Many thanks to our very own "MJ" Goyings, a resident of Ohio,
for her daily research that provides us with the news related material that appears on the LACP & NAASCA web sites.
Police-involved shootings: Prosecutor explains how they work
by Suzanne Russell
EDISON - When there is an officer-involved shooting, Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey said his questions are the same as those of the public.
And it takes a good investigation, involving witnesses, information from the street, and ballistics, and sometimes a medical examiner's report to get the answers to those questions, while still protecting the rights of the injured, the accused and the community, he says.
Carey, joined by New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal at a community forum at Middlesex County College last week, took audience members through the steps needed to complete that investigation.
The community forum was an outgrowth of the 21-County, 21st Century Community Policing Project for the "21/21 Project," a police community relations initiative announced by Grewal in April.
The project is intended to promote stronger police-community relations by bringing law enforcement and community members together in every county at least four times a year to meetings and discussion of issues of mutual concern.
Carey said the forum was designed to have a discussion with the community and build on the trust developed over the past few years. The Indian Business Association and Metuchen-Edison Area Branch of the NAACP served as co-hosts of the event.
"We know that there are divides that exist between law enforcement and some of the communities we serve and there are divides that sometimes are filled with misperceptions about law enforcement and there are divides that exists because of misunderstandings based on past interactions with law enforcement," Grewal said.
"But the thing about divides in my view is that divides can be bridged. Misunderstandings can be explained, misconceptions can be cleared up but in order to do that, we have to have a dialogue," said Grewal, adding those dialogues happen better in a meeting room than a crime scene.
There have been two officer-involved shootings in Middlesex County in the last two years, and four in the last five years, Carey said.
Grewal said there have been several officer-involved shootings in recent days across the state and sometimes in the wake of these incidents there are out cries for the Attorney General's Office to take over the investigation, rather than have it handled by local police.
But he said the protocol used in New Jersey is the most robust in handling police involved shootings. He said the Attorney General's Office reviews every single shooting investigation.
"So we do look at every officer-involved shooting and it's important that everyone knows that," Grewal said.
Integrity of the investigation
When a police-involved shooting occurs, not everything can be shared at every point of the investigation.
"There is a public right to know but the integrity of the investigation needs to be maintained. We need to know what happened," said Carey, adding when he arrives on scene he needs to learn what is thought to have happened, how to prove it, and what exactly did happen.
He said the integrity of trial is key in determining any release of body camera footage.
"If a jury has seen all the evidence before the trial they will have had their minds made up," Carey said.
He said the Attorney General's use of force directive kicks in when there is death or serious bodily injury, or deadly force and no injury or injury from a firearm used by a police officer.
He said if a municipal police officer fires their weapon, the county prosecutor's office is contacted to take over the investigation while the local police deal with tending to the victim's family. If a prosecutor's office detective or state or federal law enforcement officer is involved in the shooting, the New Jersey State Police's Shooting Response Team comes in to investigate.
As part of the investigation, the prosecutor's office talks to the municipal department to find out what they know. The investigation includes interviews, computer checks, checks of video from police vehicles, body cameras, surveillance or private videos.
"Then we go wide, we try to learn everything we possibly can. We also reach out to state and federal authorities and other counties. There are no boundaries when it comes to law enforcement. We spread the net wide," said Carey.
He said the officer generally doesn't give a statement for a few days. The officer's statement is then compared with all the other information received as part of the investigation before determining if the case should be presented to the grand jury — a group of 12 to 24 civilians who hear the facts of the case presented by the prosecutor's office.
Carey said the grand jury's standard for returning an indictment is probable cause to believe a crime has been committed. He said the grand jury determines the facts.
He said the officer also can put forth a defense of self defense, or trying to save someone else's life. He said the prosecutor's office would have to disprove that defense beyond a reasonable doubt.
Along the way of the investigation the prosecutor's office is in constant dialogue with the Attorney General's Office.
If there is no grand jury action, Carey said he's required to put out a public statement explaining what was done, how it was done and what happened.
Previous police shooting cases
One person questioned whether procedures have changed since the 1996 police shooting of Carolyn "Sissy" Adams and the 2011 police shooting of Barry Deloatch, both in New Brunswick, in which officers were not indicted.
Carey, who has served as prosecutor since 2013, said the shooting protocols now in place would have helped backed then. He said there would have been more transparency and more dialogue with community members and it would been handled differently, perhaps with a result everyone would have respected.
"There is nothing more divisive than an officer involved shooting, we hear it on the news. There are protests, it is awful but we try to figure out what happened," said Carey.
"We are taking extraordinary steps to avoid the next officer-involved shooting," Grewal said. "The officer-involved shootings are unfortunate, and not as common as people would think. They are significant because there is a loss of life on occasion, they are significant because a person suffers great injury and they cause a lot of heated discussion and sometimes protests because of what's gone on before," Grewal said.
Carey said he has issued his own directive about when officers can receive their weapon again after a police-involved shooting. He requires officers be examined by a mental health professional to make sure they can and should be using a weapon again. Followups also are included in his directive.
"Most police have an issue with a shooting because they don't like to shoot people. It's very upsetting," said Carey.
More than 500 guns seized from Southern California homes
by Fox News
Authorities have seized more than 550 guns at two Southern California homes and made one arrest after getting a tip that a convicted felon was storing an arsenal.
Sixty-year-old Manuel Fernandez was arrested last week after Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies and state and federal investigators raided his Agua Dulce home.
Officials Monday say the searchers found 432 rifles and handguns, then returned later and found 91 more hidden weapons.
Finally, 30 guns were seized at another home believed linked to an associate of Fernandez who hasn't returned to the home.
"Detectives also seized computers, cellphones, and hard drives from the residence believed to be involved in the illicit purchase of firearms by the suspect," the sheriff's department said in its release.
Fernandez was booked on suspicion of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition and illegally possessing an assault rifle and large-capacity magazines.
He's free on bond. A call by The Associated Press to his listed phone number rang unanswered Monday.
The Los Angeles Times, citing an unnamed source, reported that the owner of the firearms appears to be a collector as opposed to someone who intends to use the guns for violence.
From the Department of Homeland Security
Myth vs. Fact: DHS Zero-Tolerance Policy
In recent days, we have seen reporters, Members of Congress, and other groups mislead the public on the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) zero-tolerance policy.
Federal law enforcement officers have sworn duties to enforce the laws that Congress passes. Repeating intentionally untrue and unsubstantiated statements about DHS agents, officers, and procedures is irresponsible and deeply disrespectful to the men and women who risk their lives every day to secure our border and enforce our laws.
DHS has a policy to separate families at the border.
DHS does not have a blanket policy of separating families at the border. However, DHS does have a responsibility to protect all minors in our custody. This means DHS will separate adults and minors under certain circumstances. These circumstances include: 1) when DHS is unable to determine the familial relationship, 2) when DHS determines that a child may be at risk with the parent or legal guardian, or 3) when the parent or legal guardian is referred for criminal prosecution.
Familial Relationship – If there is reason to question the claimed familial relationship between an adult and child, it is not appropriate to detain adults and children together.
Human Trafficking and Smuggling – If there is reason to suspect the purported parent or legal guardian of human trafficking or smuggling, DHS detains the adult in an appropriate, secure detection facility, separate from the minor. DHS continues to see instances and intelligence reports indicating minors are trafficked by unrelated adults, posing as a “family” in an effort to avoid detention.
Safety Risk – If there is reason to suspect the purported parent or legal guardian poses a safety risk to the child (e.g. suspected child abuse), it is not appropriate to maintain the adult and child together.
Criminal Prosecution – If an adult is referred for criminal prosecution, the adult will be transferred to U.S. Marshals Service custody and any children will be classified as an unaccompanied alien child and transferred to the Department of Health and Human Services custody.
In recent months, DHS has seen a staggering increase in the number of illegal aliens using children to pose as family units to gain entry into the United States. From October 2017 to February 2018, there was a 315 percent increase in the number of cases of adults with minors fraudulently posing as “family units” to gain entry.
Prior to April 2017, DHS never separated families arriving at the border.
DHS has separated families under the circumstances described above. Because of court decisions, DHS can generally no longer hold families in detention beyond 20 days.
DHS can indefinitely detain families who cross the border illegally.
DHS generally releases families within 20 days. This creates a “get out of jail free” card for illegal alien families and encourages groups of illegal aliens to pose as families hoping to take advantage of that loophole.
In 2014, DHS increased detention facilities for arriving alien families and held families pending the outcome of immigration proceedings. However, a federal judge ruled in 2015 that under the Flores Settlement Agreement, minors detained as part of a family unit cannot be detained in unlicensed facilities for longer than a presumptively reasonable period of 20 days, at which point, such minors must be released or transferred to a licensed facility. Because most jurisdictions do not offer licensure for family residential centers, DHS rarely holds family units for longer than 20 days. The judge's ruling made it much more difficult for the Federal government to use the detention authorities Congress gave it.
DHS is referring for prosecution all families coming to the border.
DHS only refers to the Department of Justice those adults who violate the law by crossing the border illegally (or who have violated some other criminal law) and are amenable for prosecution. When adults, with or without children, unlawfully enter this country, there must be a consequence for breaking our laws.
DHS is not referring for prosecutions families or individuals arriving at ports of entry or attempting to enter the country through legal means. These families and individuals have not broken the law and will be processed accordingly.
DHS is turning away asylum seekers at ports of entry.
DHS complies with Federal law with regard to processing individuals claiming asylum at ports of entry.
CBP processes all aliens arriving at all ports of entry without documents as expeditiously as possible without negatively affecting the agency's primary mission to protect the American public from dangerous people and materials while enhancing the nation's economic competitiveness through facilitating legitimate trade and travel.
As the number of arriving aliens determined to be inadmissible at ports of entry continues to rise, CBP must prioritize its limited resources to ensure its primary mission is being executed. Depending on port circumstances at the time of arrival, CBP officials will allocate the necessary resources to its primary mission and operate appropriate access controls and queue management procedures for those arriving aliens without proper travel documents.
DHS separates families who entered at the ports of entry and who are seeking asylum – even though they have not broken the law.
If an adult enters at a port of entry and claims asylum, they will not face prosecution for illegal entry. DHS does have a responsibility to protect minors we apprehend and will separate in three circumstances:1) when DHS is unable to determine the familial relationship, 2) when DHS determines that a child may be at risk with the parent or legal guardian, or 3) when the parent or legal guardian is referred for criminal prosecution.
Once separated, arriving alien adults cannot contact minors and are not told where the minors are being held by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
DHS is committed to and has procedures in place to connect family members after separation so adults know the location of minors and have regular communication with them.
HHS and DHS work to facilitate communication between detained adults and minors (in HHS custody) in a number of ways to include telephone and/or video conferencing. Additionally, ICE has posted information in all over 72-hour facilities advising detained adults who are trying to locate, and/or communicate with a child in the custody of HHS to call the Detention Reporting and Information Line (DRIL) for assistance. This posted information includes:
HHS Adult Hotline (24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in both English and Spanish):
If calling from outside an ICE detention facility, call 1-800-203-7001.
