U.S. Senator Warns that Obama has ‘Deliberate Plan’ to Collapse U.S. Law Enforcement System

April 11, 2014

From http://www.cnsnews.com by Craig Bannister, April 10, 2014

U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said today that Americans need to stand up to “a deliberate plan by the president of the United States” to collapse the nation’s law enforcement system regarding illegal immigration.

In a Senate speech, Sessions said:

“Our law enforcement system is in a state of collapse, and it’s a deliberate plan by the president of the United States, and it’s wrong. And, people need to be aware of it and need to stand up to it and I believe the American people are beginning to do so.”

Sen. Sessions rebuked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Vice President Joe Biden for their pro-amnesty efforts:

“So, you come into the country illegally and the attorney general of the United States declares that these individuals have a civil right to amnesty. How can this possibly be: the chief law enforcement officer in America?

“Vice President Biden recently said, quote: ‘You know, 11million people live in the shadows; I believe they’re already American citizens.’ Eleven million undocumented aliens are already Americans? Goodness. The vice president of the United States would make such a statement. It’s stunning beyond belief.”

To watch a video of Senator Sessions talking about this subject, copy and paste the following link into your web-browser:

http://cnsnews.com/mrctv-blog/craig-bannister/sen-sessions-deliberate-plan-president-collapse-us-law-enforcement-system

Springdale Borough, PA Police Political Dispute Between Mayor and Council Continues

April 11, 2014

New Job Description for Chief of Police May Not End Disputes

From The Tribune-Review by Brian C. Rittmeyer, April 10, 2014

A newly written job description for Springdale’s police chief appears unlikely to resolve disputes between the mayor and council over what the chief’s job is supposed to entail, and to whom the chief is supposed to answer.

Nor is it likely to please police Chief Julio Medeiros, who has said he wouldn’t have taken the job had he known he’d be a police officer with a chief’s title, which is how the job description appears to cast him.

The borough has prepared an ordinance establishing the duties of the police chief — nearly a year after Medeiros was hired and about six months after he was sworn in.

The borough placed a legal notice in the Valley News Dispatch on Tuesday stating that council will “possibly act” upon it and another ordinance increasing fees for street openings at its April 15 meeting. The notice was placed seven days in advance of the meeting, the minimum required.

However, the notice may be legally insufficient because it does not say anything about the ordinances being available for the public to see them before the meeting, as required by the Pennsylvania Borough Code.

Proposed ordinances are public records, and the borough code requires that the public be given a chance to inspect them before approval, according to Melissa Melewsky, media law counsel for Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association.

“The public notice provision of the borough code is not met if the borough does not comply with all the law’s requirements,” Melewsky said. “The ad in question here seems to be deficient because it lacks information about where the public can review a full copy of the ordinance.”

The borough did not file the full text of the ordinance in the Allegheny County Law Library, as the borough code also requires.

“These deficiencies could lead to liability and invalidation of the ordinances if a citizen files a legal challenge,” Melewsky said. “Only a judge can determine if the law hasn’t been followed, but it’s clear to me that there are issues with the public notice in this case.”

The borough office on Wednesday provided a copy of the proposed street excavation ordinance.

The office was unable to immediately provide a copy of the police chief ordinance. Borough Solicitor Craig Alexander emailed it to the Valley News Dispatch after business hours on Wednesday.

“The people of Springdale are entitled to full, fair and complete notice of ordinances borough council proposed to pass,” said David A. Strassburger, an attorney for Trib Total Media, parent company of the Valley News Dispatch. “Notice was deficient here because the full text of the ordinances was not published and the ads did not explain where to inspect the full text of the ordinances. One of the ordinances seemingly was not available for inspection as required by law.

“Council should defer taking any action until it complies with the notice requirements of state law.”

Alexander could not be reached for comment on Thursday to answer questions about the ordinance or its advertising. He did not respond to a phone call nor email.

Mayor Ken Lloyd said Thursday he had not seen the ordinance pertaining to the police chief’s job description. Medeiros did not return a call for comment, nor did borough Council President David Finley.

When the borough was searching for a new police chief, it said in advertising that it was looking for a “working chief of police.”

Council members have previously said the borough can’t afford the luxury of a police chief who is strictly an administrator.

Chief wants time to develop police policies, procedures

Medeiros has said his time needs to be spent developing policies and procedures for the department, which has been rocked by repeated scandals involving its officers.

In the proposed ordinance, the police chief’s position is described as “including both administrative and day-to-day working police functions,” and that the chief works “in the administration and supervision of the police department, as well as performing normal police duties.”

The proposed ordinance lists 34 “essential duties and responsibilities of the chief of police.”

Among them is the requirement for the chief “to work a regularly scheduled shift and routinely patrol during each assigned shift,” and to “periodically work various shifts to maintain familiarity with personnel, conditions and situations at various times of the day….”

