Starting tonight you can expect to encounter sobriety checkpoints during the late evening hours around the Region as part of a safety blitz that covers St. Patrick's Day. In Lake County:, Hammond and Merrillville Police, along with the Lake County Traffic Safety Partnership, will focus on aggressive and impaired drivers using roving patrols, and will be conducting sobriety checkpoints, as part of “Operation Pull-Over Blitz” that begins today [March 8th ] and runs through March 24th. Indiana State Police Lowell Post, in conjunction with the Northern Porter County Traffic Safety Partnership, and Portage Police, will be conduct checkpoints in Porter County. The LaPorte County DUI Task Force has announced a sobriety checkpoint this Saturday night.
The Lake County Traffic Safety Partnership includes Cedar Lake PD, Crown Point PD, Dyer PD, East Chicago PD, Griffith PD, Highland PD, Hobart PD, Lowell PD, Munster PD, New Chicago PD, Schererville PD, and St. John PD.
More from the Indiana Attorney General's office: With school safety under a spotlight nationwide since the Newtown, Connecticut, tragedy, the first session of Thursday'’s Criminal and Civil Justice Summit focused on school resource officer (SRO) programs where specially trained law enforcement officers are stationed at schools to protect students and teachers. One of this morning’s speakers was Mo Canady, executive director of the National School Resource Officer Association (NASRO), who addressed the role of police in school safety policies. The approaches taken in Indiana schools were discussed by Carmel police officer D.J. Schoeff who is SRO for Carmel Middle School, and Fort Wayne police officer Chris Crapser who is SRO in the Fort Wayne Community Schools.
Last fall, prior to the Newtown tragedy, the Attorney General’s Office conducted a needs assessment study where Indiana educators and law enforcement indicated they would like to make more school resource officers available in their schools but funding is an obstacle.Zoeller reiterated his support for a bill now moving through the Legislature, Senate Bill 1, that would define school resource officers in law and provide state matching grants to help schools create or expand SRO positions through local control and decision-making. He invited the three SRO experts to speak at today’s summit, whose theme was “Keeping Hoosier Children From Harm.”
“The increase in the dangers that are present to our children require the State of Indiana to do more to meet our obligations to the most vulnerable in our society. This justice summit brings together the three branches of state government, local school administrators, members of law enforcement and others who serve and protect the children of our state to find ways to work together collaboratively in a common effort,” Zoeller said.
As the lawyer for state government, Zoeller has organized two previous Criminal and Civil Justice Summits, or free legal seminars, to facilitate discussion among attorneys, judges, prosecutors, legislators, policymakers and the public on subjects facing the judicial system. Past summit topics included the impact of the mortgage foreclosure crisis on homeowners, and disparities between counties in seeking the death penalty due to costs that resulted in fairness concerns.
Other session topics and speakers in Thursday'’s Criminal and Civil Justice Summit include:
Juvenile Detention Reform. Under the leadership of Judge Marilyn Moores of Marion Superior Court Juvenile Division, Marion County became a site for the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Judge Moores led efforts to enact system-wide reforms to reduce the number of juvenile detainees while maintaining public safety. Judge Moores today led a panel discussion on approaches to juvenile detention reform.
Child Victims of Human Trafficking. Indiana’s anti-human-trafficking task force, IPATH, and the Attorney General’s Office have worked to raise awareness about children becoming victims of human trafficking and prostitution due to criminals who support the commercial sex industry. Because of concerns about human trafficking associated with large sporting events, Indiana in 2012 passed a new trafficking law prior to Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis. At today’s summit, attendees heard from Deputy Attorney General Abigail Kuzma, chief counsel of the Consumer Protection Division, and Marion County Deputy Prosecutor Mary Hutchison, who handles human trafficking investigations and prosecutions.
Investigating and Prosecuting Internet Sex Offenders. Law enforcement has found that sex offenders who prey upon children typically use the Internet to lure their victims. The Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, or ICAC, is a local, state and federal partnership that works to combat online predators. Steven DeBrota, Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, discussed his work prosecuting such cases.
Thursday’s four summit topics were among the list of priorities Attorney General Zoeller announced in 2012 as part of his second-term agenda.
