HAPCOA News

 

Feb
3

HAPCOA Attends Meeting with US Attorney General Loretta Lynch

On Thursday, January 28, 2016, Richard Rosa (HAPCOA National Board – 2nd VP) and Joe Perez (HAPCOA NCR – President) attended a meeting with US Attorney General Loretta Lynch at the Department of Justice with other law enforcement organization representatives from the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), Major Cities Chief Associations (MCCA), National Associations of Police Organizations (NAPO), National Organizations of Black Law Enforcement (NOBLE) and others to discuss the implementation of the recommendations on 21st Century Policing.  Additionally, COPS Office Director Ron Davis, Assistant Attorney Generals Karol Mason for the Bureau of Justice Assistance and Vanita Gupta for the Civil Rights Division and Senior Advisor D. Paul Monteiro for Community Relations Service were in attendance. 

AG Lynch shared some views on 21st Century policing and that DOJ has partnered with NOBLE to address police training and community relations. 

Topics introduced by the law enforcement organizations in attendance: 

1. Asset Forfeiture Funds restoration.  AG Lynch remarked that this is a ‘valuable program’ and fund disbursements will continue once DOJ is able to do so.

2. Electronic encryption (See IACP Summit Report – Data, Privacy and Public Safety at www.theiacp.org

3. Deadly Force – The need for enhanced training; investigations of deadly force events; the public stating police should not investigate itself and review of investigation.  Re-examining/re-engineering ‘Use of Force’ specifically, when it involves edged-weapons.

4. The Oregon Ridge situation and the Sovereign Movement around the country.

5.  Mental Health and increase of violent crime transcends all gender, socio-economic groups, etc.

6. Opioid issue and the need for funding and training. 

7. Public Safety Officer Benefits (PSOB) – delay of application and approving disbursements of benefits.  Application process is delayed for reasons such as:  Did the officer make an improper lane change, speeding, wearing seatbelt, etc.  An undue family hardship is created. 

A/AG Karol Mason stated substantial changes to PSOB to pay claims to family are forthcoming.

AG Lynch voiced that meetings on PSOB, and encryption, etc. are important topics for discussion.  She also stressed that it is important to amplify positive stories. 

HAPCOA commented that we had a conversation with John Quinones from the television program, ‘What Would You Do’ at our recent annual symposium in November 2015.  We discussed the opportunity to feature a story on Hispanic law enforcement officers.  In light of AG Lynch’s request, HAPCOA asked the law enforcement organizations present to submit positive stories involving minority law enforcement officers to our website in the hope that Mr. Quinones would consider doing such a positive story on various minority law enforcement officers.

Report submitted by Rich Rosa, HAPCOA 2nd VP, February 2016

 
 
Jan
21

What’s New in Law Enforcement Exploring

The Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association (HAPCOA) conducted its 42nd annual conference and training symposium in San Antonio, Texas during the period of 16-20 November 2015.  National Youth Representative Cynthia Garcia addressed the delegates during the Aquila Awards Banquet and following her remarks presented a plaque to HAPCOA President Don Tijerina in recognition of the organization’s support for Law Enforcement Exploring.

 
 
Jan
21

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) webinar - SMEs discuss Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention

Law Enforcement Partners:

In recognition of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, please join Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Executive Associate Director Peter Edge and DHS Assistant Secretary for State and Local Law Enforcement Heather Fong for a webinar on Thursday, January 28, 2016 at 2:00 PM EST.  Subject matter experts will discuss the distinction between human trafficking and smuggling, investigative case scenarios with state and local law enforcement, and victim assistance services.  Additionally, a brief question and answer session will take place prior to the conclusion of the webinar. We encourage you to share this invitation with your law enforcement colleagues. 

Date:                           Thursday, January 28, 2016

Time:                          2:00-3:00 p.m. EST

Dial in:                        888-790-3447

Passcode:                    9250422
Link to Webinar:      https://uscisconnect.connectsolutions.com/dhs_ht_lea/

**When entering the webinar please include your name, agency, and state in the “Name” space.

If you have any questions prior to the webinar, please do not hesitate to contact the Office for State and Local Law Enforcement.

