Monday, August 31, 2009

Step 9 - Know That Opportunity Makes the Thief

In this post about the book Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers we're going to look at Step 9 - Know That Opportunity Makes the Thief. In this step the authors ask a question:
Suppose all situational controls were to be abandoned: no locks, no custom controls, cash left for parking in an open pot for occasional collection, no library check-outs, no baggage screening at airports, no ticket checks at train stations, no traffic lights, etc., would there be no change in the volume of crime and disorder? Source: Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers
The authors state that many criminologists wouldn't agree with this statement arguing that whether a crime occurs is more dependent on the personality of the persons as opposed to the opportunity for crime afforded by this situation. Unfortunately, criminologists who study a criminal's motivations don't have to work in same situations that we do. We generally can't affect a criminal's personality but we can affect the environment that gives a properly motivated criminal the opportunity to commit a crime.
Understanding that opportunity makes the thief will help direct your attention to practical means of preventing crime. Source: Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers
More than anything else, the police have the opportunity to affect the environment the criminal operates in. We'll have to leave the causes of criminal motivation to the criminologists and other pointy headed academics.

Next time, we'll look at Step 10 - Put Yourself In The Offender's Shoes

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Accused Child Molester Behind Bars

A Killeen man wanted for Indecency With A Child I posted about earlier has turned himself in.
A man the Killeen police had been seeking in reference to an indecency with a child investigation turned himself in on Friday night after a warrant was issued for his arrest, police say.

Bond has been set for Roderick Donnell Upshaw at $100,000 and he is currently in Bell County Jail, according to a news release issued Saturday evening.
...

Police said numerous tips as to Upshaw’s whereabouts had been received after the police asked for help locating him Friday. Source: Austin American Statesman

Killeen Police seem to have been using the media a lot more lately to publicize and solve crimes. This is one are that Departments should use more often. While the police and the media don't always have the same goals, often times, their goals are close enough that it pays to work together.

Another One Bites The Dust

Killeen Police have been busy lately with armed robbers. The good part is they've been busy arresting them.
Tynace Alex Jackson, 26, was already in Bell County Jail for evading arrest and unlawfully carrying a weapon when he was identified by victim of a doughnut shop robbery, stated a Killeen Police Department news release.

On Aug. 7, Officers responded to the SJR Donuts and Kolaches Shop at approximately 9:30 a.m., the release stated.

The victim said an armed man wearing a black shirt, black pants, brown gloves, brown boots and a black ski mask entered the store and demanded money from the owner, the release stated. The suspect then fled the area around the back of the business on foot.The officers arrived and searched the area but were unable to locate the man, the release stated.

On Aug. 24, officers were called to the 3100 block of W. Stan Schlueter Loop just before 8:30 a.m. in reference to a man acting suspicious, stated the release.

As officers approached the area, they saw the man walking westbound into the Carwash USA parking lot, the release stated. When the officer attempted to make contact with the male, he started running toward the Shell Convenience Store in the same block.

The officers observed the man pull a black handgun from his waistband and drop it at the edge of the Shell Convenience Store parking lot and continue running from them, the release stated.

The man then lost his footing and fell to the ground where officers took him into custody, the release stated. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

When he was arrested acting suspicious and armed I'm sure he wasn't up to any good that day either. It looks like KPD solved one armed robbery and probably prevented another with this arrest.

Friday, August 28, 2009

KPD Seeks Accused Child Molester

Killeen Police are seeking the public's help in locating a man accused of sexually molesting a teen in her own home.


Killeen police are investigating an indecency with a child incident that occurred Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2009, in the 1800 block of Cedarhill Drive

On Aug.18, 2009, a female reported to the Killeen Police Department that a 28-year-old male friend entered her residence in the 1800 block of Cedarhill and inappropriately touched the 15-year-old female who was a guest at the house. The case was reviewed by the Bell County district attorney’s office and a complaint was returned charging Roderick Donnell Upshaw with indecency with a child. Justice of the Peace Garland Potvin issued a warrant for his arrest.


Roderick Donnell Upshaw is a black male, 28 years old, 6’0” tall and weighs approximately 225 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes. Source: Austin American Statesman

Hit the link at the Statesman for a photo of Upshaw. If you have information on this or any other crime you can report it anonymously at the Killeen CrimeStoppers website. CrimeStoppers pays cold, hard cash for clues.

Motel Robber Already Arrested

Turns out a man wanted by Killeen Police for a recent motel robbery was found in jail. The original post is here. He had been arrested by Killeen Police a short time after the robbery on an unrelated charge. It wasn't until the video image was published that the connection was made.
The man for whom Killeen police were looking in the early morning robbery Thursday of the Sleep Inn & Suites at 700 East Central Texas Expressway turned out to be in the Bell County Jail after Killeen officers arrested him sometime after the robbery on unrelated charges.

Raymond Wayne Russell, 50, remained in the Bell County Jail Thursday, charged with aggravated robbery and with possession of drug paraphernalia and failure to identify. Source: KWTX.com

At least they didn't have to look far.

May I See Your Driver's License Please?

The online magazine Slate has a great article on the hidden benefits of traffic tickets. The author, Tom Vanderbilt makes a case for benefits outside of what we normally expect in traffic enforcement.
What do Timothy McVeigh, Ted Bundy, David "Son of Sam" Berkowitz, and 9/11 ring-leader Mohammed Atta have in common? They're all murderers, yes, but another curious detail uniting them is that they were all also brought to police attention by "routine" traffic violations.

While living in Florida, for example, Mohammed Atta ran afoul of traffic law on numerous occasions. An arrest warrant was even issued after he skipped a court appearance (related to not having had a valid driver's license during a traffic stop), which raises the haunting possibility that his fatal path might have been interrupted had these transgressions been linked to other legal violations, such as overstaying a visa. (In fact, at least two of the other 9/11 hijackers had been pulled over for speeding, too.)

As anyone who has seen the "cherries" flash in the mirror will understand, the dreaded and oft-scorned traffic stop is the most common scenario in which Americans encounter the police—indeed, for many, the only one. According to Department of Justice estimates, in 1999 there were 43,800,000 "contacts" between police and the public nationwide, and 52 percent of these were traffic stops. And, however unfair or annoying we make traffic stops out to be, I want to point out their broad social usefulness. Source: Slate.com

The article is too long to summarize here but is worth the read. Hit the link to read the whole article.

Someone's Got To Know Him


Killeen Police are seeking help in catching this man. He's accused of robbing the Sleep Inn & Suites located at 700 E. Central Texas Expressway on Thursday, August 27, 2009, just after 3:00am.


If you have information about this crime, or any other crime you can report it anonymously at the Killeen CrimeStopper's website.

Rapist Off To The Big House

A Killeen teen who was tried as an adult for sexually assaulting a 9 year old, was sentenced as an adult to 40 years in prison for his crime.
He was charged as an adult because it was a very serious crime, First Assistant District Attorney Murff Bledsoe told the Herald in April when he was indicted. His bond was originally set at $250,000.

According to Herald archives, Rice's criminal history indicated he followed an adult pattern of living and conduct and he would be unlikely to successfully rehabilitate in the juvenile system. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

While Judge Carroll was sending this rapist off to the big house, Judge Trudo was busy sentencing another felon to prison for assaulting a public servant and a thief to state jail. Hit the link for details.

