On-duty Edison police officer abandoned patrol to go home during Super Bowl, complaint says
By Mark Mueller
The marked patrol car sat in the driveway of an Edison home for nearly three hours during Sunday’s Super Bowl. The engine idled. The headlights remained on.
But there was no crime here. No investigation or call for service.
As the Seattle Seahawks routed the Denver Broncos, Edison police Sgt. Andrew Chupela sat inside his own house when he should have been patrolling the streets, according to a complaint lodged by a neighbor.
Chupela, a 29-year veteran who makes more than $145,000 a year without overtime, is now the subject of an internal affairs investigation, Chief Thomas Bryan confirmed.
The neighbor, Thomas DeRienzo, said he has no ill will toward Chupela, 51, but he said he was angered the officer so blatantly ignored his responsibility to ensure public safety. DeRienzo called the action all the more bewildering given the intense scrutiny of the Edison Police Department, which has been rocked by political infighting and high-profile episodes of misconduct.
"We’ve got carjackings. We’ve got graffiti all over town. I’ve got people speeding down my street all the time," he said. "With all the negative publicity, these men have the audacity to continue to laugh in the faces of New Jersey residents?"
DeRienzo, 62, said he first noticed Chupela’s police car in the driveway around 7:30 p.m. The officer drove away at 10:15 p.m. or 10:20 p.m., about the time the Super Bowl ended, he said. DeRienzo and his girlfriend phoned in a complaint that night, then followed up in an email to Bryan Monday afternoon.
"Whether he was actually watching the Super Bowl or not is irrelevant," DeRienzo wrote in the email, which he shared with The Star-Ledger. "The police vehicle was there for an extended period of time, and that IS relevant. The taxpayers of Edison are getting fleeced by guys like this who think they are above the law."
Bryan quickly wrote back, saying he had listened to the tapes of the complaint DeRienzo and his girlfriend phoned in and that the matter had been referred to internal affairs.
The chief added in his email that he was working to "change the culture" of the department.
"I have made improvements, but there has been much resistance by the unions and the former mayoral administration," Bryan wrote to DeRienzo. "My commitment is to hold our officers accountable and provide nothing but the most professional police services. The citizens of Edison deserve nothing less."
Chupela has an unlisted number and could not be reached for comment. Efforts to reach him through the department were unsuccessful. The president of the Superior Officers Association — the union that represents sergeants, lieutenants and captains — declined to comment.
Chupela has not been suspended, Bryan said. The chief declined to say what kind of discipline he might face if the allegations is sustained by internal affairs.
"Any and all complaints against a police officer are investigated to their logical conclusion, and if sustained, the appropriate measure of discipline is administered," Bryan said.
Officers who have been found sleeping on the job or performing non-work activities while on the clock are sometimes suspended and sometimes not, according to a review of news accounts. In one case in October, a Belleville officer was suspended for falling asleep in his cruiser while working an off-duty side job.
DeRienzo said that when his girlfriend made the first complaint by phone Sunday night, a supervisor told her a letter of reprimand would likely be placed in Chupela’s file.
Bryan confirmed the department’s cruisers are equipped with GPS units, but he declined to say if they are regularly checked by watch commanders.
The incident is one of several episodes of alleged misconduct in the Edison Police Department this year. One officer was charged with drunken driving after he was seen swilling beer in his patrol car. Another was suspended for allegedly returning to the scene of an emergency call to proposition a woman for sex. A third was charged with five counts of attempted murder for allegedly setting fire to his captain’s home.
An Allen County Sheriff’s officer has been suspended with pay following his arrest in Michigan.
Details are sparse, but Officer Steven M. Perry was booked into Calhoun County Jail on a misdemeanor count of domestic battery this past Sunday.
He was released shortly thereafter, according to jail officials in Michigan.
The Journal Gazette does not typically name people charged with misdemeanors, but is in this case is because Perry is a sworn law enforcement officer, and his arrest is subject to review by the sheriff’s department.
Calhoun County encompasses Battle Creek, where Perry was arrested, which is about 100 miles from Fort Wayne.
The Emmett Township Public Safety Department took Perry into custody at some point during the early morning hours of Sunday, according to officials.
What led to the arrest has not been released.
Allen County Sheriff Ken Fries said Perry, 42, will remain suspended pending the outcome of the charge against him as well as an internal affairs investigation currently underway.
Perry has been an officer with the department since 1998 and has one disciplinary action against him, which he received earlier this year for failing to signal that he was on duty during a security detail.
That disciplinary action, though, is one the department deems as “temporary,” according to Fries, meaning it will be wiped from Perry’s file at a later date.
