Showing posts with label Anne Arrundel County. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Anne Arrundel County. Show all posts

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Fingerprints Used To Identify Illegal Immigrants Charged In Crimes

Anne Arundel County joined a federal program this week that is aimed at helping identify illegal immigrants who have been arrested and accused of other crimes.

The program employs fingerprint identification using federal databases, and officials say it will be implemented nationwide by 2013.

The program, called Secure Communities, was started under the George W. Bush administration but has become a priority in the Obama administration's enforcement efforts for illegal immigration. With the help of local law enforcement authorities and jails, the ability to quickly identify illegal immigrants who have committed crimes or are accused of committing them is improved under the program, supporters say.
In Arundel, fingerprints taken at booking will go into a wider Homeland Security database. Potential matches will be identified within hours, said Terry Kokolis, superintendent of the county jail.

When there is a match, immigration officials are notified and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement generally moves to have the person detained by local authorities. After the defendant's court case or incarceration ends, he is held for ICE. At that point, ICE may pick him up and begin deportation proceedings.

Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold said Secure Communities appeals to him in part because it is based on fingerprints. "Fingerprints don't lie," he said.

County officials say the reliance on technology reduces the possibility of human error and could cut down on accusations of profiling by law enforcement.

But critics, including Kim Propeack, director of community organizing and political action for Casa de Maryland, say that while the program can help rid communities of violent criminals, it also is flawed and has led immigrants elsewhere — legal and illegal — to think that police are stopping them on another pretext because the officer suspects they are in the country illegally.

They say the program is sweeping up many immigrants whose criminal cases are dropped or who are convicted of minor charges, though Leopold countered that "so-called nuisance crimes become a breeding ground for other crimes."

Immigrant advocates in the county say a program with the potential to increase deportations creates problems of its own, including spending thousands of dollars to deport people who are in the country illegally. Immigrants who are victims of or witnesses to crime may be afraid to come forward as a result of the program, for fear of being deported.

"It's just a chilling factor," said Bob Feldmann, an outreach coordinator with OHLA, the Organization of Hispanic and Latin Americans of Anne Arundel County Inc., an immigrant aid group.

Part of the problem, he said, is that many immigrants — legal or not — live in fear of deportation and don't understand immigration law.

Capt. Randy Jones Sr., commander of special enforcement in the county Police Department, said that a lack of a fingerprint match in a federal database does not necessarily mean the person is in the country illegally, but only that the person's prints are not in the database.

But "that's the beginning of your record. If you provide a different name next time, we have fingerprints to show it," he said. And fingerprints will turn up every photo taken of that person in the government database. "It's going to catch the people that are using multiple aliases," he said.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Police Question If Officer Was Legally Allowed To Carry A Gun

Now here is a REAL issue with an officer and his gun! This isn't a game of "Lets See If We Can Pull the Political Plug", like the game being played in Worcester County by the Worcester County Sheriff"s Dept. This is real. No finger pointing, no name calling, no waste of taxpayers tax money and no damaging of anyones reputation for things in the past that this officer did or did not do. Get it?

Anne Arundel County Police said Friday that they expect to conclude their investigation into the fatal shooting of a Siberian husky at a Severn dog park by a federal officer in the next 72 hours, and they indicated that the unidentified officer might not have been authorized to carry a firearm.

The department released a redacted version of the police report of the shooting of the dog, named Bear-Bear. Department officials released a statement Friday saying that after further investigation, the officer's "legal authority to carry a firearm became questionable."

The department still has not named the officer, who they said fired his personal weapon in the shooting.
Police said they initially closed the incident, and that the State's Attorney's Office, after reviewing the case, instructed the officers not to file charges.

The officer's attorney, David Putzi, said this week that his 32-year-old client was acting in self-defense in an attempt to stop an attack on his dog, a German shepherd named Asia.

But Rachel Rettaliata, the husky's owner, said the dog has a history of being friendly. Her brother had taken 3-year-old Bear-Bear for their daily trip to Quail Run community dog park when the husky was shot.

