Many thanks to NAASCA's Terri Lanahan, Butte, Montana,
for her research into the news that appears on
the LACP & NAASCA web sites.
Why Police Should Embrace Communities—Not Shut Them Out
A former police chief on
why the job should be more
than “runnin' and gunnin'.”
by CEDRIC ALEXANDER
ON AUG. 21, 2018, beginning at 5:29 p.m., Tamar Manasseh streamed live smartphone video to Facebook from the corner of 75th and Stewart in her Englewood neighborhood on Chicago's South Side. She narrates 20 minutes of a “police chase on the block,” saying, a police officer has “his gun out, and he's chasing somebody. … Here come some more. They got guns out, and they're chasing somebody. … If you're chasing somebody with a gun, what happens when you catch him?”
Nobody answers her question, so she answers it herself: “Oh, they shoot themselves in the back of the head. I forgot.”
A crowd gathers and grows, watching, as the police presence likewise gathers and grows. “They really mad,” Manasseh assesses the mood of the police. “They got the chopper out!”
Everybody's got questions. Manasseh's got questions.
“So, I'm just wondering what they're down here for. Because I've heard no gunshots. I haven't heard anything. … Is this what it looks like in your neighborhood when there's no shots fired?”
Maybe the officers were looking for a dangerous person posing an imminent threat to the community. Maybe they were apprehending a suspect wanted for harming someone the residents knew or loved.
Manasseh notes various “white shirts,” a neighborhood term for lieutenants, sergeants and the like, but none of them approaches the onlookers. Likewise, no one in the crowd on the corner flags down a patrol vehicle or foot officer, if that is even possible. Why would they? With the squad cars, helicopters, guns and sheer numbers, the police resemble an invading army.
We've all seen this before. Time and again, we've seen what happens when the police and the communities they are sworn to serve and protect do not communicate or trust one another.
In the early 1980s, I was an officer in the Miami-Dade Police Department. It was there I was introduced to a concept we now call “community policing.” It was so radically new it didn't even have a name. Back then, policing in urban Florida was all about runnin' and gunnin', kickin' ass and takin' names. But Major Doug Hughes, the commanding officer of Central Precinct, was determined to build relationships with people not just on the neighborhood streets, but in places like the James E. Scott Homes, a grim, low-rise subsidized housing development that had become shorthand for drugs, gangs, intimidation and murder.
Hughes wanted us to treat the Scott Homes like a neighborhood. It was no easy command. There really were some dangerous people living there. But we soon learned that most of the residents were folks who just wanted to raise their families in peace and safety. When we proved to them that we were there to help, they reached out to us in return.
Fast forward to 2015. As a member of President Obama's Task Force on 21st-Century Policing, I listened when Camden County, New Jersey, Police Chief J. Scott Thomson explained that “community policing starts on the street corner, with respectful interaction between a police officer and a local resident.”
That interaction is missing from Manasseh's video.
In Englewood, Manasseh does the kind of outreach the Chicago Police Department should be doing. For her, it began after the June 2015 shooting of 34-year-old Lucille Barnes on the corner where Manasseh later shot the video. Barnes was killed and two other women wounded. Manasseh didn't know Barnes, but she was moved to do something. That was to start MASK, or Mothers Against Senseless Killings. She recruited others into her “Army of Moms,” who “spend hours sitting on the corner of 75th Street and South Stewart Avenue chatting to passers-by and offering them barbecue,” she told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency wire service. “If I didn't do something, it would come for my kids eventually,” she said. To Chicago Magazine, she added that the bearing witness, the sharing food, and the talking “have been enough to stop gun violence there.”
Really? The statistics back her up. The corner, in the middle of a violent neighborhood, saw zero shootings in 2016, according to the JTA article, and this year, the Chicago Tribune reported that gun-related incidents continued to decline in the area.
So what was happening in the police encounter caught in Manasseh's video? I called Glen Brooks, the C.P.D.'s director of Public Engagement. He got back to me and explained it began when officers spotted a vehicle involved in a shooting. A flash message was sent to all cars. Officers went to stop the vehicle and the subjects threw a weapon out of the window. A subject was subsequently apprehended.
Brooks also said the department is acquainted with Manasseh, who has received national attention for her anti-violence efforts, and that they've been planning to meet with her. As of September, they hadn't, due to “scheduling conflicts.” In a message relayed through her rabbi, Manasseh said police still have not told her the reason for the commotion she recorded.
I'm not sure they told me, either. The date Brooks gave for the encounter he described was Aug. 30, not Aug. 21, the date of the video that I asked about. Brooks did not return two follow-up fact-checking calls from an editor at The Marshall Project.
Whatever the date, if indeed it was about a bad guy misusing a gun, I'm glad they got their man (or woman). But I would have hoped they could have done so without traumatizing a neighborhood, let alone squandering the potential resource of neighbors who could have helped facilitate a far more peaceful apprehension.
A personal note: In 2016, I was a finalist in Chicago's search for a new police superintendent. I am not here to second-guess their leadership in 2018. Indeed, runnin' and gunnin' without stopping to talk is hardly police behavior indigenous to Chicago.
But, based on the stats—more than 600 murders and 2,800 shootings in the city so far this year, and zero on the corner of 75th and Stewart since Manasseh and others began sitting there—I am convinced there is a better approach. And a community that should be embraced, not ignored by police racing off to apprehend someone.
‘We'll Dig Graves': Brazil's New Leaders Vow to Kill Criminals
Jair Bolsonaro's Been Called a Misogynist and Fascist. Here's Why Women Still Back Him.
Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil's newly elected president, is known for his offensive remarks about women, but his hard-line agenda on crime has spurred many to vote for him. We heard from women on both sides.
by Ernesto Londoño and Manuela Andreonim Nov. 1, 2018
RIO DE JANEIRO — Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil's next president, won over millions of voters by vowing to make it easier for the police to kill criminals and crush the nation's violent gangs, often flashing a gun sign with his hands.
A “good criminal is a dead criminal,” Mr. Bolsonaro said on the campaign trail.
The type of draconian approach Mr. Bolsonaro promised has already been employed for months in Rio de Janeiro, his home state, where the military has overseen security operations since February. It has led to a surge in killings by the authorities — and a debate over whether the tactic is working.
Between March and September, the police and the army killed at least 922 people in the state of Rio de Janeiro, a 45 percent increase from the same period last year. Nearly one in every four people killed here since March have died at the hands of the state.
Opinion polls suggest a broad majority of people in Rio de Janeiro support the military intervention. But while reports of crimes like robberies and cargo theft have declined in the first seven months of the military takeover, the total number of violent deaths in the state has increased.
“The reduction of violence is strategic to Brazil,” said Samira Bueno, the executive director of the Brazilian Forum for Public Security, which studies violence trends. But so far, she added, “it has been discussed through myths and formulations that aren't fact or evidence based.”
Brazilians broadly agree that drastic measures need to be taken to curb the extraordinary wave of violent crime in the country, which led to the deaths of a record 63,880 people last year.
In Rio de Janeiro state alone, more than 5,197 people have been killed this year — far more than the 3,438 civilians killed in conflict last year in Afghanistan, according to United Nations figures.
The staggering level of violence weighed heavily on voters over the weekend. Along with Mr. Bolsonaro, other politicians who had vowed to hunt down suspected criminals were rewarded at polls, setting the stage for a period of intensified bloodletting.
Mr. Bolsonaro, who won by a decisive margin, said in August that police officers who gun down armed criminals with “10 or 30 shots need to be decorated, not prosecuted.”
Wilson Witzel, a former federal judge who was elected governor of Rio de Janeiro in an upset victory clinched by running as a Bolsonaro ally, put organized crime groups on warning during a speech days before the vote.
“There will be no shortage of places to send criminals,” he said. “We'll dig graves, and as to prisons, if necessary we'll put them on ships.”
This week, he said he favors extending the military intervention, which is set to end in January, for an additional 10 months. And he proposed using snipers, some aboard helicopters, to gun down anyone spotted carrying a weapon in low-income urban communities known as favelas.
João Doria, a former mayor who was elected governor of São Paulo on Sunday in a tight race, vowed to raise money so that the “best lawyers” could defend police officers sued for killing suspected criminals.
Drug gangs have controlled scores of neighborhoods in several large cities in Brazil for decades, becoming the de facto authority in areas the police seldom go into. Confrontations for territorial control between rival gangs, and clashes with the security forces, greatly contributed to the record bloodshed last year.
Gustavo Bebianno, a prominent member of the Bolsonaro campaign who has expressed interest in serving as his justice minister, said that Brazil's growing violence problem will “become irreversible” unless decisive action is taken soon.
“If a lowlife is on the street carrying a weapon ostentatiously, he should be a target,” Mr. Bebianno said. “You don't talk. You talk after shooting. Why would a decent person be carrying a weapon of war ostentatiously on a public street?”
Gen. Walter Souza Braga Netto, the Army commander who was appointed to lead the military intervention in Rio de Janeiro, said the vast majority of people killed by the police are “irrational thugs.”
Asked to explain the surge in police killings since the intervention began, General Braga Netto explained that his men had trained the police in marksmanship and helped them procure and maintain equipment, leading to better accuracy.
“There was a lot of shooting, and basically no one hit anyone,” he said, referring to police operations before the intervention began. “We trained the police and they learned how to hit the target.”
Experts warn that encouraging the police to become even more lethal is unlikely to address the root causes of violence, and may well exacerbate them.
“You're implementing the death penalty in the police's day-to-day activities,” said Ms. Bueno. “In addition to being illegal, contrary to the constitution and immoral, it will make police officers more vulnerable.”
Much of the violence in Rio de Janeiro is driven by criminal organizations known as militias, made up of active-duty and retired police officers and military personnel acting on their own. They have become increasingly powerful in communities neglected by the state by extorting protection money from residents, operating unlicensed public transportation businesses and muscling into the drug trade.
Militias are suspected of some of the worst crimes committed in the city in recent months, including the drive-by shooting of Marielle Franco, a leftist city council member killed in March, and the killing of a judge in 2012.
Many residents in areas that have become increasingly lethal battlegrounds dread the prospect of more violence in the months ahead and question whether the military intervention will produce a lasting drop in crime.
“It puts everyone at risk,” said Sueli Oliveira, 73, who lives in the Santa Marta favela in Rio de Janeiro. She noted that some of the soldiers who have been deployed to restless favelas in recent months hail from those communities. “They're pitting the poor against the poor,” she said.
“The armed forces can't keep the public security of states under its guardianship indefinitely,” Gen. Braga Netto said. “We come, give support, teach them how to manage it, and then we leave.”
Retired Gen. Augusto Heleno Ribeiro Pereira, whom Mr. Bolsonaro intends to name as defense minister, said that the new president hasn't signaled whether he wants to continue to rely heavily on the military to address urban violence.
“It's not the mission of our dreams in the armed forces, but if it is necessary, it will continue,” Mr. Heleno said.
Adriana Beltrán, a security expert at the Washington Office on Latin America, said Latin American leaders are increasingly finding it tempting to rely on the armed forces in areas where the police are outgunned and the criminal justice system is dysfunctional. But Brazilian leaders should take note of what has happened in Mexico and Honduras, she said.
“The use of the military has not resulted in the disruption of criminal activity or dismantling of criminal networks,” Ms. Beltran said. “In many cases, gangs and criminal groups have increased their level of organization and sophistication. The cases of Mexico and Honduras demonstrate how the reliance on the military for policing can increase human rights abuses, including torture, disappearances and extrajudicial killings.”
Beyond proposing to ease the rules of engagement for the police, Mr. Bolsonaro has said that some teenagers should be prosecuted as adults for violent crimes, and he has promised to make it easier for civilians to lawfully carry weapons for self-defense.