The chief is also required to “perform all essential functions of a police officer including performing the duties of subordinate personnel as needed.”

While Medeiros has said he likes being out on the street, Mayor Lloyd said, “This isn’t what he was hired to do.

“He was hired to change and redo this police department.”

Lloyd and council also have clashed over control of the police department, including oversight and supervision of the chief.

The ordinance states that the chief reports to the mayor and to council, and that the chief “reports to the mayor and is responsible to council” to perform the listed duties and responsibilities.

Citing the borough code, Lloyd said he, as mayor, is in charge of the police department.

“The law is the law,” Lloyd said. “The mayor is in charge of the police department. You can’t negotiate and override what the law says.”

Proposed Springdale Borough Police Chief’s Job Description

BOROUGH OF SPRINGDALE

ORDINANCE NO. ________ of _________

 AN ORDINANCE OF THE BOROUGH OF SPRINGDALE, ALLEGHENY COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, CONFIRMING THE POSITION OF CHIEF OF POLICE OF THE BOROUGH OF SPRINGDALE; DECLARING THE PURPOSE AND DEFINING THE ESSENTIAL DUTIES OF THE POSITION.

WHEREAS, the Borough of Springdale has previously established the position of Chief of Police of the Springdale Police Department; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to Section 6125 of the Borough Code, 53 P.S. §466125, Council for the Borough of Springdale may, by ordinance, establish the duties of the Chief of Police.

WHEREAS, Council for the Borough of Springdale desires to set forth by Ordinance duties and description of the Chief of Police of the Borough of Springdale; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED and it is hereby ordained and enacted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Springdale, at a duly convened meeting, quorum present as follows:

 SECTION I: CONFIRMATION OF THE POSITION OF CHIEF OF POLICE:

• The position of Chief of Police is hereby confirmed by Council of the Borough of Springdale. The Chief of Police, pursuant to the applicable provisions of the Borough Code shall report to the Mayor, as the Chief Law Enforcer of the Borough of Springdale and to Council of the Borough of Springdale or such other person or committee as may be designated by ordinance or resolution of Borough Council as permitted under the Borough Code.

 SECTION II: GENERAL DESCRIPTION:

• The Chief of Police is an appointed, non-union non-civil service departmental head position including both administrative and day to day working police functions. The Chief reports to the Mayor and is responsible to Council to perform the essential duties and responsibilities as set forth herein. The Chief performs highly responsible work in the administration and supervision of the Police Department, as well as performing normal police duties. The work involves coordination, supervision and performance of all police functions and services to the community. The Chief’s work is reviewed through reports, observations and/or periodic reviews by the Mayor and Council, conferences and results obtained. The Chief may exercises independence and latitude in making decisions and exercising judgment provided that he does so in accordance with the responsibilities and duties set

forth herein. This position is a salaried (non-hourly) position that may result in working in excess of 40 hours per week without provision for compensatory time, unless specifically agreed to by Council in a separate writing, such as a Chief’s Contract..

 SECTION III: PURPOSE OF THE POSITION:

• The Chief of Police shall be the chief executive of the police department for the Borough of Springdale, subordinate to the Mayor and shall be responsible for all operations of the police department.

• In addition to the police powers prescribed by law, the Chief shall be responsible for all administrative functions of the police department, preparing and regulating the budget for the police department, the supervision of all subordinate officers and other employees, establishing and maintaining a work schedule and ensuring that all provisions of the police contract, as well as all Borough policies and procedures are observed.

• The Chief of Police shall authorize vacation and other legitimate leave, direct and authorize all training, and direct police services in an attempt to provide the greatest protection and security for the residents of the Borough.

• The Chief of Police is responsible for establishing and enforcing departmental policy, keeping all departmental employees informed and abreast of all changes, updates and/or modifications in the law and/or relevant policy, directives, etc., effecting disciplinary action when necessary and in accordance with applicable laws and Borough ordinances, policies and procedures.

 SECTION IV: ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE CHIEF OF POLICE:

The duties and responsibilities of the Chief of Police for the Borough of Springdale, in addition to those set forth in Section II, which shall be deemed essential duties and responsibilities, include but are not limited to the following:

• Shall be the principal administrative officer of the police department, under the supervision of the Mayor and responsible to Borough Council pursuant to the provisions of the Borough Code, and shall be responsible for supervising all personnel, functions and operations of the department, including the training of new hires.

• The governing body and the Chief shall have full authority to enforce all laws, regulations, rules, mandates, procedures, directives, and provisions of the police contract and special requests and/or instructions from the Mayor, Council or other competent authority with regard to the police department.

• Maintain control over the assignments, deployment, scheduling, special details, transfers, etc. of all officers in the police department in accordance with law, borough ordinances, directives and/or the provisions established by the police contract and the funds budgeted by Council for the department.

