Posts Tagged ‘Michigan’

POP Conference draft program

March 9, 2022

The draft program for the 2022 POP Conference (Problem-Oriented Policing), April 25-27 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is available here. Five finalist agencies for the Herman Goldstein Award will present their work along with a variety of sessions devoted to topics such as problem analysis, CPTED, training officers in POP, working with community partners, the role of POP in contemporary police reform, and more. Registrations are requested by March 25 using the same link above.

Michigan traffic stops study

January 17, 2022

A recently completed study of traffic stops by the Michigan State Police concluded that “African-American drivers experienced significant disparities with respect to MSP traffic stops” — Black drivers were more likely to be stopped, searched, and arrested than other drivers, as reported here. The study was done more systematically than most. Besides making the usual comparison of stops to population demographics, the “traffic crash” and “veil of darkness” benchmarking methods were also used. The authors emphasized that even these methods can only identify disparities that might exist, but not what causes them.

Uneven use of Brady lists

October 26, 2021

The Supreme Court’s 1963 Brady ruling requires prosecutors to “turn over exculpatory evidence to defense attorneys, including information that could be used to question the officers’ credibility.” According to this article, prosecutors around the country vary substantially in how they adhere to Brady. One reason is that the court’s ruling did not specify either the procedures to be followed or precisely what information might implicate an officer’s credibility. As a result, some prosecutors and police agencies, but not all, maintain lists of officers whose testimony should be avoided. Also, some include complaints of unnecessary or excessive force among the criteria affecting an officer’s credibility, while others argue that use of force and honesty are separate and independent considerations.

Only 7% women in state police

October 25, 2021

About 13% of U.S. police are women, but among state police, it’s only 7%, as reported here. That figure was at 6% in 2000, indicating only a tiny increase in 20+ years. Some factors that make a police career less attractive to women in all kinds of agencies include a male-dominated culture, lack of family leave, and lack of child care assistance. For state police, the likelihood of assignment to remote areas far from family and friends adds another disincentive. Many state police agencies see the need to secure a more representative workforce and have implemented focused recruiting, though without much effect. The Vermont State Police, at 13% women, has had one of the most successful efforts, but as a captain notes, “The makeup of our department is probably 85% straight, White men. That’s not the makeup of the population of Vermont.”

Reflecting on federal civil rights investigations

May 3, 2021

With USDOJ again initiating federal civil rights investigations of police departments, the Attorney General has ordered a review of the monitoring process that is used to make sure PDs implement the changes they agree to in consent decrees. In the past, federal monitoring has lasted as long as 10-15 years for some cities. Also, monitoring has tended to be very expensive. This post from the PERF Trending series reviews the history of federal investigations and consent decrees, identifies benefits that have been achieved, and offers several suggestions for streamlining the process.

Project Green Light in Detroit

April 26, 2021

Detroit implemented Project Green Light in 2016 in hopes of reducing robberies and carjacking. Businesses install a highly visible green light and one or more surveillance cameras that feed into the police department’s Real Time Crime Center. Over 600 sites have joined. As reported here, violent crimes have decreased, but a recent evaluation couldn’t definitively attribute results to Green Light since other major initiatives like Ceasefire and Project Safe Neighborhoods have operated during the same time period. Meanwhile, some activists and political leaders are expressing concern over excessive surveillance and a desire to invest more in social services.

Boogaloo Movement

February 19, 2021

This article details the evolution of the Boogaloo Bois, described as “a decentralized, anti-authority movement composed of a diverse range of actors mobilized in part by adherents’ belief that they are following in the footsteps of the United States’ founders and participating in a revolution against tyranny.” Several members are awaiting trial or have pled guilty to recent crimes including murder of police, firing into a police station, conspiracy to attack a state capitol, attempting to provide support to a foreign terrorist organization, and various firearms charges. The article attributes the group’s appeal to a “corrupted conceptualization [of] a set of abstract virtues, or ideographs, that are deeply familiar to many Americans: liberty, rejection of government abuses, and disgust at authoritarianism.”

Policing after the first wave of COVID-19

May 22, 2020

This op-ed considers the top challenges for policing during the next wave of the pandemic virus. It notes that COVID-19 initially disrupted patterns of street crime in some places, but, in Mexico for example, “premeditated strategic warfare among organized crime groups did not, for the most part, decrease during the worldwide lockdowns.” Now, with communities re-opening amid much higher unemployment and potential food shortages, street crime may surge. In the U.S., the author identifies two big factors of additional concern — the national government’s counter-productive pressure to focus local policing on immigration enforcement, and the rise of violent right-wing, neo-Nazi, anti-government groups that pose “an even greater danger to public safety and the quality of democracy than most criminal groups could ever mount.”

Breath test issues in Michigan

January 20, 2020

Police in Michigan have suspended use of 203 Datamaster breath testing machines due to falsified certification records, as reported here. The Intoximeter, Inc. company has an annual $1.3 million contract to calibrate the machines. Discrepancies were discovered in August and again this month. According to state police, who have opened a criminal investigation, “While the discrepancies do not directly impact or deal with the results of evidential breath tests, it is concerning that it appears as though some certification records have been falsified.” Agencies will use blood draws in suspected DUI cases until the matter is cleared up.

Shoplifting down but ORT up

December 10, 2019

This article reports a 33% decrease in retail theft and fraud in Michigan since 2008 and over a 50% decrease nationally in overall retail shrinkage since the 1990s. Experts credit crime prevention technologies such as security cameras, anti-theft tags, and algorithms that monitor employee behavior at the cash register. One worrisome counter-trend is an increase in organized retail theft aided by self-checkout systems, fewer employees, and store prohibitions against confronting shoplifters. One expert notes “Professional shoplifters, they know about the cameras and they know how to avoid them. They know about the (anti-theft) tags and how to defeat them.”