Public Safety Academy At School Aims To Prepare Students For Careers

“Is high school too early to figure out what career path to follow?

The Olathe School District doesn’t think so.

When the new Olathe West High School opens for all students on Thursday, the district will have a total of 17 specialty academies in its five high schools.

For as long as most people can remember, the main mission of Johnson County schools has been preparing kids for college.

“I think we’ve done, for years, a really good job of helping kids be college-ready, but the career piece is something that kind of went in a different direction,” says Jay Novacek, principal of the new high school.

The Kansas State Department of Education wants to refocus districts so students are ready for college or a career when they graduate.

So Olathe West will offer courses for kids who are looking for a first-responder career.

“Not every kid has to go to college to be successful,” Novacek says. “There are a lot of awesome professions, public safety included, whether I’m a police officer or firefighter, an EMT person, that are going to give kids a great opportunities and a long career.”

Jeff Van Dyke, who was a Wichita cop for eight years, runs the public safety program and most recently taught middle-school physical education. He says there is a lot of practical experience students can get in the large space that houses the public safety program.

“We can use it for all kinds of real world-type learning situations such as setting up a crime scene, having the kids come in and process the crime scene in here,” Van Dyke says.

The Public Safety space is tucked into the side of the $82 million dollar building. Students pass a girder from the World Trade Center as they enter.

It’s a reminder, says Olathe Fire Chief Jeff DeGraffenreid, of the kind of people police and fire departments around here want to hire.

“A strong moral compass and a willingness to assist their fellow man is really what we’re looking at. Helping these students see the value of that, and hopefully someday we’ll be able to hire a great student from here,” he says.

An Olathe fire captain will teach the firefighting classes in the academy.

Olathe West is certainly not the first high school in the country to offer courses in public safety. But it’s one of the few that’s fully integrated with the rest of its academic courses, DeGraffenreid says.

Students, he says, will get a quality Olathe School District education and, after passing the state firefighting test, be ready to work.

“They’re great at math. They’re great at science. They’re great at writing. But they’re also fully prepared to work on a fire truck soon after graduation,” he says.

In addition to the public service academy at Olathe West, the district has also created a new, green technology academy at the school. It’s the 17th such academy the district has added since 2003.

Most of them, like the engineering or business academies, are geared toward college-bound students.

The crucial thing, says Deputy Superintendent Allison Banikowski, is finding the student’s passion and finding it early.
“And making sure, then, all the content and course work is geared toward that passion,” he says.

The Public Safety program is an acknowledgment, the district says, that it plays a significant role in getting kids ready to work in the community.”

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U.S. issues global travel alert, to close embassies due to al Qaeda threat

(CNN) — A global travel alert issued Friday by the State Department warned al Qaeda may launch attacks in the Middle East, North Africa and beyond in coming weeks, a threat that prompted Sunday’s closure of 21 embassies and consulates.

The U.S. government’s actions are in response to growing intelligence that shows a potential for attacks in Yemen and elsewhere in the Middle East as well as North Africa, said U.S. officials who spoke to CNN on condition of not being identified.

“The threat appears to be much worse than it has (been) in a long time,” said a senior national security official in Yemen, where the government is “on high alert against possible attacks in the days to come.”

Various Western targets — not just those tied to the United States — are under threat, according to two U.S. officials.

According to three sources, the United States has information that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula members are in the final stages of planning for an unspecified attack.

One of the sources said that such preparations appeared to have increased in recent days with the approaching end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

In particular, Sunday is Laylet al-Qadr, or the Night of Power, which is one of the holiest moments on the Muslim calendar.

Said one U.S. official: “It all leads us to believe something could happen in the near future.”

Based on intelligence, U.S. officials said, there was particular concern about the U.S. Embassy in Yemen between Saturday and Tuesday. President Barack Obama — who, amid regular updates on the situation, has directed officials to take all appropriate steps to protect Americans — praised Yemeni President Abdo Rabu Mansour Hadi for his country’s efforts following a meeting Thursday at the White House.

