Archive for the ‘Police & Society’ Category

Flint PD — broken department in a broken city

March 15, 2018

Netflix is currently airing a gritty 8-part documentary “Flint Town” that captures violence and desperation in a failing city, produced by film makers who were embedded with the police department for 20 months. The PD is badly understaffed, overwhelmed, and frustrated. As one officer wrote, “How can citizens in Flint trust the police to protect them when they can’t even trust their government to provide them with clean water?” The film’s trailer is here. An 8-minute scene from the documentary is here. A column about the film and the city is available here.


Custom Blackberry CEO busted

March 13, 2018

This article reports a multi-national investigation by the U.S., Canada, and Australia into a company that provided custom Blackberry devices for secure communication within private networks, with encryption and remote “wiping” if a phone was seized by authorities. About 20,000 of the devices are in circulation with a clientele that includes drug cartels and transnational organized crime groups. The company’s CEO was arrested last week.

Fear of being stopped

March 13, 2018

This article and short video, a collaboration of National Geographic and ESPN, highlight the experiences of Black drivers who have been frequently stopped by police for no apparent reason. While vehicle stops are routine for police, they can be stressful for citizens as well as family members riding with them. The article also compares stop data from several states, nearly all of which indicate disproportionate impact on drivers of color.

77 precincts in pictures

March 12, 2018

This column from The Architectural League of New York provides photos of the NYPD’s 77 precinct houses. Most were built in the 1960s or earlier.

Pulse and Parkland active shooter responses

March 9, 2018

This article compares the first few minutes of police response in the recent Parkland school mass shooting to the Pulse nightclub mass shooting that occurred in 2016, also in Florida. The circumstances differ and many details of both incidents are still not public, but in each case the officers first on the scene chose not to immediately enter the buildings. In the Pulse nightclub case the first officer, who did fire on the subject from outside before taking cover, was declared a hero, whereas in the Parkland case the first deputy was quickly labeled a coward.

Norway, New Zealand seeking gender parity

March 8, 2018

This article reports that 48% of students seeking entry to Norway’s Police University College in 2018 are women. This article reports that 42 of 80 recruits in the latest class of the Royal New Zealand Police College are women. Meanwhile, the Northern Territories police in Australia have set a goal of 50/50 gender staffing by 2020, as reported here.

Denver saves $4 million per year with in-house physical therapy

March 7, 2018

This article reports success in Denver from adding a physical therapist on staff. Total savings from worker comp claims in the police, sheriff, and fire departments have been $8 million in 2 years. The therapist sees about 150 employees per month.

Police department gives a grant

March 6, 2018

This article reports the Naperville (IL) PD giving a $36,000 grant from drug seizure funds to a local non-profit that provides counseling and prevention services to homeless youth. “This opportunity aligns directly with our department’s mission and values and allows us to provide much-needed funding to an organization that is working toward the common goal of preventing substance abuse,” according to the chief.

Compstat today

March 5, 2018

This article provides an in-depth review of Compstat’s evolution in the NYPD since 1994, including the debates over how much credit it deserves for huge drops in crime, the rise and fall of stop-and-frisk, the roles played by Commissioner Bratton and others, to the present version which incorporates public sentiment and NeighborhoodStat. Technology and the availability of crime data have vastly improved but the regular Compstat meetings at One Police Plaza remain central to command accountability across a sprawling organization with 77 precincts.

Lighting reduces crime in NYC public housing

March 4, 2018

This article summarizes an experiment in 2016 testing the impact of enhanced outdoor lighting on crime in 39 public housing sites in New York City. Index crimes declined 7% overall, with a 39% reduction in outdoor crimes at night, over the 6-month study period. Benefits were estimated to exceed costs after 6 years and by 3 1/2 times after 20 years. The full research report is available here.