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National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence Urges Obama to Give ATF Resources, Appoint Permanent Director

president obama- white house photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence is urging President Barack Obama to provide  ATF with adequate  resources to battle gun violence and appoint a permanent director for the agency.

In a letter dated Nov. 4, Jim Johnson, the Baltimore County Police chief, who is chair of the anti-gun violence organization, wrote to the President:

As you know, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has lacked a permanent Director since March 31, 2015. Given the critical role ATF plays — through investigation and enforcement — in mitigating the harm caused by armed criminals and illegal firearms, it is vital that ATF be publicly recognized as the critically important law enforcement entity it is, and supported through proper resourcing. That includes, ensuring that ATF has the necessary operating funds and that it has a permanent leader.

Just as the White House could not function effectively without a President, no local, state or federal law enforcement agency can do without leadership. ATF’s hard working agents and staff are adversely impacted and the agency is forced to operate at a deficit when the position of ATF Director is left vacant and without a nominee — regardless of the talent, professionalism or commitment of those who serve in the organization.

We implore you to nominate a permanent Director of ATF, and ask that you do so without delay. The law enforcement community has the utmost respect for and confidence in ATF’s Deputy Director Thomas Brandon, a career ATF special agent who has served with distinction and honor as the agency’s Acting Director since March 2015 and as the ATF Deputy Director since October 2011.

Brandon, who heads the agency, was serving as acting director since April. However, law requires that if he is not nominated for the permanent post after a certain number of days, his title revert back to deputy director. That change in title happened last week.

 

DEA Chief Agrees with FBI Director Comey That Police Are Less Aggressive After Ferguson

police lightsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The head of the DEA said Wednesday that he agrees with other law enforcement officials that police are less aggressive because of the racially-charged incidents captured on videotape.

Chuck Rosenberg said he agrees with FBI Director James Comey that the tensions nationwide have had a chilling effect on police.

“I think there’s something to it,” Rosenberg said during a press briefing on drug statistics at DEA headquarters in Arlington. “I think he’s spot on. I’ve heard the same thing.”

President Obama has disputed the claims, saying police continue to do their jobs diligently.

Whether the less aggressive policing has had an effect on crime won’t be known immediately, Rosenberg said, agreeing with Comey that it’s to early to draw conclusions.

FBI Helps Find Boy Who Was Abducted 13 Years Ago, Allegedly by His Father

missing boyBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Julian Hernandez was 5 years old when he went missing.

When the FBI joined the investigation and helped find him this month, Hernandez was 18 years old.

The FBI received a tip on Oct. 30 that Hernandez may be living in Cleveland, 13 years after he was abducted from Alabama, ABC 5 reports. 

On Monday, the FBI confirmed that it was in face Hernandez and arrested his father, Bobby Hernandez.

The FBI issued this statement:

On October 30, 2015, the Cleveland FBI office received information that an individual residing in Cleveland may be a missing child from Alabama, missing since August 2002.  An investigation ensued by members of the FBI’s Violent Crime Task Force joining the ongoing efforts of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Vestavia Hills Police Department and the Birmingham Division of the FBI regarding missing child Julian Hernandez.    On November 2nd it was confirmed that this young male is in fact missing child Julian Hernandez.  Julian Hernandez has been missing from the Vestavia Hills/Birmingham, Alabama area since August 2002.   Through coordination with the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office,   Julian’s father, Bobby Hernandez,  was arrested and subsequently charged in Cuyahoga County Court.   Julian’s biological mother has been notified.  This matter is ongoing and no further details can be provided at this time.

Border Patrol Employee Posts Sign That Reserves Halloween Candy for ‘American families’ Only

Border PatrolBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol employee posted a sign outside of a government building in the border town of Presidio, Texas, that reserved Halloween candy for “America families” only.

The sign, written in Spanish, translated to, “Only American families will receive candy,” the New Civil Rights Movement reports. 

The town of Presidio is more than 87% Hispanic.

