Morning Security Brief: Waistband Shootings, Military Working Dogs, Missing Pigs, and More

By Carlton Purvis


►The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors commissioned a study to examine six years of data on officer-involved shootings. What it found was that almost half the people shot at by L.A. deputies while reaching for their waistbands were unarmed. These “waistband shootings” are controversial because they “can conceivably be fabricated after the fact,” according to the county monitor's report. Some other findings of the report showed that deputies fresh out of the academy were more likely to fire a gun while off-duty. In all but two “waistband shootings,” the suspects were black or Latino, the Los Angeles Times reports.

►Military working dogs have become such a valuable part of the U.S. military’s mission that both the Marine Corps and the Army will be funding programs to put more dogs in their ranks. Currently about 725 working dog teams are deployed and future plans include placing a working dog with each infantry squad. Additionally, Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command awarded a $3 million contract for dogs that can sniff out IEDs, track insurgents, and apprehend targets in close quarters combat, the Marine Corps Times reports.

►The “We the People,” section of the White House Web site was created to give citizens a forum to submit ideas directly to government officials in the form of an online petition. Once a petition reaches 5,000 signatures, it receives a direct response from the White House. One of the fastest growing petitions: Abolish the TSA. “It has violated countless constitutional rights of average Americans, caused miserable and expensive delays in an already-overburdened air travel system, and allowed multiple known instances of harassment, theft, extortion and sexual abuse by its employees," the petition reads. "It has failed approximately 70 percent of undercover efficacy tests, and for all its excesses, has been unable to catch even a single terrorist since its creation.”  The petition has reached more than 20,000 signatures since its creation on Thursday and is awaiting a government response. 

►Authorities are monitoring a growing trend in theft. It’s not electronics or vehicles; it’s pigs. In the last month, more than 150 of them have disappeared from farms throughout the Midwest. Two months ago, 594 were stolen from Lake Lillian, Minn., under the cover of darkness. In the last week, in Iowa, as many as 30 at a time were stolen from facilities. Some livestock economists say the trend is a result of a struggling economy where hog prices are record-high. “For the moment, as worried hog producers around the region pledged to strengthen their security systems and considered offering rewards to solve the string of cases, investigators in Iowa and Minnesota, which are among the nation’s top hog producers, were left with a tangle of complicated questions,” the New York Times reports. Questions like who has the experience and skill enough to snatch up 270-pound hogs 30 at a time? 

►In other news, SB 914 is awaiting the signature of California Governor Jerry Brown. SB 914 would require a warrant for police to obtain smartphone data. ⇒ A report from the Denver Post examines the ways Colorado’s Auto Theft Intelligence Coordination Center is trying to track and stop car theft. ⇒ And The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee puts DHS on a hiring freeze.


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