8th Annual Cyber Crime Prevention Symposium
The United States Attorney’s Office co-hosted the eighth annual Cyber Crime Prevention Symposium for middle and high school students, teachers, administrators, and parents in November. This unique Symposium provides training and age appropriate workshops conducted by law enforcement and community experts on cyber safety, including child exploitation, cyber bullying, sexting, sextortion, malware and digital reputation. This year’s Symposium featured an exciting video welcome featuring US Attorney Decker along with FBI Assistant Director in Charge Deidre Fike, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer; District Attorney Jackie Lacey.; ICAN Executive Director Deanne Tilton Durfee, José Horacio Gómez, the Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles; Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell and Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck. In addition, Task Force partner Disney Television surprised the students with two stars from current Disney shows to share their stories on cyber safety and citizenship.
Law Enforcement Awards
For the 15th year in a row, the office was honored to host the Law Enforcement Awards ceremony for the Central District in October. This is our annual opportunity to say thank you and pay tribute to the many men and women of law enforcement who are dedicated and work tirelessly on behalf of the United States of America. This year the ceremony honored 301 recipients and the ceremony featured opening songs by the Transportation Safety Administration chorus in honor of their service and the tremendous loss of TSA agent Gerardo Hernandez killed by the LAX shooter in 2013.
Cyber Security Summit
As part of Cyber Security Awareness Month in October, the office held a Cyber Security Summit in partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the University of Southern California, the Lares Institute, and the National Cyber-Forensics & Training Alliance. Top officials from utilities/critical infrastructure, local government, banking, the motion picture industry, the software industry, universities and law enforcement were in attendance at the Summit. The Summit offered information on new and developing cyber threats, preventing cyber-attacks, and recognizing and remediating attacks when they occur. Attendees also participated in “table top” exercises in which participants analyze a cyber-attack, reflected on preparedness, and discussed the benefits of sharing data with law enforcement.
The Summit featured expert speakers on cyber intrusions and included an FBI briefing on the current threats to inform them of the most recent types of cyber-attacks and defenses to those types of attacks.
The perspective of the business community was represented by executives from Ernst & Young, Target Corporation, IBM and Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Hispanic Heritage Month
In late October, the Office commemorated National Hispanic Heritage Month. The Office hosted an all-star panel from the legal profession – United States District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez, Antonia Hernández, CEO of the California Community Foundation, Irma Rodríguez Moisa, Senior Partner at Atkinson, Anderson, Loya, Ruud & Romo, and Office alum Rod Castro-Silva, Senior Assistant County Counsel at the LA County Counsel.
USA Decker made the introductions, and Executive AUSA Wes Hsu moderated an interesting and informative panel discussion. The panelists each shared their experiences in the legal profession and encouraged audience members to contribute to their community. A large audience enjoyed Porto’s snacks at the lunch hour event.
Community Policing Week
As part of the Department of Justice’s commitment to building stronger relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve, the Office participated in over 14 events in support of community policing efforts around the country.
Community policing is a public safety philosophy based on partnership and cooperation between law enforcement and the communities that they are sworn to protect. At the center of community policing is the idea that all members of the community, both officer and civilian, have a stake in the safety of their neighborhoods where they live and work.
In keeping with President Obama’s designation of the week of Oct. 2-8, 2016, as National Community Policing Week, the U.S. Attorney and many Assistant United States’ Attorneys participated in a wide variety of events in communities around the region. From community fairs and “coffee with a cop” events, to read alongs and training presentations, this week was an opportunity for members of the office to be out in the community around the district, building relationships and continuing to open dialogues.
National Community Policing Week builds on President Obama’s efforts to engage with law enforcement and other members of the community to implement key recommendations from the 21st Century Policing Task Force report.
Heroin and Opioid Awareness Campaign
As part of the Department of Justice program addressing the issue of Heroin and Opioid abuse, the office launched an awareness campaign to coordinating educational outreach efforts at colleges throughout the Central District. The programs will educate college students on prescription drug abuse, including explaining what opiate prescription drugs are, the dangers they pose, the particular dangers posed by drug counterfeiting, and what to do in the event of a potential overdose.
The FBI video “Chasing the Dragon” will be incorporated into the presentations to help illustrate the real life issues presented. The presentation will be supplemented with a panel presentation by a medical doctor, FBI and/or DEA Special Agents and a local law enforcement officer.
