Thursday, March 30, 2017

Trump Wall May Reinforce Shift to Maritime Migrant Routes

Written by Tristan Clavel  Tuesday, 28 March 2017
US/Mexico Border Human Smuggling

Central American undocumented migrants are shifting to maritime transportation, according to a recent report, likely as a result of Mexico's crackdown on land routes, a trend that would likely increase should the US-Mexico border wall be extended.

An investigative report by El País shows that Central American migrants are increasingly boarding small boats to travel from Guatemala's Ocós coastal municipality to the Mazatán municipality in the Mexican state of Chiapas.

Smugglers charge between $400 and $800 per migrant, according to the Spanish news media. Some migrants are opting to make this six to eight hour journey rather than attempt to cross the border between Mexico and Guatemala, an area which has become much more of a focus for Mexican law enforcement cracking down on undocumented migrants.

Every day, Ocós witnesses three or four vessels carrying around 15 to 20 migrants along this maritime route, according to a local official interviewed by El País. This route has traditionally been used by the Mexican trafficking group los Zetas to smuggle drugs, which has now reportedly diversified its portfolio with human smuggling.

Meanwhile, on March 13, 60 US senators signed an open letter warning of the potential adverse consequences of the preliminary 2018 budget proposal for maritime interdiction efforts. The proposed budget made no mention of the coast guard, according to the New York Times, but it nonetheless spurred fears of budget cuts for the coast guard in order to help strengthen security along the US-Mexico border and build a wall.

InSight Crime Analysis
Following the 2014 humanitarian crisis caused by the arrival of tens of thousands of undocumented children to the US-Mexico border, Mexico began cracking down on migrants travelling north through its territory, in large part due to pressure from the US. As a result, security was reinforced along its extremely porous southern border with Guatemala. Along with creating adverse consequences for the safety of migrants targeted by organized crime, the crackdown may well have led migrants to adapt and turn to maritime routes, as reported by El País.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Human Smuggling
Should President Donald Trump's now infamous wall be built, the same trend could repeat itself along Mexico's border with the United States. There is little reason to believe that criminal groups would not open drug trafficking maritime routes from Mexico to the United States to human smuggling, given the criminal profits to be made, or that migrants would not adapt and increasingly turn to maritime routes.

Moreover, this trend would likely be reinforced by cuts to the US Coast Guard's budget to help finance the construction of the wall. According to the New York Times, the Coast Guard stopped more than 6,000 undocumented migrants and seized 200 metric tons of cocaine during the 2016 fiscal year. The open letter from the US Senators referenced above says that the US Coast Guard intercepts more cocaine at sea than what is seized at ports of entry and amongst all other elements of domestic law enformcement combined.

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New Study Asks Why Voters Don't Punish Mexico Officials

Written by Patrick Corcoran  Wednesday, 29 March 2017
Mexico Security Policy

A new study from a Mexican academic seeks to establish under what circumstances Mexican voters punish politicians for insecurity, offering valuable insight into a major impediment to the nation's democratic accountability.

Sandra Ley's new paper, "Electoral Accountability in the Midst of Criminal Violence: Evidence from Mexico," starts from a premise that is both true and unfortunate: Mexican politicians are rarely held to account for the declines in security within their jurisdiction. This seems to contradict the natural reaction of any democratic electorate, and the challenge is further compounded in Mexico, where politicians are often not just unable to cope with security problems, but also active agents of insecurity.

Analyzing mayoral and gubernatorial elections during the Felipe Calderón era (2006-2012), and utilizing government tallies of organized crime-related violence, Ley concludes that voters were willing to vote out the incumbent party only when two conditions were met: When the incumbent party was President Calderón's National Action Party (PAN), and when the increase in violence was linked to organized crime. If either of those two factors were absent, the voters showed no significant tendency to vote out the incumbents.

The effects were further exaggerated when violence was directed at public officials, especially during electoral campaigns. According to Ley, a political science professor from Mexico City's Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE), "For every violent event perpetrated against political actors over the course of the electoral process in a given municipality, the PAN's vote share decreases by 3.6 percentage points."

According to the author, this dynamic is a product of voters attempting to find "cognitive shortcuts" in determining who to blame. A problem as complicated as organized crime has multiple relevant actors -- for instance, the military, three levels of police, three levels of elected politicians, the judiciary, and the groups themselves -- and voters understandably struggle to determine who deserves the blame.
This struggle is further complicated as increasing insecurity becomes a political hot potato. Local officials can seek support from the state when they are unable to handle things along, and state officials can do the same with the federal government, after which every level has a plausible scapegoat for its own failings.

But only when the circumstances establish the simplest causality—when there is a great deal of organized crime-related violence, and only one party could possibly be to blame—are voters collectively capable of channeling the accountability toward the politicians.

InSight Crime Analysis
In some ways, the two necessary conditions for electoral accountability are entirely logical. Unlike regular street crime, organized crime typically has an active political component, in which the most powerful groups are protected. It therefore makes sense for voters to show more willingness to punish politicians when organized crime-related violence spikes.

As for the need for political alignment as a precondition, Calderón built his presidency on an anti-organized crime platform, so it is not surprising that he and his fellow PAN members suffered as the shortcomings of their approach became manifest. As Ley writes,

Overall, the results suggest that when a party attempts to "own" crime but fails to provide security, voters will punish its candidates at the polls, and even more so when political alignment facilitates responsibility attribution for poor security performance.

The problem is that merely limiting the blame to PAN politicians was woefully insufficient in the Calderón era. The Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, held more than half of the statehouses and most of the nation's municipalities, so it retained ample influence over the nation's political system despite operating under a PAN presidency. Holding only PAN officials to account essentially gave a free pass to PRI officials, who collectively wielded as much or more influence over the political system's strategy to deal with organized crime.

Not coincidentally, the Calderón years brought some disturbing examples of PRI officials being rewarded at the ballot box despite overseeing security disasters. In 2011, former Coahuila governor Humberto Moreira was succeeded by another member of the PRI—his own brother, no less—despite Moreira being embroiled in a wide-ranging investigation stemming from allegations that he allowed the Zetas to take over the state.

In 2010, Juárez had become the world's most violent city under the watch of a PRI mayor and a PRI governor of Chihuahua. Nonetheless, when voters went to the polls that summer, they selected a PRI mayor and a PRI governor once more.

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

It is possible that changes in the political dynamics (there is unlikely to be another president who bets his reputation on an iron fist on security matters) and in the political rules (as of 2014, reelection is permitted at the municipal level) may undercut the strength of Ley's conclusions. It is also possible that a catalog of scandals ensnaring governors from all parties may increase the public's willingness to look past political alignment.

But there's little evidence of this just yet. On the contrary, it seems that the arrival of a PRI president was the final straw for PRI gubernatorial candidates in Chihuahua, Durango, Veracruz, and Tamaulipas. In each of these states, the PRI retained the statehouse during the Calderón years, despite the governor having overseen a substantial deterioration in security, with longstanding and credible allegations of PRI officials colluding with criminal groups. In each of these states, the PRI gubernatorial candidate lost in 2016, now with Peña Nieto serving as president.

Unfortunately, the absence of consistent electoral accountability is a big part of the persistence of violence in Mexico. The incentives for politicians, who are generally motivated by their next election more than anything, and their parties are too disconnected from their performance on security. There is no certain punishment for the governor who sells his state to one criminal gang, or who allows his chief of police to protect one gang.

Until that changes, until the narrow conditions Ley identifies fall away, it is hard to imagine that Mexican politicians will be motivated by the public interest on security matter.

