chase was picked up by Kane County sheriff, Elburn and Aurora police.

At 3:15 p.m. the SUV entered Kane County on the Ronald Reagan Memorial Highway (I-88) near Aurora, according to a statement from the Kane County Sheriff’s office.

The SUV exited the highway at Illinois Route 31 in North Aurora and police briefly lost sight of the vehicle, the sheriff said. A deputy spotted the vehicle a short time later traveling west on Main Street in Batavia Township.

The deputy attempted to stop the SUV, which sped away and eventually stopped in a yard near Oakwood Drive and Hughes Road near Elburn, sheriff’s police said. The driver ran through several back yards and into his open garage in the 1100 block of Wise Street in Elburn.

Kane County Sheriff’s Lt. Pat Gengler said Ziesel asked if he could say goodbye to his wife before being taken into custody, but Sheriff’s police did not extend him the courtesy, in part because of the lives he put in danger with the high-speed driving.

There were no license plates on the SUV, but police suspected he was going to a destination when he started turning onto smaller roads. He eventually parked in a large field and ran home.

No weapon has been recovered, Gengler said.

Contributing: Michael Lansu

Copyright © 2012 — Sun-Times Media, LLC

April 21, 2012

Greg Stout is the president of the Tampa PBA and a brother of

retired Indiana state trooper Allen Stout PE1736, who is now a prominent Angola, IN attorney

Greg recounts the moments leading up to the sentencing of Delgado who murdered Corporal Mike Roberts of the Tampa Police Department

I sat through most of the Humberto Delgado murder trial and I watched as three public defenders did their best to represent

Mr. Delgado, which is their job. I also watched Attorney Chris Watson do his best to sully the reputation and character

of Corporal Mike Roberts during closing arguments. (My opinion only, so no need to call me to complain, Ms. Holt.

We’ve already had that discussion.) I don’t know how Cindy Roberts withstood each and every day of the trial, but she

was there along with her brother, an HCSO Deputy, her sister, her brother-in-law, her mother and her father, an HCSO

retired Bailiff. I began this article about us seeing the worst of society. I now count Mr. Watson in that pile of filth because

I saw and heard what he said firsthand. At the sentencing, the State Attorneys asked Judge Battles for Cindy’s permission

to address the court. He invited her to the lectern and this was what she said:

“Your honor, I would like to thank you for this opportunity to address the court. During my victim’s impact testimony,

the defense team was able to censor my statement and I did not feel that that followed the spirit of what the victim’s impact

statement was supposed to provide. But mostly, I want to speak to you [addressing Delgado]. You, the defendant, I will not

speak your name. You are not worthy of such respect. You have been given several opportunities to speak during this trial

and like a coward, you have remained silent and you are not remorseful.

Over the past 2 1/2 years when you’ve looked my way, I have seen the face of evil and disdain. What bothers me most

was knowing that was the last face my husband saw on this earth. Pure hate and evil. You coward. You murdered my husband

in cold blood. You pistol-whipped him till he was unconscious. He was no threat to you. But you willfully and intentionally

shot him anyway. Purposefully shooting him through the lungs and the heart. I hope that when your time comes,

you too, would choke on your own blood.

If you were afraid of law enforcement, you would have left then, but you didn’t. You stayed around, and waited until

you could see that other officers were coming, and then you ran. You ran and hid. That was cruel, heinous and atrocious.

My husband was completely unable to defend himself, and then you took his radio so you could monitor where the responding

officers were. And then you ran. You ran away and made a phone call for help. Not for my dying husband, but you wanted

your family to bail you out again like they had in the past.

During the trial, the question was asked, why you didn’t attack the officer in Pinellas County and quite frankly, you didn’t

have the guns with you. They were still in (a) storage unit, otherwise this trial might have taken place in Pinellas County.

You didn’t kill more officers after Mike because you heard them on Mike’s radio. You knew they were coming, and there

were too many for you. You knew you could not possibly kill them all or you would have.

You should not be here. You chose to leave your birth family, you chose to leave your wife and children, you chose to

leave your girlfriend and your baby, you chose not to accept help, you chose to buy several guns and you chose not to

accept a ride that day; that fateful day on Aug. 19, 2009. You chose to murder.

You have no regard for anyone but yourself. You sat in this courtroom before the trial started one morning watching

home videos. You had no respect or concern for anyone else and for Mike’s family and friends that were here to watch you

laugh and chuckle, and having a good time.

You think the world owes you something – a job, money, a place to live – all on your terms, all for free. You think you’re

entitled. You’ve spent years blaming someone else for your shortcomings. You will get what you wanted. In jail you will

have a free lifestyle and many of us will suffer for it. I lost my husband, my friend and my soul mate, and my son lost his

daddy, his role model.

We were given a life sentence – all of us, Mike’s family and friends, and we did nothing wrong. You should get a more

severe penalty. Much more. As long as you are alive, you can contact your family. That is a luxury you do not deserve. You

should not be here. You will still be a danger to the detention deputies because you have no respect for the laws or people.

I hope you receive the death penalty and so does Mike. So does Mike. He had no tolerance for cop killers and thought

you should get the death penalty for it. You should not be here. You were quoted once saying, “you were just trying to get

through this world without losing yourself.” Well, you failed at that, too. You no longer have a name. You’re just an inmate

number, but to many of us, you will just be known as “cop killer.”

This case is not about an illness. This is pure evil and hatred. You should not be here. When you finally leave this world,

you can join your father for eternity. You and the devil can dance in the pale moonlight, in the darkness, in hell, where all

evil starts.

You should not be here. And you will still be a murdering cowardly cop killer.

Your Honor, I thank you for the court’s time.”

I do not believe I have ever witnessed something as powerful or moving in my life. Moments

later, Judge Emmett Battles sentenced Delgado to death.

I sent copies of Cindy’s statement to law enforcement friends of mine around the country and

the following day I got an e-mail from an old friend and retired Indiana State Police Officer,

He asked how he could get in touch with Cindy because he wanted to send her and her

son, Adam, to a timeshare he and his wife have at Walt Disney World.

He went on to say how her statement moved him and it was something he could do.

I put them in touch and thanks to a total stranger, Cindy and Adam will be spending

some time at Disney this summer.

Cops are all really a family even though I sometimes say we put the fun in dysfunctional.

I still see the best coming from the worst. Thanks Mike

April 21, 2012

Part of child's skull removed due to abuse

SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C - A woman and her boyfriend are facing charges after the woman’s child had to have part of his skull removed.

A Cherokee County detective was called to Greenville Memorial Hospital about a possible child abuse case.

The child’s mother, Nicole Dicosola, told hospital staff that she and her two children lived in Gaffney, so Cherokee County were called to the hospital.

Authorities said the 2-year-old was originally taken to Spartanburg Regional on April 17 after being taken by EMS from the mother’s boyfriend’s home in Spartanburg County. The child was then transferred to Greenville Memorial.

Doctors told authorities the child had to have to surgery to remove part of its skull to release the pressure on his brain due to swelling and bleeding.

The doctors said the injuries were caused from blunt-force trauma and/or shaking.

They said the injuries were life-threatening.

During the investigation, authorities determined that the mother’s boyfriend, Joshua Moton, 23, had stuck and/or shaken the child.

Authorities said Moton was the child's caretaker and the child's 4-year-old brother at the time the injuries happened.

They said the children’s mother was at work and came home to the injured child.

Moton is charged with one count of child abuse.

Dicosola is charged with one count of child neglect for placing her child at unreasonable risk of harm by leaving her child with Moton and being aware of previous accusations of injury to children in his care, police said.

Moton and Dicosola have been arrested and are in the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office Detention Center.

The children have been placed in the care of their maternal grandmother by the South Carolina Department of Social Services.

Copyright 2012 by WYFF All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

April 21, 2012

Police officer helps rescue family from apartment fire

VALPARAISO, Ind. -- A police officer put out a fire and helped rescue a family with a 3-day-old infant from a smoke-filled apartment in Valparaiso, Ind., late Thursday night, even before fire trucks arrived.

Phillip Rochon, a patrolman with the Valparaiso Police Department, was alone when he responded at about 11:30 p.m. Thursday to a report of smoke in the apartment building at 2802 Cumberland Drive.

A resident waiting outside unlocked the security door to let Rochon into a stairwell filled with thick smoke and some falling debris, according to the incident report. Rochon grabbed a fire extinguisher from the wall and put out the flames, which began on the third-floor landing but by then had spread to the second floor, as residents headed for the exits.

After the fire was out, resident Justin Sheppard, 23, asked for help getting two children out of his second-floor apartment, which was filling with smoke. The resident and his girlfriend, Lyndsi Ringen, 21, carried the children, the newborn and a 2-year-old girl, while Rochon escorted them out of the building.

As the Fire Department arrived and completed the evacuation, Sheppard and the 2-year-old were treated at the scene for minor smoke inhalation.

Sheppard said he learned of the fire by a knock on the door and the sound of people talking in the hallway, and the smoked filled his apartment when he opened the door.

After the building was inspected and the smoke cleared, the Fire Department let the residents return to their homes. The Valparaiso Fire Department did not immediately determine the cause of the fire, according to the police report, but a cigarette is believed to have been involved.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire - Copyright Chicago Sun-Times 2011.)

April 21, 2012

Wording of texting ban frustrates police officers

MUNCIE - Indiana lawmakers outlawed the practice of texting while driving nearly a year ago, but police statewide say enforcing the ban is difficult and want lawmakers to revisit the issue.

Few citations have been issued for texting violations since the law took effect July 1. That's in part because the law bars police from confiscating a driver's cellphone to determine whether they were in violation.

Sgt. Bruce Qualls of the Muncie Police Department tells The Star Press it's hard to determine whether a person was texting unless they're caught in the act.

Only three citations have been issued in Vigo County.

Indiana State Police Sgt. Joe Watts tells WTHI that he doesn't think the law has changed the behaviors of people who don't believe they're at risk.

Copyright © 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This story may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.

April 21, 2012

Ohio police bring lost man, 82, home from 280 miles away

HILLSBORO, Ohio – Police in the small southwest Ohio city of Hillsboro have returned an 82-year-old man to his home 280 miles away after he apparently got lost while driving in his Indiana hometown.

The Hillsboro Times-Gazette reports that auto shop employees called police Wednesday to say a man was sitting in his pickup truck, apparently confused. Police talked to Earl Lutterman and learned he got lost while driving in Evansville, Indiana.

Officer Shawn Kelley drove Lutterman home in his cruiser. Kelley left the man with his brother Norman Lutterman, who was very thankful that police returned him.

Norman Lutterman said learning that his brother drove so far away was a shock. Earl Lutterman no longer had a driver's license, and his license plate was expired.

April 21, 2012

Arizona corrections officer arrested in child-porn case

Veronica M. Cruz

An Arizona Department of Corrections officer was arrested Friday after child pornography was found on his personal computer.

Jeffrey Williams, 46, of Casa Grande, was booked into the Pinal County jail on suspicion of 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, said Elias Johnson, a spokesman

for the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office in a news release.

The pornography was discovered on April 12 by a computer technician at a shop where Williams had taken his personal computer to be repaired, the release said.

The technician called authorities who seized the computer and obtained a search warrant for its hard drive, the release said.

Williams was arrested while at work at the state prison complex in Florence.

Williams admitted to downloading and uploading child pornography on his home computers, the release said.

Detectives seized other computers and digital media while executing a search warrant on Williams’ home.

The investigation is ongoing.

The Casa Grande Police Department, the U.S. Marshal’s Office Fugitive Apprehension Team and the Arizona Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force

assisted the sheriff’s department with the case.

Copyright 2012 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

April 21, 2012

A Parke County fire chief was sentenced to seven years in prison after he crashed into a home, killing one person.

Reba Reader

Mecca Fire Chief Michael Collum

Parke County fire chief was sentenced to seven years in prison after he crashed into a home, killing one person.

Mecca Fire Chief Michael Collum must also serve two years home detention.

Back in June 2011, Collum was drunk when he crashed into the home where Stacey Williamson and his wife, Mary, slept.

Stacey Williamson died at the scene. Mary Williamson suffered serious injuries in the crash.

Collum was convicted of causing death when operating a motor vehicle with an ACE of .08 or more.

He was also convicted of causing serious bodily injury when operating a motor vehicle with an ACE of .08 or more.

Copyright © 2012, WXIN-TV

April 21, 2012

Muncie counselor charged over New Castle prison sex


MUNCIE -- A mental health counselor from Muncie faces four criminal charges over her alleged sexual relationship with a convicted rapist incarcerated at the New Castle Correctional Facility.

Elizabeth May Covington, 53, 7700 S. Delaware County Road 200-W, was arrested Friday, eight days after Henry County Prosecutor Kit Crane's office charged her with two counts each of sexual misconduct with a detainee, a Class C felony carrying a standard four-year prison term, and trafficking with an inmate, a misdemeanor.

She was released from the Henry County jail after posting a $6,800 bond.

Covington is a former employee of Corizon, a company contracted to provide health care service to the prison, according to an Indiana State Police press release.

According to an ISP report, internal affairs officers at the prison began an investigation in early January after receiving a tip that Covington was involved in a sexual relationship with inmate Ramon S. Rodriguez, 37, convicted of rape, kidnapping and armed robbery in Lake County in 1993.

Investigators reported they found Covington and the inmate -- with his pants pulled down around his knees, according to the report -- in a NCCF classroom about 5:30 a.m. on Jan. 16.

Interviewed that day, Covington recounted a sexual relationship with Rodriguez that developed in late 2011, authorities wrote.

She also admitted on two different occasions she brought Rodriguez two $100 bills, in one instance so he could buy a cellphone from another inmate, the reports said.

Covington acknowledged she frequently gave Rodriguez medical passes that allowed him to leave his cell and visit her office. The Muncie woman also said she brought the prisoner fast food.

Rodriguez, meanwhile, maintained his relationship with the counselor had not advanced beyond kissing. He said his pants were down that morning because he had written a note to Covington that was taped to the inside of his leg.

The prisoner said he used the cash that Covington gave him to buy tobacco inside of the facility.

An initial hearing is set May 1 in Henry Circuit Court 2. An Indianapolis attorney, John Douglas Razumich, has entered the case as Covington's defense attorney.

Contact Douglas Walker at 213-5851. Find him on Twitter at

April 21, 2012

Interstate Traffic Stop leads to Cultivated Marijuana;

One Person Arrested

Seymour, Indiana – Yesterday, April 19, 2012 around 2:50 p.m., Ronald Whisnant, 56 of Hohenwald, TN was arrested for alleged possession of a controlled substance, a class D felony. He was also arrested for allegedly committing the following class A misdemeanor offenses; possession of marijuana, cultivating marijuana, and possession of paraphernalia.

The arrest resulted from a simple traffic stop when Tpr. Randel Miller, a 5 year veteran of the state police, stopped Whisnant for a lane violation as he was driving south on I-65 near the 53 mile marker. During the traffic stop Tpr. Miller developed information that permitted him to search Whisnant’s car and resulted in the discovery of two suspected marijuana plants, suspected processed marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and another suspected controlled substance.

Often people will complain that police should arrest ‘real’ criminals and not waste time with traffic enforcement. This is just one more of many examples of a criminal being taken off the street due to a simple traffic violation. In the law enforcement business this is called ‘looking past the ticket’ when criminal activity is found during a traffic stop.

Whisnant was subsequently arrested and transported to the Jackson County jail and incarcerated.

April 21, 2012


Vigo County-At 6:15PM on Thursday evening, Indiana State Police Troopers Brandon Mullen and Ted Robertson were dispatched to a reported hit and run crash at 8097 South Trueblood Street in southwestern Vigo County. After arriving, the troopers found a domestic argument had also occurred with shots having been fired.

Preliminary investigation determined that Richard Lynch, age 37, of 8097 Trueblood Place, a female companion, Nicole Custer, age 26, of Terre Haute and her 2-year-old son were outside the residence and setting in the rear of Lynch’s Chevrolet S10 pickup. Another male, identified as Chad Hall, age 34, of Terre Haute had arrived moments before the initial call and allegedly began to argue with Lynch and Custer. Hall then allegedly backed his 2000 Chevrolet Blazer out of the drive-way onto Trueblood Place, sat briefly, then accelerated at a high rate speed through the yard toward the S10 pickup. Richard Lynch then allegedly fired two shots from a .22 caliber rifle toward Hall’s vehicle, striking it twice. Hall’s vehicle then struck the rear of the Lynch’s S10 pickup, ultimately ejecting Nicole Custer and her 2-year-old son onto the ground. The mother and son received only minor scrapes and did not seek any treatment. Hall, uninjured, fled the scene prior to arrival of the troopers.

At approximately 8:15PM, Mullen and Robertson located the suspect vehicle in tree line near the rural intersection of Curry Drive and Cullen Place. Minutes later, the troopers located Hall walking in the nearby Prairie Park Subdivision. After a foot pursuit between houses and through yards, the troopers apprehended Hall and transported him to the Vigo County Jail.

Chad Hall was preliminarily charged with three felony counts of Criminal Recklessness with a Deadly Weapon, one count of Operating While Intoxicated (Refusal), A misdemeanor, and one count of Resisting Law Enforcement, A misdemeanor.

Following the arrest of Hall, troopers arrested Nicole Custer on a Failure to Appear warrant for Driving While Suspended issued by the Terre Haute City Court. The toddler was released to family members.

Richard Lynch was not charged with any crimes.

Assisting Mullen and Robertson were the Vigo County Sheriff’s Office and the Vigo County Prosecutor’s Office.

April 21, 2012

Corrupt Business Influence Charges Levied Against Former School Treasurer

Mitchell – After a six month Indiana State Board of Accounts and Indiana State Police investigation, the former Treasurer of the Mitchell Community School Corporation was arrested earlier this morning for alleged corrupt business influence.

As a result of the investigation, it was discovered that $85,744.05 was misappropriated between July 17, 2008 and January 11, 2011. Earlier this morning, April 20th, Detective Tim Denby and Trooper Jan Kruse arrested Kathy J. Kirk, 57, of Mitchell, who surrendered herself on three warrants that a Lawrence County Court had issued in this case. Kirk was incarcerated in the Lawrence County Jail and is being held on a $20,000 bond.

Kirk is awaiting an initial hearing on the charges.

April 21, 2012

Trooper finds Meth Lab while checking on a Suspected Disabled Motorist

Knox County – Friday morning, April 20, at approximately 8:17 a.m., Senior Trooper Bill Gadberry was patrolling on Hickory Corner Road near Nugent Road when he located a suspected disabled vehicle stopped in the roadway with its hazard lights flashing. The driver was identified as Tammy Higgins, 36, of Lawrenceville, IL. Gadberry told Higgins he would help get her vehicle off the roadway. As Gadberry was walking back toward his vehicle he noticed a duffle bag approximately 10 feet off the roadway. As he approached the bag he found a male hiding in the weeds. The male was identified as Tammy’s husband, Kevin Higgins, 41. When Trooper Gadberry searched the duffle bag he found ingredients commonly used to manufacture meth. Nearby in the weeds was also a propane tank full of anhydrous ammonia and a meth lab. When Gadberry searched Higgins he found numerous pills that he didn’t have prescriptions for. Further investigation revealed Kevin Higgins had stolen anhydrous ammonia from a nurse tank across the roadway sometime last night and cooked meth in the field he was hiding in. This morning his wife was in the process of picking him up when Gadberry pulled up to offer his assistance. Kevin and Tammy Higgins were arrested and are currently being held on bond in the Knox County Jail.


Kevin Higgins, 41, Lawrenceville, IL

Manufacturing Meth, Class B Felony

Theft, Class D Felony

Possession of Precursors, Class D Felony

Possession of a Controlled Substance, Class D Felony

Tammy L. Higgins, 36, Lawrenceville, IL

Conspiracy to Manufacture Meth, Class B Felony

Assisting a Criminal, Class D Felony

Arresting Officer: Senior Trooper Bill Gadberry, Indiana State Police

Assisting Officers: Trooper Doug Francis and Master Trooper John Trotter

Assisting Agency: Knox County Sheriff’s Office

April 21, 2012

Maryland Man Facing Illegal Dumping Charge

Suspect, 48, gave cops bizarre explanation for defecation spree

SALISBURY, MARYLAND---A man suspected of a years-long public defecation spree in his Maryland neighborhood is facing a criminal rap after he was caught on videotape relieving himself in the driveway of a former police officer.

When confronted by cops, Kelly Ervin, 48, offered a bizarre explanation, according to police. Ervin reported that he goes running almost every day around 4 AM, and when he hits the two-mile mark, “he has to have a bowel movement.”

As such, Ervin said he carries toilet paper with him and “defecates wherever his 2 mile mark is,” according to a court filing.

Ervin, who was questioned by police at his residence on March 23, said that he was “embarrassed about the fact that detectives were there for this reason,” adding that he “had been doing this for over 20 years.”

Before departing, cops “told Kelly to stop defecating in people’s yards.” They also told him that, at the time, “there was not a criminal investigation.”

However, that changed several days later when police received a complaint from a Salisbury resident who reported that someone had defecated on his property on “at least seven occasions” since January. The witness, Robert Bryan Robinson, an ex-cop, noted that he “found toilet paper left with the feces.”

Robinson told detectives that he had installed a video surveillance system due to his concerns that an individual had been trespassing on his property. Footage, cops allege, showed Ervin exiting his Jeep, unfastening his pants, and squatting in Robinson’s driveway.

When speaking with cops, Ervin recalled having been caught on camera. He claimed that he was on his way home when he “got a pain in his stomach at which time he pulled into a driveway to defecate.” He added that he “saw a camera and realized he was probably going to be seen on camera.”

Ervin was charged with littering or dumping under 100 pounds, a misdemeanor. Ervin, who works in medical sales, has also coached a girl’s team at the Salisbury Lacrosse Club. The squad is known as the “Scoopers.”

April 21, 2012

Oakland Police Caught Between Reform and Crime Surge


VIOLENT CRIME ON THE RISE A homicide on Calaveras Avenue last week. At the beginning of April, murders were up 26 percent over a year ago.

Last month, at his first executive meeting as Oakland’s new police chief, Howard A. Jordan laid out his priorities for the police department in California’s most violent city.

No. 1: reforms.

No. 2: crime.

That is the conundrum the Oakland Police Department faces, according to dozens of former and current city officials, police officers and commanders and national police reform experts interviewed by The Bay Citizen. Amid diminishing resources, the department is making a renewed push to meet the demands of a court-ordered settlement to address systemic police misconduct, raising questions about its ability both to fend off a rising crime rate and sustain the reforms.

The department has undergone significant changes since the city reached a settlement in 2003 in a civil lawsuit over police misconduct. The case stemmed from allegations that four rogue officers, nicknamed the Riders, had planted evidence and used excessive force against suspects. The officers were dismissed, the plaintiffs received nearly $11 million, and the city agreed to implement 51 major reforms, including an overhaul of use-of-force policies, new procedures for reporting and investigating arrests, and more frequent supervision of officers.

And yet after nine years, three mayors, four police chiefs, nearly $20 million in payments to independent monitoring teams hired to oversee the police department reforms, and $57 million in the past decade to settle police misconduct lawsuits — more than any city in the state — Oakland has still not complied with the settlement agreement.

Former and current city officials, police officers and commanders say the department has improved, but police reform experts question whether the changes are sustainable.

Many of the changes appear to have expanded the department’s dysfunction. In an effort to comply with the agreement, the department has begun relying on overtime pay and fill-in officers to staff the required number of sergeants. After the department spent years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to build a crucial computer program that tracks use-of-force and arrest data, the department has now concluded it needs to be replaced. More officers are assigned to investigate complaints against the department than to investigate homicides.

“Consent decrees, if they’re not properly managed, then the focus becomes on compliance with bureaucratic principles of the system, as opposed to focusing on the desired outcomes and really evaluating the results,” said Joseph Brann, the founding director of Community Oriented Policing Services, an office of the United States Department of Justice. “People can follow the letter of the law to such an extent that it becomes dysfunctional.”

The consensus among observers is that unless significant progress is made soon, the court will place the Oakland Police Department in receivership, a first for departments nationwide. In January, Judge Thelton E. Henderson of United States District Court partially stripped the Oakland agency of its independence and ordered it to consult with federal monitors on all major decisions.

“Something must change if full compliance is to be achieved,” Judge Henderson wrote in February. “If history is any indication, the leadership’s expressed desire to achieve compliance — not only for compliance’s sake, but for the sake of improving the department so that it can more effectively service the community it exists to protect — will simply not, after nine years, be enough.”

When the agreement first went into effect in 2003, department and city officials said, the police command staff did not take the reforms seriously, and for years the department resisted change.

The agreement required Oakland to make all 51 of the reforms within five years. After a deadline extension, the agreement expired in 2010, but was extended again. The department has completed 32 reforms.

“One of the reasons Oakland is getting hammered so bad is because we goofed off for the first five years,” said a recently retired commander who asked for anonymity because he played a role in the reforms. “Now we got this new monitor and we’re desperate. We’re just trying to cram it down everybody’s throats.”

In October, Anthony W. Batts, the police chief, resigned, saying he was fed up with city bureaucracy. Chief Jordan, a 24-year department veteran, took over.

Chief Jordan said the department has made significant changes. In the late 1990s and early 2000s the department investigated use-of-force incidents only when medical attention was required. Now an officer must write a report every time he or she uses any kind of force, pulls someone over for a traffic stop, or pulls out a weapon, and supervisors at different levels are required to conduct a review.

The department’s makeup has also changed. Almost half of the officers were hired after the agreement took effect, and the new generation has been brought up in the department’s new ways. But Chief Jordan said they still have a long way to go to effect cultural change.

“I think we need to do a better job of the way we interact with the community, the way we treat people,” he said. “I think we have to get beyond the us-versus-them mentality. I’m not saying that it’s true for every officer, but I’ve seen enough in my 24 years to know that it’s there.”

National experts on police reform say the big question is whether any changes that Oakland is able to make will last. Some departments that implemented earlier reform agreements appear to have lost ground after having made progress, including in Pittsburgh, where Oakland’s team served earlier as monitors. Reform experts say Oakland’s consent decree, and others from the same time period, lack any focus on a department’s crime reduction strategy, making change hard to sustain.

At the beginning of April, murders in Oakland were up 26 percent over a year ago, rapes were up 41 percent, and robberies were up 35 percent.

When Chief Batts arrived as a “change agent” in 2009, the police department employed 837 officers. It now has 635. The department no longer responds to burglaries that are not still in progress, and frequently does not respond to other calls for help. “Despite fully staffed beats last evening, we were unable to meet a high demand for service,” the department wrote in an e-mail to city residents earlier this month.

“You call 911, we don’t show up. You call 911 to make a complaint, we show up,” said one Oakland police sergeant, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is afraid of retribution.

After more than a decade of consent decrees, experts now say effective reform agreements take into account department sizes and service demands. Officers have grown frustrated that Oakland’s monitors do not seem concerned about the decrease in police services.

“If a police department is not hurting anybody and is not exhibiting any racial bias, it may look good by some of the first generation’s standards,” said Chris Stone, a professor of criminal justice at Harvard’s Kennedy School, who conducted a study on the efficacy of reforms at the Los Angeles Police Department.

“But if crime is rising, particularly in poor communities or communities of color,” he said, “that’s not success.”

April 20, 2012

Early Morning Burglary at the Indianapolis Zoo leads to an Arrest

Indianapolis- Early this morning, approximately 3:35am, Officer Justin Little of the Indiana State Police Capitol Police Section was advised that someone was seen jumping over the fence of the Indianapolis Zoo’s annex building at West Market Street and White River Parkway W. Drive.

Preliminary investigation reveals moments later, several Capitol Police Officers arrived on the south end of the Zoo’s annex and found the alleged suspect, Roman Brown 22, Indianapolis, IN, hiding in a dumpster, which is located in an enclosed area of the zoo. Officers apprehended the suspect without incident.

During this investigation, the Zoo’s security mentioned a white 1990 Ford pickup truck was in an enclosed area, and was not a zoo vehicle. The bed of the truck contained metal fixtures which were later identified as property of the zoo.

Brown and another unknown suspect, who ran from the scene, had loaded approximately fourteen fixtures into the back of the pickup bed. Brown told officers that he had intentions of selling the metal fixtures to one of the local scrap yards.

Brown was charged with Burglary, Attempted Theft, and Criminal Mischief and was incarcerated to the Arrestee Processing Center. There is no bond information or mug available.

There is no additional information to release. Please contact Sgt. Ray Poole at (317) 694-7229 if you any questions.

April 20, 2012

Eastern Star Former Treasurer and Daughter

Arrested after Allegedly Embezzling Over $290,000

Vanderburgh County – Indiana State Police initiated a criminal investigation in April 2011 after receiving information from members of Eastern Star that over $200,000 was missing from their account. Eastern Star is affiliated with the Masons, but is composed of female members and is located at 301 Chestnut Street in Evansville. The organization is non-profit and their proceeds are generated from dues and fundraisers.

In May 2005 and again in February 2006, Eastern Star received more than $280,000 from a local estate. During the investigation it was revealed Marilee Garrison, 79, of Newburgh, was Eastern Star’s treasurer from July 2002 through June 2008. Garrison’s daughter, Susan Hilgeman, 36, of Newburgh, took over the treasurer’s position in July 2008. Further investigation by Detective Alan Sherretz determined that between 2004 and 2008, Garrison had issue numerous unauthorized checks to Hilgeman totaling more than $290,000. Detective Sherretz also determined Hilgeman allegedly forged documents to represent bank statements in attempt to hide the missing funds from other Eastern Star members.

Hilgeman was arrested Thursday afternoon, April 19th at her Newburgh residence. Her mother, Marilee Garrison, was arrested this morning after she turned herself in at the Vanderburgh County Jail. They are both being held on bond in the Vanderburgh County Jail.


Susan Hilgeman, 36, 8477 Sycamore Drive, Newburgh, IN

Conspiracy to Commit Theft, Class C Felony

Forgery, Class C Felony

Marilee Garrison, 79, 6577 Lincoln Avenue, Newburgh, IN

Conspiracy to Commit Theft, Class C Felony

Investigating Officer: Detective Alan Sherretz, Indiana State Police

April 20, 2012


Putnam County—Indiana State Police Troopers from the Putnamville Post arrested a suspected drunk driver early this morning believed to have caused an estimated $40,000 dollars in property damage.

At 11:19PM last evening, Putnam County E-911 received a call from a motorist reporting a suspected impaired driver traveling eastbound on US 40 from the Clay/Putnam County line. The suspect vehicle was a white 1998 Chevrolet Silverado pickup. Reporting callers stated the pickup was traveling at speeds ranging from 40 miles-per-hour to 100mph and would on occasion, veer into the westbound lanes and then back into the eastbound lanes. Minutes later, Putnam County E-911 and the ISP Putnamville Post began receiving multiple calls from residents in the Apple Blossom Subdivision reporting a white pickup truck “inside Apple Blossom hitting everything”.

Indiana State Police Troopers Michael Organ and Marcus Tow, along with Putnam County Sheriff’s deputies, were dispatched to the area. First arriving were the troopers and they located extensive damage consisting of broken utility poles with lines down, damaged mailboxes and signs, and tire tracks in numerous yards. A short time later, another cell call reported a white truck had struck the guardrail along US 40 and the main entrance sign to Apple Blossom.

At 12:39AM, ISP Trooper Michael Organ located the white pickup in the median of US 40 approximately ¼ east of the Apple Blossom Subdivision and near Putnam County road 625 West. Further investigation found the pickup had been traveling east from the main entrance of Apple Blossom, struck a parked semi trailer, traveled through the median and into the westbound lanes. The driver then attempted to travel westbound on US40 and struck the guardrail on the north side of the roadway with the vehicle coming to rest in the median.

The driver was identified as Christopher M. Barrow, age 26, of Brazil, IN. Barrow was placed into custody by Troopers Michael Organ and Marcus Tow and transported to the Putnam County Jail. Barrow was preliminarily charged with Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated-Felony; OWI-Endangering a Person, Class A misdemeanor; and Leaving the Scene of a Property Damage Crash.

Electrical service was interrupted this morning in the Apple Blossom area due to the extensive damage to utility poles allegedly caused by Barrow. Duke Energy estimated their damage at $30,000. Another $10,000 is estimated for damage to private property and the suspect’s vehicle.

April 20, 2012

False Informing Results in Arrest

Martinsville, IN – On February 21st of 2012 Ryan Harmon, 39, of Martinsville, Indiana contacted both the Mayor and the Chief of police of Martinsville, Indiana and stated a Martinsville city employee sexually battered a female at a local city restaurant. City officials then provided this information to the Morgan County Prosecutor, Steve Sonnega. Prosecutor Sonnega contacted the Indiana State Police and requested an investigation of the alleged crime.

Over the course of the one month investigation it was determined the original complaint against the Martinsville city employee had no basis in fact and had been fabricated. The results of the investigation were then submitted to the Morgan County Prosecutor.

After reviewing the investigation Prosecutor Sonnega determined there was sufficient evidence to seek charges against Ryan Harmon for the alleged violation of I.C. 35-44-2-2, False Informing, a Class “B” misdemeanor offense.

On April 19th a warrant was issued for Harmon’s arrest. This morning, April 20th, just before 8:30 he was arrested without incident in Martinsville near the courthouse square. Harmon was then transported to and incarcerated at the Morgan County Jail.

Ryan Harmon was a 14 year former employee of the state police who resigned in lieu of termination after becoming the target of an internal investigation.

Further inquiries should be directed to the Morgan County Prosecutor’s Office at 765-342-1050.

April 20, 2012

FBI to Add Violent Offender File to NCIC

By Paul Clinton

The FBI plans to add a violent offender file to its NCIC index in August to give field officers more information about the violent offenders who may attack them during a stop.

The file would provide information such as whether a subject has been convicted of assault or murder of a law enforcement officer, fleeing, resisting arrest, or other crimes against officers.

The file would also include whether a person has been convicted of murder or attempted murder involving a firearm. The FBI would also include information about individuals who have expressed an intent to commit violence against law enforcement.

Officers could access the information from a computer in their cruiser or when they call dispatch to have them run an NCIC check, said Stephen Fischer, chief of the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Service (CJIS) division.

The ultimate goal of the Violent Offender File is to provide law enforcement officers a direct warning during the most critical time in which they will approach the encountered individual with the utmost caution, realizing the individual has the propensity to be violent against law enforcement, Fischer told POLICE Magazine in an e-mail.

The move was welcomed by the Torrance (Calif.) Police Department as an effective officer-safety measure.

The more intel an officer has at his or her disposal during field contacts can only contribute positively to officer safety, said department spokeswoman Sgt. Jennifer Uyeda.

The Violent Offender File would be a file in the NCIC similar to Wanted Persons, Sex Offenders, or other files. The CJIS' Advisory Policy Board must approve the policy at a meeting in Buffalo, N.Y., from June 6-7. Meeting details have been published in the Federal Register.


April 20, 2012

Trine villa evacuated due to meth lab; student arrested

ANGOLA — A Trine University housing complex had to be evacuated early Thursday after an alleged methamphetamine lab was found in the apartment of a student.

A university villa in the 400 block of South Oakwood Street had to be cleared at around midnight after a smell of chemicals was detected and police were called.

“Due to the inhalation hazards and fire hazard, the building was evacuated,” said a Steuben Circuit Court probable cause affidavit. Students were allowed back in their apartments later Thursday.

One student, John Elijah Blevins, 20, Auburn, was arrested and logged into jail early Thursday morning. Blevins was arraigned Thursday afternoon by Magistrate Randy Coffey.

Two students, apparently roommates of Blevins, were taken to Cameron Memorial Community Hospital for observation.

“It was just precautionary, because of the fumes,” said Stu Hamblen, Angola chief of police.

Blevins is facing a charge of Class D felony possession of precursors or reagents, Class D felony maintaining a common nuisance and Class A misdemeanor possession of parapharnalia.

Police were alerted to the situation at about 12:30 a.m. Thursday. After given consent to search his apartment, Blevins showed police his operation. Police found numerous materials associated with the making of meth.

“… John was in the process of crystalizing ephedrine in an open bath of organic solvent which was on a heating pad,” court records said.

Police also found a psilocybin mushroom growing operation in the apartment, court records said. Indiana State Police confiscated those materials for testing and disposal.

A pipe used for smoking marijuana was also found.

In his court hearing, Blevins told Coffey he would hire his own attorney. Bail was set at $10,000. As an Indiana resident, Blevins can bond out through a local program for $1,000.

A pretrial conference has been set for May 14.

April 20, 2012

Robert Leider: Understanding 'Stand Your Ground'

Florida's self-defense law is not lenient by national standards.


-The shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman has spurred national outrage over Florida's Stand Your Ground law. Unfortunately, the discussion of this law has been marred by misinformation. Jeffrey Toobin, CNN senior legal analyst, erroneously claimed that the law allows a disproportionate response; if someone comes at you with a fist, you can reply with a gun.

Many have asserted that in Florida anyone who believes he is in danger can use deadly force, no matter how unreasonable his belief. These perceptions of the law are wrong. As compared with other states, Florida's Stand Your Ground law is neither extreme nor an outlier.

In Florida, as in most states, a person claiming self-defense must show that he (1) reasonably believed that such force was (2) necessary to protect himself against (3) the imminent and (4) unlawful use of force by another. The person claiming self-defense usually cannot be the initial aggressor. And to use deadly force in Florida, as Mr. Zimmerman did, a person must also reasonably believe that the aggressor threatened him with death, great bodily injury, or intended to commit a forcible felony (e.g., rape, robbery or kidnapping).

In short, under Florida's Stand Your Ground law, Mr. Zimmerman now must show that an average person in his circumstances would have viewed the Skittle-armed Martin as a mortal threat.

To these basic requirements, a minority of states add a general duty to retreat before using deadly force. Most states in this minority apply the rule only if the defender knows he can retreat with complete safety. In Florida before 2005, a person usually could not use deadly force if he could retreat without increasing his danger.

Although expanding Stand Your Ground laws has suddenly become part of the culture war, the existence of such laws traditionally depended on geography, not politics. Older states generally inherited the duty to retreat from English common law. As the United States expanded westward, the retreat requirement usually did not follow. Instead, Western states followed the true man doctrine, named because true men do not retreat when faced with danger. California became a Stand Your Ground state more than 150 years before Florida.

With the prevalent use of firearms, the retreat requirement has limited application today. Individuals usually cannot know that they can retreat in complete safety when facing aggressors armed with guns. And the retreat requirement has numerous exceptions in addition to the castle doctrine, which exempts people in their homes from the duty to retreat.

For example, in states that require retreat, law-enforcement officers making arrests always may stand their ground when threatened.

Sometimes, private citizens making arrests have the same privilege. Mr. Zimmerman's right to use deadly force in self-defense under Florida law was approximately equivalent to—and certainly no greater than—a law-enforcement officer's right to use deadly force in a state requiring retreat.

This is not to say that eliminating the retreat requirement has no drawbacks. Eliminating the duty to retreat often makes it difficult to prosecute cases involving shady self-defense claims—such as bar fights and gang conflicts—when both parties should have simply walked away. Prosecutors have an easier time proving that a combatant could have safely withdrawn than they do convincing juries, beyond any reasonable doubt, that the person did not reasonably believe that he was in danger.

-Now that prosecutors have charged Mr. Zimmerman, they will face a similar challenge. Mr. Zimmerman had called 911, and the dispatcher instructed Mr. Zimmerman not to pursue Martin. Had Mr. Zimmerman complied, no one would have been hurt. Before Stand Your Ground, prosecutors could have relied on Mr. Zimmerman's opportunity to retreat in order to help rebut his claim of self-defense.

After Stand Your Ground, prosecutors have a more difficult case. Now, they must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Zimmerman did not reasonably fear for his life. The police report contains some evidence to back Mr. Zimmerman's self-defense claim. Mr. Zimmerman reportedly sustained a broken nose, cuts to the back of his head, and had grass stains on the back of his shirt. These facts could provide reasonable doubt on the self-defense question if jurors thought that Martin may have had Mr. Zimmerman pinned to the ground and was beating him. This inquiry is much more fact-intensive than relying on Mr. Zimmerman's ability to leave the scene.

Nevertheless, even with Florida's Stand Your Ground law, Mr. Zimmerman will have difficulty asserting a successful self-defense claim. Stand Your Ground laws do not affect most basic requirements of pleading self-defense. Individuals using lethal force in self-defense must reasonably believe that they are in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury—in other words, an average person, given the facts as Mr. Zimmerman knew them, would have reached the same inferences about the danger Martin posed and the necessity of using deadly force to avoid it. Mr. Zimmerman's mere honest beliefs will not suffice.

Nor does the Stand Your Ground law permit individuals to use disproportionate force in self-defense. Mr. Zimmerman must demonstrate that he reasonably feared that Martin was going to kill him, cause great bodily injury (e.g., permanent disfigurement), or commit a forcible felony. A few cuts and a broken nose may not rise to this level. And Mr. Zimmerman will have to show that he was not the initial aggressor.

There is no need to exaggerate the leniency of Florida law. Regardless of whether he should have walked away, Mr. Zimmerman now must show that an average person in his circumstances would have viewed Martin as a mortal threat.

Mr. Leider, a student at Yale Law School, holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Georgetown University.

Copyright 2012 Dow Jones Company,

April 20, 2012

Californian university campus police chief resigns after Occupy protest pepper spray incident

Shocking videotape showed police dousing students with pepper spray

Official investigation findings released last week hightlight bad planning and decision making

By Lawrence Conway

The University of California, Davis campus police chief is stepping down five-months after shocking images emerged of officers pepper spraying Occupy protesters.

The video from November last year showed officers using the spray on a group of protesters who were sitting passively on the ground

with their arms interlocked.

Today UC Davis spokesman Barry Shiller said the police chief, Annette Spicuzza, had told the school she was retiring immediately.

The announcement follows a task force led by a former California Supreme Court justice issuing a report into the incident last week.

It blamed the shocking scenes on poor planning, communication and decision-making at all levels of the school administration.

The report was especially critical of Ms Spicuzza, Lt. Pike and UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi.

Lt. Pike can be seen in the video, which circulated online after the incident, casually spraying an orange cloud at the heads of


Witnesses watching in horror as police moved in on more than a dozen tents erected in the campus quad drenching demonstrators with

the burning spray and arresting 10 people.

April 19, 2012

From Angola Fire Department

April 19, 2012

Keeping Thunder Safe 2012

The annual air show and fireworks show, “Thunder Over Louisville” will take place at the riverfront on Saturday April 21st. With good weather crowds are expected to draw at least 500,000 people. The Indiana State Police and other local agencies will be working to make sure it stays safe on the Indiana side of the river.

Approximately one hundred and twenty-one, (121), state troopers along with approximately one hundred and twenty-five, (125), other officers from local city, county, and state law enforcement agencies will combine to provide traffic direction, interstate patrols, and foot patrols. The Indiana State Police will also have an emergency response team, a bomb squad, and aircraft available if the need arises.

If anyone has an emergency while attending the festivities they should dial 911. If they have a general complaint or need a police report they should dial 812-283-6633 or 812-246-5424.

The Indiana State Police wants everyone who attends the event to have a good time. However, troopers and other officers will be patrolling looking for violations of the law. If anyone sees a suspicious package, car, or any other suspicious activity they should contact the first officer they see or dial the numbers provided above.

Following are a few rules that will be enforced on the riverfront. No alcohol, no open fires, no tents, no pets, and no skateboards will be allowed.

Traffic on Interstate 65 South will be rerouted from 8:00 PM until 11:00 PM on the night of “Thunder”. Traffic will be rerouted at Interstate 265 to Interstate 64. There will be numerous other road closures and reroutes in the local cities and towns. There will be traffic delays. Indiana State Police is asking that everyone be patient and drive defensively.

April 19, 2012

South Bend officer suspended again

Patrolman accused of driving to Mishawaka while on duty.


SOUTH BEND — A South Bend patrolman was suspended Wednesday for 15 days without pay for allegedly driving his squad car while on duty to Mishawaka for personal reasons.

The incident involving 1st Class patrolman Christopher Bortone reportedly occurred Dec. 15 while Bortone was working his beat on the city’s west side. It is unclear the exact reason Bortone drove to Mishawaka

The punishment was approved by South Bend’s Board of Public Safety, at former chief Darryl Boykins’ request. The charges included failing to notify a supervisor that he was out of his assigned duty area and for failing to obey the orders of a superior officer.

This is not the first issue involving Bortone that has led to suspension. In February 2011, the officer accepted a 30-day unpaid suspension for allegedly stealing the temporary license plate off his ex-wife’s car.

In that incident, Bortone was accused of driving to his wife’s place of employment in his department-issued police car and removing the tag in November.

A week later, according to a past Tribune story, the department’s internal affairs investigator questioned Bortone about the incident and told him not to contact his ex-wife about the matter while it was still under investigation.

According to the charges filed by Boykins, Bortone violated that order twice by asking his ex-wife to ask the internal affairs investigator to drop the charges.

Meanwhile, another officer, Detective Meredith Hanley, was suspended Wednesday for five days without pay for an “insubordination” issue with Boykins.

The board voted unanimously to accept Boykins’ recommendation of the suspension and to deny Meredith a possible hearing request.

However, it was discovered after the meeting that the suspension request had not been placed on the agenda. Board president Patrick Cottrell said the issue will likely need to be placed back on the agenda and voted on again at a special meeting or at next month’s regular meeting because it was not on the agenda.

“It was an oversight,” he said.

No other details were known about the incident with Hanley and Boykins, other than it occurred in the former chief’s office.

Copyright © 2012, South Bend Tribune

April 19, 2012

K9 takes down carjacking suspect

by Lindsey Tugman

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (CNN/WLKY) -- A violent take down of a carjacking suspect was caught on camera in Kentucky.

Police say a man stole a woman's SUV, then led police on a chase through three counties. Police used stop sticks to slow the SUV down.

The driver swerves, then comes to a stop. That's when a police dog latched on to the man and wouldn't let go.

Officer's had to cut through the guy's shorts to get the dog to release him.

The suspect has been taken to jail. His name has not been released.

April 19, 2012

Man strips naked at Oregon airport in TSA protest

By Darrell Calhoun

(CNN) -- A 50-year-old man who said he felt that airport screeners were harassing him stripped naked at Portland International Airport, police in Oregon said.

Police charged John E. Brennan with disorderly conduct and indecent exposure after he disrobed while going through the security screening area at the airport Tuesday evening.

When interviewed about his actions, Mr. Brennan stated he fly's (sic) a lot and had disrobed as a form of protest against TSA screeners who he felt were harassing him, a police incident report said.

He was not intoxicated or under the influence of drugs at the time, police said.

Brennan was scheduled to fly on Alaska Airlines from Portland to San Jose, California.

Police said screeners asked him numerous times to put on his clothes, but he refused.

Mr. Brennan's actions caused two screening lanes to be closed and while some passengers covered their eyes and their children's eyes and moved away from the screening area, others stepped out of the screening lanes to look, laugh and take photos of Mr. Brennan, the police report said.

© 2012 Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

April 19, 2012

ISP Versailles Post to Participate in Special Seat Belt Enforcement Patrols

Versailles: Beginning April 20th, Troopers from the Versailles Post will increase seat belt patrols throughout Franklin, Ohio, and Ripley Counties as part of the state’s Rural Demonstration Project (RDP). Agency officials today announced their participation in the annual effort, which aims to increase seat belt use by motorists in rural counties with the highest percentage of unrestrained fatalities.

According to the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI), 64 percent of the state’s total traffic fatalities occurred on rural roadways during 2011. In an effort to reduce these fatalities, approximately 24 Indiana law enforcement agencies throughout the state, in conjunction with the Indiana State Police, have been selected to take part in this year’s project, which runs through May 17. Participating agencies will be on the lookout for unrestrained motorists in all vehicles, including pickup trucks.

Since 2007, Indiana’s primary seat belt law has required that all passenger motor vehicle occupants, including those in pickup trucks, buckle up regardless of seating position. During Indiana’s 2011 “Click It or Ticket” mobilization, law enforcement officers cited more than 18,000 motorists for failure to comply with Indiana’s seat belt law.

The RDP enforcement project is a traffic safety enforcement project made available from federal highway traffic safety grants and administered by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.

April 19, 2012

Suspect Wanted for Murder Arrested in Jefferson County

On April 17, 2012 at approximately 12:50 p.m., the Indiana State Police along with units assigned to the United States Marshal Service’s Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force, the Indiana State Police Emergency Response Team, the Indiana State Police Drug Enforcement Section, Evansville PD, the Vanderburgh Count Sheriff’s Department and the Madison Police Department arrested WILLIAM C. COSBY / DOB: 07-25-1984, who was wanted on a warrant for 1st degree murder.

The warrant was issued out of Illinois after a death investigation was conducted by the Illinois State Police. During the investigation, it was learned that the suspect, WILLIAM C. COSBY was possibly in the Madison, Indiana area. The Illinois State Police contacted the US Marshal’s Service and requested assistance with locating and arresting COSBY. After receiving the information officers conducted surveillance on an apartment complex in which COSBY was believed to be at in Madison, Indiana (Jefferson County). After several hours, officers saw the suspect leaving the complex in a gray Chevy passenger car. A subsequent traffic stop of the car was conducted on Michigan Road at Miles Ridge Road in Madison. The suspect was placed under arrest without incident and transported to the Jefferson County Jail where he awaits extradition to Illinois.

This investigation is on-going and any questions should be directed to M/Tpr. Shaun Hannon (Sellersburg Post, (800)872-6743), who is currently assigned as a Task Force Officer (TFO) with the US Marshal Service, New Albany Office.

Questions regarding the circumstances surrounding the case in Illinois which resulted in the warrant being issued should be directed to the Illinois State Police.

April 19, 2012

Indiana State Police will Conduct Special Mobilization

in Noble County to Enforce Seat Belt Use on Rural Roadways

Fort Wayne, IN – Beginning April 20th, the Indiana State Police will increase seat belt patrols throughout Noble County as part of the state’s Rural Demonstration Project (RDP). Agency officials today announced their participation in the annual effort, which aims to increase seat belt use by motorists in rural counties with the highest percentage of unrestrained fatalities.