Perry has spent time on the department’s SWAT Team and has received several letters of commendation for his service on the unit, Fries said.
If convicted of domestic battery, Perry would lose his right to carry a firearm in Indiana and face automatic termination from the police force.
LA cops involved in mistaken Dorner shooting to return, get training
8 Los Angeles officers who mistakenly shot at a pickup truck during a manhunt for cop-turned-killer Christopher Dorner will be allowed to return to the field
By Tami Abdollah
LOS ANGELES — Eight Los Angeles police officers who mistakenly riddled a pickup truck with bullets during a manhunt for cop-turned-killer Christopher Dorner last year will be allowed to return to the field after they get additional training, Police Chief Charlie Beck said.
"I have confidence in their abilities as LAPD officers to continue to do their jobs in the same capacity they had been assigned," Beck said in a department message to officers obtained Wednesday night by The Associated Press. "In the end, we as an organization can learn from this incident and from the individuals involved." Both the chief and an independent commission found the 2013 shooting that injured two women violated department policy. The seven officers and one sergeant could have faced penalties including being fired.
Other discipline not outlined in the chief's message could be handed down, police Lt. Andrew Neiman said, but department policy prevents him from discussing it.
Attorney Glen Jonas, who represented the two women who won a $4.2 million settlement from the city, said he was concerned by the chief's decision not to terminate any of the eight officers.
"If either of the women had been killed, you can bet your bottom dollar somebody would be fired and maybe prosecuted," Jonas said. "A stroke of luck, firing more than 100 rounds and missing, should not mean the discipline is lighter."
The civilian Police Commission that found the officers violated policy also faulted the department itself, saying the officers were rotated in during the night to protect the home because of overtime concerns. The sergeant wasn't trained to oversee such a protection detail and there was no operational plan. The commission also cites the officers' inadequate firepower.
"The ability to address this threat was hindered to some degree due to the experience, training and logistical deployment of the personnel assigned," the board's report says. "On a larger scale, the planning conducted at the Bureau could have been more effective, ensuring proper deployment, both personnel and logistics, at the protected location."
Tyler Izen, president of the officers' union, said that given those circumstances, the officers should have been returned to work months ago.
"The involved officers are all well-qualified and talented members of the department who happened to be placed into a highly unreasonable and unusually difficult position," Izen said.
The events unfolded after Dorner, a fired Los Angeles police officer, claimed he was unfairly dismissed and vowed revenge against law enforcement officers in a rambling online manifesto.
He killed the daughter of a former LAPD police official, along with her fiance, and two law enforcement officers over 10 days before being cornered and killing himself in a burning mountain cabin in San Bernardino County.
The mistaken shooting occurred Feb. 7, 2013, as officers protected a Dorner target's Torrance home. When one of the newspaper delivery women threw a paper onto the pavement in the early morning hours, an officer believing the sound was a gunshot opened fire. Officers unable to see clearly into the vehicle riddled the pickup truck with 103 rounds and hit seven nearby homes and nine other vehicles with gunshots and shotgun pellets.
Margie Carranza, then 47, suffered minor injuries, and her then-71-year-old mother, Emma Hernandez, was shot in the back.
"I appreciate that the officers involved in the incident took action with intent of protecting the 'target' and his family; however, the chain of events which unfolded and the extent to which the use of lethal force occurred did not meet my expectations, consequently there were innocent victims wounded," Beck said in the message, which is mostly critical of the officers but ends with his vote of confidence.
Beck goes on to say that he "found it to be very concerning that officers fired before adequately identifying a threat; fired without adequately identifying a target and not adequately evaluating cross fire situations."
Steve Soboroff, president of the civilian Police Commission, said Wednesday night that while discipline is the chief's decision and the circumstances were extreme, he "would have expected a more significant level of discipline for the actions of most of the officers in this incident."
"I trust that the training will be extensive and the department and officers will move forward from this tragic incident stronger and wiser from the lessons learned," Soboroff said
Cop said snowball was deadly
Bronx men get $60,000 each in lawsuit over arrests for throwing snowball at cop
The five plaintiffs filed a $10 million suit against New York City after a cop arrested them in February 2010 for throwing a snowball. The criminal charges were later dropped after video surfaced that contradicted the cop's tale. A city official confirmed the suit's settlement.
