Posts Tagged ‘Arizona’

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.

Information sharing key to safe & effective alternative responses

October 8, 2021

A recent case in Tucson, in which two crisis workers responding to a mental health welfare check were kidnapped and robbed, illustrates the need for a system in which health care and police can share information in real time. The welfare check call had been diverted from 911 to a crisis line, so police were unaware of it, and crisis line staff didn’t have access to police databases to check for previous incidents or encounters at the location or with the individual. Tucson previously had 911 and crisis line staff co-located to facilitate information sharing, but the crisis line contractor removed their staff when the COVID pandemic hit, and they have yet to return.

DOJ issues new rules for consent decree monitors

September 17, 2021

The Department of Justice has recently opened investigations of police practices in Minneapolis, Louisville, and Phoenix. This week the Attorney General announced new rules pertaining to the federal monitors who oversee consent decrees, as reported here. According to the AG, “It is no secret that the Justice Department believes in the value of pattern-or-practice investigations. It is also no secret that the monitorships associated with some of those settlements have led to frustrations and concerns within the law enforcement community.” The new rules include budget caps, term limits, and restrictions on conflicts of interest. In addition, DOJ will develop more standardized tools to increase consistency among monitors working in different jurisdictions. 

Whether to require police to get vaccinated

August 23, 2021

Lots of jurisdictions are considering whether to mandate Covid vaccinations for their employees, including police. Richmond, VA is requiring all employees to get shots by October 1, but police and firefighter employee associations are pushing for a pause, as reported here. The police union in Tucson is suing the city after it passed an ordinance requiring all employees to be vaccinated, as reported here. This article indicates that Denver has set a September 30 deadline for employee shots, while in New York the NYPD is promising strict enforcement of a mask mandate for officers who aren’t vaccinated. In New York, 68% of adults are vaccinated, but only 47% of NYPD officers.

Police union contracts and reform

February 3, 2021

This article predicts that reformers will soon start targeting police union contracts, noting that “Over multiple rounds of negotiations, the number of job protections has slowly ratcheted up in many contracts as unions representing police pushed for rules that protect their members.” Houston and Chicago are currently in negotiations, with Baltimore, Boston, Cincinnati, Memphis, Phoenix, and San Francisco coming up this summer. Topics recommended for reconsideration include grievance procedures, arbitration, misconduct reporting, internal investigation protocols, and record keeping.

Reserve officers during COVID

November 21, 2020

Some police agencies have robust reserve officer programs that supplement sworn staffing at little or no cost. This post highlights the use of reserves during the COVID-19 pandemic in Orange County (FL), Washington DC, Phoenix, and Dallas. Volunteer officers back-filled in patrol, specialized assignments, and administrative roles and also served on the front lines during protests.

Black chiefs squeezed from all sides

September 14, 2020

Particularly in these times, Black police chiefs have to walk a complicated tightrope, as reported here. Black women chiefs recently announced resignations in Seattle and Dallas and the Black chief in Rochester, NY resigned along with his entire command staff. One chief described the challenge of trying to please his bosses in city government, officers in the department, and the community, all of whom are suspicious and jealous of each other. Black chiefs have the added burden of being expected to solve longstanding race issues in short order. The chief in Phoenix cites the importance of years of having shown up for painful conversations in her city, allowing her to say “I’m true to blue, I’m true to Black, it’s time for us to roll up our sleeves and really take care of the police reform issues that need to be taken care of.”

Tough on chiefs

August 18, 2020

The balancing act that police chiefs face, always tough, has become even more difficult in the current climate, as reported here. Impossible demands and unrealistic expectations can imperil even the most experienced and reform-minded chiefs. One observer notes “progressive cities are relentlessly unforgiving to progressive chiefs” and another comments “It’s hard to know what success will look like for today’s police chief.” Reflecting on the Atlanta chief’s resignation just hours after an officer shot and killed a suspect, a local journalist wrote “Sadly, it’s the unforgiving environment we’re in. Atlanta is losing a calming police chief who has been implementing the very reforms protesters are rightfully demanding of police departments throughout America.”

How not to police a protest

August 5, 2020

In this interview, Ed Maguire summarizes what’s been learned from policing protests. What works best is constant communication, establishing relationships, and “winning hearts and minds” by making it clear that police are there to help protesters exercise their constitutional rights. Then, if targeted arrests are necessary in response to violence or property damage, the crowd is less likely to turn against the police. Generally, unless local police are the specific focus of the protest, they are best situated to be successful, since they already have relationships. Federal authorities, as in the recent Portland situation, lack connections and may not be seen as 1st amendment protectors, especially if they employ more heavy-handed tactics from the outset. When that happens, they run the risk of becoming the focus of protesters’ attention and anger, likely making the situation worse.

Fewer police shootings in large cities

June 8, 2020

Since the Washington Post and others started systematically counting deaths in police custody 5 years ago, the total number per year in the U.S. has stayed relatively flat. However, this analysis reports that the number has decreased 30% in large cities since 2013, and 17% since 2015. There has also been a 37% decrease in total (fatal and non-fatal) police shootings since 2013, according to data available for 23 of the large cities. These drops have been offset by increases in suburban and rural areas. The author speculates that reforms implemented in many big cities since 2015 have not been as widely adopted in non-urban jurisdictions.