Daily Archives: August 12, 2009

Police Chief: Tasing 76-year-old man who didn’t immediately follow orders ‘probably not the best way’

AP | Aug 12, 2009

GLENROCK, Wyo. — Glenrock Police Chief Tom Sweet said two officers “probably didn’t do things the best way” when they used a Taser on a 76-year-old man driving an antique tractor in a parade. Sweet spoke at a packed town hall meeting Monday, nine days after Bud Grose was hit with a Taser during the town’s annual Deer Creek Days.

The officers are on paid leave while state Division of Criminal Investigation agents investigate.

Mayor Steve Cielinski and most of the Town Council apologized to residents and asked for patience. Cielinski promised the findings will be made public.

“If we have to stand up and take it on the chin, we will,” Cielinski said.

State investigator Tim Hill has said the two officers contend Grose disobeyed orders. Grose hasn’t commented publicly, however, and investigators have not disclosed many details of what happened.

Sweet originally said it didn’t appear any policies were violated.

Some at Monday’s meeting called for the two officers to be fired. Several people who witnessed the event told the crowd police repeatedly shocked Grose with a taser.

“Those two were the most out-of-control officers I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Scott McWilliams, a witness who said he was shoved by one of the officers. “These two guys got to go.”

Mike Pyatt, a former Glenrock police officer, called on town leaders to make changes at the department.

“We will hold you accountable,” he said.

Sweet, however, said he won’t act before receiving the DCI report, expected by the beginning of next week.

“I don’t want to take a knee-jerk reaction now,” he said.

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NOAA: July Temperatures Well Below-Average for the U.S.

US_Jul09_temperature_below normal

July 2009 Statewide Temperature Ranks

NOAA | Aug 10, 2009

The July 2009 temperature for the contiguous United States was below the long-term average, based on records going back to 1895, according to a preliminary analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.

The average July temperature of 73.5 degrees F was 0.8 degrees F below the 20th century average. Precipitation across the contiguous United States in July averaged 2.90 inches, which is 0.14 inches above the 1901-2000 average.

U.S. Temperature Highlights

  • An abnormally strong, persistent upper-level pattern produced more than 400 record low minimum temperatures and 1,300 record low maximum temperatures (lowest high temperature) across the nine-state area that make up the Central region.
  • Ohio, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania experienced their coolest July on record. Kentucky, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Michigan each had their second coolest July on record, while Minnesota and Tennessee had their third coolest July on record.
  • Death Valley, Calif., set a new monthly average maximum temperature at 121.3 degrees F. Temperatures in Death Valley reached 120 degrees F or higher for 22 days, beating the old record of 19 days.
  • Several western locations recorded their all-time warmest July. Seattle-Tacoma Airport had an average July temperature of 69.5 degrees F, which was 4.2 degrees F above average. Seattle’s high temperature of 103 degrees F on July 29 is an all-time record. Alaska posted its second warmest July, Arizona had its third warmest, while New Mexico and Washington had their ninth warmest.

Based on NOAA’s Residential Energy Demand Temperature Index, the contiguous U.S. temperature-related energy demand was 13.3 percent below average in July. Much of this can be attributed to cooler-than-average conditions in the heavily-populated Northeast.

Ohio judge wants to spank defendants in public square

public flogging iran

Masked men carry out a public flogging in Iran (photo: Daily Mail)

He proposes letting “some ex-fraternity guy” wearing a mask impose the paddling.

Scofflaws sporting signs is one thing – but public paddlings on Fountain Square?

cincinnati.com | Aug 8, 2009

Paddlings on Fountain Square?

By Kimball Perry

If Hamilton County Municipal Judge Fanon Rucker gets his way, those and other alternatives to jail are in some criminals’ future.

“I’m looking at options,” Rucker said.

He’s already implementing some of them.

The judge gave Kyle Englert, caught running from police, the option of going to jail for 30 days or serving his sentence by dressing as if he were running a race and holding a sign announcing he had run from the law after police tried to arrest him for having drugs in his left shoe.

Englert, 18, chose public humiliation over incarceration.

Englert, in addition to serving one year of probation, stood on the corner of Bridgetown Road and Shady Lane in Miami Township wearing what Rucker described as “a track outfit” and wearing a sign that announced “I ran from police.”

“I’ve never had a judge do that before,” said Saul Fettner, Englert’s attorney. “It was by no means the worst thing that could have happened.”

That was Rucker’s hope, suspecting embarrassment might be – in some cases – more effective that a jail term.