If calling from an ICE detention facility, dial 699# on the free call platform.
Please note that you will need to provide the child's full name, date of birth, and country of origin. It is also helpful to provide the child's alien registration number, if you know it.
HHS Email: information@ORRNCC.com
Individuals may also obtain information about a particular immigration case (including their child's), or information about reunifying with minors, through the following methods:
ICE Call Center (Monday-Friday, 8 am-8 pm EST):
If calling from outside an ICE detention facility, call 1-888-351-4024.
If calling from an ICE detention facility, dial 9116# on the free call platform.
ICE Email: Parental.Interests@ice.dhs.gov
Additionally, CBP has developed and distributed bilingual documents outlining the separation and reunification process.
Language barriers prevent aliens apprehended at the border, and subject to prosecution, from receiving adequate information.
All US Border Patrol trainees are required to take Spanish language training while at the Border Patrol Academy, and achieve proficiency in Spanish. All Border Patrol personnel on the Southwest Border are bilingual.
CBP apprehends illegal aliens from numerous countries that speak many languages other than Spanish. Should an agent ever have a language or communication issue, they are required to find another Agent who speaks the language or to utilize contract interpreters.
All Border Patrol personnel at the border are directed to clearly explain the relevant process to apprehended individuals. CBP provides detainees with written documentation (in Spanish and English) that lays out the process – to include the appropriate phone numbers to contact.
CBP and ICE officers are not properly trained to separate minors from their custodians.
The safety of CBP employees, detainees, and the public is paramount during all aspects of CBP operations. CBP treats all individuals in its custody with dignity and respect, and complies will all laws and policy, including CBP's National Standards on Transport, Escort, Detention, and Search (TEDS). TEDS reinforces/reiterates the need to consider the best interest of children and mandates adherence to established protocols to protect at-risk populations, to include standards for the transport and treatment of minors in CBP custody.
All ICE facility staff who interact with adults receive trauma-informed care training. ICE is augmenting mental health care staffing, to include trained clinical staff, to provide mental health services to detained adults.
DHS detention facilities are in poor condition and do not provide clean drinking water.
DHS facilities are safe and sanitary, and adults and minors are provided access to food and drinking water, medical care as needed, and adequate temperature control and ventilation.
DHS and HHS houses migrants in “inhumane fenced cages” or in an “ice box.”
DHS and HHS utilize short-term facilities in order to process and temporarily hold migrants that have been apprehended. These short-term facilities do not employ the use of ‘cages' to house minors. Certain facilities make use of barriers in order to separate minors of different genders and age groups – for the safety of those who are being held. Additionally, CBP facilities have adequate temperature control and ventilation. ICE facilities are designed for longer-term detention of adults and, in some cases, families.
DHS takes seriously our responsibility for the safety and security of all migrants in the custody of the United States government.
DHS has never separated families for prosecutions before – this is a new policy in this Administration.
Illegal border crossers, including family units, were referred for prosecutions, as appropriates, under the previous Administration. The average referral rate for amenable adults from FY10 – FY16 was 21 percent.
By choice, DHS refuses to keep families together through the immigration adjudication and removal process.
Court decisions interpreting the Flores Settlement Agreement (FSA), which has been in existence for over 20 years but was significantly broadened in 2015, limits the government's ability to detain family units. Pursuant to these court decisions, minors detained as part of a family unit cannot be detained in unlicensed facilities for longer than a presumptively reasonable period of 20 days, at which point, minors must be released or transferred to a licensed facility. Because most jurisdictions do not offer licensure for family residential centers, DHS can rarely detain a family for longer than 20 days.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA) requires unaccompanied alien children (other than those from contiguous countries – Mexico and Canada – who are eligible to withdraw their application for admission) be transferred from DHS to the Department of Health and Human Services within 72 hours, absent exceptional circumstances.
Boy asks police to help find beloved stuffed animal lost on highway, RI troopers respond
by ABC 7
BROOKLYN, New York City -- A boy from Brooklyn reached out to Rhode Island State Police after losing his favorite stuffed animal, and little did he know the story would soon have a happy ending.
Four-year-old Will Ketcher had been traveling with his family when his stuffed cheetah Roger fell out of the car window. So he wrote a letter, which arrived at the police station last fall.
"Dear Rhode Island State Highway Patrol," the letter read. "I lost my Roger...can you please find him? I love him...Roger is a cheetah. He fell out of the car window on Interstate 95 around West Greenwich. He is about 12 inches long."
Included was a hand-drawn picture of the stuffed animal.
Corporal Lawens Fevrier said he was touched by the letter, thinking of his own young sons at home.
"I know how important it is for them to sleep with their blankets or stuffed animal," he said. "We were all 4 years old at one time in our lives."
Will's mom, Stephanie Ketcher, said the family was never expecting to hear back from the state police.
"The letter was never designed to be effective," she said.
She said the family had been visiting Will's aunt at the University of Rhode Island when Will was hanging his stuffed cheetah out the window. The stuffed animal then flew out onto the highway.
"That instantaneous reaction of, 'I told you not to do that, I knew he was going to fly out the window,'" Ketcher said. "That quickly went away when I looked in the rear-view mirror and saw his sweet, sad face crumple up."
The family determined it was unsafe to stop and try and retrieve it on I-95. In an attempt to quell Will's devastation, his dad suggested they write a letter.
Fevrier says troopers were on the lookout for the stuffed cheetah on I-95 but fell short.
"We actually did send search and rescue out there," he said. "Unfortunately, it was raining, and we just couldn't find the one that he lost."
A number of months went by, then Stephanie Ketcher arrived home and saw a package waiting.
"I saw the return label on the box, and I couldn't even believe it," she said.
When the family opened the box, there was a brand new stuffed cheetah for Will, and a letter from the Rhode Island State Police.
"On behalf of the Rhode Island State Police, we are so sorry that Roger was lost," the note read. "We spent days looking for him on the highway. We couldn't find him. We did find another cheetah walking around the highway. We stopped to talk to him. He said that he was looking for a new home in the Big Apple and we thought of you. Before we sent him to you we had to make him a Cheetah Trooper. The first cheetah trooper in the history of the Rhode Island State Police."
Ketcher said the gesture restored her faith in humanity.
"There's so much negative stuff going on in the world, we're inundated with it," she said. "It's so refreshing to have something like this happen that just reminds you that there are really good people out there."
Will thanked the state police and said he gave his new cheetah a very fitting name: Rhody.
Why London Has More Crime Than New York
You're still less likely to be murdered in London, but New York's bigger police presence has made a difference on other crimes.
by Justin Fox
When I lived in London in the early 2000s, violent crime was on the rise, the Underground was plagued by breakdowns and delays, much of the city looked dirty and run-down, and my neighborhood playground always seemed to be covered with broken glass.
“It feels a little like New York in the 1970s,” I said to a local once at a dinner party. He looked at me strangely for a while. “Without the guns, of course,” he finally replied.
The guy had a point. It's a lot easier to kill somebody with a gun than with a knife, the main murder weapon in London. In 1979, there were 1,733 homicides in New York City (the all-time high of 2,245 came later, in 1990). In much-safer 2001, there were 649. In the London of 2001, there were 196 homicides.
Even in 2017, with violent crime continuing to decline in New York and on the rise again in London after declining for about a decade through 2014, there were still more than twice as many homicides in the former city as in the latter (the two are quite close in population, with New York at an estimated 8.6 million people as of mid-2017 and London at 8.9 million).
Things got worse in the first few months of this year in London, though, which led to this shocker of a Sunday Times headline in April: “ London murder rate beats New York as stabbings surge .” It turns out that after revisions, London only topped New York for one month , February; year to date (through the end of May), it was trailing New York City 114 murders to 70. Plus, murder rates tend to go up in the summer in New York City while exhibiting less of a seasonal pattern in England and Wales . So it remains quite unlikely that London will top New York in murders for the full year. On the other hand, when you expand the view to property crimes and violent crimes other than murder, it is arguably true that, as the Telegraph put it in a headline last fall: “ London now more dangerous than New York, crime stats suggest ."
This goes so counter to long-held views of England as a genteel land of well-trimmed hedges and unarmed bobbies and the U.S. as a lawless territory of gun-toting cowboys that some have grasped for explanations. President Donald Trump last fall linked rising U.K. crime rates to the "spread of radical Islamic terror," and depictions of a dangerous "Londonistan" ruled by Islamist extremists are common on the alt-right . The city was in fact a target for four seemingly Islamic State-inspired terror attacks last year, although things have been quiet on that front since September. Terror victims are not counted in the crime data cited above, in any case, and there does not seem to be much of a link between terror and run-of-the-mill crime. There also does not seem to be much of a link between immigration and crime in London, which has about the same percentage of foreign-born residents (a bit more than one-third) as New York City. In fact, immigrants in the U.K. — as is the case in the U.S., but not some continental European countries — appear to be less likely to commit crimes than native-born residents are.
So what is going on in London? Violent crime is actually up in lots of places around the world since 2014, including in the U.S. outside of New York City. My Bloomberg Opinion colleague Therese Raphael addressed the recent U.K. crime increase in April and I don't have a lot to add other than that there's no entirely satisfactory explanation for it. But I do have two observations about the London-New York crime comparisons:
They say more about New York and how much it has changed since the early 1990s than about London.
Apart from murder, crime has actually been moderately worse in England and Wales than in the U.S. for quite a while.
The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime is the keeper of comparative national crime statistics . When it comes to murder rates, these statistics show the U.S. — despite big declines since the early 1990s — continuing to be an outlier among affluent nations.
The UN goes to some effort to make these national numbers comparable, but differences in definitions, police practices and people's proclivity to report crimes to the police remain. In the case of murder, the differences are not big. With burglary, they're a bit bigger. With assault, they're so big that I'm not going to make a chart.
According to the UN data, the England and Wales assault rate is nearly three times higher than that of the U.S. and 88 times higher than that of Switzerland. But while that is probably an exaggeration, it is also probably directionally correct. In a pair of studies conducted in the late 1990s and early 2000s , University of Cambridge criminologist David Farrington and researchers from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics went to great lengths to render crime measures consistent and found that, murder excepted, U.S. rates had by the early 1990s already fallen below those in England and Wales and were toward the middle or bottom of the pack among affluent nations in most categories. They also found that crimes were more likely to be prosecuted in the U.S. than in other countries, and criminals were more likely to spend time in jail.
My reading of this evidence is that murder is more common in the U.S. because there are so many guns here, while other crimes are less common because law enforcement is tougher. Some might argue that other crimes are less common in the U.S. because would-be criminals are afraid their would-be victims are packing heat, but that doesn't really fit the data, given that crime rates and the percentage of U.S. households with guns have fallen in tandem since the early 1990s. As for tougher law enforcement, on a cost-benefit basis, it may have been too tough — the incarceration rate in the U.S. is almost five times that of England and Wales, and it is likely one reason labor-force participation is now much lower in the U.S. than the U.K. — but it does seem to have played a role in reducing crime.