Who's Going To Throw This Bail

Yesterday I posted about this mother who was indicted in the starvation death of her infant child. Today there's a Killeen Daily Herald story about her arrest and the bond set for her bail.
The arrest happened "without incident," said Mike Gentry, police chief. Detectives had to ask her several times to answer the door before she did so.

Justice of the Peace Garland Potvin set Rodriguez's bond at $1 million, all but guaranteeing she will be in jail until further court proceedings.
Source: Killeen Daily Herald

In spite of the fact that this lady is accused of a repugnant crime, isn't a $1 million dollar bail a bit high? By setting bail in a punitive amount, you almost guarantee it's going to be reduced later. Besides, legally she's considered innocent and bail is not supposed to be used as punishment but is instead supposed to ensure that the accused shows up for trial.

Astronomical bails seem to give judges who set them, political street cred with those who want "tough on crime" local judges, while pushing the politically unpopular decision to lower bails to a more constitutional amount to District Judges "over there" who may be a little more secure in their elected positions.

My problem with much of this is that if you fill the jails with people who are in pre-trial confinement and considered innocent you reduce the space available for people who have been found guilty. This gives motivation for judges to then give lenient sentences such as probation to reduce jail populations.

That doesn't even begin to take into account the monetary motivation to put people on probation. If you weren't aware, the County gets money to pay for the Community Supervision of those on probation and they can then rent the empty jail beds to other counties. Essentially the County can make money off the same offender instead of incarcerating them so they won't prey on the innocent. Given then number of probationers we keep arresting, probation does not seem to be much of a deterrent.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

That's One Fat Wallet

The Indiana's facial recognition technology recently snagged a man who had obtained at least 10 legitimate Indiana Driver's Licenses under different names.

He wasn't Eric Nicholson or Vernon Eugene Lyons. He's really George Helms, a man sitting in jail on seven counts of forgery for allegedly stealing identities.

Authorities say he posed under the names of 10 different people in Indiana and used those names to get identification cards through the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

He allegedly walked into a Hobart License Branch for his 11th try on August 14th.

State officials say the suspect presented all the right documents to try to prove he was who he said he was. He applied for his new ID. He even took the photo.

But his photo had gone through the BMV's new computer program that recognizes and matches facial features.

The Indiana BMV used it to pull up all these ID photos for the suspect and print a poster. An employee here recognized the face and called police. Source: CBS2Chicago.com

I wonder how many bogus Texas licenses are out there? Just because the DL is real, don't assume that the person is always who they say they are.

HHPD Raises Money For Child Abuse Prevention

Harker Heights Police, 106.9 Pirate FM radio station and the Killeen Applebee's restaurant partnered together to raise money for Aware Central Texas, an organization that works to prevent child abuse.

ACT sends counselors to homes of at-risk families, educates them about spending, and offers classes and workshops about abuse, said Dave Haley, a HHPD community services officer.

Bell County has the second-highest percentage of deaths from child abuse and neglect of all counties in the state, Haley added.

...

Fifteen percent of the checks of those who said they were there to dine to donate was given to ACT. Source: Killeen Daily Herald
Good job guys.

Officer, I'd Like To Turn My Traffic Ticket Into A Felony

Killeen Police arrested a man after a mid-day attempt at a traffic stop turned into a 100 MPH police chase through Killeen.

The driver told police he thought he had an invalid license and that's why he fled. Source: KWTX.com

He did manage to avoid a ticket. He didn't manage to avoid arrest for felony Evading Arrest.

Idiot.

Killeen Robbery Arrests

Three Killeen men were arrested for a spree of armed robberies in Killeen. The first robbery involved two of the men robbing four cab drivers while the drivers waited for calls in a parking lot. The second robbery involves two of the men robbing a couple on North Gray Street.
Demarcus Kresean Jordan, 19, Devone Elario Cress, 18, were charged with aggravated robbery in connection with the hold up.

Cress and Dontez Peter Jones, 20, were also charged with aggravated robbery in a second holdup that occurred late Sunday night.
...
An officer who pulled over a suspicious vehicle after the second robbery arrested the three.

All three men were in the Bell County Jail Wednesday evening in lieu of $100,000 bonds.

The most recent robberies are linked to other holdups in Killeen and Harker Heights, police said. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

Sounds like good police work on the part of the patrol officer who stopped the suspicious vehicle.

Indicted In Child Abuse Death

A Harker Heights woman was indicted for murder this week by the Bell County Grand Jury. The charge stems from a case where she is alledged to have starved her two month old infant.

Nilda Iliana Rodriguez, 30, is accused of "starving … and withholding from Deon Dejuan Griffin sufficient nutrition and fluids to maintain life," the indictment stated.

"The child was malnourished, and she did not seek medical attention," First Assistant District Attorney Murff Bledsoe said. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

This is just one of a number of senseless child abuse deaths to happen in Bell County recently.

The Importance Of Being Prepared

There's an interesting quote in a recent Killeen Daily Herald article regarding a bond reduction hearing for a man accused of killing his infant son.

The man and the child's mother, were arrested after their 20 month old son died within a day of being brought to a local hospital. Both Noah Haggerty and Kristina Winston were originally held on $1 million dollar bonds. Winston who had no criminal history had her bond reduced to a $15,000 bond last week by Judge Joe Carroll. Yesterday, Haggerty tried to get his bond reduced from $1 million to $5,000. Haggerty is currently on probation for burglary.

The Herald story by Jade Ortego quotes Judge Carroll as saying:
"I will make this comment," Carroll said after reviewing court documents. "I was not aware of the affidavit for this case. I must not have been because I would not have set (Winston's) bond at $15,000." Source: Killeen Daily Herald

Isn't part of being a Judge to read the documents relevant to the case? Now, presuming that he's read the affidavit what are the chances that this burglar and accused child abuser is going to get out on a $5,000 bond?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Swine Flu Preparedness

Recent information from the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicates that Texas currently ranks second in the nation for the number of confirmed cases of H1N1 Influenza (Swine Flu). Additionally, vaccines for the H1N1 influenza are not expected to be widely available until mid October. After vaccinations, it may be up to one month before persons are protected. This means it may be mid November before vaccinated persons are protected from the H1N1 Influenza virus.

How does novel H1N1 virus spread?
Spread of novel H1N1 virus is thought to occur in the same way that seasonal flu spreads. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing by people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something – such as a surface or object – with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

What are the signs and symptoms of this virus in people?
The symptoms of novel H1N1 flu virus in people include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. A significant number of people who have been infected with this virus also have reported diarrhea and vomiting. Severe illnesses and death has occurred as a result of illness associated with this virus.

How long can an infected person spread this virus to others?
People infected with seasonal and novel H1N1 flu shed virus and may be able to infect others from 1 day before getting sick to 5 to 7 days after. This can be longer in some people, especially children and people with weakened immune systems and in people infected with the new H1N1 virus.

Take these everyday steps to protect your health:
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.) Keep away from others as much as possible to keep from making others sick. Source: CDC.gov
What is your agency doing to prepare for a possible swine flu outbreak? Do your officers have access to gel based hand sanitizers? Does your agency have plans to deal with manpower shortages if a swine flu outbreak becomes widespread in your community? The time to prepare is now.

