PoliceOne Daily News

  1. Boston police detonate suspicious bags at marathon finish line

    Denise Lavoie Associated Press

    BOSTON — Survivors, first responders and relatives of those killed in the Boston Marathon bombing marked the anniversary Tuesday with tributes that combined sorrow over the loss of innocent victims with pride over the city's resilience in the face of a terror attack.

    "This day will always be hard, but this place will always be strong," former Mayor Thomas Menino told an invitation-only audience of about 2,500 people at the Hynes Convention Center, not far from the finish line, where two pressure cooker bombs hidden in backpacks killed three people and injured more than 260 others a year ago.

    Vice President Joe Biden, who attended the ceremony, said the courage shown by survivors and those who lost loved ones is an inspiration for other Americans dealing with loss and tragedy.

    "You have become the face of America's resolve," he said.

    Biden also praised the 36,000 runners who plan to run the marathon next week, saying they will send a message to terrorists.

    "America will never, ever, ever stand down," he said, to loud applause. He added, "We own the finish line."

    In the evening, after the tributes were over and most people had left, a man behaving suspiciously near the finish line dropped a backpack containing a rice cooker, police said. The man, who walked barefoot in a street in pouring rain, was taken into custody and was being charged with possession of a hoax device and disturbing the peace, Police Superintendent Randall Halstead said.

    The backpack was blown up by the bomb squad as a precaution as was a second unattended backpack found nearby, police said, and no injuries were reported. Halstead didn't release the identity of the man in custody and wouldn't say what was in the second backpack or who owned it.

    In Washington, President Barack Obama observed the anniversary of last year's deadly marathon attack with a private moment of silence at the White House.

    "Today, we recognize the incredible courage and leadership of so many Bostonians in the wake of unspeakable tragedy," Obama said in a statement. "And we offer our deepest gratitude to the courageous firefighters, police officers, medical professionals, runners and spectators who, in an instant, displayed the spirit Boston was built on — perseverance, freedom and love."

    Obama said this year's race, scheduled for April 21, will "show the world the meaning of Boston Strong as a city chooses to run again."

    Authorities say two ethnic Chechen brothers who lived in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan and the Dagestan region of Russia planned and orchestrated the marathon bombings on April 15, 2013.

    Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died following a shootout with police days after the bombings. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 20, has pleaded not guilty to federal charges and is awaiting a trial in which he faces a possible death sentence. Prosecutors say the brothers also killed MIT police Officer Sean Collier days after the bombings in an attempt to steal his gun.

    Prosecutors have said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev left a hand-scrawled confession condemning U.S. actions in Muslim countries on the inside wall of a boat in which he was found hiding following the police shootout.

    At the tribute, several survivors of the bombing alluded to their injuries but focused on the strength they've drawn from fellow survivors, first responders, doctors, nurses and strangers who have offered them support.

    "We should never have met this way, but we are so grateful for each other," said Patrick Downes, a newlywed who was injured along with his wife. Each lost a left leg below the knee in the bombings.

    Downes described Boston Strong, the slogan coined after the attack, as a movement that symbolizes the city's determination to recover. He called the people who died "our guardian angels."

    "We will carry them in our hearts," he said.

    Downes said the city on April 21 will "show the world what Boston represents." He added, "For our guardian angels, let them hear us roar."

    Adrianne Haslet-Davis, a ballroom dancer who lost her left leg below the knee and has recently returned to performing on a prosthetic leg, said she's learned over the last year that no milestone is too small to celebrate, including walking into a non-handicapped bathroom stall for the first time and "doing a happy dance."

    Gov. Deval Patrick spoke of how the attack has drawn people closer.

    "There are no strangers here," he repeated throughout his speech.

    Carlos Arredondo, the cowboy hat-wearing spectator who was hailed as a hero for helping the wounded after the bombings, said he went to the tribute ceremony to support survivors and their families.

    "You can see how the whole community gathered together to support them and remember," Arredondo said.

    After the tributes, many of those in attendance walked in the rain to the finish line for a moment of silence that coincided with the time when the bombs went off. Bells rang, and a flag was raised by transit agency police Officer Richard Donohue, who was badly injured during a shootout with the bombing suspects.

    Earlier in the day, a wreath-laying ceremony drew the families of the three people killed last year — Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell and Lu Lingzi — and Collier's relatives.

    Copyright 2014 Associated Press

  2. What is it like to work with police informants?
    Author: P1 Community

    A question posted recently on Quora asked, “What is it like to work with police informants?” Retired special agent Bob Cooke gave his opinion on the topic, below. Check it out and add your own thoughts in our comments section.

    I have worked with all types of informants for more than 30 years. Having worked with hundreds of them I have a pretty clear understanding of what it is like to be an informant.

