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9 hours ago

Los futuros maestros chefs perfeccionan su arte en Home Grown Springfield

Los estudiantes de Springfield recientemente tuvieron la oportunidad de enfrentarse en un concurso de creatividad culinaria y conocimientos de nutrición en el Sodexo Future Chefs Challenge 2024, organizado por Home Grown Springfield el mes pasado.Más que una simple competencia, el Future Chefs Challenge está diseñado para enseñar a los estudiantes habilidades culinarias para toda la vida, incluido cómo elegir alimentos saludables en el hogar y en la escuela.“Como Directora de Operaciones y Comunicaciones de Home Grown Springfield, Sodexo, estoy encantada de compartir el viaje inspirador de nuestros participantes del Springfield Future Chefs Challenge,” dijo Lydia Rodríguez, directora de operaciones y comunicaciones, en un correo electrónico con The Republican.“Este año, nuestros talentosos jóvenes chefs, inspirados por sus platos favoritos familiares caseros, mostraron su destreza culinaria con platos que reflejan su herencia, creatividad y pasión por la cocina,” ella añadió.Home Grown Springfield, un programa de Sodexo, celebró su quinto aniversario este mes. Financiado por Springfield, el centro culinario y de nutrición de 62,000 pies cuadrados del programa ha generado más de 37 millones de comidas hasta la fecha y es la base del Future Chefs Challenge.A lo largo de la competencia, los estudiantes finalistas visitaron el centro culinario y trabajaron con el personal de Sodexo para dominar habilidades culinarias fundamentales y perfeccionar sus recetas antes del gran día.“Yo estoy inmensamente orgullosa de todos nuestros estudiantes chef de Springfield que participaron en el desafío de este año, cada uno de los cuales aportó su creatividad y estilos únicos a la mesa,” dijo Rodríguez.Los tres mejores estudiantes de cocina fueron Logan St. Cyr, un estudiante de primer grado de la escuela Frederick Harris, que ganó el primer lugar con sus “Chicken Ranch Tacos;” Sandra Knighton, estudiante de quinto grado de la Escuela Kensington, quien se llevó el segundo lugar con su “Money Baggz Smoothie;” y Leo Medina Dávila, estudiante de segundo grado de la Escuela Primaria DeBerry, quien recibió el tercer lugar con “Fried Beef Steak.”Otros estudiantes que participaron en la competencia fueron: Alina Guerrero, estudiante de cuarto grado de la Primaria DeBerry, con “My Famous Chicken Alfredo;” Christyana Bodisher, alumna de cuarto grado de la Escuela Washington, con “Turkey Burgers;” Catalina Cosme, estudiante de tercer grado de la Primaria DeBerry, con “Pollo Guisado;” y Jamael Israel, alumno de primer grado de The Zanetti School, con “Papas gratinadas con carne molida.”Los estudiantes chef prepararon sus platos para un panel de jueces que incluía a Tara Christian Clark, directora de The Zanetti School; Charlotte Kocsmiersky, estudiante de Central High School y ganadora de Stir It Up Springfield 2023; José Escribano, jefe del departamento de Participación Familiar y Comunitaria de las Escuelas Públicas de Springfield; y Robin Sánchez, directora de la Escuela Warner.“La dedicación, creatividad y habilidades culinarias del estudiante chef realmente impresionaron al panel de jueces de este año y reafirmaron la importancia de las experiencias culinarias positivas para moldear el futuro de nuestros estudiantes,” dijo Rodríguez.Se entregaron premios a los chefs ganadores, incluido un Instapot, un juego de ollas y sartenes, un George Foreman Grill y más, donados por Singer Kittredge.Traducido por Damaris Pérez Pizarro


9 hours ago

6 people stabbed to death in Sydney shopping center; Suspect fatally shot

Massachusetts Police News

A man stabbed six people to death at a busy Sydney shopping center Saturday before he was fatally shot, police said. Eight people, including a 9-month-old, were injured in the attack.The 40-year-old suspect began stabbing people at the Westfield Shopping Centre in Bondi Junction, which is in the city’s eastern suburbs, before a police inspector shot him after he turned and raised a knife, New South Wales Assistant Police Commissioner Anthony Cooke told reporters.


10 hours ago

More than a dozen dogs being taken to Mass. from NY amid ‘dog population crisis’

Massachusetts Police News

More than a dozen dogs are being taken to Massachusetts from New York amid what animal rescue organizations are calling a “national dog population crisis.”The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) is taking in 14 dogs from Animal Care Centers of NYC (NYACC), an organization that runs several shelters around New York City. NYACC has double the number of dogs in its care than it has capacity for, “mirroring challenges that animal shelters across the country are experiencing with too many animals and not enough adoptions,” according to a statement from the MSPCA.“People in the Northeast often think that the national dog population crisis is something that only Southern and warm-weather states are dealing with,” Mike Keiley, MSPCA-Angell vice president of animal protection, said in the statement. “But that’s not true, and no one knows that more than NYACC.”NYACC has more than 300 dogs in its care when it only has the capacity for 180. Dogs are doubled up in kennels, and the organization is using pop-up crates in offices and hallways to expand capacity, according to the statement.The 14 dogs are expected to arrive at the Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem on April 13. They range in age from one to eight years old and are mostly large, bully breed mixes, according to the MSPCA.The group of dogs is scheduled to arrive just days before the MSPCA hosts a fee-waived adoption event for all dogs ages six months and older across all four of its shelters called “Run, Walk, Dog!” in honor of the Boston Marathon, the MSPCA noted.The MSPCA expects eligible New York dogs to be available in the “adoptathon” after they have completed their state-mandated 48-hour quarantine and received any medical attention they may need, according to the statement.The transport of the 14 dogs could not come at a better time, Jessica Vaccaro, NYACC’s director of placement, noted in the statement.“NYACC is so grateful to the MSPCA for this partnership,” Vaccaro said. “Our shelters in NYC are beyond overcrowded, with double the number of dogs we have room to comfortably house. Being able to relocate so many large breed dogs opens up much needed kennel space and assists us in our mission to end animal homelessness in NYC.”The MSPCA seeks to rehome more than 100 dogs during the week-long adoption event, including Dove, a nearly two-year-old mixed breed dog who came to the organization on April 9 in a transport with 19 other dogs from the Charleston Animal Society South Carolina, “Dove has experienced a lot of trauma in her short life,” said Keiley. “She was found as a stray and had endured a gunshot wound to her face.”“But Dove is really special and resilient. She underwent successful surgery in South Carolina and, despite her trauma, staff there said she’s loving and affectionate,” Keiley added.More information about Dove and the adoptathon can be found at mspca.org/dogs.


10 hours ago

$4 million lottery prize won at grocery store in Mass.

Massachusetts Police News

A $10 scratch lottery ticket sold at a grocery store in Massachusetts scored a lucky player millions of dollars.The lucky player bought a “$4,000,000 Mayhem” scratch ticket for $10 at Elias Food Market in Revere and won $4 million, the top prize in the lottery game. The player claimed their prize, which amounts to $2.6 million before taxes, on Friday, according to the Massachusetts State Lottery’s website.The odds of winning $4 million playing “$4,000,000 Mayhem” are one in 5.376 million.The winner of the $4 million prize was not the only lucky player Friday. A $100,000 prize was also won the same day from the lottery game “Mass Cash.” The winning ticket was purchased at Brothers Super Liquors in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston.The odds of winning $100,000 playing “Mass Cash,” a number selection lottery game, are one in 324,632.The state lottery publishes to its website a list each day of all the winning tickets in Massachusetts worth at least $600. In total, there were 653 prizes worth $600 or more won or claimed in the commonwealth Friday, including eight in Springfield, 13 in Worcester and 52 in Boston.


11 hours ago

Springfield Pride Parade regresará con 3 días de eventos

Massachusetts Police News

La “pequeña idea” de Taurean Bethea de iniciar un Desfile del Orgullo hace tres años tuvo tanto éxito y fue tan bien recibida que se convirtió en mucho más.La organización ahora ejecuta programas para ayudar a los estudiantes LGBTQ+ en asociación con escuelas y fuera del ámbito educativo. Eso también ha creado una iniciativa de espacio seguro que se une a empresas para crear lugares identificados como refugios seguros para los miembros de la comunidad.Springfield Pride, funcionarios de la ciudad, patrocinadores y otros partidarios dijeron que el desfile y el festival del bloque regresarán este año y serán más grandes, mejores y más ruidosos.“El primer año nosotros tuvimos 6,500 personas y este año esperamos 10,000 o más,” dijo Bethea en su anuncio inicial en el Ayuntamiento.El evento también se extenderá a tres días. Comenzará con el izamiento de la bandera del orgullo en el Ayuntamiento el jueves 30 de mayo, seguido de un panel de discusión juvenil sobre cuestiones LGBTQ+. La gala de recaudación de fondos You Ball regresará el 31 de mayo con el tema de la mascarada parisina, dijo Bethea.El final será el desfile del orgullo gay que se llevará a cabo el sábado, 1 de junio. El mismo comenzará en Springfield Technical Community College, viajará por State Street y terminará en Stearns Square para una fiesta de cuadra. Bethea también anunció que actuará el músico de hip-hop de Nueva Orleans, Big Freedia.El alcalde Domenic J. Sarno dijo que está feliz de ver que la gente es más receptiva y está ansiosa por que regrese el Desfile del Orgullo y la fiesta de barrio. El primer año dijo que recibió varios correos electrónicos de personas que protestaban por la idea del evento, pero el año pasado esa cantidad disminuyó a uno o tal vez dos.Cuando Berthea y su madre Sylvia Bethea, presidenta de la junta del Desfile del Orgullo, se le acercaron por primera vez con la idea de un evento para apoyar a la comunidad LGBTQ+, Sarno dijo que su reacción fue “¿Por qué no?”“Es bueno, divertido y con un buen resultado económico. Se lo agradezco,” él dijo.Muchos también hablaron sobre cómo el Desfile del Orgullo se ha transformado en múltiples iniciativas vitales que ayudan a los miembros de la comunidad LGBTQ+ a sentirse seguros, bienvenidos y les brindan un lugar al que acudir en busca de información y ayuda. Ellos elogiaron especialmente una asociación que ha llevado a la organización a seis de las escuelas superiores.Esas iniciativas están creciendo y la agencia está trabajando actualmente para crear un lugar en línea al que los estudiantes puedan ir, donde se sientan seguros y puedan encontrar recursos, dijo Anthony Woodburne, director de comunicaciones de la organización Springfield Pride Parade.Crear esa plataforma es vital porque las redes sociales son una parte muy importante de la vida de todos los jóvenes y ellos necesitan un espacio seguro donde puedan recibir consejos y simplemente hablar con alguien que entienda lo que ellos sienten, él dijo.“La iniciativa juvenil es muy importante porque los jóvenes de nuestra ciudad ahora pueden sentirse vistos,” dijo Helen Caulton Harris, directora de salud y servicios humanos de Springfield. “Al permitir que nuestros jóvenes lesbianas, gays, bisexuales, transgénero y queer sean vistos, prevenimos el suicidio, los trastornos de salud mental y el acoso.”Durante el evento, Taurean Berthea también anunció que el Desfile del Orgullo continuará ofreciendo la beca Ruby Lee para estudiantes LGBTQ+ y planea duplicar el premio a $3,000.Traducido por Damaris Pérez Pizarro