In his book " Uneasy Peace: The Great Crime Decline, The Renewal of City Life, and the Next War on Violence ," which I wrote about in February , New York University sociologist Patrick Sharkey gave tougher law enforcement some of the credit for that great crime decline but cited more law enforcement as an even bigger factor. Rising numbers of police officers and new (or revived) community policing techniques in the U.S. in the 1980s and 1990s brought “ capable guardians ” to streets that had been lacking them.
In the early 2000s, London tried that, too, raising local taxes to expand Metropolitan Police ranks with “ safer neighbourhood teams ” devoted to community policing. But since the financial crisis, the national government has cut police funding by 25 percent, resulting in “not only a dramatic reduction in the number of police officers but the near-eradication of police community support officers, because the latter can be made redundant whereas the former cannot,” former Met officer Brian Paddick said in a speech to the House of Lords last week. “My view is that the police have surrendered public space to the criminals,” Paddick, a member of the U.K. upper house for the Liberal Democrats, told me a few days later. “It's not the severity of punishment that deters people. It's that they don't think they're going to get caught.”
With a slightly larger population than New York and about twice the land area, London has 12 percent fewer police officers and 56 percent fewer civilian police employees. I spent all of last week there, and I only recall seeing one police officer. I'd already seen a couple on Monday morning in New York.
That said, I did not feel unsafe during my visit. Despite the recent increases, London crime rates are still lower now than when I lived there in 2000 and 2001. Also, the Underground has improved a lot since then — which can't be said for the New York City subway — and the parts of the city I saw looked great. London is not a deadly dystopia. It could probably use some more cops, though.
Calif. advances biggest US change to police use of force
The legislation would allow police to use deadly force only where it is necessary to prevent imminent and serious injury or death to the LEO or another person
by Sophia Bollag and Don Thompson
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California would lead the U.S. in significantly changing the standard for when police can fire their weapons under legislation that cleared its first hurdle Tuesday after an emotionally charged debate over deadly shootings that have roiled the country.
It's time to change a "reasonable force" standard that hasn't been updated in California since 1872, making it the nation's oldest unchanged use-of-force law, said Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, a San Diego Democrat who introduced the measure.
"It must be guided by the goals of safeguarding human life," she said.
A state Senate committee advanced the legislation that would allow police to use deadly force only in situations where it is necessary to prevent imminent and serious injury or death to the officer or another person.
Now, California's standard makes it rare for officers to be charged after a shooting and rarer still for them to be convicted. Frequently it's because of the doctrine of "reasonable fear": if prosecutors or jurors believe that officers have a reason to fear for their safety, police can use deadly force.
Law enforcement lobbyists said the stricter standard could make officers hesitant to approach suspects out of fear their actions could be second-guessed.
Democrats on the committee acknowledged that officers have difficult and dangerous jobs but argued the bill would make everyone safer by promoting de-escalation and fostering trust between police and people of color.
"It always blows me away when law enforcement only fear for their life only when they're facing black and brown people," said Democratic Sen. Steven Bradford of Gardena, who is black. "We don't have a problem with law enforcement, we've got a problem with racism."
Dozens of advocates lined up to list the names of young men killed by police across California, including Stephon Clark, who was shot this year when Sacramento officers say they mistook his cellphone for a handgun. The shooting sparked protests, and a prosecutor says it may be months before her office decides if police broke the law.
It comes as police killings of black men have stirred upheaval nationwide.
David Mastagni, a lobbyist for the California Peace Officers Association, said the proposed language creates "a hindsight, second-guessing game that puts not only the officers at danger but puts the public at danger as well."
Randy Perry, representing several rank-and-file police unions that encompass 90,000 officers, called it "a radical departure from criminal and constitutional law."
Critics could almost always argue that deadly force wasn't necessary because officers could have considered alternatives such as "tactical repositioning," which Perry called "a euphemism for retreat."
Republican Sen. Jeff Stone of Temecula, the only senator on the committee who spoke in opposition, said the measure could stop people from becoming police officers and deter officers from responding to calls for help.
Democratic Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson of Santa Barbara pointed to "troubling" statistics about California's high incidence of police shootings and the disproportionate use of force against black men.
She and fellow Democrat Scott Wiener of San Francisco said they believe the changes clarify when police can use lethal force and adequately address concerns raised by law enforcement opponents.
"We all agree that we don't want to put police officers in harm's way, but we also don't want to put the public in harm's way," Jackson said.
The measure now heads to another committee.
To Protect and to Serve. Really.
How one American city chose to tackle crime, combat racism, and reckon with the legacy of police brutality
by Ben Austen
On a spring morning last year, in the Keith Creek neighborhood of Rockford, Illinois, Eric Thurmond stopped his patrol car on a street shrouded by trees and veined with cracks. The homes on the block were modest and weathered, many of them low-end rentals that had been chopped up into multiple units. The surrounding streets were cratered with foreclosures and vacant properties. Thurmond, a rookie on the Rockford police force, had been shown the statistics documenting the neighborhood's decline—burglaries, shootings, home invasions. It was not a desirable place to live. But he would be moving there in less than two weeks. He was part of Rockford's newest experiment in policing—a program designed to help cops put down roots in high-crime sections of the city. The police department had procured a house for him. He would be living there rent-free for a minimum of three years, with his only mission to serve the community—to be a good neighbor.
Thurmond got out of his cruiser to inspect his new home, a brick and wood-paneled bungalow with peeling paint above the brim of a beveled awning. As he stood on the front steps, he noticed a neighbor peeking at him from behind makeshift curtains. The neighbor—a scruffy-bearded white man in jeans and a T-shirt—came outside to meet him. He looked concerned. Thurmond is 25 years old, built squat and burly like a washing machine, with a laid-back manner and a round, cherubic face. Realizing how the arrival of a uniformed officer must look, he assured the man that there was nothing to worry about. No crime had been committed. He wasn't responding to a call for service, just checking out the house prior to his move. He described the police residency program, extending a hand as he introduced himself.
“You going to have cameras up?” the man asked, his eyes scanning the front of Thurmond's bungalow.
“Yeah, if anything happens in the neighborhood, I'm going to be able to see what's going on.” To Thurmond, it sounded assuring. The man nodded and turned away.
A few days later, when Thurmond returned to measure the inside of the bungalow for furniture, his neighbor was gone. The rental was trashed, the family leaving behind chairs and garbage bags stuffed with clothes. Other people on the block told Thurmond that the guy had been selling drugs. Cars used to pull up at the house at all hours of the night, they said, and after an exchange, they sped off. The landlord knew about the drug deals, but he said he'd been unable to carry out an eviction. One woman mentioned her repeated calls to 911, saying the police had done nothing. When Thurmond related all of this to his superiors, they were thrilled. He hadn't even moved in his belongings and he had already made the neighborhood safer.
Rockford is a Rust Belt city that straddles the Rock River 90 miles northwest of Chicago. Until the mid–twentieth century, it was among the nation's manufacturing contenders, a builder of tools and fasteners, the self-proclaimed “ Screw Capital of the World .” In 1949, an article in Life magazine portrayed Rockford as the embodiment of the country's promise of upward mobility for all. But today, with the bulk of its factory jobs gone, the city of 150,000 is better known for ignominy. Rockford has the highest percentage of underwater mortgages of any city in the nation: Nearly a third of its homes are worth less than the money owed on them. Rates of violent crime are higher than in Chicago. Homicides are up. A quarter of the population lives in poverty. Rockford is now typical of many small and midsize cities across America that are suffering from what we tend to think of as big-city problems—guns, drugs, and gangs. A sense of purposelessness and despair has settled in the areas outside the economic activity of downtown and the prosperity of the outer-ring suburbs. Although businesses and new development have sprawled toward Interstate 90 on the eastern edge of the city, the black neighborhoods west of the river, in particular, have been ground down by disinvestment, crime, and, many residents contend, over-policing. After I visited last fall, a local poet and activist named Christopher Sims sent me a bit of verse he wrote about his hometown:
Sheriffs, judges, they'd rather see us locked in jail cells. Welcome to Rockford: a black man's hell if you're not living financially well.
Only a very small percentage of Rockford police officers reside within city limits, and there are fewer than 60 officers of color on the force of 300, in a city that is little more than half white. That discrepancy—between those policing and being policed—is a common one. While departments have slowly diversified, three-fourths of the nation's police remain white . Many departments across the country have scrapped residency restrictions to retain officers and attract new recruits. Yet even in cities that still require police to live in the municipalities where they work, officers usually settle in neighborhoods among themselves . At the same time, decades of tough-on-crime policies have rewarded the warrior cop who racks up stops and arrests. Too many officers have come to know the communities they patrol primarily for their dangers, seeing everyone who lives there as a potential threat. And too many residents now view the police as an invading force, defined by their worst instances of abuse and impunity. Trust in law enforcement has hit historic lows in recent years, causing clearance rates for major crimes to stagnate. The high-profile killings of unarmed black people by the police over the past several years have demonstrated how dire the divide between cops and citizens really is—and how urgently it needs to be repaired.
In this climate of mistrust, Rockford was betting that its version of extreme community policing would be a model for how to undo entrenched practices and antagonisms. Thurmond and his partner, who would be known as resident officer community keepers, or ROCK cops, would be tasked not with arresting criminals but with treating the underlying conditions that breed crime. Unlike regular beat officers, they would have no fixed schedule or responsibilities. Available 24 hours a day, with their cell phone numbers widely distributed, they would go where the community needed them. The hope was that this small pilot program would not only shape the mind-set of individual officers but also grow to transform the culture of the department as a whole, in the process helping to reconstitute the fundamental way civilians and police interact with one another. If the job of policing could be redefined in this way, then maybe the city would be made safer.
Last year, when Rockford announced the program, Thurmond was one of only two officers to sign up, both of them African American. Thurmond lived on Chicago's West Side until he was nine, and kids used to tease him for declaring that he would grow up to become a soldier/fireman/cop, an imagined trifecta of uniformed public service. His mother, who'd served in the Navy, moved the two of them to the western suburb of Bolingbrook. In high school, Thurmond readied himself, joining the military drill team and the Reserve Officers' Training Corps. He abstained from drugs, knowing, he said, that one day he'd be peeing in a cup for the police exam. At Western Illinois University, he paid his way by signing up for the National Guard. He tattooed the archangel Michael, the patron saint of police officers, on his left biceps, and he joined the Rockford Police Department in 2016, one year after graduating.
When he announced the news, Thurmond estimates that 50 of his friends and family members dropped him on Facebook. “Fuck the police,” he read in their posts. Their cynicism amid reports of police violence and eruptions of protest didn't surprise him. But Thurmond held to a conviction, at times even quixotically, that he could show the haters that the police were no different from those they served. He didn't begin the job seeing himself as a reformer. He'd actually chosen Rockford in part because it was, as police say, “busy” with robberies, opioids, prostitution, and theft. Making a difference, he believed, meant getting guns and drugs off the streets. But the residency program appealed to his desire to reach out to those who feared or despised the police, as well as to his own evolving sense of doing good. “As a cop, you don't have to talk to people tough and mean-mugging,” he said. “You can talk to them as you would a friend.”
