Category Archives: National News

Getting a census taker visit when you’ve already responded

Census takers are now visiting households across the nation that have not yet responded. Understandably, some households that have already responded have expressed confusion over why they too are being visited. These visits are part of efforts to be absolutely sure that everyone is counted.

If you get a visit and you’ve already responded, please be patient and answer the census taker’s questions.

So if you’ve already responded to the 2020 Census, why might a census taker visit?

The most common reason is to clarify information about your address. You may have responded using your address instead of the Census ID printed on your census invitation. This ID links your response to your address so that you are counted in the right place. The Census Bureau has received millions of responses that used an address instead of a Census ID. Some of these addresses don’t match one already on the list, so follow-ups are needed with those to be sure they are counted in the right location.

If you’re in that situation, you may in fact get two visits — one to verify the address you responded with and another to get a response from your address the way it appears on the Census Bureau’s list.

“I know that being visited when you’ve already responded may be annoying, and even a bit confusing, but please be patient with our census takers — their work is critical to the mission of the Census Bureau and to your community receiving its fair share of funding for critical services,” said Census Director Steven Dillingham. “We are making sure that we count everyone in the right place and not leave anyone out.”

Senators file bill to keep U.S. on Daylight Saving Time until next fall

The two U.S. Senators from Florida say the nation has endured so much in 2020 that we shouldn’t have to deal with changing our clocks this fall.

Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott on Wednesday announced fast-tracked legislation that would keep the U.S. on Daylight Saving Time through November of 2021, preventing the country from “falling back” in a few weeks.  That would also prevent the “spring forward” time change in March of 2021 when the country typically returns to Daylight Saving Time.

The pair says it would provide “stability” for families amid the disruptions of COVID-19.

Read more from FOX4 News…

Financially challenged Irving residents face homelessness as assistance becomes hard to find, benefits running out

By Stacey Doud

Jones

Anthony Craig Jones

Anthony Craig Jones was known around the Irving area for almost four decades as a local homeless person that residents often saw as they drove or walked through town. He was most likely mentally ill but was a peaceful person.

His body was discovered in July in a building on a property across from an elementary school. The medical examiner estimated that he had been dead for about six months. He was identified using his dental records.

No one knows exactly what happened, but Jones was found under a blanket in a sleeping position. His death is not currently considered a homicide, and there is no information about any involvement with drugs and/or alcohol. He was estimated to be in his late 50’s at the time of discovery.

Shack copyA Memorial was held for Jones on August 8, organized and officiated by Pastor Dennis Webb of Bear Creek Community Church. Those who knew Jones said that he was a good guy with a lot of problems and no real resources.

Irving, like most cities and towns, has a percentage of the population that has no address except for a sidewalk or a park bench. There are some resources for food and clothing, including some churches that open up as emergency shelters, and there’s even very limited housing for homeless teens, but there is no shelter or “one-stop shop” for those in dire straits to visit. As it is difficult for the homeless to move around from place-to-place, even these resources can be out of reach.

However, these days, even residents who have homes or apartments are struggling with rent and mortgages, and some have even joined the homeless population, whether it be for a short or an extended time.

Right now, this is not a situation that is unique to Irving. It is a state and nationwide issue. From real estate fraud to scams that take advantage of the collective fear of COVID-19, folks are seeking help from landlords and banks, only to be told, “No,” or to have a fraudulent plan suggested to them to, “keep a roof over your family’s head.”

There have been people in drastic situations that have taken their financial needs to the Internet. Sites like GoFundMe.com are experiencing a significant uptake in the number of fundraisers posted.

RiveraRosa Rivera, a local resident, started a GoFundMe account after her apartment management gave her a 30-day eviction notice. She is unemployed because of the pandemic and her husband has been in and out of the hospital, finally losing a foot to complications of diabetes. He was the sole provider for the family at that time.

The description in her fundraising account lays out not only her need, but her embarrassment for having to ask for help as well, which is very common.

