City banning anyone who’s not a licensed security guard

“Hamilton city councilors, eager to discourage militaristic white supremacists, are banning anyone who’s not a licensed security guard from flexing muscle on city property.

But some worry that’ll make it harder for volunteer groups who provide their own security at small rallies and festivals.

City council’s general issues committee voted Wednesday to make a new rule that anyone acting as a security guard at functions on city property needs a provincial license.

This comes after the self-professed “patriot group” Canadian Three Percenters did security detail at city hall on July 29, when the Canadian Combat Coalition rallied against federal anti-

Islamophobia Motion 103. Local anti-fascists counter protested.

Council is being “bravely naive” if it thinks these tense events won’t happen again, said Matthew Green, the Ward 3 councillor who moved the motion. And one day, someone will get hurt.

City looks at banning white nationalist groups from flexing muscle on city property

“It’s not a one-off event,” he said.

With the new rule, Green said, when militaristic white supremacists show up for security detail, the city can charge them with trespassing.

Councillors voted in favour of this. But some worried it would unfairly penalize volunteer groups.

“I worry about the unintended consequences,” said Terry Whitehead, Ward 8 councillor, while Judi Partridge of Ward 15 said she needed more information.

Green said later that he can’t think of any group that fits that category.

Larger events hire their own licensed security guards or police, Green said.

Events on outdoor city property, or in the city hall forecourt, are booked through the city’s special events advisory team (SEAT). Security typically isn’t required when the event doesn’t

require opening a city building, says a staff report.

City council will cast a final vote on Oct. 25th.”

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Ranger Guard app lets businesses order security guards like Uber

“You can order just about anything from your phone these days, and that now includes security guards.

Ranger Guard works a lot like a ride sharing app, and users say it’s changed the way they protect their businesses.

During Harvey’s flooding, many business owners had to close up shop due to flood damage. That left many businesses with no one to watch out for them.

“Definitely don’t recommend that,” says Jonah Nathan, owner of Ranger Guard and Investigations.

His company offers the app, which works like a ride sharing service except instead of cars, you’re summoning security guards.

“Just ordering your security service just like you do your Uber. Just for the amount of time you need it,” Nathan said.

It doesn’t require a contract and businesses can request armed or unarmed guards to perform specific tasks– like confronting a specious person.

Nathan says many of the calls his guards are sent to involve businesses dealing with homeless people.

“Most homeless people are nonviolent,” Nathan said. “They just want to sit there in peace.”

But he says during Harvey’s flooding, the demand shifted. Many businesses used the app to protect the properties they had to flee.

He hopes once those businesses are back up and running, they’ll continue with the service.

The app is intended for businesses and it not available for residential use.”

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Santa Rosa County Deputies get free security system for their families

“Violence against law enforcement and their families is a real concern in today’s environment. Every deputy at the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office was given a free home surveillance system on Wednesday.

Sergeant Roman Jackson has been with the sheriff’s office in narcotics for many years. He has a wife and two kids at home. Due to his job, he has received threats against his family.

Sgt. Jackson said, “Just being targeted for what you do has become common in law enforcement. That’s scary, I’ve arrested people for dangerous drugs before.They’ve threatened to blow my house up, whether serious or not, we take them seriously.”

He said every time a deputy heads into work, it’s a real concern that they are leaving the ones they love most unprotected.

Sgt. Jackson said, “We work night shifts, we are away from our families a lot. We want added security for them when we are not there. We are the best protectors when we are home, but then we are out protecting everyone else.”

That’s why State Farm, along with Canary, gave all deputies at the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office a free home surveillance system. State Farm Agent Mike Hill saw that State Farm was doing this in other communities and made it happen here.

Hill said, “You can watch what is going on in your home through your smartphone. There’s audio, video, measures temp, air quality, and see it real time through their phone.”

Sheriff Bob Johnson said it’s often hardest when deputies are working late hours and can’t get home quickly.

“If they work in Pace, live in Navarre, they can look on a smartphone and see what’s happening. It gives them peace of mind of what’s happening 20, 30 miles away,” said Johnson.”

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The Law and Science of Eyewitness Identification

“Several years ago, I sat in a tavern in a city of abandoned textile mills with a client who had been exonerated of several rape convictions by DNA testing. Like the city itself, my client saw better days ahead. The police investigations into the crimes were riddled with errors, and he would later reach a multimillion dollar settlement in his civil rights case. Yet, as we met for the first time to look over the case file, another disturbing aspect became clear: the sheer number of times witnesses had misidentified our client during the investigation.

