Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Too Stupid To Have Children?

A Killeen child is lucky to be alive, no thanks to his mother. It's been obscenely hot lately yet, this Killeen "mother of the year" candidate left her child locked in a hot car in the middle of the day while she went to the store, then apparently even left the store with someone else.
Justice of the Peace Bill Cooke of Killeen Sunday arraigned Sarah Lowelle Traylor on $50,000 bond on a charge of abandonment of a child. She was transferred from Killeen lockup to the Bell County jail later in the day.

An affidavit of arrest said that at 5:12 p.m. Saturday police officers and emergency medical personnel were summoned to the H-E-B in the 2500 block of Trimmier Road when a passer-by saw the infant boy in the car.

When they arrived at the scene officers were met by Jamie Ochoa, a store employee, who said a customer told him a baby was left unattended, locked inside a green Chevy Cavalier in the parking lot, according to the affidavit. Witnesses said a guardian for the infant could not be located.

Officers said when they looked inside the vehicle the child appeared dazed, confused and fatigued, according to the report. They smashed out the rear window, reached inside and unlocked the door to get the baby out.

Officers said the vehicle’s license plate was broadcast over the store’s public address system. While they were waiting by the car for the owner to show up, police said a car drove up and a woman who they identified as Ms. Traylor got out and said the green Chevy was hers, according to the affidavit.

The affidavit said police asked her if she knew where her son was and she reportedly began to cry and became hysterical.

The report said she told officers she had been shopping with a friend and thought her son was with her boyfriend at his residence.

Police said that later when signing a written statement Ms. Traylor revealed that she told her boyfriend she was going to the store and taking the child with her. In the statement she also wrote that she saw her boyfriend put the child in the car before she left for the store, the affidavit said. Source: Temple Daily Telegram

This is just stupid that defies quantification.

Legislative Rundown

The blog Grits For Breakfast has a good summary of all the criminal justice legislation passed this session. You can see it here.

Think He'll Get It This Time?

A long time Killeen criminal is on his way back to prison. His latest transgression occurred only a short time after getting paroled from prison.
A Killeen man on parole less than a month for a felony weapons conviction is heading back to prison after he was found with cocaine within 1,000 feet of a Killeen elementary school.

Archie Terrell Scaife, 30, agreed to plead guilty and accept a 15-year prison sentence Monday to an enhanced drug possession charge only moments before the case was heading for trial.

Scaife was arrested in his home, adjacent to Fowler Elementary School in Killeen, where police discovered a little less than 2 grams of cocaine in his possession during the execution of a search warrant by Killeen police Oct. 30.

On May 13, 2008, Scaife was sentenced to four years in prison for felony possession of a firearm.

Scaife was released in October of last year, just five months later. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

Maybe serving only a few months of a four year sentence was not much of a deterrence. Perhaps with his record he should have stayed longer. Hopefully, this time will be different...but I won't be holding my breath.

Car Burglary In Temple

How often are the crimes police investigate precipitated in large part by victim behavior? Car burglary is one of these. Temple Police are investigating a recent rash of car burglaries.
This past week nearly 30 vehicles were broken into at Chappel Hill Apartments on Ira Young Drive and Echo Station on Waters Dairy. So, if you live at an apartment complex, just how safe is your car? Source: KCEN TV

This kind of offense takes up police resources better used elsewhere. Yet, are your Department's efforts at crime prevention outreach getting the emphasis they should?
“Try to park your car in a well lit area if you can, always lock your car and then don’t leave things in there that make your car a target. Things like GPS up on the windshield, a purse in plain view in the car,” Sergeant Hunt says.

It often takes a thief less than a minute to steal your stuff, the same amount of time it would take you to take it out of the car and lock your doors. Source: KCEN TV

While the community may not always listen, it's important to keep hammering that message home.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Get Off My Lawn You Kids!

The Killeen Daily Herald had a couple of pieces on the City of Killeen's Loud Noise ordinance and the enforcement of that ordinance. Although it's not "real crime" like murder or robbery, agencies probably get more complaints about quality of life issues than they do about real crimes.
While Killeen police officers have found the ordinance to be effective in deterring noise violations in vehicles, the Killeen City Council wants to explore ways of improving enforcement at residences.

Nine out of 10 violations come from moving vehicles – only a handful of the violators get caught in their homes.

Killeen police Chief Dennis Baldwin told the council Tuesday that there is an inherent difficulty with this sort of violation – officers have to hear it.

Since most people don't report this sort of violation, Baldwin said, the officers just deal with violators while on patrol; and they are much more likely to stumble upon a vehicle making noise than a house. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

Part of the problem with many of the most vocal complaints is that those making the complaints won't or don't do their part by being a witness. Many don't want to offend their neighbors or are even scared of their annoying neighbors. Even so, they will raise caine with the police department for not "doing anything about" their rude neighbors. Police can't prosecute crimes without a witnessing complainant either a citizen or the officer himself.
Davis said the lack of involvement by those complaining represents the single greatest hurdle to improving enforcement of the ordinance. Without improved cooperation, there is very little that can be gained, no matter what changes are put in place, she said.

"They will have to come in and make themselves part of the process," Davis said. "There's not going to be a magic fix." Source: Killeen Daily Herald

Bill Bratton made quite a name for himself by cracking down on quality of life issues in New York City. There's a fine line between adequately addressing these quality of life concerns and over emphasizing them to the detriment of real crime enforcement. Also, how much can you really do if the people complaining won't assist your enforcement efforts?

Killeen Citizen's Police Academy

Killeen Police want their citizens to know more about how their Department works.
Killeen police are accepting applications for the 27th Citizen's Police Academy until Aug. 7. The free 12-week course begins Aug. 17, with courses from 7 to 10 p.m. each Monday. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

The Citizen's Police Academy is probably one of the best ways for a Department to educate citizens about their Department and police work in general. It also has the side benefit of getting citizen advocates for the Department.

KPD Fields New Officers

Fifteen new Killeen Police Officers had their badges pinned on Friday. The budget crisis at the City of Killeen hasn't caught up to the Department's efforts to field new officers just yet. However, if things don't turn around I would expect these officers and the one's in the current academy may be the last Killeen PD sees for a while.
Killeen police graduated 15 cadets Friday and 20 cadets started the department's 13th academy class Monday. Killeen police have hired approximately 45 officers in 2009.

While not all officers will pass the academy and field training to reach the street, they are for now part of what Baldwin described as KPDs best recruiting year ever. He credited civil service testing every three months instead of every six months with allowing more people to test.

Citywide budget cuts removed 19 officer slots for this budget year but will not affect these two cadet crops, Baldwin said. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

Congratulations Officers.

Friday, June 26, 2009

How Thoughtful Of Him

I previously posted about a murder that occurred on Fort Hood this week. The Killeen Daily Herald provided more details about this murder including this bit of information:
A man accused of murdering his ex-wife, a Fort Hood soldier, stabbed her to death Monday and then asked police to be quiet while the couple's children slept in another room, according to a criminal complaint filed in Waco. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

I'm sure that years later the kids will thank him for being so thoughtful while he killed their mother.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Guilty Plea For Rapist

We seem to be on a roll here in Bell County where rapists are concerned. A Fort Hood soldier plead guilty to burglarizing a home in Harker Heights and sexually assaulting the resident.
Jonathan Matthew Baker, 19, was set to stand trial Tuesday morning in the 264th District Court before he pleaded guilty.

