Posts Tagged ‘California’

Coroner versus forensic pathologist

December 12, 2017

This article reports the resignation of the San Joaquin County, California forensic pathologist over disagreements with his sheriff/coroner. In 50 of the state’s counties a pathologist determines cause of death but then the sheriff/coroner has the final say on manner of death. The resigning pathologist had several deaths that he ruled homicide but which the sheriff labeled accidents, including death-in-custody cases.


Brady list blocked in LA County

December 11, 2017

This article reports that about 300 deputies are on a Brady list in Los Angeles County but the sheriff is blocked from providing the information to prosecutors by legal action initiated by the union that represents deputies. The union argues that the list contains unsubstantiated and trivial incidents due to a flawed internal discipline system. The California Supreme Court will decide next year whether state laws making police personnel records private preempt these Brady notifications.

Sleepy, tired cops

November 6, 2017

This article reviews evidence about the impact of fatigue on police performance and decision making. Between long shifts, night work, overtime, and secondary employment many officers end up working tired or even sleepy. Most departments fail to monitor outside employment and many don’t even regulate the amount of overtime that individual officers can accumulate.

New fingerprint algorithm

November 1, 2017

This article and this video report a new fingerprint algorithm developed by the FBI that has so far identified over 200 bodies of unknown persons recovered decades ago. The technique substantially improves the hit rate on low-quality and single-finger prints.

Crime guns in Chicago

October 31, 2017

This report analyzes Chicago crime gun trace information for the period 2013-2016. Per capita, Chicago PD recovers 6 times more guns than NYPD and 65% more than LAPD. Tracing indicates that about 40% were purchased in Illinois (mainly in suburban Cook County), 20% in Indiana, and the remaining 40% in other states. Adult suspects accounted for 87% of crime guns and 90% of seized firearms were handguns.

Transparency or public relations?

October 26, 2017

This article reviews police practices in releasing body cam video, noting a tendency to promote positive stories while refusing to provide video in situations where actions might have been improper. This pattern risks hurting police legitimacy if the public comes to believe that officials are cherry-picking what to release rather than truly honoring transparency.

Pay boost in San Diego

October 19, 2017

Pending final approvals, San Diego has agreed to raise police wages 25-30% over the next 2-3 years in hopes of retaining officers and attracting more applicants, according to this article. Staffing is 13% below the authorized level and salaries have lagged behind neighboring agencies and other large California cities.

COP in San Francisco

October 5, 2017

This article profiles community policing in a public housing area of San Francisco, including an officer who has voluntarily stayed in the assignment since 2008 in order to build relationships and trust with residents.

LAPD recognizes bravery & restraint

September 29, 2017

This article reports the LAPD’s annual ceremony recognizing heroic actions by officers. For the second year, awards included using restraint when fatal force might have been justified, a category that was initially criticized by the police union but now seems to have gained acceptance.

The Force

September 18, 2017

The Force is a new award-winning documentary whose director was embedded in the Oakland PD for two years. This column has the trailer and an interview with the director, who explains “one thing this film is looking to do is show people that cops have a difficult job. The conversation about police accountability needs to sit alongside the underlying problems that we are having in our communities. It’s asking you to hold two truths simultaneously.”