Biden posts video saying he’ll be ‘much more mindful’ of personal space

The former US vice-president posts a video to Twitter promising to be “much more mindful” of respecting personal space after acknowledging his tendency toward physical displays of affection made some women uncomfortable.

         April 03, 2019 at 11:10AM https://ift.tt/2WIF4ze

Democrats closer to seeing full Mueller report into Trump after committee grants subpoena power

US Democrats have stepped up efforts to see the full Robert Mueller report, as Washington continues to sift the findings of a two-year investigation looking at the links between Russia and the Trump campaign.

         April 03, 2019 at 07:52AM https://ift.tt/2WKnjzO

US-China trade talks boost Wall St, Aussie dollar rebounds

Global markets edge higher as the United States and China resume negotiations to end their protracted trade dispute, while the Australian dollar recovers from a sharp fall.

         April 03, 2019 at 10:56AM https://ift.tt/2HVqVvt

A round in every chamber, plugs in every ear

Ron LaPedis
Author: Ron LaPedis

Before you start your shift, you don and check your body armor and ensure your sidearm is loaded with one in the chamber. You have disposable gloves on your person to protect you from fluids or worse when searching a subject. Before you enter any range, you put on your eyes and ears. So why aren’t you protecting your hearing every day?

The National Fire Protection Association’s NFPA 1500 Standard on Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Program addresses noise exposure for firefighters: "To comply with NFPA 1500, a fire department MUST provide hearing protection for all firefighters riding on apparatus who are subject to noise levels above 90 decibels.” It also requires that fire departments establish hearing conservation programs.

Unfortunately, there are no hearing protection mandates, nor is there data about hearing thresholds and the risk of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) for cops. In this French study involving 887 cops and 805 civil servants, cops were 1.4 times more likely to have hearing loss than civil servants. The difference was even greater for motorcycle police officers. While over-the-ear hearing protection might be great on the range, it is not appropriate for beat cops, supervisors, or command staff when out in public.

Just like you don’t wait for trouble to put on your vest or rack your sidearm, you cannot stop the action while you put on your ear protection. This means you need protection that can be worn while you are on your shift that doesn’t block your hearing under normal circumstances. This article discusses why auditory acuity is a vital element of policing, so solid earplugs are out, but amplified earplugs are in. If you wear an audio headset for your radio, consider getting one that will help protect that ear or use one that fits over the ear and can work with in-ear hearing protection.

At SHOT Show 2019, a handful of manufacturers had amplified in-ear protection products on display. The products I tested are the Peltor TEP-100 (the military/LE version of the TEP-200) and the OTTO NoizeBarrier Micro.

TEP-100 and NoizeBarrier Micro

The TEP-100 and NoizeBarrier Micro arrive in a cardboard box that contains a latched plastic case to protect and charge the earpieces, along with accessories and a handful of tips designed to fit most ears. Both cases store the earpieces and can charge the earpieces multiple times.

The earpieces run for about 16 hours on a charge; a fully-charged case can recharge the OTTO earpieces 20 times and the Peltor earpieces 16 times. Both cases are IP67-rated when closed.

The Otto case uses a built-in battery that is recharged through a micro-USB port, while Peltor uses three AA batteries. You also can use a USB adaptor connected to the case for charging, but one is not included. The Peltor earpieces have an auto shutoff if the volume button hasn’t been tapped for two hours and a warning chime lets you know a minute ahead of time to tap the earpieces.

The Otto case stores extra earwax filters and a removal/replacement tool, while the Peltor case has lanyard storage posts to prevent tangling. The Peltor earpieces do not have an earwax filter but has a smaller hole. Both come with a lanyard that helps prevent loss of the earpieces should one need to be removed. Both cases have a quick start guide inside the cover.

Suggested retail for both is $399. Suggested retail for the TEP-200 is $475.00, which also can receive wireless audio from 2-way radios using a neck loop accessory. Agency discounts are available directly from the manufacturers.

TEP-100 and NoizeBarrier Micro Ear tips

Since every ear is differently shaped and sized, even on the same person, both earpieces come with several silicone and foam tips, and both are sized closely enough to accept the same tips. The ear tip that is most comfortable and seals the ear is the best choice. However, the ear tip must seal well and prevent feedback (whistling) to provide proper protection. If none of the included tips fit perfectly, alternate tips are available from many sources including Amazon. The choices are many, including rubber, silicone and foam.

Rubber and silicone come in different sizes and shapes, such as single, double, or triple-flange, while foam is available in single- or multiple- use cylindrical or cone shapes in different densities. Even the famous Peltor Skull Screw will work. Just make sure to get the communications tips and not the earplug, which is solid.

