Cleveland adding 250 officers

July 2, 2018

This article reports expanded recruiting efforts by Cleveland PD, which plans to add 250 officers and hopes to increase diversity. The city is 51% black but the department is only 23%, with 14% women. A list of 2,000 applicants has been compiled and conditioning camps are being offered to help candidates pass the physical agility test. Besides current vacancies, the agency has about 600 officers with 20+ years.

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To chase or not to chase

June 30, 2018

This article provides a balanced discussion of police pursuit policies and practices. According to a 2015 analysis, chases account for over 300 deaths per year in the U.S., nearly half being bystanders or passengers. Many agencies have adopted stricter guidelines, limiting pursuits except in serious violent crime cases and putting decisions in the hands of supervisors. But other agencies continue to pursue and give officers discretion, not wanting offenders to believe that it’s easy to escape.

Hate crime rose with election, Russian interference

June 29, 2018

Hate crime statistics are particularly unreliable, making analysis difficult. This article supplements FBI data with public records obtained from larger cities, finding an increase over the last 4 years in those cities, with the most common being “Anti-Black, anti-Semitic, anti-gay and anti-Latino.” Hate crime spiked immediately following the 2016 election, and more generally “there appears to be a correlation between the rise in targeted racially divisive social media ads and a near contemporaneous rise in hate crime.” The reference is to 3,517 Facebook ads placed by the Russian Internet Research Agency from 2015 to 2017.

SCOTUS decision on public employee unions

June 28, 2018

By a 5-4 vote on a case likely to affect police unions, as reported here, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that “forcing state and local government employees to pay union fees is an unconstitutional infringement on their right to free speech.” Prior to the decision, mandatory payment of such union fees or dues was permitted in about half the states. Critics of the decision called it an example of union-busting driven by “corporate CEOs and wealthy special interests rigging the economy even more in their favor.”

Tools of data-driven policing

June 27, 2018

Keeping up with the ever-expanding technologies being used in modern policing is very challenging. This infographic sorts the tools of data-driven policing into three categories — image processing, signal processing, and augmentation — with brief explanations and examples.

Officers recognized for innovative solutions

June 27, 2018

This article reports 14 LAPD officers completing a 12-month certificate program delivered by the public policy and social work schools at the University of Southern California. Attendees “learned evidence-based techniques to reduce the need for force and become better prepared to face today’s complicated policing issues, such as homelessness, mental illness, domestic violence and human trafficking.” Officers complete a capstone project on a specific problem that they identify, and present their solutions to command staff in the department’s Compstat room.

Research in the ranks

June 25, 2018

This article reports the recent conference of the American Society of Evidence-Based Policing, which mainly featured current police officers presenting results from their own research. The organization, just a few years old, mirrors similar ones in the UK, Canada, Australia/New Zealand plus initial efforts in India and Mexico. The emphasis is on learning and applying what works, rather than simply relying on “what we’ve always done” or copying the latest popular idea from a neighboring agency.

Seattle Public Safety Survey

June 23, 2018

This column announces release of Seattle’s 3rd annual public safety survey. Perceptions of police and crime in the city have changed little over the last 3 years. City-wide, residents think their police are better than elsewhere in the country, and their top concerns are police capacity, property crime, and littering/dumping. Most importantly, citizens’ perceptions and priorities are broken out by 59 specific neighborhoods in conjunction with the police department’s micro-community policing plans. The full surevy report is available here.

Civilian police commissioners

June 21, 2018

This column discusses the potential benefits of utilizing civilian police commissioners at the head of police departments, including current or past examples in New York, Baltimore, and a few other cities. The argument is that commissioners “maintain a level of objectivity and avoid much of the conflict that uniformed police chiefs often face in having to balance their allegiance between the elected officials who appointed them and the personnel who share the uniform that they wear.”

Busy streets in Flint

June 19, 2018

This article describes a neighborhood initiative in Flint, Michigan credited with achieving substantial reductions in crime and disorder over the period 2012-2017. A broad collaboration between residents and various partners, the emphasis was on community empowerment much more than police enforcement.