BY MICHAEL J. FEENEY AND TINA MOORE / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Five young men in the Bronx who filed a $10 million false arrest suit against New York City after a cop mistakenly claimed they bombarded him with snowballs settled their case Thursday for $60,000 each, a city official said.“I’m just happy that we got justice,” said plaintiff Anthony Aquino, 19, regarding the settlement in the Bronx Supreme Court case. Nick Paolucci, deputy press secretary for the city’s law department, confirmed each plaintiff got $60,000 in the deal. Sgt. Adonis Ramirez, who pulled his gun on the group after one snowball struck him in February 2010, had the group arrested. The charges were later dropped by the Bronx district attorney's office after video surfaced contradicting Ramirez’ account.
HARDY, AR (KAIT) – A former officer with the Hardy Police Department could face charges after admitting to misusing the city's credit card.
According to a news release from the Hardy Police Department, Officer Gary D. Henry was fired from the department on Wednesday. He was terminated pending formal charges of fraud and theft.
Police state Henry admitted to using the City of Hardy's credit card to fuel his personal vehicle. An investigation began when an unreasonable amount of fuel usage appeared on the city's credit card statement.
Hardy Police Chief Ernest Rose has turned the investigation over to Arkansas State Police.
Henry and his wife could face possible charges of fraudulent use of a city credit card and theft, according to Officer Jines with Arkansas State Police.
By Nick B. Reid
SEABROOK — The New Hampshire attorney general's office is "still in the early stages" of its investigation into alleged police brutality at the Seabrook Police Department.
After a YouTube video started making its way around the Web showing an officer slamming a seemingly non-threatening suspect into the wall of the police station's cell block, and another officer laughing and pepper spraying the teenager while he's on the ground, the attorney general's office quickly took over the investigation on Jan. 8.
Three officers — Keith Dietenhofer, Mark Richardson and Adam Laurent — were suspended with pay while the incident is probed.
More than three weeks later, lead investigator and Senior Assistant Attorney General Jane Young said it's too early to give an accurate prediction of when the investigation will come to a close.
"The investigation is active and ongoing at this time. Given that status, I cannot provide any further detail at this time," she wrote in an e-mail Friday morning.
Seabrook Town Manager Bill Manzi said "progress" was being made in the case. Asked to elaborate on what that means, he said only, "There has been progress in that area."
In the meantime, Manzi confirmed that the three suspended officers are still being paid while on leave from their usual roles as patrolmen with the department.
Deputy Seabrook Police Chief Mike Gallagher said in a press conference Jan. 8 that he will conduct his own investigation of the department, but only after the conclusion of the attorney general's investigation. The U.S. attorney's office and the FBI also joined the investigation.
Allegations of police brutality during bar fight open old wounds
By Kenneth C. Crowe II
Tensions regarding racial discrimination and police brutality received a public hearing Tuesday night, 11 days after a bar fight forced them to the surface.
Some demands, such as suspending police officers without pay and an external investigation, were repeated, while in other cases suggestions for reforming police department operations were new.
The City Council Public Safety Committee hearing grew from the melee on Jan. 25 at Kokopellis, 124 Fourth St., that was captured by surveillance and cellphone cameras and showed a police officer striking a bar patron several times on the head with a baton.
The Troy African American Pastoral Alliance has pushed the city government to respond growing criticisms of police brutality, particularly in the city's minority community.
"I warned you this was going to happen," Pastor Willie Bacote of the Missing Link A.M.E. Zion Church told the committee.
Bacote said the city has to change the way police act and that everyone has to take responsibility for changing the community.
Anger and passion could be heard from many of the 300 people in the audience at Christ Church United Methodist Church as they reacted to comments about the police department and actions of some officers.
"What we heard tonight is telling of people's feelings. The issue is real. It can't be ignored anymore," said the Rev. Eric Shaw, pastor of Bethel Baptist Church.
The hearing followed a march of 100 people led by the Troy African American Pastoral Alliance from Bethel Baptist Church down Fifth Avenue to police headquarters and then to Christ Church United Methodist.
Alice Green of the Center for Law and Justice in Albany urged the committee to adopt true community policing similar to what has been done in Albany.
Barry Glick, co-owner of Kokopellis, blamed the police for the fight at the club.
"The police entered my building looking for a fight," Glick stated.
Ben Brucato of the Community Alliance Against Police Violence demanded the police drop changes against anyone arrested that night, suspend without pay any police officer with a baton and have an external investigation of the incident.
Officer Robert Fitzgerald, president of the Troy Police Benevolent Association, said some recommendations had merits, but that the demands were outlandish. Mayor Lou Rosamilia said his administration and the police department have opened a dialogue with the pastors but that it is in its early stages.
Shaw added that race is a component of ongoing discussions and that it must be dealt with and not ignored.