No matter which one you choose, the ear tip is inserted into the ear canal either with or without lubrication where it is supposed to create a soundproof seal. With the electronics off, your hearing should be about the same as it is with a pair of over-the-ear muffs. Remember to replace the tips per the manufacturer’s instructions. While deeply-sealed foam ear tips generally make a tighter seal, they usually need to be replaced much more often than silicone eartips.

TEP-100 and NoizeBarrier Micro Fitting

The manufacturers took different approaches in regard to how the devices fit into your ear canal, where the microphone faces and how the device lays into your concha (the bowl-shaped portion of your outer ear).

It might make sense for your department to have both available for testing. A simple wipe with alcohol and boxes of replacement ear tips will let each cop figure out which one they want to wear.

Range Day

Unlike our eyes, where mass-produced sunglasses frames fit just about everyone, both the external and internal parts of our ears differ dramatically in size and shape. One size not only doesn’t fit all, it doesn’t even fit most. As you can see in the ear tips photo, both universal fit earpieces come with a handful of tips, one of which should fit. A search on Amazon will show dozens of different replacement ear tips, showing how individualized we are. Some people may need to use a different size or style of tip in each ear. My ear canals are V-shaped, which makes it hard for me to find comfortable tips that seal well.

I took an afternoon trip with some friends to Reed’s in Santa Clara along with 9mm and .45 ACP pistols and a shotgun with a selection of shells. Reeds has a loud exhaust system that was a great way to test for background noise.

I wore the Peltor TEP-100 first using Skull Screws, with an advertised NRR of 30 dB. It took about 10 minutes for the foam to completely expand to a point that provided the maximum protection. I could hear normal conversations on the low setting when I was on the sales floor and switching to the high setting let me hear conversations across the floor. Moving into the range, while the shots were still “sharp,” they were suppressed and conversation over the fans was possible with a raised voice. While the shots were suppressed, the background noise of the fans stayed constant, which means that only the peaks were being compressed with no recovery time (the “whooshing” or “breathing” sound that you sometimes hear using electronic muffs that simply reduce the volume when they detect a gunshot).

Using the controls was easy since all you do is push and hold the button to power on and off and tap to change between the two volume levels. When I used the high setting, there was a feedback “whistle” that I was never able to figure out how to eliminate.

Next, I tried the NoizeBarrier Micro using the large 3-flange tips with an NRR of 25 dB. The low setting on these was like the high setting on the TEP-100. Again, there were sharp but suppressed shots, and I was astounded when I could hear the echo of the gunshot from the walls. Just like the TEP-100, power and adjustments were as easy as pressing the button.

For more information on hearing protection for cops, visit the PoliceOne police headsets product category page.

April 03, 2019 at 10:46AM https://ift.tt/2Ush8Tf

Calif. battle over use of force legislation rages on

David Blake
Author: David Blake

Last year, PoliceOne published an article discussing California Assembly Bill AB 931, which was intended to enhance law enforcement officers’ accountability for the use of deadly force.

The bill was introduced by California Assembly members Shirley N. Weber (D-San Diego) and Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) and was framed as a response to the Stephon Clark officer-involved shooting (OIS). The bill failed, due in no small part to the efforts of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the California Police Chiefs Association and the Peace Officers Research Association of California.

The Clark OIS was independently investigated by Sacramento District Attorney and the California Attorney General. Both determined the officer’s use of deadly force in response to Clark’s actions was reasonable.

This year, Weber and McCarty introduced AB 392, which is another attempt at changing the use of force legal standard in the state of California. Like last year, the new bill amends California Penal Code (CPC) section 196 (Justifiable Homicide by a Peace Officer) and CPC 835a (Authority to Use Force). However, the new proposal is significantly different than last year. While reading AB 392, I found it complex and confusing. I am not an attorney or a legal scholar, but I have worked in or with law enforcement for over 20 years. As a current use of force expert witness and trainer, I believe it is important to attempt to disentangle the narrative of AB 392 to inform myself, law enforcement and the public.

If passed, AB 392 would increase officers’ civil and criminal liability for not making the absolute best decisions leading up to and at the moment force was used. This is a type of standard federal courts have warned about (Scott v. Henrich, 39 F. 3d 912 9th Cir. 1994). It is also a standard inconsistent with continuously reaffirmed guidance from the United States Supreme Court (Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (1989).

Now, if I have your attention, print out a copy of AB 392 and follow along.

AB 392 PROPOSED DEADLY FORCE STANDARD

AB 392 significantly alters CPC 196 (Justifiable Homicide by a Peace Officer).

