Alert strip club security guard found infant in car

Fort Meyers FL Dec 10 2013 As head of security for Lookers, a Fort Myers strip club, Anthony Annazone said he usually deals with drunk or unruly patrons.

That’s what he was doing in the parking lot about 11 p.m. Friday when another security guard noticed something strange.

“He said ‘Hey, there’s a baby in the car,’ and the guard checked and there was,” Annazone said.

Fort Myers police arrested the car’s owner, Andrew Sosa, 22, of the 2900 block of Cape Coral after finding him inside the strip club. He faces charges of child neglect, according to reports. The Florida Department of Children and Families confirmed the infant is Sosa’s daughter.

“I’ve been around here for probably 11, 12 years and I’ve never seen anything like that,” Annazone said.

When they saw the baby, Annazone said, employees flagged down police officers who were at a 7-Eleven nearby. The officers broke into a car window and freed the 4-month-old who was choking her on own vomit and a safety harness she was wearing. She was also sweating profusely, reports stated. She cried when officers picked her up, according to reports, but then calmed down.

“When she got out she was smiling and all right,” Annazone said.

Officers had Lookers staff help to identify Sosa.

“We announced it over the speakers that a black Kia had its lights on,” Annazone said.

Sosa walked out of the club after the announcement but walked back inside when he saw police, reports stated.

“The DJ told me that after the guy came out he said ‘Oh no, I have a black Audi. I wasn’t sure what you guys said,’ and they thought that was suspicious,” Annazone said.

Officers arrested Sosa, who is shown in security footage entering the club at around 7:45 p.m., three hours before officers freed the infant.

“He was in the back corner of the bar sitting in one of the tables but he was just there like everybody else,” Annazone said. “He was there by himself.”

The child was taken to HealthPark Medical Center in Fort Myers, treated for mild dehydration and released. A case worker from the Florida Department of Children and Families has been assigned. Communications Director Alexis Lambert said the case is open and being investigated.

Sosa is being held at Lee County Jail on $100,000 bond. The car was a rental.

“I know we were lucky our guard happened to be walking around and flashed his lights,” Annazone said.

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Communities hiring more private patrols

Oakland CA Sept 16 2013 The black squad car sits silent, its mere presence intended to be enough to scare off anyone mulling a run up Sequoyah Road to loot a house or bust a car window.

Although it looks the part, the Ford Crown Victoria isn’t actually a police car, and the man behind the wheel is no cop. He’s one of dozens of private security officers hired by residents across Oakland to supplement – if not replace – a depleted, overwhelmed police force.

As burglaries, home invasions, carjackings and assaults creep into Oakland neighborhoods less accustomed to crime, residents have built fences, armed alarms and installed security cameras.

And now, in greater numbers, they’re hiring private security patrols.

“One night I was at home and the alarm came on and the dogs started barking like mad, and I called the police and I stayed on the phone with the operator – and it took them 20 minutes to come,” said Mary Graham, a retired Oakland high school teacher who lives in Sequoyah Hills, a secluded, woodsy neighborhood near the Oakland Zoo.

The racket of the alarm and dogs apparently discouraged the break-in, but Graham was shaken. “So I figured we better get (private security). They have this type of security in buildings. I don’t see why we shouldn’t have it in our neighborhood.”

Now, Graham and 45 of her neighbors each spend $20 a month to have private security officers patrol the streets of Sequoyah Hills.

Elizabeth Caprini, general manager of the security company patrolling the neighborhood, VMA Security Group, estimates that her company will be guarding 500 homes across Oakland by November.

“Homes are getting broken into, drug dealing and prostitution are taking place,” Caprini said. “All that people want is to be able to use our services to be their eyes and ears for them.”

Crime in the city has soared in recent years. Robberies are up 54 percent from 2011, according to police records, while burglaries have risen nearly 40 percent. Auto thefts have increased by 33 percent.

A group of residents on three blocks of the Oakmore neighborhood – just a block away from Mayor Jean Quan’s home – were the first to hire private security last year after a burglar tried to enter a home occupied by two children.

