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2011 in Review: Top news stories of 2011

PoliceOne takes a look back at the biggest news stories of the year for the law enforcement community

By PoliceOne Staff

As 2011 wraps up, PoliceOne takes a look back at the biggest news stories of the year for the law enforcement community. Tell us in the Comments section what stands out to you from 2011.

4 Detroit officers shot at precinct
During a bloody 24 hours in which ten officers were shot nationwide, a gunman walked into a Detroit precinct station and fired a shotgun at surprised officers.  Police fired back and killed the gunman, reporting a “shaken up” force and moves for heightened security following the incident.  The number of cops involved and the style of the attack brought back memories of Lakewood, though this time, thankfully, no officers were killed.

Osama bin Laden killed

Acting on intelligence that bin Laden was holed up in a compound in the city of Abbottabad, American forces killed Osama bin Laden during a raid and quickly buried him at sea. Officials said CIA interrogators in overseas prisons developed the first strands of intelligence that led to the killing. 

Hackers target police
This year police agencies had to deal with more online threats, especially the posting of personal information by hackers, like the group ‘Anonymous.' The collective took credit for several law enforcement data leaks across the country, including the posting of BART police officers’ home addresses following their blocking of cellphones at a protest, the hacking of the Texas Police Chiefs Association’s email,  and the theft of personal information from members of the Los Angeles Police Department’s command staff. Another group, LulzSec, hit the Arizona Department of Public Safety but later said they were disbanding.

Video captures slain cop's touching final act
Police released a McDonald's security camera video that shows an officer's final good deed minutes before he was shot and killed in an unprovoked attack as he sat inside his patrol car.

Deadly SWAT raid in Pima, Ariz.
Authorities released helmet cam footage showing SWAT officers serve a search warrant at the home of former Marine Jose Guerena, who was killed when officers fired 70 or so shots at him. Extensive media coverage, including photos of the damaged house, detailed what happened though the attorney’s office said officers were reasonable and justified in their actions based on the circumstances of the shooting. Recently, in November, the media stirred up more outrage over the fatal day.

Citizen activist's arrest prompts filming debate
The controversial arrest of citizen activist Emily Good, who videotaped a traffic stop from her front lawn, brought filming police into the news spotlight. Charges against Good were eventually dropped, but not without the officers involved being threatened first. Here, PoliceOne offers a legal analysis of filming police, and it’s also worth taking a look at officer safety reminders for dealing with video vigilantes.

Former BART cop Johannes Mehserle released from jail
Following a lot of anticipation leading up to the event, Johannes Mehserle was released from jail after serving just over 11 months of a two-year-prison term. Mehserle was charged with the murder of Oscar Grant on a California Bay Area train platform, which he said was an accident caused by mistaking his gun for his TASER.

FHP trooper handcuffs speeding Miami cop
A video captured Florida Highway Patrol trooper Donna Jane Watts draw her gun, handcuff, then charge Miami Officer Fausto Lopez with reckless driving after he sped on a turnpike in a marked cruiser. The Miami FOP defended Lopez and an apparent feud ensued, bringing with it a patrol car covered in human waste and a “revenge” video targeting speeding troopers.

Occupy protests
Police response to protestors connected to the ‘Occupy’ movement – the now well-known, months-long series of anti-Wall Street demonstrations kicked off in September in New York City – began with 80 arrests and the release of a video showing an officer use pepper spray on a protestor. Criticism of crowd control tactics only took off from there – the incident at UC-Davis and resulting viral frenzy online,  most notably – as people set up camp in Texas, Pennsylvania, Maine, California, and elsewhere.  

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