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Who wants to be a police officer? Job applications plummet at most U.S. departments

Chuck Wexler talks to police chiefs frequently, as head of the Police Executive Research Forum think tank in Washington. Recently, he asked a roomful of chiefs to raise their hands if they wanted their children to follow them into a law enforcement career. Not one hand went up, he said.

Nationwide, interest in becoming a police officer is down significantly. In Nashville, job applications dropped from 4,700 in 2010 to 1,900 last year. In Seattle, applications have declined by nearly 50 percent in a department where the starting salary is $79,000. Even the FBI had a sharp drop, from 21,000 applications per year to 13,000 last year, before a new marketing campaign brought an upswing.

And retaining officers once they’ve joined is getting harder, too. In a PERF survey of nearly 400 police departments, 29 percent of those who left their police job voluntarily had been on the force less than a year, and an additional 40 percent had been on the job less than five years. At a PERF gathering in Washington on Tuesday of police chiefs and commanders from across the country, many attributed their declining numbers to a diminished perception of police in the years after the shooting and unrest in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014 and an increase in public and media scrutiny of police made possible by technology and social media.

“There’s an increased potential for officers to be criminally liable for making a good-faith mistake,” said Terry Sult, the police chief in Hampton, Va. “We’re seeing a lot more media coverage of officers being prosecuted, and that weighs heavily on a lot of officers' hearts. ... That’s a stressor on whether I want to stay in this position or not.”

Russ Hamill, an assistant chief of police in Montgomery County, Md., said he would prefer that his kids enter another profession — “even lawyers,” he said to big laughs. “It just has changed so dramatically,” Hamill said. “I see the treatment of our street officers out there. I think it’s time for somebody else to take the torch for a little bit.”



https://www.washingtonpost.com/crime-law/2018/12/04/who-wants-be-police-officer-job-applications-plummet-most-us-departments/?utm_term=.b8ede27ecd49

The Loneliest Generation: Americans, More Than Ever, Are Aging Alone

Baby boomers are aging alone more than any generation in U.S. history, and the resulting loneliness is a looming public health threat. About one in 11 Americans age 50 and older lacks a spouse, partner or living child, census figures and other research show. That amounts to about eight million people in the U.S. without close kin, the main source of companionship in old age, and their share of the population is projected to grow.

Policy makers are concerned this will strain the federal budget and undermine baby boomers’ health. Researchers have found that loneliness takes a physical toll, and is as closely linked to early mortality as smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day or consuming more than six alcoholic drinks a day. Loneliness is even worse for longevity than being obese or physically inactive.

Along with financial issues including high debt and declining pensions, social factors such as loneliness are another reason boomers are experiencing more difficult retirement years than previous generations.

“The effect of isolation is extraordinarily powerful,” says Donald Berwick, former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “If we want to achieve health for our population, especially vulnerable people, we have to address loneliness.”

The Trump administration is looking at expanding faith-based partnerships to combat isolation among seniors, says U.S. Assistant Secretary for Aging Lance Robertson. Earlier this year, the British government appointed its first minister of loneliness to tackle the issue.

The baby boomers prized individuality and generally had fewer children and ended marriages in greater numbers than previous generations. More than one in four boomers is divorced or never married, census figures show. About one in six lives alone.

The University of Chicago’s General Social Survey, which has tracked American attitudes since 1972, asked respondents four years ago how often they lacked companionship, felt left out and felt isolated from others. Baby boomers said they experienced these feelings with greater frequency than any other generation, including the older “silent generation.”


https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-loneliest-generation-americans-more-than-ever-are-aging-alone-11544541134

Paris in lockdown as France braces for new anti-Macron riots

Source: France 24

Paris was in lockdown early on Saturday with thousands of French security forces braced to meet renewed rioting by "yellow vest" protesters in the capital and other cities in a fourth weekend of confrontation over living costs. The Eiffel Tower and other tourist landmarks were shut, shops were boarded up to avoid looting and street furniture removed to avoid metal bars from being used as projectiles.

