Following the attack of Liverpudlian James Parkes last month, former Mr Gay UK winner and full-time policeman, Mark Carter, has admitted that he suffered homophobic abuse as a result of the competition.
Speaking to PinkPaper.com, he said: ”Most people accepted me – in particular my family, friends and colleagues in the force.
“But I have also been to many incidents where I have had people just stopping, looking me up and down and shouting ‘You’re that gay bobby, aren’t you?’.”
He also told of how, after a break at Brighton, he arrested a man who had been shouting homophobic abuse at train passengers while off-duty. He chased the individual and pinned him to the ground.
“My thoughts are with the partner and family of my fellow officer PC Parkes and I am sure the investigating team will be doing all they can to bring his attackers to justice.”
He explained that however far we may have come, there is still work to be done.
“I was so angry when I read about this horrific attack, it shows that the shadows of homophobia are still there, under the surface of society.”
He then went on to add: “It is not about pushing the gay word up people’s noses. It’s about standing up for what is right.”
By Adam Lowe
Most Huntsville police cars have a number on the front license plate to identify the officer, but for the vehicles in the K-9 unit, the dogs’ names are on the front of the car.
Names like Gunner, Stryker and Isis – three of the unit’s nine dogs – identify the vehicle on the front plate because according to Officer Cory Upton, they’re in charge.
The eight narcotics dogs one bomb dog are trained in Huntsville to detect drugs and bombs based on odor, something their handlers can’t do.
“We teach them to associate odor to their toy,” said officer and head trainer Mike Posey.
The K-9 unit trains dogs from all over the Southeast in a 13-week program at its facilities off of Johnson Road. Although the initial training happens during those weeks, the dogs are constantly being retrained to keep them on their toes.
For drug dogs, they’re trained to scratch where they find a scent. Bomb dogs are trained to sit when they smell something, so as not to disturb whatever is in the bomb.
Huntsville’s K-9 unit is the second oldest in the nation, active since 1963. The dogs are trained for obedience, agility and evidence recovery. They can find hidden persons, track scents and apprehend criminals.
Sgt. Jeff Huskey said the dogs are not pets. They’re taken care of extremely well, and while they go home with their handlers, they’re isolated and not considered family dogs, he said.
“They are a tool,” said Upton. “I don’t go home and let my kids play with my gun, so my kids don’t play with the dog.”
Untrained, a dog costs around $7,500. Trained, they can bring in as much as $15,000. Huntsville uses German Shepherd breeds from Europe. They’re not the only dog used in K-9 units, but Huntsville’s had good experiences with them, so they keep buying the breed.
This year alone, the Huntsville dogs have had between 30-50 felony apprehensions and recovered more than $150,000 worth of physical evidence,” Huskey said.
Earlier in the year, a dog grabbed the arm of a gunman hiding in a river, forcing him to drop his weapon. The gunman later told police he had planned on shooting at officers as they came around a set of bushes.
“The dogs do save lives,” Posey said.
Most shepherds can understand about 500 commands, and Huntsville’s dogs are trained to understand 20-25.
“They’re intelligent, loyal, good-tempered and dependable dogs,” Posey said.
Upton added, “If they had thumbs, they’d be driving the car.”
Huskey said sometimes, they’re better than humans because they don’t rationalize. They simply do what they’re told.
Once an officer gets into the K-9 unit, they rarely leave.
“This is the best job in police work,” Posey said.
BY Victoria Cumbow
Sure, there’s bragging rights involved for teams that win the police dog competition held in Temecula every year, officers involved in the event said Saturday.
But more importantly, it’s a chance to correct misconceptions people may have about police dogs and to showcase the bond between the furry creatures and their human partners.
“We work with these dogs, we live with these dogs —- they are our best friends,” said Sgt. Coby Webb, K-9 supervisor for the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, which holds the competition, now in its 14th year. “It’s so fun to show the public the bond between the handler and the dog, so they can see the partnership.”
The two-day competition began Friday and culminated Saturday at Harveston Community Park in Temecula. It attracted K-9 units from more than 30 law enforcement agencies across the region.
The teams are put to the test —- given building, luggage, vehicle and narcotics searches. Friday’s trials, which included narcotics searches, were closed to the public.
On Saturday, the teams competed in a variety of drills testing obedience and agility as a crowd of about 250 people watched from the sidelines.
