Justice Department Announces New Rule to Modernize Firearm Definitions, Address ‘Ghost Gun’ Proliferation

The Department of Justice  announced on Monday, April 11 that it has submitted to the Federal Register the “Frame or Receiver” Final Rule, which modernizes the definition of a firearm. Once implemented, this rule will clarify that parts kits that are readily convertible to firearms are subject to the same regulations as traditional firearms. These regulatory updates will help curb the proliferation of “ghost guns,” which are often assembled from kits, do not contain serial numbers, and are sold without background checks, making them difficult to trace and easy to acquire by criminals.

“One year ago, the Department committed to address the proliferation of ghost guns used in violent crimes,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “This rule will make it harder for criminals and other prohibited persons to obtain untraceable guns, will help ensure that law enforcement officers can retrieve the information they need to solve crimes, and will help reduce the number of untraceable firearms flooding our communities. I commend all our colleagues at the ATF who have worked tirelessly over the past 12 months to get this important rule finalized, and to do it in a way that respects the rights of law-abiding Americans.” 

The rule goes into effect 120 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register, and once implemented, will address the proliferation of these un-serialized firearms in several ways. These include:

  1. To help keep guns from being sold to convicted felons and other prohibited purchasers, the rule makes clear that retailers must run background checks before selling kits that contain the parts necessary for someone to readily make a gun.
  2. To help law enforcement trace guns used in a crime, the rule modernizes the definition of frame or receiver, clarifying what must be marked with a serial number – including in easy-to-build firearm kits.
  3. To help reduce the number of unmarked and hard-to-trace “ghost guns,” the rule establishes requirements for federally licensed firearms dealers and gunsmiths to have a serial number added to 3D printed guns or other un-serialized firearms they take into inventory.
  4. To better support tracing efforts, the rule requires federal firearms licensees, including gun retailers, to retain records for the length of time they are licensed, thereby expanding records retention beyond the prior requirement of 20 years. Over the past decade, ATF has been unable to trace thousands of firearms – many reportedly used in homicides or other violent crimes – because the records had already been destroyed. These records will continue to belong to, and be maintained by, federal firearms licensees while they are in business.

As the final rule explains, from January 2016 to December 2021, ATF received approximately 45,240 reports of suspected privately made firearms recovered by law enforcement, including in 692 homicide or attempted homicide investigations. The chart below demonstrates the total annual numbers of suspected PMFs recovered by law enforcement over the past six years:

Bar Chart of Total Suspected PMFs by Calendar Year
 
The announcement marks one year since the Attorney General directed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to issue a proposed rule within 30 days that would address the proliferation of unmarked firearms increasingly being used in crimes. On May 7, 2021, the Department of Justice issued a notice of proposed rulemaking, and during the 90-day open comment period, the ATF received more than 290,000 comments, the highest number of comments submitted to a proposed rule in ATF’s history. Today’s announcement is also the latest in a series of steps the department has taken to address violent crime and gun violence.
 
The final rule, as submitted to the Federal Register, can be viewed here: https://www.atf.gov/rules-and-regulations/definition-frame-or-receiver
 
To learn more about the rulemaking process, please see: https://www.federalregister.gov/uploads/2011/01/the_rulemaking_process.pdfhe 
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Mark Your Calendar for Rx Take Back Day

The Drug Enforcement Administration will host its 22nd National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, April 30, 2022, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This event offers free and anonymous disposal of unneeded medications at more than 4,000 local drop-off locations nationwide.

Drug overdoses are up almost 30 percent over the last year alone and claiming more than 286 lives every day. The majority of opioid addictions in America start with prescription pills obtained from a family member or friend. Take Back Day is a chance to clean out medicine cabinets and get rid of unneeded medication to help prevent medication misuse and opioid addiction from ever starting.

Collection sites will be located around the country and will be collecting tablets, capsules, patches, and other solid forms of prescription drugs — safely and anonymously. Drop off your unneeded medication between 10:00 am – 2:00 pm in your time zone.

Find a Collection Site

Do you have family or friends who might be interested in taking part in our upcoming Take Back DayShare this with them to help DEA spread the word!

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838 Milliseconds: The Difference Between Life, Death and Indictment

By Jim Glennon | Calibre Press

Kim Foxx, the elected State’s (Prosecuting) Attorney for Cook County, which includes Chicago as its major city, made a stunning announcement several weeks ago.

The announcement?

She decided not to charge two Chicago police officers in two separate 2021 incidents where those officers shot and killed two male suspects, including Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old boy.

The Toledo case is the one I want to address quickly here.

Adam Toledo Shooting Summary

At approximately 2:35 a.m. on March 29, 2021, Adam and 21-year-old Ruben Roman were standing on a corner. Roman fired several shots at a vehicle and then fled the scene.

Police, through the ‘shot-spotter’ system and 911 calls, responded to the area.

Two officers spotted Adam and Roman and gave chase on foot. The primary officer (primary will be used as an identifier in this summary) knocked Roman to the ground. The second officer took over and handcuffed the man as the primary officer then gave chase of Adam.

