The grizzly bear claws, once sickle-shaped daggers used for digging and defending, could be dangling harmlessly now from the mirror of a pickup truck, or adorning a piece of jewelry such as a bracelet.
In 2009, three grizzly bears were illegally shot dead in northwest Montana. Adding insult to injury, two had their claws cut off.
Shooting grizzlies, a threatened species, is illegal. So is selling wildlife and animal parts such as claws.
Brian Lakes, a special agent for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who is investigating the Montana grizzly deaths, hopes to get his own claws into the perpetrators. But the cases are testing his investigative mettle.
Remote crime scenes in the wilderness, where Lakes walks the beat, do not easily give up their secrets.
“It’s the old paraphrase, ‘Shoot, shovel and shut up,’” Lakes said. “That’s common.”
The grizzly killings are just a sampling of the wildlife crimes Lakes and two other USFWS special agents investigate in Montana.
The agents are, in effect, G-men — only for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, not the FBI. Their job is investigating and solving federal crimes against wildlife such as grizzlies, eagles and fish and hunting the people who kill or sell them or both.
Lakes alone has 20 active cases on his desk. Some are routine.
“And then you have long-term, covert and undercover investigations,” he said.
Frozen forensic evidence is kept in a freezer at Lakes’ office outside of Great Falls.
Thank God there are still decent people around to help…
A 15-year-old schoolgirl says she tried to fend off other teenagers beating an off-duty police officer before helping to drag him to safety.
Constable John Connolly, who was walking his dog, and other residents had moved in to stop a fight when he was set upon by a group of youths.
Mr Connolly, 39, suffered serious injuries that include a fractured skull, multiple fractures to his face, a broken jaw, a broken ankle, a collapsed lung, and abrasions and bruises about the body.
He also lost teeth in the attack and was taken to Middlemore Hospital unconscious and in a critical condition.
The 15-year-old girl, who did not want to be identified, said her cousin had been challenged to a fight by a girl at Tuakau College.
She and three others went to the school to find her and things turned nasty when they left.
“A group of about 50 people came up to us and started asking for fights,” she told the Herald on Sunday.
“Then the cop came up and told us to break it up.”
At that point, “they just ended up gang-bashing him”, she said.
“I was trying to fend them off,” she said.
“Me and my cousin and my sister tried to pull everyone off him.”
The attackers fled and left Mr Connolly lying in the middle of the road.
“Me and another boy lifted him off the road on to the footpath,” the girl said.
“My sister called the police. He had a bleeding lip and a fractured head. He was knocked out for a while.”
Superintendent Mike Bush described the attack as serious and sustained and said Mr Connolly had come close to dying.
He said police and had a good idea who the offenders were, with gangs thought be involved.
About 30 or 40 people were present and they would all be interviewed, he said.
“We already have encouraging information which would suggest who the offenders for the attack are and will certainly be speaking to those people within a very short time.”
Mr Bush said police were particularly concerned that groups of people could turn on members of the public doing a good deed, regardless of whether they were off-duty police officers or not.”
He would not say if police believe some of the attackers were from Tuakau College.
He said anyone who saw the fight, including a bus driver and a truck driver who stopped at scene, should call police.
The Martinsville Police Department and the Henry County Sheriff’s Office will host the 2010 Senior Police Academy which begins next week.
Classes will be held for five consecutive Wednesday mornings beginning at 9:30 a.m. and ending at 11:30 a.m. from February 24 through March 24, 2010. A graduation ceremony will take place during the final session on March 24. Class meetings will be at the Salvation Army Headquarters, 603 South Memorial Boulevard in Martinsville, with the exception of one class which will be held in the Henry County Circuit Court room.
The academy has been designed to give participants a basic knowledge of the structure and essential operations of local law enforcement agencies and their role in the criminal justice system.
During the five-week program, participants will attend lectures addressing various topics of criminal law, the 21st Judicial District Court Services Unit, roles of school resource officers and the Commonwealth’s Attorneys Office, major incident response, mock trial, and the victim witness program.
To register, or if you have questions, please contact MPD Officer Coretha Gravely at (276)403-5323, or Henry County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Eric Hairston at (276)656–4213.
Dax, Savo, Czento, Tir and Bimbo will be some cool dogs this summer.
The five dogs that make up the K9 units in the Farmington and Bloomfield police departments will don Canine Exotherm Cool Vests as they go about their duties of sniffing out narcotics and suspects.
Ice packs in pouches on the inside of each vest sit against the dog’s body, keeping the animal’s temperature down in extreme heat.