“This is like, the best time of my life,” said 25-year-old Pacific Beach resident Michael Dolan, who has autism and uses a retired police dog as a companion animal. “I love shepherd dogs, and how beautiful, loyal and noble they are.”
The dogs competing in the trials can sense this is no ordinary day, Webb said.
“They are just like kids,” she said of the dogs. “Sometimes, it’s like, ‘Oh, I forgot my routine.’ And other times it’s like, ‘I got this down.’”
Motioning toward a dog and its partner strutting their stuff on the field, Webb pointed out how the officer’s head was held high, his back was straight, and his arms were swinging.
“The handlers are having just as much fun as the dogs are,” she said.
Riverside County Deputy Kevin Brooks, a member of the K-9 unit, said the event helps illustrate that police dogs are not always vicious.
“We hope to show that the dogs are under control, that they are our partners and not just mean animals,” Brooks said.
And German shepherds are not the only dogs that serve the badge. There are bloodhounds, Labradors and other shepherd breeds in the mix, he said.
Typically, a dog might train several years before it is qualified to serve with the police. Not all canine candidates make it to the field, either.
For the dogs that make the cut, and the officers chosen to join the K-9 unit, considered by many to be an elite squad because they are the first-responders to serious crime scenes, the partnerships are filled with love and trust, Brooks said.
“I love it,” said Brooks, whose partner is Roxy, a 7-year-old Belgian malinois.
“I love having her in the car with me.”
For more information about the event or the Sheriff’s Department’s canine teams, visit http://www.rsok9trials.com
By JENNIFER KABBANY
The Plantation Police Department has a new member. He is 2 years old and his name is Mike. But his colleagues call him The Mike or Big Mike and his handler sometimes calls him Mikey.
Mike, a Belgian Malinois, was officially certified as a K-9 dog on Wednesday. He was paid for with a $12,500 donation from developer Derrick Caglianone and his wife, Pamela, who live in the city.
“We love the city,” Derrick Caglianone said Friday. “And I’m a dog lover and so is my wife. It’s a very worthy cause.”
Mike’s handler, Officer Darryl Radziwon, said he was grateful to the couple. “With the economic times of the city, I didn’t know if it would be in the budget to purchase a dog.”
Mike replaces Kimbo, also a Belgian Malinois, who died unexpectedly from a blood disorder. Kimbo and Radziwon had responded Sept. 21 to a call in Tamarac to assist in a Broward Sheriff’s Office search for a robbery suspect. Within minutes the dog collapsed and was rushed to an animal hospital in Hollywood.
Efforts to save him failed and he was put to sleep two days later.
Mike’s mission will be the same: tracking fleeing fugitives and finding narcotics.
“He assists the public and the department tremendously,” Radziwon said.
Lisa J. Huriash
Last month Rockingham County Sheriff Sam Page announced a project called A Soldier’s Christmas. Now he wants to say thank you to those that donated.
Deputy Cynthia Blackwell has a son serving with the 382nd Aviation Regiment in Kandahar, Afghanistan. That prompted the sheriff’s office to collect donations to send the troops for Christmas.
This weekend Blackwell took a truck full of toiletries, books, puzzles, games and snacks to Fort Bragg. The care package will be shipped to nearly 500 soldiers in Afghanistan.
The sheriff’s office wants to thank the public and AFG Wipes Inc, who made a large donation of personal care wipes.
Page and Blackwell say they hope the donations will provide a special holiday season for the 500 members of our military.
By Rhonda Evans
New York City police officers fired their weapons about 16 percent less last year than in the previous year, according to a Police Department report released on Monday.
The release of the report came as the New York Civil Liberties Union pressed ahead for more details about police-involved shootings. On Thursday, the group sued the department over access to the department’s internal reports.
Of the report released Monday, John C. Cerar, a retired deputy inspector who was the commander of the Police Department’s firearms training section, said that, “In totality, it shows that when we see the decreases in crime, we see decreases in the police use of deadly physical force.”
He added: “It’s welcome news.”
Last year, 125 New York City police officers fired their weapons, compared with 148 officers in 2007, according to the report.
Officers also fired fewer bullets last year — a total of 354 compared with 588 in 2007, the report said.
And the number of situations that led officers to fire their weapons also declined, to what the Police Department characterized as the smallest number of police shootings since formal records of such events were first kept, in 1971.