According to the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI), 64 percent of the state’s total traffic fatalities occurred on rural roadways during 2011. In an effort to reduce these fatalities, approximately 24 Indiana law enforcement agencies throughout the state, in conjunction with the Indiana State Police, have been selected to take part in this year’s project, which runs through May 17. Participating agencies will be on the lookout for unrestrained motorists in all vehicles, including pickup trucks.

“The goal of high visibility enforcement efforts such as RDP is to remind all Noble County motorists of the value of seat belt use,” said Lieutenant Tony Casto, Fort Wayne District Commander. “Not only is the use of a seat belt required by Indiana law, its use can increase your chances of survival in the event of a crash by over 50 percent,” Lt. Casto continued.

Since 2007, Indiana’s primary seat belt law has required that all passenger motor vehicle occupants, including those in pickup trucks, buckle up regardless of seating position.

During Indiana’s 2011 “Click It or Ticket” mobilization, law enforcement officers cited more than 18,000 motorists for failure to comply with Indiana’s seat belt law.

The Rural Demonstration Project (RDP) is an annual traffic safety effort made possible through Federal Highway Safety grants administered by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI).

April 18, 2012

Non-Compliant registered sex offender Charles R. Kipp III in custody in Kent County, Michigan.

On 04/18/2012 the Sheriff's Office was informed by the US Marshals Service that non-compliant registered sex offender Charles R. Kipp III

was in custody in Kent County, Michigan. Kipp is now facing criminal charges for failing to register as a sex offender in both Michigna and Indiana.

April 18, 2012

Owner of pit bull cops were looking for was one of their own


This pit bull owner took off with his dog last month, witnesses say, after his dog attacked another at a Montrose Beach dog park. Audrey Fisher was with her daughter, throwing a ball with her dog Willy at the Montrose Dog Beach, when a pit bull decided it wanted the ball and practically ate Willy.

For the last month, Chicago Police had been searching for the man in the cellphone photo witnesses snapped — the owner of a pit bull that mauled and killed another dog at Montrose Beach Dog Park, leaving that dog’s owner with a $5,700 veterinary bill.

The pit bull owner in the picture had simply walked away, refusing to identify himself to Audrey Fisher and her devastated 12-year-old daughter Fayla, after his pit bull attacked Willy, their tiny 2½-year-old Pomeranian Papillon mix.

The pit bull owner had even promised to meet them at the vet but never showed.

Now, police say, the culprit was one of their own — an off-duty Chicago Police officer with five years on the force. The officer has been suspended, officials said Tuesday.

“You’ve gotta be kidding me,” a stunned Fisher said between gasps.

“This is unbelievable. All this time police have been helping me search for a police officer? Someone who showed no remorse at all, broke the law, refused to ID himself to a park full of witnesses, then lied to a 12-year-old child that he would come to the vet to see about her dying dog? This was someone charged with serving and protecting?”

After weeks of his picture being circulated on fliers at doggie parks throughout the North Side — the incident occurred March 17 — officials said the officer admitted to superiors it was him. Declining to identify the officer, officials said he has been relieved of police powers pending an investigation by the Bureau of Internal Affairs.

“The Chicago Police Department expects its members to demonstrate the highest standards of conduct on and off duty and will not permit wrongdoing to go unaddressed,” police brass said. The officer was ticketed for not making notification within 24 hours after an animal bites another domestic animal, as law requires. Chicago Park District rules also stipulate owners of dogs that attack other dogs at parks must foot the vet bills.

“I can’t tell you how this has been weighing on me, and on Fayla, who witnessed her dog practically being eaten,” said Fisher. “This is a man protecting our streets. Instead of acting like a cop and taking charge, he cowered out like a sissy girl and ran away. I expect justice to be served by the Chicago Police Department. I expect them to make one of their own follow the law and pay this bill he incurred when his pit killed my puppy, and I expect them to make him give my daughter and I an apology.”

Contributing: Michael Lansu

April 18, 2012

Former police sergeants union head admits stealing $1 million — from union


Sgt. John Pallohusky

The former head of the Chicago Police Sergeants Association pleaded guilty Tuesday to stealing more than $1 million from the sergeants union to fund a lavish lifestyle that prosecutors said included gambling trips, steak dinners and a down payment on a home on the city’s Northwest Side.

Sgt. John Pallohusky, 56, made a blind plea, which means he doesn’t have any deal with prosecutors. It will be up to Cook County Judge Diane Gordon Cannon to determine his sentence on June 1.

Pallohusky faces a possible sentence that could range from probation to 15 years in prison.

During a court hearing Tuesday at which Cannon tersely ordered Pallohusky to spit out his gum, defense attorney Rick Beuke said his client has enough in assets to pay back $1.1 million in restitution.

Pallohusky also still faces charges of official misconduct, money laundering and another theft charge, all tied to the same 2009 arrest, assistant state’s attorney LuAnn Snow and Bill Conway said.

Pallohusky, who left his union post, took the money to pay off a half dozen credit cards, trips to Las Vegas and the down payment on a home in the 6800 block of Wildwood, Conway said.

Pallohusky has been suspended without pay from the Chicago Police Department and relieved of all police powers, according to police spokeswoman Melissa Stratton.

Copyright © 2012 — Sun-Times Media, LLC

April 18, 2012

Huntingburg Man Charged for His Involvement in a Couple of Recent Burglaries

Jordan E. Dunn

Dubois County: A Huntingburg man was officially charged this afternoon for his involvement in a couple of recent burglaries.

On March 20, 2012 Senior Trooper Brian Laroche was dispatched to 1440 E CR 700S, Ferdinand in reference to a stolen vehicle. Information revealed that sometime either late on March 19 or early March 20 an off-white 2010 Subaru was taken from the Ferdinand address.

On March 26 Senior Trooper Laroche received information that the 2010 Subaru was located and recovered in Cumberland Maryland after being left at a gas station.

Through the investigation S/Tpr. Laroche was able to establish enough probable cause to charge Jordan E. Dunn, 21, 508 E 2nd Ave, Huntingburg with Burglary a Class B-Felony and Auto Theft a Class D-Felony. Dunn had been recently arrested and incarcerated at the Dubois County Jail on a warrant, and yesterday it was determined that he was in possession of a stolen iPhone when he was brought into the jail so a class D Felony charge for Possession of Stolen Property was filed.

Additional charges of Burglary a Class B Felony and Theft a Class D-Felony were also filed today. These charges come from an investigation by the Jasper City Police Department on a March 1 burglary that occurred in the 4200 block of Baden Strasse, in Jasper. For more information on this case contact the Jasper City Police Department.

Dunn was transported to the Dubois County Courthouse this afternoon where he was officially charged with two counts of burglary, one count of auto theft, one county of theft and one count of possession of stolen property, and then transported back to the Dubois County Security Center.

April 18, 2012

Angola trooper begins local duty

ANGOLA — A new Indiana State Police Officer has been assigned to patrol Steuben and LaGrange counties.

Probationary Trooper Lesley A. Fox, 24, a native of Portland, Mich., is among four new troopers recently starting duty from the Indiana State Police Post in Fort Wayne. She lives in Angola. In 2010, she graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice and a minor in Spanish.

Fox was a member of the Meridian Township Police Department’s Cadet Program before being accepted to the 71st Indiana State Police Recruit Academy.

She began her trooper training last fall and after 24 weeks of instruction at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in Plainfield she is ready to begin 12 weeks of field training. The academy included 930 hours of law enforcement training including 80 hours of criminal law, 80 hours of emergency vehicle operations, 47 hours of traffic law and training in other facets of law enforcement including criminal investigation, crash investigation, self-defense, first responder, and other general law enforcement related areas of instruction.

Gov. Mitch Daniels and Indiana State Police Superintendent Paul E. Whitesell recognized the accomplishments of the class upon their graduation from the academy. Acting Chief Justice Brent Dickson, Indiana Supreme Court, administered the oath of office to the recruits.

“During the academy, these recruits have been equipped with the skills and knowledge required to be a trooper,” said Superintendent Whitesell. “Now it is time to put those skills to work for the people of Indiana.”

The new troopers are paired with experienced troopers specially trained to serve as field training officers. Upon successful completion of the field training program, they will be issued their own police cars and begin solo patrol responsibilities.

April 18, 2012

Indianapolis police chief steps down after mishandling of David Bisard case

FBI called in to investigate

AJ Colley Troy Kehoe

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Indianapolis Police Chief Paul Ciesielski is stepping down after the mishandling of the Officer David Bisard case.

An acting chief has been named and the city of Indianapolis has requested the FBI’s assistance in investigating the mishandling of the case.

Bisard has been on paid leave while his complicated case works its way through the court system. He’s accused of drinking on the job when he plowed into motorcyclists in August 2010 . Eric Wells died in the accident. Kurt Weekly and Mary Mills were seriously injured as a result of the crash.

What happened

Director of Public Safety Frank Straub said in early November, a vial of Bisard’s blood was transferred to the property annex room, which is not refrigerated to keep the blood at the proper temperature. The mishandling of the blood was uncovered on Monday, and Chief Ciesielski resigned Tuesday morning but will stay within the department.

The Marion County prosecutor's office discovered the issue while moving forward to test the second vial of blood. A judge granted permission for the testing last week .

We are currently working with an independent lab to clarify the implications of testing the blood from the second vial, and do not yet know if or how the blood was affected, Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said in a prepared statement. We do not know the events that transpired causing Officer Bisard’s blood to be moved while in IMPD’s custody, and we are exceedingly concerned that it occurred.

Curry also said the movement of the evidence directly disobeyed a court order.

“The hold order is there,” he told 24-Hour News 8. “The notation that there is a hold on these vials is right there on the paperwork. Whether the fact that this was moved was some sort of specific intent or a criminal act or just some monumental mistake? We don't know.”

Bisard's attorney, John Kautzman, said in a statement that the defense team was particularly troubled by the disregard for the court order.

But asked whether the movement of the vials could result in criminal charges, Curry thought for a moment, and replied: “It's not a crime in and of itself. It will be up to Judge Hawkins whether that would constitute contempt of his order.”

Curry met with victims in the case to inform them of what happened.

Next steps

The FBI will work with the Professional Standards Division in investigating and to “uncover the truth,” Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard said.

Valerie Cunningham and a detective have both been placed on administrative leave as a result of the discovery of the mishandled evidence. Rick Hite has been appointed interim police chief while the investigation continues.

Hite has been with the Public Safety Department since 2010, when he was hired as the deputy director for training and strategic initiatives. He is a Gary native and had been on the Baltimore City Police Department for 32 years prior to coming to Indianapolis.

As for the Bisard case, Curry said he is not giving up all hope yet that the evidence is lost. Asked if some portion of the second blood vial might still be salvaged for use in court, he responded quickly.

“Potentially so,” he said. “Because there are really two issues. First, is it possible to test it at all? We won't know that until the lab in Texas takes a look at it and tells us yea or nay. And then, more to the fundamental point - which has nothing to do with what transpired here - is the legal ruling on the propriety of the original blood draw.”

Bisard's attorney, however, balked at the idea that tests on the blood could still be done.

There can be no doubt that this blood sample is tainted beyond repair, and a test of the blood would produce an unreliable and unusable result, Kautzman said in a statement released Tuesday night.

Kautzman also said the defense team would turn to the court to seek relief if the prosecution went ahead with plans to test the blood after Tuesday's revelations.

Other cases affected?

Straub also said the Bisard vial was not the only blood evidence that had been moved and stored in the police training annex, though he would not expound during Tuesday’s news conference on what, if any, additional cases might be involved.

“Hearing that at the press conference is the first time we're aware that other items were moved,” said Curry in response to Straub’s statement. “Obviously we're very interested in finding out the details of that. So, we're in the dark at this point as well. It's very concerning.”

Strong reaction from mayor, director of public safety

Ballard said he is “angry and disgusted” and apologized to victims.

“At best, this matter shows gross incompetence,” Ballard said. “And at worst … possible criminal intent.”

Ballard said the news rocks the public's confidence in the department.

It’s going to take time (to restore confidence), no question, Ballard said. If I was looking from the outside, it doesn’t look very good.

Straub stressed the importance of moving the department

forward and not having continual issues.

“These types of incidences have to stop happening,” Straub said.

He said people have been aware of officers with drinking problems and going to strip clubs. Recent arrests resulted in some of those cases.

We didn't hold ourselves or those officers accountable, Straub said.

Background of the case

Bisard's blood tests have been a center of controversy from the beginning. Although the first vial of blood tested with a blood-alcohol content of .19, the test and drunken driving charges were thrown out because a judge ruled the technician wasn't qualified to draw Bisard's blood.

Even earlier in Bisard's case, then-Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi dropped felony, alcohol-related charges against Bisard because of the blood tests. New prosecutor Curry re-filed charges using the blood evidence when he was elected.

Ciesielski's history with IMPD

Ciesielski was announced as the new chief of IMPD in February 2010 . At the time, he was IMPD's northwest district commander.

He began with the department in 1986 and is an FBI academy graduate. He replaced Michael Spears.

April 18, 2012

Charles Russell Kipp III

The Steuben County Sheriff’s Office is seeking information on the whereabouts of a non-complaint registered sex offender who allegedly violated Indiana’s Sex or Violent Offender Registry law in Steuben County.

On 04/17/2012, a warrant was issued for the arrest of 39 year old Charles Russell Kipp III charging Kipp with a class D felony of failing to register as a sex or violent offender, resulting from a Steuben County Sheriff’s Office investigation.

Kipp is described as a white male standing 5’8” tall and weighing approximately 245 lbs. Kipp has short graying hair, hazel eyes, and wears glasses.

The Sheriff’s Office is conducting a joint fugitive investigation with the US Marshals Service to locate and apprehend Kipp.

If anyone has any information on the whereabouts of Charles Kipp, they are asked to contact the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office or Steuben County Crime Stoppers.

April 18, 2012

Man killed by police outside Tucson Walmart

Tucson police fatally shot an armed 26-year-old man Tuesday afternoon while assisting bail bondsmen apprehending wanted fugitives in midtown, police said.

A man riding in a vehicle being watched by bondsmen ran away when it stopped about 6 p.m. in a parking lot on East 22nd Street at South Craycroft Road.

Police were unable to find the man after a short chase, but security at a nearby Walmart said he had run into the store, Sgt. Maria Hawke said in a news release late Tuesday.

Police said the man ran out of the store’s back door holding a handgun. He ignored orders to drop the gun and was shot, police said. He died at a hospital.

No other details were immediately available late Tuesday night.

April 17, 2012

Newest officer for IU Police Department in Bloomington honored at state academy

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Curtis Jake Cole, a decorated war veteran and the newest officer on the Indiana University Police Department in Bloomington, is the recipient of the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy's Herman H. Freed Award.

The honor, voted on by peers, is presented to one student in each graduating class who demonstrates the qualities of integrity, loyalty, ethics and attitude. Cole graduated from the academy, where he served as squad leader, on April 13 and begins his patrol duties April 17.

We are proud of Officer Cole's accomplishments while at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, said Keith Cash, chief of police for the IUPD. Officer Cole has served his country with three tours of duty in Iraq and demonstrates great leadership ability. He will soon finish his degree at IU as he joins the full-time ranks of our uniformed officers. He makes an outstanding addition to our police department.

Cole joined the U.S. Marines in 2001 just before graduating from West Washington High School in Campbellsburg, Ind. As a member of the Marine reserves, he served three tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, holding leadership roles each time. Some of his responsibilities included establishing Internet and telephone lines; traveling with convoys in order to jam radio signals used by insurgents to detonate bombs; and providing perimeter security in Afghanistan during the construction of a base.

Cole earned an associate degree in criminal justice from Ivy Tech Community College in Bloomington, during which time he also worked as a correctional officer for the Owen County Sheriff's Department. He is near completion of a bachelor's degree from IU Bloomington, where he met his wife, Kacie.

I moved to Bloomington to attend IU because of the history and traditions of the campus, Cole said. I hadn't planned on staying, but once here I really couldn't see myself living anywhere else.

Cole received numerous awards for his military service, which he completed after serving as the company gunnery sergeant for Detachment Communications Company, Headquarters Battalion, 4th Marine Division, in Indianapolis.

He received a Combat Action Ribbon twice, the Presidential Unit Citation, the Navy Unit Citation, the Iraq Campaign Medal twice, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal three times, the Sea Service Deployment Medal three times, the Good Conduct Medal three times and the National Defense Ribbon.

April 17, 2012

Fort Wayne Post Welcomes Four New Troopers

Fort Wayne, IN- Four new troopers reported for duty recently at the Indiana State Police post in Fort Wayne. On Monday, March 26th, they were four of 38 new troopers reporting to their districts of assignment following graduation from the 71st Indiana State Police Recruit Academy which took place on Friday, March 16th.

On October 2, 2011, these three men and one woman began 24 weeks of intense training at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in Plainfield. During the training period the recruits received approximately 930 hours of law enforcement training including 80 hours of criminal law, 80 hours of emergency vehicle operations, 47 hours of traffic law, as well as training in other facets of law enforcement including criminal investigation, crash investigation, self-defense, first responder, and other general law enforcement related areas of instruction.

Governor Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. and Indiana State Police Superintendent Paul E. Whitesell, Ph.D., recognized the accomplishments of the class upon their graduation from the Indiana State Police Recruit Academy. Following the keynote address by Governor Daniels, Acting Chief Justice Brent Dickson, Indiana Supreme Court, administered the oath of office to the recruits.

“During the academy, these recruits have been equipped with the skills and knowledge required to be a trooper,” said Superintendent Whitesell. “Now it is time to put those skills to work for the people of Indiana.”

Probationary Trooper Jonathon D. Amburgey, 22 is a native of Columbia City and is a 2008 graduate of Columbia City High School. In 2011, he graduated from Indiana Business College with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration before being accepted to the 71st Indiana State Police Recruit Academy. Amburgey still resides in Columbia City and will be assigned to patrol duties in Whitley and Huntington Counties.

Probationary Trooper Samuel R. Cook, 24 is a native of Zionsville in Boone County and is a 2006 graduate of Zionsville High School. He worked for five years at Bentley of Zionsville and interned with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for three years. Cook was studying Criminal Justice at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) when he was accepted to the 71st Indiana State Police Recruit Academy. He is currently a resident of Decatur and will be assigned to patrol duties in Adams, Blackford, Jay and Wells Counties.

Probationary Trooper Lesley A. Fox, 24 is a native of Portland, Michigan which is approximately 30 minutes west of the capitol of Lansing, and is a 2006 graduate of St. Patrick’s High School. In 2010, she graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice and a minor in Spanish. Fox was a member of the Meridian Township Police Department’s Cadet Program before being accepted to the 71st Indiana State Police Recruit Academy. She is currently a resident of Angola and will be assigned to patrol duties in LaGrange and Steuben Counties.

Probationary Trooper Andrew S. Harmon, 28 is a native of Adams County and is a 2002 graduate of Adams Central High School. In 2004, he finished his studies at Vincennes University with an Associate Degree in Conservation Law Enforcement. Before being accepted to the 72nd Indiana State Police Recruit Academy, Harmon worked for Bunge for seven years. He and his wife Alyssa are residents of rural Wells County and he will be assigned to patrol duties in Adams, Blackford, Jay and Wells Counties.

The new troopers will put their recruit academy training to work in the field as they begin 12 weeks of field training where they will be paired with experienced troopers specially trained to serve as Field Training Officers. Upon successful completion of the field training program, they will be issued their own police cars and begin solo patrol responsibilities.

April 17, 2012

Early Afternoon Chase Leads to an Arrest

Boone County- On Monday, April 16th at 12:50p.m., Trp. John Perrine informed the Indianapolis Post that he was pursuing a vehicle northbound on US 421 from US 32 in Boone County.

The investigation reveals Trp. Perrine was behind a maroon 1995 Chevrolet when he witnessed the vehicle passing several cars on a hill, and he attempted to stop it. During the chase, the vehicle speed allegedly reached speeds of nearly 150 mph and was recklessly passing traffic with no regard. Seconds after the pursuit was terminated for concerns of public safety, the suspect vehicle crashed into the rear end of a grey 2003 Ford Mustang causing the Mustang to spin off the roadway, overturn and break through a power pole. The driver of the Mustang was not injured.

The alleged suspect vehicle was detained by Clinton County Sheriff Department without any problems.

The suspected driver, Moishe D. Watkins 42, Indianapolis IN, was arrested for several traffic offenses and incarcerated in the Boone County Jail. There is no bond available at this time.

The Suspect later told Tpr. Perrine he didn’t stop for the state trooper because he was late for a court appearance in Howard County.

There’s no further information regarding this matter.

April 17, 2012

Construction Site Worker Killed in Worksite Accident

Indianapolis- This morning at 9:30 a.m., the Indiana State Police at the Indianapolis Post was made aware of a worksite accident that happened on the westbound ramp to I-465 from Allisonville Road.

Preliminary investigation reveals the worksite is located at the intersection of Allisonville Road and I-465 on the northeast section of the site. The company working the site, Walsh Construction, is based out of Crown Point, Indiana. A witness to the accident stated the excavator operator, employed by Walsh, was placing concrete barrier walls along the edge of the road. The 2010 Caterpillar Excavator was backing during this procedure. It was stated the operator had two co-workers assisting him on both the left and right side of the machine, while he placed the barrier walls. At this point, the operator of the excavator lost site of the worker on the right side. This is when the accident happened.

David Anderson 33, Brownsburg, IN was later identified as the worker killed by the construction machinery. His family has been notified.

The Indiana State Police will reconstruct this accident. At this point of the investigation it’s unclear how or why this accident happened.

Assisting with the accident was IMPD, Indianapolis FD, and the Marion County Coroner’s Office

Any questions regarding this accident should be directed to Sgt. Ray Poole at (317) 694-7229.

April 16, 2012

Large Heroin Bust takes Bite out of Drug Market

St. Joseph & Marion Counties – On the evening of April 10, 2012, officers with the Indiana State Police and the South Bend Police Department Special Operation Section, worked in concert to remove more than 10 pounds of powder heroin from the streets. The multi jurisdictional investigation that led officers to the estimated $400,000 in heroin, stemmed from an investigation that started in the summer of 2011 in Indianapolis.

The investigation was initiated after officers with the Indiana State Police Drug Enforcement Section (DES) purchased heroin from two Indianapolis men. The buy led investigators north to a possible heroin supplier and drug trafficking ring in South Bend that included individuals from several states.

The sting operation was set into motion Tuesday evening after the suspected ring leader Curtis Lee III, 37, from South Bend purportedly received a delivery of heroin from Johanney Quintana, 44, of Stickney Illinois. The transaction between Lee and Quintana occurred in the parking lot of the Speedway gas station located at Brick Road and the US 31 Bypass in South Bend. Subsequent search warrants were served at three residences and two storage units.

The eight month investigation continued when SWAT teams from the state police and South Bend Police Department simultaneously raided the five locations in northern St. Joseph County. During the execution of the search warrants, cash totaling in excess of $300,000 was located at residences at 17470 Darden Road, 3334 Woodmont Drive, 1914 Rockne Drive in South Bend and in a storage unit in Granger. One of the residences searched was that of Jerome Boyd, 38, a co-conspirator of Lee's. Also seized during the search warrants were two handguns, several luxury vehicles, and a semi tractor and trailer. All three men were charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin, a Class A Felony, in Marion County, and are currently incarcerated in St. Joseph County.

In addition three search warrants were executed in the early morning hours on April 13, 2012 by the Indiana State Police, with the assistance of the DEA-Indianapolis and the Indianapolis Metro Police Department. Arrested in connection with Lee were Indianapolis residents Darnell Beverly, 33 and D’Lon Edwards, 24. All three locations searched were directly related to Beverly. Beverly and Edwards were also charged in Marion County, for dealing heroin, a Class A Felony.

Agencies participating in the investigation include the Indiana State Police, the South Bend Police Department Special Operations Section, the Indianapolis Metro Police Department, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

April 16, 2012

Princeton Couple Arrested after Hiring a Hit-Man to Kill Ex-Wife

Gibson County – Sunday evening, April 15, Indiana State Police arrested Jason Ray Gardner, 31, and his current wife, Pamela Gardner, 42, of Princeton, after they allegedly conspired to have his ex-wife killed.

A joint investigation involving Indiana State Police, FBI, ATF and Princeton Police was initiated on March 28 after receiving information Jason Gardner was attempting to hire a hit-man to kill his ex-wife, Teresa Gardner, 39, of Princeton. Further investigation revealed Gardner is involved in an on-going custody battle with his ex-wife over their two children. On April 14th, Gardner met with an undercover ATF agent posing as a hit-man on the east side of Evansville to discuss details concerning his ex-wife. During the meeting, Gardner allegedly gave the hit-man a description of his ex-wife and information regarding her address and the description of her vehicle. Gardner allegedly agreed to pay $1,000 as a down payment and another $1,000 when his ex-wife is killed. The investigation also determined Gardner and his current wife had allegedly attempted to hire two different individuals over the last several years to kill his ex-wife.

At approximately 8:40 p.m. last night, Gardner met with the undercover ATF agent posing as the hit-man in the Walmart parking lot in Princeton. Gardner paid the undercover officer $900 and allegedly agreed to pay an additional $1,100 after his ex-wife is killed. Gardner was arrested without incident. Officers arrested Pamela Gardner later Sunday night. They are both being held without bond in the Gibson County Jail.


Jason Ray Gardner, 31, 618 S. Race Street, Princeton, IN

Pamela Gardner, 42, 618 S. Race Street, Princeton, IN

Conspiracy to Commit Murder, Class A Felony

Investigating Agencies: Indiana State Police, FBI, ATF and Princeton Police

April 16, 2012

Indianapolis police test tiny car

All-electric cruiser has sparked buzz, laughs

by Bill McCleery

Indianapolis police Sgt. Mark Dorsey’s electric patrol car, a 2011 Think City, is not

much bigger than a golf cart. / Frank Espich/The Indianapolis Star via AP

INDIANAPOLIS — Sgt. Mark Dorsey’s patrol car drew stares and finger-pointing when he pulled into a restaurant parking lot near 38th and Illinois streets.

“Look at that car,” said Mischa Bennett, 45, who lives in the neighborhood. “That ain’t even right.”

Dorsey, a 26-year police veteran, was driving perhaps the most distinctive — and certainly the tiniest — car in the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department fleet.

It’s a 2011 Think City, an all-electric vehicle not much bigger than a golf cart.

“You should put a rookie in that car,” Bennett told Dorsey. “You deserve something more old-school like one of those nice Dodge Chargers.”

Dorsey just smiled. He’s used to the mixed receptions given the car, which bears IMPD insignias.

The car came to IMPD as a gift last fall from Elkhart-based Think North America, maker of the electric vehicles. The company, which ended production amid bankruptcy, donated five vehicles to Indianapolis, five to Evansville and five to Fort Wayne after its last production run.

Indianapolis’ other four Think cars are divided between two other agencies — Indy Parks and the Department of Public Works. Parks officials are using the cars for food deliveries this summer, said Parks Director John Williams, and the Public Works cars are shared by administrators for commuting between downtown offices and other Public Works facilities.

IMPD has tried using the Think Car for patrolling the Monon Trail and investigating suspicious activities in neighborhoods, said Lt. Michael McClary, who oversees IMPD’s fleet of 2,200 vehicles. Dorsey is using the car in his role as supervisor of neighborhood resource officers in IMPD’s North District.

Although additional Think cars are not likely in IMPD’s future, the vehicle serves a purpose by helping promote open-mindedness among police officers and the public to alternatives to traditional police cruisers, McClary said.

“Getting guys used to the Think has been a problem,” he said. “It takes a different kind of mentality to use it. A lot of guys make fun of it. I say, ‘Look, guys, it was free.’ ”

Dorsey knows too well that some fail to appreciate the car.

“Yes, there are people who have started laughing uncontrollably at the sight of it,” he said. “But it’s got some advantages.”

The biggest, Dorsey said, is the car’s stealth. Its electric motor is quiet, and its size and shape do not fit the profile of most patrol cars. Those elements enable officers to roll right up to suspicious activity easier than if they were driving their more familiar Ford Crown Victoria Interceptors.

“No one really sees it,” he said. “It’s just not recognized as quickly as being a police car. When they do notice the markings, they’re like, ‘That can’t be. Oh my gosh, it really is.’ ”

That’s why IMPD officials are considering removing the car’s logos and using it as an unmarked stealth vehicle, McClary said.

As for patrolling the Monon Trail, the car proved too disruptive to pedestrians, McClary said. Another purpose for which the car isn’t suited is high-speed chases; its top speed is about 70 mph.

“I can’t make a regular police car of it,” McClary said. “But I actually like the little car. It has its benefits.”

In the restaurant’s parking lot, passers-by stopped to look at the car. One was downright uncharitable.

“It’s funny-looking, that’s for sure,” said Dave Jeffords, 45, an Eastside resident. “It’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen, just to be real honest.”

Others saw upsides to the car.

“I’ll bet they save energy with that thing,” said Lauren Lutz, 26, a Northside resident.

Another onlooker, Carlos Aguilera, 24, stopped to photograph the car with his phone. “I thought we were in Europe,” the college student said.

April 16, 2012

Officer passed out in restaurant drive through

Officer Matthew Elam

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Another IMPD Officer faces charges after an arrest on March 31st at a Steak 'N Shake in Indianapolis.

Police say that a man approached several officers inside the restaurant located in the 4300 block of Southport Crossings Drive to inform them of a man in truck who was passed out in the drive through.

The man told police he tried to shake the man through his truck window to wake him, but the man didn’t move.

The officers then left the restaurant to investigate and noticed Officer Matthew Elam, 42, passed out in his truck, blocking others from getting their food.

Officers woke Elam and asked him to exit the vehicle, which at first he refused. While trying to get the man to exit, officers noticed a full bottle of a beverage and officer's say they could smell alcohol on his breath.

Officer Elam exited his truck and began to walk, but had trouble. Officers then arrested Elam and transported him to Wishard Memorial Hospital for a blood draw.

According to police, Elam was on indefinite suspension, pending termination at the time of this arrest and was not driving an IMPD squad car.

This is not Elam’s first run-in with the law.

In 2010 the Chief made a recommendation for termination as a result of an earlier internal investigation into alleged acts of wrongdoing and violations of departmental rules, according to an IMPD release.

The investigation stemmed from an accident, where Elam was accused of wrecking his squad car, hiding the evidence, and denying any involvement in the crash.

A Grand Jury indicted Elam on charges of Official Misconduct, Failure to Stop After an Accident Resulting in property Damage and False Reporting for that incident.

The current arrest does not affect the Chief’s recommendation for termination, and currently he is awaiting a hearing in front of the IMPD Merit Board to consider the termination recommendation, according to an IMPD release.

April 16, 2012

Disabled woman's parents fight to advance suit against cops

Daughter permanently injured in 2006, but legal action targeting police stuck in appellate limbo

By David Heinzmann

Rick and Kathy Paine visit with their daughter Christina Eilman, then 21, in August 2006 at the Rehabilitation

Institute of Chicago. They are suing the Chicago Police Department for releasing Eilman, who was having an apparent

mental breakdown, in May in a high-crime area where she was sexually assaulted and eventually plunged from a

seventh-floor window, sustaining severe and permanent injuries. (Nancy Stone, Chicago Tribune / August 23, 2006)

Lawyers for a permanently injured California woman on Thursday asked a federal judge to sidestep a two-year delay in her parents' lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department.

Arguing that delays in the case are further harming Christina Eilman's health, her attorney asked a U.S. District judge to let part of her parents' lawsuit go forward while they wait for appellate judges to rule on an appeal filed in February 2010.

The lawsuit has two significant parts: claims of negligence alleging that the police knew Eilman would likely meet great harm when they released her in a high-crime neighborhood during her mental breakdown in 2006, and claims that police violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by denying her access to needed mental health care while in custody.

After arresting her for erratic behavior at Midway Airport and ignoring a police commander's instructions to take her to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation, officers transported her to the Wentworth District lockup in one of the city's highest-crime areas.

The next evening, after hours of apparent psychotic behavior by Eilman, police released her with no assistance or direction, several miles from where she had been arrested. She wandered aimlessly toward a high-rise of the Robert Taylor Homes, where she was sexually assaulted before plunging from a seventh-floor window. She suffered a severe brain injury, a shattered pelvis, collapsed lung and numerous other injuries.

Two weeks before the trial was set to start in March 2010, the city appealed U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall's ruling that kept police officers as defendants in the negligence part of the case. While noting that the appeal looked like nothing more than a stall tactic, Kendall nonetheless forwarded the matter to the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

In the meantime, she placed a stay on the ADA claims in the case, meaning they would be frozen until the appellate court ruled. It has been 18 months since lawyers made oral arguments before the three-judge appeals panel.

Since July 2011, Eilman's lawyer, Jeffrey Singer, has filed three motions asking the appellate court to make a decision, but has heard no response. On Thursday, he turned back to Kendall, the trial judge.

The substantial injustice inherent in an extensively delayed trial (e.g. locating fact witnesses, passage of time and its effect on the reliability of memories, etc.) is detrimental to the interest of this indigent and permanently disabled young woman, Singer wrote in the notice he filed.

Eilman, who was 21 and had recently dropped out of UCLA at the time of the incident, has no health insurance and is completely dependent on California state medical aid and her parents' care. Her recovery plateaued years ago and she will remain severely physically and mentally impaired for the rest of her life, according to her parents.

Copyright © 2012, Chicago Tribune

April 16, 2012

Honest answer to Greyhound security gets Nevada man arrested

By Rosemary R. Sobol

Daniel Fenstemacher

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS---A Nevada man got himself arrested Saturday night after acknowledging to Greyhound security officers that he did indeed have weapons and ammunition in his luggage, authorities said.

About 7:30 p.m. Saturday, as part of a routine security inquiry to all passengers getting on the Greyhound bus at the South Loop station, Daniel Fenstemacher was asked if he had any weapons with him, police said.

Fenstemacher, 52, of the 600 block of Record Street in Reno, replied that he did, police said, and he was detained while weapons and ammunition were recovered from his luggage, which was already on the bus.

The bus line’s security officers alerted police to a .17-caliber revolver and a .380-caliber revolver in his bag, prosecutors said.

He also had a knife, prosecutors said.

Fenstemacher was then arrested and charged with felony aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, police said.

Cook County Criminal Court Judge Edward Harmening ordered Fenstemacher held in lieu of $50,000 bail Sunday and ordered him to be placed on electronic monitoring if he is released.

Fenstemacher said during the brief court hearing that he could find a place to stay in the Chicago area while his case is pending.

Tribune reporter Dan Hinkel contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2012, Chicago Tribune

April 16, 2012

Guns show California suspect preparing for armed confrontation

MODESTO, Calif. — Police investigating the death of a man suspected of gunning down a California sheriff’s deputy and a civilian say they’ve found equipment indicating he was preparing for an armed confrontation: a ballistic vest, a gas mask and several weapons including a high-powered assault rifle.

The man’s body was found in the burnt ruins of an apartment building following a fiery standoff with law officers.

The fatal shooting Thursday morning of the deputy and a locksmith during an eviction led to a day-long standoff that ended when the four-unit apartment building caught fire. On Friday, authorities recovered a badly burned body that has not been positively identified. But they said the male is the suspect in the slayings.

The weapons were found close to the suspect’s body along with police-style radios, police said Satursday.

“Investigators also found that the man was wearing a ballistic vest which strongly suggests that the man barricaded himself in the apartment and was preparing himself for an armed confrontation with police,” said Modesto police spokesman Sgt. Brian Findlen.

The former security guard whose apartment was the scene of the shootings was a financially troubled, paranoid recluse who feared that his apartment would be taken away from him, according to those who knew him.

James Ferrario, 45, lived by himself in the building after his father died in 2008.

Police tentatively identified the body recovered from the apartment Friday, but will not release the name until it is confirmed through DNA and the “coroner’s process,” Findlen said. Police have said that process could take weeks.

“We do believe that the person deceased in that home that we have discovered is very likely the shooter and suspect,” Findlen told The Associated Press on Saturday.

Friends and neighbors told the Modesto Bee that Ferrario took money and food from them and lived in the apartment like a survivalist, without hot water or electricity.

The apartment belonged to Ferrario and his two sisters, said his cousin, Yvonne DiMichele. “Both of his sisters are frightened of him since his father died,” she told the Bee. “They were afraid to kick him out.”

Darlene Williams, who along with her brother, Jonathan, grew up with Ferrario, told the Bee that Ferrario had lost his job as a security guard, and she would bring him money on occasion. She would slip the cash through a screen door because Ferrario was afraid someone would break in and force him out of the home, she told the newspaper.

Ferrario would only leave at night, dressed in his old security guard uniform, Jonathan Williams said.

“I don’t know if that was paranoia or not, but he was afraid his sisters would lock him out of the house if he left,” he said.

Other neighbors said Ferrario had handguns and rifles and security cameras around his house. One former resident, Anna Rivas, told the Bee she moved out after repeated confrontations with Ferrario, one in which he sprayed her husband and a friend with mace.

The Ferrario property had fallen behind on payments on a $15,000 Bank of America mortgage taken out in 2003, the newspaper said. The property owner also appears to have defaulted on $13,406 owed to the Whispering Woods Community Association.

The association foreclosed on the condo last year, followed by a bank foreclosure in December, the newspaper reported.

The deputy, Robert Paris, 53, and locksmith, Glendon David Engert, 35, were gunned down as they arrived at the apartment late Thursday morning to serve an eviction notice.

Paris, a 16-year veteran of the department, is survived by his parents, a brother and two adult children.

Friends tell the Bee that Engert was married. He had worked as a surveyor at an engineering firm until he was laid off and then learned to be a locksmith.

He had been hired by the landlord to help deputies gain entry to the apartment to serve the eviction notice, police said.

It was not clear how Thursday’s fire began, but the Bee reported the sheriff has acknowledged flash-bang devices and tear gas could have been responsible. Four apartments were destroyed by the fire, and 100 units were evacuated after the shooting.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

April 16, 2012

Man Wanted on Numerous Counts of Theft Arrested


Ohio County: A man arrested yesterday in Ohio County on a warrant out of Hamilton County, OH is now facing charges in Indiana. Yesterday afternoon at approximately 1:30 the Ohio County Sheriff’s Department received an anonymous call claiming Joshua J. Salyers, who was wanted out of the state of Ohio, was at Lot 54 at Camp Shore Campground located along the Ohio River between Aurora and Rising Sun. Senior Trooper Patrick Williams and Deputy Dee Smith of the Ohio County Sheriff’s Department went to Camp Shore where they located 39 year old Joshua J. Salyers and arrested him without incident.

Salyers in now facing one count of Possession of a Controlled Substance (Class D Felony) in Indiana after Hydrocodone tablets were found in other medication he had in his possession. Salyers did not have a prescription for the Hydrocodone tablets which led to the charge. He remains in the Switzerland County Jail in Vevay.

April 16, 2012

Five Arrested in Jennings County as a Result of Traffic Stops

Jennings County: Yesterday Trooper Randel Miller was patrolling in Jennings County in a designated “high crash” zone when, through traffic stops for minor violations, resulted in criminal arrests sending five different individuals to jail. At 9:16 a.m. he stopped 1988 Ford pickup truck on S.R. 7 for a traffic violation near the entrance to Country Squire Lakes. During the course of the traffic stop he observed various indicators of criminal activity. After further investigation it was discovered the passenger, 37 year old Brad P. Lennon of North Vernon was in possession of methamphetamine and a controlled substance. He also had an active warrant for his arrest out of Scott County for theft. The driver, 43 year old John P. Blount of North Vernon was found to be in possession of methamphetamine and a controlled substance. Both were transported to the Jennings County Jail.

At approximately 10:40 a.m. Tpr. Miller made another traffic stop on S.R. 7 near County Road 300N on a 1993 Jeep for an expired temporary registration plate. The driver of the Jeep, 24 year old Harold Chaffin of North Vernon was found to be in possession of paraphernalia and was also operating a vehicle while never being licensed. Chaffin was subsequently arrested transported to Jennings County Jail.

At approximately 2:30 p.m. Tpr. Miller stopped a 2000 PT Cruiser on S.R. 7 near County Road 300N for a traffic violation. During the course of the stop, Tpr. Miller learned the passenger in the vehicle, 47 year old Beverly Granger of North Vernon was wanted on a warrant out of Johnson County for theft. Johnson was then transported to the Jennings County Jail.

At approximately 3:39 p.m. Tpr. Miller conducted yet another traffic stop on S.R. 7 near Country Squire Lakes of a 1997 Jeep Cherokee for a traffic violation. During the course of the traffic stop Tpr. Miller suspected the driver, 57 year old Henry L. Schultz of North Vernon to be intoxicated. After completion of the initial on-scene investigation, Schultz was transported to the Jennings County Jail were a breath test indicated his B.A.C. exceeded the .08 limit. Schultz was subsequently charged with Operating a Vehicle while Intoxicated.

Tpr. Miller was one of three Indiana State Troopers who attended criminal interdiction training last month in Oklahoma. Tpr. Miller commented, “Jennings County Prosecutor Alan Marshall and Jackson County Prosecutor Rick Poynter sponsored three troopers to attend this training which is probably the best criminal interdiction training presented anywhere in the world.”

One component of the Indiana State Police Mission Statement says, “We will ensure public safety on our roadways with vigorous and directed traffic enforcement.” Tpr. Miller was engaged in patrol on a roadway designated as a high crash area within the Versailles District, yet his traffic enforcement efforts led to other criminal violations which is often the case. Many times traffic stops for seemingly minor violations lead to the discovery of more serious criminal offenses.

April 16, 2012

Rare legal settlements demand officers pay too

City usually pays when a police misconduct suit is settled — but some defendants want cops punished

By Steve Mills

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS---To settle a wrongful-conviction lawsuit against the Chicago police, the city recently agreed to pay Harold Hill $1.25 million.

What never became public was that, to reach the settlement late last year, two detectives in the case that sent Hill to prison for 12 years for a rape and murder he insisted he did not commit agreed to contribute, too. It was not much next to the total settlement — $7,500 each — yet it apparently meant something to Hill.

The city of Chicago, like other municipalities, pays judgments and settlements when the conduct of police officers goes wrong. But in rare cases, said attorneys on both sides of the issue, people who were wronged demand money from the officers, too. It is an effort to balance the scales, a way to make the perpetrator of the pain experience something of what the purported victim went through, even if it is a nominal amount.

It's an expression of how a plaintiff feels about a case and wanting punishment to flow directly to the police officers, said attorney Terry Ekl, who has sued police officers but is not involved in this case. But very rarely does that actually translate into someone going after the police officer's personal assets.

That is important to victims, experts said, because in most cases the settlement check is written by a faceless municipality or its insurance company. There is no sense for victims that justice has been achieved; rather, it seems the perpetrators have escaped punishment.

Michael Seng, a professor at The John Marshall Law School, said making the officer pay also serves as a deterrent to other officers.

It stings. It hurts them. It takes some money out of the bank, Seng said. It sets an example for other officers.

The officers may agree to pay in a settlement because they see going to trial as too much of a risk. If a jury assesses punitive damages above what are called compensatory damages — the damages to compensate plaintiffs for their loss — officers must pay those punitive damages out of their own pocket. And punitive damages can run into millions of dollars; municipalities cannot pay them for their employees.

Such settlements are so unusual that attorney Flint Taylor, a noted civil rights lawyer in Chicago who has sued the Police Department many times, said he had never had a case where the police officers paid money as part of a lawsuit settlement. He said that was, in large part, because the city's Law Department and the lawyers it hires from private practice to defend these lawsuits work hard to protect officers.

If the city turned around and agreed to have the cops pay, too, Taylor said, then they might not be able to settle their cases.

Of course, it also is because municipalities such as the city of Chicago have deep pockets. Police officers often are of modest means, so going after their assets might not achieve much, and certainly not as much as a plaintiff in a lawsuit would be able to get from a municipality.

Most of the folks who have been victimized care more about the accountability, said Craig Futterman, a professor at the University of Chicago's law school. They want an acknowledgment that the police did them wrong or hurt them. That's why some of these settlements are for such small amounts.

Roderick Drew, spokesman for the city's Law Department, agreed that such settlements are rare. He said city attorneys consider the demands from plaintiffs on a case-by-case basis. In this case, he said, Hill and his attorneys insisted that the officers pay out of their own pockets.

The two veteran detectives, identified in court documents as Kenneth Boudreau and John Halloran, had until last week to pay Hill.

Boudreau declined to comment, citing a confidentiality agreement. Halloran could not be reached.

Neither detective admitted wrongdoing in the settlement.

It's the symbolism that makes it attractive to a plaintiff, said Russell Ainsworth, who represented Hill but because of the confidentiality agreement also could not discuss details of the case. To get money from the officer who wronged them means something to some people.

Ainsworth said the firm he works at, Loevy Loevy, sees trying to make officers pay from their own pocket as a policy position.

It's what we believe in. It's an attempt at restorative justice, said Ainsworth, who called such settlements extremely rare at the firm. It really has an intrinsic value that goes above and beyond the dollar amount, having a police officer writing a check out of his own account. There's a feeling of justice there for the client, and that's important. It's also an extra psychological piece to help make the client satisfied.

Taylor said he liked the idea of making police officers pay to settle lawsuits and, like Seng, said it could have some deterrent effect.

The cop should somehow be held responsible, Taylor said. As a principle, I agree with that.

That was what Shaun Meesak believed. Meesak and two friends had come out of a North Side bar early one morning in January 2007, got in their car and started to drive home when they said another car ran a stop sign and almost struck their car. One of his friends yelled and made an obscene gesture, which prompted the men in the car to approach them. As it turned out, those men were plainclothes police officers.

Meesak and his friends said the officers beat them, choked Meesak after he had been handcuffed, then charged them with various crimes. Meesak and his friends pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct out of fear that, if they went to trial, they would end up with a jail sentence.

The three men as well a fourth friend at the scene filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging the officers had violated their rights by beating them and bringing false charges against them. When the city settled the lawsuit in 2009 for $225,000, the agreement called for the police officers to chip in, too. Each of the five officers named in the lawsuit agreed to pay $1,250 to each of the four plaintiffs, meaning each officer paid $5,000 out of his own pocket.

It makes them accountable essentially, said Meesak, who is 32 and works in the construction equipment industry. I don't know how much damage it does to their pocketbook or their savings account, but it holds them accountable for their actions. It's not just the city paying.

Meesak said he would have liked an apology but knew he was not going to get one. His work sometimes takes him into the city, and that makes him anxious, though not as much as it used to. He said an admission of wrongdoing and an apology would have lessened the impact of what happened.

But the settlement agreements in the Hill and Meesak cases, as well as in others, make clear that there is no admission of wrongdoing.

Hill was one of three men arrested in the 1990 murder of Kathy Morgan. It was a problematic case from the very beginning.

Hill, Dan Young Jr. and Peter Williams were charged with the murder of Morgan, whose body was found in an abandoned building on the South Side. Close to 18 months later, Hill was arrested on an unrelated robbery charge. During questioning, he confessed to the murder and implicated Young and Williams. In time, Young and Williams also confessed and implicated the other two.

Williams later realized he was in Cook County Jail on a drug charge when the killing took place. Although the charges against Williams were dropped, prosecutors took the other two to trial and won convictions. The charges against Hill and Young were dropped in February 2005 after DNA tests cleared them.

As for Hill, he will not be able to spend his money in the outside world — at least not for some time. After he was cleared of the Morgan murder and released from prison, he was arrested on unrelated armed robbery charges and was convicted. He is serving a 27-year prison sentence.

Copyright © 2012, Chicago Tribune

April 16, 2012

Florida traffic deputy critically injured

Deputy was escorting charity motorcycle ride when collision occurred

By Teresa Stepzinski

ST AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA---A St. Johns County Sheriff's Office traffic deputy was critically injured when his police motorcycle was struck by a car as he and other officers were escorting a charity motorcycle run this afternoon.

Deputy Greg Dubowsky was flown by helicopter ambulance to Shands Jacksonville from the crash scene in the 2800 block of Florida A1A in Ponte Vedra Beach, said Sheriff's Office spokesman Kevin Kelshaw.

Dubowsky is expected to undergo surgery for multiple injuries. He is a 16-year Sheriff's Office veteran.

He has some significant injuries but they are saying that they don't appear to be life-threatening, said Sgt. Chuck Mulligan who was at the hospital.

The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the crash but couldn't be reached immediately for comment.

The other driver, a woman whose name wasn't available from authorities, wasn't injured in the collision occurring shortly after noon, Kelshaw said.

Dubowsky was among a group of St. Johns and Jacksonville Sheriff's Office motorcycle officers escorting a motorcycle run to benefit Rides for Smiles, a charitable organization providing medical treatment for children, Mulligan said.

The ride began in Jacksonville this morning along a route through St. Augustine and then back to Jacksonville.

During the escort, Dubowsky stopped a motorist for failing to obey the directions of another officer as they attempted to stop traffic at an intersection. After the stop, Dubowsky rode south on A1A to rejoin the escort as it headed toward St. Augustine, Mulligan said.

Dubowsky had his motorcycle's emergency lights and siren activated, Kelshaw said.

Preliminary information from the continuing investigation indicates that a car entered the roadway as Dubowsky approached, resulting in the collision, Mulligan said.

April 16, 2012

The Cybercrime Wave That Wasn’t


IN less than 15 years, cybercrime has moved from obscurity to the spotlight of consumer, corporate and national security concerns. Popular accounts suggest that cybercrime is large, rapidly growing, profitable and highly evolved; annual loss estimates range from billions to nearly $1 trillion. While other industries stagger under the weight of recession, in cybercrime, business is apparently booming.

Yet in terms of economics, there’s something very wrong with this picture. Generally the demand for easy money outstrips supply. Is cybercrime an exception? If getting rich were as simple as downloading and running software, wouldn’t more people do it, and thus drive down returns?

We have examined cybercrime from an economics standpoint and found a story at odds with the conventional wisdom. A few criminals do well, but cybercrime is a relentless, low-profit struggle for the majority. Spamming, stealing passwords or pillaging bank accounts might appear a perfect business. Cybercriminals can be thousands of miles from the scene of the crime, they can download everything they need online, and there’s little training or capital outlay required. Almost anyone can do it.

Well, not really. Structurally, the economics of cybercrimes like spam and password-stealing are the same as those of fishing. Economics long ago established that common-access resources make for bad business opportunities. No matter how large the original opportunity, new entrants continue to arrive, driving the average return ever downward. Just as unregulated fish stocks are driven to exhaustion, there is never enough “easy money” to go around.

