Saturday, November 23, 2013

Rutgers University-based Military Support Program Expands

Rutgers University News Release

PISCATAWAY, N.J., Nov. 22, 2013 – Vets4Warriors, a Rutgers University-based 24/7 nationwide peer-to-peer support line for servicemen and women is expanding its services to all active duty military service members and their families, wherever they are located.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense Suicide Prevention Office and operated by Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care, Vets4Warriors launched in December 2011 and, until now, was serving members of the National Guard and all branches of the military reserves. The program provides peer-to-peer support, referrals as appropriate, resilience case management and outreach services to help overcome an individual's or a family's daily challenges.

Acting Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Jessica L. Wright, who visited the Vets4Warriors call center here Nov. 20, said the expansion reflects the demonstrated value of Vets4Warriors.

"The peer support offered by Vets4Warriors is a great benefit to the total force," Wright said. "I'm impressed with the peer counselors' commitment, and as veterans themselves, they understand and can really connect with callers."

Since its inception, the Vets4Warriors support line (toll-free 1-855-838-8255) has received more than 41,000 calls and conducted nearly 1,900 live online chats. The support line is staffed with 30 peers who are veterans representing all branches of service and family members.

All calls to Vets4Warriors are confidential -- callers can remain anonymous by request --- and the counselors often maintain regular contact with a service member for weeks or months, or until a particular matter is resolved.

The Vets4Warriors peer counselors help increase service members' life skills, assist in improving their relationships at home or at work and address stress management, adjustment issues, grief and loss, legal and financial issues or other problems. The counselors also reach out proactively to at-risk service members.

Although Vets4Warriors is not a crisis line, its peer counselors are certified to respond to suicidal callers and will "warm transfer" crisis calls to the Military Crisis Line.

"It is indeed a unique privilege to be in a position to help the men and women who defend our country in the ways in which our peer counselors do," said Christopher Kosseff, president and CEO of University Behavioral Health Care. "We greatly appreciate the confidence the Department of Defense has in our abilities."

As part of the new agreement with the Department of Defense covering the expansion, Vets4Warriors, in addition to Live Chat, will add more capability and outreach through social media.

Family Feud Ends Tragically

Fugitive Arrested On Allegations of 1st Degree Murder

Fort Worth, TX – Jesus Cruz, 22, was arrested yesterday evening by the United States Marshals Service North Texas Fugitive Task Force (NTFTF) in Ft. Worth, TX. An arrest warrant was issued pursuant to an investigation by the Comal County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO), where it is alleged that Cruz committed 1st degree murder.

On July 9, 2013, the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force (LSFTF) was contacted by the CCSO for assistance in the search for Cruz. Task force officers initiated an investigation and discovered that Cruz had previously fled to Ft. Worth, TX. The LSFTF contacted the NTFTF for assistance in locating and apprehending Cruz. Yesterday evening, members of the NTFTF discovered that Cruz was hiding out at a residence in the 2400 block of McLemore Avenue. Task force officers conducted a brief surveillance, entered the residence, identified themselves, made contact with Cruz, and took him into custody without incident.

On April 6, 2013, Cruz was allegedly involved in a shooting that resulted in the death of Timothy Hutson. The shooting took place at a residence in the 400 block of East Clark Street in Canyon Lake, TX. Reports indicated that Hutson was found lying face down in the driveway with a bullet wound to the neck. Witnesses stated that Cruz and Hutson had been involved in an ongoing feud prior to the shooting.

Cruz is currently being held in custody at the Tarrant County Jail awaiting extradition to Comal County to face 1st degree murder charges.

Robert R. Almonte, United States Marshal for the Western District of Texas, stated, “Whenever a life is taken by the hands of another, it’s difficult to make sense of how someone could commit such a heinous crime. I’m thankful for the efforts and hard work of the North Texas Fugitive Task Force who took a dangerous fugitive off the streets. To the victim’s family, I offer my condolences.”

Members of the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force:

    New Braunfels Police Department
    San Antonio Police Department
    San Antonio Independent School District Police Department
    Bexar County Sheriff’s Office
    Comal County Sheriff’s Office
    Bexar County Fire Marshal’s Office
    Bexar County District Attorney’s Office
    Texas Office of The Attorney General
    Texas Department of Public Safety
    Texas Department of Criminal Justice - Office of the Inspector General
    U.S. Marshals Service

U.S. Marshals Task Force Arrests Megan's Law Offender in York

Harrisburg, PA – Today, U.S. Marshal Martin J. Pane announced that the United States Marshals Service (USMS) Fugitive Task Force arrested Scott Kolocin – a 46-year old man formerly registered as a homeless sex offender in Lancaster, PA.