Best Regards,

Office for State and Local Law Enforcement
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
OSLLE@hq.dhs.gov
202-282-9545

 
 
Jan
5
 
Dec
29

Bone Marrow Donor Registration Event in honor of Colton Harvell was a Success

On Monday, December 21st, HAPCOA San Antonio co-sponsored a Bone Marrow Donor Registration Event in honor of Colton Harvell, an 11 year old boy from Streetman, Texas, who is in remission with a form of leukemia.

Co-sponsors included the Bexar County Sheriff's Office, Methodist Hospital, Dee Anna Smith on Behalf of Sarah Cannon, Gencure Marrow Donor Program, Be The Match Registry, The Blood and Tissue Center Foundation and Marriott RiverCenter San Antonio.

Colton was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2012 and a bone marrow transplant was needed. A non-relative donor match was found in Germany and Colton received his life-saving transplant in April of 2013.

Colton was sworn in as an honorary Bexar County Sheriff’s Deputy for a day. He has always wanted to be in law enforcement, and he arrived at the Sheriff’s Office ready to go on Patrol with a badge, a holster, and handcuffs to include his own handcuff key.

Colton only knew he was going to sworn in as a Deputy Sheriff, he was unaware of what else he was waiting for him.

His donor, Alex Hartman, a firefighter from Germany, and his family were flown in for a surprise meeting with Colton.

Colton had written a letter for Hartman to the "Be The Match Registry," a co-sponsor of the event, and an organization to which HAPCOA has a national partnership, but he had no idea they would be meeting in person.

The relationship between HAPCOA San Antonio and Be The Match Registry began in 2011 when ICE Agent Luis Lopez reached out from the Texas Rio Grande Valley through the HAPCOA network as he was attempting to have a Bone Marrow Donor Registration Drive for his daughter Lily, who had leukemia. A drive was conducted in San Antonio and the partnership has continued, leading to a national partnership in 2015. HAPCOA, as leaders in the Hispanic community, seeks to encourage Hispanics to register as donors, as Hispanics as an ethnic group are severely underrepresented in the bone marrow donor pool. Lily, a brave young lady, sadly lost her battle with leukemia in August of 2014.

The event for Colton was a overwhelming success, with numerous persons being added to the bone marrow donor pool and bringing the spirit of unconditional sharing, and the special joy of the Christmas Season to all who witnessed the event.    

 
 
Dec
21

HAPCOA NATIONAL CAPITOL REGION CHAPTER CO-HOSTS 15TH ANNUAL CHRISTMAS FOOD BASKET DRIVE

For the past 15 years law enforcement associations within the Prince George’s County Police Department have organized and offered to the neediest in their community Christmas food baskets.  For the past two years the HAPCOA National Capitol Region Chapter has co-sponsored this outstanding community event.

This year’s event occurred on Friday, December 18, 2015 at the Prince George’s County Police Community Policing Services Building located in Langley Park, MD.  Over 1,400 red bags were loaded with much needed food items, cooking supplies, gifts and then were presented to the public who attended this event. 

Supporting law enforcement associations worked with community leaders and organizations to raise and collect all the donated food items and gifts.  They also worked with a local Spanish language radio station that was broadcasting live from this site to encourage and remind members of the Latino community to attend this yearly event.

Law enforcement organizations hosting this years event included:  The Hispanic Law Enforcement Association, the United Black Police Officers’ Association, Agregados Policiales de Latino America (APALA), HAPCOA, along with members of the Prince George’s County Police and Sheriff’s Department. 

The HAPCOA National Capitol Region Chapter and President Lt. Joe Perez (PGCPD) are to be commended for organizing another outstanding event benefiting the Latino community of Prince George’s County, MD.  Also participating in this event was HAPCOA National Board 2nd VP Richard Rosa and HAPCOA Executive Director Anthony Chapa.

