College security guards partake in bomb detection training

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) — Security guards who work at colleges and universities across Connecticut participated in specialized training Wednesday, learning about detecting bombs.

Instructors show how to recognize different types of bombs, many made from things found around the home, and teach life-saving skills.

“Time, action, command initiation to give first-responders a heads up on what to look for, identifying key features and functions,” said Arthur Dererian, whose worked with explosives for more than two decades.

He says this training is crucial nowadays. Just recently, a Massachusetts man was arrested after allegedly plotting to set off bombs in college cafeterias.

“The threat is here in the United States, and this training will help public safety officials throughout universities identify these items, deem them suspicious, and follow proper protocols,” said Dererian.

The public safety officers in attendance were hand-picked to take part in the week-long bomb recognition training at Fairfield University.

“Scared in a small manner with the bombing idea, but if you don’t know about it, that’s the worst thing that can happen,” said Sacred Heart University public safety officer Candace Kinlaw.

“Knowledge is power,” said another Sacred Heart officer, Nicholas Pulaski. “The more you know, the better you will be at doing anything. This only helps us and preps us more to be much better and more safe at our jobs.”

Fairfield University has now held this training for seven years.

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LA Airport Police Back Effort To Ban Badges For Non-Sworn TSA Screeners

LOS ANGELES— Union officials for police at Los Angeles International Airport gave its support Friday for new legislation that would ban the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) from allowing non-law enforcement personnel to wear metal badges.

The Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers’ Association (LAAPOA) issued the statement commending language in a Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill currently under consideration by lawmakers in

Washington, which includes an amendment that prohibits funding for TSA uniforms that include badges that resemble law enforcement badges.

While TSA screening agents are not sworn officers, the agency reclassified screeners as “transportation security officers” in 2005 in order to boost morale among its ranks. In 2008, the TSA did away with the embroidered logos and provided its screeners with metal badges.

But veteran law enforcement agents like Marshall McClain, President of the LAAPOA, say bestowing the title of “officer” to TSA screening agents and giving those screeners police-styled metal badges has granted agents the outward appearance of law enforcement authority – which they do not possess.

“The main mission of TSA agents is to screen passengers and baggage at the airport,” said McClain. “These screeners have not received law enforcement training and do not perform police functions at our airports so why would we ever allow them to wear police-like badges?”

The LAAPOA also supported a decision by TSA in Jan. 2014 not to arm its officers in the wake of the Nov. 1, 2013, shooting at LAX.

The Appropriations Committee bill will go to the full House floor for a vote in the coming weeks.

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Steeplechase opts for traffic enforcement on private roads.

An effort over the past year in Oak Brook to have residents in subdivisions with private roads agree to allow police to enforce the entire Illinois Vehicle Code has proven successful.

The Steeplechase Community Association of Oak Brook, which has 21 homes, is the latest homeowners’ group to agree to the enabling ordinance that allows enforcement. The Oak Brook Village Board approved the agreement July 14.

“We are restricted to what we can enforce on private roads unless those residents agree to the enabling ordinance,” Police Chief James Kruger said. “Having the enabling ordinance in place allows us to better serve the community and provide the same level of service for everyone.”

Without an agreement to the enabling ordinance, police are not able to write tickets for violations of lane usage and vehicle registration. Police also are not able to issue tickets to those driving without a license or with a license that has been suspended.

Bob Sheppel, president of the Steeplechase Community Association of Oak Brook, said the group’s board decided to accept the enabling ordinance because it “goes hand in hand with security.”

Kruger and Village President Gopal Lalmalani reached out to homeowners association presidents a year ago, asking that they agree to the enabling ordinance. Since that time, homeowners associations in Briarwood Lakes, Heritage Oaks and Midwest Chase also have agreed to the ordinance.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with the response we’ve received from our homeowners associations,” Kruger said. “We’ve had a couple of requests for extra patrol, and some have expressed traffic safety concerns. This allows us to have an increased presence.”

Kruger said the Oak Brook Club and Covington Court are the only two remaining eligible subdivisions in the village that have yet to agree to the enabling ordinance.

“They have expressed interest, and we are working with them,” Kruger said.

Two Oak Brook subdivisions with private roads, Breakenridge Farm and Wendell Woods, are not eligible for the enabling ordinance because each has only nine homes. State law requires a minimum of 10 homes to enact the enabling ordinance, Kruger said.

