State Could Require Missouri School Districts to Have Armed Resource Officers

State Rep. Nick Schroer, R-O’Fallon, speaks on the Missouri House floor in Jefferson City on May 17, 2019 (file photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)​.​


Missouri public school districts could be required to have at least one armed officer in every building during normal school hours. The House Elementary and Secondary Education committee is considering the bill sponsored by State Representative Nick Schroer, R​​-O’Fallon. It would also have retired police officers, educators, military members or veterans, or volunteers serve in the paid or unpaid roles. Under the proposed mandate, the individuals would have to complete training prior to starting.

“I don’t think every Tom, Dick and Harry should be tasked with looking out for the kids, making sure certain situations don’t arise, looking out for the safety of the entire staff. I think that you need somebody who’s armed and trained in these situations,” says Schroer.

During a public hearing, Representative Chuck Basye, R-Rocheport, says he backs the measure.

“I think we should try and do everything we can to make sure our children are as safe as possible,” says Basye.

Representative Karla Eslinger, R-Wasola, a lifelong educator, says she wants the bill to go a step further.

“Some of the most heated times that we’ve had, where I was truly concerned about behavior or somebody being violent was at ball games, when you have those extracurricular kinds of times,” she says.

The legislation would put an administrator’s or employee’s job in jeopardy if they fail to ensure that an armed officer is on duty.

“I don’t see why any school district, even though we have 60% of them so far that have RSOs, why would they go the extra mile to ensure the safety of their children if they’re not required to and there were penalties if they didn’t do so,” says Schroer.

Otto Fagin, speaking on behalf of the Missouri National Education Association, says local school boards should decide about armed resource officers – not the state.

“We have concerns that when you create this mandate, but there’s no funding attached with it, which may be an Article 10 violation, that creates a pressure for the school districts,” says Fagin. “Do we cut staff in other areas so that we can have school resource officers? The governor’s safety task force – they talk about the best solutions designed through local governance and that one size doesn’t fit all and we agree with that very strongly. That’s why we have concerns about a bill that mandates this. We would probably have no objection whatsoever if the state were wanting to invest in supporting school districts having more access to resource officers in every school.”

Moms Demand Action member Cathy Gilbert of St. Louis County raised other concerns.

“Most school violence is not the mass shootings that we see at Parkland or Sandy Hook. Most of those incidents – 78% – are guns brought to school by students from home,” says Gilbert. So, we need to ensure that parents are aware that safe storage is a critical factor in keeping their children safe.”

The state has 518 public school districts and about 2,400 school buildings.

The committee has not yet voted on House Bill 1961.

 
​By Alisa Nelson | Missourinet.com​

Sheriffs Visit Jefferson City to Get Answers

On February 5th of this year, Sheriffs Wayne Winn (Scotland County), Shawn Webster (Clark County) and Scott Munsterman (Johnson County) represented the region for the Missouri Sheriffs’ Association in Jefferson City. Winn and Webster serve as the leader and assistant leader respectively, for the Missouri Sheriffs’ Association Zone 4, which includes Clark, Knox, Lewis, Marion, Monroe, Ralls, Scotland and Shelby coun​​ties. During their visit, the respective sheriffs and MSA Director Kevin Merritt were able to meet with legislators when they visited the state capital to listen to bills being passed around and discussed, during which they had the chance to meet with several senators and representatives in Jefferson City.

Winn was able to sit in and listen to some of the bills being discussed in committee, for which those present gave their support or opposition. Winn mentioned there were a couple of bills they were in support of and a few they did not support.

According to Winn, those who are attending with the Sheriff’s association are from different zones and participation is rotated among those in specific zones. Those who are part of Zone 4 had their turn last week, which would give the senators and representatives a face on who the sheriffs are. The Sheriff’s Association has its own lobbyist too. It should be noted that more direct interaction helps to strengthen relations between the Sheriff’s Association and lawmakers.

When asked if he testified while sitting in on the presentation of the bills, Winn responded. “Kevin Merritt, the director of our association testified on one.”

