Category Archives: Law Enforcement

NE Law Officers Get New Tool For Child Abuse Cases

.jpg photo of No excuse for child abuse sign

LINCOLN, NE – Nebraska law enforcement agencies are slated to get another training tool to help officers who are working on child abuse cases.

In the past 10 years, reports of child abuse across the state have increased by the thousands.

Attorney General Doug Peterson announced Wednesday that all of Nebraska’s law enforcement agencies will receive an eight-part DVD series with instructions on how to handle reported cases of child abuse.

“When you do this, you have to do it right,” Peterson said. “You have to get it right the first time.”

The DVDs and informational notebooks are aimed at new officers, with lessons such as the proper way to gather evidence and interview children. It includes eight DVDs produced by the League of Municipalities and other law agencies, that will walk officers through every phase of handling child abuse allegations, including talking to the children. The series also discusses the role of Nebraska’s child advocacy centers and protective services hotline.

“These kids are scared to death,” Peterson said. “They are scared to death about what just happened to them and who can they talk to and who can they trust.”

Peterson says the materials are intended for officers who have been hired but not yet completed all of their formal training.

Preserving and gathering evidence is critical in these cases.
“Let the evidence speak for the child, so they don’t have to relive their abuse on the witness stand,” Kerry Crosby said.

Peterson hopes the DVDs, which will be distributed mid-August, will help new officers get the advanced training needed, especially in smaller agencies.

“The thought is we need to get this into their hands as quickly as possible,” Peterson said.

Carol Stitt was the director of the Foster Care Review Board for 30 years. She works for the League of Municipalities now and helped launch the training program. She applauded Peterson’s initiative.

“He’s prioritizing these cases not only in his office, but he’s prioritizing training and he’s trying to get the word out that one of his first priorities is protecting children,” Stitt said.

“Law enforcement has to do a thorough and complete job of investigating that crime, because that young man and that young girl are trusting for us to do that,” Peterson said.

The project is a joint effort of law enforcement groups, municipalities and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

Peterson is also sending out the message that there are resources that law agencies can tap into for help, including his office and seven child advocacy centers across the state

Three People Charged With Drug Violations & Child Abuse

RIVER BEND, Craven County, NC – Complaints by citizens in River Bend led to a combined 30 drug violations and child abuse charges against four suspects.

River Bend Police and ALE agents busted the home at 27-A Mulberry Lane in River Bend. The drug bust was the culmination of a month-long investigation.

“We got multiple complaints of high traffic, lots of cars in and out all the times during the day, foot traffic from different locations, noise complaints,” said Detective George Wilson with River Bend Police.
Patricia Little is charged with felony possession of cocaine, child abuse, simple possession of a schedule III controlled substance, nine counts of possession of marijuana paraphernalia, two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, and one count of possession of marijuana. Little has bonded out of jail, but police are again looking for her on two outstanding warrants.

Tonya Jones is charged with four counts of possession of marijuana paraphernalia and two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia. Jones has bonded out of jail.

Ashley Valez is charged with simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance, driving an uninsured vehicle, and allowing an unlicensed driver. Valez has bonded out of jail.

Ronald McCotter is charged with driving with a revoked license and no seatbelt. He was cited and released at the scene.

River Bend police are still searching for Patricia Little, who has outstanding warrants for felony cocaine possession and child abuse. If you have any information on Little’s whereabouts, you’re asked to call River Bend Police at (252) 638-1108.

TN DCS Child Abuse Registry Now Public

.jpg photo of Child Abuse Registry online
TN DCS Child Abuse Registry now public

MEMPHIS, TN – There’s an easier way to learn the names of people responsible for child abuse or neglect in your area.

Some people said the way the state is going about it is unfair.

WREG found out how and why the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services is sharing the names of these people online even if they weren’t prosecuted.

Some were shocked to learn The Department of Children’s Services abuse registry is now public.

DCS started sharing that online in July.

That applied to anyone believed to have something to do with child abuse or neglect, even if they weren’t prosecuted.

Keith Armstrong said that’s a risky move.

“I do think that will raise some type of controversy,” he said.

DCS said the department is making the move after discovering a law that dates back to 1987.

“It requires state agencies to share names of substantiated abusers with the health department, DCS has long maintained its own database, we’ve maintained our own internal registry and we have 154,000 names,” said Rob Johnson with DCS out of Nashville.

Armstrong said he’s afraid this will ruin someone’s reputation who may be innocent.

“To put somebody in that particular category and put their name out in the public before they’re accused in the court of the law, then it’s like a witch hunt because they could actually be innocent,” he said.

Others believed it’s the right thing to do.

“People do have the right for a file review, they have the right before a hearing administrative law judge and if they wish to appeal those findings to a chancery court they can do so,” he said.

DCS said the Department of Health will operate it.

Arlington Officers Save Lives in 3-Alarm Fire

.jpg Photo of Apartment Fire
Arlington Police Officers save lives, overcome by smoke

Arlington, Texas Two Arlington police officers are being credited with helping to save the lives of several residents of a burning apartment complex Tuesday.

A three-alarm fire was reported about 5:15 p.m. at the Woodland Park Apartments in the 2100 block of Valleywood Drive.

The two Arlington officers were in the area investigating an unrelated disturbance call, according to police, when they saw the smoke and went to investigate.

The officers – identified as Officer K. Johnson and Officer B. Cruz, according to an official police department release – “went inside of multiple units to ensure everyone was getting out safely,” police said.

Inside one of those apartments, Marci Savill was sleeping, along with her children – ages 4 and 18 months.

“There was police banging on the door,” Savill said, about how she woke up. “And I smelled fire immediately. When I went to the door with my daughter, because my daughter ran right after me, he grabbed my daughter, took her across the street, and I had to run back in and get my son.”

Two doors down, neighbor Chris Partlow told NBC 5 he was walking back to his apartment from a nearby laundromat when he saw the smoke.

“I just had to run up there, grab them and go,” Partlow said about his friend and his friend’s twin 10-month-olds. “It was just a spur-of-the-moment thing.”

Partlow stood and watched as members of the Arlington Fire Department took control of the flames, holding on tightly to the twins, MJ and Lauren, dressed only in their diapers.

“These two right here are safe now. That’s all that matters,” Partlow said.

Officers Johnson and Cruz were each taken to an area hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation.

“The officers entered the structure, into the smoke without breathing apparatus and were overcome by the smoke,” Arlington Assistant Fire Chief Bill McQuatters said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, according to McQuatters.

Multiple residents of the apartments reported that their smoke detectors did not sound at any point during the fire – something the fire department is investigating.

“I’m sure the apartment complex has smoke detectors,” McQuatters said. “Just don’t know if they were working, or if there was enough smoke in there to cause them to go off.”

The fire destroyed four units of the 16-apartment building, according to the fire department.

All 47 people who live in the building were kept out of their home Tuesday night, until power and other utilities could be restored.

Teams from the American Red Cross-North Texas Region responded to assist the residents with food, clothing and other immediate needs, according to Anita Foster of the Red Cross, including shelter for those who cannot find an apartment within the same complex.