One area of law in need of profound change is the process by which courts and investigators collect witness identification evidence. Eyewitness identification plays a fundamental role in criminal cases, and also plays a part in civil cases and internal business investigations. But this critical tool is often plagued with reliability problems. While it is important to use identification procedures to solve crimes, it is equally important to exclude innocent people from prosecution.

According to the Innocence Project, since 1989, there have been 349 wrongful convictions overturned via DNA testing. In those cases, eyewitness misidentification was a factor in over 70% of those cases—far more than any other factor.

Last year, I attended the 2016 National Symposium on Eyewitness Identification Reform along with other lawyers and investigators. We studied and discussed the latest research. Historically, many procedures for testing eyewitness identification were not validated in a scientific manner before being implemented by investigators. As a result, many of us have been trained using eyewitness identification techniques that are outmoded and flawed—and those methods have led to innocent people being implicated in an investigation.

However, forward-thinking investigators throughout the country are making changes in their techniques based on new scientific research in this area. Below, I summarize some highlights of the research and provide a link to free training materials.

The Law

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, Neil v. Biggers (1972), was one of the first cases where the court made extensive recommendations on evaluating eyewitness testimony. In somewhat of a departure for Supreme Court decisions, the court delved into the facts:

“The assailant directed the victim to ‘tell her [the daughter] to shut up, or I’ll kill you both.’ She did so, and was then walked at knifepoint about two blocks along a railroad track, taken into a woods, and raped there. She testified that ‘the moon was shining brightly, full moon.’”

Biggers was later identified during a live showup at the police station, where the victim viewed Biggers. He was made to repeat the threat uttered by the rapist. Finding the showup here met the criteria for reliability, the court listed five factors for evaluating the accuracy of eyewitness identifications:

“As indicated by our cases, the factors to be considered in evaluating the likelihood of misidentification include the opportunity of the witness to view the criminal at the time of the crime, the witness’ degree of attention, the accuracy of the witness’ prior description of the criminal, the level of certainty demonstrated by the witness at the confrontation, and the length of time between the crime and the confrontation.”

The Neil v. Biggers factors were confirmed in a 1977 case, Manson v. Brathwaite, in which the Supreme Court set a low barrier to admitting shaky evidence, holding that if the circumstances of the identification procedure were suggestive, the Court must then weigh the “totality of the circumstances” to determine whether the identification is still reliable. The law of the land for over three decades now, Manson v. Brathwaite has come under increasing criticism that its holding is inconsistent with recent scientific studies into witness identification and memory.

The Supreme Court has noted the unique power of witness testimony; Justice William J. Brennan, Jr.’s dissent in the 1981 case Watkins v. Sowders summed it up best:

“[E]yewitness testimony is likely to be believed by jurors, especially when it is offered with a high level of confidence, even though the accuracy of an eyewitness and the confidence of that witness may not be related to one another at all. All the evidence points rather strikingly to the conclusion that there is almost nothing more convincing than a live human being who takes the stand, points a finger at the defendant, and says, `That’s the one!’”

The Research

What do we mean when we refer to eyewitness identification?

Eyewitness identification can occur in several formats: a showup, live lineups, or a photo lineup. Showups—where a suspect is apprehended and shown “live” and in-person to a witness, close in time to the event—have been demonstrated to have higher percentages of both correct and incorrect identifications as compared to lineups. Showups tend to be have heightened problems with suggestibility, given the fact that they involve just one person who is surrounded by multiple police officers.

Lineups occur at a time somewhat removed from the event, but because they are planned and staged, a process exists to minimize contamination by suggestive elements (for example, a suspect standing closer to the victim than all lineup fillers; police clapping after a successful identification of a suspect).

How often are witnesses successful in their identification? In one study of 11 peer reviewed studies and over 6,000 actual police lineups, witnesses selected the suspect 41% of the time; witnesses selected a lineup filler 37% of the time (i.e., they selected a person who was known to be innocent of the crime).

Several phenomena have been observed in studies where a crime is staged—say, a person enters a classroom in front of student “witnesses” and steals a purse—and the students/witnesses later are interviewed in a controlled setting about their observations.