“We went down to talk to senators about probation and parole, how we’re not getting paid back by the state for per diem, and why probation and parole, releasing prisoners off of probation and releasing them without sentencing them to jail. Early releases, stuff like and plus people that abscond from getting picked up and only being sent to jail and then getting released again after they’ve had to pursue and chase them. One of the things we’re fighting with them right now is the per diem and the money they owe us for prisoners being held and they’re not paying.”

When asked how far behind the state was with reimbursing the county, Winn walked to his office to find the reference sheets, which shows that the state owes Scotland County $23,647.00.

“We’re fighting DOC for this funding,” Winn stated. “The director of DOC said, ‘this is not how other states do it.’ It’s a state law. We’re just asking you to follow state law and reimburse us.” Regarding last year’s reimbursement, Winn commented they were still behind.

Some legislators have offered to help including Representative David Evans, of the 154th District, who is the sponsor of the following house bills:

1519 which deals with bail bonds with modified provisions

1520 which deals with parole conditions

1735 which focuses on per diem costs that jails would get compensated from the state jail reimbursement

Winn said they were fighting an issue with the Supreme Court as the Supreme Court has issued a ruling regarding bail bonds and why Winn said they were not holding prisoners anymore. Because they cannot prove they are a danger to society or a flight risk, they cannot hold them; they can issue a citation, which Winn disagrees with.

“I think some of these crimes are dangerous to society but unless you really get proof of them being a flight risk or being a danger to society” referring to an incident earlier this year in which the jail the court house was destroyed when someone ripped the all plumbing out, leading to a lack of being able to hold anyone in jail until the jail is repaired. He mentioned the property destroyer had set fire to a person’s house before and is currently not in jail. It’s like anything else, if you don’t put a face to what you’re doing, you kind of get ignored. So, we decided we’re going to take a stand and go down and talk to the senators and representatives and just tell them what’s happened and what we’re dealing with. We also went down to tell them the history of jail costs.

“We’re required to accept prisoners, it’s federal law and the liable cost for incarceration and the boarding of prisoners, it’s for the state to reimburse how much they’re supposed to pay us. In 1996 the per diem was raised from $17 to $20. Twenty-six million was authorized in 1997 for county per diem. In 1997 County per diem was twenty-six million; DOC budget was over three hundred million; Missouri State Highway Patrol budget was approximately One hundred and twenty million. In 2019, our county budget per diem was thirty-four to forty million, that’s what the state allowed to be paid back to the counties. The DOC budget was nearly eight-hundred million; Missouri State Highway Patrol budget was approximately three hundred and fifty million; The DPS budget, including the highway patrol was seven hundred and fifty million, so DOC and DPS is 1.5 billion and they’re having trouble paying us back what they owe us.”

The per diem rates highlight the fluctuation of costs over the past twenty-two years.

1998-2002: $22.50

2002-2007: $20

2007-2008: $21.25

2008-2010: $22

2010-2014: $19.58

2014-2015: $21.58

2015-2016: $20.58

2016-2017: $21.08

2017-2019: $22.58

The per diem reimbursement is just for inmates who have gone onto the DOC, and does not include the inmates who have not gone to the DOC.

“This is what we bill for, for the days they (inmates) sit in our jail. If they sit there for six months, we turn it in. Of course, the prisoners get jail credit for those days but that’s what they (the state) pays us back per day for that, even though we charge $35 a day for my jail rate.”

The actual cost of keeping someone in jail includes but is not limited to clothing, meals, accommodations, water rate, not to mention the staff, surveillance, equipment, and insurance. The current state meal reimbursement rate including breakfast, lunch and dinner is $34 a day, which means the jail is being underfunded. When asked where the food came from, Winn said they ordered things from Kohl Wholesale in Quincy, IL including lunch meat and pop-tarts. They also go to J’s to get hot meals. Supplemental items including bread, milk, fruit drinks and tea also come from J’s.

According to Winn, when he first started as sheriff, the jail was budgeting with a local restaurant which was providing all the meals, charging roughly $2.75 a meal, a relatively reasonable price; the bid was raised to $4.25. After deliberation, Winn realized that the raised bid could hurt the budget. Prisoners get fed a bowl of cereal for breakfast, a lunchmeat sandwich for lunch and a hot meal for supper. When asked what was going to happen with the extra prisoners, Winn responded, “That’s what we’re fighting right now and, here’s something else, DOC admits it pays $60 a day to house inmates, but we only get reimbursed $22.58, but that’s still not paying their bill.”

