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|Posted by Andre Queen on April 22, 2014 at 7:05 PM||comments (0)|
How you can make private security partners a big police asset
ILEETA presenter explains why not tapping into information from private security personnel is like leaving money on the table
There’s no denying that there are private security people who have absolutely no business being in any way involved in your law enforcement efforts. But if you choose your private security partners wisely and well, they can be a tremendous force multiplier.
If you’re careful and strategic about the partnerships you build, you will gain access to individuals who are trained observers, you will have the opportunity to tap into vast amounts of information and databases kept by private security companies, and you will have engaged community stakeholders is the basic functions of community policing and directed criminal interdiction.
During ILEETA 2014, Andre Queen — a Former Deputy Chief with the Illinois Auxiliary Police Reserve and currently the President of a Chicago-based private security company — gave an excellent presentation on how agencies might maximize the available resources represented by local private security entities.
Being Selective and Strategic
It all begins with proper selection and screening of potential members of the group. Ideally, you will be able to identify what Queen called “bridge members.”
“You want to identify folks who are security directors and managers who are also former law enforcement,” Queen said.
You’ve got gang members and convicted felons who are making their way into security officer jobs — hell, there are gang members who are in the United States military — so you have to constantly evaluate the personnel with whom you’re partnering.
“Screening is an ongoing process,” Queen explained. “Some states certify individuals to work as security officers who have criminal histories, and some states don’t immediately revoke security credentials for individuals charged with serious crimes.”
Queen explained that in many places, the state requires the individual to voluntarily report being arrested and charged with a crime. “How many people do you think actually do that. Not a lot, right?”
Due to the fact that most state licensing agencies for private security are not police agencies, your department’s criminal intelligence database may reveal a security officer with gang or other criminal affiliations.
“Do your due diligence!” Queen added.
5 Evaluation Guidelines
Queen then gave five basic guidelines you might consider as your starting point for your own evaluation and selection of private security to be given “membership” in your public/private partnership.
Avoid providing membership to entry-level guards or support personnel. Approach business leaders to explain what you are looking for in a prospective participant.Recruit security managers whenever possible. If not possible, then a senior supervisor.Fully screen individuals who present themselves for membership from their respective security department. Conduct private one-on-one sessions, to “get a feel for the person” and explain your expectations.Don’t be afraid to say “no” and refuse a prospective member.Throughout the process, you will also need to identify the range of the partnership (how large of an area to cover: from a local, neighborhood focus all the way up to citywide or regional domain), and determine the scope of the effort.
“What type of criminal activity are you looking for? This will determine who your members should be. If you’re going to go fishing, you should know what kind of fish you’re trying to catch.”
If you’re targeting organized retail theft, you’re naturally going to want to partner with retail security, but you should not dismiss inviting local hotel security too. “Bad guys stay at hotels,” he explained.
“Unless you are establishing your group for the sole purpose of addressing a specific concern, do not limit your membership to specific industry security personnel. You don’t know what other security departments bring to the table until you invite them,” Queen said. “Bringing different types of security departments from different industries together can yield unexpected rewards.”
Two Types of Approach
Queen described two basic models — the beat cop approach and the group approach — which you may consider when implementing a partnership.
The beat cop model is simple, implementable, and scalable.
“Stop in and visit the security officers at specific locations you want to include in your network. Talk to the security guards and determine who you may select as your point person at that location. Get contact information to keep with your cell phone. Repeat this step for every location you wish to add to your network,” Queen said.
“In this method, you’ll likely be drawing more information from entry-level guards, and less from security managers who may not be on site or available at the time of your visit to that location.”
Queen suggested choosing a specific security supervisor or officer, per location, for regular contact. He said you should conduct “an informal field interview type of screen to get a feel for the individual. Talk to their manager,” he added.
The group model is a little more complex, in part by virtue of the fact that there are simply more players involved. As noted above, groups can be created to address multiple criminal concerns or have a singular focus. “Some groups begin as a single-purpose group, and later evolve into a multipurpose group,” Queen said.
Once you’ve identified your range and scope as noted above, you’ll want to create a letter of invitation to security managers at locations you wish to join the organization. “Invite them to a formation meeting, and explain that membership is restricted to security professionals only, at the level of security supervisor or above,” Queen said.
“If possible, hand deliver the letter to the security manager of each organization you wish to add. This allows you your first opportunity to build that relationship, and to feel out the individual.”
Hold regular meetings with the group, and communicate clearly the purposes and objectives of the effort.
“Use the first meeting to establish the purpose of the organization, and the expectations and the frequency of meetings. During the first meeting, you should state who is qualified for membership in the organization, and establish basic parameters of what information is to be shared outside of the membership, and to whom, and when.”
One Final Word of Caution
Security officers collect a ton of information — information on the people they catch in engaged in criminal activities from retail theft to trespassing — and that date goes into vast records which transcend jurisdictional boundaries.
“That information can be invaluable evidence for your investigation into criminal activity you’re investigating,” Queen said.
Queen cautioned, however, that you have to be careful about exchange of information — you must ensure that you’re not treading in legally indefensible waters.
Some police/security group models have:
• Only shared information about individuals orally, but not in written form, due to liability concerns under federal and state employment and privacy laws.
• Some partnerships provide the most sensitive information only to fully vetted members, although associate members may access other benefits of membership, such as training.
Think of your selected private security partners as the fixed-position sentries. They’re there before your car rolls through the area, and they’re there afterward. They see the people scatter when you roll by, and they see them return after you’ve left.
Not tapping into some of the information and observations certain private security personnel gather is like leaving money on the table.
About the author
Doug Wyllie is Editor in Chief of PoliceOne, responsible for setting the editorial direction of the website and managing the planned editorial features by our roster of expert writers. In addition to his editorial and managerial responsibilities, Doug has authored more than 750 feature articles and tactical tips on a wide range of topics and trends that affect the law enforcement community. Doug is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), and an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers' Association. He is also a member of the Public Safety Writers Association, and is a three-time (2011, 2012, and 2014) Western Publishing Association "Maggie Award" Finalist in the category of Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column. Even in his "spare" time, he is active in his support for the law enforcement community, contributing his time and talents toward police-related charitable events as well as participating in force-on-force training, search-and-rescue training, and other scenario-based training designed to prepare cops for the fight they face every day on the street.
|Posted by Andre Queen on August 22, 2013 at 11:15 PM||comments (0)|
Los Angeles Times
A new Illinois law allows people to carry firearms in public, but is the required training enough?
August 10, 2013
By Dahleen Glanton and Ellen Jean Hirst
CHICAGO — The classroom was dark and uncomfortably warm. A police scanner blared in the background, creating an annoying distraction.
Gregory Colon, in training to become a licensed armed security guard, was nervous when he entered the firearms class. The atmosphere was designed to add to the tension and get his heart rate up.
"We need to know what our body is going to do in a stressful situation," instructor Andre J.W. Queen told the students. "If it's not a deadly force threat, you should not be shooting at it."
