Trump ad­min re­vamps po­lice pro­gram:


Arab Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

The Jus­tice De­part­ment says it will re­vamp an Obama-era pro­gram that helped trou­bled po­lice de­part­ments build com­mu­nity trust, of­ten af­ter racially charged en­coun­ters.

Of­fi­cials said Fri­day the ini­tia­tive will shift its fo­cus to help­ing lo­cal law en­force­ment fight vi­o­lent crime. It’s an­other move away from Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion pri­or­i­ties and from fed­eral scru­tiny of lo­cal po­lice, which At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions be­lieves can hurt of­fi­cer morale.

The pro­gram known as “col­lab­o­ra­tive re­form” al­lowed cities to vol­un­tar­ily seek as­sis­tance from the Jus­tice De­part­ment on is­sues such as use of force. Fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tors would then re­lease non­bind­ing rec­om­men­da­tions for ways the de­part­ment could im­prove, pe­ri­od­i­cally mon­i­tor­ing their progress.

While some cities found the process con­struc­tive, the Jus­tice De­part­ment un­der Ses­sions de­ter­mined it had be­come ad­ver­sar­ial and coun­ter­pro­duc­tive to crime-fight­ing. The move marked an­other shift away from Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion pri­or­i­ties and fed­eral scru­tiny of lo­cal law en­force­ment, which At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions be­lieves can wrongly ma­lign po­lice de­part­ments and hurt of­fi­cer morale. Po­lice are a ma­jor con­stituency for the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion as it es­pouses a lawand-or­der agenda.

“This is a course cor­rec­tion to en­sure that re­sources go to agen­cies that re­quire as­sis­tance rather than ex­pen­sive, wide-rang­ing in­ves­tiga­tive as­sess­ments that go be­yond the scope of tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance and sup­port,” Ses­sions said in a state­ment. (AP) Sui­cide among veter­ans high: Sui­cide among mil­i­tary veter­ans is es­pe­cially high in the west­ern US and ru­ral ar­eas, ac­cord­ing to new gov­ern­ment data that show wide state-by-state dis­par­i­ties and sug­gest so­cial iso­la­tion, gun own­er­ship and ac­cess to health­care may be fac­tors.

The fig­ures re­leased Fri­day are the first-ever De­part­ment of Veter­ans Af­fairs data on sui­cide by state. It shows Mon­tana, Utah, Ne­vada and New Mex­ico had the high­est rates of vet­eran sui­cide as of 2014, the most cur­rent VA data avail­able. Veter­ans in big chunks of those states must drive 70 miles or more to reach the near­est VA med­i­cal cen­ter.

The sui­cide rates in those four states stood at 60 per 100,000 in­di­vid­u­als or higher, far above the na­tional vet­eran sui­cide rate of 38.4.

The over­all rate in the West was 45.5. All other re­gions of the coun­try had rates be­low the na­tional rate.

Other states with high vet­eran sui­cide rates, in­clud­ing West Vir­ginia, Ok­la­homa and Ken­tucky, had greater lev­els of pre­scrip­tion drug use, in­clud­ing opi­oids. A VA study last year found veter­ans who re­ceived the high­est doses of opi­oid painkillers were more than twice as likely to die by sui­cide com­pared to those re­ceiv­ing the low­est doses. (AP)

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