Progress in New Orleans

August 8, 2017

New Orleans signed a U.S. Department of Justice consent decree in 2013, requiring reforms overseen by a federal judge. Monitoring was extended for 3 years this week with an expectation that it will cease in 2020 if full compliance is achieved in 2018 and then sustained, according to this article. The order cites “significant improvement in almost every area of the consent decree, including policies, training, supervision, custodial interrogations, sexual assault and domestic violence investigations, uses of force, use of force reporting and use of force investigations.”

Fired and reinstated

August 7, 2017

This article summarizes data from 37 large agencies, finding that 1,881 officers were fired for misconduct since 2006 but over 450 were reinstated after appeals. “In many cases, the underlying misconduct was undisputed, but arbitrators often concluded that the firings were unjustified because departments had been too harsh, missed deadlines, lacked sufficient evidence or failed to interview witnesses.” Chiefs express frustration whereas union officials argue that officers’ rights must be protected.

Community policing to counter violent extremism

August 5, 2017

This report provides a thorough description and assessment of an LAPD initiative to counter violent extremism by using community policing. The process evaluation concluded that “adopting a community policing model is a necessary approach to better protect and serve communities at risk for violent radicalization.” The study identified numerous challenges to such an approach, including opposing narratives within communities over whether to cooperate with police, but also identified practical ways to overcome differences and build resilience.

New chief in Sacramento

August 3, 2017

This article profiles the newly-appointed chief in Sacramento CA, Daniel Hahn. He is a native of the city who came up through the ranks to Captain before serving as chief in nearby Roseville since 2011. The situation he is inheriting is challenging including low police morale, non-competitive salaries, and strained community relations, as detailed in this article.

Alternatives to arresting kids at school

August 3, 2017

This article describes a diversion program in Philadelphia that reduced arrests of kids at school by 68%. The initiative was started by recently-retired deputy commissioner Kevin Bethel, who argues that police “must adapt how we respond to normal adolescent behavior occurring in schools … Arrests are not the answer, especially when we know these arrests negatively impact graduation rates, job prospects and create numerous other long-term impediments.”

Police higher education

August 2, 2017

In recent years the UK has put an emphasis on developing higher education programs specifically for police. As an example, here’s a position announcement for a Professor of Policing Studies and Police Leadership at Liverpool John Moores University (application deadline August 13).

Police leaders reject President’s remarks

July 30, 2017

Several police leaders have repudiated President Trump’s recent speech before a Long Island, NY police audience. In his statement, Chief Thomas Manger of the Major City-County Chiefs Association says “those remarks just confirmed to those who don’t like or trust the police that we give a wink and a nod to excessive force. We don’t. And anyone that does should not be wearing a badge.” He adds “As a cop for the past 40 years, I was appalled when I heard the President of the United States condone injuring an individual in police custody. This violates our Constitution, our Department policy, and the public trust.”

Community-level bias linked to officer-involved shootings

July 28, 2017

This article reports a study that looked at the link between the public’s attitudes and police-involved shootings across regions of the U.S. and found “implicit racial bias among whites was the only factor associated with police disproportionately killing African Americans — demographic factors like income, segregation, or education levels didn’t play a role.” The author adds “I’m not saying that the police don’t have these biases themselves [but] it’s not just the police.”

Reviewing unfounded sexual assault cases

July 28, 2017

This article reports that Ottawa will adopt the “Philadelphia Model” in which a multidisciplinary panel reviews reported sexual assaults that police classify as unfounded. The main purpose is not to find specific police errors, but to identify ways of improving the system so that future decisions are based on valid criteria and victims are more satisfied that they were treated fairly.

Just another day on the job

July 28, 2017

Officer Alfredo Vargas in Boynton Beach, Florida, dispatched to a report of an alligator on a resident’s porch, used a lasso, his jacket, and his bare hands to capture the animal,  transport it in his patrol car, and release it into a canal. In recognition of his effective and humane action, the department will assign him to all future gator calls, according to this article.