“I do it to young guys who are charged with obstruction of official business where they’ve run from police,” Rucker said.

Thus far, Rucker has imposed this particular alternative sentence on three men, two of whom already have stood on corners with signs.

Englert was the first. He was arrested April 7, charged with underage drinking, misdemeanor possession of marijuana and running when police tried to arrest him.

In a June 2 plea deal, he was convicted of possession of drugs and disorderly conduct for running from police.

Rucker sentenced him June 26 to a year of probation and 40 hours of community service. For 10 of those hours, he was ordered to hold the sign.

The next was Roderick Martin, 22, arrested Feb. 5 after police tried to stop him because he fit the description in a robbery that just had occurred in Evanston.

He was convicted May 18. Rucker sentenced him to a year of probation and to stand on the corner of Rockdale and Reading roads in Avondale for 10 hours wearing shorts, a T-shirt and a #5 sign on his chest so he would look like he was a participant in a race. He also was ordered by Rucker to hold a sign that read “I ran from the police and this is my sentence.”

“I very much appreciate Judge Rucker’s creativity,” Monroe’s attorney, Terry Tranter, said. “He does what he can to help the defendants rather than just locking (them) up.”

The third man with this sentence – Cody Hahn – is scheduled to dress as a jogger and hold his sign Tuesday on the corner of Sherman Avenue and Montgomery Road in Norwood while wearing “track shoes, head band, tube socks and a sign” noting he ran from police.

Hahn, 18, was arrested April 28 in Norwood where police said he had four Xanax pills in his left shoe and ran from them when they approached him.

Originally, Hahn was charged with obstructing official business and possession of drugs. In a plea deal, the drug charge was dismissed. Rucker sentenced him July 15 to a year of probation.

Rucker admits he ordered each man to stand on a corner near where he was arrested for a specific reason – embarrassment.

“A lot of people try to hide what they have done,” Rucker said.

Rucker, who is up for election in 2011, insists he’s not doing this for publicity. An overcrowded jail frustrated Rucker, and other judges, to the point where he started considered alternative to jail.

Already, he said, budget woes have forced the closure of the Queensgate jail and its more than 800 beds. The Hamilton County Justice Center is so crowded that many criminals are told to come back months later to do their time.

“That’s not effective,” Rucker said.

Those he’ll consider for the alternative sentences “have to have little or no record,” Rucker said, and cannot have been involved in a violent crime. “The defendants haven’t been resistant to it,” the judge said. “(Police) like it.”

And if it embarrasses a young criminal so badly they give up crime, that’s ideal.

“I think it is, particularly for certain types of offenses,” the judge said. “It’s a discouragement issue.”

It wasn’t for Martin.

Three weeks after Martin stood on the Avondale corner May 27, he was charged with felonies. He’s now in the Hamilton County Justice Center on a $450,000 bond after being charged with abduction and armed robbery.

That may prevent Martin from being eligible for another creative sentence Rucker is contemplating.

The judge is considering allowing defendants to voluntarily be paddled on Fountain Square in lieu of jail.

“The (legal) research isn’t done yet but so far I don’t seen any legal impediment,” Rucker said.

He proposes letting “some ex-fraternity guy” wearing a mask impose the paddling.

He also knows it may bring some criticism.

“It wouldn’t be the first time,” Rucker said.

Law would require monthly Homeland Security drills at schools

duck and cover

securitydirectornews.com | Aug  7, 2009

By Leischen Stelter

TRENTON, N.J.– A bill that is expected to enter the New Jersey Senate as Security Director News went to press, would mandate that all public and nonpublic schools in the state of New Jersey to conduct monthly school security drills. If passed by the Senate, students and faculty would be required to practice emergency response procedures such as non-fire evacuation, lockdown and active shooter response drills.

Assemblyman Frederick Scalera, a primary sponsor of the bill, said that all schools in the state are currently required to have an emergency security plan in place, but many school staff do not feel comfortable with the procedures. “The problem brought up to me by teachers was that they knew they had a plan, but they don’t have a drill [to practice it], or they only have a drill one time a year,” he said.

This bill would require all schools to conduct one school security drill per month along with one fire drill per month, he said. Currently, all schools are required to conduct two fire drills each month.

Scalera said the primary goal of this bill is to familiarize school staff and students with non-fire evacuation procedures so students and staff would know what to do in case of an emergency. “Kids don’t panic for fire drills. I want to make Homeland Security drills the same thing so kids won’t panic,” he said. “This way everybody knows what they’re supposed to be doing at all times.”