Still, it’s unclear whether the apparent plot targets that Arabian nation or one elsewhere — which is why the travel alert applies so broadly, and why embassies from Bangladesh to Libya are being closed. The expected time of an attack also isn’t known, with the U.S. travel alert noting the threat extends through the end of August.

“Terrorists may elect to use a variety of means and weapons and target both official and private interests,” the alert states. “U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure.”

New York Rep. Peter King, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, called the information “the most specific I’ve seen.”

While the principal attention is on the Arabian Peninsula, he stressed to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that”we can’t rule anything out.”

“We are focused on the Middle East, but it’s a potential series of attacks that really could be almost anyplace,” said King.

21 embassies, consulates ordered closed

The State Department made public Friday a list of 21 embassies and consulates that will close Sunday, which is normally the start of the work week in the countries affected.

The 17 affected U.S. embassies are in Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Mauritania, Oman, Qatar,
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Yemen. The U.S. embassy in Israel will be closed as normal Sunday.

Consulates in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are also being shut down for the day. Embassies and consulates in the region typically close their doors or operate with minimal staff on Fridays and Saturdays.

The shutdowns could extend beyond Sunday, a senior State Department official said.

Retired Gen. James Mattis — who until earlier this year was head of U.S. Central Command, responsible for a 20-country area that includes the Middle East — said the decision to close the embassies shows the reality of the threat and the wisdom of U.S. policymakers.

U.S. embassies have been targeted before in places such as Yemen, Turkey and Tanzania, he pointed out. Moreover, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is one of the terrorist network’s most active and most destructive branches.

“We have to remember that we’re up against an enemy who kills indiscriminately — whether it be women, children, diplomats — and our embassies … have been one of the targets,” Mattis told CNN on Friday. “They are showing some proactive discretion here, making certain that we don’t give the enemy an opportunity that we can deny them.”

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Heart attacks a rising deadly weapon among cops

Fatal heart attacks among law enforcement officers have been quietly mounting through the first half of this year, and most strike victims younger than 50, according to fatality data compiled by two police groups.

So far this year, nine of the 58 officer deaths have been attributed to heart attacks, drawing new attention away from the most volatile and traditional causes — guns and vehicle accidents.

Overall, officer deaths are down slightly — 2% — this year; firearm deaths are down 14%, and fatal traffic incidents are down 21%, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and Officer Down, the groups that most closely track police fatalities.

The nine aheart attack victims so far this year, however, represent three more than in all of last year combined, according to the NLEOMF.

From year to year, the causes of line-of-duty deaths can swing indiscriminately, but authorities are expressing serious concern about the string of heart attack deaths so far this year.

“The number does look dramatic,” said Bart Johnson, executive director of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. “This has been on our radar screen for a while now.”

Johnson said the IACP, the largest association of police chiefs, has been meeting in recent months with representatives of health care company Johnson & Johnson. The meetings, he said, are aimed at developing a more strategic approach to officer wellness as part of the association’s Center for Officer Safety and Wellness, which was created last year.

“We’re looking at the full spectrum of a police officer’s life cycle,” he said.

The effort comes as medical and occupational health journals have been publishing research on the heightened risk factors associated with law enforcement jobs. Last year, an article in the medical journal Cardiology in Review concluded that the common risk factors — hypertension, obesity, smoking, sedentary lifestyles and sudden physical stress — for officers “often (exceed) that found in the civilian population.”

In March, the National Occupational Research Agenda, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, listed cardiovascular disease and its relationship to officer disability and death among its top priorities.

By 2016, according to NORA, federal health authorities hope to assess more fully the disease’s prevalence in the public safety workforce.

“Americans aren’t as fit as they should be, and we, as a profession, are no exception,” said Arlington County, Va., police Capt. Adrienne Quigley, who has researched the issue. “It’s a problem… but it’s not the cool thing to talk about.”