Eventually Adam slowed and stopped in an alley at a gap between a fence. He had his left side to the officer at this point. His left hand was up near his face but his right hand, holding a handgun, was just off the rear of his hip area on the right side.

The primary officer seeing this stopped running, pointed his gun at Adam and shouted, “Hands! Show me your f—ing hands! Hands. Show me your hands. Drop it. Drop it.”

Immediately, Adam turned to his left as he brought his right hand past his right side and out of view of the officer. He then swung it up past and above his right shoulder and faced the officer. Responding to the movement, the officer fired, striking and killing the young man.

The issue that caused angst, anger and hysteria is this: During the very quick turn to his left –unbeknownst to the officer in the moment – Adam had dropped his gun. Therefore, when he was shot, Adam was unarmed, black, and a teenage boy.

This is a fact that was pointed out by multiple media outlets: “13- year-old boy shot while unarmed!” Almost always accompanied by this picture:

Watch the video that Calibre Press posted within days of the unfortunate event. One that Kim Foxx accurately described as having no winners.

The Science of Human Performance Played its Role

Between the event in the alley on March 29, 2021, and the March 15, 2022, Kim Foxx announcement advising no charges would be filed against the primary officer who shot Adam Toledo, 50 weeks had passed. Two weeks short of a year.

In her much-anticipated statement the State’s Attorney noted the reality of a split-second decision, in an alley, in the middle of the night when facing a subject who had fled and was still in possession of a gun used minutes before.

Actually, I added the grim reality of such a situation. However, she did address the issue of quick decisions and the speed of human movement.

As she stood before the press Kim Foxx knew she needed to explain to those who had clamored for an indictment, why the primary officer was not going to be charged. She cited both state law and the elements of the Standard set by the Supreme Court decision in Graham v. Connor in 1989.

“Under Illinois law, an officer is justified in using force likely to cause death or great bodily harm when he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself.”

She continued.

“The case law that we rely on recognizes that police officers are often forced to make split-second decisions and judgments in circumstances that are tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving.”

It was at this point she broached the subject of Human Performance and the associated science, though she never actually used the term Human Performance or mention science.

“As Adam ran, his hands were near his waistband, (the primary officer) believed that Adam had a gun. After running nearly a full block in the alley, (the primary officer) saw a gun in Adam’s right hand and shouted at him to drop it. Adam began turning towards Stillman with his left hand raised up in front of his body and his right hand lowered at his side near a wooden fence post in the alley. Almost simultaneously Adam tossed the gun and turned toward the officer with his right hand raised which no longer held the firearm and (the primary officer) fired a single shot.”

Foxx continued by citing something included in the video analysis posted by Calibre Press a year ago.

“The timing of these actions was within 1 second. To be precise, it was estimated to be 838 milliseconds.”

 

Foxx added, to her credit, that after Adam Toledo fell to the ground the officer called for an ambulance and performed CPR. All captured by the officer’s body camera.

“(The primary officer) reacted to the perceived threat presented by Adam Toledo who he believed at the time was turning toward him to shoot him.”

She noted that the primary officer only fired one shot because he then saw that Adam’s hand was empty.

She concluded with, “Based on the facts, the evidence and the law, we found that there’s no evidence to prove that (the primary officer) acted with criminal intent.”

Conclusion

David Blake of Blake Consulting specializing in expert witness work and consulting as it applies to uses of force and the application of Human Performance Science made an interesting and telling statement some years back. “Law enforcement has not embraced human factors science with the enthusiasm one might expect considering the implications of human performance to many LE-related activities.”

Blake, along with other research and training groups such as Jamie Borden’s Critical Incident Review, The Force Science Institute, as well as various courses through Calibre Press, have strived over the years to bring the Science of Human Performance and/or Human Factors Science into every aspect of the Criminal Justice profession, from police training and force event investigative processes to the decision-making decisions of county, state and federal prosecutorial offices.

Take a look at Blake’s statement again. It is, unfortunately, accurate concerning the hesitation to embrace the science. But it’s not just the administrative levels of law enforcement that cause the roadblocks.

I have spoken with police chiefs, prosecutors and the press, each of whom have their own particular hesitations concerning the inclusion of human factors in any facet of the justice system. One chief and his county prosecutor in a Midwest state told me that they thought what we were teaching in our seminars, Acute Stress & Human Performance Considerations for Force Events, was “pseudo-science.” They advised they didn’t even believe that people experience tunnel vision or auditory exclusion and that exceptionally stressful situations imprint, with great clarity, the actual event which allows for retention and the ability to recount the event with precise accuracy.

I was able to change their minds with one video.

During the next hour block, I showed a particularly violent video. It was a short one, no longer than one minute. It depicted an officer who encountered a man with a knife, which caused, eventually, the officer to shoot him.

On the next break I asked the chief and prosecutor some simple questions.

“Chief, when the video was on, what was the officer sitting in the seat directly in front of you doing?”

The chief answered accurately. “I dunno, I was watching the video.”

“Yes, but he was directly in front of you, squarely in your field of vision. I was paying attention to something peculiar he was doing. What was it?”

Again, he said, “I don’t know, I was watching the video.”