The other officer who volunteered for the program was Patrice Turner, a 41-year-old veteran of the force. Short and unassuming, with a wide, toothy smile, Turner manages effortlessly to be both calming and commanding at the same time. She'd been stationed inside Rockford public schools for several years. “Positive contacts with students,” she said. “Not buddy, homey, friend. I don't play games. But if you want to talk, if you're hungry, if you need something, I'm there.” She grew up in Rockford public housing, and although she moonlighted several nights a week doing security for a bank—to help pay for what she called her “one vice” of overseas vacations—she was die-hard in her commitment to the city. So last July, she and her teenage daughter moved into a little house on the west side of the river, in a neighborhood with rows of ranch houses and neat patches of yards. Her car was broken into, other cars in the area were vandalized, and crowds sometimes parked in the middle of the streets talking, smoking, playing music. Turner didn't pretend to know why crime in Rockford went up or down. She saw lots of heroin and knew that guns were easy to acquire. But she felt that the ROCK program matched the way that she had always thought about the job. “People are going to eat no matter what,” she told me. “They are going to rob or steal if they need to meet their basic needs. We can arrest them after the crime or help them beforehand.”
Dan O'Shea, Rockford's police chief, said that the traditional way officers understood policing wasn't going to move the needle on high rates of violent crime. “We have to change the old-school, cuff-and-stuff mentality of policing,” he told me. “It doesn't work.” He wanted his officers to immerse themselves in the city's neighborhoods; they needed to know residents personally, understanding that just a tiny percentage of the population were serious offenders. The police had to convince the public that they were legitimate and sincere. Only by joining with the community could his officers solve crimes and address their root causes. “Instead of 300 cops, I need 147,000 people working on this,” he said.
Thurmond and Turner began by walking their new neighborhoods, introducing themselves door to door, explaining their presence in the community. They were goodwill ambassadors, frontline resource providers, and they were there to learn what the city's neighborhoods required. They attended church services and community meetings. They rode their police bicycles, visiting local businesses and classrooms. “Why do you guys shoot everybody?” a little girl asked Thurmond. A high schooler met Turner with his arms lifted above his head, the “Hands Up, Don't Shoot” pose of protest adopted after Michael Brown was killed by an officer in Ferguson, Missouri. “I'm just sayin',” he told her.
The two of them weren't required to respond to calls coming over dispatch, but they did when they weren't otherwise engaged. During the days, they cruised the residential streets and alleyways in their districts. At the shopping complex near Turner's new home, a couple of the storefronts were vacant—there was an empty Payless, an abandoned Curves, and a dry cleaner with ghost lettering above its entrance. I followed her as she checked in with a guard at a bank that had recently been robbed and chatted with a hardware store manager. The anchor store was a Schnucks supermarket, and Turner drove a few minutes away to a boxy, one-story house to speak with an elderly woman who'd been banned from the store for putting cheaper price tags on groceries. Turner told the woman about the food pantries in the area and made her promise to see a doctor after she complained of vomiting and fainting. On another day, I was with Thurmond when he stopped to talk to one of his neighbors, a young African American woman who had moved to Rockford from Kentucky not long ago. She was working three jobs, she said, and she asked for Thurmond's help dealing with whoever was dumping old electronics behind her garage. “They wouldn't do that if they knew my heart,” she told him. He pulled up alongside a school where fourth graders were out on recess, and one of the boys on the wood-chip playground shouted, “We didn't do anything bad.”
“I know,” Thurmond said. “I'm just sayin' whatsup.” By the swings, he matched dance moves with a couple of the pigtailed girls.
Many officers in Rockford seemed to distinguish between what Thurmond and Turner did and what “real police” work entailed. “It's a cushy job; he kisses babies for us,” a veteran cop ribbed Thurmond in front of me. I heard a training officer bark at him as greeting, “You watch Sally Jessy Raphael yet today?” I never saw Thurmond lose his cheerful buoyancy. “Not yet,” he said.
But what Turner and Thurmond were doing was arguably the brunt of police work. Nationally, only an estimated 25 percent of 911 calls have anything to do with crime, and just 5 percent of arrests are for violent offenses . In Rockford, a third of the calls were the result of a domestic dispute, and engaging people properly could be the difference in whether a situation ended violently. The police are the boots-on-the-ground government workers who first encounter the mentally ill, the drug-addicted, the homeless, and the unemployed. As cities try to reduce the steep social and economic costs of mass incarceration, police departments are increasingly prioritizing communication skills, patience, and a better understanding of the support services that offer an alternative to lockup .
Research has supported this social-minded approach. In his new book, Uneasy Peace , Patrick Sharkey, a sociologist at New York University, documents how the dramatic drop in crime starting in the 1990s, which took place nationwide, corresponded with an increase in the number of nonprofits serving high-crime areas. That drop had previously been attributed, by politicians such as Bill and Hillary Clinton , and many others, to aggressive policing tactics that emerged from the “broken windows” theory of law enforcement. “Broken windows”—the idea that small infractions left unchecked lead to a collapse in social order—was first introduced by criminologists George Kelling and James Wilson in The Atlantic in 1982. “If a window in a building is broken and is left unrepaired, all the rest of the windows will soon be broken,” Kelling and Wilson wrote. “One unrepaired broken window is a signal that no one cares.” In the 1990s, the widespread adoption of “broken windows” policing resulted in the criminalization of panhandlers, loitering teens, and pot smokers; it contributed to the War on Drugs, the 1994 Clinton crime bill, the Los Angeles Police Department's rampaging CRASH unit, the horrors of “ Giuliani time ” in New York, and a police department in Chicago that demonstrated “no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color,” according to an independent review in 2016.
But there is another way to interpret Kelling and Wilson's findings. If a window is broken, police can arrest the person who broke it, but they can also help repair it. Sharkey believed that what makes areas safer is police who partner with the kind of nonprofits that do the “broken windows” work of maintaining social order—cleaning up trash, creating youth programs, helping people find jobs. Many departments are slowly beginning to understand “broken windows” in this way. In Los Angeles, a new policing program credits officers not for arrests but for walking their beats, often teaming up with former gang members to stop violence, and working with civic groups to start soccer leagues and develop health initiatives. The areas patrolled by these “guardian” officers have seen the steepest declines in crime of any Los Angeles districts. Rockford is hoping for similar results.
On a sunny day last October, Thurmond and Turner were preparing to host a Halloween event at one of the precincts. They had been living in the community for five months at that point, and “Pumpkins with the Police” was the third large function they had organized. They traded anxious calls throughout the day to figure out whether they had enough pumpkins and how to pay for additional ones. The ROCK program didn't have a budget, and the two officers regularly spent time soliciting donations from local businesses. When Thurmond arrived at the station house to set up, the contents of his trunk spoke to the wide-ranging job he was now undertaking: Next to a tumbleweed of police tape, collected from a recent homicide scene, were three plastic bags from Walmart filled with cookies, plastic cups, and napkins.
Pumpkins with the Police was being held in a gymnasium at a station that had previously been an abortion clinic, and before that a school. At one end of the gym, pumpkins the size of basketballs awaited their fate. Bales of hay were stacked against the opposite wall, in front of a “Rockford Police Department” backdrop. A young white woman with five children, the youngest of them a baby she carried on her hip, showed up 30 minutes before the event's start time, announcing that she had nowhere else to wait after picking up her kids from school. Thurmond greeted her with a smile, leading two of her boys to a beanbag toss in the center of the basketball court. The woman said she appreciated the station house being opened for them. Over the next hour, 30 other families arrived. The children sat at folding tables with their pumpkins, scooping out the goopy innards. One of the kids recognized Thurmond from his school and waved. Other police officers were there as volunteers, most of them in uniform, though one of the women from the precinct had on a sweatshirt that said: I STAND BEHIND THE THIN BLUE LINE. Turner's teenage daughter passed out cider and cookies. A pregnant African American woman shooed away her five-year-old son, deflecting his pleas for her help with his pumpkin: “You need to ask one of the police to carve it.”
The original idea for the Rockford program can be traced to a 71-year-old retired police chief named Charles Gruber. In the 1990s, Gruber became the top cop in Elgin, a city near Rockford. As one of his first directives, he announced that he would refurbish a number of houses in Elgin's most troubled neighborhoods and assign cops to live in them rent-free. Gruber said his officers needed to demonstrate that they did not show up only to make arrests; they had to intervene and participate in the community. At first, no one signed up for the new officer residential unit. Police found their jobs hard enough and wanted to leave work at the end of the day; they did not like the idea of becoming downwardly mobile by relocating to an area of high crime. “People in Elgin thought I was nuts,” Gruber told me.
Early in his career, Gruber had studied with Herman Goldstein, a pioneer of community policing who preached that the “community must police itself, and the police, at best, only assist in that task.” Goldstein was at the forefront of what is called, anachronistically, the “community era” of American policing. The notion that the police function might be other than enforcement had its beginning after the racial unrest of the 1960s, when police departments in northern cities felt pressure to improve their strained relationships with the black neighborhoods they patrolled. Some departments added special walk-and-talk units, and many made attempts to diversify their ranks, often after African American officers demanded change. The efforts were moderate and peripheral, but the results were generally positive—public trust in law enforcement increased, and officers reported greater job satisfaction—and the idea spread. By the start of the '90s, the Justice Department had formed its Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS, and was funding cities nationwide to create special community policing units. But officers were still promoted for making busts, not for creative problem solving or neighborhood accountability, and the prevailing belief remained that crime be met with swift and severe punishment. Community policing units of this era were increasingly isolated and drained of resources.
Eventually, Gruber was able to persuade seven cadets just out of the training academy to move into the renovated homes. Many residents welcomed the permanent presence of these cops; some did not. A couple of officers had their cars vandalized. Bullets were fired into one of the homes. A bowling ball dropped from an apartment window barely missed another officer, and three teenagers tossed a homemade bomb through the window of a third. But serious crimes in the targeted areas declined, and community members said their problems with gangs and drugs diminished. They were able to seek out the cop on their block for nagging quality of life concerns, like broken street lights and speeding cars or help with tutoring. A neighbor at the time said he liked having the officer nearby: “He'll actually put some law and order back into this neighborhood.” By the end of the decade, Elgin had expanded the program to nine officers, and similar initiatives had been adopted by a handful of other cities in Illinois.
In Rockford, however, police-community relations would have to get a lot worse before they could get better. In August 2009 , two Rockford cops, both of them white, spotted a 23-year-old African American man named Mark Barmore outside the Kingdom Authority church on the city's west side. Barmore, who was wanted for questioning after threatening his girlfriend the night before, was talking amicably to the pastor's wife. When he saw the police, he ran. The officers chased him inside the church, drawing their guns as they followed him downstairs where a child daycare was in session. Barmore shut himself inside a boiler-room closet. The officers did not call for backup. They did not pause to clear out the dozen children in the daycare cowering beside their teachers. And they did not try to reason with the barricaded suspect. They pushed their way into the cramped closet. The cops said Barmore grabbed one of their pistols before they shot him four times at close range ; three of the bullets entered his back. Barmore died at the scene.