The rise of tough-on-crime politicians effectively marks the end of the policing strategies that helped drive down violence here in Rio when they were set in motion a decade ago.
In 2008, the government established a network of so-called Pacification Police Units in favelas across the city in an effort to wrest territorial control from criminal groups. The government managed to reestablish control of dozens of formerly lawless areas, often without firing a shot, paving the way for promised investments in education, health and sanitation systems.
Those investments, however, never fully materialized. And the approach was abandoned amid a budget shortfall in the state, which was exacerbated by a sweeping corruption scandal.
Eliana Sousa, who heads Redes da Maré, a community organization in the Maré favela, one of the largest in Rio de Janeiro, said she fears that empowering the police to use greater violence will make matters worse.
“This shooting-down policy already exists,” she said. “What is the result? Rising violence.”
Joelma Viana, a 39-year-old single mother who lives in Chatuba da Penha, a favela in northern Rio de Janeiro, said her life was turned upside down in August during a two-day operation in her neighborhood.
Ms. Viana, a restaurant cook, said the police ransacked her home, destroyed a television set and stole a jewelry box, a watch she had bought her son for his birthday and her favorite pair of hoop earrings.
“The modest amount I have been able to save has been a product of a lot of sacrifice, so in that moment, I felt demolished,” said Ms. Viana, who filed a police report on the theft and destruction of her property. “After living here for 38 years, I have never faced something like this. I feel humiliated. I want justice.”
New York City
24 Years Later, Woman Who Was Maligned After Rape Gets Apology From Police Commissioner
New York's police commissioner, James P. O'Neill, apologized to the victim of a 1994 rape in Prospect Park, whose story investigators doubted. Earlier this year the rapist was identified through DNA.
by Ashley Southall
It took 24 years, but a woman who was raped in a Brooklyn park and then maligned by police officials and a columnist who doubted her story has received what she wanted: a formal apology from the New York City police commissioner.
The commissioner, James P. O'Neill, said in a letter released on Sunday that the treatment of the woman and the handling of the case amounted to a “miscarriage of justice.”
Police officials, quoted by a columnist in The Daily News, cast aspersions on the woman's report of being dragged off a path in Prospect Park in broad daylight and raped at knife point on April 26, 1994. Investigators then allowed the case to languish for decades after a lab report showed they had been wrong.
Mr. O'Neill wrote in a letter to the woman that the police had “let her down in almost every possible way,” compounding her pain. “For that,” he added, “I am deeply and profoundly sorry.”
It was a remarkable admission of failure by the head of the nation's largest police department, which has struggled recently with shortcomings in the Special Victims Division that investigates sex crimes.
Rarely do big-city police commissioners publicly apologize, and Mr. O'Neill's letter seemed to reflect a cultural shift in attitudes toward victims of sexual assault and harassment, fanned by the #MeToo movement. Mr. O'Neill, a career police officer, has staked his legacy on building trust with communities wary of the police.
The woman, who is African-American and now 52 years old, said in an interview that the apology left her feeling grateful and unexpectedly emotional.
“I wanted to see this happen so that the N.Y.P.D. would have to take a public stance in support of survivors, so that there would be a public statement that would make it clear that it was safe and beneficial for survivors to come forward to the police, and that they would not be attacked or pilloried by the police,” she said.
“I was very caught by surprise to see that acknowledged in black and white.”
The commissioner at the time, William J. Bratton, apologized three days after the attack for the police role in airing investigators' doubts publicly. But Mr. O'Neill went further, saying they were wrong to doubt her in the first place.
Sonia Ossorio, the president of the New York City arm of the National Organization for Women, called the apology “unprecedented.”
“It's meaningful to all survivors, and it sends a message,” she said. “You can't move forward until you recognize and acknowledge what has been failing. And it really is our greatest hope that this translates into a new era for the N.Y.P.D. and police departments across the country.”
The case became a flash point after police officials told the columnist, Mike McAlary, that the woman had made up the attack to promote a rally for lesbian and gay rights. At the time, the woman said she was a lesbian. She now describes herself as bisexual. Nora Ephron explored the case in the play “Lucky Guy,” which ran on Broadway in 2013 with Tom Hanks playing Mr. McAlary.
The doubts raised in 1994 about the account by the survivor of the Prospect Park rape drove a wedge between the police and the overlapping communities of sexual assault victims and lesbian and gay people. Mr. O'Neill lamented that divide in his letter, singling out the hoax accusation as “egregious.”
“I firmly believe that no one in the N.Y.P.D. would draw such an implausible and ridiculous conclusion today,” he added.
The Police Department reopened the investigation a year ago after accusations of sexual assault against the movie producer Harvey Weinstein were published, fueling the rise of the #MeToo movement, which has felled the careers of more than 200 powerful men and forced a national reckoning about consent, sexual assault and believing women who make complaints.
The issues took center stage last month as Christine Blasey Ford testified against a judge, Brett M. Kavanaugh, at his confirmation hearing for a seat on the Supreme Court.
When Mr. O'Neill met with advocates for women during the uproar over Mr. Weinstein, they told him the Prospect Park case still “cried out for acknowledgment,” Ms. Ossorio said.
DNA evidence has linked James Edward Webb to the rape. Mr. Webb, who is in prison, can not be prosecuted for the 1994 assault because too much time has lapsed under the law on the books at that time.CreditNew York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, via Associated Press.
In January, semen on the woman's shorts led officials to identify the woman's attacker as James Edward Webb, a serial rapist who was already imprisoned for subsequent attacks on other women. Too much time had passed to charge him under a state law that has since been repealed.
John Miller, a former police spokesman who is now the deputy police commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism, later apologized after The New York Times published a letter from the woman, who said he owed it to her.
Mr. Miller acknowledged that he had been unfair to the woman when, as the police spokesman at the time, he revealed that investigators had doubts about the woman's credibility.
In a column that appeared two days after the attack, Mr. McAlary cited unnamed police officials who questioned her account, under the headline: “Rape Hoax the Real Crime.” Mr. McAlary, who died of cancer in 1998, wrote, “The woman, who will probably end up being arrested herself, invented the crime, they said, to promote her rally.”
When the semen was found, Mr. McAlary wrote that a police official had deemed the laboratory wrong. It turned out, however, that top police officials involved in the case had misunderstood the technical language of the lab report.
The woman's DNA had commingled with her attacker's, and the technology that allowed investigators to identify Mr. Webb more than two decades later had not been developed. The case went cold, and Mr. Webb raped at least four more women.
The woman filed a libel suit against Mr. McAlary and The Daily News in Manhattan Supreme Court that Justice Charles Ramos dismissed in 1997 after she could not prove the columnist had acted maliciously. Mr. Miller gave a deposition on behalf of Mr. McAlary.
“I am very disappointed that John Miller has never been held accountable for the unconscionable statements he made,” the woman said, “and all that followed from them.”
Her lawyer, Martin Garbus, said Mr. O'Neill's “fantastic” apology was undermined by his decision not to take action against officials still in the department who damaged the case.
“The institution takes it on the chin,” Mr. Garbus said. “He's protecting his people there, and he's protecting sexism and racism.”
Public apologies often require police officials to walk a fine line between admitting mistakes and criticizing the work of their officers. Mr. O'Neill drew a backlash from police labor unions in 2016 after he said the police had failed when Deborah Danner, a 66-year-old mentally ill woman in the Bronx, was shot and killed by a sergeant. The sergeant, Hugh Barry, said he had acted in self-defense and was later acquitted of murder.
Other police leaders have expressed regret for their officers' actions: Philadelphia's police commissioner, Richard Ross, apologized to two black men who were arrested while waiting for a business partner at a Starbucks, one of several recent instances that have gone viral on social media of white people calling the police on black people who were doing nothing wrong. The department later changed its arrest policy for trespassing.
Since accusations against Mr. Weinstein became public, more people have come forward to the police with complaints about their own victimization, and officials have noted an increase among people reporting attacks from previous years. As of Oct. 25, the Police Department had received 1,487 rape complaints, up nearly 27 percent from the 1,178 it had gotten during the same time frame last year. One out of every four rapes reported this year was from a prior year, compared with one of about every six rapes in 2017.
A Department of Investigation report in March found that its Special Victims Division was understaffed and its investigators poorly trained and overworked.
Mary Haviland, the executive director of the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault, said the report was devastating to advocates who thought the department was trying harder to solve sex crimes.
After initially rejecting the D.O.I. report, the Police Department announced that it was devoting more resources to the unit, including hiring more than 36 investigators, just over half of the number the report recommended. The police also started “The Call Is Yours,” a public service campaign on subways, buses and social media encouraging survivors to report their experiences.
Sexual assault survivors have said the department could still do better. Ms. Haviland said their frustrating experiences in having their complaints investigated spoke to a need to strengthen the sex crimes unit with more experienced investigators and to protect its case management system from leaks.
The City Council is preparing to vote Monday on a legislative package that would require the Police Department to put the report's recommendations in effect. The measures include a bill that would require all police officers to receive sensitivity training.
Susan Herman, the deputy commissioner for collaborative policing, said the police planned more changes. The apology, while long in the making, was an important step, she said, adding, “It's never too late to do the right thing.”
Former Sheriff's Deputy in Houston Indicted in Killing of Unarmed Man
by Jacey Fortin
A former sheriff's deputy in Houston who shot and killed an unarmed black man who was acting erratically was indicted Thursday on a felony charge.
The deputy, Cameron Brewer, encountered Danny Ray Thomas at an intersection in Houston in March. Mr. Thomas, 34, who was unarmed, had his pants around his ankles. According to the Harris County Sheriff's Office, he walked toward Mr. Brewer and did not comply with the deputy's demands to stop. Mr. Brewer, who is black, then fired a single gunshot that fatally wounded Mr. Thomas.
After an internal investigation by the sheriff's office, Mr. Brewer was fired in April because he had not adhered to the department's policy on use of force.
On Thursday, a Harris County grand jury indicted Mr. Brewer on one count of aggravated assault by a public servant, a first-degree felony that carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.
“Our democracy depends on the public's trusting that police are here to protect us,” District Attorney Kim Ogg of Harris County said in a statement. “When they exceed their lawful authority, our community holds them accountable, and that's exactly what this grand jury of ordinary citizens did.”
The indictment is the first issued by a Harris County grand jury for a fatal shooting by an on-duty law enforcement officer in 15 years.
Mr. Brewer did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment on Thursday evening.
“The brave men and women of the Harris County Sheriff's Office hold our community's trust as sacred,” Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said in a statement on Thursday. “We will continue striving to earn that trust anew, every single day.”
Many people in Houston criticized the shooting as a case of excessive force and the latest example of a law enforcement officer killing an unarmed black person.
When Mr. Brewer had exited his car to confront Mr. Thomas on March 22, his body camera was not recording. But the sheriff's office later released footage from his car's dashboard camera that offered one angle of the encounter.
In the video, Deputy Brewer stops his car behind two men having an altercation in the street. The deputy can be heard yelling at Mr. Thomas as he walks toward pthe car. “Get down, man! Get on the ground,” the deputy screams repeatedly, before, out of the camera's view, a single gunshot rings out. Mr. Thomas was pronounced dead at a hospital.
A Hurricane's Chaos. A Cry of Looting. Then Gunfire.
by Alan Blinder and Richard A. Oppel Jr.
PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Ceely Taylor had not seen her fiancé in two days when, frightened and worried, she went to the authorities. In the chaotic days this month after Hurricane Michael struck the Florida Panhandle, he had somehow vanished.
But by the time Ms. Taylor described Dakota Brooks, the 6-foot-tall steam plant worker she was engaged to, to a police investigator, he was already dead — killed not by the hurricane's ravaging winds or storm surge, but by a state law enforcement officer who may have thought he was a looter.