DOC came back with a published article that said a study was done and that offenders were serving fifty-three percent of their time, with a reporter in the committee asking how that percentage was calculated. The fifty-three percent is counting the time spent in county jail.

Time was calculated by looking at time the offenders were sitting in county jail, which counts as time served, which Winn believes is wrong. “To me, when you get sentenced to four years in the department of corrections, you should be going there, serving four years at the Department of Corrections. They give them time for good behavior, they give them credit for time served, which is more than a day, I think it is a day and a half for each day they served in a county jail. So, these people, we take them down to prison and I’ve heard them sitting in the backseat, going ‘I’m only going to be down here for six months’, and I’m sitting there thinking ‘How could this happen?’ Now we’ve got the governor closing prisons, state prisons. Cameron just closed and they are closing Tipton.”

Memphis Democrat

Missouri Lawmakers Look to Overturn State Supreme Court’s Bail Rules

 Laclede Couty Sheriff David Millsap’s deputies have been busy serving more than 1,100 warrants in the last eight months.

“690 people have failed to appear on their warrants after they’ve been issued,” Millsap told the Missouri House Judiciary Committee Tuesday night.

That means his deputies are spending more time trying to track people down. It’s something his officers didn’t have to do before.

“I don’t have the operation manpower to go out chasing people down that should have probably stayed in jail,” Millsap added.

He’s not the only sheriff who’s having a hard time keeping people who should be in jail, from easily being back on the streets.

“We’ve arrested one in the morning, and arrested him later on in the afternoon. Same offense,” said Osage County Sheriff Mike Bonham.

Sheriffs say it’s all because judges must now consider bond options that don’t involve money first.

Missouri’s Supreme Court ruled in 2019 many people can’t afford bail for low level offenses, and could lose their jobs waiting for trial.

Bail bondsmen like Janet Garms feel they’re making the situation a little better.

“We help people in that we care,” Garms told the committee.

One of Garms’ clients, Molly Lake, was in and out of jail for relatively minor crimes. She says Garms helped her get her life back on track.

“I’d probably still be in and out of county jail,” Lake told the committee.

More than 80 Missouri lawmakers are pushing to repeal the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Republican Representative Justin Hill of Kirkwood filed the bill.

“I’m for criminal reform,” Hill said. “However, we’ve gone too far, or the court has gone too far. I want to repeal these rules, and have this discussion.”

Others, including St. Louis County Democrat Gina Mitten, don’t want to see the new rules go anywhere. Her county’s courts developed a form that allows a judge to explain​​ their bail decision.

“It doesn’t say you can’t do it. It doesn’t say you can’t do it anywhere,” Mitten said of the ruling. “All it says is if you’re going to do it, you need to let us know why.”

The House Judiciary committee has not voted on the bill, but it is expected to make it to the House floor for debate.

By Andrew Havranek | KY​3​ News

New Enforcement Operation Focuses on Meth Trafficking Hubs

Federal authorities are targeting methamphetamine “transportation hubs” around the country in an effort to block the distribution of the highly addictive drug, officials announced Thursday.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon visited Atlanta to announce the launch of Operation Crystal Shield. Atlanta is one of eight cities the agency has identified as a hub where methamphetamine from Mexico arrives in bulk for distribution around the country.

The other cities are Dallas, El Paso, Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Phoenix and St. Louis. By focusing on those hubs, Dhillon said, they hope to attack the entire supply chain and intercept the drug before it is trafficked to neighborhoods and communities throughout the country.

While much of the focus in recent years has been on synthetic opioids like fentanyl, methamphetamine continues to be a leading cause of death and addiction, Dhillon said.

A 2005 federal law that regulated the retail sale of over-the-counter drugs like pseudoephedrine — which can be used to make methamphetamine — largely eliminated the production of the drug in the U.S., Dhillon said. Now, however, the drug is produced on an industrial scale in Mexico and smuggled across the border, he said.