CPC 196 Section (2): Changes include separating incidents of non-lethal force that result in an in-custody type death from those aligned with officer-involved-shootings. A homicide resulting from a non-lethal (intended) use of force appears to fall under evaluation standards found in CPC 835a section (b) and by proxy, section (c). These two sections relate specifically to non-lethal force and state an officer shall have complied with a comprehensive list of de-escalation tactics demonstrating an attempt to avoid the need to use force (if feasible).

CPC 196 Section (3): Officer-involved shootings resulting in death will apparently be evaluated equivalent to that of a civilian (CPC 197). Interesting that this standard is also a reasonableness inquiry. For example, the jury instructions for justifiable homicide (CalCrim 505) state, “The defendant reasonably believed he or someone else was in imminent danger of being killed or suffering great bodily injury and believed the immediate use of deadly force was necessary.”

WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL?

I can’t say how this would change a prosecutor’s charging decision, but it appears as if an officer-involved shooting would not be evaluated by CPC 197 standards alone. Rather, additional criteria in CPC 196 and CPC 835a may apply.

For instance, regarding self-defense and defense of others, the civilian standard does not use the word necessary in PC197; however, the jury instruction does, although without definition. PC 196 defines necessary as an officer having “no reasonable alternative” while including an evaluation of the tactical conduct and decisions of an officer leading up to the use of deadly force. It should be noted that the narrative in PC 196 indicates the operationalism of the word necessary only applies to fleeing felons. Yet, one must consider the possibility that this definition may fill the gap where one fails to exist?

Additional evaluative guidance may be found in the proposed changes to the authority for an officer to use deadly force. The proposed version of CPC 835a states that deadly force can be used when necessary to defend against an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury. While necessary is defined similarly in both CPC 835a and CPC 196, the word imminent remains a little less clear.

835a Section (3)(e)(2): Defines an “imminent threat” of death or serious bodily injury as a reasonable belief that a person has the ability, opportunity and intent to immediately cause death or serious bodily injury. It goes on to state “imminent harm is not merely a fear of future harm, no matter how great the fear and no matter how great the likelihood of the harm, but is one that, from appearances, must be instantly confronted and addressed.”

CalCrim Section 505: The civilian standard for justifiable homicide (PC 197) uses the word imminent as well. The associated jury instruction states: “Imminent Peril means that the peril must have existed or appeared to the defendant to have existed at the very time the fatal shot was fired. In other words, the peril must appear to the defendant as immediate and present and not prospective or even in the near future. An imminent peril is one that, from appearances, must be instantly dealt with.”

The differences here may be insubstantial to some. Some could argue I am comparing apples to oranges. Others may argue that the proposed 835a section (3) clearly states the criteria cannot be used in criminal proceedings but can be used in civil and administrative hearings. I understand but feel the definitions should not be ignored.

PROPOSED CALIFORNIA FLEEING FELON RULE

CPC 196 Section (4): This section appears to mirror the “fleeing felon” standards as outlined in Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (1985). However, it is interesting that the “probable cause” statements from the federal standard are replaced with “reasonable belief” in the state standard. This section also establishes a need to follow the “necessary deadly force” definition previously discussed.

Lastly, there is an added section allowing for an officer to be charged with manslaughter if a mistake is made.

CPC 196 Section (c): Indicates that the criteria outlined in CPC 196 will not prevent an officer from being charged with manslaughter (CPC 192). This includes “situations in which the victim is a person other than the person that the peace officer was seeking to arrest, retain in custody, or defend against, or if the necessity for the use of deadly force was created by the peace officer’s criminal negligence.”

AB 392 PROPOSED NON-LETHAL FORCE STANDARD

The current version of CPC 835a (in practice) provides officers the ability to use force to effect an arrest, overcome resistance, or prevent the escape of a suspect. Officers are not required to retreat or desist, nor will they be deemed the aggressor when using reasonable force.

Beyond separating standards for deadly and non-deadly force, the first notable change in the proposed version of CPC 835a is the removal of the word “retreat” from its original narrative. The proposed narrative reads that officers “need not abandon or desist from the arrest.” The proposed version adds narrative stating officers shall use time, distance, shielding and communications…” to mitigate force (when feasible). The overall objective of the narrative demonstrates the expectations and evaluative criteria that officers may be held in the near future.

SUMMARY OF AB 392

It is difficult to summarize what I can only describe as a complex use of force standard(s) that provides separate evaluative criteria dependent on the type of force.