Hostilities erupted in Rockford after the shooting. Marchers waving I AM HUMAN placards demanded that the two officers be brought to justice. Pro-police demonstrators took to the streets in response. Jesse Jackson and Louis Farrakhan drove up from Chicago to call for accountability and peace. A grand jury ruled the officers' use of deadly force justified, and no criminal charges were filed. In a separate federal civil rights lawsuit, the city of Rockford settled the case without admitting fault, agreeing to pay Barmore's family $1.1 million. Melvin Brown, the pastor of Kingdom Authority, said Barmore's killing was not an isolated incident. “There were two dozen homicides by the police at that time, all ruled justified,” he told me. “The people here do not trust the Rockford Police Department.”
After the Barmore incident, the police in Rockford did begin to institute reforms. Two civil rights attorneys were invited to conduct an independent review of the department, and the force followed most of their 27 recommendations. The department changed its rules on engagement. It added training on nonlethal force and removed obstacles to citizens filing complaints against officers. And the department ended the practice of investigating deadly force incidents internally, creating an oversight body made up of police officers from municipalities in the surrounding counties. Then, in 2016, Dan O'Shea, who had been on the force in Elgin for 17 years, was hired to lead the Rockford department. Although he had not been a resident officer in Elgin, he decided to replicate the program. He had seen the difference when cops lived where they worked. “When one of these officers shows up at the scene of a fight, he's known the kid for five years,” O'Shea told me. “The personal level leads to de-escalation. There's no success with us and them.”
In Elgin, budgetary concerns led the city to cut the number of resident officer homes back to four. Gruber now investigates police departments for the civil rights division at the Justice Department. He said the resident officer initiative should be the basis for policing standards around the country. “Every community, and especially what are thought of as the ‘bad' ones, wants protection and help,” he said. “But community policing can't be just a program. It has to be a philosophy. It has to be embedded in everything a department does.”
Turner started most days at a police precinct just west of the river, across from a low-rise public housing complex that was in the process of being shuttered. She liked to keep in touch with patrol officers and check in with her district commander before grabbing a squad car. One morning last November, I waited for her on the benches beside the precinct's front desk. A man in his early twenties with a faded neck tattoo sat across from me, making faces at a baby in his arms. “I'm sorry I'm not the best dad,” he said to the rawboned blond woman next to him.
“You just have to care, or whatever the fuck you said,” the woman told him. At least one of them was required to report regularly at the police station for a felonious reason I didn't make out. She groaned loudly. “I'm tired of Rockford.”
Moments later, a homeless man, immense and treading gingerly, rolled a suitcase through the electric doors into the precinct. He took a seat alongside me. His name was Jeremy, he broadcast to the room, and he had been banned from most of the shelters in the city for making threats and also, he added sheepishly, for carrying them out. Now he had nowhere to sleep, and the temperature had dipped into the forties, with a chilling rain. “It's OK, I'm used to it,” he said. But he was trying to puzzle out how he might retrieve a pair of his boots from a halfway house, because he could not legally come within 300 feet of the building.
The next person to enter was a man in his fifties with thick glasses, one of the holdouts from the neighboring housing project. It was his second visit that morning, and the administrator behind a glass partition greeted him by name. He had come by earlier to report that his television had been stolen. He knew the thief. She wasn't in Rockford at the moment, but the man had returned after sleuthing her real name. The clerk checked it against a database and announced excitedly that there was an existing warrant for the woman's arrest.
“You can call it in to Crime Stoppers,” she told him. If the police ended up making an arrest, he'd get a reward. “It could at least pay for the television.” The half-listening waiting room snapped to attention.
“Lure her back to Rockford, bro,” the guy holding the baby shouted.
“What you need to do is tell her you got a new TV,” another man plotted.
“Nah, I'll tell her I got some drugs,” the TV-less man said, warming to the plan. “She's a heroin addict.”
There was general agreement that this was the right tack.
“Get her in jail, bro!”
A few minutes passed, and Turner emerged to collect me. The baby-swaddling man said he recognized her. He'd been a student in a high school where she sometimes worked. “Were you good, or did you get on my nerves?” Turner asked. He'd been good for two years, he confessed, but then was kicked out.
Turner looked him over. “You working?” she asked. She had a knack for extending conversations, drawing people out to discover their needs. She told him about a bus that shuttled people from Rockford to a cluster of factories 45 minutes away. She learned about the opportunity not from her department or a team of social service providers or a list of vetted programs provided to the ROCK officers. She'd seen one of those suspect posters on the side of the road displaying only the word JOBS and a phone number. Turner had phoned—the transportation was free, the staffing company didn't ask about a criminal record or do a background check, and the pay was $12 an hour. All the young man would need was an ID and a social security number.
“No background check at all?” he asked eagerly. He turned to the mother of the baby. “I'd do 16 hours a day if they let me.”
Turner now walked over to Jeremy, who was missing his boots. He said he had no family in Rockford and wouldn't return to the Illinois town where he was from. Turner told him she would drive over to the halfway house and try to fetch his shoes.
Community policing is often dismissed by rank and file officers as “women's work.” Connie Rice, the civil rights attorney who helped the LAPD devise and implement its new community policing strategy , said that officers there disparaged the effort as “pussy policing.” But it may be that departments could learn from a less masculine approach. Women make up about 12 percent of the nation's police officers. While women have been found to use routine force at about the same rate as men, data collected by the National Center for Women & Policing showed that they accounted for only 5 percent of citizens' complaints of excessive force. Recent studies by Phillip Goff, a social psychologist at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, have determined that a sense that his manhood is being challenged—more than racism—predicts whether an officer will use excessive force against an African American suspect. Departments encourage and reinforce macho behavior in countless ways, and Goff pointed to community policing as an antidote. “By devaluing hypermasculinity, community policing can reduce the masculinity threat that results in hegemonic racial violence,” he wrote in a 2015 paper with L. Song Richardson. “Although male police officers would still ‘do' gender, their performance of masculinity would not be tied to physical aggression but rather to their ability to solve problems through creativity and innovation.”
As I rode with Turner, she took me through an affluent neighborhood nestled against the banks of the Rock River, drawing my attention to the aging mansions with handmade wood shingles and copper gutters gleaming in the sun. She said she wasn't the type to tell her colleagues how to do their jobs. “I am not a teacher of officers by any means,” she insisted. “I'm definitely not the one to say, ‘Hey listen to me.' ” But she explained that she was one of only five black women on the force, and she did believe that her department would be more effective if officers were better connected to the neighborhoods they patrolled. “If you grew up in Byron, Illinois, and never saw a black person, you might be fearful of your life,” she explained. “Where I might say, ‘Derrick, sit your punk-ass down. Every time you get mad, you talk shit.' That's the difference. I call it bringing gasoline or water to a fire. You don't bring gasoline. If I can talk my way into or out of a situation without putting my hands on anyone, that's a beautiful thing.”
Later in November, less than a week after I left Rockford, a young officer named Jaimie Cox pulled over a pickup truck on a commercial stretch of State Street, four miles east of downtown. It was 1 a.m. on a Sunday. No dashboard footage captured what happened next—Chief O'Shea would later say that the department couldn't afford the $5,500 cost to equip each car with a camera. But Cox apparently scuffled with the driver, a 49-year-old African American man named Eddie Patterson Jr., a supervisor at the Rockford sports arena who was driving with a revoked license. Patterson sped off, with Cox somehow tangled in the truck. Cox fired his service revolver and the truck crashed two blocks away. Patterson died from multiple gunshot wounds. Cox died of blunt force trauma .
I had met Cox while out on patrol with Thurmond. He was a baby-faced 30-year-old, who, like Thurmond, had served in the military and was relatively new to the force. He lived with his wife in South Beloit, an Illinois city of 8,000 along the Wisconsin border that is 83 percent white. Thurmond described Cox as a friend and a good officer. “He would tease me about the size of my big head,” he said. Cox was the seventh police officer to be killed in the line of duty in the city's history. After a funeral at the First Free Rockford church, his body was driven to the cemetery in a procession of police cruisers that extended for miles. It was a frigid day, but hundreds of people lined the streets, lofting blue flags. Chief O'Shea said the displays of support were proof that their community efforts were already bringing the police and the people there closer together.
But the incident also exposed some of the same fault lines that have long divided the city. There were those in the community who saw Eddie Patterson as another Mark Barmore—an unarmed black man in a deadly encounter with a cop. One of Patterson's daughters filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city. Pastor Melvin Brown of Kingdom Authority led a small march from his church, where Barmore had been shot, to City Hall. “They already put Cox out there as a hero,” he told me. “What if Cox didn't use police policy correctly and caused Eddie Patterson's death and his own death?”
Police officers wield an awesome power to determine what we know and believe to be true. On Rockford's streets, in any search or interrogation, the police author the factual reports and corroborate a version of reality that's hard to dispute. “It's not what happened, it's what the police said happened,” was a common refrain among those who trusted the police the least. Brown, whose family has been locked in ongoing legal disputes with the city over the Barmore case, demanded a federal investigation into Patterson's death. He had no faith in the police review board, created amid the Barmore fallout, that ruled on officer-involved shootings. Of the eight shootings by Rockford police since 2010, the oversight body made up of police officers had found each one justified. “Blue and blue ain't going to tell on each other,” Brown said. “All of them are buddies. Who's going to trust that?”
After Cox's death, Thurmond took a few days off work, visiting family members and getting together with fellow officers, but then he picked up extra shifts, wanting to stay busy. “I'm just trying to learn from it,” he said. “Slow down and assess every situation.” Turner told me that she felt the double tragedy of the traffic stop: “Two human beings lost their lives that night; two families were left behind to mourn.” She wasn't any leerier of her city or her job, and she repeated that there was a need for more police to reside in the areas they patrol. At one point, she exclaimed, as if seeing a prophecy of a better future, “Can you imagine what crime would do if all our officers lived in this city?”
But many activists dismiss community policing as a distraction from the greater problem of a racist criminal legal system. “We don't just need friendly officers,” Antar Baker, a youth program coordinator from Rockford's west side, told me. “We need laws in place that protect against abuses. We need rogue behavior prosecuted.” That sentiment is echoed by communities elsewhere that are calling not only for the defunding and disarming of police departments but also for them to be disbanded entirely. They have determined that it is fruitless to seek solutions from the very entities whose misdeeds they're protesting, and they are looking for alternatives to policing in community action and restorative justice. In Chicago, groups of organizers have opposed the building of a new training facility for police officers. The # NoCopAcademy movement said that the $95 million cost of the facility could be better used bolstering neighborhoods that were already heavily policed: “Real community safety comes from fully funded schools and mental health centers, robust after-school and job-training programs, and social and economic justice. We want investment in our communities, not expanded resources for police.” When I reached out to a group called Rockford Youth Activism to ask about police-community relations in the city, I received a short note that began: “Abolish the police.”