Their idea caught on.

Nate Cook, owner of the firm Intervention Group Security, said his officers now patrol 300 homes. That number will rise to 500 in October when the company starts patrolling the Parkridge neighborhood near Skyline High School.

In the last two years, Cook said, patrolling Oakland neighborhoods has become a larger part of his business. No other cities have entire neighborhoods that have hired his company, he said.

“I’m talking to people all the time (in Oakland) to see what we can do,” he said. “They call me all the time.”

The service isn’t limited to the affluent hills neighborhoods.

In middle-class Maxwell Park, just northwest of Mills College, 180 residents have banded together to hire a security guard to patrol their neighborhood for four hours a day, five days a week. He started Wednesday.

“It costs each of us about 50 cents a day,” said Jose Durado, chairman of the neighborhood council. “As we get 45 new households to join, we get an additional hour of security.”

The guard’s patrol car, Durado said, will be marked “Maxwell Park Security.”

“We’re hoping that we can act as an example,” Durado said. “We expect that there will be other neighborhoods around us that will say, ‘How did you guys do that?’ ”

The security companies are quick to say they aren’t replacement cops – they’re mostly there to scare thugs out of the neighborhood or to report suspicious activity.

But if pressed, Cook said, his officers – some of whom are armed – wouldn’t hesitate to detain someone until police arrived. As private guards, they can’t do more than make a citizen’s arrest – something Cook said his officers have not yet done.

“Sometimes OPD is able to do something,” Cook said. “Sometimes it is the luck of the draw.”

Oakland police appreciate the help, said Officer Johnna Watson, a police spokeswoman.

“We are all striving for the same goal, and that is reducing crime,” she said. “The security companies are an extra set of eyes that allow the community to be empowered.”

Putting more police on the streets is the city’s top priority, said Sean Maher, a spokesman for Quan. There are now 615 officers patrolling the city of roughly 400,000 people – down from a peak of 830 officers in January 2009, according to police records.

“When communities get organized and rally around a cause like public safety, it is incredibly effective,” Maher said. “It is unfortunate that people feel forced to do this. We want a fully staffed Police Department.”

Chuck Wexler, head of the Police Executive Research Forum, a police think tank in Washington, D.C., said private security patrols are “a sign of the times.”

“Cities are cash-strapped, and they are finding it difficult to keep up with the costs of a municipal police force,” Wexler said. “And if you want more police, you really have to ask yourself this question: What are cities prepared to do?”

Still, Wexler said, private security companies are no substitute for a competent police force.

“When you are talking about municipal police, you are talking about public officials and holding them to a high standard,” he said. “If private security is involved, they should be held to an equally high standard.

“When there is an emergency kind of situation, there is nothing better than a good police officer, and there is nothing worse than a bad police officer,” Wexler said. “The same is true for private security.”

In Crown Ridge, a collection of homes near Merritt College with sweeping views of the Bay Area, 150 members of the neighborhood association started paying for private patrols in May.

Since then, there’s been hardly a whiff of crime, said Nancy Safford, a member of the association’s public safety committee.

“Both in terms of amounts and seriousness, (burglaries and break-ins) were escalating,” Safford said. “What we were observing was at least two to five cars a day drive through the neighborhood that we were fairly confident weren’t visiting the neighborhood, but were casing the neighborhood – and that has completely stopped.”

Safford, a retired mortgage banking executive, said the patrols have contributed to “a rebirth of our neighborhood.”

Crime “put fear in us,” she said. Now, she said, “families are out, kids are out, people are walking their dogs. We have a better sense of community and a feeling of peace, or calm, and security.”

One city councilwoman said all residents are entitled to such peace of mind, but that they shouldn’t have to hire security guards to achieve it.

“Oaklanders deserve more safety, and to the extent that citizens can generate it for themselves and their neighborhood, I applaud that effort,” said Councilwoman Libby Schaaf. “But it does not excuse the city for failing to provide the most basic element of government. It is not a substitute.”