Rettaliata said her brother told her that the dogs began to play roughly and that the off-duty officer asked him to call off the dog. But before he could move, the officer shot Bear-Bear, she said.

The investigation is ongoing.

Off-Duty Federal Officer Fatally Shoots Dog In Dog Park

The off-duty federal police officer who fatally shot a Siberian husky in a Severn dog park has been placed on administrative leave while county police investigate the incident, but through his lawyer maintains that he fired his gun in defense of his pet, his wife and himself.

Citing their investigation, Anne Arundel County police still have not named the officer, who they said fired his personal weapon in the shooting Monday of Bear-Bear, a brown-and-white husky who died a few hours later.

Police, who did not provide a report, said they initially closed the incident amd there was no evidence of criminal activity. They did not respond to questions about other circumstances surrounding it.
The officer's attorney, David Putzi, declined to identify him, citing online threats made against him and his family. However, Putzi provided some information about his 32-year-old client, who he said fired his weapon only when faced with an aggressive dog whose handler "could not or would not" step in to stop an attack on the officer's dog, a German shepherd named Asia.

The account is very different from the one offered by Rachel Rettaliata, the husky's owner, whose brother had taken 3-year-old Bear-Bear for their daily trip to Quail Run community dog park.

The investigation into the dog park shooting was reopened Wednesday on the demand of County Executive John R. Leopold.

On Thursday, the Humane Society of the United States joined the investigation after offering to lend its expertise and resources to the county police department. Justin Scally, a Humane Society investigator, expects to begin Friday morning with what he called a "very difficult investigation" into the only fatal shooting of a dog at a dog park that he knows of.

Meanwhile, thousands of online posts from people across the country and two Facebook pages have expressed support for the owners of Bear-Bear, and a gathering in was held at the park Thursday evening.

Earlier in the week, some had speculated that Asia, the German shepherd, may have been a police dog, but county police said Thursday that that wasn't the case.

Putzi said his client served about two years in the Army and is a sergeant in the Army Reserves who has completed two tours in Iraq totaling 26 months, and has worked for about three years as police officer.

"There is absolutely no history on him being some sort of renegade or flying off the handle," Putzi said. Rather, he received the Army achievement medals and two Army commendation medals, and was nominated for but did not receive a Bronze Star, Putzi said.

Maryann Hodges, a spokeswoman for Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, the Army and Marine base in Northern Virginia, said the civilian police officer was placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure, because of the Anne Arundel County investigation.

Putzi said his client's dog, Asia, is a pet adopted through a rescue group. The man came to the park with his wife, who had the dog on a leash.

Bear-Bear and Rettaliata's brother were the only others there, according to his account. The couple asked if Bear-Bear was friendly, and after being told yes, they allowed the dogs to interact, Putzi said.

The dogs played briefly, then separated. But when Bear-Bear approached again, Putzi said, the situation changed.

"This dog was trying to get the dog down by the neck, the jaws of the husky were around the German shepherd's neck," the lawyer said. When the couple tried to intervene, the dog became aggressive toward them as well, Putzi said.

When Rettaliata's brother did not take control of the husky, Putzi's client shot the dog, the attorney said.

In responding to the officer's account, Rachel Rettaliata said, "If I were in his shoes, I probably would tell them the same thing."

Her pet, also a rescue dog, has a history of being friendly, she said. Her brother told her that the dogs began to play roughly and that the off-duty officer asked him to call off the dog. But before he could move, the officer shot Bear-Bear, she said.

"In my personal opinion, a firearm never had to come into the picture," she said.

Both sides said they welcomed the addition of the Humane Society to the investigation.

Scally, the investigator, said the organization regularly helps police departments with cases involving animals. Scally said he also hopes to do some work with Quail Run dog park.

"Working with the community is a big part here," he said. "We hope to help them make the park safer."

When word of Bear-Bear's fatal shooting became public Tuesday, police said the matter was closed and there was no evidence of a crime, evoking public criticism. On Wednesday, County Executive John R. Leopold, saying he was "deeply troubled" to hear of the shooting, said he contacted Chief of Police James Teare to insist on a full investigation.