- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 24, 2005

Groups say 153 cops died on duty in 2005

Two law-enforcement groups said yesterday that 153 officers have died in the line of duty so far in 2005, with the majority killed in traffic accidents and shootings.

The number was about the same as the 154 reported killed in 2004, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and Concerns of Police Survivors. The groups compiled the deaths from reports through Thursday.

Traffic-related accidents claimed the lives of 62 officers in 2005. The ranks of officers killed in traffic accidents has risen 40 percent in the past 30 years, according to the groups.

Another 60 died in 2005 in shootings, including firearms training accidents. Physical-related incidents, including heart attacks and heat stroke, accounted for 20 more deaths.

Four arrested in explosives theft

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Four men, including two brothers, were taken into custody yesterday by federal authorities in connection with the theft of 400 pounds of explosives from a storage depot southwest of Albuquerque.

The explosives were reported stolen Sunday from Cherry Engineering’s storage depot eight miles southwest of New Mexico’s largest city. Federal authorities have said it was enough to flatten a large building.

The men, whose names were not immediately released, all face federal charges, including possession of stolen explosives.

Stolen were 150 pounds of C-4, 250 pounds of sheet explosives, 20,000 feet of detonator cord and 2,500 blasting caps. Investigators have said there was no evidence to suggest a link to terrorism.

Feds gauge radiation at Muslim sites

A classified radiation monitoring program has targeted private U.S. property in an effort to prevent an al Qaeda attack, federal law-enforcement officials confirmed yesterday.

While declining to provide details including the number of cities and sites monitored, the officials said the air monitoring took place since the September 11 attacks and from publicly accessible areas, which they said made warrants and court orders unnecessary.

U.S. News & World Report first reported the program yesterday.

The magazine said the monitoring was conducted at more than 100 Muslim sites, including mosques, homes and businesses, in the District and its Maryland and Virginia suburbs. Monitoring also took place in at least five other cities when threat levels had risen: Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, New York and Seattle, U.S. News reported.

Two federal law-enforcement officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the program is classified, told the Associated Press that the monitoring did not occur only at Muslim-related sites.

But Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, nevertheless said the program “creates the appearance that Muslims are targeted simply for being Muslims. I don’t think this is the message the government wants to send at this time.”

White House releases tsunami-warning plan

The White House issued a national plan yesterday for increased earthquake and volcano monitoring systems, and deep ocean buoys and other high-tech means of alerting oceanside communities to the risk of a tsunami.

The program responds to a request from President Bush and Congress to protect U.S. shores from being hammered by a tsunami, which they made after an earthquake on Dec. 26, 2004, caused a massive tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

It killed or left missing more than 220,000 people in 11 Indian Ocean countries, and “demonstrated international vulnerability,” said John Marburger, Mr. Bush’s top science adviser.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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