• Responsible for the timely execution of all applicable Borough directives, procedures and policies, as well as the completion of all special assignments from the governing body.

• Review and supervise expenditures of appropriations to the Police Department in accordance with funds budgeted by Council and to make recommendations to the Mayor and/or Borough Manager through budget requests regarding the need for additional officers, equipment or other needs.

• Prepare and submit a monthly police report to the governing body.

• Develop, issue and maintain a comprehensive department manual, addressing every major function, regulation, directive, procedure, requirement and general policy of the police organization. A particular effort will be made to establish policies, approved by Council, that will create an efficient and safe working environment, prevent liability to the Borough or its officials, insure public safety, address emerging concerns and allow for an effective day-to-day operation.

• Responsible for reviewing, updating and implementing the provisions of the manual on a regular basis.

• Develop, present and administer the annual operating budget for the police department. Establish adequate controls over expenditures and the monitoring of disbursements over the course of the fiscal year. Utilize available funds in a manner that provides for the most effective police service possible in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Assist the governing body in the planning of long range capital purchases and provide an anticipated five-year capital purchase schedule during every budget preparation period.

• Responsible for the care and supervision of the Department fleet, police equipment and uniforms.

• Responsible for all department record-keeping, including the maintenance, organization, storage, retrieval and utilization of departmental records and assure that all applicable laws and directives regarding such records are properly followed.

• Responsible for maintaining the integrity of the evidence room and assuring that all applicable laws and directives regarding recordkeeping and disposition of property/evidence are properly followed.

• Organize, direct, control and deploy all resources of the department in a manner which will provide for the safety and well being of the citizenry, the preservation of the peace and harmony of the community and to enforce all applicable laws, mandates and proclamations. In addition, make every effort to create and coordinate a plan with all affected agencies that will endeavor to protect lives and property during any natural or man-made disaster.

• Plan and execute a police service program, based on an analysis of crime trends, emerging problem areas, actual need, etc., designed to prevent and repress crime, apprehend and prosecute offenders, allow for the safe and expedient movement of the citizenry, provide for the public safety and the harmony of the community.

• Oversee the general inspection and supervision of all public places within the community and cause the laws and ordinances concerning such places to be obeyed.

• Maintain an active, productive alliance with other local police agencies, appropriate Allegheny County agencies and institutions, professional police authorities and training facilities, in an effort to improve and/or advance the administration of law enforcement and/or to provide for the safety and well being of the community. Ensure the prompt reporting of pertinent information to all affected agencies, regardless of jurisdiction and/or geographic location.

• Responsible for establishing and executing an effective and comprehensive training program for all employees. Recognize and identify special abilities or needs and provide appropriate advanced or remedial training as necessary or desired.

• Conduct regular staff meetings in an effort to apprise employees of departmental and borough activity, policy and direction.

• Shall at all times remain informed of the affairs of the department and be assured that the duties of his/her subordinates are properly discharged. Oversee continuous staff inspection as a part of a comprehensive and relevant performance evaluation in accordance with departmental policy and procedures.

• Responsible for responding to grievances and for all departmental disciplinary action and shall initiate such action for any member who violates any law or disregards or violates departmental policy. Disciplinary action shall be taken in accordance with the Borough Code and any police contract currently in effect at the time, other policies and procedures established by law.

• Establish acceptable standards and follow Borough policies for recruitment, selection and promotion of department members and employees. Establish and implement procedures for recognizing outstanding performance by department employees.

• Prepare and submit monthly reports to the Borough Mayor and Borough Council regarding the Department’s activities and prepare a variety of other reports as appropriate.

• Attend council approved conferences and meetings to keep abreast of current trends in the field; represent the Borough Police Department in a variety of local, county, state and other meetings and/or functions.

• Cooperate and maintain an appropriate and professional relationship with county, state and federal law enforcement agencies where activities of the police department are involved.

• To work a regularly assigned shift and routinely patrol during each assigned shift.

• Periodically work various shifts to maintain familiarity with personnel, conditions and situations at various times of the day without adversely affecting the hourly payroll of the department, unless prior, written permission from Council is obtained.

• Cooperate with and respects the authority of other Borough departmental managers, employees and elected or appointed officials in their respective areas of duties and responsibilities.

• Maintain open line of communication and works effectively with Borough Manager Borough employees and elected and appointed officials.

• Periodically organize and hold community service events involving education and safety and actively attends public functions and events involving community groups and other public relation endeavors as often as possible.

• Perform all the essential functions of a police officer including performing the duties of subordinate personnel as needed.

• Provide to Council, through the Borough Manager, a copy of the shift schedule as soon as it is posted or otherwise provided to subordinate officers.

• Possess within 45 days of hire and continue to maintain active MPOETC certification.

• Possess and maintain valid Pennsylvania Drivers License.