I then explained the concept of “selective attention” which means focusing on something you selectively attend to–what is important–and ignoring what doesn’t matter in the moment. I then pointed out that the chief was experiencing no stress, yet his field of vision was limited to what was important to him in the moment, the video displayed on the screen.

“Now imagine someone in front of you with a weapon threatening to kill you. How much of your attention would be focused on that person ignoring unimportant data within your field of vision?”

That was a simple example of rudimentary aspects of Human Performance/Factor Science. Basic principles that need be incorporated in the criminal justice and law enforcement profession at every level.

The media also has objections to the inclusion of the science. This is evident of write-ups in multiple national publications.

What is their objection?

Well, many of them believe that what Kim Foxx was forced to consider in the Adam Toledo case – the science of movement, speed, decision making and stress – to be nothing more than “smoke and mirrors.” Not real science, but science skewed in order to excuse the police when they use force.

I’ve had several skeptical media types in classes but it’s easy to convince them of the validity of the science. How? Simply put them through a force scenario with training weapons. A scenario that is only stressful because they are playing it out in front of an audience. but not because they may actually be killed. Still, they quickly experience tunnel vision and auditory exclusion. Their recall is wildly and hilariously, they find, inaccurate.

We don’t know if Kim Foxx ever saw our video analysis, though we did post the exact same number, 838 milliseconds, last year. Nevertheless, she was confronted with both the reality and the science and had to deal with that. Even if reluctantly.

Let’s hope the rest of the criminal justice system finally starts acknowledging what most other professions have embraced for decades.

After all, it is about time.

Comments to share? E-mail us at: editor@calibrepress.com

About the Author

Lt. Jim Glennon (ret.) is the owner and lead instructor for Calibre Press. He is a third-generation LEO, retired from the Lombard, Ill. PD after 29 years of service. Rising to the rank of lieutenant, he commanded both patrol and the Investigations Unit. In 1998, he was selected as the first Commander of Investigations for the newly formed DuPage County Major Crimes (Homicide) Task Force. He has a BA in Psychology, a Masters in Law Enforcement Justice Administration, is the author of the book Arresting Communication: Essential Interaction Skills for Law Enforcement.
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Train Your Brain for Optimum Performance

By Barbara A. Schwartz  |  Calibre Press

Elite athletes train their brains for maximized performance under pressure. Officers need to incorporate similar training to optimize their cognitive performance in life and death situations.

Jim Leo, founder of Pit Fit training in Indianapolis, explains, “We train race car drivers to process sensory inputs, identify and interpret information, make a decision, act on it, and it has to happen very quick.”

Sounds like the OODA loop (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act).

Leo designed his “neurocognitive training” to stimulate the brain’s neurological pathways. His goal is to improve drivers’ ability to make split-second decisions in a race car traveling 220 miles per hour while moving hands and feet, trying to read and comprehend displays, making steering wheel inputs, and dealing with: an elevated heart rate, an activated fight or flight nervous system, and extreme environmental conditions like heat and humidity.

Sounds like an officer’s working conditions.

To improve drivers’ reaction time, visual clarity, multiple object tracking, perception scan, eye/hand coordination, focus, and sensory-motor functions, Jim Leo uses high-tech equipment demonstrated in this video: Watch

For race car drivers, visual acuity is essential in making decisions on the track. Same for police officers who have to make shoot/don’t shoot decisions in seconds and in low light level conditions. Leo uses sophisticated technology for visual training shown in this video: Watch

Police officers won’t have access to the expensive equipment Leo uses to train Indycar drivers or that seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson has in his basement, but there are similar drills you can create at home with your kids, spouses, or other cops that will train your brain for peak performance under pressure.

For example: Hang a bed sheet or tablecloth on a clothesline, swing set, from rafters in your garage, or along your open garage door. Stand on one side of the sheet and have someone, like your kid, stand on the other side where you can’t see them. Have them poke your baton into the sheet at random points and heights. Then you push the baton back. Repeat.

Be creative with your flashlight. Cats love to chase a laser pointer. Let your kids do the same for you.

Leo instructs drivers to practice refocusing the convergence muscles in the eye by identifying an object at 10-, 30-, and 50-foot distances, and quickly switching back and forth between the objects. Front and peripheral vision can be exercised with ball drills. Concentrate on an object in front of you while the thrower moves around you and try to catch the ball.

Jim Leo states that our senses get more acute when limited. He has drivers train and make decisions with a strobe light flashing giving only glimpses of images. Many duty lights have a strobe setting you can train with including at the gun range.

“Don’t get stuck in one routine,” Leo advises officers. “To be at the top of your game you have to expose yourself to different obstacles that force you to formulate plans and overcome those obstacles.”

The brain needs new stimuli to keep growing new neuropathways. Leo advocates that officers learn to play a new musical instrument. Race car drivers are especially attracted to the drums.

Leo points out that for most sports a bad decision or mistake can result in losing a game. For officers, military, or race car drivers poor decision-making can result in death or catastrophic injury. “Repetitive, quick reactions that are life and death have longterm ramifications on the nervous system,” Leo added.

He calls this “decision fatigue” which impairs a person’s ability to make quick decisions under stress. Exposure to horrific incidents and the worst of human nature complicates decision fatigue for officers.