11 hours ago

‘A Delicate Marriage’: Author’s first novel shares love of Puerto Rico

Massachusetts Police News

Author Margarita Barresi contends that people should read books that celebrate other cultures so they can be better citizens of the world.So the native of Puerto Rico infused her first novel with her love of Puerto Rico, its beauty, people, traditions, culture, food and language.“I wanted to pack as many details about life on the island as possible, to make Puerto Rico practically a character in the book. I hope readers fall a little bit in love with the island,” said the author of “A Delicate Marriage.”Set against the vibrant landscape of Puerto Rico 40 years after its colonization by the United States, the novel weaves together the lives of Isabela and Marco.Isabela, a woman of privilege, makes the ultimate sacrifice by forsaking her artistic dreams to marry Marco, a passionate advocate for social change in a country grappling with its identity under U.S. influence. As Marco rises to power in the real estate industry while navigating the political currents of the time, Isabela finds herself increasingly disillusioned with her traditional role and torn between her loyalty to her husband and her own desire for autonomy.As political violence threatens their paradise, Isabela and Marco question whether their marriage, like the island’s relationship with the U.S., should continue. The novel celebrates Puerto Rican culture while delving into themes of class, oppression and the effects of colonialism through the lens of a marriage.The characters of Isabela and Marco are based on the author’s grandparents; Don Gabriel is based on her great-grandfather.“Marriage and politics are similar in that to be successful they both require compromise,” Barresi said. “A marriage should benefit both parties, yet that’s not always the case in a ‘colonial marriage.’ In a colonial relationship there’s an imbalance of power and the ruling party is likely to benefit the most.”The book’s title refers to the tenuous relationship the main characters have because of their differing political opinions. It also refers to the “delicate marriage” between Puerto Rico — a colony — and the United States.Barresi thought it would be interesting to create a couple who are passionate about improving conditions on the island but have opposing political views. “This enabled me to illustrate how being a U.S. colony has affected the island in both negative and positive ways. The give-and-take in Isa and Marco’s marriage mirrors the relationship between the U.S. and Puerto Rico, which remains fraught with tension to this day. Stories need tension to be interesting and what better tension than different ideologies under one roof?”Two things inspired the book. “First, the story of my grandparents’ courtship. Like Isa, my grandmother was a debutante who wanted to be an actress. Like Marco, my grandfather came from nothing but used his smarts to get an education. They met and fell in love, but my grandmother’s father, Cheo, did not approve of my grandfather as a suitor for his daughter and did everything in his power to keep them apart,” she said. “In the book, everything Don Gabriel does to keep the lovers apart, Cheo did in real life. I grew up listening to those stories and thinking it all sounded so glamorous.”Secondly, Barresi wanted to educate readers about the island’s history, particularly after it became a U.S. colony in 1898. “The Puerto Ricans were on the cusp of attaining independence from Spain when the U.S. landed on its shores, so you can imagine the frustration of the Puerto Rican people to have once again to bow to a greater power,” she said. “It’s now the oldest colony in the world, and its fascinating story is part of the history of the U.S. but not taught in schools.”Puerto Rico is part of the United States, yet many Americans don’t know that basic fact or anything about the island and its people, she said. “‘A Delicate Marriage’ puts the island’s history into context. It begins to answer questions such as, ‘Why have so many Puerto Ricans migrated to the mainland since the 1940s?’ It shines a light on decisions that well-meaning leaders made during the 1940s and ‘50s which had unfortunate long-term impacts.”Barresi was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and lived there until coming to the states to attend Boston University. She majored in public relations and had a successful career in marketing and communications, working at agencies for clients like Smartfood Popcorn, Dunkin’ Donuts and Bausch & Lomb and in-house for Tufts Health Plan and Bentley University; she now works as a freelance editor and copyeditor.Barresi, who has been married for 34 years and has two adult daughters, lives in Wakefield where she has a small area in her house with lots of windows that serves as her dedicated writing space.“A Delicate Marriage,” historical fiction, in paperback sells for $17.99, hardcover for $27.99 and Kindle for $8.99. It has 352 pages and was published by Atmosphere Press in October.For more information, go online to margaritabarresi.com.


11 hours ago

Celtics reserve breaks out for career night in Hornets win

Massachusetts Police News

Payton Pritchard had a rare chance to take a leading role on Friday night with the Celtics usual starting five getting the night off. The point guard made the most of that opportunity, scoring a career-high 31 points and 11 assists in a 131-98 rout over the Hornets at TD Garden.Pritchard’s impressive stat line came with a special asterisk as he became the first Celtic since Larry Bird to post 30 points and 10 assists in a game while playing just 31 minutes. Pritchard rested the entire fourth quarter of the blowout win but did most of his work early in the victory, becoming jut the second player in the NBA this year to have 23 points and nine assists by halftime according to C’s stats guru Dick Lipe.It was a night of career-highs for several Celtics as Neemias Queta, Drew Peterson and Jordan Walsh all set new marks for themselves but Pritchard stood out from the pack for setting the pace for Boston’s offense. Fanatics Sportsbook 10X$100 BONUS BET BET MATCH BONUS CLAIM OFFER Must be 21+. GAMBLING PROBLEM? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (CO, KY ,MD, OH, PA, TN, VA, VT, WV); (888) 789-7777 or ccpg.org (CT); 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA); (800) 327-5050 or gamblinghelpline.org (MA), mdgamblinghelp.org (MD), 1800gambler.net (WV) “Taking what the defense gives me, hitting my spots when open, and getting my teammates involved,” Pritchard said. “I think I ended up with like five assists in the first quarter. Everybody was getting a shot up and getting comfortable. It wasn’t like I was ball-dominant the entire time, so I was proud of that.”Pritchard has become one of the most consistent Celtics on the roster this year in a reserve role as he’s set to play a full 82 games on Sunday while being handed constant minutes for the first time since his rookie year.“It definitely helps a lot,” Pritchard said of the steady role. “I mean, for any player, you get spot minutes, it’s tough. You don’t know when it’s gonna come. When you do get minutes, like what is your role out there? What are you being put out there for? I think in the past, a lot of the time it wasn’t necessarily for me to be like a point guard or even like a playmaker. It was really to try to come in and hit some 3s and bring energy defensively, rebounding, stuff like that. I think my role has definitely grown a little bit this year. With that, I’ve grown and been better at playmaking. But just making the game easier for myself, but also my teammates.”Pritchard will likely get another big chance on Sunday afternoon against the Wizards in the regular season finale with Boston’s regulars likely seeing light workloads, if they play at all. Don’t look for the point guard to seek out any rest though in Boston’s final tuneup before the postseason.“It’s definitely a big accomplishment for me,” Pritchard explained. “Like I said before, to play 82 games is tough, but through the summer, the work I put in to get my body ready for that. But also the journey for me, last year, in my second year of times where I didn’t play at all and how frustrating that is and how much that hurt at times. But it just fueled me to keep working, and for this year to come and play 82 games and be a part of the best team in the NBA and try to do something special, it feels good.”