Farmington police officer Dennis Ronk, who is Dax’s handler, says only a 4-degree change in body temperature can be fatal, and a dog that overheats once is more susceptible again.
A dog’s normal body temperature is 101.4 degrees.
The vests, which cost about $900 each, were purchased with a donation from Century 21 SoWesCo Realty.
Put about 200 police officers in a room full of cards and poker chips and the result is usually a few felony arrests.
But games of chance were not the focus Saturday night at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Bridgeton. Cops, cards and poker chips where there in abundance—the police were the players—but there was no gambling.
The occasion was the annual fundraiser for the Barwick/Newton National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund, and the poker tournament wasn’t about winning hands as much as lending a helping hand.
The Barwick/Newton fund pays the travel expenses for the survivors of slain police officers to travel to Washington D.C. to watch the name of their loved one added to the National Law Enforcement Memorial. The names of fallen officers are added each year in conjunction with National Police Week, this year in May.
It’s also more than a memorial service. Attendees usually stay as long as a week, and can make use of counseling services and children can attend a special camp, sponsored by Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS) another national organization.
Two Suffolk police officers helped save the life of a retired NYPD officer who was suffering from a heart attack in a Huntington bank on Friday.
Officer Anthony Leo responded to a Wachovia bank branch where bank employees were administering CPR to Brian Lynch, 49, of Smithtown, at approximately 9 a.m. Leo and Officer David Weymouth used an automatic external defibrillator to revive Lynch, who was in cardiac arrest.
Lynch, who retired one year ago from the NYPD and now works for Wachovia, was taken to Huntington Hospital for treatment.
Despite lacking $2,500 to cover total costs, Deputy Cassandra Hofich of the Fremont County Sheriff’s Department picked up the county’s new canine dog Thursday from Shallow Creek Kennel in Pennsylvania.
Fremont County Sheriff Kevin Aistrope said although the department doesn’t have enough money to purchase everything the dog needs right now, they did have enough to purchase the dog.
“The dog itself costs $8,800, but with everything else it needs, we’re looking at a total cost of around $13,500,” said Aistrope.
Hofich, who will be the dog’s handler, and the dog, will begin training March 1 in Grand Island. Training takes 13 weeks, and although the training itself is free, the department still needs to pay for lodging for Hofich, boarding for the dog, meals, a correction collar, muzzle, and a kennel at Hofich’s home, where the dog will reside once training has been completed.
“Cassandra has been with the department since March 2009 and requested to be the canine handler,” said Aistrope. “The dog will be with her at all times, including living with her.”
Gevaar, an 83-pound Dutch shepherd imported from Holland, was the department’s second K-9 officer and has been on-duty since 2005.
He is retiring partly because his age is creeping up on him — he turned eight in November — but more so because he was diagnosed with Lyme Disease two years ago. The disease has caused arthritis that is bearable most days but debilitating others.
“There are days when you’d think he’s three or four, and days when you think, ‘How much time does he have left?’ ” his handler, officer Jesse Weaver, said.
Chief Bret Anderson said Gevaar’s career got off to a rocky start — he went through two handlers before Weaver ultimately took over — but with that considered, he has served as expected.
Most K-9s will train with one officer and then stick with that officer throughout his approximately five- to eight-year career. Gevaar started training with one officer, but it didn’t work out, so he continued training with former K-9 handler Brian Landers.
The city of Stamford agreed to pay the medical bills of a police officer who was denied workers compensation after he shot and killed a chimpanzee, records show.
The officer, Frank Chiafari, shot the chimpanzee after it mauled and blinded a woman and then tried to get into his patrol car, police said. The officer was denied a claim for workers’ compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder, because state law only applies to police shootings of people, officials said.
Records obtained by The Associated Press on Friday indicate that, despite that rejection, the city did agree to pay the officer’s medical bills.
“The city did in fact pay his medical bills for counseling,” said Bob Lupinacci, spokesman for Mayor Michael Pavia.
For the first time since the arrest of their father’s accused killer, members of Chattahoochee Hills Police Lieutenant Mike Vogt’s family spoke publicly about their loss. Vogt was killed Monday when he was on his way to a traffic stop. Vogt’s family said they called the Chattahoochee Hills lieutenant a hero.
The man accused of killing the Chattahoochee Hills police officer was denied bond Thursday.
Judge James Altman denied bond for 44-year-old Robert Cook.
Cook faces several charges including murder, aggravated assault on a police officer and possession of a firearm during commission of a felony.
Police said Cook surrendered Wednesday afternoon, after SWAT teams surrounded his home.