Archive for the ‘Use of Force’ Category

More focus on learning from past events

May 12, 2017

This article reports another step in Wisconsin’s effort to create a system to analyze and review police-involved critical incidents that emphasizes learning and preventing more than blaming. The approach is modeled after protocols used in the aviation and medical fields, where they have discovered that accidents and mistakes are rarely just a matter of pilot or doctor error.

“It’s a false dichotomy”

May 1, 2017

This article provides a nice profile of Brandon del Pozo, the police chief in Burlington, Vermont. He disputes the notion “that you either have to choose the narrative of excessive urban crime or choose the narrative of brutal police, and that you’re either on the black lives matter side or the blue lives matter side … It’s a false dichotomy.”

Walking the tightrope in Nashville

April 28, 2017

This article covers events in Nashville over the last 4 months with an extensive interview of Chief Steve Anderson. The city has had an officer killed, an officer-involved fatal shooting, and a critical report on racial profiling. The chief discusses the nearly impossible challenge of meeting the needs and expectations of officers, the community, and political leaders.

LAPD use of force report

April 21, 2017

The LAPD has published an exceptionally detailed annual use of force report available here. In 2016, officers used force in about 1 per 1,000 public contacts and 2 per 100 arrests. The number of officer-involved shootings has remained relatively stable over the last 5 years but the number of rounds fired per incident has decreased dramatically.

Swifter discipline in the age of video

April 17, 2017

This article reports two recent incidents in which video led to quick discipline decisions by police administrators, in one case firing two officers within 24 hours of footage being released. While the proper timing of police body cam release is debated and currently varies across states and departments, citizens’ cell phone video is a different story. One expert comments “It literally makes no sense to me … that police officers in 2017 don’t understand they’re being videotaped.”

3 NPR podcasts on police videos

April 10, 2017

The “Embedded” NPR series has three recent podcasts about police videos, one a police shooting, one of a police officer being shot, and one a situation where an officer refrained from shooting. The podcasts explore the incidents from all angles. One theme is how the new reality of video is affecting people’s thinking and behavior, both police and the public.

Analysis of police shootings in Florida

April 8, 2017

This article analyzes 827 police shootings in Florida from 2009 through 2014, over half of which were fatal. About one-fifth of the people shot by police were unarmed and those were disproportionately black. Detailed descriptions of several cases illustrate the confusing, tragic, and stressful circumstances in which many incidents occur.

Minimizing harm, saving lives

April 3, 2017

This article with videos reviews changes made to police tactics and culture in Camden, New Jersey since 2013. The department adopted “scoop and go” for gunshot victims, emphasizes that repositioning is not retreating when facing armed suspects, and prefers warnings over traffic tickets. The chief considers himself an unlikely reformer, having gotten the position because “he looks like he won’t get indicted in the next six months — he’ll do.”

Warning shots

March 29, 2017

The use of warning shots has been discouraged and/or prohibited by most law enforcement agencies for at least 30 years, mainly due to the risk of a bullet striking an unintended person. However the renewed emphasis on de-escalation is causing some to question this longstanding principle, according to this NPR story.

Risk/reward in SWAT no-knock entries

March 18, 2017

This in-depth 2-part series, located here and here, examines the practice of no-knock dynamic entries by SWAT teams. National data are not systematically collected, but nearly 100 deaths are known to have occurred in such raids since 2010, including at least 13 police officers. The vast majority of raids are drug cases, leading some police and legal experts to question whether the rewards justify the risks.