• Perform other work-related duties as assigned by the Mayor, Borough Council or such other person or committee as may be designated by ordinance or resolution of the Borough Council.

 SECTION V: DISCLOSURE:

• The duties, responsibilities and descriptions listed in this ordinance are not intended to be all inclusive of the essential duties and responsibilities of the Chief of Police nor inclusive of work that may be performed. The omission of specific statements of duties does not exclude them from the position. If other work is similar, related or a logical assignment to the position, it may be considered an essential duty and responsibility as well. This position description does not constitute an employment agreement between the employer and the employee and is subject to change by the employer as may, from time to time, be determined by Council for the Borough of Springdale.

 SECTION VI: SEVERABILITY:

It is hereby declared to be the intention of the Council of the Borough of Springdale that the several provisions of this Ordinance are separable. If any Court of competent jurisdiction shall declare any words, sentences, sections or provisions of this Ordinance to be invalid, such a ruling shall not affect any other words, sentences, sections or provisions of this Ordinance not specifically included in said ruling.

 SECTION VII: REPEALER:

All ordinances or parts of ordinances, which are inconsistent herewith, are hereby repealed.

 SECTION VIII: EFFECTIVE DATE:

This ordinance shall take effect immediately upon its approval in accordance with the Borough Code.

Border Patrol Chief: Obama’s Deportation Leniency Leads to Influx of Illegal Immigrant Children

April 11, 2014

From Breitbart News by Tony Lee, April 4, 2014

Gil Kerlikowske told the House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee that the agency’s “facilities are not designed to hold these large numbers, nor are our ports of entry.” Therefore, border patrol agents should not spend their time babysitting foreign children from south of the border.

“The deferred action, the family unification, is an issue,” Kerlikowske said, according to CQ Roll Call. “But I’ve also looked at the surveys of some of these people who were talked to back in 2013. … The crime and the gang issues in their own country are a push-out — sometimes there’s family violence also.” He added, “And then of course there’s the economic incentive to come to America, which has always been there. But I certainly understand this issue of family reunification being a part of what is really a complex problem.”

According to reports, the number of “immigrant children entering the United States has spiked from about 6,000 in fiscal 2011 to roughly 34,000 in fiscal 2013,” and officials estimate that around 60,000 more “will have entered by the end of fiscal 2014.”

Rep. John Carter (R-TX) said that though he recognizes and is sympathetic “to the humanitarian obligations we give these young victims,” Congress “cannot ignore that politics are creating a gravitational pull so strong that parents are willing to support vile criminal networks and to place their precious children in harm’s way.”

In a year that many have said would be the last chance to pass immigration legislation, Democrats and pro-amnesty advocates are pressuring Obama to enact more executive orders–perhaps for illegal immigrants who serve in the military and the parents of DREAMers–to ease deportations.

Breitbart News previously reported that “parents in Central American countries may be sending their children to illegally cross the U.S. border into Texas after hearing that Democrats and Republicans are pushing for more laws granting amnesty to illegal immigrant minors.”

Immigration officials told the Los Angeles Times that “up to 120 unaccompanied youths are arriving each day.” Breitbart News has chronicled why illegal immigrant children have had every reason to believe the odds of permanently remaining in the United States will be in their favor if they enter the country. First, “Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that those who came to the United States before 2013 should be eligible for amnesty.” Additionally, “House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) has been pushing for his version of the DREAM Act.” Furthermore, “amnesty advocates have been calling on President Barack Obama to not only stop deportations but also expand the Deferred Action program that he enacted through executive action to also include the parents of the children of illegal immigrants.” 

As Breitbart News has also reported, though the House GOP’s immigration principles state that there “will be a zero tolerance policy for those who cross the border illegally or overstay their visas in the future,” they also state that one of the “great founding principles of our country was that children would not be punished for the mistakes of their parents.” If that is the case, it would be impossible not to perpetually give children amnesty, which is a point U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) National Council President Kenneth Palinkas addressed in a letter to Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA). 

U.S. Attorney General: ATF Planning to Use Drones inside U.S.

April 11, 2014

From Breitbart News by Charlie Spiering, April 8, 2014

Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, questioned Holder during a House Judiciary Committee hearing, asking the Attorney General if he believed if the Federal Aviation Administration or Congress should regulate of drone use.

“Would you think that it would be better that Congress intervene and employ legislation safeguarding the Fourth Amendment, right of privacy basically on citizens or do you suggest as Attorney General that the FAA still control who gets a drone or not?” Poe asked.

Holder did not specifically address Poe’s question but reveled some details of the use of drones in the Justice department.

“Within the Department, the only component that uses these vehicles at this point is the FBI,” Holder explained. “The ATF in the process of working through to see if they want to make use of them.”

Holder added that the Inspector General had recommended that the Justice Department come up with a policy to regulate the use of drones for domestic surveillance.