How do we reconcile this view with stories that cybercrime rivals the global drug trade in size? One recent estimate placed annual direct consumer losses at $114 billion worldwide. It turns out, however, that such widely circulated cybercrime estimates are generated using absurdly bad statistical methods, making them wholly unreliable.

Most cybercrime estimates are based on surveys of consumers and companies. They borrow credibility from election polls, which we have learned to trust. However, when extrapolating from a surveyed group to the overall population, there is an enormous difference between preference questions (which are used in election polls) and numerical questions (as in cybercrime surveys).

For one thing, in numeric surveys, errors are almost always upward: since the amounts of estimated losses must be positive, there’s no limit on the upside, but zero is a hard limit on the downside. As a consequence, respondent errors — or outright lies — cannot be canceled out. Even worse, errors get amplified when researchers scale between the survey group and the overall population.

Suppose we asked 5,000 people to report their cybercrime losses, which we will then extrapolate over a population of 200 million. Every dollar claimed gets multiplied by 40,000. A single individual who falsely claims $25,000 in losses adds a spurious $1 billion to the estimate. And since no one can claim negative losses, the error can’t be canceled.

THE cybercrime surveys we have examined exhibit exactly this pattern of enormous, unverified outliers dominating the data. In some, 90 percent of the estimate appears to come from the answers of one or two individuals. In a 2006 survey of identity theft by the Federal Trade Commission, two respondents gave answers that would have added $37 billion to the estimate, dwarfing that of all other respondents combined.

This is not simply a failure to achieve perfection or a matter of a few percentage points; it is the rule, rather than the exception. Among dozens of surveys, from security vendors, industry analysts and government agencies, we have not found one that appears free of this upward bias. As a result, we have very little idea of the size of cybercrime losses.

A cybercrime where profits are slim and competition is ruthless also offers simple explanations of facts that are otherwise puzzling. Credentials and stolen credit-card numbers are offered for sale at pennies on the dollar for the simple reason that they are hard to monetize. Cybercrime billionaires are hard to locate because there aren’t any. Few people know anyone who has lost substantial money because victims are far rarer than the exaggerated estimates would imply.

Of course, this is not a zero-sum game: the difficulty of getting rich for bad guys doesn’t imply that the consequences are small for good guys. Profit estimates may be enormously exaggerated, but it would be a mistake not to consider cybercrime a serious problem.

Those who’ve had their computers infected with malware or had their e-mail passwords stolen know that cleaning up the mess dwarfs any benefit received by hackers. Many measures that tax the overall population, from baroque password policies to pop-up warnings to “prove you are human” tests, wouldn’t be necessary if cybercriminals weren’t constantly abusing the system.

Still, that doesn’t mean exaggerated loss estimates should be acceptable. Rather, there needs to be a new focus on how consumers and policy makers assess the problem.

The harm experienced by users rather than the (much smaller) gain achieved by hackers is the true measure of the cybercrime problem. Surveys that perpetuate the myth that cybercrime makes for easy money are harmful because they encourage hopeful, if misinformed, new entrants, who generate more harm for users than profit for themselves.

Dinei Florêncio is a researcher and Cormac Herley is a principal researcher at Microsoft Research.

April 15, 2012

Jerry Mooney PE 2561 Health Status

photo from the 1973 ISP yearbook

Retired Trooper and former Knox County Sheriff Jerry Mooney will undergo triple

by pass heart surgery on Tuesday 04/17/2012 at St. Mary's Medical Center in Evansville.

I have enclosed his e mail address for those of you who want to wish him well.

April 15, 2012

I’m just glad to be alive, says ex-NYPD Lt. Thomas Barnes

Retired cop says he's no hero after killing armed pharmacy robber on Thursday

By Henrick Karoliszyn, Joe Kemp AND Larry Mcshane

Former NYPD Lt. Thomas Barnes shot and killed an armed pharmacy robber in East Harlem on Thursday.

Barnes says he only shot after robber tried to shoot a cop, but his gun jammed.

The retired NYPD gunslinger who took down an armed bandit with two bullets insisted Friday that he was no hero — despite his dramatic defense of fellow cops’ lives.

“Somebody’s dead,” said former Lt. Thomas Barnes at his Staten Island home, a day after the East Harlem shooting. “I’m just glad to be home. I’m glad I’m okay.”

Barnes, 48, declined to discuss the Thursday morning shooting of Wyatt Rudolph, 24, after the gunman and a cohort made off with drugs and cash from a First Ave. pharmacy.

“I really can’t talk,” Barnes told the Daily News. “It’s an active investigation.”

The second suspect remained on the lam for a second day Friday after disappearing uptown during the chaos that followed the fatal shooting near the corner of 119th St., police said.

Rudolph, who was suspected in four previous pharmacy stickups, was also wanted in a pair of shootings — including a mistaken identity attack on a 19-year-old in Georgia, cops said.

According to a detective in Sandy Springs, Ga., Rudolph and his brother were selling marijuana about a year ago when another dealer robbed his sibling.

Rudolph, after sneaking up from behind, pumped a half-dozen bullets into the teen victim — but he survived after spending a month in intensive care.

As it turned out, the wounded man was not involved in the robbery.

Rudolph fled to New York within days of the shooting, the detective said, and managed to elude police until the Thursday morning armed robbery.

The suspect, with a pocketful of cash stolen from the RX Center Pharmacy, was gunned down from 55 feet away, cops said.

Barnes, who retired from the force in 2005, only fired on Rudolph after the armed robber pointed his gun at a police officer from a few feet away and squeezed off three shots.

The weapon misfired, and Rudolph was dead just seconds later. Barnes had never fired his weapon on the job during his 21 years with the NYPD.

April 15, 2012

Allegan County Sheriffs Department Veteran Dead after Sudden Illness

ALLEGAN (WKZO) -- The Allegan County Sheriff’s Department is reporting the death of one of their Deputies. Sgt. Scott Tatrow, who had most recently

served as a traffic unit sergeant, died unexpectedly early Saturday after suffering complications from a recent and sudden illness.

Tatrow was a 19-year veteran of the Allegan County Sheriffs Department, who had served as a K-9 officer for much of his career.

He had also served on the County’s SWAT Team and its Honor Guard, and as a Michigan Sheriff’s Association Mission Team Investigator.

Sgt. Tatrow was also behind efforts to start safety programs at High Schools in Allegan County to promote safer driving skills in teens.

One of his innovative efforts was to set up mock traffic crash scenes, making them appear as realistic as feasible to simulate what happens when teens drink and drive.

He leaves behind a wife, two children and two grandchildren.

Funeral Services are pending. Sgt. Tatrow was 45.

Awards and Commendations:

2003 letter of Commendation for Law Enforcement Service

2004 letter of appreciation for years of service to the Tactical Team

2007 letter of Commendation for Law Enforcement Service

2009AlleganCountySheriff's Office Certificate of Professional Excellence

Recognized by numerous organizations involved in traffic safety and K9

April 15, 2012

Grand jury indicts Cincinnati police officer for bribery

CINCINNATI OH---A grand jury indicted a Cincinnati police officer Wednesday on bribery and other charges.

Jose Laboy-Laviena was indicted on two counts each of bribery and theft in office and one count of tampering with records.

Prosecutors said Laboy-Laviena ripped off an illegal immigrant for up to $7,500 between April 1, 2011 and April 11, 2012 in exchange for help obtaining a visa.

The indictment also specifies the officer took money last summer as payment for changing records to fix a criminal case involving a friend of the illegal immigrant.

“Every member of the Cincinnati police department is angry that one of our own engaged in criminal conduct,” said Chief James Craig, of Cincinnati police.

Prosecutors accused 39-year-old Laboy-Laviena of permitting use of his office July 16 to aid a theft offense and destroying or otherwise altering evidence on March 28.

The address listed on the indictment is the address of the Cincinnati Police Department’s District 3 Headquarters. People in the area who know Laboy-Laviena from his time with department said they were shocked.

“Very nice man. He’s always helping everybody,” said Silvia Martinez-Krull. “They always call him because he speaks Spanish and if I’m not mistaken he’s from Puerto Rico.”

Laboy-Laviena has been with the department since 2006. He has been suspended pending the outcome of the case.

April 15, 2012

Former jail guard Clara Espada admits to sex with inmate, selling drugs at Rikers Island

Espada likely to get six months behind bars

By Sarah Armaghan

A former jail guard admitted she had sex with an inmate and sold drugs while working at Rikers Island

A former city Corrections officer will likely end up behind bars after she admitted Thursday to having sex with an inmate and selling Ecstasy, cigarettes and booze while she worked on Rikers Island, officials said.

Clara Espada, 41, pleaded guilty to third-degree bribe receiving — a D-class felony — and misdemeanor forcible touching.

A criminal complaint says Espada had sex three times with a male inmate, who has not been named.

He told investigators he slept with the officer and helped broker deals that netted the woman nearly $300 a week over four months, court documents show.

Espada was arrested Wednesday after an eight-month investigation , the Department of Investigation said.

The crimes were committed in the George Motchan Detention Center between July 2009 and January 2010, while Espada — who has worked for the Corrections Department since December 2004 — was earning a $76,488 salary.

She was restricted from inmate contact and placed on modified duty in June 2011 when the investigation first began, according to the DOI.

“Arrest, prosecution, jail time, and the loss of a valuable city job is the likely end for any correction officer who receives bribes to transport contraband into the city jails,” DOI Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn said.

Under the plea deal, Espada — who resigned from her Corrections post earlier this month — is expected to be sentenced to six months behind bars followed by three years probation, the DOI said.

April 15, 2012

Respect for Law Camp Bake Sale

Raising $$$ for Hanover Respect for Law Camp.

April 15, 2012

Officer Morton Gallagher Arrested On Suspicion Of Driving Intoxicated

INDIANAPOLIS -- An Indianapolis Metro Police officer was arrested on Friday on suspicion of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, officials said.

About 9 p.m., IMPD supervisors were notified of an IMPD officer driving his cruiser from a location of off-duty employment while in uniform.

IMPD supervisors said they suspected Officer Morton Gallagher had consumed alcohol after another IMPD officer alleged smelling alcohol on his breath.

IMPD’s Professional Standards Division and DUI Unit was called to conduct an internal investigation.

Gallagher cooperated with internal investigators and voluntarily submitted to a test for chemical intoxicants. Based on test results, he was preliminarily charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, officials said.

He was taken to the Marion County Arrestee Processing Center where he posted bail a short time later.

Officials said a decision to file formal charges will be made by the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office.

Gallagher has been a member of IMPD since 1991. He was suspended with pay pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

Copyright 2012 byTheIndyChannel.comAll rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

April 15, 2012

One Killed and One Injured in Ripley County Crash

Ripley County: This afternoon one person was killed and one injured in a two car crash near the Versailles State Park entrance. According to Trooper Matt Holley at approximately 2:30 this afternoon a 2005 Pontiac Grand Prix driven by 23 year old Mark Wesley Brax of Columbia, SC was eastbound on U.S. 50 just east of the entrance to the Versailles State Park when he lost control in the heavy rain and began to skid sideways. The Grand Prix then skidded into the westbound lane when a westbound 2011 Toyota Highlander driven by 35 year old Donielle R. Stewart of Cincinnati, OH struck the Grand Prix broadside on the passenger side causing extensive damage to both vehicles. Brax was pronounced dead at the scene and Stewart suffered compound fractures to her ankles and as well as leg injuries. Tpr. Holley believes Brax was operating his vehicle too fast for the wet road conditions which may have caused him to hydroplane then losing control of his vehicle. Tpr. Holley also commented Brax was a student at the University of Cincinnati.

The crash remains under investigation. Tpr. Holley was assisted at the scene by Ripley County Sheriff’s deputies, Rescue 69, Ripley County Medic, and the Ripley County Coroner’s Office

April 15, 2012

Man Wanted on Numerous Counts of Theft Arrested

Ohio County: A man who was indicted by a Hamilton County, OH grand jury earlier this month was arrested today in Ohio County. At approximately 1:30 this afternoon the Ohio County Sheriff’s Department received an anonymous call claiming Joshua J. Salyers, who was wanted out of the state of Ohio, was at Lot 54 at Camp Shore Campground located along the Ohio River between Aurora and Rising Sun. Senior Trooper Patrick Williams and Deputy Dee Smith of the Ohio County Sheriff’s Department went to Camp Shore where they located 39 year old Joshua J. Salyers and arrested him without incident. Salyers is alleged to have scammed numerous individuals out of money by agreeing to do home repairs then accepting payment in advance after which it is alleged he did not perform the agreed repairs. Salyers was transported to the Switzerland County Jail in Vevay where he will await extradition back to Ohio.


April 15, 2012

Killings in line of duty haunt police officers

By Allison Klein, Matt Zapotosky and Josh White,

Lt. Tyrone Collington poses outside the Capital One bank in Takoma Park,

where he shot and killed a robber last year.

He was one of six officers who fired on the suspect.

Katherine Frey/The Washington Post

Takoma Park police Lt. Tyrone Collington yelled to the masked bank robber to drop his gun and loosen his grip on the teller’s neck. It’s not worth it, man. Let the girl go, he shouted.

In an instant, as television cameras rolled, the robber slipped on a patch of ice, the hostage broke free, the robber raised his gun and Collington fired.

“I had to muster all of my skills and my courage to save this life,” said Collington, who was the first of six officers to shoot the gunman that morning in a snowy parking lot. “But I also had to take a life.”

There has been an unusual spate of fatal police shootings over the past year in the Washington region — 18 cases in which officers killed suspects in 2011, more than four times as many as in the previous year, when there were four.

Cops shooting bad guys are a mainstay of police television dramas. But in real life, that moment of confrontation is extraordinarily rare. When it does come, the emotional toll can last forever.

Those who kill in the line of duty often have daunting personal and professional hurdles to overcome. They pull the trigger to protect themselves and others, then live in isolation, suspicion and personal sadness as their actions are scrutinized and investigated, often very publicly.

In rare and poignant interviews with The Washington Post, four area police officers who have killed suspects in justified shootings spoke of the torment.

Julie Meade was pronounced dead at Prince George's Hospital Center in November 1996.

The 16-year-old girl was shot several times by Prince George's County police, after she

pointed a gun at officers who came to talk her out of killing herself, police said.

/Family photo

“I still pray for her and her family,” said Prince George’s Lt. Dan Sheffield, who fatally shot a 16-year-old girl who pointed a gun at him during a standoff in 1996.

Some of last year’s police-involved shootings passed with little attention; others captivated the region, such as the Takoma Park case, which was broadcast live as the drama unfolded on Jan. 28, 2011.

Collington was outside the bank with dozens of other officers when he saw the robber, Carlos Rudolfo Espinoza Arcia, walk out with a gun to the teller’s head. Arcia told authorities that he also had a bomb strapped to his chest.

Collington, head of the criminal investigations division, had seen the teller before because he banks at that Capital One branch.

He remembers her pleading: “Please, don’t let me die. I don’t want to die.”

He felt focused and confident, and he told himself that he was going home that night.

“I’m thinking about my family,” said Collington, 45. “I have two kids.”

When the hostage broke free, Arcia raised his gun toward her. Collington and five other officers fired. Arcia was shot 13 times, twice by Collington.

Officers found out later that there was no bomb attached to Arcia’s chest — just a sham made of sponges and duct tape — and that his gun was not loaded.

“Why he didn’t drop the gun, I have no clue,” Collington said, reflecting on the shooting. “Once I got home, those first few nights were sleepless. You’re thinking about the guy’s family, the victim, the investigation you’re facing.”

Life-or-death moment

D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said no police officer wants to use deadly force. “It’s very traumatic emotionally for the officers. It’s devastating,” she said.

None of the officers who shot and killed someone in 2011 has been charged with a crime, but even when the shooting is justified, it is difficult to take a life.

About 95 percent of police officers who carry guns will never use a firearm, law enforcement experts say. The ones who do often fire in self-defense and then learn that the gun pointed at them was not real or wasn’t loaded. But there is no way to know in the split second when it counts.

The life-or-death moment when officers shoot someone is so intense that they often say they never heard the gun fire or they didn’t realize they had pulled the trigger more than once. They sometimes feel that time stood still — that a 10-second encounter seemed to last for minutes or longer.

Police don’t like to speak publicly about shootings because of the personal nature of the incidents.

But Collington, Sheffield and the others agreed to talk about the shootings and how the experience affected them. Although each incident was ruled justified, the men say it has had a haunting effect.

“It changed my life,” Sheffield said. “Once you pull the trigger, it’s not over. . . . You don’t start running credits.”

It was a November day in 1996, and Sheffield and other officers were standing outside a Laurel apartment building as a teenager inside was threatening to shoot people. The officers begged the girl to come out.

When 16-year-old Julie Meade finally appeared, she raised what looked like a handgun at Sheffield and the other officers. Sheffield said he felt “helpless.” The officers opened fire, and Meade was killed. Sheffield learned later that the gun was not real.

The shooting was about 15 years ago, but it still weighs on Sheffield. “It’s not supposed to work this way,” he said.

Across the country in 2010, police killed 387 people in justified homicides, according to FBI statistics. That same year, 153 officers were killed in the line of duty by firearms.

Some cases appear to be clear-cut examples of “suicide by police,” in which someone refuses to drop a gun knowing full well that officers will fire.

Others bring widespread outrage, court filings and political blow-back, such as the 2007 death of DeOnte Rawlings. The 14-year-old was pursued and killed by an off-duty D.C. officer who was combing a Southeast neighborhood for his stolen minibike. Rawlings’s family sued the city, and the case was settled out of court last year.

Many, though, are very tense situations in which an officer must make a split-second decision when confronting someone who is willing to kill.

Such was the case involving D.C. Police Sgt. Gerald “GG” Neill. It happened about 17 years ago when Neill was driving near RFK Stadium, heading into work on his day off to fill out timecards for his officers in the gun-recovery unit. Neill talks about it vividly.

Joseph Cooper Jr. flagged Neill down, and the officer stopped to see whether Cooper needed help. When Neill opened his car door, Cooper attacked him, possibly trying to steal the vehicle. The two wrestled in and out of the car in a “life-and-death struggle,” Neill said. Neill was losing the fight and felt forced to fire his weapon to save his life.

“Everything seemed to go real slow,” Neill said. “Only by the grace of God was I able to survive.”

He was angry for months after the incident, wondering why he had been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“I thought, ‘Why me? Why did I get chosen?’ I was minding my own business trying to do the right thing,” Neill said.

The only people he could talk with about it were his attorney and a psychologist from the department’s employee-assistance program. With everyone else, he just tried to mask the trauma.

“People ask how you’re doing, and you tell them you’re doing fine — but you’re not,” Neill said.

Neill, 59, retired several years ago after 30 years with the department. He now works for D.C. Protective Services, which provides security for city facilities. He said he doesn’t like to talk about the shooting out of respect for the man he killed.

“I empathize with his family. He was a father, a brother, a son,” Neill said. “It’s sad all the way around. It’s tough.”

“I came back to work quickly, which was good,” said Neill, who was not permitted to carry a gun for a year. “The worst thing you can do is sit at home and do nothing.”

It had such a profound effect on his life that he became president of the D.C. police union so he could speak out for officers who found themselves in similar situations.

“You know what they’re going through. You know they’re being isolated,” Neill said. “They’ll say it’s just part of the job, but you know they don’t mean that. You say a little prayer and hope they’ll be okay.”

Someone he knew

Maj. Steve Hudson, assistant chief for criminal investigations at the Prince William County Police Department,

sits in his office with material from a 1996 incident during which he shot and killed an armed man after an emergency call.

Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post

Steve Hudson joined the Prince William County police force in 1982. He had been with the police department for seven years — and on the county’s SWAT team for five — before he saw a police officer fire at a suspect.

It wasn’t until years later, Jan. 14, 1996, that Hudson learned how difficult it is. In his case, he killed someone he knew.

It was shortly after 6 p.m. when a 911 call came from a home in Triangle, a house that was familiar to Hudson because it belonged to a friend who was a sheriff’s deputy. Hudson decided to hurry to the scene.

Upon Hudson’s arrival, Jimmy Lloyd, 32, stumbled out of the house, and Hudson recognized him as his friend’s son. He saw that Lloyd was carrying a handgun and an extra magazine of ammunition.

Lloyd fired two shots into the pavement and then walked slowly toward Hudson.

Hudson, now an assistant chief in charge of criminal investigations, keeps a yellowed piece of paper in one of his files. It contains notes of what went through his mind that night, thoughts he wrote down days later because he wanted to show how much of his classroom training and job experience figured into those critical moments.

But Hudson doesn’t need to refer to the paper, as he recounts his reflections as if the shooting happened yesterday: 15 things he thought of in less than 80 seconds.

He didn’t want to negotiate too long with an irrational shooter, because he didn’t want to put other officers at risk. He measured the distance at about 25 yards, a shot he could easily take. He drew an imaginary line in the road — a point at which Hudson’s supervisor would have been dangerously exposed to a shooter. That would be as far as he would let Lloyd go.

Officers with Hudson later reported that he said: “Don’t make me do this. Don’t make me do this.” But Hudson doesn’t remember what he said because he was so focused.

When Lloyd crossed the line, Hudson pulled the trigger on his Glock, killing Lloyd with a bullet through the heart.

“I was afraid, but there had to be a line, and I knew where it was,” Hudson said. “He crossed it. I couldn’t risk him killing me or my guys.”

Hudson rushed up to Lloyd — splayed on his back — and kicked the gun away. He felt himself screaming at him.

“I was angry at him for forcing my hand,” Hudson said. “I didn’t feel bad about the decision, because I knew it was the right thing to do. But it bothered me that I had killed someone. I didn’t want him to die. I felt really bad that he was dead, that his life had to end there that night.”

It turned out that Lloyd was heavily intoxicated. The reason for the 911 call was that Lloyd had been firing the weapon inside the house, where his mother, his wife and two of his children were cowering.

“You do all these things to prepare and train yourself to make the right decisions, and ultimately you have to take a man’s life,” Hudson said.

Hudson felt a responsibility to tell Lloyd’s father what had happened, and there was an emotional encounter between the two men.

“I told him I had to shoot Jimmy and that Jimmy was dead,” Hudson said. “He grabbed me and hugged me and said, ‘God bless you.’ I think he knew I was upset I had to kill him.”

Hudson later went to Internal Affairs as a commander, a job in which he investigated police shootings. And he has lectured recruits during a “Dynamics of Armed Encounters” class, using the notes on his yellowed paper to help explain the thought processes involved in life-or-death situations.

“I tell the officers involved that they will second-guess themselves, they will have dreams, they might get depressed,” Hudson said. “They just have to know that’s normal. Being able to talk to them having been in their shoes, it makes a lot of difference. It’s not easy to kill someone. But I know that if I have to do that, I can do that.”

Staff writers Theola Labbé-DeBose, Mary Pat Flaherty and Dan Morse and staff researcher Meg Smith contributed to this report.

April 14, 2012

Vincennes Man Arrested for Manufacturing Meth and Outstanding Warrants

Knox County – Friday night, April 13, Indiana State Police received information Joshua Hess, 31, of Vincennes, was driving a blue and silver Ford F250 pickup truck in the Vincennes area. Hess was wanted out of Knox, Gibson and Pike Counties for probation violation, failure to appear and dealing methamphetamine. Troopers later arrested Hess after they located and stopped his vehicle on Broulette Road and McClure Road in Vincennes. When troopers searched the vehicle they found meth, items commonly used to manufacture meth and drug paraphernalia. Hess was arrested and taken to the Knox County Jail where he is currently being held on bond.


· Joshua Hess, 31, 1799 Johnson Lane, Vincennes, IN

1. Manufacturing Meth, Class B Felony

2. Probation Violation-Failure to return to work release (Knox County Warrant)

3. Failure to Appear (Gibson County Warrant)

4. Dealing Meth (Pike County Warrant)

Arresting Officer: Trooper Doug Francis, Indiana State Police

Assisting Officers: Sgt. Jason Allen, Trooper Ryan Johnson, Trooper Paul Stolz and

Trooper William Campbell, Indiana State Police

Assisting Agency: Knox County Sheriff’s Department

April 14, 2012

Former Phoenix officer sentenced for bank robberies

by John Genovese and Brennan

PHOENIX, ARIZONA---A former Phoenix police officer has been sentenced to nearly 46 years in prison for his role in a string of bank robberies in 2006, according to Maricopa County Superior Court officials.

Judge Joseph Kreamer sentenced Chad Michael Goulding, 41, to 45.75 years in prison on Friday, court spokeswoman Karen Arra said.

A jury found Goulding guilty Feb. 1 on 61 counts of kidnapping, 16 counts of armed robbery, five counts of aggravated assault and five counts of theft.

FBI agents arrested the former policeman in December 2010 in connection with the robbery of more than $133,000 from five Valley banks between June

and November 2006.

He had faced a 95-count indictment accusing him of a rash of Bank of America robberies in Chandler, Glendale, Mesa and Scottsdale.

Goulding resigned from the Phoenix Police Department in August 2005 after 13 years of service following an internal investigation and a positive steroids test.

In November 1996, Goulding was among a group of Phoenix officers involved in the fatal shooting of 16-year-old Julio Valerio.

The incident drew outrage from minority groups and community activists, leading to changes in department policy on use of force.1

April 14, 2012

Corpus Christi police officer arrested for online solicitation of a 15-year-old girl

CORPUS CHRISTI TEXAS---A more than four-year veteran of the Corpus Christi Police Department was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of online solicitation of a 15-year-old girl.

Robert Lee McChester Jr., 27, was arrested at his attorney’s office by police with assistance from federal officials, police said. On April 3, the teen made an outcry in a Corpus Christi hospital, alleging McChester had been messaging her online during the past year, some of which was sexual in nature.

Corpus Christi police launched an internal investigation that day and six days later turned their findings over to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents, a branch of the Department of Homeland Security, who secured a warrant for McChester’s arrest. “We are ready, willing and able to clean our own house,” Police Chief Floyd Simpson said during a news conference Tuesday evening at the police station. Simpson said McChester, a patrol officer, was placed on administrative leave with pay pending an outcome of the investigation. The Police Department will continue a disciplinary review, which could result in McChester being fired, Simpson said.

The teen alleged the contact began in May 2011 via the Internet and they continued communicating for the next year up until her complaint, federal officials said. The online messages were recovered by investigators, who said they appeared sexual in nature, police said. The teen also told police the pair had met several times and engaged in inappropriate activity.

Police would not release more details citing the ongoing investigation. When the allegations surfaced, Simpson said the Police Department made it a priority to act quickly and professionally. “It’s an unfortunate situation not only for McChester and the victim, but the entire CCPD family,” he said. McChester is set to appear Wednesday in federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge B. Janice Ellington.

April 14, 2012

Misconduct alleged against Secret Service agents


CARTAGENA, Colombia (AP) - A dozen Secret Service agents sent to Colombia to provide security for President Barack Obama at an international summit have been relieved of duty over alleged misconduct.

A caller who said he had knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press the misconduct involved prostitutes in Cartagena, site of the Summit of the Americas. A Secret Service spokesman did not dispute that.

A U.S. official, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter and requested anonymity, put the number of agents sent home at 12. Secret Service was not releasing the number of personnel involved.

The incident threatened to overshadow Obama's economic and trade agenda at the summit and embarrass the U.S. The White House had no comment, but also did not dispute the allegations.

In Washington, Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan would not confirm that prostitution was involved, saying only that there had been allegations of misconduct made against Secret Service personnel in Cartagena for the summit.

Donovan said the allegations of misconduct were related to activity before the president's arrival Friday night and did not impact security plans for Obama's trip.

Obama attended a leaders' dinner Friday night at Cartagena's historic Spanish fortress and was due to attend summit meetings with regional leaders Saturday and Sunday.

The Washington Post reported that Jon Adler, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, said the accusations related to at least one agent having involvement with prostitutes in Cartagena. The association represents federal law enforcement officers, including the Secret Service.

Adler later told the AP that he had heard that there were allegations of prostitution, but he had no specific knowledge of any wrongdoing.

The agents were staying at Cartagena's Hotel Caribe, which is also hosting members of the White House staff and press corps during the summit

A hotel employee, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing his job, said the agents arrived at the beachfront hotel about a week ago. The employee described the agents as drinking heavily during their stay.

The employee said the agents left the hotel Thursday, a day before Obama and other regional leaders arrived for the weekend summit.

The hotel's public relations chief had no comment.

Those involved had been sent back to their permanent place of duty and were being replaced by other agency personnel, Donovan said. The matter was turned over to the agency's Office of Professional Responsibility, which handles the agency's internal affairs.

Associated Press writers Libardo Cardona and Pedro Mendoza contributed to this report.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

April 14, 2012

School, state police investigating 2nd grade teacher

A Martinsville second grade teacher has been placed on administrative leave.

Martinsville, Ind.---A Martinsville second grade teacher has been placed on administrative leave.

Jeff McGown is under investigation by both the school system and state police.

Sources said the investigation is connected to the arrest of former boys basketball coach Tim Wolf.

Police said they found Wolf half naked with a 17-year-old girl in a car at an Indianapolis park.

Wolf resigned back in February. He's charged with public indecency and is awaiting trial.

McGown is also the Martinsville High School girls tennis coach.

Copyright © 2012, WXIN-TV

April 14, 2012


Vigo County—This afternoon at 3:49PM, the Indiana State Police and the Vigo County Sheriff’s Office responded to a two vehicle crash in the 4000 block of North US 150, West Terre Haute. The crash involved a Vigo County School Corporation bus and a Honda passenger car. Light rain had just fallen in the area and the roadway sustained some slickness as a result. There were no injuries reported by anyone.

Preliminary investigation revealed the school bus had just dropped off a student at 4000 North US 150 when the bus was suddenly struck in the rear by the passenger car. There were 31 students aboard the bus along with the driver. Some of the students were released to parents with the remaining students off loaded onto another Vigo County School Corporation bus and transported home.

The 2006 Thomas built bus was driven by Michael H. Jones, age 59, of Clinton, IN. He was not cited.

The 1998 Honda Civic was driven by Derek A. Braun, age 17, of West Terre Haute, IN. Braun was cited for Speed too Fast to Avoid a Collision and released.

The crash was investigated by ISP Trooper Ted Robertson. Assisting were ISP Sergeant Joe Watts and Vigo County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Mike Anderson.

Officials from the Vigo County School Corporation and West Vigo High School were also on the scene.

As required by Indiana law, the school bus driver will undergo routine toxicology testing and the bus will be inspected by the Indiana State Police prior to being placed in service for transporting students.

April 14, 2012

U.S. Marshal’s Task Force and Indiana State Police Nab Warrick Co. Fugitive

Warrick County – Thursday evening, April 12, the U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force and Indiana State Police received information that Joseph Daniel Stewart, 33, of Boonville, was hiding out at Scott Houchin’s residence near Tennyson. Felony arrest warrants had been issued out of Warrick County for Stewart back in February for various felony drug offenses. Stewart has been avoiding arrest by hiding out in various locations throughout the area. At approximately 6:30 p.m. last night, officers from the U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force, Indiana State Police, Warrick County Sheriff’s Office, Boonville Police, and Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office responded to Houchin’s residence located at 6811 Phillips Road. After arriving, officers discover Stewart and his girlfriend, Terri Hayden, 35, of Boonville, had fled into a nearby wooded area minutes prior to their arrival. While inside Houchin’s residence, officers discovered nearly 30 firearms. Houchin is a convicted felon and is prohibited by law from possessing them. Houchin’s girlfriend, Sherry Garrett, 41, was also present. Garrett and Houchin were arrested and all weapons were seized. Officers immediately set up a perimeter and started searching the area. Approximately five hours later, Senior Trooper Kevin Brown and his K-9, Rydr, located Stewart and Hayden bedded down in thick woods approximately 1/4 mile from the residence. They were both arrested without further incident. Hayden and Garrett were arrested for Assisting a Criminal, Class D Felony. Houchin was arrested for Possession of a Firearm by a Serious Violent Felon, Class B Felony and for Assisting a Criminal, Class D Felony. All suspects are currently being held in the Warrick County Jail.

Arrested on Outstanding Warrants:

Joseph Daniel Stewart, 33, Boonville, IN

Manufacturing Meth in Possession of a Firearm, Class A Felony

Possession of Anhydrous Ammonia with a Firearm, Class A Felony

Possession of Drug Precursors, Class D Felony

Maintaining a Common Nuisance, Class D Felony

Possession of Marijuana with a Prior Conviction, Class D Felony

Habitual Offender, Class D Felony

Theft, Class D Felony

Resisting Law Enforcement, Class A Misdemeanor

April 14, 2012

Mountain View, Missouri Man Shot, Killed by Birch Tree Officer

BIRCH TREE, MISSOURI---The Missouri Highway Patrol is investigating the fatal shooting early Thursday of an assault suspect by a Birch Tree, Missouri police officer.

Troop G Patrol spokesman Sgt. Marty Elmore tells KOLR10 News the shooting apparently happened during a struggle over a weapon.

Sgt. Elmore says the officer was sent to a house in Birch Tree to pick up a man suspected of being involved in an assault late Wednesday in Mountain View. Sgt. Elmore

says the officer was on his way back to Mt. View with the man in his patrol car, when a struggle broke out inside the car, over a weapon.

Sgt. Elmore says during the struggle, the officer's car ran off Highway 60 west of Birch Tree, down an embankment and through two fences.

When the car came to a stop, the struggle continued, both in and out of the car, Elmore says.

That's when the officer fired one shot, killing the man. Sgt. Elmore says Ronald David Andrews, 51, of Mt. View, was pronounced dead by the Shannon County coroner.

The officer, who was not identified, has been put on administrative leave while the Patrol does its investigation.

April 14, 2012

Fire rages at Modesto house surrounded after deputy killed

By Erin Tracy

UPDATE - 11:32 p.m. A Modesto fire department official says the home on Chrysler Drive is starting to collapse as the fire continues to burn.

Battalion Chief Hugo Patino said on his Twitter account: Fire on Chrysler continues to burn. Structural collapse occurring. Fire crews doing a good job of protecting the exposures.

There was no word on whether the fire had spread to any other structures.

UPDATE - 11:25 p.m. A sheriff's spokesman says investigators still don't know if a gunman holed up in a Modesto home is alive or dead. A huge fire was raging late tonight at the home on Chrysler Drive where earlier in the day a sheriff's deputy and another man were gunned down and killed.

In an interview with KCRA TV, Sgt. Anthony Bejaran said officers were not sure what the status was on the gunman.

We're not sure at this point what actions he's taken and what he might be doing, Bejaran said.

Authorities were making contingency plans for what they would do if the gunman were to come out of the home, he said.

Meanwhile, Sheriff Adam Christianson told CBS 13 television that a deputy who was nearby when Deputy Robert Paris was gunned down was able to fire at the gunman. The sheriff told the TV station that he and Paris were friends and had served together as paramedics.

Christianson said it was likely the fire was started by incendiary devices and gas canisters the SWAT teams used to try to force the gunman out.


UPDATE - 10:55 p.m. A huge fire has been burning for more than hour at a home on Chrysler Drive believed to be the one where the suspect in the fatal shootings of a sheriff's deputy and another man had holed up. Officials said they believed the suspect was on the first floor. The fire started upstairs. No word on the gunman's fate.


UPDATE - 10:20 p.m. About 10:20 p.m. huge flames were spewing from the top of a home on Chrysler Drive believed to be the one where the suspect in the fatal shootings of a sheriff's deputy and another man had holed up.

FOX40 television was showing live pictures on its air and on a live stream on its Web site.

Hugo Patino of the Modesto fire department first mentioned the fire on his Twitter account about 9:45 p.m. About 15 minutes later, he specified that the fire was from the home SWAT teams had surrounded.


UPDATE - 10:03 p.m. Hugo Patino of the Modesto fire department says on Twitter that a fire is burning in the second floor of the home on Chrysler Drive that SWAT teams have surrounded. No further details were available.

Here's what Patino wrote: The fire on the 2nd floor is at the Chrysler incident. It continues to be visible.


UPDATE - 9:55 p.m. SWAT team members did not enter the house but came closer as officers used a loudspeaker, telling the suspect to call 911 and surrender. They said they would guarantee his safety.


UPDATE - 9:15 p.m. At least six SWAT team members have entered the house. No further information was immediately available.


UPDATE - 7:30 p.m. About 7:30 p.m., just before sunset, reporters heard a loud bang and saw a flash coming from the area of the house that SWAT teams had surrounded. Reporters could not see what happened, but at least one robot had been brought to the scene earlier in the evening. There was no immediate word from authorities on what happened.

Also, sheriff's officials declined to release the name of a second deputy who was near the home when Deputy Robert Paris and another man were killed.


UPDATE - 6:30 p.m. The deputy killed this morning on Chrysler Drive in Modesto was Robert Paris, Sheriff Adam Christianson said.

----UPDATE - 5:15 p.m. As the standoff entered its seventh hour, SWAT teams from Stanislaus County, Modesto, Ceres and Merced County had the home surrounded. Two SWAT teams from San Joaquin County were on standby. The FBI and California Highway Patrol were also on scene.

About 5 p.m., Art De Werk, chief of Ceres police, said the situation is stable and under control, so law enforcement is not going to rush in.


A sheriff’s deputy and another man trying to serve an eviction notice at an apartment complex were shot dead Thursday by a man who holed up and was surrounded by a battalion of SWAT teams.

The standoff, still under way late in the afternoon, began right after the shootings occurred about 11 a.m. Dozens of neighbors were evacuated to a nearby church.

A man who lives nearby and did not give his name said the deputy and the man with him apparently were drilling through the lock on the apartment door in the 2100 block of Chrysler Drive when the suspect fired at them from inside.

Yemen Zokari and Steven Gasterlum, who said they live two doors down from the suspect, heard shots and saw two men on the ground, one on his stomach and the other on his back closer.

“There was another officer that was kneeling on the side of the house while they were laying there,” Zokari said. “I think he was staying out of the way from being shot.

“We just felt so bad. We wanted to do something but you can’t. What can you do? It’s traumatizing to see them.”

“I heard a gunshot,” said another witness who did not give his name. “Then I heard four gunshots. Then I heard three gunshots, then another four.”

Dozens of emergency vehicles converged on the apartment complex. SWAT teams from Stanislaus and neighboring counties surrounded the apartment building and fired bean bags and then tear gas into the home.

More than 100 law officers from at least 15 agencies came to assist the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department and Modesto police. Intermittent rain showers pelted law enforcement and those gathered behind the crime scene tape.

Stanislaus Sheriff Adam Christianson said officers were sure the suspect was inside the home they’d surrounded.

“We don’t know anything about him,” he said shortly after noon. “We don’t know what the motive is behind this shooting. All we know is that we have two people dead, and a deputy sheriff, one of my valued members of my team is dead.”

Christianson declined to release the names of the victims. He said he did not believe they returned fire.

The man who saw the men drilling the lock said he watched officers remove the body of a man wearing a white T-shirt and jeans and saw four officers carry out the body of the deputy.

The shootings occured at Whispering Woods, a development of two-story fourplex apartments formerly known as Prescott Estates. Officers evacuated the complex because they feared the suspect was armed with explosives that might be detonated.

“Despite the harsh reality of our economic climate and the drastic budget cuts and staffing cuts I’ve taken, there’s no excuse for this,” Christianson said. “I am overwhelming frustrated with the fact that we don’t have sufficient resources to protect the community.”

Christianson spoke as sirens wailed in the background. Traffic in northwest Modesto was disrupted for much of the day because so many streets were blocked by police cars and armored vehicles.

Jittery neighbors and others who stood outside the perimeter thought they heard gunshots at various times in the afternoon, although law officials said there were none. When hard rain fell early in the afternoon, many of the people headed off although others milled around for hours.

Levi Middleton and Jennifer Diaz, who live across the street from where the shooting happened, said they heard multiple gunshots in rapid succession, as if the rounds were fired from a semi-automatic weapon.

Middleton and Diaz said officers first told them to stay inside, and they later were told to evacuate. An evacuation center was set up at the nearby Prescott Evangelical Free Church.

UPDATE - 3:15 p.m. The standoff has entered its fifth hour. More than 100 law enforcement officers are on scene, representing at least 15 agencies. Four SWAT teams are involved, as is the Stanislaus County bomb squad.

Authorities were withholding the names of the two men who were killed, one of them a sheriff's deputy, the other described by Sheriff Adam Christianson as a civilian.

Nor has the sheriff's office identified the gunman.

The shooting took place about 11 a.m. in the 2100 block of Chrysler Drive as the deputy, accompanied by the other man shot to death, were trying to serve eviction papers at the home, Christian said.

One of my valued members of my team is dead, Christianson said at an impromptu news conference at noon. He ended it by saying, I am overwhelmingly frustrated that we don't have the resources to protect the community.

The incident happened about 11 a.m. in the Whispering Woods development, formerly known as Prescott Estates, a development of two-story fourplex apartments.

Neighbors told Bee reporters that they heard a barrage of gunshots. One man reported seeing the body of the civilian victim being carried away and deputies carrying the body of the slain deputy.

Sacramento-based television stations began broadcasting live from the scene late in the morning and continued their coverage well into the afternoon.

Sheriff's officials maintained that they believed the gunman was still holed up in the house they had surrounded. Authorities were waiting the man out in what Christianson described as a complex, methodical procedure.

Residents of Whispering Woods were evacuated because authorities feared the gunman may have been armed with explosives. A relief center was set up at the Prescott Evangelical Church.

Authorities did not disclose what tactics they were using to coax the man out, although bean bags were fired through windows of the home at mid-day followed by tear gas.

Jittery neighbors and others who stood outside the perimeter thought they heard gunshots at various times in the afternoon, although law officials said there were none. When hard rain fell early in the afternoon, many of the people headed off although others milled around throughout the afternoon.

The enormous police presence disrupted traffic in the city's northwest sector for much of the day.

The sheriff's department promised a news conference from its Hatch Road headquarters at some point later today, although no time had been announced as of 3:30 p.m.


UPDATE - 2:30 p.m. The standoff has entered its fourth hour. Turlock Police Chief Rob Jackson, a former Stanislaus County sheriff's captain, said he arrived to check on the status of his officers working the case. He said he knew the deputy who was killed but would not disclose his name, the release of which the sheriff's department is handling.


UPDATE - 1:30 p.m. The standoff has entered its third hour at a home in northwest Modesto where SWAT teams are trying to apprehend a man who shot and killed a sheriff's deputy and another man this morning.


UPDATE - 12:50 p.m. A man who lives in the apartment complex where a sheriff's deputy and another person were shot to death in Modesto this morning says the victims were men.

I heard a gunshot, said the witness, who declined to be identified. Then I heard four gunshots. Then I heard three gunshots, then another four.

He said he watched officers remove the body of a man wearing a white T-shirt and jeans and also saw four officers carry out the body of the deputy who was killed.

Another man who asked not to be identified said he watched the deputy and the second man start to drill through a lock on the door of the home when gunfire came through the door and struck the two men.

Levi Middleton and Jennifer Diaz, who live across the street from where the shooting happened, said they also hear multiple gunshots in rapid succession. They said it sounded as if the shots were fired from a semi-automatic weapon.

Middleton and Diaz said officers first told them to stay inside, and they later were told to evacuate.


UPDATE - 12:35 p.m. Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Anthony Bejeran said the department was not releasing whether the deputy killed was a man or a woman. He said subsequent reports on the case would be made from department headquarters, not from the scene.


UPDATE - 12:20 p.m. A sheriff's deputy and an accompanying civilian were shot and killed Thursday morning as they tried serving an eviction notice at a residence on the city's northwest side, Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson said.

SWAT teams from Stanislaus County and neighboring Merced and San Joaquin counties along with officers from Modesto police, the California Highway Patrol and other agencies surrounded a house where the suspect was believed to have holed up.

Officers broke the homes windows with bean bag shots and then fired tear gas into the home. As of 12:25 p.m., the suspect had not emerged.

Christianson said authorities knew nothing about the suspect, although he may have had military training. The Bee was told the suspect was a Hispanic male born in 1967, about 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighing 185 pounds.

Christianson said he did not believe the team serving the civil papers at the house returned fire.

I am overwhelmingly frustrated that we don't have the resources to protect the community, Christianson said in closing an impromptu news conference at noon.

The incident happened about 11 a.m. in the Whispering Woods development, formerly known as Prescott Estates, a development of two-story fourplex apartments.

Traffic in northwest Modesto was severely disrupted as emergency vehicles rolled into the neighborhood. Dozens of spectators lined up along the perimeter police set up.

Believing the suspect might be armed with explosives, officers evacuated a wide area around the home where the suspect holed up. Officers went house to house, asking people to leave.

Christianson did not disclose the identities of the two people killed.


UPDATE - 12:07 p.m. A sheriff's deputy was shot and killed and another person was killed Thursday morning as deputies tried serving an eviction notice at a residence on the city's northwest side, Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson said.

Christianson said authorities knew nothing about the suspect, although he may have had military training.

Christianson said he did not believe his officers -- there were two who went to serve the papers -- returned fire.

I am overwhelmingly frustrated that we don't have the resources to protect the community, Christianson said in closing an impromptu news conference at noon.

The incident happened about 11 a.m. in the Whispering Woods development, formerly known as Prescott Estates, a development of two-story fourplex apartments.


UPDATE - Noon The Stanislaus County bomb squad has arrived.


UPDATE - 11:55 a.m. Suspect vehicle has been found near scene. Authorities are cautiously examining it.


UPDATE - 11:53 a.m. The Merced County sheriff's SWAT team is on its way to Modesto to assist.


UPDATE - 11:50 a.m. Suspect described as Hispanic man born in 1967, 6 foot 2 inches tall and weighing about 185 pounds.

Authorities from several agencies are converging on surrounded apartment. Bean bags were fired into the residence to break windows, and tear gas was then shot inside.


UPDATE - 11:25 a.m. At least one deputy was reportedly shot and a second deputy was on scene when it happened. No word on the condition of either deputy.


UPDATE - 11:21 a.m. Officers are going door to door, asking people to leave their homes in the neighborhood.


UPDATE - 11:17 a.m. Concerned that the suspect may have explosives, authorities have broadened the area they are evacuating around the apartment where the suspect is believed to be holed up.


Authorities have surrounded an apartment building in north Modesto where two Stanislaus County sheriff’s deputies have been reportedly injured in a shooting this morning while serving an eviction notice.

Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Anthony Bejaran said he did not have all the details, but confirmed a call for an officer in distress had been sent out on police radios. The call asks for all nearby police agencies to respond.

The reported incident occurred about 11 a.m. in the 2100 block of Chrysler Avenue, just west of Prescott Road and south of West Rumble Road. Police believe at least one suspect is still in one of the apartments, so they have called for an armored SWAT truck to respond to the scene.

April 13, 2012

David McIntosh faces voter fraud accusations

Another Hoosier lawmaker is accused of committing voter fraud.

David McIntosh faces a complaint filed with both the Secretary of State's office and the Madison County Election Board.

The complaints claim that McIntosh committed voter fraud in both 2008 and 2010, citing the fact that McIntosh hasn't lived

in Indiana since 2005 but has voted in two elections using absentee ballots in Madison County.

Fox59 has tried to get in contact with McIntosh but so far, we have been unsuccessful.

Mcintosh is currently running for a congressional seat in Indiana’s newly created fifth district.

Copyright © 2012, WXIN-TV

April 13, 2012

Deputy prosecutor arrested

Lori Hittle works in Howard Superior Court 2


CICERO — A Howard County deputy prosecutor was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving April 1 in Cicero, Hamilton County officials confirmed.

Lori Hittle, 42, was booked into the Hamilton County Jail shortly before 2 a.m. on preliminary charges of operating while intoxicated and operating while intoxicated, endangering. Hittle bonded out of jail around 5:30 p.m. the same day.

The Cicero Police Department was the arresting agency on the case.

Howard County Prosecutor Mark McCann said Hittle informed him on April 2 that she’d been arrested.

“Until her case is settled, I’m not going to comment or take any action,” McCann said, adding that he’s unaware of any professional disciplinary action pending against Hittle.

“She’s innocent until proven guilty, until there is some resolution,” he said.

Hittle did not return a call seeking comment.

Howard Superior Court 2 Judge Brant Parry said Hittle has continued to prosecute cases in his court, and said Tuesday he was unaware of her arrest.

“She needs to follow her ethical obligations on who to report that to, and the remainder is between her and [McCann],” Parry said.

Cicero Police officials referred questions to the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s office, and no formal charges have been filed in Hamilton County in connection with the arrest. The prosecutor’s office didn’t respond immediately Wednesday to a request for comment.

• Scott Smith is a Kokomo Tribune staff writer. He may be reached at 765-454-8569

April 13, 2012

Clark named Logansport police chief

LOGANSPORT — Mike Clark has been named chief of the Logansport Police Department.

The news came this morning during a meeting of the Board of Public Worls and Safety.

Clark, a 22-year veteran of the department, had been filling the role since Michael Neher resigned as chief effective April 1.

Clark has served in both the juvenile and adult detective divisions.

He was named Police Officer of the Year by the Veterans of Foreign Wars in 1999 and by the Elks Lodge in 2001.

April 13, 2012

Driver Admits to Texting before Crash

Henry County – This afternoon shortly after 2:30 p.m. Pendleton Trooper Doug Snyder, along with New Castle City Officers and the Henry County Sheriff’s Department responded to a report of a crash on County Road 50 East just south of County Road 300 South and the New Castle city limits.

Officers arrived to find a red Chevrolet Cavalier off the east side of the roadway against a newly broken utility pole. The driver and only occupant, a female named Casey Williams, age 23 of New Castle, was treated at the scene for minor injuries.

Williams admitted to Trooper Snyder that she had been driving north and was in the middle of texting, looking down at her phone, when she realized her car was headed off the right side of the roadway into the ditch. Due to her speed she was unable to correct before hitting the utility pole.

Trooper Snyder issued Williams a ticket for Use of a Telecommunication Device While Operating a Motor Vehicle. Trooper Snyder was assisted by the New Castle Police, Fire and EMS, as well as the Henry County Sheriff’s Department.

Trooper Snyder said at the scene, “This crash demonstrates the serious nature and dangers of texting while driving.” The Indiana State Police reminds the public to not text and drive. Distracted driving can be as deadly as driving impaired.