    First off, most informants are referred to as Confidential Informants (CIs) by themselves, police and courts. CIs are sometimes very scared about what will happen when someone finds out that they snitched on them. Some CIs are very cocky because they are able to do something that the police can't do. Mainly, CIs have infiltrated an organization or a person involved in illegal activities.

    Mercenary informants can become very bold. We nicknamed one CI that I worked with for over 15 years "Teflon." Criminal charges never seemed to stick and crooks never figured out that he was the informant on many cases. After a while his attitude was such that he acted as though we worked for him. If we didn't respond to his calls quickly enough he would begin "agency shopping." I have had a few CIs attempt to do this. They will call around to various law enforcement agencies and give them a little info to see how much they will pay.

    What CIs eventually discover is that law enforcement agencies share information and we usually discover that a CI is "shopping." In those cases we either drop the payment or deactivate the CI and possibly make him the target of a new investigation. It isn't hard for a good cop to find a reason to arrest a CI. Then the CI is no longer a mercenary and becomes dependent on the cops to help him or her out on fresh charges.

    Once a CI has your phone number you can be sure that you will get calls late at night, on weekends and on holidays. Some CIs think the police are really their friends. Today's CI is tomorrow’s suspect. Cops can't hang around with felons when off-duty.

    CIs don't like playing by established rules that are clearly explained and written out on their contracts with police. They must understand that they are not a police officer, must not carry a weapon, and must not use their sexuality or entrap someone into committing a crime.

    Some CIs will attempt to recruit other CIs for the police. I've worked with CI teams before. Sometimes it works out very well. In one case it saved my life because I treated them fairly. One of them called for help when I was being held at gun and knife point by two [cocaine] dealers. The only wound I suffered was a dog bite when the police K-9 bit me by mistake.

    CI's know they are a valuable tool for law enforcement. It is true. Many cases would go unsolved without employing a CI. If an agreement is made to keep the CIs identity a secret then the government must abide by that written agreement. A CI will know at the onset of the investigation if his/her identity will remain confidential. Sometimes a CI's identity is compromised when a CI breaks those established rules of conduct. Otherwise the criminal case against the defendant might be dismissed to protect the informant.

  3. Police: Officer's son kills 5 in party slaying
    Author: P1 Community

    Associated Press

    CALGARY, Alberta — The son of a Calgary police officer was charged in the fatal stabbing of five people at a house party that the law enforcement officials called the worst mass slaying in the western Canadian city's history.

    Matthew Douglas de Grood, a recent graduate of the University of Calgary, picked up a large knife shortly after arriving at the party and stabbed the victims one by one shortly after 1 a.m. Tuesday, said police Chief Rick Hanson.

    De Grood, 22, was charged with five counts of murder late Tuesday.

    "This is the worst murder — mass murder — in Calgary's history," Hanson said at a news conference Tuesday. "We have never seen five people killed by an individual at one scene. The scene was horrific."

    The Calgary attack came nearly a week after a teenage boy in the U.S. stabbed and wounded 21 students at his high school outside Pittsburgh.

    Hanson said the motive for the Calgary attack was unknown. He said the suspect's father and mother are devastated.

    "They are now feeling so much sorrow," he said. "Those young people are dead and they are absolutely devastated."

    Hanson said the identities of the five victims —four men and a woman — will be released when autopsies are completed. He said their ages range from 22 to 27 and they were all "good kids."

    Neither the victims nor the suspect had any prior involvement with police, Hanson said.

    The University of Calgary said de Grood graduated in 2013 with a bachelor's degree majoring in psychology and a minor in law and society.

    Hanson said about 20 people were at the party celebrating the last days of classes at a home in the northwest residential neighborhood of Brentwood, near the campus. He said the suspect was invited to the party and showed up after working his shift at a grocery store and was welcomed inside.

    He said it appears that no one at the party had been sleeping when the attack took place shortly after 1 a.m. Tuesday, but that everyone was taken by surprise.

    Hanson said the suspect "targeted the victims one by one, stabbing them several times."

    "Was there anything that precipitated the event? Was there something that anyone had done that anyone could have taken as an insult or an affront to this individual? To the best of our knowledge right now, there's nothing to indicate anything like that happened," Hanson said.

    Hanson said the suspect allegedly brought a weapon, or "instrument," from work to the party, but grabbed a large knife from inside the house.

    Three men were found dead at the home after someone at the party called the emergency dispatcher. A man and a woman died at a hospital.

    Police said de Grood was arrested with the help of the police canine unit about 40 minutes after the stabbings and was taken to a hospital for treatment for dog bites.

    Hanson said there's nothing to indicate the suspect was drunk or had been doing drugs.

    He said police are interviewing witnesses.

    The blue-sided house where the stabbings occurred is on a quiet, tree-lined residential street. It was surrounded with yellow police tape as medical examiner staff brought three bodies out on stretchers.

