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Boston announces marathon public safety measures
ABC News
Boston officials have announced improved public safety measures for the final two miles of the Boston Marathon on April 21, a year after two explosions near the finish line killed three people and wounded more than 260 others. Mayor Martin Walsh and Police Commissioner William Evans on Saturday said more uniform and undercover officers will be deployed along the marathon's Boston route. Authorities also have installed more than 100 cameras along the Boston portion, together with 50 observation points that will help monitor the crowd.
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4 tips to keep employee drivers distraction-free
Property Casualty 360
Using a cell phone is one of the top forms of distracted driving. More than two out of three drivers admitted to talking on a cellphone while driving, while one in four admits to typing or sending a text message or e-mail while driving, according to the AAA Foundation’s 2014 Traffic Safety Culture Index. Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, according to Virginia Tech Transportation Institute — which at 55 miles per hour is the equivalent of driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.
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Arkansas highway commission approves road treatment to reduce hydroplaning in rainy weather
The Republic
About two dozen highways in Arkansas are set to receive a new pavement treatment that's aimed at reducing crashes during wet weather, according to Arkansas highway officials. High-friction surface treatment is now used on some Arkansas interstates and has been modified for use on non-interstate roads, Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department spokesman Randy Ort said.
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Proximity detector rule OK'd by West Virginia mine board
Claims Journal
A new state mine safety rule will require coal operators to install detection systems that automatically shut down continuous mining machines when people get too close. The rule gives West Virginia companies until July 1, 2017, to install proximity detection systems on machines already in service. The systems will be required on new machines put into service after Jan. 1, 2015, and on rebuilt machines after July 1, 2015.
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The business case for asking applicants about criminal history
Governing
As cities and states consider whether to prevent employers from screening job applicants with a criminal history, many local businesses are trying to limit the proposed bills. While public officials hope that a small change in hiring policies will keep ex-offenders out of prison, businesses complain of new costs and legal risks. Yet in some places, the public and private sectors have reached a middle ground that other localities might mimic.
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Austin, Texas' flood report omit 911 call wait-time numbers
KXAN-TV
The early morning flood that claimed four lives in Travis County last Oct. 31 also overwhelmed the city’s 911 call center and public safety leaders knew it, records show. But reading the new final After Action Report into the flood and the accompanying report from Austin Police, it’s easy to believe the emergency call system worked seamlessly. The documents make no mention of extended 911 call wait times during the deadly flood.
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Could school stabbings be the next great threat?
U.S. News & World Report
The mass stabbing at a Pennsylvania high school morning that left at least 20 individuals injured — at least four of whom are reported to have serious injuries — highlights the fact that schools need to be prepared for many different forms of attack, not just shootings, one school safety expert says. A male student at Franklin Regional High School — located in Murrysville, Pa., near Pittsburgh — entered the school campus armed with a knife early one morning and began making his way through several classrooms and hallways, reports said.
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Tennessee public safety coordinator says first 'call in' showed promise in halting violence
The Chattanoogan
Chattanooga, Tenn., Public Safety Coordinator Paul Smith spoke about the Violence Reduction Initiative to the Chattanooga Kiwanis Club, saying during the first "call in" of 13 young Chattanooga men with violent records, a mother of a shooting victim pleaded with them to stop the violence. The men were called in as a part of Mayor Andy Berke's initiative to greatly reduce violent crime. They were asked to listen to police and community leaders speak.
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Fire departments shift their focus to medical care
Governing
There was a time when most 911 calls to fire departments involved emergencies in which something — a building, an automobile — was actually on fire. But for years now, medical calls to fire departments have greatly outnumbered the calls to put out flames. That’s led to some ugly scrapes between localities and firefighters unions over downsizing. Some cities and towns across the country, however, are embracing strategies to change the job description without issuing pink slips — at least for now.
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Minneapolis ranks high in bike routes, biking and walking safety route
Star Tribune
Besides ranking near the top places in the country for bikers and walkers commuting to work, Minneapolis now can boast of safety rates for walking and biking that are also among the best. The latest statistical almanac for biking and walking, released April 16, puts Minneapolis ahead of most of the nation’s largest cities in almost every major category. The city also fares much better than the state of Minnesota as a whole.
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Oklahoma middle school student creates school safety app
KOKH-TV
A middle school girl's idea for a phone app could revolutionize the way administrators respond to emergencies in schools. Genesis Franks wants to make the app, Qwick Response, a reality for school districts across the country. Franks idea started out as a bracelet with a button a student could press if they felt they were in danger. After winning the Oklahoma Student Inventors Exposition she decided to start building a prototype for an app which relies on push notifications.
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Supreme Court: New Hampshire town not liable for $20,000 in injuries to man stunned by police
New Hampshire Union Leader
A Tilton, N.H., man who fell to the ground and broke his elbow after a Sanbornton, N.H., police officer zapped him with a stun gun cannot sue the town for damages because a municipality has statutory immunity, according to a Supreme Court ruling. State law protects a town from being held liable in bodily or personal injury lawsuits or for property damage, but not when a motor vehicle is involved, the Supreme Court ruled.
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Denning: Civilianized dispatchers unit could jeopardize public safety
De Soto Edge
In 2013, Johnson County, Kan., Sheriff dispatchers took nearly 250,000 calls. Calls range from small incidents to ones of violence, such as the calls multiple law enforcement agencies received during the tragic shootings last Sunday in Overland Park, Kan. Along with the high number of calls, another feature that distinguishes Johnson County Sheriff’s dispatchers from those in other cities is sworn deputies handle the calls. Following the release of a Johnson County Board of County Commissioners audit that recommended the sheriff’s office to switch to a civilianized dispatcher’s unit, Johnson County Sheriff Frank Denning remains adamant that his system is the right one.
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Regulating rideshares
Public CEO
Traditionally, for-hire car services have fallen into two broad categories, distinguished by how customers connect with their rides. Taxis, which customers hail on the street and black cars (or limos), which customers arrange for by calling ahead of time. Is something like UberX really a rideshare, closer to carpooling, or is it effectively a cheaper version of black car service? Are these app-based companies more like dispatch services or networks of amateur drivers?
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There is no perfect solution to preventing school violence
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
If there's one thing school safety experts agree on, it's this: There is no perfect solution to preventing school violence. "The good news is that schools are actually getting much better at preventing violence, but the bad news is we will always have incidents that slip through the cracks because you are dealing with human behavior," said Kenneth Trump, president of National School Safety and Security Services in Cleveland.
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New York City's former mayor is spending $50 million to fight the NRA
Yahoo!
In his first major initiative since leaving office, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced plans to launch a new gun control organization that he hopes can rival the National Rifle Association. The grassroots umbrella group, called Everytown, is "a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities." "For too long, change has been thwarted by the Washington gun lobby and by leaders who refuse to take commonsense steps that will save lives," says the organization's mission statement.
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