Posts Tagged ‘Kentucky’

Policing coronavirus

March 18, 2020

In response to the coronavirus, police are taking extra precautions, revising their operational strategies, being given additional authority, and even asking criminals to take a holiday, as reported here, here, and here. Specific measures adopted in some places include:

  • Encouraging victims of minor crimes to make reports on-line or over the telephone.
  • When police response is needed, having victims/witnesses meet police outside homes/offices.
  • Encouraging police to avoid enforcement of minor traffic and criminal violations.
  • When people telephone the police for assistance, asking screening questions to determine the level of virus risk for responding police.
  • Having police wait for medics to arrive at scenes of accidents, injuries, etc. when immediate life-saving isn’t required (medics have better masks, gowns, etc. than police).
  • Restricting use of road-side breath-testing equipment in cases of suspected drunk driving.
  • Using drones and other surveillance systems to assess situations before police arrive.
  • Allowing administrative staff to work from home.
  • Using 1-officer rather than 2-officer patrols to enhance social distancing.
  • Shifting more police to patrol duties (from investigations and other operational or administrative assignments).

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.”

Autopsy overload

August 31, 2018

This article reports a growing shortage of forensic pathology capacity around the country. An estimated 1,000 more forensic pathologists were needed even before the opioid crisis, which has caused significantly heavier workloads. Though states vary widely in the roles played by medical examiners and sometimes-untrained coroners in determining cause of death, every system depends on autopsies and toxicology tests. As one coroner put it, “More people are just dying in ways that need to be investigated.”

Pretrial release in the states

November 1, 2017

This article summarizes a new analysis of pretrial practices in the 50 states, with an emphasis on better risk assessment of arrestees and less reliance on traditional bail. Kentucky and Virginia have been leaders in validating assessments while New Jersey has effectively eliminated secured money bail. However, many states have yet to adopt reforms, despite the nonpartisan nature of the issue. The full report is available here.

Policing the opioid crisis

September 7, 2017

Nice story here about two small towns hit hard by opioids, both trying hard to get users into treatment, but using different approaches. One has hired a social worker and created a network of volunteer “angels” while the other is making arrests in order to get court-ordered treatment. One chief says “We’re all kind of chasing our tails and looking for that answer, but we haven’t found it yet.” The other agrees: “Nobody knows what to do with this. Everybody’s grasping at straws to curb it, to cure it.”

Embedded social worker

March 29, 2017

This article describes the Alexandria, Kentucky police department’s decision to employ a social worker to help provide better services to victims and persons in need. In the chief’s view, “We’ve spent decades trying to make social workers out of cops, and it does not work.” The new position has “reduced our repeating calls for service because she’s taking these cases and running with them … So, as a city, we are not just responding, we are helping people and getting results.”

ROI for police spending

October 17, 2015

This article assesses the “return on investment” for police spending in the 110 largest U.S. cities. Unadjusted, the leaders are Louisville, Lincoln, and Lexington. When city economic factors are considered (degree of difficulty), the best three are Flint, Jackson, and El Paso. It should be noted that the sole measure of “return” was reported crime rates. In raw dollars, the cities that spent the most per capita for police protection were Washington, Ft. Lauderdale, St. Louis, Orlando, Tampa, and New York.

Drug enforcement more expensive

January 20, 2012

News item from Kentucky indicates that new legislation requiring larger quantities of drugs to support felony charges will mean bigger and more expensive undercover buys. Small agencies will find it harder to afford these buys and may have to change tactics.