The Indiana State Police remain committed to reducing crashes and patrolling in high crash areas. We will continue to monitor the top causes for crashes and concentrating enforcement efforts on these causes.

April 13, 2012

Greenland , New Hampshire police chief killed, 4 cops hurt

Greenland Police Chief Mike Maloney, seen in this photo from 2004, was killed Thursday night in Greenland.

Rich Beauchesne file photo / N

N.H. Attorney General Michael Delaney, third from the left, speaks to members of the media

during a news conference regarding a shooting incident in Greenland.

Delaney confirmed that Chief Michael Maloney was killed and four others were wounded during a drug probe on Post Road.

Ioanna Raptis photo / NFS

A police tactical team assembles outside Greenland Central School before responding

to a home at 517 Post Road, where a suspect opened fire on police officers Thursday night.

Ioanna Raptis photo / NFS

GREENLAND, NEW HAMPSHIRE — Community members of this small town and far beyond were stunned Thursday night with the news that Police Chief Michael Maloney, 48, was shot and killed while participating in a drug raid operation.

Maloney was scheduled to retire April 20 from the post he'd held for the past 12 years.

As of midnight, police were unsure whether the suspect was still inside the home at 517 Post Road. According to Vision Appraisal, assessing company for the town of Greenland, 517 Post Road is owned by the Beverly P. Mutrie Revocable Trust. A Feb. 2, 2011, Portsmouth Herald story listed Cullen Mutrie, age 29, as a resident of the home.

New Hampshire Attorney General Mike Delaney confirmed in a 10 p.m. press conference that Maloney was killed and four others were wounded during a drug raid on Post Road. Delaney said the wounded officers are detective Gregory Turner, 32, of the Dover Police Department; detective Eric Kulberg, 31, of the UNH Police Department; detective Scott Kukesh, 33, of the Newmarket Police Department; and detective Jeremiah Murphy, 34, of the Rochester Police Department.

Kulberg had a gunshot wound to his arm and Turner received a gunshot wound to his shoulder. Both men were treated and released from Portsmouth Regional Hospital.

Kukesh remained in the intensive care unit with a gunshot wound to the chest and surgery was anticipated. Murphy had surgery in the ICU on Thursday night. Both men are expected to survive.

I do want to extend my thoughts and prayers to the families and relatives and loved ones of the police officer who has been killed and the four police officers who have been injured, and I ask all of you to keep them in your prayers, Delaney said.

Shortly after midnight, Senior Assistant Attorney General Jane Young said the situation at the residence was ongoing, but she would not confirm reports that the suspect may have fled the home and offered no other details on the investigation.

Young said the police chiefs of several departments have been inundated with phone calls and, out of respect for their emotional state, she requested all inquiries go to the attorney general's office.

This is a loss of family, she said. This is injuries to loved ones. They're devastated and their focus is on their officers.

Delaney said Thursday night that the next scheduled update would be at 6 a.m. today at Greenland Town Hall.

Gov. John Lynch went to Portsmouth Regional Hospital, where the wounded officers were taken.

This is a tragic incident, he said, and my thoughts and prayers are with the officers involved and their families.

An officer at the shooting scene said that, as of 11 p.m., police were not certain of Mutrie's whereabouts. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the officer said the Post Road property was extensive, stretched toward Interstate 95 and included a deer stand. Police extended a half-mile perimeter around the home and were using at least one police K-9 unit and an infrared detector attached to a helicopter in an attempt to locate Mutrie if he was outside of the home.

The attorney general, however, at his press conference, said the armed subject and a female remained inside the home and that his office was working with federal, state and local law enforcement officers in an attempt to obtain a peaceful resolution. Law enforcement officials did not indicate whether the female was considered to be a hostage.

Delaney said law enforcement officers responded to 517 Post Road at about 6 p.m. to conduct a drug investigation at the home and they encountered an armed subject who fired rounds at the officers.

Tammy Sullivan, who lives near the suspect's home, said she heard gunshots at about 6 p.m. and saw police officers run from the house. Ambulances arrived on the scene shortly after the shots were fired, but Sullivan said she continued to hear gunfire after they arrived. Sullivan said the gunshots sounded as if they were from an automatic weapon.

Police on the scene included at least those from Greenland, Portsmouth, New Castle, Exeter and state police as well as a SWAT unit. Police first responded after an emergency call announced an officer-involved shooting at about 6:30 p.m. A BearCat armored vehicle arrived on the scene at 7 p.m.

According to Portsmouth Herald archives, Cullen Mutrie has multiple arrests. According to a Feb. 2, 2011, story, Mutrie was arrested and charged with possession of anabolic steroids. Police alleged liquid and powder steroids were found in Mutrie's home when officers went there to confiscate guns after Mutrie's arrest on charges alleging domestic assault. According to a police affidavit, the steroids were found in Mutrie's living room coffee table on July 24, 2010, but were not verified as steroids by the state crime lab until Jan. 18, 2011.

Jason MacKenzie, owner of Suds N' Soda Sports on Route 33, said the incident leaves him shocked and upset. The Greenland native and lifelong resident said he was in a state of disbelief.

I can't believe there's something in the house that's worth killing someone for. Drugs, sure, he said, but I don't think it's worth taking a human life.

Emergency communications at 7:15 p.m. reported the suspect as being a very large 'juiced' guy, very muscular. According to police reports, Mutrie is 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 275 pounds.

Mutrie has a Facebook page, which states he was a 2000 graduate of Winnacunnet High School, studied paramedicine at Northern Essex Community College and worked at the fire department of Hampton Falls, which he lists as his hometown.

Staff writers Joey Cresta, Charles McMahon and Elizabeth Dinan contributed to this report.

April 12, 2012

South Bend Police shake-up continues with communication director's firing


First it was the police chief. Now the South Bend Police Department's director of communications is out of a job.

Karen DePaepe, a 25-year veteran of the department's Communications Center who spent the last 14 years as director of communications,was fired Tuesday in light of the same federal investigation into recorded phone conversations at the department that led to Darryl Boykins ouster as police chief two weeks ago.

On the advice of her attorney, DePaepe would not discuss the federal investigation ... an investigation triggered after DePaepe brought selected recordings of phone conversations to Boykins' attention in February last year.

Earlier this week, Robert Ramsey, supervisory special agent of the FBI's Northern District of Indiana in Merrillville, told The Tribune all questions regarding the investigation were being referred to the South Bend Police Department and the office of South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Ramsey indicated, however, the feds have concluded their investigation and the FBI has no knowledge as to who at this point is in possession of tapes and other materials recovered in the probe.

In a letter denying The Tribune's Freedom of Information Act request for disclosure of materials related to the investigation, Assistant City Attorney Ann-Carol Nash wrote:

Any recordings or documents related to the federal investigation are in the possession of the federal authorities.

Boykins was forced to resign March 29 in light of the investigation. He rescinded his resignation the following day, but Buttigieg relieved Boykins of his chief's duties by demoting him to captain.

DePaepe said when she was called to the 14th floor of the County-City Building Tuesday afternoon to meet with interim Chief Chuck Hurley, the mayor's chief of staff Mike Schmuhl, and Rich Hill, special counsel to the mayor, I told them I don't want to discuss the federal investigation unless my attorney was present.

Schmuhl, DePaepe said, reiterated that the mayor and his staff had met with higher-ups from the federal bureau and the U.S. attorney.

Then Rich Hill says, 'They have required that we make some changes.'

Two of those changes involved personnel.

Boykins was the first personnel change made.

Hill told DePaepe she was No. 2.

And he says ... 'We're giving you the option to resign.' And I said, 'No, I won't resign.'

And then he said, 'OK, we'll have to terminate you.

At that, DePaepe said Schmuhl threatened to have her arrested if she spoke up about the investigation.

He said, 'Now you understand that ... you and no one else is allowed to discuss the federal investigation or anything that was recorded,' DePaepe said.

And if you or anyone else does, Schmuhl insisted, according to DePaepe, you will be arrested.

Reached by phone Wednesday night, Schmuhl declined to speak on DePaepe's firing.

The only thing I can say, Schmuhl said, it's city policy not to discuss personnel matters.

The mayor echoed his chief of staff's reasoning earlier in the evening when a reporter asked Buttigieg if DePaepe had been fired following his State of the City speech at the Kroc Center.

It's the policy of the city not to comment on personnel matters, Buttigieg replied.

The mayor indicated, however, that DePaepe's firing may be the final termination related to the federal investigation.

At this point, Buttigieg said, I can say that I have resolved the situation to my satisfaction, and I believe this matter in terms of changes in the Police Department can be considered closed.

But to organizers of a rally outside the Kroc Center protesting the city's demotion of Boykins and the firing of the Police Department's communications director, the matter is anything but closed.

Community activist Mario Sims Jr. charged that Boykins has been doubly victimized by the discovery of recorded phone conversations that contained racist slurs directed toward the chief.

Sims admitted he has not heard the tapes, but that he was told of the racist content directed toward Boykins by police officers who obviously are afraid to identify themselves because of the threat of retaliation.

We've been told that very explicit, very negative, very shocking racist terms are used, Sims said. We're talking about senior police officers who have used this terminology toward the chief. This is outrageous.

The mayor's response to demote the chief and fire the communications director makes the situation more volatile, Sims contends.

The mayor, who we would think would act in a way to protect this community against law enforcement officers who would direct that type of vitriolic, acidic, racist terms, asked the chief to step down. I mean, the chief has been doubly victimized ... first by having racist slurs directed toward him, then being removed from his position as chief.

DePaepe was devastated Wednesday night over the loss of her job, a firing that resulted over tapes she uncovered merely by happenstance.

I feel I've been lied to by the city, and I don't deserve the treatment, DePaepe said.

All I tried to do was save the city from embarrassment, when I discovered something accidentally. My intentions were to just protect the city and the Police Department.

And nobody asked my side of it. Nobody asked me anything. They just fired me.

Copyright © 2012, South Bend Tribune

April 12, 2012

Police impersonator charged after trying to pull over officers

Suspect faces felony charge

Drew Blair

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - A 20-year-old man is scheduled to appear in court Thursday on charges that he impersonated a police officer.

Chadwyck Voegeli of Fort Wayne was arrested a week prior according to court documents after he attempted to pull a car over with what appeared to be a phone displaying red and blue flashing lights.

He pulled up next to the car laughing until he saw the person he attempted to stop flash a Fort Wayne police badge.

Two off-duty officers were riding in the car in front of Voegeli . The suspect tried drive off but the officers followed him to a bar off Leo Road.

Uniformed officers arrived at the scene and after a short chase on foot through the bar, Voegeli was arrested.

Voegeli faces a felony charge of impersonation of a public servant and a misdemeanor of resisting law enforcement.

April 12, 2012

Ex-Prison Guard Convicted Of Killing Wife

Man Shot Estranged Wife As She Dropped Kids Off

MUNCIE, Ind. -- Jurors have convicted a former prison guard and reserve police officer on charges that he fatally shot his estranged wife after she brought their children to his home to catch a school bus.

The Delaware County jury found 37-year-old Benjamin Hankins of Gaston guilty of murder Wednesday for the June 2011 shooting of 32-year-old Lisa Hankins.

The Star Press reported that prosecutors focused their closing arguments on threatening text messages Hankins had sent his wife during their 10-month separation. They also maintained Hankins' claims to police that his wife had pointed a handgun at him were refuted by the evidence.

Hankins didn't testify at the trial. He was a Gaston reserve officer and worked at the Pendleton Correctional Facility

Lisa Hankins' parents are raising her three children.

Copyright 2012 byThe Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

April 12, 2012

Whiteland marshal, on leave during misconduct probe, retires

by Vic Ryckaert

The Johnson County town of Whiteland is searching for a new police marshal after Gary Neeman retired from the post during a misconduct investigation.

Neeman retired on March 28, Town Manager Dennis Capozzi said. On March 12, the town council placed Neeman on paid leave while officials investigated alleged misconduct.

Capozzi declined to release details of the allegations.

Whiteland, which had a population 4,169 in 2010, is about 7 miles south of Indianapolis on U.S. 31.

The town is taking applications for the marshal's job until April 19. Assistant Chief David Lowe has been named acting town marshal while officials search for a replacement, Capozzi said. Neeman’s salary was $54,488 a year.

April 12, 2012


Vigo County—At 1:40PM this afternoon, Indiana State Police Troopers and Vigo County emergency agencies responded to a two-vehicle crash on Lafayette Ave approximately one block south of Park Avenue in northern Vigo County. The crash involved an ISP trooper and the driver of a small scooter.

Preliminary investigation revealed the trooper, on routine patrol, was southbound on Lafayette Avenue from Park Avenue, when the driver of a northbound scooter suddenly made a left turn into the path of the trooper. The scooter was then struck broadside by the trooper’s commission with the driver of the scooter ejected. The trooper involved, also a licensed emergency medical technician (EMT), immediately began first-aid treatment of the unconscious scooter driver. Emergency medical help arrived from Otter Creek Township Fire Department as well as paramedics from the Terre Haute Fire Department and Trans Care Ambulance. Those agencies continued the medical care until arrival of Lifeline Air Ambulance. The scooter driver was then airlifted to Methodist Hospital of Indianapolis for treatment of possible internal injuries and fractures. The driver did regain some consciousness at the scene and is believed to be in serious to critical condition.

The scooter operator was identified as Steven Duane Thomas, age 44, of Terre Haute, IN. The scooter was a white 2008 Yamaha XF 50.

The trooper involved was Timothy D. Rader, age 30, of Terre Haute. Rader is a 4 ½ year veteran of the department and assigned road patrol duties at the Putnamville District. Rader was not injured and has been preliminarily cleared of any wrong doing. He was driving an unmarked silver, 2010, Ford Crown Victoria.

Thomas was not wearing a helmet, but is not required to do so by Indiana law. Traffic related charges are pending against Thomas. Alcohol is being investigated as a possible contributing factor in the crash.

The crash was investigated by ISP Master Trooper Chip McKee with the crash reconstruction done by ISP Sergeant Jim Cody. Assisting were various members of the ISP command staff as well as numerous troopers, all from the Putnamville Post, Otter Creek Fire Department, Terre Haute Fire Department, Trans Care Ambulance Service, and Lifeline Air Ambulance.

Please direct any inquiries to ISP Public Information Officer Sergeant Joe Watts.

April 12, 2012

Coughing fit caused fatal crash

Porter County-Early this afternoon, at approximately 12:44 pm, Indiana State Police Senior Trooper Glen Fifield responded to a semi and Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) that took the life of one of the drivers.

Preliminary investigation revealed that a 2009 Freightliner pulling double trailers was west bound on U.S. 30 in the right lane when the driver, Roberto Sanchez, 52 of Charlotte North Carolina, stated he had started to cough and couldn’t control it. He then realized the light for west bound US 30 had turned red and was unable to stop before he hit a SUV that was south on 600 West crossing US 30.

The impact caused the semi and SUV to cross over the grassy median and come to rest in the two left lanes of east bound US 30.

The driver of the SUV died at the scene.

Family HAS BEEN notified. The driver of the red 2011 Jeep is Marla L. Fry, 43 of Valparaiso.

The semi was owned by Old Dominion out of Thomasville, North Carolina it was loaded with general freight, no load was lost. Neither Sanchez nor his co-driver (who was asleep in the sleeper berth of the semi) was injured.

All lanes west bound were closed for the reconstruction of the crash; the outer shoulder east bound was opened. At this time, one lane west bound and only the outer shoulder of east bound US 30 is open. A tow truck is on scene at this time for removal of the vehicles we are anticipating the road to be reopened within the next hour.

Agencies assisting: Porter County Coroner, Indiana State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division and Union Fire and Rescue.

April 12, 2012

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is looking into the NYPD's stop and frisk policy

Eric Schneiderman's office will examine the controversial policy for fairness

By Glenn Blain

NYPD officials defend the stop and frisk policy

ALBANY — True to his word, State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is putting the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk tactic in his cross hairs.

Schneiderman’s investigators are reviewing NYPD stop-and-frisk data and weighing whether to issue a formal report — setting up a potential battle with Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg, the Daily News has learned.

Documents obtained by The News show Schneiderman has met at least twice in recent months with top staff to discuss the NYPD program, which reached a record high 685,724 stops in 2011 and has led to criticism of racial bias.

Schneiderman pledged in his 2010 campaign for attorney general to crack down on “unjustified stop-and-frisk practices.”

His spokesman declined comment. But a source with knowledge of the review said a “working group” inside the attorney general’s office is analyzing records of stops, including racial breakdowns of those who were subjected to the practice. A decision has not been made to proceed with a more expansive analysis, similar to one released by then-Attorney General Eliot Spitzer in 1999.

“They’re still very early in the process,” the source said. “They’re looking at publicly available data and trying to determine whether an updated report is warranted.”

The Spitzer report concluded blacks and Latinos were being stopped and sometimes frisked in disproportionate numbers. Even in precincts that were, at the time, 90% white, more than half of those stopped were black or Latinos.

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne also declined to comment, but police brass have long argued stop-and-frisk is an important crime-fighting tool.

Kelly spoke about the program in general at an unrelated event Tuesday, defending it as a “life-saving tactic.” He noted there have been 51% fewer murders in the past 10 years than in the prior decade.

“We know what we’re doing is saving lives,” Kelly declared.

A recent report by the New York Civil Liberties Union found that of the record number of stops in 2011, 88% did not end in a criminal charge or issuance of a summons. In 2010, the state Legislature blocked the NYPD from keeping a computer database of personal information of people who were stopped but not accused of wrongdoing.

“There is no question that stop-and-frisk is the source of massive civil liberties violations and affronts to human dignities day in and day out,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman.


In 2011: 685,724 people stopped by the NYPD*

53% (350,743 people) were black

34% (223,740 people) were Latino

9% (61,805 people) were white

88% (605,328 people) were not arrested or given a summons

819 guns recovered

In 2003: 160,851 people stopped by the NYPD

54% (77,704 people) were black

31% (44,581 people) were Latino

12% (17,623 people) were white

87% (140,442 people) were not arrested or given a summons


source: NYCLU

April 11, 2012

Steuben County Coroner Rodney Snyder's letter of endorsement

for Bill Harter

April 11, 2012

Indiana State Police Arrest Evansville Man for Child Molesting

Posey County – At 3:15 this afternoon, Indiana State Police arrested Edward Eli Cooper, 81, of Evansville, after a criminal investigation revealed he allegedly molested a 10-year-old girl in 2010.

Indiana State Police initiated a criminal investigation in February after receiving information a Posey County girl had been allegedly molested by Cooper. During the investigation, Detective Sherretz revealed Cooper allegedly molested the 10-year-old girl on two separate occasions in 2010. Both incidents occurred at Cooper’s residence in Mt. Vernon prior to him moving to his new residence in Evansville. The alleged incidents occurred at 1317 North Byrd in Mt. Vernon.

Cooper was arrested at his residence without incident and taken to the Posey County Jail where he is currently being held on bond.


· Edward Eli Cooper, 81, 3021 Comfort Court, Evansville, IN

1. 2 Counts of Child Molesting, Class C Felony

Investigating Officer: Detective Alan Sherretz, Indiana State Police

April 11, 2012

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania.

PTSD for Law Enforcement?

CASE TO BE HEARD 'ON APPEAL ' October 10, 2012 by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Wednesday's opener, the justices were set to hear arguments on whether a unanimous Commonwealth Court panel erred when it denied workers' compensation to a Pennsylvania state trooper suffering from PTSD after the trooper had a fatal accident with a mentally disturbed pedestrian.

Critical to the panel's decision was the finding that the accident, which triggered the disorder, did not stem from abnormal working conditions and was not an extraordinary event.

According to court's opinion by Senior Judge Jim Flaherty, the trooper, Philip Payes was returning his patrol vehicle to his station when the woman ran in front of his vehicle.

The vehicle struck the woman, who was wearing all black, and Payes stopped his car to provide medical attention, according to Flaherty. While waiting for an ambulance, he noticed the woman had blood coming from her mouth. Payes checked the woman for a pulse and attempted mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. According to Flaherty, he also had to stand over her body at one point to wave traffic away from them.

The woman died of her injuries after being taken to a hospital, according to Flaherty.

The state police paid the medical expenses related to Payes' blood exposure, according to Flaherty, but denied liability when it came to any psychological injuries or earnings losses related to those injuries.

Payes attempted to return to work a little more than a month after the accident. Though he worked for a few days doing paperwork, he felt he was in no way ready to resume working, Flaherty wrote.

At a hearing before a workers' compensation judge, Payes presented testimony from a psychiatrist and a psychologist, who both opined that Payes suffered from PTSD and was not capable of returning to work.

Payes himself said he never thought [he]'d be ... possibly [the] method of someone's suicide.


Philip PAYES, Petitioner v. WORKERS' COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (Commonwealth of PA/State Police), Respondent.

No. 461 C.D.2010.

-- October 06, 2010

BEFORE: McGINLEY, Judge, SIMPSON, Judge and FLAHERTY, Senior Judge.

Quintes D. Taglioli, Allentown, for petitioner.James A. Mazzotta, Pittsburgh, for respondent.

Philip Payes (Claimant) petitions for review from an order of the Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Board) that reversed the decision of a Workers' Compensation Judge (WCJ) granting his Claim Petition. We affirm.

This case results from a tragedy that occurred on November 29, 2006. That morning, while it was still dark, Claimant, a state trooper, was driving his patrol vehicle to the station. While on the highway, a woman who apparently was mentally disturbed ran in front of Claimant's vehicle. Claimant attempted to resuscitate the woman after she was struck by his patrol car but the incident resulted in a fatality. Claimant filed a Claim Petition seeking total disability from December 1, 2006 and ongoing based on post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Employer accepted liability for reasonable and necessary medical expenses related to Claimant's blood exposure. Employer denied liability for any psychological injury or resultant earnings loss.

Claimant testified that he has worked for Employer since 1994. On November 28, 2006, he was to begin working a double back shift. That meant that he was to work from 2:00 p.m. through 10:00 p.m. that day. He was to get an eight hour break, and return to the station in the morning. Claimant was to take the patrol vehicle home at the conclusion of the first leg of the shift and return with the vehicle in the morning to begin the second leg of his shift. Claimant described the events of November 29, 2006 when he was returning to the station. He was traveling on Interstate 81 at approximately 5:45 a.m. when a woman, dressed entirely in black, ran in front of his patrol car. His vehicle struck the woman and she flipped over the car. Claimant stopped his vehicle, turned on the flashing lights, and radioed for an ambulance. He observed blood coming out of the accident victim's mouth as she lay in the road. Claimant checked the victim for a pulse. He attempted mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. He had to stand over her body and wave traffic out of the way so the two would not get hit. Eventually help arrived and both Claimant and the accident victim were taken to the hospital. The woman died as a result of her injuries.

Claimant missed time from work. He attempted to return to work on January 2, 2007. He worked for a few days, primarily doing paperwork, but felt he was in no way ready to resume working. Claimant specifically referenced anxiety, particularly when driving. He conceded that as a part of being a state trooper, he has been exposed to violent crimes, accidents, and trauma in the past. He agreed that exposure to these types of things comes with the job. Claimant asserted, however, that he “never once imagined that something like this could happen.” R.R. at 44a. He further explained “I never thought I'd be ․ possibly [the] method of someone's suicide.” Id.

Claimant presented the testimony of Harvey Shapiro, M.D., board certified psychiatrist, who first examined him on April 9, 2007. He diagnosed Claimant with major depression of moderate degree and severe PTSD. Per Dr. Shapiro, PTSD is a serious anxiety disorder. He attributed his diagnoses to the incident occurring November 29, 2006. Dr. Shapiro did not believe Claimant was capable of returning to work as a state trooper. Claimant further presented the testimony of Jeffrey Pincus, licensed psychologist, who concurred with Dr. Shapiro by diagnosing Claimant with work-related PTSD, severe anxiety, and depression. Dr. Pincus also agreed Claimant was not capable of returning to work with Employer.

Employer presented the testimony of Major McDaniel, Commander of Area 1. He stated that all police cadets receive training on stress management and information on PTSD. He added that state troopers regularly and routinely respond to motor vehicle accidents. Officers are trained in first aid so they can render assistance at a crash site.

Major McDaniel reviewed the details of the investigation into the November 29, 2006 incident and disagreed with the assessment that the victim attempted to commit “suicide by cop.” R.R. 214a. He stated, however, that people do attempt to use officers as a means to facilitate their own suicide. He discussed an incident in 1994 whereupon a man pointed a toy gun at him and his partner knowing that they were armed with real weapons. Major McDaniel fatally shot the individual. Major McDaniel further explained that another officer had been involved in an incident previously where an individual sprinted out in front of his patrol car resulting in a fatality. Major McDaniel stated he gave Claimant that officer's contact information to talk if he desired.

Employer next presented the testimony of Barbara Kuhlengel, M.D., board certified in psychiatry, who examined Claimant on November 1, 2007. She went over medical record and took a history from Claimant. According to Dr. Kuhlengel, Claimant told her “[h]e knew about ‘suicide by cop’ from the police academy with regard to dealing with incidents and unstable people.”-1 R.R. at 319a. Dr. Kuhlengel believed Claimant did develop PTSD. She opined, however, that Claimant recovered from the symptoms specific to PTSD by the time of her examination. She added that Claimant may have exacerbated a pre-existing adjustment disorder as a result of the November 29, 2006 incident, but has since returned to baseline levels. Dr. Kuhlengel explained that Claimant had documented symptoms of depression prior to the accident, but she did not believe Claimant experienced any additional depression following the incident.

By a decision circulated October 24, 2008, the WCJ credited Claimant's testimony as well as that of Major McDaniel. He found the testimony of Drs. Shapiro and Pincus more credible than that of Dr. Kuhlengel. He awarded total disability benefits from November 29, 2006 and ongoing, but for a brief period of suspension when Claimant attempted to return to work in January of 2007. The WCJ found Claimant developed a compensable mental injury resulting from a mental stimulus. He found the mental injury was sustained as a result of an abnormal working condition. To that point, the WCJ found as follows:

5. ․ [W]hile state troopers such as the Claimant [are] exposed to death, murder, severe personal injury, crimes, and other violent activities, the circumstances of the present case which occurred directly to the Claimant when the victim darted in front of his vehicle, and the events which occurred immediately when he attempted to save her life, were not normal for a state trooper but instead were extraordinary and unusual events.

Dec. dated 10/24/08, p. 8.

The WCJ concluded that the evidence supported a finding that the accident victim attempted to commit suicide. He found it inconclusive that she attempted to commit “suicide by cop.”-2

The Board reversed. It acknowledged that the events occurring November 29, 2006 were unfortunate. It stated, however, that “we cannot agree that this incident constitutes an abnormal working condition given the nature of Claimant's stressful and perilous profession.” Op. dated 2/22/10, p. 11. The Board further stated:

Claimant agreed that being exposed to traumatic and dangerous situations and to death and trauma was a normal part of his job as a state trooper. Although he testified that he never thought he would be involved in someone's death, he did admit he was trained at the academy in the use of deadly force among other things. While he stated that he never heard of this kind of event happening to anyone on the job, Major McDaniel credibly testified that a member of the department had a similar situation years ago where someone ran in front of a patrol car and was struck and killed, and he provided Claimant with that person's contact information. Thus, encounters involving fatalities were a foreseeable part of the job and not an unheard of occurrence.

Id. at 13.

This appeal followed.-3 The sole issue on appeal for this Court to consider is whether Claimant's PTSD and depression that are attributable to the events of November 29, 2006 based on the credible medical evidence result from actual extraordinary events or abnormal working conditions.-4

A claimant seeking workers' compensation benefits because of a mental stimulus resulting in a disabling psychic injury must show (1) that actual extraordinary events occurred at work that caused the trauma and that these specific events can be pinpointed in time, or, (2) that abnormal working conditions over an extended period caused the psychiatric injury. Young v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (New Sewickley Police Dep't), 737 A.2d 317 (Pa.Cmwlth.1999). In classifying working conditions as normal or abnormal, there is no bright line test or generalized standard. See Rag (Cyprus) Emerald Res., L.P. v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Hopton), 590 Pa. 413, 912 A.2d 1278 (2007)(granting benefits to a miner whose foreman repeatedly made crude sexual comments to him that were above and beyond uncivil and joking behavior). Psychic injury cases are highly fact sensitive, and the determination as to whether working conditions are normal or abnormal must be considered in the context of the specific employment. Agresta v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Borough of Mechanicsburg), 850 A.2d 890 (Pa.Cmwlth.2004). Consequently, compensation is denied for events that are expected in the relevant working environment, whether it is an office worker's change in job title or responsibility or a police officer's involvement in life threatening situations. Community Empowerment v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Porch), 962 A.2d 1 (Pa.Cmwlth.2008).

Although a claimant in a normally highly stressful working environment such as a police officer may not have a higher burden of proof, it is often more difficult to establish abnormal working conditions in a job that is, by its nature, highly stressful. Young, 737 A.2d at 320. The claimant must establish that the incident that caused his mental injury is so much more stressful and abnormal than the already highly stressful incidence of that position. Id.

Although testimony may be presented that certain police officers have never witnessed horrible trauma and/or death, that testimony is not necessarily dispositive. Rydzewski v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (City of Phila.), 767 A.2d 13 (Pa.Cmwlth.2001). The determining factor is what is extraordinary or abnormal for a person in the same “line of work.” Rydzewski, 767 A.2d at 16. When an individual claimant employed as a police officer has not previously encountered a particular type of event one may expect a police officer to become involved in, that experience is merely “subjectively abnormal for [the c]laimant.” Young, 737 A.2d at 322. Conversely, however, simply because an event has happened in the past does not mean that such an event is a normal part of a course of employment. See Kennelty v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Schwan's Home Serv., Inc.), 899 A.2d 1204, 1208 (Pa.Cmwlth.2006)(holding that although a claimant had been robbed previously, this Court was “unprepared to accept that our society has deteriorated to the point where a holdup at gunpoint does not constitute an ‘abnormal working condition’ for a food delivery person”).

Several cases have denied a police officer's claim to benefits where the claimant alleged a mental injury resulting from a mental stimulus. Rydzewski held that an officer who developed a psychological injury following an event where he responded to another officer's call for assistance where two officers were shot, one later died, and the other became paralyzed was not subject to an extraordinary event or an abnormal working condition. Young held that an officer involved in an armed standoff whereupon he ultimately wrestled the arrestee to the ground was not involved in an extraordinary event or an abnormal working condition.

In City of Philadelphia v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Brasten), 682 A.2d 875 (Pa.Cmwlth.1996)(Brasten I ), a police officer shot and killed a suspect who had barricaded himself in a building. The officer was later indicted on charges of voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, and reckless endangerment of another person. The officer was eventually tried and acquitted, but his case drew a lot of media attention. The trial was also subject to public demonstrations. The police officer filed a claim for benefits. He argued that the events that followed the fatal shooting constituted an abnormal working condition. We disagreed finding that:

Anyone who commits a homicide in this Commonwealth, justifiable or not, should expect to face the consequences stemming therefrom; this includes police officers for whom shooting people is an inherent job risk. Indeed, as protectors of the peace, police officers may be subject to an even higher scrutiny, which in this modern age may occur through the media of television, print, radio and even public protest and outcry.

We do not doubt that the public and official sentiment Claimant was confronted with after the June 26, 1992 incident was traumatically upsetting to Claimant and resulted in psychological injury. However, we are unable to conclude that his injury was the result of an abnormal working condition. Rather, Claimant's injury is the result of a subjective response to a difficult situation that must be considered to be within the scope of his normal foreseeable working conditions as a police officer.

Brasten I, 682 A.2d at 879.-5 (Emphasis added).

Police officers, however, are not precluded as a matter of law from obtaining benefits for a psychological injury resulting from a mental stimulus. City of Pitts. v. Logan, 570 Pa. 500, 810 A.2d 1185 (2002). The officer in that case was awarded benefits when he developed a mental injury precipitated by a “very credible” threat to his life which included a $50,000.00 bounty and death threats to his child at school. Logan, 570 Pa. at 509, 810 A.2d at 1190. The Supreme Court held these incidents were not part of an officer's normal experience.

Moreover, a police officer was found to be entitled to workers' compensation benefits for a mental injury in Borough of Beaver v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Rose), 810 A.2d 713 (Pa.Cmwlth.2002). In that case, we held that an officer who was subjected to false accusations by the chief of police, public airing of those accusations, suspension, termination, and stripping of his duties and authority upon reinstatement and deliberate ostracism instigated by the chief was exposed to abnormal working conditions. Per the Court, these events were not inherent in police work, but rather highly abnormal conditions.

Based on a review of the aforementioned case law, we believe benefits are not allowable in this instance. In order to receive benefits for his PTSD and depression, Claimant was required to show that these injuries resulted from an extraordinary event or abnormal working conditions. Young. Inasmuch as Claimant is employed as a police officer, he is engaged in employment that is by its very nature highly stressful. He may not have a higher burden of proof than someone engaged in a different type of profession, but it will be more difficult for Claimant to establish abnormal working conditions in his job than it may be for others. Id.

Claimant, who works “in the line of employment” of a police officer, can be expected to be witness to horrible tragedy. This includes, as acknowledged by Claimant, responding to motor vehicle accidents in an emergency capacity. Undoubtedly, in so doing, he may be subjected to traumatic visuals such as injured children, maimed adults, and, unfortunately, death. These events will not be deemed “extraordinary” or “abnormal.” Indeed, it is not beyond the realm of possibility for an officer to have to take someone's life. Brasten I.

The instant fact pattern began with the ordinary task of Claimant driving to the station to begin the second leg of his double-back shift. Claimant did strike a woman with his vehicle, but responded to the emergency situation just as he would have responded to any other accident scene. Claimant's attempt at mouth-to-mouth on a woman who was bleeding from that area may be an unusual event for the average citizen, but it does not appear extraordinary for a police officer. Regrettably, a person dying following a failed attempt at resuscitation is something that can be expected to occur in a police officer's line of work. But for the part that Claimant was the one who struck the woman with his vehicle, there would be no question that any resulting psychological injury would not be compensable. This fact, however, does not take Claimant's mental injuries that would ordinarily be noncompensable and render an award of benefits appropriate.

Psychic injury cases are highly fact sensitive, Agresta, and in this case, the facts do not warrant an award of benefits. We recognize, as Claimant apparently communicated to Dr. Kuhlengel, that the notion of “suicide by cop” is part of a young cadet's vernacular. Major McDaniel testified to an incident where he had to use lethal force on a man that turned out to be brandishing a toy gun. Major McDaniel even pointed to a situation previously where another officer struck an individual who ran in front of his vehicle. The events that occurred on November 29, 2006 may have been unusual, but they were not so much more stressful and abnormal than the already highly stressful nature of Claimant's employment to render an award of benefits appropriate. Young. Although Claimant never envisioned an event like this occurring, his testimony is not dispositive. Rydzewski. Any mental injury results from an event that was subjectively abnormal for Claimant.-6

Unlike in Logan and Borough of Beaver, the events that took place on November 29, 2006 were not above and beyond what would be considered normal working conditions for a state trooper. We further distinguish this matter from Kennelty. In that case, we declined to hold that simply because a delivery person had been robbed at gun point in the past that such armed robberies should be considered a normal working condition for someone in that line of work. Even if Major McDaniel knew of the only other incident where an officer struck another individual with his patrol car, the facts as a whole show the relative “ordinary” nature of the events that transpired in this case. Police officers are involved in a highly stressful profession and are required to, and do, respond to emergency situations as part of their duties. Traumatic events are not out of the ordinary for a police officer and, at times, attempts at saving a life fail.

The circumstances that resulted in Claimant's PTSD and depression are tragic. Nonetheless, we are constrained to affirm the order of the Board.


AND NOW, this 6th day of October, 2010, the order of the Workers' Compensation Appeal Board in the above-captioned matter is AFFIRMED.


-1. Claimant's alleged statement is an admission of a party and falls within an exception to the hearsay rule. Pa.R.E. 803(25). An admission of an opposing party can be used as substantive evidence. Alessandro v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Precision Metal Crafters, LLC), 972 A.2d 1245 (Pa.Cmwlth.2009).

-2. Certain evidence was presented that could indicate that the woman struck by Claimant's vehicle did not intend to commit suicide at all. Major McDaniel testified that the results of an investigation indicated to him that the woman's mental health issues made her believe she needed to run from “people in red” and go toward “people in green.” R.R. at 228a. These visions may have made the accident victim dart from one side of the highway to the other.

-3. Our review is limited to determining whether an error of law was committed, whether necessary findings of fact are supported by substantial evidence and whether constitutional rights were violated. Gentex Corp. v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Morack), 975 A.2d 1214 (Pa.Cmwlth.2009).

-4. Whether the claimant was exposed to abnormal working conditions is a question of law. D'Errico v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (City of Phila.), 735 A.2d 161 (Pa.Cmwlth.1999).

-5. In a split decision, the Supreme Court affirmed our decision in Brasten I. City of Phila. v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Brasten), 556 Pa. 400, 728 A.2d 938 (1999)(Brasten II ).

-6. We acknowledge the factual dispute below as to whether the accident victim attempted to commit suicide. We further recognize that the WCJ resolved this factual issue by concluding that the woman did attempt to commit suicide but it was impossible to tell if she attempted to commit “suicide by cop.” Our result herein would be the same irrespective of whether the woman who was struck and killed intended to commit suicide, “suicide by cop,” or was merely running across the highway for an unrelated reason. Police officers are involved in highly stressful situations, including emergency response. The intentions of the accident victim do not affect our analysis.


April 11, 2012

Tamaulipas State Police commander, cousin of ex-governor, arrested in U.S. drug probe

by Jared Taylor

McALLEN, TEXAS — Federal authorities arrested a Tamaulipas State Police commander and cousin of the state's former governor on federal drug charges filed in the District of Columbia.

Gilberto Lerma Plata, 50, was arrested as he attempted to cross the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge late Friday night, a former federal agent confirmed Tuesday.

Lerma, who has U.S. citizenship, is not formally tied to any Mexican drug cartel in a federal indictment unsealed Monday. But he reportedly has had ties to the Gulf Cartel at least since 2002, when a Mexican newspaper quoted Mexican intelligence reports that stated he provided criminals with information on police movements.

Lerma had been serving as the Tamaulipas State Police commander in Miguel Alemán, across the Rio Grande from Roma, upon his arrest, the former agent said. Lerma previously served in the same capacity in Reynosa.

Lerma is the cousin of former Tamaulipas governor Manuel Cavazos Lerma, an Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, politician who served from 1993 to 1999 and candidate for senator from Tamaulipas in Mexico's upcoming federal elections.

Lerma joined the Tamaulipas State Police after his cousin was first elected governor in the state.

An indictment unsealed Monday accuses Lerma of conspiring to distribute at least 5 kilograms of cocaine and more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana between Mexico and the United States since 2006.

Agents arrested Lerma as he attempted to cross into the United States to visit his family, which lives in the Rio Grande Valley, the former agent said.

“This is very surprising,” he said of Lerma’s arrest. “I’m hoping it’s not true.”

The indictment was filed under seal in federal court in the District of Columbia in May 2011. In the document, prosecutors state they will seek at least $1 million in drug proceeds that Lerma allegedly collected.

Lerma remains in federal custody. He is set to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter Ormsby at a hearing in federal court in McAllen on Thursday.

The case was investigated by agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration based in Houston.

Rubén Darío Ríos López, a spokesman with the Tamaulipas attorney general's office, said he had no information about Lerma's arrest.

Spokeswomen for the Justice Department and DEA would not shed further details on the case beyond what already has been unveiled in federal court.

Noe Garza Jr., the Brownsville-based attorney representing Lerma, declined to comment.

A 2002 report in El Universal newspaper said named Lerma as a Gulf Cartel member who used his police ties to provide information on police movements against the cartel. The report outlined how Osiel Cárdenas Guillén, the former Gulf Cartel leader now serving a federal prison sentence in the U.S., had direct contact with commanders of state and federal law enforcement in many of Tamaulipas’ major municipalities.

Lerma's arrest comes less than two months after another person linked to a former Tamaulipas governor has been the focus of a federal investigation in the United States.

Federal authorities arrested Antonio Peña Arguelles in February in Laredo. In a criminal complaint filed in federal court in San Antonio, Peña is accused of funneling cash from the Zetas drug cartel to former Tamaulipas governor Tomas Yarrington, a PRI member who served from 1999 to 2004.

Yarrington has not been charged and denies any wrongdoing or ties to drug cartels.

But two arrests involving men with close ties to former Tamaulipas governors — and high-profile members of the PRI — may raise suspicion of possible political motivation regarding the timing of the arrests.

Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, an associate professor of government at the University of Texas-Brownsville who focuses on Mexican politics, said some may see the arrests as politically motivated.

But Correa-Cabrera said she does not necessarily believe the recent arrests are an effort by the U.S. government to shine a favorable light on the National Action Party.

The PAN has held onto Mexico’s presidency since 2000, when it ended seven decades of continuous rule by the PRI. Ahead of the upcoming election, the party of President Felipe Calderón is trailing the PRI in national polls.

She pointed to PRI presidential candidate Enrique Peña Nieto’s public assertion that he would not shy away from keeping military troops deployed to patrol cities with corrupt police.

“It will have electoral consequences and electoral motivation,” Correa-Cabrea said. “However, I’m not sure the U.S. government is doing this in order to support the PAN in the election.

“The basic interest of the U.S. in Mexico is border security — it’s securing the border. The U.S. does not have any other type of political motivation in Mexico.”

Jared Taylor covers courts and general assignments for The Monitor.

April 11, 2012

Norfolk deputy sheriff killed in crash on Interstate 95 in Walpole

George Rizer

State Police investigate a crash on Interstate 95 in Walpole today that claimed the life of Norfolk County Deputy Sheriff Ryan Tvelia.

A Norfolk County deputy sheriff was killed today when the department-issued motorcycle he was riding on was involved in two separate crashes on Interstate 95 northbound in Walpole.

Correction Officer Ryan Tvelia, 42, was in full uniform and riding his department-issued motorcycle to Quincy, where he was to join a funeral service honor guard, said David Weber, spokesman for Norfolk County Sheriff Michael Bellotti.

Weber said Tvelia was married and the father of three teenage children, age 15 to 19.

He lived in Plainville and joined the department in 2001 and was most recently assigned to the Norfolk County jail in Dedham. said Weber.

“He was an outstanding officer,’’ said Weber.

He said Tvelia was riding a Harley Davidson Police Edition motorcycle at the time of the crash.

State Police said the crash occurred on the northbound side of I-95 around 7:40 a.m.

The deputy was first involved in a crash with one car, but then was “struck in a secondary collision with a second car.’’

The crash is under investigation by State Police crash investigators and detectives assigned to Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey’s office.

Weber said Tvelia suffered traumatic injuries at the scene and was taken to Norwood Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

April 10, 2012

State Police Investigating Events

Surrounding the Shooting of US Marshal

Fort Wayne, IN-Detectives from the Indiana State Police post in Fort Wayne are continuing their investigation into the events of a late night shooting in the city of Fort Wayne which lead to the shooting of both a Deputy United States Marshal during a federal warrant service and of the 26 year old suspect for whom the warrant was being served.

Between the hours of 11:00 pm and midnight, Monday, April 9th, Deputies from the United States Marshal Service, with the assistance of officers from the Fort Wayne Police Department went to an apartment at the Eden Green Apartment complex to serve a federal failure to appear in court bench warrant on Marcus A. Hayden, 26 from Fort Wayne.

When the Marshals and officers arrived, they knocked and verbally announced their presence and intentions on more than one occasion. After receiving no answer, and having prior information that Hayden was in the apartment, the door was breached and entry made. They were immediately met with gunfire from down the hallway, one of which one round struck an unidentified Marshal in the lower right leg. The injury is non-life threatening.

Hayden was then said to have jumped out of a window, with a handgun in his possession, where he was met by an unidentified officer from the Fort Wayne Police Department. The officer ordered Hayden to drop the gun multiple times to which Hayden allegedly verbally refused. Hayden was shot by the officer after which, he continued to flee on foot for a very short distance before falling to the ground. While being taken into custody and during the ambulance ride to a local hospital, Hayden was said to have behaved in a continuously combative manner. Hayden was later pronounced dead at the hospital. An autopsy is being conducted this afternoon to determine the manner and cause of death, which will be released by the Allen County Coroner’s Office.

April 10, 2012

Police officer kills self after traffic stop, chase

Montgomery County officer pronounced dead at scene

By Matthew Hay Brown

A Montgomery County police officer shot himself to death after leading a state trooper on a high-speed chase on the Eastern Shore early Monday, state police said.

Jed R. Bylsma, 30, of Gettysburg, Pa., was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Bylsma was observed on radar speeding on westbound U.S. 50 in Talbot County about 1:30 a.m., police said. A state trooper pulled him over near Skipton Creek.

Bylsma showed the trooper a Pennsylvania driver's license and said he was an officer with the Montgomery County Police Department, police said. The trooper observed signs indicating the driver was operating under the influence and called for backup.

Bylsma drove off from the stop and continued on eastbound U.S. 50 at a high rate of speed, police said. The trooper pursued, and another trooper laid stop sticks on U.S. 50 at Airport Road to puncture the tires of Bylsma's car.

The vehicle struck the device, which deflated several tires, and rolled to a stop on the shoulder of eastbound U.S. 50, police said.

The two troopers gave repeated orders for Bylsma to exit the vehicle, police said. When he did not, they approached and found him unresponsive. They saw what appeared to be a gunshot wound to his head and a handgun near his hand in the center console of the car.

WUSA-TV reported that Bylsma had been an officer in the Montgomery County department since 2003 and was assigned most recently to patrol in the Silver Spring area. Police told the Washington station that he had been on administrative leave for about a year.

Bylsma's body was taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for an autopsy, police said. State police contacted Montgomery County Police. The incident remains under investigation.

April 10, 2012

Even as Violent Crime Falls, Killing of Officers Rises


WASHINGTON — As violent crime has decreased across the country, a disturbing trend has emerged: rising numbers of police officers are being killed.

According to statistics compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 72 officers were killed by perpetrators in 2011, a 25 percent increase from the previous year and a 75 percent increase from 2008.

The 2011 deaths were the first time that more officers were killed by suspects than car accidents, according to data compiled by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The number was the highest in nearly two decades, excluding those who died in the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001 and the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.

While a majority of officers were killed in smaller cities, 13 were killed in cities of 250,000 or more. New York City lost two officers last year. On Sunday, four were wounded by a gunman in Brooklyn, bringing to eight the number of officers shot in the city since December.

“We haven’t seen a period of this type of violence in a long time,” said Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly of the New York Police Department.

While the F.B.I. and other law enforcement officials cannot fully explain the reasons for the rise in officer homicides, they are clear about the devastating consequences.

“In this law enforcement job, when you pin this badge on and go out on calls, when you leave home, you ain’t got a promise that you will come back,” said Sheriff Ray Foster of Buchanan County, Va. Two of his deputies were killed in March 2011 and two wounded — one of them paralyzed — by a man with a high-powered rifle.

“That was 80 percent of my day shift,” he said.

After a spate of killings in early 2011, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. asked federal authorities to work with local police departments to try to come up with solutions to the problem.

The F.B.I., which has tracked officer deaths since 1937, paid for a study conducted by John Jay College that found that in many cases the officers were trying to arrest or stop a suspect who had previously been arrested for a violent crime.

That prompted the F.B.I. to change what information it will provide to local police departments, the officials said. Starting this year, when police officers stop a car and call its license plate into the F.B.I.’s database, they will be told whether the owner of the vehicle has a violent history. Through the first three months of this year, the number of police fatalities has dropped, though it is unclear why.

Some law enforcement officials believe that techniques pioneered by the New York Police Department over the past two decades and adopted by other departments may have put officers at greater risk by encouraging them to conduct more street stops and to seek out and confront suspects who seem likely to be armed. In New York and elsewhere, police officials moved more officers into crime-ridden areas.

“This technique has become more popular across the country as smaller departments have followed the larger cities and tried to prevent crime,” said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum. “Unlike several decades ago, there is this expectation that police matter and that police can make a difference.”

Commissioner Kelly said, “We try to put those officers where there is the most potential for violence.” However, he pointed out that most of the officers who have been shot in New York since December were not part of a proactive police deployment but were responding to emergencies.

Some argue that the rise in violence is linked to the tough economy. With less money, some states are releasing prisoners earlier; police departments, after years of staffing increases, have been forced to make cutbacks.

“A lot of these killings aren’t happening in major urban areas,” said James W. McMahon, chief of staff for the International Association of Chiefs of Police. “One of the concerns we are looking at is that a number of officers are being laid off or furloughed or not replaced.”

The police chief in Camden, N.J., J. Scott Thomson, whose force of 400 was cut by nearly half last year because of financing issues, said that having fewer officers on the street “makes it that much more difficult to create an environment in which criminals do not feel as emboldened to assault another person, let alone a law enforcement officer.”

The murder of a veteran officer last April in Chattanooga, Tenn., was typical of many of the 2011 episodes.

Sgt. Tim Chapin, a veteran nearing retirement, rushed to provide backup to officers who had responded to reports of a robbery outside a pawnshop and were under fire. Sergeant Chapin got out of his car and chased the fleeing suspect, who had been convicted of armed robbery. During the pursuit, the sergeant was fatally shot in the head.

As part of the F.B.I.’s efforts to prevent officer deaths, the bureau trains thousands of officers each year, highlighting shootings like the one in Chattanooga to teach officers about situations in which they are most vulnerable. Those situations are typically pursuits, traffic stops and arrests, said Michelle S. Klimt, a top F.B.I. official at its Criminal Justice Information Services Center in Clarksburg, W.Va., who oversees officer training.

“Every stop can be potentially fatal, so we are trying to make sure the officers are ready and prepared every single day they go out,” Ms. Klimt said. “We try and teach that every day you go out, you are going to be encountered with deadly force by someone trying to kill you.”

Michael S. Schmidt reported from Washington, and Joseph Goldstein from New York. John H. Cushman Jr. contributed reporting from Washington.

April 10, 2012






WHERE: Quail Creek Golf Club

7585 Quail Creek Trace

Pittsboro, IN 46167


We request payment in advance, with reservations, made payable to the ISPA,

1415 Shelby Street; Indianapolis, IN 46203.

Due to course restrictions, only 144 players will be allowed to participate in the 2012 Alliance Golf Outing. This outing is for all active and retired ISPA members only or by invitation of the Alliance Board. Registrations must be in by May 4th with payment in full to the Alliance office. Registrations received must be accompanied with payment in full or they will be disregarded.