How 'invisible armor' could defeat bullets and blades

Ever wonder if there was such a thing as transparent armor? It sounds like something straight out of a comic book, but it's something the Navy has actually created.

U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) scientists have created a remarkable transparent armor that is lightweight and still provides excellent protection.

Nearly as transparent as glass, the armor is essentially invisible protection from bullets. And if the armor surface is damaged, warfighters could fix it on the fly with something as simple as a hot plate and the armor will meld itself back together.

Think about how “bulletproof glass” (a misnomer since it is often only bullet resistant) works – you can see through it and it stops bullets.

Now what if you could do that for body armor and helmets? That’s the idea here.

This next-generation armor advance could also amp up transparent bulletproof walls to protect tourist attractions from the attacks we’ve seen in Paris and most recently, in London.

What’s the armor made of?

The transparent polymer armor gets its transparency from something known as tiny crystalline domains. The armor itself is made up of alternating layers of elastomeric polymer combined with a harder material substrate.

NRL scientists conducted tests using polymeric materials as a coating to try to enhance impact resistance.

By applying layers of the special materials to body armor and helmets, the result was better protection for warriors against bullets.

The armor also helped reduce the impact of blast waves caused by something like an IED explosion, which could potentially help prevent brain trauma.

When a bullet hits the armor

If you picture a windshield that has been struck by a rock kicked up while driving, the rock’s impact may cause damage that makes it difficult to see through the windshield.

One of the amazing things about this see-through armor is that when it's struck by a projectile, such as a bullet, it still retains its lucid nature. There’s virtually no impact on visibility and the damage is limited only to the spot where the bullet connected with the armor.

Repair vs. replace

The possibility exists that this futuristic body armor could be ironed back into shape after it sustained some hits, because of the material used to create it.

The material needs to be heated to around 100 degrees Celsius, which then causes it to become hot enough to melt the tiny crystallites. By heating the material, any impact from the bullet can be melded back together and returned to its normal state. Scientists believe that this sort of repair will not impact how the armor performs.


Easy, fast repairs can be a great advantage for warfighters operating in remote locations and it can save money by repairing rather than replacing.

Implications for protecting against global terror attacks

In a scenario like the recent London attack, lightweight body armor approaches like the aforementioned can be very useful to protect armed officers from bladed weapons, bullets and other threats while the reduced weight can improve their speed, agility and flexibility of response.

Like the Capitol building in the US, armed officers protect the building and those working in and visiting the building. Based on the information provided publicly thus far, the terrorist wielded a bladed weapon and attacked British officers. One officer was tragically killed.

Guns and explosive devices are not the only methods of attack used by Islamic extremist terrorists. In Europe, terrorist plots and attacks have increasingly involved bladed weapons on foot as well the weaponization of vehicles.

Islamic extremist groups such as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Islamic State group have been actively promoting these sorts of attack methods.

Just last month in Paris, a terrorist tried to launch an attack with machetes at the popular tourist site of the Louvre museum. A French soldier stopped him before there were any casualties.

In 2013, two terrorists drove at British Army soldier Fusilier Lee Rigby, who was walking a street in England. The terrorists then exited the vehicle, attacked him with blades and murdered him by hacking him to death.

Invisible Walls?

Ultimately, advances like NRLs in transparent armor could play a vital role in amping up “invisible” walls could be used to stop both people and vehicles from storming sites and areas. By enhancing protection, it could help prevent attacks and casualties.

Paris recently announced they are building an eight-foot bulletproof glass wall around the Eiffel Tower. Why? Tourist sites are attractive targets for terrorists. The goal is to stop not just bullets but prevent vehicles loaded with bombs from gaining access.

Transparent armor-ed up walls mean tourists can still enjoy an uninterrupted view while benefiting from enhanced protection.

Advanced armor like this can also become a deterrent to future attacks.

Allison Barrie consults at the highest levels of defense, has travelled to more than 70 countries, is a lawyer with four postgraduate degrees and now the author of the new book "Future Weapons: Access Granted"  covering invisible tanks through to thought-controlled fighter jets. You can click here for more information on FOX Firepower columnist and host Allison Barrie and you can follow her on Twitter @allison_barrie.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Cannabis, Currency, CBD and Extract Transport Services in California

Project 7 Security Protect Cannabis, Currency, CBD, Extracts with Armed Transportation Security

LOS ANGELES - March 29, 2017 -- Project 7 Security Group a California Licensed PPO Security Company and Security Contractor now offers Marijuana and Cannabis related businesses a safe, affordable, low-profile and secure means to transport either their cash or currency, plant based products, cannabis extract items (including edibles) to storage and dispensary locations throughout California.

Cannabis, Currency, CBD and Extract Transport Services in California

We are in full compliance with all guidelines of The California Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA) as it relates to security operations in the State of California.

Hear our interview:

Project 7 understands the need for operational solutions when supporting high threat critical business security operations in the United States. Project 7 security group consultants are trained to detect you and or your institution's vulnerabilities, then assist you in designing a proactive defense, whether in a mobile, static or defense in place posture.

Brandon at the Cannabis Business Expo San Diego Event 2017

Warren at the Cannabis Business Expo San Diego Event 2017

Call us at 800-560-3103, we can help secure your bottom line.

Find us on the web at:

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--- End ---


Project 7 Security Group
Phone: (800) 560-3103


Tags : Cannabis Transport Security, Cash Transport Security, Marijuana Security, Marijuana Dispensary Security, Marijuana Plant Transport, Armed Cannabis Security, Cannabis Extract Transport, Marijuana Edibles

Monday, March 20, 2017

Blue Lives Lost: Dramatic rise in police officers gunned down in line of duty in 2016

Of those men and women in blue who died in 2016, 62 were killed by gunfire – a marked rise from the 39 the year before – about a dozen of them shot by gunmen who set out to kill police.

In Baton Rouge, little 9-month-old Mason Jackson sees his father’s face every day, all the time – in photographs. His mother makes sure of that, makes sure he feels his father’s presence.

His mother tells him what a selfless, caring man his daddy, Montrell Jackson, was, and how much he wanted a child – they tried for nearly two years. She tells Mason how ecstatic Montrell was when he came into the world in March.

“That’s what hurts the most,” said Trenisha Jackson, “that he’s not here for his son. He was so excited about being a father. He felt his responsibility was to make sure he raised a wonderful young man. [Montrell’s] father was not in his life. He really wanted to be there for his son.”

Montrell Jackson, 32, was shot fatally in an ambush in July – when Mason was 4 months old – by a man targeting police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Baton Rouge Police Corporal Montrell Jackson, who was shot and killed by Gavin Long along with two other officers on July 17. (Officer Down Memorial Page)  That gunman killed a total of three officers – just a fraction of the nearly 140 law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty this year, up from 130 in 2015, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, a non-profit group founded and run by active and retired law enforcement officials.

The most recent shootings of police officers took place on Friday.

In Mt. Vernon, Washington, Mike “Mick” McLaurghry, a 30-year veteran, was shot in the back of the head while responding to a call. Officials said he was “hanging in there” in critical condition after surgery.

Later the same day, Sgt. Rob Hatchell, of Dallas, Oregon, was shot in the leg while attempting to arrest an intoxicated man.

Of those men and women in blue who died in 2016, 62 were killed by gunfire – a marked rise from the 39 the year before – about a dozen of them shot by gunmen who set out to kill police.

“What we’re seeing now, this year, is a big increase in gunfire murders of police officers,” Lt. Randy Sutton, a retired police officer and author who represents Blue Lives Matter, told “The methodology, where they are targeted attacks or ambushes or where people are lured into attacks, is up too. We haven’t seen that since the late ‘60s or ‘70s, when there was a tremendous amount of anti-police terrorism.”

