Posts Tagged ‘New York’

Threatening to commit mass shootings

September 3, 2019

This article reports over 40 people arrested around the country over the last month for threatening to commit mass shootings or bombings, most after tips from the public. Common themes included right-wing ideology and threats against schools, Walmarts, and Planned Parenthood. The nature of the cases ranged from “vague social media threats from juveniles that set parents on edge to well-developed plots from people who had access to weapons and appeared to authorities to have been planning a mass murder.”

Advertisements

Racially motivated 911 calls

June 5, 2019

Grand Rapids, Michigan is considering a local ordinance that would make it a criminal offense to place a racially-motivated 911 call, as reported here. The proposal, which came from the city’s Community Relations Commission, has so far been discussed at one public hearing. Earlier, state laws were proposed in Michigan and New York but were not enacted, while a civil penalty statute is pending in Oregon. In lieu of criminalization, some experts suggest giving 911 operators and dispatchers more training and authority in order to screen out inappropriate calls.

Community policing (parking)

May 21, 2019

Washington, DC is considering empowering residents to issue parking tickets, as reported here. The current proposal would train 10 residents per ward to use an app to issue citations electronically. This form of policing by the community “follows the lead of other cities piloting similar initiatives, including New York, which created a program that gives 25% of the fines imposed on idling cars to residents who report them, and Los Angeles, which started a volunteer ticketing program that issued over 9,000 citations last year.”

Access to police discipline records

April 26, 2019

A media collaboration has compiled discipline records for about 10% of U.S. police around the country, as reported on this 6-minute PBS news clip. Initial reporting is available here, along with a link to the database that was compiled. In California, where a new state law opening up police personnel records went into effect January 1, the Attorney General and the courts are still deciding whether it is retroactive, and various parties are suing, as reported here. New York has one of the most restrictive laws but advocates and legislators are pushing for change in the current session, as reported here.

Victim tracking of rape kits

April 9, 2019

An increasing number of states have laws establishing rape kit tracking systems, as reported here. At least 17 states now have such laws, with 5 others pending this year. A key feature of the systems, besides helping officials track cases and reduce backlogs, is empowering victims to monitor the status of evidence collected from them. Advocates argue this “provides a degree of transparency and accountability that, until now, had been notoriously absent from sexual-assault cases.”

NYPD secret weapon

April 5, 2019

NYPD handled 180,000 “emotionally disturbed person” calls last year, often involving some kind of threat of violence. For those cases where the individual is inside an apartment, patrol officers are now being issued a length of rope and a door wedge, enabling them to secure the door so the person can’t suddenly burst out, forcing a snap decision about use of force. The equipment was recently used, successfully, to avert a confrontation with a man armed with what turned out to be an imitation pistol, as reported here.

An app named Citizen

March 17, 2019

Now available in New York and a few other cities, the Citizen app rebroadcasts and maps selected police, fire, and EMS calls, so a user can be aware of any dangerous activity in their proximity. As reported here, users are warned to stay safe, but also encouraged to submit photos, video, and commentary from the scenes of incidents. The company says more than 100,000 live videos have been recorded; an alert about a recent car fire in Times Square hit 31,000 phones. Currently the app is free with no advertising, but future commercialization seems inevitable.

Shootings by NYPD continue downward trend

March 7, 2019

Police-involved shootings by NYPD officers have decreased 96% since 1972, dropping from 994 in that year to 35 in 2018, as reported here. More restrictive deadly force policies adopted in the 1970s had an early impact, while the sharp decline in violent crime since the 1990s has contributed. More recently, officials say enhanced training deserves credit — officers are “put through varying scenarios to prepare them for eventualities when responding to a crisis,” the agency “reviews every shooting incident and passes on findings to instructors at the academy,” and “We address any tactical training issues almost immediately.”

FBI shooting data

February 12, 2019

FBI agents have been involved in 228 shooting incidents since 2011, including 113 accidental discharges, 34 animals, and 81 “intentional shootings involving people or objects” according to this NBC news segment and article. Agents were found at fault in 5 of the shootings, none of which resulted in fatalities. The bureau has not traditionally released information about its agent-involved shootings, and has not employed independent or external investigation. Looking ahead, the FBI will be administering the new national database of police shootings, announced last year — reportedly, “the bureau itself would also submit information to the database.”

Improving recruiting

February 5, 2019

This new report presents results from projects in 21 different jurisdictions aimed at identifying police recruiting messages and processes that produce more applicants and more people following through in the hiring process. The Behavioral Insights Team helped evaluate various alternatives to determine which ones worked better than others. One finding was that “Even small changes in how jobs are advertised can make a real difference to both the total number of applicants and the diversity of those applicants.”