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Private detectives filling gaps left by police budget cuts

CAMDEN, N.J. — In an office in a sleepy town in southern New Jersey, Harry Glemser’s phone rang. With no buxom secretary to take a message, he answered it himself.

It was a dame, looking to hire a private eye.

But this was no scene from a noir novel. The woman was calling because someone in a car kept lurking in her driveway, the engine running, when her husband wasn’t home. She’d called the police, but they couldn’t help. She hoped Glemser could.

Detectives like Glemser across cash-strapped states have been getting more calls like these as cities and towns cut their police forces to contend with deep budget cuts. New Jersey alone lost 4,200 officers from 2008 to 2011, according to the Policemen’s Benevolent Assn., which tracks the state’s most recent data. As police focus more on responding to crime rather than preventing it, private detectives and security firms are often taking on the roles that police once did, investigating robberies, checking out alibis, looking into threats.

“The public is frustrated by the police,” said Glemser, a retired cop of 63 whose gold chains, white hair and bulky body might make a stranger worry he’s on the wrong side of the law. “The citizenry is quick to say that the police don’t do anything for them. They should be saying the police can’t do anything for them because of this budgetary issue, this manpower problem, this directive we have that came down from the chief.”

Private detectives are just one piece of the private sector security and policing services that people are increasingly turning to as they worry about crime. The U.S. private security industry is expected to grow 6.3% a year to $19.9 billion by 2016, according to a study by security research group Freedonia Group Inc. Even some in the public sector are trying to tap into the industry to save money; one Tennessee power department laid off security officers last year and replaced them with security technology and private contractors.

In California, where many cash-strapped cities cut police budgets during the recession, residents are turning to detectives, security firms and even the Internet.

After police cuts in Oakland, resident Dabney Lawless encouraged 400 neighbors to sign up on a website so they could send alerts to one another when they noticed suspicious people around; she also pays extra to an alarm company to drive through the neighborhood. Ron Cancio, the manager of a Stockton security firm, said that since the city’s budget battles, residents often have called his firm for minor complaints, because they know he’ll respond more quickly than the police.

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US Demand for Private Security Services to Reach $63.8 Billion in 2016

Demand for private contracted security services in the U.S. is projected to increase 5.2% annually to $63.8 billion in 2016.

The market will be supported by a high perceived risk of crime (from conventional violent and property crimes to white collar crimes and terrorism) and a concern that public safety officials are overburdened.

The outsourcing of security activities to contracted firms, instead of relying on in-house security, will support demand.

The privatization of some public safety operations, such as guarding government facilities and correctional facilities management, will also boost gains. Global Information Inc (GII) is pleased to present the latest market research on the global security industry.

Private Security Services Security services that capitalize on continuing technological developments hold especially good prospects. For instance, both security consulting and systems integration revenues will see above-average growth.

Security consultants and systems integrators are able to manage a wide variety of services when creating, upgrading or implementing security plans and when installing or upgrading complex electronic security devices. In addition, the trend toward more sophisticated and automated security electronics that are increasingly integrated with other building operations will boost growth for these services. An Executive Summary for this report and free sample pages from the full document are available at http://www.giiresearch.com/report/fd128453-us-private-security.html

Global Home Security Solutions Market 2011-2015 The global market for home security solutions is forecast to grow at a 8.9% CAGR over the period 2011-2015. One of the key factors contributing to this market growth is the increasing security concerns across the globe.

The Global Home Security Solutions market has also been witnessing the transformation from a technology-driven to a consumer-driven industry.

However, the lack of awareness with respect to advancements in technology could pose a challenge to the growth of this market. Key vendors dominating this market space include Bosch Security Systems Inc., Honeywell International Inc. and Tyco International Ltd. Other vendors mentioned in the report are Alarm.com Inc., GE Security Inc., AMX Corp., Control4 Corp., GE Security Inc., Home Automation Inc., Icontrol Networks Inc. and Siemens Building Technologies AG.