It took days for Mr. Brooks's friends and family to learn his fate in the frenzied aftermath of the Category 4 storm, which killed 19 people in coastal Bay County and left hundreds of families searching for missing relatives — hampered by downed power lines, unreliable cellphone service and shaky internet connections.
Witnesses said Mr. Brooks, having gone out for a walk after the storm, was spotted after rifling through cars and scuffled with a state law enforcement agent in the moments before he was shot. For Ms. Taylor, though, that does not answer the questions that trouble her most: How could he have survived one of the worst storms ever to hit the Florida Panhandle, only to die when it stopped raining? And why, when she had barraged the authorities with questions about her fiancé, did it take days to learn that he had been the victim of a law enforcement shooting?
“I don't want to say, ‘Screw Hurricane Michael, he's the one who did this to my fiancé,'” said Ms. Taylor, still wearing the engagement ring Mr. Brooks gave her in July. “But if there hadn't been a hurricane, or maybe if we had just left town — there's a million ‘what ifs' I could play out.”
State officials, citing an inquiry in progress, have repeatedly declined to detail the circumstances of the shooting and have revealed almost nothing about the episode, not even officially disclosing Mr. Brooks's identity.
The Florida Department of Financial Services, which employs the officers involved in the shooting, said in a statement that it had only “very preliminary” information, but that it appeared “this was not a looting situation.” The officers, whose names have not been released, are on administrative leave, the department said.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which is leading the investigation, said it could not comment on the case.
Some of those who knew Mr. Brooks, including his employer, said they knew of nothing — such as a history of drug abuse or significant brushes with the law — that could easily explain the confrontation that began after he left Ms. Taylor's parents' house on the evening of Oct. 11, about 24 hours after the hurricane carved a trail of destruction in Panama City.
The couple had considered evacuating with Ms. Taylor's 3-year-old son when the storm started steering toward the Panhandle about two weeks ago. But Mr. Brooks had to work at his job as a foreman at the local power plant, and the couple wanted to save money. On Oct. 9, they gathered at Ms. Taylor's parents' home, where they began waiting out the storm with a meal of pot roast and gumbo. The hurricane made landfall the next afternoon.
A day after the storm roared ashore, and with the Panhandle in ruins, Mr. Brooks went to check on their home, bringing back a canvas picture of him with Ms. Taylor and her son. They did some storm cleanup, and as dusk approached, Mr. Brooks decided to return to the couple's house.
“He was going to go to our house — clean up and get ready for the next day that would be full of work,” Ms. Taylor said. “I took it as he needs to decompress and get away. You could tell he was shaken up about the hurricane.”
He could not find the keys to his green Ford F-150, so he set out on foot, without even his shoes.
Hours passed. As the night fell darker, Ms. Taylor went to the home. She unlocked the door and left a note on the door, asking him to return to her parents' house.
“Dakota,” she wrote, “I am looking for you b/c you told me you were coming here. I love you. Cee.”
But sometime after he began his walk, according to accounts from witnesses, Mr. Brooks ended up on Pinetree Road. It was a familiar spot, a street in which he had rented a house in the past, but on that Thursday evening, the neighborhood was not normal.
Thick trees were downed. Phone service was out. Power lines were bent. As the afternoon light waned, state law enforcement agents arrived in two sport-utility vehicles, stopping at a home to check on an elderly man, according to Landon Swett, a nurse who had been standing in his yard nearby, talking with a friend.
Elsewhere on the street, a woman left her home and found Mr. Brooks outside, holding a few items he seemed to have taken from parked cars, including a CD and a box of Altoids. The woman, who asked not to be identified, said she confronted Mr. Brooks and, learning from others that the police were already nearby, sought out the officers.
Mr. Swett heard the woman's warnings. “A girl comes out of nowhere saying, ‘He's looting, he's looting,'” he said. The man — whom Mr. Swett was later able to identify as Mr. Brooks after seeing a photograph — did not appear to be under the influence of anything, he said, but seemed to be at “some breaking point.”
Another neighbor, who asked not to be identified discussing a sensitive event, said he, too, had heard the woman describe looting and identify Mr. Brooks, who he said appeared “nonaggressive” and shamed. The man turned back to his yard, believing any danger had passed.
But in the minutes that followed, Mr. Swett warned Mr. Brooks against looting, and said that Mr. Brooks replied, “Is this looting?” as he opened the driver's door of one of the police vehicles, got in and closed the door. The officers, part of a state agency that generally investigates arsons and insurance fraud, rushed back out toward the street.
At least one drew his weapon, the witnesses said, and Mr. Brooks was pulled from the car. A brawl erupted.
“He got away from the police, was kind of flailing and throwing punches,” said the woman, who recalled an officer being struck repeatedly. She said she saw Mr. Brooks reaching for an officer's weapon.
She heard one shot. Others recalled two. Either way, Mr. Brooks, apparently wounded, ran toward a yard and ended up on the ground. The woman heard an officer pleading after he handcuffed him: “Stay with me, stay with me.”
Ms. Taylor could only wait once she had left a note at the couple's home. She drove back to the rental home the next morning, expecting to find Mr. Brooks when she arrived. He was still absent.
She went to the jail, wondering whether he might have been arrested for violating the county's curfew. The authorities, swamped by technology troubles, could tell her nothing. She drove around town. She called friends.
Two days after Mr. Brooks's disappearance, Ms. Taylor reported him missing. Desperate, she followed someone's advice to check with the medical examiner's office, also to no immediate avail.
It was not until Oct. 15, four days after he had left the house, that Ms. Taylor learned the truth from Mr. Brooks's sister, who had just been told that he had been the target of a fatal police shooting — not far from where he had left her.
Since then, Ms. Taylor has been trying to understand what might have happened. He was not, she said, “the kind of guy to get in the vehicle and close the door and act like he was going to drive off.”
She questioned the gravity of any threat that Mr. Brooks might have posed, though she said that he had been on “high alert,” clearly unnerved by the storm. And she expressed deep concerns about the days of silence from the authorities, including how an investigator had taken a report and not known — or not disclosed — what had happened nearby.
“It makes me assume the absolute worst,” Ms. Taylor said. “It's horrible that I don't even have the confidence to read a police report and believe that it's true.”
On the day she learned of Mr. Brooks's death, Ms. Taylor went out into the yard where her son was playing. The boy tried to reassure his mother: “It's O.K., Mommy, he be back,” he told her.
“Kota's gone to heaven to be with Jesus,” she told him.
‘Kota died?” the boy replied, appearing puzzled.
He asked again the next morning whether Mr. Brooks was back.
No, she said.
On Saturday, the day of Mr. Brooks's funeral, neighborhoods in Panama City still posted spray-painted signs threatening to shoot looters. Along Pinetree Road, a pile of hurricane debris sat in a yard. Still tangled in it was a long strand of crime scene tape.
Let's redefine community policing: It should not be a paramilitary force
by Andrea McChristian
Fifty-one years ago today, the Newark Rebellion was sparked by police abuse of a black cab driver . At that time, the police force was overwhelmingly white in a city with a substantial black population. Newark residents took to the streets to protest law enforcement abuse and the oppressive conditions under which they had been forced to live.
Fifty-one years later, and on the second anniversary of the Newark Police Division Consent Decree , this story of policing is part of a broader national conversation.
In today's America, on any given day, there is another police-involved shooting. Another unarmed black person. Another failure to indict the officer responsible. The tragic shooting of black people, from city to city, has become our status quo.
In the face of this endless wave of violence, numerous solutions have been advanced to stem the tide. More policies and practices! Better training! Increased oversight! Transparent accountability!
But underlying this discussion are two threshold questions: Who polices? And what does it mean to police?
A constant refrain that I have heard time and time again in response to this second question is that "the police are a paramilitary force."
Instead of seeing New Jersey police departments as agencies that treat communities as enemy combatants in war, how do we instead build a relationship of trust between law enforcement and the communities it serves?
To that point, much has been made of the concept of community policing. According to the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, community policing is "a philosophy that promotes organizational strategies that support the systematic use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques to proactively address the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues such as crime, social disorder, and fear of crime."
Yet, to me, community policing is so much more. A true vision for community policing is one in which, far from being a paramilitary force, law enforcement joins together in partnership with the community; police officers are held accountable for their misconduct; and there is a recognition of the historic broken relationship between law enforcement and the community in building the way forward.
In short, effective community policing must bring together law enforcement and the community to problem solve and strengthen understanding. And it would stand to reason that ensuring law enforcement represents the community it serves would be of paramount interest in carrying out these goals.
New Jersey has significant work to do in this area. A 2015 Governing report found that New Jersey police departments are characterized by some of the greatest underrepresentation of people of color vis-a-vis communities served among the country's largest police departments. And a 2017 survey assessment of 1,050 Newark Police Division officers and 42 non-officers found that 37.9 precent identified as black in a city that is 50.2 percent black ; even more stark, 40 percent of those surveyed identified as white, while just 24.4 percent of Newark is white .
Importantly, the work to create a community policing model cannot be done until law enforcement agencies first grapple with the harsh reality that generational discord, trauma, and conflict have undermined the relationship between law enforcement and the community. Police must take a step back and listen to what the community wants and needs. What they need to police. Who they want to police. And why they should police.
But what could such a community policing model look like in practice?
First, law enforcement agencies should look to the community to put forth recommendations on potential recruits from their own neighborhoods. Since community members are the ones policed, they are in the ideal position to recommend which of their own members would do the job well. In addition to the selection of potential recruits, community members can also be asked their top priorities for policing in the neighborhood -- a dialogue that should ultimately frame policing strategy.
In this way, community members have ownership over the policing of their communities, increasing police legitimacy and community-police relations. Law enforcement agencies should also commit themselves to funding and implementing these community recommendations.
And second, to supplement these community proposals, law enforcement agencies must do more to increase community recruitment, including by developing positive relationships with local schools to identify students who exhibit the necessary skills to become effective and respected officers, strengthening mentoring opportunities between current officers from the local community and potential recruits, and providing comprehensive support and resources to prepare local applicants for the civil service exam and any other requirements.
With this, we can eventually reach a point where the police are unequivocally and uniformly not a paramilitary force policing the community. Instead, they will be the community.
7 Acts of Community Policing Around The Holidays
by Mary Kate McGrath
The holidays are a time to give back. The season inspires people to contribute to their communities in the form of time, like a volunteering commitment, or resources, like a donation to an important charity or cause. This time of year also presents many opportunities for law enforcement professionals to connect with the neighborhoods they work in. Across the country, many local police departments have already invested in community policing initiatives to do just that. These programs give officers the chance to meet and communicate directly with citizens, and better understand and serve the neighborhoods in their community.
What is Community Policing?
What is community policing, and how can law enforcement participate during the holiday season? Community policing, or community-oriented policing, is a strategy that focuses on building trust between citizens and law enforcement through mutual understanding and collaboration. These programs are also meant to encourage partnerships between local police and first response teams, local government, non-profits and other organizations, small businesses, and most important of all, citizens. In towns and cities across the country, community policing is becoming a crucial common practice.
How Does Community Policing Help?
Community policing measures are helping law enforcement better manage safety in their communities, while enabling citizens to have a voice in public safety management. It helps ensure that communities are served by culturally-fluent cops who approach their work in a way that is empathetic and with the best interests of the people in mind. There are lots of ways for the community to participate, and these programs can help build key relations between law enforcement officials and the community.
The holidays, with toy drives, holiday gatherings, and increased time for community meetings, are the perfect time for law enforcement to get more in touch with neighborhoods they've sworn to keep safe. The season of giving is also an opportunity for local safety managers to provide much-needed assistance for more vulnerable communities.
