Posts Tagged ‘Washington’

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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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.

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.”

Showdown looming in Seattle

November 9, 2018

This article reports that 24 community groups and the city’s Community Police Commission are urging the Seattle city council to reject a police union contract negotiated between the union and the mayor. Wage increases retroactive to 2015 are not at issue, but rather mechanisms for police accountability. Opponents argue the pending contract “weakens the Police department’s ability to discipline and fire officers,” while the federal judge presiding over the 2012 consent decree has expressed some concerns. The city’s position is that the contract includes provisions that will increase accountability while also protecting public safety. The city council is expected to vote on Tuesday.

Investigating hate crimes

August 26, 2018

This article reports several examples of successful investigation and prosecution of hate crimes. Reporting and documentation of hate crime is inconsistent around the country and federal prosecution is rare, so local police action is usually the key to success or failure. One reason that bias crimes often get overlooked is the element of the offender’s motivation: “Police officers, for most crimes, are not rigorously trained to look at motive. They apprehend; they take reports; they do some investigation.”

Getting shot isn’t random

August 25, 2018

This post reports an epidemiological study of 763 people injured or killed by gunfire in Seattle between 2010 and 2014. Compared to individuals hurt in crashes, gunshot victims (whether in a crime, accident, suicide, or by police) were more likely to have recent substance abuse, mental disorder, and arrest histories. Looking specifically at those shot by police, they were “seven times more likely to have a prior felony arrest; four times more likely to have a diagnosis involving alcohol and eleven times more likely to have one for cannabis abuse; seven times more likely to have clinical depression, anxiety or psychosis; and 22 times more likely to have a conduct disorder.”

Seattle Public Safety Survey

June 23, 2018

This column announces release of Seattle’s 3rd annual public safety survey. Perceptions of police and crime in the city have changed little over the last 3 years. City-wide, residents think their police are better than elsewhere in the country, and their top concerns are police capacity, property crime, and littering/dumping. Most importantly, citizens’ perceptions and priorities are broken out by 59 specific neighborhoods in conjunction with the police department’s micro-community policing plans. The full surevy report is available here.

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.

Position: research analyst/strategic advisor

April 28, 2018
Seattle PD has advertised a Research Analyst/Strategic Advisor position, closing date May 8th. The position will “coordinate the research effort of the Department and the more than 40 academic partners, globally. The Research Analyst will serve as a bridge between current business practice and developments in the state of the art and a critical link to manage the Department’s research network.”

Sleepy, tired cops

November 6, 2017

This article reviews evidence about the impact of fatigue on police performance and decision making. Between long shifts, night work, overtime, and secondary employment many officers end up working tired or even sleepy. Most departments fail to monitor outside employment and many don’t even regulate the amount of overtime that individual officers can accumulate.