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BCPBA Endorses Jim Fondo For Broward County Sheriff

The Broward County Police Benevolent Association has announced its support of Jim Fondo for Broward County Sheriff in the Democratic Primary Election on Tuesday, August 30, 2016.

“As a deputy who successfully rose through the ranks and into the command, we believe Jim is the best candidate suited to stabilize the morale, remove the politics and cease the retaliation, intimidation and threats,” PBA President Jeff Marano said. “It is a difficult and dangerous environment facing law enforcement throughout America, and the workplace should be the last place a Deputy should feel unsafe.”

Fondo began his career in law enforcement in 1982 with the Dania Beach Police Department. Upon joining the Broward Sheriff’s Office following the merger of Dania Beach and BSO, Fondo served as a district detective in the Criminal Investigations Unit and the Selective Enforcement Team. In 1990, he was transferred to the Organized Crime Unit, as a detective, working undercover investigating narcotic violations. In February 1997, Fondo was promoted to sergeant working in Lauderdale Lakes and then transferring to Tamarac, serving as the supervisor of the Selective Enforcement Team. In March 2001, he was promoted to Lieutenant and worked as the Executive Officer (Assistant Police Chief) in the cities of Tamarac, Dania Beach and then North Lauderdale. In December, 2006, Fondo was named District Chief (Police Chief) of the Central Broward District. In February, 2009, he was named Director of the Strategic Investigations Division (SID) and also named to the South Florida HIDTA Board as a voting member. During his tenure in SID he was the Security Co-chair of the 2010 Super Bowl committee and then Security Co-chair of the 2011 Orange Bowl committee for Broward County.

During his 30 year career, Fondo earned his Master’s in criminology and a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice from Florida Atlantic University. He is a graduate of the Executive Leadership Program from the Center for Advanced Criminal Justice Studies and in June, 2011, he graduated from the FBI National Academy, Class 245, in Quantico, Virginia. In 2009, as supervisor of BSO’s Homeland Security Unit, Fondo was granted secret security clearance by the FBI to be briefed on terrorism related events through the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).

The Role Of Local Police In The War On Terrorism

On November 12, 2015, a double suicide bombing tore through a busy shopping district in Beirut, Lebanon, killing at least 43 people and wounding more than 200 others. The next day, six seemingly coordinated attacks devastated Paris, France, killing at least 129 people and wounding 352. Two months ago, ISIS struck again in Brussels, Belgium. All three attacks have been claimed by the terror group ISIS, which issued a video warning of further attacks on countries taking part in bombing Syria, specifically threatening to strike Washington, D.C.

As the Brussels, Paris and Beirut terrorist attacks demonstrate, the lines between international and domestic threats are closer than many police officers may realize.

For decades, international terrorist organizations have spread their networks across the globe. More recently, the Internet has allowed them to identify and communicate with sympathizers anywhere in the world, who can be radicalized and carry out attacks where they live.

Preparing Local Officers
In most cases, local officers’ training supports the assumption that international terrorism isn’t something of significant concern to them; domestic threats are where their focus lies. It turns out, though, that police officers on the beat do have opportunities to assist efforts against international terrorism.

Take, for example, a 2005 investigation into a chain of robberies by the Los Angeles Police Department, which found that the thefts were an attempt to finance a series of terrorist bombings of military bases and houses of worship around Los Angeles by the radical Islamic group Jamiyyat Ul-Islam Is-Saheeh.

In some cases, as in Los Angeles, police officers working local cases can uncover links to international groups seeking to wreak havoc on, and within, the U.S.

Focus on Training
To shift this mindset so officers see a bigger picture of fighting terrorism requires one thing: enhanced training. Police departments should seek out continuous training about the current state of international terrorism and the indicators beat officers on U.S. streets might see. Nearby field offices of federal agencies can offer support, often at no cost to the local department. These agencies could provide:

  • Training sessions that would help officers understand the validity of the threat,
  • Information about what types of activities to look for while on patrol,
  • Points of contact if patrol officers encounter suspicious people or activities, and
  • Assistance developing emergency response plans for when attacks do occur.