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Balt police, partners create around-the-clock ‘war room’ to address crime surge

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, law enforcement officials and prosecutors have created an around-the-clock “war room” to address the spike in violent crime that has racked Baltimore since the death of Freddie Gray, they said Sunday.

Officials have identified several criminal groups as top targets of the effort.

“We are pushing for an all-hands-on-deck approach to this current surge in violence,” Rawlings-Blake told reporters at a news conference. “We know that crime is not static. Neither can we be. It is important for us to work together and recommit ourselves to that collaboration every single day in order for us to get on top of this crime spike.”

Violence has spiked since Gray, 25, died in police custody in April, and has showed no sign of abating. May saw 42 homicides, the deadliest month in Baltimore in 25 years. From Friday through Sunday, more than 20 people were shot. Seven died, and others were in critical condition.

Interim Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, appointed by Rawlings-Blake last week after she dismissed Anthony W. Batts, said the war room — an operations center in which all of the partner agencies are to work together — will “ensure there are no gaps in our intelligence sharing, no gaps in our operational capacities, and no gaps in our overall commitment to identify the small number of folks who are harming our communities.”

Davis said officials have identified “four different groups of bad guys who are responsible for a disproportionate amount of violence in Baltimore City, and we’re going to work around the clock until we get to the point of probable cause to start taking those folks off the streets.

“The citizens of this city deserve nothing less.”

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N.J. task force makes recommendations to improve school security

A state task force on school security issued a final report Thursday that recommends more police presence, the creation of a school safety academy, and a requirement that all staff and students carry identification, among other measures.

The task force was created two years ago as state officials and educators sought ways to improve safety after the school shooting rampage in Newtown, Conn. in which 20 children and six adults were killed. The group, which included leaders in education and law enforcement, made 42 recommendations in the report.

The report calls for New Jersey to create and fund a “school safety specialist academy” to centralize information, resources and training in one place. The academy would oversee school compliance with safety rules and regulations and conduct a certification program.

For school security staff, the report recommends hiring school resource officers, sworn police officers assigned exclusively to schools, though the high cost of this approach was noted in the report. Schools that use non-police security guards should develop agreements with local law enforcement on qualifications, communications, chain of command and responsibilities, the report states.

The task force calls for more police patrols on school grounds, especially at busy times like the start of the school day, dismissal and at activities and events. Police should also be invited to talk about topics like bullying, “sexting” and school violence in an effort to build trust and cooperation with the community.

The report also urges that the state should require students and staff to carry identification cards in a visible place when school is in session, the task force concluded. It also calls for the state to require school security to have two-way radios in schools with a dedicated channel to talk directly to emergency responders.

The report also recommends practices that are already in place at many schools, such as limiting the number of doors that can be entered; monitoring and staffing entrances; and installing surveillance cameras outside as a deterrent.

Physical improvements like installing cameras and placing metal detectors at school entrances can be expensive and time-consuming in a time when school budgets are tight. Decisions to use those should be left to the school district, the task force wrote.

The report raised questions about the effectiveness of panic alarms that silently and electronically notify police of problems. Gov. Christie vetoed legislation last year that would have required every public school in the state to install panic alarms

An emergency could unfold in a place that isn’t near a panic button, while phone-based panic buttons are at risk of false alarms, the task force wrote.

Education Commissioner David Hespe and Christopher Rodriguez, director of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, chaired the task force.

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More than 1,000 weapons seized at Bristol courts

ALMOST 100 knives, 1,000 tools and 300 cans and bottles of alcohol have been seized by security staff at Bristol courts.

Defendants, witnesses and supporters have attempted to smuggle an arsenal of knifes, screwdrivers, Allen keys and nail files past staff working at Bristol’s Crown and Magistrates Courts between May 2014 and 2015.

A Freedom of Information request submitted by the Bristol Post has revealed a total of 84 knives under three inches were confiscated from people entering the magistrates court during the 12 month period, in addition to three attempts to sneak blades over three inches.

In comparison, there were 13 attempts to conceal knife blades longer than three inches in to crown court, alongside the confiscation of three fixed blades in the period.

