Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania’

Relaxed residency requirement in Philadelphia

October 7, 2017

Philadelphia eased its longstanding residency requirement starting in 2010, allowing police with 5+ years tenure to live outside the city. Since then, about 15% of those eligible have moved to the suburbs, mainly for better schools, according to this article.


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.

Policing explained

August 28, 2017

In this blog post, Jerry Ratcliffe provides a few nice graphs that he uses to begin his undergraduate policing course, emphasizing conditions that have or haven’t changed over time and giving students some insights about the realities of modern police work.

Fired and reinstated

August 7, 2017

This article summarizes data from 37 large agencies, finding that 1,881 officers were fired for misconduct since 2006 but over 450 were reinstated after appeals. “In many cases, the underlying misconduct was undisputed, but arbitrators often concluded that the firings were unjustified because departments had been too harsh, missed deadlines, lacked sufficient evidence or failed to interview witnesses.” Chiefs express frustration whereas union officials argue that officers’ rights must be protected.

Alternatives to arresting kids at school

August 3, 2017

This article describes a diversion program in Philadelphia that reduced arrests of kids at school by 68%. The initiative was started by recently-retired deputy commissioner Kevin Bethel, who argues that police “must adapt how we respond to normal adolescent behavior occurring in schools … Arrests are not the answer, especially when we know these arrests negatively impact graduation rates, job prospects and create numerous other long-term impediments.”

Reviewing unfounded sexual assault cases

July 28, 2017

This article reports that Ottawa will adopt the “Philadelphia Model” in which a multidisciplinary panel reviews reported sexual assaults that police classify as unfounded. The main purpose is not to find specific police errors, but to identify ways of improving the system so that future decisions are based on valid criteria and victims are more satisfied that they were treated fairly.

Guns & suicide

July 15, 2017

This article notes that suicides by gun outnumber homicides by gun, particularly in rural areas. In one Pennsylvania county from 2010-2014 there was 1 gun homicide and 47 gun suicides. The state averages over 800 gun suicides per year but the cases get little public attention, mainly out of respect for family privacy. Suicide prevention and sport shooting groups are working together in search of practical intervention steps.

BWC in PA & CA

July 12, 2017

This article reports new legislation in Pennsylvania that should encourage further adoption of body-worn cameras, as it relaxes an old wiretapping law that severely restricted when police could record audio without permission. This article reports legislative debate in California over when BWC video should be made public.

Low self-control & police behavior

June 21, 2017

This column summarizes a study of 1,935 police officers that found a link between use of deadly force and 8 indicators of low self-control in their personal lives — “a history of a suspended driver’s license, involvement in a motor vehicle accident, had ever been behind on paying bills, had loans or debts over $1,000, been under any type of court order, been divorced or separated or received a traffic ticket in the past five years.” One author noted “An officer having one or two of the indicators could be attributed to bad luck, but a pattern might indicate that more screening is needed.”

Making the transition from soldier to cop

March 31, 2017

This article highlights challenges faced by officers and their departments when transitioning from combat to civilian policing. National data are elusive but the rate of psychological issues, including PTSD and suicide, seems higher among returning soldiers. In addition, veterans’ preference in police hiring often interferes with efforts to increase the number of women and minority officers.