Car Burglars Busted

Three Killeen area teens were arrested after an officer discovered stolen property in the car during an early morning traffic stop.
A Killeen police officer pulled the car in which the three teens were riding at about 3 a.m. Monday on Stagecoach just east of East Trimmier, police said.

While the officer talked with the driver, he saw items inside the car including some electronic equipment and a purse that was in the front seat passenger’s lap, police said.

Officers determined that the items had been taken from burglarized vehicles in the area and the three teenagers were arrested, police said.

Complaints were filed Tuesday against Roberto Jose Delucca, 17, Lorenzo Vicente Vargas, 17, and Leo Lehi Navarro, 19. Source: KWTX.com

Traffic stops are an important part of good police work. Sounds like this officer did some a great job with this one.

Car burglars can be very prolific. In this recent story from the Houston area, four people were arrested and are believed to be responsible for over 100 car burglaries. Not to pick on the victims, but victims who leave very valuable portable items such as GPS units, iPods, etc. in their cars, often times conspicuously visible, contribute to their own victimization. What's visible in your car?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hello, Can You Hear Me Now?

Rolling Stone magazine has a great article on a Boston teen who was recently sentenced to 11 years in prison for his part in a spree of "swatting" incidents. Swatting is like prank calling on steroids. Swatters place fake calls to police in order to get police tactical units to respond to supposed violent situations.
The caller, who identified himself as John Defanno, said that he had the 18-year-old Danielle and her dad tied up in their home in Security, a suburb of Colorado Springs. He'd beaten the father with his gun. "He's bleeding profusely," Defanno warned. "I am armed, I do have a pistol. If any cops come in this house with any guns, I will fucking shoot them. I better get some help here, because I'm going fucking psycho right now."

The 911 operator tried to keep him on the line, but Defanno cut the call short. "I'm not talking anymore," he snapped. "You have the address. If I don't have help here now, in the next five minutes, I swear to fucking God, I will shoot these people." Then the line went dead.

Officers raced to the house, ready for an armed standoff with a homicidal suspect. But when they arrived, they found no gunman, no hostages, no blood. Danielle and her father were safe and sound at home — alone. They had never heard of John Defanno, for good reason: He didn't exist. Source: Rolling Stone

The article is long and worth the read. Hit the link for the full article.

Arrest In Subway Robbery

A Killeen man was arrested for the robbery of a Killeen Subway restaurant.
The store was robbed on Aug. 9 by a man wearing blue jeans, black boots, a tan shirt and a ball cap who jumped over the counter, demanded money from the clerk who was in a back room, and then fled on foot.

Police arrested Fragel last Wednesday in the 2200 block of Garrett Drive on an outstanding theft warrant.

On Friday, Fragel was charged in the restaurant robbery. Source:KWTX.com

A number of Subway restaurants in Killeen have been robbed. I previously posted about that here. Hopefully this will slow down that trend.

Returning To The Scene of the Crime

A Killeen man is accused of molesting a child at the new Killeen water park.
The assault was reported when an 8-year-old girl left the Lions Club Family Aquatics Center on Aug. 18. The girl told her grandmother Tuesday evening. The grandmother rushed the girl to Killeen police.

The girl reported that a man fondled her while helping her get on a raft, according to an arrest affidavit.

The suspect was captured Friday when a pool manager reported the suspect's return to Killeen police. Christopher E. Rudisaile, 51, was arrested on a public intoxication charge, a news release stated.

During the investigation, Rudisaile confessed to fondling the girl, the affidavit stated. The girl also identified Rudisaile in a photo lineup.
Source: Killeen Daily Herald

The new City owned water park just recently opened in July. It seems that it didn't take long for this accused perv to take advantage of it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Two Murders, Two Counties

Two Harker Heights men were found murdered, one in Bell County and one in Coryell County. Police say it both murders are related.
Bell County authorities found Cuellar’s body Friday at 1074 FM 3219 in Harker Heights.

He had been shot repeatedly.

A passerby discovered Rodriguez’s body early Friday morning alongside County Road 272 near Osage in Coryell County.

Coryell County deputies said he had been shot at least once in the head and suffered severe trauma to parts of his body. Source: KWTX.com

This will be interesting to watch. There is likely a lot more to this story.

Where's The Fire Buddy?

The Texas law allowing photo red light enforcement got a minor modification to allow emergency vehicles to run the red light during emergencies. The change is in response to several incidents where emergency vehicles responding to emergencies were sent civil citations.
"Those companies were just issuing tickets to anybody the camera caught violating the red light. Sometimes a peace officer doing it on the way to a call," said Tom Gaylor of the Texas Municipal Police Association. "It's just a situation where you had companies that didn't understand law enforcement and needs of law enforcement. They would look at the camera, see a violation and send a ticket."

Killeen police exempt fire vehicles and police cruisers as long the vehicle is responding to an emergency, Kelly said. They pull the call records or check the in-car videos to verify the situation is an emergency.

For other law enforcement personnel such as Bell County sheriff's deputies, state troopers and Bell County constables, Kelly sends the tickets to the agencies and dismisses the tickets when they submit proof. Otherwise, the driver must pay.

The city tallied 63 unexcused violations from city and county law enforcement and emergency response agencies since June 1, 2008, Kelly said. Of those, 23 violations were sent to Killeen police and fire officials who were not responding to an emergency. At that point, the officers are responsible for paying the tickets. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

These automated systems do reduce the granting of "professional courtesy" to other emergency responders. I know a number of officers who've gotten the tickets legitimately. I also know some who say they really watch their driving now in areas where the cameras are operating.

Friday, August 21, 2009

What Is That?

In an effort to raise awareness about DWI, Killeen Police have an unusual addition to their vehicle fleet.
The car's front is painted to be a mock Killeen Police Department cruiser. The car's rear is painted like a taxi. The cruiser is the education centerpiece of KPD's Labor Day driving while intoxicated enforcement program, which runs from today to Sept. 7.

The custom cruiser targets the patrons of popular clubs across the street, including Starlight Station, Tatu, Spurs and a few strip joints.

"They have the opportunity to call a cab or have the potential to be arrested if caught driving while intoxicated," Sgt. David Orr said. "We thought it would be a good message to soldiers and people out there about DWI enforcement." Source: Killeen Daily Herald

If nothing else this vehicle is attention getting.

It's Probably Safe To Assume He's Fired

Temple Police had their hands full with this one. A Temple man stabbed his wife, then went to his workplace at the Temple Wal-Mart store and stabbed his boss. In both incidents he left the knife lodged in his victims' backs.
Marvin Lee Davis, 65, has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 99 years in prison. Bail had not been set this afternoon, police Sgt. Brad Hunt said in a statement.

About 8:20 a.m., Davis’s wife Aurelia, 61, called police to their home in the 1300 block of Paseo Del Oro, Hunt said. When officers arrived, they found that she’d been stabbed multiple times and had a knife lodged in her back, Hunt said.

Aurelia Davis told police her husband was an employee at a Super Wal-Mart, at 3401 South 31st St., in Temple and was on his way there, Hunt said.