“I think that would be appropriate thing to do and we are in the process of trying to work through what rules and regulations would handle the use of these kinds of vehicles,” Holder concluded.

The Justice Department has spent nearly $5 million on drones since 2004 according to the Inspector General.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has already spent $600,000 exploring the use of drones to support their operations.

“Heroes Behind the Badge” Documentary Relates Tale of Clairton, PA Officer and Others

April 6, 2014

From The Tribune-Review by Jennifer R.Vertullo, April 5, 2014

Clairton Police Officer James Kuzak Jr. sat humbled by the overwhelming support of friends, family and fellow law enforcement officers as he relived the night when a His story, and those of four others wounded or killed in the line of duty, were told through a documentary film at the Pittsburgh premier of “Heroes Behind the Badge: Sacrifice & Survival” on Saturday at Heinz Field.

Clairton officer James Kuzak poses for a portrait in front of the poster for the film, “Heroes Behind the Badge: Sacrifice & Survival” when the film is being screened at Heinz Field, Saturday, April 5, 2014. Kuzak is featured in the film about officers who were wounded or killed in the line of duty.

“It feels beyond words to see all the people who are willing to come here to see me in a documentary,” Kuzak said. “I expected to see a few people, but everyone I can imagine is here. It’s humbling.”

Preceded by an Allegheny County FOP Lodge 91 Honor Guard and the Greater Pittsburgh Police Emerald Society Pipes and Drums, the film opened with the statistic that an officer is injured or killed in a felonious assault every 33 minutes.

“Heroes Behind the Badge” offered Kuzak, other officers and their families an opportunity to share emotional aspects of officers putting their lives on the line for the public.

The film took Kuzak back to the Miller Avenue property where he was critically wounded. He believes the paralysis was his sacrifice in saving a family that could have been killed if police didn’t intervene.

“I didn’t know that the last time I walked off these four steps was going to be the last time I ever walked,” he said. Tears welled in his eyes as he looked at the back yard where he was shot five times.

The film covers his physical therapy and medical diagnosis, along with the emotional support system anchored by his girlfriend Cris Okluanis and parents Beverly Kuzak and James Kuzak Sr.

“After seeing this movie, I know my family is fortunate,” his father James Kuzak Sr. said. “These other families would give everything they have to have what we have with Jimmy.”

Cranberry Twp., PA Officials Agree to New Contract with Police Officers

April 6, 2014

From The Tribune Review by Bill Vidonic, April 5, 2014

Cranberry supervisors on Tuesday ratified a three-year contract with township police, avoiding arbitration.

“It’s all about communicating with each other,” Manager Jerry Andree said.

The contract covers 28 uniformed officers, who will receive pay raises of 2.75 percent in the first year, and 2.5 percent in the second and third years.

Other changes include a deferred retirement option program, increased flexibility in scheduling and increasing the amount officers pay toward their health care premiums from 7 percent to 8 percent.

In a statement, Supervisor John Skorupan said that “Cranberry’s police department is the most professional local law enforcement agency in Butler County and among the finest in all of Southwestern Pennsylvania.”

Andree said the township losing its contract to provide police service in Seven Fields did not affect contract negotiations.

Seven Fields and Evans City have formed a regional police force that will begin operating in 2015.

Seven Fields had been paying Cranberry to patrol the community.

The township stands to lose about $370,000 next year because of the regional force.

Andree said the township, with advance warning that Seven Fields wanted to end the contract, has been watching its spending.

It last hired a police officer in December 2012.

The police department had been without a contract since the beginning of the year.

Kansas Lawmakers OK Bill to Void Local Gun Restrictions

April 6, 2014

From The Associated Press By John Hanna, April 5, 2014

Kansas legislators gave final approval Saturday to a bill that would nullify city and county gun restrictions and ensure that it’s legal across the state to openly carry firearms, a measure the National Rifle Association sees as a nationwide model for stripping local officials of their gun-regulating power.

The House approved the legislation, 102-19, a day after the Senate passed it, 37-2. The measure goes next to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback. He hasn’t said whether he’ll sign it, but he’s a strong supporter of gun rights and has signed other measures backed by the NRA and the Kansas State Rifle Association.

Kansas law doesn’t expressly forbid the open carrying of firearms, and the attorney general’s office has in the past told local officials that some restrictions are allowed. The Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan., has prohibited the practice, but the bill would sweep any such ban away, except to allow cities and counties to prevent openly carried weapons inside public buildings.

The measure also would prevent cities and counties from enacting restrictions on the sale of firearms and ammunition, or imposing rules on how guns must be stored and transported. Existing ordinances would be void, and local governments could not use tax dollars for gun buy-back programs.

Supporters say a patchwork of local regulations confuses gun owners and infringes upon gun ownership rights guaranteed by the state constitution and the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“Do you know what the gun laws are where you live?” said Rep. Jim Howell, a Derby Republican and the bill’s main sponsor. “If you want to exercise your Second Amendment rights, you’d better be very careful in Kansas.”

