Archive for the ‘COP/POP’ Category

2019 POP Conference

March 13, 2019

The 2019 POP Conference (problem-oriented policing) has been scheduled for November 11-13 in Santa Cruz, California. This annual event “is often described by attendees as the most substantive policing conference they’ve ever attended. Each year, police officers of all ranks, as well as crime consultants and crime researchers, come together to discuss what they’ve learned about trying to reduce different crime and safety problems.” Preliminary information about the 2019 conference is available here.


The tragedy of Baltimore

March 13, 2019

Baltimore has just confirmed the appointment of a new police commissioner, Michael Harrison, recently retired from New Orleans. This article reviews the last few years of crime and policing in the city, describing in detail the tension between residents’ critical need for more safety through engaged policing, and the social and economic factors fueling high levels of street crime. People attending recent community meetings “were not describing a trade-off between justice and order. They saw them as two parts of a whole and were daring to ask for both.”

Ask for Angela

March 11, 2019

Safer nightlife is the objective of “Ask for Angela,” a code-phrase for patrons to alert bar staff that they need assistance getting out of a situation or away from a person making them uncomfortable or afraid. The program was established several years ago in the UK and is described here. Police in Arlington, Virginia have adopted it as part of the “Arlington Restaurant Initiative,” intended to “raise the standards of restaurants that serve alcohol” making the county “a safe destination for nightlife and entertainment.”

Social media guidebook

March 6, 2019

The Urban Institute has published a social media guidebook for law enforcement agencies, available here. The document, focused mainly on Twitter, “provides data-driven recommendations and step-by-step strategies for agencies that want to use social media to enhance community engagement.” One observation is that agencies of all sizes and types can benefit — “nearly any agency that has buy-in from leadership can effectively engage with their community through social media.”

Combating Facebook hate

February 13, 2019

Facebook’s news feed is often used to disseminate rumors, hate, and fake news. Police in Germany have learned that “Facebook is not just like a pinboard where people hang things and others read them. Facebook, with its algorithm, influences people.” This article describes how one police unit chases down the sources of inflammatory rumors, online and in-person, and often gets them to retract or correct their posts. Their aim is to “eradicate the rumor online and off, taking it as seriously as a pandemic or a new street drug.”

Sermon on the hill

January 18, 2019

This article reports a heartfelt presentation to community leaders by the police chief in New Haven, Connecticut. The PD has 150 vacancies out of 550 budgeted positions, mainly because salary and benefits are not competitive and officers have gone 3 years without a contract. His captains make less than officers at Yale. Despite the staffing crisis, violent crime is down substantially, which he attributes to a foundation of community policing laid 20 years ago. The chief asked the community leaders “to go out of their way to work collaboratively with city police, and to offer praise and encouragement in equal measure to any criticism and frustration.”

Prospects for police reform

January 14, 2019

Noted police historian and accountability expert Sam Walker discusses the prospects for ongoing police reform in this law review article. Despite reduced pressure from the federal government since 2017, he sees encouraging efforts within policing, some state and local governments accepting greater responsibility, and continuing interest from activists and the general public. Still, the prospects for significant change “face a number of uncertainties, challenges, and obstacles” and “we have no real understanding of the conditions necessary for major reforms to be sustained over the long haul.”

Homeless outreach in Milwaukee

January 11, 2019

This article describes police outreach to the homeless in Milwaukee. Winter is a particular concern, so officers regularly check on people and help solicit donations of warm clothing. Each of the city’s 7 police districts has several officers assigned to its Homeless Outreach Team. The current estimate of those living on the street is 900, down from 1,500 in 2015, “but now the tents are making it more visible,” according to one official.  “They’re not hidden the way that they used to be.”

K-9 for a day

December 13, 2018

This article reports a new program in La Vista, Nebraska, originating in Green Bay, Wisconsin in which police take shelter dogs with them on patrol. In some cases it’s a 2nd chance/re-entry program for dogs having trouble finding owners. Police say the program “offers an opportunity to not only strengthen our relationship with our partners at the Nebraska Humane Society, but also allows our officers an opportunity to engage our community in a way that we may not have been able to without the addition of a great dog.” Successful canine adoptions have resulted.

Short-term results from foot patrol in San Francisco

December 6, 2018

This article reports a 17% drop in thefts and 19% drop in assaults in San Francisco following reassignment of 69 officers to foot patrol in 2017. The main target was thefts, especially from autos, which had nearly doubled since 2010, from 2,100 per month to over 4,000, with a very low clearance rate. Analysis by UC-Berkeley documented the decline in offenses over the first few months of the initiative, while controlling for other variables. However, “the additional foot patrols didn’t impact the city’s other most-frequently reported crime categories, including robbery, burglary … vandalism and vehicle theft.”