Police

Parking kiosk system use in Lot 2 to begin Monday, Sept. 12

The parking kiosk system in City Parking Lot 2 has been fully installed. Beginning on Monday,  Sept. 12, visitors of Lot 2 will be required to begin to pay for 2-hour or 10-hour parking at one of the 3 kiosks within this parking lot. Previously enforced parking rules will continue including the prohibition to backing into or pulling through parking spaces. As a reminder, visitors will be required to enter their license plate number at the kiosk so the vehicle can be associated with the payment.


Police & firefighters to be thanked with barbecue

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Sometimes a good barbecued dinner says “thank you” like nothing else can. So next Sunday – the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks – local police, fire and sheriff employees will be thanked for their service to the community with a free barbecued chicken dinner in Bowling Green City Park. The dinner is being offered by Modern Woodmen as part of its Everyday Hero initiative. “This year marks the 15th anniversary of 9/11. Modern Woodmen’s Be an Everyday Hero project remembers and honors those lost … and recognizes the brave first responders, military members and others who continue to serve our community every day,” said D.J. Deiter, managing partner with Modern Woodmen. A couple hundred police, fire and sheriff employees and their families are expected to attend the barbecue in the Veterans Building at the park. “I thought it was important to invite their families as well,” Deiter said. This is the first time the local first responders will be honored this way. Deiter said now is an important time for the community to show its appreciation for law enforcement and firefighters. “With all the negativity that’s going on against the police, we wanted to do something special for them,” he said. The dinner will give first responder families time to sit down to eat and socialize together. As of last week, nearly 200 were signed up for the barbecue. “Every department has been very gracious,” Deiter said. “I’m not a military person myself,” though several of his family members have been in the service, Deiter said. “I’ve always had a great deal of respect for what they do. We should do whatever we can to say thanks and show we appreciate them.” This will be the second time in a few weeks that Modern Woodmen has recognized local law enforcement. Bowling Green Police Officer Robin Short was recently given the Hometown Hero Award for working with children in the community. Short was honored at a Bowling Green High School football game, and given stacks of letters from her young fans and their parents. She is a DARE officer in Bowling Green City Schools, teaches Safety Town for kids, and coaches a variety of youth sports for the city parks and recreation department. “I was very…


Arresting images portray intersection of policing & art

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Ben Schonberger’s art installation, “Beautiful Pig,” at River House Arts in Toledo couldn’t come at a more fraught moment coming as it does in a time when our reactions are color coded. The heart-felt cry of Black Lives Matter giving rise to the reaction of Blue Lives Matter. Schonberger collaborated with retired Detroit detective Marty Gaynor to create a portrait of the cop and his community and the relationship between the cop and the artist. “I think it’s an incredibly fragile moment,” Schonberger said. “I don’t think it’s ever been more relevant.” He sees the exhibit as an opening to an “alternate” conversation about policing and community, one “that doesn’t begin with a charged reaction.” In every incident, “everybody has an alternative story,” he said. This isn’t work, he said, that someone will see in the gallery and buy to hang in their home. “The best part about this work isn’t the art, it’s to be able to have an alternative conversation about people and process. If you can have a conversation about humans and feeling, identity, empathy, survival and history, if you can understand someone’s brain for a minute, that’s when contemporary art is so powerful.” Fittingly this is the first collaboration between the gallery’s owner Paula Baldoni and the nascent group Contemporary Art Toledo. Brain Carpenter, the founder, said the group is interested in exactly these kind of shows that are more about generating debate than displaying objects. The River House walls are lined with the pictures of suspects, and cryptic symbols, documentation of Gaynor’s 31 years on the streets of Detroit. They touch as well as his identity as a Jewish man, a rarity in law enforcement. They touch on the ethnic divide of urban policing – most of the suspects are African-American. The material at first seems unmediated, but looking closely, Schonberger’s shaping hand is evident. He didn’t just take the material and slap it up on the walls. He took it, asked questions, revisited the scenes. The bare walls of the gallery in the historic Secor building add an additional layer of authenticity. City life goes on outside the ceiling to floor windows; the neon Star of David inside the gallery is visible to those passing by. Schonberger had the idea for the project…