The simulated incidents Colon encountered — a hostage situation on a school bus, a shootout in a hallway and an attack by a man wielding a knife — were generated on a computer and projected onto a large screen. But Colon, armed with a SIRT laser gun that resembled a Glock 17 semiautomatic pistol, had to react as if he was in life-and-death situations.
"It was much more intense than I expected," said Colon, 21, of Chicago, who shot his "attackers" in self-defense. "I was sweating and my palms were sticky. It shows in real life how fast you can get hurt."
As the Illinois State Police work out the details of the new law giving Illinois citizens the right to carry firearms in public, a debate is brewing over the 16 hours of training it requires.
Some gun rights advocates argue that requiring essentially two days of training is excessive and unnecessarily prolongs the process for obtaining a permit. Others, including some firearms instructors, want to see Illinois adopt standards that go beyond the gun handling instruction and marksmanship offered in basic civilian firearms safety courses. They say it's important to teach people not only how to shoot but how to defuse potentially dangerous situations so they don't have to use a firearm.
"The concealed-carry permit, realistically, is only there for you to protect yourself. It's not a license to go out and go looking for trouble or deal with a situation that is best left to law enforcement," said Queen, executive director of the Fidelity Investigative Training Academy in Chicago.
"Law enforcement training is about securing and containing the danger," he said. "Concealed-carry training is about protecting yourself and moving away from the danger."
Ordinary citizens, armed or not, should never interject themselves into dangerous situations, instructors said. But simulated exercises like the one Colon participated in allow students to experience the psychological and physiological changes that firearms trainers say occur during an attack.
A rush of adrenaline causes the hands to shake. Blood flows away from the fingers and toes, dulling the senses. Motor skills weaken. The perception of time changes, making everything seem to move in slow motion. You lose peripheral vision, and it seems as though you're looking through a tunnel.
"People need to think about what is happening when they're stressed out," Queen said. "They need to be trained to be aware of their surroundings, other people and other possible threats. They are not going to get that training at a [firearms] range where nobody is going to shoot back."
Although the Illinois State Police has yet to issue specific guidelines for the training, Queen, also a certified National Rifle Assn. instructor, said he was developing a simulation program involving situations that average citizens might encounter, such as road rage or carrying a cash deposit from a business.
"If I go to a restaurant and step on your foot and we start slapping each other back and forth, I'm not expected to stand there and take it all day," said Don Haworth, another NRA-certified instructor and owner of Chicagoland Firearm Training. "But I have to know what's considered above and beyond."
Before enrolling in Queen's security guard course, Gloria Sauno said, she did not realize a gun should be the last resort.
"I thought if you came across a bad situation and you had a gun and training, you could use it," she said. "Now I know that you have to sit back and hold on a second."
Sauno's pre-training assumption is what opponents of concealed weapons worry about most.
"I don't think it will turn into the Wild West, but there are, potentially, things that can happen," said Colleen Daley, executive director of the Illinois Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. "It's not the fear of someone walking down the street with a gun that bothers most people; it's the unexpected consequences. Someone going out to have a drink does not intend on killing somebody, but it happens."
|Posted by Andre Queen on July 24, 2013 at 12:55 AM||comments (0)|
Concealed carry: Ready, train, fire
Does Illinois' new law demand enough instruction forpotential gun toters?
By Dahleen Glanton and Ellen Jean Hirst, Chicago Tribune reporters
The classroom was dark and uncomfortably warm. A police scanner blared in the background, creating an annoying distraction.
Gregory Colon, training to become a licensed armed security guard, was nervous when he entered the firearms class. The atmosphere was designed to add to the tension and get his heart rate up.
"We need to know what our body is going to do in a stressful situation,"instructor Andre J.W. Queen told the students. "If it's not a deadly force threat, you should not be shooting at it."
The simulated incidents Colon encountered — a hostage situation on a school bus, a shootout in a hallway and an attack by a man wielding a knife —were generated on a computer and projected onto a large screen. But Colon, armed with a SIRT laser gun that resembled a Glock 17 semi-automatic pistol, had to react as if they were life-and-death situations.
"It was much more intense than I expected," Colon, a 21-year-old Chicago resident, said after shooting his attackers in self-defense. "I was sweating and my palms were sticky. It shows in real life how fast you can get hurt."
As the Illinois State Police work out the details of the new concealed carry law giving Illinois citizens the right to have firearms in public, a debate is brewing over the 16 hours of training it requires.
Some gun rights advocates argue that requiring essentially two days of training is excessive and unnecessarily prolongs the process for obtaining a permit. Others, including some firearms instructors, want to see Illinois adopt standards that go beyond the gun handling instruction and marksmanship offered in basic civilian firearms safety courses. They say it's important to teach people not only how to shoot a gun but how to defuse potentially dangerous situations so they don't have to use a firearm.
Those who oppose extensive training said it is out of line with the requirements in other states and is far more rigorous than the five-hour course mandated by the city of Chicago to obtain a permit to keep a gun at home.
In Illinois, residents must also obtain a Firearm Owner's Identification card to carry a concealed weapon. No training is required for a FOID card, but applicants must undergo a background check.
"The court said it's unconstitutional to prevent people from carrying. We're thinking you should be able to carry a firearm now if you have a FOID card," said Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association.
But some firearm training instructors who are certified by the National Rifle Association and are strong supporters of the concealed carry law said gun owners need to be trained to react appropriately in life-threatening situations.
Itis important, they said, for people to understand that a concealed carry permit does not give an average citizen the right to assume the duties of a trained law enforcement officer.
"The concealed carry permit, realistically, is only there for you to protect yourself. It's not a license to go out and go looking for trouble or deal with a situation that is best left to law enforcement," said Queen, executive director of the Fidelity Investigative Training Academy in Chicago.
"Law enforcement training is about securing and containing the danger," he said. "Concealed carry training is about protecting yourself and moving away from the danger."
Ordinary citizens, armed or not, should never interject themselves into dangerous situations, instructors said. But simulated exercises like the one Colon participated in allow students to experience the psychological and physiological changes that firearms trainers said occur during an attack.
A rush of adrenaline causes the hands to shake. Blood flows away from the fingers and toes, dulling the senses. Motor skills weaken. The perception of time changes to where everything seems to move in slow motion. You lose peripheral vision, and it seems as though you're looking through a tunnel.
"People need to think about what is happening when they're stressed out," Queen said. "They need to be trained to be aware of their surroundings, other people and other possible threats. They are not going to get that training at a (firearms) range where nobody is going to shoot back."
In addition to the basic firearm safety training and time at a firing range, the Illinois concealed carry law requires applicants to be familiar with state and federal laws regarding ownership, storage and transportation of a firearm. They also must be instructed on how to interact appropriately with law enforcement while carrying a concealed weapon.
Some firearms instructors said they would like to see Illinois' training requirements modeled after the 16-hour Personal Protection Outside the Home course designed by the NRA. That course includes topics such as wearing a holster, shooting from cover, shooting with one hand and shooting while sitting or in motion. It also teaches techniques to avoid life-threatening confrontations as well as legal and social issues that might develop after a defensive shooting occurs outside the home.
But they said it should go a step further and include elements of the NRA's law enforcement training curriculum, which offers a more in-depth look at the physiological impact of being in a life-threatening situation.