Before officers got to the store, police say, Davis walked into the store, picked up another knife and went into a meeting room in the back of the store and stabbed the store manager, Joe Stewart, 57 of Temple, in the upper back.

Davis left the knife lodged in Stewart’s back, walked to the electronic’s department and sat down on the floor until police arrived, Hunt said. Source: Austin American Statesman

I don't know if it's just me but, it seems like Temple is getting to be a lot wilder place than it used to be.

Oh, Down In Mexico

In a pitiful conclusion to a sad case, the wife of a Little River baseball coach who molested several boys was released from jail after reaching a plea agreement with prosecutors. Her charges stem from running off to Mexico with hubby and their little dog too when the police wanted to interview hubby about the allegations.
On July 16, Judge Joe Carroll of 27th District Court sentenced Ms. Wesson’s husband, William Jacobsen, to life in prison for a conviction on a charge of continuous sexual assault of children. Jacobsen, a former youth baseball coach, sexually assaulted young teen and pre-teen boys in the Little River-Academy area, according to testimony in his trial.

In June 2008, Jacobsen was facing an interview with investigators when the couple fled the area. They spent 50 days on the lam before being captured in Mexico. Source: Temple Daily Telegram

In the end she finally came to the same conclusion about her hubby that the court did.

Make My Day

Two Temple burglars did their best to try out the "castle doctrine" by burglarizing a home protected by an armed homeowner.
The suspects broke in to a car on Las Cienega Drive, then used the owner’s garage door opener to open his garage. The suspects entered the garage, but left quickly when they were met by the home owner who was armed.

Police responded quickly, and followed the suspects in to a nearby wooded area. At 3:00 a.m. a Temple Telegram newspaper delivery driver flagged an officer down, and told him he saw the two suspects in a vehicle nearby. Police converged on the street, and arrested the suspects. Source: KCENDT.com

There's probably less paperwork involved this way then if the homeowner went all Dirty Harry on these two burglars.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

You're In A Whole Heap Of Trouble Now

Two Killeen men were indicted by a Bell County Grand Jury for their part in a prolific burglary spree.
The men are accused of damaging or destroying several ATMs, stealing and damaging vehicles to run over the machines to access the money inside or to block views, and burglarizing several businesses between May 6 and May 19.

Quentin Dekieth Render, 31, and Blake Alan Tennimon, 22, gave full confessions, and implicated another man, Jesse Flint, who pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

On May 10, police dispatched to Club Hypnotic in Killeen found the ATM broken into and the safe containing more than $15,000 stolen. A stolen semi-tractor had been parked to block the view of the ATM, according to an arrest affidavit.

Render and Tennimon are also accused of burglarizing several businesses. Property reported stolen includes a flat-screen monitor, laptop computers, two 50-inch television sets and cigarettes.

"Obviously, they were on a crime spree. … You name it, they were stealing it," First Assistant District Attorney Murff Bledsoe said.
Source: Killeen Daily Herald

This reinforces the idea that the majority of crimes are likely committed by a small number of prolific offenders.

Indictment In Child Death

A Killeen couple was indicted for Injury To A Child in an incident where their child died.
Kristina Marie Winston, 24, and Noah James Haggerty, 20, were indicted Wednesday by a Bell County grand jury. They were jailed on $1 million bond each after the death of their son in April.

On April 18, Killeen police responded to a call that an infant was not breathing.

Isaiah Haggerty was taken in critical condition to Metroplex Hospital in Killeen and transferred to the pediatric intensive care unit at Scott & White Hospital in Temple.

...

According to the arrest affidavit, a few days before Isaiah's death, Monica McMillan, a neighbor, saw him and told Winston the baby needed to see a doctor. McMillan said that Winston told her that she couldn't take him because the doctor would see the bruises and call Child Protective Services. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

While it's a bit unusual for them to have been indicted for a lesser charge, they can always be re-indicted later should the prosecutor's feel they can prove the elements of a Capital Murder charge. Injury To A Child is a 1st Degree felony so this is still a pretty serious charge.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I Feel Safer Already

The executive of Aces Wired, an Austin area company that opened 8 liner gambling operations across Texas including one in Killeen, plead guilty to a criminal charge relating to the gambling operation.
As part of the agreement struck in a Nueces County courtroom, three other Aces executives pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of hindering apprehension. The company also agreed to forfeit a little less than $1 million in cash and more than 350 game machines seized in a massive statewide raid on Aces' operations coordinated by the Texas attorney general's office in May 2008.
...
The case against Aces involved more than a half-dozen state and local law enforcement agencies and brought prosecutions against the company in Nueces, Bexar and Tarrant counties, which made it "the largest coordinated gambling prosecution in Texas history," according to a written statement from the attorney general's office. The various agencies will split the money forfeited by Aces.
...
Aces Wired opened its first gambling center in El Paso in late 2005 and four more the next year in Fort Worth, Killeen, Corpus Christi and Copperas Cove. It later opened centers in San Antonio and Amarillo. In public filings, the company foresaw sprinkling Texas with more than 60,000 of its machines. Graves also contemplated buying a dog track to place some of the machines.

In March 2007, however, Abbott released an opinion that Aces's prize system constituted illegal gambling. "It was very painful," Graves said at the time. "Like a wrecking ball."
Source: Austin American Statesman

Now everyone involved can pat themselves on the back, take a vacation and head off to Vegas.

Not Sure The Castle Doctrine Will Cover This

In a bizarre case of a "beer run" gone wrong, the harried clerk of an Austin convenience store gunned down a thief who ran with a 12 pack.

The clerk, Juan Romero, chased the thief into the parking lot where he shot him repeatedly while he was getting into his co-conspirator's car. The hapless co-conspirator then dumped the car, with his dead friend still inside and then tried to report the car stolen. The co-conspirator then admitted what happened to police.
Police said they later interviewed Romero, who said he fired a pistol about 12 times at Vielma, picked up the shell casings and put them in his vehicle.

He also told police that he picked up the beer dropped by Vielma and threw it into a trash bin, and he deleted images of the incident from the store's video surveillance system.

Sgt. Joseph Chacon said that although Texas law allows residents to take reasonable measures to defend their property, officials determined that, "at least on the face of it," the shooting was not reasonable.

He said it did not appear that Vielma was armed at the time of the theft. Source: Austin American Statesman

The owner of the store expressed his frustration at his store being the frequent target of these types of thefts.
Theft, however, has been a constant problem for Carranza and his clerks, he said.

A sign taped to the door of the store addresses beer theft: "Due to the high number of dishonest people grabbing and running away (and) stealing our beer, we must require prepayment for beer."

Carranza said that people have stolen from the store at least 10 times this year and that store clerks were robbed at gunpoint four times in the past two years.

Each time, Carranza said, he was unable to get the attention of police, even though his workers were being threatened.

"I'm frustrated with police," Carranza said. "They told us that's not our priority. Now it's a priority because somebody got hurt." Source: Austin American Statesman

I'm sure the clerk was ticked off but this might have been a little over the top. It will be interesting to see what the Travis County Grand Jury will do with this.

Just Taze Me Bro

A Belton man is accused of attacking a man with a box cutter in a bizarre incident where he damaged vehicles and broke windows.
Bell County sheriff’s investigator Jim Lewing said the incidents happened around 5:30 p.m. Saturday near the Jubilee Road entrance to Lake Belton near Moffat.

