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Archive for November 2nd, 2015

Michael Mason: To Suggest Law Enforcement Community Needs Training To Learn How To Do Their Job Is a Gross Over-Simplification

Michael Mason is a retired Executive Assistant Director of the FBI. His column is in response to a newsletter in which ticklethewire.com Editor Allan Lengel commented on FBI Director James Comey’s  theory suggesting society’s intense scrutiny of police is preventing officers from being aggressive about doing their job, which in turn,  is causing a spike in crime. Lengel wrote: “I commend (Comey) for bringing up the issue. Still, he’s fallen short here. Instead of coming up with solutions, he’s simply helping reinforce the perception of cops as victims. He needs to push for a comprehensive, national program to train law enforcement officers to do their job, dealing with the challenges of the 21st Century.”

Mike Mason/fbi photo

Michael Mason/fbi photo

By Michael Mason

The opening comments you made regarding the state of police training in the United States strikes me as painting the problem with an overly broad brush.

As the father of a newly minted Washington State Patrol Trooper, I can assure you he received some of the finest training available in this country today.  The days of being handed a used uniform and a gun belt and being told you are now a police officer are long gone.

There are tens of thousands of very fine police officers serving this country in a very difficult job every day of the week.  I recently participated in a Commander for a Day program with the New York Police Department.  During my tour-of-duty, I met some of the finest young men and women this country has to offer.

They were intelligent, dedicated, focused and perhaps most importantly, universally proud of wearing the uniform of the NYPD.  Those I had the opportunity to speak with joined the department to serve the citizens of New York, not to lord over them.  I have read and heard many news reports detailing bad acts of representatives from the law enforcement community.  However, I know on any given day there are hundreds of stories that could be told about officers going the extra mile to serve the citizens in their communities.

When I was the Assistant Special Agent in Charge in the Buffalo Division,  a doctor was shot and killed in his residence for services he provided to women.  He was shot through a kitchen window and killed in his kitchen while his children watched television in an adjoining room.  The kitchen was a horrific crime scene, with splattered blood everywhere.  When the evidence technicians completed their work, police officers, detectives and leadership of the Amherst Police Department, stayed on scene and cleaned that kitchen until virtually no signs of the horrible crime that occurred there were visible any longer.

I could recite you similar stories of officers engaging beyond the call of duty from every place I served across the country.  We live in a time in which the respect given to those in authority has been significantly degraded over the past couple of decades.  Policing is as difficult a job as it has ever been in our history.  Despite this fact, young men and women still desire to serve in the uniform of our state, local and tribal police departments.  The vast majority do so with honor and distinction.

Perhaps these times call for additional training in de-escalation procedures and other techniques necessary to de-fuse potentially hostile and dangerous situations.  I am a strong proponent of routine and continuous training.

However, I will conclude my note in the same manner I began, to suggest that the law enforcement community needs to training to learn how to “…do their job…” is a gross over-simplification.  There are few professions that include the amount of training provided to today’s law enforcement officer.  Academies run from 6-10 months, 40 hours per week.   You and I both know those academies go far beyond teaching the best way to use a night stick.  I suspect training at today’s police academies includes subjects that weren’t even taught a decade ago.  I truly believe today’s police are better trained, more educated and just as community-oriented and dedicated to the mission of policing as any time in this country’s history.

The vast majority of police put on their uniforms hoping to do what we all hope to do; go to work, have a reasonably good day and perform their jobs to the best of their ability.  I would put virtually all the police officers I met in my career in that category.

I know you are a fair guy, but I really wanted to speak up on behalf of the law enforcement community, a community far better than recent media depictions have portrayed.

 

Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI Commends Comey For Comments About Policing

FBI Director James Comey in Chicago delivering speech at the International Association of Chiefs of Police. (ticklethewire.com photo)

FBI Director James Comey in Chicago delivering speech at the International Association of Chiefs of Police. (ticklethewire.com photo)

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director James Comey has gotten some push back from skeptics about this theory that the recent intense focus on police brutality has made some police officers less aggressive about doing their job, which has resulted in a spike in crime.

Well, the retired Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI has issued a statement commending him for speaking out on the issue in Chicago.

The statement says:

Director Comey has served for two decades as a top federal prosecutor in New York City, Richmond, Virginia and at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. He is widely respected as a thoughtful, independent, and insightful leader. His independence was celebrated when as Deputy Attorney General he, along with then FBI Director Robert Mueller, both threatened to resign rather than proceed with a White House policy of President George W. Bush that they both considered illegal. The FBI Director has a ten year term that purposefully does not coincide with the four year term of the presidency to insure such independence. Director Comey’s comments on race, policing, and spiking crime rates this last year should be applauded as timely, needed and courageous.