"I personally believe that the concealed weapon courses are too easy," said Neil Obus, a certified NRA firearms instructor in Ohio, which requires 10 hours of instruction and two hours shooting at the range. "We make sure you know how to shoot and how not to sweep guns across a populated area. …I'm a total Second Amendment person, but there's more that needs to be taught."
Though Ohio law does not require it, Obus, a former law enforcement officer with eight years of military experience, said he also teaches an advanced course where students get to experience what a high-pressure situation might feel like. Carrying a loaded weapon, he said, carries great responsibility.
"It is a big deal, and you really need to know what you're doing," he said. "I carried a gun for over 20 years while I was working and it's a scary thought, the thought of having to take somebody's life. If you're carrying a gun, you have to understand the ramifications and the responsibilities that go along with it. But you also have to understand that there are other options. Using a firearm is a last resort."
The amount of training required for a permit varies from state to state. Indiana requires no training at all and offers lifetime permits. Michigan and Missouri fall in the middle with eight hours of training. In Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa, classes vary in length. The shortest approved class in Iowa is 30 minutes long.
Illinois officials estimate that about 300,000 people will apply for concealed carry permits.
Though the Illinois State Police has yet to issue specific guidelines for the training, Queen, also a certified NRA instructor, said he is developing a simulation program involving situations average citizens might encounter, such as road rage or carrying a cash deposit from a business.
"IfI go to a restaurant and step on your foot and we start slapping each other back and forth, I'm not expected to stand there and take it all day," said Don Haworth, another NRA-certified instructor and owner of Chicagoland Firearm Training on the North Side. "But I have to know what's considered above and beyond."
Before enrolling in Queen's security guard course, Gloria Sauno said she did not realize that a gun should be the last course of defense, even forself-protection. She said she is pleased to know there are other options that should be tried first, including trying to talk the assailant down.
"I thought if you came across a bad situation and you had a gun and training, you could use it," she said. Now I know that you have to sit back and hold on a second."
That is what opponents of the concealed carry law worry about most.
"I don't think it will turn into the Wild West, but there are, potentially, things that can happen," said Colleen Daley, executive director of the Illinois Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. "It's not the fear of someone walking down the street with a gun that bothers most people; it's the unexpected consequences. Someone going out to have a drink does not intend on killing somebody, but it happens."
Though Daley's group lobbied against the bill, she said she is pleased with the 16-hour training requirement. Being the last state to pass a concealed carry law, Illinois also has a road map provided by the other 49 states and can learn from their mistakes, she said.
"We realize there are rural and urban communities with high-density populations, and we need to treat those areas differently based on their needs," Daley said.
Regardless of the training requirements, some residents, like Donald Lightfoot, of Chicago's South Shore neighborhood, said he's just pleased to get the chance to carry a firearm for self-protection.
Afew years ago, he and his son had ridden their bikes to his mother's house and were confronted by a teenage gunman who tried to steal the bikes from the front porch. He remembers how defenseless he felt.
"I told him to put the bike down and he pulled a gun out on me. I told my son to run upstairs with his grandmother, and I was standing at the front door just waiting for this guy to try and force his way into the house," Lightfoot said.
The gunman came only as far as the front porch and ran away with the bike.
"I was going to have to fight for the life of my family," Lightfoot said."If I'd had a gun, he never would have come back on the porch. The bike would never have been taken. And we all would have felt safer."
|Posted by Jose cornelio on February 20, 2013 at 6:50 PM||comments (0)|
its sounds good now i can take the class can't wait to do so
|Posted by Andre Queen on December 23, 2012 at 3:05 AM||comments (1)|
By Damon W. Root
Dec. 18, 2012 10:34 am
In the wake of last week’s horrific mass murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the debate over the proper scope of gun rights and gun control has focused largely on the evil deeds some individuals have done with the help of firearms. That focus is understandable in the aftermath of this terrible event. But it’s important to also remember that privately-owned guns have often been a tremendous force for good in American history. For evidence of this, look no further than the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s, where the right of armed self-defense played an indispensable role in the battle against Jim Crow.
“I’m alive today because of the Second Amendment and the natural right to keep and bear arms,” declared John R. Salter Jr., one of the organizers of the famous non-violent sit-ins against segregated lunch counters in Jackson, Mississippi. Writing in 1994, Salter noted that he always “traveled armed” while working as a civil rights organizer in the Deep South. “Like a martyred friend of mine, NAACP staffer Medgar W. Evers, I, too, was on many Klan death lists and I, too, traveled armed: a .38 special Smith and Wesson revolver and a 44/40 Winchester carbine,” Salter wrote. “The knowledge that I had these weapons and was willing to use them kept enemies at bay.”
Mamie Bradley and T.R.M. HowardAnother prominent civil rights activist who championed the right to keep and bear arms was T.R.M. Howard of Mound Bayou, Mississippi, a surgeon and entrepreneur who was at the center of the trial and investigation into the shocking 1955 murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till. Here’s how I described Howard’s role in the Till case in a 2009 review of David and Linda Beito’s masterful biography Black Maverick: T.R.M. Howard’s Fight for Civil Rights and Economic Power:
In the aftermath of Till’s murder, Howard put his considerable talents and resources to work. Recognizing that local officials had little incentive to identify or punish every member of the conspiracy that took Till’s life, he spearheaded a private investigation, personally helping to locate, interview, and protect several important witnesses. He also made his large, lavishly provisioned home available to the various out-of-state observers gathering in town for the trial, including Cloyte Murdock of Ebony magazine and Rep. Charles Diggs (D-Mich.)....
In addition to bankrolling and assisting the investigation, Howard served as a sort of chief of security, escorting [Till’s mother Mamie] Bradley, Diggs, and other witnesses and supporters to and from court each day in a heavily armed caravan. In fact, the Beitos write, security at Howard’s residence “was so impregnable that journalists and politicians from a later era might have used the word ‘compound’ rather than ‘home’ to describe it.” To put it another way, guns were stashed everywhere, including a Thompson submachine gun at the foot of Howard’s bed and a pistol at his waist. Howard understood all too well the deep ties between white supremacy and gun control. The first gun control laws in American history arrived during Reconstruction, when the former Confederate states attempted to deny emancipated blacks the right to acquire property, make contracts, vote, freely assemble, and keep and bear arms.
|Posted by Andre Queen on December 11, 2012 at 7:55 PM||comments (0)|
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has invalidated Illinois’s ban on carrying loaded weapons in public and given the General Assembly 180 days to come up with a new law that meets the Second Amendment.
Judge Richard Posner, a Reagan appointee and one of the University of Chicago Law School’s leading conservative intellectuals, rejected laws against carrying guns in public, declaring that "the constitutional right of armed self-defense is broader than the right to have a gun in one’s home." To justify his decision, Posner reached all the way the back to the 18th Century, when settlers were required to carry guns outside the home to protect themselves against hostile Indians. While conceding there are no hostile Indians in modern Chicago, Posner argued that there are still hostile people lurking out of doors.