An Executive Summary for this report and free sample pages from the full document are available at http://www.giiresearch.com/report/infi253890-global-home-security-solutions-market.html

The Market for Home Control and Security Systems Parks Associates’ report finds that 14% of all U.S. broadband households are “highly interested” in receiving security services from their ISPs. Further, consumers with professional monitoring, 16% of all U.S. households, are also interested in the new bundling and service options that come with Internet-enabled systems.

About 40% would switch from their current monitoring provider if that company does not offer new features such as email alerts, energy management, and lighting automation functions, revealing the importance of bundled services and new IP features in customer retention and subscriber growth.

Companies including AT&T Digital Life, Time Warner, and Comcast are entering the security market to lure first-time security-system users and prompt current customers to switch providers. Parks Associates research shows that communications providers’ reputations, lower fees, new benefits, and bundling deals all contribute to a consumers desire to switch services.

Meanwhile, providers such as AT&T and ADT Security, are investing for the long-term future of home management and health services that enhance consumers daily lives. This report analyzes consumer demand for IP-enabled home systems, including security, home control, and energy management systems. It draws from multiple surveys to highlight trends and consumer preferences on feature sets and pricing.

An Executive Summary for this report and free sample pages from the full document are available at http://www.giiresearch.com/report/park249399-market-home-control-security-systems.html

The Security Dealer Perspective Dealers and installers play a key role in the market for home security systems and have an up-close view of market changes. Their views provide insight into the how the market is evolving and how quickly consumers will adopt the new interactive services offered by traditional players and new entrants like Comcast and AT&T. This report presents Parks Associates’ latest survey of security system installers and their views on market changes including the introduction of interactive services and the entry of broadband providers into the space. It also extensively profiles their sales, installations, and other business activities An Executive Summary for this report and free sample pages from the full document are available at http://www.giiresearch.com/report/park254767-security-dealer-perspective.html

About Global Information Inc. Global Information (GII) (http://www.giiresearch.com) is an information service company partnering with over 300 research companies around the world. Global Information has been in the business of distributing technical and market research for more than 25 years. Expanded from its original headquarters in Japan, Global Information now has offices in Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Europe and the United States.

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Calls for mandated security for convenience stores questioned

Lawmakers feel pressure, but blanket approach not always answer, those involved say…

Muhammad Islam had been on the job for three weeks at the Big Red Food Mart in Pine Bluff, Ark., when he was shot dead during a September robbery. No arrest has been made in the 26-year-old’s death

In Canada, in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, a 50-year-old attendant was shot and killed while on night duty at a Shell station near the Saskatchewan-Manitoba border.

These are not isolated cases. Retail establishments open during late hours see more than their share of armed robberies and murders. In Maryland alone, violence at convenience stores and gas stations accounted for about 27 percent of commercial robberies in November.
The reaction to these crimes? Many times it’s legislation. These establishments need surveillance cameras, lawmakers say. Risk assessments should be in place. Cash on hand should be limited. But the jury’s still out on whether mandating such security measures at these late-night retailers will help prevent further crimes and deaths.

The Security Industry Association generally opposes unfunded mandates, said Marcus Dunn, SIA’s director of government relations.

“There’s no doubt that you’re going to be doing better if you have a robust security system on your premises,” Dunn told Security Director News. “We wouldn’t go out and oppose a mandate, but I certainly can’t imagine us going out around the country and lobbying for them. We’d be delighted if a community makes that determination—that’s their prerogative. But from a public policy perspective, there are better ways to encourage that rather than a mandate.”

The National Association of Convenience Stores says the issue of security mandates raises two questions: “Is the thing being mandated a good idea? And, is the idea of mandates a good idea?” said NACS spokesman Jeff Lenard.

“It’s very difficult to have a one-size-fits-all approach,” Lenard said. “Mandates as a whole are not embraced by our industry or pretty much any industry. We focus on the things we know that work from talking to security experts. You hear from well-meaning politicians who are under pressure to do something. But there can be a difference between doing something and doing something right. When mandates are considered, we just want to be part of the discussion.”