    Neighbor Doug Jones said about a dozen students had been drinking beer around a fire pit in the backyard earlier in the night, but they weren't rowdy. He said they were talking about politics and the stock market. They took the party inside at about 9 p.m. and he heard nothing after that.

    Other residents in the area said the house party stemmed from the student union's annual Bermuda Shorts Day, which was held Monday. The event is an annual outdoor party on campus featuring live music and beer gardens to celebrate the end of classes.

    On Twitter, many students wrote about how they starting drinking Monday morning and, when the campus event ended in the afternoon, they continued at parties elsewhere.

    On Tuesday, about 500 students and faculty members attended a late afternoon vigil at the University of Calgary.

    With a candle projected on a giant screen, university president Elizabeth Cannon called for a moment of silence.

    "The world lost five bright, promising, beautiful young people," she said. "We are still coming to grips with this tragedy and what transpired. We don't know all the details and we don't know the full impact on our University of Calgary community."

    Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi called it tragic and urged people to support one another.

    "Our community has been dealt a grievous blow. We've lost five young people, five good young people who did nothing wrong. Who like all of us had dreams and hopes and were building their lives," Nenshi said.

    Copyright 2014 The Associated Press

  4. Ore. cop shot, K-9 killed in traffic stop shooting
    Author: P1 Community

    By PoliceOne Staff

    PORTLAND, Ore. — An Oregon officer was shot and a K-9 was killed after a suspect with a rifle opened fire during a traffic stop.

    According to The Oregonian, the officer is being treated for injuries that are non-life threatening. The police K-9 was found dead near the scene of the shooting after a search by police, and suffered at least one fatal gunshot wound.

    The suspect was taken into custody after several 911 calls from the public. A resident, David Bell, described his encounter with the armed man, whom he believes was carrying a rifle.

    “He raised it and pointed it at me and said he didn’t want to do it, but would shoot if he had to,” Bell said.

    Bell called 911 and the suspect lowered the rifle, apologizing before running away.

    Police believe the suspect may be armed with an AR-15. Police have yet to release further details surrounding the shooting.

  5. NY cops get over $20K for license plate readers
    Author: P1 Community

    By Ashley Hupfl The Journal News

    ALBANY, N.Y. — Greenburgh police will receive a $22,500 state grant for a license plate reader package that will be used toward its efforts to target burglaries, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday.

    The department is one 31 law enforcement agencies that will share nearly $1 million in grants to boost a crime-prevention efforts in upstate New York.

    The grants go to law enforcement agencies in counties not participating in the state's new Gun Involved Violence Elimination initiative. As part of the state budget, Cuomo ended Operation IMPACT, a crime-fighting program started in 2004 for 17 upstate counties with high crime rates.

    Full Story: Greenburgh gets state grants for license plate readers

  6. Minn. deputy shot during traffic stop, suspect arrested
    Author: P1 Community

    By Mary Lynn Smith Star Tribune

    NORMAN COUNTY, Minn. — A 19-year-old northwestern Minnesota man was arrested Tuesday for shooting a sheriff's deputy in the back during a traffic stop.

    Steven Anthony Henderson, whose last known address is Fertile, Minn., is being held in the Northwest Regional Corrections Center in Crookston after a two-hour manhunt involving more than 70 officers from a dozen law enforcement agencies, according to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

    While making a traffic stop about 8:30 a.m., a Norman County Sheriff's deputy was taking Henderson's brother, William Patrick Henderson, 18, into custody on a warrant from Pennington County. That's when Steven Henderson reportedly shot the deputy, who was wearing a bullet-resistant vest, BCA officials said.

    The deputy returned fire but missed Steven Henderson, who fled in the vehicle, the BCA stated. The deputy, who hasn't been named yet, was treated and released at Essentia Hospital in Fargo.

    Authorities found Henderson about 10:30 a.m. at a vacant Mary Township farmstead, arresting him without incident, officials said. His brother also is being held in the Northwest Regional Corrections Center until he's transferred to the Pennington County Jail.

    Copyright 2014 the Star Tribune

  7. Boys jump into arms of cops to escape Chicago blaze that injured 8
    Author: P1 Community

    By Meredith Rodriguez and Liam Ford Chicago Tribune

    CHICAGO — It took a minute for the man standing on the front porch of the West Pullman home to realize what was going on when his neighbors started yelling to him that his house was burning.

    "I'm telling him, man, your house is on fire!" said Bernard Jones, 52, who lives near the home in the 11600 block of South Michigan where eight people, including a two firefighters and a police officer, were injured Tuesday evening.

    The man opened the front door as flames leapt from the side of the house toward the second floor, Jones said.

    "We look up," Jones said. "There's kids in the window."

    A pair of police officers in the area had spotted the burning home, too, and had called it in on their radios about 6 p.m.