"[A] Chicagoan," he wrote, "is a good deal more likely to be attacked on a sidewalk in a rough neighborhood than in his apartment on the 35th floor of the Park Tower." (Park Tower is a Gold Coast condominium.) Posner’s order to the legislature: The Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Second Amendment therefore compels us to reverse the decisions in the two cases before us and remand them to their respective district courts for the entry of declarations of unconstitutionality and permanent injunctions. Nevertheless we order our mandate stayed for 180 days to allow the Illinois legislature to craft a new gun law that will impose reasonable limitations, consistent with the public safety and the Second Amendment as interpreted in this opinion, on the carrying of guns in public.
Dissenting was Judge Ann Claire Williams, a Clinton appointee and a professor at Northwestern and John Marshall. Wrote Williams: That a legislature can forbid the carrying of firearms in schools and government buildings means that any right to possess a gun for self-defense outside the home is not absolute, and it is not absolute by the Supreme Court’s own terms.
|Posted by Dan on December 11, 2012 at 7:20 PM||comments (1)|
It is very encouraging to read of the events in the federal appeals court today. As soon as Illinois legislation allows and Fidelity offers the training I plan to be one of the first to enroll.
|Posted by Andre Queen on September 4, 2012 at 9:15 PM||comments (1)|
Black women and guns
By Stefani Carter
TAMPA–Delegates at the Republican convention on Tuesday approved a strong pro-gun platform that, among other things, supports national legislation to expand concealed carry rights.
As a Republican state lawmaker and National Rifle Association member, as is GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, I applaud the position. But there are many other supporters of gun rights who are not here in attendance, and their identity might surprise you.
What is the fastest-growing demographic group in my state of Texas seeking concealed handgun licenses? Black women. As a former prosecutor, I understand why they are choosing to arm themselves.
In 2009, U.S. black women were murdered at a rate nearly two and a half times higher than white women. More than 90% of black women killed by males in single-victim incidents knew their killers.
But the upward trend of seeking weapons is not isolated to black women. More women are packing heat. The percentage of women who report personal gun ownership is now at 23%. Nationally, GOP women, 30 to 44 years old, and who live in rural areas, are the fastest-growing group of gun owners. This can be attributed to guns becoming more affordable and more states expanding concealed carry rights.
Take Texas. During the last session, a measure allowing citizens to store concealed handguns in their vehicles while at work, which I co-authored, became law. Many states, including Texas, have also passed "stand your ground" laws, allowing citizens to protect themselves on their own property against intruders and thieves. Although the George Zimmerman shooting case has put this issue in a negative light, this is an important right.
One reason: black-on-black crime. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 93% of the more than 8,000 black homicide victims in 2005 were murdered by someone of their own race. Of those 8,000 victims, 15% were women. Also blacks account for only 13.1% of the U.S. population but are nearly half of the homicide victims in the country. With numbers like these, it is imperative that we learn how to use guns to defend ourselves.
Our Second Amendment right is an important freedom that extends to all Americans — not just male but also female; not just white but also black, including African-American women.
Stefani Carter is a GOP Texas state representative from Dallas and a National Rifle Association member.
|Posted by Andre Queen on August 21, 2012 at 7:00 PM||comments (0)|
CHICAGO (FOX Chicago News) -
A prosecutor in Southern Illinois won't enforce the state's ban on carrying loaded, concealed handguns and other state's attorneys may soon announce the same policy.
State's Attorney Mike Valentine said he believes it's unconstitutional for Illinois to prohibit people from carrying loaded firearms in public. If you're otherwise law-abiding, he told Political Editor Mike Flannery by telephone, you won't face charges for packing heat in Edwards County.
Valentine said that, since he took office in 2008, no one's been prosecuted for peacefully carrying loaded firearms around Edwards County, population 6,000.
But Bloomington's McLean County, population 170,000, may soon announce a similar policy.
State's Attorney Ronald Dozier told us he's already sent a legal memo to other Illinois prosecutors explaining his belief that it's unconstitutional to ban the carrying of loaded firearms in public. Some are outraged.
"What if somebody walks into a soccer game and they have a Tek-9 pistol? Are they gonna do something or are they gonna say there's basically nothing they can do about it?" Senator Dan Kotowski asked.
"Higher law enforcement officials should look into it. I think the attorney general should look into this."
But a spokeswoman for Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said, "We are not the boss of state's attorneys. They're independently elected. And they have discretion over the charges they prosecute."
For State Representative La Shawn Ford, this latest gun-law dispute underscores a need for quick action in Springfield.
He's proposed a trade-off: enact a ban on so-called assault weapons, while granting each county the power to make its own decision about carrying concealed handguns.
"I think that each county, because of the differences, should decide on their own. Yes."
The upcoming election is a big reason the legalizing of concealed carry is in the spotlight now. Democratic State's Attorney Mike Valentine faces a tough re-election contest in Edwards County--which is closer to Nashville, TN, than to Chicago--in more ways than one.
In McLean County, on the other hand, Republican Ron Dozier chose not to run. He'll soon step down as state's attorney and sees this as a sort of legacy.
Read more: www.myfoxchicago.com/story/19325546/-exclusive#ixzz24Dwh6i5p
|Posted by Andre Queen on June 11, 2012 at 11:50 PM||comments (0)|
Elmwood Park gun range fined $111,000 for lead violations
Sun-Tims Media Wire June 11, 2012 8:02PM
The federal government has fined a west suburban gun range more than $100,000 for health violations after high lead levels were detected during an inspection in January.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration found 27 serious violations — including 13 for lead standards — during the Jan. 21 inspection at Illinois Gun Works LTD. in Elmwood Park, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Labor. The agency also found one “other-than-serious” violation.
The inspection found Illinois Gun Works — which sells guns, operates a shooting range and offers gun safety training — had airborne lead levels up to 12 times the permissible level, the release said.
The government proposes fines of $111,000, which Illinois Gun Works has 15 business days to pay, contest or request an informal conference to discuss, the release said.
|Posted by Andre Queen on June 11, 2012 at 11:40 PM||comments (0)|
OSHA: Gun range exposed workers to lead
Illinois Gun Works Ltd. cited for 28 alleged health violations
By Ameet Sachdev Tribune reporter
5:22 p.m. CDT, June 11, 2012
An indoor gun range in Elmwood Park has exposed workers to unsafe levels of lead and other hazards, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Monday.
OSHA said it cited Illinois Gun Works Ltd. for 28 alleged health violations, following a Jan. 21 inspection. The company faces fines of up to $111,000.
During the inspection, one gun range instructor was exposed to airborne lead concentrations that exceeded federal standards by about 12.6 times, OSHA said. In a second instance, the exposure was 7.2 times above the federal limit.
OSHA said Illinois Gun Works did not require workers exposed to lead to shower at the end of a shift.
Don Mastrianni, the owner of the gun range, said he is reviewing the citations and plans to contact a lawyer.
Other violations included failing to administer a proper hearing conservation program and to train workers in the use of protective equipment.
