Posts Tagged ‘Florida’

Reserve officers during COVID

November 21, 2020

Some police agencies have robust reserve officer programs that supplement sworn staffing at little or no cost. This post highlights the use of reserves during the COVID-19 pandemic in Orange County (FL), Washington DC, Phoenix, and Dallas. Volunteer officers back-filled in patrol, specialized assignments, and administrative roles and also served on the front lines during protests.

National registry of police misconduct

June 15, 2020

One of the proposals currently being discussed is the creation of a national database or clearinghouse of information on officers who have been fired or allowed to resign due to misconduct. The registry would contain more detailed information than the existing National Decertification Index, allowing agencies to better screen applicants who previously worked for another police department. This article notes that the idea has been suggested before but has never gotten far in Congress, mainly because of opposition from police unions. Also, implementation would likely to be challenging, since “You’ve got 50 different states with 50 different systems, you’ve got different definitions and different standards” reflecting the fact that governance of policing in the U.S. has traditionally been a state and local responsibility.

Telemarketing con job

December 28, 2019

This article reports on the Law Enforcement Officers Relief Fund, a dubious charity arm of the International Union of Police Associations. The IUPA, which has raised over $100 million since 2011, has a D- rating from the Better Business Bureau. Whereas the best charities spend no more than 25% on fundraising and administration, IUPA/LEORF pays over 75% of its donations back to the telemarketers who raise them. In addition, far more is paid to IUPA executives each year than is spent on the ostensible purpose of the fund, helping families of slain officers.

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.”

Making discipline consistent and fair

May 20, 2019

Studies show that many police officers don’t think discipline is fair in their agencies. At the same time, a substantial portion of the public believes police are not held accountable for misconduct. In this paper, Darrel Stephens identifies 5 factors that can be used to make fair and consistent disciplinary decisions. Moreover, “Putting these factors in writing and sharing them with the department and community helps take some of the mystery out of the discipline decision making process and highlights the complexity of the job police officers are asked to do.”

Elder fraud

March 8, 2019

U.S. authorities announced a year-long “largest-ever” elder fraud crackdown resulting in criminal and civil charges against 260 defendants for defrauding more than 2 million victims out of $750 million, as reported here. The total annual loss to elder Americans is estimated at $3 billion. The investigation was aided by Europol and police in several individual countries, with “alleged fraudsters charged criminally and extradited from Canada, the Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Jamaica and Poland.” An additional 600 U.S.-based “money mules” who helped transfer funds were identified, most receiving warning letters rather than charges because they didn’t realize they were facilitating scams.

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.

50 extremism-related murders in 2018

January 25, 2019

There were at least 50 U.S. murders linked to extremism in 2018, making it the 4th deadliest year for domestic terrorism since 1970, and all the perpetrators “had ties to at least one right-wing extremist movement,” according to this article. Firearms caused 42 of the deaths, and just 5 shooting sprees accounted for 38 of the murders. The Anti-Defamation League reports that, over the last 10 years, “73.3 percent of all extremist-related fatalities can be linked to domestic right-wing extremists, while 23.4 percent can be attributed to Islamic extremists.”

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.

NORAD tracking UFO

December 24, 2018

This website tracks an airborne globe-circling craft that reappears each year around this time. One Nordic touch-down documented here. Lights and music phenomena here.