Opponents of the bill in Kansas argued that local officials know best what policies are appropriate for their communities.

“We don’t want the feds imposing their will on us. We shouldn’t be doing that to the local jurisdictions,” said Rep. Carolyn Bridges, a Wichita Democrat.

Both the National Rifle Association and the San Francisco-based Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence say 43 states, including Kansas, already significantly limit the ability of cities and counties to regulate firearms, though they vary widely in how far they go. But an NRA lobbyist said this week that this year’s legislation in Kansas would make that state a model on the issue for gun rights supporters.

The center says California and Nebraska have narrow pre-emption laws that leave substantial power to local officials and five — Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York — don’t expressly pre-empt local regulation.

Patricia Stoneking, president of the Kansas State Rifle Association, said she’s already been approached by gun rights groups in other states about the legislation and predicts it will spread.

“This bill was comprehensive, and it covered every aspect of firearms,” Stoneking said.

But Jonathan Lowry, director of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence’s efforts to defend gun control policies in court and oppose the lessening of existing regulations, called the Kansas measure “undemocratic.”

“The gun lobby likes to prevent people who believe in sensible gun laws from having a say in protecting their own communities,” Lowry said. “It’s cynical, and it’s dangerous public policy.”

Kansas last year enacted a law to allow people with concealed-carry permits to bring their hidden weapons into public buildings — including libraries and community centers — after 2017 unless local officials post guards or set up metal detectors.

Obama Administration Releases 68,000 Illegal Aliens with Criminal Convictions Back into the U.S.

April 2, 2014

From The New American by Warren Mass, April 1, 2014

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials released 67,879 illegal immigrants with criminal convictions in 2013 and made no move to deport them. ICE is part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

This information was made available on March 31 by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), a Washington, D.C.-based think tank that collected the information from ICE’s “Weekly Departures and Detention Report” for the end of fiscal year 2013. The CIS obtained a copy of the report through a lawsuit.

Obama Administration Releases 68,000 Illegal Immigrant Criminals

CIS released it findings in a document written by former State Department foreign service officer Jessica Vaughan titled, “Catch and Release: Interior Immigration enforcement in 2013.”

The ICE document showed that its agents encountered 193,357 illegal immigrants with criminal convictions last year, but issued charging documents for only 125,478. As noted above, 67,879 charged and/or convicted criminals were released.

“ICE released 68,000 criminal aliens in 2013, or 35 percent of the criminal aliens encountered by officers. The vast majority of these releases occurred because of the Obama administration’s prosecutorial discretion policies,” Vaughan wrote in a memo that drew from the ICE document. She noted that ICE classifies illegal immigrants as criminal if they have been convicted of a crime, excluding traffic offenses.

Vaughan noted further: “The Obama administration’s deliberate obstruction of immigration enforcement, in which tens of thousands of criminal aliens are released instead of removed, is threatening the well-being of American communities.”

Fox News reported that Immigration and Customs Enforcement accused CIS of distorting the numbers, claiming that some of the convictions might represent minor offenses. The agency also took credit for deporting a total of 216,000 “convicted criminals” in 2013.

“ICE is focused on the removal of criminal aliens,” Fox quoted an ICE spokeswoman. “The percentage of criminals removed continues to rise. Nearly 60 percent of ICE’s total removals had been previously convicted of a criminal offense, and that number rises to 82 percent for individuals removed from the interior of the U.S. The removal of criminal individuals is and will remain ICE’s highest priority.”

Fox also reported that earlier this month, a DHS spokesman said the internal review of immigration enforcement is a process that is “ongoing” and will be done “expeditiously.”

“Since taking office, [Jeh Johnson] the secretary [of Homeland Security] has made clear that he shares the president’s commitment of enforcing our immigration laws effectively and sensibly, in line with our values,” the spokesman said. “As part of that effort he has been taking a hard look at these tough issues, meeting with a range of stakeholders and employees and already has been assessing if there are areas where we can further align our enforcement policies with our goal of sound law enforcement practice that prioritizes public safety.”

The CIS report said factors such as “family relationships, political considerations, or attention from advocacy groups” are likely helping to “trump criminal convictions as a factor leading to deportation.”

An article at Investors.com (Investor’s Business Daily) about the widespread release of convicted illegal immigrants noted wryly:

So much for President Obama’s claim last June that “today, deportation of criminals is at its highest level ever” because “we focused our enforcement efforts on criminals who are here illegally and who are endangering our communities.”

CIS has charged that the Obama administration has manipulated statistics by changing how it counts the number of deportations in order to hide the decline. Jessica Vaughan said that Homeland Security plays a statistical shell game of “removals” vs. “returns” and that if you actually “count the number of people sent out of the country, it’s not even close to a record. It’s the lowest since the 1970s.”

