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Ever since Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Darren Goforth lost his life at a gas pump recently, deputies can’t help but feel anxious.
“You shouldn’t be afraid to get gas or have your hand on your hip when you get gas,” Deputy Tommi Kelley remarked to CBS Houston affiliate KHOU-TV.
But Kelley wasn’t alone the last time she needed to fill up, the station reports.
“He walked up behind me and said, ‘Ma’m, ma’m,’ so our first reaction is, ‘Yes?”‘ said Kelley.
“I was like, ‘Can I watch you pump your gas,”‘ said McKinley Zoellner. “She asked me why and I said to make sure you’re safe.”
R.I.P., Mica. Job well done!
Police in Weare are mourning the department’s K-9, Mica, who died from cancer this week.Mica was with the department for four years, and police said she was a lifesaver who galvanized the community during her battle with cancer.
Begin said Mica was the department’s first K-9, purchased with the help of a local businessman. With her partner, Sgt. Joseph Kelley, Mica is credited with catching fugitives and finding drugs.
Over 160 K9s and Officers from around the State were busy at work in Bend and Redmond today.
It’s training for police K9s, putting them in real life scenarios.
Patrol and Narcotic dogs went through various exercises with their Officers.
The Narcotics dogs were lead into rooms with many distractions–the drugs hidden inside.
“The big goal is lots of contamination, food, animals that type of thing. It’s a huge distraction for them,” says Bruce Kelley, President Oregon Police K9 Association.
New speed limits and tougher consequences for not wearing seat belts are ahead for Metro officers.
But News 3’s Sophia Choi and the Crime Tracker Team learned that an even bigger challenge than changing the rules is changing the habits and culture of police work.
When two officers died this year in high-speed crashes after not wearing their seat belts, Metro knew quickly that getting officers to slow down and buckle up was priority number one. Policies in support of these goals should be final within two weeks.
But there’s an even tougher mission ahead focusing on one word: culture.
Chris Collins, president of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, knows what Metro’s culture was when he joined in 1984.
Collins: That culture is that the seat belt is cumbersome. It takes time to get out of the car.
Sophia Choi: Did you wear a seat belt?
Collins: I did not. And I don’t say that proudly. I say that because it was the culture at the time. When I hired on the state law did not exist for seat belts for anyone – citizens or police officers or anyone.
It became law for citizens and policy for Metro but that was a slow change that some officers still struggle with.
“If you stop the car and someone runs, there’s always been the myth that, you know, I’ll forget to take the seat belt off and get caught up in the seat belt and not be able to get out.”
Police driving expert Ron Kelley says those fears are no excuse.
“It goes back to lead by example. How can you expect the public to wear safety belts if your officers are not wearing safety belts?”
And the no seat belt culture isn’t just a Metro problem: On Internet sites like Officer.com you can find officers from around the country talking about ways to cheat the safety program.
One post from Missouri even talks about keeping “everyone sane while cruising in high crime areas with your seat belt off.” The poster explains how to disable the audible seat belt alarm in a Crown Victoria, the most common police car across the country.
An L.A. County officer also suggests asking for a seat belt extender on OfficerStore.com. Online catalogs for police officers suggest these devices, designed to extend a seat belt around an officer’s heavily equipped belt.
But they can also be used to trick the car into thinking a seat belt is in use. Yet another kind of belt extender from Officer.com pushes the “release” higher in the car to make belting in easer.
Metro, Henderson, and North Las Vegas Police allow these kinds of seat belt extenders as long as they’re not used to circumvent the car’s safety features.
A second part of police culture is the focus on responding quickly to a call for help.
“When that radio goes off they want to get there and help,” Collins continues. “Their goal is not to be driving crazy, not to get themselves hurt in car accidents or hurt anybody else (but) to get there and help save someone’s life. Sometimes doing that you get caught up in the moment and you drive a little faster than maybe you should.”
In May, Officer James Manor crashed and died while trying to get to a call; he was traveling 107 miles her hour in an area where the speed limit was 45 miles per hour. And Officer Milburn Beitel died in October when he crashed while going 71 miles per hour, also in a 45 mile per hour zone.
“Metro’s policy clearly states that officers must use good judgment while driving in order to protect both themselves and the public,” said Sheriff Gillespie at a recent press conference. “These recent tragedies have brought to light a nationwide problem of police officers not wearing seat belts. We enforce the rules and we also set the example. We have both the responsibility and obligation to drive in a safe and prudent manner.”
