Category Archives: Police News

Happy National Police Week!

national-police-week-2020In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week. Currently, tens of thousands of law enforcement officers from around the world converge on Washington, DC to participate in a number of planned events which honor those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

The Memorial Service began in 1982 as a gathering in Senate Park of approximately 120 survivors and supporters of law enforcement. Decades later, the event, more commonly known as National Police Week, has grown to a series of events which attracts thousands of survivors and law enforcement officers to our Nation’s Capital each year.

The National Peace Officers Memorial Service, which is sponsored by the Grand Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, is one in a series of events which includes the Candlelight Vigil, which is sponsored by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) and seminars sponsored by Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.)

National Police Week draws in between 25,000 to 40,000 attendees. The attendees come from departments throughout the United States as well as from agencies throughout the world. This provides a unique opportunity to meet others who work in law enforcement. In that spirit, the Fraternal Order of Police DC Lodge #1 sponsors receptions each afternoon and evening during Police Week. These events are open to all law enforcement personnel and are an experience unlike any other.

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!

 

Grapevine Police arrest a man for coughing into an officer’s face, claiming he has Coronavirus

NEWS RELEASE

Dechoudens, Jonathan

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GRAPEVINE, TX – Grapevine Police arrested a man for coughing into an officer’s face and claiming he had coronavirus. 27-year-old Jonathan Dechoudens is charged with Harassment of a Public Servant, a 3rd degree felony. 

On Friday, April 3, at approximately 12:45am, a Grapevine Police officer was sitting in his marked patrol unit in a parking lot off of Northwest Highway, with his driver’s side window down. Dechoudens ran up to his window and began to cough in his face, stating he was infected with coronavirus. When the officer confronted Dechoudens, he was told it was a joke. 

The officer, fearing exposure to the potentially life-threatening illness, called in additional units and medics to screen Dechoudens for symptoms. Once cleared, Jonathan Dechoudens was arrested and booked into jail. He was first booked for Terroristic Threat, but after consultation with the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office, the charge was changed to Harassment of Public Servant.

The Grapevine Police officer who was coughed on continues to monitor his health daily, and remains free of symptoms. He was cleared to continue working, and is temperature-checked before beginning each shift, as are all employees who enter the Grapevine Public Safety Building.

The Grapevine Police Department values the safety of the community and its officers, and will continue to ensure that all first responders do their part to slow the spread of the virus. This includes wearing personal protective gear (PPE) as needed, utilizing sanitizing liquids and wipes, and checking all suspects for symptoms of coronavirus before they are taken to jail. Anyone who claims they are trying to give the virus to another person will face charges.

Police allowed to issue tickets, make arrests for ‘shelter in place’ violations across North Texas

Author: Rebecca Lopez

ARLINGTON, Texas — They are being asked to protect and serve in ways they never imagined.

Law enforcement is tasked with making people comply with the shelter in place orders across the North Texas.

“We have to do what we have to do to make sacrifices in order to stop the spread of this virus,” said Sgt. Sheldon Smith, National Black Police Officers’ Association President.

Officers have the authority to stop people to make sure they are essential workers and not people just out and about. Dallas County was the first to issue a “shelter in place” order that began at midnight Tuesday.

Read more from WFAA…

Shannon Brewery and POAF have fun and raise money for our injured peace officers

SBC-Logo-e1479981872994Shannon Brewery‘s annual Back the Blue Event to benefit Peace Officers’ Angels Foundation was held on Saturday, March 7, 2020 from 12pm – 4pm. Many people came out to support POAF’s mission, which is assisting our critically injured men and women of law enforcement.

The event featured a BBQ truck, a menu of great beer from Shannon Brewery, a relaxed indoor and outdoor atmosphere, a 50/50 contest, in which lucky winners received prizes, good music and plenty of parking. POAF was able to get the crowd to come together to make a Public Service Announcement about the “Move Over” law, which protects officers and public workers from falling victim to being hit while on the side of the road.

ABOUT POAF:

POAF was founded in memory of Corporal Rick Barreda, son of founder Maria Barreda-Alvarado, who was killed in the line of duty on February 14, 1997.

CorporalRickBarredaSticker-295x300POAF is a 501(c)3 charitable organization.  All donations are tax deductible. Every dollar that is donated goes to assist or benefit our injured officers. POAF does not have any employees, nor pays a salary to our board members. We operate solely with volunteers.

I’m never going to pass up an opportunity no matter what time of day or night to let injured officers know that we are here for them and apply every ounce of the letter and the spirit of our mission to assist them and their families.” – Maria Barreda-Alvarado

StarOfTexasSliderIf you missed this event, and want to help the brave men and women behind the badge who keep us safe every day, you can always make a donation at poaf.org and/or let us know if you can volunteer to help! If you made a donation and need a receipt for tax purposes, please let us know at poaf.org.