The number of returns in 2012 was 229,968, down from 1.6 million returns in 2000, the last full year of the Clinton administration.

Homeland Security defines a “return” — which is how deportations were previously measured — as “the confirmed movement of an inadmissible or deportable alien out of the United States not based on an order of removal.”

Senator Jeff Session (R-Ala.) issued a statement on March 31 in response to the release of the statistics that read, in part:

The preponderance of the evidence demonstrates that immigration enforcement in America has collapsed. Even those with criminal convictions are being released. DHS is a department in crisis. Secretary Johnson must reject the President’s demands to weaken enforcement further and tell him that his duty, and his officers’ duty, is to enforce the law—not break it….

American citizens have a legal and moral right to the protections our immigration laws afford—at the border, the interior and the workplace. The Administration has stripped these protections and adopted a government policy that encourages new arrivals to enter illegally or overstay visas by advertising immunity from future enforcement…. 

While Senator Sessions hit the nail on the head regarding the Obama administration’s lax immigration enforcement, there was a certain partisanship in his comments: “Unfortunately, Congressional Democrats continue to empower this lawlessness. Republicans must work to end it.”

Democrats have unquestionably led the charge on weakening enforcement of our immigration laws, but it is not difficult to find examples of Republican support for what is effectively amnesty for illegal immigrants. On January 30, The Hill reported that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) blasted his Republican colleagues in the House for crafting an immigration plan that he denounced as “amnesty.”

“I think it would be a mistake if House Republicans were to support amnesty for those here illegally,” he said when asked about a proposal to be included in the House Republicans’ immigration principles statement.

“In my view we need to secure the borders, we need to stop illegal immigration,” Cruz said during a Bloomberg News breakfast. “And we need to improve and streamline legal immigration.”

Senator John McCain, the GOP’s presidential nominee in 2008, said in an address before the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on March 27 that if comprehensive immigration reform passes, he would “make sure it is forever called the Edward M. Kennedy immigration bill.” Fox News reported that McCain told the group he vowed to fight for amnesty as long as he is a breathing United States senator.

McCain and Kennedy tried to pass their namesake amnesty bill last decade, along with President George W. Bush. Conservatives halted the measure because it would have reduced the wages of American workers while not solving the illegal immigration problem.

Breitbart noted in a report about McCain’s statements that among the speakers throughout the week at Hispanic Chamber of Commerce events were Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who said that amnesty legislation was inevitable, and Vice President Joe Biden, who stated that he believed illegal immigrants were “already American citizens.”

A report in the Examiner.com last June 26 noted that a group of Arizona citizens had organized a movement to recall both senators McCain and Jeff Flake because they had both voted to advance the passage of the “Gang of Eight” bill that included amnesty. In addition to McCain and Flake, the Gang of Eight also included Republican senators Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham.

The Tea Party has compiled a list of Republican senators it says have “voted for amnesty over border security and interior immigration law enforcement.” 

Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire

Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee

Sen. Jeff Chiesa of New Jersey

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine

Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee

Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina

Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah

Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada

Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota

Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois

Sen. John McCain of Arizona

Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida

Should a member of the GOP be elected to the presidency in 2016, he or she might enforce immigration law more conscientiously than President Obama, but such enforcement cannot be any better than the law itself. So long as Republicans in Congress are willing to join Democrats in voting for amnesty, illegal immigration will not be curbed.

 

Sister of Fallen Aiken, SC Master Corporal Looks to Purchase Police Dog in Her Memory

April 2, 2014

From The Aiken Standard by Teddy Kulmala, March 31, 2014

The sister of a fallen Aiken, SC Public Safety Officer would like to sponsor a police canine in her memory and is looking to the community to help her accomplish it.

“Sandy liked the canines. She loved dogs,” said Virginia Johnson, “They’d always pick at her about sticking her nose in the car and playing with the dogs. They’d say, ‘Get away.’”

Master Cpl. Sandy Rogers was killed in the line of duty while investigating a suspicious vehicle in Eustis Park the morning of Jan. 28, 2012.

Johnson said she got the idea of purchasing a police canine in memory of her sister about two months ago, and went to speak with Chief Charles Barranco about it.

“I didn’t know when they needed one or if they even needed one,” she said. She learned from Barranco that one of Aiken Public Safety’s canines, a Belgian Malinois named Sasja, had recently been diagnosed with cancer. Sasja died last week, and Johnson said Aiken Public Safety had been considering putting another dog in the budget for next year.

“I asked him for a way to remember Sandy, to honor Sandy. I wanted to sponsor a dog,” she said. “I asked him how he went and picked out one. I told him I didn’t want to be in and out, but the only thing I did ask is, I wanted the dog to be named Sandman. That was Sandy’s nickname at the house.”

A new police puppy and training cost about $8,000, Johnson said.