On March 13, 2002, Kolocin was convicted of Indecent Assault in York County. This conviction required him to register as a sex offender under Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law. Kolocin most recently registered as a homeless person in Lancaster.

On Thursday, November 14, 2013, the Lancaster Police Department charged Kolocin with failing to register as a sex offender and failure to maintain his registration requirements. The USMS Fugitive Task Force investigated and learned that Kolocin may be in the York area.

On Wednesday, November 20, 2013, at about 9 AM, members of the USMS Fugitive Task Force checked a hotel in the 3400 block of Susquehanna Trail, York and arrested Kolocin without incident. He was turned over to the York County Sheriff Central Booking Unit for arraignment.

The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 designated the USMS as the federal agency responsible for helping local and state authorities locate and arrest convicted sex offenders who fail to comply with their registration requirements.

United States Marshal Martin J. Pane stated, “The U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force in the Middle District of Pennsylvania has a zero tolerance policy pertaining to sex offenders who fail to maintain their registration requirements. Compliance with the law is easy. For those who don’t, we will not rest until they are brought to justice. We owe this to our communities.”

The USMS worked jointly in this investigation with officers from the York City Police Department, the York County Sheriff’s Department and the Pennsylvania State Police Fugitive Unit.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pilot Projects Provide Tribal Access to National Data Exchange

The Bureau of Justice Assistance, through SEARCH, is supporting two pilot projects that provide some tribal law enforcement agencies with access to arrest/incident data submitted by all participating agencies to the National Data Exchange (N-DEx). The Tribal Law Enforcement Consortium of Arizona pilot reaches the Fort McDowell Yavapai-Apache Nation, Ak-Chin Indian Community, Tohono O'odham Nation, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and Gila River Indian Community. The White Earth Nation’s Police Department pilot includes law enforcement agencies from Minnesota’s Becker, Mahnomen and Clearwater counties.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

One of New York’s Most Wanted Fugitives Captured in Georgia after 11 Years on the Run

Willacoochee, GA - A New York woman on the run for eleven years was apprehended 11/18/2013 by the U. S. Marshals Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force (SERFTF) at a residence in the small town of Willacoochee, Georgia. Frances Parks was listed as one of New York State Parole’s Most Wanted fugitives for violating the conditions of her parole. Parks was on parole for her New York convictions on murder, rape, and robbery charges. In 1975, Parks and four others forced their way into an apartment in New York looking for money. A male and a female victim were robbed during the crime. During the robbery, the three male perpetrators assaulted and raped the female victim. Parks and the other four subjects assaulted, stabbed, strangled, and murdered the male victim.

After being paroled in New York, Parks left the New York area and was violated by New York Parole in 2002. For eleven years, Parks managed to evade authorities on this charge. After receiving information from the U. S. Marshals New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force (NYNJRFTF), the U. S. Marshals Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force (SERFTF) commenced an investigation to locate Parks in Willacoochee, Georgia. Information was received from New York detailing that Parks had surfaced in Georgia under an alias.

On 11/18/2013, SERFTF established surveillance on an address in Willacoochee, Georgia. During the operation, a person matching Parks’ description was observed at the residence and taken into custody. Initially, Parks denied her true identity and attempted to retreat into her home. Task force personnel pursued her into the home and took her into custody. Parks was transported to the Atkinson County Jail to await extradition to New York. Parks has an extensive criminal history to include arrests for murder, rape, robbery, firearm, burglary, and theft. She is also a registered sex offender in the state of New York.

Established in 1789, the United States Marshals Service is the nation’s oldest federal law enforcement agency. The U.S. Marshals Service is the federal government’s primary agency for fugitive investigations. In fiscal year 2012, the Marshals apprehended 36,302 federal fugitives, clearing approximately 39,423 felony warrants. Marshals-led fugitive task forces arrested 86,704 state and local fugitives in FY 2012, clearing approximately 114,311 state and local felony warrants.

The U. S. Marshals Service Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force (SERFTF) was created by the Presidential Threat Protection Act of 2000. Congress recognized the U. S. Marshals expertise in tracking and apprehending dangerous fugitives and ordered the creation of regional fugitive task forces (RFTFs) in core cities throughout the country. Via this mandate, SERFTF was created in 2003 and has offices in Atlanta, Macon, and Savannah to assist state, county, and local agencies as a central investigative base to identify, locate and apprehend dangerous offenders.

Locally, the Savannah Division of SERFTF is composed of U. S. Marshals and state and local law enforcement officers from the Georgia Department of Corrections, Georgia Parole, the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office, the Savannah Chatham Metro Police Department, the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office, the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, the Hampton County Sheriff’s Office, and the McIntosh County Sheriff’s Office.