Murder prompts calls for violent offender registry

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The murder of a 20-year-old University of Toledo student last week has spurred a call from Northwest Ohio citizens for a violent offender registry in the state. So State Senators Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green, and Cliff Hite, R-Findlay, have begun working on a system that could better inform and warn the public about violent offenders in their midst. Citizens in the region asked legislators to consider such a registry following the murder of Sierah Joughin in Fulton County.  James Worley, the man charged with Joughin’s murder, was convicted of abduction in 1990 and served three years in prison. Gardner said he and Hite, who both represent portions of Fulton County, are responding to people outraged and horrified by the murder and the similarities to the previous abduction. “We are considering concerns and anxieties of citizens,” Gardner said. As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 10,000 people had signed the petition asking for the registry. “This person obviously is a sick, disturbed individual,” he said of Worley. “The question is, are there any other unsolved murders around the state.” A violent offenders registry would at least make citizens aware of such offenders residing in their neighborhoods, Gardner said. To determine the best way to set up such a system, Gardner said he has spoken with four sheriffs, the Buckeye Sheriff’s Association, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and county prosecutors. “We’re doing our homework,” he said. “We are thinking about the most practical, best way to do this.” The system would probably work similarly to Ohio’s existing sex offender registry law. Several other states have violent offender registries, including neighboring Indiana. The senators will gain information from Indiana and other states as they begin working on an effective public registry process for Ohio. In Indiana, anyone classified as a sex or violent offender must register for 10 years. Those classified as sexually violent predators must register for life. According to Gardner and Hite, Ohio lawmakers have taken significant steps to address the issue of violent crime by strengthening penalties for repeat violent offenders and conducting a comprehensive review of that state’s criminal justice laws. Last year, the General Assembly approved Senate Bill 97, known as the Violent Career Criminal Act, which classifies any adult convicted of at least two violent…


Review of BGPD shows very low use of force, few citizen complaints

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News There were enough chairs set up in the Simpson building Tuesday to seat every citizen who had filed a complaint against the Bowling Green Police Dvision in the past three years. And there would be room for more. None of them showed up when a visiting accreditation team from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc.  set up shop to receive citizens’ comments. City Councilman Bruce Jeffers was there. He said the police force is “positively engaged with the community.” In a time when there are so many reports of clashes between police and citizens with violence “going in both directions,” he is “amazed” how the BG officers “deal with large number of partying students … without losing control or using excessive force.” Planning Director Heather Sayler was there as a resident to praise the department, especially the D.A.R.E. program. Fire Chief Tom Sanderson was there to lend his support to Chief Tony Hetrick and the officers. He and his crews see first-hand BG police officers’ ability to de-escalate tense situations, which allows EMS crews and firefighters to feel safe doing their jobs. That camaraderie between the fire and police divisions is not always the case, said Robert Johnson, a retired Illinois State Patrol lieutenant colonel. Also on the CALEA team was Capt. Brad Fraser, from Shelby, North Carolina. Lt. Daniel Mancuso serves as the BGPD’s accreditation manager. That wasn’t the only surprising thing they found in reviewing the BG police’s performance from 2013 through 2015. Over that period, Johnson said, Bowling Green officers never used their firearms, nor did they use their batons. He called that “pretty surprising… given the climate the police operate in.” “This is far better than I expect to see,” Johnson said. “I’m more used to seeing force used more frequently and use of greater force.” In that three-year period, BG police made 8,000 arrests, and used force in 71 of those. Not a single lawsuit related to use of force was filed against the department. In the same period, the police issued 26,000 traffic citations and warnings. They made 89,000 calls for service. And they received 54 citizen complaints. The accreditation process is voluntary. CALEA is the only national and international agency. Johnson said 5-10 percent of law enforcement agencies opt to…


