Security for San Diego's rail transit is staffed by private security officers, who say they have long been ill-equipped, untrained and unprepared to respond to many railway emergencies like collisions or terrorist attacks, according to a investigation from Investigative Newsource.
Extra Extra : Homeland Security
Extra Extra Monday: Teacher absences, prescription painkillers, complaints at for-profit care centers
Welcome to IRE's roundup of the weekend's many enterprise stories -- the last one of 2012 -- from around the country. We'll highlight the document digging, field work and data analysis that made their way into centerpieces in print, broadcast and online from coast to coast. Did we miss something? Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Do teachers’ absences affect student learning?
Seventy-three Western Pennsylvania public school districts paid nearly $25 million for substitute teachers to cover classes when full-time educators were not in the classroom during the last school year, according to records for 17 ...
"Plans to implement the technology are under way in cities from San Francisco to Hartford, Conn., and Eugene, Ore., to Columbus, Ohio."
The Kansas City Star
Beef's Raw Edges
"The Kansas City Star, in a yearlong investigation, found that the beef industry is increasingly relying on a mechanical process to tenderize meat, exposing Americans to higher risk of E. coli poisoning. The industry then resists labeling such products, leaving consumers in the dark. The result: Beef in America is plentiful and affordable, spun out in enormous quantities at high speeds, but it's a bonanza with hidden dangers. Industry officials contend beef is safer than it's ever been."
The Los Angeles Times
Dying For Relief: Reckless prescribing, patients endangered
The Indianapolis Star
Star Watch Investigation: Vectren's costly coal deal is a profit for company, pain for ratepayers
“At a time when coal prices were at record highs, Vectren locked into expensive, multiyear agreements to buy almost all of its coal supply from its own wholly-owned mining subsidiary, Vectren Fuels. And ratepayers paid the price. Experts say Vectren disregarded the common industry practice of staggering its coal purchases through shorter-term contracts to hedge against unusually high prices.”
The Salt Lake Tribune
Utah Highway Patrol discipline problems go beyond Lisa Steed
“While the case of Cpl. Lisa Steed, the one-time ...
"While the nation disputes if, when and where the government should use drones over U.S. soil, Texas state police are taking their surveillance efforts to the next level. In a little-noticed July purchase, officials at the Texas Department of Public Safety inked a $7.4 million contract with the Swiss company Pilatus Aircraft Ltd. for a high-altitude spy plane. Unique technology affixed to the state’s new aircraft could raise the ire of civil libertarians and privacy advocates."
"Texas state police spokesman Tom Vinger said most of the plane’s missions will be carried out on the border between ...Read more ...
"Reporters Lewis Kamb of The (Tacoma) News Tribune and Carol Smith of InvestigateWest collaborated on a five-part series that examines immigration issues in the Northwest, and how one of the nation's largest immigration detention facilities got built in Tacoma, next to a Superfund site, and within a volcanic hazards area and tsunami inundation zone."
Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo, for the Associated Press, report that undercover NYPD officers attended meetings of liberal political organizations and kept intelligence files on activists who planned protests around the country, according to interviews and documents that show how police have used counterterrorism tactics to monitor even lawful activities.
The Huffington Post reports that the New York Police Department collected information on businesses owned by second- and third-generation Americans specifically because they were Muslims, according to newly obtained secret documents. They show in the clearest terms yet that police were monitoring people based on religion, despite claims from Mayor Michael Bloomberg to the contrary.
"Chicago Tribune reporters found eight Chicago-area fugitives during an 18-day trip to Mexico -- five wanted for murder, two for raping or molesting children and one for shooting a man. Growing numbers of criminal suspects flee the U.S. each year to evade trial for murder, rape and other serious felonies. Breakdowns in the criminal justice system allow the suspects to escape, then cripple efforts to bring them to justice, the Tribune found in an investigation based on new Justice Department data as well as sealed warrants and other government records on 129 border-crossing fugitives from northern Illinois."