12 hours ago

How Friday’s games impacted Celtics potential playoff opponents

Massachusetts Police News

The Celtics got back in the win column on Friday night at TD Garden but there was plenty of more meaningless action across the Eastern Conference as the race for playoff positioning heated up. The Celtics still have a meaningless Game 82 upcoming on Sunday afternoon but there will be high stakes around the conference. Nobody in the East is locked into a spot in the top-8 beyond Boston although the potential paths for the Celtics to get to the Finals are starting to become clear. Let’s look at what’s at stake entering Sunday’s regular season finale.STANDINGSMIL 49-32NYK 49-32CLE 48-33ORL 46-35IND 46-35PHI 46-35MIA 45-36REMAINING SCHEDULEMIL: @ ORLORL:  MILNYK:  CHICLE:  CHAIND:  ATLPHI: BKNMIA:  TORKEY HEAD-TO-HEAD TIEBREAKERSMIL LEADS PHI (2-1, 1 TO PLAY)MIL OVER NYK (3-2)CLE OVER MIL (DIVISONAL RECORD)ORL OVER NYK (3-1)ORL-CLE (2-2, GOES TO CONF RECORD)ORL OVER IND 2-1IND OVER NYK 2-1IND OVER PHI 2-1NYK OVER CLE 2-1IND OVER PHI 2-1IND OVER MIA 2-1 Fanatics Sportsbook 10X$100 BONUS BET BET MATCH BONUS CLAIM OFFER Must be 21+. GAMBLING PROBLEM? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (CO, KY ,MD, OH, PA, TN, VA, VT, WV); (888) 789-7777 or ccpg.org (CT); 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA); (800) 327-5050 or gamblinghelpline.org (MA), mdgamblinghelp.org (MD), 1800gambler.net (WV) A THREE-HORSE RACE FOR THE NO. 2 SEEDThe Knicks and Cavs both won on Friday night while the shorthanded Bucks lost in Oklahoma City, creating plenty of intrigue for the trio of squads Sunday. All three teams have clinched homecourt advantage but anyone could land in spots 2-4 after Sunday.The Bucks have the inside track at the No. 2 seed since they will clinch it with a win but they also have the hardest opponent (Orlando) in a road contest awaiting them. The Knicks (Bulls) and Cavs (Hornets) opponents have nothing to play for so both teams winning their matchups with a Bucks loss would lead to Milwaukee sliding down to the No. 4 seed. That would open the door for a potential second-round date with Boston if the Bucks make it out of the first round.SIX POTENTIAL TEAMS COULD STILL FACE CELTICS IN FIRST ROUNDThe Magic, Pacers, and 76ers currently sit in a three-way tie for the No. 5 seed but all of those teams could fall as low as No. 8 on the final day of the regular season. With the Heat looming just one game behind and holding a number of tiebreakers, there is a huge range of teams that could be stuck in the play-in tournament.The closing schedule largely centers on the Magic hosting the Bucks. The implications there will be big for Milwaukee but they are even bigger for Orlando since a loss will likely send them to the play-in tournament. The 76ers, Pacers and Heat host unmotivated lottery teams so wins are expected by all of them on Sunday. If every team wins, we will be looking at a 76ers-Heat 7 vs. 8 matchup in the play-in tournament. If the Magic lose on Sunday, it’s the Heat that will likely be hosting Orlando in that same play-in tournament tilt.


12 hours ago

Where Bruins land in final NHL Power Rankings of regular season

Massachusetts Police News

The last regular-season power rankings have arrived. The next time these national outlets order teams, there will be just 16 teams still skating. The Bruins will obviously be among them. Their return to consistency has kept them close to the top of the rankings.To keep power ranking lists from becoming repetitive, the different outlets usually include a different side angle for each team too. Some are a little more original than others. Fanatics Sportsbook 10X$100 BONUS BET BET MATCH BONUS CLAIM OFFER Must be 21+. GAMBLING PROBLEM? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (CO, KY ,MD, OH, PA, TN, VA, VT, WV); (888) 789-7777 or ccpg.org (CT); 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA); (800) 327-5050 or gamblinghelpline.org (MA), mdgamblinghelp.org (MD), 1800gambler.net (WV) Here’s where the Bruins landed on the lists and what the different sites said about them:Rank: 6This week The Athletic gave every team a trophy. They gave Boston the Billy Beane Award for the team that does the best job at recreating an irreplaceable star and wrote:“A big part of “Moneyball” was tracking the Oakland Athletics’ attempt to deal with the loss of Jason Giambi, an MVP-caliber talent who’d left as a free agent. The Bruins were faced with a similar challenge this season when Patrice Bergeron retired. A one-for-one replacement wasn’t going to work, and Boston still doesn’t have a true No. 1 center, but they’re on track to win the Atlantic Division again anyway — and their top two centers, Charlie Coyle and Pavel Zacha, are both going to hit the 60-point mark.”Rank: 5ESPN wrote about each team did compared to preseason expectations:“The retirement of Patrice Bergeron tempered expectations for the B’s, but they have proven skeptics wrong by blowing past their predicted pace to sit among the league’s top teams. It’s the Bruins’ consistency that makes them a perennial threat, and after the sting of last season’s first-round playoff loss, Boston is poised to turn up the heat this postseason.”Rank: 4NHL.com wasn’t giving fake trophies like the Athletic, but instead talked about chances are real ones:“One year ago, the Bruins were in line for a slew of awards. Linus Ullmark won the Vezina. Jim Montgomery won the Jack Adams. Bergeron won his sixth Selke. David Pastrnak finished second in the Hart voting. This season? Not so much. The Bruins have been a very good team all season but have not had anyone likely to rise to the award-level. Will Pastrnak get some votes for the Hart? Yes. Should Montgomery get some votes for the Jack Adams after a season when he’s likely been a better coach than last year? Also, yes. And if the combination of Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman were eligible for the Vezina, they could collect some too. It’s possible that Don Sweeney could garner some support as GM of the Year, but in the end, I think the Bruins would be more than happy to make it deeper into the playoffs and forgo the awards this season that they won last season.”Rank: 4Canada’s SportsNet wrote about the top story of the season for each team and once again Patrice Bergeron gets mentioned.“David Pastrnak has 41 more points (107) than the next closest Bruin (66 by Brad Marchand). A 41-point season is a decent year for a middle-six forward. His ongoing brilliance in the absence of the retired Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci is the story of the year in Boston. Also, what could be more Bruin than the near-identical stat lines of their foundational goalie tandem: Jeremy Swayman has a .915 save percentage and 2.56 goals-against average in 43 games, while Linus Ullmark has a .916 SP and 2.55 GAA in 38 outings.”Rank: 4“The Bruins are getting hot at the right time with four consecutive wins, including a massive overtime victory against the Panthers over the weekend. David Pastrnak continues to thrive with five points in his last four games.”

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National-Police-News-Stirm-Group

April 13, 2024

NY State Assembly Speaker: “I Just Don’t Believe Raising Penalties Is Ever A Deterrent to Crime.”

New York State Assembly Chambers, Albany, New York (Photo: Matt Wade, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0)  We’ve been covering judges lately who give George Soros-type prosecutors a run for their money in the anti-law-and-order arena. But it’s not just radical judges and prosecutors putting people at increased risk of attack by violent criminals. Many political leaders are backstabbing their communities. An X-Post from Joe Grimaldi, National VP for the Fraternal Order of Police, prompted this article. He wrote, “New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie claims he doesn’t believe harsher penalties help reduce crime, despite the mountain of evidence to contrary.” X-Post Link How could we not explore somethings no one should say much less the Speaker of the New York State Assembly whose job is to manage legislation. This includes legislation favorable to cops and law-abiding people but detrimental to criminals. The New York Post reported, “Heastie, whose position as head of the Assembly is especially powerful, doubled down on his remarks Tuesday, telling reporters in Albany, ‘I simply just said I do not believe that increasing penalties deters crime, and I’d love somebody to give me an example as to when that happened.’” Is this lawmaker actually asking someone to give him an example of when deterrence worked? Okay, I’ll go. Like everywhere, all the time. NYS Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) (Photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0)  Publicly saying something doesn’t work while knowing you’re demonstrably wrong is solid evidence that the speaker (literal in this case) is espousing ideology over reality. People ask, “Why is that official so stupid?” It’s not stupidity, although I understand that’s what stupid looks like. Speaker Heastie’s actions, or inactions, are intentional. Look at his comments. He’s telling us what he believes. People should believe him. He wants to make life difficult for ordinary people and the cops and easier for criminals. Tragically, the people of New York State must depend on a soft-on-crime, anti-cop, and pro-criminal radical in charge of their State Assembly for help with addressing crime. So, while New Yorkers contend with wildly surging violent crime, their leaders reject calls for law and order. Two of the many calls for help came from New Yorkers victimized by violent criminals. According to the Post, Ramon Acevedo and Lisbel Rodriguez Luna were brutally beaten by their respective assailants at the stores where they worked in the Bronx, Heastie’s district. A suspect, Oscar Apronti, reportedly attacked Acevedo, a 68-year-old grocery store manager, at a Gristedes supermarket in Chelsea. The Post said that Apronti allegedly (seen in surveillance video) lunged at Acevedo and bashed him with a hammer, causing a gruesome three to four-inch gash on his forehead. Acevedo said, “another half an inch to the right [it] would have ended my life.” Police arrested Apronti, and the DA charged him with “assault, stalking and criminal possession of a weapon….” I wondered, why not attempted murder? Then I remembered—it’s New York. Acevedo’s disdain for the Speaker and violent crime, generally, is evident with biting comments like, “New York has become one of the worst places on the planet. Criminals do whatever they want to do. Why? Because there’s no penalty. There’s no deterrent.” He’s right! Ask any of the NYPD’s over 30,000 cops. They’ll agree wholeheartedly. However, Heastie adamantly disagrees, as if arguing that fire is not hot, and water is not wet. The Post also reported former Gov. David Paterson blasted Heastie for refusing to back legislation that would “toughen up criminal sentences for violent shoplifters and other thugs who assault retail workers.” He added, “The politicians take care of themselves instead of the people. They’re not affected. They’re definitely out of touch. They don’t care. They should do their jobs and protect us. If criminals don’t do the time, what’s to deter them from striking again?” That’s commonsense, which seems elusive in radical leftist legislatures such as in New York. What’s truly ironic is another soft-on-crime leader, Gov. Kathy Hochul, proposed the tougher-on-crime legislation. It’s even more ironic, since she helped cause the current crime mess, she’s now trying to extract herself from. You’ll recall she wasn’t welcome at slain NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller’s recent wake on Long Island. Some in attendance reportedly told her, “His blood is on your hands.” X-Post Link And the suspect’s vicious, unprovoked attack on Acevedo wasn’t an isolated incident. At another Bronx retail store, thugs savagely attacked cashier Lisbel Rodriguez Luna. Unknown assailants viciously beat Luna, repeatedly punching her in the face, leaving her with scars as an unwanted reminder of their brutality. It doesn’t matter why the men attacked her, but the dispute was reportedly “over cashing in recyclable bottles.” “[Heastie] is wrong. Someone that robs and attacks someone needs to be punished. Those people should be in jail,’ Luna, 25, told The Post. ‘They came to my job to abuse me. Out of nowhere, attacked me because they felt like it.’” Her father-in-law, Jesus Hernandez, said, “He’s [Hastie] in favor of the criminals. The authorities are being very soft. If someone commits an assault like that and nothing happens, what’s going to happen?” Oooh! I know; I know! They’ll do it again. Adding insult, and indicative of New York’s criminal injustice system, Luna said she has no idea if her attackers “were ever arrested.” This leads me to believe they weren’t, and even if they were, they’d likely have been released—without bail—like I said, it’s New York. Both crime victims left their jobs following their assaults. Acevedo retired after 47 years at his store and Luna simply moved away. The title of an old article by Susan Biali Haas M.D., writing at PsychologyToday.com, nails dealing with government leaders like Heastie: “Don’t Try to Reason with Unreasonable People.” Two of the Doc’s bullet points stood out for me: “Some people who seem to be ‘unreasonable’ may have a personality disorder.” “When dealing with an unreasonable person, it’s important to give up the hope that they will become the person one wishes they would be.” Now, I’m no doctor, but I don’t think a personality disorder is Heastie’s problem. I’m inclined toward his warped ideas on crime and deterrence stem from his adopted radical ideology. However, I can see how radical leftist ideology and mental illness could present as similar. Hastie said, “I think we are going to come up with different ideas on how to deal with retail theft,’ he continued. ‘The question should not be, ‘Are you going to raise penalties because you want to deter crime?’ The question should be, ‘Do you want to raise penalties because you want people in jail longer?’” Ouch! Intellectual brain freeze! One does the other, right? We want to raise the penalties to deter crime by putting “people in jail longer.” When penalties are harsher more people will hesitate to commit crimes (deterrence). And, even better, criminals can’t prey on people while locked up (prevention). Hastie uses all the right words; he just puts them in the wrong order. State Capitol Building, Albany, New York (Photo: Tyler A. McNeil, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0) Others critics, like Michael Goodwin, in an opinion piece at the Post via MSN, writes, “Yet Heastie is not just another rank-and-file radical bloviating about a Marxist revolution and power to the people… he has a life-or-death grip on every piece of legislation that moves or doesn’t move in Albany, his admission illustrates why lawmakers have allowed and even encouraged the waves of crime and public disorder that are destroying New York.” Career criminals who should be, or still be, in prison commit many of the violent crimes reported. It was a career criminal who allegedly shot and killed Officer Diller (mentioned above), a husband and father whose wife was robbed of him and whose little boy will now grow up without his dad. The outrage against the multiple assaults, robberies, rapes, and murders at the hands of repeat offenders is excruciating because they never should have happened. Criminal violence is bad enough, but when violent crimes are avoidable through the deterrence of stronger laws and prevention through longer sentences, these abominations are difficult for Americans to take. When any government leader places a perverted ideology that favors violent criminals over law-abiding people, aren’t those leaders as much criminals as the criminals they protect who continue to prey on the people?


