Church security law passes in Texas

“The Texas Legislature has passed the Church Security Protection Act aimed at allowing churches to provide their own security through members of their congregations.

In a special report, Angel San Juan found that Texas is one of just three states — Oklahoma and Florida are the other two — that restricts church members from providing their own security.

Under Texas law, a church would have to establish itself as a security company and be licensed by the state or hire a company that is licensed by the state, which can be an expensive undertaking.

But violating the law can also be costly with fines up to thousands of dollars.

That’s what led a group here in Southeast Texas lead the charge to change the law.”

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How Private Investigators Can Effectively Handle Intense Situations

“A private investigator’s days are often filled with uneventful surveillance and dead ends, but that’s only part of the job. On occasion, PIs may land in hot water and must rely on their communication and negotiation skills to get them out of it.

It takes talent, poise, and honed interpersonal skills to talk an enraged spouse out of swinging at you. Physical weapons are not always available, so we use what we do have in our arsenal—words, empathy, and emotional intelligence—to de-escalate a volatile situation.

Operating effectively under stress is a must-have skill in this line of work. No amount of training can prevent us from feeling fear in extreme situations. But we can learn to mitigate the stress symptoms, and even harness them—to laser-focus our energies on solving the problem at hand.

The Adrenaline Rush

In stressful conditions, our adrenal glands secrete a hormone to prepare the body for “fight or flight.” That shot of adrenaline can feel like a head rush: Your heart races. You breathe faster and deeper. You feel a surge of energy, heightened awareness, or even a suppressed pain response. And under extreme stress, you may experience tunnel vision, auditory exclusion (temporary hearing impairment), or a sense that time has slowed.

Some people seek out that rush (in its milder forms) as a welcome distraction from the more tedious aspects of investigative work. But when the job brings us into contact with unpredictable people and dangerous places, that physiological fight or flight response isn’t just a bungee-jump in the park anymore; it’s a survival mechanism.

The flip side is that those same symptoms that prepare us to deal with danger can also cloud judgement and make clear thinking a challenge.”

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20 Ways to Bring Your Investigative Game to the Next Level

“I’ve got an admission to make: I am kind of addicted to self-improvement. I’m not sure when this phenomenon started, but it turns out that I am not the only one – it’s a $10 billion per year business.

But what I am really obsessed with is making myself a better investigator, mostly because after 15 years in this business I have realized that there are no books or courses that actually teach what I do (which is why I made one—details to follow).

And because of technology and the changing landscape of the business, what I do today is almost entirely different from what I was doing 10 years ago.

So how do you keep up your skills and bring them to the next level?

1. Follow blogs.

Of course there is Pursuit Magazine, and there are dozens of other blogs out there worth reading, but PI Buzz, PINow.com, The Ethical Investigator, Guns, Gams & Gumshoes and Private Eye Confidential are at the top of my list.

2. Read books.

3. Write.

Whether you write novels or articles about your investigative methods, writing helps you synthesize your thoughts and provide more clarity.”

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Expert: Wrongful Convictions Can be Reduced by 30 Percent

“Brian Leslie is essentially saying the same thing your mother did— “don’t jump to conclusions.” But the forensic deception expert is saying it to cops as a potential way to reduce wrongful convictions and instances of profiling—a number he thinks can be improved by at least 30 percent.

Leslie, who works with Criminal Case Consultants analyzing witness testimony in wrongful conviction cases, says the difference lies in the predisposition of the police officer, which subsequently affects how s/he vets witnesses and the information they provide.

A “predisposed officer” who has formed an opinion based on emotion is more likely to disallow or overlook information that is averse to the officer’s initial, kneejerk theory of the perpetrator. According to Leslie, this predisposition is the main reason officers both subconsciously and consciously profile specific groups of people.

To rectify this, Leslie suggests using a different type of investigational method.

Traditional police criminal investigations use a deductive method, in which an initial theory is formed based on information provided by witnesses and/or confidential informants. However, Leslie says by using an inductive method of investigation, it detaches the officer from the emotional elements of a case, allowing a more analytical vetting process.

Simply put, this means the officer analyzes witness credibility first, and then the information provided. This inductive process forces the officer to accept all information by all sources, then categorize it by relevance and credibility. It’s this small investigational difference Leslie points to as being the culprit behind wrongful convictions that can, literally, destroy lives.

The variance between deductive and inductive investigations is part of what Leslie calls the “Mr. X Theory,” which he expands upon in his new book, “Visual Liar.”