Baker faces up to 99 years in prison. Judge Martha Trudo of the 264th District Court is scheduled to sentence him July 23.

A Bell County grand jury indicted Baker on March 5 in connection with the incident, which occurred last November.

Baker entered a woman's home in southeast Harker Heights after breaking a window and sexually assaulted her, according to the arrest affidavit. The victim reported Baker stole her credit card and other property, then fled.

The victim's stolen credit card was used at a Cefco gas station after the incident. Harker Heights police obtained a photograph of the transaction from the store.

An officer said he recently conducted a traffic stop on the man filmed by the gas station's surveillance camera using the credit card and identified him as Baker. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

The Harker Heights Officer did some really great police work in recognizing the rapist from a brief traffic stop.

Again?

Not sure what it is about Killeen perverts going to Coryell County to commit their crimes but today we see another arrest for this.
A Killeen man was in the Coryell County Jail Thursday charged in the sexual assault of a 16-year-old girl.

Demario Maurice Carlisle, 26, is held in lieu of $50,000 bond.

He was booked into the Coryell County jail Tuesday after he was transferred from Bell County.

Authorities at the Coryell County Sheriff's Office said police arrested Carlisle in Killeen on a warrant that was issued after the indictment was returned in May. Source: KWTX.com

Yesterday we saw a Killeen man arrested for a sex crime in Coryell County sentenced to 20 years.

It's Nolanville

I suppose you could chalk this up to the typically strange doings of the Nolanville city government.
The council will "address certain inequities and financial costs resulting from the employment contract with the chief of police, and the cost savings that could be obtained by employing the chief of police on an at-will basis," the meeting's agenda states.

In October, the council agreed to a contract with Police Chief Lester Holsey Jr. after talking about the subject off and on since May 2008.

During the time period from May to October, the council conducted several closed meetings with the city attorney and the police chief.

During the last closed meeting, the council decided to add a 90-day lump sum severance package to Holsey's contract if the council fired him by a supermajority vote, 4 to 1, Holsey said after that meeting.
Source: Killeen Daily Herald

Best of luck to Chief Holsey with this.

Indictment In 1994 Murder

A man police suspected in the 1994 death of his wife was indicted by a Bell County Grand Jury. The case was originally investigated by the Bell County Sheriff's Office.
First Assistant District Attorney Murff Bledsoe said Crowe was initially a suspect in his wife's slaying, but at the time, there was not enough evidence to indict him, and a murder weapon was never recovered.

"(Crowe) talked with someone who encouraged him to go to the police and confess," Bledsoe said.

There is not a statute of limitations for murder cases; prior to Crowe's confession, the case was designated as a pending investigation.

Crowe appeared at the sheriff's department April 3 and told Deputy Robert Pettigrew he shot his wife in the back of the head with a .357 handgun, according to the arrest affidavit. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

It's not very often a suspect will come forward after all this time and confess his involvement.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wow, They Are Tough

A Killeen perv who went into Coryell County to have sex with someone he thought was an underage teen got 20 years in prison.
The Cyber Crimes Unit arrested Xavier Rajesh Noronha, of Killeen, an IT engineer, after he drove from his place of business in Fort Hood to an apartment in Copperas Cove where he had arranged to meet a person he thought was a 13-old-year-old girl for sex. Noronha had chatted online with an undercover Cyber Crimes Unit investigator who was posing as the child. Following his arrest, Noronha was indicted on two counts of attempted aggravated sexual assault of a child, two counts of online solicitation of a minor and two counts of attempted sexual performance of a child. At the time of his arrest, Noronha was married. Source: Texas Attorney General's Office

I'm a little surprised at the length of the sentence. In another county around here the sentence would likely have been a lot less given that county's weak history in sentencing perverts. The stiff sentence is either because it was Coryell County or because it was precipitated by the Attorney General's office.

Say What?

Just to prove that you never know who could be listening to your Department's radios, here's an article reviewing an iPhone app that lets you turn your iPhone into a police radio scanner.
Emergency Radio essentially allows you to carry a police scanner with you at all times. Anyone interested in law enforcement or just looking for another “look what my iPhone can do” application should check it out. Source: Macworld.com

There are a number of websites that also do this same type of thing. Every now and again I get an officer come into my office appalled when he finds out that "anyone can listen" to their police radio traffic.

Yes, it is legal to listen to police radio traffic whether by a radio scanner, a website or even an iPhone application. FCC rules going back to the 1930's allow this. You should always assume someone, even a bad guy could be listening and keep sensitive information off the radio. Use your MDT, the telephone or an encrypted radio channel if it's really that sensitive.

Moving On Up

Belton PD is going to start paying their police recruits a salary while they attend the police academy.
City Manager Sam Listi said the city only hired officers certified by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officers Standards and Education, and in the process, excluded candidates who would potentially make great police officers.

Previous applicants said they could not afford to go without five months of wages to attend police academy training, especially those who have served in the military.

"What I quickly realized was the small pool of candidates we had," said Ellis, who took over BPD in April.

"Human resources informed me we had a big pool of people getting out of the military."

The police cadet program would allow hiring noncertified applicants and paying them wages while they attend police academy.

Candidates must in turn agree to at least a four-year commitment, or reimburse the city for police academy tuition costs.

Ellis said the cadet program will cover $175 in police academy tuition and five months pay at a rate just below first-year, certified officers.
Source: Killeen Daily Herald

It has been the practice for small agencies to hire already certified officers. If you are just starting out in law enforcement you have to foot the bill to pay for the training to get certified. You also have to figure out a way to feed yourself for the 4 to 5 months you are in the academy.

This really kills the applicant pool. When I started in law enforcement I interviewed with a small town agency. When they told me I would have to foot the bill for this and figure out a way to feed myself during that time I went looking for, and found an agency that would pay for this training. Why spend all this money just to come to work at an agency that is also likely to pay less than other agencies? Larger agencies are then more attractive as they pay you to train for the job and you'll get more once you pin on that badge.

Hopefully, this will help to level the playing field for Belton PD.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bell County Court Cases

In Bell County Court actions, a rapist gets his sentence and a few other assorted crooks get theirs too. Hit the link for the details.

If It Weren't For Bad Luck, They'd Have No Luck At All

These two armed robbers were really having a bad day.
Two men who robbed a Southeast Austin game room with a pellet gun Friday were thwarted by Austin police officers who were there to execute a search warrant, police said.

Dennis Desdunes, 25, and Terry Shaw, 32, have been charged with aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon, a first-degree felony. They remain in custody at the Travis County Jail with bail set at $35,000 each.

According to their arrest affidavits, Shaw and Desdunes entered a game room in the 3000 block of Montopolis Drive on Friday afternoon. They confronted an employee there, and Shaw pointed a gun at her — it was later revealed to be a realistic-looking BB gun — and stole money out of her work apron while Desdunes blocked her path, the affidavits said.

But as the two tried to leave, they were stopped by officers who had entered the game room with a search warrant. The facility, which police called a game room without further explanation, is under investigation for possible illegal activities, Cpl. Scott Perry said.

When officers entered the building and detained several customers and employees, witnesses told them that Shaw and Desdunes — among those detained — had just robbed it.

"It's very unusual," Perry said. "The officers were in the right place at the right time."