    Seeing two boys in the upstairs windows, the officers shouted instructions to break the windows and jump into their arms, Police News Affairs Officer Hector Alfaro said.

    It was a team effort, with Jones and other people nearby helping direct the boys, who are 15 and 8 years old, to a side window. The officers and neighbors then prepared to catch the boys and urged them to jump.

    "The older one was a little hesitant and we were like, 'Man, you got to let it go,' so he went and jumped," Jones said. "The younger one was like, 'Hey I'm coming.'"

    One of the officers sustained a minor injury catching one of the boys, police said.

    The group of neighbors and police officers then tried to run upstairs to rescue a man trapped inside but were blocked by thick smoke, Jones said.

    Fire crews arrived soon after and found a police officer attempting to force her way inside the building to reach whoever was trapped inside, Deputy Chicago Fire Cmsr. John McNicholas said.

    "The police officer did a nice job, trying to do everything she could," McNicholas said.

    Seeing people fleeing the building and hearing reports of people trapped, firefighters called an Emergency Medical

    Services Plan 1 for the fire, sending at least six ambulances to the scene.

    With a man still trapped on the second floor, firefighters swiftly made entry.

    "They didn't hesitate," Jones said. "They went straight on upstairs."

    Firefighters found heavy smoke and fire in the home, and a firefighter attempting to reach the second floor was pushed back by the heat of the fire, causing him to fall down the stairs, McNicholas said.

    The trapped man was rescued from the rear of the second floor, McNicholas said.

    The man, who appeared to be in his late 50s, was alert but breathing heavily as he walked toward the ambulance,

    Jones said. "He was up there at least 10 minutes in all that heavy smoke," Jones said of the man, who was believed to be the most seriously injured of everyone hurt in the fire.

    The man was taken in serious-to-critical condition to Advocate Trinity Hospital, officials said. Four other people injured in the fire were taken in good-to-fair condition to Roseland Community Hospital, Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said.

    The firefighter who fell and another injured firefighter were both taken to local hospitals as well. Neither firefighter's injuries were believed to be life-threatening.

    The injured police officer was taken to Metro South Medical Center in Blue Island in good condition, Langford said.

    The fire was declared under control just before 7 p.m. The cause remains under investigation.

    Jones said he was glad to help because of a fire at his home about 20 years ago that burned his niece.

    "To this day she's got a lot of things wrong with her 'cause of that smoke," Jones said. "I was not gonna let that happen to them.

    "I'm just glad the kids are alright," Jones said.

    Copyright 2014 the Chicago Tribune

  8. Report: NYC gun violence on rise
    Author: P1 Community

    By Anthony M. Destefano Newsday

    NEW YORK CITY — The number of shootings in New York City has increased during the past several weeks after months of declines, with several shootings a day keeping police busy, particularly in Brooklyn, the latest NYPD statistics show.

    While the number of shootings is still down by about 1 percent this year compared with the same time in 2013, the running totals for shooting incidents over 28-day periods have shown increases of as high as 30 percent, according to the police statistics.

    Police and criminal justice experts said the recent shooting increase has been sparked by the warmer weather and a marked increased in gang activity, particularly in Brooklyn.

    "Weather is always an issue; people are out there, especially on gang stuff," NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis said.

    "People have been pent up. It has been an extremely bad winter . . . you have a situation where they [gangs] are waiting around for a specific target," retired NYPD detective sergeant Joseph Giacalone said.

    Police said the gang element was evident Monday night, when a 13-year-old bystander was shot in the head while a reputed gang member was wounded in what appeared to be a gang shooting. The boy is recovering in a hospital but has an eye injury, police said.

    The suspect was seen on video surveillance cameras and is being sought.

    The most recent COMPSTAT data for the four weeks ending Sunday showed that shootings increased 6 percent from 66 to 70, while the number of victims was up nearly 12 percent, from 76 to 85 so far this year. A week earlier, the previous rolling 28-day shooting-incident and victim tallies increased 30 percent and 40 percent, respectively.

    Shootings in Brooklyn have jumped the most. The 73rd Precinct, which covers parts of East New York, accounts for one-third of all shootings and leads the city, with 24 shootings this year compared with 14 at the same period in 2013, police said.

    Davis said that in response to the increased shootings, the NYPD is looking to put together large conspiracy cases against some of the gangs as investigators identify shooting hot spots.

    Davis said that while the number of stop-and-frisk encounters are down, the percentage resulting in confiscated guns has increased.

    However, Davis didn't have statistics on the actual number of guns confiscated.

    But the NYPD is seeking to intensify its actions against the gangs in an effort to reverse the shooting trends.

    "Bad guys shooting each other out in broad daylight is never a good thing," Giacalone said.

    Copyright 2014 Newsday

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