“I’m reaching out to all my family and friends for help. I currently find myself in an embarrassing and humiliating situation that I never thought I would be in,” said Rivera. “As a strong woman, we will try every last avenue to solve an issue until you have to humble yourself and realize that you have to ask for help because it’s what’s best for your kids.

“My apartment complex of more than 10 years provided me with a 30-day notice to vacate my apartment. The property manager will not renew my lease because of me consistently being late on my rent. I have tried to make arrangements with both the leasing office and the Corporate office with no results,” she posted.Fortunately, Rivera was able to contact an effective lawyer at Legal Aid and get her eviction deadline pushed back from 8/20 to 8/31. She updated her fundraising site to update those that had been helping. She used a portion of the $3,000 raised on GoFundMe to negotiate this change.

“My attorney in Legal Aid finally made contact with the property manager, allowing me more time. Instead of vacating on 8/20, I now have till 8/31. Of course, I had to pay the rest of the rent [which was] $461, which is where some of your blessings were applied to. I’m still looking for a place to accept me with my situation,” she posted.

Rivera is far from being alone. Many families are wondering where they will go, as many landlords and banks/mortgage companies are not working with customers in an effort to reach a compromise, or an agreement, that will benefit both parties.

For more information about coronavirus scams, click HERE.

To read some tips for personal financial recovery under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and. Economic Security Act (CARES), click HERE. The CARES Act deals primarily with businesses right now, but there are some helpful links to sites that may assist homeowners or renters find aid or recover their finances.

And, of course, there is the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which helps place families in need of housing. Unfortunately, their waiting list is fairly long because of COVID. To learn more, click HERE.

To learn more about legal aid services in Irving, click HERE.

While this housing climate is not unique to Irving, it is up to the City’s “Powers that Be” to craft a plan for aid, resources, and perhaps even shelters, as November is quickly approaching.

Editor’s Corner -Dallas riots: How does violence bring about peace?

Closed copyI went to downtown Dallas yesterday to take pics of the carnage after the non-peaceful protests the weekend before.

For those of you who are not aware, an unarmed black man, George Floyd, died when FOUR police officers held him down while he was handcuffed in Minneapolis, MN. One of the officers put his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck, which may have led to his demise. All four officers have been fired (even the three that were non-white) and a Grand Jury will determine their fate. I know they’ll never work in law enforcement again, at the very least.

When I first saw the video, I thought that (ex-) Officer Chauvin, the cop with the knee on the neck (the practice of which has been obliterated from most police agencies across the country, but sadly and obviously, is still used at times), was an obvious murderer. Mr. Floyd can be heard saying, “I can’t breathe!” Yet Chauvin did not get up, nor did his fellow officers try to stop him.

Bland copyFloyd was under arrest for trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill. He did resist getting into the police vehicle, falling down on purpose. But as far as I know, there was no prior resistance to the arrest except for Floyd quoting the NWA song, “F*** the Police.” I don’t know why it took four officers to subdue a mostly peaceful criminal. But then again, I could only see a few minutes of this event that unfolded in much more than 10 minutes.

Two autopsies were done, and both found that the manner of death was homicide. But the two reports were a bit different. The autopsy report from the Hennepin County Medical Examiner claimed that Floyd died from a heart attack, noting that Floyd had arteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease, was high on the drug fentanyl and had recently used methamphetamine.

The Floyd family had their own independent autopsy done which concluded that Floyd had died of “mechanical asphyxia,” which is basically the restriction of blood and oxygen to the brain, and is consistent with the knee on neck position.

Crowdus copySo why was I sent to downtown Dallas? This happened in Minnesota.

It is my belief that people were already on edge due to COVID, and when this happened, the anger broke loose all over the country. What I do not understand is why people think that violence is the proper response to violence. Dallas is thousands of miles away from Minneapolis. I do understand that colored people are sick and tired of police brutality directed at their race. As a white person, I can only understand on the fringe, though being a volunteer with the NAACP has taught me a lot. And it’s not like ONLY black people were protesting.

