Posts Tagged ‘Maryland’

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.”

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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.

Investigating sexual assault offenses

December 7, 2016

This article reports inconsistent handling of rape and sexual assault cases in Maryland, especially whether cases involving reluctant victims are kept open or unfounded, how long rape kits are stored, and when specialist investigators are utilized.

The evolution of MS13

December 2, 2016

Insight Crime has published a 3-part series on the recent evolution of the US/Salvadoran gang MS13. Part 1 describes how the gang struck up a partnership with Mexican cartels in 2011, Part 2 traces the gang’s effort to combine its east and west coast factions into a “national project,” and Part 3 details its most recent effort in 2015 to coordinate cliques based in several different states. Federal indictments have consistently interrupted the gang’s plans but leaders in prison in both countries still seem to exercise considerable influence over their members.

I can’t move as fast as I used to

November 30, 2016

Nice story here about a police lieutenant in Montgomery County, Maryland set to retire tomorrow at age 84, after 61 years on the department. His starting wage was $1.44 per hour.

Open data on police complaints

October 26, 2016

This article from the Sunlight Foundation provides an update on several local initiatives to make complaints data more accessible and transparent, with specific examples and links. Efforts in Indianapolis, New York, and Seattle are particularly noteworthy, as well as the White House Police Data Initiative.