POP Conference August 7-9

January 23, 2023

The 31st Problem-Oriented Policing Conference will be held August 7-9 in Boulder, Colorado. As always, finalists for the Herman Goldstein Award will present their exceptional POP projects and a variety of related workshops on CPTED, problem analysis, place management, quality policing, and other topics will be offered. Conference information is available on the POP Center website here.

Police oversight in Boulder

January 17, 2023

Many cities have added or enhanced independent oversight of police in the last few years. In Colorado, Boulder established a Police Oversight Panel in 2020 to review individual misconduct cases and make discipline recommendations. A brewing controversy involves two newly-nominated panel members, as reported here. Nominees are selected by a committee of panel members along with representatives from two NGOs, with final approval in the hands of the city council. The current nominees are both vocal critics of the police department. The police chief and some others question whether these particular nominees can be objective and whether they will protect officers’ due process rights. The city council initially declined to approve the nominees in December, but the Panel has reaffirmed its nominations, setting up a showdown coming soon.

Limiting vehicle stops

January 16, 2023

San Francisco has become the latest city to prohibit police from making certain types of vehicle stops. According to this article, “Police will no longer be able to stop drivers for things like driving without registration tags or broken tail lights.” The Police Commission’s rationale is “it turns out these stops, which are not making anyone safer, are also disproportionately carried out against people of color.” Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh, “officers have been instructed to resume enforcing minor traffic violations — like an expired registration sticker or a poorly secured license plate — despite a 2021 ordinance to prevent them from doing so in the absence of a larger infraction.” That city’s chief commented that officers felt the ordinance was preventing them from doing their jobs, as reported here.

Police 5th out of 18

January 11, 2023

A recent Gallup poll asked Americans to rate the honesty and ethical standards of people in 18 fields and professions, as reported here. Police officers were rated high or very high by 50% of respondents, putting them in 5th place. Topping the list are nurses, followed by medical doctors, pharmacists, and high school teachers. At the bottom are telemarketers, members of Congress, and car salespeople.

2022 NJ traffic fatalities highest in 15 years

January 9, 2023

New Jersey had 705 traffic fatalities in 2022, the highest number since 2007, as reported here. Fatalities have increased in each of the last three years, with 2022 having 150 more than in 2019, a 27% increase. According to one official, “I continue to read about the impact the pandemic has had on people’s attitudes. It seems there’s a laissez-faire mindset when it comes to safety on the road.” Advocates point to extreme speeding, aggressive driving, distracted driving, and driving while impaired as primary causes.

Banishing people from neighborhoods

December 5, 2022

Several cities use court orders to prohibit chronic offenders from entering designated areas, as reported here. In St. Louis, municipal courts issue neighborhood orders of protection, typically served on individuals, often homeless, who have been arrested for aggressive panhandling, trespassing, and similar offenses. One concern raised by advocates is that the orders often ban people from the very locations where services like shelters and counseling are provided. Another is the somewhat murky enforcement role played by private police companies patrolling more affluent neighborhoods. 

Two positions advertised

December 2, 2022

Here are two open positions that might be of interest to some readers:

  • Police Academy Director, Prince William County, VA — “This position will facilitate numerous organizational initiatives to adequately train our police officers, deputy sheriffs and professional staff in order to provide quality service to a growing, diverse, and dynamic community.” Application deadline is December 14.
  • Assistant/Associate Professor in Policing & Security, Rabdan Academy, Abu Dhabi, UAE — The announcement indicates that applicants should have “one or more of the following: teaching experience in forensic science identification, teaching experience in a police education program, extensive operational policing including but not limited to – police leadership/management, forensics, crime scene investigation, road/traffic policing, criminal justice, artificial intelligence, criminal profiling.” However it also states “This position has a Forensic Science Identification teaching focus.” An application deadline is not listed. 

New National Academies of Sciences reports

December 1, 2022

The National Academies of Sciences has recently published 4 reports aimed at guiding international police assistance efforts. The reports were produced by expert committees that reviewed and assessed existing research and evidence. The reports are available at the links below for free download.

BJS publishes updated reports on US policing

November 29, 2022

The Bureau of Justice Statistics has recently published updated reports that provide useful information about police employment and police-citizen contacts:

PERF report on police training

November 28, 2022

The Police Executive Research Forum has released a report titled “Transforming Police Recruit Training: 40 Guiding Principles,” available here. While some media coverage highlighted an “immediate crisis,” the report’s conclusions and recommendations are more balanced. Overall, the report finds that “recruit training simply has not kept pace with the dramatic changes that have taken place in policing in recent decades or with the increasingly complex and challenging realities that today’s police officers face.” By the same token, it wisely acknowledges that “Better training, especially at the recruit officer level, will not fix every problem in policing today. Nor will simply legislating that officers receive more training – a trend seen in many jurisdictions seeking to reform policing. Too often, training is treated as a panacea.” The report’s 40 “guiding principles” provide a useful set of benchmarks for police agencies and academies looking to assess how they compare to aspirational industry standards.