Nearly two dozen legal, civil rights, and education advocacy organizations recently sent a letter to the U.S. departments of Defense, Justice and Education to plead with federal officials to stop sending military equipment, weapons and armored vehicles to public schools.
The move comes as an increasing number of school districts across the country take part in the Department of Defense’s Excess Property Program, commonly known as the 1033 program. The Huffington Post reports that at least 20 schools have taken in military-grade equipment, from grenade launchers to laptops, since the program started in 1997.
The equipment is given to schools, public university police forces and local police agencies free of charge, but is considered to be on indefinite loan from the government.
“The recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, demonstrate the tensions that invariably develop between local law enforcement and the community when military equipment is unnecessarily deployed against citizens,” according to the letter submitted to Mark Harnitchek, director of the Defense Logistics Agency that oversees the program.
A proposed ordinance in Montville, New Jersey could give police officers broad powers – including entering private property – if underage drinking is even suspected.
As CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported, the proposal has some people questioning just how far police should be allowed to go.
Residents value their privacy in the upscale community of Montville in Morris County. But the proposed ordinance could change all of that.
Police officers under the ordinance could search homes with probable cause, and without a warrant, if they suspect underage drinking.
The next generation of Google’s Android operating system, due for release next month, will encrypt data by default for the first time, the company said Thursday, raising yet another barrier to police gaining access to the troves of personal data typically kept on smartphones.
Android has offered optional encryption on some devices since 2011, but security experts say few users have known how to turn on the feature. Now Google is designing the activation procedures for new Android devices so that encryption happens automatically; only somebody who enters a device’s password will be able to see the pictures, videos and communications stored on those smartphones.
The move offers Android, the world’s most popular operating system for smartphones, a degree of protection that resembles what Apple on Wednesday began providing for iPhones, the leading rival to devices running Android operating systems. Both companies have now embraced a form of encryption that in most cases will make it impossible for law enforcement officials to collect evidence from smartphones – even when authorities get legally binding search warrants.
A Taco Bell restaurant in Antioch has started closing its dining room in the afternoons after managers say it has become a magnet for high school students after class, and fights have been breaking out.
“At school you get suspended or something for that, and if you’re not at school you go to the plaza and fight and get away with it,” one student said.
Employees at the restaurant say the problem has gotten worse since school started.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel backed off Thursday from naming a new elite high school after President Barack Obama amid ongoing criticism from African-Americans who felt the honor inappropriate for a school slated for a wealthy, predominantly white part of the Near North Side.
Instead of naming the new school after his former boss, the mayor indicated he would consider other names for the selective enrollment high school set to be built near the site of the former Cabrini-Green public housing project just northwest of downtown.
“Over the last few months, my team has listened to questions and concerns from the community, ranging from location of the building to the naming of the school. We take that community input seriously, which is why – as we continue to look for a thoughtful way to honor President Obama – we will look for other possible names for this future school,” Emanuel said in a statement.
The flap over Barack Obama College Preparatory High School illustrates a tendency by Emanuel to make splashy announcements before working out the details and getting buy-in from other interested parties.
The failed Scottish vote to pull out from the United Kingdom stirred secessionist hopes for some in the United States, where almost a quarter of people are open to their states leaving the union, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll found.
Some 23.9 percent of Americans polled from Aug. 23 through Sept. 16 said they strongly supported or tended to support the idea of their state breaking away, while 53.3 percent of the 8,952 respondents strongly opposed or tended to oppose the notion.
First Lady Michelle Obama proudly defended her husband’s record at a Washington, D.C. fundraiser, reminding the attendants how far the country had come since the Obamas entered the White House.
“Just think about how different our country looks to children growing up today,” she said. “Think about how our kids take for granted that a black person or a woman can be President of the United States.”
She also praised President Obama for changing history on gay marriage and the Supreme Court.
“They take it for granted that for the first time in history, there are three brilliant women serving on our Supreme Court,” she said. “They take for granted that their president will end hurtful policies like ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ they’ll speak out for gay marriage.