We know that times are tough and some of us have decreased or temporarily suspended income because of COVID-19, but every dollar helps! Please stay safe and follow the mandates of your city, county, state and country. We pray for you all to stay safe – and remember that together, we can get through this! God bless. 

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Arlington police given free access to mental health services

The Arlington Police Department wants its officers to stay healthy in body and mind. It’s offering them no-cost mental health services.

The Blue Chip Program provides confidential mental health counseling to all Arlington police officers.

Read more from FOX4…

Homicide Investigation Underway in Grapevine

PRESS RELEASE

GRAPEVINE, Texas – Grapevine Police are investigating the death of a 35-year-old man whose body was found in a wooded area near an apartment complex.

At approximately 9:30 a.m. on January 1, 2020, a resident of Wildwood Creek Apartments looked out his window and saw a man lying face-down outside. He called 911, and paramedics determined the man was deceased.

Police found evidence of foul play, but are waiting on the medical examiner to establish the cause and time of death.

Investigators do not believe the victim lived at the apartment complex, nor do they believe anyone else is in danger.

Anyone with information is asked to call Grapevine Police immediately at (817) 410-8127.

Peace Officers’ Angels Foundation holding fundraisers to ease holiday worries for injured officers

POAF-LogoThe Peace Officers’ Angels Foundation (POAF) is holding fundraisers on December 6 and 7 to raise money for injured Peace Officers and their families who are located primarily in the North Texas area; however, the Foundation covers all 254 Texas counties.

“We are looking to help 20 – 25 injured Peace Officers and their families this year,” said POAF founder Maria Barreda-Alvarado. “In the past, we’ve had officers or members of their families tell us that what we were able to provide was the only ‘Christmas’ they had. Whether they use funds for their kids’ gifts, Christmas dinner, or to pay a bit on their medical bills, no donation is too small to make a big difference.”

Monetary donations and gift cards (Wal-Mart is a popular choice, as these stores are even generally located close to remote towns, where some Officers live) will be collected at the locations below. All donations are 100% tax-deductible.

Friday, December 6, 2019:

  • Gilligan’s Bar and Grill, 400 E. Abram, Arlington, 76010 (11am-2pm and 3pm-9pm)
  • Clay Cooley Mitsubishi, 1500 W. Interstate 20, Arlington, 76017 (8am-5pm)
  • Arlington Alliance for Children, 1320 W. Abram, Arlington 76013 (8am-5pm)
  • El Primo’s Mexican Grill & Cantina, 2300 Matlock Rd, Mansfield, 76063 (All Day)

POAFXmas

Saturday, December 7, 2019:

  • Grand Prairie Police Dept, 1525 Arkansas Lane, Grand Prairie, 75052 (8am-5pm)

GPAngels

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Please be aware that toys or other items cannot be accepted. Only monetary donations via cash, checks, credit cards and gift cards will be collected.

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Donations are also accepted via regular mail any time at: P.O. Box 121961, Arlington, TX 76012. To donate with a credit card, please visit POAF.org.

XmasAngels

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THANK YOU in advance for your kindness and generosity. Peace Officers protect their communities. Let’s help them out!

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About POAF:

CorporalRickBarredaSticker-295x300POAF was founded by Maria Barreda-Alvarado, who lost her son, Cpl. Rick Barreda, on February 14, 1997 when a vehicle struck his motorcycle as he sat on the side of the road gauging speeds for the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) Airport Police Department. Rick also served on the DFW SWAT team and, for a short time, for the DFW Fire Department.

POAF’s mission is, “To provide emotional support and short-term financial assistance to any Texas Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) following a serious or life changing line-of-duty injury. POAF’s success relies on strong community partnerships standing behind our peace officers and their families.”

“It is vitally important to keep that communication going with our injured officers so that they know that they are not forgotten. We want our injured officers to have that emotional support when they most need it,” said Barreda-Alvarado.

POAF provides services such as:

  • Spousal Support Groups for our LEO’s and their families
  • Peer Support Groups that will allow previous injured officers to come together to share their struggles, celebrate their successes and offer each other encouragement along their difficult journey towards healing and rehabilitation.
  • Assistance Program to help out with financial hardships
  • Public Awareness for the safety of our law enforcement

To learn more, visit POAF.org

Police pack Texas football stands for fallen officer’s son at his first game

By Allison Klein 

Screen Shot 2019-09-27 at 9.16.02 AM

Dozens of police officers showed up to support Joaquin Espericueta at his middle-school football game Saturday. (City of Mission)

It was Joaquin Espericueta’s first middle-school football game and his first game since his father was killed.His father, Jose “Speedy” Espericueta, a corporal with the Mission, Tex., police department, was fatally shot responding to a call in June — the department’s first officer killed in the line of duty in 40 years.

Everyone who knew Espericueta knew how much he bonded with his son over football and how excited he was for his son’s football debut on the Cathey Middle School team in McAllen, Tex.

Read more from the Washington Post…

Colleyville, Grapevine and Euless PDs address recent school threats

PRESS RELEASE

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