Here are 7 real examples of community policing so far this holiday season:
1. Delivering Turkeys for Senior Citizens – Washington, DC
In Washington, DC, the Metropolitan Police Department delivered turkeys to J.W. King Senior Apartments in the Sixth District. Thanks to this community policing effort, those who might not have been able to go out for a traditional Thanksgiving meal had it brought to their door. It was also an opportunity for police to chat with local residents and hear their thoughts.
2. Thanksgiving Luncheon for Homeless Veterans – Miami, Florida
The Miami-Dade Association of Chiefs of Police held a Thanksgiving luncheon for homeless veterans at Marlins Stadium. This provided a chance for officers and other law enforcement to sit down with people from a vulnerable community and learn what they can better do to ensure their safety.
3. Kids Community Holiday Party – Norwalk, Connecticut
In Norwalk, Connecticut, the Community Services and Community Policing Unit plan and coordinate events for both children and adults. Their initiatives include a Coffee with a Cop program.
A highlight is surely their annual Children's Holiday Party, which draws a crowd of over 150 kids and provides lunch and entertainment. The holidays can be an expensive time, and the event is meant to make the holidays more inclusive of the city's more vulnerable families. The officers hand out gifts to every kid at the end of the party.
4. Toy Drive – St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada
In St. Thomas, Ontario, police officers stood in for Santa to get gifts for families in need.
5. Thanksgiving Turkey Drive – East Brooklyn, New York
In Brooklyn, New York, police officers gave out up to 20 turkeys for families in need. It's a great example of local law enforcement engaging with their community and giving back.
6. Spreading The Word With Santa – St. Cloud, Minnesota
In St. Cloud, Minnesota, a local officer took this funny picture with Santa to promote the cities 'see something, say something' policy. A safe and secure way to report suspicious activity is anonymous 2-Way Tip Texting.
7. The Santa Squad – Woods Cross, Utah
In Wood's Cross, Utah, citizens can ship their holiday packages to the local police department if they're worried about porch theft or inclement weather. It also creates an opportunity for local law enforcement to chat and connect with the community as they stop in to pick up their holiday packages
CRIMINOLOGY CAREERS BASICS
How Police Are Different Around the World
Police are organized differently in other countries
by TIMOTHY ROUFA
While criminal justice and law enforcement share a lot in common across nations, there are also plenty of key differences. If you're used to what law enforcement looks like in the United States, you may be surprised to learn just how different the structure, organization and even practices of police agencies around the world can be.
A Rose by Any Other Name
For the most part, the functions of police organizations - and the jobs of police officers - are the same or similar from country to country. Whether you're in Russia, New Zealand, the United States or Argentina, police officers are responsible for maintaining public order; ensuring safety and security and preventing and investigating crimes.
Same Mission, Different Design
The differences become apparent when you begin to look at how those organizations are constituted, the equipment they use, and the ways in which they go about their jobs.
Perhaps the most striking difference in policing between the various nations is the structure and organization of the police system itself. These differences are broadly categorized as centralized and decentralized. These terms refer to the number and authority of police organizations within a country and the specific role of those agencies.
Not Always So United States
The United States reflects a decentralized system in which there are multiple levels of law enforcement and police services, all of which are essentially independent of each other. In the U.S., every political subdivision has the ability to provide police services, so that almost every city, town, village, county, and state has at least one and possibly multiple law enforcement agencies, all of whom operate within their own chains of command.
While these organizations often cooperate and operate in concert with each other, they also perform overlapping and duplicative services and are not formally responsible to one another. The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that there are approximately 17,000 different police forces within the U.S., making the nation perhaps the most decentralized country in the world with regard to policing.
In contrast to the decentralized model seen in the U.S., Sweden employs a completely centralized police force, in which only one agency - the Rikspolis - is responsible for providing law enforcement, policing and investigative services to the entire country.
Various Levels of Centralization
While the U.S. and Sweden are the opposite extremes, many countries demonstrate varying degrees of centralization. In Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are responsible for providing policing to every province with the exception of Quebec and Ontario, which provide their own provincial police forces. Other nations have regional or state police forces that are separated by geography or by roles and responsibilities.
Rules of Law
Besides the way in which law enforcement is organized, the next big difference is the way in which the criminal justice system is executed. Similar to the American criminal justice system, every nation has some semblance of court, corrections and law enforcement component, but the authority of officers to make arrests, conduct searches or even make traffic stops with or without reasonable suspicion or probable cause differs significantly.
Police in the United States cannot even temporarily detain a person without having at least reasonable suspicion that the person has committed, is committing or is about to commit a crime. They cannot make an arrest unless they have probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed and that the person they are arresting committed it.
By contrast, in many countries in Europe and elsewhere, you can be arrested just on suspicion of a crime. For this reason, arrests in and of themselves are not as devastating as they are in the U.S., where arrests are only made when a person is going to be charged with a crime. Court procedures, too, vary widely from nation to nation, as do individual rights with regards to the legal system.
Different Procedures, Same Goals
Though they may operate differently and they may be organized in a variety of ways, the goal of police officers, and indeed the criminal justice system, is essentially the same regardless of what country you're in.
Can we predict when and where a crime will take place?
Crime scene investigation. Forensic science -
Can algorithms really predict where new crimes will take place?
by Mark Smith
The new crime-fighting weapon of choice for a growing number of police forces around the world isn't a gun, a taser or pepper spray - it's data. But can computer algorithms really help reduce crime?
Imagine a gang of bank robbers arriving at their next heist, only to find an armed response unit already waiting on the corner.
Or picture walking down a dark alley and feeling afraid, then seeing the reassuring blue lights of a police car sent to watch over you.
Now imagine if all of this became possible thanks to mathematics.
Ever since the Philip K Dick novel The Minority Report, which was later turned into a Tom Cruise blockbuster, was published in the 1950s, futurists and philosophers have grappled with the concept of "pre crime".
It's the idea that we can predict when an offence is going to occur and take measures to prevent it.
Now artificial intelligence and machine learning mean this concept has leapt straight from the pages of science fiction into the real world.
Tech firm PredPol - short for predictive policing - claims its data analytics algorithms can improve crime detection by 10-50% in some cities.
The PredPol software advises police forces on where they should concentrate their patrols
It takes years of historic data, including the type, location and time of crime, and combines this with lots of other socio-economic data, which is then analysed by an algorithm originally designed to forecast earthquake aftershocks.
The software tries to predict where and when specific crimes will occur over the next 12 hours, and the algorithm is updated every day as new data comes in.
"PredPol was inspired by experiments run by the University of California in collaboration with the Los Angeles Police Department," says PredPol co-founder and anthropology professor Jeff Brantingham.
"That study demonstrated that algorithmically driven forecasts could predict twice as much crime and, when used in the field, prevent twice as much crime as existing best practice."
Predictions are displayed on a map using colour-coded boxes, each one representing a 500 sq ft (46 sq m) area. Red boxes are classed as "high risk" and officers are encouraged to spend at least 10% of their time there.
The ultimate aim of predictive analytics is to prevent crime before it happens
Prof Brantingham says machine learning allows PredPol to analyse data, draw conclusions and make connections between large amounts of data that human analysts simply could not cope with.
Sceptics say this is pseudoscience, because crunching crime data to make informed decisions on police deployment is nothing new.
Many forces have traditionally used "hot spot analysis", where past offences are recorded and overlaid onto a map, with officers concentrating on those areas.
But PredPol and others working in this space, such as Palantir, CrimeScan and ShotSpotter Missions, say that traditional hot spot analysis is just reacting to what happened yesterday, not anticipating what will happen tomorrow.
AI and machine learning can spot patterns we've never noticed before.
"Machine learning provides a suite of approaches to identifying statistical patterns in data that are not easily described by standard mathematical models, or are beyond the natural perceptual abilities of the human expert," says Prof Brantingham.
Alexander Babuta, of the National Security and Resilience Studies group at the Royal United Services Institute, agrees, saying: "Retrospective hotspot mapping does not distinguish between two types of 'risky' locations, those that simply experience a high volume of crime over time because they are more attractive to criminals, such as insecure car parks and busy shopping areas, and areas where the likelihood of crime has been temporarily increased due to crime events that have recently occurred.
"But machine learning predictive policing technology does."
Police forces certainly seem to be buying in to the idea.
Data from more surveillance cameras and sensors could improve predictive accuracy
More than 50 police departments across the US use PredPol software, as well as a handful of forces in the UK. Kent Constabulary, for example, says street violence fell by 6% following a four-month trial.
"We found that the model was just incredibly accurate at predicting the times and locations where these crimes were likely to occur," says Steve Clark, deputy chief of Santa Cruz Police Department.
"At that point, we realised we've got something here."
But predictive policing has its critics.
Frederike Kaltheuner, data programme lead at civil rights group Privacy International, wonders whether it will also be used to predict police violence and white collar crime, or simply used against communities that she says are already marginalised.
"We're moving away from innocent until proven guilty towards a world where people are innocent until found suspicious by opaque and proprietary systems that can be difficult, if not impossible, to challenge," she says.
The Los Angeles Police Department has been criticised by civil rights activists worried about its use of predictive policing
There are also concerns about racial and other biases hidden within the datasets. The Los Angeles Police Department, which has been working with Palantir for its predictive policing project, has attracted criticism from local activist groups worried about threats to civil liberties and racial profiling.
Rand Corporation, a policy research institution, has produced a number of studies looking at predictive policing.
Rand analyst John Hollywood says recent advances in analytical techniques have produced only "small, incremental" improvements in crime prediction; results that are 10-25% more accurate than traditional hot spot mapping.
"Current technologies are not much more accurate than traditional methods," he says.
"It is enough to help improve deployment decisions, but is far from the popular hype of a computer telling officers where they can go to pick up criminals in the act."
More data, from surveillance cameras equipped with image and behaviour recognition, and sensors detecting gunshot and intrusion, should help improve the accuracy of predictive techniques, he argues.
Citizens need to decide whether a reduction in crime is worth the potential assault on our civil liberties should such technology be misused or abused by those in power
New York City
New policing tactic begins in the 104
Neighborhood Coordination Officers Will Oversee the 104th Precinct
by David Russell
The 104th Precinct is the latest to get new community policing with neighborhood coordination officers.
“This is not a temporary project, something that's going to be here today but gone tomorrow,” said NYPD Chief Rodney Harrison at a meet and greet event at Christ the King High School last Monday. “This is going to be here forever.”
It is the lastest step taken by the NYPD as the city has become increasingly safer, according to statistics.
“The New York City Police Department has not only driven down the crime rate by monumental proportions but it's enhanced and improved the quality of life for all of our citizens, residents and business owners alike for years to come,” said Deputy Inspector John Mastronardi, commanding officer of the 104th Precinct.
He added, “Because the crime rate has been driven down so far, the police and the community need to work closer together.”
The precinct will be split into four sectors with two NCO police officers assigned to each. Harrison mentioned how people use the same doctors and dentists but usually see different cops in their neighborhood.
“But guess what you have now? A cop assigned to you. And that cop has a cellphone number, an email address and we want you to get to know that cop so you could have a working relationship to make your quality of life and living conditions better,” Harrison said.
He said his favorite part of neighborhood policing is the forming of community partners as area residents will introduce newly assigned cops to stakeholders including business and religious leaders, and help build relationships.
There is also uncommitted time, when cops can tell radio dispatchers that they'll be getting out of their cars and walking around to talk to the community.
Harrison noted that solving crimes is the most important part of neighborhood policing and solving problems is second.
“Wouldn't it be great to have somebody here, one of the NCOs, solve that problem? That neighbor blasting his or her music, people smoking marijuana in front of your house, somebody walking their pit bull off a leash,” he said. “Whatever your problem may be, we want to fix it.”