No one at the game room has been arrested or charged as a result of the search warrant, and the game room is no longer open, Perry said. Details of its activities have not been released because of the investigation, he said. Source: Austin American Statesman

I have a sneaking suspicion that this "game room" was an illegal 8-liner gambling operation. These types of businesses often get targeted by robbers because they have cash on hand and may be less likely to report being victimized to the police than a legitimate business.

Fort Hood Murder

The FBI and Fort Hood authorities were investigating a murder that occurred on post.
FORT HOOD – A Fort Hood soldier died early Monday morning after she was stabbed in the chest by her former husband.

Sgt. Shaneka Jones, 26, was involved in an argument with Donovan Lair, a 36-year-old civilian, at about 2 a.m., said FBI Special Agent Erik Vasys.

Fort Hood police and emergency personnel were dispatched to Jones' residence in response to a 911 phone call, according to information from Fort Hood, and found Jones seriously wounded.

"Life-saving measures were performed, and the soldier was transported to Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center Emergency Room where she was pronounced dead," according to a release from Fort Hood.

Lair was apprehended at the scene and transferred to FBI custody. He was charged with murder on a U.S. government reservation, and made an appearance before a U.S. District Court judge in Waco Monday morning. A preliminary hearing is set for 10:30 a.m. Thursday to determine if bond will be a possibility, Vasys said. Source:Killeen Daily Herald

While there are crimes on Fort Hood, something like this is pretty rare.

Ouch!

I bet this hurt. Coryell County authorities went to arrest a rapist who managed to stab himself in the neck.
The arrest warrant issued for Mobley stems from a series of at least four sexual assaults in June involving the mentally disabled 16-year-old, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Deputies went to the home of Mobley’s aunt and grandmother Friday evening in Gatesville and saw Mobley in the front yard.

He went inside the house and his aunt came outside and asked what the deputies needed, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Deputies responded that they had arrest warrants for him and she said he had gone into the bathroom, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Deputies found him on the floor of the laundry room, bleeding from a neck wound.

When Mobley stood up, the Sheriff’s Office said, a knife was still lodged in his neck. Source: KWTX.com

Not sure that's going to get him a lot of sympathy though.

Monday, June 22, 2009

This Isn't Good

Killeen Police responded to a robbery at a local pawnshop this morning.
Police were sent to Handy Loan pawnshop at about 10:15 a.m. after employees there reported an armed robbery.

Employees told News 10 a slender black man entered the store, displayed a weapon, and then grabbed an armload of firearms and fled.

Police are searching the area around the 1400 block of East Veteran's Memorial Blvd., attempting to locate a suspect.

The man was wearing a black shirt and khaki pants.

He left the store on foot, but it is not known if he had a vehicle close by to aid in his escape. Source: KWTX.com

While pawn businesses get robbed occasionally, this one is unusual in the target appears to be firearms. Let's hope the firearms don't end up being used in other crimes.

KPD Nabs Vehicle Burglars

Killeen Police arrested four vehicle burglars after a car chase last week.
The arrests Monday came after police received reports that the occupants of a Chevrolet Suburban in the area of South Ford Hood Street and Central Texas Expressway were acting suspiciously.

Officers spotted the Suburban as the driver pulled out of the drive-through at a McDonalds restaurant and attempted to pull the vehicle over.

The driver didn’t stop and a pursuit began.

It ended abruptly when the Suburban crashed at Stan Schlueter Loop and Central Texas Expressway.

Police caught the driver, but the other three occupants ran.

Officers caught up with them about a block away from the crash scene.

Police say they think the four were responsible for vehicle burglaries in various parts of Killeen.

They said they recovered stolen property from the Suburban and returned it to the victims.

Two 16-year-old boys were taken to the Bell County Juvenile Detention Center where they remained in custody Wednesday. Source: KWTX.com

Let's hope they stay in jail for a while.

Why Do They Come Here?

I'm catching up on last week's news since I was on vacation last week. Why does it seem like crooks from other areas always end up here in Bell County? It seems that two murderers from Louisiana couldn't wait to come visit scenic Bell County while they were on the run.
Killeen police's Special Weapons and Tactics team cornered and arrested three men inside a mobile home at Stonegate Mobile Home Park at 101 Elms Road at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, a department news release stated.

Louisiana state and local law enforcement tracked the three suspects to Killeen where Mario Dejuan Oliver, 27, Brandon Maurice Holmes, 27, and Shawn Allen, 21, were arrested without incident.

"It's been a long, long weekend," Donnell Rose, Tallulah, La., police chief, said. "They've been on the run until luckily we tied them down yesterday."

The men are suspects in the shooting death of a 16-year-old boy on a residential street in Tallulah at 4:30 a.m. Sunday, Rose said.

The shooting happened after a disturbance at a club spilled into the neighborhood, Rose said. The boy died after being shot in the leg and in the back, near the lower spine.

Tallulah is in northeastern Louisiana, about 30 miles west of Monroe. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

If you are a crook from somewhere else and want to come to Bell County, don't. We don't want you here.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

So Much For Quiet In Small Towns

Just to prove that crime in Bell County doesn't only happen in the bigger cities, here's one from a small town.
When a rifle failed to harm a victim, Stephen Wade Gerber, 21, of Troy, turned his vehicle into a weapon. Gerber first pointed his rifle at a 44-year-old man, but the man fought back. The rifle discharged during a struggle, a Bell County Sheriff's Office news release stated.

Gerber then attempted to run down the man with his pickup truck near Farm-to-Market 1237 in Pendleton around 6 p.m. Thursday, the release stated. Pendleton is a small town about 1 mile west of Troy.

Deputies tried to stop Gerber as he drove his truck along FM 1237. He fled and almost hit two vehicles during the chase. He wrecked his vehicle near Highway 317 and ran on foot before deputies arrested him.

Gerber faces possible charges of aggravated assault and felony evading arrest. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

As if he wasn't in enough trouble already, now he's wrecked his car too.

Tips Needed To Solve Fatal Accident

Killeen Police are seeking the public's help in solving a fatal hit and run accident that happened in May.
Killeen police issued a news release Friday asking for residents to provide information or to help locate a vehicle suspected in the death Orlando Rivera Paz. He died in a hit-and-run motorcycle accident.

"We're just looking for any clues we can. We've exhausted what leads we have. So we needed to get it out and see if anybody else knows anything," Carroll Smith, Killeen police spokeswoman, said.

Rivera Paz was riding his 2002 Honda motorcycle east in the 2700 block of East Veterans Memorial Boulevard about 8 p.m. May 16 when a driver in a maroon vehicle, possibly a Dodge Intrepid, traveling west turned in front of him.

Rivera Paz did what riders are supposed to do when faced with an accident. He laid his motorcycle on its side before striking the vehicle's passenger side.

The vehicle ran over Rivera Paz when he slid under the vehicle as it sped away onto Hillside Drive, the news release stated. The driver fled the scene.

Rivera Paz died after being airlifted to Scott & White Hospital in Temple.

Family, friends and fellow riders held a memorial motorcycle ride during his funeral May 21. Rivera Paz's brother, Eduardo Perez Paz, expressed anger and determination before the funeral ride.

