Thursday, August 31, 2023

Former Deputy Indicted for Threatening Arson and Violence Against Law Enforcement Officers and Courthouse

BOSTON – A former Middlesex County Sheriff’s deputy, Joshua P. Ford, 42, of Kingston, Mass., has been indicted on charges of interstate transmission of threatening communication, accused of plotting to burn down the Plymouth County Courthouse and inflict harm on law enforcement officers. The indictment was handed down by a federal grand jury in Boston and was announced by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts.

Ford, who served as a deputy with the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office from approximately 2009 to 2017, allegedly sent a series of threatening emails on March 13, 2023, to nearly 140 recipients, mainly comprised of Massachusetts law enforcement officers. Each email contained similar language, stating, "there is no more justice system anymore just WAR" and urging law enforcement officers to prepare for a confrontation. Ford's emails included a call for officers to equip themselves with firearms and armored vehicles, specifically naming Middlesex County sheriff’s officers and exhorting them to "suit up for a fight."

The crux of Ford's alleged plan was to burn down the Plymouth County Courthouse. His emails contained a link to an 11-minute video titled "War Has Been Declared F***’em All," which Ford had posted on YouTube and the British video hosting service BitChute. In the video, Ford, seen in a kitchen setting, directly addresses the camera, asserting that the justice system is corrupt. The video reportedly features Ford making a range of statements about police officers, correctional officers, court officers, a judge, a prosecutor, defense attorneys, and others.

Ford allegedly singled out Middlesex Sheriff’s officers in the video, stating, "I’m f****** coming. I’m f****** coming, and hell’s f****** coming with me. I’m going to f****** get every last one of you mother*****s. I know where you work. And I am coming to get you." The video further revealed threats to "break the arms and legs of every court officer" and to "kill" court security officers stationed at the Plymouth County Courthouse. Ford urged fellow law enforcement officers to join him in a confrontation scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on March 14, 2023.

Local law enforcement intervened before the scheduled confrontation, arresting Ford on March 13, 2023, after the threatening emails were dispatched.

The charges against Ford each carry a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison, along with three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentencing decisions will be based on federal guidelines and statutes governing criminal cases.

Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy and Jodi Cohen, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division, jointly announced the indictment. The Kingston Police Department and the Marshfield Police Department played crucial roles in the investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Beck of the National Security Unit.

It is important to note that the details outlined in the charging documents constitute allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Raising Awareness on National Fentanyl Prevention and Awareness Day

DEA's "One Pill Can Kill" Campaign: Focusing on Fentanyl Awareness and Prevention

In the ongoing battle against the opioid crisis, one synthetic opioid has emerged as a particularly lethal threat: fentanyl. With its potency far surpassing that of other opioids, fentanyl has become a major contributor to the alarming increase in opioid-related deaths. Recognizing the urgent need to address this issue, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) launched the "One Pill Can Kill" campaign. This campaign, which has gained significant traction, aims to raise awareness about the dangers of fentanyl and provide tools for prevention.

Understanding the Lethal Nature of Fentanyl

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid often illegally manufactured and trafficked, is responsible for countless overdose deaths across the country. Even a tiny amount of fentanyl can have a fatal impact. This extreme potency makes it a particularly dangerous addition to the opioid crisis, leading to what the DEA aptly terms the "one pill can kill" reality.

The Core Message of the Campaign

The "One Pill Can Kill" campaign is centered on the importance of awareness and education. It aims to reach a wide range of audiences, including individuals, families, healthcare professionals, and law enforcement agencies. The campaign delivers a clear and concise message: Even a single pill or dose of fentanyl can have deadly consequences. This straightforward slogan underscores the urgency of understanding the risks and taking proactive measures.

Campaign Activities and Initiatives

The DEA's campaign employs a variety of strategies to drive its message home:

  1. Educational Materials: The campaign provides accessible educational materials, factsheets, and resources that explain fentanyl's potency and risks.

  2. Social Media Engagement: Utilizing social media platforms, the DEA shares eye-catching graphics, videos, and testimonials to reach a broader audience.

  3. Community Outreach: Local events, workshops, and seminars are organized to engage communities in discussions about fentanyl's dangers.

  4. Partnerships: Collaborations with other organizations, medical professionals, schools, and community leaders ensure a comprehensive approach to awareness.

  5. First Responder Training: The campaign provides training to law enforcement officers and first responders on how to safely handle and respond to fentanyl-related incidents.

Taking Action: What You Can Do

The "One Pill Can Kill" campaign encourages individuals to:

  1. Educate Themselves: Learn about fentanyl's risks, including how it can be disguised in counterfeit prescription pills or mixed with other substances.