It was sad to walk down Main Street in Dallas and see the needless destruction. Very few pedestrians were walking about, but vehicular traffic seemed to be normal. So many businesses were boarded up and closed. It is my understanding that, despite the 7pm curfew, that downtown was preparing for more riots. A few protests were held just outside of the curfew zone in Dallas last night, but the biggest news was a protest in Arlington.

What is this world we live in? When will the Coronavirus cease to be a threat? When will people stop being on edge? When will violence about something that happened thousands of miles away stop?

I wish I could tell you. But in the meantime, stay safe and please express your opinions peacefully. Even George Floyd’s brother asked for peace. If he can rise above what happened, then we all can.

88% of Americans now using face masks, 29% Say They May Never be Comfortable Shopping in Stores Again

BY 

My-Post-156A new nationwide survey from Fast shows that the vast majority of Americans – 88% – are now using face masks, but 19% want to personally receive a COVID-19 vaccine before they feel safe shopping in stores again, while another 29% say they may never be comfortable buying in person again.

Even as additional businesses are starting to reopen around the country, Fast’s survey found that 22% of Americans are shopping more online specifically to avoid wearing face masks in stores. Additional mask usage habits include:

  • 58% wear masks in stores
  • 51% wear them in crowds where they can’t maintain 6-foot social distancing
  • 41% wear masks when required by a business or government
  • 35% wear them every time they go outside
  • 24% wear masks at work
  • 10% never wear a mask

Read more from Texas News Today…

How Many Flat Tires Are Worth an Officer’s Life?

By Chief Scott Hughes, CoP in Hamilton Township, OH

spike-strip-1Since the development of the tire deployment device (TDD), not a year has passed without the loss or serious injury of officers involved with their use—be it preparing for deployment, executing deployment, or post-deployment retrieval. Already, after just four months, 2020 has proven to be no different. These tragedies should make us rethink how we end high speed chases. Before diving into this subject, I will admit that in my younger years I, too, placed myself in some “risky” situations while deploying TDDs. If the suspect’s vehicle had swerved one way or another, I most likely would have become another statistic. I was lucky. 

Since 2000, an alarming number of officers have been killed during TDD-related incidents. Of those, over half were killed during some step of employing the devices on an interstate or state highway. In many cases, the suspect’s vehicle was traveling at very high speed, with one documented case of two female suspects traveling in excess of 140 M.P.H. when they struck and killed two police officers in Tennessee.

The risks of TDDs are inherently obvious and steps to mitigate those risks vary; from restricting use to complete prohibition. Cincinnati Police Department implemented a restrictive route after a young sergeant was hit by a pickup truck that was struck by a vehicle driven by a suspect who was high on heroin and fleeing police. The sergeant was in a coma for more than a week and sustained multiple serious injuries including a traumatic brain injury, a broken skull, fractured neck and a dissected carotid artery. He spent a year in a rehab center and ultimately took a medical disability retirement from the department.

The Dallas Police Department chose a more preemptive course of action, completely banning the use of TDDs several years ago. Although at the time of the decision, no Dallas officers had been injured or killed using the devices, but then Assistant Chief Mike Genovesi said, “It’s an officer safety issue. In a perfect world, they can be effective, but I have seen too many instances where the reality we live in is far from that. There’s a lot of danger, a lot of safety issues with them.”

Regardless of the chosen policy, I’m sure we can all agree on one thing. If your officers are given the option to use TDDs, they MUST be trained. That leads to the core question: How much training do we actually conduct on proper TDD deployment? In fact, how much training do we conduct—period—in a profession with so much risk?

While researching this article, I reviewed an instructor’s manual from a popular TDD manufacturer. The manual discusses how to deploy the device and even recommends having “all participants go to a controlled area (i.e., parking lot, large room, etc.) to demonstrate their proficiency in safely deploying…”

Herein lies the problem with not just TDDs, but the majority of our high risk/low frequency tasks in law enforcement. Out of the 30 officers killed in the last 20 years deploying TDDs, none of them were killed in a parking lot with no traffic, and certainly none were killed in a large room.

Are we failing our officers? You bet!