Illinois Gun Works has 15 business days from the receipt of the citations to contest the findings.
|Posted by Andre Queen on April 14, 2012 at 1:20 PM||comments (0)|
April 12, 2012 | By Jeremy Gorner, Chicago Tribune reporter
Homicides in Chicago soared by 60 percent in the first three months of 2012, continuing a troublesome trend that began late last year. Nonfatal shootings also rose sharply in the first quarter, Police Department statistics show.
The worsening violence comes as the Emanuel administration touts its efforts to combat gang crime and add officers and resources to some of the city's most dangerous neighborhoods.
Chicago police blame street gangs for much of the violence. Another contributing factor for the rise in homicides was the unseasonably warm weather this past winter, according to criminologists, but Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy scoffed at that explanation earlier this year.
"In better weather, people are outside more, interacting more with neighbors, acquaintances, even strangers, and there's greater opportunity for conflict than when it's cold and windy," said James Alan Fox, a professor of criminology, law and public policy at Northeastern University in Boston.
Fox and other experts caution that concluding too much from a few months of crime statistics can be misleading and noted that in recent years Chicago has been at historic lows for homicides. But in 2008, the city saw similar spikes early in the year and ended up with more than 500 homicides, the only time that has happened in the last nine years.
From Jan. 1 through April 1 this year, 120 homicides were recorded in Chicago, up sharply from 75 in the same period in both 2011 and 2010, according to department statistics. Nonfatal shootings totaled almost 490 in the first three months of 2012, up 37 percent from a year earlier.
Crime in every other major category fell, including a 15 percent drop in sexual assaults and a 10 percent decline in burglaries. Overall crime dropped 10 percent citywide, according to the department.
To combat violence in two of Chicago's most violent neighborhoods, McCarthy saturated "conflict zones" in the Englewood and Harrison police districts with additional officers early this year as a long-term strategy.
But the early results appear mixed. Through April 1, homicides fell to six in the Harrison District on the West Side, down from nine a year earlier. But killings almost doubled in the Englewood District on the South Side, jumping to 15 from eight. Nonfatal shootings rose sharply in both districts, however.
Homicides were also up sharply in the Ogden and Chicago Lawn police districts, the statistics show.
In mid-January, McCarthy trumpeted that Chicago had gone 24 hours without a single homicide or shooting. But by near the end of the month, killings had risen 54 percent. At the time, McCarthy expressed confidence that homicides would go down when shootings fell. At that point, the number of shootings was the same as in 2011. But since the beginning of 2012, nonfatal shootings have risen by more than a third.
During one particularly violent weekend last month, 49 people were shot — 10 of them fatally, including a 6-year-old girl as she sat between her mom's legs on the family's Little Village front porch. The violence was largely concentrated on the South and Southwest sides.
In the last two weeks of March, the violence continued unabated. The department's statistics show that 26 people were killed and more than 80 nonfatal shootings occurred from March 19 through April 1.
"We took a pretty big hit for the first quarter of this year," Bob Tracy, chief of the department's crime control strategies, acknowledged in a telephone interview Wednesday.
Tracy said a lot of retaliatory shootings among "some of our younger gang members" contributed to the spike.
Tracy insisted that keeping officers on beat patrols will prove more effective in the long run than having cops work in specialized units like the now-defunct Mobile Strike Force. The department is making strides in ensuring that its beat officers and citywide gang units work more closely together to determine where gang conflicts exist and identify their main players, he said.
"We're making sure the intelligence is in the hands of the officers," Tracy said. "As we keep our plan going, I think in the long run you're going to start seeing a decline in the violence."
The president of the Fraternal Order of Police, the union that represents rank-and-file cops, continued to blame the rising violence on the department's failure to replace retiring officers.
"Any officer will tell you that the Chicago Police Department is short-staffed, except for the superintendent," said Michael Shields. "This year's budget was balanced at the expense of public safety."
|Posted by Andre Queen on March 21, 2012 at 12:55 AM||comments (0)|
Job market for guards set to grow
by Joel Griffin
Industry experts say more security officers will be hired in 2012
Created: January 17, 2012
As the economy continues to rebound from the recession, industry experts are predicting a slight increase in the hiring of security guards during 2012.
As the economy has slowly begun to show signs of improvement in recent months, the outlook for security officer jobs also appears to be on a positive growth track in the U.S. and Canada.
According to industry insiders, however, while the job market may be improving, the recession has created its own set of challenges for employers. One of the biggest hurdles that companies looking to hire have to clear is sifting through a large number of applicants for available positions to ensure that the right person is matched with the right job.
"The security officer job market for 2012 we think will be strong. We also think that there will be, because of the fragile recovery and the recession, quite a few applicants for those particular positions," said Jim Gillece, chief people officer and senior vice president of human capital management at AlliedBarton Security Services.
Gillece said that AlliedBarton employs about 55,000 security officers across the U.S. and that the company plans to do "quite a bit of hiring" this year.
Lee Achord, vice president of human resources and recruiting at G4S Secure Solutions, said that one of the good indicators he uses to determine the strength of the job market is how many of his company's more than 100 field offices are going to need to participate in upcoming local job fairs.
"I got a big turnout in December. A lot of offices wanted to schedule in advance their participation in job fairs so that to me indicates that they not only have a current need, but they are anticipating that need to increase throughout the year," he said.
Last fall, G4S committed to take part in "Joining Forces," a White House-sponsored program that encourages the hiring of veterans as more troops prepare to return home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to Achord, the company made a commitment to hire a minimum of 3,000 veterans and they have already more than 1,000 since early November.
"We've had a long, long history of hiring veterans, but when you see 1,300 in the space of barely two and a half months, that's a good indicator that we are doing a lot more hiring," he said.
Garda Security Solutions, which provides guard services across a variety of vertical markets in Canada, expects to add nearly 2,000 positions attributed mainly to new contract wins, according to Marc-Andre Aube, the company's chief operating officer.
"As a company we expect to grow and we expect to do that by capturing market share and winning large contracts," Aube said.
According to industry experts, there are also several vertical markets that could see an uptick in the hiring of guards in 2012, including in the healthcare, higher education, government, petrochemical, and critical infrastructure sectors. While many of these industries have traditionally hired their own guards, Gillece said that many of them are now looking at hiring contract guards as a way to offset their costs.
"Across the security industry and across this general economy, there are certain verticals and sectors that are under significant price pressures," said Gillece. "Many of these sectors have been proprietary, but as more and more cost pressures get placed on them, like every other sector they're looking to provide value and seek value."
Achord said that the manufacturing and banking verticals have been particularly strong for G4S.
"A lot of the verticals G4S serves have regulatory compliance issues that are important to understand. Our customers are looking for that higher-level security officer and training program that G4S provides," said Lew Pincus, senior director of marketing and communications for G4S. "It begins by recruiting the right candidates who have a certain level of discipline and leadership skills as sort of the raw material to then be able to receive the required training to go out and be a well-trained, highly skilled security officer. So many of our recruits begin as security officers but then through career development their job becomes more of a profession rather than just a security guard job."
One of the big factors impacting the job market in Canada is an increase in construction that is being driven by new natural resource developments. In Alberta, for example, Aube said that the market for security services is growing extremely fast due these natural resource projects.
