New Dogfighting Enforcement Training Available Online
The U.S. Department of Justice, Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), in partnership with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), announced a new online course to help law enforcement and animal welfare professionals better detect, investigate, and take action against dogfighting.
The course, Combating Dogfighting, was developed by the ASPCA with COPS funding as a two-hour, two-part curriculum. Part one offers a comprehensive overview of dogfighting issues in the United States, while the second part provides information and resources on effective response, investigation, and enforcement.
“We are pleased to support the development of an easily accessible resource that will help communities throughout the country more effectively crack down on dogfighting,” COPS Director Bernard K. Melekian in a recent press release. “Dogfighting on its own or when linked to other illicit activities is a crime that truly harms a community and contributes to a sense of lawlessness that cannot be tolerated.”
“Dogfighting is a multimillion dollar criminal enterprise that leads to the inhumane treatment and deaths of thousands of dogs nationwide each year,” said Dr. Randall Lockwood, ASPCA Senior Vice President of Forensic Sciences and Anti-Cruelty Projects. “A dogfighting investigation requires many of the same skills and resources as an undercover narcotics investigation, and it can be extremely difficult for law enforcement professionals to investigate this highly secretive enterprise. The ASPCA is hopeful that our partnership with the Justice Department will help combat dogfighting and bring more cases to light.”
Combating Dogfighting is a free resource open to all law enforcement and animal welfare professionals. Additional details about the training, including registration information and a short clip of the course, can be found at http://www.aspcapro.org/cops. For more information, please contact Gilbert Moore (COPS) at 202-616-1728 or Rebecca McNeill (ASPCA) at 646-291-4582.
International Operation: Stop Illegal Medicines
More than 40 countries took part in an international week of action targeting online sales of counterfeit and illegal medicines, resulting in arrests across the globe and the seizure of thousands of potentially harmful medicines, all in an effort to raise awareness of the associated health risks.
Focusing on websites supplying illegal and dangerous medicines, the operation code-named Operation Pangea III is the largest Internet-based action of its kind in support of the International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Taskforce (IMPACT). It was coordinated by INTERPOL, the World Customs Organization (WCO), the Permanent Forum of International Pharmaceutical crime (PFIPC), the Heads of Medicines Agencies Working Group of Enforcement Officers (HMA WGEO), the pharmaceutical industry, and the electronic payments industry.
The operation was carried out October 5–12, 2010, involving police, customs, and national medicines regulators with support from Internet service providers (ISPs), payment systems providers, and delivery services. The global operation targeted the three main components abused in the illegal website trade: the ISP, the electronic payment system, and the delivery service.
“Through a multisector operation involving law enforcement and health, INTERPOL’s key objective in Operation Pangea III was to alert and protect members of the public by assisting our 188 member countries to shut down illegal pharmaceutical websites, chase money flows, and backtrack to the sources behind these illicit pharmaceutical products which represent such a threat to the health of the public,” said Secretary General Ronald K. Noble. “While this international operation . . . shows that criminals attempting to use the Internet as an anonymous safe haven are not safe anymore, we hope that by raising public awareness about the dangers of illegal Internet pharmacies, consumers will exercise greater care when purchasing medicines online.”
During the operation, Internet monitoring revealed 694 websites engaged in illegal activity, 290 of which have now been shut down. In addition, some 268,000 packages were inspected by regulators and customs, and almost 11,000 packages were seized. Just over 1 million illicit and counterfeit pills were confiscated. Some 76 individuals are currently under investigation or under arrest for a range of offences, including illegal sale and supply of unlicensed or prescription-only medicines.
In association with Operation Pangea III, and as part of international law enforcement’s general public alert service, INTERPOL has posted a series of “Don’t Be Your Own Killer” videos on YouTube to highlight the dangers of illegal Internet pharmacies.
Interpol Internet Crime Prevention Tool
INTERPOL has launched an international initiative to stop Internet websites from providing child pornography to online users. The police organization will provide a list of these websites in order to reduce the availability of such material on the web. Internet users attempting to access child pornographic material will be redirected away, either to an INTERPOL stop page or to an error page.
INTERPOL’s Trafficking in Human Beings unit, which steers the world police body’s combat against child sexual exploitation, will work with the organization’s National Central Bureaus and international police forces in updating and enlarging the list of domains with child pornographic material, according to criteria defined in collaboration with the pan-European police project CIRCAMP (the COSPOL [Comprehensive Operational Strategic Planning for the Police] Internet Related Child Abusive Material Project).
“This initiative is a key tool of preventive policing against the online exploitation of child sexual abuse victims and will complement existing policing on the Internet,” said Jon Eyers, INTERPOL’s Assistant Director of Trafficking in Human Beings unit. “Its prevention capabilities will aid in global law enforcement efforts to detect persons and disrupt and dismantle networks and organizations that produce, distribute, and possess child sexual abuse material—while at the same time, it will help protect the rights of abused children.”
At the 2009 INTERPOL General Assembly in Singapore, member countries voted unanimously to adopt a resolution limiting the online distribution of child pornographic images. The resolution encourages member countries to promote the use of all the technical tools available, including access-blocking of websites containing child pornographic images.
U.S. Treasury’s Go Direct Program
As police chiefs and others in law enforcement make speeches and discuss issues with senior citizens who receive federal benefits by paper check, they may wish to encourage them to switch to electronic payments. In fiscal year 2008, nearly 70,000 treasury-issued checks—totaling $64 million in estimated value—were fraudulently endorsed. Using direct deposit instead of paper checks is an important way that senior citizens can help protect against identity theft and fraud.
The Go Direct campaign, sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and Federal Reserve Banks, launched in 2005 to encourage senior citizens, people with disabilities, and others who receive federal benefits by paper check to switch to direct deposit. Direct deposit is safer, easier, and gives people more control over their money. The Go Direct campaign works with banks, credit unions, social service agencies, community-based groups, and other organizations and has helped more than four million Americans switch to direct deposit.
With the four million unbanked Americans who receive federal benefits in mind, the Treasury Department introduced the Direct Express card, an optional prepaid debit card, in 2008. The Direct Express card is a safe, easy alternative to paper checks, and no bank account is required.
To sign up, call the Go Direct help line at 1-800-333-1795, or sign up online at http://www.GoDirect.org (Spanish speakers, visit http://www.DirectoASuCuenta.org). You can also sign up at a local bank, credit union, or Social Security office; or complete and mail the form available at http://www.GoDirect.org. To obtain a specialelectronic tool kit or free marketing materials, visit http://www.GoDirect.org/partners/materials_main.cfm. For more information about the Direct Express card, call 877-212-9991 or visit http://www.USDirectExpress.com. ■