How many times have you heard an administrator, politician, community activist, or member of the media comment on the need to change law enforcement training? Yet, what’s our response? Making virtually no changes that will have a significant impact on the safety and lives of our officers. Of course, I admit there are certainly exceptions to this. However, when you look at our profession from a 30,000-foot view, what are we doing to combat the true risks our officers face on the streets? Are we incorporating reality and appropriate levels of stress into our training curriculums? Having officers deploy TDDs in a large room or a vacant parking lot will only contribute to the problem. These unrealistic settings will not prepare them to deal with the sudden onset of acute stress – which is exactly what occurs during a high-speed pursuit.

Many agencies have been using PIT maneuvers and rolling roadblocks for decades. However, in some departments these actions are prohibited and violate policy. Why would we allow officers to chase a suspect for miles and miles when a properly performed PIT maneuver could end the threat almost immediately? Liability? Fear of damage to a police cruiser and replacing a bumper? Seriously?

This is the issue. As leaders, we have to change the way we think. (By the way, for those of you utilizing the PIT and/or rolling roadblocks, kudos)! The cost to replace a bumper or fix damage to a police car is nothing compared to burying a police officer.

Legislative changes need to be enacted in parts of the country that make fleeing from the police – regardless of the crime, distance, speed, or suspect’s past – a crime that immediately results in mandatory prison time. Send a message to those who flee: your actions will make jail time certain.

If you are going to continue utilizing TDDs, here are some tips and reminders on do’s and don’ts for deployment:

  • Under no circumstances should TDDs be used on Interstate highways. NO EXCEPTIONS!
  • Officers should be cognizant of the lack of visibility when deploying TDDs at night or in adverse weather conditions.
  • Agencies should prohibit the use of TDDs when suspect speeds become excessive.
  • Any officer preparing to deploy a TDD should confirm that pursuing units are aware of his/her location and significantly reduce their speed when approaching the location of the TDDs.
  • If a suspect vehicle successfully “hits” the TDDs, the officer deploying the TDD should immediately notify the pursuing units and advise when the TDDs and involved officers have cleared the roadway, making it safe to pass the location.

Fortunately, the overwhelming majority of TDD deployments are successful and officers take the violators into custody. Therefore, TDDs will most likely continue to be a tool utilized by many law enforcement agencies. Technology is also improving and new tools are being developed to assist law enforcement in apprehending fleeing vehicles. From GPS tracking darts to remote controlled TDDs, we are making improvements in ways to successfully end high speed chases.

A fellow chief who I hold in high regard shared one of the most profound statements I’ve heard in my career:

“Risk is baked into the cake of law enforcement.”

That simple observation stuck with me. We’ve all chosen to eat the cake. It’s what we do. But the deeper you bite in, the more risk you choose to accept. I’m not saying that’s a bad decision. It’s not. But it’s a decision we need to make wisely and with great planning.

The key is training. If you choose to prohibit the use of TDDs, I respect and understand that decision. If you choose to continue to allow your officers the option of using TDDs, then train them! Train them WELL, while seriously considering steps you can take as an administrator to mitigate the risks they may not fully consider in real-time in the field.

Be safe, be smart, be successful!

 

DEA-led operation nets more than 600 arrests targeting Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación

NEWS RELEASE

DEADALLAS – The Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration today announced the results of Project Python, a DEA-led multilateral interagency operation encompassing all global investigations and related disruption activities targeting the Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG).

This announcement marks the successful conclusion of six months of investigative and enforcement activity targeting CJNG, culminating in large scale arrests throughout the country within the past week. Project Python has resulted in the arrests of more than 500 CJNG associates, 350 indictments, as well as significant seizures of money and drugs.

“Project Python is the single largest strike by U.S. authorities against CJNG, and this is just the beginning,” said Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon. “This strategic and coordinated project exemplifies DEA’s mission: to disrupt, dismantle, and destroy drug trafficking organizations around the world and bring their leaders to justice. Today, DEA has disrupted CJNG’s operations, and there is more to come as DEA continues its relentless attack on this remorseless criminal organization.”