Although many law enforcement agencies require officers to meet certain fitness standards prior to employment, Johnson and Quigley said few departments require officers to maintain those standards as conditions of their continuing employment.

“There really is no follow-up,” Johnson said.

Perhaps the most striking aspect of the recent deaths, authorities said, is that at least five of the nine victims were younger than 50 at the time they died.

The youngest, 26-year-old federal corrections officer Brandon Kountz, died while responding to an alarm inside a Beaumont, Texas, prison.

At least eight of the nine victims were engaged in some physical activity, either training or a police operation, when they were stricken.

Two, including St. Paul, Minn., police Officer Josh Lynbaugh, 30, were pursuing suspects on foot.

The victims’ physical conditions prior to death were not included in the fatality data, but at least one — Anthony Barfield — had complained of feeling ill just before his April 9 collapse as he responded to a domestic disturbance call in Barwick, Ga.

Barfield’s death at age 47 was especially tragic for the tiny southwest Georgia town where he served as the police chief and the community’s only full-time officer.

Barwick City Councilman Dale Hicks described the chief as a “beloved” figure in the community where “everybody not only knows everybody else’s name but we even know the name of your cat.”

“He was probably a little overweight, but he appeared to be in reasonably good shape,” Hicks said.

He complained of feeling ill when the disturbance call came in, but “it’s something you wouldn’t generally associate with a heart condition.”

“He was urged to go home,” Hicks said. “But he said, ‘No, I’ll stick it out.’ ”

The councilman said Barfield asked local sheriff’s deputies, who responded to the call as back-up officers, to transport the suspect for booking.

He collapsed at the scene soon after.

“It’s only been a couple months, but he’s sorely missed around here,” Hicks said.

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Forget macrame bracelets: Jeffco sheriff’s summer camp teaches kids to survive an active shooter

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Escaping an active shooter, self-defense and other survival skills will be taught at a new summer camp for kids offered by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

That is a long way from the usual summer camp traditions of swimming in the lake and making macramé bracelets. But Sheriff Mike Hale says the camp will teach young people to be prepared for whatever life throws at them. “Our greatest allies in public safety are people who know what to do in an emergency,” Hale said in a press release today.

The name of the camp is Prepared, Not Scared. Two sessions, one week each, will be offered to students entering the 5th through 7th grades. The first session will run August 5-9, and the second August 12-16 at Ruffner Mountain Nature Center.

The campers will be taught by instructors from Fresh Air Family and Hoover Tactical Firearms. The program is based on the National Rifle Association’s “Refuse to Be a Victim” program. Some of the topics include what to do if they find a gun or encounter an active shooter. They will also learn non-aggressive ways to try to escape an attacker or be aware of potential hazards.

Fresh Air Family instructors will also teach survival skills should they get lost. That will include how to orient directions, build a shelter, make a fire and discern which plants are edible and which are poisonous.

“Everyone,” said Whit Wright of Hoover Tactical Firearms, “should have personal safety skills in today’s world.”

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‘I never forgot about you’: Families reunite with women held captive for years

Cleveland (CNN) — The first time most of America heard Amanda Berry’s voice was on a frantic 911 call.

“I’ve been kidnapped, and I’ve been missing for 10 years,” the 27-year-old woman said on the call, which was made on Monday. “And I’m here. I’m free now.”

A day later, Berry could be heard again. This time talking to relatives, she seemed positive, even upbeat — telling her grandmother Fern Gentry that she’s “fine” and that the 6-year-old girl also rescued Monday from a Cleveland home is indeed her own.

“I love you honey, thank God,” her tearful grandmother said, in a call recorded by CNN affiliate WJHL. “… I’ve thought about you all this time. I never forgot about you.”

Back in northern Ohio, balloons dotted the frontyard of the home of 23-year-old Georgina “Gina” DeJesus, who along with Berry and Michelle Knight were allegedly held captive for years in a Cleveland house. There was also a sign strung along a fence, the same one that had been there since Gina was first reported missing nine years ago.