This follows a case in North Avon Magistrates Court, Yate, four years ago when a teenager stabbed security officer with a blade made out of a toothbrush handle.

A spokesman from the Public and Commercial Services Union which represents court staff said: “Court staff and the public have been let down by the government, with scores of courthouses closing and cuts to legal aid.

“These things fuel the sense of a justice system that is remote and not set up in the interests of ordinary people, and staff all too often bear the brunt.”

Everyone who enters the Bristol courts is asked to pass through a security gate and can be checked with a hand-held detecting device.

Bags are searched and security guards ask the individual whether they are carrying any banned items.

During the 12 month period 71 cameras and nine recorders were seized at Bristol Crown Court.

Bristol Magistrates also seized 917 “tools” – which include bike helmets, nail files and any item which security staff deem to be a risk – in comparison to 48 at crown.

No one attempted to smuggle genuine or replica firearms.

A spokesman from HM Courts and Tribunals Service said it takes the issue of security within courts “extremely seriously” and has “a robust security and safety system to protect all court users and the judiciary.”

They added: “This system includes mandatory bag searches, metal detectors and surveillance cameras, as well as court security officers who have legislative powers to protect all those in the court building.

“The powers of the court security officers include the ability to restrain and remove people from the building should there be a need.

“Our security system is continually monitored to ensure that it is effective and proportionate and mitigates against the risks faced.”

Last year Parliament revealed that the number of contraband items detected at courts in England and Wales more than doubled in the past three years.

In total 3,713 knives were seized across the country in the financial year 2013/14, compared to 1,574 the year before.

At the time, former shadow justice secretary Sadiq Kjan, told Parliament: “It is staggering that the number of offensive weapons in our courts has doubled in just one year.

“Under David Cameron our justice system is in crisis, and is increasingly violent and dangerous for staff and court users alike.

“Much more needs to be done to stop weapons being brought into our courts as well as protecting our hard working staff.”

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USPS mail carriers are getting a “panic button”

The unofficial U.S. postal creed says neither rain, nor sleet, nor heat, nor gloom of night will keep carriers from their rounds. Thieves and vicious dogs, however, may be another matter. So the Post Office is delivering a solution.

In broad daylight in Washington, D.C., last year, two armed men attacked a U.S. letter carrier. He was beaten, bound and robbed.

It was one of more than 400 assaults on postal workers nationwide in 2014, up nine percent in the past five years. That same year, dogs attacked carriers more than 5,700 times.

Virginia carrier Nilo Parin was one of them.

“The dog bit me right here,” he said.

The Postal Service had given Parin no way to call for help — until now.

The Postal Service is shipping all 230,000 carriers new mobile devices with a soon-to-be-activated “panic button.” GPS transmits their location to their supervisors every minute.

Jeff Williamson is the chief of human resources for the Postal Service and gave CBS News the first public look at the devices, which will be rolled out by September.

The new devices also let supervisors warn carriers with alerts, like they did during the recent unrest in Baltimore.

“So when you think about the power of this, the safety element of what this allows us to do from a carrier standpoint is just incredible,” Williamson said.

The devices also allow virtually real-time notifications when their package has arrived and more efficient routes to save time and fuel.

The Postal Service is spending $200 million on this. That’s a lot of money, especially for an organization that lost $5 billion last year and wants to cut Saturday delivery. Can they afford it?

“It’s an investment in our future is what it is,” said Dave Williams, the Postal Service COO. “It’s an investment in the growth of our organization.”

And for those who carry that mail, the new devices are delivering a sense of security.

Does it make Parin feel safer?

“It does,” he said.

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NY prison escapee Sweat back behind bars. What’s different this time?

David Sweat has been transferred to another upstate New York maximum security prison, but he will lose all the privileges he enjoyed before his breakout a month ago.

After spending three weeks on the run and one in the hospital, escaped prisoner David Sweat is back in a maximum security prison. He was transferred Sunday to the Five Points Correctional Facility in Romulus, N.Y., according to the State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS).

This time, the level of attention focused on Mr. Sweat will be heightened. Whereas prior to his breakout from Clinton Correctional Facility Sweat had lived in “honor housing,” where well-behaved inmates were trusted with limited privileges, Sweat’s freedom at Five Points will be severely abridged.