Here are a few key findings:

1. Proper eyewitness instructions can reduce false positives.

Research has demonstrated that eyewitnesses tend to identify the person from the lineup who, in the opinion of the eyewitness, looks most like the culprit relative to the other members of the lineup. The problem became readily apparent when experiments were run where the actual culprit was not present in the lineup. Under controlled conditions, a concept called the “relative judgment process” will often yield a positive identification—even when the true culprit had been removed from the lineup. While this may seem to be an obvious, simple observation, research shows the effect is incredibly damaging to accuracy.

But research has demonstrated that this problem can be partly remedied with a simple instruction to the witness that the true culprit may not be in the lineup. Some state courts have adopted a set of instructions to be given to eyewitnesses—such as a caveat that the witness need not feel compelled to make an identification, and that police will continue to investigate this incident, whether or not the witness makes an identification.

“These instructions can reduce pressure on the witness to feel as if they must pick a culprit, and this leads to more accurate results.

2. Double-blind identification procedures can prevent information “leaks.”

A double-blind eyewitness identification is one in which neither the administrator nor the eyewitness knows the identity of the suspect. Research has shown that witnesses were adept at picking up clues from the person administering the lineup when that administrator knew the identity of the suspect. The lineup administrator tended to “leak” information about the suspect in subtle (and not so subtle) ways: leaning forward at certain times; raising his hands; making a comment like “take another look at the third guy;” smiling or nodding in agreement when a positive identification was made; or conversely, frowning when the wrong person was chosen. These kinds of cues lead to inaccurate identifications, as well as false levels of confidence in the witness.

Studies have shown there is far less chance of contamination of the process when double blind testing is implemented.

3. Confidence statements from the witness are most reliable at the time of initial identification.

The role played by eyewitness mistakes in the DNA exoneration cases has helped to create a growing impression that eyewitness memory is inherently unreliable. I have heard several witnesses tell me this on recent cases, in essence doubting their own ability to remember accurately. But this overstates the case. Researchers have discovered—perhaps surprisingly given the general trend— that when eyewitnesses are questioned using proper identification procedures, the confidence they have in their initial identification usually is a highly reliable indicator of accuracy.”

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Becoming an Agent: An Inside Look at What It Takes

“Part 1: The First Week

It’s a hot afternoon in August, and the last of the trainees steps off a coach bus parked outside a dormitory at the FBI Academy. One by one, young men and women from all walks of life make their way toward the entrance with luggage in tow.

A sense of nervous excitement can be felt as supervisors, counselors, and others meet each trainee inside the lobby. They shuffle from station to station and gather paperwork, equipment, class schedules, and dorm assignments. At one of the stops, trainees receive standard-issue polo shirts, khaki pants, and workout gear.

This diverse band of trainees is converging on Quantico from across the country with one goal in mind: to complete the Basic Field Training Course and become special agents of the FBI.

The training will be taxing on many levels—academically, physically, and psychologically—and success is far from guaranteed. But through the close bonds inevitably formed by fellow classmates and support from the Academy’s training staff, new agents will endure the challenges that lie ahead.

Over the span of five months, trainees will learn the fundamentals of the special agent tradecraft. They’ll root out drug dealers and bank robbers in Hogan’s Alley, the FBI’s mock town and practical training facility. They’ll expose terrorist cells and learn how to conduct challenging interviews. They’ll study legal issues and investigative procedures, gather and analyze evidence, and fire thousands of rounds at the range. Along the way, new agent trainees will work alongside new intelligence analysts to identify threats and develop critical thinking skills.

The intense training regimen is necessary to prepare new agents to carry out the FBI’s complex mission of protecting the nation from a host of major national security and criminal threats—including those posed by terrorists, spies, hackers, gangs, and more—while upholding civil rights and the Constitution of the United States.

Just getting to the Academy was a long and hard-fought journey for the trainees arriving this summer day. They had to compete against tens of thousands of applicants in one of the most grueling selection processes in the country. Navigating the many elements of the application process—including several rounds of interviews and a thorough background check—was its own test. Ultimately, perseverance paid off.

Like their predecessors, this class of new agents comes with a variety of career experiences—some not as traditional as you might expect. The majority of students have military, law enforcement, or criminal justice backgrounds, but there are also former teachers, scientists, IT professionals, entrepreneurs, and more.”

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Horry County Schools officially using private armed guards

“Private armed security guards will protect your kids next year.

The Horry County school board voted Monday to approve a $550,000 contract with U.S. Security Associates to provide 18 armed security guards who will patrol the 15 schools that Horry County police previously patrolled as well as three new schools scheduled to be open by next year.