About 89,000 police were deployed across the country. Of these, about 8,000 were deployed in Paris to avoid a repeat of last Saturday's mayhem when rioters torched cars and looted shops off the famed Champs Elysees boulevard, and defaced the Arc de Triomphe with graffiti directed at President Emmanuel Macron.

Protesters, using social media, have billed the weekend as "Act IV" in a dramatic challenge to Macron and his policies. The protests, named after the high-visibility safety jackets French motorists have to keep in their cars, erupted in November over the squeeze on household budgets caused by fuel taxes.

Demonstrations have since swelled into a broad, sometimes-violent rebellion against Macron - a challenge made more difficult to handle since the movement has no formal leader.



Read more: https://www.france24.com/en/20181208-paris-lockdown-france-yellow-vests-gilets-jaunes-anti-macron-riots-protests

'Macron's arrogance unites us' - on the barricades with France's gilets jaunes

Grassroots citizens’ revolt against fuel tax rises has morphed into president’s biggest crisis. On the grass verge of a village roundabout north of Toulouse, Céline stood at a barricade built from pallets of wood and old tyres, a bonfire burning behind her. French flags were flying alongside signs calling for Emmanuel Macron’s resignation.

“I’m prepared to spend Christmas protesting at this roundabout with my children – we won’t back down and we’ve got nothing to lose,” said the 41-year-old, who voted for Macron in last year’s presidential election. “He gave good speeches and I really believed his promises that he would change France. But not any more.” Céline, a classroom assistant for children with special needs, earns €800 (£710) a month. She cannot afford rent so lives with her four children in a relative’s house in the suburbs of Toulouse, in the south-west of France.

“Macron’s first move in office was to slash the wealth tax for the mega-rich while cutting money from poor people’s housing benefits,” she said. “That is a serious injustice. The country is rising up and he’s staying silent, he’s hiding in an ivory tower, that’s what disturbs me, he’s not taking responsibility.”

At the roundabout barricade in Lespinasse, 20 people from surrounding villages – builders, nurses, workers in the local aviation industry – protested near a crucial fuel depot, wearing the yellow high-visibility vests that define France’s gilets jaunes movement. Passing trucks and cars beeped in support. Drivers leaned out of their windows and shouted “Don’t give up!”

This grassroots citizens’ protest, which began as a spontaneous revolt against fuel tax rises last month, has morphed into an anti-government and anti-Macron movement and is now the young centrist president’s biggest crisis. The demonstrators say that Macron is an arrogant would-be monarch. He presents himself abroad, they say, as a progressive hero who can hold back the tide of nationalism, but at home he symbolises a distant political elite, stoking distrust and pushing people towards populism.

“I always feared that there was an element of dictator in the way Macron did things,” said Robert, 64, a leftwing Toulouse carpenter and cabinet maker. “He’s well-presented and he speaks nicely – but he misread these protests because he thought he was the saviour of France. He wasn’t listening, he forgot the human factor.” Last Saturday saw the worst street unrest in central Paris in decades, as fringe elements of the otherwise peaceful protesters fought running battles with riot police and set cars alight. Tourist attractions and museums in Paris will be closed on Saturday, and the government has warned that thousands of rioters might come to the capital to “smash” or even “kill”. Yet gilets jaunes across France are determined to march in towns and cities this weekend anyway.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/07/macrons-arrogance-unites-us-on-the-barricades-with-frances-gilets-jaunes



Homeless man pushes stranger into oncoming traffic

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- A brutal, heart-stopping crime captured on camera in downtown Los Angeles' Jewelry District.

Police say the man seen here in a lime green jacket is a transient that frequents this area.

He's sitting in front of a restaurant around 10 a.m. on 6th Street near Broadway when the victim, believed to be in his 60's, walks by.

Unprovoked, he shoves him into oncoming traffic.

The victim is hit by a box truck and ends up under its tire.

