Posts Tagged ‘Georgia’

Taser deaths

August 22, 2017

This article begins a series from Reuters on deaths associated with conducted-energy devices (Tasers). The company cites a total of 24 deaths resulting from Taser use since 1983, all due to falls or electrical fires. Examining autopsy findings, though, the news agency identified 153 cases (out of 1,000+ fatalities) citing the stun gun as a cause or contributing factor. The first installment highlights several deaths involving persons who were in mental health or other medical distress.


De-merger possible in Savannah

July 23, 2017

This column reports a vote by the Savannah, Georgia City Council to begin the process of ending their police merger with Chatham County, following the county’s failure to meet deadlines associated with a recommended staffing increase. The city and county merged their police departments in 2005 but otherwise maintained separate governments.

Defunding police

July 17, 2017

In response to police shootings and related controversies, activists in some cities have pushed to shift police funding over to social services, arguing such an approach would contribute more to community safety. This article discusses the proposal and questions whether it would accomplish what its proponents hope for.

Compressed recruiting

May 17, 2017

This brief news item reports targeted recruiting by the Gwinnett County, Georgia police aimed at filling 123 open positions. The department offers testing and preliminary background checks over a 2-day period at strategically selected off-site locations. A recent visit to Rochester, NY, where local police hiring is slow due to a cumbersome civil service process, resulted in 54 applicants receiving conditional job offers.

Profiling in Banks County, Georgia

May 9, 2017

According to this article, the judge in a Georgia traffic stop case “determined they [two defendants, one an NBA player] were targets of racial profiling, found their traffic stop unjustified and threw out all evidence seized in the case.” The prosecutor said “randomness or coincidence could not explain the overwhelming numbers of minorities being stopped” by the sheriff’s deputy who brought the case. The deputy had been forced to resign from two previous law enforcement positions; the incident lacked any audio or video evidence but dispatch and towing records conflicted with his account.

Taser … Axon

April 25, 2017

This article provides details on Taser’s re-branding as Axon, emphasizing data services over equipment. Its offer of free body-worn cameras for one year has been compared to a free facial tattoo (hard to undo) while others see a visionary business model mimicking Microsoft and Apple. Meanwhile several cities have criticized the company for strong-arm tactics and competitors have filed legal actions.

Swifter discipline in the age of video

April 17, 2017

This article reports two recent incidents in which video led to quick discipline decisions by police administrators, in one case firing two officers within 24 hours of footage being released. While the proper timing of police body cam release is debated and currently varies across states and departments, citizens’ cell phone video is a different story. One expert comments “It literally makes no sense to me … that police officers in 2017 don’t understand they’re being videotaped.”

Risk/reward in SWAT no-knock entries

March 18, 2017

This in-depth 2-part series, located here and here, examines the practice of no-knock dynamic entries by SWAT teams. National data are not systematically collected, but nearly 100 deaths are known to have occurred in such raids since 2010, including at least 13 police officers. The vast majority of raids are drug cases, leading some police and legal experts to question whether the rewards justify the risks.

Taking unsolved murders seriously

February 9, 2017

This article describes work done by a former journalist to compile and analyze data on unsolved murders throughout the U.S. — well over 200,000 since 1980. Police departments initially ignored his data and alerts about cases possibly linked to serial killers, but have recently started to take notice.

Apology for 1940 lynching in Georgia

January 26, 2017

This article reports a unique event in Lagrange, Georgia — Police Chief Lou Dekmar meeting with relatives and community members to apologize for a lynching that occurred 77 years ago with no apparent investigation or even acknowledgement by police at the time. The chief learned of the incident only recently and became aware that the story had been passed down through generations of local African American families. He said “It became clear that something needed to be done to recognize that some things we did in the past are a burden still carried by officers today.” This earlier article provides additional background on the chief’s decision.