Posts Tagged ‘New York’

Gil Kerlikowske taking it easier

October 9, 2017

This article is a nice profile of Gil Kerlikowske, most recently head of the 60,000-person U.S. Customs & Border Protection, previously drug czar and police chief in Seattle and Buffalo. One of the most respected law enforcement leaders of the last few decades, he’s now doing some volunteering and part-time teaching.


Transparency hurdles in NY State

September 28, 2017

The NY Civil Liberties Union recently submitted freedom of information requests about policies and practices to 23 police departments around the state. According to this report, the response was widespread resistance, delay, and excessive redaction. Administrative appeals or lawsuits had to be employed for all but one agency.  In some cases, inadequate resources and poor record keeping contributed to the problem.

Pros and cons of data-driven predictions

September 9, 2017

This article provides a balanced look at the use of data and algorithms to make predictions in criminal justice, including policing. It shows how decision making accuracy can be improved but also explains that it ultimately comes down to questions of values and fairness that can’t be settled by science.

Police & persons with mental illness

September 6, 2017

This article reviews how deinstitutionalization forced police into a bigger role in handling mental health crises, the enhanced responses like CIT that have been widely implemented, and some current initiatives aimed at trying to divert people with mental illness into treatment and away from the criminal justice system.

End-of-the-month enforcement

September 1, 2017

Analysis of 3 years of NYPD citation data indicates that, as often claimed, officers issue more tickets at the end of the month, presumably to meet performance targets (quotas), according to this column. The increases late in the month are greatest for rather minor offenses, further suggesting that it’s all about the numbers.

900,000 bogus arrests and summons

August 25, 2017

This article begins a 5-part series on the impact of quotas and false arrests on the NYPD and residents of the city, focusing particularly on the 42nd Precinct in the Bronx. Earlier this year, prosecutors dismissed 900,000 cases and the city agreed to a $75 million class-action settlement for wrongful arrests. Much of the evidence of misconduct has come from current and former officers who have resisted command pressure to meet quotas. Part 2 of the series is here.

More on proprietary big data systems

August 12, 2017

This article reports the experiences of several law enforcement agencies with Palantir’s data analysis systems. The company’s hardware and software systems, originally developed for intelligence agencies, help with integration and visualization of data stored in multiple “silos.” LAPD was able to cut the time required to produce Chronic Offender Bulletins from an hour to 3-5 minutes, which helped reduce violent crime in one target district by 15%. The systems are very expensive, however, and some users complain about hard-to-use software, costly upgrades, poor technical support, incompatibility with non-Palantir systems used by other agencies, and generally being at the mercy of the company once its products have been purchased and installed.

Police actions matter

July 18, 2017

The procedural justice perspective argues that the public’s level of trust in police is mainly driven by how police treat people, including listening to them and being respectful. This article, however, based on research in two medium-size cities in New York State, indicates that people’s opinions of police are affected more by what police decide to do — arresting, searching, using of force — than simply by how they interact with people.

Flashback: Serpico

July 14, 2017

The NYPD has gone through some grueling corruption scandals in its long history. One that became a major motion picture in the 1970s centered on Frank Serpico, an officer who exposed rampant misconduct and became a hero to some, a pariah to others. The Village Voice has reprinted an epic open letter from Serpico, published in 1975, in which he responded to fans and critics, described his life in exile, and contrasted real professional policing with what he encountered in New York.

Big data, big money

June 30, 2017

This article reports a dispute between the NYPD and the software/data mining giant Palantir Technologies. The department is not renewing its multi-million dollar contract with the Silicon Valley company and claims that complete data records needed for the transition to a new system have not been turned over. The disagreement seems to involve a mix of money, politics, corporate influence, and unsettled intellectual property law.