Ken Trump, president of consulting firm National School Safety and Security Services, said that more and more states are adopting similar legislation to require lockdown and other school security drills. “Practicing security drills, like fire drills, saves lives and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be preparing students for that potential threatening situation, just as we do for weather and other natural disasters that can potentially occur,” Trump said.

Trump encourages schools to not only run these drills, but to diversify the time of the day to make it more challenging and complicated for students. “Schools should make students think on their feet and seek alternative routes and strategies,” he said. “An evacuation drill during lunchtime is more challenging and disruptive, but school administrators tend to avoid practicing during that time, but that’s when students are more vulnerable and an incident is more likely to occur.”

House Bill A3002 unanimously passed the Senate Education Committee on May 4 and Scalera said he expects it will pass the Senate.

Florida man sees broadcast of fake news terror “threat”, calls police

Florida man sees security exercise, calls police

AP |  Jul 31, 2009

By DEVLIN BARRETT

WASHINGTON — A nationwide government anti-terrorism exercise this week inadvertently alarmed a Florida man who happened to catch a mock television broadcast that was part of the drill.

The Homeland Security Department coordinated the five-day exercise, which simulated “real life” scenarios, and included an internal broadcast of fake news with top officials discussing the “threat” and the “actions” the government was taking.

A man in West Palm Beach somehow managed to view part of the broadcast, became alarmed and called authorities, according to an official, who was not authorized to discuss details of the glitch and requested anonymity.

The Homeland Security Department said when it learned a member of the public had accessed the signal, “the decision was made to stop utilizing the signal for the remainder of the exercise.”

The content of the mock news reports was alarming, but also contained a prominent graphic saying it was part of a government exercise. “The citizen contacted the phone number provided on the screen and was told not to worry, that what he was seeing was a training exercise,” the DHS statement said.

Officials said they are reviewing the incident to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

VeriChip sells 1,000 implantable RFID microchips to Kentucky health department for disaster preparedness and emergency management

microchip_5

VeriChip sells VeriTrace system to health department in Kentucky

tradingmarkets.com | Aug 11, 2009

VeriChip Corporation (Nasdaq:CHIP), a provider of radio frequency identification (RFID) systems for healthcare and patient-related needs, has sold the VeriTrace system, including 1,000 RFID microchips, for disaster preparedness and emergency management needs, for an undisclosed sum to Kentucky’s Green River District Health Department, the company said on Monday.

This is reportedly the second VeriTrace system sale by the company in last 30 days.

VeriTrace was designed to assist in the management of emergency situations and disaster recovery using implantable RFID technology.

The VeriTrace system includes a unique implantable RFID microchip, a VeriTrace Bluetooth handheld reader, a customised Ricoh 500SE Digital Camera capable of receiving both RFID scanned data and GPS data wirelessly, and a Web-enabled database for gathering and storing information and images captured during emergency response operations.

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DMVs boost public acceptance of biometrics

“DMV is not a place where there’s an expectation of privacy of identity.”

securitydirectornews.com | Aug 7, 2009

By Leischen Stelter

RICHMOND, Va.–A number of states throughout the country have implemented some form of facial recognition or biometric technology within their Department of Motor Vehicles and others are preparing to follow suit, said Jason King, spokesperson for the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.

“State DMVs aren’t just in the business of highway safety,” he said. “They’re now in the identity management business and many are looking to step up their game and improve identity protection mechanisms so folks aren’t committing photo-identity fraud.”  Currently 31 states incorporate biometric or facial recognition technology, King said.

In March, the Virginia DMV instituted a “neutral expression” policy, requiring individuals to refrain from smiling or showing their teeth when taking a photograph for their driver’s license. Melanie Stokes, a spokesperson for the Virginia DMV, said the policy was put in place because the state plans to incorporate facial recognition software into its system in the future. Before the DMV can begin using the technology, the state would need to pass legislation and allocate funding for the program. “We thought it was prudent to begin capturing photos with a neutral expression now in case lawmakers want to use the technology in the future,” she said.

While facial recognition remains a relatively young technology, its growing application in state DMVs helps boost its acceptance by the public, said Stephen Russell, chairman of 3VR Security, a developer of facial recognition technology that does not currently provide software to these state agencies. “DMV is not a place where there’s an expectation of privacy of identity,” he said. “Not only does it protect you as a consumer from ID theft, but anything the DMV can do to stop giving the wrong IDs to someone else has the potential benefit of reducing risk of overall identity fraud.”