Posts Tagged ‘Oregon’

Risk management vs. civil rights

February 14, 2019

This article discusses the impact of Lexipol, a California-based company that provides policies to 3,400 public safety agencies around the U.S. The company says that agencies using its policies experience a reduction in legal claims and payments to plaintiffs. Critics say the approach is focused more on minimizing lawsuits than on improving police services to the public — “They’re designed for maximum protection against civil liability. It’s not maximum protection of civil rights.”

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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.”

Bike fatalities up

February 11, 2019

Bike fatalities in 2016 were the highest since 1990, with 835 deaths, according to this article. One contributing factor could be the 50% increase over time in the number of people commuting to work on bicycles. Interestingly, though, several cities with the highest rates of biking to work — Portland, Minneapolis, DC, San Francisco, Seattle — had among the lowest fatality rates. The highest bike fatality rates were in Oklahoma City, San Antonio, and Jacksonville.

Calling 911 for unwanted persons

February 7, 2019

Portland 911 gets about 100 calls a day for some version of “unwanted person,” mostly homeless or street people acting strangely, blocking entrances, obstructing sidewalks, or camped out on somebody’s property. According to this article, “Oregon’s percentage of unsheltered people is second-highest in the nation. Much of the city is feeling fed up and freaked out.” Efforts are underway to develop alternative responses to relieve police (and 911) of the burden since few of the situations are emergencies or serious criminal matters.

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.”

Broken safety net in Portland

February 1, 2019

This 4-minute public radio report and accompanying article discuss the lack of mental health services in Portland and the rest of Oregon. As in many other jurisdictions, dealing with people in crisis has fallen to police, emergency rooms, and jails, none of which are really equipped to provide the intervention and treatment that people need. The commander of the PD’s behavioral health unit says “We’re kind of there collecting the people at the bottom in the worst moments at the depths of their crisis where it would be ideal to coordinate and do whatever we can upstream to prevent them cascading off the waterfall.”

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.

Community livability

October 2, 2018

This article describes the work of the community livability unit in Corvallis, Oregon, one of the finalists for this year’s Herman Goldstein POP award. Each year, 5,000 new students arrive at Oregon State University and a like number move off-campus into the community. The agency has been able to cut related calls for service by more than half over the last 10 years through closer engagement with students, landlords, and university staff. The biggest issues revolve around parties, noise, trash, alcohol, and drugs.

2018 POP conference agenda

August 28, 2018

The Center for Problem Oriented Policing will hold its 28th annual conference November 5-7 in Providence, Rhode Island. The draft agenda and registration information are here. Among the presenters will be finalist agencies from New Zealand, the UK, and the US competing for the annual Herman Goldstein award.

Policing the homeless

June 13, 2018

PERF has released a new report on the police response to homelessness, emphasizing problem solving, innovation, and partnerships as alternatives to either making arrests or doing nothing. Insights from police departments all over the country are included, as well as background information on how the problem overlaps with mental illness and substance abuse.