He will spend the first 24 hours at Five Points in the infirmary for a medical evaluation, DOCCS said in a statement. Sweat will then be placed in the facility’s Special Housing Unit, where he will be locked in a single-occupancy cell for 23 hours a day. He will also be on active suicide watch.

Each of the 150 cells in the Special Housing Unit comes furnished with the basics for all-day confinement: a bed, a toilet, a sink, a writing platform, and a shower that the prison controls to “limit movement,” DOCCS said.

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Colleges, tech firms joining forces to try to make campus life safer

Colleges and universities are teaming up with technology entrepreneurs in an effort to keep students safe — on and off campus — by using their smartphones.

Mobile apps geared toward campus safety are booming: with a few clicks, text messages will contact friends or social media, employ GPS to pinpoint a location and automatically connect to 911. Many will connect to campus security offices and national emergency hotlines.

Others use countdown timers that will automatically send messages and GPS information if a user is past due at a destination. Some apps use a Bluetooth connection to pair with a panic button that can be carried on a keychain to send a quick alert without the need to fish out a phone from a purse or bag.

And there are apps that can broadcast real-time video and audio to public safety officials. Campus police, for example, might provide a virtual escort by monitoring students as they walk across campus at night.

“Technology-wise, we’ve learned that if we’re going to communicate well with this age group on campus, we’ve got to be able to use the mechanisms they’re addicted to and that they love, and when we do that, we’re more successful in getting the message out about safety,” said Anne P. Glavin, chief of police at Cal State Northridge and past president of the International Assn. of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.

Campus safety and surrounding-area crime statistics can be an important consideration for students and families making college choices. Fears have been elevated since shooting rampages at Virginia Tech in 2007 and in Isla Vista near the UC Santa Barbara campus in 2014.

And many colleges are under heightened scrutiny after complaints about their reporting and handling of sexual assault cases.

Some experts, such as Glavin, also expressed concern that fast bucks are being made from the fear of crime and that new technologies can provide users a false sense of security.

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New security service at NDSU can be activated with 1 touch

FARGO, N.D. (AP) – North Dakota State University students and staff will have access this year to a safety and security service that will allow dispatchers to track their whereabouts and let users call for help with one swipe of the smartphone screen.

The app was used by some students in a pilot program last spring and will be available this fall to everyone affiliated with the campus. The system works both on and off campus on a 24/7 basis and is integrated with the current NDSU technology that provides centralized electronic locks and a surveillance camera system.

It will also get students and staff to think about how to defend themselves, said Mike Borr, director of the NDSU police and safety office, and Fargo Police Lt. Joel Vettel.

“Safety and security of our students, staff and faculty is one of our top priorities,” Borr said. “The fact that this application exists and will be promoted again when the students arrive is a chance to get it in the forefront of people’s thoughts.”

Said Vettel, “It’s a way for people to take their own personal safety to the next level.”

Safety has been in the forefront around NDSU since freshman Thomas Bearson was killed by an unknown assailant in September and two students were raped at an off-campus apartment in December. Bearson’s body was found in neighboring Moorhead, Minnesota. Earlier this week a recent NDSU graduate who lives near campus was killed in a random homicide.

“As parents we worry about our children, whether they are 4 or 24,” Vettel said.

The service that NDSU is using had a one-time fee of $10,000 and was paid for with money already allocated for information technology services. NDSU is the only campus in the state using such a service.

To start the safety assist, users type in their destination – which can be keywords like “bookstore” or “union” – and estimated travel time and then select the “Follow Me Now” icon. The user gets texts at different times during the walk, such as one minute before the safety assist timer is about to end or if the user has not moved for a while.

A user can call police with one touch or send a silent alarm to an NDSU dispatcher with the sweep of a finger if he or she feels threatened or there is an emergency.

Borr said the spring launch was a successful test because there were a couple of times when the system was put into action when people went overdue, even though they turned out to be false alarms.

“We haven’t had an actual need to respond,” Borr said. “However, we are treating every alarm as if it is a real event.”

The service gives families a chance to talk about personal safety “without making it a scary issue,” Vettel said.

“I don’t think people should go out and be alarmed or scared and think there is danger around every tree,” he said. “But we really want to stress to folks to be aware of their surroundings, recognizing those times when they’re more vulnerable and take steps to improve your position.”

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