...

Lewing said the man then pulled out a box cutter and charged at one man who suffered some minor cuts in the attack, Lewing said.

Lewing said the man also kicked several cars and trucks, breaking windows and causing some damage.

The man then got into his truck, and tried to leave, but a woman at the scene called 911 and a nearby deputy pulled over the truck and arrested Maxwell without incident.

However on the way to the Bell County Jail, Lewing said Maxwell kicked the windows of the deputy’s patrol vehicle, causing some additional damage. Source: KWTX.com

You can't save some people from their own stupid behavior.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Proposed Austin Area Intelligence Center Causes Concern

A proposed Austin area law enforcement intelligence fusion center is causing concerns for civil liberties groups in the Austin area.
Authorities say the case — and dozens like it — highlights the need for agencies in Central Texas to routinely exchange data about crimes, trends and suspect descriptions, an information flow they think will help solve more cases and decrease duplicate policing.

Beginning next year, they plan to start doing so at a federally funded, multimillion-dollar intelligence center — one of dozens of such "fusion centers" across the nation.

But some centers have sparked controversy after critics said officials overstepped their bounds and violated people's civil rights.

As part of the information exchange, the Austin Regional Intelligence Center will give investigators broader access to confidential information about suspects or criminal organizations. Source: Austin American Statesman

It's a good article. Hit the link to read the entire story at the Statesman.

Law enforcement intelligence operations have occasionally been misused in the past. However, intelligence operations such as this are important as more and more criminals operate across jurisdictional borders. It's important for law enforcement and the communities they serve to work together to determine what is acceptable practice in these fusion centers. We serve the communities that pay our salaries.

The Search For Benjamin Lund

The Palestine Herald Press ran a story about Beth Lund, the mother Ben Lund who is considered a missing person by Killeen Police. Ben's family is from the Elkhart area.
“For the first couple of years, especially the first six months, I was shattered. I could hardly eat or sleep,” Beth said.

Ben was last sighted withdrawing money from First National Bank at the Harker Heights H-E-B between June 13-17, 2005, according to detectives. He also was seen at a party on Wood Street in Killeen in mid-June, the same street where he car was left abandoned.

In February 2006, a non-profit search organization called Texas Equusearch conducted an extensive search in the Wood Avenue Apartment area in Killeen where he had last been seen. The organization used a remote-controlled model plane to take low-flying pictures of the area. Beth and the police looked at more than 200 photos without finding signs of shoes, clothing, etc. Beth hopes new information may make another search possible in the future.

In June of this year, the Killeen Police Department reassigned Ben’s case to veteran detectives Karl Ortiz and Sharon Brank.

Flyers with Ben’s photo and vital statistics were inserted into the July city water bills. The detectives are investigating the case as if it were a cold case and developing new timelines and re-interviewing Ben’s acquaintances. Source: Palestine Herald Press

If you have any information about Ben Lund, you can report it anonymously through the Killeen CrimeStoppers website. They will pay cold, hard cash for information that will resolve this missing person case. Ben's mom would also appreciate the help finding her son.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

KPD Looking For Vandal

Killeen Police are asking for help in catching a man dressed in Army ACU's who went to a local restaurant, picked up a chair, walked outside and threw the chair into traffic causing $1,600 damage to a passing motorist's vehicle.


From surveillance video, Killeen police determined the man drove to El Taco Jalisco at 516 W. Rancier Ave. in a dark green Ford Super Crew Cab pickup truck. He parked in front of the business, but left after a few minutes. On his way out, the man grabbed a chair, walked outside and hurled the chair at the truck. He then left the scene in his truck.

Police described the man as a Hispanic male wearing an Army Combat Uniform. Source:Killeen Daily Herald

Hit the link to the Herald's story to view a photo of the crook. If you have any information as to this person's identity, you can report it anonymously at the Killeen CrimeStoppers website.

Bell County Court Actions

A whole list of criminals got justice meted out to them this week. They include a rapist, a robber, a burglar, a couple of dopers and a few other assorted felons. You can read the details here.

New Cops On The Beat

Harker Heights PD welcomed it's two newest officers Friday.
Police Chief Mike Gentry conducted the swearing-in ceremony for Andrew Rameas and Jeremy Hempel among a crowd of officers, city officials and friends.

The two graduated earlier that morning from the Regional Police Academy at Central Texas College. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

As Bell County grows, the need for more officers grows too. The Killeen area is one of the 10 fastest growing areas in the United States.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Hapless Perv Only Solicits Cops

While this online pervert thought he was trying to seduce a teenage girl, he had the bad fortune to be soliciting a undercover cop posing as a teen. If this wasn't bad enough, it was determined later that he was also trying to solicit two other cops posing as teens at the same time.
The case began in August 2006, when aspiring sexual predator James Daniel started an online conversation with Amanda_13, a fake 13-year-old girl voiced by Sergeant Richard Howard of the Porter County Sheriff’s Department.

After several highly explicit chats, Daniel asked Amanda_13 to meet him at a park in Valparaiso, Indiana, to have sex. When he showed up, he was arrested for inducing an individual under 18 to engage in criminal sexual activity.

When Secret Service agents searched Daniel’s computer, they found logs of chats with two other apparent minors, who described themselves as 13 and 15 years old, respectively. Federal prosecutors introduced the chats at Daniel’s trial as evidence of his perverted motives.

Supposedly, it was only after Daniel was convicted that the feds realized that one of those girls, daisy13_Indiana, was also a cop working the very same Secret Service operation. They informed Daniel’s attorney, who appealed on the grounds that the government improperly withheld information that would have proven entrapment.

The case became even more bizarre when the three-judge appellate panel reviewing the conviction saw the screen name of the third supposed teenager, blonddt, and recognized it from an earlier case. Source: Wired.com

This guy is apparently so bad at being a pervert he ought to volunteer for castration and take up knitting. It also sounds like the cops need to work on their de-confliction skills a bit though.

Step 8 - Use The Problem Analysis Triangle

Step 8 in our journey through Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers is Use The Problem Analysis Triangle. Many times we hear criminologist opine about their latest theory about why crime happens. Something along the lines that if Little Johnny had better parents or got a free breakfast at school that there would be no crime. While this is nice to think about, it really has no correlation to the real world occupied by the police, criminals and their victims.

What police really need is not some abstract theory but a way to determine the best approach to problematic crime problems. One of the best things I have seen along this line is the Problem Analysis Triangle.

The problem analysis triangle (also known as the crime triangle) comes from one of the main theories of environmental criminology - routine activity theory. This theory, originally formulated by Lawrence Cohen and Marcus Felson, states that predatory crime occurs when a likely offender and suitable target come together in time and place, without a capable guardian present. Source: Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers

It's a lot like the Fire Triangle that you learned about in science class. Without any one of the three elements, this crime won't occur. Problem Oriented Policing expands on this by adding an outer ring that points to the entity most likely to affect that element of the crime triangle. Just like they taught you in science class, remove any one element by affecting the controler and the fire, or in this case, the crime won't occur. This is complemented by another theory that classifies repeat crime problems as being "Wolf", "Duck" or "Den" problems.

