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News to Know (06/30/2021)

Surfside, FL- In Surfside, Florida, rescue efforts continue six days after the collapse of a 12-story beachfront condo. The official death toll rose by 1 yesterday, with 149 people still unaccounted for.

Pea Ridge, AR- Officials have charged a second suspect in connection with the death of a Pea Ridge, Arkansas, Police Officer. 22-year-old, Shawna Cash, is charged with a number of crimes including capital murder, criminal mischief and aggravated assault. The other suspect 18-year-old Elijah Andazola is also charged with capital murder in connection with the death of Officer Kevin Apple. Authorities say the two ran over Apple, with a car.

Edna, KS- Authorities are investigating the cause of a mattress factory fire in Edna, Kansas. It happened around 9:30 Tuesday morning. Authorities say the factory is a complete loss. The nearby retail facility did not appear to be damaged. No one was hurt in the fire.

Grove, OK- Oklahoma, is taking action aimed at getting people back to work. Starting this week, the sooner state is offering a one-time incentive for Oklahomans returning to work following the end of State Unemployment Benefits. Anyone returning to work at least 32-hours a week is eligible to apply for a 12 hundred dollar payment. For an area that relies heavily on tourism like Grove, Oklahoma, getting more people to work is crucial. The Area Chamber says some Grove, businesses have only a fraction of the employees they need, and hope this incentive will help fix that

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JPD announces 54th Citizens Police Academy class for Fall

JOPLIN, Mo. – The Joplin Police Department announces the upcoming Fall session of the Citizens Police Academy.

The academy is a 14 week program geared toward people who want to learn more about the JPD. It will be free of charge and will provide a behind-the-scenes program taught by experienced police officers, who share their unique perspective on law enforcement.

The classes will be held every Thursday evening starting August 5th from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The CPA will conclude on November 4th with a closing ceremony and dinner. The classes will be held at various locations throughout the City. The class size will be limited to approximately 25 participants.

Topics covered will include: crime scene investigations, narcotics investigations, child abuse investigations, vehicle stops, SWAT operations and equipment, use of force tactics, building clearing, DWI enforcement, an introduction to the K9 unit and much more.

Interested persons are encouraged to contact Officer Lacey Baxter at lbaxter@joplinmo.org or at (417) 623-3131, ext 1632. An application can be submitted or printed from JPD’s website, www.joplinpolice.org, under the Events tab. An application can also be obtained at the front desk of the Joplin Police Department at 303 E. 3rd Street, in Joplin

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News to Know (06/29/2021)

Surfside, FL- The frantic search for survivors of last week’s condo building collapse in Surfside, Florida has entered its 6th day. Last night, officials said they are still in “search and rescue” mode, despite not finding anyone alive since Thursday morning, hours after part of the 12-story building fell.

Southwest, MO- Southwest Missouri is seeing a spike in Covid-19 cases. Experts say current hospitalization numbers resemble what they saw during their first surge last fall. They say the biggest difference this time around is the age of those being hospitalized, and are seeing younger people need hospitalization. This increase in numbers started in early June, and with the 4th of July coming up, they recommend smaller sized gatherings.

Pea Ridge, AR- Authorities have arrested 2 suspects in the death of Arkansas Police Officer, Kevin Apple. He was a 23-year police veteran, and served with the Pea Ridge Police Department for 3-years. At around 11:30 Saturday morning, Rogers PD alerted the Pea Ridge Police Department about a car they had been following. Pea Ridge officers spotted the car at the White Oak gas station. When approached, police say the suspects rammed their car into a Pea Ridge police car. In doing so Police say the suspects ran over Officer Kevin Apple, then drove away. One suspect 18-year-old Elijah Andazola is charged with capital murder.

Washington, DC- If you’re planning on hitting the road for the 4th of July holiday, you may want to fuel up now. Gas prices are on the rise again. Gasbuddy.com reports the national average is now $3.09 a gallon and is expected to climb even higher as the summer goes on.

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News to Know (06/28/2021)

Surfside, FL- Crews at the site of the Surfside, Florida condo collapse are continuing their efforts to find any survivors who may be buried in the rubble. More bodies were recovered over the weekend. While teams from Israel and Mexico arrived to assist. In 2018 an engineering firm documented more than 9 million dollars in needed repairs to the building. The cause of the collapse is still under investigation.

Pea Ridge, AR- A Northwest Arkansas officer has been killed in the line of duty. A Pea Ridge Police Officer is dead after being run over. Police have confirmed Officer Kevin Apple died while on duty. Rogers PD alerted the Pea Ridge Police Department about a car they had been following.  Around noon Saturday Pea Ridge Officers spotted the car at the White Oak gas station.
once police approached the vehicle, suspects rammed their car into a Pea Ridge Police car, ran over Officer Kevin Apple, then drove away. With the help of serval surrounding departments, police were able to catch the two suspects.

Carthage, MO- Patients were evacuated from Mercy Hospital in Carthage last night. Patients are back in place after smoke was reported in the building. Officials say an air handler motor over heated causing smoke to enter the building near the administration portion of the building. Patients could smell smoke in their side of the building, and mercy officials evacuated the building as a precaution. Officials began allowing patients back into the building just before 9 p.m. and say that no one was hurt during the incident.

Washington, DC- 10 states ended their Enhanced Unemployment benefits over the weekend. That includes some of the 4-States.  Arkansas, Oklahoma, Florida, Georgia, Montana, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and Utah stopped the 300 dollar Federal Supplemental benefit. The move impacts about 2.5 million people. 12 other states ended their extra benefits during the last 2 weeks. Enhanced benefits are scheduled to expire in September for any state which hasn’t opted out of them.