Her 32-year-old sister, Mayra DeJesus, told CNN’s Poppy Harlow on Tuesday that her sister — for all the hell she’s gone through — is in “good spirits.”

DeJesus spent the day with family, who didn’t focus on what she’d gone through but more on lifting her up, her sister said.

Her brother, Ricardo, earlier described how the whole family was crying and shaking upon hearing Gina was safe and alive.

“I was just glad to be able to see her,” he said. “It’s been nine long years. I was just happy I was able to sit there and hug her and say, ‘Yup, you’re finally home.’”

Berry, DeJesus and the 32-year-old Knight each disappeared from the same Cleveland street — Lorain Avenue — three miles from the home in which they were found Monday evening. They escaped after Berry broke out the bottom of a screen door and called for help Monday evening, startling neighbor Charles Ramsey who came over and helped kick in the door.

Cleveland police and the FBI hailed Berry as a hero for her daring escape.

“We’re following her lead,” Cleveland’s Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba said. “Without her, none of us would be here today.”

Three men have been jailed in the women’s disappearance — 54-year-old Pedro Castro, 50-year-old Onil Castro and 52-year-old Ariel Castro, who neighbors said lived at the house. All three are expected to be charged in the coming days.

Some neighbors of Ariel Castro spent Tuesday second-guessing themselves, questioning why they hadn’t noticed signs earlier and if they could have prevented the horrors.

“This is a heartbreaking moment for us, because I’m always out there (and) I’ve heard nothing,” said Daniel Marti, who’s known Ariel Castro since junior high school and lived near him for some 22 years.

“… To us, it was like nothing was happening. But yet it was happening, right in front of our face and we didn’t even know.”

‘He didn’t want nobody back there’

The predominantly Latino neighborhood, made up mostly of two-story frame homes, sits within sight of downtown. The gentrification that has spiffed up districts on either end hasn’t extended to the blocks around Castro’s home, where a number of houses are boarded up. But the churches in the neighborhood still ring the bells in their steeples, and the neighbors say they look out for one another.

Authorities and several neighbors say they had no prior indication anything suspicious was going on at the nondescript home on Seymour Avenue, where a Puerto Rican flag hung from the porch.

But after Monday’s discovery, they reflected back and noticed things that, in retrospect, might have signaled something awry.

Marti, for one, asked himself why he didn’t question why Castro — who, he thought, lived alone — would return each day with bags of McDonald’s food, or who would watch the little girl he occasionally took outside. He also recalled how Castro seemed to steer him away from the house when they talked:

“Now that I think of it, he didn’t want nobody back there.”

Another neighbor, Israel Lugo, said saw Castro at the park Sunday with a little girl and asked who she was: “He said it was his girlfriend’s daughter.”

Lugo said his sister got a bad vibe from the house and asked him not to let the children play unsupervised nearby. He said he heard yelling in the house in November 2011 and called police to investigate, but they left after no one answered the door.

And Nina Samoylicz, who lives nearby, said she called police about two years ago after spotting a naked woman in the backyard of Castro’s house. Samoylicz said when she called out to the woman, a man told the woman to get in the house, then ran in himself.

“She was just walking around and naked,” Samoylicz said. “We thought that was weird. We thought it was funny at first, and then we thought that was weird, so we called the cops. They thought we was playing, joking, they didn’t believe us.”

She said she had also seen tarps covering the backyard.

But Sgt. Sammy Morris, a Cleveland police spokesman, told CNN that the department had no record of a 911 call reporting a naked woman at Castro’s address.

In fact, authorities never had any indications that the women were being held in the home or that anything suspicious was going on there, Cleveland

Public Safety Director Martin Flask said. Neighbors had not provided any tips, he added.

Police had visited the home twice, authorities said Tuesday, once after Castro called about a fight in the street and another time to investigate Castro on an unrelated incident involving a child who had been left on a school bus.

