Posts Tagged ‘Arizona’

Threatening to commit mass shootings

September 3, 2019

This article reports over 40 people arrested around the country over the last month for threatening to commit mass shootings or bombings, most after tips from the public. Common themes included right-wing ideology and threats against schools, Walmarts, and Planned Parenthood. The nature of the cases ranged from “vague social media threats from juveniles that set parents on edge to well-developed plots from people who had access to weapons and appeared to authorities to have been planning a mass murder.”

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Insurance companies funding police investigations

August 19, 2019

This article discusses the practice of insurance companies funding police (and sometimes prosecutors) to investigate cases of alleged insurance fraud. On the plus side, it’s an example of public-private partnership and cost sharing. In some cases, however, it puts police in the position of serving the financial interests of insurance companies. The article reports several examples of flawed investigations that wreaked havoc on individuals later determined to be innocent.

Interim chief reflects on Ferguson experience

August 12, 2019

Here is a 6-minute radio interview with Andre Anderson, a police commander in Glendale, Arizona who served as interim chief in Ferguson for 6 months. He discusses what the situation was like, the efforts he made to try to better connect the community and police, and lessons he learned that he has brought back to his home agency as well as shared around the country.

More unsocial media

June 6, 2019

An independent review focused on 8 police departments recently uncovered hundreds of ¬†social media posts by current or retired officers “displaying bias, applauding violence, scoffing at due process, or using dehumanizing language,” as reported here. One expert noted that much of the language may be hyperbole, just a way of dealing with stress and frustration, while another worried that it confirms the public’s worst suspicions about police. Some of the posts were from supervisors and commanders — a former chief lamented that “You pay sergeants to be leaders, you pay them to uphold the values of the organization, and to demand constitutionally correct behavior.”

Critical incident reviews in Tucson

May 26, 2019

Tucson PD has a Critical Incident Review Board that operates on the principle that “When bad things happen in a complex system … the cause is rarely a single act, event, or slip-up.” The CIRB convenes independently of the department’s Office of Professional Standards for the purpose of learning from experience and improving future outcomes by focusing on “broader issues of policy, training, supervision, and needed resources, as opposed to investigating individual misconduct or violations of policy.” Completed event reviews are posted on the PD website here.

Analysis of officer-involved shootings in Phoenix

April 21, 2019

This report by the National Police Foundation provides analysis of officer-involved shootings in Phoenix, which doubled in 2018 over the average for the past 9 years. Information was gathered from the community and from police records, and comparisons were made over time and with other big cities and Arizona cities. One factor in Phoenix was that assaults on officers increased, and more OIS incidents involved subjects armed with weapons, including guns. Another was that both police and community members pointed to lack of trust, leading to several recommendations aimed at transparency, accountability, and relationship building.

Mental health crisis response in Tucson

March 2, 2019

Tucson PD has a plainclothes team that helps handle incidents and follow-ups involving people in mental heath and addiction crisis, as reported here. According to the police department, “more than a third of the calls officers respond to involve someone suffering from a mental health or addiction disorder.” Police work closely with the city’s Crisis Response Center, established following a mass shooting 8 years ago that left 6 dead and 13 injured, including member of Congress Gabrielle Giffords.

Improving recruiting

February 5, 2019

This new report presents results from projects in 21 different jurisdictions aimed at identifying police recruiting messages and processes that produce more applicants and more people following through in the hiring process. The Behavioral Insights Team helped evaluate various alternatives to determine which ones worked better than others. One finding was that “Even small changes in how jobs are advertised can make a real difference to both the total number of applicants and the diversity of those applicants.”

Rapid DNA in action

January 22, 2019

This article reports early adoption of Rapid DNA technology in Bensalem, Pennsylvania and a few other sites around the country. The equipment requires little training and returns results in 90 minutes. Scientists are generally satisfied with the accuracy of matches from cheek swabs but consider crime scene DNA much more complicated to process and interpret. A current limitation is that most machines only link to local databases, not the FBI’s national CODIS system. Critics worry that the technology will tempt police to collect DNA from anyone they deem suspicious, leading to an ever-larger DNA database susceptible to misuse.

Police shootings high in Phoenix

January 7, 2019

Phoenix PD had 38 officer-involved shootings in 2018 as of late October, with 19 fatalities. Per population, that rate was 10 times higher than Philadelphia’s, 5 times higher than Chicago’s, and more than 3 times higher than LA’s,¬†as reported here. Activists blame the police while the officers’ union blames violent crime and suspect non-compliance. Both sides are so sure they know the reasons behind the high numbers that they criticized the city for funding an independent study, due to be completed this month.