Category Archives: Press Release

Seattle area law enforcement ask people to “Tweet Smart” during emergencies

Just got this notice from WSP- asking folks to exercise a little self control when things go wrong.

Joint Media Release
Seattle-Area Law Enforcement Agencies

**For Immediate Release**
July 29, 2014
Contacts: See Below

Local police ask you to “Tweet Smart” during emergencies

(Seattle)—Social media has become the tool of choice for sharing life events, from mundane things like family dinners to major, life-changing, emergencies

Seattle-area law enforcement agencies are asking you to “Tweet Smart” during emergencies, to help public safety responders keep you safe.

“Please don’t tweet about the movements of responding police officers, or post pictures,” said Washington State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste. “Sooner or later we’ll have an emergency where the suspect is watching social media. That could allow an offender to escape, or possibly even cost an officer their life.”

The agencies’ concern began to grow after watching events in Moncton, New Brunswick and Portland, OR.

“We watched these incidents as they unfolded on social media. In both cases, there was real-time information posted by individuals that could have compromised officer safety,” said Chief Bret Farrar of the Lakewood Police Department.

Along with not posting information about police movements, posting pictures can also put officers at risk.

“If it’s safe to do so, go ahead and take pictures of our deputies in action,” said Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer. “We’re very proud of the work they do. We’d simply ask that you wait to post those pictures until the emergency is over.”

In fact, pictures posted after the emergency can help investigators determine what happened as the event unfolded.

Here are some suggested dos and don’ts for the use of social media in emergencies.
· Do get to a safe place and call 911 if possible. Live telephone calls to dispatchers are law enforcement’s best source of real-time information in an emergency.
· Do feel free to let family and friends know you’ve reached safety.
· Do feel free to warn friends if you have first-hand knowledge of a developing emergency.
· Don’t tweet or post about the movements of police, or post pictures of officers. Even what seems like vague information could be used by a criminal familiar with the area.
· Don’t endanger yourself to get a picture, no matter how compelling.
· Don’t spread rumors. If you’re not sure, don’t post, tweet or re-tweet.
· Do feel free to tweet about the response and post pictures after the emergency is over.

Although the term is “Tweet Smart,” the advice applies to whatever is your preferred social media platform.

Participating Agencies:
Bellevue Police Department
Des Moines Police Department
Federal Way Police Department
King County Sheriff’s Office
Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office
Lakewood Police Department
Seattle Police Department
Washington State Patrol

Start Freakin if you’re Beacon- Company Faces More Than $20 Million in Potential Penalties for Spam Text…

20130128-142344.jpg
SEATTLE, Jan. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — On January 24, 2013, King County Superior Court Judge Barbara Linde certified a class action lawsuit against Beacon Plumbing & Mechanical, Inc. for spam text messages. The company could be ordered to pay consumers more than $20 million in penalties as the case moves forward.

Beacon Plumbing is a company in the Seattle area best known for its slogan, “Stop Freakin’ Call Beacon.” The lawsuit contends that the company sent more than 43,000 illegal text messages to cell phones as part of an advertising campaign. According to papers in the case, on March 9, 2012, text messages were sent to 22,489 cellular telephones stating: “VALUED CUSTOMERS: Beacon Plumbing has gone mobile. To receive future discounts via text reply BEACON to opt in. 2endTxtSTOP.” It is alleged that a second text message was sent to 20,487 cell phones.

The court ruling means that the case against Beacon Plumbing will move forward as a class action. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act allows a consumer to collect damages of $500 per illegal text message. That amount can be increased to $1,500 per text message if the violation is considered to be “willful.” A Washington statute allows similar penalties.

Jacob Barr , one of the consumers who brought the case, was pleased with the ruling, stating, “I hope that rulings like this can keep unwanted text message spam out of cell phones.” He added, “I did not give Beacon Plumbing permission to send me text messages. After receiving a text message alert, who wants to pick up their phone only to find the equivalent of junk mail?”

This is the second Washington case on spam text messages to be certified recently as a large class action. On November 9, 2012, a federal court judge in Seattle certified a nationwide class action lawsuit against Papa John’s International, Inc. regarding promotional text messages. The potential damages in that case reportedly could exceed $250 million. The Seattle law firm Heyrich Kalish McGuigan PLLC represents the consumers in both the Beacon Plumbing and Papa John’s cases.

Donald W. Heyrich , attorney for consumers in the case, called the ruling “another wake up call to advertisers.” Heyrich stated, “Congress and the Washington Legislature enacted these laws to protect consumer privacy. Our firm is committed to protecting these important rights.” He added, “If you do not have advanced permission from your customers, do not send them text messages.”

Law Enforcement Fatalities Decrease 44% In The First Half Of 2012, Reaching A 52-Year Low

Press release from the  National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund:

Law Enforcement Fatalities Decrease 44% In The First Half Of 2012, Reaching A 52-Year Low

WASHINGTON, July 19, 2012  In a reversal of recent trends and positive news for the law enforcement community, law enforcement fatalities declined significantly nationwide during the first half of 2012, reaching a 52-year low.