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Mall Grab-and-Dash leads Victoria Police to $100K of stolen goods

“Victoria police say they discovered a stash of stolen goods worth an estimated $100,000 following an investigation triggered by a mall “grab and dash.”

Two men and a woman, all from Victoria, have been identified as suspects and are expected to face charges, police said police in a written release. One of the men remains in custody.

“This file is a great example of teamwork,” said acting Chief Const. Colin Watson. “Store staff, mall security personnel, private citizens and our RCMP partners all played a role in helping our officers with this investigation.”

According to police, a man tried to run off with a wooden elephant carving from Hillside Centre on June 10. Police said the suspect was identified and believed to be a “prolific property offender” based on surveillance footage.

The agency then worked with Sidney RCMP to eventually locate three suspects.

When investigators executed search warrants, they discovered hundreds of stolen items including dolls, bedding, statues and electronics.

The suspects are expected to face a number of charges including theft under $5,000 and possession of stolen goods.

Victoria police say the rightful owners should contact its non-emergency line to retrieve recovered items.”

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Houston Men Charged with Theft of 1000 pairs of Jeans from Mall

“Two Houston men have been charged in a scheme to steal more than $56,000 in jeans including more than 100 pairs of jeans in Southeast Texas.

Ramirez Nava Rodriguez, 41, and Jose Isabel Del Angel, 54, both of Houston, have been charged with felony charges of “Theft – Aggregate” according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by 12News from the Harris County District Court.

Del Angel, whose bond is set at $2000 was arrested on August 6, 2016 and it is unknown if Rodriquez has been arrested. Rodriguez bond will be set at $10,000 according to the affidavit.

The pair are suspected of stealing 980 pairs of men’s and women’s Levis jeans, valued at $56,722, from JC Penny stores in the Harris County and surrounding area including the Central Mall location in Port Arthur..

The thefts took place from December 2012 through July 2016 with the two most recent thefts taking place at Central Mall.

The affidavit alleges that Rodriguez stole the bulk of the jeans and Del Angel helped sell them at a Houston flea market.

Police believe that Rodriguez was the leader of a group of “professional boosters” who were committing the thefts.

The document alleges that on July 2, 2016 Rodriguez stole 64 pairs of jeans valued at $3918 and on July 30, 2016, he stole 44 pairs valued at $2552 from the JC Penny store in Central Mall.

Rodriquez was observed surveillance video using the “matador” method to commit the thefts using a shirt to hide several pairs of jeans at a time from store associates the affidavit said.

He would take the jeans out the camera’s range, use a tool to remove the “electronic Article Surveillance tag” and then put the jeans into a large JC Penny bag he had concealed in his pants pocket.

He would then take the stolen jeans to his car and repeat the process several times during one trip.

An investigator from JC Penny worked with Houston Police to track and capture the suspects.

The store’s investigator and an undercover Houston Police officer each purchased stolen jeans from Del Angel at separate times at Sunny Flea Market in the 8700 block of Airline Drive in Houston.”

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Chicago aldermen want to deploy private security to reduce crime

“After a spike in crime, two Chicago aldermen want to bring private security services to the Wicker Park and Bucktown neighborhoods to supplement what police are already doing.
Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) and Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) proposed a plan to use the taxpayer surplus Special Service Area, or SSA, funds for guards to help Chicago police patrol the Northwest Side communities. On Friday, the aldermen and 14th District Police Commander Fabian Saldana brought together dozens of residents to discuss the proposal.
“It’s no different than snow removal, beautification or the other things that SSA does. I believe security is important, and it’s important to augment it, not replace it,” Moreno said.
Since May, 1700 crimes from battery to arson were reported in the area, but only 200 arrests have been made, according to the aldermen.
“We’re trying to get a handle on that with this proposal,” Hopkins said.
The proposed budget amendment would use $100,000 of the $1.2 million SSA budget, allowing for the hiring of off-duty and retired police officers for late-night patrols.
Some residents expressed support, saying it would be “egregious” to not do anything about the crime.
“It’s a really good idea, but we need to think about standards and oversight,” said community resident Gretchen Vermuelen.
Others were not enthusiastic about the idea.
“Police service is a fundamental service that the city should be providing on its own. We should not be providing that,” said Steven Lipe.
The SSA district overlaps three wards, with two of the three aldermen backing the private security proposal. Ald. Hopkins said the SSA funding will expire if not spent by the end of the year.
“If we’re not able to come to an agreement or some compromise, a willingness to work together, then really the entire $1.2 million is in jeopardy,” said Kimberly Bares of the Wicker Park/Bucktown Chamber of Commerce.
The aldermen said they hope to work out a solution within the next week.”