The 2004 incident was the first of four exhibitions of “bad judgment” that led to Castro’s November firing by Cleveland’s school district, according to records released Tuesday night.

“He previously had been suspended for 60 days for leaving a child on a bus; 60 days for making an illegal U-turn in rush hour traffic with a bus load of students, and last school year for using the bus to do his grocery shopping,” the letter recommending his dismissal states. His firing came after he had left his bus unattended outside a school after his preschool routes had been canceled, without notifying his dispatcher or depot.

Tito DeJesus, a bandmate of Castro’s, said he had been inside the bass player’s home once, about two years ago, to help deliver a washer and dryer he’d sold to the suspect and saw “a normal environment.” DeJesus said he isn’t related to the rescued Gina DeJesus but had known the family for years.

“It didn’t seem to be a place where women were being held against their will,” he said. “Of course, mind you, I didn’t go throughout the entire house. I was just at the beginning of the house, in the living room, but it seemed normal.”

Finally free

Berry was last seen after finishing her shift at a Burger King in Cleveland on April 21, 2003. It was the eve of her 17th birthday. DeJesus disappeared nearly a year later, on April 2, 2004. She was 14.

Michelle Knight vanished on August 22, 2002, and her family reported her missing the next day, Flask said. She was 21.

Little was known about Knight’s case Tuesday. Her mother now lives in Naples, Florida, and was contacted by Cleveland police late Monday, a neighbor, Sheldon Gofberg, told CNN.

The three women and the child were released Tuesday from the hospital where they had been taken for evaluations, a spokeswoman said. Tomba said all four appeared to be in good condition, if in need of a good meal.

While amazing, such discoveries are more common now, said John D. Ryan, CEO of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

“To us at the National Center, this is not something that we find shocking any more,” he said. “The fact is, we have seen more and more long-term missing cases end up in the victim being rescued many years after their original abduction.”

The most widely reported such incident in recent years was that of Jaycee Dugard, who was freed in 2009 after 18 years of captivity behind the home of a California couple.

In another case, Ryan said last year a 43-year-old man was found and reunited with his mother after being abducted at the age of 2.

More than anything, the three victims need privacy and time with family members, said Elizabeth Smart, who was in the headlines in 2002 when she was kidnapped from her Utah home at age 14 and held captive for nine months.

“I want them to know that nothing that has happened to them will ever diminish their value and it should never hold them back from doing what they want to do,” Smart told CNN’s “The Situation Room.”

The women should not feel pressure to speak publicly about their ordeal, Smart said, adding that time will help them heal. “It’s just incredible they are walking away from this horrendous nightmare, alive and safe today,” she said.

‘We’re hoping for a miracle’

Investigators had previously speculated that the disappearances of Berry, DeJesus and another girl, 14-year-old Ashley Summers, may have been connected. Summers’ family last saw her in July 2007, when she was 14.

“We did in fact believe there was an association between the Berry case and the DeJesus case as well as the Summers case,” said former FBI agent Jennifer Eakin. Eakin is now a case manager at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, which in 2008 held a comprehensive review of the cases with the FBI and Cleveland police.

Now the Summers family is hoping that the Cleveland investigation will yield information about Ashley, her aunt, Debra Summers, said.

“We’re hoping for a miracle,” she said.

Anderson, the spokeswoman for the Cleveland FBI office, said investigators will question the three women found Monday in the hope that they know something about Summers’ disappearance.

Survival the key difference from ‘House of Horrors’ case

The suspects

Of the three brothers arrested, Ariel Castro was the only one to live at the home where the three women were apparently held, police said. The others lived elsewhere in the city.

Their uncle, Julio Castro, told CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360″ on Monday that his family had grown up in the same west Cleveland neighborhood and knew the Georgina DeJesus family.

Julio Castro told CNN’s Martin Savidge on Tuesday that family members were “surprised” over the developments.