Councilman Robert Doherty, the committee chairman, said the meeting was a good start, but that more information has to be gathered to decide what actions to take.
Chief John Tedesco will speak to the committee when it reconvenes at 6 p.m. Feb. 12 at Christ Church United Methodist.
Accusations of police brutality have been leveled against a police officer in the US after hidden camera footage which appears to him dragging a woman across the floor.
In the video, Tampa Police Officer Scott Van Treese is seen walking over to the victim as she lay sprawled beside his car.
Desperate to get her inside, the officer attempts to pick the woman up by her shoulders but she flops back down.
The officer then appears to grab the woman and drags her along the floor into the police station.
Several times the woman can be seen attempting to stand up but fails.
The suspect was arrested in October last year for trespassing and cocaine possession.
After seeing the video, Tampa Police launched an internal investigation into the incident with Mr Van Treese copping a reprimand for his behavior but no other disciplinary action.
Probe of fatal police shooting goes to federal authorities
By Justin Jouvenal
The Fairfax County prosecutor has turned over the investigation of a fatal police shooting of an unarmed Springfield man to federal authorities, citing complications with the five-month-old case.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Morrogh said the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Virginia has agreed to continue the probe into the death of 46-year-old John Geer, who was shot during a standoff with Fairfax County police in August. No one has been charged in the incident.
“There is a conflict of interest that has arisen in the case,” Morrogh said Thursday. “And there is a second potential conflict of interest that has arisen out of my office. . . . This is the prudent thing to do.”
Morrogh declined to describe the nature of the conflicts because the investigation is ongoing. The U.S. attorney’s office said Thursday that it could not confirm or deny any investigation or comment on pending investigations.
Police went to Geer’s Pebble Brook Court home on Aug. 29 because of a report of a domestic disturbance. Geer’s father, Don Geer, said his son was upset because his girlfriend, the mother of his two children, had decided to leave him.
John Geer had thrown his girlfriend’s belongings in the front yard. She called police and told them that Geer had a firearm. Police said they tried for about 50 minutes to persuade Geer to leave the home, but he refused.
Don Geer said he watched the climax of the encounter. He said that he could not hear what officers were saying to his son but that he saw him standing with empty hands resting on top of a screen door at the home’s entrance.
At some point, John Geer began to slowly lower his hands and an officer opened fire, hitting Geer in the chest, his father said. Geer retreated inside and closed the door. A SWAT team eventually entered the home and found Geer dead.
Don Geer said detectives later told him that his son did not have a gun on him at the time of the shooting but that there was a holstered handgun a couple of steps from the front door.
Don Geer said it appeared to him that the shooting was unjustified, but he was unsure what to make of the probe being turned over to federal authorities.
“I don’t know whether that’s good or bad — if I had a better idea of why they are doing it, I could form an opinion,” he said.
Geer and friends of his son have been critical of how long the investigation has taken, but Morrogh said police and prosecutors were working to explore all the evidence. He did not think federal prosecutors would have to start from scratch.
“No one wants these things to linger on,” Morrogh said.
By Clyde Hughes
Authorities arrested a police chief from a small town in East Texas on Tuesday, along with two residents, in connection to a methamphetamine ring.
Joseph "Jody" Navarro, 40, a police chief of Normangee, was taken into federal custody after he was arrested for allegedly using a law enforcement computer system to aid in meth trafficking, the Bryan Eagle reported on Thursday.
Navarro was charged with intentionally exceeding authorized access to a protected computer to run a background check on a name supplied to him by a suspected meth dealer, Normangee resident Brenda Antanette Evans, 45. If convicted, Navarro faces up to five years in federal prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.
Evans and Joshua Troy Thomas, 25, both of Normangee, were charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. The complaint alleged that Evans purchased close to an ounce of meth from Thomas for $1,200.
Thomas was arrested during an early morning raid at his home, and Navarro was cuffed by law enforcement as he pulled up to the scene while on duty, KBTX-TV reported.
The Eagle reported Evans surrendered to authorities at the McLennan County Jail in Waco on Wednesday.
"I've worked (with) and known Jody for about five or six years now," Normangee Police Sgt. Steve Milligan told KBTX-TV. "Knowing Jody personally, it was quite a surprise to me."
Normangee Mayor Ronnie Meadors told KBTX-TV that Navarro's arrest left the town in shock.
"This is something that we never expected out of him," Meadors said. "Jody was a good police officer. Jody knows the laws and he was good at interpreting the laws, but in the same token, just with him working and knowing the law does not put him above the law."
Milligan told KBTX-TV he is now the only officer left on the police force.