Private security consultants have differing opinions as well.

In Canada, David Hyde, owner and principal consultant at David Hyde & Associates and with more than 26 years of experience, told Security Director News that he has high praises for a Saskatchewan law that will go into effect on Jan. 1. It is not an ill-fated “knee-jerk” reaction, which many other legislative attempts are, he said.

“Too often I see these pieces of legislation put out in the face of an egregious act, like a death,” Hyde said. “You see a knee-jerk response from a politician, who typically reaches for a solution that has the most bang for the media. It’s virtually always ‘put up cameras.’ Cameras do little to prevent crime. There’s very little proof that they have a deterrent value, so let’s take a step back. But these lawmakers don’t do that. They rush to cameras or the panic alarm. But who’s monitoring, who’s going to respond?”

Hyde says he prefers, foremost, a “first-step, hazard identification-risk assessment.”

“What are previous incidents for the store? Is there a high level of loitering, homeless and drug-addicted people around? What is the risk environment?” he asks. “From that we can fashion a violence-prevention program that makes sense.”

The Saskatchewan law does just that, Hyde says.

“It’s beautiful, really. First, it put steps in place to eliminate or reduce the risks,” which is key, he said. “Then it runs through the types of things that need to be in place.”

The law calls for retailers to physically separate employees from customers, employ a second clerk on overnight duty, provide good visibility into and out of the store and implement other prevention measures such as a time-locked safe.

“These are the things that will make a tangible difference,” he said. “I’d like to see a more integrated approach, rather than just jumping to a single solution.”

Stores that aren’t in high-risk areas should be exempt from extreme precautions, Hyde said. But for stores in higher-risk locations he favors an independent safety audit, conducted a year after security measures have been put in place.

Security consultant Chris McGoey, of McGoey Investigative Services out of Los Angeles, said stores often get tired of working with law enforcement.

“Even if there is an ordinance, nobody goes around and checks until somebody gets killed. Then they check and say you weren’t compliant,” said McGoey, who before striking out on his own worked for seven years in loss prevention for the 7-11 chain of convenience stores. Instead, it would be wiser for retailers to stipulate what security measures they have in place, as required, as part of their application to do business, he said.

“All stores need a comprehensive [security] plan. But it’s not just ‘stick in cameras and you’re OK,’ ” he said.

The proposed Pine Bluff ordinance, which has been tabled, required convenience stores and restaurants to install and maintain surveillance cameras. Cameras were not working at the Big Red Food Market where Islam was killed. Fines of up to $1,000 could be assessed at properties found in noncompliance. The city’s Fire and Emergency Services Department would inspect properties and ensure that cameras are operational. Pine Bluff would be the first city of its size in the state to have such an ordinance.

Capt. Greg Shapiro of the Pine Bluff Police Department has said in news reports that his department supports the proposal and sees it as a crime deterrent.

In Maryland, the Prince George’s County’s proposal, which also was tabled, would have forced the approximately 600 convenience stores and gas stations that are open between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. to put their employees through a training program that would include cash handling and what to do in the event of a robbery. Stores also would have to install high-resolution digital security cameras and drop safes, and they would not be allowed to have more than $75 in the cash register.

Cost is a factor, Kirk McCauley, director of member relations for the Washington, Maryland, Delaware Service Station and Automotive Repair Association, said in news reports.

“Small businesses are hurting as it is right now. Making them buy a whole new camera system doesn’t make a whole lot of sense,” he said.

Under the Maryland bill, store owners would have been given a yearlong grace period to meet the new security requirements. Those that don’t comply afterward would be fined $500 per offense.

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Man impersonated federal officer to get into Epcot for free

A 74-year-old Miami man who was trying to avoid paying nearly $100 to get into Epcot, was arrested after he impersonated a Federal officer.

Emerito Pujol flashed a fake badge at an Epcot employee as he passed through the turnstiles at the park around noon on Saturday. The employee challenged him and asked to see the badge again. He claimed he was an undercover officer who was looking for someone, according to an arrest report.