“Shame on you,” Julio Castro said, when asked what he would say to his nephews.

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Law Requiring Warrants for E-Mail Wins Senate Committee Approval

A Senate committee today backed sweeping privacy protections requiring the government, for the first time, to get a probable-cause warrant to obtain e-mail and other content stored in the cloud.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the package on a voice vote after about 30 minutes of debate, and sent the measure to the Senate floor, where it faces an uncertain future.

The legislation, (.pdf) sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), the committee’s chair, and Michael S. Lee (R-Utah) nullifies a provision of federal law allowing the authorities to acquire a suspect’s e-mail or other stored content from an internet service provider without showing probable cause that a crime was committed if the content is 180 days or older.

Under the current law, the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the government can obtain e-mail without a warrant as long as the data has been stored on a third-party server — the cloud — for 180 days or more. The government only needs to show, often via an administrative subpoena, that it has “reasonable grounds to believe” the information would be useful to an investigation.

Initially, ECPA provided privacy to users, but that privacy protection eroded as technology advanced and people began storing e-mail and documents on servers for longer periods, sometimes indefinitely. The act was adopted at a time when e-mail wasn’t stored on servers for a long time, but instead was held briefly on its way to the recipient’s inbox. E-mail more than 6 months old was assumed abandoned.

“I think Americans are very concerned about unwarranted intrusions into our cyber lives,” Leahy said ahead of the vote.

The bill enjoys backing from a wide range of lobbying interests, from the American Civil Liberties Union to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The Judiciary Committee approved a nearly identical version of the bill in November. But it died a quiet death and, in Washington fashion, mutated into a package granting the public the right to automatically display on their Facebook feeds what they’re watching on Netflix.

What the President Barack Obama administration thinks of the measure is a mixed bag. The Justice Department testified in March at House committee that the 180-day rule “no longer made sense.” (.pdf)

But that doesn’t mean the agency is on board with the change.

“The harder question is how to update those outdated rules and the statute in light of new and changing technologies while maintaining protections for privacy and adequately providing for public safety and other law enforcement imperatives,” said Elana Tyrangiel, an acting assistant attorney general.

And on Thursday, Mary Jo White, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s new chair, wrote the Senate Judiciary Committee that the bill’s passage would hinder the government’s “ability to protect investors.”

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) said Thursday that federal authorities may simply abandon terrorism cases if they have to spent time comporting with the Fourth Amendment.

“Terrorism cases,” he said during the committee hearing, “may never be followed up on just because of that burden.”

The measure allows the authorities to bypass the warrant requirement for national security issues and emergencies. It also demands that the targets of warrants be immediately notified about the warrant.

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Chicago Alderman pitches “Sponsor a Cop” to put officers on the streets

A philanthropist or business could sponsor a police beat and put more off-duty cops on the streets under a plan being put forth by a downtown Chicago lawmaker on the City Council.

Alderman Brendan Reilly originally pitched the idea last October but is pushing it again following weekend incidents of teen mob activity on the Magnificent Mile, an upscale area of the city.

Under his plan, off-duty officers would work minimum six-hour shifts and make $30 an hour. The money would be paid by businesses, civic groups and churches at a time when city finances are stretched thin. The officers would be in full uniform and under the command of police supervisors.

“This is a way to make use of well-trained police officers who are moonlighting doing other things, bringing them back on the street to do what they do best, which is great police work,” Reilly said.

And he said his plan wouldn’t just apply to the city’s more affluent neighborhoods. There would be nothing in his proposal preventing an organization from sponsoring police protection anywhere in the city.

“You don’t need to live in the ZIP code where you want to provide some additional stability and public safety,” he said.

Still, he pressed that his plan is little more than a “creative tool” and isn’t a long-term solution to the department’s and the city’s woes.

“This is a stop-gap measure,” he said.”A long-term solution is we need to add more on-duty cops to the police department.”