The suspect picks something up and nonchalantly walks away.

As he's pinned for at least 10 seconds, a business owner rushes to his aid until paramedics arrive.

"He's listed in critical condition with a collapsed lung and scrapes, bumps and bruises and we think he is going to make it, which is great news," said Officer Mike Lopez with the Los Angeles Police Department.

A manhunt was underway for several hours.

Around 6:45, L.A. firefighters spotted the suspect a few blocks away, still in the lime green jacket, and called police.

Ryan Jeter recently moved to downtown and says this is the second violent attack he's heard about.

The last one occurred a few months ago.

https://www.kron4.com/news/california/caught-on-camera-homeless-man-pushes-stranger-into-oncoming-traffic/1643347470

Georgia woman spends 3 months in jail over cotton candy mistaken for meth

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A woman is suing Monroe County, Georgia, and a North Carolina company after a roadside drug test popular with law enforcement agencies falsely identified her cotton candy as methamphetamine. The woman, Dasha Fincher of Monroe County, seeks unspecified damages alleging false and malicious arrest and imprisonment, among numerous other complaints, in the incident on New Year's Eve 2016. The suit, which was filed Nov. 15 in U.S. District Court in Macon, claims that because she couldn't pay a $1 million bond on charges methamphetamine trafficking and possession, Fincher was improperly held in jail for more than three months in early 2017 before a state lab test found the false positive. The charges were dropped in April 2017.

The suit says Fincher was a passenger in the car when it was stopped on Dec. 31, 2016. It claims that Monroe County sheriff's deputies said they stopped the car because it had dark tinted windows and then became suspicious of the bag of blue cotton candy that Fincher was holding. In video from the deputies' dash camera that was provided to NBC News by Fincher's attorney, James Freeman, both deputies can be seen sniffing the bag as Fincher clutches her hands to her face. The video, which ends with Fincher's being handcuffed, includes captioned commentary from Freeman.

"I just couldn't believe it was happening," Fincher said Tuesday in a statement provided by her attorney. "Being locked up was hard on me because I was away from my family. I was most scared of my granddaughter forgetting who I was," she said. "My twin grandsons were born and I was supposed to be in the delivery room. My daughter had a miscarriage and I couldn't console her."

According to the suit, the field test was administered using a NARK II meth reagent pouch manufactured by Sirchie Acquisition Co. of Youngsville, North Carolina. It accuses Sirchie of negligence in its manufacturing of the NARK II and in its training of its client agencies.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/georgia-woman-sues-over-drug-test-said-cotton-candy-was-n940926

Texas ATM causes chaos after it spits out $100 bills instead of $20 bills

Source: WTHR NBC

An ATM in the Houston area has been shut down and was temporarily guarded by law officers after mistakenly dispensing $100 bills instead of $10s and word of the glitch got out on social media.

Some Harris County sheriff's deputies protected the outdoor ATM after Sunday night's incident and notified Bank of America. A bank statement Monday says a vendor incorrectly loaded $100 bills in place of $10 bills. Bank of America also says customers will be able to keep the additional dispensed money.

Officials with North Carolina-based Bank of America didn't say how much cash was wrongly dispensed. According to KPRC-TV in Houston, the excitement went on for about two hours until a trooper alerted the sheriff's office, who arrived to shut the ATM down.





Read more: https://www.wthr.com/article/bank-says-customers-can-keep-100-bills-mistakenly-dispensed-atm

Tennessee Man Killed After Concrete 'Likely' Thrown Over Bridge Hits His Car: Police

Source: NBC

A man was killed after a concrete slab smashed into his windshield Tuesday in Tennessee. Joe Shelton Jr., 54, was driving east on Interstate 24 when a "chunk of concrete," which was likely thrown from the Shelby Avenue Bridge, went through the windshield of his Nissan, the Metro Nashville Police Department said in a statement.

The concrete piece hit Shelton as he was driving to work, leading him to lose control of his car, authorities said. Police said the concrete didn't appear to come from the bridge but "resembled a roadway curb." Authorities are investigating the case but do not currently have any suspects.

