Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My educational journey: Persistence in the face of life

by Tech. Sgt. Burke Mills
412 TW Command Post

10/30/2013 - EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- My educational journey began as a staff sergeant in 2008 while stationed in Hawaii. No longer could I continue to pretend that I was making personal and professional progress without committing to a serious educational journey. While I had been a highly successful military professional up to that point, I had not yet begun to see the benefits of committing to a degree program (traditional, online, or trade) and simply taking the approach that I needed to make myself "better" if you will. My good friend was enrolled in a program and I drew my initial inspiration to start from him.

I began taking night classes in the spring of 2008 and soon completed my CCAF. I retrained into the Command Post career field in early 2009 and got back to work. I completed a second CCAF in 2010 and then completed my Bachelor of Arts in Social and Criminal Justice from Ashford University in early 2012. After earning my BA, I immediately jumped into a graduate program (with Ashford as well) and earned my master's degree in education (Teaching and Learing with Technology) in the summer of 2013.

Since my "serious" journey began in 2008, I've PCS'd three times, travelled on multiple TDY's, balanced family and fitness, and worked many uncoventional schedules. The point being, life is always going to present challenges -- but those challenges bring opportunity. I think my educational journey best exemplifies persistance in the face of life. I can think of a million reasons why I shouldn't do something productive that will better myself and the world today; but can I actually think of a good one?

In my opinion, any endeavor that teaches a skill, improves critical thinking abilities, or provides education and training is worth pursuing. While I view education as an important milestone within this journey we call life, I will never view my achievements as being over or complete. People will draw multiple and unique benefits from an advanced education or particular training program, but I can say that my confidence, my ability to analyze and critically think, and my time management skills have sharpened immensely. Not to mention, skills and/or talents sharpened in an academic or trade program are easily translatable to other areas in one's life. Perspective and world views are enlightened. Brains and minds are meant to be challenged. Once we stop challenging ourselves, what else is left for us to accomplish?

As serving members in the United States Armed Forces, we are afforded premier educational benefits. These include the Post 9-11 GI Bill, military tuition assistance, spouse tuition assistance, various federal and state grants, etc. I encourage you to do your research and take advantage. I've never met a person that was worse after having completed an educational journey.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Justice Department and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Jointly Select Juan Mattos Jr. to Oversee Reform of the Puerto Rico Police Department

The Justice Department announced today that, jointly with the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, it is moving in the U.S. District Court for the appointment of Juan Mattos Jr. as Technical Compliance Advisor (TCA).  Mattos will be responsible for evaluating the implementation of a comprehensive settlement agreement to reform the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD).  He will begin his term as TCA pursuant to appointment by U.S. District Court Judge Gustavo A. GelpĂ­.

Under the agreement, the TCA will assist in determining whether the terms of the reform plan have been fully implemented in a timely manner.  The TCA’s assessment will include a thorough review of PRPD’s policies, training curricula, standard operating procedures, plans, protocols and other operational documents related to the agreement.  The TCA will also assess whether the implementation of the agreement results in constitutional policing, increased community trust and the professional treatment of individuals by PRPD officers.   To this end, the TCA will engage community stakeholders including representatives of civic and community organizations, minority communities, lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender and transsexual communities, student and labor groups, civil rights organizations, and women’s advocacy groups to ensure they have a voice in the reform process.   The TCA will also assess and report on PRPD’s compliance, as well as provide technical assistance to promote constitutional policing.   Once appointed, Mattos will assist PRPD officials with the development of action plans to modernize its administrative systems and professionalize its police force.

The parties jointly selected Mattos to serve as TCA given his extensive experience in law enforcement and his efforts in the successful implementation of a federal consent decree.   Mattos is a career law enforcement officer with nearly 40 years of service in the New Jersey State Police (NJSP) and the United States Marshals Service.   During his tenure with the NJSP, Mattos served as a state trooper, an equal employment opportunity/affirmative action officer, as Commandant of the NJSP Academy and as Commander of both the Division Staff and Intelligence Services Sections.   Mattos also actively supervised the efforts of the NJSP to comply with a 1999 consent decree related to racial profiling.   Under his leadership, the NJSP received national recognition for its patrol practices and procedures.   Following his retirement from the NJSP, Mattos joined the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office where he oversaw the development of policies and procedures for the office’s Bias Crime Unit and established a community outreach initiative with minority community leaders and advocacy groups in Middlesex County.   Currently, Mattos serves as the U.S. Marshal for the District of New Jersey, having been appointed to the position by President Obama in July 2011.   Mattos intends to hire several other experienced law enforcement professionals to assist him in assessing compliance with the agreement.  

 “We are pleased to have worked collaboratively with the Commonwealth to select Mr. Mattos, who we believe is uniquely positioned to assess and report on the Puerto Rico Police Department’s reform efforts,” said Jocelyn Samuels, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.   “We look forward to working with Mr. Mattos, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the community to ensure effective and constitutional policing throughout the commonwealth.”

A copy of the complaint, the final agreement and the September 2011 letter of findings can be found at .   If individuals have information that is relevant to the case and PRPD, you may contact the Department of Justice at or at 877-871-9726.

Fugitive of the Week Arrested by U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force in Berwick, ME

Concord, NH – Early this morning, members of the U.S. Marshals – NH Joint Fugitive Task Force arrested this past week’s Fugitive of the Week, Michael Delgreco in Berwick, Maine. Delgreco, a 35 year old whose last known address was in Hudson, NH was being sought on an outstanding arrest warrant issued by the Rockingham County Superior Court. This arrest warrant was issued for probation violations, stemming from an original conviction and sentence for sales of heroin.