"When they establish (these projects), they have to create this huge infrastructure requiring a lot of security," Aube said. "Once the construction is completed, security guards will typically remain on the site to control the traffic going in and out."
In addition to having traditional skills, Gillece said that modern day security officers must also possess good communication skills as they are often times the first point of contact for someone visiting a client's facilities. For those thinking about entering the guard market, he recommends that potential candidates maintain a friendly and professional demeanor, be punctual and be able to communicate during the interview process.
In many cases, security officers will also need to have or develop specialized skill sets depending on the sector of the employer.
"The specialized skills really relate back to the particular client. Going into an interview process, having those experiences or being educated around some of those verticals and the security needs around those verticals really gives a potential candidate a leg up," Gillece explained. "Furthermore, some sectors such as the defense contractor industry or the government sector, they may require special security clearance and in some cases unique and specialized licenses. So, it's important as a potential candidate looking for a particular role or position that they really understand and look at the job description to find out the specific characteristics and/or license or requirements the security company is looking for."
While it's important for security officers to have good customer service skills, Pincus said it is just as important for them to be able to fit into the corporate culture of the organization they work for.
"Shared values is a term I'm hearing more and more when speaking with customers," he explained. "They are looking for security officers and a company that have a lot of the same shared values and skill sets that go with it. Fitting in culturally with the organization and having shared values seems to be more important these days."
Over the last several years in Canada, Aube said that one thing that has had a big impact on the job market is an increase in government regulation of security officers.
"Where like say five years ago or two years ago, the permit or license to operate was the property of the companies," he explained. "The government has changed this and now it is the property of the employee and they need to get their own training. Before it was the responsibility of the company to provide training, now it's the government issuing the permit or license to an individual that needs to do longer and more rigid courses to get their licenses."
Aside from the economy, another factor that has had an increasing impact on the job market for security officers, according to Gillece, is an increase in various regulations and awareness in some sectors following the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
"The mission is to serve and secure the people, homes and businesses of our communities. The impact of 9/11 continues to be felt around the country," Gillece said. "As we get more sophisticated about protecting our infrastructure, our communities, our homes and our businesses, regulations will follow along with industry standards and guidelines. I think they are having a very large impact on the demand for security officers. And I also think too, that the general perception of a security officer is going through a genesis and as we get more sophisticated in the standards and requirements continue to improve and increase throughout the industry, the employee that we're looking to attract and hire to serve our clients, that bar will also continue to rise."
Pincus said that security officers are also now expected to do much more than they did in the past.
"Today, we have to provide a level of security officer that can not only be the guard at the gate, but also have that concierge skill set and be able to do security and safety inspections while on guard tours and identify safety and risk issues throughout an organization. I think there is an opportunity for security providers to become a bigger more valuable part of the corporate process," he said.
Innovations in security technologies such as video surveillance and access control have also had an impact on the duties of security officers; however, industry experts agree that the utilization of technology is not a substitute for having a well-trained guard.
"The technology is only as good as the people that are using the technology," Gillece said. "The technology will continue and probably increase the level of sophistication and demand on our security officers to protect our clients."
Because so much of a guard's duties are now related to managing equipment, Aube said that guards now really need advanced computer skills.
"We are asking a lot from our people to document their actions so they need to be competent using software and managing the equipment under their control," he said. "There is a lot more equipment to manage. Where a guard ten years ago had one or two cameras to manage with one screen, now he has software with 50 cameras and gates that can open."
|Posted by Andre Queen on March 20, 2012 at 1:10 PM||comments (0)|
You’ve been served: Process servers use politeness, persistence, guile to get job done
Published: November 28, 2011
By Heather Cole [email protected]
Dawn Voss has no luck serving debt collection papers to someone listed at a north St. Louis County address. A man, who declined to be identified for publication, tells Voss the person she’s looking for doesn’t live there. Photo by Karen Elshout When a man attacked Dawn Voss with a frozen tuna, the incident became one of her better stories. Voss had tried to serve papers on him and was unsuccessful, so she brought them to the fish packing plant where he worked. Voss donned a hard hat and sneaked in. The man took off running, throwing the 20-pound frozen fish at Voss as he went. The man was arrested, Voss says.
But was he served?
“I got him,” Voss says with satisfaction.
Voss is a contract process server for Glen Carbon, Ill.-based Kellerman Investigations. She works in Illinois and Missouri, making from $20 to $100 for each service, with the amount depending on the location and type of service — restraining orders, domestic services and rush jobs are more expensive. Her work brings in enough money for a “comfortable” living for the single mother and her two children. In the last six years, Voss’s job also has brought her a broken knee; an invitation to appear on “Judge Judy” to talk about a case involving a woman who threatened her (Voss declined); dog attacks; and a white Dodge Charger, which she bought for $35,000 after her previous car was totaled in a head-on collision with a drunk driver when Voss was on the road for work. “She ended up getting served with my lawsuit,” Voss says of the other driver. “She hit the wrong one.”
Process servers like Voss drive thousands of miles each year, face the unknown with each service and are almost always are the bearers of bad news. Voss says she gets “about one crazy a month.” The need for their services has increased in recent years in Missouri, where filings in circuit courts rose from 1.16 million cases in fiscal 2008 to 1.21 million in fiscal 2010, according to the Missouri Judiciary’s 2010 annual report. Process servers operate in an industry that’s often loosely regulated and easily thrown into disrepute by a few bad apples. Missouri has no licensing requirement for process servers, though it does for private investigators. In some counties and cities, including the city of St. Louis and Jackson County, court approval is required to work as a process server.
Illinois requires a licensed private investigator to oversee process servers, who must have a Permanent Employee Registration Card from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. Background checks and fingerprinting are required to get the card. Kansas allows licensed private investigators to serve papers in all the state’s counties. Skip trace On a windy November day, Voss jumps out of her Charger when she sees that — this time — someone’s at the house. It’s the fourth time she’s tried to serve debt collection papers on Patrick Boker Sr., who’s listed at this address in the St. Louis suburb of Woodson Terrace. On the previous trips, Voss made no contact with anyone. She’s bound for disappointment this time, too. The man in front of the house tells her he doesn’t live there. Boker dated a woman living in the house, the man’s mother, but didn’t live there, he tells Voss in a short conversation in the middle of the street. “It’s a skip trace,” Voss says afterward, referring to the need to find the correct address for someone who’s supposed to be served. Skip traces can be money losers for Voss. Much of the time, servers get paid even if they’re unsuccessful. But with bulk lawsuit filers like debt collection agencies, payment can depend on serving the papers, says Kellerman Investigations owner Greg Kellerman. Voss serves her papers about 98 percent of the time, Voss says and Kellerman confirms. She uses a combination of guile and persistence. And her appearance helps: Voss looks nothing like the burly, uniformed man you might expect to come to your door when you’re anticipating trouble in the form of a summons or service. The former personal trainer is slim, brown-eyed and 31. Her shoulder-length hair is brown, at least this month. In October she was a blonde; she changes her look frequently to keep a low profile. “Most people who know they’re going to be served never expect a small female and no uniform,” Voss says. “That is a huge advantage.”