The school resource officer legislation, Senate Bill 1, recommended by the Attorney General and authored by State Senator Pete Miller, R-Avon, passed 43-7 in the full Indiana Senate on Feb. 25 and has advanced to the Indiana House. If passed into law, SB 1 would do the following:
· Update the statute to legally define school resource officers as being law enforcement officers who have at least 40 additional hours of certified SRO training. Such officers could be employed directly by schools or work for law enforcement agencies and be assigned to schools under an agreement.
· Create a Secured School Fund from which schools could apply for two-year matching grants of up to $50,000 each, to use to 1) employ a school resource officer, 2) conduct a threat assessment of school buildings, or 3) purchase equipment and technology to restrict access to school property or expedite notification of first responders.
· Set up a five-member board that includes the Attorney General that would review grant applications and award funding to qualifying proposals.
The Indiana General Assembly is considering Senate Bill 1 even as the White House recently announced a proposal for a $150 million federal grant program to fund 1,000 resource officers and school counselors nationwide in the aftermath of the Newtown tragedy. Zoeller said the Attorney General’s Office will closely monitor whatever federal grant program might emerge, and he will work closely with the Department of Education, the Legislature and other state agencies to make schools aware of any federal funding opportunities that could complement state grants.
# # #...
# # #...
Attention animal lovers, a community service group for kids is conducting a fundraiser to raise some much-needed money for the Porter County Animal Shelter. 9 year old Giana Gavaller says she came up with the idea of the “Hounds About Town” program due to her love of dogs, and thought it be a great thing for the members of Kids Power to take part in.
The fundraiser works like this: Porter County businesses can purchase a 31-inch dog statue for 200-dollars by March 15th, and the statues will be delivered by April 15th. The business then decorates them, and puts them on display in a prominent place in or outside their business. The public has the entire month of May to view the decorated dogs, get a code listed on the statue, and vote for their favorite, which enters them into a drawing for a cash prize.
# # #...
# # #...
More info: WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressmen Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ-02) and Peter Visclosky (IN-01) have introduced a four year reauthorization of the Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) program. Created in 1999 by the two lawmakers, the bipartisan BVP program provides state, local and tribal law enforcement officers with needed protection by aiding the purchase of protective equipment. The last reauthorization in 2008 expired in October 2012.
“The men and women in our local law enforcement play an essential role in safeguarding our communities and protecting the freedoms all of us enjoy. Bulletproof vests and body armor have saved thousands of law enforcement officers. However, they cannot protect the lives of those who do not have access to them,” said LoBiondo. “As protectors of our lives and our property, it is imperative that we give law enforcement the critical tools they need so they may do their jobs and carry out their duties safely and effectively. The Bulletproof Vest Partnership program is one of those critical tools.”
"Our families have entrusted the men and women of state and local law enforcement with the responsibility of protecting their lives, their homes, and their property. We must ensure that each and every officer has access to the equipment, training, and support they need as they place their lives on the line for us. Bulletproof vests are crucial, lifesaving tools, and the Bulletproof Vest Partnership program helps local law enforcement agencies acquire them. I am proud to support the Bulletproof Vest Partnership program," said Visclosky.
Since 1999, over 13,000 jurisdictions across the country have participated in the BVP program with nearly $300 million in federal funds committed to support the purchase of more than 1 million vests. Additional information on the BVP program can be found at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bvpbasi
The lawmakers’ bipartisan bill, “The Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Act of 2013” (H.R. 988), was introduced on the House floor yesterday.
News Release: Stacy Davis, 44, of Gary, Indiana, was charged in a superseding Indictment adding two additional bank robbery counts to the original indictment; the bank robbery of TCF Bank in Munster, Indiana on October 2, 2012 and the robbery of Chase Bank in Merrillville, Indiana on October 3, 2009. These charges were filed as the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation GRIT Task Force. This case has been assigned to and will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Chang-Adiga.
