Posts Tagged ‘Ohio’

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.

Extreme speeders on empty roads

April 22, 2020

This article reports another pandemic-related phenomenon — extreme speeding on nearly empty roads. Nationally, vehicle traffic has dropped by about two-thirds, which should result in fewer crashes, but some states have experienced increased high-speed fatalities. According to one official, “People are saying, ‘Wow, the roads are wide open. There’s no one here but me.’ We’re seeing incredibly crazy, off-the-chart speed and aggressiveness.” Police in several states report 100+ mph violations becoming common.

Policing coronavirus

March 18, 2020

In response to the coronavirus, police are taking extra precautions, revising their operational strategies, being given additional authority, and even asking criminals to take a holiday, as reported here, here, and here. Specific measures adopted in some places include:

  • Encouraging victims of minor crimes to make reports on-line or over the telephone.
  • When police response is needed, having victims/witnesses meet police outside homes/offices.
  • Encouraging police to avoid enforcement of minor traffic and criminal violations.
  • When people telephone the police for assistance, asking screening questions to determine the level of virus risk for responding police.
  • Having police wait for medics to arrive at scenes of accidents, injuries, etc. when immediate life-saving isn’t required (medics have better masks, gowns, etc. than police).
  • Restricting use of road-side breath-testing equipment in cases of suspected drunk driving.
  • Using drones and other surveillance systems to assess situations before police arrive.
  • Allowing administrative staff to work from home.
  • Using 1-officer rather than 2-officer patrols to enhance social distancing.
  • Shifting more police to patrol duties (from investigations and other operational or administrative assignments).

Autopsies hindered by organ donation

October 17, 2019

Organ donation has become more common over the years, and several states have enacted laws aimed at speeding up the “harvesting” process so that body parts can be preserved to help others in need. As reported here, these laws sometimes enable companies to secure parts, including skin and bones in addition to organs, before autopsies have been conducted. Investigations have been compromised — “In multiple cases, coroners have had to guess at the cause of death.”

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.”

2019 POP Conference agenda

July 25, 2019

The 2019 POP Conference will be held November 11-13 in Santa Cruz, California. The preliminary agenda and registration information are here. The 5 finalist agencies for the Herman Goldstein award will present their problem-oriented policing initiatives and there will be 18 other sessions, some repeated twice. The range of topics includes domestic violence, opioids, chronic nuisances, auto burglaries, reducing alcohol-related harm, and much more, including introductions to POP, problem analysis, and situational crime prevention.

Serial rape more common than thought

July 15, 2019

This article examines information on rape and rape investigation resulting from analysis of backlogged rape kits. In Cleveland, nearly 20% of CODIS hits “pointed to a serial rapist — giving the Cleveland investigators leads on some 480 serial predators to date.” That city and Detroit have been most aggressive at analyzing, investigating, and prosecuting from their backlogs. In general, however, a continuing problem is “law enforcement’s abiding skepticism of women who report being raped” — especially those who don’t fit the criteria of a “righteous victim.”

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.

Elder fraud

March 8, 2019

U.S. authorities announced a year-long “largest-ever” elder fraud crackdown resulting in criminal and civil charges against 260 defendants for defrauding more than 2 million victims out of $750 million, as reported here. The total annual loss to elder Americans is estimated at $3 billion. The investigation was aided by Europol and police in several individual countries, with “alleged fraudsters charged criminally and extradited from Canada, the Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Jamaica and Poland.” An additional 600 U.S.-based “money mules” who helped transfer funds were identified, most receiving warning letters rather than charges because they didn’t realize they were facilitating scams.

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.