Authentic inclusion

January 4, 2019

The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police sponsors an annual Global Studies course for selected mid-career staff. The 2018 cohort was assigned the topic “Equity, Inclusion and Fundamental Respect in the Diverse Policing Organization.” Class members discuss their initial trepidation and what they learned from tough conversations among themselves, in their home agencies, and from visits with police in 17 other countries in this article and this report. They concluded that diversity is largely a reality in Canadian policing but authentic inclusion is much more challenging and difficult to achieve.


Shifting face of international terrorism

January 2, 2019

Counter-terrorism efforts directed mainly at ISIS, Al Qaeda, and the Middle East will need to shift attention to Russian-speaking individuals and networks in the coming years, according to this article. Terror groups that previously resisted oppressive governments in their own countries are now focused on perceived international enemies. Attacks in Turkey, Sweden, and the U.S. over the past several years were committed by Uzbeks, and fighters from several former Soviet countries who joined ISIS in Syria have since slipped back into Europe and Central Asia.

Best police movies

January 1, 2019

Here’s a change of pace for New Year’s Day. Several lists of “best police movies” can be found online, such as here, here, and here. My 10 all-time personal favorites are listed below with links to trailers. I’ve mostly left out comedies, thrillers, and private eyes, sticking with what I think are interesting portrayals of police and police work. And I’m heavily partial to some older movies. Just one person’s opinion. We’ll return to “just the facts” tomorrow.

  1. High Noon (1952)
  2. In the Heat of the Night (1967)
  3. Dirty Harry (1971)
  4. French Connection (1971)
  5. Fargo (1996)
  6. Serpico (1973)
  7. RoboCop (1987)
  8. Bullitt (1968)
  9. L.A. Confidential (1997)
  10. The Departed (2006)

Low clearance rates in Chicago

December 31, 2018

Among its challenges, Chicago PD has a low success rate in solving murders and shootings, as reported here. Its clearance rate for homicides fell from 49% to 35% between 2011 and 2017, compared to the national figure of 60%. Explanations include heavy workload, limited staff, and inadequate supervision. Another factor is lack of witness and victim cooperation, attributed largely to lack of trust in police and fear of retaliation from offenders. The city is adding investigators, detective sergeants, and new technology centers in an effort to improve the situation.

Long-term drop in solving rape cases

December 28, 2018

This article reviews the national clearance rate for rape, which has dropped from 62% in 1964 to 32% in 2017. Some of the decline is probably due to increased reporting by victims and more complete recording by police. Also, the FBI definition was expanded in 2013 and, most recently, #MeToo has caused a surge in reporting, straining investigative staff in many agencies. DNA and other forensic impovements should help solve cases, but many still boil down to he-said/she-said over the question of consent.

Utah adopting .05

December 28, 2018

On Sunday, December 30 Utah becomes the first state to implement the .05 BAC level for driving under the influence. This article reports that the National Transportation Safety Board has been recommending lowering the legal limit from .08 to .05 since 2013, and several other states have considered the change but proposed legislation did not pass. Experts are divided on whether the lower limit will have much impact on alcohol-related traffic crashes.

Baltimore still in limbo

December 26, 2018

This article identifies several challenges still confronting Baltimore PD, which remains under a federal consent decree, faces additional scrutiny from a state commission looking into systemic misconduct including corruption, and awaits confirmation of a new police commissioner, their 5th in less than 4 years. Homicides in the city have exceeded 300 for the 4th year in a row — some think mistrust of the police plays a role in people’s “willingness to take interpersonal differences into one’s own hands.”

NORAD tracking UFO

December 24, 2018

This website tracks an airborne globe-circling craft that reappears each year around this time. One Nordic touch-down documented here. Lights and music phenomena here.

New public records law in California

December 23, 2018

New legislation in California taking effect January 1 increases public access to “internal investigations of officer shootings and other major uses of force, along with confirmed cases of sexual assault and lying while on duty.” Existing law, though, only requires departments to retain such records for 5 years. This article reports city approval in Inglewood to destroy more than 100 older records before the new statute takes effect. Other cities are wrestling with what to do with their records.

Berkeley not so special any more

December 22, 2018

Berkeley PD has many unfilled positions and has lost experienced officers to other agencies in recent years, something that rarely happened before, according to this article. The agency has a distinctive history going all the way back to August Vollmer, and was the “go to” agency in northern California for many years. Current and departed personnel cite expanding workload, long hours, political interference, weak leadership, and lack of public support. One comments “You would never walk into some accounting firm and go up to someone at their cubicle and tell them they’re not doing their job right. But there’s this weird sense among residents they know police work and can tell you how to do your job.”