August 16th, 2012
I’m absolutely not satisfied that we are where we should be. Again, I beg your indulgence. We’re a department that just got on email last year, onto the web last July.

San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr, acknowledging that his department has routinely underreported the arrests of Latinos and Asians, the two largest minority groups in the city.

Read the original investigation from The Bay Citizen’s Shoshana Walter here.

March 30th, 2012

Flashlights, exercise equipment, trumpets, gun parts, combat coats, pistol holsters, water canteens, radios, laptops, M16 rifles, helicopters, microwaves, survival kits, workout equipment, bayonet knives, ammunition cans.

A list of some of the surplus military equipment that California law enforcement agencies received last year. More than 17,000 local agencies across the country have taken advantage of the Defense Department’s equipment giveaways. California police accumulated more equipment in 2011 than any other year in the program’s two-decade history.  See what your community has received by searching our online database.

March 30th, 2012

Among its fleet of helicopters, patrol cars, inmate buses and other vehicles, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department keeps four long-haul semitrailers ready to go at a moment’s notice. 

Their purpose: Travel the country retrieving discarded – and free of charge – U.S. military hand-me-downs for its deputies to use in California.

M16 rifles, helicopters, microwaves, survival kits, workout equipment, bayonet knives, ammunition cans and more – the LA sheriff’s office snaps up an average of $4 million to $5 million in surplus military equipment annually.

For example, in this photo Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. Bob Watkins shows one of five H-3 helicopters transferred from the military. It’s now used for search and rescue and SWAT transport. Read our full investigation.

February 23rd, 2012

Photo: Donna Lazzini embraces her son, Timothy Lazzini, a resident of the Sonoma Developmental Center who died in 2005, in a family photo collage celebrating his life.

California has assembled a unique police force to protect about 1,800 of its most vulnerable patients – men and women with cerebral palsy, severe autism and other mental disabilities who live in state institutions and require round-the-clock monitoring and protection from abuse.

But our new investigation has found that detectives and patrol officers at the state’s five board-and-care institutions routinely fail to conduct basic police work even when patients die under mysterious circumstances.

January 31st, 2012

SF official wants to restrict police role in terrorism probes

A San Francisco politician wants tougher oversight of local police and the role they play in terrorism investigations following complaints from residents that they were unnecessarily targeted for questioning and surveillance by Joint Terrorism Task Forces.

Dozens of new task forces led by the FBI were created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks so local, state and federal law enforcement could work together to smoke out terrorism plots. But at times, they’ve been accused of too zealously collecting intelligence on people who have done little or nothing wrong.   

San Francisco City and County Supervisor Jane Kim wants the police department to fall in line with state and local privacy rules that restrict what information police can amass, and she wants investigators to refrain from gathering intelligence on people unless there is reasonable suspicion that the person has engaged in criminal conduct.

Read the full story.

Photo of FBI in New York

December 21st, 2011

From 2002-2011, California received $3,880,698,360 in homeland security grants. Learn more in CIR’s interactive map.

centerforinvestigativereporting:

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan represent only a fraction of the billions spent to battle terrorists since Sept. 11, 2001. Lawmakers in Washington have shelled out some $34 billion over the last 10 years to state and local law enforcement. Our new map shows how much each state has raked in by grant program and fiscal year, based on data obtained from the Department of Homeland Security.

September 3rd, 2011

Sheriff launches manhunt for suspect in councilman’s murder

As residents around Fort Bragg confront the loss of two community leaders, Mendocino County Sheriff’s SWAT unit and supporting law enforcement teams continue the manhunt for the murder suspect.

Aaron Bassler, 35, is wanted in connection to the Aug. 26 killing of city councilman and former Fort Bragg mayor Jere Melo, 69, while Melo was patrolling the land of a private timber company as an independent consultant to the Campbell Group.

On Friday, Mendocino County Sheriff’s detectives obtained an arrest warrant for Bassler in the shooting deaths of Melo and Matthew Coleman, 45. Coleman, a property manager and coordinator of volunteers for the Mendocino Land Trust, was found shot to death near his vehicle while checking on property at Cape Vizcaino on Aug. 11. Read more. 

Photo via: Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office: Aaron Bassler is wanted in connection with the shooting deaths of Jere Melo and Matthew Coleman.

August 4th, 2011

Honda Accord tops 2010 list of most-stolen cars

Car thieves’ target of choice last year was the 1994 Honda Accord, according to an analysis of preliminary data released by the FBI.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau crunched the numbers and created top 10 lists for every state and the nation as a whole. While the numbers are preliminary, if they hold, “2010 will post the fewest thefts since 1967,” according to the bureau’s analysis.

Thieves preferred the 1994 Honda Accord nationwide, but in California, they opted for the older 1991 model. In its press release, the insurance crime bureau said older models are targeted because of the value of their parts. Read more.

Photo: The Javelina/Flickr

June 7th, 2011
abc7:

The Los Angeles police commission is considering new regulations on BB or pellet guns. If approved, it could drastically change what they look like.
Imagine BB guns looking similar to water pistols. Under the new proposal that L.A. Police Chief Charlie Beck is pushing, he says it could make a big difference in preventing officer-involved shootings.
Beck wants to require BB or pellet guns to be colored- such as white, red, green, blue, or even pink. Under the proposal, the guns could also be made with translucent material.

abc7:

The Los Angeles police commission is considering new regulations on BB or pellet guns. If approved, it could drastically change what they look like.

Imagine BB guns looking similar to water pistols. Under the new proposal that L.A. Police Chief Charlie Beck is pushing, he says it could make a big difference in preventing officer-involved shootings.

Beck wants to require BB or pellet guns to be colored- such as white, red, green, blue, or even pink. Under the proposal, the guns could also be made with translucent material.

Reblogged from ABC7 Los Angeles
May 19th, 2011

"If you run a CD or DVD duplication company and you’re based in California, you may soon be subject to warrantless searches in order to ‘fight piracy.’ California Senate Bill 550, introduced by Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), has slowly begun making its way through the state legislature as a way to cut down on counterfeit discs, but critics worry that it may open the door to Fourth Amendment violations." (via Ars Technica RIAA-backed warrantless search bill advances in California)

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California Watch, the largest investigative journalism team operating in the state, was launched in 2009 by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Center for Investigative Reporting. Areas of coverage include education, health and welfare, public safety, the environment and the influence of money on the political and regulatory process.

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