Posts Tagged ‘Maryland’

Fear of being stopped

March 13, 2018

This article and short video, a collaboration of National Geographic and ESPN, highlight the experiences of Black drivers who have been frequently stopped by police for no apparent reason. While vehicle stops are routine for police, they can be stressful for citizens as well as family members riding with them. The article also compares stop data from several states, nearly all of which indicate disproportionate impact on drivers of color.


Safety & security for houses of worship

January 22, 2018

This article highlights the Safeguarding Houses of Worship (SHOW) app developed by NIJ’s technology center system to assist safety and security planning. The app is available only to law enforcement agencies which are encouraged to sponsor training sessions and can then share download codes with participating faith-based institutions in their jurisdiction.

Evaluation of gun crime measures in Baltimore

January 13, 2018

This article reports a study of gun crime initiatives implemented in Baltimore since 2003. The most effective at reducing shootings was a plainclothes unit targeting hot spots and known offenders, but that same unit generated excess complaints and lawsuits and was subsequently disbanded. The study’s author suggests re-instituting the strategy with stricter supervision and controls. Other measures, including drug arrests, Ceasefire call-ins, and street interrupters had smaller or inconsistent effects.

Progress in Baltimore

January 2, 2018

The national news about 2017 in Baltimore is its high murder rate — 56 per 100,000 residents, more than 10 times higher than New York.  Less widely known is that the police department has made many improvements in performance, transparency, and accountability over the past 2 years, with others pending, as outlined by the police commissioner in this column.

Humanities for police

November 29, 2017

This article describes a segment of in-service training in Baltimore that uses Plato, Steinbeck, Dostoevsky, and Baldwin to encourage officers to reflect on cynicism, respect, and other features of the human condition that they deal with in their work. The officer who teaches the course says “we are in the tradition of the western world. We’re kind of government on the ground. I mean, we have to represent democratic values. We have to represent those Enlightenment values in a very immediate way.”

Staffing down, overtime up in Baltimore

April 23, 2017

This article reports that Baltimore PD is on track to exceed its $17 million overtime budget by $30 million in 2017. The number of sworn officers has dropped by 500 since 2012 with another 300 on light duty, medical leave, or suspension. The patrol schedule is based on 1,250 officers but current staffing is less than 800 “healthy bodies.”

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.

Evidence management & control

March 8, 2017

One topic that doesn’t always get a lot of attention is evidence management, yet every police department comes into possession of drugs, cash, jewelry, and other valuable property. This article notes “weekly news accounts of police departments whose evidence rooms have been jeopardized due to lost or stolen evidence” and discusses the use of modern systems and technology for better control and risk reduction.

Follow-up to persistent surveillance in Baltimore

February 18, 2017

This article summarizes a Police Foundation review of the secretive aerial surveillance project in Baltimore last summer. They found that the technology provided “hundreds of potential leads in an array of crimes and significantly advanced investigations of seven shootings and three homicides” as well as ten hit-and-run traffic accidents and many lesser incidents. The ACLU of Maryland severely criticized the report, though, for failing to recognize the impact of “giving the government the power of knowing where everyone goes every time they leave their house.”

More persistent surveillance

December 9, 2016

This article follows an earlier one about aerial surveillance quietly implemented in Baltimore and argues that technology is evolving faster than legal efforts to regulate it. The current system uses a small airplane and low-resolution cameras to produce a constantly-updated 32-square-mile photographic map, but experts say the near future is drones and higher resolution cameras, raising even more serious privacy and civil liberties issues.