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Baltimore Seeks Help with Its Skyrocketing Murder Rate

police tapeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Baltimore surpassed 100 murders so far this year, the quickest the city has reached that mark in two decades.

Now Mayor Catherine Pugh is asking for the FBI to help crack down on violence and help solve open homicide cases, the Baltimore Business Journal reports.  

Hoping to explore all options, the mayor said she expects the FBI to respond to her formal request for help by the end of the week.

“We just want more assistance by our FBI partners,” she said. “The conversation has been around what additional assistance they can provide. We believe there could be more people on the street. In terms of technology we’ve done some things … but there’s some more technology out there that the city has not had access to.”
It’s not yet clear what kind of help the FBI would offer, but Pugh said she’ll take any assistance she can get.

Border Patrol Gets Its First Woman Leader in 93-Year History

Acting Director of the Border Patrol Carla Provost.

Acting Director of the Border Patrol Carla Provost.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol’s first woman to serve as acting chief was named Tuesday to lead the agency as the Trump administration tries to build a wall on the border of Mexico and hire an additional 5,000 agents.

Carla Provost, who was the deputy chief since October, replaces Ronald Vitiello, who became acting deputy commission of Customs and Border Protection, the Associated Press reports. 

Provost is the fourth person to lead the agency since late 2015. She is the first woman to lead the agency in its 93-year history.

Customs and Border Protection said it’s not yet clear how long Provost and Vitiello will serve in the acting roles.

2 Arkansas Juvenile Detention Officers Plead Guilty to Assaulting Youth Inmates

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI said it is “appalled” after discovering that two former juvenile detention officers at an Arkansas facility conspired to assault youth inmates.

Investigators said the two officers peppers-sprayed inmates who posed no threat.

Those officers, former White River Juvenile Detention Center supervisors Capt. Peggy Kendrick, 43, and Lt. Dennis Fuller, 40, pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiring to assault juvenile inmates in U.S. District Court. Kendrick also pleaded guilty to falsifying a report by trying to cover up that she pepper-sprayed a 16-year-old girl.

“In some instances, they then shut the compliant juveniles in their cells after pepper spraying them to ‘let them cook,’ rather than immediately decontaminating them,” a news release said. “Kendrick also encouraged the juvenile detention officers, who unjustifiably assaulted juveniles, to falsify their incident reports to cover up the assaults.”

The cause remains under investigation by the FBI in Little Rock.

The officers have been fired.

Secret Service Can’t Keep Up with ‘Tidal Wave of Threats’ to Trump

secret serviceBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

So many threats are made against President Trump because of his habit of tweeting false or incendiary information.

“The Twitter thing is creating a lot of hassles,” said Dan Bongino, a former protective detail agent for presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. “It’s generated a tidal wave of threats that the Secret Service can’t ignore.”

The FBI said it is “appalled” after discovering that two former juvenile detention officers at an Arkansas facility conspired to assault youth inmates.

Investigators said the two officers peppers-sprayed inmates who posed no threat.

Those officers, former White River Juvenile Detention Center supervisors Capt. Peggy Kendrick, 43, and Lt. Dennis Fuller, 40, pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiring to assault juvenile inmates in U.S. District Court. Kendrick also pleaded guilty to falsifying a report by trying to cover up that she pepper-sprayed a 16-year-old girl.

“In some instances, they then shut the compliant juveniles in their cells after pepper spraying them to ‘let them cook,’ rather than immediately decontaminating them,” a news release said. “Kendrick also encouraged the juvenile detention officers, who unjustifiably assaulted juveniles, to falsify their incident reports to cover up the assaults.”

The cause remains under investigation by the FBI in Little Rock.

Bongino said the Secret Service doesn’t have the resources to investigate every social media threat.

“It’s an arithmetic impossibility to interview every single person who sends a threat. It’s not possible,” he said. “By necessity they have to triage what’s credible and what’s not and it’s tough to do by just looking at a 140-character tweet.”

The Secret Service also is worried about Trump’s safety while he takes predictable weekend trips to his private Mar-a-Lago club.

“I used to joke if we don’t know where we’re going then the jackal doesn’t either,” Bongino said. “Patterns always hurt.”

One of FBI’s Top Most Wanted Expected to Arrive in Chicago on Numerous Charges

Fidel Urbina, via FBI

Fidel Urbina, via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and local police had been looking for Fidel Urbina since 1998, when he is accused of bludgeoning a 22-year-old woman while he was on bond on charges of kidnapping, beating and sexually assaulting a different woman in Chicago.

Urbina was placed on the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted list in June 2012, prompting Mexican authorities to arrest him in September in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, The Chicago Sun-Times reports. 

Urbina is expected to arrive in Chicago on Tuesday after the extradition process is complete.

He is charged with sexually assaulting both women and murdering Gabriella Torres.

“Many family members have waited a long time for this day to come and they deserve the opportunity to face the accused in a court of law,” Michael J. Anderson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Chicago Field Office, said following the arrest.

Homeland Security to Open Center for Victims of Crimes by Undocumented Immigrants

homeland2department-of-homeland-security-logo-300x300By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Americans who were victimized by crime perpetuated by undocumented immigrants will have a new resource under the Homeland Security Department.

The Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) is expected to open today. The idea is to inform victims of the immigration proceedings of suspects, the Associated Press reports.

The office is part of an executive order by President Trump, who pledged to open the office during a speech to Congress in February.

Critics question the motive behind the office because studies have indicated that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native-born U.S. citizens.

Secret Service Gets New Leader As Agency Struggles to Protect Trump Family

Retired Marine Gen. Randolph Alles, via CBP.

Retired Marine Gen. Randolph Alles, via CBP.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The beleaguered Secret Service has a new leader.

On Tuesday, the White House announced that Randolph D. “Tex” Alles will become the Secret Service’s 25th director.

Alles, a senior customs official and retired Marine Corps general with 35 years of service, was serving as the acting deputy commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Alles arrives at a time when the Secret Service has been criticized for lax security around the White House complex. The agency also has had trouble protecting President Trump and his family. Trump frequently flies between Washington D.C. and Florida, and his wife and 11-year-old son still live at their private residence in New York.

“I applaud the Trump administration and Secretary Kelly for choosing someone from outside the agency who is well qualified to lead the Secret Service,” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said in a statement to the Washington Post. “General Alles is being called upon to use all his command and managerial skills to address the cultural and operational issues currently facing the Service. I look forward to working with General Alles to help him succeed in his new role.”

Senate Confirms Rosenstein As No. 2 Official at Justice Department

Rod Rosenstein, deputy attorney general.

Rod Rosenstein, deputy attorney general.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Rod J. Rosenstein, a veteran prosecutor, was overwhelmingly supported by the Senate to become the No. 2 official at the Justice Department, a position that places him in charge of the investigation into connections between Russia and President’s Trump campaign staff, the Los Angeles Times reports. 

The 52-year-old, who impressed the Senate with his record of fighting crime as the U.S. attorney for Maryland for the past 12 years, was confirmed to become the deputy attorney general.

Ultimately, Rosentstein will determine whether criminal charges should be filed against any of Trump’s aides or turn the case over to an independent prosecutor.

Rosentstein still has not said wether he would bring in special counsel.

Nevertheless, Rosenstein said he had “no reason to doubt” that Russian authorities tried to influence the presidential race.

President George W. Bush appointed Rosenstein, a 27-year veteran of the Justice Department, as U.S. attorney. 

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