TIME: Please arrive for registration before 10:00 AM - shotgun start is at 10:30 AM.

WEATHER: In the event the weather is inclement, we will refund only a portion of your entry fee.

ANNUAL MEETING MEAL: We will need to know by May 4th if you are coming for the meal and meeting only. The meal and meeting will be at approximately 2:30 PM regardless of the weather.

SPIKES: Quail Creek Golf Club is a non-metal spike facility. Soft spikes are available for a fee in the golf shop.

DRESS: Quail Creek Golf Club has a courtesy dress code policy which follows: tank tops, sleeveless shirts, half shirts, athletic and gym shorts are not permitted. Halters and brief shorts are not acceptable for the ladies. All shirts must have collars - no blue jeans please!

Make up your own foursome or send in your individual reservation and we will try to put you with a compatible group. You do not have to be a good golfer. If after sending in your entry fee, you find that you cannot attend, we will refund your fee if you contact us before May 4, 2012.




PLAYER 1 ___________________ PE _______ ACTIVE/RETIRED ___________

PLAYER 2 __________________ PE _______ ACTIVE/RETIRED ___________

PLAYER 3 __________________ PE _______ ACTIVE/RETIRED ___________

PLAYER 4 __________________ PE _______ ACTIVE/RETIRED ____________

April 10, 2012

April 10, 2012

Three Arrested after Pursuit

Jackson County: This morning just shortly after midnight, Probationary Trooper Travis Linville was with his Field Training Officer, Trooper Jared Black when they stopped a 2004 Toyota Scion on southbound I-65 near the 51 mile marker for speeding, 82/70. As the troopers approached the vehicle the vehicle fled southbound. The troopers gave chase and speeds reached over 100 miles per hour during the pursuit. The vehicle exited I-65 at the Uniontown Exit (Exit 41) where it crashed into a fence but was able to continue west on S.R. 250. The vehicle finally came to a stop on U.S. 31 just north of S.R. 250 due to damage sustained in the crash. Several articles of drug paraphernalia and hypodermic needles were recovered. Taken into custody was the driver, 39 year old Ernest L. Christopher, Jr. of Winchester, KY charged with Resisting Law Enforcement with a Vehicle and various drug related charges. Also arrested were the passengers, 28 year old Sheena L. Gladson and 33 year old Anthony L. Watts both of Winchester, KY who are also facing various drug related charges. All three were transported to the Jackson County Jail. Troopers Linville and Black were assisted by other troopers and Jackson County Sheriff’s Deputies.

April 10, 2012

Father and Son Arrested after Traffic Stop

Jackson County: This morning at approximately 3:00 a.m. Trooper Seth Davidson stopped a 2006 Chevrolet Impala on northbound I-65 near the 51 mile marker for defective taillights. During the course of the traffic stop Tpr. Davidson became suspicious of the occupants and called for a K-9 unit to assist. Officer Adam Surface of the Seymour Police Department arrived with his K-9 and did a walk around of the vehicle. The dog alerted on the vehicle and a subsequent search revealed a small amount of marijuana. The passenger, 30 year old Jebreh Moore of Nashville, TN was charged with Possession of Marijuana with a Prior Conviction (Class D Felony). The driver, 52 year old Mazell Moore (father of Jebreh Moore) also of Nashville, TN was charged with Driving While Intoxicated and Driving While Suspended. Both were transported to the Jackson County Jail.

April 10, 2012

Lubbock airport police officer was arrested accused of soliciting prostitution

LUBBOCK, TX---KCBD NewsChannel 11 has confirmed that a Lubbock airport police officer was arrested Thursday, accused of soliciting prostitution and trespassing.A police report says

Gary Dwane Fisher, 58, and a 44-year-old woman “knowingly agreed to engage in sexual conduct for a fee while on public school property.” The woman was also arrested.

The school property was the Lubbock ISD Administration Building, 1628 19th Street.

The report also says that Fisher “knowingly solicited another in a public place to engage with him in sexual conduct for a fee.”

The City of Lubbock confirms that Fisher is not on active duty at this time as an airport police officer, but the city cited the issue as a personnel matter and did not provide further information.

It was not clear if Fisher paid a bond or if he was released on personal recognizance, but he is not currently in jail.

April 10, 2012

Delaware County sheriff steps down amid probe

Davis denies wrongdoing but will repay money in question

By Allison Manning

Walter L. Davis III

DELAWARE, Ohio — The county sheriff’s fall from the top was swift and certain, yet Walter L. Davis III resigned from public office yesterday still maintaining his innocence, refusing to answer questions about his personal life and pointing fingers at others for what had transpired.

Davis, a Republican, was under investigation over how he spent money during the 10 weeks last summer when he was at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va., and whom he spent it on.

He was reimbursed for money spent renting a car, parking at an Arlington, Va., hotel and dining out with others, according to receipts he filed with his office. He refused to answer questions about who he was with on those outings.

On Thursday, he lost the backing of his party, when the county GOP Central Committee stripped him of its endorsement.

In a meeting with reporters yesterday at his attorney’s office in Columbus, just after county commissioners appointed his replacement, Davis blamed the “media frenzy” that had become a “complete distraction.”

He said the investigation by the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which began in February, will “clearly show we didn’t do anything wrong.”

But a deal he struck with the special prosecutor in the case ends the investigation. Davis agreed to pay back the $1,331.55 in question, resign from office and pull his name from the November ballot. He’ll also never serve in elected office again, said Union County Prosecutor David Phillips, who was appointed special prosecutor in the case on March 20.

Davis is repaying the entire amount reimbursed to him for the trip, not just the money in question, Phillips said. He could be on the hook to repay more after an audit is completed.

In exchange, the investigation by BCI into several allegations, ranging from the use of a subordinate’s condo to spending county money on dry cleaning, is over, Phillips said. Prosecution will be deferred.

“Whether those would have merit, I can’t tell you,” Phillips said of the allegations. “Whether they’d rise to the level of ethics violations or criminal violations, I can’t say.”

The prosecutor said the investigation also centered on allegations that Davis spent the county money, known as furtherance of justice funds, while meeting with a deputy he was having an affair with and renting a car to visit both his wife and mistress on separate weekends.

Davis refused to address those allegations. “That’s my private life,” he said. “It’s personal. Period.”

Phillips stressed that the ending of the investigation isn’t an attempt to hide something. Instead, it allows the office to recoup the money and move on.

“I don’t want to imply that there’s more there that we’re not looking for,” he said.

In his news conference yesterday, Davis was critical of the “rush to judgment” by the Delaware County Republican Central Committee. Davis said he had been scheduled to address the committee today and deserved to be heard.

GOP Chairman Bob Mann defended the party’s action, calling it an intermediate step, rather than asking for Davis’ resignation. Mann said he attempted to contact Davis twice and, as a central committee member, he was welcome to come to the scheduled meeting and speak.

“We realize the sheriff hadn’t given his side of the story, but that was also his choice,” Mann said.

The party will solicit applications for the sheriff’s job, Mann said.

Delaware Police Chief Russ Martin said he is interested in the post.

“There are a lot of outstanding people up there, and I’ve worked with a lot of them over the course of 31 years,” he said. “I’m not intimidated by the current circumstances.”

Powell Police Chief Gary Vest, who applied for the position five years ago, said he is not interested in the job this time around and would support Martin.

Commissioners appointed Capt. Scott Vance to temporarily lead the office yesterday. As a Union County resident, Vance could not apply to take over the full term. He will lead the office until the central committee chooses someone to fill the seat, which it must do within 45 days. The committee then could add the appointee’s name to the November ballot.

The county Democratic party also will have a chance to put a candidate on the ballot. Davis had been running unopposed.

“We get a second bite at the apple to put up a candidate,” said party chairman Ed Helvey.

Write-in candidates have until Aug. 27 to submit their names.

Davis’ resignation comes nearly five years after he was appointed to replace former Sheriff Al Myers, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor ethics violations in 2007.

After losing two Republican sheriffs to abrupt resignation in a row, Mann said the party will be thorough in its vetting of candidates.

“This is a big disappointment to everyone,” he said. “I don’t think it’s anything anyone could have anticipated.”

Though he’s left public office and avoided prosecution, Davis still faces at least four civil-rights complaints filed by current or former employees.

And three deputies charged with misuse of a police database are pushing for the felony charges to be thrown out, arguing that Davis gave special treatment to his former campaign finance director, whose wife and a friend were the targets of the searches. Davis is expected to testify in that case.

Dispatch reporters Randy Ludlow and Holly Zachariah contributed to this story.

April 10, 2012

Massachusetts police probe retired trooper's crash

By Shawn Regan

HAVERHILL — Haverhill police said they are investigating an incident in which a retired high-ranking state trooper crashed his SUV into a utility pole in West Newbury, but kept driving with his air bags deployed until he crossed the line into Haverhill.

Haverhill Deputy Chief Donald Thompson said his department is reviewing the March 30 incident and declined to discuss details or provide a police report until the probe is concluded. Thompson said he could not speculate why driver Charles Noyes, 62, of Haverhill was not arrested at the scene. Thompson said the probe would likely take a few days to complete and that the police report would likely be made available then.

Thompson provided a preliminary report that he said was generated the night of the incident by Haverhill officer Christopher Pagliuca. The report says the incident happened on River Road, Route 113, and that police found a loaded Smith Wesson semi-automatic handgun and holster inside Noyes' Cadillac SUV. Thompson declined to say whether the handgun belonged to Noyes and whether it was confiscated by police.

West Newbury police Chief Lisa Holmes said her department has filed charges against Noyes for reckless operation of a motor vehicle as to endanger, leaving the scene of an automobile accident after property damage, crossing a divided roadway line and traveling at a rate of speed greater than what is reasonable or proper. Holmes said Noyes will be summonsed to Newburyport District Court.

Yesterday, a court official at Newburyport District Court said she could not release any information about the case and could not even confirm whether there are criminal charges pending against Noyes.

Noyes retired in 2006 as deputy superintendent, the second-highest rank in the state police force. He receives a pension of $117,379 per year.

Thompson disputed a prior newspaper account that said there was no mention of Noyes in the department's March 30 police log.

However, a Haverhill police official told a Daily News reporter on April 4 that there was no mention of Noyes in the police log for that night.

Noyes' phone number is not listed, so he was not able to be contacted.

According to West Newbury Sgt. Daniel Cena, Noyes was driving west around 10:30 p.m. when his SUV struck a utility pole, snapping it in half and cutting power to the surrounding area for almost 11 hours. Noyes then continued on Route 113 heading toward Haverhill, West Newbury police said.

Cena said he eventually caught up with Noyes across the border in Haverhill just over the Rocks Village Bridge, where Noyes' vehicle was in the breakdown lane near the intersection of East Broadway and Amesbury Line Road.

Noyes' Escalade received serious front-end damage and a broken windshield, and it appears he drove into Haverhill with his air bags deployed, Cena said.

Cena said he checked Noyes' condition and he refused medical treatment at the scene. Haverhill police responded to the scene shortly thereafter and took charge of the incident, Cena said.

April 10, 2012

Deputy U.S. Marshal out of surgery after shooting at Eden Green Apartments

Warrant service erupted in gunfire

Rod Hissong

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - Officials are investigating a shooting at Eden Green Apartments that involved a Deputy U.S. Marshall being shot in the leg while serving a warrant.

Around 11:30 p.m. Monday, dispatchers received a call of an officer in trouble in the 1300 block of Greene Street.

According to Fort Wayne Police Chief Rusty York, federal agents along with Fort Wayne police officers were serving a federal felony warrant at Eden Green building 4B.

According to York, when officers attempted to serve the warrant the suspect began firing a weapon.

Fire was returned, because it seems as though there was a barrage of gunfire coming from the suspect, York said.

Officers returned fire and we are still looking into that.

A federal agent was struck in the lower leg, according to a FWPD sergeant. York said the agent is expected to recover from his injuries. He is listed in serious, but stable condition at a local hospital.

U.S. Marshal's spokesperson Carolyn Gwathmey said the agent was out of surgery and is still being treated at a local hospital. The agents injuries are not considered life-threatening.

York did not disclose where the suspect was shot, or how many times. He also did not know if federal agents or Fort Wayne officers had made contact with the suspect when shooting.

York did not disclose what type of weapon the suspect used in the shooting.

The suspect was listed in critical condition at a local hospital.

York said after the initial call of an officer in trouble that several officers from the city and county responded.

The names of the U.S. Marshal and the suspect have not been released.

Gwathmey and other officials would not disclose the nature of the warrant being served. She did say the Marshal's Service will often times serve warrants from other federal agencies, such as the DEA.

Gwathmey said the Fort Wayne Police Department has turned the investigation over to the Indiana State Police.

According to York, the FWPD works with the U.S. Marshals Service regularly in serving federal warrants in Fort Wayne. He said this particular warrant was coordinated with FWPD officers.

We have a real good working relationship with all the federal agencies and this was coordinated with our officers. I wasn't personally aware of it, but this happens on a regular basis, York said.

Gwathmey was not familiar with any previous U.S. Marshal shooting incidents in Indiana. She did mention two situations last year which saw one marshal killed and two wounded while serving a warrant in West Virginia.

In St. Louis last year, one marshal was killed and another injured while agents were trying to arrest a man on drug possession and resisting law enforcement.

The U.S. Marshals Service in Indiana is broken into a northern and southern region. The Fort Wayne office operates near downtown and is under the South Bend office. The other northern office is located near Hammond.

April 10, 2012

Homicide Investigation Still Underway in Aurora

Dearborn County: Thursday night, April 5 at approximately 10:00 p.m. Dearborn County Dispatch received a call from a neighbor that there was a deceased female in the residence at 107 Aspen Drive Apt. B in Aurora. Aurora Police responded to the scene and discovered the body of 67 year old Leigh Jennings and began an investigation. Friday morning, April 6 an autopsy was performed at the Hamilton County Morgue in Cincinnati and the preliminary results suggest homicide as the manner of death. The actual cause of death is not being released at this time. It may be several weeks before the complete autopsy results will be available.

Indiana State Police investigators along with Aurora Police and the Dearborn County Sheriff’s Department worked the investigation all weekend and all day today and the only additional information they are releasing at this time is Ms. Jennings was employed at Jim Young’s Barber Shop in Florence, KY and she did reside at 107 Aspen Ridge Apt. B where her body was found.

This incident continues to be an active investigation as investigators continue to follow all leads. As further information becomes available, an update will be forwarded to the media.

Anyone who may have information regarding the death of Ms. Jennings is urged to call the Indiana State Police at 812-689-5000 or Aurora Police at 812-926-1101. Callers can remain anonymous.

April 10, 2012

Driver Airlifted after Head-On Crash with Tractor-Trailer

Pike County – Monday morning, April 9, at approximately 7:10 a.m., Indiana State Police responded to a head-on crash on S.R. 64 at S.R. 257 that injured both drivers.

Preliminary investigation revealed Jeffrey Kline, 51, of Ferdinand, was driving his 2003 Ford two-door passenger car westbound on S.R. 64 when for no apparent reason drove left of center and into the path of a 2000 Freightliner tractor-trailer. The driver of the tractor-trailer, Carl J. Boswell, 50, of Utica, KY, attempted to avoid the collision, but was unsuccessful. Boswell was transported to Deaconess Hospital for non-life threatening injuries. Kline had to be extricated from his vehicle and then airlifted to St. Mary’s Hospital in Evansville where he is currently being treated for serious injuries. S.R. 64 was closed for approximately two hours while troopers investigated the crash.

The investigation is continuing.

Investigating Officer: Trooper Ryan Conrad, Indiana State Police

Assisting Agency: Pike County Sheriff’s Office

April 10, 2012

National Telecommunications Operators Week

(April 8-14, 2012)

Toll Road---In 1991 Congress proclaimed the second full week in April to be National Telecommunications Week to recognize the importance of those special individuals who coordinate the efforts police, fire, and EMS workers as they perform their duties. Telecommunications operators are the unsung heroes of public safety. To the public they are faceless voices heard over the scanner or telephone. To the public safety workers they dispatch for, they are a lifeline. Governor Mitch Daniels has proclaimed the week of April 8-14 as Telecommunications Week in Indiana.

Telecommunications is a function that operates 24 hours per day, seven days per week, 365 days per year. One minute an operator can be communicating a routine function to an officer and the next minute they may be coordinating a high speed pursuit, dispatching emergency assistance to an accident scene, or coordinating a situation where police officers are involved in a gun battle.

All Indiana State Police telecommunications operators must pass a written test, a typing test, appear before an interview board, and go through a background investigation before being hired as an ISP telecommunications operator. Once hired, they must then endure at least 12 weeks of intense training and continuous in-service training throughout their careers to maintain certifications and keep up-to-date on the latest communications technology and procedures.

Telecommunications operators working from the Regional Dispatch Center VI at the Indiana State Police Toll Road Post are responsible for dispatching troopers working in Marshall, St. Joseph, Elkhart, Kosciusko, Lake, Porter, La Porte, Lagrange, and Steuben Counties.

Telecommunications Operators

Telecommunications Regional Manager Helen Kautz

Telecommunications Regional Supervisor Angela Starkey

Telecommunications Operator Julie Keeling

Telecommunications Operator Lucinda Culp

Telecommunications Operator Cynthia Wiseman

Telecommunications Operator Lori Fitch

Telecommunications Operator Kathie Mummey

Telecommunications Operator Stephanie Hubbard

Telecommunications Operator Liniya Roseburgh

Telecommunications Operator Louella Gary

April 10, 2012

Speeding cop got sweet, undeserved deal

By Fred Grimm

Of course Fausto Lopez flouted the law. He is the law.

Because he’s a police officer, a habitually speeding cop could... well... cop a sweet deal in Broward County court last week despite his 120 mph jaunt down the Florida Turnpike with a state trooper in pursuit.

No jail. No probation. Just get someone to sign off on a hundred hours of community service, pay the court costs and — poof — the incident disappears from his record. Like it never happened. After all, he is the law.

It was only a fluke that Lopez happened to pass the one Florida Highway Patrol trooper with the audacity to pull over a Miami police cruiser. At 6:28 a.m. on Oct. 11, Lopez passed Trooper Jane Watts in northern Broward County at a dangerous speed, weaving through traffic so recklessly that, after he ignored her flashing lights, she thought some desperado might have stolen a police car. She chased him for 12.5 miles down the Turnpike, a stretch he covered in a mere seven minutes and 17 seconds before he pulled over.

But Trooper Watts, when she busted him, apparently violated some unwritten rule that police officers, unlike the rest of us, get to howl down the freeway at insane speeds just because they’re police. The arrest set off a feud between the FHP and Miami police officers, who were outraged that a law enforcement officer might assume speed limits meant for mere mortals might apply to a fellow cop.

Watts was denigrated as a traitor to the uniform. Anonymous posters on law enforcement websites loosed a torrent of low-down, vicious, personal, utterly juvenile attacks on Watts, stuff that would embarrass middle schoolers. A bucket of feces was dumped on another FHP trooper’s car in Miami. In November, in a bone-headed attempt at revenge, a particularly foolish Miami cop pulled over FHP Cpl. Victor Luquis and made a caustic remark: “How does it feel to be stopped in a marked unit?” Then he realized that Luquis was the brother of Miami Police internal affairs Sgt. Ronald Luquis. He offered to buy Luquis dinner before he sheepishly hurried away.

In defense of Lopez, Miami police could have argued that he had been relying on precedent that morning he ripped by Trooper Watts. After all, South Florida cops have long been speeding willy-nilly without consequence. Sun-Sentinel reporters Sally Kestin and John Maines, in a nifty bit of reporting, examined 13 months’ worth of SunPass transponder records from South Florida police agencies and calculated speeds according to the amount of time lapsed between toll plazas. They found some 793 cops from a dozen police departments had zoomed along between 90 to 130 mph.

Keston and Maines counted 5,100 episodes of excessive speeding. They found little relationship between the speeding incidents and actual emergency situations. (Lopez, for instance, was on his way from his home in Coconut Creek to an off-duty job.) More than half of the incidents involved city police officers outside their jurisdiction.

The worst offenders were driving cars belonging to the Miami Police Department, with 143 officers racking up speeds over 90 mph — all outside Miami city limits. Fifty Miami officers exceeded 100 mph. One particular officer managed this more than a hundred times. Guess who.

In the year before Fausto Lopez was finally stopped, the transponder on his cruiser registered speeds of at least 90 mph on 237 days, according to the Sun-Sentinel investigation, which prosecutor David Schulson cited as he argued, futilely, that Lopez not be allowed to escape this case with a clean record. The Miami PD’s living version of Fast and Furious had busted the 100 mph mark on 114 days.

At last week’s hearing, defense attorney William Matthewman told Judge Melinda Brown, “This incident is an aberration.” Obviously, a speeding incident involving a South Florida cop, especially this officer, was no aberration. The only aberration here was that a state trooper finally decided to put a stop to reckless behavior. Even then, Lopez was only hit with a misdemeanor reckless driving ticket, not the eluding-a police-officer charge most drivers would have faced for such a stunt. The rest of us just aren’t allowed to ignore an FHP trooper in fast pursuit.

Not that Judge Brown did much to back up Trooper Watts. Lopez, who Schulson described in court as “the worst of the worst” among South Florida’s chronic cop violators, got off easy. Which is the usual outcome in speeding police cases. The Sun-Sentinel found a dismaying number of instances in which officers, driving at high speeds in non-emergency situations, crashed into other motorists or pedestrians, killing and maiming, yet got off with minor or no charges — situations that likely would have run up negligent homicide arrests for drivers outside law enforcement.

My brother, whose teenage son suffers some of the same reckless adolescent impulses behind the wheel endemic to our local police officers, has installed a GPS device on the kid’s car that logs the automobile’s speeds and its whereabouts (Big Brother meets Big Daddy). Perhaps the Miami Police Department ought to consider installing similar devices on their cruisers to control the department’s own epidemic of arrested development.

Of course, the big difference is that my brother’s kid knows that, if he’s caught speeding, he’ll face real consequences. There’ll be hell to pay. After all, he isn’t the law.

April 09, 2012

Teens Arrested for Possessing Hallucinogenic Mushrooms

Aleck D. Akemon - Jhonathan R. Bellar - Mayson T. Benedict

Peru – Recently, a traffic stop by Indiana State Trooper Luke Bowyer led to the arrests of four Miami County teenagers on drug charges.

Trooper Bowyer initiated a traffic stop on a GMC Sierra pickup truck which was allegedly traveling over the posted 45 miles per hour speed limit near 2707 North Eel River Cemetery Road. As Bowyer was speaking with the GMC’s driver, Jhonathan R. Bellar, 18, Peru, IN, he detected an odor of marijuana emitting from the truck. Bowyer also purportedly noticed drug paraphernalia in plain sight.

Trooper Wendell Beachy arrived to assist Bowyer with the stop. Bellar, and his three passengers, were taken from the vehicle and a subsequent search of the truck was conducted. Officers allegedly found a small plastic bag containing psilocybin mushrooms (commonly called shrooms) and drug paraphernalia.

Troopers also searched the occupants of the vehicle. They allegedly found a plastic bag purportedly containing psilocybin mushrooms in the pants pocket of Mayson T. Benedict, 19, Denver, IN. Officers also allegedly found psilocybin mushrooms inside the purse of a 16-year-old female passenger. A third passenger, Aleck D. Akemon, 18, Macy, IN, was allegedly in possession of a misdemeanor amount of marijuana. Bellar did not have any narcotics on his person.

Bellar was incarcerated in the Miami County Jail on a class D felony charge for maintaining a common nuisance. Benedict and Akemon were incarcerated in the Miami County Jail on a class D felony charge for possession of a scheduled I narcotic (psilocybin mushrooms). All three have since bonded out.

The 16-year-old female passenger was released into the custody of her mother. A report will be forwarded to the Miami County prosecutor’s office for the consideration of a class D felony charge for possession of a scheduled I narcotic (psilocybin mushrooms).

A schedule I narcotic is classified as such if it has a high potential for abuse; and has no accepted medical use in the United States or lacks accepted safety for use in treatment under medical supervision.

April 09, 2012

April 8th-14th Telecommunication Operators Week

Bloomington – For the past several years, the Indiana State Police has recognized the pivotal role played by its telecommunications operators who are commonly referred to as emergency dispatchers. They use telephones, radios, computers and technical skills to answer calls for emergency assistance and dispatch troopers to the site of an emergency. They also provide support to field personnel, general public, local police agencies, emergency medical services, the National Weather Service and other governmental agencies.

Each year the second full week of April is dedicated to the men and women who serve as public safety telecommunications operators. In 1991, Congress proclaimed it as a national week of recognition. Governor Mitch Daniels has proclaimed April 8th through the 14th as Telecommunication Operator's Week across the state.

Locally, the Region III Dispatch Center operates out of the Bloomington Post. Fourteen dispatchers, three Supervisors and one Manager serve the southwest portion of Indiana with over 150 years of combined public safety experience. They are responsible for running communications at the post 24 hours a day; seven days a week. The Region III Dispatch Center dispatches for the Putnamville, Bloomington, Jasper and Evansville Posts.

They are as follows along with their years of service;

Region III Dispatch Mgr. Jimmie Durnil (40), TCO Supervisor Kathy Haley (7), TCO Supervisor Kim Erwin (9), TCO Supervisor Sandra Couch (19), TCO Kelly Spencer (2), TCO Tina Siniard (1), TCO Becky Roach (15), TCO Leesa Slover (6), TCO Joy Butler (2), TCO Tammy Brock (33), TCO Angie Meacham (4), TCO Josh Pope (1), TCO Heather Evans (5), TCO Scott Wilkerson (2), TCO Doug Brassine (9), TCO Kyle Hall (2), TCO Dylan Irwin (1) and TCO Paula Summitt (1).

Indiana State Police telecommunications operators are required to become certified in entering information into the Indiana Data and Communications System (IDACS) and the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). They are also required to be certified in emergency medical dispatch.

Lt. Paul Bucher, Commander at the Bloomington Post, said “All Telecommunication Operators (TCO’s) are asked to do a job that most people cannot or would not do. Their salaries are less than they deserve and they are asked to work hours that takes them away from their families. They have an amazing ability to multi-task. It is a difficult profession that most of us simply could not do. We are proud of our Indiana State Police TCO’s and all the TCO's throughout our surrounding area. They all care about the communities they serve.”

April 09, 2012

Two Vehicle Crash Sends Teen to Hospital

Greentown – Last night, at approximately 11:25 p.m., Indiana State Police officers responded to a two vehicle crash on State Road 22 east of Howard County Road 1300 East, which injured a Kokomo, IN teen.

A Preliminary investigation by Trooper Josh Tarrh revealed that Aryn Daulton, 19, Kokomo, IN, was driving a 1997 GMC sports utility vehicle westbound on State Road 22, east of County Road 1300 East. For an unknown, the GMC crossed the center line and traveled into the eastbound lane of State Road 22. The GMC was hit head on by a 2007 Freightliner semi-tractor driven by Richard Jefferies, 48, Galveston, IN.

Daulton was flown by helicopter to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis with trauma to her entire body. As of early this morning, she was listed in stable condition. Jefferies was not injured.

April 09, 2012

Michigan state police investigate non-fatal crash

BOSTON TWP., Mich. — Michigan State Police Troopers from the Ionia Detachment are investigating a traffic crash in which an Ionia County Deputy was injured.

The crash occurred at approximately 3:18 p.m. on M-21 east of Whitesbridge Road after the deputy attempted to stop a motorcycle that had fled from a Michigan State Police Trooper in the Lansing area. The trooper had attempted to stop the motorcycle on I-96 near Saginaw Highway after measuring its speed at more than 120 mph and witnessing it weave in and out of traffic. The motorcycle fled west on I-96 and into Ionia County where it exited.

It was spotted in Saranac by a DNR Conservation Officer who then lost sight of it. An Ionia County Sheriff Deputy located it on Morrison Lake Road at M-21 where he attempted to stop it. The motorcycle fled westbound on M-21 at speeds of more than 130 mph.

As the deputy pursued the vehicle, a motorist traveling westbound did not see the deputy and turned left into his oncoming path as he attempted to pass.

The deputy attempted to avoid a direct hit, glanced off the vehicle and hit a tree. He was transported to Butterworth Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The motorists in the other vehicle were not injured.

The deputy had his emergency lights and sirens activated at the time of the collision. The investigation is ongoing and the driver of the motorcycle will be sought for charges in multiple counties.

April 09, 2012

Man Charged With 'Sextortion' Of Teen Boy

Police Say Man Could Have Hundreds Of Victims

INDIANAPOLIS -- An Indiana man accused of coercing teen boys across the country into sexual activity that he recorded online could have hundreds of victims.

FBI investigators found sexually explicit videos showing hundreds of teenagers on the computer of Richard Leon Finkbiner, 39, of Brazil, Ind., according to court documents.

Finkbiner was arrested Friday at his home on charges he extorted teenage boys in Maryland and Michigan by threatening to post sexually explicit videos of them online.

Finkbiner estimated to FBI agents that he had coerced at least 100 individuals into such videos, investigators said.

There is much investigation left to be done, said Joseph Hogsett, U.S. attorney for Indiana's southern district.

We are fearful it could involve hundreds of individuals, not only here in Indiana but throughout the country.

Investigators asked any potential victims to contact the Indianapolis Cyber Squad Division of the FBI at 877-542-8979.

Watch RTV6 and refresh this page for updates.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

April 09, 2012

National Telecommunications Operators Week April 8-14

by Indiana State Police - Public Information Office

Fort Wayne, IN – Lieutenant Tony Casto, Fort Wayne District Commander would like to recognize the pivotal role played by the telecommunications operators, commonly referred to as emergency dispatchers, in the daily field operations in the Region II Dispatch Center at the Fort Wayne Post.

As part of the Region II Dispatch Center, which is celebrating its first anniversary, they provide telecommunications services to both the Fort Wayne and Peru State Police Districts. They use telephones, radios, computers, and technical skills to answer calls for emergency assistance and to dispatch troopers to the sites of those emergencies as well as other calls for police service. They also provide support to field personnel, the general public, local police agencies, emergency medical services, national weather service, and other governmental agencies.

The idea for the observed week is credited to Patricia Anderson who was a “dispatcher” with the Contra Costa County (CA) Sheriff Department in 1981, but wasn’t until 1991 that the first Congressional declaration of “National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week” went into effect. Telecommunications Operators Week is observed during the second full week of each April and recognizes the hard work and dedication that these “life lines” of the emergency services provide.

Telecommunications operators working in the Region II Dispatch Center are responsible for dispatching troopers, motor carrier inspectors and investigative personnel to calls for service in the following 18 Counties: Adams, Allen, Blackford, Cass, DeKalb, Fulton, Grant, Howard, Huntington, Jay, LaGrange, Miami, Noble, Steuben, Tipton, Wabash, Wells and Whitley. They are expected to remain composed in many different emergency situations and have the ability to think, speak, and document calmly and clearly. They must be proficient in the many tools of their trade which include computers, multi-line telephones, dispatching equipment and fax machines.

Telecommunication operators assigned to the Region II Dispatch Center at the Indiana State Police Post in Fort Wayne and their years of service are:

Regional Dispatch Center Manager Bradley Deane, Logansport, IN, 14 years

Regional Dispatch Center Shift Supervisor Kathy Davies, Kendallville, IN, over 15

Regional Dispatch Center Shift Supervisor Justin Yohe, Huntington, IN, 9 years

Regional Dispatch Center Shift Supervisor Amanda Updike, Andrews, IN, over 10 years

Regional Dispatcher Darcey Goering, Fort Wayne, IN, over 15 years

Regional Dispatcher Jonathon Jacob, Fort Wayne, IN, over 7 years

Regional Dispatcher Tom Mayne, Bluffton, IN, over 7 years

Regional Dispatcher Leia Connett, Fort Wayne, IN, over 7 years

Regional Dispatcher Busola Chambers, Fort Wayne, IN, over 4 years

Regional Dispatcher Melissa Cross, Fort Wayne, IN, 1 year

Regional Dispatcher Jeff Goehring, Fort Wayne, IN, 1 year

Regional Dispatcher Danny Piech, Fort Wayne, IN, 1 year

Regional Dispatcher Jon Schaeffer, Fort Wayne, IN, 1 year

Regional Dispatcher Sandy Straws, Columbia City, IN, 1 year

Regional Dispatcher Nathan Stuttle, Fairmount, IN, less than one year

Regional Dispatcher Robert Misiek, Illinois, to start on April 16th

April 09, 2012

NHTSA Unveils Campaign to Prevent Child Heatstroke Deaths in Cars

by Indiana State Police - Public Information Office

Nationwide ads urge parents, caregivers to think Where's baby? Look before you lock

WASHINGTON – With unseasonably warm temperatures already striking many areas around the country, the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today announced its first-ever national campaign to prevent child heatstroke deaths in cars, urging parents and caregivers to think Where's baby? Look before you lock. Heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle related deaths for children under the age of 14, with at least 33 fatalities reported in 2011 alone.

This campaign is a call-to-action for parents and families, but also for everyone in every community that cares about the safety of children, said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. It is hope that the simple tips from this campaign will save lives and help families avoid unnecessary heartache.

In the coming weeks, the agency will launch a series of radio and online advertisements centered around the theme Where's baby? Look before you lock, as well as a tool kit for parents and grassroots organizations to use in local outreach on the issue. Later this summer, NHTSA will release its findings on the effectiveness of after-market products that are intended to prevent a child from being unintentionally left behind in an enclosed parked vehicle.

Data from the San Francisco State University Department of Geosciences report 33 children died last year due to heatstroke – medically termed hyperthermia – while there were at least 49 deaths in 2010. An unknown number of children are also injured each year due to heatstroke in hot cars, suffering ailments including permanent brain injury, blindness, and the loss of hearing, among others. Often heatstroke deaths and injuries occur after a child gets into an unlocked vehicle to play while unknown to the parent. Other incidents can occur when a caregiver transporting a child as part of a change in their daily routine inadvertently forgets a sleeping infant in a rear-facing car seat in the back of the vehicle.

Everything we know about this terrible danger to children indicates heatstroke in hot cars can happen to any caregiver from any walk of life – and the majority of these cases are accidental tragedies that can strike even the most loving and conscientious parents, said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. We hope our campaign not only helps caregivers avoid accidentally harming a child but also clears up some of the misconceptions about the causes of child heatstroke in cars.

NHTSA's Where's baby? Look before you lock campaign urges parents and caregivers to take important precautions to prevent inadvertent incidents from occurring:

Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle – even if the windows are partially open or the engine is running and the air conditioning is on

Make a habit of looking in the vehicle – front and back – before locking the door and walking away

Ask the childcare provider to call if the child does not show up for care as expected

Do things that serve as a reminder a child is in the vehicle, such as placing a purse or briefcase in the back seat to ensure no child is accidently left in the vehicle, writing a note or using a stuffed animal placed in the driver's view to indicate a child is in the car seat

Teach children a vehicle is not a play area and store keys out of a child's reach

In addition, NHTSA urges community members who see a child alone in a hot vehicle to immediately call 911 or the local emergency number. If the child is in distress due to heat they should be removed from the vehicle as quickly as possible and rapidly cooled.

Today's announcement comes on the heels of an unprecedented effort by NHTSA to highlight the issue of child heatstroke in hot cars. Last summer, the agency hosted a first-of-its-kind roundtable on heat-stroke and series of town hall discussions around the country that brought together representatives from the automotive industry, child safety advocates, health and safety professionals, members of the academic community, and victims.

NHTSA research on the issue of heatstroke/hyperthermia.

Department of Geosciences' data.

April 09, 2012

Man Told Troopers He Was 'Too Drunk To Drive'

Man Arrested After Approaching Officers In Parking Lot

SELLERSBURG, Ind. -- A man was arrested early Sunday morning after he approached two troopers and told them he was too drunk to drive, Indiana State Police said.

The incident happened a little after 5 a.m. in the parking lot of a McDonald’s in Sellersburg, ISP Sgt. Jerry Goodin said.

The troopers said they saw the man drive his car into the parking lot as they spoke outside the restaurant.

Police said Joshua Oakley, 21, of Middlesboro, Ky., handed his keys to one of the troopers and told him he “was too drunk to drive.”

Police said Oakley was intoxicated, but refused to take an alcohol breath test and was taken to the Clark County Jail.

While being processed at the jail, he physically began resisting officers, Goodin said. He was subdued without injury to himself or officers.

Oakley was arrested on charges of driving while intoxicated, resisting law enforcement and public intoxication.

Copyright 2012 byTheIndyChannel.comAll rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

April 09, 2012

Police arrest son of Logansport mayor

Jeremy Franklin accused of dealing marijuana, having half-pound in dad’s car

by Dustin Kass

LOGANSPORT — Logansport Mayor Ted Franklin’s son was arrested Friday night, and police say they recovered a half-pound of marijuana from a car registered to the mayor.

Jeremy A. Franklin, 30, was driving the car at the time, police said.

Ted Franklin said via email that his son was “in the process of purchasing” the vehicle.

Jeremy Franklin remained in Cass County Jail on Saturday on preliminary charges of dealing marijuana and possession of marijuana, both class D felonies, according to a Cass County Sheriff’s Office press release. Jail staff said the man also was being held on a 15-day probation hold.

According to the release, a confidential informant bought one ounce of marijuana from Jeremy Franklin on Friday using “police buy money.”

Jeremy Franklin was then stopped by deputies at the intersection of Smith Street and Dividend Drive in Logansport, the release states. A drug dog indicated the “presence of narcotics” inside the car, and deputies located the half-pound of marijuana in the back seat, according to the release.

Jeremy Franklin was arrested and taken to jail just before 7 p.m., and jail intake and police records list his address as the same as his father’s.

“The investigation continues, and further arrests are possible,” states the release.

Sheriff Randy Pryor said Saturday that the press release contained the only information he was going to release.

Asked who owned the vehicle Jeremy Franklin was driving, Pryor said he didn’t know and that his deputies had not provided him with that information. He said he would not call his deputies to get that information because they had the day off.

Ted Franklin did not return two calls for comment Saturday, but in an email statement to the Pharos-Tribune, he acknowledged his son was buying the vehicle from him.

“My family and I were disappointed and very saddened to learn of my son’s arrest,” Ted Franklin wrote.

The mayor also vowed to stay out of any criminal investigation related to the incident.

“I support my son the way any father would, but he is a 30-year-old adult now and must face the judicial system the way anyone else would,” the email stated. “The police department will conduct the investigation without interference from me or anyone else.”

It’s unclear what criminal case the 15-day probation hold might stem from.

Online court records indicate that Jeremy Franklin pleaded guilty to class B felony burglary in September 2006. As part of a plea agreement, his sentence included seven years on probation.

In a separate case that same year, he pleaded guilty to residential entry, a class D felony. As part of a plea agreement, online records state, charges of possession of a controlled substance and possession of marijuana were dismissed.

Dustin Kass is associate editor of the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5150

April 09, 2012

72 arrested in San Francisco-wide police sting

By:Will Reisman

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA---More than 70 career criminals were arrested in a citywide operation Wednesday aimed at quelling a recent crime uptick in The City.

Police Chief Greg Suhr said there was no connection between the people arrested other than all of them being wanted for various crimes. Overall, 50 people were taken in for felony warrants, 17 for parole violations, and five for misdemeanor crimes. The offenses ranged from domestic violence charges to public nuisance violations and possession of narcotics.

In the last several weeks, The City has seen a spate of violent crimes, including a grisly quintuple murder in the Ingleside District on March 23. While Suhr said those crimes appear to be aberrations, he said he didn’t want to “tempt fate” by allowing more wanted criminals to wander the streets, potentially lengthening the spell of violence.

“All these folks arrested put others at risk,” said Suhr.

Suhr specifically made note of the arrest of Keimareea Lake, a convicted gang member who was taken in Wednesday for two violations of court orders. Suhr frequently encountered Lake while he was a captain at the Bayview Station.

“Whenever this guy is in custody, the Bayview is a safer place,” Suhr said of Lake.

The Police Department frequently carries out these multiagency operations, Suhr said. A similar effort earlier this year resulted in 70 arrests.

April 09, 2012

Police recover gun allegedly used in Okios shooting

Oakland police recovered a weapon Friday morning belonging to the man suspected of killing seven people and wounding three others in Monday's Oikos University mass murder, police said.

At about 5:30 a.m. Friday, officers located a gun in a waterway in the 8400 block of Leet Drive, less than a mile from the vocational school. Police said the weapon matches the serial number of a gun purchased by the shooting suspect, One Goh, who was arraigned on murder charges Wednesday.

Police had been searching for the gun in a waterway between the school and the place where Goh was arrested, a Safeway store at 2227 South Shore Center in Alameda. Investigators plan to test the weapon to determine if it was used in the shooting, police said.

Investigators have worked very hard on this case, Police Chief Howard Jordan said in a statement. Hopefully, this find will help the families find closure and bring this case to justice.

Seven people died in the shooting at the Christian vocational school on Edgewater Drive when Goh, a 43-year-old Korean national living in Oakland, allegedly opened fire at about 11:15 a.m. Monday.

Three other people were injured in the shooting but survived.

Lydia Sim, 21, of Hayward; Sonam Choedon, 33, of El Cerrito; Grace Eunhea Kim, 23, of Union City, Doris Chibuko, 40, of San Leandro; Judith Seymour, 43, of San Jose; Tshering Rinzing Bhutia, 38, of San Francisco; and Katleen Ping, 24, were killed in the shooting rampage.

Goh surrendered to Alameda police at the supermarket after admitting to a security guard that he had shot several people in Oakland, police said.

Police said Goh is a former student at the school.

Goh was arraigned Wednesday on seven counts of murder and other charges that could make him eligible for the death penalty. He is expected to return to court on April 30, when he is scheduled to enter a plea.

The motive for the shooting is unclear, but Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said it appears Goh wanted his tuition back after he voluntarily left the school last November and that he was targeting an administrator there.

Goh is being held at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin without bail.

April 09, 2012

Hollywood Hills sweep rousts 25 homeless people

Law enforcement officers fan out across wild areas of Hollywood,

looking for homeless people who might start fires that can threaten lives and property.

By Sam Quinones

Jay, a homeless man sleeping near a Hollywood freeway onramp, awoke to the voices of police Friday morning.

Los Angeles Police Department officers Julie Nony and Paula Davidson had rooted out an encampment of nine transients — including Jay — who were sleeping along the Highland Avenue onramp to Highway 101.

Nony and Davidson were part of a team of roughly two dozen officers and sheriff's deputies who fanned out across Hollywood, trudging through wild-land hills and along freeway embankments looking for homeless people. The transients were told to move out but also were offered social services.

Time to get up, Nony told Jay. Are you on parole or probation?

Startled, Jay responded that he wasn't but said he was in treatment for drug addiction and was taking methadone. The encampment was strewn with bedding and wrappers for hypodermic needles and In-N-Out French fries, along with handwritten signs asking for money.

I promise not to buy drugs, read one.

In all, officers removed 25 transients and cited four of them for misdemeanors. In one case, officers hiked with a man into the hills well above the Hollywood cross, overlooking the Ford Theatres and the Hollywood Bowl, and helped him carry out luggage, several plastic bags of belongings, sleeping bags, a tent and a Darth Vader mask. They drove him to a homeless shelter.

In hilly areas of Hollywood, the homeless start fires, which are a danger to area residents and the transients themselves, said sheriff's Deputy Jason Elkins.

In the urban areas, we're getting hit by property crimes, such as auto break-ins and home burglaries, said LAPD Capt. Bea Girmala, commander of the department's Hollywood Station. The suspect descriptions, when we get them, are often of transients.

This is the United States of America, Girmala said, and we have people living in the bushes.

Hollywood has long been a magnet for homeless people. The area offers social services, police said, and is far from the drugs and violence of downtown's skid row.

You walk through skid row and everybody is just bombarding you with drugs, said Jay, who declined to give his last name.

Almost half of the people officers removed declined any services and walked off into the city, their belongings in aquamarine plastic bags provided by police.

We have to bring [the resources] to them, said Girmala. Sometimes we strike out.

Copyright © 2012, Los Angeles Times

April 09, 2012

Oakland police unable to respond to high call volume friday night

Despite having fully staffed citywide Friday night, the Oakland Police Department was still unable to meet a high demand for service, police said.

By 6:30 p.m. Friday, the police department had 125 standing calls for service with officers already actively working on 17 priority calls throughout the city, police said. By 8:30 p.m., a total of 146 calls were standing.

“We regret that we were unable to meet the demand during peak periods, and will review causes and potential solutions to mitigate future occurrences,” read a statement from the department Saturday morning.

To avoid making phone calls for service, the police department asks community members to place nonemergency requests online when possible.

Depending on the circumstances of the incident or crime, residents may make requests for reports, nonemergency calls or follow-up services at

April 08, 2012

Former Indiana basketball coach Bob Knight chokes up in praising IU fans

by Josh Weinfuss

Former Indiana University basektball coach Bob Knight spoke

at Clowes Hall on the Butler campus September 14, 2011.

The Star 2011 file photo

CARMEL, Ind. -- Bob Knight has never been one to mask his emotions.

Before the 71-year-old former Indiana University basketball coach walked off stage during a speech at The Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday night, he leaned on the podium and looked down for a moment.

I will tell you this without reservation: In my experiences, everywhere I've been, I have never come across fans that were as good to the team, as good to the coaches, as involved in trying to root as hard as they could to help a team to win as we have in Indiana, Knight said, his voice starting to shake. On the day that I die, I will be grateful to have been able to coach with fans like you.

Knight choked up and the 1,600 in attendance showed their appreciation for The General with a standing ovation.

Knight, now an ESPN analyst, shared a few touching moments during his almost 90-minute speech. But they were few and far between. For most of the night, Knight took shots -- some friendly, some not -- at former players, fellow coaches, referees, Kentucky fans and the NCAA.

Knight opened with 20 minutes on Landon Turner, the former Hoosier who was paralyzed in a car accident in 1981. One senior day, Knight -- who credited Turner as the reason IU won the '81 NCAA title -- asked all former IU basketball players to stand.

I turned around and said (to Turner, who was in a wheelchair) 'When in the hell are you going to stand up?' Knight said. And he said, 'Coach, I'm standing in my heart.'

That may be the neatest moment I ever had in coaching.

Then Knight dug in.

He hates conference tournaments and the one-and-dones who have littered college basketball since 2006.

I think it's a disgrace, Knight said of players who attend college for one year to fulfill the NBA's requirement to be drafted. If I was an NBA general manager, I would never want to take a kid 18, 19 years old, a year out of college. I'd wait until someone else worked two or three years with him to adjust him to the NBA and I'd trade a draft pick.

In his light olive green pants and tan V-neck sweater, Knight walked the stage regaling fans with stories from Indiana, his time in the military, his football days and how he got into coaching.

Knight didn't shy away from using the two words that caused a firestorm during the last couple of months, especially during the recent NCAA tournament: Indiana and Kentucky.

Knight caught flack for using that team from the SEC in place of Kentucky all season -- I've been doing that for years, so it really didn't bother me. -- even omitting the Wildcats from his five best teams throughout the season, but he began referring to the school while on ESPN last month.

Kentucky managed to get irritated over that because I mentioned them as the SEC team rather than Kentucky, Knight said. Well, they might not have known that Kentucky was in the SEC. I thought that was always a possibility with them.

April 08, 2012

Fire chief and deputy sheriff killed fighting blaze

DECATURVILLE, Tenn - Flags were flying at half-staff Saturday night in Decatur County after an early morning blaze killed a fire chief and injured two other firefighters.

The scene was Highway 412, right outside Parsons, at the Oak Hill Cafe. The Decatur County sheriff told NewsChannel 5 the fire started just after 4 Saturday morning, and while fighting the fire, the ceiling of the business collapsed, killing fire Chief Kenny Fox. Also, firefighters Randy and Jeremy Inman were hurt, and rushed to Vanderbilt. Both of them are expected to be okay.

Chief Fox was also a sergeant in the Decatur County Sheriff’s Department. He was 39-years-old and leaves behind a wife and three sons.

The fatal fire is being investigated by local authorities and the ATF. They have not eliminated suspicions surrounding the fire.

April 08, 2012

Arkansas' Bobby Petrino didn't want 911 call after wreck

by Kurt Voigt

Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino speaks during a news conference this week after

being released from a hospital after he was injured in a motorcycle accident Sunday. / AP

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Moments after their motorcycle accident, Bobby Petrino and a female employee told a passer-by not to call 911, then got a ride back to Fayetteville where the Arkansas football coach was met by a state trooper who provides his personal security during the season.

New details of the immediate aftermath of Petrino's crash were in a 911 call released Friday by the state police.

The passer-by, Larry Hendren, describes coming upon the accident scene Sunday evening just after Petrino and Jessica Dorrell were getting up out of the ditch. He said Petrino was walking, but it looked like his face was bleeding quite a lot.

The rider and the passenger of the motorcycle declined us to call 911, Hendren told a dispatcher. They got into a vehicle and headed toward the hospital.

Petrino was taken to a Fayetteville intersection by another passer-by. There, Dorrell left in her own car while Petrino was met by Capt. Lance King, his personal security guard during the season. King took Petrino to a hospital, where he was treated for broken ribs and a cracked neck vertebra.

State police said Friday they planned to question the trooper, looking for any information Captain King may have learned about the crash during conversations with Petrino.

While the inquiries have no direct correlation to the investigation of the motor vehicle crash, the questions are legitimate and worthy of answers, state police spokesman Bill Sadler said. King has been asked to detail his involvement with Coach Petrino and other individuals who've been identified within the crash investigation.

The developments came as Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long considered the future of the football coach, whose salary averages more than $3.5 million. Long appears to have everything he needs to fire Petrino, but the question now is whether he will actually get rid of Petrino, who failed to mention having Dorrell with him during the accident and then admitted the two previously had an inappropriate relationship

April 08, 2012

Struggling waitress to keep $12,000 tip seized by police

Police in Moorhead, Minnesota, will return a $12,000 tip they seized from a struggling local waitress, her attorney said on Thursday.

Stacy Knutson, a server at the Fryn' Pan Restaurant in Moorhead, got the tip back in November from a customer who left a takeout box inside the restaurant.