April 12, 2024

The National Police Association Files Amicus Brief in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals Supporting Georgia Deputies

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Image: Coweta County Sheriff’s Office Bodycam Indianapolis – April 12, 2024. In a friend-of-the-court brief filed with the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the National Police Association argued that qualified immunity, applied properly, should be granted to Coweta County, Georgia deputies who had attempted a nighttime investigation of a suspicious vehicle parked in an obscure parking lot. The suspect obstructed the deputies’ investigation and fled, forcing law enforcement into a dangerous, high-speed pursuit during which a deputy used both a PIT maneuver and a service weapon to bring the pursuit to an end. In Bolton, a Coweta County Sheriff’s deputy was patrolling the parking lot of a shopping area called the Newnan Pavilion in Newnan, Georgia, a southern suburb of Atlanta at night, on the lookout for potential burglars. The deputy observed a white SUV parked in an obscure part of the parking lot, with positioning suggestive of a getaway vehicle. The deputy approached the vehicle and asked for identification, which the driver did not provide. Instead, after a couple of minutes, the driver started his car and sped off, defying the assembled deputies’ orders. The deputies activated their lights and sirens and began pursuit. They observed the suspect, now known to be one Nicholas Bolton, to run at least two stop signs and swerve into oncoming traffic. Wanting to avoid the suspect taking his car onto a far busier highway, a deputy attempted a PIT maneuver. This turned the suspect’s SUV 180 degrees, now facing one of the deputies’ patrol vehicles. As other patrol vehicles closed in on Bolton he proceeded to slam the accelerator and ram a deputy’s vehicle attempting to run him over. In response, the deputy, who had exited his vehicle, fired one shot into the suspect’s car. The suspect’s wheels stopped spinning. Deputies approached and found that the bullet had struck the suspect’s face, near his right eye. They broke into the locked car and removed the suspect, placing him in handcuffs on the ground while administering first aid to the gunshot injury. EMS arrived shortly thereafter and took the suspect for medical attention. Sometime later, Mr. Bolton sued Coweta County and the involved deputies, alleging excessive force. The District Court granted qualified immunity to each individual officer for their role in the incident, which Mr. Bolton appealed. In his appellate brief, Mr. Bolton claimed that officers violated several Coweta County department policies and that these department violations carried the same weight in establishing the law, for qualified immunity purposes, as did published decisions from the Eleventh Circuit or the United States Supreme Court. The NPA responded to this argument in the first portion of its Amicus Curiae brief. When assessing whether qualified immunity applies, a court must determine if the law that the plaintiff says the officer violated was “clearly established” at the time of the alleged violation. In other words, was it law that what the officer did violated the constitution? If the answer is no, there was no law stating it was wrongful, then the officer is entitled to qualified immunity. What constitutes “the law” are decisions from the United States Supreme Court, published decisions from the Circuit Court of Appeals for the jurisdiction in question, and published decisions from the highest court of appeal for the state in the jurisdiction in question. What does not constitute “the law” are internal department policies. These policies are typically written with different considerations in mind than those facing the appellate courts referenced above—and often times are more restrictive than general constitutional standards. As such, non-compliance with these policies does not mean non-compliance with general constitutional standards. Thus, those policies do not establish constitutional standards. The second argument in the NPA’s brief concerned the policy reasons supporting qualified immunity’s continued existence. It is no secret that the doctrine is under repeated, direct attack by anti-police personal injury lawyers, even though the doctrine serves valid, important public policy. On a near-daily basis, the nation’s law enforcement officers must resolve situations involving belligerent individuals who may be under the influence of intoxicants, in the throes of a mental health crisis, armed with a weapon, or some combination of all three. The difficulty—and danger—these interactions pose can scarcely be put into words. As a result, constitutional doctrines that defer to officers in such situations, who are forced into split-second life or death decisions, like qualified immunity, are preferable to the alternative. The National Police Association is represented by Robert S. Lafferrandre and Jeffrey C. Hendrickson of Pierce Couch Hendrickson Baysinger & Green, L.L.P., in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The case is Nicholas Bolton v. Sheriff of Coweta County, Georgia, et al., No. 23-12752, before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. The NPA’s brief can be accessed here. About The National Police Association: The National Police Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit Educational/Advocacy organization. For additional information visit NationalPolice.org ###


April 10, 2024

Can Modern American Cops Benefit from Ancient Greek Stoicism?