Government agencies as diverse as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) offer free training resources for law enforcement. Ideally, the training should be federally mandated and standardized, but this would at least be a start in the right direction.

Expand “Eyes and Ears”
One of the most effective strategies is one already in use for other purposes, one commonly referred to by the phrase “eyes and ears.”

Just as departments rely on neighborhood watch groups and civilian patrols to be extra sets of eyes and ears for their officers, it is crucial for these same officers to act as extra eyes and ears for the various federal agencies that investigate terrorism cases. This does not really require any new skills from officers; they are on the lookout for suspicious activity just as they normally would be, but with a heightened cognizance of the terrorist threat.

This eyes and ears strategy can be highly effective, as officers typically have unimpeded access when patrolling high-potential targets such as airports, seaports, bus/subway terminals, churches, schools, shopping malls, U.S. landmarks, sports arenas, hospitals, and tourist attractions.

Officers also daily patrol the same roads that terrorists use to travel and transport materials to be used in their attacks. Further, if terrorists are seeking to avoid detection by living and planning their attacks in rural areas where counterterrorism efforts are not heavily concentrated, local officers are the most likely to encounter them.

In fact, the Bureau of Justice Statistics says local police officers outnumber federal agents by a ratio of almost 10:1. Local officers are therefore far more likely than federal counterterrorism agents to encounter suspicious activity that could be related to terrorism. It also means they will be the first to respond should an attack occur.

Increasing their awareness of the potential to encounter international terrorism while on their daily beats will help local officers fight international crimes as well as domestic ones.

By Jeremy Nikolow and Anthony Galante
American Military University

How To Protect Yourself From Doxing

CBS News reported that after the fatal shooting of a man by a LAPD police officer, someone posted the officer’s private information online, including his home address, phone number, and other personal details including his child’s school location.

This practice of researching and broadcasting personally identifiable information about an individual is referred to as doxing (or doxxing) and is typically done with malicious intent. The information published can be anything from home addresses to vehicle identification to social media accounts to credit card and banking information. Though technically legal, as long as the information is publicly available, Doxing can still fall under state criminal laws if the information obtained is used for infiltrating private data, financial gain, stalking, harassment or identity theft. Doxing is becoming enough of a concern that the FBI and the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) have issued warnings to law enforcement and public officials.

Protecting Yourself And Your Family
American Military University (AMU) recently hosted a webinar on this topic as part of its Law Enforcement Webinar Series. Presenter James Deater, who spent more than 23 years as a Maryland State Trooper specializing in wiretaps and other forms of electronic investigation techniques, provided advice for how officers can protect themselves.

“Any officer could end up in a situation where you do everything right in accordance with agency policy, but the incident is captured on video and it looks wrong to the public. It happens all the time and as soon as your name is released to the public, you become a target,” said Deater. “You may not be able to stop it, but you can at least make it difficult for people to find your private information.”

Here are some recommendations Deater made about how to protect your personal information:

  • Be aware of security and privacy settings on your accounts. Be selective about who you share information with and limit how often you post about your location (especially if it’s your home).
  • Routinely update computers, devices, and software with the latest security fixes.
  • Use anti-virus software.
  • Pay close attention to links and attachments in email messages. Do not open anything that looks even remotely suspicious. If it’s legitimate, the person can always send it again.
  • Add protection to your email, social media and online bank accounts using two-factor authentication techniques.
  • Choose unique, strong passwords for each of your accounts and change your passwords regularly.
  • Remember that anything you post on social media might be used against you. Once it’s online, you cannot take it back.

Request Information Be Removed
During the webinar, Deater discussed ways that officers can proactively remove personal information from the dozens of websites that sell this information. He included specific details about what forms to submit, what identification documents to send, and how long it will take for information to be removed. However, some of this information is law enforcement-sensitive and cannot be included in this piece. If you are a police officer, you can request to view the recorded webinar by sending an email (using your agency email address) to James Deater (JDeater@apus.edu).

