Posts Tagged ‘South Carolina’

Corporate investigators target organized retail crime

June 1, 2022

Large retailers like Target and CVS are undertaking their own investigations in an effort to solve organized theft cases, as reported here. Techniques include interviewing and trailing shoplifters to discover who they work for, and conducting surveillance of people and places involved in trafficking of stolen goods. According to a CVS official, “We only follow someone if we think they are part of a ring worth $1 million or more. We don’t do small cases.” When investigations are successful, the information is turned over to police and prosecutors. “They often give us evidence. They give us leads. We don’t ever use them as a surrogate for our own investigation. But they can be incredibly valuable partners,” said a U.S. Attorney.

Procedural Justice & Research Director in Charleston, SC

December 9, 2021

The police department in Charleston, SC is searching to fill the position of Procedural Justice & Research Director, as advertised here. Position responsibilities are to “advise, direct, and oversee implementation and continued support of procedural justice and any audit recommendations within the Charleston Police Department. Additionally, this position will monitor (and coordinate) research to ensure the Charleston Police Department maintains best practices concerning the development, coordination and use of scientific research and appropriate methodologies.” The application deadline is December 21.

Developing an evidence-based recruiting video

August 28, 2021

This column summarizes the approach taken by Charleston (SC) PD to develop a new recruiting video. As noted, “Law enforcement agencies have been creating police recruitment videos and multimedia for years trying to attract qualified individuals to join their ranks.” Rather than develop another one based on beliefs and opinions about what might be most effective in attracting the best candidates, CPD collaborated with in-state researchers to test the impact of various images and themes. The resulting video is embedded in the column. 

Behind the badge

June 9, 2021

CBS News “Sunday Morning” recently devoted an hour-long show to policing, available here. Included are interviews with Bill Bratton and a variety of street-level officers from across the country, plus segments on policing in Europe and Japan, and reports on alternative strategies such as non-police responses to people experiencing behavioral crisis.

Targeted, calibrated traffic enforcement

February 1, 2020

This article describes the Charleston, South Carolina PD’s revamped approach to traffic enforcement following the results of a 2018 racial bias audit. The agency is more carefully targeting traffic-related hot spots with both enforcement and public education, based on data with close monitoring by supervisors, while de-emphasizing just stopping cars and writing tickets as a blanket strategy. The approach now is more specific and intentional — “traffic stops are to correct traffic behaviors. It really comes down to that — correcting distracted drivers, speeding, the overall goal of preserving life,” according to one commander.

Lawsuits up in South Carolina

December 24, 2019

The number of lawsuits filed against law enforcement agencies in South Carolina has increased over the last 5 years and the portion resulting in payouts has gone from 30% to 45%, according to this article. The state insurance pool recently notified local police and sheriff departments that rates will increase 50% in 2020. Agencies indicate they have little input in insurers’ decisions about whether to settle or contest suits filed against them. One observer says “increased interest in police accountability over the past few years has skewed the courts in plaintiffs’ favor.”

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.

OIS protocol standardized in Charleston

May 3, 2019

South Carolina is one of many states that leaves decisions related to investigating and prosecuting officer-involved shootings to local authorities. Charleston-area agencies have established a standard policy and practice in coordination with their prosecutor, as reported here. The new protocol sets two 60-day deadlines, one to complete an independent investigation and one for prosecutorial review, and emphasizes the need for communication and transparency. Officials expect other regions of the state will look at the protocol for guidance.

Details from Florence

April 22, 2019

This article provides a detailed account of the tragic shootout in Florence, South Carolina last October in which an officer and a deputy were killed and 5 others were wounded. They were ambushed by a 74-year-old Vietnam veteran who says he went into “Saigon-mode.” Deputies went to the house to interview his son on a sexual assault allegation and to serve a search warrant. A MRAP was needed to rescue downed officers after which the shooter surrendered.

Sheriffs living large

March 18, 2019

This article reports a 5-month media investigation into questionable spending and abuses of office by sheriffs in South Carolina. The power and relative independence of sheriffs creates opportunities for misconduct with minimal checks and balances. In principle, voters have the opportunity to impose accountability every election cycle, but in practice they aren’t well informed and incumbent sheriffs are rarely defeated. Term limits, regular outside audits, and more oversight from county governments are recommended steps for improving the situation.