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Pittsburg officer removes python from front porch

PITTSBURG, Kan. – A Pittsburg police officer got quite the surprise when he was called to remove a snake from a resident’s front porch. Officer Spencer thought he would have be dealing with a garden snake but instead found a large python.

Authorities say slithering reptile was safely removed by Officer Spencer and was adopted by a “responsible individual who lives outside this community.

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SCOTUS: Police will sometimes need warrants to pursue fleeing suspects into their homes

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that unless there is an emergency, police must evaluate on a case-by-case basis whether officers need a warrant before pursuing an individual suspected of committing a minor offense into his or her home.

Justice Elena Kagan wrote the opinion. The justices were unanimous in the result but differed on the reasoning.

“The flight of a suspected misdemeanant does not always justify a warrantless entry into a home. An officer must consider all the circumstances in a pursuit case to determine whether there is a law enforcement emergency,” Kagan wrote. “On many occasions, the officer will have good reason to enter — to prevent imminent harms of violence, destruction of evidence, or escape from the home. But when the officer has time to get a warrant, he must do so — even though the misdemeanant fled.”

A lower court decision had held that no warrant was ever required in such a circumstance.

Kagan added: “Because the California Court of Appeal applied the categorical rule we reject today, we vacate its judgment and remand the case for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.”

In general, law enforcement must obtain a warrant before entering a person’s home, although the court has held that under certain exigent circumstances a warrant is not required. If, for example, an officer is in “hot pursuit” of a driver or if emergency aid is needed, a warrant is not always necessary.

The case at hand explored whether a categorical exception to a warrant holds up if the officer thinks the individual he is following committed a less serious offense: a misdemeanor. It’s the first time the justices have looked at the scope of the “hot pursuit” doctrine when it comes to a minor violation.

In 2016, a highway patrolman saw a car playing loud music and honking its horn for no reason. The officer, Aaron Weikert, followed the car that was being driven by Arthur Lange, believing he may have committed a noise infraction. As he pulled into his driveway, Weikert activated his lights, but Lange did not stop, and instead pulled into his own garage and attempted to shut the door.

Weikert put his foot in front of the garage door sensor, forced the door to reopen and entered the garage, pursuing Lange for failing to stop when the police lights flashed. The officer questioned Lange about his actions, and seeing signs that Lange was intoxicated, ordered a sobriety test. Lange was later charged with driving while intoxicated and his lawyers moved to suppress the evidence against him.

In court, Lange’s lawyer, Jeffrey Fisher, told the justices that the lower court decision was wrong because “the governmental interest in investigating minor offenses is not always or even usually strong enough to support home entries unsanctioned by judicial officers.” He said that only “concrete” emergencies allow a warrantless entry. Otherwise, police have the option of knocking on the door.

In an unusual twist, California did not defend the lower court decision. Instead, California Deputy Solicitor General Sam Harbourt told the justices that a categorical rule requiring a warrant for misdemeanor offenses should not apply.

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Lamar PD sends off K-9 Hondo with retirement party

LAMAR, Mo. – A long time officer with the Lamar Police Department said his final goodbyes Thursday as he headed off into retirement.

That officer is Hondo, a K-9 unit. Officials say Hondo has served for nine years and assisted in the seizure of more than a 1,000 grams of marijuana, 4,000 grams of meth, and numerous weapons. He will now live out the rest of his life at the home of his handler.

Before retiring though, Hondo was able to show his replacement Tosca the ropes.

“The good thing with that is that for the last 3 years, I have been hauling 2 dogs,” said K-9 Handler Corporal Toby Luce. “So she’s been in the car since she was 6 weeks old, so it made it easier for a transition for me, not necessarily for him but for me to be able to take just one dog. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have went cold turkey and went without a dog at all.”

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Kansas City board considers legal action on police funding

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – The state-controlled board that oversees Kansas City’s police department has voted to initiate legal action over city leaders’ decision to change how some of the department’s budget gets spent.

Minutes posted on the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners website said board members voted Monday in a closed meeting to authorize a potential lawsuit to enforce their authority over the police department. The vote was in response to two ordinances passed last week by the city council that would reallocate about $42 million of the department’s budget for social services to help address root causes of the city’s violent crime.

Opponents charge the change is a roundabout way to “defund” the police department.

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McKinley Elementary students show appreciation to first responders

JOPLIN, Mo. – Some Area Elementary students Wednesday showed their appreciation for first responders during a parade.

Fire trucks, ambulances, and police cars drove by Joplin’s McKinley Elementary. Students held signs and banners showing their support for first responders.

“It helps bridge the gap between the students and the first responders,” said special education teacher Kari Lewis. “So this first started out here at McKinley with us doing a pen-pal program with some of the students, police officers and firefighters. And because of the COVID regulations and stipulations they couldn’t come inside the building this year, so we decided to have a parade for them and show them how much the school appreciates them.”

The is the first-year students at McKinley participated in this type of special thank you.

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Newton County ceremony honors fallen officers

NEOSHO, Mo. – Area law enforcement agencies gathered Tuesday night to honor their brothers and sisters lost in the line of duty.

A special service was held at the courthouse lawn in Neosho, Missouri. The service was conducted by the Newton County Sheriff’s Office chaplains.

I know the families of fallen officers appreciate it, as well across the United States,” said Newton County Sheriff Chris Jennings. “They need to be remembered, because most have given their life to the line of duty, and it means a lot to them I’m sure, as well as their families and those of us remaining.”

All Newton County police departments and city officials were invited to the ceremony.