"Sure, it’s a lot to take on," Milligan said. "But it's also being able to start off with a clean slate with everything. You know? Now there shouldn’t be absolutely any questions about our integrity."
PEMBROKE PINES (CBSMiami) – Security cameras at a Pembroke Pines jewelry store captured not one but two burglaries this week, the second one caught a police officer stealing a expensive watch during the investigation of the first burglary, according to police.
During the investigation of a burglary at Jared the Galleria of Jewelry at 11077 Pines Boulevard, the Pembroke Pines Police Department learned that Officer Kevin Burgs, 36, took a movado watch valued at $795.00 from the store, according to new arrest affidavit from the department.
The reported theft was captured by two of the store’s surveillance video cameras. The report says a store employe who was reviewing footage from the burglary spotted the officer stealing the watch.
Burg’s arrest report states that detectives discovered the stolen watch inside the officer’s police vehicle. The report said the store wants to prosecute the officer.
Pembroke Pines Police Captain Carlos Bermudez told CBS4′s Peter D’Oench that he did not know if that suirveillance tape would be released.
“That will be up to the Broward State Attorney’s Office and prosecutors will have to review that tape,” said Bermudez.
That surveillance tape will be part of the internal affairs investigation of Burgs.
Pembroke Pines Mayor Frank Ortis told D’Oench that he could not comment yet about this case.
“It’s just too early in the investigation for me to say anything right now,” said Ortiz.
“That’s crazy, like isn’t it serve and protect,” said Pembroke Pines resident Penelope Garcia. “What was he thinking?”
Burgs was arrested Thursday morning and charged with Grand Theft. Bond was set at $1,000. After posting bail, he was released.
D’Oench stopped at Burgs’ home in Davie to try to speak with the officer. But no one came to the door when he knocked.
“He blew his whole reputation, his whole career, for a watch, a piece of jewelry, that’s ridiculous, why would you even chance that,” wondered Darcee Mixon, an employee of Second Cup coffee shop near the jewelry store. “That’s insane. Cops come in here all the time, you expect them to be above and beyond all of that, so for them to stoop to such a small level, it’s really, I can’t imagine.”
Burgs, a nine year veteran of the Pembroke Pines Police Department, has been placed on suspension with pay pending the outcome of an internal investigation.
“It’s kind of embarrassing to have an officer of the law be so irresponsible or maybe it’s a hint to the government to pay your officers more,” said Garcia.
Police were called to the store Wednesday morning after a couple of cat burglars broke into the store overnight and got away with $75-thousand worth of jewelry.
The two burglars got into the store by cutting a hole in the roof. Once inside, they smashed the glass cases and grabbed the high-priced goods.
A roofer who patched the hole said this was not a haphazard job.
”They had to bring a battery powered saw up there. They knew there was going to be corrugated metal, they knew how to cut it, like they cut it perfectly square,” explained roofer William Natale.
Police said the crooks were dressed in all black and wore masks. In surveillance video taken inside the store during the crime, one burglar can be seen using what appears to be a pick ax to smash the glass cases.
Below is the surveillance video of the burglary in progress:
The jewel thieves stuffed all the loot into a back pack, placed a step stool on a counter and pulled themselves up through the hole in the ceiling in order to make their escape by leaving the same way they came in.
In addition to the theft of $75-thousand worth of merchandise, the burglars left behind $10-thousand in damage to the glass cases and the roof.
Last month, there was a similar type of burglary at the Westfield Broward Mall in Plantation. Two men cut a hole in the roof to break into the Gordon’s Jewelers store. Surveillance video shows them descending into the store using a rope. Once inside they stole more than $100,000 in merchandise in about 20 minutes. They then exited through the roof.
Police have not said if they suspect the two burglaries were related.
By Michael Mullins
A firefighter was arrested by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) after he refused to move his emergency vehicle from a lane after being ordered to do so by police. The firefighter was assisting a crash victim at the time of this arrest.
The dispute and arrest were caught on camera by a CBS 8 News crew which was at the scene covering the accident on Wednesday.
In a video, 36-year-old firefighter Jacob Gregoire, a 12 year member of the Chula Vista Fire Department, is handcuffed and led away by an unidentified highway patrolman.
"It's unbelievable you have to do this," the cop says as he slaps the cuffs on Gregoire.
"It's unbelievable that you guys have to treat us like this," Gregoire responded to the cop in the video. "We are on the road trying to help people."
"We asked you. We asked you to clear the road and you said no, and you are getting arrested for not moving it," the cop snapped back before leading the firefighter away from the camera.