Neighborhood policing is a new strategy for the NYPD. There used to be the Community Patrol Officer Program, which Harrison said saw officers walking around the neighborhood, grabbing lunch with people, shaking hands and kissing babies.
“The problem with the CPOP cop, he or she was not into the mindset or the process of making sure we fight crime, making sure that we keep crimes down,” Harrison said.
Later on, there was impact zone enforcement, which would take cops out of the academy and send them to the most problematic neighborhoods to make arrests and issue summons.
“It put a strain on our relationships so we had to take a look at that and we had to get rid of that as well,” Harrison said.
He said that in the past, officers would be responding to 911 calls in different spots but a different detail each day means not understanding what a specific community needs.
Sgt. Edward Reiman spoke about being personally known to residents in the community.
“If you have a kid that got in a lot of trouble, you know who I am,” Reiman said. “I think that's very special because in a respect I bring the nagging to the kid and the homefront.”
He believes that it's important to reach out to youths that have been in trouble early on before it can begin a pattern that can continue for years.
“When they start becoming a recidivist, I've always made it my business to go to their house and talk to their parents, talk to their guardians,” Reiman said.
While increased emphasis is being placed on community involvement, Harrison still knows the job is about keeping the area safe.
“We can be the most friendliest police department in the world but if crime goes up, then we're not doing our job,” Harrison said.
He said he doesn't obsess over the statistics but, naturally, he has very strict standards.
“The truth of the matter is one crime to me is too many,” Harrison said
First forum on policing leaves many dissatisfied
Panelists discussed solutions to racial profiling in campus police forces.
by RACHEL JUIENG
Following the University's announcement that it would seek community input on its proposed private police force, members of the Hopkins and Baltimore communities attended an event called The Challenges of 21st Century Policing on Monday. It featured a panel of experts and was the first of three events intending to promote discussion on campus security. However, many felt that the format of the event did not allow enough opportunities to engage with the panelists.
Lawrence Jackson, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of English and History, moderated the discussion amongst the four panelists — Sue Riseling, executive director of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators; Cedric Alexander, deputy mayor of the city of Rochester; Maureen Rush, vice president for public safety and superintendent of University of Pennsylvania Police; and Leonard Hamm, director of public safety at Coppin State University.
Jo Brown, a former History professor at Hopkins and a Baltimore resident, appreciated the University's attempt to open the discussion of policing and security to the community. She said, however, that she believed an open forum with more opportunities for debate would have been more productive than an expert panel.
“One of the failures of the academic world, and Hopkins in particular, of which I was a part for a long time, is that we do not recognize different forms of expertise. We really fail in that,” Brown said, “The higher the walls of the ivory tower, the narrower the view, and that becomes a kind of profiling. It's not necessarily racial, though it may be, but it's a kind of profiling where we raise academic expertise over other kinds of expertise.”
Student Government Association (SGA) Executive Vice President AJ Tsang also noted the lack of time for discussion. He explained his hopes for future events in an email to The News-Letter.
“It is indeed our hope that SGA can be more involved in selecting the panelists for the upcoming community discussions,” Tsang wrote. “It's our hope that the academic-style discussions can include more Hopkins-based researchers.”
Jackson began the panel by discussing his personal experiences with the police. He noted that when he was a teenager in Northwest Baltimore, he had several traumatic encounters with the Baltimore Police Department (BPD), which made a lasting impact on how he viewed policing.
“My hostility has eased, but my suspicion has remained. For me, at a deeply reactionary level, I find it difficult to resolve problems by applying more police,” he said.
Alexander, who served as the chief of police of DeKalb County in Georgia and is currently deputy mayor of Rochester, N.Y., addressed the information presented on flyers which members of Students Against Private Police (SAPP) handed out prior to the event. The flyers included a quote from Black Student Union President Chisom Okereke, voicing concern over the dangers an increase in policing would pose to students of color.
Alexander explained that in a properly-run police force, issues like racial profiling should not arise.
“We're not just going to train and say we went to diversity training because it's the proper thing to do. It's something that we truly mean and will exercise,“ Alexander said.
Rush stressed the need for a campus police force and the benefits that this force could provide.
“Everyone wants and needs safety and security, and that's what universities have to start with before they can build all the great things they have to do,” Rush said. “Back in 1973, the University of Pennsylvania did a similar journey to what you're going through today. The University of Pennsylvania determined that they needed to have a quicker response, a more reliable response and people that were part of the Penn Community to police the Penn environment.”
Jackson asked the panelists how a police force would be able to overcome a major issue like racial profiling.
Riseling addressed this by describing the ways in which she had evaluated and corrected racial bias and profiling during her time as police chief of the University of Wisconsin (UW) police force. Each year for the past 10 years, the police department at UW paid members of the community to review a 90-day period of body camera footage of traffic stops, paying special attention to what drew the officer to the stop and the tone of voice and responses of officers.
“You can see exactly where things started to slide and go back; you can see exactly the body language, the tone of voice, the response that you're getting, and you can dissect those and sit down with the officers and take them through, ‘this was good, this was good and now you're sliding.' And you can correct that behavior,” Riseling said. “You have to put systems in place that can be used over and over and over again to see what if any issues are there.”
Riseling is regarded as a leading expert on sexual assault. She stressed the importance of a police force to address this issue.
“Specifically, with sexual assault, a very different approach is taken with a security department than a police department is that a security department, if notified of a sexual assault, first and foremost always needs to tend to the needs of the victim — whatever those needs are mentally, psychological — whatever he or she needs,” Riseling said. “If the survivor chooses to file a police report and chooses to go forward to deal with holding the assailant accountable, the university police department then moves them through that process.”
Throughout the forum, the panelists repeated the importance of integrating the proposed police into the University community. In this vein, Hamm stated that he has recruited members of his security team from the student body at Coppin State and also encourages his officers to take classes at the university.
“I've come to the conclusion that rules without relationships equals rebellion,” Hamm said. “We have a very high rating in the community, and I will tell you we have the lowest crime rate in the city.”
At the end of the moderated discussion, the audience was invited to ask the panelists questions.
Jo Brown, who lives near campus, questioned whether the University's engagement with the community was genuine.
“If the relationship is sincere in regard to policing and public safety, why is it that despite the excellent qualifications of each of these panelists, there is no one here from our neighborhood, there is no one here from either neighborhood — East Baltimore, Charles Village or Hampden?” she asked. “Why is it that there is no one from the largest peace movement in Baltimore City — Baltimore Ceasefire?”
In an interview with The News-Letter, Brown stated that, though this is an essential start to the conversation about policing, she does not believe that the expert panel was the best way to begin that conversation.
“I am very concerned about who is being represented on the panel. I think there's some priming going on with having terrific expertise in a very narrow framework,” she said. “You can't police your way out of the kinds of crime issues in Baltimore, and I believe that profoundly, which is why I'm involved with Baltimore Ceasefire.”
Quinn Lester, a member of SAPP, critiqued the panel's lack of specific information about the proposed police force.
“It was noticeable that none of them could truly make a positive argument for why Hopkins needs a private police force instead of other kinds of security arrangements, and by the end [they] could only talk in platitudes about community policing and better training that have been used since the 1960s,” Lester said.
Community member Joseph Kane applauded the efforts of the University for opening this discussion. However, he noted that the panelists often used language that was meant to incite fear in the audience.
“That's counter productive to the conversation of public safety, because public safety includes policing, but there is a bigger picture which includes a lot more things too,” Kane said. “Hopkins, which is seen as this world renowned institution, has the opportunity in a city like Baltimore to be a leader in how we define public safety.”
The Federal Government Doesn't Track Police Violence—But I Do
The Amber Guyger case is not an isolated incident.
by PHILIP M. STINSON
In the latest shooting to outrage the nation, Amber Guyger, an off-duty Dallas police officer, claims she walked into the wrong apartment in the building where she lives and pointed her gun at Botham Shem Jean, thinking that he was an intruder. Guyger then shot and killed Jean. By all accounts, Jean was doing nothing wrong. He was simply at home minding his own business.
As a country, we used to ignore police crime. That changed in August 2014, when an officer in Ferguson, Missouri, killed Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager. Yet the government hasn't caught up to public interest. Former FBI Director James Comey went so far as to say in 2016 that “Americans actually have no idea” how often police use force, because the federal government has not bothered to collect the relevant data. Although the FBI now plans to track the number of people killed by police across the United States, by early 2018 only 1,600 of the more than 18,000 state and local law-enforcement agencies had agreed to submit data for the project. And initial data collection had not yet commenced.
Where is the data on police behavior?
More than a decade ago, I decided to start my own research database on crime by law-enforcement officials. It's expansive. It includes information on more than 12,000 policemen and policewomen arrested for one or more crimes since 2005. Some of the crimes are serious felonies, such as robberies, rapes, and murders. Many are less serious misdemeanors, such as disorderly conduct. (A searchable version of the database is publicly available for the years 2005 to 2013.) My student research assistants use media reports and court records to track incidents and outcomes—that is, whether the officers are found guilty and what consequences they face, if any. The database isn't comprehensive, but it's better than nothing—which is what the federal government offers.
A prominent policing scholar once wrote that “law enforcement is exempt from law enforcement,” meaning that police officers do not like to arrest other police officers. In my experience, most people assume that police crime is rare. Occasionally they read an article in their hometown newspaper or watch a story on the evening news about a local police officer who's been charged with a crime. It seems unusual. What they don't realize is that, every night, people across the country encounter similar stories. Only when we aggregate police crime from all over the United States does the extent of the problem become apparent.
So, what are we dealing with?
More than 900 police officers are arrested each year, and roughly 60 percent of all crimes for which police are arrested occur while they're off duty, as Guyger was when she shot Jean. Nationwide, there were 5,475 cases of officers arrested for off-duty crimes in the years 2005 to 2013. (That case number includes officers arrested more than once during the study years.)
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Half of Americans believe there's a pattern of police killing black men.
More than half of off-duty crimes are violent (52 percent), and a large number of them are alcohol-related offenses (42 percent). Off-duty police officers commonly carry a handgun, so perhaps it's not surprising that a significant number of the cases in my database (11 percent) involve an officer who used a firearm in the commission of an off-duty crime. In some of the cases, an off-duty officer used a police-issued firearm to settle an otherwise nonviolent dispute with family members, friends, or neighbors.
More police officers are arrested each year for murder or manslaughter resulting from off-duty shootings than from on-duty shootings. That of course doesn't mean that police are more likely to shoot someone while off duty, just that off-duty shootings are more likely than on-duty shootings to be considered criminal.
In the years 2005 to 2013, there were 56 police officers charged with murder or manslaughter resulting from an off-duty shooting, and 41 (73 percent) were convicted. During the same nine-year period, there were just 41 officers charged with murder or manslaughter resulting from an on-duty shooting, and only 21 (51 percent) were convicted.
The data suggest that we should discourage off-duty police from carrying guns. I used to work in law enforcement, and I know from experience that officers are socialized into a police subculture that is built around an us-versus-them mentality: Everyone but “us” is a potential threat. And police can't just turn off this way of seeing when they go off duty. Perhaps that's natural, and there's nothing we can do about it—but our environment would be a lot safer for “them,” for the Botham Shem Jeans of the world, if cops seeing red didn't carry guns
Police Shooting Raises Questions About Use of Force Training
The validity of the use of deadly force by a police officer was raised again last week after an incident near Dorney Park.
by LAURIE MASON SHROEDER and PETER HALL,
BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) — The woman in the park with the gun wouldn't stop talking.
Hopping nervously from foot to foot, she ignored the police officer's barked orders to drop the pistol and insisted, "No, it's fine, it's cool, it's no big deal."