DEA seizures of methamphetamine in the U.S. increased by 127%, from 49,507 pounds to 112,146 pounds, between fiscal years 2017 and 2019, and DEA arrests related to the drug rose nearly 20%, the agency said.

Dhillon and other law enforcement officers spoke at a news conference where piles of methamphetamine from two recent seizures in the Atlanta area.

Firefighters responding to an apartment fire in Cobb County found a meth lab. Inside, authorities found boxes of candles that contained methamphetamine and could be cooked down and processed into crystal meth, said DEA Special Agent in Charge Robert Murphy, who runs the agency’s Atlanta field office. The candles had stickers indicating they’d been inspected by authorities at the border, but the drugs went undetected, he said.

Also on display were transparent evidence bags containing about 1,300 pounds (590 kilograms) of processed crystal meth that were seized in a Clayton County home along with about 100 gallons (379 liters) of a product that could be cooked into about 5 to 7 pounds (2 to 3 kilograms) of crystal meth per gallon, Murphy said. The drugs on display represented about 2.3 million individual doses, he said.

“This is a staggering amount of methamphetamine, and it illustrates the problem that we have,” he said.

Murphy said the production of the drug in Mexico results in a scary combination: a drug with higher purity and a lower cost.

The surge in resources associated with Operation Crystal Shield is expected to last at least through the end of the year, and authorities said they will be watching to see how the cartels pivot in response.

By Kate Brumback | Asssociated Press

Disunity among sheriffs, probation and parole leaders

​A man who was serving a life sentence in a 1994 murder-for-hire plot in Tennessee is out of prison. 

There’s more frustration among Missouri sheriffs about a new system for people on Probation or Parole.

A meeting with those sheriffs and state officials got heated and ended when at least one sheriff walked out, and our cameras came in.

Many lawmen across the state say the system is broken. Multiple local sheriffs say it’s dangerous and threatens the public’s safety.

Probation and parole disagrees, and says the system is aimed at rehabilitation.

“People who are on probation and parole, leaving a probation and parole office high on methamphetamine– tested positive for it and was allowed to leave!” exclaimed Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott.

Local sheriffs are fired up about the issue again, seven months after it was adopted.

“If you have someone testing positive for meth or any kind of drug and they walk back out onto the street immediately after they test positive and get in a car and drive away– that is a pu​​blic safety issue. And that is just one of a few of the examples that I can give you,” said Sheriff Brad Cole of Christian County.

The Missouri Division of Probation and Parole says the new system is better tailored for rehabbing criminals.

“We can’t say a blanket statement that everybody on probation or parole that gets two dirty urine tests is going to prison. I can’t give a blanket analysis of what we would do in those circumstances. But what we’re trying to do is look at these cases individually, and depending on what the risk factors are, depending on what the circumstances are of this case, I can’t say there is a blanket decision to return people to prison based on a number of anything,” said Julie Kempker, the director of probation and parole. She has been on a statewide tour to try to get many upset sheriffs on the same page as her division.

“The blame is being placed on the wrong people,” said Kempker. We asked who should the blame be placed on.

“It’s not for me to determine, not for me to decide. As the director of probation and parole, my job is to make sure P&P staff are supervising their clients to the best of their ability with the resources that we have,” Kempker said.

“You can ask the other sheriffs who were in attendance, they feel the same way, it’s ridiculous that we are letting people go and knowingly doing it,” Arnott said.

“You have to have consequences. You can’t come to your P&P meeting and test positive for meth two times in a row and nothing be done!” said Sheriff Cole.

Another thing the sheriffs are upset about is that our KY3 cameras aren’t being allowed inside these meetings, as we are trying to be the eyes and ears of the tax-paying public.

“Often times when the media is here, I think there is a lot of grandstanding and that’s not what I wanted,” said Kempker.

When we tried to come in, the meeting was ended immediately. The sheriffs are urging transparency.

KY3 has asked the governor to weigh in, since he is from this area, and a former sheriff. He has agreed to an interview on Saturday. We will have his take on the situation next week.

