Archive for the ‘COP/POP’ Category

Volunteers in Michigan

May 23, 2019

Many law enforcement agencies use volunteers to relieve officers of routine duties or complete tasks that otherwise wouldn’t get done. This article reports on the all-volunteer 13-member Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (Michigan) dive team, which is seeking a few more divers who love ice-cold water. The Grand Rapids PD uses volunteers for “duties unrelated to crime, such as abandoned vehicle tagging, parking violation enforcement, graffiti reporting, vacation house checks and senior resident visits” and is hoping to double its 16-member volunteer program, according to this article.


Community policing (parking)

May 21, 2019

Washington, DC is considering empowering residents to issue parking tickets, as reported here. The current proposal would train 10 residents per ward to use an app to issue citations electronically. This form of policing by the community “follows the lead of other cities piloting similar initiatives, including New York, which created a program that gives 25% of the fines imposed on idling cars to residents who report them, and Los Angeles, which started a volunteer ticketing program that issued over 9,000 citations last year.”

Making it easier to complain or compliment

May 17, 2019

Austin, Texas has revised the way the public can file complaints against the police, or provide compliments, implementing an online form that goes to the independent Office of Police Oversight, as reported here. The form can be submitted anonymously, but if the person provides contact information, a follow-up procedure is specified. The city’s Office of Design and Delivery helped craft the new user-friendly form and process. Although the police department emphasizes that every complaint always was investigated, this new filing system is intended to reassure complainants and increase transparency.

George Kelling passes away

May 16, 2019

Noted author and researcher George Kelling has passed away at age 83, as reported here. Born in Milwaukee, son of a firefighter, a social worker by training, he led pioneering studies of motorized patrol and foot patrol for the Police Foundation starting in the early 1970s and then authored the influential “broken windows” thesis in the 1980s with James Q. Wilson. He had an enormous impact on police thinking, police strategies, and multiple generations of police leaders. His work was an early example of evidence-based policing and his studies and writing were very influential in the development of community policing.

Podcasting for traffic safety

May 9, 2019

Portland, Oregon PD has launched a podcast series, as reported here. The first installment, available here, covers traffic safety in the city, emphasizing “licensed, insured, safe drivers on the road” and advising pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcycle riders to assume that car drivers don’t see them. Other podcasts focus on recruitment and behavioral health. The PD’s page of podcasts and videos is located here.

Narcan not everywhere

May 7, 2019

Officers in at least 2,500 law enforcement agencies are equipped with naloxone (Narcan), according to this article, but many others still aren’t. The main hurdle is cost, especially for the newer auto-injector priced at $4,500 before any discounts or rebates. Even that high cost represents a saving compared to hospitalization, though. Most importantly, thousands of lives have been saved, and one official notes the additional psychological benefit for officers when they save a life, coupled with increased public appreciation and support for police.

New approach to deescalation

April 12, 2019

The newest member of the Franklin, Massachusetts PD recently deescalated a tense situation involving a distraught student at a local school, as reported here. An officer and a teacher couldn’t calm the student, but upon the arrival of Ben, the department’s 5-month old therapy puppy, the youngster “looked at the officer and snapped out of it. He said ‘Can I pet him?’ and the officer said ‘Yes, if you’re good.’” Ben, whose grandfather won a title at the Westminster Dog Show, is one of only a few police therapy dogs in the state, but “the idea of a dog solely focused on community outreach is picking up steam.”

Listening in Stockton

April 2, 2019

Stockton, California was in a rough situation when the current chief was promoted to that position in 2012. The city had filed for bankruptcy, there were police layoffs, morale was low, and violent crime was up. In this interview, the chief explains how he learned to listen more carefully to members of his community, including victims and the formerly incarcerated, as well as his own officers. He and the city manager went on a “listening tour” and now he and his staff do a listening session in the community about once a month. Over the last 5 years, public trust has improved, case clearances are up, and shootings are down.

Mixed results from body cams

March 26, 2019

Body-worn cameras have now been widely adopted by police agencies, likely passing the 50% mark in 2017. The results so far have been mixed, as summarized here based on the latest review of multiple studies. Body cams seem to reduce complaints against police, whether due to better police behavior or reduced frivolous complaints (or both). Also, police video footage is increasingly used by prosecutors, for example in domestic violence cases. But the studies have not found a consistent impact on police use of force, suspect resistance, or citizen satisfaction with police interactions.

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.