Archive for the ‘Federal LE’ Category

Federal policing of public lands in the West

May 10, 2018

This article reports a Senate hearing on policing practices of the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, and other federal agencies on public lands in the West. The specific focus was a years-long undercover investigation targeting private collectors of Native American artifacts that culminated in pre-dawn raids, charges against two dozen people, several suicides, 19 guilty pleas, but no jail time. Utah elected officials condemned the action as heavy-handed federal overreach, while Native American groups saw it as “a long-needed crackdown on the removal of precious artifacts from their resting grounds.”


FBI in crisis

May 4, 2018

This article reviews the crises and complaints confronting the FBI over the last several years. Some observers and officials are concerned about long-term impact on the agency’s credibility and public trust in the institution. The outcome of the Mueller investigation is expected to “play an outsize role in how his old agency gets through the current crisis” but other factors such as mission creep, leadership, and response to whistleblowers also seem important.

Immigration enforcement — free-for-all in PA

April 13, 2018

This article details immigration enforcement by local and state police in Pennsylvania. Lacking any state-wide guidance or formal ICE partnership, individual agencies and officers make their own decisions about enforcing federal immigration laws, resulting in inconsistency and apparent ethnic profiling, particularly in central PA. One district attorney has warned chiefs that, since “officers are not permitted to independently enforce federal immigration law, they cannot extend the period of an investigatory stop to investigate immigration status without risking a constitutional violation.”

Cross-deputization in Indian Country

April 12, 2018

Jurisdictional issues have long plagued Indian Country policing, with a confusing combination of laws and court decisions at the tribal, federal, and state levels. Enhancing clarity and improving effectiveness are important since rates of serious crime tend to be high while clearance rates run low, resulting in too much victimization and too little justice. This new publication examines several promising practices, including increased cross-commissioning and cross-deputizing of law enforcement officers in and around Indian Country.

Reaching for critical mass

November 15, 2017

This article provides an in-depth look at the low numbers of women in many federal law enforcement agencies, especially Customs and Border Protection (5%), and contrasts that with several municipal police departments that have taken a completely different approach to gender and the police culture. The chief in Madison, Wisconsin, which has 30% women, says “We’re looking for critical thinkers, people who are empathetic, good communicators, great at crisis intervention … I can teach a monkey how to shoot a Glock. The cerebral skills, the relational skills, that is the elusive commodity that you have to search for.”

UCR data reduction

November 1, 2017

According to this article, the on-line 2016 Uniform Crime Report omits 70% of the data tables traditionally provided, including a big decrease in published arrest data. Officials say the omitted pages were not heavily visited. Crime researchers and transparency advocates are concerned especially as the FBI’s Policy Advisory Board does not seem to have been consulted.

New fingerprint algorithm

November 1, 2017

This article and this video report a new fingerprint algorithm developed by the FBI that has so far identified over 200 bodies of unknown persons recovered decades ago. The technique substantially improves the hit rate on low-quality and single-finger prints.

Gil Kerlikowske taking it easier

October 9, 2017

This article is a nice profile of Gil Kerlikowske, most recently head of the 60,000-person U.S. Customs & Border Protection, previously drug czar and police chief in Seattle and Buffalo. One of the most respected law enforcement leaders of the last few decades, he’s now doing some volunteering and part-time teaching.

Review of federal asset seizure

March 30, 2017

The Department of Justice has issued a report on federal asset seizure and forfeiture in cases not directly tied to a specific criminal charge. They found that DOJ does not collect data to analyze the impact of seizures on cases, crime, or civil liberties. Review of a sample of 100 DEA seizures indicated inconsistency in seizure operations, particularly in interdiction cases. Recommendations include better data and oversight, clearer policy, and increased training, especially for state and local officers working on federal task forces.

Army officers recruited into CID

March 18, 2017

The US Army has increased its recruitment of company-grade officers (lieutenants and captains) willing to resign their commissions in order to become Army CID special agents at the warrant officer rank, according to this article. Although the transition involves a reduction in rank and pay, it provides substantial specialized training and career opportunities for those with a strong interest in investigations.