Guns at School? If There’s a Will, There Are Ways

CLARKSVILLE, Ark. — The slim, black 9-millimeter handguns that the school superintendent David Hopkins selected for his teachers here weigh about a pound and slip easily into a pocket. Sixteen people, including the janitor and a kindergarten teacher, wear them to school every day.

Although state law prohibits guns on campus, Mr. Hopkins found a way around it.

Like rural educators who are quietly doing the same thing in a handful of other states, Mr. Hopkins has formulated a security plan that relies on a patchwork of concealed-weapons laws, special law enforcement regulations and local school board policies to arm teachers.

Without money to hire security guards for the five schools he oversees, giving teachers nearly 60 hours of training and their own guns seemed like the only reasonable, economical way to protect the 2,500 public school students in this small town in the Ozark foothills.

“Realistically, when you look at a person coming to your door right there with a firearm, you’ve got to have a plan,” Mr. Hopkins said. “If you have a better one, tell me.”

After the Newtown, Conn., rampage last December, 33 states considered new legislation aimed at arming teachers and administrators, according to an analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Only 5 enacted laws that expanded the ability for public educators to arm themselves at school.

Still, some teachers and administrators around the country have carried guns for years under state or local laws that impose few restrictions on where concealed weapons can be carried.

“It’s a fairly common practice among the schools that do not have sworn officers,” said Asa Hutchinson, a former congressman and a candidate for governor in Arkansas. He recently led the National Rifle Association’s school safety initiative, which produced a 225-page report that advocated armed security officers or, in some cases, armed teachers in every public school.

Mr. Hutchinson said he recently spoke with a superintendent in Arkansas who had been carrying a firearm for 10 years. The district was among 13 in the state, including Clarksville, that have special permission to use rules designed for private security firms to arm their staff members.

Just before the school year began, the state suspended the practice temporarily after Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued an opinion that school districts could not act as private security companies. This month, however, a state board voted to allow the districts to continue using the law until the legislature reconsiders the issue in two years.

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N.J. Plan Would Allow Searches Without Warrants For Underage Drinking

MONTVILLE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A proposed ordinance in Montville, New Jersey could give police officers broad powers – including entering private property – if underage drinking is even suspected.

As CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported, the proposal has some people questioning just how far police should be allowed to go.

Residents value their privacy in the upscale community of Montville in Morris County. But the proposed ordinance could change all of that.

Police officers under the ordinance could search homes with probable cause, and without a warrant, if they suspect underage drinking.

“I am not in favor of them just coming into the homes, because there – other people have said – there are children that do make mistakes on various occasions, and that’s more of a parent responsibility rather than a police responsibility,” said Anna Marie Cecire of Montville.

The proposal is so controversial that when it was heard in a local committee room, a vote was postponed until members could hear from the police chief.

But another aspect of the plan does appeal to residents. While teens caught drinking face criminal charges under state law, officers under the Montville proposal could choose to let underage drinkers face lesser penalties.

“They are kids, and kids make mistakes, and they need to understand the consequences, but I don’t think it needs to be on their college application or somehow affect them in the future,” said guidance counselor Debbie Meenan.

Despite that, some 17-year-olds in Montville said the proposed ordinance gives police too much discretion.

“I just feel that it’s not really their business to be going into people’s houses,” said high school senior Brendan Zevits. “If you want to do that, you need to get a warrant.”

“Just coming in our houses searching – eventually, it’s going to turn into hunches and all that, and once you base it on a hunch, then it’s all downhill from there,” said high school senior Stephen McManus.

The mayor, committee members and the police chief do not appear to want to talk about the proposal, Sloan reported. None of them returned CBS 2’s calls.

One town official said the ordinance, which also imposes fines of up to $350, is vague in some areas. For that reason, it will be heard again on Sept. 23.

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FBI boss ‘concerned’ by smartphone encryption plans

Plans by Apple and Google to do more to protect customers’ privacy have made the FBI “very concerned”.

Speaking to reporters, FBI boss James Comey said the plans to enable encryption by default could thwart law enforcement investigations.

Lives could depend on police forces continuing to get access to the data on devices used by criminals and terrorists, he said.

