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President Biden Nominates Ronald Davis to Serve As Head of U.S. Marshals Service

Ronald Davis with President Obama. (Photo via Twitter)

By Steve Neavling

President Biden on Friday nominated Ronald Davis to serve as director of the U.S. Marshals Service. 

Davis is a former police chief who served in the Obama administration as director of the Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS).  

Davis has a long career in law enforcement. He served for eight years as chief of the East Palo Alto Police Department and 20 years with the Oakland Police Department in California. 

In December 2014, President Obama appointed him to serve as executive director of the Task Force on 21st Century Policing. 

“Davis was recognized for his innovative community efforts and for working collaboratively with the community to dramatically reduce crime and violence in a city once named as the murder capital of the United States,” Biden’s administration said in a news release.

Davis is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Reducing Racial Inequalities in the Criminal Justices System Committee. 

Davis received a bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University and completed the Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program at Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.

Washington Man Arrested for Allegedly Pointing Laser at CBP Agents in Helicopter

FAA illustration of a laser pointed at an aircraft.

By Steve Neavling

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent sought medical attention after he was struck in the eye last week by a laser pointer while flying a helicopter in Washington state. 

The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office arrested Ronald Gregory Boettcher, 34, on a charge of first-degree unlawful discharge of a laser on Wednesday, The Belligham Herald reports.

Two CBP agents were in the helicopter when they said a laser was aimed into the cockpit. The helicopter was performing training approaches at Bellingham International Airport. 

Deputies responded to a report of the incident and talked to a neighbor who said the laser had come from a backyard where Boettcher lives, sheriff’s spokeswoman Deb Slater said in an email. 

Boettcher denied involvement and said he didn’t possess a laser. Deputies later found one at the home, Slater said. 

Laser illumination incidents have been on the rise, with 6,852 reported in 2020, according to lasersafety.com. That’s up from 6,213 in 2019 and 5,663 in 2018. 

Weekend Series on Crime History: The Murder of MLK

Kirpy Retires from Border Patrol After 7 Years of Service

Kirpy retired from CBP after seven years of service.

By Steve Neavling

Kirpy, a Belgian Malinois that has served with U.S. Customs and Border Protection since he was a puppy, has retired. 

Kirpy was born on Thanksgiving Day in 2012 at the CBP Canine Center in El Paso and at four moths old was reared and trained at the Yuma Sector in Arizona.

His final shift with his handler Agent Rolando Carbajal was Friday. 

Throughout his seven-year career, Kirpy has detected more than $85,000 worth of marijuana and hashish and more than $140,000 worth of methamphetamine. He also participated in public demonstrations at schools, RV parks and community events. 

“That dog was awesome,” Special Operations Supervisor Mark Sims said in a news release. “We used Kirpy whenever we had demos. He could do it all and his temperament was really good.”

Kirpy was named after fallen Nogales Border Patrol Agent Alexander Kirpnick, who was killed in the line of duty on June 3, 1998, while trying to arrest smuggling suspects.   

Kirpy is now enjoying retirement with Carbajal’s son, and he’s already gone on a fishing trip. 

“He’s loving retirement,” Carbajal said. “He’s able to come inside and hang out. Everything is new [for him].”

Biden Administration Searches for First Permanent ATF Director Since 2015

By Steve Neavling

President Biden may soon pick a nominee to lead the ATF, which has been without a permanent director since 2015 as the nation continues to grapple with mass shootings. 

The New York Times reports that Biden’s administration is interviewing potential candidates, and NBC News says the president has a “shortlist” of final candidates.

“The administration is going to revitalize A.T.F. and ensure that our guns laws are vigorously enforced,” Michael Gwin, a Biden spokesman, told The New York Times.

As vice president, Biden recommended in 2013 that President Obama pick a Senate-confirmed ATF director. Obama followed through with the confirmation of B. Todd Jones in 2013, but Jones resigned in 2015, and the agency has been without a permanent director since. 

The current acting director, appointed by President Trump, is Regina Lombardo. 

Picking a permanent director is among the Biden administration’s priorities, spokesman Michael Gwin told NBC News in a statement. 

“President Biden is committed to reducing gun violence both, through the policies he pursues and the personnel he places in key positions at agencies like ATF,” Gwin said. “The Administration is going to revitalize ATF and ensure that our guns laws are vigorously enforced so we can keep illegal firearms off our streets and save lives.” 

No candidates have been identified. 

Border Patrol Agent Honored During Procession in South California

Alejandro Flores-Bañuelos (courtesy of Border Patrol)

By Steve Neavling

A Border Patrol agent killed last week while trying to help a motorist in Southern California was honored during a procession through Coachella Valley on Wednesday.

Law enforcement officials stood on overpasses as the procession passed through Interstate 10. 

Alejandro Flores-Bañuelos, 35, was called to a report of a collision on state Route 86 near Salton City at about 4:20 p.m. on March 15. When he arrived, he began helping a 75-year-old woman whose car had become disabled in the road during a dust storm. A car stuck both the agent and the woman’s car. Flores-Bañuelos, who was assigned to the Indio Station, was pronounced dead at Pioneers Memorial Hospital in Brawley. 

Flores-Bañuelos left behind a wife and three children. 

Before joining Border Patrol, Flores Bañuelos served in the U.S. Marine Corps. 

A GoFundMe campaign has so far raised more than $85,500 for Flores Bañuelos’ family.

Border Patrol Agent Arrested, Accused of Pointing Gun at Man During Fight

Border Patrol Agent Roman Rodriguez Jr.

By Steve Neavling

A Border Patrol agent accused of pointing a gun at a man during a fight outside a bar in Laredo, Texas, has been arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. 

Roman Rodriguez Jr., 33,  faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted, The Laredo Morning Times reports.

Laredo police responded to reports of shots fired near a nightclub on Feb. 26. Several people were fighting when police arrived. 

Police said Rodriguez pointed a gun at one of the men involved in the altercation. But it’s not yet clear whether he fired the gun. 

“After canvassing the empty field, officers were able to recover a semiautomatic handgun and seized it as evidence,” police said in a statement. “Officers confirmed that a shot was fired during the altercation.”

In a statement, CBP said Rodriguez was off duty during the altercation. 

“CBP stresses honor and integrity in every aspect of our mission, and the overwhelming majority of CBP employees and officers perform their duties with honor and distinction, working tirelessly every day to keep our country safe,” Border Patrol said in a statement. 

Former DHS Secretary Chad Wolf Launches New Consulting firm

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf.

By Steve Neavling

Former Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf is starting a new consulting firm with three other former senior officials. 

The firm, Wolf Global Advisors, will be tasked with advising companies, NGOs and government agencies on homeland and national security issues, Politico reports.

Joining Wolf are former acting chief of staff Scott Erickson, former deputy chief of staff Tyler Houlton and legislative affairs director Beth Spivey.

“During my time at DHS, I came to know and came to realize that a number of organizations, whether they’re companies or non-profits really struggle with assessing risk and security issues facing their respective organizations,” Wolf told Politico. “Others want to better understand the department, whether they’re regulated by the department, or perhaps they have technology or services to help the department better fulfill their mission.”

Wolf says he has a few clients already but declined to identify them. 

Wolf stepped down as acting secretary in January.