- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 17, 2007



TSA posts video to counter mom’s claim

The Transportation Security Administration is denying accusations that an airport screener seized a toddler’s sippy cup and mistreated his mother.

To make its point, the TSA has taken the unusual step of posting security camera footage on its Web site.

At issue is whether Monica Emmerson, a former Secret Service officer, was improperly detained at Washington’s Reagan National Airport last month.

After being told she would have to go empty her son’s sippy cup if she wanted to keep it, TSA said Miss Emmerson dumped the water on the floor. She said it spilled accidentally.

In the video posted by the TSA, Miss Emmerson appears to take the top off the sippy cup and shake it upside down. She is confronted by several officers, then shown cleaning up the spill with paper towels fetched by the TSA.

TSA says its officers displayed professionalism.



Officer hit by car, critically injured

A Howard County police officer is in critical condition after he was struck by a car while working a speed-enforcement detail yesterday afternoon.

Police said the officer was flown to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore after the accident, which happened at about 2 p.m. on eastbound Route 32 near Route 1.

Chief William McMahon said Officer Scott Wheeler was in the process of flagging down a violator when he was hit.

Maj. Gary Gardner, a deputy chief with the department, said Officer Wheeler, 31, has been on the force about six and a half years and works in the county’s southern district.

Maj. Gardner said Officer Wheeler is still in critical condition after suffering head trauma in the crash.

Investigators are talking with the 24-year-old Columbia woman who was driving the car and other witnesses to try to figure out what happened.


Sheriff to end moonlighting in uniform

The new Frederick County sheriff is doing away with long-established guidelines that have allowed deputies to work off-duty jobs in uniform and with their marked police cars.

Police union leaders say the change would make Frederick County the only sheriff’s office in Maryland that doesn’t allow the practice.

But Sheriff Chuck Jenkins says deputies are taking moonlighting jobs at the expense of taxpayers. He says when fuel costs hit record highs this spring, he was compelled to find ways to save money.

Business owners are also critical of the move. Trent Rine, commercial property manager of the Westridge Square Shopping Center, says having off-duty deputies on site has been a deterrent to crime.


Rescuers pluck three from river

Rescuers yesterday hoisted three teenagers from the Potomac River with a helicopter after they were found clinging to the rocks at Great Falls.

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue spokesman Pete Piringer said the three teenage boys were pulled out safely. They were found wearing their swimming trunks in an area where swimming is strictly prohibited.

Emergency crews responded from both Maryland and Fairfax County. They were called to the scene at about 1 p.m.

Mr. Piringer said the boys, who weren’t injured, were left in the custody of U.S. Park Police.

Swimming in the area is considered very dangerous because of the strong river currents. Mr. Piringer said five accidental drownings in 2004 led to renewed efforts to warn people to stay out of the water in the area.


Mayor to discuss crime with police

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon will be taking her crime-fighting strategies directly to rank-and-file police officers.

Mrs. Dixon is planning a closed-door meeting this week with 20 officers from each of the city’s nine police districts. She’ll tell them directly how she expects them to cut crime.

Mrs. Dixon’s spokesman, Anthony McCarthy, says the mayor won’t take questions from officers. He says she will share her vision “in a very clear and direct way.”

City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is also planning to meet with officers — but for different reasons. She has planned a forum with officers at the police union hall to solicit ideas on how to best enforce the law.

Homicides in Baltimore are on pace to top 300 for the first time since 1999.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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