About 60 percent of people accept their papers; the rest dodge service, says Kyle Jones, who owns Olathe, Kan.-based Aristocrat Process Serving with his wife, Melissa. Then there are those with unusual or violent reactions. They make up a small percentage of legal paper recipients, but enough to supply Aristocrat with fodder for a monthly newsletter feature on unusual services. Jones once found himself staring down the barrel of a shotgun. It was after dark, and the elderly woman he was serving lived down a winding country road. Jones carries a gun himself, but there’s not a really a need for it, because process servers typically talk themselves out of situations, he says. “You put your hands up, then go from there,” Jones says. Others in the business agree: Politeness takes you a lot farther than packing heat. A non-aggressive approach works best, says Kimberly Brown, who is vice president of Kellerman Investigation’s software service for process servers, Service Exchange Network, or Serve-X. Brown, who occasionally fills in as a process server, has been assaulted: She served the driver of an SUV who closed the window on her hand and dragged her. “I’m very pro-gun, but the fact is will it help the situation or could it make it worse?” Brown says. “Most of the time when you get into situations, you’re using your wits and your smarts and your people skills. They start when you get out of the car and approach that door.” “In every situation, a gun would have made it worse,” Kellerman adds. Keeping safe Voss carries $1 million in insurance coverage for lawsuits or injuries and follows a number of rules to protect herself: Be polite. Carry dog treats. Be alert. Don’t go down a dead end street. Plan an exit route. Avoid North St. Louis. “East St. Louis doesn’t bother me,” Voss says. She doesn’t read through all her services, but she takes a careful look at those that might be sensitive, such as domestic cases. A woman facing service for child support caused Voss’s most serious injury. Voss followed the woman from her home to a gas station. When she walked between their cars to serve the papers, the woman pinned Voss between her own car and the woman’s. A bystander freed her by backing up Voss’ car, which still had the keys in it. Voss’ knee was broken, but she still tried to get to the woman. The incident, which happened in her first month as a process server, didn’t deter Voss. “I like the adrenalin,” Voss said. “I like how fast-paced it is.”
Some situations tug at Voss’s heartstrings: children playing in the front yard of the house where Voss is bringing a foreclosure notice; the woman whose husband had left the house and whose car was being repossessed who wished Voss a “blessed day” after Voss served her. “Lately it’s everybody” who gets served with debt collection or foreclosure papers, Voss says, including people with dual incomes in beautiful homes in nice subdivisions.
One of Voss’s rules for physical safety — get in and get out — also helps her keep a guard on her heart. “Sometimes people want to tell their story,” Voss says. “Two things: I don’t have the time, and I do have a huge heart. … If I helped everyone, I wouldn’t have a dime to my name.”
Voss made an exception, however, for an elderly woman who was renting a house in Illinois. The owner of the house was being foreclosed on. The woman cried and said she didn’t know what to do when Voss served the foreclosure papers. She had no family or friends to help out. Voss pointed her to possible resources, and a minister found an apartment for the woman.
|Posted by Andre Queen on March 15, 2012 at 12:20 AM||comments (0)|
Fidelity Academy's Andre Queen Technical Advisor to CNBC's Kurtis Production "American Greed" Series
Kurtis Productions, Inc. and CNBC looked for the top level information about TASERs, and came to Fidelity Academy. Kurtis Productions, Inc., asks for Fidelity's help in the production of one of their most popular television documentary series. This past February, Fidelity Academy opened its doors to the production crew, to teach, inform, and demonstrate the TASER ECD.
Executive Director, Andre J.W. Queen, Sr., a certified Law Enforcement TASER Instructor, was asked to be a technical advisor for the show, and briefly appears on the show operating the TASER for an episode of "American Greed", in which an inside trader used a TASER on an employee. Mr. Queen provided orientational training to the camera crew and answered their questions.
The display and discharge of the TASER was taped by the production team on site at Fidelity Academy, and appears in the episode previewed here, in Season 6, episode 56: http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000076534 .
Due to the level of professional credentials held by the instructors at Fidelity Academy, newscrews, media and the public at large continue to to come to the Academy for proper, legal, justifiable and professional training and education.
Have more questions?
Visit our updated website at: www.SecurityTrainingConcepts.us or call us.
|Posted by Andre Queen on February 12, 2012 at 4:05 PM||comments (0)|
Illinois Concealed Carry Chicago Town Hall Meeting
On Monday, February 20, 2012, from 7 pm to 9 pm, there will be a Chicago town hall meeting on the subject of enacting Concealed Carry for the State of Illinois. In light of Mayor Emmanuel's recent push to make a statewide gun owner registry, where every Illinois gun owner must pay $ 65.00 per firearm and register thier personal property with the State of Illinois, can you afford not to participate?
The meeting will be at the Logan Square Auditorium, located at 2539 North Kedzie Blvd., in Chicago. The meeting is sponsored by IllinoisCarry.com, the Illinois State Rifle Association, the Second Amendment Sisters, Chicago Firearm Safety Association and Fidelity Investigative Training Academy.
Andre J.W. Queen, Sr., President of Fidelity Security & Investigative Services, Inc., will be a guest speaker, as well as Maria E. Queen, Vice President of Training Services. Jose Rodriguez, Executive Vice President, will also be present to answer questions about Fidelity Academy's many firearms training programs.
Fidelity is the official sponsor for WXRT's Community Safety Campaign
Fidelity Security & Investigative Services, Inc. is proud to be the official security services company sponsor of WXRT 93.1 FM Radio's Spring Safety Campaign against drinking and driving. WXRT 93.1 FM will be running its Community Safety Campaign from Feb 27, through March 3rd.
Utah Concealed Firearm Permit Phenomenon
More and more Illinois citizens are obtaining a non-resident "Utah Concealed Firearm Permit". The reasons, among many, include the fact that every state that borders Illinois recognizes the Utah Concealed Firearm Permit, including Wisconsin, which legalized concealed carry last November. The Utah CFP permit continues to be the most sought after permit in the U.S., closely followed by the "Florida Concealed Weapon or Firearms Permit". Training for both permits is offered professionally at Fidelity Academy.
Have more questions?
Visit our updated website at: www.SecurityTrainingConcepts.us or call us.
|Posted by Andre Queen on January 30, 2012 at 1:05 AM||comments (0)|
Fidelity Investigative Training Academy is proud to announce the addition of Lassiter Investigative Training Academy, formerly of Hoffman Estates, IL., to our team. Lassiter Academy, established in October 1992, adds to our depth and skill, and allows us to access additional skilled instructors for classes.
|Posted by Andre Queen on August 11, 2011 at 5:00 PM||comments (0)|
David Lawson's name may be familiar; David and his wife, Colleen, along with Adam Orlov and Otis MacDonald, defeated the city of Chicago and overturned its ban on handgun ownership in 2010's MacDonald v. Chicago Supreme Court decision. But it wasn't long after that landmark that the city began denying Lawson's registrations again. The Chicago Police Department even told Lawson that four SKS rifles were ineligible for registration in the city because they violated the city's "assault weapons" ban with features like removable magazines. Lawson pointed out that his rifles had fixed magazines . . . and was told that they could be modified, therefore probably would be modified into "assault weapons" at some future time, so they would simply refuse to register them at present.