The FBI was talking to both Apple and Google about its fears, said Mr Comey.

Protect privacy
The conversations with tech firms needed to be had before the day when police forces lost access to those devices, he said.

“I’d hate to have people look at me and say, ‘Well how come you can’t save this kid?’ ‘How come you can’t do this thing?’” said Mr Comey in a briefing.

His comments came in reaction to a decision by Apple to enable a file encryption system on its iOS 8 software for which it has no keys. This means it would not be able to comply with any official request to help police get at the data on those devices.

Google has said it too is planning to enable a similar encryption system by default on the next version of Android.

Mr Comey said he was “very concerned” about these plans because of what they would allow people to do.

“What concerns me about this is companies marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves beyond the law,” he said.

“I am a huge believer in the rule of law, but I am also a believer that no-one in this country is beyond the law,” he added.

Apple and Google have yet to respond to Mr Comey’s comments.

Ten days prior to Mr Comey’s press statement, iOS data forensics expert Jonathan Zdziarski pointed out that Apple’s encryption system would not stop police getting at data on portable devices.

Specifically weakening security systems just to aid the police was a bad decision, he said.

“For the sake of privacy and overall security, the only logical solution is to make products as secure as possible, and let good detective work do the crime solving, rather than an easy button,” he wrote in a blogpost.

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Facebook helps catch Phoenix woman for insurance fraud

PHOENIX (CBS5)-A Phoenix woman tried to get away with $26,500 after claiming she lost her wedding rings.

But her lie was uncovered when Facebook photos surfaced of her wearing the distinctive rings, according to the Arizona Department of Insurance.

In June 2013, Maria Apodaca Simmons made a claim on her policy through Travelers Insurance Company for rings she said she lost while swimming in the Pacific Ocean a few days after her wedding in May.

She also filed a $14,000 claim on her husband’s wedding band in October 2013, claiming it was lost while he was swimming on vacation.

A State Farm employee thought something was fishy after she interviewed Simmons about her husband’s ring.

Simmons was wearing the rings that matched the photos from the appraisal she used for the Travelers policy, and the state Department of Insurance investigators were called in. They discovered a Facebook page with a photo of her wearing the same rings.

A search warrant was issued and the rings were found.

Simmons first said the rings were duplicates, but the jeweler told investigators that he had only made the one set.

On Tuesday, Simmons pleaded guilty to two counts of insurance fraud, and as part of a plea deal, she’ll be put on probation and pay $26,953.60 to Travelers Insurance and $1,005.11 to the Department of Insurance for investigative costs.

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A Police Dog Can Smell the USB Drive You’re Hiding

Even in the digital age, you can teach old dogs new tricks.

In 1986, police trained the first dog in the world to sniff out arson with the help of Jack Hubball, who identified accelerants that the canines could focus on. He then moved on to help police train dogs to detect narcotics and bombs.

The chemist’s latest trick? Getting dogs to pick up the scent for laptops, digital cameras and those easy-to-conceal USB drives. Devices such as these are often used to stash illegal materials like child pornography, which the FBI says is growing fast. The agency estimates that some 750,000 predators are online at any given moment with victims often found in chatrooms and on social networks.

To crack computer crimes, the 26-year forensics-lab veteran based in Connecticut had to first identify the chemicals associated with electronic-storage devices. Hubball took circuit boards, hard disks and flash drives of computers and tested each component. He narrowed the analysis down to a single common chemical, which police declined to specify or describe.

Two trainers, Mike Real and Mark Linhard, then worked with a couple of dogs who had flunked out of New York City’s Guiding Eyes for the Blind program, a black Labrador named Selma and later a golden Labrador named Thoreau. They excelled at this new endeavor.

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TSA: Woman arrested after luggage found to contain guns, ammo, pot

A woman traveling to Barbados on a Canadian passport was arrested at Kennedy Airport after Transportation Security Administration officers found two disassembled handguns, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and 33 pounds of marijuana concealed in her luggage, authorities said Monday.

Nyesha McPherson, 24, of Scarborough, Ontario, was arrested in Terminal 5 at 6:30 a.m. Sunday, port officials said.