Sutton, like many others in law enforcement, say that tension between police and minority groups like Black Lives Matter that have organized to focus attention on profiling and what they argue is unwarranted use of force has led some to see those in uniform as the enemy.

“It legitimizes a call for terror, a call for violence,” Sutton said. “It adds an element of danger for law enforcement.”

He added, “Of course not everyone who is in the protests believes that. But when there’s a mob in place and fervor builds up, people do things they wouldn’t normally do independently. And it can inspire lone wolf attacks. There are weak-minded people, some mentally disturbed, who absorb this call to action and act upon it.”

The methodology, where they are targeted attacks or ambushes or where people are lured into attacks ... we haven’t seen that since the late ‘60s or ‘70s, when there was a tremendous amount of anti-police terrorism.

- Randy Sutton, retired police lieutenant who represents Blue Lives Matter
The deadliest assaults occurred in July in Dallas and Baton Rouge amid protests over black men who had died in encounters with police.

A black gunman in Dallas opened fire on officers at a Black Lives Matter protest, killing five officers and wounding four others.

Tensions rose in Baton Rouge, where thousands of people were angry over the death of 37-year-old Alton Sterling, a black man killed by white Baton Rouge officers after a confrontation at a convenience store.

Those in law enforcement say they know they are signing up for a potentially dangerous job when they enter the profession.

“There are risks every officer knows going in,” Sutton said. “That includes everything from going up against an armed suspect who is going to resist and going to do everything to escape, including shooting to try and kill you, to being struck by a car during a traffic stop.”

He went on, “But what is particularly frightening and disturbing at this point are the assassinations and entrapments, where police officers are lured into situations [in order] to kill them.”

Before her husband’s death, Ternisha Jackson just let the day-to-day risks of police work stay on the margins of her thoughts.

“Montrell loved his job,” his widow said. “We put the risks out of our minds.”

The growing protests outside police departments across the country, however, concerned her.

“That was the first time I became afraid, I was afraid for him, after everything taking place,” she said. “I was going out of my mind. I never feared for his life until the protests.”

She understands the anger many people feel toward police. She knows, too, that some of it could be justified. But the answer, she says, is not violence.

“I get pulled over, and it’s for a reason,” she said. “A broken tail light, it’s for [your] safety ... Police die protecting you. They chose to protect and serve, and they deserve respect.”

When someone encounters a police who acts unprofessionally, Jackson said, “They should call them out, file a report.”

In Texas, Cpl. Marcie St. John knew that a large but peaceful protest was underway in Dallas in response to fatal police shootings that week in Baton Rouge and suburban St. Paul, Minnesota.

She had finished her shift at about 8:30 p.m. and was on her way home – looking toward starting vacation the next day -- when she received a phone call from a colleague in law enforcement.

“My friend calls me and said, ‘Something is going downtown,’ something major,” St. John recalled.

Within minutes, she got an alert from her department, asking that everyone be ready to report to duty. At home, as she put on her tactical gear, she got a call from another friend who told her that her best friend, Michael Smith, her former partner, had been shot while on duty at the protest.

“He was a sound cop, a strong cop,” said St. John, whose brother, who also was a police officer, died in the line of duty when they both were rookies. “I never, ever thought it would happen to Mike.”

Sgt. Michael Smith was one of five Dallas police officers Micah Johnson killed on July 7. (Dallas Police Department) The killer was 25-year-old Micah Johnson, an Army veteran who told authorities he was upset about fatal police shootings and wanted to exterminate policemen, "especially white officers," officials said.

Johnson, who was killed by a robot-delivered bomb dispatched by Dallas police, had amassed a personal arsenal at his suburban home, including bomb-making materials, bulletproof vests, rifles, ammunition and a journal of combat tactics.

The killings marked the deadliest day for U.S. law enforcement since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. In all, 12 officers were shot.

“Everything that’s going on in law enforcement, officers being ambushed,” said St. John, “in my 25-year career, I’ve never seen this. All of our officers – their lives and their deaths – have to matter.”

She has been helping Smith's widow, Heidi, and their two young daughters put their lives back together.

The youngest daughter, who was 9 at the time of Smith's killing, has thought back to her last conversation with her father before he went off to work.

Smith asked his daughter for a kiss, but she said she was busy playing a game. He pressed again, saying "This may be the last time,” St. John said he told her.

Ten days before his own death, Montrell Jackson felt deeply distressed over the contentious protests and Dallas ambush – both as a police officer and a black man.

He said as much in a message he posted on his Facebook page.

 “I’m tired physically and emotionally,” he wrote, according to screen shots of his post, which was taken down after his death. “Disappointed in some family, friends and officers for some reckless comments, but hey, what’s in your heart is in your heart. I still love you all because hate takes too much energy, but I definitely won’t be looking at you the same. Thank you to everyone [who] has reached out to me or my wife – it was needed and much appreciated. I swear to God I love this city, but I wonder if this city loves me.”

Jackson saw himself as a bridge between police and black residents, saying he understood the difficulty of being in each group’s shoes.

“I’ve experienced so much in my short life, and the past 3 days have tested me to the core,” he wrote. “In uniform, I get nasty hateful looks and out of uniform some consider me a threat.”

He appealed to protesters.

“Please don’t let hate infect your heart,” Jackson wrote. “This city MUST and WILL get better. I’m working in these streets, so any protesters, officers, friends, family or whoever, if you see me and need a hug or want to say a prayer, I got you.”

In Missouri, Gavin Eugene Long, a black separatist, never saw, or cared about, Jackson’s plea. He traveled to Baton Rouge to hunt for police officers.

And that is where he ended the life of little Mason’s father.

Elizabeth Llorente is Senior Reporter for, and can be reached at Follow her on

Mexican man accused of rape had 19 deportations, removals

WICHITA, Kan. –  A Mexican man accused of raping a 13-year-old girl on a Greyhound bus that traveled through Kansas had been deported 10 times and voluntarily removed from the U.S. another nine times since 2003, records obtained by The Associated Press show.

Three U.S. Republican senators — including Kansas' Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts — demanded this month that the Department of Homeland Security provide immigration records for 38-year-old Tomas Martinez-Maldonado, who is charged with a felony in the alleged Sept. 27 attack aboard a bus in Geary County. He is being held in the Geary County jail in Junction City, which is about 120 miles west of Kansas City.

U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, from Iowa and chairman of the judiciary committee, co-signed a Dec. 9 letter with Moran and Roberts to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, calling it "an extremely disturbing case" and questioning how Martinez-Maldonado was able to re-enter and remain in the country.

Court filings show Martinez-Maldonado has two misdemeanor convictions for entering without legal permission in cases prosecuted in 2013 and 2015 in U.S. District Court of Arizona, where he was sentenced to serve 60 days and 165 days respectively.

A status hearing in the rape case is scheduled for Jan. 10. Defense attorney Lisa Hamer declined to comment on the charge, but said, "criminal law and immigration definitely intersect and nowadays it should be the responsibility of every criminal defense attorney to know the possible ramifications in the immigration courts."

Nationwide, 52 percent of all federal prosecutions in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 were for entry or re-entry without legal permission and similar immigration violations, according to Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.

It's not unusual to see immigrants with multiple entries without legal permission, said David Trevino, a Topeka immigration attorney who has provided legal advice to Martinez-Maldonado's family. Most of Martinez-Maldonado's family lives in Mexico, but he also has family in the United States, and the family is "devastated," Trevino said.