According to Capt. David Turno, Aiken Public Safety has one police canine after Sasja died. Their dogs are single-purpose, narcotics detection canines.

“We are in the process of working up our own (request for proposal) that we will send out to kennels that specialize in producing animals for law enforcement and the military for that purpose,” Turno said. “We’ll review them and try to get the best quality animal for the department. We want a good temperament, and obviously a healthy animal.”

Turno said the department has the money to purchase a canine, but any money raised by Johnson will be an added benefit.

Johnson said they will be selling t-shirts and vehicle decals to work toward the $8,000 goal. The t-shirts will be gray and will have an infinity symbol, along with 203 (Rogers’ car number) and the phrase “We go on” printed on them. The back of the shirt will have a police puppy with a police hat on its head, a pair of handcuffs in its mouth and a prayer to keep its handler safe. The shirts will be available in a variety of sizes, including children’s sizes.

The decal will feature the infinity symbol with 203 and “We go on” worked into the design.

Prices for the shirts and decals haven’t been decided, but the items should be available for purchase this week. For more information, or to make a purchase, call Jack Rogers Tire at 803-649-9495.

To see a photograph of Master Cpl. Sandy Rogers and an image of the decal to honor her, copy and paste the link below into your web-browser:

http://www.aikenstandard.com/article/20140331/AIK0102/140339962

Teddy Kulmala covers the crime and courts beat for the Aiken Standard and has been with the newspaper since August 2012. He is a native of Williston and majored in communication studies at Clemson University.

 

 

 

New Jeannette, PA Police Chief Wants Additional Personnel to Fight Drug Trade

April 2, 2014

From The Tribune-Review by Richard Gazarik, April 1, 2014

Jake Binda got to see his dad take the oath as Jeannette‘s police chief on Tuesday even though Jake was 156 miles away in Erie.

Chief Shannon Binda was sworn into office by District Judge Joseph DeMarchis while Jake, a student at Penn State Erie-Behrend, watched on an iPhone via FaceTime. Despite the distance, he got to share the moment with his mother, Marcia, and sister, Olivia, who attended the brief ceremony in city hall.

Moments after being named the new Chief of Police in Jeannette, Shannon Binda (right) along with his wife Marcia and daughter Olivia, share a laugh with their son and brother Jake via a video conferencing app for a smartphone at the Jeannette City Hall building on Thursday, April 1, 2014. Jake watched as his father was sworn in through the phone. He was unable to attend the ceremony as he was at Penn State Behrend near Erie where he is a freshman engineering student.

Afterward, Mayor Richard Jacobelli escorted Binda Downtown to introduce the chief to business owners and residents.

Binda replaces former Chief Brad Shepler, who returns to his former rank of corporal.

Binda, who has been a police officer nearly 24 years, assumes leadership of an 11-man department as Jeannette tries to reverse a financial slide.

Jacobelli said he plans to hire at least one more full-time officer and two part-time officers and set up an additional position for a detective.

“The whole idea is visibility,” Jacobelli said. “As we staff up, we’ll have more visibility in neighborhoods and do more patrolling. I have a police chief who I know can do the job.”

“We definitely need to get up to 13 officers,” Binda said. “My plans are definitely to become more aggressive. We need to attack the drug problem the way it needs to be attacked.”

Jeannette, like other municipalities in Westmoreland County, has seen an increase in drug-related crimes. In 2013, there were 22 incidents involving drugs plus 32 that were alcohol-related, according to Uniform Crime Reports. The state reported that 189 serious crimes occurred in the city, which included 47 assaults and two robberies.

City officers have intercepted suspected dealers carrying heroin and weapons, and have dealt with several home invasions that police suspect were related to the drug trade. In another incident, a suspected dealer sprayed gunfire at several homes in a residential area.

Jacobelli said by having more officers patrolling, drug activity should decrease.

“All we have to do is sit in neighborhoods to let certain people know they aren’t welcome,” he said. “We’ll take down license plate numbers. We’ll know who you are.”

Two officers work per shift in the city of 9,600 residents.

When Jacobelli ran for office, he campaigned on reducing the size of the police force because of overtime costs.

Jacobelli said that with an additional officer and part-timers, he believes he can reduce overtime by relying on part-time officers to fill in when full-time officers are off or on vacation.

“We’re looking at overtime costs,” the mayor said. “We should be able to save quite a bit in overtime.”

Under the terms of the contract, Fraternal Order of Police approval is required before anybody can be added to the force.

The union has cooperated in the past with city council by agreeing to freeze salaries for a time and allowing part-time officers to be hired.

The police department accounts for about $1 million of the $5.9 million annual budget. The combination of overtime ­— which neared $100,000 last year — and $536,000 in pension contributions has strapped the city’s ability to pay. Council was unable to meet its pension payments for the past several years and has not paid the 2013 contribution.


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