NIJ report on women in policing

August 21, 2019

The National Institute of Justice convened a “summit” last December at which over 100 police and academics, mainly women, reviewed the status of women in policing in the U.S., identified challenges and best practices, and recommended topics for future research. A report on the summit — “Breaking Barriers and Blazing a Path” — is available here.


Insurance companies funding police investigations

August 19, 2019

This article discusses the practice of insurance companies funding police (and sometimes prosecutors) to investigate cases of alleged insurance fraud. On the plus side, it’s an example of public-private partnership and cost sharing. In some cases, however, it puts police in the position of serving the financial interests of insurance companies. The article reports several examples of flawed investigations that wreaked havoc on individuals later determined to be innocent.

Familial & moderate stringency DNA

August 13, 2019

This RAND report explains the increasing use of familial DNA in cases that lack an exact DNA match, as well as “moderate stringency” DNA searches designed to yield investigative leads. The report discusses legal, ethical, and practical issues and describes different approaches taken in California, Texas, and in the UK.

Interim chief reflects on Ferguson experience

August 12, 2019

Here is a 6-minute radio interview with Andre Anderson, a police commander in Glendale, Arizona who served as interim chief in Ferguson for 6 months. He discusses what the situation was like, the efforts he made to try to better connect the community and police, and lessons he learned that he has brought back to his home agency as well as shared around the country.

Use of force during arrests down 21% in Denver

August 8, 2019

This article reports a 21% decrease in use force during arrests in Denver for the first 6 months of 2019, compared to 2018. The agency adopted a more restrictive policy and then followed up with training. The planned next step is to augment training with scenarios embedded in virtual reality technology “to allow us to walk our folks through them in a 360-degree wrap-around video simulator that will help identify key areas for de-escalation and really move us forward in this continual improvement process.”

Trade secrets vs. due process

August 5, 2019

This article discusses the conflict that arises when evidence against a defendant is rooted in privately developed technology or software. Examples include probabilistic DNA typing, algorithms, breathalyzers, and stingray cell-site simulators. Defense efforts to challenge the validity of evidence derived from these technologies are often stymied by refusals to reveal key details about how they work, because companies say that would cause them to lose valuable trade secrets. Courts have generally sided with the companies.

Officer fatalities down at mid-year

August 1, 2019

Line-of-duty deaths for January through June 2019 were down 35% compared to the first half of 2018 and were the 3rd lowest in 40 years, as reported here by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. There were 60 officer fatalities as of June 30, including 27 firearms-related and 21 traffic-related. More traffic-related deaths occurred outside the vehicle than within. The average age of deceased officers was 42, average length of service was 14 years, and 55 of 60 were male.

Guns stolen from cars

July 31, 2019

Over 100 guns were stolen from vehicles in Richmond, Virginia in the first half of 2019, as reported here. Police are asking residents to secure their firearms more carefully which does not include “placing them in the glove box, in the center console or under a seat.” On Twitter, the department says “come on Richmond, when you know better, do better.”

2019 POP Conference agenda

July 25, 2019

The 2019 POP Conference will be held November 11-13 in Santa Cruz, California. The preliminary agenda and registration information are here. The 5 finalist agencies for the Herman Goldstein award will present their problem-oriented policing initiatives and there will be 18 other sessions, some repeated twice. The range of topics includes domestic violence, opioids, chronic nuisances, auto burglaries, reducing alcohol-related harm, and much more, including introductions to POP, problem analysis, and situational crime prevention.

Plight of Turkish National Police who studied in U.S.

July 23, 2019

This open letter from 50 university professors, published in the Chronicle of Higher Education, laments┬áthe plight of over 400 Turkish National Police leaders who pursued graduate studies in the U.S. between 1999 and 2014. They have since been fired and many have been prosecuted and imprisoned. Turkey’s president claims they were allied with the alleged 2016 coup attempt, but they say they have been punished because high-level corruption investigations reached into the president’s administration, and for having studied in the U.S.