By Jennifer Gomori, MAP Editor with excerpts from news media

A group of 13 extremists from two militia groups have been arrested after plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and other state officials, endanger the lives of law enforcement officers, and overthrow the state government.

The Justice Department announced their capture in a press conference Oct. 8. Hundreds of law enforcement officers from various agencies worked across state lines to locate and arrest the suspects Oct. 7, who have been arrested on state and federal charges.

The six facing federal charges are: Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta. All suspects are Michigan residents except Croft, a Delaware resident.

In her own press conference, Whitmer said the suspects “were preparing to kidnap and possibly kill me.”

The plans to kidnap Whitmer from her vacation home and attack the Michigan State Capitol, kidnapping state officials before the Nov. 3 election, both involved using explosives.

“I want to start by saying thank you to our law enforcement. Thank you to the fearless FBI agents and thank you to the brave Michigan State Troopers who participated in this operation acting under the leadership of Col. Joe Gapsper,” Whitmer said. “As a mom with two teenage daughters and three stepsons, my husband and I are eternally grateful to everyone who put themselves in harms way to keep our family safe.”

Line-of-duty deaths decline first half of year pending COVID-19 case verifications

By Jennifer Gomori, MAP Editor

Once COVID-19 Law Enforcement Officer Deaths are officially confirmed, coronavirus could become the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths for the first half of 2020, according to the National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum’s 2020 Mid-Year Law Enforcement Officer Fatalities Report.

When the Mid-Year Report was released, line-of-duty deaths were 14 percent lower than the same time period in 2019. There were 65 line-of-duty deaths Jan. 1, 2020 through June 30, 2020 compared to 76 in the first half of 2019, according to preliminary data reported.

The leading cause of deaths were firearms-related fatalities at 27, followed by traffic-related deaths at 26 and 12 officers who died from other causes, such as job-related illnesses.

While five COVID-19 related deaths were confirmed, another 53 cases are pending. Once confirmed, line-of-duty deaths could skyrocket up to 55 percent higher than mid-year 2019.

RECOGNIZING COVID-19-RELATED DEATHS

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund recognizes that law enforcement officers on the front lines are highly vulnerable to contracting the COVID-19 virus. The Memorial Fund is encouraging law enforcement agencies to submit their officer COVID-19 related deaths so they can be properly recognized on the Memorial. Specific evidence is required to prove the officer’s death was more than likely as a result of a duty-related incident.

Click this link to complete a submission form and for more information. Click here to see some of the Law Enforcement Officers being recognized following their COVID-19 related deaths.

Excerpted from The Detroit News

Sterling Heights Police Officer Cameron Maciejewski saved the life of a 3-week-old girl who stopped breathing July 9, according to The Detroit News article.

Officer Maciejewski was the first to arrive at the home on the 36000 block of Waltham Drive. He spoke calmly to family members while he took the baby in his arms to assess the infant's condition. The officer quickly administered back thrusts, clearing the baby's airway before other officers and emergency personnel arrived on the scene to assist.

Click here for a video of the incident and complete The Detroit News article.

Excerpted from Ford Media Center

Ford Motor Company has found a way to help Police Officers fight COVID-19 using software to bake the vehicle’s interior until the virus is inactivated.

The new heated software enhancement is being piloted and available immediately in 2013-19 Police Interceptor Utility vehicles.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company                                                                          Ford Motor Company has developed heat software to inactivate coronavirus in Police Interceptor Utility vehicles.

“Vehicles from the 2013 to 2019 model years make up the majority of Police Interceptor Utility vehicles currently in use by first responders,” said Stephen Tyler, Ford police brand marketing manager. “Delivering this new capability to these vehicles first allows us to help as many officers as possible, as quickly as possible.”

Ford engineers initiated a project to use heat to decontaminate vehicles in late March, working with researchers at The Ohio State University to determine the temperature and amount of time necessary to inactivate COVID-19.

“Our studies with Ford Motor Company indicate that exposing coronaviruses to temperatures of 56 degrees Celsius, or 132.8 degrees Fahrenheit, for 15 minutes reduces the viral concentration by greater than 99 percent on interior surfaces and materials used inside Police Interceptor Utility vehicles,” said Jeff Jahnes and Jesse Kwiek, laboratory supervisors at The Ohio State University department of microbiology.

The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) confirmed that funds from the $850 million in Byrne Justice Assistance Grants can be used for "hazard pay" as well as personal protective equipment (PPE), according to Jim Curran of Karoub Associates. The BJA also shared important information about disability and death benefits related to contracting COVID-19 for officers and their survivors.

Public Safety Officers who can prove they were exposed to COVID-19 while working and contracted the virus because of that exposure may be eligible for disability benefits, and if they die because of COVID-19, their survivors may be eligible for death benefits.

Under the Public Safety Officers' Benefits (PSOB) Act and its implementing regulations, conditions caused by infectious diseases, viruses, and bacteria may be found to be an injury sustained in the line of duty.

To establish eligibility for benefits for a public safety officer’s death or disability due to COVID-19, the PSOB Act and regulations require evidence that it is more likely than not the disease resulted from the officer’s exposure to the disease or the virus that causes the disease, SARS-CoV-2, while performing a line of duty activity or action.

For more details on qualifications, please click here to read the Bureau of Justice Assistance letter.