"(President-elect Donald Trump) can build a wall 100 feet high and 50 feet deep, but it is not going to keep family members separated. So if someone is deported and they have family members here ... they will find a way back — whether it is through the air, under a wall, through the coast of the United States," Trevino said.

He declined to comment on Martinez-Maldonado's criminal history and pending charge.

Records obtained by AP show Martinez-Maldonado had eight voluntary removals before his first deportation in 2010, which was followed by another voluntary removal that same year. He was deported five more times between 2011 and 2013.

In 2013, Martinez-Maldonado was charged with entering without legal permission, a misdemeanor, and subsequently deported in early 2014 after serving his sentence. He was deported again a few months later, as well as twice in 2015 — including the last one in October 2015 after he had served his second sentence, the records show.

ICE said in an emailed statement that when it encounters a person who's been deported multiple times or has a significant criminal history and was removed, it routinely presents those cases to the U.S. attorney's office for possible criminal charges.

Cosme Lopez, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Arizona, declined comment on why prosecutors twice dismissed felony re-entry after deportation charges against Martinez-Maldonado in 2013 and 2015 in exchange for guilty pleas on misdemeanor entry charges.

Arizona ranks third in the nation — behind only the Southern District of Texas and the Western District of Texas — for the number of immigration prosecutions among the nation's 94 federal judicial districts for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse records show.

Moran told the AP in an email that the immigration system is "broken."

"There must be serious legislative efforts to address U.S. immigration policy, and we must have the ability to identify, prosecute and deport illegal aliens who display violent tendencies before they have an opportunity to perpetrate these crimes in the United States," he said.

New survey shows majority of US troops has 'unfavorable' view of Obama's years

A new survey shows that a majority of U.S. service members has an "unfavorable" view of President Obama and his eight years in the White House.

The survey released Sunday by the Military Times and Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families found 51.5 percent of service members have an unfavorable view of the Democratic president -- 29.1 percent with a “very” unfavorable view and 22.4 percent with a “somewhat” unfavorable opinion.

Roughly 36 percent of the members from all four military branches had a favorable view, while 12 percent were “neutral.”

Responses were based on a voluntary, confidential online survey of 1,664 active-duty troops that are a part of Military Times subscriber base, from Dec. 16 to 21. The margin of error for questions on Obama’s popularity is 2 percent. Other questions have slightly higher margins of error.

Obama’s supporters perceive him as a Nobel Peace Prize winner who hunted and killed 9-11 terrorist Osama bin Laden and a president who improved military strategy amid an uncooperative Congress and unprecedented budget restrictions, according to the Gannet-owned Military Times.   

Among the concerns of critics was troop levels under Obama being cut to historically low levels and the president’s decision to withdraw combat troops from Iraq, essentially making America less safe.

In addition, more than 60 percent of the respondents thought Obama’s use of drones and Special Forces teams for precision strikes -- instead of large-scale military operations -- has helped U.S. national security, according to

Obama disagrees with the argument that tighter budgets have ruined the services, according to the Military Times.

“Our Army, tested by years of combat, is the best-trained and best-equipped land force on the planet,” the publication quoted him last week as saying. “Our Navy is the largest and most lethal in the world. … Our Coast Guard is the finest in the world.”

James Jay Carafano, an international studies expert at the conservative Heritage Foundation, told the publication: “There’s no question this era will go down as the third ‘hollow’ army, and it’s the president’s fault. ... For all his promises, the operations tempo hasn’t gone down as much as he hoped, and he has invested little in the military.” 

Military officers had a higher opinion of Obama, compared to enlisted personnel, 44-to-35 percent.

And the Marine Corp collectively had the least favorable opinion, at 60 percent, compared to the Navy’s 46 percent, which was the highest among the four military branches, according to the survey. 

The 5 coolest military innovations of 2016

It was a good year for imaginative military innovations. From “Star Wars”-style speeders to an inescapable surveillance drone, many of the futuristic advances seem straight out of science fiction or Hollywood blockbusters.

Here are some favorites from 2016.

'Star Wars'- style speeders

Remember those speeder bikes in “Return of the Jedi” that raced through the air? The US military may get to zoom around the battlespace on a type of real-life version in the not-so-distant future.

Capable of potentially reaching speeds of 110 mph, JTARV could carry teams rapidly and nimbly– it could even fly around a war zone delivering about 300 pounds of supplies by itself.

JTARV also provides stealth advantages, including a small physical footprint since it flies through the air, rather than drives on the ground. It also has a reduced acoustic signature.

These real life speeders wouldn’t require runways or traditional landing zones, giving teams lots of flexibility.

Discover more here.

This huge combat tractor is a Swiss Army Knife

Meet the 32-ton armored combat vehicle that’s the ultimate tractor— albeit one that can punch holes through concrete, fire rockets, and carve safe passage through minefields for soldiers.

BAE Systems’ Terrier is affectionately known as the Swiss Army Knife of combat vehicles because there isn't anything it can't tackle. A multi-tool on a giant scale, the Terrier is a number of critical vehicles all in one. It can quickly adapt to tackle a range of important tasks. It even has a 26-foot arm.

Terrier can destroy enemy runways, rip holes in concrete compounds where terrorists hide, and dismantle bridges.

This mammoth machine beast can even unleash PYTHON rocket-propelled explosives to destroy concealed IEDS, protecting dismounted troops.

Like tractors found all throughout the United States, Terrier can lift, grab and move things. But the Terrier is next-level: its front loader system can lift five tons.

It can move a staggering 300 tons of earth per hour – that’s about the weight of 120 5,000-pound SUVs.

What else can it do? Find out more here.

Surveillance drone terrorists can’t escape

It looks like a “Star Trek” Bird of Prey, and acts like a drone that terrorists cannot escape: A new military aircraft that’s powered by the sun and can conduct missions without landing for 45 days.

Airbus Defence and Space calls the new drone the High Altitude Pseudo Satellite (HAPS), but it’s been dubbed the Zephyr. What’s a “pseudo satellite”? It has satellite-type capabilities like extreme surveillance— but is on demand with the flexibility and versatility of an unmanned aircraft. This sort of capability could prove particularly handy for special operations teams.

Unlike a satellite, the Zephyr can be landed, modified with alternative tech, and quickly re-launched to provide different capabilities as required.

The Zephyr could fly without landing to provide the military with non-stop high- resolution imagery for a remarkable month and a half, and it could give teams accuracy down to 6-inch resolution.

Flying at about 12.5 miles high at a fixed location, Zephyr can see over 250 miles to the horizon and provide imagery in excess of 386 square miles.

While the Zephyr won’t be flying in space, it can get awfully close. The drone can reach heights higher than 70,000 feet. At those heights you can see the curvature of the earth.

Learn more here.

'Superman-style' vision for helicopter pilots

New technology means U.S. military helicopter pilots will be getting amped-up ‘Superman-style’ vision to help them tackle dangerous environments.

Degraded Visual Environment, or DVE, is a frequent threat to military aircraft masking hazards and making it tough to land and fly. Visibility can be degraded by bad weather like rain, snow, dust and fog – but also by things like brown out.

In a brown-out for example, the pilot loses his or her visual reference with the ground when sand, dirt and dust get kicked up. The airframe can drift and collide with the ground or other structures causing the helicopter to land hard or even roll over.

DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, chose Honeywell to create tech to help pilots defeat extreme DVE and “see” crucial details. The tech is called synthetic vision and provides pilots with a 3-D view of the landing zone on their flight displays. In spite of tough conditions, it builds a picture using a number of state-of-the-art sensors.

Dangers like other aircraft, telephone wires, vehicles and personnel near the landing zone— as well as unexpected terrain— would no longer be hidden by brownouts.