Here are a few sites to consider removing your information from:

  • Google Earth – This free software allows individuals to access street views of locations. Deater recommends that officers submit a request that Google blur out your home, house number, vehicle and any other identifying details shown.
  • SPOKEO
  • PIPL
  • ZoomInfo
  • Whitepages
  • CheckPeople
  • BeenVerified
  • Intelius

It can take a considerable amount of time and effort to properly submit the forms, especially if officers are also removing their spouses and children from such databases. However, the time it takes to remove this information is worth it to protect, or at least deter, a malicious attack on an officer and his or her family.

While the threat of doxing for public officials and law enforcement officers is largely a function of poor personal security, the FBI has drastically increased its approach in reactively addressing all security threats, following a series of high-profile and tangentially related attacks on Sony and the Office of Personnel Management.

Leischen Stelter is the editor of American Military University’s premier blog, In Public Safety. She writes about issues and trends relevant to professionals in law enforcement, corrections, fire services, emergency management and national security.

Florida Legislature Puts The Spotlight On Law Enforcement Officers & Their Families

Wednesday afternoon, the Florida House of Representatives led by Speaker Steve Crisafulli, passed the final two issues of what has become a tremendously important package of bills aimed at protecting those who protect us. The 2016 Florida Legislature will be remembered for a number of events, but, I believe, one legacy it will leave behind is showing real compassion for our public safety professionals and their families.

Here’s what we accomplished:

The Senate took up SB 7022, which exempts depictions of killing of a law enforcement officer from the public record. They passed it and sent it over to the House. The House quickly placed the issue on the calendar and passed it unanimously yesterday afternoon. The bill has already been sent to the Governor for his signature. PBA spoke to the Governor’s staff last night and expressed our support for his approval of this important issue. We thank the Speaker and Senate President for allowing this issue to continue to move despite some hiccups along the way.

The House also took up and passed SB 7012 which provides an increase to the FRS Death Benefits for Special Risk Employees killed in the line of duty. This legislation increased the benefit to survivors for both investment plan and pension plan employees to 100% of the salary of the officer at the time of death. The legislation is retroactive to September 1, 2013 in order to include the widow of Orange County Deputy Sheriff Scott Pine who was left with three children and no monthly salary benefit from her husband’s investment account. Deputy Pine’s wife, Bridget, has been a tireless advocate for this legislation and she deserves our respect and gratitude for standing firm against what appeared to be difficult odds. I also want to personally thank several people involved with the issue by name (in no particular order) – Senator Jeremy Ring; Sara Carroll Glassner, Florida Sheriff’s Association; Captain Dennis Strange, Orange County Sheriff’s Office; Representative Rene Plasencia; Senate President Andy Gardiner; Speaker Steve Crisafulli; Representative Matt Caldwell; Joe McVaney, Staff Director Senate Government Oversight & Accountability Committee; and Representative Mike Hill.

Up next, the Florida Senate passed a Joint Resolution HB 1009 placing a constitutional amendment on this year’s ballot asking the voters to provide a homestead exemption to first responders who are totally and permanently disabled in the line of duty. The amendment requires at least 60% approval in order to be placed into the Florida Constitution. Thank you to Senator Joe Negron and Representative Larry Metz.

The Legislature also moved legislation SB 436 making a threat against law enforcement officers and their families a felony terroristic threat. We thank Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco for bringing this issue forward. Senator Wilton Simpson and Representative Jimmie Smith were the sponsors and we greatly appreciate their support.

Finishing what we started last year, HB 93 establishing statewide guidelines for body worn cameras has been sent to the Governor. This legislation does not mandate body cameras, but it does create uniform guidelines and policies for agencies utilizing body cameras. We thank Senator Chris Smith and Representative Shevrin Jones for being great partners on this issues.

Finally, the Legislature approved the creation of a Career Development Plan workgroup HB 5003 for the sole purpose of creating a step plan for the sworn law enforcement officers of the Highway Patrol, Law Enforcement Officer, Lottery, and FDLE Special Agent bargaining units represented by the Florida Police Benevolent Association (PBA).

Thank you for following our Capitol Report this year. We had a excellent session. I hope each of you are encouraged by the support we received on our issue this year and, always please stay safe.