If AB 392 were to pass, it appears there are separate standards for non-lethal force, lethal force and non-lethal use of force resulting in an in-custody death. The non-lethal standard is fully based in a list of requirements circumscribing de-escalation, including distance, shielding and communication – when feasible. The deadly force standard is what I would call an enhanced civilian standard, meaning it must be a reasonable defense of self or others, BUT also necessary (as defined in CPC 196) and evaluated based upon pre-shooting tactics and decision making.

Lastly, there is what I opine to be a novel evaluative standard for in-custody deaths resulting from the non-lethal use of force. An event that would intuitively be judged under CPC 196/197 depending on what the future holds.

LE BACKING OF SENATE BILL 230

A second bill has been introduced that has the backing of law enforcement.

SB 230 addresses the issues with current law while also addressing peace officer training. The proposed changes to the law are straightforward and succinct while aligning with contemporary federal standards.

In addition to adjusting the law, SB 230 will fill a significant gap in regard to California peace officer training. SB 230 proposes regular training be provided to officers on a statewide standard of acceptable use of force guidelines including legal standards, de-escalation, duty to intervene, alternatives to force and rendering medical aid (not all inclusive).

CONCLUSION

This article is not intended to be a legal opinion, nor am I providing legal or any other guidance. The article is intended to inform based on my attempt to disentangle the narrative found in AB 392.

I believe there are a significant number of law enforcement officers, their families and friends who have no idea of this proposal or its content. I don’t blame you, nor would I expect most to spend the time I have in attempting to interpret AB 392. Subsequently, I doubt the California voter will either. They will likely pull the lever based on anecdotal beliefs coupled with media messaging of much-needed change.

While I no longer have skin in the game, I do have beliefs on right and wrong. It goes without saying that law enforcement officers should be held accountable for unlawful force. However, the realities of force continue to be misunderstood and misrepresented, which has brought us to where we are today. It is up to the law enforcement agencies, unions and officers to educate themselves, make informed decisions and assist the public in doing the same.

Be safe, be vigilant.

April 03, 2019 at 10:25AM https://ift.tt/2K3vnKn

6 steps to hosting an effective community meeting

Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D.
Author: Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D.

American policing hasn’t come out of the trough of disrespect and suspicion but there is good news. Recent studies on the use of body worn cameras, trust of police and racial bias in use of force have vindicated the profession on many levels. But building, or rebuilding, positive connections with the communities we serve remains a constant challenge.

One way to interact with the community is through community meetings. These can go horribly wrong and be counterproductive. Chicago Tribune reporter Lolly Bowean recently attended a neighborhood meeting where she lives where police were asked to address recent criminal activity. Her mission was personal. A neighbor had been murdered.

Here are some of her observations: “Yes, there had been a murder and a separate shooting, one of the higher-ranking police officers told us. But compared with some other Chicago neighborhoods, crime was not that bad. Another police community engagement liaison explained that because of how the law works, the police essentially have their hands tied and for various reasons can’t address our concerns. When one of my neighbors stood and offered the address to a home that had drug activity and homeless people squatting, the police liaison told him that just because he thought it was a drug house doesn’t mean it is. The officer didn’t make any promises to investigate. When another neighbor told them about a sidewalk being crowded by loiterers, the spokesman explained that loitering isn’t against the law and trespassing is difficult to prove. When a new homeowner stood and spoke about his efforts to install cameras around his property, the officer told us that even if we had surveillance footage, it was useless unless a person was actually behind the camera and willing to appear in court.”

Those of us who have sat in those police leader positions and been put on the defensive, accused of inaction, unwilling to make promises we can’t keep, and communicating our own frustrations with the culture and the legal system, may easily understand the difficult position these Chicago officials are in. But this meeting, perhaps like many in your world, did little good and some possible harm. Make your community interactions better by following these principles:

  1. Small groups are better than large crowds

Large audience venues can be plagued by poor sound systems, disruptive people in the crowd, and lack of connection between speakers and community members. Multiple meetings with smaller groups – especially select stakeholders and community influencers – offer opportunity for better interactions.

  1. Tables are better than platforms

When I see pictures of a uniformed officer behind a podium addressing a group, I see a lost opportunity for connection. It may be second nature to set up a room the same way our classrooms were set up at the academy or in the briefing room or press conference but the “sage on the stage” is not a posture designed for listening, it is a barrier of separation.

Sitting around a table or a circle of chairs at the same level of those with whom you are interacting helps equalize the parties. Avoid the temptation to be at the head of the table. If you’re there to listen and answer questions, you don’t have to be in charge. A moderator can be helpful in defining and phrasing the discussion. The dynamics of the presence of media at a small event is likely to have much more positive results than media at a large event.

