Middletown may restart Citizen Police Academy

Published: Monday, March 20, 2017 @ 4:52 PM


            Participants in Hamilton Police Department’s Hispanic Police Academy learn about firearms safety. The Middletown Police Department is planning to restart its Citizen Police Academy in 2018. CONTRIBUTED
Participants in Hamilton Police Department’s Hispanic Police Academy learn about firearms safety. The Middletown Police Department is planning to restart its Citizen Police Academy in 2018. CONTRIBUTED

A Facebook post that inquired how many people in Middletown would be interested in participating in a Citizen Police Academy has already resulted in more than two dozen people interested in signing up.

Lt. Jimmy Cunningham said police Chief Rodney Muterspaw posted the inquiry last week on the Middletown Division of Police’s Facebook page.

“It’s going to happen in early 2018,” Cunningham said.

RELATED: Middletown’s revamped Neighborhood Watch wants to hear your concerns

He said the last time Middletown police hosted a citizen police academy was about 10 years ago. Since then, he said budget cuts and lack of community interest were two reasons why the department has not hosted an academy.

“It shows transparency and gives the community an idea of what goes on in the police department,” he said.

Cunningham said the program runs six to eight weeks on a weeknight and those who participate learn more about police procedures, policies and tactics as well as going on a ride-along with a patrol officer and spending some time at the police shooting range getting familiar with weapons. Participants will also learn about making traffic stops as well as how evidence is collected and how criminal investigations are handled.

He said the department’s instructors teach the various classes during the citizen police academy.

RELATED: 18 graduate Hamilton’s Hispanic Citizens Police Academy

Cunningham said about 20 people are accepted in a class, but that the details and participation costs are still being worked out. He said more information will be coming later this year.

“It’s a great community tool and gives police a chance to give back to the community,” he said.

Other area communities such as Trenton, Monroe, Hamilton, Fairfield Twp., and West Chester Twp. have hosted citizen police academies in the past several years.

Trump would need Congress approval to drop sanctions if bill passes

Published: Saturday, July 22, 2017 @ 2:32 PM
Updated: Sunday, July 23, 2017 @ 12:18 PM


            (Tom Brenner/The New York Times)
(Tom Brenner/The New York Times)

Sens. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman predicted swift passage of a bill to impose new sanctions on Russia, North Korea and Iran while preventing President Donald Trump from scrapping Russian sanctions without congressional approval.

The agreement, reached early Saturday morning between House and Senate negotiators, clears the way for a House floor vote as early as Tuesday. The Trump administration has warned the Russian sanctions would tie its hands in negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But lawmakers from both parties have dismissed the administration’s objections after U.S. intelligence asserting that Russia interfered in the presidential election as a way to damage the candidacy of Democrat Hillary Clinton.

RELATED: Trump responds to health care defeat

In addition, lawmakers are furious with North Korea following the death last month of Otto Warmbier of Wyoming, Ohio, after he was held in a North Korean prison. And they are eager to punish North Korea for testing a long-range ballistic missile this month which could reach Hawaii.

Portman said Saturday that Congress “must hold Iran and Russia accountable for their aggressive and destabilizing behavior and I look forward to the House passing” the bill this week.

“The important sanctions and policies included in this legislation will also provide constructive guidance to the administration as it continues to formulate its policies and demonstrate the depth of the support in Congress for a firm and principled approach to Russia, Iran, and North Korea,” Portman said.

In a separate statement, Brown said the bill “sends a clear message to Moscow that the United States will not tolerate Russian attacks on democracy - from interference in our elections to aggression in Ukraine.”

“North Korea must face consequences for its nuclear weapons and missile testing program and its human rights abuses, including the despicable actions that took the life of Otto Warmbier and its continued imprisonment of American citizens,” Brown said.

RELATED: Brown says Democrats could fix Obamacare

Warmbier died last month in Cincinnati just days after he was returned in a coma to his home. Physicians at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center said the University of Virginia student had suffered an extensive loss of brain tissue and was unresponsive.

Warmbier had gone to North Korea as a tourist on his way to Hong Kong for a study-abroad program, but he was stopped when he tried to leave the country. After a sham trial, he was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.

By a vote of 98-2, the Senate approved the sanctions on Russia and Iran last month, punishing Iran for testing ballistic missiles. The House in May passed a bill imposing additional restrictions against North Korea by a vote of 419-to-1.

House and Senate negotiators combined the two bills, which will require floor votes by the House and Senate.