Decision-making skills suffer under extreme stress because the brain’s prefrontal cortex gets taken offline during sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) activation. The goal of training your brain is to keep the prefrontal cortex engaged and functioning in pressure-filled situations.

Nick Davenport, founder of MindBody1, trains drivers, mixed martial arts fighters, olympians, military, and law enforcement officers. His insight into what officers face on the streets comes from idolizing his father who retired after thirty years as a Florida police officer.

Davenport calls himself “Mr. Mental Muscle” and says the brain is a muscle that needs to be trained and exercised. He emphasizes that the brain is wired for sensory input and 80% of that comes from vision.

He has created drills officers can perform with items found around the house. The goal is to give your brain a decision to make and execute that decision with a body movement. Timing the exercise adds stress to the drill.

1) Separate a deck of cards into two equal face down piles. Simultaneously, flip the top card on each pile. Place the higher card to the left and the lower card to the right of the original piles until you have gone through all the cards. Time yourself. Try to beat 13 seconds consistently.

The following Stroop exercises require you to visit links to complete the exercises.

2) Time how long it takes you to read aloud from left to right the color of the ink and not the word. Ignore reading the written word. Only respond by the color of the ink. Time yourself and repeat to improve your time. This challenges the region of the brain associated with impulse control and pain/fatigue perception. Davenport says those who do well on this task have better self-control and discipline.

Stroop reading exercise A: Watch

Stroop reading exercise B: Watch

3) In this dynamic Stroop exercise instead of saying the color of the ink aloud the participant moves to a cone or object (labeled red, yellow, green or blue.) Use colored construction paper, color paper plates with markers, or kid’s sidewalk chalk to draw colored circles on your driveway or patio. The dynamic movement adds another level of stress and focus as well as physical fatigue. Time the exercise and keep trying to beat your time. Video example: Watch

Use this link and your phone for the visual stimulus for the exercise.

4) Place paper cutouts of circles, triangles, rectangles, and squares in different colors on a floor. Have your kid/spouse/friend call out a shape and color. Run to and step on that color or shape. Variation is to affix the shapes to a wall, call out the shape, and throw a ball to the correct shape.

To make the exercise more stressful, Davenport suggests the helper call out an arithmetic equation such at 5X3 or 42+80. If the answer is an even number step on a red rectangle, if the answer is an odd number, step on a yellow triangle, etc. Change the parameters to increase the skill level: if the equation is subtraction and the answer is an even number, step on a red circle, etc. Or, correlate the color to a number: red is five and blue is three. Call out red plus blue or red times blue.

Next time you are at the range, record the sound of gunfire, then play the recording while you perform the exercises. This will train your vision to stay focused and your brain to maintain executive functioning while dealing with the audio distraction of a life-threatening sound.

Davenport maintains an Instagram site where he posts exercises including tactical shooting drills.

Put down your golf clubs and try a different sport that emphasizes eye/hand coordination and body movement such as racquetball, handball, pickle ball, or tennis.

Use these exercises as a foundation to create your own. Keep in mind that the goal is using your vision to give your brain decisions to be carried out by body movement. The more complex you can make the decision-making process the better (i.e., adding solving math equations).

In these times, when every action an officer takes is scrutinized in the media, you must train your brain for making life and death decisions under extreme stress conditions.

If you come up with a creative training drill of your own, please share it with us at: editor@calibrepress.com.

About the Author

Barbara A. Schwartz has dedicated her life to supporting the brave officers of law enforcement. In her younger days, she served as a volunteer for Indycar’s predecessor Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART.) She trained as a race car engineer with the PacWest and A.J. Foyt teams.

Certified as a first responder peer supporter by the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF) and the Law Enforcement Alliance for Peer Support (LEAPS), she specializes in trauma-induced grief, injured officer support, suicide prevention, and traumatic event reactions.

She maintains memberships in the National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA) and the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA).

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DEA Warns of Increase in Mass-Overdose Events Involving Deadly Fentanyl

WASHINGTON – Today, the Drug Enforcement Administration sent a letter to federal, state, and local law enforcement partners warning of a nationwide spike in fentanyl-related mass-overdose events.  Administrator Anne Milgram outlined the current threat and offered DEA support to law enforcement officers responding to these tragic incidents.

“Fentanyl is killing Americans at an unprecedented rate,” said DEA Administrator Anne Milgram. “Already this year, numerous mass-overdose events have resulted in dozens of overdoses and deaths. Drug traffickers are driving addiction, and increasing their profits, by mixing fentanyl with other illicit drugs. Tragically, many overdose victims have no idea they are ingesting deadly fentanyl, until it’s too late.”

Fentanyl-related mass-overdose events, characterized as three or more overdoses occurring close in time and at the same location, have happened in at least seven American cities in recent months, resulting in 58 overdoses and 29 deaths. Cities impacted include Wilton Manors, Florida; Austin, Texas; Cortez, Colorado; Commerce City, Colorado; Omaha, Nebraska; St. Louis, Missouri; and Washington, D.C.