"We want this guy to know that all motorcycle riders are brothers in arms ... sooner or later we're going to spot the vehicle, get the plates and turn him in," Perez Paz said. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

It would be better if the driver came forward than if he was found first by a bunch of angry bikers.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Out

I'm out of the office this week. I'll get back to my regular posts next week. Be safe.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Making The Artful Dodger Proud

It's not often you see the Feds get involved in arresting pickpockets. However, this group of offenders were unusual.
Federal prosecutors in Virginia have leveled conspiracy and bank-fraud charges against the alleged leader and nine members of a national organization of high-tech pickpockets that’s been the scourge of police around the country since at least early 2007.

The suspects allegedly stole the identities and bank-account information from victims around the country through pickpocketing and other means, including stealing checks from a Washington, D.C., charity-fundraising group. They’re accused of using the information to cash checks through victim accounts in several states.

The charges represent the federal government’s first large-scale swipe at the 200-plus members of “Cannon to the Wiz,” a Chicago-based identity-theft ring known for marrying high-tech fraud techniques with the Dickensian art of pickpocketing. Source: Wired.com

The article is worth the read. Hit the link above to read the entire story.

Two Down, One To Go

A second suspect in a month long burglary spree is in custody.
Quentin Render surrendered to Killeen Police Wednesday. Render along with Jesse Flint for their alleged role in a string of crimes during the month of May. A third suspect, 22 year old Blake Tennimon ,a Fort Hood soldier, was arrested and charged with Theft over $20,000 and Burglary of a Business. Source: KXXV.com

I posted about this burglary crew yesterday. It'll be good to get the last one in custody.

Some Pervs Never Learn

A Killeen pervert was indicted for sexually abusing a child in Temple.
First Assistant District Attorney Murff Bledsoe said Mendoza could receive a life sentence since he has a previous conviction for sexually assaulting a child and indecency with a child. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

It does not appear that this perv's previous punishment has rehabilitated him. It would appear that a lifetime of mending his cell mate's socks is probably in order.

Neighbors

Neighbors used to take care of each other. Nowadays, they seem to be victimizing each other. A Killeen man was arrested for burglarizing a neighbor.
Jarrett Rashad Jones is behing held in lieu of $50,000 bond on a felony charge of Burglary of a Habitation.

Killeen Police say Jones lived in the same court as the neighbor he allegedly burglarized. They also report he pawned the stolen items and a witness identified him. Source: KXXV.com

I bet he won't get invited to a neighborhood backyard BBQ now.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

KPD Breaks Up Burglary Ring

Some types of criminals tend to be very prolific. Burglars often top the list. This burglary crew is no exception.
Killeen police identified three men Tuesday suspected in more than 11 burglaries, including one where a stolen 18-wheeler tractor was used to hide an ATM break-in.

Blake Allan Tennimon, 22, a Fort Hood soldier, was in Comanche County Jail Tuesday on charges he, Jesse Flint, 27, and Quentin Render, 31, stole more than $20,000 worth of property and burglarized Sears at the Killeen Mall. The three men are suspected in more than 11 burglaries in Killeen and Harker Heights in May, said Carroll Smith, Killeen police spokeswoman.

Police believe the three men stole a 2000 Freightliner truck from State Highway 195 and Stan Schlueter Loop. It was driven to nearby Club Hypnotic and parked in front of an ATM to give them time to break into the ATM and steal the money vault.

Lampasas sheriff's deputies put the brakes on the spree on May 23 when they stopped the three men in the 12000 block of East U.S. Highway 190 in Kempner. Deputies stopped the men as they were on their way to break into another ATM, the news release stated. The license plate on the vehicle was identified as stolen in a vehicle burglary at Discount Tire. Lampasas sheriff's deputies arrested the three men after speaking with Killeen police. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

The DOJ funded Center For Problem Oriented Policing publishes some outstanding guidebooks for dealing with specific crime problems. One of their publications, "Burglary Of Single Family Houses" quotes a study indicating:
Burglars can be quite prolific: one study found that offenders commonly committed at least two burglaries per week. Some studies suggest there is great variability in the number of burglaries offenders commit.

Burglars do not typically limit their offending to burglary; they participate in a wide range of property, violent and drug related crime. Some burglars, however, appear to specialize in the crime for short periods. Burglars tend to be recidivists: once arrested and convicted, they have the highest rate of further arrests and convictions of all property offenders. Source: POPCenter.org

It would seem that this bunch displayed an above average level of sophistication in their criminal endeavors. Perhaps they were putting all that military training to use, but not in a good way.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Temple Murder Update

More information about a recent Temple murder has come to light. The victim had been living under an assumed name.
The victim, whom police originally thought was Alejandro Maldonado, 36, of Temple, who was shot several times in the head as he drove down a Temple street late on the night of June 1.

He died June 2 at Scott & White Hospital.

Maldonado, however was actually Jorge Antonio Garcia Gamero, 35, police said Tuesday.

Investigators determined the victim’s true identity with help from the Mexican Consulate in Austin, police said. Source: KWTX.com

It will be interesting to see where this investigation goes.

Nothing Good Happens After Midnight

Just to prove your mother right about the old adage, "nothing good happens after midnight", a Temple youth and two others were robbed while standing in the parking lot of a Temple apartment complex at about 1 AM. To further confirm advice your mother gave you about picking your friends wisely the report goes on to state:
Investigators think the victims and the robbers know each other, police said. Source: KWTX.com

The report doesn't indicate why a 16 year old was standing in the parking lot at this time but I am sure it didn't involve selling Girl Scout cookies. Victim's often precipitate their own victimization by their behavior.

Bell County Court Actions

A robber, burglar, doper and a thief all got "justice" meted out to them. The wheels of justice continue to turn here in Bell County.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Another One Bites The Dust

A man on the lam for robbing several taxi cabs in Killeen has been arrested. The alleged robber was arrested by Nolanville Police this weekend. Warrants charging him with the robberies were originally obtained in March.

Crime Analysis For Patrol

The Dept. of Justice's COPS program newsletter has a outlined some guidelines for using analysis successfully to assist police departments in the Patrol function. The guidelines are:
1. Distinguishing between Information and Analysis. While the use of information and analysis is important for police departments, it often is incorrectly identified as analysis. Information is routinely retrieved at the call or incident level. Analysis results from synthesizing the information and making conclusions about problems, trends, or patterns from the data. The types of products that are most useful for patrol officers typically contain information to help them solve an individual call or crime. For the analysis results to be useful to a patrol officer, it must be actionable. Actionable analysis contains information that directs police personnel to a particular response in a particular time and place.

2. Distinguishing between “Looking At” and “Using” Crime Analysis. “Using” analysis means that an officer will respond to a problem in a systematic way, based on the analysis. The officer does not just receive the information but actually performs his or her tasks differently according to the information received. It is important to spend the limited resources of crime analysis units on producing reports that are relevant and useful to patrol officers.

3. Focus on Short-Term and Long-Term Activity. Analysis primarily used for the patrol function focuses on short-term activity such as case support, intelligence analysis, and pattern analysis. While patrol functions primarily on responding to immediate tasks, such as calls for service, the crime analysis unit and command structure can focus patrol responses on long-term problem areas, such as addresses with repeat calls for service when they are not responding to calls for service.

4. Clear Vision and Purpose for Crime Analysis. The purpose and use of crime analysis should be supported from the chief through the command structure. The chief should set the vision for the use of crime analysis, but the command staff needs to understand the purpose of the products produced and how to utilize crime analysis.