Ultimately, military pilots could have such enhanced vision that even small holes and ditches around the landing zone will be revealed.

DVEs are a big challenge for all militaries, but with this tech US pilots would have the advantage of being able to safely operate where others cannot.

Find out more here.

New Marine Corps combat vehicle that “swims”

A nearly 34-ton armored fighting vehicle-- that swims? Marines will have a new Amphibious Combat Vehicle with even more power to storm the beaches in future battles.

The Amphibious Combat Vehicle prototype, or the ACV 1.1, was created by BAE Systems and IVECO Defence, and unveiled at Modern Day Marine. The vehicle combines a high degree of protection with amphibious and land capabilities.

This new armored assault vehicle can launch from a ship at sea and then travel by water at speeds of six knots, ready to launch attacks on the shore.

Surf? Not a problem for this vehicle. The ACV 1.1 can continue to charge forward in spite of nine-foot plunging surf.

Once it reaches ground, it can attack enemy forces at 70 miles per hour and unleash some serious firepower.

Dig into more capabilities here.

Allison Barrie consults at the highest levels of defense, has travelled to more than 70 countries, is a lawyer with four postgraduate degrees and now the author of the new book "Future Weapons: Access Granted"  covering invisible tanks through to thought-controlled fighter jets. You can click here for more information on FOX Firepower columnist and host Allison Barrie and you can follow her on Twitter @allison_barrie.

Origami inspired shield might save police officer's lives

Posted by Jessica Romero

A mechanical engineer professor took on the problem of police protection and he might have found a great solution. He and his team drew inspiration from an unlikely source: origami.

The shield can be compactly folded and easily transported. It consists of thin sheets of Kevlar and is about as heavy as a large suitcase. Even though it is compact it expands in five seconds which allows it to be used in unexpected dangerous situations.

The designer also pictured it being used to protect children and other people in dangerous situations where there is no cover.

According to Daily Mail:

Design is made up of 12 layers of bulletproof Kevlar.

Weighs only 55 pounds (25 kilograms). Many of the steel shields currently used approach 100 pounds (45 kilograms).

It uses a Yoshimura origami crease pattern to expand around an officer, providing protection on the side in addition to protecting them in the front.

When expanded — which takes only five seconds — it can provide cover for officers and stop bullets from several types of handguns.

In testing, the barrier successfully stopped bullets from smaller 9 mm pistols, all the way up to .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum 'hand cannons'.

Read more:

This foam stops bullets cold and pulverizes them to dust

Foam body armor? Even armor-piercing bullets cannot get through this foam.

And the foam doesn’t just stop bullets. It destroys them…this foam decimates bullets into dust.

North Carolina State University Professor Afsaneh Rabiei led the team that created the amazing foam.  This is not ordinary foam like the kind used for shaving, for example. This is a special type of foam called composite metal foams, or CMF.  The military and law enforcement could use this kind of foam for advanced, ultra light body armor to protect personnel.

And this research team has other foams up its sleeve that have the potential to keep military and first responders safe from radiation and extreme heat too.


Sound impossible that foam-based armor could stop armor piercing rounds? Testing has proved it is indeed possible.  In tests conducted by the development team, the foam body armor was able to defeat an armor-piercing bullet. And on impact, their foam smashed the bullet into powder.

 To challenge the foam material with bullets, the team built a shield. The strike face - the side facing the weapon - was made with the new composite metal foam together with boron carbide ceramics. The backplates – the side that would face the user - were made of Kevlar.

In tests, the team shot at the foam body armor with 7.62 x 63 mm M2 armor-piercing round.

How well did it work?

Their foam absorbed the bullet’s kinetic energy.

The foam worked so well that an armor-piercing round could only penetrate less than an inch on the weapon-facing side of the shield.

On the side facing the warfighter’s body, the bullet was only able to cause an 8 mm indentation on the back .

Body armor innovation is important because it can save lives.

The National Institute of Justice standard allows up to 44 mm indentation from a bullet on side facing the user– so the foam performs  80 percent better than the maximum standard.


In basic terms, the foam is a composite metal foam. What does that mean?


To make it, the team takes molten metal and bubbles gas through it. This process creates a sort of froth. When the froth cools, it becomes a lightweight, ultra strong matrix material.

Processes like 3D printing and milling can also be used to make composite metal foam.

The team first produced a foam shield that could block radiation.

This foam is able to stop and block X-rays. In tests, it can even protect against various forms of gamma rays.  According to NASA, gamma rays are produced by the hottest and most energetic objects in the universe like supernova explosions and areas around black holes. Here on Earth, they can also be produced in nuclear fission.  In tests, the foam could also protect against neutron radiation that can be produced by nuclear fission or fusion.  To develop radiation shielding, the team created a “high-Z steel-steel foam”. This one is a combination of stainless steel with a small amount of tungsten shaped into hollow spheres. This is then introduced into the steel matrix and creates the foam.

Current protection options tend to be very cumbersome, awkward and heavy. The foam shielding could provide a lightweight, strong alternative for the military. It could also have potential for transportation and storage of hazardous materials.

Space exploration and transportation of nuclear waste are just two other examples of how this foam could be used.

The Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy supported the team’s development of foam that is two times better at protecting against fire and heat as regular metal.

For example, their lightweight stainless steel foam was far more effective than stainless steel.

To examine the foam’s heat protection, the team tested some of the foam that was 0.75 inches thick against 800 degrees Celsius fire for 30 minutes. And they tested a regular piece of stainless steel the same size and width against the same heat.

Which resisted the heat better? The foam. The foam withstood the heat twice as long.

It took four minutes for the extreme heat to reach the other side of the regular stainless steel from the fire. The team’s foam withstood the heat for eight minutes before it reached the other end.

Being able to withstand heat longer could provide a number of advantages. For example, it could mean the difference between an accident causing an explosion – or not.

Foam like this could also be leveraged by the military to safely transport and store explosives. It could even be used for the safekeeping and transfer of nuclear and other hazardous materials.

Go inside dangerous missions and hear firsthand from American Special Operations warriors about how they have used advanced body armor in combat on Tactical Talk.

Allison Barrie consults at the highest levels of defense, has travelled to more than 70 countries, is a lawyer with four postgraduate degrees and now the author of the new book "Future Weapons: Access Granted"  covering invisible tanks through to thought-controlled fighter jets. You can click here for more information on FOX Firepower columnist and host Allison Barrie and you can follow her on Twitter @allison_barrie.

History shows George Washington was incredibly hard to kill

By Michael Harthorne  Published February 24, 2017  Newser

"I have been protected beyond all human probability or expectation," the National Archives quote George Washington in a letter to his brother following the French and Indian War.

He wasn't kidding. In a piece written for Washington's birthday this week, the Washington Post reveals America's first president was nigh indestructible. In his lifetime, Washington bested smallpox, malaria, infections, abscesses, tuberculosis, dysentery, and a boil "the size of two fists." And that's not even mentioning the battles he survived.

Washington claimed that during the French and Indian War, four bullets ripped through his coat and two horses were shot while he rode them. He apparently had so many close calls he was rumored to be dead.

Yet somehow he managed to live to 67. Washington's resilience was all the more impressive as he was living at time with, as the New England Journal of Medicine puts it, "no well-defined concept of vaccines, almost no specific or effective treatments for infections diseases." As an illustration of this point, Washington finally died in 1799 when he came down with a sore throat and chills after riding around his property in the snow, according to the Washington Papers.

Doctors tried everything to cure him—from molasses mixed with butter, to vinegar mixed with sage tea, to removing five pints of blood from the former president.

