Posts Tagged ‘South Carolina’

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.

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Prevalence of police in schools varies

July 12, 2018

This article reviews data on police assigned to schools. Two-thirds of high school students attend a school that has an officer assigned, compared to 45% for middle school and 19% for elementary school. School officers are most common in Virginia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and North Carolina, least common in New York, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Iowa, and Michigan. The evidence on the impact of officers in schools on arrests, offenses, and student behavior is mixed and inconclusive.

Bad sheriffs

April 3, 2018

The U.S. has about 3,000 sheriffs, an office that goes back to colonial days and preceded the creation of police departments. This article reports numerous recent scandals, embarrassments, and shortcomings in sheriff’s offices around the country and discusses why they persist despite being an elected office that voters should be able to hold accountable.

Risk/reward in SWAT no-knock entries

March 18, 2017

This in-depth 2-part series, located here and here, examines the practice of no-knock dynamic entries by SWAT teams. National data are not systematically collected, but nearly 100 deaths are known to have occurred in such raids since 2010, including at least 13 police officers. The vast majority of raids are drug cases, leading some police and legal experts to question whether the rewards justify the risks.

SWAT mission creep

October 13, 2016

While police militarization and the expansion of police paramilitary units were controversial topics before Ferguson, they have gotten even more attention since. This article (with a trailer) describes the award-winning new documentary Do Not Resist. The filmmaker’s father was a SWAT commander in Michigan in the days before the use of such units in search warrant cases became more frequent.

Warrior skills, guardian mindset

October 8, 2015

This article reports a variety of de-escalation initiatives being emphasized by police departments around the country and highlights one Virginia agency’s training approach based on analyzing and discussing¬†videos from North Charleston, Seattle, and Albuquerque. In that chief’s view,¬†“In today’s world, you need the skill set of a warrior and the mindset of a guardian.”