When a security guard approached him, Pujol again claimed he was “in service” and was “guarding someone important,” the report states.

Pujol finally admitted he was pretending to be a federal officer when a deputy asked him to produce the badge.

The badge Pujol flashed had the words “American Federation of Police” and “honorary member.” He then admitted that he was just waiting for his family and was not an officer.

Pujol was arrested and charged with unlawful use of a police badge, falsely impersonating an officer and petty theft. He has since bonded out of the Orange County Jail.

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Self Defense: How Much Force Is Too Much Force?

A courageous 12-year-old Oklahoma girl was home alone when an intruder, Stacy Jones, came to her house, rang the doorbell, and pounded on her door. When she didn’t open the door, he apparently went around the back of the house and kicked in the back door. At that time, this brave girl, in her frightened state, called her mother. Her mother told her to get the family gun and hide in the closet. While she was hiding out in the closet, the suspect allegedly went to open the closet door at which point she fired the gun through the door, injuring him.

Thankfully, the young girl was able to defend herself. The intruder survived the shot but sustained enough injuries to keep him away from the girl. He was sent to the Bryan County jail.

How much force can you use to defend yourself?

If faced with a situation where you need to defend yourself from unlawful force, you may either use deadly force or non-deadly force. Of course, the type of force that may be used depends on the situation.

You may use non-deadly force when it is reasonably necessary to protect yourself from unlawful force. You may use deadly force in self-defense if you are “confronted with unlawful force and are threatened with imminent death or great bodily harm.”

A minority of states requires that the victim of a deadly attack first retreat prior to using deadly force in self-defense. However, in a majority of states, the victim does not have to retreat first.

Can you use deadly force to defend your home?

No. While solely defending your property, you may never use to deadly force.

You can learn more about self-defense by watching informational videos . Simply type the words “Self Defense” in the search area provided on the upper right-hand corner of the page.

You have a right to self-defense and when necessary you should use it. Do you think this young girl did the right thing by shooting the intruder? Should she have called 911 and waited for the police to come to her aid instead?

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Flash Mobs: An Emerging Threat to Retailers

Seventy-nine percent of retailers have been victims of multiple offender crime in the past year, according to a survey administered by the National Retail Federation (NRF). Ten percent were victims of flash mobs. Last month the NRF surveyed 106 companies to gauge the impact of multiple offender crimes in the wake of dozens of media reports of smash and grab operations orchestrated by teenagers against retail stores. Half of the respondents reported that they’d experienced two to five incidents involving multiple offenders in the past year.

These flash mobs, or flash robs as they’re sometimes called, involve large groups of people rushing a store at one time, running or making loud noises to distract staff or security, and grabbing what they can before exiting the store as quickly as they came. High-end items like handbags, jewelry and designer clothes are usually the targets, according to the NRF report. Because of the chaotic nature of the attack, suspects are able to make off with large amounts of merchandise.

Store owners in Washington, D.C. were being hit this spring, according to a Fox 5 report. Knowing that, the owner of G-Star Raw, in the Dupont Circle area of D.C., immediately called 911 when 19 teens poured into his store. The teens made off with $20,000 worth of merchandise in less than 10 minutes while he waited for police to arrive. And although violence is rare, there have been reports of store employees or customers being attacked during these incidents.
The survey results show flash robs are typically a young man’s game. Juvenile offenders were involved in 83 percent of cases. In 42 percent of the cases where participants were apprehended (apprehensions occurred in 50 percent of cases), social media or texting was the primary communication medium.

The NRF makes a couple of distinctions between multiple offender incidents and flash mobs. Regular flash mobs can be harmless and even humorous. The trend started in 2003 when 100 people, based on instructions in an email from “Bill,” descended on a Macy’s store in Manhattan. The group didn’t steal, but “the participants consulted bemused sales assistants about purchasing a ‘love rug’ for their ‘suburban commune,’” CNN reported. Since 2003, college students, comedy troupes, and random participants have spread the trend worldwide, acting out scenes from Shakespeare or having giant pillow fights before quickly dispersing.