The numbers were contained in the Police Department’s annual firearms discharge report, which outlines the use of deadly physical force by officers, regardless of whether or not anyone is hit by the gunfire, in a given year.
The report also said that fewer people were wounded by police bullets last year, but 13 people were killed, compared with 10 in 2007. Three officers were shot and wounded in encounters with criminals, but none fatally, the report showed.
Looking at race, it said that of the people involved in police shootings whose ethnicity could be determined, 75 percent were black; 22 percent were Hispanic; and three percent were white.
Paul J. Browne, the department’s chief spokesman, said the decrease “reflects the careful attention paid to the use of deadly force in training police officers.”
In the aftermath of the fatal police shooting of Sean Bell in November 2006, the Civil Liberties Union asked the Police Department for its annual reports — and got them.
In May 2008, the department publicly released those annual reports, covering the years from 1996 to 2006.
Later last year, it released an annual report for 2007, which included information like the race of the firing officer and of the person who was shot.
In the lawsuit filed on Thursday in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, the civil liberties group said it wanted access to two types of departmental reports that are generated whenever an officer fires a gun at a civilian: an initial, investigatory one, generated within 24 hours after such shootings; and a more detailed one completed within 90 days. It said it wanted all reports since 1997.
The lawsuit comes after the department refused requests for such documents filed by the civil liberties group under the state’s Freedom of Information Law, said Christopher T. Dunn, the group’s associate legal director.
He said the reports should be made available upon completion or on a periodic basis, calling them essential for the public to gain a deeper understanding of police shootings.
He said the group would “provide them to an expert to analyze for a report and to make them public.”
In response, Mr. Browne said that the department provides “more information on police-involved shootings than any police department in the country, including briefings to the media within 24 hours of each” one.
He added: “The incomplete, preliminary documents sought in this lawsuit also contain police personnel information protected from disclosure under the civil rights law.”
By Al Baker
Their names echoed through the church Sunday morning.
Eleven Niagara Regional Police, Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Ontario Provincial Police officers who have died in the line of duty during the last 80 years.
Each Niagara officer had their name emblazoned on a blue Christmas bulb, which was then placed on a holiday tree in Westminster United Church on Queenston Street during a special “blue light service” to honour local police officers.
But there was a 12th royal-blue bulb hanging from the gold limbs strung with blue Christmas lights that was a personal tribute.
His name was not announced by the church’s pastor, Debbie Shanks.
OPP Cpl. Evan Gilmore, 56, died on Nov. 5, 1973, of a heart attack near the northern Ontario town of Spanish, west of Sudbury, after a chase involving a stolen car.
His death affected Richard Dyck, a retired OPP officer who worked with Gilmore in the 1970s and helped him chase that speeding stolen car driven by a teenage boy.
Gilmore was the only friend from the force Dyck, now 64, lost during his career — and is a reminder of the dangers of the job.
“I’ve never forgotten that moment,” said Dyck, a member of Westminster United Church who organized the second annual blue light service.
“I can tell you everything that happened that night, moment by moment. It’s just something that’s burned in your memory forever. It was an awful way for it to end.”
Honouring all police officers at events like the church service is important, Dyck said.
By MONIQUE BEECH
With an assault rifle missing from the Wheeling Police Department, a new policy has been put in place by Chief Robert Matheny.
M-16 assault rifles will now be kept under lock and key. Officers who handle the rifles will now have to put them in their assigned lockers at the end of their shift.
The change is a direct result of the theft of an M-16 assault weapon coming up missing on Oct. 21.
In an emergency situation, officers will have to go back to the station to get the weapons but Lt. Tom Mitchell thinks the benefits outweigh the risks.
There was still no word on a missing pistol stolen from an Ohio County Sheriff’s deputy.
By Melissa Reid
SWAT swarmed the grounds at Pickaway-Ross Career and Technology Center Sunday as part of an intense three-day training session for emergency medical workers.
Pickaway-Ross is one of few organizations in Ohio to regularly offer tactical EMS training, said program instructor Dr. James Jenkins. The program is offered annually and just finished training its third batch of students.
“It’s training to prepare our EMS providers to be a part of SWAT. We orient them to what SWAT is and to be right there with SWAT if someone goes down,” Jenkins said. “We’re training them in ditch medicine.”