Repeat crime problems are classified as Wolf, Duck or Den problems by the dynamics of how these crime are occurring. By identifying these problems in this manner, you can identify a focus in order to formulate an effective strategy to combat these problems. This step in Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers is probably the most useful in the whole book. If you read nothing else, read this one.

Next time, we'll look at Step 9 - Know That Opportunity Makes the Thief

Liar, Liar

NPR has an interesting article on research into detecting people who tell lies.
"A lot of different signs of anxiety are mistaken for signs of deception," says Kevin Colwell, a forensic scientist at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven. He says research shows that even for the innocent, the whole tenor of an encounter with police can make it harder to remember things accurately. "In interrogation the whole goal is to convince somebody or trick them or coerce them whatever it takes to get them to confess to the crime."

Colwell is on the forefront of a movement to change that mindset and convince law enforcement and other interrogators that encounters with suspects are opportunities to get information, not just a moment to elicit a confession. The concern is that if an interviewer is already convinced that someone committed the crime they are investigating, interviewers stop searching for other answers. And that can lead to mistakes.
...
Colwell and a forensic psychologist at National University in La Jolla, Calif., named Cheryl Hiscock-Anisman have been doing this kind of interrogation research for years. As a general matter, they have found that people who are making up a story prepare an airtight, simple script that is easy to remember. People telling the truth have no script because, basically, they lived the story. So they tend to recall unrelated details and often make mistakes. Source: NPR.org

The story is a good read. I'd encourage you to hit the link and read the entire story over at NPR.org.

Another Subway Robbery

Another Killeen Subway restaurant was robbed on Thursday. This time Killeen Police do not believe it was related to two previous Subway robberies.
Killeen Subway restaurants are popular targets for robbers. The restaurants have been robbed at least 17 times since 2001, including four in the last year, according to Herald archives.

Two men robbed the Subway in the 3800 block of East Stan Schlueter Loop at approximately 9:15 p.m. Wednesday. Three teenage employees and a customer were inside the store at the time. Nobody was injured.

The masked men walked in, pointed their guns at a customer and demanded he lie on the ground. The robbers jumped over the counter and told a female cashier to squat down, the victims said.

One robber walked to the back of the store and made another employee squat down. The female employee gave one robber the cash box. The men jumped over the counter and left. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

Victor O'Brien at the Herald did a good job on this story. Many times, these robberies only get a few lines of newsprint. An interesting note is that a victim who was stabbed in a previous robbery was in the Subway when it was robbed. The reporter also covered the employee's reactions to this incident.
Phillip Weinstein survived his second robbery since December 2008. Several men robbed and stabbed Weinstein, a Papa John's delivery driver, on Dec. 1, 2008.

Weinstein stopped by Subway Wednesday to buy a sandwich after work.

"I just flashed back to my stabbing," Weinstein said. "I was just thinking, 'Please don't shoot me.'"

Weinstein felt embarrassed to be a helpless victim a second time. He intends to buy a gun to protect himself.

"Once, shame on me. Twice, shame on me again. Three times, shame on you," Weinstein said.

The robbery stunned the three teenage employees, who requested their names be withheld for safety and employment reasons.

"The robbery happened in like two seconds. It's not like in the movies," a 17-year-old male employee said. "In that two seconds, they could have taken my life, but they didn't."

The 17-year-old felt lucky to be alive, but in disbelief the robbers pointed a gun at him.

"I'm just thanking God for sparing my life and giving me another chance," he said.
Source: Killeen Daily Herald

We can never forget that each one of these "routine" incidents affects people's lives, sometimes for years to come.

Killeen CrimeStoppers will pay cold hard cash for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the persons who committed this or other crimes. You can report it anonymously at the Killeen CrimeStoppers website.

Convicted Rapist Gets Hard Time

A Killeen man and former soldier was convicted and sentenced to prison for raping an 11 year old over a period of three years.
Judge Joe Carroll of the 27th District Court sentenced Michael Allen Blankenship, 35, on Thursday.

According to the arrest affidavit, Blankenship sexually assaulted the victim many times over the course of three years. The girl described the abuse as getting worse as time progressed; the last instance occurred on March 1, 2008.

He told police that he "couldn't say" whether he had sex with the victim because he had no memory of it. He did, however, describe one sexual encounter with the girl. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

The convicted rapist got booted from the Army after being indicted. I think the Army does not consider child rape as being compatible with military service. The supremely sad part is what the child will suffer for the rest of her life because of this pervert.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Killeen Felon Aquitted

A Killeen man who had eight prior felony convictions was acquitted on Aggravated Assault charges stemming from an altercation with a tow truck driver.
It marked the second time this year Bell County jurors found George Campbell not guilty on felony charges. He was also acquitted on a retaliation charge in April.

In both cases, defense attorney Jim Hewitt represented Campbell with prosecutor Leslie McWilliams serving as first chair for the state.

Jurors are generally not made aware of a defendant's prior convictions until after a verdict is rendered. Campbell remains in Bell County jail on two misdemeanor charges, assault on a family member and violation of a protective order.

All of Campbell's prior felony convictions are out of Florida. Before prosecutors found out about his record, Campbell was offered deferred adjudication on one of the charges, Hewitt said.

Once prosecutors discovered the convictions, they moved to charge Campbell as an habitual offender, an enhancement that increases the minimum sentence on a felony conviction from five years to 25 years. Source: Temple Daily Telegram

With two acquittals under his belt, maybe his luck is changing.

Bell County Felon Arrested Again

A Bell County parolee is under arrest in Waco for a robbery of an elderly woman.
Jimmy Lee Kenner, who jail officials say was out of prison on parole at the time of the alleged crime, is charged with aggravated robbery and is being held in lieu of $50,000 bail, police said.

The woman and her husband were walking from their car to their condominium in Lake Air Towers when Kenner jumped from behind a brick wall and grabbed the woman’s purse, Waco police spokesman Steve Anderson said. Source: Waco Tribune Herald

Maybe he just needs to give up on life on the outside and stay in prison. It would appear he's having problems adjusting to life outside.

Women Indicted For Pit Bull Mauling Death

Two women were indicted by the Bell County Grand Jury for a tragic incident in which a child was mauled by the family's pit bull.
Seth Lovitt was running around his house in the 2900 block of Fairlane Drive in Killeen about 6:30 p.m. Nov. 6, 2007, when the dog jumped from the couch, knocked him to the ground and bit him on the neck. Parker of Garland and Lovitt of Killeen pulled the dog off the boy. He was pronounced dead later that night at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood.

There is evidence that the women knew the dog had violent tendencies, First Assistant District Attorney Murff Bledsoe said. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

This is so sad, one of the women was the boy's grandmother, the other was his mother. Hopefully the court will take into account how much they have suffered so far.

Belton PD Arrests Man For Sexting Teen

Belton Police arrested a man they accuse of sending over one hundred sexual explicit text messages including some that contained pictures of his naughty bits.
Matthew Johnnielee Scott, 21, of Killeen, was booked into Bell County Jail Tuesday on $250,000 bond. He was charged with online solicitation of a minor.

Belton police started an investigation of Scott on Feb. 23. A 15-year-old girl reported that she received sexually explicit text messages from Scott's phone number, according to an arrest affidavit.

