100 days atop LAPD

October 17, 2018

This article reports on the first 100 days for LAPD chief Michel Moore. Describing the period as listening and learning, he set a target of attending 90 community events in 90 days, but actually made it to 170. A union leader described him as open-minded and accessible and his chief of staff commented “I’m extraordinarily impressed at the speed he’s moving, the level of accountability, his willingness to listen on every level of the organization.”  The head of the police commission observed “Not only is he smart, but he’s so rooted in progressive community policing and so proactive about it and so creative about it.”

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Eureka!

October 17, 2018

Eureka is a small city in Northern California with more than its share of substance abuse, homelessness, and other “lifestyle infractions.” This article, published during the local municipal election season, mocks the usual simplistic political slogans and provides a balanced assessment of crime and police workload in the city, noting efforts in place to divert offenders into treatment, provide housing, and utilize crime prevention design principles. The previous chief emphasized problem-oriented policing and the current chief says “Creativity is a great word to describe what is happening. It gives you hope.”

76 million police contacts in 2015

October 16, 2018

The Bureau of Justice Statistics has released its latest Police-Public Contact survey report. In 2015, 53.5 million people had a total of 76 million contacts with police. About 57% of contacts were reactive — persons reporting incidents or involved in traffic accidents. Of the remainder, 39% occurred in vehicle stops and 4% in street stops. Compared to 2011, both police-initiated and citizen-initiated contacts decreased substantially. Whites were most likely to have had police contact in 2015, but blacks and Hispanics were more likely to have experienced the threat or use of physical force by police.

Crime victim vs. public nuisance

October 13, 2018

This article points out an apparent flaw in many public nuisance laws — they can penalize crime victims. In the case of domestic violence, some victims who have called the police multiple times have crossed a threshold that put their home into the public nuisance category, particularly risky when renting from a landlord. Others have been warned that their next call could qualify them as a public nuisance, effectively deterring them from reporting future assaults. Estimates are that less than 10% of public nuisance laws have an exception for domestic abuse victims.

San Diego spiffs up recruiting

October 12, 2018

This article reports a new recruiting campaign by San Diego PD, heavy on social media with the tag line “This is not the next job, this is the next level.” The agency currently has over 200 vacancies but a recent 25% pay raise has reduced turnover and officials hope it will also aid recruiting. New videos “focus on the exciting side of police work and seek to inspire potential recruits by featuring Chief David Nisleit reciting the oath officers take to protect the public.”

Training more professional in Tulsa

October 11, 2018

This article reports on recruit training in Tulsa, which has been revised to put more emphasis on engagement, de-escalation, and public service. Scenarios are more realistic because previous versions “made them skittish and made them believe everybody everywhere was trying to kill them.” Commanders emphasize that there is still plenty of officer survival training but reject the warrior vs. guardian dichotomy — “If you’re one or the other, then you’re not adequate to be a Tulsa police officer. We want you to be both of those things. This isn’t policing in the ’80s.”

Hey Siri, I’m getting pulled over

October 4, 2018

This article reports the availability of an iPhone app “Police” to help citizens record their encounters with law enforcement. Developed by a user, it can be voice activated, i.e. “Hey Siri, I’m getting pulled over.” The app “sends a quick text to a predetermined contact to tell them you’ve been pulled over, and it starts recording using the iPhone’s front-facing camera. Once you’ve stopped recording, it can text or email the video to a different predetermined contact and save it to Dropbox.” The developer, a non-tech user, described the app as the civilian equivalent of a body-cam.

Navajo Nation police revival

October 3, 2018

The largest tribal police force is Navajo Nation, which covers an area larger than West Virginia. The agency struggled for almost a decade without a permanent police chief, but recently re-opened its police academy and graduated a new class of officers, with another class underway, according to this article. A senior officer says homegrown policing is key: “We are from this community. We understand the language, the personalities, the puns that we have. We understand our own people better than anyone who would come in.”

More transparency in California

October 2, 2018

This article summarizes two bills signed into law in California September 30, one pertaining to body-worn camera video and the other to officer personnel records. Since 1978, even prosecutors in the state were often unable to access records to assess the credibility of police officer witnesses, making California “the nation’s most secretive state for police records.” Police unions had successfully fought transparency measures since then, arguing officer safety as well as burdensome requests from criminal defense attorneys. One observer predicts “We are going to see a lot of skeletons falling out of the closets dating back years, if not decades. That means people who were convicted unjustly and unfairly will finally get a chance to be heard.”

Community livability

October 2, 2018

This article describes the work of the community livability unit in Corvallis, Oregon, one of the finalists for this year’s Herman Goldstein POP award. Each year, 5,000 new students arrive at Oregon State University and a like number move off-campus into the community. The agency has been able to cut related calls for service by more than half over the last 10 years through closer engagement with students, landlords, and university staff. The biggest issues revolve around parties, noise, trash, alcohol, and drugs.