Posts Tagged ‘North Carolina’

Delaware reviewing hair evidence convictions

March 5, 2019

The FBI determined in 2015 that its crime lab had a very high error rate in microscopic (non-DNA) hair comparison analyses completed prior to 2000, possibly contributing to mistaken convictions. Delaware has now joined several other states conducting independent reviews to identify any past convictions involving questionable hair evidence, as reported here. The announcement notes that use of such evidence “would not necessarily cast doubt on the case’s resolution if additional evidence, such as confessions or DNA analysis, supported the conviction.”

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Discussing driving while black

August 10, 2018

Here’s a nice 16-minute public radio segment from North Carolina featuring the Chapel Hill police chief and the author of a new book that analyzes 20 million traffic stops since 2002. Similar to many other studies, the analysis revealed a strong pattern of disproportionate stops and searches with no apparent positive results in citations, arrests, or contraband seizures. The book’s author recommends refocusing police attention on traffic safety rather than stopping vehicles as a crime fighting tactic. Some departments have already reduced their emphasis on enforcing minor vehicle equipment violations and tightened their rules on consent searches.

Drones for crash investigation

August 7, 2018

This article reports growing police use of drones for crash investigation. Estimates are that the overhead technology cuts the time needed to document the scene by half or even two-thirds, which saves money, reduces traffic disruption, and puts officers in less danger on the highway. This type of drone usage does not generally arouse the privacy and civil liberty concerns associated with surveillance and has been permitted in some states that have otherwise restrictive legislation.

Not a police matter

July 16, 2018

Police have been called recently to deal with a black guy wearing socks at a private pool (in Memphis), an 11-year-old black kid on his first day delivering newspapers (in Cincinnati), a 12-year-old black kid mowing a lawn who accidentally crossed into a neighbor’s yard (outside Cleveland), and a 9-year-old black girl selling water outside her apartment building (in San Francisco). This article discusses what police should do, including having call takers ask more specific questions and routing such calls through supervisors before assigning them to patrol officers.

Prevalence of police in schools varies

July 12, 2018

This article reviews data on police assigned to schools. Two-thirds of high school students attend a school that has an officer assigned, compared to 45% for middle school and 19% for elementary school. School officers are most common in Virginia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and North Carolina, least common in New York, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Iowa, and Michigan. The evidence on the impact of officers in schools on arrests, offenses, and student behavior is mixed and inconclusive.

National standards for SROs

May 31, 2018

This article reports on proposed legislation in Congress that would establish national training standards for school resource officers. A few states have adopted specific training mandates for SROs but most have not. The proposals would also begin national data collection on SROs and develop a set of best practices.

Owning up

January 2, 2018

Many jurisdictions suffered the problem of untested rape kits over the last 10-20 years, often due to insufficient crime lab capacity. This article reports an unusual step taken by police in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where 333 kits were destroyed starting in 1999 to make space in the evidence room. When the PD recognized the situation in 2015, they publicly announced what had happened and then began individually contacting the victims with an explanation and apology.

Operation Pacifier, 870 arrests for online child sexual abuse

May 6, 2017

This press release describes the results of a worldwide FBI & Europol investigation into online child sexual abuse on the Darknet’s Playpen site. Three site administrators were recently convicted and sentenced to 20-30 years in prison. A total of 870 arrests have been made and 259 sexually abused children have been identified or rescued.

3 NPR podcasts on police videos

April 10, 2017

The “Embedded” NPR series has three recent podcasts about police videos, one a police shooting, one of a police officer being shot, and one a situation where an officer refrained from shooting. The podcasts explore the incidents from all angles. One theme is how the new reality of video is affecting people’s thinking and behavior, both police and the public.

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.