Over a three-week period, a detective, posing as "Cheri," a 13-year-old girl, received more than 100 sexually explicit messages from Scott, who identified himself as "Matthew Sexii." The messages included pictures of his genitals, the affidavit stated. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

I wonder if they'll have to do a photo lineup?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Is Your Callsign "Air None" or "Ground 1"?

The City of Killeen decided to drop out of the cooperative helicopter program that has lacked a working helicopter for some time. In this program, area law enforcement agencies contributed money and sometimes personnel to fund and staff the program.
Killeen City Councilman Juan Rivera said, "We don't want to spend $15,000 (a quarter) on a program that is not functioning."

One month of reserving the helicopter costs the city $5,000. Since the helicopter has not been flown for more than a year, they say it is a waste for the city of more than $70,000. Source: KXXV.com

Helicopters in general, and police helicopters in particular are expensive beasts to operate. Given the City of Killeen's current budget woes this is probably a pretty good move. Even the City of Austin has seen debate over the cost effectiveness of their helicopter program and they are a much larger city.

The Bell County helicopter was being flown pretty infrequently even before it got broken. If it's not in the air often enough for officers to count on, you have to wonder about the utility of the program to begin with.

More On The KPD Fitness Program Saga

It was apparently a long and somewhat contentious City Council workshop when the discussion turned to the Killeen PD fitness program. I previously posted about this here. The previous post has a couple of links to stories for background on this.

Last night it seems that neither side, the Department's Administration nor the local FOP or TMPA chapters wanted to give any ground.
After a dizzying array of numbers and emotional arguments, Mayor Timothy Hancock, with council support, encouraged Ferman to meet with City Manager Connie Green and Baldwin to negotiate a compromise.

Both sides doubt a compromise will happen at the 11th hour. The job-contingent policy takes effect in October.

Any changes made to the program now would negate previous studies and require KPD to start from scratch, Longwell said.

Ferman said KPD rejected attempts to compromise in recent meetings, other than on safety issues such as placing spotters at gaps during the 1.5-mile run and paramedics at training sites.

Based on the April 2009 results, Killeen faces a worst-case scenario of having 27 officers, particularly department veterans, placed on light duty until they pass the test.

Councilwoman JoAnn Purser questioned Baldwin and Longwell about the possibility of 27 officers being assigned to desk jobs. They responded by saying they expect all officers will pass the test before losing their jobs. During April's test, a total of 15 officers failed and 12 declined to participate.

Longwell said later the department will have to make adjustments, such as shifting workloads, if officers are placed on light duty. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

I would encourage you to hit the above link and read the full story at the Herald. Physical fitness is important for those in law enforcement, this is why law enforcement is generally exempted from some provisions of the Americans With Disability act. However, the thought of a large number of officers being placed on light duty and/or terminated is problematic too. I'm sure many will be watching the outcome of this. Particularly those whose jobs are at stake.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ouch!

A Killeen burglar who committed another burglary while on probation was sentenced in Bell County court this week.
A Killeen man was sentenced Monday to 25 years in prison for engaging in organized criminal activity and 10 years on a charge of burglary of a habitation with intent to commit theft after his probation was revoked.

Judge Fancy Jezek of the 426th District Court sentenced Brandon Lamar Wright, 23, on the first- and second-degree felonies. He will serve his terms concurrently.

Wright was convicted of burglary of a habitation after police apprehended him leaving Gina Drive in Harker Heights with stolen property on March 21, 2006. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

Maybe he'll figure out he needs a new trade. He's obviously not that good at burglary since he keeps getting caught. I just hope this 25 years means he'll actually do some real time in prison this time.

I'll Have The Usual

I know that many restaurants have regular customers, but a regular robber?
Police asked for the public's help Monday. Police need the public to identify the Subway robber and confirm suspicions that the same man robbed the same Subway twice, said Carroll Smith, the Killeen Police Department spokeswoman.

The incidents occurred at the Subway in the 2000 block of North W.S. Young Drive.

In both robberies, a man jumped over the service counter while the clerk was in the back room, Smith said. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

I know people are creatures of habit but at least he could be a little more original by robbing a different business. If you have information about this guy, please contact Killeen CrimeStoppers.

Officer, I Can Explain This

As an update to a previous post about last week's murder in Killeen, we learned some rather interesting details.
The Bell County District Attorney's Office charged Jared Lee Bottorff, 21, with murder Saturday. Bottorff admitted he fired a shotgun at the head of a 36-year-old man Friday and killed him, according to an arrest affidavit.

Then, Phillip James Thomas, 23, helped Bottorff carry the body into an Isuzu Rodeo parked in the driveway at 4212 Fawn Drive. A Killeen police officer cornered the pair as they attempted to escape with the body in the Isuzu. Source:Killeen Daily Herald

Getting caught with the body of the guy you just shotgunned in your car does tend to make it harder to deny your involvement later on.

Last Man Standing

The Killeen Daily Herald has an interesting story on the sole remaining Nolanville Police officer.
When Holsey's not patrolling the streets, he attacks the paperwork on his desk. A constant stream of paperwork inundates him. Meanwhile, cases pile up on the desks of laid-off and furloughed officers.

Holsey sits in his office of the empty department through the hot days, wiping sweat from his brow. The phone goes unanswered when he's on patrol. He can't schedule reserve officers as needed because many have full-time jobs.

Holsey said feels almost as if he has become the tattoo on his left shoulder: a lone wolf.

"It's like being on a roller coaster when it comes up and stops," Holsey said Thursday.

Holsey has ridden the roller coaster through a contract dispute, a financial crisis and fired officers.

"I'm kind of numb," he said, especially about losing officers he befriended.Source: Killeen Daily Herald

This is kind of like watching a train wreck, you cringe but you still can't take your eyes off it.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Killeen PD Fitness Policy Under Fire

The Killeen Daily Herald ran two stories this weekend about KPD's mandatory fitness policy. The policy requires all officers to meet certain physical fitness standards. The policy's teeth are set to bite in October when officers who fail will be placed on restricted duty until they pass and could result in termination should they not be able to pass.
The Killeen Police Department's mandatory fitness policy could be placed on a diet Tuesday.

At the meeting, the Killeen City Council will weigh the policy, which threatens to remove police officers from the streets in October.

After three years of buildup, two local law enforcement advocacy groups said officers are tired. The West Bell County Fraternal Order of Police and the Killeen Municipal Police Association united to raise the issue.

Chris Ferman, WBCFOP president, and Lou Griffin, KMPA secretary, argued their cases to the city last week. They cited an increase in crime, discrimination lawsuits, unfairness to existing officers and injuries as reasons to change the policy. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

In another KDH story, both FOP and TMPA reps outlined the legal troubles other agencies have seen when they tried to implement similar policies in their agencies.
The policy is not only unfair but most likely illegal, said Lou Griffin, Killeen Municipal Police Association secretary,

In 1991, the Texas Supreme Court ruled the Houston Fire Department broke the law when it instituted a job-contingent fitness test.

The ruling stated HFD illegally usurped the Civil Service Act's fitness standard. The ruling decided firefighters could be required to participate in the program, but could not lose their jobs if they failed.

The legality of the policy hinges on requirements for civil service workers, said Randy Doubrava, general counsel with the Texas Municipal Police Association.