BG police seek comments as part of accreditation process

Submittted by BOWLING GREEN POLICE DIVISION The Bowling Green Police Division is scheduled for an on-site assessment as part of a program to maintain accreditation by verifying the agency meets professional standards. Administered by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA), the accreditation program requires agencies to comply with internationally accepted best practices and standards in four basic areas: policy and procedures, administration, operations, and support services. As part of the on-site assessment, agency employees and members of the community are invited to offer comments at the public information session on Tuesday, July 26, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. The session will be conducted at the Simpson Garden Park Building, 1291 Conneaut Avenue. The session will conclude when everyone that has signed in has had an opportunity to speak. Agency employees and the public are invited to offer comments by calling (419) 353-7459 on Tuesday July 26, 2016 between the hours of 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm. Comments will be taken by the Assessment Team. Telephone comments as well as appearances at the public information session are limited to ten (10) minutes and must address the agency’s ability to comply with CALEA’s standards. A copy of the standards is available at the Bowling Green Police Division , 175 W. Wooster Bowling Green, Ohio 43402. Local contact is Accreditation Manager Lt. Daniel Mancuso at (419) 352-1131. Anyone wishing to submit written comments about the Bowling Green Police Division’s ability to comply with the standards for accreditation may send them to the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA), 13575 Heathcote Boulevard, Suite 320 Gainesville, Virginia 20155.


BGSU is a step ahead in new state policing initiative

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Bowling Green State University Police Department has become the first in Wood County, and one of the first in the area, to be certified for meeting new standards promulgated by the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board. The department which had gotten provisional certification received its full certification after a recent site visit by the chief of the Coldwater police. BGSU Police Chief Monica Moll said the new initiative was established to set best practices in police interactions with citizens. The program, she said, is voluntary. All those who receive certification will be listed by the state. Most departments will want to make that list, Moll said. Each year two standards will be added that departments have to meet. This year the standards address equal opportunity in recruitment and hiring and policies on the use of force. Moll said that her force had a leg up since it had just completed its Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies paperwork, which she described as “the gold standard” for law enforcement accreditation. The Bowling Green City Police Department also has CALEA accreditation, she said. The CALEA standards align with the best practices advocated by the Ohio Collaborative. BGSU officers have to report any time they use force even if it’s only applying a wristlock. Every one of those reports, Moll said, is reviewed. The department also conducts an annual review of its use of force. BGSU officers seldom use force, and it’s a low level of force, maybe tackling someone who is attempting to flee. “We do a lot of training on de-escalation,” she said. Officers must also report whenever they draw their weapons. Officers working the midnight shift are more likely to use force, Moll said. The standards also cover more severe uses of force, including using deadly force. That policy is guided by Constitutional guarantees and Supreme Court rulings. Officers can only use deadly force if their lives or the lives of others are threatened. In addition, the BGSU department has policies pertaining to mental health calls. Officers receive 40 hours of training a year on alternatives to the use of force or arrest when dealing with a person suffering a mental health crisis. The hiring standards require that the department spell out its procedures and standards ahead…


Recent killings, by police, of police, show system in critical condition, criminal justice scholar says

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Phil Stinson, Bowling Green State University professor in criminal justice, was in Washington D.C. working on a confidential project for the U.S. Justice Department. A leading expert in policing he spent his days in a windowless room. Still the news about two more killings of black men by police officers penetrated the meeting room. And then late Thursday, the news broke of five Dallas police officers gunned down by a sniper. The incident, which occurred at the conclusion of a peaceful protest, ended with the gunman dead after a standoff with the police. Was Stinson shocked by this? “Everything is business as usual,” he said. And that’s not good. “Everything’s the same. We’re in a powder keg situation. … It’s a mess and the hot summer doesn’t help.” With the advent of social media “we’ve reached a tipping point,” Stinson said. That was clear with the shooting of Michael Brown, a black teenager, by a white police officer, Darren Wilson, in Ferguson, Missouri. It continued with a steady stream of incidents, including the death of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Monday, and then the killing of Philando Castile in a Minneapolis suburb. While videos may document these incidents, Stinson said, they don’t provide a solution. “I honestly think the police in many parts of the country, especially urban areas … are engaged in combat policing,” he said. “They’ve come to think over time that they are dealing with people who are the enemy. They certainly treat black males as if they were the enemy. That’s a huge problem. Not only is there a fear of crime, but there’s a fear of black people.” These officers come into a traffic stop like the one in Minneapolis or the encounter like the one in Baton Rouge, “all amped up.” The way Alton Sterling was body-slammed shows that. “They wouldn’t do that to you or me. It’s just nuts.” Stinson added: “You can’t shoot police officers. We can’t have that.” He saw that in a Facebook post from a former student now in law enforcement in Texas. “He was posting this vile stuff,” Stinson said. “He should not go to work. He’s all fired up and angry. That’s not good when we already have people on edge thinking they’re going to…