Port Authority spokesman Joseph Pentangelo said the woman was scheduled to travel on a JetBlue flight and had not arrived on a connecting flight. The incident was uncovered when TSA officers pulled the woman’s bags off a conveyor and determined they were unusually heavy, he said.

Suspicious TSA officers then opened two pieces of checked baggage and found what was described as being “jam-packed with cans and boxes for baby wipes, coffee, floor-dusting sheets, lemonade mix, iced tea mix” — and a box of cat litter and a box of laundry tablets.

“But,” the TSA said in a statement Monday, “none of those boxes or cans contained the products on the labels.”

Instead, agents found two disassembled .40-caliber handguns, 350 rounds of ammunition, four magazines to load bullets into the handguns and 58 “bricks” of marijuana — a total of 33 pounds of pot, officials said.
All the items, the TSA said, were “artfully concealed in the boxes, tubs and cans.”

McPherson was charged with first-degree criminal possession of marijuana, third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, criminal possession of a firearm, possession of high-capacity magazines and possession of ammunition.
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Ford’s Surveillance Mode Offering

The American automaker – Ford Motors (NYSE:F) – developed new features to help protect police officers when faced with rear attacks. The company has added the rear attack feature known as ‘’surveillance mode’’ on Ford (NYSE:F) Taurus which gives the cops a signal that they are being attacked from the car’s rear end. This is known as the Police Interceptor, which acts by utilizing the cars proximity radar and rear view mirror.

Therefore if some foe was to appear at the back end of the car, the system will first of all warn the officer with a sound. The sound is that of a chime after which the police officer’s driver-side window goes all the way up. Following this all the doors are immediately locked and exterior lights are turned on. This safety procedure aims to keep the police officer inside the vehicle at all times and safe at all times while on duty.

The basic reason for this setup is so that the police officer will have a few more moments to devise a plan to get rid of the unwanted enemy. These extra seconds are life saving moments at times and can help save the lives of our heroes.

By creating awareness about the surroundings, Ford (NYSE:F) helps those people who sit in their vehicles trying to fill out paperwork or those working, who do not have much knowledge about what is going on in the parking lot behind them. By activating the feature, the officer can surely detect whether danger lurks behind the corner or not.

When a stranger is behind the car then the camera will turn on automatically making it visible as to the police officer who it is. However, in places where it is certain that no such danger exists, the surveillance mode can be turned off.

Ford (NYSE:F) said in one of its statements that sometimes officers are busy with tasks in their vehicles such as report writing or monitoring, hence the surveillance mode will give them a heads up on enemy attacks. The feature acts as an extra pair of eyes that will surely help protect the officers against any sort of threat that attacks them from behind.

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56 Million Credit Cards Affected in Security Breach

NEW YORK (AP) — Home Depot said Thursday that a data breach that lasted for months at its stores in the U.S. and Canada affected 56 million debit and credit cards, far more than a pre-Christmas 2013 attack on Target customers.

The size of the theft at Home Depot trails only that of TJX Companies’ heist of 90 million records disclosed in 2007. Target’s breach compromised 40 million credit and debit cards.

Home Depot, the nation’s largest home improvement retailer, said that the malware used in the data breach that took place between April and September has been eliminated.

It said there was no evidence that debit PIN numbers were compromised or that the breach affected stores in Mexico or customers who shopped online at Homedepot.com. It said it has also completed a “major” payment security project that provides enhanced encryption of customers’ payment data in the company’s U.S. stores.

But unlike Target’s breach, which sent the retailer’s sales and profits falling as wary shoppers went elsewhere, customers seem to have stuck with Atlanta-based Home Depot. Still, the breach’s ultimate cost to the company remains unknown. Greg Melich, an analyst at International Strategy & Investment Group LLC, estimates the costs will run in the several hundred million dollars, similar to Target’s breach.

“This is a massive breach, and a lot of people are affected,” said John Kindervag, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research. But he added, “Home Depot is very lucky that Target happened because there is this numbness factor.”
Customers appear to be growing used to breaches, following a string of them this past year, including at Michaels, SuperValu and Neiman Marcus. Home Depot might have also benefited from the disclosure of the breach coming in September, months after the spring season, which is the busiest time of year for home improvement.