Holding his gun steady, the officer shouted commands over the woman's voice while keeping a close watch on her hands. The second she began to raise the one with the gun, he fired three shots into her midsection. She fell, lifeless, behind a shrub.
As her body lay frozen on the projector screen behind him, Richard Vona, a former Warwick, Bucks County, police sergeant who trains officers in the use of deadly force calmly discussed his decision to shoot the woman — an actress in an interactive training video.
The woman's refusal to comply with his simple commands, combined with her body language, told Vona she was a danger to him and others. Once she began to raise the weapon, he felt he had to act quickly.
"There's got to be a point in time where you make the decision to take the next step, otherwise you lose all ability to control the situation," said Vona, director of Bucks County's Public Safety Training Center.
The validity of the use of deadly force by a police officer was raised again last week after an incident near Dorney Park in South Whitehall Township. After asking for backup in dealing with a man with a "mental issue" who was jumping on moving cars on Hamilton Boulevard, a South Whitehall officer fired five shots at Joseph Santos, who ignored commands to "get on the ground." Santos, 44, of Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., died on the spot.
The Supreme Court has long held that a police officer's perspective at the time of a shooting carries the most weight when deciding whether a shooting was justified. But a string of police killings caught on video has some reform advocates saying it's time to rethink police training to stress de-escalation in cases such as Santos'.
"Instead of giving them a command, you empathize with their emotion and then tell them why you need them to do something," said Dennis Marsili, director of the Criminal Justice Training Center at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Many questions remain about the evening Santos was killed, including why he left a birthday celebration at Dorney Park and how he ended up on cars driving down Hamilton Boulevard — including the hood of the officer's cruiser. At a vigil in Santos' honor that drew about 100 people, many had a question for the officer: Why shoot an unarmed man? In the videos circulating on social media, Santos does not appear to be holding a weapon.
Under the law, that matters little.
The law says police officers must act "reasonably" when faced with a situation like the one that led to Santos' death, but it takes into consideration the stressful nature of police work and the split-second decisions officers must make.
Each police department has its own policy on whether officers must carry nonlethal weapons such as Tasers. South Whitehall declined to release its policy and The Morning Call has filed a request for it under the Right to Know Law. There is no umbrella law requiring police officers to first use a Taser on a person who is not complying with demands.
That makes sense, Vona said, since every police officer is trained to prevent a suspect from overpowering them and grabbing their service weapon.
"People don't understand what it's like to be out there, fighting for your life," Vona said. "If they lose control over their weapon, potentially that's life-ending."
Numerous police-involved shootings of unarmed black men across the country have been captured on cellphone videos in recent years, horrifying the public and putting pressure on police departments to review lethal force policies and training. Many states expanded the amount of time recruits spend on how to respond to mental health emergencies and talk down potentially violent subjects without using force.
According to a 2017 survey of police training curricula by the Council of State Governments Justice Center, all but two of 42 states that responded already had training in mental health issues and de-escalation. While 16 recently expanded the number of hours recruits spend on those topics, another 18 reported they planned to do so.
But half the states that responded said recruits are required to spend fewer than 20 hours of police academy training on mental health issues and de-escalation.
Pennsylvania's newest police academy curriculum requires 23 weeks of training, of which 26 hours are devoted to behavior management and crisis intervention, recognizing people with special needs and responding to people with mental illness.
The Council of State Governments study does not identify which states increased their training requirements. A state police spokesman did not respond to a question about whether Pennsylvania has increased its mental health training requirement for police recruits.
The trend toward more mental health training recognizes that police are often the first to interact with people in crisis or under the influence of drugs.
"It's a response to the fact that their resources are being stretched thin and being asked to fulfill missions they never intended to fill," said Richard Cho, head of the law enforcement division for Council of State Governments.
He said it's time to do more than train better. He said law enforcement must see crisis response as part of its core mission.
"Unless we bone up on our ability to respond to these kinds of incidents, we're going to continue to see negative dispositions," he said.
Pennsylvania recently revised its police training curriculum, adding more than four weeks to the program. Marsili, from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, said the additions focus on techniques to avoid conflict and build partnerships in the communities officers patrol. The goal, he said, is for police to act more as peace officers than occupiers.
Recruits learn procedural justice, which involves using a measured tone of voice, careful choice of words and nonthreatening physical approach to avoid conflict.
Police are taught to use requests and explanations rather than commands to persuade subjects to comply. An officer might explain that he needs a driver to step out of the car so that he can see the driver doesn't have a weapon, rather than ordering him to do so.
Recruits are also taught to slow down encounters when there's no immediate danger.
"A recruit may not know, 'Should I step in or should I wait for backup.' There's no need to rush in if you don't have to," Marsili said. "It will be safer for you, safer for the community if you wait until you have backup, whatever the situation is."
The emphasis on de-escalation represents a reset in police culture, Marsili said.
"We have to, as law enforcement, be more in tune with our image and how we're perceived in the community," he said.
The vast majority of encounters police have with citizens are resolved without force, noted Maria Haberfeld, a professor of police science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. Those encounters go unnoticed. But when someone gets hurt and the exchange is recorded and disseminated, it creates a distorted perception. The level of violence used by police has not escalated, Haberfeld said.
Vona, who trains officers in Bucks County and teaches recruits at Temple University's Municipal Police Academy, cringes when he sees people watching a video of a police-involved shooting and critiquing an officer's actions. Questions like, "Why didn't he just shoot him in the leg?" are particularly troublesome.
"The problem with that concept is that's driven by popular media, by the Lone Ranger shooting the gun out of the bad guy's hand," he said. "That's great TV but that's not reality."
Most officers are not proficient enough marksmen to target a small, moving target like a leg while under stress, Vona said. That's why officers are trained to shoot into an attacker's center mass, the chest and abdomen.
Though he never shot anyone during his 27 years as a police officer, Vona said the officers he's talked to who have were deeply affected.
"There's no high fives, there's no joy in that," Vona said. "It's a traumatic incident."
Test of a reasonable officer
The impetus for some of the new police training was the 1991 Rodney King assault, one the country's most notorious cases of police use of force. A bystander filmed Los Angeles police officers beating King and gave the footage to a TV station. That thrust police misconduct into the national spotlight. Riots erupted across the city when the four officers were acquitted in 1992.
The King case gave birth to de-escalation training, said Haberfeld, who has worked with police around the world and is critical of American police training. She doubts that de-escalation techniques prevent the use of force.
"It all sounds very nice in the classroom, but on the street when they have a moment or two to decide and their life is on the line, all that de-escalation goes out the window," she said.
That's because police training begins with use-of-force options, laying out increasing levels of force that police officers may use, ranging from physical presence and verbal commands to striking with hands or knees, up to deadly force.
Haberfeld noted that while American police departments are among the most heavily armed in the world, they receive less training than police in a number of other countries, including Finland, where three years of college are required.
"You need to re-evaluate the entire training, not just the use-of-force training, to implement transformational change," she said.
But with 18,000 police departments and 660 academies in the United States, there's little standardization, which makes overhauling police training in a transformational way highly challenging
Japan's crime problem? Too many police, not enough criminals
Tokyo Letter: As they run out of things to do, officers are becoming more inventive
by David McNeill
It was a crime that once would have attracted little attention in Tokyo's lurid undertow: police are this week hunting a man who used his smartphone to film under a woman's skirt. The suspect fled across the tracks of Ikebukuro Station after the woman cried for help.
Women subjected to sexual assault on Tokyo's crowded transport system were once as likely to ignore it: Chikan (groping) was not widely dealt with as a crime until the mid-1990s. Now the police spend considerable energy trying to catch offenders.
One reason is that the police have more time. Crime rates have been falling for 14 years. In the last six months of 2017 they set a new low after falling the previous year below the one million mark for the first time since the second World War.
The murder rate of 0.3 per 100,000 people is among the lowest in the world, and roughly half Ireland's rate. (In America, where violent crime is rising at its fastest pace since the 1970s, it is more than 5). Gun-deaths rarely rise above 10 a year.
Virtually the one rising criminal fraternity is the elderly. Senior citizens now account for about 20 per cent of arrests and detentions. As the population ages the over 65s commit nearly four times more crimes than they did two decades ago.
One result is that Japan's jails are filling up with the infirm: more inmates need help with walking, bathing and even using the toilet. The government recently allocated a budget to send care workers to about half of the nation's prisons.
Yet, Japan has more than 15,000 more police personnel than it had a decade ago, when crime rates were far higher. The density of officers per population is particularly marked in Tokyo, home to the world's biggest metropolitan police force.
In practice, this means lots of police attention. Petty drugs offences are treated with forensic rigour. Police have arrested athletes, rock stars and university students for smoking pot. One woman recalls five officers crowding into her cramped apartment after she reported her knickers being swiped from a clothesline.
As they run out of things to do, however, police are becoming more inventive about what constitutes a crime, says Kanako Takayama, a professor of criminal law at Kyoto University. In one recent case, she says, they arrested a group of people who had shared the fees for a rented car because they judged it was an illegal taxi.
Critics who fret about over-enthusiastic police cite a week-long stakeout in 2016, in Kyushu, southwest Japan. Five officers watched over a case of beer in an unlocked car outside a supermarket in Kagoshima, scene of a series of car robberies, before pouncing on the hapless middle-aged man who eventually helped himself.
A judge dismissed the case, which he called an unnecessary and expensive sting operation.
In another incident reported by the liberal Asahi newspaper, police in rural Gifu Prefecture spied on local citizens who opposed a wind power project, then repeatedly called executives from the power company in 2013 and 2014 with detailed reports on the activists, including ages, academic background and medical records.
Oddly, the police increasingly struggle to solve crimes. The rate of detection for total offences fell to a post-war low of less than 30 per cent in 2013, which suggests that while crimes happen increasingly rarely, the police are not very good at solving them.
The latest annual White Paper published by the National Police Agency cites weakening community ties as well as widespread use of mobile phones, the internet and other technological advances as factors for falling detection rates.
People police themselves
Confessions, often made under duress, form the basis of nearly 90 per cent of criminal prosecutions. The reason why Japan looks so good is that people police themselves, says Yoshihiro Yasuda, a campaigning lawyer.
Japan's justice system gets a lot right. Rates of recidivism (reoffending) are low and much effort is made to keep young offenders out of prison. Adults are incarcerated at a far lower rate than in most developed countries – 45 per 100,000 compared with 666 the United States.
Precisely because it is so safe, however, some fear the system is ripe for abuse. With little else to do, police may start finding new things to enforce, says Colin Jones, a legal expert at Doshisha University.
In 2015, a man was arrested for scribbling Adolf Hitler moustaches on to posters of prime minister Shinzo Abe. Leaked internal police documents in 2010 described intensive surveillance of Tokyo's largely trouble-free Muslim community. A “mosque squad” made up of dozens of officers monitored Muslims and cultivated informants.
Last year the government gave the police even more powers with a new “conspiracy” law that allows them to investigate and arrest people who plan to commit crimes.
Whereas in some parts of the world, you can never find a cop when you need one, Japan may have too many.
When will community policing on drugs, human trafficking begin?
The increment in the number of crimes in those areas was associated with active participation of members of the communities
by ISAAC MUFUMBA
One of the major talking points in the manifesto of the ruling NRM in the run up to the 2011 General Election was a promise to make 10 interventions aimed at continuing to promote and uphold law and order.
Last on the list of the interventions was a promise to carry out community policing every first week of the month as a part of efforts to tackle terrorism, drug abuse and human trafficking.
“Government will emphasise community-based policing every first week of the month, where police managers in the district will visit villages to sensitise communities on combating of crimes such as human sacrifice, drug trafficking and abuse, human trafficking and terrorism,” the manifesto reads in part.