Community-minded police strategies have also come under attack from those on the other side of the political divide. Donald Trump has denounced criminal justice reforms as a “ war on police ,” and his administration has so far launched only one investigation of a police department anywhere in the country. During the Obama administration, a dozen police departments entered court-ordered reform agreements with the DOJ. Trump's attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has tried to roll back these consent decrees. Last December, the DOJ announced that its COPS division would no longer fund police forces nationwide looking to correct patterns or practices of misconduct that had tainted their reputations; instead, the office created to advance community-centered programs would focus on combating violent crime through hawkish policing strategies.
This retrenchment has resonated with officers in Rockford and around the country. The Fraternal Order of Police has requested that President Trump allow departments to ignore the recommendations of the Task Force on 21st Century Policing, which was established by the Obama administration to mend the public's rift with law enforcement. Blue Lives Matter groups, bristling at the idea that cops are racist or abusive, have gained large followings. Last fall, while riding along with Thurmond, I met Aurelio DeLaRosa, a Rockford police officer who had recently retired after 26 years on the force. He said the police chief who implemented reforms after the Barmore incident had stoked anti-police views and empowered the wrong people. “He kept us from going out and being pro-police,” DeLaRosa told me. “Wins gained previously went away and crime became rampant.”
In order for community policing experiments like Rockford's to become more than an idealistic sideshow—for them to become a model for a more democratic form of policing—they will have to survive these charges both of irrelevance and criminal abetment. The research shows that the war on drugs failed , that broken windows decimated neighborhoods, that community policing methods, even in the limited forms in which they've existed, increase trust in legal systems and make cities safer. Big-city police chiefs say they're on board, but neither the funding nor the social and political will necessary to change police culture has followed. Despite edicts from above and earnest efforts from within police forces, uniting cops and communities in a deep and lasting way remains a theory rather than a practice.
After decades of economic decline, there are signs of revival in Rockford. A hotel and a few new businesses and residential high-rises have sprouted downtown. The city's former industrial prominence means there's still a symphony orchestra, an impressive art museum, ample parkland, and blocks of stately Victorians that are good candidates for restoration. Several manufacturing holdovers endure as well. “You can't find an airplane that doesn't have a Rockford product on it,” Tom McNamara, the city's young mayor told me in his City Hall office. In 2013, local business leaders formed Transform Rockford, a nonprofit committed to turning the city into “a top 25 community by the year 2025.” The group was focusing on 14 different action areas, but crime reduction was key. “It all centers around safety,” said Jacob Wilson, the program director of Transform Rockford.
This emphasis on crime meant Chief O'Shea was testing a number of different policing strategies to contend with violent offenders and the prevalence of domestic abuse. He said he would also like to expand the ROCK program, placing a resident officer in nine of the city's ten patrol areas. But in the financially strapped city, a fuller investment in this form of preventive policing has yet to emerge. “Cops are very, very hesitant with change,” O'Shea said. Nevertheless, he believed he had found the right people in Turner and Thurmond: “She's super community-minded, and he's outgoing and wants to solve problems.” More importantly, O'Shea added, all of his officers were supposed to be doing the work of building up trust and legitimacy. “The day-shifters and old-timers who have pushed back, either you come around or find another job,” he said. “That's my number-one directive. It's a nonnegotiable. Every officer is to be out engaging with the community. Positive contacts, sitting around, chewing the fat, being a regular person. They need to see you for what you are.”
On one of the days I rode with Thurmond in his patrol car, he drove past the Stockholm Inn, a breakfast spot where he posted up one morning a week to talk with residents. He turned into a nearby Walgreens and went inside to view security footage of a retail theft. At Nelson Elementary, the school where he read to second graders, no kids were on the recess yard. He'd run out of ways to engage the community for the moment, and as he headed back to his east side bungalow he stopped to offer an older African American man a lift. The man, who was carrying several bags of groceries, declined Thurmond's offer, smiling but not breaking stride. “You sure?” Thurmond pressed. A ride, he insisted, was no problem. The man looked at the empty back seat of the squad car being presented to him. It represented far too much history. He repeated that he was good walking, and Thurmond left him reluctantly.
Thurmond pulled up outside his house moments later. He spotted a 14-year-old who lived on the block with his grandmother. The teen was wandering the streets with a friend. It was the middle of a school day. “I don't go to school,” the boy told Thurmond, without further explanation. He wore slippers, despite the cold, and he backed away incrementally as he gave clipped-sentence replies to Thurmond's inquiries. Whatever he and his buddy were up to, they were eager to get back to it.
“If you need anything, let me know,” Thurmond volunteered. “Just 'cause I'm police doesn't mean you can't talk to me.”
City rocked by recent violence
by Madison Marquardt
ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- There have been six homicides in the city of Rochester since June 1st, bringing the 2018 total to 11 lives lost at the hands of another.
Mayor Lovely Warren along with Police Chief Michael Ciminelli are urging residents to help through early intervention. They say that if you see something brewing on social media, or if you suspect cases of domestic violence, reach out to the city's Pathways to Peace program.
RPD is set to launch its new Community Affairs Bureau on July 1st. They hope dedicating officers to community policing will help to build trust and ultimately curb the violence impacting residents all over the city.
"You have individuals impacted, families, it also has an impact on the neighborhood so it's important we understand that and also look at the environment that we're raising our children in," said Ciminelli.
"Our children deserve to live in a safe and vibrant community. We can't legislate morality, we can not stop people from committing violent acts, however, I'm asking you to think twice before making those types of decisions," said Warren.
The mayor says that she and City Council member Willie Lightfoot are working on a campaign to raise awareness about gun violence.
"We really have to work together as a community to continue to raise awareness, especially to our young people, get to them early. Hopefully we can curb that type of attitude and violence that we're seeing in our community. This is a systemic, long term, deep routed in our community and in every community in America, but City Council here in Rochester, we're working on solutions," said Lightfoot.
Albany Mayor, Police Chief Urge Community's Help In cracking Down On Violent Crime
by Dave Lucas
Leaders in the city of Albany are addressing a spike in crime.
"We need for people to put the guns down," said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan at the Arbor Hill police station Tuesday afternoon.
Earlier this month, the Albany Common Council declared June 2nd "Gun Violence Awareness Day" and June "Gun Violence Awareness Month." Sheehan says it's imperative to get the guns away from people. "There is not a single street in the city where it's acceptable for there to be gun violence. And so, if your boyfriend, your son, someone in your apartment has an illegal gun, reach out. If you don't want to talk directly to the police, call Crimestoppers. We need to get these guns out of the hands of people who could use them in a way, whether it's in the heat of an argument, whether it's to settle a beef, whether they're just intending to scare someone, these guns can kill innocent bystanders.”
Sheehan says the community needs to step up in the fight to get guns out of circulation. Reading from a prepared statement, Acting Albany Police Chief Robert Sears stressed that one shooting is too many. "We need to convince folks that speaking with the police is the right thing to do and will help the community at large. We are making progress on this front but we still have work to do. This is one of the reasons why crimestoppers program is so important. People can make 100 percent anonymous tips to crimestoppers without ever being identified. " The number to call: 1-833-ALB TIPS. Or use Capital Region Crimestoppers website .
Sears says there have been 21 shootings this year so far. Last year the city saw 45. The five-year average is 30. Of the 40 gun seizures in the city this year, all have been illegal weapons. The acting chief explained that police are working to get more officers in areas where crime is the highest, in numbers that would fluctuate, making the force more visible over the coming weeks. In addition to patrol cars, residents should expect to see officers on foot, bike and horseback.
The mayor says no child on any city block should be placed in danger. "We the city have really focused on West Hill from every perspective, not just the police, but including our General Services, our water department, our planning department, looking at the environment, looking at what we can be doing internally within the city to reduce violence. And some of those are things like going through street by street and identifying where you have trees that are overgrown and covering streetlights, where you have overgrown lots. Where you have places where we need to be cracking down on code enforcement, the things that we can be doing to ensure that we're not creating an environment where it makes it easy for people to engage in violent activities."
Community policing in troubled areas has included activities like bike rodeos, barbecues and block parties. Officials hope those interactions will pay off. "As the police department will tell you, if they are engaging with somebody who is either at risk of being a shooter or being shot, it's not that we just go and tell them 'please don't do this.' We go and tell them 'Please don't do this and how can we help you?' How can we help you connect to safe housing. How can we help connect you to a job? How can we help connect you to workforce development?' And so there are tremendous opportunities, and one of the things that the police will tell you is that all of these illegal guns, we can do all we can to try to curb the supply side, but we've got to end the demand side. Why are young people in particular, why is anybody keeping a gun illegally? And so, to deal with that demand side we have to connect people to opportunities."
Sheehan adds that the city has scholarships available so that people can be paid while they are engaged in workforce development programs. "There is tremendous opportunity that is available out there. I tell young people in particular in our communities that the number one complaint I hear form employers is that they cannot find people to fill jobs. That's opportunity."
Although he did not give a number, Sears again said there would be "more" officers visible on streets in the days to come. He did note that 20 state troopers continue to accompany some officers on road patrols , under an initiative started in 2017 by Governor Andrew Cuomo to combat what he called the "twin scourge" of the opioid epidemic and gang violence.
'Stop and Frisk' is Over, But Low-Level NYPD Encounters Now Raise Concerns
by Katarina Zimmer and Elise Hansen
One fall evening about two years ago, a man named Dister was walking with a friend in Washington Heights, near 173rd Street, when he was abruptly approached by a pair of police officers.
“Hey, where you guys going? Are you coming from a train station?” Dister recalls them asking loudly.
Dister, who does not want his last name published, saw no apparent reason for the officers to approach him and his friend in the first place.
He perceived the officers' questions as unnecessary and confrontational, but said he didn't feel comfortable ignoring them or just walking away. These kinds of experiences have been a regular occurrence for him in his Washington Heights neighborhood, he said.
For Dister, the era of “stop, question and frisk” isn't over. Experts warn that he isn't alone in his experience, although it is hard to say how common it is because similar episodes affecting numerous New Yorkers may never show up in the NYPD's statistics.
Official stop numbers have plummeted since a groundbreaking federal lawsuit in 2013 ruled the NYPD's stop and frisk tactics unconstitutional. But those statistics only reflect the most serious type of stop. Other encounters which don't meet the standard of a high-level stop take place without leaving a trace in the public record.
While the NYPD calls such stops “low-level,” advocates say they can still leave residents feeling intimidated and targeted, such as when the officer approached Dister and his friend.
“[Stop-and-frisk] numbers don't accurately reflect anything of the lived experience of people of color in their in their communities,” said Darian Agostini, a youth organizer for the non-profit Make the Road New York.
In an attempt to address the disconnect between data and reality, members of the original lawsuit filed a recommendation with the courts on Friday, June 8. They ask that the court require the NYPD to keep a record of lower-level stops, not just those deemed most severe.
“The only way to ensure and monitor whether officers are lawfully exercising their authority is to have some record of those [low-level] encounters,” said Jenn Rolnick Borchetta, director of impact litigation at The Bronx Defenders and an attorney in the stop-and-frisk case.