During the exchange, Gregoire's fellow firefighters are seen assisting victims at the scene from the rollover accident. The crash victims were taken to an area hospital, but their conditions were not reported.
In addition to not providing the police officer's name, CHP would not say whether the officer was reprimanded for his decision to handcuff and detain a first responder while he was attending to victims at the scene, CBS 8 noted.
The CHP and Chula Vista Fire Department met Wednesday afternoon, after which they released a joint statement to the media.
"Last night there was an unfortunate incident at the scene of a traffic collision on I-805," the statement read. "Both the CHP and the Chula Vista Fire Department share a common goal of protecting the public and. . . have the utmost respect for each other and our respective missions. This was an isolated incident and not representative of the manner in which our agencies normally work together toward our common goal."
Though there have been disagreements between the two departments in the past, this is reportedly the first time a patrolman has arrested a firefighter for a disagreement at the scene of an accident.
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) - A rookie Oakland police officer was arrested last weekend for allegedly brandishing a gun in a San Francisco restaurant to impress a woman, San Francisco police said Friday.
Police were called to the 2200 block of Lombard Street at 2:40 a.m. Sunday, Officer Albie Esparza said.
Oakland police Officer Kevin Kelly, 24, had been talking to another patron having breakfast at a restaurant there and told her he was a police officer, but she didn’t believe him, Esparza said.
To prove it, Kelly, who had been drinking, allegedly pulled out a handgun, pointed it at the woman and at the restaurant’s ceiling, Esparza said.
The woman told the restaurant’s staff that Kelly had a gun and the police were called. Kelly was arrested and cited for misdemeanor brandishing a firearm, Esparza said.
His weapon, which was not department-issued, was booked into evidence, according to Esparza.
Oakland police have launched an internal affairs investigation into the incident, Oakland police spokeswoman Officer Johnna Watson said.
Kelly graduated from the Oakland Police Academy last March and had his badge pinned by his father, San Francisco police Inspector Jim Kelly, during his graduation ceremony, according to Oakland police.
By Tony Perry
SAN DIEGO — A decorated police officer has been suspended while the district attorney reviews allegations that he sexually assaulted four women while on duty, officials said Thursday.
The officer was identified as Chris Hays, 30, who received a lifesaving medal in 2012 for dashing into a burning building to save a woman trapped on the second floor. He also served with the Marines in Iraq as a lance corporal.
Four women have accused the officer of touching them improperly while they were being searched, according to Chief Bill Lansdowne.
One of the four incidents was from a domestic violence call. Others involved a shoplifting suspect, a homeless woman and a women interviewed during a street patrol.
The Police Department's investigation into the accusations, first reported by KGTV-TV Channel 10, has been forwarded to the district attorney's office for a determination on whether to file criminal charges against Hays.
Separate from the district attorney's review is an investigation by the Police Department into whether the officer violated procedures, Lansdowne said.
That investigation is nearing completion, and the department is close to terminating the officer, Lansdowne said.
The first allegation was made in December, when a woman came to the Police Department. Investigation then revealed three similar incidents, Lansdowne said.
Hays is married and the father of two. His father-in-law, Mark Jones, is an assistant chief with the San Diego department.
Nothing in the investigation revealed any "red flags" that should have indicated to superiors that the officer's on-duty behavior was inappropriate, Lansdowne said.
In 2011, former Officer Anthony Arevalos was convicted of demanding sexual favors from women after making traffic stops. He was sentenced to eight years and eight months in prison; he had been fired after the accusations were made.
The City Council has approved a total of $2.3 million in payments to women assaulted by Arevalos. One case has gone to trial.
A Reservoir Patrol police officer is suspended after he was accused of receiving favors for fixing a ticket, WAPT reported.
Christopher Rast allegedly received sexual favors from a woman for his help with citations.
"We have been notified and are cooperating with the investigation," said Reservoir Police Chief Perry Waggoner.
Attorney General Jim Hood's office would not confirm the details of the investigation.
Rast has not been charged.
As Atlantic City leaders finally move on filling a civilian board to review police complaints, how it will work is still a question.
"We need to move on (the board) in the correct way," City Councilman Steve Moore said during a news conference in which the local chapter of the National Action Network called for immediate implementation of the board, which was first passed in 2012.
Accusations of excessive force went national late last year, after a lawsuit made public a video allegedly showing a suspect being beaten and attacked by a police dog.
Such boards are good for helping strained police-community relations, said Brian Buchner, president of the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement, or NACOLE.
"Civilian oversight has proven to be a bridge builder between the public and the police by helping to foster the public's trust and notion of police legitimacy," Buchner said.
