NewsWatch: Public Safety

Police Help Marines Prepare for Afghanistan, 80 Officers Laid Off, Offenders Sentenced to Shakespeare, More ...

by / July 14, 2010
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L.A. Police help Marines Prepare for Afghanistan
A tough-talking, muscular Los Angeles police sergeant steadily rattled off tips to a young Marine riding shotgun as they raced in a patrol car to a drug bust: Be aware of your surroundings. Watch people's body language. Build rapport. Marine Lt. Andrew Abbott, 23, took it all in as he peered out at the graffiti-covered buildings, knowing that the lessons he learned recently in one of the city's toughest neighborhoods could help him soon in the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan. Austin American-Statesman

Court: N.J. Police May Have to Learn 150 Languages
The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled Monday that police must explain the state's implied-consent law to motorists in a language that they understand. In a 4-3 decision, the court overturned German Marquez' conviction for refusal to take an alcohol breath test because the man, who spoke only Spanish, did not understand the consequences. The ruling compels police officers to use a language that suspects understand when informing them the law requires a breath test. The decision could have a wide effect in New Jersey, which has 1.75 million immigrants, about a quarter of whom do not speak English fluently or at all, according to Census statistics.

80 Oakland Police Officers Laid Off
Oakland city officials and police union leaders were unsuccessful Tuesday in their attempts to reach a last-minute agreement by a 5 p.m. deadline to prevent the layoffs of 80 of the city's 776 officers. The City Council voted June 25 to eliminate 80 police officer positions to help close the city's $32.5 million funding gap. CBS5
500 Employees to be Laid off to Balance Dallas Budget
Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm said this morning that she expects to give layoff notices to some 500 civilian city employees to help balance the city's budget in October. Many of those employees will be part-time workers for the library and parks departments, among others.Suhm said that she does not expect more than a small number of those employees will find work in other city departments -- something that has been common in the past.  Dallas Morning News

Juvenile Offenders Sentenced to Shakespeare (Story and Video)
For most American teens, performing Shakespeare is an optional activity. For some teens in Berkshire County, Mass., the course is mandatory. "Some people are here for worse reasons than others. I'm here because of assault and battery," says Tim, 15. Tim is among 12 teens sentenced by a juvenile court judge to participate in the Shakespeare in the Courts program. "The judge sentenced me here, so my first thoughts were, 'Shakespeare is not my thing. I'd rather not.'" Voice of America

Sacramento DA Picked to Head National Organization
Sacramento District Attorney Jan Scully has been elected president of the National District Attorneys Association and will assume the presidency in July 2011. Scully will be the first female president of the NDAA. Sacramento Bee

Lawsuit to Limit Human-Smuggling Prosecutions
An appeals court has revived a lawsuit aimed at stopping the Maricopa County, Ariz., Attorney's Office from prosecuting undocumented immigrants as co-conspirators of the smugglers who bring them into the state. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the case --

filed against then County Attorney Andrew Thomas -- can go forward. Arizona Republic

Test Available for Synthetic Marijuana
A company announced it now offers lab-based testing for the detection of JWH-018 and JWH-073 metabolites in urine. JWH-018 and JWH-073 are the primary synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists responsible for the euphoric and psychoactive affects that imitate marijuana and are among the numerous compounds found in "herbal" incense or smoke blends. Redwood Toxicology Laboratory

City Ordered to Refund Helmet Law Fines
The city of Myrtle Beach, S.C., has mailed refunds to motorcycle riders after the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled the city's helmet law was invalid. Multiple media outlets reported Myrtle Beach has sent refunds for 141 tickets issued when the city's helmet law was in effect from February 2009 until the Supreme Court decision last month. The State