“To me, the supposedly enormous decrease in stops is an NYPD bait-and-switch in plain sight,” she said.
What the numbers don't reveal
The reporting of low-level encounters is one of the latest concerns in an ongoing debate over stop-and-frisk. Reforms have taken place since the landmark lawsuit in 2013, when a federal court ruled the way the NYPD had been carrying out stops was racially discriminatory and therefore, unconstitutional; it ordered the department to reform the practice.
Yet despite five years of ongoing reforms, concerns linger.
While the number of stops has plunged from a peak of nearly 700,000 stops in 2011 to just under 11,000 by the end of 2017, stops still overwhelmingly target people of color, according to an official analysis of stops from 2013-2015. The NYPD has claimed that its stops are based on descriptions of suspects from witnesses and victims over 311 and 911 calls, and that the decrease in stops demonstrates a more targeted approach to policing.
Some remained unconvinced by this explanation. “Racial disparities are essentially unchanged” from before the court's ruling, said Darius Charney, senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights and one of the attorneys on the stop-and-frisk case.
“[The NYPD] is still targeting stop and frisk at primarily young people of color and they're doing it, we think, very intentionally. And that's not only a problem; that's illegal,” he said.
But in addition to the official disparities, “low level” police interactions in historically overpoliced neighborhoods can escape scrutiny altogether, since they don't have to be reported.
If a police officer walks up to someone only to ask questions like “Where are you going?” or “What are you doing here?” this is generally considered a “Level 1” or “Level 2” encounter—not an official “stop,” according to the NYPD's patrol guide . In theory, a person can refuse to answer questions or leave the interaction at any point.
A Level 3, or “Terry,” stop—a “stop and frisk” stop—only occurs when an officer has “an individualized reasonable suspicion that the person stopped has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a felony or Penal Law misdemeanor,” according to the patrol guide . In this case, the civilian could not disregard the officer or walk away. A Level 4 stop involves an actual arrest. These Level 3 stops—and any Level 4 arrest that results from it—are the only kind that are included in stop-and-frisk statistics.
However, these are tricky lines to draw in practice. Experts have expressed concerns that many people would not feel free to walk away from a police officer under any circumstances. Encounters an officer might consider relatively benign might be having a profound impact—and be blurring the lines of the law.
“Officers are likely doing what they are trying to argue is less intrusive investigation, the
Level 1 and 2, and really people are experiencing it as a restraint on their freedom, which makes it legally a stop,” said Borchetta.
“Because black people in New York have experienced so much over-policing, many for their entire lives, they are not going to assume that they're free to leave unless an officer tells them that,” she said.
Agostini agrees. These kind of encounters are “the everyday experience of black and brown young people in New York City,” he said. “We know that's not going on in other parts of the city that are either whiter or more affluent.”
Would you walk away?
Dister said that in his experience, he did not feel free to leave. “You never feel free to leave when you have someone asking you questions with a badge and a gun,” he said.
Charney reviewed a summarized version of Dister's account. “The NYPD would probably say this is a Level 1 because, in their view, the questions the officers asked were not ‘accusatory,'” he wrote in an email. “I think asking somebody where they're going and/or coming from is accusatory. I think this is at least a Level 2.”
However, if the situation was such that a “reasonable person,” in the courts' parlance, didn't feel free to leave, that could escalate the encounter to a Level 3, and therefore it would be considered a stop that should appear in NYPD stats, Charney added.
It's precisely these ambiguities surrounding such experiences that worry so many experts, their concern bolstered by a spate of interviews and forums over the last several years.
Thousands of residents from the most heavily-policed areas of city participated in a series of community forums and focus groups over the last several years as part of the reform process. Participants frequently said they would feel uncomfortable walking away from an officer who was questioning them.
“I think I would need verbal confirmation [that I was free to leave] because people get shot out here by cops,” said one participant, whose identity was kept anonymous in records of the meetings.
The NYPD's press office did not directly respond to request for comment, but did provide a link to its publicly available patrol guide, which can be found here .
A separate guide for officers on investigative encounters from 2016 provides the following comment: “Some individuals may feel as if their personal liberty is intruded upon and they are not free to leave whenever they have any interaction with a police officer. This should not be the case.”
The debate over ‘Right to Know'
The Right to Know Act, passed last December, was a recent legislative effort to bring more clarity to police encounters. One part of the act requires officers to ask for consent before searching a suspect and to explicitly explain that they have a right to refuse, in cases where there is no reasonable reason to do that search. A second part requires officers to identify themselves formally during encounters with civilians and to provide a business card if no arrest or summons occurs.
“The more that police are required to tell people what their rights are in an encounter, the more people will be able to exercise the freedom that the law intends them to have,” said Borchetta.
However, officers don't have to formally identify themselves or provide business cards during low-level encounters. Although the act originally proposed it be required in low-level scenarios, in the end it was only applied to Level 3 stops.
At the time, this change was criticized by city council member Donovan Richards: “Let's be clear. The most common interaction between police and my constituents are Level 1 and traffic stops, whether the data shows it or not,” he told City Limits in December.
Agostini sees this as an issue, explaining that the youths he works with, who are frequently approached by police officers, are typically not handed a contact card after such encounters.
“When my young people are in the park and they're being asked to move or they're being asked to leave, or they're being asked for identification, they're not receiving any documentation that this is an actual stop by a police officer, even though that we know that there is no reasonable suspicion for the police officers to be engaging with those young people,” he said.
A new request for change
Nobody knows how many low-level stops are taking place, although an ongoing study at NYCLU is trying to quantify this based on surveys.
To address these concerns, the facilitator of the Joint Remedial Process, the part of the court order that requires community input on the NYPD's reforms, has submitted a request to the courts that officers keep some record of lower-level stops.
The NYPD initially rejected most of the recommendations that arose from the Joint Remedial Process, arguing that most of the suggestions were already underway. Documenting Level 1 and Level 2 stops, it argued, would create undue paperwork and a “chilling effect” on informal conversations. The NYPD has not yet responded to the plaintiffs' counterarguments in its filing on Friday.
On top of not reporting low-level stops, official reports show a chronic tendency of officers to not report the Level 3 stops that they are required to document. A December report from the court-appointed monitor who is overseeing the reforms put underreporting of those stops as high as 42 percent for early 2017.
Despite this, most believe that the NYPD has indeed made some improvements to stop-and-frisk. Most observers believe that some of the decrease in stops has been real, and that fewer citizens are being stopped unnecessarily or without reasonable suspicion.
Moreover, the advent of community policing has been heralded as a way to improve the relationship between the police and the community.
“Neighborhood Policing reflects a cultural change for our entire agency…and for everyone who lives in, works in, and enjoys New York City,” Police Commissioner James P. O'Neill said in a May statement .
Eric Adams, Brooklyn's borough president and a former NYPD captain who testified against the NYPD's practices in the 2013 trial, said he rarely hears complaints about stop and frisk from his constituents now.
However, he believes that change takes time. “I think that anytime you attempt to reverse a long-standing condition, such as a culture, a police culture, it doesn't change instantly. It's like trying to turn around an ocean liner,” he said.
For his part, Dister doesn't have high hopes that further legislation will change policing in his neighborhood. “They do as they please and there's nothing we can do about it,” he said. “This is a very, very deep-rooted issue.”
Police officers at risk of PTSD when investigating child sexual abuse cases
by the University of Surrey
Police officers investigating child sexual abuse cases experience high levels of stress and anxiety putting them at risk of post-traumatic stress disorder, a new report in the Journal Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies and Management, has found.
In the first study of its kind in the UK, researchers from the University of Surrey and the University of Essex examined the psychological impact investigating child abuse cases has on child protection police officers .
Surveying 101 police officers from 12 forces across the country, researchers found that more than a third were suffering from secondary traumatic stress , having interviewed victims and alleged perpetrators, impacting on their mental and emotional wellbeing. Secondary traumatic stress is the emotional response experienced when an individual is exposed to the first hand trauma of others and can lead to post traumatic stress disorder.
It was also found that 11.9 per cent of participants had experienced moderate to severe levels of anxiety and 5.9 per cent were categorised as moderately depressed as a result of their work in investigating child sexual abuse.
During the study researchers also examined whether other factors including, age, gender, length of service as a police officer and the experience of abuse as a child, increased an officer's likelihood of developing secondary traumatic stress. Unlike previous studies in the USA, no relationship between such factors and developing secondary traumatic stress was found.
Senior NHS Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Amy-Kate Hurrell, formerly of the University of Surrey, said:
"Police officers investigating childhood sexual abuse have such an important role to play in the safeguarding of children. It is essential that their psychological well-being is supported so that the cumulative impact of listening to traumatic information does not do lasting damage to their mental health."
Dr. Simon Draycott, Senior Teaching Fellow at the University of Surrey, said: "Child abuse is a heinous crime and it is understandable that police officers are negatively impacted during investigations.
"For some police officers there is a significant psychological cost of working in child sexual abuse cases and we need to ensure that proper provisions are in place to support their psychological wellbeing and prevent any health issues escalating."
Dr. Leanne Andrews, Senior Lecturer at the University of Essex, said: "The main finding that the total number of interviews with suspected perpetrators of child sexual abuse , reported adult survivors of CSA, and reported child victims of CSA in the past six months, was associated to higher levels of secondary traumatic stress is extremely important for Police Forces to take account of when developing their wellbeing policies."
FBI warns of rising number of sexual assaults on commercial flights
If you're heading to the airport, the FBI wants you to "be aware."
Investigators said they're seeing a growing number of sexual assault cases on commercial airline flights.
The number of reports is growing "at an alarming rate," according to the FBI.
There was a 66-percent increase in cases opened by the FBI from 2014 to 2017, up from 38 investigations of midair sexual assault to 63.
And the agency said on Wednesday that the actual number of cases could be much higher.
"Every assault is different; every circumstance is. There's not a specific profile. It's male on female, female on male," FBI Special Agent David Rodski said.
Many of the assaults happen on flights when the cabin is dark and the victim is asleep.
"Offenders will often test their victims, sometimes brushing up against them to see how they react or if they wake up," said Brian Nadeau with the FBI's field office in Baltimore, MD.
The agency launched a campaign earlier this year called "Be Air Aware," asking people to come forward if they may have been victims.
Antwon Rose Protests Continue In Pittsburgh For Third Straight Night
People in Pittsburgh are calling for justice after a police officer killed the unarmed black teen on Tuesday.
by Antonia Blumberg
For the third day in a row, hundreds of protesters continue to call for justice over 17-year-old Antwon Rose Jr. 's killing by an East Pittsburgh police officer.
The protesters traveled through downtown Pittsburgh and across the Rachel Carson Bridge on Friday, pausing at intervals to read from a poem the Woodlands High School honor student had written about police brutality two years prior to his death.
“I see mothers bury their sons,” the poem read, in part. “I want my mom to never feel that pain.”
At one point during the demonstration, all the 17-year-olds gathered at the center of the group to highlight Rose's young age when an officer killed him as he ran away, unarmed, on Tuesday evening.
