Posts Tagged ‘Indiana’

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.

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Fewer applicants — not just police

March 25, 2019

A survey of state government officials indicates the number of applicants for public sector jobs dropped 24% from 2013 to 2017, as reported here. Among the reasons: the low unemployment rate, non-competitive salaries, negative perceptions of government work, and antiquated recruiting/hiring processes. On the latter, California recently cut the steps in the hiring process from 89 to 14, and the average application to hiring time from 179 days to 65. Law enforcement was cited as the category experiencing the biggest drop in applicants.

Cyber forensic toolkit

March 21, 2019

Experts at Purdue University have developed a cyber forensics toolkit that “has everything criminal investigators will need to complete their work without having to rely on different network forensic tools,” according to this article. Developed with funding from the National Institute of Justice, the kit will be made available for free to law enforcement agencies. In addition, “online videos [are] available so law enforcement agents can learn the system remotely.”

Scooting away from the scene of the crime

January 30, 2019

A bank robber in Austin, Texas made his getaway recently on a rental scooter, as reported here. Apparently he didn’t realize that, having used an app with his credit card to activate the scooter, he was leaving “digital bread crumbs” all the way home. One detective observed “In the past you were looking for fingerprints and then it was DNA, and now you’re looking more and more towards examining people’s digital footprint.” As for rental scooters, they have been used in the commission of crimes in several other cities as well.

DNA errors

September 27, 2018

DNA evidence is widely regarded as iron-clad. Particularly when the evidence is a mixture from several people, however, crime labs are prone to make errors, according to this op-ed column. In one study, 74 out of 105 labs incorrectly implicated an innocent person in a test sample, and the labs’ calculations of probability statistics varied hugely. Independent reanalysis of DNA has recently led courts to overturn 5 convictions. Efficient methods are now available for reanalysis of DNA mixtures in past cases, but labs and prosecutors do not seem anxious to adopt them.

Where killings go unsolved

June 7, 2018

This article analyzes over 50,000 homicides in U.S. cities, mapping neighborhoods with higher and lower clearance rates. There are variations between cities but also within, with fewer murders solved in low-income minority neighborhoods. Factors seem to include the challenge presented by drug- and gang-related cases, reluctant witnesses, lack of trust in police, and the resources devoted to homicide investigation.

Indianapolis bringing back beat policing

April 24, 2018

Indianapolis PD will be re-instituting beat policing and supporting it with upgraded CCTV and analytical support, according to this article. The city has had increased homicides each year since 2010 as well as rises in non-fatal shootings. Meanwhile, police staffing fell to 1,535 officers in 2013 but is projected to reach 1,743 next year. The beat policing scheme will replace 33 zones with 78 beats and officers will increase their use of foot patrol.

Sleepy, tired cops

November 6, 2017

This article reviews evidence about the impact of fatigue on police performance and decision making. Between long shifts, night work, overtime, and secondary employment many officers end up working tired or even sleepy. Most departments fail to monitor outside employment and many don’t even regulate the amount of overtime that individual officers can accumulate.

Crime guns in Chicago

October 31, 2017

This report analyzes Chicago crime gun trace information for the period 2013-2016. Per capita, Chicago PD recovers 6 times more guns than NYPD and 65% more than LAPD. Tracing indicates that about 40% were purchased in Illinois (mainly in suburban Cook County), 20% in Indiana, and the remaining 40% in other states. Adult suspects accounted for 87% of crime guns and 90% of seized firearms were handguns.

Speeding up the hiring process

June 9, 2017

An oft-cited impediment in police recruiting is the lengthy hiring process. This brief article reports a public-private partnership that helped a police department refine its process, cutting its length by about 40%.