5. Accountability. One of the primary barriers to crime analysis is a lack of accountability. To view analytical capacity and problem solving as important and essential, there must be a system of accountability to make sure analysis is used. Essential features of accountability are report writing and improving the quality of the data that are collected.

6. Role Clarity and Expectations. Police departments often mistakenly rely on patrol officers to take the initiative to solicit and use analysis. This reliance results in analysis not actually being used by patrol officers. Department should provide guidance to patrol officers on how they should use the analysis provided to them. It is important for the command structure to clearly define expectations concerning the use of analysis at the patrol level.

7. Communication with, Marketing, and Providing Training for Crime Analysis. For the use of crime analysis to take hold, institutional training techniques such as Field Officer training and In-Service training should incorporate the use of analysis and problem solving. The marketing of crime analysis and training of personnel on crime analysis products and uses should be integrated into the normal processes of the agency. It is important to realize that line-level officers are not the primary users of crime analysis. Officers in patrol often do not see beyond their own shift and have a difficult time synthesizing the larger perspective. It is essential for supervisors to make sure that the larger perspective is incorporated into patrol tactics.

8. Automation of Information. One of the key recommendations for useable analysis for patrol services is the automation of information. Law enforcement agencies should automate as much as possible so patrol can access timely information that, in turn, frees up time for in- depth crime analysis.

9. Collaborative Development of Analysis Products. The types and contents of analysis products should be the result of collaboration between commanders who have the perspective of crime reduction, responses, and accountability, and analysts who have the knowledge of data and relevant analysis techniques.
Source:COPS Community Policing Dispatch

The article indicates that the full findings will be published at the Crime Mapping Research Conference in September.

Be Scared...Very, Very Scared

Bruce Schneier's blog has an interesting post about California lawmakers wanting to ban providers of aerial imagery from showing unblurred photos of various buildings. Bruce points out the problems with the Security Through Obscurity model.
Yes, and the same technology that allows people to call their friends can be used by terrorists to choose targets and plan attacks. And the same technology that allows people to commute to work can be used by terrorists to plan and execute attacks. And the same technology that allows you to read this blog post...repeat until tired. Source: Schneier On Security

Looks like another case of misguided political theater.

Where Is Ben Lund?

Benjamin Lund was last seen in June of 2005. Lund's family and Killeen Police are hoping to find Ben.
The Lunds received renewed hope last week their son's missing person case will achieve closure when Killeen police reassigned the case to veteran detectives Karl Ortiz and Sharon Brank.

The Lunds traveled 160 miles Tuesday to speak with the Killeen detectives and a Texas Ranger, hoping fresh eyes will uncover answers.

Killeen police released new information last week about a party where police suspect foul play happened.

Ben attended a party on Wood Street, in mid-June. He left with a friend in his black 1999 Nissan Sentra to buy drugs, Ortiz said. The friend returned alone to the party in Ben's car. Ben has not been seen or heard from since.

The last recorded sighting of Ben was taken by a security camera showing him withdrawing money from First National Bank at the Harker Heights H-E-B between June 13 and 17, detectives said. The party might have been the same night, detectives said.

"His existence is completely gone. He's disappeared off the face of the earth," Ortiz said.

A friend found Ben's black 1999 Nissan Sentra on Wood Street sometime later and reported it to his parents.

On July 7, 2005, Killeen street workers impounded Ben's Nissan along with other cars in preparation for a construction project. Ortiz hopes that detail will trigger the memory of Wood Street residents who might remember the car or suspicious incidents around the time. Source: Killeen Daily Herald



Anyone with information regarding Benjamin Lund is encouraged to contact Killeen Police at (254) 501-8905 or 501-8853. A $10,000 reward is offered for information leading to Ben Lund. A photo of Ben can be found on the Killeen Police Department website.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

How Many Is Too Many?

An article over at Slate.com highlights just how big the US prison industry is.
The United States, with 5 percent of the world's population, houses nearly 25 percent of the world's prisoners. As Webb has explained it, "Either we're the most evil people on earth, or we're doing something wrong." We incarcerate 756 inmates per 100,000 residents, nearly five times the world average. At this point, approximately one in every 31 adults in the United States is in prison, jail, or on supervised release. Local, state, and federal spending on corrections now amounts to about $70 billion per year and has increased 40 percent over the past 20 years. Source: Slate.com

It seems to me that the current strategy of locking everyone up isn't exactly working and is not sustainable. It may not be politically palatable, but perhaps we should look at other ways to reduce crime.

Capital Murder Suspect Gets Attorney

A woman arrested for Capital Murder in the death of a soldier in Killeen gets an attorney appointed to represent her. The victim, was a decorated Fort Hood soldier and was allegedly killed by another soldier in a plot to collect an insurance policy.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Temple Officer Lauded

A TPD Sergeant was honored by his Department as a result of his actions during a fight for his life with an attacker.
The medal is the Temple Police Department’s second-highest award and is presented in recognition of serious injuries suffered in the line of duty as the result of an intentional act by an armed adversary.

“Sgt. Smith is alive today because he used good tactics and kept the will to survive during a situation where the odds quickly stacked against him,” Temple Police Chief Gary O. Smith said.

“Sgt. Gary E. Smith’s bravery and tenacity are an inspiration to all that wear the badge, and exemplify the highest traditions in American policing, which provide the foundation of the Temple Police Department’s motto of ‘Integrity, Honor & Dedication”

Smith was seriously injured in the attack on May 10, 2008 and required seven months of rehabilitation, but has since returned to duty. Source: KWTX.com

Good job Sgt. Smith. I think having two Gary Smith's in a Department could get kind of confusing though.

A Hanging Judge On SCOTUS?

Judge Sonia Sotomayor may have been appointed by a Democrat but she has a reputation of being a tough on crime judge. She was a prosecutor for a while so this may be the origin of her no nonsense approach to criminal justice issues.
After Yale Law School, Judge Sotomayor joined the Manhattan district attorney's office. She spent five years at the office, and handled high-profile murder and child-pornography cases.

New York criminal-defense lawyers say she is surprisingly tough on crime for a Democratic-backed appointee -- a byproduct, they believe, of her tenure as a prosecutor.

"The reputation of Sotomayor was that sentencing was not an easy ride," says Gerald Shargel, a criminal-defense attorney. In a 1997 trial, Mr. Shargel asked Judge Sotomayor to show leniency in sentencing William Duker, a prominent New York lawyer who had pleaded guilty to overbilling the government. Mr. Shargel wanted Mr. Duker to be sent to an alcohol treatment program, in lieu of prison. The judge, however, sentenced the attorney to 33 months in prison, in line with the federal sentencing guidelines.

Discuss Obama's court pick, explore or create new topics.
Following recent Supreme Court precedent, Judge Sotomayor tends to see relatively few grounds to overturn criminal convictions, says John Siffert, a New York attorney who taught an appellate advocacy class with the judge at New York University School of Law from 1996 to 2006. On the trial bench, he says, "she was not viewed as a pro-defense judge." Source: Wall Street Journal

I predict that she's going to get through the confirmation process pretty easily.

County Court Actions

This week's Bell County court actions showed a doper, a burglar and a thief sentenced, oh my!

The doper and the burglar from Killeen actually got prison time from the court.