Like multiple offender crimes, a flash mob is typically organized by mass text messages or social media, but most participants are strangers. Multiple offender crimes usually involve groups of juveniles who already know each other.
A flash mob is usually done to provide some kind of entertainment, the report says. But for flash robs, the consequences for both the offenders and retailers are serious – so serious that the NRF is calling for enhanced penalties for this type of crime.

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Illinois Canine Handlers Must Now Be Licensed Private Investigators or Security Guards

Rules to implement legislation mandating that canine handlers be licensed by the State have taken effect. The Department of Financial and Professional Regulation began accepting applications from qualified canine handlers today.

To qualify for a canine handler authorization card or canine trainer authorization card, an applicant must be at least 18 years old, posses a valid private detective license, private security contractor license or a permanent employee registration card (PERC) and work for a licensed private detective agency or private security contractor agency.

The Department has also begun the approval process for all canine handler training courses and canine instructor training courses training and instruction programs. Once a program has been authorized by the State, graduates of those programs will be able to apply for a handler authorization card.

The new regulations and applications are posted on the Department’s website at www.idfpr.com. Questions regarding licensing of canine handlers may be directed to the Division’s Technical Assistance Unit at 217-782-8556 in the Springfield office.

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Bail bondsman tells of search, rescue missions

The covert operation started with the opening of a sliding-glass door. Mark Derr peered through his binoculars. He spotted his mark. In minutes Derr’s team swooped in.

With the girl by their sides, the men flashed their guns when guards approached. The men backed off.

They escorted her to the car and headed toward Charlotte.

A tale like one you’d read in a page-turning novel, Derr experienced while rescuing victims of human trafficking — modern-day slaves.

A Lincolnton bail bondsman, Derr also heads up a rescue team called RPR Services, which stands for “rescue, protect, recovery.”

The four-man team mostly serves as bodyguards for special events. But their services expanded when Derr was contacted by a church in California. The church had got-ten messages online from an enslaved woman in Atlanta. She and other women spent months in a condo where they were forced into prostitution.

“If any of them tried to leave, they were threatened with being hurt or killed,” Derr said.

She pleaded for help. The church put Derr on the job.

Derr communicated with the woman online, devising a plan to “pull her out.”

It was the first time Derr was exposed to the reality of human trafficking. He and his team rescued the woman from the secret prison and flew her out to California where she was linked to an organization that helps victims of human trafficking.

Women ‘for sale’ online

Derr said he was amazed at the business set up where the woman was kept.

“It was very crazy how big of an operation this guy had — from Atlanta to Texas,” he said.

Derr videoed the rescue and turned information over to local police.

He interviewed the young woman who said she’d been held captive for two months. She told Derr that her captor planned to sell her, posting her picture on Craigslist.

Derr did some investigating and saw where women’s pictures were being posted online with “for sale” stamped across their faces.

Many of those ads were on Craigslist, according to Derr. Craigslist cracked down, but if people in the human trafficking business get pushed off one website, they’ll just find another, Derr said.

“It’s crazy. These girls are being advertised for sale on the Internet,” he said.

N.C. among top-10 worst states

And if those sales cross international borders, it’s virtually impossible to get the women back home, he said.

Derr’s team has only worked a handful of similar cases, but those few instances opened Derr’s eyes to the disturbing multimillion-dollar sex-slave industry.

N.C. has consistently been ranked in the top 10 states for human trafficking. That number could jump significantly when the Democratic National Convention comes to Charlotte in August.

Human trafficking victims’ advocacy groups are spreading the word to hotel workers to be on the lookout. The thought is that with world travelers coming in for the big event, pimps will bring in more enslaved women than ever.

An estimated 200,000 to 300,000 American children are trafficked into the commercial sex industry each year.

The life expectancy of someone involved in human trafficking is five years.

“Once these girls are used up, they’re killed or you don’t ever see them again,” Derr said. “They think they’re going to be taken care of, and they get forced into slavery.”

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