Civil service employees can be fired only if a doctor finds them unfit for duty or they violate multiple department standards, he said. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

Hit the links to see the full articles, especially the second one that outlines what happened to other cities' programs when they tried to institute a similar policy.

Don't get me wrong, I firmly believe that police officers should have a certain level of physical fitness. If you are in a fight for your life with a bad guy, your survival depends on it. When I was a police officer I worked hard to maintain my physical fitness (and still do).

However, it does appear that KPD's policy has an uphill fight to survive this review.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Step 7 - Be guided by SARA, but not led astray

The next step in Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers is Step 7 - Be guided by SARA, but not led astray. Problem Oriented Policing (POP) requires that police study the problem they are trying to solve in depth.

This is a form of action research, a well-established social science method in which researchers work alongside practitioners, helping to formulate and refine interventions until success is achieved. Source: Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers

Problem Oriented Policing uses the acronym SARA to help guide the process. SARA stands for Scanning, Analysis, Response and Assessment. In most cases it is important to follow the acronym from one stage to the next in order to properly use the model and get the most out of the POP methodology.

It is also important to point out that you might have to shift back and forth among the stages. Your response to a problem may require more analysis to fine tune the response as more information is gained. The authors point out:

An assessment of the short-term response could add to the analysis and contribute to the formulation of a new response, which is then assessed. This might lead back to scanning as new information forces a revision of the problem definition or the discovery of new problems. The important point is that analysis and evaluation are meaningfully incorporated into the sequence of events and one does not simply jump from scanning to response and declare victory. Source: Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers

Many times dealing with problems forces outside the Department (and even those inside the Department) tend to pressure us to jump from identifying a problem to implementing a solution immediately. We need to avoid the pressure and stick to the SARA model to ensure the greatest likelihood of actually solving the problem.

Next, we'll cover the step Use The Problem Analysis Triangle.

Killeen Shooting Death

Killeen Police were busy this morning with a shooting that left one man dead.
Officers were sent to an address near the intersection of Fawn and Teal Drives at about 3:30 a.m. Friday.

Officers tell News 10 an altercation broke out at a party and that fight escalated into a shooting.

Bell County Justice of the Peace Bill Cooke pronounced one man dead at the scene at 4:30 a.m.

Killeen police report they have arrested two men in connection with the shooting. Source: KWTX.com

This comes on the heels of a recent release by KPD showing that their overall crime stats were down including murders. While this might add to the numbers in the Murder category, they will still be down from this same time last year.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Recent Indictments

The Bell County Grand Jury recently indicted two men for felonies. One for is an accused child rapist, the other shot a neighbor. The story from the Killeen Daily Herald is here.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Woman Arrested For Killeen Murder

The woman was arrested for a 2008 murder that happened in Killeen.
Dannece Shawnta Jenkins was arrested Monday and charged with the April 26, 2008 murder of Gerardo Neave Garcia, in Killeen.

Jenkins is being held on bonds totaling 1,050,000 on one count of murder and one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
...
Killeen police were sent to an address on N. 14th St. on April 26, 2008, where officers found a man lying in the street who had suffered a head wound.

The man was identified as Gerardo Neave Garcia after officers found an ID card lying next to the body.

Garcia was taken to a local hospital where he later died from his injuries.

Officers further learned, according to an arrest affidavit, a witness had seen Jenkins and another man, Julius Wilson, Jr., strike Garcia in the head with a bed post.

The witness further told investigators Jenkins and Wilson went through Garcia’s pockets and took his wallet. Source: KWTX.com

It'll be interesting to follow as this winds it's way through the courts.

Yeah, It Was Research...Honest.

A former pastor from the Waco area explained his child porn collection was 'research' and not the collection of a pervert.
The 63 images of child pornography found on Edgington’s work computer at the Czech Inn in West and other photos discovered in a padlocked black box in his bathroom and car were evidence of research the part-time minister at Elm Mott Church of Christ was conducting before taking his one-man war against online child pornography to U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Waco, Edgington testified.
...
Waco Police Detective Scott Holt, who led the investigation, said investigators also found at least three e-mail messages from Edgington to young girls depicted on some of the Web sites, including one that said: “You are so beautiful. It makes me smile to see your face.”
...
Vicha asked Edgington during cross-examination why he merely didn’t ask trained police investigators to help with his quest and why it took him so long — more than 10 months — to collect his evidence, which he never did take to the congressman.

“During the 10 months you are trying to complete your operation, who was helping those exploited little girls?” Vicha said, wondering why Edgington hadn’t printed out pictures of exploited young boys as part of his mission.
Source: Waco Tribune

The emails he sent to the girls were the clincher for me.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

KPD Seeks Bank Robber

Killeen Police were searching for a person responsible for a mid morning bank robbery in Killeen.
A clerk told investigators a man walked into the First National Bank – Texas branch located near the intersection of North 38th Street and East Rancier Avenue in Killeen around 11:00 a.m. and handed her a note demanding all of her money.

The clerk complied with the demand because the note also said the man had a gun in his pocket, police say.

The man then fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of money.

The man was described as a black male between 5’8” and 5’10” wearing a red cap and white bandana and carrying a blue backpack. Source: KWTX.com

If you have information about this or other crimes, you can report it via Killeen CrimeStoppers.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Arrest In Attempted Baby Abduction

Fort Hood authorities have reportedly made an arrest in an incident where a woman dressed in hospital scrubs attempted to kidnap a newborn from Darnall Army Hospital.
Fort Hood officials say a woman dressed in scrubs was caught on a surveillance camera trying to take a male infant from the maternity ward at the hospital.

An infant abduction warning alarm went off, according to Fort Hood officials, causing the hospital to lock down and all exits were blocked. Source: KWTX.com

Kudos to Fort Hood for solving a very scary crime.

Killeen Police Release Crime Stats

KPD released crime stats indicating good news for the first half of 2009.
Violent crime dropped almost 22 percent for the first half of 2009 and non-violent crime fell about 2 percent, according to statistics released by the Killeen Police Department Saturday.

Police Chief Dennis Baldwin believes that the significant drop in violent crime clearly shows that the Killeen community continues to head in the right direction, the release stated. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

Probably the most interesting is the fact that they have only one murder reported so far this year compared to 6 by the same time last year. That's pretty unusual.

Killeen PD Seeks Hit & Run Driver

Killeen Police are seeking the driver of a vehicle that struck and critically injured a pedestrian.


Police received a 911 call this morning about an intoxicated black male that was hit by a white Cadillac Escalade at the 3800 block of S. Fort Hood Street.


The victim was walking in northbound lane when the accident occurred.

Witnesses say the driver continued to travel north after the accident and failed to stop.

Police say the victim of the accident was airlifted to Scott and White Memorial Hospital with critical injuries and that he is in critical condition.

Killeen Police are asking anyone who has information about this accident to call the Killeen Police Department at 501-8800 or Crime Stoppers at 562-8477. Source: KWTX.com

It's not surprising that the pedestrian was intoxicated. Studies of fatal accidents involving pedestrians revealed that the pedestrians are often intoxicated when struck. That roadway is dark, very busy and just down the street from a major nightclub complex.

If you have information about this or any other crime, you can report it at the Killeen CrimeStoppers website.