And unlike Target, which has a myriad of competitors, analysts note that home-improvement shoppers don’t have many options. Moreover, Home Depot’s customer base is different from Target’s. Nearly 40 percent of Home Depot’s sales come from professional and contractor services. Those buyers tend to be fiercely loyal and shop a couple of times a week for supplies.

Home Depot on Thursday confirmed its sales-growth estimates for the fiscal year and said it expects to earn $4.54 per share in fiscal 2014, up 2 cents from its prior guidance. The company’s fiscal 2014 outlook includes estimates for the cost to investigate the data breach, providing credit monitoring services to its customers, increasing call center staffing and paying legal and professional services.

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Murder rate drops as concealed carry permits rise, study claims

A dramatic spike in the number of Americans with permits to carry concealed weapons coincides with an equally stark drop in violent crime, according to a new study, which Second Amendment advocates say makes the case that more guns can mean safer streets.

The study by the Crime Prevention Research Center found that 11.1 million Americans now have permits to carry concealed weapons, up from 4.5 million in 2007. The 146 percent increase has come even as both murder and violent crime rates have dropped by 22 percent.

“When you allow people to carry concealed handguns, you see changes in the behavior of criminals,” said the center’s president, John R. Lott, a Fox News contributor. “Some criminals stop committing crimes, others move on to crimes in which they don’t come into contact with victims and others actually move to areas where they have less fear of being confronted by armed victims.”

Increasing gun ownership, litigation and new state laws have all contributed to the rise in concealed carry permits. In March, Illinois became the 50th state to begin issuing concealed weapons permits. But the cost and other requirements for obtaining the permits varies greatly, from South Dakota, where a permit requires $10, a background check and no training, to Illinois, where the cost of obtaining a permit comes to more than $600 when the fee and cost of training programs are taken into account.

Six states don’t require a permit for legal gun owners to conceal their weapons, and Lott notes those states have some of the lowest violent crime rates in the nation.

The real measure of the deterrent effect of concealed carry permits, according to Lott, is not laws on the books, but the percentage of a given state’s population that holds the permits. In 10 states, more than 8 percent of adults hold concealed carry permits, and all are among the states with the lowest crime rates. Lott claims his group’s analysis shows that each one percentage point increase in the adult population holding permits brings a 1.4 percent drop in the murder rate.

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FBI Announces Full Operational Biometric ID system

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division announced today the achievement of full operational capability of the Next Generation Identification (NGI) System. The FBI’s NGI System was developed to expand the Bureau’s biometric identification capabilities, ultimately replacing the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) in addition to adding new services and capabilities.

As part of NGI’s full operational capability, the NGI team is introducing two new services: Rap Back and the Interstate Photo System (IPS). Rap Back is a functionality that enables authorized entities the ability to receive ongoing status notifications of any criminal history reported on individuals holding positions of trust, such as school teachers. Law enforcement agencies, probation and parole offices, and other criminal justice entities will also greatly improve their effectiveness by being advised of subsequent criminal activity of persons under investigation or supervision. The IPS facial recognition service will provide the nation’s law enforcement community with an investigative tool that provides an image-searching capability of photographs associated with criminal identities. This effort is a significant step forward for the criminal justice community in utilizing biometrics as an investigative enabler.

This latest phase of NGI is only one portion of the FBI’s NGI System. Since phase one was deployed in February 2011, the NGI system has introduced enhanced automated fingerprint and latent search capabilities, mobile fingerprint identification, and electronic image storage, all while adding enhanced processing speed and automation for electronic exchange of fingerprints to more than 18,000 law enforcement agencies and other authorized criminal justice partners 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The CJIS Division serves as the focal point and central repository for criminal justice information services within the FBI. Formed in February 1992, CJIS is the largest division within the FBI and is responsible for the management of six major programs: Biometric Identification Services, the National Crime Information Center, the Uniform Crime Reporting Program, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, the Law Enforcement Enterprise Portal, and the National Data Exchange.

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