KPD Seeking Grant Money

Buried in a story about the City of Killeen seeking grant funding for energy efficiency is an item indicating that KPD has sought $391,000 in federal Byrne Grant funding. There's not much other law enforcement related info in the article but you can hit the link if you're interested.

The Drug Court's A Coming

Even though Bell County Commissioners didn't want it they created a drug court for Bell County. If the County didn't create the Drug Court, they risked losing state funds for probation.
The judge said county officials had conferred with the office of Gov. Rick Perry on whether or not the county needed the court, since the state only funds about 40 percent of the cost.

The answer was - the new court or lose state adult probation department funding.

The new court results from a 2007 Texas Legislature measure passed that requires counties with over 200,000 population to establish drug courts.

Bell County officials have expressed their beliefs that the county does not need such a court and its creation is a very unwise use of taxpayers money. In a sharp tone Judge Burrows pointed out that in Bexar County, with a population of 1.6 million, the program had 11 graduates. This is about $60,000 per graduate.

He used the figures to show what could happen in Bell County.

Monday’s vote clears the way for creation of the mandated court. Source: Belton Journal

When properly used, drug courts can be a better way to handle minor drug offenses. Not every addiction should be criminalized and lack of substance abuse treatment in jail is only likely to lead to more drug offenses.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Not Again

Convicted Killeen area murderer Richard Tabler's in the news again. This time it's in a Wired magazine piece about cell phone smuggling in prisons.
"I know your daughters' names," said a nasal voice. "I know how old they are. I know where they live." Then the caller recited the young women's names, ages, and addresses. The senator, sitting at an antique rolltop desk in his Houston office, gripped the handset tighter.

Whitmire is the bald-headed, blunt-talking chair of the state senate's Criminal Justice Committee, a law-and-order man who displays an engraved pistol in his office. But that call last October 7, he says, "scared the hell out of me." Richard Tabler, the man on the other end of the line, had murdered at least two people and possibly four. He was a prisoner on Texas' death row, supposedly locked safely away. But from the narrow bunk of his solitary cell an hour's drive north of Houston, Tabler had reached out and touched one of the Lone Star State's most powerful politicians with a smuggled Motorola cell phone. Source: Wired.com

The rest of the article is really good and is worth the read. Hit the link in the first paragraph to get to the original article.

Bank Customer Robbed In Heights

A store employee making a deposit was robbed while waiting in line at a bank in Harker Heights Monday.
A black male wearing a maroon hooded sweatshirt robbed a Dollar General employee while the woman waited behind another vehicle in the commercial drive-through line to make a deposit at 12:30 p.m., said Lt. Glenn Borkowicz, a Harker Heights detective.

The robber walked up to the vehicle and pointed a black handgun at the back of the woman's head.

The robber escaped in the direction of southbound Farm-to-Market 2410 with a money bag carrying $4,618.85.

The robbery happened while a person was making a deposit in front of the victim and other people in other teller lines.

Borkowicz said in 30 years in law enforcement he has not seen a robber in the middle of the day walk up to a drive-through line with witnesses around and rob someone. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

Never underestimate the brazen criminality of some crooks.

Murderer Pleads Guilty

A Temple man plead guilty to shooting and killing his wife during a domestic dispute.
Judge Joe Carroll of the 27th District Court sentenced James Luther Graham, 57, to 25 years in prison after the man acquiesced to a plea agreement from the district attorney's office.

Temple police responded to a 911 call at 12:30 a.m. March 8, 2008, from Graham, who said he just shot his wife in their Temple home in the 200 block of South 27th Street.

Police found Rosie Finley Graham lying on the floor with a pool of blood around her head, according to the arrest affidavit.

Graham stated he and his wife argued; he retrieved his gun and threatened to kill himself. He testified in a written statement that his wife said she would shove a knife down his throat.

Graham said his wife had a knife in her hand, and he told her not to come toward him, or he would "blow her brains out," according to the affidavit. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

The wheels of justice roll on.

Guilty Plea In Incident That Led To KPD Shooting

A man who ran from Killeen Police plead guilty to Evading Arrest. The incident precipitated a chain of events that led to a Killeen Police officer shooting the driver of a car that was dragging the officer.
Judge Joe Carroll of the 27th District Court ordered a pre-sentencing investigation for Averweone Darneel Holman, 18. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 2.

Holman was involved in a fight across the street from Spurs Club in the 600 block of West Elms Road about 2 a.m. March 21, according to Herald reports.

Holman ran back to Spurs when Officer James Plank, who was on patrol in the area, stepped from his car to break up the fight.

Plank yelled for Holman to stop as he pursued him back toward the Spurs parking lot, according to the arrest affidavit.

Plank grabbed the lower part of Holman's body as he jumped into the passenger side window of a Chevy Trailblazer driven by Pfc. Jarvis Galloway, 20, according to information released by the Killeen Police Department.

The officer, trapped against the Chevy, fired at Galloway to stop from being dragged.

Passengers attempted to pull Holman inside the vehicle as Galloway accelerated, according to the affidavit. Plank's arm was trapped against the SUV by Holman's body.

Plank yelled for the driver to stop, but the driver accelerated, according to the affidavit. Once Plank freed his arm, he shot Galloway and was thrown from the vehicle. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

This tragedy could have been avoided had Holman made a more responsible decision that night.

New Bill May Change Police Hiring

A bill waiting for the Govenor's signature may help small law enforcement agencies hire police officers.
The main obstacles for smaller departments are lower pay, less benefits, and commuting costs and obscurity as deterrents.

But a new bill passed by the Texas Legislature might help.

Texas House Bill 2580, which is waiting for Gov. Perry's signature, calls for development and promotion of a statewide employment Internet site on which law enforcement job openings from around the state would be posted.

The site would also run applicants through background checks, saving departments time and money later on.

The bill has the support of the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, and Charlie Wilkinson of that group, says it would make it easier for out of town candidates to apply. Source: KWTX.com

This should be a good thing for small agencies and for officers looking for a job in a smaller community.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ideology As Motivation

There is a good article over on STRATFOR about Lone Wolf militants and the threat they pose. This article was prompted by Mondays shooting outside an Arkansas US Army Recruiting center that left one soldier dead and one wounded.
At a press conference, Little Rock Police Chief Stuart Thomas identified the suspect as Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, a 21-year-old African-American man who had changed his name from Carlos Leon Bledsoe after converting to Islam. In Arabic, the word mujahid is the singular form of mujahideen, and it literally means one who engages in jihad. Although Mujahid is not an uncommon Muslim name, it is quite telling that a convert to Islam would choose such a name — one who engages in jihad — to define his new identity. Muhammad was originally from Memphis, Tenn., but according to news reports was living and working in Little Rock.

Chief Thomas said Muhammad admitted to the shootings and told police that he specifically targeted soldiers. During an interrogation with a Little Rock homicide detective, Muhammad reportedly said that he was angry at the U.S. Army because of their attacks against Muslims overseas, that he opened fire intending to kill the two soldiers and that he would have killed more if they had been in the parking lot. These statements are likely what Chief Thomas was referring to when he noted in his press conference that Muhammad appears to have had political and religious motives for the attack and that it was conducted in response to U.S. military operations. Source: STRATFOR.com

This shooting comes on the heels of Sunday's shooting of an abortion doctor by an actor known for his violent anti-abortion rhetoric. In a nation where free speech is protected by law, even if that speech is distasteful, there are plenty of people with a radical axe to grind.