  2. Spread Awareness: Share campaign materials, graphics, and information on social media to reach a wider audience.

  3. Support Loved Ones: Engage in open conversations with family members and friends about the risks of fentanyl.

  4. Proper Medication Disposal: Safely dispose of unused medications to prevent their misuse.

  5. Seek Help: If struggling with opioid addiction, seek assistance from healthcare professionals and support networks.

Final Thoughts

The "One Pill Can Kill" campaign by the DEA serves as a crucial reminder of the deadly impact of fentanyl. By spreading awareness and fostering a better understanding of its dangers, we can collectively work towards preventing further loss of life. Through education, engagement, and community action, we have the power to combat the opioid crisis and save lives.

Monday, August 14, 2023

Safeguarding Art Treasures: The Role of Art Databases in Combatting Art Theft in Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts, a city renowned for its rich cultural heritage, has sadly not been immune to the world of art theft. Over the years, the city's esteemed art galleries, museums, and cultural institutions have fallen prey to audacious criminals, leading to the disappearance of priceless masterpieces. This article delves into the history of art theft in Boston, with a particular focus on the pivotal role that art databases play in efforts to combat this illicit activity.

A Historical Overview of Art Theft in Boston: 

Art theft is an issue that Boston has grappled with for decades. In the early 20th century, the city experienced a notorious art heist when two Vermeer paintings were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990. Regarded as one of the largest art thefts in history, this audacious robbery involved thieves disguised as police officers who made off with invaluable artworks, including pieces by Rembrandt and Degas. Despite ongoing investigations, the stolen works, estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, remain missing.

Highlighted Cases of Art Theft: 

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum theft is just one of the many art heists that have plagued Boston. In 2010, a stolen painting by Winslow Homer was discovered in a subway station restroom, underscoring the surprising places where stolen art can end up and the lengths to which criminals will go to conceal their loot.

In 2017, a collection of rare maps and prints were pilfered from the Boston Public Library. This incident emphasized the vulnerability of even public institutions to art criminals who exploit weaknesses in security systems.

The Crucial Role of Art Databases:

Amid the challenges posed by art theft, art databases have emerged as invaluable tools in the fight against this illicit trade. These databases serve as centralized repositories of information about stolen art, enabling institutions, collectors, and law enforcement agencies to track and identify artworks that have been reported missing.

One such prominent database is the Art Loss Register, a comprehensive international database that plays a pivotal role in combating art theft. This database contains information about stolen art, enabling art dealers, auction houses, and law enforcement to verify the authenticity of artworks before transactions occur. By providing a platform for individuals and institutions to report stolen art, the Art Loss Register acts as a powerful deterrent to potential buyers of stolen goods.

In addition to the Art Loss Register, other databases like the National Stolen Art File (NSAF) maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and INTERPOL's Works of Art database facilitate international cooperation in recovering stolen art. These databases assist law enforcement agencies in identifying and recovering stolen art across borders, leading to the successful return of numerous stolen works.

The Impact on the Art World: 

The ramifications of art theft are extensive. Beyond the financial implications for collectors and institutions, the loss of cultural heritage is deeply felt. Stolen artwork is often withdrawn from public view, depriving communities of the opportunity to engage with and appreciate their artistic legacy.

While Boston continues to shine as a hub of artistic brilliance, its history of art theft serves as a poignant reminder of the ongoing challenges that threaten its cultural heritage. The rise of art databases, such as the Art Loss Register, the NSAF, and INTERPOL's Works of Art database, offers a glimmer of hope in the battle against art theft. These databases unite collectors, institutions, and law enforcement agencies in the common goal of preserving art treasures and ensuring they remain accessible for generations to come.

Wednesday, August 09, 2023

Former Erie County Deputy Sheriff Sentenced for Using Excessive Force

– Adam Bess, 35, was sentenced today to 12 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Jack Zouhary after earlier pleading guilty to a felony for depriving an inmate at the Erie County Jail of her constitutional rights by using excessive force. Six months of this sentence will be served as home detention. Judge Zouhary also ordered Bess to pay a $100 special assessment and be placed on supervised release for one year upon release from imprisonment.

According to court documents, on November 1, 2021, Bess was working as a sergeant at the Erie County Jail. During the booking process of a new arrestee, Bess placed his hand around the inmate’s throat in anger in a “choke hold” and caused the inmate to have difficulty breathing. Bess’ actions were without justification and in violation of both the Erie County Sheriff’s Office use of force policy as well as federal law. After being released from jail, the inmate had visible bruising on her neck, immediately reported the matter to the command staff at Erie County Sheriff’s Office, and went to the hospital for evaluation of her injuries. The Erie County Sheriff’s Office promptly reported the matter to the FBI and placed Bess on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation. Bess subsequently resigned.