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Off-duty security officer springs into action

“An off-duty security officer driving down a road sprang into action after being flagged down by a woman reporting a kidnapping in progress.
After getting off the light rail, the night turned to chaos after she says a man tried to grab her 7-year-old daughter.
Boone and her husband were able to keep the man away from their daughter, but they needed help and that’s when she flagged down a passing security guard.
“A woman who saw my patrol vehicle was jumping up and down and waving at me. I drove up and asked her if she needed help and she said ‘Yes, someone tried to steal my kid,’” said Security officer Casey Smith.
Smith says he was off-duty but that he wanted to help the Boones.
He confronted the man and tried to him down and keep him in the area until police could arrived but things turned violent, and the man tried to fight him. So Smith, who says he weighs at least 300 pounds, got him on the ground and held him until help got there.
“I just rolled the person over and then sat on them. Literally just jumped on his back and sat there holding his hands behind him until the police arrived,” said Smith.
Officers told him the guy may have gotten away if he hadn’t intervened.
“I would want someone to do the same thing for me. This day and age everything is so volatile. People are getting taken from different states and everything else and it’s just really hard not to help people,” said Smith.
The suspect now faces a charge of misdemeanor assault for pushing the husband. But detectives told Boone he’s not facing attempted kidnapping charges because he didn’t touch their daughter.
The man is not in jail. Phoenix police were not able to provide an update on the case Saturday night.

A local Phoenix news station has reported that the man has been arrested 54 times, mostly for public intoxication, drinking in public and assault.”

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Port Authority Warns TSA It Will Be Replaced By Private Security Force Over Long Lines At Airports

“The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is giving the Transportation Security Administration an ultimatum on dealing with long lines at airports.

CBS2’s Christine Sloan reported the Port Authority is warning the TSA in a letter it will be replaced by a private security force.

“We can no longer tolerate the continuing inadequacy of the TSA passenger services,” the letter reads.

The letter states the long waits at John F. Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty International Airports are “prompting angry complaints from passengers, terminal operators, and airlines alike … citing inconvenience, delayed flights and missed flight connections.”

“Passengers have been waiting up to an hour in lines at security checkpoints.

“They’re pretty long,” one traveler said.

Travel expert Peter Trabucco said travelers should not be concerned if airports turn to private security forces.

“Not really, because the processes and the protocols are all set up,” Trabucco said. “They’re going to be doing the same, that’s why the lines are all long because of terrorism.”

Trabucco said the goal of privatization is to cut costs.

“Time would tell if it would work or not. It depends on the company, it depends on how serious they are. Some are good, some are bad,” Trabucco said. “I still feel the TSA itself has a very, very tough job.”

The TSA said it “will directly respond to the Port Authority.”

However, the agency is trying to get more money to hire extra screeners and pushing “pre-check,” a program passengers can sign up for that screens them before they travel.

“I can keep my shoes on. I believe I can keep my computer in my backpack. It’s easier with children,” traveler Denise Suri said.

Private security companies have already taken over 22 airports, including in San Francisco and Kansas City.”

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NY’s Security-Guard Industry Grows Amid Lax Oversight

“TV and movies tell us security guards are bumbling fat idiots. They are the butt of a joke. Falling asleep with their feet up, they never pay attention to those security camera monitors while burglars steal gold or priceless paintings or stacks of cash. They’re easily distracted, easily gagged and tied up and — as in Die Hard or The Matrix or countless other action films — easily killed.

In real life, they work long, boring hours strolling the halls of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, waving metal detectors at Mets games, printing sticky visitor passes at commercial buildings, checking IDs at concerts, standing for hours and hours on end at public landmarks, department stores, colleges, pharmacies.

There are more than two times as many security guards than police officers in New York state and roughly 10 times as many guards as firefighters. While a lot of kids grow up itching to join the NYPD or the fire department, it’s hard to find someone who said they wanted to be a security guard when they grew up.

The guard who patrols a corporate plaza with an H&R Block and Chase Bank in Midtown wants to be a train conductor. The guard scanning IDs at a commercial office building near Grand Central dreams of a career as a stand-up comedian. The guard who works at a Duane Reade in the Upper West Side hopes to be a cop. The older guards who aren’t retired police officers, when asked what they think of a career in security, will shrug, as if to say, “It’s a job. It pays the rent.”

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