Archive for the ‘Police & Society’ Category

U.S. standing in Global Law & Order Report

November 3, 2022

Gallup’s 2022 Global Law & Order Report is available here. Its law & order index is based on 4 survey items including confidence in police, feelings of safety, and recent personal and property crime victimization. Overall, the U.S. was tied for 41st out of 120 countries, tied with Italy and Germany among others. Canada was tied for 21st, while Mexico tied for 106th. The U.S./Canada region ranked 4th out of 10 regions, but showed the biggest decrease from the previous year. Specifically on confidence in police, the U.S./Canada region ranked 3rd but had by far the biggest year-on-year drop. 

Austin protest fallout continues

October 31, 2022

In Austin, Texas, criminal cases have yet to go to trial against 21 officers indicted over their actions during the George Floyd protests in 2020. In the meantime, 8 civil cases against the city have been settled for $16.6 million, while 12 cases are still pending, as reported here. According to a recently released after-action report, “many officers lacked an understanding of crowd management, riot control techniques, tactics and protocols.” Officers are accused of shooting bean bag munitions “into crowds, at protesters’ heads and at protesters who were not threatening violence when they were shot.”


October 25, 2022

Two columns, here and here, sketch some history of the office of sheriff and provide findings from a survey of about 500 current sheriffs. From the 1600s in the colonial era, electing sheriffs was a way to dilute the power of British rulers. In the South, sheriffs were often the main enforcers of slavery, segregation, and Jim Crow. On the western frontier, “Sheriffs often served as the first or only law enforcement representatives as settlers engaged in the genocide of Native Americans and Mexican citizens.” According to the survey, today’s sheriffs tend to be conservative, tough on immigration, opposed to restrictions on gun ownership, and to blame the violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th mainly on social media companies and Antifa. They were more than twice as likely to agree rather than disagree that “The sheriff’s authority supersedes the federal or state government in my county.”

CBP joins 30×30

October 24, 2022

Customs and Border Patrol, the largest law enforcement agency in the U.S,, has joined the 30×30 initiative, as reported here. The national initiative, which is aimed at increasing the number of women police, currently has over 200 participating agencies. CBP is the second federal agency to sign on, joining the U.S. Marshals Service. According to the CBP Commissioner, “We have made some progress in recruiting women to join CBP as law enforcement officers and agents, but there is an incredible amount of work still to be done. Our pledge to join 30×30 is part of a larger framework for our agency to improve the recruitment, retention, representation and experiences of women officers and agents.” Across the country, only 12% of sworn law enforcement personnel are women, a figure that has increased very little over the last two decades. 

Increasing women recruits

August 15, 2022

This 7-minute NPR segment discusses efforts underway to increase the representation of women among American police. A current national initiative, 30X30, has the goal of achieving 30% women recruits by 2030, which would more than double today’s proportion. The segment discusses the evidence about performance by women officers, as well as barriers to recruitment and retention. It also highlights the Madison, Wisconsin police department, an agency that already has 28% sworn women, compared to the national average of 12-13%.

Position: Police Academy Administrator, New Orleans PD

July 22, 2022

New Orleans is advertising for a Police Academy Administrator. The duties of the position include “reviewing and approving primary instructional materials such as curricula and lesson plans; coordinating the delivery of recruit training, in-service training, and specialized training on an annual basis; structuring and designing course of instruction for Academy’s primary course modules, including Recruit Training, In-Service Training, and specialized training; overseeing instructor selection process; ensuring that Academy pedagogy reflects educational best practices; overseeing and driving implementation of required Consent Decree reforms; and related work as required.” The position announcement is here. A closing date is not specified.

Traffic impunity in Nevada

July 18, 2022

Between 2017 and 2021, courts in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, and Henderson in Nevada reduced more than 200,000 traffic tickets to parking violations, as reported here. This included over 80% of 95,000 speeding tickets in Las Vegas. Among these, “Deals were given to more than 400 people cited for driving more than 30 mph over, as well as about 80 people accused of going more than 40 mph over.” Reducing the tickets to parking violations meant no points on licenses. As a result, Nevada suspends driver licenses at a much lower rate than neighboring California, Idaho, and Utah. The story cites several traffic-related tragedies caused by drivers who had previously accumulated numerous tickets but evaded any consequences.

50/50 whether homicides get solved

July 14, 2022

The national clearance rate for homicides has fallen to about 50%, the lowest in more than 50 years, according to this article. It was 83% in 1965. A few states do substantially better than others — Alabama and Nebraska were best at 83% over the period 2015-2020, while Rhode Island was lowest at 21% (a quarter of the states have had data problems making it impossible to calculate their clearance rates over the 5-year period). The data also indicate lower clearance rates for victims of color. The article provides examples from several cities, noting an unusually high proportion of exceptional clearances in Chicago, which had a 44% clearance rate in 2020, but half were exceptional clearances.

Kentucky fast-tracking retiring military into law enforcement agencies

July 12, 2022

The Department of Defense has a SkillBridge program aimed at helping military members transition to civilian employment. Kentucky is the first state to utilize the program statewide, as reported here. Military retirees will be able to attend basic police training at Kentucky’s Department of Criminal Justice Training during their final 180 days of military service, positioning them to move straight into a police career. In addition, “The program provides significant cost savings to law enforcement agencies as the military has agreed to continue paying the service member’s salary and other benefits while attending a basic training academy.” The first soldier completed the program in April of this year.

DOJ guidance on response to sexual assault & domestic violence

July 6, 2022

The US Department of Justice has published guidance on police response to sexual assault and domestic violence, with an emphasis on identifying and preventing gender bias. A 4-page summary document, available here, presents and explains 8 principles that should guide police actions. A longer 36-page report, available here, provides additional background information and offers numerous examples of good and bad practice.