Tragic events like these are being driven by fentanyl. Fentanyl is highly-addictive, found in all 50 states, and drug traffickers are increasingly mixing it with other illicit drugs—in powder and pill form—in an effort to drive addiction and attract repeat buyers. These mass-overdose events typically occur in one of the following recurring scenarios: when drug dealers sell their product as “cocaine,” when it actually contains fentanyl; or when drug dealers sell pills designed to appear nearly identical to legitimate prescriptions, but are actually fake prescription pills containing fentanyl. This is creating a frightening nationwide trend where many overdose victims are dying after unknowingly ingesting fentanyl.

Fentanyl is driving the nationwide overdose epidemic. The CDC estimates that in the 12-month period ending in October 2021, more than 105,000 Americans died of drug overdoses, with 66 percent of those deaths related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Last year, the United States suffered more fentanyl-related deaths than gun- and auto-related deaths combined.

When a mass-overdose event occurs, DEA stands ready to offer all available resources to assist law enforcement partners, including:

  • Interdicting the substance that is driving the spike in overdoses;
  • Investigating and identifying the dealers and larger drug trafficking organizations responsible for the overdose event;
  • Providing priority access to all of DEA’s resources, including its labs, chemists, and overdose subject matter experts;
  • Assisting with the presentation of the investigation to federal prosecutors; and
  • Warning the public about the lethal drug threat.

In a call with Administrator Milgram on Tuesday, senior law enforcement officials expressed appreciation for DEA’s commitment and partnership to address the increase in fentanyl-related overdoses and the crimes associated with drug trafficking.

“Fentanyl poisonings are at an all-time high,” said Sheriff Mike Milstead, Minnehaha County, South Dakota Chair, Drug Enforcement Committee, National Sheriffs’ Association. “These are not isolated incidents. These are happening in every state and every county in America, leaving behind grieving families. Let us be clear: These poisonings are part of a strategic maneuver by the cartels and it must be stopped. The nation’s Sheriffs appreciate the spotlight that the Drug Enforcement Administration has put on this horrifying spike of fentanyl poisonings and is committed to putting an end to this tragic trajectory.”

“We applaud the DEA for their leadership and initiatives regarding the investigation of mass-overdose events which have been occurring around the country, including in many of our major cities,” said Chief Jeri Williams, Phoenix Police Department Chief, and President of the Major Cities Chiefs Association. “These casualties are plaguing our communities, and increased partnership and collaboration with our federal partners is most welcomed in order to stop these tragedies from occurring.”

“We must utilize all available resources to combat the opioid and fentanyl epidemic that continues to plague this great nation, said Sheriff Dennis M. Lemma, President of Major County Sheriffs of America. “In addition to those resources, we must shift how we respond to an overdose, no longer treating them as accidental deaths, but instead as a homicide crime scene. These individuals are victims of a greater problem, and we are committed to putting an end to these deaths.”

DEA is working diligently to trace mass-overdose events back to the local drug trafficking organizations and international cartels responsible for the surging domestic supply of fentanyl. DEA continues to seize fentanyl at record rates. In the first three months of 2022, DEA has seized almost 2,000 pounds of fentanyl and one million fake pills. Last year, DEA seized more than 15,000 pounds of fentanyl—four times the amount seized in 2017—which is enough to kill every American.

Today’s warning expands on DEA’s September 2021 Public Safety Alert on the increase in the availability and accessibility of fake prescription pills containing fentanyl.

For more information on the threat of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids, visit DEA.gov.

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FOP: Line-of-Duty Shootings, Ambush-Style Attacks Up in 2022

Article taken from Officer.com News.
 
On Monday, a suspect shot at officers conducting a car check. Scroll down for a story by Aarón Torres for The Kansas City Star
 
 
Police officers shot in the line of duty are up by over 40% from last year, while ambush-style attacks also have sharp increase, according to a new report by the National Fraternal Order of Police.
 
As of April 1, 101 officers have been shot this year, with 17 killed in those incidents, the FOP stated in its monthly update. The number of line-of-duty shootings is up 46% over the same period in 2021 and up 63% from 2022.
 
Arizona leads the country in officers shot, with 12. Texas (9), Missouri (8), Georgia (7) and New York (7) round out the top five.

In February, nine Phoenix officers were shot during a standoff that also was an ambush-style attack. Since April 1, there have been 19 ambush-style attacks on law enforcement officers and agents. That’s up 36% over the same span last year.

“Premeditated ambush-style attacks are particularly disturbing and pernicious,” the FOP stated in its report. “These types of attacks are carried out with an element of surprise and intended to deprive officers of their ability to defend against the attack. Premeditated attacks contribute to a worrisome desensitization to evil acts that were once largely considered taboo except by the most depraved individuals.”

The data in the FOP’s monthly update consists of preliminary numbers and is subject to change. The FOP’s 2021 year-end summary will be published early this year.

Go to the FOP’s website to read the full report.

 

Drive-By Shooter Opens Fire at Mo. Police Officers

Story By Aarón Torres | Source The Kansas City Star

The Kansas City Police Department is searching for a suspect who shot at police Monday morning.

Officers were conducting a car check in the area of 3300 Denver Avenue just before 11 a.m. when a gray car suddenly pulled up near the adjacent intersection and fired a shot toward the officers, Sgt. Jake Becchina, a spokesman for the department said.