Law enforcement is much more likely to encounter a lone wolf militant than a full blown Al Qaeda terrorist cell. In fact, as the economy melts down and more and more people become disenfranchised we are only more likely to see this type of events occur. Are you ready to respond to an incident such as this?

New York Sex Offender Goes Home

A fugitive sex offender from New York returned home to be arrested after being located in Killeen.
Everett S. Wargo, 65, formerly of Avoca, was arrested by Bath village police this morning when he showed up in Bath Village Court. He was turned over to sheriff's deputies.

Investigators say Wargo, who was listed as a Level 3 sex offender following a 1992 conviction for first degree attempted sodomy, fled New York state to avoid prosecution after a charge of forcible touching was lodged against him in March.

Wargo was arraigned March 26 on a charge that he grabbed a female earlier in the month at the County Office Building in Bath. He was scheduled to reappear April 20, but failed to do so, authorities said. He eventually surfaced in Killen[sic], Texas.

Wargo agreed to return to New York to face charges after he was located by police in Bell County, Texas. In addition to forcible touching, which is a class A misdemeanor, Wargo has been charged with bail jumping, also a class A misdemeanor, and failure to register change of address, a class E felony. Source: StarGazette.com

Too bad all fugitive sex offenders aren't so obliging.

The Buck Stops...Where Did That Dollar Go?

The economy is affecting law enforcement agencies across the country and Central Texas is not immune. News from the City of Killeen could probably going to change the way Killeen PD is operating.
This year's city budget projections were low – but the actuals were even lower.

Killeen City Manager Connie Green recommended $4.2 million in budget cuts to the Killeen City Council on Tuesday to counter the expected $2 million to $3 million difference in revenue earnings for the remainder of the year.

In the next two weeks, the council will hear details of a 5 percent cut of all city department operating expenses.

Green said that there will be no personnel layoffs included in the budget cuts.

The council will review the cuts during special budget workshop sessions in the coming weeks, with a potential approval of the budget cuts coming in an ordinance in the June 23 meeting.

"We're going to ask you to cut the budget to get us back on track," Green said. "I've asked every department to decrease their maintenance, supplies and repairs five percent. This does not include personnel. If we're able to do that, our reserves wouldn't have to be depleted.

The second quarter earnings report offered little comfort for the city, which had been earning more than a 4 percent return on its investments. That number has dropped to 0.8 percent.

"You could probably dig a hole and put your money in the ground and have a better rate at a less risk," Green said. "All of our leading economic indicators are down. Building activities are down." Source: Killeen Daily Herald

This is only probably going to get worse before it gets better.

KPD Officers Attacked...By Bees

Police officers are assaulted on the job more than most any other occupation. However, the perpetrators of these assaults are not usually insects.
The city says two Killeen police officers were responding to a traffic accident on Central Texas Expressway Friday night when they were swarmed by bees.

Firefighters were called in to help, but the bees attacked them too.

They used a soapy solution of firefighting foam to kill the bees. The bees were living in an empty building that used to be Tia’s Mexican Restaurant.

Deputy Chief of the Killeen Fire Department, Kenneth Hawthorne, said, “They noticed bees were coming out of plywood around the window, so when they opened the plywood where the window was it was solid bees, millions of bees in there.”

No one was hospitalized, but one firefighter was stung around 30 times. Source: KCENDT.com

This is just one more thing for cops to have to worry about.

More On Martha's Kitchen Closure

The Temple Daily Telegram did a couple of follow up stories on the City's closing of several major components of Martha's Kitchen homeless shelter. I posted about this yesterday. One of the most interesting stories is here. The part of the story that I find most interesting is this one paragraph right at the end.
Martha’s Kitchen has been a staple on Avenue G for about 25 years. Code enforcement along Avenue G is part of the city’s strategic investment zone initiative, started more than a year ago, to crack down on code violations. Source: Temple Daily Telegram

I always find it interesting that when a city starts an economic development program for a blighted area, one of the first things they try to get rid of are entities like homeless shelters.

This is an interesting conundrum. Are the homeless and their shelter blighting the area or is the shelter just located where most of the homeless are? If the shelter closes has the problem really gone away if we just disburse the homeless where they are less visible? Can we then pat ourselves on the back for a successful redevelopment when we move homeless people from the shelter to some other city or under a bridge somewhere?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

This Will Be Interesting To Watch

The City of Temple has voted to close portions of the Martha's Kitchen homeless shelter.
Residents of the male dormitory at Martha’s Kitchen in Temple will have to seek shelter elsewhere, as the city’s Building and Standards Commission voted Monday night to close the building next week, citing safety and sanitary concerns.

The commission also voted to close the non-profit homeless shelter’s furniture store and thrift shop.

Martha’s Kitchen chairman Ray Severn said the decision will slowly lead to the shutdown of the agency.

“It’s basically going to shut off our lifeline,” said Severn of the decision to close the men’s dorm and the stores. “We’re not going to have as much money coming in, and we won’t have the males to work in the kitchen.”

The commission voted to close the male dorm and shops by next Monday and will give the agency 90 days from the date of the meeting to make repairs requested since last October to the structures. Source: Temple Daily Telegram

Martha's Kitchen was one of the few homeless shelters in the Bell County area. Previous shelters in Killeen have long ago closed. This seems particularly ill timed due to the nations economic conditions. Economic conditions have also exacerbated funding issues for non-profit agencies such as Martha's Kitchen. Shelters are expensive to run.

However, homeless shelters have to have a benefit to the communities where they are located.
Temple Police Department Cpl. Chuck Borgeson said he had “been working the Avenue G area for two and a half years every day.

“(Martha’s Kitchen) is not helping the community,” said Borgeson, who said he lived undercover at the shelter for three weeks while working drug cases in the area. “It’s not helping people get jobs - there are folks that I met there who had lived there for 10 to 15 years.”

Borgerson said he led a unit of 16 police officers last year in an effort to clean up the area around Avenue G, but when officers ended their efforts, “people began to wake up finding (Martha’s Kitchen) tenants sleeping around in their front yards again.” Source: Temple Daily Telegram

It's a fine line between helping the homeless get on their feet and perpetuating their lifestyle choices.

Local Business Helps Raise Money For Crimestoppers

Killeen's Chili's restaurant held a fundraiser to raise money for Killeen Crimestoppers yesterday.
Chili's offered 10 percent of all sales Monday to benefit the Killeen Crime Stoppers group, which operates Bell County's program. Crime Stoppers pays tipsters rewards for leads in investigations.

A Crime Stoppers tipster led Killeen police to make arrests in the murder of Anthony Thompson, 34, in the 4300 block of Secretariat Drive on Oct. 31, said Carroll Smith, Killeen police spokeswoman. An anonymous tipster called Crime Stoppers, which led Killeen police to charge Daren Terrence Walker and Christopher Bryan Gray in the murder.

The tipster received an undisclosed award, as part of more than $11,500 awarded to local tipsters last year, Smith said. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

The motivation of a Crimestoppers reward will often times induce people to come forward with information that helps local police agencies. Killeen Crimestoppers serves city's in the Bell County area.