The promise was made against a backdrop of a rise in the number of crimes in that category.
Uganda was still reeling from the effects of the July 2010 suicide bombings that rocked the Ethiopian Village restaurant in Kabalagala and Kyadondo Club in Lugogo, which left 74 dead and 71 others injured. The Somalia-based Islamist militia, Al-Shabaab, claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Drug abuse was also said to be on the rise in the East African region. While the United Nations' office on drugs had no figures on users of cocaine and other drugs, it said that cannabis users in East Africa were 9,190,000 and those of opiate 1,730,000 as of 2010.
East Africa had emerged as a major transit route for drugs from the far East to Europe and the United States. In 2010, the UN put the volume of heroine making its way through the region at between 30 and 35 metric tonnes, and Entebbe International Airport had emerged as one of the drug traffickers' favourites. In 2010, the police intercepted 7.5kgs of heroin and 5kgs of cocaine at the airport.
At the time human trafficking was said to be on the rise across the world. A 2005 report released by the United States government indicated that between 600,000 and 800,000 people were being trafficked across international borders, of which 80 per cent were said to be women, girls and children.
Victims of what is believed to be a global trade in human beings, estimated to be worth $32 billion, many of them trying to extricate themselves from the fangs of poverty in their own countries the report said, are subjected to violations, including, rape, torture, forced abortion, starvation, and threats of punitive action against their family members back home.
While there were no actual figures to point at for Uganda, in June 2007, Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR) had released a preliminary document, which indicated that the vice had grown quite significantly and that children were being trafficked for various reasons and many are involved in “hazardous forms of labour”, among others commercial sex, drug trafficking and armed conflicts.
In other cases, the institute revealed, some parents were found to be selling off their children due to widespread poverty and food insecurity.
The increment in the number of crimes in those areas was associated with active participation of members of the communities.
The Al-Shabaab were, for example, believed to have carried out the July 2010 bombings with the help of locals some of whom were to later confess to having worked with the terrorists. Drug traffickers too had recruited natives to help them smuggle drugs.
The same goes for human trafficking where MISR indicated that it was being promoted through what it termed as “unofficial networks of relatives, friend, neighbours, parents and village mates”.
Given the situation that was pertaining at the time, the promise to lay emphasis on community policing as a way of stemming the rise in those crimes was very timely. However, more than eight years since it was made, the public has seen very little in terms of community policing.
Whereas the country has not seen a repeat of the terrorist attacks such as that of July 2010, there has been a significant rise in gun violence and the number of drug abuse and drug trafficking cases, which can be partially blamed on the Police's failure to implement the community policing programme in the form it had been promised.
In 2017 alone, Interpol Uganda recorded 26 cases of drug smuggling and arrested at least 23 people, including Ugandan nationals. The organisation also intercepted a wide range of drugs, including 34.5kgs of methamphetamine worth Shs3.7b and more than 40kgs of heroin and cocaine worth an estimated Shs1.78 billion at Entebbe International Airport.
In all these cases, Ugandans, who were nabbed trying to help the traffickers smuggle the drugs in or out of the country, could not resist the allure of making a quick buck.
The increase in the number of street children, especially from Karamoja sub-region, is also an indicator that there has been no letup in the human trafficking situation.
Some of these children are believed to have been hired out by their mothers to some Karamojong women, who are already established in Kampala, to be used for begging from the streets, a scenario that could have possibly been cured through the kind of policing that had been promised.
At the same time, there has been a sharp rise in the number of people addicted to various sorts of drugs, ranging from alcohol to marijuana.
In June 2015, the Director of Health Services in the Ministry of Health, Dr Anthony Mbonye, said the ministry had recorded more than 85,000 cases of drug and alcohol addiction, of which 57,000 were for alcohol and 27,000 for drugs. This development could have perhaps been avoided were the public awareness levels about the dangers of the use and abuse of alcohol and drugs been higher.
The police spokesperson, Mr Emilian Kayima, says though community policing is not being implemented as promised in the manifesto, the Force has been doing lots of community policing over the years.
“I don't know whether the community feels that it (community policing) is not as vibrant as it was, but community policing programmes still run throughout the country. It is run by an entire directorate under AIGP Assan Kasingye and trickles down to the community liaison officers (CLOs). The CLOs not only give messages but also get feedback from the public,” Mr Kayima says.He adds that community policing takes different forms.
“Sometimes, we write articles for the newspapers or do television and radio programmes. Other times, we play football, as we did with the people in Kawempe, or visit schools as we did on Friday last week when we visited St Mary's College Kisubi. We have also visited Lubiri and Mengo secondary schools before in order to address those students about the challenges that they are likely to meet since they will one day cease to be students,” he says.
It is high time the police moved to take advantage of the free airtime that most FM stations offer to government agencies to embark on a more aggressive community policing programme.
It is right that changing times call for the adoption of different approaches to community policing. However, there is a need to stick to practical methods. Use of the mass media would enable the police disseminate more information and get much more in terms of feedback than it would possibly get by playing a football match in Bugembe Stadium. Use of the mass media for policing worked well in the 1990s. It can work well again.
It is, however, important that the country takes a stand against laxity in the implementation of laws. The rise in the number of youth addicted to alcohol has been attributed to the fact that the manufacturers has made it easy for one to carry it around even after government in September 2009 slapped a ban on the manufacture and sale of sachets following the death of 19 people. They were believed to have consumed sachets of waragi that contained unusually high volumes of methanol. That ban was never enforced.
Recently, MPs talked of passing another piece of legislation to regulate the manufacture and sale of the sachets. That is unnecessary. All that is required is for the police to enforce laws such as the Enguli Act, the Liquor Act and the Portable Spirits Act as we at the same time engage in community policing
Chief says community policing is ‘the only thing that really works'
by James Whitlow
Danville Police Chief Scott Booth started his career as a beat cop in northern Richmond, patrolling the streets in a “challenged” area of the city. Then he became a sector lieutenant in the south of the city, commanding 25 to 30 officers. Then captain. Then major.
His rank might have changed throughout his law enforcement career, but one thing has not — his preferred method of fighting crime.
“I am a huge community policing advocate,” he said. “And I think that is the only thing that really works to solve crime, reduce crime and pull a community together.
“And it will work here,” he added.
Simply put, community policing is often defined the same officer patrolling a steady beat and getting to know the people who live and work there. But it's not limited to that definition.
It can be approached many different ways, former interim chief of the Capitol Police in Richmond Mike Jones said. Community walks, youth events and officers walking neighborhoods all fall under community policing's expansive umbrella. Though it is hard to define, Jones said engaging citizens simply works.
Simple interaction between officers and people, he explained, makes all the difference in getting credible information and getting tips about crimes.
“Not all your time is spent chasing criminals,” Jones said. “Nothing beats the conversation over the back fence… and those conversations are not always about policing.”
Community policing, professor James Hodgson of Averett University said, is rooted in the protests and strife of the 1960s and 1970s. Images of lines of officers hosing down civil rights and Vietnam War protesters had a powerful impact on police philosophy and public opinion.
Those news reports and pictures, Hodgson said, changed public perception of police and motivated departments to imagine other ways of enforcing the law. The idea of community policing was formed in the late 1970s and early 1980s as an alternative to conventional policing everyone recognized from the evening news.
The first iteration of the practice, Hodgson said, was not like it is today. Many police organizations stopped at creating departments of community policing without actively addressing communities' issues and concerns.
“Early on, you saw a lot of lip service paid to it,” he said in a phone interview. “The philosophy itself wasn't necessarily incorporated into police culture, police organizations”
Patrol cars and radios separated police from the communities they served, Booth said, and while response times improved, interaction between communities and officers dropped.
“It is a success to be there quickly as a crime is occurring, but you also have to have that connection with the community to hopefully keep that crime from occurring,” Booth said.
Police departments devoted fewer resources to the practice after 9/11, Hodgson said, but community policing has resurged in departments across the country because of social media and advancing technology.
As social media and cellphones became more common, people were able to see unedited footage of police misconduct. That, Hodgson said, paralleled the videos and images of police officers' improper conduct in the tumultuous 1960s and 1970s. Police recognized the need to improve relations with communities and set about adopting community engagement as a philosophy, he said.
“It's a process, at this point, of the police reinventing themselves,” Hodgson said. “To me that is the exciting part of this… it seems to me that many police agencies are actually taking this community policing thing seriously.”
Building trust within communities makes the people who live there feel more comfortable to report crime and give information, which makes solving crime easier, Booth said. Without it, there may be immediate gains, but no substantive change, he said.
“You might go out there and you will make some arrests and you will have some short-term successes,” Booth said, “but if you really want to create change in the community, it has to be by hardwiring that community policing philosophy into the DNA of the organization.”
Information from the community led to the arrest of Kurtyus Latrell Hairston, 17, in connection with the shooting death of Patrick Andreaus Gunn on Aug. 17, police at the scene noted. If a community is comfortable sharing information with police, Booth said, that makes communities safer.
Rapport with communities makes policing them easier and more effective, Hodgson said, and police departments recognize its merit.
“If the community is not … participating in public safety, the police can't do it alone,” he said. “When the community fails to participate… it endangers us all.”
Years later, sitting behind his desk as Danville's Chief of Police, Booth said his view has not changed.
“I was told community policing did not work here,” Booth said. “I was taken aback when I first heard it, because I am here to tell you it is the only thing that works.”
How data-driven policing threatens human freedom
An excerpt and interview with Andrew Ferguson, author of “The Rise of Big Data Policing”
“Minority Report”, a 2002 film directed by Steven Spielberg, features a squad of police officers who arrest people for murders they are predicted to commit. The film was science fiction; yet police departments around the world increasingly use predictive analytics to identify people who might become perpetrators or victims of crime. In “The Rise of Big Data Policing”, Andrew Ferguson, a former public defender and now professor at the University of the District of Columbia, discusses the promise and perils of data-driven policing.
The Economist asked him about how data and predictive analytics are changing modern policing. After his responses, you can read an excerpt from his book that shows what data-driven policing looks like on the ground.
The Economist: Police have always used data to make decisions. What makes this era different?
Andrew Ferguson: Policing has traditionally been reactive: officers respond to calls for service, and experience determines where they patrol. Big-data technology lets police become aggressively more proactive. New data sources coupled with predictive analytics now allow police to visualise crime differently, targeting individual blocks, at-risk individuals and gangs in innovative ways. New surveillance technologies let police map physical movements, digital communications and suspicious associations in ways that can reveal previously hidden patterns of criminal activity in otherwise overwhelming amounts of data. All of this information can be quite useful to law enforcement seeking to track criminal elements in society. The same technology can also be quite threatening to civil liberties and personal privacy in already over-policed communities.
More than 60 American police departments use some form of “predictive policing” to guide their day-to-day operations
The Economist: How pervasive is the use of tech in policing—how different is the day-to-day work of police officers today as opposed to 20 or 30 years ago?
Mr Ferguson: Technology is shaping where police patrol, whom they target, and how they investigate crime. More than 60 American police departments use some form of “predictive policing” to guide their day-to-day operations. In Los Angeles, this means that police follow patrols based on computer-forecast crime hot-spots. In Chicago, an algorithmically derived “heat list” ranks people at risk of becoming victims or perpetrators of gun violence. The result is that police prioritise particular places and people for additional contacts and monitoring. In addition, new surveillance technologies—including police body cameras, automated licence-plate readers, Stingray cell phone trackers and high-definition surveillance cameras—provide powerful monitoring tools. All of this technology changes how officers see the communities they patrol and the citizens they police. The technology also changes the job of policing, forcing officers to become data collectors and analysts as they act on real-time inputs and assessments.
The Economist: Does big-data policing work? Has it made people less likely to be victims of crime?
