Posts Tagged ‘Kansas’

More on Covid & cops

September 7, 2021

Since the start of 2020, 61% of police line of duty deaths have been the result of Covid-19, as reported here. The next biggest category, gunfire, accounts for less than 14%. More and more jurisdictions and police departments are mandating vaccinations for employees, as well as wearing of masks. The Officer Down Memorial Page displays the banner “Getting vaccinated is just as important as wearing your vest and your seatbelt.One chief put it this way — “Knowing that COVID-19 killed more cops last year than all other causes combined, to include traffic accidents and being shot, what kind of Chief would I be if I didn’t consider it to be the singular most critical Officer Safety issue of our time?”

Pedestrian fatalities up in 2020

May 21, 2021

Despite Covid, the number of U.S. pedestrian fatalities rose 4.8% in 2020, as reported here. When the year’s decreased vehicle traffic is factored in, the rate of pedestrian deaths jumped an unprecedented 21%. Likely factors were the increase in risky driving behavior attributed to unclogged roadways and an increase in pedestrians seeking outdoor exercise during the pandemic. To reduce pedestrian fatalities, safety experts recommend “high-visibility enforcement for reckless driving, automated enforcement for speeding, and dedicated space for walkers and bikers.”

Policing homelessness

March 14, 2020

This guide from Arnold Ventures summarizes evidence about homelessness and provides recommendations for police. Suggestions include fostering collaboration, using data, providing training, and using a problem-oriented approach. The document offers examples from Philadelphia and Wichita, explains the negative consequences of punitive measures, and lists talking points for police to use with the public.

The only cop in town

October 24, 2018

The U.S. has 2,000 or so 1-officer police departments. This photo-essay highlights “the only cop in town” in 3 such agencies located in Delaware, Kansas, and Alaska, along with brief audio clips. One common theme for the chiefs is that they know their residents, and the residents know them, which has its pros and cons. One comments “You know everybody, and you know how they are. You’re seeing them at their worst, but you know how they are at their best too.”

Fingerprints before computers

May 25, 2018

Fingerprints have been used for well over 100 years to conclusively identify people, but before computers it was nearly impossible to start with a latent print from a crime scene and match it to an otherwise unknown suspect. This 9-minute public radio segment tells the story of one exception from the 1920s, when a federal fingerprint examiner in DC with a really good memory linked a latent print from a Kansas murder, which was connected to a bank robbery/kidnapping/murders case in Colorado, to a 10-print card submitted following an arrest a year later in California.

Science & BWC

April 29, 2018

This article discusses several aspects of police body-worn camera usage that may be informed by science. Ergonomics and human factors analysis can help determine the pros and cons of different BWC placement (head, shoulder, chest), for example. And neuroscience can help understand the “perspective bias” introduced by video recorded from a particular angle — not a new phenomenon, as film directors learned long ago “how to manipulate what people see.”

Mining social media

April 27, 2018

This article discusses legal and ethical issues connected to police mining of social media. Data from social media have the potential to solve and prevent crimes as well as terror attacks, but many 4th amendment and privacy questions have yet to be sorted out. Also, choices of search terms and phrases can reflect bias and result in police actions that have disproportionate impact on some groups. Among the suggestions is transparency so residents can understand and critique the algorithms and processes that police propose.

Transparency or public relations?

October 26, 2017

This article reviews police practices in releasing body cam video, noting a tendency to promote positive stories while refusing to provide video in situations where actions might have been improper. This pattern risks hurting police legitimacy if the public comes to believe that officials are cherry-picking what to release rather than truly honoring transparency.

“Let’s not just sit here and do nothing”

March 8, 2017

This article describes the aftermath of last year’s workplace murders in Hesston, Kansas, committed by an employee who had just been served with a protection order. Community leaders are adopting a threat assessment approach as one way of trying to prevent similar tragedies in the future.

The case for more women

July 27, 2016

In this essay the author recounts her grandmother’s harrowing journey through domestic violence to a career on the edges of law enforcement, and argues that increasing the number of women police would help fix some of today’s problems, including reducing use of force and providing better protection to victims.