  1. Positives are better than negatives

Avoid any verbiage that implies nothing can be done. Instead of saying, “We have no control over that,” try, “We can have a conversation with the prosecutor about that.” Instead of saying, “We can’t do anything without evidence,” try saying, “We will devote some investigative resources to examine that. If anyone knows of additional information, please contact me at this number.”

  1. Solutions are better than problems

You may be just as frustrated as your citizens about conditions in your community and lack of cooperation from political leaders, the justice system and lack of resources. But the way to be viewed as problem solvers in our communities is to solve problems, not create excuses. Expressing hope and encouragement instead of stooped shoulders and sighs will build trust as you look for creative solutions to the challenges your community is asking you to address. Asking for solutions with an open mind without swatting down audience member’s ideas with why their ideas won’t work or why it’s been done before and failed can start a productive discussion about what can be done and by whom.

  1. Listening is better than talking

Take notes. Ask for clarification. Get examples. Make immediate phone calls to get or convey information. Ask what end results are desired. Review the main points. Ask if anyone was unheard of if anything was unsaid. Ask questions. Explore responses.

  1. Following up is better than making promises

If the group is small enough and you’ve asked for contact information, send a thank you and a summary to participants or to leaders who may convey your message. Offer a follow-up meeting, especially if an advisory group or task force evolved from your interactions. Assign tasks to specific officers and get a summary of results ready to report. Be ready to find and present good news about the issue. Make sure the patrol officers working the neighborhoods are aware of what happened at the meetings if they weren’t present. They will be key in maintaining support for your efforts.

April 03, 2019 at 09:35AM https://ift.tt/2OHXsW8

13-year-old boy donates horse to Ohio police department

By PoliceOne Staff

ST. MARY’S, W. Va. — A 13-year-old boy with dreams of becoming a cop donated his horse to a mounted unit on Tuesday.

According to Fox 8 Cleveland, the horse Ben Wagstaff donated was a much-needed addition to the unit.

“Normally we’re looking for donations. We don’t have people coming to us saying, ‘Hey, we’ve got horses’,” Sgt. Bob Forsythe said.

Wagstaff emailed several agencies to see if his 4-year-old horse, Sam, could become a police horse.

The Columbus Mounted Unit said Wagstaff’s donation came at perfect timing because they had just retired two horses.

In a Facebook post, the department called the teen’s act “selfless.”

13-YEAR-OLD WHO WANTS TO BE A POLICE OFFICER DONATES HIS HORSE TO CPD’S MOUNTED UNIT! To say 13-year-old Ben Wagstaff is selfless is an understatement. His mom Jessica Owens-Wagstaff couldn’t be more proud. The St. Mary’s, West Virginia teen emailed a few police agencies in neighboring states to see if his 4-year-old draft horse, Sam, could be a police horse. Fast forward 2 months, today members of CPD’s Mounted Unit made Sam a part of their family. Legend, a 4-legged member of CPD’s Mounted Unit, rode along to help Sam get comfortable to get in the horse trailer. With family and friends watching Sam made it in and enjoyed the ride to his new home. He’ll be one of CPD’s 11 horses in the Mounted Unit. Sgt. Bob Forsythe says Sam will need 6-12 months of training but he’s optimistic that he’ll make an excellent addition! CPD is fortunate and grateful for the donation. Horses are bought and donated to CPD.

Posted by Columbus Division of Police on Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Forsythe says Sam will need about six to 12 months of training before he becomes an official police horse.

“I’m very proud of Ben,” Wagstaff’s mother, Jessica Owens-Wagstaff, said. “He’s raised him [Sam] from a colt.”

Officers gifted Wagstaff, who already knows he wants to be a cop when he grows up, with a Mounted Unit t-shirt, a patch and a challenge coin.

April 03, 2019 at 09:01AM https://ift.tt/2Ih13tp

@AceDailyNews Center For Biological Diversity & Defenders Of Wildlife File Intent to Sue Trump Administration to Protect Atlantic Sharks & Giant Manta Rays From Lethal Longlines & Gillnets – World Animal News https://ift.tt/2uK0QXF

Live: NSW Now: Two charged after 15yo allegedly kidnapped

MORNING BRIEFING: Police have charged two men over an the alleged kidnapping a 15-year-old boy at a bus stop in Hurstville yesterday.

         April 03, 2019 at 09:49AM https://ift.tt/2FZteLF

More parents use GPS technology to track their children. Is it a good idea?

A Brisbane mum who developed a tracking watch for children says sales have jumped 600 per cent over the past three years. So why are more parents choosing to digitally track their children and is it a good idea?

         April 03, 2019 at 09:44AM https://ift.tt/2WIuUi4