“Project Python marks the most comprehensive action to date in the Department of Justice’s campaign to disrupt, dismantle, and ultimately destroy CJNG,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Criminal Division. “When President Trump signed an Executive Order prioritizing the dismantlement of transnational criminal organizations, the Department of Justice answered the call and took direct aim at CJNG. We deemed CJNG one of the highest-priority transnational organized crime threats we face. And with Project Python, we are delivering results in the face of that threat for the American people.”

“The DEA Dallas Field Division joins our brothers and sisters nationwide to take the fight to the CJNG. Project Python is another example of leveraging our resources, partnerships, and expertise, to destroy the distribution networks operating in North Texas and Oklahoma,” said Dallas DEA Special Agent in Charge, Eduardo A. Chávez.

The Justice Department and its law enforcement partners are committed to fulfilling the President’s Executive Order 13773 to identify, interdict, disrupt and dismantle transnational criminal organizations. The department designated CNJG as one of the top transnational criminal groups targeted as part of carrying out this executive order, and DEA instituted Project Python as part of this ongoing effort. 

CJNG is one of the fastest growing transnational criminal organizations in Mexico, and among the most prolific methamphetamine producers in the world. It is responsible for a significant proportion of drugs entering the United States, and elevated levels of violence in Mexico. With methamphetamine abuse and overdose deaths on the rise, Project Python aims to disrupt CJNG’s ability to distribute methamphetamine and other drugs throughout the United States by attacking the group at all levels. 

Federal law enforcement has taken a number of steps to degrade CJNG’s ability to operate in the United States. Today, the Justice Department and DEA announced a superseding indictment on charges of alleged continuing criminal enterprise against Nemesio Ruben Oseguera Cervantes, also known as “El Mencho,” the undisputed leader of CJNG. Last month, El Mencho’s son, Ruben Oseguera Gonzalez, also known as “Menchito,” and second in command of CJNG, was extradited from Mexico to the United States on charges of alleged drug trafficking and firearm use in relation to drug trafficking activities. On Feb. 26, 2020, El Mencho’s daughter, Jessica Johanna Oseguera Gonzalez, was arrested in the United States on financial charges related to her alleged criminal violation of the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act.

Additionally, DEA has worked with its interagency partners to apply further pressure to CJNG. The U.S. Department of Treasury has designated El Mencho as a “specially designated narcotics trafficker” pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, and the U.S. Department of State has issued one of the largest narcotics rewards ever – $10 million – for information leading to the arrest of El Mencho.

In our [the DFW] area, 6 indictments have been secured against CJNG associates, and DEA has made 12 arrests and executed 8 search warrants related to Project Python.

The efforts highlighted in the more than 600 arrests nationwide are illustrative of the significant reach the CJNG has in manufacturing, importing, and distributing a wide array of illegal narcotics within the United States and the negative impact on the fabric of our local communities. The proceeds from the local distribution of these narcotics are repatriated back to Mexico and further fuel transnational organized crime organizations such as the CJNG. The Department of Justice and its law enforcement partners will continue to vigorously fight this scourge against the United States. 

The Department of Justice’s multi-agency Special Operations Division, federal prosecutors from the Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section of the Department’s Criminal Division, the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs and Office of Enforcement Operations provided invaluable support to this operation.

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It’s about time to turn back time!

Doesn’t it make you feel powerful to gain an extra hour in your day as you “Fall Back” on Sunday, November 3? Yeah, me neither. Maybe if everyone in the country (except for those lucky souls in AZ and HI) weren’t doing the same, I’d feel like a mediocre time traveler. Alas…it is not to be. 

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House launches Trump impeachment inquiry

By Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes and Amanda Wills, CNN

What we know so far:

Read more from CNN…

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Nancy Pelosi (L) and President Trump

We Will Never Forget

Here are some photos from the aftermath of Grapevine’s ceremony this morning at the 9/11 Memorial on NW Highway at Texan Trail. It was obvious that there was an outpouring of love and remembrance. The City of Grapevine has photos of the ceremony on their Facebook Page.