This is one of a few cases of people being killed by objects thrown off bridges in recent years. A Michigan dad, Kenneth White, was killed in October 2017 when a rock was thrown through onto windshield on his way to work. Five teens were charged with murder in connection with the incident. One pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and four pleaded guilty to manslaughter earlier this year.



Read more: https://www.nbc4i.com/news/inside-edition/tennessee-man-killed-after-concrete-039likely039-thrown-over-bridge-hits-his-car-police/1611050159

Chief deputy: More than 90 murders tied to Wise County inmate

Source: WFAA

DECATUR, Texas — A 78-year-old man that spent almost two months in the Wise County jail may be responsible for more than 90 murders, according to the Wise County Sheriff's Office. Samuel Little, who's already serving life behind bars in California for three killings there, was recently extradited to Texas because of possible links to unsolved cases here.

Wise County Chief Deputy Craig Johnson said Little may very well be one of the most dangerous men to ever set foot in the county. "That's a scary number [90]. That's more than the BTK killer and the Green River killer," said Johnson. The chief deputy said detectives from across the country visited Little during October and early November, after it became clear he was ready to open up about dozens of cold cases. "It was a steady stream of investigators," said Johnson. "We kept him in a cell by himself."

It was thought Little may be responsible for an unsolved homicide near Decatur from the 1980s, which was part of the reason he was being housed locally. But Johnson said it now appeared he wasn't tied to the case. Little has been indicted for murder in Ector County, and was transported there Tuesday morning.

The news of Little's stay in North Texas was first reported by the Wise County Messenger, with the sheriff releasing more details late Tuesday. The Texas Rangers, FBI and local departments from close to a dozen states suspect Little of being responsible for roughly 90 murders, according to a release from Wise County. The slayings stretch to as far back as 1970.



Read more: https://www.wfaa.com/article/news/chief-deputy-more-than-90-murders-tied-to-wise-county-inmate/287-614676896

Homeless vet, couple at center of GoFundMe controversy allegedly made up story: report

Source: NY Post

The New Jersey couple who raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in a viral charity campaign for a homeless man were allegedly working with the vagrant as part of an elaborate ruse, according to a new report. Prosecutors believe that Mark D’Amico and Kate McClure conspired with homeless man Johnny Bobbitt to create their get-rich-quick scheme in 2017, NBC’s Philadelphia affiliate reported Wednesday.

The couple turned themselves in to authorities on Wednesday, but Bobbitt was still at large, the news station said. According a source who spoke to the news outlet, which said it had a copy of a criminal complaint, all three are expected to face charges of conspiracy and theft by deception for working together to create the ruse. The Burlington County Prosecutor’s office is expected to make an announcement in the case Thursday, according to multiple reports.

Prosecutors did not immediately return a call for comment, and reps for the couple and Bobbitt were not available. McClure, 28, and D’Amico, 39, created a GoFundMe page in November 2017, claiming the homeless, drug addict Bobbitt spent his last $20 to fill up McClure’s empty gas tank after her car broke down on I-95 near Philadelphia. The charity campaign exploded, raising tens of thousands of dollars from unsuspecting donors in a matter of days — and ultimately shooting up to more than $400,000.

“It has changed my entire outlook about people, my outlook about people has skyrocketed,” McClure said of the donations at the time. Their plan began to unravel in August of this year, when Bobbit sued the couple, claiming they were withholding funds raised on the GoFundMe from him. McClure and D’Amico, both of Florence Township, NJ, accused Bobbit of being on drugs and refused to pay him until he was clean. In September, a lawyer for the couple announced that he expected they would both be indicted for their role in the scam — but it was not known that all three of them were suspected in the plot until Wednesday.

Read more: https://nypost.com/2018/11/15/homeless-vet-couple-at-center-of-gofundme-controversy-allegedly-made-up-story-report/
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