April 16, 2014 in Nation/World

In brief: Undercover officer dresses like Amish to deter flasher

From Wire Reports

Pittsburgh – A western Pennsylvania police officer says he spent much of December and January dressed as an Amish woman in hopes of scaring off a man suspected of exposing himself to Amish children.

Pulaski Township Sgt. Chad Adams said Tuesday that police weren’t able to charge the man because of a lack of evidence.

But Adams said the flasher hasn’t been seen in Pulaski in Lawrence County since around the same time a man was sentenced to house arrest in January for similar behavior in neighboring Mercer County. Police believe that man is the same one who was flashing the Amish children.

Still, Adams felt it was important to publicize his undercover assignment on the police department’s Facebook page, if only to deter the suspect or others in the future.

“Sometimes being a police officer means going undercover and doing what you have to do to catch the bad guy,” Adams wrote in a caption for a photo showing him in a blue dress, black cloak and bonnet.

NYPD’s Muslim-centric unit disbanded, officials say

New York – A special New York Police Department unit that sparked controversy by tracking the daily lives of Muslims in an effort to detect terror threats has been disbanded, police officials said Tuesday.

NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis confirmed that detectives assigned to the unit had been transferred to other duties within the department’s Intelligence Division.

An ongoing review of the division by new police Commissioner William Bratton found that the same information collected by the unit could be better collected through direct contact with community groups, officials said.

In a statement, Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, called the move “a critical step forward in easing tensions between the police and the communities they serve, so that our cops and our citizens can help one another go after the real bad guys.”

The Demographics Unit, conceived with the help of a CIA agent working with the NYPD, assembled databases on where Muslims lived, shopped, worked and prayed. Plainclothes officers infiltrated Muslim student groups, put informants in mosques, monitored sermons and cataloged Muslims in New York who adopted new, Americanized surnames.

After a series of Associated Press stories detailing the extent of the NYPD’s surveillance of Muslims, two civil rights lawsuits were filed challenging the activities as unconstitutional because they focused on people’s religion, national origin and race.

Former police Commissioner Ray Kelly defended the surveillance tactics, saying officers observed legal guidelines while attempting to create an early warning system for terrorism.

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