More than two dozen teens were arrested Saturday night after dozens of mob groups began attacking pedestrians.

One community activist told NBC Chicago 300 to 400 teens were involved, with some of them “jumping” on people.

Supt. Garry McCarthy said incidents of mob activity like the ones that happened over the weekend occur every year as the weather gets warmer. But Reilly says police presence makes a difference.

“This is something that, unfortunately, the city’s had to struggle with on a seasonal basis for the last several years. But you’ll notice that those headlines went away just like that as soon as we saw a surge in police visibility,” Reilly said.

He said he hopes the budget committee will pass his bill and put it before the full Chicago City Council in an upcoming meeting.

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TEXT-TO-911 SERVICE TO BE AVAILABLE NATIONWIDE IN 2014

Citizens in danger across the country will be able to text distress calls to 911 by May 2014, following an agreement with the nation’s four largest wireless carriers, the Federal Communications Commission has announced.

Major deployments of the text-to-911 service should be available through AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile during 2013, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said Thursday in a statement.

The carriers have also agreed to offer an automated “bounce back” message by June 2013 alerting people who text 911 if their message wasn’t received, Genachowski said. Those people will be instructed to call 911 instead, he said.

The growing prevalence of texting has led many people to presume they can text emergency requests to 911, but only a fraction of local emergency officials are prepared to accept texts now. Surveys have found more than half of Americans also presume help will arrive if they post a request to an emergency management agencies’ Facebook page.

“Access to 911 must catch up with how consumers communicate in the 21st century — and today, we are one step closer towards that vital goal,” Genachowski said.

The texting service will also benefit people with hearing and speech disabilities who are unable to communicate with 911 operators by phone, he said.

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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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Firearms sold on cyberspace

Over 1,000 guns and 10,000 bullets were confiscated and 241 people arrested for running an illegal, cyberspace firearms business in Jiangxi Province, reported the Beijing-based Legal Daily.

The investigation by the Pingxiang Public Security Bureau, which lasted a year, found the suspects had sold guns to over 700 clients in more than 200 cities and counties in 30 municipalities, provinces and autonomous regions across the country.

Police tracked the gun buyers and confiscated their weapons, along with 200 firearms that were found when the sellers were busted. Police said they also confiscated 55,000 firearm parts.

“The stealthy cyber crime was very difficult to investigate,” Yang Fukuan, head of the crime investigation team at the Jiangxi Provincial Public Security Department, was quoted by the Legal Daily as saying Tuesday.

“A huge organized criminal gang and an extensive network of buyers are involved in the case,” Yang added.

Guns are strictly controlled in China and private gun ownership is outlawed.

“The illegal gun trade used to be limited to a small and secretive group, cyberspace now provides a hotbed for trade in weapons,” Liu Tao, professor from the Chinese People’s Public Security University, told the Global Times.

“An increasing demand for guns also plays an important role,” Liu added.

He Li, deputy director of the firearms control department at the Ministry of Public Security, said criminal gangs, ethnic minorities who hunt, bodyguards and drug dealers are the main clients of illegal gun sellers, the Beijing News reported.

“The crackdown on online gun sales is positive as authorities have become familiar with the new methods of the illegal firearms trade,” Lü Benfu, an expert on Internet security with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told the Global Times.

The Ministry of Public Security launched a campaign on September 25 with 29 provincial police departments to contain the sale of firearm online.

More than 530 suspects have been arrested in the campaign, and over 1,000 guns and 10,000 bullets confiscated during this crackdown.

In June, local police in Taizhou, Zhejiang Province, arrested 1,700 suspects who sold about 2,000 guns online to 32 regions in the country.

However, experts advised that more work needs to be done to fight cyber crime.

“The current Criminal Law defines cyber crime only vaguely and leaves loopholes in handing out harsh punishment,” Liu said, adding that more detailed regulations are needed.

Lü said that China needs to improve its ability to detect cyber crime by learning from successful experiences in foreign countries.

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