 
 
Dec
15

HAPCOA Invited to attend DOJ meeting on “Advancing Diversity in Law Enforcement”

(Washington, DC)  The Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association (HAPCOA) was invited to participate in a conversation about advancing diversity in law enforcement, held at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC on Friday, December 11, 2015.

Recent events have placed a renewed focus on the lack of racial and ethnic diversity within law enforcement agencies.  The DOJ reported that in jurisdictions across the country, there are significant disparities between the demographics of police departments and with communities in which they work.  The White House Task Force on 21st Century Policing’s final report underscored the importance of a police “workforce that contains a broad range of diversity, including race, gender, language, life experience, and cultural background.” 

Building off of the recommendations issued by the President’s Task Force, the Civil Rights Division (CRT) has partnered with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to launch an interagency effort to address the need for increased diversity in law enforcement.  Through this effort, as reported to those attending this meeting, the CRT and EEOC will produce a report that identifies barriers that undermine equal employment opportunity and diversity, as well as promising practices to reduce those barriers and promote fairness in the recruitment, hiring, retention, and promotion of police personnel.

Providing opening remarks included:  Vanita Gupta, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice and Jenny Yang, Chair, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  A conversion on the topic included remarks presented by Charlotte Burrows, Commissioner, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Ronald Davis, Director, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, U.S. Department of Justice.

Representing HAPCOA at this meeting were Captain Don Tijerina, Immediate Past President and Anthony Chapa, Executive Director.

Also attending this event were representatives of NLPOA, NOBLE, WIFLE, IACLEA, Major City Chiefs among other national law enforcement organizations.

HAPCOA offered to support this effort by helping to provide a focus on the noted issues as they address the Hispanic community and Hispanics law enforcement.

Captain Don Tijerina, Immediate Past President of HAPCOA and Executive Director Anthony Chapa attend meeting at US Department of Justice in Washington DC.

 
 
Dec
7

A Brief Guide to Caring for Your Armor

One of the hardest parts of keeping yourself protected with body armor is understanding exactly what your vest can protect you against. There are a variety of products available, all with advantages and disadvantages.  However, whatever vest you decide is best for you, it is important that it is cared for properly, in order to ensure it keeps you protected. Many people do not know exactly how a bullet proof vest should be maintained, and the following guide offers a brief explanation.

As a simple guideline, body armor should be treated like any other article of clothing; it needs to be washed and stored properly. Unlike clothing, however, any damage or deformation should not be ignored. Firstly, it is important to keep a vest clean. While a dirty vest may not necessarily diminish its protective qualities, it can make it uncomfortable or unpalatable to wear. This is important, as a vest should never not be worn simply because it is dirty. Therefore, you should keep your vest clean.

Body armor is usually made of multiple parts: the protective inserts, usually made from soft fabric like Kevlar, and the carrier itself, which houses the protective materials and can be made from anything from cotton to special temperature-regulating materials. Each of these parts has its own specific cleaning instructions, and care must be taken not to damage either.

The carrier of a vest can be washed according to the instructions associated with the material. For example, if it is made of cotton, it can usually be machine washed like any cotton clothing. However, if it is made from more unique materials, it may have specific cleaning instructions. It is important therefore to check exactly what the manufacturer recommends. The protective inserts, on the other hand, can be severely damaged by machine washing, and should only be cleaned using a sponge and a gentle, unabrasive cleaner. Any high temperatures or harsh chemicals may degrade the protection, and so should be avoided.

It is important that every part of a vest is dried gently also, and should not be tumble dried. Both the carrier and the protective inserts need to be hung out to dry and stored accordingly. While the materials used are incredibly strong and durable, if they are crushed or bent into strange positions, the protection may be diminished. Therefore, vests should be stored on a hanger or laid flat, with nothing heavy on top of them.

Perhaps the most important part of caring for a vest, however, is ensuring that there is no damage or deformity. This is most important for the protective inserts, but is just as important for the carrier. A damaged or deformed carrier may not fit properly, at best making it uncomfortable, and at worst leaving gaps in protection that could prove fatal. However, if there is any damage or deformity to the protective inserts in a vest, its protection cannot be guaranteed, and it needs to be replaced immediately.