Mr Ferguson: The jury is still out on effectiveness. The scientific studies are few in number and largely inconclusive. In some cities crime rates have trended down with the introduction of new technologies, but in others there has been no significant effect. Crime rates correlate with a host of economic and environmental forces that make it difficult to demonstrate any causal connection with a specific technology. But really, the benefit of big-data policing for police departments is political. New technology gives police chiefs an answer to the age-old question asked by every politician in every community forum: “Chief, what are you doing about crime?” They now have a progressive-sounding, technologically inspired answer: “We are using a new black-box technology to predict and deter crime.” Whether it works is secondary to having a response to the otherwise unanswerable (and somewhat unfair) question that every police chief faces.
The Economist: What are the biggest potentials for abuse?
Mr Ferguson: There are several. First, data can distort policing. Officers sent to an area flagged as being at risk of violent crime may see routine encounters as more threatening, thus making them more likely to use force. Second, the growing web of surveillance threatens to chill associational freedoms, political expression and expectations of privacy by eroding public anonymity. Third, even with the best use policies in place, officers have access to vast amounts of personal information of people not suspected of any crime. Finally, without carefully chosen data inputs, long-standing racial, societal and other forms of bias will be reified in the data.
The growing web of surveillance threatens to chill associational freedoms, political expression and expectations of privacy
The Economist: How can citizens best protect themselves from such abuse?
Mr Ferguson: The time to respond to the threat of big-data policing is now. Every city should have formal written policies in place detailing the approved use of new big-data policing technologies. Every citizen should be educated about the dangers to privacy, liberty and the imbalance of power that surveillance technologies bring. Every police department should engage impacted communities about the risks and rewards of new predictive technologies with official answers to concerns about transparency, racial bias and constitutional rights. Every community should host annual “surveillance summits” where the city officials, engaged citizens and police chiefs can come together for a moment of public accountability about the use and potential misuse of new big-data technologies. Education, empowerment, and engagement are the only protections against an encroaching data-driven surveillance state.
The Violence Virus
An excerpt from “The Rise of Big Data Policing: Surveillance, Race, and the Future of Law Enforcement”
A knock on an apartment door. A man gives the prognosis to a worried mother. Your son might die. He is at grave risk. Others he knows have already succumbed. An algorithm has identified the most likely to be stricken. He is one of a few hundred young men (approximately 0.048% of the city) who may die. In Chicago, Illinois, this scene has played out hundreds of times at hundreds of doors. The danger, however, is not some blood-borne pathogen. This is not a doctor giving a cancer diagnosis but a police detective giving a life diagnosis. Violence is contagious, and you are exposed. As a young man in Chicago, due to your friends, associates, and prior connection to violence, you have been predicted to be the victim or perpetrator of a shooting. Your name is on the “Strategic Suspects List,” also known as the “heat list,” and a detective is at your door with a social worker and a community representative to tell you the future is not only dark but deadly. A vaccine exists, but it means turning your life around now.
In Chicago, 1,400 young men have been identified through big data techniques as targets for the heat list. Software generates a rank-order list of potential victims and subjects with the greatest risk of violence. In New Orleans, Palantir has partnered with the mayor's office to identify the 1% of violent crime drivers in the city. In Rochester, New York, and Los Angeles, similar techniques are being used to identify juveniles who might be involved in repeated delinquent activity. This is the promise of big data policing. What if big data techniques could predict who might be violent? What if a policing system could be redesigned to target those who are at-risk in a neighbourhood before the shooting occurs? This is the theory behind “person-based targeted policing.”
Person-based predictive policing involves the use of data to identify and investigate potential suspects or victims. Part public health approach to violence and part social network approach to risk assessment, big data can visualise how violence spreads like a virus among communities. The same data also can predict the most likely victims of violence. Police data is shaping who gets targeted and forecasting who gets shot.
While these predictive technologies are excitingly new, the concerns underlying them remain frustratingly old-fashioned. Fears of racial bias, a lack of transparency, data error and the distortions of constitutional protections offer serious challenges to the development of workable person-based predictive strategies. Yet person-based policing systems are being used now, and people are being targeted.
There are four main ways in which data and predictive analytics fundamentally change how police in liberal societies operate.
First, big data makes police more proactive. Traditionally, officers might react to calls for service, rely on observations made while on patrol, or respond to community complaints. With person-based predictive targeting, police can instead target suspects for surveillance or deterrence before a call comes in. For local prosecutors, this represents a significant change. As a former head of the Manhattan Criminal Strategies Unit stated, “It used to be we only went where the cases took us. Now, we can build cases around specific crime problems that communities are grappling with.”
Second, seeing violence as a public-health problem, rather than just a law-enforcement problem, lets societies rethink how best to identify and respond to criminal risk. Violence-reduction strategies in New Orleans, for instance, included social-service programmes. The idea that violence is contagious suggests that it can be prevented. If a good percentage of shootings are retaliatory, then one can design a cure that interrupts the cycle. Every time police summon people whom predictive analytics have identified as potential perpetrators or victims of violence, social-services representatives should be there, ready to offer those young men and women the opportunity to change their environment.
Third, moving from traditional policing to intelligence-led policing creates data-quality risks that need to be systematically addressed. Intelligence-driven systems work off many bits of local intelligence. Tips, crime statistics, cooperating witnesses, nicknames, and detective notes can get aggregated into a large data system. But the quality of that data is not uniform. Some tips are accurate; some are not. Some biases will generate suspicion, and some informants will just be wrong. An intelligence-driven policing or prosecution system that does not account for the varying reliability and credibility of sources—and just lumps them all together as “data”—will ultimately result in an error-filled database. Especially when these systems are used to target citizens for arrest or prosecution, the quality-control measures of black-box algorithms must be strong.
Fourth, other data-integrity concerns may arise when detectives, gang experts, or police intelligence officers control the target lists. While these professionals generally have close connections to the community and valuable knowledge of local gangs and potential targets, risk scores can be manipulated by police interested in prosecuting certain individuals. People can get added to the target lists—which are often riddled with errors—with no way to challenge or change their designation. After all, joining a gang is rarely a formal process; rumour, assumptions or suspicion can be enough to earn an elevated risk score. Worse, there is usually no easy way to get off the list, even as people's circumstances change, time passes, and the data grows stale. The people on these lists, and most impacted by these risks, are primarily young men of colour. This reality raises serious constitutional concerns and threatens to delegitimise person-based predictive policing strategies.
Excerpted from The Rise of Big Data Policing: Surveillance, Race, and the Future of Law Enforcement. Copyright © 2018 by Andrew Guthrie Ferguson. Used with permission of NYU Press, New York. All rights reserved.
Task force wants community policing to be department-wide job
by Justin P. Hicks
GRAND RAPIDS, MI -- About 6 percent of the Grand Rapids Police Department's sworn officers are designated community policing specialists, which separates them from the department's patrol officers.
The group tasked with reviewing the department's policies and procedures for susceptibilities to unequal policing is recommending that every officer in the ranks take ownership of the community officer title.
"Community policing is not just a program where you play with the kids," said Ron Davis, principal for the Grand Rapids-hired 21st Century Policing Solutions firm. "Community policing includes how you fight crime, the strategies you use, and the impact it has on the community."
The city's 14-member Police Policy and Procedures Task Force recommends that every officer being trained on, and tasked with, problem-oriented policing strategies designed to find more effective ways of dealing with the community's challenges.
Additionally, every officer would be evaluated on community policing principals like engagement, collaboration, problem-solving, and building trust and legitimacy under the recommendations.
"Community policing can't be a group of officers or a unit," said Davis, who presented the task force's 38 recommendations to the city commission this week at Grand Rapids City Hall.
"A lot of departments will create a community policing unit. If the beat officers and patrol officers aren't engaged then it allows a beat officer to say community policing is what they do, not what I do. I do real policing, they do community policing."
Task force calls for more cultural competency training for police
Police Chief David Rahinsky has regularly said he expects every officer in his department to consider themselves a community officer. The distinction of community-policing specialist is meant to have some officers not tied to responding to calls for service so they can carry out other responsibilities.
The police department has 16 community policing specialists, who work 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekday shifts and are tasked with visiting local schools and businesses, attending neighborhood meetings, addressing growing community concerns and building positive relationships throughout their assigned area.
Staffing constraints have pulled those community-policing specialists in to backup patrol officers, however, and Rahinsky has repeatedly asked the city commission to approve funding for additional officers to allow for more community policing.
The commission has been hesitant to approve spending for more officers.
Some commissioners have also echoed the desire to have community policing be a department-wide initiative, and they've made the point that those officers who specialize in building community relationships aren't the same officers regularly responding to calls for service.
Of the task force's eight suggestions related to community policing and crime reduction, five involved a department-wide focus on community policing.
The group wants the police department to free up its patrol officers so they can each complete quarterly problem-oriented policing projects. Their suggestion includes an incentive program for such projects, and adjusted annual performance metrics for officer evaluations.
Problem-oriented policing is an analytic method to develop strategies that prevent and reduce crime by tackling underlying conditions that lead to recurring crime problems.
"What you want to identify is that every officer and civilian dispatcher alike has a role to contribute to community policing," Davis said. "That doesn't mean you may not have a special unit that's a liaison and coordinating and doing a lot of activities a beat officer might not have time for, but it can't just be their responsibility."
Additionally, the group called for:
The city commission to adopt a resolution that mandates community policing as the operating philosophy of the police department, and requires all city departments to contribute to enhancing public safety through community collaboration.
The police department to develop a citywide community policing plan that incorporates crime-reduction strategies, community engagement and partnerships, and police department oversight.
The department to include community members in its process to collect, analyze and map crime data and other essential police performance measures.
Review of Grand Rapids Police playbook gets update with end in sight
Rahinsky didn't have an opportunity to respond to any of the recommendations at Tuesday's meeting. In the past, he has said his officers want to spend more time building relationships in the community and partaking in non-enforcement activities. To do so, he said, would require more officers.
Last month, the city commission voted 5-2 to approve a series of investments for improving community-police relations. Included in the list was an external staffing and deployment analysis of the department. The study is expected to take three to four months.
The city hasn't selected a consultant for the staffing study yet.
The police department has 295 officers -- or about 1.5 officers per 1,000 residents. That's less than the 2016 national average of 2.4, according to FBI data, and falls short of several comparable cities nationwide.
All 38 task force recommendations will be presented to the public during a community event next month. At that time, a 21st Century Policing spokesperson will present the firm's review of the police department.
The 14-member body is made up of equal parts police and community representatives, including Marques Beene, Janay Brower, Sonja Forte, Ed Kettle, Maria Moreno-Reyes, Huemartin Robinson, Raynard Ross, Police Chief David Rahinsky, Deputy Chief Eric Payne, Capt. Michael Maycroft, Lt. John Bylsma, Sgt. Jana Forner, Sgt. Dan Adams and Officer Andrew Bingel.
KCPD South Patrol hosting neighborhood watch training to promote community policing
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City police at the South Patrol Division want to shed a little light on how to keep your community safe.
They're hosting neighborhood watch training Wednesday evening.
Police say neighborhood watches create more awareness, prevent crime and encourage community building.
The Ivanhoe neighborhood has taken strides in community policing with neighbors keeping an eye on what's happening on their streets.
Police hope to spread this across other neighborhoods as well.
Wednesday night's training will be a networking event for attendees to learn basic techniques on how to work with police on preventing crime in your neighborhood.
“We have to have the community alongside of us and they have to be vigilant about seeing things and reporting it to us so we can respond, or know where the crime is happening, so we can try and prevent some crime,” KCPD Ofc. Aaron Whitehead said.
The training is open to anyone. It will be held at the South Patrol Division on Marion Park Drive from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.