None of it worked. A friend described Washington's "dignified" final words, which were—frankly—a long time coming: "I am just going...Tis well." (Thomas Jefferson's home is getting a renovation with slave Sally Hemings in mind.)

This article originally appeared on Newser: George Washington Was Shockingly Hard to Kill

Private Prison Firms Gain as Trump Plans to Crack Down on Crime, Illegal Immigration

By Victoria Craig , Liz Llorente  Published February 28, 2017

The Trump administration’s vow to be tougher on crime and illegal immigration plus his top law enforcement officer’s endorsement of privately run prisons have sent shares of private prison management companies soaring.

The two leading firms, CoreCivic (CXW) (formerly Corrections Corporation of America) and GEO Group (GEO), essentially have doubled their stock prices since Election Day and are near their 52-week highs. Over the last year CoreCivic shares have jumped 19 percent, while those of GEO are up 68 percent.

Since Trump’s election, the market capitalization of GEO has roughly doubled to about $3.7 billion; the market capitalization of CoreCivic is now more than $4 billion.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently rolled back an Obama-era directive issued last August that called for phasing out the federal government’s use of private prison management firms at the Bureau of Prisons (BOP). Sessions is also a proponent of aggressive enforcement of drug and immigration laws and of taking a no-holds-barred approach to violent crime perpetrators, something that could increase the demand for more prison capacity.

The former Alabama lawmaker said last year’s move to end BOP contracts – which currently includes 12 private contracts for correctional centers that house about 21,000 inmates – “impaired the Bureau’s ability to meet the future needs of the federal correctional system.” The BOP has an average of 189,000 people in custody.

Private prison firms handle facilities and detainees for the BOP, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Department of Homeland Security – chiefly Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

ICE relies on private contractors to hold about 60 percent of its detainees, according to Canaccord Genuity strategist Michael Kodesch. As of November of last year (the latest available figure) ICE’s average daily detention population was 40,875. CoreCivic and GEO alone have 13,000 beds for immigrant detainees.

Trump plans to add 10,000 immigration officers and 5,000 border control agents, which could increase ICE’s average daily detention population.

Housing detained immigrants may well account for the private prison industry’s strongest prospects under the Trump administration, Canaccord Genuity strategist Michael Kodesch told Fox News.

“When you have the administration ramping up border security and detention, you’ll have higher criminal alien populations, and you’ll need those beds. It’s a positive headline for prisons,” Kodesch said.

He added, however, that Trump’s policy won’t likely mean an immediate boost to capital improvement budgets for private prisons. That’s because the companies don’t often do development based on speculative need, but rather on the procurement of a new contract and immediate demand.

Such speculation may be warranted.

 “The Obama administration’s plan was to phase out private contractors over time, as opposed to cancelling these contracts” right away, said Michele Deitch, a senior lecturer at the University of Texas School of Public Affairs and an expert on private prisons. “The fact that the attorney general is saying we are planning to expand the federal prison system is very indicative of plans to step up law enforcement and expansion of sentences.”

The overall prison population has declined since Obama’s Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, which eliminated the five-year mandatory sentence for simple drug possession, among other things. But Trump’s immigration orders calling for aggressive tracking down, detention and deportation of illegal immigrants, plus those who have legal status but have committed crimes, are expected to reverse that decline and result in a need for more detention beds.

Both prison companies avoided directly commenting on Trump and Obama but expressed optimism about their future collaboration with the federal government.

“Our company welcomes the memorandum by the Attorney General reinstating the continued use of privately operated facilities, which has been long-standing practice and policy at the federal level," Pablo Paez, GEO's vice president of corporate relations said in a statement. "We believe that the decision made last August was based on a misrepresentation of the report issued by the Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General."

Private prisons have their critics, to be sure. The Office of the Inspector General issued a critical report last year of privately run federal facilities. When she was expected to win the election last year, Hillary Clinton expressed a commitment to ending private prisons and immigrant detention, sending shares of companies that depend on federal clients plummeting.

Others say private contractors are better positioned to run jails and detention center.

“Private facilities are dedicated ICE detention centers that have things as simple as air conditioning…they also has health screenings and processing abilities for these populations,” Kodesh said.

'Outmanned & outgunned:' Tribal police officers face dangerous challenges

The shooting death of 27-year-old Navajo Nation Police Officer Houston James Largo, who was responding to a routine domestic violence call in the remote community of Prewitt, N.M. on Sunday, highlights the unique challenges his agency faces in fighting crime.

Tribal officers often patrol vast, desolate areas – sometimes 1,000 miles at a time – that are often more underdeveloped and dangerous than other parts of the country. And they do so without many of the resources and funding other law enforcement agencies receive.

So the officers often find themselves outmanned, outgunned and unprepared.

“One of the most trying times I have in serving as president of the Navajo Nation is when I get word that one of our police officers has had their life taken needlessly,” Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye said in a press release. “It brings to mind the situations our officers face every day in responding to calls, getting in their unit and putting their lives on the line. It must be difficult for family members to know their loved ones might not return.”

Begaye has called for continued support of police officers who are protecting the Navajo Nation.

It sometimes takes tribal officers more than an hour to respond to calls and many times they do so alone without any backup.

“Our nation mourns for you as does the country,” Begaye said. “Our officer’s lives are precious. They are the ones who stand guard over our nation and protect us.”

Navajo Nation Council Delegate Edmund Yazzie said a major problem the Nation faces is domestic violence, which has plagued the Navajo Nation for years.

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“Unfortunately, many of our officers face this devastating issue every day when they are on duty and sadly it resulted in the loss of one of our bravest today,” Yazzie said in a statement on Sunday.

Prewitt, N.M., a tiny community not counted by the U.S. Census, rests along Interstate 40, which is 81 miles west of Albuquerque, the state’s capital and its largest city.

It is remote areas like this, defined by majestic red mesas, patches of sagebrush in rust-colored dirt, enclaves of mobile homes in various states of wear and disrepair, and dark, winding roads – many not even paved – that comprise the typical patrol areas for officers like Largo of the Navajo Nation .

The four-and-a-half-year veteran was one of 200 patrol officers, 70 short of what is mandated by the tribe. They patrol 27,425 square miles in Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah that house the nation’s largest Indian reservation, which has a population of 180,000.

Navajo Nation Police Chief Phillip Francisco told Fox News that it is not unusual for one officer to be responsible for patrolling 1,000 miles.

“The Crownpoint District, where officer Largo served, is our largest at over 4,000 square miles and we typically have five officers on per shift,” Francisco said. “It can take officers more than an hour to respond to a call, mostly by themselves.”

Francisco said this daunting challenge places his officers in one of the most unique categories of any law enforcement agency in the nation despite assistance from New Mexico State Police and the sheriff departments of the counties where the reservations reside.

Prewitt is nestled in McKinley County in northwest New Mexico. The FBI investigates violent crimes in the region since Indian land is on federal property. But the tribal police officers are basically on their own for other crimes. A Safe Trails Task Force initiative was formed in 1994 to combat a growing crime wave in Indian Country.

“Most departments in the country have more than 20 officers per 10,000 residents. We have 11,” Francisco said. “This is a staggering amount of area and people to cover.”

Contrary to the 1970s hit, Ball of Confusion by the Temptations, which had a line that said…”the only safe place to live is on an Indian reservation,” the reality is that per capita reservations are among the most dangerous.

Federal statistics in 2013 shocked the nation. The numbers showed the violent crime rate on Indian reservations was 20 times the national average. The homicide rate passed that of Seattle and Boston.

By 2015, the homicide rate had dropped to 17, the number of rapes decreased to 64 and there were 1,358 cases of aggravated assault.