Mass Casualty Training
In September, the office hosted a day-long training to bring together first responders and experts to provide their insights on last year’s terrorist attack in San Bernardino and important lessons learned that can be applied to other large-scale incidents. With a focus on the San Bernardino terror attacks of December 2, 2015 as the primary case study, the training featured presentations on the incident response and discussions on better serving the victim population after a large-scale event. The event examined the lessons learned from the coordinated response by first responders, the variety of issues that the victims will face, the need for victim-support teams, and how the victim-support teams can be most effective in their unique roles.
National Night Out
National Night Out in August is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. National Night Out has the goal of enhancing the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community and provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances. This year, USA Decker and the External Affairs team spent the evening with the Pasadena Police Department. During the evening, Chief Sanchez hosted a tour of various Pasadena neighborhood events all designed to bolster the partnerships and good will between law enforcement and the community they serve.
Summer Night Lights
2016 marked the 5th year that the USAO-CAC staff participated in the City of Los Angeles Summer Night Lights (SNL) Program. SNL is a program sponsored by the City of Los Angeles Mayor’s Office of Gang Reduction & Youth Development (GRYD) as part of the City of Los Angeles continued violence reduction efforts. The program is implemented across 32 Recreation & Parks sites in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley and provides a safe space for local youth and their families by providing free meals, arts and crafts activities, and organized sports for all to enjoy during the summer months. This year USAOCAC Staff volunteered at the Highland Park Recreation Center in Northeast Los Angeles and the Jim Gilliam Recreation Center in South Los Angeles. The USAOCAC volunteers assisted with nightly program activities including serving up Ice Cream sundaes for the community to enjoy.
LGBT Pride Month event
The Central District of California Federal Family sponsored an event during the summer celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month with a brown bag lunch featuring Chief Judge Virginia A. Phillips. After an introduction by USA Decker, Judge Phillips spoke to the capacity crowd about her groundbreaking decision in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States et al., in which she held the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy to be unconstitutional.
Attorney General Visit to Los Angeles
In June, the Office planned and coordinated United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s last leg of her National Community Policing Tour. Specifically, her visit highlighted the recommendations set forth in the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing report – addressing the third pillar - Technology & Social Media. The two-day trip highlighted the advances and contributions by local law enforcement partners to this endeavor.
One of the hallmarks of Attorney General Lynch’s tour to Los Angeles was the implementation of a “Virtual Ride Along” (VRA) hosted in partnership with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). The VRA allowed community members to utilize social media outlets Twitter and Facebook to witness in real time the Attorney General’s tour and interact with her via those social media platforms. The visit included touring the Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) Real Time Analysis & Critical Response Division (RACR) and viewing first-hand how the use of technology further provides situational awareness and deployment of law enforcement resources. The use of technology and social media is also being utilized to further strengthen community relations and provide real time updates to the community on varying issues. Over the course of two days, Attorney General Lynch met with local law enforcement partners, community members and local area youth to discuss police - community relations and efforts implemented to maintain and strengthen the ties between community and law enforcement. The tour concluded with a Facebook Live Event at the Los Angeles home of Facebook in Playa Vista hosted by Attorney General Lynch and actor Michael B. Jordan that further emphasized the use of various policing strategies and innovative resolutions to build mutual respect and coordination between law enforcement and members of the community.
Asian Pacific Heritage Month
Asian Pacific Heritage Month was celebrated in the Office on June 15th with a well-attended panel discussion on issues facing the Asian American and Pacific Islander Community sponsored by the USAO-CAC Diversity Committee. After an introduction by USA Eileen Decker, Executive AUSA Wes Hsu moderated an interesting panel discussion.
The panel featured Commander Blake Chow from LAPD, Manjusha Kulkarni, the immediate past Executive Director of the South Asian Network, Stewart Kwoh, President and Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice, and Carol Lin from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The panel provided fascinating background on issues facing the Asian American and Pacific Islander Community from the law enforcement and community perspectives, and one of the many highlights of the discussion was Carol Lin making the point that AUSA’s are the “super heroes” for our community.