However, neither officer was wearing a seat belt.
“Officers should need to start thinking that they need to drive with due regard for their own life first and if they do that, then they’ll be in due regard with other citizens lives who are out on the streets with them,” suggests Kelley.
Patrol Captain Mike Dalley of Metro’s Enterprise Area Command reinforces Gillespie’s message daily.
Captain Dalley: We enforce the laws; we need to handle our laws as well. There’s been a discussion about getting in and out of cars and things of that nature, but to us that’s just going to have to change. We’re going to change the culture.
Collins: That culture will change. It will take time. It’s not going to happen overnight.
Sheriff Gillespie: We understand changing policy, as well as culture, is a process and it takes time to do it right.
Other police agencies are going through the same cultural changes as Metro: Illinois State Police recently instituted a speed cap similar to the one Metro plans to adopt later this month.
While the Crime Tracker Team found Metro officers and officers from other local police agencies who participate in Officer.com, no local officers were involved in any conversation regarding seat belt extenders.
By Sophia Choi
Seven Chula Vista police officers whose controversial promotions were rescinded two months ago have been reinstated to their higher ranks by new Police Chief David Bejarano.
Police Department officials announced the promotions yesterday, and police union president Buddy Magor confirmed that they are the same officers who were elevated in rank in July by former Chief Rick Emerson and demoted by City Manager Jim Sandoval the same week.
At the time, Sandoval said he had given express orders that the new chief should be the one to make promotions and that, as city manager, he had to personally approve any new hires or changes in pay because of budget constraints.
Emerson, who had announced his retirement in April, said he followed protocol in making the promotions. He quit rather than rescind them, and the police union later filed a grievance with the Human Resources Department objecting to the demotions.
Magor said he is pleased with Bejarano’s decision.
“We obviously support his decision,” Magor said. “Our dismay is still with the city manager.”
Sandoval said he also supports Bejarano’s decision.
“I’m happy for all the individuals,” he said. “I’m sure they deserved it. I always thought the new chief should be the one to make decisions on promotions.”
Officers Dan Peak, Martin Bolger and Chris Kelley were promoted to the rank of sergeant. Bartt Benjamin, Brandi Winslow and David Beatty were promoted to detective.
The Kay County(OK) Sheriff’s Office has been so overwhelmed by donations to help more than 100 dogs involved in an animal cruelty case that it wants people to hold onto their gifts for now.
The county is caring for 102 pit bull terriers that were seized from a farm outside Newkirk in north-central Oklahoma where the owner was arrested on animal cruelty and dogfighting complaints.
Undersheriff Steve Kelley says people have donated more than 350 bags of food, along with doghouses, bowls, hay and $3,500 in cash. The problem is that the county is running out of room to keep the donations.
A court is expected to rule this week on what will happen to the dogs next.
NEWARK, N.J. – As a New Jersey state trooper, Dwayne Kelley’s life was aimed at protecting the public. He lost his life doing the same thing in Iraq as an Army reservist.
On Friday, a group organized by U.S. Marines expressed their gratitude by making sure his daughter’s education is protected.
Mushirah Kelley received a $25,000 scholarship from the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation so she can complete her final year of college in Philadelphia.
Her father, Army Maj. Dwayne Kelley, was killed in a bombing June 24 in Baghdad where his civil affairs unit worked to restructure government and rebuild infrastructure. He was also a detective sergeant 1st class in the New Jersey State Police counterterrorism unit.
“He was a trooper, I was a trooper, so we made a special arrangement to do this,” said Michael A. Fedorko, a Marine veteran who rose through State Police ranks to serve as superintendent in 1999 and is now involved with the foundation.
The foundation generally gives scholarships to children of Marines killed in action, said Fedorko.
Mushirah Kelley, 21, is entering her senior year at University of the Arts where she is majoring in communications and Web design, state police Lt. Michael Parmenter said.
“She’s an exceptional student,” Parmenter said.
Without the scholarship, “Her education would be dependent on college loans,” he said.
The scholarship was presented to Mushirah Kelley and her stepmother at State Police headquarters in Ewing Township during a meeting of top commanders, officials said.
Dwayne Kelley, 48, a native of Willingboro who lived with his wife and daughter in South Orange, served in the Army before joining the state police in 1988. An Arabic speaker, he was serving in Baghdad after volunteering for a third tour of duty.
He died during the bombing of a district council building in the Sadr City section that killed nine others, including two other Americans working to restore local government in the former Shiite militia stronghold.