From the US Attorneys Office: Christopher M. Bour, 39, and Natisha Hillard, 24, both of Gary, Indiana, were charged in a five count Indictment alleging buying/selling, production of and possession of child pornography. Bour is charged with one count of purchase of a child for production of child pornography, one count of production of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography featuring a minor under the age of 12. Hillard is charged with one count of sale of a child by a parent for production of child pornography and one count of permitting a child by a parent to participate in the production of child pornography. These charges were filed as the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Indiana State Police, the Gary Police Department and the Michigan City Police Department. This case has been assigned to and will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jill Koster.
News Release: CROWN POINT -- Coroner Merrilee D. Frey is grateful to the general public for their help in locating family members and providing information to assist in identifying decedents. Coroner Frey states, “Sadly, as of September 15, 2012, we had a total of eleven unidentified decedents in our facility. Seven have now been identified through DNA, as our Forensic Anthropologist and I have worked closely together on these cases. They have been returned to their loved ones. The oldest case dates back to 2007. All but one are now at rest and reunited with family members. Thank you for responding to our call for assistance to the general public. I am committed to resolving all of our unidentified cases.”
Recently, the Coroner’s office asked the general public for assistance in helping to locate family members for Vincent Demus. Within twenty-four hours we brought closure for his family. The general public was also instrumental in helping the Coroner’s office identify Sherell Clark, who had been missing for several months, bringing closure to her family members. Additionally, the general public was crucial in the bringing closure to the family members of Amy Ellington, a thirty-nine year old female who had been missing for several months.
In early 2012, Derrien Picket was discovered in Lake Station. He had been missing for one year. George Deliopoulos, Meidco/Legal Death Investigator on this case and a twenty-three year veteran of the Coroner’s Office states, ”Our team of professionals worked closely with family members to provide DNA which ultimately led to positive identification of Mr. Picket. Dr. Nawrocki, our Forensic Anthropologist, worked closely with the Coroner, to help the Picket family put the final piece of the puzzle together regarding his death. Coroner Frey’s leadership motivates us to further investigate open cases to help hurting families. ”
“Coroner Frey states,”The generous help of the citizens of Northwest Indiana has allowed families closure regarding their missing loved ones. It is the mission of our office to serve and support our families with the tragic loss of their loved ones.”
"Before Christmas I had a young woman bring in a beautiful bride's gown and she was leaving to go to Alaska for several months, would not be back until March for her wedding and left it with me in my care, to alter and have ready for her when she got back. I do not have that young woman's name or family member's name of any sort. If anybody would know of someone that was coming back in March to get married from Alaska, we certainly would love to be able to get a hold of her and figure out what we could do to help her. "
Hall also tells us she's gotten a call from customers offering to donate wedding gowns:
"There have been one or two people that have called that have said that they have had things altered by me in the past years and have held on to them and if people are in need of a special wedding gown, in this case for instance, they would happy to offer this gown to them."
Hall says she's asking all her customers to call her regular business number to get in touch with her -- 219-477-5307. She also says they are planning to be opening again.
“This has to stop,” said Donnelly. “Our fighting men and women bear an incredible burden on our behalf. I’m focused on doing everything I can to ensure that every servicemember and veteran has the resources they need and knows where to go if they need help.”
Donnelly has highlighted the issue repeatedly in Senate Armed Services Committee hearings and plans to make the mental health care of our military men and women a top priority while serving on the committee. To seek help, servicemembers, veterans, or anyone struggling with mental health issues can call 800-273-TALK (8255) 24 hours a day.
A fact sheet on the issue is available here.
Video of Senator Donnelly raising the issue of military and veteran suicides in the Senate Armed Services Committee:
Senator Hagel Confirmation Hearing (January 30, 2013)
Sequestration Hearing (February 21, 2013)
DoD Civilian Leadership Confirmation Hearing (February 28, 2013)
# # #
# # #...
- Whiting Dress Shop Fire in January May Have Been Set
- Lake Co Coroner Grateful for Info Identifying Decedents
- Large Cocaine Bust in Michigan City
- Construction Jobs Info Sessions in MC Next Week
- Authorities Searching for Man Suspect of Domestic Battery
- Snow Removal Parking Restrictions
- NWS Preliminary Snowfall Totals for NW Indiana
- LaPorte Co Sheriff's Office Investigating 1981 Cold Case
- Gary Police Investigate Robbery, Attack
- Storm Delays Griffith Legislation
Page 360 of 469