The car fled in an unknown direction and no officers were injured, police said.

A suspect has not been arrested in the shooting.

Fox4 reported that the shooting occurred during a traffic stop and that no Kansas City police officers returned fire.

Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call the homicide unit at 816-234-5043 or the anonymous TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477.

___

(c)2022 The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.)

Visit The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.) at www.kansascity.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Lexipol: Timely News and Analysis, Rules and Exceptions

What rules apply and when? When it comes to traffic stops, to Fourth or 14th Amendment lawsuits, to policy and liability, and to all the responsibilities of law enforcement officers, it’s important to know not just the rules, but the exceptions. The cases we cover this month illustrate several important aspects of court analysis—especially when it comes to exceptions.

 

By Ken Wallentine, Editor XIPHOS,  a double-edged, one-handed sword used by ancient Greeks.

 

Officers Get Qualified Immunity but Not Under the Fourth Amendment

Dispatchers received a call reporting a domestic violence incident involving a handgun. Eight minutes later, they received a second call of an intruder with two knives. Officers realized both 911 calls were prompted by Sergio Ochoa. A police helicopter found Ochoa, who drove erratically, fleeing from police. The helicopter observer saw Ochoa abandon his vehicle, entering a residence. When officers arrived, Ochoa ignored commands to come outside and, concerned a hostage situation was possible, officers entered the house. Ochoa ran into the backyard, ignoring officers’ commands to “Drop the knife!” When Ochoa took a large step, officers fired at him; he died on the scene. Ochoa’s family sued, claiming a violation of the 14th Amendment by wrongfully depriving the plaintiffs of Ochoa’s companionship and familial association without due process of law.Read more

 

Will a Policy Violation Lead to Liability?

Deandre Lipford was arrested and booked into the Detroit Detention Center. During the booking process, he was searched twice, revealing no contraband. Lipford told jail health staff he was not under the influence of drugs and had no drugs in his possession when he was placed in a glass-walled room used to hold multiple detainees. The jail’s operating procedures require officers to conduct rounds every 30 minutes and “physically open the cell doors and ensure that those detainees that are assigned to the cell are actually there,” to “check to make sure that every detainee is living and breathing.” Officer Clyde Lewis conducted visual checks every half hour, neglecting to open the door, as was the practice of jail staff. Lipford died of drug overdose while in the glass-walled room. Was Officer Lewis objectively reckless, demonstrating deliberate indifference? The court rules.Read more

 

Vulgar Sidewalk Chalk Messages Result in Lawsuit Against Police

Protestors associated with CopBlock frequently used chalk to write “F— THE COPS” on public sidewalks. The city tired of the costs of cleaning public sidewalks and asked the police department to enforce graffiti laws. A sergeant saw the chalkers writing on a sidewalk and asked them to stop, explaining they could continue to protest if they did so lawfully, encouraging use of signs. The sergeant issued citations, but the prosecutor declined to prosecute. A detective photographed subsequent chalk protests and prepared declarations for the chalkers’ arrests. The court determines if the arrests were retaliatory.Read more

 

Window Tint Stop by the Numbers Supports Seizure of 2 Kilos of Cocaine

Two detectives saw William Goodwill driving a car with windows tinted noticeably darker than allowed by state law. Before beginning the stop, a detective called out the details to dispatch, who notified other units, including a detector dog handler who started driving toward the scene with his dog. One detective approached Goodwill and requested his license and insurance. He then asked Goodwill to sit in the detective’s car while he processed the paperwork. As he was entering the information, the detective asked Goodwill questions about his car, the weather, and other topics. When the detector dog team arrived, Goodwill consented to an exterior sniff of his vehicle. The dog gave a positive final response and 2 kilos of cocaine were discovered in the car. The court decides if the stop was extended and if the evidence is permissible.Read more


Court Refuses to Trash Warrant Based on Garbage Can Mining

Edward Hansen, who had a previous felony conviction, lived with his girlfriend, who had recently purchased a firearm. An officer arranged for a trash pull at Hansen’s residence and rode to the property in a garbage truck. He retrieved a trash container outside the garage and emptied the contents into the garbage truck, discovering gun catalogs, a plastic baggie with marijuana and a transaction history documenting Hansen’s purchases of gun parts. The officer prepared a search warrant affidavit with the evidence from the trash pull. The subsequent search of Hansen’s residence revealed guns and ammunition. The court determines if the warrant was valid.Read more

 

Don’t Loan Your Wi-Fi to Sex Offenders!

Mark Sandell moved into a new area and asked his neighbors to use their Wi-Fi so he could access the internet and register his sex offender status. The neighbors agreed. Investigators later questioned the neighbors, searching their home. Officers found no contraband at the neighbors’, but one resident told them about sharing their Wi-Fi password with Sandell. Officers knocked on Sandell’s door, identified themselves and conducted a protective sweep. After determining no one else was home, they talked with Sandell in his living room, explaining they were attempting to obtain a search warrant for his home. An officer informed Sandell he was not under arrest and was not obligated to talk to them. Through the conversation, Sandell admitted to downloading child pornography and voluntarily turned over a camera and thumb drives. Are Sandell’s statements admissible?Read more

 

Interested in reading more recent updates and information about timely topics of interest to street cops and administrators? Connect with Xiphos editor and Legal Advisor Ken Wallentine on LinkedIn.