Chief Financial Officer John Gardner said doesn’t recall the district ever using private security inside schools before.

U.S. Security Associates is an insured, American-owned company that provides over 50,000 security professionals with 160 branches in the United States, according to its website.

The firm also provides unarmed security outside Horry County schools and its existing contract with the district provides that it may supply armed security guards for an additional cost if needed.

The security guards in the schools would have arresting authority on school property, according to district spokeswoman Teal Britton.

Unlike police officers, they would operate at the disposal of the school district.

The company in its proposal told the district that all armed guards would receive all necessary training required by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division as well as an additional 16 hours in training from U.S. Security Associates.

“The company will be required to provide proof of all background checks and training,” Britton said last week.

U.S. Security Associates District Manager Ed Leitgeb said the firm puts its employees through extensive social security and background checks and would like to recruit veterans and law enforcement to fill the positions in Horry County Schools.

Leitgeb said all security guards are required to be trained in CPR, first aid and automated external defibrillator operation.

The district already has budgeted $801,000 in the 2017-18 budget for all SROs, including $592,000 for officers at the schools that Horry County police would have patrolled this year: the amount budgeted for the officers under the previous agreement with the county.

The district began looking at private security options after the county in March abandoned a long-standing agreement to split the cost of school resource officers’ salaries, and most recently asked for more than $1.6 million to patrol the schools.”

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Corporate Sector Special Operations: Myths & Realities

“It was still dark outside when the first undercover operative arrived at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. A thick layer of fog swirled through the streets as the operative made his way into the lobby. He sat down to wait for his partner, and for the man who had hired them for the job. The hotel was to be the site of a large tech conference that day, and the two operatives had to be in position fast. Conference attendees would soon be streaming in for registration, and before long, the guest speakers would begin to arrive—including one specific Silicon Valley billionaire they would be watching for.

As the hubbub in the lobby built to a crescendo, the operatives slid into the background. It was imperative for their mission that no one knew who they were or what they were doing there.

While this might sound like a nefarious plot in some Hollywood movie, this was actually a covert protective operation, and part of a whole undercover world that very few people know exists—an invisible world I call the “surveillance zone.”

Introducing the “Surveillance Zone”

Let me offer you a peek behind the curtain—and into the “zone.” That first undercover operative mentioned above? That was actually me, and the man who had hired us was the senior security director for a well-known Silicon Valley corporation. We’d been hired to covertly protect the billionaire founder and CEO, whose company—despite some dramatic downswings and falling stock prices—was about to unveil a new venture. The mix of angry stockholders, excited techies, and nervous investors had company execs feeling skittish and us on our guard, and made for a tricky and interesting assignment.

On top of all that, the CEO had been receiving increasingly violent threats from a dedicated stalker who had demonstrated the will and ability to take things to the next level. Having surveilled the CEO’s home and workplace, and even physically confronted the CEO, there was ample reason to take the stalker’s intentions seriously.

When the threat to harm the CEO at the convention had come in (just a day before the event), the company decided to take action. At ten pm, I received a call from the security director, requesting our presence at the hotel at six am the following morning.”

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How Private Investigators Can Effectively Handle Intense Situations

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

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

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

The Adrenaline Rush

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

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

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

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National Academy: Training Law Enforcement Partners for 80 Years

Eighty years ago today, on July 29, 1935, the FBI opened its training facilities and expertise to law enforcement officers across the U.S., and the National Academy was born.

The idea of a national training academy was first raised in late 1934 as part of U.S. Attorney General Homer Cummings’ “war on crime.”

FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover then fleshed out an idea for professional education for law enforcement officers at the annual meeting of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) held in early July 1935.

An IACP committee on police training had urged Director Hoover, who spoke at the conference on the value of professional police training, to consider offering such training under FBI auspices.

Hoover returned to Washington, and later that month, the first class of 23 officers from across the country began training with the FBI.

They took a wide array of classes detailing the latest research and experience on police procedure, forensic science applications, the law, and other important issues. This first class graduated from this 12-week training course on October 19, 1935.

Within two years, these classes were accepting foreign law enforcement officers as well.

Since then, the FBI’s National Academy program has offered training to thousands of law enforcement professionals conducted by experts in law enforcement, legal matters, and scientific applications, and it has graduates spread across the globe. The next National Academy class—number 261—will graduate on September 18, 2015.

FBI press release on the first National Academy session (pdf)

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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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