Please look for the next Florida PBA’s Florida COPS magazine in the mail with much more in depth coverage of each one of these issues.

The Florida Capital Report For The Week Ending February 12

Sadly, our country has experienced another deadly wave of attacks on the brave men and women who wear the badge. Five officers killed in four days. Words cannot express our collective grief. Please stay alert and look after each other.

Despite widespread neglect by far too many of our elected leaders (not to mention cultural and business leaders), the Florida Legislature is making strides to further protect and honor the sacrifices of law enforcement officers.

This week legislation enhancing the penalty for terroristic threats against law enforcement officers and their families (SB 436) advanced through the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice.

The Senate and House proposed separate increases to the FRS death benefit for the survivors of an officer killed in the line of duty (more information to follow).

Finally, HB 1009, which attempts to add a homestead tax exemption for first responders totally and permanently injured in the line of duty, passed the full House of Representatives.

There were a few legislative wrinkles thrown at us this week, too.

Our busy Monday did not go as planned. Neither, the career development plan, nor the protection of a murder witness legislation were heard in the Senate Criminal Justice Committee. The panel took up a proposal to address the method by which Florida sentences an individual to death. Recently, Florida’s method was ruled unconstitutional. As you can imagine the discussion was lengthy. The good news is that both of our priority bills were rescheduled to be heard on Tuesday, February 16.

Additionally, the long rumored FRS pension reform plan (HB 7107)that the Florida House of Representatives desires to achieve was heard in the House’s State Affairs Committee. There are three provisions contained within the reform package:

  • Allowing employees who previously left the investment plan and took a disbursement the ability to return to employment and re-enroll in the investment plan. This provision is limited to employees who were previously enrolled in the investment prior to an employment separation and disbursement. Former pension plan retirees will not be allowed to enroll into the investment plan.
    • Increasing the investment plan death benefit for survivors to an equal amount to the pension plan death benefit (half of the officer’s salary at the time of death). Currently, the investment plan death benefit only provides the survivor with the contents of account at the time of death.
      • Changing the default option for newly hired employees after July 1, 2017 to the investment plan instead of the pension plan. The new employee will still have the option to choose the pension plan during the first 8 months of employment. The once in a career switch option will also still be available to the new employees.
      • Although the bill does contain two important improvements to the overall plan, we are not supporting the legislation at this time. Our concerns about the economic viability of the investment plan given the incredibly low contribution levels far outweigh our support for the death benefit provision and the re-enrollment option. We are hoping to remove the default provision from the bill. Fortunately, the Senate has passed separate death benefit and re-enrollment bills that do not contain the default provision. HB 7107 passed the committee by an unusually close 10-8 vote. Negotiations are underway.

        We thank our elected leaders from Dade County PBA and Southwest Florida PBA who came to help us lobby this week. From Dade County PBA – PBA President John Rivera, Executive Board Member Pablo Lima, and Executive Director Blanca Greenwood. From Southwest Florida PBA – President Mick McHale who is also the President of the National Association of Police Organizations.

        Here’s a brief summary of Senate’s death benefit legislation:

        First Responder Death Benefits – SB 7012 by Senator Jeremy Ring.
        The legislation will increase the surviving benefit for a spouse, or children of a special risk member killed in the line of duty to 100% of the salary at the time of death. Currently, a spouse receives 50% of the salary at the time of death if the officer was enrolled in the pension plan. Investment plan employees were not able to provide the salary benefit to their survivors. The legislation allows the surviving spouse of an investment plan employee the option of taking the 100% salary benefit in lieu of the investment plan option. The investment plan option provides the survivor with the contents of the account at the time of death.

        The Florida Senate unanimously passed this legislation with all 40 Senators signing on as co-sponsors. It was a very powerful moment of support for the family of Orange County Deputy Sheriff Scott Pine (His wife and children were in the chamber’s gallery) who was killed in the line of duty two years ago.

        That is all for this week. Until next week, may God bless you and please stay safe.

        Matt Puckett
        Executive Director
        Florida PBA

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