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Cole County to Take Part in Vehicle Data-Sharing Program

During rain on Friday, Feb. 11, 2022, traffic is shown passing over the westbound U.S. 50/63 Moreau River bridges in eastern Cole County. (Julie Smith/News Tribune photo)

 

Article By Jeff Haldiman for the News Tribune | https://www.newstribune.com/

At Tuesday’s Cole County Commission meeting, commissioners signed a memorandum of understanding with Flock Camera System for eight cameras that will be placed in areas along U.S. 54, U.S. 50/63 and U.S. 63.

Sheriff John Wheeler told commissioners that officials from the Missouri Department of Public Safety approached him about participating in the program.

“It’s a free program for the first year, and after the first year, we can decide if we want to continue to use these cameras,” Wheeler said. “We can see at the end of the first year if the data shows the system is working for us.”

The cost would be $2,500 per camera for a year if the county wanted to continue to participate in the program.

The cameras would be mounted on a pole and do not rotate. The specific locations for the cameras haven’t been determined, Wheeler said.

“They will not take pictures of the front of vehicles, only the rear,” Wheeler said. “There won’t be pictures of persons’ faces.”

Mike O’Connell, DPS spokesman, told the News Tribune, “Cameras like these (you will also see them referred to as automated license plate recognition systems, license plate readers or LPRs) are used elsewhere in Missouri (Kansas City and St. Louis) and across the U.S.

“The automated cameras detect and can then alert law enforcement to license plates that law enforcement is looking for because the vehicle has been reported stolen, or is associated with some other crime or terrorism. The cameras can also assist in AMBER Alerts, Blue Alerts, and other missing or endangered person cases.”

Wheeler told commissioners it was his understanding 17 other cameras will be placed in other parts of the state.

O’Connell said this is a pilot program and many details are still being worked out, but they could be in as many as six counties in the state. Cole County is the first to sign on to be part of the project.

Wheeler told the commissioners the cameras would serve two functions.

“For instance, if my vehicle was stolen, I could input the license plate numbers and the system would do two things: 1. It would tell me if any of the license plate readers in the counties that had them had seen this vehicle; 2. From that point on, it would watch for that plate,” he said.

O’Connell added: “For a license plate to be on the ‘hot list’ of plates targeted for detection there must be a criminal nexus, or a suspected connection to a crime or terrorist activity.”

Wheeler said the information is dumped from the system after 30 days so if no one inputs information on that particular plate number it goes away. He added that Flock does not sell the information their systems collect to other parties.

To notify deputies if the cameras have picked up something they should check out, an app will be installed in their mobile data terminal in their patrol vehicles.

“I’m not opposed to stationary license plate readers because to operate a motor vehicle on a public roadway is not a right, it’s a privilege,” Wheeler said.

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Bill Would Make Missouri 49th State with Distracted Driving Law

Article

 

Missouri would become the 49th state with a distracted driving law if a bill moves through the legislature. Currently, only Missouri drivers under age 21 are prohibited from distracted driving – texting or using a cell phone or other wireless device. Missouri and Montana are the only states where texting while driving remains legal.

House Bill 1487, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Porter, R-Montgomery City, creates the traffic offense of distracted driving for those operating a commercial or noncommercial motor vehicle or school bus while using an electronic wireless communication device unless it’s being used for navigation. If the bill becomes law, distracted driving would be a moving violation with fines and points assessed to licenses.

“Nowhere in current law does it say it’s wrong or unsafe for someone 22 or older to text and drive,” Porter said on Wednesday during testimony before the Downsizing State Government Committee. “In fact, it falsely implies that, magically, once a driver turns 22, they’re experienced enough to drive and manipulate a cell phone while driving. The current law also doesn’t say it’s wrong or unsafe for a driver of any age to Snapchat, TikTok, FaceTime or watch an episode of Ozark on Netflix while they’re driving. And, yes, those things are increasingly happening every day.”

Porter, an insurance agent for more than 31 years, said accidents caused by distracted driving affect many aspects of life.

“Distracted driving doesn’t just result in human suffering,” Porters said. “There’s a real economic impact from these crashes that everyone in our state will pay for if we continue to ignore distracted driving. We will continue to spend tax dollars for emergency services to respond to crashes.”

Rep. Tony Lovasco, R-O’Fallon, questioned how law enforcement could observe violations and stated drivers deal with numerous distractions. During testimony by Nicole Hood, an engineer with the Missouri Department of Transportation (MODOT), Lovasco reminded the committee about a bill he introduced to limit MODOT’s digital highway signs due to possible distractions.

“Aren’t those types of signage a pretty big distraction for drivers in the same way that looking at something that’s in their hand would be?” Lovasco asked.

Hood stated that studies show digital highway signs are effective in assisting drivers in traveling safely. She testified MODOT had 336 work zone crashes, including two fatalities, due to distracted driving in 2021.