But how that bridge will work in Atlantic City has not been determined.
City Council tabled the second reading of the revised ordinance Jan. 15, after the police union voiced concerns about some of the wording.
That stems from references to public hearings, because there could be issues with the contract and how the department handles disciplinary hearings and interviews, PBA President Paul Barbere explained.
Buchner said it's important to know the specific laws governing internal police misconduct investigations and disciplinary matters.
"It just has to be drafted properly," Barbere said of the ordinance.
"We would hope that, instead of reinventing the wheel, let's model this after something that's already been in place," he said.
The PBA has reached out to New York City, where its Civilian Complaint Review Board marked 20 years in July. Moore said the council may visit Hartford, Conn., to talk to its Civilian Police Review Board.
Currently, the board would have two tiers.
The first would have 11 members: one nominee from each of the nine council members and two from the mayor. If that board finds in favor of a hearing, that would go to the second tier, comprising City Council members. It does not specify the number of council members.
The first three nominations for the main board were made Jan. 15: Texas Avenue School Principal Rosetta Johnson, retired Philadelphia police Sgt. Michael Mander and Jacqueline Sharpe, who has served on several boards in the city.
"We're not saying the Police Department is all bad," said Councilman Sporty Randolph, who nominated Sharpe. "We just want to be able to nip things in the bud if there's a problem that can be solved."
Once brought to the second tier, witnesses may be subpoenaed, under the current ordinance.
Many civilian entities have that power through statute, Buchner said.
"Some can issue subpoenas directly, while others can issue them through their local city attorney or city council/commission," he explained.
At his swearing-in last month, police Chief Henry White said he welcomed the transparency the board would bring, confident that it would reveal the city's department is a good one.
"There's nothing we want more than to show the community that we're doing exactly what we're supposed to be doing and how difficult our job is," Barbere said. "It just needs to be set up in a way where it produces the best result."
But who would make up the board is also of concern.
"You can't have someone with preconceived notions looking to exact some type of revenge," Barbere said.
In San Diego, board members attend training classes on all aspects of law enforcement and go on ride-alongs, while officers are given training on the board's role and its relationship with the city's Police Department.
San Diego began its board after a police-involved shooting in the mid-1980s. It was to last just a year, but the success caused it to become permanent, according to the board's website. In 1988, residents voted in favor of a city charter for a board under the authority of the city manager.
Last year, residents of New Haven, Conn., voted on a similar charter for their board. Until then, the 12-year-old board was running only by mayoral executive order.
Buchner said what they have come to see is that what may be more important than a degree or a law background is knowledge and understanding of the principles and good practices of civilian oversight.
"Oversight is a bit of a niche field, which really depends on interaction and learning from agency to agency and municipality to municipality," he said. "Gaining exposure to those ideas, practices and other professionals in the field through national conferences and training opportunities, like those put on by NACOLE, can make a difference in how prepared someone is to work and be effective in oversight."
Mayor Don Guardian has said he wants to make sure the concerns over excessive force allegations against the Police Department are looked into and addressed fairly while allowing police to do their jobs and keep residents and visitors safe.
"There are a lot of other cities that have had these issues before, and I think we need to learn how they progressed," he has said. "It might be cameras; it might be policy and procedures change; it may be a better matching of experienced officers with young officers; it may be the body cams or cameras in the cars, (or) a civilian review board. All of these are issues we want to deal with, and it's tough."
Civilian oversight can help, Buchner said: "Ultimately, strong and independent oversight can be a critical link between the police and the community and make policing more effective in the process."
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Recommendations from a task force to overhaul the Police Oversight Commission will be introduced at the Albuquerque City Council meeting on Monday.
The 217 page document details the process for making recommendations and gives suggestions for the council to approve.
One of them is that the APD chief must respond in writing if he or she does not follow the commission's recommendations for discipline. There is also a recommendation that the commission should be able to suggest changes to APD training and policies, and a condition that the commission should get more access to APD documents and data.
The Albuquerque Police Officers Association says the proposal goes too far.
"A lot of the changes that they're trying to make wouldn't be something that we'd expect in the judicial system for the regular citizens," APOA President Stephanie Lopez said.
But there is a change the union and citizen advocates agree on – making commission members go through more training on what it's like to be an officer. In the past, members got very little.
"How can you judge somebody in their job when you don't even know what the details or what the regiments of going through that process is? It's like me being on a panel and deciding whether an attorney did his job or not," Lopez said.
