Posts Tagged ‘California’

Autopsies hindered by organ donation

October 17, 2019

Organ donation has become more common over the years, and several states have enacted laws aimed at speeding up the “harvesting” process so that body parts can be preserved to help others in need. As reported here, these laws sometimes enable companies to secure parts, including skin and bones in addition to organs, before autopsies have been conducted. Investigations have been compromised — “In multiple cases, coroners have had to guess at the cause of death.”

Gunshot detection technology

October 17, 2019

This report provides recommendations for implementing gunshot detection technology (GDT) most effectively, based on a 3-city evaluation. Key suggestions include “developing clear policies and procedures prior to GDT implementation, placing GDT sensors in areas where violent crime is most concentrated, making training an ongoing priority, and communicating with community members early and often.”

Non-police crisis response

October 16, 2019

Denver has joined other cities considering adopting a mental health crisis response option that relies on mental health professionals rather than police, as reported here. The model cities are looking at is CAHOOTS, Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets, pioneered in Oregon. A police official in Eugene explains “Our police officers try the best they can, but they are not mental health professionals.” Mental health responders wear casual clothes and “That difference in uniforms can assist folks with letting their guard down and being open to accepting the help that is being offered.”

Drones in Colorado & California

October 15, 2019

Police utilization of drones seems to be picking up. In California, Chula Vista reports 1,000 missions in the first year of its Drone as a First Responder program, resulting in 130 arrests and numerous assists to arriving officers, as reported here. Police in Longmont and Boulder, Colorado, are using drones to locate missing persons, monitor emergency situations, and obtain aerial documentation of crime and crash scenes, as reported here.

BWC mainly exonerates officers in LAPD

October 3, 2019

Out of 320 complaints against LAPD officers in 2018 in which body camera recordings helped determine who was at fault, the evidence cleared the officers in over 80%, as reported here. The agency’s compliance rate for BWC activation in critical incidents, a problem during initial implementation, is now up to 95%. In the chief’s view, “It helps both sides of the camera. The existence of that camera helps answer did the alleged act occur or did it not.”

Shootings & homicides down in Milwaukee

September 28, 2019

Homicides and shootings have been dropping since 2015 in Milwaukee. As reported here, officials credit better response to shootings as a way of preventing retaliatory violence, and much greater collaboration with public health and violence prevention initiatives. The mantra is “Treat every shooting as if it were a homicide — because it almost was.” The approach is modeled after Oakland, California where shootings and homicides were cut in half over 5 years, as reported here.

Jurisdictional complexity in tribal areas

September 19, 2019

This article describes some of the jurisdictional challenges faced in tribal policing. The legal authority of tribal and non-tribal police can depend on where an incident occurred, whether the victim is a tribal member, and whether the offender is a tribal member. One tribal attorney says “it’s a complete mess.” Potential solutions include collaborative agreements and cross-deputization, but issues related to sovereignty, liability, and trust often get in the way of making significant improvements.

Whether to respond to suicide calls

September 4, 2019

This article reports that some California agencies have stopped responding to suicide calls because they could lead to “suicide by cop.” One sheriff notes “If you call because you are bottoming out and you need help, we send men with guns … Maybe this needs to shift the conversation”¬†and another says “In too many instances, we show up and further aggravate a crisis situation.” However, others argue that police should respond, but use deescalation, time, and space rather than forcing the situation when a person is simply threatening self-harm.

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.”

Ring doorbell cameras

August 30, 2019

The Ring doorbell-camera company has secured partnerships with 405 police agencies around the country, as reported here. Besides selling the devices to homeowners, the company provides a social media app that helps neighbors share information and videos with each other. The app also enables police to request video from Ring customers, and officers are encouraged to participate on the social media platform in order to raise public awareness and increase community vigilance. Critics worry about police seeming to endorse a commercial product, the expansion of surveillance, and the impact of bias on what residents perceive and report as suspicious behavior.