 

Angela Nelson, a representative of the AAA of Missouri, quoted a Remington Research Group report stating 69% of Missourians support the legislation.

“So why do so many Missourians want a hands-free law?” Nelson asked. “It’s probably because they’ve seen the drivers in front of them or in the lane next to them weaving while they’re on their cell phone.”

Richard Brownlee, representing State Farm Insurance, testified that the legislation is the most important bill this session as it impacts all Missourians.

“Everybody has a cell phone and almost everybody has a car,” Brownlee said. “Almost all of us use phones or have some sort of weird addiction to them. And all distractions are deadly in cars.”

Lt. Collin M. Stosberg, the legislative liaison for the Missouri State Highway Patrol, said almost 15% of fatal crashes involve distracted driving. He said the state’s traffic fatalities, approximately 800 annually for almost a decade, are now increasing to approximately 1,000 over the last two years.

“The spirit of this bill and the spirit of the law will save lives,” Stosberg said. “Just like with everything else, you have to have enforcement to go along with compliance.”

 

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Why the Term ‘Use of Force Continuum’ is Misleading

Continuum does not accurately describe police response options to resistance. While there are undoubtedly general differences among the force options, there simply is not a continuum of slightly varying degrees. (Photo/Police1)

 

Article by Tyson Kilbey for Police 1 | Police1.com

Although this is not often relayed to the general public, statistical data indicates that the use of force by police is highly infrequent when compared to the number of contacts police have with members of the community. And incidents in which police use deadly force are rare. Despite this, the law enforcement community is committed to even better performance in use of force encounters.

Even though police have an overwhelmingly positive record in the use of force arena, many law enforcement officers do not have as deep an understanding of use of force as they should.

The truth is, in most agencies, there are a small number of “use of force” specialists. In addition, while many officers are competent in using force they could certainly stand to improve their skill set, knowledge and overall understanding of force options. In this article, I suggest that we can advance this effort simply by evaluating the terminology we use to teach and explain police use of force.

“USE OF FORCE CONTINUUM”

The term I specifically would like to discuss is the “use of force continuum.”

The term “continuum” is so often used to explain force options that it has become the most recognized way to describe law enforcement’s use of force options by the general public. But is “continuum” the most accurate term to describe police response options to resistance? I would argue no.

A simple definition of continuum can be paraphrased as a sequence or progression of elements that vary slightly in perpetuity or over a defined section. An example of a defined continuum would be the temperature range between freezing and boiling.

Use of force options by police officers do have variations in the degree of risk of injury, and officers and the public need to understand these differences. But, there is no smooth and sequential difference in use of force options.

For example, the difference between a verbal order and an empty hand control technique is not the same as the difference between the deployment of pepper spray and the firing of a handgun. Each force option available to an officer carries degrees of risk specific to the option being used. While there are undoubtedly general differences among the force options, there simply is not a continuum of slightly varying degrees.

USE OF FORCE IS NOT A STEP-BY-STEP PROCESS

The biggest problem with defining the use of force options as a continuum is how a continuum is designed.

Continuums are configured so that the natural way to move through them is through a step-by-step progression in either an ascending or descending manner. But the rapidly evolving nature of police use of force is such that an officer seldom moves up and down the force options in sequential order. Quite often, a use of force incident can go from addressing a passive threat to a deadly force encounter in fractions of a second.

Although use of force instructors explain that officers can move about the use of force continuum in any objectively reasonable order, it is still difficult for many to understand that force options are in no way sequential. They merely exist as options, and the subject’s actions determine which type of force is required.

USE OF FORCE MODEL

There are some parallels between a continuum and the types of resistance and force an officer can use. It makes sense that use of force trainers need to give officers some way to understand under what circumstances a certain type of force should be considered.

My suggestion is to use the term “use of force model.” On one side of the model are the potential categories of force an officer may use to stop a threat or lawfully control a subject. This could include empty hand techniques, deadly force, less than lethal tools, verbal directions, etc., listed in no specific order. On the other side of the model are types of resistance an officer may encounter, including deadly threat, passive resistance, active aggression and any other kind of resistance an agency may categorize. By removing the sequential order within the model, an officer can then examine each force option available to them and determine under which circumstances that type of force would be objectively reasonable.

This will create a deeper understanding of force options and create discussions and scenarios in which these options can be used. This would also eliminate the confusion of why the officer did not “exhaust lesser levels of force” or use a “minimal force option.” These terms create further confusion and ignite debates that are neither realistic nor fair to the officer.

I am not the first to question the accuracy of the term “continuum” regarding police use of force. Others have made this argument for many of the same reasons I have discussed. I would specifically like to thank my first use of force instructor, Colonel Dale Reed of the Johnson County (Kansas) Sheriff’s Office, who was the first person to introduce me to the use of force model concept decades ago. Using a use of force model has deepened my understanding of force options to a degree that would not have been possible had I viewed the use of force in terms of a continuum. I am sure there are many officers out there who will find the same result.

Train hard and be safe!

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Your tax-deductible contribution will go a long way to ensure the office of Sheriff in Missouri remains a strong, independent office answerable to those citizens that it is sworn to serve and protect.