TPD Investigating Shooting

Temple Police investigating what at first appeared to be a single vehicle accident determined that the occupant of the vehicle had been shot.
Police responded to two calls, the first of an accident and the second of shots fired, in the 5100 block of Charter Oaks Drive just before 11:00pm.

When officers arrived on the scene they discovered a black Honda sedan in the bushes off the road.

Inside the Honda, the driver, an Hispanic male in his mid to late twenties, suffering from at least two gun shot wounds, one each in the head and upper torso.

The driver was rushed to Scott & White Medical Center with life threatening injuries where he was listed in critical condition Monday night. Source: KWTX.com

As strange as it sounds, there seems to have been a number of shootings in Texas that were initially reported as single vehicle traffic accidents. This is probably due to the prevalence of mobile gunfights or road range incidents.

There are also a bunch of folks keeping guns in their cars nowadays like this Killeen man who managed to shoot himself in the leg while driving in Alvin.

Monday, June 1, 2009

In Harm's Way: Law Enforcement Suicide Prevention

The Department of Justice is funding a Law Enforcement Suicide prevention initiative with St. Petersberg University.
There is a brutal truth in law enforcement...that an officer is more likely to be a victim of suicide than a homicide. According to Dr. James Herndon in the FBI’s book, Suicide & Law Enforcement, “Everyday, somewhere in America, a law enforcement officer commits suicide.” More officers die from suicide than from line-of-duty deaths, yet little is being done to address this highly preventable loss. Source: In Harm's Way

Law enforcement is a difficult job. With the prevalence of traumatic stress and the ever present firearm too many times officers at the end of their rope turn to suicide.

As someone who has dealt with PTSD, it has been my hope that the emphasis on PTSD prevention and treatment among combat vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan will eventually filter down to result in more effective treatments for all who suffer from PTSD, be it soldiers, cops, paramedics, or victims. You're not alone. If you need help, get help.

Even Police Dogs Need Body Armor

The Killeen Kiwanis Club donated money to buy a bulletproof vest for one of Killeen's Finest, though this cop walks a beat on four feet rather than two.
Okey is a 3-year-old German shepherd, part of one of several K-9 units in the Killeen police force.

On Wednesday, he was on hand doing demonstrations for the Kiwanis Club, whose members pulled in enough money to get Okey a vest in case any unsavory resident tries to shoot at him.

Okey lives and works with KPD Officer Scott Gillman.

Gillman said this will be an invaluable safety tool to him and the dog he loves and works with.

"It's huge; without donations to get this, K9 Okey would be without any protection in the field," Gillman said. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

There have been a number of instances over the years where police K9's have been shot by crooks. Hopefully this equipment will help to protect them.

Sometimes, Crime Does Pay

The old adage that "crime doesn't pay" doesn't take into account the proceeds of criminal activity seized by law enforcement agencies.
Whether it’s the selling of pirated CDs, illegal drugs or a host of other items, the money that people make through illicit means is subject to seizure by law enforcement agencies.

Strict state and federal guidelines dictate the process agencies must go through to seize and eventually spend the money.

All seizures are handled as civil lawsuits. If the state can prove money found at a crime scene was made through ill gotten ways it then becomes property of the agency that made the discovery and filed the necessary paperwork.

In Bell County, an average of two to three seizure cases flow through the court system each week, mostly for small amounts of cash or vehicles. Sometimes the suits are for larger amounts.

District Attorney Henry Garza said many of the cases are never contested, presumably because defendants with criminal charges could damage their cases by going on the record in a related civil case.

Garza said cases are often built against people with no visible employment who can purchase luxury items.

“We can begin to link and tie back that the person is involved in drugs,” he said. “That’s our burden of proof.”

The amount of money local agencies seize each year fluctuates. Last year was a good year for both Temple and Killeen compared to the previous year. The cities seized 83 percent and 72 percent more respectively.

In both cities the large increase was attributed to single cases - a raid in Temple on a small grocery store and a Killeen drug bust. Source: Temple Daily Telegram

The same article points to the lengths that some criminal will go to hide their assets from seizure.
After Killeen police took possession of the television, there was unusual interest in getting it back. That prompted police to take off the back cover. Inside, police found an additional $30,000 in cash.

Dahlia Denisse Cuevas was eventually given deferred adjudication on the drug charge. PB Griffin IV came forward and claimed the $30,000 found in the television.

Griffin said he earned the money at Haterproof Paint & Body, which he owned, and at his second job as the night manager and trainer at a Killeen gym.

He said the money was saved as a reward his family had offered for the capture of his brother’s killer. Griffin said he hid the money in the back of the television because his previous bank deposits had been seized to pay his back child support payments.

The entire $50,660 was eventually awarded to Killeen. Source: Temple Daily Telegram

Unfortunately, some agencies have been known to focus more on the seizure and less on the criminal case. Take the tiny Texas town of Tenaha for example. At least that doesn't seem to be the case around Bell County right now.

Upping Citizen Involvement

More and more Departments are using Citizen Police Academy (CPA) programs to raise awareness of their Departments in the community. Another benefit is that CPA alumni then become a pool of potential volunteers to help Departments.
When Copperas Cove police need backup, they call on the "Jolly Holleys."

Charles, 68, and Anne Holley, 66, are not officers, but they do possess a secret weapon: their generous hearts.

They fight crime with kindness. They are volunteers who fill necessary community roles that officers would have to fill instead of being on the street.

The list of services they provide to the Cove police from their roles as Citizens Police Academy alumni is extensive and includes playing mock roles in training officers and dispatchers; co-chairing the Kiddo card program, which provides identification cards to children; hosting an annual 9/11 tribute for police and fire officers; assisting with traffic for citywide bike races; aiding Texas Department of Public Safety with installing child safety seats; teaching bicycle safety courses at elementary schools; selling tickets and food for National Night Out Against Crime; and also providing hurricane relief assistance to refugees. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

The CPA program at my Department also has yielded a bunch of great volunteers. If your Department doesn't have a CPA, why not start one?

Crime's Down In Killeen

The Texas Department of Public Safety released preliminary crime stats for 2008. This time, Killeen had some good news from the numbers. You can hit the link to see the numbers in the original article. I thought some of the comments were interesting.
The preliminary numbers were more welcome news for Police Chief Dennis Baldwin. Baldwin once again credited his department, city officials, alert residents and the Bell County District Attorney's Office with causing the decrease.

"It's not only about public safety and crime. It was about the way we were united with the citizens, with the media. The idea behind this is we can't give only victory to public safety. The citizens took a stand. The neighborhood watches were very proactive," Councilman Juan Rivera said.

Rivera was one of the most outspoken city officials in late 2007 and early 2008 when statistics revealed Killeen's crime woes.

Baldwin hopes good news does not lead to complacency. Baldwin often credits vigilant neighbors who report burglaries in progress and help police capture suspects when he discusses the improvements.

So far in 2009, Killeen continues to gain ground in the fight against crime. Aggravated assaults and robberies were the only two crimes to increase in 2008, but they have both decreased significantly through March.

"It could result in people becoming more comfortable with what was achieved, but in reality, that would be a mistake. Our work is not done and we need to stay in the fight to make Killeen the safest community it can become," Baldwin said. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

More information about how Texas did overall, and how other Bell County agencies did in 2008 will come out when DPS publishes their Crime In Texas report. The preliminary report only includes Texas cities with 50,000 or greater population.