Friday's demonstration comes just hours after protesters blocked Interstate 376 in the city, shutting down portions of the highway for more than five hours from Thursday night into early Friday morning.
By Friday afternoon, the protest was going strong once again and appeared poised to continue into the night.
Michael Rosfeld, the officer who killed Rose, shot him three times in the back as the teen ran from a vehicle stopped as part of an investigation into an alleged drive-by shooting.
Authorities said they found two semi-automatic handguns inside the vehicle Rose had been riding in, but confirmed that the 17-year-old was unarmed at the time of his death. Rosfeld is reportedly on unpaid leave pending the results of an investigation.
On Friday afternoon, Allegheny County Police Superintendent Coleman McDonough released a statement denying media reports that there was video footage showing Rose firing a gun and that gunshot residue had been found on the teen's hands.
“Both reports are false,” McDonough said. “We caution the media about providing irresponsible information from sources that are not verified.”
In Major Privacy Win, Supreme Court Rules Police Need Warrant To Track Your Cellphone
by Nina Totenberg
In a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Friday that police must obtain a search warrant to access an individual's cellphone location information. The 5-4 decision imposes new limits on law enforcement's ability to get at the increasing amount of data that private companies amass in the modern technological age.
Cellphone providers routinely keep location information for customers to help improve service. And until now, the prevailing legal theory was that if an individual voluntarily shares his information with a third party — for instance, by signing up for cellphone service — police can get that information without a search warrant.
A near-perfect tool
On Friday, the Supreme Court blew a hole in that theory. Writing for the court majority, Chief Justice John Roberts said that cellphone location information is a "near perfect" tool for government surveillance, analogous to an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet. The writers of the Constitution, he said, would certainly have understood that an individual has a privacy interest in the day-to-day, hour-to-hour and even minute-to-minute records of his whereabouts — a privacy interest that requires the government to get a search warrant before gaining access to that information.
The case before the court was brought by Timothy Carpenter, prosecuted as a ringleader in a series of armed robberies in Michigan and Ohio. Cell tower information placed him at the robbery sites, and this information became damning evidence at his trial. Carpenter appealed his conviction, contending that police unconstitutionally invaded his privacy without getting a search warrant first.
The Supreme Court agreed on Friday, declaring that the routine court order that police obtained in Carpenter's case required only a showing that police were seeking relevant information. A search warrant requires that police meet a far higher standard.
"Big Brother is coming"
"Big Brother is coming and we need to stop it. That seems to be the big takeaway from the opinion," said Orin Kerr, Fourth Amendment scholar at the University of Southern California. "It almost reflects an anxiety about technology thwarting privacy. If we don't stop the government here, what will they be able to do?"
"This is a landmark privacy case," said Jameel Jaffer, director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. "It's also a very significant case for First Amendment freedoms — that is, for the freedoms of speech and the press and association. A government that can track your every movement without a warrant is a government that can freely monitor activist political associations, or monitor government employees' contacts with the press."
But Jaffer conceded that the decision poses practical problems. "It's going to be hard to apply this framework to new facts," he said.
Protecting privacy from progress
Chief Justice Roberts cast the decision as a narrow one. He said it does not disturb "the routine use" of subpoenas to obtain financial, bank and other business records, nor does it prevent police from obtaining cell location records without a warrant in emergency circumstances, such as when police are faced with a fleeing suspect, a kidnapping or threats of imminent danger.
Roberts also said Friday's decision does not call into question the use of security cameras and other techniques, and it "does not consider other collection techniques involving foreign affairs and national security." What it does do, he said, is "ensure that the progress of science does not erode the Fourth Amendment" guarantee of privacy.
Roberts, a conservative, was joined in the majority by liberal justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. The court's four other conservative justices — Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch — adamantly dissented, each writing separately to indicate his strong disagreement.
"A blizzard of litigation"
Kennedy's dissent noted that "cell site records are created, kept, owned and controlled by cellphone service providers, who even sell this information to third parties." Therefore, he said, Carpenter cannot claim ownership or possession of the records and has no control over them.
Alito chimed in even more strongly. "The Court's reasoning fractures two fundamental pillars of Fourth Amendment law, and in doing so, it guarantees a blizzard of litigation while threatening many legitimate and valuable investigative practices upon which law enforcement has rightfully come to rely," he said.
He called the majority decision "mystifying" and "puzzling," and he noted that service providers routinely charge cellphone users a fee to inspect their own records. "It would be very strange if the owner of the records were required to pay in order to inspect his own property," Alito said.
Thomas said that the case should turn not on whether a search occurred but on whose property was searched, and "the Fourth Amendment guarantees individuals the right to be secure from searches of their persons, houses, papers and effects." Here, he said, the records don't belong to Carpenter but rather to the service provider.
Gorsuch put forth an entirely different argument that no other member of the court embraced.
An open box
Ed McAndrew, a former federal cybercrime prosecutor, agreed with some of the dissenters' concerns. He noted that cell location information is often gathered in the early stages of an investigation when there isn't enough information for a search warrant. The same is true in terrorism and national security investigations.
"The national security context is only going to be different if we're dealing with foreign nationals," McAndrew said. "If we're dealing with American citizens, the Fourth Amendment principle is going to apply."
Moreover, cellphone data are more reliable than more traditional sources of information, he said. "[Data] are better witnesses than human beings ... who may be biased, may be uncooperative, may have a faulty memory."
Justice Breyer, who joined Friday's majority opinion, may have foreseen some of these problems at oral argument. "This is an open box," he said. "We know not where we go."
While Friday's decision may limit the government's access to cellphone data, it has no impact on the ability of private companies to amass, use and sell their customers' information. That is because the Fourth Amendment only limits government conduct, not private conduct. Only Congress, in enacting legislation, can limit how private companies amass and use information.
Looking back, looking forward: Predicting the state of policing in 2043
Over the past 25 years, technology has driven seismic shifts in how law enforcement operates, so what can we expect the policing profession to look like 25 years from now?
Technology is evolving so fast every day that it is hard to think about 25 years from now. At Axon's Accelerate symposium , a panel of visionaries – moderated by Axon VP Mike Wagers – discussed the changes they have seen in policing and how to predict where public safety will be a quarter century from now.
Chief Jim Bueerhmann (ret.), President, Police Foundation
Dr. Joe Schafer, President, Society of Police Futurists International
Darrel Stephens, Executive Director (ret.), Major Cities Chiefs Association
Mike Wagers: When you look back over the past 25 years of policing, what observations come to mind?
Darrel Stephens: It was a time when policing was really under the gun. In the mid-1990s, we saw the highest level of crime we had seen in many years; the number of people killed in homicides is half that today. People were looking to the police to help with this tide of violent crime. When the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 passed it really spread the idea of community policing and problem-solving. Then money became available through federal grants to hire more police officers and introduce technology in a way we hadn't seen before.
Mike Wagers: Are police and community relations better or worse today than in the mid-1990s?
Joe Schafer: The more things change, the more they stay the same. One of the things that struck me recently was when you compare the 2015 Final Report on the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing – which articulates six topic areas or pillars – to the Kerner Report in 1968 , you can see advances in education, training, policy and oversight, but we are still talking about many of the same issues. Building trust and legitimacy is a pillar from the 2015 document, and while we weren't using that language in 1968, community relations was a component of the Kerner Report.
Not to say that there have been no advances in the last 50 or 25 years – there have been tremendous advances – but there are also changes in what society expects of its police officers and police departments. There are expectations of even greater levels of police performance with better crime reduction approaches. This is not simply viewing the police as a hammer and crime as a nail, but viewing community problems as a diverse set of circumstances that require a diverse set of responses. People want smarter officers and smarter police strategies and that is a challenge.
Mike Wagers: How did 9/11 impact policing?
Darrel Stephens: Before 9/11, we spent a lot of work developing relationships and problem-solving, which led to positive connections in most of our communities. 9/11 caused a shift in the way folks focused on resources, particularly in larger urban areas. We were not quite sure what to do, so we did lots of training and developed assets to gain and use intelligence to help keep communities safer from terrorist attacks. The 9/11 terror attacks had enormous impact in the way we thought about policing and pushed us to where when Ferguson occurred, we did not have the same level of connections as before 9/11.
Mike Wagers: How has Ferguson shaped policing?
Joe Schafer: Policing is still the most effective when it is done with people, not to people. We may have forgotten that a little bit in the 2000s, where policing became something done to communities rather than with communities. Ferguson may have been one of the more positive outcomes, reminding us that those local connections and relationships matter.
There is the challenge that as more technology becomes available, we do not lose sight of the human aspect of policing. While technology is wonderful in that it streamlines operations, improves efficiency and provides better training, information and data to officers, it doesn't replace the human interaction an officer has with a crime victim or a witness. When technology becomes a surrogate for that human interaction, we may lose the gains in trust and legitimacy agencies have built up and return to the sterile relationships we saw between police and communities in the 1960s.
Policing also exists in a very cyclical manner. If you look at 175 years of policing in the United States, it runs on a 50-year cycle. We are in the crisis and reform era just like we were in the 1960s, but a lot of growth and transformation is spurred by that so it is an exciting time. It is a time when strong leadership is needed with clear vision. The policing profession needs to be talking about how technology can be used ethically and what is acceptable to community members. If we don't have those conversations, we risk technology being legislated out of use.
Mike Wagers: We hear a lot about drones , autonomous cars and robots in policing. What will a police department look like 25 years from now?
Joe Schafer: Things can move very quickly. If we had been having this conversation five years ago, we would have been talking about body cams. People might have known that technology existed, but a single critical event led to a radical transformation. So when you think about the future, one of the key things is not to assume that change is linear. There can be periods of radical and exponential growth, such as the growth in the technology we can access on our phones. We can say that technology will continue to play a critical role, that AI is coming and will shape decision-making. Whether this is good or bad depends on whether police organizations participate early on to guide technology in the right direction, which requires strong leadership from personnel and professional organizations.
Mike Wagers: Will technology put police officers out of work?
Jim Bueerhmann: Policing can be automated, but the issues that cause police to show up on someone's doorstep won't change. I think there is going to be a point in the not- too-distant future where cops won't be driving cars – you will be sitting there preparing for the call as the car can drive better than you can. There are certain things AI can do better than human beings. The cost of policing is off the charts, so communities are going to have to think differently about how many cops they have and how we leverage what we can afford with the technology at the end of the day.
Darrel Stephens: Police over the years have been good at taking things on and resolving them. We have to look for technology that is going to be able to help us confront and deal with challenges more effectively. Our population is changing very rapidly. There are lots more elderly who are more easily victimized, and we have not got our arms around cybercrime. Part of dealing with that more effectively involves collaborations and partnerships. The financial community knows a lot more about theft and loss than we do. We have also been hearing for a long time that the gap between the poor and the wealthy is increasing. This is going to be worse for our minority communities, who will be the majority 25 years from now in 2043. There are lots of issues policing will have to work out going forward and we have to look to technology to help us.
Accelerate 2019 is scheduled for April 30-May 2 in Phoenix, Arizona. Register now at https://www.acceleratepolicing.com/ .