Knutson followed the customer out to parking lot and tried to give her the box but the woman told her to keep it. When Knutson opened it, she found $12,000 in cash.

Knutson, a mother of five, called local police and turned in the cash as lost property.

At first, police said the cash would be hers if it remained unclaimed for 60 days, according to the lawsuit Knutson filed against the department.

At the end of the 60 days, however, the department told Knutson she would have to wait another 30 days to get the money.

Then police told her she would not receive the money at all because it smelled of marijuana and had been seized under a state law.

Police offered Knutson a $1,000 as a reward for turning the cash in. She refused the reward and filed suit.

In affidavits filed as part of the lawsuit, Knutson and two other restaurant employees said they detected no odor at all.

On Thursday, Craig Richie, Knutson's attorney, said the department had changed its mind and will return the $12,000 to her.

Richie said it was known around Moorhead that Knutson and her husband were having financial problems raising their five children. He said he believed the money was intended as a gift to the family.

Stacy is a very religious woman and this is the will of God, he said on Thursday.

Copyright © 2012, Reuters

April 07, 2012

Off-duty cop wounded when her gun accidentally fires at salon


When an off-duty Chicago cop visited a South Shore salon Thursday night, it wasn’t her nails that got clipped.

She was shot in the right leg about 7:20 p.m. when her gun accidentally went off inside her purse.

Customers and employees panicked. Amelia Jackson said she and two friends who were getting their nails done dropped to the floor. They feared it was a robber or gang-banger doing the shooting.

“My knees still hurt,” Jackson said.

Witnesses gave varying accounts. Some said the 22-year veteran dropped her purse. Others said the gun went off when she put in on a counter. Police said the gun went off when the officer picked it up from under a chair.

The officer identified herself as a cop and urged everyone to calm down, said David Thai, manager of Tracy’s Nails at 2138 E. 71st St. The officer asked for someone to call 911, and several customers did, Thai said.

The officer was treated at Stroger Hospital, the police said.

The Independent Police Review Authority is investigating.

Some customers wondered why the “safety” was not on — but most department-approved handguns don’t have them, officials say.

Thai said the shop has been serving the South Shore neighborhood for more than 20 years, and the officer was a longtime customer.

“I never knew she was a cop until she said that,” Thai said. “She never wore her uniform in here.”

Copyright © 2012 — Sun-Times Media, LLC

April 07, 2012

West Virginia police officer arrested for buying drugs from informant

CHARLESTON, W.Va.---A Glasgow police officer was arrested Wednesday after allegedly buying drugs from a confidential informant.

Fayette County Sheriff Steve Kessler said local authorities got a tip from a local informant saying that he had previously sold drugs to Glasgow police officer Donald Scott Wills, 43, of Smithers. Kessler said the informant told investigators that Wills had allegedly bought drugs while in uniform and while driving a Glasgow city police car.

Kessler said deputies, troopers from the State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation and officers of the Central West Virginia Drug Task Force set up a sting operation Wednesday at the informant’s home. Kessler said the informant called Wills at the Glasgow Police Department and asked him if he would come over to buy drugs.

A few hours later, Wills, in street clothes, allegedly came to the house and bought 30 Oxycodone pills for $30, offering to pay the rest of the money owed for the pills once he sold them, Kessler said. Officers hidden inside and outside the house allegedly witnessed the transaction.

Wills was arrested when he left the house, Kessler said. He was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.

Wills was in the Southern Regional Jail on Thursday on $25,000 bail.

“When you find a drug dealer masquerading as a police officer it is absolutely disgusting,” Kessler said. “Police officers are expected to hold to much higher standard of conduct and the public has every right to expect that of us.

“This individual is a disgrace to the law enforcement profession.”

Kessler said Fayette County authorities would investigate drug crimes no matter who the suspect is. “No one is above the law,” he said.

Wills previously worked for the Smithers Police Department.

Glasgow Police Officer Steve Smith said the department is “highly disappointed” and “very hurt that one of our own resulted to doing something like this.”

Smith said he’s worked with Wills for almost a year and he was always very friendly.

Those who worked with Wills never suspected him of prescription pill abuse, he said.

“You always hear the rumors,” he said. “Anytime there’s a police office out there doing his job, you’re going to hear the rumors. But there was never any evidence of this.”

April 07, 2012

Resident shoots, kills 2 suspects

Michael Gentry-Hill, Darren Hill killed

The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s office is investigating a shooting that left two people dead early Saturday morning.

Deputies responded to a burglary report at 300 Building of the Lee’s Crossing Apartments on Powell Mill Road, just after 12 a.m. Saturday.

Deputies said when they got to the apartment complex they found that two suspects had been shot by a resident.

According to the Spartanburg County coroner's office 22- year old Michael Deangelo Gentry- Hill was pronounced dead on the scene.

Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger said that the second suspect, 18-year-old Darren Hill, died of his injuries several hours later at the Spartanburg Regional Medical Center.

Sheriff's Office and the Spartanburg County Coroner’s Office investigators were on scene early Saturday morning to gather information and evidence.

April 07, 2012

Criminals set free in Flint: Jail overcrowding stops police from 72 arrests in 2 months

By David Harris

FLINT, MI -- Breaking and entering. Larceny. Obstructing police. All sure ways to get arrested and hauled off to jail.

Well, at least most places. Around here, the criminals sometimes just walk away with a ticket -- the same punishment as a basic parking ticket.

Because the county jail is so full, offenders are getting off with an appearance ticket and issued a court date -- one that is often ignored.

Flint police handed out 17 appearance tickets the first two months of this year, while Michigan State Police handed out 55 in the same time period.

Some of the suspects let go were those police said were driving on suspended licenses, driving under the influence, involved in assaults and or caught during a burglary, according to state police records and Flint reports obtained by The Flint Journal through the Freedom of Information Act.

The lack of jail space strips police of their basic power to arrest criminals and it's detrimental to fighting crime, Prosecutor David Leyton said.

Gov. Rick Snyder is calling for $4.5 million in state funding to reopen the Flint city lockup and free up more space in the Genesee County Jail, he said during a visit to Flint last month in which he outlined his plan to curb crime.

Leyton said he would like to see a time when no appearance tickets handed out. It would make the community safer, he said.

The whole idea (to open) the city jail is to avoid handing out appearance tickets so everyone can be locked up in hopes of separating combatants, said Leyton. Mike Thomas, the prosecutor in Saginaw County, said that goes a long way to combat crime.

In one case from late January, Flint police responded to a house alarm on Wolcott near Ballenger Highway. Police saw a 19-year-old man running from the house, a brief foot chase ensued and police caught him.

Accused of a misdemeanor (unlawful entry), there was no room for him in the jail and he was issued an appearance ticket instead.

Jail space has long been a problem here. The County Jail has a maximum capacity of 580 inmates and is constantly overcrowded.

Recently, Sheriff Robert Pickell reported the jail was packed with 596 people in cells and another 72 in holding.

Getting lodged in the jail is limited to only those accused of more severe crimes, including drugs, domestic assault and drunk driving.

Since July -- when state police upped their presence in the city ravished by high crime for two years -- troopers have had to let go more than 550 people wanted on more than 1,200 warrants because of lack of jail space. There are 51,000 outstanding warrants in the county, according to state police.

And, state police are limited to arresting and jailing criminals to just three days a week, according to state police.

The policy helps, but the jail is just too small for a community this size with this amount of crime, said Pickell.

Flint police chief Alvern Lock said he did not know if the 17 appearance tickets issued was a high or low number. And, he said it might not completely reflect the number of criminals not being arrested. Depending on the situation, officers sometimes let the offenders go without an appearance ticket.

Lock also said he believes there is not enough jail space in the county.

The 18-member Michigan State Police team has a higher number of appearance ticket because they are policing the city differently than the city department.

The Flint Police Department often is restricted to going from one 911 call to another while the state police focus more on proactive policing by performing traffic stops in high crime areas.

Leyton said while lodging all those who need to be in jail helps, it still doesn't solve the underlying problems — inlcuding gang violence, drugs and hopelessness.

It's only a band-aid approach, he said. It's not long-term. The underlying problem is still there.

© 2012 All rights reserved.

April 07, 2012

Passersby save deputy after squad car crash

By Jeff Jones

Firefighters spray water on a burning DeKalb County Sheriff

deputy’s patrol car after the officer wrecked Friday evening.

ST. JOE — A DeKalb County Sheriff’s deputy is lucky to be alive, according to one of his colleagues, after wrecking his squad car while responding to an emergency call at S.R. 8 and C.R. 59, north of St. Joe, just after 8 p.m. Friday.

The deputy’s name had not been released as of 10 p.m., pending notification of family, but he was alert, conscious and talking to emergency personnel, according to Chief Deputy Gerald Kline and Deputy Larry Elzey.

The unidentified officer was taken to an area hospital for treatment of a right ankle injury, police said.

The officer was responding with emergency lights and siren activated to assist Butler Police at a residential alarm call, Kline and Elzey said. The officer was driving north on C.R. 59, but turned around due to a train blocking the roadway.

“He came back (south on C.R. 59), missed the intersection, slid through and ended up in the embankment,” Elzey said.

The squad car caught fire after hitting the embankment, coming to rest on its wheels in a deep ditch.

Three passersby stopped to pull the officer from the wreckage. Police did not have their names at press time.

“As far as I’m concerned, they saved his life,” Elzey said. “The car was on fire, and they pulled him out.

“He probably would have still been in it had nobody stopped.”

Initially, emergency personnel thought the fire had caused ammunition in the squad car to go off, but that was not the case. Flames were confined to the engine compartment.

“We heard some pops, and I thought it was his guns going off, but the fire was still up front. It didn’t make it to the back of the car,” Elzey said.

Butler and Waterloo police, the Butler Fire Department and DeKalb EMS crews assisted county police.

April 07, 2012

Dasty the Comeback Canine

A Chicago Police dog returns to the force following a stem cell transplant

Micah Materre

CHICAGO---Animal lovers know how difficult it is to see your pets slow down. And when it happens at just barely past the puppy stage, it's even harder. That's Dasty's story. Dasty is a Chicago Police dog, sniffing out guns, drugs, and cash in the organized crime division. But a year ago, he was headed for retirement after being diagnosed with Lyme disease.

Ofc. Marion Anderson/Chicago Police Deptartment He lives with me 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

Dasty the German shephard, and Chicago Police Officer Marion Anderson, are a team. Oh Dasty is a wonderful dog. He is a very happy-go-lucky very sociable dog. Good in the house, good with my family, and good actually with all the other animals that I have.

There's a lot of time and money involved in a dog. These dogs are very valuable to us, says Officer Steve Martinez.

Officer Martinez is Dasty's trainer, and works with the Pantera, the Chicago P.D.'s first shelter dog. They see us get dressed for work and they're all excited and we tell 'em see you later I'm going to court today. You can just see the happiness drain out of em. But you're not taking me?

ah ah ah, sit, stay

It's Officer Martinez's job to keep the canine officers sharp.

But last year... the officers saw Dasty slowing down and limping.

Officer Anderson recalls the night she knew her dog was in trouible. It was early in the morning, sound asleep laying next to me and he attempted to move and he let out a big yelp, very loud that he was in very very severe pain.

I don't see Dasty every day so it was more obvious to me, recalls Officer Martinez.

Dasty was taken to Arboretum View Animal Hospital in Downers Grove where he was diagnosed with severe arthritis caused by Lyme disease . Dr Cheryl Adams was his veterinarian. Him finally ending up in a cage was just not an acceptable outcome for any of us.

Veterinarians prescribed high dose steroids which caused dangerous side effects. Dr. adams recommended a stem cell transplant.

Knowing that none of these traditional approaches were working for him, this was really the option that we had left to us to try and get his quality of life back where it belongs. We remove fat, their own fat from their body. One in 50 cells in fat is actually an adult stem cell.

The vials are shipped overnight to Vet-Stem Inc. near San Diego. Dr. Adams describes what's done at the lab.

They process the fat. They take the adult extract the adult stem cells out they make them very concentrated. They put them into syringes and they ship them back to us.

Dasty became his own donor and after a series of 3 injections and some physical therapy... Officer Anderson saw a new dog. What a tremendous change in him, tremendous change. He went to a very lethargic dog to being almost like a puppy again. No problems, no issues going up and down stairs, no issues getting in and out of cars, and his working ability is still as good as it was when he first started. He does have arthritis, he'll need to deal with that long term. But, I would expect him to have the same career as a service dog as he would have before.

Video shows Officer Martinez running drills with Dasty. Today we ran Dasty thru five narcotics scenarios... ran 'em one after the other and still run around and wants to do more. Dasty's back!

Good boy.

Dasty sits when he finds what police are looking for.

good boy

Not bad for this comeback canine!

Officer Anderson is thrilled to have her partner back. We work 5 days a week and he's just laughs tremendous! Oh, I think he's gonna be around for quite some time!

Vet Stem treatments are available to the public. And the company claims an 80-percent rate of success with arthritis. Dasty's treatment cost between four and five thousand dollars, though the bill was discounted because he's a service dog. But, Dasty's earning his keep. Since he's been back on the force, he's recovered several hundred thousand dollars worth of cash and cocaine.

Copyright © 2012, WGN-TV, Chicago

April 07, 2012

2 men tied to tainted Lake County prosecutions now training cops in state to be 'lead homicide investigators'

By Dan Hinkel

Jeffrey Pavletic, right, has spent 15 years as second-in-command in the Lake County state’s attorney’s office, an agency

battered by recent legal losses in cases where defendants were pursued for years after DNA seemed to suggest their innocence.

(David Trotman-Wilkins, Chicago Tribune 2008 / April 6, 2012)

Hoping to prevent bungled police probes and prosecutions like those that have plagued Illinois' legal system, state lawmakers mandated the creation of a class to certify officers as lead homicide investigators.

But one of the teams being paid tax dollars to teach the five-day course consists of two law-enforcement figures who were involved in — and sometimes central to — a spate of collapsing prosecutions in Lake County, including high-profile cases that disintegrated in the face of contradictory evidence.

In December, appeals judges called out former Waukegan Detective Lou Tessmann by name as they ordered the release of Juan Rivera after almost 20 years in prison. The judges questioned Tessmann's interrogation tactics and the believability of the confession he took from Rivera in the rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl.

The other trainer, Jeffrey Pavletic, has spent 15 years as second-in-command in the Lake County state's attorney's office, an agency battered by recent legal losses in cases where defendants were pursued for years after DNA seemed to suggest their innocence.

Pavletic prosecuted Rivera and handled pretrial hearings for Jerry Hobbs, who was released in 2010 after evidence pointed toward another man in the stabbing deaths of two Zion girls. Like Rivera, Hobbs had confessed after a grueling interrogation that prosecutors defended as legally sound.

Pavletic also tried another man, James Edwards, whose guilt has been called into question by DNA.

The legal and financial fallout from these cases promises to trouble Lake County for years, and critics of its judicial system said they were disturbed to learn that officers around the state are being taught by two of the county's key law enforcement figures — at taxpayer expense.

Proper police training could help stem the flow of false confessions and wrongful convictions revealed in the last 25 years by advancing DNA technology, experts said. Steven Drizin, legal director of Northwestern University's Center on Wrongful Convictions, said he fears Lake County's approach to investigations, interrogations and prosecutions could be transmitted like a virus.

Are they spreading the wrong lessons throughout the state? he asked.

Legislators who pushed the certification law, which took effect Jan. 1, questioned the vetting process for instructors. Sen. William Haine, the former Madison County state's attorney, was shocked when told by the Tribune that the men taught the course in a nearby county in December.

I'm at a loss as to why they went up to Chicago to get (instructors with) more baggage than a Greyhound bus when they have diamonds right there in their own backyard, he said.

Pavletic declined to comment. But the lawyer defending him against Hobbs' civil lawsuit, James Sotos, called his client an extremely ethical and diligent prosecutor.

Tessmann declined to comment.

David Zulawski, chairman of Wicklander-Zulawski Assocs., the firm that hires out Tessmann and Pavletic for state-sponsored courses, expressed confidence in the men and questioned Rivera's innocence.

I don't have any doubts about their integrity at all, Zulawski said. If I did have doubts, they wouldn't work for me.

Cashing in on courses

Although the lead homicide investigator certification class is new, Tessmann and Pavletic have been teaching similar ones for years. Taxpayers have paid nearly $300,000 for courses involving one or both men since 2007, a Tribune investigation has found.

They aren't the only Lake County law enforcement figures who teach police. The Tribune revealed in 2010 that Waukegan Officer Domenic Cappelluti — who helped obtain confessions from Hobbs and another murder suspect who was later cleared — teaches investigation and interrogation through a private firm.

Newly obtained documents show public agencies statewide have paid about $158,000 for classes involving Cappelluti since 2007.

In Illinois, much of the training that police receive comes through 16 regional organizations affiliated with the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board. The local agencies are almost entirely responsible for selecting and evaluating instructors, state training board officials said, and often hire private firms such as Wicklander-Zulawski.

The firm advertises Tessmann and Pavletic as seasoned professionals from the elite ranks of law enforcement.

Tessmann, a decorated Vietnam veteran, spent 21 years as a police officer, led the county's Major Crimes Task Force and served as Waukegan's deputy police chief. He retired in 2005.

Pavletic has been in the state's attorney's office since 1984 and has worked on about 150 jury trials, according to online promotional materials.

From 2007 to 2011, before the advent of the lead homicide investigator certification, agencies across the state already had paid Wicklander-Zulawski $267,450 total for training sessions involving Tessmann, Pavletic or both, according to records provided to the Tribune.

State Sen. John Millner, R-Carol Stream, pushed for the law, passed in 2010, that mandated the lead homicide investigator training program. A former Elmhurst police chief and police trainer himself, Millner was alarmed by headlines exposing botched investigations and worried that some detectives were flying by the seat of their pants.

The certification is not mandatory, but police forces across the state appear to value it. As of mid-March, about 2,500 officers had either taken the classes or were certified based on past training and experience, said Larry Smith, deputy director of the state board.

Wicklander-Zulawski is one of three firms teaching the course. Pavletic and Tessmann had taught the class twice as of January.

The men tackle separate sections, with Pavletic teaching about Miranda rights, search warrants, interrogation, report-writing and testifying, according to a teaching outline shared by Pavletic's lawyer. Tessmann, meanwhile, focuses on crime scene investigation and suspect interrogation, said a detective who took the class.

Though it is not required by the state's curriculum, Zulawski said any class offered through his company would cover the possibility of false confessions. Through his lawyer, Pavletic said risk factors and warning sings of false confessions are discussed.

Two officers who participated gave their teachers positive reviews.

They had a deep commitment to what we do as police officers, and it came through in the training, said Carbondale Sgt. Anthony Williams.

Though Tessmann and Pavletic have been associated with flawed cases, training officials noted that mistakes happen to everyone in law enforcement.

A lot of people have something in their history that they're not proud of, said Kevin McClain, executive director of the Training and Standards Board.

But the problems with the cases Tessmann and Pavletic worked go beyond simple mistakes, experts on false confessions and wrongful convictions said.

Its almost like the Lake County criminal justice system should be in receivership, said Richard Leo, a University of San Francisco law professor who studies false confessions.

Collapsing cases

Tessmann's record on interrogations is highlighted on the Wicklander-Zulawski website, where his bio touts that he has obtained over 80 homicide confessions during his career with only three instances where he was unable to obtain a confession from the homicide suspect.

Defense lawyers and experts find that claim unsettling.

Unless he is making near-perfect clinical judgments (of a suspect's guilt) … that is a confession rate that should be a source of concern, said Saul Kassin, a psychology professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.

Tessmann's most famous interrogation involved Rivera, who was questioned two months after 11-year-old Holly Staker was raped and stabbed to death in Waukegan in 1992.

Then 19, Rivera confessed after polygraph testing and an interrogation that stretched across four days. After twice being convicted, Rivera was granted a third trial in 2009 based on DNA evidence showing another man's semen was in Holly's body.

Prosecutors sought to explain the evidence by saying the girl had sex with another man around the time of her killing, and the confession was essential to the case. Authorities maintained Rivera gave details only the killer could know.

Rivera's lawyers argued that Tessmann's sworn testimony as to how Rivera confessed was difficult to take seriously. They sought to convince jurors that Tessmann had supplied the details in a confession the detective himself had typed for the suspect to sign.

Jurors again found him guilty. But last December, appeals judges reversed that, writing in a withering opinion that no rational trier of fact could have found him guilty.

The judges noted that Tessmann and another officer acknowledged they might have asked Rivera leading questions, and the judges wrote that the evidence did not inspire belief in the defendant's candid acknowledgment of guilt. Rivera was freed after 20 years in prison.

The Rivera trial was not the first time Tessmann's account of an investigation had been questioned.

In 1990, a 19-year-ld Lombard man was charged with robbing a woman at knifepoint after Tessmann told a grand jury the victim had identified the man in a photo lineup, according to court records. But those charges were quickly dropped when another man admitted to the crime.

The Lombard man sued Tessmann and Waukegan, and the witness said in a deposition she had told the detective something very different about the lineup. She said she told Tessmann, This is the guy who looks the closest, but it's not him, according to a transcript.

Jurors awarded the man a $71,500 judgment against Tessmann, which Waukegan paid, according to a city attorney.

As to Tessmann's educational credentials, online biographies published by Wicklander-Zulawski raise more questions than they answer.

Until 2004, Tessmann's bio on the site said he graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1974, but the schools in the state's university system reported he had not graduated from their institutions.

DNA problems

During Pavletic's 15 years as chief deputy prosecutor, two cases have been dismantled by DNA, and two more remain in question. He tried or handled pretrial activities for three of the four cases.

At two trials in the 1990s, Pavletic worked to convince jurors that a confession outweighed other evidence. He personally prosecuted the first Rivera trial. The other was that of James Edwards, whose conviction in the 1994 killing of Fred Reckling in Waukegan has been cast into doubt by blood evidence linking another felon to the scene.

Then in 2005, Pavletic was called to help handle the case against Hobbs, who was charged with the heinous stabbing deaths of his daughter Laura, 8, and her friend Krystal Tobias, 9, in a Zion park.

A recent transplant from Texas with a long record and little education, Hobbs had confessed at the end of intermittent questioning that lasted about 24 hours.

By August 2007, defense lawyers had learned semen found in Laura Hobbs' body didn't match that of her father.

Pavletic was in court in 2008 when then-Assistant State's Attorney Michael Mermel told a judge the semen didn't indicate Hobbs' innocence, according to a transcript. Couples sometimes had sex in the woods, Mermel said, and the girl could have touched some semen and then wiped herself.

Almost three years after the DNA mismatch was revealed — and after Hobbs had spent nearly five years in jail — the FBI's DNA database revealed a link between the semen and former Marine Jorge Torrez, a Zion native and close friend of Krystal Tobias' brother, according to court records. Pavletic appeared in court to drop the charges against Hobbs in 2010.

While Hobbs was jailed, prosecutors in Virginia allege, Torrez killed a Navy petty officer in her barracks. He faces trial in that case and is already serving five life sentences for attacks on women in Virginia.

The cases of Hobbs and Rivera could be used to show police and prosecutors how not to try to solve a murder, experts said, from the long, aggressive interrogations of the suspects to prosecutors' unwillingness to change course in the face of forensic evidence.

Although it's unclear exactly what Pavletic and Tessmann are teaching, Williams, the Carbondale sergeant who took the class, recalled one thing the former detective discussed — the Rivera case.

The retired detective told his pupils that Juan Rivera gave details of the crime only the killer could have known, Williams said.

On the last day of that downstate training in December, the appeals court disagreed.

A few weeks later, Rivera walked free. The Staker killing remains unsolved.

Copyright © 2012, Chicago Tribune

April 07, 2012

Chicago police officers injured in head-on crash with stolen car

By Peter Nickeas

Two Chicago Police officers in an SUV were injured during a head-on collision with a stolen car near 108th Street and Perry Avenue on the Far South Side about 12:25 a.m., police said.

The two officers were taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center with non-life-threatening injures, Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Ron Gaines said.

Police said the car, a 2008 Volvo, was carjacked about 7 a.m. Friday from the 300 block of East 75th Street. Police said two armed men and two women were involved in the carjacking.

When police collided with the car early Saturday morning, three men jumped out and ran.

Police took two of them into custody, and both were taken to Roseland Hospital with minor injuries, police said.

Check back for more information.

Copyright © 2012, Chicago Tribune

April 07, 2012

Logansport police officer fired over 'inappropriate expenses'

County’s only bilingual officer out after investigation

by Jason M. Rodriguez

LOGANSPORT — Logansport police officer Carlos Leal was fired Thursday for charging “inappropriate expenses” to a city account, the mayor said.

The Logansport Board of Public Works voted Thursday to terminate the employment of the eight-year LPD veteran — and the only law enforcement officer in the county that can speak Spanish.

Mayor Ted Franklin, who is one of three members on the board, issued a press release announcing the firing after the board met in closed session to discuss disciplinary action against Leal.

“An internal investigation revealed inappropriate expenses were charged to a city account,” the release stated. “Officer Leal has not been charged with a crime. The outcome resulted in termination effective immediately.”

Franklin would not say what the inappropriate expenses were, and he said he did not know the amount of money involved.

“Not at this time because it will be part of an investigation that the prosecuting attorney’s office conducts,” he said.

Franklin added the report from the internal investigation would be filed with the prosecutor’s office shortly.

The firing puts the city and county law enforcement community in a bind since there are now no officers in the police department or Cass County Sheriff’s Department who speak Spanish. Leal was often called on to interpret for both departments.

There are no exact figures of how many Spanish-speaking residents live in Logansport or Cass County, but several figures show how this may impact both departments.

• 18.9 percent of Logansport residents speak a language other than English at home, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

• 28 percent of students in the Logansport Community School Corporation do not speak English as a primary language at home, district officials have said.

• There were 525 cases in Cass County courts that required interpreter service in 2010, according to the Indiana Judicial Service report.

Just last month, LPD had two bilingual officers. The other, Carlos “Charlie” Reynoso, resigned late last month without explanation.

Cass County Sheriff Randy Pryor said his department has no one who is bilingual and the most recent batch of applicants for that department did not include a bilingual person.

Franklin said he planned to reach out to people in the Hispanic community to find out if anyone had an interest in becoming a police officer.

“The police department is aware of resources that are available in situations like this,” he said. “I have names of people to call.”

Franklin said none of the nine finalists for two current police officer openings is bilingual.

The mayor said Leal was valuable to the force, but he couldn’t overlook the results of the investigation.

“This is just one of those cases, I just, you just can’t overlook something this serious no matter how valuable you are to the department,” he said. “And he was very valuable. In cases like this, he was the go-to guy.”

Jason M. Rodriguez is news editor of the Pharos-Tribune.

He can be reached at 574-732-5117

April 07, 2012

Steuben sheriff sued over inmate’s amputation

By Mike Marturello

ANGOLA — An Angola man is suing Steuben County for his treatment while in jail that led to the eventual amputation of his leg.

Auburn attorney John C. Grimm has filed suit on behalf of Scott W. Shelton, 45, against Steuben County Sheriff Tim Troyer, on March 20.

Shelton’s suit seeks unspecified damages. However, a December 2011 notice of tort claim, which must predede a civil suit against a governmental entity in Indiana, said Shelton has suffered damages in excess of $300,000. The suit said Shelton has suffered permanent damages that have impaired his ability to earn a living.

The case stems from when Shelton was arrested and jailed May 24, 2011, for alleged theft, a Class D felony. While in jail, on June 4, Shelton climbed out of the top bunk bed where he slept and landed on his foot, hearing a “crack like noise,” the notice said.

Shelton’s foot began to swell and he approached jail personnel to seek medical treatment, which was done in the jail and at Cameron Memorial Community Hospital.

After his initial treatment, the suit said Shelton’s condition worsened. Eventually, Shelton was taken back to Cameron then he was transferred to Lutheran Hospital, Fort Wayne.

There, doctors determined that Shelton’s large left toe needed to be removed because gangrene had set in. Later physicians determined the entire foot had to be amputated due to gangrene, which is the localized death and decomposition of body tissue.

Later, the gangrene continued to ascend Shelton’s left leg, requiring its amputation below the knee in August. While Shelton was hospitalized, a motion was filed in Steuben Circuit Court on Shelton’s behalf to sentence him to time served for the theft charge, which released him from incarceration.

The civil filing in Steuben Superior Court said, “Defendent breached the duty to provide (Shelton) with adequate medical care, monitoring and treatment …”

The sheriff is being defended by attorney Linda A. Polley of Hunt Suedhoff Kalamaros, Fort Wayne. On Tueday she was granted an extension of time to answer to the allegations.

Polley declined to comment on the case Friday because it is pending litigation

April 07, 2012


Sullivan County---An autopsy on Rodney R. Cullison, age 58, of Hymera was performed this morning at Vincennes Good Samaritan Hospital by staff Pathologist Dr. James Jacobi.

The preliminary results of the autopsy list the cause of death as “Delayed Exsanguination” from a right leg laceration. The manner of death is pending and could take a few days or weeks to officially determine pending the conclusion of the ISP investigation. Toxicology results are pending and could take up to two weeks as well.

On Thursday April 5th around 9:26AM, Cullison was found deceased on the kitchen floor of his residence at 611 East Meadow in Hymera by other tenants of the home. The Indiana State Police continue to follow the evidence, interview potential witnesses and investigate all avenues related to this case. However, at this particular point in the investigation, foul play is not suspected.

Questions concerning the autopsy or toxicology results should be directed to Sullivan County Coroner Jeff Griffith at 812-249-0297.

Questions concerning the ISP investigation should be directed to Sergeant Joe Watts.

There is no additional information to release nor expected for a few days or possibly weeks.

The death is being investigated by ISP Trooper B.J. Patterson with assistance from ISP Detectives First Sergeant Jeff Hearon, Sergeant Troy Stanton, Deanna Jones and Chris Carter, ISP Crime Scene Investigators Sergeants Dana Miller and Mark Green, Sullivan County Sheriff Brian Kinnett and deputies, Sullivan County Coroner’s Office and Sullivan County Child Protective Services.

April 07, 2012

Michigan State Police plan to hire more troopers

180 Michigan State Police troopers to be hired

Author: Mara MacDonald

OAK PARK, Mich. - We’re hiring: That’s the word from the Michigan State Police.

As part of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder's initiative to help reduce crime in Michigan's four most violent cities (Saginaw, Flint, Pontiac and Detroit) 180 new troopers are being recruited.

Snyder is spending $15 million to recruit, train and hire the new troopers. It is a major component of his overall plan to reduce crime which includes hiring more techs for the crime labs and spending millions on a summer jobs program for at-risk youth.

The first recruiting class will start in June. MSP is looking for qualified applicants right now. There is a civil service test, agility test and background check. Those who make it through get invited to attend a live-in recruit school which will be no walk in the park.

“We have you from Sunday to Friday. It’ is long days with a lot of work from dawn until dark,” said MSP Sgt. Paul DiPietro.

When the new recruits come on board it will boost state police numbers to more than 1,000. Those are staffing levels not seen since 2001. The majority of the new recruits will be deployed to the Interstate 75 corridor to assist in those four cities suffering from crime problems.

Troopers won’t just be running radar but going into these cities if needed.

Sometimes just seeing that blue patrol car is a deterrent, DiPietro said.

Copyright 2012 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

April 06, 2012

Sheriff's captain took inmate on golf outing, deputy says

A pro golfer turned jewel thief was escorted from the Catalina Island jail

to a golf course, where he gave the captain pointers, the deputy and the former inmate say.

The captain is under investigation.

By Robert Faturechi

The tiny jail on Catalina Island is hardly Alcatraz. Just ask Frank Carrillo.

The pro golfer turned jewel thief couldn't believe his luck when he was moved out of his bleak Men's Central Jail cell in downtown L.A. and allowed to do his time on the sunny tourist isle.

But things got even cushier when he met a Los Angeles County sheriff's captain interested in shaving a few strokes off his golf game.

Carrillo said Capt. Jeff Donahue escorted him in a patrol Jeep to a hilltop golf course last summer. There, dressed in his yellow inmate jumpsuit, Carrillo said, he gave the captain pointers on how to improve his swing and reduce a double-digit handicap.

Word of the free lesson, however, ended up being costly for Donahue, who is under investigation for an inappropriate relationship with an inmate. The allegations were detailed in a complaint by one of Donahue's subordinates.

Carrillo, who compared his time in jail for multiple felonies to hitting the lotto, thought Donahue should be emulated, not investigated.

He was amazing to me, said Carrillo, who believes the captain benefited from his lesson.

He kind of has this swing that's old school and risky, but he hits it every time, Carrillo said in a phone interview. I would probably say he's a 14 or 15 handicap. Not too bad.

Donahue, now on medical leave, headed up the sheriff's Avalon force, which polices Catalina and San Clemente islands and the ocean waters separating them from the mainland. The sheriff's station in Avalon has its own lockup and trusties — well-behaving inmates who get a little extra leeway in exchange for taking care of chores at the site.

Carrillo ended up as a trusty at the island jail after making headlines for stealing a World Series championship ring from a former Dodger at a charity golf event. He eventually pleaded guilty to charges related to a string of golf course thefts involving cash, Rolex watches and other jewelry valued in the tens of thousands of dollars. He was sentenced to two years and has since been released.

The way Carrillo, 41, tells it, his charm, otherwise clean record and good behavior earned him the transfer to Catalina. It was like camp, he recalled.

Carrillo said word of his history as a pro golfer in Canada quickly got around among station deputies. After developing a rapport with Donahue, he said, he broached the idea of leaving the station with the captain to play some golf.

I knew it was a crazy thing to say, Carrillo recalled. But the first thing he said was, 'Maybe I need a few pointers.'

A deputy at the station who filed the claim complaining about the incident said Carrillo was allowed to change into slacks and a polo shirt for the outing. Carrillo recalled staying dressed in his county yellows when the two took the short drive to the course, where they hit balls. They don't really have a driving range. It's a net, he said.

Shortly after the lesson, Carrillo said, Donahue took a golfing trip to Palm Springs. When he returned, he said, the captain raved about how much his swing had improved.

Sheriff's officials are strictly forbidden from fraternizing with inmates. Excursions off site are rarely granted and require special security clearances when they are.

Deputy William Cordero, who filed the claim, said Donahue documented in the jail log that Carrillo never left the station.

The allegations caused a rift at the station, Cordero said. Some deputies had no problem with their boss' actions, but some thought his conduct was illegal, according to the deputy's filing. Cordero said he spoke out about the incident and was harassed by other deputies as a result. He has since been transferred off the island.

In his filing, Cordero also alleges that Donahue told him the golf outing was subsequently cleared by Sheriff Lee Baca, who was on the island in July for a charity event. Carrillo confirmed that account, saying Baca knew him from charity golf tournaments in the past and spoke to him during a tour of the station. The outing came up, Carrillo said, and Baca seemed to approve, characterizing the excursion as rec time.

Baca's spokesman Steve Whitmore denied Carrillo's recollection.

They may have said hello, a conversation may have occurred, but Baca never condoned this guy going out and playing golf, Whitmore said. He would never do that. He would never condone taking a trusty out and having them go play golf.

Times staff writer Andrew Blankstein contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2012, Los Angeles Times

April 06, 2012

Winslow, Indiana Fire Chief Injured After Domestic Disturbance

By Michael C. Fehn

A domestic disturbance in Pike County ends with a fire chief airlifted to a hospital. It happened earlier this week in Winslow.

According to Indiana State Police, Winslow Fire Chief, Travis McCandless, was hit by a car driven by his wife.

Troopers say it appeared his wife had been battered and was trying to leave the residence when she hit him.

McCandless was flown to Deaconess Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

April 06, 2012

Montgomery County police chase ends in a crash

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - A police chase ends in a crash in Montgomery County Thursday afternoon.

Indiana State Troopers said 28-year-old Billy Ray Anderson of Cloverdale was being chased by the Montgomery County sheriff's deputies when he ran his pickup truck into the middle of a trailer hauling corn.

It all happened at the intersection of State Road 25 and US 136 in Waynetown in Montgomery County about 12:40 Thursday afternoon.

Anderson was trapped in his car as it caught fire.

He was airlifted to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Investigators believe the pick-up was stolen and that Anderson was involved with a string of thefts earlier in the day.

The semi driver was not injured, but about 400 pounds of corn spilled on the road.

April 06, 2012

Police Officer Killed in Austin, Suspect Arrested


AUSTIN---A police officer was shot and killed early Friday while responding to a routine call about a drunk man at a Walmart in Central Texas, and a suspect is in custody, police said.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said the officer was shot in the neck and died at the scene.

This was a routine call. What makes our job deadly is that there is no routine call, Acevedo said.

Two Walmart employees tackled and held the suspect until another police officer arrived to arrest him. The police chief declined to provide more details, including the officer's name, citing the ongoing investigation.

April 06, 2012

Michigan State Trooper shot when suspect's gun hit pavement, went off

By David Harris

FLINT, Michigan -- A Michigan State Police trooper was shot when the suspect's gun fell out of his waistband, hit the pavement and went off, hitting the trooper in the abdomen, according to a Michigan State Police detective.

The new details were divulged during a warrant hearing in Flint District Judge M. Cathy Dowd. She issued the warrant on four charges against the 34-year-old Flint man: carrying concealed weapon, assaulting/resisting/obstructing police officer while causing injury, felony firearm and careless discharge of a firearm causing death or injury.

Det. Mark Ferguson said two troopers intervened during a fight between two men in the parking lot of Brothers Food Store on Saginaw Street near Stewart Avenue. One of the men began to flee. When he did, a gun the man had in his belt came loose. When it hit the pavement, it fired, hitting the trooper, an 11-year-veteran, Ferguson said.

Ferguson said the store's video captures the event.

The man was later apprehended about three blocks away about 15 minutes later.

The trooper was treated and released from a hospital. He is expected to be fine.

The suspect has not yet been arraigned.

© 2012 All rights reserved.

April 06, 2012

Lantana fires police chief after DUI arrest, citing 5 department violations

By Alexia Campbell

Lantana town officials took swift action in firing Police Chief Jeff Tyson less than 24 hours after his arrest in Boca Raton on charges of drunken driving and hit-and-run.

In the termination letter, Town Manager Michael Bornstein said Tyson violated at least five departmental rules, with behavior unbecoming of a town employee either on or off duty, which would bring discredit or interfere with the town service.

Police Chief Jeff Tyson, 51, was driving an unmarked police car northbound on Military Trail around 1 p.m. Wednesday when he crashed into the unmarked car of a Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office deputy, who stopped in front of him at the traffic light at Spanish River Boulevard, according to Boca Raton police.

Tyson drove off, police said, but eventually stopped after the deputy followed with his emergency lights on. Breath tests showed Tyson's blood alcohol level at nearly three times the legal amount to drive.

By 11 a.m. Thursday, town officials had fired him, said Commander Sean Scheller, who has temporarily replaced Tyson as police chief.

The move ends Tyson's brief stint — less than two years — as Lantana's top cop. The New Jersey native joined the department in 1999 after serving with Delray Beach and Palm Beach Shores police departments and the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, state records show.

He started as a patrol officer and rose through the ranks to captain before he was named Lantana police chief in 2010.

Tyson, who lives in Palm Beach, also is a state-licensed private investigator. State records list him as a past president of the Palladium Group, a private-investigation firm in West Palm Beach.

Tyson could not be reached for comment despite attempts by phone.

He was booked at the Palm Beach County Jail around 6 p.m. Wednesday and released a few hours later with no set bail. Tyson ignored television news cameras that followed him as he walked out.

A police officer convicted of DUI is required by the state to undergo substance-abuse counseling and can barred from working in law enforcement for up to a year, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

It all depends on the blood-alcohol content and if there was damage, said Clyde Lemon, a case specialist with FDLE's officer-discipline section. Panelists vote on how to punish law-breaking cops in disciplinary hearings held across the state.

Tyson has no criminal history in Florida and no disciplinary history as a police officer in Delray Beach or Palm Beach Shores. His personnel files with the Sheriff's Office and Lantana police were unavailable Thursday.

In the termination letter, Bornstein, the town manager, accused Tyson of being careless or negligent with town property, using town property unsafely or without authorization, off-duty abuse of alcohol and driving a town vehicle while intoxicated.

Abusing alcohol off the job can affect job performance, the letter said, and can cause harm to the town's image or relationship with other employees or the public.

Tyson, who was driving a department-issued Ford Explorer at the time of the crash, smelled like alcohol and looked confused and disoriented, according his arrest report.

Tyson told Boca Raton police he was on his way home from the doctor, but was unable to tell police what route he took, police said. He refused a sobriety test.

After his arrest, Tyson agreed to a breath test, which showed his blood-alcohol level at 0.22 and 0.23, nearly triple the legal limit to drive, the report said. Investigators found a metal coffee cup in his car with a red liquid that smelled like alcohol.

Staff researcher Barbara Hijek contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2012, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

April 06, 2012


Sullivan County—Detectives from the Indiana State Police Putnamville Post, with the assistance of the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office, are investigating the death of a Hymera man found inside his home this morning at 611 Meadow Street in Hymera. The Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call at 9:36AM from persons inside the residence reporting the deceased man.

Preliminary investigation has found that other tenants of the home awoke this morning and found the man deceased on the kitchen floor of the residence. The man was partially clothed and appeared to have possible injuries to his lower extremities.

Sullivan County Coroner Jeff Griffith has released the name of the victim and he has been identified as Rodney R. Cullison, age 58, of Hymera, IN.

An autopsy is scheduled for 9:30AM at Good Samaritan Hospital in Vincennes. Upon completion of the autopsy, more information will be released.

No other information will be released at this time.

Direct any questions to Sergeant Joe Watts.

Indiana State Police Trooper B.J. Patterson is the lead investigator. Assisting were other detectives from the Putnamville Post, ISP Crime Scene Investigators, Sullivan County Sheriff Brian Kinnett and deputies, Sullivan County Coroner Jeff Griffith, and Sullivan County Child Protective Services.

April 06, 2012

Troopers Arrest Two Men for Early Morning Burglary

Dubois County (Jasper) – Early Thursday morning, April 5, at approximately 5:25 a.m., Trooper Brock Werne was driving toward his residence near 47th Street and Portersville Road after ending his shift when he observed a white male standing near an ATV in his neighbor’s driveway. Werne also noticed a green Chevrolet pickup truck slowing down near the ATV. The truck’s bed contained a riding lawn mower and a dirt bike. When Werne turned around to investigate, the driver of the pickup truck drove away and the other male jumped on the ATV and fled the area. Minutes later, the ATV crashed through Werne’s wood privacy fence and storage shed, which was located nearby. The driver of the ATV fled the area on foot. The pickup truck was later found abandoned at 44th and Baden Strasse. Nearly 2 ½ hours later, Trooper Phil Hensley located William Cook, 35, of Paoli, on C.R. 300 North approximately 1 ½ miles away from the incident. Further investigation revealed Cook was allegedly driving the pickup truck before it was abandoned. Troopers later arrested Delbert Salmon Jr, 26, of French Lick, after their investigation determined he allegedly fled on the stolen ATV earlier in Jasper. Troopers also revealed Cook and Salmon allegedly burglarized a residence on Portersville Road approximately 3 ½ miles north of Jasper earlier this morning. Troopers believe the riding lawn mower and dirt bike are also stolen, but have not yet found the victims. Salmon was arrested at his residence without further incident. Salmon and Cook are currently being held on bond in the Dubois County Jail. Anyone with information concerning this incident should contact the Indiana State Police at 812-482-1441.


Delbert L. Salmon Jr, 26, French Lick, IN

1. Burglary, Class C Felony

2. Theft, Class D Felony

3. Possession of Stolen Property, Class D Felony

4. Resisting Law Enforcement, Class D Felony

5. Criminal Mischief, Class A Misdemeanor

William A. Cook, 35, Paoli, IN

1. Burglary, Class C Felony

2. Theft, Class D Felony

3. Possession of Stolen Property, Class D Felony

Investigating Officers: Troopers Phil Hensley and Brock Werne, Indiana State Police

Assisting Agency: Dubois County Sheriff’s Department, Jasper Police and Orange Co. Sheriff’s Office

April 06, 2012

Madison Woman Facing Theft Charges in Jackson County

Jackson County: In late February Detective Rachel Hunt received information of an allegation of theft from Artisan Realtors/Penn Villa Apartments in Jackson County. During the course of her investigation, Det. Hunt learned 32 year old Christina Mason of Madison was serving as the acting property manager at the Penn Villa Apartments. During the period of time she served in that capacity it was alleged she received deposit money from apartment applicants and diverted the money for her personal use. Det. Hunt arrested Mason at her residence in Madison yesterday without incident and transported her to the Jackson County Jail where she is facing a charge of Theft (Class D Felony).

April 06, 2012

National Telecommunications Week

(April 8-14)

Versailles: In 1991 Congress proclaimed the second full week in April to be National Telecommunications Week to recognize the importance of those special individuals who coordinate the efforts police, fire, and EMS workers as they perform their duties. Telecommunications operators are the unsung heroes of public safety. To the public they are faceless voices heard over the scanner. To public safety workers they dispatch for, they are a lifeline. Governor Mitch Daniels has proclaimed the week of April 8-14 as Telecommunications Week in Indiana.

Telecommunications is a function that operates 24 hours per day, seven days per week, 365 days per year and can be very stressful. One minute an operator can be communicating a routine function to an officer and the next minute they may be coordinating a high speed pursuit, dispatching emergency assistance to an accident scene, or coordinating a situation where police officers are involved in a gun battle.

All Indiana State Police telecommunications operators must pass a written test, a typing test, appear before an interview board, and go through a background investigation before being hired as an ISP telecommunications operator. Once hired, they must then endure at least 12 weeks of intense training and continuous in-service training throughout their careers to maintain certifications and keep up-to-date on the latest communications technology and procedures.

Telecommunications operators working from the Region IV Indiana State Police Regional Dispatch Center in Versailles are responsible for dispatching troopers and motor carrier inspectors to calls for service in the Versailles and Sellersburg ISP Districts which covers a total of 15 counties in southeastern Indiana. Currently there is one dispatch center manager, three telecommunications supervisors, and 10 telecommunications operators. The current telecommunications personnel at Region IV are:

Steve Comer, Regional Dispatch Center Manager

Connie Poer, Telecommunications Supervisor

Patty Grimes, Telecommunications Supervisor

Sarah Collins, Telecommunications Supervisor

Deborah Richey, Telecommunication Operator

Marla Hankins, Telecommunication Operator

Jeanie Helton, Telecommunication Operator

Ann Cheatam, Telecommunication Operator

Amanda Lawson, Telecommunication Operator

Brandy Mahler, Telecommunication Operator

Bobbi Branson, Telecommunication Operator

Heidi Jackson, Telecommunication Operator

Tracy Mullins, Telecommunication Operator

Christine Rosengarter, Telecommunication Operator

April 06, 2012

Thomas X. Hardy gets life in prison without parole in killing of IMPD officer David Moore

by Carrie Ritchie

The man who confessed to shooting and killing IMPD officer David Moore was sentenced to life in prison without parole this morning in Marion Superior Court.

Thomas X. Hardy, 61, pleaded guilty to murder March 14 and his sentence was laid out in his plea agreement, which Marion Superior Court Judge Mark Stoner had already accepted.

But today’s hearing gave Moore’s parents and Hardy a chance to talk to each other about the shooting, an opportunity that may help bring some closure for the Moores.

Moore’s mother, Jo Moore, who’s also and IMPD officer, cried as she read a prepared statement to Hardy.

“I needed to tell you face to face,” she said, “I’m really horrified that you executed my little boy. … You ambushed my boy. He didn’t have a chance.”

Hardy shot Moore multiple times during a routine traffic stop Jan. 23, 2011. Moore was fatally injured and was taken off life support a few days later.

Hardy told the Moores that he still doesn’t understand why he shot their son. He said he has prayed for their family and prayed for forgiveness.

“I struggle with it every day and I’ll struggle with it every day for the rest of my life,” he said. “All I can say is that I’m sorry.”

Hardy’s attorneys, Monica Foster and Ray Casanova, said after the hearing that Hardy has told them repeatedly how sorry he is.

“To us he has said that he’s not sure that the Lord will ever forgive him for what he has done,” Foster said, “and he’s very concerned about that. …. Ray and I have 40 years combined experience doing this. We know true remorse when we see it. (Hardy) is remorseful.”

Jo Moore gave Hardy a card that has David Moore’s picture and the police officer’s prayer on the back.

After the hearing, she said she thought it was important for Hardy to have it.

“Hopefully,” she said, “with my prayers and Mr. Hardy’s prayers, we can come to peace.”

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said in a statement that his office was prepared to take the case to trial and pursue the death penalty, but they wanted to respect the wishes of the Moores, who said that by accepting Hardy’s guilty plea and sparing his life, they would be honoring their son.

“The sentencing of Thomas Hardy today gives Jo and Spencer Moore finality and certainty,” Curry said in the statement. “I can only hope that it can help them continue to heal and find peace.”

Follow Star reporter Carrie Ritchie on Twitter at Call her at (317) 444-2751.

April 05, 2012

Marion Co. deputy held on theft, ghost employment charges

A Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputy who resigned in March was arrested today on charges of theft and ghost employment by office investigators following an internal investigation.

Donald Prout, 32, resigned March 28, according to an office news release. He was hired in 2006 and was assigned to the warrants section.

The investigation determined Prout was working private security while he was supposed to be serving warrants for the sheriff or attending training classes, the release said. He was on administrative leave before his resignation.

He was charged with one count of theft and three counts of ghost employment, all Class D felonies, the release said. Records confirm that on four occasions Prout double-recorded employment time, at a calculated loss to the sheriff’s office of $185, according to the release.

“I have absolutely zero-tolerance for this type of behavior, Sheriff John Layton said in the release. “I will provide all support necessary for the professional Marion County Sheriff Deputies who do their job and represent our agency well. However, I will continue to pursue criminal charges for any employee who violates the very laws we are sworn to protect.”

April 05, 2012

Driver T-bones police vehicle responding to call

Both sent to local hospital with minor injuries

By Sarah Janssen

An accident involving three cars sent one driver and a Fort Wayne police officer to the hospital Wednesday night.

At about 8:15 p.m. the officer was traveling southbound on Crescent, responding to a high-priority call with the car's lights and sirens on, said police spokesman Officer Scott Tegtmeyer.