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By Steve Pomper   Marcus Aurelius (121-180), Roman Emperor, Stoic Philosopher (Photo: Jastrow, Public Domain) When I was first hired as a cop, our police chief gave each recruit Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People. Before the academy he “encouraged” us to read it and he’d ask us about it after graduation. Not surprisingly, we read it. After we’d graduated, he didn’t want to hear about our police training as much as he wanted to know what we’d learned from the book. The principal focus of Carnegie’s book is human interactions in business, especially salesmanship. Our chief said he viewed police officers as salespeople, talking folks into buying what cops were selling: compliance. I saw the value but wondered if there were better or other books that teach more broadly how to deal with people and the stress of the job. Books help us acquire knowledge we can apply in the world. So, I wondered can books on philosophy specifically help to make better cops? Then I found a book a cop wrote on how philosophy can make cops better, thus better cops (more on that in a moment). Policing calmly in chaos is every cop’s goal. And while some are naturally better at it than others, every cop can improve. Whether it’s a violent gang member, a whiny complainant, a sympathetic victim, a micromanaging superior, or a politically poisoned city government, cops exist in undulating degrees of chaos. It’s a turbulence continually morphing from storm to calm to storm and so on. The officer’s job is to quell the mind-storm and act calmly amid the chaos. This topic may sound esoteric because, well, it can be. But that doesn’t make it any less valid. I’ve always been interested in philosophy, though I’ve never really studied it formally. But whenever I’d come across the topic, I’d felt an affinity for it. I realized that, without intending to, I think I was naturally a bit of a stoic. After I retired, I began to dig a little deeper into the preeminent ancient Greek and Roman Stoics. People from a lowly Greek slave to one of the greatest Roman Emperors. I considered how what they teach, naturally applies to police work, like the four virtues: Courage, Temperance, Justice, and Wisdom (a little on-the-nose for cops, but that’s cool, right?) Stoicism includes the lower case stoic-handling hardship without complaint and the upper case Stoics-students of Greek Stoicism founded by Zeno, as described by Stoic scholar Donald Robertson author of Stoicism and the Art of Happiness). As I began to read more philosophy, I realized I’d intuitively though intermittently applied Stoicism during my career—I now see where other officers I admire had, too. I rarely brought the stress of my job—as it related to law enforcement—home. I called it compartmentalizing, which I now realize wasn’t entirely accurate. I’m beginning to think handling job stress had more to do with aspects of Stoic philosophy. Once an officer leaves a call, the call should leave the officer. Stoicism teaches that cops should not take things personally at incidents. If things had gone well, don’t dwell too long on the successes, and if things hadn’t gone well, don’t linger long on the flops either. But if something you did caused things not to go well, resolve to do better the next time—and let it go. Adopting the attributes of Stoicism can improve an officer’s job performance by improving an officer’s perspective generally. Many officers may find they also have a natural affinity for this philosophy and can benefit from being able to name it and by more thoroughly implementing it. Other officers may find Stoicism new but to be of profound value. Still others may at least glean helpful tips that’ll assist them on the job. While Winning Friends and Influencing People is an iconic and useful book, as mentioned above, another book I recently discovered, written by Arizona cop Bill Mauro, The Stoic Cop, seems a worthy alternative or companion. The Stoic Cop concentrates on police officers specifically, focusing on the importance of virtue, controlling perceived chaos, and putting reason above passion while performing their duties—and living their lives. Officer Mauro relates the benefits of officers studying and applying Stoicism in police work. He doesn’t condescend in an I know, and you don’t, manner. Instead, as a peer, he relates his own missteps that he says Stoicism has helped him correct. Probably trickiest for some (Many? Most?) cops is Stoicism’s focus on controlling ego. Being significantly type-A personalities whose job it is to “tell people what to do” and to “fix their problems,” managing one’s ego can be challenging. Knowing what is within your control and what is not means controlling the ego. Mauro wrote about how the great Stoics like the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (Meditations), former slave Epictetus (Discourses), and politician Seneca (Letters from a Stoic) learned and taught that the foundation of happiness (eudaimonia) is, first, to know what we control, what we don’t, and to proceed from there. DailyStoic.com adds to the list of great people influenced by Stoic philosophy: “Frederick the Great, Montaigne, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, [and] Theodore Roosevelt….” Incidentally, Teddy Roosevelt was NYPD’s first police commissioner. Stoicism teaches that we can’t control everything that happens to us, but we can control how we react/respond to it. Also, the Stoics teach that acts of true strength matter but might not be what we think. In police work, that can be knowing when to verbally disengage with a suspect rather than to engage. Officer Mauro gives an example of suspects chipping at officers to prompt angry and inappropriate reactions, which can get officers disciplined, fired, or even prosecuted. So, why does what some thug says trigger cops to such anger? Ego. Stoicism teaches that what someone else says matters only if we allow it to. Why do we care about the words of someone we’ve probably never seen before and will probably never see again? And even if we have seen them before and will see them again, so what? What they say still doesn’t have to matter to us. It’s our choice. So much stress and poor decision making can come from allowing verbal provocations to matter when they don’t. Officer Mauro relates a story of a suspect who incessantly chipped at him from the backseat of his patrol car. This was after he’d begun studying Stoicism, so he didn’t give the suspect the reaction he’d wanted. He remained calm during the suspect’s storm. Eventually, instead of an invective-laced ping-ponging insult-fest, Mauro said the suspect quieted and eventually even apologized for his tirade. This story rang true because I had a similar incident. I didn’t have Stoic philosophy in mind at the time, but I had also maintained my cool when I had a suspect in my patrol car’s backseat yelling at me, calling me all kinds of (well, you know what they say), who was begging for me to retaliate. The call had involved a crashed stolen car, fleeing felons, and some “do-gooder,” cop-hating social justice warriors who’d run to the crash scene to “help.” Long-story-short, the haters fought the cops, and a melee ensued. Punches were thrown, kicks had flown, pepper was sprayed, and we ultimately arrested the bad guys. My suspect was particularly vocal in his objection to being arrested for “only trying to help the crash victims.” But I remained calm while he raged. Then, during a lull, I explained to him that the car was stolen and that several suspects had bailed out after crashing into a concrete bulkhead. Now, he knew the cops’ perspective. The young community organizer became quiet and grew thoughtful. A few moments later, still headed to the precinct, he asked me, “Was the car really stolen?” I answered, as I’d like to think the great Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius might have. “Yup.” Then the suspect shocked me (not easy to do to a cop). He apologized for attempting to assault me and resisting arrest. For the rest of the trip he was the perfect prisoner. He also cooperated while I signed him into a precinct holding cell and then behaved himself during transport and booking into jail (later he and his comrades would sue the officers, but you get the point). Like Officer Mauro, if I’d engaged the suspect like he wanted me to, I would have made my job harder and also more difficult for transport officers and jail staff who’d have to handle him after me. By allowing reason to overcome passion, chaos turned to calm even if only from my perspective. I’m not saying this will always happen—it won’t. But even if only you remain calm while a suspect continues to rage, you’ve controlled what was in your control and what the suspect said didn’t matter. Remember this from DailyStoic.com. The Stoic philosopher Epictetus observed, “What upsets people is not things themselves, but their judgments about these things.” If you judge things as not important, they won’t upset you. Let’s end with the GoodReads.com description of Officer Mauro’s book, The Stoic Cop. “Learn to bridge the gap between police and citizen relationships, deal with difficult people, navigate department politics, and more. Learn to control your perceptions, opinions, and emotions and become a better, more virtuous police officer. Most importantly, control your perceived chaos.


April 9, 2024

I’m in Pursuit on Foot!

Police National US News

By Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D Twenty-eight-year-old Germaine Davansha Small wasn’t on a casual stroll on the first weekend of April. Hiding a pistol under a shirt draped over his shoulder, Small first engaged in a brief contact with the occupants of a car that had just pulled into the parking lot of a St. Petersburg, FL food mart around 5:30 p.m. Witnesses heard a gunshot and saw the car speed off. Small then walked about a block before stopping at the home of an elderly sight-impaired man standing in the front yard of the home. Small fired two shots at the man. Small then trespassed on another home and was told to leave and began to walk away. St. Petersburg police Officer Dale Johnson saw the suspect in an open lot where Small was walking when Small began to run, pointing his gun and firing toward Johnson. Small ran around a nearby house with Johnson in a foot pursuit, firing at Small and striking him in the head. Small continued to flee but dropped the gun and was apprehended by the officer. Foot pursuits are not uncommon. These headlines are from just the past few weeks: “Foot chase ends in shooting of teen by police on Detroit’s west side;” “6th DUI arrest came after pickup and foot chase, previous one was on lawnmower, Deleware police say”; “St. Louis officer hospitalized following foot pursuit, two suspects in custody;” NH troopers shoot and kill armed man during a foot pursuit with a police dog. For most diligent patrol officers getting a fleeing suspect becomes personal. How dare they! But the decision to start and continue a foot pursuit can be as complex as a high-speed vehicle pursuit. The first question to be answered is whether the officer knows why a person is running. As tempting as it is to assume that when someone sees the badge or patrol car and sprints away they are a criminal, the mere fact of running does not justify an arrest. Making sure to announce “Police! Stop!” can avoid a suspect’s later claim that they thought they were being robbed. The ability to complete a pursuit and subsequent arrest depends largely on the officer’s physical fitness, equipment, and safety. A foot pursuit not only requires the agility and energy to run, but at the end of that pursuit, the officer must anticipate a physical struggle and the potential for using force options including deadly force. Having the reserve strength to engage in a fight at the end of the flight, or to manipulate and accurately employ a firearm, Taser, or other restraint is a calculation the officer must make to decide whether to keep running or go to another plan. Having secure gear is another essential of an active foot pursuit. Officers are carrying more equipment than ever. It may be attached to a vest, belt, pocket, or epaulet by clips, snaps, or Velcro, but the officer needs to know they can keep it during the jostle of jogging and jumping fences. Doing a jump test in full gear is a good way to see what is most likely to fall off. A foot pursuit followed by a search and rescue mission for the cell phone, flashlight, radio, or other high-value item along the path is a race against anyone else who might claim finders’ keepers. And speaking of keeping one’s equipment, leaving behind an unsecured patrol car can lead to a lost suspect and a lost patrol car. With all due respect to rabbits and suspects, both often have a strategy when being pursued. If they know the territory better than the pursuing officer, the officer can be led to a vulnerable situation. Darkness, dead ends, clotheslines, creeks, and colleagues can be waiting for an unsuspecting officer operating on the escapee’s turf. Passengers bailing out of a car on a traffic stop can leave behind the most dangerous person that an unthinking officer might pass while running after another. The officer must always be aware of where they are to make other officers aware of where to arrive to assist. There are no street signs in the woods or alleyways. Foot chases can be honorably abandoned when the officer is not safely able to pursue into what is often a fatal funnel.


April 8, 2024

The National Police Association Supports Louisiana House Bill 173 to Create the Crime of Approaching a Law Enforcement Officer Lawfully Engaged in Law Enforcement Duties

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Image: New London, CT PD Bodycam Indianapolis – April 8, 2024. Louisiana House Bill 173 would make it a misdemeanor crime to be within 25 feet of a police officer who is making an arrest or performing other lawful work. It ensures that officers have an area in which to safely make arrests, restrain suspects, and perform other police duties. Altercations are unpredictable events that require an officer’s full attention. A distraction of even a few seconds is ample time for a situation to quickly escalate and result in harm to the officer, suspect, and spectators. This bill, introduced in February by Reps. Bryan Fontenot (055) and Mike Johnson (027) passed in the Louisiana House this month and has been received in the Senate. The bill’s text can be found here. H.B. 173 would apply only in cases where the officer has clearly issued instructions for an observer to retreat. Refusing to comply with an officer’s explicit directive may result in a maximum $500 fine and a 60-day jail sentence. A police officer who is distracted by a suspect may have more difficulty readily discerning whether the person approaching needs assistance, merely wants to record the encounter, or intends to attack. A 25-foot barrier provides officers with time to react if someone intends to cause harm. This bill also takes the First Amendment right to record police interactions into consideration. Advancements in technology have equipped cell phones with the ability to zoom in from far distances, as much as 330 feet away. At 25 feet, an onlooker would reasonably be able to record details, including an officer’s name and badge number. “At a time where it’s become the norm for hostile crowds to gather when an officer is lawfully trying to make an arrest or restrain a suspect, legislation like House Bill 173 is necessary,” said Paula Fitzsimmons, Legislative Director, National Police Association. “This bill gives officers ample room to safely perform their work, while also being respectful of the citizenry’s First Amendment rights,” Fitzsimmons added. The National Police Association thanks Reps. Fontenot and Johnson for introducing this thoughtful bill, and the Louisiana legislature for considering it. We respectfully ask Governor Jeff Landry to sign H.B. 173 when it reaches his desk for consideration. About The National Police Association: The National Police Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit Educational/Advocacy organization. For additional information visit NationalPolice.org ###