 
​By ​Sara Forhetz | KY3 News

State Budget to Include $22 Million Owed to County Jails

An effort is underway by the Parson administration to pay down the $33,429,739 tab owed to county jails across the state.

The state has been accruing the debt across 114 counties which transport, house, process, extrad​​ite, feed and provide health care to offenders in the pre-trial or appeal phases.

Gov. Parson said Friday in an address to the County Commissioners Association of Missouri that his budget proposal will include a $22 million sum to pay down a large portion of the backlog.

The state has three methods for county reimbursement, according to its website:

Bill of Costs – These are expenses that accrue as a result of various costs and fees arising out of the prosecution of certain crimes.
Extradition – These are expenses that accrue as a result of a fugitive being returned to Missouri to face the disposition of criminal charges.
Transportation – These are delivery expenses that accrue as a result of convicted offenders being delivered to the department’s Reception and Diagnostic Centers.

The board reimbursement rate has not significantly changed since at least 1998, according to the Missouri Department of Corrections.

Below is a summary of the backlogged debt owed to some of the counties in mid-Missouri as of Dec. 31, 2019:

COUNTY​ ​AMOUNT DUE:

  • Boone​ ​$1,006,358
  • Cole​ ​$137,792
  • Callaway​ ​$254,681
  • Audrain​ ​$201,472
  • Howard​ ​$32,927
  • Cooper​ ​$77,024
  • Moniteau​ ​$135,842
  • Miller​ ​$208,000
 
​By Joe McLean | ABC 17 News KMIZ​

Sheriff Lends Support to Increased Police Chase Penalties

Missouri state lawmakers heard testimony Monday on a bill that would make all police chases felonies.

Right now a majority end up being classified as misdemeanors and usually don’t lead to additional penalties on top of the charges the suspect is running from.

Quasheena Cadenhead was charged Monday in Cass County for leading deputies on a chase at speeds that topped 100 mph while going the wrong way down Interstate 49. A deputy who brought the chase to an end as she exited on an entrance ramp was injured.

Sheriff Jeff Weber said if it weren’t for the deputy’s injuries, ​​Cadenhead may have only faced a misdemeanor in the wild chase.

In 1995, Cass County Dep. Jeff Mayse was chasing a suspect on a rural Cass County road when he slammed into a tree.

“I just remember the next days just feeling numb, knowing my life was never going to be the same,” his daughter Brandy Whitten said.

Whitten was 12 when Mayse was killed, her little sister was born 4 weeks later, but never got to meet the man who wore badge 619.

A Missouri legislator introduced House Bill 619 last year to strengthen penalties for running from the law, but it never picked up traction.

On Monday, one day after one of his deputies was injured in a high-speed pursuit, Weber testified in favor of this year’s version, House Bill 1620.

“It’s been our experience that individuals who run once, run twice, three, four times. They do it all the time, and we’ve trained them to do that,” he said.

Weber wants the line in Missouri statue that says it’s a misdemeanor “unless the person fleeing creates a substantial risk of serious injury or death” eliminated and replaced with a Class E felony.

“We are just gambling. We are letting them out on a signature bond to continue to do these things until someone finally gets hurt,” Weber said.

Or in the case of Jeff Mayse, killed in the line of duty. His daughter said it should be simple.

“There’s no reason to injure anyone else or yourselves, injure someone else that’s in the path or put the deputies’ lives on the line. They are doing their job, just pull over,” Whitten said.

​​But according to Weber, suspects aren’t the getting the message. He said chases in the county have become almost a daily occurrence.

A deputy injured in a chase in September only returned to duty Friday. There’s no telling when the deputy who stopped Sunday’s wrong-way, speeding suspect will be back to work.

Kansas law is similar to Missouri’s right now, though it makes a third arrest for fleeing and eluding an automatic felony.

By Dave D’Marko | Fox 4 KC

Sheriffs Ask State to Stop Shorting Them on Jail Costs

Sheriffs from counties across Missouri called on state lawmakers Monday to find a way to pay back nearly $35 million in debt connected to their county jail operations.