As the officer approached Coliseum Blvd., he stopped for traffic before proceeding into the intersection. After the car was about halfway through the intersection, another car traveling east on Coliseum crashed into the police car, T-boning the vehicle on the passenger side, Tegtmeyer said.

The force sent the police car into another vehicle. The driver of the third vehicle had no injuries. The officer and driver of the second vehicle were both treated at a local hospital for minor injuries.

Tegtmeyer said the footage from the officer's in-car video camera and other evidence will be reviewed and a determination of fault will be made in the coming days.

The driver of the vehicle that hit the police car could be charged with failure to yield to an emergency vehicle if the accident is ruled to be the driver's fault.

If the officer is at fault, a range of disciplinary actions could be taken from a letter of reprimand, to suspension or termination depending on the number of incidents within a certain period of time.

April 05, 2012

Girl lied about 2001 rape; father set free

By Tony Lystra

LONGVIEW, WASHINGTON---In early 2001, an 11-year-old Kalama girl named Cassandra Ann Kennedy told police her dad raped her on at least three occasions. Her father, Thomas Edward Kennedy, denied the allegation, but he was convicted by a jury and sentenced to more than 15 years in prison.

In January, Cassandra Kennedy, now 23, told Longview police she made it all up. So after serving more than nine years in prison, her father was released last week and the charges against him were dismissed.

I did a horrible thing, Cassandra told detectives in January, according to a police report. It's not OK to sit and be locked in this horrible place for something you didn't do. It's just not right.

Cowlitz County Prosecutor Sue Baur said Friday she's never seen a case quite like it. The innocent are sometimes freed after years in prison by the work of pro-bono legal teams and new DNA evidence. But Baur said she's never known a child to return to authorities a decade later and recant, certainly not with enough credibility to scuttle a case.

This is something my whole office is talking about, she said. This is the kind of thing that shouldn't happen.

Reached Friday, Thomas Kennedy, now 43, declined to comment, saying he's simply trying to get on with his life. Longview police, who investigated both the initial allegations in 2001 and the details that later exonerated Kennedy, also declined to comment and referred questions to Baur.

In recent months, Cassandra Kennedy has been staying at Mountain Ministries, a Christian addiction treatment center near Kelso, according to police reports. Gary Miller, the organization's director, said Thursday evening that she is in Mexico doing missionary work and can't be reached.

Baur said Cassandra Kennedy will not be prosecuted for her apparent lies about her father, partly because prosecutors do not want to discourage people in similar circumstances from coming forward.

'I needed to do what was right'

Cassandra Kennedy called Longview police on Jan. 23, saying she wanted to talk about her father's 2002 conviction, according to investigative reports. She sat down with a pair of detectives at the department three days later.

I need to do what is right, she told them, according to a report.

No, Cassandra told police, her father never touched her. For nearly a decade, she said, her father had been sitting in prison based on her lies.

I just want him to be out and freed, Cassandra said in her interview with the police. Then, she said, I will be free on the inside.

Cassandra said she got the idea of setting up her father from a friend whose stepfather was sent to prison for a child sex crime. I thought that is what I would do to make my dad go away, she told police in January.

In her recent interviews with police, Cassandra recalled testifying against her father during his trial and having to point at him and look at him and say who he was — and how bad I felt, all the guilt, thinking, 'Can I take it all back?'

I remember being so unhappy and scared that they were going to convict him, Cassandra told the detectives in January.

Police reports tell the story of an angry little girl who felt neglected by her father and, by her own admission, took vengeance on him.

Thomas Kennedy and his wife divorced around 1991, and their daughters, Cassandra and her older sister, began spending one weekend a month with their father, according to court documents. The girls slept on foam mattresses in the living room of Kennedy's Longview home.

'I took vengeance'

As a child, Cassandra Kennedy liked Rollerblades, camping and swimming — typical kid stuff. But she told police her fellow Kalama Elementary students made fun of her clothes and her buck teeth. She began experimenting with alcohol, she said.

The girl wrote in her journal, a copy of which is part of the court record, that her teacher isn't nice and she never calls on me and she gives me mean looks. In 2000, a few months before she accused her father of incest, Cassandra was expelled from school for saying in a letter to her teacher that she was thinking about bringing a gun to school and shooting everyone, according to a medical report. Cassandra had a couple of sessions with a counselor following the incident.

She attended Kalama High School until her junior year, when she dropped out, according to investigative reports. Cassandra said she became addicted to pills in her late teens and worked a few odd jobs, for just a month or two, at McDonald's and PetCo. By 2010, she was using meth and had felony convictions for burglary and theft, the reports said.

In January, Cassandra told police she still has fond childhood memories of sitting on her father's lap as he drove his pickup to collect wood pallets and wire to scrap.

I was daddy's girl, she said. I was with my dad! But, she said, her father wasn't around much when she was little and that he drank heavily, smoked pot and partied.

I wanted him to love me, and I didn't think he did at that time, she told the detectives.

So, Cassandra said, she made up the rape story, largely because her father disappointed her. He wasn't showing up. I wanted him away so he would stop hurting me, she said this year. I took my own vengeance.

In a 2001 interview with police, Cassandra said she wanted her father to take a lie detector test. When an investigator asked her what questions her dad should be asked, none of her suggested queries involved sexual abuse. Instead she wanted police to ask Kennedy: Do you still smoke pot? Do you like to your kids? Do you still drink?

Kennedy never took a lie detector test on the advice of his attorney, according to investigative documents.

Cassandra said this year that, as a child, she didn't understand the consequences of her lies. She told police she hadn't thought Kennedy would go to prison if he was convicted. I just thought he would go away, you know, go to jail for a little bit, be out of my life, she said.

Baur, who was the prosecutor during the case, recalled Friday that all of the pieces in the investigation seemed to fall into place.

It just totally made sense, she said.

Most startling, Baur said, was that Cassandra told the story of the abuse again and again with amazing consistency. Yet, Baur said, she did not appear to me to be the most precocious 11-year-old.

'Peace' a code word for abuse

Cassandra first told her teacher about the alleged incest in early 2001, according to reports. Teacher and student worked out a code word to signal that the abuse was continuing — peace. Cassandra told police it wasn't long before she called the teacher: It happened again, she said. Peace.

Cassandra also wrote about the alleged abuse in a journal that included among its pink and purple pages other mundane entries about boys, Cassandra's slipping grades and her older sister's annoying behavior. On the cover, written in a little girl's haphazard letters, were the words Confidential. No taking peeks.

Later in 2001, in an interview with Longview police investigators, Cassandra used stuffed animals to illustrate what her father had allegedly done to her, reports said. She also drew a picture of a bathroom where she said one of the rapes happened. Police later measured and photographed the room.

Cassandra's account included frightening detail, according to police reports. But if it wasn't true, police wanted to know this year, how could an 11-year-old know so much about sex? Cassandra told police in January that she began engaging in sexual activity as a second-grader. She also said she may have known what to tell police from watching a movie or from walking in on adults having sex.

In March of 2001, Cassandra was examined at a Vancouver clinic where she told a doctor about the alleged abuse. She looked at me and said, 'Are you telling the truth? Cassandra said this year of her appointment with the doctor. I lied to her and said, 'Yes.'

The doctor found trauma in Cassandra's groin area, according to a report.

Police described Cassandra's allegations during an interview with Kennedy in March of 2001. Kennedy, who was at the time a laborer and equipment operator at Metro Metals Northwest in Kelso, denied doing anything, a Longview investigator wrote in a report. He was very upset. He told me he would do anything to prove he didn't do anything.

A jury convicted Kennedy of three counts of first-degree rape of a child in 2002, and now-retired Cowlitz Superior Court Judge Jim Warme sentenced him to more than 15 years in prison.

Until then, Kennedy's criminal record had included convictions in the 1990s for fourth-degree assault, reckless driving and driving with a suspended license.

Cassandra's family members recalled to police this year that, during a 2002 trip to the beach, Cassandra told her mother she'd lied about the rape allegations, according to reports. However, Cassandra took back the statement a day later and insisted she'd been telling the truth all along, family members told police.

Kennedy, who was serving his sentence at the Stafford Creek Corrections Center in Aberdeen, appealed his conviction, alleging his defense attorney had been incompetent, but the appeals failed. Kennedy wasn't scheduled to be released until 2016.

On Feb. 15, after Longview police told prosecutors that Cassandra Kennedy was recanting, Baur wrote an urgent letter to Superior Court Judge Stephen Warning. I need to inform you that I have been made aware of new, credible material evidence that potentially creates a reasonable likelihood that Mr. Kennedy is innocent of those crimes, Baur wrote, adding that her staff was continuing to work with investigators to uncover the truth.

Kennedy was brought from Stafford Creek to the Cowlitz County Jail in late February, Baur said. During a hearing last Monday, Judge Warning ruled that Cassandra's statements to police this year are credible. He also found that the physical trauma reported by a doctor in 2001 may have been caused by a sexual experience that took place before the dates of the alleged abuse, Baur said.

Asked if there had been missteps in the initial investigation, Baur said she has recently reviewed a recording of the little girl's testimony and has been rethinking every detail of the case. She noted that 12 jurors found enough evidence at the time to convict Kennedy and that the conduct of prosecutors, defense attorneys and Judge Warme was upheld by the appeals court.

There should be no indictment of the system, she said.

Instead, Baur said, it's simply a case of a victim withdrawing her story.

Unfortunately, a man spent 10 years in prison before that happened, she said.

April 05, 2012

Waitress sues over $12,000 in takeout box that she says is gift, but police call drug money

A Minnesota waitress who says a customer told her she could keep a box containing $12,000 has sued after police impounded the cash as suspected drug money.

Stacy Knutson of Moorhead, Minn., filed a lawsuit asking that the cash be returned to her. She said she believes the money was meant as an anonymous gift from someone who knew that she, her husband and five children were struggling with severe financial difficulties.

“I do know that the person gave me what was in that to-go bag,” Knutson wrote in the lawsuit filed in March. “Thus as I understand it, it is mine.”

A message left at Knutson’s home Wednesday was returned by her attorney, Craig Richie, who said his client is “overwhelmed” and didn’t want to speak to a reporter.

The lawsuit says Knutson was working at the Fry’n Pan restaurant when a customer left behind a takeout box from another restaurant. She followed the diner to her car and tried to return the box but the lady said, “No, I am good, you keep it,” the lawsuit said.

When Knutson went back into the kitchen and opened the box, she found three wads of bills — $100s, $50s, $20s and $10s — wrapped in rubber bands, Richie said.

Even though she really needed the money, she decided to call police, her attorney said.

Officers told her to wait 90 days in case someone claimed the money. No one did but police still refused to return the cash, saying it was being held in a drug investigation because it smelled of marijuana, Richie said.

But if Knutson believed the diner was the rightful owner of the cash, and that the diner gave her explicit permission to keep the money, why would Knutson even bother going to police?

“She’s saying, hey, this is a lot of money,” Richie said. “She doesn’t want to be in a position where she’s doing something wrong.”

After no one claimed the money, that confirmed for her that the money was truly a gift, Richie said.

Moorhead police Lt. Tory Jacobson said when money is usually found and turned over to police, the finder can keep it if no one claims it in 90 days. But in a narcotics case, the money goes to the county attorney’s office unless the finder persuades a judge to award the cash to them, he said.

“That doesn’t mean she can’t raise the issue with the judge,” Jacobson said of Knutson. “It’s just not the police department’s decision to make.”

Richie said police told him they smelled marijuana on the bills and that a police dog confirmed their suspicions. Jacobson acknowledged that a police dog detected an unspecified drug.

But Richie said at least one of Knutson’s co-workers took a deep whiff of the bills to jokingly see what that much money smells like, and the man didn’t detect any scent of marijuana.

And even if the bills did smell of drugs, Richie said that doesn’t give police the right to keep them. Jacobson declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation.

The lawsuit says Knutson is not being accused of having anything to do with drugs herself.

Knutson said she was convinced about what really happened: that the windfall was God’s way of answering her family’s prayers.

“It is a complete miracle to see our prayers answered,” she wrote, “but then difficult to face the reality of the struggle it is to obtain it (the money) from the Moorhead Police Department.”

Dinesh Ramde can be reached at dramde(at)

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

April 05, 2012

Sex For Cheeseburgers: Christine Baker Offered Favors For Two Doubles, Cops Say

By Andy Campbell

She was lovin' it a little too much.Manatee resident Christine Faith Baker, 47, was arrested after she allegedly offered sexual favors for two McDonald's dollar-menu cheeseburgers, according to the Miami Herald.

An undercover officer invited Baker into his car on Friday and started talking about sex.

Baker allegedly said that her fee was two McDoubles -- the dollar-menu version of a double cheeseburger -- costing a grand total of $2.75.

Of course, Baker was also allegedly looking for a tip of another $40 for her services, the Bradenton Herald reported.

The detective bought the burgers and drove to a vacant lot, where other agents arrested Baker on charges of prostitution.

It's yet unclear whether she was allowed to eat the delicious doubles before she was taken to jail.

April 05, 2012

Health info regarding Bill Todd former Deputy Sheriff of Rush County

submitted by Tom DeBaun

“Reminiscing With Bill” event April 14

----- Forwarded Message -----

From: John Mull To: Gary Wilkinson

Sent: Tuesday, April 3, 2012 4:14 PM

Subject: Bill Todd

Hi John!

This is Sheri Blackford from Rush Co Sheriff’s Office.

I wanted to make you aware that Bill Todd is battling pancreatic cancer. Prognosis is maybe a year.


Bill would like to see everyone that he has worked with over the years as a deputy.

We are having a “Reminiscing With Bill” event. April 14 (Saturday) from 1P – 4P. It will be

at the Jackson Community Center on the corner of 400 N and Rushville Road.

Please let me know if you will be able to stop by to share some memories with Bill. He would

be thrilled to see you.

Please call me at the RCSO: 932-2931, my cell: 765-561-4148 or shoot me an email.

Also, John, if you keep in contact with other retired Troopers, it would help me so much if

You could pass the word on to them.

Thanks! Hope to see you on the 14th

April 05, 2012

Logansport Man Arrested on Child Molestation Charge

Logansport – Recently, a criminal investigation by Indiana State Police Detective Josh Rozzi resulted in the arrest of Henry B. Santamaria-Hernandez, 20, 925 West Melbourne Avenue, Logansport, IN. Santamaria-Hernandez surrendered to deputies at the Cass County Jail where he was served a Cass Circuit Court arrest warrant alleging a class B felony count of child molestation. He was incarcerated in the Cass County Jail with a bond of $25,000. He has since posted bond.

Detective Rozzi started his investigation after receiving information that Santamaria-Hernandez had allegedly committed a sexual act with a 13-year-old Cass County girl. The investigation revealed that Santamaria-Hernandez had purportedly performed a sex act with the girl in early February 2012.

A person convicted of a class B felony can be sentenced up to a 20-year term of imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000.

April 05, 2012

Prison Inmate Charged with Attempted Murder of Correctional Officer

Bunker Hill – Recently, a month long criminal investigation by Indiana State Police Detective Mike Tarrh and Lorna Harbaugh, internal affairs investigator for the Miami Correctional Facility, resulted in attempted murder and aggravated battery charges being filed against Ruben Gonzalez, 39, an inmate within the Indiana Department of Correction.

On the afternoon of February 29, 2012, Gonzalez allegedly beat a Miami Correctional Facility officer unconscious inside an offender housing unit at the Miami Correctional Facility. Gonzalez purportedly committed the unprovoked attack by striking the correctional officer repeatedly in the head and face with a sock containing a padlock hidden inside.

The correctional officer, a 10 year veteran of the Indiana Department of Correction, was flown by Lifeline Helicopter to a Ft. Wayne, IN, hospital. The officer suffered a skull fracture, a broken jaw, arterial bleeding inside his neck, and has sustained hearing loss as a result of the attack. He faces several months of rehabilitation to recover from his injuries.

Shortly after the attack, Gonzalez was transferred to the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility in Carlisle, IN. That is where he was served a Miami Circuit Court arrest warrant alleging one count of attempted murder and a class B felony count for aggravated battery.

April 05, 2012

Jonesville Police Chief Placed on Leave

JONESVILLE, MI - The Jonesville Police chief has been placed on paid administrative leave, following an incident involving an autistic child who ran away from school. According to a statement by Village of Jonesville manager Adam R. Smith, Chief Brian Corbett was placed on leave March 30, and will remain on leave for the duration of the state police investigation into the incident.

On March 28, an 8 year old boy ran away from the Williams Elementary School after an altercation on the playground. School staff called the police. Two school employees eventually caught up with the boy as well as Chief Corbett. The boy's mother says the chief told her he dragged the boy into police car. She says she was told her son kept kicking the back seat of the patrol car, so Chief Corbett struck the child on the legs with a baton. The mother says her son was then taken back to the school in handcuffs.

The police chief told News 10 over the phone that had he known the boy was autistic, he would have responded differently.

Michigan State Police are conducting an investigation. The Hillsdale County Intermediate School District is also reviewing the incident.

April 05, 2012

Grayslake police chief charged with drunk driving after Wisconsin crash

By Deanese Williams-Harris

The Grayslake police chief was charged with drunk driving after he and his wife were involved in a crash while returning from a restaurant just over the state line in Wisconsin, authorities say.

Grayslake police chief Matt McCutcheon was turning onto Route 45 in Silver Lake when he struck a car on the highway around 10 p.m. Friday, according to the police report. No one was injured in either car.

Responding officers said they found McCutcheon, 46, standing outside his black Honda when they arrived. He was swaying and almost lost his balance as he pulled out his wallet and showed his police badge, according to the police report.

I could smell a strong odor of intoxicants coming from his breath, reported Kenosha County Deputy Cheryl Lapenta. I also observed the subject's eyes were bloodshot and were glossy. The subject's speech was very slow.

When she asked McCutcheon if he had been drinking, the police chief said he had a few beers with dinner.

Asked if he was carrying a gun, McCutcheon lifted up his shirt and displayed a 9mm handgun in his waistline, the police report states. Lapenta said she removed the gun and found seven live rounds in it, one of them in the chamber.

McCutcheon refused a sobriety test and was taken to Aurora Hospital where a blood sample was drawn. While at the hospital, the police chief said he and his wife had been to the Twin Oaks Country Inn in Wilmot and that he had three vodka martinis.

The police chief was charged with operating while under the influence and taken to Kenosha County Jail, according to the police report.

McCutcheon has been serving as police chief of Grayslake since Larry Herzog stepped down last summer. He was named the permanent replacement just two months ago after a nationwide search drew 120 applicants. His salary is estimated at $130,000. He has been on the force since 1991.

Mayor Rhett Taylor, who conducted the search, said the incident is being investigated but there has been no change in McCutcheon's status for now.

“If the investigation confirms the media reports, this would constitute unacceptable conduct for an individual in the position of Grayslake police chief,” Taylor said.

Police said McCutcheon's Honda crossed over the double lines of Route 45 while turning south and struck a siilver Dodge.

When paramedics arrived at the scene, he told them his wife was still in the car and he asked how she was doing, the report said. The officer walked over to the car and McCutcheon's wife was sitting in the passenger seat.

McCutcheon refused treatment and said he was not going to the hospital. The officer told McCutcheon he needed to conduct a sobriety test but McCutcheon said he was refusing everything, according to the report.

McCutcheon was then arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated and being armed while intoxicated.

Copyright © 2012

April 04, 2012


Jason Fulford

Sullivan County—This morning at approximately 10:00AM, Indiana State Police troopers and Sullivan County Sheriff’s deputies responded to 7102 East County Road 350 North Sullivan for a reported confinement of a mother and girlfriend. The residence is owned by the mother, also a victim.

Officers arrived at the residence and upon further investigation found that 37-year-old Jason Fulford was allegedly using the threat of force to keep his mother and girlfriend inside the rural home. The victims had been held since 9:30PM on April 2 until approximately 10:00AM this morning, at which time the suspect stepped out onto the front porch to speak on his cell phone and the mother dialed the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office for help. The confinement was alleged to have begun over a domestic argument involving medical issues. Fulford was placed into custody and transported to the Sullivan County Jail by state police. Fulford was preliminarily charged with two counts of Class D felony Criminal Confinement with his bond set at $8000 cash.

The investigating officer was ISP Trooper Brent Robinson. Assisting were ISP Probationary Trooper Michael Featherling, Sullivan County Prosecutor’s Office and the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office.

April 04, 2012

New Orleans police officers face decades in prison for shootings, cover-up after Katrina

NEW ORLEANS — A case that became the centerpiece of the Justice Department’s push to clean up the troubled New Orleans Police Department was expected to close a chapter Wednesday with a federal judge sentencing five former police officers for their roles in deadly shootings of unarmed residents on a bridge in the chaotic days after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city.

U.S. District Kurt Engelhardt was to hear several hours of arguments by prosecutors and defense attorneys and testimony by relatives of shooting victims and the officers before sentencing the former officers.

Four of the five officers who were convicted at trial last year face decades in prison under sentencing guidelines. While Engelhardt isn’t bound by those guidelines, Kenneth Bowen, Robert Gisevius, Anthony Villavaso and Robert Faulcon were convicted of firearms charges that carry mandatory minimum sentences.

Arthur Kaufman, a retired sergeant who wasn’t charged in the shootings but was convicted of participating in a cover-up, faces significantly less prison time under the guidelines.

A total of 20 current or former New Orleans police officers have been charged in a series of Justice Department probes, most of which center on actions during the aftermath of the 2005 storm. Eleven of those officers were charged in the Danziger Bridge case, which stunned a city with a long history of police corruption.

Police shot six unarmed people, killing two, on the bridge as they responded to another officer’s distress call. Realizing it was a “bad shoot,” police immediately embarked on a brazen cover-up that included a planted gun, fabricated witnesses and bogus reports, according to prosecutors.

Defense attorneys are expected to ask the judge to deviate from the guidelines and show the officers leniency.

In a court filing last week, Bowen’s attorney asked for more time during the sentencing hearing for testimony about the grueling conditions officers endured in Katrina’s aftermath.

“He wants to present evidence of the rescue work that he and other officers in NOPD’s Seventh District performed in the week between Katrina and the Danziger incident, and of the physical and emotional toll which that work took,” wrote Bowen’s lawyer, Robin Schulberg.

Bowen’s witnesses would testify about “emotional trauma of having to leave some people behind,” the lawyer added.

“They would speak about mothers offering up their babies to passing rescuers who could not stop for fear that other people in the crowd would take their vehicles, about getting little sleep at night for fear of incursions,” Schulberg wrote.

Hurricane Katrina struck on Aug. 29, 2005, leading to the collapse of levees and flooding an estimated 80 percent of the city. New Orleans was plunged into chaos as residents who hadn’t evacuated were driven from their homes to whatever high places they could find.

On the morning of Sept. 4, one group was crossing the Danziger Bridge in the city’s Gentilly area when police received calls that shots were being fired and rushed to the span. Gunfire reports were common after Katrina and law enforcement and emergency responders were strained by the unprecedented disaster.

At the Danziger Bridge, the worst elements of the chaos came together as police fired on a group crossing the bridge to what they believed was safe haven.

Lance Madison, whose 40-year-old, mentally disabled brother, Ronald, was shot and killed on the bridge along with 17-year-old James Brissette, is expected to speak on behalf of his family during the sentencing hearing. Lance Madison was arrested on attempted murder charges after police falsely accused him of shooting at the officers on the bridge. He was jailed for three weeks before a judge freed him.

An attorney for members of the families would not comment before the sentencings.

Faulcon was convicted of fatally shooting Ronald Madison, but the jury decided the killing didn’t amount to murder. Faulcon, Gisevius, Bowen and Villavaso were convicted in Brissette’s killing, but jurors didn’t hold any of them individually responsible for causing his death.

All five of the officers were convicted of participating in a cover-up. Five other former officers who pleaded guilty to participating in the cover-up and cooperated with federal investigators are already serving prison terms.

After the jury’s verdicts in August, Madison’s relatives said in a statement that they had waited six years to “find out what really happened on that bridge.” Madison’s sister, Jackie Madison Brown, read the statement, which also said that after an event like Katrina, “all citizens, no matter what color or what class, deserve protection.”

Wednesday’s sentencing won’t be the final chapter in the case. The convicted officers are expected to appeal, and Gerard Dugue, a retired sergeant, is scheduled to be retried in May on charges stemming from his alleged role in the cover-up.

Dugue’s first trial was cut short in January when Engelhardt declared a mistrial. He ruled Justice Department prosecutor Bobbi Bernstein may have unfairly influenced the jury by mentioning the name of a man who was beaten to death by a New Orleans police officer in a case unrelated to Dugue’s.

Bowen, Gisevius and Villavaso have been fired. Faulcon quit the force shortly after the storm. Kaufman retired before last year’s trial.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

April 04, 2012

Arizona: Sheriff Is Accused of Bad-Faith Negotiations

Federal authorities trying to settle civil rights allegations against Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County said Tuesday that his office had negotiated in bad faith and risked ending settlement talks. The Justice Department told a lawyer for Sheriff Arpaio in a letter on Tuesday that the sheriff’s precondition of not having a court-appointed monitor to help enforce an agreement to settle the claims would result in cancellation of talks. The department said the lawyer introduced the precondition on Tuesday, despite having agreed to a monitor. Roy Austin Jr., a deputy assistant attorney general, wrote that the tactics required the government “to squander valuable time and resources.” Sheriff Arpaio, who is accused of discriminating against Latinos, said a court monitor would nullify his authority. “I absolutely refuse to surrender my responsibility to the federal government,” he said.

April 04, 2012

Hernando county Florida sheriff's spokeswoman leaving amid possible internal investigation

By John Woodrow

BROOKSVILLE — Wendy McGinnis is leaving the Hernando County Sheriff's Office and may be the subject of an internal affairs investigation. The move apparently stems from the former public information officer's involvement in a financial services company.

The news comes just days after Sheriff Al Nienhuis issued an interoffice memo announcing that McGinnis had requested to be transferred to the law enforcement operations bureau and that he was searching for her replacement.

There might be some policy violations, Nienhuis said Tuesday of McGinnis. The sheriff, citing the possibility of an internal affairs investigation, would not specify to which policies he was referring.

When twice asked if McGinnis was forced to step down from her job as public information officer, which she had held since last summer, Nienhuis refused to comment.

There's a part of me that would like to be more forthcoming, but I don't think that it would be fair to Wendy or anyone else involved in the investigation, the sheriff said. If it was just a mutual decision for her to go back to operations, I could probably tell you a lot more detail.

McGinnis, who declined to be interviewed, said as recently as last month that she intended to stay in her position as spokeswoman for at least another year.

She is listed in state records as secretary of Spring Hill-based Serve and Protect Financial. Her husband, sheriff's Sgt. Brian McGinnis, is listed as president, and Fraternal Order of Police representative Stephen Klapka is listed as director.

The company, which registered with the state in September, was named as a sponsor of a March 27 fundraiser for the Police Unity Tour and the Sheriff's Office Fallen Deputies Memorial.

Sheriff's Col. Mike Maurer acknowledged that McGinnis' role at the business is in some way connected with the probable internal affairs inquiry.

Well, that's part of it, Maurer said Tuesday. Those dealings are something that we need to take a look at.

Serve and Protect offers investment advice, according to one of its clients, Penny Mecklenburg. She was married to Deputy John Mecklenburg, who was killed in July after his vehicle struck a tree during a high-speed chase.

Brian McGinnis, she said, only facilitated meetings with the company's vice president and financial adviser, Shawn Garrett. She said Garrett has also advised Hernando deputies on issues regarding their pensions.

It's really that simple, Mecklenburg said. They offer advice.

At no time, she added, did Wendy McGinnis join the meetings or have any real involvement with the company.

She decorated the office, Mecklenburg said.

John Woodrow Cox can be reached at (352) 848-1432

April 04, 2012

Bridgeton school officer arrested after pulling gun during ‘Career Day’ celebration

BRIDGETON NJ— A police officer based at the West Avenue Elementary School was arrested after pulling her gun on a man she was arguing with while on school grounds, a source said Monday.

The source also said that the victim was her husband.

According to a complaint filed by Bridgeton police officer Jospeh Lopez, 41-year-old Karla K. Diaz of Twin Oaks Drive, was charged with criminal mischief, aggravated assault and possession of a fire arm for an unlawful purpose for an event that occurred March 30.

The complaint reads that Diaz “ … committed an act of aggravated assault, by pointing a fire arm at the victim.”

Diaz received the mischief charge because she damaged “…a photograph in closed (sic) in a clear plastic picture frame,” which belonged to the man at who she was aiming her gun.

A source said the incident occurred in the school parking lot around 9:45 a.m. Friday, as children were outside and celebrating “Career Day” on the grass nearby.

Superintendent Dr. Thomasina Jones would not comment on the incident.

“I cannot disclose any personnel matters that occur in the school,” she said.

Jones confirmed that Diaz is an educational enforcement officer with Bridgeton public schools, and that she is based at the West Avenue School.

Educational enforcement officers are a separate department from the Bridgeton Police Department, and Jones said that all of the officers operate underneath of the district’s Director of Security, Robert Stevens.

Jones said that all of the school system’s officers are armed with hand guns.

When asked what systems the school district had in place to monitor when educational enforcement officers draw their weapons while working, Jones said she would normally be notified by the director.

“Normally what would occur is our director of security would notify me,” she said.

She said she had not been informed of the Friday incident by Stevens. She said Monday afternoon around 3:30 p.m. that she would attempt to contact him, but before then would not even be able to acknowledge the incident had occurred.

By 8 p.m. she had not gotten back in contact with The News.

The Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office released the complaint and is handling the case due to the seriousness of the charges.

“We were just involved because it’s a school security officer, and because it involves indictable offenses,” said Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae.

After receiving all three charges, Diaz was released on her own recognizance by Judge Steven Neder, with the condition that she have no contact with the victim.

Neither Webb-McRae nor Jones could say if Diaz’s service weapon had been confiscated.

Jones would not say if Diaz was working in her normal post on Monday.

April 04, 2012

Florida AM University police chief retires amid hazing probes

Calvin Ross will retire May 1 after 11 years

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The police chief at Florida AM University is retiring less than a week after reports surfaced that Tallahassee authorities didn't receive timely information about an off-campus hazing incident from 2010.

The university announced Tuesday that Calvin Ross will retire May 1 after 11 years with the university and 40 years in law enforcement. The school said Ross asked to be put on leave immediately.

Assistant Police Chief John Earst will replace Ross on an interim basis.

Tallahassee police said last week that they were unable to file charges from an off-campus hazing incident in early 2010 because they didn't receive a report from FAMU authorities who investigated that incident.

The historically black college has been in turmoil since the Nov. 20 death of drum major Robert Champion following a separate hazing ritual.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

April 04, 2012

Bystanders Ignore Shot Illinois Cop

Residents of an East St. Louis, Ill., housing project milled around a parking lot or stayed in their homes rather than

helping a police officer who had been shot in the face by a suspect, reports KSDK.

Surveillance video shows Officer Michael Baxton Jr. laying near his squad car for several moments after the shooting, until he can radio for help.

He had attempted to pin a suspect to the hood of his patrol car. The shooting occurred in March.

SWAT teams later raided two buildings in the complex and arrested Cortez Gillum, who has been charged in the shooting.


April 04, 2012

A Michigan State Trooper has been shot

A Michigan State Trooper has been shot in Flint. It happened on Stewart and Saginaw near the Brother's Food Center.

Flint Police say the trooper was likely taken to Hurley Medical Center.

Michigan State Police tell NBC25 two troopers stopped to check on an altercation.

At that time, a trooper was shot.

The suspect has been arrested and a press conference is expected sometime Wednesday.

April 04, 2012

Trooper describes being shot in line of duty

Holly Brantley

CHARLESTON, MO (KFVS) - A Missouri State Trooper says he's lucky to be alive after a gun battle on the interstate little more than three weeks ago.

In an instant on March 10, a traffic stop turned into a gunfight.

As he tells his story, Corporal Shane Stewart says he's grateful for another chance to live. He easily recalls the event, from the flash of the suspect's gun, to his determination to stay alive.

I remember the muzzle flash, said Corporal Stewart. It was very vivid. I can't believe I'm healing this quick.

Corporal Stewart recalls he was just about to end his shift when fellow Trooper David Crank called for help with a stop. Trooper Crank had pulled over an SUV near mile marker 56 in the north bound lane.

He knew something wasn't right, said Corporal Stewart. He couldn't get the passengers to show their identification. He could smell marijuana coming from the vehicle.

Corporal Stewart says he approached on the driver's side of the SUV, with one passenger out of the car he remember hearing Trooper Crank yelling from the other side.

I could hear Crank asking him to show his hands. I could see he was trying to hide something but I didn't know what it was, said Corporal Stewart. I also told him to show his hands. I opened the driver's side door, he made a motion and that's when he shot me.

Corporal Stewart says the shot knocked him towards the interstate.

It felt like a needle, said Corporal Stewart.

Corporal Stewart says he was able to return fire. He says within two seconds after the suspect fired, Trooper Crank fired as well.

It wasn't long after the shooting stopped, Corporal Stewart says a third trooper arrived, Sgt. Rick Sanders.

Sgt. Sanders was trying to take care of my wound, said Corporal Stewart pointing to the scar just below his neck. I can't imagine being in their shoes when you see your best friend shot and you have to be the one to return fire.

A bullet fatally struck Michael Thomas, another struck Maurice Ely. Stewart remembers willing himself to stay upright, and stay alive. He had been shot in the upper chest area. He says he moved towards Trooper Crank's car for cover.

He says he could feel the good Lord, and his late wife watching over him.

God was watching over me, no doubt about it, said Corporal Stewart. My wife was watching over me. I was just thinking about my kids. I was thinking it's not my time I can't check out yet I have to raise my kids.

Amazingly Corporal Stewart says he never lost consciousness.

I was holding someone's hand and it was more comfort for me. I was trying to gage my strength and I could tell I still had good strength in my hands. I was trying to control my heart rate and not panic. As a trooper, we are trained to go home, said Corporal Stewart.

Corporal Stewart says his greatest relief was waking up after surgery, and laying eyes on his children. Incredibly, next week he'll return to duty.

I'm ready, said Corporal Stewart. My kids love me being a trooper. I love being a trooper. I can't imagine having another job and I don't want another job.

Corporal Stewart says he remembers even as he arrived at the hospital, troopers were showing up from across the state to offer support. He says he can't thank them enough. He also wants to thank the people of Charleston for all their support and kindness.

All three suspects face murder charges. They remain behind bars.

Copyright 2012 KFVS. All rights reserved.

April 03, 2012

Health info regarding Bill Todd former Deputy Sheriff of Rush County

submitted by Tom DeBaun

Mike Kolls tells me that Bill Todd's mother is Price Cox's daughter (Ret ISP Connersville D/Sgt)

John Mull says he'll have more info for me about a get together that is being planned for people that worked with Bill at the Rush County Sheriff Dept.

I'll forward that when I get it.

Sent from my iPhone



Hi Mary Jo,

I wanted to send you a quick email about my 61 year old brother-in-law, Bill Todd (former Deputy Sheriff of Rush County). He has been diagnosed with lung, liver, lymph node pancreatic cancer. Without treatment they give him 3-4 months with treatment 1 year. He has gone 3 rounds of chemo, 1 treatment a week for three weeks then off 1 week then 3 more weeks then off 1 week then they are running another pet scan on him to see how things are going. The first treatment he got really sick, but the second third treatments he has tolerated with the worse being the sweats.

Bill really thinks a lot of you I wondered if you would be kind enough to send him a card. His address is: 3871 N 450 W Rushville, In 46173. Bill really loves radio personality Bill Cunningham who is speaking at the Fayette County Lincoln Day Dinner on April 3rd. I am sending a card there to hopefully get Cunningham’s autograph for

Bill without him knowing it. If you could also say a prayer for him, it will be greatly appreciated!

Thanks Mary Jo,


April 03, 2012

LaPorte prosecutor under investigation

Misconduct allegations stem from his divorce, Szilagyi said.


Allegations of misconduct by LaPorte County Prosecutor Robert Szilagyi are being reviewed by the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission.

In a prepared statement, Szilagyi said he could not offer specifics about the allegations because the investigation by the disciplinary commission is ongoing.

He did say the issue stems from a divorce that happened more than three years ago.

Robert Szilagyi added the allegations do not involve the prosecutor's office or any of his clients and occurred before he was elected prosecutor in November 2010.

I cannot discuss this matter further. My attorney and I are working on a resolution, he said.

Szilagyi went on to say I regret that I let my judgment be clouded by emotions. I accept responsibility for my actions.

Indiana Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathryn Dolan said the disciplinary commission examines complaints of attorney misconduct.

Dolan said she is prohibited from speaking publicly about any case while it is under investigation.

She said findings are released once there is a ruling.

In general, she said action by the disciplinary commission against any attorney accused of misconduct could range from dismissing the allegations to disbarment.

A public reprimand and license suspension are among the possible acts of discipline, she said.

The range of sanctions is wide, Dolan said.

Eventually, Dolan said, any recommendation by the commission will go before the five Supreme Court justices for a final decision.

She did not know when the commission will make a decision on the complaint.

Copyright © 2012, South Bend Tribune

April 03, 2012


Greetings Media,

I have attached the two photos above from the Carlisle Bank Robbery on 3-29-12….There is nothing new to report……

The one photo you will notice a gun in the right hand of the suspect

There have been no arrests, but tips are coming in

None of the tips has put us at the doorstep of any of the suspects

Thank you for helping ISP with this crime

Any questions, call me! Have a great day!


Sergeant Joe Watts

Sullivan County---Indiana State Police Detectives from the Putnamville Post, along with Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, are currently investigating the early morning armed robbery of the First Financial Bank located at 8571 South Old US 41, Carlisle, IN. The Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from bank employees at 8:53AM reporting the robbery.

Preliminary investigation indicates that as two female bank employees arrived for work, two male suspects surprised the employees at the south employee entrance door and forced them inside the bank at gunpoint. The suspects secured the hands and feet of both females with plastic ties and then removed an undetermined amount of US Currency from the bank vault. The suspects fled the scene in a gray, 2011, Chevrolet Malibu owned by one of the victim bank employees. During the brief initial scuffle, a female employee received a minor head wound and was treated at the scene by Sullivan County EMS.

The suspects were described as black males, unknown age, 5’-10” to 6’-02”, slender to medium build wearing dark masks over their faces, dark hooded sweatshirts and one suspect was wearing brown leather type boots with a decorative buckle. The weapon believed to be used in robbery was a silver, small caliber, revolver.

The 2011 Chevrolet Malibu was located minutes later at the nearby Ash Park Apartments in Carlisle. The vehicle was recovered and taken to the Putnamville Post for evidence processing.

Anyone with information for this investigation is urged to contact ISP Putnamville Post at 765-653-4114 or the Indianapolis Office of the FBI at 317-595-4000.

Direct any questions to ISP Sergeant Joe Watts.

The FBI and ISP Putnamville Post are working the joint investigation. Assisting is the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office.

April 03, 2012

Arkansas’ surgeon general arrested in confrontation with security officer

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas’ surgeon general faces three misdemeanor charges from a weekend disturbance in which he challenged a private security guard and then was combative with officers, Little Rock police said Monday.

A police report says Joseph Thompson, 49, confronted a guard employed by Stephens Inc., who was patrolling in Thompson’s Hillcrest neighborhood late Saturday night.

The guard, Jacob Farque, 26, told officers that Thompson confronted him in an angry manner and that Thompson smelled of alcohol. Farque told police he offered to call a supervisor or police and that Thompson “responded with slurs and obscene language,” the report on the incident states.

Farque called police and left the area to meet officers.

Officers found Thompson at his home and noted in the report that his demeanor was angry and reflected intoxication.

Thompson was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and attempt to influence a public servant.

Matt DeCample, a spokesman for Gov. Mike Beebe, said that if Thompson is convicted of the charges the governor would speak with Thompson. At present, there is nothing to prevent Thompson from doing his job as the state’s top physician, DeCample said.

Thompson was appointed by then-Gov. Mike Huckabee in 2005 as the state’s chief health officer and reappointed by Beebe. The office became that of surgeon general in 2007.

Thompson said he will stay on the job.

“I have received many inquiries from the news media today concerning an incident at my home over the weekend. I did have a heated conversation with an individual who was parked in front of my home and using a laptop computer at 10:30 on Saturday night. Concerned that this individual might be attempting to hack into my wireless Internet connection, or worse, I asked him who he was and what he was doing in front of my house,” Thompson said in an emailed statement.

“At the end of the encounter, I went into my home and stayed there until the police knocked on my door, asked me to step outside and placed me under arrest. Pending resolution of this personal matter, I intend to continue my work towards improving the health of Arkansans as Director of the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement and Surgeon General for Arkansas,” Thompson said in his statement.

Thompson is also a professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and director of the nonprofit Arkansas Center for Health Improvement.

A UAMS spokeswoman, Leslie Taylor, said the university regards Thompson’s arrest as a personal matter. She said Chancellor Dan Rahm and other UAMS officials “have great respect for Dr. Thompson and for what he has accomplished to improve the health of the people of the state of Arkansas.”

During the 10:30 p.m. incident Saturday, Thompson told police that the private security patrol was illegal and that Farque had trespassed by parking in front of his house, though the officer told Thompson the acts were within the law.

Farque told police that during the initial confrontation Thompson kept one hand out of view, leading him to wonder whether Thompson had a weapon. During the talk with police, a second officer pointed his flashlight at Thompson’s waistband, prompting Thompson to move within an inch and a half of the officer’s face and yell at him.

“Thompson advised he was the surgeon general and his neighbors would back him in this matter,” the report states.

The officers told Thompson they just had to get information from him and he could go back into his house. Thompson told police he would not comply, the report states.

“Given his hostile demeanor toward officers and refusal to comply with our lawful orders,” the officers told Thompson he was under arrest. Thompson resisted and had to be forced to the ground to be handcuffed, the report states.

While being taken away in a patrol car, Thompson told officers he was the state “surgeon general and you have made a mistake, because I work for the governor,” according to the report.

The report says that when Thompson was placed in an interview room he repeatedly beat on the door and yelled.

The report didn’t indicate that a weapon was found on Thompson.

Thompson spent the night in the Pulaski County Jail and was released Sunday on $2,000 bail. Jail records didn’t indicate whether he has an attorney.

In his years as surgeon general, Thompson has led the state effort to reduce childhood obesity, campaigned against tobacco use and helped pass a 2006 law restricting indoor smoking. He is also a member of the Arkansas Board of Health.

Thompson’s medical degree is from the University of Arkansas of Medical Sciences and has a master’s of public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

April 03, 2012

High-speed pursuit in Steuben leads to Michigan arrest

A pursuit of two motorcyclists early this morning in Steuben County resulted in the arrest of one driver in Michigan, according to a Fremont Police Department report.

A Fremont officer attempted to stop the motorcycles at 12:13 a.m. for speeding as they left town, but the drivers fled, the report said. Police pursued both motorcycles at speeds of more than 110 mph before the chase crossed into Michigan, the report said.

One motorcycle stopped in Branch County, Mich., police said, because of possible engine problems. The driver, Keith Allen Gripman, 25, was arrested and is being held in the Branch County Jail on numerous charges, including operating while intoxicated, the report said.

Police are looking for the second motorcycle and its male driver. The second motorcycle is described as dark-colored with blue ground lights, the report said.

Anyone with information on the driver is asked to call the Fremont Police Department at 260-495-9448, Steuben County CrimeStoppers at 260-6680STOP or the Branch County Sheriff's Department.

Fremont police and the Steuben County Prosecutor's Office may file additional charges, the report said.

The Steuben County Sheriff's Department, Branch County Sheriff's Department and Michigan State Police assisted Fremont officers during the pursuit.

© Copyright 2012 The Journal Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

April 03, 2012

Marion Co. Deputies To Pay For Take-Home Car Gas

Department Facing $16M Shortfall

INDIANAPOLIS -- Marion County sheriff's deputies will soon pay for gas for their take-home vehicles.

Sheriff John Layton told RTV6's Jack Rinehart on Monday that with a deficit of more than $16 million, the department can no longer afford to pay for deputies' gas.

Under the policy, all deputies who are assigned take-home vehicles will pay a monthly fuel charge of $75. Those who use their cars for part-time work will pay $150 a month.

Those who agree to operate their vehicles only to and from work will not be charged. Deputies may also request to be reassigned to duty that does not require a department vehicle.

Layton said 276 deputies will be affected by the program, which will be instituted immediately.

The department estimates that the charges for fuel will amount to more than $20,000 a month with the base charge.

We think that this is a small step toward helping to offset the huge deficits in the sheriff's budget, and, for the most part, our deputies understand, Layton said.

All employees were notified of the plan Monday.

Watch RTV6 and refresh this page for updates.

Copyright 2012 byTheIndyChannel.comAll rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

April 03, 2012

Muncie man killed in single-vehicle crash on I-69

DELAWARE COUNTY - Indiana State Police are investigating a single-vehicle crash that took the life of a Muncie man early Monday morning. Brian Reum, 43, died in the crash.

A trooper was conducting a traffic stop on I-69 around 7:30 am when several drivers told him they saw a northbound pickup truck drive across the median and drive off the south side of the interstate around the 47 mile marker.

State troopers investigating at the scene found about 100 feet of interstate fence down on the south bound side, but no vehicle.

At around 8:00 am, a trooper found a white Ford F-150 crashed into tree in a field in the area of county roads 1000 West and 950 North, approximately a mile from the interstate.

Police don't know what caused Reum to drive off the highway and cross at least two fields. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday as the crash investigation continues.

April 03, 2012

Marion County Sheriff Revives 'Drunk Tank'

Detox Unit Could Save Taxpayers More Than $1M Annually

INDIANAPOLIS -- An experimental program that could change public intoxication arrest and evaluation procedures may save Indianapolis taxpayers millions of dollars each year.

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office is reviving a concept that was previously known as the “drunk tank” with the department’s detox unit.

Officials said more than 100,000 Hoosiers are arrested on charges of public intoxication each year, and most go to the hospital before they go to jail.

The cost of emergency-room treatment and ambulance trips cost taxpayers more than $1,000,000 each year, RTV6's Jack Rinehart reported.

The (suspects) were able to understand their names, addresses and who they were, but they were still going to Wishard (Memorial Hospital). So, we investigated how Wishard was handling the intoxicated folks. They were literally there just sleeping it off,” said Manny Mendez with the Office of Audit and Performance.

Instead of sending suspects to the hospital, the sheriff's department has created a detox unit within the city’s Arrestee Processing Center.

Officials said everyone accused of public intoxication will be admitted to the detox unit for evaluation by the APC’s medical staff.

A study by the city's division of internal audit showed that more than 90 percent of the illegally intoxicated individuals transported to Wishard Memorial were never admitted, which means they could have gone to the APC at no expense to taxpayers.

“If we can just capture the people that are just intoxicated, (instead of) the ones that are not otherwise intoxicated, we could save a lot of money,” said Lt. Col. Louis Dezelan.

The implementation of the program comes at a much-needed time as the sheriff's department faces a $16 million dollar budget shortfall, with $15 million of the shortage related to health care expenses generated by arrestees and inmates, officials said.

The bottom line is it's going to save the taxpayers money. That was a brilliant idea to bring (the detox unit) back so that police officers on the street, when they have an intoxicated individual, they now have options,” Marion County Sheriff John Layton said.

In just the first two weeks of the program, officials said the detox unit has saved Marion County taxpayers more than $11,000.

Copyright 2012 byTheIndyChannel.comAll rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

April 03, 2012

Supreme Court OKs routine jailhouse strip searches


FILE - In this Oct. 11, 2011 file photo, Albert Florence sits at his home Bordentown, N.J.

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court has ruled against Florence,

who faced strip searches in two county jails following his arrest on a

warrant for an unpaid fine that he had, in reality, paid. An ideologically

divided court ruled Monday, April 2, 2012, that jailers may perform

invasive strip searches on people arrested even for minor offenses.

(AP Photo/Mel Evans, File) -

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jailers may perform invasive strip searches on people arrested even for minor offenses, an ideologically divided Supreme Court ruled Monday, the conservative majority declaring that security trumps privacy in an often dangerous environment.

In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled against a New Jersey man who was strip searched in two county jails following his arrest on a warrant for an unpaid fine that he had, in reality, paid.

The decision resolved a conflict among lower courts about how to balance security and privacy. Prior to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, lower courts generally prohibited routine strip searches for minor offenses. In recent years, however, courts have allowed jailers more discretion to maintain security, and the high court ruling ratified those decisions.

In this case, Albert Florence's nightmare began when the sport utility vehicle driven by his pregnant wife was pulled over for speeding. He was a passenger; his 4-year-old son was in the backseat.

Justice Anthony Kennedy said the circumstances of the arrest were of little importance. Instead, Kennedy said, Florence's entry into the general jail population gave guards the authorization to force him to strip naked and expose his mouth, nose, ears and genitals to a visual search in case he was hiding anything.

Courts must defer to the judgment of correctional officials unless the record contains substantial evidence showing their policies are an unnecessary or unjustified response to problems of jail security, Kennedy said.

In a dissenting opinion joined by the court's liberals, Justice Stephen Breyer said strip searches improperly subject those arrested for minor offenses to serious invasions of their personal privacy. Breyer said jailers ought to have a reasonable suspicion someone may be hiding something before conducting a strip search.

Breyer said people like Florence are often stopped and arrested unexpectedly. And they consequently will have had little opportunity to hide things in their body cavities.

Florence made the same point in his arguments: He said he was headed to dinner at his mother-in-law's house when he was stopped in March 2005. He also said that even if the warrant had been valid, failure to pay a fine is not a crime in New Jersey.

But Kennedy focused on the fact that Florence was held with other inmates in the general population. In concurring opinions, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito said the decision left open the possibility of an exception to the rule and might not apply to someone held apart from other inmates.

Kennedy gave three reasons to justify routine searches — detecting lice and contagious infections, looking for tattoos and other evidence of gang membership and preventing smuggling of drugs and weapons.

Kennedy also said people arrested for minor offenses can turn out to be the most devious and dangerous criminals. Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh initially was stopped by a state trooper who noticed McVeigh was driving without a license plate, Kennedy said.

In his dissent, Breyer said inmates in the two New Jersey jails already have to submit to pat-down searches, pass through metal detectors, shower with delousing agents and have their clothing searched.