Law Day 2016
The Office participated in Law Day 2016, a commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the landmark case of Miranda v. Arizona. AUSA Lawrence S. Middleton, Chief of the Criminal Division, was joined by Federal Public Defender Hilary Potashner to discuss the current impacts of Miranda on federal criminal cases. The event also featured remarks from Loyola Law School Professor and Office alum Laurie Levenson and Captain Carroll Cooley who investigated and arrested Ernesto Miranda.
National Rebuilding Day
Office staff Anne Gannon, Ashwin Janakirm, Monica Morales-Guzman, Shaton McDaniel and organizer Erik Silber participated in National Rebuilding Day by helping to paint a mobile home in Orange County for owners that could not accomplish it themselves. The sacrifice of these AUSAs and staff members’ personal time for this charitable cause is a testament to their amazing character and true dedication to public service.
The office participated in Denim Day this year in support of victims of sexual assault. Since 1999, the Denim Day campaign has been one of the national hallmarks of Sexual Assault Awareness Month each April. It has helped raise awareness about the misconceptions surrounding sexual assault, as well as methods for preventing violence and resources available to victims. Denim Day was originally established 1999 when an Italian Supreme Court overturned a rape conviction because the victim wore tight jeans. The court concluded that the victim must have helped her attacker remove her jeans, from which they inferred consent. Within hours, the women of the Italian Parliament protested by wearing jeans to work, and later that year the first Denim Day event was organized. On Denim Day, those who wear denim stand united in support of survivors of sexual violence and wear jeans to underscore that this type of violence is unacceptable and should never be tolerated.
National Victim's Rights Week
The Office commemorated National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, a time to honor crime victims, the surviving families of homicide victims, and those who work directly to assist victims of crime. This year, the theme for National Crime Victims’ Rights Week was "Serving Victims. Building Trust. Restoring Hope.” The theme underscored the importance of early intervention and victim services in establishing trust with victims, which in turn begins to restore their hope for healing and recovery. In honor of crime victims, the Office participated in a special memorial at the San Bernardino County Government Center Rotunda organized by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office. The memorial featured the Redlands East Valley Choir. The singers performed in honor of the county’s fallen victims. During the memorial, the District Attorney’s Office presented the Award for Exemplary Service to Victims of Crime to Rose Madsen of Family and Friends of Murder Victims. A bagpipe tribute was held beside the bronze “Officer Down” statue in honor of San Bernardino County’s fallen officers.
Baker to Vegas
The United States Attorney’s Office ran in the Baker to Vegas Law Enforcement Relay Race and “mugged” (finishing in the top half of our division). Despite suffering an early injury to a runner, the office team finished ahead of teams from the FBI, LAPD, and LASD! Congratulations to Geoff Wilson, Nathan Nguyen, Terrence Mann, Brandon Fox, Collin Duffy, David Harris, Joe Widman, Stacey Fernandez, Billy Essayli, Steve Cazares, Rebecca Evans, Isa Ascencio, Vicki Chou, Vib Mittal, Garrett Coyle, Mark Solte, Puneet Kakkar, Luis Alarcon, Jamie Lang, Jonathan Galatzan, Beth Stratton, Chris Park, George Cardona, Aliah Cadena, Shaton McDaniel, Dominic Wells, Nellie Yu, Greg Scally, and Chris Ferrer for running, supporting the team, or both!
Anti-Defamation League Helene & Joseph Sherwood Prize for Combatting Hate
The Anti-Defamation League awarded its coveted Helene & Joseph Sherwood Prize for Combating Hate to the law enforcement entities who responded to the San Bernardino terrorist attack. The United States Attorney’s Office was one of the entities recognized with the award. More than 100 Assistant United States Attorneys and staff contributed to the response to San Bernardino.
Assistant United States Attorney Sworn in as President of the Federal Bar Association's Inland Empire Chapter
On February 25, 2016, Assistant United States Attorney Joseph Widman, Chief of the Riverside Branch Office, was sworn in as the President of the Federal Bar Association's Inland Empire chapter. Congratulations to AUSA Widman, and best wishes for a productive and successful year.
African American Heritage Month
In partnership with the Federal Public Defender’s Office, the office held a special event to commemorate African American Heritage month in January. The lunchtime event was standing room only and featured inspirational words from the Honorable Otis D. Wright II, the Honorable Karen L. Stevens and former United States Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. Each offered their perspectives on how diversity in the legal profession affected their careers.