Domestic violence rates have long been off the charts – many times fueled by alcohol abuse.

These toxic factors mixed together sometimes have dangerous consequences for police officers putting their life on the line. Other than Largo, Navajo Nation Police Officer Alex Yazzie, 42, also was killed in the line of duty in 2015.

"Our officers put themselves in highly volatile situations every day in addressing domestic violence situations," Begaye said in his statement. "Although they are highly trained, they can still be severely wounded, which unfortunately is what happened today."

McKinley County Sheriff Ron Silversmith had worked with Largo both when he served with the Gallup Police Department and the sheriff’s department. He said he knows first-hand the dangers police officers face when they patrol the remote Navajo Reservation.

"It is probably one of the most dangerous jobs a police officer can have," Silversmith said. "There are a lot of times where there is no radio contact and you're on your own. You have to be strong willed to work out there."

Silversmith said officers are regularly out in the middle of nowhere on their own. It gets so dark in some areas you cannot see your hand in front of your face.

"They are short staffed and outnumbered and out gunned," he said.

Begaye said the tribe recently upgraded equipment and protective devices for its police department. But they still fall far behind other departments. Francisco said he needs to send recruits to Arizona Department of Public Safety’s academy because their building was condemned.

The other challenge he faces is recruiting new officers. The officers are paid $5 per hour less than surrounding state and municipal law enforcement agencies. And, with the vast amount of land that needs to be patrolled, recruits are far and few between.

In the meantime, the police department is burying another police officer.

Officials said a suspect is in custody in the Largo case but has not released the person’s name. The suspect will face federal charges, police said.

Joseph J. Kolb is a regular contributor to Fox News Latino.

Immigration judges headed to 12 U.S. cities to speed deportations

By Julia Edwards Ainsley | WASHINGTON

The U.S. Justice Department is developing plans to temporarily reassign immigration judges from around the country to 12 cities to speed up deportations of illegal immigrants who have been charged with crimes, according to two administration officials.

How many judges will be reassigned and when they will be sent is still under review, according to the officials, but the Justice Department has begun soliciting volunteers for deployment.

The targeted cities are New York; Los Angeles; Miami; New Orleans; San Francisco; Baltimore, Bloomington, Minnesota; El Paso, Texas; Harlingen, Texas; Imperial, California; Omaha, Nebraska and Phoenix, Arizona. They were chosen because they are cities which have high populations of illegal immigrants with criminal charges, the officials said.

A spokeswoman for the Justice Department's Executive Office of Immigration Review, which administers immigration courts, confirmed that the cities have been identified as likely recipients of reassigned immigration judges, but did not elaborate on the planning.

The plan to intensify deportations is in line with a vow made frequently by President Donald Trump on the campaign trail last year to deport more illegal immigrants involved in crime.

The Department of Homeland Security asked for the judges' reshuffle, an unusual move given that immigration courts are administered by the Department of Justice. A Homeland Security spokeswoman declined to comment on any plan that has not yet been finalized.

Under an executive order signed by Trump in January, illegal immigrants with pending criminal cases are regarded as priorities for deportation whether they have been found guilty or not.

That is a departure from former President Barack Obama's policy, which prioritized deportations only of those convicted of serious crimes.

 A man, who was deported from the U.S. seven months ago, receives candy from his nephew across a fence separating Mexico and the United States as photographed from Tijuana, Mexico, March 4, 2017. Picture taken from the Mexican side of the border.  REUTERS/Jorge Duenes/Files
A man, who was deported from the U.S. seven months ago, receives candy from his nephew across a fence separating Mexico and the United States as photographed from Tijuana, Mexico, March 4, 2017. Picture taken from the Mexican side of the border. REUTERS/Jorge Duenes/Files
The policy shift has been criticized by advocate groups who say it unfairly targets immigrants who might ultimately be acquitted and do not pose a threat.

The cities slated to receive more judges have more than half of the 18,013 pending immigration cases that involve undocumented immigrants facing or convicted of criminal charges, according to data provided by the Justice Department's Executive Office of Immigration Review.


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More than 200 of those cases involve immigrants currently incarcerated, meaning that the others have either not been convicted or have served their sentence. The Justice Department did not provide a breakdown of how many of the remainder have been convicted and how many are awaiting trial.

As part of the Trump administration crackdown on illegal immigrants, the Justice Department is also sending immigration judges to detention centers along the southwest border. Those temporary redeployments will begin Monday.


Former immigration judge and chairman of the Board of Immigration Appeals Paul Schmidt said the Trump administration should not assume that all those charged with crimes would not be allowed to stay in the United States legally.

"It seems they have an assumption that everyone who has committed a crime should be removable, but that's not necessarily true. Even people who have committed serious crimes can sometimes get asylum," Schmidt said.

He also questioned the effectiveness of shuffling immigration judges from one court to another, noting that this will mean cases the judges would have handled in their usual courts will have to be rescheduled. He said that when he was temporarily reassigned to handle cases on the southern border in 2014 and 2015, cases he was slated to hear in his home court in Arlington, Virginia had to be postponed, often for more than a year.

"That's what you call aimless docket reshuffling," he said.

Under the Obama administration, to avoid the expense and disruption of immigration judges traveling, they would often hear proceedings from other courthouses via video conference.

The judges' reshuffling could further logjam a national immigration court system which has more than 540,000 pending cases.

The cities slated to receive more judges have different kinds of immigrant populations.

Imperial, California, for example, is in one of the nation's largest agriculture hubs, attracting large numbers of immigrant farmworkers from Mexico and Central America.

Bloomington, Minnesota, near St. Paul, is home to a large number of African immigrants, many of whom traveled from war-torn countries like Somalia to claim asylum in the United States.

(Reporting by Julia Edwards Ainsley; Editing by Sue Horton and Alistair Bell)

Palestine looking for a few good — and qualified — police officers

Finding a qualified police officer to work and live in Palestine is not an easy task.

At Wednesday’s neighborhood watch meeting, Interim Palestine Police Chief John Herod explained some of the difficulties in finding qualified police officers for his department.

Recently four applicants tested to be a Palestine police officer, and not one of them passed all of the required tests, which include written tests, physical agility and background checks.

Herod said, to be a Palestine police officer, a person will have to meet the police department's high standards.

The police department is currently short a few officers, and Herod thinks he needs a larger applicant pool. He has and will visit other police academies to tell them of the job openings in Palestine.

One officer explained he was sold on Palestine after then-interim Police Chief Mike Alexander spoke to his San Antonio police academy on police officer positions in Palestine.

Herod said he would like to hire experienced officers to help with those who have little or no experience. One way the PPD attracts experienced officers is to to pay their moving expenses.

Another issue is retention; officers can get the training needed in Palestine, and then move to a larger community with a larger police force that pays much more.

A police cadet makes $16 an hour and a probationary officer makes $17.08 an hour in Palestine.

Police officers earn more through steps and promotions, and Herod mentioned raises occur every two years.

When asked if it would help to retain officers if the pay increases occurred every year, Herod said he is looking into a few things.

Detective Kaylynn Griffin, who is in charge of the narcotics division, said it's not all about the money.

Griffin said if she worked for a police agency in Dallas, she would not have the same career possibilities, saying maybe in five years she would be considered to be part of the narcotics team.

She conceded she would probably make more money working for a larger agency like Dallas and Tyler, but reiterated money is not the only thing.

“This is a good place to live and work,” Griffin said. “I love this town.”