Many jails, several states and associations of corrections officials say strip searches should be done only when there is reasonable suspicion, which could include arrest on drug charges or for violent crimes, Breyer said.

Susan Chana Lask, Florence's lawyer, said, The 5-4 decision was as close as we could get ... in this political climate with recent law for indefinite detention of citizens without trial that shaves away our constitutional rights every day.

The first strip search of Florence took place in the Burlington County Jail in southern New Jersey. Six days later, Florence had not received a hearing and remained in custody. Transferred to another county jail in Newark, he was strip-searched again.

The next day, a judge dismissed all charges. Florence's lawsuit soon followed.

He still may pursue other claims, including that he never should have been arrested.

Florence, who is African-American, had been stopped several times before, and he carried a letter to the effect that the fine, for fleeing a traffic stop several years earlier, had been paid.

His protest was in vain, however, and the trooper handcuffed him and took him to jail. At the time, the State Police were operating under a court order, because of allegations of past racial discrimination, that provided federal monitors to assess stops of minority drivers. But the propriety of the stop is not at issue, and Florence is not alleging racial discrimination.

In 1979, the Supreme Court upheld a blanket policy of conducting body cavity searches of prisoners who had had contact with visitors on the basis that the interaction with outsiders created the possibility that some prisoners had obtained something they shouldn't have.

For the next 30 or so years, appeals courts applying the high court ruling held uniformly that strip searches without suspicion violated the Constitution.

But since 2008 — in the first appellate rulings on the issue since the Sept. 11 attacks — appeals courts in Atlanta, Philadelphia and San Francisco have decided that a need by authorities to maintain security justified a wide-ranging search policy, no matter the reason for someone's detention.

The high court upheld the ruling from the Philadelphia court, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The case is Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of County of Burlington, 10-945.

April 02, 2012

LaGrange clerk resigns

LAGRANGE — LaGrange County Clerk Beverly Elliott announced her resignation at this morning's meeting of the LaGrange County Commissioners.

Elliott is facing four criminal counts of official misconduct, a Class D felony, in LaGrange Circuit Court, alleging she took $4,850 in county funds.

The charges allege that Elliott kept cash she should have deposited in amounts of $930 on Jan. 14, 2011,; $2,190 on Jan. 19, 2011,; $850 on Jan. 25, 2011, and $880 on Jan. 28, 2011.

Charges were filed after an audit by the State Board of Accounts and an investigation by Indiana State Police.

April 02, 2012

Woman charged with disarming State Trooper during arrest in Lancaster County

Paul Smith

STRASBURG TOWNSHIP, LANCASTER COUNTY---A woman assaulted and tried to disarm a state trooper who was trying to arrest her last Friday.

Carrie Anne Christof, 35, no known address, was being arrested for an unspecified offense when she attacked the Pennsylvania State Police trooper from the Lancaster barracks.

Christof was subdued and taken into custody.

She is charged with Aggravated Assault, Resisting Arrest, and Disarming a Law Enforcement Officer.

Christof is currently in Lancaster County Prison in lieu of $75,000 bail.

Copyright © 2012, WPMT-TV

April 02, 2012

14 Minute Chase ends with Crash, Driver Arrested for DUI

Pike County – Early Sunday morning, April 1, at approximately 12:20 a.m., Winslow Police was attempting to stop a 2011 Yamaha ATV for traveling northbound on S.R. 61 north of Winslow. The driver refused to stop and continued west on Sugar Ridge Road. Trooper Paul Stolz joined the chase after the ATV crossed S.R. 57 and continued west on C.R. 125 South. The ATV went left of center multiple times while traveling between 30-50 mph. The driver of the ATV continued on various county roads before crashing on C.R. 50 South near the I-69 corridor that is currently under construction. The driver was identified as Bradley Smith, 36, of Petersburg. Smith refused medical treatment. While talking to Smith, Trooper Stolz detected an odor of an alcoholic beverage. Officers also noticed several alcoholic beverage containers still on the ATV while others were tossed to the ground during the crash. Further investigation revealed Smith was under the influence of alcohol. He was arrested and is currently being held without bond in the Pike County Jail.


· Bradley Smith, 36, Petersburg, IN

1. Resisting Law Enforcement, Class D Felony

2. Driving While Intoxicated – Endangerment, Class A Misdemeanor

3. Operating an Off-Road Vehicle While Under the Influence, Class B Misdemeanor

4. Reckless Driving, Class B Misdemeanor

Arresting Officer: Trooper Paul Stolz, Indiana State Police

Assisting Officer: Officer Steve Nelson, Winslow Police

April 02, 2012

Logan police chief resigns

Resignation comes three months after taking post

by Jason M. Rodriguez

Just 92 days after taking the helm of the Logansport Police Department, Mike Neher has resigned, according to a press release sent Sunday by Mayor Ted Franklin.

Neher requested reassignment to day shift patrolman, the release states.

“I have reluctantly agreed to accept the resignation of Police Chief Neher. I wish him nothing but the best during the remainder of his career with LPD,” Franklin said in the release. “Mike is very well respected among all the officers in the law enforcement community and will be given first consideration on any future promotions within LPD.”

Neher’s abrupt resignation comes without explanation.

Neher refused to comment Sunday, and Franklin said in an e-mail with the press release that he had no further comment on the move. The mayor did not return a call for comment Sunday afternoon.

Neher just recently returned from police chief training in Indianapolis.

Franklin said in the press release that Neher had considered resigning “for some time now.” But when Neher appeared before the city’s Board of Public Works and Safety on Thursday to give a report on the department, he made no mention of the situation.

Franklin said he asked Neher, whom he described as a “close friend,” to reconsider.

“I asked him to give it more thought, and he told me in person of his decision on Saturday,” the mayor said in the release.

Franklin praised Neher, saying the chief made a big impact in a short amount of time.

“During Chief Neher’s short tenure of leadership, he changed the direction of the department and positioned it for many years of future success,” Franklin said in the release. “Chief Neher has requested reassignment as a patrolman on day shift.”

It marked the latest upheaval in the police department since Franklin became mayor.

In early January, the nine members of the police pension board resigned after Franklin would not approve of the hiring of former Police Chief A.J. Rozzi’s son Jason because he was the only person recommended for an open officer position. Franklin said he wanted more candidates to choose from.

Later that same month, Chief of Detectives Brad Miller resigned his position because he said he did not agree with the direction the department was going. Miller asked to be demoted to detective and then eventually to a patrol shift.

Days later, Assistant Chief Jim Klepinger asked to be reassigned. The move came after he publicly defended his fellow police officers when the mayor referred to some of them as “whiners.” The mayor later said it was a poor choice of words.

Michael Clark was then named assistant chief. It’s unclear if Clark will serve as acting police chief. He did not return a call late Sunday, and the press release did not indicate who would be in charge.

Jason M. Rodriguez is news editor of the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5117

April 02, 2012

Saving Officer Pearson

Cops, doctors and hospital security guard and receptionist helped save his life

By Jeremy Gorner and Cynthia Dizikes

Hospital security guard Don Reyna's police scanner crackled to life as a Chicago officer screamed that shots had been fired.

A dispatcher asked where, but only static followed. And then a guttural voice pierced the silence.

I'm hit, squad, I'm hit, Reyna recalled hearing moments before another police officer jumped on the radio and shouted that they weren't waiting for an ambulance and were heading to Advocate Trinity Hospital in their squad car.

Reyna dashed into Trinity's emergency room and warned that a wounded officer would soon be arriving at the South Side hospital.

Over the next 8 hours, the fate of Officer Del Pearson — shot in the chest just above his protective vest — would pass from the arms of his partners on the scene to nurses and staff at two hospitals to the hands of surgeons in an operating room.

At every step along the way, Pearson's survival from the life-threatening wound and loss of so much blood would depend on speed, coordination, expertise and the fickle whims of luck, according to his responders, whose accounts follow. Times are approximate.

10:40 p.m. Monday, March 19

Sgt. Christopher Kapa was on patrol not far from Pearson when he heard a male voice yell over the radio that he had been shot. Moments later, Kapa arrived and discovered his colleague bloodied and slumped in the parkway in the 8400 block of South Kingston Avenue, where he had been chasing a suspected curfew violator.

Officer Kirsten Lund and her partner, who were also in the area, pulled up seconds later and helped lift Pearson to his feet.

Kapa knew they were supposed to wait for an ambulance but didn't think they had time.

There was so much blood that I knew he needed help right away, he said.

The three officers helped move Pearson into the back of Kapa's squad car, where he collapsed across the seat.

Kapa jumped behind the wheel while Lund climbed into the back seat with Pearson. Trinity was a little more than a mile away.

His right hand clutching the steering wheel, Kapa kept his left hand on his portable radio and continued to shout over the wailing siren that they were driving a badly wounded officer to Trinity.

In the back seat, Lund knelt over her wounded colleague using a green fleece to cover the blood that was pouring from the left side of his chest near the collarbone.

She clutched his hand. He squeezed back.

I was just trying to keep him awake and talking to me. I was giving him a play-by-play where we were (driving), Lund said. I was just letting him know we were on the way to the hospital.

Pearson did his best to concentrate on his breathing but still uttered a few words to lighten the moment.

Calm down, he quipped.

Del's a very strong person, and I knew that if he could still joke in the midst of a traumatic, tragic (event) … I hoped he would be OK, Lund said.

Moments later, the squad car screeched to a stop in the emergency room bay where Reyna was already waiting for Pearson with a gurney.

We all pushed him into the ER, Lund said. After that, it was all up to the doctors.

10:50 p.m.

In emergency medicine, it is called the golden hour — that flicker of time after a massive injury when prompt treatment is most likely to prevent death.

Dr. Brandon Watson knew they were in that moment when Trinity's hospital staff wheeled Pearson into the emergency room.

Pale, sweating and still bleeding from a small hole near his collarbone, Pearson kept mumbling that he felt like he was going to go out, Watson said.

Watson, Dr. Mohammad Baig and several nurses and technicians had him rushed to patient room No. 2, cut his clothes from his body with shears and immediately measured his vital signs.

When his blood pressure came back so low their machines could barely register it, Watson had two disturbing realizations: Pearson's heart was about to stop beating, and the surgeons they would need to ultimately save his life were nine miles away at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.

I thought, 'He is going to die in this ER if he doesn't get to a trauma surgeon,' Watson said. So the biggest thing for us to do was get him stable enough to get in an ambulance and not waste time.

The doctors and their team sedated Pearson and focused on getting him oxygen through a ventilator. Their next concern was his blood supply. Pearson had lost so much already that his organs had begun to shut down and he was losing consciousness. Each beat of his heart brought him closer to death.

With no time to get Pearson's blood type, Watson ordered two pints of the universal donor type O-negative.

Outside the room, Brenda Hall, a hospital receptionist and emergency care technician who assists during the most critical trauma cases, offered to bring the order slip to the fifth floor, where Trinity keeps its blood supplies.

As the medical team readied a specialized IV line for the blood, Hall dashed off, order slip in hand. When she reached the elevator, she punched the button to go up but then decided the stairs would be faster.

Hall sprinted upstairs to the fifth floor, grabbed a cooler holding two bags of blood and ran back down toward the emergency room.

I got halfway to the ER door and I couldn't run anymore, she said.

A hospital housekeeper was at that door, and Hall handed the cooler to him. He, in turn, passed it off to Reyna, who delivered it to the team of about 10 people who were working on Pearson.

By that time, Watson and his medical team were delivering oxygen into Pearson's lungs and fluids into his veins. Nurse Abi Shasi monitored a tube that had been inserted through Pearson's ribs into his chest cavity to drain pooling blood. She wanted to make sure his lungs wouldn't collapse.

The medical team immediately connected him to both bags of blood and his blood pressure soon rose to a point where they felt they could move him to Christ.

Paramedics and Shasi then rushed Pearson out of Trinity to an ambulance.

Watching him go, Watson felt both relief and uncertainty.

Once he left, I was able to breathe (because) he had made it out of the ER alive, Watson said. But at the same time I knew he wasn't completely out of the woods yet.

11:20 p.m.

Inside the ambulance, Shasi, the nurse, sat in the back on a bench near Pearson. The mood was tense and focused.

One paramedic kept an eye on Pearson's still dangerously low blood pressure. Another monitored the dwindling bags of blood and other fluids. A third acted as a lookout, letting them know when to hold on as the ambulance careered along 95th Street and over sets of bumpy railroad tracks.

The chest tube — held in place by only a few stitches — was keeping Pearson's chest cavity from filling up with blood. Shasi was keenly aware that if it became dislodged, Pearson could die.

She also tried to prepare herself for every other potential problem she could think of and how she would react.

If his heart stops, what am I going to do? she recalled thinking. If he starts bleeding from his chest or if the tube comes out, what do I do? What are the things that I have to do at that moment?

Shasi kept her eyes glued on the heart rate monitor and Pearson's heartbeat as she held on to the officer's left arm and spoke calmly to him.

Hey, Del, this is Abi. ... They're going to take care of you at Christ, she said. You've got a lot of people looking out for you, thinking about you right now, praying for you. You've just got to stay strong.

Shasi sensed Pearson held on to every word even though he was heavily sedated.

Police had cordoned off traffic at every intersection on 95th and railroad crossings. A group of officers waiting with the emergency room doctors at Christ greeted the ambulance as it pulled into the trauma bay after about 20 minutes on the road. Several of Pearson's colleagues opened the back door of the ambulance and helped Shasi and Christ's hospital staffers move him inside.

By that time, his blood-transfusion bags were almost empty.

11:40 p.m.

Dr. J. Kayle Lee and several medical residents were waiting as Pearson was pushed into Christ hospital. The emergency room was already filling with police officers who had come to support their injured brother.

As a trauma surgeon, Lee routinely tends to victims of horrific events, from shootings to car crashes. Damage to a major blood vessel — such as Pearson's — can be among the deadliest.

It is one of the few injuries that will kill you right away, Lee said.

She feared that Pearson's damaged blood vessel was in a particularly dangerous location, just behind the collarbone, making it difficult to apply pressure and impossible to use a tourniquet.

A quick X-ray offered even more unsettling news: The opaque image of a bullet could be seen overlapping the silhouette of Pearson's spine.

Without running more tests, Lee couldn't tell whether the bullet lodged in Pearson's neck had damaged his spinal cord and left him paralyzed or not. But she knew it wouldn't matter if they didn't stop the bleeding.

You have to go with what they are going to die from first and deal with the other stuff later, she said

Lee called her surgical partner, Dr. David McElmeel, and told him to meet her in the operating room.

1 a.m. Tuesday

Lee sliced into Pearson's chest and removed part of his collarbone, revealing that the subclavian artery — which carries blood from the heart to the arm — was almost torn in half.

It's one of the biggest arteries in your body, Lee said. If you don't fix it, you'll bleed to death.

Lee, now joined by McElmeel, clamped the ends of the artery and contemplated using one of Pearson's veins to bridge the tear. But none was big enough so they used a flexible synthetic tube they could stitch into each side of the ripped blood vessel.

The minutes turned into hours. The anxiety grew for Pearson's wife, Christine, as she waited with her closest relatives and police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.

It was just agonizing because we didn't know what was going on, she said.

After about four hours, her brother-in-law went to bring the Pearsons' two teenage children to the hospital because I didn't know if he was going to make it off the table, she said.

The responsibility weighed heavily on Lee.

Cops every day, they are putting their life in danger to help people they don't know, she said. (So) when it's a cop, you just want to make sure you do an extra good job.

After repairing the vessel, Lee began to explore Pearson's neck, searching for other signs of damage. The bullet had missed his trachea and esophagus. It passed so close to his spinal cord that it chipped a vertebra and came to rest in an improbably harmless position in the back of his neck.

After a while, you just see bullets do crazy things, Lee said. A lot of patients are lucky, but a lot of patients aren't. He was really lucky.

While Lee finished looking at Pearson's neck, McElmeel focused on his left arm, which had begun to swell from a lack of blood. He cut into the skin to allow the muscle to expand without damaging its tissue, then bandaged the arm. Follow-up surgery would be needed in coming weeks.

6:30 a.m.

Lee walked out of the operating room, removed her gloves and directed the Pearson family to another room. The family stood in a circle as the surgeon spoke: Pearson was alive.

Family members grabbed hold of one another's hands and said a prayer of thanks to God.

He got us through, Christine Pearson said, and now we're on the next leg of this journey.

Pearson was released from the hospital March 27 and is recuperating at home.

Copyright © 2012

April 02, 2012

Man seeking business punched off-duty police officer at home

By Peter Nickeas

A 59-year-old off-duty Chicago police officer was hit in the face by a man soliciting business for Direct Energy, according to police.

Vincent Taylor, 22, was arrested about 3:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon at the officer's home on California Avenue on the Southwest Side.

Taylor, of the 5900 block of Superior Street, in west suburban Berkeley, was wearing an orange polo shirt with what appears to be the Direct Energy logo on the left side of his chest in his police booking photo.

The officer declined Taylor's offer and asked him to shut the gate in his front yard as he left, police said.

Taylor slammed the gate and the officer approached him to ask why he didn't shut it, police said.

The two started arguing, police said. Prosecutors said he threatened the officer. And two people who witnessed the argument told police Taylor was arguing with the officer before Taylor hit him in the face, breaking the officer's glasses and causing swelling around his left eye, police said.

The officer was treated and released from Mount Sinai Hospital, police said. Taylor was charged with aggravated battery to a police officer and criminal damage to property. He was ordered held on $90,000 bond today by Judge James Brown.

Bethany Ruhe, a Pittsburgh-based spokeswoman for Direct Energy, said the company is aware of the situation and takes it very seriously, but did not have any details about the incident, including whether Taylor works for the company or a subcontractor.

This is Taylor's fourth arrest on battery charges, and at least one of those was domestic, police said.

Copyright © 2012

April 02, 2012

West Palm Beach Sheriff's deputy airlifted after being struck by pickup truck while on patrol

LAKE WORTH, Fla. — The West Palm Beach Sheriff's Office says a deputy has been airlifted to a hospital after she was struck by a vehicle while on patrol.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Teri Barbera says deputy Diane Christian was patrolling in the city of Lake Worth Sunday morning on a T3, a scooter like device. A pickup truck backed out of an alleyway, struck the deputy and then proceeded driving.

Barbera says investigators are unsure if the driver realized he or she had struck someone.

Christian was transported by helicopter to Delray Medical Center. No information was available on her injuries, but Barbera says she is expected to survive.

Anyone with information on the case is urged to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-458-TIPS.

April 02, 2012

'Right To Resist' Law Changes Ind. Deputies' Uniforms

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Marion County Sheriff's Office ordered all deputies serving civil and criminal warrants back into uniform in the wake of the newly enacted Right to Resist law.

Previously, deputies were allowed to wear plainclothes when serving warrants.

The change in wardrobe offers deputies a higher degree of visibility, while at the same time, reducing the risk that a homeowner or wanted subject may mistake the law enforcement officer's identity, RTV6's Jack Rinehart reported.

We don't want people to mistake us for vigilantes, said Maj. Reggie Roney. We want them to know that what we're doing is lawful. Our concern is to protect the officer's safety.”

Safety of law enforcement officers across the state has become paramount after the passage of Senate Bill No. 1. That measure gives homeowners the right to use whatever force is necessary, including deadly force, to repel a perceived unlawful entry into their residence.

The Indiana State Lodge Fraternal Order of Police issued a bulletin on Friday to law enforcement agencies across the state. The bulletin advised that the Indiana FOP will be monitoring all reported incidents of injury following the passage of the bill.

It's critical that all law enforcement officers report all incidents arising out of the new law, including threats, altercations and injuries to sworn personnel and civilians alike, said Tim Downs, Indiana FOP President. “You must continue to exercise extreme caution in the performance of your duties when entering upon another's property, or making entry into a dwelling.”

Marion County sheriff's deputies serve upwards of 50,000 civil and criminal warrants annually. At least half of those are served on felons wanted for crimes of violence.

Serving warrants is dangerous no matter what, Roney said.

Copyright 2012 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

April 02, 2012

Milestone promotions for the US Capitol Police


Officers Yogananda Yogi Pittman, left, and Monique Moore, right,

the first two African-American women to be promoted to the rank of captain

on the U.S. Capitol Police force, stand together on the East Lawn of the

Capitol in Washington, Monday, March 19, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) — As Yogananda Pittman and Monique Moore climbed the ranks of the U.S. Capitol Police, they encountered no top-level supervisors who looked like them. No black women, from the chief down to the captains, were represented in the upper management of the federal law enforcement agency responsible for protecting lawmakers and congressional buildings.

So it was more than a personal honor when the two became the first black women promoted to captain in the department, which in the past decade has been roiled by allegations from minority officers that they were passed over for promotions and subjected to racial intimidation and harassment.

I just definitely think it lets them know that it's attainable, Pittman said of younger black officers. When you see someone who looks like yourself in the rank of captain and what have you, they know they can do it.

The promotions may seem a pedestrian milestone in the year 2012 but they carry symbolic significance for the agency. Accusations of racism within the department have been addressed at congressional hearings, raised in multiple lawsuits and have drawn particular concern from the Congressional Black Caucus, whose members in 2003 said they were incensed and embarrassed by the alleged mistreatment

Sworn statements from black officers and a 2001 class-action lawsuit brought on behalf of more than 300 current and former officers paint an unflattering portrait of the department. Black officers complained of losing promotions and favorable assignments to less-qualified white officers and of being humiliated in public and harassed with racial epithets. One officer says he found a hangman's noose on a locker; another reported finding a swastika-like symbol. One black officer nicknamed Ike says a K-9 unit dog was given the same name.

That lawsuit is pending after being revived by a federal appeals court in 2009. Other cases have been filed in the past decade, including just this year.

The Capitol Police has challenged at least some of the claims in court papers, denying that race played a role in the promotional process.

Police departments have generally been slow to promote black women — partly because of promotional exams often alleged to be discriminatory and more likely to produce higher scores among white test-takers — even at a time when black men are increasingly reflected in upper management, said Christine Cole, a criminal justice policy expert at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

I don't believe that we have an equally diverse command staff even though we have large and growing numbers of African-American men who have made their way to the title of chief, she said.

The promotions show the department is making progress, though it remains an evolving organization, said Deborah Lewis, the department's diversity officer. Nearly one-third of sworn Capitol Police officers are black, and just more than 8 percent are black women, Lewis said. The percentage of black civilians in the department is higher.

Of the department's 17 top leaders, two are black men and two are white women. The rest are white men, Lewis said. That pales next to the D.C. police department, which has a female police chief, black assistant chiefs and female black commanders.

Great strides have been made to develop a climate of openness, Lewis said. A third-party contractor, for instance, now oversees the promotion process.

Joseph Gebhardt, one of the lawyers who brought the class-action case, said in an email that the promotions were completely out of character for the department given its history and that the appointments can't fix the decades-long injustice black officers have experienced.

Sharon Blackmon-Malloy, a plaintiff and current vice president of the U.S. Capitol Black Police Association, said she was pleased by the promotions but considered them an overdue and incremental accomplishment.

Although there have been some changes, small changes, the overall atmosphere of the department is not satisfactory, said Blackmon-Malloy, who says she was one of the first two black women promoted to lieutenant and has since retired. Because if it was, why would we still have to file class-action lawsuits?

Moore and Pittman say they haven't directly experienced discrimination but don't discount anyone else's claims.

Even if I did experience that type of behavior from the department, I don't think that would have stopped me from my goals, Moore said.

The captains, who were promoted in January, will together oversee some 500 or so officers in the department, which responds to everything from suspicious packages to thefts from offices to drunken driving.

Pittman, who comes from a family with a military background, joined in 2001 and has served in varied capacities, including in the communications division. Moore joined a few years earlier, working initially as a civilian before becoming a sworn officer, where she helped keep congressional committee hearings safe.

The two have had their share of memorable experiences, including being on Capitol Hill during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Pittman, a new recruit, was preparing to graduate from training; Moore, meanwhile, helped evacuate First Lady Laura Bush from a Senate office building, where she had been scheduled to testify about education.

Mainly it just validated my line of work, basically, as far as protecting the community, the professional community and staff, Moore said. Everything that we train for just kicked in at that moment.

The two officers envision higher ranks than captain.

We both have our eyes on when we'll make chief, Pittman said.

April 02, 2012

Illinois Traffic Stop Of Star Trek Fans Raises Concerns About Drug Searches, Police Dogs, Bad Cops

Last December, filmmaker Terrance Huff and his friend Jon Seaton were returning to Ohio after attending a Star Trek convention in St. Louis. As they passed through a small town in Illinois, a police officer, Michael Reichert, pulled Huff's red PT Cruiser over to the side of the road, allegedly for an unsafe lane change. Over the next hour, Reichert interrogated the two men, employing a variety of police tactics civil rights attorneys say were aimed at tricking them into giving up their Fourth Amendment rights. Reichert conducted a sweep of Huff's car with a K-9 dog, then searched Huff's car by hand. Ultimately, he sent Huff and Seaton on their way with a warning.

Earlier this month, Huff posted to YouTube audio and video footage of the stop taken from Reichert's dashboard camera. No shots were fired in the incident. No one was beaten, arrested or even handcuffed. Reichert found no measurable amount of contraband in Huff's car. But Huff's 17-and-a-half minute video raises important questions about law enforcement and the criminal justice system, including the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, the drug war, profiling and why it's so difficult to take problematic cops out of the police force.


The stop itself happened Dec. 4 on Interstate 70 in Collinsville, a town of 26,000 people just outside of St. Louis. Law enforcement officials say this stretch of highway is a drug-trafficking corridor. The account that follows is based on Huff’s video, the unedited dashboard footage from Reichert's vehicle and a Huffington Post interview with Huff.

After pulling Huff over, Reichert approaches Huff's car and asks him for his license, registration and proof of insurance. Huff complies. Reichert then asks Huff to step out of the car, because he says he can't hear him over the noise from the highway. Huff complies. Before talking to Huff, Reichert asks Seaton for ID as well, which Seaton isn't obligated to produce, but does.

Reichert then tells Huff he pulled him over for weaving across lanes. Huff says in his video that this is a fabrication. But he didn't challenge Reichert's claim at the time because, I was from out of state, and I didn't want any trouble.

After running a check on Huff's license, Reichert tells Huff he'll let him off with a warning, and the two men shake hands. Legally, Huff is now free to go. But just as Huff is set to get back into his car, Reichert says, Let me ask you a question real quick. Huff agrees.

It's here that Reichert adds, seemingly as an afterthought, that Seaton appeared nervous and apprehensive. He then asks Huff a series of what law enforcement officers call rolling no questions about whether Huff is transporting any drugs, weapons or cash. Huff says no to each.

In his interview with HuffPost, Huff asks, If he thought Jon was nervous, and that might indicate drug activity, why did he wait so long to bring it up? And why did he wait until he had basically told me I could go?

It's a common tactic, says John Rekowski, the public defender for Madison County, where the stop took place. [Officer Reichert] thinks he's doing something legally significant there. He thinks he's establishing that everything that happens after the handshake is consensual, because after that, Huff was technically free to go. But of course he isn't free to go.

If Huff had ignored Reichert's Let me ask you a question real quick, gotten into his car and driven off, Rekowski says, there's no way Reichert would have let him leave. And in Illinois, the definition of a detainment is that you aren't free to leave.

Collinsville Police Chief Scott Williams, who has seen the dash cam video, tells HuffPost I don't have any reason to doubt the integrity of any of our officers. But we'll do our due diligence and look into that. If we find that any of our officers is taking shortcuts or violating someone's civil rights, that officer will be fired.

HuffPost was unable to reach Reichert for comment.

During the questioning, Reichert tries several times to get Huff to admit to having marijuana in his car, even if only a small amount for personal use. Huff says he has none. I would just like to go on my way if I could, he tells Reichert. Reichert says that he's going to bring his K-9 out of the car to do an outside sweep.

Reichert pats down both Huff and Seaton and takes the dog around the car twice. He tells Huff that on the second trip, the dog has alerted to the presence of drugs, but did so at the front of the car, out of the view of Reichert's dashboard camera. He explains that because the front of the car is downwind, the drug scent would most likely register with the dog at the front of the car.

The dog's alert gives Reichert probable cause for a thorough hand search of Huff's car, as well as Huff and Seaton's luggage and personal belongings.

Reichert finds no drugs. He does claim to find shake -- marijuana residue -- beneath the seats of Huff's car. That, Reichert says, must have been why the dog alerted. Reichert never collected any of the alleged shake for testing, however, and Huff says now it's nonsense. After an hour of questioning and searching by Reichert, Huff and Seaton leave Collinsville with only a warning for an unsafe lane change.


Asset forfeiture is the process by which law enforcement agencies can take possession of property suspected of being tied to illegal activity. Under these laws, the property itself is presumed to be guilty of criminal activity. Once the property has been seized, it's up to the owner to prove he obtained the property legitimately.

In about 80 percent of civil asset forfeiture cases, the property owner is never charged with a crime. And in Illinois -- like many states -- the law enforcement agency that makes the seizure gets to keep the cash or the proceeds of the forfeiture auction (in Illinois, the prosecutor's office gets 10-12 percent).

Critics say civil asset forfeiture is rife with poor incentives, and violates the Fifth Amendment’s protection against seizure of property without due process of law. Police can seize a car, cash, even a home on the flimsiest of evidence.

Madison County, Ill., where Huff was pulled over, is bisected by I-70 just outside of St. Louis. Interstates are a particularly rich ground for forfeiture. Law enforcement officials say that's because interstates are ideal for drug running.

Critics say it's because police can target out-of-state drivers, who are more likely than local residents to accept a police officer's baseless accusations and turn over their property, rather than refuse and face arrest, multiple returns to the state for court dates and thousands of dollars in legal expenses. Sometimes winning the property back can exceed the actual value of the property.

Faced with that choice, it isn't difficult to see why innocent people would opt to hand over their cash and head home.

The joke around our office is that all you need for probable cause in Madison County is an Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, or Florida license plate, says Rekowski, the public defender. Collinsville defense attorney Jessica Koester says she's seen the same thing. If you're from out of state, they're simply going to find a reason to pull you over.

Local news reports indicate that Illinois law enforcement agencies along the I-70 corridor have ramped up their forfeiture efforts in recent years. Rekowski said one tactic police use is to put up a sign for a drug checkpoint roadblock ahead. In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court said such checkpoints are illegal; roadblocks are legal for DWI checks, but not for narcotics checks. But Rekowski says that isn't the point.

They put the sign up so there's only one exit you can take to avoid it. Then they pull over and search anyone who tries to exit before the roadblock.

That tactic too is constitutionally suspect. Police can't pull a driver over merely for exiting before an announced (and illegal) drug checkpoint. But, of course, that isn't why they'll say they've pulled you over, Rekowski says. They'll say you crossed two lanes to get to the exit, or switched lanes without signaling, or that you cut someone off.

The Edwardsville Intelligencer reported in 2010 that the Madison County State's Attorney's Office has reaped a half-million dollars from the policy over eight years, which at the prosecutor's take of 10-12 percent suggests a total bounty of $4.5 million to $5 million. Madison County Assistant State's Attorney Stephanie Robbins, who handles forfeiture cases for the office, told local paper the Telegraph in 2010, Law-abiding citizens have nothing to worry about.

But maybe they do. Jerome Chennault, a Nevada resident had the misfortune of driving through Madison County on his way home after visiting his son in Philadelphia.

Chennault said he had withdrawn $22,870 in cash to take with him before leaving Nevada, which he had intended to use for a downpayment on a home. After he was pulled over for following another car too closely, Chennault gave police permission to use a drug dog to sweep his car. The dog then alerted to the bag containing Chennault's cash.

Police found no actual drugs on Chennault or in his car. He was never charged with a crime. But the dog alert itself was enough to allow police to seize Chennault's cash. Over the next several months, Chennault had to travel to Edwardsville, Ill., at his own expense to fight in court for the return of his property. He had to put up a bond equal to 10 percent of the value of the property taken from him in order to secure it.

Cheannault won in court. His money was returned. But he won't be reimbursed for his travel or his legal expenses.

Similar stories have been reported along other forfeiture corridors across the country. In Teneha, Texas, police reportedly routinely pull over cars from out of state (the highway is popular for drivers, flush with cash and jewelry, going to and from casinos). A Nashville TV station recently reported on a stretch in Tennessee where the vast majority of police stops were of suspected drug runners leaving the city, meaning the police apparently preferred to let the drugs come into the city so they could seize the cash on the way out.

When we saw the Huff video in our office, we just laughed, Rekowski says. Not because it wasn't outrageous. But because it's the kind of thing we see all the time. The stop for a so-called 'inappropriate lane change,' the games they play in the questioning, the claims about nervousness or inappropriate behavior that can't really be contradicted. It's all routine.

According to Koester, the defense attorney in private practice, The dog alert that happens off-camera isn't unusual either. You see that all the time.

Koester and Rekowski say the Huff stop has all the markings of a forfeiture fishing expedition. You see where he asks if [Huff] is carrying large amounts of U.S. currency, Rekowski says. It's pretty clear what they're after. These kinds of cases put my kids through college. He laughs, then adds, I'm only half joking.


HuffPost showed the video of Huff's stop to two K-9 experts. Gene Papet is executive director of K9 Resources, a company that trains detection dogs, including police dogs. Papet found a number of problems with the way Reichert handled his dog.

Just before the dog alerts, you can hear a change in the tone of the handler's voice. That's troubling. I don't know anything about this particular handler, but that's often an indication of a handler that's cuing a response. In other words, it's indicative of a handler instructing the dog to alert, not waiting to see whether the dog will alert.

You also hear the handler say at one point that the dog alerted from the front of the car because the wind is blowing from the back of the car to the front, so the scent would have carried with the wind, Papet says. But the dog was brought around the car twice. If that's the case, the dog should have alerted the first time he was brought to the front of the car. The dog only alerted the second time, which corresponded to what would be consistent with a vocal cue from the handler.

Russ Jones is a former police officer with 10 years in drug enforcement, including as a K-9 officer. He's now a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a group of current and former cops and prosecutors who favor ending the war on drugs. That dog was going to do what ever (Officer Reichert) needed it to do, Jones says. Throughout the video, the dog is looking for handler feedback, which isn't how it's supposed to work.

In the 2005 case Illinois v. Caballes, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that having a drug dog sniff the exterior of a vehicle during a routine traffic stop does not violate the Fourth Amendment. But in a dissent to that opinion, Justice David Souter pointed to mounting evidence that drug dogs aren't as infallible as police departments often claim. Souter noted a study that the state of Illinois itself used in its briefs showing that in lab tests, drug dogs fail 12.5 to 60 percent of the time.

Since then, more evidence has emerged to support Souter's concerns.

The problem isn't that the dogs aren't capable of picking up the scent, it's that dogs have been bred to please and interact with humans. A dog can easily be manipulated to alert whenever needed. But even with conscientious cops, a dog without the proper training may pick up on its handler's body language and alert whenever it detects its handler is suspicious.

In one study published last year in the journal Animal Cognition, researchers rigged some tests designed to fool dogs into falsely alerting and others designed to trick handlers into thinking a package contained narcotics (it didn't). Of the 144 total searches performed, the dogs falsely alerted 123 times. More interesting, the dogs were twice as likely to falsely alert to packages designed to trick their handlers than those designed to trick the dogs.

In 2011, the Chicago Tribune published a review of drug dog searches conducted over three years by police departments in the Chicago suburbs. The paper found that just 44 percent of dog alerts led to the discovery of actual contraband. Interestingly, for Hispanic drivers the success rate dipped to 27 percent, again supporting the theory that drug dogs tend to confirm the suspicions (and, consequently, the biases) of their handlers.

A 2006 statistical analysis (PDF) of police dog tests by University of North Carolina law professor Richard Myers concluded that the dogs aren't reliable enough to provide probable cause for a search.

HuffPost obtained the records for one Illinois state police K-9 unit for an 11-month period in 2007 and 2008. Of the 136 times this particular dog alerted to the presence of drugs during a traffic stop over that period, 35 of the subsequent hand searches found measurable quantities of illegal drugs.

An analysis of the K9 records shows that only 25.7 percent of the drug dog's alerts resulted in police finding a measurable quantity of illicit drugs. Just 13 percent resulted in the recovery of more than 10 grams of marijuana, generally considered an amount for personal use, and 10.4 percent turned up enough drugs to charge the motorists or their passengers with at least one felony.

Jones, the former narcotics and K-9 officer, said those sorts of numbers are why he now opposes the drug war. Ninety percent of these dog-handler teams are utter failures. They're just ways to get around the Fourth Amendment, he says. When I debate these people around the country, I always challenge the K-9 officers to a double-blind test to see how accurate they and their dogs really are. They always refuse.

These figures strongly suggest that while the Supreme Court has ruled that there's nothing invasive about an exterior drug dog sniff of a car, in truth, the dog’s alert may be nothing more than the dog confirming its handler's hunches -- which is exactly what the Fourth Amendment is supposed to protect against.


If drug dog searches and poorly incentivized forfeiture policies are bad ideas in general, both can be particularly damaging when utilized by an unscrupulous police officer. And Michael Reichert has both a reputation and a documented history of questionable scruples.

All the departments around here are bad when it comes to these searches, but he's really the poster boy, says Rekowski, the public defender. Another defense attorney, who didn't wish to be quoted by name, went further: The guy is a menace to society.

In a 2005 case, U.S. v. Zambrana, U.S. District Judge Michael J. Reagan overturned a federal drug conviction because he didn't find Reichert's testimony credible.

Reagan's assessment of Reichert's methods and credibility is blunt. He calls Reichert polished and his testimony rehearsed, coached and robotic as to be rote. He continues, “It was a generic, almost default performance not dependent upon the facts of this case, but suitable for any case in which Reichert might testify to having found reasonable suspicion.

In that case too, Reichert's stated reason for pulling Zambrana over was that Zambrana crossed over a lane divider. According to Reagan's opinion, Reichert also stated that the motorist appeared nervous, like Huff, and again nearly let the driver go (he told Zambrano he was free to leave.) Then, again nearly as an afterthought, Reichert started in with the rolling no questions. Reichert described Zambrano's refusal to consent to a search as suspicious.

Reagan writes that Reichert is so confident in his ability to observe body language to detect deceit, he appears to be a human polygraph. Reichert taught a class on how to conduct roadside searches, which Reagan wrote could easily have been titled, How to avoid the warrant requirement in searching a vehicle.

Reagan's opinion, along with the fact that Reichert was also convicted on federal charges of selling knockoff designer sunglasses, led to Reichert's dismissal from the Collinsville Police Department in 2006. But with the help of the police union, Reichert sued to get his job back.

In subsequent hearings, the local state's attorney's office said it didn't trust Reichert, as did the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Illinois. Reagan and the state circuit court judge also made clear that they felt Reichert was untrustworthy.

Despite these concerns, in March 2009, an Illinois appellate court ordered Reichert rehired.

In much of the country, discipline and dismissal of police officers is governed by union-negotiated contracts. Some states have a “police officer bill of rights,” which affords police accused of misconduct and criminal acts more rights than are afforded other citizens. Others send officer misconduct cases to union-negotiated arbitrators. Federal law also protects police from being fired for refusing to answer questions in a misconduct investigation, even if their answers can’t be used against them in any ensuing criminal case.

Police watchdogs say all of this makes it extremely difficult to fire even cops with long histories of misconduct.

These concerns have been raised at police and sheriff departments across the country, including in King County, Wash.; Maywood, Calif.; Gary, Ind.; Cincinnati, Covington, Texas, Aurora, Colo., San Diego; Spokane, Wash., Louisville, Ken.; Milwaukee; and the entire state of Florida.

By spring of 2009, Reichert was back on the job in Collinsville. Soon after, federal prosecutors raised new concerns about Reichert's credibility. Those too were dismissed.

In January 2011, Williams gave Reichert the Chief's Award of Merit (PDF), and in April 2011, he was named Officer of the Month. For the latter, Reichert was cited for making six arrests and seven citations out of 166 total incidents. According to Williams, incidents are dispatched calls for service. They range from traffic crashes to domestic disputes and everything in between.

Despite Reichert's past, Williams said he sees no reason to question the officer's integrity.

As for Huff, he said he just wants to raise awareness, so fewer people are subjected to the same sorts of searches he and Seaton were.

April 01, 2012

Four Arrested at Hagerstown Meth Lab

Wayne County – Yesterday Hagerstown Police received a tip about activity suggesting the possible manufacture of methamphetamine at a house trailer at 472 Jones Road, Lot #4 in Hagerstown. Hagerstown Officer Blaase contacted Nate Raney of the Indiana State Police Meth Suppression Unit and the two started an investigation.

Enough information was gained that a search warrant was obtained and served late last evening by the Hagerstown Police, Indiana State Police, and Deputies from the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department. Four people were arrested as a result of that search warrant. Officers discovered materials used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine, as well as marijuana.

Arrested at the home was Lee Cravens, Jr., age 41. He was charged with Manufacturing Methamphetamine, Class “B” Felony, and Possession Precursors to Manufacture Methamphetamine, Class “D” Felony. Tommy Johnson, age 41, was charged with Maintaining a Common Nuisance, Class “D” Felony, Possession of Marijuana, Class “A” Misdemeanor and Possession of Paraphernalia, Class “B” Misdemeanor.

Dennis D. Riddle, age 36, was charged with Maintaining a Common Nuisance, Class “D” Felony, Possession of Marijuana, Class “A” Misdemeanor and Possession of Paraphernalia, Class “B” Misdemeanor. Tashla Clark, 23, was charged with Maintaining a Common Nuisance, Class “D” Felony and Possession of Paraphernalia, Class “B” Misdemeanor. The four were lodged in the Wayne County Jail.

Often times Meth Labs are found as a result of an anonymous tip from a neighbor or friend. Anyone with information about illegal drug use may call the Pendleton Post at 1-800-527-4752, or the Indiana State Police Drug Tip Line at 1-800-453-4756. Tips can be made and kept anonymous. The Indiana Meth Investigation System or IMIS, can also take tips on meth labs.

April 01, 2012

Police Are Using Phone Tracking as a Routine Tool


WASHINGTON — Law enforcement tracking of cellphones, once the province mainly of federal agents, has become a powerful and widely used surveillance tool for local police officials, with hundreds of departments, large and small, often using it aggressively with little or no court oversight, documents show.

The practice has become big business for cellphone companies, too, with a handful of carriers marketing a catalog of “surveillance fees” to police departments to determine a suspect’s location, trace phone calls and texts or provide other services. Some departments log dozens of traces a month for both emergencies and routine investigations.

With cellphones ubiquitous, the police call phone tracing a valuable weapon in emergencies like child abductions and suicide calls and investigations in drug cases and murders. One police training manual describes cellphones as “the virtual biographer of our daily activities,” providing a hunting ground for learning contacts and travels.

But civil liberties advocates say the wider use of cell tracking raises legal and constitutional questions, particularly when the police act without judicial orders. While many departments require warrants to use phone tracking in nonemergencies, others claim broad discretion to get the records on their own, according to 5,500 pages of internal records obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union from 205 police departments nationwide.

The internal documents, which were provided to The New York Times, open a window into a cloak-and-dagger practice that police officials are wary about discussing publicly. While cell tracking by local police departments has received some limited public attention in the last few years, the A.C.L.U. documents show that the practice is in much wider use — with far looser safeguards — than officials have previously acknowledged.

The issue has taken on new legal urgency in light of a Supreme Court ruling in January finding that a Global Positioning System tracking device placed on a drug suspect’s car violated his Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches. While the ruling did not directly involve cellphones — many of which also include GPS locators — it raised questions about the standards for cellphone tracking, lawyers say.

The police records show many departments struggling to understand and abide by the legal complexities of cellphone tracking, even as they work to exploit the technology.

In cities in Nevada, North Carolina and other states, police departments have gotten wireless carriers to track cellphone signals back to cell towers as part of nonemergency investigations to identify all the callers using a particular tower, records show.

In California, state prosecutors advised local police departments on ways to get carriers to “clone” a phone and download text messages while it is turned off.

In Ogden, Utah, when the Sheriff’s Department wants information on a cellphone, it leaves it up to the carrier to determine what the sheriff must provide. “Some companies ask that when we have time to do so, we obtain court approval for the tracking request,” the Sheriff’s Department said in a written response to the A.C.L.U.

And in Arizona, even small police departments found cell surveillance so valuable that they acquired their own tracking equipment to avoid the time and expense of having the phone companies carry out the operations for them. The police in the town of Gilbert, for one, spent $244,000 on such equipment.

Cell carriers, staffed with special law enforcement liaison teams, charge police departments from a few hundred dollars for locating a phone to more than $2,200 for a full-scale wiretap of a suspect, records show.

Most of the police departments cited in the records did not return calls seeking comment. But other law enforcement officials said the legal questions were outweighed by real-life benefits.

The police in Grand Rapids, Mich., for instance, used a cell locator in February to find a stabbing victim who was in a basement hiding from his attacker.

“It’s pretty valuable, simply because there are so many people who have cellphones,” said Roxann Ryan, a criminal analyst with Iowa’s state intelligence branch. “We find people,” she said, “and it saves lives.”

Many departments try to keep cell tracking secret, the documents show, because of possible backlash from the public and legal problems. Although there is no evidence that the police have listened to phone calls without warrants, some defense lawyers have challenged other kinds of evidence gained through warrantless cell tracking.

“Do not mention to the public or the media the use of cellphone technology or equipment used to locate the targeted subject,” the Iowa City Police Department warned officers in one training manual. It should also be kept out of police reports, it advised.

In Nevada, a training manual warned officers that using cell tracing to locate someone without a warrant “IS ONLY AUTHORIZED FOR LIFE-THREATENING EMERGENCIES!!” The practice, it said, had been “misused” in some standard investigations to collect information the police did not have the authority to collect.

“Some cell carriers have been complying with such requests, but they cannot be expected to continue to do so as it is outside the scope of the law,” the advisory said. “Continued misuse by law enforcement agencies will undoubtedly backfire.”

Another training manual prepared by California prosecutors in 2010 advises police officials on “how to get the good stuff” using cell technology.

The presentation said that since the Supreme Court first ruled on wiretapping law in 1928 in a Prohibition-era case involving a bootlegger, “subtler and more far-reaching means of invading privacy have become available to the government.”

Technological breakthroughs, it continued, have made it possible for the government “to obtain disclosure in court of what is whispered in the closet.”

In interviews, lawyers and law enforcement officials agreed that there was uncertainty over what information the police are entitled to get legally from cell companies, what standards of evidence they must meet and when courts must get involved.

A number of judges have come to conflicting decisions in balancing cellphone users’ constitutional privacy rights with law enforcement’s need for information.

In a 2010 ruling, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, in Philadelphia, said a judge could require the authorities to obtain a warrant based on probable cause before demanding cellphone records or location information from a provider. (A similar case from Texas is pending in the Fifth Circuit.)

“It’s terribly confusing, and it’s understandable, when even the federal courts can’t agree,” said Michael Sussman, a Washington lawyer who represents cell carriers. The carriers “push back a lot” when the police urgently seek out cell locations or other information in what are purported to be life-or-death situations, he said. “Not every emergency is really an emergency.”

Congress and about a dozen states are considering legislative proposals to tighten restrictions on the use of cell tracking.

While cell tracing allows the police to get records and locations of users, the A.C.L.U. documents give no indication that departments have conducted actual wiretapping operations — listening to phone calls — without court warrants required under federal law.

Much of the debate over phone surveillance in recent years has focused on the federal government and counterterrorism operations, particularly a once-secret program authorized by President George W. Bush after the Sept. 11 attacks. It allowed the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on phone calls of terrorism suspects and monitor huge amounts of phone and e-mail traffic without court-approved intelligence warrants.

Clashes over the program’s legality led Congress to broaden the government’s eavesdropping powers in 2008. As part of the law, the Bush administration insisted that phone companies helping in the program be given immunity against lawsuits.

Since then, the wide use of cell surveillance has seeped down to even small, rural police departments in investigations unrelated to national security.

“It’s become run of the mill,” said Catherine Crump, an A.C.L.U. lawyer who coordinated the group’s gathering of police records. “And the advances in technology are rapidly outpacing the state of the law.”

April 01, 2012

Teacher quits after comment about student's cleavage

By Erica Rodriguez

A Eustis Middle School teacher resigned after she made a comment about a student's cleavage in front of the classroom.

Joan Bannister, a 53-year-old math teacher, drew attention to the girl's cleavage and said she would be out of dress code if the girl were measured, according to a memo from Lake County Schools.

The girl filed a complaint saying that on Jan. 30 Bannister approached her with a ruler and said the math teacher wanted to measure her exposed boobage.

April 01, 2012


Speeding Cop Caught Catching Air On South Beach Is Relieved Of Duty

Eric Dominguez Relieved Of Duty By Miami Beach Police

A Miami Beach Police officer has been relieved of duty after a video posted to YouTube showed him speeding so fast on South Beach that his patrol car went momentarily airborne, confirms the Miami Herald.

Officer Eric Dominguez, who was using his lights and siren, was reportedly responding to an emergency call. But officers have been restricted from reaching excessive speeds on the sand since several incidents in which beach-goers were seriously injured or killed.

The video, apparently shot by shocked tourists near 8th Street and Ocean Drive, shortly shows a second police vehicle -- also with lights flashing -- moving at a more reasonable speed. (Watch the video above.)

Chief Raymond Martinez announced Thursday Dominguez was relieved pending an investigation involving the operation of his marked police vehicle.

The incident is not the first in which Dominguez has found trouble behind the wheel. In 2010 the Miami New Times detailed a 2003 crash in which he nearly killed four bikers -- including a Miramar police officer -- while speeding and weaving through I-75 traffic in his city-issued Ford:

Dominguez tried to tell the highway patrol he was on duty, but my friend says, 'Quit bullshitting us. I'm a cop too. You had no lights on, no jurisdiction -- you were just driving like a maniac,' Dalama says. It's a good thing [Gomez] was there or I'm sure Dominguez would have lied his way out of it.

The city of Miami Beach settled a civil suit with the bikers years later, paying out tens of thousands in damages. Dominguez also abused sick time, the New Times reported, all while earning $128,853 per year.

The incident captured on YouTube comes just days after Chief Martinez took office vowing to clean up MBPD's reputation, soiled by incidents including one last July in which an on-duty officer allegedly drank and partied at a South Beach bar before running over two beach-goers in the dark on his police ATV, causing severe injuries.