April 8, 2024

Cops Console Traumatized Children

By Stephen Owsinski Every cop has heart and conviction before they enter the profession of law enforcement, and the humanistic virtues that shine are most illuminated when children are involved in traumatizing incidents and police officers pillar frightened and confused young souls, consoling them when they need it most. Kids jolted in car crashes are gifted stuffed animals stored in a police cruiser’s trunk. Students bullied at school are befriended by police officers and mentored through the obnoxious behaviors of others. Youngsters who sadly witnessed a scary domestic violence incident involving loved ones are embraced by law enforcement officers mitigating the melee. Some children happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, only to wind up in the comforting presence of a cop whose compassion makes all things right… From the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO), an April 2021 blotter explains: “…after an incident at a local retail store that GCSO had to be called out for, Deputy Osorio stepped in to provide care for an innocent child who needed it. “This [deputy] went above and beyond by lending a shoulder to cry on, offered snacks and games, and even watched some cartoons on his phone with her until a parent showed up. Without a doubt, this [deputy] made a positive impact on the situation and needs to be commended for comforting this small child in a time of confusion and distress.” (Photo courtesy via the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office.) One of the other instances in which cops console children ensues after exhaustive searches for youngsters diagnosed with autism go missing, resulting in heartwarming recovery and sigh-of-relief breaths upon locating a boy or girl who wandered. [embedded content] Indeed, there are questions stemming from such a situation…but LEOs initially answer by searching for and recovering the child, saving the day, and forging indelible memories for young souls to forever have a hero in uniform. Also heartrending are the calls for service involving house fires and the first responders who ordinarily arrive before firefighters: cops expedite to these scenes and primarily focus on ensuring all people are evacuated from the burning structure, often carrying smoke-ingested persons to nearby safe zones where lung-based medical treatment is administered. Imagine children in such circumstances, realizing a stranger in a police uniform just saved them. Sometimes, it is not a stranger at all… Officer Next Door An off-duty policeman and his wife were out walking when the telltale signs of a house fire captured their attention. From a published account by WTSP, reporter Courtney Holland wrote “Off-duty Plant City police officer saves children from inside burning house,” adding, “Officer Michal Pietrusinski of the Plant City Police Department just so happens to live in the area and was walking outside when he reportedly saw large amounts of smoke coming from his neighbor’s house.” Right out of the police academy, with tons of training under his belt, newly sworn Officer Pietrusinski drenched a shirt via an outdoor garden hose and covered his mouth to enable relative breathing amid heavy smoke, belly-crawling to search for the two boys. Exposing himself to smoke ingestion, Officer Pietrusinski yelled out, “If you can hear me, come towards my voice.” According to Plant City Police reports, both children are autistic and non-verbal. He located one boy and got him outside to the child’s mother. At this time, Pasco County Fire Rescue personnel arrived—more first responders saving children. The firefighters located the second boy in a shower stall, with thick smoke wafting while running water sprayed his tiny body. Officer Pietrusinski was treated for smoke inhalation and praised by his agency, commending him and recognizing how “He immediately sprang into action.” “Officer Pietrusinski is a Polish immigrant who served 7.5 years in the U.S. Navy and four years as a Search and Rescue Swimmer. Pasco County Fire Rescue is proud of the brave actions of Officer Pietrusinski, firefighters from engine 16, and all others on the scene that day, who gave it all to save two children,” Ms. Holland reported. In addition to the Plant City PD brass heralding Officer Pietrusinski for his bravery and courage by selflessly running into absolute danger zones to save children, seconds away from what could have been utter tragedy, the rookie cop was awarded several times for life-saving feats. (Photo courtesy of the Plant City Police Department.) The biggest achievement, though, is the salvaged lives of two children whose neighbor is now more of an uncle. (Photo courtesy of the Plant City Police Department.) In other situations, police personnel are the first to attend to meaty matters that young, still-developing mindsets are embroiled in, engendering an all-out search-and-rescue operation by cops who are routinely subjected to the most horrific experiences. When these stark instances involve a child, it surely hits home, evoking super sensitivities from men and women fulfilling public safety roles. Kid Gloves Police academies teach cadets interpersonal skills, generally. Among many other demanding training blocks, police recruits endure long days of defensive tactics exercises, pummeling cushiony padding toward the goal of self-preservation —staying in the fight— requisitely doing so after being doused by OC spray in the eyes, swinging as if their life depends on it while their sinus cavities get roto-rootered. The next day of training could entail the dynamics of investigating crimes against children, a completely different type of burn, and testing defenses of the heart and soul, giving rise to kid gloves and pursuant lump-in-throat moments. We close with yet another way cops console kids, a dynamic imposed by health-related woes that can spiral the minds of young ones…compelling law enforcement officers’ sensitivities to scale the climate of violence and murderous mayhem against them. In November 2023, several law enforcement personnel and certified police canines visited the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. A young patient named Teagan and her police friends were the beneficiaries of spending time together, evoking smiles upon all faces, and making memories. With the growing interest in officer wellness and the deployment of resources to accomplish a balanced police force amid horrific experiences, I find this brand an ideal method for cops to combat jarring psyches and restate their Why. (Photo courtesy of Hartford Connecticut Police K9 Kady.) As stated in our first line above, cops bring heart and conviction to The Job, especially benefiting children who deserve consoling after bearing witness to some unspeakable experiences not meant for their tender souls. Public safety pros do much more than tie a child’s errant shoelaces…so much more!


April 6, 2024

Judge Hands Down Shamefully Lenient Prison Sentence for Killing Indianapolis Police Officer

By Steve Pomper  Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department patrol car (Missvain, Creative Commons Attribution 4.0) I’m not sure if people understand why it’s a particularly heinous offense when someone murders a police officer compared to other victims. While all innocent victims of murder are tragedies, killing a law enforcement officer is a unique crime. It’s not because the human behind the badge is more valuable than other people. The added significance comes from what and who the law enforcement officer represents: the community, for which cops are the shield and sword. When criminals murder a private person, that person is the only direct victim. When a murderer kills a cop, they’re committing a crime not only against the person in uniform but also against every single person in that community. Essentially, the social contract/compact says a society agrees to give up some (primitive) natural rights in exchange for living in a civil society based on the rule of law. We don’t give up our self-defense rights, but we do give up our “right” to retaliate, avenge, investigate, arrest, try, and impose punishments individually (i.e., caveman days). The criminal justice system is supposed to do that for us. But, as with the recent story NPA brought you about a judge handing out a lenient sentence (no prison just probation) for a criminal who stabbed a 94-year-old San Francisco woman multiple times (she survived), what happens when the justice system doesn’t do that? People, including cops, lose respect for the system they depend on and that the cops serve. Cops risk their lives enforcing the law for their communities. When someone kills Officer John Doe because they don’t want to be arrested, they’re not doing it because it’s John Doe; they’re doing it specifically because John Doe is a cop—protector of the community. This brings us to cop-killing and disappointment in the great city of Indianapolis, Indiana. On 04/09/2020, at about 2:45 p.m., Officer Breann Leath and other officers responded to a reported domestic disturbance at an apartment building. According to WISH 8 TV News, when officers knocked on the apartment door, the suspect immediately fired eight shots through the door, killing Officer Leath with two bullets to her head. Dorsey also shot and wounded Aisha Brown, a woman he’d been holding hostage, as she escaped into the hallway. X-Post Link Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) Officer Breann Rochelle Leath was everything law enforcement agencies are looking for in officers they hire. Officer Leath was also a single mom who left behind her little boy, Zayn, who is now seven about to turn eight. Officer Leath, 24 years old, had been on the job for only 2 ½ years when Dorsey murdered her. She was a high school dance team captain, served honorably in the Indiana National Guard, and worked as a corrections officer for the Indiana Department of Corrections (DOC). “The DOC has since named the unit in Leath’s honor.” Marion County Superior Court Judge Mark Stoner gave her killer, Elliahs Dorsey, according to WISH TV 8 News, only “time served,” some five years, for killing a police officer. It’s more than the murder that has the Indianapolis community enraged, though. Headlines, such as at WRTV abc Indianapolis, “Elliahs Dorsey sentenced to more than 30 years in prison in killing of IMPD Officer Breann Leath, other crimes,” are misleading. Dorsey did not get that much time for killing Officer Leath; he got that sentence for shooting and wounding a woman he was holding hostage. X-Post Link Dorsey may have gotten a three-decade prison sentence, but not for killing a cop. That sentence was for attempting to kill a civilian, which is appropriate. But for actually killing Officer Leath, the judge ordered “time served,” which amounted to about five years. WISH asked the Leath family if they were upset. “‘Of course, we’re upset,’ Breann Leath’s mom Jennifer Leath said. ‘The judge… basically said you can assault officers… and… you can claim some kind of depression or mental illness and walk away scot free. I am not happy about it.’” President Rick Snyder of the Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police said, “It’s an absolute disgrace and miscarriage of justice. The decision made by this judge today was to sentence this violent offender to time served for the death of a police officer. That time served was the equivalent to a little over 5 years.” At sentencing, the family, prosecutors, and the IMPD pleaded with the judge to hand down the maximum. The state had asked for 63 years. However, the cop-killer’s reported “begging” Judge Stoner for “mercy” outweighed the family, police, and prosecutor’s pleas for justice. As a sign of the times, the legal system is too often heavily slanted toward criminals and away from cops. The “jury rejected murder and found him guilty of reckless homicide in Leath’s death.” So, six years would have been the maximum instead of a possible death penalty. WRTV reported that “With credit for good behavior…,” Dorsey had effectively served his time for killing a police officer. X-Post Link Insult to injury, this judge also gave Dorsey three two-and-a-half-year prison sentences for “criminal recklessness” for each of the three officers near Officer Leath when he killed her. However, the judge “ordered those sentences to be served concurrently and merge in with the sentence in Leath’s death, which means Dorsey faces no additional prison time.” So, 30 years in prison for attempted murder and other crimes against a civilian but concurrent and merged sentences and time served for killing one police officer and nearly killing three others. I have that right, don’t I? The defense successfully argued that their client had a mental illness at the time of the incident and was suffering from a psychotic episode. But he still gave an acceptable sentence for Dorsey’s crime against Brown but a ridiculously low sentence for his heinous crimes against the IMPD officers, including Officer Leath. The original charges of murder were reduced to reckless homicide, and they took the death penalty off the table due to mental illness. Many people have mental illness but don’t shoot and kill cops, right? So, after 14 hours of deliberations, the jury found Dorsey “guilty but mentally ill.” This means the judge and jury’s decisions resulted in this cop-killer’s case going from a possible death penalty to a mere five years in prison for the killing of a police officer—and also nearly killing three other cops. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, a former federal prosecutor, while respecting the criminal justice system generally, had some harsh words for the judge. Hogsett said in a statement, as posted on X by Donnie Burgess of WIBC FM (read post below). X-Post Link IMPD Police Chief Chris Bailey also issued a statement critical of the decision, which he does not feel delivered justice in this case. “On a personal level, as a father and a career police officer, I am deeply disappointed in the sentence handed down by the judge this afternoon. This man killed a young mother and police officer, robbing Officer Leath of her life and all the potential she had. He also attempted to kill other officers and Ms. Brown. Nothing less than the full sentence under the law for his violent and senseless actions is acceptable.” Further, Chief Bailey thanked those involved in the investigation and prosecution and noted “all the officers who endured the pain and trauma of the trial and sentencing hearing.” Marion County, Indiana, needs everyone connected to its criminal justice system to return to working for equal justice according to the objective rule of law. We’ve seen all across the country how one woke, criminal-loving, cop-hating official can be Kryptonite to a criminal justice system. Critics have written extensively about the poisoning of the legal system by Soros-styled prosecutors. Still, we can’t forget about the activist judges who can unilaterally alter a community’s quest for justice, as many believe happened in Officer Leath’s case. These officials must cease giving criminals every benefit of the doubt, no matter how dubious while holding officers to not just high standards but impossible standards and viewing them with evident contempt. Maybe Judge Stoner can live with such decisions, but as one observer quipped, “[This ludicrous sentence] tells the world, if you’re going to commit a felony, go ahead and kill the responding officer as well. It’s a freebie.”    The call by the Indy Fraternal Order of Police for Judge Stoner to resign couldn’t be a better idea.