Director Comey bravely tackled in his speech a complex subject dealing with spiking violent crime and homicide rates in cities all across the country in 2015 after 25 years of declining violent crime. During this last year, Director Comey has directed his Special Agents in Charge across the country to engage in community discussions about race relations and policing issues. He has listened to their reporting and he also makes it a practice to speak with law enforcement groups and officials on a continual basis. Comey remarked that the reason for such spikes may be due to a change in policing. He asked the important question “In today’s You Tube world, are officers reluctant to get out of their cars and do the work that controls violent crime? Are officers answering 911 calls but avoiding the informal contact that keeps bad guys standing around, especially with guns?” He asked these important questions in the context that the murder victims in large part are persons of color and that law enforcement needs to find answers to the questions he was asking and solutions to the spiking crime rate to save these vulnerable victims and their communities. Director Comey also strongly noted in several instances that changes in police conduct is welcomed in terms of de-escalation and the use of deadly force.

Society President Larry Langberg stated, “Director Comey has commented to the nation’s law enforcement professionals on a difficult subject involving race relations, policing practices, and community involvement. He should be applauded for encouraging nationally a discussion about critical issues in policing.”

 

 

 

FBI’s Program about Violent Extremism in Schools Draws Criticism

schoolBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An interactive program designed by the FBI to help teachers and students identify warning signs of violent extremism has drawn strong criticism Muslims and civil rights leaders, the New York Times reports. 

The program, called “Don’t Be a Puppet,” predominately focuses on Islamic extremism, even though that has not been a factor in school shootings and attacks.

The New York Times wrote:

In the campaign against terrorists such as the Islamic State, law enforcement agencies have been stepping up efforts to identify those susceptible to recruitment. The agencies have enlisted the cooperation and advice of religious and community leaders. But the controversy over the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s new online tool is one more indication that there is no consensus on who should be involved in detecting and reporting suspects, and where to draw the line between prevention and racial or religious profiling.

“The F.B.I. is developing a website designed to provide awareness about the dangers of violent extremist predators on the Internet,” a spokeswoman for the agency said late Sunday, “with input from students, educators and community leaders.”

FBI Agent in Critical Condition After Being Shot by Fellow Law Enforcement Officer

FBI file photo

FBI file photo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent was in critical condition Thursday night in the Texas panhandle after he was accidentally shot by a fellow law enforcement officer, Breitbart reports.

Special Agent Mike Orndorff was helping carry out a warrant when he was shot by an officer with the Texas Department of Public Safety.

“The preliminary information indicates that the FBI agent was accidentally shot by a Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Criminal Investigations Division (CID) special agent,” Sgt. Witt wrote in a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas Friday night. “DPS Texas Rangers, DPS CID special agents and FBI agents were all on scene as part of the investigation.”

The suspect wanted in the warrant was arrested on undisclosed charges.

No updates were immediately available.

ACLU: Border Patrol Abuses Constitutional Rights with Impunity

Border PatrolBy Editorial Board
Orange County Register

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona recently released a damning report about the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, using documents obtained from a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit as evidence of an out-of-control agency that abuses citizens’ constitutional rights with impunity and lacks basic record keeping, oversight or any sense of accountability for its routine violations.

“The records contain recurring examples of Border Patrol agents detaining, searching and terrorizing individuals and entire families at interior checkpoints and in ‘roving patrol’ vehicle stops far into the interior of the country; threatening motorists with assault rifles, electroshock weapons and knives; destroying and confiscating personal property; and interfering with efforts to video record Border Patrol activities,” the ACLU report states. “Above all, these documents show a near-total lack of investigation of, much less discipline for, egregious civil rights abuses; to the contrary, some of the records show Border Patrol tacitly or explicitly encouraging its agents to violate the law.”

Citizens asking why they were stopped were told, for example, that “I don’t have to tell you that” and “We’ll think of something.” One agent said he stopped a man because “the time he is driving to work is also a peak time for smuggling.” When one woman had the audacity to question the authority of the agents who stopped her, they slashed her rear tire, stranding her and her two young children on a hot desert road.

Interior checkpoints – such as the San Clemente station on I-5 – which may be located up to 100 miles from the border, also appear to be rather ineffective or unnecessary. Interior checkpoint apprehensions accounted for just 0.74 percent of total apprehensions for the Tucson and Yuma Sectors in 2012 and 2013. One checkpoint, 75 miles north of the border in the Yuma Sector, reported one noncitizen apprehension in three years, but generated multiple civil rights complaints during that time.

To read more click here. 

With Benghazi Behind Her, Hillary Clinton Still Faces FBI Probe Over Private E-Mails

hillary-clintonBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Now that the Benghazi investigation is behind her, Hillary Clinton may feel like the heat is off her.

But it’s not.

The Daily Mail reports that the presidential candidate faces months of investigation into her use of private emails when she was secretary of state.

The bureau’s Counterintelligence Division is being urged to complete its probe as soon as possible. It involves more than 600 emails that contained classified material.

The FBI is trying to determine whether Clinton failed to protect the sensitive data.

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