Racial gap in confidence in police

September 30, 2016

According to the most recent survey from the Pew Research Center, blacks are about half as likely as whites to have a positive view of the job their local police are doing. Overall, 77% of respondents said they had at least some confidence in their police department, which was about 10% higher than ratings of courts and local government.

On-line degrees

September 30, 2016

This article discusses the viability of on-line degrees for police employment. Most agencies seem to accept them as long as the school is accredited. Hiring officials report looking at grades and academic progress more closely than the format of the program.

Bean bags in Miami Beach

September 29, 2016

According to this article, Miami Beach police are replacing the last of their traditional shotguns with 100 bean bag shotguns. Among less-lethal options, the chief notes that Tasers are only effective in relatively close quarters whereas the bean bags are accurate at 70 feet.

Drug-impaired driving fatalities up

September 29, 2016

This article reports that annual traffic fatalities due to drug-impaired driving have almost doubled in Tennessee since 2010. In 2015, the state had more traffic deaths due to drugged-driving than alcohol-related DUI.


September 28, 2016

This article describes and explains the cyber threat known as ransomware, in which a hacker compromises a company’s or agency’s online data and then demands a payment to fix or return the data. Several law enforcement agencies have been victims of this form of digital extortion, although attacks on corporations are certainly more lucrative.

Miami-Dade trying Shotspotter again

September 27, 2016

This article reports that Miami-Dade County has approved $2.6 million to implement Shotspotter over the next 5 years. The county previously tested the gunshot detection system and dropped it. The technology is now used in about 50 cities but studies of its impact on arrests, solving cases, or the incidence of gun crime have been inconclusive.

Disproportionate impact in ATF stings

September 26, 2016

ATF sting targets in Chicago have been disproportionately black and Hispanic, according to this article, which cites an independent analysis filed on behalf of several federal defendants. The analysis concluded there was “only a 0.1% chance that agents could have selected so many minorities by chance, even if they were targeting only people with criminal records that suggested they were likely to be part of a robbery crew, as ATF policies require.”

The rise and fall of community policing in Chicago

September 23, 2016

This article tells the story of community policing in Chicago. For a decade, into the early 2000s, the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) was one of the most robust community policing efforts in the country, with demonstrated effectiveness based on careful evaluation. But then it began to decline as other police and political priorities came along.

(Not) solving murders

September 22, 2016

This column reviews the spike in shootings and homicides in Chicago, discusses several specific cases, and argues that one of the factors is the low rate at which these violent crimes are solved. The author believes this contributes to lack of trust in the police and feelings of injustice in the community.

Translation app helps avert suicide

September 20, 2016

Smartphones are causing distracted driving and all kinds of other modern problems, but they aren’t all bad. According to this article, LAX airport police used a translation app to engage in conversation with a Korean man threatening to jump from a 4th story ledge, and the man’s interest in the app gave officers the opportunity to safely grab him.