As a result of Bess’ federal felony conviction, he can no longer work in law enforcement.

This case was investigated by the FBI Cleveland Division, Sandusky Resident Agency, and the Erie County Sheriff’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Freeman and Tracey Tangeman.

Tuesday, August 08, 2023

The Significance of Red and Blue Police Car Lights: A Look into Law Enforcement's Visual Identit

Police car lights flashing red and blue have become an iconic symbol of law enforcement around the world. These vibrant colors aren't just chosen at random; they serve a specific purpose and hold a rich history within the field of policing. Let's delve into why police car lights are red and blue, exploring both their practical functionality and the symbolic importance they carry.

Historical Origins

The use of red and blue lights on police vehicles can be traced back to the early 20th century. It was during this time that emergency vehicles, including police cars, began using lights to signal their presence and urgency on the roads. While early models of these lights were often single-colored, red and blue soon emerged as the dominant choice for several reasons.

Visibility and Contrast

One of the primary reasons red and blue lights were chosen is their high visibility and strong contrast. These colors are easily distinguishable even from a distance, especially against the backdrop of typical urban or suburban environments. This visibility is crucial for ensuring that other motorists and pedestrians can quickly recognize a law enforcement vehicle and take appropriate actions, such as yielding the right of way.

Enhancing Identification

The combination of red and blue lights serves to clearly differentiate police vehicles from other emergency vehicles, such as ambulances and fire trucks, which often use different colors. This distinction allows for swift identification of the type of emergency response that is underway. In high-stress situations, quick identification is essential for both the public and fellow officers.

Psychological Impact

Colors carry psychological associations and can influence human behavior and perception. Red is often associated with urgency, danger, and authority, while blue is connected to calmness, trustworthiness, and professionalism. The combination of these two colors on police vehicles projects a sense of authoritative urgency while maintaining an air of professionalism and approachability. This balance is particularly important for maintaining positive community interactions.

Laws and Regulations

In many jurisdictions, the use of red and blue lights on police vehicles is regulated by laws and regulations. These laws typically dictate how and when these lights can be used, ensuring they are reserved for situations that require immediate attention and response. Proper usage of these lights helps prevent confusion among motorists and pedestrians and maintains the integrity of the visual cues they provide.

Modern Innovations

Advancements in technology have allowed for greater control and versatility in police car light systems. Modern LED lights provide brighter illumination, improved energy efficiency, and the ability to alternate between colors more quickly. Some police vehicles are now equipped with lighting systems that can display a wider range of colors, enhancing their visibility and aiding in specific scenarios, such as traffic direction.


The choice of red and blue lights on police vehicles is more than just a visual design; it's a strategic decision with historical, psychological, and regulatory considerations. These colors are chosen to maximize visibility, ensure swift identification, and project an authoritative yet approachable image of law enforcement. As technology continues to evolve, police car light systems will likely continue to adapt and improve, always with the goal of enhancing public safety and maintaining the vital connection between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

Tuesday, August 01, 2023

Former Oakland Police Chief Sentenced for Misuse of Public Funds

Acting United States Attorney Susan Lehr announced that Terry A. Poland, 34, of Fremont, Nebraska, was sentenced on July 25, 2023, by the Honorable Michael D. Nelson, United States Magistrate Judge, to three years of probation, 60 days of which must be served in jail as a condition of probation.  There is no parole in the federal system.  Poland pleaded guilty in April 2023 to Misuse of Public Funds.  Poland paid $14,631.00 in restitution, agreed to surrender his law enforcement certification, and not to work as a law enforcement officer in the future.     

During February 2020 to January 2021, Poland purchased about 27 gift cards in four transactions from a sporting goods store operating in Nebraska, using the charge account that the City of Oakland had at the store.  Poland was the Oakland Police Chief at the time.  The total value of the gift cards that Poland acquired with Oakland’s funds was $14,631.00.

Poland used the gift cards to acquire items for the use of himself and family members.  Poland purchased among other things women’s and children’s clothing, an ice fishing house, an auger, fishing equipment and a basketball backboard.  Poland made most purchases using the gift cards at store locations in Nebraska but made at least one purchase online. 

An outside auditor questioned the acquisition of the gift cards.  At the request of the outside auditor, the Oakland City Clerk requested additional receipts from Poland.  Poland stated that all the gift cards were used to purchase ammunition for the Oakland Police Department and provided to the City Clerk five purported receipts, each captioned “Purchase Statement.”  Each Purchase Statement was purportedly from the store and reflected the purchase of ammunition on a particular date during August 2020 to January 2021. 

The Purchase Statements that Poland provided to the City Clerk were phony.  They were not issued by the store, and the transactions, item numbers, and item descriptions did not match the store’s records.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.