Lawson retained attorney Joel Brodsky and took the city to court. With the help of expert witness Andre Queen of Illinois Carry and Fidelity Investigative Training Academy, he showed that his rifles do not violate even Chicago's "assault weapons ban," but it wasn't easy. First, Lawson had to win the fight for a court order to be allowed to bring the rifles into court as evidence at all. Then Queen had to do what the city's "expert" police officers refused to do--touch the rifles and give evidence for his testimony. But in the end it's Lawson 2, Chicago 0, and if you're wondering whether your fixed-magazine SKS can be owned legally in Chicago as long as you jump through all the hoops, the answer is now "yes, even if your name is David Lawson."
From the website of Illinois Carry
|Posted by Andre Queen on March 23, 2011 at 8:56 PM||comments (0)|
Stop putting guns into hands of 'narco-terrorists'
By Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) - 03/21/11 03:06 PM ET
The United States/Mexico border is a lawless warzone controlled by violent drug cartels. More than 34,000 people have been murdered in Mexico since the narco-terrorists began their reign of terror in 2006. Drugs and people are smuggled north into the United States and guns and money are flowing south, enabling the drug cartels to continue to wage their violent war.
Weapons from the United States reach the outlaws in Mexico, mostly because Mexico does not protect its own border any better than we do. Recent whistleblower allegations claim that tactics of the United States government, through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), may be contributing to the problem of delivering weapons to the criminals in Mexico, rather than trying to fix it. I am deeply concerned about this.
Part of ATF’s mission is to protect American communities from “the illegal use and trafficking of firearms.” Put simply, part of ATF’s duty is to make sure guns don’t end up in the hands of the bad guys. Through the program “Project Gunrunner," ATF uses electronic tags to trace gun movements on both sides of the border. What has been alleged, however, is that while the program has been successful in apprehending weapons and criminals, too many guns have been intentionally let go into the hands of Mexican drug lords when it is almost guaranteed that the guns will be used in violent crimes.
We know about these allegations through a whistleblower, an ATF agent who recently came forward with troubling allegations that he was ordered by his superiors not to intercept weapons that were sold to "suspicious characters," including well-known gun suppliers for Mexican drug cartels. And that’s not all -- the whistleblower alleges that ATF’s Phoenix Field office knowingly allowed and facilitated the sale of over 2,500 firearms in ‘straw man purchases’ destined for Mexico. According to these allegations, one well-known trafficker, Jaime Avila, was allowed to purchase 3 assault weapons in Glendale, Arizona on January 16, 2010. It is also alleged that at least one of the gun dealers tried to stop selling to Avila; however, ATF asked him to continue selling guns to this criminal.
What happened next is deeply troubling. Avila went back to Mexico with the guns he had purchased and sold them to the drug cartels. The weapons travelled freely through the streets of Mexico for nearly a year. During that time, Avila continued to purchase more weapons, sending them from the United States into Mexico. We have since learned that 2 of the 3 weapons purchased by Avila were recovered at the murder scene of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. Apparently ATF let 2 guns get sent down into Mexico, and as a result an American citizen and federal government employee was murdered.
The murder of Brian Terry is concrete proof that ATF’s system is flawed and dangerous. While Jaime Avila was arrested the day after Brian Terry’s murder, the question is, why wasn’t he apprehended during the 11 months before when we knew he was up to no good? Project Gunrunner is a sting operation with no sting. Guns are handed to the criminals when we know they will be used for harm. It seems that the ATF just sits back and waits to see what happens.
If these allegations are true, we have much cause for concern. It is my understanding that ATF has denied these allegations. Senator Grassley of Iowa has requested more information from the various agencies involved in investigating Agent Terry’s murder. I’ve been told that one letter that the Senator received back denied that ATF “knowingly allowed the sale of assault weapons to a straw purchaser” and stated that ATF makes “every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation into Mexico.” However, the documentation provided to Senator Grassley, including copies of ATF’s national tracing center records, seem to tell a different story.
As this investigation continues, we are left with a murdered Border Patrol Agent and his grieving family who is searching for answers. Carolyn Terry, mother of Brian Terry said, “I truly feel that our son’s death is a cover-up and they hope that we will go away. That will not happen. We want to know who allowed the sale of that gun that murdered our son.” The Terry family deserves to know the truth. As members of Congress, it is our job to demand a full investigation of this murder since the Department of Justice is blissfully silent about whether or not they will investigate the ATF. Agent Terry is one of many unsolved American murders in the ongoing Drug War along the Third Front, the border.
The Judiciary Committee should look into this matter to see if the ATF is contributing to the gunrunning problem in Mexico or not. Congress needs some answers. One murdered agent is one too many. In my opinion, the ATF is playing with fire.
And that’s just the way it is.
Congressman Poe was a chief felony prosecutor and felony court judge in Houston, Texas for over 30 years. He currently serves on the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs Committees as well as the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security.
The contents of this post are © 2011 Capitol Hill Publishing Corp., a subsidiary of News Communications, Inc.
|Posted by Andre Queen on March 23, 2011 at 8:50 PM||comments (0)|
NRA reacts to CBS News investigation on ATF "gunwalking"
Posted by Sharyl Attkisson
The National Rifle Association (NRA) has asked Congress to investigate allegations that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) allowed thousands of weapons to cross the US border into Mexico, knowing they were likely to be acquired and used by Mexico's drug cartels.
Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President of the NRA, told CBS News that his group has heard from many of its law enforcement members who are outraged at the so-called "gunwalking" by ATF.
"They wanted to prove that there were guns flowing to Mexico, so they set up an illegal pipeline to send guns to Mexico," speculates LaPierre. "When does it stop being law enforcement and start being a criminal enterprise? To prove there's islamic terrorists are they going to start manufacturing and selling explosives? It just makes no sense."
It was ATF agents from the agency's Phoenix office who blew the whistle on the controversial practice to CBS News, to Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), and on blogs such as "Clean Up ATF". The gunwalking was allegedly allowed in a case known as "Fast and Furious" out of Phoenix, and also allegely allowed in a case known as "Wide Receiver" out of Tucson and supervised by Phoenix.
Phoenix ATF executive Bill Newell is quoted as having told reporters "Hell, no" when asked if he had ever allowed or approved gunwalking. Since then, ATF and the Department of Justice which oversees the agency have not repeated the firm denial. Justice Department Chief Eric Holder told Congress two weeks ago that the idea of gunwalking is wrong and said he's asked the Inspector General to investigate.
As to why guns would be allowed to walk, something that is normally strictly forbidden, agents say there seemed to be an idea among supervisors that the strategy of letting guns walk to see where they'd end up in Mexico would somehow help them build a big case and take down a major cartel. They were never able to take down a cartel, but the weapons began showing up at crime scenes all over Mexico. Two of them were found at the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in December. Authorities are looking for possible links to the death of Customs Agent Jaime Zapata.
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