John Herod  Officer  Police  Work  Hire  Money  Kaylynn Griffin  Palestine Mike Alexander

Paris shooting: terror investigation launched after suspect shot dead

Man identified by security official as Ziyed Ben Belgacem was killed hours after he shot and injured a policeman north of Paris

French anti-terror officials have launched an investigation after a man known to the security services shot at a police officer in northern Paris before travelling across the city to Orly airport, where he was killed following an altercation with another officer.

The attacker was said to be a radicalised Muslim who appeared on a security watchlist, police sources told Reuters. France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor later confirmed that an inquiry had been opened into the incident on Saturday morning.

The suspect was identified by a security official as Ziyed Ben Belgacem, a 39-year-old born in France, the Associated Press reported.

Prosecutors said the suspect’s house was among scores searched in November 2015 in the immediate aftermath of terror attacks in Paris in which 130 people were killed. Those searches targeted people with suspected radical leanings.

The suspect’s father and brother were detained by police for questioning on Saturday.

The French president, François Hollande, said the investigation would determine whether the Orly attacker “had a terrorist plot behind him”.

The French defence minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said the attacker had assaulted a patrol of three air force soldiers, one of whom was a woman.

The attacker wrestled her to the floor and tried to take her weapon, but she was able to keep hold of it. The two other soldiers then opened fire to protect her and passengers in the airport, he said.

 A trolley stretcher is wheeled into Orly airport southern terminal after the shooting.
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 A stretcher is wheeled into Orly airport’s southern terminal after the shooting. Photograph: Christian Hartmann/Reuters
The air force personnel were deployed as part of Sentinelle, a military operation launched in January 2015 after the Paris terrorist attacks to support the police and protect sensitive sites.

The interior minister, Bruno Le Roux, said the man shot dead at the airport was linked with a car-jacking incident earlier on Saturday in a northern suburb of Paris. He said the man had shot at a female police officer after being stopped for speeding before fleeing the scene and stealing a car at gunpoint.

Le Roux said the officer had not been badly injured.

No explosive devices were found on the dead man’s body, an interior ministry spokesman said.

About 3,000 people were evacuated from both terminals at Orly and all flights were suspended, with some diverted to Charles de Gaulle airport. Some flights began operating again early Saturday afternoon. No one else was injured in the Orly incident.

 Passengers wait among emergency vehicles at Orly airport.
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 Passengers wait among emergency vehicles at Orly airport. Photograph: Benoit Tessier/Reuters
The airport shooting follows after a similar incident last month at the Louvre museum in central Paris.

France remains under a state of emergency in the wake of the attack on the Bataclan music venue in November 2015 in which jihadi gunmen killed 90 people, and the Nice truck attack last July that claimed the lives of 84 people and injured hundreds more.

On a visit to Paris on Saturday the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met survivors of the Bataclan attack, praising their bravery and the “amazing progress” of their recovery.

The royal couple met a 25-year-old, known only as Jessica, who was shot seven times in the leg, hip and back as she dined with friends at La Belle Equipe restaurant, and Kevin, 28, a Bataclan concert-goer shot in the leg.

The couple visited the hospital where the pair have been treated as reports of the incident at Orly airport emerged. A Kensington Palace spokesman said the royal visit was unaffected.

This article was corrected on 19 March 2017. Sentinelle is an operation, not an elite special forces group as suggested earlier.

Hiring off-duty police officers a common practice

One security service that many police departments offer, but that often goes unnoticed, is off-duty work.
Officers direct traffic near construction sites. They greet people coming in and out of bars. They walk the Berglund Center’s concourse during concerts.
They offer additional security at stores, serving as a deterrent to would-be thieves. Last month, when someone photographed a uniformed Roanoke officer outside Wal-Mart on Dale Avenue Southeast apparently sleeping in his patrol car and posted it on Facebook, people chimed in with a range of responses. Some expressed sympathy that officers work long hours, others questioned whether he was on duty — and, if not, what were the policies on uniforms and vehicles?
The Roanoke Police Department has said the officer was working off duty at Wal-Mart but wouldn’t answer additional questions related to the incident, citing it as a personnel matter.  Lt. Jeffrey Newman said people often don’t notice off-duty officers because “much of it goes off without a hitch.” He said officers put in thousands of hours of off-duty and extra-duty work a year, with assignments nearly every day.  Extra-duty employment is when an officer is hired to work public events, such as school basketball or football games or the upcoming Blue Ridge Marathon. Private entities hire officers to work in an off-duty capacity.
“We’re increasing public safety and providing quality customer service to many businesses, houses of worship and events that hire us,” Newman said.
Newman said officers are hired not just for theft prevention, but also when businesses are dealing with an employee being harassed, or threats of violence.
Newman said officers, whether working on or off duty, are bound by department policies and procedures. Any incidents that occur off duty are reviewed against those policies.
Sleeping on the job, for example, is prohibited, according to the department’s fitness for duty policy.
Any issues pertaining to whether the city’s liability insurance is applied are also reviewed after considering the circumstances of the incident, Newman said.  Officers can be hired for $43 an hour and supervisors for $48. A request made less than 48 hours before the service is needed costs $59 an hour, according to the city’s online request form. Employers can request an officer be in uniform or not in uniform, and according to policy, those in uniform are required to wear a body camera. The use of a police vehicle is approved on a case-by-case basis considering the needs of the assignment and availability of vehicles.
“Off duty is a tremendous blessing to many of our officers financially, because let’s face it, police officers are not exactly paid the best,” Newman said.  Seth Stoughton, an assistant professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law and a former police officer, said the practice deserves closer examination to develop standard best practices. He published a draft of a paper last year reviewing responses to survey questions he received from 162 law enforcement agencies.
“I was surprised by the sheer variation in policies,” he said. “Agencies are all over the place in how they regulate moonlighting.”  Some agencies require uniforms while working off duty, while some don’t or don’t specify in their policies, he found. Agencies also varied on whether they tracked the number of hours officers work for private employers.  Locally, for example, while Roanoke County and Salem’s policies limit the number of hours an officer can work off duty in a week, Roanoke’s policy does not.
Straight Street, a downtown Roanoke ministry that provides services to children and teens, frequently hires off-duty officers for certain events, said its director, Keith Farmer.
“It means a lot to have officers there for security, but also in a friendly way for the kids,” Farmer said. “It’s been a huge blessing to have them.”

Protective Security Specialist Arrive Safe Comes To California

Protective Security Specialist

RyPul Threat Assessments is now offering “ARRIVE SAFE” in the Southern California market. Arrive Safe are very professional and personalized security services to those who are a little uncomfortable about returning to an empty home, business, apartment or rental property after an extended time away, for fear of being accosted by some unwanted person who could be waiting inside. 


Are you returning from vacation and want to ensure your home is secure? 
Are you a college student living alone – need your place checked out? 
Is your elderly parent safe when returning from a hospital visit? 
Has your neighbor called to say someone is snooping around your home? 


RYPUL states that there is a growing need for affordable, on call personal protective services that the average American can use, especially since your local police officer won’t respond simply just to "check out your home" because you feel uneasy. Statics show that 1 out 3 residential assaults are a result of burglary, 85% of break-ins are from desperate and dangerous people, 4 of 10 sexual assaults take place at the victim’s home and 1 burglary occurs in the U.S. every 15 seconds. RYPUL states that it can provide the average person with an armed former law enforcement officer or government trained security professional to walk into and through your home, apartment, business or rental property before you enter and ensure that you’re not walking into danger, affording you exceptional peace of mind. 

Safety Is Never Overrated 
Call (888) 818-2790 to Schedule Your Service 

Company Description: 
About Our Company RYPUL THREAT ASSESSMENTS is a global security services provider. Our expertise has been earned through security operations around the world. Our network of security professionals can design customized, individualized protective security products at a moment’s notice.