By Emily E. Smith | firstname.lastname@example.org
A former Hillsboro police officer who engaged in a shootout and 81-minute standoff against his fellow officers last winter will spend 10 years in prison.
From the upper level of his Forest Grove home, 47-year-old Timothy Cannon fired through walls and the floor at responding officers from agencies throughout Washington County. Ten of the officers fired back, authorities say. In total, Cannon’s attorney said, 127 shots were fired.
Cannon took a plea deal Thursday afternoon in Washington County Circuit Court, pleading guilty to three counts of attempted aggravated murder for the shooting and one count of aggravated first-degree animal abuse for killing his family’s cat with a single gunshot to the head. Under the plea agreement, Presiding Judge Kirsten Thompson sentenced him to 10 years in prison.
Thompson called the shooting, which caused no serious physical injuries, “senseless.” The emotional injuries, she said, would be lasting.
“This was a very, very unique case,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Roger Hanlon said Thursday. “There’s really, quite frankly, nothing like it in the history of Washington County.”
The incident began about 8:30 p.m. Jan. 20, 2013, when Lisa Cannon, a civilian member of the Forest Grove Police Department, called 911. Locked in an upstairs bathroom with a revolver and her 5-year-old daughter, she told the dispatcher that her husband had been drinking, had shoved her to the ground and was armed with an AR-15 carbine.
Forest Grove police officers arrived first. Cannon pointed the barrel of his gun over a balcony toward the officers downstairs.
Others from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and Hillsboro police arrived next. Hillsboro Officer Stephen Slade, a longtime friend, tried to reason with Cannon.
“But there was no calming Mr. Cannon,” Hanlon said.
After the first volley of gunfire, Hanlon said, Cannon reloaded, switching to armor-piercing bullets. In an unforgettable incident, he said, this detail in particular stands out to the officers. In the end, Cannon surrendered, descending the stairs with his wife and daughter.
Cannon was subsequently indicted on 26 charges: 11 counts of attempted aggravated murder, 11 counts of unlawful use of a weapon, one count of aggravated first-degree animal abuse, first-degree animal abuse, fourth-degree assault and harassment. He resigned from the Hillsboro department two days after the shooting.
The victims in the case were Cannon's wife and 11 officers: Forest Grove police Officers Gary Anderson, Charles McCutchen, Matt Jacobsen, Jenifer Smith and Ryan Wolf, Washington County Sheriff's Office Cpl. Mark Trost, Deputies Micah Akin, Austin Allen, Rob Richards and Justin Snyder, and Hillsboro Police Officer Slade. Akin, who sustained a shrapnel wound to his hand, was the only person physically injured in the incident.
In the plea agreement, Cannon wrote: “I do not have a clear recollection of the events of 1/20/13. After reviewing the police reports I am satisfied that I attempted to cause the death of Officers Charles McCutchen, Stephen Slade and Austin Allen. I am also admitting that I maliciously killed a cat.”
Hanlon said those three victims, from three different agencies, were chosen to represent all of the officers who responded.
Several cops attended the hearing Thursday. Richards was the only one who spoke at the late afternoon hearing.
“Tim Cannon brought hell on earth,” he said, pausing as he became more emotional.
Let’s not, Richards said, refer to Cannon as a former officer.
“Let’s call him what he is: the gunman that night,” he said.
Cannon was the gunman who held his wife and daughter hostage and tried to kill the law enforcement officers who risked their lives to save his wife and daughter, Richards said.
The number of people affected by Cannon’s actions stretched far beyond the named victims. They included other officers, deputies, dispatchers, “the list goes on and on,” he said.
Richards wonders why no one was killed that night. He asks himself why he wasn’t killed.
“We were all lucky,” he said. “Just like he’s lucky.”
Defense attorney Ray Bassel said Cannon experienced a perfect storm of factors that brought him to a crisis point. He had suffered traumatic events as a cop that weighed on him. He internalized his mental and emotional distress, Bassel said, and didn’t seek help. The day of the shooting, the stress combined with alcohol and Cannon’s “powerful” medications for mental health and a back injury.
“The effects were pretty profound,” Bassel said. “That night was out of character for Mr. Cannon. He wasn’t himself.”
Bassel said there was evidence to support a diminished capacity defense, but Cannon didn’t want to put his family and the officers through a trial.
Cannon spoke briefly in court, growing emotional from the start.
“It is not nearly enough, but I offer my sincere apology to each one of you individually, to your family and to your loved ones,” he said.
He could not explain the “mental collapse” he experienced that night.
“I devastated each one of you and shattered the tender heart of the woman I love most,” he said.
He loves his family, he said. He told them he was sorry.