April 5, 2024

Baltimore Bridge Collapse and the Activation of Public Safety Assets

Police National US News

By Stephen Owsinski By now, just about everyone is aware of a massively loaded cargo ship Dali slamming into the Francis Scott Key Bridge on March 26, 2024, at 01:39 a.m., collapsing the hulking expanse and sending cars into the water below, eliciting gobs of uniformed personnel to the land/sea scene. As can be imagined, search-and-rescue and investigative efforts entail a wide array of public safety assets of various organizations involving local, county, state, and federal agencies. The common responders in such a gargantuan tragedy involving major modes of transportation are the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) personnel whose “investigators” are not sworn law enforcement officers—they are civilians who coordinate fact-finding efforts among entities possessing bona fide arrest powers should evidence indicate criminal wrongdoing (such as the bandied about cyberattack causing this maelstrom). All NTSB personnel will be working closely with various factions among the law enforcement mosaic, including the FBI’s Evidence Recovery Team. Taking point as a sort of ringleader over multiple agencies, the NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy has been busy pooling information and providing updates for public release, highlighting “764 tons of hazardous materials” were contained in some of the 4,000 metal cargo boxes on board the ship. [embedded content] Given such a surreal catastrophe, “The Maryland State Police – Aviation Command deployed multiple aircraft in the initial response to the Key Bridge collapse and will continue to commit assets, personnel, and expertise in coordination with our local, state, and federal partners. It is in moments like these that Maryland’s integrated emergency response system shines. Our thoughts are with those directly impacted and the many emergency responders involved.” The enormity of the Key Bridge (Interstate-695) incident engenders many government factions getting to the bottom (literally and figuratively) of the ordeal. Thus, a conglomerate of first responders and other related personnel from various organizations pool findings and, when appropriate, publicize findings as they go… (Photo courtesy of the Baltimore County Police Department.) In the context of public safety assets requiring airspace, the Maryland State Police imposed a “No Drone Zone” to decongest air traffic and allow uninterrupted investigative efforts and mapping to transpire unimpeded by enthusiasts. (Photo courtesy of the Maryland State Police—Aviation Command.) Given body recovery operations conducted by several law enforcement agencies, dignity is a component of the prohibitions of hobbyist drone flyers. Baltimore has both a city police department and a county police department. Just as these local law enforcement agencies ordinarily share jurisdiction of the waterways banking the metropolis, each has assets involved in the consortium of cops dissecting one of the world’s largest puzzles caused by the Singapore-flagged Dali ship stacked to the brim with cargo. The Baltimore County PD posted a statement regarding this unimaginable horror show, especially embracing police divers down under the mess, seeking the deceased: “The Baltimore County Police Department would like to thank and recognize the members of the BCoPD Dive Team who have worked under extremely difficult conditions with our regional & federal partners to recover the bodies of two workers who were on the Key Bridge when it collapsed.” (Photo courtesy of the Baltimore County Police Department.) Public Safety Dive Teams While cops maintained the safety of the horrid scene on landmass sides formerly linking the bridge’s span, waterborne operations engender highly trained certified police divers to submerge in the port’s channel to initially salvage potential survivors and subsequently morph into recovery mode. [embedded content] A diving expert stated that the Port of Baltimore water was 8 degrees at the time and that expectations for anyone submerged in the water had scant time to survive. (Photo courtesy of the Baltimore County Police Department.) Inclement weather hampered the divers’ diligence, thus compelling police executives to consider officer safety by suspending submersion until conditions improved. As in any police activity, cops must arrive alive to be effective. As you read this material, cranes on barges arrived, destined to remove the wreckage… The removal process on an unstable surface (water) adds hazardous potential, requiring police marine patrol boats to stage in a perimeter, allowing an unimpeded field of operations—there’ll always be at least one civilian boater whose craving for up-close footage will taunt authorities who have distributed PSAs to steer clear of the debacle.  Transportation Authority Police  Metropolises like Baltimore typically have assemblies of law enforcement officers employed by the jurisdiction’s transportation authority. In this monstrous case, reports of police officers received alerts of the errant ship roughly 90 seconds before impact, saving motorists from crossing the bridge from either side. The Key Bridge is among the various jurisdictional domains covered by officers with the Maryland Transportation Authority Police Department, which is “nationally accredited and is the eighth largest law enforcement agency in the State of Maryland with more than 500 sworn and civilian professionals. The MDTA Police are responsible for law enforcement at the MDTA’s bridge and tunnel thruways, highways, the Baltimore Washington International/Thurgood Marshall Airport, and the Port of Baltimore.” Transportation authority police departments ordinarily position at least one officer at each end of a bridge or tunnel, in addition to their other more vast venues such as airports and seaports, all of which routinely have heavy volumes of people traversing through, requiring oversight security at the ready, providing safety and security measures. [embedded content] Sounds like scant seconds before the Dali impacted the Key Bridge, police officers rang all the bells and summoned all resources amounting to a multi-level response from a potpourri of first responders. Having served as one early in my police career, MDTA public safety dispatchers were immediately thrust into the call of their career when one of their sworn officers spoke surreal words: “The whole bridge just fell down! Start…start whoever, everybody! The whole bridge just collapsed!” Right after that, another officer clarifies “I can’t get to the other side…the bridge…is…down!” Thought clouds likely filled with Nah, couldn’t be. The stark reality, however, materialized for all first responders activated the harbor horror. Disbelief likely played across many minds, right before training, courage, and dedication to duty took over. [embedded content] We conclude with a relatively 9/11 equivalent of public safety professionals forging forward in the ugly face of horrific circumstances and pulling out all stops to salvage against further loss of life. From a bank of media mics, Maryland Governor Wes Moore praised police officers, saying, “Literally by being able to stop cars from coming over the bridge, these people are heroes. They saved lives last night.” In one of several on-air interviews with NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy iterated a 12-24 month span of time before a “final report” is compiled. If you wish to follow the revelations from this multi-agency investigation, the Unified Command headed by the United States Coast Guard launched the website “Key Bridge Response 2024” which is accessible for information flow. First responders confronting this unthinkable event…hats off to you all!


