Posts Tagged ‘New Jersey’

National registry of police misconduct

June 15, 2020

One of the proposals currently being discussed is the creation of a national database or clearinghouse of information on officers who have been fired or allowed to resign due to misconduct. The registry would contain more detailed information than the existing National Decertification Index, allowing agencies to better screen applicants who previously worked for another police department. This article notes that the idea has been suggested before but has never gotten far in Congress, mainly because of opposition from police unions. Also, implementation would likely to be challenging, since “You’ve got 50 different states with 50 different systems, you’ve got different definitions and different standards” reflecting the fact that governance of policing in the U.S. has traditionally been a state and local responsibility.

Pandemic trends in crime and calls for service

May 22, 2020

Jurisdictions are experiencing a variety of trends associated with the virus pandemic. Jersey City reports an increase in street violence and is on pace to seize 50% more illegal guns compared to last year. Year-to-date homicides in Milwaukee are more than double the number from 2019, with 40% linked to family violence. Honolulu police have re-arrested 47 people who had gotten COVID-related jail releases; new charges have included “robbery, assault, burglary,  … smashing the windshield of a car while people were inside, sexual assault and theft.” Nationally, reports of child cyber abuse in April were up 4-fold compared to last April. Calls for mental health and wellness checks are up by 1/3 in Utah County, Utah since February 1st.

Policing social distance

March 27, 2020

This article reports on police involvement in enforcing “social distancing.” Agencies are using public education, warnings, business checks, and visible presence to encourage voluntary compliance, but are finding that stricter action is sometimes necessary. This has included breaking up gatherings, removing basketball hoops on public courts, and issuing citations. Cities are also using building inspectors, code enforcement staff, fire personnel and others to augment police in enforcing shutdown and stay-at-home orders along with social distancing.

Pursuits in NJ

January 3, 2020

This article provides an in-depth look at police pursuits in New Jersey, based on 10 years of data, 66,000 arrest records, and 5,000 pages of chase reports. Over 14,000 pursuits resulted in almost 7,000 crashes, 2,568 injuries, and 63 deaths. The number of pursuits increased between 2014 and 2017 despite a state-wide policy that discourages chases and oversight by the state’s attorney general. Only one-third of the arrests associated with pursuits were for violent offenses; the most common charge was “assault on police officers, but most of those charges were dismissed later in court.”

Evolving police strategies

November 18, 2019

This 12-minute public radio segment reviews the re-invention of foot patrol, growing recognition that crime is concentrated in hot spots, and the current development of evidence-based policing, highlighting the significance of studies done in Kansas City, Newark, Minneapolis, and Philadelphia. “The tension between prevention and response is the fundamental issue,” according to Larry Sherman, adding “I think on a scale of 1 to 10, evidence-based policing in the U.S., in terms of practice, is about a 2.”

Ring doorbell cameras

August 30, 2019

The Ring doorbell-camera company has secured partnerships with 405 police agencies around the country, as reported here. Besides selling the devices to homeowners, the company provides a social media app that helps neighbors share information and videos with each other. The app also enables police to request video from Ring customers, and officers are encouraged to participate on the social media platform in order to raise public awareness and increase community vigilance. Critics worry about police seeming to endorse a commercial product, the expansion of surveillance, and the impact of bias on what residents perceive and report as suspicious behavior.

Reasonable and necessary

August 26, 2019

Effective January 1st, legislation in California will require that police use of deadly force be “necessary” as well as “reasonable,” as reported here. Police initially criticized the change but withdrew their opposition after securing some revised language in the law. Some observers say the impact of the new standard won’t be known until courts parse the meaning of “necessary,” while others think it will encourage better tactics and more emphasis on deescalation. Meanwhile, the police department in Camden, New Jersey has adopted a use of force policy that also incorporates “necessary,” stipulates that any use of force should be a “last resort,” and has the “sanctity of human life” at its core, as reported here.

Murder clearance rates have actually improved — with one big exception

January 26, 2019

This article analyzes city clearance rates for murders and shootings. One key finding is a drop from 65% to 42% since the 1980s in the clearance rate for black and Hispanic victims killed by guns — aside from this category, murder clearance rates have actually improved. Also, non-firearm homicides, which are more likely to yield DNA and other suspect evidence, are solved at higher rates regardless of victim characteristics. Solve rates for non-fatal shootings vary widely but tend to be well below those for murder, at least in part due to overwhelming caseloads.

Use of Force in New Jersey

December 1, 2018

News media in New Jersey obtained over 72,000 documents from the state’s 469 police departments for the years 2012-2016 to compile what it calls a “comprehensive statewide database of police use of force.” According to the authors, “No one has ever seen data like this in New Jersey. Not the attorney general, not county prosecutors and not local police departments. And that’s because, though it was available for the taking, no one ever collected and digitized it as originally envisioned, rendering it nearly useless.” Initial findings are available here, along with a searchable database, and  a series of articles are forthcoming.

Scoop and go

November 15, 2018

This article reports the common police practice in Philadelphia of “scoop and go” — immediately taking gunshot victims to the hospital in patrol cars, rather than waiting for an ambulance. Explaining it, a captain says “We don’t join the Police Department to watch people die.” Study results are mixed, but trauma surgeons say that seconds and minutes matter most in shootings, not any care that EMTs can provide along the way. Besides saving lives, the chief in nearby Camden adds “The streets are always watching. And they see your behavior, and actions speak far louder than words.”