Posts Tagged ‘DC’

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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Screening in, not just out

June 24, 2019

Police selection systems tend to emphasize screening out candidates for various reasons, rather than screening in new employees who have specific desirable skills and traits. Baltimore and Washington have recently begun testing for interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence, with less emphasis on “reading comprehension, writing and arithmetic — cognitive skills,” as reported here. For example, one new test “poses questions to candidates based on videos of officers interacting with the public in situations they might face, such as a driver who is hostile when pulled over or ticketed.”

Community policing (parking)

May 21, 2019

Washington, DC is considering empowering residents to issue parking tickets, as reported here. The current proposal would train 10 residents per ward to use an app to issue citations electronically. This form of policing by the community “follows the lead of other cities piloting similar initiatives, including New York, which created a program that gives 25% of the fines imposed on idling cars to residents who report them, and Los Angeles, which started a volunteer ticketing program that issued over 9,000 citations last year.”

Narcan not everywhere

May 7, 2019

Officers in at least 2,500 law enforcement agencies are equipped with naloxone (Narcan), according to this article, but many others still aren’t. The main hurdle is cost, especially for the newer auto-injector priced at $4,500 before any discounts or rebates. Even that high cost represents a saving compared to hospitalization, though. Most importantly, thousands of lives have been saved, and one official notes the additional psychological benefit for officers when they save a life, coupled with increased public appreciation and support for police.

Bike fatalities up

February 11, 2019

Bike fatalities in 2016 were the highest since 1990, with 835 deaths, according to this article. One contributing factor could be the 50% increase over time in the number of people commuting to work on bicycles. Interestingly, though, several cities with the highest rates of biking to work — Portland, Minneapolis, DC, San Francisco, Seattle — had among the lowest fatality rates. The highest bike fatality rates were in Oklahoma City, San Antonio, and Jacksonville.

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.”

More foot patrol in DC

January 17, 2019

DC is looking to add 150 officers over the next 4 years with an emphasis on “more front-line protectors to walk neighborhood beats and ride bikes, Segways and scooters,” according to this article. The police department eased the impact of a 2015 “retirement bubble” by hiring back 60-70 officers for 3 years. In the meantime a recruit class of 30 new officers starts each month. With a goal of reaching 4,000 officers, the chief says “We’re all competing with the same people who want to have a career in law enforcement, but we’re holding our own.”

Protest/riot charges dropped

July 9, 2018

This article reports federal prosecutors dropping charges against 38 remaining defendants from the DC presidential inauguration protest 18 months ago. Over 200 protesters were initially charged with felonies related to conspiracy to riot. The end result was 1 felony guilty plea, 20 misdemeanor pleas, 6 acquittals, and the rest dropped charges. Officials cited over $100,000 in property damage caused by the protest/riot. One defendant said “it’s hard not to feel cynical about the enormous amount of power that prosecutors have to overcharge people, disrupt their lives, and then drop cases before having to face any consequences in court.”

Disproportion persists in marijuana arrests

February 1, 2018

The number of marijuana arrests has dropped dramatically in several jurisdictions following adoption of legalization measures, but people of color are still sharply over-represented, according to this article. Despite similar levels of marijuana use across racial groups, the arrest rate of blacks is 11 times higher than for whites in Washington, DC, 10 times higher in Alaska, and nearly 3 times higher in Colorado.

Gil Kerlikowske taking it easier

October 9, 2017

This article is a nice profile of Gil Kerlikowske, most recently head of the 60,000-person U.S. Customs & Border Protection, previously drug czar and police chief in Seattle and Buffalo. One of the most respected law enforcement leaders of the last few decades, he’s now doing some volunteering and part-time teaching.