Posts Tagged ‘Illinois’

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.”

Focus on neighborhoods, youth in Aurora, IL

July 18, 2019

This column profiles Aurora, Illinois, a city of 200,000 that went from 26 murders in 2002 to zero 10 years later, and has kept the number low. The city credits “sustained engagement of neighborhood organizing groups with the police, the success of youth programs meant to deter kids from joining gangs, and the implementation of community policing.” Resisting any cookie-cutter approach, “cops are assigned to areas as specific as neighborhoods, schools, and community groups, and are tasked with serving as a liaison for the police force when community groups and school officers bring up concerns.”

Diversity in Chicago PD

July 11, 2019

This public radio report looks at the results of Chicago PD’s hiring push since 2016, including an explicit aim for greater diversity, calling it “an opportunity that came and went.” The number of African Americans hired into the police department did increase, but hiring of Hispanic and white officers actually went up even more. As of 2019, Hispanic sworn personnel are at 93% parity with the city’s population, compared to 73% for African Americans. Black and Hispanic officers remain underrepresented at the supervisory level, and only 3 of 240 recent promotions to detective were African American.

Drop in police shootings in Chicago

July 10, 2019

Shootings by police in Chicago dropped 70% from 2009 to 2018, from 124 per year to 37, including both “hit” and “no-hit” shootings, according to this public radio report. During the same period, incidents of police being shot at, and cases of aggravated battery committed against officers, remained about the same. Both external pressure and improved training are cited as causes for the steady decline in police shootings over the decade.

Collaboration rather than resistance

June 10, 2019

Washington State revised its statute on police use of deadly force last year, which previously was “impossibly narrow,” prohibiting only force based on evil intent or malice. The state’s minority racial and ethnic groups worked together on the initiative and police, seeing that some legislative action was inevitable, also collaborated “to take a leadership role in negotiations to change the negative narrative surrounding policing and add clarity to proposals that may not be practical.” As reported here, police in several other states have similarly engaged with activists and political leaders instead of merely resisting any and all changes.

More unsocial media

June 6, 2019

An independent review focused on 8 police departments recently uncovered hundreds of ┬ásocial media posts by current or retired officers “displaying bias, applauding violence, scoffing at due process, or using dehumanizing language,” as reported here. One expert noted that much of the language may be hyperbole, just a way of dealing with stress and frustration, while another worried that it confirms the public’s worst suspicions about police. Some of the posts were from supervisors and commanders — a former chief lamented that “You pay sergeants to be leaders, you pay them to uphold the values of the organization, and to demand constitutionally correct behavior.”

Need police, don’t trust police

May 30, 2019

Residents of fragile communities in Chicago are more likely than others to want more policing in their neighborhoods, even though they view police much less positively than others, according to 2018 Gallup surveys reported here. Only 5% of Chicago-area fragile community residents view police very positively, compared to 61% of all Americans. Yet 68% of those same residents would like police to spend more time in their neighborhoods, compared to 29% of all Americans. This conflicted pattern holds for fragile community residents around the country, but even more so in Chicago.

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.

Chicago’s gangs have changed

April 23, 2019

This column summarizes conclusions from a recent conference on gangs and violence in Chicago. It reports that “The old hierarchical super-gangs, fighting citywide over control of drug trafficking, are largely gone. African-American gangs have fractured into different types of cliques and neighborhood peer groups, affiliated more with rappers than with the old gang chieftains.” Associated violence is “more expressive than instrumental,” calling for different strategies by police and the rest of the city.

Victim tracking of rape kits

April 9, 2019

An increasing number of states have laws establishing rape kit tracking systems, as reported here. At least 17 states now have such laws, with 5 others pending this year. A key feature of the systems, besides helping officials track cases and reduce backlogs, is empowering victims to monitor the status of evidence collected from them. Advocates argue this “provides a degree of transparency and accountability that, until now, had been notoriously absent from sexual-assault cases.”