The bill would enact into law sanctions imposed by then-President Barack Obama in 2014 after Russian annexed Crimea and sponsored a separatist war in eastern Ukraine. It also would impose sanctions on those believed to have interfered with the election.

Woman found guilty again of trying to kill husband, sentenced to 16 years in prison 

Published: Sunday, July 23, 2017 @ 11:41 AM

Florida defendant Dalia Dippolito listens to her attorney read a letter from her mother during her sentencing hearing on Friday. Dippolito was convicted again of plotting to kill her husband. 
Lannis Waters/Palm Beach Post
Florida defendant Dalia Dippolito listens to her attorney read a letter from her mother during her sentencing hearing on Friday. Dippolito was convicted again of plotting to kill her husband. (Lannis Waters/Palm Beach Post)

A Florida woman has been convicted for the second time in a 2009 plot to kill her husband.

Dalia Dippolito, 34, will spend the next 16 years of her life in prison.

 >> Read more trending news

With his sentence, Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Glenn Kelley denied prosecutors’ request to exceed the 20-year sentence that Circuit Judge Jeffrey Colbath previously gave Dippolito in 2011 and rejected defense attorneys’ request for a sentence below the four-year minimum recommended sentence.

Kelley said he considered two mitigating factors seriously: Dippolito’s lack of prior criminal record and the time she spent on house arrest. He noted her 20-year sentence in 2011 was actually an 18-year sentence because Colbath gave her credit then for house arrest.

>> Related: Nicole Brown Simpson’s ex-boyfriend: ‘I felt so guilty, that he had beaten her because of me

So Kelley sentenced her to 16 years in prison, giving her credit for half the eight years she has spent on house arrest.

The sentence came at the end of a four-hour, sometimes emotional, sometimes grueling hearing in the case, which garnered international headlines eight years ago when a video of Dippolito crying at a staged crime scene went viral.

The only witness testimony came from Michael Dippolito, who had heard evidence in his now ex-wife’s plot but listened for the first time in a courtroom Friday as prosecutors read text messages and played videos of her plotting his demise.

>> Related: Jury takes just 90 minutes to convict Dippolito of murder solicitation

“It’s not even real,” Michael Dippolito told Kelley. “It’s like I can’t even believe we’re

still sitting here like this girl didn’t even try to do this.”

Read more here.

Man accused of killing father, leaving corpse on couch for weeks

Published: Sunday, July 23, 2017 @ 8:03 AM

Arrested man in handcuffs with handcuffed hands behind back (stock photo).
BrianAJackson/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Arrested man in handcuffs with handcuffed hands behind back (stock photo).(BrianAJackson/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Tyler Swantek, 24, was already in custody on drug charges when police tacked on a first-degree murder charge.

Police said he killed his father, Todd Swantek, and left the corpse on the couch for weeks. The Standard-Speaker reported that Swantek allegedly shot his father in the head with a rifle.

>> Read more trending news

Police reportedly were called to the scene in Frackville, Pennsylvania, in late May by a friend of Todd Swantek’s, who had not heard from the father for a month. When police entered the house, they found a gruesome scene: The badly decomposed body was on the couch, covered in blankets and a sleeping bag, the Standard-Speaker reported. Police said they searched the house and found the rifle, which they believe to be the murder weapon, in Tyler Swantek’s bedroom.

There were a number of candles and air fresheners in the house, apparently put out in an attempt to mask the smell, the Standard-Speaker reported. Police said that when they interviewed Tyler Swantek about his father’s death, he showed no emotion. An autopsy report suggested that the body may have been on the couch for months before it was discovered. Swantek appeared in court where he asked for reduced bail for drug charges, but the judge didn’t agree to the deal. The judge reportedly said, “He’s a danger to himself and society.”

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Young heart transplant patient dies, family says

Published: Saturday, July 22, 2017 @ 11:17 AM

Young Heart Transplant Patient Dies, Family Says

A 5-year-old Massachusetts boy whose story gained national attention when he learned he was getting a long-awaited heart transplant has died.

Ari Schultz was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and had to undergo two heart surgeries before he was even born. Earlier this year, after waiting nearly 200 days for a new heart, the family learned Ari would be getting one.

>> Read more trending news

On June 16, Ari came home from the hospital.

On Thursday morning, the family posted on its Facebook page that Ari was taken to the emergency room for a seizure. After over a half-hour of CPR, he was placed on life support in the cardiac intensive care unit.

The family posted on Friday evening that Ari passed away peacefully while listening to the Red Sox.

Ari has two siblings, his sister Lexi and his brother Eli.