April 4, 2024

Peel’s Principles Still Hold True

Police National US News

By Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D The father of modern policing is Sir Robert Peel who famously developed the London Metropolitan Police. Known as “bobbies”, presumably after Peel, they were a model of the new, centralized uniformed police force after which America’s municipal police are still modeled. Peel’s 9 principles of policing are still vital today and worth citing here: To prevent crime and disorder, as an alternative to their repression by military force and severity of legal punishment. To recognize always that the power of the police to fulfill their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behavior, and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect. To recognize always that to secure and maintain the respect and approval of the public means also the securing of the willing cooperation of the public in the task of securing observance of laws. To recognize always that the extent to which the cooperation of the public can be secured diminishes proportionately the necessity of the use of physical force and compulsion for achieving police objectives. To seek and preserve public favor, not by pandering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolute impartial service to law, in complete independence of policy, and without regard to the justice or injustice of the substance of individual laws, by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members of the public without regard to their wealth or social standing, by ready exercise of courtesy and friendly good humor, and by ready offering of individual sacrifice in protecting and preserving life. To use physical force only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient to obtain public cooperation to an extent necessary to secure observance of law or to restore order, and to use only the minimum degree of physical force which is necessary on any particular occasion for achieving a police objective. To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence. To recognize always the need for strict adherence to police-executive functions, and to refrain from even seeming to usurp the powers of the judiciary of avenging individuals or the State, and of authoritatively judging guilt and punishing the guilty. To recognize always that the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, and not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with them. Number 7 has always held a special place in my thinking: “police are the public and that the public are the police”.  Since the professionalism of policing in America this truth has been diminished in practice. Both the public and the police are at fault. The message to not get involved has been emphasized by employers, lawyers, and law enforcement. “Just call 911” is the advice (and, admittedly, not bad advice) that is universally given. But we also know that heroes aren’t limited to someone behind a badge. In November of 2023, John Lally happened to be in the area where Houston police had become engaged in a shootout with a carjacking suspect. When Lally saw a police officer get shot, he rescued the downed officer by dragging him to safety behind Lally’s truck. In Los Angeles in September of 2023, LAPD officers were in pursuit of a robbery suspect. When the suspect left the highway and began driving on a busy side street, a gray pickup blocked the suspect’s escape by pulling up grill to grill as officers, who had been pursuing the vehicle for over an hour, arrived to place the pinned suspect under arrest. In Florida recently a callous hit-and-run driver smashed into a car occupied by a woman and her 8-year-old daughter, leaving the victim, Kristi Aldridge, and her daughter in the wreckage. “A total of three guys, two separate vehicles that had stopped in,” Aldridge said. “One guy stayed with me and my daughter the whole time trying to calm her down and the other two and after the guy.” Two citizens ran after the suspect along with two police officers and caught up with 39-year-old Carlos Antonio Choc and assisted in his arrest. These, and many other accounts, reveal the power of good citizens to be an essential part of maintaining law and order. Not all heroes wear capes. Or badges.


April 2, 2024

A Cut Above: Deep-Undercover Cop Saves Children by a Hair

Police National US News

By Stephen Owsinski Law enforcement officers going deep undercover to infiltrate groups of bad actors, gain rapport, meticulously stitch solid cases, and deposit violent phantoms in jail cells…is a notoriously perilous assignment in police work. Undercover cops talk the talk, walk the walk, and dress the part, including beards and long hair. After several years of undercover operations, a Redlands Police Department officer came full circle and shed his overgrown hair to save children in need. (Photo courtesy of the Redlands Police Department.) To clarify, Redlands police Officer Kyle Myrick sat in front of a city building, out in public, so the police chief could take sheers to his long strands of blonde hair and gather it all up for donation to a network that specializes in replanting hair upon the heads of direly ill youngsters diagnosed with ailments causing hair loss. (Photo courtesy of the Redlands Police Department.) Of the myriad character traits illustrating how deep cops can be when it comes to conjuring ideas to give to those in need, this example by Officer Myrick came to a head and filled the heart. From a Redlands PD spokesperson: “Officer Myrick is rotating back to patrol from his 3-year Special Assignment. Prior to his return, he decided to donate his hair to Locks of Love Official, which helps financially disadvantaged children, aged 21 and under, suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis. “Thank you, Officer Myrick, for your service and good deeds!” Locks of Love Official is a charity organization “utilizing donated ponytails” and providing the “highest quality hair prosthetics to financially disadvantaged children free of charge.” Of the many ways cops help save lives and uplift burdened souls, hair does not come to mind. Nevertheless, the need remains…and that circles back to Officer Myrick and the Redlands PD. I looked at the online presence of the Redlands Police Department and it is consistently clear how founded they are in community policing and giving of themselves. Officers with the Redlands police force have their hands in solving/preventing more than crime… Like Officer Myrick shedding his hair for repurposing, namely so ill children can receive prosthetic implantations, Redlands cops dedicate their time and resources to community needs. (Photo courtesy of the Redlands Police Officer Association.) From the archived pages of the Redlands PD: “October 1st is The Believe Walk. Here is this year’s Believe Walk tee shirt, modeled by our very own Officer Bubier. “All proceeds will go to Stater Bros Charities to help fight against cancer.” For an October 2023 fundraiser to combat cancer, Redlands officers donned shirts pointedly declaring the solidarity in their jurisdiction and the integral role local cops play in significant ways. “In This Town, We Fight Together” are not mere words on a shirt but a testament to the police credo “To protect and serve,” illustrated gloriously. Such poignant selflessness reminds me of the days my police colleagues conjured ideas and gathered resources to visit local children’s hospitals, spending time with youngsters whose lives met misfortune in the realm of cancer or other debilitating illnesses. I observed it on the faces and body mannerisms of other police officers present for the outings with burdened boys and girls, but I will speak for myself: It was humbling to share time with children whose smiles perfectly demonstrated grace and humility in the face of dire circumstances. Stifling tears while they exuded glee via the visit with Officer Friendly is indelible. The Shriners Hospital for Children in Tampa, Florida, was one of the facilities our squad of cops would visit. There, so many children were being treated for limb amputations for which manifestations of prosthetic devices were custom-made. To help bide the time, especially through months of physical therapy to re-learn how to walk with a mechanized limb, law enforcement officers scheduled visits and brought stuffed animals and police-related trinkets such as challenge coins, badge stickers, shoulder patches, die-cast cop cars, shirts, hats, and the like. Seeing young faces illuminate fulfilled hearts, the children, cops, and hospital staff making it possible. I suspect Officer Myrick experienced lump-in-throat moments when realizing his deed of shedding his hair went a long way toward warming a child whose self-esteem may have been impacted by dire circumstances. I also suspect that new friendships were fostered after the sheer deliverance of strands graced heads of children combatting serious ailments, effectively ensuring that others out there care enough to give of themselves…especially from superheroes. Like other superheroes, a common denominator prevails: Service. Delving into the Redlands Police archives again, I went back to May 2018, unearthing material underscoring Officer Myrick’s life of service and his beginnings as a Redlands cop: “Kyle Myrick joins the Redlands Police Department from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, where he served as a corrections deputy and patrol deputy. Prior to his career in law enforcement, Kyle worked as a wildlife biologist out of the San Bernardino Caltrans Office. Additionally, Kyle was an adjunct professor at Cal Poly Pomona for several years and taught classes in the Geography Department. Kyle also served in the US Army. (Photo courtesy of the Redlands Police Department.)“Kyle possesses a Bachelor of Science degree in geography and GIS from Cal Poly Pomona, as well as a master’s degree in environmental science from Cal State University Fullerton.” A life of selfless service, indeed…as the kids who wear his hair can attest.


April 1, 2024

Kids Gone Wild

Police National US News

By Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D Kids say the darnedest things, but sometimes they do the darnedest things. A 9-year-old boy in Oroville, CA decided to drive himself to school in the family Volkswagon sedan. When a California Highway Patrol officer saw the car oddly stationary in an intersection, the officer instructed the driver to move the vehicle and the car sped off. A short chase ensued ending near the boy’s elementary school. The boy put the VW in reverse, striking a CHP patrol car and the episode came to an end when the boy stuck his head out the window and said “I’m trying to get to school”. No one was injured. In a less benign incident, a 14-year-old carjacking suspect led Fayette County, GA deputies on a chase before being apprehended. The young driver drove through yards and collided with other vehicles in a car that had been reported stolen. After crashing into a vehicle, the boy emerged with a handgun, which he dropped when ordered by the officers. A teenage girl walked into a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office and began yelling and banging on the glass. When a deputy opened a door to speak with the unidentified female, she lunged into a lobby area. She reached for the deputy’s gun and, after a struggle, managed to gain control of the weapon, and used it to shoot herself fatally. In Houston, a trio of boys ages 11, 12, and 16 were taken into custody for bank robbery. The three walked into a Wells Fargo bank and handed a teller a threatening note. They fled with an undisclosed amount of cash. Police released surveillance photos of the trio, labeled The Little Rascals,  to the media asking for help in identifying them. Tips led to their arrest, including a call from parents of two of the boys. A third was arrested at the scene of a subsequent fight. Law enforcement staffing and vigilance are always high on Florida beaches during spring break. Recently, Volusia County (Florida) Sheriff’s deputies arrested a 16-year-old male after he brandished a handgun in a crowd of spring breakers on New Smyrna Beach. Deputies flooded the scene when the teen, identified as Felixander Solis-Guzman, pointed a gun at another person. The boy fled from police toward the water, where he dropped a bag and his weapon into the ocean. Twenty bags of marijuana were recovered. Solis-Guzman also had seven active warrants a the time he was apprehended. A 17-year-old was driving erratically, including doing “donuts” in Dallas. Police Officer Tyler Morris attempted to stop the vehicle. The driver, Jaheart Nickelberry, fired on the officer, wounding him in the hip. Nickelberry was found to be the suspect in several armed robberies, one of which occurred just three hours earlier. He was arrested on charges including aggravated assault, evading arrest or detention in a motor vehicle, two counts of aggravated robbery, unauthorized use of a vehicle, and tampering with evidence after fleeing, still armed, toward an apartment complex. Other occupants of the vehicle were arrested including a 15-year-old girl who also attempted to flee the scene. Since 1970, the most frequent age range of school shooters is between 14 and 18.  The third most frequently occurring age of homicide offenders is the age group 9-19, representing more than ten percent of all murders. It is notable that these age groups also represent some of the most vulnerable to victimization of murder, assault, and rape. The Center for Disease Control shows homicide to be the fourth leading cause of death for ages 10-14, with suicide rating second. For ages 15-24, homicide is slightly higher than suicide as one of the top three causes of death. Rates of drug use have remained fairly stable since before the 2020 pandemic, but an average of 22 adolescents between 14 and 18 years old die from drug overdoses weekly. Crime statistics have natural cycles of highs and lows, with criminologists theorizing various causes – family structure, government policies, and birth rates – so we may not need to be in a panic about juvenile crime, but neither can we be complacent.

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