The state owes the money to counties, as well as the city of St. Louis, whose jails have held state prisoners while they await trial. The backlog also includes money owed to counties for transporting prisoners from local jails to state prison facilities, as well as money spent collecting suspects who are arrested in other states.

“This has been a long-term problem,” Lewis County Sheriff David Parrish told members of the House Subcommittee on County Prison Per Diem Reimbursement.

The panel is working to develop a recommendation for repayment that will be considered by the House Budget Committee as it crafts the state’s $30.9 billion spending plan.

The decision is one more pressure point facing Gov. Mike Parson and the GOP-controlled Legislature as they work to put together a spending plan for the fiscal year beginning July 1. The state’s public defender system says it needs an estimated 300 more attorneys to effectively represent poor people in court. Correctional officers are owed more than $114 million in back pay stemming from a lawsuit guards brought against the Department of Corrections.

And, Parson did not call for an estimated $3 million to give raises to low-paid workers at the state’s nursing homes for military veterans in order to stop a turnover rate of about 80%.

At the same time, Republican lawmakers continue to debate various attempts to reduce the state’s tax rates on individuals and corporations, resulting in a potential decrease in revenues.

In January, Parson, a former sheriff, recommended funneling an extra $22 million to the fund to pay down the debt.

In St. Louis, the city is owed $2.4 million, according to figures provided by the Missouri Department of Corrections. St. Louis County is owed $3.3 million. St. Charles has been shortchanged $1.1 million, while Jefferson County is out $455,000.

While Parson’s budget proposal is a start toward closing the gap, Parrish and other county officials say the state’s failure to pay the full amount has led to financial hardships and overcrowding in county lock-ups.

The daily reimbursement rate hasn’t risen above $22 for the past two decades. The actual cost is closer to at least $60 per day.

“I think we’re open to looking at changing the process,” said Trent Watson of the Missouri Association of Counties. “We need a little more help from the state.”

Counties also have to pay for the cost of health care for indigent prisoners. In some cases, counties are holding suspects who are, for example, pregnant or are undergoing kidney dialysis.

“That is a huge cost,” Watson said.

Callaway County Commissioner Gary Jungermann said some counties are hiring fewer deputies because of the financial pinch. At the same time, many counties are considering expanding their jails to deal with overcrowding.

Jungermann said the state could consider state-operated regional jails to house offenders who are picked up by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, rather than leaving that cost to the counties.

“County taxpayers are required to do the heavy lifting,” said Parrish, who is president of the Missouri Sheriff’s Association. “We feel like it has to be a partnership between us.”

By Kurt Erickson | stltoday.com

FBI Releases 2019 Internet Crime Report

Internet-enabled crimes and scams show no signs of letting up, according to data released by the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) in its 2019 Internet Crime Report. The last calendar year saw both the highest number of complaints and the highest dollar losses reported since the center was established in May 2000.

IC3 received 467,361 complaints in 2019—an average of nearly 1,300 every day—and recorded more than $3.5 billion in losses to individual and business victims. The most frequently reported complaints were phishing and similar ploys, non-payment/non-delivery scams, and extortion. The most financially costly complaints involved business email compromise, romance or confidence fraud, and spoofing, or mimicking the account of a person or vendor known to the victim to gather personal or financial information.

Donna Gregory, the chief of IC3, said that in 2019 the center didn’t see an uptick in new types of fraud but rather saw criminals deploying new tactics and techniques to carry out existing scams.

“Criminals are getting so sophisticated,” Gregory said. “It is getting harder and harder for victims to spot the red flags and tell real from fake.”

While email is still a common entry point, frauds are also beginning on text messages—a crime called smishing—or even fake websites—a tactic called pharming.

“You may get a text message that appears to be your bank asking you to verify information on your account,” said Gregory. “Or you may even search a service online and inadvertently end up on a fraudulent site that gathers your bank or credit card information.”

Individuals need to be extremely skeptical and double check everything, Gregory emphasized. “In the same way your bank and online accounts have started to require two-factor authentication—apply that to your life,” she said. “Verify requests in person or by phone, double check web and email addresses, and don’t follow the links provided in any messages.”

“Criminals are getting so sophisticated. It is getting harder and harder for victims to spot the red flags and tell real from fake.”