It is important to check body armor regularly, to ensure that it is in the best condition, and can therefore offer you the protection you need. Most manufacturers offer a guarantee with vests, but all vests have a lifespan that should not be exceeded. The protective materials in a vest can usually last no longer than 10 years, after which they cannot protect you properly and should be replaced.

Caring for your vests is important to ensure that you are protected properly. It should not be neglected, just as understanding your protection should not. Ensuring your safety is of the utmost importance, and you should take any and all steps to keeping yourself protected.

 
 
Nov
3

Patrol, Undercover and SWAT: The Wide Range of Bullet Proof Vests

Body Armor and Law Enforcement

Law Enforcement Officers are not a homogenous group and can be split along a number of lines. An Officer in the middle of large city may have a drastically different day to someone in a rural location. Even two Officers serving in the same place will find themselves in different situations to the other, particularly if they serve in different roles within the Police Service. However, the threat of violence and death remains, and this is why Officers need to be aware of the different types of body armor available to them, and which is best suited to the environments they will find themselves in.

Law Enforcement Officers don’t need to be told the importance of body armor. There were nearly 60,000 assaults a year on Officers over the last decade according to government statistics. Clearly it is vital to protect those who protect and serve. However, it is not just violence that Officers need to be protected from- just as deadly as knives and guns are transportation accidents. In 2013 49 law Enforcement Officers were killed accidentally while performing their duties, the majority of which were killed in automobile accidents. Many aren’t aware that a bullet proof vest will also provide some protection against brute force, and while body armor should not be considered an excuse for reckless driving, it can save and has saved lives.

Bullet Proof Vests

For nearly all Officers a bullet proof vest is ideal. Handguns make up the vast majority of weapons used in crime in the US, and a vest that utilises lightweight Kevlar plates is ideal to protect against these. However, just as deadly are knives and stabbing weapons like needles. Edged and spiked weapons are just as prevalent (if not more so) than guns, are much easier to conceal, but can be just as deadly. In close quarters in particular the threat of a knife may be much greater than the threat of a bullet. In these cases the option of stab/spike protection to be added to a bullet proof vest is a worthwhile investment. For Levels II-IIIa this is a very simple addition, and will provide protection against knives in addition to handguns.

These level vests are ideal for Patrol Officers for a number of reasons; not only do they protect against the most common handgun ammunition, but also against the most commonly used ammunition among Law Enforcement. It is vital that Officers choose body armor that is equipped to protect against the ammunition they use, as there is always the risk of having your weapon taken from you. In the last decade 33 Officers were murdered with their own weapon according to the FBI. Ensuring that you are protected against your own weapon is not just paranoia, and could save your life.

Covert Vests

For First Response Officers handgun protection is also ideal, though ease of movement and comfort is equally important. The difficulty for those serving in First Response is being protected against any threat but being able to respond to any situation. This is why a covert vest may be suitable as it can be worn underneath a uniform. These are often lighter and more flexible, allowing for better movement, and manufacturers often utilise technologies like CoolMax in body armor to provide temperature control for the wearer. The benefit of an overt style is that it can be designed with specific Law Enforcement Roles in mind, allowing for the logos and insignia of a department to be included on the vest. While this reaffirms in the public’s mind your role as Law Enforcement, same may feel that in a first response situation it is better to be as neutral as possible, and that wearing a visible and branded vest may be antagonising. In this case it may be better to opt for a covert vest to be worn under the existing uniform.

For Detectives or those serving undercover covert armor is particularly important. Any Law Enforcement Officer should be protected at all times, but for those who want to blend in with a crowd a covert bullet proof vest should be worn. Dangerous situations will always arise, and the ability to do the job properly should not be sacrificed for protection, nor the other way around. This is equally true for those in federal departments who are not expected to wear body armor, but may still find themselves in high risk situations. For these Officers there may also be a need for hard plate armor to be worn in the carrier (the vest itself which holds the bullet proof materials). Plates of ceramic, steel or titanium can be inserted into vests to offer protection against high caliber rifle rounds and even armor piercing rounds. These naturally add a great deal of weight and bulk to a vest however, so should only be worn when absolutely necessary.

