Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania’

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.

Walk the dog

December 3, 2016

This announcement from Arlington, Texas invites residents to join Dog Walker Watch, based on the premise that canine owners are “familiar with their community and out in the neighborhood on a regular basis.” The program is affiliated with the National Association of Town Watch, the coordinator of National Night Out, which has grown to over 16,000 participating communities since 1984.

Elevating the profession

November 14, 2016

In this interview, Cameron McLay, who recently stepped down as chief in Pittsburgh, reflects on the challenge of promoting professionalism in the face of morale issues, political waffling, and our tendency to ask police to deal with all of society’s unresolved social problems. This 4-minute public radio segment and this op-ed column recognize the visceral support from police for president-elect Trump and contemplate how that might affect policing during the next administration.

Suicide by gun in Pennsylvania

November 10, 2016

This article reports that, from 2010 to 2014, there were more gun suicides than gun murders in 64 of 67 counties in Pennsylvania. Practical efforts to prevent such suicides have not been identified; a pilot program in 4 states in cooperation with gun shop owners is one promising initiative.