Shifts in Business Email Compromise

Business email compromise (BEC), or email account compromise, has been a major concern for years. In 2019, IC3 recorded 23,775 complaints about BEC, which resulted in more than $1.7 billion in losses.

These scams typically involve a criminal spoofing or mimicking a legitimate email address. For example, an individual will receive a message that appears to be from an executive within their company or a business with which an individual has a relationship. The email will request a payment, wire transfer, or gift card purchase that seems legitimate but actually funnels money directly to a criminal.

In the last year, IC3 reported seeing an increase in the number of BEC complaints related to the diversion of payroll funds. “In this type of scheme, a company’s human resources or payroll department receives an email appearing to be from an employee requesting to update their direct deposit information for the current pay period,” the report said. The change instead routes an employee’s paycheck to a criminal.

The Importance of Reporting

“Information reported to the IC3 plays a vital role in the FBI’s ability to understand our cyber adversaries and their motives, which, in turn, helps us to impose risks and consequences on those who break our laws and threaten our national security,” said Matt Gorham, assistant director of the FBI’s Cyber Division. “It is through these efforts we hope to build a safer and more secure cyber landscape.” Gorham encourages everyone to use IC3 and reach out to their local field office to report malicious activity.

Rapid reporting can help law enforcement stop fraudulent transactions before a victim loses the money for good. The FBI’s Recovery Asset Team was created to streamline communication with financial institutions and FBI field offices and is continuing to build on its success. The team successfully recovered more than $300 million for victims in 2019.

Besides stressing vigilance on the part of every connected citizen, the IC3’s Donna Gregory also stressed the importance of victims providing as much information as possible when they come to IC3. Victims should include every piece of information they have—any email addresses, account information they were given, phone numbers scammers called from, and other details. The more information IC3 can gather, the more it helps combat the criminals.

In 2019, the Recovery Asset Team was paired with the Money Mule Team under the IC3’s Recovery and Investigative Development Team. This effort brings together law enforcement and financial institutions to use the data provided in IC3 complaints to gain a better view of the networks and methods of cyber fraudsters and identify the perpetrators.

The new effort allowed IC3 to aggregate more than three years of reports to help build a case against an active group of criminals who were responsible for damaging crimes that ranged from cryptocurrency theft to online extortion. The ensuing investigation by the FBI’s San Francisco Field Office resulted in the arrest of three people.

Read the full 2019 Internet Crime Report. To stay up to date on common online scams and frauds or report a crime, visit ic3.gov.

The safest place to be in a vehicle ambush attack

​Many people fail to recognize that angled, windshield glass is a formidable obstacle. (Photo/Houston Police)​Have a plan, should you come under attack when in a vehicle. 

In any given year, roughly half of all police-involved shootings take place from or around vehicles. More recently, we have seen a dramatic spike in incidents where law enforcement officers ​​have been the victims of unprovoked attacks while sitting in their marked vehicles.

This disturbing trend has caused those of us involved in training to take a hard look at how we are preparing our officers for the possibility of an ambush attack. A logical first step is revisiting the topic of mindset and mental conditioning. The harsh reality is bad things often happen to good people and law enforcement officers need to come to terms with the fact that they could be targeted for attack.

STAYING SWITCHED ON

Awareness is the first cornerstone of a positive mindset and many such ambush incidents can be averted if we stay switched on. I recognize, of course, it is especially difficult to maintain a constant state of Condition Yellow over the course of a long day and we simply can’t view every citizen we come in contact with as a deadly threat. Although a great many citizen interactions might be best categorized as service calls, keep that radar up. Recognize that situations can flip in the blink of an eye and trust your sixth sense. If things don’t seem right, they probably aren’t.

Sound tactics, while in the vehicle, are yet another component of the safety net. If an attack is imminent or ongoing, drive away. But what if an obstacle or traffic makes this impossible? What if the threat is just a few feet away and is bringing his or her weapon to bear?