High Risk Situations

For those who are guaranteed to find themselves in high risk situations full tactical gear is the only sensible option. This is of course designed with SWAT teams in mind. While covert styles are lighter and thinner, tactical gear eschews that for maximum protection, making it bulky and heavy and designed to be worn only for short periods of time. It will however protect against much higher caliber rounds, as well as explosions and fragmentation. Many manufacturers offer body armor designed specifically for SWAT teams, and provide additional protection for other areas of the body, including the neck and groin. These are vital areas that are not covered by other bullet proof vests. They will also come with the option of additional pouches to store equipment, better integration with standard uniform, and logos and insignia as standard. There is even increased development in creating CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear) membranes for body armor, providing additional protection for high risk Law Enforcement Officers. These materials are already included in official Government Standards for body armor for first responders.

No Two Officers are the Same

There is already plenty of information available to Law Enforcement Officers on the different levels of body armor and how the materials involved work. However, Law Enforcement is often treated as one big group of identical Officers, which is not only completely wrong, but very insulting. The life of any individual Officer is completely different to another’s, as are the situations he or she will find themselves in. This is why it is important that Law Enforcement Officers are made aware of the wide range of body armor available to them so they can make an informed decision as to the correct bullet proof vest to wear depending on the role they fill.

 
 
Oct
28

HAPCOA REPRESENTED AT WHITE HOUSE EVENT WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA

(WASHINGTON, DC)   On Thursday, October 22, 2015, Richard Rosa, 3rd Vice President, HAPCOA National Board (Supervisory Federal Air Marshal), attended the White House event, "Arm Chair discussion with President Barack Obama."  Attending were several members of Congress, Police Chiefs, Sheriffs and prosecutors from across the country.  President Obama along with Police Chief Charlie Beck (LAPD) and U.S. Attorney of the District of Colorado, John Walsh, had a candid discussion about criminal justice reformation.  Bill Keller, Editor of the Marshall Project, moderated the event.  This event is a direct result of the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing of which HAPCOA provided written commentary.  

HAPCOA Vice President Rosa reported the following report in respect to the event. 

President Obama opened with 4 key points:

1.  Fairness and Consistency - People regardless of race, or station in life people must be treated with fairness and that the law must be applied consistently.

2.  Proportionality - The punishment must fit the crime.  Non-violent crime should not fall under the same sentencing guideline as someone who has committed rape. 

3.  Recognition that incarceration is not the only solution.  Where are we spending our money?  $80 billion is spent each year in our prison system.  We need smarter sentencing and evidence-based approach to rehabilitation and reducing recidivism.  In turn, resources are saved and can be spent in the community.

4. We can't put the problem and the onus on law enforcement.   

During the discussion:

Issues of Mandatory Minimum sentencing were raised and how there has been a 25% reduction. The Smart on Crime policy put in place during former Attorney General Holder has contributed to this reduction.  Mr. Walsh commented on how prosecutors love Mandatory Minimums because they are used as leverage. 

Both John Walsh and Chief Beck agree that it is important to expand community programs.  The federal grants once received from COPS have been reduced and need to be revisited.

The President commented on how the criminal justice system is a reflection of us.  Communities, societies and the states must work with law enforcement.  Law enforcement must build trust with their communities.  

The importance of Data Collection in identifying crime trends was raised.  The President is concerned that we don't do a good job of collecting real-time data. 

The President went on to talk about the Black Lives Matter group but did state that All Lives Matter.  He recognized that police officers have a tough job. In closing the President thanked the Chiefs of Police for the good work they're doing.

 

HAPCOA 3rd Vice President Richard Rosa and HAPCOA member Assistant Police Chief Paul J. Figueroa from the Oakland Police Department.