CBP quickly apologized, saying it supports all cultures.

“We respect all people regardless of their culture, nationality or origin. We apologize for any harm this incident may have created in our relationship with the community,” the statement read.

Residents were outraged and offended, including the mayor, John Ferguson, who said he’s never been excluded from holiday celebrations in Mexico.

North Carolina Judge Charged with Bribing an FBI Agent for Copies of Text Messages

Smart PhoneBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A North Carolina judge is accused of trying to bribe an FBI agent to collect text messages between two phone numbers involving a family matter, The Associated Press reports. 

Superior County Judge Arnold Jones II was arrested Wednesday and charged with bribery.

Jones, who handles cases in three rural eastern North Carolina counties, faces up to 37 years in prison, if convicted.

Federal law prohibits the FBI from demanding text or phone information without a search warrant.

According to the FBI, the judge offered $100 for the information.

Heroin Becomes Law Enforcement’s Biggest Concern As Use Skyrockets

800px-HeroinBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Law enforcement nationwide believe heroin abuse is the largest drug threat, overtaking methamphetamine, according to a new DEA survey.

NBC News reports that the seizure of heroin has nearly doubled over the past five years, while the 51% more people are using the highly addictive drug.

“Heroin availability is up across the country, as are abuses, overdoses, and overdose deaths,” says the 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment Summary, released Wednesday.

One reason heroin has become so popular is because of prescription painkiller abuse. Painkillers and heroin are both opiates.

The number of deaths in 2013 – 46,471 – is the highest on record.

“Roughly half of the overdose deaths are related to abuse of prescription drugs and another 8,000 involve heroin. So combined those two things account for two-thirds of the overdose deaths,” said DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg.

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Agent Who Assaulted Teenager and Threatened to Shoot Him, Still on Duty

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent caught on video assaulting a much smaller teenager and then pointing a gun at the victim remains on active duty despite an assault conviction stemming from the incident.

FBI Agent Gerald Rogero was off-duty outside of a high-rise apartment building in Chevy Chase, Md., when he struck the 15-year-old in the chest.

Rogero then pulled out a gun and placed the teen under arrest.

“If I have to shoot you, I will,” he said. “Don’t make me shoot you.”

Rogero, who served as a chief in the FBI’s counterterrorism division for nearly 20 years, was found guilty last week of second-degree assault, The Washington Post reports. 

Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 20.

“At the end of the day, we are here because of the defendant’s conduct, off duty, while armed,” Assistant State’s Attorney John Lalos said.

Rogero’s attorney argued that the agent should be allowed to carry a gun.

“It’s clear that in order for him to continue to be an FBI agent, he needs to be armed 24 hours a day,” Marlon Griffith said.

School Administrator Who Defrauded Chicago Public Schools Accused of Similar Crimes in Detroit

Detroit-Public-Schools-DPS--jpgBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT –– A former Detroit Public Schools official who pleaded guilty last month to defrauding schools in Chicago is accused of illegally steering a $40 million book deal to DPS, according to court records obtained by the Detroit Free Press. 

The records show that Barbara Byrd-Bennett, who was the accountability officer for DPS from May 2009 to June 2011, had a conflict of interest and lied about her relationship with the book publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

While she worked later at Chicago Public Schools, Byrd-Bennett helped steer $23 million in no-bid contracts in return for $2.3 million in kickbacks and bribes.

She pleaded guilty last month in the Chicago Public Schools case.

A search warrant for her AOL account uncovered the new allegations.

The FBI believes there is “probable cause” that Byrd-Bennett committed theft, fraud and conspiracy while working for DPS.

DPS officials said they are cooperating.

“Detroit Public Schools takes seriously any allegations of misconduct against its employees and/or vendors,” DPS spokeswoman Michelle Zdrodowski wrote in an e-mail. “As with any matter where there are allegations of misconduct, DPS investigates internally and works cooperatively with the law enforcement agency handling such matters.