The idea behind the approach is injuries likely to occur when tactical operations are happening will be more serious and life threatening. Traditionally, EMS crews wait at a distance, which translates to delayed treatment. In tactical EMS, paramedics are trained to be in the thick of things so they can respond much quicker and be more effective.
“We’re taking the EMS provider and teaching them to be able to function in the team without getting in the way … They fit in, they know what to do or not to do, and they’re there within seconds. It saves lives,” Jenkins said.
Colerain Township Fire Chief Carl Gearhart has been involved with the program and is set to organize a tactical EMS unit for the county that would be available around the clock at a moment’s notice, similar to the county’s water rescue unit.
“Our goal is to take people not only in our township but from surrounding townships to build a team to have people available 24 hours a day, seven days a week that can assist the sheriff’s department, state patrol and other counties,” Gearhart said. “It’s all about serving the community, being like it states, for public safety.”
Gearhart plans to start getting together a volunteer unit after the first of the year. So far, there are about 15 and 20 volunteers throughout the county trained in tactical EMS, he said.
Ross County Sheriff George Lavender thinks having a tactical EMS unit in Ross County is worth exploring.
“It’s better to be prepared and never need it than to need it and not have it,” he said.
While Chillicothe is not a large city, Lavender explained the area still fights many of the same battles, such as drugs. The sheriff’s office has had paramedics on its task force teams before and has had to utilize them. One time, Lavender said a suspect jumped through a window to escape and benefited from immediate treatment. He said it’s also helpful when there are children at a home where search warrants are being served so the children can be checked over.
Jenkins and paramedic Dean Dixon worked together to develop the program, garnering approval from the state. Dixon relates tactical EMS to military medics who are trained to be on the front lines. While tactical EMS providers don’t typically carry weapons — it depends on the unit and requests of law enforcement — they all have safety gear like members of the SWAT unit and are trained in ways to reach someone injured and still protect themselves.
The program at Pickaway-Ross is designed as more of a basic and intermediate session to provide a good, solid introduction to tactical EMS, Jenkins said. The 28-hour hands-on training course covers a variety of information from an explanation of SWAT to more aggressive treatment methods. Trainees learn about hemorrhage control, treating injured K-9s, tactical self defense and how to spot and work around meth labs.
In the end, students — who are required to attend all training exercises over the three days — take a written exam and are tested on the field before receiving a certificate of completion. Currently, there is no state certification for tactical EMS, making it difficult to track the number of paramedics trained, as well as how many units are active.
However, Jenkins said the state is looking at putting together protocols for tactical teams and setting up a new certification.
By JONA ISON
That’s why they recommended him for the Kiwanis Club Frank. G. Hammer Officer of the Month Award, which Emery received in a ceremony at Kendal at Ithaca Monday.
In addition to his duties as the member in charge of the state police satellite station in Newfield — the town where he grew up and now resides — Emery patrols the roads like everyone else, according to Sgt. Susan Lockyer, station commander of the state police Ithaca barracks.
“Trooper Emery is being recognized today not for one outstanding case but for the work he does day in and day out,” Lockyer said in a letter recommending Emery for the award. “Trooper Emery consistently handles more calls for service than any other trooper assigned to (State Police) Ithaca or Newfield, which demonstrates his commitment to the community he serves. In addition to patrolling, Emery takes care of the station’s maintenance needs and reviews other troopers’ paperwork, duties he handles with ease,” she said.
Emery received a standing ovation from the Kiwanis Club members, law enforcement personnel and others at the ceremony. District Attorney Gwen Wilkinson said that she was honored to serve with him.
Though Lockyer wasn’t present, state police Sgt. Kelly Daley, who is a zone sergeant, added to Lockyer’s accolades. Like Lockyer, Daley said Emery’s ties to the Newfield community make him a greater law-enforcement asset there, where he pursues cases like a bloodhound.
“It’s enjoyable to help people you grew up with,” Emery said to those gathered for the ceremony. Afterward, Emery remarked that troopers based at the Newfield station are responsible for “the whole west side of the lake,” including Newfield, Enfield, Trumansburg, Ulysses and Danby. The challenge, he added, is distance, which they meet with thorough patrolling.
“You travel a lot of miles and try to talk to a lot of people,” he said, praising the troopers he works with. Emery, who is also the chief of the Newfield Fire Department, said he liked the idea of public service, and applied to the state police and the Ithaca Fire Department.
“The state police called first,” he said with a smile.
BY Raymond Drumsta