Fifty-three law enforcement officers died in the line of duty during the first six months of this year, according to preliminary figures released today by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), in conjunction with the Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.).  This represents a 44 percent decrease over the 94 officers who lost their lives during the same time last year.  Officer fatalities decreased across all circumstances yet peace officer ambushes remain the leading circumstance of fatal shootings.

Of the 53 officers who were killed during the first six months of this year:

Twenty-one officers were killed in traffic-related incidents representing a 36 percent decrease during the period.  This includes 17 who died in automobile crashes, three who were struck by automobiles while outside of their own vehicles, and one officer who was killed in a motorcycle crash.

Nineteen were shot to death, representing a more than a 50 percent decrease from the same period last year.

Thirteen officers died due to causes other than traffic or firearms-related incidents representing a 38 percent decrease.  This includes seven officers who died due to physical-related illnesses, three who were stabbed, and three who died in a fall.

“After two years of rising numbers of peace officer fatalities, the law enforcement community has joined together to make officer safety the utmost priority,” said Memorial Fund Chairman & CEO Craig W. Floyd.  “It is good to see those efforts paying off and the number of peace officer fatalities decreasing thus far in 2012.”

Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma and Texas were the deadliest states in the nation thus far in 2012 with three fatalities each.  Eight states (Alabama, Arizona, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, and Utah) each lot two officers during the same period.

Nineteen of the officers killed during the first half of the year were municipal officers, 19 were county officers, ten were state officers, three were territorial officers, and two were federal officers.  The average age of the officers who died was 43.  On average, they served for 12 years and eight of the officers who died were women.

“Line of duty deaths are down by almost 50% which is amazing news!” stated Madeline Neumann, National President of Concerns of Police Survivors and surviving spouse of Essex County (NJ) Patrolman Keith Neumann, who was killed in a drug raid on August 3, 1989. “This trend shows the value of raising awareness on safety issues for law enforcement officers.  Both NLEOMF and Concerns of Police Survivors have worked extremely hard to get the word out about how important officer safety is and it is apparent that our efforts are paying off.”

A copy of the full report, “Law Enforcement Officer Deaths:  Mid-Year 2012 Report,” is available at www.LawMemorial.org/ResearchBulletin.

About the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund

Founded in 1984, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund is a private non-profit organization dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of America’s law enforcement officers and to promoting officer safety. The NLEOMF maintains the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC, which contains the names of 19,660 officers who have died in the line of duty throughout U.S. history. The Memorial Fund is now working to create the first-ever National Law Enforcement Museum, which will tell the story of law enforcement through exhibits, collections, research and education. For more information, visit www.LawMemorial.org.

About Concerns of Police Survivors

Concerns of Police Survivors, Inc., provides resources to assist in the rebuilding of the lives of surviving families and affected co-workers of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty as determined by Federal criteria. Furthermore, C.O.P.S. provides training to law enforcement agencies on survivor victimization issues and educates the public of the need to support the law enforcement profession and its survivors. For more information, visit www.nationalcops.org.

CONTACT: Steve Groeninger, (202) 737-7135 or steve@nleomf.org

SOURCE National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund

Web Site: http://www.LawMemorial.org

 

Apparently Chicago is not the place to vacation this year

I guess the windy city is simply too dangerous to take the family this year. The Executive Director of the Illinois State Rifle Association is telling folks to avoid it- he paints a lovely picture of conditions of Chi-Town:

“In clear conscience I cannot recommend that anyone vacation in Chicago this summer,” continued Pearson.  “Tourists are like sitting ducks and mobs of violent criminals have shown that they are brazen enough to attack anywhere, any time – even along the Magnificent Mile.  I suggest that folks consider Wisconsin as a vacation destination this year.  Fresh air, sunshine, friendly people – all waiting just a short drive across the border.

In case you want to read the rest of his warning, here is the full press release.

Port Angeles Doctor’s Computers With Patient Info Stolen

Port Angeles Area Doctor’s Office Vandalized; Computers Stolen

PORT ANGELES, Wash., June 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — The medical office of Dr. Robert Witham, M.D., F.A.C.P. was burglarized on April 16, 2012. Two computers containing patient information, office and medical equipment and various personal belongings of Dr. Witham were stolen. Port Angeles Police were notified and are conducting their investigations. An independent investigation has concluded that unauthorized use of patient and billing data is unlikely. All affected patient notification letters were mailed on June 7, 2012.

An investigation conducted by an independent security company revealed that personal information, including patient name, address, Social Security number, office amount charges, ICD-9 diagnosis codes and date of birth were in the records on the computers. All paper billing records and charts containing health information, labs, x-rays or communications with other health care providers were not affected by this incident.

The entire content of this press release can be seen here.