Posts Tagged ‘Arkansas’

Traffic deaths continuing to rise

December 13, 2021

Traffic fatalities increased by 18% in the first half of 2021, surprising safety officials, as reported here. The year before, 2020, had seen a 7% increase despite much less driving during the height of the pandemic. Experts had expected that to be a one-time anomaly, since the long-term trend had seen a 1/3 decrease in annual deaths between 1970 and 2019. Factors seem to include higher speeds, aggressive driving, failure to wear seat belts, and drug and alcohol impairment. One interpretation is that it’s “a symptom and a sign of the overall lack of consideration we’re showing for other citizens, whether it be wearing masks, or not getting vaccinated, or how we drive. It’s very aggressive. It’s very selfish.”

Policing after the first wave of COVID-19

May 22, 2020

This op-ed considers the top challenges for policing during the next wave of the pandemic virus. It notes that COVID-19 initially disrupted patterns of street crime in some places, but, in Mexico for example, “premeditated strategic warfare among organized crime groups did not, for the most part, decrease during the worldwide lockdowns.” Now, with communities re-opening amid much higher unemployment and potential food shortages, street crime may surge. In the U.S., the author identifies two big factors of additional concern — the national government’s counter-productive pressure to focus local policing on immigration enforcement, and the rise of violent right-wing, neo-Nazi, anti-government groups that pose “an even greater danger to public safety and the quality of democracy than most criminal groups could ever mount.”

Victim tracking of rape kits

April 9, 2019

An increasing number of states have laws establishing rape kit tracking systems, as reported here. At least 17 states now have such laws, with 5 others pending this year. A key feature of the systems, besides helping officials track cases and reduce backlogs, is empowering victims to monitor the status of evidence collected from them. Advocates argue this “provides a degree of transparency and accountability that, until now, had been notoriously absent from sexual-assault cases.”

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.”

Best & worst states to be a cop

May 9, 2018

This article from WalletHub assesses 25 different factors to rate the 50 states plus DC on the desirability of police employment. Criteria include cost of living, salaries, crime rate, and public image. The top 3 are North Dakota, New York, and Connecticut. The bottom 3 are Arkansas, Louisiana, and Idaho. Click the “Ask the Experts” link for a variety of perspectives — the comments from William Vizzard are short and to the point.

Best states for a police career

May 10, 2017

Here’s another of those lists. It ranks the states (and DC) based on 20 criteria in 3 general categories: opportunity & competition for police jobs, police hazards & protections, and quality of life. The best state for a police career is North Dakota, followed by Connecticut and New York. The worst is Louisiana, followed by Arkansas and Alaska.

Risk/reward in SWAT no-knock entries

March 18, 2017

This in-depth 2-part series, located here and here, examines the practice of no-knock dynamic entries by SWAT teams. National data are not systematically collected, but nearly 100 deaths are known to have occurred in such raids since 2010, including at least 13 police officers. The vast majority of raids are drug cases, leading some police and legal experts to question whether the rewards justify the risks.

Dedication to COP earns first pitch

September 2, 2016

We previously highlighted Officer Tommy Norman of North Little Rock, Arkansas for his exceptional commitment to the needs of the people he serves. This article reports that he’ll be throwing out the first pitch at Busch Stadium in St. Louis September 29, and rapper The Game has helped raise $50,000 to support his work in the community.

Informing the public

July 14, 2016

This article reproduces an open letter from the police chief in Fayetteville, Arkansas to residents of his city, informing them about use-of-force related training and accountability measures in his agency. The letter reflects his awareness that the public is often not knowledgeable about administrative practices already in place and often taken for granted by those inside policing.

Policing at the human level

August 31, 2015

This appreciative article highlights the work of a police officer in North Little Rock, Arkansas who seems to epitomize community policing through his thoughtful and caring interactions with residents, young and old, one person at a time.