Increasing women recruits

August 15, 2022

This 7-minute NPR segment discusses efforts underway to increase the representation of women among American police. A current national initiative, 30X30, has the goal of achieving 30% women recruits by 2030, which would more than double today’s proportion. The segment discusses the evidence about performance by women officers, as well as barriers to recruitment and retention. It also highlights the Madison, Wisconsin police department, an agency that already has 28% sworn women, compared to the national average of 12-13%.

Position: Police Academy Administrator, New Orleans PD

July 22, 2022

New Orleans is advertising for a Police Academy Administrator. The duties of the position include “reviewing and approving primary instructional materials such as curricula and lesson plans; coordinating the delivery of recruit training, in-service training, and specialized training on an annual basis; structuring and designing course of instruction for Academy’s primary course modules, including Recruit Training, In-Service Training, and specialized training; overseeing instructor selection process; ensuring that Academy pedagogy reflects educational best practices; overseeing and driving implementation of required Consent Decree reforms; and related work as required.” The position announcement is here. A closing date is not specified.

Traffic impunity in Nevada

July 18, 2022

Between 2017 and 2021, courts in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, and Henderson in Nevada reduced more than 200,000 traffic tickets to parking violations, as reported here. This included over 80% of 95,000 speeding tickets in Las Vegas. Among these, “Deals were given to more than 400 people cited for driving more than 30 mph over, as well as about 80 people accused of going more than 40 mph over.” Reducing the tickets to parking violations meant no points on licenses. As a result, Nevada suspends driver licenses at a much lower rate than neighboring California, Idaho, and Utah. The story cites several traffic-related tragedies caused by drivers who had previously accumulated numerous tickets but evaded any consequences.

50/50 whether homicides get solved

July 14, 2022

The national clearance rate for homicides has fallen to about 50%, the lowest in more than 50 years, according to this article. It was 83% in 1965. A few states do substantially better than others — Alabama and Nebraska were best at 83% over the period 2015-2020, while Rhode Island was lowest at 21% (a quarter of the states have had data problems making it impossible to calculate their clearance rates over the 5-year period). The data also indicate lower clearance rates for victims of color. The article provides examples from several cities, noting an unusually high proportion of exceptional clearances in Chicago, which had a 44% clearance rate in 2020, but half were exceptional clearances.

Kentucky fast-tracking retiring military into law enforcement agencies

July 12, 2022

The Department of Defense has a SkillBridge program aimed at helping military members transition to civilian employment. Kentucky is the first state to utilize the program statewide, as reported here. Military retirees will be able to attend basic police training at Kentucky’s Department of Criminal Justice Training during their final 180 days of military service, positioning them to move straight into a police career. In addition, “The program provides significant cost savings to law enforcement agencies as the military has agreed to continue paying the service member’s salary and other benefits while attending a basic training academy.” The first soldier completed the program in April of this year.

DOJ guidance on response to sexual assault & domestic violence

July 6, 2022

The US Department of Justice has published guidance on police response to sexual assault and domestic violence, with an emphasis on identifying and preventing gender bias. A 4-page summary document, available here, presents and explains 8 principles that should guide police actions. A longer 36-page report, available here, provides additional background information and offers numerous examples of good and bad practice.

54th Mile Policing Project

June 28, 2022

In the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, three Black police executives, one each from California, Texas, and North Carolina, walked the historic 54-mile civil rights journey from Selma to Montgomery in Alabama. Done by them for the purpose of self-reflection in troubled times, it has now been made into a short documentary film — the trailer is here. Expect to see the film used in police training and to facilitate police-community conversations.

Looking farther back at police history

June 22, 2022

In the U.S. we tend to cite the establishment of the London Metropolitan Police in 1829 as the start of police history. Of course that conveniently ignores sheriffs and slave patrols, so it’s really the start of organized, paid municipal policing. Or is it? This very interesting post summarizes some recent historical work looking at police in Bologna, Italy in the 1200s. These police, typically hired from outside the city, “received a salary, wore uniforms, and arrested lawbreakers. They sought wanted men and proactively investigated criminal activity, including via the use of informants.” The blogger suggests we should “do away with the idea of policing as a 19th-century invention.”

2021 crime statistics a mess

June 13, 2022

2021 was the first year that the FBI required that crime data submitted by state and local agencies be in NIBRS format (National Incident Based Reporting System) instead of the old aggregate-style Uniform Crime Reports (UCR). NIBRS was launched back in 1988, and in 2015 the FBI announced the 2021 deadline. Unfortunately, 35% of U.S. law enforcement agencies missed the deadline, as reported here, including NYPD and LAPD and most agencies in populous California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Florida. As a result, “The data gap will make it harder to analyze crime trends and fact-check claims politicians make about crime, and we’ll likely have to live with greater uncertainty for at least a couple of years.”

Driverless taxis in San Francisco

June 9, 2022

The California Public Utilities Commission has approved Cruise, a GM-owned company, to begin operating driverless taxis in San Francisco, as reported here. The authorization allows the company to “operate its self-driving cars at night, from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., at a maximum speed of 30 mph, in weather that does not include heavy rain, heavy fog, heavy smoke, hail, sleet or snow.” No word yet on how the police department will handle any traffic enforcement issues. During testing one robot taxi was pulled over for not having its headlights on, but no ticket was issued.