Police Are Urged Not

To Stun Young Children

MIAMI -- The head of Miami-Dade County Public Schools is asking police to never again use stun guns on elementary school children, as officers have in at least two recent cases.

In a letter released Friday, Superintendent Rudolph F. Crew told Miami-Dade Police Director Robert L. Parker that "certain tactics should never be used in dealing with young children -- particularly within a school."

The letter was released the same day Parker held a news conference to defend the use of a 50,000-volt stun gun on a 6-year-old boy in a school office, saying the child had cut himself twice with a shard of glass and was threatening further harm to himself.

Parker acknowledged that it was questionable for an officer to have used a Taser stun gun on a 12-year-old girl.

She was fleeing officers because she was drunk and apparently skipping school.

Police officials did not return a call Saturday seeking comment on Crew's letter.

Hunt for Serial Killer

Intensifies in Illinois

PEORIA, Ill. -- Police on all-terrain vehicles, horseback and even in airplanes have combed fields and forest in search of one or more serial killers believed responsible for the deaths of six women whose bodies were dumped along little-traveled Illinois roads.

The women, all of them black with a history of prostitution or drug abuse, had cocaine in their systems when they were strangled or died of drug overdoses over the last 31/2 years.

Until a suspect is identified, authorities are trying to reassure nearly 312,000 residents of two largely rural counties, while also cautioning them to be on guard.

Deputies in Peoria and Tazewell counties joined city and state police in September to form a task force devoted to the unsolved cases, which have mounted since March 2001, when the first body was found near tiny Pottstown.

* CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- The fastest-swiveling space science observatory ever built rocketed into orbit Saturday to scan the universe for violent celestial explosions that astronomers believe represent the birth screams of black holes. NASA launched the observatory -- named Swift for its speedy pivoting and pointing -- following weeks of delays caused by hurricanes and a three-day postponement because of rocket trouble.

* SALT LAKE CITY -- A woman accused of engaging in sex acts with her young sons while her husband photographed them has pleaded guilty to child exploitation charges. Terri Michele Anderson said she had sexual contact with the boys, both younger than 8, to please her husband, according to FBI documents. Each count carries a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of 20 years. Sentencing was set for March.

* SALINA, Kan. -- A man spent a week on the roof of one of two adult bookstores in town to protest a movement to have the stores investigated for obscenity. Ray Morris, 38, came down from his perch on top of Behind Closed Doors after staying in a tent there since Nov. 13. "I'm promoting the idea of choice," Morris said.

-- From News Services