Posts Tagged ‘Georgia’

Corporate investigators target organized retail crime

June 1, 2022

Large retailers like Target and CVS are undertaking their own investigations in an effort to solve organized theft cases, as reported here. Techniques include interviewing and trailing shoplifters to discover who they work for, and conducting surveillance of people and places involved in trafficking of stolen goods. According to a CVS official, “We only follow someone if we think they are part of a ring worth $1 million or more. We don’t do small cases.” When investigations are successful, the information is turned over to police and prosecutors. “They often give us evidence. They give us leads. We don’t ever use them as a surrogate for our own investigation. But they can be incredibly valuable partners,” said a U.S. Attorney.

Uneven use of Brady lists

October 26, 2021

The Supreme Court’s 1963 Brady ruling requires prosecutors to “turn over exculpatory evidence to defense attorneys, including information that could be used to question the officers’ credibility.” According to this article, prosecutors around the country vary substantially in how they adhere to Brady. One reason is that the court’s ruling did not specify either the procedures to be followed or precisely what information might implicate an officer’s credibility. As a result, some prosecutors and police agencies, but not all, maintain lists of officers whose testimony should be avoided. Also, some include complaints of unnecessary or excessive force among the criteria affecting an officer’s credibility, while others argue that use of force and honesty are separate and independent considerations.

Only 7% women in state police

October 25, 2021

About 13% of U.S. police are women, but among state police, it’s only 7%, as reported here. That figure was at 6% in 2000, indicating only a tiny increase in 20+ years. Some factors that make a police career less attractive to women in all kinds of agencies include a male-dominated culture, lack of family leave, and lack of child care assistance. For state police, the likelihood of assignment to remote areas far from family and friends adds another disincentive. Many state police agencies see the need to secure a more representative workforce and have implemented focused recruiting, though without much effect. The Vermont State Police, at 13% women, has had one of the most successful efforts, but as a captain notes, “The makeup of our department is probably 85% straight, White men. That’s not the makeup of the population of Vermont.”

COPS Guide on civilian oversight

August 6, 2021

The COPS Office has published a report on civilian oversight of law enforcement, available here. Prepared by the National Association of Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE), the report “combines survey data, case studies of oversight bodies nationwide, and a literature review to outline the history of civilian oversight and its spread; define three standard oversight models and discuss their implementation; propose 13 principles for effective oversight; and provide recommendations for each within an effective practices framework.” Links to an executive summary and case studies from 9 cities are available here.

Defunding losing steam in Atlanta

July 8, 2021

In Atlanta, defunding the police had a lot of momentum a year ago, but has faltered, as reported here. Residents are worried about increased crime, an affluent section of the city has threatened to secede, and the mayor has announced she won’t seek a second term. One resident thinks “the fact is, defund the police was never a winning message. Without the cops, I know folks would be up running into my house,” adding, “The more I think about this, I think we need to change American culture more than we need to change the cops.” In the view of a local historian, “Police are much better here than they were years ago. There’s diversity in terms of people and practice. But you’ve had a few outstanding incidents where the violence could have been de-escalated and nobody had to be shot. That’s what police have to work on.”

Behind the badge

June 9, 2021

CBS News “Sunday Morning” recently devoted an hour-long show to policing, available here. Included are interviews with Bill Bratton and a variety of street-level officers from across the country, plus segments on policing in Europe and Japan, and reports on alternative strategies such as non-police responses to people experiencing behavioral crisis.

Shooting to incapacitate

May 17, 2021

The police department in LaGrange, Georgia has trained its officers to shoot to incapacitate in situations where deadly force is justified but circumstances make it safe and practical to aim elsewhere than the assailant’s center mass. The approach is believed to be unique in the U.S., but is common in some other countries, as reported here. Members of the department were skeptical but found the training convincing. Lou Dekmar, the agency’s chief and a past-president of IACP, says “We’re supposed to be the professionals. We have to be reacting with more than one alternative, which is shoot center mass — particularly if we can do so safely.”

Tough on chiefs

August 18, 2020

The balancing act that police chiefs face, always tough, has become even more difficult in the current climate, as reported here. Impossible demands and unrealistic expectations can imperil even the most experienced and reform-minded chiefs. One observer notes “progressive cities are relentlessly unforgiving to progressive chiefs” and another comments “It’s hard to know what success will look like for today’s police chief.” Reflecting on the Atlanta chief’s resignation just hours after an officer shot and killed a suspect, a local journalist wrote “Sadly, it’s the unforgiving environment we’re in. Atlanta is losing a calming police chief who has been implementing the very reforms protesters are rightfully demanding of police departments throughout America.”

Insurance companies funding police investigations

August 19, 2019

This article discusses the practice of insurance companies funding police (and sometimes prosecutors) to investigate cases of alleged insurance fraud. On the plus side, it’s an example of public-private partnership and cost sharing. In some cases, however, it puts police in the position of serving the financial interests of insurance companies. The article reports several examples of flawed investigations that wreaked havoc on individuals later determined to be innocent.

Atlanta PD withdraws from federal task forces over BWC prohibition

May 31, 2019

Atlanta police will no longer participate in FBI, DEA, or Marshals task forces because those agencies will not allow APD officers to wear body cameras, as reported here. The decision follows a fatal shooting in January by an Atlanta officer working with the FBI, and one in 2016 with the Marshals, neither of which were recorded on officer video. The local district attorney praised the move, saying “In Atlanta, a city steeped in civil rights tradition and a place which strives to follow the example set for us by the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., your decision to remove Atlanta police officers from federal task force operations for the sake of transparency and accountability should not be understated.”