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Should private companies like Facebook pay for public safety?
Governing
It can be easy to forget that Facebook, the online community of more than a billion users across the globe, is also a company with a big physical presence on a piece of land in California. That place is Menlo Park, a city of 32,000 people in the heart of Silicon Valley. Like many California municipalities, it has slashed spending in recent years. Menlo Park cut back on its traffic enforcement and eliminated its school resource officers. Even with the improving economic picture, the city still cannot afford to replace all of the police services it lost.
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Session on new Arizona child-safety agency to begin
The Republic
Committees will met May 28, with the public weighing in on a proposal to create the new Department of Child Safety, which would replace the functions of the former Child Protective Services. Gov. Jan Brewer's blueprint calls for more caseworkers, criminal investigators and support staff to deal with reports of child abuse and neglect that overload the state's hotline: an average of 942 reports a week, according to Brewer's office. In all, Brewer wants nearly $60 million to fund the agency through the next budget year.
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Chicago mayor pushes plan requiring all gun sales to be videotaped
Fox News
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is pushing to require all gun sales in the city to be videotaped, as part of a plan to allow gun stores back in Chicago under very tight restrictions. Emanuel is expected to introduce the plan, which would also ban gun stores near schools and parks, at a city council meeting Wednesday.
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Indiana cracking down on synthetic drugs
McClatchy News via Governing
More compounds used in making synthetic drugs, such as spice and K2, have been banned by the Indiana Board of Pharmacy. The board recently announced that it passed emergency rules, effective within the next month, banning four types of these substances. The rules remain in effect until next year, when the Indiana General Assembly can make the rules into law.
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New Jersey to receive $882 million in Sandy aid in third round of HUD funding, source says
The Star-Ledger
Nearly $882 million in the latest round of Hurricane Sandy relief aid has been earmarked for New Jersey, The Star-Ledger recently learned, a figure that represents only a fraction of the unmet needs in the state. The aid is part of $2.5 billion the federal government plans to distribute to the state and cities damaged during the punishing storm in the third and final round of a flexible grant program, a government official with knowledge of the plan said.
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Can a new police force turn around Camden, N.J., one of the nation's most violent cities?
Governing
At the Community Baptist Church on Mt. Ephraim Avenue in the heart of the Whitman Park neighborhood of Camden, N.J., stained-glass windows are riddled with bullet holes. On a recent Saturday afternoon, pastor David King pointed out street corners near the church where men have been gunned down. Sometimes, he says, people have run inside the sanctuary for safety when drug deals go bad. On the streets of Whitman Park, King says, “there’s like a drug script that never shuts down.”
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No zip line regulation in Kentucky
Claims Journal
The growing zip line industry isn’t regulated by any government authority in Kentucky. The Lexington Herald Leader reports no federal or state agency is charged with keeping track of the safety of the attractions that allow people to “zip” over an area high above the ground. State lawmakers decided in 2012 to exempt the Kentucky Agriculture Department from overseeing zip lines. The department says it doesn’t have the manpower to adequately monitor the growing activity.
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Arizona wildfires continue to burn
Property Casualty 360
More than 840 firefighters continue to battle the Slide wildfire, which has consumed over 7,500 acres in a canyon located between Flagstaff and Sedona in Arizona. Fifteen hotshot crews, 33 engines, five helicopters, three air tankers, two air attack vehicles and other resources have also been brought in to fight the blaze, which was 5 percent contained as of May 23.
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Ohio school-safety proposal includes funds, penalties
The Columbus Dispatch
Ohio schools would get $17 million in state aid for security upgrades while superintendents failing to submit emergency-management plans would face penalties under a school-safety proposal unveiled by Gov. John Kasich’s administration. The Dispatch reported in December that 166 Ohio school buildings were not in compliance with requirements that they have floor plans and emergency plans on file with the state. Even some that met the requirement did little more than put their emergency plan on scrap paper.
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Hazard homes smashed as feds offer buyouts and counties re-zone
The Denver Post
Demolition crews smashed damaged homes built in Colorado's flood-prone mountain canyons as county authorities pushed ahead on master plans encompassing flood, mud and wildfire risks. Authorities from Boulder and Larimer counties are removing about a dozen flooded homes deemed to be priority hazards. And the Boulder County authorities said they're encouraging — not forcing — property owners to take advantage of federal buyout offers for relocation to land less vulnerable to raw forces of nature.
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Rural Oregon faces deeper peril as public safety system weakens
The Oregonian
An investigation by The Oregonian found the criminal justice system in many areas unable to effectively chase, charge and contain criminals. Law enforcement agencies have shrunk, whittled down by lost revenue, outdated tax bases and poor political decisions. The virtual end of federal logging is the main culprit. As loggers and mills disappeared, so did timber taxes. Congress tried to help with special payments, but those have steadily declined.
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Schools' emergency response plans criticized
The Des Moines Register
Roughly half of Iowa's 30 largest districts have updated their school emergency response policies, adopting a popular national program that safety experts say might not be the best choice. The program, ALICE, stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate. It is built around the idea that immediate response in emergencies involving violent intruders and active shooters is crucial to preventing and reducing loss of life. However, some critics say the current security fad focuses too much on active-shooter scenarios, neglecting more common dangers like violent crime, including assaults.
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Mobile home residents can use Kokomo, Indiana, fire stations as tornado shelters
Claims Journal
Mobile home residents in Kokomo, Indiana, now have someplace to seek temporary shelter from tornados and other severe weather. Fire Chief Pat O’Neill tells the Kokomo Tribune that the city will open all six of its stations as tornado shelters to anyone who resides in one of the central Indiana city’s mobile home parks.
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A new target in fighting campus sexual assault
MSNBC
The campus sexual assault crisis has drawn national attention in recent weeks, with the Obama administration and members of Congress pressing colleges and universities to crack down. But a group of activists is taking matters further, pressuring the Princeton Review, the nation’s most influential test prep and college admissions guide, to include the number of reported sexual assaults on campus in its annual ranking of colleges and universities.
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NYPD ticketing drives to promote pedestrian safety
The Epoch Times
The NYPD is cracking-down on traffic violations in areas most dangerous to pedestrians. The initiative is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan to decrease pedestrian death to zero. The campaign will focus on speeding, driving while talking on a cellphone, texting and other violations in 21 precincts experiencing increases of pedestrian injuries this year, the NYPD said.
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Campus police test safety app with two-way, multimedia communication
GCN
Campus police at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, are testing a new technology that allows them to instantly communicate with multiple users via audio, video and text messages as well as geolocation functions over any device or platform. The technology, developed by beamSmart, a startup based in Tysons Corner, Virginia, delivers dynamic, multilayered content that enhances the safety and response of emergency personnel before, during and after mission-critical or 911 situations, company executives said.
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Drones used to improve hurricane forecasting
Claims Journal
The point where the roiling ocean meets the fury of a hurricane’s winds may hold the key to improving storm intensity forecasts — but it’s nearly impossible for scientists to see. That may change this summer, thanks to post-Hurricane Sandy federal funding and a handful of winged drones that can spend hours spiraling in a hurricane’s dark places, transmitting data that could help forecasters understand what makes some storms fizzle while others strengthen into monsters.
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Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601
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