TESTING DEFENSE TACTICS

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend an eight-hour program on vehicle defense tactics which was sponsored by the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors. This block of instruction focused on how to effectively fire from a vehicle, exit the kill zone and exactly what parts of contemporary vehicles represent true cover. We were also afforded the opportunity to fire a few different rounds utilized for law enforcement applications at vehicles and to assess the results.

Many diverse materials make up modern vehicles, including various types of metal, plastic, rubber and glass. It’s probably a safe bet that today’s cars are smaller and lighter than the heavy metal American-made cars of the ‘60s and ‘70s. We were all curious to see exactly what, if any, protection a vehicle could provide against incoming fire.

First, let’s consider glass. Many people fail to recognize that angled, windshield glass is a formidable obstacle. Windshields are made of laminated glass and a bullet impact will cause it to crack and spider web, but not shatter. Windshields often play havoc with bullet performance and results could include jacket/core separation, deflection from the point of aim and inconsistent expansion qualities. Side windows are made of tempered glass and a single bullet impact will typically cause them to shatter.

During the seminar, a few different handgun, rifle and shotgun rounds were fired at vehicle windshields and doors. A target was placed on the passenger seat to determine if the rounds fired deviated from the point of aim. It should hardly be a surprise that all the rounds fired penetrated and struck the target. Both a non-bonded 9mm jacketed hollowpoint and a .223 Remington soft point exhibited signs of jacket failure, but still struck the targets. Handgun rounds featuring a bonded bullet, rifled slugs and a .223 Remington round traveled true to the target without any issues.

Firing at an open door did produce some surprising results. A casual observer might consider that the sheet metal of a car door wouldn’t be much of a barrier, but there is a lot more to the door than meets the eye. Car doors contain windows, electric motors, locks, brake stays, lift mechanisms, as well as inner panels and arm rests.

In the test, four different handgun rounds were fired from a distance of 10 yards at a door open approximately 45 degrees. Rounds included two examples each of 9mm and .45 ACP, with both bonded and non-bonded bullets. A single example of each round was fired at the open door.

The most surprising result was that none of the handgun rounds penetrated the door. This was by no means an exhaustive test nor am I suggesting that car doors are bulletproof. But based on this informal test, and what we’ve witnessed in actual police action shootings, even the best handgun rounds are “iffy” penetrators on car doors. On the other hand, both the .223 Remington rounds and 12-gauge rifled slugs  easily penetrated the door.

TAKEAWAYS FROM TESTING TACTICS

So what can we learn here? While not true cover, a door might provide some limited ballistic protection in a frontal attack. Exit the kill zone, stay low and move to better cover at the rear of the car and beyond. Doors provide absolutely no protection from centerfire rifle rounds and shotgun slugs. But this cuts both ways. If you absolutely need to get inside a motor vehicle by punching through a door or windshield, rifled slugs have no peer. For rifles, consider one of the popular barrier breaching rounds from the major manufacturers.

If you have to shoot through the windshield while sealed behind the wheel, a well-designed bullet will punch through the glass, track true and expand when it strikes the threat. Again, premium quality rounds specifically designed for law enforcement applications are readily available and performance is light years beyond what it was a generation ago.

True cover in a vehicle remains the engine block and brake drums. But taking a good defendable position behind them can be difficult. If and when possible, move to better cover away from your vehicle. At the very least, your vehicle could provide you with a measure of concealment.

Have a plan, should you come under attack when in a vehicle. Get yourself in a defendable position as soon as possible and take the fight to the assailant. That might include firing through the side windows or windshield. When working with a partner or backup, those timeless concepts of cover and contact still ring true. Define those roles and make sure somebody is watching the immediate area, as well as what is beyond. Stay switched on to stay safe.

About the author

Captain Mike Boyle served 27 years with the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife, Bureau of Law Enforcement. Mike was responsible for all aspects of pre-service and in-service training and also supervised the internal affairs section of his agency. Mike has also been an assistant police academy director and continues to participate in both recruit and instructor level training. He is a certified instructor in multiple uses of force disciplines including handgun, shotgun, rifle, SMG, impact weapons and unarmed self-defense.

This story, from Policeone.com, was originally posted in 2017 but with the recent attacks on law enforcement, many times while they’re sitting in vehicles, we thought it was good to share it again.