As part of the U.S. Marshal’s fugitive investigation, Delgreco was aired on October 24, 20113, as last week's 'Fugitive of the Week'. The 'Fugitive of the Week' is broadcast on WTPL-FM, WMUR-TV, The Union Leader, The Nashua Telegraph, The Patch and is prominently featured on the internet. Tips provided by the public were instrumental in locating Delgreco this morning. Information provided by tipsters indicated that Delgreco was possibly employed in the Berwick, Maine area. This information was further developed by the U.S. Marshals this morning, which ultimately led to his arrest this morning without incident.

Delgreco was turned over to the Berwick, Maine Police Department for processing and charging as a fugitive from justice on the outstanding NH arrest warrant. Delgreco will be held at the York County Jail pending his initial court appearance in Maine and eventual return to NH to answer to the charges in Rockingham County. Numerous members of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force participated in this investigation and arrest, including members from; the Berwick (Maine) & Greenfield (NH) Police Departments, the Rockingham and Strafford County Sheriff’s Offices, along with deputy U.S. Marshals.

Since the inception of the New Hampshire Joint Fugitive Task Force in 2002, these partnerships have resulted in over 5,523 arrests. These arrests have ranged in seriousness from murder, assault, unregistered sex offenders, probation and parole violations and numerous other serious offenses. Nationally the United States Marshals Service fugitive programs are carried out with local law enforcement in 94 district offices, 85 local fugitive task forces, 7 regional task forces, as well as a growing network of offices in foreign countries.

Monday, October 21, 2013

'Fugitive of the Week' Arrested by U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force in Portsmouth, NH

Concord, NH – Last night, Portsmouth Police Department arrested this week’s "Fugitive of the Week" Michael David Mahoney in Portsmouth, NH. Mahoney, a 50 year old who was last known to reside in Hampton, NH, was being sought on two outstanding arrest warrants. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, was seeking Mahoney on a warrants for failure to appear for burglary and failure to appear for witness tampering.

A tipster who had seen Mahoney featured as the fugitive of the week, recognized Mahoney in Portsmouth, NH and immediately notified the Portsmouth Police Department. Mahoney was swiftly located and arrested by the Portsmouth Police at a local homeless shelter without incident.

Since the inception of the New Hampshire Joint Fugitive Task Force in 2002, these partnerships have resulted in over 5,523 arrests (updated 09/03/2013). These arrests have ranged in seriousness from murder, assault, unregistered sex offenders, probation and parole violations and numerous other serious offenses. Nationally the United States Marshals Service fugitive programs are carried out with local law enforcement in 94 district offices, 85 local fugitive task forces, 7 regional task forces, as well as a growing network of offices in foreign countries.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Most Wanted Fugitive, Convicted Sex Offender Clyde Hall Jr Arrested in Portland, Maine

Adam Walsh Act Violator Failed to Report to Halfway House in Albany, NY

WASHINGTON – Deputy U.S. marshals today arrested 15 Most Wanted fugitive Clyde Hall Jr., a career sex offender who violated conditions of release and failed to register as a sex offender. Members of the United States Marshals Service’s Maine Violent Offender Task Force apprehended Hall without incident earlier this morning on Congress Street in Portland, Maine. The fugitive had been on the run since March 2012 and was added to the USMS 15 Most Wanted list Sept. 12, 2012, becoming the first person added to the list who had violated the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act (AWA).

“Clyde Hall is a violent convicted sex offender who was a threat to innocent, law-abiding citizens,” said Director Stacia Hylton of the U.S. Marshals Service. “Deputy U.S. Marshals make it a priority each day to locate and apprehend sex offenders who fail to comply with state registry requirements designed to keep the public safe. Hall’s arrest today makes our communities safer.”

Hall was released from the Butner Federal Correctional Institution in North Carolina in March 2012, after serving a 25-month sentence based on his conviction in the Northern District of New York for violating the AWA as a convicted sex offender. Conditions of his release required him to report to a halfway house in Albany, N.Y. However, he failed to meet with his assigned probation officer and check in at the halfway house, prompting the issuance of an arrest warrant March 12, 2013.

U.S. Marshal David McNulty of the Northern District of New York said, “I want to express my sincere gratitude to the men and women of the U.S. Marshals Service in Northern New York and throughout the country who devoted countless hours to ensure this career sex offender was taken off the streets. Hopefully his apprehension will mean he never has the chance to victimize anyone ever again.”

Deputy U.S. marshals in Albany led the investigation which involved many USMS district and division offices, including the Maine task force. Investigative leads directed the deputies to Portland, where they scoured the city in search of Hall. Deputies and task force officers spotted a man matching his description, approached the individual, identified themselves as deputy marshals, and took Hall into custody without incident.

Deputy U.S. marshals booked and processed Hall in Portland, where he made an initial appearance before a federal magistrate judge. He awaits a return to Albany.

U.S. Marshal Noel March of the District of Maine said of the arrest, “If a fugitive chooses Maine to hide out, he’s made a big mistake. The men and women of our Maine Violent Offender Task Force make it their priority to investigate, locate and apprehend those who are wanted by the courts, regardless of the jurisdiction from which they are on the run.”

The ‘America’s Most Wanted’ television program featured Hall in June 2012 and detailed his violent, abusive history dating back to 1985. The state of New York labeled Hall a Tier III sex offender, its most dangerous sex offender classification.

The U.S. Marshals Service’s “15 Most Wanted” fugitive program draws attention to some of the country’s most dangerous and high-profile fugitives. These fugitives tend to be career criminals with histories of violence, and they pose a significant threat to public safety. Generally, “15 Most Wanted” fugitives are considered the “worst of the worst” and can include murderers, sex offenders, major drug kingpins, organized crime figures and individuals wanted for high-profile financial crimes. Since the program began in 1983, 225 “15 Most Wanted” fugitives have been arrested.